WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: The Forgotten Show Part One
Shotgun Saturday Night is a show that I’ve never watched. I couldn’t have told you any match that had ever happened on the program. As some may know, I’ve been doing a series looking at matches on the lesser known wrestling TV shows. First I looked at WCW Worldwide 2000 and then WWF Metal 2000. Now, I’m looking at a rather unique show that the WWF put on starting in 1997.
Early on, Shotgun Saturday Night took place inside various club atmosphere buildings. The show wasn’t taped at the typical RAW arena show they would hold. It honestly had a low budget independent wrestling show feel to it. Fans are close to the ring and it doesn’t feel like your typical WWF show. I kind of like it.
When I went through the shows for the series I came across some interesting matches. I’m curious to see how this plays out over time. If I don’t pick a match to review that you think I should, feel free to let me know.
With that out of the way, let’s get into some Shotgun Saturday Night action.
Match: Rocky Maivia vs WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Reason Reviewed: I believe this would be the first time they squared off in a singles match on WWF television. These guys would become two of the biggest stars in the WWF just a year and half later and a memorable feud in 2000. And, it all started on Shotgun Saturday Night!
The fans are heavily chanting for Rocky, which wasn’t the case normally for the rookie. Rocky arm drags Hunter to start the match and drops Hunter with a right hand. Rocky scoop slams Hunter and goes back to the arm drag. Hunter tries to get out of an arm lock, but Rocky keeps the champ on the canvas. Hunter knee lifts Rocky against the ropes and snapmares Rocky but misses an elbow drop. Rocky scoop slams Hunter and takes Hunter back down with an arm drag. Hunter stops Rocky with an atomic drop. Jake Roberts comes out and tosses a snake into the ring causing Hunter and Rocky to bail to the floor. That was random. Back from commercial, Hunter has a sleeper hold on Rocky but he’s not going to keep him down for too long. Rocky comes off the ropes and is met with a knee lift to the midsection. Hunter comes out of the corner and delivers a knee drop a few times for a two count. Rocky comes off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Hunter fights back dropping Rocky across his knee for a two count. Hunter backs Rocky against the ropes and delivers more strikes. Hunter nails Rocky with a high knee lift for a two count. Hunter keeps Rocky on the mat with a sleeper hold. Hunter uses the ropes for leverage but the referee sees that and forces a break of the hold.
Hunter and Rocky trade shots in the corner with Rocky getting the momentum. Hunter cuts off Rocky with an eye rake. Rocky drops Hunter with a power slam. Marlena is coming down to ringside it looks like. Rocky continues to hammer away on Hunter and drops the champ. Rocky dropkicks Hunter over the top to the floor. Rocky follows to the floor but Hunter rams Rocky face first into the ring steps. Hunter sees Marlena and confronts her. She is drinking wine and seems to be flirting with Hunter. Goldust comes running out and Hunter bails from the match to get away from Hunter. (*1/4. There wasn’t much go this one as it was kept really basic and Rocky worked a formula match for a babyface. The main purpose here was to add some hype to HHH/Goldust that took place the following night at the Royal Rumble.)
Match: Steve Austin vs Goldust
Reason Reviewed: Goldust had just recently turned face after some taunting by Jerry Lawler on RAW in late 1996. So, I’m interested to see how the reaction he gets here. I’m hoping for a fun match between two guys that worked well in WCW. Of course, that’s also had different character involved.
Austin cheap shots Goldust in the corner and pummels Goldust with strike and stomps. Goldust elbows Austin out of the corner and decks Austin with an uppercut. Goldust comes off the ropes and delivers a clothesline. Austin stops Goldust with a low blow and continues to work over Goldust in the corner. Goldust takes Austin down to the mat and works over Austin with knee drops while keeping him in a hammerlock. Austin argues with the referee when we get back from commercial and Goldust delivers a few jabs. Goldust drops down and uppercuts Austin after coming off the ropes. Terry Funk enters the ring and attacks Austin. They had a confrontation before the match. This leads to everyone coming to the ring and brawling because it’s the Royal Rumble weekend. Helmsley is choking Goldust with a pool stick. Austin backdrops Funk into some beer and that’s how we end it. (DUD. This accomplished nothing, really. The aftermath was enjoyable. I would have liked to have seen a Funk/Austin feud in ’97.)
Match: Bret Hart vs. Mankind
Reason Reviewed: I don’t see how this can’t be good, honestly.
Hart saves a few dancers from Mankind by attacking him on the floor with right hands and rams Mankind face first on the floor. They get into the ring where Hart continues to work over Mankind in the corner. Hart comes off the middle rope to deliver a forearm shot. Hart jumps down across the back of Mankind. Hart takes Mankind over with a snap suplex and delivers a quick leg drop. Hart works over Mankind in the corner but Mankind fights back with a few strikes before tossing Hart to the floor. Hart pulls Mankind to the floor and rams Mankind into the guard railing chest first. Hart continues to work over Mankind on the floor. They brawl in front of the announcers table and Hart hits a snap suplex on the floor. Mankind gets control with a stomp from the apron and elbow strikes Hart knocking him back into the ring. Mankind rubs Hart’s eyes across the top rope and delivers more strikes. Mankind nails Hart with a running knee strike in the corner. Mankind sends Hart chest first into the corner and gets a two count following a leg drop. Mankind keeps Hart on the mat with a sleeper hold. Mankind tries to keep Hart down with a chin lock but Hart battles out with right hands. Mankind drops Hart with a strike of his own. Mankind elbows Hart after being sent into a corner and keeps control with punches. Mankind charges towards Hart but goes flying over the top to the floor. Hart continues to work over Mankind on the floor sending him into the guard railing. Mankind rolls to the floor and goes towards the dancers as we go to commercial.
Hart crotches Mankind over the guard railing and clotheslines Mankind off the railing to the floor. Hart tosses Mankind face first into the ring steps and comes off the top with a forearm shot back into the ring. Hart delivers a headbutt to the lower midsection of Mankind. Hart takes Mankind over with a snap suplex before going to the middle turnbuckle and missing an elbow drop. Mankind spikes Hart with a DDT for a two count. Mankind misses a splash in the corner and Hart takes Mankind down with a side Russian leg sweep. Hart delivers a forearm strike and pummels Mankind with right hands against the ropes. Hart takes Mankind down with a bulldog out of the corner for a two count. Hart connects with a swinging neck breaker for a near fall. Hart drives Mankind down with a backbreaker. Hart gets stopped by a low blow from Mankind in the corner. Hart avoids a backdrop and clotheslines Mankind. Hart goes for the Sharpshooter and turns it over. Owen Hart leaves the commentary table and attacks Bret to cause the disqualification. (**. It’s a decent brawl, but nothing great. Mankind’s interaction with the dancers was a nice touch to his character development.)
Match: Ahmed Johnson vs. Vader
Reason Reviewed: They had a good TV match in 1996 for the King of the Ring where Vader ended Ahmed’s undefeated streak. I don’t recall a singles rematch since then. Shotgun sure did have some strong matches for the first month of the shows existence.
Ahmed pie faces Vader at the start and they lockup, but neither man can do anything. Vader eye rakes Ahmed and works over Ahmed with strikes in the corner. Vader attempts a short arm clothesline but Ahmed doesn’t fall down. Vader decks Ahmed with a forearm strike, twice, to knock Ahmed down. The way Ahmed fell down was kind of hilarious. Ahmed counters and pummels Vader with strikes in the corner. Ahmed hits a splash in the corner and Vader stumbles out. Ahmed plants Vader with a spine buster and kicks Vader to the floor. Mankind leaves the announcers table and is met with a shove from Ahmed. Back from commercial, Vader delivers an elbow drop to Ahmed’s lower midsection. Vader continues with a splash in the corner. Vader goes to the top rope but is met with a low blow and falls to the mat. Ahmed avoids a backdrop with a forearm shot and a kick to the chest. Ahmed goes for the Pearl River Plunge, but Mankind gets back in the ring with a chair. Mankind almost hits Vader, but stops himself. Ahmed gets the chair and hits Vader. The usage of the chair was awful. It was so sloppy, it was cringe worthy. (*. Another match that didn’t amount to much.)
Match: Mankind vs. British Bulldog
Reason Reviewed: Off the top of my head, I’m trying to think a time these two ever wrestled a singles match. I don’t think they did prior to this and I’m not sure if they ever did afterward, either. Shotgun with a one time only match?!
Mankind isn’t dressed up for a fight since he was there to help out Vader earlier in the evening. Bulldog grabs Mankind from the announcers table and tries to rip off Mankind’s clothing before tossing him into the ring. Bulldog works over Mankind with strikes in the corner. Bulldog stomps on Mankind against the ropes. Bulldog dumps Mankind to the floor and continues to stomp on him. Mankind gets on the microphone and says, “I just wanna talk!” and gets punched. Mankind is able to get some right hands in and rolls Bulldog back into the ring. Mankind punches Bulldog and comes off the ropes to deliver an elbow drop. Bulldog sends Mankind through the middle rope and Mankind’s leg hits the stage. Bulldog works over the leg with stomps against the stage. Bulldog puts a half Boston crab on Mankind while on the stage for a moment. Mankind pulls Bulldog to the floor and chokes him. Mankind comes off the ropes and stomps on Bulldog for two count. Mankind jumps onto Bulldog over the middle rope and connects with a leg drop. Mankind delivers a running knee strike in the corner. Mankind sends Bulldog hard back first into the corner. Mankind comes off the ropes with a leg drop as Vader makes his way down to the ringside area. Mankind controls Bulldog with a sleeper hold on the canvas. Bulldog backdrops Mankind on the stage as we come back from commercial. Bulldog rams Mankind’s head into the turnbuckle several times and plays to the crowd. Vader grabs Bulldog on the floor and drops him throat first over the guard railing a few times. Bulldog is rolled back into the ring and Mankind gets the win. After the match, Bulldog is double teamed until Ahmed Johnson makes the save, which is odd since they don’t get along. (**. There was some decent brawling going on here and the pace was fine, too. They did keep it rather limited, but it worked well for me and I was entertained.)
That ends part one of the series. Be on the lookout for more soon!
Thanks for reading.