Something to Wrestle With – Episode 60
Recap by: Jeff Rush, PWPodcasts.com Specialist
Air date: 08/18/17
9. Vince wants Diesel for sweeps
8. Jerry Jarrett’s Survivor Series Salad
7. Vince wants to strap a rocket to The Dean
6. Vince explains “androgynous”
5. Dick Murdoch wants a gig
4. Dusty doesn’t want to attend a KKK rally
3. Vince sells you on Mantaur
2. Michael Hayes is going to get the biggest ladder
1. Cornette thinks a Diaper match is bad for business, no wait, he booked it.
– Vince McMahon was unfamiliar with Scarface when he approved the Razor Ramon character.
– WWF winged it with names for Sean Waltman before “1-2-3 Kid” landed in their lap.
– Vince is not himself when he’s hungry (funny side story)
– Bret Hart first introduced the concept of a ladder match.
– Walter Payton may have saved the Razor-Diesel SummerSlam ’94 match.
– Dusty Rhodes claimed Dick Murdoch was a member of the KKK.
– Bruce feels the Kliq disliked Bam Bam out of jealousy over his headlining WrestleMania XI with Lawrence Taylor.
– Bruce claims many wrestlers feel uncomfortable making Make-A-Wish appearances.
– By the time Hall and Nash finished up, everyone was relieved for them to finally be leaving.
What Happened When… Scott Hall became Razor Ramon in the WWF?
Bruce was out of the WWF at the time Scott Hall signed and started as Razor Ramon. He says this was an over the top character that Vince could really sink his teeth into.
Conrad mentions that a G.I. Joe character was first pitched to Hall, but he shot it down and suggested a “Scarface” type character, based on a routine he would do when travelling with Curt Hennig. Vince was not familiar with Scarface.
Regarding the famous vignettes that introduced the Razor character, Bruce says the scenes filmed at a restaurant were actually done at Tacos Guadalajara in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Razor’s first major angle came when he helped Ric Flair defeat Randy Savage for the world title. It was Bruce’s first night back with the company. He says Vince hated the finish of the match, was unhappy with the way Savage was not fighting back, and made them go back out and do it again. Bruce agrees with the call. Conrad asks if this was a case of Randy “boo-boo-facing” over having to lose the title. Bruce says yes. He adds that this was the first time he’d witnessed Randy behaving this way.
This all led to a Survivor Series match with Razor and Ric Flair facing Randy Savage and Mr. Perfect. Perfect was turned the week of the show to substitute for a recently fired Ultimate Warrior. Bruce says this was done because of Warrior’s top billing; they felt they had to do something big.
The match sucked, according to Bruce. He says Curt got winded early on and it affected everything.
Coming out of the Survivor Series, Razor worked the house show circuit, mostly losing to Undertaker or going over Big Bossman. Bruce says Razor was getting over huge and Vince began to look at him as a future World Champion.
Razor would get that shot at the Royal Rumble in January of 1993. Conrad mentions that the spot was originally supposed to be Warrior’s and adds here that Razor was featured in the main event of the first two PPVs since he joined the company.
Bruce loved Razor’s match at the Rumble versus Bret Hart. Razor had a knee injury, and the two managed to work around it well. Bret was eager to show what he could do as champion and Razor wanted to cement himself as a main eventer. The reception backstage was very positive.
The reception for Razor’s match against Bob Backlund at WrestleMania IX was not nearly as good. Bruce says the two wrestlers just didn’t gel.
On May 17th, Sean Waltman, wrestling as the Kid, would upset Razor on Monday Night Raw. Dave Meltzer declared it the first “jobber upset” in WWF history. This would eventually lead to Razor turning babyface. Bruce had worked with Waltman in Global about a year prior to this. Vince didn’t know what to do with him, but says the crowd at the Manhattan Center knew who he was and that kind of changed his fortune in the WWF. They would give Waltman a different name each week – Lightning Kid, Kamikaze Kid, etc, trying to find something that would stick. After he upset Razor, the crowd chanted “1-2-3” and they had their name.
Razor lost to Bret in the first round of the King Of The Ring tournament, and Bruce says this match was better than their Rumble match.
On June 21, Razor would get his rematch on Raw against Kid. During the finish, Kid slipped off the rope. When he recovered, he grabbed the purse money Razor had offered for the rematch and jumped into a waiting car. Bruce says Kid knocked himself out when he slipped on the ropes and took direction from Razor for the finish.
From there, the plan was to turn Razor and have him team with Kid to face Money Inc. DiBiase, though, requested getting taken off the road at this point to deal with personal issues. This led to a rushed match with Razor going over DiBiase in what would be the Million Dollar Man’s final match.
Razor would then wrestle Rick Martel for the IC title after it had been vacated by Shawn Michaels, who quit after failing a drug test rather than pay a fine. Bruce says Vince didn’t truly value what he had in Michaels at this point. He says that would happen following the WrestleMania X ladder match. He adds that Vince can be peculiar. He likes to have food around at all times and can be cranky when he’s hungry and could make odd decisions depending. There was a period where Bruce had to have a writer’s assistant at TV on a schedule to make sure food was available for Vince. He adds that everyone carried protein bars in their pockets for this same reason.
The guys discuss how Shawn had inherited a large sum of money around this time, which made it easier for him to walk away on principle.
Razor began working against Diesel at this point. Michaels returned around January and Razor would begin working with him too. Their built in angle was that Razor had the IC title, but Shawn had never lost it. This would lead to their iconic ladder match at WM X. Conrad talks about them working out that match at house shows leading up to it. Bruce says that Bret and Shawn had the very first ladder match and that the concept was introduced by Bret Hart and they stole it to use at Mania.
Razor would take on IRS at the Royal Rumble ’94. Bruce says even at this point, they were working towards Razor-Michaels at Mania, so there weren’t high expectations for this match.
Next up is WrestleMania X. It was held at Madison Square Garden to celebrate the anniversary. The ladder match concept was a hit with everyone, even the old-timers, because it allowed the babyface to lose without getting pinned, much like the style of cage match developed by the WWF years earlier where the winner had to escape the cage.
Bruce says this match set a precedent and, as such, is a top five WrestleMania match. He also recalls Jacques Rougeau going long in his match and insisting for weeks that he did not. He was super hot about that at the time, but then when the ladder match also went over time, he recognized the greatness he was seeing and didn’t mind as much.
Bruce feels this match made both wrestlers and also made the match a go-to in feuds in the future. Conrad speculates on how Hogan-Warrior at WMVI would’ve gone as a ladder match.
Bret Hart laid this match out and, Bruce feels, made it what it is today.
It’s crazy the kind of impact Hart had on WrestleMania X. Between opening the show with an incredible grudge match against Owen Hart that made Owen in the process, then closing out the show by winning the World Championship and being carried on the shoulders of other wrestlers, he also created the concept that gave us one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time and, certainly, the most remembered match of that show. No other wrestler has had as big of an impact on a single WrestleMania.
It would be like Daniel Bryan defeating Triple H at WM XXX, winning the championship in the main event, oh, and he also conceived of and laid out the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is so epic that it’s the only thing remembered about WM XXX. The winner, Cesaro, is now synonymous with the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. All 31 wrestlers had a rematch at the following year’s SummerSlam, only this time, Brad Maddox walked away with the win.
Along the way, Cesaro, Brad Maddox, Justin Gabriel, and Darren Young, all four having come to gain a mutual respect for one another through their work in the first two Andre the Giant Battle Royal’s, form an inseparable bond, a clique if you will, that would see them run the industry for a number of years. Darren Young eventually becomes a McMahon, while Cesaro and Gabriel are bringing down GFW from the inside. Brad Maddox is now Mr. WrestleMania.
Anyway, that’s the amazing job Bret Hart did with his work at WrestleMania X.
Bruce tells a story about “the greatest ladder match ever.” Chris Candido vs. Tracy Smothers. There was a $5,000 check that was supposed to hang over the ring, but the poles holding up the cross bar that the check was hanging from were bowing and the check was practically in the ring. He says either guy could’ve easily reached the check, even claiming at one point the guys were ducking under the check. He says, however, that Jim Cornette booked this match and considers it the greatest ladder match of all time.
Bruce says this is around the time the Kliq was in “full formation mode.” They were all hanging out and riding together. Bruce confirms that P.J. Walker, AKA Aldo Montoya, AKA Justin Credible, was in favor with the Kliq. Though not viewed historically as a member, he was taken under Scott Hall’s wing. Bruce also denies that Louie Spicolli was ever a part of the Kliq.
At SummerSlam ’94, Razor would defeat Diesel. Michaels was in Diesel’s corner, and Walter Payton was in Razor’s. Bruce thought this was a great match. He recalls how, despite all three wrestlers having excellent minds for the business and Payton never having involvement in wrestling before, Payton was correcting the guys before the match on spots they were off on. Bruce says this is a result of his football planning acumen.
Conrad asks if the Kliq had any issues with Jeff Jarrett. To illustrate this wasn’t the case, Bruce says when Diesel won the world championship, Vince asked him who he wanted to go out to celebrate with, and that Jarrett was one of the first names out of his mouth.
Razor was going around the horn with Bob Backlund. Eventually, Razor asked Vince to bring in Dick Murdoch to be in his corner so he could take punches that Bob wouldn’t have to. Bruce recalls that Vince had an affinity for Murdoch and that Murdoch was always angling for a gig. Bruce recalls that Dick was working as a spokesman for Coors Light at this time and had a company credit card he was permitted to use at bars to buy beers for people. He adds that the arrangement didn’t last long.
Murdoch was brought in for a short time, but eventually “Dick being Dick” was enough for Vince to cut the angle short.
Bruce says “rumor would have you believe… Dick Murdoch was a card carrying member of the KKK.” He says that Dusty Rhodes told him a story about Murdoch trying to bring him to a meeting and Dusty freaking out. He concludes, when pressed, that Dusty could’ve been spinning yarns.
Conrad then asks Bruce about a series of names, and whether they had heat with the Kliq. Bruce says they hated Bam Bam Bigelow. He thinks that stems from jealousy over Bam Bam main eventing WM XI against Lawrence Taylor and taking the spotlight (and pay day) away from Michaels and Diesel.
Shane Douglas was another wrestler they did not like. He came in with a lot of hype and they felt he couldn’t work at their level. Bruce reveals that Vince came up with The Dean gimmick for Douglas because he was always talking about going off to become a doctor or teacher.
Bruce then spends a few minutes talking about Bret Hart’s issues with the Kliq.
Razor and Michaels would meet in a rematch of their iconic WM X match at SummerSlam ’95. Razor was originally supposed to face Sid in a non-ladder match, but Sid left, so they decided to recreate the magic of a year-and-a-half earlier.
Conrad begins questioning the positioning of Michaels on the roster here. He would win the world title eight months later, but Bruce says Vince wasn’t yet sold on him as a main-eventer at this point.
Bruce feels the match at WrestleMania X was better but that this was a great match.
Conrad then questions why Razor was matched up with Dean Douglas following SummerSlam. Bruce says Vince wanted to run with Douglas.
Douglas was earning a bad rep at this point. He was working with a top guy like Razor, but was hearing negative rumblings about his conditioning and ability. Bruce thinks the BS got in Shane’s head and that he outworked himself. He says pairing Shane with Bob Backlund, who worked poorly with Razor in the first place, was a disaster on top of a disaster.
Next up is Razor and 1-2-3 Kid taking their feud to the next level. They’re doing an angle as a team not getting along. Kid would eventually turn heel when, while acting as guest referee, he would fast count Sid’s pin attempt on Razor. Bruce says this happened because the Kliq wanted to work together and travel together. He then relays a funny anecdote from Chief Jay Strongbow, an agent at that time. He called Waltman “trailer” because he would always be following behind Michaels, Nash, and Hall, carrying all their luggage.
This was around the time Hall approached Vince, asking what he can do to improve and make more money. Vince has nothing for him, so Hall inquires about working in Japan on the side. That request also gets declined. Bruce didn’t know about this conversation until after Hall had made his deal with WCW. He feels 100 percent that Vince made a mistake here. He says Vince would agree with that. Razor was after guaranteed money and, had he gotten it, everything would’ve changed.
The Razor-Goldust angle is discussed next. Razor was unhappy with the whole thing. Bruce says Hall complained all the time, but was not unhappy with Dustin Rhodes; he knew he was just doing his job. Hall felt the angle was in poor taste and simply did not want to do it. Conrad notes that Hall regrets the way he responded to this angle now, and Bruce agrees that it did hurt his position.
Conrad asks about Razor’s appearance on Jerry Springer where Make-A-Wish was involved. He’s looking to get a good Springer story, but Bruce pivots and, instead, gives us a little Make-A-Wish insight:
“A lot of the guys have issues with Make-A-Wish, which is strange as big of a company as WWE is and as much as they do now with Make-A-Wish. Back in the day, some of the guys had an issue dealing with kids with terminal illnesses, because it’s hard to look a kid in the eye knowing that they’re not going to be around for long and that they’re last wish is to meet you.”
Bruce adds that Razor actually gave his Intercontinental Championship away to a sick child he once met.
We then discuss Razor’s Royal Rumble ’96 matchup against Goldust and the introduction of Marlena, who was introduced to offset any homophobic fears of the audience.
This then brings us to an In Your House match between Razor and Kid billed as a “Crybaby match,” where the loser had to wear a diaper. There was a stroller, teddy bear, baby powder and a bottle in the mix. In the end, Kid was covered in powder and began to cry.
Read that last paragraph again and remember that, eight months later, Hall and Waltman were seen as two of the coolest dudes on the planet. Man, can those guys overcome a sh*t gimmick.
Bruce talks about how much Vince hates the “powder spot.” He adds that everything Vince hates was in this match. Cornette loved it.
By March of 1996, it was reported that Hall was expected to join WCW. Hall gave his notice and was given a drug suspension on the same day. Bruce says he was not involved in this process.
Hall sent his resignation to the office via telegram (oh, the ’90s) and Bruce comes to the WWF’s defense here saying he should’ve done it in person and had a face-to-face conversation with Vince. Bruce says that, in Vince’s mind, he never had the opportunity to make a final offer. He says Vince was hurt by the situation.
Bruce disputes reports that Hall was unceremoniously told that he was being suspended. He admits that guaranteed money offers from WCW was a huge sticking point. He says anyone getting that offer at that time would take it. He says that Bobby Heenan summed it up best, saying there was no other business where you would blindly take your assignment not knowing any of the details and still do it. All of the sudden, you had a company out there guaranteeing that you would get paid. It was huge.
Conrad brings up Hall and Nash’s final PPV with the company – In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies. Razor loses to Vader in his PPV swan song; Diesel loses in the main event to Shawn Michaels. In a cool bit of perspective never discussed on record before, Bruce notes that this was the light at the end of the tunnel. He says after the two gave notice, they became a poison in the locker room. Everyone was ready for that poison to go away, and this was a huge relief.
We then touch on the infamous “Curtain Call.” Bruce says Razor’s match with Triple H was a disaster, with Hall doing obvious set up spots and not putting anything into it. He states, as he has in the past, that the showing at the end was a slap in the face to the wrestling business and to all the guys who were still with the company. He also feels that, given all Vince had done for Hall, that it was very disrespectful.
Bruce concludes that Hall and Nash showing up in WCW, in hindsight, was one of the best things to happen to the business, given the guaranteed contracts and competition that drove business into the heyday it would see.
Rating: For as much of the mid-90s as has been covered on this show, I didn’t realize until listening to this episode how little Conrad and Bruce had touched on Scott Hall. Stories of his early days in the company and involvement with Ric Flair and Randy Savage were as refreshing as much of the talk of the Kliq’s days running the locker room. I loved the segment where Bruce discussed the various wrestlers who’d had issues with the Kliq during this period. You already knew who some targets were, like Bam Bam Bigelow and Bret Hart, but it was interesting to hear other names, like Jeff Jarrett and Bob Holly get disputed. As this show goes, we did not receive an overabundance of impressions and there was never a point where Conrad or Bruce felt overly heated by any one item. If anything, there were a couple of occasions where Bruce seemed ready to go into a fun story or impression only to be cut off by Conrad as he moved forward with his notes. All in all, a good episode that will teach you much more about Scott Hall’s time in the company than you knew beforehand. Recommended. 8/10
7:40: Show begins
12:55: Savage brings the boo-boo face
18:30: Mr. Perfect turns babyface
25:20: Royal Rumble 1993
28:20: WrestleMania IX
29:40: 1-2-3 Kid
34:14: King Of The Ring ‘93
35:20: Rematch with Kid
40:20: Shawn Michaels quits
46:00: Survivor Series ‘93
49:00: Ladder match
50:40: Royal Rumble ‘94
52:50: WrestleMania X
1:02:52: Dropping the IC title to Diesel
1:04:57: Cliq formation
1:06:35: Justin Credible
1:08:10: SummerSlam ’94
1:15:45: Survivor Series ’94
1:18:15: Royal Rumble ’95
1:23:05: Dick Murdoch
1:28:45: IC title switches with Double J
1:30:20: Who had issues with the Cliq?
1:38:07: King Of The Ring ’95
1:41:10: SummerSlam ’95
1:49:55: Dean Douglas
1:56:20: Teaming with 1-2-3 Kid
2:02:30: Hall wants more money
2:06:29: Survivor Series ’95
2:20:04: Crybaby match
2:22:22: Hall gives his notice, gets suspended
2:33:50: Razor’s last PPV
2:35:30: The Curtain Call
2:40:26: Twitter questions
Jeff Rush is a life-long fan of professional wrestling. He’s attended the last match of both Andre the Giant and Stone Cold Steve Austin’s careers and two of the three matches of the Rock-Austin WrestleMania trilogy. As a child, he was once yelled at by John Tenta for sitting too close to him on a bench at Hershey Park. Jeff listens to way too many wrestling podcasts and watches way too much WWE Network. He also catches as much indie wrestling as he can when it comes through his home of New York City. Follow along @jefflikesstuff