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A Couple Of Live Ones – Ah Ric Flair... I mean, there's a very good case that in the previous 6-12 months Flair has really started to show his age (as in someone who's actually nearly-50 rather than someone who's always looked 50) but there's no doubting his charisma and popularity are timeless. In a listless segment with Gene Okerlund at the beginning of the June 30th Nitro, Flair came out with two ladies and a mannequin dressed as Roddy Piper. Flair claimed Piper called him on Saturday night, only to be informed that Flair had "a couple of live ones" with him. That was about as coherent as the segment got, as he and Gene dicked about and the women played along. At one point Okerlund asks the Women if Flair "really is the sixty minute man?". The first woman didn't hear him, the second said "more like the 30 second man", in what was presumably meant to be a jibe at Piper. The segment finished with Okerlund saying he may have joined Flair and the ladies but "my mother in law is watching". It didn't make sense, it rarely does, but blimey.
"Why Didn’t You Take Me When I Was Good?" - This was the second half a series of sit-down interviews between Jim Ross and, well, Mick Foley. Mankind in name, this was a more humanised version of the character that'd we'd ever seen, running through Foley's aspirations of being a wrestler to the yards he put in in places like Japan and ECW to get here. It was a real nice way of pulling back the curtain and gave Foley a fair bit of personality that he'd sorely been lacking thus far. He bemoaned the "roadmap" (scars from all over the world) on his body, and bemoaned McMahon for only hiring him when he was old. The segments finished with him putting JR in the mandible claw, but had laid the foundations for a face turn.
When You Pick On One – The Flair and Piper split had been planned for a while, but WCW never seemed to be able to pull it off. Two months ago they'd planned to start a tease with Piper "hesitating" to aid Flair who was being attacked by the Outsiders right as the show went off the air. Not for the last time though, a timing fuck-up left Piper a lame duck stood in the ring waiting for his queue. Then they abandoned plans to do it in June's PPV because, well, it was too obvious. This lead us to the June 23rd Nitro. It's hard to explain what happened, it seemed like Flair and Piper were on the same page before Benoit and McMichael came out and Piper attacked them. All a bit flat, but at least that storyline is moving.
"I'll Kill You If You Don't Tell The Truth" - The Bearer/Undertaker mystery storyline finally blew it's lid at the end of June. Despite what I'd fairly describe as a rushed storyline (they blew through about three major chapters in half an hour), the segments involving the pair did at least pop a rating. We had Bearer in a long promo regalling us with tales of stories from the mortuary, and how Undertaker and his little brother (who, if I was being pedantic, I'd probably call "Cain" at this point) who used to cause trouble and smoke things they shouldn't. Bearer called Taker a murderer for being an indirect cause of the fire that caused his family before later shocking everyone by saying that Kane was in fact still alive. The whole thing was rushed, and probably stretched the pair beyond reasonable acting limits, but it was still memorable.
Hogan Submits – If you believe Dave Meltzer (and who doesn't?), when Hulk Hogan verbally tapped out on the June 9th Nitro, is was the first time he had done so since 1981. This time it was in the Torture Rack at the hands of Lex Luger – who's ability to be a main eventer despite sporadically being booked like one was mystifying. Still, despite a fuck up from Luger in his earlier promo that falsely implied it would be a title match, he randomly downed Hogan in a match that was quickly forgotten not only due to a post match beat down by the NWO, but also a promo from Hogan just a few minutes later acting like the whole thing never happened. History will show that it was a prelude to something, but Hogan's Teflon-like ability to completely ignore significant defeats wasn't helping anybody.
Gang-Warfare – If you're the kind of person that says "I dislike Savio Vega as much as the next man", then I am not that next man. Savio, along with former Nation-brother Crush were two of the dryest and least interesting acts on the WWF roster in 1997. So after a Nation reset (which saw Ahmed Johnson get added into the group before being injured again), both Crush and Savio formed their own stable – Crush surrounded by Brian Lee (the former fake-Taker) and the Harris Brothers (formerly Jacob and Eli Blu) in a biker group. Savio went and found himself three latin dudes and all of a suddent we had three groups of four guys who all wanted to fight. And colour me surprised, but the 12 man brawl on the final Raw of the month was... really good. I'm sure it's all downhill from here, but fair play
Timing Issues – On the July 2nd Nitro, Ric Flair blew up during a match with Scott Hall, serverly curtailing the match and ensuring that Randy Savage and Gene Okerlund had to stretch a five minute closing segment to more than double that (Which, to be fair, they did a decent job of). We get to the next week, and Roddy Piper was uncooperative in a tag match alongside Flair against Hall and Nash. Piper's actions as such caused a backstage fight between him and Nash later that evening, but apparently did no lasting damage. The problem was, the match fell apart so much that it yet again left them with way too long left in the show. In this instance, they just stretched out the brawl they had planned and sent everyone from the pay per view out there to have a pro-longed battle, and it was really good! That just about filled the time they needed it to before they went to the great show closing angle of Sting fighting off the NWO before attaching himself to Page and rapelling to the ceiling.
… If It Wasn't For You Meddling Kids – So... Hunter Hearst Helmsley won the King Of The Ring, a year after he was supposed to win King Of The Ring. He didn’t in 1996, of course, due to the "politics" surrounding the fall-out of the curtain-call at Madison Square Garden. Broadly speaking, that seems to be true, although it's hard to be 100% certain over the specifics with the WWE's revisionist history. Still, Helmsley followed his win at the pay per view by essentially calling out Vince the next night and saying, explicitly, that if he wasn't for politics Vince knew he would've won the thing last year. Strong stuff.