After defeating Hogan for the title 5 days prior at Survivor Series 1991, The Undertaker clocked in one of the shortest reigns in history as he gave Hogan his win back in the main event of This Tuesday In Texas pay per view after an overbooked cluster of a finish.

    The rematch was booked due to Ric Flair getting involved in the finish of the Survivor Series match, so WWF President Jack Tunney booked the match and put himself at ringside to make sure there would be no repeat of the interference that led to the controversial finish.

    But as Tunney used all his authoritative persuasion to keep Flair from getting in the ring, interference would plague this title match too as Flair, a steel chair, Tunney, Paul Bearer, the urn, and whatever was inside the urn all had their parts to play. The finishing sequence was as follows: Hogan makes a comeback, Flair comes to ringside, Tunney distracts Flair, Hogan hits Flair in the back with a chair who falls into Tunney- taking the President out of the equation, Hogan runs Taker into a chair-wielding Flair on the apron, Hogan clotheslines Flair off the apron, Bearer distracts the ref, Flair revives Tunney and drags him up to see the conclusion of the match, Bearer misses Hogan and hits Taker with the urn, Hogan knocks Bearer off the apron, Hogan throws the urn remnants in Taker’s eyes and schoolboys him for the win.

    Not surprisingly, Tunney ended up stripping Hogan of the title due to the two chaotic finishes to the Hogan vs Undertaker title matches so the title would be settled in the famous 1992 Royal Rumble match that we will cover in more detail when that historical event rolls around in the calendar.

    The title win and brief title run did position ‘Taker as a main event player, a spot he would keep for the next 30 years, but it’s a title he would not win again until WrestleMania 13 in 1997. Whereas Hogan found another inventive way to drop the title without having the take another pinfall loss.

    Last week back in 1998, the WWF returned to the UK on pay per view on the back of the successful One Night Only event from 1997 with Capital Carnage 1998. This one-off UK only PPV had a red hot crowd and was headlined by a fatal four-way between Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kane and Mankind. The original line-up seemed quite similar to the very popular Summerslam 98 card: The Rock was scheduled to face Triple H, X-Pac was scheduled to face Jeff Jarrett, Marc Mero and Jaqueline faced Sable in a mixed tag match, plus Austin and Taker were clashing in the main event. During the show, Mr McMahon announced that X-Pac and Triple H would be switching places so that at least gave us fresh match-ups, but it was more due to Triple H recovering from a knee injury in case he couldn’t go through with a WWF title match against The Rock. In the end, X-Pac and Rock had a good match and Austin sent the crowd home happy with a stunner and a beer bash with the UK’s own Vinnie Jones.

    In the week leading up to Capitol Carnage, the Monday Night Wars gave us two good shows. WWF’s Raw was headlined by the ongoing Austin vs Undertaker story, that would culminate at the December Rock Bottom PPV in a Buried Alive match. In previous weeks The Undertaker had tried to embalm Austin, this week Undertaker tried to put Kane in a body bag and send him to a psychiatric hospital, only for Austin to foil the plans, knock Taker out with a shovel and end up shoving Paul Bearer headfirst down a drain (sewer). Take your pick on who to blame or champion for this: the Attitude era, Vince Russo, the Monday Night Wars, Vince McMahon. Either way, it was an interesting and entertaining period.

    Over on the other channel, WCW gave us two title changes with Konnan beating Chris Jericho for the Television title in a great little match, and the Giant helping Bret Hart beat DDP for the WCW United States title.

    Fast forward two years to December 04, 2000, and the Rock gave us a legendary interview on Monday Night Raw hyping up the upcoming Armageddon Hell in a Cell match. Here, the Rock went through each of his upcoming five opponents and mocked them one-by-one, hilariously poking fun at Kurt Angle, Rikishi, The Undertaker, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin. This was peak Rock and even though it was a complete comedy segment that had the crowd audibly laughing after each line, it still built up the match and Rock was able to bring the seriousness back at a moments notice.

    Last but not least… let me try that again. Last, we had the pleasure of being in the historical presence of WWE’s ECW December to Dismember pay per view from 2006.

    This show was so poorly received that it cost Paul Heyman his job as head of creative for WWE’s ECW brand and put a halt to whatever momentum WWECW had at the time. This was the one and only WWECW only pay per view, it wasn’t very good, and they only had themselves to blame.

    First of all, only two matches were advertised: The Hardy Boyz vs MNM (Johnny Nitro (now John Morrison) and Joey Mercury), and an extreme Elimination Chamber featuring Big Show, CM Punk, Bobby Lashley, Hardcore Holly, Rob Van Dam and Test. They finally added two more matches on the afternoon of the show, so the eventual six-match card was filled with… well, filler.

    Imagine your delight if you paid for a show and between the two advertised matches, you were provided with rip-roaring action such as Balls Mahoney vs Matt Striker, Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly vs Kevin Thorn and Ariel, and Daivari vs Tommy Dreamer. Remember this was a show before the WWE Network, so they were asking you to pay normal pay per view rates for this show. Instead of booking the main event featuring four of the biggest stars (plus Hardcore Holly and Test) Punk, RVD, Lashley and Show could have spread around and kept the crowd interested throughout the night. To make it worse, ECW original and crowd favourite Sabu (who was originally scheduled to be in the main event) was removed from the chamber match during the show, nothing like disappointing the live crowd when you’ve already got them in the building.

    Sabu was reportedly one of many ECW stars on a downward spiral at that time, and after showing up in no condition to perform at an earlier show, the decision was made to replace him, but of course, they didn’t tell you that before they got your PPV or ticket money.

    The booking of the main event left a foul taste in the fans’ mouths. Firm fan favourite CM Punk was the fan’s choice to win the match with Rob Van Dam in second place. The Big Show has said that he was willing to put Punk over in the opening moments of the match to give the fans a shock at the champion being eliminated first (so giving them a guaranteed new champion) but also giving Punk a huge win to propel him further up the card. But WWE chose to give Bobby Lashley the final pinfall win over the champion instead and start his ECW world title push which would include a big WrestleMania match the next year against Umaga. Vince’s infatuation with big muscle-bound men was on full show here as he picked Lashley over the more popular Punk. Frustratingly RVD and Punk were both eliminated mid-way through the match which didn’t sit well with the live crowd either and gave Lashley (and co) an uphill battle as they made their way to the finish.

    The roster limitations, the “WWE” look and feel of the ECW shows, and the poor use of the talent when they appeared on Raw or SmackDown had already led to Heyman being disgruntled with ECW’s position, and this show was just the nail in the coffin. Heyman was reportedly given free rein of the show, so all booking and decisions were his. I say reportedly as for as long as I have been watching and covering wrestling, whatever goes on WWE television goes through one man: Vince. It doesn’t matter who is the head writer, who is on the booking committee, writing team, executive producer, everything, before it goes on air, goes through Vince. Maybe this show was an exception and given what was on display and the volume of negative feedback, one could assume this is why Vince is the way he is today, giving no freedom to anything while he scripts promos and carves out cookie-cutter matches week after week.

    So when Vince and Heyman had a meeting the following day after the disastrous pay per view, the outcome was Heyman was sent home and relieved of his booking duties. ECW stuck around but it quickly lost all signatures of the old ECW and became a developmental style third brand where the likes of Kofi Kingston, Sheamus and Kelly Kelly would receive their main roster debuts, and the likes of Shelton Benjamin, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, Matt Hardy and Chavo Guerrero would go to revive and freshen up the roster.

    Next week we will look at a handful of WWE December pay per views including D-Generation X from 1997 (first PPV post-Montreal Screwjob), the Armageddon Hell in a Cell from 2000, plus the finals of NJPW World Tag Leagues from throughout the years, and we will find out how Paul Bearer faired in 1998 after his headfirst trip to the sewers on Monday Night Raw.

    All this and more coming up on Last Week In Wrestling!

    Recommended Viewing:

    • Kenny Omega vs Dragon Lee for the AAA Mega Championship. AAA TripleMania Regia. December 01 2019.
    • Chris Jericho vs Konnan for the WCW Television Title. WCW Nitro. December 01 1997
    • (interview segment) The Rock interview with Kevin Kelly. WWF Raw. December 04 2000.
    • The legendary Undertaker’s un-legendary first WWF title run came to an end last week way back in 1991.