We see a highlight video of Steve Austin doing what he does best: defying authority, including giving Vince McMahon his first Stunner and getting carted away in handcuffs. The issue of contention in this case is the health of Austin, who wants to wrestle against the wishes of doctors and WWF officials, who want him to stay shelved due to his neck injuries. A decision on Austin’s future will be made tomorrow night on Raw. Sure, the angle payoffs should come on free TV rather than the pay-per-views… Eric Bischoff has a lot to answer for.
Next up we have a fantastic in-ring segment paying tribute to the legends of the once thriving St. Louis territory (Gene Kinisky, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr, Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Terry Funk and Sam Muchnick), which remains one of the classiest things the WWF has ever done. The Hall of Fame is great, sure, but the annual shindig is very much a money making venture taking advantage of wrestling fans’ love of nostalgia, more than a genuine tribute to the performers. The way the guys are forced off the stage after delivering scripted promos is enough to prove that. Here, the WWF are just doing something because they feel they should. Jim Cornette played a large part in this segment happening and helped put together the informative video packages that accompany the introduction of each man. This whole thing nearly didn’t happen on the pay-per-view event at all, because ignorant wrestling-hating WWF producer Kevin Dunn didn’t think anyone would know who the guys were and that they wouldn’t care even if they did. He wanted to dump this on the Free For All or have it be for the live audience only. Understandably and justifiably, Jim Cornette was apoplectic about this. That attitude from Dunn sums up in part everything that is wrong with WWE today. Dunn prioritises everything BUT the wrestling and he is directly to blame for the sanitised, homogenized, soulless and over-produced product of modern times. The reason everyone looks the same and all the wrestlers act the same, like action figures off a production line, is because of Dunn. But hey, as long as the fireworks and set looks good, right? Cunt.
Backstage, Faarooq cuts a promo so incomprehensible that I have to rewind it and watch it again. On second viewing I pick up the words “Steve Austin”, “streets” and “Nation business”. After the third watch I give up.