Rampage Bercy ’93

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Bob Backlund
Backlund’s personality at this point was about as bland as it could get, in serious contrast to Shawn’s flamboyant ways, which is what makes a pre-match production snafu so classic. Let me tell you, you ain’t seen anything until you’ve seen happy-go-lucky Bob “All-American” his way down to the ring as “I’m just a sexy boy!” blasts out of an arena’s PA system. Those contrasts in style also pay off as far as a contrast in the ring, as technical master Backlund outwrestles Michaels with amateur holds that are sold masterfully by The Heartbreak Kid. Shawn’s on form as far as his human superball stylings go too, taking colossal bumps off Backlund’s arm-drags, bodyslams and suplex throws. Even so, you just can’t escape the fact that this is still just a house show match from the very start of a long, gruelling European tour, so whilst they do kick it into high gear and look fantastic in the process, there’s a few noticeable spots of downtime, particularly as evidenced by Backlund holding a long arm bar and Michaels going to a front face lock for well over a minute (an eternity in wrestling terms), then going right back to it after Backlund mounts a brief comeback. Backlund’s attempts and ultimate success at powering out of it at least keeps things interesting. From there, things take a turn for the ridiculous, and I am of course referring to Shawn’s over-the-top bumping, including a jumping, spinning bump off a bell-ringer that I believe he stole from Curt Hennig’s arsenal of having the shit kicked out of you in the wackiest ways possible. The fact Hennig ended up with a chronic back injury probably should have tipped Michaels off about what was to come for him for keeping up his insane style, but then wrestlers will be wrestlers. Backlund’s crazed look as he gives Shawn a jumping(!) piledriver is just great, but a roll-up attempt puts Shawn on top, and he grabs Backlund’s tights for leverage to score the pin, which I think is the first time in the match that Shawn explicitly cheats (unless you count punching and throwing Backlund into the guardrail). I guess if you’re going to cheat, you better make sure it counts. Overall, this was probably the best match from Backlund’s entire 1992-1994 babyface run, besides the match with Bret that began his heel turn and eventual descent in madness.
Final Rating: **¾

 

Backstage, Guy Hauray interviews Doink, who doesn’t think Crush has a sense of humour, and should be thankful that Doink gave him the gift of a vacation when he put him on the shelf. God, heel Doink was just a million kinds of awesome. He promises another trick for Crush tonight.

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