Shotgun Saturday Night (02/08/97)
Lee Maughan: And with the whole Shotgun concept dead in the water, the WWF was unable to locate an actual nightclub for its final edition, instead setting up stall in Penn Station of all places, a public venue that resulted in the promotion being unable to make any cash back through ticket sales. Hey, maybe TNA could look into running here sometime?
Crush & Faarooq vs. The Godwinns
What an absolute armpit of an opener this promises to be. Still, if this truly is a celebration of all things Shotgun, one big final blowout, who better than these two cornerstones of the program? One can only hope Savio Vega is still to come. And yes, the fans are soon chanting “bWo! bWo!” as if just for old times sake. And how about a new one? “Nation sucks dick!” As all this is going down, the camera cuts to a split screen where Todd Pettengill can be found making fun of a bloke without any teeth. Really. What a jerk. And indeed, (drumroll please), Savio is here! Yay! An Irish whip and a double clothesline set up the hot tag and Phineas runs wild on both guys until Savio trips him from the outside. Phineas goes after Savio which sets him up for a charge from Crush, but he moves just in time and Crush decks Savio instead, so Phineas looks to follow with a Slop Drop but alas, Faarooq rips his head off with a clothesline to give Crush the three. Not bad given what I was expecting.
Final Rating: *½
WWF Intercontinental Title:
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (c) vs. The Undertaker
A title match! On Shotgun! This really IS a big final blowout! Helmsley arrives in a stretch limo, and Undertaker makes his way out through the crowd after showing up at the building in Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’. Time of course for a commercial break just as the match begins, but back from that comes a full replay of Helmsley jumping Undertaker to start, but Undertaker no-selling it and destroying Helmsley in the corner instead. A whip into the corner sees the referee get bumped in just the spot Shotgun has been crying out for all these weeks, and Helmsley bashes Undertaker with the belt as we take another commercial break! Already?!
Back again with Helmsley going to work with choking, a snapmare, a face buster and series of stomps in the corner, but Undertaker gets the best of a slugfest. Helmsley comes back off an Irish whip with a swinging neckbreaker for two, and brings the belt back into play but misses on a big swing. Undertaker grabs the belt and uses it himself for (you guessed it) the disqualification. After the match, the crowd chant for a Tombstone but Undertaker gives them a chokeslam instead. Helmsley then tries to make a dash for it but Undertaker catches him on the way up the stairs and gives him a Tombstone onto an escalator, which an unconscious Helmsley rides all the way back to the ring in the closest thing to an iconic image this wretched show ever got. Fun, energetic stuff here.
Final Rating: **½
Savio Vega vs. Aldo Montoya
You know, if you asked me for my dream line-up before this show, as in “How do we go out with a bang on the last ever live edition of Shotgun?” I’d have hoped against hope that you’d book the guy with two “Least Entertaining” awards to his name against the bloke debuting on the show, with a yellow jockstrap on his head.
Savio runs through his usual, though thankfully forgoes the nerve pinching, and Aldo keeps it rolling with a hiptoss, two dropkicks to the outside and a plancha. Back in he gets two off a flying body press off the top but Savio takes control with knees to the midsection and some wicked chops. He works in his spinning heel kick in the corner and adds a delayed suplex, but soon enough he resorts to choking. In the meantime, roving reporter Pettengill has found a man named Terry who’s carrying an LJN Vince McMahon action figure in his pocket. “You still have the same jacket? 1985, you were like 40 then, right?” The rapture is upon us – Shotgun is coming to an end, and Todd Pettengill cracked a decent joke!
Back from a commercial, Savio is firmly in control as the crowd chants “We want 2 Cold!” I do too, but Flash Funk is the best you WWF fans are going to get I’m afraid. And NOW it’s time for the nerve pinch! Vince uses the dead spot to promote an upcoming Hector Camacho fight on pay-per-view, and before you know it, the Nation are brawling with the Godwinns at ringside. And you know what that means? Six-man tag team match, playa!
Final Rating: *½
The Nation of Domination vs. Aldo Montoya & The Godwinns
Back from the final mid-match commercial of the Shotgun era, and the Nation are busy getting heat on Aldo as Pettengill finds a woman in the crowd who wants to beat up another woman for stealing her man! “We already have midget wrestling!” decrees Todd. Back in the ring, Aldo catches Faarooq with a swinging neckbreaker after having eaten a backbreaker from Crush, and he goes for the hot tag but Savio cuts him off as the NYC crowd finally win me back over with a hearty chant of “Boring!” that even Vince himself can’t ignore. Aldo actually gets a false tag, so I guess we’re going all-in on this one, and the Nation give him another shit-kicking in the corner. He catches Savio with a missile dropkick off the top and it suddenly all breaks down, with Savio scoring the pin on Aldo amidst the chaos with a spinning wheel kick. The Godwinns did absolutely sod all in this, which was probably for the best.
Final Rating: *½
Back from one last commercial, and the actual purpose of the Godwinns’ presence is made clear – Phineas chases the still unidentified D’Lo Brown backstage and wildly throws his slop bucket all over Pat Patterson, stationed at the Gorilla position. Given the state of his Bill Cosby-style sweater, I’d say he deserved it. He threatens to come down to ringside and make out with Sunny since she thinks its so funny.
– And finally, Pettengill catches up with Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who sends out a threat to the Nation. That would equal Faarooq vs. Ray Traylor in some other far off nightmare.
THE SHOTGUN RECAP:
Most Entertaining: It’s a toss-up between the Undertaker and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Undertaker dished out the ass-kicking, but Helmsley took the ride down the escalator, so take your own pick there.
Least Entertaining: I didn’t really want to single any one person out tonight, but Savio Vega did use that fucking nerve pinch of his again…
Quote of the Night: “Welcome to Amtrak’s night train to hell! Ha ha ha!” – The Undertaker works in some corporate sponsorship in his own inimitable style.
Match of the Night: Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. The Undertaker.
Summary: And so to its chilling conclusion comes the WWF’s month-and-a-half experiment with producing a mildly risqué yet ultimately directionless live broadcast from a dingy New York dive. In actuality, the show continued on for several more years, though under a much different make-up. The next week’s show was simply a “greatest hits” from previous episodes (that’s right folks, it’s six sensational weeks of the Shotgun Saturday Night show!), while week eight saw content entirely regurgitated from the final Superstars taping. With RAW then switching to a two-hour weekly format and the cessation of all other WWF TV tapings, Shotgun was soon being recorded before (and occasionally after) RAW, a taping method that would continue with the addition of programming such as Los Super Astros, Sunday Night HeAT, Metal, Jakked, Velocity, Main Event, NXT and the revived Superstars.