You’ll probably want a little background on this to start. A few months ago I got a call from a buddy of mine at CERN (I’ve got sweet connections). He told me they had discovered the chronoton, which (for the benefit of those who have never seen Star Trek: First Contact) is the gauge boson that carries forward the flow of time. They weren’t even looking for it! My buddy and his fellow physicists were just smashing up random shit in the Large Hadron Collider (which is all they ever do at CERN) when one of them noticed that there was a meatball sub and a Dalmatian puppy in the tunnel. This wouldn’t have been so unusual, except they soon found these to be the exact same meatball sub and puppy which they had smashed into each other at near-light speed in the LHC yesterday. Somehow, impossible as it seemed, the sub and the dog had been pulled back into the tunnel from the past.
My buddy and his team spend most of the rest of that afternoon working out what had just happened. Before they left for home that evening they had it worked out. (These are some smart motherfuckers I’m talking about.) The precise mass and chemical composition of the two objects they had crashed together that day in the LHC (an iron railroad spike and a Derek Jeter Starting Line-Up action figure) had triggered an explosion of chronotons that exhibited a property relative to the previous day’s meatball sub and Dalmatian which they decided to call temporally sympathetic spin. My buddy (his name’s Alain, by the way) tried to explain it to me a few different ways, but I still can’t make heads or tails of it, though some of that’s the fault of his accent. Essentially, what they discovered is this: certain objects, when smashed together at near-light speed in the LHC release a shower of chronotons with a temporally sympathetic spin for a particular object at a particular location in the universe at a particular point in the timeline prior to the moment of the collision. When that happens, that object — whatever, wherever, and whenever it is — is pulled to the sight of the collision, in this case the tunnel of the LHC. Incredibly, the chronoton explosion that resulted from the collision of the railroad spike and the Jeter figure had a temporally sympathetic spin to the objects they had placed in the LHC the day before. From such coincidences great discoveries come, my friends.
Once Alain and his pals had that much figured out, it only took them part of the next morning to work out the precise equations necessary to smash the right amount of the right substances together to produce a precise object from a precise time. He emailed me the equations, but it feels irresponsible to reproduce them here. They’re mostly just a bunch of incomprehensible math symbols. I looked for like a plus sign, or an equals, but didn’t see one. Unless you happen to have an enormous particle accelerator, the equations wouldn’t do you much good, anyway. A partner of Alain’s also discovered the tachyon not long after that. Tachyons are particles a lot like chronotons, only they travel backwards through the timeline. This discovery allowed the CERN team to work out a way to send the shit they brought forward back to the exact moment it left when they were done with it, which was crucial to not altering the present.
“So, what are you guys going to do with this now?” I asked after Alain had told me all of this.
“We’re going to stage an epic 64-man tournament featuring the greatest stars in the history of professional wrestling,” he said. “What the hell do you think we’re going to do with it?”
I told Alain that had to be the most fucking balls idea I’d ever heard. “But who’s going to book this tournament?” I asked.
And Alain said to me, “That’s actually why I was calling . . .”
That’s right, me, bitches. Alain and his particle men have not only pulled 64 of the greatest wrestlers ever into the present from the primes of their careers, they’ve also used their time travel equations to summon the best announcers and color commentators, and to bring back some of the classic old school venues from the last century of professional wrestling history — legendary, now closed or demolished arenas like the Kiel Auditorium and the Mid-South Coliseum — because shit, we’ve gotta have these matches somewhere.
Choosing the participants took a bit of figuring. I wanted the various eras of wrestling history to be represented fairly, and I wanted workers from outside the United States to be a significant part of the tournament. I decided that the 64 would be divided up as follows: a dozen workers from the golden era up through the 1970s, and since they were the decades of wrestling’s greatest popularity, twenty workers each from the 1980s and the 1990s, and finally a dozen from the 2000s. I also made sure that twenty of those 64 were legends from Mexico or Japan, and wound up with a few from Canada, too.
I randomly seeded the whole bunch of 64 into eight groups of eight. Over the next nine weeks, starting last night and continuing every Wednesday night through the rest of the year, each group of eight will hold a one-night single elimination tournament to determine a winner. On the last Wednesday the eight group winners will meet to determine a single champion.
Last night the tournament for the first group was held. Sorry I didn’t mention any of this earlier. I’d tell you where to get tickets, but last night the house was packed to the rafters, and apparently all the other venues have been sold out for weeks, too. Lucky for you I’m only too happy to be able to report to you the detailed results of . . .
Group One: The Sam Muchnick Bracket
We are LIVE! from the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri.
Our hosts are the announce team from the heyday of Saturday Night’s Main Event, Vince McMahon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. And let me tell you, Vince is rockin’ the powder-blue sport coat. Enough fucking around — to the ring!
Round One Match:
Arn Anderson vs. Giant Baba
Vince keenly observes that the draw has not been favorable to Arn, who is giving up a good deal of weight and height to Baba. Baba, of course, is a multi-time former NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a seven-time winner of the Champion’s Carnival, and the founder of All-Japan Pro Wrestling, as important for his work as a promoter as for his wrestling — and as such, the only participant in the tournament to have a bracket named after him (Group Four, coming up in a few weeks). Arn Anderson is a founding member of the Four Horsemen, a many-time World Television Champion in Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW, a World Tag Team Champion with Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and about a thousand other partners — and a man with an in-ring arsenal that includes a DDT (according to Vince) “second only to Jake Roberts.”
Jesse: “Giant Baba’s been known to do a few DDTs every now and then himself, McMahon.”
Handshake to start, very classy. A couple tie-ups end with Baba making the ropes and getting a clean break. A third tie-up ends with Baba making the ropes, getting a clean break, then getting clotheslined over the top to the floor. This now concludes the sportsmanlike portion of our contest. Baba comes back pissed, whips Arn from one corner to another, takes him up and over with a . . . Vince?
Arn begs off, suckers Baba in for an eye-poke, and takes over. An arm-wringer and a few knee-lifts bring Baba down to one knee, and Arn goes to work on the shoulder. A few elbows lead to an arm-bar. Baba fights out of that but misses a clothesline attempt and gets that sore arm tied up in a hammerlock. Arn manages to get the big man up for a bodyslam while hanging onto that hammerlock, slamming Baba on top of the worked-over arm. From there it’s right back to the arm-bar, as Jesse reminds us of that old Georgia proverb, “If your arm’s sore, there’s probably an Anderson pulling on it.”
The arm work continues until Baba fights up again and hip-tosses his way out of the arm-bar. He misses a charging clothesline, but catches Arn coming back the other way with a big boot to the face. A quick elbow-drop and another one off the ropes gets Baba a two-count. Baba misses a charge in the corner, Arn goes for the DDT, Baba blocks, pushes him into the ropes, Arn whips him to the opposite side, ducks down for a spinebuster, Baba nails a running neckbreaker! That gets him a looooong two-count. Baba pulls Arn to his feet, tries a vertical suplex but his battered arm can’t do it. Arn nails Baba with a few shots to the head, then reverses the suplex attempt into a gourdbuster! That gets two, and Arn yanks Baba back up. Baba reverses a whip into a knee-lift, then hits a Russian legsweep that gets another two-count.
Baba slams Arn, comes off the ropes and misses an elbow. Arn hits a running knee-lift as Baba gets to his feet and pulls him into a front facelock. “He’s going for the DDT!” Vince helpfully announces. But Baba throws him off. Arn recovers, charges for a clothesline, misses, turns around, Baba kicks him in the gut and — nails the DDT! Ref counts one, two, thr— Arn gets a shoulder up! Baba whips Arn into the corner, misses a charge, Arn in from behind with a waistlock, attempts a belly-to-back suplex. Baba blocks, grabs a side headlock and — Coconut Crush! Cover, one, two, three.
(Giant Baba over Arn Anderson, Coconut Crush —> pinfall)
Jesse notes the subdued reaction of the crowd. “I don’t think these St. Louis fans even know who Giant Baba is, McMahon.”
Round One Match:
The Rock vs. Nick Bockwinkel
Now a slightly more physically even match-up than the last one. The Rock is a nine-time World Champion in the WWF/WWE, and pretty much the most charismatic wrestler ever, the only one to date able to successfully retire and make a living as an actor without having to run back to the ring to pay the bills. Bockwinkel is a four-time AWA World Champion, in addition to having held a whole shitload of regional titles.
Bockwinkel attacks before the bell, punishing Rock with clubbing forearms in the corner, whips him across to the opposite corner and catches him coming out with a hip-toss. Rock’s up, Bockwinkel floors him with a clothesline. Rock’s up again, Bockwinkel floors him again with a clothesline off the ropes. Rock’s up, ducks another clothesline, ducks for a back body-drop as Bockwinkel bounces off the ropes. Bockwinkel leap-frogs, comes off the ropes with a diving cross-body and gets a one-count. Rock’s up and charging. Bockwinkel takes him over and down with a knee-lift, and Bockwinkel is on fire! He takes a second to play to the crowd, who are throwing a few cheers his way —
Jesse: “They know who Bockwinkel is, though, don’t they?”
— and turns around in time to nearly get his head taken off by a running forearm from The Rock. That’s what you get for showboating, Nick. Rock goes for the finish, hooking Bockwinkel for a Rock Bottom, but Bockwinkel fights out, doubles Rock over with a knee to the gut and nails a running bulldog off the ropes. That gets a two-count. A vertical suplex and a couple of elbows gets Bockwinkel another near-fall. Bockwinkel drags Rock to the side, props his leg up on the bottom rope and works on the knee with stomps and a couple of seated sentons. The ref orders them away from the ropes, so Bockwinkel drags Rock toward the center of the ring and slaps on a spinning toe-hold. Then it’s back to the ropes for more stomps and another couple of seated sentons. Another ref-ordered break, back to the center, and back to the spinning toe-hold. Bockwinkel leans over to grab the other leg and Rock snatches a handful of hair and pulls Bockwinkel over into a small package that gets two.
Both men back to their feet, Rock hobbled from Bockwinkel’s work on the leg. Bockwinkel punches, Rock blocks and comes back with two quick shots and a third big one that knocks Bockwinkel off his feet and out under the bottom rope. Bockwinkel goes for a walk, tries to take a breather, but Rock follows him out and sends him head-first into the ring post. Rock tosses Bockwinkel back in but gets taken down with a drop toe-hold. Bockwinkel goes right back to the leg, hooking an Indian deathlock. Rock makes the ropes, Bockwinkel breaks, drags Rock back to the middle and locks on a figure four. Rock refuses to tap, and goes for the reversal. The crowd finally gets solidly behind him, chanting “Rocky” as he struggles to flip the hold. He finally rolls over, reversing the hold and sending Bockwinkel crawling for the ropes.
Rock limps to the center, Bockwinkel misses a clothesline, bounces off the ropes, Rock catches him and hits a spinebuster. And they’re on their feet in St. Louis — off comes the elbow pad, off the ropes on one side, off the ropes on the other side, feint legdrop and — People’s Elbow!
Vince: “One! Two! Thr— NO! HE KICKED OUT! He kicked out of the People’s Elbow!”
Jesse: “Did he really think he was gonna pin a four-time World Champion with an elbow drop?”
Rock pulls Bockwinkel up, goes behind, lifts him up for a belly-to-back suplex. Bockwinkel flips out and clips Rock’s bad leg with a diving shoulder block. Bockwinkel drops an elbow and gets a two-count.
Bockwinkel pulls Rock up, bends him over and sets up for a piledriver. Rock fights it, Bockwinkel tries again, Rock socks him in the ribs, straightens up and drops Bockwinkel over his knee with an inverted atomic drop. Then — Rock Bottom! Cover, three count, and just like that it’s over.
(The Rock over Nick Bockwinkel, Rock Bottom —> pinfall)
Jesse notes Rock’s limp as he makes his way back up the aisle. “He won this battle, McMahon, but remember — if he wants to win the war he’ll have to wrestle two more times tonight on that bad leg.”
Vince: “It certainly seems an impossible obstacle to overcome, but if anyone can do it, it’s the People’s Champion.”
Jesse: “I’d just forfeit the next round and take my money and go home. A time travel wrestling tournament ain’t worth all this.”
Round One Match:
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Brock Lesnar
Here we have another mismatch in size, as Brock looks like a fucking monster next to Savage, who ain’t exactly a baby himself. Macho Man is a six-time former WWF and WCW World Champion who had great matches with everyone from Ricky Steamboat to Hulk Hogan to the Ultimate Warrior. Brock Lesnar, before jumping to pro football and then to mixed martial arts, won the King of the Ring tournament and the Royal Rumble, was a three-time WWE Champion, and also held the IWGP Heavyweight Title in New Japan.
Jesse: “There’s that ‘WWE’ again, McMahon. Why do you think you had to rename the company?”
Vince: “I can think of a few possible reasons.”
Savage stalls to start, teasing a tie-up but bailing to the outside not once but three times before Brock gets fed-up and follows him out. Brock chases him around the outside until Savage pulls Elizabeth between them. Not missing a step, Brock shoves Elizabeth to the side and snatches hold of Savage by the hair. Brock gorilla presses Savage and dumps him back in the ring over the top rope! Back in, Brock shoves Savage into the corner and pummels him with elbows until he slumps to the mat. Brock yanks him to his feet, drives a knee-lift into his midsection, whips him to the opposite corner and follows in with a running clothesline. Savage takes a few steps and collapses face-first.
Brock takes a second to play to the crowd, drawing a good many boos, then picks up Savage and tosses him over his shoulder. Running powerslam attempt, Savage slips off behind and pushes Brock into the turnbuckles, ducks and catches on the rebound with a — Vince, you got this again?
High knee from Savage puts Brock down again, and Macho takes over for a bit. Brock takes a scoop-slam, jumping knee-drop, and an atomic drop that sends him through the ropes to the outside. Savage goes to the top, nails Brock with a flying double axe-handle on the floor. Savage rolls back in and the ref starts the count on Brock.
Jesse: “Look at the intelligence of the Macho Man. He’ll take a countout over a pinfall, because he knows it doesn’t matter how you advance in the tournament, just so long as you advance.”
Vince: “Isn’t that somewhat cowardly on the part of the Macho Man?”
Jesse: “How is it cowardly to want to win the match?”
Brock rolls under the bottom rope to stop the count at eight. Savage goes nuts with stomps until the ref steps in to back him off. Brock stands up and Savage forces him into the corner. Whip to the opposite corner, Savage nails a lariat takedown and heads to the top rope. Brock gets up, catches Savage in an attempted flying bodypress, hits a running shoulderbreaker. It’s all Brock from now on, as he tosses Macho around like a crash test dummy. An overhead belly-to-belly suplex, a released German suplex, and a teeth-rattling triple powerbomb all serve to soften Savage up for the finish. Brock lifts him up and nails the F-5, but Savage has the presence of mind to roll out to the floor, where Vince and Jesse catch Elizabeth passing something to Savage. Brock pulls Savage back into the ring, but Elizabeth jumps up on the apron and gets the referee’s attention. Savage slips on the knuckle dusters Liz passed him and nails Brock one right between the eyes. It’s only enough to stagger him, though, so Savage stashes the knucks in his tights, asks the no-longer-distracted ref to check the match time, and brings the knucks back out and nails Brock again once the official’s back is turned.
Macho stuffs the knucks into Brock’s tights, then jumps up to the top turnbuckle and drops a flying elbow. That’s all she wrote.
(Randy Savage over Brock Lesnar, flying elbow drop —> pin)
Once he recovers his senses a bit, Brock complains to the ref about the knuckle dusters. Savage pleads innocence, and allows the ref to search him. Of course the ref finds nothing. He does, however, pat down Brock and discover the knucks stashed in his tights. How’d those get there?
Jesse: “There’s a lesson for every other wrestler in this tournament, McMahon. Brock Lesnar had the advantage in size and power, but the Macho Man won the match and advances because he had the advantage in brains.”
Vince: “He blatantly cheated to get that pinfall.”
Jesse: “And he didn’t get caught either, did he?”
Round One Match:
Cactus Jack vs. A.J. Styles
Big pop for Jack, the hardcore legend, a tag team champion numerous times in ECW, WCW and the WWF, and a three-time WWF Champion, where he wrestled as Mankind. And his opponent . . .
Jesse: “McMahon, who’s this Styles kid?”
Vince: “According to my notes, he is a six-time X Division Champion and a four-time World Champion in TNA.”
Jesse: “There’s a wrestling company called ‘T and A’?”
Vince: “Apparently so.”
Jesse: “Think they’re much competition?”
Vince: “As far as we know, you could be working for them.”
Jesse: “And why would that be, McMahon? Would that be because you fired me, or because I quit?”
Vince: “I’m just speculating . . .”
A.J. grabs a side headlock out of a tie-up to start. Cactus shoves him off into the ropes, criss-cross, A.J. nails a flying forearm, a dropkick, a hip-toss, and finally an arm-drag into an arm-bar, all within about fifteen seconds. Goddamn. Cactus gets up, punches out of the arm-bar, bounces off the ropes and drops A.J. with a forearm smash.
An elbow drop gets a two-count for Cactus. He misses a second one, and A.J. takes back over with an enzuigiri. Styles controls with strikes and aerial stuff, getting a near-fall off of a springboard flying forearm, before Cactus reverses a whip and back body-drops A.J. over the top to the floor.
(Sorry for stepping on your toes there, Vince. We’re still cool, right?)
Cactus hits a vertical suplex on the outside, rolls in to break the count, and then — elbow drop off the apron! Cactus rolls him back in and gets a two-count. Cactus drags A.J. into a corner, hits one running knee strike, goes for another and misses. A.J. slides out onto the apron and dives back in with a sunset flip that gets two. Cactus charges, A.J. ducks a clothesline and nails the Pelé kick.
A.J. to the top rope, misses a Spiral Tap. Cactus whips, A.J. tries to reverse, Cactus reverses the other way, punches Styles in the gut off the ropes and nails the double-arm DDT, which gets a one, a two, and a thr— Styles kicks out!
Jesse: “I’ll give this much to A.J. Styles: He’s a lot tougher than he looks.”
Cactus picks him up. Styles reverses a side-slam attempt into a flying head-scissors, follows that with a hurracanrana into a pin that gets two. Cactus reverses a whip into the corner, follows in with a running forearm smash, then a flurry of forearms to the head that drop A.J. to the mat. “Bang-bang!” A.J.’s scooped up and hung in the corner in the tree-of-woe position (don’t that sound dirty?). Cactus charges from the opposite corner and misses a diving axe-handle with A.J. sits up at the last possible moment. A.J. sits on the top turnbuckle, grabs Cactus in a front facelock and hits a sweet tornado DDT. That gets two. A.J. goes for the Styles Clash, but Cactus straightens up and flips A.J. down with a brutal spinebuster. Cactus pulls him to his feet, bends him over, grabs the tights and — stump piledriver! Cover, one, two, three.
(Cactus Jack over A.J. Styles, stump piledriver —> pin)
Jesse: “Was A.J. Styles that short when the match started, or did he lose a few inches after that piledriver?”
That’s the first round. Our matches for the second round are Giant Baba vs. The Rock, and Randy Savage vs. Cactus Jack. Speaking of which, no sense in wasting time . . .
Round Two Match:
Giant Baba vs. The Rock
Rock’s got the injured leg wrapped up pretty tight at the knee. Baba goes for it as soon as the bell sounds, like a starving dog on a hunk of raw meat. Baba takes Rock down, mounts and lays into him with forearms to the head, then turns around and just fucking dives on the leg, clamping on a knee-bar and pulling for all he’s worth. Rock hangs in there, finally kicks his way out and uses the ropes to pull himself up. Baba goes right back in, lifting him up for a knee-breaker. Rock escapes, slips down Baba’s back and rolls him up for a two-count. Into the corner, Rock goes to work with a series of quick punches, then a big one that nearly knocks Baba over the top rope. Rock drags him out of the corner, whip to the ropes, Rock nails a belly-to-belly throw. Rock Bottom attempt, Baba kicks the leg out from under him, hits a Russian legsweep, gets a two-count.
Baba stays on the leg, rolling Rock into a single-leg crab and really sitting back on it, making full use of his height advantage. Rock tries and fails to reach the ropes, eventually rolls through and reverses into a Sharpshooter. Baba makes the ropes and the ref forces a break.
Jesse: “Who would ever have guessed it, McMahon?”
Jesse: “The Rock can actually wrestle!”
Baba charges, Rock ducks and pulls the top rope down, sending Baba out to the floor. Rock tries to suplex him back in from the apron, but the knee gives out and Baba falls on top for a pin. He gets a two-count, and Rock gets a foot on the ropes. Back to the center of the ring, Baba goes for another single-leg crab. Rock kicks his way out, topples Baba with a single-leg takedown and scrambles over him and clamps on a side headlock. Baba gets up and Rock hangs onto the headlock through a belly-to-back suplex! Another belly-to-back suplex from Baba, and again Rock hangs onto the headlock! A third belly-to-back suplex and Baba finally shakes Rock loose. Cover gets two. Baba stands Rock up, hits the ropes behind him, bounds off the ropes on the opposite side and nearly decapitates Rock with a lariat takedown which, incredibly, only gets a two-count. Baba stands Rock up, comes off the ropes for a big boot, Rock ducks, catches Baba as he turns around and — Rock Bottom! Rather than cover him, Rock shakes off the beating he’s been taking and crouches in the corner. Baba eventually staggers to his feet, and Rock goes for a second Rock Bottom. Baba fights him on it. They wind up in the ropes, where Rock picks Baba up and Rock Bottoms him over the top rope all the way to the floor!
Barely able to stand on his bad leg, Rock hobbles over to a far corner and waits. Baba rolls in at nine to beat the count, Rock limps over and puts him down with yet another Rock Bottom, and that’s what it takes. Ref counts one, two, three.
(The Rock over Giant Baba, Rock Bottom —> pin)
Jesse reiterates the significance of the leg injury, as Rock needs help from a medic to limp back up the aisle. “He can barely walk, McMahon. He should just call it a night.”
Vince: “Is that what you would do?”
Jesse: “You’d rather come back out here and take a beating from Cactus Jack or the Macho Man?”
And speaking of those guys . . .
Round Two Match:
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Cactus Jack
Savage jumps Cactus before he’s even halfway down the aisle. Clothesline, double axe-handle to the back, whip into the ring apron. Cactus dodges a running clothesline, comes back with a flurry of forearms to the face and — “Bang-bang!” — a clothesline that floors Savage. Cactus goes for the elbow off the apron, but Savage rolls out of the way and Cactus splats into the arena floor. Savage rolls him into the ring and gets a two-count. Savage grabs a handful of hair and leaps over the top to the floor, hanging Jack’s throat across the top rope. Savage off the top with a flying double axe-handle. Cover gets two. Jumping knee-drop off the ropes gets another two.
A scoop-slam and three consecutive running elbow drops off the ropes get Savage another two-count. Savage picks Jack up, pushes him into the ropes, attempts a whip which Jack reverses, pushing Savage against the ropes and nailing a knee-lift to the gut. Jack bounces off the opposite ropes and nails the Cactus Clothesline, sending both men over the top to the floor. Cactus is up first, whips Savage into the steel barricade, and climbs up on the ring apron. Cactus misses a flying axe-handle attempt, hitting his head on the top of the barricade. Savage drapes Jack’s arms over the barricade and connects with his own flying axe-handle from clear off the top turnbuckle! Cactus hits the floor, holding his throat and coughing. Vince speculates that the Macho Man may have done permanent damage.
Macho rolls Cactus back into the ring, stands him up and then levels him with a running clothesline. Savage to the top — flying elbow drop! The three-count is academic.
(Randy Savage over Cactus Jack, flying elbow drop —> pin)
Medics appear to help Cactus Jack, who is still clutching his throat and coughing uncontrollably. Savage kicks Jack under the bottom rope to the floor and grabs the house microphone from the ring announcer.
“OOOOOOOOOHHHHH YEAH! Two down, one to go! Rock! Get out here!”
Vince tells us a rest period had been scheduled before the final round, but apparently Savage doesn’t feel like waiting. And neither does The Rock, who comes hobbling up the aisle with his freshly re-wrapped knee. So I guess that makes this our . . .
Group One Final Match:
The Rock vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth)
Looking to repeat the strategy that worked so well for him against Jack, Savage goes after Rock before he even makes it to the ring, tackling him to the floor and pummeling him with a flurry of fists to the head. The medics are trying to get up the aisle with Cactus Jack on a stretcher. Savage shoves the medics aside, dumps Jack to the floor and charges, ramming Rock with the stretcher! The ref is out, getting in Macho’s face, ordering him back in the ring so they can get this match started. Jesse observes that the bell hasn’t rung yet, so this match technically hasn’t even started.
The medics recover and load Jack back onto the stretcher, while Rock gets to his feet and drags himself to the ring. The opening bell sounds, and this one’s officially underway. Savage goes right for the knee, stomping away as soon as Rock rolls under the bottom rope. The ref steps in repeatedly to back him off, but every time Savage goes right back to the leg, stomping away mercilessly at the knee, hanging the leg up on the bottom rope and smashing it with kicks and seated sentons from huge vertical leaps. The ref backs Savage off again and warns him to get off the ropes. Rock pulls himself up, Savage comes in from behind and kicks the leg out again, and drags him out to the center of the ring. Savage grabs Rock’s leg and drops one elbow across the bad knee, then two, then three. Vince notes that The Rock’s facial expression has been an agonized grimace from the moment he stepped through the curtains.
Macho starts unraveling the many feet of bandages from around The Rock’s knee. He signals to Elizabeth, who hops on the apron to distract the referee while Savage peels off the rest of the bandages and wraps them around Rock’s throat, choking him out! Liz keeps the ref’s eyes off the ring for nearly a minute while Savage puts Rock down with the choke. Rock looks completely out. Macho loses the bandages and Liz jumps down. The ref turns back around just as Macho covers for the pin. One, two, th— Rock gets a shoulder up.
Savage returns to the legs and locks on the figure four, the second time tonight Rock’s had to suffer that excruciating hold. The ref asks, but The Rock refuses to submit. Jesse notices that Rock’s looking a little woozy, and sure enough he’s soon flat on his back, passed out from the pain. The ref counts his shoulders down — one, two — he’s up! Rock only manages to sit up for a few seconds, then it’s back down for another two-count. Determined to fight through, Rock plants both hands on the mat and starts pushing himself back toward the ropes, dragging Savage along with him. Finally, after enduring the figure four for several minutes, Rock gets to the ropes. The ref breaks it up and backs Savage off.
Rock pulls himself up with the ropes and suddenly bursts into action with Savage comes stalking up on him, cutting loose with a series of right hands that eventually knocks the Macho Man off his feet. Rock hobbles over, grab Macho’s leg and gets some payback with a few sharp kicks to the back of his knee. Rock slaps the figure four on Macho Man! Savage makes the ropes and the ref comes in to break the hold. Rock gets to his feet first, and Macho reaches behind the ref and nails Rock with a vicious low blow that leaves him curled up on the canvas in a fetal position. Savage hits a Russian legsweep and heads to the top. Rock gets to his feet and dives into the ropes, crotching Savage. Rock throws him off the top rope, waits on him to get up, then practically falls out of the corner to nail him with a diving forearm.
Savage is up first, pulls Rock to his feet and gets caught in a Rock Bottom attempt. Savage escapes by kicking the leg, takes Rock over with a vertical suplex, and heads back up to the top rope. Rock gets up just in time to side-step a flying axe-handle attempt, catching Savage as he lands and — Rock Bottom! To the amazement of Vince and Jesse, and the delight of the fans at the Kiel Auditorium, Rock gets to his feet, tosses away his elbow pad, and hobbles against first one set of ropes, then another, then — hopping on his good leg! — nails Savage with the People’s Elbow! There’s the cover — one, two, thr— Savage kicks out! Holy shit. Rock can’t believe it, either. He pulls Savage to his feet, throws him against the ropes, ducks for a back body-drop, Savage dives over for a sunset flip — one, two, Rock rolls out, reaches down and grabs Savage around the waist, picks him up, turns around on his good leg and — sit-out powerbomb! Rock covers and that’ll do it. One, two, thr—
Macho kicks out! Goddamn.
Rock gets up, falls against the ropes for support. Macho gets to his feet, staggers right into Rock and — Rock Bottom! Rock stands, jerks Savage up by the hair, hooks him and — another Rock Bottom. And that will do it. Rock covers, ref counts one, two, three. The Rock wins Group One.
(The Rock over Randy Savage, Rock Bottom —> pin)
The proverbial one-legged man in the ass-kicking contest, Rock celebrates as best as he’s able, then rolls out of the ring and leans on a couple of medics on his way back up the aisle. Lucky for him, Jesse says, he was in the first group, and will now have eight weeks to heal up before the tournament finals.
That’s it for Group One. Be back here next Thursday for the results of the Group Two show. That’s the Jerry Jarrett Group, and it’ll be live from the historic Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee. Your hosts will be the duo of Jim Ross and Jim Cornette, and the round one matches will be:
Sting vs. Ed “Strangler” Lewis
Riki Choshu vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase
Samoa Joe vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Go Shiozaki
Should be a good’n. See ya’ll then.
Read the results of the rest of the Wrestling Legends Invitational right here.