Shane "The Franchise" Douglas VS. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair: A Long Time Coming
Pt. 5 - A Day Of Reckoning (continued)

STYLES:  Well, after that wild encounter, we go to a technical match up that promises to be both fast and brutal.  Former UFC Superfight and current WCW United States Champion Ken Shamrock will take on former ECW World TV Champion, current WCW Cruiserweight Champion and a former WCW U.S. Title holder himself Dean Malenko.

ROSS:  Two very different but very similar men in this match up.  Very few men are as intense and focused as Malenko but Shamrock is one of those men.  The only difference here is that Shamrock sometimes gets a little too intense while Malenko keeps his cool even in the most trying situations, thus his nickname "The IceMan."

STYLES:  Here is how I see it, if it turns to a brawl, it is going to favor Ken Shamrock.  A wrestling match will favor Malenko though not by much because Shamrock is a competent grappler himself.  Let's see what happens.

Ken Shamrock VS. Dean Malenko (WCW U.S. Heavyweight Title Match)

These two grapplers start the match up slow but the pressure begins to build as both men struggled to gain the advantage.  The strength of Shamrock was countered by the speed and technical abilities of Malenko.  Twenty minutes into the matchup, Malenko captured Shamrock in his Texas Cloverleaf submission hold.  After about 15 seconds in the hold, Shamrock picked at the ankle of Malenko and turned it into his ankle lock submission hold!!  Dean tried to reach the ropes but couldn't and was force to tap out for one of the rare submissions of his career.  After the match, Shamrock did something surprising and helped Malenko to his feet and back to the dressing room with both men's respective titles.

ROSS:  What a show of respect by Ken Shamrock but as that match was concluding, I just got word that there is a slight change in our next matchup.  It was originally scheduled to be Darkside--the team of Sting and The Undertaker--against the duo of Masa Chono and Tenzan but three days before this event.  The team of Bruiser Brody and Stan "The Lariat" Hansen beat the Japanese duo for the IWGP Tag Team Championship!!

STYLES:  Whoa!!  You mean to tell me that now Sting and The Undertaker will now have to defend their Unified World Tag Team Championships against the very team that they defeated back at Starrcade of last year to win them?

ROSS:  That's right.  Brody and Hansen is even honoring the clause in the contract that has both sets of championship belts on the line here.  It will still be title VS. title but now "The Stinger" and "The Dead Man" must overcome, on three days notice, the very team they defeated to become Unified champions.

STYLES:  And you know that Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen hasn't forgotten that night in St. Louis at Starrcade and would love to avenge that loss with a victory tonight here in Baltimore, MD.  Joining us now is Gordon Solie with the Unified Champs.

SOLIE:  I am standing here with Unified World Tag Team Champions The Darkside --Sting & The Undertaker--gentlemen, this has to throw off your gameplan because you were prepared for the team of Chono and Tenzan but now you must step in the ring against the men you defeated for these very championship belts. How do you counter that?

UT:  How do we counter that?  Gordon Solie, in all the years that you have covered this sport, you should know that there is one universal rule with all wrestlers and that is "expect the unexpected."

STING:  Gordon, we came here with these belts, we are going to walk out with these belts.  Brody, Hansen, Chono, it doesn't matter.  We are the tag team champions.

We go back to Styles and Ross.

STYLES:  Well, with all due respect to Sting and The Undertaker, I think they are at a tremendous disadvantage here.  They have had no time to prepare for Brody and Hansen at all.  I think Hansen and Brody have a great shot at winning those Unified Tag Team Straps and putting them along with the IWGP titles.

ROSS:  You do make an excellent point Joey but I'll tell you, until someone pins or makes either Sting and Undertaker submit, I am going with the champions but man, what a mountain that they have to climb here.

As Ross and Styles talk, we see the new IWGP Champions Bruiser Brody and Stan "The Lariat" Hansen come down to the ring. They are all business as they await the Unified Champions.  Sting and UT forsake the usual pomp and circumstance and walk down in their street clothes!  Sting is dressed in a white T-shirt, black jeans and black cowboy boots while UT is dressed all in black biker gear!  As they approach the ring, Hansen grabs the mic:

HANSEN:  Hey boys!!  This is for the Unified World Tag Team Championship.  Those belts may be the WWF, WCW, and NWA's but lets do this the right way!!  Let's make this an ECW style match,  A TEXAS TORNADO FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH!!

The crowd cheers the challenge as they look at the champs.  Both Sting and UT nod at the challengers to accept the proposal.

STYLES:  We got ourselves an "Extreme Death Match/Texas Tornado" style for the Unified World Tag Team Championship!!

ROSS:  Man, I'll tell you, I respect the guts of Sting and The Undertaker but you have to wonder how wise this is because this plays right into Brody and Hansen's hands!!

As the commentators discuss the decision by The Stinger and UT, the brawl has begun.

Sting/UT VS. Bruiser Brody/Stan Hansen (Unified World Tag Team Championship Match)

This is a wild brawl that saw chairs, tables, ringside rails and ringposts used to their fullest advantage!  The most brutal shot came when Brody had Sting laid out onto a table on the inside while Hansen had UT occupied.  Brody then went to the top rope and executed his patented kneedrop on Sting through the table!!  Brody went in for the cover but UT managed to make the save.  UT went to work on Brody but "The Lariat" stopped that with a low shot.  Hansen then took a piece of the broken table and bashed UT with it.  UT is still on his feet but he is in trouble.  Brody then held UT for Hansen to deliver "the lariat" clothesline on "The Dead Man" but UT stopped him with a big foot to the face.  As Stan staggered back, Sting hooked in his "Scorpion DeathDrop" from behind!!  Brody tried to get to his partner but UT held him as the ref counted down Hansen for the three!!  Sting and UT survived a major butt whipping to not only retain their Unified belts but gain the IWGP tag titles as well.  Both partners quickly leave the ring and hug as they now have FOUR SETS of championship belts!!

ROSS:  You have to give it to all four of those men, they gave it everything they had tonight!!

STYLES:  Well, I got to admit, Sting and UT have proven that they deserve to be where they are at right now!!  They deserve to be the Unified World Tag Team Champions!!

ROSS:  I'll tell you, they are going to build up some flyer miles with those championship belts.  What's next for these champions?  Well, they do have a scheduled title defense against two of The Four Horsemen---Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson---tommorow night on WCW Monday Nitro.

STYLES:  Well, you also got to look at The Outsiders---Scott Hall & Kevin Nash---from DX. You know they would love a shot at Darkside.  The New Age Outlaws, Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow, Hansen & Brody.......

ROSS:  The NWA United States Tag Champions The Rattlesnakes---"Stone Cold" Steve Austin & "The Boss" Magnum T.A.---would also love a crack at those titles too.  Speaking of which, we have them standing by.

AUSTIN:  Tonight, in that very ring you see before you, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Magnum T.A. will defend our U.S. titles against two inbreds and two bald headed steroid looking freaks!!  Dudleyz, you lost to us last month at ECW Uncensored so don't expect you're luck to change just because it is a three way dance!!  Goldberg/Koloff, you two may be the most physically gifted tag team out there today but the "Russian Sickle" and "The Spear" won't mean jacksh*t when you meet either "The Stone Cold Stunner" or the belly to belly suplex and that's the bottom line!!

MAGNUM:  Message boys, we walk in with these belts, we leave with these belts and Darkside----you two boys are next.

STYLES:  Well, it didn't take long for that challenge to be made, did it?

ROSS:  No, it didn't. Like every tag team in the sport, Austin & Magnum want the big prize but coming up now is a match that wrestling purists have been waiting for.  TAZ, the WWF Intercontinental Champion, will face off against former WCW/NWA World TV Champion Arn Anderson.

The Horsemen music plays as Arn Anderson comes down to the ring looking focused and ready as he always does.  He enters the ring and takes off his ring jacket and awaits his opponent.  The music now changes to "War Machine" as TAZ makes his way down in his black and orange attire with black towel over his head and the gold around his waist.  He enters the ring and stands in the corner like usual and awaits the beginning of the match.  As the introductions are made both TAZ and Arn come to the center of the ring trash talking each other, trying to get inside the other man's head.  The bell rings and the match is on!!

TAZ (C) VS. Arn Anderson (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)

This bout, though scientific in nature, is a pure brawl from the get go!!  This match was fought on the floor and in the ring.  Both men went after the other's weak points. TAZ went after the bad left knee of Anderson (that he hurt in a parking lot incident with Erik Watts some years ago) while Arn focused on the neck of "The Human Suplex Machine" (injured in a match against 2 Cold Scorpio back in 1995).  At the 15 minute mark, TAZ placed Arn on the time keepers table and tried to set him up for a "Hardway TAZ-plex" onto the table.  Double A countered with a mule kick to the nuts and planted TAZ with his DDT through the table!!  Anderson, though weakened by the move, sensed that he had TAZ beaten and down. He quickly threw him back inside the ring and covered him for a 2 7/8 count!!  Though he didn't get the pin, the effort to kick out and the DDT took its toll on TAZ as he held the back of his head, clutching his neck.  TAZ was also bleeding from the forehead as well as "The Enforcer" began to twist the neck of TAZ.

ROSS:  I know I've said this about many a match but this one is truly a war!!

STYLES:  As intense and brutal as this match is, imagine what it is going to be like later when Shane Douglas takes on Ric Flair?

ROSS:  Indeed that will be a classic as well but now we see the Brooklyn battler making his way up!!  Anderson trying to apply more pressure to the neck of TAZ as he fights to his feet!!  The Intercontinental Champion will not stay down!!

At this point, TAZ fires a right hand to the mid-section of Arn Anderson.  A second one releases the hold and now TAZ fires away with rights to the head of Arn Anderson.  TAZ fires Arn into the ropes but Arn reverses it and catches him in his "SpineBuster" slam!!  Anderson crawls over and makes the cover for another close call!!  Anderson is now frustrated as he doesn't know what to do to beat this man.  He picks TAZ up and puts him in a corner.  He whips TAZ into the corner but TAZ reverses it with an arm twist and hooks his head and arm "TAZ-plex" on Arn!!  As The Enforcer makes his way up, TAZ gives the "cut-throat" sign for the "TAZ-mission".  As he tries to hook the hold on, Anderson quickly counters with a back suplex.  Arn bridges for the pin as the referee counts three!!  Arn Anderson has won the WWF I-C title.......or has he?  As the ref gets up, he sees that TAZ' foot was on the bottom rope.  Anderson has already grabbed the Intercontinental title and is standing on the second rope holding it up.  As the ref tries to tell him that the match isn't over, TAZ rises to his feet and realizes what is going on.  He quickly goes up to the second rope with Anderson and hooks the "TAZ-mission" on the ropes!!  TAZ then falls back, crashing himself and Anderson to the mat!!  Arn's arms are flapping away in the air until he finally taps out to TAZ!!  TAZ, after seemingly loosing the I-C belt, has retained the title but not without a battle.

STYLES:  What a battle for the WWF Intercontinental Championship!!

ROSS:  You got to take your hat off to both men tonight!!  This match, quite frankly, could've gone either way but it was a mistake by Anderson---a rare mental lapse---that spelled the difference tonight.  TAZ, showing his intelligence, quickly capitalized on Anderson's premature celebration and hooked in the "katahijimi" for the submission victory!!  TAZ retains the Intercontinental title but you got to take your hat off to Arn Anderson, who gave it everything he had!!

As this match ends and the competitors clear out of the ring, the music of Kilgore's "Walk" fires up as WCW World TV Champion Rob Van Damn heads to the ring to defend the title against Horseman Tully Blanchard. At this point, I am going into a quick overview of the matches leading into the main event.

Rob Van Damn (C) VS. Tully Blanchard (WCW World TV Championship)

For this bout, Blanchard used his smarts against the pure athletic ability of RVD by taking the younger champion down and mat wrestling him.  He focused his attack on Van Damn's legs, using spinning toe holds, figure fours and a host of legal (and illegal) tactics.  The end came, however, when Blanchard went for his slingshot suplex on RVD.  As Blanchard got the extra spring from the ropes, Van Damn reversed out of it and legsweeped Tully down to the canvas.  RVD quickly followed it up with a spinning leg drop and a split legged moonsault for the three count which he barely got as Blanchard seemed to kick out as the ref got to three!!  Rob Van Damn escaped with the WCW TV strap.

Bret "HitMan" Hart (C) VS. Sabu (ECW World TV Championship)

In this bout, Bret used a strategy similar to Tully's as he kept his crazed opponent down on the ground.  To his credit, Sabu was able to get off more and use his "extreme" tactics against the Alberta native.  The end came with Sabu went for his "Air-Sabu" leap into the corner against Bret.  Hart countered by simply moving out of the way and letting "The Human Sacrifice" hit the top turnbuckle knee-first!!  Sabu got up favoring his right knee.  Bret quickly pounced on Sabu and locked on the "Sharpshooter" in the center of the ring!!  Sabu refused to surrender but eventually passed out from the pain as Bret retained his title.

Hunter Hearst Hemsley VS. Chris Benoit (C) (WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match)

In this bout, the heavily favored Benoit went up against former WWF I-C & European Champion Triple H.  It was revealed before this match that Shawn Michaels was supposed to be in this bout but due to the injuries he sustained against "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan at ECW Uncensored, he wasn't cleared to wrestle so Helmsley took the opportunity.  This was a surprisingly brutal contest for the belt as both men took table shots!!  Midway through the match, Hunter was laid out on a table on the outside of the ring.  Benoit mounted the top rope and executed his diving headbutt on Triple H through the table!!  Incredibly, both men managed to get up from that shot but it took its toll on Benoit!  Later in the match, with both men bleeding (Benoit from the forehead/Triple H from the mouth), Benoit went for the "Crippler Crossface" but Triple H managed to block it long enough to cause both men to topple to the outside.  Both men continued to fight outside of the ring as "The Game" put on Benoit onto a table.........and used the Pedigree through it!!  Triple H then threw "The Crippler" back into the ring but only got a two count!  Triple H then went for a vertical suplex but Benoit reversed it into a German suplex.  Chris then put Hunter onto the top rope and went for a superplex but Triple H countered with a low blow.......and a "Pedigree" from the top rope!!  This time, it was enough as Triple H scored the upset for his first world championship (in this world anyway)!!

"Ravishing" Rick Rude (C) VS. Tatsumi Fujinami (NWA World TV Championship)

Fired up from his DX mate winning the WCW Championship moments before, Rude entered the ring with supreme confidence as he took on legendary New Japan wrestler Fujinami.  Rude, surprisingly, dominated this contest and never let Fujinami get off anything.  Fujinami did come back with a strategy of working on the legs of Rude for about five minutes but, as he was going for a figure four, Rick pushed Fujinami off into the turnbuckles.  When Tatsumi turned around, Rude slapped on the "Rude Awakening" neckbreaker for the pin and a relatively short match.

The Dudley Boyz VS. The Rattlesnakes (C) VS. Goldberg/Nikita Koloff (NWA United States Tag Team Championship/Three Way Dance Match)

This match, as expected, was wild from the start as all three teams threw the rulebook out the door!  This match was also made a No DQ affair and that made it even more dangerous.  While all six men went after each other, it seemed that there was a silent agreement between the champs and the team of Goldberg/Koloff to get rid of the Dudley Boyz first.  This agreement came to light when Austin "stunned" D-Von Dudley in the center of the ring.  This set up Goldberg and Koloff's "Russian Sickle/Spear" combination move that wiped out D-Von for the three count!  With the Dudley's gone, the remaining two teams focused on each other.  The end came when Magnum TA outsmarted both Koloff and Goldberg by pretending to be stunned and in perfect position for the "Spear/Sickle" combo.  As Goldberg and Koloff came charging in, Magnum quickly fell to his back and Bill speared Nikita!  Goldberg was shocked at his mistake as he looked down at his partner.  "Stone Cold" Steve Austin took full advantage and delivered his "stunner" on the NWA World Champion as both he and Magnum covered Goldberg to retain the titles.

The Rock VS. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat (30 Minute IronMan/No DQ Match)

This was a back and forth classic.  The first fall of the contest came 15 minutes into this when Steamboat went for his patented flying bodypress but The Rock had it well scouted as he moved out of the way.  Steamboat's body landed hard onto the mat as "The People's Champion" quickly delivered his "People's Elbow" for that fall.  Five minutes after that,  "The Dragon" reversed the "Rock Bottom" slam into his "double chickenwing" submission hold for the second fall of the contest.  With both men going for the win with 10 minutes left, both were doing moves that they seldom use.  The Rock actually used a picture perfect dropkick that knocked out a tooth of Steamboat!  The Rock followed that up with his version of the "spinebuster" as he went for "TP'sE" again but this time he missed.  With only 30 seconds left, Steamboat made his way up to the top rope again and this time, he hit his flying bodypress and got the three with 2 seconds left in the bout!!  Steamboat won a grueling war by a 2-1 decision.


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