Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This Week in Sid History: Sid Defends Title Against Crazy Hitman in Steel Cage

We’re back with another wonderful retrospective on the career of Sid. The last couple of editions have involved Sid during his time in the WWF in 1992. For this edition, we fast forward five years. By this point, Sid Justice had left the World Wrestling Federation for WCW. Sid would return to the WWF, this time being known as Sycho Sid.

The early part of 1997 was a big time in the history of Sid. He started the year as the WWF champion, losing it at the Royal Rumble to Shawn Michaels. Long story short, Michaels forfeited the belt and Bret Hart won it at the In Your House Final Four Pay-Per-View. Well, lo and behold, Sid would become WWF champion for the second time, defeating Hart the very next night.

For this edition, we cover March 17, 1997. It’s Sycho Sid versus Bret Hart in a cage match for the WWF championship.

With WrestleMania 13 drawing closer, the main event remained a mystery. (SOUND FAMILIAR?) The cage match between Sid and Hart was to determine who would enter WrestleMania 13 in Chicago as the WWF champion. The match took place on RAW is War, formerly Monday Night Raw. On this night, the show was held in Syracuse, N.Y. The new RAW is War format featured a new set design, including the TitanTron. I wonder how many people thought the TitanTron concept would never last. Probably none!

The commentary team for that night featured Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry the King Lawler (no JBL, which probably makes TH happy to know, MAGGLE.). Hart was the first entrant to the arena. He took his sweet time heading to ringside. Hart entered though to some cheering from the crowd and got in that goofy blue cage. Sid entered the arena to some boos, but he had a few fans. McMahon described Sid as “the most intimidating WWF champion perhaps of all-time.” Ringing endorsement, Vince! Sid entered the cage as the greatest pyro of all time went off over the ring. (If you don’t like the Sid lettering pyro, you should leave this planet.)

Hart, ever the relentless one, attacked Sid and stomped on him in the corner, right out of the gate. He then choked Sid with his foot. Of course, if a referee was in the cage, Hart would be reprimanded. (But hey, I’m just an honest, hardworking, taxpaying fan who believes in wrestling by the rules.)

Hart picks up Sid and heatbutted him, before Sid struck back. The two attacked each other, before cutting away to show "Stone Cold" Steve Austin watching on a monitor backstage. No lounges to chill at, I guess. Hart knocked Sid down with a snapmare, as well as his elbow/forearm drop, then immediately climbed the cage. It was foolish to think a snapmare would keep Sid down. Sid got up, grabbed Hart’s leg and tugged, sending the high-pitch voiced Hitman back into the ring.

With Hart caught lying on the ropes, Sid pounded him with body blows. “He’s not a technical purist,” JR said as Sid pounded away. For the record, I disagree assessment. Sid picked Hart up off the mat and rammed him into the steel cage twice. Our hero walked toward the opposite corner and climbed the cage. Hart didn’t stay down for long as he jumped up, walked quickly to the corner and latched onto Sid’s ankle. Hart climbed up alongside Sid and the two battled on the top rope. The two were wise enough to get off of the top rope and continued the battle in the ring. Hart went on the offensive, briefly, before climbing the rope again in an attempt to leave the cage.

Sid recuperated, grabbed Hart and slammed him. Ever the resourceful type, Sid walked toward the escape door, only to be tripped by Hart. Hart held on for dear life as Sid pulled his way toward the cage door. But wait, Austin showed up. Austin grabbed the door and closed it, much to Sid’s dismay. Sid pushed at the door, trying to open it and the match took a commercial break.

We returned from commercial break as Hart attacked Sid. Austin remained at ringside and watched closely. Hart, ever the cheap shot artist, attacked Sid’s kidneys. SHOW A LITTLE SPORTSMANSHIP, HITMAN. Sid reversed an irish whip into the turnbuckle and Hart bounced back, setting up Sid for his devastating power bomb, much to the dismay of Austin, who paced around the ring. Sid headed toward the corner and climbed to the top, looking to leave the cage. But wait, Austin met him at the top and attacked.

The two continued to go back-and-forth as Hart slowly got up and moved toward the action. Hart climbed to the top rope and joined the fight. Then, the Undertaker ran down to ringside, climbed the cage and joined the fight. Taker attacked both Austin and Hart, focusing more on Hart, who was trying to leave the cage. For a few seconds, all four men were perched around the corner. Austin was the first to fall as both Sid and Hart were off the top of the cage. Hart superplexed Sid off the top rope, knocking out both men. Meanwhile, Austin knocked down Undertaker on the floor with a steel chair.

While the action focused on Austin and the Undertaker briefly, Sid went to the far corner, with intentions of climbing over the top. Hart meanwhile got up and went to walk out the door. WHO WOULD WIN? The Undertaker sneaked up and slammed the cage door on Hart, knocking him down. Sid finished climbing down and hit the floor first, meaning he was the victor.

Sid entered WrestleMania as the WWF champion. He left ringside hoisting the championship belt in the air. The night was quite important in the history of the WWF. It marked the night that Sid successfully defended his WWF title on television...Okay not just that! It was also the night when Hart gave up his squeaky clean Ned Flanders image and cursed at McMahon on national television. THINK OF THE CHILDREN, BRET! OH WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF...

Hart got quite salty that night, all because of the loss to Sid. And he was salty with Vince McMahon, of all people. Ordinary, announcer with great hair, Vince McMahon! It's not like he was the boss or anything. Just admit that Sid was the better man! No need to be making excuses like that Bryan Daniel guy.

Sid as WWF champion was the best for business. (NOTE: I don't have the definitive proof on that statement, but sometimes it works best just to say it and let the rest of you argue.) The promo itself was one of the key early moments to the start of the Attitude Era, an era neither Sid or Hart took part in, in the long run.

Ultimately, Sid defended his title just six days later against the Undertaker, which will be the next match to covered in This Week In Sid History. The match itself was ranked by With Leather's Brandon Stroud as 22nd on the top 29 Wrestlemania main event list. I take much exception to this spot. It should at least be ahead of Hogan-Bundy.

But hey, we're on the road to Wrestlemania.

*Points to Wrestlemania sign*