Monday, July 16, 2012

Raw Memories: #8: Beer Bath

Raw Moment #8:
Beer bath!
Photo from WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

 The year was 1999 and attitude was oozing from the WWF.  The Rock was the new "corporate" champion after defeating Mankind (again) and Vince and Shane McMahon were singing the praises of the Great One.  This was also about the same time that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was preparing for a Wrestlemania showdown with the Rock.  In fact, this happened six days before Wrestlemania XV.

Austin and McMahon were at the height of their own feud as well, with Austin recently defeating the chairman in a cage match at St. Valentine's Day Massacre.  I'm not sure of the order of events, but it seemed like it was becoming a habit for Austin to destroy one of Vince's cars or do something big with a vehicle of some kind.

On a fateful night in March, Austin raised the bar like never before.  The former champ drove a Coors truck into the arena from the backstage area.  He nearly took out the TitanTron as he made his way to the ringside area.  Of course, once he arrived he soaked the boss, his son, and the champ with an ice cold beer bath.  Before the spraying started though, Austin spouted off a great promo that got right under the skin of the heels in the ring.

Austin would go on to defeat the Rock at Wrestlemania that year.  This incident with the beer truck definitely put the exclamation point on one of the hottest rivalries in the history of the WWF (and in all of wrestling)

Honorable mention:
The Hart Foundation reborn
Photo from WWE
Honorable Mention:   1997 was a pivotal year for the WWF.  The world title had changed hands several times in the early months that year.  There was no conclusive winner to the Royal Rumble and fans were quickly growing tired of Bret Hart and his squeaky clean image.  Fans wanted more.  They wanted a bad guy to cheer for and they found that anti-hero in "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

Owen Hart and the British Bulldog had been the tag team champions and were on the verge of a meltdown.  They battled it out on an episode of Raw shortly after Wrestlemania.  The two were going toe to toe beating each other up, when Bret showed up and break the two apart.  He then delivered a speech that lead to the reformation of the Hart Foundation.  Only this time, it was a bigger, stronger, better unit.  

Hart reconciled with his former Hart Foundation partner turned enemy Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart.  Owen and Davey came back into the loop, and Brian Pillman helped to round out the unit.  Collectively they were the best thing going in the WWF at the time.  It was that speech during the Owen-Bulldog match that brought them all together.

Sadly though it would not last.  Pillman would die later that year.  Then Bret fell victim of the "Montreal Screw Job" and Bulldog and Anvil would leave the WWF shortly after that.  But for the summer of 97, the Harts dominated the WWF and picked up key wins, including that big Canadian Stampede victory over Austin, the Road Warriors, Ken Shamrock, and Goldust.

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