What if…The Gobbledy Gooker didn’t hatch from the egg at Survivor Series 1990?
Our story begins on Thanksgiving Night 1990 at the Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut for the WWF’s annual Survivor Series pay-per-view. The crowd has just watched the five main “Survivor” matches and was waiting for the “Ultimate Match of Survival” with the night’s surviving babyfaces to take on the night’s surviving heels. However, before that happened, everyone waiting with baited breath to find out what exactly was inside the gigantic egg that the WWF had been showing on television for weeks on end and carrying to house shows, proclaiming it will hatch on this night. “Mean” Gene Okerlund was by the egg and was ready to find out.
November 22, 1990: Survivor Series
“I can hear it starting to crink and crack right now.” Gene said. Everybody has speculated as to what might be in the egg. Is it a dinosaur, is it … balloons … is it the Playmate of the Month? Huh, who knows? Well, the way it sounds to me right now, the speculating is all over. Oop! Stand back! Stand back! I think that egg is ready to blow!
And out of the egg came … “Why it’s The Red Rooster!” Gene exclaimed! “Welcome to Survivor Series, Rooster!” “Thank you, Gene! It’s great to be back here in the World Wrestling Federation! Cock-a-doodle-doo!” Noticing the Rooster was in a tuxedo and missing his trademark rooster comb, Gene asked him “But Mr. Rooster, you’re not wearing your traditional rooster garb.” “Well Gene, it being a special night and all, I wanted to look good for my fans. Cock-a-doodle-doo!” “I can understand that.” Gene said with a chuckle. “Well Mr. Rooster, what would you like to do now to celebrate your return? “Well Gene,” the Rooster replied, “I’d really like to go down to the ring and dance a jig with you!” “Oh you can’t be serious … I mean …” “Come on ‘Mean’ Gene, it’ll be fun!” The Rooster grabbed Gene by the arm and brought him to the ring walking with his patented rooster peck.
All of a sudden, a rock n roll version of “Turkey in the Straw” started to play. The Rooster s begins to clap and move his knees and eventually a reluctant Gene followed suit. The crowd was not very amused and scant boos could be heard. Trying to cover up the displeasure, announcer Gorilla Monsoon said “The crowd is really happy to see The Red Rooster back here in the World Wrestling Federation.” Gene and The Red Rooster started barn dancing and it went on for a couple of minutes. “Mean Gene and the Rooster then locked arms once again to go round and round again … and to the absolute shock of everyone, The Red Rooster grabbed Gene by the arm and nailed him with a clothesline! The crowd was then stunned and silenced as the Red Rooster stomped Gene mercilessly as “Turkey in the Straw” continued to play. Occasionally stopping to give a sarcastic rooster’s crow, the Red Rooster continued his assault. He finally stopped stomping Gene … only to pick up the bruised and battered announcer and put him in his signature rooster wing (lifting hammerlock) submission hold, causing Gene to scream in great pain. He then dropped Gene and continued the stomping. Finally, Rene Goulet, Tony Garea, James J. Dillon and other Federation officials went out to the ring and got the Rooster to end his assault. He pushed and punched at them, not wanting to quit, “Just wait! Your turn’s coming!” he yelled as they told him to leave, pointing to the entrance ramp.
After Gene is carried out on a stretcher, the babyface Survivor team, being interviewed by Sean Mooney immediately expressed their disbelief and anger. Hulk Hogan, almost at the point of tears said “Well you know something Sean Mooney, ‘Mean’ Gene and I go way back. And watching what I just saw … well it makes me sick! I know right now I have to worry about Ted Dibiase and the Visionaries, but Red Rooster, you want to pick on an announcer, well you had better watch out, because you just jumped on Hulk Hogan’s best friend. And when I get my hands on you, you no good rooster, your goose is cooked, BROTHER! “RED ROOSTER!” The Ultimate Warrior now chimes in, “Red Rooster-you think that beating up ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund makes you a warrior? Well, I’ll tell you this: you will never be a Warrior. Because you pick on only that which is eternally weak and I am what is eternally strong!” Tito Santana chimed in “Gene, brother, though we got a match, I’m still praying for you. I know your going to recover. Ariba!”
November 23, 1990: The Main Event
The next day the entire World Wrestling Federation was abuzz at the prior night’s event. The replay was shown to the fans, the announce team expressing shock and dismay. “Gene is thankfully in stable condition.” Vince McMahon said. But he was really roughed up last night.” Vince then asks fans to send the beloved announcer cards and letters to: Get Well Gene c/o of Titan Towers PO BOX 3857, Stamford, CT, 06905-3857. A picture of Gene with the address pops on the screen, which would be repeated for the next couple of weeks on all WWF programming. An interview with The Red Rooster was promised for the upcoming Wrestling Challenge show where he will be asked to explain his actions at the Survivor Series.
November 1990-January 1991
On the Wrestling Challenge, the crowd was eager with anticipation to hear from The Red Rooster. Announcers Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan speculated all night as to what the Rooster’s motivation was. Finally, the moment arrived. Sean Mooney was in the ring waiting. Howard Finkel got on the microphone and said “Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome to the ring, Terry Taylor!” The crowd booed the Rooster, now apparently using his more real sounding name (his real name is Paul Taylor), as he arrogantly approached the ring wearing his signature red jacket with “Terry Taylor” written across the back. He then entered the ring. After the crowd dies down, Sean Mooney started, “So Mr. Taylor …” only to have the microphone grabbed from him. “Oh so now it’s Mr. Taylor, huh Mooney? Don’t want to end up like your little bald friend, do you? Wise move! Keep your mouth shut and you might just accomplish just that. So everyone wants to know why I beat up Mean Gene. Well, I tell you, though it should be obvious. When I came to the World Wrestling Federation over two years ago, I thought this was it. I had finally reached the big time. Terry Taylor, wrestling’s hottest new star in the big time. And what happened to me. I was dressed like a chicken and humiliated, that’s what happened. Everywhere I go people laugh at me and call me ‘The Rooster’! And then I get a call from that no good SOB Jack Tunney telling me he wants to come back and humiliate myself again at Survivor Series, saying everyone will get a big laugh out of it?” … “Well, I got a big laugh out of it.” the Rooster said now chuckling. “And if you stupid fans think that was bad, well you haven’t seen anything yet. Because I accepted Jack Tunney’s invitation for one reason and one reason only; Revenge! I am going to humiliate every WWF Superstar I can. And there is nothing anyone can do to stop me. Watch out. You wanted a rooster? Well you got a rooster, alright- a ReTaylored Rooster! And this time I’m not cluckin’ around!” At that, Terry Taylor threw the microphone back at a perplexed Sean Mooney and stormed out of the ring.
“Not cluckin’ around?” said an astonished Gorilla Monsoon. “Boy the Rooster has some major screws loose!” “Monsoon,” Bobby Heenan replied “did you see the look in that man’s eyes? He is not all there. I can tell you right now that this is NOT good.”
Shortly after his appearance on Wrestling Challenge, Terry Taylor made his WWF in-ring return on a match televised for Prime Time Wrestling, facing Duane Gill. Now coming to the ring with hard-core heavy metal sounding music he had a no-nonsense look on his face. “Duane Gill had better be careful” Vince McMahon commented. Truer words have rarely been spoken, as Terry Taylor tore into Duane Gill like a man possessed, combining his natural in-ring talent with brawling tactics, punching and kicking the lesser skilled and smaller Gill whenever he got the chance. After three minutes of pummeling Gill, he locked in the turkey wing which Gill quickly submitted to. Taylor kept it on for several seconds longer, only breaking at referee Joey Marella’s 4 count. He then gave a sarcastic rooster’s crow to the crowd and started to kick Gill relentlessly until finally backing off.
This same sadistic pattern continued on for several weeks. After beating “Pistol” Pez Whatley with the cock of the walk (sharp-shooter) leg-lock, he continued to pound Whatley into the ground, causing the entire referee crew to have to come out and separate the two of them. Bob Bradley, Jim Powers, Mario Mancini and a host of others are all subjected to this harsh treatment at the hands of Terry Taylor. But it would be a match against Randy Mulkey where things would REALLY get out of hand.
On a match in mid-December on WWF Superstars, Taylor continued his streak of beating and humiliating his opponents, this time against the out-talented Mulkey. After hitting Mulkey with his five arm (flying forearm smash) and then locking him in the rooster wing causing Randy to submit, he then proceeded to his standard operating procedure of beating his opponent down. Taylor then escalated the situation by getting a chair from the floor and prepared to nail Randy Mulkey with it when Randy’s brother, Bill, ran down to ringside to save him. But, Terry Taylor saw him coming and nailed the incoming Mulkey with a steel chair. He then left the ring and pulled a bag and a bucket from underneath the ring. He opened the bucket and dumped tar on the fallen brothers and to the shock of everyone, opened the bag and covered both poor Randy and Bill with red feathers. “Now, you know what the ReTaylored Rooster has in store for those who humiliated him!” Taylor screamed out. The fact that neither Randy nor Bill had ever done anything to Terry Taylor in their lives was not relevant to him.
This trend continued on en masse with no seeming end in sight. Taylor had no qualms about humiliating anyone who got in his way (or merely signed to wrestle him). Pete Sanchez, Pat Armstrong, Moondog Moretti and many others felt the Rooster’s vicious peck, followed by a tarring and feathering. So much that he was eventually told he was to appear for an interview with WWF President Jack Tunney on Superstars to discuss his behavior.
On the scheduled episode of Superstars, President Tunney was introduced and walked to the interview platform. Then Terry Taylor’s music played and he was introduced completely ignoring the loud boos and hisses from the crowd. When things died down, Jack Tunney began. “Now Mr. Taylor, since your return to the World Wrestling Federation at Survivor Series, you have been on a relentless tear, beating and destroying anyone in your path.” Taylor laughed and grinned at this assessment while nodding his head. “Well we here in the World Wrestling Federation cannot tolerate that kind of behavior.” Jack Tunney continued. “I am hereby fining you $5,000 and giving you a stern warning NOT to assault anymore of your competitors after your matches let alone tar and feather them!” Taylor face turned to a beet red as the crowd cheered their approval at the president’s proclamation. “Just a minute, Mr. President!” Taylor countered. “For almost two years I was made the laughing stock of the World Wrestling Federation! I was told to come to the ring and peck and crow like a rooster, … to crow like a rooster … hell I was told I had to be a rooster. What kind of crap was that?” Your language, Mr. Taylor.” warned Tunney sternly. “To HELL with my language Jack Tunney. And to hell with you! I was humiliated while all the people at home laughed at me, while all these idiots at ringside laughed at me and while all the meatheads in the back laughed at me. You know what JACK? Now it’s my turn to laugh. It’s the ReTaylored Rooster’s turn to have some fun!” Jack Tunney retorted “Be that as it may Mr. Taylor, no one put a gun to your head and made you act like a rooster. You did it on your own account.” “No you didn’t put a gun to my head,” Taylor countered. “You only threatened to fire me if I didn’t do it, which you did anyway you worthless twit.” “Yes, but we did rehire you for Survivor Series, as The RED ROOSTER- which as far as I am concerned, that is who you will always be regardless of what you now call yourself- Terry Taylor, ReTaylored Rooster or otherwise.” Taylor’s eyes got wide. Jack Tunney knew that he had made a mistake. A split second later, the ReTaylored Rooster had slugged Tunney and knocked him to the ground. He then stomped him a couple of times before jumping on top of him and barraging him with punches. The entire group of WWF suits came to their president’s aid and many of them took a shot from the Rooster as they pulled him off their president. “You hired me to be a rooster, Tunney?” Taylor yelled out. “Well cock-a-doodle-doo!” He then leaves the fallen president.
In the face of continuing fines and threats of suspension, Terry Taylor, was becoming more of his ReTaylored Rooster persona with each passing day, refused to quit beating opponents up post-match and even continued to tar and feather them. In a match with Jim Brunzell, a talented high-flying veteran who has a lot of similarities with Taylor, Brunzell actually gave the Rooster the best fight since his return to the WWF, catching the angered Rooster off-guard with an array of technical moves and high-flying drop-kicks causing the Rooster who was not expecting much of a workout to have to step up his game. But, after Taylor dodges a drop-kick, he quickly counters with a knee-drop, lifts Brunzell up and quickly got the rooster wing on the dazed competitor who then promptly submitted. He then stomped Brunzell a few times, then threw him out the ring. Taylor then demanded a microphone. “I just want to let you people know that even though I’m not near through humiliating people, I do have a purpose here in the World Wrestling Federation and you’re going to find out what it is real soon. In fact, if I were a betting man, I’d say ‘Expect to see some fireworks at the upcoming Royal Rumble.’” At this he threw down the microphone and exited the ring, leaving everyone in wonder of what exactly his intentions were.
January 19, 1991: The Royal Rumble
The stage is set for the WWF’s first pay-per-view event of the year. The 16,000 strong crowd at the Miami Arena in Florida witnessed a memorable event to say the least. They saw The Big Bossman beat Haku after the rugged islander wound up on the wrong end of the Cobb County correction officer’s nightstick in his continuing efforts to avenge his mother after Bobby Heenan repeatedly insulted her. They saw Virgil finally stand up to Ted Dibiase, knocking him out cold after the “Million Dollar Man” slapped him and told him to pick up his Million Dollar Belt. Most disappointing was seeing the traitorous Sgt. Slaughter defeat the Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Title with interference from the “Macho King” Randy Savage. And the fact it happened a mere two days after the beginning of Operation Desert Storm made it all the worse.
Nonetheless, the crowd was still looking forward to an intense Royal Rumble match. The first names were called and out came … Bret “the Hitman” Hart. He would be joined in the ring by fellow Canadian Dino Bravo and the Rumble was on. The action continued for a while with new competitors entering every two minutes and various participants being eliminated. At the 36 minute mark, number 20 was called … and out came Terry Taylor. “And they used to say I was wacky.” commentated “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. “Well he promised us something big. We’ll see.” responded Gorilla Monsoon. The action continued with Crush, Earthquake, Jim Neidhart, Bushwhacker Luke and the Warlord joining the fray. At this point there were 10 men left. Luke and Crush had been eliminated quickly and Davey Boy Smith, Hulk Hogan, Rick Martel, Shane Douglas, Demolition Smash and Hercules Hernandez were all still in the game. Number 26 was then called and out came The Barbarian. “What a number for this monster.” Gorilla Monsoon commented. “Well Boobsy’s hopes are riding on him, thanks to the Bulldog taking care of Mr. Perfect earlier.” Roddy Piper said very laughingly. “He took quite a bump to the noggin, too.” Gorilla added. The giant Barbarian entered the ring and wasted no time going right after The British Bulldog, trying to avenge his stable member’s earlier defeat. The Rooster who was doing very well for himself succeeded in avoiding a near elimination by Shane Douglas and in turn was able to throw the young superstar overboard. The Barbarian, fresh from eliminating “The Anvil”, started to refocus on Davey Boy. “What’s the Rooster, doing?” Gorilla Monsoon asked. “He’s digging in his tights for something.” Sure enough, Taylor put something in his hand, b-lined for the Barbarian and threw a handful of powder in his face blinding the giant. Everyone stopped fighting and stared stunned at what they’d just seen. The Rooster then proceeded to pummel his much larger opponent, who blindly grabbed onto him. The two struggle towards the ropes and in the fray pull each other over causing both their eliminations. This didn’t faze the ReTaylored Rooster one iota as he landed on his feet and hurled the still blinded Barbarian into the guardrail, following up with a vicious clothesline. He then proceeded to punch, kick and even bite the massive Barbarian. Every referee in the building had to pull the Rooster off The Barbarian and apparently succeed only to have him break their grip and run back toward his nemesis. Realizing this would probably be his last chance to inflict punishment, he grabbed The Barbarian by his hair and rammed his head straight into the ring post. The officials then succeed in permanently subduing the Rooster and forced him to return to the dressing room. The Barbarian though badly hurt, managed to walk back to the dressing room, albeit with the help of two referees. The normally hated heal received a standing ovation from the Miami crowd on his walk back. The ReTaylored Rooster made a promise that he would deliver fireworks … and an explosion there indeed was.
By now the whole wrestling world was abuzz at the actions of The ReTaylored Rooster. Things now made sense. Yes, he wanted to humiliate anyone in his path to vindicate his past embarrassment, but he was even more focused on the man who drove him to being The Red Rooster in the first place; his former manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. On the next episode of Prime Time Wrestling, Heenan was absent, being substituted by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. The two fan-favorite announcers, neither fans of Heenan nor the Rooster, speculated deeply as to what may come. “Boy I tell you, Roddy, Bobby better watch out. That rooster is crazy.” Gorilla Monsoon articulated. “Yes he is.” Piper replied. “But maybe a little too crazy. I don’t know if I would have gone after The Barbarian like that. He’s big and he’s bad. And the Rooster may have bit off more than he can chew.”
Later on, Sean Mooney interviewed the entire Heenan family. A clearly distraught Bobby Heenan came out with his three men- all bruised and battered. “Bobby Heenan, it is apparent to all that the Royal Rumble was not a good night for the Bobby Heenan family.” “No it wasn’t a good night. First that rent-a-cop uses his nightstick against Haku busting him open (Heenan conveniently left out/forgot that he had tried to throw the nightstick to Haku in the first place and that the Bossman had intercepted it), then that Bulldog who has been a thorn in my side for years now tries to take out Mr. Perfect andthen … well Taylor, since you’ve been back I haven’t breathed a word of our past. I figured you not mentioning it and the fact you had wised up and were not trying to impress these humanoids out here meant that you would let bygones be bygones. But noooo … you had to try to take out one of my men. And Taylor, what a mistake you made. Look at this man; 6’2, 300 pounds, eats raw meat- hell he kills wild game with his own hands. And you throw powder in his face and attack him while he’s blind? You call yourself a rooster? Well you are a yellow-belly chicken! Well guess what, Rooster? I just got off the phone with Jack Tunney- you remember him? And February 1, at The Main Event in Macon, Georgia, you’re gonna have to face this man (points to The Barbarian). And Terry, this time he’s waiting for you. You won’t be able to blindside him. And last time Haku and Mr. Perfect were both injured and I was attending to them. This time, not uh. We’re all going to be watching The Barbarian’s back. You’re going to find out that when you jump on one member of the Bobby Heenan family- you jump on us all. See you at The Main Event, Terry. The Heenan family then exits, leaving the wrestling world with the impression that The ReTaylored Rooster may indeed have bitten off more than he could chew.
February 1, 1991: The Main Event
The stage is set for The ReTaylored Rooster’s biggest match since his World Wrestling Federation return. Moments before the match, he is interviewed for the first time since his assault on The Barbarian at the Royal Rumble. Sean Mooney: “ReTaylored Rooster, I have to ask you, everyone has been wandering ‘Why on Earth you would go after a monster like The Barbarian?’” “Well Mooney, I wouldn’t expect a little shrimp like you to understand. But I’m an athlete and a competitor. And my career was almost ruined by that weasel, Bobby Heenan. He thought it was fun to deride me, say I had limited size, skill, charisma, limited muscle. He made me feel like I wasn’t worth two cents. Well, he nearly broke me, but he failed. And now I’m coming after him. And what does Bobby Heenan value more than anything? Success. Not that he cares about his men one iota, I know that first hand. But they work with him and you know what they say- birds of feather flock together. And me taking out his men and ruining his precious Heenan family is just what I am going to do to humiliate Bobby Heenan the way he humiliated me.” The Rooster then VERY sarcastically ended the interview by slowly saying “Cock-a-doodle-doo.”
The Barbarian came down to the ring with Heenan. No longer bandaged, he looked angrier than ever. “I would not want to be in Terry Taylor’s shoes right now.” Vince McMahon commented. Then a loud rooster’s crow is heard, followed by Taylor’s music. He is now wearing his signature red robe with “ReTaylored Rooster” written across with a huge psychotic looking rooster on the back, something one would expect to see on a motorcycle gang member’s jacket. Howard Finkel introduced him as “The ReTaylored Rooster” Terry Taylor. He came down the aisle fast, but slowed down as he neared the ring. Taylor knew he must be very methodical when dealing with the massive Barbarian and a manager with Bobby Heenan’s intelligence. A shouting match ensued from the ring to the apron between Bobby Heenan and the Rooster and the match went to a commercial break without any action.
When The Main Event resumed, the Rooster had finally entered the ring. The bell rings and the two went at it. Taylor was careful to keep his distance from The Barbarian, knowing the power difference between the two of them. Finally though, they lock up and predictably The Barbarian overpowered the Rooster. This was repeated, to the crowd’s delight. The Barbarian then followed up with a gorilla-press slam lifting his opponent several times abovehis head before finally slamming him down- and then hitting the Rooster with a clothesline. “Looks like the Rooster may’ve met his match” Gorilla Monsoon commented. “We’ll see.” Vince McMahon said back. “Doesn’t look good now for him, though.” The Barbarian’s onslaught continued for several more minutes until Taylor took advantage of a hesitation on The Barbarian’s part and poked his eyes. Once again blinding the big man, he then started to punch and kick him, then hip-tossed him and put him in a chin lock, in large part to recover from the beating he had just taken. “Hebner, you better start doing your job!” an irate Bobby Heenan yelled from the floor. Rooster then lifted The Barbarian up and bodyslammed him, following up with a dropkick. He went for the cock of the walk, but The Barbarian still had too much juice left in him and quickly kicked the Rooster away. He then recovered and started an onslaught against his opponent pounding away at the Rooster. It looked like The ReTaylored Rooster’s reign of terror was about to come to an end. The Barbarian whipped him across the ring into the turnbuckle and followed up with a clothes line … only to have the Rooster dodge it at the last second, leaving the Barbarian stunned, his head hitting the turnbuckle. Seizing the moment, the Rooster hit his five arm clothesline and attempted a pin. Propping his feet on the ropes, the Rooster was able to get the 1-2-3. But his success will not be celebrated long. Bobby Heenan charged into the ring livid and slapped the Rooster across the face. Before he can retaliate, The Barbarian is up, requiring much more of the ReTaylored Rooster’s attention than “The Brain”. Before he knows it, Haku and Mr. Perfect storm the ring and a four on one attack began. Luckily for the Rooster, they briefly laid off him while wondering what to do next and he jumped through the first and second rope and ran to safety. But looking back in the ring at a very confident Bobby Heenan family, he then knew that he was now the hunted as opposed to the hunter.
Indeed the tides of the Heenan Family-ReTaylored Rooster feud had quickly changed. Instead of wrestling jobbers or lower mid-carders, the Rooster now found himself challenged by Haku or The Barbarian on WWF house shows and some television programs. The Rooster, the consummate tactician and athlete was occasionally able to score pinfall victories. More often than not, however, he was the victim of a Bobby Heenan family run-in that resulted in a double or triple team. It looked as though Taylor had lost his edge to the shrewd “Brain”.
On an episode of WWF Superstars, The Brooklyn Brawler, a former Heenan family member, was in a match vs. Frankie Lancaster, a large wrestler who had a fairly large degree of success outside the World Wrestling Federation. It was a grueling match, but the roughhousing Brawler eventually won it with his superplex. He did not have much time to celebrate though, because as soon as he had his hand raised, The ReTaylored Rooster stormed the ring and punched him out. Rooster then threw Lancaster over the top rope and proceeded to stomp a mud hole in the Brawler. He nailed him with a chair several times and finally left the battered Brawler in the ring. The Brawler was eventually carried out in a stretcher.
Bobby Heenan, when asked about it on Prime Time Wrestling laughed. “It shows you what this Rooster is really made of. Instead of going after me or one of my men he went after a wrestler who I stopped associating with ages ago. I think it’s safe to say the Rooster has had his wings clipped.”
The next week on Superstars, The Brooklyn Brawler was interviewed on the Brother Love Show. “Welcome. Welcome, Brother Brawler.” the crooked preacher said with his typical phony sincerity as he greeted his guest. “You are obviously the worse for wear after being brutally assaulted by The ReTaylored Rooster last week on Superstars.” “Well, Brother Love, you’re right in the fact I am a little banged up. But don’t think I’m done- not at all. Iwas raised on the streets of Brooklyn and I’m not about to let a little birdie with an attitude get the best of the Brooklyn Brawler. It’s only a matter of time before I …” The Brawler’s diatribe was cut short by the appearance of Terry Taylor who calmly walked up to Brother Love’s stage. “Why BrotherRooster, please, this is a place of LOOVVVE, not violence. I implore you to…” “Shut up, fat man!” the Rooster angrily interrupted. If I wasn’t here on business, I’d knock you on your oversized rear end on principle alone. Now back off before I change my mind!” Brother Love wisely backed away. “Now Steve” said the Rooster addressing the Brawler, “I know you’re mad at me, but I want to remind you of something. You in the back, role the footage.” Sure enough a clip of a Prime Time Wrestling from 1989 came on, showing the Brooklyn Brawler- on orders from Bobby Heenan- cheap shooting the Red Rooster with a stool and pounding him mercilessly while Heenan egged him on. After the clip ended, the Rooster continued. “Now Steve, I had never done anything to you in my life. But you snuck attacked me and beat me up because ‘The Weasel’ promised you fame and fortune, right?” The Brooklyn Brawler nodded. “And what did Bobby Heenan do for you? He took a big, tough talented man and dressed you like a bum. I mean it looks like you haven’t taken a bath in a year. And let me ask you, at WrestleMania V, did you get the match against me? No! Heenan took it himself. A manager overstepping his own talent that he promised the stars to. And then what does he do? He pushed you to the side and makes fun of you after I settle our business- and Brawler, I consider that business settled and strongly suggest you do the same. We’re even. I didn’t tar and feather you for a reason: I want you on MY side. I need you to get my revenge on Bobby Heenan. But right now he has goons protecting him. Come join me, and you WILL be a star. You will fly first class. You will wear nice clothes and you will date beautiful women. What’s your choice Brawler?” Terry Taylor stuck his hand out and after a moment’s hesitation, the Brawler who looked very dejected from the Rooster’s speech, took the hand, shook it and the two men embraced and left Brother Love’s “chapel” together- leaving the shifty preacher with an egg on his face as the camera closed in on it to end the show.
At The ReTaylored Rooster’s next match (vs. Tom Stone) he was accompanied by a very different Brooklyn Brawler. Gone was the dirty, poorly groomed, unshaven shoddy dressed wrestler of years past. He now sported an Armani suit, a fedora hat and was fresh shaven. He kept watch for the Rooster, while noticeably pulling a cigar out of a Diamond Crown cigar case, who quickly disposed of Stone. Afterwards the Brawler brought in the tar and red feathers to the ring and helped the Rooster humiliate his outclassed opponent to the crowd’s chagrin. “Heenan, we comin’ after ya.” The Brawler said to the camera.
And indeed the feud between The Bobby Heenan Family and “The Brain’s” two former charges heated up. They are now in tag-team and singles matches all across television and the house show circuit. The singles matches almost all ended in a disqualification or a double disqualification with a run-in. The tag matches went back and forth with Rooster and Brawler fighting various combinations of Heenan’s three men. The matches seemed to have gotten even more intense when it was announced during a WrestleMania VII update that Mr. Perfect would be defending the Intercontinental Title against The ReTaylored Rooster.
Interviewed by Lord Alfred Hayes on Superstars, the IC champion with “The Brain” was as confident and arrogant as ever. “So that no good Red Rooster is getting a shot at my Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania, the biggest event of the year? Well, will wonders never cease? First off, he doesn’t deserve a shot. He is a second rate never will be who couldn’t wear my used tights on his best day.” “But, Mr. Perfect,” Alfred responded, “surely you must admit he has been on quite a winning streak since his World Wrestling Federation return?” “Yeah he’s won a few matches … but against who? A bunch of nobodies, that’s who. He thinks he’s all cute tarring and feathering people. Well let’s see him try that against the Heenan family. And he may have taken a bum off the street and dressed him in an Armani suit. Well guess what? A pig with lipstick is still a pig, and a bum in an Armani suit is still a bum! And a loser is always a loser and Rooster, at WrestleMania, I’m going to show the whole world that is what you are and will always will be!” “And Brawler” Bobby Heenan chimed in, “You had better watch out. Because, brother you just opened a can of worms and good luck putting them back in the can. You want war on my family? Well war is hell and you’re about to find out why. Let’s go, Perfect.” At this the two left.
Later on Superstars, Lord Alfred interviewed the Rooster and the Brawler. Terry Taylor started by saying “So Mr. Perfect, you think I’m a loser? Well, at WrestleMania, I’m gonna show you whose the loser. Let me tell you, it’s not a coincidence that I’ve destroyed everyone in my path since returning to the World Wrestling Federation. I’ve also beaten both your buddies Barbarian and Haku, but I guess you forgot that little fact, huh? Shows what you think of them. I’m not afraid of you or your family. And come March 24, I’m taking the Intercontinental Title from the Bobby Heenan Family.’ “That’s right, ‘Perfect’” The Brooklyn Brawler added. “And I’m no bum. It was Bobby Heenan that made me dress like that way, and now I’m done with that. First class all the way with the Rooster. And Haku, I would like to now officially challenge you for a match in LA at WrestleMania VII. You’re going to be eating raw fish through a straw when I’m done with ya.” The two then started laughing and the interview concluded.
It was shortly announced that Haku had accepted the Brawler’s challenge. A tag-match between the four competitors was announced for Madison Square Garden nine days before WrestleMania, airing on the MSG Network. Clips were shown of both factions entering the building and it was clear tensions were high. Later on, a clip was shown of Mr. Perfect looking for Bobby Heenan. Apparently he went to get a soda and could not be found. Neither The Barbarian nor Haku knew of his whereabouts. All of a sudden they hear a woman scream and run out of their locker room. It’s was a cleaning lady who had just opened a broom closet door. She has a shocked look on her face. All of a sudden, out fell Bobby Heenan, beaten and covered with red feathers.
The Rooster-Brawler team made their way to ringside first. Then came an irate Perfect-Haku. The Barbarian had gone to the hospital with Bobby Heenan. Referee Earl Hebner stood in between the two teams demanding a legitimate match. After much verbal exchange they begrudgingly agree, with the Brawler and Mr. Perfect starting out. In spite of Earl Hebner’s warnings, the match more resembles a streetfight than a wrestling match, at least at first. This favored The Brooklyn Brawler who got an early advantage and tagged The Red Rooster. It became slightly more scientific but not much as the bad blood between the two groups had reached a boiling point. A couple of minutes later Perfect tagged in Haku and the rugged islander went berserk, wanting revenge for his fallen manager. Taylor was able to use Haku’s anger against him, dodging a misplaced judo chop and catching him in a drop toe hold, then getting up and pounding Haku. He then drags him to his corner for a double team. Mr. Perfect tried to intervene, causing Earl Hebner to force him back to his corner, intensifying the tactics of his opponents even more. After a few minutes of he and the Brawler both wearing Haku down, Taylor tried putting Haku in the rooster wing only to have Haku squirm enough to force his release. Haku then nailed him with a superkick. Both men struggled to their respective corners, Rooster tagging in Brawler first … but Haku was able to tag in an irate Mr. Perfect! He pummeled the Brawler and was not taking prisoners. After a second the Rooster came in only to be knocked outside the ring by a single punch. Perfect then went back to work on the Brawler looking to finish him off. He applied his Perfect-Plex getting 1 2 only to have the Rooster make the save at the last second. Haku, by now refreshed, came in, and it’s a pier six brawl. Hebner made the Rooster go back to his corner by threatening disqualification and then quickly did the same to Haku. While Hebner’s back was turned still arguing with Haku, The Red Rooster threw brass knuckles to The Brooklyn Brawler who swung and missed at Mr. Perfect. Perfect then kicked the Brawler, took the brass knucks and was about to wallop the Brawler with them when Earl Hebner, who had just got Haku out of the ring and back in his corner, grabbed Mr. Perfect’s hand preventing the punch and gave the Rooster and the Brawler the dq win. As Perfect got in Hebner’s face, the Rooster and the Brawler took the opportunity to head for higher ground before the Heenan family members could figure out they had exited. When they realize revenge for their fallen mentor would not happen that tonight, Mr. Perfect and Haku both looked down the aisle, Perfect pointed at his nemeses and simply said “Just wait until WrestleMania.”
March 24, 1991: WrestleMania VII
The Sports Arena in Los Angeles and wrestling fans all around the world were waiting for three things: 1) To see if Hulk Hogan could win the WWF World Title from the turncoat Sgt. Slaughter who was now going as far as parading around in an Iraqi military uniform. 2). To see who would have to retire: The beloved Ultimate Warrior or the hated “Macho King” Randy Savage. 3) To see who would leave WrestleMania VII with the Intercontinental Title: Champion Mr. Perfect or Challenger The Red Rooster, in what was shaping up to be the biggest heel vs. heel match in wrestling history.
Before any of these matches took place, Haku would be facing The Brooklyn Brawler. Interviewed moments before his match by Sean Mooney- alone even though the segment called for both he and the Rooster- the Brawler was not at a loss for words.
“I tell you, Sean Mooney, this is my night. My first WrestleMania vs. Heenan’s goon. And Haku, I’m taking ya down. Then after the Rooster beats Mr. Not So Perfect, we going down to Hollywood to celebrate!” Sean Mooney asked the Brawler if he was worried about how angry he had made the Heenan family by attacking Bobby Heenan then tarring and feathering him. “Listen that weasel had it comin’ to him! He shouldn’t have been wondering around Madison Square Garden- right in the Brawler’s home town I may add- without an escort!” “And Mr. Brawler, The ReTaylored Rooster was supposed to be a part of this interview. Where is he?” “Listen Mooney,” the Brawler angrily responded, “Mr. Rooster’s a busy man! He doesn’t have time to waste squabbling with your puny self! In fact, I’m a busy man myself. And I have a match. Move outta my way, ya pipsqueak!” At this the Brawler left for his match against Haku.
Haku came to ringside alone, looking determined to avenge Bobby Heenan’s manhandling. Then The Brooklyn Brawler approached the ring, not nearly as braze as he had been in his interview moments earlier. The two started off right away. Haku relying more on martial arts and power, the Brawler with streetfighting, roughhousing and any shortcut he could find. The two went back and forth for about twelve minutes. The Brawler after landing a low blow put Haku in his swinging neckbreaker slam and got a close two count. He then set the islander for a superplex, but Haku fought out of the front facelock and pushed the Brawler hard down to the mat. Taking advantage of a stunned Brawler, Haku hit his diving headbutt. Having one of the hardest heads in wrestling, this was enough for three.
Right after this match, Haku joined Mr. Perfect in the interview area with Lord Alfred Hayes, who already was accompanied by The Barbarian. Haku gave both men big high-fives. “Now Mr. Perfect, you are about to meet a man who has been a thorn in the side of you and the entire Heenan family for the last two months. What are your last minute thoughts? “Alfred,” the Intercontinental Champion responded, “that man has caused more trouble to me and the Family than I would have ever thought possible. But tonight, at the biggest event of them all, WrestleMania, I’m going to show him why I’m perfect and he’s just a perfect nobody. Haku already took care of his stooge, and I’m finishing the job tonight; for Bobby and for the whole family! “Do you think it is wise to underestimate the Rooster, Mr. Perfect?” asked Lord Alfred. “Listen, I know what Terry Taylor is capable of. He’s dangerous, vindictive and he is sick. And Mr. Perfect NEVER takes a match lightly. Never has, never will. To do so would be less than perfect, which for me, is impossible.” At this, the three exited and Mr. Perfect prepared to head to the ring for his title defense.
Before the introductions to the match, Howard Finkel made an announcement to the over 19,000 in attendance. “Ladies and gentleman, I am now pleased to welcome back to our announce team, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND!” The crowd came out of their seats as Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” (sung by Gene himself) played. The beloved announcer took time to shake fans hand and give fives as he joined “Gorilla” Monsoon and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan at ringside for play by play. He was warmly greeted by both men.
Then The ReTaylored Rooster’s music played. He came down to the ring, being introduced just as “The ReTaylored Rooster” no longer using his given name but even more noticeable, in a throwback to his old rooster’s comb, now had the entire top of his head spiked and died red, while his sides were his natural blonde. “He looks like a raging lunatic.” commented “Gorilla” Monsoon. Noticing “Mean” Gene glaring at him, the Rooster paused and turned toward the announce table. But “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan standing up with his 2X4 removed any funny ideas from his head as he turned back his head and entered the ring. “Don’t worry Gene, he ain’t botherin ya tonight.” the Hacksaw insured his good friend. Mr. Perfect’s music then played and down came the IC champion calmly and coolly. He had his trademark towel, but was NOT tossing it around. He silently entered the ring. Introductions were made and the bell was rung.
What proceeded next was a five-star classic match that will forever go down in WrestleMania lore. Yes, there was bad blood and more than once referee Danny Davis, chosen for this role because he himself was once a hated heel, had to intervene to restore order. But this did not stop two of the finest technicians ever to lace up a pair of wrestling boots from giving the fans the show of a lifetime. There were several near falls on both ends as the advantage swapped back and forth. More than once Mr. Perfect narrowly escaped the rooster’s wing and the cock of the walk. After over 35 grueling minutes, it looked as though Mr. Perfect would be able to set up the Rooster for his patented Perfect-Plex. But, the Rooster succeeded in blocking it with his right foot. Perfect then went on the offensive with jabs and elbows. He then put the Rooster in a corner and threw him against the other side and charged. The Rooster dodged at the last second stunning the champion. The challenger then once again attempted the Rooster’s wing, but Mr. Perfect, close to the ropes, used them to kick away in the air. The Rooster lost his balance, but ever the consummate professional, shifted his body and slammed an unsuspecting Mr. Perfect’s head into the mat. He then rolled the champion up and by putting his legs on the ropes for added leverage (not to mention grabbing Mr. Perfect’s singlet) got the three count and became the new Intercontinental Champion. The Brooklyn Brawler immediately ran down to ring and hugged his comrade, putting the belt on the new champion’s shoulder at the same time. The two quickly exited while a frustrated Mr. Perfect just shook his head in the ring, furious at himself.
The ReTaylored Rooster had largely fulfilled his WWF mission. He reigned terror on the entire Federation, he badly roughed up, not to mention tarred and feathered his former manager, Bobby Heenan who gave him his “Red Rooster” moniker, and at WrestleMania VII, he won the WWF’s second most prestigious singles title against the man many say was the finest technical wrestler of that era in a mat classic for the ages. All in just over four months! He wasted no time in reveling in his new found glory, defeating all three Heenan Family members in rematches or having his minion, The Brooklyn Brawler run-in for him, causing a disqualification but saving the title. The frustration built up for Mr. Perfect to the point he nearly lost a match to Jim Powers on Wrestling Challenge. “Boy, Mr. Perfect dodged a bullet on that one.” commented Gorilla Monsoon.
Then on an episode of Superstars on April 14, one of the most emotional events ever seen in a wrestling ring happened. Howard Finkel announces “May I please welcome to the ring Bobby “The Brain” Heenan!” The crowd gave the formerly hated manager a warm welcome as he briskly walked down to the ring. “The Brain” took the microphone and began. “If he would, I would like Mr. Perfect to come down to the ring. After a moment, he obliged, without his usual music or arrogant fanfare.
“Mr. Perfect,” The Brain said, “I just want to let you know what a pleasure it has been managing you this last year. Not to mention Haku and The Barbarian and all the other great wrestlers I’ve managed over the years. An absolute pleasure. But there was one man I managed who I wronged.” Mr. Perfect started shaking his head as Heenan stated “And it was the Rooster.” “Bobby …” Mr. Perfect began … “No, it’s true. I can’t deny it. I saw a talented wrestler with limitless potential who was having a hard time adjusting to the World Wrestling Federation. I thought I could push him over the edge and create an unstoppable wrestling machine. Well, I did … it just took a little longer than I expected and boy did he ever go over the edge. But the thing I really regret about it is I dragged you, The Barbarian and Haku into it. My miscalculation and arrogance cost you three dearly. “Now wait Bobby, it wasn’t your fault that …” “Yes it was.” the Brain interrupted Mr. Perfect, yes it was. Now listen very carefully. I’ve been in this business for over 25 years. And I’ve managed the best of the best. The cream of the crop. And let me tell you, I knew that the Rooster was the best technical wrestler I ever managed. That why I was so damn frustrated with him losing. But that was until I started managing you Curt (the use of Mr. Perfect’s real name was lost neither on him nor the Las Vegas crowd). I knew you were the best ever. And one day I know you will be the World Wrestling Federation Champion. But I have to say regrettably I will not be managing you then. I have been doing a lot of thinking- that is why I took so much time off. And I realize it is time for ‘The Brain’ to hang it up. I plan on becoming a full-time broadcast journalist and am announcing my retirement from managing.” Mr. Perfect’s face dropped and he quickly responded “Bobby you can’t let him …” “Wait” said Bobby Heenan, interrupting Mr. Perfect a third time. “Now I wronged Terry, but he took it WAY to far. And he went after my boys. You don’t do that. ‘The Brain’ does NOT leave business unfinished. Never has, never will. And I know you have a rematch in two weeks at Saturday Night’s Main Event. And I’m here to tell you that at the rematch I WILL be in your corner one last time. And that you WILL become the first three-time Intercontinental Champion ever. Bank on it!” At this the two embraced and in a moment for the ages, the two long hated heels turned face as the crowd roared its approval.
April 27, 1991: Saturday Night’s Main Event
The crowd in Nebraska was geared for a guaranteed historic night. Any night that is Bobby Heenan’s last as a manager was guaranteed to bring attention. The ReTaylored Rooster, arrogant as ever, showed no remorse in a pre-match interview. “So, Bobby Heenan’s giving up. Well if he thinks retiring will keep him safe from me,” he said as he and The Brooklyn Brawler start laughing, “he’d better think again.” “And tonight I’m going to put the nail in his and Mr. Perfect’s coffin.” “If they think they’re getting this belt back,” he said while stroking the IC Title “they had both better wake up to the rooster’s crow.” “Curt, watch out. I’m coming after you, and this time I’m definitely not cluckin’ around! Brawler, let’s go.” And at this the interview ended.
Later Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan are interviewed by Sean Mooney. “Gentleman, earlier you heard the harsh words of The ReTaylored Rooster. Any response? “Yeah, only one.” said Mr. Perfect. “Rooster, our match at WrestleMania, great as it was, lacked two things; Mr. Perfect’s complete attention and ‘The Brain’. Well tonight both those things are here. And Rooster you can be assured this will come to pass (he holds up three fingers). And I’m not cluckin’ around either.” He then said a very sarcastic “cock-a-doodle-do”.
Match time approached and breaking with tradition, The ReTaylored Rooster came down to ringside first. Mr. Perfect and “The Brain” then made their way down to the ring. Howard Finkel introduced them by saying “Being led to the ring by his legendary manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, who after an illustrious 25 year career will be making his final appearance tonight as a manager, from Robbinsdale, Minnesota, weighing in at 260 lbs., Mr. Perfect!” Heenan and Perfect hug and Heenan then left the ring. While “The Brain” was giving Mr. Perfect some last second advice on the apron, the Rooster charged Perfect from behind, knocking him into his manager, to get an early advantage. Joey Marella rings the bell and the match was now officially underway with the champion having an unfair early advantage.
This match was much more of a street fight than their WrestleMania affair. The ReTaylored Rooster used every shortcut he knew to keep the advantage. But Mr. Perfect, ever the seasoned veteran and having Bobby Heenan at his side, was eventually able to turn the tide. He showed about as much give as the Rooster which is to say none. The two went back and forth using every dirty trick they knew. At one point Perfect pinned the Rooster against the ropes and waylaid him causing Joey Marella to get in between them. Bobby Heenan- never one to hesitate with a short-cut, choked his former charge as Marella castigated Perfect for not following his orders. The two went back and forth a bit more, but it was obvious that it was Mr. Perfect’s night. So much so that The Brooklyn Brawler tried to storm the ring. However he is quickly joined by Haku and The Barbarian, who made sure he never gets anywhere near the ring. The match continued on and after a short offensive onslaught, Mr. Perfect hooked the Rooster in his Perfect-Plex and became the first three-time Intercontinental Champion in history!
The crowd roared as Joey Marella raised Mr. Perfect’s hand. Bobby Heenan went into the ring and embraced Mr. Perfect, who then raised his manager’s hand to the roar of the crowd. After the camera shut off, Haku and The Barbarian joined the celebration, and “The Brain” was seen off in a great last hurrah.
Our story continues with Mr. Perfect having just recaptured the Intercontinental Title from the hated ReTaylored Rooster. The Rooster is now set on both recapturing his title AND getting revenge on all who mocked him (real and imagined) during his last Federation run. With the help of his unlikely, yet wholly unruly sidekick, The Brooklyn Brawler, things are bound to get ugly.
Losing the Intercontinental Title undid the Rooster, making his already unstable mental state even worse. He failed at repeated attempts to win back the Intercontinental Title, though he and Mr. Perfect had four and five star matches all over the world. When not trying to reclaim the Intercontinental Title, he beat his opponents unmercifully, refusing to let go of his submission holds until well after his opponents had given up and then he tarred and feathered them whenever he got the chance. It got to the point where no one wanted to wrestle him anymore for fear of being beaten and humiliated.
Nonetheless, the quality of his and Mr. Perfect’s matches did not go unnoticed. In late June, joining the “Match Made in Heaven” (“Macho Man” Randy Savage marrying Miss Elizabeth) and the “Match Made in Hell” (Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior vs. Gen. Adnan, Sgt. Slaughter and Colonel Mustafa (The Iron Sheik)) it was announced at SummerSlam 91 on August 26 that Mr. Perfect would defend the Intercontinental Title against The ReTaylored Rooster in a best 2 out of 3 falls match-up. The thought of these two hated rivals who nonetheless both possessed great stamina and technical skills added even more buzz to the upcoming supercard. Due to the ongoing rivalry between the two, it was assumed by all that this match would serve as one of their Waterloos.
This announcement made both competitors more intense. Their ring presence was more electric than ever. No one could predict which way this one was going to go, though the general consensus was it would take three falls. But on the August 3 edition of Superstars, EVERYTHING changed. Mr. Perfect and the Rooster were in an intense rematch when all of a sudden The Brooklyn Brawler made his way down to the ring. As bad luck would have it, neither Haku nor The Barbarian was in Edmonton that night. Earl Hebner immediately admonished the Brawler, demanding he leave the ringside area or The ReTaylored Rooster would be disqualified. The Brawler risked this, and jumped on the ring apron continuing to argue with the senior official. Mr. Perfect, who was on the offensive, saw the Brawler and headed to the ring apron to knock his head off. The Rooster, seizing the opportunity, dropkicked Perfect into Hebner who wound up knocking the Brawler off the apron. But the opportunity was presented. The Rooster quickly went outside, grabbed a chair and waylaid Mr. Perfect just as he stood up. He then repeatedly nailed him in the back. Now laughing, he put the fallen champion in the cock of the walk further injuring his back. After a long time, Earl Hebner recovered and went over to the wrestlers. Not getting any response from Mr. Perfect, who had by now passed out due to the intense pain, Hebner called for the bell and awarded the Intercontinental Title back to the ReTaylored Rooster.
A groggy Brooklyn Brawler now entered the ring and congratulated his compatriot. However, they were NOT done. The two proceeded to pound on the fallen champion even more. Earl Hebner tried to intervene- only to have the Brawler punch him out. And to add insult to injury, the all too familiar bag and bucket were produced from under the ring, and Mr. Perfect was tarred and covered with red feathers by the diabolical duo.
The next day on Wrestling Challenge, a replay was shown of what transpired on Superstars and it was announced that due to sustained injuries, Mr. Perfect would not be competing at SummerSlam. Bobby Heenan, a regular host was understandably absent as co-host Gorilla Monson said “If ‘The Brain’ went on the air right now, he’d never be allowed on again once he got on the mic. And for once I wouldn’t be able to blame him.” It was announced that The ReTaylored Rooster would be making a speech later on. When his time to speak came, he was more arrogant than ever.
“Well, Brawler” the Rooster began, “looks like we got a night off for SummerSlam” he said as they both laughed. “We’ll just get some front row tickets, buy some mint juleps, put our feet up and enjoy the show.” “I can taste those juleps now, Mr. Rooster.” the Brawler responded. “I know Brawler I know. Perfect, I warned you not to mess with me. And did you listen? Noooo. You fought for that weasel and then went and stole MY belt from me. Well PERFECT, I got it back now and you’re all laid out. I guess we now know who’s who in the pecking order.” Both he and the Brawler enjoy a good chuckle as their speech fades out.
“While I have never in all my years here in the World Wrestling Federation seen such a disgusting display! I hope Jack Tunney doesn’t let this stand.” commented an angry Gorilla Monsoon.
It was in fact later announced on the show that the WWF President would be making an official statement on the Intercontinental Title match at SummerSlam on Superstars.
For the next few days everyone was anticipating what Jack Tunney would have to say. Finally, Wrestling Superstars aired and midway through the show it went to his office. “First I would like to give my deepest regards to Mr. Perfect and his family.” the Federation president stated. “He suffered a major back injury and will be out for some time. We here at the World Wrestling Federation hope and pray for a full recovery and hopefully Mr. Perfect will soon be back in the ring doing what only he can do.
However, tragic as it is, the show must go on. Notwithstanding his obnoxious comments or heinous acts, The ReTaylored Rooster will not be getting a day off at SummerSlam. I am currently in the final phases of deciding on a replacement for Mr. Perfect and will make my announcement very shortly on the next episode of the Wrestling Challenge. Thank you.”
The buzz around who will be the new challenger was everywhere. All sorts of names were thrown out. Former Intercontinental Champions “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich and The Dragon (Ricky Steamboat) were mentioned. Both Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith were considered worthy contenders. On the first segment of the Wrestling Challenge, Bobby Heenan expressed his hope that either Haku or The Barbarian, both who had thrown their name in the hat, would get the shot.
Wrestling Challenge aired and it was time for the big announcement. After a few matches, Jack Tunney went out to the interview podium. “Ladies and gentleman” the president began, “I have given this matter much consideration. First, the chosen replacement would have to be a top WWF contender. Second, he would have to be able to successfully endure the rigors of a best 2 out of 3 falls match. And third, I wanted to pick a wrestler with a similar style and with the comparable technical prowess of Mr. Perfect, whose style so well matched The ReTaylored Rooster’s. After careful consideration, I have chosen a former two-time World Wrestling Federation Tag-Team Champion- Bret “The Hitman” Hart!
The crowd erupted as the “Hitman’s” music played and he approached the podium. The two shook hands and Bret took the microphone. “Thank you. Thank you all. First off, I want to say I am honored to replace a great champion like Mr. Perfect- get well soon champ. And second, I plan on doing all my great fans proud by walking away SummerSlam with the Intercontinental Title.” he said to the crowd’s roar. “ReTaylored Rooster: You think you’re a great champion? Well I think you’re a great chump! You’re sick! To have someone like you carrying World Wrestling Federation gold is a travesty. But it’s one in a couple of weeks time I’m gonna eradicate. And Brooklyn Brawler, just in case you get any funny ideas, don’t forget that a certain “Anvil’s” going to be watching the ‘Excellence of Execution’s’ back. Rooster, at SummerSlam, the pecking order’s going to change. Thank you!” The crowd erupted as the newly named challenger exited.
Bret Hart’s replacing of Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title match caused an immediate stir. If anyone in the World Wrestling Federation could wrestle on par with Mr. Perfect, it was indeed “The Hitman”. A fine tuned second generation wrestler, in great shape with a “never say die” attitude, Hart seemed to be the ideal pick to take on the Rooster. For the next couple of weeks, the already popular Hart received louder cheers than ever before wherever he wrestled. As for the Rooster, other than acknowledging that Bret Hart was a great wrestler and saying he nonetheless had no chance against a superior athlete such as himself, he was content on merely continuing on his path of destruction, beating up opponents after winning his matches and then usually tarring and feathering them, leaving them a twisted crimson reflection of himself. “Bret Hart knows I’m the better man” the Rooster bragged shortly before SummerSlam to Vince McMahon in an interview. “He’s even stolen my cock of the walk. But it can’t stand up to scrutiny.” “We’ll see about that” McMahon chimed in, “Oh and ‘Anvil’, in case YOU get any funny ideas, the Brawler will be watching MY back.” the Rooster added in a very serious tone.”
August 26, 1991: SummerSlam 91
The WWF’s end of Summer event had finally arrived. 20,000 fans are packed in Madison Square Garden to see a star-studded card. Would the loyal American team of Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior be able to beat the virulent anti-American Triangle of Terror? Would the “Macho Man” and Miss Elizabeth finally tie the knot? And would Bret Hart be able to prove himself as able as a singles wrestler as he had been in tag-teams and win the Intercontinental Championship or would the ReTaylored Rooster’s path of destruction claim yet another victim? At the beginning of the program a vacant seat in the front row, clearly marked “reserved” is pointed out? “Who could that be for?” Gorilla Monsoon speculated.
Shortly before his big match, Bret Hart is interviewed by “Mean” Gene Okerlund. “Bret Hart, in just a moment you have a match with a man that I- well we both know what happened there. But, you are in for what will no doubt be the most important match of your life. Two out of three falls for the Intercontinental Title.” “Well, you’re right Gene- this is the most important match of my life. And say what you want to about him, but The ReTaylored Rooster is an incredible wrestler. A phenomenal one. And it will take everything I have to win the Intercontinental Title tonight. But, Bret Hart is the ‘Excellence of Execution’. Rest assured I don’t plan on disappointing either my fans here in Madison Square Garden, or all my fans around the world. And to the Brooklyn Brawler: I realize you’ve been challenging Jim a lot lately because he’s watching my back. Well he told me to tell you anytime you want a piece of him- he’s not a hard man to find. Oh and Rooster, I never stole any hold from you. And you’re going to get to feel just how cheap of an imitation the sharpshooter is tonight when I clamp it on you.” Bret Hart then left for his match. “Bret Hart, good luck!” Gene said to the departing “Hitman”.
Bret Hart’s music played and he approached the ring to a thunderous applause from the audience. His parents, Stu and Helen, and his brother, Bruce, are shown in the audience. Then after his music stops, there is a pause. All of a sudden, seen walking in the crowd was none other than … Mr. Perfect! He eventually made his way to the reserved seat- appropriately enough holding a mint julep- and sat down without uttering a word or blinking an eye.
Then The ReTaylored Rooster’s music hits and out he came. His hair was now completely died red and spiked, with no traces of his previous natural blonde hair. He stopped in front of Mr. Perfect’s seat and started an argument with him, but the former champion did not budge, rather he merely drank his mint julep apparently oblivious to the Rooster. Finally, the champion yelled, “Better stay out of this match, Hennig!” and entered the ring.
The eagerly anticipated match finally began. The two went at it in a mat classic that will forever be on par with Savage-Steamboat and the prior WrestleMania’s Rooster-Perfect. Tempers did indeed fly and when Bret doesn’t break when they were on the ropes fast enough for the Rooster’s taste, the Rooster pushed the “Hitman”. Hart promptly responded with a slap to the face. Fisticuffs fly, but referee Tim White refused to let the match turn into an out an out donnybrook. The two went at it for over 20 minutes relentlessly. After a suplex, Bret climbed to the second rope for a knee drop. The rooster was able to dodge at the last second and quickly put on the cock of the walk. Bret struggled, but was unable to escape and eventually had to submit. “At 24:15, as a result of a submission, The ReTaylored wins the first fall.” Howard Finkel informed the Garden crowd.
After a brief pause, the bell rang for the second fall. The Rooster wasted no time going for Bret’s injured legs. “Oh he was too proud.” commented Bobby Heenan on play by play. “He should have just submitted right away and moved on to the second fall.” “‘Brain’, you may be right.” responded Gorilla Monsoon. “You may just be right.” “Of course, I’m right! I’m the ‘Brain’!” the ever arrogant Heenan said. The Rooster went after Bret Hart’s legs relentlessly. It didn’t seem as though the “Hitman” could last much longer. Rooster attempted to put Bret in another cock of the walk to finish him off, but Bret turned it into a small package and nearly evened the count. The Rooster quickly recovered and started slugging Bret, but the “Hitman” with a boost of adrenaline was able to block a punch and retaliate. The crowd roared as he started an offensive with his second wind. After about a minute of this, the Rooster raked Bret’s eyes to the ire of the crowd and the referee. Ignoring all warnings, he started pounding on Bret. He took a still blinded ‘Hitman” to the turnbuckle and kicked and punched him there. He then threw him across the ropes and charged him only to have Hart move out the way and have his right knee ram the opposing turnbuckle. Bret quickly dragged the Rooster to the middle of the ring and applies the sharpshooter. Rooster, quickly realizing he was not getting out, submitted. The crowd roared as Howard Finkel announced “At 11 minutes even, the winner of the second fall, by way of submission, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart!”
“Boy, I think the Rooster has a bug placed here somewhere!” “Rowdy” Roddy Piper commented. “He followed Bobby’s advice to a tee!” “You’re right Piper! You’re right Piper!” The “Brain” responded. “The Rooster’s fighting a smart match! I have a bad feeling about this. Come on, Bret!” Heenan said.
The bell rang for the third and final fall and champion and challenger went at it full steam. Notwithstanding his loss, the Rooster seemed to have the advantage. But Bret was able to take it back. After a bodyslam, the now weary ‘Hitman’ set the Rooster up for a bulldog headlock, but with consummate ring presence, the Rooster pushed Bret headfirst into the turnbuckle at the last second. Bret bounced back toward the Rooster and the two butt heads and both hit the floor. Tim White began a ten count. Both struggled to their feet on opposite sides of the ring and make it up-Rooster at 8, Hart a second later. Still dazed, Bret Hart looked out at the crowd. Mr. Perfect, who had been watching the match quietly, put down his mint julep, stood up and pointed at the “Hitman”. Everyone watching was perplexed. Bret turned around to meet an incoming Rooster. A somewhat dazed Rooster took a swing at Bret … who ducked, kicked him in the gut, put him in a front facelock and to almost everyone’s shock, executed a flawless Perfect-Plex, getting the third fall. The crowd roared as Howard Finkel announced “And the winner of the third and deciding fall, by way of pinfall, at 5:02, and NEW Intercontinental Champion, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart!”
“God, Perfect has never shown that move to ANYONE!” Bobby Heenan yelled in absolute shock.
Tim White raised Bret’s hand and awarded him the Intercontinental Title. Jim Neidhart came running down to ringside and hugged his longtime partner. After climbing the turnbuckle and raising the belt to the crowd’s elation, Bret went down to ringside and hugged his parents and brother. His mother, Helen, was actually crying tears of joy. He and the “Anvil” then go over to Mr. Perfect. Bret shook his hand and says “Thank you, Curt.” The former three-time Intercontinental Champion merely nodded and said “God-speed champ, God-speed.” Mr. Perfect and “The Anvil” then shook hands. He and the new champion then go back to the dressing room being cheered the whole walk back up the aisle while Mr. Perfect happily sat back down to finish his mint julep … and watch the Matches Made in Heaven and Hell.
Determined to be a fighting champion, Bret Hart took on all comers for the Intercontinental Title. The Rooster, hell-bent on revenge and recapturing his gold, vied for a rematch at every turn. Bret obliged and the two had many great matches, but the “Hitman” always seemed to have the upper edge. Whenever the Brawler tried to intervene, “The Anvil” was always at hand to keep him at bay. The Brooklyn Brawler too tried to capture the gold, but was naturally outclassed by the “Hitman”. He met s a similar fate in a string of matches with Jim Neidhart. He and the Rooster then issued a challenge to the Hart Foundation as a team. Once again, the Rooster and Brawler continuously fell short of victory as the talented and more experienced as a team, Hart Foundation proved their superiority.
But in early October, Bret was on tour in Europe while “The Anvil” had a match against the Rooster in Tampa, Fl at a house show. It was a rough match with neither man pulling any punches. After a missed flying shoulder block by Neidhart, the Rooster seized the opportunity, worked on the hurt arm and eventually was able to lock in the rooster wing, forcing the ever stubborn “Anvil” to submit. After the bell rang, the Rooster refused to relinquish the hold. Then the Brooklyn Brawler came down to ringside, and a 2 on 1 onslaught began. They pounded the defenseless “Anvil” into the ground. The Brooklyn Brawler went as far as spitting on him. Then, once again an all too familiar bucket and bag were brought out from under the ring, and to everyone’s dismay, the mighty “Anvil” was tarred and feathered.
To make matters worse for Jim Neidhart, when referees Joey Marella and Tim White were helping him back to the locker room, the Beverly Brothers were coming out for their match. Not like having the spotlight taken from them in any remote way, they stared at each other like a pair of Cheshire cats and attacked the already beaten superstar even worse. They slammed his head against the rail and took turns stomping on him. They then hit him with a Beverly Bomb (a flapjack by Blake with Beau catching him in a kneeling head spike (also called the Shaker Heights (an affluent Cleveland, Ohio suburb where the Beverly Brothers were billed from) Spike)) causing panic in the arena. The Beverly Brothers then laughingly went to their match as “The Anvil”, now covered in red feathers, bruised and bleeding profusely, was brought to the back in a stretcher.
On the next episode of Superstars, a replay was shown of the heinous double assault in Tampa. Additional footage was shown of Jim Neidhart being put in an ambulance by EMTs.
Later on The ReTaylored Rooster and The Brooklyn Brawler were given a chance to comment on their latest attack. “Well Neidhart, we warned you.” the Rooster began. “We warned you but you would not listen would you.” “Yeah, we warned ya, Neidhart!” the Brawler chimed in.” “And then you went and got in the Beverly Brothers way.” continued the Rooster. “Very foolish. And I tell you something- I don’t like many people here in the World Wrestling Federation, but I really think I like Beau and Blake. They have class, they have style. And they don’t take any flack from anyone. Now next week, we’re scheduled for a match against the Hart Foundation. If I were you Bret I’d stay in Europe. At least you’re safe over there.” he said as he and the Brawler giggled over the last sentence. “Better yet, come to Superstars and forfeit the Intercontinental Title to me. I promise if you do that- and of course retire from wrestling and never let me see your ugly face again, you won’t wind up next to Neidhart in a hospital bed.” “Ta ta for now.” the Rooster said with a smug grin.
For a whole week the entire WWF speculated on how Bret will react to the “Anvil’s” beating and the ReTaylored Rooster’s offer. Finally Superstars arrived and the world was about to find out. Before the big tag match, the main event for Survivor Series was announced. Hulk Hogan would defend the World Wrestling Federation Championship against The Undertaker in what was billed as “The Gravest Challenge”. Additionally, for the first of many times, a second gigantic egg reappeared, with the promise it would hatch on Thanksgiving Eve at The Survivor Series. Speculation as to what it may be this year instantly ran rampant.
The main event arrived at last. The Rooster and the Brawler came down the ring quite arrogantly, not even expecting a fight. Then “The Hitman’s” music played. He walked down the aisle slowly, looking dejected, merely carrying the Intercontinental Title. “I think he’s going to give it up.” speculated the Honky Tonk Man. “Never.” Roddy Piper responded. “I agree totally.” Vince McMahon chimed in. Bret got to the ring and took the mic. “You know your attack last week on Jim really made “The Hitman” realize something: I made a mistake. A big mistake.” The Rooster and the Brawler both started to laugh in agreement. “While I was away defending my title in Europe, ‘The Anvil’ was all alone with no one to watch his back. He had to fend for himself. That’s not right.” The two heels now looked a little confused. “Well besides being my long-time tag-team partner and best friend, Jim is also married to my sister, Ellie. He’s my brother-in-law. And after a long Hart family meeting, a conclusion was reached that we have not all been watching each others backs properly. Starting now, that is going to change. As fate would have it, my sister Diana is also married to a wrestler. Let me introduce you gentleman to my new partner, Davey Boy Smith, The British Bulldog!” The crowd roared as the Bulldog’s music, “Rule, Britannia!” hit. The now unelated heels loudly voiced their discomfort. They attacked Bret before Davey Boy could make it to the ring. The Bulldog charged full speed ahead and in no time the four were going at it in a pier six brawl. It took Earl Hebner several minutes to restore order and even then it was limited. Eventually while he is removing an interfering Rooster yet again, the Brooklyn Brawler went to the floor and brought a chair in. Davey Boy grabbed it from the Brawler, Earl Hebner having turned around just in time to see both men holding it. When Davey Boy easily the stronger of the two, got full control of the chair and put it across the Brawler’s head, Hebner called for the bell, disqualifying both teams. Bret and the Rooster both reentered the ring, but the chair-wielding Bulldog cleared house in no time flat, leaving the two favorites standing to be cheered by an electric crowd.
Over the next several weeks the two brothers-in-law were booked in tag-team matches all over North America. Some with the Rooster and the Brawler, others with the Beverly Brothers. They wound up winning the majority of them though victory was not what was foremost on their minds. Many ended in disqualifications of one or both teams. Sometimes through various underhanded tactics, the heels were able to get a pinfall victory, whether it was using a chair, the Beverly’s manager the Genius’ steel scroll or just a well placed cheap shot when the referees back was turned.
As Fall progressed, more matches were announced for Survivor Series. On the next week’s Superstars, the first team match was announced; The Justice League (Captain- Sid Justice, The Big Bossman and The Legion of Doom ((The Road Warriors) Hawk and Animal) vs. The Serpents (Captain- Jake Roberts, The Natural Disasters (Earthquake and Typhoon) and Irwin R. Schyster (I.R.S.)).
The next day on Wrestling Challenge two new announcements were made. Jim Neidhart’s injury was not nearly as serious as initially thought and he would be making a full recovery and thus the second match for Survivor Series was announced as follows: The Hart Foundation (Captain- Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, The British Bulldog and a mystery partner) vs. The Rooster Boosters (Captain- The ReTaylored Rooster, The Brooklyn Brawler and The Beverly Brothers (Beau and Blake).
On the next edition of Superstars a third Survivor Series match was announced; Roddy’s Rowdies (Captain- “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Virgil and The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty)) vs. The Nature Team (Captain- Ric Flair, Ted Dibiase, The Mountie and The Warlord). Additionally, The Rooster Boosters gave a team speech. It started with all four Boosters and The Genius laughing it up. Finally the Rooster started: “Survivor Series 91 is just around the corner. God, can it be a year already since The ReTaylored Rooster made his triumphant return? Boy does time fly. And the WWF is trying to copy me with another egg. You know what guys?” “What Rooster?” they all asked. “I don’t care what’s in that egg. They’re just trying to reclaim past glory, that’s all. Everyone knows they’ll never be able to top the Rooster. But let ‘em entertain the peons.” “They peons, Rooster.” The Brooklyn Brawler added. “Now on to the Hart Foundation.” the Rooster continued. “Boys, you just do NOT learn your lesson do you? I mean we nearly destroyed “The Anvil …”. “Destroyed ‘em.” the Brawler interjected. “and come Thanksgiving Eve were finishing the job on all of you. I mean look at this team. You’ve got the finest wrestler alive today in The ReTaylored Rooster. You’ve got my man, the Brawler …” “I’m the man.” the Brawler again interjected. “… and you have the finest tag-team in the world and the world’s smartest man. As you know the Beverlies weren’t around during my last run, so I can’t accuse them of making fun of me. And The Genius is far too smart to do something like that.” At this The Genius shook his head and solemnly said “Never Rooster. I would never make fun of you.” “In fact, if I remember correctly, just last year he dumped Mr. Perfect!” The entire Booster crew laughs again. “Remember what they did to you Jim?” The Rooster continued. “And that time they were just clowning around.” The other four all laugh at this. “Well at Survivor Series we won’t be clowning around.” “Neidhart, you got lucky we didn’t destroy you for good last time.” Blake Beverly states. “At Survivor Series, don’t count on luck to save you.” “And who is this mystery partner anyway?” asked Beau Beverly. I mean we know it’s not The Undertaker (last year’s Survivor Series’ mystery wrestler) because he’s going to take the WWF Title from Hulk Hogan. Who knows, maybe they’re going to find a tall homeless guy and dress him like The Undertaker. Or maybe the turkey’ll be their partner.” The Rooster then added “Makes sense, because whoever it is, their goose is cooked!” The interview ended with all five laughing egregiously.
The build up to Survivor Series continues with Bret and Davey Boy continuing to regularly wrestle both the Rooster/Brawler team and the Beverly Brothers.
The Wrestling Challenge before Survivor Series, Bret defended the Intercontinental Title against Beau Beverly. It was a well fought match, Beau holding his own against the “Excellence of Execution.” But after a failed attempt at a Beau Bomb (double underhook suplex) that Bret countered into an inverted atomic-drop then followed with a lariat takedown, he found himself about to be put into the IC champion’s sharpshooter. This prompted The Genius to run in and attempt to hit “The Hitman” with his scroll- only to have Bret seize it from his hand and whack him with it. He then started using it on Beau which prompted Blake to run in. Soon after that the Bulldog ran in and the two fan favorites started cleaning house. Then The ReTaylored Rooster and The Brooklyn Brawler joined the fray and it looks like The Rooster Boosters would beat Bret and Davey Boy down with their 5 on 2 advantage. All of a sudden the crowd roared. Jim Neidhart, in street clothing, charged the ring carrying a crowbar, causing the Boosters to hastily retreat. His brothers-in-law gave him a warm welcome. “Good thing “The Anvil” was in the house tonight.” said Gorilla Monsoon. “Good thing indeed.” “Yeah but at Survivor Series he won’t be able to use that crowbar.” chimed in “The Brain”. “They better have a helluva mystery partner.” “You’re right about that, Bobby. You’re right about that.” said Monsoon. The show closed with the three Hart family members in the ring.
Just as a year before, besides wondering about the outcomes of the scheduled matches, the crowd in Dayton, OH and fans around the world were wondering two things: Who is the mystery partner? … And what is in that egg?
November 27, 1991: The Survivor Series
Joe Louis Arena was jam-packed to see this star-studded event. The night started off with Jack Tunney announcing that the “Macho Man” Randy Savage had been reinstated and would meet Jake Roberts in six days in San Antonio, TX. Also that because he was still injured (due to Jake “The Snake” Roberts having his cobra bite him arm while he was trapped on the ropes) and cannot replace the also injured Sid Justice (he hurt his arm while wrestling Roberts) and the injury is Robert’s fault- Robert’s would be pulled from the Justice League-Serpents match.
In the first encounter, Roddy’s Rowdies start off well against The Nature Team. The Rockers getting a surprisingly quick elimination of The Warlord with a double missile dropkicks from adjacent corners. After that, Roddy Piper hit The Mountie with a backdrop and got a pin. A few minutes after that, Michaels was holding Flair down for a Jannetty superkick, but “the Nature Boy” got out the way at the last second causing Jannetty to kick his partner instead. Michaels landed outside the ring. While checking on him, Flair took the opportunity to roll Jannetty up for the pin- holding a handful of trunks in typical Ric Flair fashion. Virgil then entered the ring. Marty Jannetty went to help up Shawn Michaels- who pushed him away and walked back to the dressing room without even being eliminated. Virgil fell prey to the Million-Dollar Dream of Ted Dibiase. It looked like Roddy Piper would share the same fate … but he countered it with a jaw-breaker then hit a stunned “Million Dollar Man” with a running high knee strike for the pin, evening the count. Dibiase caused a major stir, distracting the referee, allowing Ric Flair to hit Piper with a low-blow and follow up with a small package and a win for The Nature Team as sole survivor- quickly elevating the unwelcome newcomer’s status. Dibiase reentered the ring and the two heels embraced to the Detroit crowd’s chagrin.
The Cobra Corps (Captain- Sgt. Slaughter, “El Matador” Tito Santana, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Kerry Von Erich) swept The General’s Army (Captain Col. Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner and Hercules Hernandez). The Undertaker pinned Hulk Hogan for the World Wrestling Championship after Ric Flair threw a chair in the ring that The Undertaker used for a tombstone piledriver. A captainless Justice League beat the captainless Serpents fairly handily. A mistimed double team by IRS caused Typhoon’s elimination and Earthquake left with him. The already eliminated Big Bossman with his nightstick mad sure IRS did not walk out before finishing the match. It was then announced that Hulk Hogan would get a rematch in San Antonio against the Undertaker for the WWF Title and that do to the magnitude of the developing card, it would be available on pay-per-view.
Finally it was time for the last “survivor” match. Moments before, “Mean” Gene interviewed The Hart Foundation. All very antsy, “Mean” Gene started with “The Anvil”. “Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, great to have you back here at Survivor Series.” “Well ‘Mean’ Gene,” “The Anvil” says while playing with his beard. “The Retarded Rooster, The Brooklyn Bawler and the Beverly Sisters all tried to take me out. The Beverlies tried to break my head open. Lucky for me … I got a HARD head!” he said as he thumped his head with an open right hand. “And tonight, they’re all going to pay” He then laughed manically. “British Bulldog?” “Gene, it goes like this. Bret is my brother and Jim is my brother. And you jump on the Bulldog’s family, it’s like jumping on him. And the last thing you want to do is jump on an angry bulldog. Cause you’re gonna get bit! “Bret Hart?” “Tonight is the night. All the talking is done. The Hart family- fighting as one- is going to take down those four thugs who thought they could push us around.” “But Bret, you are supposed to have a mystery partner and I only see the three of you. Where is he? Is he even here in the Joe Louis Arena?” “Gene,” The Hitman responded, “as long as you’ve known me, have I ever let you down?” “Can’t say that you have, Bret, can’t say that you have?” Gene admitted. “Well then, trust me Gene, I’m not about to start tonight. Let’s go boys.” And at this the Hart Foundation left for the ring. “There you have it folks. God knows I’m pulling for those three.”
The ReTaylored Rooster’s music played and he and his Boosters made their way down the aisle to the crowd’s massive boos. When they got to the ring and the music stopped, Howard Finkel announced, “And now, The Genius would like to recite some poetry for you all.” “Not this.” said Gorilla Monsoon. The Genius Began:
On a cold Detroit Thanksgiving Eve night,
four mighty athletes stand before you in plain sight.
The Rooster whose skills and moves are by far the best.
The rugged Brawler who is tougher than all the rest.
Beau and Blake, the greatest tag-team in the land,
who carry the wisdom of The Genius in the palm of their hand.
Against them tonight we know of three,
and for them this ring is not at all the place to be.
Who the fourth man is still remains completely unclear.
Personally, I doubt he’ll even bother to appear.
“If he’s not a piece of work …” said Gorilla Monsoon as the crowd loudly showed their displeasure.
Then The Hart Foundation’s music hit and out they come. “And introducing their opponents, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart and The British Bulldog-The Hart Foundation!” said Howard Finkel. The three crowd favorites came down the aisle to massive cheers and applause. Bret gave his sunglasses to a kid in the audience and they entered the ring. “Oh no, there’s no fourth man!” said a disgruntled Bobby Heenan. “Let’s give it a little more time.” said Gorilla.
All of a sudden the camera focused on the gigantic egg. It was cracking. “What the hell is coming out of there?” asked Bobby Heenan. For about 30 seconds everyone in Joe Louis Arena and those watching at home on pay-per-view watched in anticipation. Then out of the egg came… The Blue Blazer! The Hart Foundation’s music started playing again and Howard Finkel said “And introducing the fourth member of The Hart Foundation- The Blue Blazer!” as The Blue Blazer spread his arms like wings and ran down the aisle. He joined the Hart team and after Earl Hebner sent The Genius back to the dressing room (managers were not allowed at ringside for Survivor matches), he signaled for the bell.
“The Anvil” started things off with The ReTaylored Rooster. The two got in each other’s face and trash-talked until Rooster shoved “Anvil” and fists flew. The match got quite intense, at one point all eight men were in the ring until The Hart Foundation cleared it to the crowd’s delight. Things eventually settled into a regular match. Davey Boy, on the wrong end of the Roster’s five arm, got knocked outside the ring into the Boosters’ corner. They promptly took the opportunity to get in massive cheap shots while the Rooster distracted the referee, and the Bulldog looked to be in trouble. He then wound up on the wrong end of a Beau-Plex, barely escaping at two. Beau then climbed to the top rope for a flying body press- only to have the Bulldog catch him with a powerslam and get a pinfall elimination. The Brooklyn Brawler immediately charged the Bulldog, hell-bent on evening the score. But Davey Boy was able to tag in Jim Neidhart and the two toughs went at it head on. About two minutes into their fighting, the Brawler threw “The Anvil” across the ropes for a clothesline and Neidhart was able to make a blind tag to “The Hitman”. Neidhart ducked the clothesline and put the Brawler in a bearhug and a second later Bret Hart finished the Hart Attack with a clothesline. He then pinned the Brawler to make it 4 to 2. Things looked bleak for the Rooster Boosters. About five minutes later after Blake Beverly had been beaten down, The British Bulldog set him up for a running powerslam. But Blake slipped down behind the Bulldog at the last second, pushed him headfirst into the turnbuckles, and then promptly rolled him up from behind. Three seconds and a handful of trunks later the count was 3-2. “The Anvil” went after Blake Beverly and got some good hits on him until the Rooster was tagged in. Neither showing an inch of give- the two went at it full steam. But Rooster was able to nail Neidhart hard with a five arm and got a quick pin from it. Next The Blue Blazer came in. A missed dropkick turned things to the Booster’s favor. They dominated the Blazer for several minutes, the Rooster getting the cock of the walk on him. But he was too close to the ropes and the Blazer was able to get his hands on them, forcing the Rooster to reluctantly break the hold. He then tagged Blake in who put the Blazer in airtight bearhug. Eventually he forced his way out by headbutting and punching Blake with everything left in him. He then kicked at the remaining Beverly only to have Blake catch his foot and laugh at him. Seizing the opportunity, the Blazer nailed Blake with an enzuigiri kick and got the pinfall. The Rooster immediately came in and started pounding on the masked Blazer. He quickly tried to put him in the rooster wing, but the Blazer flipped over his back and rolled him up. The Rooster kicked out at two, but he sent his opponent right into a fresh Bret Hart who promptly made the tag. Bret came in with a vengeance, pounding on his more tired opponent with everything he had. The Rooster was able to get a few kicks and punches in, but after reversing an Irish whip Bret nailed him with a hard clothesline and executed a successful bulldog. He then tagged in the Blazer, who after a bodyslam, locked in the sharpshooter. The Rooster very badly wanted to stay in it, but eventually realizing the gig was up, begrudgingly submitted.
As the crowd roared and Howard Finkel announced the Hart Foundation as the winners, the Blazer did not release the sharpshooter right away. He completely ignored Earl Hebner’s demands for a release. Finally he did release it … when Bret tapped him on the shoulder upon seeing “The Anvil” and the Bulldog returning to the ring … carrying a bucket and a bag, respectively. Upon releasing the hold, the Blazer started to take off his mask. A moment later it was off. “I KNOW WHO THAT IS! THAT’S OWEN HART! THE BROTHER OF BRET HART!” Bobby ‘the Brain” Heenan exclaimed. “Sure is.” responded Gorilla Monsoon. “Makes perfect sense, too. After all, they are The HART Foundation.” When he got in the ring, “The Anvil” picked up the ReTaylored Rooster and put him in a bearhug. Bret Hart then promptly nailed him with a running clothesline. The British Bulldog then picked him up and hit his running powerslam. Owen Hart then climbed to the top rope and connected with a splash on the fallen Rooster. At this point, The Brooklyn Brawler, the Beverly Brothers and The Genius reappeared by the entrance ramp. The Hart Foundation all turned around- while still keeping a close eye on the Rooster to make sure he didn’t escape. The Harts all dared the Boosters to charge the ring, ready for another fight. Amazingly still conscious, the Rooster is watching his comrades from the ring canvas After a few seconds, the Rooster’s mouth dropped in shock and horror as The Genius said “This isn’t our fight, boys.” and turned and walked back to the dressing room, quickly followed by his two charges. A moment later it dropped even further as the Brawler shrugged his shoulders and said “Not tonight, boss.” and turned and followed his other three comrades. At this point Jim Neidhart grabbed the bucket he brought into the ring, opened the top and poured tar all over the Rooster. Then Owen grabbed the bag, opened it and proceeded with the help of all three of his family members to dump blue feathers all over the Rooster, finally giving “The Anvil” some much needed revenge and the ReTaylored Rooster a much more needed dose of his own medicine. The pay-per-view ended with the four Hart family members standing triumphantly over their defeated enemy.
In a Coliseum Home Video Exclusive: The ring had now cleared out except for the Rooster, beaten and feathered, still lying on the ring floor. He finally got up extremely slowly. Having what has happened dawn on him, he started jumping up and down in anger causing the crowd to laugh at him. He then very stiffly walked back to the dressing room, ignoring the fans taunts and catcalls. Once behind the curtain he started calling for his teammates. “Brawler… Beau… Blake… Genius… why didn’t you come and save me? Why? Why?” Seeing referee Danny Davis, he ran over and grabbed him asking him if he’s seen his team. “Where are they? Where are they?” “I don’t know! Let go of me!” Davis pulled himself off the Rooster and hightailed it away from him. The Rooster made it to his dressing room, nearly crying at this point. “Guys, where are you? What happened!? Why’d you leave me there? Why didn’t you help me? He then looked at his arms again and again and looks down at the rest of his body. He then looked into a mirror and his anger grows exponentially. “Owen … Owen Hart. I’m gonna get you for this!” “Aaaah!” he started to yell then ran over and kicked a large table then turned it over while still screaming. The camera cut out with the Rooster screaming over and over again while trashing his dressing room.
Over the next six days on Superstars, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling, the WWF heavily promoted its impromptu This Tuesday in Texas pay-per-view. It was announced that in addition to the Jake Roberts vs. Randy Savage match and the Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan WWF Title rematch, that The ReTaylored Rooster had demanded a match against Owen Hart … and “The Rocket” had accepted his challenge.
December 3, 1991: This Tuesday in Texas
Moments before his match with Owen Hart, the Rooster is interviewed by Sean Mooney. “ReTaylored Rooster, in a moment you have a big match with “The Rocket” Owen Hart. But what do you have to say about your Rooster Booster team abandoning you at Survivor Series?” With a sadistic glare in his eyes and speaking very slowly, the Rooster said “Don’t worry about the Boosters. Not right now. I’ll deal with them when the time is right. And they will pay for betraying me. They will pay dearly. But right now, I’m focused on one person and one person only; and that is Owen Hart. Owen, first you steal my idea of coming out of the egg. Then you use my own hold to beat me. (Raising his voice) And then to add insult to injury, you, your no good brother and your two idiotic brother-in-laws dump feathers on me! Well Owen, better call Stu and Helen one last time and tell them that you love them- because you’re going back to Calgary in a pine box!” The Rooster then threw the microphone down and stormed away from the interview area for his match.
The Rooster made his way down to the ring for his match. Moments later, to a thunderous ovation by the San Antonio crowd, Owen followed, looking very focused and intense. The two then go at it with everything they have. The match is very rough, rules often get bent and more than once the action wound up on the outside. Yet it is surprisingly scientific and not so surprisingly, considering both men’s repertoire’s, very high-flying. Both men exchanged dropkicks and flying bodypresses. Many near falls happen in the first 20 minutes of action. At about 22 minutes in, Owen had the upper hand and was pounding the Rooster. He went for a kick only to have the Rooster grab his left leg. He then attempted an enzuigiri, but the Rooster saw it coming and ducked. Holding on to Owen’s left leg, he attempted to put him in the cock of the walk, but Owen turned it into a small package and nearly got a three count. The two go at it for a little more. Finally at the 27 minute mark, both men are running across the ropes leapfrogging and ducking under one and other when Owen caught the Rooster in a perfect running headscissors and is able to take him down for the 3 count. The Rooster, started pounding the ground in sheer anger and frustration, but before he could leave the ring or attack Owen, “The Hitman”, “The Anvil” and The British Bulldog stormed the ring and surrounded him.
The Rooster immediately popped up and clenched his fists, daring the four men to attack him. Owen however, took the microphone. “Wait! Wait. Hold on, Terry. Hold on! Listen to me. You have to hear me out!” “There is nothing I want to hear from you!” the Rooster yelled back at him. “Yes there is Terry. Yes there is. Listen, you were once considered the greatest rising star in this industry. Bar none. Everyone said you were a natural to become the next huge megastar. Then what happens? You come to the World Wrestling Federation, join up with Bobby Heenan and his riff-raff and become ‘The Red Rooster’.” “Hey now.” “The Brain” said on commentary. “He is right.” responded Gorilla Monsoon. “And what did that do to you?” Owen continued. “It sucked out all your confidence, that’s what. You couldn’t win a big name match to save your life. Right?” The Rooster nodded. “Well, guess what? It wasn’t just you! Think I liked being dressed like a big bluebird? Owen Hart, said to be the next big rising star in wrestling, from the greatest wrestling family ever, turned into an oversized Sesame Street character! I couldn’t win a big match either. But Terry, therein lies the difference between us. You snapped. BAD. And then you come back to the World Wrestling Federation and declare war on all the boys, none of whom had any part in you being dressed like a bird. And then you attack one of the most beloved announcers of our day? Yeah, you were wronged, but you’re not the only one whose made an ass of himself before and that is not how you respond. You do what I did tonight: You put on your tights lace up your boots, go out and win matches and prove everyone who laughed at you wrong. You don’t go humiliating people Terry, you just don’t do it. Look I sympathize with you. I really do. That’s why I talked to my family here about it. They all agreed- though Jim took some convincing (“The Anvil” nodded) -that we’re willing to bury the hatchet. Yeah, we humiliated you last night, but you and your buddies hurt and humiliated Jim first. Hell, his career was almost ended. And Terry, you should’ve known, if you jump on one Hart, you jump on all of us. And where were your so-called friends and partners last Wednesday? They went to the back, that’s where. Because they’re cowards! No good cowards! And that’s the kind of people you will be associating with forever if you don’t change your ways. The Brooklyn Brawler’s a bum Terry, a bum! He always was and always will be. It doesn’t matter if you buy him expensive suits to wear, he will always be nothing but trash. Well we’re even now. But I warn you, keep on this path and you will continue to wind up face down beaten and humiliated with no real friends at all- not one. Terry … we’re not here to beat you up. You’re free to go.”
The four cleared a path for the Rooster. He walked slowly to the ropes and got halfway out before pausing. The crowd then started to cheer him. He then slowly walked back in. He walked over to Owen and shook his hand, then did the same to Bret and the Bulldog. He then slowly walked over to Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and normally always bold, lowered his eyes a little as he offered the bigger “Anvil” his hand and said “I’m sorry Jim, I really am.” After several moments pause, Neidhart took it, the two shook and the crowd clapped and cheered. After turning toward Owen again and saying “Thank you.”… Terry Taylor left the ring.
The following is an excerpt from WrestleGold: The Very Best of Pro Wrestling by R.D. Reynolds and Randy Baer.
From Chapter 1. Stand Back! That Egg Is Ready to Blow!
If there was ever an angle in pro wrestling that was perfect from beginning to end, “the ReTaylored Rooster” was it. It was undoubtedly the greatest “revenge” angle in pro wrestling history. Granted, during that time period it was overshadowed with the “Sgt. Slaughter betraying the United States for Iraq angle.” However, as well as the Sarge played the role, it made absolutely no sense for him to betray his country for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (especially since he had long been portrayed as the epitome of an American hero/military man, even being on the G.I. Joe cartoon show as well as having his own action figure from the show).
On the other hand, having Terry Taylor come back wanting revenge for his previous humiliation made perfect sense. And the angle was executed with a perfect formula: 1) The build-up. The WWF advertised the giant egg for months having everyone wondering just what it was. Incredible as it seems, the great matches on the card took secondary status to a gigantic egg. 2) The delivery. Initially it looked like they had dropped the ball, bringing back a perennial mid-carder like the Red Rooster. But when he started attacking “Mean” Gene Okerlund with a rock & roll version of “Turkey in the Straw” playing in the background … it was just sadistic. 3) The follow-up. Then having Terry Taylor become the vigilante ReTaylored Rooster, hell-bent on humiliating other WWF Superstars by tarring and feathering them just as he had once been humiliated was perfect irony. 4) Development. After that, they had him target the man who had him become the Red Rooster in the first place; his former manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Besides, having the guts to do a heel (wrestling term for bad guy) vs. heel feud, it also made perfect sense. In turn, this allowed great matches between him and Bobby Heenan’s top gun, Mr. Perfect. 5) Conclusion. Too often in wrestling, a promoter does not know when to stop with an angle or gimmick because, quite simply, it is still making money. The problem is, by not advancing the story, the idea gets stale and then you’re stuck with a guy everyone is tired of seeing. After all, the ReTaylored Rooster was a “revenge” gimmick. How long did it have to go before he had gotten an adequate amount of revenge? Although the Rooster was still hot, the World Wrestling Federation’s writers knew it would be better in the long term to bring him back to his traditional Terry Taylor gimmick. And by putting him in a feud with the Hart family, that is just what happened.
And having Owen Hart, who had himself been put in an idiotic “bird” gimmick years earlier as well, pop out of the egg a year later as the Blue Blazer, and consequently teach the Rooster that in spite of being wronged, one should still be a good guy, accomplished two vital things simultaneously: It turned the ReTaylored Rooster back into Terry Taylor and it instantly got Owen over with the crowd (wrestling term meaning the fans are interested in that wrestler).
The ReTaylored Rooster gimmick took Terry Taylor, a man once thought to be Ric Flair’s natural successor, but whom most wrestling experts now said that his career was over due to the horrible Red Rooster gimmick, and made him a bigger star than ever. A classic example of spinning straw into gold- wrestlegold.
(R.D. Reynolds (the pen/wrestling name of Randy Baer) is not only the writer of the WrestleGold book, he has also run the WrestleGold Web-site since 2000. Each year its readers, appropriately called gold diggers, vote for the best angle/gimmick for that year in professional wrestling, in which the winner receives the prestigious Rooster award.)