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This Week In WWE Vintage Collection History: Rowdy Matt Striker, Lord Daniel Bryan, Kofi "The Dragon" Kingston And The Ultimate Miz

By Aaron Wood Nov 27, 2011 - 2:16 PM print

The first thing of note was that Roddy Piper was done with the show, and we were back to Mean Gene Okerlund. However, we were still in the mood to mix things up a little bit. Before wowing the WWE Universe today, the current Superstars and Divas were inspired to do so by their childhood favourites. So (I assume for a number of weeks) the show was going to give some of them the chance to reveal who inspired their paths to WWE. While the first superstar hasn't won a title or headlined Wrestlemania, he's enlightened many at the announce booth. That's right, Gene was burying the in-ring career of our teacher, Matt Striker.

We cut to a pre-taped interview of Striker. I assume it's not lifted from a DVD, since not everyone featured will have had DVD's for this stuff to be lifted from. He said he was rather shy and introverted as a kid, but one superstar helped bring his personality out as he could channel emotion whether you loved or hated him. That man was Rowdy Roddy Piper.

We cut to Madison Square Garden on February 23rd 1992, at a live event/MSG Network show as Roddy, with the IC Title came out for a non-title match against the Repo Man. We got a shot of Repo Man making his entrance, awesomely hugging a woman at ringside and stealing her watch...

Before the break, Mean Gene was effusive about Daniel Bryan's abilities in the ring saying we'd hear who inspired him (like you can't guess), although after the break we, rather oddly, got the promo video about their European tour.

After the break, Daniel Bryan was immediately into putting over William Regal and how he was great technically, how rough (hard hitting) he was with it and also how charismatic he is with his facial expressions. This led us back to WCW Monday Nitro on December 16th 1996 as Lord Steven Regal defended the WCW TV Title against Psychosis.

Well, that first the show is referred to as "nWo Monday Nitro". However, this wasn't the infamous episode where they literally stopped the show to remove all the WCW insignia. That wouldn't happened for literally 53 weeks (December 22nd 1997). The show, for which this first match was the opener, saw the nWo eject Schiavone and Larry Z from the booth, and they simply renamed the evening "nWo Monday Nitro".

Gene cued up Kofi Kingston and his inspiration as having high flying attributes in common. and after the break, we went to Kofi pre-taped interview as he talked about Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, remembering growing up being into the martial arts and high flying guys, with Steamboat being a hybrid of both and thus being his big inspiration. We cut to Madison Square Garden once again, this time on July 1st 1991 for a match against our very own Paul Roma, in a match that aired on Prime Time Wrestling on August 5th.

Before the break, Gene revealed that The Miz would reveal his inspiration next, wondering if his choice would surprise us. When we got to his pick upon returning, his answer was rather surprising. He chose The Ultimate Warrior. He talked about the energy his entrance brought to the arena, and how you'd never know what he was going to say or what would happen next.

We cut back to Mean Gene in the studio as he set up our main event for the week, as he noted Miz wasn't the only one captivated by The Ultimate Warrior. However, in the early 90's, there was another Superstar doing just the same. The Undertaker. Looking to become the company's one true phenom, Taker tried to vanquish the Warrior on a number of occasions.

And once again, it was back to MSG and indeed the name July 1st 1991 event that the Steamboat/Roma match took place on. While this match didn't make Prime Time, it was the main event of the show when it aired on the MSG Network and made the "The Undertaker's Most Dangerous Matches" DVD release last year. What was so dangerous about it? Well, the only way the match could end was when either Warrior or Taker ended up in a BODY BAG...

The victory was "in the bag" for Warrior, which was possibly a performance which inspired The Miz to fight through the adversary he'd face on his way to joining the annuls of those who were WWE Champion. While that was the end of this show, Gene assured us we were just getting started on the "Inspiration" series, as more would tell us who encouraged them to become the household names they are today.

I've mentioned Roddy Piper & The Repo Man in this time-frame before. Quite a lot in Piper's case, it feels like. Might calm down now that he's gone. Suffice to say though, neither Piper or Repo were long for the company. Lord Steven Regal would lose the TV Title in February 1997 to Prince Iaukea. This was a move on WCW's part to cash in on The Rock winning the IC Title on Thursday RAW Thursday. Indeed, Iaukea won the TV Title just four days after The Rock's win.

WCW's notion was that Rock was the son of Rocky Johnson. Prince Iaukea was portrayed as the boy of King Curtis Iaukea (he wasn't but had Curtis' blessing to use the name) and so decided to pitch with some of what the WWE was selling with The Rock. Both experiments failed miserably. But I digress. Regal would actually win the TV Title in May at Slamboree, but not before Ultimo Dragon had actually won it the month prior.

As it goes, Psychosis himself wasn't long for a feud with Ultimo Dragon. He would turn heel and take on Sonny Onoo as his manager, although ultimately, Dragon would win every time and the feud culminating at the Great American Bash.

Ricky Steamboat was heading for his only PPV appearance in his second stint with the company at this point, as he'd team with The Texas Tornado and British Bulldog in a six-man tag against The Warlord And Power & Glory. Steamboat won the match for his team, pinning Roma. Steamboat would be undefeated on TV in this run, and indeed, his only house show loss would be to Skinner. However, before the Survivor Series, he was seemingly booked to be squashed by The Undertaker as he was set to win the WWE Title from Hogan at that event, only for Steamboat to baulk at that and leave the company.

After the Summerslam loss, Paul Roma's days in the WWE were rather numbered, as Power & Glory came to an end, one of their last matches seeing them lose to the LOD in England. Roma soon left after this, turning up in WCW in 1993 to take a spot as one of the then-new Four Horsemen. And lest we forget that we hosts Glorious right here on ClubWWI...

During this period in Warrior's career, he was literally only a couple of weeks away from the beginning of the famous angle where Jake Roberts volunteered to show Warrior how to beat Taker by giving him "knowledge of the dark side", which involved a series of tests, which culminated in Roberts tricking Warrior and having a snake bite him, before revealing he and Taker had worked together all along. This was to set up a long-term feud with Roberts after Summerslam.

At Summerslam 91 itself, Warrior was actually in a match teaming with Hulk Hogan against Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa and Gen. Adnan, rather than anything against Taker or Roberts. However, before the event, Warrior and the WWE got into a dispute over pay and Vince fired Warrior after paying him a bunch of money up front after Warrior returned through the curtain after the PPV match.

As noted earlier, Undertaker was on the path to winning the WWE Title at the 1991 Survivor Series, although he didn't actually have a match at Summerslam. When he beat Hogan for the title, he actually became the youngest WWE champion at the time, a record beaten by Yokozuna a couple of years later.

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