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WRESTLING COLUMNS

MSG's Greatest Moments Part 2
October 28, 2006 by Stephen P.


Editor's Notes: You may have noticed that there are multiple columns up on the website about the rumored return of Degeration-X. If you read a column (ANY column) and decide to send in feedback, PLEASE be sure to indicate which column you are responding to by typing the TITLE of the column in the subject line. Also, DO NOT FORGET to sign your name. Thanks!


On September 12, 2006, ECW aired for the very first time from Madison Square Garden. Of course, this is not what true ECW fans remember ECW as, but nevertheless, on that night, MSG was taken to the extreme. However, it wasn't the first time that the fans at MSG were treated to a brutal night of wrestling. It was in January of 2000 when MSG hosted one of the most violent matches that the WWF had ever assembled.

The feud between Triple H and Mick Foley escalated on December 27, 1999. Triple H had grown tiresome of The Rock and Mankind trying to ruin his plans of domination. It was on this night that Triple H set up the very first "Pink Slip on a Pole" Match. The Rock and Mankind battled to see which of the two could get possession of the pink slip. It looked like Mankind would be able to win when Al Snow knocked out The Rock with his mannequin head. Mankind took out Snow, not wanting to win that way. Later in the match, Mankind was knocked off the ropes to the floor and The Rock climbed the pole and retrieved the pink slip, throwing it down in frustration that his friend would be fired.

Later that evening, Triple H challenged The Big Show for the WWF Championship. How fitting it was that Mick Foley returned that night and cost "The Game" the strap. On the next SmackDown, Foley had a sit down interview, basically saying that he didn't know what to do. Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and X-Pac were all watching. X-Pac began to laugh and Triple H seemed serious. Triple H then began to scream at X-Pac and put him in a match with The Big Show. Even worse, if X-Pac lost, he would have been fired. However, it was all a hoax. As X-Pac was being destroyed, The Road Dogg ran to the ring, followed by Billy Gunn, and then, Triple H. The four men put a beating on the giant and left the Champion bloodied and battered. This led to yet another WWF Championship match on Raw with The Big Show defending against Triple H. This time, Triple H was able to get the pin and become the WWF Champion for the third time. However, Triple H continued his reign of terror, targeting The Rock on this night. Triple H set up a Three on One Handicap Match, pitting The New Age Outlaws against The Rock.

If The Rock lost, he would also be fired. Right before the match, The Rock stormed Degeneration X's room and put a small beating on his opponents. However, when the match began, the number's game was too much. Triple H and Stephanie were watching the match from a recliner on the stage, drinking champagne. The Rock showed some signs of life, even hitting The People's Elbow, but each time The Rock had a chance, it was always broken up. The Road Dogg went to retrieve a chair when Mick Foley jumped the barricade and knocked the chair back into the face of The Road Dogg and laid out X-Pac, Billy Gunn and Triple H with chair shots before leaving. The Rock began to get back to his feet and he caught Billy Gunn with a Rock Bottom for the win and to save his job.

The next week, all of the wrestlers except for Degeneration X surrounded the ring with The Rock in the middle of it. He demanded Triple H that he would rehire Mick Foley or the wrestlers would walk. Triple H rehired him and later that night set up a tag team contest. That night, Triple H teamed with Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac to face Mankind, The Rock & The Acolytes. During the contest, Triple H opened Mankind up. However, that didn't stop Mankind who went on a rampage and showed off his "guns" so to speak. Triple H came out on the next SmackDown and talked about how bad he destroyed Mankind on Raw and how he was going to destroy him in their Street Fight at the Royal Rumble. Then, Mankind appeared on the stage and rattled off a speech saying Mankind is in no shape to wrestle Triple H in a Street Fight. Then, Mankind took his mask off and took his traditional white shirt off, revealing his Cactus Jack shirt and made the match at the Royal Rumble a Street Fight between Triple H and Cactus Jack. In the weeks leading up to it, you could tell that this match was going to be something special, something that you really haven't seen in the WWF at that point in time. Finally, it was time for the match, and it was very violent. Early in the contest, Triple H nearly cracked Cactus Jack's head open with a chair. Triple H taunted and Cactus got back to his feet. Soon after, Cactus went to the floor and grabbed his two by four wrapped in barbed wire. Before he could use it, Triple H got his hands on it and nailed Cactus in the back and stomach. You could even see the barb wire pull up Cactus Jack's shirt and who know what else. Cactus was able to get the upper hand as the referee picked up the barbed wire two by four and one of the Spanish Announcers put it underneath their table. Cactus was putting a beating on Triple H and searched for the two by four. He approached Hebner and demanded it. Jack nearly took out the ref when Hebner told him that the Spanish announcers had it. Jack went over and knocked out one of them before the other handed it to him. Back in the ring, Jack nailed Triple H with it, and also struck him in the face, busting him wide open.

Jack even ran the two by four back and forth into the open wound of Triple H, who was completely covered in his own blood. Cactus Jack then tried to hit Triple H with a piledriver through the announcer's table but Triple H hit a back body drop and destroyed the structure. There was a really great shot of Triple H's blood dripping from his forehead onto the table. Soon after, Cactus gave Triple H a bulldog into the two by four and nearly won the match. Triple H came back and eventually handcuffed Jack's arms together. Triple H picked up the steel ring steps and ran towards Jack who countered with a drop toe hold and Triple H fell down into the steel. Foley was winning a fight without the use of his hands. He even bit Triple H's ear, trying to rip it off his face. Triple H picked up a chair and nailed Jack with it. The two were fighting towards the stage and Triple H continually nailed Cactus. Cactus even asked for more and right before Triple H used it again, The Rock emerged from the stage and cracked Triple H with a chair. Then a New York City Police Officer took the handcuffs off of Jack and then Cactus hit a piledriver on Triple H into the Spanish Announcer's table. Then Jack reached underneath the ring to pull out a large sack. He dumped out thousands of thumbtacks. At this point, Stephanie McMahon, who was instructed not to be at ringside, ran down to try to stop this match. Jack continued and tried to knock Triple H into the tacks. Jack moved back and ran full bore towards Triple H. However, this resulted in a back body drop directly into the tacks. The tacks were sticking out of Foley's back and Triple H delivered a Pedigree. He covered Cactus, but he kicked out at two. Triple H waited for Cactus to get back up and hit a sick looking Pedigree into the thumbtacks. Triple H covered him again but this time Cactus stayed down. Triple H won the match but took a really bad beating. The EMTs put him on a stretcher, but Cactus Jack got up and went after Triple H. He pushed the stretcher towards the ring and gave Triple H one last parting shot with the barbed wire two by four.

I believe that this match solidified Triple H as a real main event superstar. It also elevated him to heights that were incredible in this business. Triple H became a man who was capable of having a really good wrestling match and could adapt to hardcore matches like it's nothing. This was also a crowing moment for Mick Foley, who was able to leave the wrestling business the same way he came in. This was the night however that will stick in my mind as the night where MSG became the home of the Knicks, the Rangers and the most extreme match in WWF history at that point in time. That's just my opinion, anyway.

by Stephen P.


Matty G (Sydney) wrote:
I recently watched this match again as part of the History of the Championship DVD set. You have described it very well. Not seeing much ECW at the time here in Australia, this one was particularly brutal. One of the best from a time where the WWF was at the top of its game.
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