Great Ideas That Didn’t Last: WWF Shotgun Saturday Night

saturday_night wwf

Brian Damage

Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative…but for various reasons….faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.

In January of 1997, the WWF was in the middle of a promotional war with WCW for pro wrestling supremacy. While Raw was still the flagship program for the WWF….a new…secondary show was created. About 2 years before the birth of Smackdown there was a show called ‘Shotgun Saturday Night.’ It was innovative and truly something unique that was never tried before by the WWF.

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What made this show so different from Raw? Firstly, it was broadcast late nights on Saturdays. Secondly, the shows were initially not held in a typical arena..but rather nightclubs and bars and even a train station. It seemed at least to me upfront…Raw was the A show to compete with World Championship Wrestling…While Shotgun was the B show and would go after a fringe audience to compete with ECW.

shotgun

It seemed that they first tried out all of their raunchiest material on Shotgun before moving it up to the Raw brand. The language was more colorful…the women dressed in skimpier outfits and the gimmicks were more outlandish. For example…

The Debut of the Flying Nuns

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It was actually the future Headbangers in a Nun gimmick…Sister Angelica and Mother Smucker. They were first known as the Flying Nuns and later called the Sisters of Love managed by Brother Love.

Marlena Goes Topless

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During a match between Goldust and The Sultan (Rikishi)…Marlena (Terri Runnels) took off her top to distract the Sultan. There were pasties covering her up a little…and her back was to the camera…but definitely shocking for its time.

Goldust Reveals He is Pregnant

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Speaking of Goldust…a brief angle occurred when Goldust announced on Shotgun that he was pregnant! He then said he would give birth the next week on Shotgun…but the angle was seemingly swept under the rug.

Triple H takes a Tombstone Pile driver on an Escalator

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A match between Triple H and The Undertaker took place in New York city’s Penn Station. The conclusion of the match saw Triple H take the maneuver on the top of an escalator and then his lifeless body slowly went down the escalator.

A Sunny Sex Video

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Sunny revealed a sex tape of her cuddling with a life sized Elmo in a thong…no kidding! The part of Elmo was played by Todd Pettengill.

Unique Graphics

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Various wrestlers would appear on the show and have cute sayings under their name..such as the above picture.

Terry Funk Vs Stone Cold in Texas Bar Room Brawl

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This was very cool on so many levels…but it was the alleged aftermath of this fight that changed the course of Shotgun for good. Terry Funk being Terry Funk started cursing on live TV which led Vince McMahon to pull the plug on the live late night club atmosphere and put the matches into a taped arena setting.

Once the shows went from live to taped before an edition of Raw…Shotgun began to lose its luster. It seemed like it went from extraordinary to just ordinary. Granted, there were a few historic moments that still transpired on the show.

Brian Pillman

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When Shotgun moved to the arenas…Vince McMahon and Sunny were out as the announcers and in came Jim Ross and Brian Pillman. Brian Pillman added color commentary like only he could do. That is until he was removed from the broadcasting table for attacking a “fan” with a pencil. Shotgun also holds the distinction of being the show to have the very last appearance of Pillman before his untimely death in October of 1997.

The Formation of The New Age Outlaws

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Yep, it didn’t take place on Raw or Wrestling Challenge or WWF Superstars….it happened on Shotgun Saturday Night. The rest became tag team history for Billy Gunn and The Road Dogg Jesse James.

The show would last until 1999, when it seemed that the entire concept became irrelevant as most of the risque storylines and gimmicks were now happening on Raw. Shotgun Saturday Night would be canceled and or renamed with WWF Jakked.

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While Shotgun didn’t last all that long…it certainly laid down a strong foundation for the World Wrestling Federation to take their product from the cartoon-ish to the more adult variety. Rest in Peace Shotgun Saturday Night.

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