Thus began Sky Sports’ coverage of Premiership football. Britain’s eyes can be thankful that intro videos are no longer taking the steroids that made this pre-match hype video akin to the preamble that begins WWF wrestling events. Of course, it’s easy for me to ridicule the hyperbole, but then I forget about the marketing synergy that saw the FA and WWF stage a string of lucrative crossover events during the 1992-93 season. Here are some of the highlights from an exciting, if thoroughly misguided, year.
* Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Oldham Athletic’s club badge
I think we all remember this for the merciless slaughter of an owl at the behest of ‘Damien’, the Snakeman’s beloved-but-ruthless pet cobra. Interference from then-Oldham manager Joe Royle with a steel chair was to no avail, but the shocking image of him wobbling down the aisle with a Mitre kit-bag, only to produce said foreign object from within, will endure for generations to come.
* Richard Keys and Andy Gray vs. The Legion of Doom
Pre-match hype was dominated by talk of Team Sky’s inflappable blend of smooth autocue reading and football punditry, but it was no match for the brute force of the LOD. Animal no-sold Keys’ constant declarations that Sky was the only place to see live Premiership Football, crushing him with a powerslam that fractured his anchorman spine. Gray’s prediction that the previous season’s League Champions, Leeds United, would fail to mount a serious title challenge was brushed aside by a pummelling salvo of physical torment (history would, of course, prove Gray right though. Leeds finished 17th in the table that year). Attempted interference from Martin Tyler came to nothing, as the LOD sealed a convincing win with the Doomsday Device.
* Teddy Sheringham vs Hulk Hogan
In theory, this was an ideal choice to main event what proved to be the only SoccerMania pay-per-view. Sheringham had enjoyed a fine first season with Tottenham Hotspur, finishing as the Premiership’s top scorer with 22 goals. However, Hulkamania was running really rather wild at this point, having registered 7.4 on the Richter Scale prior to this contest. It wasn’t to last and, with Hogan’s artistic differences with Christopher Lloyd blighting the filming of Suburban Commando, preparations for this match suffered. That being said, he still scored the win with the giant leg-drop after an attempted through-ball from Sheringham failed to find a marauding Nicky Barmby.
* Wimbledon FC vs. The Natural Disasters, Money Inc., The Nasty Boys, The Steiner Brothers, The Rockers and The Big Boss Man
A classic Survivor Series-style elimination brawl, notable for Efan Ekoku memorably revealing himself to be the alter ego of ‘The Bird Man’ Koko B. Ware, before siding with his WWF cohorts. This shocking turn wasn’t tolerated by Vinnie Jones, who kicked him in the gob, but still claimed to have played the ball. After a spate of quick-fire pin-fall eliminations, Wimbledon’s surviving pair of Hans Segers and John Fashanu faced the daunting task of fighting off four men. Fashanu’s top-rope elbow drop despatched of Earthquake, while Segers saw off Typhoon with a small package. Segers was soon pinned by Brian Knobbs, and with a sole Fashanu seemingly beaten, Dean Holdsworth emerged from under the ring to clean house, sealing the shock win with a nutmeg through the legs of The Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase.