Amid the dawn of the Attitude Era, WWE looked to push boundaries, introducing "WWE Shotgun Saturday Night" in January 1997, which ran until August 1999. Broadcasted from an array of upscale New York City nightclubs, this show catered more to the urban adult crowd rather than the conventional weekly TV audience.
Controversies were frequent, a glaring example being Terri Runnels baring her top to divert The Sultan during his match against Goldust in the premiere episode. However, even with its risqué nature, there were boundaries.
Bruce Prichard, a key WWE executive, shed light on this on his "Something to Wrestle" podcast. He reminisced about approaching Terry Funk, the wrestling icon, with an offer for a WWE comeback for the Royal Rumble 1997. That weekend, I would also witness Funk wrestling Bret Hart at San Antonio's Denim & Diamonds nightclub.
Before their "Shotgun Saturday Night" bout, Prichard briefed Funk on the expectations. "You're up against Bret. Deliver a fantastic match, put him over, maybe add a short promo," Prichard conveyed. He emphasized the live nature of the broadcast, urging Funk to be cautious with his language.
Terry Funk Controversial Outburst
Contrary to Prichard's plea, Funk unleashed a barrage of derogatory remarks during his pre-match address, notably labelling Vince McMahon a "Yankee bastard" and Jim Ross an "Oklahoma son of a b***h." He even had choice words for Hart's lineage.
Subsequent to this outburst, Prichard pointed fingers at Funk for the show's removal from several networks. "People often ask what led to the demise of 'Shotgun Saturday Night'? My answer? Terry Funk. His unrestrained comments were the final straw," lamented Prichard.
Prichard also shared a comical moment when, amidst the showdown with Hart, Funk playfully dumped him into a trough filled with icy beer. "I was drenched, with no change of attire," Prichard added. This misadventure coincided with a group of inebriated cowboys merrily line dancing and belting country songs in the background.
Concluding the wild tale, Prichard noted that Funk's January 1997 WWE stint was short-lived, as he soon transitioned back to ECW. Nevertheless, he made a comeback to WWE later that year, donning a new persona: Chainsaw Charlie.