WCW Saturday Night: January 4, 1997

After compiling over 180 recaps dedicated to 1996 alone, I had to ask myself, “do I really want to do this again?” I sought advice from a higher power, but my wife just looked at me disgusted and informed me “you’re wasting your time”. However, not once have I denied my time wastefulness, so she was of no help at all.
When it came down to it, however, I knew I needed to continue to move forward. Not for me. Not for you. But for Fit Finlay. He deserves answers, and closure.
Our year starts with all systems operating within normal designed parameters. Translated for you, John Q Reader, the Cyborg Machine is working overtime.
TONY SCHIAVONE and DUSTY RHODES talk about the biggest news of the week: the multiple losses by the Faces of Fear Roddy Piper. Or, “Rod-ah Paipah”, if you weel.

With Scott Norton’s defection to the nWo, a new Scott Norton was clearly needed, and that’s where Jim Richland comes in, complete with haircut and matching Scott Norton tights.
Now, it’s important to note, that Richland is roughly half the size of the Real Scott Norton, and can’t even capture the appropriate scruff in his facial hair, but a solid C-minus for his effort. Now, what he lacks in personal appearance, he makes up for in wrestling ability; matching Norton almost spot for spot, by hitting a powerbomb, and staring up at the lights following a missile dropkick at 4:41. This match was quite good, and probably deserved my play-by-play, but I was too busy trying to decide whether or not Leroy Howard could make a quality half-Ice Train if he threw on a blue singlet, just to beef up the tag-team division. **1/2
LEE MARSHALL is hanging out in Chris Jericho’s private locker room, but Chris doesn’t appear surprised to see him. What kind of relationship do they have where that’s ok? I don’t imagine they travel together, seeing as how Lee’s usually off doing the Road Report. On the surface, they appear to be complete opposites, but maybe that’s what’s drawn them close enough to share locker room space. If nothing else, Lee likely has a never-ending supply of Frosted Flakes, and they’re great. Jericho challenges Masahiro Chono for nWo Souled Out, the first ever nWo-sanctioned event. I have feelings about that, which we’ll explore over the next few weeks.
Dusty breaks the news that Lee Marshall dressed up as “a woman” at the New Year’s party, telling the crowd “I’m so pretty I should have been born a girl!” Seriously? I just spent days working Johnny B Badd jokes into my year end recap; but if we run this for another year, I’m going to look stale. WCW, I’m begging you, I need some fresh material. Do something ridiculous like giving Prince Iaukea the TV title. (Of course, they’d never be that silly.) Arn offers the hand of friendship, but is rebuffed. That disrespect shouldn’t be tolerated, and Arn rightly takes him down. He breaks cleanly, and Chavo applies a headlock. Arn shoves the move off, but Chavo hits a scoop slam and re-applies the headlock. Anderson tries to fight it off, but Chavo hits a tornado bulldog, holding the move tightly. Arn battles to the corner a second time, and Chavo tries the same sequence, but all that does is put him on the receiving end of a backdrop suplex. An elbow to the throat reminds Chavo who’s boss, as does the subsequent catapult throat first to the bottom rope. Avalanche misses, and Chavo throws a dropkick. A butt butt drops Anderson, getting 2. Chavo uses a 180 senton backsplash, but Anderson doesn’t sell for flippy floppy nonsense. DDT finishes at 4:02. *1/2 Arn Anderson is brought to you by Valvoline.
ARN ANDERSON stops for a chat with LEE MARSHALL. Anderson’s still irritated that Benoit’s weak in the knees for Woman, and ultimately she’s the seed of all their problems. Regarding Jarrett, he still has a vote in the Horsemen, and Flair alone doesn’t run the group. And as long as Flair’s injured, his vote doesn’t matter. You know, the concept of this angle is smart. You have Anderson and Flair, blood brothers to the end, on completely opposite ends of the spectrum regarding a potential new body in their group – and the friction leaves you with no idea which way it’ll turn out; especially given the fact everyone’s pissy with Benoit and Woman these days. An eventual Anderson/Jarrett showdown would probably be money if anyone gave a crap about Jeff Jarrett – and ultimately, he’s the reason this angle isn’t going to succeed.
DEAN MALENKO vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (in a non-title match)
Eddie is of course the recognized US champion, but is without his title belt because Syxx stole it at Starrcade. Eddie will have a chance to reclaim it, because he’s been signed to battle Syxx in a ladder match at nWo Souled Out. I think that’ll be Syxx’s second match since joining the promotion 4 months ago, which is a total waste considering he’s in his prime years. Malenko powerbombs Eddie, and starts to stretch him out. Eddie has little interest in that, and kicks Malenko in the knee. A backdrop suplex smacks Dean on the back of the head, but he’s still the first one up because concussions wut? He gives Eddie a double leg slam, and goes for the Cloverleaf. Eddie cradles him, and gets 2. A brainbuster from Guerrero has Dean trying to shake off the cobwebs, and Eddie heads up top. Malenko cuts him off, and brings him back in with a superplex. They start to scrap, and Eddie decides to sacrifice himself by taking Dean out with a rana to the floor. They’re counted out together at 5:43. Malenko and Guerrero is one of those “legendary” feuds that absolutely bores me to tears. I never felt they had strong chemistry; not like Dean did with so many of the other lightweights. Plus, Eddie is just death as a vanilla babyface. **
Starr’s New Year’s resolutions clearly included a better attitude, because he cheers “WCW #1!!!” on the way to the ring. Hey, a good attitude is an employable attitude, and Starr needs all the help he can get after quitting his fine union construction job last fall. DOCTOR X is assigned to this match. Chono hits Starr with a shoulderblock, but he fails to go down. Then Starr does the same, and Chono refuses to move. Starr tries again, so Chono just kicks him in the gut. Chono appears to choke Starr in the ropes, but Doctor X checks and deems it legal. Starr hits a dropkick, sending Chono to the outside, and he’s pretty upsets as evidenced by his assault on the guardrail. Starr follows behind, but misses his attack and hits his shoulder in the guardrail. Back in, a side Russian legsweep sets up Chono’s climb to the top, but Starr recovers quickly and attacks. Chono shoves him off and goes for an axehandle, but Starr sidesteps and punches him in the midsection. Chono comes right back with a superkick, and hits an ugly looking spike piledriver. STF finishes at 3:54. Dusty eyeballs Nick Patrick, and starts thinking far more thoughts than his mouth can handle, saying “somebody get me a baseball gun!” *
I don’t mean to create uncontrollable primal screams of excitement, but …
LEE MARSHALL interviews MADUSA, who competed this morning on the Main Event against Hokuto. Madusa feels it’s critical she capture the title, because the belt lay dormant for over 10 years. She’s tired of Sonny Onoo getting involved, and she figures the only way she can get her way is to go to Japan and fight Hokuto on her home turf. THAT’S how she’s planning to avoid evil Japanese interference? I get the feeling Madusa traded in her brains for G-cups.
The music production team has taken their trolling to a quality new step, by giving Jerry Lynn and Jerry Flynn’s shared music to Mr. JL. I applaud this team, and encourage them to keep finding new ways to keep me entertained. DOCTOR X is assigned here once more. Doctor X stands in JL’s way from doing anything dastardly, like trying to wrestle, and Bubba leaps over X to clothesline him. Then he heads up the aisle to grab a bicycle?!? JL is beaten down in front of Doctor X, who turns to the camera and admits “now that’s one way to ride a bicycle!” No foul. Back in, a big boot takes down JL, and Bubba stands on his throat using the ropes for leverage. Doctor X, responsible as ever, asks Bubba if he’s choking that man. Bubba says no, he’s not, and X accepts that. JL somehow finds enough to come off the top with a missile dropkick and that staggers Bubba. A follow up crossbody takes him down, but that’s all he’s getting because the Bossman Slam finishes this at 2:48. 1/2*
It’s a new year, and we’re still trudging out this dog-shit huh? Can’t we just agree to send the Public Enemy back to ECW where I’ll never watch them and get it over with? Grunge gives both guys atomic drops, and they wave their hands in the air. Steve comes back with something or other, but I’m distracted by his protruding penis that’s wrapped far too tightly by his shiny gold ring attire. Even Goldust didn’t have a bulge that apparent. What is with these tag-teams and their plum smugglers? If they ever faced High Voltage, it could easily be sold to an early fetish website, where excited viewers could dial in to their ISP, and download still-shots, 5 minutes at a time. Drive-By finishes at 3:56. DUD
It’s a new year, declares one Dusty Rhodes, as we’re treated to a replay of every Lex Luger match from 1996. Rack, rinse, repeat, Luger wins at 3:44. *
“LORD” STEVEN REGAL vs. ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long) (for the WCW world television title)
There’s still well over 15 minutes in this show, but don’t expect it to be dispersed in our main event. Not when there’s EXCITING footage of Roddy Piper they can replay! Lord Regal reads Teddy Long the riot act, and Teddy throws his hands in the air like he’s an innocent bystander. Sorry Ted, anyone who saw you with Doom knows better, and Regal ain’t no rook. Regal throws a series of palm thrusts to the forehead of Train, but he’s rockin’ the “head of stone” gimmick that’s usually reserved for Samoans, and no-sells. Regal takes a shoulder block, and sells it like every ligament in his upper body has been ripped directly out of his core. Still, he has the power of the European uppercut in his disposal, and promptly makes me proud by taking a moment to shake off his shoulder after every punch – because it’s still hurting from the shoulder block. Thattaboy! Regal starts the palm thrusts again, but Train hiptosses him, and Regal begs off in the corner. Teddy gives important advice from the corner, like “that’s it, stay on him”. Regal tries a test of strength from a ground position, and finds himself screaming mercy within seconds. Train lets go, and stomps on his hands, causing Regal to wail. He rolls to the floor to blow on his hands, and spies Teddy who needs a good lecture. He follows him around for awhile, but Train throws him back in. Regal goes for an uppercut, but Train shucks and jives, rolling Regal up for 2. Regal mounts Train, and palm thrusts him in the face a bunch of times. He can’t keep the shoulders down though, so he jumps on Train’s face. Fantastic. Regal throws more uppercuts, but Train starts hulking up. Regal changes strategy, hitting a drop toe hold, and applying a facelock. He releases, but that’s just to start punching him again. Train hits an awful sunset flip and fails to even hook the legs, but Regal’s a pro and somehow falls backwards and puts himself in a pinfall, and then kicks out of it at 2. His Lordship goes back to more stall tactics, working a long headlock. Train fights out, so Regal calmly moves him right back to his knees, and starts grinding his elbow into Train’s ear. Train tries to make something happen, and gets clotheslined by the wily vet. Train won’t die, and takes Regal down. The clotheslines start, so Regal throws a double knee shot. Train doesn’t sell, and hits a vertical suplex for 2. Train Wreck connects, and the bell rings at 10:04 because the time limit expired. Teddy Long questions Dave Penzer, and when he realizes what happens, let’s out an exasperated “ohhhhhh nooooo”. This was a mess of two different worlds, Planet Regal and Planet Awful. **

The Piper/Hogan confrontation, complete with The Giant getting kicked out of the nWo is replayed. But you and I already talked about this on Monday, so there’s no need to relive it now. That’s all we’ve got for this week’s show; back tomorrow with Worldwide. B’lee dat, playa.