WCW Saturday Night: January 25, 1997

Later tonight, the nWo take their overbearing methods to new madness with the launch of their own exclusive pay-per-view event. Do you want to watch 3 consecutive hours of Nick Patrick screwing over WCW wrestlers for the low low price of $29.95? Yes? What’s wrong with you?
With 2 hours to game time, I’m gonna take refuge inside the Cyborg Factory, alongside my close personal friends TONY SCHIAVONE and DUSTY RHODES. Wait, this isn’t the Saturday Night I know – they’re standing outside Lambeau Field, as the Packers prep to take on my New England Patriots in Superbowl XXXI. As long as Drew Bledsoe doesn’t throw 4 interceptions, they’ll be celebrating their first title tomorrow night! Dusty gets winded just hyping tonight’s show.

Duggan’s back to carrying Old Glory. He seems to be terribly confused about where his patriotic roots lie; is it with ‘Murica, or WCW? Pick a side, flip flopper. Duggan clotheslines Disco around, while screaming “WCW”, already forgetting tonight’s loyalties. Disco throws a back elbow into Duggan’s face, and goes for his leg-lock cheat-sheet. Unfortunately, he can’t find it – but that’s because he was checking in the wrong boot. It takes about 25 seconds to locate it, but he’s ready to rock and roll! Now, had he been paying attention to his opponent, he might have noticed that Hacksaw’s taped that fist up. Disco: “I’m not gonna be fooled today!” WHACK! Duggan wins at 0:58. I guess illegal taped fists are perfectly legal now, because this is the 2nd or 3rd straight time Duggan’s taped up right in front of the referee with zero repercussions. DUD
Backstage, TONY SCHIAVONE stops the eternally confused Hacksaw. He screams about Glens Falls, the nWo, and men who are big rough and tough. He orders the nWo to stay out of his way, lest they face the wrath of his 2×4.
MR. JL vs. THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo)
Dragon dropped the Cruiserweight belt back to Dean Malenko at the Clash of Champions, which probably occurred FAR too early since Dragon’s been living Beast Mode for the last 3 months. Malenko, good as he is, isn’t the greatest representative of the modern Cruiserweight wrestler, since he lacks the flash and aplomb of the imports. Sonny attacks JL, but he fails to gain any traction – but he DOES succeed in distracting the purple specimen long enough for Dragon to nail him with a swinging dropkick and slingshot plancha combo. Back in, Dragon kicks the crap out of JL. The man of mystery gets in a super bulldog for 2, but Dragon responds with a nasty neckbreaker as described by Dusty as: “that’ll make yo back crack and yo livah quivah and yo knees freeze!” An Indian deathlock bridge gets the quick tapout victory at 2:25. *
New champ DEAN MALENKO gets a little talk time with hoodied Cheesehead TONY SCHIAVONE. He figures he’s a marked man, but he doesn’t care, because he wants to take on every international superstar that wants to take a crack at the gold and continue to prove he’s the best in the world.
The Extremists are made up of Devon Storm who I think we’ve seen once before, and Ace Darling who we might never see again.  Storm hits a springboard dropkick to Rage’s knee, but Kaos tags in and hits a slingshot splash onto the dangerous one; though, the only thing “dangerous” about Devon is that awful blonde mullet. Darling comes off the top and takes a knee to the “belleh welleh!” Rage goes up, but Ace crotches him hard. He heads up as Storm mounts the opposite corner – but Rage pushes him off! Storm, hearing the thud, nails his buddy with a moonsault, whoops! Hart Attack finishes at 2:05! High Voltage wins! High Voltage wins!
THE STEINER BROTHERS take a moment with TONY SCHIAVONE to talk about their match tonight against the Outsiders at Souled Out. Scotty thinks the nWo (bleeped out). Really? Sucks is a curse word on TBS? Apparently we’ve been transplanted back to 1960, and Elvis’ swinging hips might cause internal hemorrhaging; let alone hearing the awful word “sucks”.
Earlier this week, Lex Luger, who played with the Packers in 1982, was put on display in their hall of fame. Of course, WCW would have you believe he was INDUCTED into their hall of fame with this package; which would both be unprecedented given that he was a backup linebacker who was cut, but also utterly ridiculous. Which is WCW in a nutshell. Here’s a picture designed to give you nightmares.
Nooooooooo! These guys were friendly just four nights ago, AND victorious together! What could have POSSIBLY caused this? Did Jericho rustle Calo’s head and cause the hat to fall off? And if that’s the case, can we expect a future Hat vs Hair match? Jericho whiffs on a clothesline which Calo sells anyway, and Jericho rightly eats a smattering of boos. Calo flies with a slingshot senton and rolls Jericho back in. He promptly takes a spinning heel kick, but not only does the hat stay affixed, but unbelievably, so do the sunglasses! This is a man of style! He comes back with a super headscissors takeover, and follows with a senton for 2. Jericho fires back with a fisherman’s buster, hits the Lionsault, and finishes with a missile dropkick at 2:50. I request, no, DEMAND a massive push for Super Calo and his immovable accessories. *1/2
LEE MARSHALL stops Jericho en route to the pay windah, and somehow he believes he’s WCW savior in the war against the nWo. His reasoning? He once beat Nick Patrick. Lee reminds Jericho that Masa Chono is an actual wrestler, which Jericho accepts, but he and his Lion Heart won’t tap out under any circumstances.
Don’t think for a second you’re not going to get a screen cap of Dave Taylor every single time he wears this ridiculous get-up.
Taylor takes his new role as zoo keeper seriously by wildly swinging his whip around at the cameraman for daring to Be In The Way. “He is hunting the fox and the hound!” says Dusty. Now I’m not one to suggest that gimmick changes should immediately lead to gigantic pushes without the characters establishing themselves first; but I don’t think anyone reading this would disagree that Dave Taylor should be the World’s Heavyweight Champion from this point forward. Eaton works an armbar, but that simply won’t work against the Crocodile Hunter, as Taylor starts throwing his legendary European uppercuts that could fell even the most lethal stingray. Eaton throws a couple of right hands to knock down the maker of the UK’s finest honey, but Taylor rolls backwards hooking the rope to score the win at 2:12. Peace signs all around!!! *
THE FACES OF FEAR and HUGH MORRUS (with Jimmy Hart) vs. ARN ANDERSON and MONGO MCMICHAEL (with Debra McMichael) (in a handicap match)
Chris Benoit was scheduled to be a part of this; but when the doors shut, Tony decides it’s impossible for Benoit to be here. I guess the doors are locked during the match or something; but that doesn’t explain the 800 run-ins that happen weekly on Nitro in that case. The Wisconsin crowd gives Mongo the heroes’ welcome he deserves, with a deafening cheer of “BEARS SUCK!!!” He starts with Hugh Morrus in a power showdown, which is carny code for “this probably won’t be good”. Mongo delivers a hiptoss and scoop slam, and that draws in Meng. Arn pairs off with him and goes for the DDT, but really? Against Meng? Backdrop follows, and it’s whoopin’ time. A backbreaker brings Morrus back, and a powerslam gets 2. The Faces of Fear drop duelling headbutts, but Mongo saves at 2. Barbarian kicks Arn in the face, and the entire Dungeon works over Mongo when he goes to save. JEFF JARRETT rushes in to clean house, and that’s a DQ victory for the Dungeon at 2:38. The Horsemen are so grateful that they walk off, and leave Jarrett alone with the most violent mercenaries in the galaxy. Brutality ensues. *
TONY SCHIAVONE stops the Horsemen to ask what gives. Arn demands to know where “this jerk is coming from”, telling us he’s not a Horsemen but a Has-Been. Debra thinks Jeff looked great, taking on 3 men alone. “And I thought they called you the Enforcer.” Concerning the whereabouts of Chris and Nancy; she figures they’re rummaging around in the dumpster where they belong. She then relates a story about the time Mongo was offered a multi-million dollar deal to play for the Packers, but she refused because there was no way she was ever going to live THERE. She’s a sweetie ain’t she?
Page, still a total scumbag, hands over the chain that the referee finds in his jacket pocket. I love the DDP rise to stardom; he doesn’t change a damn thing about his character, but a steady stream of wins, and a hard-headed determination to do it ALONE because he’s got an ego the size of Texas got us to this point. Starr, of course, ate a Diamond Cutter about a week ago with such ferocity that he sold it without DDP even hooking the move. Starr comes out firing this week, realizing he nearly had Page last week, but unfortunately DDP is on far too much of a roll at this point. A pancake stops the fight in Starr, and an atomic drop sets up the Diamond Cutter for the easy Page victory at 1:24. “When you’re hot, you’re hot, and when you’re nWo, you’re not. SELF HIGH FIVE!” 1/2*
DDP admits to LEE MARSHALL that he’s been expecting a bill from the Louisiana Superdome for blowing the roof off of it a couple of weeks ago. He’s still got the nWo t-shirt from a couple of weeks ago, a memento to remind him of what he never wants to be. Marshall starts to question him about Guerrero, but Page just tells him to shut the hell up. He takes on Scott Norton at Souled Out, and one mistake is all it’s going to take to put him down for good.
Scotty really needs new music, it’s getting a little sad. Gambler axehandles Riggs, but that’s all he’s gonna get I’m afraid. A scoop slam sets up a nice dropkick for 2. A backdrop suplex yields the same, and Riggs locks on a chinlock to chew off the rest of the clock for this match because he really doesn’t have much else in his arsenal. Gambler fights out of it, but Riggs punches Gambler in the gut as he comes off the top rope and hits another dropkick. He calls for his finish, and it looks like he’s going with Bagwell’s old finisher, the Perfectplex for the win at 3:11. *
CHAVO GUERRERO JR. vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (for the WCW world television title)
It is positively bizarre to hear the announcers talk about the Patriots and their great coach Bill, and NOT end it with Belichick. And that’s not a knock on Parcells who WAS fantastic, but I just haven’t heard that pairing in so long it caught me off guard. Chavo hits a forearm smash and gets 2. Regal begs off before jamming a thumb in Guerrero’s eye. A powerbomb is countered in mid-air as Chavo rolls through for 1. He continues the assault, showing a lot of fire tonight which is nice to see. A number of dropkicks have Regal reeling, and Chavo heads up. A corkscrew senton(!!!) misses, and Regal, ever the gentleman, feigns heartbreak for Chavo’s missed opportunity. Regal Stretch is academic and the champ retains at 3:22. Regal just shakes his head at another sad sack challenger dismissed. **
THE PUBLIC ENEMY vs. HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri)
This is likely the main event, featuring two teams who absolutely need to go away. In Tony’s world, these teams have “very similar styles”. Grunge drops Booker with a swinging neckbreaker, but Booker stops the momentum with a mule kick to Rock. Stevie comes in and takes a chop block, and the fans start booing them. Hah! Booker levels Rock with a Harlem sidekick, but Rock hits a springboard moonsault to take both guys down. Grunge gets the “hot” tag all of 2 minutes into this match, and he simply acts as a pawn to let Rock hit them both from behind with a double bulldog. Booker and Grunge start to fight on the floor, while Sherri leaps on the apron and pulls Rocco’s hair. Grunge jumps behind her – and Rock accidentally nails her sending BOTH of them flying backwards and through the ringside table at 3:36. I like the ending; Sherri was COMPLETELY protected in the arms of Grunge, but it sure looked great visually. Harlem Heat freak out at the sight of their manager crumpled, and to make matters worse it’s TPE who’s given the DQ victory. They carry her out of the building, and hopefully head to a hospital. *1/2

The entire Savage segment from Nitro is replayed, including a censored “kiss my ass!” And, the last images we see leading into Souled Out is Sting rappelling from the ceiling, and making nice with Randy Savage. Will Sting and Savage attack the nWo later tonight to finally make it crystal clear to Larry Zbyszko whose side they’re on, or will they stay out of the building and pick a better spot? Only one way to find out. CALL YOUR CABLE COMPANY, Souled out is NEXT!