WCW Worldwide: February 23, 1997

I set up a web form on KickOfFear.com, in the hopes that if there is ever any urgent news that needs to come my way, that you used it responsibly. Thankfully, mature readers like veteran keen-eyed BigDaddyLoco knew exactly the kind of critical, news-worthy information that I’m always on the lookout for:  Maybe you already know about this, but I just found out it existed today http://www.amazon.com/Craig-Pittman-WWE-Wrestling-Figure/dp/B000LXXA3U
BigDaddy, it pains me to say that my in-laws, who reside in Florida for 6 months a year are leaving on Monday, because this would all but certainly be coming home with them. Unfortunately, I’m a man of meager income, and the outrageous international shipping + customs is preventing us from being together. Despite its clear long-term collectors-value, there is absolutely zero chance anything with that much entertainment value would stay locked behind its plastic prison any longer. No sir, it would join my TV side Money in the Bank set, where he would lie permanently on his back beneath the toes of CM Punk, except for when my nephews visit, during which time it would reside in the 2-year old’s mouth.

Of course, this e-mail DID prompt me to see what Canada had to offer in the obscure wrestling action figure world. And … you know, sometimes, pictures (and price tags) are going to do this a whole lot more justice than my words, so have at it. http://www.amazon.ca/Kevin-Sullivan-Wrestling-Action-Figure/dp/B000M7RL4Y
Superbrawl might be hours away, but it doesn’t stop all the top stars from coming out to Disney MGM! Akira Hokuto! Kaoru! Ciclope!
“SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN” is pacing around the studio to the annoyance of TONY SCHIAVONE. But, he’s only doing it so that he can get into the same mindset as Hogan, working himself into an anxiety attack with Roddy Piper on the horizon.
MR. JL (0-7-0) vs. HORACE BOULDER (WCW debut)
JL has completely changed his look, basically looking like the other half of a Spy vs Spy mission with Top Gunn. Horace is making his debut in the company, but he brings with him some deep family ties. We could be in for a lot of Horace, if his cousin Mike Awesome starts flaunting his political powers. Of course, first he’ll have to do something about that hair.
I positively love the controlled studio audience of Disney MGM, because the fans stand up en masse, giving Horace the thumbs down and booing like crazy. The man hasn’t even debuted or given you a reason to hate him, and the fans have universally rejected him. And you know what? I’m with them. Horace sucks! He tosses JL around for awhile, until JL gets some comical offense, including a slam that looks like it throws his back out. Horace decides to stop selling it after a few seconds, and plans JL with a German suplex. A Scorpion Deathdrop is followed by a superplex, and Horace wins at 3:04. *
CHRIS JERICHO (7-1-0) vs. SCOTT ARMSTRONG (0-3-0)
Armstrong gets in the first blow, and that’s all he’s getting. A standing vertical suplex gets 2, while Tony grills Heenan about his relationship with the nWo for the 40th week in a row. As usual, Heenan stands his ground that he won’t join their group until Hogan’s gone. I admire Heenan’s consistency; even after Hogan turned his back on the company, Heenan refused to toe the usual heel commentary line, and stuck to his lifelong hatred of the man. A tornado bulldog gets a 2 count. Armstrong tries a slam, and winds up eating a spinning heel kick. A Lionsault sets up a missile dropkick, and Jericho continues to roll at 4:26. *1/2
PSYCHOSIS (1-3-1) vs. DALE HUNTER
I’ve got to assume Dale Hunter is this guy’s real name, because I can’t find any information on him, and using that name in the mid-90’s is completely ridiculous (even if it IS the South). I look forward to the soon to debut, completely original characters, Hakeem Olajuwon, Amani Toomer, and Kenny Dykstra. Psychosis tries to finish immediately with a hard dropkick, but Hunter kicks out at 2. Dale misses a roar elbow, and Psychosis flies in with a lightning fast spinning heel kick. A missile dropkick gets 2, and Hunter’s had enough of that, hitting a clothesline. A pumphandle slam is followed by a one fingered cover. This dude has a little moxie. Hunter lays one “directly into a bowl of Mrs. Guerrero’s chili”, while Heenan questions why no one ever bothers turning the mask around to blind the guy. Hunter somehow misses a flying jalapeno, going right OVER Psychosis’ head, but he’s a pro and sells it anyway. Then he immediately shrugs it off and finishes with a corkscrew senton at 3:28. Psychosis was on his game tonight, everything was crisp and sharp. **
MEIKO SATOMURA and SONOKO KATO vs. AKIRA HOKUTO and KAORU (1-0-0) (with Sonny Onoo)
Is Akira ever gonna defend that belt of hers? In fact, she never even seems to carry it to the shows. I’m thinking she lost it in Japan, and hasn’t had the stones to tell WCW she had an unauthorized title match. The Board of Directors might have a conniption if they catch wind of that one; and given all they do around the clock, maybe it’s best to keep them in the dark. At least until it’s dumped in the trash on RAW. Team Evil destroys the teenagers in a completely one-sided beatdown that’s met with crazy mad canned heat. Of course the actual fans seem to be more engaged with trying to locate Wildcat Willy, but that’s Disney for you. Hokuto accidently hits Kaoru with a crossbody block, allowing the faces to … Irish whip Kaoru. No, seriously, that’s it, they whipped her into the ropes, and immediately took a double missile dropkick from Hokuto. Moonsault from Kaoru finishes at 2:36. The heels refuse to stop, having far too much fun, so MADUSA saunters down to ringside and tells Hokuto she has a problem with her. A (completely embarrassing) slapping fight breaks out, so Sonny hauls his client away. Mayweather / Pacquiao it ain’t. 1/2*
MIGUEL PERES (1-0-0) vs. STEVE ARMSTRONG (0-2-0)
My copy of this is completely shot, which I’m sure is going to disappoint the legions of readers who, like me, need to know exactly what moves were used in this very important match up from 18 years ago. I can say that it looks like Peres managed to get the job done with an X-Rated Moonsault, in roughly 4 minutes.
CICLOPE (0-2-0) vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (6-2-2)
In one of those moments where hindsight is clear, Rey Jr. was easily the most marketable cruiserweight the company had. They’re establishing a division, so diversity is good, but turning the belt back to Malenko time and again when this guy should have been the face of it for years was a mistake. I always consider the cruiserweights one of the big “What Ifs”, because if they’d been literally separated from the heavyweights from Day 1, and been marketed the same way UFC has done so, could we have ever seen pay-per-views headlined with these guys? I genuinely don’t know the answer to that question, but I like to believe if the Cruiserweight belt had been put on par with the World Title for the lightweights, that they could have done some serious business given the right storylines.
Rey makes sure to slap the hands of every single fan in the front row, before turning his attention to the one eyed monster. Rey works a crossface (Heenan: “He’s got him by the eye!!!”), but Ciclope escapes. A vertical suplex grounds Mysterio, but a follow up tombstone attempt is turned into a rana. Rey tries a second time – this time getting launched about 9 feet in the air before belly flopping. A dropkick is followed by a DDT, but Rey kicks out at 2. A military press into a throat-first hot shot knocks the wind out of Rey, and Ciclope works a headscissors to try and get a submission. Mysterio fights loose, and ducks a clothesline, hitting a springboard moonsault for 2! A pissy Ciclope hits a nasty Doctor Bomb for 2! They move to a camel clutch, with Ciclope continuing to try and knock the man out, or at least keep him winded from performing high flying moves. Rey wiggles loose, so Ciclope puts him on the top rope, and DDT’s him half-way across the ring for 2!!! Ye gods! Ciclope poses a sec, and that’s more than enough time for Rey to hit a spinning heel kick, because you can’t take your eyes off him for a second. A two-man slide sends Ciclope to the floor, and Rey’s all over him with a springboard plancha! Back in, West Coast Pop puts an end to this at 7:16! Rey Mysterio Jr. is fantastic, probably behind only Shawn Michaels and possibly Chris Benoit amongst performers in North America at this point. As long as his smile stays intact, we should see him plenty. ***1/2
Tony covers tonight’s pay-per-view main event, explaining that in a title match, if Piper wins, he captures the gold. Oh, you mean unlike Starrcade where it was completely implicated as a bait and switch, this time they mean it? CALL YOUR CABLE OPERATOR NOW!