You asked! … While the sentiment may not have necessarily been overwhelming, there was a vocal group of you unhappy about the fact that I was reliving the same WCW time-frame that Scott Keith is currently covering, and various other bloggers have beaten the late 90’s to death. Fair points; and although these alleged “wrestling journalists” have completely managed to overlook the big story of the Nitro era (The Faces of Fear wreak havoc, kill everyone), and I was giving you the unbiased, straight facts as they happened, I am prepared to give this round to you – the miserable blog minority.
Thankfully, when touching on the past, the world is your burrito. Given that my two favorite topics to write about are WCW and the Completely Absurd (which, as it turns out, are joined at the hip like unruly Siamese Twins that don’t like each other), I wasn’t going to veer too far off track. Instead, we’ll slip backwards in time to 1993, a year which can be summed up as “wait, what?”
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. In fact – let’s get you all caught up. With Ric Flair gone to the greener pastures of the WWF, WCW appointed an heir apparent in Lex Luger. However, Vince McMahon quickly stole him away with a breadcrumb trail of Winstrol that led right into the World Bodybuilding Federation. WCW, as they typically did, ignored Sting and transitioned the belt over to Ronald “Ron” Simmons.
See, they were under a new boss, and Bill Watts had seen some success running with the Junkyard Dog in the mid 80’s. Given that all black wrestlers are interchangeable, as is the stereotype that exists to this very day, Watts pushed Simmons to the moon. Despite putting him over the Barbarian on pay-per-view, a move so bold that I’m getting angry just thinking about it, Simmons failed to get over. So 1992 came to a close at a house show on the 30th of December, with Vader claiming the belt back. You know, as opposed to doing it at Starrcade just 2 days earlier in front of a paying national audience.
Meanwhile, Rick Rude was happily holding the US title hostage while nursing another in a long line of injuries. The TV title was stripped from Scott Steiner in November after he, like everyone else, had left for the WWF, and heading into 1993, the company had basically forgotten they needed a new champion. Rounding out the gold, Shane Douglas had captured the tag-team titles with mystery partner Ricky Steamboat, who was roughly the only person coming in to the company FROM the WWF, and they were holding strong despite a young duo nipping on their heels in the guise of Steve Austin and Brian Pillman.
Oh, and the NWA didn’t much care for WCW branching off into doing their own thing, but I’m sure that won’t matter much at all this year.
For the year, I’ll be covering Power Hour, Saturday Night, The Main Event, and Worldwide, along with all the various pay-per-views and specials. Which is which? Well let’s turn to the KickOfFear.com official submission form – which is of course only to be for Faces of Fear related news, critical pieces of information (such as the Craig Pittman action figure on Amazon.com), or life altering questions. Mark, thankfully, understood this clearly when he asked:
Love the site, love the reviews, I read you on here and Scott Keith’s blog often. I missed a lot of the syndicated shows when I was a fan in the late 90s so it’s cool to see that seasons of this stuff is available and not just lost to time. My basic question is what makes a B show vs a C show vs a D show? I get it’s on a scale of importance but when you look at 1997 for instance you had the following shows that would feature exclusive matches: A) Nitro B) Saturday Night C) Worldwide D) Main Event E) Pro Heck I could be missing one. Nitro is a gimme, Saturday Night seems like it was next in importance so I presume that’s a B. Is everything else a C or can it be broken down more? I realize the answer will change each year (or even more frequently) but I’m very interested in how the shows morphed over the years and have never really seen much internet conversation about it. Thanks, Mark
Well, you’ll probably have to ask that question to Scott Keith since he’s the resident “expert” on WCW in that timeframe seeing as I’ve been kicked out of that timeslot by my own personal volition, but I’ll do my best anyway. Ultimately, all roads lead to the pay-per-view, and since Nitro was pretty much a looping commercial for Roddy Piper, very little actual storyline advancement occurred, and it’s a D-show. Saturday Night had far too much Prince Iaukea, relegating it to F-status (apropos given my feelings on the “Prince”). Worldwide was created to be aired World-Wide and had the largest audience, as well as a not so Sober Bobby Heenan, so it’s the A-show. The Main Event was mostly recaps, but was about the only place you could find Ciclope, so it’s the B-show. And WCW Pro only started to exist last week when I finally got my hands on it; so we’ll call it the C-show for now until Lee Marshall annoys me enough to lower its rating.
I hope that clears things up Mark.
And with that, it’s off to the Power Hour, hosted by…
My apologies, that’s from the Hour of Power. Nope – we need …
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. JOE CRUZ
TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to what is expected to be a Big Weekend here in WCW! For example, Vader won the World Title on Wednesday … which is not the weekend by any definition I’ve ever heard, but I appreciate Tony Schiavone confirming in less than a minute that even in 1993 his brain had melted into the equivalent of whatever’s in those Parkay Squeeze Butter containers. Scorpio nearly picks up the pin off a monkey flip (called “I’ve never seen a Sunset Flip Like That Before”), and Scorpio knocks Cruz to the unprotected floor (thanks Bill Watts!). Back in, Scorpio finishes with the 450 splash at 2:43. And then we step. *
A recap airs from December 19th, when “HEAVY METAL” VAN HAMMER (which is just one wrestler, and not a Lucha-import on a bad acid trip) and RON SIMMONS competed in an arm-wrestling match, in the finals of JESSE VENTURA’s “Strongest Arm” tournament. For some reason, TONY ATLAS is walking around too, but Ventura orders us to ignore him. (Consider it done!) After a compelling back-and-forth battle, complete with Jesse Ventura commentary, Van Hammer wins the prestigious trophy in a moment that would be replayed for generations to come. Atlas takes exception to this, but given that we’re ignoring him, let’s move on.
SCOTTY FLAMINGO vs. KEITH COLE
Keith Cole can be described as “If Ricky Morton had an inappropriate relationship with Guile from Street Fighter”. Flamingo would of course go on to greater fame as Johnny Polo, with the bright pink banana hammock doing him no favors here. Cole gets locked in a body scissors, so tightly pressed to Flamingo’s midsection I’m convinced he may have just felt it move. A half-nelson crucifix gets 2, but Cole uses the power of his flat-topped mullet to hulk up. Then he jumps into an airplane spin and loses at 4:48. *1/2
Last year at the Clash of Champions, Van Hammer and Cactus Jack had a match. Of course, I knew this, and even talked to Mick Foley about it last fall, where I was given a sarcastic “yeah, that was a good one”.
MISSY HIATT’s New Year’s Resolution is to hook up with Erik Watts. Unbelievably, this wasn’t rock bottom.
BARRY WINDHAM and BRIAN PILLMAN vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG and MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL
If we’re looking to pinpoint reasons nobody took WCW seriously in 1993, I’d like to start with Windham’s hair, where he’s going with wispy bangs in the front, and a mullet-tail in the back. Bagwell is atrocious, barely able to cobble together a competent string of moves beyond the headlock. Pillman completely outclasses everyone else in the ring, but given that this is a man who could have sex in a pair of gravity boots, that really should go unspoken. Windham plans Bagwell with a fantastic DDT, and Pillman’s not far behind with the Savage elbow for 2. Bagwell gets a rally going, and just as he’s about to tag out, Pillman yanks him down by the hair. Armstrong loses his mind, and while Nick Patrick attends to him, Pillman launches Bagwell over the top rope, straight to the concrete floor. Tony screams for a DQ, but given that he’s in the studio weeks after this was taped, the referee can’t hear him. Still, Bagwell does make the hot tag eventually, and Armstrong has a number of exciting moves, such as the right hand, and the elevated right hand. Pillman clips Armstrong as he’s throwing his punches, and that’s enough for the win at 9:24. **
The Power Hour is brought to you by Super Ghouls n Ghosts for the Super Nintendo. That just makes me mad to see it. I had saved my $7 allowance religiously in order to get a new game to complement Mario World – and when I entered Microplay, I was given an array of games to choose from. The store clerk assured me that Super Ghouls n Ghosts was the way to go, and for only $79.99. Having spent probably 4000 hours playing this game, I can say with a high degree of certainty, it is the hardest and stupidest game ever made. It takes forever to get to the end … at which point to see the REAL end you have to beat it again, with an awful weapon!! Despite this, some 6 months later, armed with the wisdom that the store clerk was an asshat … I somehow let him fleece me a second time when he sold me Joe & Mac. I swear to Christ, if I hadn’t finally obtained Mario Kart and Earthbound to rebalance my sanity, I might be in jail today.
Coming up on Saturday Night; a tournament begins to determine the #1 contender to the US Heavyweight title. The winner gets a shot at Rick Rude, and if they win, they’ll travel the circuit losing to R-Truth. Catch the fever with 4 first-round matches on the way later tonight at 6:05 on TBS! I’ll be there.