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WCW Saturday Night: January 16, 1993

InVerse: This is several years from being relevant to this post, but it felt really important to bring to CFB’s attention but not quite important enough to warrant it’s own thread.

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I hadn’t realized prior to this evening just how important InVerse was to me – but reading this, it’s clear we’re going to be inseparable soul mates from this day forward.

But let’s not bury the lead here … RVD at Glacier? Suddenly, the entire mystery of “he’s coming” makes all the sense in the world. RVD spends ages learning from “this pretty gnarly old guy” who gave him “this really old hat” and taught him “kicks and stuff”. Unfortunately, he violated the sensei / student clause when he mistook meditating for self-medicating, and was told he had dishonored the warrior code. That was when struggling physical education teacher “Coach” Buzz Stern happened to be in the country on sabbatical, and even though he possessed very little skill of any kind, he definitely spent a lot less time trying to see which incense provided the best high – so he was hired.

WCW, having been notified that Glacier was on his way, began airing ads immediately. But, the process had to be started from scratch, with months of higher learning. Realizing he wasn’t picking up any of the martial arts, but determined not to be embarrassed, the sensei wisely covered his tracks by teaching him the most important thing about being a warrior … was to stretch out your entrances to last longer than the show, and thus you’d never be seen in action. Fewer words, more posing. After 6 months, he was ready. And, the legend was born.

LIVE on tape from somewhere, it’s WCW Saturday Night – and we have no time for anything because we’re already underway.

BARRY WINDHAM, BRIAN PILLMAN, and STEVE AUSTIN vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG, 2 COLD SCORPIO, and JOHNNY B BADD

This is a pretty sick collection of talent, and Johnny B Badd. Sadly, we don’t get to see anywhere near enough of this. I could watch the heel team beat on Brad Armstrong all night, and never grow tired. There’s a fantastic sequences where after taking a bit of a pounding, Badd makes the hot tag to Scorpio. Scorpio pulls up the fists ready for a fight, and Windham gives a “really, kid?” look at him. 2 Cold winds up hitting a crossbody off the top onto Pillman, and then nearly scores an upset over Austin with a sunset flip. Johnny’s brought in, and promptly gets his ass kicked. Badd flails around desperately, so Windham calmly rakes his eyes and slams him into Austin’s boot. Armstrong tags in, and hit a high knee on Windham for 2. All hell breaks loose at this point, and Windham winds up sneaking in a jumping DDT on Badd for the pin at 7:45 of what aired. Good enough, but I wish we’d seen the whole thing. **

LARRY ZBYSZKO wants a word with Windham, bringing up that earlier in the night (which wasn’t aired), Watts made tonight’s match between Rhodes and Steamboat for the US title. Windham vows to watch with great interest, because “you never know what might happen”.

Our hosts are the aforementioned Larry, and JIM ROSS. Ross can’t stop talking about the “White Castle of Fear”, which we learned about at the Clash. And, because it never gets old, they replay the challenge from the Clash. “I KNOW YOU LIKE LIVING ON THE EDDDDDDDDDDDGE! COME TO THE WHITE CASTLE OF FEAR AND PLAY VADER’S GAME!!!!”

VADER (with Harley Race) vs. TIM DIXON (in a non-title match)

Vader doesn’t even wait for the bell to start destroying his prey. A running chest bump and clubbing paintbrushes sets up the big splash off the top. Then, for fun, he powerbombs Dixon, and folds him like a pancake for the easy pin at 1:27. Dixon gets carted out by a bunch of enhancement talent. Jobbers are so critical when building up the big guys … Vader just walks out of here looking nothing short of an unstoppable killer. Kevin Owens would benefit so much from a series of these on RAW over the coming months between big PPV matches.

TEDDY LONG wants to know what RON SIMMONS is bringing in 1993. Simmons says he’s accustomed to being a winner, and having held the gold, he’s got an addition to it now, and he will climb the mountain again.

Elsewhere, TONY SCHIAVONE has found ERIK WATTS. Tony replays the video sent in by the fans at the gas station, and asks for his comments. He’s feeling mighty pissy, because he’s not paid to fight in the streets. “It’s a profession of mine!” What other professions does he hold? Ballroom dancer? Hot stone masseuse? Shoe shine? Door to door sales representative? Tony – for fuck sakes, follow up on this! Watts tells Anderson he’s an easy man to find, so “come get me”. That … might not have been the smartest thing he’s ever said.

THE WRECKING CREW vs. KEITH COLE and CHRIS SULLIVAN

Oh yes!!! The return of Chris Sullivan! And paired with the flat-top mullet? This is like a dream! We’ve already established the Wrecking Crew are a couple of bumbling chowderheads, so I’m ready to watch my boys take this one to the next level. Cole, mullet flowing through the ring as he runs the ropes, runs Fury over with a back elbow. Chris Sullivan, with his bald pony tail and well-worn mustache ride, tries to throw Fury but it doesn’t work. That’s ok though Chris, you’re still the connoisseur of cunnilingus as far as I’m concerned. I mean, just look at this stud.

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Unfortunately, the CoC falls victim to the Wrecking Ball at 5:30. ½*

hogan wrecking ballNo, not this wrecking ball

TONY SCHIAVONE talks with DUSTIN RHODES about his US title shot later tonight. He can’t wait to wrestle his good friend Ricky Steamboat. “I hope you brought your best game, because I brought mine”. Dustin strikes me as a Trouble kinda guy because really, who can resist that pop-o-matic bubble? Ricky probably doesn’t play board games, and grabbed whatever was available at his local garage sale. I’m going with this one.

Here to refute Dustin’s harsh words is RICKY STEAMBOAT. Steamboat calls him all the names in the book: good friend, comrade, former tag-team partner. Good god man, hold back some! His advice: “Don’t let up!”

MAX PAIN vs. RICK SAVAGE

Pain in the future Main Mountain Rock, who gained a strong cult following in the late 90’s with the only crew for some reason, but it didn’t last long. He looks like Ozzy Osbourne on HGH here. Pain nails a German suplex, and finishes with a hammerlock submission at 0:41. Strong debut.

Meanwhile, LARRY ZBYSZKO is hanging out with VINNIE VEGAS. Vin wants an arm-wrestling match against Van Hammer, this time with the left arm instead of the right. In fact, he wants to do it BARROOM STYLE!

Poor CACTUS JACK doesn’t get his own private interviewer. He calls out Vader and Race. While he can forgive a cheap shot, because he’s given out plenty of those, he won’t forgive them for making people like him. “They put their hands together and cheered for Cactus Jack! And that takes away the hunger!!!” So, instead he’s going to feed on his hatred of those two instead. “You want to beat on me? I’ll beat off you!” Wait, what?!?

MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL vs. CHRIS BENOIT

They aren’t wasting any time building Benoit up – first with Armstrong, and now with Bagwell. Mid-card, beware. A test of strength doesn’t really go anywhere, so the pair start trading pinfall attempts. Bagwell hits an enzuigiri and goes for a German, but Benoit elbows him in the eyeball. Bagwell dropkicks Chris to the floor, but Benoit’s right back in with a crossbody block off the top for 2. A clothesline drops Bagwell like a sack of potatoes, and a sidewalk slam gets 2. He picks Bagwell up BY HIS HAIR and slams the man, which gets a stern warning from the referee. Chris immediately does it again, and now the referee is visibly upset, telling him “hey, you can’t do that!” Benoit goes for it a third time, but Bagwell shakes loose and does it to Chris. He gets no warning, because the referees are biased monsters. Benoit doesn’t really care and immediately finishes with the Dragon suplex at 6:23. **

LARRY ZBYSZKO wants a word with the Canadian newcomer. He promises just one possibility for his opponents moving forward – which is to leave with their heads down, assuming it’s still on their shoulders. Hey, that’s two possibilities! Benoit reminds us he’s a 7-year pro, even though he doesn’t look a day over 15-years old.

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In another part of the building, TONY SCHIAVONE is with STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN. Pillman says they’ve got intense focus, and they’re going to be a tag-team dynasty. Schiavone is curious why Austin, the greatest TV champion of all time, and quite possibly the best singles wrestle in WCW history (da fock?!?) would suddenly change gears and focus on the tag-team division. Austin knows he’s the greatest singles wrestler there is – but now he’s ready to prove what he can do as a tag-team. Pillman wants to show themselves off in the best way he can imagine … in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. The longer they wrestle, the stronger they get. Anything can happen in 1 fall, but nobody’s gonna get them twice. Neither of them figure that the champs have the guts to sign on for that kind of match, but a man can dream.

PAUL ORNDORFF vs. CACTUS JACK

Oh man, there’s some serious hate here, and they go right at each other tooth and nail. Jack bites Orndorff’s face, which gets a shriek from Paul. He angrily boots Cactus to the apron where he holds the ropes, so Orndorff runs at him with a knee, sending Jack to the floor where he audibly splats against the cement. Christ almighty Mick…. Back in, Jack starts throwing haymakers, knocking Orndorff out, and he rolls to the floor. Jack follows, but it was a sucker move, as Orndorff sweeps out the legs and grinds Jack’s face into the ring apron. Back in, he drops a fist to Jack’s jaw, and backs the wild man into the corner. Cactus gets loose and charges, but Orndorff sidesteps and Jack flies over the top and to the floor. Jack gets up to fight, but Orndorff comes off the apron, driving Jack face first into the cement with his knee! Holy hell man! Jack staggers around the ringside area and heads back in, but Orndorff drops him with a neckbreaker over the ropes. He finally gets back in, and feeling no pain, he kicks away at Orndorff. Orndorff goes for the piledriver, but Jack drops down and hooks the foot while the fans cheer his name. That’s turned into a “PAULA” chant which is so vile that Orndorff has to cover his ears to keep them from bleeding. It’s flustering enough to make him miss a dropkick, and Jack hits an explosive clothesline. Jack looks like he’s got this in control, but suddenly VADER rushes in for the DQ at 8:47! The fans root for Sting to save, but it’s not happening. Instead, the man, the legend, THE BARBARIAN is on the scene! Everyone’s gonna die!!!! He goes straight for Vader, hitting him with a Cactus Clothesline in honor of his new best friend, as we head into a commercial. **1/2

RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. DUSTIN RHODES (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)

In a show of pure hatred, they shake hands and hold each other closely as the bell is rung. Steamboat takes over the early going with slams and a wide variety of holds. A half nelson gets 2, and Rhodes fights his way back to his feet. Rhodes comes back with a side headlock that he works for a small eternity. Steamboat hits a drop toe hold to change his fortune, and works an armbar. Dustin gets loose, and tries an abdominal stretch, while holding a headlock, adding extra pressure. Steamboat tries to get away with a waistlock, but Rhodes won’t give, slams Steamboat, and goes back to the abdominal stretch one more time. Upon release, Rhodes tries a dropkick, but Steamboat sidesteps and applies on a wristlock. Rhodes gets up, but takes a hiptoss for 2, before winding back in an armbar. Rhodes eventually gets out and nails a clothesline for 2. Rhodes goes to finish, but they wind up colliding face first with one another mid-ring. They both fight to their feet, and Rhodes hits a bulldog, but Steamboat shockingly kicks out at 2. Steamboat tries a bridged pin, but Rhodes bridges his way out at the last second. Still, Steamboat snapmares him and heads up, hitting his crossbody, but now it’s Rhodes that kicks out of a finishing move! During a leapfrog, the referee accidentally gets nailed as Steamboat crumbles to the floor. BARRY WINDHAM makes an appearance, and hits the jumping DDT on Steamboat on the concrete! Nobody saw it, Rhodes included, and when the referee comes to, he counts out Steamboat at 14:52, to give Dustin the US title. Winning on a count-out – you go Dustin! The match was slow, plodding, and didn’t tell much of a story, a total timewaster building up to the interference of Windham. Embarrassingly low quality considering the participants. **

JIM ROSS congratulates the new champion, and airs the footage of Windham helping him out. Rhodes is beside himself – positively livid. His daddy didn’t teach him that way, and dang it, he’s gonna go make it right with Ricky. And he heads out, while the announcers wonder aloud if Dustin actually knew Windham had been involved. Questions abound as the show fades to black.