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WCW Saturday Night: March 1, 1997

I’ve been stationed in the Philippines for work since the beginning of August, and one of the biggest adjustments, as someone who has never been outside of North America, has been getting used to the food. The Philippines is relatively Americanized, but their palates slant heavily towards sugar. I assumed finding spicy foods would be a snap in any Asian country, but it’s not the case here.

Desperate to mix things up, I was at the grocery store looking for hot sauce. I ventured into the Ethnic Food aisle, containing all sorts of imported brands like “Oreos”, “Heinz”, and “Pop Tarts”, and checked out the sauces. Tabasco is often the only heat available, but I prefer a more vinegary base, like Frank’s. A helpful store clerk saw a confused tourist, and eagerly appeared at my side to assist.

“I’m looking for Frank’s” I informed him. He was clearly overtaken by confusion, but I figured I’d press on. “Hot sauce,” I clarified.

He pointed to the tabasco, looking proudly at the problem he’d just solved.

“No, Frank’s red hot, it’s different” I explained. The quizzical look made it clear hope had run out. Still, I couldn’t help myself. “I put that shit on everything!”

“Maybe I don’t understand, sir” he sheepishly told me. “Fair enough!” Rats.

I’ve been able to get by with weekly trips to a local Indian place and gorging myself on the chicken biriyani – but the second I touch back on North American soil, I’m making a bee line for the closest Buffalo Wild Wing and ordering the hottest thing on the menu.

That was my Saturday. And – in the world of WCW, it’s also Saturday … NIGHT! We take a quick look back at the end of Nitro, where friggin’ Sting turned his back on the company and joined the nWo, because apparently they don’t know when to quit.

From deep in the bowels of the Cyborg Factory, aboard the Mothaship, DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE remind us that the tag-team titles have been returned to the Outsiders because fuck you that’s why. Rhodes is cool with it, because Luger gave them back on the condition “leth’s fight” – you know, as opposed to what he’d done to WIN the belts. Also, Macho Man is nWo for no apparent reason.

HIGH VOLTAGE (2-4-0) vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (5-2-1)

Well if there was EVER a way to welcome me back to the world of recapping, opening up with the greatest tag-team in the history of the universe is a fine way. I could do without High Voltage, but I have high hopes for their impending demise. For some reason, Meng decides to let Voltage tee off on him for a solid minute, before hitting Rage with a back drop suplex. The mighty Barbarian tags in and goes wild on Rage. Kaos leaps in with a springboard something, but Barbarian turns it into a slam. Both guys throw manic punches in the corner, and I’m just waiting for this to turn into an outtake from the Temple of Doom. KALI MA SHAKTI DE! The clubberin’ means someone best get a Kleenex for Dusty, but we don’t judge here. Kaos hilariously tries a sunset flip, and Meng kicks him in the face while saying, and I quote, “haw haw haw haw haw ho ho ho ho”. Rage gets the hot tag, hitting Meng with a ton of moves that are completely no sold for my amusement. A springboard crossbody gets 2, broken up by Barbarian half assing a kick to the back. Meng easily hits a sitdown powerbomb, and follows with a catapult into the Kick of Fear from Barbarian for the easy win at 5:01. Eighty-five stars, one for each of the Tongans it would take to wipe out ISIS without any weapons in hand.

MARK STARR (1-6-0) vs. LA PARKA (2-3-0)

Starr has been on a nasty losing streak since he quit his cushy union job and no longer had the backing of Local 1103. Of course, Parka hasn’t fared much better in 1997, suffering from a bad case of WWL (Wrestling While Latino). The safe bet: Sid Vicious runs in. Parka levels the big man with a clothesline, and a spinning heel kick sends the former Man at Work to the outside. A suicide spinning heel kick catches Starr in the temple, and a top rope flying body attack gets the win for the Skull Captain at 2:04. The canned heat is livid. 1/2*

BUNKHOUSE BUCK (0-2-0) vs. CHRIS JERICHO (8-2-0)

Buck’s continued ability to wrestle is incredible, given I swear he was shot and killed by Burt Reynolds’ bow and arrow in 1972. He looks Chris Jericho over like he’s Ned Beatty, and charges in hungrily. Jericho side-steps, and puts him in a headlock. Buck powers out, but eats a spinning heel kick. Buck comes back with a boot to the face, and he claws at Jericho’s nose.

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SQUEAL LIKE A PIG, BOY!

Buck mounts Jericho from behind – but Jericho is able to somersault backwards and dropkick Buck in the chest! Buck quickly wraps his arms back around the young man, leaning in close, and whispers sweet nightmares into Jericho’s ear.

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Jericho backdrops loose, and an atomic drop leaves a throbbing pain in Buck’s groin. Missile dropkick finishes at 3:39. Jericho celebrates his win with a 45-minute hot shower and years of therapy. *

Meanwhile, CHRIS CRUISE is in Atlanta, Georgia, calling into the show via 1-800-COLLECT because he’s too cheap to write off the quarter as a business expense. And why? The update: Nitro is coming in 2 days, and he’s going to be there. YOUR WCW money hard at work!

JIM POWERS and BOBBY WALKER (with Teddy Long) (1-0-0) vs. DOC DEAN and ROBBIE BROOKSIDE (0-1-0)

I miss WCW and their roster of 4,812, where even the jobbiest of jobbers could get managers and undefeated streaks because somehow, there’s an even LOWER tier of jobber. Doc Dean probably deserves better than this, but he’s not even the most wasted talent on this show, so no sympathy. Dusty wants to know why Brits are so skinny, theorizing they don’t have food in England. While he chews on that (and several slices of pizza), Walker hits a headbutt off the top for the inevitable at 3:12. 1/2*

HUGH MORRUS (8-3-0) vs. TOP GUN (0-0-0)

HOLY CRAP! TOP GUN IS BACK?!? And it’s not even an imposter – it’s clearly the real deal, with the letters “TOP GUN” lovingly affixed to his tights with athletic tape.

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I’m so in awe of Top Gun. Through his flabby, non-athletic body, lies a man … a flabby, non-athletic man, sure, but here he is – going toe to toe with Hugh Morrus! Of course, he’s not doing very well, pretty much getting his ass kicked from here to the Dungeon of Doom, and his paltry offense is met with hearty laughs. Morrus goes to unmask the mysterious man, and THAT seems to light a fire under the gun, as he delivers … well, something. Then Morrus slams him and hits No Laughing Matter anyway, getting the win at 3:28. He still lasted longer than CM Punk. Morrus calls out the Horsemen, reminding him there’s 4 of them, and a lot of himself. Morrus might be better served just shutting his mouth and heading to the pay windah. DUD

RAY MENDOZA JR. (0-1-0) vs. JUVENTUD GUERRERA (0-4-0)

Juvi doesn’t usually wrestle unless there’s a title on the line that he’ll never win, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect here. A spinning heel kick sends Mendoza to the floor, and the camera proceeds to completely miss Juvi hitting a slingshot guillotine all the way to the outside mats! It looked like it probably looked great! Back in, Mendoza hits a rana, and follows with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Juvi reverses a whip to the corner, but misses the shoulderblock and crashes violently into the ring post! Mendoza hits a suicide dive through the middle ropes, and moves Juvi back in for the kill – but it’s Juvi who snaps off a rana for 2! Mendoza heads up, but Juvi cuts him off with a super Frankensteiner to secure what Tony calls “yet another win” at 2:53. Mendoza sucks; I’d ship him back to AAA and ask for Villano V instead. *1/2

SCOTTY RIGGS (4-1-0) vs. SUPER CALO (1-6-0)

Riggs might be in need of an Employee Assistance Program, because he continues to enter to American Males and clapping away, despite being dumped at the altar months ago. Take off the ring my man, it’s time to move on.

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If you saw his eyes, you’d know he was dead inside

Calo is sporting his fancy winter toque – always a classic. Riggs, clearly a man without an identity, starts chanting USA for some reason. Calo is locked in an armbar, but Riggs is more concerned with brushing the hair out of his eyes instead of making the man tap, and it costs him as Calo gets loose and works the arm. Riggs is kicked in the face, and Calo follows with a sidewalk slam. A springboard crossbody nearly steals the win for the luchadore, and when it fails, Calo sends Riggs to the floor. A hands free senton bomb to the floor is on point – and MORE impressively, the hat and sunglasses NEVER BUDGE! This man is either the smoothest MFer in Mexico and spends his nights parting women’s legs like Moses, or he’s got an awful case of glaucoma and might want to find a more suitable career. Either one is in play. Riggs staggers to his feet just in time for a flying Calo to flatten him with a crossbody from the buckle to the floor, and he moves back in the ring for the kill. Riggs blocks whatever Calo had planned, and runs him over with a clothesline. A flying forearm gets the win at 3:21. I mean, on one hand, Calo brought it, showing immense talent, a wide array of high flying moves, and a ton of charisma, but on the other, Riggs is white. *

LASERTRON (0-0-0) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (9-3-2) (in a non-title match)

On one hand, you have the opportunity to promote a brother vs brother affair, and hope to get a swanky little match that’ll please the smarks watching this at home. On the other hand, you could slap Hector Guerrero inside of the second most ridiculous costume of his career.

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It’s hard to argue with their decision, quite frankly. Eddie hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Lasertron comes right back with a headscissors. Guerrero with a Frankensteiner, and Lasertron hits the outside to throw a violent temper tantrum, nearly getting counted out. Back in, Lasertron offers his hand of friendship, but Eddie wants no part of this, so Lasertron jams his thumb into Eddie’s eye. A bodypress gets 2, as does the subsequent backdrop suplex. Eddie comes back with a sunset flip, and the next thing you know, they start rolling around the ring about 700 times locked in a parallel Oklahoma roll. Eventually they knock that off, and Eddie hits a top rope rana before finishing with the Frog Splash at 4:36. Dusty is so impressed he spends the post-match talking about how great Lasertron looked. **

LEE MARSHALL has pulled DEAN MALENKO aside in the locker room, because despite possessing more charisma, the nearby bath towel isn’t as eloquent a speaker. Dean says a few “individuals” aren’t showing him respect, and you KNOW he means business, because his eyebrows move a little. Syxx is eventually gonna get his, but he’s gunning for Guerrero’s US title first. Don’t hold back or anything, Deano.

My copy of the show goes to hell at this point, saving me from hearing the Public Enemy and Lee Marshall banter away. Unfortunately, it recovers in time for the main event.

THE PUBLIC ENEMY (with table) (5-1-0) vs. THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) (1-5-0)

The only positive thing I can say here is that thankfully, all of these guys were contained in just one match as opposed to two. Grunge tosses around Ouellette for awhile, but then we stop to dance while the Colonel cools Carl down with his signature hanky. Back in, the Canadians team up to stomp away in the corner, before Rougeau tries pull Grunge’s dank ass hair out of his head. The fans chant for America while the Colonel gets in a few licks behind the referee’s back. A double hotshot causes Rougeau to ask “WHAT ABOUT THE YOU ESS EH NOW EH?” That’s a pretty deep question, one I’d have to defer to a philosophy student working on their Masters degree. Rougeau slams Ouellette onto Grunge for 2, and smacks Rock for a few laughs. Unfortunately, the distraction lets Grunge take out both Canadians with a burst of energy, and after a slow crawl, he manages to make the hot tag. Tony lets it slip that Rock hasn’t seen any action to this point, making him a good Christian lad waiting for the right person, or helplessly unconfident. All 4 guys brawl, with the Canadians eating a pair of atomic drops. Both guys take 10-count face slams to the buckle, but Ouellette comes out of the corner, swings wildly … and hits his buddy by mistake. The Enemy goes for the Drive By, but the Colonel whacks Grunge in the belleh welleh, knocking Rocco backwards and through the table outside the ring! For some reason, the referee feels this warrants a DQ at 6:33. TPE are declared the winners, but it’s the Colonel standing tall, waving the Quebec flag with defiance. VIVA LA FLQ! 1/2*

Tony and Dusty go to wrap matters up by speculating on Sting’s motivation. Dusty believes that there’s still some good inside Sting’s black soul, and he’s hanging on to the straw with dear life that he’s still with WCW. We turn to the video evidence which seems to indicate otherwise, but you know what would really help? If Sting would just get over his butthurt and tell us what’s on his mind – it’s been 6 months already! It’s time to man up. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. And go on a date with Scotty Riggs.