WCW Pro (Syndicated): March 2, 1997

I fully intended to write this piece on Saturday night. I had just woken up, and planned to order some food and watch a little WCW. The indigestion made me re-think any plans of eating, and I decided to wait until it passed before getting my day started. 5 days later, here we are.

The indigestion, it turned out, was a gall stone, and the discomfort quickly ratcheted up the pain charts from “ugh, I need a Tums” to “SWEET MOTHER OF GOD IS SUICIDE AN OPTION?” Within hours, I was in a Filipino hospital, underdoing surgery to remove my gall bladder before it burst.

I was released yesterday, after they had decided that they had kept me there about as long as my insurance was willing to pay them for (which was about 48 hours after I’d begged to go back to my hotel) – and after spending the day catching up on sleep, we’re … right back to where I was on Saturday, ready to recap 20-year old syndicated WCW programming that was originally viewed by about 8 people. I’m still uncomfortable, but that’s just because I had a wad of gauze jammed into my belly button. I’ve got food in my system, so let’s party like it’s 5 days ago!

Yes, I totally recapped WCW Pro already, but WCW, being WCW, decided that on top of needing an edition of Pro for the North American audience, that an International edition was also required. Apparently, the choice of jobber match you air is critical to the success and well being of your operation, and it varies from region to region. I don’t have a ton of the syndicated episodes, but what I have, we’ll watch.

Like the American version, CHRIS CRUISE is left to lust over DUSTY RHODES, while LARRY ZBYSZKO lurks like a voyeur in the shadows.

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JUVENTUD GUERRERA and PSYCHOSIS (1-0-0) vs. CICLOPE and GALAXY (0-0-0)

Dusty declares “Calo” his favorite of the Cruiserweights – and what’s not to love? The immobile hat, the perma-glasses – the guy is a rock star. Unfortunately, he’s nowhere to be seen here. Juvi and Psychosis are still a relatively untapped tag-team, but they’d wind up working together regularly over the years, and from memory had some pretty stellar team chemistry. Everyone gets full entrances much to my delight, and the fans dutifully give Ciclope and Galaxy a THUMBS DOWN as instructed by the producers. The heels attack before the bell, but the faces take over quickly and nearly put it away with a sky twisting leg drop from Psychosis, getting a very close 2. Dusty finds new love in “See Clo Play”, who spends most of the match walking around outside the ring, while Galaxy takes a sick rana from Juvi while simultaneously taking the electric chair from Psychosis, and the good guys take it down at 2:00. Sick stuff in a compact little match. *1/2

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LEE MARSHALL fondly recalls Gene Kiniski’s claims to be the greatest wrestler to come out of Canada, before introducing CHRIS JERICHO who he believes may challenge that title. Bret who? Jericho tells Lee he certainly isn’t the greatest wrestler of all time, nor does he believe he possesses the skillset to be, but he’s getting stronger and more knowledgeable. I hate this wiener version of Jericho so much – I can’t even believe this is the same guy who’s going to be the hottest heel act in the company in a year from now.

ALEX WRIGHT (8-4-0) vs. JOHNNY SWINGER (0-2-0)

Cruise compares himself to Alex Wright, being that he’s the youngest announcer in WCW today. He fails to mention they’re also both unbearable, and nobody would shed a tear if they never saw either one again. Swinger is so named because he swings his hips, which you’d think a guy like Wright would find particularly appealing – but the 5 o’clock shadow might be a little more butch than he prefers, and Wright steps in for a fight. Of course, for Alex Wright, that means a series of hiptosses, armbars, and European uppercuts. Swinger drops a leg for 2, which disappoints Dusty because he was ready to run (yeah ooookay Dust) down to ringside and point him to the pay windah since he doesn’t know where it is. A top rope kneedrop misses, and the pain causes Swinger to emote. Wright finishes with the German suplex at 5:15. This was about 5 minutes too long. DUD

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (9-2-0) vs. THE CHEETAH KID (0-3-0)

The fans erupt into a “USA” chant right away, which I guess means they’re backing MARK CURTIS here. This might be the most WCW match ever; where on their 7th most important TV program, they’ve got the reigning and defending TV champion under a hood, masquerading as a 2nd rate jobber (as opposed to a 2nd rate jobber with a belt). Dragon works a nerve hold, because when I think Cruiserweights, I think transition moves. Cheetah gets a small package for 2, and that’s all Dragon’s giving him. A dropkick to the face is no sold by Dragon, and he fires back with an enzuigiri, before finishing with the Dragon suplex at 3:07. *

LEE MARSHALL wants to pick DEAN MALENKO’s brain, specifically addressing rumors that Malenko wants to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Malenko confirms he’s thought about it (shocker) – and that the bigger the opponent, the harder they fall.

Elsewhere, Kevin Nash flags down an ice cream truck, and orders a Vanilla Midget.

DISCO INFERNO (3-3-0) vs. JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long) (1-2-0)

Disco doesn’t appear to be motivated tonight, half heartedly going through his disco moves during the entrance. Even freakin’ WILDCAT WILLIE is putting on a healthier display of charisma.

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Dusty’s saying Powers needs this win “real bad”, because he’s on the edge of losing his spot by the pay windah. Does he have gambling debts? An army of children? An irate Dr. Zahorian coming to collect? This is actually a rare matchup on this show where I have no idea who’s going to take it down. I assume Disco has the upper edge, but they keep playing this push cocktease with Powers and those blue balls are set to explode. Powers dumps Disco to the outside, which upsets the dancing machine because his hair is out of place. Back in, Disco misses a slingshot senton (whoa – where did THAT come from?), and Powers puts him in a headlock. Power slams Disco’s head into the buckle ten times, and then throws him with a fairly dangerous looking overhead belly to belly that nearly cripples the Inferno. Of course, this is the 90’s, and it only gets 2. Powers misses a charge in the corner, jamming up his knee, and Disco locks on the Last Dance – which he’s FINALLY figured out without the instruction manual! Powers won’t tap, but Long hits the ring and calls it off for his client, giving Disco the win at 4:31. *

BILLY KIDMAN (2-5-0) vs. CHRIS JERICHO (9-2-0)

Kidman is coming off one of the most embarrassing losses of the year, dropping one to Mr. JL who hadn’t won a match since the New Kids were together. Today, that would have him on the cusp of getting future endeavored, but in late 90’s WCW, he’s still solidly above 78% of the roster. Jericho ain’t one of them, however, but they’re looking to put on a good little show, trading dropkicks. Kidman boots him in the midsection, but off the follow up he eats a gutbuster and Jericho takes over. A front vertical suplex gets 2, and Cruise suddenly decides to bury Kidman, pointing out he’s been “out wrestled, out gunned, and out matched in every match he’s ever had”. Ease up tiger, he DID beat perennial #1 Goldberg contender Jerry Flynn on the February 16th Worldwide, he’s not ALL bad. Kidman sneaks in a small package for 2, but that just sets Jericho off, connecting with a backbreaker and holding it in place. Chris even shows a little of his future aggression, demanding the referee “ASK HIM” if he quits, repeatedly. Kidman comes back with a dropkick to set up a tornado bulldog, but it only gets 2. Kidman goes for a crucifix, but Jericho just falls backwards in a Samoan drop, hits the Liontamer, and finishes with the missile dropkick at 4:27. Good stuff from both guys here. **

Cruise drops a quick reminder to order the Uncensored pay-per-view on March 16th, and calls it a night. And so will I – my antibiotics and sleeping pills are kicking in.