(Obviously this show has come up in discussions about the moral issues of the Greatest Royal Rumble, so here’s my look at it from when it was on WWE 24/7!)
The SmarK 24/7 Rant for WCW Collision in Korea
– My god, the cool shit you get on this channel. How can I pass this one up?
– Live from Korea, the only time that ever happened and likely to stay that way. This was a neat idea from April 95, which was sadly during a really bad time for WCW and thus wasn’t really what it could have been, historically speaking. The crowd is huge, more than 300,000 people total over two nights, because the government decreed that people had to go or get shot, more or less. As a promotional tactic, I’ve seen worse.
– Your hosts are Eric Bischoff, Mike Tenay, and Sonny Onoo (called Ishikawa and just doing a generic Japanese guy thing).
– This is not actually complete, as opener Chris Benoit v. 2 Cold Scorpio is cut out for obvious reasons.
Yuji Nagata v. Tokimitsu Ishizawa
Early in the career for Nagata here. Ishizawa takes him down by the leg to start, but Nagata grabs a legbar and forces him to the ropes. They fight over a wristlock and Nagata controls with a top wristlock on the mat, and works on the arm. Bischoff is calling it pretty straight, not trying to do his over-the-top hype like his babyface announcer role on Nitro. Nagata switches to the leg, but Ishizawa grabs a sleeper on the mat and then shifts to an armbar. Nagata tries an enzuigiri and misses, but comes back with a series of kicks and locks in the Facelock Submission Move That Shall Not Be Named for the win at 4:30. Ishizawa would change his name soon after this and become a star as Kendo Kashin. *1/2
Masa Chono & Hiro Saito v. El Samurai & Tadao Yasuda
Chono fights for the lockup with Yasuda and neither can overpower the other. They do the test of strength and Chono cheats to win, as the future nWo Japan go to work on the arm. Yasuda slams Saito to escape and Samurai comes in with a legdrop for two. Chono comes in with a nasty Yakuza kick, but Samurai gets the sunset flip for two. Yasuda comes in with his own high kick, but misses an elbow and the heels take over. Saito gets a senton for two, but gets caught in the corner by Samurai. Satio dodges a dropkick, however, and a spinebuster puts him back in control. Chono stomps on Samurai’s ribs and goes to a rear chinlock, but Yasuda gets back in and uses the BITCHSLAPS OF DEATH on the heels. God, this guy is bad. Samurai adds a diving headbutt to Chono and gets two. Chono abuses Samurai’s groinal region, however, and finishes him with a flying shoulderblock at 8:04. Yasuda was terrible, but Chono is always pretty fun when he’s not toning it down for US audiences. I mean, really , when do you see someone kick a guy in the nuts three times as a setup for the finisher? **
Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto v. Manami Toyota & Mariko Yoshida
The heels attack and toss Toyota, but she recovers, only to run into a clothesline from Nakano. Nakano uses the hair toss, but Toyota dropkicks her and gets a missile dropkick for two. Hokuto comes in with a flying splash for two on Yoshida, and a vicious piledriver gets two. She moves right into a bow-and-arrow, then Nakano comes in with a Sharpshooter that she augments by lifting Yoshida off the ground. That’s like something Jack Evans would take. Nakano continues bending Yoshida by stretching her over her knee, and a legdrop gets two. Hokuto comes in, but Yoshida cartwheels into a bodypress and adds a pair of handspring elbows to come back. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Yoshida goes up, but Hokuto suplexes her off for two. Nakano comes in with a flying clothesline, but Toyota gets the tag. And Bull promptly kills her with a powerbomb for two. Toyota comes back with a sunset flip to counter another one, and that gets two. The faces try a double suplex on Bull, but she reverses them. Hokuto tries another flying splash, but misses and gets double-dropkicked by the face girls. The heels bail and Yoshida follows them with a tope suicida, and Toyota gets a springboard plancha as the workrate is just off the charts here. Back in, Toyota goes up with a moonsault for two on Hokuto. She tries the Ocean Cyclone, but Hokuto rolls her up for two to counter. German suplex gets two. Nakano comes in with Yoshida, and Yoshida gets a cross body for two. She follows with a dropkick, which Nakano doesn’t sell, so the faces team up with a double one for two. Hokuto comes back in with a missile dropkick on both faces, and then Bull drags them out so that Hokuto can hit them both with a flip dive from teh top to the floor. Back in, Nakano decapitates Yoshida with a top rope legdrop that had NO light showing, and that’s enough to finish at 8:06. Super fast pace and well worth checking out. ***1/2
Scott Norton v. Shinya Hashimoto
Hashimoto was IWGP champ at this point, although I don’t think this was a title match. Hashimoto tries a full nelson to start, but Norton breaks easily. Norton grabs a headlock and shoulderblocks Hash into the corner and out. Back in, Norton chops him down and pounds him with shoulderblocks in the corner. Corner splash follows, but another one hits boot and Hash throws the high kicks to put Norton down. Leg lariat gets two. He goes to the armbar and works on the arm, but Norton comes back with a short clothesline. Hash goes back to the arm, however, holding him on the mat with a standing armbar. He throws more kicks, but Norton no-sells and comes back with a clothesline for two. Norton slams him and drops an elbow as the match moves at a molasses pace. Norton tries a piledriver, but Hashimoto backdrops out of it while Bischoff and Onoo do a stupid America v. Japan mini-feud, arguing over who is controlling the match. They should be arguing over who is sucking more. Although Norton can drag anyone down so I shouldn’t blame Hashimoto. He works on Norton’s arm again, but Norton chokes him down and follows with a backbreaker. Norton goes up and gets a pump splash for two. He gut-punches Hashimoto and goes to the chinlock. Another clothesline gets two as everyone moves very slowly and deliberately. Hashimoto blocks a chop and legsweeps Norton, then takes him down with three high kicks, for two. Elbowdrop gets two. And now Hashimoto goes to a facelock, which he thankfully turns into a DDT for two. Norton comes back with his own, shittier, DDT, but can’t get a powerbomb. He also seems totally blown up. Hashimoto blocks a suplex, but Norton powers him over anyway and gets two. Norton throws chops, but Hashimoto fires back and a superkick gets two. Norton gets a powerbomb and goes up with a flying splash for two. Time expires at 20:00. Thankfully. Norton had no interest in selling anything of note here. **
Tadao Yasuda v. Road Warrior Hawk
Speaking of no-selling. Hawk pounds Yasuda in the corner and takes him down with a tackle, so Yasuda wants a sumo battle, which he wins. Hawk, a sore loser, clotheslines him down and follows with a shoulderblock and a slam. He goes up and misses a slam, and Yasuda slams him into a butterfly suplex, which Hawk no-sells. Powerslam and fistdrop, and Hawk goes up with a flying clothesline to finish quick at 2:24. Hawk sleepwalked through this. 1/2*
The Steiner Brothers v. Kensuke Sasaki & Hiro Hase
Steiners v. Hase is always good, so hopefully they can overcome Sasaki’s usual suckitude from this time period. Scott wrestles Hase down to start and pounds him in the corner with forearms, into a hiptoss. Uh oh, Scott’s got the roid rage going on tonight. He overpowers Hase and adds a press slam into the seconds at ringside, and Rick comes in with a belly to belly on Sasaki as the Steiners are clearly playing the evil gaijin here for a dead silent crowd. Back in, Scott wins the test of strength with Hase, but he bridges up and fires off a back kick and follows with a dropkick. He tries to move into a facelock, but Scott snaps off a northern lights suplex and adds a tilt-a-whirl slam. Man, it’s too bad that the Steiners didn’t wrestle as heels during their prime, because they’re awesome as the arrogant bullies. Rick comes in and slugs away on Sasaki, but he no-sells, so Rick clotheslines him, and he pops up with a german suplex. To the top, but Sasaki lands into an overhead suplex from Rick. He no-sells and powerslams Rick, clearly having learned too much from Hawk. Hase comes in with chops, but Rick clotheslines him and runs him into the corner with the body-vice. Over to Scott for the belly to belly, as Scott is just FEELING IT tonight, snapping off everything with gusto, and he adds a straight kick to the head because he’s awesome. Hase dropkicks him to come back, but Scott holds Hase in the corner and Rick beats on him and then kills him dead with a german suplex onto his head. Amazingly, that was all Hase’s bump. That gets two, so Scott comes in with an STF and then adds another belly to belly. Back to Rick, as Scott again cuts off any potential tag and Rick just goes nuts on Hase in the corner, kicking the crap out of him. Why did they have to get so lazy and unmotivated in WCW after this? It makes baby Jesus cry. Scott gets the butterfly powerbomb for two and Rick adds a Steinerline, but Hase blocks and hits a backdrop suplex, and makes the hot tag to Sasaki. Scott stops any comeback and they double-team, but Sasaki again no-sells and clotheslines both Steiners. Hase comes in with a flying bulldog on Rick and gets the GIANT SWING. This match has everything. Rick is loopy(er), but still snaps off a german suplex and Hase again chooses to land on his head. Scott comes in with a pumphandle slam for two as everyone brawls, and the camera is so busy watching Rick brawl with Sasaki that it misses the STEINER SCREWDRIVER, the most bad-ass finisher of the last 30 years, and that finishes Hase at 11:46. Hard-hitting and awesome. **** For those who have never been blessed with the Screwdriver, Scott lifts the guy up in a vertical suplex, but instead of bringing him down on his back, he drops him straight down from the vertical position, into a tombstone piledriver, all in one move. He generally doesn’t do it outside of Japan because no one is insane enough to take it in the US.
Ric Flair v. Antonio Inoki
Flair takes him down with a headlock to start, but Inoki goes for the arm and Flair has to make the ropes. Flair takes him down with a cross-armbreaker, something you don’t see very often from him, but Inoki throws kicks to escape. Inoki stomps him in the corner to finally get the crowd going, and Flair bails to escape. He comes back and cheats to take over, then works on the leg and stomps Inoki onto the floor, then runs him into the post. Back in, Flair suplexes him for two. Flair works the count and then goes to an STF as Flair is all about the crazy offense tonight. Then it’s classic offense as he goes to work on the leg and clips him. Kneedrop follows and it’s figure-four time, but Inoki pulls Flair’s legs apart to break. Flair goes back to it, but Inoki cradles for two. Inoki with the backslide for two. They slug it out and Flair goes down with a Flair Flop. Flair Flip follows and he lands on the floor. Back in, Flair gets a cheapshot and goes up, but even the Korean fans know what happens next. Inoki throws a dropkick that misses by a mile, but it still gets two. Flair gets another cheapshot but loses another slugfest, so he slams Inoki and drops an elbow for two. Backdrop suplex and both guys are out, until Flair rolls over for two. Flair tries another slam, but Inoki reverses to a cradle, then hits a koppo kick and an enzuigiri to finish at 14:50. Well you knew Inoki wasn’t doing the job here. They tried hard, I’ll give them that. ***
Totally worth watching to see the Steiners in one last glorious burst of awesome before their permanent descent into mediocrity and steroid abuse, plus Flair v. Inoki is pretty historic stuff. The rest, not so much. Mild recommendation.