Slamboree 1997

Slamboree 1997
Date: May 18, 1997
Location: Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
Attendance: 9,643
Commentators: Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

So you remember how Spring Stampede was a filler PPV? This one is as
well but probably moreso than that one. The main event is the Wolfpac
vs. the Horsemen in a meaningless six man. Hogan had this annoying habit
of taking the summer off and he did it again here too. He wouldn’t be
back until July with Bash at the Beach for another meaningless tag
match. To give you an idea of how dominant WCW was, the world title
wasn’t defended on PPV from February until August and they still
dominated WWF. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is about the three former football players that are
wrestling tonight. You know, because that’s what we bought wrestling
PPVs to see.

The announcers babble about tradition.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Ultimo Dragon

Regal is challenging. Dragon goes to a wristlock and manages to stop
Regal’s usual counter to it and hooks an armbar. Test of strength goes
on with Regal taking him down but Dragon pops right back up. They go to
the corner and Dragon does his stand on his head in the corner deal. Why
does no one ever hit him while he does that? I get the real life reason
that he might die, but in kayfabe why not hit him?

Back on the mat Dragon fires off some kicks and hooks a half crab.
Regal makes the rope and fires off some kicks of his own to send the
champion to the floor. Back in a suplex gets two for Regal. They trade
full nelsons and Dragon gets a sunset flip for two. Regal Stretch is
avoided and Dragon is all fired up now for some reason. They get into a
chain wrestling match and Regal is in his element. Regal tries the
Stretch again but Dragon grabs his own mask to block it.

Since the Stretch won’t go on it’s time for the bow and
arrow/surfboard (Dusty and Tenay call it either or) but Dragon escapes
and fires a kick to the back. Here’s the bridging Indian Deathlock and
the fans chant for Regal. Dragon switches to a camel clutch and it turns
into a brawl. Dragon dropkicks him to the floor and Sonny fires off
some kicks. Those get him yelled at by the champ so Dragon sends Regal
back in and hits a top rope rana for two.

Regal tries the Stretch again but Dragon makes the ropes. The fans
are firmly behind Regal now which is strange as this is heel vs. heel
and Dragon has been the good guy by default. Both guys try rollups for
two but Dragon takes over with a spinwheel kick. Tiger suplex is
countered but Dragon sends Regal to the floor. Asai Moonsault hits and
Sonny adds in some more kicks. Dragon stops him so Sonny kicks Dragon,
allowing Regal to take over. In the ring a reverse suplex sets up the
Regal Stretch and we have a new champion.

Rating: B. This was getting really good at the end
and was still good when Sonny got involved. Was there ever a more
useless manager now named Paul Jones? Really good opener here as they
were beating the tar out of each other. Dragon would get the title back
in a little over two months.

Madusa vs. Luna Vachon

This is the fallout from last month. Luna is billed from the Other
Side of Darkness. Lee Marshall is brought in as a women’s wrestling
expert here. Luna takes her down to start and chokes a lot. Madusa tries
to throw punches but gets beaten down again. Marshall talks about
Martina Navartilova as Madusa kicks Luna’s head off with a SWEET spin
kick. Luna comes back with a stomach claw which that schnook Marshall
calls scandalous. Madusa hits something like a Stinger Splash and
screams a lot. Clothesline gets two. Luna manages a thumb in the eye,
misses a top rope splash, and gets German suplexed for the pin.

Rating: D-. Nothing at all to see here as neither
girl cared and none of the fans cared either. Bad match and there was
nothing going on. The division didn’t exist but we got this stuff every
now and then so that WCW could claim they had women’s wrestlers. Bad
match but Madusa is kind of cute at times.

Post match Madusa takes her vest off to reveal her bra, which you could see 80% of already.

Here are Savage and Liz for a little chat. They throw Gene out and
head to the ring. He talks about how the NWO is the center of the
universe and how Page doesn’t matter because he doesn’t want any more of
Savage. Cue Page through the crowd with a crutch to taunt Savage. The
NWO has a conference in the aisle as Page makes fun of Savage, saying
that he washes Hogan’s car. Savage finally comes in and gets beaten down
by the crutch. More NWO comes in and beat him down but the Giant makes
the save. Page vs. Savage would main event the next show. This took
almost eight minutes.

Rey Mysterio vs. Yuji Yasuraoka

Yuji is a guy who I can only find very infrequent matches in New
Japan for. He debuted last night on Saturday Night and that’s about all
they’ve got on him. In other words, he’s a nobody. They both trade some
quick holds and Rey works on the leg. Yuji comes back with a suplex and a
kick to the back to take over. He’s the heel by default here because
he’s Japanese and therefore evil. Oh and because he’s facing Mysterio.

Spinwheel kick gets two for Yuji. He puts his hands on the chest
instead of a usual cover with a leg hook to really show how evil he is.
Rey sends him to the floor and sets for a dive but the referee gets in
the way. Rey is like screw it and dives over Curtis the next time
instead to hit Yuji. Back in the ring Rey hooks a camel clutch which
looks really awkward for him. Yuji comes back and hooks a Fujiwara
Armbar as things slow down again.

Apparently Yuji is a former partner of Lance Storm. Heenan: “He
sounds like a weatherman from Omaha.” Now it’s a cross armbreaker to
really put the fans to sleep. Well not to sleep but remember that this
is a no name guy keeping things on the mat in a non-title match. Why
should we care? Out to the floor and Yuji hits a double ax off the top
to take Rey out. Suplex back in gets two. Rey sends him into the corner
and hits a split legged moonsault for two.

Time to trade some reversals with both guys getting two, Yuji’s off a
countered victory roll and Rey’s off the counter to the counter. Yuji
tries a rana but gets powerbombed for two. Rey misses a top rope splash
and Yuji hits his finisher, a double arm DDT, for two. Another attempt
at it is countered into a northern lights suplex for two. A top rope
cross body is dropkicked down by Rey and the West Coast Pop gets the
pin.

Rating: C. It’s not a bad match but at the end of
the day, it’s just another cruiserweight match that doesn’t mean
anything because Syxx wouldn’t defend the freaking title. On top of that
the match was only ok. Yuji would never be seen again that I know of
and after this, I can kind of see why. Again not a bad match, but
nothing we haven’t seen a million times.

Mortis vs. Glacier

This is one of those feuds that went on forever and I don’t think
there was ever any real resolution to it. Glacier charges in and the
fight is on quick. Mortis goes after the knee and Glacier is down in the
corner. And here’s Wrath who has debuted before this apparently.
Glacier hits a German on Mortis before Wrath gets here but there’s the
DQ like two minutes in. This is what NITRO is for people!

Ernest Miller comes in through the crowd for the save. He hasn’t been
named yet at this point. Oh ok he is named and the announcers
immediately recognize him as a world karate champion, because Eric
Bischoff seemed to think that EVERYONE followed tournament karate.

US Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Dean Malenko

Dean is defending and Debra brings out Jeff. They fight over a lockup
to start and Dean gives him a clean break in the corner. Jeff takes him
down with a shoulder but doesn’t follow up. Even Tony is confused by
that. Dean hits a drop toehold but doesn’t follow up either. They both
seem hesitant to charge in here. Dean hooks a quick chinlock but Jarrett
counters into a mat hold of his own that is countered so quickly that
it’s off to an STF by Dean.

Debra says something and they’re still feeling each other out in the
ring. Dean hooks a leg bar which goes nowhere either. Out to the floor
and Jarrett’s leg is put over the railing and kicked, but he’s fine
enough to rapidly stomp Dean on the way back in. Dropkick gets two. Off
to an abdominal stretch which lasts for a few moments. Dean tries to
speed things up and sends Jeff to the floor.

Back in Dean still won’t go after him and for the life of me I don’t
get why. It’s Jeff Jarrett in 1997. Armbar goes on followed by a
swinging neckbreaker. Here comes the Figure Four but Dean escapes by
hitting Jeff’s knee. Cloverleaf is countered into a small package for
two. Another Cloverleaf attempt is countered by Dean being sent to the
floor. Back in the ring a cross body is rolled through for two for Dean.

Off to a sleeper so Tony talks about Piper. Now Malenko counters into
a sleeper of his own but Jeff quickly counters into the Figure Four.
Dean panics then realizes he’s 8 inches from the ropes. The fans are all
over Jarrett here. Dean sends him into the corner and we get an
embarrassingly bad collision. Here’s Mongo to pull Debra away and throw
Jarrett back into the Cloverleaf so Dean can retain.

Rating: C. Again the match isn’t bad but so what?
Back in February Mongo and Jarrett were fighting because of Debra and
now it’s May and they’re still fighting about Debra. Also keep in mind
that this is when Jarrett was still REALLY boring in the ring and could
pretty much just throw dropkicks and put on a Figure Four. Nothing to
see here as Malenko keeps the title and that’s about it. Jarrett would
get the title about three months later in an attempt to make the Mongo
feud mean something.

Meng vs. Chris Benoit

This is a death match which means last man standing. Speaking of
feuds that WOULD NOT END, this is more Benoit/Horsemen vs. Dungeon. At
least Woman looks pretty good here. Benoit is tentative to start but
grabs a dragon screw leg whip to put Meng down for about a second. Meng
comes right back so Benoit heads to the floor where he gets counted for
no apparent reason.

Back in the ring Meng hits a belly to belly suplex. Meng tries to
throw a punch but Benoit slips behind him and hits a German. Benoit
keeps going for the legs which is smart strategy but he gets kicked off.
Out to the floor and Meng is sent into the steps in a scary looking
bump as the corner almost hit his eye. Meng comes back in and pounds him
down in the corner but Benoit comes back with chops.

Meng goes all psycho Samoan…..and for the love of all things good and
holy freaking Jacqueline is here. NO ONE LIKES YOU AND NO ONE CARES
ABOUT YOU NOW GO AWAY!!! Woman chases her away for some reason that I
don’t care about at all. Meng hooks a half crab and I think you can win
by submission as well. Benoit makes the ropes which is a break in a
match that has no DQ.

Benoit tries a comeback but gets headbutted right back down. A good
piledriver puts Benoit down for eight. Out of nowhere Benoit grabs the
Crossface (not named yet. Ok apparently it is but Tony calls it an
armbar submission at first) but Meng slides to the floor to break it.
Now Dusty says you have to break in the ropes. What happens if you
don’t? Benoit keeps getting up and screams for more so Meng keeps
kicking him in the face.

A running kick in the corner misses and Benoit fires away at him.
Here are the rolling Germans which that idiot Tony calls dragon
suplexes. This show is ticking me off already and now we have to listen
to Tony screw up move names. Here’s the Crossface again but Meng rolls
outside again. Wicked suicide dive takes Meng down but Benoit can’t
follow up. Back in a suplex puts Meng down but he catches Benoit in the
Tongan Death Grip while Benoit tries the swan dive. Benoit passes out
for the loss.

Rating: D+. Another match that more or less was a
singles match but more hard hitting. It wasn’t terrible but with Tony
and Jackie out there messing up everything, it was hard to care. On top
of that, why have Benoit lose here? That would apparently be so that
they could do THE EXACT SAME MATCH the next month.

This show is already bad but the problem is that none of this stuff
matters. That’s the case for Spring Stampede, this show and the Great
American Bash, because most of the big names weren’t here and none of
the matches meant anything because it was clear that everything was
leading up to Sting vs. Hogan, and Hogan didn’t appear on any of these
shows, nor did Sting I don’t think. In other words, we had three months
of worthless PPVs, which make them even harder to sit through.

Konnan/Hugh Morrus vs. Steiner Brothers

See my point? Scott and Morrus start. Dusty says these teams both
want to be tag champions. That’s hilarious: like the Outsiders would
ever defend those things. To give you an idea of things: the Steiners
won the belts in October. From October 1996 until May of 1998, ONLY the
Outsiders and the Steiners held the belts (not counting the Giant/Luger
title win as they had to return them the next night). On top of that,
aside from 18 days in Spring of 98, either an Outsider or a Steiner held
the titles from October of 1996 until January of 1999. Think about that
for a minute.

Morrus gets thrown around by both Steiners and Rick hits some Steiner
Lines. A top rope Steiner Line puts Morrus on the floor and the
Steiners clear the ring. Rick vs. Konnan now with Konnan getting thrown
all over the place with “that move that Benoit used in the last match”
(German suplex). Back to Scott as we’re in squash mode so far. Konnan
finally gets a boot up in the corner to give the Dungeon an advantage.

Never mind of course as Scott suplexes him over. Morrus comes in
again and Jimmy trips Scott to give his team a chance. Hugh manages a
suplex and it’s back to Konnan who gets two off a neckbreaker. Morrus
hooks a Fujiwara Armbar but it’s off to Konnan for a modified Rings of
Saturn. Scott gets up and hits an overhead belly to belly. Morrus tries a
double ax while Scott is on his back because the put the boot up while
the other guy does a move that only exists to jump into the boot spot is
REALLY what I want to see right now. Hot tag to Rick, bad top rope
bulldog, everything breaks down, Frankensteiner, pin.

Rating: D. Another whatever match here as none of it
means anything and we got a glorified squash on PPV. Then again Rick
lost a glorified squash last month as well but hey, it sucked last month
so maybe it will here too! Nothing to see here (of course) as the
Steiners wouldn’t get a title shot until AUGUST.
Konnan beats up Morrus post match, quitting the Dungeon to become a rapper.

Reggie White vs. Steve McMichael

GREAT. This is EXACTLY what this show needs. Why is Reggie White
fighting? Who knows? Who cares? My guess is because even though Mongo is
a face here, he turned heel on Greene like 11 months ago and this is
REVENGE. You would think that Greene would want revenge himself, but
he’s in the main event with the guys that Mongo turned on him for. In
theory White is a heel here, but naturally he’s treated as the hero
against a Horseman in CHARLOTTE. He has his strength coach with him.
This is White’s first match ever and they put him with STEVE FREAKING
MCMICHAEL. Let’s get this over with.

Feeling out process to start as Mongo is definitely playing heel.
They collide and both stumble. They do it again and Mongo stumbles a
bit. White hooks a headlock and they ram again with Mongo going down
this time. Steve draws the scrimmage line and they go at it with Mongo
taking the leg out. They do it again and White jumps over him, then hits
him in the side of the ribs which is a “clothesline.”

Mongo tries to leave but one of White’s teammates comes out to throw
him back in. It’s a nose tackle from the Packers apparently. White gets
some great height on a dropkick for two. The kick sucked but he was UP
THERE. The fans cheer for Mongo but he keeps playing heel because that’s
what was set before the match and White (not his fault) doesn’t know
how to be a heel because HE ISN’T A WRESTLER.

Mongo hooks an armbar and shouts about how Jesus may have White’s
soul (White was known as a very religious man) but Mongo has him right
now. That gets McMichael sent to the floor and it’s more stalling. White
hooks a headlock but Mongo escapes and clips him to take over. Side
slam puts Reggie down but he comes back up quickly and puts the headlock
on again before hitting a cross body for two.

Off to a nerve hold by White but McMichael hits him low and makes fun
of church bells. Off to another leg lock and then a half crab. They ram
each other into the corner a few times but Steve kicks the knee out.
Figure four is countered and White shoves him down. He actually SELLS
THE KNEE….or maybe he’s just tired. They slug it out in the corner and
Reggie is all fired up.

There’s an atomic drop and a much better clothesline to put Mongo on
the floor. Back in and McMichael takes over, only to have his suplex
countered. He hits a splash but there’s no referee because of Debra.
Briefcase is stolen by the other football player but Jeff Jarrett comes
out and throws in another case and the shot with that gets the pin on
White.

Rating: F. As in FIFTEEN MINUTES that this match
got. Now before I get into this, I want to emphasize something: Reggie
White was TRYING out there. He looked fired up, he was going the entire
time, and there have been far worse celebrity performances in the past.
That being said, the match was WAY too long and McMichael was the
totally wrong person to try to carry him.

Think back to the 97 Great American Bash when it was Mongo/Greene
debuting as a team. They faced Arn Anderson and Ric Flair, two of the
best ring technicians ever. Flair and Arn walked then through a 20
minute match and it wasn’t that terrible. That being said, this was a
HORRIBLE idea. You took basically a rookie and had him work a fifteen
minute match with a football player. Horrible match, but more based on
the people that put it together rather than the wrestlers.

Kevin Greene/Roddy Piper/Ric Flair vs. Syxx/Kevin Nash/Scott Hall

Here’s your main event. Nothing on the line, just pride. It’s Flair’s
first match back in 8 months. Greene played for the Carolina Panthers
so he’s incredibly popular. Flair vs. Syxx to start. Syxx takes him down
quickly and grabs a headlock. Flair chops him down but Syxx kicks him
in the face. Syxx chops him in the corner and Flair is all like boy
please. There’s a backdrop and a pelvic thrust to the Outsiders.

Hall comes in and takes a punch and Flair wants Nash. Greene and
Piper haven’t done anything yet. Hall comes in legally and Flair says
bring it on. Now it’s off to Greene and it’s time to stall. Nash comes
in before Hall does anything. They shove each other around and Nash
pounds away with the usual stuff in the corner. Greene comes back with a
shoulderblock to take down the other Kevin and he does it again. Nash
heads to the floor so Greene beats up both other Wolfpac members.

Hall wants Piper so here he is. Piper has a HUGE bandage on his right
thigh. Into the corner and Piper rifles off rights and lefts as we
continue the start and stop nature of this match. A knee lift by Piper
puts Piper down (not a typo) but Hall shoves him into the corner. Roddy
fights off all three of them at once but Syxx manages to get in a shot
to the leg to give the NWO their first advantage.

Piper kicks away a figure four attempt and dives to Flair, putting
the total time the NWO was in control at 19 seconds. Flair comes in but
gets knocked into the corner for the Flair Flip. He comes off the top
and jumps into the fallaway slam by Hall. They all head to the floor and
Greene runs over Syxx. Flair is the face in peril and gets caught in
Snake Eyes.

Back to Hall for nothing of note and it’s back to Syxx. He hits the
Bronco Buster, drawing a homosexual slur chant. That of course fires up
the He-Man known as Ric Flair but Syxx takes him back down almost
immediately. Flair tags in Piper but the referee doesn’t see it. Piper
is like screw that and decks Anderson and everything breaks down. Nick
Patrick, freshly good again, replaces Anderson. Flair hits Hall low and
puts on the Figure Four. Piper puts Nash in the sleeper and Syxx gets
powerslammed for the triple win.

Rating: C. This was a basic six man tag but MAN did
the place pop for the win. This is supposed to be a big deal for some
reason with Tony calling it the biggest moment in the history of WCW.
It’s probably the best match of the night other than the opener and this
one kind of almost means something so I’ll give it the point. Greene
was having a blast out here and did what he could.

Overall Rating: N. As in nothing. I’ve got nothing
that could accurately describe how worthless this was. Some of the
matches are ok at best but for the most part they were either bad or
pointless. Nothing to see here at all as none of the big stars were here
for the most part, at least not wrestling. This was the second of three
straight PPVs with no Hogan and as annoying as he was, without him
there was really no point to anything because he was world champion.
Horrible show that was actually making me mad at times, which is a
rarity.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Monday Nitro – May 12, 1997

Monday Nitro #87
Date: May 12, 1997
Location: 1st Mariner Center, Baltimore, Arena
Attendance: 8,058
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

I
think this is another of those hour long shows due to the NBA Playoffs
which is a good idea lately. Slamboree is this Sunday and THANK GOODNESS
FOR THAT. The shows have been so insanely boring lately that they need
something to be completely changed. 1997 wasn’t kind to the company but
everyone remembers it as being awesome for some reason. Hopefully
there’s more Sting and Hogan here tonight as without them, these shows
suck. Let’s get to it.

Michael Buffer of all people opens the show.
Here
are Savage and Liz with the Macho Man on his own feet instead of
crutches. He talks about Page jumping him last week and firing him up.
Savage wants a fight tonight and that’s it. He talked for 25 seconds
max. That’s kind of refreshing.
Apparently
Sting wants to conduct a one on one interview with Bischoff. The source
of this news: Bischoff. Naturally the announcers accept this with no
questions.
TV Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon
Dragon
is defending and Regal talks about how he can outwrestle anyone and
will take the title on Sunday. Guerrera starts with a springboard cross
body for two followed by a headscissors to send the champ to the floor.
Back in and Dragon fires off some kicks followed by an over the shoulder
backbreaker for two. Juvy kicks him in the face for two and hits a
northern lights fisherman’s suplex for two.
A
rana is countered by a Dragon powerbomb and things slow down. Juvy
rolls through a rana into a sunset flip for two before escaping a dragon
and tiger suplex. They both go up top, resulting in Dragon hitting a
superplex to put both guys down. Juvy gets pulled to the floor by Sonny
Onoo and Dragon jumps on Guerrera from behind, saving Sonny in the
process. Onoo kicks Juvy in the back and back inside, the super rana
sets up the Dragon Sleeper to retain the title.
Rating: C.
Not bad here but they kept starting and stopping. Juvy is a good choice
for an opening act though as he can fly all over the place and do it
almost as well as anyone else. That being said, he had no chance at
winning the title, but for the most part that’s ok. Sometimes it’s fine
to throw out an entertaining match even if the ending isn’t in doubt.
Here
are Piper/Flair/Greene to talk about Sunday. Please let this be short.
Greene says that everyone pays taxes, everyone dies, and on Sunday he’s
going to hurt the NWO. Flair says they’ll be there on Sunday. Piper says
he’s isn’t Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz. The NWO shows up and makes fun
of the guys in the ring. On Sunday, it’s no DQ and no countout.
Dean Malenko vs. Steve McMichael
Dean
takes him to the mat almost immediately but Mongo shoves him down
almost just as fast. Malenko goes after the knee but Mongo escapes a
Cloverleaf attempt. The leg lariat gets two for Dean but a Jarrett
distraction lets Mongo clip Dean from behind. Mongo powerslams Dean but
the referee went down during the slam.
Here’s
Reggie White but Jarrett distracts him too, allowing Mongo to get in a
shot. White hits a clothesline and splash on Mongo (Bobby says it’s not
fair as Mongo has already been in there five or ten minutes. It hasn’t
even been three yet) giving Dean the pin. This was a mess and it set up
Reggie White vs. Mongo on Sunday so if it could be rated, the grade
would be very low.
Reggie says he’s fighting for Wisconsin on Sunday.
Lee Marshall does his thing. Remind me again why this guy was getting a paycheck?
Scotty Riggs vs. Wrath
Even
Scotty Riggs gets pyro. Man how much money did they have to burn at
this point? Before the match, James Vandenberg names his monster as
Wrath. As for the match, picture any squash between a small pretty boy
and a monster that lasts about 40 seconds. That’s the match you get
here. Wrath wins it with his double arm Rock Bottom.
Here’s Glacier post match. He doesn’t do anything but he does in fact show up.
Konnan/Hugh Morrus vs. Alex Wright/Ice Train
Clearly a main event in any arena in the country. Tonight, it’s the main event in the 1st
Mariner Arena. The Dungeon team jumps Train to start with no avail at
all. Train and Morrus officially start us off with Ice Train hitting a
powerslam to take over. Off to Wright who is booed out of the building.
Wright won’t tag out and it lets Morrus take over. A clothesline puts
Train down and Wright bails to the floor. Train fights back but Wright
claims a knee injury and walks away. The Dungeon double teams Ice Train
until the Tequila Sunrise gets the submission.
Rating: D.
This was all about the heel turn and not about the match at all. This
didn’t lead to a match between Ice Train and Wright, at least not on
Nitro. This would be Train’s last match on Nitro that I can find for
over three years. Nothing to see here as it was an angle instead of a
match, but at least the angle seemed to be what was needed given the
crowd hating Wright when he came into the match.
We recap the beatdown on DDP by the NWO last week.
 
We cut to the back where Piper is down and injured. To the best of my knowledge this wasn’t mentioned at all on Sunday.
Here’s
Bischoff for the big interview with Sting. Bischoff stalls a lot and
we’re rapidly running out of airtime. To the shock of absolutely no one
with a functioning brain, it’s the NWO Sting. The fans say they want
Sting. Bischoff says a bunch of things that run Sting down while
praising Hogan and Sting nods in agreement with everything. The real
Sting comes out and beats up the fake one. Bischoff runs to end the
show.
Overall Rating: D-.
The only thing keeping this from being a total failure is that it was
half the length of a usual show. There was NOTHING on this show of value
at all and it was pretty clear that no one was interested in what they
were doing out there. Slamboree would wind up being the textbook
definition of a throwaway show and even though the main event wound up
being decent, it didn’t mean anything at all past Sunday night. This
show however was horrible and thankfully we’re moving towards something
new now.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Rick Rude: The DVD

http://www.wwedvdnews.com/fantasy-concept-dvd-wwe-ravishing-rick-rude/23718/

Not too bad.  Rude v. Chono from Japan, his best match ever, is missing, and I think it would be good throw on something from when he was the first WCCW champion.  Since it's a fantasy DVD, I'd also throw on the Rock N Roll Express regaining the World tag titles from Rude and Fernandez in Spokane.  Just for fun.  Regardless, I'd buy this.  

STREISANDtober Countdown: WCW Halloween Havoc 91

The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Halloween Havoc 91 – Live from Chattanooga, Tennessee – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, something you don’t see everyday.  (Because they HATE each other.  Weird that those two guys in particular would have heat, but announcing is a cut-throat business, I guess.)  – Before we get started, Eric Bischoff is working as a parking valet outside, and welcomes various people to Havoc. When he gets to Barry Windham, Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko rush into the scene and slam the door on Windham’s hand, breaking it. This is how Larry got the “Cruncher” nickname.  (And that little boy grew up to be…Roy Cohn.  And now you know the rest of the story.)  Opening match: Chamber of Horrors. Big Van Vader, Diamond Studd, Abdullah the Butcher and Cactus Jack v. Sting, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner and El Gigante. Here’s the concept: Eight guys in a big cage, and the only way to win the match is to…wait for it…put your opponent in an electric chair and pull the lever. This match made Netcop Busts without a second thought, in case there was a doubt. Besides the obvious faults, this match suffers from several other faults. (Existing, for instance.)  For instance, the lack of a flow or storyline. Also, the camera work is awful, constantly pulling back for a wide shot when there’s no way to see through the huge cage. The crowd is dead because there’s just no way to follow what’s going on. It’s a big brawl for about 10 minutes, with Sting, Cactus and Abdullah all bleeding. Abby gets put into the chair and after a contrived sequence, Cactus Jack pulls the switch and Abby is “electrocuted” to give the faces the win. I can’t even rate this, it was too weird. Jack and Sting took some nice bumps, the rest is hit-or-miss.  (Some people have actually defended this mess, in what I can only assume is a bizarre case of Stockholm Syndrome.)  – The Creatures v. Big Josh & PN News. The Creatures are Joey Maggs and someone else under masks. And this is a squash. Yo baby, yo baby, yo, this also made Netcop Busts. News gets the pin with the Big Fat-Assed Splash. DUD  (There’s carrying on a Halloween gimmick and then there’s stupid fucking WCW bullshit.)  – Bobby Eaton v. Terrence Taylor. This was the continuation of the Worldwide series between the York Foundation and Eaton/Zenk. Very old school stuff, as Taylor plays the cowardly heel and they take it to the mat early and often. Hot spot as Eaton slams Taylor on the rampway and does a splash off the top. Eaton continues the bumps as he does the Bret Hart bump off the apron into the railing. Looked good. York has switched to an actual notebook computer here, it should be noted. (Not an insignificant amount of money in 1991, actually.  I didn’t even get a notebook until sometime around 1997 and even then it was a bottom-of-the-line piece of crap where I had to run OS/2 on it in order to get any kind of useful performance out of it.)  You know the difference between the commentary then and today? When Eaton is out of the ring, Ross notes that he has a 10-count to make it in, and if Taylor distracts the referee then the count is broken. It’s just the nuances that improve the commentary for new viewers. (They apparently don’t even care about getting new viewers today since the shows have become so dense and self-referential that Grant Morrison would watch it and go “I wish this was more accessible.”)  Eaton takes another wicked bump as Taylor delivers a Doctorbomb on the rampway. Eaton takes a hellacious shitkicking, coming back with a couple of close falls of his own that get the crowd going. I’m still not sure it was a great idea to turn Eaton heel at this point, given his popularity. Taylor misses the pump splash, allowing Eaton to make the super-redneck comeback and hit the RIGHT HAND OF DOOM! Neckbreaker, Alabama Jam, it’s over. Great match. **** Eaton was a very underappreciated talent. – Johnny B. Badd v. Jimmy Garvin. Restructured rant feature (political correctness and all…): The Johnny B. Badd “Lenny-O-Meter”, measuring how much of a flaming queer Badd looks like. 10 would be his first appearance at Superbrawl, 1 would be the final appearance in 1996 before he was fired. This is at 9, with the Chippendales outfit, Badd Blaster, and more frills than you can shake a stick at. The Freebirds suck up to the fans by wearing Atlanta Braves jackets and encouraging the war-cry. Badd takes a good bump right off by getting hiptossed out of the ring, over the top rope. I might have to deduct a LoM point for taking it like a man. The match goes downhill with nothing much going on until Badd misses an elbow off the top rope and Garvin goes back on offense. Badd takes a wussy bump over the top rope, negating that point I took off earlier. Double noggin knocker leads to the double knockout spot. Garvin hits a vicious DDT, but the referee is distracted with Teddy Long. Badd hits the TOOTY FRUITY PUNCH OF DEATH! and gets the pin. * (They would rematch a few years later in a SuperBrawl match where Jimmy Garvin was pulled out of retirement to do a job for Badd.)  – TV Title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. Dustin Rhodes. Yes, back when Austin had hair and a hot valet. Two years later, they would battle for the US title. 7 years later, and Austin would throw Rhodes into “Crapper 3:16” and go on to win the World title. Life is weird. This is your typical 1991 Worldwide TV title defense, most of which ended in 10 minute draws. The camera pans into the crowd, showing the world Dusty Rhodes’ mother for the first time I can remember. I’m scarred for life now, I swear. They compensate by showing Lady Blossom’s breasts a lot. Picture Debra McMichael with even bigger assets, if you’ve never seen Jeannie before. We go about five minutes before Dustin slices the requisite artery on the forehead and bleeds all over the place. Dull action as they build to the time-limit finish. Dustin gets the near-falls with two minutes left. Austin does a sympathy bladejob. Dustin with the 10 PUNCHES OF DOOM, the BIONIC ELBOW OF DEATH, and goes to the top for a bulldog with 3 seconds left, which doesn’t leave enough time to count a pin. Austin retains. **  (Resurrecting the 10 minute time limit for US title defenses on the 3 hour RAWs wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.)  – Bill Kazmaier v. Oz. Shoulderblock, shoulderblock, shoulderblock. Kazmaier wins with a torture rack. –*  (Oz made out OK.  But damn, I don’t remember him lasting THAT long in the gimmick before the change to Vinnie Vegas.)  – Van Hammer v. Doug Somers. Remember when Hammer was getting pushed? Squash-a-roo. Van Hammer hasn’t gotten much better since then. Hammer wins in about a minute with a slingshot suplex. DUD  (Damn, Pretty Boy Doug Somers.  What rock did they find him under?)  – WCW Lightheavyweight title: Richard Morton v. Brian Pillman. This would be the tournament final for the original lightheavy title. Morton is not cut out for this type of match. Notable Japanese dignitary at ringside: Wally “Choppy-choppy-your-pee-pee” Yamaguchi. Long boring match which Pillman wins with a bodypress off the top rope. The most notable thing about this match was the “refer-eye” camera, mounted on Nick Patrick’s head. *  (Morton’s heel turn was a disaster from the moment they left him with the exact same ring gear as babyface Morton.  He should have chopped the mullet, grown a beard, and started wearing suits everywhere.  The TNA heel version of Jeff Hardy was a perfect example of what they should have done with Morton.)  – The WCW Halloween Phantom v. Tom Zenk. If you don’t know who the Phantom is, I won’t spoil it yet. The Phantom makes short work of Zenk, finishing it with a reverse neckbreaker. The angle would progress later in the show, so I won’t bother to rate this. – WCW World tag team title match: Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko v. Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip. The Patriots were the US tag team champions at this point. A very dull match and I want to get to the next segment anyway, so we’ll fast forward to Arn hitting Chip with the spinebuster to retain the titles. *1/2  (I demand a WCW Special Forces t-shirt on WWE Shopzone!)  – Eric Bischoff brings out recently fired WCW commentator Paul E. Dangerously. He was dumped for being too controversial, but found a loophole because he still had his manager’s licence. And if there’s one thing you don’t want, it’s a pissed off Paul E. And so after more than a year of being a wimpy announcer, Paul E. brings out the WCW Halloween Phantom and swears his revenge on the federation that fired him, beginning with Sting, the franchise of WCW. Is this is a great storyline or what? To top it off, the Phantom unmasks to reveal…Ravishing Rick Rude. Big pop for that. The Dangerous Alliance would go on to terrorize WCW before the angle wrapped up at WrestleWar 92 and they self-destructed.  (One of my favorite angles of all time.)  – WCW World title match, 2/3 falls: Lex Luger v. Ron Simmons. Luger has Harley Race with him, while Simmons has Dusty Rhodes. I don’t know who to pity. Exciting headlock spot to start, Simmons takes control with several shoulderblocks, and hits a spinebuster for the first fall about 5 minutes in. Rhodes offers some inspirational words during the rest period. Simmons goes right back to the attack, getting a few two counts. Luger is either badly injured or playing someone who is, because he ain’t doing shit. The announcers talk about the Braves, thus reminding us of the colossal blunder involved in scheduling this show against the World Series. (Back when anyone cared about baseball enough that it would hurt PPV buyrates.)  Luger takes advantage of a Simmons blunder to slowly go on the offense. Powerslam for two. Luger must have blown up early in the match because he’s sucking wind so noticeably that Ross points it out. A very long chinlock results as Luger tries to recouperate. Simmons comes back with the SHOULDERBLOCKS OF DEATH as the managers fight (I’m surprised one of them didn’t blade) and Luger charges but gets dumped over the top rope, thus earning Simmons a DQ and giving Luger the second fall. Simmons controls the third, doing the Angry Negro (tm Christopher Priest) House O’ Fire right off the bat and getting a two count off a clothesline. Superplex for two. Sloppy powerslam. But Simmons misses a charge and goes into the ringpost, and one piledriver later it’s over. Thank god. * Luger retains, in what was his only successful title defense on PPV.  (Did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?  Luger was champion for MONTHS and they just couldn’t use him very much because of the restrictive nature of his contract.)  The Bottom Line: The Dangerous Alliance angle started here, but that’s available on highlight packages the shows following. The Taylor-Eaton match was great, but they did lots of great matches on Worldwide. The rest is pretty worthless. Not really recommended.  (To say the least.  That main event…) 

If Vince Didn’t Exist

Hey Scott,
 
This is Voth22 from the blog, I’ll skip all the ass kissing, because I am not asking for a plug or a link- but I will say that I have been a fan of yours since around 1997, so obviously I think you do a great job.
I am writing with a question that has no real answer, but that I thought might be a good topic for debate/discussion on the blog.
There has been a good amount of conjecture about who Vince McMahon would have ride to the national stage if Hulk Hogan had not been around to strap a rocket to for whatever reason, but what about the opposite? What would have happened to wrestling if there was no Vince McMahon?
I think it is fair to say that, for good or for ill, there has been no one in history that has had the impact and influence on the sport that Vince has.
I think the two easiest answers would be that the status quo would have remained the same or that someone else would simply have changed the sport in his place… but I don’t think it is that easy.
1-      With the advent of cable TV and other burdening media (PPV and the internet) I don’t think anyone could argue that wrestling was going to have to be in for some changes.
2-      There does not seem to be any prominent promoter at the time who would have had the vision and resources to be the man to drive the change- The WWF probably passes to one of of Vince Senior’s Lieutenants all of whom were Lieutenants for a reason. Crockett has proven that he is not a good business man, Gagne is hopelessly resistant to change, Von Erich would be undercut by circumstances beyond his control (his family tragedy and the economic devastation of his home territory), Watts is too abrasive to forge the relationships necessary to change the game… etc…
 
Vince was a force in the WWWF/WWF from 1970 on and it is safe to say he had some influence, but realistically, he took full control in 1982 and began his ascent.  But what happens to the business from that point if he was never born (or never decided to find his birth father or Linda killed him in his sleep or whatever)? Assuming that the Butterfly effect does not too greatly mess with anything else (EX- Magnum still wrecks his car, and Vern Gagne is still a really bad promoter)? Does the NWA manage to still rule the wresting world, what company/companies go national as competition, what happens to the WWF and how long do we take to get to some semblance of a modern era?
 
I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts….
 
     

I think that Crockett would have kept expanding and would have taken over the Vince slot, actually.  Crockett's main problem was that Vince wouldn't let him get any further north (well, OK, his main problem was Dusty killing towns, but that could have been overcome with a change of booker) and I think that Crockett and Turner together had enough vision to follow through with that plan.  The territory system was going to die regardless and whoever had the deepest pockets (ie, Turner) was going to be the one to survive.  WWF would have likely stayed regional in the northeast without Vince's hail mary pass in the form of Wrestlemania, and might have actually started expanding a bit once the TV and PPV era got going, but Vince risked a lot of other people's money to make that happen and I don't think the likes of Gorilla Monsoon and Pat Patterson could have pulled it off on their own.  
I think ultimately we'd end up with WCW in a mostly monopoly, but with a much smaller universe than we have now.  Weird to think of WCW Main Event style, where everything would be skewed to southern wrestling fans with Ric Flair getting endless nostalgia pushes.   

Kickstart My Plug

Hey Scott, it's Shawn from IP. Widro mentioned that I should write you about my web-series, King of Fitness. We're currently running a Kickstarter to raise funds for the show and I was wondering if there was any way that you could cover our project. 
Here's a link to the project:
http://www.facebook.com/l/_AQHoGftEAQEhlkb5hKpSuaGsBW2_9mmbY1bMKL4XVdkAzQ/www.kickstarter.com/projects/shawnmsmith/king-of-fitness/
Scott Sawitz covered it on IP Movies already, but if you could provide any coverage, that would be awesome.
I hope you're well. BTW, my wife thinks your little girl is gorgeous. I was told to relay that. 
SMS

I know.  She's ridiculously cute and photogenic.  I have no willpower against her.
Hope the plug helps. 

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – April 28, 1997

by Logan Scisco
A video package
summarizes the interactions between Bret Hart and Steve Austin on last week’s
show.  There’s a cool timeline in the
bottom right of the screen that tells the time of their various interactions on
last week’s show
.
Vince McMahon,
Jerry “the King” Lawler, and Jim Ross are in the booth and they are coming to
us from Omaha, Nebraska.
Brian Pillman
comes out and says that he has a sensitive side and asks the crowd to pray with
him.  Pillman prays for Bret Hart’s quick
and successful recovery, the people that enjoyed the street fight on last week’s
show, and the destruction of Steve Austin. 
Austin comes on the Titantron and says Pillman better pray that he doesn’t
come down to the ring because Bret won’t be there to save him.  Pillman taunts Austin further, so Austin
arrives, but outwits a sneak attack by the Bulldog and Owen and makes his exit
through the crowd.  Pillman continues his
prayer with Owen and the Bulldog, who continue to pray for Bret.  Owen does a hilarious job, as usual, but
Austin comes down with an axe handle and breaks up the Hart Foundation’s
prayer.  A great opening segment, with
Pillman doing a great job on the mic. 
Austin’s heat is off the charts here.
McMahon tells us
that Bret Hart is on his way to the arena and the announce crew hypes Owen Hart
challenging Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental title and the British Bulldog
facing the Undertaker.
Pillman is shown
continuing his prayer in the locker room.

Opening
Contest:  Flash Funk pins Rockabilly
(w/The Honky Tonk Man) with a hurricanrana at 4:22:
You can tell this is a great crowd because Rockabilly
actually gets a reaction.  Bret is shown
arriving in the arena in the back of an ambulance under an armed guard, which
is a great visual.  Funk flies all over
the place in an attempt to make this the first interesting match of Rockabilly’s
career, but Rockabilly finds a way to slow things down when he seizes control.  Rockabilly dances too much after a tornado
DDT and he wants the Honky Tonk Man to deck Funk on the apron, but
miscommunication results and Rockabilly gets pinned.  However, to get his heat back, Rockabilly
nails Funk with the Honky Tonk Man’s guitar. 
Rating:  *
Owen and the Bulldog
wheel Bret out onto the entrance ramp and he rants about how America hates
people that tell the truth.  Bret tells
the crowd that they are sick and depraved because of their lust for violence
and the crowd pops huge for that.  Bret does
a great put down of the “USA” chant by saying “my mother’s American” and
smiling and says he’d love to send Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels to the
hospital this evening.  This was another
awesome promo and Bret was at his best on the mic with this anti-American
character.
Doug Furnas &
Philip LaFon say that they haven’t been accepted by American wrestling fans
because they are wrestlers and not entertainers.  They complain that they haven’t won the tag
team titles because the crowd isn’t behind them.  This was Furnas and LaFon’s heel turn, but
they lacked the mic skills to make this work
.
The Legion of
Doom defeat Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon when Animal pins Furnas after a Hawk
flying clothesline at 3:46:
The Legion of Doom had broken Henry Godwinn’s neck with a
Doomsday Device on the Shotgun Saturday Night leading up to this show.  This match is an interesting clash of styles,
as the Legion of Doom’s power offense goes against the technical skills of
their opponents.  They run through an abbreviated
tag team formula, with everyone getting involved around the three minute mark
and the Legion prevail because they are the only credible face team in the tag
division.  I wish I could have seen these
two teams square off on pay-per-view.  Rating: 
Ross interviews
Furnas and LaFon, who demand a rematch because the referee cost them this
encounter.
The Headbangers
interrupting Sunny’s segment on Shotgun Saturday Night is shown
.
Sunny comes out to
model the Austin 3:16 t-shirt, which you buy for $20.00 (plus shipping &
handling).  Finally, a piece of
merchandise that actually made the company money!
McMahon interviews
Ahmed Johnson, who sent the Sultan to the hospital with his 2×4 attack last
week.  Ahmed flips out thinking about the
gauntlet match he has with the Nation at the In Your House and tells Vince to
remember he was a gang member.  Vince’s
reply is hilarious:  “I think we’ve had enough
of this.”
The British
Bulldog preps Owen for his match with Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental
title and Brian Pillman offers some prayers with the
Marlena’s attack
on Chyna on Raw last week is the Super Clean Slam of the Week.
Intercontinental
Championship Match:  Owen Hart defeats “The
Rock” Rocky Maivia (Champion) with a bridge cradle at 8:24 to win the title:
The British Bulldog wheels Bret onto the entrance ramp so
that he can watch his brother wrestle for the Intercontinental title and Owen
dedicates the match to Bret.  In a
telling sign, the Hart Foundation is the most hated group on the roster, but
Maivia comes out and does not even generate de facto face heat during his
entrance.  Owen spends a good deal of the
match working the leg and kicks out of the soon to be named Rock Bottom when
Maivia stages his comeback.  Owen floats
over Maivia during this rally and wraps him up in a bridging cradle and that’s
enough to give Owen his first WWF singles title.  The Bulldog and Bret stage a fun celebration,
with Bret taking the belt and the Bulldog wheeling him in circles.  Owen bumped around well for Maivia, but his
victory didn’t feel like a big deal because of who he beat for the belt.  Rating:  **½
Steve Austin comes
out with a wheelchair and an axe handle and sits in the center of the ring.  Austin asks the crowd if they want to see a
wheelchair match and he asks Bret to come out. 
However, Austin changes his mind and says that he’d just end up getting
out of the wheelchair and destroying Bret. 
Austin tells the Undertaker that at In Your House he’s going to win the
title, but as he turns to leave, the Hart Foundation appears on the Titantron
and Bret promises Austin that he will end up in the ambulance that he arrived
in for tonight’s show
.
Vader’s outburst
on Good Morning Kuwait that got him detained in Kuwait is shown
.
A video package
highlights Ken Shamrock’s UFC career and what he has done in the WWF so far.
Vader defeats “The
Real Double J” Jesse James with a Vader Bomb at 1:35:
If they sought to effectively rebuild Vader, they would
have had him ambush James during his entrance and beat him to a pulp without an
actual match taking place.  As it stands,
we do get a match, but a massacre is a better way to put it as Vader destroys
James with his big moves.  The crowd pops
big for the beating.
Ross interviews
Vader and asks if Vader has any remorse or shame for what he did in Kuwait and
how he embarrassed his family and the WWF. 
Vader says he has no regrets and he apologizes for nothing.  Ross asks Vader if he overreacted and Vader
begins to bully him.  Ross breaks kayfabe
and calls Vader “Leon”, trying to sell this as Vader breaking from the script,
but Shamrock comes to Ross’s rescue and gives him a belly-to-belly suplex.  The crowd is hot for Shamrock-Vader, so the
segment did what it was supposed to do
.
Goldust tells
Marlena that she isn’t to follow him to the ring tonight when he faces Hunter
Hearst Helmsley
.
Goldust defeats
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by count out at 4:46 shown:
This is like the Godwinns-Smoking Gunns feud in 1996 in
the sense that the feud went on forever without giving us any quality matches.  I’m quite surprised they never tried to run a
mixed tag team match on pay-per-view out of this pairing.  Yes, the Marlena-Chyna parts wouldn’t have
set the world on fire, but they could have easily booked around it.  This match proceeds like many of their
previous ones, with Goldust starting with a quick flurry and Helmsley slowing it
down.  Luckily we get a commercial break
to spare us much of that.  Marlena comes
down to ringside when Chyna attacks Goldust and when Goldust distracts Chyna, Marlena
throws powder in Chyna’s eyes.  Blinded,
Chyna goes after Helmsley and raises him off his feet with a choke, which is
something I bet she wishes she could do these days.  That costs Helmsley the match and honestly
this was the first tolerable match in their feud.  Rating:  **
WWF Champion The
Undertaker appears on the Titantron and gives some generic comments about
facing Steve Austin at In Your House.
Sable comes out
and models an Undertaker t-shirt, which you can buy for $20 (plus shipping
& handling).
Brian Pillman
prays for the British Bulldog to have the strength to defeat the Undertaker.
Non-Title Match:  The Undertaker (WWF Champion) defeats The British
Bulldog (European Champion) by disqualification when Owen Hart interferes at
1:10 shown:
Like Owen earlier, Bret is wheeled onto the entrance ramp
and the Bulldog speaks highly of Bret. 
The Bulldog doesn’t quite understand non-title, as he pledges to win the
WWF title for the Hart Foundation.  After
the Bulldog turned heel in 1995, he and the Undertaker seemed to face off on
Raw at least two times a year in singles matches and those matches were usually
main events.  There’s not much in this
one, as we cut to a break twenty seconds in and Owen interferes to prevent the
Bulldog from getting finished off after a chokeslam. 
-Steve Austin runs in to go after Owen and the Bulldog
and Austin proceeds to grab the WWF title and celebrate with it.  The Undertaker confronts him, but quickly
eats a Stunner after Austin throws the WWF title to the ground.  The Undertaker quickly revives himself,
though, and chokeslams Austin.  Austin
recovers and notes that Bret is by himself on the entrance ramp and goes near
him, but Jim Neidhart appears and rescues Bret. 
Bret smiles and smashes Austin with his crutch and Austin falls off the
entrance ramp as we close the show.  Paramedics
tend to Austin, thereby making Bret’s prophesy of Austin riding to the hospital
in the ambulance he arrived in come true. 
A great closing segment and we now have the complete Hart Foundation of
Bret, Owen, Bulldog, Neidhart, and Pillman.
-The camera cuts to Pillman in the back who looks into
the camera with a smile and crazy eyes.
The Final Report Card:  This Raw was bolstered by some great promo
work and a hot crowd that got behind many of the big moments on the show.  Owen winning the Intercontinental title made
all of the anti-Maivia diehards happy and there was a great story arch in this
show as well, with Bret promising to send Austin to the hospital and accomplishing
that goal at the end of the show.  A
great effort of storytelling that put you on the edge of your seat for next
week’s show.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.7 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

SHOCKtober Countdown: WCW Halloween Havoc 90

– Live from Chicago, Illinois. – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously. (Man, I always loved this show, mainly because it had such a different and fun atmosphere.  Maybe it was the red ring setup or something, but it just clicked for me.  Makes me wonder why WWE has never done a more obvious Halloween homage PPV in October?)  – Opening match: Tommy Rich & Ricky Morton v. The Midnight Express. Sadly, this is the last Midnight Express match before Cornette and Lane ran off to start SMW. Slow start with Eaton and Morton. They do a very complex criss-cross sequence that ends badly for Eaton. But the Express come back with a Bubba Cutter to take control of Morton. Morton rolls out of the ring and Cornette rams the TENNIS RACKET OF DOOM into his throat, just for kicks. Speaking of kicks, Morton gets the shit kicked out of him by Stan Lane back in the ring. Cornette distracts the referee, and the Express gives Morton a Rocket Launcher on the rampway. Paul E must have loved that rampway, because he uses it for his ECW PPVs now. Eaton runs through his neckbreaker and slingshot backbreaker sequence. Tommy Rich has literally not been in the ring once yet. That’s a very smart move on all parts. Every time I see Rich, I’m reminded of an impersonation that Paul E. did of him during an ECW chat session, as a drunken Rich greets Lance Russell with “Hey, ev’rybody, it’s Laaaaaance!” You have to hear it to appreciate it, I guess.  (Man, poor Tommy just did not age gracefully.)  Eaton hits the Alabama Jam, but showboats and doesn’t cover. He asks for a 10 count instead. Morton makes it to his feet. Lane kicks the hell of him again. The Express goes for the Rocket Launcher, but Morton gets the knees up. Morton gets the hot tag to Rich (ooo, Tommy Rich, now that’s scary…hope he doesn’t throw up on them…), but Cornette nails him with the tennis racket in short order. Aw, too bad. Then it gets goofy as the Southern Boys/Young Pistols come out dressed like Cornette to distract the Express, allowing Rich to hit Lane with the tennis racket and get the pin. Cheap ending. Goodbye, Midnights, it was fun. ***  (Jim Cornette has a whole story about this particular show and where the Southern Boys bit was supposed to be going that is HILARIOUS.  It involved ridiculous bumps into pumpkins and all sorts of bullshit, and suffice it to say that we got off easy with the Cornette impersonations.  In fact, I think Terry Funk ended up using the pumpkin piledriver spot years later.  It kind of ended up being the last straw that sent him packing.)  – Sting comes out to offer some words for Sid Vicious, but (you guessed it) The Black Scorpion interrupts the interview and makes an audience plant disappear. Sting is of course held by the unstoppable force of inertia from walking the 15 feet to the other stage to stop this heinous act. Man, that Scorpion, he’s so evil. (At least he fit the theme of the show.)  Buyers of the Netcop Busts were treated to this gem and several other segments involving the Black Scorpion. – The Renegade Warriors v. The Freebirds. Mark your calendars: There actually exists a team I HATE MORE THAN THE FREEBIRDS. Yes, folks, Chris and Mark Youngblood JUST SUCK THAT MUCH. The crowd lustily boos them upon their entrance. The Freebirds have Little Richard Marley (Rocky King) as their valet at this point. The Freebirds score an 8 on the Johnny B. Badd Fag-O-Meter tonight, as Hayes is wearing sequined pants, pink tinted hair and copious amounts of mascara. It just shows how terrible the Youngblood Retards are when the Birds can go for this kid of cheap heat and still get CHEERED. One of the fat stupid indians plays face in peril, but I don’t care which it is. Thank god for alcohol, sez I. (Wait, I was DRUNK when I was writing this originally?  What was the first clue?)  It occurs to me that if the late Rick Williams and Jim Hellwig ever teamed up, Renegade Warriors might be a good name for them. This goes a mind-numbing 18 minutes before Retard #1 gets the hot tag to Retard #2. Btw, while I desperately search for something interesting to talk about, I think Futurama could become a pop culture icon, like the Simpsons. It’s just that good. (Not quite iconic, but certainly more respected these days.)  On the other hand, I don’t see the big deal with the PJs. (What a uniquely late-90s observation to make.)  Anyway, Retard #2 is a house of fire, until he gets DDT’d and pinned. Good riddance. DUD  (Yeah, yeah, I know…) – The Horsemen do an interview. Barry Windham is noticeably absent. That would become important later. – US tag team title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Nasty Boys. This is one of those legendary matches that doesn’t really deserve it, but still made the career of the Nasties. These guys, in a nutshell, don’t like each other, and that’s all the people need to know. Mega-brawl to start. Sags gets Scott on the top for a superplex right out of the gate, but Scott reverses to a belly-to-belly for a big pop. Scott hits a tiger driver and the Steiners do the top rope bulldog for another mega-pop. Welcome to the spotfest. Knobs nails Scott with a chair for a two count to give the Nasties the advantage. Knobs with a powerslam for two. Sags with a pumphandle slam, and a gut wrench suplex for two. Knobs kills the flow with an ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF SEVERE HURT. Mike Rotundo must be flattered to have this kind of influence on the sport. Bearhug bores me further. Scott breaks with the belly-to-belly. Rick comes in without a tag and cleans house, but misses a charge and flies out of the ring. This allows the Nasties to spike piledrive Scott for two. Rick nails Sags with a chair while Knobs is escorted out, and Sags blades for the hell of it. Knobs goes back to the bearhug. Sags applies a Boston Crab, and Scott powers out of it. Knobs goes to the camel clutch, thus running the full gambit of the WORLD’S SHITTIEST RESTHOLDS. What is this, a Sid match? The Nasty clothesline misses and Scott gets the hot tag. Rick rips some heads off, and belly to bellies Knobs for two. The Nasties double-team Rick, but he manages a double top rope Steinerline that was only a *wee* bit contrived. The Nasties slam Scott on the floor and go back to working on Rick, but Scott pulls Sags out of the ring, and then rolls back in to finish Knobs with the Frankensteiner. Hmm, at the time I would’ve given you 10-1 that the Nasties would walk out with the belts, but the Steiners retain. The Nasties were instantly over because of this match, and since WCW is run by chimpanzees, they weren’t under long-term contract and ended up becoming *WWF* tag champs mere months later. **3/4  (Yeah, what WAS up with that?)  – Scott Steiner gives a post-match interview and amazingly doesn’t say “Hooches”, “Freaks” or “Big Poppa Pump is your hookup”. The Nasty Boys attack him dressed as concession workers. – World tag team title: Doom v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson. The storyline here is youth and power v. age and treachery. Doom is too powerful, so the Horsemen cheat like nuts to compensate. A chase breaks out and Long slaps Flair in the face, drawing “Ooooos” from the crowd. Flair cheap-shots Reed to take control. Doom quickly comes back to destroy the Horsemen and are obviously playing the faces here. Flair challenges Reed to a boxing match and gets killed. (Flair and Reed used to have really good matches together on the territory circuit, actually.)  Flair goes for the tag, but Flair Flops before getting to the corner. He follows with a Flair Flip and Simmons puts the boots to him on the way across the apron. Finally the Horsemen cheat again and regain control over Ron Simmons. Arn gets the spinebuster for a two count. The Horsemen go to work on the leg. Inevitably the figure-four follows. Simmons reverses and Arn does his “fight the man down to the mat on a test of strength but try to drive my knees into his abdomen and end up going crotchfirst to his knees” spot. (That’s what it’s called.  Look it up on Wikipedia!)  Simmons gets a sunset flip, but Arn makes the tag on the way down. Arn puts his head down and Simmons rams him to the mat and gets the hot tag. Pier-six erupts and Reed gets a shoulderblock off the top rope for two. Arn hits the DDT for two. Simmons gets a two count off the save. Then it totally breaks down and they all fight outside the ring for a double countout. Weak ending to a great match. **** – US title match: Lex Luger v. Stan Hansen. It should be noted that my mom thinks Hansen is the most disgusting human being on the face of the earth. (It’s true.  My dad and I would be watching Worldwide and Hansen would cut a promo with the chewing tobacco dripping out of his mouth and my mom would want to puke seeing it and absolutely hated the guy.)  Luger had been US champion for a mind-boggling 18 months at this point, so he was about due for a loss. And here’s something uniquely Luger-ish: When he won the title from Michael Hayes, he was a face. He turned heel a couple of months into his title reign, stayed there until February of 1990, and then turned face again on behalf of Sting. So he actually did two full-blown turns during the course of his reign and ended up back where he started. Hansen controls with brawling tactics early, sending Luger to the floor and battering him. Pretty dull kick and punch match follows as Luger makes the comeback. Lex was getting mighty lazy by this point. I’m not sure why WCW bothered with the Hansen push, because he was clearly waaaay over the hill by this point. (Probably just related to getting him for some Japan dates.)  Hansen gets two off a bulldog. He misses an elbowdrop and Luger comes back again with a dropkick. Luger is doing nothing here. More brawling and Hansen shoves the referee out of the way. Luger catches Hansen with a clothesline, but the ref is out. Dan Spivey comes down and tosses the bullrope into the ring for Stan, but Luger blocks. Luger goes for another clothesline, but Hansen catches Lex with THE LARIAT OF DEATH out of nowhere and pins him for the title. Ugly match. *1/2 Crowd doesn’t really appreciate that one. – Main event, NWA World title: Sting v. Sid Vicious. I’m surprised they didn’t just put the title on Sid here and get it over with. Sting is wearing pink and black makeup. What does it mean? A secret alliance with Bret Hart? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! Sid hits a backbreaker on Sting right away, but Sting no-sells. Hah, how does it feel, Sid? Sid bails to escape the Scorpion deathlock. They fight outside the ring. Back in the ring and Sting works on the arm. Sid hits a clothesline to take control. Sting gets a fluke two with a sunset flip, but another clothesline turns the tide again. Sid goes to the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF HIDEOUS DISCOMFORT. Powerslam for two. Sting tries the Stinger splash but misses. Sid showboats and Sting gets a flying bodypress for two. Sid continues hammering away at Sting. Sid is NOT ready for prime time yet at this point. They fight onto the rampway, allowing Sting the opportunity to do a running dive back into the ring, then a pescado onto the floor. They fight out to the floor, and Sid runs back to the dressing room. Sting follows. They return, and Sting looks…flabbier. Sting goes for a bodyslam and Sid falls on top for the pin?!? New champion, end of show. The Bottom Line: Well, I don’t remember Sid ever being the champion, but I guess I was wrong and…oh, wait, the real Sting is back with a piece of rope tied around his wrist. The real Sting hits a Stinger splash and rolls up Sid for the pin to retain. The fake Sting was Barry Windham, by the way.  (That was a pretty clever finish in the days before 800 fake Stings running around Nitro.  Unfortunately they immediately blew off the angle instead of making people tune into another show to see what shenanigans were afoot.  Like really, wouldn’t that have been the perfect setup for a Starrcade rematch?  Sting gets massively screwed out of the belt, goes for revenge, maybe uses a fake Horsemen to get his own revenge on them?)  The Real Bottom Line: This is a pretty mediocre show. There’s a better Doom-Horsemen match at Starrcade 90, but enough people still talk about the Nasties-Steiners match that it’s probably worth tracking this show down for a look. The Sting-Sid overbooking goofiness is pretty inexcusable, however. But then that’s Ole Anderson booking for ya. Mildly recommended.  (Another show where I’d want the full version somehow.) 

Aces and eights

Hey Scott, love your reviews.  I know this has been talked about on your blog, but is there any way they can fix the Aces and Eights scenario.  I have seen that Jeff Jarrett may be the leader, which would really suck.

My bigger issue at this point is that I think we've gotten whatever payoff to the Joseph Park storyline there's going to be.  For months they were building up the fairly complex Jekyll and Hyde dynamic with the Bully Ray feud, and then Park just suddenly stopped being a wrestler and now he's just this wacky lawyer who hangs out backstage talking about "kayfab" and tweeting pictures of himself.  I keep waiting for someone to mention that this guy might be deadly monster The Abyss but no one ever does, and in fact now they're just treating him like he's innocent lawyer Joseph Park, end of story.  It's really weird storytelling.  
As for the Aces, I really wish they had never teased that the leader might be someone.  They should have just had some masked dude talking without the voice modulation, so that they weren't promising intrigue that they couldn't deliver.  They're just nameless thugs out to destroy Hulkamania for 1-2 segments per week, no problem.  But they got greedy and wanted a piece of that sweet nWo mystery buildup pie, and now they've pretty much booked themselves into a corner with it, where the heels don't interact with anyone but Hogan and Sting now and they've spent so much time building up Act 1 that they forgot to move onto Act 2.  I don't think there's any real point in "saving" it now, it's just a silly Hulk Hogan feud, especially if it is Bischoff behind it all.  

The SmarK RAW Rant–10.01.12

The SmarK RAW Rant – 10.01.12 Live from Oklahoma City, OK Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jim Ross. Oh man, DEXTER. My wife takes the show way more personally than I do, but man is this gonna be an awesome nail-biting season or what? Now THAT was a game-changing season premiere! But really, an airport luggage storage room? REALLY? CM Punk and Paul Heyman (with belt proudly in the air as always) start us out. When are they gonna debut that new belt already? Once again, Punk gets disrespected by everyone, and he had to put Mick Foley down like a dog in order to remedy that situation. Punk admits that some of Foley’s speechifying got to him, and so at the PPV…the match is still not going to happen. Now, onto AJ, as Heyman demands that AJ be fired immediately because she wasn’t supposed to be touching the talent, and she slapped him last week. So he’ll graciously step up and take over as GM. But then Vickie also comes out to FINALLY pick up that plot thread again after two months, because she also wants the job. Dolph makes peace by suggesting that Vickie and Paul be co-GM, but GMAJ skips out to interrupt, pointing out that she’s on probation now, and the Bored of Directors has appointed a special coach for her. This brings out Daniel Bryan as this segment turns into a train filled with dynamite going over a cliff and landing on a munitions dump manned by hemophiliacs. Anyway, Bryan just wants to apologize for driving AJ over his edge with his handsome face and awesome beard, and by the way, he is the tag team champions. So THAT brings out Kane, and he points out that AJ is a phenomenal kisser, and HE is the tag team champions. This proves to be too much wackiness even for AJ, so she books Punk & Ziggler against Team Hell No tonight. Really? 20 minutes to set up THAT match for a main event? Tag team tournament quarterfinals: Primo & Epico v. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara Cara and Rey have matching outfits tonight. How cute. I approve of this direction, because TOURNAMENTS ARE AWESOME. Primo works Cara over in the corner, but he comes back with a headscissors and it’s over to Rey. They alley oop Epico out of the ring, but the Primetime Players come out to watch at the stage as we take a break. Tag teams! In feuds! WTF! Back with Epico countering a Sin Cara bodypress with a dropkick, but Sin Cara gets a sunset flip for two. Hot tag to Rey and he hits the flying senton for two. Rana on Primo gets two. Sin Cara comes in with a missile dropkick and Rey hits the double 619, then finishes Primo with the flying splash at 10:04. I will allow this to continue. ***1/4 Antonio Cesaro v. Brodus Clay Brodus with a quick suplex and an elbow, but Cesaro necksnaps him. Blind charge misses and Cesaro gets an uppercut and Neutralizer for the pin at 1:00. Huh, wonder what’s up with that? Meanwhile, AJ introduces Kaitlyn to her new coach, Christopher J. Stevenson. Wonder what the inside joke is there? Anyway, AJ wants to make up with Kaitlyn, but then admits she’s just fucking with her. Did You Know that 3 times as many people watched Smackdown than Ultimate Fighter? Ouch, low blow. Stay classy, Vince. Did you know that a zillion times as many people watched football than RAW last week? They probably won’t mention that one. The Miz v. Zack Ryder Ryder gets some quick offense, but Miz lays him out in the corner and stomps him down for two. Chinlock, but Zack comes back with a facejam and mule kick out of the corner. Broski boot gets two. Roughrider is reversed into a corner powerbomb, and the skull crushing finale finishes at 2:30. Well finally Miz found someone pathetic enough to win against. *1/2 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DEBATE: Sheamus v. Big Show They answer dumb questions from fans, and Sheamus makes dumb jokes about Big Show’s body odor and how he lost the World title in 45 seconds. Show is actually pretty funny here, as he leans on the podium and breaks it, then indignantly demands a new one because he’s a little overweight. Sheamus is insufferable as usual, making his cutesy-poo jokey-jokes as we get yet another INSTA-FEUD over nothing. Ryback v. Tensai They slug it out to start and neither goes down, so Ryback powerslams Tensai and hits the lariat. The Shellshock is “escaped” twice because they fuck up the spot, so Ryback finishes with another clothesline at 1:56. This is quite the feud. DUD Eve v. Beth Phoenix Eve offers a handshake, so Beth takes her down, but misses a charge and hits the floor. Back in, Beth gets an inverted atomic drop and double sledge for two, but Eve hits a neckbreaker to finish at 2:29. * Meanwhile, Wade Barrett thinks AJ is doing a terrible job. Heath Slater v. Santino Heath is now backed up by Jinder Mahal and Drew Mcintyre. That is quite the crew. Slater slugs Santino down as the announcers are mystified by the heel grouping. Join the club. Slater goes up and hits boot, allowing Santino to make the comeback. Cobra brings the job squad in for the DQ at 2:48. Really? Really? ½* Sheamus v. Damen Sandow This was set up because Sandow was offended by the lack of formal wear in the debate. This show is seriously turning into 1994 RAW with a parade of squashes, which is fine but HOLY GOD they need to make it shorter. Sandow avoids confrontation before sneaking in with an armbar. Sheamus comes back, so Sandow runs away again and we take a break. Back with Sandow running away some more before getting a cheapshot on the floor, and back in for two. Running knee gets two. Sandow goes to a LONG chinlock and headscissors on the mat and chokes away in the corner. I feel like I’m watching Rick Martel in 1992 or something. And then Sandow goes to ANOTHER facelock. And then he tosses Sheamus and goes to yet another chinlock. Sheamus fights back with a Regal Roll, but Sandow gets a neckbreaker for two. Sheamus boots him out of the corner and goes up with the shoulderblock for two. Brogue kick misses and Sandow runs away again, so Sheamus catches him and hits the forearms. Cody gets involved, so Sheamus tosses him in and hits both guys with the Brogue Kick, then pins Sandow at 17:00. Glad to see they kept Sandow pretty strong, but did Sheamus really need to beat both of the guys presumed to be future tag champions at the same time? And holy crap was this needlessly long for that finish, although it picked up nicely at the end. *** Jim Ross Appreciation Night! Oddly, JR goes back to the dressing room so that Cole can introduce him here. CM Punk and his belt-holder quickly interrupt and complain about the lack of respect that both he and JR receive, but Jim calls him a jackass. This greatly offends Punk, who points out that Stone Cold isn’t here save Ross tonight. And now Ross is spouting the nonsense that Punk needs to beat John Cena in the Cell to be the best. HE’S ALREADY BEAT CENA THREE TIMES! What more does this guy have to do to please these jackasses? I’m glad he’s bitter, I’d be bitter too! Punk goes with the local sports team insults and attacks JR’s hat because they don’t have any real point to make here aside from the endless deification of John Cena. He sends JR back to the dressing room in shame, but now Ryback randomly comes out to continue Plan B. He stands there breathing heavily at Punk, who backs off and leaves. This was really long and accomplished nothing, much like everything else tonight. Alberto Del Rio v. Kofi Kingston Kofi clotheslines ADR out of the ring and we take yet another break. Once again I’m running out of patience after two hours. Back with ADR holding an abdominal stretch, but Kofi comes back with the boomdrop. ADR dodges the wacky kick and a bodypress, and finishes with the armbar at 6:40. Only a couple of minutes shown around the break, though. I really have to question the effectiveness of this tag tournament when all the guys involved in it are doing jobs like geeks in singles matches. * Meanwhile, AJ’s coach gives her some advice, so she fires him and sends him packing. What was the POINT of this whole thing? Daniel Bryan & Kane v. CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler AJ is YOUR special referee for some reason. Does anyone even remember why this match is happening by this point in the show? Kane drops an elbow on Dolph for two, and then amazingly we take ANOTHER FUCKING COMMERCIAL BREAK. We just had a break after the entrances! I want to go to bed already. Back with Kane working Punk over as the crowd is pretty much silent because everyone is a heel more or less. Anyway, stuff happens, it’s fine, but I’m tired and losing patience. AJ sends the managers back to the dressing room and Dolph walks out on the match, leaving Punk to get destroyed by the tag champions and pinned by Kane at 13:15. The Pulse This show is like the longest thing ever aired on TV. It doesn’t matter if the first two hours are the greatest wrestling ever presented (which it wasn’t anyway) but by the third hour it’s just too much and I can’t focus on the show anymore. The Sheamus match really killed it for me, and it was a good match! It was just too long, like everything else.