Boom, Period

Scott, After reading the comment section, I figured this would draw a good full blown discussion. Do you think, looking back, that WWE had an opportunity to create a new boom period after that initial move back to USA back in late 2005? I thought Raw was more interesting than it had been in YEARS up to that point, not to mention the fact that they were drawing big ratings, getting 4.0s on a weekly basis, and people at my school were actually buzzing about WWE for the first time in I could remember. But then of course, around June ’06, they basically squandered their growing success and the ratings fell back in their 3.0 limbo, which amuses me. They say now that an edgy product was hurting ratings, yet when they had an edgy product with Edge (no pun intended) at the helm, they were doing their best ratings since 2001 before they decided to push Cena as the Hogan-like superhero.

It’s true, I was actually enticed into buying Royal Rumble that year to see the Cena-Edge rematch, which sadly proved horribly disappointing and just restored the status quo again.  That Wrestlemania proved to be one of the first ones I ever intentionally skipped, though, because I had no interest in seeing Cena v. HHH as a main event and Edge v. Foley didn’t do anything for me as a “star-making” performance for Edge.  But yeah, the stuff with Rey Mysterio getting the World title for the first time and Randy Orton exploring his evil side and Edge’s run with Lita, all leading up to Cena v. RVD at One Night Stand?  All good stuff.  I think that trying to spin off ECW was a major mis-step, for one thing.  Had they just called it something else, it might have been less of a disaster, but there was a lot of expectations for what an “ECW” brand would entail, and they disappointed on pretty much every count.  Plus it stretched the already struggling writing staff far too thin at a time when they should have been focusing on RAW and Smackdown exclusively. I wouldn’t say it was going to create a new boom period, though.

Boom, Period

Scott, After reading the comment section, I figured this would draw a good full blown discussion. Do you think, looking back, that WWE had an opportunity to create a new boom period after that initial move back to USA back in late 2005? I thought Raw was more interesting than it had been in YEARS up to that point, not to mention the fact that they were drawing big ratings, getting 4.0s on a weekly basis, and people at my school were actually buzzing about WWE for the first time in I could remember. But then of course, around June ’06, they basically squandered their growing success and the ratings fell back in their 3.0 limbo, which amuses me. They say now that an edgy product was hurting ratings, yet when they had an edgy product with Edge (no pun intended) at the helm, they were doing their best ratings since 2001 before they decided to push Cena as the Hogan-like superhero.

It’s true, I was actually enticed into buying Royal Rumble that year to see the Cena-Edge rematch, which sadly proved horribly disappointing and just restored the status quo again.  That Wrestlemania proved to be one of the first ones I ever intentionally skipped, though, because I had no interest in seeing Cena v. HHH as a main event and Edge v. Foley didn’t do anything for me as a “star-making” performance for Edge.  But yeah, the stuff with Rey Mysterio getting the World title for the first time and Randy Orton exploring his evil side and Edge’s run with Lita, all leading up to Cena v. RVD at One Night Stand?  All good stuff.  I think that trying to spin off ECW was a major mis-step, for one thing.  Had they just called it something else, it might have been less of a disaster, but there was a lot of expectations for what an “ECW” brand would entail, and they disappointed on pretty much every count.  Plus it stretched the already struggling writing staff far too thin at a time when they should have been focusing on RAW and Smackdown exclusively. I wouldn’t say it was going to create a new boom period, though.

Boom, Period

Scott, After reading the comment section, I figured this would draw a good full blown discussion. Do you think, looking back, that WWE had an opportunity to create a new boom period after that initial move back to USA back in late 2005? I thought Raw was more interesting than it had been in YEARS up to that point, not to mention the fact that they were drawing big ratings, getting 4.0s on a weekly basis, and people at my school were actually buzzing about WWE for the first time in I could remember. But then of course, around June ’06, they basically squandered their growing success and the ratings fell back in their 3.0 limbo, which amuses me. They say now that an edgy product was hurting ratings, yet when they had an edgy product with Edge (no pun intended) at the helm, they were doing their best ratings since 2001 before they decided to push Cena as the Hogan-like superhero.

It’s true, I was actually enticed into buying Royal Rumble that year to see the Cena-Edge rematch, which sadly proved horribly disappointing and just restored the status quo again.  That Wrestlemania proved to be one of the first ones I ever intentionally skipped, though, because I had no interest in seeing Cena v. HHH as a main event and Edge v. Foley didn’t do anything for me as a “star-making” performance for Edge.  But yeah, the stuff with Rey Mysterio getting the World title for the first time and Randy Orton exploring his evil side and Edge’s run with Lita, all leading up to Cena v. RVD at One Night Stand?  All good stuff.  I think that trying to spin off ECW was a major mis-step, for one thing.  Had they just called it something else, it might have been less of a disaster, but there was a lot of expectations for what an “ECW” brand would entail, and they disappointed on pretty much every count.  Plus it stretched the already struggling writing staff far too thin at a time when they should have been focusing on RAW and Smackdown exclusively. I wouldn’t say it was going to create a new boom period, though.

Boom, Period

Scott, After reading the comment section, I figured this would draw a good full blown discussion. Do you think, looking back, that WWE had an opportunity to create a new boom period after that initial move back to USA back in late 2005? I thought Raw was more interesting than it had been in YEARS up to that point, not to mention the fact that they were drawing big ratings, getting 4.0s on a weekly basis, and people at my school were actually buzzing about WWE for the first time in I could remember. But then of course, around June ’06, they basically squandered their growing success and the ratings fell back in their 3.0 limbo, which amuses me. They say now that an edgy product was hurting ratings, yet when they had an edgy product with Edge (no pun intended) at the helm, they were doing their best ratings since 2001 before they decided to push Cena as the Hogan-like superhero.

It’s true, I was actually enticed into buying Royal Rumble that year to see the Cena-Edge rematch, which sadly proved horribly disappointing and just restored the status quo again.  That Wrestlemania proved to be one of the first ones I ever intentionally skipped, though, because I had no interest in seeing Cena v. HHH as a main event and Edge v. Foley didn’t do anything for me as a “star-making” performance for Edge.  But yeah, the stuff with Rey Mysterio getting the World title for the first time and Randy Orton exploring his evil side and Edge’s run with Lita, all leading up to Cena v. RVD at One Night Stand?  All good stuff.  I think that trying to spin off ECW was a major mis-step, for one thing.  Had they just called it something else, it might have been less of a disaster, but there was a lot of expectations for what an “ECW” brand would entail, and they disappointed on pretty much every count.  Plus it stretched the already struggling writing staff far too thin at a time when they should have been focusing on RAW and Smackdown exclusively. I wouldn’t say it was going to create a new boom period, though.

Starrcade Countdown: 1999

The Netcop Rant for Starrcade 1999 – There was a really good episode of WCW Saturday Night this week, featuring a couple of young guys in a good match for the point they’re at, along with a rockin’ little match between Chris Adams and Dean Malenko, and Kanyon was there, and Devon Storm and Booker T ripped it up. The point? No matter how badly the Powers That Be try to kill the wrestling, the good will always catch up. So let’s see how they can screw this one up. (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t even REMEMBER this show outside of Bret v. Goldberg, so this will be an adventure for me, too…)– Live from Washington, DC – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Scott Hudson. – Opening match: Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux v. Vito Legrasso & Johnny The Bull. Lash has his own Cajun-themed music now. Brawl to start. Lash takes some punishment from Vito, who is the member of the Goon Squad that DOESN’T suck. Lash tags in and takes over on Johnny, who is completely useless. Well, he’s got a good range of punching and chinlocks, I suppose, but I can’t really think of anything else that WCW might see in this guy. Vito has some good personality, however.(2011 Scott sez:  When WCW folded, which of these guys ended up with the only WWF contract?  Think long and hard and then take a wild guess.  Of course, Vito later showed up.  Wearing a dress.) Disco plays face-in-peril before Vito misses a ridiculously overblown move off the second rope and Lash gets the hot tag. He gets press-slammed by Johnny, who proceeds to blow a standing leap to the top, then misses the move. Disco hits a frog splash for two, but Lash makes the save. Several non-dramatic two counts later, Lash collides with Disco by mistake and takes the Last Dance, allowing Vito to hit an Implant on Lash and pin him at 9:38. I’ve seen worse, but Johnny is no great shakes. *1/2 Disco gets chloroformed and carried off in a body bag. Then, once they get backstage, they let him out and dump him in the trunk of their car and drive off. Knowing Russo, he’ll return to Nitro tomorrow as the newest member of the team.  (2011 Scott sez:  Isn’t that what happened?  I forget how they got to the Mamalukes winning the tag titles, but I thought Disco was involved somehow.)  – Benoit comes out to formally accept Scott Hall’s forfeited US title, and issues an open challenge. Not a good idea when Russo is booking, Chris. – Cruiserweight title: Evan Karagias v. Madusa. Evan the Backside Boy has Spice with him. At least this doesn’t break Standards & Practices “Man v. woman” rules. That would require a man in the match, see. (2011 Scott sez:  Thank god, Karagias got out of wrestling after the WWF basically decided not to use him in 2001, and he has since gone on to become a soap opera actor instead.  The wrestling world is better for it.)  Brawl to start. Evan misses one of those moonsaults where it wouldn’t have hit even if the opponent had stayed exactly where they were. Madusa gets a dropkick off the second rope, and Madusa leads him through a sloppy pinning sequence and then nearly breaks his neck on a piledriver/powerbomb…something. Well, better luck next time. Spice calls him over for some advice, then turns on him and Madusa hits the GERMAN SUPLEX OF DOOM for the pin and title at 3:30. I don’t even want to start listing the reasons why this could compete for worst match, angle, feud and promotional move of the year, because I’d go on all day about it. On the bright side, confining Evan to under 5 minutes per match is always a smart idea, and if we’re lucky it’ll lead to a lesbian angle with Madusa and Spice. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  This actually led to a feud with Oklahoma, if I’m not mistaken.)  Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Meng. We head immediately to the back for some exciting running-away by Norman. Fit Finlay and trainee Brian Knobbs attack Meng and that’s the bulk of the “match”, as they wear him down and finally knock him out with a lead pipe to the head. Norman emerges from his hiding place and pins him at 4:30. DUD (2011 Scott sez:  Vince Russo, ladies and gentlemen, booking STARRCADE.)  – Backstage, the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma. – The Revolution v. Jim Duggan & His mystery partners. As everyone already knows, it’s the Varsity Club, along with Kimona as a cheerleader. I think we can already safely declare the group a failure. I guess it’s 4-on-3 because Shane is at ringside doing commentary, although since the Varsity Club were heels for their run in 1987-89, they’re probably turning on Duggan here anyway. And sure enough, Duggan wants to handle things himself while the announcers yell about how he’s not making the tag to them. Yup, it’s the dreaded Sledgehammer of Plot rearing it’s ugly head again. Duggan cleans house by himself for a bit but gets caught in the corner. He keeps refusing to tag his partners, and finally they run-in for a pier-six brawl, and then, duh, turn on Duggan. Shane leaves the commentary position and pins Duggan at 4:48, and he has to renounce his citizenship on Nitro. That’s a shame. ¼* I’m pretty sure almost no one in the crowd knew who the Varsity Club was, especially with Tony pointing out that we hadn’t seen them in more than a decade. Way to keep the product fresh and hip, guys. On the upside, Rotunda looked to be in a really good shape.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m reading this stuff and just thinking “They let this bullshit get put on TV?”  And by that I mean Shane Douglas leading his own group.  Remember, kids, it’s not evolution, it’s REVOLUTION.) Vampiro v. Dr. Death. Oklahoma is locked in the cage at ringside, courtesy of the Misfits. Brawl on the floor to start. Okie has a headset so he can continue his one joke at ringside. ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! (2011 Scott sez:  I know what you’re thinking.  “How is this any worse than what Vince McMahon now does to Jim Ross on a weekly basis?”  And you’re right, it’s not.  Vince McMahon is such a prick that he is able to come up with stuff more humiliating to Jim Ross than people who were specifically trying to create a character for the SOLE PURPOSE of making JR look like a jackass.)  Back in the ring for some punching. Doc clips him a couple of times. They fight for a superplex, which Doc wins and nearly kills Vampiro in the process. The Misfits run in and get tossed out, but that allows Vamp to get a spin kick on Doc. Doc comes back with some punching, then shoves the ref away for the lame DQ at 5:10. Bleh. ½* Vamp gets 5 minutes with Oklahoma as a result, although he didn’t really do anything to earn it. – Vampiro v. Oklahoma. Oklahoma provides his own commentary as he hits a DDT right away and executes the “Oklahoma Stomp”. Hey, nice to see the booker giving himself a good portion of offense like that. Fear not, because soon all of the Misfits run in and Vampiro is able to eke out a close win over a fat, out-of-shape writer at 5:00 with the Michinoku Driver. Whew, I know I’d have trouble when faced with the awesome power of Oklahoma. Hey, what’s that flying away out there? Oh, it’s just Vampiro’s heat. Bye bye, heat, fare thee well. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  As 2000 wore on and the Vampiro death push proceeded no matter how much everyone stopped caring, I lost much of my sympathy for him.)  Creative Control & Curt Hennig v. Harlem Heat & Midnight. Stevie Ray decided to stay in the back because he’s got issues or something. Maybe he just thinks it’s 1998 again, which was of course the last time we saw this angle. Now if only Creative Control had stayed in the back, the match might not suck. (2011 Scott sez:  Creative Control was the 10,000th name for the Harris Brothers, for those like me who have trouble keeping track) The heels control the match without too much trouble. Booker T hot tags Midnight and a brawl erupts. Midnight plays face-in-peril for a bit, as Stevie Ray joins us at ringside but doesn’t join in. Booker tags in and cleans house, but Hennig hits him with an international object for the pin at 7:52. The ending was such a clusterfuck that I don’t think anyone in the audience caught the shenanigans from Hennig. Creative Control is thus the #1 contenders to the tag titles, which is kind of like being the assistant hall monitor in school and means just as much. ¾* – Dustin Rhodes v. Jeff Jarrett. Hey look, it’s Over’s cousin – Not Over. (2011 Scott sez:  That was kind of a dated Friends reference even in 1999.  Honestly, I don’t even remember which guy I was busting on with it now, although it could apply to either.)  This is a bunkhouse match, which is name #1593 that Russo has for a hardcore match. JJ jumps Dustin during the pre-match interview and we’re underway. Dustin pounds on Jarrett with some decently stiff shots for a while, then duct-tapes the ref to the ropes and the silliness starts, as Curt Hennig comes down to the ringside and it’s basically 2-on-1. Dustin manages to hit Shattered Dreams on Jarrett, but Hennig breaks up the count. They fight to the back, where Jarrett comes off the ladder with a guitar shot for the pin at 11:18. Way too long for the screwiness involved. *1/2 – Diamond Dallas Page v. David Flair. (2011 Scott sez:  Was this seriously a show that was booked and put on PPV by a national wrestling company?  SERIOUSLY?  I could pick names out of a hat and come up with a better card than this bullshit.)  Flair jumps Page with a gold crowbar before the match. David actually looks halfway competent thanks to DDP’s meticulous match-planning and over-the-top selling of his lame offense. A low blow leads to the figure-four, and David gets the crowbar off the pole and takes a mighty swing, but DDP ducks and hits the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 3:53. Wow, I bet he’s thinking “I just beat DAVID FLAIR, I’m going to Disneyland!” I know I would be. * – Sting v. Lex Luger. They should probably just turn Liz before the match even starts, just to get it out of the way. Sting gives Liz a “super high-octane” can of mace to use, which probably means he’ll be getting it. Luger attacks fast, or at least as fast as Luger moves these days. Sting comes back with the help of some slaps by Liz. She grabs the “mace” and of course turns on Sting, but it’s silly string! OH MY GOD, STING HAS A BRAIN! This is the first time in his life he’s actually out-smarted someone! (2011 Scott sez:  That was cute.  I’ll give them that one.)  Sting proceeds to destroy Luger, getting a flying splash for two. Two stinger splashes draw Liz in for the DQ at 5:22. ¼* Lex & Liz do bad things to Sting, giving him some time off to shoot movies or whatever. – Kevin Nash v. Sid. First powerbomb wins. Sid controls with some brawling and a wussy chairshot. What’s the point of having a ref, anyway? How much skill does it take to call a powerbomb? And mere SECONDS after I write that, the ref gets bumped, thus fulfilling his purpose for being there. Sid then hits the worst powerbomb I’ve seen…since the Cruiserweight title match. But of course, the ref is out. Jarrett runs in and blasts Sid with the guitar, and Nash tries to powerbomb him…and can’t, because his he has a bad back. You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that both guys are immensely lazy, do you? He wakes up the ref, tells him about the phantom powerbomb, and is declared the winner at 6:58. Okay, let me get this straight: They specifically booked a match where neither man would have to lay down for the other, and even THAT wasn’t good enough, so we get a finish where Sid won’t even take Nash’s finisher? Good lord. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  They actually booked a show with Goldberg/Bret, Luger/Sting and Nash/Sid on top and couldn’t even do a decent buyrate for it?  That should be an unfuckupable amount of star power on top.)  US title match: Chris Benoit v. The Mystery Opponent. And that opponent is…Jeff Jarrett. That’s a “suitable replacement” for Scott Hall? Jarrett might be getting a little over due to sheer force of willpower, but oversaturation is going to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later. (2011 Scott sez:  Just wait, he hasn’t even won his multiple World titles yet!)  At least the match shouldn’t suck. Benoit chops away to start. Superplex, and Benoit just walks over and retrieves the ladder. That’s a big mistake right there – the drama of fighting to get the ladder is one of the things that defines these matches. Jarrett baseball slides it and busts Benoit’s nose open. Ouch. They trade shots into the ladder. Benoit gets his leg caught in it and Jarrett pulls it down to the mat. Jarrett climbs up, but gets caught in the Ladder of Woe. Jarrett wiggles free and pushes Benoit off of the ladder. They fight on top and Benoit shoves Jarrett off. Jarrett pushes it over. Benoit does the same. Jarrett dropkicks the ladder from underneath Benoit, which is a pretty crazy bump. Benoit does a nice roll under the ladder and nails Jarrett with it, then climbs to the top…and decides to drop the headbutt off the top on him. That’s enough punishment, so he climbs back up and claims the US title at 10:12. Some nice bumps, but there was no drama, the ending was anticlimactic, and the match was too short. Still, match of the night so far. **3/4 – WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Goldberg. Wasn’t Roddy Piper supposed to be reffing this thing? Lockup and headlock sequence to start. Goldberg hits the snap powerslam pretty quick to take over. Bret counters the anklelock into the Sharpshooter, but Goldberg breaks it. They fight onto the floor and the ref gets bumped. Sigh. Another one takes his place. And gets bumped a minute later. Oh, COME ON. Just bring out Piper already. Goldberg misses the spear and Bret gets the ringpost figure-four as a third ref takes over. Bret works the knee. Figure-four, reversed by Goldberg. Crowd starts chanting “Goldberg sucks” as Bret continues on the knee. Ref #3 gets bumped as Goldberg comes back with a superkick (2011 Scott sez:  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!) and a spear. And here’s Roddy Piper, to screw Goldberg….er, ref the match. Bret suddenly gets the Sharpshooter out of nowhere and Piper half-heartedly calls for the bell before the move is even applied at 12:10. Wow, yet another reference to Montreal, what creativity. I think it was done better the first 15 or so times we saw it in the WWF, though. (2011 Scott sez:  Sadly, we’d see it another 15 or so times in the WWF after this, too.)  Okay match but the ending was horrible. **1/2 The Bottom Line: If THAT was the big angle that’s supposed to fuel the promotion for the next 6 months, then they’re in BIG trouble.  (2011 Scott sez:  They were.)  Remember: April 1, 2000, Vinnie Roo gets the pink slip. That’s still my official prediction.  (2011 Scott sez:  I was kind of right, as Vinnie got fired in January, and was brought back in April of 2000.)  Meanwhile, this show gets no love from me, as it was not afraid to suck the meat missile with gusto. When a journeyman jobber like Vito LaGrasso held match of the night honors for a good two hours, there’s a problem. But then you probably knew that. Thumbs down.

Starrcade Countdown: 1999

The Netcop Rant for Starrcade 1999 – There was a really good episode of WCW Saturday Night this week, featuring a couple of young guys in a good match for the point they’re at, along with a rockin’ little match between Chris Adams and Dean Malenko, and Kanyon was there, and Devon Storm and Booker T ripped it up. The point? No matter how badly the Powers That Be try to kill the wrestling, the good will always catch up. So let’s see how they can screw this one up. (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t even REMEMBER this show outside of Bret v. Goldberg, so this will be an adventure for me, too…)– Live from Washington, DC – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Scott Hudson. – Opening match: Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux v. Vito Legrasso & Johnny The Bull. Lash has his own Cajun-themed music now. Brawl to start. Lash takes some punishment from Vito, who is the member of the Goon Squad that DOESN’T suck. Lash tags in and takes over on Johnny, who is completely useless. Well, he’s got a good range of punching and chinlocks, I suppose, but I can’t really think of anything else that WCW might see in this guy. Vito has some good personality, however.(2011 Scott sez:  When WCW folded, which of these guys ended up with the only WWF contract?  Think long and hard and then take a wild guess.  Of course, Vito later showed up.  Wearing a dress.) Disco plays face-in-peril before Vito misses a ridiculously overblown move off the second rope and Lash gets the hot tag. He gets press-slammed by Johnny, who proceeds to blow a standing leap to the top, then misses the move. Disco hits a frog splash for two, but Lash makes the save. Several non-dramatic two counts later, Lash collides with Disco by mistake and takes the Last Dance, allowing Vito to hit an Implant on Lash and pin him at 9:38. I’ve seen worse, but Johnny is no great shakes. *1/2 Disco gets chloroformed and carried off in a body bag. Then, once they get backstage, they let him out and dump him in the trunk of their car and drive off. Knowing Russo, he’ll return to Nitro tomorrow as the newest member of the team.  (2011 Scott sez:  Isn’t that what happened?  I forget how they got to the Mamalukes winning the tag titles, but I thought Disco was involved somehow.)  – Benoit comes out to formally accept Scott Hall’s forfeited US title, and issues an open challenge. Not a good idea when Russo is booking, Chris. – Cruiserweight title: Evan Karagias v. Madusa. Evan the Backside Boy has Spice with him. At least this doesn’t break Standards & Practices “Man v. woman” rules. That would require a man in the match, see. (2011 Scott sez:  Thank god, Karagias got out of wrestling after the WWF basically decided not to use him in 2001, and he has since gone on to become a soap opera actor instead.  The wrestling world is better for it.)  Brawl to start. Evan misses one of those moonsaults where it wouldn’t have hit even if the opponent had stayed exactly where they were. Madusa gets a dropkick off the second rope, and Madusa leads him through a sloppy pinning sequence and then nearly breaks his neck on a piledriver/powerbomb…something. Well, better luck next time. Spice calls him over for some advice, then turns on him and Madusa hits the GERMAN SUPLEX OF DOOM for the pin and title at 3:30. I don’t even want to start listing the reasons why this could compete for worst match, angle, feud and promotional move of the year, because I’d go on all day about it. On the bright side, confining Evan to under 5 minutes per match is always a smart idea, and if we’re lucky it’ll lead to a lesbian angle with Madusa and Spice. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  This actually led to a feud with Oklahoma, if I’m not mistaken.)  Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Meng. We head immediately to the back for some exciting running-away by Norman. Fit Finlay and trainee Brian Knobbs attack Meng and that’s the bulk of the “match”, as they wear him down and finally knock him out with a lead pipe to the head. Norman emerges from his hiding place and pins him at 4:30. DUD (2011 Scott sez:  Vince Russo, ladies and gentlemen, booking STARRCADE.)  – Backstage, the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma. – The Revolution v. Jim Duggan & His mystery partners. As everyone already knows, it’s the Varsity Club, along with Kimona as a cheerleader. I think we can already safely declare the group a failure. I guess it’s 4-on-3 because Shane is at ringside doing commentary, although since the Varsity Club were heels for their run in 1987-89, they’re probably turning on Duggan here anyway. And sure enough, Duggan wants to handle things himself while the announcers yell about how he’s not making the tag to them. Yup, it’s the dreaded Sledgehammer of Plot rearing it’s ugly head again. Duggan cleans house by himself for a bit but gets caught in the corner. He keeps refusing to tag his partners, and finally they run-in for a pier-six brawl, and then, duh, turn on Duggan. Shane leaves the commentary position and pins Duggan at 4:48, and he has to renounce his citizenship on Nitro. That’s a shame. ¼* I’m pretty sure almost no one in the crowd knew who the Varsity Club was, especially with Tony pointing out that we hadn’t seen them in more than a decade. Way to keep the product fresh and hip, guys. On the upside, Rotunda looked to be in a really good shape.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m reading this stuff and just thinking “They let this bullshit get put on TV?”  And by that I mean Shane Douglas leading his own group.  Remember, kids, it’s not evolution, it’s REVOLUTION.) Vampiro v. Dr. Death. Oklahoma is locked in the cage at ringside, courtesy of the Misfits. Brawl on the floor to start. Okie has a headset so he can continue his one joke at ringside. ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! (2011 Scott sez:  I know what you’re thinking.  “How is this any worse than what Vince McMahon now does to Jim Ross on a weekly basis?”  And you’re right, it’s not.  Vince McMahon is such a prick that he is able to come up with stuff more humiliating to Jim Ross than people who were specifically trying to create a character for the SOLE PURPOSE of making JR look like a jackass.)  Back in the ring for some punching. Doc clips him a couple of times. They fight for a superplex, which Doc wins and nearly kills Vampiro in the process. The Misfits run in and get tossed out, but that allows Vamp to get a spin kick on Doc. Doc comes back with some punching, then shoves the ref away for the lame DQ at 5:10. Bleh. ½* Vamp gets 5 minutes with Oklahoma as a result, although he didn’t really do anything to earn it. – Vampiro v. Oklahoma. Oklahoma provides his own commentary as he hits a DDT right away and executes the “Oklahoma Stomp”. Hey, nice to see the booker giving himself a good portion of offense like that. Fear not, because soon all of the Misfits run in and Vampiro is able to eke out a close win over a fat, out-of-shape writer at 5:00 with the Michinoku Driver. Whew, I know I’d have trouble when faced with the awesome power of Oklahoma. Hey, what’s that flying away out there? Oh, it’s just Vampiro’s heat. Bye bye, heat, fare thee well. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  As 2000 wore on and the Vampiro death push proceeded no matter how much everyone stopped caring, I lost much of my sympathy for him.)  Creative Control & Curt Hennig v. Harlem Heat & Midnight. Stevie Ray decided to stay in the back because he’s got issues or something. Maybe he just thinks it’s 1998 again, which was of course the last time we saw this angle. Now if only Creative Control had stayed in the back, the match might not suck. (2011 Scott sez:  Creative Control was the 10,000th name for the Harris Brothers, for those like me who have trouble keeping track) The heels control the match without too much trouble. Booker T hot tags Midnight and a brawl erupts. Midnight plays face-in-peril for a bit, as Stevie Ray joins us at ringside but doesn’t join in. Booker tags in and cleans house, but Hennig hits him with an international object for the pin at 7:52. The ending was such a clusterfuck that I don’t think anyone in the audience caught the shenanigans from Hennig. Creative Control is thus the #1 contenders to the tag titles, which is kind of like being the assistant hall monitor in school and means just as much. ¾* – Dustin Rhodes v. Jeff Jarrett. Hey look, it’s Over’s cousin – Not Over. (2011 Scott sez:  That was kind of a dated Friends reference even in 1999.  Honestly, I don’t even remember which guy I was busting on with it now, although it could apply to either.)  This is a bunkhouse match, which is name #1593 that Russo has for a hardcore match. JJ jumps Dustin during the pre-match interview and we’re underway. Dustin pounds on Jarrett with some decently stiff shots for a while, then duct-tapes the ref to the ropes and the silliness starts, as Curt Hennig comes down to the ringside and it’s basically 2-on-1. Dustin manages to hit Shattered Dreams on Jarrett, but Hennig breaks up the count. They fight to the back, where Jarrett comes off the ladder with a guitar shot for the pin at 11:18. Way too long for the screwiness involved. *1/2 – Diamond Dallas Page v. David Flair. (2011 Scott sez:  Was this seriously a show that was booked and put on PPV by a national wrestling company?  SERIOUSLY?  I could pick names out of a hat and come up with a better card than this bullshit.)  Flair jumps Page with a gold crowbar before the match. David actually looks halfway competent thanks to DDP’s meticulous match-planning and over-the-top selling of his lame offense. A low blow leads to the figure-four, and David gets the crowbar off the pole and takes a mighty swing, but DDP ducks and hits the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 3:53. Wow, I bet he’s thinking “I just beat DAVID FLAIR, I’m going to Disneyland!” I know I would be. * – Sting v. Lex Luger. They should probably just turn Liz before the match even starts, just to get it out of the way. Sting gives Liz a “super high-octane” can of mace to use, which probably means he’ll be getting it. Luger attacks fast, or at least as fast as Luger moves these days. Sting comes back with the help of some slaps by Liz. She grabs the “mace” and of course turns on Sting, but it’s silly string! OH MY GOD, STING HAS A BRAIN! This is the first time in his life he’s actually out-smarted someone! (2011 Scott sez:  That was cute.  I’ll give them that one.)  Sting proceeds to destroy Luger, getting a flying splash for two. Two stinger splashes draw Liz in for the DQ at 5:22. ¼* Lex & Liz do bad things to Sting, giving him some time off to shoot movies or whatever. – Kevin Nash v. Sid. First powerbomb wins. Sid controls with some brawling and a wussy chairshot. What’s the point of having a ref, anyway? How much skill does it take to call a powerbomb? And mere SECONDS after I write that, the ref gets bumped, thus fulfilling his purpose for being there. Sid then hits the worst powerbomb I’ve seen…since the Cruiserweight title match. But of course, the ref is out. Jarrett runs in and blasts Sid with the guitar, and Nash tries to powerbomb him…and can’t, because his he has a bad back. You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that both guys are immensely lazy, do you? He wakes up the ref, tells him about the phantom powerbomb, and is declared the winner at 6:58. Okay, let me get this straight: They specifically booked a match where neither man would have to lay down for the other, and even THAT wasn’t good enough, so we get a finish where Sid won’t even take Nash’s finisher? Good lord. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  They actually booked a show with Goldberg/Bret, Luger/Sting and Nash/Sid on top and couldn’t even do a decent buyrate for it?  That should be an unfuckupable amount of star power on top.)  US title match: Chris Benoit v. The Mystery Opponent. And that opponent is…Jeff Jarrett. That’s a “suitable replacement” for Scott Hall? Jarrett might be getting a little over due to sheer force of willpower, but oversaturation is going to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later. (2011 Scott sez:  Just wait, he hasn’t even won his multiple World titles yet!)  At least the match shouldn’t suck. Benoit chops away to start. Superplex, and Benoit just walks over and retrieves the ladder. That’s a big mistake right there – the drama of fighting to get the ladder is one of the things that defines these matches. Jarrett baseball slides it and busts Benoit’s nose open. Ouch. They trade shots into the ladder. Benoit gets his leg caught in it and Jarrett pulls it down to the mat. Jarrett climbs up, but gets caught in the Ladder of Woe. Jarrett wiggles free and pushes Benoit off of the ladder. They fight on top and Benoit shoves Jarrett off. Jarrett pushes it over. Benoit does the same. Jarrett dropkicks the ladder from underneath Benoit, which is a pretty crazy bump. Benoit does a nice roll under the ladder and nails Jarrett with it, then climbs to the top…and decides to drop the headbutt off the top on him. That’s enough punishment, so he climbs back up and claims the US title at 10:12. Some nice bumps, but there was no drama, the ending was anticlimactic, and the match was too short. Still, match of the night so far. **3/4 – WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Goldberg. Wasn’t Roddy Piper supposed to be reffing this thing? Lockup and headlock sequence to start. Goldberg hits the snap powerslam pretty quick to take over. Bret counters the anklelock into the Sharpshooter, but Goldberg breaks it. They fight onto the floor and the ref gets bumped. Sigh. Another one takes his place. And gets bumped a minute later. Oh, COME ON. Just bring out Piper already. Goldberg misses the spear and Bret gets the ringpost figure-four as a third ref takes over. Bret works the knee. Figure-four, reversed by Goldberg. Crowd starts chanting “Goldberg sucks” as Bret continues on the knee. Ref #3 gets bumped as Goldberg comes back with a superkick (2011 Scott sez:  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!) and a spear. And here’s Roddy Piper, to screw Goldberg….er, ref the match. Bret suddenly gets the Sharpshooter out of nowhere and Piper half-heartedly calls for the bell before the move is even applied at 12:10. Wow, yet another reference to Montreal, what creativity. I think it was done better the first 15 or so times we saw it in the WWF, though. (2011 Scott sez:  Sadly, we’d see it another 15 or so times in the WWF after this, too.)  Okay match but the ending was horrible. **1/2 The Bottom Line: If THAT was the big angle that’s supposed to fuel the promotion for the next 6 months, then they’re in BIG trouble.  (2011 Scott sez:  They were.)  Remember: April 1, 2000, Vinnie Roo gets the pink slip. That’s still my official prediction.  (2011 Scott sez:  I was kind of right, as Vinnie got fired in January, and was brought back in April of 2000.)  Meanwhile, this show gets no love from me, as it was not afraid to suck the meat missile with gusto. When a journeyman jobber like Vito LaGrasso held match of the night honors for a good two hours, there’s a problem. But then you probably knew that. Thumbs down.

Starrcade Countdown: 1999

The Netcop Rant for Starrcade 1999 – There was a really good episode of WCW Saturday Night this week, featuring a couple of young guys in a good match for the point they’re at, along with a rockin’ little match between Chris Adams and Dean Malenko, and Kanyon was there, and Devon Storm and Booker T ripped it up. The point? No matter how badly the Powers That Be try to kill the wrestling, the good will always catch up. So let’s see how they can screw this one up. (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t even REMEMBER this show outside of Bret v. Goldberg, so this will be an adventure for me, too…)– Live from Washington, DC – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Scott Hudson. – Opening match: Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux v. Vito Legrasso & Johnny The Bull. Lash has his own Cajun-themed music now. Brawl to start. Lash takes some punishment from Vito, who is the member of the Goon Squad that DOESN’T suck. Lash tags in and takes over on Johnny, who is completely useless. Well, he’s got a good range of punching and chinlocks, I suppose, but I can’t really think of anything else that WCW might see in this guy. Vito has some good personality, however.(2011 Scott sez:  When WCW folded, which of these guys ended up with the only WWF contract?  Think long and hard and then take a wild guess.  Of course, Vito later showed up.  Wearing a dress.) Disco plays face-in-peril before Vito misses a ridiculously overblown move off the second rope and Lash gets the hot tag. He gets press-slammed by Johnny, who proceeds to blow a standing leap to the top, then misses the move. Disco hits a frog splash for two, but Lash makes the save. Several non-dramatic two counts later, Lash collides with Disco by mistake and takes the Last Dance, allowing Vito to hit an Implant on Lash and pin him at 9:38. I’ve seen worse, but Johnny is no great shakes. *1/2 Disco gets chloroformed and carried off in a body bag. Then, once they get backstage, they let him out and dump him in the trunk of their car and drive off. Knowing Russo, he’ll return to Nitro tomorrow as the newest member of the team.  (2011 Scott sez:  Isn’t that what happened?  I forget how they got to the Mamalukes winning the tag titles, but I thought Disco was involved somehow.)  – Benoit comes out to formally accept Scott Hall’s forfeited US title, and issues an open challenge. Not a good idea when Russo is booking, Chris. – Cruiserweight title: Evan Karagias v. Madusa. Evan the Backside Boy has Spice with him. At least this doesn’t break Standards & Practices “Man v. woman” rules. That would require a man in the match, see. (2011 Scott sez:  Thank god, Karagias got out of wrestling after the WWF basically decided not to use him in 2001, and he has since gone on to become a soap opera actor instead.  The wrestling world is better for it.)  Brawl to start. Evan misses one of those moonsaults where it wouldn’t have hit even if the opponent had stayed exactly where they were. Madusa gets a dropkick off the second rope, and Madusa leads him through a sloppy pinning sequence and then nearly breaks his neck on a piledriver/powerbomb…something. Well, better luck next time. Spice calls him over for some advice, then turns on him and Madusa hits the GERMAN SUPLEX OF DOOM for the pin and title at 3:30. I don’t even want to start listing the reasons why this could compete for worst match, angle, feud and promotional move of the year, because I’d go on all day about it. On the bright side, confining Evan to under 5 minutes per match is always a smart idea, and if we’re lucky it’ll lead to a lesbian angle with Madusa and Spice. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  This actually led to a feud with Oklahoma, if I’m not mistaken.)  Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Meng. We head immediately to the back for some exciting running-away by Norman. Fit Finlay and trainee Brian Knobbs attack Meng and that’s the bulk of the “match”, as they wear him down and finally knock him out with a lead pipe to the head. Norman emerges from his hiding place and pins him at 4:30. DUD (2011 Scott sez:  Vince Russo, ladies and gentlemen, booking STARRCADE.)  – Backstage, the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma. – The Revolution v. Jim Duggan & His mystery partners. As everyone already knows, it’s the Varsity Club, along with Kimona as a cheerleader. I think we can already safely declare the group a failure. I guess it’s 4-on-3 because Shane is at ringside doing commentary, although since the Varsity Club were heels for their run in 1987-89, they’re probably turning on Duggan here anyway. And sure enough, Duggan wants to handle things himself while the announcers yell about how he’s not making the tag to them. Yup, it’s the dreaded Sledgehammer of Plot rearing it’s ugly head again. Duggan cleans house by himself for a bit but gets caught in the corner. He keeps refusing to tag his partners, and finally they run-in for a pier-six brawl, and then, duh, turn on Duggan. Shane leaves the commentary position and pins Duggan at 4:48, and he has to renounce his citizenship on Nitro. That’s a shame. ¼* I’m pretty sure almost no one in the crowd knew who the Varsity Club was, especially with Tony pointing out that we hadn’t seen them in more than a decade. Way to keep the product fresh and hip, guys. On the upside, Rotunda looked to be in a really good shape.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m reading this stuff and just thinking “They let this bullshit get put on TV?”  And by that I mean Shane Douglas leading his own group.  Remember, kids, it’s not evolution, it’s REVOLUTION.) Vampiro v. Dr. Death. Oklahoma is locked in the cage at ringside, courtesy of the Misfits. Brawl on the floor to start. Okie has a headset so he can continue his one joke at ringside. ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! (2011 Scott sez:  I know what you’re thinking.  “How is this any worse than what Vince McMahon now does to Jim Ross on a weekly basis?”  And you’re right, it’s not.  Vince McMahon is such a prick that he is able to come up with stuff more humiliating to Jim Ross than people who were specifically trying to create a character for the SOLE PURPOSE of making JR look like a jackass.)  Back in the ring for some punching. Doc clips him a couple of times. They fight for a superplex, which Doc wins and nearly kills Vampiro in the process. The Misfits run in and get tossed out, but that allows Vamp to get a spin kick on Doc. Doc comes back with some punching, then shoves the ref away for the lame DQ at 5:10. Bleh. ½* Vamp gets 5 minutes with Oklahoma as a result, although he didn’t really do anything to earn it. – Vampiro v. Oklahoma. Oklahoma provides his own commentary as he hits a DDT right away and executes the “Oklahoma Stomp”. Hey, nice to see the booker giving himself a good portion of offense like that. Fear not, because soon all of the Misfits run in and Vampiro is able to eke out a close win over a fat, out-of-shape writer at 5:00 with the Michinoku Driver. Whew, I know I’d have trouble when faced with the awesome power of Oklahoma. Hey, what’s that flying away out there? Oh, it’s just Vampiro’s heat. Bye bye, heat, fare thee well. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  As 2000 wore on and the Vampiro death push proceeded no matter how much everyone stopped caring, I lost much of my sympathy for him.)  Creative Control & Curt Hennig v. Harlem Heat & Midnight. Stevie Ray decided to stay in the back because he’s got issues or something. Maybe he just thinks it’s 1998 again, which was of course the last time we saw this angle. Now if only Creative Control had stayed in the back, the match might not suck. (2011 Scott sez:  Creative Control was the 10,000th name for the Harris Brothers, for those like me who have trouble keeping track) The heels control the match without too much trouble. Booker T hot tags Midnight and a brawl erupts. Midnight plays face-in-peril for a bit, as Stevie Ray joins us at ringside but doesn’t join in. Booker tags in and cleans house, but Hennig hits him with an international object for the pin at 7:52. The ending was such a clusterfuck that I don’t think anyone in the audience caught the shenanigans from Hennig. Creative Control is thus the #1 contenders to the tag titles, which is kind of like being the assistant hall monitor in school and means just as much. ¾* – Dustin Rhodes v. Jeff Jarrett. Hey look, it’s Over’s cousin – Not Over. (2011 Scott sez:  That was kind of a dated Friends reference even in 1999.  Honestly, I don’t even remember which guy I was busting on with it now, although it could apply to either.)  This is a bunkhouse match, which is name #1593 that Russo has for a hardcore match. JJ jumps Dustin during the pre-match interview and we’re underway. Dustin pounds on Jarrett with some decently stiff shots for a while, then duct-tapes the ref to the ropes and the silliness starts, as Curt Hennig comes down to the ringside and it’s basically 2-on-1. Dustin manages to hit Shattered Dreams on Jarrett, but Hennig breaks up the count. They fight to the back, where Jarrett comes off the ladder with a guitar shot for the pin at 11:18. Way too long for the screwiness involved. *1/2 – Diamond Dallas Page v. David Flair. (2011 Scott sez:  Was this seriously a show that was booked and put on PPV by a national wrestling company?  SERIOUSLY?  I could pick names out of a hat and come up with a better card than this bullshit.)  Flair jumps Page with a gold crowbar before the match. David actually looks halfway competent thanks to DDP’s meticulous match-planning and over-the-top selling of his lame offense. A low blow leads to the figure-four, and David gets the crowbar off the pole and takes a mighty swing, but DDP ducks and hits the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 3:53. Wow, I bet he’s thinking “I just beat DAVID FLAIR, I’m going to Disneyland!” I know I would be. * – Sting v. Lex Luger. They should probably just turn Liz before the match even starts, just to get it out of the way. Sting gives Liz a “super high-octane” can of mace to use, which probably means he’ll be getting it. Luger attacks fast, or at least as fast as Luger moves these days. Sting comes back with the help of some slaps by Liz. She grabs the “mace” and of course turns on Sting, but it’s silly string! OH MY GOD, STING HAS A BRAIN! This is the first time in his life he’s actually out-smarted someone! (2011 Scott sez:  That was cute.  I’ll give them that one.)  Sting proceeds to destroy Luger, getting a flying splash for two. Two stinger splashes draw Liz in for the DQ at 5:22. ¼* Lex & Liz do bad things to Sting, giving him some time off to shoot movies or whatever. – Kevin Nash v. Sid. First powerbomb wins. Sid controls with some brawling and a wussy chairshot. What’s the point of having a ref, anyway? How much skill does it take to call a powerbomb? And mere SECONDS after I write that, the ref gets bumped, thus fulfilling his purpose for being there. Sid then hits the worst powerbomb I’ve seen…since the Cruiserweight title match. But of course, the ref is out. Jarrett runs in and blasts Sid with the guitar, and Nash tries to powerbomb him…and can’t, because his he has a bad back. You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that both guys are immensely lazy, do you? He wakes up the ref, tells him about the phantom powerbomb, and is declared the winner at 6:58. Okay, let me get this straight: They specifically booked a match where neither man would have to lay down for the other, and even THAT wasn’t good enough, so we get a finish where Sid won’t even take Nash’s finisher? Good lord. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  They actually booked a show with Goldberg/Bret, Luger/Sting and Nash/Sid on top and couldn’t even do a decent buyrate for it?  That should be an unfuckupable amount of star power on top.)  US title match: Chris Benoit v. The Mystery Opponent. And that opponent is…Jeff Jarrett. That’s a “suitable replacement” for Scott Hall? Jarrett might be getting a little over due to sheer force of willpower, but oversaturation is going to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later. (2011 Scott sez:  Just wait, he hasn’t even won his multiple World titles yet!)  At least the match shouldn’t suck. Benoit chops away to start. Superplex, and Benoit just walks over and retrieves the ladder. That’s a big mistake right there – the drama of fighting to get the ladder is one of the things that defines these matches. Jarrett baseball slides it and busts Benoit’s nose open. Ouch. They trade shots into the ladder. Benoit gets his leg caught in it and Jarrett pulls it down to the mat. Jarrett climbs up, but gets caught in the Ladder of Woe. Jarrett wiggles free and pushes Benoit off of the ladder. They fight on top and Benoit shoves Jarrett off. Jarrett pushes it over. Benoit does the same. Jarrett dropkicks the ladder from underneath Benoit, which is a pretty crazy bump. Benoit does a nice roll under the ladder and nails Jarrett with it, then climbs to the top…and decides to drop the headbutt off the top on him. That’s enough punishment, so he climbs back up and claims the US title at 10:12. Some nice bumps, but there was no drama, the ending was anticlimactic, and the match was too short. Still, match of the night so far. **3/4 – WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Goldberg. Wasn’t Roddy Piper supposed to be reffing this thing? Lockup and headlock sequence to start. Goldberg hits the snap powerslam pretty quick to take over. Bret counters the anklelock into the Sharpshooter, but Goldberg breaks it. They fight onto the floor and the ref gets bumped. Sigh. Another one takes his place. And gets bumped a minute later. Oh, COME ON. Just bring out Piper already. Goldberg misses the spear and Bret gets the ringpost figure-four as a third ref takes over. Bret works the knee. Figure-four, reversed by Goldberg. Crowd starts chanting “Goldberg sucks” as Bret continues on the knee. Ref #3 gets bumped as Goldberg comes back with a superkick (2011 Scott sez:  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!) and a spear. And here’s Roddy Piper, to screw Goldberg….er, ref the match. Bret suddenly gets the Sharpshooter out of nowhere and Piper half-heartedly calls for the bell before the move is even applied at 12:10. Wow, yet another reference to Montreal, what creativity. I think it was done better the first 15 or so times we saw it in the WWF, though. (2011 Scott sez:  Sadly, we’d see it another 15 or so times in the WWF after this, too.)  Okay match but the ending was horrible. **1/2 The Bottom Line: If THAT was the big angle that’s supposed to fuel the promotion for the next 6 months, then they’re in BIG trouble.  (2011 Scott sez:  They were.)  Remember: April 1, 2000, Vinnie Roo gets the pink slip. That’s still my official prediction.  (2011 Scott sez:  I was kind of right, as Vinnie got fired in January, and was brought back in April of 2000.)  Meanwhile, this show gets no love from me, as it was not afraid to suck the meat missile with gusto. When a journeyman jobber like Vito LaGrasso held match of the night honors for a good two hours, there’s a problem. But then you probably knew that. Thumbs down.

Starrcade Countdown: 1999

The Netcop Rant for Starrcade 1999 – There was a really good episode of WCW Saturday Night this week, featuring a couple of young guys in a good match for the point they’re at, along with a rockin’ little match between Chris Adams and Dean Malenko, and Kanyon was there, and Devon Storm and Booker T ripped it up. The point? No matter how badly the Powers That Be try to kill the wrestling, the good will always catch up. So let’s see how they can screw this one up. (2011 Scott sez:  I don’t even REMEMBER this show outside of Bret v. Goldberg, so this will be an adventure for me, too…)– Live from Washington, DC – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Scott Hudson. – Opening match: Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux v. Vito Legrasso & Johnny The Bull. Lash has his own Cajun-themed music now. Brawl to start. Lash takes some punishment from Vito, who is the member of the Goon Squad that DOESN’T suck. Lash tags in and takes over on Johnny, who is completely useless. Well, he’s got a good range of punching and chinlocks, I suppose, but I can’t really think of anything else that WCW might see in this guy. Vito has some good personality, however.(2011 Scott sez:  When WCW folded, which of these guys ended up with the only WWF contract?  Think long and hard and then take a wild guess.  Of course, Vito later showed up.  Wearing a dress.) Disco plays face-in-peril before Vito misses a ridiculously overblown move off the second rope and Lash gets the hot tag. He gets press-slammed by Johnny, who proceeds to blow a standing leap to the top, then misses the move. Disco hits a frog splash for two, but Lash makes the save. Several non-dramatic two counts later, Lash collides with Disco by mistake and takes the Last Dance, allowing Vito to hit an Implant on Lash and pin him at 9:38. I’ve seen worse, but Johnny is no great shakes. *1/2 Disco gets chloroformed and carried off in a body bag. Then, once they get backstage, they let him out and dump him in the trunk of their car and drive off. Knowing Russo, he’ll return to Nitro tomorrow as the newest member of the team.  (2011 Scott sez:  Isn’t that what happened?  I forget how they got to the Mamalukes winning the tag titles, but I thought Disco was involved somehow.)  – Benoit comes out to formally accept Scott Hall’s forfeited US title, and issues an open challenge. Not a good idea when Russo is booking, Chris. – Cruiserweight title: Evan Karagias v. Madusa. Evan the Backside Boy has Spice with him. At least this doesn’t break Standards & Practices “Man v. woman” rules. That would require a man in the match, see. (2011 Scott sez:  Thank god, Karagias got out of wrestling after the WWF basically decided not to use him in 2001, and he has since gone on to become a soap opera actor instead.  The wrestling world is better for it.)  Brawl to start. Evan misses one of those moonsaults where it wouldn’t have hit even if the opponent had stayed exactly where they were. Madusa gets a dropkick off the second rope, and Madusa leads him through a sloppy pinning sequence and then nearly breaks his neck on a piledriver/powerbomb…something. Well, better luck next time. Spice calls him over for some advice, then turns on him and Madusa hits the GERMAN SUPLEX OF DOOM for the pin and title at 3:30. I don’t even want to start listing the reasons why this could compete for worst match, angle, feud and promotional move of the year, because I’d go on all day about it. On the bright side, confining Evan to under 5 minutes per match is always a smart idea, and if we’re lucky it’ll lead to a lesbian angle with Madusa and Spice. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  This actually led to a feud with Oklahoma, if I’m not mistaken.)  Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Meng. We head immediately to the back for some exciting running-away by Norman. Fit Finlay and trainee Brian Knobbs attack Meng and that’s the bulk of the “match”, as they wear him down and finally knock him out with a lead pipe to the head. Norman emerges from his hiding place and pins him at 4:30. DUD (2011 Scott sez:  Vince Russo, ladies and gentlemen, booking STARRCADE.)  – Backstage, the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma. – The Revolution v. Jim Duggan & His mystery partners. As everyone already knows, it’s the Varsity Club, along with Kimona as a cheerleader. I think we can already safely declare the group a failure. I guess it’s 4-on-3 because Shane is at ringside doing commentary, although since the Varsity Club were heels for their run in 1987-89, they’re probably turning on Duggan here anyway. And sure enough, Duggan wants to handle things himself while the announcers yell about how he’s not making the tag to them. Yup, it’s the dreaded Sledgehammer of Plot rearing it’s ugly head again. Duggan cleans house by himself for a bit but gets caught in the corner. He keeps refusing to tag his partners, and finally they run-in for a pier-six brawl, and then, duh, turn on Duggan. Shane leaves the commentary position and pins Duggan at 4:48, and he has to renounce his citizenship on Nitro. That’s a shame. ¼* I’m pretty sure almost no one in the crowd knew who the Varsity Club was, especially with Tony pointing out that we hadn’t seen them in more than a decade. Way to keep the product fresh and hip, guys. On the upside, Rotunda looked to be in a really good shape.  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m reading this stuff and just thinking “They let this bullshit get put on TV?”  And by that I mean Shane Douglas leading his own group.  Remember, kids, it’s not evolution, it’s REVOLUTION.) Vampiro v. Dr. Death. Oklahoma is locked in the cage at ringside, courtesy of the Misfits. Brawl on the floor to start. Okie has a headset so he can continue his one joke at ringside. ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! (2011 Scott sez:  I know what you’re thinking.  “How is this any worse than what Vince McMahon now does to Jim Ross on a weekly basis?”  And you’re right, it’s not.  Vince McMahon is such a prick that he is able to come up with stuff more humiliating to Jim Ross than people who were specifically trying to create a character for the SOLE PURPOSE of making JR look like a jackass.)  Back in the ring for some punching. Doc clips him a couple of times. They fight for a superplex, which Doc wins and nearly kills Vampiro in the process. The Misfits run in and get tossed out, but that allows Vamp to get a spin kick on Doc. Doc comes back with some punching, then shoves the ref away for the lame DQ at 5:10. Bleh. ½* Vamp gets 5 minutes with Oklahoma as a result, although he didn’t really do anything to earn it. – Vampiro v. Oklahoma. Oklahoma provides his own commentary as he hits a DDT right away and executes the “Oklahoma Stomp”. Hey, nice to see the booker giving himself a good portion of offense like that. Fear not, because soon all of the Misfits run in and Vampiro is able to eke out a close win over a fat, out-of-shape writer at 5:00 with the Michinoku Driver. Whew, I know I’d have trouble when faced with the awesome power of Oklahoma. Hey, what’s that flying away out there? Oh, it’s just Vampiro’s heat. Bye bye, heat, fare thee well. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  As 2000 wore on and the Vampiro death push proceeded no matter how much everyone stopped caring, I lost much of my sympathy for him.)  Creative Control & Curt Hennig v. Harlem Heat & Midnight. Stevie Ray decided to stay in the back because he’s got issues or something. Maybe he just thinks it’s 1998 again, which was of course the last time we saw this angle. Now if only Creative Control had stayed in the back, the match might not suck. (2011 Scott sez:  Creative Control was the 10,000th name for the Harris Brothers, for those like me who have trouble keeping track) The heels control the match without too much trouble. Booker T hot tags Midnight and a brawl erupts. Midnight plays face-in-peril for a bit, as Stevie Ray joins us at ringside but doesn’t join in. Booker tags in and cleans house, but Hennig hits him with an international object for the pin at 7:52. The ending was such a clusterfuck that I don’t think anyone in the audience caught the shenanigans from Hennig. Creative Control is thus the #1 contenders to the tag titles, which is kind of like being the assistant hall monitor in school and means just as much. ¾* – Dustin Rhodes v. Jeff Jarrett. Hey look, it’s Over’s cousin – Not Over. (2011 Scott sez:  That was kind of a dated Friends reference even in 1999.  Honestly, I don’t even remember which guy I was busting on with it now, although it could apply to either.)  This is a bunkhouse match, which is name #1593 that Russo has for a hardcore match. JJ jumps Dustin during the pre-match interview and we’re underway. Dustin pounds on Jarrett with some decently stiff shots for a while, then duct-tapes the ref to the ropes and the silliness starts, as Curt Hennig comes down to the ringside and it’s basically 2-on-1. Dustin manages to hit Shattered Dreams on Jarrett, but Hennig breaks up the count. They fight to the back, where Jarrett comes off the ladder with a guitar shot for the pin at 11:18. Way too long for the screwiness involved. *1/2 – Diamond Dallas Page v. David Flair. (2011 Scott sez:  Was this seriously a show that was booked and put on PPV by a national wrestling company?  SERIOUSLY?  I could pick names out of a hat and come up with a better card than this bullshit.)  Flair jumps Page with a gold crowbar before the match. David actually looks halfway competent thanks to DDP’s meticulous match-planning and over-the-top selling of his lame offense. A low blow leads to the figure-four, and David gets the crowbar off the pole and takes a mighty swing, but DDP ducks and hits the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 3:53. Wow, I bet he’s thinking “I just beat DAVID FLAIR, I’m going to Disneyland!” I know I would be. * – Sting v. Lex Luger. They should probably just turn Liz before the match even starts, just to get it out of the way. Sting gives Liz a “super high-octane” can of mace to use, which probably means he’ll be getting it. Luger attacks fast, or at least as fast as Luger moves these days. Sting comes back with the help of some slaps by Liz. She grabs the “mace” and of course turns on Sting, but it’s silly string! OH MY GOD, STING HAS A BRAIN! This is the first time in his life he’s actually out-smarted someone! (2011 Scott sez:  That was cute.  I’ll give them that one.)  Sting proceeds to destroy Luger, getting a flying splash for two. Two stinger splashes draw Liz in for the DQ at 5:22. ¼* Lex & Liz do bad things to Sting, giving him some time off to shoot movies or whatever. – Kevin Nash v. Sid. First powerbomb wins. Sid controls with some brawling and a wussy chairshot. What’s the point of having a ref, anyway? How much skill does it take to call a powerbomb? And mere SECONDS after I write that, the ref gets bumped, thus fulfilling his purpose for being there. Sid then hits the worst powerbomb I’ve seen…since the Cruiserweight title match. But of course, the ref is out. Jarrett runs in and blasts Sid with the guitar, and Nash tries to powerbomb him…and can’t, because his he has a bad back. You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that both guys are immensely lazy, do you? He wakes up the ref, tells him about the phantom powerbomb, and is declared the winner at 6:58. Okay, let me get this straight: They specifically booked a match where neither man would have to lay down for the other, and even THAT wasn’t good enough, so we get a finish where Sid won’t even take Nash’s finisher? Good lord. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  They actually booked a show with Goldberg/Bret, Luger/Sting and Nash/Sid on top and couldn’t even do a decent buyrate for it?  That should be an unfuckupable amount of star power on top.)  US title match: Chris Benoit v. The Mystery Opponent. And that opponent is…Jeff Jarrett. That’s a “suitable replacement” for Scott Hall? Jarrett might be getting a little over due to sheer force of willpower, but oversaturation is going to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later. (2011 Scott sez:  Just wait, he hasn’t even won his multiple World titles yet!)  At least the match shouldn’t suck. Benoit chops away to start. Superplex, and Benoit just walks over and retrieves the ladder. That’s a big mistake right there – the drama of fighting to get the ladder is one of the things that defines these matches. Jarrett baseball slides it and busts Benoit’s nose open. Ouch. They trade shots into the ladder. Benoit gets his leg caught in it and Jarrett pulls it down to the mat. Jarrett climbs up, but gets caught in the Ladder of Woe. Jarrett wiggles free and pushes Benoit off of the ladder. They fight on top and Benoit shoves Jarrett off. Jarrett pushes it over. Benoit does the same. Jarrett dropkicks the ladder from underneath Benoit, which is a pretty crazy bump. Benoit does a nice roll under the ladder and nails Jarrett with it, then climbs to the top…and decides to drop the headbutt off the top on him. That’s enough punishment, so he climbs back up and claims the US title at 10:12. Some nice bumps, but there was no drama, the ending was anticlimactic, and the match was too short. Still, match of the night so far. **3/4 – WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Goldberg. Wasn’t Roddy Piper supposed to be reffing this thing? Lockup and headlock sequence to start. Goldberg hits the snap powerslam pretty quick to take over. Bret counters the anklelock into the Sharpshooter, but Goldberg breaks it. They fight onto the floor and the ref gets bumped. Sigh. Another one takes his place. And gets bumped a minute later. Oh, COME ON. Just bring out Piper already. Goldberg misses the spear and Bret gets the ringpost figure-four as a third ref takes over. Bret works the knee. Figure-four, reversed by Goldberg. Crowd starts chanting “Goldberg sucks” as Bret continues on the knee. Ref #3 gets bumped as Goldberg comes back with a superkick (2011 Scott sez:  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!) and a spear. And here’s Roddy Piper, to screw Goldberg….er, ref the match. Bret suddenly gets the Sharpshooter out of nowhere and Piper half-heartedly calls for the bell before the move is even applied at 12:10. Wow, yet another reference to Montreal, what creativity. I think it was done better the first 15 or so times we saw it in the WWF, though. (2011 Scott sez:  Sadly, we’d see it another 15 or so times in the WWF after this, too.)  Okay match but the ending was horrible. **1/2 The Bottom Line: If THAT was the big angle that’s supposed to fuel the promotion for the next 6 months, then they’re in BIG trouble.  (2011 Scott sez:  They were.)  Remember: April 1, 2000, Vinnie Roo gets the pink slip. That’s still my official prediction.  (2011 Scott sez:  I was kind of right, as Vinnie got fired in January, and was brought back in April of 2000.)  Meanwhile, this show gets no love from me, as it was not afraid to suck the meat missile with gusto. When a journeyman jobber like Vito LaGrasso held match of the night honors for a good two hours, there’s a problem. But then you probably knew that. Thumbs down.

John Cena’s Stroke

I realized a bit ago that while we know about the seedy backstage exploits and political power of most of the major players in the WWE, not much is known about John Cena behind the curtain.  I thought you might be able to shed some light on the subject.  Does he have any enemies?  Does he have a “Clique”?  What do the rest of the boys think of him?  Is he considered a locker room leader?  Does he have Vince’s ear like say, Randy Orton?  That is, if Cena decided he wanted, um, Jack Swagger fired, does he have the stroke to get it done?

Everything I’ve heard about John Cena is that he’s a company man to point of absurdity at times.  I don’t think he’s particularly a locker room leader and doesn’t seem to want to do much more than go along with whatever idiotic direction is scripted for him.  You certainly never hear anyone say anything but glowing things about him and what a great guy he is, and he certainly does more charity work than anyone.  I kind of which he WOULD speak up and veto dumb ideas like his speech on Monday whining about Rock not being around.  I’m sure that if he really wanted Swagger fired, he could get it done, but he seems to be above all that kind of stuff. 

John Cena’s Stroke

I realized a bit ago that while we know about the seedy backstage exploits and political power of most of the major players in the WWE, not much is known about John Cena behind the curtain.  I thought you might be able to shed some light on the subject.  Does he have any enemies?  Does he have a “Clique”?  What do the rest of the boys think of him?  Is he considered a locker room leader?  Does he have Vince’s ear like say, Randy Orton?  That is, if Cena decided he wanted, um, Jack Swagger fired, does he have the stroke to get it done?

Everything I’ve heard about John Cena is that he’s a company man to point of absurdity at times.  I don’t think he’s particularly a locker room leader and doesn’t seem to want to do much more than go along with whatever idiotic direction is scripted for him.  You certainly never hear anyone say anything but glowing things about him and what a great guy he is, and he certainly does more charity work than anyone.  I kind of which he WOULD speak up and veto dumb ideas like his speech on Monday whining about Rock not being around.  I’m sure that if he really wanted Swagger fired, he could get it done, but he seems to be above all that kind of stuff. 

John Cena’s Stroke

I realized a bit ago that while we know about the seedy backstage exploits and political power of most of the major players in the WWE, not much is known about John Cena behind the curtain.  I thought you might be able to shed some light on the subject.  Does he have any enemies?  Does he have a “Clique”?  What do the rest of the boys think of him?  Is he considered a locker room leader?  Does he have Vince’s ear like say, Randy Orton?  That is, if Cena decided he wanted, um, Jack Swagger fired, does he have the stroke to get it done?

Everything I’ve heard about John Cena is that he’s a company man to point of absurdity at times.  I don’t think he’s particularly a locker room leader and doesn’t seem to want to do much more than go along with whatever idiotic direction is scripted for him.  You certainly never hear anyone say anything but glowing things about him and what a great guy he is, and he certainly does more charity work than anyone.  I kind of which he WOULD speak up and veto dumb ideas like his speech on Monday whining about Rock not being around.  I’m sure that if he really wanted Swagger fired, he could get it done, but he seems to be above all that kind of stuff.