Thus Endeth The Streak

Heya Scott,
I’ve caught a few episodes of TNA lately and from the sound of it, that
Crimson guy has a pretty decent win streak. Knowing Bischoff, it’ll come
to an unsatisfying end.
Has there ever been a satisfying end of a winning streak? What are your
thoughts on a good way to wrap one up?

I thought that Andre’s came to a pretty satisfying end.  So did Mr. Perfect’s, actually, aside from being on a house show.  But if you could Wrestlemania VI as the ending, it was pretty good too.  The key, which I think is an obvious point, is that you should end the streak when the guy is a heel, so that people will WANT to see him lose.  If the Goldberg-Nash feud had more lead time, they could have turned Goldberg a couple of months in advance and made the fans actually want to see Nash be the one to end it.  Probably would have been easy to turn the fans on him, too:  Just have him do the opposite of what he was doing.  Instead of having him physically impressive feats against monsters, just keep having him defend the title against luchadors and then brag about how he only faces top competition.  Kind of like how Perfect was undefeated for a year, but he only fought scrubs and midcarders, so no one took him seriously as a threat and Hogan was able to convincingly beat him at the top.  Using a win streak to get a babyface over is great, but you need an endgame. 

Starrcade Countdown: 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 93 – This beat goes on… – Flair history package starts us out. – Live from Charlotte, NC – Your hosts are Tony and Jesse.Opening match: 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell v. Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff. Having recently read Foley’s book, I will never be able to look at Scorpio in the same light again. I mean, sure, you’d think all those kids would prove his manhood as it is, but to have it stated for the record in a national bestseller should be a major boost to the ego for him. Big brawl to start, and Scorps & Bags clean house. Some vicious ARMDRAGS and ARMBARS and WRISTLOCKS punctuate the first 5 minutes. Gosh, what a way to start a PPV. Bagwell gets nailed and plays Buffy Morton. Crowd drifts in and out of a coma. Roma misses a big splash and 2CS gets the hot tag, but that dastardly FatAssassin loads up the mask and gets the HEADBUTT OF STEAMING DEATH on Scorpio and Orndorff falls on top for the pin at 11:42. No heat for the future Pretty Wonderful, but it’s WCW so of course they walked away with the tag titles six months later. ¾* – Mean Whoo By God Whoo By God Gene and Ric Flair share some quality time in the limo as they head to the arena. – Awesome Kong v. The Shockmaster. If Dusty Rhodes hadn’t been fired as booker, this might have scored the main event. Just for fun, and to deflect away from the obvious jokes, let’s sub the phrase “well-hung” for “fat” in this match recap and see what happens, shall we? Both of the grotesquely well-hung Kongs (Awesome and King) are at ringside, and they attack the equally well-hung Shockmaster and double-team him, even though it’s supposed to be a singles match. He manages to fight them off and come back with a bodypress. A bodyslam is all that’s needed to finish the Kong at 1:38, because he’s JUST TOO WELL-HUNG to do anything else. At least it was quick. DUD I’ll have to apply this one to the inevitable Phatu-Viscera match and see how well it holds up.  (2011 Scott says:  Luckily, we never got that Rikishi v. Big Daddy V match as far as I know.)  – Tony announces that Bulldog has been removed from the “World” title match tonight and the Boss (Man, Is He Big) is taking his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  Can’t remember what happened with Bulldog that he got bounced from WCW like that, actually, but at least he had a resurgent run in the WWF afterwards)  World TV title match: Lord Steven Regal v. Ricky Steamboat. It’s so hard to recognize the TV belt without a garbage can wrapped around it. (2011 Scott sez:  So that would place this rant in the 1999 range, after Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the trash.  Only a slightly less prestigious method of winning a title than, say, Shane McMahon giving you a belt out of his gym bag)  Loooooooong feeling-out period, spanning the first 8 minutes of a 15-minute limit match, which should give you an idea of where this is going. Steamer hits the flying chop for two and goes back to the armbar. Tony & Jesse make a good point about what an idiot Steamboat is for working the arm with such a short time-limit. He doggedly continues working the arm regardless of such great advice. Crowd is gone. Steamer hulks up, so Regal runs away and catches him with a dropkick coming around the corner. Back in and they exchange some nice wrestling on the mat. One minute left, Regal bails out again. Back in, Steamboat goes for the bodypress, misses, and time runs out at 13:00. Fire the timekeeper! Major yawner here. *1/2 – Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. Punch and kick and stuff. Jack & Maxx have some decent teamwork going, though. Tex is currently known as Mideon, so you can imagine how useful he is. Maxx fights off both cowboys without much effort, and then they work in one of the few highspots I’ve ever seen Cactus Jack do: Maxx backdrops him over the top rope onto Tex. Back in the ring, where heel miscommunication leads to a double-arm DDT on Shanghai Pierce for the pin at 7:46. Standard Worldwide fare here. ½* – Some racing guy get interview time. – US title match, 2/3 falls: Dustin Rhodes v. Stunning Steve Austin. Austin was inching closer to his current state at this point. Rhodes, as always, has no heat. Some things never change. (2011 Scott sez:  Man, I was really mean to Dustin back in the day.  I think his 2002 WWE run really mellowed me on him.)  Dull mat wrestling sequence to start, as Austin stalls off and on. So Dustin…GRABS A HEADLOCK! Whoa, what a talent. Feel the crowd electricity! Dustin gets a backslide for two, so Austin stalls again. They brawl on the floor and Austin takes a primo bump over the railing. Back to the HEADLOCK, BABEE! Austin mounts some minor offense that goes nowhere. Dustin gets a couple of pinfall attempts, but Austin backjumps him to retake control. Man, these guys are just way off tonight. Steve misses a kneedrop and Dustin comes back. Col. Parker hops on the apron and Dustin whips Austin at him, but Austin oversells it and goes flying over the top, drawing a DQ to win the first fall. Rhodes takes out his frustration by ramming him to the post headfirst, drawing some good juice from Steve. Then the lights go out. Welcome to WCW, home of Murphy’s Law. The light guys put a spotlight on them, then the house lights come back just in time to catch Austin cradling Dustin in the corner and holding the tights for the pin and the title at 16:16. Bad match. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  This is another one where I rated it a bit higher in the Essential redos, but not much.)  WCW International World Gold Belt Title: Rick Rude v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). For those who think that Russo can’t in trouble for lifting gimmicks verbatim, witness Ray Traylor and all the legal hot water WCW got into over him. (2011 Scott sez:  I have to say, WWE’s legal team has gotten really lazy about prosecuting people who infringe on their trademarks lately.  Nick Dinsmore has been kicking around the indy circuit forever now as “U-Gene”, and the Dudley Boyz were walking a thin line as “Team 3D” in TNA, just to name two examples where they seemingly could have sued and didn’t even send out a threatening letter that we know of.   Not to mention all the people making a living as fake Doink The Clowns on the indy scene, plus Matt Borne himself.)  Rude stalls a lot, but works in his usual 25-story backdrop to put the Boss on offense. Very, very, slow offense. Outside we go as Boss lays in the punishment. Back in for the bearhug. Boss misses the rope straddle thing, and Rude sunset flips in for the pin to retain at 9:05. Woof, that sucked. ¼* – World tag team title: The Nasty Boys v. Sting & Hawk. This was supposed to be Flair & Steamboat v. The Nasties, but life interjected and Flair ended up doing other things. I think Sting & Steamboat as a team might have been pretty cool, actually, but they might have actually gotten a good match from the Nasties, so it’s Hawk we get. Missy is wearing an outfit best described as a body stocking and very little else. Stalling to start here. Yeah, I’m shocked, too. Nasties bail, so hawk presses Sting onto them. More stalling. Nasties bail again. Hawk destroys Sags, Nasties bail AGAIN. Back in, where the faces work on the arm. Hawk misses a blind charge and takes a chair to the back and a slap from the Skank Queen. (2011 Scott sez:  When did Missy’s book come out?  Because whatever we knew about her BEFORE was somehow made all the ickier by that book and her short-term softcore porn site with Tammy Sytch.   TOO MUCH INFORMATION.)  Back in, and now the Nasties work the arm. And, uh, yeah, that’s it, really. Lots of that armbar stuff going on recently. Sting gets the hot tag, and kills all. Nasties take a walk, but get tossed back in. Sting misses a splash and takes over Hawk’s position as face-in-peril. And now we get a dazzling array of weardown holds, including the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM, the REAR CHINLOCK OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT and the SLIGHTLY ALTERED YET STILL AS HORRIBLY DISFIGURING ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM…THE SEQUEL. Then a blown spot, as Sting forgets to lift his foot to block a Knobbs splash, so of course Knobbs REPEATS THE SPOT. Do I have to go door-to-door and tell wrestlers to never repeat a spot? (2011 Scott sez:  Anything that makes a Nasty Boys match LONGER is especially bad.)  Hot tag to Hawk, brawl erupts. Stinger splash and Scorpion Deathlock on Knobbs, but Missy interrupts. Sting and Hawk get their version of the Doomsday Device on Knobbs, but Missy runs in for the SUPER-WEAK DQ at 29:10. Yeah, give the match 30 FREAKIN MINUTES and then finish with a run-in, brilliant. Everyone then stands around as though that wasn’t the planned finish. Bleh match. *1/2 Someone do me a favor and call into Meltzer’s show tomorrow night and ask about that finish, would you? I suspect it was botched.  (2011 Scott sez:  Someone did call in, probably Bix, and I think Dave basically said “I don’t recall.”)  WCW World title: Vader v. Ric Flair. Sid who? Flair leads Vader on a footrace to start. Then Vader gets a hold of him. Oops. Flair gets the hell outta Dodge to regroup, then rolls back in and gets stomped again. To the floor, where Vader misses a charge to the railing and Flair gets some shots in. Race turns the tide, quieting the rabid crowd. More frosty cans of whoop-ass are opened at Flair’s expense, as he slowly and methodically beats the living hell out of Flair. Vader is going all Fit Finlay-level stiff here, too. Powerslam gets two. Splash misses, and Flair hits three chops off the top to come back. Vader says “enough of that”, then shrugs him off and knocks his head off. Flair’s eye is swelling from the shots in the corner and he’s bleeding from the mouth. Vader hits the superplex and continues the beating. Flair’s offense keeps getting derailed. Flair bails out and Race kicks him right in the face. Ouch. Avalanche misses once, but Vader compensates and nails it on the rebound. This is like watching someone fight Undertaker in Wrestlemania 2000 with the difficulty set on Hard. Flair finally snaps and gives Vader some stiff shots to the face of his own, then goes for the leg. Vader takes off the jockstrap, so you know it’s business now. Flair then tries Plan B: Hit him with a chair. Success! He works the knee once they get back in. Figure-four, but Vader’s legs are too big. Vader misses the pump splash, and this time Flair gets the figure-four. Vader makes the ropes and catches Flair on a blind charge. Moonsault misses, however. Race tries coming off the top with a headbutt, but hits Vader by mistake. Flair chops away, but runs into Vader like a brick wall when he tries a shouldertackle. He compensates, however, and (in theory) clips Vader’s knee and cradles him for the pin and the title at 21:09. The ending was actually botched pretty badly, but I can forgive it. ****1/4 – Post match, much celebration results. The Bottom Line: This show attempts to answer the question “How much crap can you sit through to get to a great match?” Even though the main event was praised by many (rightly so) as a historic and great match, the entirety of the undercard is brutally bad and barely worth the rental. I personally was so disgusted with WCW’s total downfall (as reflected in my “For the Want of a Nail” rant many months ago) at this point in my wrestling-watching career that I had already given up on the product completely and didn’t watch another WCW PPV until Slamboree 1994, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel any great emotional attachment to this show when I watch it today. WCW would have their shit together by Superbrawl IV, however, so this show was the first step on the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. Not recommended overall, but try to catch Flair v. Vader if you can.

Starrcade Countdown: 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 93 – This beat goes on… – Flair history package starts us out. – Live from Charlotte, NC – Your hosts are Tony and Jesse.Opening match: 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell v. Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff. Having recently read Foley’s book, I will never be able to look at Scorpio in the same light again. I mean, sure, you’d think all those kids would prove his manhood as it is, but to have it stated for the record in a national bestseller should be a major boost to the ego for him. Big brawl to start, and Scorps & Bags clean house. Some vicious ARMDRAGS and ARMBARS and WRISTLOCKS punctuate the first 5 minutes. Gosh, what a way to start a PPV. Bagwell gets nailed and plays Buffy Morton. Crowd drifts in and out of a coma. Roma misses a big splash and 2CS gets the hot tag, but that dastardly FatAssassin loads up the mask and gets the HEADBUTT OF STEAMING DEATH on Scorpio and Orndorff falls on top for the pin at 11:42. No heat for the future Pretty Wonderful, but it’s WCW so of course they walked away with the tag titles six months later. ¾* – Mean Whoo By God Whoo By God Gene and Ric Flair share some quality time in the limo as they head to the arena. – Awesome Kong v. The Shockmaster. If Dusty Rhodes hadn’t been fired as booker, this might have scored the main event. Just for fun, and to deflect away from the obvious jokes, let’s sub the phrase “well-hung” for “fat” in this match recap and see what happens, shall we? Both of the grotesquely well-hung Kongs (Awesome and King) are at ringside, and they attack the equally well-hung Shockmaster and double-team him, even though it’s supposed to be a singles match. He manages to fight them off and come back with a bodypress. A bodyslam is all that’s needed to finish the Kong at 1:38, because he’s JUST TOO WELL-HUNG to do anything else. At least it was quick. DUD I’ll have to apply this one to the inevitable Phatu-Viscera match and see how well it holds up.  (2011 Scott says:  Luckily, we never got that Rikishi v. Big Daddy V match as far as I know.)  – Tony announces that Bulldog has been removed from the “World” title match tonight and the Boss (Man, Is He Big) is taking his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  Can’t remember what happened with Bulldog that he got bounced from WCW like that, actually, but at least he had a resurgent run in the WWF afterwards)  World TV title match: Lord Steven Regal v. Ricky Steamboat. It’s so hard to recognize the TV belt without a garbage can wrapped around it. (2011 Scott sez:  So that would place this rant in the 1999 range, after Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the trash.  Only a slightly less prestigious method of winning a title than, say, Shane McMahon giving you a belt out of his gym bag)  Loooooooong feeling-out period, spanning the first 8 minutes of a 15-minute limit match, which should give you an idea of where this is going. Steamer hits the flying chop for two and goes back to the armbar. Tony & Jesse make a good point about what an idiot Steamboat is for working the arm with such a short time-limit. He doggedly continues working the arm regardless of such great advice. Crowd is gone. Steamer hulks up, so Regal runs away and catches him with a dropkick coming around the corner. Back in and they exchange some nice wrestling on the mat. One minute left, Regal bails out again. Back in, Steamboat goes for the bodypress, misses, and time runs out at 13:00. Fire the timekeeper! Major yawner here. *1/2 – Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. Punch and kick and stuff. Jack & Maxx have some decent teamwork going, though. Tex is currently known as Mideon, so you can imagine how useful he is. Maxx fights off both cowboys without much effort, and then they work in one of the few highspots I’ve ever seen Cactus Jack do: Maxx backdrops him over the top rope onto Tex. Back in the ring, where heel miscommunication leads to a double-arm DDT on Shanghai Pierce for the pin at 7:46. Standard Worldwide fare here. ½* – Some racing guy get interview time. – US title match, 2/3 falls: Dustin Rhodes v. Stunning Steve Austin. Austin was inching closer to his current state at this point. Rhodes, as always, has no heat. Some things never change. (2011 Scott sez:  Man, I was really mean to Dustin back in the day.  I think his 2002 WWE run really mellowed me on him.)  Dull mat wrestling sequence to start, as Austin stalls off and on. So Dustin…GRABS A HEADLOCK! Whoa, what a talent. Feel the crowd electricity! Dustin gets a backslide for two, so Austin stalls again. They brawl on the floor and Austin takes a primo bump over the railing. Back to the HEADLOCK, BABEE! Austin mounts some minor offense that goes nowhere. Dustin gets a couple of pinfall attempts, but Austin backjumps him to retake control. Man, these guys are just way off tonight. Steve misses a kneedrop and Dustin comes back. Col. Parker hops on the apron and Dustin whips Austin at him, but Austin oversells it and goes flying over the top, drawing a DQ to win the first fall. Rhodes takes out his frustration by ramming him to the post headfirst, drawing some good juice from Steve. Then the lights go out. Welcome to WCW, home of Murphy’s Law. The light guys put a spotlight on them, then the house lights come back just in time to catch Austin cradling Dustin in the corner and holding the tights for the pin and the title at 16:16. Bad match. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  This is another one where I rated it a bit higher in the Essential redos, but not much.)  WCW International World Gold Belt Title: Rick Rude v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). For those who think that Russo can’t in trouble for lifting gimmicks verbatim, witness Ray Traylor and all the legal hot water WCW got into over him. (2011 Scott sez:  I have to say, WWE’s legal team has gotten really lazy about prosecuting people who infringe on their trademarks lately.  Nick Dinsmore has been kicking around the indy circuit forever now as “U-Gene”, and the Dudley Boyz were walking a thin line as “Team 3D” in TNA, just to name two examples where they seemingly could have sued and didn’t even send out a threatening letter that we know of.   Not to mention all the people making a living as fake Doink The Clowns on the indy scene, plus Matt Borne himself.)  Rude stalls a lot, but works in his usual 25-story backdrop to put the Boss on offense. Very, very, slow offense. Outside we go as Boss lays in the punishment. Back in for the bearhug. Boss misses the rope straddle thing, and Rude sunset flips in for the pin to retain at 9:05. Woof, that sucked. ¼* – World tag team title: The Nasty Boys v. Sting & Hawk. This was supposed to be Flair & Steamboat v. The Nasties, but life interjected and Flair ended up doing other things. I think Sting & Steamboat as a team might have been pretty cool, actually, but they might have actually gotten a good match from the Nasties, so it’s Hawk we get. Missy is wearing an outfit best described as a body stocking and very little else. Stalling to start here. Yeah, I’m shocked, too. Nasties bail, so hawk presses Sting onto them. More stalling. Nasties bail again. Hawk destroys Sags, Nasties bail AGAIN. Back in, where the faces work on the arm. Hawk misses a blind charge and takes a chair to the back and a slap from the Skank Queen. (2011 Scott sez:  When did Missy’s book come out?  Because whatever we knew about her BEFORE was somehow made all the ickier by that book and her short-term softcore porn site with Tammy Sytch.   TOO MUCH INFORMATION.)  Back in, and now the Nasties work the arm. And, uh, yeah, that’s it, really. Lots of that armbar stuff going on recently. Sting gets the hot tag, and kills all. Nasties take a walk, but get tossed back in. Sting misses a splash and takes over Hawk’s position as face-in-peril. And now we get a dazzling array of weardown holds, including the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM, the REAR CHINLOCK OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT and the SLIGHTLY ALTERED YET STILL AS HORRIBLY DISFIGURING ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM…THE SEQUEL. Then a blown spot, as Sting forgets to lift his foot to block a Knobbs splash, so of course Knobbs REPEATS THE SPOT. Do I have to go door-to-door and tell wrestlers to never repeat a spot? (2011 Scott sez:  Anything that makes a Nasty Boys match LONGER is especially bad.)  Hot tag to Hawk, brawl erupts. Stinger splash and Scorpion Deathlock on Knobbs, but Missy interrupts. Sting and Hawk get their version of the Doomsday Device on Knobbs, but Missy runs in for the SUPER-WEAK DQ at 29:10. Yeah, give the match 30 FREAKIN MINUTES and then finish with a run-in, brilliant. Everyone then stands around as though that wasn’t the planned finish. Bleh match. *1/2 Someone do me a favor and call into Meltzer’s show tomorrow night and ask about that finish, would you? I suspect it was botched.  (2011 Scott sez:  Someone did call in, probably Bix, and I think Dave basically said “I don’t recall.”)  WCW World title: Vader v. Ric Flair. Sid who? Flair leads Vader on a footrace to start. Then Vader gets a hold of him. Oops. Flair gets the hell outta Dodge to regroup, then rolls back in and gets stomped again. To the floor, where Vader misses a charge to the railing and Flair gets some shots in. Race turns the tide, quieting the rabid crowd. More frosty cans of whoop-ass are opened at Flair’s expense, as he slowly and methodically beats the living hell out of Flair. Vader is going all Fit Finlay-level stiff here, too. Powerslam gets two. Splash misses, and Flair hits three chops off the top to come back. Vader says “enough of that”, then shrugs him off and knocks his head off. Flair’s eye is swelling from the shots in the corner and he’s bleeding from the mouth. Vader hits the superplex and continues the beating. Flair’s offense keeps getting derailed. Flair bails out and Race kicks him right in the face. Ouch. Avalanche misses once, but Vader compensates and nails it on the rebound. This is like watching someone fight Undertaker in Wrestlemania 2000 with the difficulty set on Hard. Flair finally snaps and gives Vader some stiff shots to the face of his own, then goes for the leg. Vader takes off the jockstrap, so you know it’s business now. Flair then tries Plan B: Hit him with a chair. Success! He works the knee once they get back in. Figure-four, but Vader’s legs are too big. Vader misses the pump splash, and this time Flair gets the figure-four. Vader makes the ropes and catches Flair on a blind charge. Moonsault misses, however. Race tries coming off the top with a headbutt, but hits Vader by mistake. Flair chops away, but runs into Vader like a brick wall when he tries a shouldertackle. He compensates, however, and (in theory) clips Vader’s knee and cradles him for the pin and the title at 21:09. The ending was actually botched pretty badly, but I can forgive it. ****1/4 – Post match, much celebration results. The Bottom Line: This show attempts to answer the question “How much crap can you sit through to get to a great match?” Even though the main event was praised by many (rightly so) as a historic and great match, the entirety of the undercard is brutally bad and barely worth the rental. I personally was so disgusted with WCW’s total downfall (as reflected in my “For the Want of a Nail” rant many months ago) at this point in my wrestling-watching career that I had already given up on the product completely and didn’t watch another WCW PPV until Slamboree 1994, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel any great emotional attachment to this show when I watch it today. WCW would have their shit together by Superbrawl IV, however, so this show was the first step on the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. Not recommended overall, but try to catch Flair v. Vader if you can.

Starrcade Countdown: 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 93 – This beat goes on… – Flair history package starts us out. – Live from Charlotte, NC – Your hosts are Tony and Jesse.Opening match: 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell v. Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff. Having recently read Foley’s book, I will never be able to look at Scorpio in the same light again. I mean, sure, you’d think all those kids would prove his manhood as it is, but to have it stated for the record in a national bestseller should be a major boost to the ego for him. Big brawl to start, and Scorps & Bags clean house. Some vicious ARMDRAGS and ARMBARS and WRISTLOCKS punctuate the first 5 minutes. Gosh, what a way to start a PPV. Bagwell gets nailed and plays Buffy Morton. Crowd drifts in and out of a coma. Roma misses a big splash and 2CS gets the hot tag, but that dastardly FatAssassin loads up the mask and gets the HEADBUTT OF STEAMING DEATH on Scorpio and Orndorff falls on top for the pin at 11:42. No heat for the future Pretty Wonderful, but it’s WCW so of course they walked away with the tag titles six months later. ¾* – Mean Whoo By God Whoo By God Gene and Ric Flair share some quality time in the limo as they head to the arena. – Awesome Kong v. The Shockmaster. If Dusty Rhodes hadn’t been fired as booker, this might have scored the main event. Just for fun, and to deflect away from the obvious jokes, let’s sub the phrase “well-hung” for “fat” in this match recap and see what happens, shall we? Both of the grotesquely well-hung Kongs (Awesome and King) are at ringside, and they attack the equally well-hung Shockmaster and double-team him, even though it’s supposed to be a singles match. He manages to fight them off and come back with a bodypress. A bodyslam is all that’s needed to finish the Kong at 1:38, because he’s JUST TOO WELL-HUNG to do anything else. At least it was quick. DUD I’ll have to apply this one to the inevitable Phatu-Viscera match and see how well it holds up.  (2011 Scott says:  Luckily, we never got that Rikishi v. Big Daddy V match as far as I know.)  – Tony announces that Bulldog has been removed from the “World” title match tonight and the Boss (Man, Is He Big) is taking his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  Can’t remember what happened with Bulldog that he got bounced from WCW like that, actually, but at least he had a resurgent run in the WWF afterwards)  World TV title match: Lord Steven Regal v. Ricky Steamboat. It’s so hard to recognize the TV belt without a garbage can wrapped around it. (2011 Scott sez:  So that would place this rant in the 1999 range, after Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the trash.  Only a slightly less prestigious method of winning a title than, say, Shane McMahon giving you a belt out of his gym bag)  Loooooooong feeling-out period, spanning the first 8 minutes of a 15-minute limit match, which should give you an idea of where this is going. Steamer hits the flying chop for two and goes back to the armbar. Tony & Jesse make a good point about what an idiot Steamboat is for working the arm with such a short time-limit. He doggedly continues working the arm regardless of such great advice. Crowd is gone. Steamer hulks up, so Regal runs away and catches him with a dropkick coming around the corner. Back in and they exchange some nice wrestling on the mat. One minute left, Regal bails out again. Back in, Steamboat goes for the bodypress, misses, and time runs out at 13:00. Fire the timekeeper! Major yawner here. *1/2 – Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. Punch and kick and stuff. Jack & Maxx have some decent teamwork going, though. Tex is currently known as Mideon, so you can imagine how useful he is. Maxx fights off both cowboys without much effort, and then they work in one of the few highspots I’ve ever seen Cactus Jack do: Maxx backdrops him over the top rope onto Tex. Back in the ring, where heel miscommunication leads to a double-arm DDT on Shanghai Pierce for the pin at 7:46. Standard Worldwide fare here. ½* – Some racing guy get interview time. – US title match, 2/3 falls: Dustin Rhodes v. Stunning Steve Austin. Austin was inching closer to his current state at this point. Rhodes, as always, has no heat. Some things never change. (2011 Scott sez:  Man, I was really mean to Dustin back in the day.  I think his 2002 WWE run really mellowed me on him.)  Dull mat wrestling sequence to start, as Austin stalls off and on. So Dustin…GRABS A HEADLOCK! Whoa, what a talent. Feel the crowd electricity! Dustin gets a backslide for two, so Austin stalls again. They brawl on the floor and Austin takes a primo bump over the railing. Back to the HEADLOCK, BABEE! Austin mounts some minor offense that goes nowhere. Dustin gets a couple of pinfall attempts, but Austin backjumps him to retake control. Man, these guys are just way off tonight. Steve misses a kneedrop and Dustin comes back. Col. Parker hops on the apron and Dustin whips Austin at him, but Austin oversells it and goes flying over the top, drawing a DQ to win the first fall. Rhodes takes out his frustration by ramming him to the post headfirst, drawing some good juice from Steve. Then the lights go out. Welcome to WCW, home of Murphy’s Law. The light guys put a spotlight on them, then the house lights come back just in time to catch Austin cradling Dustin in the corner and holding the tights for the pin and the title at 16:16. Bad match. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  This is another one where I rated it a bit higher in the Essential redos, but not much.)  WCW International World Gold Belt Title: Rick Rude v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). For those who think that Russo can’t in trouble for lifting gimmicks verbatim, witness Ray Traylor and all the legal hot water WCW got into over him. (2011 Scott sez:  I have to say, WWE’s legal team has gotten really lazy about prosecuting people who infringe on their trademarks lately.  Nick Dinsmore has been kicking around the indy circuit forever now as “U-Gene”, and the Dudley Boyz were walking a thin line as “Team 3D” in TNA, just to name two examples where they seemingly could have sued and didn’t even send out a threatening letter that we know of.   Not to mention all the people making a living as fake Doink The Clowns on the indy scene, plus Matt Borne himself.)  Rude stalls a lot, but works in his usual 25-story backdrop to put the Boss on offense. Very, very, slow offense. Outside we go as Boss lays in the punishment. Back in for the bearhug. Boss misses the rope straddle thing, and Rude sunset flips in for the pin to retain at 9:05. Woof, that sucked. ¼* – World tag team title: The Nasty Boys v. Sting & Hawk. This was supposed to be Flair & Steamboat v. The Nasties, but life interjected and Flair ended up doing other things. I think Sting & Steamboat as a team might have been pretty cool, actually, but they might have actually gotten a good match from the Nasties, so it’s Hawk we get. Missy is wearing an outfit best described as a body stocking and very little else. Stalling to start here. Yeah, I’m shocked, too. Nasties bail, so hawk presses Sting onto them. More stalling. Nasties bail again. Hawk destroys Sags, Nasties bail AGAIN. Back in, where the faces work on the arm. Hawk misses a blind charge and takes a chair to the back and a slap from the Skank Queen. (2011 Scott sez:  When did Missy’s book come out?  Because whatever we knew about her BEFORE was somehow made all the ickier by that book and her short-term softcore porn site with Tammy Sytch.   TOO MUCH INFORMATION.)  Back in, and now the Nasties work the arm. And, uh, yeah, that’s it, really. Lots of that armbar stuff going on recently. Sting gets the hot tag, and kills all. Nasties take a walk, but get tossed back in. Sting misses a splash and takes over Hawk’s position as face-in-peril. And now we get a dazzling array of weardown holds, including the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM, the REAR CHINLOCK OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT and the SLIGHTLY ALTERED YET STILL AS HORRIBLY DISFIGURING ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM…THE SEQUEL. Then a blown spot, as Sting forgets to lift his foot to block a Knobbs splash, so of course Knobbs REPEATS THE SPOT. Do I have to go door-to-door and tell wrestlers to never repeat a spot? (2011 Scott sez:  Anything that makes a Nasty Boys match LONGER is especially bad.)  Hot tag to Hawk, brawl erupts. Stinger splash and Scorpion Deathlock on Knobbs, but Missy interrupts. Sting and Hawk get their version of the Doomsday Device on Knobbs, but Missy runs in for the SUPER-WEAK DQ at 29:10. Yeah, give the match 30 FREAKIN MINUTES and then finish with a run-in, brilliant. Everyone then stands around as though that wasn’t the planned finish. Bleh match. *1/2 Someone do me a favor and call into Meltzer’s show tomorrow night and ask about that finish, would you? I suspect it was botched.  (2011 Scott sez:  Someone did call in, probably Bix, and I think Dave basically said “I don’t recall.”)  WCW World title: Vader v. Ric Flair. Sid who? Flair leads Vader on a footrace to start. Then Vader gets a hold of him. Oops. Flair gets the hell outta Dodge to regroup, then rolls back in and gets stomped again. To the floor, where Vader misses a charge to the railing and Flair gets some shots in. Race turns the tide, quieting the rabid crowd. More frosty cans of whoop-ass are opened at Flair’s expense, as he slowly and methodically beats the living hell out of Flair. Vader is going all Fit Finlay-level stiff here, too. Powerslam gets two. Splash misses, and Flair hits three chops off the top to come back. Vader says “enough of that”, then shrugs him off and knocks his head off. Flair’s eye is swelling from the shots in the corner and he’s bleeding from the mouth. Vader hits the superplex and continues the beating. Flair’s offense keeps getting derailed. Flair bails out and Race kicks him right in the face. Ouch. Avalanche misses once, but Vader compensates and nails it on the rebound. This is like watching someone fight Undertaker in Wrestlemania 2000 with the difficulty set on Hard. Flair finally snaps and gives Vader some stiff shots to the face of his own, then goes for the leg. Vader takes off the jockstrap, so you know it’s business now. Flair then tries Plan B: Hit him with a chair. Success! He works the knee once they get back in. Figure-four, but Vader’s legs are too big. Vader misses the pump splash, and this time Flair gets the figure-four. Vader makes the ropes and catches Flair on a blind charge. Moonsault misses, however. Race tries coming off the top with a headbutt, but hits Vader by mistake. Flair chops away, but runs into Vader like a brick wall when he tries a shouldertackle. He compensates, however, and (in theory) clips Vader’s knee and cradles him for the pin and the title at 21:09. The ending was actually botched pretty badly, but I can forgive it. ****1/4 – Post match, much celebration results. The Bottom Line: This show attempts to answer the question “How much crap can you sit through to get to a great match?” Even though the main event was praised by many (rightly so) as a historic and great match, the entirety of the undercard is brutally bad and barely worth the rental. I personally was so disgusted with WCW’s total downfall (as reflected in my “For the Want of a Nail” rant many months ago) at this point in my wrestling-watching career that I had already given up on the product completely and didn’t watch another WCW PPV until Slamboree 1994, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel any great emotional attachment to this show when I watch it today. WCW would have their shit together by Superbrawl IV, however, so this show was the first step on the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. Not recommended overall, but try to catch Flair v. Vader if you can.

Starrcade Countdown: 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 93 – This beat goes on… – Flair history package starts us out. – Live from Charlotte, NC – Your hosts are Tony and Jesse.Opening match: 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell v. Paul Roma & Paul Orndorff. Having recently read Foley’s book, I will never be able to look at Scorpio in the same light again. I mean, sure, you’d think all those kids would prove his manhood as it is, but to have it stated for the record in a national bestseller should be a major boost to the ego for him. Big brawl to start, and Scorps & Bags clean house. Some vicious ARMDRAGS and ARMBARS and WRISTLOCKS punctuate the first 5 minutes. Gosh, what a way to start a PPV. Bagwell gets nailed and plays Buffy Morton. Crowd drifts in and out of a coma. Roma misses a big splash and 2CS gets the hot tag, but that dastardly FatAssassin loads up the mask and gets the HEADBUTT OF STEAMING DEATH on Scorpio and Orndorff falls on top for the pin at 11:42. No heat for the future Pretty Wonderful, but it’s WCW so of course they walked away with the tag titles six months later. ¾* – Mean Whoo By God Whoo By God Gene and Ric Flair share some quality time in the limo as they head to the arena. – Awesome Kong v. The Shockmaster. If Dusty Rhodes hadn’t been fired as booker, this might have scored the main event. Just for fun, and to deflect away from the obvious jokes, let’s sub the phrase “well-hung” for “fat” in this match recap and see what happens, shall we? Both of the grotesquely well-hung Kongs (Awesome and King) are at ringside, and they attack the equally well-hung Shockmaster and double-team him, even though it’s supposed to be a singles match. He manages to fight them off and come back with a bodypress. A bodyslam is all that’s needed to finish the Kong at 1:38, because he’s JUST TOO WELL-HUNG to do anything else. At least it was quick. DUD I’ll have to apply this one to the inevitable Phatu-Viscera match and see how well it holds up.  (2011 Scott says:  Luckily, we never got that Rikishi v. Big Daddy V match as far as I know.)  – Tony announces that Bulldog has been removed from the “World” title match tonight and the Boss (Man, Is He Big) is taking his place.  (2011 Scott sez:  Can’t remember what happened with Bulldog that he got bounced from WCW like that, actually, but at least he had a resurgent run in the WWF afterwards)  World TV title match: Lord Steven Regal v. Ricky Steamboat. It’s so hard to recognize the TV belt without a garbage can wrapped around it. (2011 Scott sez:  So that would place this rant in the 1999 range, after Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the trash.  Only a slightly less prestigious method of winning a title than, say, Shane McMahon giving you a belt out of his gym bag)  Loooooooong feeling-out period, spanning the first 8 minutes of a 15-minute limit match, which should give you an idea of where this is going. Steamer hits the flying chop for two and goes back to the armbar. Tony & Jesse make a good point about what an idiot Steamboat is for working the arm with such a short time-limit. He doggedly continues working the arm regardless of such great advice. Crowd is gone. Steamer hulks up, so Regal runs away and catches him with a dropkick coming around the corner. Back in and they exchange some nice wrestling on the mat. One minute left, Regal bails out again. Back in, Steamboat goes for the bodypress, misses, and time runs out at 13:00. Fire the timekeeper! Major yawner here. *1/2 – Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. Punch and kick and stuff. Jack & Maxx have some decent teamwork going, though. Tex is currently known as Mideon, so you can imagine how useful he is. Maxx fights off both cowboys without much effort, and then they work in one of the few highspots I’ve ever seen Cactus Jack do: Maxx backdrops him over the top rope onto Tex. Back in the ring, where heel miscommunication leads to a double-arm DDT on Shanghai Pierce for the pin at 7:46. Standard Worldwide fare here. ½* – Some racing guy get interview time. – US title match, 2/3 falls: Dustin Rhodes v. Stunning Steve Austin. Austin was inching closer to his current state at this point. Rhodes, as always, has no heat. Some things never change. (2011 Scott sez:  Man, I was really mean to Dustin back in the day.  I think his 2002 WWE run really mellowed me on him.)  Dull mat wrestling sequence to start, as Austin stalls off and on. So Dustin…GRABS A HEADLOCK! Whoa, what a talent. Feel the crowd electricity! Dustin gets a backslide for two, so Austin stalls again. They brawl on the floor and Austin takes a primo bump over the railing. Back to the HEADLOCK, BABEE! Austin mounts some minor offense that goes nowhere. Dustin gets a couple of pinfall attempts, but Austin backjumps him to retake control. Man, these guys are just way off tonight. Steve misses a kneedrop and Dustin comes back. Col. Parker hops on the apron and Dustin whips Austin at him, but Austin oversells it and goes flying over the top, drawing a DQ to win the first fall. Rhodes takes out his frustration by ramming him to the post headfirst, drawing some good juice from Steve. Then the lights go out. Welcome to WCW, home of Murphy’s Law. The light guys put a spotlight on them, then the house lights come back just in time to catch Austin cradling Dustin in the corner and holding the tights for the pin and the title at 16:16. Bad match. ½*  (2011 Scott sez:  This is another one where I rated it a bit higher in the Essential redos, but not much.)  WCW International World Gold Belt Title: Rick Rude v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). For those who think that Russo can’t in trouble for lifting gimmicks verbatim, witness Ray Traylor and all the legal hot water WCW got into over him. (2011 Scott sez:  I have to say, WWE’s legal team has gotten really lazy about prosecuting people who infringe on their trademarks lately.  Nick Dinsmore has been kicking around the indy circuit forever now as “U-Gene”, and the Dudley Boyz were walking a thin line as “Team 3D” in TNA, just to name two examples where they seemingly could have sued and didn’t even send out a threatening letter that we know of.   Not to mention all the people making a living as fake Doink The Clowns on the indy scene, plus Matt Borne himself.)  Rude stalls a lot, but works in his usual 25-story backdrop to put the Boss on offense. Very, very, slow offense. Outside we go as Boss lays in the punishment. Back in for the bearhug. Boss misses the rope straddle thing, and Rude sunset flips in for the pin to retain at 9:05. Woof, that sucked. ¼* – World tag team title: The Nasty Boys v. Sting & Hawk. This was supposed to be Flair & Steamboat v. The Nasties, but life interjected and Flair ended up doing other things. I think Sting & Steamboat as a team might have been pretty cool, actually, but they might have actually gotten a good match from the Nasties, so it’s Hawk we get. Missy is wearing an outfit best described as a body stocking and very little else. Stalling to start here. Yeah, I’m shocked, too. Nasties bail, so hawk presses Sting onto them. More stalling. Nasties bail again. Hawk destroys Sags, Nasties bail AGAIN. Back in, where the faces work on the arm. Hawk misses a blind charge and takes a chair to the back and a slap from the Skank Queen. (2011 Scott sez:  When did Missy’s book come out?  Because whatever we knew about her BEFORE was somehow made all the ickier by that book and her short-term softcore porn site with Tammy Sytch.   TOO MUCH INFORMATION.)  Back in, and now the Nasties work the arm. And, uh, yeah, that’s it, really. Lots of that armbar stuff going on recently. Sting gets the hot tag, and kills all. Nasties take a walk, but get tossed back in. Sting misses a splash and takes over Hawk’s position as face-in-peril. And now we get a dazzling array of weardown holds, including the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM, the REAR CHINLOCK OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT and the SLIGHTLY ALTERED YET STILL AS HORRIBLY DISFIGURING ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM…THE SEQUEL. Then a blown spot, as Sting forgets to lift his foot to block a Knobbs splash, so of course Knobbs REPEATS THE SPOT. Do I have to go door-to-door and tell wrestlers to never repeat a spot? (2011 Scott sez:  Anything that makes a Nasty Boys match LONGER is especially bad.)  Hot tag to Hawk, brawl erupts. Stinger splash and Scorpion Deathlock on Knobbs, but Missy interrupts. Sting and Hawk get their version of the Doomsday Device on Knobbs, but Missy runs in for the SUPER-WEAK DQ at 29:10. Yeah, give the match 30 FREAKIN MINUTES and then finish with a run-in, brilliant. Everyone then stands around as though that wasn’t the planned finish. Bleh match. *1/2 Someone do me a favor and call into Meltzer’s show tomorrow night and ask about that finish, would you? I suspect it was botched.  (2011 Scott sez:  Someone did call in, probably Bix, and I think Dave basically said “I don’t recall.”)  WCW World title: Vader v. Ric Flair. Sid who? Flair leads Vader on a footrace to start. Then Vader gets a hold of him. Oops. Flair gets the hell outta Dodge to regroup, then rolls back in and gets stomped again. To the floor, where Vader misses a charge to the railing and Flair gets some shots in. Race turns the tide, quieting the rabid crowd. More frosty cans of whoop-ass are opened at Flair’s expense, as he slowly and methodically beats the living hell out of Flair. Vader is going all Fit Finlay-level stiff here, too. Powerslam gets two. Splash misses, and Flair hits three chops off the top to come back. Vader says “enough of that”, then shrugs him off and knocks his head off. Flair’s eye is swelling from the shots in the corner and he’s bleeding from the mouth. Vader hits the superplex and continues the beating. Flair’s offense keeps getting derailed. Flair bails out and Race kicks him right in the face. Ouch. Avalanche misses once, but Vader compensates and nails it on the rebound. This is like watching someone fight Undertaker in Wrestlemania 2000 with the difficulty set on Hard. Flair finally snaps and gives Vader some stiff shots to the face of his own, then goes for the leg. Vader takes off the jockstrap, so you know it’s business now. Flair then tries Plan B: Hit him with a chair. Success! He works the knee once they get back in. Figure-four, but Vader’s legs are too big. Vader misses the pump splash, and this time Flair gets the figure-four. Vader makes the ropes and catches Flair on a blind charge. Moonsault misses, however. Race tries coming off the top with a headbutt, but hits Vader by mistake. Flair chops away, but runs into Vader like a brick wall when he tries a shouldertackle. He compensates, however, and (in theory) clips Vader’s knee and cradles him for the pin and the title at 21:09. The ending was actually botched pretty badly, but I can forgive it. ****1/4 – Post match, much celebration results. The Bottom Line: This show attempts to answer the question “How much crap can you sit through to get to a great match?” Even though the main event was praised by many (rightly so) as a historic and great match, the entirety of the undercard is brutally bad and barely worth the rental. I personally was so disgusted with WCW’s total downfall (as reflected in my “For the Want of a Nail” rant many months ago) at this point in my wrestling-watching career that I had already given up on the product completely and didn’t watch another WCW PPV until Slamboree 1994, so maybe that’s why I don’t feel any great emotional attachment to this show when I watch it today. WCW would have their shit together by Superbrawl IV, however, so this show was the first step on the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. Not recommended overall, but try to catch Flair v. Vader if you can.

UFC v. PPV

Hey Scott,
With all the talk of WWE PPV buys going down the toilet I thought I would check out how the UFC is doing.
In 2010, UFC had 15 PPV events (UFC 108-124) with total buys of 9,095,000 for an average of just over 600,000 buys per show.
In 2011, UFC has had 13 PPV so far with reported buys (UFC 125-137) and the total buys so far this year are 5,125,000 for an average of a little less than 400,000 buys per show.  Plus the buys for the last 8 shows are averaging just over 325,000 per show (2,625,000 total buys).
So was 2011 just a bad year for the UFC?  Were there too many injuries?  Not enough good fights?  Is UFC not cool anymore?
Would appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts of the Blog.
All numbers from http://mmapayout.com/blue-book/pay-per-view/

UFC’s problem is somewhat the same as WWE’s:  Oversaturation.  I’m as big a fan as anyone and it gets to be a bit much keeping up with all the Spike shows, PPVs, and now Fox/FX shows without getting burned out on it.  I think everyone knows it, too.  And having to promote all those shows leads to the second problem, which is not having enough star-level guys to main event with.  Like, they have to build shows with charisma-vacuum Frankie Edgar on top?  There’s your problem right there.  They have to get the belt off him in the worst way.

However, a lot of it is also things out of their control, like injuries to their top stars and the more inflexible nature of MMA.  If Brock Lesnar suddenly had to pull out of his fight with Overeem, it would be incredibly difficult to find someone who was ready to fight on short notice, and who would also entice people to buy the show.  The major difference with UFC, though, is that you’re not gonna see GSP or Brock fighting on free TV and ruining their mystique, which is why the right fight featuring them is still gonna be an automatic 700,000 – 1,000,000 buys.  WWE’s PPV downfall is basically their own fault, as they started a vicious cycle of people not caring as much about their under-promoted PPVs which led to WWE caring less about promoting them until we got to where we are now.

UFC is easily fixable by finding someone hot and promoting shows around them.  WWE basically needs a whole new business model at this point, and hopefully the Network is the one that works for them.

Case in point with the injuries:  GSP is injured AGAIN during training, and now the main event of the February PPV is out and replaced by Condit v. Diaz for the title instead.  It’s a bad sign if George is suffering the same injury multiple times in such a short span.  But again, there’s a few million dollars in revenue out the window due to circumstances entirely out of their control.

UFC v. PPV

Hey Scott,
With all the talk of WWE PPV buys going down the toilet I thought I would check out how the UFC is doing.
In 2010, UFC had 15 PPV events (UFC 108-124) with total buys of 9,095,000 for an average of just over 600,000 buys per show.
In 2011, UFC has had 13 PPV so far with reported buys (UFC 125-137) and the total buys so far this year are 5,125,000 for an average of a little less than 400,000 buys per show.  Plus the buys for the last 8 shows are averaging just over 325,000 per show (2,625,000 total buys).
So was 2011 just a bad year for the UFC?  Were there too many injuries?  Not enough good fights?  Is UFC not cool anymore?
Would appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts of the Blog.
All numbers from http://mmapayout.com/blue-book/pay-per-view/

UFC’s problem is somewhat the same as WWE’s:  Oversaturation.  I’m as big a fan as anyone and it gets to be a bit much keeping up with all the Spike shows, PPVs, and now Fox/FX shows without getting burned out on it.  I think everyone knows it, too.  And having to promote all those shows leads to the second problem, which is not having enough star-level guys to main event with.  Like, they have to build shows with charisma-vacuum Frankie Edgar on top?  There’s your problem right there.  They have to get the belt off him in the worst way.

However, a lot of it is also things out of their control, like injuries to their top stars and the more inflexible nature of MMA.  If Brock Lesnar suddenly had to pull out of his fight with Overeem, it would be incredibly difficult to find someone who was ready to fight on short notice, and who would also entice people to buy the show.  The major difference with UFC, though, is that you’re not gonna see GSP or Brock fighting on free TV and ruining their mystique, which is why the right fight featuring them is still gonna be an automatic 700,000 – 1,000,000 buys.  WWE’s PPV downfall is basically their own fault, as they started a vicious cycle of people not caring as much about their under-promoted PPVs which led to WWE caring less about promoting them until we got to where we are now.

UFC is easily fixable by finding someone hot and promoting shows around them.  WWE basically needs a whole new business model at this point, and hopefully the Network is the one that works for them.

Case in point with the injuries:  GSP is injured AGAIN during training, and now the main event of the February PPV is out and replaced by Condit v. Diaz for the title instead.  It’s a bad sign if George is suffering the same injury multiple times in such a short span.  But again, there’s a few million dollars in revenue out the window due to circumstances entirely out of their control.

UFC v. PPV

Hey Scott,
With all the talk of WWE PPV buys going down the toilet I thought I would check out how the UFC is doing.
In 2010, UFC had 15 PPV events (UFC 108-124) with total buys of 9,095,000 for an average of just over 600,000 buys per show.
In 2011, UFC has had 13 PPV so far with reported buys (UFC 125-137) and the total buys so far this year are 5,125,000 for an average of a little less than 400,000 buys per show.  Plus the buys for the last 8 shows are averaging just over 325,000 per show (2,625,000 total buys).
So was 2011 just a bad year for the UFC?  Were there too many injuries?  Not enough good fights?  Is UFC not cool anymore?
Would appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts of the Blog.
All numbers from http://mmapayout.com/blue-book/pay-per-view/

UFC’s problem is somewhat the same as WWE’s:  Oversaturation.  I’m as big a fan as anyone and it gets to be a bit much keeping up with all the Spike shows, PPVs, and now Fox/FX shows without getting burned out on it.  I think everyone knows it, too.  And having to promote all those shows leads to the second problem, which is not having enough star-level guys to main event with.  Like, they have to build shows with charisma-vacuum Frankie Edgar on top?  There’s your problem right there.  They have to get the belt off him in the worst way.

However, a lot of it is also things out of their control, like injuries to their top stars and the more inflexible nature of MMA.  If Brock Lesnar suddenly had to pull out of his fight with Overeem, it would be incredibly difficult to find someone who was ready to fight on short notice, and who would also entice people to buy the show.  The major difference with UFC, though, is that you’re not gonna see GSP or Brock fighting on free TV and ruining their mystique, which is why the right fight featuring them is still gonna be an automatic 700,000 – 1,000,000 buys.  WWE’s PPV downfall is basically their own fault, as they started a vicious cycle of people not caring as much about their under-promoted PPVs which led to WWE caring less about promoting them until we got to where we are now.

UFC is easily fixable by finding someone hot and promoting shows around them.  WWE basically needs a whole new business model at this point, and hopefully the Network is the one that works for them.

Case in point with the injuries:  GSP is injured AGAIN during training, and now the main event of the February PPV is out and replaced by Condit v. Diaz for the title instead.  It’s a bad sign if George is suffering the same injury multiple times in such a short span.  But again, there’s a few million dollars in revenue out the window due to circumstances entirely out of their control.

UFC v. PPV

Hey Scott,
With all the talk of WWE PPV buys going down the toilet I thought I would check out how the UFC is doing.
In 2010, UFC had 15 PPV events (UFC 108-124) with total buys of 9,095,000 for an average of just over 600,000 buys per show.
In 2011, UFC has had 13 PPV so far with reported buys (UFC 125-137) and the total buys so far this year are 5,125,000 for an average of a little less than 400,000 buys per show.  Plus the buys for the last 8 shows are averaging just over 325,000 per show (2,625,000 total buys).
So was 2011 just a bad year for the UFC?  Were there too many injuries?  Not enough good fights?  Is UFC not cool anymore?
Would appreciate your thoughts and the thoughts of the Blog.
All numbers from http://mmapayout.com/blue-book/pay-per-view/

UFC’s problem is somewhat the same as WWE’s:  Oversaturation.  I’m as big a fan as anyone and it gets to be a bit much keeping up with all the Spike shows, PPVs, and now Fox/FX shows without getting burned out on it.  I think everyone knows it, too.  And having to promote all those shows leads to the second problem, which is not having enough star-level guys to main event with.  Like, they have to build shows with charisma-vacuum Frankie Edgar on top?  There’s your problem right there.  They have to get the belt off him in the worst way.

However, a lot of it is also things out of their control, like injuries to their top stars and the more inflexible nature of MMA.  If Brock Lesnar suddenly had to pull out of his fight with Overeem, it would be incredibly difficult to find someone who was ready to fight on short notice, and who would also entice people to buy the show.  The major difference with UFC, though, is that you’re not gonna see GSP or Brock fighting on free TV and ruining their mystique, which is why the right fight featuring them is still gonna be an automatic 700,000 – 1,000,000 buys.  WWE’s PPV downfall is basically their own fault, as they started a vicious cycle of people not caring as much about their under-promoted PPVs which led to WWE caring less about promoting them until we got to where we are now.

UFC is easily fixable by finding someone hot and promoting shows around them.  WWE basically needs a whole new business model at this point, and hopefully the Network is the one that works for them.

Case in point with the injuries:  GSP is injured AGAIN during training, and now the main event of the February PPV is out and replaced by Condit v. Diaz for the title instead.  It’s a bad sign if George is suffering the same injury multiple times in such a short span.  But again, there’s a few million dollars in revenue out the window due to circumstances entirely out of their control.

Cena’s Heel Turn

I know we as ‘smart’ fans can’t wait for the moment Cena turns heel –
it will happen within his career but I don’t see it happening this
year or next. The basic argument seems to be ‘everyone boos Cena
anyway why not just have him be heel and re-invent himself’. Whilst I
think Cena will probably do great work as a heel the boos he gets for
everything he does now will almost certainly be replaced with cheers
by those current haters – therefore creating the exact problem they
had in the first place.
Thoughts?

It wouldn’t really be a “problem” in that case, because their end goal is always to get people to cheer him.  It’s the same thing with Rock in the 90s, where they built him up into a super-strong heel and people just loved him so much that they didn’t want to boo him any more.  If their problem is that they’ve made Cena into such a great heel that people cheer him, that’s a good problem to have.  Don’t forget that Cena turned babyface in the first place because the goofy rapper gimmick that everyone remembers turned into a hard-edged heel act where he was doing crazy stuff like giving Rikishi the FU and generally getting mad cred from the fans.  The backlash started once the perception became that he was getting shoved down everyone’s throat.  So yeah, a heel turn could easily lead to him getting legitimately over as a babyface.  Really though, he’s been on top for six straight years now, you’d think it’s time to let him do movies and Make-A-Wish stuff fulltime and just push someone else. 

Cena’s Heel Turn

I know we as ‘smart’ fans can’t wait for the moment Cena turns heel –
it will happen within his career but I don’t see it happening this
year or next. The basic argument seems to be ‘everyone boos Cena
anyway why not just have him be heel and re-invent himself’. Whilst I
think Cena will probably do great work as a heel the boos he gets for
everything he does now will almost certainly be replaced with cheers
by those current haters – therefore creating the exact problem they
had in the first place.
Thoughts?

It wouldn’t really be a “problem” in that case, because their end goal is always to get people to cheer him.  It’s the same thing with Rock in the 90s, where they built him up into a super-strong heel and people just loved him so much that they didn’t want to boo him any more.  If their problem is that they’ve made Cena into such a great heel that people cheer him, that’s a good problem to have.  Don’t forget that Cena turned babyface in the first place because the goofy rapper gimmick that everyone remembers turned into a hard-edged heel act where he was doing crazy stuff like giving Rikishi the FU and generally getting mad cred from the fans.  The backlash started once the perception became that he was getting shoved down everyone’s throat.  So yeah, a heel turn could easily lead to him getting legitimately over as a babyface.  Really though, he’s been on top for six straight years now, you’d think it’s time to let him do movies and Make-A-Wish stuff fulltime and just push someone else. 

Cena’s Heel Turn

I know we as ‘smart’ fans can’t wait for the moment Cena turns heel –
it will happen within his career but I don’t see it happening this
year or next. The basic argument seems to be ‘everyone boos Cena
anyway why not just have him be heel and re-invent himself’. Whilst I
think Cena will probably do great work as a heel the boos he gets for
everything he does now will almost certainly be replaced with cheers
by those current haters – therefore creating the exact problem they
had in the first place.
Thoughts?

It wouldn’t really be a “problem” in that case, because their end goal is always to get people to cheer him.  It’s the same thing with Rock in the 90s, where they built him up into a super-strong heel and people just loved him so much that they didn’t want to boo him any more.  If their problem is that they’ve made Cena into such a great heel that people cheer him, that’s a good problem to have.  Don’t forget that Cena turned babyface in the first place because the goofy rapper gimmick that everyone remembers turned into a hard-edged heel act where he was doing crazy stuff like giving Rikishi the FU and generally getting mad cred from the fans.  The backlash started once the perception became that he was getting shoved down everyone’s throat.  So yeah, a heel turn could easily lead to him getting legitimately over as a babyface.  Really though, he’s been on top for six straight years now, you’d think it’s time to let him do movies and Make-A-Wish stuff fulltime and just push someone else. 

Cena’s Heel Turn

I know we as ‘smart’ fans can’t wait for the moment Cena turns heel –
it will happen within his career but I don’t see it happening this
year or next. The basic argument seems to be ‘everyone boos Cena
anyway why not just have him be heel and re-invent himself’. Whilst I
think Cena will probably do great work as a heel the boos he gets for
everything he does now will almost certainly be replaced with cheers
by those current haters – therefore creating the exact problem they
had in the first place.
Thoughts?

It wouldn’t really be a “problem” in that case, because their end goal is always to get people to cheer him.  It’s the same thing with Rock in the 90s, where they built him up into a super-strong heel and people just loved him so much that they didn’t want to boo him any more.  If their problem is that they’ve made Cena into such a great heel that people cheer him, that’s a good problem to have.  Don’t forget that Cena turned babyface in the first place because the goofy rapper gimmick that everyone remembers turned into a hard-edged heel act where he was doing crazy stuff like giving Rikishi the FU and generally getting mad cred from the fans.  The backlash started once the perception became that he was getting shoved down everyone’s throat.  So yeah, a heel turn could easily lead to him getting legitimately over as a babyface.  Really though, he’s been on top for six straight years now, you’d think it’s time to let him do movies and Make-A-Wish stuff fulltime and just push someone else. 

Starrcade Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 92, which is the 10th annual Starrcade 92, according to the voiceover guy at the beginning. Yup, I remember the first Starrcade 92, back in 1983… • Live from Atlanta, GA • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura• The whole point of the show is blown right off the bat, as it is announced that US champion Rick Rude is injured, thus ruining the Ron Simmons-Rick Rude match for the WCW World title. Steve Williams is put in his place. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hear that announcement when watching the show for the first time. That would be sarcasm, of course. • Bill Watts and Hank Aaron present Sting with last year’s Battlebowl ring. I’m shocked that Watts was able to be in the same ring with Aaron, considering all the allegations of racism against Watts. Sting is wearing blue and white face paint…could this be a secret alliance with the Smurfs? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!  (2011 Scott sez:  I’d like to think that joke’s pretty timeless.) • Larry Z and Missy Hyatt do the honors of drawing the names for Battlebowl. The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Van Hammer & Dan Spivey v. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd. Johnny wears a cowboy hat to the ring, thus boosting him to an 8 on the Fag-O-Meter. He’d hit 9 if he was wearing the feather boa. Hammer dominates Cactus to start. Badd tags in and he gets beat up. Badd retaliates with a VICIOUS rana, driving Hammer’s head into the mat. Badd and Cactus are de facto faces here, and Hammer is the reluctant heel. The drawing is rigged for this match at least (it was done on the previous Clash) so they’ve had some time to plan the match. Badd gets beat on for a bit and Jack gets the hot tag and destroys Spivey. He goes for the tag again, but Badd was knocked out to the floor. Further miscommunication results and Badd ends up KO’ing Jack, allowing Hammer to roll him up for the pin. Not bad. ** • Dustin Rhodes & Vader v. Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki. Well, one team is good. Vader and Barbie have a slobberknocker to start. That goes nowhere so we try Dustin v. Sasaski. Sasaski wrestles like a Road Warrior, no-selling Dustin’s stuff, so Vader comes in and wipes the mat with him. That’ll teach him. Awfully stiff stuff from Vader. Dustin cleans house on Barbarian, and a miscommunication spot between Sasaki and Barbarian leads to Rhodes getting the pin. Vader made it watchable. *1/2 Vader destroys Rhodes for fun. • Why is Jesse Ventura wearing a Malcolm X hat? • Barry Windham & The Great Muta v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Brian Pillman. This should be interesting. Pillman & Windham are going for the tag titles later in the show. Muta is the most over guy in the match. Pillman and Muta do a “dream match that never happened” sequence. What a shame. Windham and Pillman smack each other around a bunch, then call it off. Muta gets a SWANK spinning kick to the jaw of Pillman, but gets caught in the wrong corner. Sadly, these matches are too short to tell any kind of story, but necessity. Now Scorp gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed. Ever notice how much the People’s Elbow resembles Muta’s? Scorpio does some high impact stuff to Muta and a pier-six erupts. Windham hits an absolutely neck-breaking Implant (jumping DDT) and Muta finishes it with a moonsault to Scorpio for the pin. Damn, I wish they had 20 minutes to develop it. **1/2 • Steve Williams & Sting v. Erik Watts & Jushin Liger. Williams no-sells a bunch of Liger’s stuff (what a surprise) so Liger lets Watts be the whipping boy. Liger tags back in and gets torn apart by Williams. Is this some kind of All Japan-New Japan thing? Sting and Liger works out a bit better for Jushin. Williams just kills Liger some more. Why can’t it be Watts taking the shitkicking? (2011 Scott sez:  Because then the match would suck, duh.)  Liger goes for a sleeper on Doc—not smart, Jushin. Doc drops him on his head. JR is in his glory calling this. Finally after a horrible slaughter, Watts gets the hot tag and hits the two singularly worst dropkicks I’ve seen in my life. Williams should be ashamed for selling them. (2011 Scott sez:  I actually based the Erik Watts Dropkick Scale on this match.  This is 1.0 Watts.)  The crowd does NOT appreciate the efforts of Watts. Williams hits a stungun on Watts shortly after and easily pins him, for a big pop. This was basically a squash. ** • So the Battlebowl field is Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Barry Windham, Great Muta, Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Sting and Steve Williams. • NWA “World” title match: Masahiro Chono v. The Great Muta. Oh no, it’s the battle of nWo Japan. Back in early 1993, Herb Kunze noted that both guys were specifically told by Bill Watts before the match to NOT put on a good show, so as not to steal the show from the WCW guys. So if you ever see this match, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Chono is wearing the belt currently worn by DDP here. (2011 Scott sez:  Say what?)  Some wristlock trading to start, and Muta stalls. They trade abdominal stretches. Then Chono applies an armbar. Then Muta applies a head scissor. Man, this is almost exciting to type as it is to watch. Now Muta stalls some more. Man, they’re just lucky it’s not Philly. Chono goes into a hammerlock. I’m proud of the fans for not breaking into a huge “boring” chant, because it would certainly be their right. Finally a highspot, as Chono goes to the top and Muta reverses to a superplex. Muta with the Indian deathlock. You’ve all heard my stance on that particular move and why no one born after 1960 should be using it anymore, I assume. Now Chono stalls. Hey, another highspot, as Muta hits the handspring elbow and goes for the moonsault, but misses. Muta gets two off a cradle. Both guys try a dropkick and both miss. Chono hits a backdrop suplex, and Muta reverses a second try for two. Muta misses a dropkick and Chono hooks the STF and Muta submits. Okay, first of all the finish came out of nowhere, with no buildup. The match was terribly boring. The crowd was dead. There was all of one move with any kind of high-risk. All in all, a horrible match. -** • Ross runs down a tournament for the US title as a result of Rude’s injury. It’s a shame, too, because Rude was pretty much pencilled in to take Ron Simmons’ World title on this show. He never properly recovered from that neck injury, and in fact was permanently crippled by Sting in 1994 and sent into retirement. He lost all his heat during the layoff, too. • WCW World title match: Ron Simmons v. Steve Williams. Yes, it’s Farrooq v. JR’s Boy. No wonder this show tanked. Simmons of course is using that classic theme “Don’t Step to Ron”. Sadly, my roommate has that CD. Jesse rants about dirty politics with regards to Rick Rude. Williams actually offers Simmons a handshake—and doesn’t attack him. Wow. They trade headlocks and then do a dueling three-point stance routine to get the crowd going. Simmons does a bunch of armbarring. Williams works on the knee. There you go, 10 minutes summed up in 2 sentences. Simmons makes the comeback with a bunch of clips. They fight outside the ring for a double countout. A long, boring match that settled nothing. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  Whose dumb idea was it to substitute Dr. Death into the World title match?  Just stick Vader in there since they ended up changing the title about a week after this anyway.)  WCW/NWA tag team title match: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v. Brian Pillman & Barry Windham. Pillman & Windham were the pre-cursors to the Hollywood Blonds. Windham is using the epic theme “Smokin’” and Steamboat/Douglas get “Family Man”. Wow, what a great album that was. Not. Jesse notes that Shane’s idol is Rush Limbaugh. Somehow I’m not surprised at that revelation. Pillman and Douglas start out. It’s pretty tough to deal with Douglas the Bouncing Babyface these days. The champs do some double-teaming, leaving us with Windham against Steamboat. Since Steamboat is a professional (unlike his partner) he breaks the theme of the evening by actually putting forth an effort. Everyone else has it in cruise control. Pillman takes his trademark chin-to-the-railing bump, of course. Douglas does take a nice bump, getting dropkicked off the top rope to the floor. Douglas plays Ricky Morton. Douglas takes a nasty bump, hitting his leg on the railing. Steamboat nails Windham with a chair to save Douglas. Ricky, I’m disappointed in you. Faces don’t do that. Finally, after an eternity, Steamboat gets the hot tag and cleans house. Doesn’t last long, as Windham powerslams and suplexes him. Another heat segment follows, this one on Steamboat. Douglas gets another hot tag, and a pier-six erupts. Pillman walks into a fluke belly-to-belly and the champs retain. Just awful by Steamboat’s standards, although still a really good match by any other. ***1/4 Windham would be replaced by Steve Austin for the rematch, and the rest is history.  (2011 Scott sez:  I majorly short-shrifted this match, as we’ll see once I repost the Essential Starrcade rants.  This was a HELL of a tag match, maybe one of the best in the history of Starrcade.)  The King of Cable tournament final: Sting v. Vader. JR and Jesse talk this up as the big blowoff for the Sting-Vader feud. Hah! It’s won’t end—it NEVER ENDS! They’d still be fighting today if Vader was in WCW. (2011 Scott sez:  Or TNA.)  Hmm, the doo rag makes Vader look cool, but the jockstrap on his face completely negates it. This would be match #19948 in their series of 78190. Sting controls early and slaps on the deathlock, but Vader breaks out and they fight outside the ring. Sting misses the Stinger splash outside and runs into the railing. Vader destroys Sting like his bitch. Vader hits him so hard you’d think that Sting stole his donut collection or something. They must not have had much time to prepare this one—Vader is calling spots pretty frequently. Sting blocks a superplex but Vader continues the assault. Sting finally sucks up his breath and lets Vader punch himself out, then makes the comeback. Sting goes after Race and pays the price for it—getting chokeslammed by Vader. Vader goes to the second rope and splats Sting. Woof. He didn’t get all of it, so he goes up to the top rope, and gets powerslammed by Sting for the pin. Sting wins the King of Cable tournament. Hey, a **** Sting-Vader match, what a shock. ****1/4 • Battlebowl: We’ve got Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Sting, Steve Williams, Barry Windham and Great Muta. They talk to some football player about the importance of rings in sporting events. My roommate’s theory: Bill Watts likes football players. That’s right—never mind those blacks or Japanese, let’s talk to some completely unrelated retired football players. Great philosophy Bill—enjoy the unemployment line. Anyway, racist unpleasantness aside, Sting and Vader try to kill each other, as per usual. Windham and Rhodes try to kill each other, of course. The rest kind of mingle in the corner. Van Hammer and Spivey are the first gone. Vader dives onto Sting and they’re both gone. Final four: Rhodes, Windham, Williams and Muta. Windham bleeds hardway from the nose. Not much happens until Williams tries to knock Rhodes and Windham out, but only gets Rhodes…and himself in the process. That leaves Windham and Muta. Windham wipes the mat with Muta. He tosses Muta, who does the Ricky Steamboat skin-the-cat back in and dropkicks Barry out for the win and the ring. Ummmm, that was pretty pointless. I don’t rate battle royales. The Bottom Line: This show marked the end of the Great Bill Watts Fiasco, as his reign lasted from early 1992 until here. Almost immediately after, Watts was tossed out on his ass and replaced with company suckup Eric Bischoff, who put the World title back on Vader and took the company in a whole new direction. This was a sham of a Starrcade, certainly not worthy of the 10th anniversary name.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s true, Bill Watts was just not the right guy to be running a national company at that point.  He really didn’t “get” the PPV model or modern TV product, and shows like this proved it.)  Strong recommendation to avoid.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well, except for the two ****+ matches that ended the show.  We’ll actually say mildly recommended for those.) 

Starrcade Countdown: 1992

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 92, which is the 10th annual Starrcade 92, according to the voiceover guy at the beginning. Yup, I remember the first Starrcade 92, back in 1983… • Live from Atlanta, GA • Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura• The whole point of the show is blown right off the bat, as it is announced that US champion Rick Rude is injured, thus ruining the Ron Simmons-Rick Rude match for the WCW World title. Steve Williams is put in his place. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hear that announcement when watching the show for the first time. That would be sarcasm, of course. • Bill Watts and Hank Aaron present Sting with last year’s Battlebowl ring. I’m shocked that Watts was able to be in the same ring with Aaron, considering all the allegations of racism against Watts. Sting is wearing blue and white face paint…could this be a secret alliance with the Smurfs? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT!  (2011 Scott sez:  I’d like to think that joke’s pretty timeless.) • Larry Z and Missy Hyatt do the honors of drawing the names for Battlebowl. The Lethal Lottery: • Opening match: Van Hammer & Dan Spivey v. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd. Johnny wears a cowboy hat to the ring, thus boosting him to an 8 on the Fag-O-Meter. He’d hit 9 if he was wearing the feather boa. Hammer dominates Cactus to start. Badd tags in and he gets beat up. Badd retaliates with a VICIOUS rana, driving Hammer’s head into the mat. Badd and Cactus are de facto faces here, and Hammer is the reluctant heel. The drawing is rigged for this match at least (it was done on the previous Clash) so they’ve had some time to plan the match. Badd gets beat on for a bit and Jack gets the hot tag and destroys Spivey. He goes for the tag again, but Badd was knocked out to the floor. Further miscommunication results and Badd ends up KO’ing Jack, allowing Hammer to roll him up for the pin. Not bad. ** • Dustin Rhodes & Vader v. Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki. Well, one team is good. Vader and Barbie have a slobberknocker to start. That goes nowhere so we try Dustin v. Sasaski. Sasaski wrestles like a Road Warrior, no-selling Dustin’s stuff, so Vader comes in and wipes the mat with him. That’ll teach him. Awfully stiff stuff from Vader. Dustin cleans house on Barbarian, and a miscommunication spot between Sasaki and Barbarian leads to Rhodes getting the pin. Vader made it watchable. *1/2 Vader destroys Rhodes for fun. • Why is Jesse Ventura wearing a Malcolm X hat? • Barry Windham & The Great Muta v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Brian Pillman. This should be interesting. Pillman & Windham are going for the tag titles later in the show. Muta is the most over guy in the match. Pillman and Muta do a “dream match that never happened” sequence. What a shame. Windham and Pillman smack each other around a bunch, then call it off. Muta gets a SWANK spinning kick to the jaw of Pillman, but gets caught in the wrong corner. Sadly, these matches are too short to tell any kind of story, but necessity. Now Scorp gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed. Ever notice how much the People’s Elbow resembles Muta’s? Scorpio does some high impact stuff to Muta and a pier-six erupts. Windham hits an absolutely neck-breaking Implant (jumping DDT) and Muta finishes it with a moonsault to Scorpio for the pin. Damn, I wish they had 20 minutes to develop it. **1/2 • Steve Williams & Sting v. Erik Watts & Jushin Liger. Williams no-sells a bunch of Liger’s stuff (what a surprise) so Liger lets Watts be the whipping boy. Liger tags back in and gets torn apart by Williams. Is this some kind of All Japan-New Japan thing? Sting and Liger works out a bit better for Jushin. Williams just kills Liger some more. Why can’t it be Watts taking the shitkicking? (2011 Scott sez:  Because then the match would suck, duh.)  Liger goes for a sleeper on Doc—not smart, Jushin. Doc drops him on his head. JR is in his glory calling this. Finally after a horrible slaughter, Watts gets the hot tag and hits the two singularly worst dropkicks I’ve seen in my life. Williams should be ashamed for selling them. (2011 Scott sez:  I actually based the Erik Watts Dropkick Scale on this match.  This is 1.0 Watts.)  The crowd does NOT appreciate the efforts of Watts. Williams hits a stungun on Watts shortly after and easily pins him, for a big pop. This was basically a squash. ** • So the Battlebowl field is Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Barry Windham, Great Muta, Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Sting and Steve Williams. • NWA “World” title match: Masahiro Chono v. The Great Muta. Oh no, it’s the battle of nWo Japan. Back in early 1993, Herb Kunze noted that both guys were specifically told by Bill Watts before the match to NOT put on a good show, so as not to steal the show from the WCW guys. So if you ever see this match, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Chono is wearing the belt currently worn by DDP here. (2011 Scott sez:  Say what?)  Some wristlock trading to start, and Muta stalls. They trade abdominal stretches. Then Chono applies an armbar. Then Muta applies a head scissor. Man, this is almost exciting to type as it is to watch. Now Muta stalls some more. Man, they’re just lucky it’s not Philly. Chono goes into a hammerlock. I’m proud of the fans for not breaking into a huge “boring” chant, because it would certainly be their right. Finally a highspot, as Chono goes to the top and Muta reverses to a superplex. Muta with the Indian deathlock. You’ve all heard my stance on that particular move and why no one born after 1960 should be using it anymore, I assume. Now Chono stalls. Hey, another highspot, as Muta hits the handspring elbow and goes for the moonsault, but misses. Muta gets two off a cradle. Both guys try a dropkick and both miss. Chono hits a backdrop suplex, and Muta reverses a second try for two. Muta misses a dropkick and Chono hooks the STF and Muta submits. Okay, first of all the finish came out of nowhere, with no buildup. The match was terribly boring. The crowd was dead. There was all of one move with any kind of high-risk. All in all, a horrible match. -** • Ross runs down a tournament for the US title as a result of Rude’s injury. It’s a shame, too, because Rude was pretty much pencilled in to take Ron Simmons’ World title on this show. He never properly recovered from that neck injury, and in fact was permanently crippled by Sting in 1994 and sent into retirement. He lost all his heat during the layoff, too. • WCW World title match: Ron Simmons v. Steve Williams. Yes, it’s Farrooq v. JR’s Boy. No wonder this show tanked. Simmons of course is using that classic theme “Don’t Step to Ron”. Sadly, my roommate has that CD. Jesse rants about dirty politics with regards to Rick Rude. Williams actually offers Simmons a handshake—and doesn’t attack him. Wow. They trade headlocks and then do a dueling three-point stance routine to get the crowd going. Simmons does a bunch of armbarring. Williams works on the knee. There you go, 10 minutes summed up in 2 sentences. Simmons makes the comeback with a bunch of clips. They fight outside the ring for a double countout. A long, boring match that settled nothing. DUD  (2011 Scott sez:  Whose dumb idea was it to substitute Dr. Death into the World title match?  Just stick Vader in there since they ended up changing the title about a week after this anyway.)  WCW/NWA tag team title match: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v. Brian Pillman & Barry Windham. Pillman & Windham were the pre-cursors to the Hollywood Blonds. Windham is using the epic theme “Smokin’” and Steamboat/Douglas get “Family Man”. Wow, what a great album that was. Not. Jesse notes that Shane’s idol is Rush Limbaugh. Somehow I’m not surprised at that revelation. Pillman and Douglas start out. It’s pretty tough to deal with Douglas the Bouncing Babyface these days. The champs do some double-teaming, leaving us with Windham against Steamboat. Since Steamboat is a professional (unlike his partner) he breaks the theme of the evening by actually putting forth an effort. Everyone else has it in cruise control. Pillman takes his trademark chin-to-the-railing bump, of course. Douglas does take a nice bump, getting dropkicked off the top rope to the floor. Douglas plays Ricky Morton. Douglas takes a nasty bump, hitting his leg on the railing. Steamboat nails Windham with a chair to save Douglas. Ricky, I’m disappointed in you. Faces don’t do that. Finally, after an eternity, Steamboat gets the hot tag and cleans house. Doesn’t last long, as Windham powerslams and suplexes him. Another heat segment follows, this one on Steamboat. Douglas gets another hot tag, and a pier-six erupts. Pillman walks into a fluke belly-to-belly and the champs retain. Just awful by Steamboat’s standards, although still a really good match by any other. ***1/4 Windham would be replaced by Steve Austin for the rematch, and the rest is history.  (2011 Scott sez:  I majorly short-shrifted this match, as we’ll see once I repost the Essential Starrcade rants.  This was a HELL of a tag match, maybe one of the best in the history of Starrcade.)  The King of Cable tournament final: Sting v. Vader. JR and Jesse talk this up as the big blowoff for the Sting-Vader feud. Hah! It’s won’t end—it NEVER ENDS! They’d still be fighting today if Vader was in WCW. (2011 Scott sez:  Or TNA.)  Hmm, the doo rag makes Vader look cool, but the jockstrap on his face completely negates it. This would be match #19948 in their series of 78190. Sting controls early and slaps on the deathlock, but Vader breaks out and they fight outside the ring. Sting misses the Stinger splash outside and runs into the railing. Vader destroys Sting like his bitch. Vader hits him so hard you’d think that Sting stole his donut collection or something. They must not have had much time to prepare this one—Vader is calling spots pretty frequently. Sting blocks a superplex but Vader continues the assault. Sting finally sucks up his breath and lets Vader punch himself out, then makes the comeback. Sting goes after Race and pays the price for it—getting chokeslammed by Vader. Vader goes to the second rope and splats Sting. Woof. He didn’t get all of it, so he goes up to the top rope, and gets powerslammed by Sting for the pin. Sting wins the King of Cable tournament. Hey, a **** Sting-Vader match, what a shock. ****1/4 • Battlebowl: We’ve got Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Sting, Steve Williams, Barry Windham and Great Muta. They talk to some football player about the importance of rings in sporting events. My roommate’s theory: Bill Watts likes football players. That’s right—never mind those blacks or Japanese, let’s talk to some completely unrelated retired football players. Great philosophy Bill—enjoy the unemployment line. Anyway, racist unpleasantness aside, Sting and Vader try to kill each other, as per usual. Windham and Rhodes try to kill each other, of course. The rest kind of mingle in the corner. Van Hammer and Spivey are the first gone. Vader dives onto Sting and they’re both gone. Final four: Rhodes, Windham, Williams and Muta. Windham bleeds hardway from the nose. Not much happens until Williams tries to knock Rhodes and Windham out, but only gets Rhodes…and himself in the process. That leaves Windham and Muta. Windham wipes the mat with Muta. He tosses Muta, who does the Ricky Steamboat skin-the-cat back in and dropkicks Barry out for the win and the ring. Ummmm, that was pretty pointless. I don’t rate battle royales. The Bottom Line: This show marked the end of the Great Bill Watts Fiasco, as his reign lasted from early 1992 until here. Almost immediately after, Watts was tossed out on his ass and replaced with company suckup Eric Bischoff, who put the World title back on Vader and took the company in a whole new direction. This was a sham of a Starrcade, certainly not worthy of the 10th anniversary name.  (2011 Scott sez:  It’s true, Bill Watts was just not the right guy to be running a national company at that point.  He really didn’t “get” the PPV model or modern TV product, and shows like this proved it.)  Strong recommendation to avoid.  (2011 Scott sez:  Well, except for the two ****+ matches that ended the show.  We’ll actually say mildly recommended for those.)