Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)–12.07.11

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff, Too!) I continue to tweak my pull list, as lots of people have recommended Swamp Thing to me, so I figured that it was easy enough to catch up with only 3 previous issues thus far.  And I love it!  Surprising to me because I was never into the original series in the 80s, but Scott Snyder makes it easy to pick up and go.  It’s replacing Detective Comics for the moment.  So we’ll kick things off there…  
 
Swamp Thing #4 As mentioned above, this is quite the interesting title.  I was only vaguely aware of Swamp Thing’s deal back in the 80s, as in I basically knew he was Dr. Alec Holland and now he was recently back from the dead as a part of Brightest Day.  Of course, that particular crossover may or may not have actually happened now, but for the purposes of the story Holland is now mysteriously back from the dead regardless.  This is kind of like a sister title to Animal Man, with a horror feel but with much cleaner and more pleasant artwork than Animal Man offers.  Instead of the Red, Swamp Thing focuses on The Green, aka the plantlife of the world.  The really interesting thing about this book thus far, for me, is that we’re 4 issues in and it’s still only about Alec Holland and not about Swamp Thing.  In fact, the whole first arc is about Swamp Thing bugging Holland to accept his destiny and become Swamp Thing himself.  Abby Arcane returns from the original series, with shorter hair, and her brother William is a creepy bubble boy who taps into The Rot.  This means that although he’s allergic to air basically, he can harness and control any dead matter he can see.  He’s a nasty little guy and bad stuff happens if you don’t get his milkshake order right.  I liked how Snyder builds up sympathy for William early on, as he’s tormented by bullies in his hospital room, but then pulls the rug out from under you by revealing just what he can do to people.  It involves pulling their lungs out through their mouth.  And this is all great stuff, as I had no problem getting right into the series from #1.  I’m kind of disappointed that Paquette is gone as penciller, but it’s not a jarring transition to the new guy or anything.  Thumbs up and welcome to the pull list, Swamp Thing!

Animal Man #4
Hey, speaking of The Rot, Animal Man is also busy fighting them in his own title.  I smell crossover!  This continues to be a title that’s creepy as hell, with a bad guy seemingly right out of Men In Black (you know, the farmer infested with the insect alien?).  Buddy Baker faces the question that all parents eventually have to:  Do you let your 4-year old daughter act as an avatar for a supernatural force of nature?  And if so, do you get her a costume and cool superhero nickname?  Maxine continues to steal the show here, developing healing powers to save her dad and then bonding with a cat who’s actually her mentor in the Red (“My name used to be Socks, but I prefer to be called Ignatius.”  “I’m gonna call you Socks.”)   I’m actually glad I jumped onto Swamp Thing when I did, because these storylines will mesh well together.  This continues to be the nicest surprise of the New 52 thus far and makes me wonder if I should be reading Jeff Lemire’s Frankenstein as well.

Action Comics #4
Superman has his showdown with Metallo (still not named as such, but it’s basically him), thus ripping his t-shirt all to pieces.  Luckily, Steel joins the new universe and makes the save, giving us a connection that I’m kind of shocked no one ever thought of doing before.  Much like the title, this is all action, leading up to the shock cliffhanger and reveal of the big villain…and then it’s continued in Action #7?  That’s just mean, Grant Morrison.  Not as much of a blowaway issue as the previous three, but dammit if  don’t want to know what happens next, something I’ve never said about Superman to date.  The backup story focuses on the fight between Steel and Metallo, a weird storyline choice where you learn the outcome of the fight after it’s already wrapped up in the main story.  I don’t think anyone’s buying this for John Henry Irons, but it was fine.

Justice League International #4
So it turns out that the dude the JLI is after, who calls himself Peraxxus, is really just a glorified scrap dealer who wants to blow up the Earth and sell the salvage parts to some sort of galactic pawn shop.  As evil plans go, that’s a pretty evil one.  He’s also too individually powerful for the League to take out, even after they escape his clutches and regroup, so that’s not good either.  Hopefully Batman’s got a plan to deal with this, although really he feels a bit superfluous when there’s already Booster Gold and Guy Gardner to carry the star power for the title.  I don’t mind the new serious leader Booster, although the artwork gives everyone way too much ab definition.  Do all these heroes just do crunches in their downtime?  Anyway, as I’ve said before, this is a solid and enjoyable superhero team book that I am enjoying a lot after a shaky start, but this is all so paint-by-numbers that it’s not like you’re missing anything if you’re not reading it, either.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, I go where Booster goes, so I’m in it for the long haul anyway.

Batwing #4
I don’t know if the artwork change from Ben Oliver’s painted backgrounds to ChrisCross’s standard pencils is a temporary thing, but it really hurts the issue for me.  Nothing against the fill-in artist, but the dark and slightly dreamy feel of the original art helped out the story for me a lot.  Without it, all you’ve got is a guy in a Batsuit who killed a bunch of people as a kid.  This would be the “secret origin” issue, although it’s more of a backstory rather than a discussion of the hows and whys behind David becoming Batwing.  Unfortunately the characters aren’t really distinct enough to where it’s easy to follow what exactly was going on, and that’s kind of frustrating.  I’ll give Winnick the benefit of the doubt and keep coming back, but hopefully Ben Oliver sticks around.

OMAC #4
I think I’ve said it before, but this is just a FUN comic.  Keith Giffen lets it all hang out with nine-panel goofy comic book adventures here, gleefully swiping from Kirby in only the best manner possible.  Poor Kevin Kho continues to get jerked around by Brother Eye and his soul-crushing job, (“I’m afraid you’ll have to take the past week as UNPAID time.”) as well as dumped by his girlfriend.  Luckily, it turns out that the subway blocks Eye’s signal, so he can ride the train in peace and quiet.  Until giant mutant alligators attack him, of course, and then he suddenly would like to OMACTIVATE at the soonest possible opportunity.  I actually giggled while he was hanging from a sewer grate and desperately asking Brother Eye “Can you hear me now?” because it’s such a cheap gag and thus the most awesomely cheesy thing for DiDio and Giffen to have him say.  Unfortunately this wonderful comic book is one of the lowest-selling of the new 52 line, so buy it and support it while you can!  

Avenging Spider-Man #2
I picked up the first issue on a whim because it’s got a great title and team-up books are really cool, generally speaking.  It wasn’t reinventing the wheel or anything, but it was such a fun and effectively drawn romp that I just had to keep going with it.  Red Hulk, who I know nothing about outside of him being General Ross, makes a nice super-serious counterpoint to the wisecracking Spider-Man (“So we got eaten by this thing.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”) and Jonah Jameson (he’s the MAYOR?) giving the Mole-Man some “New York diplomacy” is also tremendously entertaining.  Even J. Jonah gets some good lines (“I’ve got a direct line to the Avengers.  I don’t know which team exactly, but it’s a good one!”), and Rulk apparently meets a bad end for the big cliffhanger.  I’m pretty sure he’ll pull through.  This stays on my pull list. And because it’s the season, we finish with a Christmas special that’s been out for a few weeks.

Batman:  NOEL
This one was annoyingly present in the backpages of almost all the October DC comics, so I figured I might as well give it a look.  And as promised, the artwork from Lee Bermejo is breathtaking.  Kind of reminded me of Alex Ross with the hyper-detailed photo look to it, in fact.  The details in Batman’s boots and costume in general are amazing.  The story, however, is something else entirely.  Basically it’s “A Christmas Carol” welded onto the Batman mythos and it works about as well as you’d imagine.  Batman is “Scrooge”, and he’s visited by the ghost of Robin and then three “spirits” while he’s suffering from pneumonia.  It’s a kind of cliché story about a henchman (named Bob Cratchit) who just wants to do right by his young son (Tiny Tim), but mean old Bruce Wayne makes him work Christmas and so he does work for the Joker on the side.  This was a wonderful book to look at, but the juxtaposing of Dickens with Batman just doesn’t work.  At all.  But that scene of Superman flying down to help Batman and bathed in a red glow…awesome.  I’ll give it a slight recommendation because it’s so damn pretty to look at. Your winners this week:  Animal Man and Swamp Thing, with OMAC continuing to be the stupidest and most fun comic you’ll see on the rack this week.

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff Too!)–12.07.11

Scott Reviews The New 52 (And Other Stuff, Too!) I continue to tweak my pull list, as lots of people have recommended Swamp Thing to me, so I figured that it was easy enough to catch up with only 3 previous issues thus far.  And I love it!  Surprising to me because I was never into the original series in the 80s, but Scott Snyder makes it easy to pick up and go.  It’s replacing Detective Comics for the moment.  So we’ll kick things off there…  
 
Swamp Thing #4 As mentioned above, this is quite the interesting title.  I was only vaguely aware of Swamp Thing’s deal back in the 80s, as in I basically knew he was Dr. Alec Holland and now he was recently back from the dead as a part of Brightest Day.  Of course, that particular crossover may or may not have actually happened now, but for the purposes of the story Holland is now mysteriously back from the dead regardless.  This is kind of like a sister title to Animal Man, with a horror feel but with much cleaner and more pleasant artwork than Animal Man offers.  Instead of the Red, Swamp Thing focuses on The Green, aka the plantlife of the world.  The really interesting thing about this book thus far, for me, is that we’re 4 issues in and it’s still only about Alec Holland and not about Swamp Thing.  In fact, the whole first arc is about Swamp Thing bugging Holland to accept his destiny and become Swamp Thing himself.  Abby Arcane returns from the original series, with shorter hair, and her brother William is a creepy bubble boy who taps into The Rot.  This means that although he’s allergic to air basically, he can harness and control any dead matter he can see.  He’s a nasty little guy and bad stuff happens if you don’t get his milkshake order right.  I liked how Snyder builds up sympathy for William early on, as he’s tormented by bullies in his hospital room, but then pulls the rug out from under you by revealing just what he can do to people.  It involves pulling their lungs out through their mouth.  And this is all great stuff, as I had no problem getting right into the series from #1.  I’m kind of disappointed that Paquette is gone as penciller, but it’s not a jarring transition to the new guy or anything.  Thumbs up and welcome to the pull list, Swamp Thing!

Animal Man #4
Hey, speaking of The Rot, Animal Man is also busy fighting them in his own title.  I smell crossover!  This continues to be a title that’s creepy as hell, with a bad guy seemingly right out of Men In Black (you know, the farmer infested with the insect alien?).  Buddy Baker faces the question that all parents eventually have to:  Do you let your 4-year old daughter act as an avatar for a supernatural force of nature?  And if so, do you get her a costume and cool superhero nickname?  Maxine continues to steal the show here, developing healing powers to save her dad and then bonding with a cat who’s actually her mentor in the Red (“My name used to be Socks, but I prefer to be called Ignatius.”  “I’m gonna call you Socks.”)   I’m actually glad I jumped onto Swamp Thing when I did, because these storylines will mesh well together.  This continues to be the nicest surprise of the New 52 thus far and makes me wonder if I should be reading Jeff Lemire’s Frankenstein as well.

Action Comics #4
Superman has his showdown with Metallo (still not named as such, but it’s basically him), thus ripping his t-shirt all to pieces.  Luckily, Steel joins the new universe and makes the save, giving us a connection that I’m kind of shocked no one ever thought of doing before.  Much like the title, this is all action, leading up to the shock cliffhanger and reveal of the big villain…and then it’s continued in Action #7?  That’s just mean, Grant Morrison.  Not as much of a blowaway issue as the previous three, but dammit if  don’t want to know what happens next, something I’ve never said about Superman to date.  The backup story focuses on the fight between Steel and Metallo, a weird storyline choice where you learn the outcome of the fight after it’s already wrapped up in the main story.  I don’t think anyone’s buying this for John Henry Irons, but it was fine.

Justice League International #4
So it turns out that the dude the JLI is after, who calls himself Peraxxus, is really just a glorified scrap dealer who wants to blow up the Earth and sell the salvage parts to some sort of galactic pawn shop.  As evil plans go, that’s a pretty evil one.  He’s also too individually powerful for the League to take out, even after they escape his clutches and regroup, so that’s not good either.  Hopefully Batman’s got a plan to deal with this, although really he feels a bit superfluous when there’s already Booster Gold and Guy Gardner to carry the star power for the title.  I don’t mind the new serious leader Booster, although the artwork gives everyone way too much ab definition.  Do all these heroes just do crunches in their downtime?  Anyway, as I’ve said before, this is a solid and enjoyable superhero team book that I am enjoying a lot after a shaky start, but this is all so paint-by-numbers that it’s not like you’re missing anything if you’re not reading it, either.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, I go where Booster goes, so I’m in it for the long haul anyway.

Batwing #4
I don’t know if the artwork change from Ben Oliver’s painted backgrounds to ChrisCross’s standard pencils is a temporary thing, but it really hurts the issue for me.  Nothing against the fill-in artist, but the dark and slightly dreamy feel of the original art helped out the story for me a lot.  Without it, all you’ve got is a guy in a Batsuit who killed a bunch of people as a kid.  This would be the “secret origin” issue, although it’s more of a backstory rather than a discussion of the hows and whys behind David becoming Batwing.  Unfortunately the characters aren’t really distinct enough to where it’s easy to follow what exactly was going on, and that’s kind of frustrating.  I’ll give Winnick the benefit of the doubt and keep coming back, but hopefully Ben Oliver sticks around.

OMAC #4
I think I’ve said it before, but this is just a FUN comic.  Keith Giffen lets it all hang out with nine-panel goofy comic book adventures here, gleefully swiping from Kirby in only the best manner possible.  Poor Kevin Kho continues to get jerked around by Brother Eye and his soul-crushing job, (“I’m afraid you’ll have to take the past week as UNPAID time.”) as well as dumped by his girlfriend.  Luckily, it turns out that the subway blocks Eye’s signal, so he can ride the train in peace and quiet.  Until giant mutant alligators attack him, of course, and then he suddenly would like to OMACTIVATE at the soonest possible opportunity.  I actually giggled while he was hanging from a sewer grate and desperately asking Brother Eye “Can you hear me now?” because it’s such a cheap gag and thus the most awesomely cheesy thing for DiDio and Giffen to have him say.  Unfortunately this wonderful comic book is one of the lowest-selling of the new 52 line, so buy it and support it while you can!  

Avenging Spider-Man #2
I picked up the first issue on a whim because it’s got a great title and team-up books are really cool, generally speaking.  It wasn’t reinventing the wheel or anything, but it was such a fun and effectively drawn romp that I just had to keep going with it.  Red Hulk, who I know nothing about outside of him being General Ross, makes a nice super-serious counterpoint to the wisecracking Spider-Man (“So we got eaten by this thing.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”) and Jonah Jameson (he’s the MAYOR?) giving the Mole-Man some “New York diplomacy” is also tremendously entertaining.  Even J. Jonah gets some good lines (“I’ve got a direct line to the Avengers.  I don’t know which team exactly, but it’s a good one!”), and Rulk apparently meets a bad end for the big cliffhanger.  I’m pretty sure he’ll pull through.  This stays on my pull list. And because it’s the season, we finish with a Christmas special that’s been out for a few weeks.

Batman:  NOEL
This one was annoyingly present in the backpages of almost all the October DC comics, so I figured I might as well give it a look.  And as promised, the artwork from Lee Bermejo is breathtaking.  Kind of reminded me of Alex Ross with the hyper-detailed photo look to it, in fact.  The details in Batman’s boots and costume in general are amazing.  The story, however, is something else entirely.  Basically it’s “A Christmas Carol” welded onto the Batman mythos and it works about as well as you’d imagine.  Batman is “Scrooge”, and he’s visited by the ghost of Robin and then three “spirits” while he’s suffering from pneumonia.  It’s a kind of cliché story about a henchman (named Bob Cratchit) who just wants to do right by his young son (Tiny Tim), but mean old Bruce Wayne makes him work Christmas and so he does work for the Joker on the side.  This was a wonderful book to look at, but the juxtaposing of Dickens with Batman just doesn’t work.  At all.  But that scene of Superman flying down to help Batman and bathed in a red glow…awesome.  I’ll give it a slight recommendation because it’s so damn pretty to look at. Your winners this week:  Animal Man and Swamp Thing, with OMAC continuing to be the stupidest and most fun comic you’ll see on the rack this week.

Starrcade Countdown: 1994

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 94 – Welcome to rock bottom, as Hogan’s egomania results in the main event of the biggest WCW show of the year involving Brutus Beefcake. To put things in perspective, this was during my WCW boycott period, and I didn’t even read the results of the show until about a month after, and I didn’t see the show for the first time until 1997. I think I still watched Worldwide wrestling back around this time, because I recall seeing a lot of Larry Zbyszko v. Terra Rizin’ matches. Hey, remember when WCW actually developed future World champions instead of signing them 10 years past their prime? Bets are currently flying as to who the next dumbass talent release will end up being. I personally say Lenny Lane, with the whole West Hollywood Blond thing being the spark that ignites his star in the WWF when the inevitable signing occurs once his contract expires.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe Lenny Lane is now doing kids birthday parties for a living.  So I was bit off on my assessment of his future potential.)   – Before I forget, props go out to James Fabiano, who answered my plea and called into Meltzer last night, not only asking about the finish to the Nasties-Sting/Hawk match, but going above the call of duty and plugging Rantsylvania and Wrestleline at the same time. Now that’s dedication! I should point out that with mentions on WCW Live and Meltzer’s program, I’m a “Byte This” mention away from “hitting for the cycle”, so to speak. So someone get to it and call up Kevin Kelly and ask why the WWF won’t send me review copies of the new WWF videos! Make me proud, Netcop groupies!  (2011 Scott sez:  In recent years, WWE actually did start sending me review copies of their DVDs, long after the point when I stopped caring about reviewing them.  That’s irony for ya.  Never did get that mention on Byte This, though.)  – Live from Nashville, TN. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby – For the sake of my own sanity, I’m omitting all the backstage promos that look like ECW’s “Taped on a hand-held camera by an epileptic 4-year-old” promos and Mean Gene interview segments, because they all suck. I’m also omitting the PWI Awards segments, because they were fixed by Turner anyway (2011 Scott sez:  …allegedly) and I refuse to acknowledge any fanbase that would be so retarded as to vote Hulk Hogan “Wrestler of the Year” for 1994 when Bret Hart was clearly a bigger draw with better matches, if one compares Wrestlemania X’s buyrate (and two ***** matches) to Bash at the Beach’s lesser numbers.  (2011 Scott sez:  Pretty sure Bash at the Beach blew away Wrestlemania in buys that year, actually.  It stood as WCW’s biggest PPV ever until Starrcade 97 and did something like 600K buys when everything was counted.  Can you IMAGINE a WWE show doing 600,000 buys outside of Wrestlemania these days?  Vince would have a ticker tape parade for John Cena and flood Twitter with celebratory press releases.)  Opening match, US title: Jim Duggan v. Vader. Duggan and Vader brawl on the floor. Duggan punches a lot, Vader does nothing but sell. There’s something you don’t see every day. Duggan with a bodypress (!) and a bodyslam (!!) for two. Duggan hits a good stiff clothesline and elbowdrop for two. What, did someone invent a time machine and pull the Duggan from 1985 for this match? He gets knocked out of the ring, and Vader stomps him upon re-entry. Sloppy pump splash gets two. Is he hungover tonight or something? We get a bunch of stalling, then Vader goes for the moonsault and misses. Duggan comes back with a crisp lariat. Damn, a motivated Duggan is pretty good. I haven’t seen him go like this since the UWF days. Tony is already spouting the company line about WCW being #1. Yeah, #1…FOR ME TO POOP ON! (2011 Scott sez:  I was watching a lot of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog back then.) I think there’s a juxtaposition pun involving “Konnan O’ Brian” I could work in if I was feeling really motivated, but for this crap show, why bother? Three-point stance gets two, but Race puts Vader’s foot on the ropes. My roommate also comes to the conclusion that Vader is stinking up the joint at this point, with no prompting on my part. Race distracts the ref, and various shenanigans result in Duggan getting run into his own 2×4 and hit with the inverted powerbomb for the pin and the title at 12:02. Mark your calendar: DUGGAN carries VADER to a decent match. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m dubious about that.  I’ll have to check it out on YouTube sometime to see if I was crazy there.)  Jean Paul Levesque v. Alex Wright. Levesque is the ultimate example of wrestling being a giant metaphor: The snake that consumes it’s own tail to survive. Every time you think there’s no one left to carry the torch, wrestling cannibalizes it’s castoffs and jobbers and creates another star. Case in point, failed WCW prospect Terra Rizin, who was given a decent gimmick in blueblood snob Jean Paul Levesque as a potential junior partner for Steve Regal. Rightly feeling that he had no future in WCW with this kind of plan, Jean Paul took a chance with the WWF as a singles wrestler, floundering in the midcard for years before hitting upon the right gimmick retooling at the right time and winning the World title, despite a noted lack of moves not involving his knee. Yup, just call Mr. Levesque HHH now. The lesson, as always, is that you never know where your next star is going to come from. Anyway, enough deep pontificating, on with the crappy wrestling! Wright and Levesque do an extremely condescending mat-wrestling sequence that is obviously for show, drawing the ire of the crowd. I mean, some old school is nice now and then, but these two had a year experience combined, MAYBE, at this point, and were not the ones to be taking it to the mat at this point, and on a major PPV no less. Jean Paul obliges the bored crowd by stomping Wright, then hitting a leg lariat, something I’ve never seen him do since. Stalling and resting follow. Levesque was VERY green at this point, and you can imagine how bad that made him, considering that he hasn’t improved too much in the five years since. (2011 Scott sez:  Clearly this was written before the Cactus Jack matches in 2000 where I developed a man-crush on HHH for a while.)  Wright comes back after an eternity and flips over him in the corner, getting a reverse rollup for the pin at 14:00. Yes, they gave the rookies 14 minutes, don’t ask me why either. * – World TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Arn Anderson. Honky Tonk Man walked out of the promotion literally earlier in the day, for some stupid political reason. Otherwise it’d be him challenging here. (2011 Scott sez:  If Honky had stuck around long enough to join the nWo in 1996, he probably would have made more money than he could ever spend on sequined black-and-white jumpsuits in his lifetime.  Or he could have been the mentor for Disco Inferno and revived his career.  I love Honky and I’m glad he’s doing good for himself on the indies, but it was a short-sighted and stupid move on his part to leave just as WCW was getting hot, because the WWF run was obviously the wrong career move to make.)  Weak wrestling sequence to start. Arn has “tells” like a poker player for when he isn’t bothering to make an effort, and the principle one is arguing over hair pulling. If he’s arguing over a hair pull a minute into the match, it’s gonna suck. Arn hits a spinebuster out of nowhere to take control, and he goes his usual stuff (abdominal stretch, sleeper-reversal, knucklelock into crotchshot) and Badd comes back. Top rope sunset flip gets two. Arn reverses to a Flair pin in the corner, but the ref sees the feet on the ropes and breaks it up. Arn is distracted, and Badd rolls him up for the super-weak pin at 11:19. I blinked it and it was 1982 all over again there. *1/4 Arn would go on to win the title a few weeks later. – The Nasty Boys v. Harlem Heat. I don’t remember hardly anything about the title lineage from Pretty Wonderful through the Outsiders, but a check of the title history of the WCW tag belts reveals that Harlem Heat had actually won the belts from Bagwell & Patriot on December 8, so that must have been a TV taping or something. I dunno, WCW’s continuity was so screwed up in 94-95 that they could practically declare anyone the champions and find footage to support it. Don’t even get me started on the Bunkhouse Bunk/Dick Slater thing. Anyway, the Heat is definitely not carrying the belts or announced as the champs here. Big disjointed brawl to start. Booker T gets his arm worked over, which is a nice bit of psychology, but it doesn’t actually, you know, GO ANYWHERE, so whatever. Sags gets caught in the heel corner (remember when the Heat were heels?) and worked over by…shudder…Stevie Ray. Nerve holds! Chinlocks! Bearhugs! It’s like the Poor Richard’s Almanac of Restholds or something. Knobbs gets the hot tag, and another melee breaks out. Sherri hairsprays Booker T by mistake, Sags drops the Shitty Elbow on Stevie, and Sherri comes in for the DQ at 17:46. See, that’s EXACTLY the sort of irritating non-finish that always bugs me after sitting through 18 minutes of resting. ½* – Kevin Sullivan v. Mr. T. I pity the fool who ordered this show in 94. Oh, shit, I’m making Mr. T jokes now, how pathetic is that? (2011 Scott sez:  At least the Mr. T stuff is still understandable by 90% of the audience 10 years later.  Some of the “of the time” references I made in 1999 are pretty cringe-worthy now.)  We get about 30 seconds of “brawling”, Santa Claus runs in, reveals himself to be Evad Sullivan, hits Kevin with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, and Mr. T gets the pin at 3:49. Why do I bother even wasting a perfectly good paragraph on stuff like this? DUD – Avalanche v. Sting. Shark, Avalanche, Golga, Earthquake, John Tenta, take your pick. As my dad would say: Same shit, different pile. (2011 Scott sez:  RIP, John.  Never mind me there, you were a talented and classy guy.)  Stall stall stall to start. Avalanche moves like a slug, controlling Sting with power stuff. This situation continues for a while. Sting kicks him in the leg to come back, so Avalanche stops to catch his breath outside the ring. Talk about a futile chase. Back in for that epic hallmark of excitement: The HEADLOCK! And a bearhug. Finally, he goes for the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DOOM, but Sting pops up in a nice sequence, and the ref is bumped in a less-than-nice sequence. Sullivan comes in, they rough up Sting, Hogan makes the save and another ref comes in to call for the DQ at 15:22. Wait wait…let me get this straight…we needed 15 minutes, a ref bump, and ANOTHER ref, all for a cheap DQ to protect JOHN TENTA??? Am I missing something here, or did WCW distribute special IQ-lowering drugs with every PPV? – Exciting video package recaps that epic Hogan v. Beefcake feud. – WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Brother Brutus “The Zodiac Barber Butcher Clipmaster Disciple Bootyman with No Name or Face” Beefcake. Now, I’m not saying Beefcake isn’t marketable, but the name speaks for itself, I think. I should also note that Scott Hudson totally stole that gag from me for a WCW Saturday Night episode a couple of months ago, and then lifted Scott “Last Call” Hall from me as well. On the bright side, I completely endorse Hudson stealing my stuff because it means that at least the QUALITY announcers in the promotion get to highlight my material. If Tony started swiping my jokes, I’d be seriously worried about my rep. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m much more flattered by stuff like Five Moves of Doom making it onto WWE TV, because I know for a fact that there are more than a few people in WWE who have read my stuff for a long time, and that in some small way I’m influencing what they’re doing.   It’s a good feeling.)  Anyway, we go right to punching and chopping, which leads to alleged brawling on the floor. Hogan does some devastating chest-rakes to take over. You’d think a guy who was 6’4” and 300 pounds wouldn’t have to fight like a girl to get over, but what do I know? Beefcake catches him with a high knee coming in, and were this 1985 it’d be CURTAINS for Hogan. Sadly, it’s 1994 at this time, so the pain continues. (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing wrong with a high knee as a finisher, actually.  I mean, you’re jumping in the air and hitting the guy in the jaw with your fucking KNEE, what more do you need?)  The BITCHSLAP OF DEATH off the second rope misses completely, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure of what he was gonna try anyway. Hogan comes back and runs through his usual series of tired stuff, which gets a pop from the fans WCW had paid off to cheer for him. Beefcake gets the sleeper, and once again, if it was 1985, we’d be outta here, but Hogan escapes yet another of Beefcake’s old finishers and comes back. Big boot! Legdrop! Run-in! It’s like the WWF all over again. And people think RUSSO is bad for reliving his glory years. Sullivan and Avalanche literally stand on the apron and wait for Hogan to complete the pinfall at 12:04 before they come into the ring and beat him up. Well, if you’re gonna punk someone out, at least be CONSIDERATE about it. ¼* Randy Savage, who was either gonna “shake Hogan’s hand or slap his face” does the run-in and teases doing the latter before settling on the former. And that would eventually lead to the historic Clash XXX, home of the infamous “Reviving Elbow”. If you want to know what that’s about, e-mail Rick Scaia and I’m sure he’ll be happy to write a few paragraphs on the subject like he did back in 95.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hogan and Savage teamed up to face the Dungeon on that Clash, and with Hogan seemingly down and out, Savage dropped the big elbow on him to put him into Hulk-Up Mode and save the day.  It’s actually kind of brilliant in a “breaking the fourth wall” sense) The Bottom Line: Was this WCW 1994 or WCW 2000 once Vince Russo gets turfed for booking like a retard? Don’t laugh – it happened before when WCW got desperate enough after 1993, and 1999 turned out almost as bad. You just never know when the evil influence of the Orange Goblin can return to rear it’s ugly, overly tanned head, and this show is proof. (2011 Scott sez:  Boy, did 2000 go worse for WCW than anyone could have possibly imagined or even guessed at.  I mean, joking about Russo getting fired and the company going out of business is one thing, but…)  Anyway, videos like this should come with a warning label: The Surgeon General has determined that Hulk Hogan’s booking can be hazardous to your intelligence. Watch at your own risk. Strongest recommendation to avoid.

Starrcade Countdown: 1994

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 94 – Welcome to rock bottom, as Hogan’s egomania results in the main event of the biggest WCW show of the year involving Brutus Beefcake. To put things in perspective, this was during my WCW boycott period, and I didn’t even read the results of the show until about a month after, and I didn’t see the show for the first time until 1997. I think I still watched Worldwide wrestling back around this time, because I recall seeing a lot of Larry Zbyszko v. Terra Rizin’ matches. Hey, remember when WCW actually developed future World champions instead of signing them 10 years past their prime? Bets are currently flying as to who the next dumbass talent release will end up being. I personally say Lenny Lane, with the whole West Hollywood Blond thing being the spark that ignites his star in the WWF when the inevitable signing occurs once his contract expires.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe Lenny Lane is now doing kids birthday parties for a living.  So I was bit off on my assessment of his future potential.)   – Before I forget, props go out to James Fabiano, who answered my plea and called into Meltzer last night, not only asking about the finish to the Nasties-Sting/Hawk match, but going above the call of duty and plugging Rantsylvania and Wrestleline at the same time. Now that’s dedication! I should point out that with mentions on WCW Live and Meltzer’s program, I’m a “Byte This” mention away from “hitting for the cycle”, so to speak. So someone get to it and call up Kevin Kelly and ask why the WWF won’t send me review copies of the new WWF videos! Make me proud, Netcop groupies!  (2011 Scott sez:  In recent years, WWE actually did start sending me review copies of their DVDs, long after the point when I stopped caring about reviewing them.  That’s irony for ya.  Never did get that mention on Byte This, though.)  – Live from Nashville, TN. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby – For the sake of my own sanity, I’m omitting all the backstage promos that look like ECW’s “Taped on a hand-held camera by an epileptic 4-year-old” promos and Mean Gene interview segments, because they all suck. I’m also omitting the PWI Awards segments, because they were fixed by Turner anyway (2011 Scott sez:  …allegedly) and I refuse to acknowledge any fanbase that would be so retarded as to vote Hulk Hogan “Wrestler of the Year” for 1994 when Bret Hart was clearly a bigger draw with better matches, if one compares Wrestlemania X’s buyrate (and two ***** matches) to Bash at the Beach’s lesser numbers.  (2011 Scott sez:  Pretty sure Bash at the Beach blew away Wrestlemania in buys that year, actually.  It stood as WCW’s biggest PPV ever until Starrcade 97 and did something like 600K buys when everything was counted.  Can you IMAGINE a WWE show doing 600,000 buys outside of Wrestlemania these days?  Vince would have a ticker tape parade for John Cena and flood Twitter with celebratory press releases.)  Opening match, US title: Jim Duggan v. Vader. Duggan and Vader brawl on the floor. Duggan punches a lot, Vader does nothing but sell. There’s something you don’t see every day. Duggan with a bodypress (!) and a bodyslam (!!) for two. Duggan hits a good stiff clothesline and elbowdrop for two. What, did someone invent a time machine and pull the Duggan from 1985 for this match? He gets knocked out of the ring, and Vader stomps him upon re-entry. Sloppy pump splash gets two. Is he hungover tonight or something? We get a bunch of stalling, then Vader goes for the moonsault and misses. Duggan comes back with a crisp lariat. Damn, a motivated Duggan is pretty good. I haven’t seen him go like this since the UWF days. Tony is already spouting the company line about WCW being #1. Yeah, #1…FOR ME TO POOP ON! (2011 Scott sez:  I was watching a lot of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog back then.) I think there’s a juxtaposition pun involving “Konnan O’ Brian” I could work in if I was feeling really motivated, but for this crap show, why bother? Three-point stance gets two, but Race puts Vader’s foot on the ropes. My roommate also comes to the conclusion that Vader is stinking up the joint at this point, with no prompting on my part. Race distracts the ref, and various shenanigans result in Duggan getting run into his own 2×4 and hit with the inverted powerbomb for the pin and the title at 12:02. Mark your calendar: DUGGAN carries VADER to a decent match. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m dubious about that.  I’ll have to check it out on YouTube sometime to see if I was crazy there.)  Jean Paul Levesque v. Alex Wright. Levesque is the ultimate example of wrestling being a giant metaphor: The snake that consumes it’s own tail to survive. Every time you think there’s no one left to carry the torch, wrestling cannibalizes it’s castoffs and jobbers and creates another star. Case in point, failed WCW prospect Terra Rizin, who was given a decent gimmick in blueblood snob Jean Paul Levesque as a potential junior partner for Steve Regal. Rightly feeling that he had no future in WCW with this kind of plan, Jean Paul took a chance with the WWF as a singles wrestler, floundering in the midcard for years before hitting upon the right gimmick retooling at the right time and winning the World title, despite a noted lack of moves not involving his knee. Yup, just call Mr. Levesque HHH now. The lesson, as always, is that you never know where your next star is going to come from. Anyway, enough deep pontificating, on with the crappy wrestling! Wright and Levesque do an extremely condescending mat-wrestling sequence that is obviously for show, drawing the ire of the crowd. I mean, some old school is nice now and then, but these two had a year experience combined, MAYBE, at this point, and were not the ones to be taking it to the mat at this point, and on a major PPV no less. Jean Paul obliges the bored crowd by stomping Wright, then hitting a leg lariat, something I’ve never seen him do since. Stalling and resting follow. Levesque was VERY green at this point, and you can imagine how bad that made him, considering that he hasn’t improved too much in the five years since. (2011 Scott sez:  Clearly this was written before the Cactus Jack matches in 2000 where I developed a man-crush on HHH for a while.)  Wright comes back after an eternity and flips over him in the corner, getting a reverse rollup for the pin at 14:00. Yes, they gave the rookies 14 minutes, don’t ask me why either. * – World TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Arn Anderson. Honky Tonk Man walked out of the promotion literally earlier in the day, for some stupid political reason. Otherwise it’d be him challenging here. (2011 Scott sez:  If Honky had stuck around long enough to join the nWo in 1996, he probably would have made more money than he could ever spend on sequined black-and-white jumpsuits in his lifetime.  Or he could have been the mentor for Disco Inferno and revived his career.  I love Honky and I’m glad he’s doing good for himself on the indies, but it was a short-sighted and stupid move on his part to leave just as WCW was getting hot, because the WWF run was obviously the wrong career move to make.)  Weak wrestling sequence to start. Arn has “tells” like a poker player for when he isn’t bothering to make an effort, and the principle one is arguing over hair pulling. If he’s arguing over a hair pull a minute into the match, it’s gonna suck. Arn hits a spinebuster out of nowhere to take control, and he goes his usual stuff (abdominal stretch, sleeper-reversal, knucklelock into crotchshot) and Badd comes back. Top rope sunset flip gets two. Arn reverses to a Flair pin in the corner, but the ref sees the feet on the ropes and breaks it up. Arn is distracted, and Badd rolls him up for the super-weak pin at 11:19. I blinked it and it was 1982 all over again there. *1/4 Arn would go on to win the title a few weeks later. – The Nasty Boys v. Harlem Heat. I don’t remember hardly anything about the title lineage from Pretty Wonderful through the Outsiders, but a check of the title history of the WCW tag belts reveals that Harlem Heat had actually won the belts from Bagwell & Patriot on December 8, so that must have been a TV taping or something. I dunno, WCW’s continuity was so screwed up in 94-95 that they could practically declare anyone the champions and find footage to support it. Don’t even get me started on the Bunkhouse Bunk/Dick Slater thing. Anyway, the Heat is definitely not carrying the belts or announced as the champs here. Big disjointed brawl to start. Booker T gets his arm worked over, which is a nice bit of psychology, but it doesn’t actually, you know, GO ANYWHERE, so whatever. Sags gets caught in the heel corner (remember when the Heat were heels?) and worked over by…shudder…Stevie Ray. Nerve holds! Chinlocks! Bearhugs! It’s like the Poor Richard’s Almanac of Restholds or something. Knobbs gets the hot tag, and another melee breaks out. Sherri hairsprays Booker T by mistake, Sags drops the Shitty Elbow on Stevie, and Sherri comes in for the DQ at 17:46. See, that’s EXACTLY the sort of irritating non-finish that always bugs me after sitting through 18 minutes of resting. ½* – Kevin Sullivan v. Mr. T. I pity the fool who ordered this show in 94. Oh, shit, I’m making Mr. T jokes now, how pathetic is that? (2011 Scott sez:  At least the Mr. T stuff is still understandable by 90% of the audience 10 years later.  Some of the “of the time” references I made in 1999 are pretty cringe-worthy now.)  We get about 30 seconds of “brawling”, Santa Claus runs in, reveals himself to be Evad Sullivan, hits Kevin with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, and Mr. T gets the pin at 3:49. Why do I bother even wasting a perfectly good paragraph on stuff like this? DUD – Avalanche v. Sting. Shark, Avalanche, Golga, Earthquake, John Tenta, take your pick. As my dad would say: Same shit, different pile. (2011 Scott sez:  RIP, John.  Never mind me there, you were a talented and classy guy.)  Stall stall stall to start. Avalanche moves like a slug, controlling Sting with power stuff. This situation continues for a while. Sting kicks him in the leg to come back, so Avalanche stops to catch his breath outside the ring. Talk about a futile chase. Back in for that epic hallmark of excitement: The HEADLOCK! And a bearhug. Finally, he goes for the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DOOM, but Sting pops up in a nice sequence, and the ref is bumped in a less-than-nice sequence. Sullivan comes in, they rough up Sting, Hogan makes the save and another ref comes in to call for the DQ at 15:22. Wait wait…let me get this straight…we needed 15 minutes, a ref bump, and ANOTHER ref, all for a cheap DQ to protect JOHN TENTA??? Am I missing something here, or did WCW distribute special IQ-lowering drugs with every PPV? – Exciting video package recaps that epic Hogan v. Beefcake feud. – WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Brother Brutus “The Zodiac Barber Butcher Clipmaster Disciple Bootyman with No Name or Face” Beefcake. Now, I’m not saying Beefcake isn’t marketable, but the name speaks for itself, I think. I should also note that Scott Hudson totally stole that gag from me for a WCW Saturday Night episode a couple of months ago, and then lifted Scott “Last Call” Hall from me as well. On the bright side, I completely endorse Hudson stealing my stuff because it means that at least the QUALITY announcers in the promotion get to highlight my material. If Tony started swiping my jokes, I’d be seriously worried about my rep. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m much more flattered by stuff like Five Moves of Doom making it onto WWE TV, because I know for a fact that there are more than a few people in WWE who have read my stuff for a long time, and that in some small way I’m influencing what they’re doing.   It’s a good feeling.)  Anyway, we go right to punching and chopping, which leads to alleged brawling on the floor. Hogan does some devastating chest-rakes to take over. You’d think a guy who was 6’4” and 300 pounds wouldn’t have to fight like a girl to get over, but what do I know? Beefcake catches him with a high knee coming in, and were this 1985 it’d be CURTAINS for Hogan. Sadly, it’s 1994 at this time, so the pain continues. (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing wrong with a high knee as a finisher, actually.  I mean, you’re jumping in the air and hitting the guy in the jaw with your fucking KNEE, what more do you need?)  The BITCHSLAP OF DEATH off the second rope misses completely, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure of what he was gonna try anyway. Hogan comes back and runs through his usual series of tired stuff, which gets a pop from the fans WCW had paid off to cheer for him. Beefcake gets the sleeper, and once again, if it was 1985, we’d be outta here, but Hogan escapes yet another of Beefcake’s old finishers and comes back. Big boot! Legdrop! Run-in! It’s like the WWF all over again. And people think RUSSO is bad for reliving his glory years. Sullivan and Avalanche literally stand on the apron and wait for Hogan to complete the pinfall at 12:04 before they come into the ring and beat him up. Well, if you’re gonna punk someone out, at least be CONSIDERATE about it. ¼* Randy Savage, who was either gonna “shake Hogan’s hand or slap his face” does the run-in and teases doing the latter before settling on the former. And that would eventually lead to the historic Clash XXX, home of the infamous “Reviving Elbow”. If you want to know what that’s about, e-mail Rick Scaia and I’m sure he’ll be happy to write a few paragraphs on the subject like he did back in 95.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hogan and Savage teamed up to face the Dungeon on that Clash, and with Hogan seemingly down and out, Savage dropped the big elbow on him to put him into Hulk-Up Mode and save the day.  It’s actually kind of brilliant in a “breaking the fourth wall” sense) The Bottom Line: Was this WCW 1994 or WCW 2000 once Vince Russo gets turfed for booking like a retard? Don’t laugh – it happened before when WCW got desperate enough after 1993, and 1999 turned out almost as bad. You just never know when the evil influence of the Orange Goblin can return to rear it’s ugly, overly tanned head, and this show is proof. (2011 Scott sez:  Boy, did 2000 go worse for WCW than anyone could have possibly imagined or even guessed at.  I mean, joking about Russo getting fired and the company going out of business is one thing, but…)  Anyway, videos like this should come with a warning label: The Surgeon General has determined that Hulk Hogan’s booking can be hazardous to your intelligence. Watch at your own risk. Strongest recommendation to avoid.

Starrcade Countdown: 1994

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 94 – Welcome to rock bottom, as Hogan’s egomania results in the main event of the biggest WCW show of the year involving Brutus Beefcake. To put things in perspective, this was during my WCW boycott period, and I didn’t even read the results of the show until about a month after, and I didn’t see the show for the first time until 1997. I think I still watched Worldwide wrestling back around this time, because I recall seeing a lot of Larry Zbyszko v. Terra Rizin’ matches. Hey, remember when WCW actually developed future World champions instead of signing them 10 years past their prime? Bets are currently flying as to who the next dumbass talent release will end up being. I personally say Lenny Lane, with the whole West Hollywood Blond thing being the spark that ignites his star in the WWF when the inevitable signing occurs once his contract expires.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe Lenny Lane is now doing kids birthday parties for a living.  So I was bit off on my assessment of his future potential.)   – Before I forget, props go out to James Fabiano, who answered my plea and called into Meltzer last night, not only asking about the finish to the Nasties-Sting/Hawk match, but going above the call of duty and plugging Rantsylvania and Wrestleline at the same time. Now that’s dedication! I should point out that with mentions on WCW Live and Meltzer’s program, I’m a “Byte This” mention away from “hitting for the cycle”, so to speak. So someone get to it and call up Kevin Kelly and ask why the WWF won’t send me review copies of the new WWF videos! Make me proud, Netcop groupies!  (2011 Scott sez:  In recent years, WWE actually did start sending me review copies of their DVDs, long after the point when I stopped caring about reviewing them.  That’s irony for ya.  Never did get that mention on Byte This, though.)  – Live from Nashville, TN. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby – For the sake of my own sanity, I’m omitting all the backstage promos that look like ECW’s “Taped on a hand-held camera by an epileptic 4-year-old” promos and Mean Gene interview segments, because they all suck. I’m also omitting the PWI Awards segments, because they were fixed by Turner anyway (2011 Scott sez:  …allegedly) and I refuse to acknowledge any fanbase that would be so retarded as to vote Hulk Hogan “Wrestler of the Year” for 1994 when Bret Hart was clearly a bigger draw with better matches, if one compares Wrestlemania X’s buyrate (and two ***** matches) to Bash at the Beach’s lesser numbers.  (2011 Scott sez:  Pretty sure Bash at the Beach blew away Wrestlemania in buys that year, actually.  It stood as WCW’s biggest PPV ever until Starrcade 97 and did something like 600K buys when everything was counted.  Can you IMAGINE a WWE show doing 600,000 buys outside of Wrestlemania these days?  Vince would have a ticker tape parade for John Cena and flood Twitter with celebratory press releases.)  Opening match, US title: Jim Duggan v. Vader. Duggan and Vader brawl on the floor. Duggan punches a lot, Vader does nothing but sell. There’s something you don’t see every day. Duggan with a bodypress (!) and a bodyslam (!!) for two. Duggan hits a good stiff clothesline and elbowdrop for two. What, did someone invent a time machine and pull the Duggan from 1985 for this match? He gets knocked out of the ring, and Vader stomps him upon re-entry. Sloppy pump splash gets two. Is he hungover tonight or something? We get a bunch of stalling, then Vader goes for the moonsault and misses. Duggan comes back with a crisp lariat. Damn, a motivated Duggan is pretty good. I haven’t seen him go like this since the UWF days. Tony is already spouting the company line about WCW being #1. Yeah, #1…FOR ME TO POOP ON! (2011 Scott sez:  I was watching a lot of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog back then.) I think there’s a juxtaposition pun involving “Konnan O’ Brian” I could work in if I was feeling really motivated, but for this crap show, why bother? Three-point stance gets two, but Race puts Vader’s foot on the ropes. My roommate also comes to the conclusion that Vader is stinking up the joint at this point, with no prompting on my part. Race distracts the ref, and various shenanigans result in Duggan getting run into his own 2×4 and hit with the inverted powerbomb for the pin and the title at 12:02. Mark your calendar: DUGGAN carries VADER to a decent match. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m dubious about that.  I’ll have to check it out on YouTube sometime to see if I was crazy there.)  Jean Paul Levesque v. Alex Wright. Levesque is the ultimate example of wrestling being a giant metaphor: The snake that consumes it’s own tail to survive. Every time you think there’s no one left to carry the torch, wrestling cannibalizes it’s castoffs and jobbers and creates another star. Case in point, failed WCW prospect Terra Rizin, who was given a decent gimmick in blueblood snob Jean Paul Levesque as a potential junior partner for Steve Regal. Rightly feeling that he had no future in WCW with this kind of plan, Jean Paul took a chance with the WWF as a singles wrestler, floundering in the midcard for years before hitting upon the right gimmick retooling at the right time and winning the World title, despite a noted lack of moves not involving his knee. Yup, just call Mr. Levesque HHH now. The lesson, as always, is that you never know where your next star is going to come from. Anyway, enough deep pontificating, on with the crappy wrestling! Wright and Levesque do an extremely condescending mat-wrestling sequence that is obviously for show, drawing the ire of the crowd. I mean, some old school is nice now and then, but these two had a year experience combined, MAYBE, at this point, and were not the ones to be taking it to the mat at this point, and on a major PPV no less. Jean Paul obliges the bored crowd by stomping Wright, then hitting a leg lariat, something I’ve never seen him do since. Stalling and resting follow. Levesque was VERY green at this point, and you can imagine how bad that made him, considering that he hasn’t improved too much in the five years since. (2011 Scott sez:  Clearly this was written before the Cactus Jack matches in 2000 where I developed a man-crush on HHH for a while.)  Wright comes back after an eternity and flips over him in the corner, getting a reverse rollup for the pin at 14:00. Yes, they gave the rookies 14 minutes, don’t ask me why either. * – World TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Arn Anderson. Honky Tonk Man walked out of the promotion literally earlier in the day, for some stupid political reason. Otherwise it’d be him challenging here. (2011 Scott sez:  If Honky had stuck around long enough to join the nWo in 1996, he probably would have made more money than he could ever spend on sequined black-and-white jumpsuits in his lifetime.  Or he could have been the mentor for Disco Inferno and revived his career.  I love Honky and I’m glad he’s doing good for himself on the indies, but it was a short-sighted and stupid move on his part to leave just as WCW was getting hot, because the WWF run was obviously the wrong career move to make.)  Weak wrestling sequence to start. Arn has “tells” like a poker player for when he isn’t bothering to make an effort, and the principle one is arguing over hair pulling. If he’s arguing over a hair pull a minute into the match, it’s gonna suck. Arn hits a spinebuster out of nowhere to take control, and he goes his usual stuff (abdominal stretch, sleeper-reversal, knucklelock into crotchshot) and Badd comes back. Top rope sunset flip gets two. Arn reverses to a Flair pin in the corner, but the ref sees the feet on the ropes and breaks it up. Arn is distracted, and Badd rolls him up for the super-weak pin at 11:19. I blinked it and it was 1982 all over again there. *1/4 Arn would go on to win the title a few weeks later. – The Nasty Boys v. Harlem Heat. I don’t remember hardly anything about the title lineage from Pretty Wonderful through the Outsiders, but a check of the title history of the WCW tag belts reveals that Harlem Heat had actually won the belts from Bagwell & Patriot on December 8, so that must have been a TV taping or something. I dunno, WCW’s continuity was so screwed up in 94-95 that they could practically declare anyone the champions and find footage to support it. Don’t even get me started on the Bunkhouse Bunk/Dick Slater thing. Anyway, the Heat is definitely not carrying the belts or announced as the champs here. Big disjointed brawl to start. Booker T gets his arm worked over, which is a nice bit of psychology, but it doesn’t actually, you know, GO ANYWHERE, so whatever. Sags gets caught in the heel corner (remember when the Heat were heels?) and worked over by…shudder…Stevie Ray. Nerve holds! Chinlocks! Bearhugs! It’s like the Poor Richard’s Almanac of Restholds or something. Knobbs gets the hot tag, and another melee breaks out. Sherri hairsprays Booker T by mistake, Sags drops the Shitty Elbow on Stevie, and Sherri comes in for the DQ at 17:46. See, that’s EXACTLY the sort of irritating non-finish that always bugs me after sitting through 18 minutes of resting. ½* – Kevin Sullivan v. Mr. T. I pity the fool who ordered this show in 94. Oh, shit, I’m making Mr. T jokes now, how pathetic is that? (2011 Scott sez:  At least the Mr. T stuff is still understandable by 90% of the audience 10 years later.  Some of the “of the time” references I made in 1999 are pretty cringe-worthy now.)  We get about 30 seconds of “brawling”, Santa Claus runs in, reveals himself to be Evad Sullivan, hits Kevin with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, and Mr. T gets the pin at 3:49. Why do I bother even wasting a perfectly good paragraph on stuff like this? DUD – Avalanche v. Sting. Shark, Avalanche, Golga, Earthquake, John Tenta, take your pick. As my dad would say: Same shit, different pile. (2011 Scott sez:  RIP, John.  Never mind me there, you were a talented and classy guy.)  Stall stall stall to start. Avalanche moves like a slug, controlling Sting with power stuff. This situation continues for a while. Sting kicks him in the leg to come back, so Avalanche stops to catch his breath outside the ring. Talk about a futile chase. Back in for that epic hallmark of excitement: The HEADLOCK! And a bearhug. Finally, he goes for the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DOOM, but Sting pops up in a nice sequence, and the ref is bumped in a less-than-nice sequence. Sullivan comes in, they rough up Sting, Hogan makes the save and another ref comes in to call for the DQ at 15:22. Wait wait…let me get this straight…we needed 15 minutes, a ref bump, and ANOTHER ref, all for a cheap DQ to protect JOHN TENTA??? Am I missing something here, or did WCW distribute special IQ-lowering drugs with every PPV? – Exciting video package recaps that epic Hogan v. Beefcake feud. – WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Brother Brutus “The Zodiac Barber Butcher Clipmaster Disciple Bootyman with No Name or Face” Beefcake. Now, I’m not saying Beefcake isn’t marketable, but the name speaks for itself, I think. I should also note that Scott Hudson totally stole that gag from me for a WCW Saturday Night episode a couple of months ago, and then lifted Scott “Last Call” Hall from me as well. On the bright side, I completely endorse Hudson stealing my stuff because it means that at least the QUALITY announcers in the promotion get to highlight my material. If Tony started swiping my jokes, I’d be seriously worried about my rep. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m much more flattered by stuff like Five Moves of Doom making it onto WWE TV, because I know for a fact that there are more than a few people in WWE who have read my stuff for a long time, and that in some small way I’m influencing what they’re doing.   It’s a good feeling.)  Anyway, we go right to punching and chopping, which leads to alleged brawling on the floor. Hogan does some devastating chest-rakes to take over. You’d think a guy who was 6’4” and 300 pounds wouldn’t have to fight like a girl to get over, but what do I know? Beefcake catches him with a high knee coming in, and were this 1985 it’d be CURTAINS for Hogan. Sadly, it’s 1994 at this time, so the pain continues. (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing wrong with a high knee as a finisher, actually.  I mean, you’re jumping in the air and hitting the guy in the jaw with your fucking KNEE, what more do you need?)  The BITCHSLAP OF DEATH off the second rope misses completely, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure of what he was gonna try anyway. Hogan comes back and runs through his usual series of tired stuff, which gets a pop from the fans WCW had paid off to cheer for him. Beefcake gets the sleeper, and once again, if it was 1985, we’d be outta here, but Hogan escapes yet another of Beefcake’s old finishers and comes back. Big boot! Legdrop! Run-in! It’s like the WWF all over again. And people think RUSSO is bad for reliving his glory years. Sullivan and Avalanche literally stand on the apron and wait for Hogan to complete the pinfall at 12:04 before they come into the ring and beat him up. Well, if you’re gonna punk someone out, at least be CONSIDERATE about it. ¼* Randy Savage, who was either gonna “shake Hogan’s hand or slap his face” does the run-in and teases doing the latter before settling on the former. And that would eventually lead to the historic Clash XXX, home of the infamous “Reviving Elbow”. If you want to know what that’s about, e-mail Rick Scaia and I’m sure he’ll be happy to write a few paragraphs on the subject like he did back in 95.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hogan and Savage teamed up to face the Dungeon on that Clash, and with Hogan seemingly down and out, Savage dropped the big elbow on him to put him into Hulk-Up Mode and save the day.  It’s actually kind of brilliant in a “breaking the fourth wall” sense) The Bottom Line: Was this WCW 1994 or WCW 2000 once Vince Russo gets turfed for booking like a retard? Don’t laugh – it happened before when WCW got desperate enough after 1993, and 1999 turned out almost as bad. You just never know when the evil influence of the Orange Goblin can return to rear it’s ugly, overly tanned head, and this show is proof. (2011 Scott sez:  Boy, did 2000 go worse for WCW than anyone could have possibly imagined or even guessed at.  I mean, joking about Russo getting fired and the company going out of business is one thing, but…)  Anyway, videos like this should come with a warning label: The Surgeon General has determined that Hulk Hogan’s booking can be hazardous to your intelligence. Watch at your own risk. Strongest recommendation to avoid.

Starrcade Countdown: 1994

The Netcop Retro Rant for Starrcade 94 – Welcome to rock bottom, as Hogan’s egomania results in the main event of the biggest WCW show of the year involving Brutus Beefcake. To put things in perspective, this was during my WCW boycott period, and I didn’t even read the results of the show until about a month after, and I didn’t see the show for the first time until 1997. I think I still watched Worldwide wrestling back around this time, because I recall seeing a lot of Larry Zbyszko v. Terra Rizin’ matches. Hey, remember when WCW actually developed future World champions instead of signing them 10 years past their prime? Bets are currently flying as to who the next dumbass talent release will end up being. I personally say Lenny Lane, with the whole West Hollywood Blond thing being the spark that ignites his star in the WWF when the inevitable signing occurs once his contract expires.  (2011 Scott sez:  I believe Lenny Lane is now doing kids birthday parties for a living.  So I was bit off on my assessment of his future potential.)   – Before I forget, props go out to James Fabiano, who answered my plea and called into Meltzer last night, not only asking about the finish to the Nasties-Sting/Hawk match, but going above the call of duty and plugging Rantsylvania and Wrestleline at the same time. Now that’s dedication! I should point out that with mentions on WCW Live and Meltzer’s program, I’m a “Byte This” mention away from “hitting for the cycle”, so to speak. So someone get to it and call up Kevin Kelly and ask why the WWF won’t send me review copies of the new WWF videos! Make me proud, Netcop groupies!  (2011 Scott sez:  In recent years, WWE actually did start sending me review copies of their DVDs, long after the point when I stopped caring about reviewing them.  That’s irony for ya.  Never did get that mention on Byte This, though.)  – Live from Nashville, TN. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby – For the sake of my own sanity, I’m omitting all the backstage promos that look like ECW’s “Taped on a hand-held camera by an epileptic 4-year-old” promos and Mean Gene interview segments, because they all suck. I’m also omitting the PWI Awards segments, because they were fixed by Turner anyway (2011 Scott sez:  …allegedly) and I refuse to acknowledge any fanbase that would be so retarded as to vote Hulk Hogan “Wrestler of the Year” for 1994 when Bret Hart was clearly a bigger draw with better matches, if one compares Wrestlemania X’s buyrate (and two ***** matches) to Bash at the Beach’s lesser numbers.  (2011 Scott sez:  Pretty sure Bash at the Beach blew away Wrestlemania in buys that year, actually.  It stood as WCW’s biggest PPV ever until Starrcade 97 and did something like 600K buys when everything was counted.  Can you IMAGINE a WWE show doing 600,000 buys outside of Wrestlemania these days?  Vince would have a ticker tape parade for John Cena and flood Twitter with celebratory press releases.)  Opening match, US title: Jim Duggan v. Vader. Duggan and Vader brawl on the floor. Duggan punches a lot, Vader does nothing but sell. There’s something you don’t see every day. Duggan with a bodypress (!) and a bodyslam (!!) for two. Duggan hits a good stiff clothesline and elbowdrop for two. What, did someone invent a time machine and pull the Duggan from 1985 for this match? He gets knocked out of the ring, and Vader stomps him upon re-entry. Sloppy pump splash gets two. Is he hungover tonight or something? We get a bunch of stalling, then Vader goes for the moonsault and misses. Duggan comes back with a crisp lariat. Damn, a motivated Duggan is pretty good. I haven’t seen him go like this since the UWF days. Tony is already spouting the company line about WCW being #1. Yeah, #1…FOR ME TO POOP ON! (2011 Scott sez:  I was watching a lot of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog back then.) I think there’s a juxtaposition pun involving “Konnan O’ Brian” I could work in if I was feeling really motivated, but for this crap show, why bother? Three-point stance gets two, but Race puts Vader’s foot on the ropes. My roommate also comes to the conclusion that Vader is stinking up the joint at this point, with no prompting on my part. Race distracts the ref, and various shenanigans result in Duggan getting run into his own 2×4 and hit with the inverted powerbomb for the pin and the title at 12:02. Mark your calendar: DUGGAN carries VADER to a decent match. **1/4  (2011 Scott sez:  I’m dubious about that.  I’ll have to check it out on YouTube sometime to see if I was crazy there.)  Jean Paul Levesque v. Alex Wright. Levesque is the ultimate example of wrestling being a giant metaphor: The snake that consumes it’s own tail to survive. Every time you think there’s no one left to carry the torch, wrestling cannibalizes it’s castoffs and jobbers and creates another star. Case in point, failed WCW prospect Terra Rizin, who was given a decent gimmick in blueblood snob Jean Paul Levesque as a potential junior partner for Steve Regal. Rightly feeling that he had no future in WCW with this kind of plan, Jean Paul took a chance with the WWF as a singles wrestler, floundering in the midcard for years before hitting upon the right gimmick retooling at the right time and winning the World title, despite a noted lack of moves not involving his knee. Yup, just call Mr. Levesque HHH now. The lesson, as always, is that you never know where your next star is going to come from. Anyway, enough deep pontificating, on with the crappy wrestling! Wright and Levesque do an extremely condescending mat-wrestling sequence that is obviously for show, drawing the ire of the crowd. I mean, some old school is nice now and then, but these two had a year experience combined, MAYBE, at this point, and were not the ones to be taking it to the mat at this point, and on a major PPV no less. Jean Paul obliges the bored crowd by stomping Wright, then hitting a leg lariat, something I’ve never seen him do since. Stalling and resting follow. Levesque was VERY green at this point, and you can imagine how bad that made him, considering that he hasn’t improved too much in the five years since. (2011 Scott sez:  Clearly this was written before the Cactus Jack matches in 2000 where I developed a man-crush on HHH for a while.)  Wright comes back after an eternity and flips over him in the corner, getting a reverse rollup for the pin at 14:00. Yes, they gave the rookies 14 minutes, don’t ask me why either. * – World TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Arn Anderson. Honky Tonk Man walked out of the promotion literally earlier in the day, for some stupid political reason. Otherwise it’d be him challenging here. (2011 Scott sez:  If Honky had stuck around long enough to join the nWo in 1996, he probably would have made more money than he could ever spend on sequined black-and-white jumpsuits in his lifetime.  Or he could have been the mentor for Disco Inferno and revived his career.  I love Honky and I’m glad he’s doing good for himself on the indies, but it was a short-sighted and stupid move on his part to leave just as WCW was getting hot, because the WWF run was obviously the wrong career move to make.)  Weak wrestling sequence to start. Arn has “tells” like a poker player for when he isn’t bothering to make an effort, and the principle one is arguing over hair pulling. If he’s arguing over a hair pull a minute into the match, it’s gonna suck. Arn hits a spinebuster out of nowhere to take control, and he goes his usual stuff (abdominal stretch, sleeper-reversal, knucklelock into crotchshot) and Badd comes back. Top rope sunset flip gets two. Arn reverses to a Flair pin in the corner, but the ref sees the feet on the ropes and breaks it up. Arn is distracted, and Badd rolls him up for the super-weak pin at 11:19. I blinked it and it was 1982 all over again there. *1/4 Arn would go on to win the title a few weeks later. – The Nasty Boys v. Harlem Heat. I don’t remember hardly anything about the title lineage from Pretty Wonderful through the Outsiders, but a check of the title history of the WCW tag belts reveals that Harlem Heat had actually won the belts from Bagwell & Patriot on December 8, so that must have been a TV taping or something. I dunno, WCW’s continuity was so screwed up in 94-95 that they could practically declare anyone the champions and find footage to support it. Don’t even get me started on the Bunkhouse Bunk/Dick Slater thing. Anyway, the Heat is definitely not carrying the belts or announced as the champs here. Big disjointed brawl to start. Booker T gets his arm worked over, which is a nice bit of psychology, but it doesn’t actually, you know, GO ANYWHERE, so whatever. Sags gets caught in the heel corner (remember when the Heat were heels?) and worked over by…shudder…Stevie Ray. Nerve holds! Chinlocks! Bearhugs! It’s like the Poor Richard’s Almanac of Restholds or something. Knobbs gets the hot tag, and another melee breaks out. Sherri hairsprays Booker T by mistake, Sags drops the Shitty Elbow on Stevie, and Sherri comes in for the DQ at 17:46. See, that’s EXACTLY the sort of irritating non-finish that always bugs me after sitting through 18 minutes of resting. ½* – Kevin Sullivan v. Mr. T. I pity the fool who ordered this show in 94. Oh, shit, I’m making Mr. T jokes now, how pathetic is that? (2011 Scott sez:  At least the Mr. T stuff is still understandable by 90% of the audience 10 years later.  Some of the “of the time” references I made in 1999 are pretty cringe-worthy now.)  We get about 30 seconds of “brawling”, Santa Claus runs in, reveals himself to be Evad Sullivan, hits Kevin with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, and Mr. T gets the pin at 3:49. Why do I bother even wasting a perfectly good paragraph on stuff like this? DUD – Avalanche v. Sting. Shark, Avalanche, Golga, Earthquake, John Tenta, take your pick. As my dad would say: Same shit, different pile. (2011 Scott sez:  RIP, John.  Never mind me there, you were a talented and classy guy.)  Stall stall stall to start. Avalanche moves like a slug, controlling Sting with power stuff. This situation continues for a while. Sting kicks him in the leg to come back, so Avalanche stops to catch his breath outside the ring. Talk about a futile chase. Back in for that epic hallmark of excitement: The HEADLOCK! And a bearhug. Finally, he goes for the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DOOM, but Sting pops up in a nice sequence, and the ref is bumped in a less-than-nice sequence. Sullivan comes in, they rough up Sting, Hogan makes the save and another ref comes in to call for the DQ at 15:22. Wait wait…let me get this straight…we needed 15 minutes, a ref bump, and ANOTHER ref, all for a cheap DQ to protect JOHN TENTA??? Am I missing something here, or did WCW distribute special IQ-lowering drugs with every PPV? – Exciting video package recaps that epic Hogan v. Beefcake feud. – WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Brother Brutus “The Zodiac Barber Butcher Clipmaster Disciple Bootyman with No Name or Face” Beefcake. Now, I’m not saying Beefcake isn’t marketable, but the name speaks for itself, I think. I should also note that Scott Hudson totally stole that gag from me for a WCW Saturday Night episode a couple of months ago, and then lifted Scott “Last Call” Hall from me as well. On the bright side, I completely endorse Hudson stealing my stuff because it means that at least the QUALITY announcers in the promotion get to highlight my material. If Tony started swiping my jokes, I’d be seriously worried about my rep. (2011 Scott sez:  I’m much more flattered by stuff like Five Moves of Doom making it onto WWE TV, because I know for a fact that there are more than a few people in WWE who have read my stuff for a long time, and that in some small way I’m influencing what they’re doing.   It’s a good feeling.)  Anyway, we go right to punching and chopping, which leads to alleged brawling on the floor. Hogan does some devastating chest-rakes to take over. You’d think a guy who was 6’4” and 300 pounds wouldn’t have to fight like a girl to get over, but what do I know? Beefcake catches him with a high knee coming in, and were this 1985 it’d be CURTAINS for Hogan. Sadly, it’s 1994 at this time, so the pain continues. (2011 Scott sez:  Nothing wrong with a high knee as a finisher, actually.  I mean, you’re jumping in the air and hitting the guy in the jaw with your fucking KNEE, what more do you need?)  The BITCHSLAP OF DEATH off the second rope misses completely, and to be honest I’m not 100% sure of what he was gonna try anyway. Hogan comes back and runs through his usual series of tired stuff, which gets a pop from the fans WCW had paid off to cheer for him. Beefcake gets the sleeper, and once again, if it was 1985, we’d be outta here, but Hogan escapes yet another of Beefcake’s old finishers and comes back. Big boot! Legdrop! Run-in! It’s like the WWF all over again. And people think RUSSO is bad for reliving his glory years. Sullivan and Avalanche literally stand on the apron and wait for Hogan to complete the pinfall at 12:04 before they come into the ring and beat him up. Well, if you’re gonna punk someone out, at least be CONSIDERATE about it. ¼* Randy Savage, who was either gonna “shake Hogan’s hand or slap his face” does the run-in and teases doing the latter before settling on the former. And that would eventually lead to the historic Clash XXX, home of the infamous “Reviving Elbow”. If you want to know what that’s about, e-mail Rick Scaia and I’m sure he’ll be happy to write a few paragraphs on the subject like he did back in 95.  (2011 Scott sez:  Hogan and Savage teamed up to face the Dungeon on that Clash, and with Hogan seemingly down and out, Savage dropped the big elbow on him to put him into Hulk-Up Mode and save the day.  It’s actually kind of brilliant in a “breaking the fourth wall” sense) The Bottom Line: Was this WCW 1994 or WCW 2000 once Vince Russo gets turfed for booking like a retard? Don’t laugh – it happened before when WCW got desperate enough after 1993, and 1999 turned out almost as bad. You just never know when the evil influence of the Orange Goblin can return to rear it’s ugly, overly tanned head, and this show is proof. (2011 Scott sez:  Boy, did 2000 go worse for WCW than anyone could have possibly imagined or even guessed at.  I mean, joking about Russo getting fired and the company going out of business is one thing, but…)  Anyway, videos like this should come with a warning label: The Surgeon General has determined that Hulk Hogan’s booking can be hazardous to your intelligence. Watch at your own risk. Strongest recommendation to avoid.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.