WCW Saturday Night: January 16, 1993

InVerse: This is several years from being relevant to this post, but it felt really important to bring to CFB’s attention but not quite important enough to warrant it’s own thread.

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I hadn’t realized prior to this evening just how important InVerse was to me – but reading this, it’s clear we’re going to be inseparable soul mates from this day forward.

Read moreWCW Saturday Night: January 16, 1993

WCW Worldwide: January 16, 1993

I’ve finally managed to get Worldwide back in the rotation – and not a moment too soon! Z-Man! Johnny Gunn! Nothing but the biggest names on the planet!

TONY SCHIAVONE and JESSE VENTURA welcome us to an actual arena in Alabama. Tony’s displaying a quality part on the mid-right side of his head, with the kind of precision that lets you know, yes, this is the 90’s. PAUL ORNDORFF saunters on camera, and he starts screaming about Rick Rude’s injury. He apparently knows exactly what needs to be done. And what needs doing? Whether it’s Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, he’s going to have a match with Steeng. What of Atlanta? St. Louis? Murfreesboro? Does “Steeng” not work those territories?

Read moreWCW Worldwide: January 16, 1993

WCW Power Hour: January 16, 1993

Going AnonYou failed to note the very loud “Erik Watts sucks” chant while he’s being interviewed in the back.
I have failed each and every one of you. I vow to work harder at bringing up any and all of Erik Watts’ lowest moments.
LIVE from a taped studio, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are running on Cactus Jack-mania. Of course, they immediately divert my attention by casually dropping in that The Barbarian is facing 2 Cold Scorpio in the main event. Oh, hell, yes. Scorpio, I dare you to step. This could be glorious.

I opt to skip through the replaying of the US title tournament semi-final matches, or Jim Ross in the Superbrawl Master Control Studio. I am completely taken by the Super Mario Kart commercial however. That game was the boss. I used to haul my Super Nintendo to a friend’s house who also had a system, and a group of us would two barrel a pair of TVs all night, running tournament after tournament. My wife and I played it roughly a month ago, but she hated it. I have since considered filing for divorce.
TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. TOMMY ANGEL and THE ITALIAN STALLION
I love that WCW never stopped recycling their awful, awful music, even with the added pressure from the WWF’s in-house work in the late 90’s. Tex and Shanghai are using “Generic Cowboy” which would later be given to Bobby Duncum Jr. Chris Benoit used that silly clapping theme at the Clash of Champions. Austin’s would be recycled a half dozen times. And Ron Studd would murder Fit Finlay in an unsolved European case before robbing him of his music. My sound completely gives out after the entrances, so I’m left to speculate what’s in the paper grocery bag Tex brought to the ring. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I’ve opted to rule out his lunch, an International Object, and Damian, leaving me with the obvious answer. It’s rolled tightly, and doesn’t appear to be very heavy … so I figure it’s whatever’s left of Erik Watts’ dignity. Angel hits a fantastic German suplex on Tex, which is pretty much our lone highlight. The Italian Stallion, meanwhile, can go to hell for ripping that name off, and I’m hoping he draws the ire of a drunken Paulie and gets stabbed in the beans with a broken beer bottle. Pierce pins Angel with a combined DDT at 3:29. *
Elsewhere, MISSY HYATT hosts Missy Does the Mail. On the topic of Cactus Jack’s actions from this week, she says it sums up her longstanding believe that you can’t trust a man who wears his teeth as an earring. However, Harley Race was wearing some fairly atrocious polyester, so Jack can’t be blamed for his actions. Also, the letter writer offers her some bareback riding lessons, and Missy says “I can’t wait!” Isn’t this a kid friendly show? I’m fairly sure an open proposal to contract Missy’s wide array of STD’s by plugging her without the shrink wrap doesn’t belong on Saturday morning programming.
The volume completely cuts out now, which is great, because I don’t have to listen to BILL APTER suck the kneecaps of ERIK WATTS … which might be the most play he’s ever going to get.
THE BARBARIAN (with Cactus Jack) vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO
I’m still without sound, but Tony’s kinda useless anyway so I’ll get by. Barbarian powers Scorpio back to the corner and barks in his face repeatedly, like the Alpha dog asserting his dominance in the pound. A series of headbutts take Scorpio to the mat, and probably to another planet. The fool tries a sunset flip, but Barbarian’s like “bitch, really?” and doesn’t even flinch. Scorpio runs away from the attack, but then leaps on his head and hits a victory roll for 2. A dropkick has the Barbarian in a white hot rage, but he rolls outside to confer with his good friend, Cactus Jack. Scorpio threatens to fly, and winds up kicking Barbarian all the way to the guardrail. He shakes it off and gets back in. Scorpio’s waiting with a kick to the face, but Barbarian just roars in his face and murders him with a clothesline. Barbarian threatens a powerbomb, but stops mid-way and hangs Scorpio over the ropes in the corner instead. A single uppercut causes him to fall off the buckle and on to the apron, so Barbarian pulls him back in and goes for a backbreaker. Scorpio slips off the back, and pays dearly for that stunt with a clothesline that would have chopped down a giant redwood. Barbarian goes easy, working a headlock, which Scorpio stupidly tries to fight off. Barbarian just throws him through the middle ropes like garbage – which might be a rare mistake from the promotion’s top guy, because 2 Cold re-enters with a sunset flip for 2. You can about see the steam come out his ears when Barbarian pops up, and Scorpio takes the kind of pounding you’d usually reserve for tenderizing a whole cow. Barbarian drops a couple of elbows across Scorpio’s throat, and attempts to put him to sleep. Scorpio manages to escape and hits a pair of dropkicks, followed by a big splash for 2. Barbarian sits up like the Undertaker on speed, and delivers the Kick of Fear with enough force to make a soccer ball explode. Scorpio tumbles to the outside of the ring where he lays for awhile, but he manages to beat the count. He quickly hits the Pele kick, and does a 180 legdrop for 2. A superkick sends Barbarian to the floor, and Jack reminds him, “hey, you’re the Barbarian, you’ve cannibalized bigger guys than this in one sitting!” Barbarian nods and gets back in, but Scorpio catches him with a surprise suplex and hits a slingshot somersault legdrop for 2. A superkick rocks the big man again and time runs out at 10:00. Saved by the bell, 2 Cold. It’s probably for the best, this was undoubtedly ending with Scorpio’s head being ripped off like a chicken, and that just gets messy. **

That’s it for now. Saturday night has a rock-star lineup tonight, and although the show may not feature Barbarian, it’s likely to be a good one. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 22: January 13, 1993

On Sunday Night, Cactus Jack left about 800 wrestlers for dead. Everyone, from jobbers all the way up to the World Champion were no match for Jack and his shovel. Are there going to be repercussions for the madman from New Mexico? Will Dustin Rhodes win the big one? Just what DID Erik Watts do to get arrested? And what the hell is a Thunder Cage? We hope to address this tonight, but being WCW, I’ll be happy if just one of these points is touched on.
Since this is 1993, Vader’s team is dubbed “THE EVIL TEAM” by the Unknown Voice Over. Shades of grey weren’t wrestling’s strongest suit in those days.
LIVE from Milwaukee, WI, TONY SCHIAVONE is joined by … BILL WATTS? This can’t possibly be our announce team. Watts gloats about teaming with The Crusher against Larry Hennig and Larry Zbyszko in Milwaukee shortly after founding father Soloman Juneau settled in the region in the early parts of the 19th century. Watts takes us through the state of the union; Van Hammer tore a guitar string and won’t be able to arm wrestle tonight. He’s being replaced by Vinnie Vegas for reasons. Meanwhile, his son Erik, who he says is “like a son” to him, told him he was arrested for no good reason at all. And because of this relationship, Bill believes him; but it needs to be investigated. As a result, he won’t be wrestling Cactus Jack. Wouldn’t an appropriate punishment be to have him wrestle Cactus Jack?

In the back, LARRY ZBYSZKO is with the aforementioned ERIK WATTS, and it becomes increasingly obvious that he’s been charged with stealing the wardrobe from the host of Nick Arcade.
 
Bill Watts is frustrated that his son can’t compete, but has a fair replacement: Johnny B Badd. Man, that’s a shockingly low opinion he has of the man who’s “like a son” to him.
JIM ROSS and JESSE VENTURA are the real announcers, though I don’t know if this is an improvement.
CACTUS JACK vs. JOHNNY B BADD
These guys actually have a little history, partnering together in the Lethal Lottery at Starrcade – but like all other Cactus Jack partners, Badd ate it like a champ. Ventura correctly points out that the audience has a shocking number of Cactus Jack signs, fallout from Sunday’s anti-hero face turn. Cactus misses an avalanche, and gets rolled up for 2. Badd works an armbar, but that doesn’t go very far, and Johnny gets punched in the head. Badd slams Jack’s face into the buckle, and cradles Cactus for 2. Up top, Badd misses a sunset flip, and Jack drops an elbow for the quick pin at 2:53. This should have been a completely one-sided squash; that was WAYYYYY too much offense for (at this point) useless Johnny. 1/2*
During the break, the greatest music video in the history of wrestling debuts. I’ve posted it before; but let’s go through it one more time. A group of naughty (black) kids refuse to go to school, despite the pleas of the (good) white kid, because they just want to play basketball. They continue to play, when a limo pulls up, and a large woman begin shrieking “EVERYBODY HERE COMES TOO COLD SCORPIO!” The basketball is whiffed with one of the worst looking air-balls I’ve ever seen, which is both necessary to take us to the next part of the video – but also subliminally highlight that these kids should probably focus on their studies since an NBA career is not in the cards. The ball takes a perfect bounce into the limo, and Scorpio bursts through the doors bouncing the ball – basically playing the Wesley Snipes version of the Kool Aid Man. He dunks, drawing high praise from the drop-outs. Scorpio asks why they’re not in school, and one of the delinquents tells him they’re off to the Arcade. Scorpio tells them Mortal Kombat is going to have to wait, they need an education, and he’s going to take them there. The kids perk up, thinking they’re about to hop in the limo, bathe in Dom, and toss around Benjamin’s like Floyd Mayweather. However, Scorpio immediately blue balls them and informs the group “we gonna step”. Then he dances with a bunch of sluts for some reason. This entire segment is Faces of Fear levels of amazing, and completely defines a generation. What that is, is really hard to say – but we’re going to assume it involves stepping.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. SCOTTY FLAMINGO
It breaks my heart in knowing Flamingo has no shot in hell following that video, because any man willing to strap on those tiny pink bicycle shorts and thrust violently at whatever’s he hallucinating about deserves a rocket strapped to his back. Flamingo actually has the crowd support which pleases me greatly. Scorpio hits Flamingo with a springboard back elbow before whiffing on a kick that Flamingo sells by literally jumping backwards and out of the ring. Champ. Scorpio decks him with a big right hand off the apron, but Flamingo’s back in first and hits a dropkick to send Scorpio back to the outside. A plancha (!) connects, and Flamingo throws Scorpio back in for 1. Scorpio sneaks in a small package for 2, and that enrages Flamingo and his protruding penis. Scorpio keeps on, hitting a pair of dropkicks and Flamingo begs for a time out. Instead, he’s given a rotating splash off the top, but Flamingo kicks out at 2. A Stinger splash misses, and Scorpio eats buckle, allowing Flamingo to roll him up for 2. A dropkick from Scorpio sets up a legdrop, and the Diss That Don’t Miss finishes us off at 4:12. **
CHRIS BENOIT vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG
This is Benoit’s WCW debut, and he’s introduced as a 7-year veteran by Ross to give him some credibility. Man did he age fast, he looks like a kid here, even though he’s in his mid 20’s. Benoit goes for an early powerbomb, but Armstrong rolls off the back and hiptossees Chris. A dropkick leads to an armbar to slow Benoit, who is an absolute ball of energy here. Benoit bridges loose and takes Armstrong down, winning a test of strength. Armstrong backdrops out, and goes back to the armbar. Chris finally has enough and counters into a hammerlock, but Armstrong dumps him through the middle rope, leading to another debut … the feathered mullet.
Back in, Armstrong plants Chris with a dropkick, and goes back to the armbar. I’m not sure keeping Benoit moving at a snail’s pace is the best way to show him off. Benoit shakes loose and goes for a Liontamer, but Armstrong won’t turn, so Benoit gives him a hot shot instead. Armstrong staggers on the apron, so Chris gives him a violent headbutt, and then nails him with a double jump clothesline drawing a massive pop! Armstrong crawls back in, and takes a clothesline so hard I’m surprised his head’s still attached. A backbreaker is followed with a scoop slam so hard that Armstrong bounces off the canvas like a basketball. Chris heads up, but Armstrong goes to cut him off. Benoit ain’t having that, headbutting Armstrong like a boss, and as soon as Brad falls, Benoit’s right behind him with the swandive. Still, Armstrong rolls away, and Brad hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Benoit immediately stands up and hits the Dragon Suplex for the win at 9:15! This was the tale of two matches, but as soon as Benoit got going, this was outstanding. It’s incredible they didn’t offer this guy a huge contract and immediately insert him into the US title picture, because he was ready, even at this point. ***
Meanwhile, TONY SCHIAVONE introduces a video package to highlight the reunion of the Rock n Roll Express. They’ve been tearing up Smokey Mountain Wrestling, but WCW’s arranged a one-time appearance for the new SMW tag-team champions to appear at Superbrawl. That’s a fantastic working partnership. I actually have the bulk of the SMW library on one of my hard drives … do I dare extend myself even thinner?
JESSE VENTURA excitedly hosts the latest in the Strongest Arm competition. The reigning champion is hurt, and the runner up, Ron Simmons, is in the main event – but we’re given Tony Atlas challenging … Vinnie Vegas. Apparently Vegas is being given this opportunity because he was eliminated unfairly from the tournament, since he is left handed. This is actually happening, isn’t it? Vegas, for the record, is sporting an incredible pair of pink hospital scrubs tonight. Jesse provides some scintillating play-by-play that I could not possibly top (“HERE COMES VINNIE VEGAS BACK! HE’S ROLLING THE DICE!”), and after roughly two and a half decades, Vegas wins. You know, even with the hindsight that Over the Top drew absolutely no money, WCW continues to run with this. Though, really, I’m secretly ok with that.
And speaking of things I’m totally ok with, VADER is screaming about Sting from inside a blizzard. He has a special challenge to present him with, but he wants to do it from inside his White Castle of Fear! Sting is promised a good time if he’s willing to live on the edge. I think this was Chapter 14 in 50 Shades of Vader.
LARRY ZBYSZKO covers the #1 contender tournament for the US title that’s been going on. Rhodes and Steamboat face off on Saturday Night, and will face Rick Rude on the 23rd … unless he’s too hurt to fight. If that’s the case, this weekend’s bout is for the strap. Fun!
THE WRECKING CREW vs. THE Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN
Rage and Fury make up the Wrecking Crew, but while Fury is probably not known to you, he has a couple of very famous brothers in Animal, and John Laurenitis. Rage is just the latest incarnation of The Reverend Al Green, who has not begun his beastial transition from 70’s Soul Singer to Dog. Ventura sums up his predictions: “I’ll take the two ugly guys!” That’s not very kind to Tom Zenk. Rage tries a press slam, but Zenk escapes and hits a cross body for 2. Team Powder Blue clear the ring, and while the Crew reground, Z-Man hits a tope on both! Gunn comes in and is held hostage by Rage, but he sidesteps the attack and Fury nails his own partner. Fury regroups and blasts Gunn with a forearm, but Gunn hits a quick faceplant and tags out. Zenk takes a gutwrench powerbomb to set up a spinning sidewalk slam, and Z-Man is reeling. Rage comes in and ties up a bit with the referee giving Z-Man a chance to hit a crossbody, but Rage hangs on and just drops him down into a slam. A second rope axehandle is blocked with the superkick, and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn cleans house, but Rage hits a cheap shot to set up the Wrecking Ball and the pin at 6:08. I always like a couple of lumbering, clumsy heels, and these guys will be exactly what the doctor ordered on the J-shows. *
LARRY ZBYSZKO has tracked down BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN. Pillman promises that the champs are about to pay a hefty fine for carrying the gold, and guarantees a dynasty is about to kick off. I’m all in on the Hollywood Blondes era.
STING is welcomed to the arena by TONY SCHIAVONE to respond to Vader. He’s never walked away from an invitation in his life, and he certainly won’t walk away from the White Castle of Fear. DUSTIN RHODES and RON SIMMONS join Sting, and even though Van Hammer is too useless injured to join them tonight, they don’t feel any more short-handed than they did before he was hurt. Only Van Hammer could be double booked and STILL not let anyone down when he fails to appear.
Back in the locker room, LARRY ZBYSZKO is joined by VADERPAUL ORNDORFFBARRY WINDHAMHARLEY RACE, and the man who doesn’t need any partners to single-handedly win this match, THE BARBARIAN. Race doesn’t want to talk about the Thunder Cage because he’s so angry at Cactus Jack. Someday, he’s going to pay for “coming at me with a SCOOP … SHOVEL!” In fact, he doesn’t like anyone associated with Cactus Jack, and fires the Barbarian. The Barbarian lifts Race in a double armed chokehold because he’s the coolest man on the planet, but Vader cheap shots him from behind and Orndorff piledrives him. Race: “ONE MORE TIME!!!!” No one dares do it one more time, because there’s no reason to make the Barbarian any angrier than they already have. Just this stunt is going to cost everyone living in a small village their lives.
WCW airs a package on the history of Superbrawl because whatever The Barbarian is doing is definitely too graphic for your average viewer, and once they’ve managed to clean up the locker room, Larry’s retaken his post with RICKY STEAMBOAT and SHANE DOUGLAS. Steamboat promises that the dynasty is going to end before it begins. Douglas just wants to get to the ring and get it on. So does Chyna, quite frankly.
SHANE DOUGLAS and RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
We’re on a 30-minute time limit given the TV limitations, but that seems asinine since there’s like 30 minutes left in the show and we have a Thunder Cage to see, assuming anyone survived the wrath of The Barbarian. I’m kinda amped to see this incredible collection of talent, and Shane Douglas, in one ring at the same time. Steamboat tries to end things early with a crossbody, but that just draws everyone in for a massive brawl. The faces clear the ring, and Austin’s not impressed at all. Back in, Steve offers the hand of friendship, but Steamboat slaps it away. Disrespect Austin and pay, and he beats the shit out of Steamboat. Pillman comes in, but Steamboat has his way with him, hiptossing and dropkicking him at will. Douglas and Steamboat tag in and out quickly, hitting one move at a time to Pillman’s arm, wearing him down. Pillman twists his knee and it looks like we may be throwing in the towel on this one early. Douglas cautiously checks it out … and takes a headbutt to the gut while Pillman laughs like a hyena. Pillman goes for a rana, but Douglas turns it into a slam for 2. Austin comes in but Douglas wrestles him right down to the mat. Steamboat helps keep Austin in the corner with a hammerlock slam, and a sunset flip from Douglas gets 2. Austin comes back with a handful of tights for 2, and gets into a test of strength. Neither wins, but Douglas rushes to the corner and bounces back with a second rope rear elbow for 2. Steamboat slams Douglas on Austin for 2, and when Pillman rushes to save his buddy, Steamboat slams Brian on Austin as well! Things calm down a little, and Austin inches his way back to his corner. Pillman decks Steamboat allowing Austin to hit a backdrop suplex, and Pillman tags himself in. A cheap shot draws in Douglas, and while the referee restrains him, Steamboat is thrown over the top rope where Austin happily slams him on the concrete floor! Dirty and delicious. Steamboat fights his way back to the apron and nearly suplexes Pillman to the floor, but Austin kicks Steamboat in the small of the back, and Pillman reverses to bring Steamboat back in for 2. The boys beat Steamboat like a pinada, and the longer he takes to spew forth candy, the harder they hit. A faceplant from Pillman is held on, and Steamer’s face is ground into the mat. Steamboat gets a surprise sunset flip, but Austin was busy chatting to the referee to get a count. Austin tags in as Steamboat desperately tries to karate chop his way loose, and JUST as it looks like he’s going to get out, Austin hits the backdrop suplex for 2! The crowd collectively gasped when Ricky was denied the tag, great spot. Austin works a reverse backbreaker, and Pillman makes the blind tag to attack … but Steamboat ducks and Pillman nails Austin! A springboard double karate chop knocks down both challengers, and Steamboat makes it oh so close before Pillman stops him. Steamboat hits him with a spinning suplex, and both guys are down. Pillman desperately tries to stop the tag, but Ricky makes it this time as the arena explodes, and Douglas destroys both guys. Pillman takes a belly to belly, but the referee is trying to keep the desperate Steamboat in his corner … and Austin drops a knee off the top rope! Pillman is rolled on top, but Douglas kicks out and the place is rocking now! Austin and Steamboat trade punches on the outside while the referee desperately tries to maintain order, but JUST as the referee starts dragging Steamboat back to his corner, Austin grabs a belt and sneaks in to blast Douglas upside the head with the sharp side of the gold! The referee was still paying attention though, and immediately disqualifies both guys at 13:43! The fans are positively rabid now, THRILLED the miserable bastards got caught. They don’t care though, as Pillman hits a DDT on Steamboat, while Douglas spurts blood from his forehead. Next, the belts are used to whip Steamboat, but BRAD ARMSTRONG leads a BRIGADE OF LOSERS to the ring to save the day. Austin and Pillman take the gold and parade around the ring, holding the belts as high in the air as they can. This is everything I could ever hope for from my favorite scumbags. ****
VADER and HARLEY RACE head to the ring to talk with JESSE VENTURA. Race gloats that Vader’s the greatest champion in history, but that draws out an irate RON SIMMONS. Simmons says the first time Vader lets his guard down, he’ll put him on his back. Race tries a sucker punch, so Simmons kicks his ass and then goes for Vader. A spinebuster takes out the champion, and Simmons turns back to the ramp to slaughter Race. Vader rushes in to save his manager, and jumps on the back of Simmons which HAS to smart! He splashes Simmons on the concrete, and attacks the injured shoulder with a pair of shoulderbreakers. STING and DUSTIN RHODES rush in to save their friend, but they’re way late. Simmons is out of the main event.
BARRY WINDHAM, PAUL ORNDORFF, and VADER (with Harley Race) vs. STING and DUSTIN RHODES (in a Come Dressed as You Are, handicap Thunder Cage match)
As it turns out, street clothes for Vader are exactly the same thing he wears all the time. I admire his dedication to the look. So, to answer what exactly a Thunder Cage is, it’s essentially a Hell in a Cell, but constructed like an upside-down deep fryer basket. Rhodes goes after Windham as you’d expect, but a blind tag surprises Windham, and he eats a face plant from Sting. Vader wants a piece of Sting, and tags in to go right after him. Sting is immediately overpowered, and Vader flexes to remind him he’s the man. Sting throws some desperate punches, but Vader starts throwing his giant clubs. Sting battles back and Vader starts rocking, so he quickly hits an atomic drop, followed by a DDT. The Stinger Splash has Vader wobbly, and Sting doesn’t relent, hammering with everything he’s got! The fans are loving Sting’s fight, but you know it this isn’t it, because here comes the heels. Sting fights them off, but Vader is able to recover and he hits the bear clap. Off the top, a clothesline drops Sting. Ross: “That defies logic! A 400 pound man should not be able to come off the top rope like that!” So, he opts to defy logic again, but his splash misses and Sting clotheslines him to the floor! The fans are rockin’, and Sting howls to them … completely missing that Orndorff has rushes him from behind, and Sting’s dropped with a German suplex! Vader officially tags Orndorff in, and he stomps Sting into a puddle. An elbow to the little Stinger (which Jesse reminds us is a legal blow in this match) brings in Windham, and he’s ready to dish a little violence. A vertical suplex is followed by a cheap shot to Rhodes. Dustin rushes in, and gets avalanched by Vader in the corner. Good job Dustin! Vader tags in, and crushes Sting with the avalanche as well before hocking a loogie at Rhodes. My man! A press slam, complete with Vader tossing Sting in the air as he benches him, keeps Sting down, and Windham comes in to hit his Superplex. Sting fights off the Superplex, which would have undoubtedly ended this, and gets the hot tag to Rhodes. Dustin fights with all 3 guys who have come into the ring now, and manages to beat them down briefly. Windham eats a corner clothesline, as CACTUS JACK rushes in with a pair of bolt cutters! He hacks his way through the lock, and welcomes himself to the fray – officially declaring himself on the side of the faces! Windham tries to stop him as Orndorff works over Rhodes, but he rips off his boot and starts clobbering all 3 guys! Vader avalanches Rhodes again, while Orndorff tosses Jack through the ropes, where he flies into the side of the cage and splats on the floor full force, as always. Sting is dumped, leaving Rhodes one on one with Orndorff. However, Cactus wills himself back in, and he comes off the top with the boot to the back of Orndorff’s head and scores the pin at 11:25! Sadly, this was rushed because TV time was at a premium and WCW didn’t think to cut out some of the unnecessary fat. **1/2
JIM ROSS wants a word with Jack, and the audience is fully behind this. Jack says for the last 9 years he’s been called a psycho, and a warped loser. He’s got a neck that hurts him every morning when he wakes up thanks to Orndorff, and he’s probably in over his head. His ribs hurt because Vader splashed him, and he knows he’s in over his head. However … you can beat him, you can hurt him, but you can’t stop him. “SO PAUL ORNDORFF, BRING IT ON! BRING EVERY OUNCE OF ENERGY CUZ YOU’RE GONNA NEED IT!” The face turn is complete, and it looks like we have the first break-out main eventer of 1993.

I wasn’t expecting a ton out of this show given the clog of names like Van Hammer and Erik Watts being heavily advertised – but not only was the dead weight shoved aside for the most part, all of the young guys were given plenty of opportunity to shine, and shine they did. Austin is looking like a polished vet, Chris Benoit is a phenomenal new intense entry to the federation, and Mick Foley’s the second hottest commodity they’re riding (behind Sting). We’re off to an incredibly promising start to 1993, and it’s all up to WCW to take advantage.

WCW Main Event: January 10, 1993

The Clash of Champions is coming up Wednesday, but not before a major edition of The Main Event takes us home. And as you’ll find out, for roughly the first time ever, I’m actually not kidding. JIM ROSS and MICHAEL P.S. HAYES are LIVE (taped) in front of a green screen featuring a slow moving blurry audience that appears to be cheering and booing at random intervals at … Gary Michael Capetta?

BARRY WINDHAM vs. DUSTIN RHODES
This is actually a ridiculously big match for the Main Event – good on you WCW for paying attention to your H-shows. Windham thinks it’s amazing that Rhodes has even displayed the guts to show up tonight given his broken wrist. Rhodes charges the ring, and fists start flying like electronics on Black Friday. Rhodes throws his best clotheslines with his good arm, including one that sends Windham over the top rope. Hayes correctly points out that’s a DQ, but Ross defends it as … it’s the referee’s discretion? What the hell is that nonsense? Pee Wee Anderson should have been fired years before his public humiliation in 1997, he’s making awful judgment calls. Back in, Rhodes hits another clothesline, but Barry immediately plants him with a jumping DDT. With momentum now in his corner, Windham starts attacking the raw wrist of Rhodes. DOUG DILLENGER stalks around the ringside area in a 3 piece suit for god knows what reason, while Windham delivers a half nelson slam on the wrist. A second jumping DDT is blocked with a backdrop, but before Rhodes can do anything, Windham claws at the eyes. Rhodes fires back, and both guys start getting ridiculously violent. The referee tries to break it up to have a clean fight, but they both shove him aside and it’s a double DQ at 4:27. Barry kills Rhodes with a jumping DDT after the bell, and informs Anderson he doesn’t really care that it’s “over”. As a result, the entire brigade of striped shirts is forced to intervene on Dustin’s behalf and save the day. **
MICHAEL HAYES hits the ring to chat with HARLEY RACE. Hayes talks up the Thundercage as the most dangerous structure ever constructed, and asks Race who the heck is going to replace Rude? Race says he’s scoured the earth for the nastiest people on the planet, and he’s decided that … Cactus Jack and Paul Orndorff are going to wrestle to determine the vacancy. I mean, I can’t hate the Jack involvement, but Race really had to scour the earth for that? He didn’t come up with anyone better while he was going the streets of Djibouti? There was nobody meaner in Qatar? I’m thinking Race didn’t put a lot of effort into his world travels.
BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN vs. LARRY SANTO and T.C. CARTER
T.C. Carter is a long time WCW jobber – which is unfortunate since he’s just defined half of the entire WWF Attitude Era. On one side, we have Steve Austin, and on the other, an 80’s pimp. He looks a little meaner than the Godfather, so I’m thinking you probably don’t want to get caught up in an argument with one of his ladies over whether or not she didn’t state up front that fetish of yours comes at an extra cost. Carter beats down Austin, so he backs up to the corner, and as soon as he does, Austin comes out with some killer intensity, just pounding the ever loving shit out of Carter. Now THAT was the rattlesnake in Steve all the way, turn your head for a second, and he’s gonna get you. Carter gets picked up for the Stun Gun, and just for kicks, Pillman dropkicks him into the move to accentuate the punch, and picks up the easy win at 2:49. Even in a squash, Austin’s scary good at this point, and I’d dare say potentially even more polished as a ring performer than he’d be by the time he got around to the main events. *
MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. Memphis Heat asks: Does that mean she had done everyone in the locker room already and the mail was the only left she could do?
Memphis, that’s silly. The sheer notion that Erik Watts has been inside a woman since his mother was carrying him is absurd. Anyway, in this segment, Missy plugs the Hotline by promising to tell us the REAL reason Ron Simmons lost the World Title to Vader. Given how uncomfortable he looked, I’m going to say a bad case of hemorrhoids had flared up – and the sheer distraction of a throbbing sphincter was simply too much to handle against a quality opponent like Vader. Now, given that Missy fails to actually answer any mail, let’s turn things over to Devin Harris, who has a quality suggestion regarding Ron Simmons moving forward. Why didn’t they just have Ron Simmons die in a car wreck? That would have been the perfect ending to completely killing off his character.
Oh, we’ve still got a long way to go before we reach that point. An entirely different company hasn’t had the chance to put him in a blue gladiator helmet while having him play an angry Black Panther. Or, live out his days as a walking caricature, known to anyone born after 1990 as “the guy who says Damn”. His assassination is FAR from over.
CACTUS JACK vs. PAUL ORNDORFF (in an Anything Goes Street Fight)
HARLEY RACE hangs around ringside for what is a shockingly stacked show. Orndorff attacks ringside, slamming Cactus’ head into the guard rail, hard enough to get a loud uncomfortable clang from the impact. Wonderful pulls Cactus’ flannel around his neck to choke him out, before throwing some punches the hard way right to the eye. Jeeeeeez! Next up in the car crash, Foley gets thrown into the ringsteps, which he hits full tilt with his hip before careening over, and then Orndorff slams him face first into the steps … which of course Cactus takes as hard as possible. Into the ring, Orndorff stands on Jack’s throat with his workman’s boot, but it does little to keep the wild man down, because he’s back up and pissed off. Orndorff’s shirt is ripped right down the back, and Jack starts clawing and scratching at the bare skin. The shirt is then used as a noose, and while Orndorff lies neck first across the second rope, Mick rushes with a hard knee to the back. Since there’s no DQs, Paul is tossed over the top rope where he falls skin first on the concrete. He gets back to his feet and tries to pull Jack to the floor, but Cactus kicks him in the face and slams Orndorff in the stairs. A running elbow onto the floor MISSES, and Jack is forced to absorb that. Orndorff steals a can of beer from someone in the front row and slams Jack in the face with it. As he staggers around, Orndorff uses a running elbow that sends Jack head first into the ring post, which is again taken hard and without protection. Cactus is feeling no pain though, and he throws Orndorff into the steps, and calls for the finish. The Cactus Clothesline is set up … but Orndorff ducks, and Foley flies ridiculously fast over the top and to the floor. He crawls back to the apron, but Orndorff kicks him in the kidney until he belly flops back to the floor. So much of this is completely unnecessary, but that’s a young Mick Foley in a nutshell – both why I love him, and am sometimes uncomfortable watching him. Orndorff removes his belt for a whoppin’ as Race rolls Cactus back towards the ring, but Jack rakes Paul’s eyes … then dives off the apron delivering a clothesline to Race for being an interfering prick! The fans eat that up, but that was a bad idea, because VADER won’t take that lightly. He comes in, and starts delivering some meaty hooks to Jack’s face, and that’s enough to let Orndorff follow with the spike piledriver. You can scrape him off the mat, he’s dead, but they’re not done. Race drops a knee across Cactus’ face, and because he’s sprawled out on his back, Orndorff uses that as an invitation to choke the life out of him with his belt. Vader, even more happily, delivers the big splash to his prone enemy, and then for fun he does it again from the second rope. Orndorff is declared the winner by Race at 9:16, and despite the lack of finish, this was an excellent old school hardcore brawl. Even better, it sets the stage for Cactus to be an early challenger to Vader’s belt – and you KNOW those guys are gonna deliver some ridiculously hard-hitting stuff. ***
MICHAEL HAYES heads down to the ring to talk to the trio of heels. Harley’s thrilled that Orndorff’s included in the Thundercage, and begs Sting’s team just to show up. Lost in all this, CACTUS JACK has returned with a shovel in hand, and he attacks Vader from behind while Orndorff’s giving himself a pep talk for Wednesday. Race takes a shot between the eyes, and Wonderful is clocked in the head. Jack completely clears the ring to a massive pop, and the rest of the heels on site rush in. VINNIE VEGAS is smashed in the face! TEX SLAZINGER eats a beating! SHANGHAI PIERCE takes a mouthful of shovel! Even a crew of jobbers try their hand, and are completely decimated! It looks like a warzone, with bodies strewn all around the ringside area, and Jack standing tall. Great segment.
After a break, Hayes, who managed to go without getting clocked, wants a word with the wild man. Foley’s face has had time to swell up from the street fight, and his eyes are purpled and swollen. He says that Vader and Race made a big mistake … they let him live. For all the World Title and knowledge Race has got, he’s missing one thing … eyes in the back of his head. He reminds them that while the Thundercage was created to keep men from getting out, it was never created to keep Cactus Jack from getting in. BANG BANG!
Jim Ross sums up the lunacy brilliantly:
After composing himself, Ross remembers that he needs to tell us that Erik Watts was arrested in Charlotte for some reason. Wait, what?!? We’re just hearing about this now? How the hell can that be? We’re like 8 seconds from going off the air and we’re just throwing that out there? I’m not okay with this. What did he do? Solicitation? Narcotics? J-Walking? Disturbing the Peace? Public Intoxication? Stalking? Double Homicide? This is some seriously shoddy reporting on the part of WCW, and it might be the worst cliff hanger in TV history.

Who am I kidding, they got me, hook line and sinker. AWESOME edition of Main Event this week, a billion thumbs up.

WCW Saturday Night: January 9, 1993

I wasn’t the only person completely baffled about a 6-man tag-team match being included on WCW’s VHS release where nobody seemed to know the wrestlers. In fact, WCW themselves never expected it. HOWwrestlingThe truth behind that six-man – It was supposed to be the Steiners vs. the Hellraisers (Hawk & Sasaki) but the WWF signed the Steiners and blocked WCW from showing it, even though WCW argued it was a New Japan show which they had rights to and the WWF didn’t. Then the WWF also signed Jim Ross, who was subsequently no longer available to go back and dub commentary on the new match.
Great insight here, but I’m still not willing to accept that Schiavone and Ross DIDN’T go to a sushi bar together. You aren’t taking that away from me.

We’re gonna skip the Power Hour this week, because … well, virtually nothing of note took place. I did a recap that ate up just over 1 page of written word, and I’m not gonna bother with it. However, I’ll give you the highlights. 28 seconds was dedicated to Teddy Long taking us through Jim Ross’ second career as the host of the Atlanta Falcons pre-game show. And … well, this gem:
MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. The first question asks what the chances of Austin and Pillman taking the straps from Steamboat and Douglas. Hyatt looks at this mathematically. Steamboat loses 11 points for being married, and 7 more for having kids – since he won’t be able to train picking up after his brat while his wife is out shopping. Douglas gets 6 points for being single, but loses 10 for his god awful hair. The challengers are in far better shape, because Austin gets 3 points for those gorgeous blue eyes you could just drown in, 6 more for those round and well defined shoulders, 3 for the perfect pecks, and 10 for his hair. Given that his trademark became no hair at all – he should take a great deal of pride in knowing he was rockin’ it both ways. Pillman gets 8 points for his smile, 5 for his waist, and 11 points for not having an ounce of fat. “Brian Pillman can take MY belt anytime he wants to.” Missy’s whoring it up act is always fun. Missy actually whoring it up … not so much.
And with that, we’re off to the races.
JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to Center Stage, in Atlanta! Tonight is all about the build to the Clash of Champions coming up later this week. I’m down.
MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL vs. BOB COOK
Ross gives mad props to Bagwell for winning WCW Magazine Rookie of the Year. This would of course pale in contrast to his sweeping of the 2001 RSPW awards, which included Worst Wrestler, Worst Worker, Least Favorite Wrestler, and Worst Match. You’re probably not particular impressed; but you need to understand that he ended a decade long by Hulk Hogan in the majority of those categories, no small feat! The announcers fail to pay any attention to Bob Cook, which I consider a hate crime. Here we have short, portly man, who is not letting his lack of facial follicles stop him from attempting a sad little mustache, while rocking a mullet straight out of the trailer park – and while most people meeting his description are found sourcing scrap metal from whatever rolled into their backyard that morning, Bob has decided to make something of himself. He even shows a little savvy, dodging a dropkick and punching Bagwell in the face repeatedly with his giant hams. While working a chinlock, I note that poor Bob is going bald. This man has NOTHING – would YOU mess with him?!? Marcus Bagwell is not particularly charitable, and leaves Bob with none of his dignity when he uses a Perfectplex for the pin at 5:40. This hurts my heart. *
Ross and Zbyszko promise to show us the Vader / Simmons title change, and … well, I guess they didn’t lie. I thought we might get to see the whole match, but no, they show us the end of the match where the title changed. Spoiler: Vader wins.
VADER and HARLEY RACE are god knows where. Harley gloats about being at the top of the mountain; but they’re standing in front of a blue curtain, nowhere near the white castle. Vader adds: “I AM VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADER!” I imagine he is!
VAN HAMMER vs. RANDY SLEDGE
Randy Sledge! Where have you been all my life? So what he lacks in shape, he makes up for in hair. He’s managed to groom a perfect mushroom cut, and then, if he wasn’t already the hippest cat in the room, he added a rat tail! This looks to be some sort of metaphoric battle between good and evil, as Van Hammer’s styling a pair of shiny silver pants, lined with stars all over the place, Sledge is wearing the black singlet, with a star on his crotch, another on his ass, and two on each boot. And, as Hollywood is apt to script, the alleged good side triumphs with a slingshot suplex at 2:14. Why can’t the coyote win, just this once? DUD
TONY SCHIAVONE stops Hammer on his back to the shower. Tony’s hopped up on some sort of early 90’s energy drink, because there is nobody more excited to see Tony Atlas and Van Hammer settle the Strongest Arm competition once and for all. Van Hammer says he’s already climbed the mountain, but he’s bringing a lot of bass and treble to the fight. Oh.
Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN vs. MIKE THOR and CHICK DONOVAN
O…M…G. Chick Donovan? In 1993? This is the greatest gift in the history of amazing gifts. He’s the spitting image of Randy the Ram here, while tied up in a Chippendales vest and bowtie. I had no idea the old CWA mainstay was still working – but a quick Internet search tells me that not only was here working here, well into his 40’s, but he’s still working TODAY, well into his 60’s. That’s it, I’m moving to the South. One of you readers must have some sort of job offer that’s going to get me a work visa so I can live in your beautiful country and follow the exploits of Chick Donovan. Donovan actually beats Zenk in a test of strength, which is probably the most effective anti-depressant I’ve ever taken. I’m going to replace my Wellbutrin with Chick Donovan owning the Z-Man. A bearhug from Grandpa Love Machine has Zenk wailing, and Thor comes in to try and put this one away. Unfortunately, I know a weak link when I see one, and Thor gets kicked in the face and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn nails the flying jalapeno on Thor, Zenk hits a superkick, and Gunn finishes with a dick to the face at 6:50. **
TEDDY LONG and CACTUS JACK share a moment. Foley can’t wait until the Barbarian steps into the Thundercage at the Clash, because there’s going to be buckets of blood. I agree with EVERY word Cactus just said, but I think we’re imagining different things. He talks smack about ERIK WATTS, who immediately gets in Mick’s face. He throws Cactus through the prop lockers, and locks on the STF. None of this is going to help me sleep tonight.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. MUSTAFA SAIED
We saw Saied last week, and much as I want to throw him a little support, I can’t. His hair is perfectly normal, and his tights look like fluorescent Granny Panties. You can’t unsee that. Scorpio hits a superkick, and sends Saied to the floor with a dropkick. Of course, high flying in 1993 means “jumping off the apron gently”, and Saied sells it like he’s been shot. Back in, the 450 finishes quickly at 2:27. JR’s imagination has been captured – but really, outside of the 450, he’s not really flashy and his good matches were few and far between. 1/2*
TONY SCHIAVONE, wearing a plaid shirt and a red tie, wants to talk about BARRY WINDHAM’s bad blood with Dustin Rhodes. Windham points out that Dustin’s interfered in several of his matches, while he’s never done that to Dustin. He goes back to a match on Worldwide last week, which is conspicuously missing from my library. I’ll have to open a ticket with CFB Network tech support. Windham took Shane Douglas to the floor during the tag-team affair, and DDTed him on the concrete. Rhodes had an issue with that and ran down. Tony thinks he was just trying to help his friend. Windham: “Hey, when I want to know how my friends are doing, I call them on the phone, I don’t go sticking my nose in other people’s business.” Rhodes took a tag from Steamboat which the referee tried to stop, and Windham tried to help by kidney punching Dustin. Still, he got in and the referee let the match continue. Windham: “What match? I didn’t want him in the ring! I was trying to keep him out of the ring!” Barry’s particularly pissed because Dustin then walloped him with a cast across the face and the referee counted the pinfall. Windham issues a warning to Rhodes, which is the next time he steps in the ring with him, he’s going to relish the pain he’s going to put him through.
TEX SLAZENGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE and VINNIE VEGAS (in the Battle of the Bullies)
A Godwinn under any other name is still a Godwinn, and no matter how you dress up Tex and Shanghai, they’re still gonna suck. In the case of Tex, this also applies when he’s undressed. DDP is still 4 years away from being any good, and you probably know Vegas better as Master Blaster Steel. Page cheats like crazy on the masked man, softening him up for Vinnie. Tex fights loose and tags in Pierce. Vegas hits a gutwrench slam, and Page hits a face plant, using Pierce’s hair liberally. Pierce throws a clothesline to get back to his corner, and Tex hits a stomp off the second rope. Pierce works a step over toe hold, and Tex pulls his arm for added leverage. I admire the fan in the front row holding up a 4 foot poster that reads “TEX” in bold red font. That’s someone who knows what he likes, isn’t afraid to express it, and I respect that. Page gets worked over for 3 or 4 hours, before making the hot tag to Vegas. He’s shut down immediately with a rake to the eyes, and is forced to tag Page back in. That … doesn’t seem very wise. Still, Page hits a neckbreaker, and uses a Pedigree on Pierce for 2! Vegas fights Tex on the floor, and the referee is too busy watching them to notice that Pierce has hung Page over the top rope with a bullrope! Vegas rushes over with a wooden chair and smashes it over Pierce’s head, and the referee throws a double DQ their way at 8:50. How the heck are we supposed to settle the battle of the bullies now? You can’t just give a match that kind of a title and leave it without a conclusion. I expect the WCW booking committee to start drawing up ideas STAT.
Next up, this is happening:
Honest to god, does TONY SCHIAVONE’s mother dress him? They’re talking football for some reason. VADER is a former All-American, getting drafted in the first round by the LA Rams and winning a Superbowl Ring. Knowing goddamn well the Rams never won a Superbowl, I decided to Google this mess, and found that Vader was actually drafted in the 3rd round. I realize that heels are meant to be liars and all, but isn’t it Schiavone’s job to call him out? Instead, he’s eating this up – and then asks if he’s going to give a title shot to Sting? He says he’s ready to accommodate Sting anytime, any place, as long as he gets a rematch for the King of Cable. Ummm, ooooo kay? He defends his loss to Simmons in the summer, because he spent all his time training for Sting, and he was dealt Ron instead. As soon as he got his rematch, he was ready, and won, exactly as he expected to. If he wants a rematch, he can bring it. He fears no man, and fears no pain. His plan? To be the longest reigning WCW champion in history.
Looking at that last segment – this is EXACTLY what the WWE is lacking in every one of their heels except for Lesnar (which is why he looks so much better than the rest of the roster). Vader isn’t a chickenshit, which is pretty much the only heel they know how to write for any more. He talks shit, and is prepared to back it up with his actions. He is the real life version of basically every video game Final Boss that had ever been created to that point, and this is why Vader was so damn effective in his role. You knew he was going to maim pretty much anyone he’d face, and if his opponent had even a sliver of hope, you could immediately rally behind that person because it’s so glorious to watch the evil topple.
TONY ATLAS (with Cactus Jack) vs. DUSTIN RHODES (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)
We’re clearly headed right into Rhodes against Windham, so hopefully they make this one quick. Rhodes comes out firing, with dropkicks a plenty. Every time Atlas tries to get up, Rhodes hits him again or sweeps out the legs to keep him down. Atlas finally gets up in the corner, so that Rhodes can’t take him down. He goes to work on the broken wrist, slamming Dustin on it with a hammerlock. Ross reports that Rick Rude isn’t going to be able to compete at the upcoming Thundercage event – so they’ll update us on the new game plan before the end of the show. Rhodes takes back over with a clothesline and finishes with a bulldog at 4:12. *
BARRY WINDHAM vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)
Steamboat, carrying both tag-team titles, makes a bee-line straight for the ring, and he’s a ball of energy tonight. You can feel how much these two hate each other – as they just throw a maelstrom of fists at each other in the opening moments. Windham bails, but Steamer’s right behind, chasing him until he’s able to catch and chop the hell out of Windham’s chest. Back in, Windham hides in the corner long enough for Steamboat to back off when asked; and that gives Barry the chance to attack at the leg. Steamboat goes for a slam, but Barry’s too heavy and he falls on top for 2. Steamboat throws a desperation karate chop at Windham’s head, but that’s all he’s getting before Barry turns the tide with a hard clothesline. With Ricky down, Windham stomps on Steamboat’s wrist, playing into the Dustin Rhodes injury. Barry works a hammerlock on the mat, driving his kneecap into the wrist over and over while the kids scream in horror. Steamboat elbows loose, but Windham’s not ready to give up yet – dropping down to the floor to snap Ricky’s arm over the top rope. Steamboat crawls to the apron, but Windham wants him in the ring, and attempts to drag him back in. Steamboat surprises him with a sunset flip over the top, and the big guy topples backwards for 2. Windham gets up, walking right into a jawbreaker from the former world champ, and Steamboat starts beating on Barry’s shoulder. Steamboat continues to sell his own wrist as he attempts to hold Windham in place, and when it looks like Barry’s making his way loose, Steamboat turns to his legs to hold the hammerlock. Steamboat wiggles around until he’s able to work a full half nelson on the mat, and Barry’s fading fast. Steamboat goes for the knockout blow, but he misses the karate chop, and in the process really hurts his wrist now. Windham, arm dangling to the side, uses his good arm to slam Steamboat’s face into the canvas. A vertical suplex gets 2, but Windham goes to the well a second time and Ricky reverses it mid-move for 2. Steamboat gets a head of steam to prep a clothesline, but Windham tries to sidestep and both guys collide head first into each other, Barry hitting so hard he collapses to the floor. Windham just makes it back to the apron at 9, and Steamboat’s ready with a suplex to bring him back in – except his wrist is mush, and he can’t hold it, letting Windham fall on top for 2. Windham uses a gutwrench slam, but he can’t get the pin, and he’s frustrated now. Going up turns out to be a huge mistake for the big man, and Steamboat catches him for a slam. Ricky decides to use the top rope, trying his karate chop – but Windham sidesteps and delivers a kidney punch on the way by. A jumping DDT makes the audience groan, and Windham locks on the Figure Four. Barry uses the ropes liberally, but Steamboat won’t tap out. After a long struggle, Steamboat reverses the hold, but Windham’s out quickly. Both guys are staggering, throwing haymakers. Windham whips Steamboat across the ring, but he can’t make it before his legs fall out from underneath. Back in, Windham puts on a headlock, but Steamboat turns that into a single leg atomic drop to set up the Figure Four! Windham howls, desperately clawing for the safety of the ropes, but he can’t make it. As a last hope, Barry pounds at the weak legs of Steamboat, and he’s forced to break the hold. A vertical suplex doesn’t finish Ricky off, and Steamboat faceplants Windham. He starts with the karate chops, and hits a swinging neckbreaker! Off the top, a karate chop gets 2. Steamboat picks up Windham for a slam, but his legs swing wildly and clocks Nick Patrick in the face, sending the referee sprawling to the floor in pain. Steamboat hits a top rope crossbody for a count of 6, but the referee is dead and it doesn’t count. Windham illegally tosses Steamboat over the top to the concrete, but he does it just as Patrick is stirring, and he calls for an immediate DQ at 17:37. ***1/2
Windham isn’t done, slamming Steamboat on the floor and preps the jumping DDT. SHANE DOUGLAS rushes in to save his partner, beating the piss out of Windham … and you know that means BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN aren’t far behind. DUSTIN RHODES takes it to Windham on the floor, while Austin and Pillman double team Douglas in the middle of the ring. Steamboat hits the ring to protect his partner, and the newest heel unit bails for now. Steamboat’s announced as the winner in a bit of a shock – it seemed readily apparent we were gonna get Rhodes/Windham, but that’ll have to wait now.

Fun edition of Saturday Night, and it effectively sets up Wednesdays Clash. The mid-card is positively stacked these days, with Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, and Steve Austin as the clear breakout stars heading into 1993 – and the timing is ripe to see who of this crew is going to develop. The main event scene is absolutely decimated, with little of substance beyond Vader and Sting, so the time is now for any one of these guys to explode as the next big thing.

Monday Nitro – January 31, 2000

Monday Nitro #225
Date: January 31, 2000
Location:
First Union Arena, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 7,514
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Mark Madden, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re officially in the
Madden era now, meaning things are clearly dying all around us. The
big story here is that Sid is World Champion again after winning it
back from Nash after having it stripped earlier in the night after an
off air referee’s decision. Also, Ric Flair is back. Let’s get to
it.

We get a quick clip of
the Nash vs. Sid three day saga from last week.
Nash isn’t going to be
here tonight but he’s named Jeff acting commissioner.
Here’s
the NWO to get things going complete with their girls. Jeff repeats
that Nash isn’t going to be here tonight but he’s in charge. Well
done with already changing the power. Steiner rips on the women here
in Wilkes-Barre and offers the Harris Brothers a spot on the team.
Well you had to expect that would happen. It’s back to Jeff, who
says he’s going to get the first shot at Sid at SuperBrawl. Tonight
it’s Jeff/the Twins vs. Sid/two partners of his choosing. Jarrett is
open to bribes and that’s it. They kept this short and got right to
the point so well done.
Sid, Flair and Harlem
Heat arrive in order.
Funk asks Arn to go get
Flair but Anderson tells him to go find Flair himself.
Cruiserweight Title
Tournament First Round: Lash Leroux vs. Evan Karagias
Lash
makes the mistake of going after 3 Count to start and walks into a
powerslam from Evan. The band takes him to the floor and Evan hits a
big dive to take them out again. Back in and Lash knocks him off the
ropes and does the Bourbon Street Blues (the punches into the splits)
but 3 Count makes another save. Evan’s full nelson doesn’t work but
Lash comes back with a Diamond Cutter Russian legsweep (Whiplash
2000) for the pin. Really, really dull stuff here.
The NWO sends their bad
catering to Sid.
Dustin Rhodes tells us
not to try this at home. That’s not something you often hear in WCW.
David, Crowbar and
Daffney are insane and Crowbar talks like Gordon Solie. Now this
actually sounds insane instead of some of the other modern CRAZY
wrestlers. The Mamalukes attack and the match starts fast.
Tag Team Titles:
Mamalukes vs. David Flair/Crowbar
They head outside to
start with Vito being backdropped onto a bunch of snow. That’s about
it for being outside as everyone comes inside with Crowbar carrying a
shovel. I’m going out on a limb and guessing this is a street fight.
Vito drives a trashcan lid into David’s crotch and the other two
come inside.
Cue
Ms. Hancock to watch from the aisle as Johnny slams Crowbar a few
times. Crowbar fights back with a slingshot legdrop onto a chair
onto Johnny’s face. It’s table time but Crowbar, being a bit off,
puts the table on top of Johnny instead of the other way around.
Disco breaks up a moonsault, allowing Vito to splash Crowbar through
the table to retain.
Rating:
D.
Another ECW style brawl with too many moving parts to have any really
stand out. I’m sure we’ll get one more pay per view matches out of
these teams, even though they’ve pretty definitively eliminated any
chance of the titles changing back. At least Crowbar and Flair are
entertaining with how out there they’ve gotten.
Brian Knobbs has a
bribe for Jarrett in exchange for putting Finlay in the ring against
Luger later. Jeff promises they’ll be in there at the same time.
Here’s
Booker T. with something to say but his music stops halfway down the
aisle. This brings out J. Biggs who says that music is the property
of Harlem Heat, meaning only Stevie Ray and Big T. can listen to it.
Instead, Booker can use this song instead. A generic rock song plays
and Biggs calls it a meaningless song for a meaningless man.
Now
we get to the infamous part of this story: Biggs says that the T, as
in of Booker T., is also Harlem Heat property, so Booker can’t use it
anymore, or the flames on his attire either. So yes, somehow this
feud is over Harlem Heat, which is apparently an entity instead of
just a tag team, owning the rights to a letter of the alphabet.
Harlem Heat leaves and Midnight shows up to go after Biggs, but
Harlem Heat comes back out for the save. We’re officially in one of
the dumbest stories WCW ever did and you know how much ground that
covers.
3 Count beats up Norman
Smiley.
Jarrett tells Finlay
that he’ll be in the same ring as Luger, as he referees a match
between the Total Package and Brian Knobbs.
Norman gets inside the
Demon’s casket and the lid closes. Instead of fighting for the US
Title, he’s inside a coffin to help him fight off a boy band.
Kidman vs. The Wall
Rematch
of that Cell match they had a few weeks back. Kidman slugs away to
start but gets kicked in the face. A backbreaker sets up some
choking from the Wall, before he blocks a sunset flip with even more
choking. Well no one ever accused him of being the most versatile
guy in the world. Wall plants him with a clothesline but YOU CAN’T
PUT KIDMAN ON THE TOP ROPE, as he kicks Wall away and hits a missile
dropkick. His high cross body is countered into a powerslam though
and Wall grabs him by the throat again. This brings out Vampiro to
kick Wall in the back, giving Kidman a roll up win.
Rating:
D+.
That ends the run of match of the night for Kidman but given who he
was in there with, it’s hard to argue against him being the hottest
thing in the company at the moment. Kidman is trying really hard
lately and was able to carry Wall to a passable match. That alone
makes him into a more impressive performer than most.
Here’s
Flair for his big return speech. He brags about being bigger than
the Steelers, Eagles and Pirates and lists off some hockey players
who aren’t as big a star as he is. Ten years ago there were some
people who could run with him, but Space Mountain still has the
longest line. A few weeks ago the Powers That Be asked him to be the
commissioner, but he turned them down because he’s the greatest
wrestler alive today. He came up here because the deal was right and
now he needs to say something to Terry Funk.
Flair
can’t believe that Funk has been implying that Flair would support
him, because there’s a big difference between Ric Flair and Terry
Funk. This brings out Funk, who is loudly booed. He calls Flair
banana nosed and horse toothed but praises him for all those World
Titles. However, Funk senses some jealousy in Ric’s voice. Maybe it
comes from Mick Foley saying Flair isn’t in Funk’s league in his
book? STOP PROMOTING OTHER COMPANY’S STUFF!
Anyway,
Flair needs to grow up and help in the fight against the NWO, but
then tells him to go be Governor of North Carolina and leave the
fight to himself and Arn Anderson. Flair wants to fight, even though
he’s head to toe in Armani. Funk comes in, punches him down, and
puts on the spinning toe hold until security comes out for the save.
So yeah, they’re fighting over who is a bigger legend and Flair seems
to be a heel, even though the fans booed Funk. This is one of the
top stories in the company at the moment.
Jarrett thinks Funk and
Flair will be Sid’s partners.
Sting is in some movie.
Sid isn’t worried about
the NWO.
Ms.
Hancock wants to know why Lenny and Lodi haven’t been wearing their
suits but they say they’re done. That’s not cool with Hancock, who
reminds them of the West Hollywood Blonds stunt that almost got them
fired. Lenny, and I quote: “Oh yeah, we’re REAL lucky to have a
job in WCW.” They’re sick of this stupid “gimmick” and tell
Hancock to come find them when the bun is out of her hair. So much
for the fourth wall.
Total Package vs.
Brian Knobbs
Liz
and Luger have the Sting stuff with them. Fit Finlay is guest
referee here for no apparent reason. Knobbs jumps Luger to start and
elbows him in the face. The Pit Stop is loaded up but Finlay pushes
Brian’s arm down for some reason. Knobbs responds by…..doing it
anyway. They head outside with Knobbs whipping him into the
barricade, only to have Finlay blast Knobbs from behind.
Back in and Brian,
apparently not hurt by a shot to the head, fires off clotheslines and
drops some elbows as this is the most motivated he’s been in years.
Brian goes up for a splash but Finlay stands in front of him,
allowing Liz to hit Knobbs with a bat. That’s it for Finlay as he
leaves, allowing Luger to Pillmanize Brian’s arm. We get some smack
talk about Hogan and I’m assuming it’s a no contest.
Rating:
D-.
So we have Finlay vs. Knobbs in an actually interesting feud (gah
that’s hard to say) and then Luger wanting to fight Hogan for no
reason other than the script says so. Knobbs now has a broken arm,
so maybe he’ll be off screen for a bit? Somehow this was better than
I was expecting.
Norman
Smiley comes out of a coffin dressed as the Demon. Egads.
Dale Torborg is mad
that someone has stolen his outfit. So much for staying in
character.
Shane Helms vs.
Norman Smiley
Norman
is the Demon because he’s the original Santino Marella. Helms starts
fast with a Russian legsweep but Norman pops up like a skilled guy
stuck in a horrible comedy gimmick and slams Shane down. In the
middle of this match of all things, we hear that Hogan will be on
Thunder this week. That doesn’t get a big segment of its own? Well
of course it doesn’t. Helms busts out an airplane spin but Norman
comes back with a giant swing. It’s time to dance but the other 3
Count members have to be dispatched. The Norman’s Conquest is good
for the quick submission.
Cue Torborg with the
cops to chase Norman off.
Page and Kimberly are
in the back when the Mamalukes come up. Vito gets a quick feel of
her but Kimberly thinks it was Disco, who calls her a bimbo for
accusing him. Page beats Disco up out of principle.
Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Disco Inferno
Page
drags Inferno into the arena and they get all up in DJ Ran’s area.
DJ Ran still had a job in 2000??? They fight through the crowd with
Page in control and the bell finally rings once they’re inside. A
top rope clothesline and Rock Bottom knock Disco even sillier (yet
doesn’t mess with that perfect hair) but he comes back with, what
else, a low blow. Disco’s usual neckbreaker and middle rope elbow
set up the dancing, only to have Page plant him with a helicopter
bomb. The Diamond Cutter ends this in a hurry, as it should have. I
guess Page is a full on face again.
Jeff
Jarrett/Harris Twins vs. Terry Funk/Sid Vicious/Ric Flair
And
there’s no Flair. It’s a brawl in the aisle to start with Sid
fighting the Twins and Funk not being able to keep up. Sid takes
we’ll say Ron inside and Funk throws in a chair, which the Twins
quickly throw back out. You can hear a fan complaining about his eye
hurting because the fans are that silent. Ron gets backdropped to
the floor but Don breaks up a powerbomb on Jarrett. So the powerbomb
is legal again?
Things
settle down with Funk working on Ron’s leg, only to get chaired in
the back by Don. Off to Jarrett to hammer away in the corner, only
to have Funk grab a quick piledriver for a breather. It’s off to Sid
to clean house and here comes Flair to go after Funk as we flash back
to 1989. Actually that’s a great thing. Security drags him away and
Ron gets chokeslammed with Don making a save. That earns Don a
powerbomb but Jeff comes in with the guitar to knock Sid cold for the
pin.
Rating:
D.
So is Flair a heel? Because that would be about the dumbest thing
they could do right now. Therefore, we’ll go with the idea that
Flair is a heel at the moment. The match was there so Flair could
come out and attack Funk to set up their match down the road, even
though I’m not sure how much interest there is in the two of them
fighting, as they’re a combined 106 years old at this point.
Overall
Rating:
D-.
So they bring Flair back and turn him heel, again leaving Sid and
Funk as the top faces in this company. At this point, I really can’t
bother getting annoyed anymore. Between that and Finlay and Knobbs
having one of the most developed stories on the roster, this company
really is just melting before our eyes. On top of all that, it’s
becoming clearer and clearer that Jarrett is just going to hold the
US Title without frequently, or even occasionally, defending it,
meaning a big chuck of the roster is just running around fighting for
no reason. It’s such a waste but it’s what we’re stuck with.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

WCW/New Japan Supershow III: January 4, 1993

Back in the early 90’s, WCW was gaining steam nationally – but still maintained some of its regional roots. In an effort to ensure fresh faces coming in and out of the company, they formed a partnership with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This partnership would see the exchange of talents; most notably regular North American circuit tours for Jushin Liger, but it was also a fertile breeding ground for some of the North American guys to grow and come back as more complete athletes. Of course, being WCW, all that did was earn them a ton of TV time with absolutely no marketable push, but at least they killed time until Hulk Hogan was ready to reap the ratings glory in the main event slot.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because this is still 1993, and Hulk Hogan is thankfully elsewhere. Every year, WCW would travel to Japan to put on a supercard with New Japan’s elite, which would air on pay-per-view. This is the third and final installment of the Supershow series, and I’m working off the Turner release. I’d love to see the complete show – but the WWE Network lies when it says it has every pay-per-view of all time, cuz this ain’t there. Of course, there are bigger fish to fry – like the complete library of WCW Prime, so I’ll pick my battles wisely.

ERIC BISCHOFF welcomes us to the gigantic Tokyo Dome, with over 63000 people in attendance. He hands things over to the dream team of TONY SCHIAVONE and JIM ROSS. JR in the role of Tony’s lapdog has me downright giddy; and it’s incredible the mean-spirited Vince McMahon never thought to bring this concept back at some point in the last 15 years.
JUSHIN LIGER vs. ULTIMO DRAGON (for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title)
 Dragon has stolen Ricky Steamboat’s neglected WWF head-dress, and parades around like a jackass to … well, the Japanese don’t really boo, so much as cheer with less enthusiasm. Liger, on the other hand, is somehow channelling the future by slapping WCW’s late 90’s logo on his chest.
Or possibly Japanese Batman
Both guys trade throws and dropkicks before stopping mid strike like a Zack Morris time-out to soak in the adulation of the appreciative crowd. Dragon tries to take out Liger’s leg with a grapevine, so Liger uses his free leg to start kicking Dragon in the face. Liger’s able to reverse into a deathlock, and he applies a front facelock to really add to the pull. I’d be tapping harder than a male pornstar, but Dragon’s not human, getting out of that somehow. Liger tries the Lasso from El Paso, but Dragon sweeps out the legs and snaps some hard spinning toe holds that make Terry Funk look like Annie Funk. A drop toe hold sees Dragon hold the base, and he works a reverse grapevine chinlock before rolling through with a bow and arrow. Liger won’t uncle, and he takes advantage of a Dragon letting up for just a second, applying the Gory Guerrero special in the centre of the ring. It’s enough to wear him down a little, and Liger releases, hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Dragon gets whipped into the corner, and takes a spinning heel kick to the side of the head. They criss-cross, and Liger dodges a rana, but he takes the edge of Dragon’s boot on his way down, knocking him a bit silly. Dragon kicks the shit out of him while he’s down, and hits a front suplex to really scramble his circuits. And, as a reminder that anything you can do, Dragon can do better, he alters the Gory special to include a Dragon sleeper. Liger’s about to tap, but Dragon senses they’re too close to the ropes, so he drags Liger to the middle of the ring and locks on the camel clutch. Liger still won’t tap, so Dragon heads up, but he slips and is only able to hit a boot to the side of the head instead of the full impact dropkick he was planning. Liger’s slow to his feet, and he has no chance to defend himself from a handspring back elbow. Liger hits the floor – and Dragon’s not gonna let him get a second of rest, flying with a super plancha that drives them over the guardrail and into the front row!! Dragon gets back in and waits for the count, but Liger makes it back to the apron. No worries, because Dragon brings him back to action with a brainbuster, and goes to finish with a tombstone. Liger reverses, but Dragon’s able to release that, and plants him with the move! Dragon goes up instead of going for the pin, but he slips a second time, changing on his way down with a sad looking headbutt, and he only gets 2. Liger’s able to shake it off, and he runs into Dragon … who’s waiting for him with the Capture Suplex, for a super close pinfall. Dragon rushes the corner, but Liger’s hot on his heels with a monkey flip into a pinfall for 2. Dragon uses the elementary but effective package to get 2, and more importantly, re-assert his control. And, he follows with the rarely seen Straight Jacket Suplex, but Liger’s able to make the ropes and Dragon looks like a man who has no idea what to do anymore. Giving Liger even a second is never wise, and the hesitation lets Liger hit a spinning heel kick that sends Dragon to the floor. Before he even knows what happened, Liger’s picked up him, and powerbombs him on the outside!!! Dragon’s dead, and he just lies there as Liger hits a super senton to the floor. Liger stands mid-ring, waiting for the count, but Dragon scrapes himself off the concrete and heads back in. A vicious Liger immediately suplexes him, and arrogantly covers with one hand for 2. Dragon’s pulled to his feet, simply to eat a palm thrust to the jaw that you can hear all the way in the cheap seats. A half crab is applied in the middle, but Dragon claws to the ropes, still seemingly completely out of it from that nasty powerbomb. Liger realizes this, and powerbombs the man again. While Dragon tries to get to his feet, Liger perches himself waiting to strike … but it’s a ploy, and as Liger comes off the top, Dragon blasts him with a clothesline just as Liger’s trying the same. Liger rolls to the safety of the floor, but Dragon’s still got life, hitting a springboard senton splash that drives them both into the guardrail. Both guys slowly roll their way back into before the count, and it’s Dragon who leaps to attempt a victory roll. Liger ain’t having that, and just faceplants the bugger as hard as he can. Liger goes for a third powerbomb now, because he’s had enough of this, but Dragon rolls through the move (nearly breaking his neck in the process), and he hooks the legs for 2. A lionsault sets up a powerbomb from Dragon, but Liger kicks out to the shock of Dragon. La Majistral gets 2, and the fans are absolutely electric watching this display. Dragon goes up, but Liger cuts him off, and hits a DDT off the top rope!!! The referee takes forever to make the count, and Dragon kicks out at 2. Back to the powerbomb, and it connects for a third time today. Liger puts Dragon’s corpse on the top rope, hits a super Frankensteiner, and that’s enough for the pin and the title at 20:10! Through the masks, you could feel the intensity and absolute necessity to win here. Great storytelling from both, and it never felt like it was a bunch of moves slapped together for the hell of it. The modern flyers should take note of what made this work; with each move setting up the next, and the guys changing the pace based on the mistakes of the other guy, giving them each ample time to work their spots. ****
RON SIMMONS vs. TONY HALME
This is Simmons’ first match after losing the strap to Vader last week, and the future Ludwig Borga is an excellent place to start the climb back up. Apparently this was initially scheduled to be a match for the belt, so Halme might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder just missing out on his big shot. Simmons tries shoulderblocks, but Halme doesn’t even budge. He’s not so tough he can avoid a drop toe hold though, and Simmons follows with a clothesline. A faceplant sets up a spike piledriver, and Simmons gets 2. Simmons tries a hiptoss, but Halme won’t move, and now angry Tony starts with his kidney punches. Simmons is reeling as Halme hits a jumping elbow, but he kicks out at 2. A hard sidewalk slam gets 2. Halme steals the spinebuster from Simmons, but can’t score the pin. Simmons staggers to his feet, and one punch from Halme sends big Ron to the floor. Halme brings Simmons back in with a suplex, and he starts beating on the kidneys again. Simmons manages a desperation powerslam, which Tony notes was the move that won him the world title last year, but Halme doesn’t fall as hard as Vader, and kicks out. Simmons hits a pretty bad spinebuster, and it’s enough to pick up the win at 6:02. Simmons looked awful here, sloppy and just off his game. *
DUSTIN RHODES and SCOTT NORTON vs. MASA SAITO and SHINYA HASHIMOTO
Norton’s a New Japan mainstay; and even after he’d sign with WCW years later, he’d keep travelling Japan as a bonefide draw – a deal he likely worked out to supplement his income. In fact, he’d win the IWGP heavyweight belt a couple of times years later, making you wonder just what the hell goes on overseas where Scott Norton and Albert are a big deal. Saito’s roughly 185 years old here, so I’m actually a little surprised he wasn’t picked up by the WWF in early 1997 to give them some Japanese credibility. Norton pounds his chest and grunts like a gorilla, so Hashimoto kicks him in the throat. Norton laughs at him and hits a clothesline. Norton starts using the vaunted move, Run Hard Into Your Opponent, and Hashimoto bounces around like the world’s fattest pinball. Norton covers with one hand, and when that doesn’t work, he looks to Rhodes. Hashimoto thrusts Dustin in the throat, and turns things over to Saito, who takes 8 minutes to get off his walker and drag his IV into the ring. Rhodes suplexes Saito, but he manages to miss a charge when Saito simply never stands up because he’s calling for the sweet taste of death to take him now. Rhodes charges back in and chops Saito, who immediately dissipates into a pile of dust. Norton takes over against the ghost of Saito, clotheslining the corpse and chopping away at whatever the hell is left. Norton trips over the dead body which Ross calls the “Saito Suplex!”, and then Dustin stumbles into the same thing. Hashimoto tags himself back in, bringing a little excitement back, since both wrestlers are now protein based lifeforms. Norton comes in and superplexes Hashimoto somehow, before deciding to stand on Shinya’s throat. A Rude Awakening sees Hashimoto fall backwards and show off his gaping plumber’s ass. Dude, no, lift them pants. Rhodes tags in and hits a big boot for 2. Hashimoto is tossed to the floor, where both Americans work him over, while Saito rocks back and forth like a later-in-life Freddie Blassie. Back in, a powerslam from Norton gets 2. A powerbomb looks to finish, but Saito spiritually runs in to make the save. Hashimoto hits a desperation DDT and makes the hot tag. Norton walks into the light, and is immediately greeted with the Saito Suplex. Norton calls for the Grim Reaper to end this charade, while Dustin eats a Saito Suplex. He’s like that guy online who keeps using the same move against new players who have no idea how to defend it, and honestly, I’m surprised I’m not seeing all kinds of slurs being printed on the screen every time Saito hits that thing. Hashimoto hits a spinning heel kick on Rhodes. A DDT looks to finish, but Norton makes the desperation save. He takes his eyes off the ball on his way back out, missing that Dustin’s taken an enzuigiri and Team Divine Intervention win this round at 13:57. This had no business being anywhere near this long. 1/2*
MASAHIRO CHONO vs. THE GREAT MUTA (for the NWA world heavyweight title)
Ric Flair was stripped of the NWA strap when he bolted to the WWF in the spring of 1991, and Chono won the subsequent tournament to crown a new champion, defeating Rick Rude in the finals of the G1-Climax (which sounds less like a tournament, and more like a high powered vibrator). Muta had actually wrestled in that same tournament, losing a semi-finals match to Chono by submission. Chono’s got a fantastic Evil Sensei mustache on the go here. The collective gasp from the audience when Muta sprays the green mist during the intros really adds a big match feel here. The guys go through a feeling out process, before Muta hits the outside and openly grabs a hammer from underneath the ring. The referee is fairly appalled at his brazen attitude, and takes it away immediately – though that was seemingly Muta’s plan. Back in, Muta works an armbar, but Chono methodically works his way loose and pulls at Muta’s knee joint. Muta gets loose, but Chono takes him back down and works a seated Sharpshooter. Muta gets to the ropes before it’s converted into an STF. Chono keeps on him, but Muta dumps his opponent on the floor, sending him into the guardrail. The referee gives Muta a stern warning, but Muta isn’t even listening, as he slams Chono back into the ring and delivers a karate chop off the top rope. Muta tosses Chono again, this time on to the staging area, where he is right behind with a running bulldog face first on the ramp! Chono heads up the ramp about a half football field, before spinning and hitting a sprinting clothesline on the champ! The fans groan in agony as Chono sells. Back in, Muta takes Chono to the top rope and connects with a superplex. A hard side suplex gets 2, but Muta expected that, immediately hitting a German suplex for 2. A handspring back elbow connects square in the face, but the moonsault misses and Chono’s ALL over him with the STF, dead centre! Muta somehow crawls to the safety of the ropes, but he lets out a primal scream to let us know his knee was shredded there. Or – so he’d have us believe, because as Chono stalks his prey, he’s greeted with a dropkick to the chops. Atta boy Muta! Chono angrily applies a crucifix for 2, and heads up. A top rope shoulderblock connects, but Muta kicks out. A powerbomb folds the challenger in half, but Muta kicks out at 2. Chono holds his head, frustrated, and he misses Muta coming at him with a kick to the face, but the rapid moonsault misses a second time – and this time it’s costly, with Muta taking a knee to the face. Chono comes off the top … but Muta was waiting for it, dodging the shoulderblock with a faceplant on the way by, and Chono’s hurt. A backbreaker gives Muta time to hit the moonsault on his third try, but Chono somehow kicks out. Muta’s livid, since NOBODY kicks out of his moonsault, and he scampers up to the top to hit a second one for the pin and the NWA title at 13:12! This was great – both guys fought a hard, smart match, and Muta simply wanted it more tonight. ****
TAKAYUKI IIZUKA, AKIRA NOGAMI, and EL SAMURAI vs. NOBUKAZU HIRAI, MASO ORIHARA, and KOKI KITAHARA
Ross and Schiavone abort mission at this point, leaving their post to go to a sushi bar together. And no, I’m not kidding, that’s the story they’re running with. Given that the 6-men here aren’t given name graphics, and everyone enters to the instrumental version of “A Man Called Sting”, I’m left asking that if nobody in production gives a crap about this match, why can’t I just watch Tony and Jim having dinner? This is potentially untapped five star entertainment. I like to think that Tony misidentifies everything on the menu while calling it the greatest sushi in the history of this great country, while Ross tries to explain to the waiter what a Route 44 diet peach tea is – pointing to his miniature cup of steeped green tea and giving an exasperated “this ain’t it!” The referee pats down the competitors, looking for, to quote Eric Bischoff, “foreign objects, either in the tights or in the boots, no Vaseline or other chemicals.” Other chemicals? What the hell does he think these guys are packing? Mustard gas? Sarin? Any number of nerve agents? To be fair – one of the guys is wearing a hood, I guess it’s plausible he’s managed to MacGyver a gas mask under there. I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about New Japan harbouring terrorists, and I hope the Pentagon had this pay-per-view tapped for reasons of intelligence. And yes, I’m totally stalling because I have absolutely no idea who the hell is who – and Bischoff does a piss poor job of segregating them; likely because he’s as aware as I am. He does not, however, miss a single Back Leg Round Kick. As fate would have it, that in the grand tradition of many pro wrestling matches that came before it, one guy pinned another at 15:12. This is probably a completely unfair review to all 6 guys, who put forth an effort, but you can put that squarely on the head of Bischoff. **1/2
STING vs. HIROSHI HASE
Ross and Schiavone have already been kicked out of the sushi bar, because they’re back and calling this one. Ross calls Hase his favorite athlete in Japan, and while he lists the various reasons, let’s face it, it’s because he’s wearing a varsity jacket. Ross grumbles about sushi, while Sting benches Hase over his head repeatedly to a crowd of “ooooooh”s. A dropkick sends Hase to the floor, and Sting screams to the heavens. Hase re-enters with some chops, and a headlock takes Sting to his knees. Hase releases, and they collide mid-ring like bulls, with neither guy moving an inch. Hase hits a waistlock takedown, and applies a half crab with his knee on the back of Sting’s neck. Hase stands with Sting’s legs tied up, and starts swivelling his hips ala Rick Rude with Sting in the hold. A reverse STF is applied, but Sting won’t tap. So, Hase tries to embarrass Sting with his own hold, going for the Deathlock, but Sting chops Hase in the face until he releases. Hase, pissed off, kicks Sting in the hamstring repeatedly, with loud blows that echo throughout the arena. Back to a half crab, Hase sits down on Sting’s back this time while he tears at the joint, but Sting’s a giant pain who won’t give up. Hase releases and decides to attack toe to toe, which is a mistake because of the size difference, and Sting delivers a quick suplex for 2. Hase comes back with a Russian legsweep, and Sting clutches his leg. Hase takes Sting up in a fireman’s suplex, and he turns it into a Stun Gun. Sting clutches his throat, so Hase, not missing a beat, punches Sting in the throat. Sting ducks to hold his throat, giving Hase a chance to pick him up, holding him upside down for an extended period before hitting a spike piledriver! A knee to the throat off the top gets 2, but Hase doesn’t even seem phased. Hase goes right into a sleeper, and as Sting gets woozy, Hase drops back in a rear naked choke. The referee asks for a break, presumably because he’s working a choke now, and Hase releases at 4 and a half. He drags Sting to the outside, and drops Sting’s neck across the safety rail. Back in, Hase nails a pair of Rock Bottoms, but Sting kicks out at 2. Hase gives a sly smile, and goes straight to a German suplex with a bridge, getting 2. Next up, Hase works a full nelson, and appears to be going for the Dragon suplex, but Sting reaches forward and drags them both to the floor. Sting slams Hase on the concrete, and elbows his opponent’s face directly into the guardrail. Back in, Sting goes for a top rope clothesline, but Hase kicks him in the stomach and he folds like a house of cards. Hase chops at Sting in the corner, but Sting refuses to sell anymore, screaming in Hase’s face, and the hulking up routine is on. Stinger splash sets up a pair of faceplants, and Sting gets 2. Sting uses a modified backbreaker submission, but Hase rolls off the back and bridges back. Sting bridges forward at 2, then uses the corner to flip himself over and get Hase off. He leaps to the second rope, and throws a back elbow blindly, getting 2. Sting nearly scores a pinfall off a German suplex, but Hase quickly manages to roll Sting up with a handful of tights for 2 of his own. Sting explodes forward with a nasty clothesline, and he goes for a second one but Hase sidesteps and attempts the Rock Bottom. Sting elbows his way loose, and nails a jumping a DDT! With Hase seeing stars, Sting heads up and nails the top rope splash for the pin at 14:42! Hase put on an absolute clinic here, wrestling circles around Sting – but that really should come as no surprise since Hase was likely one of the 5 best wrestlers on the planet at this point. Sting didn’t quite seem to know how to properly sell for all the offense, sometimes recovering far too quickly from some of the attacks (I wish he’d sold the leg after Hase spent 5 minutes ripping his hammys apart), but it was an overall enjoyable display and a fine main event. ***
If you’re not really a Puro kinda person, but wouldn’t mind seeing a little of what Japan has to offer – this is probably a pretty strong compromise. Seeing familiar American faces, with English announcing, against some legendary Japanese names makes for a fun break from the norm. I wish WCW had continued this tradition to the end, but if I always got what I wanted, WCW would have never gone out of business either.

We’ll head back to the grind with the Power Hour this weekend; another mysteriously absent entry from the WWE network library. Will Chris Sullivan appear again? Will his studliness overcome adversity? The answer to both is hopefully yes, but you’ll have to read to find out. (Spoiler: No.)

Thunder – January 26, 2000

Thunder
Date: January 26, 2000
Location: MGM Grand
Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Attendance: 6,323
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We have a new World
Champion in Sid Vicious but something tells me we’re in for some
shenanigans. In other news tonight, Terry Funk has promised to bring
in reinforcements against Kevin Nash. I’m sure this has nothing to
do with Arn Anderson talking to some guy named Champ who needed to be
told to put on his pants. Let’s get to it.

In case you were
wondering, of the 6,323 in attendance, 2,510 were paid.
Quick recap of Nitro’s
World Title situation.
Gene calls out Sid for
a chat to start. Sid must be on top of the world and talks about
standing up for WCW on Monday. Well no one did for almost all of the
NWO civil war (including Schiavone) so better late than never I
guess. The NWO tried to block the powerbomb and he was still able to
win anyway because it wasn’t meant for the NWO to win every single
match. That kind of thinking would get you fired back in 1997.
Cue Nash and the NWO
with the boss saying this is one of the things he hates about being
commissioner. As commissioner, he has to abide by the stipulations
and the one from Monday was that Sid had to beat Ron Harris. He
shows us a clip of Sid using the powerbomb, which hadn’t been banned
at that point in the show, and pinning the wrong Harris brother. Now
we get to the stupid part: the clip continues to show Sid being
counted out of the ring because the match against Ron never actually
ended because Sid didn’t pin him. Therefore, Sid didn’t win.
So on Monday, the
referee counted Sid out and had the decision announced, and THE SAME
ANNOUNCE TEAM DIDN’T SEE THE NEED TO BRING THIS UP??? I get that
some things have to be done differently in wrestling and you have to
suspend some disbelief, but this goes into “there is no way someone
could possibly be this stupid” territory. Anyway, since Sid didn’t
win on Monday, the World Champion is…..Kevin Nash.
However, tonight Sid
will have a chance to get the title back inside Caged Heat against
Ron Harris and Nash himself. However, the powerbomb is still banned
and Sid has to pin Nash. Why Nash would do that isn’t clear, but
then again this is two title changes, Hell in a Cell and another
World Title match in two days so I really shouldn’t be surprised.
Gene reminds Maestro
that he has never performed here at the MGM Grand. Maestro is
offended and Symphony actually says “how rude”. Ok then.
The NWO has slot
machines delivered to their locker room.
Maestro vs. Norman
Smiley
Maestro comes out with
his usual piano…..and Norman brings out a team of Las Vegas
showgirls. The girls dance to the ring with Norman, who of course is
wearing a white tuxedo and top hat because he’s awesome like that,
and do the spanking dance. Maestro jumps him from behind because
he’s a cultural swine. Smiley gets in a chair shot and it’s already
time for a ladder, which fits so well here for some reason.
The whip is reversed
though and Maestro sends Norman face first into the ladder and it’s
time to go backstage. I’m going on a limb and assuming this is
hardcore. Just thinking out loud of course. Norman is whipped into
a bunch of things and then through a table as they find a
sarcophagus. Well of course they do. Inside is…..the Kiss Demon,
because demons live in coffins right? Norman is terrified and passes
out so the Maestro covers him for the pin. It’s not long enough to
rate, but that may have been the most insane match I’ve seen this
year and it didn’t even run two minutes. That says a lot.
The NWO gambles a lot.
Liz and Luger have
Sting memorabilia
Cruiserweight Title
Tournament First Round: The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea
vs. Kid Romeo
Just like on Nitro,
Romeo starts fast and hits a quick Thesz press and sends Prince over
the corner and out to the floor for a meeting with Paisley. They
slug it out on the floor as Standards and Practices, in street
clothes this week, are here with Ms. Hancock, who certainly isn’t in
street clothes. Well maybe on certain streets but not the most
common ones.
Back inside and they
slug it out as Hancock sits on the announcers’ table. Romeo hits a
spinwheel kick followed by an enziguri and a missile dropkick for two
with Paisley offering a distraction. Romeo goes after her and gets
nailed in the back, setting up a reverse suplex to send Prince to the
second round. Can we see a bracket to this thing?
Jeff Jarrett hits on 18
and gets a 3 for 21.
Terry Funk vs. Kiss
Demon
Yes, this is a thing
that is happening. They slug it out to start (did you expect
anything less?) and Funk takes over with some very lame headbutts.
Some boot choking in the corner leads to Funk being thrown outside
but he whips Demon into the barricade, because Terry Funk is the
second biggest face in this company after Sid Vicious. Back in and
Funk gets annoyed that his neckbreaker only gets two, so he takes a
swing at the yellow bellied varmint Nick Patrick. Again, your hero
in this match.
A low blow and
butterfly suplex get two for Demon, because when you think of a
demon, you think of butterflies and suplexes. Funk ducks a right
hand and busts out the Tumbleweed, which you may know as Kiwi Roll.
Basically it’s a rolling sunset flip with Funk literally rolling him
around in a circle before stopping for the pin.
Rating:
D.
Terry Funk, the second biggest face in this company, just had a match
with the Kiss Demon. I want to hate this idea, but at least he’s
interacting with the younger guys. For some reason I can’t imagine
Nash actually knowing that the Demon wrestles for this company or
that he’s a character that actually exists. Points to Funk for that
at least. And I do mean least.
Kidman vs. Vampiro
Rematch from Nitro
where Kidman won a good match. Vampiro starts fast with a headlock
and shoulder, followed by a pair of suplexes. This would seem to be
your fast paced wrestling match of the night. I’m as shocked as you
are that Kidman is in this role yet again. Kidman’s right hands in
the corner don’t work that well and Vampiro sends him outside and
then into the barricade. So Vampiro is a face but acting heelish
here. Got it.
Back in and Vampiro’s
top rope spinwheel kick (a face move) gets two, followed by Kidman’s
hurricanrana for the same. More kicks from Vampiro look to set up an
electric chair but Kidman victory rolls him for not a victory. YOU
CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN but he can bulldog you, only to have Vampiro
crotch him on top for a super Nail in the Coffin for the pin.
Rating:
C+.
This has been another show where Kidman has the match of the night
and I’m sure it’s going to continue to get him nowhere. Well other
than with Torrie but that’s a different story. He’s still fun to
watch but you can add him to the list of people in WCW whose talents
are being wasted while we get more Sid vs. Nash.
Some cops investigate
gambling allegations against the NWO and there’s a Wayne Newton look
a like. This goes nowhere.
Total Package vs.
Buff Bagwell
My levels of apathy
towards Bagwell continue to reach new bounds. Buff takes over with a
slam to start and we’re already on the posing. I’m surprised they
even bothered with a move to start. Luger knees him in the ribs but
eats right hands in the corner, only to come back with an atomic
drop.
Two Lex clotheslines
lead to more posing and it’s time to choke a lot. An elbow gets two
and an elbow gets two and then Luger charges into an elbow. I’ve
heard of someone being all elbows but a match being one? A low blow
stops Buff’s comeback but Buff is up first and does his usual generic
offense. The Blockbuster connects but Liz comes in with the ball bat
for the DQ.
Rating:
D-.
Good grief fire both of them. Luger somehow has even less of an
offense than when he wasn’t trying and Bagwell is getting even less
entertaining than he already was. I guess it’s time for Luger to
start breaking everyone’s arm in an attempt to make him an
interesting killer but for some reason I don’t see it working. These
two fought WAY too many times over the years.
Post match Luger gets
in more bat shots and goes to Pillmanize the arm but referees make
the save.
3 Count had an
autograph signing at the Nitro Grill when the Mamalukes came up and
started a fight. Music haters.
3 Count vs.
Mamalukes/Disco Inferno
We start with a
performance but the band has to dropkick the Mamalukes off the apron.
Some big dives take the Italians out again and Shane covers Vito for
two to start. Shane hammers away in the corner but gets powerbombed
out and kicked in the face for his efforts. Off to Johnny for
several lifts on a military press, followed by Disco coming in to
stomp away in the corner.
The middle rope elbow
misses though and it’s off to Evan. I’m not sure what to think about
four dancers being in the same match. Fandango must have been
watching this show. Evan speeds things up and cleans the bottom half
of the house before it’s off to Shannon as everything breaks down.
The double hiptoss into a powerbomb plants Moore though, setting up
the Last Dance from Disco for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
Nothing to see here and it’s nice to see the champions get another
win, even if it’s at the expense of 3 Count. Yes they’re stupid but
they were so goofily entertaining that I can’t help but like them.
Disco is starting to find his groove as the manager/occasional
partner too, which is good for him as he deserves a little something.
Post match Vito sings
some Sinatra as the other two dance. This brings out David Flair,
Crowbar and Daffney to clean house, allowing Crowbar to play air
guitar as the others……dance?
Funk and Anderson are
looking for Sid. I really hope this isn’t revenge for London back in
1993.
This Week in WCW
Motorsports.
Nash gives the roster a
pep talk. Quote: “Let’s go out there and put the old guys over!”
Booker T. vs. Jerry
Flynn
Booker
has to be able to win this right? Like, he has to. Jerry jumps him
from behind to start and knocks Booker over the barricade. Please
don’t make Booker a hardcore guy. Jerry fires off a bunch of kicks
inside but misses another one in the corner. Booker hits his
signature kicks and the forearm, followed by the 110th
Street Slam (whipping spinebuster) for the quick pin. Thank
goodness.
Anderson and Funk have
a meeting with Sid.
Ernest Miller reminds
us that he’s here and talks about loving Vegas to get the fans on his
side….but then says he hates the people here. After some old
school calling out a fat boy fan, it’s time to dance. Disco, 3
Count, Ernest Miller. The money in this company is a dance team
gimmick.
Kimberly says she’s
still friends with Buff even though she counted him down last week.
Nash has a meeting with
the Harris Brothers in the back.
Finlay and Knobbs hug
for some reason, allowing Knobbs to steal a wrench from Finlay’s
pocket. You would think Finlay would notice it missing.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs.
Fit Finlay
Winner gets a shot at
Knobbs for the Hardcore Title, which shows Knobbs to be a coward by
stealing the wrench. My goodness why does the Hardcore Title have a
better story than the US Title? Finlay grabs a headlock to start but
his shoulder block has no effect. Back up and Bigelow splashes him
in the corner as we see Knobbs watching from the back. Finlay gets
tired of selling and rolls outside to set up a table.
An attempt at a suplex
over the ropes and through the table is easily countered, allowing
Bigelow to go up, only to miss the headbutt. It should be wrench
times but Knobbs is a thief (maybe he can get a job in the criminal
field once the wrestling thing stops working for him), Bigelow hits
Greetings From Asbury Park (pretend Finlay’s head hit the mat) for
the pin.
The cage is lowered.
WCW World Title: Sid
Vicious vs. Ron Harris vs. Kevin Nash
Inside Caged Heat,
meaning the Cell and anyone can win but Sid must beat Nash. Also the
powerbomb is banned. Nash is defending and Ron is in a suit. We
again see the clip from Nitro which no one bothered to reference
because WCW announcers are off having ham sandwiches and finger
painting during commercials. The cage is chained shut as Harris and
Nash double team Sid like you would expect them to do.
They head to the floor
with Sid being knocked around the ring and Nash driving him into the
cage wall. It works so well that Nash does it again twice in a row
as this is total domination, as you would expect. For no apparent
reason, Nash and Harris go inside for a few seconds before coming
back outside to choke with a TV cable. They go inside again and, as
in every triple threat ever, the two in control argue over who gets
to cover.
Sid fights back for a
bit until Nash gets in a shot to the ribs to take over. They head
outside again with Sid going into the cage for I think the fifth
time. We get some blood from the arm but Sid finally blocks a ram
into the steel and takes over again. Harris is thrown inside for a
chokeslam (with Ron landing on his arm) and Sid pulls Nash down into
a Crossface of all things for the win and his second World Title in
three days and the seventh World Title change in nine days.
Rating:
D-.
I don’t know if that’s meant as a knock on Benoit or just WCW trying
to be cute, but I can’t help but shake the idea that Nash would have
never tapped to Benoit in a million years. This was just a step
ahead of Kidman vs. the Wall inside the Cell, though it still ranks
as probably the second worst Cell match of all time. There was no
need for this to be in the cage, especially not two days after the
first match. Also, odds on the submission not counting because Nash
said Sid had to pin him?
Ric Flair of all people
comes out to applaud Sid, which is called a passing of the torch.
Overall
Rating:
D+.
This company has gone from slow as molasses one week to WOULD YOU
PLEASE SLOW DOWN the next week. Things are going way too fast in the
World Title scene and it’s getting harder and harder to keep up
and/or care at this point. Flair is a welcome sight as you know
he’ll be at least solid if not very good. There’s good stuff on the
show but the gap between the main event and midcard isn’t going
anywhere. Welcome back to 1998.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

WCW Main Event: January 3, 1993

Tony Schiavone welcomes us to WCW Main Event – brought to you by Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts! Run, jump, and hack your way through 7 terrifying stages, and rescue the princess! I guess … that’s one way to make it sound like Mario, as opposed to, say, the most anger inducing impossible game this side of the original Battle Toads. Of course, having a super frustrating sponsor for WCW is completely apropos. I hope next month’s sponsor is those plastic shell boxes for modern day electronics, with absolutely no way to open the product without requiring Tommy John surgery.

JIM ROSS and MICHAEL HAYES handle the commentary.

CHRIS SULLIVAN vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO
Chris Sullivan! Where have you been my entire life? Despite sharing the same facial DNA with Gene Okerlund and the guy who sells Micro Machines, I’m fairly certain he’s also the man responsible for delivering internal mail at my office.

Sullivan is completely disgusted by Scorpio’s insistence on steppin’, and he comes at 2 Cold with an attack so vicious, that Scorpio flies all the way to the guardrail, and Sullivan’s ponytail almost comes off. Scorpio gets back in and trips up this previously unheard of stud machine, and wins with a slingshot 450 splash at 1:09. A valiant effort from Sullivan, and I think we’ll need to see him every single week for the remainder of our lives to really get a feel for his incredible skillset.
DUSTIN RHODES vs. DANNY DEESE
Oh hell yes! I don’t know what I did to please the baby Jesus today, but to continually bless me with this parade of talent is like experiencing Christmas morning again and again.
Rhodes is of course in the semi-finals of the US title tournament after his win over Vinny Vegas, so a win here from Deese would have to immediately put him in the WCW Top 10. Ross calls Rhodes the favorite, which seems a little premature. Deese throws some methodical right hands – but I know his slowness of the blows is clearly because his fists are made of stone, and he’s toying with Rhodes in cat-like fashion. Dustin dropkicks the portly Reese, and a bulldog scores the massive upset at 1:46. A bad night for two of the top guys on tonight’s program. Maybe they should think about forming an unstoppable tag-team instead?
The main event sees a replay of a big tag-team match between Vader/Rude against Steamboat/Douglas before Starrcade – and since I may touch on it in another time and place, I won’t do a full recap here. However, Vader’s in classic form here, destroying anything and everything in his path – booked like a fat Brock Lesnar, but showing JUST enough ass to make you believe in the babyfaces. Plenty entertaining, and a nice way to wrap this one up.

Tomorrow brings WCW’s yearly Japan Supershow, and to say the card is loaded is an understatement. Jushin Liger, Ultimo Dragon, Muta, Sting, the Steiners, and a ton of the top Japanese guys from the era (Chono, Tenryu, Hase) are all on board. Heck – Ludvig Borga’s even chipping in. It might have no impact on the actual WCW, but it’s a fantastic cross-promotional concept that I wish we’d have seen more of. We’ll tackle all that, and more, as we head into the Clash on January 13th.

WCW Saturday Night: January 2, 1993

So I went in to work today to find this little party taking place on my desk.
I never thought I’d see the Outsiders getting buried by Sgt Craig Pittman, but Saul Goodman witnessed the whole thing. Also – I love my staff.

Extant1979 writes: For whatever reason, I also had Joe & Mac, which was a game my family LOVED. I would try and play some Mario or Super Castlevania and they would be playing Joe & freaking Mac. I hated that game so much. Thanks for bring back those awful, awful memories.
Aside from the fact that I got duped out of what felt like a million weeks of allowance to purchase the game on the sales point of “it’s JUST like Mario World”, I beat that stupid game the first day I had it. It was the polar opposite of my complaint about Super Ghouls and Ghosts – the damn thing was too easy. There was simply no happy medium in the early days of SNES games; and as a result I wound up renting The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for about as many weeks in a row as Nitro beat RAW.
Garth Holmberg: Don’t bad mouth Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts… yes, the game was ridiculously unfair in regard to difficulty, and had a middle finger for us at the “end” of the game, but if you could get beyond all that, it was really fun and had great graphics. On second thought, as a kid, that game was a real bitch.
I was like 8 years old and skipped the NES altogether, going from the Atari to the SNES. The graphics in EVERY game were going to look great, that was the least of my worries. Getting to the 2nd level? That shouldn’t have taken me until I was old enough to grow facial hair.
Zanatude: I beat Super Ghouls n Ghosts in about seven hours last year
No you didn’t.
Zanatude: on a modded Wii, through judicious use of save points.
No you didn’t.
WCW INTERRUPTS THIS EDITION OF SATURDAY NIGHT WITH A SPECIAL REPORT:
Big Van Vader defeated Ron Simmons on December 30th from Baltimore, capturing the WCW title for a 2nd time. Well … that IS big news. Maybe they can televise it!
JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO man the commentary booth, which may send me into Dusty deprivation. Thith is laaaive from tha Mothaship, that’th what we talkin’ ‘bout dadd-yo.
CACTUS JACK and THE BARBARIAN vs Z MAN and JOHNNY GUNN
Much as I dislike the idea of anyone replacing Meng, Cactus is about as acceptable a substitution as I could ask for. Jack beats the piss out of Gunn, but Zenk tags in and backdrops Jack into the Barbarian like a human cannonball. Jack and the Barbarian exchange words, which probably trumps “I think we need to start on top of the cage” as the dumbest thing Foley’s ever decided to do. Barbarian gives him a death stare, but lets him walk away with his life. Barbarian’s a man of honor and charity. Jack gets locked in an armbar, but he wiggles loose and hands his prey into the hungry hands of his partner. Zenk’s all “I think I’ll try to pull on his Mohawk”, and Barbarian’s all “you’re dead”. After Jack pulls down the rope sending Z Man crashing to the unprotected floor, Zenk gets rolled back in where he’s kicked in the back of the head by the angriest man in the room. Gunn gets the hot tag, but he’s not the Top Gunn, and he’s able to muster a dropkick and jumping clothesline before all hell breaks loose. Jack takes a dick to the face from Zenk, but Barbarian punts his skull into the atmosphere for the easy win at 5:47. Not enough Barbarian. *1/2
Meanwhile, at Starrcade, BILL WATTS and HANK AARON played nice long enough to give Sting his Battlebowl ring from his 1991 victory. Later that night, Muta claimed the 1992 title, while Watts ejected Aaron from the building after he asked for catering.
Elsewhere, HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, stopped by to discuss former college player, Erik Watts. “Determined” is roughly all he spits out before TONY SCHIAVONE wraps up the interview. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen more of the Women’s World Cup of Soccer this week than the length of this interview.
ERIK WATTS vs. MUSTAFA SAIED
Watts is the white guy, but just in case you were left with any questions, he used a gold bedazzler across his ass to spell it out. Mustafa is from Morocco, a country I know little about, but if his tights are any indication, I believe they’re the world’s leading exporter of blinding neon. Watts counters a bear hug with a belly to belly for 2. The STF finishes quickly at 2:37. Nepotism is a hell of a drug. DUD
TEDDY LONG stops CACTUS JACK to ask him how TONY ATLAS might be able to defeat Van Hammer tonight. Jack doesn’t really want to talk about Van Hammer, because he’s far more interested in collecting the $10K bounty on Erik Watts’ head. Of course, given that the bounty was offered by Paul E Dangerously, you’re about as likely to successfully cash that check as Watts is to successfully execute a watchable match – but it’s good to have dreams. Foley sneaks in a good line about the next time the Watts family gathers for dinner, that in addition to the carrots and mashed potatoes, there’s going to be another vegetable on the table named Erik. Atlas hollers about Hammer, but Foley won’t stop screaming “BANG BANG” long enough to hear what he has to say.
VINNIE VEGAS vs. DUSTIN RHODES (in a US title tournament match)
There’s nothing remotely gimmicky about Vegas, wearing a black singlet here. However, he’s shockingly spry, even hitting a sunset flip. Rhodes tries a bridge pin, but Vegas scoots loose. A sidewalk slam gets a near 2, and Vegas takes over the offense. Zbyszko tells us we can’t truly appreciate Vegas unless we see him in person. You’re a man ahead of your time, Larry. Rhodes tries a slam, but his back goes out and Vegas falls on top for 2. A gutwrench powerbomb gets 2, and Rhodes is fading fast. The bearhug fails to put Dustin away, and he finds his second wind. A forearm knocks Vegas down, but a dropkick only gets 1. Vegas tries the snakeyes, but Rhodes counters into a bulldog for the win at 6:23. **
TONY SCHIAVONE has tracked down BRIAN PILLMAN and BARRY WINDHAM in the locker room. Windham tells Pillman he’s ending their partnership because he’s decided to make a run at bigger singles gold, however, he doesn’t want to leave Pillman high and dry. In fact, he suggests he make friends with STEVE AUSTIN. Pillman’s delighted, because seeing as how they’re both world class athletes, they’re going to be completely unstoppable.
BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN vs. RICKY NELSON and LARRY SANTO
And thus, a legendary friendship is born. Meanwhile, you probably know Ricky Nelson better today as Dolph Ziggler.
Austin starts with Nelson, and quickly press slams him. Ricky comes back with a series of dropkicks, and tags in his terrible tag-team partner. Pillman comes in to chop Santo into minced sirloin. Austin goes to finish, but Santo gives him a drop toe hold and goes back to Nelson. Ricky goes for a leapfrog, but Austin stops short and uppercuts him in the thigh. Pillman grinds Nelson’s face into the mat, and Austin drops a knee across his nose. Nelson tags out, and Santo immediately takes a Stun Gun for the loss at 4:34. Solid debut, but there are far stronger days ahead. *1/2
We re-live Sting’s King of Cable victory at Starrcade; which turned out to be a lifetime championship since it was never defended. Admittedly, as silly as a lot of these little titles are, with this, and Jesse Ventura’s arm-wrestling championship, I admire the creativity. They were clearly looking for a winning gimmick, akin to the Royal Rumble, that they could use as a plot device to keep wrestlers busy when they weren’t involved in a major program – which in turn would keep them strong instead of, say, jobbing a lot until the next push came along.
TONY ATLAS (with Cactus Jack) vs. VAN HAMMER (in a US title tournament match)
Tony’s got beef since he arrived in WCW too late to appear in the arm-wrestling tournament, and he feels he would have cakewalked to victory. I wish they’d kept that tournament alive, because the idea of Chris Jericho viciously cheating his way through to the championship against Scott Norton is so delicious that it would have kept WCW alive another 3 or 4 years. Hammer illegally clotheslines Atlas to the floor in front of the referee, but he decides it was clearly an accident, because nobody could do something so deliberate deliberately. When Atlas gets back in, Jack trips up Hammer and Tony steals the win at 5:10. 1/2*
JESSE VENTURA sits down with ARN ANDERSON for this week’s Up Close. Jesse says he’s ruled the place from the day he started. Arn figures a better description is that he grew up in WCW; starting as a green rookie years ago, and taking his lumps and learning his lessons the right way. He’s on the disabled list right now with knee problems – something he always felt was a cop out excuse from the other boys until he felt the pinch himself. “You can’t compete without your wheels.” Ventura asks Arn what he figures he has left to prove? He has no idea, because he’s working without a contract right now. Bill Watts is refusing to re-up the Enforcer, and he’s working night to night. Jesse is shocked that he’s without a deal, and Arn angrily says that he’s staying no matter what, because WCW is his home. And with that – he says that there’s nothing that can stop him from leaving Erik Watts in a heap at an airport, at his home, or inside an ice cream shop. He was in WCW first, he earned everything he got and was never handed anything unlike daddy’s boy, and he refuses to be shoved aside for anyone. Jesse: “I think Bill Watts is protecting his kid, and I don’t like it.” This whole interview was borderline shoot material.
BARRY WINDHAM vs. JOHNNY B BADD (in a US title tournament match)
Johnny’s still basically a walking cartoon at this stage, and not the overpushed perennial TV champion he’d be later in his tenure. Badd dominates early, but it looks ridiculous given the size difference, because Badd basically uses big-man moves which shouldn’t be an effective strategy at all. Windham finally snaps Badd’s face against the ropes, and hits a spinning suplex to take control. Badd fights to his feet and gets his eyes raked, and a hard elbow drop gets 2. MADUSA wanders down to ringside to scout on behalf of Rick Rude, while Badd gets faceplanted by the big man. Windham moves into a number of different suplexes, but he can’t put Johnny away. Badd snaps off a Frankensteiner which sets up a super sunset flip – but Windham rolls through and clotheslines Badd with a particularly nasty looking clothesline! Badd’s done, but a jumping DDT is the cherry at 7:32. **
TONY SCHIAVONE wants to know what RICKY STEAMBOAT’s motivation for being in the US title tournament since he’s holding half the tag-team titles. SHANE DOUGLAS cuts them off, saying that their goal, ultimately, is to take care of the tag-team titles. However, Steamboat was granted an opportunity to wrestle for the US belt – and he’s not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
DAN SPIVEY vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT (in a US title tournament match)
Steamboat immediately shows how to work a match with a noticeable size difference, by leaning on his quickness and headlocks to wear Spivey down. Every time Spivey tries to fight loose, Steamboat just drops to the mat, holding the headlock to bring Spivey down with him. A swinging neckbreaker gets 2. Spivey finally manages to dodge a karate chop, and gives Steamboat a spinebuster. Ricky’s all cardio though, and fires back with a number of chops. Spivey no-sells, slams his own head into the buckle to show he’s a long way from done, and clotheslines Steamboat back to the 70’s. Steamboat fights back to his feet, and takes a Rock Bottom for 2. Still, he keeps fighting, but Larry rightfully points out that trying to go punch for punch here is idiotic, and he needs a better strategy. An abdominal stretch is used to wear Steamboat down, and a sidewalk slam gets 2. Steamboat throws some desperation chops to no avail, and Spivey’s pretty much laughing at him now. Steamboat tries a crossbody block, but Spivey catches him in mid-air and turns it into a backbreaker, smiling the entire time. He goes for an avalanche, but Steamboat sidesteps and delivers a backdrop suplex. Spivey whips Steamboat to the corner, but Ricky leaps over the ropes to the apron … where Spivey clotheslines him anyway. He goes to finish, but Steamboat slams his face to the buckle and comes off the top with a crossbody for the win at 8:22! Totally fantastic main event, and I’ll admit I have a total soft spot for Spivey who’s a completely underappreciated worker. ***
TEDDY LONG asks BARRY WINDHAM how he feels about taking on Ricky Steamboat next week in the tournament semi-finals. Windham’s pissy because he knows Steamboat’s only in the tournament to get revenge on Windham – but Barry’s here to capture championships, and he vows to tear Ricky up. Great fire from Barry, a total throwback to what made him such a compelling draw in the late 80’s. It’s a shame he got so bloody lazy around this point, because he clearly still had something in the tank when he wanted it there.

And that’s it until the Main Event tomorrow night.

Monday Nitro – January 24, 2000

Monday Nitro #224
Date: January 24, 2000
Location: Staples
Center, Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 12,106
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s actually a big
show for once as we’re crowning a new World Champion tonight because
the idea of waiting for pay per view is a foreign concept in this
company. Kevin Nash is already in the title match but Sid has to
qualify by beating Jeff Jarrett, who I don’t think is allowed to
fight for the title. Let’s get to it.

This show is dedicated
to Bobby Duncum Jr. He had potential.
Nash,
Jarrett and Steiner arrive in separate limos with their women for the
evening, including Major Gunns and someone who looks a heck of a lot
like Victoria/Tara. Scott Hall is here too.
Cruiserweight Title
Tournament First Round: Psychosis vs. Kaz Hayashi
The finals are at
SuperBrawl, Juventud is out with Psychosis and Kaz gets a jobber
entrance. Presumably annoyed by this, Kaz shoulders him down to
start and nails a nice release German. An enziguri knocks Psychosis
to the floor and Kaz nails a plancha. Back in and Psychosis nails a
clothesline before going after the knee.
After a few kicks, it’s
back to the floor where Juvy gets in a People’s Elbow. So we have a
fake Rock and a fake Road Dogg. I wonder who they’re ripping off
next. Back in and Kaz dives right back to the floor to take Juvy
out. Psychosis goes up top but dives into a dropkick to the ribs.
Well at least they’re finally picking things up a bit. And they head
back inside where Kaz misses a spinwheel kick and gets rolled up for
the pin.
Rating:
C-.
Well the flying wasn’t bad but Juvy’s Rock impression, which still
just makes me want to watch Rock, is taking away from everything else
in the match. Psychosis, while not the best in the world, was
clearly winning here because Kaz just isn’t very exciting in the
ring. At least the division is getting some attention for a change.
Terry Funk and Arn
Anderson arrive.
Nash says Jarrett has
failed his physical and can’t go tonight, but the boss has a plan.
After a break, Nash
makes Funk vs. Bam Bam Bigelow in a hardcore match.
The Wall vs. Kid
Romeo
Squash time. We hear
about Nash putting out a $15,000 bounty on Funk. This would be
shocking, until you realize that Funk is probably the second biggest
face in the company right now. Romeo fires off dropkicks to start
and actually knocks Wall to the ropes. He doesn’t knock Wall out to
the floor as Wall jumps over the ropes to get there but at least
Romeo got him halfway. Romeo’s plancha barely works but he scores
with an enziguri back inside, only to try a sunset flip and get
chokeslammed for the pin. Wall barely had any offense until the
ending.
Sid thinks something is
afoot with the Jarrett absence.
Arn tries to talk to
Bigelow but Bam Bam would beat up his mother for $15,000. Anderson:
“It’s your funeral.”
Scott
Steiner and Hall offer the Power Plant guys a chance to fight
tonight. Their pick: Al Greene. One of the guys who didn’t get
picked was none other than Christopher Daniels, who worked a dark
match before the show.
Norman Smiley vs.
Shannon Moore
Dang I don’t know who
to cheer for. Norman, in Dodgers gear, interrupts the song,
therefore making him the instant heel. It also earns him a quick 3-1
beating until it’s just Shannon in the ring. Norman fights up and
hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and IT’S DANCE TIME! Moore doesn’t
care for the spankings and tries a rollup, only to get countered into
a front powerbomb.
It’s time to get the
rest of the boys involved but Norman is of course way too smart for
them (meaning he has an IQ higher than a squid). Shannon is back up
with an Asai moonsault to the floor though and Norman is actually in
trouble for a change. Back inside and Norman slaps on the namesake
Conquest for the submission. It’s pretty sad that this is a major
upgrade in feuds for Norman, but I’ll take what I can get.
Post match it’s time to
sing again but Moore is still down. Instead, Norman clears the ring
and dances for them.
Al Greene vs. Tank
Abbott
Abbott knees him into
the ribs, punches him in the corner, slams him down, and knocks
Greene out with a big right hand for his longest match yet.
Tank yells at his
former UFC bodyguard, who Heenan interviews after a break. The
bodyguard, who isn’t named, says Abbott is a sellout.
Here’s Ernest Miller,
now with blond hair, who promises to whip everybody as soon as he can
get back in the ring. The fat boy in the front row can sit down and
it’s dance time. How many people in this company dance at the
moment?
Greene is loaded into
an ambulance and the NWO laughs.
Terry Funk vs. Bam
Bam Bigelow
Anything goes of
course. Bigelow jumps him in the back to start and drags the elder
statesman to the arena for some choking with a well placed rope.
Some chair shots knock Funk towards the ring but he’s still able to
avoid the top rope headbutt. They’re quickly back on the floor and
Funk busts out an Asai moonsault of his own to drop the big man. Now
it’s Funk with the chair but, ever the crazy man, he tries to
headbutt Bigelow and just hurts himself even worse.
Bigelow throws it back
inside and this time the top rope headbutt connects, but here are
Finlay and Knobbs to help out their mentor (I guess?). That’s fine
with Bigelow who easily knocks both guys away and loads up another
headbutt. He’s a man of limited offense. This time though, Knobbs
puts a chair over Funk and Bigelow knocks himself cold, giving Terry
the pin.
Rating:
D.
So Funk is in a hardcore feud and a main event feud, thereby making
this company more and more like ECW every single week. The match was
exactly what you would expect from these two (both former ECW World
Champions oddly enough) and the addition of Knobbs and Finlay doesn’t
make it any better.
Funk promises
reinforcements against Nash on Thunder.
Don Harris vs. Sid
Vicious
If Sid wins, he faces
Nash for the title later tonight. Harris is replacing Jarrett
because…..I have no idea why. Sid is smart enough to go after Don
before he can even get his jacket off because you know there’s going
to be cheating here. They head outside with Sid in control, but he
takes too long throwing Don inside and the twins are already
switching. Ron clotheslines Sid out to the floor and it’s another
switch. We hit the reverse chinlock for a bit before the twins plant
Sid with a double slam. Back up and Sid grabs a chokeslam on Don,
who rolls outside for a switch, so Sid powerbombs Ron for the pin.
Rating:
D.
This is a thing that happened. I’m not sure what else there is to
say about it but I’m sure that Nash will be able to tell the twins
apart (or that he watched the match. Well in theory as not many
other people were) and it’s going to be a loophole. Boring match of
course, but did you expect anything else from the Harris Twins?
Vampiro vs. Kidman
Torrie comes out
wearing basically a zebra print bikini. Vampiro misses a kick to
start and they circle each other a bit. A headscissors doesn’t do
much good for Kidman as Vampiro throws him down with a release
powerbomb. We cut to the crowd and OH GOOD LORD NO IT’S DAVID
ARQUETTE! Please cut away from him. Please. I can’t handle it.
Kidman reverses a powerbomb as only he can but he gets planted with a
side slam for two.
Vampiro misses the top
rope legdrop and Kidman hits a big plancha to take him out on the
floor. Back up and Kidman dropkicks him to the floor, only to have a
slingshot plancha caught. That’s fine with Kidman as he slips down
the back and sends him into the post to take over again. Torrie
seems way into this. The BK Bomb gets two and Vampiro’s DDT gets the
same, much to the latter’s shock.
A little
miscommunication sets up a release Rock Bottom from Vampiro but he
gets dropkicked out of the air. That’s fine with Vampiro who
counters a hurricanrana into a powerbomb for two more. With nothing
else working, Vampiro loads up a superbomb but you can’t superbomb
Kidman (that doesn’t have the same ring to it), who hurricanranas
Vampiro down for the pin.
Rating:
B.
Again, WHY IS KIDMAN NOT DOING SOMETHING IMPORTANT??? He just got
done with three matches at one pay per view and he’s had the best
match on the last three TV shows, but he can’t get anywhere near the
US Title because that’s Jarrett’s and he can’t get anywhere near the
TV Title because it was literally trashed a few months ago. Such is
life in WCW.
Arn Anderson is on the
phone with champ. “Get your pants on. Can you be in Vegas for
Thunder?”
Nash gets a massage,
which is part of his plan to win the World Title.
Vampiro has something
to say but his mic doesn’t work.
Total Package vs.
Booker T.
Liz does an over the
top introduction for Luger, who then babbles on about Sting. Just
get him back so he can crush Luger and be done with it. No one can
compare to Luger, including Hulk Hogan himself. There’s SuperBrawl I
guess. Booker comes out and slugs away because he should be moving
up the ladder but we need a Road Wild 1997 rematch.
An early Rock Bottom
gets two on Luger and the ax kick (good looking one) knocks him silly
but Liz offers a distraction. Cue Midnight to take care of Liz,
allowing Booker to hit a big side kick, only to have Big T. sneak in
with a slap jack to knock Booker silly, setting up Luger’s Rack for
the unconscious win. So glad to see Booker getting knocked cold
again so the Rack can beat him one more time to set up the big main
event Luger vs. Hogan feud that is happening for no apparent reason.
Post match Sting’s
music comes on and we have a shadowy figure with a bat on the stage.
Smoke comes on and whisks him away however. Great. So now Luger is
feuding with Sting, Hogan and Warrior.
Vampiro thinks the WWF
sabotaged his mic and wants a rematch with Kidman.
David Flair, Crowbar
and Daffney have an idea for the upcoming Tag Team Title match.
Tag Team Titles:
Brian Knobbs/Fit Finlay vs. Mamalukes
The Mamalukes are
defending but before either team comes out, David Flair, Crowbar and
Daffney take over all three commentary spots. David takes over
Tony’s job and actually isn’t terrible considering he’s sounding
normal with a twinge of crazy. Disco is suddenly fine with being
with the Mamalukes after trying to make them lose more than once.
Daffney thinks they’re the Marmadukes and Marmalades. Crowbar: “I’m
like Bobby Eaton and you have the mat skills of Sweet Stan Lane.”
They shove each other
around to start and the challengers get the early advantage. David:
“This one time, at band camp, I hit someone over the head with my
crowbar.” Standards and Practices come out to watch but only Ms.
Hancock sticks around. The camera stays on her for a bit before we
see Vito working on Knobbs in the corner. Disco and Hancock stare
each other down and Crowbar brings up the crimson mask. Crowbar
isn’t half bad as a play by play guy. “Double ax handle to the
chest! That could cave in the upper thorax!”
Both challengers crush
Johnny in the corner as David starts dancing on the table. Hancock
leaves with David and Daffney following as Finlay hits the Regal Roll
on Johnny. Disco offers a distraction so Vito can get in a belt shot
for two as everything breaks down. Knobbs throws a chair at Finlay
by mistake (Crowbar: “A FAUX PAS!”), setting up Vito’s swinging
inverted DDT to retain the belts.
Rating:
D.
Crowbar and Hancock were the highlights of the match. There’s only
so much you can expect from these four, but they’re already better in
the ring than Flair and Crowbar, almost by default. You could barely
keep track of the match with all the shenanigans though, and that
gets old in a hurry.
Here’s Nash with
something to say, though first he has to steal a fan’s sign about
Hall being afraid of O’Doul’s beer (non-alcoholic). The fans want
Goldberg but “he doesn’t work here anymore.” He and Sid are
about to fight but since the powerbomb is so dangerous, it’s banned
from use tonight. Well Nash already beat Sid in a powerbomb match
without using a powerbomb so that really doesn’t change much. The
NWO is on it’s way to Vegas so it’s one on one.
WCW World Title: Sid
Vicious vs. Kevin Nash
Thankfully Nash just
stayed in the ring instead of leaving like so many people (including
Nash in the past) have done before. Sid shoves him to the floor to
start but Nash cheats to win a test of strength to take over. They
head outside again as the announcers actually talk about Thunder
being taped tomorrow night. I know it’s not exactly a secret but
it’s not something you hear about that often. We hit the sleeper on
Sid back inside because Nash needs to rest a bit.
Tony’s logic on the
match: a loss here makes the NWO even stronger. Sid’s arm goes up
after the second drop but he drives Nash into the referee in the
corner. A big boot and legdrop set up the hand to the ear to see if
the fans want a powerbomb. Cue Jarrett (Nash LIED???) but Sid takes
the guitar away to blast Nash, but Sid is smart enough to play possum
before crawling over military style for the pin and the title. BIG
pop for that.
Rating:
D.
As I think everyone guessed coming in, this was a slow and mostly
dull power match. The ending would have been better suited after a
10-15 minute match, but I don’t think the world was ready for Sid vs.
Nash getting that much time in the year 2000. I’ll give them this
though: the idea of Sid outsmarting someone is about as entertaining
a bit of fiction as I’ve seen in a long time.
Confetti falls to end
the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+.
This show is getting downright tolerable. Above all else they now
have a clear focus in the main event, which is more than you could
say a few weeks back. Back then there were so many focuses that it
was almost impossible to keep track of what was going on.
Unfortunately that focus is on Sid, which isn’t the most interesting
idea in the world.
Other than that there’s
a more solid undercard being developed, but it would be nice to see
some of the people move up the ladder and WAY less emphasis on the
hardcore stuff. We get it: you can hit each other with trashcan lids
and chairs and Brian Knobbs is totally interesting and worthy of
pushing at least in the general direction of the space shuttle. I’m
scared to think of who Funk is going to get as a reinforcement, but
I’m hoping it’s just Sid so we don’t have to have anyone else coming
in. Or maybe it’s Flair, which would work a bit better. Not a good
show this week, but at least it’s a few steps ahead of where they
were.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books for under:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

WCW Power Hour: January 2, 1993

You asked! … While the sentiment may not have necessarily been overwhelming, there was a vocal group of you unhappy about the fact that I was reliving the same WCW time-frame that Scott Keith is currently covering, and various other bloggers have beaten the late 90’s to death. Fair points; and although these alleged “wrestling journalists” have completely managed to overlook the big story of the Nitro era (The Faces of Fear wreak havoc, kill everyone), and I was giving you the unbiased, straight facts as they happened, I am prepared to give this round to you – the miserable blog minority.
Thankfully, when touching on the past, the world is your burrito. Given that my two favorite topics to write about are WCW and the Completely Absurd (which, as it turns out, are joined at the hip like unruly Siamese Twins that don’t like each other), I wasn’t going to veer too far off track. Instead, we’ll slip backwards in time to 1993, a year which can be summed up as “wait, what?”

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. In fact – let’s get you all caught up. With Ric Flair gone to the greener pastures of the WWF, WCW appointed an heir apparent in Lex Luger. However, Vince McMahon quickly stole him away with a breadcrumb trail of Winstrol that led right into the World Bodybuilding Federation. WCW, as they typically did, ignored Sting and transitioned the belt over to Ronald “Ron” Simmons.
See, they were under a new boss, and Bill Watts had seen some success running with the Junkyard Dog in the mid 80’s. Given that all black wrestlers are interchangeable, as is the stereotype that exists to this very day, Watts pushed Simmons to the moon. Despite putting him over the Barbarian on pay-per-view, a move so bold that I’m getting angry just thinking about it, Simmons failed to get over. So 1992 came to a close at a house show on the 30th of December, with Vader claiming the belt back. You know, as opposed to doing it at Starrcade just 2 days earlier in front of a paying national audience.
Meanwhile, Rick Rude was happily holding the US title hostage while nursing another in a long line of injuries. The TV title was stripped from Scott Steiner in November after he, like everyone else, had left for the WWF, and heading into 1993, the company had basically forgotten they needed a new champion. Rounding out the gold, Shane Douglas had captured the tag-team titles with mystery partner Ricky Steamboat, who was roughly the only person coming in to the company FROM the WWF, and they were holding strong despite a young duo nipping on their heels in the guise of Steve Austin and Brian Pillman.
Oh, and the NWA didn’t much care for WCW branching off into doing their own thing, but I’m sure that won’t matter much at all this year.
For the year, I’ll be covering Power Hour, Saturday Night, The Main Event, and Worldwide, along with all the various pay-per-views and specials. Which is which? Well let’s turn to the KickOfFear.com official submission form – which is of course only to be for Faces of Fear related news, critical pieces of information (such as the Craig Pittman action figure on Amazon.com), or life altering questions. Mark, thankfully, understood this clearly when he asked:
                                                              
Love the site, love the reviews, I read you on here and Scott Keith’s blog often. I missed a lot of the syndicated shows when I was a fan in the late 90s so it’s cool to see that seasons of this stuff is available and not just lost to time. My basic question is what makes a B show vs a C show vs a D show? I get it’s on a scale of importance but when you look at 1997 for instance you had the following shows that would feature exclusive matches: A) Nitro B) Saturday Night C) Worldwide D) Main Event E) Pro Heck I could be missing one. Nitro is a gimme, Saturday Night seems like it was next in importance so I presume that’s a B. Is everything else a C or can it be broken down more? I realize the answer will change each year (or even more frequently) but I’m very interested in how the shows morphed over the years and have never really seen much internet conversation about it. Thanks, Mark
Well, you’ll probably have to ask that question to Scott Keith since he’s the resident “expert” on WCW in that timeframe seeing as I’ve been kicked out of that timeslot by my own personal volition, but I’ll do my best anyway. Ultimately, all roads lead to the pay-per-view, and since Nitro was pretty much a looping commercial for Roddy Piper, very little actual storyline advancement occurred, and it’s a D-show. Saturday Night had far too much Prince Iaukea, relegating it to F-status (apropos given my feelings on the “Prince”). Worldwide was created to be aired World-Wide and had the largest audience, as well as a not so Sober Bobby Heenan, so it’s the A-show. The Main Event was mostly recaps, but was about the only place you could find Ciclope, so it’s the B-show. And WCW Pro only started to exist last week when I finally got my hands on it; so we’ll call it the C-show for now until Lee Marshall annoys me enough to lower its rating.
I hope that clears things up Mark.
And with that, it’s off to the Power Hour, hosted by…
My apologies, that’s from the Hour of Power. Nope – we need …
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. JOE CRUZ
TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to what is expected to be a Big Weekend here in WCW! For example, Vader won the World Title on Wednesday … which is not the weekend by any definition I’ve ever heard, but I appreciate Tony Schiavone confirming in less than a minute that even in 1993 his brain had melted into the equivalent of whatever’s in those Parkay Squeeze Butter containers. Scorpio nearly picks up the pin off a monkey flip (called “I’ve never seen a Sunset Flip Like That Before”), and Scorpio knocks Cruz to the unprotected floor (thanks Bill Watts!). Back in, Scorpio finishes with the 450 splash at 2:43. And then we step. *
A recap airs from December 19th, when “HEAVY METAL” VAN HAMMER (which is just one wrestler, and not a Lucha-import on a bad acid trip) and RON SIMMONS competed in an arm-wrestling match, in the finals of JESSE VENTURA’s “Strongest Arm” tournament. For some reason, TONY ATLAS is walking around too, but Ventura orders us to ignore him. (Consider it done!) After a compelling back-and-forth battle, complete with Jesse Ventura commentary, Van Hammer wins the prestigious trophy in a moment that would be replayed for generations to come. Atlas takes exception to this, but given that we’re ignoring him, let’s move on.
SCOTTY FLAMINGO vs. KEITH COLE
Keith Cole can be described as “If Ricky Morton had an inappropriate relationship with Guile from Street Fighter”. Flamingo would of course go on to greater fame as Johnny Polo, with the bright pink banana hammock doing him no favors here. Cole gets locked in a body scissors, so tightly pressed to Flamingo’s midsection I’m convinced he may have just felt it move. A half-nelson crucifix gets 2, but Cole uses the power of his flat-topped mullet to hulk up. Then he jumps into an airplane spin and loses at 4:48. *1/2
Last year at the Clash of Champions, Van Hammer and Cactus Jack had a match. Of course, I knew this, and even talked to Mick Foley about it last fall, where I was given a sarcastic “yeah, that was a good one”.
MISSY HIATT’s New Year’s Resolution is to hook up with Erik Watts. Unbelievably, this wasn’t rock bottom.
BARRY WINDHAM and BRIAN PILLMAN vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG and MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL
If we’re looking to pinpoint reasons nobody took WCW seriously in 1993, I’d like to start with Windham’s hair, where he’s going with wispy bangs in the front, and a mullet-tail in the back. Bagwell is atrocious, barely able to cobble together a competent string of moves beyond the headlock. Pillman completely outclasses everyone else in the ring, but given that this is a man who could have sex in a pair of gravity boots, that really should go unspoken. Windham plans Bagwell with a fantastic DDT, and Pillman’s not far behind with the Savage elbow for 2. Bagwell gets a rally going, and just as he’s about to tag out, Pillman yanks him down by the hair. Armstrong loses his mind, and while Nick Patrick attends to him, Pillman launches Bagwell over the top rope, straight to the concrete floor. Tony screams for a DQ, but given that he’s in the studio weeks after this was taped, the referee can’t hear him. Still, Bagwell does make the hot tag eventually, and Armstrong has a number of exciting moves, such as the right hand, and the elevated right hand. Pillman clips Armstrong as he’s throwing his punches, and that’s enough for the win at 9:24. **
The Power Hour is brought to you by Super Ghouls n Ghosts for the Super Nintendo. That just makes me mad to see it. I had saved my $7 allowance religiously in order to get a new game to complement Mario World – and when I entered Microplay, I was given an array of games to choose from. The store clerk assured me that Super Ghouls n Ghosts was the way to go, and for only $79.99. Having spent probably 4000 hours playing this game, I can say with a high degree of certainty, it is the hardest and stupidest game ever made. It takes forever to get to the end … at which point to see the REAL end you have to beat it again, with an awful weapon!! Despite this, some 6 months later, armed with the wisdom that the store clerk was an asshat … I somehow let him fleece me a second time when he sold me Joe & Mac. I swear to Christ, if I hadn’t finally obtained Mario Kart and Earthbound to rebalance my sanity, I might be in jail today.

Coming up on Saturday Night; a tournament begins to determine the #1 contender to the US Heavyweight title. The winner gets a shot at Rick Rude, and if they win, they’ll travel the circuit losing to R-Truth. Catch the fever with 4 first-round matches on the way later tonight at 6:05 on TBS! I’ll be there.

Thunder – January 19, 2000

Thunder
Date: January 19, 2000
Location: Roberts
Memorial Stadium, Evansville, Indiana
Attendance: 2,726
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The big story at the
moment is how a huge chunk of the midcard and the World Champion are
all gone due to Kevin Sullivan being part of the new booking
committee. In addition to the talent leaving due to Sullivan, it
also means that the show has gone from going 200 miles per hour to
about 20 miles per year as the show has slowed way down and gotten a
good deal more boring. Let’s get to it.

There’s a closed door
meeting taking place.
The NWO arrives.
Tag Team Titles:
David Flair/Crowbar vs. Mamalukes
The
mafia guys are challenging and Disco sits in on commentary. Vito and
David get things going with Young Naitch getting knocked into the
corner with ease. I know Crowbar is crazy but how did he consent to
letting Flair start? David comes back with some shoulders to the
ribs in the corner, only to get nailed in the throat for his efforts.
Crowbar dives over the top to take the Mamalukes down and gets two
off a cross body.
That goes nowhere as
Vito comes back with a delayed suplex, but only after he jogs around
the ring while holding Crowbar in the air. Off to Johnny who eats a
double clothesline but comes right back with a spinning kick to the
head. Everything breaks down and Crowbar powerslams Vito down and
drops a top rope splash for two with Johnny making a save. A
Lionsault (minus the running start) gets the same as this is
basically a handicap match. David gets the crowbar but the Mamalukes
kick Crowbar into him (and the bar), setting up the spinning Impaler
DDT from Vito for the pin and the titles.
Rating:
D.
I like the result but not the method they used to get there. It’s
very nice to see the titles go to a team that could actually work
some decent matches, but the match that got them there was pretty
much a mess. David just doesn’t have what it takes to be on this
level and it was showing every time they were in the ring. At least
the Mamalukes, as mediocre as they are, can work well enough.
Nash
talks to the cops.
Page and Kimberly
arrive.
The Mamalukes want
Disco to take someone out.
Curt Hennig vs. Jim
Duggan
Really?
As I fathom the fact that these two are fighting in 2000, I took
some time to see how many times these guys have fought. Believe it
or not, they only have a few house show matches in the WWF and two
Thunder matches. You would think these guys would have been a
logical pairing at some point. Hennig answers something like an open
challenge but doesn’t have on wrestling gear, so Duggan calls him a
chicken.
Curt
McFly charges to the ring and gets slammed down but he snaps Jim’s
throat over the top rope. Some choking and a dropkick follow but
Duggan just slugs away to come back. Ten punches in the corner are
broken up by an eye poke but Hennig throws Duggan into the referee.
You know I hadn’t realized how few ref bumps there had been since
Russo was gone. Hennig brings in the 2×4 but Duggan hits the referee
by mistake, sending Hennig running away as Duggan’s music plays.
Huh?
It’s
3 Count time!!! They do a letterboxed performance and now they even
have a super fan in the form of Karate Norman Smiley. Evan, so
overwhelmed by the music, charges at him but Norman feels the power
and clotheslines him down. All three members are taken out and
Norman is so fired up that he issues an open challenge. Cue Tank
Abbott because we need to see him every week. Norman fails at using
Dave Penzer as a human shield and goes down in one punch. I’m so
glad the fans got excited over Smiley until he got knocked cold by
Abbott because we haven’t covered that yet.
Lash
Leroux vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Psychosis
Sometime
tonight we should be getting a statement on Oklahoma and the
Cruiserweight Title. Chavo goes after Psychosis to start with some
chops as Lash just chills by the ropes. Psychosis escapes a
tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before joining Chavo for a double
clothesline. That’s about it for the working together as Chavo sends
Psychosis into the corner and slams him down, followed by a dropkick
to put Lash on the floor. Psychosis and Chavo slug it out but Lash
gets back up and dives onto both guys to finally do something in the
match.
Back
up and Psychosis nails Chavo by mistake, followed by a backbreaker
from Leroux. Psychosis is sent outside with Lash following him for a
whip into the barricade. This time it’s Chavo hitting the big dive
to the floor and everyone is down. Back in again and Lash misses a
dive, allowing Chavo to throw Psychosis to the floor. Whiplash is
countered and Chavo nails the tornado DDT, only to have Psychosis
comes back in with the guillotine legdrop to knock Chavo silly for
the pin.
Rating:
B-.
Much like on Nitro, this was an old school fun cruiserweight match
between three guys who should be fighting over the title instead of
having Oklahoma hold it as a comedy bit. It’s cool to see Psychosis
win as well as he’s an underrated talent, but the same could be said
for Chavo. Either way, at least we got an entertaining match.
The Artist still won’t
sing.
The Artist Formerly
Known As Prince Iaukea vs. Kidman
Kidman
has his solo theme back instead of the Filthy Animals’ song. Prince
shoves him into the corner to start but gets reversed and beaten up.
Paisley earns her paycheck by tripping Kidman so Artist can slam him
down and snap a wishbone. This brings out Torrie for her big return
as Kidman starts his comeback, only to springboard into a powerslam.
Back
up and Kidman gets two off a rollup, only to have his comeback
punched down. Another slam sets up something off the top rope but
Prince slips going up and almost falls down. I know it happens with
everyone, but given that it’s Prince Iaukea I blame his lack of
talent. Prince tries a springboard but Torrie pulls him down,
allowing Kidman to hit the BK Bomb for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
Pull the plug on Iaukea already. He doesn’t have it and this new
character isn’t masking the fact that he isn’t that good. Yeah he
can do basic stuff well enough but anything more than simple offense
is a chore for him. You have an army of talented cruiserweights on
your roster and this is the best you can do? Kidman was his usual
self here so there isn’t much to say about him.
Terry
Taylor is escorted to the ring. I wonder if he got an extension can
can still have tailor made suits now that it’s 2000.
Here’s Taylor as the
executive representative (at least it’s someone who knows how to
talk) to address the World Title situation. This coming Monday
(because it has to be Monday and not at your next pay per view),
there will be a match to determine the Undisputed World Heavyweight
Champion. Commissioner Kevin Nash is going to get to pick one
participant and the executive committee gets to pick the other. The
committee’s pick: Sid Vicious.
This
brings out Nash to rip on Taylor a bit and says he’s been reading the
commissioner’s handbook, which says he gets to make the matches. The
fans chant for Goldberg and again Nash threatens to fire him. As
lame as his matches are, at least Nash knows how to antagonize a
crowd. This Monday, Sid can have his title shot…..if he beats Jeff
Jarrett. As for Nash’s pick, of course it’s himself. It wasn’t
specified but I’m assuming Jeff doesn’t get the title shot if he
beats Sid.
I’ll
give them points for adding in a crowd favorite in Sid and Nash makes
sense as the villain, but they couldn’t throw in a curveball here?
You have a chance to make a brand new star to distract the fans from
the fact that you just lost four young guys and you go with the safe
route of Sid? I get the thinking behind it, but this would be a
prime chance to pull the trigger on someone. They don’t even have to
win the title, but give the fans something to get excited over.
Like, at SuperBrawl, not the show five days away.
Nash makes tonight’s
main event: Booker T./Big T. vs. Sid/Total Package. Ha that’s good.
Now what’s the real main event?
Berlyn vs. The Wall
Time
for the blowoff! Berlyn goes after him during the entrances but
Wall, the giant monster, grabs a wristlock. Can we get someone to
explain the idea of psychology to these people? Berlyn comes back
with a nip up and dropkick and the fans already think this is boring.
Wall throws him to the floor and drops an elbow to the back but
posts himself, allowing Berlyn to dive off the top to take him down.
The
second attempt (this time from the apron) doesn’t work as well and
Wall throws him inside again. Get this match over with already.
Back in and Berlyn tries to flip over Wall but doesn’t get all the
way, making the match look even worse. Wall drapes him over the top
rope and nails a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but the chokeslam is broken
up by a rake of the eyes. Berlyn hits the ropes, eats a big boot
and……gets pinned?
Rating:
D.
So they established these guys as a team in September and have the
horrible blowoff on a show no one is going to watch in January?
That’s the best thi…..yeah this actually is the best they can do at
this point. Terrible match here as there’s no interest in either
guy. They’ve managed to destroy so many members of the roster that
there’s no reason to get interested in almost anyone.
This Week In WCW
Motorsports. Yes this is still a thing.
Here’s Cruiserweight
Champion Oklahoma as he continues to get to book himself into a spot
for the sake of his own laughter. He brags about promising to bounce
Madusa’s silicone censored back to the kitchen and that’s exactly
what he did. After that win, Oklahoma has decided to vacate the
title because there’s nothing left for him to accomplish. This
brings out Madusa to call Oklahoma a coward before saying she wants
to start a women’s division. Oklahoma starts his rebuttal but here’s
Sherri Martel of all people to attack Madusa.
So wait. We’ll get to
the match in a minute but I need a second here. Not only did
Oklahoma set himself up to beat Madusa for the title, vacate it due
to weighing 260lbs and cover her with barbecue sauce because making
fun of Jim Ross is just oh so funny, but now Madusa is just being
moved on to a new feud? In other words, the heel booker gets away
with everything with his only comeuppance being the barbecue sauce
after he won the title? Well of course it is.
Madusa vs. Sherri
Martel
Miss
Hancock comes out and sits on the announcers’ table for some fan
service. Sherri chokes a lot, Madusa comes back with clotheslines,
Sherri goes up and slips, Madusa suplexes her down for the pin. The
match lasted a minute.
Nash
tells the NWO girls to massage him.
Fit Finlay vs. Jerry
Flynn
Not
hardcore surprisingly enough. Jerry chops him down to start and
pulls Finlay away from the ropes because Fit is trying to hide for
some reason. Finlay comes back with an uppercut and let’s look at
Buzzkill in the crowd because that’s still going on. Fit knocks him
down a few times and drops a middle rope knee and they head outside
with Finlay hitting an uppercut.
A
chair to the throat puts Jerry in even more trouble but here’s Brian
Knobbs with a kendo stick. Brian gets in some stick shots on Flynn
but Jerry comes back with some kicks to Finlay. Knobbs goes to the
apron with the stick but Finlay is sent into it instead, giving Flynn
the fluke rollup pin.
Rating:
F.
It was slow, it was boring, it had Brian Knobbs and Jerry Flynn is
getting a pin on television over someone like Fit Finlay. Flynn is
similar to Tank Abbott: here’s there for one reason and for some
reason the company insists on pushing him, albeit slowly, no matter
how boring he continues to be. Another bad match tonight.
Kanyon vs. Diamond
Dallas Page
The
Triad fallout continues. Kanyon says he’s beaten Page over and over
again now so there’s nothing left to prove. This brings out
Kimberly, who is offered a spot in Kanyon’s entourage. Kimberly
offers to think about it if the other girls leave. This brings Page
through the crowd to get in some cheap shots to start things off. A
suplex drops Kanyon and Page knocks him off the apron, setting up a
Page dive to the floor.
Back
in and Kanyon grabs a swinging neckbreaker (way too popular a move in
WCW these days), followed by elbows and a chinlock. Page fights up
and they head outside again with Kanyon hitting a quick Fameasser
onto the steps. A high cross body from Kanyon is rolled through for
two for Page. They slug it out with Page taking over, only to walk
into a pumphandle slam for two. Cue J. Biggs with the briefcase but
Page knocks him off the apron. Kanyon dives into a powerbomb,
setting up the Diamond Cutter for the pin.
Rating:
C.
Not bad here but you could see Page having the whole thing mapped
out. Kanyon continues to be entertaining in almost everything he
does and should be doing something better than just fighting Page and
Bigelow all the time. The same is true of Page. He could be
fighting for the US Title (along with a few other people) but he’s
just kind of here, going from match to match and never advancing.
Luger
and Big T. talk backstage.
The NWO watches from
their locker room.
Total
Package/Sid Vicious vs. Booker T./Big T.
Oh
this could be bad. Mr. T.’s offspring get in an argument to start
and the fans chant for Ahmed. Eventually it’s Big T. vs. Sid to
start and T. wants a test of strength. Sid asks the audience if they
want to see it, complete with the hand to the ear, but Big backs
down. It’s off to Booker as we’ve somehow eaten up two minutes of
the match with no contact yet. Booker and Sid lock up, let go, and
it’s off to Luger.
Amazingly
enough it’s Luger with the first real contact of the match as he runs
Booker over with a shoulder, only to have Booker knock him out to the
floor. Nash is here to watch as Luger chokes Booker in the corner.
We take a break and come back with Sid holding Booker in a chinlock.
It’s off to Luger who eats the running forearm, only to have Big T.
slapjack him from the apron. Now, down 2-1, Big T. comes in and gets
chokeslammed, leaving Luger to Rack the unconscious Booker for the
submission.
Rating:
D-.
So to clarify, not only is Big T. fat and out of shape, but he’s very
stupid. Let’s just get to the stupid angle that’s coming with Harlem
Heat so we can get Booker out of this and on to ANYTHING else because
yet another Harlem Heat storyline can only go so far and we passed
that about a month ago.
Overall
Rating:
D+.
This is an interesting look at how the new regime is going to go.
First and foremost, the matches are getting more time. Several of
these had 4-5 minutes, which is enough time to get the point across.
I’d still like to cut out a match or two and extend the matches they
already have, but at least they’re letting the wrestlers tell a story
and not have to fly through five plot points while trying to fit in
some moves in between.
However,
there’s another side to the new bosses. WCW is so desperate for a
new star but they’re hanging on to the old guard as tight as they
can. It should be all hands on deck to make someone into a star but
instead we’re getting Sid and Luger in the main events with Booker T.
doing the job to advance the Harlem Heat feud.
Since
they announced the title match for Monday, I’ve been trying to figure
out who they could have put in that spot instead of Sid and there
really aren’t a lot of options. Assuming he’s healthy, there’s
always Sting, but is that really where you want to go again,
especially with Hogan out there somewhere? There’s Vampiro, but my
goodness that would be a jump. Kidman is a US Title level guy at
best. That really just leaves Booker T., who is last seen out cold
and being put in the Torture Rack because Luger and Sid are a team
for no apparent reason.
So
we’re waiting to see if Sid is the guy that can carry the promotion?
I’m assuming we’ll get Sting and Hogan back soon enough, meaning it
really is going to become even more of a good old boys network around
here. I know the idea is to find someone steady, but that should be
done while also building for the future, which WCW has never managed
to do. Everyone young has been ground down to nothing for the sake
of pushing old acts for a quick score. Above all else, that might be
the biggest thing that lead to their downfall. It’s really hard to
care when the quality is going down and the champions get older every
week.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
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Monday Nitro – January 17, 2000

Monday Nitro #223
Date: January 17, 2000
Location:
Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Attendance: 10,646
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I have to say this way
too often around here, but everything has changed again. Benoit won
the World Title last night and that’s the last you’re going to see of
him in WCW. Unfortunately that’s also the case for Malenko, Guerrero
and Saturn, who all quit when Kevin Sullivan was announced as the
fired Vince Russo’s replacement. The Filthy tried to get out as well
but didn’t have such an easy escape. Now we get to see how
everything falls out so let’s get to it.

The NWO arrives and
Nash leaves Jeff’s hand hanging in a funny bit.
Kidman vs. Psychosis
We
immediately start with a match and Kidman gets an early advantage off
a headscissors and stops a charge by raising a boot. A high cross
body gets two but Psychosis low bridges him to the floor and hits a
big dive over the top. Thankfully the whole landing on Kidman’s head
part didn’t cripple him. Back in and a nice top rope spinwheel kick
gets two as the announcers promise to address all the major changes
after last night’s show.
They head outside again
with Kidman being sent into the barricade but he’s still able to
dropkick Psychosis out of the air back inside. Psychosis counters a
superplex into a super sitout gordbuster for two, only to walk into a
wheelbarrow suplex. That earns Kidman a DDT and the guillotine
legdrop for a very close two. YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN though and
the faceplant gets the pin. This would be four Kidman matches in two
days without a Shooting Star.
Rating:
B.
Off the top of my head, the best match WCW has had since the main
event of Mayhem back in November. You can immediately see the
cruiserweights being brought back to a respectable place as they were
allowed to just go out and have a good match instead of being used as
target practice for the heavyweights. They’re already off to a good
start.
Now we get the big
fallout from last night in the form of a statement from Arn Anderson.
Terry Funk got beaten up last night for doing what he believed in
and that’s what a real man does. Anderson has always tried to do
what he said and last night he promised to call the match down the
middle. Then he started watching the match instead of refereeing and
he didn’t notice Sid’s foot under the ropes when Benoit made him tap
out. Therefore the title is vacant.
To
recap our title holders, we have David Flair, Crowbar (both of whom
lost last night), Brian Knobbs and Ed Ferrara.
The Harris Brothers are
in suits again and now guarding the NWO’s locker room. I’m so glad
we had them turn a few weeks ago just to turn back already.
Booker says he hasn’t
forgotten where he came from and apparently he and Stevie knew Big T.
back in the day. They decided he was all wrong for them and Booker
didn’t know he was out of jail. That’s already more backstory than
we get for most new characters.
Here’s the new Harlem
Heat, with Stevie saying he and Big T. are willing to give Booker
another chance. Booker and Midnight come out but Stevie wants
Midnight to leave. Stevie mentions Booker borrowing his bike to go
get candy as a kid but the brawl is on. The team takes Booker down
and Stevie wants a referee in here right now.
Booker T. vs. Big T.
Both
guys are in street clothes. A quick Pearl River Plunge drops Booker
and a World’s Strongest Slam does the same. Booker comes back with a
forearm and ax kick followed by the Book End but Stevie throws in a
slap jack to knock Booker silly for the pin. This was nothing.
Vampiro
vs. Disco Inferno
The
Mamalukes are out with Disco and tell him there will be no dancing.
During the entrances, Tony basically begs the fans to come to the
Thunder taping tomorrow night. Vampiro nails a spinwheel kick to
start and another spin kick to the chest. Disco’s monkey flip
doesn’t get him anywhere and Vampiro plants him with a release Rock
Bottom, only to miss a corkscrew moonsault.
The
Mamalukes validate their paycheck by attacking Disco as this is
actually a faster pace than you would expect. It’s like they’re
actually being allowed to try for a change. A swinging neckbreaker
gets two for Disco but Vampiro avoids an elbow and hits another top
rope spinwheel kick, followed by the Nail in the Coffin for the pin.
Rating:
C.
Nothing great here but like I said, they were trying for a change.
It’s such a different atmosphere already with Russo gone for one show
and you can see the quality and effort going up. Vampiro looked
decent here and I can see why they wanted to push him, but they need
to do something with him already.
Scott
Steiner presents Nash with some women for secretary interviews,
including the yet to be named Major Gunns, Shakira and Midajah.
Steiner wants to play Twister.
Tag Team Titles: 3
Count vs. David Flair/Crowbar
We
get a 3 Count performance before the match to really make this show
feel better. Evan is the odd man out here. 3 Count dives onto the
champs to start and here are Standards and Practices to scout the
match. We settle down with David suplexing Moore and dropping him
with a belly to back for two. Daffney hisses at Evan on the floor so
David runs over for the save. Helms superkicks Crowbar down and
Shannon adds a top rope spinning splash for two. David low bridges
Shannon to the floor, allowing Crowbar to hit a reverse DDT for the
pin.
Rating:
D+.
I loved 3 Count and there’s nothing bad about looking at Stacy
Keibler but this really didn’t work. At the end of the day, David
Flair just isn’t ready for this spot. He’s trying, but it’s very
similar to Erik Watts in the early 90s: he needed a lot more
seasoning before being thrown into this spot.
We get an encore!
Nash
asks the ladies to leave so they can have some NWO business. Bret is
nowhere to be seen. They need to get rid of the Old Age Outlaws but
Arn can stick around for some reason.
Maestro vs. Tank
Abbott
No
piano, 13 seconds, one right hand for the knockout. This was a shoot
fight, because the Brawl For All didn’t teach WCW anything.
Norman Smiley comes out
to stare down Abbott but Meng shows up to give Abbott someone a real
challenge.
Most
of the midcard is coming to the arena. Since this is WCW, it takes
far longer than it should have. They couldn’t have had them come out
during the break? Nash and the Harris Brothers come out for the
first official address of the roster. Nash praises himself but says
he has goals for everyone out there. Tenay needs a personality,
Knobbs needs a brain, Abbott needs a heart and Smiley needs courage.
Nash: “I sound like Oz up here.”
The
fans cut him off with a Goldberg chant so Nash threatens to fire him.
This brings Nash to his first real act: Jeff Jarrett is officially
the US Champion again. Jeff: “HOLY SLAPNUTS!” Next up is
health, which is why there will be mandatory rectal exams before
every match with Dr. Jellyfinger. Also, everyone is going to be in
the same locker room no matter what level they’re on and no one can
look at Nash but they all must call him Lord Master.
Nash
will decide what happens with the World Title at a later date. He’s
rapid firing through these ideas. There will be no illegal
substances in the locker room, including Viagra. Nash: “Sorry
Lex!” He praises Bagwell and Page for their match last night.
Nash: “Buff, you doing Kim or what?” As for the first main event
tonight, it’s Bagwell vs. Page in a rematch from last night with
Kimberly as guest referee. They’re the NWO, they’re in charge, and
they are gods.
Kimberly comes in to
see the NWO and is given her referee outfit and asks if Page or
Bagwell was better.
Team 2000 vs.
Varsity Club
Team
2000 is Masahiro Chono and Super J (From what I can find it’s Jeff
Farmer, better known as NWO Sting). There’s actually a story here:
Rotundo was part of NWO Japan but left to reform the Varsity Club.
Yeah this match is actually getting a story over a Japanese faction
that most people didn’t know existed.
It’s
a brawl to start until Chono starts driving knees into Mike’s ribs to
take over. Off to Steiner but Chono wants Rotundo back in, which the
fans find boring. I can’t say I blame them as there’s no reason to
care about this story. Steiner suplexes Chono down and easily takes
J to the mat. Steiner whips him into the barricade and Rotundo has a
lame slugout as this just keeps going.
Rotundo
chinlocks J as Steiner and Chono brawl in the aisle. Back in and
Rick gets double teamed for a bit but they’re quickly back on the
floor to keep up the brawling. A big boot to the face out of the
corner blasts Rick again but Chono dives into a belly to belly.
Everything breaks down again and the referee misses a small package
from Rotundo to Chono. J comes in and rolls it over to FINALLY give
Chono the pin.
Rating:
D.
This is one of the first major cases of the show having to throw in
ANYTHING else besides Benoit/Guerrero/Malenko/Saturn. There was no
reason for this to be a nine minute match and the fans might have
been on to something with the boring chant. It wasn’t the worst
match in the world, but like I said, there’s no reason to care about
these teams fighting. The match wasn’t good enough to overcome that
problem and it dragged on and on as a result.
Sid
Vicious vs. The Wall
Sid
runs him over to start and Wall bails to the floor for a breather.
Wall is thrown over the announcers’ table as this is full squash mode
so far. That’s it for the play by play right now as we cut to Disco
and the Mamalukes coming in to say they’ll get the NWO anything they
need. Nash asks if they’ve ever heard of Vinnie Vegas. Their
assignment: go beat up Sid. Then get some grinders. We cut back to
the ring to see Sid chokeslamming Wall for the pin.
The
Mamalukes come out but eat powerbombs.
Scott
Steiner, in a Michigan jersey and flanked by Midajah and a girl in a
Michigan cheerleader uniform, comes out and beats up the Ohio State
(Michigan’s big rival) mascot. Steiner does his usual stuff about
how all the women want him and tells them to take a number and wait
in the back. Michigan beating Ohio State was easy, just like the
women in Ohio. An Ohio State fan argues with him from ringside and
gets beaten down. Security quickly takes the bloody fan away as
we’re firmly in the Scott is nuts phase.
Total
Package vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Luger
is finally out of the Sting attire. Bigelow elbows him out to the
floor and pounds in some big forearms to the back. Back in and
Bigelow slugs away, eats the metal forearm, and continues slugging
away. The top rope headbutt connects but Liz distracts Bigelow to
break up the Greetings From Asbury Park. Cue Kanyon but Bigelow
nails him, only to take a champagne bottle to the head from Luger for
the pin.
Rating:
D-.
Is there a point coming to this Bigelow vs. Kanyon feud anytime soon?
They’ve been feuding, with Bigelow consistently coming out on the
losing end, for weeks now and there’s no real progression to the
story. This was another match that didn’t do anything for anyone and
was just there to fill in time.
Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Buff Bagwell
Kimberly’s
referee outfit is exactly what you would expect it to be. Page
starts fast with a shoulder and spinning Rock Bottom but Kimberly
takes her sweet time counting. Buff comes back with a clothesline
and they fight to the floor then into the crowd. Time for the ECW
phase of the show it seems. A trash can shot knocks Page back to the
barricade and they head back inside.
Bagwell
nails a hot shot onto the turnbuckle but he stops to hit on Kimberly.
Page gets back up and crotches Bagwell against the post. The
Diamond Cutter is blocked by grabbing a rope (and it actually works
unlike last night) and both guys are down again. The double arm DDT
from Buff (well maybe an arm and a quarter) gets another very slow
two count.
Back
up and they fight over a backslide before the Diamond Cutter connects
but Page can’t cover. Instead Buff gets up and loads up the
Blockbuster, only to get crotched down. Page’s superplex attempt is
countered with a low blow and now the Blockbuster connects. Kimberly
“accidentally” collides with Buff and knocks herself down,
allowing Page to get up and hit the Diamond Cutter for a slow pin.
Rating:
D+.
This is another feud that is just meandering along with little
development in sight. It’s no longer about whether Kimberly slept
with Bagwell but rather if she’s going to leave her husband for him.
That’s about all there is as far as advancement goes, but it’s not
enough to validate the boring matches that come with the feud.
Kimberly bolts from the
ring and Page follows to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C-.
Suddenly Russo is out of power and this feels like a wrestling
program again. It’s certainly nothing great but we had storyline
progression that you could follow, some watching wrestling getting
time (three matches broke six minutes and with ten more seconds on
the opener they all would have broken seven) and nothing
horrible/insulting to my intelligence. In other words, it’s a middle
of the road wrestling show.
That’s the key though:
this show still isn’t really good. A lot of the wrestling was
uninspired at best and the stories were only ok. Nash as the power
mad yet entertaining boss has potential and the lack of the focus on
the mostly retired crew helped a lot. Unfortunately, I have a
feeling the bottom is going to fall out very soon because they’re
going to have to find something to fill in the void left by all the
people leaving, and it’s not NWO Japan.
This is where the
problems are going to crop up and there isn’t much WCW can do about
it. The Radicalz leaving at once was like taking the walls out from
a building. No matter what was going on, you could count on those
four guys to put on a decent wrestling match if you gave them the
chance. Now that they’re gone, there isn’t much left to take their
places.
What’s supposed to make
up for those guys missing? Page and Bagwell having lame matches?
More Varsity Club? Ahmed Johnson? Jeff Jarrett cutting the same
promo with the same slap nuts line every single week? WCW has lost
the meat of their company and there isn’t much they can throw in
there to fill in the gaps. That brings me to the big point here: the
Radicalz leaving was the point of no return for WCW.
Now here’s the thing:
WCW was going to die no matter what. In the long run, there was too
much money being burned and too much of a mess to possibly fix the
place. Somewhere along the line it was going to go under and Vince
would be left smiling. However, as long as you had those four guys
(or at least a young core group of wrestlers who could one day take
over), there was always a hope. It may have been just a glimmer, but
it was there.
However, all that went
away when they left. Those four leaving took the hope away from WCW
fans. Any chance they had to see something fresh come in and take
the company back from the Good Old Boys network at the top was gone
and the hope was destroyed. Now there’s just the old guys hanging
around at the top, collecting their paychecks and putting on the same
pitiful matches that no one wants to see except for the diehard fans.
Benoit finally got to
the top last night and it felt like yet another Dusty Finish. Yeah
he got there, but never mind because we need to take the title away
from him and just let it sit around until we find some other old guy
to put it on so he can talk about having some big match but never be
able to live up to those promises. The fans have no reason to
believe it’s possible now and once that happens, the faint chance
that WCW could turn it around was gone.
WCW was already a very
wounded animal before those four left, but there was always the
chance that they could tape themselves up, get on their feet and nail
one big right hook to knock the WWF back and have one more chance in
this fight. Instead, and no one knew how bad it was going to get in
just a few weeks when they showed up on Nitro, WWF just cut off WCW’s
arms and punched them with their own fists. WCW may appear to still
be alive and trying to come back, but at this point, without the core
talent that they built up being around anymore, there is no more
hope. WCW is dead.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6