The Netcop Retro Rant for Capital Combat 1990 This was a one-shot show from 1990 in the place that Slamboree would be today. (Slamboree is of course nowhere today but our memories.) It’s the Robocop show, but I’m working my way through a bottle of Bacardi rum, so I think I’m prepared. (God, rum used to give me such a headache. I only drink vodka now, no hangover and it mixes with ANYTHING. Americans will never understand the brilliance of the Caesar.) This is the WHIP-ASS Turner Home Video edited version, where they cut out 90 minutes of shit and leave two hours of good matches. (Too bad they couldn’t cut out Ole’s time as booker.) Live from Washington, DC Your hosts are Jim Ross and Bob Caudle. Opening match, hair v. hair: Paul Ellering v. Teddy Long. Now this always struck me as a pointless match, given that both guys are already bald or near-bald. Missy Hyatt is the guest ring announcer, and that just gets the night off to a terrific start. Strictly comedy as Long is wearing boxing gloves and headgear. Match lasts all of a minute, as Long loads up the boxing glove, but Ellering steals it and plasters him for the pin. A professional hairstylist cuts off what hair Long has left. We’ll be generous and go DUD (Teddy never did get that hair back, did he?) Tony interviews Ole Anderson the Bookerman, along with Horsemen members AA, Flair and Sid Vicious (who is wearing a tuxedo that looks as though it was specifically designed to show that people as big as Sid should not be wearing that particular tuxedo, and has a look on his face as if to say that he is aware of the design specs and doesn’t give a shit). Flair wishes he could deliver heel interviews this good today. Sid does what he does best – stand in the background and look imposing. US tag team title match: Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk v. The Midnight Express. (At this point I should once again recommend tracking down one of the Jim Cornette shoot interviews where he talks about his relationship with Ole Anderson at this time, because it’s howlingly funny stuff. All the shit that Ole put Jim through, leading to him taking Stan Lane and going to form SMW, is just mind-blowingly stupid. Plus Ole hated Pillman and Zenk for being pretty boys, to which both of them essentially took an attitude of “Pin me and pay me” regardless. In fact, Zenk had an infamous appearance on Dave Meltzer’s radio show in 2000 where he talked about the grief that Ole was giving him and that Ole was basically saying Zenk should be so grateful for his miniscule salary that he should be offering to suck Ole’s cock in return. Figuratively, one would hope. So Zenk was protesting that he was making peanuts and Sting was making $750,000 a year, so why not harass Sting instead? Ole apparently went into a tirade that for Sting’s money, he would be HAPPY to suck cock all day long! So you can see that Ole was truly the first “People Power” Executive VP. In fact, there would be worse ideas than ripping off all the backstage stuff Ole did in 1990 for use as a heel GM today.) Jim Cornette is locked in a steel cage at ringside. For those keeping score, everyone in the match is FUCKING GREAT at this point. A brawl erupts and Cornette casually attempts to not be in the cage, but the champs lock in him there themselves. Ross: “Cornette was a mixed doubles champion in college…of course, his partner was named Jack”. He also makes fat jokes about Jimbo, to really stress who the heels are. (To be fair, Cornette was getting pretty fat at that point.) Pillman and Zenk do the Rock N Roll Express “double team the Midnights into oblivion” sequence that must have taken hours to choreograph. Damn, the Midnights were so good that it hurts. (I believe it was Pillman who once described working with the Midnights as being a pilot and having a pair of air traffic controllers guiding you to the landing strip safely.) Lane gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed again. Pillman controls the Express with armdrags, and the Express keep running back to the caged Cornette for advice. See, psychology – the Express are without their manager, and are disoriented. The champs continue to relentlessly double-team the Express, and the Express can’t get anything going, as Eaton accidentally backdrops Lane over the top rope when they try the standard “knee to the back” move in an attempt to catch Zenk in the corner. (Pretty awesome that they’d turn the normal cheapshot spot into a babyface offensive move.) Finally, Pillman misses a charge after a wrestling sequence and Pillman tumbles to the floor. Eaton gives him a neckbreaker on the floor, and Lane pushes him off the apron into the steel railing as he gets in the ring. I love that bump. (I wish Pillman would have taken less bumps given the benefit of hindsight, but that goes for a lot of guys.) Lane is infinitely smooth, slingshotting back into the ring and hitting a clothesline on the way up off the mat. More double-team creamy goodness so delicious you feel like you just had a bowl of New England Clam Chowder from Boston Pizza, as the Express batters Pillman as only they can. (I must have recently eaten a bowl of New England Clam Chowder from Boston Pizza to have that particular metaphor on my mind. Can’t say as I’ve ordered the soup there any time in recent memory since then, though.) Eaton hits a Randy Savage elbow for two. The Express is getting some serious face heat. You know why? Because they’re FEELING IT TONIGHT, BAYBEE! Pillman even juices after a Roaring Elbow from Lane. Eaton nails the Alabama Jam but wastes 0.5 seconds staggering around and that allows Pillman to kick out. Pillman reverses a tilt-a-whirl and gets the hot tag. Zenk gets his lame sleeper on Lane but gets legswept and Rocket Launched, and it gets two for the Express. Zenk with a bodyblock for two, and Pillman comes in protest the count. So Lane hits an enzuigiri on Zenk and Eaton casually cradles Zenk for the pin and the US tag titles. ****1/4 (Fuck Ole Anderson for breaking up Zenk & Pillman, because they should have been something GREAT. Zenk, by the way, has become one of the great mysterious figures of wrestling now, disappearing entirely into private life and basically telling anyone who contacts him to fuck off. Dave Meltzer’s cryptic comment on the situation was that Zenk is in no position to appear on his show again and that’s all he would say. Wonder if Zenk’s in jail or something now?) In the back…Robocop is here! Shame on Gordon Solie for taking part in this. Sting, injured but still enough of a draw to advertise on PPV, comes out with Robocop. But wait, it’s the Horsemen, and they’re locking Sting in the little cage that Cornette was in! Who can save Sting? ROBOCOP~! He pulls the door off the hinges and rescues Sting. The Horsemen run away. This little gem earned a place of honor on Netcop Busts, as if you couldn’t tell. (Back then, we didn’t have YouTube. Thank god, now we do: )
Tony brings out Junkfood Dog, which sets up the Flair-JYD match at the next Clash, a match which might possibly be one of the worst ever. Cornette comes out to badmouth, but doesn’t get anywhere. Corporal punishment match: The Rock N Roll Express v. The Freebirds. (Here’s a WCW story for you: Originally this was advertised as a “Capital Punishment” match, before they hastily sent out corrections a week later. That would have been quite the stipulation.) Everyone gets a leather strap to use how they want. (Michael Hayes probably wanted to make a headband out of it.) Major stalling from Hayes as he gets into an intense argument with the fans at ringside. The RnR did not yet suck at this point. (Boy, they were sure in that weirdly uncomfortable zone between teen idols and veterans, though. It’s like the midlife crisis of wrestlers, and thankfully Shawn Michaels worked through that shit and reinvented himself as a result. Marty Jannetty never quite got a handle on it.) Garvin gets double-teamed in the corner pretty quick. The Express grab straps and whip the Birds out of the ring. The Rock N Roll do some heelish no-tag switching, pissing off Michael Hayes to no end. We get the inevitable double-figure-four spot. It’s just not the same with teams other than the Horsemen. See, the beauty of that spot is the irony involved in putting the move on guys who are normally associated with it. Hayes and Gibson have a Mexican standoff with the straps, and of course Hayes loses. Birds take control on Gibson, who manages to tag in Ricky Morton, and of course Morton gets NAILED by Hayes, because, you know, he’s Ricky Morton and his job is to get beat up. The Freebirds’ job is SUCK ASS and they excel at it here, resting so lazily that they could join the Teamster’s Union tomorrow. (Was that a Simpsons reference specifically at that point? I remember Homer doing the yawn-off with the Teamsters at one point, but the Homer trucking episode would have long after this was written, I’m thinking.) Gibson gets the hot tag, but gets DDT’d in short order. Hayes goes for another, and Morton sunset flips in for the pin. Nice ending, dull match. **1/4 Tony brings in “The World’s Strongest Man”, Doug Furnas. (RIP. Sad face.) Man, that title gets tossed around a lot. He’s too boring so we bring out Sting, with words for Flair. He’s wearing black and white face-paint…what could that mean? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! NWA World tag team title: The Steiner Brothers v. Doom. Jim Ross is practically squirming in his seat in anticipation of reeling off the football backgrounds. Doom, meet Credibility. Credibility, Doom. I’ll let you two get acquainted. Teddy Long debuts the DOO RAG OF DOOM that would stay on his head until his recent jump to the WWF. Scott is beginning his journey to Superstar Billy Graham territory, looking more pumped up than usual. (And then his arm muscles almost literally fell off the bone soon after this. GEE, I WONDER WHY?) He trades power stuff with Doom as they go through the feeling out process. Rick tags in and throws a bunch of clotheslines. It’s hard to believe that the Steiners had only been a team for less than a year at this point, given that they appeared unbeatable. (WCW did a HELL of a job with them.) Simmons puts his head down and takes a nasty, fucked up piledriver from Rick (what a surprise), as Rick falls forward instead of backwards. What the hell was he thinking there? (“Damn!”) Scott with a shoulderbreaker on Reed to establish a body part to punish. Reed, however, comes back with a WICKED AWESOME high knee (Ed Leslie, take notes) to take control for Doom. Doom pounds on Scott with some surprisingly energetic stuff. Believe it or not, Doom is FEELING IT! I didn’t know they had it in them. Of course, Scott Steiner (pre-1994) is GOD, so if anyone can make them look good, it’s him. Suddenly, he hits the Frankensteiner out of nowhere and makes the hot tag to Rick. Steinerline and powerslam gets two. Double suplex gets two. Pier six erupts and Doom hits a Doomsday Device-type thing for two. Rick puts Reed on the top rope and goes for a belly-to-belly, but Simmons nails him from behind and pushes Reed off the top, onto Rick, for the pin and the incredibly shocking upset for the World tag team titles! Sure, this is no big deal 9 years later when Doom is actually a big name in tag team wrestling, but at the time this was “Holy shit” type booking. And can you believe Reed and Simmons carried the match? Wow. ***3/4 (I think that’s even a little high, but these teams had some great chemistry together.) Tony interviews the champs. Main Event, NWA World title, cage match: Ric Flair v. Lex Luger. (They were really in a corner with this match, actually. This should have been a tag match or a non-title match or something where Luger wasn’t positioned to blow it, because basically they had booked themselves into the position where Luger was once again the hot guy on top of the promotion, but Sting had been promised the belt and they wanted Flair to be the guy to lose to him. I suppose it’s a good problem to have two top babyface main event stars, but they handled it terribly. Logically, if Sting was able to get around, they could have done Flair & Windham v. Luger & Sting. Or had Luger defending the US title against Windham on top with Flair as special referee trying to screw him over. Then Sting could come out and beat up Flair and count the winning pin himself. ) The referee checks Woman’s gloves before the match…and actually finds something! Man, I’ve never seen the ref actually find something on the pre-match frisk. Luger gets a two count off a clothesline right away. Flair tries to run and gets suplexed back in. Luger gets the gorilla press, twice. Flair comes back with chops, which are no-sold. Luger with a hiptoss and clothesline, then he no-sells more chops. Flair tries to climb the cage, which is silly because the top is turned inwards. He comes down and chops Luger, and this time Luger sells. He rams Luger to the cage, then more chops. Flair goes to the knee in the ring, and of course Luger is wrestling with an injured knee to begin with. Flair with the kneedrop and delayed suplex, but Luger no-sells and clotheslines Flair. 10 punch count, then a cross-corner whip that leads to a Flair Flip. Luger clotheslines him coming off the top turnbuckle and they brawl outside. Flair tries to run away again. They fight on the cage and Flair gets rammed to the steel a few times. Facefirst to the post, and Flair blades. I find that amazing because Flair has no tape on his wrists or fingers, and yet he goes into the blading crouch and comes up bloody, so he found a razor blade somewhere. (Probably on the mirror along with the coke.) Back in the ring for the 10 punch count again, and then a clothesline for two. Flair rolls out and climbs the cage again, and Flair gets rammed into it again. Flair is doing a four-alarm bladejob here. Back in the ring, where Luger no-sells chops and a flying forearm. Lex with the superplex, but Luger blows out his knee on the landing. Uh oh, Lex, don’t hold your knee when Ric Flair is around…too late. Ric The Evil Bastard surfaces, as he punishes the knee in every way possible. Figure-four. With the help of the ropes, of course. The Horsemen make their way down to ringside. Luger makes the superman comeback with three clotheslines. Another clothesline gets two. Gorilla press. Stig runs down to take out the Horsemen, and El Gigante joins him. Meanwhile, Lex is choking out Flair. Suddenly, the cage starts moving up, and Barry Windham slides in. Luger gets the Rack, and Windham breaks it up for the lame, lame DQ. The Horsemen lower the cage again and do a beatdown of a lifetime on Luger. Still, Flair could carry a broomstick to **** at this point, so ****1/2 (No, that’s such a bad finish, I can’t do any better than **** in good conscience. It just doesn’t hold up.) The Bottom Line: Hey, can’t really lose with this tape. If you want to see Mick Foley jobbing to Bastion Booger and Undertaker making Johnny Ace his bitch, (Unlike now where he has to call him “Boss”) then by all means track down the full PPV version, but for sane people the home video version is super terrifico. Very recommended.