While most of us are clamouring to get through Starrcade, and head over to a fresh new year (with the big question lurking; will I continue onwards with the WCW timeline or move on … TO SOMETHING ELSE?!?), I am particularly looking forward to writing my 1996 Year in Review; where we try and look back to see where we came from, and how we got here, and what the future might hold. I don’t mean to spoil things, but it may be told through the eyes of the Faces of Fear.
Firstly, Worldwide is here, and it’s a loaded pre-Starrcade show. With every star at their disposal, WCW is able to pick and choose folks like … wait, Eddie Guerrero, Arn Anderson, and Chris Benoit are hyped, this ain’t no Worldwide! How dare they step on my weekly snarky sarcasm by actually loading up this one.
MR. JL vs. BILLY KIDMAN
JL has tossed out the purple, and seems to have stolen Jerry Lynn’s tights for some reason. Is Jerry Lynn cool with this? Or has he found unemployment since the arrival of Jerry Flynn, and JL picked them up at a discount? Tony hypes the fact that Benoit and Woman are in the same building as Kevin Sullivan for the first time in over a month, and the Disney MGM building is loaded with police officers. Oh good, I hope they brought their guns again, I love it when we start whipping out the pistols in wrestling cuz it means it’s REAL. Kidman is given a Stun Gun, and bounces forward to the outside. JL is not DQed because inconsistency is the name of the game. Back in, Kidman plants JL with a dropkick, and follows with an attempted tornado bulldog – but JL moves mid move and hits a backdrop suplex. Lovely! JL misses the follow up elbowdrop. Heenan: “Do you know who JL is?” Tony: “No, who?” Heenan: “The guy with the mask!” Shooting Star Press for the win at 3:15. **
In the locker room, we meet our announcers; TONY SCHIAVONE and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN. Heenan tells us that he’s not fond of going to Tennessee, seeing as how he can count to 10, has all his teeth and can tie his shoes, but the draw of Piper and Hogan will get him there.
THE CHEETAH KID vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
Iaukea seems to have drawn the Cheetah gimmick this week. Tony starts hyping “great events in 1997”, and starts with Nitro on December 30th of 1996. The Cheetah kid shows off his claws, drawing some angry sass from our token black female, who is seated next to our designated Stunt Granny.
Cheetah hits a rolling kick, and jams a thumb into Eddie’s eye. Eddie quickly cradles him for 1. Cheetah delivers an uppercut to Eddie’s armpit (da hell?), and claws Eddie’s eyes again. He knows he’s not a real cheetah, right? Eddie punches him in the ears for a 10-count, but Cheetah quickly strikes with a superkick. A springboard belly flop does exactly what it describes, and Eddie picks up his prey for an easy brainbuster. Froggy Splash finishes at 4:05. *1/2
ARN ANDERSON vs. EDDIE JACKIE
Tony: “I am really looking forward to Hogan against Piper, because I know if I have goosebumps they MUST have goosebumps.” Heenan: “Oh, I thought you had psoriasis.” Arn offers Eddie the hand of friendship, which is DENIED. Arn shrugs, because ultimately, it’s Eddie’s funeral. Anderson takes him down and drops a knee across Jackie’s skull, and then gives himself a standing ovation. Eddie goes to attack, but winds up on the mat in seconds with Arn standing on his throat. Tony starts discussing Woman and Benoit’s relationship with Bobby. Heenan: “I think she has eyes for him.” Tony: “I think it’s more than that … I think her heart is with him.” Heenan: “Heck, if you’re going that way, I’d say…” Tony: “STOP!!!!” Jackie is launched into the ringpost, and Tony points out that the only saving grace for Eddie here is that Valvoline’s sponsored pads might have lessened the blow. Back in, Anderson delivers a hammerlock slam, and then puts on a standing shoulder breaker. Arn drops his knee to Eddie’s arm repeatedly, but Jackie finds a wind from somewhere and slams Arn. A dropkick gets a lightning fast 2 count; crooked referee? Jackie hits Arn with a couple of boots, but Anderson’s had enough and delivers the DDT for the win at 4:49. **
KAORU vs. AKIRA HOKUTO (with Sonny Onoo)
Hokuto arrives with Vader’s oxygen mask, but she’s classed it up a little with a bedazzler gun.
Akira flattens Kaoru with a big boot, and chokes her out. Sonny distracts the referee allowing Hokuto to get in a couple of extra seconds. Kaoru comes back with a facesitter, scoring a two count and a moderate tingle. Hokuto responds by kicking Kaoru in the ass and a hair pull, because women. Kaoru comes right back with West Coast Pop, but Hokuto kicks out at 2. A top rope moonsault misses the mark, allowing Akira to nail a powerbomb, and score the pin at 2:41 with one foot. 1/2*
KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. JOHNNY BOONE
For Christ sakes, we have seen this match on every jobber show for the last YEAR (and probably more, I just haven’t done a 1995 timeline yet). Same nonsense, Sullivan charges the ring, takes Boone up the ringsteps, and throws him over the balcony. Double stomp finishes at 1:35. GO AWAY. 1/2*
M. WALLSTREET vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman)
Wallstreet once again fails to don his nWo shirt on this show. I hope someone SNITCHES. This is apparently our feature match, and there’s a ton of time left in the show, so either this is getting some real time, or we have a Roddy Piper segment to air. Benoit takes down Wallstreet with a snapmare, while Tony starts grilling Heenan. Tony: “Isn’t it true that you’ve received an offer from the nWo? Isn’t it true you’re considering turning your back on your friends? Isn’t it true, Mr. Heenan, that you’re a weasel?” Heenan: “Isn’t it true if I slapped a miniskirt on you, you’d look like Marcia Clark?” Heenan admits he loves a good corporate takeover, but he hates Hogan so much he can’t consider it. Wallstreet puts Benoit in an abdominal stretch, and even uses the rope for leverage behind the referees back with Woman standing right there. Puuhhhhhhlease; this is an imposter, the real Woman would have already smashed her heel in his eye. Wallstreet misses a charge, and Benoit yanks down the rope, sending him crashing to the floor. Wallstreet calls it a night and heads up the aisle, but Benoit catches him and slams Wallstreet on the floor. Tony calls Starrcade’s match the biggest in wrestling since Hogan’s match with Andre the Giant … in 1993. Jesus Tony, just stop talking. Wallstreet reaches into the buckle, and finds something that he uses to jam in Benoit’s head. The referee investigates, but Wallstreet’s already hidden it again. Benoit is tossed through the middle rope, but he re-enters with a sunset flip getting 2. Wallstreet goes to finish with a piledriver, but Benoit backdrops his way out. Chris heads up top, but misses the swandive. That allows Wallstreet to hit the Stock Market Crash, but Woman pulls Benoit’s leg to the ropes saving him. Wallstreet loses his shit, and gets in Woman’s face, allowing Benoit to roll him up for the pin at 8:59. Hang it up Mike, even Benoit can’t make you look good. *1/2
Heenan wanders back into the locker room with a fire extinguisher; which he’ll use to cool down Hogan’s ass once Piper lights it on fire at Starrcade. Wait, Piper’s gonna do what?
We’ll find out tonight if Heenan’s accurate.