I was looking for a match on the old WCW Saturday Night section of the Network the other night and skipped past a preview picture with a very familiar setting, given the background. Thought I’d give it a look, as this was the only episode taped among the marathon Worldwide tapings in July for a week that would come to live in infamy for how cack-handed they were as far as integrating with the booking direction of the company.
Announcers are Tony “Look at that face!” Schiavone and Jesse “Do I have to?” Ventura, one of the most underrated commentary duos of all time in my book.
Sting vs. Bill Payne
Sting is in the classic green and black look. Sting is booked to wrestle Awesome Kong at the upcoming Clash, obviously not the female on. Stinger finishes quickly with the Stinger Splash and the Scorpion Deathlock.
Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce vs. Chris Benoit and Beautiful Bobby
All heels here, with a beef over a recent loss to the Cole twins. Benoit looks like he’s just out of high school here, having aged ten years in three by when he returned. Benoit and Tex exchanges hair pulls. Bobby comes in and gets caught with a big clothesline. Shanghai (a masked Mark Canterbury for those not in the know) comes in with knees and a chinlock. Eaton and Benoit transition into the full heel role in the match, doubling up on Shanghai until Tex gets back in and blocks a suplex and goes to the legs on Benoit. No real flow or psychology with the match. Bobby comes back in with punches and a clothesline. Big brawl leads to the Texicans (to quote Jesse AND Tony) clashing heads and Bobby hitting the neckbreaker on Shanghai for the win. Bad match, didn’t work.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Yoshi Kwan (w/Harley Race)
A shame to see Bagwell looking so healthy compared to today, but then he’s in better shape than the other two right now! This is the re-debut of Kwan with Race as his manager, and he was Chris Champion doing an Oriental (can I say that?) gimmick. He’s also got a bag of some unknown property that belongs to Cactus Jack. Probably has pictures of Melina in it. Good energy to start, with Kwan getting a nice legsweep but getting hit with a clothesline. Kwan lands on his arse after a back body drop and trapped in a wristlock and then a side headlock. Kwan misses a few slick martial arts kicks and then connects with an awkward one and a leg lariat. Tony is pulling up Jesse about using the phrase “Oriental stuff”, so I might be in trouble with the previous comment after all. Kwan misses a dropkick to the corner and Bagwell makes a comeback. Bagwell misses a blind bodypress and is put out with Kwan’s nervehold submission of spurious danger. Fair play to Marcus for putting over the shitty finisher given his later attitude. Tony interviews Race and Kwan at ringside and almost drops “the Orient” himself before settling on “the Far East”… Yeah, that’s better. The fans boos Race’s shitty promo almost like they’ve been instructed to… Wait a minute.
Interview with Dustin Rhodes: He’s facing Rick Rude and the Equaliser at the Clash and has a mystery partner. Rude and Evad turn up on the screen to question who the partner is. Two clues: 1. these two men were the world six man tag champs with Big Dust (Mulligan and Murdoch, guesses Jesse), and 2. it’ll be the DOOM of Rude and the Equaliser. If only they had a copy of the PWI Almanac to hand!
Ravishing Rick Rude and the Equaliser vs. Warren Quinn and Leroy Howard
For some reason “Simply Ravishing” has been overdubbed with the generic crap they normally blot out Rude’s “Black Cat” music with. I guess better than “Not The Stripper”, which sounds like a cat has gotten trapped in a saxophone. Rude brought in the Equaliser as his partner to face Rhodes around this time and then passed him off to Orndorff for a bit when he went on to win the WCW International Heavyweight Big Gold Belt… I’m not sure which is the worse baggage to have. Rude and Equaliser double up on Quinn with an Irish whip into a chokeslam. Howard comes in to a boot and is quickly finished off with the Rude Awakening.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Mercenary #2
Not sure who the Mercenary is. Mercenary #1 is listed online as Dewayne Bruce, but it isn’t him. He’s all in camouflage gear with a painted face. The Merc actually gets the early advantage before 2 Cold comes back with an armdrag. Then they fuck up something off the ropes before Scorpio gets a superkick and clothesline. Merc comes back with a neckbreaker and clothesline of his own, getting far more than I’d expect. Scorpio gets the advantage back with what looked to be a powerslam but ended up as a Rock Bottom, then finishes with the 450. Bits and pieces were edited out of this match, so must’ve been even worse than what ended up on TV. The Merc was especially green… and brown… and patches of black.
Maxx Payne and Paul Orndorff vs. Johnny B. Badd and Ricky Steamboat
Johnny is wearing a mask at the moment due to having had the Badd Blaster fired in his face by Payne. It’s like Kane’s origin story, but with confetti. Orndorff and Steamboat were feuding over the TV title, but Paul didn’t even bother coming out with the belt or get announced as the champ here. Good guys have the advantage over the heels early, even as Ricky has a rare botch, slipping as he climbs the ropes to deliver a chop. Orndorff doing the falling down sell on a sunset flip makes me thing wrestlers would make great limbo dancers. Clothesline turns it around for the heels as Steamboat moves to his best role, taking a kicking, even doing the dazed stagger in a circle looking to the crowd for the tag. Orndorff does the cliche “jump off the top rope with arms up and land on the opponent’s lifted feet” move to allow Badd to come in. Orndorff takes a foreign object out of his trunks, but Badd takes it off him, hits Payne with it and gets disqualified. The heels do an extended “point at our heads to prove how smart we are” session. Match wasn’t anything worth shouting about, but they worked to the audience of tourists.
Interview with the Horsemen: How was “Pretty” going to help Paul Roma as a babyface? Flair and Anderson do their usual quality of promos while Roma stands in the background trying to project a scowl. And with that we’re out.
Conclusion: Don’t know what the deal was with the show being here, maybe they found they were an episode short of Saturday Night and drafted in a nothing-happening episode recorded on the set here, or they just wanted to show off the set for anyone who wasn’t watching Worldwide. Anyway, nothing-happening, totally missable episode.