Even More WCW Saturday Night on a Saturday!

More Saturday Night, with some “before he was gone” matches featuring the biggest star in wrestling of the nineties.

Stunning Steve Austin vs. Tom Torres

Col. Rob Parker does the introduction for Steve while Tony talks about the potentially (and inevitably) incoming Hulk Hogan. Torres, despite his name, is actually from Lansing, Michigan. Austin’s hair was slipping back further and further, but he still looked completely like a champion. Big backbreaker to start for two. Choke on the ropes while the Colonel lays the bad mouth on the jobber. Steve casually picks him up mid-run and hits the Stun Gun, which is one of those moves that he did perfectly fine but lacked the snap and impact of the Stunner. Just a squash.

Arn Anderson vs. Kenny Kendall

Who thought in ’93 that it would be good to give the Horsemen some laid back country rock music to come to the ring to? Anyway, Arn’s stuck with it until he joins the Stud Stable later in the year. He’s also wearing fetching orange and is up there with Hulk Hogan as far as tans go. I always liked Kendall as he looked like Matthew McConaughey. Arn plays it fair gives Kendall a lot, but then dodges a dropkick and reverts to more heelish moves. Tony talks about how he wanted to bring the defunct Horsemen back, although anything would be an improvement over the limbo he was in at the time. Shot to the gut and the DDT to finish. Mean Gene talks to him afterwards about those reunion plans, although it’s be about 18 months before they got there. Colonel Rob Parker and Meng come out to recruit him, which he turns down… for now. Nice bit of foreshadowing.

Guardian Angel vs. Carl Fergie

Ray Traylor couldn’t be the Big Boss Man or even the Boss any more, so he got an endorsement from Curtis Sliwa and became the Guardian Angel. Loved his music at this time, even though it only really works for this kind of character. Fergie is Jerry Lawler’s less famous cousin and has identical gear, despite being much bigger and blonde. He attacks early, but eats boots in the corner. Big slam from Angel, with Fergie doing the funny sell where his legs stay in the air from the impact. Cousin Carl gets a thumb to the eye and further gouges them and rakes them across the ropes. He almost runs into the boot again but puts the brakes on, so Angel clotheslines him instead. Missed charge, as Angel is giving Fergie a lot more than you’d expect. He gets it back and hits the Boss Man Slam, which Tony calls a spike piledriver for lack of anything else like the Wing Clipper or Three Strikes and You’re Dead or something. Mean Gene talks to him after the match. Seeds sewn for a future turn as he talks about his frustrations about having his (Big) Boss (Man) gimmick taken off him by Nick Bockwinkel in ’94 and Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage get named among the people he might be facing soon. Change was obviously in the air.

Alex Wright vs. Dino Casanova

Wright did get over in the US during the six years he was there, but the scary thing is that if he’d stayed in Germany he probably would’ve gotten over as the biggest star there with his look, wrestling and dancing. Casanova is a guy who has tearaway gentleman gear with a top hat and an Italian singlet with 90% of the sides missing. Alex uses flips and cartwheels around a wristlock before getting a dropkick. Quasi-STF, but when they return to their feet Dino levels him with a really nice clothesline. Alex fights back with a leg lariat and a flying headbutt, then finishes with a flying crossbody. Shame that didn’t go longer, Alex was green, but they were doing lots within the time they had that was pretty exciting. Mean Gene interviews him after the match, but Alex doesn’t really have the gift of the gab at the time, so instead I’ll share the story he told of him going home for Christmas to Germany in ’95 and eating like a pig, then coming back for Starrcade and being blown up within minutes in his match with Kanemoto.

Stunning Steve Austin vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

Introduced from a live shoot in Charlotte by Eric and Dusty on the rain-sodden street before throwing to Center Stage. Steve had dropped and then rehired Parker by this point and was growing the hair out one more time before, while just wearing whatever gear he had spare (black trunks with logo and leather vest). Of note, he promises to open up a “can of whoop-ass” on the Macho Man. That’s got potential.  Austin starts it off with a big slap at first to rile Randy, who chokes him on the ropes. Outside, Austin regains the advantages and drops elbows, then goes to the top and misses a splash. Randy takes him outside to ram him against the post and the railing before hitting the slam and the big elbow off the top. Less than three minutes, practically a squash. Damn, I wish Randy had gone back to the WWF in ’96, because Macho versus Stone Cold would’ve been awesome. Intense interview with Randy after the match, although the camera shot isn’t flattering and you can see just how much of his hair is painted black.

Billy Kidman vs. Dean Malenko

Kidman’s music in this initial run was also being used as the theme tune for WWF Shotgun Saturday Night. Kidman was signed by this point but not due a push for at least another year when he joined the flock. Malenko was pretty much synonymous with the cruiserweight championship in the debut year of it, as he was here. Pretty even mat and technical wrestling before Kidman spices it up with a victory roll and springboard head scissors while Dusty wishes Boxcar Willie well on behalf of da mothership. Malenko gets a low dropkick and goes to the rear chinlock and drops some elbows and shots in too. Then to a “Bow and Arrow on Bone Marrow”, courtesy of Big Dust. Kidman rolls through a crossbody off the top, but does a Rikishi sell off a clothesline. Another one doesn’t hit, but Malenko walks past a dropkick and gets a brainbuster that looked to finish and probably should’ve. Kidman tries his springboard bulldog, which it pissed me off that people called it the Acid Drop because 1. it wasn’t, 2. Kidman was doing it well before Spike Dudley, and 3. I hate Spike Dudley. Anyway, Stinko turns it into a back suplex and hooks the Texas Cloverleaf for the unclin’. Good, quick match.

Renegade vs. Curt Hennig

Renegade is using the same music Marc Mero was using around this time. Less Warrior or biker and more Native American male stripper, which works because he was a male stripper. Pretty uninspired stuff with Renegade overpowering Hennig with low impact stuff, then eating some chops, kicks and a kneelift. Renegade actually goes to a choke and follows with a powerslam and splash. I think the powerslam hurt Hennig, but he sweeps the leg and gets his anklebreaker. Renegade drops his head and Hennig hooks the Perfect-Plex for the win. The conspiracy theorist in me says they took it home early because of the pain Hennig was feeling, but it could’ve just as easily been that’s all they had planned.

Villano V vs. Psychosis

Heat machine in action as Villano’s entrance is used as a chance to watch the awesome finish to the cage match on Thunder between Benoit and Malenko and Horace and Adams on my seventeenth birthday. That was a shockingly good match, actually, a show I might go back and review. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Psychosis was using stock music that the Creatures used back at Halloween Havoc ’91. He’s also playing it totally as a babyface. Villano turns Psychosis inside out straight away with a clothesline, but Psych flips out of a tilt-a-whirl attempt and gets his own, followed by a missile dropkick. They get into exchanging headscissors, which always struck me as moves that just filled time and moved a person into place without actually hurting them, although of course one gone wrong will ABSOLUTELY hurt you. Villano gets a side headlock and moves out of the way of a sunset flip attempt, but Psychosis gets a second one out of the corner for two. Tope from the inside to the outside almost sees him catch his feet on the top rope. Back in, Villano just about gets a powerslam counter to a crossbody off the top. He misses a flip and Psychosis finishes with the guillotine legdrop. Decent enough, with Villano getting a shocking amount of offense for his position on the card, although one or two bits were almost dicey.

Bad Barry Horowitz vs. Jerry Flynn

This could go either way. Horowitz has added a s--- nickname but lost the mullet. Flynn was a part of Jimmy Hart’s new First Family with Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobbs. Flynn’s also lost the mullet too, but Knobbs is more than making up for it. Early belly-to-belly from Flynn for two. Barry rebuts with a Northern Lights suplex, but bumps big for some chops and then goes to the outside and Flynn gets frisky with a pescado. Heat machine is ready to burn out. You know that Vince Russo is booking as well because Scott Hudson is having to talk about Madusa facing Evan Karagias in the world championship tournament, with it implied that she slept with the booker to get placed in the tournament again after already being eliminated, plus wacky pairings like Berlyn and Vampiro, Buff Bagwell and Stevie Ray, Ernest Miller and Lash LeRoux, and Disco Inferno and Curt Hennig. Barry comes back with a kneelift and then a boot choke in the corner, so Flynn kicks him in the balls in a great bit, then points to his head to put the cherry on top. Corner kicks take him down, followed by a spinning heel kick off the top, then Barry taps out to the cross armbreaker. Far better than it had any right to be.

The Bottom Line: Not much to say on Stone Cold’s later days with the promotion, but the cruiserweights pulled it out of the bag.