Happy Saturday Everyone!
I decided to have a look at the dying days of WCW today, mainly because I remember this one having some good matches on it and a zany WWF Attitude Era styled Main Event involving Kevin Nash, so that should provide some comedy appeal if nothing else.
WCW had normally given SuperBrawl the old Roman numeral treatment, but they decided to give it the “Revenge” subtitle in 2001. I think they were kind of planning on doing a seven deadly sins themed thing for the pay per views that year, so it could have been that “Revenge” was used in place of “Wrath”. The March pay per view ended up being called “Greed”, although the company unfortunately went out of business before we could get “WCW Sloth, live on pay per view!”
The event is emanating from Nashville, Tennessee on the 18th of February 2001
Calling the action are Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson
Ric Flair was the Heel authority figure at the time, so the video package shows an unnamed hand cutting up pictures of him. That was weird and didn’t make a lot of sense but it was edited nicely I suppose.
Cruiserweight Elimination Match
Evan Karagias Vs Shane Helms Vs Kaz Hayashi Vs Jimmy Yang Vs Jamie Knoble Vs Shannon Moore
Kidman was supposed to be in this but he got beaten up by Road Warrior Animal. Karagias and Knoble defeated AJ Styles and Air Paris to earn themselves a spot in this one. Knoble/Karagias, Kaz/Yang and Moore/Helms were all regular teams at the time of this, but this match is every man for themselves. Winner gets a Title shot at the March pay per view
Two guys wrestle in the ring here whilst the other four wait on the apron for a tag, which leads to lots of high tempo exciting action. WCW probably over did it a bit with all the multi-man Cruiserweight matches during this era, but there’s no denying that the matches were almost always good and they worked excellently as openers on pay per views like this. ECW had a bit of a similar problem by always putting Tajiri, Super Crazy and The FBI in the same matches seemingly every month.
There’s a moment where Karagias and Yang seemingly have some miscommunication and it leads to Yang holding on to a front face lock for a while until they remember what they’re supposed to do. Karagias is pretty sloppy in this one in general, and he was probably the worst overall wrestler of the six involved here but he got pushed consistently due to his excellent physique. The tag partners mostly avoid fighting one another in the early stages, and they structure the match so that they don’t really have to until the story calls for it.
There’s a very nice sequence where everyone misses a dive off the top and it leads to the rarely seen sextuple down. We get a series of dives to the floor following that, with the crowd getting into it and popping for all the big spots. All of the dives look good, with even Karagias executing his correctly. Karagias and Knoble eventually start fighting with one another because they both want the glory of pinning Yang, which leads to Yang trying some kind of a springboard move and slipping off the ropes, meaning he instead gets a neck breaker on Karagias to pin him instead. Someone needs to send that one to Maffew if he hasn’t already covered it.
Evan Karagias eliminated by Jimmy Yang (1) (Pin – Neck Breaker)
Yang doesn’t have a lot of time to enjoy it though, as Knoble quickly attacks him and gets a Tombstone for three.
Jimmy Yang eliminated by Jamie Knoble (1) (Pin – Tombstone Piledriver)
The eliminations keep coming thick and fast, as Moore gives Knoble a Rocker Dropper off the top rope for three.
Jamie Knoble eliminated by Shannon Moore (1) (Pin – Bottom’s Up)
Moore and Helms team up for some attacks on Kaz, getting an assisted spinning neck breaker, but Moore turns on Helms with the Rocker Dropper. Kaz breaks up the count and clips the referee too, which doesn’t really make sense as Moore and Helms taking one another out would have been good for him. Helms runs wild on Moore a little bit, but Moore kicks him right in his Hurri-Cycle and then teams up with Kaz to work him over a bit. Kaz turns on Moore of course and heads up, but Moore suckers him in to missing a Moonsault and then goes for the Rocker Dropper again, only for Helms to cut him off with Nightmare on Helms Street (reverse neck breaker) for three.
Shannon Moore eliminated by Shane Helms (1) (Pin – Nightmare on Helms Street)
Kaz and Helms do a nice finishing sequence, with both men looking really good and the crowd getting into the near falls. Kaz is still going in All Japan to this day I believe, so he’s had some impressive longevity. Helms eventually gets the Vertebreaker (Kudoh Driver/Brain Breaker) for the three count after some really nice exchanges.
Kaz Hayashi eliminated by Shane Helms (2) (Pin – Vertebreaker)
WINNER: SHANE HELMS
MOST ELIMINATIONS: SHANE HELMS (2)
There were some sloppy moments, but it was a good match overall and Helms got himself over as a contender in the final sequence. He would retool his gimmick after this into Sugar Shane and would get pretty over as a result until the company eventually closed
We see that Chavo Guerrero Jr is talking backstage with Ric Flair and Road Warrior Animal. The suggestion is that it was down to Chavo that Animal attacked Kidman earlier on.
Tony and Scott tell us that Kevin Nash hasn’t been seen tonight yet and remind us that Scott Steiner injured Nash on TV.
Hugh Morrus cuts a promo about The Wall. Morrus and The Wall used to be in a faction together until Wall turned on him, so we’ve got a match between them tonight. Morrus says he will have no mercy for The Wall tonight, because he has nothing but hatred in his heart.
Scott Steiner is hanging out backstage. Ric Flair comes in with an envelope and tells Steiner that Nash’s career is over tonight.
KroniK of Bryan Clarke and Brian Adams arrived. Commissioner Lance Storm is waiting for them and tells Clarke that he needs to be cleared before he will be allowed to wrestle tonight.
The Wall Vs Hugh Morrus
The dubbing of the music on these old shows continues to confuse me, as Morrus’ rip off of “The Zoo” is left intact, but they’ll dub out some of the other sound-a-like tunes. This one is mostly a brawl, as they head to the outside and fling one another into the ring steps. Morrus’ gimmick of the grizzled vet who isn’t going to take any nonsense anymore was pretty effective, but the silly name just killed any chance they had of giving him some momentum. They really should have just switched him to his real name here and gone with that.
Morrus shows some good intensity and Wall actually sells quite a bit for him, so this isn’t a bad match and the crowd enjoys it when the two big dudes throw bombs at one another. Following the high-flying opener with two big lads slugging one another is actually a pretty clever bit of booking as they’re two completely different types of match and it provides a nice contrast. There are a few moments where they aren’t quite on the same page here, but it’s a decent match for the most part. The only thing you can say is that it’s possibly a bit too long at 10 minutes. Morrus eventually heads up with his Moonsault for the three count.
WINNER: HUGH MORRUS
They played to both guys’ strengths here by focusing on the two of them slugging away and delivering power moves, with Morrus showing good intensity and The Wall having a mostly good night when it came to his selling, bumping and execution outside of a few moments
Morrus does another Moonsault following the match to really get his revenge.
Konnan and Road Warrior Animal have a brawl backstage.
We get a video package to hype up the next match. Chuck Palumbo, Sean O’Haire, Shawn Stasiak and Mark Jindrak were all in the Natural Born Thrillers stable, but they’ve fallen out and now we have a tag match.
WCW Tag Team Titles
Champs: Palumbo & O’Haire Vs Stasiak & Jindrak
In another Botchamania moment, Stasiak & Jindrak get Palumbo & O’Haire’s name graphic as they make their way down to the ring. Stasiak and O’Haire both cut general Heel and Babyface promo’s respectively prior to the match. These four lads probably weren’t totally ready to be on a pay per view like this at this stage in their careers, but WCW had a pretty thin roster so they were forced to go with them. To the lad’s credit, they all put a shift in here and they have a decent match as a result.
Palumbo is by far the best wrestler of the four, with O’Haire being green but also showing some genuine Superstar potential with his look and demeanour. The Champs shine on the challengers for a bit until the challengers are able to cut Palumbo off and work him over for a bit. This is basically an NXT 2.0 match at points, with green guys working a formula match, except this is in an arena in front of actual fans rather than a selected 100 or so at a university on a Nickelodeon styled set.
The challengers keep it basic during the heat, with Palumbo selling it well, and they do a decent job of getting the crowd into the idea of an O’Haire hot tag. O’Haire does finally get that hot tag when Stasiak misses a splash off the top, and he looks great running wild too, Smartly he mostly stays in the middle and lets the other guys come to him for some clotheslines, which is always the best way to do it. Things break down following that, with all four guys going at it, and The Champs take it hom pretty quickly with an O’Haire Swanton Bomb on Stasiak.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: PALUMBO & O’HAIRE
I’m surprised we didn’t get more of a finishing stretch there actually, although O’Haire taking it home so quickly after coming in did make him look even more impressive
Dustin Rhodes cuts a backstage promo where he complains about Ric Flair and says he’s going to take the United States Title from Rick Steiner tonight.
WCW Cruiserweight Title
Champ: Chavo Guerrero Jr Vs Rey Mysterio Jr
Chavo is aligned with Ric Flair and has had Road Warrior Animal help him out a few times. These two would of course wrestle each other a bunch of times in WWE but I don’t think they wrestled quite as much during their WCW days. The action is good in this one and the crowd is into it, with both men playing their respective roles well and Chavo actually drawing some genuine heat from the crowd. In a funny moment, the crowd actually chants “Eddy” at Chavo as a way to get under his skin.
Rey gets some nice quick paced offence in on Chavo but Chavo catches him out of the air with a big dropkick and starts working him over with holds. The exciting high-flying wrestler against the more vicious ground based one is a wrestling story as old as time and they tell it really well here. It helps that Rey is so good at playing a babyface fighting from underneath, so Chavo laying a whupping on him to build to a big comeback is almost the perfect way to structure a match between them.
Chavo tries to put a mask on Rey at one stage (Rey was wrestling unmasked at the time) and then beats Rey up for a bit whilst Rey wears it. A guy putting his mask back on his generally frowned upon down in Mexico, so Chavo essentially forcing Rey to wear it here works really well as a Heel tactic on his part. Rey does eventually fight back and puts the mask on Chavo’s head before delivering a rana, but it doesn’t quite have the snap you’d want, possibly due to Chavo not being able to see properly with the mask on and thus not being able to gage his landing properly.
There is one notable botch here where Ray goes for a springboard and it doesn’t come off properly, which is the second time that’s happened tonight which makes me think there’s something up with the ropes. Maybe they’re slippery or not tightened up enough? Chavo tries to bring a chair into the ring and props it up into the corner, but Rey is able to dodge it and then rana’s Chavo off the apron to the floor. The ropes again weren’t very stable there and Rey struggled to pull the move off correctly. There’s definitely something up with them.
Chavo just SPLATTED on the floor there, although I don’t really think it was specifically anyone’s fault, it was just the ropes not being up to snuff. Rey gets a big splash off the top back inside, but Chavo is able to kick out at two. We head into the finishing stretch following that, with Rey getting a big Bronco Buster to pop the crowd and then removing the chair out of the corner. The ref takes the chair away from him though and that allows Chavo to get a sly chair shot of his own whilst the ref is distracted and a Brain Buster ends it soon after.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: CHAVO GUERRERO JR
Rey kind of was the architect of his own downfall there as he really didn’t need to grab the chair. Issues with the ropes aside, this was a really good match with both men showing some good chemistry together and Chavo really getting his Heel persona over
Lance Storm tells Brian Adams that he’s moved KroniK’s match forward.
We get a video package to hype up Dustin Rhodes Vs Rick Steiner. Flair tried to stop Dustin from joining WCW, but Dustin defeated Steiner in a non-Title match to earn himself a contract. Tonight he gets a shot at Steiner’s United States Title.
WCW United States Title
Champ: Rick Steiner Vs Dustin Rhodes
Steiner was outrageously unprofessional during the dying days of WCW, beating Konnan up legit on TV at one stage, but he continued to be rewarded throughout it all, so he never had an impetus to improve his behaviour. The WWF were smart enough not to bring him in when they bought the company at least. I was tempted to do the whole Bron Breakker Snr gag again, but there wasn’t much about Rick’s 99-01 run in WCW that was especially fun so I’m not really in the mood for it. Plus, that would mean I’d have to call Scott Steiner “Scron Breakker” again later on, which doesn’t really work and I’m not really sure what part of my arse I pulled that one from.
Rick isn’t especially into the idea of selling that much for Dustin here, but as a match this is okay due to Dustin working well as a babyface and Rick seemingly playing ball when it comes to his offence tonight, with nothing appearing to be overly stiff or unprofessional. Rick actually puts on one of the loosest chin locks I’ve ever seen at one stage. Seriously, that was in Stevie Ray territory. The crowd likes Dustin and gets into the match whenever it looks like he might fight back. It’s a pretty standard match, but it works for what they’re going for.
The crowd reactions for Dustin are kind of something to behold actually, as he gets probably the biggest star reactions of the entire night up to this point and it gives the match a really good atmosphere. Rick seems to be kind of motivated by it too, especially when he jaws with the crowd and they give it back to him. Dustin makes a really good comeback at one stage, with Rick bumping and selling for him, and we head outside for some brawling by the announce table.
Steiner actually begs off from Dustin at one stage, but Dustin becomes our second dumb babyface of the night, as he tries to use a chair and the ref takes it from him. Whilst Dustin and the ref argue, Rick exposes the metal turnbuckle in the corner and then counters a 10 punch by dropping Dustin onto it before getting a rope assisted three count.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: RICK STEINER
This was a good example of an energised crowd making a standard match seem better than it was. There was nothing especially wrong with the match, but it was kind of “just a match” with a hot crowd. Hey, I’ll take it!
Rick adds a Spicolli Driver following the bout for good measure and then talks some trash on the mic. This would lead to Booker T coming back to dethrone him at the next pay per view. The ref redeems himself somewhat by stopping Rick from using the belt as a weapon following that though and Dustin adds the Shattered Dreams for a big pop, kicking Rick right in his Breakker.
Lance Storm and Ric Flair have a chat backstage. Flair demands that Storm get everyone who isn’t on Team Flair kicked out of the building as soon of their matches are over. He also wants the next match to be for the #1 contender status to the WCW Tag Titles.
#1 Contenders Match
Totally Buffed (Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell) Vs KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke)
Luger and Bagwell were pretty much half arsing it by this stage, despite the fact they were getting a decent push and had also been allowed to supposedly end Goldberg’s career. If they’d actually been bothered by this stage they could have been a pretty decent tag act. The big problem with WCW at the time was that the main Heel faction was made up of Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Buff Bagwell, Jeff Jarrett, Animal and The Steiner’s, whilst the babyface side was far weaker when it came to star power, thus making it a pretty one sided feud.
Bagwell reveals on the mic prior to the match that Clarke hasn’t been cleared to wrestle, meaning that Adams is going to have to wrestle this one on his own. Clarke still comes down to the ring though, so I’m guessing that Bagwell was lying or just didn’t know? Bagwell ends up clobbering Clarke with a chair prior to the bell ringing anyway, meaning that Clarke is out on the floor and Adams has to go it alone.
Totally Buffed works Adams over, with it being mostly basic stuff. Selling isn’t really Adams’ strong suite, but he does okay here and the crowd gets into the idea of him fighting back whenever he gets the odd flurry. Adams actually makes a really good comeback at one stage, with the Heels bumping around well to make him look good. Again, it’s annoying that Totally Buffed so often didn’t seem to care during this run as the potential was there for them to be a good act.
The finish is actually pretty clever too, as “Clarke” ends up actually being Mike Awesome, something that becomes clear when the real Clarke comes down the entrance way all beaten up. The ref is distracted by this, which allows Awesome to clobber Adams behind his back, leading to Totally Buffed picking the bones to pick up the win with a Buff Blockbuster.
WINNERS: TOTALLY BUFFED
This was decent actually, with the Mike Awesome reveal being pretty great. They even went to the trouble of giving Awesome a tonne of fake tan along with a fake beard and wig and he looked super convincing. Adams did a good job as the lone babyface who almost overcame the odds and his comeback was really good
Tony and Scott bemoan what just happened and blame it on Lance Storm. Speaking of which, the next match is for the commissionership.
Security tries to force KroniK to leave, but they just beat the security up instead.
Commissionership of WCW
WCW Commissioner Lance Storm Vs The Cat w/ Ms Jones
We learn that the police got involved backstage and KroniK have indeed now left the building. Cat wasn’t really renowned for being a particularly good wrestler, but he’s over as a babyface with the crowd and he’s in there with a technically sound guy like Storm, so they have a decent match as a result, with Storm mostly focusing on working over Cat’s leg. Cat sells that well for the most part and the crowd is behind him whenever it looks like he might fight back.
Storm does a very good job holding this together actually and the match tells a good story with Cat constantly fighting from underneath to try and get a foothold in the match (no pun intended). Cat does eventually make the comeback and the crowd is really into it. The crowd has been the MVP of this pay per view thus far actually, as they’ve been in to mostly everything and it’s made even the so-so matches just generally more entertaining.
We of course get some chicanery when Mike Sanders comes down to try and help Storm, but Ms Jones takes him out for a pop and that allows Cat to kick a distracted Storm in the face to pick up the win.
WINNER AND NEW COMMISSIONER: THE CAT
This was quite fun actually, with the match telling a good story and the crowd enjoying it
Cat and Ms Jones dance following that, in a moment that I’m sure would upset Rigsby. Jones had some really good charisma and star presence actually, I’m surprised the WWF couldn’t think of anything to do with her.
Following a video package for the next match, we’re told that Cat has also been kicked out of the building because he’s not actually commissioner until midnight.
Jeff Jarrett is supposed to wrestle Diamond Dallas Page next, but Jarrett says that DDP has to wrestle Kanyon next, so that’s what we’re getting.
Chris Kanyon Vs Diamond Dallas Page
Kanyon had turned on DDP in 2000 and stolen his gimmick, so this is DDP’s chance at getting some revenge for that before he gets the match with Jarrett. DDP doesn’t have to actually win this to get Jarrett, the match is just designed to wear him down so that Jarrett can pick the bones. Kanyon and DDP were friends in real life, so both guys are hyped to have a good match here and that’s just what they do.
DDP runs wild on Kanyon to start, but Kanyon hits him right in the Falkenberg’s to take over and then gives him a Rocker Dropper on the ring steps to draw blood. DDP sells well in the heat of course, with Kanyon looking good and playing the role of a Heel well. DDP eventually makes the comeback and we head into the finishing stretch, with both men getting some good near falls. Kanyon hits DDP with his own Diamond Cutter at one stage, but DDP is able to kick out at two.
Jarrett joins us following that, which leads to the ref taking a bump and Jarrett sneaking in with The Stroke. Kanyon follows up with The Flatliner to the limp DDP and that’s enough for three. Interestingly they seem to be dubbing out whatever theme Kanyon had at the time, which is strange as I don’t remember Kanyon having a theme that sounded like a real song.
This was a really good match due to both men having such good chemistry together. It was also nice to see Kanyon get the win
Kanyon introduces Jeff Jarrett for the next match following that in a funny moment, complete with Jarrett doing his full entrance routine again whilst the commentary team is appalled.
Jeff Jarrett Vs Diamond Dallas Page
DDP is of course walking wounded following that previous match, as we head straight into the crowd for some brawling. This is the first time we’ve had anything like that tonight though, so it hasn’t been overdone and thus feels somewhat special. WCW’s back to basics approach during this period was very welcome following the absolute mess that had been 2000. It does raise the question as to why none of this is a DQ of course, but then WCW tended to have inconsistent DQ rules at the time and you can chalk it down to the referee showing some leniency due to the heated issued between the two men.
Jarrett eventually controls things for a bit back inside, but DDP keeps coming and gets some near falls, doing a great job of fighting back whilst still getting across the idea that he’s knackered and the tank is running low. Jarrett wrestles one of his better matches from this WCW run as well. Kanyon re-joins us and tries to help Jarrett, distracting the ref so that Jarrett can get a chair shot for two in a good near fall. The guitar gets involved next, but Kanyon ends up accidentally taking it instead and DDP snaps off a Diamond Cutter OUTTA NOWHERE on Jarrett for the three count.
WINNER: DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
Another very good match from DDP tonight. What I liked about that match in particular is that DDP wasn’t booked as an invincible superman but rather a resourceful gutsy guy who managed to hold on long enough to snap off his finisher and pick up the last gasp win when the Heels’ plot went awry
We get a video package to hype up the Main Event. Scott Steiner did a number on Kevin Nash’s leg with a metal pipe, so he might not be able to wrestle tonight.
WCW World Title
Champ: Scott Steiner w/ Midajah Vs Kevin Nash
Ric Flair joins us in a tuxedo prior to the match in order to sit in on commentary. WCW was still paying Michael Buffer for these shows, which seems like an unnecessary expense at this stage when they were losing so much money. Steiner and Flair both get promo time, with Flair revealing that the envelope from earlier contains a contract that says the loser of the match will leave WCW. So if Nash doesn’t show up then he not only forfeits the match but his entire WCW career.
Nash does eventually join us in a wheelchair with a couple of hot nurses, but it’s all a ruse as he climbs out of the chair and then clocks Steiner with the Title belt whilst he’s not looking to seemingly pick up the three count and the belt. This was pretty controversial at the time as they’d been booking Steiner as an invincible monster and Nash pinned him so easily, but in WCW’s defence it’s not like Nash beat him clean. He hit him with a weapon whilst he wasn’t looking.
Flair thinks on his feet and makes the match two out of three falls, which causes DDP to try and come down to help Nash. Totally Buffed attack him though and lock him in a case so that he can’t give Nash any help. Steiner is bleeding from the belt shot, which gives Nash an excuse for why he can start working Steiner over, but Steiner clocks Nash in the face with a metal pipe outside the ring, which leads to Flair again thinking on his feet and making the match Falls Count Anywhere, which also explains why he wasn’t DQ’ed for the pipe shot. Steiner pins the out cold Nash following that to tie us up at 1-1.
Steiner 1 – 1 Nash
Nash is now bleeding courtesy of the pipe shot, and he sells quite a lot for Steiner during the heat. Steiner throws the giant Nash around with scary ease, as he could still have entertaining matches at this stage of his career before his Drop Foot got really bad. Nash eventually manages to catch Steiner with a side slam for the double down and the crowd is into the idea of him making the comeback. Steiner brought some brass knux into the match earlier, but when Nash tries to get to them Midajah takes them away, which allows Steiner to get a chair shot and the Steiner Recliner.
Nash looks done following that, but he manages to power out and makes one last attempt at a comeback with a Choke Slam for two. The Jack Knife Powerbomb looks to follow, and Nash does indeed get it, but Midajah breaks up the pin (She actually missed her cue earlier and tried to break up the pin on the Choke Slam when she wasn’t supposed to). Flair then gets involved as well, but that allows Steiner to clock Nash right in the Vinnie Vegas’ before destroying him with the knux and the chair before going back to the Recliner for the win.
Steiner 2 – 1 Nash
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: SCOTT STEINER
This was pretty overbooked but it was all there to make you angry at Flair and his cronies so that Eric Bischoff bringing back all the babyfaces down the line, Nash included, would be a big deal. Sadly the company went out of business before that story point could be reached. I know some didn’t like how much Steiner sold for Nash here, but ultimately he was supposed to be the Heel in this feud and they gave him plenty of outs as to why Nash was able to get the better of him at points so I don’t think he was hurt by this
Nash does the tearful look to the sky to close us out.
This show was pretty good in all honesty. WCW decided to go back to basics in 2001 and it improved the product greatly, and the overarching storyline of Flair running off all the babyfaces until it was time for them to return and set up a big pay per view was a solid one that never was allowed to reach its fruition. The show had mostly good wrestling and the booking made sense, with DDP getting the big gutsy win to set him up as the next challenger.