Hey everybody, hope you’re having a good weekend. Remember how the last two episodes were building towards WrestleWar? Well, there’s a show at the Omni, so, you know, priorities!
Hosted by Jim Ross, Missy Hyatt and Paul E Dangerously. Is THIS the end of Bob Caudle?
As a note, this copy is really struggling with the tracking from the old tape.
Tommy Rich vs. Jacko Victory
I never got when Victory was Jack or Jacko or what was the point of either. I was fearing that JR would go alone on commentary given the absence of Bob, but Paul E is on from the start. I was watching the UWF episode where Victory and John Tatum beat the Fantastics for the tag belts and even for a kid with puppy fat there he’d put a load on by this point. Tommy ducks a clothesline and slides out to lay a blatant cheap shot on Rip Morgan at ringside, who wasn’t even gesturing towards the ring at the time. Back in, Jacko catches him with a flying elbow, which looked like it was more ass and would’ve done some damage. Weird sound mixing as the crowd are sitting on their hands and as bored as I am, but there’s a constant murmur and occasional rises in sound, but not consistent with anything going on. Flying clothesline that almost wipes out Rich with how much he catches. Morgan is more energetic at ringside with his coaching on a chinlock than anyone else in the building. Jim and Paul E do more work trying to discuss the psychology of the chinlock when it’s just two winded guys sitting there doing nothing, dripping sweat on one another. Rich comes back with some punches and hits the Thesz press, but Morgan breaks it up because you’ve got to protect Jacko Victory in ’91 still. S---, s--- match, but immediately made up for by a guy running in to save Rich in a lumberjack outfit, and that’s part of the reason I’m reviewing these episodes, because it’s debut of Matt Borne as Big Josh! Because WCW for the match, The Greatest… for the aftermath. Possible first appearance of the detestable Grizzly Smith as an official to walk him out. “He’s from the Northwest, he don’t know!” is Tommy’s defense for his friend. How the f--- does that work?!
The Steiner Brothers vs. Ron Cumberledge and Bill Baker
For those who haven’t seen Cumberledge before, he’s like a darker-skinned Marcus Bagwell. Scott gets a quick dropkick on Baker and then a Samoan drop off the second rope for shits and giggles, then hands him over to Cumberledge. Scott picks him up with a crotch lift and drops him. Rick comes in and Irish whips him into the corner, which he does a flip bump off and walks into a Steinerline for another bouncing bump. That was like a Fatu and Marty Jannetty special. Reverse slam (with Rick picking up from behind and dropping him on his front). Scott comes back in and gets a Tiger Driver, then the brothers hit the deadly DDT off the shoulders, which Cumberledge again does a bump with some juice in it for, for the win. Absolutely worth a look. The Greatest…
Wrestling Wrap-Up with Gordon Solie, discussing WrestleWar on a week next Sunday. The focus here, strangely, is some footage from JWP ahead of the female tag team match, then some more of the Vader/Hansen match from NJPW, but this time without Jim doing his “I’m here, I was there!” commentary.
Dan Spivey vs. Chris Hann
Spivey’s back in town ahead of his match with Luger. Hann (or Hahn) was the guy who had his hand magically set on fire by Papa Shango a year later. Spivey’s hitting a Japanese armdrag immediately to show where he works most these days. He catches Hann when he launches at him and gets his buddy Scott Hall’s sack of s--- spot. Then, of all the things, a proto version of the Razor’s Edge, which is something Hall actually has admitted to cribbing off him. He lifted him up into the backbreaker and then dropped him down like a slow powerbomb. You’d think that was the finish, but he gets off at two. He probably should’ve finished there, because he falls down himself off a big boot and gets pissed off at it. Your fault, Danny. Belly-to-back folds Hann over. Stiff, stiff lariat sends Hann spinning down to the cameraman’s feet in the corner. I always enjoyed watching Dan wrestle because he, like Big Josh, was a lefty, so all of his moves from the other side looked off-kilter. Hangman’s neckbreaker and finally a Boss Man Slam finish. Big Bad Dan the Left Hand Man was just showing it all off there and brutalized the guy. The Greatest…
Jim talks to Spivey at ringside after about Luger. Nothing amazing to report, even though Dan had a great, scary look. Kinda shocking he didn’t have the gimmick that worked for him and would’ve worked for years as Waylon Mercy until his body was broken down.
Stan Hansen and Sid Vicious vs. Scotty Allen and Jeff Anderson
Talk about a monster tag team! They’re together ahead of a match at the Omni with Sting and Luger. They rush the ring and take out the jobbers. Hansen snap suplexes Allen with the tobacco hanging out of his mouth as always, then tackles him down. He picks him and runs him straight into Sid’s powerbomb for the quick win, with Anderson running into the lariat off camera. Hansen does the stretcher packing for Sid, slamming the other guy on top before turning it over and dropping it on Anderson. The Greatest…
Beautiful Bobby vs. The Z-Man
Rematch from the Clash as there’s controversy about Bobby getting his shoulder up off the mat before the three. They’re straight into it. Missy Hyatt is apparently trying to find out who the lumberjack from earlier is and Paul E jokes before I can write it that she’s probably trying to get a date with him already. I can’t recall how often the Midnight Express wore hot pink, but it’s not really working for Bobby here. Zenk monkey flips and armdrags him. Sunset flip off the top, but we established in a previous episode that Bobby’s not much for that move, so he rolls out and turns it into a Boston crab for a little while before getting armdragged again. Paul E confirms he’s less impressed by El Gigante’s repetitive “I want the belt!” line than Bob Caudle was ahead of interviewing him in the Danger Zone later. Alexandra York comes out to scout and taps her computer keyboard, although the camera confirms it’s not even switched on. At least they’re referencing that Terry Taylor is her client now. Bobby gets the neckbreaker for two. Lifting reverse backbreaker to get Zenk yelping, then a slingshot version of the same. Reverse chinlock to pour it on. Setup for a sensational flying elbow off the top, which misses, prompting a Zenk comeback with the superkick and powerslam. Abdominal stretch, for some reason, and Terry Taylor, with his new slicked back hair and ponytail look, comes in off the top to attack Zenk. He invites Bobby to join him in the attack, but Eaton punches him out of the thing over the top, pissed off at the DQ loss. I’ve seen better, but I’ve seen a lot worse, and there was at least the illusion of change with Taylor’s re-debut as a full heel. The Greatest…
Barry Windham vs. Ricky Nelson
Nelson wrestled in the Carolinas for a long time with the likes of George South. Arn is out to watch Barry’s back and targets Bobby Eaton of all the people in an insert promo. Barry’s target is Ron Simmons, with passing references to him not being able to get the job done with Reed. Feels like promos that should’ve come later and probably were. I think Arn was working with a torn groin at this point and his moving around at ringside definitely makes it look like that. Barry gets a dropkick and delayed suplex, then lets Nelson get some rights in. Bounced outside, Arn gets a shot in and walks off like a man who’s just had a vasectomy. Back in, BW eschews finishing with lariat and gets a stiff stuff piledriver. Superplex, with a dedication to Arn, finishes him off. Good match, but painful to see Double A, ever the good soldier, out there in such obvious discomfort. The Greatest…
Lex Luger and Sting vs. The State Patrol
Preparing for the Omni match with Hansen and Vicious, kinda hoping this will be as quick as the heels’ match. Paul E shows off his Black Scorpion impression, showing how little respect the last main event angle had. The heels look funny swarming Lex, but he double clotheslines them to cut off their attack. Stinger also takes on both at once. Bear in mind that Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker later in the decade was trying to kill guys their size in the Power Plant by getting to squat until they couldn’t walk any more. Lex goes for a sunset flip on Parker, which looks ridiculous when you consider there’s about a foot in height between them. Powerslam on Lt. James Earl Wright looks to finish, but Sting goes for a suplex instead. Just rack one and scorpion the other and get it over with. Stinger gets that idea and Stinger Splashes Wright to set up the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger clotheslines Parker to cut him off. Just went too long when you consider it’s the top two faces in the promotion. Because WCW.
JR speaks to Sting and Package after the match about their upcoming matches at the Omni and WrestleWar. Lex is pretty intense and says damn a few times to show it. Sting does his Hansen impression with a bit of tobacco hanging out of his mouth to finish it up.
The Natural Dustin Rhodes vs. Rip Rogers
Debut time for the son of the Bull of the Woods if we ignore his WWF run and his brief Texas Broncos run. He’s trying to do a Dusty impression with the lisp and lines in an insert promo when he’s the only Rhodes boy who didn’t have a lisp. It was a bit of a rough start for Dustin in ’91, but by the time he was rubbing shoulders with Windham, Steamboat, Anderson, Zbyszko and Eaton he was made. Hip toss and dropkick, then an armdrag and twist. Nice lariat to send Rogers reeling. Rogers manages the same and goes for the Macho Man double axehandle to the outside, but gets caught in the gut with a punch. Back in, the bulldog finishes. Always thought that was far better than the Curtain Call, but I guess it didn’t suit the Goldust persona. Fine enough match. The Greatest…
Danger Zone with El Gigante. Paul E gives him some lip about nobody giving a s--- about him until he clamps the hand on his shoulder and confirms, as always, that he wants the belt.
Back from a break, Missy Hyatt bitches about Doom not letting her interview them, so instead we get Tommy Rich and Doug Dellinger arguing about whether Big Josh should be taken to jail. Rich gives his origin story and Josh breaks the cuffs when Tommy says he’ll take responsibility for him going forward. Josh sounds like Doink doing a Rick Steiner impression. Factoid: Josh’s surname is Jones. Borne was as good a wrestler as ever, but the out of his depth hillbilly gimmick was terrible.
Flyin’ Brian vs. Randy Starr
Starr gets his name announced as he struggles to get a sweatshirt over his head. Brian gets a kneedrop early for two. Spinning hammerlock into a crucifix, but Starr is in the ropes. You can tell how tight Jim and Brian were from how much of his life story he tells, sharing everything but the sex and fight stories that Dark Side could tell. Jim talks about the Doom issue, which reminds me that they’ve not discussed who Diamond Dallas Page revealed as his team in between this episode and the last one. Kim Woods gets namedropped, and he would’ve been an awesome wrestling manager (“What do you do with a whore? You f--- ’em!”). Pillman finishes with a flying clothesline, called as Air Pillman, but it was just one off the top rope instead of with a springboard. The Greatest…
Doom vs. Mark Merro and Gregg Sawyer
Another debut, as Mark Merro (sic) is of course Marc Mero and would go on to be repackaged soon as Johnny B Badd. Here he’s a very tanned jobber with no presence wearing red boots and white tights with lots of tassels. A friend of mine posted one of his motivational speech videos on Facebook without context or knowing who he was, so I had to remind him that he was a BAAAAAAD man! The discussion does shift to the Freebirds being Page’s team he’s bringing to WrestleWar to challenge the champs. Gutbuster from Simmons on Sawyer to start. Reed comes in with a neckbreaker, followed by a flying elbow drop. He then punches Sawyer into Merro for a tag. Merro can’t even properly run the ropes at this point but at least has the look. The Steiners are named as the next challengers for the champs, whether it’s Doom or Hayes and Garvin, which would culminate under unusual circumstances. Doom’s version of the Doomsday Device finishes off Merro. The absence of Teddy Long due to suspension really hurt their split.
JR and Missy try to sign off while Paul E returns with a massive ice pack on his shoulder. Missy taps it to send him off crying.
Melting it down: Back to being a lot better, partly due to all the fresh faces, both old and new. Definite feeling of things starting to change as opposed to it just being a holdover from 1990.