“Plucky Babyface Eddie Guerrero” is kind of a forgotten era for the guy. Also a reminder of the time WCW tossed the U.S. Title on a lot of pretty new acts in the company.
It’s time for more Dream Matches! With more of a big WCW focus again, but I throw in a WWF tag match from the weird early days where “Cool Dad” Michael Hayes was managing the Hardy Boyz, and they were in a throwaway match with Funaki & Papi Chulo (the future Essa Rios)! But our main event of the evening is Lord Steven Regal doing another one of his technical clinics against a new hire named Eddie Guerrero!
Also come see CIMA up against Perry Saturn, when the former was still a rookie trainee in WCW! A weird “Late WCW is more like Early TNA” match as Psychosis fights Shark Boy in 2000! And another shocker- PG-13 made WCW TV in 2000! They take on the much-maligned 3 Count! Then come see Bobby Eaton’s time on the WCW job squad continue as he’s set up against Fit Finlay in a match of the short, stocky veterans. And finally, a TRUE main event and the kind of match I was born to review- SCOTT PUTSKI vs. MEAN MIKE OF DISORDERLY CONDUCT! Smell the ratings!
LORD STEVEN REGAL (w/ Jeeves) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO:
(WCW Nitro, Jan. 9th 1996)
* Regal takes on the relative newcomer Eddie, here a a dorky babyface with a white & red singlet, a HUGE mullet, and a pretty generic persona. However, he was getting pretty great reactions at this point- I believe I read that a focus group test actually showed he was one of their more popular wrestlers, which led to some emphasis on TV. This was the “WCW Special” of just throwing two good workers out there with 8 minutes of TV time and seeing what happens.
Eddie gets the best of some armbar exchanges, but Regal does a slow roll-out and flips Eddie out of another one. Regal maneuvers his way into a headlock and throws palm thrusts while Bischoff derides the “Royal FUMBLE!” and McMichael disses how the WWF is “overpricin’ their pay-per-views!”- Eddie slingshots over Regal but eats a knee. Regal goes for a butterfly suplex, but Eddie spins out upside-down and armdrags him, then hits a headscissors, but Regal no-sells a dropkick and they go into a pin exchange. Regal goes to the eyes, then hits European uppercuts when Eddie tries to come back- Heenan marks out for an inverted suplex that gets two, and they do another pin exchange and Regal drops a VICIOUS elbow for two. He milks the count and wears Eddie down with strikes & twisting holds, getting him revved up with an endless storm of palm thrusts, but when Regal goes to the Euro too many times, Eddie backslides him! 1…2…3! Eddie pulls one out (8:08)! Great underdog win there, and it keeps Eddie’s “sleeper hit” early run going.
Another really fascinating Regal match, as like with Dean, he can do a lot of unique stuff with Eddie thanks to his speed and ability. Like those bouts, it’s fairly short for TV time, and leisurely-paced enough that it comes off like the opening half of a **** match as they never QUITE go all-out (there’s not a serious pin until the end). I did like the psychology of Regal just having too much size and oomph for Eddie to get any momentum, carefully stuffing him every time he got going, until he just went to the well too often and Eddie sneaks out a win.
Rating: **1/2 (another quick, fun match with some interesting technical stuff and great striking by Regal)
This dude had a lot of names in his short WWF run.
THE HARDY BOYZ (Matt & Jeff, w/ Michael Hayes) vs. PAPI CHULO & FUNAKI:
(Sunday Night Heat, July 1999)
* The Hardys, with “Cool Dad” Michael Hayes, are in the midst of their early push- Matt’s in a white shirt and Jeff’s in a hilarious silver club kid shirt. Papi Chulo is Aguila/Essa Rios under his middle WWF name (“Pimp Daddy”), with Funaki as a fellow jobber for some reason. Chulo’s in pink tights and Funaki’s in pinstriped shorts.
The Hardys attack immediately, Matt hitting a springboard moonsault onto Chulo while Jeff tope con hilos Funaki on the floor. They double-team Chulo and Jeff hits the Swanton Bomb (just when that move was starting to get noticed on TV- I remember the DVDVR boards going nuts about it) but immediately gets up and starts showboating, Hayes freaking out over that. This ends up getting two because of the delay (soon that move would be upgraded to a finisher), and lotsa punching follows. Chulo lands on his feet from a double-back body drop (slipping a bit but he’s up fast) and Funaki punches away. Chulo hits a bounce off the ropes (nearly slipping again) but dumps Matt as Funaki actually hits CIMA’s Iconoclam (inverted Razor’s Edge off the top) on Jeff (!), then Chulo hits his nutso Tope Con Hilo over the corner onto Matt! Funaki follows with a pescado onto Jeff, but whips him to the barricade and Jeff uses that to do his insane “Barricade Run” into a Hart Attack on Chulo! Crazy s---. Funaki tries a Tornado DDT but gets caught in a… what the f--- was that? For the three at (3:22). I think Jeff was gonna rana him, but switched to a Twist of Fate halfway through and didn’t get a full rotation on it?
Literally just “Spots & Punching” but a fun quickie tag match. Chulo hitting THAT SPOT every match and never getting a second look is crazy, but the Hardys were on another level in terms of flashiness at this point. Funaki swiping CIMA moves was pretty funny.
Rating: **1/4 (good old-fashioned crazy spotfest, playing to the strengths of all four guys)
PSYCHOSIS (w/ Juventud Guerrera) vs. SHARK BOY:
(WCW Saturday Night, March 18th 2000)
* Wow, holy biscuits- SHARK BOY made WCW television. Someone said that “TNA is what WCW would have been if the Fusient deal had gone through and you can really tell- there’s even Elix Skipper & Sonny Siaki around these shows, plus early AJ Styles. Shark Boy had “Indie Comedy Gimmick” written all over him, but got kind of ironically over (also he was decent in the ring, I think) and had a shockingly long TNA run (2002-2015!). No idea if he ever got a real PUSH anywhere, but whatever- a fun comedy guy is a great part of any card. Here, he looks like he’s never seen the inside of a gym in his life and is wearing a ridiculous white jobber singlet in addition to his iconic mask. Psychosis was kind of floundering in WCW at this point, but at one time had been one of the best workers in the US with zero push. Ugh, he’s unmasked here- that was complete death for him. Black gear for him, and bad rock star hair. He also does a roll over the top into the ring looking as ungraceful as humanly possible.
They stall and pose for a while before Psychosis gets two legdrops out of the International sequence, but Shark Boy catches him with a flying headscissors then bites him on the ass. Clothesline over the top & a pescado have Psychosis in trouble, but he reverses a corner whip with a clothesline, only to whiff horribly on a running move, ending up upside-down. Shark Boy then wipes out Juvie AND hits a headscissors on Psychosis, doing great, but Juvie clocks him in the back of the head and that’s that- Psychosis hits a sit-out front suplex and Guillotine Legdrop halfway across the ring for the three (5:06). Holy s---- he gave Shark Boy EVERYTHING and just hit the heel version of the Randy Savage Match Template. ah well, it gives the rookie some shine.
Rating: ** (pretty basic and short, and SUPER one-sided until the two-move comeback, but it was some pretty decent flying around)
PERRY SATURN vs. SHIIMA NOBUNAGA (w/ Sonny Onoo):
(WCW Saturday Night, Dec. 26th 1998)
* Ultimo Dragon bringing in his Toryumon guys for experience in WCW gives us a few truly unexpected Dream Matches, but a particular one here is Saturn, at the peak of his credibility. Shiima/CIMA here has HILARIOUS “90s Douchebag” hair, with the hair at the front sticking right up and having alternating hair dye. Nice shorts for a rookie, though- black & white with tassels and such. Saturn’s in long black tights, and Onoo is paying the kid off to hurt Saturn before Starrcade.
Shiima gets an armdrag and kips up to show off, but Saturn quickly stuffs him, even hitting chops despite an Onoo distraction. But Shiima does the “Flair Reversal” of a German (ie. he puts a leg into Saturn’s nuts) and hits a flipping upside-down kick. But he celebrates again and Saturn wipes him out with a clothesline- every time this kid sells, he flops around like a manic fish. Onoo literally shoves him into Saturn to protect himself, setting up a flurry of kicks in the ring, but Onoo now successfully distracts Saturn, who eats dropkick & inverted Stunner (Shiima’s facing him during the move). Shiima hits a Flying Roundhouse Kick for barely “2”, but then hits the wimpiest, lightest strikes I’ve ever seen, which Saturn rightly no-sells and hits him with a double-underhook overhead suplex. Falcon arrow and flying splash kill the kid, but Saturn swipes Onoo’s wad of cash (meant to pay off Shiima) and then hits the Death Valley Driver, coasting to an easy win at (3:52).
Rating: *3/4 (decent enough squash- Shiima was okay but largely got demolished and his stuff was pretty loose- Saturn’s stuff looked good)
In the days when having no physique could actually HARM your wrestling career. PG-13 must look at Adam Cole today with envy.
3 COUNT (“Sugar” Shane Helms & Shannon Moore, w/ Evan Karagias) vs. PG-13 (J.C. Ice & Wolfie D):
(WCW Saturday Night, Feb. 5th 2000)
* I… wait, PG-13 hit WCW? I had no idea! I just remember them from their run as minor WWF heels. 3-Count do their dance while Mike Tenay & Scott Hudson are now bickering commentators, Tenay disgusted at Hudson’s assertion that their song is great (“will you QUIT DANCING?”), while PG-13 do a rap while looking like the pastiest, most random white guys ever. Ice (dressed as a jester) looks like a legit meth-head. Wolfie’s at least in shape.
A complex double-drop-down has Ice hopping over everyone, but he runs into Wolfie and Helms ranas D to the floor- Moore’s roundhouse kick sets up Shane’s frog splash on Ice, and they pose. Wolfie nails Moore from behind and suplexes him on the floor. A double-team leads to D’s Spinning Ligerbomb- Helms saves. Moore gets dumped, but Ice misses an elbow, then Moore misses a moonsault and Wolfie misses a somersault senton off the top, and Shane misses the same move with a twist! Slingshot tope con hilo by Shannon nails Wolfie on the floor- this distracts the ref so Ice can’t get a pin, then he runs into Evan’s goofy dance circle so Shane picks up the win with a schoolboy at (4:00).
Cute bit with everyone all missing their flying attacks in the middle. The rest of the match was okay, if a bit heatless and generic. They were young and should have been hungry, but it’s Saturday Night so I should be surprised they’re putting in ANY effort, albeit half-speed with their flips to the floor. It’s still hilarious to me how 3 Count had Moore & Helms do ALL the work inside the ring while protecting Karagias with an “on the floor” position.
Rating: ** (perfectly fine tag team match)
FIT FINLAY vs. BOBBY EATON:
(WCW Saturday Night, March 13th 1999)
* Bobby on the job squad takes on stiff-as-f--- Finlay, with bleached hair and his green & black shamrock singlet.
They mess about for two friggin’ minutes, doing nothing but a nervehold, then Eaton using his right fist, talking smack and jawing with the fans so Tenay & Hudson can go on and on about… my god. Things were so bad even in 1999 that SONNY ONOO vs. JERRY FLYNN was a feud that got airtime on Nitro- how did this company even make it to 2000? Finlay works a leglock, Bobby trying to reverse out, then wins a slugfest as poor Bobby is good enough to limp even from that basic early-match move. Fit pounds on him on the apron with those hammering elbows of his, but Bobby catches him with a neckbreaker in the ring. He himself charges into the rolling fireman’s carry, and the Tombstone Piledriver finishes for Finlay at (4:51).
The match was almost 50% two guys taunting and jawing, then a simple mat sequence into the finish, so there’s not much to it. But props to Bobby Eaton for selling that minor leglock the entire match, limping constantly as if he couldn’t recover.
Rating: *1/2 (basic squash with little contact until 2 minutes in)
Scott Putski: All the big, beautiful, oily muscles in the world and his career legacy is “another guy Missy Hyatt says was a bad f--- in her autobiography”.
SCOTT PUTSKI vs. MEAN MIKE (w/ Tough Tom):
(WCW Saturday Night, Sept. 5th, 1998)
* MAIN EVENT IN ANY ARENA IN THE COUNTRY!! Where else but late ’90s WCW can you see Ivan Putski’s useless son versus one half of Disorderly Conduct? Scott here is so bad that he’s mostly known in the business for Missy Hyatt impugning his cocksmanship in her Autobiography, but confessing he looked good. Scott’s wearing long black tights with all kinds of military eagle designs on them and is shockingly a TWELVE-YEAR VETERAN here.
Scott does an armdrag and they milk that like some huge deal, then catches a foot and does an atomic drop into a weirdo floatover suplex for two. Scott does more generic s--- until Tough Tom trips him up from the outside- he has some harsh words for Tom, but gets jumped by Mike and for some reason ref Rocky King doesn’t DQ the tag team for a double-team shot, and Mike goes to work again. Of course, because it’s Mean Mike, his big offensive flurry consists of a bodyslam and running into a clothesline. Putski signals the POLISH HAMMER (double-axehandle) and nails Mike, but when both guys look away, DC do the switcharoo, and now TOUGH TOM is in there and Scott is proper f-----. Tom suckers him into an inside cradle, but Scott kicks out at two and Tom panics- he charges in and eats the Putski Bomb (lifting sitout powerbomb) for the three at (3:35), humiliating the fresh Tom.
Rating: * (these guys are just such weaksauce- all their offense is from the ’80s save Scott’s finisher)