Imagine this look, minus about 20 lbs. of muscle, and you have 1992 Nikita Koloff.
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! I found another Jake Roberts match I never knew existed, though I guess he & Cactus Jack had a feud against Sting & Nikita Koloff in WCW when I wasn’t watching! So come see Jake versus a “just here for the paycheck” Koloff, as well as another Ron “H20” Waterman match, as he takes on The Prototype (aka John Cena on ALL THE STEROIDS)! Also a big pile of WCW D-Show nonsense, as we see Marty Jannetty vs. Horshu! The Wall vs. Rick Fuller, as the Wall’s weird WCW push continues! Bobby Eaton winding down his WCW run fighting BUZZKILL of all people! The Public Enemy take on the legendary Disorderly Conduct! And finally, Scott Norton versus El Dandy! Will we see Norton’s famously generous selling against smaller men? Wait and see!
JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS vs. NIKITA KOLOFF:
(WCW Worldwide, Aug. 25th 1992)
* !!! Okay, now THIS is interesting. I didn’t realize Koloff was still around back then, but he’s feuding with Jake & Cactus Jack alongside Sting . It’s fascinating, because without steroids and his “Just a guy in good shape” look, you realize that Koloff is noticeably smaller than Jake, which makes me think a Hogan/Koloff feud wouldn’t have QUITE the visuals Vince would want. Jake is wearing some weird patchwork tights while Nikita’s in a jobbery-looking singlet.
They do chain-wrestling to a ghostly-silent crowd- they’re not putting much emotion or intensity behind anything. Jake begs off, but Koloff flexes at him and keeps on a wristlock. Jake bails and lures him into a knee, then throws some punches and a chinlock- yeah, that’ll wake up the crowd. This goes on for MINUTES, but Jake’s at least good enough to use the ropes or haul him down again using the tights to shake it up. Larry Z is of course in love with this style, going on about Jake’s leverage and wiliness. Nikita fights out but eats a knee & inverted atomic drop and ANOTHER chinlock, but finally gets his boot up in the corner and hits shoulderblocks until he signals the Russian Sickle (lariat). Cactus Jack comes out and Sting attacks him to FINALLY wake up this dead crowd, but Jake just tosses Koloff over the top for the DQ at (6:41) for a B.S. finish.
Really poor match, with nobody giving a crap, not even the crowd. Koloff hit the most lifeless babyface comebacks possible, and Jake controlled with Lazy Heel 101, but at least had the sense to cheat. Awful finish, too- the “Over the Top Rope” rule just made WCW look like the most podunk, toothless hillbilly garbage federation ever and I’m SO astonished they kept that going from the NWA years.
Rating: DUD (just a lazy bout with nothing much going for it- Koloff was totally done as an act by this point)
John Cena in his bodybuilding days- the Prototype looked closer to this than his WWF self.
THE PROTOTYPE (w/ Kenny Bolin) vs. RON “H20” WATERMAN:
(OVW TV, Oct. 1st 2002)
* Okay! So the Prototype, if y’all remember, is future superstar John Cena, here roided to the gills (beyond just the HGH he mainlined during his WWE run) and a rookie in crimson red shorts. Ron Waterman was a big-time prospect trained in OVW who just never got any good, and never made the main roster. An MMA star with a GREAT look (ie. huge muscles AND height), he would have been right up Vince’s alley but just never got there. I’ve never actually seen his work- I watched this before last week’s tag match- so this has me curious. Dude looks like Scott Steiner, in silver & black shorts, and comes down to “Eye of the Tiger”. He’s already 36-37 years old here, which is probably part of why he didn’t get picked up.
Waterman controls early with basic stuff, looking pretty decent, following the “WWF Cookie Cutter Style” that was prominent at the time (grab foot, spin to clothesline them; back elbow off the ropes). He uses the Goldberg-esque forward roll to twist the leg- Prototype makes the ropes, then catches a charging Ron by dropping him on the middle rope (he doesn’t have the experience to position himself to get him on the top, but thankfully they were close enough to the middle). Prototype does more plodding offense like punches & kicks, then a pretty awful “throw them into the corner then bounce off the ropes at the same time” move that replaces the usual clothesline with just putting his hand on Ron’s chest and shoving him down. A really bad punch to the gut sees Ron awkwardly just turn around so Prototype can chinlock him, and when he fights back, he catches Prototype with a spinebuster off the ropes. Some punches & a powerslam set up the Tap-Outer (ankle lock), but Bolin stops the ref from seeing Prototype tap- Ron gets annoyed and slugs him, but turns around into the Proto-Plex (backdrop to release side Ligerbomb) (4:25).
Pretty basic, weak match- neither guy seemed that athletic (Cena would only get worse with time, but his timing at least improved), and they were awkwardly falling into spots in the end. The 4-minute match into the distraction finish wasn’t great, either, but it’s hard to be overly judgemental when it’s kept short.
Rating: *1/4 (basic TV match, but with clumsier, greener guys)
WCW at one point had like 25 former WWF guys, usually in the “filler/we don’t care who wrestlers or why” part of the roster, unless they were in the nWo.
MARTY JANNETTY vs. HORSHU:
(WCW Saturday Night, April 19th 1998)
* Yes, it’s the awful Horshu, now set up against Marty Jannetty- late of the New Rockers and hired on mostly as a “Hey, we have ALL the former WWF guys!” for WCW. He never got a push, rarely fought for titles, and I don’t think he ever got a promo… he was just one of the morass of low-level talent. He’s here in a super-dated black singlet with neon blocks all over the top.
Marty controls to start with arm stuff and armdrags, keeping it simple for the rookie, then does his patented 360 sell of a Horshu clothesline. Horshu controls with basic punches and kicks before getting into the camera and shouting “There ain’t NO business, like SHU business, baby!” and I kinda want him to die because of that. Mat slam gets two and then he SAYS IT AGAIN, booting Marty and hitting a butterfly suplex after Marty sunset flips him. Even Scott Hudson is dissing how stupid that is. Horshu does choking, a chinlock & a bodyslam, missing a knee to set up the comeback- Marty hits a kneelift, punches, dropkick & swinging neckbreaker, but he tries the Flying Fistdrop and lands on Horshu’s foot (wow, how often do you see a legit finisher countered with the “foot up” reversal?). Horshu hits a backdrop suplex, but misses a 2nd-rope elbow and eats the Showstopper (the rocker dropper) for the pin at (4:32). LOL, they actually called it that? How cheeky a comparison to his old tag partner!
Pretty generic “Carry the Rookie” match, as they keep it simple and Marty wrestles like it’s 1988 with kneelifts & swinging neckbreakers. At least he had his finisher countered and had to use the other one.
Rating: * (forgettable rookie bout- Horshu was big enough to not be treated like a jobber… but not by much)
Dying Stage WCW: when a dude gets even a tiny bit of a following and immediately gets rocket-pushed. Beats the days when they’d get punished for it.
THE WALL vs. RICK FULLER:
(WCW Saturday Night, March 4th 2000)
* Back to the dying days of WCW, where The Wall shows up as Berlyn’s roided up bodyguard and “Because WCWs” himself into getting the push out of the duo, and he’s set up against the “Rick Fuller Division” member… Rick Fuller. The Wall’s got black slacks and a white business shirt with no sleeves and a tie, and has his hair bleached blonde, with a goatee that’s very “2000”. Fuller’s in black shorts and weirdly, a long-sleeved black shirt. We get a clip of The Wall chokeslamming Crowbar to death through a ringside table, treated as the most horrifying thing ever- it looks rad but WWF was routinely doing stunts like this every week by this point, so made WCW look bush-league for treating it like the hugest damn deal.
The Wall jumps Fuller in the aisle before the bell can ring, slamming him into the guardrail and steps beforer bringing him into the ring- he ducks a move and hits the Chokeslam for the easy pin at (0:18). Well then!
Rating: DUD (just a super-easy squash. Now I feel dumb for writing that long preamble!)
“FAR OUT” BUZZKILL vs. BOBBY EATON:
(WCW Saturday Night, Feb. 12th 2000)
* ah, BUZZKILL. That brings me back- as a fan who was only kind of an “online fan” at the time, I had heard just enough about Vince Russo to have chalked up the majority of the WWF’s resurgence in quality to him. So when the insane news hit that he had quit Vince and moved to WCW, I was like “Well SH*T- there goes the neighborhood” and was thinking WWF was going to have to scramble and WCW might just take back the lead! And I tuned in to one of the first Nitros when Russo took power… and saw him give a variant of the Road Dogg’s gimmick to Jesse James’s brother Brad (who is now just a standard-issue hippie). And I realized all at once “Oh f*ck- he doesn’t have any new ideas. He’s just retreading his WWF crap”. And right then and there I knew that he was out of sh*t and the WWF would be just fine without him. I mean, come on- just sticking someone’s gimmick onto another guy is so bush league.
They trade wristlocks for a bit, Buzzkill immediately showing how wrong he is for the gimmick by just smiling and making peace signs after every move (like he doesn’t have the timing or charisma to know when to do that)- Eaton slugs him in the corner after a clean break, but Buzzkill hits ’80s offense for two and holds a wristlock as Scott Hudson for some reason can’t understand it when Bobby Heenan calls him a “smidgen peculiar” (“I like big words as much as the next guy, but Smidgepeculiar? That sounds like a kind of insect!”). Eaton gets out via an abdominal stretch, but is taken down with an overhead wristlock, then bails, where Buzzkill goes behind on a suplex attempt and runs him into the post. Eaton, still selling in the ring, resists a schoolboy off the ropes but eats the Buzzkiller (Russian Legsweep) for the pin at (3:27).
This was like something right out of 1985- just suuuuuper basix moves and counters. What you’d imagine a throwaway opener would be like fifteen years earlier, not a match between two veterans. I mean, a RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP as a finisher? In 2000? Adequately-wrestled technical stuff, but heatless.
Rating: *1/2 (super basic old-timey match- not actively bad but just plain)
THE PUBLIC ENEMY (Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. DISORDERLY CONDUCT (Mean Mike & Tough Tom):
(WCW Saturday Night, Jan. 17th 1998)
* The two legendary duos square off on the C-show, with TPE actually being legitimately over with this crowd. Oh, 1998. They’re also wearing purple, black & silver, just like Disorderly Conduct, which has to be some kind of faux pas. I mean, that’s DC’s only real color scheme! “Lavendar musta been a… beautiful color this year!” quoth Dusty, cracking up Tony on commentary.
Grunge does the “International” sequence into a clothesline to one DC guy over the top, then the other eats a Lionsault Press (!) from Rocco, leading to a cute bit where he kicks away Tom’s hand from a tag, luring him in with a backdrop while he’s still holding Mike in a headlock, then the old “headscissors/headlock” dual bit! But he gets cocky and eats a double-suplex, jawjacker and that assisted axehandle move. This goes on a bit too long, ultimately one DC guy clotheslining the other by accident, but they turn it around soon after Grunge gets the hot tag, but get run into each other. Swinging neckbreaker sets up the Drive-By (assisted springboard somersault senton) for the win at (4:34). THEY HAD A TABLE SET UP OUTSIDE AND NEVER USED IT WHAT THE F*CK.
Rating: * (Pretty basic match, with shockingly TPE giving DISORDERLY CONDUCT nearly all the match. Then it’s a couple of banana peels and DC lose)
SCOTT NORTON (w/ Virgil) vs. EL DANDY:
(WCW Saturday Night, Jan. 23rd 1997)
* Well I don’t imagine this will have much selling from Scott. El Dandy was a bottom-tier Cruiserweight guy in WCW, and looks different than I remember him. Floofier hair, and with his big beer belly pooched out over his blue tights, which are NOT fitted properly. Thank God he usually wore a singlet.
El Dandy avoids Norton to start and dropkicks the leg, but is quickly overpowered, his punches no-sold. He goes nearly vertical on a back bodydrop, selling that like death, and hilariously Vincent still nails him with a shot on the outside (I love that commitment to heeling- Norton hasn’t even SOLD yet and Vincent’s cheating to help him). Norton effortlessly pounds away with two chops & a headbutt, then a vertical suplex toss (like when you suplex the guy but just let go instead of going down with him). Vincent adds another shot and Norton casually finishes with a powerbomb at (2:58), never so much as working up a sweat.
Rating: 1/4* (just a complete squash- Norton only old for 0.5 seconds before ignoring everything El Dandy did and gobbling him up)