WCW Saturday Night: January 16, 1993

InVerse: This is several years from being relevant to this post, but it felt really important to bring to CFB’s attention but not quite important enough to warrant it’s own thread.

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I hadn’t realized prior to this evening just how important InVerse was to me – but reading this, it’s clear we’re going to be inseparable soul mates from this day forward.

Read moreWCW Saturday Night: January 16, 1993

WCW Worldwide: January 16, 1993

I’ve finally managed to get Worldwide back in the rotation – and not a moment too soon! Z-Man! Johnny Gunn! Nothing but the biggest names on the planet!

TONY SCHIAVONE and JESSE VENTURA welcome us to an actual arena in Alabama. Tony’s displaying a quality part on the mid-right side of his head, with the kind of precision that lets you know, yes, this is the 90’s. PAUL ORNDORFF saunters on camera, and he starts screaming about Rick Rude’s injury. He apparently knows exactly what needs to be done. And what needs doing? Whether it’s Milwaukee, or Philadelphia, he’s going to have a match with Steeng. What of Atlanta? St. Louis? Murfreesboro? Does “Steeng” not work those territories?

Read moreWCW Worldwide: January 16, 1993

WCW Power Hour: January 16, 1993

Going AnonYou failed to note the very loud “Erik Watts sucks” chant while he’s being interviewed in the back.
I have failed each and every one of you. I vow to work harder at bringing up any and all of Erik Watts’ lowest moments.
LIVE from a taped studio, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are running on Cactus Jack-mania. Of course, they immediately divert my attention by casually dropping in that The Barbarian is facing 2 Cold Scorpio in the main event. Oh, hell, yes. Scorpio, I dare you to step. This could be glorious.

I opt to skip through the replaying of the US title tournament semi-final matches, or Jim Ross in the Superbrawl Master Control Studio. I am completely taken by the Super Mario Kart commercial however. That game was the boss. I used to haul my Super Nintendo to a friend’s house who also had a system, and a group of us would two barrel a pair of TVs all night, running tournament after tournament. My wife and I played it roughly a month ago, but she hated it. I have since considered filing for divorce.
TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. TOMMY ANGEL and THE ITALIAN STALLION
I love that WCW never stopped recycling their awful, awful music, even with the added pressure from the WWF’s in-house work in the late 90’s. Tex and Shanghai are using “Generic Cowboy” which would later be given to Bobby Duncum Jr. Chris Benoit used that silly clapping theme at the Clash of Champions. Austin’s would be recycled a half dozen times. And Ron Studd would murder Fit Finlay in an unsolved European case before robbing him of his music. My sound completely gives out after the entrances, so I’m left to speculate what’s in the paper grocery bag Tex brought to the ring. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I’ve opted to rule out his lunch, an International Object, and Damian, leaving me with the obvious answer. It’s rolled tightly, and doesn’t appear to be very heavy … so I figure it’s whatever’s left of Erik Watts’ dignity. Angel hits a fantastic German suplex on Tex, which is pretty much our lone highlight. The Italian Stallion, meanwhile, can go to hell for ripping that name off, and I’m hoping he draws the ire of a drunken Paulie and gets stabbed in the beans with a broken beer bottle. Pierce pins Angel with a combined DDT at 3:29. *
Elsewhere, MISSY HYATT hosts Missy Does the Mail. On the topic of Cactus Jack’s actions from this week, she says it sums up her longstanding believe that you can’t trust a man who wears his teeth as an earring. However, Harley Race was wearing some fairly atrocious polyester, so Jack can’t be blamed for his actions. Also, the letter writer offers her some bareback riding lessons, and Missy says “I can’t wait!” Isn’t this a kid friendly show? I’m fairly sure an open proposal to contract Missy’s wide array of STD’s by plugging her without the shrink wrap doesn’t belong on Saturday morning programming.
The volume completely cuts out now, which is great, because I don’t have to listen to BILL APTER suck the kneecaps of ERIK WATTS … which might be the most play he’s ever going to get.
THE BARBARIAN (with Cactus Jack) vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO
I’m still without sound, but Tony’s kinda useless anyway so I’ll get by. Barbarian powers Scorpio back to the corner and barks in his face repeatedly, like the Alpha dog asserting his dominance in the pound. A series of headbutts take Scorpio to the mat, and probably to another planet. The fool tries a sunset flip, but Barbarian’s like “bitch, really?” and doesn’t even flinch. Scorpio runs away from the attack, but then leaps on his head and hits a victory roll for 2. A dropkick has the Barbarian in a white hot rage, but he rolls outside to confer with his good friend, Cactus Jack. Scorpio threatens to fly, and winds up kicking Barbarian all the way to the guardrail. He shakes it off and gets back in. Scorpio’s waiting with a kick to the face, but Barbarian just roars in his face and murders him with a clothesline. Barbarian threatens a powerbomb, but stops mid-way and hangs Scorpio over the ropes in the corner instead. A single uppercut causes him to fall off the buckle and on to the apron, so Barbarian pulls him back in and goes for a backbreaker. Scorpio slips off the back, and pays dearly for that stunt with a clothesline that would have chopped down a giant redwood. Barbarian goes easy, working a headlock, which Scorpio stupidly tries to fight off. Barbarian just throws him through the middle ropes like garbage – which might be a rare mistake from the promotion’s top guy, because 2 Cold re-enters with a sunset flip for 2. You can about see the steam come out his ears when Barbarian pops up, and Scorpio takes the kind of pounding you’d usually reserve for tenderizing a whole cow. Barbarian drops a couple of elbows across Scorpio’s throat, and attempts to put him to sleep. Scorpio manages to escape and hits a pair of dropkicks, followed by a big splash for 2. Barbarian sits up like the Undertaker on speed, and delivers the Kick of Fear with enough force to make a soccer ball explode. Scorpio tumbles to the outside of the ring where he lays for awhile, but he manages to beat the count. He quickly hits the Pele kick, and does a 180 legdrop for 2. A superkick sends Barbarian to the floor, and Jack reminds him, “hey, you’re the Barbarian, you’ve cannibalized bigger guys than this in one sitting!” Barbarian nods and gets back in, but Scorpio catches him with a surprise suplex and hits a slingshot somersault legdrop for 2. A superkick rocks the big man again and time runs out at 10:00. Saved by the bell, 2 Cold. It’s probably for the best, this was undoubtedly ending with Scorpio’s head being ripped off like a chicken, and that just gets messy. **

That’s it for now. Saturday night has a rock-star lineup tonight, and although the show may not feature Barbarian, it’s likely to be a good one. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 22: January 13, 1993

On Sunday Night, Cactus Jack left about 800 wrestlers for dead. Everyone, from jobbers all the way up to the World Champion were no match for Jack and his shovel. Are there going to be repercussions for the madman from New Mexico? Will Dustin Rhodes win the big one? Just what DID Erik Watts do to get arrested? And what the hell is a Thunder Cage? We hope to address this tonight, but being WCW, I’ll be happy if just one of these points is touched on.
Since this is 1993, Vader’s team is dubbed “THE EVIL TEAM” by the Unknown Voice Over. Shades of grey weren’t wrestling’s strongest suit in those days.
LIVE from Milwaukee, WI, TONY SCHIAVONE is joined by … BILL WATTS? This can’t possibly be our announce team. Watts gloats about teaming with The Crusher against Larry Hennig and Larry Zbyszko in Milwaukee shortly after founding father Soloman Juneau settled in the region in the early parts of the 19th century. Watts takes us through the state of the union; Van Hammer tore a guitar string and won’t be able to arm wrestle tonight. He’s being replaced by Vinnie Vegas for reasons. Meanwhile, his son Erik, who he says is “like a son” to him, told him he was arrested for no good reason at all. And because of this relationship, Bill believes him; but it needs to be investigated. As a result, he won’t be wrestling Cactus Jack. Wouldn’t an appropriate punishment be to have him wrestle Cactus Jack?

In the back, LARRY ZBYSZKO is with the aforementioned ERIK WATTS, and it becomes increasingly obvious that he’s been charged with stealing the wardrobe from the host of Nick Arcade.
 
Bill Watts is frustrated that his son can’t compete, but has a fair replacement: Johnny B Badd. Man, that’s a shockingly low opinion he has of the man who’s “like a son” to him.
JIM ROSS and JESSE VENTURA are the real announcers, though I don’t know if this is an improvement.
CACTUS JACK vs. JOHNNY B BADD
These guys actually have a little history, partnering together in the Lethal Lottery at Starrcade – but like all other Cactus Jack partners, Badd ate it like a champ. Ventura correctly points out that the audience has a shocking number of Cactus Jack signs, fallout from Sunday’s anti-hero face turn. Cactus misses an avalanche, and gets rolled up for 2. Badd works an armbar, but that doesn’t go very far, and Johnny gets punched in the head. Badd slams Jack’s face into the buckle, and cradles Cactus for 2. Up top, Badd misses a sunset flip, and Jack drops an elbow for the quick pin at 2:53. This should have been a completely one-sided squash; that was WAYYYYY too much offense for (at this point) useless Johnny. 1/2*
During the break, the greatest music video in the history of wrestling debuts. I’ve posted it before; but let’s go through it one more time. A group of naughty (black) kids refuse to go to school, despite the pleas of the (good) white kid, because they just want to play basketball. They continue to play, when a limo pulls up, and a large woman begin shrieking “EVERYBODY HERE COMES TOO COLD SCORPIO!” The basketball is whiffed with one of the worst looking air-balls I’ve ever seen, which is both necessary to take us to the next part of the video – but also subliminally highlight that these kids should probably focus on their studies since an NBA career is not in the cards. The ball takes a perfect bounce into the limo, and Scorpio bursts through the doors bouncing the ball – basically playing the Wesley Snipes version of the Kool Aid Man. He dunks, drawing high praise from the drop-outs. Scorpio asks why they’re not in school, and one of the delinquents tells him they’re off to the Arcade. Scorpio tells them Mortal Kombat is going to have to wait, they need an education, and he’s going to take them there. The kids perk up, thinking they’re about to hop in the limo, bathe in Dom, and toss around Benjamin’s like Floyd Mayweather. However, Scorpio immediately blue balls them and informs the group “we gonna step”. Then he dances with a bunch of sluts for some reason. This entire segment is Faces of Fear levels of amazing, and completely defines a generation. What that is, is really hard to say – but we’re going to assume it involves stepping.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. SCOTTY FLAMINGO
It breaks my heart in knowing Flamingo has no shot in hell following that video, because any man willing to strap on those tiny pink bicycle shorts and thrust violently at whatever’s he hallucinating about deserves a rocket strapped to his back. Flamingo actually has the crowd support which pleases me greatly. Scorpio hits Flamingo with a springboard back elbow before whiffing on a kick that Flamingo sells by literally jumping backwards and out of the ring. Champ. Scorpio decks him with a big right hand off the apron, but Flamingo’s back in first and hits a dropkick to send Scorpio back to the outside. A plancha (!) connects, and Flamingo throws Scorpio back in for 1. Scorpio sneaks in a small package for 2, and that enrages Flamingo and his protruding penis. Scorpio keeps on, hitting a pair of dropkicks and Flamingo begs for a time out. Instead, he’s given a rotating splash off the top, but Flamingo kicks out at 2. A Stinger splash misses, and Scorpio eats buckle, allowing Flamingo to roll him up for 2. A dropkick from Scorpio sets up a legdrop, and the Diss That Don’t Miss finishes us off at 4:12. **
CHRIS BENOIT vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG
This is Benoit’s WCW debut, and he’s introduced as a 7-year veteran by Ross to give him some credibility. Man did he age fast, he looks like a kid here, even though he’s in his mid 20’s. Benoit goes for an early powerbomb, but Armstrong rolls off the back and hiptossees Chris. A dropkick leads to an armbar to slow Benoit, who is an absolute ball of energy here. Benoit bridges loose and takes Armstrong down, winning a test of strength. Armstrong backdrops out, and goes back to the armbar. Chris finally has enough and counters into a hammerlock, but Armstrong dumps him through the middle rope, leading to another debut … the feathered mullet.
Back in, Armstrong plants Chris with a dropkick, and goes back to the armbar. I’m not sure keeping Benoit moving at a snail’s pace is the best way to show him off. Benoit shakes loose and goes for a Liontamer, but Armstrong won’t turn, so Benoit gives him a hot shot instead. Armstrong staggers on the apron, so Chris gives him a violent headbutt, and then nails him with a double jump clothesline drawing a massive pop! Armstrong crawls back in, and takes a clothesline so hard I’m surprised his head’s still attached. A backbreaker is followed with a scoop slam so hard that Armstrong bounces off the canvas like a basketball. Chris heads up, but Armstrong goes to cut him off. Benoit ain’t having that, headbutting Armstrong like a boss, and as soon as Brad falls, Benoit’s right behind him with the swandive. Still, Armstrong rolls away, and Brad hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Benoit immediately stands up and hits the Dragon Suplex for the win at 9:15! This was the tale of two matches, but as soon as Benoit got going, this was outstanding. It’s incredible they didn’t offer this guy a huge contract and immediately insert him into the US title picture, because he was ready, even at this point. ***
Meanwhile, TONY SCHIAVONE introduces a video package to highlight the reunion of the Rock n Roll Express. They’ve been tearing up Smokey Mountain Wrestling, but WCW’s arranged a one-time appearance for the new SMW tag-team champions to appear at Superbrawl. That’s a fantastic working partnership. I actually have the bulk of the SMW library on one of my hard drives … do I dare extend myself even thinner?
JESSE VENTURA excitedly hosts the latest in the Strongest Arm competition. The reigning champion is hurt, and the runner up, Ron Simmons, is in the main event – but we’re given Tony Atlas challenging … Vinnie Vegas. Apparently Vegas is being given this opportunity because he was eliminated unfairly from the tournament, since he is left handed. This is actually happening, isn’t it? Vegas, for the record, is sporting an incredible pair of pink hospital scrubs tonight. Jesse provides some scintillating play-by-play that I could not possibly top (“HERE COMES VINNIE VEGAS BACK! HE’S ROLLING THE DICE!”), and after roughly two and a half decades, Vegas wins. You know, even with the hindsight that Over the Top drew absolutely no money, WCW continues to run with this. Though, really, I’m secretly ok with that.
And speaking of things I’m totally ok with, VADER is screaming about Sting from inside a blizzard. He has a special challenge to present him with, but he wants to do it from inside his White Castle of Fear! Sting is promised a good time if he’s willing to live on the edge. I think this was Chapter 14 in 50 Shades of Vader.
LARRY ZBYSZKO covers the #1 contender tournament for the US title that’s been going on. Rhodes and Steamboat face off on Saturday Night, and will face Rick Rude on the 23rd … unless he’s too hurt to fight. If that’s the case, this weekend’s bout is for the strap. Fun!
THE WRECKING CREW vs. THE Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN
Rage and Fury make up the Wrecking Crew, but while Fury is probably not known to you, he has a couple of very famous brothers in Animal, and John Laurenitis. Rage is just the latest incarnation of The Reverend Al Green, who has not begun his beastial transition from 70’s Soul Singer to Dog. Ventura sums up his predictions: “I’ll take the two ugly guys!” That’s not very kind to Tom Zenk. Rage tries a press slam, but Zenk escapes and hits a cross body for 2. Team Powder Blue clear the ring, and while the Crew reground, Z-Man hits a tope on both! Gunn comes in and is held hostage by Rage, but he sidesteps the attack and Fury nails his own partner. Fury regroups and blasts Gunn with a forearm, but Gunn hits a quick faceplant and tags out. Zenk takes a gutwrench powerbomb to set up a spinning sidewalk slam, and Z-Man is reeling. Rage comes in and ties up a bit with the referee giving Z-Man a chance to hit a crossbody, but Rage hangs on and just drops him down into a slam. A second rope axehandle is blocked with the superkick, and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn cleans house, but Rage hits a cheap shot to set up the Wrecking Ball and the pin at 6:08. I always like a couple of lumbering, clumsy heels, and these guys will be exactly what the doctor ordered on the J-shows. *
LARRY ZBYSZKO has tracked down BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN. Pillman promises that the champs are about to pay a hefty fine for carrying the gold, and guarantees a dynasty is about to kick off. I’m all in on the Hollywood Blondes era.
STING is welcomed to the arena by TONY SCHIAVONE to respond to Vader. He’s never walked away from an invitation in his life, and he certainly won’t walk away from the White Castle of Fear. DUSTIN RHODES and RON SIMMONS join Sting, and even though Van Hammer is too useless injured to join them tonight, they don’t feel any more short-handed than they did before he was hurt. Only Van Hammer could be double booked and STILL not let anyone down when he fails to appear.
Back in the locker room, LARRY ZBYSZKO is joined by VADERPAUL ORNDORFFBARRY WINDHAMHARLEY RACE, and the man who doesn’t need any partners to single-handedly win this match, THE BARBARIAN. Race doesn’t want to talk about the Thunder Cage because he’s so angry at Cactus Jack. Someday, he’s going to pay for “coming at me with a SCOOP … SHOVEL!” In fact, he doesn’t like anyone associated with Cactus Jack, and fires the Barbarian. The Barbarian lifts Race in a double armed chokehold because he’s the coolest man on the planet, but Vader cheap shots him from behind and Orndorff piledrives him. Race: “ONE MORE TIME!!!!” No one dares do it one more time, because there’s no reason to make the Barbarian any angrier than they already have. Just this stunt is going to cost everyone living in a small village their lives.
WCW airs a package on the history of Superbrawl because whatever The Barbarian is doing is definitely too graphic for your average viewer, and once they’ve managed to clean up the locker room, Larry’s retaken his post with RICKY STEAMBOAT and SHANE DOUGLAS. Steamboat promises that the dynasty is going to end before it begins. Douglas just wants to get to the ring and get it on. So does Chyna, quite frankly.
SHANE DOUGLAS and RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
We’re on a 30-minute time limit given the TV limitations, but that seems asinine since there’s like 30 minutes left in the show and we have a Thunder Cage to see, assuming anyone survived the wrath of The Barbarian. I’m kinda amped to see this incredible collection of talent, and Shane Douglas, in one ring at the same time. Steamboat tries to end things early with a crossbody, but that just draws everyone in for a massive brawl. The faces clear the ring, and Austin’s not impressed at all. Back in, Steve offers the hand of friendship, but Steamboat slaps it away. Disrespect Austin and pay, and he beats the shit out of Steamboat. Pillman comes in, but Steamboat has his way with him, hiptossing and dropkicking him at will. Douglas and Steamboat tag in and out quickly, hitting one move at a time to Pillman’s arm, wearing him down. Pillman twists his knee and it looks like we may be throwing in the towel on this one early. Douglas cautiously checks it out … and takes a headbutt to the gut while Pillman laughs like a hyena. Pillman goes for a rana, but Douglas turns it into a slam for 2. Austin comes in but Douglas wrestles him right down to the mat. Steamboat helps keep Austin in the corner with a hammerlock slam, and a sunset flip from Douglas gets 2. Austin comes back with a handful of tights for 2, and gets into a test of strength. Neither wins, but Douglas rushes to the corner and bounces back with a second rope rear elbow for 2. Steamboat slams Douglas on Austin for 2, and when Pillman rushes to save his buddy, Steamboat slams Brian on Austin as well! Things calm down a little, and Austin inches his way back to his corner. Pillman decks Steamboat allowing Austin to hit a backdrop suplex, and Pillman tags himself in. A cheap shot draws in Douglas, and while the referee restrains him, Steamboat is thrown over the top rope where Austin happily slams him on the concrete floor! Dirty and delicious. Steamboat fights his way back to the apron and nearly suplexes Pillman to the floor, but Austin kicks Steamboat in the small of the back, and Pillman reverses to bring Steamboat back in for 2. The boys beat Steamboat like a pinada, and the longer he takes to spew forth candy, the harder they hit. A faceplant from Pillman is held on, and Steamer’s face is ground into the mat. Steamboat gets a surprise sunset flip, but Austin was busy chatting to the referee to get a count. Austin tags in as Steamboat desperately tries to karate chop his way loose, and JUST as it looks like he’s going to get out, Austin hits the backdrop suplex for 2! The crowd collectively gasped when Ricky was denied the tag, great spot. Austin works a reverse backbreaker, and Pillman makes the blind tag to attack … but Steamboat ducks and Pillman nails Austin! A springboard double karate chop knocks down both challengers, and Steamboat makes it oh so close before Pillman stops him. Steamboat hits him with a spinning suplex, and both guys are down. Pillman desperately tries to stop the tag, but Ricky makes it this time as the arena explodes, and Douglas destroys both guys. Pillman takes a belly to belly, but the referee is trying to keep the desperate Steamboat in his corner … and Austin drops a knee off the top rope! Pillman is rolled on top, but Douglas kicks out and the place is rocking now! Austin and Steamboat trade punches on the outside while the referee desperately tries to maintain order, but JUST as the referee starts dragging Steamboat back to his corner, Austin grabs a belt and sneaks in to blast Douglas upside the head with the sharp side of the gold! The referee was still paying attention though, and immediately disqualifies both guys at 13:43! The fans are positively rabid now, THRILLED the miserable bastards got caught. They don’t care though, as Pillman hits a DDT on Steamboat, while Douglas spurts blood from his forehead. Next, the belts are used to whip Steamboat, but BRAD ARMSTRONG leads a BRIGADE OF LOSERS to the ring to save the day. Austin and Pillman take the gold and parade around the ring, holding the belts as high in the air as they can. This is everything I could ever hope for from my favorite scumbags. ****
VADER and HARLEY RACE head to the ring to talk with JESSE VENTURA. Race gloats that Vader’s the greatest champion in history, but that draws out an irate RON SIMMONS. Simmons says the first time Vader lets his guard down, he’ll put him on his back. Race tries a sucker punch, so Simmons kicks his ass and then goes for Vader. A spinebuster takes out the champion, and Simmons turns back to the ramp to slaughter Race. Vader rushes in to save his manager, and jumps on the back of Simmons which HAS to smart! He splashes Simmons on the concrete, and attacks the injured shoulder with a pair of shoulderbreakers. STING and DUSTIN RHODES rush in to save their friend, but they’re way late. Simmons is out of the main event.
BARRY WINDHAM, PAUL ORNDORFF, and VADER (with Harley Race) vs. STING and DUSTIN RHODES (in a Come Dressed as You Are, handicap Thunder Cage match)
As it turns out, street clothes for Vader are exactly the same thing he wears all the time. I admire his dedication to the look. So, to answer what exactly a Thunder Cage is, it’s essentially a Hell in a Cell, but constructed like an upside-down deep fryer basket. Rhodes goes after Windham as you’d expect, but a blind tag surprises Windham, and he eats a face plant from Sting. Vader wants a piece of Sting, and tags in to go right after him. Sting is immediately overpowered, and Vader flexes to remind him he’s the man. Sting throws some desperate punches, but Vader starts throwing his giant clubs. Sting battles back and Vader starts rocking, so he quickly hits an atomic drop, followed by a DDT. The Stinger Splash has Vader wobbly, and Sting doesn’t relent, hammering with everything he’s got! The fans are loving Sting’s fight, but you know it this isn’t it, because here comes the heels. Sting fights them off, but Vader is able to recover and he hits the bear clap. Off the top, a clothesline drops Sting. Ross: “That defies logic! A 400 pound man should not be able to come off the top rope like that!” So, he opts to defy logic again, but his splash misses and Sting clotheslines him to the floor! The fans are rockin’, and Sting howls to them … completely missing that Orndorff has rushes him from behind, and Sting’s dropped with a German suplex! Vader officially tags Orndorff in, and he stomps Sting into a puddle. An elbow to the little Stinger (which Jesse reminds us is a legal blow in this match) brings in Windham, and he’s ready to dish a little violence. A vertical suplex is followed by a cheap shot to Rhodes. Dustin rushes in, and gets avalanched by Vader in the corner. Good job Dustin! Vader tags in, and crushes Sting with the avalanche as well before hocking a loogie at Rhodes. My man! A press slam, complete with Vader tossing Sting in the air as he benches him, keeps Sting down, and Windham comes in to hit his Superplex. Sting fights off the Superplex, which would have undoubtedly ended this, and gets the hot tag to Rhodes. Dustin fights with all 3 guys who have come into the ring now, and manages to beat them down briefly. Windham eats a corner clothesline, as CACTUS JACK rushes in with a pair of bolt cutters! He hacks his way through the lock, and welcomes himself to the fray – officially declaring himself on the side of the faces! Windham tries to stop him as Orndorff works over Rhodes, but he rips off his boot and starts clobbering all 3 guys! Vader avalanches Rhodes again, while Orndorff tosses Jack through the ropes, where he flies into the side of the cage and splats on the floor full force, as always. Sting is dumped, leaving Rhodes one on one with Orndorff. However, Cactus wills himself back in, and he comes off the top with the boot to the back of Orndorff’s head and scores the pin at 11:25! Sadly, this was rushed because TV time was at a premium and WCW didn’t think to cut out some of the unnecessary fat. **1/2
JIM ROSS wants a word with Jack, and the audience is fully behind this. Jack says for the last 9 years he’s been called a psycho, and a warped loser. He’s got a neck that hurts him every morning when he wakes up thanks to Orndorff, and he’s probably in over his head. His ribs hurt because Vader splashed him, and he knows he’s in over his head. However … you can beat him, you can hurt him, but you can’t stop him. “SO PAUL ORNDORFF, BRING IT ON! BRING EVERY OUNCE OF ENERGY CUZ YOU’RE GONNA NEED IT!” The face turn is complete, and it looks like we have the first break-out main eventer of 1993.

I wasn’t expecting a ton out of this show given the clog of names like Van Hammer and Erik Watts being heavily advertised – but not only was the dead weight shoved aside for the most part, all of the young guys were given plenty of opportunity to shine, and shine they did. Austin is looking like a polished vet, Chris Benoit is a phenomenal new intense entry to the federation, and Mick Foley’s the second hottest commodity they’re riding (behind Sting). We’re off to an incredibly promising start to 1993, and it’s all up to WCW to take advantage.

WCW Main Event: January 10, 1993

The Clash of Champions is coming up Wednesday, but not before a major edition of The Main Event takes us home. And as you’ll find out, for roughly the first time ever, I’m actually not kidding. JIM ROSS and MICHAEL P.S. HAYES are LIVE (taped) in front of a green screen featuring a slow moving blurry audience that appears to be cheering and booing at random intervals at … Gary Michael Capetta?

BARRY WINDHAM vs. DUSTIN RHODES
This is actually a ridiculously big match for the Main Event – good on you WCW for paying attention to your H-shows. Windham thinks it’s amazing that Rhodes has even displayed the guts to show up tonight given his broken wrist. Rhodes charges the ring, and fists start flying like electronics on Black Friday. Rhodes throws his best clotheslines with his good arm, including one that sends Windham over the top rope. Hayes correctly points out that’s a DQ, but Ross defends it as … it’s the referee’s discretion? What the hell is that nonsense? Pee Wee Anderson should have been fired years before his public humiliation in 1997, he’s making awful judgment calls. Back in, Rhodes hits another clothesline, but Barry immediately plants him with a jumping DDT. With momentum now in his corner, Windham starts attacking the raw wrist of Rhodes. DOUG DILLENGER stalks around the ringside area in a 3 piece suit for god knows what reason, while Windham delivers a half nelson slam on the wrist. A second jumping DDT is blocked with a backdrop, but before Rhodes can do anything, Windham claws at the eyes. Rhodes fires back, and both guys start getting ridiculously violent. The referee tries to break it up to have a clean fight, but they both shove him aside and it’s a double DQ at 4:27. Barry kills Rhodes with a jumping DDT after the bell, and informs Anderson he doesn’t really care that it’s “over”. As a result, the entire brigade of striped shirts is forced to intervene on Dustin’s behalf and save the day. **
MICHAEL HAYES hits the ring to chat with HARLEY RACE. Hayes talks up the Thundercage as the most dangerous structure ever constructed, and asks Race who the heck is going to replace Rude? Race says he’s scoured the earth for the nastiest people on the planet, and he’s decided that … Cactus Jack and Paul Orndorff are going to wrestle to determine the vacancy. I mean, I can’t hate the Jack involvement, but Race really had to scour the earth for that? He didn’t come up with anyone better while he was going the streets of Djibouti? There was nobody meaner in Qatar? I’m thinking Race didn’t put a lot of effort into his world travels.
BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN vs. LARRY SANTO and T.C. CARTER
T.C. Carter is a long time WCW jobber – which is unfortunate since he’s just defined half of the entire WWF Attitude Era. On one side, we have Steve Austin, and on the other, an 80’s pimp. He looks a little meaner than the Godfather, so I’m thinking you probably don’t want to get caught up in an argument with one of his ladies over whether or not she didn’t state up front that fetish of yours comes at an extra cost. Carter beats down Austin, so he backs up to the corner, and as soon as he does, Austin comes out with some killer intensity, just pounding the ever loving shit out of Carter. Now THAT was the rattlesnake in Steve all the way, turn your head for a second, and he’s gonna get you. Carter gets picked up for the Stun Gun, and just for kicks, Pillman dropkicks him into the move to accentuate the punch, and picks up the easy win at 2:49. Even in a squash, Austin’s scary good at this point, and I’d dare say potentially even more polished as a ring performer than he’d be by the time he got around to the main events. *
MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. Memphis Heat asks: Does that mean she had done everyone in the locker room already and the mail was the only left she could do?
Memphis, that’s silly. The sheer notion that Erik Watts has been inside a woman since his mother was carrying him is absurd. Anyway, in this segment, Missy plugs the Hotline by promising to tell us the REAL reason Ron Simmons lost the World Title to Vader. Given how uncomfortable he looked, I’m going to say a bad case of hemorrhoids had flared up – and the sheer distraction of a throbbing sphincter was simply too much to handle against a quality opponent like Vader. Now, given that Missy fails to actually answer any mail, let’s turn things over to Devin Harris, who has a quality suggestion regarding Ron Simmons moving forward. Why didn’t they just have Ron Simmons die in a car wreck? That would have been the perfect ending to completely killing off his character.
Oh, we’ve still got a long way to go before we reach that point. An entirely different company hasn’t had the chance to put him in a blue gladiator helmet while having him play an angry Black Panther. Or, live out his days as a walking caricature, known to anyone born after 1990 as “the guy who says Damn”. His assassination is FAR from over.
CACTUS JACK vs. PAUL ORNDORFF (in an Anything Goes Street Fight)
HARLEY RACE hangs around ringside for what is a shockingly stacked show. Orndorff attacks ringside, slamming Cactus’ head into the guard rail, hard enough to get a loud uncomfortable clang from the impact. Wonderful pulls Cactus’ flannel around his neck to choke him out, before throwing some punches the hard way right to the eye. Jeeeeeez! Next up in the car crash, Foley gets thrown into the ringsteps, which he hits full tilt with his hip before careening over, and then Orndorff slams him face first into the steps … which of course Cactus takes as hard as possible. Into the ring, Orndorff stands on Jack’s throat with his workman’s boot, but it does little to keep the wild man down, because he’s back up and pissed off. Orndorff’s shirt is ripped right down the back, and Jack starts clawing and scratching at the bare skin. The shirt is then used as a noose, and while Orndorff lies neck first across the second rope, Mick rushes with a hard knee to the back. Since there’s no DQs, Paul is tossed over the top rope where he falls skin first on the concrete. He gets back to his feet and tries to pull Jack to the floor, but Cactus kicks him in the face and slams Orndorff in the stairs. A running elbow onto the floor MISSES, and Jack is forced to absorb that. Orndorff steals a can of beer from someone in the front row and slams Jack in the face with it. As he staggers around, Orndorff uses a running elbow that sends Jack head first into the ring post, which is again taken hard and without protection. Cactus is feeling no pain though, and he throws Orndorff into the steps, and calls for the finish. The Cactus Clothesline is set up … but Orndorff ducks, and Foley flies ridiculously fast over the top and to the floor. He crawls back to the apron, but Orndorff kicks him in the kidney until he belly flops back to the floor. So much of this is completely unnecessary, but that’s a young Mick Foley in a nutshell – both why I love him, and am sometimes uncomfortable watching him. Orndorff removes his belt for a whoppin’ as Race rolls Cactus back towards the ring, but Jack rakes Paul’s eyes … then dives off the apron delivering a clothesline to Race for being an interfering prick! The fans eat that up, but that was a bad idea, because VADER won’t take that lightly. He comes in, and starts delivering some meaty hooks to Jack’s face, and that’s enough to let Orndorff follow with the spike piledriver. You can scrape him off the mat, he’s dead, but they’re not done. Race drops a knee across Cactus’ face, and because he’s sprawled out on his back, Orndorff uses that as an invitation to choke the life out of him with his belt. Vader, even more happily, delivers the big splash to his prone enemy, and then for fun he does it again from the second rope. Orndorff is declared the winner by Race at 9:16, and despite the lack of finish, this was an excellent old school hardcore brawl. Even better, it sets the stage for Cactus to be an early challenger to Vader’s belt – and you KNOW those guys are gonna deliver some ridiculously hard-hitting stuff. ***
MICHAEL HAYES heads down to the ring to talk to the trio of heels. Harley’s thrilled that Orndorff’s included in the Thundercage, and begs Sting’s team just to show up. Lost in all this, CACTUS JACK has returned with a shovel in hand, and he attacks Vader from behind while Orndorff’s giving himself a pep talk for Wednesday. Race takes a shot between the eyes, and Wonderful is clocked in the head. Jack completely clears the ring to a massive pop, and the rest of the heels on site rush in. VINNIE VEGAS is smashed in the face! TEX SLAZINGER eats a beating! SHANGHAI PIERCE takes a mouthful of shovel! Even a crew of jobbers try their hand, and are completely decimated! It looks like a warzone, with bodies strewn all around the ringside area, and Jack standing tall. Great segment.
After a break, Hayes, who managed to go without getting clocked, wants a word with the wild man. Foley’s face has had time to swell up from the street fight, and his eyes are purpled and swollen. He says that Vader and Race made a big mistake … they let him live. For all the World Title and knowledge Race has got, he’s missing one thing … eyes in the back of his head. He reminds them that while the Thundercage was created to keep men from getting out, it was never created to keep Cactus Jack from getting in. BANG BANG!
Jim Ross sums up the lunacy brilliantly:
After composing himself, Ross remembers that he needs to tell us that Erik Watts was arrested in Charlotte for some reason. Wait, what?!? We’re just hearing about this now? How the hell can that be? We’re like 8 seconds from going off the air and we’re just throwing that out there? I’m not okay with this. What did he do? Solicitation? Narcotics? J-Walking? Disturbing the Peace? Public Intoxication? Stalking? Double Homicide? This is some seriously shoddy reporting on the part of WCW, and it might be the worst cliff hanger in TV history.

Who am I kidding, they got me, hook line and sinker. AWESOME edition of Main Event this week, a billion thumbs up.

WCW Saturday Night: January 9, 1993

I wasn’t the only person completely baffled about a 6-man tag-team match being included on WCW’s VHS release where nobody seemed to know the wrestlers. In fact, WCW themselves never expected it. HOWwrestlingThe truth behind that six-man – It was supposed to be the Steiners vs. the Hellraisers (Hawk & Sasaki) but the WWF signed the Steiners and blocked WCW from showing it, even though WCW argued it was a New Japan show which they had rights to and the WWF didn’t. Then the WWF also signed Jim Ross, who was subsequently no longer available to go back and dub commentary on the new match.
Great insight here, but I’m still not willing to accept that Schiavone and Ross DIDN’T go to a sushi bar together. You aren’t taking that away from me.

We’re gonna skip the Power Hour this week, because … well, virtually nothing of note took place. I did a recap that ate up just over 1 page of written word, and I’m not gonna bother with it. However, I’ll give you the highlights. 28 seconds was dedicated to Teddy Long taking us through Jim Ross’ second career as the host of the Atlanta Falcons pre-game show. And … well, this gem:
MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. The first question asks what the chances of Austin and Pillman taking the straps from Steamboat and Douglas. Hyatt looks at this mathematically. Steamboat loses 11 points for being married, and 7 more for having kids – since he won’t be able to train picking up after his brat while his wife is out shopping. Douglas gets 6 points for being single, but loses 10 for his god awful hair. The challengers are in far better shape, because Austin gets 3 points for those gorgeous blue eyes you could just drown in, 6 more for those round and well defined shoulders, 3 for the perfect pecks, and 10 for his hair. Given that his trademark became no hair at all – he should take a great deal of pride in knowing he was rockin’ it both ways. Pillman gets 8 points for his smile, 5 for his waist, and 11 points for not having an ounce of fat. “Brian Pillman can take MY belt anytime he wants to.” Missy’s whoring it up act is always fun. Missy actually whoring it up … not so much.
And with that, we’re off to the races.
JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to Center Stage, in Atlanta! Tonight is all about the build to the Clash of Champions coming up later this week. I’m down.
MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL vs. BOB COOK
Ross gives mad props to Bagwell for winning WCW Magazine Rookie of the Year. This would of course pale in contrast to his sweeping of the 2001 RSPW awards, which included Worst Wrestler, Worst Worker, Least Favorite Wrestler, and Worst Match. You’re probably not particular impressed; but you need to understand that he ended a decade long by Hulk Hogan in the majority of those categories, no small feat! The announcers fail to pay any attention to Bob Cook, which I consider a hate crime. Here we have short, portly man, who is not letting his lack of facial follicles stop him from attempting a sad little mustache, while rocking a mullet straight out of the trailer park – and while most people meeting his description are found sourcing scrap metal from whatever rolled into their backyard that morning, Bob has decided to make something of himself. He even shows a little savvy, dodging a dropkick and punching Bagwell in the face repeatedly with his giant hams. While working a chinlock, I note that poor Bob is going bald. This man has NOTHING – would YOU mess with him?!? Marcus Bagwell is not particularly charitable, and leaves Bob with none of his dignity when he uses a Perfectplex for the pin at 5:40. This hurts my heart. *
Ross and Zbyszko promise to show us the Vader / Simmons title change, and … well, I guess they didn’t lie. I thought we might get to see the whole match, but no, they show us the end of the match where the title changed. Spoiler: Vader wins.
VADER and HARLEY RACE are god knows where. Harley gloats about being at the top of the mountain; but they’re standing in front of a blue curtain, nowhere near the white castle. Vader adds: “I AM VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADER!” I imagine he is!
VAN HAMMER vs. RANDY SLEDGE
Randy Sledge! Where have you been all my life? So what he lacks in shape, he makes up for in hair. He’s managed to groom a perfect mushroom cut, and then, if he wasn’t already the hippest cat in the room, he added a rat tail! This looks to be some sort of metaphoric battle between good and evil, as Van Hammer’s styling a pair of shiny silver pants, lined with stars all over the place, Sledge is wearing the black singlet, with a star on his crotch, another on his ass, and two on each boot. And, as Hollywood is apt to script, the alleged good side triumphs with a slingshot suplex at 2:14. Why can’t the coyote win, just this once? DUD
TONY SCHIAVONE stops Hammer on his back to the shower. Tony’s hopped up on some sort of early 90’s energy drink, because there is nobody more excited to see Tony Atlas and Van Hammer settle the Strongest Arm competition once and for all. Van Hammer says he’s already climbed the mountain, but he’s bringing a lot of bass and treble to the fight. Oh.
Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN vs. MIKE THOR and CHICK DONOVAN
O…M…G. Chick Donovan? In 1993? This is the greatest gift in the history of amazing gifts. He’s the spitting image of Randy the Ram here, while tied up in a Chippendales vest and bowtie. I had no idea the old CWA mainstay was still working – but a quick Internet search tells me that not only was here working here, well into his 40’s, but he’s still working TODAY, well into his 60’s. That’s it, I’m moving to the South. One of you readers must have some sort of job offer that’s going to get me a work visa so I can live in your beautiful country and follow the exploits of Chick Donovan. Donovan actually beats Zenk in a test of strength, which is probably the most effective anti-depressant I’ve ever taken. I’m going to replace my Wellbutrin with Chick Donovan owning the Z-Man. A bearhug from Grandpa Love Machine has Zenk wailing, and Thor comes in to try and put this one away. Unfortunately, I know a weak link when I see one, and Thor gets kicked in the face and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn nails the flying jalapeno on Thor, Zenk hits a superkick, and Gunn finishes with a dick to the face at 6:50. **
TEDDY LONG and CACTUS JACK share a moment. Foley can’t wait until the Barbarian steps into the Thundercage at the Clash, because there’s going to be buckets of blood. I agree with EVERY word Cactus just said, but I think we’re imagining different things. He talks smack about ERIK WATTS, who immediately gets in Mick’s face. He throws Cactus through the prop lockers, and locks on the STF. None of this is going to help me sleep tonight.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. MUSTAFA SAIED
We saw Saied last week, and much as I want to throw him a little support, I can’t. His hair is perfectly normal, and his tights look like fluorescent Granny Panties. You can’t unsee that. Scorpio hits a superkick, and sends Saied to the floor with a dropkick. Of course, high flying in 1993 means “jumping off the apron gently”, and Saied sells it like he’s been shot. Back in, the 450 finishes quickly at 2:27. JR’s imagination has been captured – but really, outside of the 450, he’s not really flashy and his good matches were few and far between. 1/2*
TONY SCHIAVONE, wearing a plaid shirt and a red tie, wants to talk about BARRY WINDHAM’s bad blood with Dustin Rhodes. Windham points out that Dustin’s interfered in several of his matches, while he’s never done that to Dustin. He goes back to a match on Worldwide last week, which is conspicuously missing from my library. I’ll have to open a ticket with CFB Network tech support. Windham took Shane Douglas to the floor during the tag-team affair, and DDTed him on the concrete. Rhodes had an issue with that and ran down. Tony thinks he was just trying to help his friend. Windham: “Hey, when I want to know how my friends are doing, I call them on the phone, I don’t go sticking my nose in other people’s business.” Rhodes took a tag from Steamboat which the referee tried to stop, and Windham tried to help by kidney punching Dustin. Still, he got in and the referee let the match continue. Windham: “What match? I didn’t want him in the ring! I was trying to keep him out of the ring!” Barry’s particularly pissed because Dustin then walloped him with a cast across the face and the referee counted the pinfall. Windham issues a warning to Rhodes, which is the next time he steps in the ring with him, he’s going to relish the pain he’s going to put him through.
TEX SLAZENGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE and VINNIE VEGAS (in the Battle of the Bullies)
A Godwinn under any other name is still a Godwinn, and no matter how you dress up Tex and Shanghai, they’re still gonna suck. In the case of Tex, this also applies when he’s undressed. DDP is still 4 years away from being any good, and you probably know Vegas better as Master Blaster Steel. Page cheats like crazy on the masked man, softening him up for Vinnie. Tex fights loose and tags in Pierce. Vegas hits a gutwrench slam, and Page hits a face plant, using Pierce’s hair liberally. Pierce throws a clothesline to get back to his corner, and Tex hits a stomp off the second rope. Pierce works a step over toe hold, and Tex pulls his arm for added leverage. I admire the fan in the front row holding up a 4 foot poster that reads “TEX” in bold red font. That’s someone who knows what he likes, isn’t afraid to express it, and I respect that. Page gets worked over for 3 or 4 hours, before making the hot tag to Vegas. He’s shut down immediately with a rake to the eyes, and is forced to tag Page back in. That … doesn’t seem very wise. Still, Page hits a neckbreaker, and uses a Pedigree on Pierce for 2! Vegas fights Tex on the floor, and the referee is too busy watching them to notice that Pierce has hung Page over the top rope with a bullrope! Vegas rushes over with a wooden chair and smashes it over Pierce’s head, and the referee throws a double DQ their way at 8:50. How the heck are we supposed to settle the battle of the bullies now? You can’t just give a match that kind of a title and leave it without a conclusion. I expect the WCW booking committee to start drawing up ideas STAT.
Next up, this is happening:
Honest to god, does TONY SCHIAVONE’s mother dress him? They’re talking football for some reason. VADER is a former All-American, getting drafted in the first round by the LA Rams and winning a Superbowl Ring. Knowing goddamn well the Rams never won a Superbowl, I decided to Google this mess, and found that Vader was actually drafted in the 3rd round. I realize that heels are meant to be liars and all, but isn’t it Schiavone’s job to call him out? Instead, he’s eating this up – and then asks if he’s going to give a title shot to Sting? He says he’s ready to accommodate Sting anytime, any place, as long as he gets a rematch for the King of Cable. Ummm, ooooo kay? He defends his loss to Simmons in the summer, because he spent all his time training for Sting, and he was dealt Ron instead. As soon as he got his rematch, he was ready, and won, exactly as he expected to. If he wants a rematch, he can bring it. He fears no man, and fears no pain. His plan? To be the longest reigning WCW champion in history.
Looking at that last segment – this is EXACTLY what the WWE is lacking in every one of their heels except for Lesnar (which is why he looks so much better than the rest of the roster). Vader isn’t a chickenshit, which is pretty much the only heel they know how to write for any more. He talks shit, and is prepared to back it up with his actions. He is the real life version of basically every video game Final Boss that had ever been created to that point, and this is why Vader was so damn effective in his role. You knew he was going to maim pretty much anyone he’d face, and if his opponent had even a sliver of hope, you could immediately rally behind that person because it’s so glorious to watch the evil topple.
TONY ATLAS (with Cactus Jack) vs. DUSTIN RHODES (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)
We’re clearly headed right into Rhodes against Windham, so hopefully they make this one quick. Rhodes comes out firing, with dropkicks a plenty. Every time Atlas tries to get up, Rhodes hits him again or sweeps out the legs to keep him down. Atlas finally gets up in the corner, so that Rhodes can’t take him down. He goes to work on the broken wrist, slamming Dustin on it with a hammerlock. Ross reports that Rick Rude isn’t going to be able to compete at the upcoming Thundercage event – so they’ll update us on the new game plan before the end of the show. Rhodes takes back over with a clothesline and finishes with a bulldog at 4:12. *
BARRY WINDHAM vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)
Steamboat, carrying both tag-team titles, makes a bee-line straight for the ring, and he’s a ball of energy tonight. You can feel how much these two hate each other – as they just throw a maelstrom of fists at each other in the opening moments. Windham bails, but Steamer’s right behind, chasing him until he’s able to catch and chop the hell out of Windham’s chest. Back in, Windham hides in the corner long enough for Steamboat to back off when asked; and that gives Barry the chance to attack at the leg. Steamboat goes for a slam, but Barry’s too heavy and he falls on top for 2. Steamboat throws a desperation karate chop at Windham’s head, but that’s all he’s getting before Barry turns the tide with a hard clothesline. With Ricky down, Windham stomps on Steamboat’s wrist, playing into the Dustin Rhodes injury. Barry works a hammerlock on the mat, driving his kneecap into the wrist over and over while the kids scream in horror. Steamboat elbows loose, but Windham’s not ready to give up yet – dropping down to the floor to snap Ricky’s arm over the top rope. Steamboat crawls to the apron, but Windham wants him in the ring, and attempts to drag him back in. Steamboat surprises him with a sunset flip over the top, and the big guy topples backwards for 2. Windham gets up, walking right into a jawbreaker from the former world champ, and Steamboat starts beating on Barry’s shoulder. Steamboat continues to sell his own wrist as he attempts to hold Windham in place, and when it looks like Barry’s making his way loose, Steamboat turns to his legs to hold the hammerlock. Steamboat wiggles around until he’s able to work a full half nelson on the mat, and Barry’s fading fast. Steamboat goes for the knockout blow, but he misses the karate chop, and in the process really hurts his wrist now. Windham, arm dangling to the side, uses his good arm to slam Steamboat’s face into the canvas. A vertical suplex gets 2, but Windham goes to the well a second time and Ricky reverses it mid-move for 2. Steamboat gets a head of steam to prep a clothesline, but Windham tries to sidestep and both guys collide head first into each other, Barry hitting so hard he collapses to the floor. Windham just makes it back to the apron at 9, and Steamboat’s ready with a suplex to bring him back in – except his wrist is mush, and he can’t hold it, letting Windham fall on top for 2. Windham uses a gutwrench slam, but he can’t get the pin, and he’s frustrated now. Going up turns out to be a huge mistake for the big man, and Steamboat catches him for a slam. Ricky decides to use the top rope, trying his karate chop – but Windham sidesteps and delivers a kidney punch on the way by. A jumping DDT makes the audience groan, and Windham locks on the Figure Four. Barry uses the ropes liberally, but Steamboat won’t tap out. After a long struggle, Steamboat reverses the hold, but Windham’s out quickly. Both guys are staggering, throwing haymakers. Windham whips Steamboat across the ring, but he can’t make it before his legs fall out from underneath. Back in, Windham puts on a headlock, but Steamboat turns that into a single leg atomic drop to set up the Figure Four! Windham howls, desperately clawing for the safety of the ropes, but he can’t make it. As a last hope, Barry pounds at the weak legs of Steamboat, and he’s forced to break the hold. A vertical suplex doesn’t finish Ricky off, and Steamboat faceplants Windham. He starts with the karate chops, and hits a swinging neckbreaker! Off the top, a karate chop gets 2. Steamboat picks up Windham for a slam, but his legs swing wildly and clocks Nick Patrick in the face, sending the referee sprawling to the floor in pain. Steamboat hits a top rope crossbody for a count of 6, but the referee is dead and it doesn’t count. Windham illegally tosses Steamboat over the top to the concrete, but he does it just as Patrick is stirring, and he calls for an immediate DQ at 17:37. ***1/2
Windham isn’t done, slamming Steamboat on the floor and preps the jumping DDT. SHANE DOUGLAS rushes in to save his partner, beating the piss out of Windham … and you know that means BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN aren’t far behind. DUSTIN RHODES takes it to Windham on the floor, while Austin and Pillman double team Douglas in the middle of the ring. Steamboat hits the ring to protect his partner, and the newest heel unit bails for now. Steamboat’s announced as the winner in a bit of a shock – it seemed readily apparent we were gonna get Rhodes/Windham, but that’ll have to wait now.

Fun edition of Saturday Night, and it effectively sets up Wednesdays Clash. The mid-card is positively stacked these days, with Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, and Steve Austin as the clear breakout stars heading into 1993 – and the timing is ripe to see who of this crew is going to develop. The main event scene is absolutely decimated, with little of substance beyond Vader and Sting, so the time is now for any one of these guys to explode as the next big thing.

WCW/New Japan Supershow III: January 4, 1993

Back in the early 90’s, WCW was gaining steam nationally – but still maintained some of its regional roots. In an effort to ensure fresh faces coming in and out of the company, they formed a partnership with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This partnership would see the exchange of talents; most notably regular North American circuit tours for Jushin Liger, but it was also a fertile breeding ground for some of the North American guys to grow and come back as more complete athletes. Of course, being WCW, all that did was earn them a ton of TV time with absolutely no marketable push, but at least they killed time until Hulk Hogan was ready to reap the ratings glory in the main event slot.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because this is still 1993, and Hulk Hogan is thankfully elsewhere. Every year, WCW would travel to Japan to put on a supercard with New Japan’s elite, which would air on pay-per-view. This is the third and final installment of the Supershow series, and I’m working off the Turner release. I’d love to see the complete show – but the WWE Network lies when it says it has every pay-per-view of all time, cuz this ain’t there. Of course, there are bigger fish to fry – like the complete library of WCW Prime, so I’ll pick my battles wisely.

ERIC BISCHOFF welcomes us to the gigantic Tokyo Dome, with over 63000 people in attendance. He hands things over to the dream team of TONY SCHIAVONE and JIM ROSS. JR in the role of Tony’s lapdog has me downright giddy; and it’s incredible the mean-spirited Vince McMahon never thought to bring this concept back at some point in the last 15 years.
JUSHIN LIGER vs. ULTIMO DRAGON (for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title)
 Dragon has stolen Ricky Steamboat’s neglected WWF head-dress, and parades around like a jackass to … well, the Japanese don’t really boo, so much as cheer with less enthusiasm. Liger, on the other hand, is somehow channelling the future by slapping WCW’s late 90’s logo on his chest.
Or possibly Japanese Batman
Both guys trade throws and dropkicks before stopping mid strike like a Zack Morris time-out to soak in the adulation of the appreciative crowd. Dragon tries to take out Liger’s leg with a grapevine, so Liger uses his free leg to start kicking Dragon in the face. Liger’s able to reverse into a deathlock, and he applies a front facelock to really add to the pull. I’d be tapping harder than a male pornstar, but Dragon’s not human, getting out of that somehow. Liger tries the Lasso from El Paso, but Dragon sweeps out the legs and snaps some hard spinning toe holds that make Terry Funk look like Annie Funk. A drop toe hold sees Dragon hold the base, and he works a reverse grapevine chinlock before rolling through with a bow and arrow. Liger won’t uncle, and he takes advantage of a Dragon letting up for just a second, applying the Gory Guerrero special in the centre of the ring. It’s enough to wear him down a little, and Liger releases, hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Dragon gets whipped into the corner, and takes a spinning heel kick to the side of the head. They criss-cross, and Liger dodges a rana, but he takes the edge of Dragon’s boot on his way down, knocking him a bit silly. Dragon kicks the shit out of him while he’s down, and hits a front suplex to really scramble his circuits. And, as a reminder that anything you can do, Dragon can do better, he alters the Gory special to include a Dragon sleeper. Liger’s about to tap, but Dragon senses they’re too close to the ropes, so he drags Liger to the middle of the ring and locks on the camel clutch. Liger still won’t tap, so Dragon heads up, but he slips and is only able to hit a boot to the side of the head instead of the full impact dropkick he was planning. Liger’s slow to his feet, and he has no chance to defend himself from a handspring back elbow. Liger hits the floor – and Dragon’s not gonna let him get a second of rest, flying with a super plancha that drives them over the guardrail and into the front row!! Dragon gets back in and waits for the count, but Liger makes it back to the apron. No worries, because Dragon brings him back to action with a brainbuster, and goes to finish with a tombstone. Liger reverses, but Dragon’s able to release that, and plants him with the move! Dragon goes up instead of going for the pin, but he slips a second time, changing on his way down with a sad looking headbutt, and he only gets 2. Liger’s able to shake it off, and he runs into Dragon … who’s waiting for him with the Capture Suplex, for a super close pinfall. Dragon rushes the corner, but Liger’s hot on his heels with a monkey flip into a pinfall for 2. Dragon uses the elementary but effective package to get 2, and more importantly, re-assert his control. And, he follows with the rarely seen Straight Jacket Suplex, but Liger’s able to make the ropes and Dragon looks like a man who has no idea what to do anymore. Giving Liger even a second is never wise, and the hesitation lets Liger hit a spinning heel kick that sends Dragon to the floor. Before he even knows what happened, Liger’s picked up him, and powerbombs him on the outside!!! Dragon’s dead, and he just lies there as Liger hits a super senton to the floor. Liger stands mid-ring, waiting for the count, but Dragon scrapes himself off the concrete and heads back in. A vicious Liger immediately suplexes him, and arrogantly covers with one hand for 2. Dragon’s pulled to his feet, simply to eat a palm thrust to the jaw that you can hear all the way in the cheap seats. A half crab is applied in the middle, but Dragon claws to the ropes, still seemingly completely out of it from that nasty powerbomb. Liger realizes this, and powerbombs the man again. While Dragon tries to get to his feet, Liger perches himself waiting to strike … but it’s a ploy, and as Liger comes off the top, Dragon blasts him with a clothesline just as Liger’s trying the same. Liger rolls to the safety of the floor, but Dragon’s still got life, hitting a springboard senton splash that drives them both into the guardrail. Both guys slowly roll their way back into before the count, and it’s Dragon who leaps to attempt a victory roll. Liger ain’t having that, and just faceplants the bugger as hard as he can. Liger goes for a third powerbomb now, because he’s had enough of this, but Dragon rolls through the move (nearly breaking his neck in the process), and he hooks the legs for 2. A lionsault sets up a powerbomb from Dragon, but Liger kicks out to the shock of Dragon. La Majistral gets 2, and the fans are absolutely electric watching this display. Dragon goes up, but Liger cuts him off, and hits a DDT off the top rope!!! The referee takes forever to make the count, and Dragon kicks out at 2. Back to the powerbomb, and it connects for a third time today. Liger puts Dragon’s corpse on the top rope, hits a super Frankensteiner, and that’s enough for the pin and the title at 20:10! Through the masks, you could feel the intensity and absolute necessity to win here. Great storytelling from both, and it never felt like it was a bunch of moves slapped together for the hell of it. The modern flyers should take note of what made this work; with each move setting up the next, and the guys changing the pace based on the mistakes of the other guy, giving them each ample time to work their spots. ****
RON SIMMONS vs. TONY HALME
This is Simmons’ first match after losing the strap to Vader last week, and the future Ludwig Borga is an excellent place to start the climb back up. Apparently this was initially scheduled to be a match for the belt, so Halme might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder just missing out on his big shot. Simmons tries shoulderblocks, but Halme doesn’t even budge. He’s not so tough he can avoid a drop toe hold though, and Simmons follows with a clothesline. A faceplant sets up a spike piledriver, and Simmons gets 2. Simmons tries a hiptoss, but Halme won’t move, and now angry Tony starts with his kidney punches. Simmons is reeling as Halme hits a jumping elbow, but he kicks out at 2. A hard sidewalk slam gets 2. Halme steals the spinebuster from Simmons, but can’t score the pin. Simmons staggers to his feet, and one punch from Halme sends big Ron to the floor. Halme brings Simmons back in with a suplex, and he starts beating on the kidneys again. Simmons manages a desperation powerslam, which Tony notes was the move that won him the world title last year, but Halme doesn’t fall as hard as Vader, and kicks out. Simmons hits a pretty bad spinebuster, and it’s enough to pick up the win at 6:02. Simmons looked awful here, sloppy and just off his game. *
DUSTIN RHODES and SCOTT NORTON vs. MASA SAITO and SHINYA HASHIMOTO
Norton’s a New Japan mainstay; and even after he’d sign with WCW years later, he’d keep travelling Japan as a bonefide draw – a deal he likely worked out to supplement his income. In fact, he’d win the IWGP heavyweight belt a couple of times years later, making you wonder just what the hell goes on overseas where Scott Norton and Albert are a big deal. Saito’s roughly 185 years old here, so I’m actually a little surprised he wasn’t picked up by the WWF in early 1997 to give them some Japanese credibility. Norton pounds his chest and grunts like a gorilla, so Hashimoto kicks him in the throat. Norton laughs at him and hits a clothesline. Norton starts using the vaunted move, Run Hard Into Your Opponent, and Hashimoto bounces around like the world’s fattest pinball. Norton covers with one hand, and when that doesn’t work, he looks to Rhodes. Hashimoto thrusts Dustin in the throat, and turns things over to Saito, who takes 8 minutes to get off his walker and drag his IV into the ring. Rhodes suplexes Saito, but he manages to miss a charge when Saito simply never stands up because he’s calling for the sweet taste of death to take him now. Rhodes charges back in and chops Saito, who immediately dissipates into a pile of dust. Norton takes over against the ghost of Saito, clotheslining the corpse and chopping away at whatever the hell is left. Norton trips over the dead body which Ross calls the “Saito Suplex!”, and then Dustin stumbles into the same thing. Hashimoto tags himself back in, bringing a little excitement back, since both wrestlers are now protein based lifeforms. Norton comes in and superplexes Hashimoto somehow, before deciding to stand on Shinya’s throat. A Rude Awakening sees Hashimoto fall backwards and show off his gaping plumber’s ass. Dude, no, lift them pants. Rhodes tags in and hits a big boot for 2. Hashimoto is tossed to the floor, where both Americans work him over, while Saito rocks back and forth like a later-in-life Freddie Blassie. Back in, a powerslam from Norton gets 2. A powerbomb looks to finish, but Saito spiritually runs in to make the save. Hashimoto hits a desperation DDT and makes the hot tag. Norton walks into the light, and is immediately greeted with the Saito Suplex. Norton calls for the Grim Reaper to end this charade, while Dustin eats a Saito Suplex. He’s like that guy online who keeps using the same move against new players who have no idea how to defend it, and honestly, I’m surprised I’m not seeing all kinds of slurs being printed on the screen every time Saito hits that thing. Hashimoto hits a spinning heel kick on Rhodes. A DDT looks to finish, but Norton makes the desperation save. He takes his eyes off the ball on his way back out, missing that Dustin’s taken an enzuigiri and Team Divine Intervention win this round at 13:57. This had no business being anywhere near this long. 1/2*
MASAHIRO CHONO vs. THE GREAT MUTA (for the NWA world heavyweight title)
Ric Flair was stripped of the NWA strap when he bolted to the WWF in the spring of 1991, and Chono won the subsequent tournament to crown a new champion, defeating Rick Rude in the finals of the G1-Climax (which sounds less like a tournament, and more like a high powered vibrator). Muta had actually wrestled in that same tournament, losing a semi-finals match to Chono by submission. Chono’s got a fantastic Evil Sensei mustache on the go here. The collective gasp from the audience when Muta sprays the green mist during the intros really adds a big match feel here. The guys go through a feeling out process, before Muta hits the outside and openly grabs a hammer from underneath the ring. The referee is fairly appalled at his brazen attitude, and takes it away immediately – though that was seemingly Muta’s plan. Back in, Muta works an armbar, but Chono methodically works his way loose and pulls at Muta’s knee joint. Muta gets loose, but Chono takes him back down and works a seated Sharpshooter. Muta gets to the ropes before it’s converted into an STF. Chono keeps on him, but Muta dumps his opponent on the floor, sending him into the guardrail. The referee gives Muta a stern warning, but Muta isn’t even listening, as he slams Chono back into the ring and delivers a karate chop off the top rope. Muta tosses Chono again, this time on to the staging area, where he is right behind with a running bulldog face first on the ramp! Chono heads up the ramp about a half football field, before spinning and hitting a sprinting clothesline on the champ! The fans groan in agony as Chono sells. Back in, Muta takes Chono to the top rope and connects with a superplex. A hard side suplex gets 2, but Muta expected that, immediately hitting a German suplex for 2. A handspring back elbow connects square in the face, but the moonsault misses and Chono’s ALL over him with the STF, dead centre! Muta somehow crawls to the safety of the ropes, but he lets out a primal scream to let us know his knee was shredded there. Or – so he’d have us believe, because as Chono stalks his prey, he’s greeted with a dropkick to the chops. Atta boy Muta! Chono angrily applies a crucifix for 2, and heads up. A top rope shoulderblock connects, but Muta kicks out. A powerbomb folds the challenger in half, but Muta kicks out at 2. Chono holds his head, frustrated, and he misses Muta coming at him with a kick to the face, but the rapid moonsault misses a second time – and this time it’s costly, with Muta taking a knee to the face. Chono comes off the top … but Muta was waiting for it, dodging the shoulderblock with a faceplant on the way by, and Chono’s hurt. A backbreaker gives Muta time to hit the moonsault on his third try, but Chono somehow kicks out. Muta’s livid, since NOBODY kicks out of his moonsault, and he scampers up to the top to hit a second one for the pin and the NWA title at 13:12! This was great – both guys fought a hard, smart match, and Muta simply wanted it more tonight. ****
TAKAYUKI IIZUKA, AKIRA NOGAMI, and EL SAMURAI vs. NOBUKAZU HIRAI, MASO ORIHARA, and KOKI KITAHARA
Ross and Schiavone abort mission at this point, leaving their post to go to a sushi bar together. And no, I’m not kidding, that’s the story they’re running with. Given that the 6-men here aren’t given name graphics, and everyone enters to the instrumental version of “A Man Called Sting”, I’m left asking that if nobody in production gives a crap about this match, why can’t I just watch Tony and Jim having dinner? This is potentially untapped five star entertainment. I like to think that Tony misidentifies everything on the menu while calling it the greatest sushi in the history of this great country, while Ross tries to explain to the waiter what a Route 44 diet peach tea is – pointing to his miniature cup of steeped green tea and giving an exasperated “this ain’t it!” The referee pats down the competitors, looking for, to quote Eric Bischoff, “foreign objects, either in the tights or in the boots, no Vaseline or other chemicals.” Other chemicals? What the hell does he think these guys are packing? Mustard gas? Sarin? Any number of nerve agents? To be fair – one of the guys is wearing a hood, I guess it’s plausible he’s managed to MacGyver a gas mask under there. I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about New Japan harbouring terrorists, and I hope the Pentagon had this pay-per-view tapped for reasons of intelligence. And yes, I’m totally stalling because I have absolutely no idea who the hell is who – and Bischoff does a piss poor job of segregating them; likely because he’s as aware as I am. He does not, however, miss a single Back Leg Round Kick. As fate would have it, that in the grand tradition of many pro wrestling matches that came before it, one guy pinned another at 15:12. This is probably a completely unfair review to all 6 guys, who put forth an effort, but you can put that squarely on the head of Bischoff. **1/2
STING vs. HIROSHI HASE
Ross and Schiavone have already been kicked out of the sushi bar, because they’re back and calling this one. Ross calls Hase his favorite athlete in Japan, and while he lists the various reasons, let’s face it, it’s because he’s wearing a varsity jacket. Ross grumbles about sushi, while Sting benches Hase over his head repeatedly to a crowd of “ooooooh”s. A dropkick sends Hase to the floor, and Sting screams to the heavens. Hase re-enters with some chops, and a headlock takes Sting to his knees. Hase releases, and they collide mid-ring like bulls, with neither guy moving an inch. Hase hits a waistlock takedown, and applies a half crab with his knee on the back of Sting’s neck. Hase stands with Sting’s legs tied up, and starts swivelling his hips ala Rick Rude with Sting in the hold. A reverse STF is applied, but Sting won’t tap. So, Hase tries to embarrass Sting with his own hold, going for the Deathlock, but Sting chops Hase in the face until he releases. Hase, pissed off, kicks Sting in the hamstring repeatedly, with loud blows that echo throughout the arena. Back to a half crab, Hase sits down on Sting’s back this time while he tears at the joint, but Sting’s a giant pain who won’t give up. Hase releases and decides to attack toe to toe, which is a mistake because of the size difference, and Sting delivers a quick suplex for 2. Hase comes back with a Russian legsweep, and Sting clutches his leg. Hase takes Sting up in a fireman’s suplex, and he turns it into a Stun Gun. Sting clutches his throat, so Hase, not missing a beat, punches Sting in the throat. Sting ducks to hold his throat, giving Hase a chance to pick him up, holding him upside down for an extended period before hitting a spike piledriver! A knee to the throat off the top gets 2, but Hase doesn’t even seem phased. Hase goes right into a sleeper, and as Sting gets woozy, Hase drops back in a rear naked choke. The referee asks for a break, presumably because he’s working a choke now, and Hase releases at 4 and a half. He drags Sting to the outside, and drops Sting’s neck across the safety rail. Back in, Hase nails a pair of Rock Bottoms, but Sting kicks out at 2. Hase gives a sly smile, and goes straight to a German suplex with a bridge, getting 2. Next up, Hase works a full nelson, and appears to be going for the Dragon suplex, but Sting reaches forward and drags them both to the floor. Sting slams Hase on the concrete, and elbows his opponent’s face directly into the guardrail. Back in, Sting goes for a top rope clothesline, but Hase kicks him in the stomach and he folds like a house of cards. Hase chops at Sting in the corner, but Sting refuses to sell anymore, screaming in Hase’s face, and the hulking up routine is on. Stinger splash sets up a pair of faceplants, and Sting gets 2. Sting uses a modified backbreaker submission, but Hase rolls off the back and bridges back. Sting bridges forward at 2, then uses the corner to flip himself over and get Hase off. He leaps to the second rope, and throws a back elbow blindly, getting 2. Sting nearly scores a pinfall off a German suplex, but Hase quickly manages to roll Sting up with a handful of tights for 2 of his own. Sting explodes forward with a nasty clothesline, and he goes for a second one but Hase sidesteps and attempts the Rock Bottom. Sting elbows his way loose, and nails a jumping a DDT! With Hase seeing stars, Sting heads up and nails the top rope splash for the pin at 14:42! Hase put on an absolute clinic here, wrestling circles around Sting – but that really should come as no surprise since Hase was likely one of the 5 best wrestlers on the planet at this point. Sting didn’t quite seem to know how to properly sell for all the offense, sometimes recovering far too quickly from some of the attacks (I wish he’d sold the leg after Hase spent 5 minutes ripping his hammys apart), but it was an overall enjoyable display and a fine main event. ***
If you’re not really a Puro kinda person, but wouldn’t mind seeing a little of what Japan has to offer – this is probably a pretty strong compromise. Seeing familiar American faces, with English announcing, against some legendary Japanese names makes for a fun break from the norm. I wish WCW had continued this tradition to the end, but if I always got what I wanted, WCW would have never gone out of business either.

We’ll head back to the grind with the Power Hour this weekend; another mysteriously absent entry from the WWE network library. Will Chris Sullivan appear again? Will his studliness overcome adversity? The answer to both is hopefully yes, but you’ll have to read to find out. (Spoiler: No.)

WCW Main Event: January 3, 1993

Tony Schiavone welcomes us to WCW Main Event – brought to you by Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts! Run, jump, and hack your way through 7 terrifying stages, and rescue the princess! I guess … that’s one way to make it sound like Mario, as opposed to, say, the most anger inducing impossible game this side of the original Battle Toads. Of course, having a super frustrating sponsor for WCW is completely apropos. I hope next month’s sponsor is those plastic shell boxes for modern day electronics, with absolutely no way to open the product without requiring Tommy John surgery.

JIM ROSS and MICHAEL HAYES handle the commentary.

CHRIS SULLIVAN vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO
Chris Sullivan! Where have you been my entire life? Despite sharing the same facial DNA with Gene Okerlund and the guy who sells Micro Machines, I’m fairly certain he’s also the man responsible for delivering internal mail at my office.

Sullivan is completely disgusted by Scorpio’s insistence on steppin’, and he comes at 2 Cold with an attack so vicious, that Scorpio flies all the way to the guardrail, and Sullivan’s ponytail almost comes off. Scorpio gets back in and trips up this previously unheard of stud machine, and wins with a slingshot 450 splash at 1:09. A valiant effort from Sullivan, and I think we’ll need to see him every single week for the remainder of our lives to really get a feel for his incredible skillset.
DUSTIN RHODES vs. DANNY DEESE
Oh hell yes! I don’t know what I did to please the baby Jesus today, but to continually bless me with this parade of talent is like experiencing Christmas morning again and again.
Rhodes is of course in the semi-finals of the US title tournament after his win over Vinny Vegas, so a win here from Deese would have to immediately put him in the WCW Top 10. Ross calls Rhodes the favorite, which seems a little premature. Deese throws some methodical right hands – but I know his slowness of the blows is clearly because his fists are made of stone, and he’s toying with Rhodes in cat-like fashion. Dustin dropkicks the portly Reese, and a bulldog scores the massive upset at 1:46. A bad night for two of the top guys on tonight’s program. Maybe they should think about forming an unstoppable tag-team instead?
The main event sees a replay of a big tag-team match between Vader/Rude against Steamboat/Douglas before Starrcade – and since I may touch on it in another time and place, I won’t do a full recap here. However, Vader’s in classic form here, destroying anything and everything in his path – booked like a fat Brock Lesnar, but showing JUST enough ass to make you believe in the babyfaces. Plenty entertaining, and a nice way to wrap this one up.

Tomorrow brings WCW’s yearly Japan Supershow, and to say the card is loaded is an understatement. Jushin Liger, Ultimo Dragon, Muta, Sting, the Steiners, and a ton of the top Japanese guys from the era (Chono, Tenryu, Hase) are all on board. Heck – Ludvig Borga’s even chipping in. It might have no impact on the actual WCW, but it’s a fantastic cross-promotional concept that I wish we’d have seen more of. We’ll tackle all that, and more, as we head into the Clash on January 13th.

WCW Saturday Night: January 2, 1993

So I went in to work today to find this little party taking place on my desk.
I never thought I’d see the Outsiders getting buried by Sgt Craig Pittman, but Saul Goodman witnessed the whole thing. Also – I love my staff.

Extant1979 writes: For whatever reason, I also had Joe & Mac, which was a game my family LOVED. I would try and play some Mario or Super Castlevania and they would be playing Joe & freaking Mac. I hated that game so much. Thanks for bring back those awful, awful memories.
Aside from the fact that I got duped out of what felt like a million weeks of allowance to purchase the game on the sales point of “it’s JUST like Mario World”, I beat that stupid game the first day I had it. It was the polar opposite of my complaint about Super Ghouls and Ghosts – the damn thing was too easy. There was simply no happy medium in the early days of SNES games; and as a result I wound up renting The Legend of the Mystical Ninja for about as many weeks in a row as Nitro beat RAW.
Garth Holmberg: Don’t bad mouth Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts… yes, the game was ridiculously unfair in regard to difficulty, and had a middle finger for us at the “end” of the game, but if you could get beyond all that, it was really fun and had great graphics. On second thought, as a kid, that game was a real bitch.
I was like 8 years old and skipped the NES altogether, going from the Atari to the SNES. The graphics in EVERY game were going to look great, that was the least of my worries. Getting to the 2nd level? That shouldn’t have taken me until I was old enough to grow facial hair.
Zanatude: I beat Super Ghouls n Ghosts in about seven hours last year
No you didn’t.
Zanatude: on a modded Wii, through judicious use of save points.
No you didn’t.
WCW INTERRUPTS THIS EDITION OF SATURDAY NIGHT WITH A SPECIAL REPORT:
Big Van Vader defeated Ron Simmons on December 30th from Baltimore, capturing the WCW title for a 2nd time. Well … that IS big news. Maybe they can televise it!
JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO man the commentary booth, which may send me into Dusty deprivation. Thith is laaaive from tha Mothaship, that’th what we talkin’ ‘bout dadd-yo.
CACTUS JACK and THE BARBARIAN vs Z MAN and JOHNNY GUNN
Much as I dislike the idea of anyone replacing Meng, Cactus is about as acceptable a substitution as I could ask for. Jack beats the piss out of Gunn, but Zenk tags in and backdrops Jack into the Barbarian like a human cannonball. Jack and the Barbarian exchange words, which probably trumps “I think we need to start on top of the cage” as the dumbest thing Foley’s ever decided to do. Barbarian gives him a death stare, but lets him walk away with his life. Barbarian’s a man of honor and charity. Jack gets locked in an armbar, but he wiggles loose and hands his prey into the hungry hands of his partner. Zenk’s all “I think I’ll try to pull on his Mohawk”, and Barbarian’s all “you’re dead”. After Jack pulls down the rope sending Z Man crashing to the unprotected floor, Zenk gets rolled back in where he’s kicked in the back of the head by the angriest man in the room. Gunn gets the hot tag, but he’s not the Top Gunn, and he’s able to muster a dropkick and jumping clothesline before all hell breaks loose. Jack takes a dick to the face from Zenk, but Barbarian punts his skull into the atmosphere for the easy win at 5:47. Not enough Barbarian. *1/2
Meanwhile, at Starrcade, BILL WATTS and HANK AARON played nice long enough to give Sting his Battlebowl ring from his 1991 victory. Later that night, Muta claimed the 1992 title, while Watts ejected Aaron from the building after he asked for catering.
Elsewhere, HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, stopped by to discuss former college player, Erik Watts. “Determined” is roughly all he spits out before TONY SCHIAVONE wraps up the interview. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen more of the Women’s World Cup of Soccer this week than the length of this interview.
ERIK WATTS vs. MUSTAFA SAIED
Watts is the white guy, but just in case you were left with any questions, he used a gold bedazzler across his ass to spell it out. Mustafa is from Morocco, a country I know little about, but if his tights are any indication, I believe they’re the world’s leading exporter of blinding neon. Watts counters a bear hug with a belly to belly for 2. The STF finishes quickly at 2:37. Nepotism is a hell of a drug. DUD
TEDDY LONG stops CACTUS JACK to ask him how TONY ATLAS might be able to defeat Van Hammer tonight. Jack doesn’t really want to talk about Van Hammer, because he’s far more interested in collecting the $10K bounty on Erik Watts’ head. Of course, given that the bounty was offered by Paul E Dangerously, you’re about as likely to successfully cash that check as Watts is to successfully execute a watchable match – but it’s good to have dreams. Foley sneaks in a good line about the next time the Watts family gathers for dinner, that in addition to the carrots and mashed potatoes, there’s going to be another vegetable on the table named Erik. Atlas hollers about Hammer, but Foley won’t stop screaming “BANG BANG” long enough to hear what he has to say.
VINNIE VEGAS vs. DUSTIN RHODES (in a US title tournament match)
There’s nothing remotely gimmicky about Vegas, wearing a black singlet here. However, he’s shockingly spry, even hitting a sunset flip. Rhodes tries a bridge pin, but Vegas scoots loose. A sidewalk slam gets a near 2, and Vegas takes over the offense. Zbyszko tells us we can’t truly appreciate Vegas unless we see him in person. You’re a man ahead of your time, Larry. Rhodes tries a slam, but his back goes out and Vegas falls on top for 2. A gutwrench powerbomb gets 2, and Rhodes is fading fast. The bearhug fails to put Dustin away, and he finds his second wind. A forearm knocks Vegas down, but a dropkick only gets 1. Vegas tries the snakeyes, but Rhodes counters into a bulldog for the win at 6:23. **
TONY SCHIAVONE has tracked down BRIAN PILLMAN and BARRY WINDHAM in the locker room. Windham tells Pillman he’s ending their partnership because he’s decided to make a run at bigger singles gold, however, he doesn’t want to leave Pillman high and dry. In fact, he suggests he make friends with STEVE AUSTIN. Pillman’s delighted, because seeing as how they’re both world class athletes, they’re going to be completely unstoppable.
BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN vs. RICKY NELSON and LARRY SANTO
And thus, a legendary friendship is born. Meanwhile, you probably know Ricky Nelson better today as Dolph Ziggler.
Austin starts with Nelson, and quickly press slams him. Ricky comes back with a series of dropkicks, and tags in his terrible tag-team partner. Pillman comes in to chop Santo into minced sirloin. Austin goes to finish, but Santo gives him a drop toe hold and goes back to Nelson. Ricky goes for a leapfrog, but Austin stops short and uppercuts him in the thigh. Pillman grinds Nelson’s face into the mat, and Austin drops a knee across his nose. Nelson tags out, and Santo immediately takes a Stun Gun for the loss at 4:34. Solid debut, but there are far stronger days ahead. *1/2
We re-live Sting’s King of Cable victory at Starrcade; which turned out to be a lifetime championship since it was never defended. Admittedly, as silly as a lot of these little titles are, with this, and Jesse Ventura’s arm-wrestling championship, I admire the creativity. They were clearly looking for a winning gimmick, akin to the Royal Rumble, that they could use as a plot device to keep wrestlers busy when they weren’t involved in a major program – which in turn would keep them strong instead of, say, jobbing a lot until the next push came along.
TONY ATLAS (with Cactus Jack) vs. VAN HAMMER (in a US title tournament match)
Tony’s got beef since he arrived in WCW too late to appear in the arm-wrestling tournament, and he feels he would have cakewalked to victory. I wish they’d kept that tournament alive, because the idea of Chris Jericho viciously cheating his way through to the championship against Scott Norton is so delicious that it would have kept WCW alive another 3 or 4 years. Hammer illegally clotheslines Atlas to the floor in front of the referee, but he decides it was clearly an accident, because nobody could do something so deliberate deliberately. When Atlas gets back in, Jack trips up Hammer and Tony steals the win at 5:10. 1/2*
JESSE VENTURA sits down with ARN ANDERSON for this week’s Up Close. Jesse says he’s ruled the place from the day he started. Arn figures a better description is that he grew up in WCW; starting as a green rookie years ago, and taking his lumps and learning his lessons the right way. He’s on the disabled list right now with knee problems – something he always felt was a cop out excuse from the other boys until he felt the pinch himself. “You can’t compete without your wheels.” Ventura asks Arn what he figures he has left to prove? He has no idea, because he’s working without a contract right now. Bill Watts is refusing to re-up the Enforcer, and he’s working night to night. Jesse is shocked that he’s without a deal, and Arn angrily says that he’s staying no matter what, because WCW is his home. And with that – he says that there’s nothing that can stop him from leaving Erik Watts in a heap at an airport, at his home, or inside an ice cream shop. He was in WCW first, he earned everything he got and was never handed anything unlike daddy’s boy, and he refuses to be shoved aside for anyone. Jesse: “I think Bill Watts is protecting his kid, and I don’t like it.” This whole interview was borderline shoot material.
BARRY WINDHAM vs. JOHNNY B BADD (in a US title tournament match)
Johnny’s still basically a walking cartoon at this stage, and not the overpushed perennial TV champion he’d be later in his tenure. Badd dominates early, but it looks ridiculous given the size difference, because Badd basically uses big-man moves which shouldn’t be an effective strategy at all. Windham finally snaps Badd’s face against the ropes, and hits a spinning suplex to take control. Badd fights to his feet and gets his eyes raked, and a hard elbow drop gets 2. MADUSA wanders down to ringside to scout on behalf of Rick Rude, while Badd gets faceplanted by the big man. Windham moves into a number of different suplexes, but he can’t put Johnny away. Badd snaps off a Frankensteiner which sets up a super sunset flip – but Windham rolls through and clotheslines Badd with a particularly nasty looking clothesline! Badd’s done, but a jumping DDT is the cherry at 7:32. **
TONY SCHIAVONE wants to know what RICKY STEAMBOAT’s motivation for being in the US title tournament since he’s holding half the tag-team titles. SHANE DOUGLAS cuts them off, saying that their goal, ultimately, is to take care of the tag-team titles. However, Steamboat was granted an opportunity to wrestle for the US belt – and he’s not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
DAN SPIVEY vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT (in a US title tournament match)
Steamboat immediately shows how to work a match with a noticeable size difference, by leaning on his quickness and headlocks to wear Spivey down. Every time Spivey tries to fight loose, Steamboat just drops to the mat, holding the headlock to bring Spivey down with him. A swinging neckbreaker gets 2. Spivey finally manages to dodge a karate chop, and gives Steamboat a spinebuster. Ricky’s all cardio though, and fires back with a number of chops. Spivey no-sells, slams his own head into the buckle to show he’s a long way from done, and clotheslines Steamboat back to the 70’s. Steamboat fights back to his feet, and takes a Rock Bottom for 2. Still, he keeps fighting, but Larry rightfully points out that trying to go punch for punch here is idiotic, and he needs a better strategy. An abdominal stretch is used to wear Steamboat down, and a sidewalk slam gets 2. Steamboat throws some desperation chops to no avail, and Spivey’s pretty much laughing at him now. Steamboat tries a crossbody block, but Spivey catches him in mid-air and turns it into a backbreaker, smiling the entire time. He goes for an avalanche, but Steamboat sidesteps and delivers a backdrop suplex. Spivey whips Steamboat to the corner, but Ricky leaps over the ropes to the apron … where Spivey clotheslines him anyway. He goes to finish, but Steamboat slams his face to the buckle and comes off the top with a crossbody for the win at 8:22! Totally fantastic main event, and I’ll admit I have a total soft spot for Spivey who’s a completely underappreciated worker. ***
TEDDY LONG asks BARRY WINDHAM how he feels about taking on Ricky Steamboat next week in the tournament semi-finals. Windham’s pissy because he knows Steamboat’s only in the tournament to get revenge on Windham – but Barry’s here to capture championships, and he vows to tear Ricky up. Great fire from Barry, a total throwback to what made him such a compelling draw in the late 80’s. It’s a shame he got so bloody lazy around this point, because he clearly still had something in the tank when he wanted it there.

And that’s it until the Main Event tomorrow night.

WCW Power Hour: January 2, 1993

You asked! … While the sentiment may not have necessarily been overwhelming, there was a vocal group of you unhappy about the fact that I was reliving the same WCW time-frame that Scott Keith is currently covering, and various other bloggers have beaten the late 90’s to death. Fair points; and although these alleged “wrestling journalists” have completely managed to overlook the big story of the Nitro era (The Faces of Fear wreak havoc, kill everyone), and I was giving you the unbiased, straight facts as they happened, I am prepared to give this round to you – the miserable blog minority.
Thankfully, when touching on the past, the world is your burrito. Given that my two favorite topics to write about are WCW and the Completely Absurd (which, as it turns out, are joined at the hip like unruly Siamese Twins that don’t like each other), I wasn’t going to veer too far off track. Instead, we’ll slip backwards in time to 1993, a year which can be summed up as “wait, what?”

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. In fact – let’s get you all caught up. With Ric Flair gone to the greener pastures of the WWF, WCW appointed an heir apparent in Lex Luger. However, Vince McMahon quickly stole him away with a breadcrumb trail of Winstrol that led right into the World Bodybuilding Federation. WCW, as they typically did, ignored Sting and transitioned the belt over to Ronald “Ron” Simmons.
See, they were under a new boss, and Bill Watts had seen some success running with the Junkyard Dog in the mid 80’s. Given that all black wrestlers are interchangeable, as is the stereotype that exists to this very day, Watts pushed Simmons to the moon. Despite putting him over the Barbarian on pay-per-view, a move so bold that I’m getting angry just thinking about it, Simmons failed to get over. So 1992 came to a close at a house show on the 30th of December, with Vader claiming the belt back. You know, as opposed to doing it at Starrcade just 2 days earlier in front of a paying national audience.
Meanwhile, Rick Rude was happily holding the US title hostage while nursing another in a long line of injuries. The TV title was stripped from Scott Steiner in November after he, like everyone else, had left for the WWF, and heading into 1993, the company had basically forgotten they needed a new champion. Rounding out the gold, Shane Douglas had captured the tag-team titles with mystery partner Ricky Steamboat, who was roughly the only person coming in to the company FROM the WWF, and they were holding strong despite a young duo nipping on their heels in the guise of Steve Austin and Brian Pillman.
Oh, and the NWA didn’t much care for WCW branching off into doing their own thing, but I’m sure that won’t matter much at all this year.
For the year, I’ll be covering Power Hour, Saturday Night, The Main Event, and Worldwide, along with all the various pay-per-views and specials. Which is which? Well let’s turn to the KickOfFear.com official submission form – which is of course only to be for Faces of Fear related news, critical pieces of information (such as the Craig Pittman action figure on Amazon.com), or life altering questions. Mark, thankfully, understood this clearly when he asked:
                                                              
Love the site, love the reviews, I read you on here and Scott Keith’s blog often. I missed a lot of the syndicated shows when I was a fan in the late 90s so it’s cool to see that seasons of this stuff is available and not just lost to time. My basic question is what makes a B show vs a C show vs a D show? I get it’s on a scale of importance but when you look at 1997 for instance you had the following shows that would feature exclusive matches: A) Nitro B) Saturday Night C) Worldwide D) Main Event E) Pro Heck I could be missing one. Nitro is a gimme, Saturday Night seems like it was next in importance so I presume that’s a B. Is everything else a C or can it be broken down more? I realize the answer will change each year (or even more frequently) but I’m very interested in how the shows morphed over the years and have never really seen much internet conversation about it. Thanks, Mark
Well, you’ll probably have to ask that question to Scott Keith since he’s the resident “expert” on WCW in that timeframe seeing as I’ve been kicked out of that timeslot by my own personal volition, but I’ll do my best anyway. Ultimately, all roads lead to the pay-per-view, and since Nitro was pretty much a looping commercial for Roddy Piper, very little actual storyline advancement occurred, and it’s a D-show. Saturday Night had far too much Prince Iaukea, relegating it to F-status (apropos given my feelings on the “Prince”). Worldwide was created to be aired World-Wide and had the largest audience, as well as a not so Sober Bobby Heenan, so it’s the A-show. The Main Event was mostly recaps, but was about the only place you could find Ciclope, so it’s the B-show. And WCW Pro only started to exist last week when I finally got my hands on it; so we’ll call it the C-show for now until Lee Marshall annoys me enough to lower its rating.
I hope that clears things up Mark.
And with that, it’s off to the Power Hour, hosted by…
My apologies, that’s from the Hour of Power. Nope – we need …
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. JOE CRUZ
TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to what is expected to be a Big Weekend here in WCW! For example, Vader won the World Title on Wednesday … which is not the weekend by any definition I’ve ever heard, but I appreciate Tony Schiavone confirming in less than a minute that even in 1993 his brain had melted into the equivalent of whatever’s in those Parkay Squeeze Butter containers. Scorpio nearly picks up the pin off a monkey flip (called “I’ve never seen a Sunset Flip Like That Before”), and Scorpio knocks Cruz to the unprotected floor (thanks Bill Watts!). Back in, Scorpio finishes with the 450 splash at 2:43. And then we step. *
A recap airs from December 19th, when “HEAVY METAL” VAN HAMMER (which is just one wrestler, and not a Lucha-import on a bad acid trip) and RON SIMMONS competed in an arm-wrestling match, in the finals of JESSE VENTURA’s “Strongest Arm” tournament. For some reason, TONY ATLAS is walking around too, but Ventura orders us to ignore him. (Consider it done!) After a compelling back-and-forth battle, complete with Jesse Ventura commentary, Van Hammer wins the prestigious trophy in a moment that would be replayed for generations to come. Atlas takes exception to this, but given that we’re ignoring him, let’s move on.
SCOTTY FLAMINGO vs. KEITH COLE
Keith Cole can be described as “If Ricky Morton had an inappropriate relationship with Guile from Street Fighter”. Flamingo would of course go on to greater fame as Johnny Polo, with the bright pink banana hammock doing him no favors here. Cole gets locked in a body scissors, so tightly pressed to Flamingo’s midsection I’m convinced he may have just felt it move. A half-nelson crucifix gets 2, but Cole uses the power of his flat-topped mullet to hulk up. Then he jumps into an airplane spin and loses at 4:48. *1/2
Last year at the Clash of Champions, Van Hammer and Cactus Jack had a match. Of course, I knew this, and even talked to Mick Foley about it last fall, where I was given a sarcastic “yeah, that was a good one”.
MISSY HIATT’s New Year’s Resolution is to hook up with Erik Watts. Unbelievably, this wasn’t rock bottom.
BARRY WINDHAM and BRIAN PILLMAN vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG and MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL
If we’re looking to pinpoint reasons nobody took WCW seriously in 1993, I’d like to start with Windham’s hair, where he’s going with wispy bangs in the front, and a mullet-tail in the back. Bagwell is atrocious, barely able to cobble together a competent string of moves beyond the headlock. Pillman completely outclasses everyone else in the ring, but given that this is a man who could have sex in a pair of gravity boots, that really should go unspoken. Windham plans Bagwell with a fantastic DDT, and Pillman’s not far behind with the Savage elbow for 2. Bagwell gets a rally going, and just as he’s about to tag out, Pillman yanks him down by the hair. Armstrong loses his mind, and while Nick Patrick attends to him, Pillman launches Bagwell over the top rope, straight to the concrete floor. Tony screams for a DQ, but given that he’s in the studio weeks after this was taped, the referee can’t hear him. Still, Bagwell does make the hot tag eventually, and Armstrong has a number of exciting moves, such as the right hand, and the elevated right hand. Pillman clips Armstrong as he’s throwing his punches, and that’s enough for the win at 9:24. **
The Power Hour is brought to you by Super Ghouls n Ghosts for the Super Nintendo. That just makes me mad to see it. I had saved my $7 allowance religiously in order to get a new game to complement Mario World – and when I entered Microplay, I was given an array of games to choose from. The store clerk assured me that Super Ghouls n Ghosts was the way to go, and for only $79.99. Having spent probably 4000 hours playing this game, I can say with a high degree of certainty, it is the hardest and stupidest game ever made. It takes forever to get to the end … at which point to see the REAL end you have to beat it again, with an awful weapon!! Despite this, some 6 months later, armed with the wisdom that the store clerk was an asshat … I somehow let him fleece me a second time when he sold me Joe & Mac. I swear to Christ, if I hadn’t finally obtained Mario Kart and Earthbound to rebalance my sanity, I might be in jail today.

Coming up on Saturday Night; a tournament begins to determine the #1 contender to the US Heavyweight title. The winner gets a shot at Rick Rude, and if they win, they’ll travel the circuit losing to R-Truth. Catch the fever with 4 first-round matches on the way later tonight at 6:05 on TBS! I’ll be there.

A Look Back At: The 1993 PWI 500 Rankings

Pro_Wrestling_Illustrated_-_December_1993
1993 marked the third installment of the PWI 500. The previous two years saw Hulk Hogan and Sting win the number one spot respectively. Hogan being a star from the 80s and Sting being a rising star for WCW since the late 80s. 1993 would see a new face of the WWF rise up the ranks to take the number one spot.
The grading period appeared to be from August 1st, 1992 to July 31st, 1993.
To view the complete list of where wrestlers landed, check that out HERE.
To go back and read the previous two installments of the series, just follow the links below! 
Now, here are the notable rankings for the year 1993.
Hitman claims the number one spot!

Hitman claims the number one spot!
The Top Ten:
1.) Bret Hart
2.) Big Van Vader
3.) Shawn Michaels
4.) Sting
5.) Yokozuna
6.) Ric Flair
7.) Lex Luger
8.) Rick Rude
9.) Curt Hennig
10.) Scott Steiner
Sure, he lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam, but Bret Hart wasted very little time recapturing gold around his waist. Bret achieved the highest goal in the WWF by winning the WWF World Championship from Ric Flair on October 12th, 1992. Bret would successfully defend the belt against Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series, Razor Ramon at Royal Rumble 1993, and Bam-Bam Bigelow on the house shows until dropping the belt to the rookie monster Yokozuna in April ’93 at WrestleMania IX. Despite the loss, Hart would finish the grading period strong by winning the first ever televised King of the Ring tournament. By the end of the period, he was involved in a feud with Jerry Lawler.
Vader lost the WCW World Championship to Ron Simmons on August 2nd, a day into the grading period. He would regain the strap on December 30th and would hang onto the belt for the entire grading period, aside from a six day run that Sting had with the belt. Vader had a memorable feud with Cactus Jack in April where he took out the daredevil on WCW Saturday Night. He also introduced the moonsault to American television by performing the move at Beach Blast, where he and Sid Vicious lost to Sting and Davey Boy Smith.
In the fall of 1992, Michaels claimed his first singles championship by defeating the British Bulldog on a Saturday Night’s Main Event. Michaels lost to Bret at Survivor Series, but entered 1993 on a strong note by defeating former friend Marty Jannetty at the Royal Rumble. Michaels had some issues with Tatanka as he lost several matches against the undefeated superstar. However, Michaels retained the title at WrestleMania IX when Michaels was counted out. Michaels kept a strong hold on the WWF Intercontinental Championship until the May 19th edition of RAW where he loss to Marty Jannetty, who made a surprise return. Michaels regained the belt at a house show in Albany and defeated Jannetty on the 7/19 RAW.
Aside from a six day run, Sting didn’t taste any WCW World Championship gold. For the most part, Sting was saddled with mid card feuds and teaming with Davey Boy Smith. Sting had a infamous feud with Jake Roberts that ended in a Coal Miners glove match at Halloween Havoc, which Sting won. Sting came up short in one of the best strap matches against Vader at Superbrawl III. Despite the losses to Vader, Sting did beat Vader to win the King of the Cable tournament at Starrcade ’92. With the lack of big time wins, Sting may have been ranked a little high.
A top five debut for a new wrestler is not a bad way to make a splash in the PWI 500. That’s exactly what Yokozuna managed to do. He debuted for the WWF by the fall of 1992 and made claim that 1993 would be his year when he won the Royal Rumble in January, and followed that up by winning the WWF World Championship at WrestleMania IX. Thirty-seconds after the win, he lost the belt to Hulk Hogan, but thankfully would regain the title at King of the Ring in June. Yokozuna was a fighting champion, as well. He constantly defended against the likes of Jim Duggan and Bret Hart. He also had a solid match with Crush on the 7/12 RAW. A week prior to that match, Yokozuna had found his new challenger in Lex Luger when Luger was able to slam the champion on the USS Intrepid on July 4th.
The grading period was an interesting one for Ric Flair. In the summer of 1992, Flair was the top heel for the WWF and would win the WWF World Championship for a second time on September 1st by beating long time rival, Randy Savage. He’d lose the belt just over a month later to Bret Hart. By the end of 1992, Flair and lost his best friend, Mr. Perfect, due to Perfect teaming with Randy Savage to beat Flair and Razor Ramon at Survivor Series. On the January 25th edition of RAW, Flair lost a memorable Loser Leaves WWF match to Mr. Perfect. Flair quickly returned to WCW, but wouldn’t wrestle for several months. He would return to the ring teaming with Arn Anderson to go for the WCW World Tag Team Championships, held by the Hollywood Blonds. Although they didn’t walk away with the gold, Flair would regain championship gold when he defeated Barry Windham at Beach Blast on July 18th to close out the grading period.
The new American hero, Lex Luger.

The new American hero, Lex Luger.
Luger didn’t make his debut for the WWF until January ’93 as he was part of the failed WBF promotion that was the creation of Vince McMahon. Lex would feud with Mr. Perfect and was victorious at WrestleMania IX. Also seemingly forgotten about, Luger attacked Bret Hart at the WrestleMania IX press conference and wrestled the former champion several times on house shows. At the time, Luger was a narcissist and used a metal plate in his forearm to get victorious. He was a favorite to win the King of the Ring, but came up short when he and Tatanka wrestled to a draw. Out of nowhere, Lex Luger turned baby face and became a pro America character when he slammed Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid on July 4th. Luger kept an undefeated streak going until April 8th, where Mr. Perfect was able to get a pin fall over Lex by lifting his shoulder up on a back suplex attempt. With that match only airing in France, Luger still maintained an undefeated streak on American television.
Rick Rude continued to dominate the WCW United States Championship title picture having retained the championship against all opponents since winning the belt in November of ’91. By the summer of 1992, Rude was involved in a heated feud with Nikita Koloff. Rude managed to successfully defended the championship against Koloff which sometimes happened inside a steel cage. Also, Rude reached the finals of the NWA World Championship tournament but came up short against Kensuke Sasaki. Rude was stripped of the championship following an injury. While out with injury, Dustin Rhodes won the championship in a tournament and they would meet at Beach Blast in July but ended in a draw despite the match being a thirty minute Ironman match. At the end of the grading period, Rude was not champion and issues with Rhodes were not resolved. Considering he was out of action from December to early spring, a top ten ranking of Rude is quite high.
Curt Hennig, or better known as Mr. Perfect, made his return to the ring when he aligned himself with Randy Savage to take on Razor Ramon and former friend Ric Flair. Perfect got the biggest win of his career when he pinned Ric Flair on the 1/25 RAW to force Flair out of the company. Perfect would lose to Lex Luger at WrestleMania IX and followed up with a loss to Bret Hart in the King of the Ring tournament. Seemed like there was more negatives than there were positives for Mr. Perfect.
At the end of 1992, Scott Steiner won the WCW Television Championship from Ricky Steamboat. However, he and brother Rick Steiner left the company by December and thus was stripped of it. Scott jumped the WWF and dominated the tag division leading up to a series of matches with the WWF World Tag Team Champions Money Inc. They won the titles on June 14th and June 19th after having dropped the belts back to Money Inc. on June 16th. They would hold the titles for the remainder of the grading period.
The only issues I have with the top ten are towards the end, really. As much of a fan I am of Rude, he missed a good portion of the grading period and Perfect didn’t really have a top ten performance for the grading period. I do think Bret was the right choice of the number one spot, though had Vader not lost the belt to Simmons during the grading period, he would have easily taken number one for the year.
'Lone Wolf" Barry Windham nearly makes the top 10.

‘Lone Wolf” Barry Windham nearly makes the top 10.
#11: Barry Windham
#13: Marty Jannetty
#15: Davey Boy Smith
#23: Steve Austin
#25: Sid Vicious
For the early months of the grading period, Windham was feuding with lower mid card guys like the Barbarian and Dick Slater. He was the NWA/WCW World Tag Team Champions with friend Dustin Rhodes when they pinned the former champions Steve Williams and Terry Gordy on the 10/3 edition of Saturday Night. They held the belts for just over a month when they lost the belts to Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat due to Dustin Rhodes not wanting to pin Ricky after an accidental low blow. That would lead to heel turn for Windham and the change of attitude saw Windham win the NWA World Championship from the Great Muta at Superbrawl in February. He fought off challenges from Arn Anderson at Slamboree, Too Cold Scorpio at Clash of the Champions in June before dropping the belt to Ric Flair at Beach Blast in July. For a short period of time in ’93, Windham had become a very good heel and his turnaround from the early stages of grading period is impressive.
Jannetty hadn’t been seen on WWF television for quite sometime when he returned by the end of ’92. He failed at capturing the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Shawn Michaels at the Rumble and was gone again until May when he surprised Michaels and won the gold. That lasted a few weeks before dropping it back to Michaels and not doing much of note afterward. Sure, he and Michaels regularly had good matches on the house show market, but that is far from having a top 15 spot in the ranking of 500. (yes, it’s kayfabe, I get it. But, come on!)
In four short months, Davey Boy Smith went from winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Bret Hart in front of a sellout crowd in Wembley Stadium to being out of a job by the end of the year. He loss to belt to Shawn Michaels in November and appeared for WCW a short time into 1993. Smith quickly challenged Big Van Vader for the WCW World Championship. His first chance at the gold was at Slamboree and he won, but by disqualification. Along with Sting, he would beat Sid and Vader at Beach Blast to end the grading period for Smith. The main event push was the biggest of Smith’s career and he handled it pretty well.
Austin maintained a strong handle on the WCW Television Championship until September 2nd when he lost it to Ricky Steamboat. After the loss, Austin was lost in the shuffle until he formed a tag team with Brian Pillman known as the Hollywood Blonds. They team quickly rose up the ranks and won the WCW World Tag Team Championships from Steamboat and Douglas on March 27th edition of Worldwide. He and Pillman retained the titles inside a steel cage at Slamboree against the duo. Their biggest match would be at the June Clash of the Champions when they came up short against Flair and Anderson, but didn’t lose the belts in a best two out of three falls match. To end the grading period, Austin remained tag team champs after beating Anderson and Roma at Beach Blast.
From August to April, Sid had not competed in any mainstream wrestling promotions. He returned to WCW at Slamboree associating himself with Col. Robert Parker and defeated Van Hammer at the event. He would team with Vader and Rick Rude to win a six man tag match at the June Clash of the Champions before losing a tag match with Vader as his partner against Davey Boy and Sting. For a guy who wrestled only three months worth of worthwhile matches, the ranking is ridiculous.
The evil clown, Doink with a strong showing.

The evil clown, Doink with a strong showing.
#26: Doink
#28: Randy Savage
#33: Bam-Bam Bigelow
#34: The Kid
#35: Crush
One of the more creative characters to ever exist in the WWF made its debut at number twenty-six. Doink began appearing in various WWF crowds by the end of 1992. He would pull pranks on various superstars and ended up feuding with Crush, whom he defeated at WrestleMania IX. Aside from that victory, Doink had some entertaining matches with Jannetty and Savage on RAW during the summer. At the end of the grading period, he hadn’t been involved in a significant feud.
Last year, Savage was ranked number two and now falls twenty-six spots. Despite opening the grading period as the WWF World Champion and then nearly winning the Rumble, Savage couldn’t break into the top twenty-five. After the new year, Savage wrestled on a limited basis but often times appeared on house shows. Macho Man was being phased out of the New Generation era.
Bigelow made his return to the WWF by the end of 1992. He would win his first pay per view match against the Big Bossman at the Royal Rumble. Bigelow continued to defeat anyone in his way until the King of the Ring where he lost to Bret Hart in the finals of the tournament. At the end of the grading period he was feuding with Tatanka.
Probably one of the more inspirational stories of the year centered around a skinny rookie who was eventually known simply was, The 1-2-3 Kid. After several weeks of losing to various WWF superstars, the Kid picked up the shocking upset over Razor Ramon on the 5/17 RAW. Kid continued to wrestle Ramon that often ended in disqualifications. In years previous, he was known as the Lighting Kid.
Over the summer, Crush feuded with Repo Man, his former partner from Demolition and won the feud convincingly. After a victory at SummerSlam over Repo Man, it was rumored that Crush could have been the guy to lead the New Generation instead of Bret Hart. That, of course, didn’t happen. Instead, Crush had a feud with Doink, which he lost, and unsuccessfully challenged for the WWF Intercontinental Championship at the King of the Ring. At the end of the grading period, Crush had been taken out of action by Yokozuna.
Simmons as the WCW World Champion.

Simmons as the WCW World Champion.
#32: Ron Simmons
#37: Owen Hart
#38: Paul Orndorff
#40: Brian Lee
#46: The Undertaker
Despite having been WCW World Champion from August to December of 1992, Simmons doesn’t get into the top 25. During Ron’s reign, he retained over the likes of Cactus Jack and the Barbarian, which may be a reason for the low ranking. Simmons didn’t do much during the 1993 portion of the grading period as he was unable to defeat Paul Orndorff for the WCW Television Championship at Beach Blast in July.
Owen didn’t accomplish anything of note in the WWF during the time period, but did win the USWA Heavyweight Championship from Papa Shango but would soon lose it to Jerry Lawler. His rise would be a year away.
‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff started the grading period competing in Smoky Mountain Wrestling where he feuded with the likes of Ron Garvin and Tim Horner. By early ’93, Orndorff was in WCW feuding with Cactus Jack and lost a falls count anywhere match at Superbrawl III. He pinned Erik Watts in the finals to crown a new WCW Television Champion on March 27th. Orndorff was able to keep the championship for the remainder of the grading period. He successfully defended the title against Ron Simmons winning the bout by disqualification.
‘Primetime” Brian Lee started the grading period losing the SMW Heavyweight Championship to rival Dirty White Boy on August 8th, 1992. The end of ’92 saw Lee feud with The Master (aka Kevin Sullivan) which ended up being a lengthy blood feud. After over five months of feuding, Lee won the feud with Kevin Sullivan and his followers. On the May 1st television show, Lee won the SMW TV Championship from Bobby Eaton. Lee would end up turning heel by aligning himself with Tammy Fytch to win the SMW Heavyweight Championship on July 17th from Tracy Smothers to end the grading period.
Undertaker didn’t have a memorable grading period. Sure, he won his feud with Kamala by winning matches at SummerSlam and Survivor Series, but afterward Taker would feud with Giant Gonzalez, with the two meeting at WrestleMania IX. Aside from that, Taker had a less than stellar year on television and that reflects his low ranking this year.
2 Cold Scorpio!

2 Cold Scorpio!
#49: 2 Cold Scorpio
#61: Tatanka
#67: Tim Horner
#84: Erik Watts
#87: Razor Ramon
Scorpio made his debut in WCW on November 18th at Clash of the Champions to help Ron Simmons defeat the trio of Tony Atlas, Cactus Jack and the Barbarian. Scorpio earned a huge win over Steve Austin on the 1/3/1993 house show. Scorpio won a great match against Chris Benoit at Superbrawl III. A month later, Scorpio would team with Marcus Alexander Bagwell on a regular basis. Scorpio would have a memorable match against NWA World Champion Barry Windham at the June Clash of the Champions, but came up short in winning the title. Scorpio had a bright future it seemed in WCW.
Tatanka maintained his undefeated streak throughout the grading period as he mainly had matches with Rick Martel, who has never been able to defeat the Native American. Tatanka nearly won the WWF Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania IX. Not many memorable moments for Tatanka despite a lengthy undefeated streak.
Horner head a feud with SMW Heavyweight Champion Dirty White Boy throughout the fall and winter of ’92, but wasn’t able to take the championship. Horner won the SMW TV Championship from the Nightstalker on the March 6th television program. He held the belt for three weeks before losing it to Bobby Eaton. One of the better in-ring workers for SMW.
The 1992 PWI Rookie of the Year, Erik Watts, had an eventful year. Far from being the best worker in the company, Watts accomplished quite a bit. He had a feud with Arn Anderson that saw the two brawl at a gas station. After the feud, they became partners but had limited success. Watts reached the finals of the WCW Television Championship tournament, losing to Paul Orndorff. A victim of nepotism due his father Bill Watts being the booker for WCW.
Razor Ramon made an impact quickly upon his arrival in the WWF. He cost Randy Savage the WWF World Championship in September of ’92 and won several house show matches against the Macho Man. Had a competitive match with Bret Hart at the Rumble, but came up short in his first championship match. Won his WrestleMania debut against Bob Backlund. Might have dropped in the rankings due to the loss to the 1-2-3 Kid on the May 17th episode of RAW. By the end of the grading period had become a fan favorite thanks to being disrespected by Money Inc.
The original gangsta, New Jack.

The original gangsta, New Jack.
#108: Paul Roma
#112: Van Hammer
#166: Virgil
#198: New Jack
#222: Dirty White Boy
A year prior, Paul Roma was believed to have been retired from pro wrestling. Roma didn’t return to action until June of ’93. He was a member of the Four Horsemen and nearly won the WCW World Tag Team Championships from the Hollywood Blonds at Beach Blast. Needless to say, Roma being a Horsemen was a shock to diehards.
Seemed like wrestling publications thought of Van Hammer has being a title contender, but that never quite happened. His most notable accomplishment was losing to Sid Vicious in thirty-five seconds at Slamboree. Would be gone from WCW for several years.
At this point, Virgil was literally a jobber and was still ranked pretty decently.
New Jack makes his debut in the PWI 500. While not providing much in the ring, Jack teamed with the Homeboy to win the USWA Tag Team Championships for a short period of time.
This one is rather surprising to me. Dirty White Boy won the SMW Heavyweight Championship on 8/8/1992, right at the start of the grading period. He was able to hold onto the belt until April 2nd of 1993 when he lost it to Tracy Smothers. For the time, that’s a pretty impressive title reign, and yet he is so far down the rankings.
The Garbage Man.

The Garbage Man.
#290: Mabel
#298: Billy Gunn
#301: John Hawk
#384: Disco Inferno
#483: Miss Texas
#500: Garbage Man
Mabel and Billy Gunn made their debuts in the PWI 500. Neither man accomplished much as they teamed with Mo and Bart Gunn in the WWF. I don’t believe either team lost a match during the timeframe of the grading period.
John Hawk, or better known as Bradshaw, also made his debut in the PWI 500. He was a Global Tag Team Champion with Bobby Duncum Jr. Hadn’t achieved any mainstream success, though.
At this point, Disco Inferno was claiming to be the king of inter gender matches in the USWA. That was proven to be incorrect as he often lost to Miss Texas (Jacqueline). Speaking of Miss Texas, she was the first woman to ever be ranked in the PWI 500 at #483.
The Garbage Man would be later known as Duke Droese. Pro Wrestling Illustrated would brag about his rise for the next couple of years.
Gone From The 500:
Skinner, Sgt. Slaughter, Kerry Von Erich and the Ultimate Warrior all were out of the rankings this year. Von Erich had committed suicide on February 18th, 1993.
Would you have ranked anyone differently? Were there any surprises? Leave your thoughts below!
For more columns and reviews, head over to WRESTLING RECAPS
Thanks for reading.

Heel Hogan in WWF circa 1993?


​​


Was it ever on the cards for Hulk Hogan to turn heel in the WWF back in 1993, prior to him leaving for WCW?

With hindsight, it seems like it would've been the natural thing to do. His act was already stale by that point and the fans were starting to turn against him anyway. A Hogan heel turn would've generated massive publicity for the struggling WWF at that time, and a feud between the newly hated Hogan and Bret Hart as the babyface underdog could've been a big draw.

All you ever heard from Vince McMahon at the time though was that he wanted Hulk Hogan to become the "Babe Ruth of the WWF", steadily phased out of the limelight but brought back periodically as a "special attraction".

McMahon was so fixated on this particular conception of Hogan's future that he couldn't see the forest for the trees. He could've stolen a march on WCW by a good three years and made a mint from a Hogan heel run.

Were they that blind that they couldn't see it? Surely turning a wrestler when his act is going stale is one of the oldest tricks in the wrestling promoter's manual? Did McMahon really just see Hogan as a perennial good guy and nothing besides?

​Sure seems that way.  Hogan for his part was equally behind the times, as he didn't see Bret Hart as a viable alternative to the top babyface spot, so blame can go both ways there.  And then look at what Vince did as soon as Hogan left — he tried to create Lex Luger in his image as another patriotic top musclehead babyface!  Plus, although Hogan's act was stale, it's not like people were actively booing him like they were once he got to WCW, so the dynamic might not have worked the same.  ​

Rock Star Gary reflects on…WCW Starrcade 1993!

Live from Charlotte, NC

Airdate: December 27, 1993

Attendance: 8,000 (7,000 paid)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

The tenth anniversary show opens with a series of photos of
Ric Flair as he grew up. Included are a clipping of a newspaper article of the
plane crash as well as Flair’s victories over Harley Race at Starrcade ’83 and
Ronnie Garvin at Starrcade ’87. Suddenly Vader roars and a sequence of his
squashes permeate the introduction. As an added bonus the aftermath of Vader’s
powerbomb of Cactus Jack is briefly shown.

Tony mentions Vader and Race’s arrival at 2pm and subsequent
workout in the ring. Unlike the punctual WCW World Champion his challenger has
yet to arrive. “Mean” Gene Okerlund is with Flair (and family) at the Flair
household while a chauffeur takes the bags to the limousine. Interestingly, a
very young Ashley (current NXT wrestler Charlotte) and Reid (RIP) hug their
father as disgruntled teenager David broods in the background along with a
worried Beth. After leaving the house, a subdued Flair and Gene discuss the
ramifications of tonight’s main event — if Flair loses he must retire, but if
he wins he becomes WCW World Champion.

Match 1: Marcus
Alexander Bagwell and Too Cold Scorpio (w/ Teddy Long) versus Pretty Wonderful
(w/ the Assassin)

Highlights:

·        
For those unaware Pretty Wonderful is “Pretty”
Paul Roma and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
·        
Wait a minute! Wasn’t Paul Roma a face at
Battlebowl? Oh yeah, back on the 12/11/93 episode of WCW Saturday Night (taped
11/30/93) Roma tagged with his Battlebowl partner Erik Watts. Check this
out!
·        
Prior to the match WCW Executive Committee
member Gary Juster presented “The Godfather” Teddy Long with the 1993 Manager
of the Year award. Thanks go out to all of you for calling the hotline!
·        
A brawl between all four men started the match.
Tony mentioned on WCW Saturday Night (taped 12/6/93) that
Orndorff and Roma attacked Bagwell and Scorpio after their match with Pierce
and Slazenger.
·        
Double dropkick sent Roma to the floor.
·        
Excellent tag team synchronicity by Bagwell and
Scorpio.
·        
While Bagwell hooked a sleeper on Orndorff and
referee Nick Patrick was distracted by an intruding Scorpio Roma came off the
top rope with a forearm to the back.
·        
Three consecutive backbreakers from Roma to
Bagwell.
·        
Sweet butterfly suplex followed by an even
sweeter powerslam from Roma.
·        
From the top rope Roma missed a splash leading
to the hot tag to Scorpio.
·        
Scorpio delivered a snap suplex then came off the
top rope to nail Orndorff.
·        
As Scorpio gave Orndorff a standing spinning
heel kick Bagwell and Roma fought on the floor.
·        
The Assassin got on the apron but got decked by
Scorpio.
·        
As Orndorff held Scorpio overhead the Assassin
head-butted him with the loaded mask.
·        
Pretty Wonderful stole the opener.


Rating: **

Summary: Very
formulaic tag match giving the new tag team of Pretty Wonderful a big boost by
beating the former WCW World tag champs. I see bigger things on the horizon for
this team.

Gene and Flair are still in the limo on their way to the
arena. Was there a traffic jam in Charlotte on this night?

Match 2: The
Shockmaster versus Awesome King Kong (w/ King Awesome Kong)

Highlights:

·        
Shockmaster got double-teamed as he entered the
ring.
·        
He then became a Kong sandwich.
·        
Awesome King Kong gave him a splash.
·        
Holy Goodyear blimp, Batman! Shockmaster with a flying body press!
Although he barely left his feet it still counts, right?
·        
After nailing Awesome Kong on the apron
Shockmaster gave King Kong a powerslam and pinned King Kong.

Rating: 1/2*

Summary: A short
Shockmaster match is infinitely better than a long one. Unfortunately for the
900 pound duo the attempted switcheroo trick failed.

Tony mentions that prior to the telecast Terry Taylor
defeated The Equalizer. He and Jesse then discuss The Boss as a replacement for
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith in the International World title match
later. In other news, Charlotte’s finest escort the limousine to the arena.

Match 3 for the WCW
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus Ricky “The Dragon”
Steamboat

Highlights:

·        
At the outset of the match Tony and Jesse pondered
the possibility of a time-limit draw due to Regal’s reluctance to lock up with
Steamboat. Foreshadowing, perhaps?
·        
If one cannot enjoy a Regal match solely based
upon his facial expressions, how can one?
·        
Enziguri by Steamboat caused a 360° sell.
·        
After both men head to the floor Sir William
tried to nail Steamboat with the umbrella. Nonetheless it became a chase into
the ring by Steamboat after Sir William.
·        
As Steamboat exited the ring to chase him again Regal
caught him with a standing dropkick.
·        
Butterfly suplex by Steamboat with 45 seconds
remaining in the time limit.
·        
Outside the ring Steamboat rammed Regal and Sir
William’s heads together.
·        
With 15 seconds remaining Steamboat climbed to
the top turnbuckle but misses the flying body press.
·        
As ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta counted
down the final seconds Steamboat delivered a German suplex but could not
successfully secure the pin in time.
·        
Time-limit draw. Regal retained his title.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  If you enjoy scientific/technical wrestling
then this is your match. Plenty of psychology mixed in with a tiny bit of
high-flying and workrate make this an extremely good match. A finish would have
raised the rating even higher, but Steamboat did his job making Regal look sharp
here.

Tony and Jesse continue to discuss Flair and the retirement
stipulation of the main event.

Match 4: Shanghai
Pierce and Tex Slazenger versus Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne

Highlights:

·        
Can Mick Foley carry the load of four men here?
Let’s find out!
·        
Tony compared Cactus Jack and Tex Slazenger.
It’s no wonder the future Mideon would emulate the future
Mankind in the WWF during the Attitude Era.
·        
Bulldog from Slazenger.
·        
Cactus clothesline to Shanghai Pierce.
·        
Assisted “plancha” by Cactus atop Slazenger. I
believe Sandman swiped that move in ECW.
·        
Payne applied the Payne Killer to Pierce, but
Slazenger saved.
·        
Heel miscommunication led to a Cactus double-arm
DDT on Pierce for the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Not as
bad as I expected, but yes, Foley can carry quite a load.

Okerlund interviews NASCAR driver Kyle Petty who discusses
his father’s (Richard Petty) retirement.

Match 5 for the US
title (2 out of 3 falls): “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes (champion) versus
“Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Colonel Parker)

Highlights:

·        
Austin rolled his camera while making his
entrance.
·        
By the way, where is Brian Pillman? Shouldn’t he
be facing Austin? Then again, Austin bloodied Rhodes at Battlebowl, so never
mind.
·        
Ventura made a Rush Limbaugh joke.
·        
Upon the reversal of an Irish whip Rhodes sent
Austin over the steel railing into the crowd.
·        
From the second rope Austin missed a knee drop.
·        
Flip, flop, and fly followed by a lariat from
Rhodes.
·        
Powerslam by Rhodes got a 2 count.
·        
Parker got up on the apron, but Rhodes tossed
Austin directly into him.
·        
In the process Austin went over the top rope
earning him the first fall due to disqualification.
·        
In lieu of the thirty second rest period Rhodes
followed Austin to the floor to hammer on him.
·        
In fact he rammed Austin into the ring post busting him wide open.
·        
An injured Colonel Parker was escorted from
ringside.
·        
To begin the second fall Rhodes went outside the
ring to bring Austin in the hard way.
·        
Double axe handle from the top rope by Rhodes as
the lights flickered.
·        
The ring lights went out forcing them to wrestle
under a spotlight.
·        
Vertical suplex, cross-corner whip, and  a clothesline by Rhodes.
·        
As the lights return Rhodes mounted the second
rope to nail Austin in the head.
·        
All of a sudden Austin took him down, grabbed
the tights, and got the pin.
·        
“Stunning” Steve Austin is the NEW US champion!

Rating: **

Summary: This
match either could have been a bloody brawl or a decent wrestling match;
however, Rhodes’ ire toward Austin wasn’t a factor until the beginning of the
second fall. On top of that both men were capable of using more workrate and
fluidity. Oh, and one more thing, this match only lasted 15:54. For a best two
out of three falls match? That’s criminally short. How will they make up the
PPV time? I’m afraid to find out.

Match 6 for the WCW
International World title: “Ravishing” Rick Rude versus The Boss

Highlights:

·        
Back on 11/30/93 a non-title match between “The
British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and Rude was filmed, but Smith was fired
before it could air on 12/18. Instead on 12/13 Rude beat Smith by forfeit
causing Ray Traylor the Boss to make his return
to WCW after six years, face Rude in a non-title match, and defeat him.
·        
A police siren signaled the Boss to the ring.
·        
Hooters’ girls have been ring attendants this
evening and gave Rude the thumbs down much to Jesse’s chagrin.
·        
Tremendous elevation via back drop followed by a
backbreaker by the Boss.
·        
While on the floor the Boss suplexed Rude and hung
his legs over the top rope.
·        
Rude mounted the top turnbuckle but ate a right
hand on the way down.
·        
After a Boss miscue Rude sunset flipped over the
top rope and pinned him.

Rating: 1/2*

Summary: Got a
stamp? Rude mailed in another one here. In addition to the legitimacy of the
International World title being questioned the poor quality of Rude’s matches
in 1993 also devalued its championship value. Thus far the WCW International
World title is a joke.

WCW SuperBrawl IV takes place on February 20!

Match 7 for the WCW
World Tag Team titles: The Nasty Boys (champions w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Sting
and Road Warrior Hawk

Highlights:

·        
Oh my God! Missy Hyatt wore a see-through pink
dress. Methinks she wanted to wear less clothing than the Hooters’ girls.
·        
Stalling to start by the Nasty Boys. I don’t
like the feeling I’m getting watching this.
·        
Hawk military pressed Sting then launched him
onto both Nasty Boys.
·        
Enziguri by Hawk.
·        
Sags gave Hawk a chair shot with a plastic
non-folding chair. Ouch!
·        
To add insult to injury Missy slapped Hawk. He must have been a naughty Road Warrior.
·        
Cross arm breaker to Hawk by Sags.
·        
Fujiwara arm bar by Knobbs. It appears that the
Nasty Boys learned something during their short stint in NJPW in November.
·        
Tony: “What’s more painful here? This arm bar or
Missy’s mouth here?”
·        
False tag to Sting not permitted by referee Nick
Patrick.
·        
After Sting got the real tag and cleaned house
the Nasty Boys tried to take a walk.
·        
We’re fifteen minutes in; can we please get a
countout and move on to the main event? No? Dammit!
·        
Alternatively Sting and Hawk continued my misery
by chasing after the nefarious champs.
·        
Sting attempted a top rope splash but hit knees.
·        
Knobbs mounted the second turnbuckle and grazed
Sting on the way down. I believe he was supposed to miss him completely.
·        
In an entirely obvious moment to us but
oblivious to the referee, Knobbs tossed Sting over the top rope. Sting landed
on the apron first, but Patrick ignored it.
·        
Outside the ring Sags made Sting taste the steel
railing. Needs Gulden’s spicy brown mustard.
·        
Not to nitpick but the tag belts sat in the
corner of the champs instead of the timekeeper’s table. C’mon, WCW! You’re
better than that!
·        
Missy whipped Sting with her (ahem) cat o’ nine tails
before Sags clotheslined him.
·        
Just to antagonize me Sags hooked the abdominal
stretch on Sting then switched with Knobbs.
·        
We’re twenty minutes in,  and Sags hurt himself by giving Sting a
pump-handle slam.
·        
Reverse chinlock by Knobbs.
·        
After a vertical suplex Knobbs reapplied the
rear chinlock.
·        
Sags tagged in briefly, but it was obvious he
was in a lot of pain.
·        
Oh Criminy! Knobbs applied the abdominal stretch
AGAIN.
·        
Five minutes remain. Please let this match end.
·        
After a slam Knobbs climbed to the second rope
and delivered a splash.
·        
He tried it a second time, and as if on cue
Sting raised his foot. Oops! Sting forgot the first time.
·        
Nasty Boys with the double-team avalanche on
Sting.
·        
With three minutes remaining Hawk nailed Knobbs
then hammered Sags who caught his leg on the top rope.
·        
FINALLY Hawk tagged in and cleaned house.
·        
Stinger splash, but when Sting tried to apply
the Scorpion Deathlock, Missy jumped up on the apron.
·        
Sting kissed Missy with two minutes left.
·        
He avoided a charging Knobbs (sending Missy to
the floor) and school-boyed him for 2.
·        
In an extremely convoluted manner Sting and Hawk
deliver the Doomsday Device to Knobbs.
·        
Since Sags was too injured to even stand on the
apron Missy was forced to interfere causing the DQ. During that time she
jiggled out of her dress. More on this later.
·        
Out of nowhere the bell rung despite Patrick
doing anything to signal for it.
·        
Sting and Hawk won the match, but the Nasty Boys
retained the titles.

Rating: DUD

Summary: How many
drugs did the Nasty Boys (allegedly) promise Hawk to be in control for this
match? Seriously I realize that the heels normally call a match, but the Nasty
Boys are better brawlers than wrestlers and certainly not ring generals. This
match was too long and had time-limit draw written all over it before that
hasty finish. On the other hand Booking 101 states that a show should not
contain more than one time-limit draw so someone didn’t communicate properly
somewhere.

Speaking of the finish I mentioned that Missy popped out of
her dress. Well, a WCW photographer got a good shot and it ended up on a
bulletin board at CNN Center. When Missy discovered it she pleaded with
Executive Producer Eric Bischoff to remove it and punish those responsible.
After Bischoff’s attempted deflection of the situation Hyatt went over his head
to file her complaint. Without hesitation Bischoff fired her prompting a sexual
discrimination lawsuit against WCW by Hyatt. In December 1996 the suit was settled
out of court.

Call the hotline to talk to Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne after
the show!

Match 8 for the WCW
World Heavyweight title: Vader (champion w/ Harley Race) versus “Nature Boy”
Ric Flair

Highlights:

·        
To no one’s surprise the hometown hero received
an enormous pop upon his entrance and introduction.
·        
Buffer rumbled.
·        
Humongous “Flair” chants from the Queen City
faithful.
·        
Gorilla press slam from Vader sent Flair rolling
to the floor.
·        
Vader followed and made Flair taste the steel railing.
More mustard please.
·        
Having turned the tables Flair avoided a Vader
splash on the steel railing then rammed him head-first into the ring post.
·        
Vader tossed Flair around like a rag doll.
·        
Cross-corner whip by Vader became a Flair flip
to the floor.
·        
Stiff rights followed by a stiff clothesline by
Vader busted Flair’s mouth open.
·        
Flair’s retaliatory chops didn’t faze Vader.
·        
Powerslam by Vader.
·        
Second-rope clothesline by Vader but second-rope
splash missed.
·        
Top rope forearm by Flair yet second one only
grazed Vader.
·        
Third one put Vader down on the mat.
·        
Superplex followed by a running body block by
Vader.
·        
Race kicked and choked Flair on the floor.
·        
Much to the crowd’s delight Flair put Vader down
on the mat after a series of right hands and chops.
·        
After ramming Vader’s left leg into the ring
post, Flair rammed it with Jesse’s plastic chair. OUCH!
·        
After some stiff shots to Vader Flair delivered
a chair shot to the top of the head.
·        
Flair failed to hook a figure-four leg lock.
·        
Vader bomb missed.
·        
Second attempt at the figure four leg lock was
successful, but Vader made it to the ropes.
·        
Moonsault by Vader missed.
·        
Race tried to break up the cover but head-butted
Vader from the top rope instead.
·        
Referee Randy Anderson heaved Race completely
out of the ring. Way to go, Randy!
·        
After a flying forearm and some chops Flair sent
Vader into the ropes only to eat another running body block. Vader grabbed his
left leg though.
·        
Like a shark smelling blood in the water Flair
grabbed the weakened left leg in a single leg takedown and pinned Vader.
·        
We have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion!
·        
For the eleventh time Flair is the man! Woo!

 Rating: ****1/2

Summary:  Excellent David versus Goliath story told here
by both men. Flair knew he could not outwrestle the larger Vader; hence, he
went toe-to-toe and outlasted him in this tremendously fought battle. Even with
a puzzling finish I thought it was absolutely excellent. If you haven’t seen
this match, check it out.

On another note this match helped to save WCW as Flair was
the placeholder WCW needed after a long and bumpy 1993. To me that adds an
extra  ½*.

After the match the crowd gave Flair an elongated standing
ovation as confetti fell from the rafters.

Eric Bischoff is with an irate Vader with Harley Race. Vader
destroys a locker claiming “I want (the belt) back!”

Flair returns to ringside for a well-deserved curtain call.

Okerlund is in the other locker room with the Flair family.
He tries to interview Flair, but Flair’s mouth is too busted up. Instead he
interviews Sting who congratulates Flair. Ricky Steamboat appears and gives
kudos to Flair.

Conclusion: Consider
this show a major WCW reboot. Since Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson were not
involved two major matches had to be changed. Most of you already know that Sid
was penciled in as WCW World Champion at this show prior to the Blackburn scissors
incident. Incidentally Arn Anderson and Paul Roma were scheduled to have a
break-up angle and feud here as well. Of all the talent within WCW Erik Watts
was chosen to replace Anderson. Additionally Davey Boy Smith’s firing led to
Ray Traylor’s receipt of a title shot here. Since WCW was hung out to dry due
to all of these situations they could only rely on one man to rescue them—Ric Flair.
See you at Clash XXVI!

Buyrate: 0.55

For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.

Rock Star Gary reflects on…WCW Battlebowl 1993!

Live from Pensacola, FL

Airdate: November 20, 1993

Attendance: 7,000 (3,000 paid)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
This year’s event marks the third Battlebowl. In previous years Battlebowl occurred at Starrcade. While hyping the event Jesse mentions that the winner receives a Battlebowl ring. Both the heel and face locker rooms are shown via split-screen. Recounting Battlebowl history Tony notes that Sting won the first event and is here tonight while the Great Muta who won the second one isn’t here. Remember these marquee names when the names get pulled. Oh, (though unmentioned on camera) Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson are still suspended due to the hotel room altercation. Hopefully that should clear up some of the names drawn in the Lethal Lottery.

An excited “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Fifi rotate the tumbler in order to pull out the first batch of names. Cactus Jack’s name is called first. Were they trying to find best-selling authors or hardcore legends here? Anyways, WCW World champion Vader gets called next. Kole (Booker T) from Harlem Heat is named as the third participant; however, Kane (Stevie Ray) takes his place. The fourth name called is Native American Charlie Norris. See what I mean yet?
Match 1: Vader and Cactus Jack (w/ Harley Race) versus Charlie Norris and Kane (Harlem Heat)
Highlights:
· Before the match began Vader and Cactus Jack brawled on the ramp.
· Kane joined Vader in the melee.
· An unwilling Vader hit Harley Race to protest his participation though Race convinced Vader to compete.
· Reluctantly Cactus Jack tagged in Vader.
· He gave Norris a short-arm clothesline, a slam, and then a Vader bomb.
· Somersault plancha from Jack from the apron to the floor.
· Clothesline from Kane to Cactus Jack prompted Vader to enter the ring to brawl with Kane.
· Big foot from Norris knocked Cactus Jack out of the ring.
· Kane then made Cactus Jack taste the steel railing. Needs Miracle Whip.
· Double-arm DDT from Cactus Jack on Kane.
· Series of chops from Norris until Vader bulldozed him down.
· Vader splash off the ropes.
· Powerbomb from Vader but he lost his balance. I guess he misjudged Norris’ weight.
· Nevertheless Vader pinned Norris.
Rating: *
Summary: The concept of having Vader and Cactus on the same team was the only interesting aspect of this match. Vader and Cactus Jack move on to the battle royal.
After the match Vader appears to have hurt himself with that powerbomb.
Shenanigans between Okerlund and Fifi are teased as the next names are drawn. Paul Roma’s name is called first. Yikes! His partner will be Erik Watts. He’s still employed? Oh brother. Regardless, their first opponent is Johnny B. Badd. That’s three guys from the face locker room at this point. The last name drawn is Brian Knobbs from the Nasty Boys. I sense a train wreck with this group.
Match 2: Brian Knobbs and Johnny B. Badd (w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Erik Watts and “Pretty” Paul Roma
Highlights:
· Perhaps Missy will get involved against Watts since they used to be an item.
· According to Tony on the episode of WCW Saturday Night that aired prior to the PPV (taped 10/6/93) Arn Anderson was double-teamed by “Stunning” Steve Austin and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff before being rescued eventually by Roma. Afterwards Anderson was none too pleased with his fellow Horseman.
· Slam and a dropkick from Roma prior to tagging in Watts.
· Watts then nailed Knobbs with a knee lift and a dropkick.
· Top rope double sledge to the shoulder by Roma.
· Anderson slam by Roma. Who said he didn’t learn anything from being a Horseman?
· Funny bit as Missy turned her back on the match when Watts was tagged in.
· Sweet powerslam from Roma. No count due to Missy’s distraction of referee Nick Patrick.
· Badd didn’t agree with Knobbs’ heel trip of Roma off the ropes.
· Missy berated Badd for not capitalizing on the downed Roma outside the ring.
· Knobbs tried the assisted abdominal stretch with Badd, but Johnny would not comply.
· Knobbs ate boot after trying a second-rope splash.
· Enziguri from Roma.
· Flying body press from Watts, but Knobbs used momentum (and the tights) to roll through and pin Watts.
Rating: **
Summary: Fascinating dynamic with respect to the match flow because when Badd was tagged in a wrestling match occurred; on the other hand, when Knobbs was tagged in it was a brawl.
Back to Okerlund and Fifi who appear to be having a private conversation. For the next match the first participant is the Shockmaster. NO! Dammit! The second name called is Paul Orndorff. Fifi is getting quite cozy with Gene so much so that Gene makes a remark. Their first opponent will be Ricky Steamboat while the second opponent will be WCW World TV champion Lord Steven Regal.
Match 3: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William) versus the Shockmaster and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
Highlights:
· Regal’s facial expression of disgust at the onset was undeniably great.
· Steamboat skinned the cat then headscissored Orndorff over the top rope.
· Next they brawled on the floor.
· After tags were made on both sides Regal continued to be disgusted having touched Steamboat.
· Shockmaster touched Regal’s hair causing his Lordship to become quite miffed. Must not be his day.
· Flying body press by Regal countered into a slam by Shockmaster.
· Regal craftily countered a full-nelson and celebrated with a cartwheel.
· Stungun from Orndorff to Steamboat.
· Sidewalk slam by Orndorff.
· Shockmaster forced the tag between Steamboat and Regal then missed an avalanche.
· Regal attempted to use the umbrella, but Steamboat stopped him.
· Jockeying for the umbrella Regal knocked Steamboat into the ropes. Consequently Steamboat’s momentum caused the umbrella to hit Regal.
· While Steamboat chased Sir William outside the ring with the umbrella Shockmaster splashed Regal for the pin.
Rating: **
Summary: The bickering between tag partners in this match made for quite the entertaining bout. The ironic twist at the end told a good story as well.
After the match Steamboat griped with Regal. Perhaps he promised his Battlebowl ring to Bonnie.
Don’t miss Starrcade on Monday, December 27! Tony details the highlights from the inaugural Starrcade back in 1983. Meanwhile at the Starrcade press conference while standing next to a dapper Vader (including head gear) Okerlund refers to Starrcade as “the premiere event for (WCW).” He then mentions all of the cities that bid for the venue slot. Ultimately Okerlund announces that Starrcade will emanate from (the Independence Arena in) Charlotte, NC.
As Okerlund hypes Vader as the current WCW champion, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair interrupts the proceedings by presenting a contract to face Vader at Starrcade. Vader asks what Flair brings to the table. Flair offers his ten world titles. Vader counters with his ten titles across four continents. Flair counters with a retirement stipulation should he lose the match. Vader lists all of the wrestlers he has either injured or put out to pasture then accepts the match.
As an aside here Starrcade was supposed to feature the break-up of the Masters of the Powerbomb. Nonetheless, due to the hotel altercation between Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson in England both wrestlers were suspended. This situation caused not only the World title match (and subsequent plans for the title) to be altered but also cancelled the Anderson-Roma match.
When we return live to the arena Okerlund and Fifi are having another intimate moment. In fact Gene holds up a pair of handcuffs. How naughty! No wonder this show is rated TV-14. The first participant in our next match is Awesome Kong. Sadly he’s not so awesome. His partner will be the Equalizer. Ugh! My stomach hurts. On the opposite side of the ring will be Dustin Rhodes and King Kong. Will Fay Wray be far behind? Let’s hope “The Natural” can perform a miracle here.
Match 4: “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes and King Kong versus the Equalizer and Awesome Kong
Highlights:
· Three dropkicks from Rhodes couldn’t take Awesome Kong off his feet, but a rollup received a 2 count.
· Rhodes tagged in King Kong to face his partner.
· To say that a match between the Kongs is the polar opposite of a match between the Rockers in 1993 would be an accurate statement.
· Immediately King Kong tagged out avoiding the confrontation with Awesome Kong.
· Since three of the four men in this match are heels the crowd is noticeably VERY quiet.
· Flying shoulder block from the Equalizer knocked King Kong to the canvas, but he missed the leg drop.
· Bionic elbow got a 2 count.
· Pandemonium ensued with all four men in the ring. In turn Awesome gave his own partner a Kong sandwich in the corner but knocked himself silly.
· Immediately Rhodes hit the bulldog on Awesome Kong and gained the victory.
Rating: DUD
Summary: Nope, Rhodes is merely mortal as this match truly sucked. Yuck! I believe the crowd reaction when Rhodes pinned Awesome Kong was for the fact that the match was over rather than anything else.
Methinks Gene is sweating as he stands next to Fifi. The first participant in the next match is Sting. That woke up the crowd! His partner will be Jerry Sags of the Nasty Boys. The next name called is Ron Simmons while his partner will be…Keith Cole? Seriously, an enhancement talent gets a PPV match? Talk about random.
Match 5: Ron Simmons and Keith Cole versus Jerry Sags (w/ Missy Hyatt) and Sting
Highlights:
· Holy incredible mullets, Batman! That is one heck of a hairstyle on Keith Cole. Take a flat top and give it a long tail.
· After former WCW World champion Simmons brought the workrate to the match Cole tagged in and bored the crowd with some arm bars. In response the crowd chanted “We Want Sting!” Sags teased the crowd with a couple of false tags just to be a dick.
· Although after Sags had some trouble with his opponents Sting was finally tagged in.
· Having some fun with Simmons’ neon green tights Jesse changed Ron’s allegiance from Florida State to Notre Dame. I wonder if that means anything.
· Sting shook Cole’s head. Cole’s response was praising Sting’s similar hairstyle.
· Sting countered a hip toss with a backslide.
· Sweet powerslam from Simmons.
· Catapult clothesline on the bottom rope by Simmons.
· After Cole exposed his inexperience Sting took control.
· Stinger splash.
· Sags blindly tagged in, dropped the elbow from the top rope, and pinned Cole.
Rating: ***
Summary: Aside from Cole’s inexperience (who else was going to eat the pin here?) this match brought some athleticism to the ring. Even though this show was in his home state Simmons teased a heel turn and received the appropriate crowd response.
After the match Simmons is disgusted with Cole. In fact he’s so disgruntled that he delivered the Dominator to him cementing his heel turn.
As the camera returns to Gene and Fifi they are shown dancing quite closely. Our next participant is “Stunning” Steve Austin. His partner is “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Considering these two were on opposite teams in a match for Clash XXII earlier in the year their pairing ought to be exciting. Moving along, their opponents will be Maxx Payne and Too Cold Scorpio. Is the outcome too obvious here or what?
Match 6: “Nature Boy”Ric Flair and “Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Colonel Parker) versus Too Cold Scorpio and Maxx Payne
Highlights:
· Austin was still sporting his Hollywood Blonds jacket and trunks. Also he was the only heel in this match.
· Standing choke from Payne then he dropped Austin on his back.
· Flair and Scorpio took it to the mat ending with a backslide from Scorpio for 2.
· Standing moonsault from Scorpio.
· Austin walked into a superkick from Scorpio.
· Superplex from Austin.
· Belly-to-back suplex from Flair only got 2 thanks to a save by Payne.
· Rope-assisted abdominal stretch from Austin broken by Flair.
· After an argument with Austin Flair gave Scorpio a delayed vertical suplex.
· Top rope forearm from Austin. Again Payne made the save.
· Out of nowhere Scorpio hit the spinning heel kick.
· After no-selling Flair’s chops Payne went on the attack.
· Unfortunately he missed a running knee in the corner prompting Flair to slap on the figure four leg lock for the submission victory.
Rating: ***1/2
Summary: Even with Payne involved the workrate was very strong in this match. On the other hand Payne as a face doesn’t sell too well.
Upon their re-emergence on camera Gene takes a moment to “tie (his) shoe” and inauspiciously tries to look up Fifi’s evening gown. Subtle, Gene. The next name called is WCW International World Champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude. His partner will be Shanghai Pierce. For those unfamiliar that is Henry Godwinn with a mask. Their opponents are Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Tex Slazenger (aka Phineas Godwinn). To say one of these men is not like the others would be an understatement.
Match 7: Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Tex Slazenger versus Shanghai Pierce and “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Highlights:
· Rude showed off his physique then his strength with an unassisted vertical suplex on Bagwell.
· He then tagged in Pierce to face Slazenger, but again he tagged out to avoid wrestling his partner.
· Splash from Bagwell got a 2 count.
· To illustrate how boring this match is, Tony asked Jesse about his Thanksgiving plans.
· Vertical suplex with a float-over by Bagwell.
· As Bagwell tried to bounce off the ropes Rude supplied the low bridge sending Bagwell to the floor.
· Jesse’s Thanksgiving response became a cheap shot at Vince McMahon regarding his indictment.
· Rude with a delayed vertical…nope, make that a gourdbuster.
· Pierce hit a knee drop from the second rope.
· To bore the crowd even further Rude applied a bear hug.
· False tag led to a double-team on Bagwell. Not the Showtime variety.
· Big boot off the ropes by Pierce followed by a sit-out powerbomb. I’m as shocked as you are.
· Slazenger made the save kicking Pierce in the back.
· Tex tagged in and the future Godwinns brawled with one another. It resembled a brawl you’d see at the local watering hole.
· As Pierce set up Slazenger for a sunset flip Rude tagged in and gave Slazenger the Rude Awakening for the pin.
Rating: *
Summary: Thank goodness it’s over. That match was a cure for insomnia. Rude’s involvement along with the sit-out powerbomb rises this one from the dead.
After the match Slazenger and Pierce beat up Bagwell then reunite. Aww.
As we return to the tumbler Fifi is suspiciously on her knees while Gene has an enormous grin on his face. And you wonder why Missy Hyatt sued this company for sexual harassment? The next participant will be Road Warrior Hawk. If his partner doesn’t have a stash of either downers or hormones I don’t like his chances. Hawk’s partner will be…Rip Rogers? Seriously? Yikes! Their opponents will be Davey Boy Smith and Kole of Harlem Heat. In actuality it was either going to be Kole or Kent Cole as nobody else was left in either dressing room.
Match 8: “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and Kole (Harlem Heat) versus Road Warrior Hawk and Rip Rogers
Highlights:
· Rip Rogers was so excited to be a part of Battlebowl that Hawk destroyed him on the ramp prior to their entrance to the ring.
· Not surprisingly DBS kicked the downed Rogers as he made his way to the ring.
· Kole stopped to check on Rogers then stomped him. And you thought Regal had a bad night?
· Spinaroonie from Kole.
· We’re five minutes in, and Rogers had not yet checked into his corner.
· Sidewalk slam from Kole.
· As Rogers got on the apron he got nailed by Kole.
· After Kole hit a forearm smash off the top rope he hammered Rogers again on the apron.
· Backbreaker from Kole, but a second-rope elbow missed.
· Hawk then brought Rogers into the ring, pressed him overhead, and tossed him onto Kole for the pin!
Rating: *
Summary: Well, there’s your comedy match for the evening. Kole was definitely game here. Notwithstanding DBS was not even a factor in this match. In fact this was his last WCW PPV appearance until 1998.
Okerlund loses his composure after hearing Fifi thank him for their Battlebowl experience together. Profoundly Gene remarks on the possibility of the Nasty Boys’ working together to win Battlebowl.
Match 9: Battlebowl Battle Royal
Highlights:
· In lieu of Michael Buffer a strange voice located nowhere near the arena (Thanks WWE!) listed the names involved: Vader, Cactus Jack, Brian Knobbs, Johnny B. Badd, The Shockmaster, Paul Orndorff, King Kong, Dustin Rhodes, Sting, Jerry Sags, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Shanghai Pierce, Road Warrior Hawk, and last but certainly not least Rip Rogers.
· Rip Rogers staggered to the ring.
· Once inside he tangled with Badd probably for the title of the most flamboyant outfit.
· Shortly thereafter Badd eliminated him.
· Cactus Jack low-bridged Pierce over the top to eliminate him.
· A preview of Over the Edge ’98 occurred as Austin and Cactus Jack brawled in the corner.
· Flair and Austin fought on the floor yet still remained active in the match.
· Orndorff eliminated Badd.
· Jesse questioned why Hawk would save Flair from elimination. My guess would be that he was ensuring Flair would be buying rounds at the Marriott later on.
· Vader blocked a superplex attempt by Cactus Jack then eliminated him.
· All of a sudden Orndorff exited unceremoniously thanks to Dustin Rhodes.
· Shockmaster eliminated King Kong, but both Nasty Boys get rid of him.
· Vader press slammed Sting onto the ramp though Sting was not eliminated.
· Austin tried a double sledge from the second rope but got caught in the midsection by Rhodes.
· Tony mentioned Austin’s challenge for the US title from WCW Saturday Night.
· Vader and Flair have a mini-battle to hype their match next month.
· Austin tossed Rhodes through the ropes to the floor then rammed his head into the ring post.
· Dustin was busted open.
· Rhodes backdropped Knobbs over the top rope eliminating him.
· He then lifted Sags to throw him out, but Austin assisted both of them over the top rope.
· Hawk eliminated Rude then was eliminated by Vader.
· The final four stood as Sting, Vader, Flair, and Austin.
· Sting gave Austin a vertical suplex.
· Vader missed an avalanche.
· Race dragged Flair onto the ramp signaling a brawl between the two.
· After Flair gave Race a vertical suplex Vader elbowed Flair on the right leg.
· Vader then splashed Flair on the ramp.
· Meanwhile in the ring Sting attempted to give Austin the Scorpion Deathlock but came to Flair’s aid instead.
· All four men were on the ramp.
· Flair was checked out by the trainer and placed on a stretcher.
· Flair was deemed “unable to continue” according to ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta.
· Will Flair make it to Starrcade?
· Vader and Austin double-military press Sting back into the ring.
· Both Austin and Vader mount the top rope, but Austin ate boot on the way down.
· Sting then caught Vader with a powerslam.
· Much to the crowd’s delight Sting rallied successfully.
· Vader and Austin pinball Sting with right hands.
· While Austin held the legs Vader splashed Sting twice.
· After wasting some time Vader missed the third splash.
· Once again Sting rallied igniting the crowd.
· Vader bomb, but Vader held his back due to the earlier powerbomb.
· Austin missed a top rope splash.
· Sting sent Austin over the top rope to the ramp then Vader clotheslined Sting to the ramp.
· Austin went to the floor thus being eliminated via Sting.
· We’re down to Vader and Sting.
· Clothesline and splash by Vader.
· Coming off the ropes Sting knocked Vader down then accidentally head-butted him low.
· Sting placed Vader in a fireman’s carry onto the top turnbuckle.
· He then attempted the Stinger splash but missed and went over the top rope to the floor.
· Vader won.
Rating: ***
Summary: As a preview to Starrcade this match served its purpose. Once the match evolved into a four man match the excitement started. The stretcher job by Flair keeps the audience in suspense for the title match scheduled for Starrcade. Additionally Vader’s injury was a nice bit of continuity from the opening tag match.
Afterwards Vader yells at the camera above Tony and Jesse.
Conclusion: Though enjoyable at times, as a PPV, this show was meaningless. It would have been much better served as a Clash because its main purpose was to sell Starrcade to the paying customer. Since the show has zero historical significance I would only recommend it to tag team enthusiasts and WCW fanatics; otherwise, skip it and let’s go to Starrcade!
Buyrate: 0.27 (Buh-bye Battlebowl!)
For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1993 WCW as told by Vader

This was released in February 2014

The interview runs at two hours and ten minutes long

Sean Oliver conducted the interview

JANUARY

On January 8th, just nine days after Vader defeated Ron Simmons for the WCW World Championship, Ron Simmons challenges him to another match. Vader claims that he thought that title was the number one title in America at that time, because Sting, Ron Simmons, and himself were all great workers. Sean asks Vader if there were any plans for him to hold the title for a long time and Vader said Dusty Rhodes gave him “free reign” at the time and that he would tell them if he could work around their schedule.
Vader talks about riding with Harley Race at this time and how he would always hit the governor in the car, which was around 115mph and that Harley always had a beer and a cigarette in his hand and his job was to make sure that he did not run out of either.
When asked if Cactus Jack was better as a face or a heel, Vader said he didn’t think it mattered and feels the same way about himself. Vader, speaking for himself, said that he did not work any different between heel or face.
On January 15th, Paul Heyman was fired from WCW by Bill Watts via fax after Watts claimed that Heyman faked expense reports from April-July of 1992. Vader said that Heyman had him sold about coming to ECW and calls him a great salesman. On the subject of Watts, Vader said that Watts once saw him do jump presses in the gym and after that, Watts was impressed and that he never had a problem with him.
Sean asks Vader about Bill Apter, after the 1992 PWI award show. Vader said that he liked him as a writer and someone who was important to wrestling for providing inside knowledge to the serious fan. Sean then talks about how now the curtain has been drawn back, exposing the business, and how they now know everything that will happen, stating the mystery is gone.
Vader is asked about Erik Watts and if the heat he had on him was warranted or not. Vader said that he always treated him good but the fact that he was a son of a very dominant booker and didn’t have what it took to be a star brought on the resentment. Vader did add that he believed Watts could have been a decent middle-of-the-card guy.
He is now asked the same question about Dustin Rhodes. Vader said that Dustin was a whole class above him as a wrestler and said that he is very talented and can wrestle.
Sean now goes over the “White Castle of Fear” video that aired on the January 30th episode of “WCW Saturday Night.” When asked, Vader said he did not know who came up with the idea but looking back, people remember it well.
FEBRUARY
The Tazmaniac received a tryout at the February 8th “WCW Saturday Night” tapings defeating Joey Maggs but did not get hired by the company. Vader said that he remembered him briefly at that time and said that he had power and explosiveness that made him popular. When asked about the tryout process in WCW, Vader said that it was a tough situation because they had a stacked roster. He goes back to talk about the AWA when he broke in until Sean reins him back to talk about WCW.
Bill Watts resigned from WCW on February 10th. When asked if Watts’ tenure was good, Vader just talked about how he agreed to drop the belt to Ron Simmons, claiming that it was by his choice, as he could have jumped ship to WWF or Japan if he wanted.
Ole Anderson took over for Watts on February 12th. Vader said that he was confrontational then talks about he was the first 400lbs person to perform a moonsault and after that, people tried to imitate him. Vader said that Ole did not want him to do the moonsault because he was 400lbs and did not need to fly around like “Peter Pan.” Vader said at that time, he was drinking and doing other things, so he told off Ole. Vader claims that he is not that person anymore (he is full of shit).
Davey Boy Smith debuted on February 21st by defeating Bill Irwin after being fired from the WWF due to receiving shipments of growth hormones. When asked about the difference between the companies, Vader talks about how he always put legal stuff into his body and never had a problem with tests. Sean asks him about the steroids and if the “black market” stuff was different from what you would get from doctors and what steroids they used and Vader said he was naturally big since birth and used stuff that would help his body produce naturally because if you put other stuff into your body, it can stop producing.
At SuperBrawl III, Barry Windham defeated the Great Muta to win the NWA World Championship. When asked if two belts diminished the WCW World Championship, Vader said he didn’t at the time but looking back thinks it did. He also said that was Ric Flair’s decision as he was running things then talks about how he saw Reid Flair right before he died at an independent show in Rhode Island and from that he talks about Japan for a bit.
Speaking on Flair’s return to WCW, Vader said that at the time he did not understand the politics of the business like he does now. He talks about his feud with Cactus Jack and how it was the hottest in the business and they ended with Cactus having amnesia. He then said that Flair was the best in regards to political savvy.
He talks about his strap match with Sting at SuperBrawl III. Vader talks for a while about building a match and how too much scripting hinders the match and how he did everything on the fly and now the business has changed because they now receive a piece of paper on what do to at all times.
Jim Ross quit on February 25th, shortly after a demotion to a position that had him sell TV syndication. Vader said that it was a big loss, especially for him as he really liked his character. Vader then said that the announcer matters a lot more than the average fan thinks. He also believes that the company was going into a new era and that they wanted to move away from JR’s style of announcing and looks.
MARCH
On the subject of the Hollywood Blonds team, Vader said that he once teamed with Steve Austin against Ric Flair & Steve Austin in a TV match that lasted 27 minutes and how they tore the house down. Vader said that he and Austin had instant chemistry. When asked if Brian Pillman was the best choice as Austin’s partner, Vader said that he was not but they still had a good run.
APRIL
He is asked about the WCW debut in New York City on April 14th at the Paramount Theatre. Vader said that the locker room treated it as another show and did not get excited that they were in WWF territory.
On April 17th after a match on WCW Saturday Night, Cactus Jack wound up in the hospital, requiring 24 stitches and suffering a concussion, after his match with Vader. When asked, Vader said that before the match, Cactus came up to Harley and himself and told him to not wear his gloves and when he hit him, to turn his hand and cut him on each side then puff his nose and slice up his forehead. Vader said that parts of the match were edited off of TV.
MAY
On May 1st, the “Flair for the Gold” segment made it’s debut on “WCW Worldwide.” Flair introduced his wife Fifi and interviewed Harley Race and Vader. He thought that the segment didn’t work and looking back, Vader said that was on him because he kept grunting and growling so Flair had nothing to work with.
Vader defeated Tatsuo Nakano via KO at 3:35 at the UWFI event in Japan. He is asked if WCW management took issue with him taking the match. Vader said that it was in his contract with Bischoff that he could go to Japan a few times a year. He said that eventually, he gave WCW the rights that prevented him to go to Japan when he restructured his own contract but he got more money as a result. When asked about the UWFI “shoot fight” match, Vader said that he was confident in his ability but was legit scared about a guy from Russia who was 6’1 and 340lbs. He said that he only did it for the payday as he was building a shopping center at the time and needed the money to make that happen.
He is asked about Paul Roma joining the Four Horseman but first asked about what happened between Tully Blanchard and WCW. He just said there was friction between cliques within the company. When asked why Roma was considered, Vader has no idea and wonders if he was a friend.
Sid rejoined WCW on May 23rd. Vader tells us that Sid was originally considered for the Vader gimmick but that was over once they saw him wrestle. He could not do a long match with a smaller guy as he could not keep up with them.
JUNE
When asked about Kevin Nash showing up on WWF television after wrestling just three days earlier for WCW, Vader said that he was not much in terms of star power when he left the company but became a major player in WWF then came back as a huge star. Vader said Kevin is a friend and a very smart businessman.
He is asked about the “Masters of the Powerbomb” gimmick when he teamed with Sid. Vader said that was Bischoff’s idea but that the gimmick did not work, citing it was just “too much.”
At the Clash of the Champions, Ric Flair & Arn Anderson defeated the Hollywood Blonds for the Tag Team Titles in the lowest rated Clash of all-time. Vader talks again about how he teamed with Austin and had great chemistry together and thought they should have gotten a chance to feud with Arn & Flair
JULY
On July 7th, WCW taped several months worth of WCW Worldwide shows at the Disney/MGM Studios, revealing future champions to the crowd in the process. He said that the WCW did it to save cash but the crowds were not wrestling crowds and that they did not take into consideration the fact that guys involved in the shows had contracts expiring later in the year.
AUGUST
The Nasty Boys returned to WCW on August 14th. Vader said he always got along with them and they were a pretty good tag team who partied more than they trained but still did a good job in the ring.
On that same day, Harlem Heat made their WCW debut. Vader said that he got along with them and says that he grew up in inner-city Los Angeles around a lot of minorities and played sports, using a rough style. When asked if he saw any star potential in Booker T back then, Vader said he is very good and once he got to show his own personality, he started to shine.
Vader is now asked about the Shockmaster debut. When Vader said it was over once he fell through the wall and starts to laugh for a bit.
He is now asked about the Road Warriors returning to WCW at Clash of the Champions. Sean asked if the gimmick was passé and Vader said their physical presence was awesome and that they were built for power. He adds that their time away from the company may have hurt them.
SEPTEMBER
After New Japan Wrestling took him to court claiming his costume and name, he became “Vader” after originally being called “Big Van Vader.” He talks for a long time about how he was as a star in Japan and then ended with how no one gave a shit about the name change as it meant nothing. A waste of four minutes.
OCTOBER
Vader is asked about Bret Hart burying Ric Flair on a Sports Radio Station in Toronto. Vader said that Flair is a great wrestler and that was not a fair criticism. He also says that Bret is extremely good but not the “Best there was….” He then talks about hearing horror stories about Vince McMahon and said that he was always treated like a gentleman in the WWF, by the employees and Vince, and that the WWF had a lot to do with them being allowed to say anything.
Now he is asked about the incident in which Sid Vicious stabbed Arn Anderson. Vader said that the whole company were all at this lounge, drinking and exchanging a lot of pills. He said that not everyone was doing this but they were all doing this before getting on a plane and he said that one wrestler, who Vader refused to name, got up and fell face-first onto a chair. They get to their destination and they get someone to open up a bar and guys are drinking as the sun is coming up. The next thing he knows, a fight breaks out and that Sid was going into shock and did the “Frankenstein” walk towards him so he grabbed Sid and had blood squirting out of his side. Vader said that he did not know what to do so he stuck is thumb there with a towel and sat him down until the ambulance came. Vader claims to have not seen what happened before that. Sean asks if they were reprimanded about what happened and Vader said he was actually praised for saving Sid’s life.
NOVEMBER
Gene Okerlund makes his WCW debut on the November 6th edition of WCW Saturday Night. Vader said that Hogan was surrounding himself with his people and that the talks of Hogan entering the company were happening. He says that Okerlund is very good.
Vader won the BattleBowl on November 20th. He said that the year before, Sting got a nice ring after he won the tournament but he did not get one when he won, which ticked him off. Vader said that the reason was that Bischoff asked him to take photos for six weeks straight and he didn’t, which he did, then did what Bischoff told him to, which meant he was late to the other place he was supposed to be at and Orndorff flipped out at him, leading to the fight, which Vader said cost him a shitload of money and that if Bischoff had told him where he was at that time, this could have been avoided. Vader then wishes Orndorff well.
DECEMBER
He is asked about the Title vs. Career match against Ric Flair. Originally, Vader claimed that Dusty told him he was going to regain the belt six weeks later in a cage match and that Ric was getting the belt because it was his hometown and the company needed a boost. He said that a five weeks later, Flair took over the booking job and the rematch never took place.
Sean asks Vader about being named the “Wrestler of the Year” in 1993 from three different publications. Vader then promises to tell Sean about his exercise devise which is patent-pending that strengthens your upper body as long as he invites him back for another video. He said the device is tentatively called the “Vader Pump.”
Final Thoughts: This was awful. Vader, who just mumbled through the video, kept going off-topic to talk about himself or something else that was not involving anything that happened in 1993 WCW. I learned next to nothing about this year and everything else I heard from his RF Video Shoot interview from 15 years ago. The purpose of these pieces is to learn about the entire year. This failed at that miserably.

I really like Sean Oliver but he did a terrible job with Vader, letting him go off-topic and not bringing him back to the topic. I also think he got played a bit by Vader, who seemingly used this as a vehicle to promote himself. I mean they all do but this guy didnt even say a single thing of note. He let Vader consume the whole interview with his own ramblings. I thought this was about 1993 WCW and throughout the the two hours and ten minutes of this piece, I heard very little of what happened this year other than Vader harping on the fact that he and Steve Austin would have been the best tag team.

As far as these Timeline interviews go, this was easily one of the worst. I thought the Barry Windham 1991 Timeline was the worst but at least he wasn’t in love with himself like Vader, who was not willing to discuss anyone but himself. He would say that he was “good friends” with people that he liked and if something came up where he acted like a jerk, he would not talk about the situation in detail and just said that he is a different person now, which is full of shit based off of he acted recently while in Europe. My recommendation for this is to avoid at all costs. 

March to WrestleMania 1993

Backstory:  I was reading Scott’s Monday Night RAW
Season One
on Kindle, and he mentioned the lack of hype for the main event
of WrestleMania IX. That seemed peculiar and very un-WWF-like. I wanted to find
out the scoop on this; therefore, I started watching the 1993 episodes of RAW and
noticed a missing week between March 22 and WrestleMania on April 4.

The answer lied within the March 22 episode as Vince hyped March to WrestleMania on Sunday March 28
at 8pm EST on USA.  I’d never heard of
it, so I thought I’d give it a look. Interestingly an abbreviated version of
the show was shown in place of RAW from the Manhattan Center the following
night. I will be reviewing that instead since I was unable to locate a copy of
the original show. Other matches on the card included:

·        
Kamala pinned Kim Chee with a splash.

·        
WWF Tag Team Champions Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase
and IRS) defeated Reno Riggins and Jerry Sabin after DiBiase locked Riggins in
the Million Dollar Dream.

·        
Tatanka pinned George South with the Papoose To
Go. Shawn Michaels got involved afterwards but was chopped away by Tatanka.

·        
The Bushwhackers and Tiger Jackson defeated the
Beverly Brothers and Little Louie when Tiger hit Louie with a high crossbody
block.

 For those of you who
have read my reviews in the past and noticed how DETAILED everything was (and
were subsequently bored from it) I have changed my style to a more
sports-entertainment type of recap. Let’s see what you think!

The show starts off with Rob Bartlett at the empty Manhattan
Center looking lost. The more lost you are, Rob, the better for us.

Hence, our real hosts are Vince McMahon and Bobby “The Brain”
Heenan.

We revisit the contract signing from Wrestling Challenge for
the championship match at WrestleMania. Yokozuna rams the table into Bret Hart’s
gut then avalanches him in the corner.  A
double thrust to the throat and a stomp put Bret in position for the Banzai
Drop. And Yoko hits it.

Miraculously Bret staggers to his feet only to fall
face-first at the feet of Yoko. Moments later Bret rises again to the delight
of the crowd. Gorilla Monsoon remarks that Bret has a lot of “heart.”

Vince and Bobby welcome us to the show, and Bobby refers to
McMahon as “Mr. Microphone.”  They hype
the card featuring Yokozuna against “Macho Man” Randy Savage! Additionally the
Undertaker will square off against Bam Bam Bigelow! If that’s not enough the
MegaManiacs will be here too!

Match 1: Yokozuna (with
Mr. Fuji) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage

While hyping the main event of WrestleMania Heenan asks if
Bret had signed a contract or his last will and testament. Vince believes
Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji made a “Macho” mistake signing this match a week before
WrestleMania.

Highlights:          

·        
Say what you want about the legendary Randy
Savage in 1993, but he could still incite a crowd.

·        
Yokozuna’s offense may have been methodical, but
he dominated Savage at the beginning.

·        
The Yoko leg drop off the ropes looked
devastating.

·        
After a missed avalanche Savage took to the top
rope to assault Yoko, but a second attempt was thwarted by Mr. Fuji behind the back
of referee Earl Hebner.

·        
Yoko’s belly-to-belly suplex puts Savage down
for 3.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  While Savage
may have been a part-time wrestler for the WWF at this point, putting over
Yokozuna clean as a sheet before WrestleMania made Yokozuna look like a million
bucks in preparation for the title match.

After the match Mr. Fuji instructs Yokozuna to give Savage a
Banzai Drop. Yoko goes up, but Savage escapes ”just in the nick of time.”  A knee to the back from Savage knocks the big
man out of the ring! Yoko tries to re-enter but referees and agents prevent
that from happening. JJ Dillon is seen here instructing the #1 contender back
to the locker room.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the MegaManiacs (Brutus “The
Barber” Beefcake and Hulk Hogan with manager “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart). “Real
American” and the arrival of the Hulkster bring the people to their feet. Beefcake
wears his protective mask. Hogan’s promo against Money, Inc. is as nonsensical
as you would think. Bartender, I’ll have what they’re having.

Next Vince hypes the Lex Luger- Mr. Perfect match set for
WrestleMania. We then see the debut of “The Narcissist” at the Royal Rumble and
other Luger highlights. Vince calls Luger’s forearm “suspicious.”

Match 2: Mr. Perfect
versus Skinner

Highlights:          

·        
Skinner wisely attacked before the bell since he
didn’t have a prayer in winning.

·        
Skinner actually gave Perfect an eye-rake on the
ropes.

·        
After a mistake by Skinner Perfect took control
with chops, a knee-lift, and his trademarked running snapmare.

·        
Heenan inferred that he paid off Skinner to take
out Perfect before WrestleMania.

·        
Skinner poked Perfect in the eye with an
alligator claw.

·        
Perfect locked on the Perfectplex for the
victory.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  After
allowing some offense from Skinner Perfect looks prepared for his match against
Luger in Las Vegas.

Call the WrestleMania hotline at 1-900-909-9939! It’s only
$1.49 for the first minute and 99¢ each additional minute.

Meanwhile Rob asks a production crew member for the location
of his fellow hosts which includes a bearable “Macho Man” impression.

Promotional consideration paid for by the following: ICOPRO,
WWF action figures featuring the fired British Bulldog and the retired Sgt.
Slaughter, along with Flintstones trading cards,

“Mean” Gene provides the WrestleMania IX report. Here is the
card:

·        
For the WWF title: champion Bret Hart versus
Yokozuna

·        
For the WWF tag team titles: champions Money
Inc. versus The MegaManiacs

·        
Crush faces Doink the Clown.

·        
And more on April 4 at 7pm EST!

During the report Bret cuts a promo against Yokozuna and Mr.
Fuji.

Afterward “Mean” Gene asks Heenan about his toga, and Vince makes
weasel jokes.

Match 3: The
Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) versus Bam Bam Bigelow

Highlights:          

·        
Bigelow received the jobber entrance.

·        
Undertaker took down Bigelow with a drop toehold.

·        
Sweet DDT from the Undertaker after Bigelow put
his head down.

·        
Bigelow was unable to keep the Undertaker down
because UT continued to sit up like a zombie.

·        
Bigelow missed the diving headbutt from the top
rope.

·        
Undertaker gave Bigelow a flying clothesline and
a chokeslam.

·        
Bigelow took a walk earning UT a countout win.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  This match
highlighted the Undertaker’s ability to take an extreme amount of punishment
and come back which would assist him in his match against Giant Gonzales.  Bigelow’s walk-out keeps him from becoming a
JTTS for the time-being and lowers the rating ½*. However, his match against Kamala
at WrestleMania was canceled without
explanation
according to Stephen LaRoche.

After the match Giant Gonzales and Harvey Wippleman appear
at the entranceway. The Undertaker makes his way toward him, but referees (including
Joey Marella & Bill Alfonso) and agents prevent any shenanigans before WrestleMania.

Subsequently Heenan hypes Cleopatra in a see-through toga at
WrestleMania! Call your cable company or satellite provider now to order!

Promotional consideration paid for by the following: GI Joe action
figures, Slim Jim endorsed by “The Macho Man”, and LJN wrestling video games
for all entertainment systems.

Aretha Franklin’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” plays behind a video
tribute to Bret “Hitman” Hart.

Conclusion:  Simply This show is the pure definition
of a go-home show. All of the main matches at WrestleMania are hyped, and the
card looks STACKED. None of the three matches on this show were spectacular,
but they told the stories necessary to get to WrestleMania. Having seen the previous
RAW episodes and this show leading up to the big event I am looking forward to
revisiting WrestleMania IX in the near future. Last but certain not least, Rob
Bartlett’s involvement (or lack thereof) made this show very entertaining. Check
it out!

For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.

Lex Luger in 1993

Hey Scott,

I'm watching the RAWs from 1993 on the Network and wondering why the sudden change in character with Lex Luger at the Intrepid body slam thing? Strange that he changed from heel to face with no real explanation. 

That's all I got.

Thanks.

Because they were paying Luger a shit-ton of money for a character that was belly-flopping like Rikishi in a wading pool, and they figured that with Hogan gone they would kill two birds with one stone and get their American hero and return on investment with Luger.  And honestly, if they hadn't fucked it up with the Summerslam delay of the payoff, it would have worked fine.  

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1993 WWF as told by Lex Luger

This was released in the Fall of 2013. It runs for one hour and fifty minutes.

Your host is Sean Oliver

JANUARY

Sean asks Luger about Vince’s initial plans for him when he signed him away from WCW. Lex said at that time, he had a year remaining on his contract and felt that the company was struggling. Before Flair left for the WWF, Lex was going to feud with him for the belt and when Ric took the belt with him, WCW scrambled together to get a fake belt and got Harley Race there and for Lex to use a piledriver on the belt for the win. For the rest of the year, Lex felt that WCW did not have a direction and he saw a lot of guys leaving and always had aspirations of joining the WWF, because they were number one. He then called Vince and asked if he took a year off and focused on the WBF before wrestling, just as an idea to throw out to Vince so he would listen. A week later, Vince called him back and was ready to pursue the idea. Lex said he was burned out from wrestling and wanted to sign a WBF contract for a year and because WCW was in a cost-cutting mode, he gave WCW the chance to let go of his contract, which was one of the biggest, and he would go to a body building company.
Lex said that he developed a great relationship with Vince. They worked out together at his home. Lex also said that Vince thought he should be a heel and the aligned him with Bobby Heenan, who at first was hesitant about the deal, stating that he didn’t know anything about bodybuilding, but he went out and did a great job anyway.
He now talks about his motorcycle accident. He was on a country road at dusk and he didn’t see the guy coming and tried to go off the road but got hit anyway and was flung “150 feet” into the woods without hitting a tree. Lex said his bone was sticking out of his arm and he lost a lot of blood.
Lex is asked about Doink the Clown and if people in the company were surprised that it got over. Lex said that when Vince wants to get someone over, he is very persistent. Lex said that Matt Borne got into character for the role.
“Monday Night RAW” debuts on January 11th. Lex said that Vince picked the perfect atmosphere for the show. He said it was like a hand-picked studio setting, something you would see in Hollywood. He did not see it as a big step-down from the arenas that the TV shows were usually taped from.
Lex makes his debut at the “Royal Rumble.” He said there was no mention of a turn down the road at the time. When asked, Lex said that the idea to carry around a mirror was either from Vince or his team. Sean asks Lex if he was known to stand in front of the mirror. Lex said that when he was trained by Hiro Matsuda, he told him to stay with the basics and do not do anything high-flying and stick with what makes you unique, which was his body, so that is what he did for his career.
Sean asks Lex about Yokozuna. He calls him one of the best big men ever. Lex then goes off topic for a bit and said how the Big Show is one of the easiest guys to put in the Torture Rack because he was so tall and could just put himself on his shoulders. Lex then said it was like a night off working with Yokozuna as he was a light worker and a great guy overall. He said at house shows, Yoko would pick him up and place him on the turnbuckle like he was a little child. Lex said he and Yoko played cards all the time.
When asked about Giant Gonzalez, Lex thought that they were searching for the next Andre the Giant but it didn’t work out. Lex said when he first saw him, he was sitting down holding what he thought was a 4oz fruit juice can but when he stood up and put it on the table, he saw that it was a 12oz can of cook. Lex tells a story from WCW about Flair trying to train Gonzalez to use a delayed vertical suplex as his finish from the corner, because when he landed the ropes would shake and it would come off more powerful but he had trouble with the move.
On January 25th, Ric Flair left the WWE. Lex said that no matter what he did, people still saw Ric as a WCW/NWA guy and the fans felt more comfortable with him there and he believed that Ric felt the same.
Andre the Giant passed away on January 27th. Sean asks how the company reacted and Lex said that Vince took his death hard and it was felt throughout the company. Lex tells an Andre story while at the St. Louis airport in the late 80’s, he hears a beep then a deep voice say “hop in boss” as Andre in a golf cart, takes his arm and pulls Lex in the cart and they hung out at the terminal for a bit. Lex said he was very nice to him.
FEBRUARY
Lex made his in-ring debut on the February 1st edition of RAW. Sean asks him if he had to modify the style that he used in WCW. Lex said not really and that he just had to play the narcissist role, which Lex himself admitted wasn’t very hard for himself to pull off at that time. Sean asks about ring rust and Lex said he was sent to Memphis to work with Lawler for a few matches before debuting on TV. He said at the time, there was a lot of drug testing and he had to build up his physique without any gimmicks and working in Memphis built up his confidence, which he was worried about after getting hurt and not wrestling for about a year.
Lex then talks about how frequently they were tested at that time. He said once during a three-week trip that went overseas and across the states, they were tested four nights in a row. He also said you had to take your shirt off and pants below the knees as someone stood in front of the urinal looking at you so there was no way to provide a false sample. Sean asks what they were looking for and Lex said he thought it was for marijuana, cocaine, and steroids.
Seans asks Lex about Vionce getting sued by Kevin Wacholz (Nailz) for sexual harassment. Lex said he never got a hint of that about Vince, stating he liked the ladies and was a man’s man but after that, Vince always had another person in the office with him when he met with others.
On February 18th, Kerry Von Erich committed suicide at his father’s ranch. Lex said he only met him once and was shocked about his death. He also recalls Ric Flair always putting over Kerry as a great worker.
Lex said he was thrilled that Hogan came back because he was a fan of his before getting into the business. He said there was no talk of a feud between them at the time. He also said that he and Hogan always got along great.
He said he loved working with Bret as you knew you would have a great match. He then said that he and Bret are friends then tells a story of how Bret got him hooked on Starbucks Coffee while they were stranded at the Seattle airport and he has been a Gold Card member ever since. He said when they went to Europe, he and Bret would make plans to meet and drink coffee and espresso before going to the gym. He said that he always loved being around Bret.
MARCH
On March 11th, Dino Bravo was murdered at his home in Montreal. Lex said he was shocked when the news dropped but some of the guys knew of his criminal dealings.
On March 22nd, the “WWF Hall of Fame” is formed with Andre the Giant getting inducted. Lex thought it was a great idea and they were wondering if there was going to be a physical location following. Sean asks Lex about the Hall of Fame today and if the “right” people are getting in as Lex takes a diplomatic route and thinks that is cool for celebrities to get inducted too and does not diminish the careers and efforts of wrestlers because everyone knows they are there just a separate part of the Hall of Fame.
APRIL
Lex is asked about knocking out Bret Hart from behind at the WrestleMania IX preview brunch. He said that Vince and his people put this together and lay it out but you get a bit of input. He then said Matsuda taught him to be seen and not heard when starting out but he struggled to do that himself at times.
When asked about his WrestleMania debut, Lex said he was sitting backstage and relaxed as he was working with Mr. Perfect, one of the best workers there is and said that he could walk him through the match. Before they started, they briefly discussed the match. Well, when they locked up to start, Curt asked Lex what they were doing and Lex thought Curt was ribbing him but it turns out that Curt forgot the match layout so Lex had to call the entire match himself. Lex said he was no longer relaxed as he was trying to remember everything. Sean tells Lex he believed that Curt was in fact ribbing him and Lex said if he did, he really pulled it off because he sincerely apologized to him backstage after the match.
On the April 5th edition of RAW, Jerry Lawler made his in-ring debut. Lex said that Jerry is a very insightful and intelligent guy and believed his role was of a commentator who occasionally wrestled. He thought Lawler seemed pleasant and was a good addition to the roster.
MAY
Sean Waltman made his debut on May 3rd as the “Cannonball Kid.” Lex said he could work but did not look like a wrestler. At that time, Lex said he didn’t care for smaller guys who did not look like wrestlers but now says that it has diversified wrestling with different skills. He said he was prejudicial towards those guys at that time in his mind and admits he was wrong.
He is asked about losing to Tatanka at a house show in Hartford, CT. Lex doesn’t remember but mentions that when he was training under Matsuda, he was told that its all a work and to never question the finish because if this was real there would not be too many guys in the business. Lex then said if it was real, either Haku or the Barbarian would be the champion because they would destroy everyone else.
At this time, the WWE was scaling back on expenses and mainly filming TV shows at smaller venues in the Northeast. They also had to come in on days off and cut promos. Sean asks Lex if he was getting the rumored $150 payoff for RAW and he said he wasn’t paying attention to that and always looked at the big picture but made money from the house shows and back then, wasn’t the most sensitive guy to those struggling financially.
During a segment taped for RAW, Mr. Perfect jumped Shawn Michaels and threw him on a windshield of a car and it cracked. The car belonged to Howard Finkel who had just bought it. Lex said he heard about that and how it was a rib by Curt. Sean asks Lex about the relationship between Howard and Vince and he said it is genuine.
Lex tells a story about the Steiners and prefaces it by saying he didn’t mean to have it come out the way it did. The Steiners were concerned about their payoffs and Lex told them that they were splitting their pay in half because they were a team and he was a legitimate singles star and looking at the card, the tag team matches were basically garnish to the main event singles matches. Lex said that he was lucky he had a good relationship with the Steiners then talks about how tag team wrestling is good for the fans but as a wrestler, the payoffs are a lot less.
The Nasty Boys get suspended then fired after a tour of Europe. Lex talks about how they were crazy and instigated bar fights all over the place. He said they were hilarious but also would go wild on you when they pulled a rib until you fought back and after that, they would start laughing.
Sean asks Lex about Vince constantly bringing back Marty Jannetty. Lex talks about Vince giving guys a chance to come back who are struggling and has done that many times over, putting over Vince’s compassion.
Lex is asked about the 1-2-3 Kid upsetting Razor Ramon on RAW. Lex said that Scott always liked to make new stars and said it was the right way for veterans to put over the young guys. Lex says that Hall is a good guy.
JUNE
Diesel makes his debut on June 6th when he distracted Marty Jannetty, allowing Shawn to regain the Intercontinental Championship. Lex said he was thrilled that Vince was giving him a chance after seeing him in WCW. Lex said he was a legendary bouncer in Atlanta and thought he would be an asset. Lex said he had a good attitude and wanted to learn.
Yokozuna pinned Hogan at the King of the Ring to win the Championship. Lex felt that Hogan’s heart wasn’t in it anymore at this time and felt he was not fully committed to wrestling. Sean asks if Hogan’s departure led to his babyface turn and Lex said he didn’t know but was shocked when Vince called him in the office to tell him about his babyface turn. He thought Vince was crazy but said that it worked.
JULY
When talking about slamming Yokozuna at the bodyslam challenge, Lex said it was all very well done. He said he was scared on the helicopter as the pilot was a Vietnam vet who kept showing off his skills and did a lot of stunts. When asked, Lex thought the Narcissist gimmick was going well but was surprised how well it came off at the end. He was also surprised that he was going to continue with the “USA” gimmick and the bus.
Lex talks about the schedule he had while on the bus. He would wake up at 5am then have breakfast. After that, he did radio and TV with an autograph session sandwiched in between. He did another signing in the afternoon then would leave and do evening media sessions until he finished and ate dinner around 8pm then would try to go to the gym before going to bed. He slept in hotels most of the time but did sleep on the bus occasionally. He had a driver and a PR guy the whole Summer with him.
He thought that Ludvig Borga had a good look but did not feel that they were a great pairing in the ring. Lex thought that Ludvig should have gotten a big “Squash push” before moving on to bigger feuds.
AUGUST
Sean asks Lex about Razor Ramon being an odd choice for a babyface. Lex said that if the fans want it, then why not go with it and then talks about how merchandise can factor into giving someone getting a babyface push.
He now talks about the “Who is Lex?” segments that aired. Lex himself said he never saw them but from what he heard others say that they were well produced. Lex then calls Vince innovative for producing the segments.
Jim Cornette made his debut on the August 2nd edition of RAW. Lex is asked if Cornette was ever happy working in New York. Lex said that the Northeast can be really tough on Southern boys. He talks about his first match in the Nassau Coliseum, a beer bottle flew right by his face, which never happened to him in the South. Sean asks if Cornette was brought in for Yoko because Fuji was such an ineffective mouthpiece for Yokozuna and Lex said that probably was the case and jokes how Fuji and Cornette probably balance each other. Lex said that Fuji ribbed him once while at the bar at the Marriott in Philadelphia. Fuji would piss into bottles at the bar instead of going to the bathroom and went all over Luger’s shoes.
Luger is asked about how he went on TV and said he had used steroids in the past but was not now and neither was anyone else in the company. Lex said he was not on steroids in the WWF and was not worried about his physique because even though he was a bit smaller than before, he still had a better body than anyone else there because they couldn’t use steroids either.
Sean asks Lex if he ever saw the evil side of Vince. Lex said he liked a good joke and rib and thought he felt that the wrestlers should be the stars but he had a personality and had a good body and thought he held back more than he should of at times.
He is now asked why he didn’t win the title at SummerSlam. Lex said ask Vince because he didn’t know why. He thought it was good idea for him to win but was a good foot soldier and was never promised the title at that point but Vince told Lex if he decided to put the belt on him, it would happen at WrestleMania X. Lex also puts over Yoko as being a good champ, citing his presence in his matches.
SEPTEMBER
On September 27th, Shawn Michaels quit the company after he was reported to have been asked to drop the Intercontinental Title. Shawn stated that he quit because he felt out of shape after getting up to 240lbs after being told by the company to “gain weight” naturally. Lex said that Shawn always expressed his opinion but thought that he was professional and never saw him tell the office what to do.
OCTOBER
On October 16th, Randy Savage went on Jim Ross’s radio show and blasted Hulk Hogan, stating that he and his wife played a role in his separation from Elizabeth. When asked about their relationship, Luger said that he saw them hang out all the time but would hear that they would get mad at each other so he didnt know if they worked up controversy and fooled everyone or really had a difficult relationship. Lex said he got along great with Savage, even despite the fact that he was volatile

On October 29th, Curt Hennig was pulled off of the road, reportedly over being angry that he was bypassed for the IC title but was announced as him needing to take care of family problems. Lex is asked about titles and if they are really important to wrestlers. Lex said that at times, it was difficult to carry through the airport and they pay difference wasnt that much so he didnt really matter that much if he was a champion. He said belts do not defy whether or not you have talent, as Matsuda taught him that as well, but he does respect the lineage of the belts.

NOVEMBER 


At the November 9th “Wrestling Challenge” tapings at the Carbondale, PA high school, the prinicipal and school board were irate at the conditions of the facilities after the tapings, which included human feces, whiskey bottles, and chicken bones all over the place. Lex is asked who brings own the hammer about this and Lex said it gets back to Vince then back down the chain of command to carry out the orders. When asked who would shit on the floor, Lex guesses the Nasty Boys as they lived up to their name.

Vince McMahon was indicted for possession and conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids on November 11th. He pled not guilty and a trial date was set for May 2nd, 1994. Lex said a lot of the guys thought it was unfair and said that no one ever forced or pressured him to use steroids and said that one of the prosecutors had a hard-on for Vince and wanted to get him. Vince told Lex that he was affected by the trial and that it caused him anxiety.

Then, on November 12th, Jerry Lawler was indicted in Kentucky for one count of second-degree statutory rape, three counts of second-degree sodomy and one count of harassing a witness, to which Lawler pled not guilty. Lex said the locker room was in disbelief when this news broke. When asked about anyone having info about Lawler having a penchant for under aged girls, Lex said he didnt hear that about him.

Lex is asked if he liked the Survivor Series match and he said he would have rather did a tag or even a six-man tag match because you do not get much in-ring time in those matches. Lex said he was reluctant to having his family on camera but trusted Vince. Lex said he was living a double life and was starting to party on the road at that time.

When asked about Dink the Clown and if he thought it was ridiculous. Lex did but said Vince liked to have  a few ridiculous guys to push for either his own entertainment, the boys, or to anger the fans. He couldn’t figure out why. Lex had no problem with the character personally.

DECEMBER


Lex was surprised that Heenan left the WWF. He never talked to Bobby about his contract either. When asked, Lex said that Vince didnt care if you talked about someone who left the company but at the same time, he never felt the need to explain anything he did to the locker room.

Sean asks Lex about how 1993 ranks in his career. He said it was up there, with the Horsemen and nWo stuff. He had a lot of fond memories of the bus tour, despite being tough, but did appreciate the opportunity. Lex now travels across the country doing evangelical work and says he is approached by people stating they met him at autograph sessions during that time. He then says that he feels great now, despite all of his health issues. He is now thankful for what he has instead of wishing for things he does not have. He also has a new found appreciation for all things wrestling and wishes he felt that way when he did wrestle.

Final Thoughts: This timeline went a lot better than I initially thought it would. Lex seemed pretty relaxed, even if he looks a lot different than when he was in wrestling. Looking at him now, you would have never, ever guessed that he had one of the best physiques in wrestling. He is lucky though as intially it was expected that he would never be able to walk on his own ever again.

The beginning of this is slow, as he talks a lot about the WBF, but it does pick up the pace from there. Lex also shows remorse form his past behaviors and was not afraid to call himself out for acting like a dick when he was in wrestling. That shows to me that he is truly at peace with himself and is genuine in regards to his religious beliefs.

Lex did keep to himself a lot so he really did not have a ton of dirt to dish on the main eventers but did give pretty good insight to his “Lex Express” schedule, amongst other things. Actually, I felt that Lex had a good sense of the business and seems like a fairly intelligent guy. I do recommend this timeline and found it to be a surprisngly decent installment.

Survivor Series 1993

Hey Scott,
Why all the changes to the main event of Survivor Series '93? Why not put Undertaker and Crush in from the beginning?

Thanks for the twitter follow,
Jim

Yeah, no problem…grumble grumble.
I have no earthly idea why they messed around with the main event so much that year, although I think they had a rough idea of trying to shake things up for fans or something stupid like that.  I might dig through the WON from that period and see if Dave has any insight on it.
(Time passes)
So I checked, and 1993 Dave is, to the say the least, somewhat preoccupied with the Jerry Lawler rape accusations and the steroid indictments, and doesn't have anything to say about the weird substitutions other than noting them week to week.  He does note that the 93 Series did the lowest buyrate in WWF history to that point, with 185,000 buys domestic, which today would have Vince McMahon doing cartwheels of joy.  Times change indeed.  

SummerFest Countdown: 1993

(This is a new rant from the Anthology version of the show a couple of years ago, so nothing new to say here.) The SmarK Anthology Rant for WWF Summerslam 1993 – As promised, I’m finally getting around to this one, to go along with the 1993 RAW rants. Once again this is the version from the Summerslam Anthology, which is the PPV version without all the annoying licensed entrance music and references to the WWF. – Live from Auburn Hills, MI. – Your hosts are Vince & Bobby. Razor Ramon v. Ted Dibiase Dibiase attacks to start as I have to adjust my TV set to mute Ramon’s hot pink outfit. Ramon comes back with the fallaway slam and chases him out of the ring. Back in, Dibiase chops away in the corner, but Razor puts him down with a pair of clotheslines and sends him to the floor with a third. Dibiase is bumping pretty freely for a guy with a destroyed back. And Ramon slingshots him back in to continue the abuse, but Dibiase leverages him into the corner and chokes away on the ropes. More choking and a backbreaker gets two. Clothesline gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Ramon fights out, only to walk into a knee. Dibiase puts him down again with a neckbreaker and a suplex, which sets up the Million Dollar Dream, but Ramon comes back and bails. Dibiase pulls off the turnbuckle in the meantime, but of course goes into it, and the Razor’s Edge ends Dibiase’s career at 7:28. Dibiase was obviously slowed down a lot by injuries, but this was watchable and got Ramon over. **1/2 Meanwhile, Undertaker talks with a hick about why he turned on Jake the Snake. Ah, the WWF Hotline. Todd Pettingill interviews the Steiner family at ringside, and the sister accidentally calls them “Rob and Scott”. KAYFABE, lady. WWF World tag titles: The Steiner Brothers v. The Heavenly Bodies Cornette is wearing a neck brace to sell an injury angle from SMW, because he’s OLD SCHOOL. The Bodies toss Scott and attack Rick to start, hitting him with a flapjack, but Scott clears the ring and suplexes the crap out of Pritchard. Back in, Scott gets a nasty press slam on Dr. Tom and adds a backdrop on Del Ray. Over to Rick, who casually flattens Tom with a clothesline, and the Bodies regroup on the floor. Back in, Scott hits them both with atomic drops, but turns his back on Pritchard and gets bulldogged as a result. The Dr. adds an enzuigiri to put Scott on the floor, and Del Ray gets a somersault plancha off the apron, then back in for a hurricane DDT. Pritchard goes to the chinlock and they slug it out, but Del Ray comes in with a superkick for two. Back to Tom for some choking and a racket to the throat from Cornette. Del Ray tries another DDT, but Scott reverses to a northern lights suplex and then hits a butterfly bomb on Pritchard. Hot tag Rick, who gets the top rope bulldog on Pritchard for two. He powerslams Del Ray, but Cornette tosses in the racket and Del Ray gets two as a result. The Bodies set up for the moonsault, but Del Ray hits Pritchard by mistake and Scott finishes with the Frankensteiner at 9:26. Short but non-stop action. ***1/2 Intercontinental title: Shawn Michaels v. Mr. Perfect The build for this one was basically “Buy this show because they’re going to deliver a **** match and we promise”, which had people quite excited to see it. Unfortunately, the lesson here is that there’s no magic formula for predicting a great match and this proves it. They trade hammerlocks to start and Shawn grabs a headlock, and they mess up an armdrag spot off a criss-cross. Perfect works the arm and they do a nice headlock reversal, which leads Shawn to back off. Shawn slugs him in the corner and Perfect fires back with chops, then catches Shawn with a clothesline out of the corner for two. He goes to the armbar and Shawn fights out in the corner, but goes up and lands in an armdrag, which gets two for Perfect. Perfect holds the armbar and Bobby and Vince are going way over the top already selling it as a match of the year. There’s selling the product and then there’s insulting your audience. Shawn tries a dropkick and Perfect catapults him over the top to counter, but he goes to chase and Shawn superkicks him and then follows with an axehandle off the apron. Back in, Shawn works on the back with a series of elbows and whips Perfect into the corner. Another trip to the corner and he follows with a backbreaker. Perfect comes back with a dropkick and backdrop, and an atomic drop gets two. Perfect lays him out with the forearm for two. You can see they’re trying too hard here and the results are sloppy spots and too many dead spots. They fight for a backdrop and we get a Perfectplex, but Diesel pulls him out to break it up. Shawn and Perfect brawl on the floor and the ref gets bumped in a weak spot, allowing Diesel to send Perfect into the post for the countout at 11:19. Yeah, not good — no chemistry together, terrible finish, just a disappointing mess. How could they possibly promote this is as a classic before the fact and then book it to have a COUNTOUT finish? **1/2 1-2-3 Kid v. IRS Kid gets a quick two count off a high kick, but IRS faceplants him and stomps away. Kid fires back with a dropkick for two, but IRS elbows him down and tosses him. He slingshots Kid back in, but Kid lands on his feet and slides into a rollup for two. Nice spot. IRS quickly cuts him off again and drops an elbow for two, then goes to the abdominal stretch. And it’s chinlock time. Kid makes the comeback with the kicks in the corner and follows with a moonsault press for two. Majastral cradle gets two. High kick into an enzuigiri gets two. And then IRS gets the Write-Off clothesline out of nowhere to finish at 5:40. This was really weird, basically booked as a squash with Kid as the plucky jobber who loses in the end. Good stuff from Kid, usual sleepwalking from IRS. **1/2 King of the Ring match: Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler Tragically, Lawler has suffered a crippling knee injury due to a horrific car wreck in the jungles of Detroit’s road system, so he’s unable to compete. Lawler’s old-style dedication to the lie is awesome, as he completely sells the ridiculous story, complete with cartoonish ice-pack on his knee. So instead Bret will face the “court jester”, Doink. Bret Hart v. Doink the Clown Doink throws water at Bruce Hart, causing Bret to attack and slug away on the floor. He sends Doink into the post and we head back in, as Bret fires away in the corner, sending Doink to the floor again. Doink comes in via the top rope, but Bret crotches him and drags him back in by the wig. They brawl to the floor again and Doink sends Bret into the stairs, then back in for an elbow from the top. Bret fights back, but Doink puts him down with a kneecrusher and wraps the knee around the post and gets two. Back to the knee with an STF, and then it’s the stump puller, but Doink releases and stomps away. He goes up to finish with the Whoopie Cushion, but lands on Bret’s knees in a painful looking spot. Bret comes back with the legsweep and middle rope elbow and finishes with the Sharpshooter, but Jerry Lawler runs in for the DQ at 8:53. So with Lawler miraculously able to walk after all, he beats on Bret with the crutch. Vince calls it a “ripoff” and a “fraud”, which you’d think he’d be against saying about his own product. Luckily, Jack Tunney earns his pay by coming out and forcing Lawler back into the ring. Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler Bret beats the hell out of him in the corner and backdrops him, and Lawler runs away, so Bret hits him with the crutch, but Lawler gets it and fires back. So they’re even, I guess. After some more abuse with the crutch, they head back in, and Lawler somehow manages to sneak the crutch in and nail Bret behind the ref’s back. Bruce Hart losing his shit at ringside is great stuff. Bret’s finally had enough and makes the comeback, firing away in the corner, and he pulls the straps down in a nice touch. Backbreaker gets two. Piledriver (another nice touch) and he gives Lawler the Batista thumbs down and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 6:30 to become undisputed King. BUT WAIT! He refuses to break the hold because he’s just so pissed off, and the ref reverses the decision to make Jerry Lawler the one true King of the WWF. So there you go, Bret gets revenge, Lawler gets the crown, everyone is happy. Well except for the fans, but it’s in the “We want to see Bret Hart beat the shit out of Lawler again” way, so it’s fine. This was truly a Russo-esque epic, but with an actual story being told and a really good Bret-Doink match as the prelude. I’d still go **** for the whole thing and I’m tempted to add another 1/4* for Lawler getting wheeled off on the stretcher and holding up a hand in victory on the way back. Sadly the Survivor Series payoff to the whole crazy thing failed to happen. Damn rape accusations. Marty Jannetty v. Ludvig Börga Börga attacks fröm behind and pöunds away in the cörner, then puts Marty döwn with a clöthesline. Nice bit as he launches Marty intö the air and then hits him with a kidney shöt ön the way döwn, and föllöws with a beating in the cörner. Blind charge misses and Marty tries a cömeback, but Börga clötheslines him döwn again. Marty tries a sunset flip and gets slugged döwn, then Börga göes tö the bearhug. Marty finally makes a cömeback with twö superkicks, but Börga catches a bödypress attempt and pöwerslams him. Törture rack finishes at 5:17. 1/2* Not a particularly impressive squash. RIP match: Undertaker v. Giant Gonzalez So the mysterious Rest in Peace match is…a no-DQ, no-countout match. Whoopee. This logically should have been Undertaker v. Mr. Hughes because they spent weeks building that feud on RAW and it went absolutely nowhere. Undertaker goes right for the choking in the corner and hits a series of clotheslines to give us our dose of Gonzalez’s goofy selling, but the Giant tosses him. They slug it out on the floor and Gonzalez hammers him with a chair. When a 7 foot tall guy can’t even make a chairshot look scary, he’s a shitty wrestler. Back in, Undertaker crawls for the urn, but Giant pounds him with forearms until Taker slugs back. Gonzalez has exactly ONE face while he’s selling, and it’s the one where he puffs out his cheeks and gets a look on his face like he’s mildly retarded. But with things at their darkest and the match at its shittiest, Paul Bearer returns with another black wreath, or perhaps it’s a big zero to signify how many stars this match is worth. So Paul takes out Harvey Wippleman and retrieves the urn, and that hopefully means a finish is imminent. The Giant stops wrestling, thus immediately boosting the quality of the match, and goes after Bearer, but that just makes Undertaker sit up. He comes back and clotheslines Gonzalez because that’s the only move he knows how to sell, and so we get 10 million of them until he finally goes down. And what does Undertaker finish with? A flying CLOTHESLINE of course, at 8:01! But in the grand scheme of things, it’s over, and that’s what matters. You’d think this would be rock bottom, but amazingly Undertaker would manage to have EVEN WORSE matches with Yokozuna and Underfaker in 1994, so I can’t give it full negative stars in good conscience. -*** Vince notes this brings new meaning to the term “rest in peace”. Uh, what new meaning? The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka v. Bam Bam Bigelow & The Headshrinkers You know, the psychotic behavior of Hell’s Kitchen loser Van makes more sense now that I found out he’s Luna Vachon’s son. Bigelow pounds on Tatanka to start and puts him down with a shoulderblock, but Tatanka fights back with a backdrop. They each try a bodypress and collide as a result, but Billy and Fatu tag in. They exchange shots until Fatu drops him with a superkick, but Billy recovers and gets an inverted bulldog off the top. Fatu powers him down again and the Headshrinkers double-team him in the heel corner. Over to Bart, but he walks into a Samu elbow and he’s cowboy-in-peril. Back to the heel corner for some headbutt-related abuse, and it’s the great spot where Bart rams Fatu’s head into the mat and it gets no-sold, allowing Fatu to clothesline him down. I’m such a mark for that spot and I don’t know why exactly. Bobby gets a cute joke about needing a “swat team” to control the samoans (WINK WINK) as Samu pounds Bart down in the corner. Bigelow in with a double-team elbow, but he misses a blind charge and takes a great bump into the post. Hot tag Tatanka and he chops Bigelow into a slam, and follows with a DDT. Flying bodypress gets two. Bam Bam beats him down, but it’s the PISSED OFF RACIAL STEREOTYPE comeback…until Bigelow cuts him off with an enzuigiri. AWESOME. That is just all kinds of badass. Samu with a diving headbutt for two, but the Gunns have had ENOUGH and storm in. The heels get rid of them and continue beating on Tatanka, including a TRIPLE HEADBUTT OF DEATH. I was wondering why I loved this match so much earlier, and now I remember. All three go up for diving headbutts and miss, and Tatanka rolls up Samu for the pin at 11:14. All that craziness and THAT’s the finish? Bam Bam was in the zone here, baby. ***3/4 Meanwhile, let’s waste some time by talking with the guy who drove Lex Luger’s bus around. WWF World title: Yokozuna v. Lex Luger Luger gets a decent reaction, but Vince had to be disappointed in the general apathy of the crowd here. Yoko tries the sneak attack, but Luger fires away and tries a rollup. Yoko casually blocks that, but misses the Hulkbuster and Luger works on the leg. Elbowdrop gets two. Yoko tries his own elbow and misses, and Lex pounds him in the corner. Yoko chokes him down and Fuji tosses slat, but Lex manages to evade that and continues to fire away on Yoko. He can’t get the slam, however, and Yoko puts him down with a superkick and tosses him. They brawl on the floor, but Yoko misses a chairshot and they head back in. Luger goes up with a double axehandle and then goes up with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM, but it only gets two. Apparently the elbowpad saved Yokozuna. Clothesline gets two. Fuji tosses the bucket in and Yoko uses that for two as the near-falls get more melodramatic. Belly to belly suplex and Yoko chokes away on the ropes, then adds a backdrop suplex for two. Pretty close to a backdrop driver there, actually. Yoko goes to the nerve pinch and then drops the Hulkbuster, but it only gets two. He sets up for the buttdrop, but Luger moves and makes the MADE IN THE USA comeback. Yoko tries the corner splash and misses that as well, and Luger finally slams him. The STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM knocks Yoko right out of the ring, and Luger wins…by countout…at 17:55. Like, why wouldn’t Luger even TRY to get him back in? Pretty good effort from Yokozuna, actually, as he was clearly carrying things here. *** Watching this match and comparing to the previous six-man, it struck me that the six-man was FUN. I was watching it and getting sucked into the storyline and enjoying the flow of the match and enjoying guys obviously enjoying themselves. This, on the other hand, was not fun, because Lex Luger has no sense of humor that’s ever evident and even worse the commentary from Vince felt like “You have to cheer for Lex Luger or else you’re a dirty commie child molester who rapes puppies!” And really who wants to cheer for someone with THAT kind of emotional blackmail hanging over you? At any rate, wacky Vince outguessed himself here, as a title change would have solidified Luger’s turn and made him into the star he could have been, but delaying it until Wrestlemania just confirmed the label of “choker” that Luger’s character has always had and sabotaged his own cause. The Pulse: This is very much of a niche show, with a couple of really good matches you can enjoy if you get this as part of a bigger set (like this one), but nothing you’d want to get the standalone show for. Recommendation to avoid.