Uncensored ’96 and the Cage o’ Doom!


Scott –


I was looking for your rant on WCW BattleBowl '93 because it was on WWE On Demand (A Ron Simmons heel turn?  A poor man's Tatanka named Charlie Norris?  HUSTLER RIP FREAKIN' ROGERS???  Why don't I remember ANY of this!?) and came across your rant for Uncensored '96, which was freaking hilarious.  It also reminded me of this story:

About ten years ago or so, my friend Mike and I were having an argument over what was the worst PPV main event ever.  I said it was Diesel vs. Mabel at SummerSlam at '95 purely for the workrate, Mike said it was Hogan vs. Beefcake at Starrcade '94 because it was Starrcade.  The argument got so heated that we went to none other than Dave Meltzer, who answered the question on his Wrestling Observer Live show.

Turns out, we were BOTH wrong – Meltzer decreed it was the Doomsday Cage match at Uncensored '96, because not only did you have Hogan and Savage against EIGHT people, but out of a team that included Jeep Swenson, Zeus, Meng & the Barbarian, who ends up doing the job?  Yep, you guessed it – Ric Flair.

So, yeah, this was the worst PPV main event of all time.

I

gave it -***** so that's a tough point to argue against.  I can certainly confirm that I was howling with laughter at the stupidity of it all while watching it live.  Yes, I ORDERED THAT SHOW in 1996 for some reason.  Even before the days I made good money reviewing shit like that!  What the fuck was WRONG with me?!  

ROH TV June 27th-28th Edition: Steel Cage Warefare for the Fate of Honor!!!

Tonight’s main event has been marketed as the most important television match in ROH’s history.  Should S.C.U.M. win Steve Corino will become match maker and run the company into the ground, but should team ROH prove victorious then S.C.U.M. will be forced to disband.  Before that however, we have the opening contest…

The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) VS Mike Sydal and Zizou Middoux
Both of these are teams I’d describe as indy-riffic.  For one team that isn’t meant as an insult, the other team has a guy named Zizou Middoux who’s partner wasn’t satisfied with one shitty tattoo and therefore got a whole fucking constellation of them across his back.  Richards and Middoux in to start with some sloppy chain wrestling (and that ‘aint Davey’s fault–there’s lots of things you can call him but “sloppy” isn’t one of them).  Richards eventually puts an end to the not so technical masterpiece with an enzugiri which puts Middoux on the floor.  Richards tries for his running kick on the apron but comes up empty.  Middoux jumps up on the apron and gets a shitty enzugiri of his own to put Richards on the floor; Edwards charges but gets dumped over the top rope by Zizou.  Mike “I wish I was teaming with my brother instead” Sydal moonsaults of the top to the floor taking out both wolves.  Davey is thrown back in the ring and double armdragged by Sydal and Middoux, who are apparently called #partyboys…did I mention this team sucks?  So #indyjobbers then do these completely unnecessary cartwheels just to double dropkick Richards for 2.  Sydal then cradles for another 2-count.  Richards creates some space and tags in Edwards; the two of them double team Sydal and beat the tar out of him in their corner.  Edwards whips Sydal into a neutral corner, but gets caught with a boot and a tornado DDT on his approach.  Double tag and Middoux is a house of fire   mildly heated offense.  Richards reverses a whip into the corner but Middoux leapfrogs over his clothesline.  Middoux’s twisting enzugiri is dodged and Davey tries the one man alarm clock.  Zizou catches his kick and then connects with the twisting enzugiri he wanted earlier.  Edwards and Sydal both run in to the ring and start brawling.  The wolves go for stereo clotheslines which are dodged.  #botchfactor go for stereo neck breakers–but of course they are completely out of sync since they #suck.  Middoux whips Sydal into Richards then hits him with a (shockingly) sloppy codebreaker.  Sydal drops Richards with a double knee drop off the top rope.  The pin attempt is broken up by Eddie at 2.  Edwards chucks Middoux and starts trading forearms with Sydal.  #badtattoos gets the advantage but Edwards catches a kick and pulls forcing him into the splits.  Edwards chops Sydal in the back of the neck while Richards kicks him in the face, effectively ending his contributions to the match.  Middoux comes charging back in and manages to fuck up TAKING an alarm clock from the wolves.  Can this guy do ANYTHING right!!!!!  it only gets 2.  Edwards goes up and hits a double stomp, then Richards does the same for the #3-count.  3/4*  Nothing to see here except a challenger to Rip Impact for the very prestigious stupidest ring name title.  Post match #Partyboys reject the code of honor and the wolves, rather then look offended just laugh at them.  They’re certainly laughable.

After a commercial break we get a pretty good recap package on everything S.C.U.M. has been involved in since the 11th anniversary show.

Steel Cage Warfare: Team ROH (BJ Whitmer, Michael Elgin, Jay Lethal, and Kevin Steen) VS S.C.U.M. (Jimmy Jacobs, Rhett Titus, Cliff Compton, and RHINO)
Rules are as follows.  two men will start the match, after 5 minutes another will enter.  After that a new competitor will enter the match every 2 minutes.  A team loses when all of it’s members have been eliminated by either pinfall or submission. S.C.U.M. won a coin flip backstage which gives them the man advantage. Jimmy Jacobs is starting for S.C.U.M. and BJ Whitmer is starting for ROH.  They brawl all over the ring until Jacobs manages a head-scissor take down which sends BJ face first into the cage.  Jacobs ties BJ up in the ropes and dropkicks his face into the steel.  Jacobs starts with the choking and Corino exclaims that he isn’t responsible if Whitmer is chocked to death he isn’t responsible.  Jacobs eventually relents and starts teasing a spear.  BJ dodges and Jimmy launches himself straight into the cage.  Whitmer then takes the Zombie princes on a tour, bouncing him off each of the cage’s four walls.  He gets a 2-count for it.  Jacobs starts fighting back with a series of jabs only to be caught in an exploder suplex for 2.  They start exchanging chops in the centre of the ring until Jacobs pokes Whitmer in the eye to take the advantage.  Jimmy looks for a DDT, but BJ reverses it into a vertical suplex–which he rolls into a norther-lights suplex that is bridged for a 2-count.  BJ starts grating Jacobs’ face on the cage when Bobby Cruise starts the countdown for the next entrant.

Rhett Titus has entered the match
BJ goes after his former partner and takes Rhett for the same trip he took Jacobs, slamming him into each of the 4-walls.  Whitmer and Titus start trading chops and we take a commercial break
Back with both members of S.C.U.M. stomping the hell out of Whitmer.  Countdown starts and…
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin has entered the match
Titus and Jacobs both go right after Elgin, but he just shrugs them off and beats them both up.  Elgin puts them both down with a double back suplex.  BJ picks himself up and whips Elgin into his Titus.  He tries to do the same with Jacobs as the target but he gets the boot up and spears Whitmer.  Jacobs tries for a springboard elbow but gets caught and German suplex’d by Elgin.  Elgin turns his attention to Titus and begins the assault.  after a myriad of strikes Elgin hoists Titus onto his shoulders–that’s not enough for the Strongman of Canadian Violence however, so he picks Jacobs up and holds him out in front as well! He  simultaneously hits a samoan drop and a fallaway slam.  He gets a 2-count on Rhett.  The four men pair off with Elgin battling Jacobs and Whitmer dueling Titus and ROH seems to have it all under control when…
Cliff Compton has entered the match 
Compton has a fistful of powder which he throws in Elgin’s face.  Corino gets off his best heel line of the night here with “OH MY GOD, BJ THINKS IT’S COCAINE, HE’LL RUN RIGHT FOR IT!”  The blinded Elgin is zip-tied to the cage and rendered immobile.  S.C.U.M. takes advantage of the opportunity and it’s a 3-on-1 beat down for BJ.  Titus and Compton drill Whitmer with a spike piledriver for the 3-count.
“Buzzsaw” BJ Whitmer has been eliminated
The three remaining S.C.U.M. members start teeing off on the tied up Elgin, fortunately for him he didn’t have to wait long for the next entrant.
Jay Lethal has entered the match
And he’s brought a chair!  Titus tastes the chair first and gives an awesomely over the top sell for it. Compton wrestles the chair away but has it dropkicked into his face.  Lethal sets the chair up and hits a lethal combination into it on Jimmy Jacobs.  Lethal pulls some sort of item out of his boot and uses it to free Elgin from his ties.  Lethal and Elgin go about brawling with S.C.U.M. and Titus gets crotched on the top rope as we take another commercial break.
Back from commercial in time for S.C.U.M.’s final entrant as…
RHINO has entered the match
RHINO hits the ring and it’s a GORE! GORE! GORE!!! for Mike Elgin.  RHINO loads up to give Lethal the same but he jumps out of the way and it’s Titus who takes the GORE!  RHINO tries to turn around and re-asses the situation but he turned right into a lethal injection for the pinfall!
RHINO has been eliminated
Corino flips his shit and can’t believe how quickly his plan is unraveling.  Lethal climbs the ropes and scores a double axe-handle on Compton; the ensuing pin attempt is broken up by Titus at 2.  Jacobs charges at Elgin but gets tossed into the air–Jacobs grabbed the cage and came back at Elgin with a diving elbow in really cool spot that gets a 2-count.  The final countdown starts (no not THAT final countdown) and then…
“Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen has entered the match
Steen is heading for the opened cage door when Matt Hardy blindsides him and starts beating on Steen outside the ring.  Being pro wrestling this is the part where the cage “shockingly” proves itself to be incapable of keeping the competitors in as everybody spills out the door that was left open since Steen never made it in.  It’s chaos on the floor and everybody is brawling.  As the fight rolls on Jacobs takes down the timekeepers table and slides it into the ring.  The camera catches more of Elgin being impressive when he lifts Compton (who is not a small man) for a sidewalk slam then goes for a walk before dropping him.  Lethal finds his way back into the ring, but he has bad timing as he’s in there with both Rhett Titus and Jimmy Jacobs.  They try to throw Lethal through the table that Jacobs had leaned up against the corner, but he fights free of their grasp.  Titus lifts Lethal for the razor’s edge but he slips out of that and hits another Lethal injection for a 3-count!
Rhett Titus has been eliminated
Steen and Hardy can be seen brawling on the floor and I’ve lost sight of Elgin and Compton in the chaos.  Steen takes a crutch from an audience member and drives it into Hardy’s balls.  Lethal tries for the lethal injection but Jacobs cracks the chair over his back to put an end to that.  Lethal gets speared through the table and Compton re-appears out of nowhere to make the cover and net the 3-count right before the final commercial break.
Jay Lethal has been eliminated
Back from commercial and all 4 competitors have found their way into the ring, while Matt lays outside the cage nursing his little Hardy back to life.  Jacobs is done playing around and gets Steen with a springboard Ace Crusher and the Konami Code.  Jacobs can’t make the cover because Elgin gives him a giant swing into the cage however.  Elgin then sets Compton up for a power bomb but Cliffy backdrops out.  Compton starts climbing the cage, presumably for a dive–but Elgin is back up and cuts him off.  It’s a sit-out power bomb from the top rope and Compton’s carcass is pined for 3.
Cliff Compton has been eliminated
Corino can’t stand to just watch anymore and leaps into the ring.  Elgin grabs him and looks to make him pay when he throws a fireball in his face…the 1970’s called and want their totally awesome spot to be used more often!  Elgin didn’t enjoy the fireball nearly as much and his writhing body is pined for three by Jacobs
Michael Elgin has been eliminated
Corino fetches his suitcase and Hardy climbs into the cage.  Steen is now in there alone with Hardy, Jacobs, and Corino.  The suitcase is opened and out comes lighter fluid and matches.  Corino douses Steen in lighter fluid and the crowd starts freaking out.  Even Jimmy Jacobs, the man who once hung Jay Briscoe upside down and bathed in his blood, finds setting a man on fire to be going to far and Jacobs starts arguing with Corino.  The King of Old School grows tired of the dissension and elbows Jacobs down he lights the match and hope seems lost when Nigel McGuinness charges into the ring and goes nose to nose with Corino.  S.C.U.M.’s leader pushes McGuinness and receives a lariat in return.  Hardy wants a twist of fate on Nigel, but he gets pushed off into a package piledriver from Steen!  Nigel picks Jacobs up and feeds him to Steen for a Package piledriver and the rest is academic.****
“Zombie Princess” Jimmy Jacobs has been eliminated
Sole Survivor: Kevin Steen of team ROH 
S.C.U.M. is dead and Honor lives! Post match Mr.Wrestling accepts a handshake from Nigel and Adam Cole comes and stands in the apron.
While the match was hurt by the limits of doing it on TV (no blood, commercials) It was still a very entertaining brawl and clearly different from ROH’s usual MO.  The last few eliminations were all red hot and the booking of the finish was tremendous.  Nigel gets to man up against Corino–Steen has his redemption and has earned the respect of the locker room once more–whilst also getting back at Hardy for his loss at Best in the World.  Definitely a thumbs up show.
          
       

                                 

The Key to Cage Match Victory: Easily Walk Out.

Scott,
Why is exiting the door a win condition for steel cage matches in WWE?
I'm fine with pinfalls and submits granting the win, because they still
fit in with the spirit of a caged duel straight out of Bloodsport or
something. But this door nonsense, it's no good. Cage matches are
supposed to be brutal, drawn out affairs. A big guy's going to have an
easy time knocking out his opponent, but climb really slow. A
cruiserweight's the opposite: he could sprint up there, but it's going
to take forever for him to knock out the other guy.
But once the door was made a standard win condition (sometime around
HHH's reign?), it felt like matches should last ten seconds. Just signal
the ref to open the door and suicide dive through the ropes.
So why, Scott? Why the door? Why?!
– Zeus


The door was a standard win condition in WWE cages matches WAY before HHH was around.  The original "escape the cage" stipulations came around in the early 70s so that Bruno could beat guys like Stan Hansen without them having to do a "real" job.  It just kind of became a thing for a long time, and then in the late 90s the company got an influx of all these guys like HHH who grew up with the NWA on TV, so it changed to pinfall rules for a while with the advent of Hell in the Cell.  And now it's a bizarre hybrid of the two, a seemingly contradictory set of rules.  I have personally always HATED escape rules.