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?
Going Anon: You 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.
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 VADER, PAUL ORNDORFF, BARRY WINDHAM, HARLEY 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.
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.
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. HOWwrestling: The 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.
Location: First Union Arena, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re officially in the Madden era now, meaning things are clearly dying all around us. The big story here is that Sid is World Champion again after winning it back from Nash after having it stripped earlier in the night after an off air referee’s decision. Also, Ric Flair is back. Let’s get to it.
We get a quick clip of the Nash vs. Sid three day saga from last week.
Nash isn’t going to be here tonight but he’s named Jeff acting commissioner.
Here’s the NWO to get things going complete with their girls. Jeff repeats that Nash isn’t going to be here tonight but he’s in charge. Well done with already changing the power. Steiner rips on the women here in Wilkes-Barre and offers the Harris Brothers a spot on the team. Well you had to expect that would happen. It’s back to Jeff, who says he’s going to get the first shot at Sid at SuperBrawl. Tonight it’s Jeff/the Twins vs. Sid/two partners of his choosing. Jarrett is open to bribes and that’s it. They kept this short and got right to the point so well done.
Sid, Flair and Harlem Heat arrive in order.
Funk asks Arn to go get Flair but Anderson tells him to go find Flair himself.
Cruiserweight Title Tournament First Round: Lash Leroux vs. Evan Karagias
Lash makes the mistake of going after 3 Count to start and walks into a powerslam from Evan. The band takes him to the floor and Evan hits a big dive to take them out again. Back in and Lash knocks him off the ropes and does the Bourbon Street Blues (the punches into the splits) but 3 Count makes another save. Evan’s full nelson doesn’t work but Lash comes back with a Diamond Cutter Russian legsweep (Whiplash 2000) for the pin. Really, really dull stuff here.
The NWO sends their bad catering to Sid.
Dustin Rhodes tells us not to try this at home. That’s not something you often hear in WCW.
David, Crowbar and Daffney are insane and Crowbar talks like Gordon Solie. Now this actually sounds insane instead of some of the other modern CRAZY wrestlers. The Mamalukes attack and the match starts fast.
Tag Team Titles: Mamalukes vs. David Flair/Crowbar
They head outside to start with Vito being backdropped onto a bunch of snow. That’s about it for being outside as everyone comes inside with Crowbar carrying a shovel. I’m going out on a limb and guessing this is a street fight. Vito drives a trashcan lid into David’s crotch and the other two come inside.
Cue Ms. Hancock to watch from the aisle as Johnny slams Crowbar a few times. Crowbar fights back with a slingshot legdrop onto a chair onto Johnny’s face. It’s table time but Crowbar, being a bit off, puts the table on top of Johnny instead of the other way around. Disco breaks up a moonsault, allowing Vito to splash Crowbar through the table to retain.
Rating: D. Another ECW style brawl with too many moving parts to have any really stand out. I’m sure we’ll get one more pay per view matches out of these teams, even though they’ve pretty definitively eliminated any chance of the titles changing back. At least Crowbar and Flair are entertaining with how out there they’ve gotten.
Brian Knobbs has a bribe for Jarrett in exchange for putting Finlay in the ring against Luger later. Jeff promises they’ll be in there at the same time.
Here’s Booker T. with something to say but his music stops halfway down the aisle. This brings out J. Biggs who says that music is the property of Harlem Heat, meaning only Stevie Ray and Big T. can listen to it. Instead, Booker can use this song instead. A generic rock song plays and Biggs calls it a meaningless song for a meaningless man.
Now we get to the infamous part of this story: Biggs says that the T, as in of Booker T., is also Harlem Heat property, so Booker can’t use it anymore, or the flames on his attire either. So yes, somehow this feud is over Harlem Heat, which is apparently an entity instead of just a tag team, owning the rights to a letter of the alphabet. Harlem Heat leaves and Midnight shows up to go after Biggs, but Harlem Heat comes back out for the save. We’re officially in one of the dumbest stories WCW ever did and you know how much ground that covers.
3 Count beats up Norman Smiley.
Jarrett tells Finlay that he’ll be in the same ring as Luger, as he referees a match between the Total Package and Brian Knobbs.
Norman gets inside the Demon’s casket and the lid closes. Instead of fighting for the US Title, he’s inside a coffin to help him fight off a boy band.
Kidman vs. The Wall
Rematch of that Cell match they had a few weeks back. Kidman slugs away to start but gets kicked in the face. A backbreaker sets up some choking from the Wall, before he blocks a sunset flip with even more choking. Well no one ever accused him of being the most versatile guy in the world. Wall plants him with a clothesline but YOU CAN’T PUT KIDMAN ON THE TOP ROPE, as he kicks Wall away and hits a missile dropkick. His high cross body is countered into a powerslam though and Wall grabs him by the throat again. This brings out Vampiro to kick Wall in the back, giving Kidman a roll up win.
Rating: D+. That ends the run of match of the night for Kidman but given who he was in there with, it’s hard to argue against him being the hottest thing in the company at the moment. Kidman is trying really hard lately and was able to carry Wall to a passable match. That alone makes him into a more impressive performer than most.
Here’s Flair for his big return speech. He brags about being bigger than the Steelers, Eagles and Pirates and lists off some hockey players who aren’t as big a star as he is. Ten years ago there were some people who could run with him, but Space Mountain still has the longest line. A few weeks ago the Powers That Be asked him to be the commissioner, but he turned them down because he’s the greatest wrestler alive today. He came up here because the deal was right and now he needs to say something to Terry Funk.
Flair can’t believe that Funk has been implying that Flair would support him, because there’s a big difference between Ric Flair and Terry Funk. This brings out Funk, who is loudly booed. He calls Flair banana nosed and horse toothed but praises him for all those World Titles. However, Funk senses some jealousy in Ric’s voice. Maybe it comes from Mick Foley saying Flair isn’t in Funk’s league in his book? STOP PROMOTING OTHER COMPANY’S STUFF!
Anyway, Flair needs to grow up and help in the fight against the NWO, but then tells him to go be Governor of North Carolina and leave the fight to himself and Arn Anderson. Flair wants to fight, even though he’s head to toe in Armani. Funk comes in, punches him down, and puts on the spinning toe hold until security comes out for the save. So yeah, they’re fighting over who is a bigger legend and Flair seems to be a heel, even though the fans booed Funk. This is one of the top stories in the company at the moment.
Jarrett thinks Funk and Flair will be Sid’s partners.
Sting is in some movie.
Sid isn’t worried about the NWO.
Ms. Hancock wants to know why Lenny and Lodi haven’t been wearing their suits but they say they’re done. That’s not cool with Hancock, who reminds them of the West Hollywood Blonds stunt that almost got them fired. Lenny, and I quote: “Oh yeah, we’re REAL lucky to have a job in WCW.” They’re sick of this stupid “gimmick” and tell Hancock to come find them when the bun is out of her hair. So much for the fourth wall.
Total Package vs. Brian Knobbs
Liz and Luger have the Sting stuff with them. Fit Finlay is guest referee here for no apparent reason. Knobbs jumps Luger to start and elbows him in the face. The Pit Stop is loaded up but Finlay pushes Brian’s arm down for some reason. Knobbs responds by…..doing it anyway. They head outside with Knobbs whipping him into the barricade, only to have Finlay blast Knobbs from behind.
Back in and Brian, apparently not hurt by a shot to the head, fires off clotheslines and drops some elbows as this is the most motivated he’s been in years. Brian goes up for a splash but Finlay stands in front of him, allowing Liz to hit Knobbs with a bat. That’s it for Finlay as he leaves, allowing Luger to Pillmanize Brian’s arm. We get some smack talk about Hogan and I’m assuming it’s a no contest.
Rating: D-. So we have Finlay vs. Knobbs in an actually interesting feud (gah that’s hard to say) and then Luger wanting to fight Hogan for no reason other than the script says so. Knobbs now has a broken arm, so maybe he’ll be off screen for a bit? Somehow this was better than I was expecting.
Norman Smiley comes out of a coffin dressed as the Demon. Egads.
Dale Torborg is mad that someone has stolen his outfit. So much for staying in character.
Shane Helms vs. Norman Smiley
Norman is the Demon because he’s the original Santino Marella. Helms starts fast with a Russian legsweep but Norman pops up like a skilled guy stuck in a horrible comedy gimmick and slams Shane down. In the middle of this match of all things, we hear that Hogan will be on Thunder this week. That doesn’t get a big segment of its own? Well of course it doesn’t. Helms busts out an airplane spin but Norman comes back with a giant swing. It’s time to dance but the other 3 Count members have to be dispatched. The Norman’s Conquest is good for the quick submission.
Cue Torborg with the cops to chase Norman off.
Page and Kimberly are in the back when the Mamalukes come up. Vito gets a quick feel of her but Kimberly thinks it was Disco, who calls her a bimbo for accusing him. Page beats Disco up out of principle.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Disco Inferno
Page drags Inferno into the arena and they get all up in DJ Ran’s area. DJ Ran still had a job in 2000??? They fight through the crowd with Page in control and the bell finally rings once they’re inside. A top rope clothesline and Rock Bottom knock Disco even sillier (yet doesn’t mess with that perfect hair) but he comes back with, what else, a low blow. Disco’s usual neckbreaker and middle rope elbow set up the dancing, only to have Page plant him with a helicopter bomb. The Diamond Cutter ends this in a hurry, as it should have. I guess Page is a full on face again.
Jeff Jarrett/Harris Twins vs. Terry Funk/Sid Vicious/Ric Flair
And there’s no Flair. It’s a brawl in the aisle to start with Sid fighting the Twins and Funk not being able to keep up. Sid takes we’ll say Ron inside and Funk throws in a chair, which the Twins quickly throw back out. You can hear a fan complaining about his eye hurting because the fans are that silent. Ron gets backdropped to the floor but Don breaks up a powerbomb on Jarrett. So the powerbomb is legal again?
Things settle down with Funk working on Ron’s leg, only to get chaired in the back by Don. Off to Jarrett to hammer away in the corner, only to have Funk grab a quick piledriver for a breather. It’s off to Sid to clean house and here comes Flair to go after Funk as we flash back to 1989. Actually that’s a great thing. Security drags him away and Ron gets chokeslammed with Don making a save. That earns Don a powerbomb but Jeff comes in with the guitar to knock Sid cold for the pin.
Rating: D. So is Flair a heel? Because that would be about the dumbest thing they could do right now. Therefore, we’ll go with the idea that Flair is a heel at the moment. The match was there so Flair could come out and attack Funk to set up their match down the road, even though I’m not sure how much interest there is in the two of them fighting, as they’re a combined 106 years old at this point.
Overall Rating: D-. So they bring Flair back and turn him heel, again leaving Sid and Funk as the top faces in this company. At this point, I really can’t bother getting annoyed anymore. Between that and Finlay and Knobbs having one of the most developed stories on the roster, this company really is just melting before our eyes. On top of all that, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Jarrett is just going to hold the US Title without frequently, or even occasionally, defending it, meaning a big chuck of the roster is just running around fighting for no reason. It’s such a waste but it’s what we’re stuck with.
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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.)
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We have a new World Champion in Sid Vicious but something tells me we’re in for some shenanigans. In other news tonight, Terry Funk has promised to bring in reinforcements against Kevin Nash. I’m sure this has nothing to do with Arn Anderson talking to some guy named Champ who needed to be told to put on his pants. Let’s get to it.
In case you were wondering, of the 6,323 in attendance, 2,510 were paid.
Quick recap of Nitro’s World Title situation.
Gene calls out Sid for a chat to start. Sid must be on top of the world and talks about standing up for WCW on Monday. Well no one did for almost all of the NWO civil war (including Schiavone) so better late than never I guess. The NWO tried to block the powerbomb and he was still able to win anyway because it wasn’t meant for the NWO to win every single match. That kind of thinking would get you fired back in 1997.
Cue Nash and the NWO with the boss saying this is one of the things he hates about being commissioner. As commissioner, he has to abide by the stipulations and the one from Monday was that Sid had to beat Ron Harris. He shows us a clip of Sid using the powerbomb, which hadn’t been banned at that point in the show, and pinning the wrong Harris brother. Now we get to the stupid part: the clip continues to show Sid being counted out of the ring because the match against Ron never actually ended because Sid didn’t pin him. Therefore, Sid didn’t win.
So on Monday, the referee counted Sid out and had the decision announced, and THE SAME ANNOUNCE TEAM DIDN’T SEE THE NEED TO BRING THIS UP??? I get that some things have to be done differently in wrestling and you have to suspend some disbelief, but this goes into “there is no way someone could possibly be this stupid” territory. Anyway, since Sid didn’t win on Monday, the World Champion is…..Kevin Nash.
However, tonight Sid will have a chance to get the title back inside Caged Heat against Ron Harris and Nash himself. However, the powerbomb is still banned and Sid has to pin Nash. Why Nash would do that isn’t clear, but then again this is two title changes, Hell in a Cell and another World Title match in two days so I really shouldn’t be surprised.
Gene reminds Maestro that he has never performed here at the MGM Grand. Maestro is offended and Symphony actually says “how rude”. Ok then.
The NWO has slot machines delivered to their locker room.
Maestro vs. Norman Smiley
Maestro comes out with his usual piano…..and Norman brings out a team of Las Vegas showgirls. The girls dance to the ring with Norman, who of course is wearing a white tuxedo and top hat because he’s awesome like that, and do the spanking dance. Maestro jumps him from behind because he’s a cultural swine. Smiley gets in a chair shot and it’s already time for a ladder, which fits so well here for some reason.
The whip is reversed though and Maestro sends Norman face first into the ladder and it’s time to go backstage. I’m going on a limb and assuming this is hardcore. Just thinking out loud of course. Norman is whipped into a bunch of things and then through a table as they find a sarcophagus. Well of course they do. Inside is…..the Kiss Demon, because demons live in coffins right? Norman is terrified and passes out so the Maestro covers him for the pin. It’s not long enough to rate, but that may have been the most insane match I’ve seen this year and it didn’t even run two minutes. That says a lot.
The NWO gambles a lot.
Liz and Luger have Sting memorabilia
Cruiserweight Title Tournament First Round: The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea vs. Kid Romeo
Just like on Nitro, Romeo starts fast and hits a quick Thesz press and sends Prince over the corner and out to the floor for a meeting with Paisley. They slug it out on the floor as Standards and Practices, in street clothes this week, are here with Ms. Hancock, who certainly isn’t in street clothes. Well maybe on certain streets but not the most common ones.
Back inside and they slug it out as Hancock sits on the announcers’ table. Romeo hits a spinwheel kick followed by an enziguri and a missile dropkick for two with Paisley offering a distraction. Romeo goes after her and gets nailed in the back, setting up a reverse suplex to send Prince to the second round. Can we see a bracket to this thing?
Jeff Jarrett hits on 18 and gets a 3 for 21.
Terry Funk vs. Kiss Demon
Yes, this is a thing that is happening. They slug it out to start (did you expect anything less?) and Funk takes over with some very lame headbutts. Some boot choking in the corner leads to Funk being thrown outside but he whips Demon into the barricade, because Terry Funk is the second biggest face in this company after Sid Vicious. Back in and Funk gets annoyed that his neckbreaker only gets two, so he takes a swing at the yellow bellied varmint Nick Patrick. Again, your hero in this match.
A low blow and butterfly suplex get two for Demon, because when you think of a demon, you think of butterflies and suplexes. Funk ducks a right hand and busts out the Tumbleweed, which you may know as Kiwi Roll. Basically it’s a rolling sunset flip with Funk literally rolling him around in a circle before stopping for the pin.
Rating: D. Terry Funk, the second biggest face in this company, just had a match with the Kiss Demon. I want to hate this idea, but at least he’s interacting with the younger guys. For some reason I can’t imagine Nash actually knowing that the Demon wrestles for this company or that he’s a character that actually exists. Points to Funk for that at least. And I do mean least.
Kidman vs. Vampiro
Rematch from Nitro where Kidman won a good match. Vampiro starts fast with a headlock and shoulder, followed by a pair of suplexes. This would seem to be your fast paced wrestling match of the night. I’m as shocked as you are that Kidman is in this role yet again. Kidman’s right hands in the corner don’t work that well and Vampiro sends him outside and then into the barricade. So Vampiro is a face but acting heelish here. Got it.
Back in and Vampiro’s top rope spinwheel kick (a face move) gets two, followed by Kidman’s hurricanrana for the same. More kicks from Vampiro look to set up an electric chair but Kidman victory rolls him for not a victory. YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN but he can bulldog you, only to have Vampiro crotch him on top for a super Nail in the Coffin for the pin.
Rating: C+. This has been another show where Kidman has the match of the night and I’m sure it’s going to continue to get him nowhere. Well other than with Torrie but that’s a different story. He’s still fun to watch but you can add him to the list of people in WCW whose talents are being wasted while we get more Sid vs. Nash.
Some cops investigate gambling allegations against the NWO and there’s a Wayne Newton look a like. This goes nowhere.
Total Package vs. Buff Bagwell
My levels of apathy towards Bagwell continue to reach new bounds. Buff takes over with a slam to start and we’re already on the posing. I’m surprised they even bothered with a move to start. Luger knees him in the ribs but eats right hands in the corner, only to come back with an atomic drop.
Two Lex clotheslines lead to more posing and it’s time to choke a lot. An elbow gets two and an elbow gets two and then Luger charges into an elbow. I’ve heard of someone being all elbows but a match being one? A low blow stops Buff’s comeback but Buff is up first and does his usual generic offense. The Blockbuster connects but Liz comes in with the ball bat for the DQ.
Rating: D-. Good grief fire both of them. Luger somehow has even less of an offense than when he wasn’t trying and Bagwell is getting even less entertaining than he already was. I guess it’s time for Luger to start breaking everyone’s arm in an attempt to make him an interesting killer but for some reason I don’t see it working. These two fought WAY too many times over the years.
Post match Luger gets in more bat shots and goes to Pillmanize the arm but referees make the save.
3 Count had an autograph signing at the Nitro Grill when the Mamalukes came up and started a fight. Music haters.
3 Count vs. Mamalukes/Disco Inferno
We start with a performance but the band has to dropkick the Mamalukes off the apron. Some big dives take the Italians out again and Shane covers Vito for two to start. Shane hammers away in the corner but gets powerbombed out and kicked in the face for his efforts. Off to Johnny for several lifts on a military press, followed by Disco coming in to stomp away in the corner.
The middle rope elbow misses though and it’s off to Evan. I’m not sure what to think about four dancers being in the same match. Fandango must have been watching this show. Evan speeds things up and cleans the bottom half of the house before it’s off to Shannon as everything breaks down. The double hiptoss into a powerbomb plants Moore though, setting up the Last Dance from Disco for the pin.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see here and it’s nice to see the champions get another win, even if it’s at the expense of 3 Count. Yes they’re stupid but they were so goofily entertaining that I can’t help but like them. Disco is starting to find his groove as the manager/occasional partner too, which is good for him as he deserves a little something.
Post match Vito sings some Sinatra as the other two dance. This brings out David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney to clean house, allowing Crowbar to play air guitar as the others……dance?
Funk and Anderson are looking for Sid. I really hope this isn’t revenge for London back in 1993.
This Week in WCW Motorsports.
Nash gives the roster a pep talk. Quote: “Let’s go out there and put the old guys over!”
Booker T. vs. Jerry Flynn
Booker has to be able to win this right? Like, he has to. Jerry jumps him from behind to start and knocks Booker over the barricade. Please don’t make Booker a hardcore guy. Jerry fires off a bunch of kicks inside but misses another one in the corner. Booker hits his signature kicks and the forearm, followed by the 110th Street Slam (whipping spinebuster) for the quick pin. Thank goodness.
Anderson and Funk have a meeting with Sid.
Ernest Miller reminds us that he’s here and talks about loving Vegas to get the fans on his side….but then says he hates the people here. After some old school calling out a fat boy fan, it’s time to dance. Disco, 3 Count, Ernest Miller. The money in this company is a dance team gimmick.
Kimberly says she’s still friends with Buff even though she counted him down last week.
Nash has a meeting with the Harris Brothers in the back.
Finlay and Knobbs hug for some reason, allowing Knobbs to steal a wrench from Finlay’s pocket. You would think Finlay would notice it missing.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Fit Finlay
Winner gets a shot at Knobbs for the Hardcore Title, which shows Knobbs to be a coward by stealing the wrench. My goodness why does the Hardcore Title have a better story than the US Title? Finlay grabs a headlock to start but his shoulder block has no effect. Back up and Bigelow splashes him in the corner as we see Knobbs watching from the back. Finlay gets tired of selling and rolls outside to set up a table.
An attempt at a suplex over the ropes and through the table is easily countered, allowing Bigelow to go up, only to miss the headbutt. It should be wrench times but Knobbs is a thief (maybe he can get a job in the criminal field once the wrestling thing stops working for him), Bigelow hits Greetings From Asbury Park (pretend Finlay’s head hit the mat) for the pin.
The cage is lowered.
WCW World Title: Sid Vicious vs. Ron Harris vs. Kevin Nash
Inside Caged Heat, meaning the Cell and anyone can win but Sid must beat Nash. Also the powerbomb is banned. Nash is defending and Ron is in a suit. We again see the clip from Nitro which no one bothered to reference because WCW announcers are off having ham sandwiches and finger painting during commercials. The cage is chained shut as Harris and Nash double team Sid like you would expect them to do.
They head to the floor with Sid being knocked around the ring and Nash driving him into the cage wall. It works so well that Nash does it again twice in a row as this is total domination, as you would expect. For no apparent reason, Nash and Harris go inside for a few seconds before coming back outside to choke with a TV cable. They go inside again and, as in every triple threat ever, the two in control argue over who gets to cover.
Sid fights back for a bit until Nash gets in a shot to the ribs to take over. They head outside again with Sid going into the cage for I think the fifth time. We get some blood from the arm but Sid finally blocks a ram into the steel and takes over again. Harris is thrown inside for a chokeslam (with Ron landing on his arm) and Sid pulls Nash down into a Crossface of all things for the win and his second World Title in three days and the seventh World Title change in nine days.
Rating: D-. I don’t know if that’s meant as a knock on Benoit or just WCW trying to be cute, but I can’t help but shake the idea that Nash would have never tapped to Benoit in a million years. This was just a step ahead of Kidman vs. the Wall inside the Cell, though it still ranks as probably the second worst Cell match of all time. There was no need for this to be in the cage, especially not two days after the first match. Also, odds on the submission not counting because Nash said Sid had to pin him?
Ric Flair of all people comes out to applaud Sid, which is called a passing of the torch.
Overall Rating: D+. This company has gone from slow as molasses one week to WOULD YOU PLEASE SLOW DOWN the next week. Things are going way too fast in the World Title scene and it’s getting harder and harder to keep up and/or care at this point. Flair is a welcome sight as you know he’ll be at least solid if not very good. There’s good stuff on the show but the gap between the main event and midcard isn’t going anywhere. Welcome back to 1998.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
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.
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.
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s actually a big show for once as we’re crowning a new World Champion tonight because the idea of waiting for pay per view is a foreign concept in this company. Kevin Nash is already in the title match but Sid has to qualify by beating Jeff Jarrett, who I don’t think is allowed to fight for the title. Let’s get to it.
This show is dedicated to Bobby Duncum Jr. He had potential.
Nash, Jarrett and Steiner arrive in separate limos with their women for the evening, including Major Gunns and someone who looks a heck of a lot like Victoria/Tara. Scott Hall is here too.
Cruiserweight Title Tournament First Round: Psychosis vs. Kaz Hayashi
The finals are at SuperBrawl, Juventud is out with Psychosis and Kaz gets a jobber entrance. Presumably annoyed by this, Kaz shoulders him down to start and nails a nice release German. An enziguri knocks Psychosis to the floor and Kaz nails a plancha. Back in and Psychosis nails a clothesline before going after the knee.
After a few kicks, it’s back to the floor where Juvy gets in a People’s Elbow. So we have a fake Rock and a fake Road Dogg. I wonder who they’re ripping off next. Back in and Kaz dives right back to the floor to take Juvy out. Psychosis goes up top but dives into a dropkick to the ribs. Well at least they’re finally picking things up a bit. And they head back inside where Kaz misses a spinwheel kick and gets rolled up for the pin.
Rating: C-. Well the flying wasn’t bad but Juvy’s Rock impression, which still just makes me want to watch Rock, is taking away from everything else in the match. Psychosis, while not the best in the world, was clearly winning here because Kaz just isn’t very exciting in the ring. At least the division is getting some attention for a change.
Terry Funk and Arn Anderson arrive.
Nash says Jarrett has failed his physical and can’t go tonight, but the boss has a plan.
After a break, Nash makes Funk vs. Bam Bam Bigelow in a hardcore match.
The Wall vs. Kid Romeo
Squash time. We hear about Nash putting out a $15,000 bounty on Funk. This would be shocking, until you realize that Funk is probably the second biggest face in the company right now. Romeo fires off dropkicks to start and actually knocks Wall to the ropes. He doesn’t knock Wall out to the floor as Wall jumps over the ropes to get there but at least Romeo got him halfway. Romeo’s plancha barely works but he scores with an enziguri back inside, only to try a sunset flip and get chokeslammed for the pin. Wall barely had any offense until the ending.
Sid thinks something is afoot with the Jarrett absence.
Arn tries to talk to Bigelow but Bam Bam would beat up his mother for $15,000. Anderson: “It’s your funeral.”
Scott Steiner and Hall offer the Power Plant guys a chance to fight tonight. Their pick: Al Greene. One of the guys who didn’t get picked was none other than Christopher Daniels, who worked a dark match before the show.
Norman Smiley vs. Shannon Moore
Dang I don’t know who to cheer for. Norman, in Dodgers gear, interrupts the song, therefore making him the instant heel. It also earns him a quick 3-1 beating until it’s just Shannon in the ring. Norman fights up and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and IT’S DANCE TIME! Moore doesn’t care for the spankings and tries a rollup, only to get countered into a front powerbomb.
It’s time to get the rest of the boys involved but Norman is of course way too smart for them (meaning he has an IQ higher than a squid). Shannon is back up with an Asai moonsault to the floor though and Norman is actually in trouble for a change. Back inside and Norman slaps on the namesake Conquest for the submission. It’s pretty sad that this is a major upgrade in feuds for Norman, but I’ll take what I can get.
Post match it’s time to sing again but Moore is still down. Instead, Norman clears the ring and dances for them.
Al Greene vs. Tank Abbott
Abbott knees him into the ribs, punches him in the corner, slams him down, and knocks Greene out with a big right hand for his longest match yet.
Tank yells at his former UFC bodyguard, who Heenan interviews after a break. The bodyguard, who isn’t named, says Abbott is a sellout.
Here’s Ernest Miller, now with blond hair, who promises to whip everybody as soon as he can get back in the ring. The fat boy in the front row can sit down and it’s dance time. How many people in this company dance at the moment?
Greene is loaded into an ambulance and the NWO laughs.
Terry Funk vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Anything goes of course. Bigelow jumps him in the back to start and drags the elder statesman to the arena for some choking with a well placed rope. Some chair shots knock Funk towards the ring but he’s still able to avoid the top rope headbutt. They’re quickly back on the floor and Funk busts out an Asai moonsault of his own to drop the big man. Now it’s Funk with the chair but, ever the crazy man, he tries to headbutt Bigelow and just hurts himself even worse.
Bigelow throws it back inside and this time the top rope headbutt connects, but here are Finlay and Knobbs to help out their mentor (I guess?). That’s fine with Bigelow who easily knocks both guys away and loads up another headbutt. He’s a man of limited offense. This time though, Knobbs puts a chair over Funk and Bigelow knocks himself cold, giving Terry the pin.
Rating: D. So Funk is in a hardcore feud and a main event feud, thereby making this company more and more like ECW every single week. The match was exactly what you would expect from these two (both former ECW World Champions oddly enough) and the addition of Knobbs and Finlay doesn’t make it any better.
Funk promises reinforcements against Nash on Thunder.
Don Harris vs. Sid Vicious
If Sid wins, he faces Nash for the title later tonight. Harris is replacing Jarrett because…..I have no idea why. Sid is smart enough to go after Don before he can even get his jacket off because you know there’s going to be cheating here. They head outside with Sid in control, but he takes too long throwing Don inside and the twins are already switching. Ron clotheslines Sid out to the floor and it’s another switch. We hit the reverse chinlock for a bit before the twins plant Sid with a double slam. Back up and Sid grabs a chokeslam on Don, who rolls outside for a switch, so Sid powerbombs Ron for the pin.
Rating: D. This is a thing that happened. I’m not sure what else there is to say about it but I’m sure that Nash will be able to tell the twins apart (or that he watched the match. Well in theory as not many other people were) and it’s going to be a loophole. Boring match of course, but did you expect anything else from the Harris Twins?
Vampiro vs. Kidman
Torrie comes out wearing basically a zebra print bikini. Vampiro misses a kick to start and they circle each other a bit. A headscissors doesn’t do much good for Kidman as Vampiro throws him down with a release powerbomb. We cut to the crowd and OH GOOD LORD NO IT’S DAVID ARQUETTE! Please cut away from him. Please. I can’t handle it. Kidman reverses a powerbomb as only he can but he gets planted with a side slam for two.
Vampiro misses the top rope legdrop and Kidman hits a big plancha to take him out on the floor. Back up and Kidman dropkicks him to the floor, only to have a slingshot plancha caught. That’s fine with Kidman as he slips down the back and sends him into the post to take over again. Torrie seems way into this. The BK Bomb gets two and Vampiro’s DDT gets the same, much to the latter’s shock.
A little miscommunication sets up a release Rock Bottom from Vampiro but he gets dropkicked out of the air. That’s fine with Vampiro who counters a hurricanrana into a powerbomb for two more. With nothing else working, Vampiro loads up a superbomb but you can’t superbomb Kidman (that doesn’t have the same ring to it), who hurricanranas Vampiro down for the pin.
Rating: B. Again, WHY IS KIDMAN NOT DOING SOMETHING IMPORTANT??? He just got done with three matches at one pay per view and he’s had the best match on the last three TV shows, but he can’t get anywhere near the US Title because that’s Jarrett’s and he can’t get anywhere near the TV Title because it was literally trashed a few months ago. Such is life in WCW.
Arn Anderson is on the phone with champ. “Get your pants on. Can you be in Vegas for Thunder?”
Nash gets a massage, which is part of his plan to win the World Title.
Vampiro has something to say but his mic doesn’t work.
Total Package vs. Booker T.
Liz does an over the top introduction for Luger, who then babbles on about Sting. Just get him back so he can crush Luger and be done with it. No one can compare to Luger, including Hulk Hogan himself. There’s SuperBrawl I guess. Booker comes out and slugs away because he should be moving up the ladder but we need a Road Wild 1997 rematch.
An early Rock Bottom gets two on Luger and the ax kick (good looking one) knocks him silly but Liz offers a distraction. Cue Midnight to take care of Liz, allowing Booker to hit a big side kick, only to have Big T. sneak in with a slap jack to knock Booker silly, setting up Luger’s Rack for the unconscious win. So glad to see Booker getting knocked cold again so the Rack can beat him one more time to set up the big main event Luger vs. Hogan feud that is happening for no apparent reason.
Post match Sting’s music comes on and we have a shadowy figure with a bat on the stage. Smoke comes on and whisks him away however. Great. So now Luger is feuding with Sting, Hogan and Warrior.
Vampiro thinks the WWF sabotaged his mic and wants a rematch with Kidman.
David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney have an idea for the upcoming Tag Team Title match.
Tag Team Titles: Brian Knobbs/Fit Finlay vs. Mamalukes
The Mamalukes are defending but before either team comes out, David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney take over all three commentary spots. David takes over Tony’s job and actually isn’t terrible considering he’s sounding normal with a twinge of crazy. Disco is suddenly fine with being with the Mamalukes after trying to make them lose more than once. Daffney thinks they’re the Marmadukes and Marmalades. Crowbar: “I’m like Bobby Eaton and you have the mat skills of Sweet Stan Lane.”
They shove each other around to start and the challengers get the early advantage. David: “This one time, at band camp, I hit someone over the head with my crowbar.” Standards and Practices come out to watch but only Ms. Hancock sticks around. The camera stays on her for a bit before we see Vito working on Knobbs in the corner. Disco and Hancock stare each other down and Crowbar brings up the crimson mask. Crowbar isn’t half bad as a play by play guy. “Double ax handle to the chest! That could cave in the upper thorax!”
Both challengers crush Johnny in the corner as David starts dancing on the table. Hancock leaves with David and Daffney following as Finlay hits the Regal Roll on Johnny. Disco offers a distraction so Vito can get in a belt shot for two as everything breaks down. Knobbs throws a chair at Finlay by mistake (Crowbar: “A FAUX PAS!”), setting up Vito’s swinging inverted DDT to retain the belts.
Rating: D. Crowbar and Hancock were the highlights of the match. There’s only so much you can expect from these four, but they’re already better in the ring than Flair and Crowbar, almost by default. You could barely keep track of the match with all the shenanigans though, and that gets old in a hurry.
Here’s Nash with something to say, though first he has to steal a fan’s sign about Hall being afraid of O’Doul’s beer (non-alcoholic). The fans want Goldberg but “he doesn’t work here anymore.” He and Sid are about to fight but since the powerbomb is so dangerous, it’s banned from use tonight. Well Nash already beat Sid in a powerbomb match without using a powerbomb so that really doesn’t change much. The NWO is on it’s way to Vegas so it’s one on one.
WCW World Title: Sid Vicious vs. Kevin Nash
Thankfully Nash just stayed in the ring instead of leaving like so many people (including Nash in the past) have done before. Sid shoves him to the floor to start but Nash cheats to win a test of strength to take over. They head outside again as the announcers actually talk about Thunder being taped tomorrow night. I know it’s not exactly a secret but it’s not something you hear about that often. We hit the sleeper on Sid back inside because Nash needs to rest a bit.
Tony’s logic on the match: a loss here makes the NWO even stronger. Sid’s arm goes up after the second drop but he drives Nash into the referee in the corner. A big boot and legdrop set up the hand to the ear to see if the fans want a powerbomb. Cue Jarrett (Nash LIED???) but Sid takes the guitar away to blast Nash, but Sid is smart enough to play possum before crawling over military style for the pin and the title. BIG pop for that.
Rating: D. As I think everyone guessed coming in, this was a slow and mostly dull power match. The ending would have been better suited after a 10-15 minute match, but I don’t think the world was ready for Sid vs. Nash getting that much time in the year 2000. I’ll give them this though: the idea of Sid outsmarting someone is about as entertaining a bit of fiction as I’ve seen in a long time.
Confetti falls to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. This show is getting downright tolerable. Above all else they now have a clear focus in the main event, which is more than you could say a few weeks back. Back then there were so many focuses that it was almost impossible to keep track of what was going on. Unfortunately that focus is on Sid, which isn’t the most interesting idea in the world.
Other than that there’s a more solid undercard being developed, but it would be nice to see some of the people move up the ladder and WAY less emphasis on the hardcore stuff. We get it: you can hit each other with trashcan lids and chairs and Brian Knobbs is totally interesting and worthy of pushing at least in the general direction of the space shuttle. I’m scared to think of who Funk is going to get as a reinforcement, but I’m hoping it’s just Sid so we don’t have to have anyone else coming in. Or maybe it’s Flair, which would work a bit better. Not a good show this week, but at least it’s a few steps ahead of where they were.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books for under:
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.
Location: Roberts Memorial Stadium, Evansville, Indiana
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The big story at the moment is how a huge chunk of the midcard and the World Champion are all gone due to Kevin Sullivan being part of the new booking committee. In addition to the talent leaving due to Sullivan, it also means that the show has gone from going 200 miles per hour to about 20 miles per year as the show has slowed way down and gotten a good deal more boring. Let’s get to it.
There’s a closed door meeting taking place.
The NWO arrives.
Tag Team Titles: David Flair/Crowbar vs. Mamalukes
The mafia guys are challenging and Disco sits in on commentary. Vito and David get things going with Young Naitch getting knocked into the corner with ease. I know Crowbar is crazy but how did he consent to letting Flair start? David comes back with some shoulders to the ribs in the corner, only to get nailed in the throat for his efforts. Crowbar dives over the top to take the Mamalukes down and gets two off a cross body.
That goes nowhere as Vito comes back with a delayed suplex, but only after he jogs around the ring while holding Crowbar in the air. Off to Johnny who eats a double clothesline but comes right back with a spinning kick to the head. Everything breaks down and Crowbar powerslams Vito down and drops a top rope splash for two with Johnny making a save. A Lionsault (minus the running start) gets the same as this is basically a handicap match. David gets the crowbar but the Mamalukes kick Crowbar into him (and the bar), setting up the spinning Impaler DDT from Vito for the pin and the titles.
Rating: D. I like the result but not the method they used to get there. It’s very nice to see the titles go to a team that could actually work some decent matches, but the match that got them there was pretty much a mess. David just doesn’t have what it takes to be on this level and it was showing every time they were in the ring. At least the Mamalukes, as mediocre as they are, can work well enough.
Nash talks to the cops.
Page and Kimberly arrive.
The Mamalukes want Disco to take someone out.
Curt Hennig vs. Jim Duggan
Really? As I fathom the fact that these two are fighting in 2000, I took some time to see how many times these guys have fought. Believe it or not, they only have a few house show matches in the WWF and two Thunder matches. You would think these guys would have been a logical pairing at some point. Hennig answers something like an open challenge but doesn’t have on wrestling gear, so Duggan calls him a chicken.
Curt McFly charges to the ring and gets slammed down but he snaps Jim’s throat over the top rope. Some choking and a dropkick follow but Duggan just slugs away to come back. Ten punches in the corner are broken up by an eye poke but Hennig throws Duggan into the referee. You know I hadn’t realized how few ref bumps there had been since Russo was gone. Hennig brings in the 2×4 but Duggan hits the referee by mistake, sending Hennig running away as Duggan’s music plays. Huh?
It’s 3 Count time!!! They do a letterboxed performance and now they even have a super fan in the form of Karate Norman Smiley. Evan, so overwhelmed by the music, charges at him but Norman feels the power and clotheslines him down. All three members are taken out and Norman is so fired up that he issues an open challenge. Cue Tank Abbott because we need to see him every week. Norman fails at using Dave Penzer as a human shield and goes down in one punch. I’m so glad the fans got excited over Smiley until he got knocked cold by Abbott because we haven’t covered that yet.
Lash Leroux vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Psychosis
Sometime tonight we should be getting a statement on Oklahoma and the Cruiserweight Title. Chavo goes after Psychosis to start with some chops as Lash just chills by the ropes. Psychosis escapes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker before joining Chavo for a double clothesline. That’s about it for the working together as Chavo sends Psychosis into the corner and slams him down, followed by a dropkick to put Lash on the floor. Psychosis and Chavo slug it out but Lash gets back up and dives onto both guys to finally do something in the match.
Back up and Psychosis nails Chavo by mistake, followed by a backbreaker from Leroux. Psychosis is sent outside with Lash following him for a whip into the barricade. This time it’s Chavo hitting the big dive to the floor and everyone is down. Back in again and Lash misses a dive, allowing Chavo to throw Psychosis to the floor. Whiplash is countered and Chavo nails the tornado DDT, only to have Psychosis comes back in with the guillotine legdrop to knock Chavo silly for the pin.
Rating: B-. Much like on Nitro, this was an old school fun cruiserweight match between three guys who should be fighting over the title instead of having Oklahoma hold it as a comedy bit. It’s cool to see Psychosis win as well as he’s an underrated talent, but the same could be said for Chavo. Either way, at least we got an entertaining match.
The Artist still won’t sing.
The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea vs. Kidman
Kidman has his solo theme back instead of the Filthy Animals’ song. Prince shoves him into the corner to start but gets reversed and beaten up. Paisley earns her paycheck by tripping Kidman so Artist can slam him down and snap a wishbone. This brings out Torrie for her big return as Kidman starts his comeback, only to springboard into a powerslam.
Back up and Kidman gets two off a rollup, only to have his comeback punched down. Another slam sets up something off the top rope but Prince slips going up and almost falls down. I know it happens with everyone, but given that it’s Prince Iaukea I blame his lack of talent. Prince tries a springboard but Torrie pulls him down, allowing Kidman to hit the BK Bomb for the pin.
Rating: D+. Pull the plug on Iaukea already. He doesn’t have it and this new character isn’t masking the fact that he isn’t that good. Yeah he can do basic stuff well enough but anything more than simple offense is a chore for him. You have an army of talented cruiserweights on your roster and this is the best you can do? Kidman was his usual self here so there isn’t much to say about him.
Terry Taylor is escorted to the ring. I wonder if he got an extension can can still have tailor made suits now that it’s 2000.
Here’s Taylor as the executive representative (at least it’s someone who knows how to talk) to address the World Title situation. This coming Monday (because it has to be Monday and not at your next pay per view), there will be a match to determine the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion. Commissioner Kevin Nash is going to get to pick one participant and the executive committee gets to pick the other. The committee’s pick: Sid Vicious.
This brings out Nash to rip on Taylor a bit and says he’s been reading the commissioner’s handbook, which says he gets to make the matches. The fans chant for Goldberg and again Nash threatens to fire him. As lame as his matches are, at least Nash knows how to antagonize a crowd. This Monday, Sid can have his title shot…..if he beats Jeff Jarrett. As for Nash’s pick, of course it’s himself. It wasn’t specified but I’m assuming Jeff doesn’t get the title shot if he beats Sid.
I’ll give them points for adding in a crowd favorite in Sid and Nash makes sense as the villain, but they couldn’t throw in a curveball here? You have a chance to make a brand new star to distract the fans from the fact that you just lost four young guys and you go with the safe route of Sid? I get the thinking behind it, but this would be a prime chance to pull the trigger on someone. They don’t even have to win the title, but give the fans something to get excited over. Like, at SuperBrawl, not the show five days away.
Nash makes tonight’s main event: Booker T./Big T. vs. Sid/Total Package. Ha that’s good. Now what’s the real main event?
Berlyn vs. The Wall
Time for the blowoff! Berlyn goes after him during the entrances but Wall, the giant monster, grabs a wristlock. Can we get someone to explain the idea of psychology to these people? Berlyn comes back with a nip up and dropkick and the fans already think this is boring. Wall throws him to the floor and drops an elbow to the back but posts himself, allowing Berlyn to dive off the top to take him down.
The second attempt (this time from the apron) doesn’t work as well and Wall throws him inside again. Get this match over with already. Back in and Berlyn tries to flip over Wall but doesn’t get all the way, making the match look even worse. Wall drapes him over the top rope and nails a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but the chokeslam is broken up by a rake of the eyes. Berlyn hits the ropes, eats a big boot and……gets pinned?
Rating: D. So they established these guys as a team in September and have the horrible blowoff on a show no one is going to watch in January? That’s the best thi…..yeah this actually is the best they can do at this point. Terrible match here as there’s no interest in either guy. They’ve managed to destroy so many members of the roster that there’s no reason to get interested in almost anyone.
This Week In WCW Motorsports. Yes this is still a thing.
Here’s Cruiserweight Champion Oklahoma as he continues to get to book himself into a spot for the sake of his own laughter. He brags about promising to bounce Madusa’s silicone censored back to the kitchen and that’s exactly what he did. After that win, Oklahoma has decided to vacate the title because there’s nothing left for him to accomplish. This brings out Madusa to call Oklahoma a coward before saying she wants to start a women’s division. Oklahoma starts his rebuttal but here’s Sherri Martel of all people to attack Madusa.
So wait. We’ll get to the match in a minute but I need a second here. Not only did Oklahoma set himself up to beat Madusa for the title, vacate it due to weighing 260lbs and cover her with barbecue sauce because making fun of Jim Ross is just oh so funny, but now Madusa is just being moved on to a new feud? In other words, the heel booker gets away with everything with his only comeuppance being the barbecue sauce after he won the title? Well of course it is.
Madusa vs. Sherri Martel
Miss Hancock comes out and sits on the announcers’ table for some fan service. Sherri chokes a lot, Madusa comes back with clotheslines, Sherri goes up and slips, Madusa suplexes her down for the pin. The match lasted a minute.
Nash tells the NWO girls to massage him.
Fit Finlay vs. Jerry Flynn
Not hardcore surprisingly enough. Jerry chops him down to start and pulls Finlay away from the ropes because Fit is trying to hide for some reason. Finlay comes back with an uppercut and let’s look at Buzzkill in the crowd because that’s still going on. Fit knocks him down a few times and drops a middle rope knee and they head outside with Finlay hitting an uppercut.
A chair to the throat puts Jerry in even more trouble but here’s Brian Knobbs with a kendo stick. Brian gets in some stick shots on Flynn but Jerry comes back with some kicks to Finlay. Knobbs goes to the apron with the stick but Finlay is sent into it instead, giving Flynn the fluke rollup pin.
Rating: F. It was slow, it was boring, it had Brian Knobbs and Jerry Flynn is getting a pin on television over someone like Fit Finlay. Flynn is similar to Tank Abbott: here’s there for one reason and for some reason the company insists on pushing him, albeit slowly, no matter how boring he continues to be. Another bad match tonight.
Kanyon vs. Diamond Dallas Page
The Triad fallout continues. Kanyon says he’s beaten Page over and over again now so there’s nothing left to prove. This brings out Kimberly, who is offered a spot in Kanyon’s entourage. Kimberly offers to think about it if the other girls leave. This brings Page through the crowd to get in some cheap shots to start things off. A suplex drops Kanyon and Page knocks him off the apron, setting up a Page dive to the floor.
Back in and Kanyon grabs a swinging neckbreaker (way too popular a move in WCW these days), followed by elbows and a chinlock. Page fights up and they head outside again with Kanyon hitting a quick Fameasser onto the steps. A high cross body from Kanyon is rolled through for two for Page. They slug it out with Page taking over, only to walk into a pumphandle slam for two. Cue J. Biggs with the briefcase but Page knocks him off the apron. Kanyon dives into a powerbomb, setting up the Diamond Cutter for the pin.
Rating: C. Not bad here but you could see Page having the whole thing mapped out. Kanyon continues to be entertaining in almost everything he does and should be doing something better than just fighting Page and Bigelow all the time. The same is true of Page. He could be fighting for the US Title (along with a few other people) but he’s just kind of here, going from match to match and never advancing.
Luger and Big T. talk backstage.
The NWO watches from their locker room.
Total Package/Sid Vicious vs. Booker T./Big T.
Oh this could be bad. Mr. T.’s offspring get in an argument to start and the fans chant for Ahmed. Eventually it’s Big T. vs. Sid to start and T. wants a test of strength. Sid asks the audience if they want to see it, complete with the hand to the ear, but Big backs down. It’s off to Booker as we’ve somehow eaten up two minutes of the match with no contact yet. Booker and Sid lock up, let go, and it’s off to Luger.
Amazingly enough it’s Luger with the first real contact of the match as he runs Booker over with a shoulder, only to have Booker knock him out to the floor. Nash is here to watch as Luger chokes Booker in the corner. We take a break and come back with Sid holding Booker in a chinlock. It’s off to Luger who eats the running forearm, only to have Big T. slapjack him from the apron. Now, down 2-1, Big T. comes in and gets chokeslammed, leaving Luger to Rack the unconscious Booker for the submission.
Rating: D-. So to clarify, not only is Big T. fat and out of shape, but he’s very stupid. Let’s just get to the stupid angle that’s coming with Harlem Heat so we can get Booker out of this and on to ANYTHING else because yet another Harlem Heat storyline can only go so far and we passed that about a month ago.
Overall Rating: D+. This is an interesting look at how the new regime is going to go. First and foremost, the matches are getting more time. Several of these had 4-5 minutes, which is enough time to get the point across. I’d still like to cut out a match or two and extend the matches they already have, but at least they’re letting the wrestlers tell a story and not have to fly through five plot points while trying to fit in some moves in between.
However, there’s another side to the new bosses. WCW is so desperate for a new star but they’re hanging on to the old guard as tight as they can. It should be all hands on deck to make someone into a star but instead we’re getting Sid and Luger in the main events with Booker T. doing the job to advance the Harlem Heat feud.
Since they announced the title match for Monday, I’ve been trying to figure out who they could have put in that spot instead of Sid and there really aren’t a lot of options. Assuming he’s healthy, there’s always Sting, but is that really where you want to go again, especially with Hogan out there somewhere? There’s Vampiro, but my goodness that would be a jump. Kidman is a US Title level guy at best. That really just leaves Booker T., who is last seen out cold and being put in the Torture Rack because Luger and Sid are a team for no apparent reason.
So we’re waiting to see if Sid is the guy that can carry the promotion? I’m assuming we’ll get Sting and Hogan back soon enough, meaning it really is going to become even more of a good old boys network around here. I know the idea is to find someone steady, but that should be done while also building for the future, which WCW has never managed to do. Everyone young has been ground down to nothing for the sake of pushing old acts for a quick score. Above all else, that might be the biggest thing that lead to their downfall. It’s really hard to care when the quality is going down and the champions get older every week.
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Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I have to say this way too often around here, but everything has changed again. Benoit won the World Title last night and that’s the last you’re going to see of him in WCW. Unfortunately that’s also the case for Malenko, Guerrero and Saturn, who all quit when Kevin Sullivan was announced as the fired Vince Russo’s replacement. The Filthy tried to get out as well but didn’t have such an easy escape. Now we get to see how everything falls out so let’s get to it.
The NWO arrives and Nash leaves Jeff’s hand hanging in a funny bit.
Kidman vs. Psychosis
We immediately start with a match and Kidman gets an early advantage off a headscissors and stops a charge by raising a boot. A high cross body gets two but Psychosis low bridges him to the floor and hits a big dive over the top. Thankfully the whole landing on Kidman’s head part didn’t cripple him. Back in and a nice top rope spinwheel kick gets two as the announcers promise to address all the major changes after last night’s show.
They head outside again with Kidman being sent into the barricade but he’s still able to dropkick Psychosis out of the air back inside. Psychosis counters a superplex into a super sitout gordbuster for two, only to walk into a wheelbarrow suplex. That earns Kidman a DDT and the guillotine legdrop for a very close two. YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN though and the faceplant gets the pin. This would be four Kidman matches in two days without a Shooting Star.
Rating: B. Off the top of my head, the best match WCW has had since the main event of Mayhem back in November. You can immediately see the cruiserweights being brought back to a respectable place as they were allowed to just go out and have a good match instead of being used as target practice for the heavyweights. They’re already off to a good start.
Now we get the big fallout from last night in the form of a statement from Arn Anderson. Terry Funk got beaten up last night for doing what he believed in and that’s what a real man does. Anderson has always tried to do what he said and last night he promised to call the match down the middle. Then he started watching the match instead of refereeing and he didn’t notice Sid’s foot under the ropes when Benoit made him tap out. Therefore the title is vacant.
To recap our title holders, we have David Flair, Crowbar (both of whom lost last night), Brian Knobbs and Ed Ferrara.
The Harris Brothers are in suits again and now guarding the NWO’s locker room. I’m so glad we had them turn a few weeks ago just to turn back already.
Booker says he hasn’t forgotten where he came from and apparently he and Stevie knew Big T. back in the day. They decided he was all wrong for them and Booker didn’t know he was out of jail. That’s already more backstory than we get for most new characters.
Here’s the new Harlem Heat, with Stevie saying he and Big T. are willing to give Booker another chance. Booker and Midnight come out but Stevie wants Midnight to leave. Stevie mentions Booker borrowing his bike to go get candy as a kid but the brawl is on. The team takes Booker down and Stevie wants a referee in here right now.
Booker T. vs. Big T.
Both guys are in street clothes. A quick Pearl River Plunge drops Booker and a World’s Strongest Slam does the same. Booker comes back with a forearm and ax kick followed by the Book End but Stevie throws in a slap jack to knock Booker silly for the pin. This was nothing.
Vampiro vs. Disco Inferno
The Mamalukes are out with Disco and tell him there will be no dancing. During the entrances, Tony basically begs the fans to come to the Thunder taping tomorrow night. Vampiro nails a spinwheel kick to start and another spin kick to the chest. Disco’s monkey flip doesn’t get him anywhere and Vampiro plants him with a release Rock Bottom, only to miss a corkscrew moonsault.
The Mamalukes validate their paycheck by attacking Disco as this is actually a faster pace than you would expect. It’s like they’re actually being allowed to try for a change. A swinging neckbreaker gets two for Disco but Vampiro avoids an elbow and hits another top rope spinwheel kick, followed by the Nail in the Coffin for the pin.
Rating: C. Nothing great here but like I said, they were trying for a change. It’s such a different atmosphere already with Russo gone for one show and you can see the quality and effort going up. Vampiro looked decent here and I can see why they wanted to push him, but they need to do something with him already.
Scott Steiner presents Nash with some women for secretary interviews, including the yet to be named Major Gunns, Shakira and Midajah. Steiner wants to play Twister.
Tag Team Titles: 3 Count vs. David Flair/Crowbar
We get a 3 Count performance before the match to really make this show feel better. Evan is the odd man out here. 3 Count dives onto the champs to start and here are Standards and Practices to scout the match. We settle down with David suplexing Moore and dropping him with a belly to back for two. Daffney hisses at Evan on the floor so David runs over for the save. Helms superkicks Crowbar down and Shannon adds a top rope spinning splash for two. David low bridges Shannon to the floor, allowing Crowbar to hit a reverse DDT for the pin.
Rating: D+. I loved 3 Count and there’s nothing bad about looking at Stacy Keibler but this really didn’t work. At the end of the day, David Flair just isn’t ready for this spot. He’s trying, but it’s very similar to Erik Watts in the early 90s: he needed a lot more seasoning before being thrown into this spot.
We get an encore!
Nash asks the ladies to leave so they can have some NWO business. Bret is nowhere to be seen. They need to get rid of the Old Age Outlaws but Arn can stick around for some reason.
Maestro vs. Tank Abbott
No piano, 13 seconds, one right hand for the knockout. This was a shoot fight, because the Brawl For All didn’t teach WCW anything.
Norman Smiley comes out to stare down Abbott but Meng shows up to give Abbott someone a real challenge.
Most of the midcard is coming to the arena. Since this is WCW, it takes far longer than it should have. They couldn’t have had them come out during the break? Nash and the Harris Brothers come out for the first official address of the roster. Nash praises himself but says he has goals for everyone out there. Tenay needs a personality, Knobbs needs a brain, Abbott needs a heart and Smiley needs courage. Nash: “I sound like Oz up here.”
The fans cut him off with a Goldberg chant so Nash threatens to fire him. This brings Nash to his first real act: Jeff Jarrett is officially the US Champion again. Jeff: “HOLY SLAPNUTS!” Next up is health, which is why there will be mandatory rectal exams before every match with Dr. Jellyfinger. Also, everyone is going to be in the same locker room no matter what level they’re on and no one can look at Nash but they all must call him Lord Master.
Nash will decide what happens with the World Title at a later date. He’s rapid firing through these ideas. There will be no illegal substances in the locker room, including Viagra. Nash: “Sorry Lex!” He praises Bagwell and Page for their match last night. Nash: “Buff, you doing Kim or what?” As for the first main event tonight, it’s Bagwell vs. Page in a rematch from last night with Kimberly as guest referee. They’re the NWO, they’re in charge, and they are gods.
Kimberly comes in to see the NWO and is given her referee outfit and asks if Page or Bagwell was better.
Team 2000 vs. Varsity Club
Team 2000 is Masahiro Chono and Super J (From what I can find it’s Jeff Farmer, better known as NWO Sting). There’s actually a story here: Rotundo was part of NWO Japan but left to reform the Varsity Club. Yeah this match is actually getting a story over a Japanese faction that most people didn’t know existed.
It’s a brawl to start until Chono starts driving knees into Mike’s ribs to take over. Off to Steiner but Chono wants Rotundo back in, which the fans find boring. I can’t say I blame them as there’s no reason to care about this story. Steiner suplexes Chono down and easily takes J to the mat. Steiner whips him into the barricade and Rotundo has a lame slugout as this just keeps going.
Rotundo chinlocks J as Steiner and Chono brawl in the aisle. Back in and Rick gets double teamed for a bit but they’re quickly back on the floor to keep up the brawling. A big boot to the face out of the corner blasts Rick again but Chono dives into a belly to belly. Everything breaks down again and the referee misses a small package from Rotundo to Chono. J comes in and rolls it over to FINALLY give Chono the pin.
Rating: D. This is one of the first major cases of the show having to throw in ANYTHING else besides Benoit/Guerrero/Malenko/Saturn. There was no reason for this to be a nine minute match and the fans might have been on to something with the boring chant. It wasn’t the worst match in the world, but like I said, there’s no reason to care about these teams fighting. The match wasn’t good enough to overcome that problem and it dragged on and on as a result.
Sid Vicious vs. The Wall
Sid runs him over to start and Wall bails to the floor for a breather. Wall is thrown over the announcers’ table as this is full squash mode so far. That’s it for the play by play right now as we cut to Disco and the Mamalukes coming in to say they’ll get the NWO anything they need. Nash asks if they’ve ever heard of Vinnie Vegas. Their assignment: go beat up Sid. Then get some grinders. We cut back to the ring to see Sid chokeslamming Wall for the pin.
The Mamalukes come out but eat powerbombs.
Scott Steiner, in a Michigan jersey and flanked by Midajah and a girl in a Michigan cheerleader uniform, comes out and beats up the Ohio State (Michigan’s big rival) mascot. Steiner does his usual stuff about how all the women want him and tells them to take a number and wait in the back. Michigan beating Ohio State was easy, just like the women in Ohio. An Ohio State fan argues with him from ringside and gets beaten down. Security quickly takes the bloody fan away as we’re firmly in the Scott is nuts phase.
Total Package vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Luger is finally out of the Sting attire. Bigelow elbows him out to the floor and pounds in some big forearms to the back. Back in and Bigelow slugs away, eats the metal forearm, and continues slugging away. The top rope headbutt connects but Liz distracts Bigelow to break up the Greetings From Asbury Park. Cue Kanyon but Bigelow nails him, only to take a champagne bottle to the head from Luger for the pin.
Rating: D-. Is there a point coming to this Bigelow vs. Kanyon feud anytime soon? They’ve been feuding, with Bigelow consistently coming out on the losing end, for weeks now and there’s no real progression to the story. This was another match that didn’t do anything for anyone and was just there to fill in time.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell
Kimberly’s referee outfit is exactly what you would expect it to be. Page starts fast with a shoulder and spinning Rock Bottom but Kimberly takes her sweet time counting. Buff comes back with a clothesline and they fight to the floor then into the crowd. Time for the ECW phase of the show it seems. A trash can shot knocks Page back to the barricade and they head back inside.
Bagwell nails a hot shot onto the turnbuckle but he stops to hit on Kimberly. Page gets back up and crotches Bagwell against the post. The Diamond Cutter is blocked by grabbing a rope (and it actually works unlike last night) and both guys are down again. The double arm DDT from Buff (well maybe an arm and a quarter) gets another very slow two count.
Back up and they fight over a backslide before the Diamond Cutter connects but Page can’t cover. Instead Buff gets up and loads up the Blockbuster, only to get crotched down. Page’s superplex attempt is countered with a low blow and now the Blockbuster connects. Kimberly “accidentally” collides with Buff and knocks herself down, allowing Page to get up and hit the Diamond Cutter for a slow pin.
Rating: D+. This is another feud that is just meandering along with little development in sight. It’s no longer about whether Kimberly slept with Bagwell but rather if she’s going to leave her husband for him. That’s about all there is as far as advancement goes, but it’s not enough to validate the boring matches that come with the feud.
Kimberly bolts from the ring and Page follows to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. Suddenly Russo is out of power and this feels like a wrestling program again. It’s certainly nothing great but we had storyline progression that you could follow, some watching wrestling getting time (three matches broke six minutes and with ten more seconds on the opener they all would have broken seven) and nothing horrible/insulting to my intelligence. In other words, it’s a middle of the road wrestling show.
That’s the key though: this show still isn’t really good. A lot of the wrestling was uninspired at best and the stories were only ok. Nash as the power mad yet entertaining boss has potential and the lack of the focus on the mostly retired crew helped a lot. Unfortunately, I have a feeling the bottom is going to fall out very soon because they’re going to have to find something to fill in the void left by all the people leaving, and it’s not NWO Japan.
This is where the problems are going to crop up and there isn’t much WCW can do about it. The Radicalz leaving at once was like taking the walls out from a building. No matter what was going on, you could count on those four guys to put on a decent wrestling match if you gave them the chance. Now that they’re gone, there isn’t much left to take their places.
What’s supposed to make up for those guys missing? Page and Bagwell having lame matches? More Varsity Club? Ahmed Johnson? Jeff Jarrett cutting the same promo with the same slap nuts line every single week? WCW has lost the meat of their company and there isn’t much they can throw in there to fill in the gaps. That brings me to the big point here: the Radicalz leaving was the point of no return for WCW.
Now here’s the thing: WCW was going to die no matter what. In the long run, there was too much money being burned and too much of a mess to possibly fix the place. Somewhere along the line it was going to go under and Vince would be left smiling. However, as long as you had those four guys (or at least a young core group of wrestlers who could one day take over), there was always a hope. It may have been just a glimmer, but it was there.
However, all that went away when they left. Those four leaving took the hope away from WCW fans. Any chance they had to see something fresh come in and take the company back from the Good Old Boys network at the top was gone and the hope was destroyed. Now there’s just the old guys hanging around at the top, collecting their paychecks and putting on the same pitiful matches that no one wants to see except for the diehard fans.
Benoit finally got to the top last night and it felt like yet another Dusty Finish. Yeah he got there, but never mind because we need to take the title away from him and just let it sit around until we find some other old guy to put it on so he can talk about having some big match but never be able to live up to those promises. The fans have no reason to believe it’s possible now and once that happens, the faint chance that WCW could turn it around was gone.
WCW was already a very wounded animal before those four left, but there was always the chance that they could tape themselves up, get on their feet and nail one big right hook to knock the WWF back and have one more chance in this fight. Instead, and no one knew how bad it was going to get in just a few weeks when they showed up on Nitro, WWF just cut off WCW’s arms and punched them with their own fists. WCW may appear to still be alive and trying to come back, but at this point, without the core talent that they built up being around anymore, there is no more hope. WCW is dead.
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Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re officially on Wednesdays now as Thunder goes running away from Smackdown as fast as it can. It’s the final show before Souled Out, which isn’t going to wind up meaning anything as the top half of the card is going to be thrown out the window due to a bunch of injuries. Let’s get to it.
We open with clips from Nitro this week. The old guys are prominently featured.
Bret Hart arrives separately from the NWO.
Vampiro vs. Crowbar
To set the tone for this show, Tony brings up the Old Age Outlaws and Scott’s immediate response is “Oh you didn’t know.” Vampiro jumps David Flair during the entrances and goes after Crowbar early on. David gets planted with a Rock Bottom on the floor but Crowbar pops back up with a moonsault to the floor to take both of them down.
Crowbar hits a slingshot splash for two but Vampiro plants him with another Rock Bottom. Some kicks set up a pose but Crowbar plants him with a German suplex followed by a slingshot legdrop. Back up and Vampiro gets crotched on top, only to counter a hurricanrana into a superbomb for the pin. Short but entertaining while it lasted.
Vampiro gets beaten down post match until Arn Anderson comes out to talk to David. Crowbar goes after Arn and gets laid out.
Time to run down the card.
Here’s Bret Hart with something to say. The crowd has a right to boo him right now because he’s let them all down. He doesn’t like the way the NWO takes all those shortcuts so the NWO is out and the pink and black attack is back. Bret tells the NWO where they can stick it and here they come to the stage. Nash says Bret hasn’t learned a thing “since New York” because he’s still too stupid for his own good.
The crowd may want heroes, but Bret could have become a god in the NWO. Bret needs to forget about this Canadian hero bull because hard work doesn’t pay. That would be one of those shoot comments that isn’t meant to be a shoot comment. Nash offers Bret a chance to come back to the team right now, but Bret swears a bit more. He’ll go through the NWO one by one starting tonight so Nash promises to end Hart’s career. It’s a nice idea, even though I’m not entirely sure why Bret has had a change of attitude.
After a break, Bret is sitting in a room with a ball bat.
The Old Age Outlaws are watching on a monitor. I guess that passes for interesting now.
Hardcore Title: Brian Knobbs vs. Norman Smiley
Norman is defending and this is taking place outside, but Norman it’s too cold. He’s finally forced outside and gets jumped by Knobbs, who nails him with a bunch of weapons. Norman comes back by throwing him into a wall and they hit each other with trashcans and a metal sheet. Cue a car to run Norman down, allowing Knobbs to hit him with a shovel, because RUNNING HIM OVER WITH A CAR isn’t enough, for the pin and the title, because Brian Knobbs is a better choice to be a champion than the entertaining Smiley, and doing this four days before a four way title match makes total sense.
The NWO kicks Bret’s door down.
Here’s the Revolution with something to say. They’re ready for the big showdown with the Filthy Animals on Sunday and Shane might even get in the match himself. Malenko promises to raise the Revolution flag on Sunday over the bodies of the Filthy Animals. Saturn talks about spinning wheels and nearly gets into it with Asya until Shane calms them down and tells Asya not to screw this up.
The NWO has Bret and carry him through the back. The Old Age Outlaws are STILL watching all this. I’m still trying to figure out why this is supposed to be interesting.
Jerry Flynn and Tank Abbott get arrested for fighting.
Madusa vs. Oklahoma
Non-title, but this is an evening gown match. Oklahoma comes out in a dress and carrying the Cruiserweight Title, so here’s Miss Hancock to shake her head at him. Madusa comes up from behind and kicks Oklahoma down before they whip each other into the steps. He can’t get the barbecue sauce taped to his leg so he slams Madusa and tries to get it out again. With that taking way too long, Madusa suplexes him down and strips his dress off for the win.
As if that’s not enough, Oklahoma gets the bottle loose and nails Madusa, rips off the top of her dress and pours the sauce over her. This is in no way symbolic of anything whatsoever.
The NWO burns Bret’s gear.
Madusa yells a lot, the producer yells clear, the segment ends.
Midnight vs. Booker T. vs. Stevie Ray
It’s an elimination match. Why you ask? I don’t know, but I’m assuming Oklahoma in a dress pouring barbecue sauce over Madusa’s chest will explain it. Midnight comes out first but we see Stevie jumping Booker backstage. Stevie comes out and beats Midnight into the corner for a knee to the ribs and right hands to the face. A clothesline and ax kick set up a powerslam as Midnight has had no offense.
Cue Booker who punches Stevie to the floor but Stevie wants a mic. He’s going to leave now and since this is an elimination match, Booker now has to beat up Midnight. So after we had the regular man on woman violence, we now get man on woman violence against the man’s will. Can we please get rid of Russo so we don’t have to watch his weird fetish stuff anymore?
Booker grabs a headlock before putting Midnight down with a few shoulders. He doesn’t want to follow up though so they stumble around until Midnight scores with a dropkick. Booker hits the ax kick but Stevie low bridges him to the floor and blasts him with a slap jack. He throws Booker inside and tells Midnight to pin him, but Midnight pulls Booker on top of her to give him the win.
Rating: F. So we had a man beating up a woman, a man reluctantly fighting a woman, and then a woman laying down and pulling a man on top of her. I’m sure Russo and Ferrara loved it because they seem to hate women in any form and good for them for getting to enjoy themselves for a few minutes while everyone continues to watch anything else.
Midnight dropkicks Stevie post match, but since that might mean a lowly woman got one up on a MAN, Stevie slap jacks her to put her back in her place.
Jerry Flynn is put in his cell and Tank Abbott jumps him. Because they’re cell mates. It’s WACKY!
Kanyon is ready for his champagne on a pole match. Well of course he is.
Nash is going to cut Bret’s hair.
Funk sends Zbyszko to find out if Bret has had his head shaved, because he doesn’t care enough to go find out himself. And that’s the boss people.
Chris Kanyon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Champagne bottle on a pole. Kanyon slugs him down as Bigelow gets inside but Bam Bam nails an elbow to the face. An early climb is countered with a powerbomb from Kanyon (looked better than you would think) but Bigelow crotches him to break up a bottle attempt. Bigelow nails a belly to back and falling headbutt as they’re trying this wrestling thing for a change. This time it’s Bigelow getting crotched as he goes up, allowing Kanyon to Russian legsweep him down from the ropes to put both guys down.
It’s Bigelow up first but Kanyon’s girls get on the apron to break up Greetings From Asbury Park. Your good guy tries to kiss the girl but Kanyon gets up for a save. Kanyon pulls down the bottle and dives into a right hand to the head. Bigelow grabs the bottle, throws it down, and headbutts Kanyon between the legs. Greetings From Asbury Park ends this.
Rating: D+. Somehow this is probably the match of the night, even though they ignored the gimmick of the match. You can almost cringe in advance whenever a woman is on screen these days though and it has nothing to do with their performances. Somehow we’ve reached the point where Vince having Trish bark like a dog is a lot easier to sit through than what’s going on here.
Post match Luger, still dressed as Sting, comes out and nails Bigelow with a ball bat. Luger loads up a Scorpion Deathlock (oh I’d pay to see him try that move) but a crow appears at ringside to screw off Luger and Liz. Bigelow gets up and yells at Luger, earning him a champagne bottle shot to the head.
Zbyszko and Orndorff look for Bret.
Package on Page vs. Bagwell, which makes sense, even though they never actually showed what started the thing.
Kimberly comes out to talk about various challenges before Gene gets to the point: why are she and Page having issues? Apparently Page doesn’t like Kimberly getting too involved with all the people at work but this isn’t about Bagwell. Gene: “How are things in the bedroom at home?” I’m wrapping this up quickly: Kimberly says this is private and doesn’t refute anything Bagwell has said other than she’s taller than he says.
MY GOODNESS stop treating the women on these shows like this. Madusa is stripped and covered in sauce, Midnight is beaten up and blamed for splitting up a team and now Kimberly is basically called a slut who has been with every member of the locker room as Gene asks her about her sex life. This gets more and more ridiculous every day and it’s getting sickening.
Sid and Benoit are ready for tonight as well as Sunday.
Sid Vicious/Chris Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett/Kevin Nash
Jeff promises to take Benoit apart on Sunday but gets cut off by Sid. It’s a big brawl to start with Benoit taking Nash to the floor as Sid hammers on Jeff in the corner. Well it’s not like Jeff can look any worse at this point. A big boot sets up a chokeslam but Nash comes in off the apron to break it up. Nash and Sid pair off as Jeff and Benoit fight to the back of the arena. This is firmly in the “it’s technically a match” category. Benoit comes back for a save but gets double teamed as the referee tries to keep this straight.
Jeff puts on the sleeper and of course gets reversed. He does however mix things up by jawbreaking his way out instead of using a suplex. Benoit grabs the ropes to avoid a dropkick and catapults Jeff into the corner. Nash breaks up the Crossface and everything breaks down again. They send Benoit to the floor and Nash blasts Sid with the US Title. Jeff tries the same thing on Benoit but eats a suplex. The Swan Dive is broken up and Nash shoves Benoit onto the belt, setting up the Stroke for the pin.
Rating: D. Total Attitude Era style main event here with neither team looking particularly good. I’m still not sure why I’m supposed to care about Sid vs. Hart on Sunday when they’ve barely interacted or why Nash being commissioner is going to be interesting (you know he’s going over Funk) but the wrestling isn’t helping anything.
Scott Steiner is out cold under a table and Bret is gone.
Bret, covered in bruises, walks outside but says he isn’t leaving like that. Ignore his hair clearly under the back of his hat.
It’s time for our big closing segment with Bret coming to the ring with a pipe. He wants the NWO out here right now so here are Nash and Jarrett with ball bats. Remember when people fought with their fists instead of metal objects? Bret gets beaten down so Anderson (with a bucket. A bucket?) and Funk (branding iron) come out. Didn’t Funk say he didn’t care? The old guys clean house but Funk thinks something is up.
Anderson throws the bucket of water on Bret, cleaning the bruises off his face. As you should have seen coming, Bret takes off his shirt and reveals an NWO shirt (because OF COURSE). Cue the New Age Outlaws (as Tenay calls them) but they’re quickly taken down. Sid and Benoit come out and take beatings as well, only to have Funk hit Nash low (because Sid and Benoit are worthless when compared to a legend like Funk) and go for the branding iron to end the show.
For so long Russo and may you be impaled by a wild rhinoceros, preferably female, because you are a woman hating neanderthal who has treated a once great wrestling company as your own personal playground because you aren’t talented enough to get a job anywhere else and couldn’t do jack without McMahon, Austin and Rock around to save the company from your horrible movie plots disguised as wrestling stories. I’m so glad you’re out of a job and wait for the day when reality sets in and you realize how much damage you really have done to the sport of wrestling.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
How can this already be the last Nitro before Souled Out? With all the nonsense that goes on around here these days, it’s very hard to keep up with the time frame. It doesn’t help that they keep changing things around as Russo continues to lose influence. Oddly enough that loss has power has coincided with my headaches subsiding after these shows. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Terry Funk getting beaten up over and over by the NWO. Suddenly Ric Flair is the smartest man in wrestling.
Terry Funk, Larry Zbyszko, Arn Anderson and Paul Orndorff arrive. This is really their big solution to Goldberg’s injury? A lineup of wrestlers who were veterans eight years earlier?
Tag Team Titles: Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn vs. Kidman/Konnan vs. David Flair/Crowbar
Flair and Crowbar are defending. Falls count anywhere, likely due to this being close to ECW territory. The Animals and Revolution start brawling before the champions get out here so David and Crowbar are late to the fight. With Shane sitting in on commentary and demanding to only be referred to as the Franchise, Crowbar lays Kidman out with a sitout gordbuster.
It’s time to get the weapons and they might as well start piping in the ECW chants already. Flair and Crowbar take over with their weapons as the Revolution destroys Rey in the aisle. In the insanity, Douglas and Malenko put Mysterio on a table so Saturn can channel his inner New Jack for a splash from the balcony. Saturn is broken in half (though nowhere near as badly as Rey) so David comes over and pins him to retain.
Rating: E. I think you know what that stands for. Let’s see: no wrestling in sight, a bunch of weapons, falls count anywhere, a huge dive out of the balcony through someone on a table. As usual, WCW has no idea what it’s trying to be so it just rips off another promotion’s ideas step for step.
Tony tells us that Terry Funk is booking the show on the fly tonight so they have no idea what the matches will be. I actually kind of like the idea as they often make matches throughout the night so why not just admit that you’re doing it?
Recap of Harlem Heat splitting. That would be the 2000 split in case you’re confused with all the other splits they’ve had over the years.
The NWO gives Scott Steiner some women of questionable character for a birthday present.
We look back at the ending to the opener. Mysterio leaves in an ambulance, along with the Animals.
Steiner goes into a room with three of the women, promising the rest will have a turn later.
Here’s Oklahoma to continue his anti-woman crusade. Oh geez can we go back to the New Jack imitations? He insults women and wants them all to stay in the kitchen where they belong, except for an open challenge right now.
Oklahoma vs. Asya
Well who else was it going to be? She shoves him down and knocks off his hat so Oklahoma nails her from behind, knocking it out to the floor. Asya slams him down and here’s Madusa, with blue hair, as Oklahoma nails Asya with a bottle of barbecue sauce. Madusa takes a broom to the head and Oklahoma takes the belt.
Juventud Guerrera, Psychosis, Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Lenny Lane, La Parka. There’s no reason I’m listing these names off. They just happened to come to my mind.
Here are Funk, Zbyszko, Anderson and Orndorff with something to say. Funk says Nash’s powerbomb on Thunder is nowhere near enough and he pulled these three men off the unemployment line to help him fight this battle. They’re the Old Age Outlaws (egads) but they’re more than young enough to take care of the NWO.
Arn talks about wanting to get some revenge the old fashioned way, Zbyszko bores the crowd by talking about tradition and Orndorff talks about the talent from the Power Plant that he helped train. Why the Power Plant guys aren’t in this spot isn’t exactly clear. It’s also not clear why this story continues as the crowd is eerily silent.
Cue the NWO to make the obvious old jokes. Nash is looking forward to being the Commissioner on Sunday but Funk says he’s still in charge tonight. Like for instance, tonight Jarrett, in a Tennessee Titans jersey for some cheap heat, is going to be in three matches: a regular match, a Bunkhouse Brawl and a cage match. The title won’t be on the line or anything, but I guess that’s out of respect for Benoit. Speaking of Benoit, he’ll be refereeing all three matches, which will be against some of Funk’s close friends.
As for the rest of the NWO, Hart will defend against Nash and if they don’t fight, both guys are suspended for a year. Hart and Nash don’t mind the threat and say they’ll take the year off. You know, because they don’t care about wrestling. Steiner swears a lot, but since he isn’t cleared to wrestle, Funk is going to wash his mouth out with soap.
Let’s stop and take a look at this for a bit. Here’s what we have in this story:
Bret Hart – Debuted in the WWF in 1985, fifteen year veteran on the national stage
Kevin Nash – Debuted in WCW in 1990, ten year veteran on the national stage
Scott Steiner – Debuted in WCW in 1989, eleven year veteran on the national stage
Jeff Jarrett – Debuted in the WWF in 1993, seven year veteran on the national stage
Now let’s look at the old guys.
Old Age Outlaws
Terry Funk – 54, debuted in 1965, lost the NWA World Title twenty five years ago
Arn Anderson – 41, debuted in 1982, retired as a regular wrestled three years ago
Paul Orndorff – 50, debuted in 1976, retired as a regular wrestler four years ago, hit his peak thirteen years ago
Larry Zbyszko – 48, debuted in 1973, retired as a regular wrestler five years ago, hit his peak twenty years ago
So we have Terry Funk as the only active wrestler, with Larry Zbyszko probably being the healthiest as he retired from active competition in 1994 and has wrestled three matches since. Anderson and Orndorff can’t wrestle and Zbyszko didn’t, so we’re left with Terry Funk, who first retired in 1983, fighting the entire NWO. This is their main event storyline with Benoit as the young guy fighting the midcard champion instead of fighting for the World Title.
How is this supposed to appeal to younger fans? I get how the older generation would appeal to older fans or really big time fans, but even they can only hang with this for so long. The younger fans though see these old guys hogging the spots that the younger guys should be having.
Orndorff mentioned training eight people at the Power Plant. Why not bring them up? You have one of the best talkers of all time in Arn Anderson and two very good talkers in Funk and Orndorff. What WCW needed was a fresh batch of main event talent. You might even say they need a revolution to take over that part of the card.
Instead, guys like Benoit, Malenko, Saturn and Douglas are busy chasing Janitor Jim Duggan around and trying to make him denounce America because they view themselves as a sovereign nation and hate this country while Oklahoma is chasing the Cruiserweight Title and a freakshow tag team like David Flair and Crowbar holding the Tag Team Titles because David is nuts after something about his dad sleeping with Kimberly. Booker T. on the other hand is busy splitting up with Stevie Ray again.
There is no one to cheer for right now and the best solution is to bring in people who used to be over and have them give the rub to….themselves. Yeah Benoit is around and they mentioned him, but you don’t see them working together or helping each other out because the solution is to just have them talk about tradition, much like Vince McMahon did in the early days of his war against Steve Austin. That’s WCW’s big solution to get people to cheer: act like one of the greatest heel characters of all time against the cool heels. It’s like they’re taking every possible bad idea and running with it.
Post break, Funk tells Arn to go find someone.
Arn looks into a limo but finds Kimberly instead of whomever he was looking for.
Video on Page vs. Bagwell.
Gene calls out Page and Bagwell but the control room can be heard telling him that they need a bit more because the intro didn’t go long enough. Is that some massive rib that I just don’t get? That stuff only started when Russo arrived and I have no idea how it’s supposed to be interesting or how the production team could possibly be that inept. Anyway, Gene asks them to be civil for five minutes and we have a countdown clock on the screen.
They talk a lot of trash and Buff insists he and Kimberly are just friends. Apparently Buff and Kimberly have great sexual chemistry (Buff’s words) but Page has been hearing that Buff has been telling the boys that Kimberly has a sexy birthmark. That’s for Page’s eyes only, but Buff says everyone has seen it. That earns him a right hand to the jaw so Buff pulls out a police baton that he just happened to have with him. So much for the countdown clock.
Nash and Bret insist that they won’t sit down. I’m sure there won’t be a swerve whatsoever.
Arn finds another car.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
Benoit is guest referee and this is a Bunkhouse Brawl because this show can’t remember the match order Funk made fifteen minutes ago. The mystery opponent is…..George Steele, age 61 and with five nationally televised matches since 1988. Steele brings weapons to the ring and swings away to keep Jeff from getting in. George stops to eat a turnbuckle but gets guitared in the head. Not that it matters as Arn Anderson comes in and plants Jeff with a spinebuster to give George the pin. As in a single spinebuster is enough to pin the United States Champion. Benoit served no purpose here.
After a break, Jarrett tells Nash to throw Hart off the team.
Here’s Stevie Ray to tell Gene to leave so he can do the interview himself. He talks about the history of the team and how Booker won the TV Title because that’s all WCW wanted him to have (huh?). Stevie wants to fight his brother one on one on Sunday because the show is already named after Booker. This brings out Booker and Midnight with Booker saying he’ll never fight his brother. That earns him a slap to the face and Booker agrees to the match.
Arn goes to another car. I’m assuming these are Jarrett’s opponents.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
It’s Tito Santana, a spry 46 here and just six and a half years from wrestling on a major national stage, in El Matador gear. This is a Dungeon Match, meaning it’s pin, submission or your opponent leaving the ring. Jeff beats up Orndorff on the way to the ring and mocks the Buffalo Bills.
Tito takes over to start with a nice dropkick and the flying forearm before going after the knee. Jeff kicks him away and Tito has to try three times to jump over the top rope to the apron. I love Santana but this is just pitiful. Benoit and Jarrett argue before Jeff nails Santana with the Stroke, only to stop to argue with one of the Bills. The distraction lets Orndorff hit the piledriver (great looking one too) to give Tito the pin.
Here’s Tank Abbott to call out Doug Dillinger. ARE YOU SERIOUS??? It’s bad enough that we have to put up with this goon who Russo loves for no apparent reason but now we get the big showdown with the head of security? Abbott tells Dillinger to take a shot, Doug does, Tank drops him and Jerry Flynn comes out for the save.
I’m sure you already know the story of what’s going to happen to the World Title situation in the next few days. Tank Abbott was Russo’s big idea to get the World Title, straight off a feud with Doug Dillinger and Jerry Flynn. Putting Rick Steiner over Ric Flair back in 1988 looks BRILLIANT now.
Jimmy Snuka arrives. To save some space in the match, 56 here and other than a one off appearance at Survivor Series 1996, last appeared with a major national promotion (ECW was still regional during his run) in 1991. The youngest opponent for Jarrett tonight is a 46 year old who hadn’t wrestled in the WWF or WCW since 1993. The Revolution, the Filthy Animals, Booker, and any other young and talented wrestler aren’t important enough for this story.
Benoit is out cold in the back.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Jimmy Snuka
In a cage. Jeff hammers away to start and sends Snuka into the cage a few times. Cue referee Benoit but Jarrett shoves him away from the cage door. That earns Jarrett some chops and a whip into the cage but Jeff sends him into the buckle. Jeff goes outside and gets the guitar but Zbyszko and Orndorff come in to clean house. Snuka and Benoit go up to the top of the cage for a Superfly Splash and swan dive, giving Jimmy the pin.
Rating: N/A. This was a segment disguised as a match and yeah the dives looked cool, but Jeff’s concussion wasn’t so great. This would knock him out of the US Title match on Sunday, but at least we got three WWF legends out there in their old territory so Russo could relive his childhood. Having the US Champion lose three times in one night to three guys who won’t be there next week while getting beaten up by a bunch of guys who can’t/won’t wrestle a match is just the price you pay for Russo’s entertainment.
WCW World Title: Kevin Nash vs. Bret Hart
Bret is defending, but first of all we have to cut to the back where Funk actually does wash Steiner’s mouth out with soap. How Zbyszko and Orndorff managed to restrain Steiner isn’t clear. I’m so glad we got to see this segment. It just made the entire show. Bret is in an NWO shirt, tennis shoes and jean shorts. And he’s known for five moves? Dang who knew Cena stole so much from Bret?
Nash goes after him to start and drives knees in the corner but Bret comes back with right hands. This is already one of the longest matches Nash has had in weeks. A lot of choking ensues until Bret gets in a kick to the leg. Snake Eyes stops him again for two but a low blow puts Nash down again. Bret misses the middle rope elbow and both guys are down. The side slam plants Bret and Nash bails to the floor for a chair. Cue Arn with a steel pipe and a referee shirt to nail Nash in the back, which I think means a no contest.
Rating: D+. And that’s it for Bret as his concussions were so severe that he wouldn’t wrestle another match for over ten years. In true Bret fashion though, he carried Nash to a watchable match and worked at the leg a bit before the non-finish. This actually wasn’t terrible and was by far the longest main event in a few weeks.
Post match here’s Sid (remember him?) as the cage is lowered. Bret is planted with a chokeslam and powerbomb so Arn can do a fast three count. Funk comes out with a flaming branding iron to burn Nash right on the singlet to end the show.
Overall Rating: F. This show comes down to how do you like your bad booking. You can have total insane booking that makes absolutely no sense and goes so far off the rails that you forget you’re watching a wrestling show, or you can have the booking that appeals to the over 50 audience without a good payoff and the US Champion getting pinned three times in an hour and a half.
This show didn’t make me want to see Souled Out, as the majority of this episode was to build up two stories for Sunday, one of which will comprise three matches. The fact that it’s going to be two out of three falls wasn’t mentioned, but why should a little detail like that get in the way of seeing the US Champion lose three falls in a night? This company is in a creative free fall at the moment, but they seem to think they’re going the right way and everyone else is crazy.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s a new year and please, for the love of all things good and not made of Russo, make it be a new Thunder. Almost the only stories coming out of Nitro are new Tag Team Champions…..who had to run away so we could get to the NWO stuff, and the new commissioner…..who was beaten up by the NWO to end the show. Heaven forbid WCW let anyone new (as new as Commissioner Terry Funk could be) get over. Let’s get to it.
Clips from Nitro of the major stories.
The NWO drags Arn Anderson into the arena. Have they just had him held hostage for three days now? Why am I still surprised by these things?
Cruiserweight Title: Asya vs. Madusa
Well at least it’s not more man vs. woman. Madusa is defending and has Spice in her corner as part of a pairing that has never actually been explained. The interference (and the stupid) start before the match as Oklahoma comes out to do commentary because we need a four man booth.
Madusa grabs the ropes to block a dropkick as Oklahoma is ripping on Madusa for holding a man’s title when she should be at home cooking for her husband. So apparently Oklahoma will be portraying Jeff Jarrett in a feud that is nowhere near as interesting as Jarrett vs. Chyna. The Revolution distracts the referee so Saturn can jump Asya, allowing Madusa to hit the German suplex (Oklahoma: “A move originated by a man!”) to retain.
Madusa yells at Oklahoma and the Powers That Be and gets a barbecue sauce bottle broken over her head. Well at least that’s what the other announcers say happen because we have to see the Filthy Animals run in to save Asya. Why they’re saving Asya isn’t clear as their teams were feuding, but it makes as much sense as anything else.
The announcers run down the card.
Juventud Guerrera and Psychosis come out with the former doing his Rock imitation and throwing Schiavone out of the commentary booth.
Here’s Terry Funk to beat up the luchadors and give Tony his seat back. I’m so glad they wasted that minute on an angle (if that qualified as an angle) that was over as soon as it started. Funk says the NWO can do this the easy way by bringing Arn Anderson out here right now, or the hard way by making him deal with it himself. Jarrett comes out, swears a bit, and says they’ll be out here in an hour.
Saturn tells the Filthy Animals to be, and I quote, “like a midget at a urinal: on their toes.” Before they get much further, Juventud runs in and takes over the interview from Gene. So is Juvy just there to make Russo and Ferrara chuckle at this point?
The NWO beats up Arn Anderson. This angle would work so much better with Flair than Funk, but can you blame Flair for not wanting to get destroyed in the Carolinas all over again for the sake of putting over the NWO?
Gene brings out Booker T for a chat about Stevie Ray’s actions. Booker brings up Stevie’s injury and how he needed someone to watch his back. The only person that would was Midnight, and Stevie needs to accept that Midnight is going to be around. Stevie comes out and says Midnight isn’t ready because she’s cost him four matches. He wants a match with Midnight tonight, and if Stevie wins, Midnight is gone. If Midnight wins though, Harlem Heat is back together with Midnight as a member. You can see the other booking hands getting in on these stories as this, while not very interesting, is completely logical.
David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney are watching on a monitor as the NWO pours hot coffee on Anderson. At what point are these guys arrested? Flair looks concerned.
PG-13/Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. 3 Count
That’s quite the odd pairing. We’re promised a 3 Count concert after the match. Well I’m sold. Shannon can’t hit a Fameasser on Chavo to start so it’s off to Shane and JC. Evan gets bored on the apron and springboards in with a dropkick before decking Chavo and diving onto Wolfie. Everything breaks down and Chavo hits Shannon’s tornado DDT, only to have Shane hit him with the green circle for the win. Nothing match, but what are you expecting from a minute and a half long six man tag?
We get the concert, making this by far and away the most entertaining show of the year so far.
David walks away from his partners.
Funk beats up security for not finding Arn. He’s kind of got a point actually.
The Wall vs. Jerry Flynn
This is a shoot fight because that’s what wrestling fans tune in to see: boring wrestlers pretending to shoot on each other. Tank Abbott comes out and to watch because he’s still employed for reasons I don’t understand. Wall dominates to start but Flynn comes back with his limited assortment of kicks. Jerry takes it outside and whips him into the barricade before slugging away back inside. Back in and Jerry strikes even more but stops to yell at Abbott, earning him a shot to the back of the head, giving Wall the pin. More worthless stuff as people with no business on TV get pushed.
Abbott beats up Wall and Doug Dillinger post match.
David finds Funk.
US Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Norman Smiley
Bunkhouse Brawl with Jeff defending. Smiley’s Hardcore Title is off to the side for reasons unclear but it might have something to do with the shoulder pads he’s wearing. He bails to the floor to start so Jeff throws a trashcan at his head to take over. Smiley is sent into a chair and screams a lot but finally fights back with a trashcan lid and a kendo stick shot. Norman doesn’t want to cover due to fear and a guitar shot sets up the Stroke to retain. Another two and a half minute gimmick match.
Post match David and Terry come out and choke Jarrett with the crowbar as Terry demands the NWO get out here. After a break, the NWO brings out Anderson and Nash has a challenge: a match with Funk at Souled Out with the Commissioner’s job on the line. Funk agrees if it’s a one on one hardcore match with the NWO banned from ringside.
On top of that, he wants a hardcore match against Bret for the title tonight, even though he cares more about hurting Bret than winning the belt. Notice how he worded that: he doesn’t say the title is worthless like Goldberg did to Rick Steiner with the TV Title, but that there’s something he wants more. Bret agrees and threatens to kill Funk tonight. That’s so far outside something Bret would normally say and it doesn’t work coming from him. Hart suggests a swap of Jarrett for Anderson, but Arn can’t help but get in a shot at Jarrett, earning him a ball bat shot from Bret.
Disco sells his Rolex to pay off some of his debt to the Mafia.
Stevie Ray yells at Funk for no apparent reason.
Midnight vs. Stevie Ray
No Booker at ringside. After appearing in the ring, Midnight dropkicks Stevie into the corner and slugs away, only to eat a clothesline and some right hands. A slam and elbow get two on Midnight with Stevie pulling up off the cover. He does the same thing after a back elbow but stops to stare at the camera in an unintentionally (I think?) funny spot. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Stevie forearms Midnight down again.
There’s a side slam and Stevie loads up the slapjack, but Booker runs out to say this has to be a fair match. Stevie actually agrees and powerslams Midnight for no cover as he checks her arm instead. That’s the mating call of a wacky finish though as Midnight rolls him up for the surprise pin.
Rating: D. The match had a goofy finish but at least it wasn’t the most illogical thing in the world. Russo’s booking gets annoying when you have stuff come out of nowhere and doesn’t have any kind of foundation. Stevie letting her up time after time and then getting caught in his arrogance was set up over the course of the match and was paid off at the end. That’s far better storytelling than almost anything else Russo does, which makes me think he isn’t in charge of this story.
Kidman and Konnan introduce Okerlund to a good looking blonde, who I believe is Pamela Paulshock. She immediately gets on my nerves by calling Gene sexy. Gene Okerlund has never been sexy in his life. Stop these lies.
Back from a break with Gene calling out Page for a chat. Page denies Kimberly cheating with Buff but says Bagwell did hit on her. He’d like Bagwell out here right now but only gets him to the stage. We get sex jokes, gay jokes, and low testicular fortitude jokes, triggering a big brawl.
The Artist still won’t record. This isn’t going anywhere is it?
Juvy does the interview with Bam Bam Bigelow as Gene is talking to Paulshock. Before they get anywhere, Kanyon blasts Bigelow with a champagne bottle.
Kevin Nash vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
And never mind as Bigelow is down on the stage where Steiner and Jarrett get him into a wheelbarrow. Nash hits Bigelow with a ball bat and the match (yes this was a match) is over in 22 seconds. I guess the multiple matches on Monday were enough for Nash this week.
Tag Team Titles: Konnan/Kidman vs. Crowbar/David Flair
David/Crowbar won the titles on Monday in the ridiculous tournament. David comes out with his belt on backwards because he’s crazy you see. Crowbar hammers on Kidman to start, meaning they’re already wising up by keeping Flair on the apron. A back elbow to the jaw puts Kidman down but YOU STILL CAN’T POWERBOMB CROWBAR EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE HAVE DONE IT AND THIS JOKE IS OLD. Off to David for a suplex as we get the old standard Schiavone hype for basic moves.
Crowbar comes in with a springboard missile dropkick and a guillotine legdrop for two with Konnan making the save. I had forgotten who Kidman’s partner was until then. Kidman counters another powerbomb (oh come on now Crowbar. Even you aren’t that crazy) but David breaks up the shooting star. Crowbar tries a top rope hurricanrana but Rey grabs Kidman’s leg to make the save. Cue a limping Arn Anderson as Konnan comes in to clean house. In the melee, Anderson hits Konnan with the crowbar to give Flair the pin.
Rating: D+. Totally watchable match while Kidman and Crowbar were in there but it’s clear that Flair just isn’t all that good. The Anderson stuff is getting annoying as they’re beating this story into our heads, but unfortunately they’re wasting the Tag Team Titles on this. Maybe the Revolution and Filthy Animals could be fighting over the belts, but we need them on another team that doesn’t deserve them so we can see David Flair in the ring.
The Revolution comes out and beats down the Animals again.
Terry Funk vs. Bret Hart
Non-title hardcore match. Bret is in shorts instead of ring gear and hammers Funk to the floor early on. Terry starts throwing in the chairs as is his customs but Bret throws him face first into one of them and nails Funk with the bat. They both head outside with Terry taking a chair to the head. All Bret so far. Back in and Funk gets in a few left hands and takes it right back outside for a chair to Bret’s shoulder.
Terry sends him into the cart of weapons but misses the moonsault onto a trashcan onto Bret, allowing the champ to blast him in the head with another chair. Hart Pillmanizes the leg and knocks the referee down (why?), so let’s cut to Arn Anderson putting on a referee’s shirt. David Flair comes in and asks to take the spot instead, which Arn reluctantly allows. Cue the NWO with the bats to Funk and Nash decks David. Nash Jackknifes Funk through the stage to end the show.
Rating: F+. A match? You think this was a match? I’ll skip complaining about how horrible this was as you took Bret Hart and Terry Funk and put them in a street fight instead of anything resembling a wrestling match because ratings are going to plummet if you don’t have some kind of violence right? Also, this is twice since Funk has debuted as commissioner that he’s been beaten down to end the show. Flair had this one right all the way.
Overall Rating: F+. The wrestling still sucks, but they’re moving tiny steps in the right direction. Look at the Harlem Heat story for example: there’s finally some logic to it and you can tell what’s going on without needing to take notes. The main event makes sense too, as poor as the wrestling has been. We’re transitioning into the boring period instead of the crazy stuff, which makes me sigh and wonder what else is on instead of wanting to steal plutonium to go back in time and bash Russo’s head in with a pipe wrench. They’re moving in the right direction, but it’s WAY too late to make things right at this point.
That’s it for Thunder on Thursdays as Smackdown took about four months to chase them out of their time slot.
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Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s a new year and in the best present WCW could give us, the show is back to two hours instead of the usual three. The big story this week is the rest of the Tag Team Title tournament with all the random and wacky teams and the rest of the field being filled out by regular teams who were “randomly” paired together. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of last week. Why must I be forced to think of that mess again?
A jet landed at the airport today. I’d assume a lot of those land every day but for some reason this is supposed to be interesting.
Tag Team Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Harris Brothers vs. Buzzkill/Mike Rotundo
Sullivan makes Leia Meow jump on a trampoline for obvious reasons. Rotundo goes after let’s say Ron to start and eats a powerslam and clothesline for his efforts. Off to Buzzkill for a forearm, but Ron comes back with a big old side slam. It’s big enough that it almost knocks Buzzkill’s hair off. Don comes in to hammer away as Standards and Practices come out and get rid of Leia, drawing the Varsity Club out to the floor. The H Bomb ends Buzzkill in a short match.
We look back at the monster truck stuff last week which has damaged Sid’s neck.
A motorcade is leaving the airport.
There’s going to be a new commissioner tonight.
Nash thinks Tom Zenk is getting the job.
Bret arrives and gets beaten down by Sid, wearing a neck brace.
Diamond Dallas Page is ready for his match against Buff Bagwell but Curt Hennig comes up and tells him the Powers That Be want him in the ring tonight. PG-13 is in the ring right now and that’s fine with Page.
Tag Team Title Tournament Quarterfinals: PG-13 vs. Scott Steiner/Kevin Nash
Steiner is Hall’s official replacement because there are a lot of people named Scott in this company. PG-13 is in the ring doing their rap, so here’s Page to lay them both out with Diamond Cutters. Here’s the NWO with Nash dropping an elbow on Wolfie and pulling the tights for the pin. It’s going to be one of those kind of shows, but at least it’s two hours.
Here’s the NWO to complain about now getting any respect and having to be attacked by Sid. Jarrett: “Slappy New Year!” Jeff isn’t worried about Triple Threat Theater with Benoit and doesn’t have much to say about it. Nash warns the new commissioner that the NWO is going to keep breaking the rules as they always have. Steiner jokes about his retirement and thinks all his fans are Wall Street types. This actually wasn’t that bad.
The motorcade arrives.
Tag Team Title Tournament Quarterfinals: David Flair/Crowbar vs. Lash Leroux/Midnight
Lash does a cross sign at Daffney in a funny bit. The bad night continues for Lash as Midnight appearing in the ring freaks him out even more. David and Lash get things going with Stevie Ray sitting in on commentary. Flair is easily knocked around the ring because he’s just not that good. It’s off to Crowbar who eats a drop toehold to send him to the floor, only to have him slide back inside where he accidentally baseball slides David.
Stevie tells Lash to tag Midnight in and gets what he deserves, thereby lowering Lash’s sucka levels for the rest of the match. Midnight throws Lash onto Crowbar and nails a nice dropkick, only to have Stevie pull Midnight out to the floor. Cue Disco, Tony Marinara and Disco as we now have more people interfering than in the match. Booker yells at his brother and takes a Slapjack to the head as Leroux hits Whiplash on Crowbar. As the referee yells at Harlem Heat, Vito and Johnny come in and lay out Lash, giving Crowbar the pin.
Rating: D-. Here’s a spoiler for the rest of the show: this match, which ran 5:15, is the longest match on the entire show. Also, in a match just over five minutes long, six people interfered, giving us three stories (Mafia vs. Lash, Harlem Heat splitting, the match itself) in one match. I know we get on Russo for overbooking but come on man. Calm down for like a minute please.
Lash yells at Disco in the back but Disco says he has to deal with the Family, who come in and attack Lash as Disco has to look on.
Here’s Luger Luger, still dressed as Sting and yes, this is really WCW’s best idea to fight Raw. Luger talks about Sting being afraid of him and wants the no name wrestler to come out here and face him.
Total Package vs. Tank Abbott
Stalling by Luger leads into the mace from Liz for the DQ in less than a minute. But remember, Luger is a veteran and therefore still a draw.
Jerry Flynn comes out and beats up Abbott with less than no one caring.
The NWO takes their ball bats to the limo.
Rob Garner of the WCW front office comes out to talk about the “writers” “swerving” WCW and how Sting and Goldberg are currently out of commission. Therefore, let’s bring in someone new to help fight the NWO. That brings us to the new commissioner: Terry Funk. Yes, the big solution to the NWO is to bring in a guy who first retired about sixteen years earlier.
Now don’t get me wrong: Terry Funk is awesome and one of the best wrestlers and performers of all time, but this is not the right move in this spot. This needed to be someone young who could be a future for WCW, not another legend who shows up, basically in the same role as Piper.
Anyway, Funk says he loves wrestling and wants to get rid of these fat hogs at the trough. To do this, he needs an enforcer, and who better than Arn Anderson? Anderson gives his usual great speech about putting the heart back in wrestling, but the WE WANT FLAIR chants almost drown him out. Cue the NWO so Hart can offer Funk a spot on the team. Terry shrugs it off and makes some new stipulations for Hart vs. Goldberg. Wait didn’t they officially cancel that last week? It wouldn’t be the first time they lied about a match they had coming up so why not do it here too?
The match will have Arn as guest referee and the title can change hands on a DQ. As for tonight, it’s Jeff defending the US Title against Sid in a powerbomb match. Oh and Nash and Steiner will indeed get screwed in their matches tonight. Nash threatens David Flair and we’re done here.
Tag Team Title Tournament Quarterfinals: Buff Bagwell/Chris Kanyon vs. Norman Smiley/Asya
Buff and Kanyon argue over how awesome this town is because Kanyon thinks it’s not Hollywood. Kanyon offers him some champagne so Buff, the hero that he is, breaks the bottle over Kanyon’s head. That’s a great way to advance in a title tournament Buff. Norman is dressed as a mascot of the local baseball team, complete with a three foot long tail, which is shaken in Buff’s general direction.
Buff doesn’t take kindly to Norman mocking his strut and nails him with a clothesline, only to have Asya knee him in the back. We get the spanking dance from Norman before it’s off to Asya, who is quickly suplexed down by Bagwell. Everything breaks down and Asya hits Buff low, only to have Norman accidentally hit her with the mascot head. A Blockbuster sends Buff on his own (presumably) to the semifinals.
Rating: D-. Comedy ladies and gentlemen! This is what you get when you have no reason for these teams to be fighting and you just throw them together and have no chemistry or time to go anywhere. It doesn’t help that neither team even tried to do more than comedy spots to get to the ending. Couple that with Kanyon not even being in the match and what were you expecting here?
The Revolution comes in to beat up Buff, drawing down Duggan for a failed save attempt. The Filthy Animals come out for the real save.
The old guys and the NWO look for David.
Funk and Anderson find Daffney in the boiler room.
Tag Team Title Tournament Semifinals: Kevin Nash/Scott Steiner vs. Harris Brothers
You know, in a decent company, this could be a watchable power match. Again Steiner sits in on commentary and lets Nash do the match himself. The twins double team Nash until he gets a ball bat. They obviously run away from the combined force of the bat and the hair, only to have the Varsity Club come in and chair them down. Sullivan throws Don back in and Nash pins him in less than a minute and a half.
Jarrett kidnaps Daffney.
Tag Team Title Tournament Semifinals: Buff Bagwell/Chris Kanyon vs. David Flair/Crowbar
Kanyon comes out for no logical reason, only to get jumped by Bam Bam Bigelow and slammed off the stage. This brings out Vampiro, who is apparently going to be Buff’s partner whether Bagwell likes it or not. Vampiro starts with some spinning kicks to put Crowbar down but Buff tags himself in. Cue Anderson and Funk to talk to David because he’s not doing anything important right now.
Vampiro superplexes Crowbar down and Buff tells Vampiro to stay in for the finish. There’s a Ligerbomb to Crowbar but Vampiro stops to argue with Anderson because it’s the least logical thing possible right now. Funk punches Vampiro in the face and Buff adds a Blockbuster to his partner, again for no apparent reason, allowing David to get the pin to go to the finals.
Rating: F. This was a circus with the partners basically saying screw the tag belts because we want to do stupid stuff instead. I’ve completely lost track of what’s going on with Bagwell (feuding with Page I believe), Vampiro (feuding with no one that I know of) and almost everyone else in this company. The sad part: I really don’t care what they’re doing either.
The NWO drags Daffney out so Steiner can call her ugly.
Flair and Crowbar can’t find Daffney.
US Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Sid Vicious
Powerbomb match and Sid is in a neck brace. He shoves Jeff away to start and kicks away, only to have Jarrett go right for the neck. A backdrop puts the big guy on the floor and Jeff rams him into the barricade. Back in and a high cross body gets two for Jeff but Sid powers out and nails a big boot, followed by the chokeslam. The champ shoves the referee down of course and Sid hits the powerbomb, only to have Bret come in with the ball bat for the DQ.
Standard beatdown and spray painting follows.
Tag Team Titles: Kevin Nash/Scott Steiner vs. David Flair/Crowbar
Steiner and Nash clean house to start and I have no idea who to cheer for here. There’s no referee to start and Steiner sits in on commentary to say the opponents suck. Nash slams Crowbar off the top and pokes him in the eye as this has been completely one sided so far. A double noggin knocker puts Flair and Crowbar down again but here come Terry Funk and Arn Anderson in a referee shirt. Crowbar gets jackknifed as security and Funk yell at Steiner. The distraction lets Crowbar hit Nash with a crowbar, giving David the pin and the titles.
Rating: F. It’s the slip on the banana peel ending as this was just a beating until the wacky ending. In other words, Russo probably thought it was great and the wrestlers loved it too as they didn’t have to do much. This wasn’t a match and that really shouldn’t surprise me at this point.
Post match Jeff Jarrett drags Daffney to the ring as David hits Anderson with the crowbar. The new champs stumble away and the NWO swarms Funk. Bret and Jeff kidnap Anderson and throw him in the trunk of a car to end the show. The new champs were complete afterthoughts here.
Overall Rating: F. So tonight we had seven tournament matches. Those matches combined to run less than nineteen minutes, for an average of about two minutes and forty seconds each. If you take away the marathon match that ran over five minutes, you’re looking at six matches taking less than fifteen minutes combined. There were two other matches on this show: Tank Abbott in a match with literally no wrestling and a two minute powerbomb match which ended in a DQ. They’ve taken the wrestling out of this show and now I’m really not sure what Nitro is supposed to be. At least it’s shorter now I guess.
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Last week, Pitbull #1 returned to the mother of all pops against Shane Douglas, delivering the strongest January show to date. With one date left before we check in with Punxsutawney Phil, the month is looking to end with a bang (but sadly, not a bang bang, since he’s off grinding with strippers while dressed like a mentally deranged turd).
We are ANYTHING BUT LIVE from Scranton, Pennsylvania! JOEY STYLES kicks us off just as we started and ended last week, with THE TRIPLE THREAT and FRANCINE. Douglas forces Styles to stay in the ring, and says he’s fairly sure he knows who the masked man is. And, if it’s who he THINKS it is, then he knows he’s a ladies man who’s after Francine and not his belt, and if that’s the case, he best step off. Just to make sure the masked man keeps away, he’s hired a body guard. Out walks MIKE AWESOME – holy crap, I didn’t even know he was around in 1997! Douglas gives away the identity of the Masked Man for the handful of people who weren’t able to pick up on it by voice alone; by telling the mysterious fella that Awesome’s in a pretty Rude Mood.
A bandaged and beaten down TERRY FUNK reminisces on the ass kicking he took from Brian Lee. He puts over Tommy Dreamer as the man with the biggest heart he’s ever seen, reminding him of his father. His dad always wanted to be the world champion of wrestling, but he had a massive heart attack in June of 1973. On his way to the hospital, he asked Terry how much further to the hospital. And even though it was just a few more blocks, “dad gum it I just can’t make it”. Those were his last words as he passed away right there in the ambulance. 24 years later, Terry sits here trying to make sense of his own goals, and like his dad, he wants to be World Champion one more time. Terry breaks down, and says if he’s able to accomplish he’s dream he wants all the ECW fans in the arena to come into the ring, link arms with him in celebration and say “WE DID IT OUR WAY! Not like the WWF! Not like WCW! AAA, New Japan, All Japan, FMW, UFC … but the ECW way. What is the ECW way? It’s the only way, because it’s the most physical dangerous form of wrestling in the world today bar non. WE DID IT OUR WAY! BECAUSE WE LOVE IT THAT WAY!”
Okay, so he was a little rambly, and had some difficulty tying the story of his father into wrestling the hardcore style, but god damn if that wasn’t one of the best promos I have seen in a long, long time. Terry came across as a genuine middle aged dude, stuck at the cross roads of life, unsure where to go next. However, with father time NOT on his side, he’s getting to be an emotional guy, and is ready to appreciate and take advantage of every second he has left. Raw, unscripted promos from the heart like this simply don’t exist anymore, and it’s sad, because this was phenomenal.
We head over to Taz’s Dojo by satellite, and TAZ ready to come clean about his shoulder surgery apparently. Taz’s story: In December he tore up his rotator cuff and popped a labrum and had surgery. It was an old injury, he needed to have it done. He calls RVD a long haired punk bitch, he despises him. He went into a match with Van Dam thinking they were gonna have a classic old school grappling match, but the little bitch used a weapon because he can’t do it alone. Sandman needs a stick. Tommy Dreamer needs a garbage. And the 169-year old Terry Funk needs a shovel, even though he should be using it to dig his own grave. His hands are HIS weapons, he doesn’t need anything else. However, if Rob wants to play with weapons, we’re gonna play with weapons. The promo work is on FIRE tonight. Taz just came across as the angriest man in the world and pretty much the #1 most likely name to come up in a homicide report tonight.
Elsewhere, RAVEN brags about taking Sandman’s wife, son, and sanity. He warns Stevie Richards not to fuck with him, lest he want to be on the receiving end of Raven’s games. “Just remember one thing Stevie, no one gets out of here alive.”
Outside the bWo locker room, the fans are in party mode, celebrating Stevie Richards’ win over Little Guido earlier in the night. These guys are completely intoxicated on blue power.
RAVEN (with Lori Fullington) vs. THE SANDMAN (for the ECW world heavyweight title and Raven’s hair)
Sandman is still in possession of Raven’s belt, and Raven’s still in possession of Sandman’s wife. No worries though, because Sandman shakes off any potential pain by getting good and drunk before the match. Raven taunts him during the intros by having Lori sit on his lap in his sulkin’ corner, but he’s too busy playing the poster child for indoor smoking bans to notice. So, to get his attention he attacks from the crowd before Sandman finishes his intro, and smacks the cane over his head a bunch of times, drawing color all over 8 seconds into this. In the ring, Raven piledrives Sandman, and after a bit of a struggle, gets a table set up in the corner. Sandman reverses whatever Raven had planned, throwing the champ into the table, and it doesn’t give. Sandman returns to his drinking which he never finished (and I mean even now, not just on this one particular night), saving some to throw in Raven’s eyes. Raven hits the floor, but he plays possum to lure in Sandman and whip him around into various uncomfortable ringside objects, including a table which DOES break on impact. Sandman’s unable to stand, but that could just as well be the beer. Raven ties Sandman in the ropes by one leg, hung upside down towards the floor, and then stomps on his face. Back in the ring, Raven throws pieces of table at Sandman, and is handed a chair from Lori. Karma’s a bitch though, and that has bad idea written all over it, because Sandman dropkicks it in Raven’s face and DDT’s him on the steel. Lori saves at 2, but Sandman’s FINE with that, because he’s got TONS of unsettled beef with her. He rips at her shirt revealing … a bWo shirt underneath? Raven saves with a Singapore cane shot, but spies the shirt and he is NOT happy. He looks like he wants to deal with it, but he’s still got the smelly drunk on the other side of the ring to worry about, and he can’t seem to decide which is more critical. THE BWO makes it easy by storming the ring, and Raven tries to threaten Stevie to return to his roots with the cane. Stevie ain’t coming back though, and Sandman grabs Raven hostage for a Steviekick, and Richards gives him the blast to end all blasts. In fact, it’s SO hard that it knocks Raven’s head back into Sandman’s, and Raven falls on top for the pin at 6:20. There was about 8 different angles taking place here, but they were all intertwined in a way that Vince Russo couldn’t possibly comprehend if he spent days trying to wrap his peabrain around it. This was the usual junk from these two, but the sports entertainment kicks it up a notch. **
PITBULL #2 vs. BRIAN LEE
Joey doesn’t even give us time to breathe after the break, urgently ushering us back to the ring because this pair are throwing down RIGHT now. Pitbull is all fired up, backdropping Lee and jamming a chain into his throat. Following a spinning heel kick, Lee goes low to stop the assault. Primetime Slam connects, but Pitbull pops RIGHT up and beats his chest. Lee gives him a boot to the face, and hits a second Primetime Slam. Pitbull ain’t so quick to move this time, but still has enough to get into a slugfest with Lee. SHANE DOUGLAS and CHRIS CANDIDO don’t care for the heart he’s showing, and attack, ending this quickly at 1:54. 1/2*
The beatdown is on, but PITBULL #1 is back and not taking this anymore, taking out all 3 guys by himself! TOMMY DREAMER joins the fray, going after the Bulldozer, and that leaves only Francine still on her feet. #1 picks her up by the throat, but Douglas attacks the rehabbed neck to make him drop her. It works, and then some, because he’s howling that his neck’s broken again. The Triple Threat manages to take control of things, and pose to a loud “BULLSHIT” chant.
THE MASKED MAN hits the ring as Shane and his cronies slither towards the back, and he demands custody of Francine in exchange for Douglas maintaining his own freedom. He whispers something to her, and Francine makes her way to the ring as ECW heads off the air.
Man oh man, we had some pretty awful weeks to kick 1997 off, but this is rapidly becoming the show I’m looking forward to the most. Crossing The Line is in two days, and I’m fairly jazzed for it. When these guys hit, they hit.