Six of the Best – WCW World War 3/Mayhem

I decided to group Mayhem in with World War 3 when it came to looking at WCW November Pay Per Views, because otherwise there’d only be four events to pick from when it came to this particular list (Which is only three when you think about it considering that World War 3 98 is one of the very worst shows of all time)

As always, this is just my own personal picks and it isn’t supposed to be some sort of objective list or anything. If I leave out a match that you think warrants inclusion then please feel free to put it down in the comments section below. As with previous lists, I’ll be listing the matches in chronological order.

So without further to do, let’s get to it!

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Mayhem 2000

Mayhem 2000
Date: November 26, 2000
Location: Wisconsin Center Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 3,800
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Stevie Ray, Mark Madden

We’re running out of pay per views here with just four more after this one. Things are about as bad as they’ve been since Russo left, including a rather uninteresting main event of Booker T. defending his World Title against Scott Steiner (again) in a match that really isn’t the biggest secret. Let’s get to it.

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Mayhem 1999

Mayhem
1999

Date:
November 21, 1999
Location: Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada
Attendance: 13,839
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby
Heenan 
Reviewed by Tommy Hall 

It’s
tournament time with the final four participants in the World Title
tournament squaring off to find out who Russo has decided should be
his first World Heavyweight Champion. Other than that, we have a
bunch of stupid gimmick matches for stories that make next to no
sense and are likely there to make fun of the WWF and expose the
business as much as possible. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of the tournament, which for some reason had 32
people involved (or however many it was when you take out all of the
Madusas) and we hear about how the final four got here. Just so you
know what’s going on, they recap EVERY SINGLE MATCH before they get
to the important ones. Two and a half minutes into the recap, we
know the final four names.
Opening video. Wait
that wasn’t what we just watched?
The
announcers, with Tony in a snazzy suit, preview the show and try to
talk over the WE WANT FLAIR chants. I think this is the first time
we hear the card in full.
WCW World Title
Tournamet Semi-Finals: Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Benoit
Guess
who the fans are behind here. Jeff tries to jump Benoit from the
bell but gets chopped into the corner for a tornado DDT for two. A
top rope superplex gets two for Benoit less than two minutes in as
he’s coming out swinging here. He misses a baseball slide but wins a
quick chop off on the floor. That earns him a crotching against the
post as the American takes over.
Back in and Jeff gets
two off a powerslam (that’s a rare one for him) and almost drops him
in a vertical suplex. There’s the sleeper as you can see fans posing
to see themselves on the big screen. Normally I would say watch what
you paid for, but I’d be stunned if a good chunk of that arena wasn’t
papered. Benoit reverses into a sleeper of his own but Jeff belly to
backs his way to freedom. Something like an Irish Curse (I won’t
bother saying “Canadian Curse?” as it’s WAY too easy of a joke)
sets up the Rolling Germans for two on Jeff and here are Creative
Control to prevent a good match from breaking out.
Jarrett hot shots him
to the floor but Benoit comes back in and rolls through a high cross
body for two. A belly to back sets up the Swan Dive but Creative
Control breaks it up and lays out Benoit, allowing Jarrett to hit the
Stroke. Cue Dustin Rhodes to fight Creative Control as Benoit kicks
out at two. The guitar is brought in but Benoit takes it away and
blasts Jeff (totally against his character of course) to go to the
finals.
Rating:
B-.
Dang it they almost had me there for a second. I almost thought we
were going to get a good match from beginning to end between two
talented guys who can work whatever kind of match you ask. But alas,
it took three run-ins and a weapon to make this REALLY interesting.
It was nice while it lasted though.
Benoit gets beaten down
post match and the fans think Jarrett, who isn’t even involved in the
show at this point but he used to be in the WWF and therefore
matters, sucks.
Disco
Inferno insists he cares about the title but is curious how much the
gold is worth. He’s bet $25,000 on himself tonight because there’s
NO WAY he could lose to Karagias. Jarrett and Creative Control lays
him out due to frustration.
Cruiserweight Title:
Evan Karagias vs. Disco Inferno
Disco
is defending but is also running from gambling bosses who want the
money he owes them. The banged up champion has Tony Marinara in his
corner but Evan jumps Disco in the aisle, but the referee starts the
match anyway. The bell rings and they get inside with Evan getting
two off a clothesline. Marinara joins commentary to ask why Heenan
is called the Brain. Heenan goes to answer but fugitaboutit. He’s
Italian you see. Disco fights back but Evan does some leapfrogs into
a dropkick for two. Feel the workrate baby!
A
springboard twisting cross body gets two on the champ as the fans
have died quite a bit since the opener. Imagine that. The
announcers discuss what Schiavone is paid before talking about
haircuts. Madusa offers a distraction and we get an awkward, mostly
messed up sequence into a rollup from Evan for two. A nice Russian
legsweep plants Karagias and the dancing elbow (complete with a kiss
to Madusa) gets the same.
Disco
throws him to the floor, unfortunately causing Madusa to walk towards
the camera. Back in and Evan’s splash hits knees as the fans are
REALLY not impressed. With Evan down, Disco goes outside to hit on
Madusa. That goes as well as you would expect so Marinara gets
leaves the booth to try his hand with Madusa. Evan goes after Tony,
who gets chaired in the head by Disco. Tony: “What else can go
wrong?” Oh you don’t want to ask that Schiavone. Evan hits a high
cross body for the pin and the title, plus $25,000. That makes no
sense but whatever.
Rating:
D+.
Here’s the problem: these matches aren’t cruiserweight style matches.
They’re matches that happen to have cruiserweights involved. Evan
wrestles a cruiserweight style but he’s just not very good at it.
The gambling story is interesting but as usual there’s too much going
on in the same match to keep track of it. It didn’t help that
Marinara’s HORRIBLE Italian stereotype made the commentary even more
horrible.
Bret Hart arrives half
an hour into the show.
Russo tells a bloody
Jarrett to prove himself by the end of the show or his favors are
over.
Norman Smiley is scared
of construction workers but is ready for the Hardcore Title match.
Well he’s in luck then.
Hardcore Title:
Norman Smiley vs. Brian Knobbs
The
title is vacant coming in and I believe this is for the inaugural
championship. I’ve seen this billed as a tournament final but I
don’t remember anything but Knobbs getting to face the winner of a
match. Norman comes out in Maple Leafs gear to keep the fans behind
him. Brian hammers him down with whatever weapons he could find to
start but misses a middle rope trashcan shot. Some hockey sticks
onto the trashcan onto Knobbs has Brian in trouble but he breaks up
the HARDCORE WIGGLE. That’s like the Big Wiggle, but HARDCORE.
What’s HARDCORE about it isn’t clear but it’s 1999 so you have to say
HARDCORE in a loud voice.
Knobbs finally has a
good idea and takes off some of Norman’s pads, only to get nailed in
the head with a trashcan lid. Norman goes after Jimmy Hart though,
allowing Brian to knocks Smiley into the cart full of weapons. They
stagger backstage and just happen to run into a waiting camera crew.
Knobbs sends him
through a table and breaks a crutch over Norman’s back. They fight
by the hamburger buns and Knobbs’ face is RED. Jimmy throws cans of
soup at Norman and this is finally getting to be kind of
entertaining. They fight into an elevator and the doors
close…..but unfortunately open again with Jimmy hitting Brian with
a trashcan by mistake to give Norman the pin and the loudest pop of
his career.
Rating:
C-.
See, the way to make the hardcore matches entertaining is to take
them out of the ringside area. These things are so much better when
they get creative with them instead of just doing the same weapons
spots over and over again. I mean, would you want to try to make
something out of Brian Knobbs without mixing things up a bit?
Knobbs beats Norman up
post match.
We recap the Revolution
vs. the Filthy Animals, which is built around kidnapping Torrie
Wilson. This story made little secret about it being a way to
showcase Torrie, which was one of the best ideas they could have had
here.
The Revolution wants to
see Torrie get stuck alone without help.
The
Animals speak whatever language they use. In a genuinely funny
moment, Gene stares at Konnan, so Konnan asks if it’s the hat or the
belt this time. Gene in a deadpan voice: “Hat.” Torrie is going
to use the Revolution as toothpicks or something.
Marinara is bringing
the boys to deal with Disco tomorrow. Disco thinks he’s a dead man.
Jarrett
has a 2×4 and is going to deal with someone. That would be the
fourth promo segment in 90 seconds on a pay per view.
Revolution vs.
Filthy Animals
It’s
Saturn/Malenko/Asya vs. Guerrero/Kidman/Torrie and this is
elimination rules. Kidman and Guerrero storm the ring to start fast
as Douglas sits in on commentary. That’s a very repetitive theme for
WCW these days. Eddie backdrops Dean to officially start and the
fans chant for Torrie. The guys fall to the floor so Saturn takes
both of them out with an Asai Moonsault.
Kidman
dives on all of them but a Canadian clown pokes Malenko with a
Canadian flag. They treat it like a real fan but you never can tell
around here. The girls go at it with Asya getting the better of it
but walking into a BK Bomb. Eddie checks on Torrie but shoves Kidman
into a rollup for the elimination. After about four seconds of the
Revolution’s theme music plays, the Revolution guys jump Eddie and
the Animals are in trouble. Saturn kicks Eddie in the back from the
apron as Konnan leaves as well. Some teammate.
Asya
suplexes Eddie for a round of applause, even though she would be an
appetizer for Chyna. Off to Dean who gets dropkicked into the
corner, setting up a hurricanrana from Eddie for the elimination.
Not quite Hostile City Showdown but that might be entertaining.
Saturn t-bones Guerrero down as Torrie is on the floor like a manager
due to a bad ankle injury. Heel miscommunication (another running
theme tonight) sees Saturn superkick Asya, setting up the Frog Splash
to make it 2-1.
It’s
Saturn with a northern lights suplex for two as you can see a “Who
booked this crap” sign in the front row. Eddie gets out of a
sleeper with a jawbreaker and puts on one of his own, only to get
tossed down by a belly to back (not a t-bone Tony). A tornado DDT
gets two for Eddie but he walks into the Death Valley Driver for a
near fall, sending Douglas into a panic. Saturn misses his great
looking top rope elbow but rolls through a high cross body into the
Rings of Saturn to make Eddie give up. So it’s Saturn vs. Torrie
with the girl kicking him low for two. Douglas low blows Torrie with
his cast to give Saturn the pin.
Rating:
C.
This was decent due to the talent in there and Torrie in general but
there wasn’t much of chance with how fast the eliminations went down.
What was the point of the eliminations anyway? Other than having an
unnecessary stipulation, I don’t know why they needed to put it out
there. Couldn’t they put Torrie on a pole or something?
Jarrett
and Creative Control lays out Bagwell, even though that would be
hurting his chances to get rid of Hennig, even though the Powers That
Be seem to want to get rid of Bagwell at the same time.
Curt Hennig vs. Buff
Bagwell
Loser
retires, which makes you wonder why the Powers That Be didn’t give
Hennig this stipulation from the start. Or why Buff is in this
stipulation at all. Creative Control and Jarrett come in to beat
down Hennig and the bell rings as the attack begins. Bagwell comes
out with the 2×4 to make the save but Hennig decks him anyway because
both of their careers are on the line. The fans chant PERFECT as he
takes it to the floor and walks Bagwell around ringside.
Hennig
gets in a rant that I couldn’t understand on the headset before they
head back inside. Buff knocks him right back to the floor for an ax
handle off the apron. Back inside with Buff in control, which Tony
interprets as being all Hennig. Curt takes over a few seconds later
with a legdrop between Buff’s legs for a smattering of applause. Off
to a sleeper (I believe the fifth of the night) before Hennig chokes
Buff with Buff’s necklace. That goes nowhere so it’s right back to
the sleeper.
An
elbow drop with a biceps flex gets two for Curt but Buff claims
gimmick infringement and takes control as a penalty. Heenan tries to
say this is the most important match of their careers and you can
tell he doesn’t believe a word of it. A Blockbuster out of nowhere
(seriously, they were just trading punches before it hit) makes
Hennig retire. They keep using the term “hang up his boots”,
which he’ll probably do literally before taking a pair from the
Powers and turning heel.
Rating:
D-.
I have no idea what happened in this story and it was clear that they
just gave up trying about three minutes in. I’m still not sure how
we got to this match and why the Powers want to get rid of either
guy, but the match was horrible most of the way around. Bad stuff
and why do I not believe Hennig is really gone?
Hennig gets a standing
ovation from the respectful crowd.
Sting says we may be in
Canada but it’s still Showtime.
To give you an idea of
Russo’s pace, we’re not even halfway through this show and we have
seven matches left. For a comparison, Wrestlemania XXX and XXXI had
seven matches total.
WCW World Title
Tournament Semi-Finals: Sting vs. Bret Hart
Recent
DVD releases suggest that Bret is really proud of this one. Sting
has already started wrestling in the t-shirt. They shove each other
around to start and stare each other in the face before Bret wins a
slugout. Tony: “Those have authority!” Something I’ve always
wondered: whose authority is that?
It
goes outside with Bret still in control before taking it back inside
for the Five Moves of Doom. Sting, having seen ANY Bret match ever,
is easily able to break them up. Yes, Sting was actually smart.
It’s shocking I know but it does happen occasionally. Sting sends
him into the buckle but Bret kicks him in the ribs. I guess his
horrible knee injury from a few weeks ago is just fine now. A low
blow from Sting (who seemed to have turned face again recently) puts
Bret down and we hit sleeper number 8 or so tonight.
Back
outside for some reason with being sent into the announcers’ table.
The Stinger Splash hits the table (at least it wasn’t the barricade
again) to change control and they head back inside. Sting pulls the
referee in the way of a top rope forearm because we need to get to
the interference. As luck would have it, here are Luger and Liz with
the former hitting Sting in the knee with the bat.
Bret
isn’t cool with that and puts Lex in the Sharpshooter, but that’s a
DQ win for Hart. He doesn’t want it that way though so he goes
through the Five Moves, gets kicked in the face, and counters the
Scorpion into the Sharpshooter to make Sting tap. Again, Russo has
no idea how his characters work.
Rating:
D+.
That’s what he was proud of? It was decent enough but as usual it
turned into a brawl instead because neither guy seemed interested in
doing a match. They need to pick a side for Sting, but NOT ONE THAT
TAPS OUT. Just totally against his character but why should that
matter to Russo? I mean, he’s just a wrestler. Interesting
coincidence here: the two semi-final matches had exactly the same
time at 9:27 each.
Sting
shakes Bret’s hand to turn face again I guess.
Benoit
says it would be an honor to beat Hart for the title in Canada.
Luger already has a
surgical collar on and doesn’t think he can compete tonight against
Meng.
Vampiro vs. Berlyn
Dog
Collar match just because. You win by pins or submission. In case
this isn’t enough, Dr. Death and Ferrara as JR come out with the
latter doing commentary. Berlyn hits the referee with the collar as
Ferrara lists off football stats. The Misfits are sent to the floor
as Wall beats up Vampiro. Wall misses a big boot and gets crotched
with the chain as Berlyn stomps on Jerry Only outside. That doesn’t
hurt Wall’s bricks though so Vampiro slams him down.
Berlyn
comes back in and stomps Vampiro down, only to have Wall put the
collar around his own neck. A HUGE chokeslam puts Vampiro down and
Wall covers for two. That angers Berlyn but the referee keeps
counting anyway. Wall, minus the sunglasses now, throws the collar
at Berlyn (Ferrara: “COLLAR! COLLAR! COLLAR!”) and walks away.
Vampiro hits a spinwheel kick and throws him down with a release
superplex. Now Only gets in for a double suplex, followed by a
Vampiro camel clutch with the chain to make Berlyn tap. Vampiro and
Berlyn were never attached by the chain.
Rating:
F.
Next. That’s all I’ve got. Next.
Williams beats up
Vampiro and Only, because this whole mess was there so we could have
a laugh at JR’s expense. It wasn’t a funny laugh but it was indeed a
laugh.
Rick Steiner has
forfeited the TV Title and, news to me, was scheduled to defend
against Scott Hall tonight. Therefore Hall is now a double champion
and issues an open challenge for both titles tonight.
Hennig leaves.
Kimberly is just
getting here.
Meng vs. Total
Package
Luger
is wrestling in the surgical collar. Meng hammers on him to start
and no sells a slam. That takes them to the floor with Meng
dominating, but Tony thinks the neck brace is a way to block the
Tongan Death Grip. And yes, that is EXACTLY the point of the thing.
Back in and Meng tries the Death Grip to no avail. Meng chokes in
the corner (should that work either?) and Luger screams for help.
Luger: “HELP!” See? He screamed for help.
Luger
tries a headbutt to about as much avail as you would expect and Meng
runs him over a few more times. A kick to the face gets two and Meng
chokes on the ropes, only to pull Luger up so Liz maces Luger by
mistake (same deal that started the feud). Meng takes off the brace
and puts on the Death Grip to win.
Rating:
D-.
A month ago Luger went over Bret on pay per view and now he’s jobbing
to Meng in five minutes. This was a one idea match and it made Meng
out to be a one move wrestler. I could have seen this sort of thing
on Thunder but instead we get it late in the second hour of a pay per
view. Only in Russo World. Also only in Russo World can Liz play
Jimmy Hart to Luger’s Brian Knobbs and Meng’s Norman Smiley as it’s
basically the exact same ending from an hour ago.
Bret
says he’s been here for two years and is going to win the title he
deserves. Luger can be heard shouting for Liz as he’s talking.
David
Flair is polishing his crowbar in anticipation of holding Kimberly
down against her will or making her scream that she can’t take it
anymore.
TV Title/US Title:
Scott Hall vs. ???
After
the survey, with Hall saying Nash is on his way, the open challenge
is answered by…..Booker T. Well he does deserve a big spot like
this. If nothing else, Booker is the second young guy to get a shot
at a main event star tonight. Ignore the commentators’ surprise
after his music came on for a second and then went back off. Hall is
insanely over because this is Canada and if you were over in the WWF,
you were over forever. For life you might say.
Hall
drives the shoulders in to start but Booker hook kicks him for two
and some booing. A forearm puts Hall on the floor and he has to
check for loose teeth. Back in and the chokeslam and fall away slam
have Booker in trouble and a clothesline puts him on the floor. Hall
puts on a sleeper and we’ve got Jarrett plus Creative Control. Tony
makes sure to point out that they’re Patrick and Gerald because
that’s so funny. Booker fights out and kicks both twins down but
gets caught in the Outsider’s Edge to retain the titles.
Rating:
D.
It’s a shame too as this could have been a good match had they just
let these guys fight. In theory this is just Booker getting screwed
by the Powers and not Hall being on their side, unless there’s some
grand scheme to get all the titles on a select group of Russo backed
wrestlers. Nah that couldn’t happen.
Midnight comes out for
the save.
Luger is still trying
to find Liz.
We recap David Flair
vs. Kimberly. So Kimberly tried to get David to sleep with her for
reasons not clear, but she wound up sleeping with Ric instead. That
sent David into insanity so she ran him over with a car. He was
crazy enough to no sell it and has turned into a B-movie stalker ever
since. Note that instead of Ric vs. Page in what could be a decent
match, this is the best we can get.
Kimberly
vs. David Flair
After
running scared of David for weeks, Kimberly comes out in leather
pants and a low cut backless top with a smirk on her face (she looks
great in other words). David no sells a low blow and shoves the
referee down, so Kimberly drops to her knees. You know what the fans
are chanting. She unbuckles his pants and takes out the cup he was
wearing before getting in some kicks as the fans turn on this mess.
David stands up so here are Kanyon and Page (Why was he not with his
wife all night???) to lay out Flair. Arn Anderson comes out to save
David and gets beaten up by the tire iron. That’s the, ahem, match.
Anderson
is taken out on a stretcher.
We recap the Goldberg
vs. Sid rematch from last month where the match was stopped due to
Sid’s excessive bleeding. Sid has kind of turned face since then so
this should be interesting. Horrible of course but interesting.
Sid says he won’t say
he quits.
Goldberg vs. Sid
Vicious
I
Quit match. The fans boo Goldberg to start and then INSTANTLY start
chanting his name. That’s one fickle group. They start slugging it
out before Goldberg even gets in the ring as Heenan says this is like
the Super Bowl or the World Series. It heads to the floor
immediately and the fans think Goldberg sucks. Back in and Sid’s
cobra clutch slam gets a nice reaction. He slowly chokes and rips at
Goldberg’s face and plants him with a pair of chokeslams.
Goldberg
pops back up and cranks on the arm before picking him up and
clotheslining him down a few times without letting go of the bad arm.
The fans boo this out of the building as Goldberg puts on a horrible
cobra clutch (Goldberg: “This is it.”) for the win with Sid
passing out. Well having Goldberg’s hand on your forehead and
holding your hand is indeed painful looking.
Rating:
F-.
This was supposed to be Hart vs. Austin, but that was four times
longer than this, had two competent wrestlers, and a ton of emotion.
Oh and that whole iconic image thing. Instead, as usual with Russo,
they tried to get to the ending without putting in the effort first
and it looks like a disaster instead of what they were going for.
Luger says Liz knows
she screwed up and he’ll find her.
WCW World Title:
Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit
Feeling
out process to start until Bret takes him down in an armbar. A
headlock puts Bret down for one and they hit a pinfall reversal
sequence, capped off by a Crossface attempt to send Bret into the
ropes. The fans are WAY into this one as they know one of their
heroes is coming out champion.
Benoit
gets sent to the floor and the Canadian Clown from earlier jumps the
barricade to attack him with the flag. It’s Dean Malenko in
something else he probably hated doing. Bret chases him off and
piledrives Benoit for two. A belly to back gets two on Hart and both
guys are already beaten down. The tombstone and Swan Dive get two
more as we have Outsiders (late to break up the pin so Bret had to
make an awkward kickout).
They
nail the referee so Goldberg comes out to deal with them. That earns
him a chair to the back but Bret helps fight them off as we’re left
with Benoit vs. Goldberg in the ring. A new referee comes out as
Goldberg fights the Outsiders on the stage. The screen splits to
show the three of them fighting in the back while the WORLD TITLE is
being decided in the ring. Benoit goes after the leg but the Figure
Four sends Bret right to the ropes.
With
the knee suddenly fine again, Bret scores with a backbreaker followed
by a superplex. Bret starts in on the back and throws Benoit to the
floor, where Benoit is pelted with trash. Back in and Chris rolls
some Germans but can’t get the Crossface. Instead Bret sweeps the
legs and puts on the Sharpshooter for the submission and the title.
Rating:
B.
Well that was…..well it was something. It’s the best wrestling
match in the Russo Era so far, but that’s covering some very shallow
ground. The ending being clean helps this a lot and gave it the
legitimacy it was needing. However, this brings up the same question
that comes up every night: what was the need for the interference?
What did those three coming to the ring add to this match in the
slightest? They even threw in a split screen to make sure you knew
they weren’t doing anything important. Bret winning the title is a
good thing, though it should have been a year ago at the latest.
Bret’s family comes in
to celebrate and he hugs Benoit. Tony says this is just another day
in Bret’s career to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D-.
The opener and main events carry this as far as they can but the rest
drags it down through the floor, the concrete and the upper half of
the earth’s mantle. Way too much interference and nonsense
throughout the show cripples it as the stuff they have ranges from
not making sense to being there just to pad out the show in the place
of wrestling. It’s clear that they have no idea what they’re doing
on a wrestling show and somehow it’s only going to get worse. The
wrestlers are trying where they can, but they’re fighting a guerrilla
war against people that hate what they do and why they’re there.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

Mayhem 99

The Netcop Rant for WCW Mayhem 99 (I thought I already did this one, but Adam says I did not.  Who am I to argue?  I recently tried to watch this one again, recently as in a few years ago when it was on 24/7, and I would classify it as “nigh-unwatchable”.  The bloom was off Russo’s booking FAST in 99.)  – What, did you think I’d actually let Sean steal my thunder for trashing this show? Dream on, fanboy. Props to the guy who had a www.rantsylvania.com sign in the front, much appreciated. Next time use a bigger sign and darker color, though.  (Also, plug a website that still exists.)  – Newsflash: Someone with too much time on their hands has started a rumor that I missed Mayhem because I was donating a kidney to my brother (who of course is on dialysis according to the story). 10 points for style, minus several million for accuracy.  (Given that my brother is a former associate of the Hell’s Angels, that wacky rumor wasn’t even a 10th as interesting as the crazy shit that’s happened to him.)  – Live from Toronto, Ontario, the Center of the Universe. Just ask someone from there. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – Opening match: Jeff Jarrett v. Chris Benoit. I was gonna do a PTB Count for the show, but the final tally ends up being 11, so it’s not worth the trouble to use it as ammo in the Bottom Line. My roommate, who of course is the sole human being on earth who cares about this stuff, points out the basic structure of Jeff Jarrett’s music is Cactus Jack’s “Mr. Bang Bang” rewritten. (It’s true.  I have done scientific polling of everyone on Earth.)  Big pop for Benoit, duh. Quick tornado DDT gets two. Pretty amazing heat for Benoit and for the match in general here. Superplex gets two. Baseball slide misses and they fight on the floor, resulting in Benoit taking the X-Pac bump to the post and hurting his Powers That Be. Jarrett gets a powerslam for two. Pinning sequence leads to a Jarrett clothesline for two. A sleeper sequence drags things down a bit, then Benoit hits the rolling suplexes. Cue the run-in, as Creative Control comes down and Benoit bumps out of the ring. Jarrett gets a flying bodypress, reversed for two. Backdrop suplex -> swandive gets two. “Patrick” jumps Benoit, Dustin comes out of the audience and attacks him, Jarrett runs into “Gerald”, Benoit gets the guitar, and gets the pin at 9:27. Could’ve done without the amateur-night finish, great match otherwise. ***3/4  (Not that good.  Maybe ***ish.)  – Cruiserweight title: Disco Inferno v. Evan Karagias. Does Vince Russo have a vendetta to destroy the light heavyweight title in BOTH promotions or something? (At least he didn’t put the belt on a midget.)  Madusa has the Skank-o-Meter turned up to 11 tonight. Might as well just change her name to “Missy Hyatt”. (They’re both looking pretty rough these days.)  And you thought Team Savage was the biggest waste of Madusa possible. Disco is selling an injury that resulted from being jumped by Jeff Jarrett pre-match. Tony Marinara (also known as “Doogie Howser’s best friend”) is out with Disco. I’m joking about the Doogie thing, please don’t e-mail me. (Fun fact:  The kid that played Doogie’s friend Vinnie actually went on to some fame as the voice of Daxter in that series of games.)  Tony does commentary, and sports the worst Italian accent since Joey Tribbiani. Evan looks nervous as hell out there, allowing Disco to carry the offense. Disco basically squashes him before Evan comes back with that would normally be token jobber offense, if this wasn’t supposed to be a competitive match (ha!). Crowd shows their appreciation for this, ahem, fine match by starting one of the loudest “boring” chants I’ve ever heard. Tony goes to hit on Madusa, Evan chases, Disco chases him, but misses a chairshot and hits Tony by accident. He’s so distracted that Evan is able to hit a springboard bodyblock (SICK BOY LIVES!) and get the pin and the title at 7:58. Oh, god, just bury the title now so we don’t have to suffer through the rumored Madusa v. Evan match at Starrcade for it. ½*  (Oh no, we indeed did have to suffer through that match and title change.  I still don’t know what the fuck their obsession with Karagias was.)  – Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Brian Knobbs. Smiley has full goalie gear, although he’s wearing Tie Domi’s jersey instead of Curtis Joseph’s. I don’t know if they’re going for irony or inspiration by having him wear a goon’s jersey, actually, or if it was just ignorance all around and they picked one at random. Big face pop for Smiley. We play “I hit you, you hit me” for a while. Knobs pulls off Norman’s goalie pads. The RS.com sign appears in the front row around this time. They fight to the dressing room for the “We’re not copying RAW, honest” segment. Some really weak weapons shots follow, like milk and cardboard boxes. Ooo, that’ll leave a mark. Cute spot as they fight into an elevator, and Jimmy Hart hits the button to re-open it, but nails Knobs with the trash can by mistake, giving Norman the pin and the title at 7:27. This was pretty much a foregone conclusion anyway. Idiotic but fun. Third match in a row to end with blown interference, however. (What, Vince Russo book repetitive finishes?  That’s un-possible!)  Call it * – Six-person tag: Saturn, Dean Malenko & Asya v. Kidman, Eddy Guerrero & Torrie Wilson. Dean & Eddy start, and completely waste the potential of that matchup by fighting outside, setting up the trainwreck spot about a minute in. Asya & Torrie scrap for a bit. This match is just a total mess. Dean rolls up Kidman for the pin at 3:02. Eddy & Kidman get into a shoving match over that, drawing big “Eddy” chants. Smart crowd. Eddy gets triple-teamed, but snaps off a rana and pins Malenko at 5:05. Saturn superkicks Asya by mistake and Eddy frog splashes her at 6:28. Eddy & Saturn do a dull sequence, and the DVD gets two. Eddy goes to tag Torrie, but thinks better of it. He tries a bodypress, but Saturn rolls through to the Rings of Saturn at 10:18. So it’s Saturn v. Torrie. She gets two off a low blow, but Saturn retaliates with his own for the pin at 11:17. Okay, can we get a scientific answer: Does that actually hurt women enough to pin them? Because Chyna basically shrugged off Jericho’s at Survivor Series. Match had absolutely no heat, but it wasn’t horrible or anything. *1/2 – Buff Bagwell v. Curt Hennig. (OK, so this was the BRILLIANT Russo idea of having Hennig face a retirement deal, where he has to win all his matches and if he loses then he retires.  This is similar to the Flair deal in WWE, but Flair was a BABYFACE, so when Flair went on a winning streak as a result of that stip, people got behind him. Hennig was a HEEL, so you don’t want people to get behind him, and yet not only was he booked to be on a winning streak as a result of this, but he drew sympathy for getting forced into the situation in the first place.)  Creative Control attacks Hennig, but he still gets the jump on Buff. See, here’s what I don’t get: Hennig is played as a heel all through this “retirement” thing, wrestling faces and thus getting heel heat. Now, even here he’s programmed as a heel, and yet on Nitro it’s supposed to be shocking when he acts like a heel? (Exactly.) Brawling to start as the crowd chants “Perfect”. First rule of Canadian fans: If you were over in the WWF, you’re over for life. (Very true.)  Crowd proceeds to die as they stink up the joint. Buff suddenly hits the Blockbuster out of nowhere at 8:10 and that’s that. ½* Hennig’s “retirement” of course lasted all of a day, which is a record even for wrestling, I think.  (At least Flair, who has to date lost two retirement matches in WWE, had the decency to give it a few months before wrestling again.)  Sting v. Bret Hart. Big heel heat for Sting here. Wow, one crowd did what WCW couldn’t: Get Sting over as a heel. Hopefully they’ll have the good sense to play him as a heel. Shoving match gets the crowd going. Bret beats him down, but Sting rakes the eyes and hits a low blow to come back. Boring offensive sequence leads to brawling outside, and the ref gets bumped. Oh, lord. Enough with the ref bumps already. (No!  The Russo must be appeased and only sacrificing nubile young referees can keep him at bay!)  Cue the run-in: Luger comes in with the baseball bat, and hits Sting. Bret nails HIM, and the ref DQ’s Sting at 7:40. Bret doesn’t want it, so we continue. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Sting blocks one and gets the Scorpion Deathlock, but Bret reverses to the Sharpshooter for the win at 10:07. Bad match for Bret, par for the course for Sting these days. *1/2 We get a male bonding moment.  (This match closed out the latest Bret DVD and I kindly upgraded it to ** there.) – Chain match: Vampiro v. Berlyn. (This matchlisting alone makes me wonder if Russo had ever actually watched wrestling before getting this job.)  Dr. Death and Oklahoma Ed are out for commentary. I wonder if Ed Ferrera doing a better commentary job than Tony is intentional or not? (Ed ended up as a pretty good commentator in TNA.)  Berlyn decks the ref before the bell can even ring and a big schmoz erupts. Vampiro fights the Wall, Berlyn gets the idiot punk rocker. There may not be any attempted murder in the WWF, but there’s character homicide of Berlyn going on as we speak. (That poor kid had no chance fighting the idiocy of WCW.)  The Wall chokeslams Vampiro, and Berlyn argues with him over that, so the Wall walks. (This was like, a month or so after they first did the Berlyn revamp, and already they’re breaking up the team.)  Vamp and the goof double-team Berlyn and a camel clutch finishes it about 4 minutes in. I didn’t bother timing it. DUD Why’d they even bother with this? – Various people walk and talk and stuff. – Lex Luger v. Meng. Luger is doing a Memphis sell job, wearing a neck brace to the ring. Bobby notes that “this is gonna be horrible”. Yup. Meng no-sells all, but can’t get the THROAT TICKLE OF DEATH because the collar is in the way. Tony: “It’s worked, Brain, it’s worked!” Truth in advertising, kids. Absolutely brutal match, until Liz maces Lex by accident and Meng rips off the neck brace and ends it at 5:21. Ugh. DUD  (Vince Russo was paid a lot of money to come up with a finish where Lex Luger wears a neck brace to prevent the Tongan Death Grip, but got beaten after his manager accidentally maced him.  For a 5-minute midcard match.  Think about that the next time your paycheque is depressingly small.)  – David Flair shines the crowbar. Wait a sec, that sounded more disgusting than I intended… – US/TV title match: Scott Hall v. Booker T. ( I don’t even remember who had what title here.)  Hall is over huge, because of the WWF Canada Theory. Pretty non-descript match, with the crowd chanting for the Rocky lookalike off and on. Booker makes the comeback, cue the run-in. Creative Control jumps him, Outsider’s Edge finishes it at 6:03. This was only wrestling in the loosest sense of the world. ½*  (This was, I guess, a match where the US and TV titles were supposed to be unified into one, and it goes 6 minutes and ends with a nothing run-in finish.  By the way, I do remember that Hall dumped the TV title into the garbage on Nitro, and Jim Duggan found it months later and declared himself the champion.)  – David Flair v. Kimberly. I won’t dignify this with a summary, but Kanyon, DDP and Arn Anderson all run in after David threatens her with the crowbar. Next, please. – I Quit match: Sid v. Goldberg. Crowd boos Goldberg’s entrance, so the audio guys panic and pipe in the chants. Goldberg is not over in Canada, because the WWF’s spin of him being an Austin clone is the accepted line up here. Seriously. (Goldberg was nothing in Canada.)  Plus Sid is a WWF guy, so he’s over. Fast start for Goldberg, so the fans tell him how much he sucks. He has NO idea how to respond to that. (Maybe yell “BIZARROWORLD!” at them and then never run another show there again?)  Sid gets a cobra clutch slam and two chokeslams, which pretty much exhausts his moveset. Goldberg gets a cross-armbreaker to soften the shoulder, and a cobra clutch gets the win at 5:33. That was pretty, uh, to the point. I mean, a cross-armbreaker and a cobra clutch, and THAT’S enough to put Sid on the mat face-down for five minutes? Not exactly Austin-Hart of 97, even if that’s what they were trying to copy. ¼* I really don’t see where the whole “Sid is so tough that he passed out” thing comes in there. I mean, if the guy’s such a wuss that a sleeper puts him out after 5 minutes, screw him. – WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Chris Benoit. Slow start as Bret works the arm. Benoit appears to be bleeding from the eye. Early Sharpshooter -> crossface sequence earns a handshake. Benoit hits the floor and run-in #1 sees Dean Malenko jump out of the crowd and attack him. Bret gets a piledriver for two as Dean is hauled off. They exchange chops and Benoit gets a backdrop suplex for two. Tombstone and swandive gets two, but now it’s run-in #2 as the Outsiders yank the ref out for no discernible reason. Goldberg makes run-in #3 and it’s another ref out as the Outsiders and Goldberg fight to the dressing room. Benoit works the knee as we get a split screen of the match and the other guys yelling at each other in the dressing room. Well, god forbid we miss guys yelling at each other. Figure-four by Benoit, Hart makes the ropes. Bret comes back with a superplex, but the crowd is disinterested by this point. Benoit gets the rolling suplexes and gets an almost-crossface, but Bret counters to the Sharpshooter for the title at 17:43. (Forever memorialized in the opening of “Malcolm in the Middle”.)  Eh, the booking was all over the place, the ending had no buildup, the match had no heat, just a disappointing effort for both. Of course, Russo & Ferrera having no confidence in the match getting over, in Canada, without 4 people running in speaks volumes to begin with. *** Sadly, WCW hasn’t hit this level in the main event since April. The Bottom Line: I really don’t know where all the glowing reviews of this show are coming from.  (Because WCW’s fanbase was in severe denial at that point and so badly wanted a shake-up of the status quo that they would cling to ANYTHING that seemed like it would present a threat to the WWF again.)  I mean, it had a really hot opener and a pretty decent main event, but there was just nothing of substance to fill the other 2 ½ hours in between. You could probably stretch and say the six-person was okay, but the lows were just too depressing and the highs weren’t high enough to save it. Early buyrates for this show already are disappointing to WCW, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering how piss-poor the promotion for it was.  (Uh, “disappointing” was not the word for it.  EPIC DISASTER would be more accurate.)  Thumbs in the middle, leaning down, for Mayhem.  (Time has been even less kind.  Thumbs WAAAAAY down.  I could barely even make it through the show last time I tried to watch it.)