November 21, 1999
Location: Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario,
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
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.
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?
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
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
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
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.
Evan Karagias vs. Disco Inferno
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!
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.
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.
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
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
Norman Smiley is scared
of construction workers but is ready for the Hardcore Title match.
Well he’s in luck then.
Norman Smiley vs. Brian Knobbs
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
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
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
The Revolution wants to
see Torrie get stuck alone without help.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
shakes Bret’s hand to turn face again I guess.
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
Vampiro vs. Berlyn
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.
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.
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
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.
Kimberly is just
Meng vs. Total
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flair is polishing his crowbar in anticipation of holding Kimberly
down against her will or making her scream that she can’t take it
TV Title/US Title:
Scott Hall vs. ???
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.
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.
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
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.
vs. David Flair
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.
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
Goldberg vs. Sid
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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