September Classics: Taz vs. Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka – ECW Anarchy Rulez ’99

Taz was ECW champ coming in to this match, but the news got out that he had signed with the WWF. The ECW crowd responds to him here as expected. The first few moments of this clip are most interesting, Taz makes an early exit, and we’re left with our typical excellent Tanaka vs. Awesome match.


Taz Vs. Masato Tanaka Vs. Mike Awesome by SuperstarX35

Highspots Shoot Interview with Mike Awesome

This was filmed in 2003

It runs at one hour and twenty-nine minutes long.

The interview is filmed at his home in Tampa, FL after he wrestled at a local show. The interview started at 1am.

Awesome said he got started in wrestling through his cousin, Horace Hogan. Awesome himself is not related to Hulk Hogan but said that he and Horace decided to go through with training, although Awesome ended up training before him and at different schools.

He said that he was a fan of wrestling growing up in Tampa. His friend’s dad would take them to the shows and cheer for the heels just to get the kids upset. He was a fan of Dusty Rhodes and Jack Brisco at the time.

He said he was hitting the gym hard for a year before he started to train as a wrestler. Someone came up to him with a number for Steve Keirn’s wrestling school that he got off of the TV. At the time, Awesome was taking classes at a Junior College and working in construction. Awesome said both of his parents supported his decision to train as a wrestler.

Awesome said his training was “old school.” His biggest memory was the first day of orientation. Awesome went into the ring and took a body slam as did a few others and the next day, half of the class did not show up. Awesome said that Keirn was slamming them hard too. Jimmy Del Ray also helped train them. Awesome said that only two people finished training when he started: Dennis Knight (Mideon) and himself. He also said that Al Greene came in a month afterwards and trained with them. He also trained for about a year until he had his first match.

When asked, Awesome said that Keirn did not smarten him up to the business at first. He said that Lou Perez was the one who finally did smarten him up.

He used the Mike Awesome name in his very first match. He started out wrestling in 1989 ding independents in Florida. In 1990, he went to USWA for three months and maxed out all of his credit cards as he made no money so he went home to go back to college while wrestling on the independents. He was wrestling for free as the guy would buy them beers instead and Awesome was the champ. At that time, an agent named Billy Mack was looking for a guy to go to Japan as Al Greene backed out as he signed with WCW, and Mack asked Awesome, who agreed to go.

Back to Memphis, Awesome said it was nuts. He said the fans were “hicks” and “toothless people” who would try to fight you.

Awesome talks about the culture shock he got when he went to Asia. At first, he toured in South Korea. He worked for FMW in Japan. Awesome said that the guys do not speak English but know the names of the holds. He also said that kayfabe was big over there and as a whole, the company was young.

He wrestled as J. The Gladiator in Japan. Awesome said that the fans cannot correctly pronounce the name but call him “Gradji” for short. Awesome says that he knows enough Japanese to get buy in Japan. He said that after staying there a few years, they warmed up to him as you have to earn respect over there at first.

When asked about Onita, Awesome says that he saved his wrestling career and if it wasn’t for him, he’d be an accountant, which is what he was studying to be in college. He puts him over for putting the hardcore genre to the mainstream in Japan.

Awesome talks about once match he was in where the ring was floating in a pool and two sides were surrounded in barbed wire as the other two had water mines. He said the president of the company came through with a diagram of the ring and said that the bombs in the water could really hurt you bad and not to land on the bombs when tossed in the water. He also said there was a rescue swimmer who would take them back to shore when they got tossed into the water.

He then talks about how the traditional wrestling companies in Japan did not respect the FMW promotion at all, thinking it was indeed garbage wrestling. Awesome then notes how those companies have now used table spots and others in their matches.

On Hayabusa, Awesome said the other Japanese guys would torment him as he was just starting out. Awesome tells one story when the other guys stripped him down and put a bottle rocket near his ass and lit the wick.

Awesome talks about splitting a ball joint in his elbow while performing a tope in Japan. His rehab should have been close to a year but he rushed back in five months as the company wanted him back. Awesome said he never reinjured it though.

He met Sabu and the Sheik in Japan. Awesome talks about how the Sheik recently passed away then said how he was mean and rough back in the day but developed a friendship with him during the bus rides in FMW and said he was a nice man. They rode on the “Gaijin” bus with the rest of the Japanese heels as FMW was big on Kayfabe.

When asked about doing a tryout match for the WWF, Awesome said that he had a knee brace on because of a hurt knee and wrapped it up in tape as he did not want to get the job but also did not want to tank but by making it look like his knee was in bad shape it would shy the WWF away from signing him as he wanted to stay in Japan. He said that Jake Roberts told him to come back when his knee got fixed.

He talks about his brief time spent in ECW during 1993-1994. Sabu said that he should give it a shot and Awesome did not want to do it as he was home during his time off but Awesome said that Sabu is a great motivator and he decided to go to Philly. Awesome said that he was shocked at how easy the American fans were pleased.

Initially, Awesome said that Paul Heyman would talk you up like you were a million bucks. Overall he said that he is alright then adds how he doesn’t like to talk bad about anyone.

Awesome talks about the spot of him hitting JT Smith with a tope that remained in the opening credits for years. He originally thought that he killed him at first the way his back bent over then lunged to the ground and asked if he was okay and he was then Awesome got up and yelled as the fans went nuts.

When asked about first meeting Masato Tanaka in Japan, Awesome said he was a young boy and got the shit kicked out of him on a regular basis but you could see just how talented he was. He puts over his toughness and how he would never complain, no matter how hard you would hit him.

He talks about the change in style when Onita was no longer in charge of FMW. He wasn’t feeling obligated to be there as the office changed and the matches did too. He did say he was trying to topping himself by doing crazy moves. He said that he learned a lot of top rope stuff by watching Damien 666, who was on tour with them. Awesome said he wanted to pattern himself after that style when watching it at first.

Awesome said that Heyman offered him a job in the airport at Tokyo. He did not accept at first but Heyman told him that he had a job whenever he wanted. Heyman then brought over Masato Tanaka and Heyman wanted Awesome to put him over.

He said that he and Tanaka had a hard-hitting match that he never ended up getting paid for that. A year later, Awesome said that Heyman wanted him to sign a contract but Awesome refused unless he got paid for that PPV match against Tanaka and he still refused. Awesome said Heyman begged him to work for ECW and wound up hurting his knee, did a tour of FMW and broke his ankle then after two weeks worked for ECW and blew out his other knee taking a leg lariat over the top rope and told Balls Mahoney to roll him into the ring and pin him because he couldn’t do anything. He sat home for a year then worked for All-Japan Pro Wrestling then came home as Heyman told him that he wanted to make Awesome his champion and to sign a five-year contract.

Awesome talks about the three-way match in which he became the ECW Champion. He said that only himself, Heyman, Tanaka, Taz, and the referee knew he was going over. Awesome talks about how Tanaka was being groomed for the spot. Speaking on the match, he said once they got the dead weight out of there(Taz) he and Tanaka tore it up. When asked about the technique of tricking the “smarks,” Awesome laughed and said that he liked it but it shocked the locker room. He then said a month or so later, Justin Credible came up to him a little bit upset as Heyman promised him that he would be the next champion.

He is asked about his match against Spike Dudley at the “Guilty as Charged” PPV. Awesome says that Spike is a nut and that he put the match together but Spike came up and wanted Awesome to powerbomb through stacked tables.

Now, Awesome is asked about leaving ECW as Champion to sign with WCW. He said that he was not under contract at the time and while driving to the show, he was thinking how he has not been paid in a few weeks and left his job in Japan for this as he could barely make his mortgage payments. He called his cousin Horace, who told him that he was crazy for working without getting paid then turned around and went back home. He then spoke with Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff and signed a contract with WCW. Awesome spoke about how Heyman wanted to bring lawyers into it but at the end of the day, he was not under contract to ECW so he was within his legal rights to leave and sign elsewhere. Awesome then talks about how while it is cool to be the champion it doesnt mean everything as being able to provide for your family is number one. And when he was not getting paid, he was unable to provide so he left. He also said that other promises that were made to him never came to fruition.

On dropping the belt to Taz, Awesome said that he was not even allowed in the locker room and got a paper faxed to him by Heyman’s attorney saying they had a hotel room for him (which they never did but Awesome did not want it anyway), and did not want him in the dressing room and they would lay the match out. Awesome says this was all conducted by the lawyers. Despite all of this, Awesome said the atmosphere was great with everyone chanting “You Sold Out” at him. He knew he was not selling out and just providing for his family but the only thing he did not like was that he wrestled Taz instead of someone like Rhino, who he trusted and could have a good match with. Awesome said if you watch the match, he put his hand up to protect himself.

His first night in WCW, there was an injunction and he was not even allowed to be in the arena. His lawyers hammered it out and he got to wrestle there after a few days.

Originally, the plan was for him to be used like he was in ECW. However, none of the top guys wanted to do the stuff that he did and names guys like DDP and Lex Luger and how they were only out there for themselves and not the company. He then said it all fell apart for him at Bash at the Beach 2000 when Hogan refused to lay down for Jeff Jarrett and fired Horace Hogan right off the bat and thought he was too close to Hogan and he became the “Fat Chick Thriller” which did not get over at all. Despite saying that wrestling is all just a work, he felt bad having to make fat jokes at the expense of the girl “Heidi.”

The Fat Chick gimmick died when Russo one day approached Awesome backstage and noticed his hair and style and wanted to make him an 80’s guy but instead became the 70’s guy. He said it was lame but sometimes it was fun for him.

As a person, Awesome did not have a problem with Russo but was unhappy with the gimmicks he stuck him with.

On the WWE buying out WCW, Awesome said that he thought things were turning around for him in WCW as they paired him up with Lance Storm then they got bought out and were unsure of what was happening. e met with Jim Ross who told him that Heyman put him over and had no personal issues with him and he got hired by the WWE.

Awesome recalls the first day of the WCW guys being in the WWE locker room was intense. He said that if you did not play the politics, the WWE guys would bury you. Awesome said that he knew the atmosphere but the young guys did not know you were supposed to shake the Undertaker’s hand and stuff like that so they all got heat on them for really nothing at all, which Awesome calls ridiculous. Awesome even recalls Booker T finishing his match and left the arena afterwards to get some food, which is what they all did in WCW, but the next day Booker got heat for not sticking around and shaking hands with Steve Austin.

Speaking about the politics in the WWE, Awesome said he knew right away when Heyman came up to shake his hand and was smiling and knew right away that Heyman was going to fuck him over. He also said that he did not fully realize how political the WWE actually was until he left the company.

He said that while Taz was a “total jerkoff” in ECW, but a humble guy in the WWE. Awesome says that you won’t last in the WWE if you act the way that Taz did in ECW.

On winning the Hardcore Championship, Awesome said that it didnt matter as he kept jobbing at house shows and how he was booked like an afterthought until they found someone else.

When asked about working with Edge & Christian, Awesome said he had some ideas with them but they did not want to take his moves (powerbombs off of the ladder through a table), citing the fact that there jobs were safe as the reason.

Awesome blew his knee out while wrestling the Big Show when he got caught coming off of the top with  chokeslam. He said that he felt pressured to return early and did after six months, when it was a ten month recovery time, and he came back and was not ready then got cut shortly after that. Awesome said that he kept getting called by the WWE at home while he was recovering. On what reason they gave him for the release, Awesome said he did not get one but saw the writing on the wall. When Johnny Ace called him to tell him he was fired, Awesome told him that he was relieved. He said he would not have quit and is not the type to quit when things do not go your way.

When asked if he had any enemies in the WWE and if that was why he got let go, Awesome said that it could have been part of it and having Heyman in the office was not going to help but he was not wrestling his style of matches and he came back too quickly from injury, which he thinks was the main reasons.

He said he is happy to be back in Japan and his knees feel fine. He is going back in two weeks to tour All Japan for the third time. When asked if he had heard about the financial troubles of All Japan, Awesome said that the Great Muta wants to bring in his guys and its just a changing of the guard.

His biggest friend in wrestling is Sabu. He also is a friend with Shawn Stasiak, who he said is going to become a chiropractor and leave wrestling. He also said that Horace is trying to be a physical trainer.

They go back and ask him about the time he wrestled Vampiro in WCW when a fan dived on his back. Awesome said the guy dove and grabbed him but was able to shove him off and hit him only once but accidentally hit some of the security guards as they were dragging away the fan.

Awesome then tells a crazy story while in Japan. He said that the mafia will sit in the front and you are not supposed to go near them but Sabu was wrestling Tiger Jeet Singh and ended up fighting near the mafia guys and wound up fighting one of them. They almost had a riot as the mafia guys brawled with Sabu up to the dressing room and Awesome peeked out of the certain and saw Sabu getting hurt and ran out and hit a few guys. After things settled, they had to lock all of the Americans in the locker rooms for a few hours as they had to calm things over with the mafia, who wanted to kill them. Eventually, it all got taken care of and smoothed over.

He talks about Vampiro claiming he injured him in WCW and how that was a crock of shit and when he saw him backstage at a MLW show, Vampiro would not leave him alone and Awesome said he just wanted him to stop talking.

He talks about how he played a rib,as a rookie, on Mark Starr, who would constantly brag about how he was never ribbed and pulled a ton of them on others. One night, Starr passed out after a night of drinking so Awesome ran up to his room and got his clippers then shaved his eyebrows off and wrote on his face with markers.

Awesome closes by thanking the fans for their support.

Final Thoughts: Solid Interview. Awesome seemed like a really good guy too. He did not have an agenda but was willing to shoot straight and that is really all I want out of an interview.

It’s a shame that Heyman bad-mouthed him the way he did when Awesome left the company. Awesome was completely justified in leaving for WCW and smart for not signing a contract with Heyman to begin with. Like he said, he left a job in Japan that provided for his family to work in America then was not being paid what he should have been. The fact that the ECW guys and the PWInsider.com guys blame Awesome for screwing over ECW is laughable.

Overall, I recommend this interview. Its also another example of how badly the ECW guys were getting fucked over by Heyman and a nice glimpse into the career of Awesome, who spent a lot more time in Japan than I realized.

The interview is available on Highspots.com for $9.99

http://www.highspots.com/p/14015.html

The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 13 – Featuring Mike Mondo

On episode 13 of The Kevin Kelly Show, Kevin talks about WWE’s Road to SummerSlam, the company’s claim that John Cena is the greatest WWE Champion of all time, the future of Cesaro and much more.

Kevin is then joined by Mike Mondo. Mike talks about his path to WWE, his time training at NYWC, working with the Spirit Squad, his status with ROH and a whole lot more.

Kevin and Justin then discuss the World Cup of Greatest TV Characters, play a game of wrestling urban legend sleaze thread “true or false” and also break down NBA free agency, Brock Lesnar’s path to WrestleMania and the always hot trending stories.

The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 13 – Featuring Mike Mondo

Mike Tyson changing the history of pro wrestling


Think the blog would like this trip down memory lane, looking at how Mike Tyson vs. Hulk Hogan almost happened & what happened when it didn't.

http://stholeary.blogspot.com/2014/06/how-buster-douglas-changed-history-of.html

​I've heard that one about Savage getting the World title in 1990 before and to this day I'm really skeptical about it.  I just don't think Vince was as serious about apparently switching the main event to Hogan/Tyson and Warrior/Savage as it's portrayed.  ​

QOTD: Mike

This from Mike (funny freaking email address BTW.)  Send suggestions to [email protected]

“Hey, long time lurker.  Sent this to Scott but he never got around to posting it for discussion.   Thought I’d try you.


The Rumble is my favorite ppv outside of WM.  I love the rumble gimmick.  The surprise entrants, multiple stories interwoven throughout the match, the drama, etc.  My question is this:


What are some ideas that could make it better or more interesting.   I always thought they should let a lower card wrestler win it just to reiterate the fact that anyone can.  They could easily switch the title shot to someone else.  How about the champ entering it as a surprise entrant?  Thanks 

Tryout #3: Mike Mears

(A quick note before we start: This is is a Raw review that will assume you’ve watched the show. It will not be a straightforward, sequential segment-by-segment, match-by-match review, but it’s not exactly what I thought it would be, either. But walking you through a play-by-play is something I have no interest in doing, and since I’m assuming you watched the show, I’m also going to assume you also have your own opinion on the show as a whole. And I’m open to suggestions for a name if I do this regularly. I thought “Rawtopsy” sounded cute, but it looks dumb when written.) By Mike Mears Behind This Very Curtain….     In many ways, the WWE pulled the curtain back- or broke down the fourth wall, if that’s the metaphor you prefer- decades ago. Some would argue it never truly existed, but that’s neither here nor there.  Starting with the CM Punk “pipe bomb” of June 2011, we entered an era in which backstage machinations- or, perhaps more importantly, our perception of what those machinations are- played a more active, central part in main event storylines than ever before.     Daniel Bryan’s rise to superstardom, exponentially sped up over the last three months, has seen this trend hit critical mass. We have the actual powers-that-be playing semi-fictionalized versions of themselves more meta than the brilliant Mr. McMahon caricature of yesteryear ever could have dreamed to be. (More importantly, than he would have wanted to be.) Oh, sure we know they actually love Daniel Bryan. But it works on multiple levels. To the kids who weren’t alive yet when Stone Cold was raging against the machine, they don’t know this, plus this is all new. To the rest of us, it plays off of our own insecurities as “smart” fans. We know it, mostly, but even when they’re serving us Daniel Bryan on a silver platter, they’ve created just enough doubt. Was I bothered by him looking like an idiot, walking right into the RKO? Sure. But every babyface pretty much ever has brazenly walked into the heel’s trap like an idiot, with more guts than brains.     Even if whatever subtlety in this storyline has long since gone by the wayside, they’re still able to play with the sensibilities of the smart fan to create that doubt. That little bit of creeping doubt, that maybe every think they don’t really believe but what we’ve been lead to think they believe- that Bryan doesn’t fit what they want their superstars to be- is all there needs to be.     Unlike with the Summer of Punk, the worry here isn’t that Triple H is going to steal heat for himself, or cut the legs out from underneath the one-time indy darling turned hottest thing in wrestling. It’s that they might go too far in making themselves out to be supervillians standing in the way of the everyman. It’s a great story, which is why it’s been reimagined countless times in every form of storytelling that exists. But there’s a point of diminishing returns even for someone as absurdly over, and absurdly talented, as Daniel Bryan. I have no concerns about them letting Bryan get his heat back, or even eventually win the title back. Those things will happen. My concern is if they know how to get there. They collected the underpants in step one, and they know step three is profit (in this case, meaning they obviously see money in Bryan). Do they know step two?     With Cena on the shelf for perhaps the rest of the year and Punk existing in his own bubble outside the rest of the WWE sphere in his feud with Heyman- not to mention others often considered for-better-or-worse Cena alternatives like Orton (turned heel) and Sheamus (himself injured) not available for that role- they’d damn well better. “It seems like the people here disagree with you on what’s best for business,” Bryan told Stephanie McMahon in the opening promo, shortly before slapping the mic out of her hand in a bit that was just unspeakably awesome. Once again, they’ve successfully involved the fans, empowering them and making it look like they’re taking an active role in the direction of the company. We chose CM Punk, and now we chose Daniel Bryan. Co-opt “reality” all you want, but make sure you have an endgame. Meanwhile, in an alternate universe….     As I alluded to, our other hero is kind of existing in his own separate sphere right now. (Ironically, this is the way Cena should have been used starting at least two years ago, as a full-time special attraction of sorts: not necessarily above everyone else, but…separate.) Yes, CM Punk has been back full-time for about two months now, been in featured matches on three PPVs since his three-month break after Wrestlemania. But his feud with Paul Heyman hasn’t really intersected with anything else going on.     And that’s just fine, because the leader of what Grantland’s brilliant David Shoemaker  dubbed “The Reality Era” in 2011 has stepped aside from the counterculture, revolutionary role for the time being. No, what CM Punk is embroiled in is good, old-fashioned, old-school wrestling hatred. He was involved in one of the greatest Summerslam matches of all-time last night (upon a second viewing, I may be convinced to remove the “Summerslam” qualifier), with a major mainstream star in Brock Lesnar, and somehow the brutality Lesnar brought at him was secondary to his seething hatred of Paul Heyman.     Punk fought the machine for nearly two years. Now he just wants to rip apart his former best friend. Much like with Bryan, we kind of already know the ending. It’s how we get there that matters. In this case, it’s a wrestler against a fat, slovenly manager who isn’t even a former wrestler. Yeah, we want to see Punk get his hands on Heyman and rip him apart. And we’re fairly sure we will. The brawl with Curtis Axel was as logical a starting point as any- if only anyone cared about Axel, or his title- but assuming we’re headed for a Wrestlemania rematch with Lesnar (which would make sense, because unlike with HHH that’s a rematch and a conqueror of Lesnar we actually want to see) that’s a lot of time in-between for Punk to have to fill. Some sort of prolonged absence would make a lot of sense for him here, except there’s an enormous top babyface void right now and Punk already had one long absence this year. The more logical next step seems to be that Punk destroys Axel and gets to Heyman, leading to a prolonged absence for Heyman, before he brings back Brock for retribution.     On another note, find me another wrestler alive who can cut a scathing promo on a fan as a babyface, AND BE A BIGGER BABYFACE AS A RESULT. If anyone was in attendance, was this some dude who was just being an unbearably obnoxious asshole? On stables ripping off ideas from FX shows, and others just taking the names of them…     Given all the things we know to be true about wrestling’s weird code of ethics, it’s not that hard to believe that Abrose, Reigns and Rollins were being punished for whatever perceived backstage slights to their elders, or for injuring a brittle 50-year old man in a match he probably shouldn’t even have wrestled. No one ever said this was a business filled by intellectual superpowers.     That said, their actual in-ring work of late has reeked of three dudes who got too much, too soon and started to believe their own hype. We see it all the time in real sports and other forms of entertainment, and wrestling isn’t immune to the disease, either. For all the deserved blue-chipper status they received even before their debuts, for all the awesome, borderline terrorist camcorder promos in the bowels of arenas, for all the main event storylines they were immediately thrust into, the backbone of The Shield early on was the crazy, manic, ROH-meets-Attitude Era blue collar in-ring work. They’ve lost that edge in recent weeks, very much acting like three guys- not the characters, the actual performers- who think just showing up, looking cool and swaggering around is enough.     As much as I enjoy seeing them reinserted into main event storylines- even if beating dudes up three-on-one isn’t that impressive compared to their separate-and-destroy matches against three men earlier in their run- I enjoy seeing them regain their focus even more. I don’t particularly care for them as HHH’s personal security detail, but it could extend the gimmick’s life span by a few months. Ambrose is ready now to break out on his own, but I’m not sure I feel the same about Reigns or Rollins.     Meanwhile, after a disappointing Summerslam match, I was fine with Bray Wyatt getting a convincing squash over a “name” guy. In what’s becoming a running theme, I hope they know what step two is. Step one: awesome gimmick/intro upon their debut. Step three: Bray Wyatt is a huge, huge star. How are we getting there? It’s easy to see them start to spin their wheels. And for the love of Christ, does anyone give a shit where Kane is? THEY FUCKING STOLE THE DUDE. Anyone looking into this?     (The first part of this headline refers to the Wyatt family clearly being modeled after the Crowders on “Justified.”) Hey, look who has stuff to do!     Namely, lots of people. Is Vince Russo back on the payroll? Because we have a lot of midcarders doing really stupid stuff. But that’s better than doing nothing. Ryback beating up nerds? OK, at least he’s doing something. Fandango dancing his way through others’ backstage skits? I don’t know why, but I’m getting a kick out of it. That’s probably what the character should have done to begin with. He also had, hands down, the line of the night: “Those right there are beautiful sneakers…but can I dance in them?” Comic gold. More of that from Fandango. I don’t know if you can do a parody of something that’s been around so little time so far, but I like it. Well, we’ll see how it plays in SEC country….     But damn, how about the face reaction for Darren Young? I think they went about what to do with him, at least in week one, about as well as could be hoped for. Sure, the PTPers suddenly being faces makes no fucking sense, but no matter. Colter’s promo vaguely alluding to the headlines of Young coming out but then launching right back into an anti-immigrant diatribe also made no sense. Presenting the PTPers exactly as they were before, but in a situation in which we’d want to cheer for them without beating us over the head with the actual headline? A nice way to capitalize on some positive mainstream attention without being pandering or cloying. I guess most drug counselors ARE former users….     What, Ricardo is back from a drug suspension, and the idea is to have him hang out with someone who (and I can’t prove this…but come on, it’s probably true) wears ring gear made out of hemp? No matter, RVD and Ricardo is a fun, nonsensical pairing and it works for me as the next challenger for Del Rio. Fuck it, put the belt on Rob. His ring work has been pretty good since returning to WWE and he’s over as ever. It’s not like that belt matters anyway.

BOD Team-Up – Mike Bradley & Caliber Winfield

Caliber Winfiield & Mike Bradley review WCW’s SuperBrawl 9!
Will Ric Flair win the strap after being beat to death? Will Rey retain his mask & dignity? Will 80% of the matches feature nWo music? Tune in to the horror!

WCW Superbrawl IX
February 21, 1999 – Oakland Arena – Oakland, California
 
They talk about the tag-team tournament,  as Gene stands by a glass display case with the straps. He shills the hotline. Much like Mike will say, I miss the hotlines too. My parents don’t, because I racked up like $100 worth of bills when I couldn’t stop calling the JR Hotline. This was 1995, before I had the internet, and to get all of this information was addicting.
Disco Inferno vs Booker T
You have to give it to Disco, because he
got one hell of a shitty gimmick, but he actually made it work. Plus, he
always gave it to you in the ring. Anyways, Disco & Booker go out
there and tear the place up, and the crowd is absolutely on fire. I
mean, they’re truly more into this match than they are later for the
main event it seems. The match is a hell of an opener, and would have
been better had Booker not tripped 4 different times. Disco tries a
Chartbuster, but it’s a no go.
Booker hits Disco with the Harlem Hangover and gets the pin at 9:19
***1/4

Chris Jericho vs Saturn – Loser Wears A Dress
Saturn was in the middle of changing his gimmick, doing a sort of
Marilyn Manson type deal. I’m really not sure what that’s suppose to
entail, and I feel like Goldust did a better version of it anyways. As
for the match, it keeps the PPV going on the good match streak. Near the
end, he hits the DVD on Jericho, and then the ref. See, last month at
Souled Out, Jericho & Saturn had this same match, but when Saturn
rolled up Jericho for the pin, the evil ref rolled Jericho over. He was
thus suspended for 30 days, and this was his return. But Saturn fools
them all by wanting to be in the dress! Hey, if you don’t think this
type of gimmick doesn’t work, I’d say go ask the Headbangers, but they
rarely step foot out of their mansions. Except for the occasional big
Wrestlemania pay-day.
Saturn is counted out, giving Jericho the win at 11:17
**3/4

Chavo Guerrero vs Billy Kidman – Cruiserweight Title
The only thing that really sticks out in this match is when Tony says
that when a fellow wrestler joins the nWo, it shocks the wrestling
world. Honestly, Vince McMahon could have joined the nWo at this point
and I don’t think it would have mattered. Chavo hits a DDT off the top
rope that only gets 2. Now, c’mon. A DDT from the top rope? That could
kill a man. Well, either way, a powerbomb leads to a face plant,
aaaannddd….
Kidman hits a Shooting Star for the pin at 8:26
**

Curt Hennig & What Appears To Be A Drunk Uncle vs Dean Malenko & Chris Benoit
This is the finals of a tag-team tournament. If Chris & Dean win,
they get a 30 second rest period, and then they get their shot. Weird,
and stupid, but that’s WCW. Speaking of stupid, Tony talks about Chris
having never held a championship. Well, why should they recognize the TV
championship? Isn’t it in a trash-can some where? So, Windham is in
great shape, you can really tell he was hitting the gym in 1987. Also,
judging from his outfit, he put all his Horsemen money into Levi &
Strauss stock. Dean locks Windham in the Cloverleaf, and after Hennig
makes the save, he does it again, but this time Barry taps.

Round T—-nope.
Windham chokes out Dean with his belt and then pins him in seconds. Combined time 20:36. Awesome.
**

The Outsiders vs Rey Mysterio & Konnan – Liz’s Hair vs Rey’s Mask
Man, Liz was damn hot. The match starts out with Ray & Hall, and I
guess since Rey is giving up his mask, and going back on years and years
of heritage & tradition, Hall sells a bit for him. Very nice. I’m
surprised that happens since Hall has to work twice tonight, and I’m
surprised he didn’t demand the right to dominate for him working the
extra 10 minutes. Honestly, if they’d actually given this match more
time, they could have had something, because it isn’t too bad. Rey
really works his ass off, big shock.
Hall hits Rey with the Edge, then puts Nash on top for the pin at 11:01
**1/2

Rey takes off the mask, and he just looks really young. It’s this kind
of bullshit that sunk WCW. I mean, how on Earth would you find the guys
in masks harder to market? And exactly how did the careers of those who
lost the mask sky-rocket? Juvi flipped out on PCP, and Rey had to act
like Joe C. It wasn’t until he put the mask back on that he became a
superstar again. It’s just bullshit, and the nWo look like nothing more
than some bullshit bullies.

Scott Steiner [C] vs DDP – TV Title Match
Before the match, Steiner grabs a girl from the audience to bring into
the ring. It’s an obvious plant, because I truly cannot believe that
there would ever be a woman attracted to this idiot. Especially when he
gets on the mic and basically says that if Big Poppa Pump wants rape,
then Big Poppa Pump gets rape. If Steiner wasn’t such a useless lump of
shit, this would have been a better match than it is. Buff comes down,
and they start with the double-team before he’s sent back by the ref. As
it goes on, DDP just won’t die. Top rope Frankensteiner, DDT, being
mashed into an exposed turnbuckle, none of it gets the 3 count, as DDP
just keeps holding on, it’s some decent drama.
Steiner puts Page in the Camel Clutch. Although it’s so bad, I’d down grade it to The Burrow Clutch. Page passes out at 13:53
***

Roddy Piper [C] vs. Scott Hall – US Title Match
Seriously, it seems like every other match, if not every match, I hear
the Wolfpac theme song. Bischoff truly was trying to recreate 1996. I
have little faith in the match, and that’s reassured as they blow the
first spot, a hip-toss. This is a terrible match full of punching, eye
pokes, and the match’s only high-spot; the abdominal stretch. Inferno
comes out, he gets laid out. Same with Nash. Although the distraction
allows Hall to pin Piper with his feet on the ropes. 3 guys to beat
Roddy Piper in 1999.
Hall pins Piper at 8:19.
DUD

Piper responds to his travesty by saying “bah so ugh”. Bummer that never made it to a t-shirt.

Roddy Piper – BAH SO UGH – $14.99! +$2 for any sizes above XXL.

Goldberg vs Bam Bam Bigelow
There’s a sign in the crowd that says “Goldberg Kind To Animals” and
there’s a drawing of Bill with a kitten on his shoulder. Then we see a
guy with the same tattoo as Goldberg. I bet he’s LOVING that now. I
remember in 1999, there was a guy at the video game store I’d frequent
who had a Brahma Bull tattoo. But it wasn’t the cool one like The
Rock’s, no, it was that big blue one from his t-shirt.
Tony makes
sure to talk about Goldberg challenging Stone Cold on The Tonight Show,
saying Goldberg doesn’t back down from anyone. Well, yeah, I suppose
it’s easy to never back down from a challenge that isn’t there. The
crowd is dying for Goldberg to kill him, but instead we get a match that
goes over 10 minutes, and it doesn’t involve DDP. Ugh.
Goldberg hits the Jackhammer and scores the pin at 11:36
*1/2

I don’t get this. Goldberg was screwed out of the title. Then the nWo
gets back together. He takes on Hall at Souled Out, and that’s it? They
could have drawn some money with him tearing through the nWo. Instead we
get Ric Flair being beat up by a group of guys who just held up a 7-11.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan [C] vs Ric Flair – World Heavyweight Title Match
For those of you who saw my post last week, you know a good chunk of
this match’s build. I remember reading Scott’s review of this months
ago, and just checked before writing this to confirm. He said if Ric
won, he’d withdraw the Hot Poker System forever. Does Scott retract and
quit the plug for Surge? Nope. In a match I was actually looking forward
to, since Ric is the man, they went in there and gave us quite a
boring, Nitro-quality match. I mean, they literally tried to KILL Ric
Flair! And he can’t muster up the rage to put down Hogan? The ending is
the real sweet piece, as David Flair comes down, ski mask and all,
tazers his dad, and joins the nWo. You see, this is what they call in
the business, a SWERVE, because the nWo beat the hell out of David a few
weeks before. So, you’d think he wouldn’t, but…HE DID! You know, I’m
shocked they didn’t try and market nWo ski-masks.
David Flair tazers his dad, then Hogan pins him at 12:02
**

Caliber’s Final ULTIMATE Solution: The PPV started off
great, but it slowly went down hill after that. One would assume the
Main Events didn’t deliver, but they did. They expected exactly what I
thought they would. Naturally, WCW’s brilliant decision to remove Rey’s
mask kept WCW in the black for years to come, as well as having Goldberg
wrestle long matches with people who aren’t DDP. Next month would see
Hogan v Ric Flair in a barbwire steel cage First Blood match that ends
in a pin after two guys bleed like they stepped on land mines. So, I’m not sure what Mike saw in this before when he recommend we do it, but I think now he regrets the decision.
Overall Rating: **1/2

 
 
 

– Growing up in the southeast, WCW was more of a focus to me than
WWF/E. Even in its worst days, I pulled for the underdog. When Caliber
and I decided to review a show he asked me for something WCW. I told
him even though it gets bagged on, WCW Superbrawl IX was a card stacked
with a lot of superstars (past, present, and future) plus it also was
“Vintage WCW” with plenty to pick apart. So here is my take on one of
many nights that I am sure Tony Schiavone described as a “night that
will change our industry forever”.

– We begin with Torrie
Wilson talking to the mysterious man behind the camera. She asks if he
is nervous while she is wrapped in a bed spread. I personally would be
high-fiving myself if I conquered that mountain.

– Your hosts
are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan. They welcome us to
Oakland and preview our night of action. We then hear Tony doing
voice-over work as he runs down the WCW Tag Team Tournament. Imagine
that! A WCW tournament that actually completed without shenanigans,
midgets, bookers dressed as wrestlers, or females competing in male
matches.

– Gene Okerlund pimps the hotline as he stands next
to the encased WCW Tag Team Titles. I miss the hotline, even in the
early stages of the internets.

1. Disco Inferno vs. Booker T
– This match came about because Disco referred to Booker and Stevie as
brothers. Booker goes all Spreewell on him and thus we have an opener
for Superbrawl. I would have figured it was a sucka thing. Disco
opened by stalling and dodging the attacks of Booker. Booker beats his
ass from pillar to post with Disco catching him sleeping a couple of
times. As it progresses, it turned into a damn good see-saw affair.
Booker wins with a Harlem Hangover @ 9:17. Book spuds him with a knee
to the head on that finish and Disco’s fucking shoulder is up? Come on!
Rating: C+.

DRESS MATCH
2. Chris Jericho (with Ralphus, in a dress) vs. Perry Saturn
– If Saturn wins, he gets to put a dress on Jericho. Ralphus looks
like an old woman, complete with clip on earrings. Crowd shot shows a
woman or man…not sure. Kind of ironic. Saturn shows up in a dress
and Jericho ridicules him on the mic. Nice rack on Saturn. Crowd loves
Jericho and rightfully so. Hell I rocked the Monday Night Jericho
shirt in high school proudly. Saturn spends the whole match beating
Jericho on the floor. Ralphus gets stripped in the ring allowing
Jericho to take over the momentum. It occurs to me that WWE kind of
took this idea and used it for Big Vito on Smackdown. Saturn lays out
Jericho and referee Scott Dikinson and then walks out giving Jericho the
count out win @ 11:21. Kind of booked weird and the finish didn’t make
sense to me, at least. Rating: C-.

– At the WCW.COM
location, Konnan and Rey Mysterio talk about their upcoming match
against Luger and Nash later. Konnan uses “strawberry” no less than 4
times.

– Later Scott Steiner plans to make a real woman out of
Kimberly when he faces DDP. If his plumbing was still working properly
at that point. Hell, who am I kidding?

WCW CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
3. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Kidman
– Chavo never got the proper respect in WCW, in my opinion. The Pepe
thing was horrible and the guy was a true pro in the ring, even back
then. Cruiserweight style match mixed with Chavo being an old-school
heel. Great action with equal offense. Crowd shit on it and shit on
the whole match. I liked it. Chavo must have never read the internet
back then, because any number of writers would tell you that you can
NEVER powerbomb Kidman. Kidman faceplants him and nails the Shooting
Star Press @ 8:26 to retain. Rating: B-.

– GOLDBERG…BAM BAM…..later.

MATCH FOR THE VACANT WCW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES
4. Barry Windham & Curt Hennig vs. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko
– Since the tournament was double elimination, Malenko and Benoit had
to beat Hennig and Windham twice to win the belts. Really a great job
by WCW to have these four put on an absolute clinic in this one. Only
problem I had (and I guess it is just a nuance of mine) was Windham
dressed in jeans and a tank top. Just weird to me. Malenko grabs the
first win @ 19:33 making Windham tap out to the Texas Cloverleaf.
Moments later, Windham uses his belt and lariats Malenko to win the
belts @ 20:36. I didn’t like the finish (again), but the match as a
whole was great. THAT is how you do tag team wrestling. Rating: B+.

– We take a look back at how Roddy Piper won the WCW US Title with FAT Will Sasso cheering him on at ringside.

ELIZABETH’S HAIR VS REY MYSTERIO’S MASK
5. The Outsiders (with Lex Luger & Elizabeth) vs. Konnan & Rey Mysterio Jr.
– Luger’s arm is injured thanks to it getting slammed in a car door on
Thunder. Luger and cars don’t mix well. I still remember the Horsemen
beating his ass against a limo at the second Clash of Champions. Nash
and Hall tease working the mic and the crowd still loves it. Konnan
comes out and works the mic the crowd loves that too? I really hated
the fact this was done to Mysterio and the Outsiders did him NO favors
in the ring. Complete burial of Rey Rey. Outsiders win it after Hall
hits Rey with the Outsider Edge and pulls Nash on top @ 11:01. Fuck
everyone who thought this was a good idea. Rating: D!

– Post
match, Rey unmasks. Wolfpack make fun of him. Tony says he is
handsome. Nash puts Rey’s mask on and mocks him. Fuck Kevin Nash.

WCW TELEVISION TITLE
6. Scott Steiner (with random local stripper) vs. Diamond Dallas Page
– This match is shit. Pure shit. Steiner’s pre-match promo has to be
floating around on youtube somewhere as a montage of horrible promos.
Buff Bagwell comes out during the match for blatant interference and no
disqualification is called. I’m sure someone backstage just said “yeah
go out there” with no plan as t what to do with the finish. Steiner
wins it after DDP passes out to the Steiner Recliner @ 13:53. Rating:
F.

– Post match, DDP is stretchered out in full back and neck
brace. Elsewhere, Bam Bam Bigelow tells Mark Madden that he will defeat
Bill Goldberg tonight. Not sure who weighed more in that interview.

WCW UNITED STATES TITLE
7. Scott Hall (with Disco Inferno) vs. Roddy Piper
– Tony tries to be clever by calling Disco, “The Disco Schmoe”. How
clever. Interesting enough, Hall is the one trying to wrestle as Piper
brawls throughout the ENTIRE match. Then Kevin Nash comes out and this
abortion gets even worse. Hall wins the US Title with his feet on the
ropes @ 8:20. Rating: F-.

– Now Hall wants to get on the
mic. Piper won’t give up the belt. Poor Piper. He would do anything
for the company and the nWo just used him as a prop to get
over…ALWAYS! Piper gives him a crotch chop and Hall, Nash, and Disco
beat him down anyways. I used to like the nWo beatdowns, but nowadays, I
can see how it just got stale. Oh shit, Piper escapes and doesn’t look
like a giant stinking turd after being buried.

8. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldberg
– Can we all stand up and appreciate how DAMN good Bam Bam was. He
was another willing to put anyone over, yet he always looked great doing
it. Plus he never aged over his career. Bam Bam slows the pace trying
to wear down Goldberg, but eventually Goldberg wins it @ 11:38. Gotta
say Goldberg was still the man even then. Good match, Bam Bam made this
thing entertaining. Rating: C.

MAIN EVENT
WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
9. Hollywood Hogan vs. Ric Flair
– Poor Ric Flair. I mean, I’m a Hogan guy, but you can see the defeat
in his eyes before the bell is rung. Hogan was still OVER especially
in front of the Cali crowd. Slow pace to start, but Flair is busted
open by the 4 minute mark. Flair really gets things going by beating
Hogan from pillar to post. A FRESH Torrie Wilson comes out at the 9
minute mark and slaps Flair. Then back to business as usual. Hogan
busted open at this point and BLADES ON CAMERA! We have a ref bump and
NOW a masked man walks out to the ring. Not keeping his nWo shirt
covered up too well either. He stuns Ric with a stun gun. Hogan covers
and wins it @ 12:00. The masked man is David Flair. He adds insult to
injury by stunning Flair again with enough voltage to explode a bison.
Rating: F-.

FINAL THOUGHTS….
– The Cruiserweight title
match and Tag Titles match are memorable. Everything else with nWo
smeared all over it is just SHITTY! I take that back, Bam Bam-Goldberg
was entertaining. Just too much of the nWo spoils the show for me. But
they were selling tickets so churn it up some more I guess. In
retrospect, I liked it. Now I hate it.

Thanks for reading, guys. Hope you dug another Doomtastic team-up. If you have any team-up request that you’d like to see covered, either shoot one of us an email, or leave it in the comments.
Mike Bradley – you can find him here every Thursday with his iMPACT reviews.
Caliber Winfield – Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – Top 4’s, wrestling, horror talk & movie reviews
WCW In The Year 2000 – recently updated with a Nitro, and next up is Uncensored 2000.
The Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol. 1 – My book is finally out. You can hit up amazon.com and order it for the cool price of $2.99. Scott Keith dug it and gave a kind review, which you can read at my website. It currently as an average rating of 5 stars, so, that’s the tops, really.