Heenan, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone
hasn’t had the chance to build up that well as they made the two main
events on Monday. The midcard stuff is decent enough but there’s
some stuff in the main event that makes me shake my head. There are
some matches on this show that pique my interest though which is more
than I can say about most WCW shows. Let’s get to it.
video of the main event. That doesn’t really fire me up for the
set has a simple entrance but the usual props on the side, such as
wagons and hay. I miss that kind of themed stuff.
the show and don’t have much to say.
ring is now sponsored by Little Cesars. The winner gets a
Cruiserweight Title shot tomorrow night. We actually get a handshake
to start as the announcers continue their recent bickering over which
pair is better. Juvy cranks on the arm before taking Blitzkrieg down
into a sunset flip for two. They stay on the mat for a bit and
Blitzkrieg complains of a mask pull. That goes nowhere so he grabs a
headlock instead. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two on Juvy and
Blitzkrieg follows up with a handspring elbow in the corner. The
spots are actually hitting for a change.
send Blitzkrieg face first into the buckle ten straight times as
we’re waiting on the dives to begin. Juvy goes first with a
springboard missile dropkick and Blitzkrieg bails to the floor. He
stands there way too long though, allowing Juvy to nail a huge dive
over the top to take him down again. Back in and Juvy puts on a
surfboard but Blitzkrieg rolls to the side to break it up.
the corner sends Juvy outside but he walks away before Blitzkrieg can
use the big dive. Instead Blitzkrieg goes around the ring and tries
again, only to dive into a dropkick for a nice counter. Back in and
Juvy tries a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker of his own but Blitzkrieg rolls
out, sending Juvy back to the floor. Blitzkrieg hits a springboard
spinning moonsault to take Guerrera down again.
Driver but Blitzkrieg flips out and they trade reverse DDT attempts
until Juvy takes him down for two. To continue the joke that is
Schiavone’s commentary career, after the reverse DDT gets two, Tony
says, and I quote, “frustration is setting in for Juvy. He hasn’t
tried the Juvy Driver yet. If Blitzkrieg can counter that,
frustration will really set in.” This is TEN SECONDS after Tony
called Blitzkrieg countering the Juvy Driver. TEN SECONDS!
slammed off the top but avoids a Phoenix Splash. Juvy still can’t
hit the Driver and Blitzkrieg tries something like a top rope victory
roll for two. Blitzkrieg tries the same thing again but Juvy
counters into a super Juvy Driver for the pin and the title shot.
That was a great looking finish.
If this was the Blitzkrieg that I had seen in his WCW run, I would
totally understand the love this guy gets. This was an excellent
match with both guys nailing everything and having almost no down
time in between. Granted I’d assume having Juventud Guerrera for an
opponent instead of Super Calo helped him a lot. Great match.
Bam Bigelow. Let’s get this over with.
brings out a cart full of weapons and drives it into Hak’s ribs to
start as the announcers oggle Chastity. They’re already fighting by
the set and Hak has a table hidden under the stagecoach. He goes up
top on the stagecoach for a swanton through Bigelow through the table
for a very good opening spot. Bigelow is up first and nails Hak in
the head with part of the board and they head to the ring. Luckily
for them, Chastity has a bunch of weapons waiting for them.
nails Hak with a crutch followed by something made of metal. Hak
bridges a table between the ring and the barricade but takes his
sweet time, allowing Bigelow to nail him in the head with a trashcan.
There’s a broom to the back but Bigelow can’t suplex him.
Unfortunately Hak can’t suplex Bigelow either and his knee buckles.
Thankfully he’s ok enough to bring in a ladder as the ring is way too
full of weapons.
resembling a dropkick sends the ladder into Bigelow. Another swanton
onto the ladder onto Bigelow has both guys in trouble as the
announcers aren’t sure what to make of this stuff. Here’s yet
another table and a piece of barricade to go with it as Bigelow is
still down in the corner. There’s also some barbed wire wrapped
around another corner. Chastity resets the table between the ring
and barricade and Hak goes up, only so Bigelow can throw him throug
the table. That was one of the most telegraphed spots I’ve ever
sets up a barricade in one corner and a ladder in the other. Hak is
sent into the ladder but pops back up, only to crotch himself on the
barricade. Bigelow is about to drop the barricade on Hak but has to
spray Chastity with a fire extinguisher. The White Russian legsweep
has almost no effect on Bigelow, likely because it’s a Russian
legsweep. Bigelow takes him up for what was supposed to be a
Greetings From Asbury Park (looked more like a Death Valley Driver)
through the table for the pin. Isn’t that basically the same
finisher from the opener?
The match was more entertaining for the amount of stuff they used and
only one really badly telegraphed spot, but I still don’t care to see
any more of this. I really don’t need to see ECW in WCW but that’s
what they’re obsessed with at this point. The announcers buried the
whole thing and I can’t say I blame them. It was fairly entertaining
have no idea why this match is happening and I’ll spare you the long
list of people that should be on this show more than these two.
Riggs is now a narcissist who carries a mirror. Slow start with
Scotty offering an armdrag and stopping to talk to the camera. Mikey
speeds things up a bit with left hands in the corner and a dropkick.
They head outside with Riggs being sent into the barricade before
going back inside so Mikey can headscissors him back to the floor.
in and Mikey gets knocked off the apron and into the barricade in a
painful looking spot. Riggs nails a top rope ax handle but stops for
some Rude hip swiveling. We hit the chinlock from Riggs as the fans
want Goldberg. Mikey scores with a middle rope dropkick and a
hurricanrana for two. They run the ropes and Scotty hits a running
forearm for the pin.
This could have been on any given Thunder and I have no idea why they
decided to air it here. Yeah it’s filler but there weren’t two more
interesting guys to put out there instead of these guys? Nothing
match here and Riggs is still his boring self despite a new gimmick.
One thing I’ll give this show so far: the first three matches have
all been a different style so there’s a nice variety.
vs. Konnan. Disco mocked Konnan’s annoying music video and there’s a
match as a result.
calls him a strawberry (whatever that means) and gets stomped down
for his efforts. The fans are all over Disco as he stomps Konnan
down and starts to dance even more. Konnan comes back with a
dropkick and a bunch of right hands of his own. A Sin Cara style
armdrag out of the corner has Disco in trouble but he comes back with
a running elbow to the face. We hit the chinlock on Konnan for a few
moments, followed by a middle rope elbow for two. This has been one
sided so far.
to the chinlock for a bit before Konnan hiptosses him down, only to
miss a charge and fall out to the floor. Disco is sent into the post
but kicks the rope as they come back in. For some reason this stuns
Konnan and a shaky elbow gets two. We get another chinlock as the
announcers are stunned at Disco’s offense. Disco goes up but misses
an elbow drop, allowing Konnan to hit the 187 for two. A swinging
neckbreaker gets two for Inferno but Konnan uses Disco’s own Last
Dance for the pin.
Not a bad little match here but Konnan hit about three moves all
match. Disco continues to be a guy that can work hard when given the
chance and that’s what we got here. I like Konnan using a Stunner
far more than the Tequila Sunrise which is just a fancy half crab.
This was better than I was expecting.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Kidman
is defending and they’re the Tag Team Champions. Rey grabs a test of
strength grip and they flip around for a few two counts each. A
headscissors puts Kidman down but Kidman comes back with one of his
own in a nice sequence. Kidman backdrops the champion out to the
floor and hits a bit dive to take him down again. There’s a legdrop
on the floor for two back inside as the fans are oddly quiet for this
chinlock doesn’t get Kidman anywhere so they head to the floor with
Rey countering a moonsault and headscissoring Kidman into the
barricade. Back inside and Rey hits the springboard seated senton
(not a Thesz Press Tony!) followed by a Lionsault for two each.
Kidman comes back with something like a standing Boss Man Slam for
two. The BK Bomb gets the same and Rey is dropkicked to the floor.
the Shooting Star off the apron but they head back inside where Rey
dropkicks Kidman out of the air. The fans are still not all that
interested. A top rope bulldog (the move that won Rey the title)
wakes them up a bit and gets another near fall on Kidman. Rey
charges into a powerslam and it’s back to the chinlock. Back up and
Rey clotheslines him to the floor, setting up a big flip dive to take
him down again.
get back in and we hit another chinlock for a bit before Kidman’s
powerbomb is countered into a hurricanrana for two. Now it’s Rey
holding a chinlock as the fans are clearly bored. Kidman fights up
again and hits a sitout Pedigree followed by a sunset bomb for two.
Another top rope bulldog gets something resembling a reaction and a
two count to go with it. Kidman comes back with Stratusfaction for
two but Rey hits a standing moonsault for a two count so fast I
thought we had a crooked referee. Kidman counters a powerbomb into a
faceplant but Rey crotches him into a top rope hurricanrana to
This was good but the match had to follow their first match as well
as tonight’s opener. They were trying to top what they did a few
weeks back and the match collapsed under the weight. It also needed
to be about five minutes shorter as the chinlocks really stopped
things cold. The match was entertaining but I can see why the fans
weren’t that impressed.
reuniting with Raven and beating the Horsemen a few weeks back.
Raven and Saturn then cost the Horsemen the Tag Team Titles, making
this match non-title.
Benoit/Dean Malenko vs. Raven/Saturn
and Saturn bring a table with them. Benoit and Saturn get things
going and they stall for over a minute. Saturn is sent out to the
floor where he sends the Horsemen into each other to take over. It’s
off to Raven for a clothesline for two followed by a suplex to set up
a top rope splash from Saturn. Benoit sends Raven out to the floor
for a double stomping from Malenko and Anderson.
in and a double spinebuster lets the Horsemen make a wish with
Raven’s legs. Dean nails a dropkick and it’s back to Benoit who is
immediately caught in a small package. Referee Charles Robinson is
busy doing anything else to count the pin so Benoit is able to beat
Raven down again for two. Raven finally gets a boot up in the corner
and the hot tag brings in Saturn. The Horsemen’s house is cleaned
and a Doomsday Device with Saturn hitting a cross body for two.
saves Dean from a Death Valley Driver and puts Saturn in the rolling
Germans but Raven makes the save. Dean breaks up the Even Flow and
puts Saturn in the Cloverleaf. Saturn makes a rope and plants Dean
with the DVD, only to have Benoit break it up with a Swan Dive to
give Dean two. AWESOME sequence. Dean suplexes Saturn again and the
fans are all over him for showing the Horsemen sign. There’s a
sleeper on Saturn but Raven makes a quick save.
sends Saturn into the corner but Dean has to break up a sunset flip.
Back to Dean for a chinlock to slow things down until Saturn suplexes
his way out. Raven gets the hot tag and cleans house, including
clotheslining Dean to the floor. Someone throws a chair inside and
there’s the drop toehold for Benoit. Meanwhile, Saturn misses a dive
through the table to knock himself silly. Dean nails Raven in the
face with the chair but Raven shrugs it off and plants Malenko with
the Even Flow. Raven covers but Anderson puts the chair on Raven’s
head for the Swan Dive from Benoit to knock Raven silly and give
Malenko the pin.
That might be a bit high but I was loving this one. This is exactly
what a good tag match is supposed to be: two teams that work great
together and some sequences that make you believe it’s over but
you’re so happy that you get more. The ending sequence had the fans
totally into it and the whole match was great. This was actually
better than the opener.
tournament that wraps up tonight.
vs. Scott Steiner
is a rematch from Uncensored where Booker beat Steiner for the TV
Title. Steiner stalls by insulting fans at ringside before the
match. After about three minutes of walking around and yelling,
Scott is ready to go. Booker takes him to the mat with a nice
amateur move but Steiner is far more talented on the mat. A dropkick
and armdrag send Steiner to the floor but he comes back in with some
hard elbows to the face in the corner.
nails him with a hard forearm and a hook kick to the jaw before
throwing Booker back to the floor. Steiner charges into a boot in
the corner and Booker hammers away at the nutjob’s head. Steiner
counters some more right hands in the corner by crotching Booker on
the top and momentum quickly changes. Booker is sent ribs first into
the barricade and Scott drops an elbow on the ribs back inside.
it’s Scott’s turn to hammer away in the corner and the fans chant
steroids. A backbreaker gets two for Scott and the chants are
getting on his nerves. Scott gets in the referee’s face before
putting a bearhug on Mr. T. Booker starts powering out so Steiner
suplexes him down. Back up and Booker scores with a DDT followed by
some side kicks before Steiner pulls the referee in front of a Booker
clothesline. The fans are all looking at the entrance for the run-in
as Booker hits the ax kick for no count.
referee is back up so Steiner nails him from behind. Booker’s 110th
Street Slam looks to set up the missile dropkick but Scott crotches
him to break it up. Scott’s top rope hurricanrana is only good for
two so he pulls out a foreign object and knocks Booker out on a
suplex attempt. Another referee helps out the original referee and
Steiner wins the title.
This was better than I was expecting with Booker looking like a
warrior out there. He’s so ready to move up the card and thankfully
he’s still the TV Champion out of all this. Actually it’s better
that he hasn’t moved up the card as WCW would manage to screw him up
so badly it would ruin him.
Kevin Nash. Simple story: Goldberg is almost unbeatable but Nash is
the only man to beat him. Nash challenged him on Nitro.
and Liz are with Big Kev. Nash does his catchphrase after the bell
for some reason. Goldberg takes him into the corner but gets kneed
in the ribs for his efforts. There’s the boot choke and Liz gets on
the apron so Kevin can kick him low. All Nash so far. The side slam
gets two but Nash misses the big boot and Goldberg shoulders him
single underhook suplex sends Nash flying before he misses another
big boot. Goldberg nails a superkick but Nash leapfrogs over the
referee (not a bad one either!) and the spear hits the referee.
Luger nails Goldberg with his cast and Nash loads up the Jackknife.
Goldberg uses a testicular claw (Tony: “JACK THIS!”) to escape
before kicking Luger in the face. The spear and Jackhammer end Nash.
Nothing special here but Goldberg is always a guaranteed way to wake
up the crowd. The retribution angle works well here and the match
was better because they kept things moving here instead of the slow
main event style they worked at Starrcade. Having Goldberg beat both
Nash and Luger was a nice touch and maybe his biggest win since
losing the title.
very quick video says who is in the main event and nothing more.
There isn’t much of a story here anyway. Hogan won a match to earn a
shot but Page and Sting just decided they were in the match as well.
Sting vs. Ric Flair vs. Hollywood Hogan vs. Diamond Dallas Page
fall to a finish. Flair is defending and Randy Savage is referee for
no apparent reason. If nothing else we get to look at Gorgeous
George. The four quickly pair off with Hogan and Flair falling out
to the floor. Sting is already trying the Scorpion on Page as Hogan
chops away on Ric. They fight up the aisle as Page gets two off a
swinging neckbreaker to Sting. Sting comes back with a top rope
clothesline followed by the Stinger Splash but Flair makes the save.
pairs trade spots with Sting and Page fighting to the floor. Hogan
backdrops Flair as Sting drives Page into the barricade. Hogan
starts putting the weightlifting belt back on but has to no sell some
Flair chops. He Hulks Up as Sting puts Page in the Scorpion in the
ring. Hogan drops the leg on Flair, forcing Sting to let go of the
hold to make a save. Flair hits Hogan in the knee and cannonballs
down on it as the other two guys are back on the floor.
Hogan and Sting splashes Page against the barricade. For some reason
Sting doesn’t make a save so Hogan has to turn it over. Page finally
comes in for the save before clotheslining Flair to the floor. We
get the figure four around the post to Hogan and Hollywood taps but
he’s in the ropes. Sting breaks up the hold and the trainer comes
out to take Hogan out. Even Bischoff comes out to check on him.
I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether the injury was legit or not
but Hogan wouldn’t wrestle for three months.
we’re down to a three way now with Page perfectly fine to let Sting
and Flair beat each other up. He finally breaks it up and sends
Flair to the floor before stomping on Sting. Savage hasn’t been a
factor yet. Flair gets back in and walks into a discus lariat for
two. Sting hits the splash in the corner on Page, followed by the
running faceplant. Ric is sent to the floor again but comes back in
to break up a cover after Page tombstones Sting.
superplexes the champ down but knocks himself silly at the same time.
We get the triple sleeper because someone has been watching ECW
tapes. Sting breaks it up with a double jawbreaker but gets double
teamed against the ropes. He just stares at both guys and takes them
down with a clothesline. The fans get WAY into Sting all of a
sudden…and then quiet right back down.
puts Flair in the Scorpion but Page makes a quick save. Page tries a
suplex on Sting but gets reversed into the Death Drop for a delayed
two. Flair knees Sting low and puts on the Figure Four with Page
down. Savage pulls them to the middle of the ring and drops the
elbow (called the Sky Elbow by Tony) on Ric. Page pops up, stomps
Sting and Diamond Cuts Flair for the pin and the title.
The match was a mess with the injury and everything but Page winning
the title kind of works for me. I’ve seen people call it one of the
stupidest decisions WCW ever made, but it’s not like WCW was flying
on high before they gave him the belt. The match really didn’t need
Savage as he and Flair had about a thousand built in stories due to
past issues. Hogan leaving was odd and there’s always a chance he
was pulling something.
This was one of the best shows WCW has put on in years. Even the
main event wasn’t bad! There are two really good matches on here
which make the show more than worth checking out and the only bad
match is about seven minutes long. Things are about to implode for
WCW and this might have been the last really good, bordering on
great, show that they had left.
April 19, 1998
Location: Denver Coliseum, Denver,
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Tony
Schiavone, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
we have a double main event tonight but in reality only one of the
matches has received any focus at all. The two matches are Sting vs.
Savage for the world title and Giant/Piper vs. Hogan/Nash in a bat
match. Take a guess as to which is getting all the attention. Hogan
and Nash’s problems have gotten nearly all the focus for the last few
months and I’m sure they’ll dominate the show tonight. Let’s get to
opening video is about the power struggle in the NWO. Sting is there
too but why waste time on the guy you spent all of 1997 building up
as the great hope for WCW?
I miss about PPVs from this era: the sets were always unique. Here
there’s a western theme with covered wagons and bails of hay. Today
you just have the set except for the occasional show outside of
Wrestlemania. It’s a nice change of scenery.
has had the cast removed from his arm and the main event is now No DQ
Saturn vs. Goldberg
is 73-0 and has a US Title shot tomorrow night on Nitro. He and
Saturn have been staring each other down for weeks now and this is
Goldberg’s toughest match to date. Goldberg is billed from
Dawsonville, Georgia which I never remember hearing before or after
this show. Saturn goes right after him with chops but Goldberg
counters a leg lock into a pumphandle suplex. Something resembling a
belly to belly puts Saturn down but Goldberg has to toss Kidman off
the apron and onto Perry before following up.
in and Saturn trips Goldberg down and hits a springboard legdrop to
keep him down. A middle rope splash gets one and Saturn takes him
into the corner for some kicks to the chest. Goldberg easily blocks
a vertical suplex into a swinging neckbreaker, followed by a gorilla
press into a World’s Strongest Slam for no cover. Kidman distracts
Goldberg again though and Saturn hits a release fisherman’s suplex to
to the floor and Goldie is sent into the steps as Tenay talks about
how Goldberg has never gone this long before. A hurricanrana puts
Goldberg down on the floor again but Saturn slips off on what looked
to be an Asai Moonsault. Thankfully he landed on Goldberg or that
could have been much worse. Back in and a top rope spinwheel kick
takes Goldberg down and Saturn hooks a Fujiwara Armbar. Now it’s a
cross armbreaker but Goldberg lifts him up into a kind of powerbomb
side slam puts Saturn down and there’s the Bret killer superkick for
no cover. There’s the spear but a Kidman distraction lets Saturn hit
him low to escape the Jackhammer. Saturn takes him to the middle
rope but Goldberg press slams him from said ropes. Cool looking
move. Cue the Flock but Goldberg fights them off (including a middle
rope dropkick to knock Reese off the apron) and spears Kidman.
Saturn takes him down into the Rings of Saturn but can’t get them on
full. Goldberg powers his way out into a fireman’s carry before
powering Saturn up into the Jackhammer to make it 74-0.
C+. This was better than I was
expecting though Goldberg didn’t look great throughout the match. To
be fair though this was by far his longest match to date despite it
only running about eight minutes. They did a good job of testing
Goldberg here and the crowd was into him as always. His career was
about to take off and this was a good step for him, though they made
the winner of Page vs. Raven pretty clear here.
Dragon vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Guerrero wins, he’s free of Eddie’s control but if he loses Eddie is
going to be twice as hard on him. Dragon has the awesome looking
red, white and green attire with a Mexican flag cape to match. The
fans are all over Eddie to start as Chavo takes Dragon to the mat and
ties up his legs. Dragon reaches around to grab a headlock before
things speed up with Dragon taking over via a legsweep. There’s the
headstand in the corner followed by Dragon’s kicks to put Chavo down
is hiding his head under a towel like he did on Thunder as Dragon
puts on a chinlock. That goes nowhere so Dragon changes it up to a
standing reverse figure four, only to have Chavo reverse into a
bridging Indian Death Lock with a chinlock. As usual that hold can’t
stay on long though so Chavo takes him down with a headscissors and
stomps away in the corner. We hit the chinlock on Dragon as the
starting and stopping continues.
fights out of a headscissors on the mat and hooks a camel clutch
chinlock of all things. That goes nowhere either so it’s a seated
surfboard (as in Dragon is sitting down and pulling on Chavo’s face)
to make Eddie apologize to Mama Guerrero. La Majistral gets two for
Dragon but he gets clotheslined down for two by Guerrero. They trade
rollups for two each but Chavo gets crotched on top to slow him down
fights out of the super hurricanrana but Dragon suplexes him from the
apron to the floor. The Asai Moonsault puts both guys down so Eddie
can yell in Chavo’s face. Chavo gets back in first and tries a dive
but jumps over Dragon, barely grazing him on the way down.
in and they clothesline each other but it’s Dragon up first with an
enziguri. Dragon goes up but gets dropkicked low on the way down.
Eddie shouts to get him but Chavo doesn’t want it that way. Chavo
eventually tries a suplex but gets small packaged for two. A
brainbuster puts Dragon down but the tornado DDT is countered into
the Dragon Sleeper for the submission.
C+. More good storytelling with
the Guerreros as Chavo has gone from a pretty basic cruiserweight to
a guy having morality issues and wanting to get Eddie off his back.
Eddie hasn’t been in the ring much lately but he’s in his element
yelling at Chavo and bringing up the Guerrero Family in some
hilarious moments. Good stuff here.
Dallas Page is on WCW.com, talking about going from pinning Savage a
year ago to the US Title match here tonight.
Title: Chris Benoit vs. Booker T
is defending and there’s no time limit after two straight draws
between these guys. They lock up into the corner to start and it’s a
clean break by the two good guys. A shoulder sends Benoit to the mat
and then out to the floor, holding his head. Benoit seems to be ok
though and goes after Booker’s legs back in the ring. Booker
superkicks him back to the floor as the stalling continues. That
might have something to do with the show being in Denver, meaning the
air is very thin and it can be difficult to breathe.
in and Booker takes his head off with a clothesline for two before we
hit the armbar. Benoit gets bored of the rest hold though and takes
Booker into the corner for a mudhole stomping. Booker comes right
back with a backbreaker for two and it’s back to the armbar. Chris
fights up again and drapes him over the ropes before knocking him out
to the floor. Back in and a hard chop takes Booker down and a snap
suplex gets two. Off to the chinlock by the challenger as the wind
clearly isn’t there for either guy.
up again and Booker misses a dropkick and Benoit suplexes him down
again. The Swan Dive gets two but Booker comes back with a suplex of
his own to put both guys down again. A snap suplex from Chris gets
two and a belly to back gets the same. We’re past the regular TV
Title time limit and Benoit starts rolling Germans. Benoit takes him
up top instead of covering and drops Booker with a belly to back
superplex to put both guys down again.
very delayed cover gets two for Chris but he walks into a spinebuster
to put both guys down again. Booker hits a flapjack and spins up,
drawing a mixed reaction. The ax kick accidentally takes out the
referee and Benoit grabs the Crossface, drawing an unseen tap.
Benoit goes to hep the referee but gets caught by the side kick for
the pin to retain Booker’s title.
C+. Good match here but the
altitude was clearly taking its toll on both guys. At the end of the
day though, Benoit not getting a title is getting annoying. He had
the feud of the year with Raven, took the TV Champion to two straight
draws and still can’t get a title reign. The match was good, but did
you expect anything else from these two?
referee is helped from the ring.
Hennig vs. British Bulldog
is one of those feuds that no one cares about but just won’t go away.
Rude and Neidhart will be handcuffed together to make sure we get to
see this enthralling match. Bulldog pounds away to start and stomps
Curt down in the corner before going after the hamstring. They head
outside with Neidhart pulling Rude away from interfering. Apparently
Hennig has a bad knee coming in so the leg work makes sense. Bulldog
kicks at the leg very slowly as Rude is pulled back again.
slow motion continues as Bulldog is hitting the leg about twice a
minute before going for the Sharpshooter. A cop, who is clearly
Vincent, goes after Neidhart and gets choked down, allowing Rude to
get a key and unlock himself. Neidhart is cuffed to the post as
Hennig escapes the hold and sends Bulldog into the post for the pin,
meaning the stuff outside accomplished absolutely nothing.
F. The fact that this is on PPV
makes it a failure alone. The match was horrible too with the knee
work taking forever and boring the fans to death. At the end of the
day though, no one cares about these guys or this stupid feud because
it’s somehow about Bret Hart despite him barely being involved with
it anymore. Without Bret, there’s no reason for anyone to care about
the matches at all, making this feud very boring.
and Neidhart get beaten down as the bell rings a lot, making this
segment even more annoying.
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Prince Iaukea
has beaten almost everyone of note so Iaukea is one of the few guys
they have left to challenge him. Jericho is wearing a headband which
I don’t think has any reason for existing but is awesome anyway. He
dedicates this match to the fallen hero of WCW: Dean Malenko.
Jericho takes Iaukea to the ropes but gets caught in a wristlock.
to a headlock on Jericho but he flips out, only to be caught in the
headlock again. Back up and Jericho shoulder blocks him down but
walks into a dropkick. Really basic stuff so far and Iaukea hooks
another headlock. Jericho tries to skin the cat but gets dropkicked
to the floor, followed by a flip dive off the apron from the Prince.
Back in and we hit the headlock again because Iaukea is running out
drop toeholds him into the ropes and suplexes Iaukea down for two.
Time for a chinlock because this match was starting to get slightly
entertaining. Jericho slams him down and does his big strut. He
takes WAY too long on the top rope and jumps into the feet, giving
Prince control again. A Samoan drop and a springboard flip attack
gets two but Jericho counters a victory roll into the Liontamer, only
to have Iaukea next to the ropes.
counters a middle rope sunset flip for two before both guys go to the
top and fall down to the floor in a somewhat scary scene. Back in
and the Liontamer is countered again but Jericho grabs the rope to
escape the northern lights suplex. Back up and Iaukea’s middle rope
sunset flip is countered into the Liontamer to finally end this.
D+. The buildup to this match
was boring, Iaukea was incredibly boring and the match itself was
very boring. As I’ve said before, at the end of the day there’s
nothing interesting about Iaukea at all and any number of guys could
have done the same thing he did. Nothing to see here other than a
lot of headlocks and sunset flips.
steals Iaukea’s skirt thing for his trophy case.
quotes Shakespeare to WCW.com.
Steiner/Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger/Rick Steiner
has his wrist in a cast but it doesn’t look too professional. JJ
comes out and says he thinks it’s fake so here’s a doctor to check
the injury. The wrist is fine so let’s fight. Seriously, this was
created, executed and ended in less than five minutes. Rick goes
right for his brother but gets jumped by Buff. Bagwell gets caught
by a powerslam and a Steiner Line but Scott gets in a cheap shot to
put Rick down.
comes in while Rick is down and chokes a bit before bringing Buff
back in. Buff slams him down and grabs the “injured” hand before
getting two. Back to Scott who gets two but runs back to Buff at the
kickout. Buff hooks the chinlock but lets it go to argue with the
to Scott for a chinlock of his own, though he at least adds in a knee
to the back to spice things up a little. Rick charges into Buff’s
boots in the corner but catches him in a backdrop to put both guys
down. The hot tag brings in Luger but Scott breaks up a quick Rack
attempt. Rick nails Buff and it’s time for the showdown but Scott
runs. The Rack ends Buff a few seconds later.
D-. There was no reason
whatsoever for this to be on the PPV. It was a glorified Nitro match
as the Steiners had about a minute of contact but the real showdown
still didn’t happen. That’s wrestling booking in general: keep
coming back for the next show to see the stuff you’re interested in.
The trick though is you have to give us those moments eventually
which rarely happened in WCW.
the hotline to find out who is in the back!
Parka vs. Psychosis
is a bonus match. La Parka dances a lot before chopping Psychosis
down. Psychosis comes back with chops of his own before sending La
Parka into the buckle. La Parka stands him on the top turnbuckle but
Psychosis jumps backwards into a headscissors takeover to send
skeleton man to the floor. A suicide dive takes La Parka down but he
gets back inside first anyway. Back in and a clothesline gets two on
Psychosis before he’s sent to the floor for a springboard split
legged moonsault. Heenan: “Another move I never thought of
might have a bad shoulder but he launches La Parka face first into
the buckle. Not that it matters as La Parka kicks him in the head to
put Psychosis on the floor again. Back in and Psychosis tries a
springboard hurricanrana but can’t get up to the top for a few
moments. I guess the fans booing is better than their dead silence.
Psychosis misses a top rope splash and gets caught in an Alabama Slam
for two. La Parka poses on the ropes but gets dropkicked down, tying
his legs up in the ropes. The guillotine legdrop from Psychosis
finally ends this torture.
D. It’s not easy to complain
about free wrestling but man alive this was dull stuff. There was no
story to the match other than a forgotten chair shot from a few weeks
back. The match being very sloppy didn’t help things either and the
fans clearly weren’t pleased. Was Juvy not available for this? He
was always good at firing up a crowd which would have helped things
out a lot here.
announcers talk for awhile to fill in even more time. Heenan goes
into some analogy comparing Savage to a wounded dog with a long
series of examples. Now they talk about the tension in the NWO and
how it might be a big swerve.
Giant/Roddy Piper vs. Hollywood Hogan/Kevin Nash
is a bat on a pole match. The idea here is Hogan and Nash can’t get
along at all and they’ll likely turn on each other. Piper
immediately goes for the bat but Hogan makes a save by ramming him
into the pole. Roddy gets caught in the Tree of Woe for some
stomping before it’s off to Nash to pull him out of the corner. Back
to Hogan (literally all Nash did was drag him to the other corner)
for more old man offense but Piper won’t sell any of it.
comes back with right hands and pulls off Hogan’s bandana. Piper
pulls out what’s left of Hogan’s hair, earning himself a poke in the
eye. Hogan takes him down again and goes up but Piper makes the easy
tag to Giant. The biggest man pulls Hogan down and spanks him,
sending Hogan to the floor in pain. Back in and Piper chokes
Hollywood with the weightlifting belt but a low blow allows for the
tag off to Nash. It’s time for the battle of the giants and Giant
easily sends him into the corner. Nash gets a boot up to stop the
charging Giant and fires off his usual stuff in the corner.
walks away to pose but Giant snaps to his feet, setting up a double
big boot to put both giants down. The double tag brings in Piper to
face Hogan with Roddy pounding away to take over. Nash comes in and
gets a low blow as everything breaks down. Giant dropkicks Nash to
the floor as Piper puts Hogan in the sleeper. Piper goes up and gets
the bat but Hogan knocks it out of his hands and throws it away.
Disciple with another bat so Hogan can blast Giant in the back of the
head. Piper avoids a shot to his bad hip and Hogan hits Nash by
mistakes. Now Piper gets the bat and knocks Hogan to the floor
before knocking Nash down. Disciple grabs Piper’s bat and throws
Hogan the original bat so he can blast Piper for the pin.
D. To the shock of no one
paying attention, this match sucked. It was basically the same thing
they’ve been doing for weeks now with Nash and Hogan accidentally
hitting each other but the NWO standing tall again. The biggest
problem though is the quality of the match. Usually good drama can
hide the fact that a match sucks, but if it’s bad drama, people
notice how bad the match is. That’s what happened here and that’s
really bad when this was the main event for all intents and purposes.
tells Nash to powerbomb Giant but whacks Nash in the back with the
bat, basically throwing him out of the NWO. Giant breaks the bat
over his knee and swears vengeance on Hogan.
ad, which they try to make sound more epic than Starrcade. Side
note: why did WCW have so many PPVs that began with the letter S?
Souled Out, SuperBrawl, Spring Stampede, Slamboree, Starrcade.
Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven
is defending, Raven has the belt itself, this is under Raven’s Rules
and the winner gets Goldberg tomorrow. Sick Boy tries to interfere
at the beginning but gets a belt to the face for his efforts. Page
shoves Raven into the corner and pounds away to start before hitting
a belly to back suplex. A big dive to the floor takes out Raven and
Sick Boy but Raven knocks Page off the apron, reinjuring the ribs.
Back in and Page counters the Even Flow into a swinging neckbreaker
bails to the floor to avoid a Diamond Cutter and the fight heads up
to the set. Page throws Raven off a stagecoach into some bails of
hay before diving off said coach to take Raven down. Raven is thrown
into a corral and beaten down by a trashcan. Now Raven goes through
another wooden fence and suplexed onto the website table. Page is
kicked into a wall and Raven blasts him in the head with a piece of
head to some VIP area with Raven diving onto Page to send him through
a table. Raven pulls a bullrope off a horse and chokes Page down
before grabbing a trashcan. The can freaks Tony out, despite it
being used about two minutes ago. Raven wraps the rope around Page’s
neck and drags him back to the ring where Sick Boy has a kitchen
sink. The sink is only good for two for Raven and it’s back to the
rope choking. Page fights up and drop toeholds Raven onto the sink
as Tony and Heenan make plumbing jokes.
tries to interfere but splashes Raven by mistake, giving Page two.
Sick Boy blasts Page with a crutch to give Raven two so Raven calls
in the rest of the Flock. Hammer accidentally clotheslines Raven
down so Page knocks him out with a sink. A low blow puts Page down
and here’s Reese for a chokebomb, giving Raven another two count.
Lodi throws in the stop sign but Page knocks it into Raven’s face and
takes out a few Flock members. Kidman gets a Diamond Cutter but
Horace Hogan debuts by hitting Page with the stop sign, allowing
Raven to DDT Page on the sink for the pin and the title.
C. I’m not a fan of this
garbage brawling style but this could have been worse. It’s good
that Raven finally won the title that he’s been chasing for months
and it makes sense as the numbers and style finally caught up to
Page. I wasn’t liking the way most of the brawling was treated as
comedy spots when the feud has been serious though. It was a
reversal of what had made the feud good up to this point and hurt the
match a good deal. Still though, not bad and a decent way to wrap
the feud up.
announcers basically guarantee that Goldberg is winning the title
World Title: Sting vs. Randy Savage
main event time. This is also No DQ because having three straight
hardcore/weapon based matches isn’t copying WWF and ECW at all.
Sting, the lamest of all lame duck champions, is defending here.
Savage jumps Sting during the entrances and sends him into the
barricade as the bell rings. Back in and Savage chokes a lot but
hurts his bad hand throwing a punch. Sting comes back with a shot to
the ribs and we head back outside again.
walks up the aisle until Sting throws him through another wooden
fence. Sting sends him into the hay and through another fence before
hitting him with another bale of hay. Tony: “That can be very
abrasive to the skin.” Mr. Schiavone, don’t ever change. Back to
ringside for the missed Stinger Splash into the barricade and a
posting by Savage. They get in the ring for a change and Sting
backdrops out of a piledriver, only to have Savage punch him back
head back to the floor because neither guy is interested in having a
match at the moment. Savage is suplexed on the floor and sent into
the barricade. Sting heads back inside but Randy hits him low and
drapes him over the top rope for two. Savage clotheslines Sting into
the referee before piledriving the champion down.
no sells it by popping back up but has to no sell a Liz chair shot
instead of going after Savage. Liz gets hit by the Stinger Splash so
Savage lays him out with a chair. Cue Hogan of course to break up
the elbow and Sting hits a quick Death Drop but there’s no referee.
Nash comes in and powerbombs Sting down, giving Savage the pin and
the title. There’s a problem though: Savage is holding his knee,
which would wind up being a torn ACL.
D. This was an angle with a few
wrestling moves thrown in to pad things out. At least it ends the
joke that was Sting’s title reign so we can get the focus back on
that earth shattering Hogan vs. Nash feud. That’s the focus of this
match: the power struggle in the NWO. Sting looks like nothing as
1997 is pretty much left in the dust lie it never happened. Nice
work on that WCW.
last shot of the show is Hogan yelling that Savage has his belt and
that Nash will pay.
Rating: D+. This was almost
exactly what was expected: a dull show that kept us in the same loop
we’ve been in for months with the focus entirely on the NWO once
again. None of the matches here were worth seeing other than maybe
Goldberg vs. Saturn to see Goldberg’s first match with some length to
it. Other than that we had a bunch of feuds that no one cared about
and more worthless angle advancement. Where was Bret, who said that
anytime Sting needed him he’d be there? Apparently dealing with
Savage, Hogan and Nash doesn’t warrant Bret’s help? Bad show here as
WCW is getting into big trouble in a hurry.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
Wait a minute, you mean to tell me that every other match I’ve ever seen was being held in an ordinary ring?! Then I gotta see this show!
One of the last shows before the Hogan Era started. Slamboree would follow this, which would be followed by Clash of the Champions where Flair unified the WCW World Heavyweight Title and the WCW International Championship, so that Hogan could have THEE title, and not just one of the big ones. If you guys would like me to follow up this PPV with the rest of the lineage that leads to Bash at the Beach, let me know and it shall be.
Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond
You know, I used to be amazed when I saw DDP in
1997 and realized he landed Kimberly. However, I’m even MORE amazed when I see
1994 DDP. He was at least 40 lbs. heavier, with even worse hair. Despite being
more lithe, and quicker, Johnny really has to earn his momentum, as DDP keeps
him in his control with suplexs,
gut-buster, and a few submissions. Once he turns the tide, he makes the best of
it with a dive to the outside, where DDP stands, then throws him back in for an
off the top rope sunset flip that earns him the pin. Not a bad opener, but
nothing too spectacular, as they really didn’t get much time, and it was all
DDP. They’d go on to have better matches as their chemistry kept developing. Of
course, as DDP was to lose the Diamond Doll to Badd, he jumped ship and instead
she became the Booty Babe to Ed Leslie’s Booty Man.
Johnny B. Badd nails DDP with a sunset flip for
the pin at 5:55 | *1/2 An acceptable opener, nothing great.
Brian Pillman vs. Steven Regal [C] – WCW TV
I always dug the TV Championship, as it made so
much more sense to me than US or Intercontinental. Brian rushes Regal to ensure
his control of the beginning of the match, which Pillman holds onto until
Regal’s experience and innovation gets the best of him. Steve hits Pillman with
some stiff European uppercuts, along with some brutal submissions and a few
suplexes and flips that come right out of nowhere. Pillman really looks
over-matched here, being stretched and beaten while the 15-minute time-limit is
counted down in 5 minute intervals over the PA. The match goes the full 15
minutes. I was really looking forward to this match, as Regal was God-like at
this point. However, Pillman was completely off his game tonight. There were
numerous botches, and the only real offense he got off were the occasional
chops here and there. Regal though, he was awesome.
The match goes to a 15 minute limit draw | ** A
decent match, something you’d find on TV
Nasty Boys [C] vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne –
WCW Tag-Team Championship – Chicago Street Fight
You know what I miss? The air-brush t-shirts.
Those were a staple of the 90s, and now they’re gone, last seen with The New
Age Outlaws. This match is on Foley’s first WWE DVD set, and it’s one of the
greatest brawls in history. The amazing thing about it is you literally have to
have two great matches going on at the same time, since the cameras will cut
back and forth. Maxx and Knobbs eventually work over to a fake merch stand,
which is awesome and I wish they still did. Maxx goes to grab a Nasty Boys
t-shirt, causing Tony to exclaim “I don’t even think that shirt fits
him!”. Everything from lead pipes to pool cues, and even tables are used
as hand-held weapons. Two great back to back moments come when Mick is probably
the first wrestler to ever suplex a table onto another guy, and then takes a
RUNNING snow-shovel shot to the head. He’s later thrown off of the entrance
ramp, and bashed with a snow shovel again, giving The Nasty Boys the win. A
hell of a match, without a second of down time or boredom. One of the most
innovative matches in history, that’s almost ludicrous in how entertaining it
is. Fantastic. An absolute must see.
Saggs smashes Mick with a snow shovel for the pin
at 8:54 | ****3/4 One of the greatest tag-team matches of all time. Absolutely
take the time to see it.
The Great Muta vs. Steve Austin [C] – WCW US
Muta uses his quickness and experience to hold the
momentum at the beginning. Steve gets a few flashes of offense before Muta
reminds him once again of who he’s in the ring with. Steve finally gets a lead
when he knees Muta in the back of the head, sending him outside. Back in,
there’s an extended Abdominal Stretch spot, but outside of that, Steve’s
offense is limited to knees and some suplexes. Muta eventually regains control
with his kicks, and after a top rope huricarana, he’s on the verge of a win but
tosses Steve over the top rope, drawing the DQ. Seriously, does Muta EVER have
a match that doesn’t end in an odd fashion? Honestly, the match just didn’t
work. It was a lot less exciting than I was expecting, with very little
innovation or anything interesting. They just didn’t click. Crowd was loving
them some Muta however.
Muta throws Steve over the top rope, drawing the
DQ at 16:20 | * Not worth it. Very disappointing.
Sting vs. Rick Rude [C] – WCW International
Man, I love Rick’s theme from WCW. Sting controls
the beginning of the match, with my favorite moment coming in the form of Sting
holding Rude in a front face-lock, and giving him a wedgie. Of course, referee Pee
Wee Anderson gives Sting the finger-wag and admonishes him for such antics.
Holy shit, this may be one of the most boring matches I’ve ever seen.
Literally, 95 percent of Sting’s offense was a face-lock, then once Rick is in
control he spends 95 percent of his offense on a chin-lock. Once they go for
offense beyond rest-holds, it’s slip up after slip up, numerous botches, and
the only highlight being Rick doing a full flip on a back-drop. Rude is
obviously supposed to go for a Rude Awakening, and then get hit by a chair
swung by Harley Race who’s just shown up. However, Harley is late for his cue,
so Rick starts working Sting and waiting. Finally, Rick sets up the LONGEST
Rude Awakening in history, as Harley enters to deliver one of his patented
Absolute Fakest Most Bullshit Chair Shots Ever, which Rude sells like he just
took a Ryu Dragon Uppercut up the urethra. At this point, Sting grabs the win and
the BS title. Easily one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen, but worth
tracking down for the sheer spectacle of it all. It’s a match you’d see if Ed
Wood were an agent. It’s very bad, but so bad it’s good.
Sting pins Rude after he’s lightly brushed with a
chair at 12:50 | DUD Atrocious in quality standards, but worth watching for a
Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck w/ Col. Parker –
Well, Dustin is pretty stupid to enter in a Bunkhouse
Match with a guy named Bunkhouse Buck. You wouldn’t catch me in a steel cage
match against Steel Cage Steve, as clearly it’s his specialty. The match starts
off with a bang as Dustin literally runs down the ramp and leaps over the top
rope, clotheslining Buck down before stomping the hell out of him. Bunkhouse
turns it to his favor, eventually breaking a stick over Dustin’s back, then
splitting him open with it. In a great moment by Heenan, Dustin throws powder
in Bunk’s eyes, and even Heenan sells it! Man, it gets no better than The
Brain. Dustin has Bunkhouse at one point, but stops to assault The Colonel, who
I feel is vastly underrated in the manager game. Soon, Parker slips Buck some
knux, and he knocks out Dustin for the pin. It went a little longer than it
needed to, but it was a hell of a brawl. I expected a lot less, and was
entertained the whole time. It’s a bloody mess, great stuff.
Bunckhouse Buck knocks out Dustin for the pin
at 14:11 | ***3/4 Good stuff that’s worth searching out
The Boss vs. Vader
Anyone care to tell me how on Earth WCW was
allowed to use the Bossman like this? I mean, it’s the exact gimmick, and I’ve
seen WWE get after people for less. Bossman owns Vader at first, beating the
hell out of him with clotheslines, splashes and drops on the guardrail. Vader’s
left eye has been busted open, and he takes this out on Bossman with a flurry
of punches and other favored Vader offense. He tries to put Bossman away with a
Vader Bomb, but that’s a no go, however, a Moonsault sure as shit does. I’m
surprised Boss wasn’t turned into a major babyface after this, because they
made him look like a million bucks out there against Vader, looking like the
only person other than Sting and Cactus that could stand toe-to-toe with
Vader hits a moonsault & pins the Bossman
at 9:02 | ***1/4 Probably not a match you’d want to seek out, but within the
context of the show it’s another great under-card bout.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair [C] – WCW World
The match starts off with some great mat
wrestling, with some typical fantastic stuff that you’re used to from Flair and
Steamboat. Rick soon gets the momentum on his side and controls Flair with a
series of headlocks, and here, here is the brilliance of these two. Because
Randy Orton does this and it’s death, but these two make it as exciting as a
War Games. They battle to the outside where Ricky misses a splash on the guard
rail, and just ends up hanging there, reminding me of when Homer falls backwards
on the fire hydrant and said “This is even more painful than it looks.”
Back in, Steamboat beats the hell out of Flair with punches and chops, earning
us our first Flair Flop of the evening. Soon Steamboat puts Flair in the
Figure-4, and we get my all-time favorite segment for that submission, as Flair
looks like he’s never been in more pain, and Steamboat is trying his damnedest
to make him submit, incredible stuff. They do the same finish from The Clash,
where Steamboat does the Double Chicken-Wing, and it’s turned into bridge-pin,
however both their shoulders stayed down. Since it’s a draw, Flair is the
winner. An incredible match, really. It is perfect Flair and Steamboat, with no
wasted movement, and never once does your attention waver. Great stuff.
Double-Pin happens, with the win going to Flair at
32:19 | ****1/2 A classic. Definitely hunt it down if you haven’t seen it. I know it’s
available on Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection
Spring Stampede 1994 is one of the best PPVs I’ve
ever seen. You get two classics, two great mid-card matches, one hilariously
bad-match, and only one disappointment. It’s definitely a show you can watch
top to bottom no problem. It’s definitely as high a note as WCW could go out on
before they entered the Hogan era, which is something they never got out from
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – some of the Top 4 Classics include: Worst Instances of TV Censorship, Use of the Word “Fuck” In PG-13 Films, Cartoon Themes From My Childhood. Plus I rant & rave about everything else under the sun.
The Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol. 1 – My book about action films. Loved by all, endorsed by both Scott Keith as well as Maddox. It’s only 99 cents. That’s less than a dollar, people!
The Netcop Rant for WCW/nWo Spring Stampede 1998. (Movin’ right along with 98 WCW…this was written in 1998 and probably deserves a redo someday, but for now that’s what we have to work with, so we’ll deal with it.) Live from Denver, Colorado. Your hosts are some guy, another guy, and his dog Spot. Opening match: Saturn v. Goldberg. Lodi is at ringside again! Yeah! Odd choice for an opener, but whatever. (You’d think the guy getting rocketed up the card would actually be, you know, up the card.) Saturn actually weathers the first minute of offense and survives. Wow. Goldberg even takes some bumps outside the ring. Fans are so into Goldberg it’s frightening. (They would get even more into him soon.) Saturn actually gets the majority of the offense in, as most of Goldberg’s stuff is quick, high-impact moves which have no long-term effect (ie that powerslam looks cool, but it’s no more devastating than a regular slam, dig?). (Word.) Saturn fucks up an Asai moonsault, badly. Goldberg is sucking wind five minutes in, likely due to the altitude. Goldberg comeback, spear, but Saturn blocks the Jackhammer by hitting him in the nads. ‘Bout time someone thought of that. Flock runs in, Goldberg fights them off, but gets caught in the Rings. He powers out, however (with much help from Saturn) and improvises a Jackhammer for the win. Not bad, all things considered. *** (Nice setup for the next night on Nitro, too.) Chavo Guerrero v. Ultimo Dragon. Just your basic lucha match, with lots of the usual flipping and flopping but no real offense. Eddy is entertaining outside as he freaks out, though. Couple of glaring resthold spots ruin it in the middle. They mess up an another nice suicide dive. Dragon gets it in the groin accidentally (this is becoming a theme tonight…) but Chavo is a Nice Person so he won’t capitalize. Just ask Barry Windham what *that* got him at Starrcade 87. It gets Chavo the same thing, as Dragon comes back with the dragon sleeper for the win. *** Eddy reems out Chavo afterwards. Poor guy. WCW TV title: Booker T v. Chris Benoit. Really slow match compared to their Nitro ones. Must be the altitude again. Benoit controls most of the match before a double-KO situation allows a Booker comeback. Spinebuster, pancake, Axe Kick, but the ref gets bumped. Benoit comes back with the Crossface, but the ref is out. Oh, fuck, I don’t like the looks of this. Benoit goes over to revive him, Axe Kick, see ya. GOD DAMMIT MOTHER FUCKING SHIT! ** (Tell us what you really think.) I hope you burn in hell, Eric Bischoff, you lowlife motherfucker. (Pretty sure that’ll be Benoit.) The match wasn’t even that great, only going about 12 minutes. (I’m sure it was fine.) British Bulldog v. Curt Hennig. Now I’m pissed off. (Thank you Captain Obvious.) Rick Rude is handcuffed to Jim Neidhart here. Horrible, terrible, awful, atrocious piece of shit match. Vincent comes out dressed as a policeman and unlocks the cuffs, and Rude nails Bulldog, Hennig gets the pin. DUD, maybe bordering on negative stars for the overbooking. The nWo wipes the mat with Smith and Neidhart…uh, here’s someone getting SCREWED in a gross INJUSTICE…shouldn’t someone be coming out to save them? No? Oh, well… (Interesting point about that, which we didn’t know at the time: WCW was legally bound, as a part of the settlement to get Bulldog and Anvil released from WWF, not to have any association between Bret and them. They couldn’t do a “Hart Foundation” type team or I believe even mention their relationship with him.) Prince Wanalaya v. Chris Jericho. Jericho dedicates the match to Dean Malenko. I wish it was Malenko that was wrestling because the Prince starts it out with an extended side headlock and it goes downhill from there. Very slow, stalling match. They keep teasing a Prince upset as he blocks the Liontamer twice and hits some near fall situations. Dear god this match sucks. The Prince is not anywhere near Jericho’s level and Jericho looks to be dogging it to begin with. Finally, I’mokaya-Yourokaya is forced to tap out to the third Liontamer. Thank god. Now I never want to hear from this putz again. 1/2* Jericho steals the Hawaiian towel thingie for his trophy. (That was a fun gimmick Jericho had going, actually, and it’s well worth someone else ripping it off today.) BUFF~! & Scott Steiner v. Lex Luger & Rick Steiner. Buff comes out with a cast on his arm, and says he can’t wrestle, so JJ Dillon brings out a doctor to check it himself and they proceed to do this little angle right there. Do we have *that* much extra time to waste on this show? Couldn’t this have been filled with, say, wrestling? Of course, Buff is fine, and the match goes on, unfortunately. Chinlock, punch, kick, you get the picture. Luger cleans house, then a big fight erupts and Scott runs for the hills from Rick. The Rack is academic as Buff submits. DUD. Why do they keep making Buff into the fall guy if they want to push him? (More importantly, why are the babyfaces even going over in the first place if the goal is to build up Scott Steiner? This would mark two straight PPVs where he does the job!) Mean Gene hypes the fact that a certain individual is in the dressing room, which might lead one to believe that another certain individual in the nWo might be coming back soon. Dusty Rhodes in the lockerroom is “too hot for TV?” (Kayfab!) Special Added Bonus Time-Wasting Match: La Parka v. Psychosis. Under normal circumstances I’d be delighted to see this. But it sucks. Badly. Spot, rest, spot. La Parka picks up Psychosis one too many times and he ends up getting the legdrop and jobbing again. This was so bad it was embarrassing at times. 1/4* (They must have had some serious time-management issues on this show.) And now the announcers are wasting time by making some ridiculous analogy about a dog that uses up five more minutes. Was Booker-Benoit supposed to go really long or something? Am I missing something here? Baseball bat match: Kevin Nash & Hulk Hogan v. Giant & Roddy Piper. Piper starts out for his side, thus sending this one down the crapper right away. Crowd is hot for this one, poor souls. Giant actually puts Hogan over his knee and SPANKS him at one point. And he SELLS it! I kid you not. The match was that embarrassing. There’s exactly two wrestling moves in this fiasco: A Giant dropkick and Piper’s sleeper. Piper gets the bat, but Hogan knocks it out of his hands. The Disciple comes down to ringside with a different bat (was something wrong with the first one?) and lots of dumb bat shots ensue. Then for some reason Disciple switches the first bat for the second one again, Hogan nails Piper with it, and the nWo wins. -** Hogan hits Nash with the bat and leaves him laying afterwards. I’m sure we’ll hear about this on Nitro for the next six months. (Did that actually go anywhere? Wolfpac was months after this, right?) US Title match: DDP v. Raven. This is almost exactly like the three-way match from Uncensored, except without Benoit to keep it rooted within reality. It starts out good enough, but then suddenly they end up by the entranceway with all the breakaway props you could ask for. Then it’s the usual WCW garbage match, with no blood or intensity as Raven and DDP trade goofy spots, throwing each other into tables and balsa wood barriers and jumping into bales of hay. I’m surprised they didn’t use the huge cow that was set up, it was just begging to be used. Back in the ring, and Sick Boy brings a kitchen sink in. Ah, Kevin Sullivan is booking tonight, I see. Then the Flock interferes one by one, every one fucking it up while introducing new objects. DDP keeps kicking out, of course, until yet another new Flock member (Mortis? Horace Boulder? Horshu?) manages to connect with a Stop sign and Raven DDT’s DDP on the kitchen sink for the pin and the US title. I’m thoroughly sick of WCW’s attempts to be “hardcore”. ** (That actually sounds like a pretty good fucking brawl. But then 98 Scott was pretty sick of ECW and the whole style in general.) WCW World title: Sting v. Randy Savage. Again, they start out good enough, but then it degenerates into another mindless brawl. Back out to the OK Corral for more foreign objects, including a stupid spot where Sting hits Savage with a bale of hay. A BALE OF HAY??? Tony: “That can be very abrasive.” (We milked that one for YEARS afterwards in our little group.) Quick, someone get this man a moisturizing cream, stat! Back to the ring for more weak brawling, and of course the ref gets bumped. Liz comes in and nails Sting with a chair, which he shrugs off (rightly so). But Savage pulls her in the way of a Stinger splash and she gets splashed by mistake. Savage hits Sting with the chair himself, and goes for the elbow, but now Hulk Hogan runs in and pushes him off. Good lord, can this get any more overdone? Sting with the slopdrop, but now Kevin Nash interjects himself, powerbombing Sting and putting Savage on top. I’d say barring anything else, we’re going to have a new champion. And that’s just what happens, as Randy Savage wins his 5th World title. Good for him, he deserves it. BUT, why put it on him if he’s out with knee problems for months? I smell Hogan’s ninth title reign starting tomorrow night… *1/2 (High five to me!) Hogan and Booty Disciple protest from the entranceway as we’re outta time. At 8:40? The Bottom Line: This nWo hyper-booking has gotta stop. (HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA) I don’t need four or five people running in on the main event, especially when I’ve already seen them earlier in the card. It completely ruined the World title match by putting the focus on Hogan and Nash’s issue rather than on Sting and Savage. (Yeah, but they draw the real money!) They were almost incidental. Everyone else seemed to have it in neutral, with the exception of Goldberg. He tried damn hard tonight, I’ll give him that. Nothing else on the card did anything for me, however. I wasn’t interested in the storylines coming in, and they didn’t win me over going out. The Jericho match advanced nothing, the Hennig match advanced nothing, Sting-Savage was a clusterfuck, the bat match was crap, DDP-Raven was just mutual masturbation and we all know it, and there was a couple of meaningless subpar cruiserweight matches stuck on there with no fanfare. All in all, a card to make one say “so what?” Wait for Nitro, I guess. Same as it ever was. Thumbs down. (Probably a lot better than I’m giving it credit for.)
Coliseum, Tupelo, Mississippi
Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes
continuing with the 1998 shows but it occurred to me that I was going
to run out of PPVs in my series of Nitro reviews. This is only a few
months after where I am in that series though so I won’t be too far
removed at least. This is a B show with no Hogan, Piper, or anyone
else for the most part and a main event of Savage vs. Page in a
grudge match. Savage joined the NWO at SuperBrawl and was put with
Page to bring DDP up to the main event. Let’s get to it.
about Page vs. Savage of course. On and the Steiners vs. Outsiders
for the millionth time. The third match talked about is the Women’s
Title match. See what we’re up against here?
Uncensored 96 happened. It HAS TO be better than that right?
he’ll fight all of WCW if he has to. Scott Hall is missing and has
been for THREE WEEKS, but they’ve announced him up to this point just
because. Therefore it’ll be a handicap match for the titles with
Nash vs. Steiners.
here. Dragon takes him to the mat to start and then Rey takes Dragon
down to the mat as well. There’s a camel clutch but Dragon quickly
escapes. We get to a standoff so Dragon hits the rapidfire kicks to
take Rey down. Flair has a big announcement later tonight. Dragon
hooks an armbar and they’re still on the mat. Back up and he hits a
kind of spinning crucifix into a modified version of what we call
by a hot shot and then a sleeper by Dragon. Not a Dragon Sleeper but
a sleeper by Dragon that is. A BIG Liger Bomb puts Rey down but
Dragon won’t cover. There haven’t been any pin attempts between
falls and it’s kind of hurting the match. Tombstone gets two and
it’s back to the sleeper. Rey comes back with a spinwheel kick but
Dragon kicks him down because Rey can’t follow up.
Indian Deathlock. Rey gets out and manages to kick Dragon off to the
floor to get a breather. Sleeper #3 goes on by Dragon but Rey
counters into one of his own to a BIG pop. Dragon gets thrown to the
floor again and Rey hits a dive up and over the top. And let’s cut
to Lee Marshall to get a statement from Kevin Nash. Instead it’s
Syxx and we can’t hear him so there was NO POINT to this.
dropping the dime for a delayed two. Rey loads up a moonsault press
but Dragon dropkicks him off the top and Mysterio crashes down onto
the floor. Dragon dives over the top but hurts himself at the same
time. Back in Rey tries a Lionsault press but Dragon dropkicks him
out of the air in a cool counter. Giant swing by Dragon puts both
guys down. They trade fast pinfall attempts for two each and an
enziguri puts Rey down. Super rana gets two for Dragon. Tiger and
dragon suplexes by Dragon are both countered by Rey and a standing
rana gets the pin for Mysterio.
It was an entertaining match but for the most part it was a mess.
They kept seeing to be missing the chemistry out there and that’s a
bad thing most of the time. Also the mat work is the wrong idea
here. Not a bad match at all but this was one of those matches you
expected more from. Dragon would win the TV Title the next night.
to talk to Nash again but gets Syxx again. The Steiners try to jump
through the door but security stops them. Scott gets maced and
handcuffed. Ok then.
Hokuto vs. Madusa
as it only existed for a few years. It was won in December of 96 and
defended a handful of times ever. It was vacated in the summer, won
in Japan in September and never mentioned on WCW TV more than twice
again. Later on they actually introduced a Women’s Cruiserweight
Championship. Hokuto is champion coming in. For some reason that
I’ll never fathom, Lee Marshall, the guy WCW fired for being horrible
at commentary, is talking about this match.
with Madusa hammering her down in the corner but walking into a
clothesline. Akira chokes her in the corner and covers for two as
Madusa bridges out. She hits some hair slams for two and Hokuto goes
to the corner. Madusa hits a Stratusphere to take her down but
Hokuto is right back on the leg. Madusa fights off Onoo and hits a
pair of dropkicks. The American hits a German on the Japanese woman
but Sonny distracts again. Luna Vachon comes in and takes out
Madusa’s knee so that Akira can retain.
Madusa looked like Kaitlyn a little bit so I can’t call it a full on
failure, but dang this was boring. At the end of the day you can’t
bring out a title once every four months and expect us to care about
it. Nothing to see in the match either with both chicks doing basic
stuff for five minutes.
Iaukea vs. Steven Regal
1997, the WWF’s young Samoan Rocky Maivia beat the blue blood Hunter
Hearst Helmsley for the Intercontinental Title. On February 17,
1997, WCW’s young Samoan Prince Iaukea beat the blue blood Lord
Steven Regal for the TV Title. Now I’m sure this was a TOTAL
coincidence right? Iaukea had nothing to offer in the ring and lost
the title the next night.
so we’re told that Scott Steiner has been arrested. The Prince takes
him to the mat with a headlock as Tony tries to explain that Iaukea
is one of the lines of defense against the NWO. Dennis Rodman is
part of the NWO and since we hate him, let’s plug his movie and air
clips of it tomorrow night on Nitro! Regal comes back with a knee
lift but it’s right back to the headlock by the Prince.
the champ. Regal complains about a punch so Heenan says that Iaukea
doesn’t know that he’s the champion right now. Prince takes him down
with a test of strength so Regal hooks a headscissors and nips up
into an eye poke. It’s now a singles match for the tag titles with
Rick vs. Nash. Regal hooks a full nelson and then pounds him down in
and then does nothing at all with it. Regal easily takes him into
the corner and hits a pair of knees to the face. A cross body by
Prince misses and Regal takes control again. He whips the Prince
into the corner and tries a rollup but Iaukea sits on him and gets
the pin to retain.
Iaukea was just so boring it’s unreal. He never had anything special
about him and it never caught on with the fans at all. Regal is
great but he can’t work miracles here, and despite Iaukea holding the
belt for almost two months, he never got any better for the most
part. Nothing to see here.
Prince post match and puts him in the Regal Stretch.
big announcement. Gene thinks that it’s Flair returning to the ring.
Flair says that the Horsemen will win tonight and that he’s back on
May 1. He says Anderson will be back but it never happened. As for
Flair and Piper…..Kevin Greene is coming to WCW. Seriously, that’s
practically a direct quote. Flair wants the NWO in Charlotte and he
doesn’t care who it is because the Horsemen are going to run them out
of here. WHY DID IT TAKE THEM 10 MONTHS TO FREAKING DO THAT???
McMichael vs. Public Enemy
people? I certainly hope so or this is going to be awful. Mongo vs.
Rocco to start us off and it’s time to stall. Rocco finds Mongo’s
lack of talent disturbing so he chats with known ring general Johnny
Grunge. Mongo tackles both enemies and it’s a double Horsemen strut.
Off to Jarrett (thank goodness) vs. Grunge and Double J hooks an
and tries a leapfrog but gets caught by an uppercut from Grunge.
Jeff gets knocked to the floor and teases walking out but comes back
and counts with the referee. Back to the starters and it’s a Mongo
chinlock on Rock. McMichael works on the back with a backbreaker and
a tilt-a-whirl for two. Everything breaks down and they go split
side of a covered wagon. I’ll give WCW this: their PPV sets tended
to be really cool and definitely not generic like most WWE ones
today. Grunge tries to put Debra on the table but Jeff saves with a
chair. As Rock is thrown into a steer, Grunge dives through a table.
Back to the ring and it’s completely broken down. Debra trips Rocco
and it’s briefcase time. Jeff cleans house with dropkicks but Rock
gets the briefcase. Figure Four to Grunge but Rock blasts Jeff with
the case and Jarrett is pinned while holding Grunge in the hold.
This wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting. I thought it was going
to be horrible but it wasn’t all that bad. It furthers the really
annoying Horsemen split which would finally happen after many more
months. Boring match for the most part but the wagon spot was kind
Heat who are in a four corners match tonight, as singles competitors
with Luger and Giant. The winner gets a shot at Hogan, so who do you
think is going to win eventually? Sherri says her guys are ready.
This would be the match where Booker rants about Hogan and calls him
the N word before immediately panicking. It’s censored in this
version (home video) and he says sucka but you can read his lips
saying the other word.
Malenko vs. Chris Benoit
in. They go into the corner almost immediately and it’s a clean
break. They go to the mat and neither guy can get control for more
than a few seconds. Malenko is sent to the floor but he runs back in
almost immediately. Malenko takes him to the mat and works on the
knee as Woman screams. Benoit kicks him off and it’s back to a
wristlock and things slow back down again. Back up into a test of
strength which neither can really win. Benoit does the always
amazing bridge which he holds while Malenko lands on him. Chris
takes him to the mat and works on the arm before into a chinlock and
surfboard hold. It’s a Benoit match so of course they’re flying
through holds. Malenko escapes with a belly to back suplex and takes
over. Small package gets two for Dean.
from Benoit but they seem to wake Malenko up. Camel clutch goes on
for a bit and then it’s off to a short arm scissors. Benoit does the
Shawn/Bulldog counter and both guys are down. Clothesline gets two
for Chris. Now it’s an abdominal stretch as the submission parade
continues. Dean comes up with an interesting counter by dropping to
one knee. I don’t remember ever seeing that before.
ribs some more and channels his inner Dynamite with a snap suplex for
two. Dean tries a vertical suplex but Benoit reverses into a reverse
suplex….and here comes Jackie to ruin everything that they’ve got
going on here. We’ve got a catfight on the floor and Jimmy Hart
comes out….to do nothing.
Jimmy is stealing the title. Here comes Eddie Guerrero and Dean gets
draped over the top rope. Dean suplexes Benoit over the top and out
to the floor, probably breaking the Canadian’s hip. Arn Anderson
comes out and beats up Dean but Kevin Sullivan comes out and Anderson
lets him hit Benoit with a Singapore cane which gets the DQ.
This was getting good until we had five run-ins inside of three
minutes. This Benoit vs. Sullivan feud went on for over a year and I
don’t think anything was ever really settled. The ending here sucked
but the match wasn’t great in the first place. They were having a
slow submission based match but it wasn’t really that great. The
last five minutes before the interference were good though.
leave together and put the belt on Eddie’s shoulder for some reason,
in the third (that I know of) stolen belt storyline of the year.
Dean says he wasn’t supposed to be here, which was supposed to lead
to some faction but it never came together.
Nash vs. Rick Steiner
Patrick is referee because we need more gimmicks in this. Rick jumps
him but gets knocked down almost immediately. DiBiase and Syxx are
at ringside so this is 4-1. Nash pounds on him in the corner and
hits his knees but runs into a boot. Belly to belly suplex looks
like Rick is picking up a boulder. That suplex/powerslam move he
uses gets two.
down and Steiner crashes to the floor. Back in the side slam gets
two. Why isn’t Patrick fast counting him? The Outsiders are the
champions coming in here. DiBiase gets in a right hand and Nash hits
the running crotch attack while Rick is in 619 position. Big boot
puts Rick down as we’re totally in squash territory. There’s the
Jackknife but Steiner kicks out. I don’t remember many people ever
doing that other than Undertaker.
another Jackknife attempt which Patrick actually doesn’t DQ him for.
He’s kind of doing a bad job of being an evil referee here. Rick
hits the bulldog but it only gets two, even though Nash’s shoulder
never came up. Down goes Syxx but Nash comes back with a clothesline
to take over again.
buckle pad and Snake Eyes onto the buckle sets up Snake Eyes on the
buckle which sets up Snake Eyes on the buckle which sets up Snake
Eyes on the buckle which sets up the Jackknife for the pin and a
forced count (Patrick was hesitant) for the pin. The interesting
thing here is that DiBiase says that’s enough in the middle of this
and Nash yells at him. DiBiase walks out.
So Nash wins a squash on PPV in a one on one match for the titles. I
guess the more important part here is that DiBiase looks to be
defecting which would mean more if he was an actual wrestler. This
would lead to him managing the Steiners which would last for awhile
until I think February. The match sucked.
Booker T vs. Giant vs. Lex Luger
here and the winner gets Hogan eventually. Luger vs. Booker to start
which should be interesting. Feeling out process to start until
Luger starts slamming Booker a few times. Off to Stevie who punches
Luger down a bit but gets caught between Giant and Luger which goes
badly as you can imagine. Off to Giant and Stevie looks scared.
Stevie knocks Giant back and gets loudly booed but Giant comes back
with a clothesline.
around as well and it’s time for a meeting on the floor. I keep
forgetting this is a four corners match. That gets remedied by Giant
vs. Luger who have a power lockup. Luger tries a slam but Giant
falls on him for two. The tag in Harlem Heat and the brothers having
to fight gets a big reaction from the crowd.
works on the arm. There’s a lot of non contact here which makes
sense for the most part. Booker tags in Lex and all is right with
the world again. Stevie comes back with strikes and it’s Booker with
a side suplex to put Lex down. A knee drop misses and it’s Giant
time. A big elbow drop misses and Stevie comes in sans tag. An ax
kick by Stevie doesn’t work and neither does a side kick so they go
to the knees to get Giant down.
and a big boot puts Ray down. Off to Luger again for some elbow
drops which get two. Belly to back puts Booker down but Stevie
breaks up the Rack. Booker hooks a chinlock and the Harlem side kick
gets two. Harlem Heat double team Luger and it’s back to the
chinlock. Lex suplexes his way out of it but Booker breaks it up.
Giant breaks up a cover off an ax kick but there’s no cover. Harlem
Hangover misses and it’s Stevie vs. Giant. Giant kicks Booker to the
floor and calls for the chokeslam but tags in Luger so he can win
with the Rack instead.
This wasn’t bad for the most part as it was really a tag match in
disguise. That being said, it didn’t mean a thing as Luger wouldn’t
get his title shot until August so this was kind of a waste of time.
The match itself was pretty fun though as both teams played it like a
tag match instead of the fourway which was the right idea.
Diamond Dallas Page
the ring with Savage and Liz. Savage wants to make it a party.
“SLIM JIMS FOR EVERYBODY!!!” This is the first main event for
Page. He cuts a quick promo before the match about having to stand
up for what he believes in. Savage did something to Kimberly so this
is a revenge match. It’s not important enough to mention, but it’s
worth revenge. Ok then. This is No DQ.
in Memphis (it’s close to it) but jumps Page to get us going. Page
fights back and they go into the ring. He tries something like a
suplex but I have no idea what it wound up being. A quick Cutter
attempt is countered and Page is sent to the floor. They go into the
crowd and the camera chasing after them is kind of cool. Page grabs
a trashcan to blast Savage in the head. Savage is NWO in case that
means anything to you.
ring with some choking on the way. Savage hides behind Kimberly and
Liz rakes Page’s back. There’s the ax handle to the floor and Page
is sent into the floor. With Page down, Savage chases Kimberly but
is stopped by an attractive chair. After a shot to the back he beats
up Dave Penzer and brings in another chair. Coming back in Page
manages something like a Van Daminator but with a shove instead of a
he can’t follow up so Savage chokes away in the corner. Page makes a
quick comeback but is knocked right back don. Discus lariat out of
nowhere puts Savage down but Page is spent. Savage slams him three
times and goes to the floor to get the bell. Kimberly steals it
from him but Savage jumps anyway, right into the feet instead of the
elbow. I HATE that spot. Cutter is countered with a low blow for
referee after the count and hits a good piledriver on him. He takes
the belt off of Mark Curtis and whips him a little bit. The elbow
hits but there’s no referee. Cue Nick Patrick in the sleeveless
shirt of EVIL. Diamond Cutter out of NOWHERE hits and Patrick counts
the pin because of the Nash stuff earlier.
Good match here with Page pulling off a great upset win to pop the
crowd and send them home happy. The brawling wasn’t great but they
did it well enough for what the purpose here was. These two would
feud over most of the summer and it brought Page up to the main event
level that he would stay at for years.
NWO (including DiBiase) comes out as Nash has Patrick by the shirt.
The fans want Sting but you know he’s not coming out on this show.
Patrick gets beaten down and Page is sent to the floor. Savage goes
after Kimberly but Bischoff stops a smack. There’s a shoving match
and Savage drills Bischoff and the NWO FREAKS to end the show.
This was very much a filler show as nothing of note happened here at
all. It’s certainly not the worst show I’ve ever seen and I wouldn’t
call it bad, but I certainly wouldn’t call it good either. Either
way, things would only continue to be this way for the next few
months with nothing significant happening until the fall when Sting
vs. Hogan really got going.
The Netcop Rant for Spring Stampede 2000 Funny story: I called to order the show on Friday afternoon, but the automated phone system wouldn’t allow me to complete the order. (By this time the cable company had switched to digital cable and we could no longer watch PPVs by less-than-legitimate means, which meant that I was back to ordering them again after a fairly long break from spending hundreds of dollars a month on wrestling shows. Given my lack of wife, though, it’s not like I had anything better to spend my paycheques on anyway.) So I called Shaw Cable’s customer service and explained the problem, and not only was the show spelled wrong in their database (“WCW Sprint Stampede”) but the Sunday show wasn’t even listed in the computer, only the Tuesday replay! The funny part? They hadn’t caught the problem yet because I was the only one to that point who actually wanted to order the show. (Not surprising given the buyrate. Basically after Kevin Sullivan was fired, Bischoff and Russo were put in charge of the promotion and immediately went on Nitro and stripped all the champions of their titles, coming right out and declaring a reboot of the entirety of WCW because the previous version had sucked so bad. I’m sure that made everyone who had been watching up until that point feel terrific. This show is the tournament finals for all the belts, because in Vince Russo’s world TOURNAMENTS ARE AWESOME. ) – Live from Chicago, IL – Your hosts are Tony, Mark and Scott – Opening match: The Mamalukes v. Lex Luger & Ric Flair. Vince “Iron Man” Russo declares that it’ll be a 4-on-2 match instead, sticking the Harris brothers on the Italian side. Pretty much a mindless brawl all the way through with a few highspots from Hugger, until Flair manages to fight off three guys, leaving Luger in the ring to rack Hugger at 6:11 and advance to the finals of the tag title tournament. Match was a total mess, but energetic if nothing else. * – Mancow v. Jimmy Hart. (Mancow was a Chicago DJ who was controversial or something.) This was about as good as you’d expect, which is to say not at all. Emery Hale, under whatever name he’s using this week, tries to interfere, but Mancow recovers and gets the pin on Hart at 2:49. (HALE WARNING! HALE WARNING! That guy made Ryback look like Goldberg.) What a waste of PPV time. -**** – The Wall v. Scott Steiner. I’m hoping for one to cripple the other, but no such luck. Scott hammers him, but Wall comes back with a big boot and a legdrop. Ooo, Wall’s got his working boots on tonight. They fight to the floor, where Scott pokes him in the eye, thus blinding him so extensively that he mistakes a referee for Steiner and chokeslams him through a table for the DQ at 3:52. That’s a pretty vicious eye poke right there. Match was a total load. ½* – Mike Awesome v. Ernest Miller. Awesome was unveiled as the mysterious eighth entrant in the tournament earlier, then got into a brawl with Bam Bam Bigelow. So as a result, Bigelow decides to punk out Miller pre-match and take his place. Oh god, now they’re stealing Paul Heyman’s BAD ideas, too. Awesome puts Bigelow on the floor and hits the tope con hilo pretty quick, then they brawl. Back in, Awesome hits a nice diving clothesline. Bigelow falls on top to block a backdrop suplex for two. And now the Cat is back out and he kicks Bigelow right out of the ring. And dances. Man, I was actually into that match, too. Awesome destroys Miller and pins him after the frog splash at 4:01. *1/2 I *really* don’t get the logic of that booking. (Perhaps some sort of booking seminar would be helpful to explain it.) – Buff Bagwell & Shane Douglas v. Harlem Heat. Amazingly, they’ve finally debuted that “Perfect Strangers” ripoff that Jimmy Hart was talking about months ago. Pretty much a total squash for the New Blood here, with Douglas finishing Stevie Ray with the Pittsburgh Plunge at 2:41 following heel miscommunication. ¼* (Shane actually tried to escape to the WWE along with the Radicalz, but they basically turned him down. I’ve always been amused at the notion of fiercely independent loose cannon Shane Douglas being forced to crawl back to WCW with no leverage, like someone swimming back to the Titanic because there’s nowhere else to go. That’s why burning your bridges on the way out is a BAD IDEA.) – Booker v. Sting. (Oh yeah, this was during the period when they decided that the “T” was holding him back.) Trash talk to start, and Sting gets the advantage. Brawl to the floor, where Booker gets control, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK, BABEE. That lasts a while. Sting escapes but gets scissor kicked. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash, blocked with a sidekick, but he reverses a spinebuster into a deathdrop for the pin at 6:34. The announcers yell and scream about what a great match it was. I fervently beg to differ. *1/2 I believe this ended up being the only clean pin of the evening. (You know it’s Russo because there’s three different tournaments ongoing and none of the matches run more than 5 minutes or so.) – Kidman v. Vampiro. Vamp gets a couple of suplexes to start, then hits a missile dropkick for two. Kidman comes back with a rana, but gets powerbombed doing the 10 punches in the corner. Vampiro hits a pair of suplexes for two, and a chokeslam, but Kidman reverses the Nail in the Coffin with the facejam. Vampiro goes into the kick combo and an armbar, but Kidman counters with a DDT. And of course, now the Orange Goblin has to ruin a perfectly good match, as he comes out and destroys Kidman, tossing him outside and slamming him through the ringside table (well, after two tries at it), then throwing him back in for the Vampiro pin at 8:28. Horrible, horrible ending drags it way down. If it’s a quick Hogan interference I can live with it, but he beat on him for like three minutes. ** (Stone Cold Hulk Hogan! This was the infamous “flea market” feud between Kidman and Hogan that did nothing for either guy and in fact pretty much destroyed Kidman forever.) – Hogan heads back to assert his manhood on Eric Bischoff in the dressing room, but Vince Russo calls the cops, and they pull their GUNS on him to back him down. (Hogan should have been all “Check out these guns, brother!” and then destroyed the entire police force with a POSEDOWN.) Oh, geez, do we have to go there again? Didn’t the fallout from Pillman’s gun act in the WWF teach anyone anything? – Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Terry Funk. They start in the catering room, where they go through the usual series of goofy food-related spots. (Vince Russo Booking = People hitting each other with food in hardcore matches. And tournaments. Sometimes both at once.) Sadly, that’s about all Terry can do anymore, so it’s for the best. Funny bit as they head into the hall and Norman climbs a heating pipe on the ceiling to try to hide. They head back to the ring, where Duh-stin interferes, but it backfires, and Funk drops a ladder on Smiley and pins him to win the Hardcore title at 8:03. Pretty entertaining crap, and I’d rather see Smiley lose here and move on to, say, ANYTHING ELSE than get stuck in that dead-end gimmick again. *** (This was pretty much it for Norman, actually. They never figured out how to use him properly again.) – Scott Steiner v. Mike Awesome. Steiner pounds on Awesome to start, but takes a flying shoulderblock and splash for two. Flying clothesline gets two. Steiner comes back with a belly-to-belly, but Awesome gets a springboard elbow out of the corner for two. Cue the run-in (or in this case, stroll-in), as Big Poochie breaks a crutch over Awesome and Steiner gets the submission with his deadly REAR CHINLOCK OF DOOM at 3:15. Next. ½* I didn’t go back and rewind, but I think I heard the announcers saying something about Steiner beating Sting to win the title at this point, which would be a pretty stupid mistake on their part if they said it. – Vampiro v. Sting. Slugfest to start. Sting over with some basic stuff and a flying splash for two. Out we go, with Sting missing a splash to the railing. Vamp superkicks him. Back in, Sting doesn’t seem to be cooperating when Vamp tries to set him up for top rope moves for some reason. Weird. Vamp goes up for something, but misses, and Sting hits the deathdrop and Scorpion deathlock for the submission at 5:57. Pretty boring match. Although I guess this was the SECOND clean finish of the night. *1/4 – Jobberweight title: Shannon Moore v. Crowbar v. Lash LeRoux v. Prince Iaukea v. Juventud Guerrera v. Chris Candido. Candido & Crowbar start, with Chris getting a few two-counts. Lash & Juvy go next, with Juvy hitting the Juvy Driver for two. Daffney comes in with a “frankenscreamer”, but hits Crowbar with it by mistake. Lucky guy. Funny spot follows as Juvy goes after her, but she holds him at bay with the SCREAM OF DOOM. We hit the trainwreck spot rather early in the match, with every doing highspots on everyone else, leaving Candido and Prince alone in the ring. Iaukea goes for the jumping DDT, but Sunny the Crack Whore returns to wrestling and pushes him off, and Candido pins him at 5:14 to win the title. Good god, is she transporting more ECW defectors in her ass or is that just from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? The match went nowhere, with no one really getting any time. *1/2 (Hey, let’s count all the people who either died or left the business altogether here!) – WCW World tag title match: Ric Flair & Lex Luger v. Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell. May I just say, thank god Flair is wearing street clothes in the ring now. Stalling to start. Idiotic spot as Buff gets the advantage on Luger, then stops to pose. Shane yells at him to turn around, and when he does, Luger…poses. Oh god, someone tell him it’s not 1988. Douglas comes in and gets pummelled by Flair. Bagwell & Douglas work him over for a while, as we listen with rapt attention to the commentary stylings of Vince Russo. (The only thing worse than his booking would have to be his commentary. You’d think the guy who WROTE THE STORYLINES could make sense of them, but you’d be wrong.) Flair misses his own signature move – the Flair flip, and Luger gets the hot tag. Brawl leads to the figure-four on Douglas. Buff goes for the blockbuster, but hits Douglas by mistake. Flair goes for the pin, but Russo pulls out the ref at two and punks him out. Bryan Adams and Bryan Clark then run in, chokeslam Luger, and Bagwell pins him (with Russo making the count) to win the tag titles at 8:31. Awful match. And the Clark/Adams debut added nothing but another hotshot angle to an already overloaded show. ½* (I should note that Kronik then went on to win the tag titles from Buff & Shane soon after this, thus making this even more nonsensical.) – US title match: Scott Steiner v. Sting. Steiner tries power stuff, but Sting knocks him out and hits a pescado. Flying splash hits the knees, and Steiner takes over. He stops to yell at fans a few times. Sting comes back with the Stinger splash, bumping the ref. Vampiro pops up from under the ring, doing the Undertaker thing and dragging Sting “straight to hell” (it’s WCW, he’s already there…), which marks the second 96 WWF angle Vinnie Roo has ripped off from himself tonight, and Sting emerges with obvious fake blood on his face, falling easy prey to the chinlock for the submission at 5:32. (Talk about angle overload on this show. One clever idea is OK, but this show was angle after angle with no payoff for them.) Another bad match. ½* Nice to see that being a psychotic, roided, uncooperative, deteriorated, often-injured maniac results in getting put over three guys in one night to win the #2 belt in the company. Had he snapped and killed a fan at ringside, he’d probably be World champion. (Well, the World title would come later.) – WCW World title: Jeff Jarrett v. DDP. Yes, this is our main event, might as well accept it. DDP gets a lariat and atomic drop to start, and a DDT gets two. Jarrett bails and Page follows with a pescado. Brawl into the crowd, with a retarded ultra-wide angle shot. Back in, Jarrett gets a chair and works on DDP’s back. Page comes back with a powerbomb for two, and back to the floor. Bischoff joins us in the aisle, looking sinister. Jarrett rips up a copy of Page’s book, to really draw heat. His sales just went up by 15% if JJ bought that one. (This was back when I could freely mock others for low book sales.) Back in, slugfest, and we get the requisite ref bump after the Diamond Cutter. Jarrett nails DDP with the title belt and gets two. Jarrett hooks the figure-four as Bischoff comes to ringside. DDP escapes and cradles for two. DDP comes back with a uranage for two. Jarrett goes to the sleeper as the “boring” chants erupt. Bischoff distracts the ref as Kim comes in with Jarrett’s guitar. Gee, who do you think she’s going to hit with it? Especially since she’s taking her sweet time lining up that shot at Jarrett. Oh, gosh, what a huge swerve, she turns on her husband. Oh the irony. Oh the humanity. (Angle after angle after angle after angle after angle…) Jarrett hits the Stroke and gets the pin and his first World title at 15:02. Guess they convinced him to take that World title after all. ***1/4 (Basically Jarrett was offered the belt repeatedly and he kept turning them down because he didn’t want to be remembered as the guy who sunk the company.) – The nW…er, New Blood all celebrate with their titles and their evil booker friends, end of show. The Bottom Line: I can see where people might be fooled into liking this show by the manic pace and sheer number of angles, to the point where there was some huge development in EVERY MATCH, but I can’t excuse all the mediocre wrestling with bad finishes that went on here tonight. I mean, geez, maintaining a sense of urgency in the booking is one thing, but a good solid match once in a while would be a nice change of pace. And instead of having run-ins leading to a DQ, we get the DQ waived tonight and instead get run-ins leading to a screwy finish. And seriously, they’re not even TRYING to hide what they’re doing with the New Blood – it’s the nWo yet again, this time in a different shirt. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Still, the show was entertaining enough for a thumbs in the middle, but that’s under the “throw enough shit at the wall and eventually something sticks” theory of booking, and I can’t foresee them maintaining that frenetic pace for long without the fans getting tired of it. Well, better this than Sullivan or Nash, I guess. (This booking killed the company for good, so I’d take Sullivan or Nash any day of the week and twice on Sunday instead of Ruschoff.)
(2012 Scott sez: It’s another 2-in-1 set, although this a rarity where both versions are pretty good. The second one was written in 2009 so I won’t have anything to add to it. But first up, the version written live after the show…) The Netcop Rant for Spring Stampede 1999 Live from Tacoma, Washington Your hosts are the Usual Idiots. Opening match: Blitzkrieg v. Juventud Guerrera. Blitz has Al Snow’s old Avatar costume tonight. Awesome opener, with the boys trading mat stuff and Juvy getting the first highspot with the tope con hilo. Blitz retaliates with his own tope, but Juvy dropkicks him in mid-air, and he takes a nasty fall to the floor. Juvy goes for the Driver, but they go into a complex reversal sequence that ends with Juvy hitting an inverted DDT for two. Juvy takes Blitz to the top and tries an inverted suplex off the top, but they fuck it up. Blitz goes for the sky twister, but Juvy moves. Then Juvy gets the MOTHERFUCKING KICKASS FINISHER TO END ALL FINISHERS, a Juvy Driver off the TOP ROPE! Wow. Wow. Wow. ****1/4 (I think I enjoyed that one.) Hardcore Hak v. Bam Bam Bigelow. They both bring plunder to the ring, and we get right into the garbage wrestling as Hak puts Bigelow on the table in the aisle and dives off the stagecoach, putting Bigelow through the table. Pretty impressive spot. We head to the ring and they hit each other with weapons. And, uh, yeah, that’s about it. Good for what it was, but that’s about it. ***1/2 (I’m pretty sure “good for what it was” doesn’t warrant ***1/2) Scotty Riggs v. Mikey Whipwreck. Hey, Scotty has a gimmick! He’s the Narcissist II. This is your pretty standard 1st hour Thunder match. Mikey is doing some nice bumping, however. Scotty is SO Val Venis/Rick Martel/Rick Rude here, doing hip gyrations and being Mr. Arrogant. Crowd responds with a spontaneous “boring” chant. Loud one too. The FLYING FOREARM OF DOOM from Riggs finishes it. Yawn. ** (He should have stuck with being a pirate.) Gonnad v. Disco Inferno. Disco has the Urban Cowboy look today. Huge heel heat for Disco as he uses a modified version of the rolling clothesline and the crotch shake. Funny stuff. Standard 1st hour Nitro match follows. Rest, stall, dance, you know the routine. Gonnad hits Disco’s own Chartbuster on him for the pin. Bleh. *1/2 Okay, the two matches I had budgeting to suck have sucked, so we’re within budget. Cruiserweight title match: Rey Mysterio Jr. v. Billy Kidman. Great gymnastic sequence to start. Rey takes the BUMP WITH CHEESE AND BACON, getting backdropped to the floor and landing right on his side. Kidman hits a pescado for good measure. Kidman drops him on his throat and legdrops him over the railing. Rey smacks his head on the stairs on a flying headscissors on the floor. He gets in the ring and hits another couple of highspots to work the kinks out. I dunno, they just seem to be going through the motions here, doing an exhibition of spots. Kidman hits a shooting star press off the apron, mis-called by Tenay and corrected by Tony. Pretty boring resting sequence. Kidman hits a Pedigree but Rey pops up. Rey gets his killer bulldog for two. Kidman does his finishing sequence, but Rey pops up before the SSP and hits the top rope rana for the anticlimactic pin. The Nitro match was WAY better and the crowd response here showed it. **1/2 The Vanilla Midgets v. Raven & Saturn. The Flock pulls out a ton of cool double-teams on Benoit to start. Raven gets triple-teamed by the Horsemen outside the ring and the Midgets work over Raven. Arn is jawing with the fans the whole time. Guess which team Charles Robinson favors. Fans completely turn on the Horsemen, booing them mercilessly. Well, I’ll take heel heat over no heat. Saturn gets the hot tag and decks Anderson, which is a good sign for his healing. Malenko is just being a motherfucker here. Saturn goes for the DVD, but Benoit gets a german suplex, but a pier-six breaks out. Malenko gets the Cloverleaf on Saturn, but he escapes and hits the DVD. Benoit makes the save. Wild stuff. Saturn gets caught in the corner and double-teamed. Crowd is chanting “Horsemen suck” at various intervals. Malenko is being a mega-jerk, something he’s very good at. Raven gets the hot tag (big pop) and cleans house. Big babyface reaction for the DROP TOEHOLD OF DOOM. Saturn goes for the tabledive on Malenko, but misses and goes through the table. Back in the ring, Raven gets the Evenflow on Malenko, and Arn casually walks into the ring (despite mild protests from Charles Robinson) and places a chair on top of Raven. Chris hits the swan dive onto the chair, sacrificing himself and doing a major bladejob for fun, and Malenko rolls on top for the pin. Wow, great match. ****1/2 (Every time I see Benoit doing that stuff now, I cringe a little more.) US title tournament finals: Scott Steiner v. Booker T. Scott walks around the ring drawing cheap heat before we start. If Ahmed Johnson and Scott Steiner were in the same jail cell, who would be the bitch? (Would you bet against Steiner?) Man, Scott should go to Memphis, he’d be huge there. (He can teach math there!) Pretty good match for Scott with an overbooked ending. Ref gets bumped and Booker goes through his ending sequence. Scott deliberately KOs the ref again, and hits the top rope rana. It gets two. Then, in a Randy Savage Memphis moment, he pulls an international object out of his tights and nails Booker with it during a suplex, and gets the pin and the US title. All the ref bumps weren’t really necessary, but the match was good enough. *** Kevin Nash v. Goldberg. All I ask is that Nash jobs. Nash actually dominates for most of the match, then the ref gets bumped. Lex Luger nails Goldie with the chair, but when Nash goes for the powerbomb Goldberg counters with the Steve Richards testicular claw, then hits a vicious spear on Nash and Jackhammers him for the pin. Good for you Nash, take one for the company. That’s all I wanted. **1/2 Four corners match, WCW World title match: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan v. Sting v. DDP. Hoochie mama, check out Gorgeous George. Sting and DDP start, with Sting destroying DDP and Flair making the save. Flair and Hogan do a sequence next, with the WEIGHTLIFTING BELT OF DEATH making an appearance. Sting and DDP fight outside the ring meanwhile. Hulk does his thing and gets the legdrop, but Sting saves Flair. Now Flair runs through his offense on Hogan. Flair gets the figure-four while Sting and DDP fight outside again. DDP makes the save. Now it’s the DDP and Hogan show, with Sting and Flair fighting outside the ring. DDP gets the ringpost figure-four (you wish, buddy) and Sting makes the save. Hogan gets helped back to the dressing room because he hurt his knee. Awwwww, poor baby. Eric the Grey makes an appearance for some reason. Now we get a Sting-Flair sequence that goes nowhere, then a Sting-DDP sequence. This is pretty disjointed. Now Sting and Flair do their bit, and we of course work in the triple sleeper spot. Sting hulks up and gets the deathlock on Flair, but DDP makes the save. Sting is looking good here. Flair gives Sting two blatant ballshots and slaps on the figure-four. Savage drags them to the center of the ring…and drops the big elbow on Flair! Eh? DDP hits the Diamond Cutter…AND GETS THE PIN?????? What the holy flying fuck was that? WCW World champion DDP? What are they thinking? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!? (And what were they thinking the other two times, while we’re at it?) Can’t really rate it, it was too weird. The Bottom Line: What a weird-ass ending to an otherwise great show. There’s absolutely no way DDP’s title reign lasts beyond tomorrow night. (It did. I forget how the sequence went from there, but it ended up gong DDP, Sting, DDP, and then something-something Nash, Savage, Hogan again. This was largely where I gave up on WCW and stopped paying attention to who was champion. Because once you’ve put the belt on DDP, you might as well pack it in anyway. Nothing against DDP, who’s a great guy and always works hard, but he was just never World champion level.) Oh well, dumb booking aside, this was still easily the best show of the year so far. See what a little forethought can do? Thumbs way up. The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 99 – Live from Tacoma, WA – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Mike. Juventud Guerrera v. Blitzkrieg Winner of this gets a title shot on Nitro. Blitz was an odd story of someone who came in, got over, and then got out of the business without getting screwed over or injured. They trade hammerlocks to start and Juvy takes him down with a cradle for two. Blitz tries to work the leg, but Juvy reverses into another cradle for two. Blitz with a headlock and they do an acrobatic sequence off that, which leads to a backbreaker from Blitz for two. Another try is reversed into a headscissors by Juvy, but Blitz hits him with a handspring elbow in the corner and slugs away. Juvy rams him into the turnbuckles to break it up and springboards in with a dropkick that gets crazy hangtime. Blitz bails and Juvy follows with the tope con hilo. Back in, Juvy with a brainbuster for two and he hooks him in the bow-and-arrow, but Blitz falls on top for two. Blitz with a spinkick series and he dropkicks Juvy into the corner and out, but Juvy walks away from the highspot attempt and then counters a second one with a dropkick. Nice bit of sneaky ring vet from Juventud there. Back in, Blitz reverses a tilt-a-whirl to put Juvy on the floor again, and this time Blitz flattens him with a springboard moonsault. Back in, they reverse DDT attempts until Juvy gets an inverted DDT for two. To the top, where Blitz almost pulls off an amazing inverted DDT reversal in mid-air, but still gets most of it. Sky Twister misses, but the Drunk Driver is reversed to a small package for two. Back to the top and Blitz gets a victory roll from the top for two. Back up, but this time Juvy spikes him with the Drunk Driver to finish at 11:10. This was just all crazy offense with both guys letting it hang out. **** Hak v. Bam Bam Bigelow Sandman was such a bizarre signing for WCW and he never really fit in. They brawl immediately at the entranceway and Hak puts Bigelow through a table with a somersault off the wagon. Sure, why not? Bigelow barely even sells it and pounds on Hak in response, dragging him back to ringside while Chastity throws the crap into the ring. I don’t remember her at all. Tony actually calls it “gimmicks” which is a bit too fourth wall for me in the pre-Russo era. Into the ring, Hak hits Bigelow with a trash can, and Tony points out that trash cans have give and don’t really do much damage, despite the impressive sound it makes. Secrets of Pro Wrestling Revealed…by Tony Schiavone! Bigelow beats on him with a broom and they do the world’s worst suplex reversal spot. Hak brings a ladder into the ring and does some damage with that, then tosses a table and a railing into the ring. Tony notes that he likes a man who brings his own safety railing into the match. Tony can be pretty funny, actually. Hak tries to climb the ladder, but Bigelow yanks him through the conveniently placed table outside, and then back in he whips Hak into the ladder. Hak puts Bigelow onto his railing and tries the legdrop off the top, but misses and gets nothing but railing. Chastity brings the fire extinguisher in, but Bam Bam sprays her right back, which allows Hak to hit the White Russian legsweep onto the railing. They head up and Bigelow finishes with Greetings from Asbury Park off the top, through the table, at 11:15. The usual trainwreck “Hardcore” match, entertaining while it lasts but immediately forgotten. *** Scotty Riggs v. Mikey Whipwreck Riggs controls with armdrags while telling us how attractive he is, apparently hoping for the same career path as Buff Bagwell. I liked the pirate gimmick better. Mikey slugs away in the corner and puts him down with a clothesline, sending Riggs to the floor for some hammy selling. Mikey sends him back in and hits a guillotine legdrop, and Riggs bails again. Mikey follows with a rana to the floor, but misses another legdrop and gets swatted into the railing. Back in, Riggs stops to showboat and gets two. Riggs chokes him out as the crowd completely turns on the match (for good reason, it’s awful) and Riggs gets two. Mikey with a missile dropkick for two, and a legsweep for two. Criss-cross and Riggs finishes with a flying forearm at 7:00. I’m shocked that this didn’t propel Riggs into World title contention. DUD Konnan v. Disco Inferno Konnan calls Disco a “straight up strawberry” so I guess he’s too hip for me to understand. Disco lays him out with a clothesline, probably for the strawberry line, but Konnan bulldogs him into the seated dropkick. Disco catches him with an elbow out of the corner and chokes away, but Konnan comes back with a flying armdrag. Disco hits the chinlock and gets a neckbreaker for two, and goes back to the chinlock. Elbow gets two and we’re back to the chinlock, but Konnan fights out and gets tossed. Back in, more chinlockery, but Disco misses another elbow and Konnan comes back. Cradle DDT gets two. Disco with a neckbreaker for two. He blocks the carpet muncher, but Konnan hits him with a stunner and gets the pin at 9:15. Disco was developing an interesting star quality around this time thanks to his totally unwarranted relationship with the Wolfpac, but he only had so much to offer. ** WCW Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio v. Billy Kidman Wait, it’s some guy without a mask claiming to be Rey Mysterio! What kind of shenanigans is this? Rey and Kidman were tag champs at this point in yet another thing I don’t remember at all. They do an acrobatic sequence to start and end up on the floor, where Kidman slingshots off the railing for a legdrop. Back in, that gets two. Rey puts him on the floor with a headscissors, follows with a moonsault off the apron, and then gets another headscissors off the railing. Back in, a springboard senton gets two. Lionsault gets two. Rey tries another headscissors, but Kidman blocks with a running powerbomb and gets two. Backbreaker into a backdrop suplex gets two and the crowd is shockingly dead for all this. BK Bomb gets two. He tosses Rey and follows with a shooting star press off the apron, and the crowd won’t even pop for that. Back in, Kidman goes up and gets dropkicked coming down, and Rey gets two. Top rope bulldog gets two. Leg lariat sets up a powerbomb, but Kidman backdrops out. Powerslam gets two as this just gets worse by the minute and I don’t even know why. Kidman finally just goes to the chinlock as everyone just looks frustrated, but Rey clotheslines him out. The announcers are speculating that a head shot suffered by Rey earlier might be affecting things, so even they’re picking up on the crossed wires here. Back in, Rey goes up and they collide on the way down, which gives Kidman two. And we’re back to the chinlock. Rey charges and hits the post, but counters a powerbomb with a faceplant for two. Kidman hits a Pedigree (which gets the only big pop of the match thus far) and goes up with a sunset flip for two. Blind charge hits boot and Rey gets the top rope bulldog for two. Kidman with his own bulldog for two. And now finally they’re clicking as they trade reversals and Rey gets a guillotine legdrop and a standing moonsault for two. Rey tries a powerbomb, but you can’t powerbomb Kidman and he goes up. Shooting Star is blocked by a shot to the nuts and Rey brings him down with a rana for the pin at 15:30. They fought through the suck and kept pushing until they got it over, but there was a lot of suck to fight through. ***1/4 Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko v. Raven & Saturn There is some gigantic buzz from the crowd here. Saturn takes Benoit down to start and whips him into Malenko on the floor, and back in Raven gets a rebound clothesline for two. Front suplex into a flying Saturn splash gets two. Saturn drop toehold into a Raven elbow follows, but Benoit dropkicks Raven to the floor so that AA can lays the boots on him. Back in, the Horsemen get a double spinebuster on Raven and Malenko adds a suplex for two. Raven with a small package, but Benoit is distracting the ref and he breaks it up with a backdrop suplex on Raven for two. The cool thing here is that Horsemen are supposed to be faces, but the crowd went for Raven instead so they instantly adjust and turn into total assholes. Dean pounds away in the corner and adds a corner clothesline, and Benoit hits his own from the apron, but Raven blocks a charge with a boot. Hot tag to Saturn and he cleans house and slugs away on Benoit in the corner, but Dean clobbers him from behind. He puts Saturn on top, but Raven catches him from behind and they hit a Doomsday Device. Awesome sequence sees Benoit breaking it up with a german suplex, then Raven DDT’ing Benoit, and Malenko putting Saturn into the Cloverleaf. Saturn makes the ropes and comes back with the Death Valley Driver, but Benoit breaks it up with the diving headbutt to give Malenko two. Benoit chops Saturn down as he’s weirdo-in-peril, and a backbreaker gets two. Horsemen double-team in the corner and Dean drops a knee for two. Sleeper and he gets the hooks in, but Raven breaks it up so Benoit boots Raven out of the ring again and covers Saturn for two. Northern lights suplex gets two. Saturn bails and Dean stomps away on the floor, and back in Saturn evades a charge and gets a sunset flip on Benoit for two. Dean takes him down with a chinlock, but Saturn fights up for the hot tag to Raven. He clotheslines Malenko out and retrieves a chair for the DROP TOEHOLD OF DOOM, but Saturn misses a splash outside and puts himself through a table. In the ring, Malenko hits Raven with the chair, but Raven DDTs him in turn. Arn sneaks in and puts the chair on Raven’s head, allowing Benoit to hit the diving headbutt onto the chair and put Malenko on top for the pin at 14:15. Classic tag action here with tons of crazy 80s-style double-teams and cheating from the Horsemen. ****1/4 US title tournament final: Scott Steiner v. Booker T Booker was TV champ at this point, which kind of gives away the finish even if it wasn’t already blindingly obvious. Steiner does the mega-stall to start, threatening random ringside fans with whatever acts of violence come to mind, and we finally get contact 3:00 in. Steiner wrestles Booker to the mat, but Booker puts him on the floor with an armdrag. Back in, Booker with the sidekick and he tosses Steiner again and follows with a clothesline off the apron, and they brawl on the floor. Back in, Booker blocks a charge with a boot and slugs away on the mat, then follows with a corner clothesline. He pounds on Steiner in the corner, but gets dropped on the top rope as a result and hits the floor. Back in, Steiner pounds him in the corner and a backbreaker gets two. He stops to choke the ref down and goes low on Booker pretty blatantly as this just grinds to a halt. Steiner with a bearhug, but Booker comes back with a DDT and the ref is bumped. Booker with the axe kick and flapjack, but there’s no ref. And the ref recovers, only to get bumped again. Booker goes up and Steiner brings him down with the rana off the top for two. Steiner gets an international object and blocks a suplex attempt by hitting Booker with it, and that finally gives him the US title at 15:55. Steiner was awful even at this point, but they were gonna push him until he got over or the company died as a result, whichever came first. *1/2 Goldberg v. Kevin Nash Nash pounds him with knees in the corner to start and the Nash Choke, then a low blow thanks to some distraction by Elizabeth. Short clothesline gets two. Sideslam gets two. More choking from Nash, but the big boot misses and Goldberg puts him down with a shoulderblock. Suplex and Goldberg slugs Nash down, but the spear hits the ref by mistake. Lex Luger pops in with a chairshot on Goldberg and Nash tries to finish, but Goldberg uses the Testicular Claw to block. Spear and Jackhammer ends it quickly at 7:41. That’s about the cleanest job you’ll ever see Nash do. *1/2 WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan v. Sting v. DDP Randy Savage is the special ref here to really add to the star power and make the inclusion of DDP all the more puzzling at the time. Unless they were gonna…nah, that’d be silly. Big slugfest to start and Hogan & Flair hit the floor while Sting quickly gets DDP in the Scorpion Deathlock, but he makes the ropes. DDP grabs a headlock and gets a neckbreaker for two, but Sting clotheslines him and then adds another one off the top. Stinger splash gets two. Everyone heads back in and Sting slams Flair off the top, then brawls out with DDP. Flair chops away on Hulk in the corner, but Hulk fires back with the belt and backdrops him. Hulk with the corner clothesline for the Flair Flop, and he no-sells the chops. Big boot and legdrop get two. Flair clips him while Sting & DDP brawl outside again, and gets the figure-four. DDP comes back in to break it up and he clotheslines Flair out, and everyone brawls outside again. DDP uses a ringpost figure-four on Hogan, and Hulk gets escorted out by the trainers. So back in the ring, Sting pounds away on Flair in the corner as they do an abbreviated version of their usual thing, leading to DDP clotheslining Sting for two. Elbow gets two. Flair heads back in, so DDP clotheslines him for two as well. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash and bulldogs DDP to escape a Diamond Cutter, but DDP gets a tombstone for two. Sting comes back with a superplex on Flair for two. Flair with a backdrop suplex for two. This thing is really dragging at this point. Flair with a sleeper, which sets up DDP for a sleeper of his own, a spot that always gets a big pop but which I hate nonetheless. DDP and Flair double-team Sting, but he fights back with a double clothesline on them and slugs them down. Stinger splash and Scorpion deathlock for Flair, but DDP breaks it up. Sting hits him with the Deathdrop for two, but Flair saves and abuses Sting’s groinal area. Figure-four follows, but Sting makes the ropes. Savage at this point decides to take matters into his own hands and drops the big elbow on Flair to break it up. DDP is the last man standing, and it’s Diamond Cutter for Flair and we have one of the most unlikely World champions ever at 17:26. That one turned out to be a horrible decision. This was really quite dull and disjointed a lot of the time and featured too much “two guys fight out and the other two guys fight in the ring” stuff to live up the pedigree that it’s somehow acquired over the years. **3/4 The Pulse Disappointing main event aside, this was a hell of a show for most of the way and is well worth seeking out, even though it’s probably never going to air on WWE’s TV system ever again. Strongly recommended.
The Netcop Rant for WCW/nWo Spring Stampede 1998. (2012 Scott Sez: This is an original rant from 1998, which I don’t think I’ve even read since the show first aired. So it’ll be an adventure for everyone!) Live from Denver, Colorado. Your hosts are some guy, another guy, and his dog Spot. Opening match: Saturn v. Goldberg. Lodi is at ringside again! Yeah! Odd choice for an opener, but whatever. (I dunno, seems logical to me, having Goldberg do the quick destruction to open the show and jack up the crowd.) Saturn actually weathers the first minute of offense and survives. Wow. Goldberg even takes some bumps outside the ring. Fans are so into Goldberg it’s frightening. Saturn actually gets the majority of the offense in, as most of Goldberg’s stuff is quick, high-impact moves which have no long-term effect (ie that powerslam looks cool, but it’s no more devastating than a regular slam, dig?). Saturn fucks up an Asai moonsault, badly. Goldberg is sucking wind five minutes in, likely due to the altitude. (Probably also due to him rarely ever going a minute in his matches to that point.) Goldberg comeback, spear, but Saturn blocks the Jackhammer by hitting him in the nads. ‘Bout time someone thought of that. Flock runs in, Goldberg fights them off, but gets caught in the Rings. He powers out, however (with much help from Saturn) and improvises a Jackhammer for the win. Not bad, all things considered. *** (Saturn would have to be a Greek god come to life in order to carry Bill Goldberg to a *** match, so I’m thinking that was high.) Chavo Guerrero v. Ultimo Dragon. Just your basic lucha match, with lots of the usual flipping and flopping but no real offense. (I’m not a fan of the lucha style, why do you ask?) Eddy is entertaining outside as he freaks out, though. Couple of glaring resthold spots ruin it in the middle. They mess up an another nice suicide dive. Dragon gets it in the groin accidentally (this is becoming a theme tonight…) but Chavo is a Nice Person so he won’t capitalize. Just ask Barry Windham what *that* got him at Starrcade 87. (It got him PINNED, that’s what!) It gets Chavo the same thing, as Dragon comes back with the dragon sleeper for the win. *** (That’s actually not the same thing.) Eddy reems out Chavo afterwards. Poor guy. WCW TV title: Booker T v. Chris Benoit. Really slow match compared to their Nitro ones. Must be the altitude again. Benoit controls most of the match before a double-KO situation allows a Booker comeback. Spinebuster, pancake, Axe Kick, but the ref gets bumped. Benoit comes back with the Crossface, but the ref is out. Oh, fuck, I don’t like the looks of this. (Ah, the days when Benoit was the internet’s version of Daniel Bryan instead of OJ Simpson.) Benoit goes over to revive him, Axe Kick, see ya. GOD DAMMIT MOTHER FUCKING SHIT! ** I hope you burn in hell, Eric Bischoff, you lowlife motherfucker. (Of course, Benoit is probably the one burning in hell right now.) The match wasn’t even that great, only going about 12 minutes. (Ah, the days when I used to get worried about Benoit winning the TV title, a belt so prestigious that Jim Duggan went on to win it by fishing it out of a garbage can.) British Bulldog v. Curt Hennig. Now I’m pissed off. Rick Rude is handcuffed to Jim Neidhart here. Horrible, terrible, awful, atrocious piece of shit match. (But tell us what you really thought about it.) Vincent comes out dressed as a policeman and unlocks the cuffs (He was probably working as a security guard at the mall to make up some extra cash), and Rude nails Bulldog, Hennig gets the pin. DUD, maybe bordering on negative stars for the overbooking. (Given these two had maybe one good vertabrae between them, I’m thinking negative stars is a pretty safe bet. And now of course both participants and Rude are gone.) The nWo wipes the mat with Smith and Neidhart…uh, here’s someone getting SCREWED in a gross INJUSTICE…shouldn’t someone be coming out to save them? No? Oh, well… (Bret Hart was contractually unable to associate with Bulldog & Neidhart, lest the WWF legal machine sue for intellectual property theft.) Prince Wanalaya v. Chris Jericho. Jericho dedicates the match to Dean Malenko. I wish it was Malenko that was wrestling because the Prince starts it out with an extended side headlock and it goes downhill from there. Very slow, stalling match. They keep teasing a Prince upset as he blocks the Liontamer twice and hits some near fall situations. Dear god this match sucks. The Prince is not anywhere near Jericho’s level and Jericho looks to be dogging it to begin with. (Jericho wasn’t exactly motivated for most of the year.) Finally, I’mokaya-Yourokaya is forced to tap out to the third Liontamer. Thank god. Now I never want to hear from this putz again. 1/2* Jericho steals the Hawaiian towel thingie for his trophy. BUFF~! & Scott Steiner v. Lex Luger & Rick Steiner. Buff comes out with a cast on his arm, and says he can’t wrestle, so JJ Dillon brings out a doctor to check it himself and they proceed to do this little angle right there. Do we have *that* much extra time to waste on this show? Couldn’t this have been filled with, say, wrestling? Of course, Buff is fine, and the match goes on, unfortunately. Chinlock, punch, kick, you get the picture. Luger cleans house, then a big fight erupts and Scott runs for the hills from Rick. The Rack is academic as Buff submits. DUD. Why do they keep making Buff into the fall guy if they want to push him? (Maybe he should call up Dolph Ziggler and ask him the same question.) Mean Gene hypes the fact that a certain individual is in the dressing room, which might lead one to believe that another certain individual in the nWo might be coming back soon. Dusty Rhodes in the lockerroom is “too hot for TV?” Special Added Bonus Time-Wasting Match: La Parka v. Psychosis. Under normal circumstances I’d be delighted to see this. But it sucks. Badly. (So does this review.) Spot, rest, spot. La Parka picks up Psychosis one too many times and he ends up getting the legdrop and jobbing again. This was so bad it was embarassing at times. 1/4* And now the announcers are wasting time by making some ridiculous analogy about a dog that uses up five more minutes. (I remember that! It truly was a ridiculous tangent that went nowhere.) Was Booker-Benoit supposed to go really long or something? Am I missing something here? Baseball bat match: Kevin Nash & Hulk Hogan v. Giant & Roddy Piper. Piper starts out for his side, thus sending this one down the crapper right away. Crowd is hot for this one, poor souls. Giant actually puts Hogan over his knee and SPANKS him at one point. And he SELLS it! I kid you not. (Perhaps if Hogan had done that with his own kids more often, Nick would have turned out better. Of course, now he puts his daughter over his knee and rubs suntan lotion on her ass.) The match was that embarrassing. There’s exactly two wrestling moves in this fiasco: A Giant dropkick and Piper’s sleeper. Piper gets the bat, but Hogan knocks it out of his hands. The Disciple comes down to ringside with a different bat (was something wrong with the first one?) and lots of dumb bat shots ensue. Then for some reason Disciple switches the first bat for the second one again, Hogan nails Piper with it, and the nWo wins. -** Hogan hits Nash with the bat and leaves him laying afterwards. I’m sure we’ll hear about this on Nitro for the next six months. (I guess this was the birth of the Wolfpac faction of the nWo. Although now when you hear “wolfpack” it’s hard not to picture Nash, Sting and Konnan singing about how they’re the three best friends that anyone could have…) US Title match: DDP v. Raven. This is almost exactly like the three-way match from Uncensored, except without Benoit to keep it rooted within reality. It starts out good enough, but then suddenly they end up by the entranceway with all the breakaway props you could ask for. Then it’s the usual WCW garbage match, with no blood or intensity as Raven and DDP trade goofy spots, throwing each other into tables and balsa wood barriers and jumping into bales of hay. I’m surprised they didn’t use the huge cow that was set up, it was just begging to be used. Back in the ring, and Sick Boy brings a kitchen sink in. Ah, Kevin Sullivan is booking tonight, I see. (Thank you, I’m here until Thursday, try the veal.) Then the Flock interferes one by one, every one fucking it up while introducing new objects. DDP keeps kicking out, of course, until yet another new Flock member (Mortis? Horace Boulder? Horshu?) manages to connect with a Stop sign and Raven DDT’s DDP on the kitchen sink for the pin and the US title. I’m thoroughly sick of WCW’s attempts to be “hardcore”. ** (Raven would only get 24 hours with the title, too.) WCW World title: Sting v. Randy Savage. Again, they start out good enough, but then it degenerates into another mindless brawl. Back out to the OK Corral for more foreign objects, including a stupid spot where Sting hits Savage with a bale of hay. A BALE OF HAY??? Tony: “That can be very abrasive.” (We quoted that one incessantly for YEARS.) Quick, someone get this man a moisturizing cream, stat! Back to the ring for more weak brawling, and of course the ref gets bumped. Liz comes in and nails Sting with a chair, which he shrugs off (rightly so). But Savage pulls her in the way of a Stinger splash and she gets splashed by mistake. Savage hits Sting with the chair himself, and goes for the elbow, but now Hulk Hogan runs in and pushes him off. Good lord, can this get any more overdone? Sting with the slopdrop, but now Kevin Nash interjects himself, powerbombing Sting and putting Savage on top. I’d say barring anything else, we’re going to have a new champion. And that’s just what happens, as Randy Savage wins his 5th World title. Good for him, he deserves it. BUT, why put it on him if he’s out with knee problems for months? I smell Hogan’s ninth title reign starting tomorrow night… *1/2 (I also provide lottery numbers.) Hogan and Booty Disciple protest from the entranceway as we’re outta time. At 8:40? The Bottom Line: This nWo hyper-booking has gotta stop. I don’t need four or five people running in on the main event, especially when I’ve already seen them earlier in the card. It completely ruined the World title match by putting the focus on Hogan and Nash’s issue rather than on Sting and Savage. They were almost incidental. (How about that? Amazing how that works.) Everyone else seemed to have it in neutral, with the exception of Goldberg. He tried damn hard tonight, I’ll give him that. (Probably because he knew he was getting the US title on Nitro.) Nothing else on the card did anything for me, however. I wasn’t interested in the storylines coming in, and they didn’t win me over going out. The Jericho match advanced nothing, the Hennig match advanced nothing, Sting-Savage was a clusterfuck, the bat match was crap, DDP-Raven was just mutual masturbation and we all know it, and there was a couple of meaningless subpar cruiserweight matches stuck on there with no fanfare. All in all, a card to make one say “so what?” Wait for Nitro, I guess. Same as it ever was. Thumbs down. (This show sounds kind of interesting to me, actually. Kind of wish I had saved the tape so I could check it out again someday with some perspective.)
(2012 Scott sez: WCW didn’t do an April PPV in 95 or 96, as they skipped right from Superbrawl to Slamboree both years, and then randomly resurrected the Spring Stampede show in 1997.) The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1997 – Live from Tupelo, MS – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty. – I don’t even REMEMBER this show, which shows the kind of impact it had on me originally. (Further to that discussion, I AGAIN totally forgot about this show, as I was about to skip from 1994 to 1998 because I couldn’t for the life of me remember what happened at this one. And then to be perfectly honest, I read through it again for this repost and couldn’t find anything to comment on, either. So enjoy the boring repost.) – Opening match: Ultimo Dragon v. Rey Mysterio Jr. Ah, the days of “Jr.” That and no tattoos. Rey takes him down to the mat to start as Dusty goes off on his first Excited Southerner rant of the night. Dragon gets a rollup for two and fires off the kick combo and a dropkick for two. Dragon goes to the arm with a short-arm scissors, but surprisingly someone doesn’t power out of it and it’s just released instead. Huh. Instead, Dragon gets a spinning crucifix backbreaker and a double powerbomb. Sleeper sets up a running powerbomb, and then a tombstone for two, as Dragon picks him up. The announcers note that he might be nuts for doing that. Back to the sleeper, but Rey gets a leg lariat, so Dragon kicks him down with a “back leg front kick” (tm Eric Bischoff) and a forward suplex into a bow and arrow. Another two from that. Rey walks into another sleeper as this match is what I’d call excessively one-sided at this point. Rey escapes the sleeper to come back, as Dragon bails, so Rey follows him with a somersault plancha and springboards in for two. And then of course we cut to the back for a stupid and pointless “interview” with the Wolfpac in the back. They trade bodypress attempts and Rey gets dropkicked off the top and splats on the floor, and Dragon follows with a pescado. Back in, Dragon blocks a quebrada with a dropkick, which sets up a Giant Swing off all things. The announcers again question his sanity. Both guys are wobbling and Rey gets the rana for two, reversed for two. Enzuigiri gets two for Dragon. Rana gets two. Rey escapes a powerbomb and gets a rollup for two, reversed for two. West Coast Pop finishes for Rey, however. (Rey Mysterio d. Ultimo Dragon, rana — pin, 14:51, ***1/4) Weird match, built around Dragon being totally inept without Sonny Onoo to guide him. Even stranger, they’d put the TV title on him the next night on Nitro. – WCW Women’s title: Akira Hokuto v. Madusa. This was a pretty short-lived title, lasting only for a few months in 1997, with Hokuto being the only champion. I don’t think it was ever defended again after this, in fact. Hokuto uses the hairtosses to start and clotheslines Madusa, then gets a hanging choke in the corner. That gets two as the announcers just totally ignore the match (even “women’s wrestling expert” Lee Marshall, who can barely be called an expert at tying his own shoes) and instead talk about the match between the Steiners and Outsiders later, which won’t be happening. Madusa comes back with hairslams and gets two. She follows with a rana, but Akira bites her leg to come back. Well, that’s unique apart from George “The Animal” Steele, I guess. Madusa with a sloppy crucifix for two. Dropkick and missile dropkick set up the german suplex for two, but Luna interferes and does something that I guess was supposed to be kicking Madusa in the leg (ask Lee Marshall, he’s the expert) and Hokuto gets the cheap pin. (Akira Hokuto d. Madusa, rollup — pin, 5:13, *1/2) I love how they won’t even give them more than 5:00 on PPVs where every two-bit jobber gets 15:00. – World TV title: Prince Iaukea v. Lord Steven Regal Iaukea was WCW’s lame and rather thinly-disguised attempt to copy Rocky Maivia, and although it was something of a debate as to their intentions at the time, I think that 6 years after the death of the promotion we can all admit that they were trying to rip the WWF off and leave it at that. Of course, time has also shown that the Rock was the better long-term investment anyway. Regal does a major stall to start as we get a funny (to me) art-imitates-life moment with Scott Steiner being “arrested” backstage for what appears to be roid rage, and thus taking him out of the tag title match. Oh, there’s a match going on? Don’t tell the announcers that. Regal and Prince trade wristlocks and the Prince grabs a headlock, but Regal kicks him down. Prince springboards with a bodypress for two, and Regal stalls again. Test of strength, so Regal thumbs the eyes and goes to a full-nelson. Prince escapes, so Regal pounds away in the corner. Prince fights back to no reaction as the announcers go on and on about the Steiners and Outsiders. No wonder the crowds didn’t give a shit about anyone in the midcard. Regal does the Samoa Joe no-sell of Iaukea’s bodypress attempt out of the corner, which the crowd does appreciate. Wonder if that’s who Joe got it from? Sadly, Prince comes back with chops and pins him to retain. (Prince Iaukea d. Steven Regal, rollup — pin, 9:58, **1/4) The match just had no flow and no heat, the comeback was out of nowhere and the finish was anticlimactic. The Iaukea experiment came to an end the next night, thankfully. – Ric Flair joins us for a “shocking” announcement about football player Kevin Greene wrestling at the next PPV. SPOILER ALERT! He sucks, too. – The Public Enemy v. Jeff Jarrett & Steve MacMichael. Random jokes about how bad Public Enemy were at this point just aren’t funny now that they’re both dead, at least not yet, so instead I’ll concentrate on what a weak-ass incarnation of the Horsemen this was. I mean, Jeff Jarrett? WTF? Rocco and Mongo get into a shoving match over the trash talk, and Rocco avoids contact. Had that persisted, the match would have been ** higher than it was. Mongo misses a charge, but Jarrett helps to clean house. Grunge comes in and Jarrett gets an abdominal stretch, but Grunge sends the “Horsemen” into each other. Jarrett gets annoyed and teases walking out (that would have been another * on general principles, my standard award any time I don’t have to watch JJ) but cools off and returns. Mongo chinlocks Rocco and gets a bad sideslam, but the ref is occupied. Tilt a whirl slam gets two and it’s BONZO GONZO, as we go to the dreaded SPLIT SCREEN OF DOOM. When one screen just can’t contain all the action! However, nothing is actually going on with the other screen, aside from Dusty getting overly excited about the cows, so that ends quickly. Grunge threatens to put Debra through a table, but Jarrett saves and Grunge goes through it himself. That gets two for Jarrett. Huge mess as Mongo fights alone in the ring, but Jarrett comes back in and somehow looks like the only pro in a group of backyard wrestlers, hitting everyone with dropkicks and trying desperately to get the train back on the tracks. Rocco clubs him with the HALIBURTON OF DEATH, however, and Grunge gets the pin, despite being the one on the receiving end of a figure-four. This match made my head hurt. (Public Enemy d. Jarrett & MacMichael, briefcase — pin JJ, 10:37, -**) Total amateur hour as TPE were totally exposed as usual and Mongo stopped giving a crap about getting better long before this. Probably one of the worst matches of 1997, which is saying something. – Meanwhile, Harlem Heat cuts a rather infamous promo, as Booker T shows why he wasn’t given a live mic that much by punctuating a threat against Hulk Hogan with “nigger!” Now, again this was something of a debate later on, with lots of people taking the side of him actually saying “sucker,” but that sounded pretty clear to me. – US title: Dean Malenko v. Chris Benoit They trade headlocks to start and Benoit dumps him, but Dean is right back in. Malenko works the leg and Benoit powers out of it. They trade wristlocks as Dusty is in rare babbling idiot form, to the point where even Bobby Heenan steps in and points out that it’s only a three-hour show. Test of strength and Benoit shows off with the bridge and takes him down with an armbar, then surfboards him. Dean escapes with a backdrop suplex and a nice small package for two. That was a cool move because he pantomimed doing a suplex and then did the rollup once Benoit had braced for it. Benoit gets pissed about being fooled, I’d guess, and chops Dean to express his displeasure. Malenko chokes him down and we get some choking, and Dean hits the chinlock. He switches to a short-arm scissors, which Benoit powers out of. Whew, I’d have been worried if we got two of those moves in one show without one guy lifting the other into the air to break. Clothesline gets two. Benoit goes to the abdominal stretch, but Dean hiptosses out for two. Benoit kicks him in the head and chokes him down, and a neckbreaker gets two. Back to the chops, and he reverses a suplex attempt into an inverted suplex. But now the circus begins as Jacqueline attacks Nancy at ringside while Benoit gets the diving headbutt. Eddie then joins us as well, followed by Arn Anderson and Kevin Sullivan, and it’s a double DQ. (Chris Benoit DDQ Dean Malenko, 17:56, ***) Pretty average match between these two, which was totally lacking in a point or finishing sequence thanks to the parade route going on at ringside. Benoit makes a cryptic comment about “He wasn’t supposed to be there!” which has the announcers going nuts and set off a bunch of rumors about a Benoit/Malenko/Guerrero faction, but none of it ended up going anywhere, as usual. – WCW World tag team title: Kevin Nash v. Rick Steiner Yes, it’s a singles match for the tag titles. It’s WCW, don’t ask. Nick Patrick is YOUR Evil Referee tonight. This stemmed from the epic Attempted Vehicular Manslaughter angle from Nitro that was supposed to be harkening back to the glory days of Dusty Rhodes and the Horsemen but actually ended up as bad comedy instead. It was kind of like those Volkswagen commercials, now that I think about it. Not the ones with Peter Stormare, the air-bag ones. Nash attacks and gets the corner clothesline, but Rick pounds him down and suplexes him. Powerslam gets two. Sean “Syxx” Waltman pulls him out of the ring and lays in the abuse, allowing Nash to take over with a sideslam for two. Big boot sets up the Poochiebomb, which gets two. Rick goes low as this plodding mess drags on, and the flying bulldog gets two. Rick goes after Syxx, and thus gets clobbered from behind. And then in a bit typical of the time, Syxx is supposed to take the turnbuckle off behind the ref’s back, but proceeds to take 2 minutes to do it, even getting Ted Dibiase’s help. Nash gets a pair of Snake Eyes on the exposed steel, and Ted Dibiase tells him to lay off. I agree — I also wish this match to end. However, he adds two more, prompting Dibiase to walk out, and finishes with the Poochiebomb. (Kevin Nash d. Rick Steiner, powerbomb — pin, 10:23, 1/4*) Total squash for Nash which was part of bait-and-switch advertising with WCW likely knowing full well that Scott Hall wasn’t going to be there. – Booker T v. Stevie Ray v. Lex Luger v. The Giant Speaking of silly stipulations, this is a four-way match with a title shot on the line, even though it’s basically a tag match and no title shot ever came out of it. Tony Schiavone, medical expert in addition to crack wrestling commentator, goes into a metaphor about Hogan being the cancer of WCW, and that cutting the cancer out means that the patient gets better. Remind me not to call Tony if I ever get cancer. I guess by that same token, Vince Russo was the chemotherapy which ended up killing the patient thanks to the side effects. Luger slugs it out with Booker, but gets double-teamed by the Heat. Luger & Giant double-team Stevie for two, as Giant comes in. Stevie slugs away in the corner but Giant clotheslines him down and press-slams Booker. The Heat bails and consults with Sherri, so it’s Giant v. Luger. Luger tries a slam and Giant falls on top for two, but it’s a double-tag to the Heat. They tease fighting each other, but then show us they were just fooling around and tag Lex in. Stevie fires away with kicks and Booker adds a sideslam, but Luger gets Giant back in. An elbow misses and the Heat take over as all pretext of an actual four-way match disappear. Over in the corner, THEY BE CLUBBERING, TONY! Sadly, Dusty doesn’t have his usual passion for the four fisties on one head like he usually does. Stevie misses a legdrop and Giant comes back with a big boot, bringing Lex in with elbows on Stevie for two. Booker comes in and drops a knee for two. We hit the chinlock, but Booker clocks him with the sidekick for two. Stevie gets a clothesline for two. Booker axe-kicks Lex, but stalls and only gets two. Stevie sideslam sets up a Rocket Launcher, but it misses and it’s hot tag Giant. He boots Booker out of the ring and it’s AAAAAAAAAAAAAH THE CHO…no, he changes him mind and tags Lex in to finish instead. (Lex Luger d. Giant, Booker T & Stevie Ray, torture rack — submission Stevie Ray, 18:56, **1/2) Basically just a decent tag match. Giant’s generous gesture would mean less since Lex didn’t get a title shot until four months later, and Giant himself would never win the belt again. – Randy Savage v. Diamond Dallas Page Good old-fashioned grudge match here. Savage’s backstage banter with Liz is hilarious, as he declares that it’s “Slim Jims for everyone!” to celebrate his win. Savage and Liz went through a major-league career resurrection when they turned heel together, but as usual the clods running WCW had no clue what to do with them. Brawl outside to start and DDP wins that, and then wins a slugfest in the ring. Early Cutter attempt is blocked by Savage, and he goes on the attack as DDP bails. They brawl in the crowd and DDP uses a garbage can to take control. Back to ringside, it’s a nice reversal of the usual, as Savage hides behind Kimberly and Liz gives DDP a cheapshot from behind. Savage drops the axehandle to the floor to follow up and pounds away. Back in the ring, Savage gets two. Nasty chairshot and we get a funny running joke with Savage repeatedly abusing Dave Penzer for no good reason, but DDP Van Daminates him. Savage slugs away in the corner, but Page fights back, so Savage turns him “you-know-what over teakettle” with a clothesline, to quote Dusty, although these days you’d just say “ass” and be done with it. Nice bump from Page, regardless. DDP takes advantage of Savage’s showboating with a clothesline of his own, and both are out. Savage is up first and gets a couple of slams to set up some classic ringbell drama, again abusing Penzer, but Kimberly steals it, and then DDP blocks the big elbow with a foot to the face. Now that’s the one time where that counter spot makes sense. DDP makes the comeback, but Savage goes low to block the Cutter, and that’s two. In another great moment, a crazed Savage then kicks the living hell out of long-suffering referee Mark Curtis (the match is no-DQ) and finishes him with a piledriver. Big elbow for DDP, but he’s killed his own gameplan by destroying the ref. That’s called telling a story. Evil Ref Nick Patrick replaces Curtis, but when DDP hits the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere, Patrick makes the clean count. (DDP d. Randy Savage, Diamond Cutter — pin, 15:37, ***1/2) I liked this one WAY better than I did on initial viewing. Really good story with crazy veteran Randy Savage trying to regain his former glory and DDP trying to hang in his first main event. The n.W.o. is in TURMOIL to end the show, but as usual it would be forgotten by the next week on Nitro. Much like this show. This was the very definition of a filler PPV, featuring nothing of note happening and not even a World title match in the main event. Everything was pretty mediocre in the ring as well, with the exception of a pretty good DDP-Savage feud on top, and that adds up to a Recommendation to Avoid.
(2012 Scott sez: Back to 1994 as we bounce around the countdown by request, with WCW Spring Stampede for a few days. And it’s a 2-in-1 rant with the original OLD SCHOOL 1998 version and then the re-rant from 2002 or so. My typing skillz may be a little off tonight because I was forced to switch back to my netbook again after my full-size Toshiba laptop blue-screened on me one time too many for my liking. I had just gotten accustomed to the nice big keyboard again, and then BAM, fate (and a faulty hard drive) rip it out of my hands like a disappointing wrestling finish.) The Netcop Retrospective Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1994. Live from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago. Hosted by Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan, with Jesse Ventura doing interviews in the locker room. Opening match: Johnny B. Badd v. Diamond Dallas Page. Oy, what a difference four years can make. (And then another 14 years after that. Can you imagine that I was trying to do a historical perspective on a show that was only four years old? That’s like doing an old school rant on a 2008 WWE PPV.) For the two or three of you who are not aware, Johnny B Badd is currently “Marvellous” Marc Mero in the WWF, and a different character he couldn’t be. Johnny comes to the ring with a sequined cowboy outfit that screams “I’m a raging homo” (moreso than usual for Badd). Ick. DDP has Kimberly with him (as “The Diamond Doll”) and about 20 extra pounds. Man, he used to be chubby. (Truly some biting and incisive commentary here.) The match itself is nothing at all, as DDP is mainly in kick and punch mode. These two didn’t really start clicking until a little ways into 1996, just before Mero’s contract ran out and he bolted to the WWF. (That’s actually not how it went down but 1998 Scott didn’t subscribe to the WON.) It’s also BDC (Before Diamond Cutter) which means no one gives a shit about DDP, despite some good heel stuff on his part. Badd was treading on the edge of stardom at this point. DDP takes a bump outside the ring, and rolls back in to meet a sunset flip off the top for the Badd pin to start us off with a relatively easy Badd win. ** TV title match: Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William) v. Brian Pillman. Welcome to hell, Brian. This was after WCW split up the Blonds to get Austin a singles push, and they had NO clue what to do with Pillman, so they stuck him with Regal. Man, was that a mistake. Regal’s whole shtick is ring psychology, stalling, mat wrestling and heel tactics, all of which completely negates Brian’s high-impact offense. It’s like a train wreck. To make matters worse, it’s booked as a 15-minute draw (oops, gave it away) so Pillman has to find something to do with Regal for 15 minutes. Both guys try, but it’s not clicking and it’s boring as all hell. Damn, Regal was good in 94. I’d love to see him back in that form today and wrestling Dean Malenko. This match is a cookie-cutter Regal 15-minute TV title draw, of which he did about a million between 1993 and 1996. Major yawn. *1/2 (I think future me probably enjoyed this match a lot more. We shall see.) Chicago Street Fight: Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. BOO-YAH! Now *Payne* should be the one teaming with Foley these days, not Terry Funk. Remember Man Mountain Rock? That’s Payne. (Wait, let me write this down. Actually, that does remind me of a “Whoops, aren’t I stupid in retrospect” moment from my very early days online, as I stumbled onto the newsgroups in late 1992 having only been exposed to PWI as my source of info. Thus I thought of the characters as “fan favorites” and “rulebreakers” according to Apter-speak. When I found RSPW, people were discussing something with Maxx Payne and a possible “heel turn”, and I thought they were talking about some kind of dance move. True story.) This match stems from a bunch of shit that was going down between the two teams (and off and on with Dave & Kevin Sullivan to boot) and this match ended up building to the incredible tag title match at Slamboree two months later. This match is *nothing* like what you’d expect from WCW today…their entire direction went off the deep end when Hogan signed in June of 94, and it’s a shame, because this brawl absolutely blows almost anything ECW has done since 1995 out of the water. (I wouldn’t say ANYTHING, but it was a great match.) It’s not just goofy spots and oddball weapons, it’s smartly set up spots and stiff shots with intelligent weapons. The hatred is just palatable, and that’s the way I like it. These guys just beat the piss out of each other non-stop, including destroying a conveniently placed souvenir stand. The finish comes as Sags wallops a prone Cactus with a shovel (while he was laying on the concrete – and he hit him HARD on the head, square) and pins him (to retain the titles? Not sure if they were even on the line). The match gets ****3/4 from me, and would get ***** if the rematch at Slamboree with the Nasties against Jack & Sullivan wasn’t that *little* bit better. (Still working out of the kinks on the play by play, I see.) US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. The Great Muta. The less said about this mess, the better. I don’t know whose dumb idea it was to marry these two in the first place, but they deserve a smack. Rule #459b: Any match in WCW involving the Great Muta after 1992 is guaranteed to suck. (I should note this was written before Muta had a bizarre career resurgence in Japan.) It’s a headlock contest for about 10 minutes, and god knows why Steve can’t carry Muta to a better match, because he had the talent back then to do so, and Muta certainly had the talent, even if he chose not to use it 50% of the time. Then, about 15 minutes in, Muta starts pulling highspots out of nowhere and the crowd gets totally into it. He does a rana off the top rope, and then kills the crowd again by backdropping Austin over the top rope for the DQ. Ugh. The crowd was just sitting there waiting for Muta to do something spectacular, and this disappointed majorly. Bad match all around. * (Wish I was more eloquent to get across what I was going for there.) Fake World title match: Rick Rude v. Sting. Okay, let’s go over this again for those of you just joining us after 1993: Rude is carrying around the belt currently being used by the WCW World champion, but he’s not actually a World champion, he’s the “WCW International World champion,” which is the punchline to a very long story that is very embarrassing to WCW in general and is not worth getting into now but the FAQ goes into great detail on the subject. Suffice it to say, the title means nothing, but WCW acts like it does because they don’t like to admit when they fuck up. (Who does, really?) Okay, with that out of the way, Rude’s pre-match spiel is interrupted by Harley Race, who challenges the winner to a match with Vader. Back when this was a scary thing, you have to remember. Sting attacks Race to shut him up, and we’re underway. Sting ruled the world back then, back when he, you know, WRESTLED. (Oh, TAG.) Sting and Rude have a very old-school familiarity about them, in that this is the kind of match that used to headline WWF shows. Nothing spectacular, but both guys know their trade and know how to work the crowd. Rude is majorly lazy, and the match gets very slow once he gets on the offensive. He draws terrific heel heat throughout the match, however. As per Rude’s contract, he exposes his buttocks one (1) time, takes three (3) clotheslines, one (1) backdrop, and oversells one (1) atomic drop. It’s not a Rude match unless he does all of the above in a two minute span. So Sting makes El Big Comeback, but Peewee Anderson takes El Bumpo del Reffo and Vader does El Runno-Inno. This gives Rude time to set up (very slowly as Race regains his breath and grabs a chair) the Rude Awakening, but Race takes a swing at Sting with the chair and misses, nailing Rude. Sting covers, Anderson recovers, and we have a new…whatever. **1/2 Entertaining match in a guilty pleasure kind of way. DustinDust v. Bunkhouse Buck. In his weirdest, sickest disguise yet, Goldust dresses up as Dusty Rhodes’ offspring! AAAAAAAAAH! Oh, the humanity! Okay, never mind. Rhodes and Buck both juice here (when was the last time you saw THAT in WCW?) but I’m busy arguing with Zenon over what happened with the Fake World title following the last match, so I’m not really paying attention. It seemed pretty good, however. Buck smokes Rhodes with knuckledusters and pins him. Zen informs me it was ***-ish, and I’ll take his word for it. (Ah, now there’s old school Scott, ignoring the match and giving a rating based on a third party recollection of it. Although Zen loved ECW so his ratings can’t be trusted anyway.) The Boss (Man, he’s Big) v. Vader. They’re using a ripoff of “Bad Boys” for the Boss. HEY! That’s my song. Bastards. (That would be a reference to my days on RSPW as “Netcop” if you’re wondering. Plus I love Cops now too.) Another guilty pleasure match, and a pretty good brawl. Vader tries an Air Juvi in reverse, going from the rampway into the ring, but misses. Points for effort, I guess. Vader goes hardway from the eye and the mouth. Ouch. There were lots of spots that were almost, but not quite entirely, resembling pretty good ones, which sums up this match: It was almost, but not quite entirely, resembling a pretty good match. But ’94 Vader can carry Kurrgan and Goldberg to a ***1/2 match if he wants to, so I’m not worrying overly. Boss is game, but Vader nails the pump splash/moonsault 1-2 combo for the pin. Yee-haw for now, but we’ll get totally sick of seeing it by Starrcade. The Boss attacks Race and Vader with the nightstick following the match, and Commish Nick Bockwinkel decides to strip him of his identity. In reality, the WWF was suing WCW’s ass off for using such a blatant Big Bossman ripoff for Ray Traylor and they needed a new gimmick. Main event: WCW World championship match: Ric Flair v. Rick Steamboat. Five years later, and they decide to give it another go. Man, that crappy WCW belt just doesn’t cut it. (I don’t mind it so much now compared to say, the WWE title. In fact I’m quite fond of using it in Smackdown v. RAW 2011.) For those who don’t know, this is NOT the Flair-Steamboat match that everyone refers to as the greatest match of all-time, but it’s still excellent. Steamboat is defacto babyface, of course. It takes Flair about 20 minutes to start cheating, which disappoints me somewhat. Still, this is a truly spectacular match compared to just about every other “main event” that followed in WCW from Slamboree 1994 until the present. Where else do you see 32 minute matches these days? Controversial finish as Steamer goes for the double chicken wing bridge, but both mens’ shoulders are down for the pin, and tie goes to the champion, so Flair retains. ****1/4 (Jesus, a 30 minute match and THAT’S the review for it? Definitely the kinks needed working out.) The Bottom Line: It’s shows like this that make me sick to my stomach over what Hulk Hogan did to WCW over the next two years. WCW had managed to somehow salvage a HORRIBLE 1993 by putting on a great Starrcade and rolling in the best direction they’d gone in the history of the company (including Bill Watts) and then pissing it all down the crapper by signing Hulk Hogan. Was the second half of 1994 and the entirety of 1995 worth putting up with before they finally figured out that Hogan didn’t work as a face? Who knows. But Spring Stampede was a GREAT show, the kind of top-to-bottom intriguing card that Starrcade 1997 tried to be but failed miserably. A couple of the matches here were real clunkers (although Austin-Muta should have been WAY better – and why not do Austin-Pillman on PPV?) but having TWO ****+ on the same card is just unheard of these days, and to have two **** matches in such different styles (one garbage, one classic wrestling) is amazing. Paul E wishes he could pull off something like that. This tape, and the even better Slamboree 1994, are absolute must-see for any wrestling fan. A review of Slamboree is available at http://www.planet.eon.net/~skeith/shows/slam94.txt if you want to check it out, too. (Ha! My dialup website! Thankfully Shaw Cable brought broadband into Edmonton a few months after – remember the @Home Network? – and I never had to suffer through modem envy again.) Later. (Not a bad rant, actually. Considering this was my first ever Retro Rant, it’s not bad at all.) (And now, the more recent version…) The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1994 – Okay, for those not aware, the original rant for this show was done REALLY early in my retro-ranting career, and in fact may have been the first. Either that or Slamboree 94, I can never keep them straight. Anyway, fans of mine probably know exactly how much I hate my old stuff and how more than happy I am to redo the pre-99 works in most cases. And since I get lots of requests to repost this one, I figured, what the hell, let’s redo it. Besides which, if I can get the proposed third book about WCW sold, I’ll need better material to recycle. – Live from Chicago, IL – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – Opening match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Johnny B. Badd. Ah, back in the days when DDP wasn’t having himself pushed to the main event and we didn’t have to listen to Kimberly talk. Page attacks, but gets rolled up for two. He bails and gets dragged back in by Badd. Page takes him down for two, but Badd works the arm and they mess up a drop toehold spot. Badd stays on the arm, but Page tries some stuff which I guess could be laughably called mat wrestling until Badd dropkicks him for two. DDP introduces him to the top turnbuckle and takes over with a backdrop suplex and a gutbuster. Tony and Bobby have a really weird verbal exchange here (after Tony declares that the winner of this match will be “in line for a title shot of some sort” in that wonderfully vague wording of the wrestling world) in relation to the gutbuster. Tony starts by calling it a gutbuster, and Bobby breaks in (I’m paraphrasing here). “You know, Page has a name for that move.” “Really?” “Yes. You want to know what it’s called?” “It’s called a gutbuster.” “No, he has a special name for it. You want me to tell you?” “Sure.” “It’s called a.uh.stomach buster.” “That’s what I called it!” They actually proceed like this for like another minute while my head spins. Anyway, Page gets something that looks like a cross between a suplex and a slam for two. We hit the chinlock. Badd escapes and makes the comeback with an atomic drop and backdrop, and the Kiss That Don’t Miss puts DDP on the floor. Badd follows with a pescado. Back in, sunset flip finishes at 5:54. It astonishes me that WCW kept Page long enough to get any good. Well, actually, it doesn’t. * – World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Brian Pillman. Ah, the dead zone of Pillman’s career post Hollywood Blonds, pre-Horsemen. It’s weird this is 8 years ago as of this writing, and Regal still looks pretty much the same. (Still does another 10 years later.) Pillman, on the other hand, only three years later looked 20 years older. Pillman attacks to start and goes for the taped leg of Regal, but gets reversed into the quick pinfall sequence. That’s the tragedy of this match Regal may as well have had a big sign on his leg saying “KICK ME HERE” and they ignored it the whole match. Pillman keep son the leg and Regal bails, and that’s it for the leg. Pillman goes after him and switches to the arm instead, and wraps it around the post. Regal finally cheapshots him and works a wristlock, but Pillman fights back. Regal suplexes out of that for two. He pounds away and goes to a body vice, which is reversed to a cradle for two by Pillman. Regal reverses a leglock into the Regal Stretch, which doesn’t yet have a name at this point. Neat counter, though. Brian backslides to block a forearm, but Regal counters into a modified Rita Romero Special, back into a chinlock. Brian fires back, and snaps off a rana for two. Regal blocks a crucifix with a Regal Roll in an awkward sequence, and that gets two. They take it back to the mat, as Regal goes into a bow-and-arrow, but Pillman punches free. Regal quickly grabs a leg and takes him down into a half-crab, however. Regal ties him up, but Pillman keeps coming back. Regal rollup gets two. Back to the mat with a half-nelson stretch, but Pillman keeps fighting. Regal slugs him down, but Pillman gets a dropkick. Regal blocks another try, but Pillman finally gets an enzuigiri to cue the comeback. Regal blocks a monkey-flip, but Pillman gets one more dropkick and gets all fired up.with about 30 seconds to go. The offense is all weak, however, and they tumble out for the draw at 15:00. This is a really weird match, with Regal completely gobbling up Pillman and not really allowing him any hope spots or strong offense, especially considering the bad leg. It had some neat stuff, but as a fan I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief and pretend that Pillman had even a shot to win. ** – Chicago Street Fight: The Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. This match is interesting for about a billion different reasons, chiefly among them that it made Mick Foley into a player in the business once and for all. Up until this point, he was just the wacky midcarder who got one run with Vader, but after this people really took notice of him. But this match also established a template for tag matches that ECW completely lifted for themselves and built the career of Public Enemy on. Third, the basic template was then refined by the WWF into the style of match that came to be the TLC match chaotic brawling with highspots built around weapons and bumps rather than athletics. In fact, you could even extrapolate even further and say that the long-standing “WWF Main Event Style” characterized by brawling in place of resting also stems from this match, but that’s a bit of a stretch it’d be more accurate to trace that to the Benoit-Sullivan series of matches from 1996. I have, however, often wondered why this match wasn’t used to spruce up the tag division in the WWF more; it’s a very easy style of match to work and not only fires up the crowd, but disguises the weaknesses of the people involved. Look at the New Age Outlaws, for instance there’s a reason why their matches with Cactus Jack & Terry Funk in 1998 did so much to get them over. Huge brawl to start, as Payne spikes Sags in the ring and Knobs beats on Jack outside. Jack & Knobs head in and Jack beats on him with a pool cue and takes him out with a Cactus Clothesline. Knobs hits the railing, but Sags saves and we trade dance partners for a bit. The faces pound the Nasties on the floor, and Jack & Sags fight on the ramp and back into the ring. Knobs & Payne end up heading down the aisle, delivering brutally stiff shots to each other, to one of those suspiciously-placed souvenir stands. At ringside, Sags & Jack dish out super-stiff chairshots, while Payne puts Knobs through a table. This was likely unintentional, as table-scoring didn’t start until ECW made it a tradition. He then chokes him out with a t-shirt, as Tony gets right into the spirit of things (“I’m not sure that shirt even fits him!”). All four guys end up at the stand, and Jack takes a sick bump over the railing, while Payne goes through the souvenir stand. Sags batters Jack with a table (which is no small feat of strength, actually) and brings it up onto the ramp, which draws Cactus up there too. Jack steals the table and suplexes it onto Sags, with Sags not even able to get his hands up to block, which even makes Tony cringe. Poor Bobby is just rendered speechless by the whole thing. Knobs stops the count with a shovel, but Payne steals it and pounds him. Meanwhile, Sags piledrives Cactus through the table. Jack gets tossed to the concrete floor, and Sags delivers a SICK unprotected shot to the head with the shovel, and even Tony is glad that it’s finished at 8:58 as a result. You have to understand how revolutionary this was for WCW at the time, in that stuff like going through tables and brawling into the crowd was at best the sole highspot, even in wild brawls. This match turned them into TRANSITION moves and built the drama around other facets of the storyline of the match, and that was what ECW needed to do to make Public Enemy into stars. Some say matches under 10 minutes shouldn’t be ****+, but I’ve been one to conform to convention. ****3/4 (There’s a definite movement of people who feel these matches aren’t that great, mainly because ECW and WWE ended up doing all this stuff themselves later on. I am merely presented that alternate view and not choosing sides on it.) – US title match: Steve Austin v. The Great Muta. Muta was the ultimate recipient of good luck with regards to WCW, as he would come in for one or two matches, still super-over due to fans’ memory of him from 1989, be booked strong, and then leave again before WCW could cut the legs out from underneath him. (Sounds like The Rock.) In retrospect, he was one of the few people ever to be booked properly by WCW all the time. Feeling-out process to start, and Muta works a headlock. Austin stomps him down and grabs his own, but walks into an abdominal stretch. Everyone backs off to regroup. Muta rollup gets two, and back to the headlock. Austin can’t escape until a pair of backdrop suplexes get two. Muta suplexes him right back and drops the power elbow, but that burst of offense just leads to another headlock. Yeesh. Criss-cross and Muta goes right back to the headlock. Austin reverses and everyone backs off to regroup again. Austin rollup gets two, but Muta gets a hammerlock. They work off that for a while. I pity the crowd here. Parker trips up Muta and Austin tosses him as it looks good for SOMETHING to happen. Austin drops a knee for two, but then goes to an abdominal stretch to burn some time. Muta finally escapes and makes the comeback, but misses the dropkick and Austin drops an elbow for two. Muta makes another comeback with a spinkick, but doesn’t follow up. Suplex and dropkick allow Muta to go up, but he puts the “miss” in “missile dropkick”. Austin’s toehold attempt sucks, so they regroup and Muta hotshots him and gets the handspring elbow. Now the crowd is finally alive. Top rope rana and everyone is prepping for the big finish, but it never comes as Muta dumps Austin over the top by accident for the DQ at 16:30. This would be what happens when Muta DOESN’T try, in case you’re wondering. * – WCW Saskatchewan Hardcore International World Gold Belt Western States Heritage Mid-South Missouri title: Rick Rude v. Sting. You wouldn’t think they could fit all that on one belt, but it’s a pretty big belt. Harley Race challenges the winner on behalf of Vader, and gets beat up as a result. Rude attacks to start and gets dumped and suplexed on the floor. Back in, Sting pounds him down and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Sting grabs a facelock and drops the elbow, three times. That gets two. Back to the facelock, and Rude is frustrated and can’t escape. Finally he crotches Sting and dumps him. Rude beats on him, and back in he works on the back. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rude grabs the rear chinlock and that goes on for a while. Sting escapes and they do a rollup reversal spot, but Rude gets a sleeper. Sting is all “BRING IT ON, BITCH!” and makes the comeback with a pair of atomic drops and a clothesline. Ref is bumped with cheese and Sting gets the Scorpion Deathlock, and even tries to revive the ref at the same time. Race returns with Vader, however, and both get clobbered. Then it’s a horribly blown sequence as Rude is supposed to go for the Rude Awakening and get accidentally nailed by Race, but Race completely misses his cue and poor Rude has to stand there “fighting” for the move for like a minute before giving up and pounding Sting down again. Race finally remembers his spot and grabs a chair, and this time they get it right, with Rude going down like a ton of bricks and Sting getting the title at 13:09. You could really see Rude’s deterioration, and in fact the rematch with Sting was his last match. **1/2 – Bunkhouse match: Dustin Rhodes v. Bunkhouse Buck. Hey, it’s Jimmy Golden v. Goldust. This was pretty much Dustin’s prime as a worker, although given his currently motivated status and the possibility of Stardust booking RAW pretty soon, you never know. Dustin lays him out to start and pounds away. Suplex gets two. Buck takes a powder and they brawl, won by Dustin. Back in, Rhodes misses a crossbody and hits the floor, allowing Buck to break a piece of wood on his head. Even Tony is lost as to the source of that wood. Dustin bleeds. I know, shocking. Buck clotheslines him on the ramp and chokes him out. Back in, Buck stomps stomps away and works on the leg. Dustin pulls out a package of white powder (so THAT’S where the Goldust character came from.) and evens the score, however. Buck re-evens the score by whipping him, whipping him like a dog, Tony, with the belt. Buck goes low to put an exclamation point on that beating, and he slowly pounds away in the corner. Dustin finally comes back and beats on him in the corner, then uses that belt himself. Now Buck is bleeding. Dustin drops a cowboy boot on his head and proceeds to whipping, and Buck ends up on the floor. Back in, Buck loads up the glove (always a classic), but Dustin elbows away in the corner. Bulldog, but Dustin is of course an idiot and chases Col. Parker. Buck rolls him up for two. Slugfest is won by Dustin, but Parker slips Buck the knuckledusters, and that finishes at 14:18. Solid but overly long brawl. *** – Vader v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). (Yeah, I used that joke in both rants, wanna fight about it?) Boss clotheslines Vader into the ring to start, and gets a big boot, and Vader is out again. They fight on the ramp and Vader sends Boss back in. He follows with a running dive over the top, which misses. Boss dumps him again, and Vader meets the railing. Twice. Back in, Boss with the corner splash and a slam. Vader dumps him to turn the tide, however. Suplex back in and a splash gets two. Vader slugs the shit out of him, but gets suplexed. Boss comes back with a clothesline, but Vader responds in kind. He goes up, but Boss slams him off. A sort-of tornado DDT then gets two. This is BIG FRIGGIN BOSSMAN we’re talking about here. He goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Back up, but Vader powerslams him and adds the pump splash for two. Back up, Vadersault finishes at 9:18. This was a war of attrition. ***1/2 Boss goes nuts with the nightstick, which leads to Nick Bockwinkel stripping him of his gimmick. – WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Ricky Steamboat. This didn’t really have any long-term storyline reasoning, it was just Flair wanting to put on a great match to highlight a PPV. Wacky concept, I know. It was also the subtle beginnings of Flair’s heel turn, as he attacked Steamboat leading up to this. Flair takes him down and we do a bit of mat wrestling. Stalemate results. Steamboat overpowers him and they do more mat wrestling and start with the fisticuffsmanship. Criss-cross and Flair gets pressed and headscissored, twice. Dropkick puts Flair on the floor, and back in Steamboat gets the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DEATH for two. Flair bails and regroups. Back in, he starts chopping, and they do that thing they do as Flair slowly goes heel. Steamboat holds onto a headlock, confounding Flair. That goes on a while, until Flair escapes, but gets headscissored back into a headlock again. Steamboat overpowers him, and a rollup gets two. Back to the headlock, and Steamboat grinds it in. It’s little touches like that which keep the match interesting, as opposed to Austin and Muta laying around for five minutes. Flair chops out, but Steamboat goes back to it. Dropkick misses, however, and Flair is chopping again. Kneedrop and Flair pounds and chops, and drops another knee for two. Elbow gets two. They chops away and a crossbody puts both on the floor. Steamboat reverses a piledriver attempt, but charges and splats on the railing. Back in, Steamboat superplex gets two. Flair Flip and he walks into a chop and Steamboat follows with a flying chop to the floor. Back in, Steamboat pounds away in the corner with chops, and it’s a Flair Flop for two. Sunset flip is blocked by Flair, but Steamboat blocks a kneedrop and hooks a figure-four. He keeps pulling Flair into the middle of the ring. The old shot to the jaw breaks it up. Flair gets a suplex, but his knee buckles and Steamboat gets two. Into the pinfall reversal sequence. Small package gets two. Flair chops him again and Steamer returns fire. Flair bails to the ramp, but gets chopped back in. Flair Flip and out, and Steamboat follows him out again, but this time Flair is one step ahead and gets a foot up to block. Flair heads back in, but Steamboat stalls until they slug it out on the apron. Flying bodypress gets two for Steamboat. Flair lays him out again, and goes up, but you know what happens next. Steamboat goes back up, but misses the flying splash and hits his knee. CUE OMINOUS MUSIC HERE. Figure-four, but Steamboat eventually makes the ropes. Flair stays on the knee and goes back to the move, but Steamboat reverses for two. Backslide gets two. Superplex and both guys are dead. Rollup gets two. Double chickenwing looks to finish, but Flair falls back (ala Clash VI) and this time BOTH guys are pinned at 32:20. Tie goes to the champion, so Flair retains. This one was lacking a certain spark to it, and it hurt a lot. ****1/4 (The rematch on WCW Saturday Night was even better.) The Bottom Line: This show is notable only for two matches, really, but they’re two AMAZING matches and both are well worth searching out from an era where ONE ****+ per show was something to talk about. Unfortunately for those in 1994, this was year of the Shawn-Razor ladder match and nothing else from 94 was gonna touch that match at voting time for Match of the Year, but Spring Stampede 94 is still one of the best PPVs that WCW ever did. Highest recommendation.