Don’t worry, folks, this article is NOT about Owen Hart in spite of his cup of coffee stint in WCW.
Don’t worry, folks, this article is NOT about Owen Hart in spite of his cup of coffee stint in WCW.
Last week, we addressed the first ever Uncensored PPV from WCW. This week, while addressing the second annual show, we will explore the egomaniacal nature of Hulk Hogan and his use of creative control.
Before we begin with the show, allow me to ask you a simple question:
Back on March 19, 1995, WCW held their first March PPV and called it Uncensored. While within the same timeframe as WrestleMania, WCW wanted a piece of the PPV pie in March so they created something unique to generate PPV grabs.
What tricks did WCW pull for their initial Uncensored card:
Date: March 19, 2000
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Mark Madden, Tony Schiavone
We had to get here eventually. This is one of the lamest sounding shows I’ve seen in a very long time and it’s not something I want to sit through again. The main event is Jeff Jarrett vs. Sid for the World Title, but the real big match is Hogan vs. Flair, because we only did that last year at this same show so it’s high time to do it again. Let’s get to it.
(2015 Scott sez: I actually don’t have the original file for this one stored on OneDrive for some reason, so I had to use Google-Fu and find it on 411 from the original 2003 posting. Thankfully I created a new Word document for posterity as well. For those of you who care about that sort of minutia of my life. Also, to those who want a full re-rant, fuck you. In the most loving way. That is all.) The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Uncensored ‘96 – I decided to finally redo the rant for this one when I was sick, so that it couldn’t do any more damage to me than it already has. The way I figure it, the cold medication should be enough to fight off any mental or physical illness I may suffer from watching it again. I may, however, need to stop and vomit at various points, so I’ll be sure to give you fair warning before I do. By the way, in a kind of cosmic warning to me, the tape arrived broken, probably as a way for the universe to try to keep me from sacrificing myself by watching this again, but I was able to transplant the reels into a fresh casing, because that’s the kind of thing you learn to do after years of trading tapes on the ‘net. (Man, those were the days. Thankfully the Great VHS Purge of 2004 was coming and I would soon convert everything over to DVD once and for all.) – Live from Tupalo, MS. – Your hosts are Tony, Dusty & Bobby. – Opening match, US title: Konnan v. Eddie Guerrero. It’s full blown mulletude for Eddie here. They fight over a lockup to start and head to the mat, where Konnan rides him with an armbar and stays on it. Eddie escapes with the flying wristlock and Konnan bails. Back in, Eddie starts working on the leg with a toehold, and then a figure-four, after teasing a headstand on the ankle. Konnan makes the ropes. They exchange rollups and each get two. Eddie takes him down into a chinlock and quickly into a surfboard, but Konnan takes him down into a kneebar. He turns it into a Boston Crab, which the crowd can better understand, but Eddie makes the ropes. Back up, Konnan counters an armdrag, but Eddie gets one of his own, and they do another stalemate sequence. Really nice. They back off and work the crowd, but Eddie’s attempts work better. Eddie dropkicks him down and they go up, as Eddie brings him down with a rana for two. Camel clutch, but Konnan powers out. He grabs a headlock, but Eddie counters out, and they do another stalemate sequence that ends with Eddie on the floor, but he evades a highspot attempt. Back in, Eddie grabs a headlock, but Konnan escapes with an armbar. Eddie comes back with a monkey flip and a headscissors to put Konnan out, and he follows with a plancha. This is the type of match where Mike Tenay would have been invaluable. Back in, Eddie slingshots in for two. Eddie uses a headscissors on the mat, but Konnan rolls over into a leglock, and then hits him with rolling germans, but Eddie reverses to a rollup for two. Another rollup is reversed by Konnan for two. Clothesline puts Eddie down as Konnan is obviously blown up by this point. Eddie gets a rana for two. Konnan gets Splash Mountain for two. He’s got NOTHING left. He goes up and Eddie follows, but Eddie ends up on the floor and Konnan follows with a weak tope suicida. Back in, Eddie reverses a suplex, but gets clotheslined for two. Konnan goes up again, but Eddie brings him down with a superplex for two. Eddie goes up to finish, but Konnan slams him off, which Eddie reverses into a cradle for two. Awesome. Konnan slugs away, but Eddie tries a leapfrog, so Konnan hits him in the nuts and pins him at 18:26 to retain. This was ALL Eddie after about the 10 minute point. ***1/2 (I obviously had much less hatred for Konnan in my heart even 12 years ago. I guess time does heal all wounds and shitty booking.) – Lord Steven Regal v. Fit Finlay. Finlay was just The Belfast Bruiser at this point. Fit pounds away with STIFF forearms in the corner to start, but Regal takes him down and gets his own. He runs into a knee and Finlay drops an elbow for two. He stomps away with glee and gets a short-arm clothesline for two. Vicious kick to the back, but Regal fires back with a forearm and grabs a cravat on the mat. Regal pounds the palm into his nose, but Fit rams a knee into his forehead to escape and drives another knee before tossing him. He drops Regal on the railing and then wraps the arm around the post. He keeps working the arm as Regal comes in, and cranks on an armbar. Regal knees out of it and slugs away with forearms, then blocks a rollup attempt with a dropkick for two. He grinds a forearm into Fit’s head on the mat, but Fit takes him down with another armbar, but Regal knees out of it and controls on the mat again. He chokes away and fires off more forearms, but Fit headbutts him down and drops a knee. Slam and senton gets two. He hits the chinlock, but Regal fights out, so Fit drops him with a lariat for two. He brings Regal to the apron and rams the throat into it, then sends him into the railing again. They keep brawling and end up back in the ring again, fighting over a suplex on the apron, which ends with Fit hitting the floor. Regal follows with a Cactus elbow and heads back in, then pounds him with boots on the way in. Elbow gets two. Regal goes to the headlock, but Fit kicks in the shoulder to escape in super-stiff fashion. Regal takes him to the corner and gives him a soccer kick to the nuts to retaliate, then drops an elbow for two. More kicks to the back, but Fit goes to the eyes and drives a knee to the back of the neck to block a sunset flip. Regal goes back to the arm and crossfaces him a few times, but Fit backdrops him out of the corner and pounds the kidneys with forearms. Regal takes him down for two. Regal slugs him down and keeps pounding on the apron, but Fit gives him a straight shot to the jaw to drop him. Good lord. Fit takes him into the apron and they brawl on the floor, won by Fit. Back in, Fit sends him into the turnbuckle, but Regal alley-oops him to the floor as a defense mechanism. They slug it out on the floor and Regal sends him into the Doomsday Cage, and then they head back, but the Bluebloods run out for the DQ at 17:30. Really bad finish to a horrifically stiff match. It wasn’t GREAT as a wrestling match or anything, but as a total war of attrition, it was amazing, something out of a UFC almost. *** (I’m pretty pumped that the Nitro rematch is coming up soon too!) – Col. Rob Parker v. Madusa. (That’s Hall of Famer Alundra Blayze, you know.) Parker gives a clean break out of the corner to start, which has Dusty in amazement. Another try, but Madusa takes him down with an armdrag. Parker comes back with an airplane spin, but she reverses to a sunset flip for two. Slam and he bails, getting advice from Dick Slater (who was Debbie Micelli’s real-life husband at that point). (What, no secret advice joke? I really must have been feeling shitty that day. Here, I’ll throw in a freebie: “That advice? Never do a southern rebel gimmick in a New York-based wrestling promotion.”) Back in, he takes her down with the choke, but misses an elbow and gets dropkicked. He bails again and she follows with a bad plancha. Back in, she gets a german suplex for two, but Slater puts Parker on top for the pin at 3:43. Total freakshow. DUD – Retirement match: Diamond Dallas Page v. The Booty Man. OK, quick word of explanation. This was supposed to be the blowoff of the DDP-Johnny B Badd feud, which had been going for the past million PPVs, but Marc Mero got fired from WCW (on purpose) and jumped to the WWF, leaving the storyline without an ending, so they repackaged Ed Leslie again, into The Booty Man (a kind of disco version of Brutus Beefcake) and suddenly had him fighting for Kimberly’s honor. (Longer and more accurate story: Mero’s contract expired at the end of February while still champion and he agreed to sign a new deal, but wanted assurances that he would make his usual salary while working without a contract instead of the job-guy money that other free agents made per show. Bischoff jerked him around on the details of the talks as well as some personal apperances, and then wanted to continue the Kimberly angle that Badd hated so much. Finally Mero basically said “Screw you, I’m going to the WWF” and Bischoff terminated him after he dropped the title to Lex Luger and told him not to come back.) Tony buries Mero before the match, and then in the same breath they talk about how Booty Man was actually a spy in the Dungeon of Doom on behalf of Hulk Hogan, which is how they explain his sudden face turn. I wonder if that would work in real life. “Um, I wasn’t trying to deal cocaine out of a subway terminal, I was spying for internal security” Maybe not. (Eh, Brutus Beefcake drug bust jokes don’t hold up very well, unfortunately.) This match also proved to be a major problem for DDP, because he likes planning out his matches in advance and improvising something with ED LESLIE of all people is just asking for trouble. Mucho stallo to start. Page starts with a wristlock and they reverse off that, but Page goes to the ropes. Booty goes to a headlock and overpowers Page, and he bails. Back in, Booty slugs him down and goes to the armbar, as Dusty claims that he’s “very skilled at mat wrestling”. I can’t make this stuff up. Page charges and misses, ending up on the floor. This match is going nowhere. Page stalls forever outside, so Booty Man follows him out and they brawl. Back in, Page gets rammed into the turnbuckle a few times and Page bails AGAIN. He stumbles around on the floor like a clown and Kimberly joins us at ringside, dressed as a cheerleader. HOOCHIE MAMA. Back in, Page grabs a headlock, but Booty powers out, so they criss-cross and stall. Booty slugs him out to the apron again. They manage to fuck up a shoulderblock and then Booty whiffs on a crossbody attempt, and Page chokes away. Even Tony gave a disgusted “What was THAT?” before catching himself. (Ed Leslie was a special kind of terrible in his WCW run.) Page gets a backdrop suplex and stalls, but gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Booty fights out, so Page knees him down for two. Back to the chinlock, and Page uses the ropes as the match drags on. Soon I fear that I will die of old age before this chinlock ends. Finally Booty fights out, but Page drops him on the top rope as Kimberly turns to the camera and says with a straight face “I want him to be my boyfriend”. And people wonder why her acting career didn’t take off. Page goes after her, but gets slapped, and Booty Man hits him with a high knee to finish at 16:00. Absolutely horrible. -* Poor Kimberly has to sell a kiss from steroid-bloated, balding Ed Leslie as the sexiest thing since Ricky Martin or whatever was sexy in 1996. (Hey wow, that joke got funnier in hindsight.) But then she sleeps with DDP in real life, so who knows what weird stuff she’s into. – The Giant v. Loch Ness. Suddenly I yearn for the salad days of Booty Man v. DDP, all those minutes ago. When Paul Wight is the skinny one, you’ve got a problem. Although he WAS really lean at this point. Giant chops away in the corner to start and uses the Nash choke, but Loch Ness hammers back with the CLUBBING FOREARMS. Giant fires back with boots in the corner, but misses a charge and takes a nice bump to the floor. Back in, Loch Ness slaps him down and drops the elbow, but misses another one, and Giant makes the comeback, booting him down. Legdrop finishes at 2:34. Well, at least it was short. DUD Giant would win the World title the next night on Nitro. (Nope, another month yet. Never seen that match, either!) – Chicago Street Fight: The Road Warriors v. Sting & Booker T. How you have a Chicago street fight in Tupelo is a mystery unsolved to this day. (I really feel like we were robbed off the payoff with Luger having to participate in the street fight he unknowingly agreed to.) They brawl outside to start and head into the ring for a slugfest, but Sting runs into Animal’s boot. Animal pounds away in the corner while Hawk backdrops Booker on the floor, and back in the ring it’s another donnybrook. Booker hits Animal with the ax kick for two, while Hawk & Sting fight outside. Animal powerslams Booker and drops an elbow for two. Sting comes back in, but Animal necksnaps him on the top rope and posts him. Sting returns the favor as the split screen is helpfully labeled “Chicago Street Fight” in case we’ve forgotten what we’re watching. (I was heavily medicated at that point. So it could have happened. God knows I’ve fallen asleep watching boring wrestling shows late at night.) In the ring, Sting hits Animal with a fistdrop, but gets clotheslined for two. Elbow misses and Sting bulldogs him, but Hawk chokes Sting down. Everyone brawls outside and Booker covers Animal for two on the floor. Back in, Booker gets caught with a shot coming down, and Animal dropkicks him for two. Sting retreats to the back, while Booker gets a lazy cross-armbreaker on Hawk in the ring. Sting chairs Animal over by the back, and heads to the ring for a chairshot on Hawk. But then Animal gets it and uses it in incredibly weak fashion, getting two on Booker. Booker comes back with a sidekick on Animal and Sting piledrives Hawk, and of course he no-sells that. Since when does Sting ever use a piledriver? Hawk powerbombs Sting and goes to the chinlock, then tosses him and it’s more dull brawling outside. This match has ZERO flow. It’s all “two guys do stuff in the ring while the other two brawl, switch off, repeat.” Hawk hits them with some wussy chairshots and tries a powerbomb on Sting, but it’s reversed. Animal clubs on Sting with the forearms, but Booker breaks it up, and it’s more dull brawling. Back in with Sting and Hawk, as Sting hits him with a shot off the top that Hawk doesn’t sell, but misses the Stinger splash. Hawk drops a fist and Animal goes up, but Booker crotches him, so Hawk covers Sting for two. Booker hits Animal with a flying clothesline for two. Once again the mystery of falls count anywhere matches arises, as you can pin somewhere anywhere in the arena, except when he has his foot on the ropes. Sting gets a headbutt low on Animal, and Hawk hits Booker with a backdrop suplex. Booker comes back with a weak sideslam on Hawk, but misses an elbow, and they do a sloppy collision in the corner. Sting goes up and misses a splash on Animal. Hawk goes up and gets dropkicked by Booker coming down. Animal chokes away in the corner, but Booker goes low, and they fight outside again. Oh, joy. Meanwhile, Hawk hits Sting with a move I can only jokingly call a gutwrench suplex for two. Sting and Booker finally get organized and double-team Hawk with a clothesline, then Sting suplexes him on the top rope while Animal suplexes Booker. Sooooooo slow and boring. Hawk & Sting brawl outside again while Booker crotches himself on the top rope, and they switch off for no reason in particular, with Animal taking on Sting outside and Hawk beating on Booker inside. Booker comes back with a spinkick on Hawk for two. Hawk boots him down for two. Back to the floor as Sting goes up on Animal, but gets caught with a powerslam. Animal works the count, but Sting comes back with a clothesline and both guys are out. The boredom of this match is crushing my soul. Hawk and Booker head back into the ring, but Hawk misses a fistdrop and Booker misses an elbow. He comes back with a sidekick, however, and both guys are out. On the floor, Animal goes nuts with a chair (as nuts as anyone can go in this snoozefest) and the Warriors double-team Booker, but Sting heads to the back again and returns with BROOMS. Now I’m scared. The Warriors choke them down, but Booker comes back with his own choking on Animal, but he gets tossed by Animal and decides to leave. In the ring, Hawk gets two on Sting. We follow Animal and Booker to the back, where Luger is posing in front of a mirror in a bizarre moment, but Animal interrupts and gets beat up by Luger and Stevie Ray as a result. Some things you just don’t mess with. Back in the ring, Hawk dumps Sting and they brawl, but now Booker T returns as Sting misses his charge into the railing. Booker sends Hawk into the stairs and brings him back in, getting a sideslam and going up with the Harlem Hangover, but misses it. Stevie Ray runs out and adds a chairshot for good measure, and Booker FINALLY pins Hawk to end it at 29:35. Not a terrible brawl, but ridiculously long and dull. It did foreshadow Booker’s single career, however, as he managed to outwork both of the washed-up Road Warriors and held his own with the unmotivated Sting. ** (Meltzer actually gave this one ***1/2 and called it the best match on the show. Sorry, I just don’t see it.) – DOOMSDAY CAGE: Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage v. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Z Gangsta, The Ultimate Solution, Kevin Sullivan, Lex Luger, Meng and the Barbarian. I wish I could be making up that listing, but I’m not. They really did book Hogan & Savage 8-on-2. The heels are The Alliance to End Hulkamania, or TAEH. That of course is the opposite of heat. The idea here, if you can wrap your head around it, is that there’s a three-story cage, with Hogan & Savage starting at the top with Flair & Anderson and moving downwards. Now keep in mind there’s no actual RULES for this announced, only vague notations about Hogan & Savage having to “fight their way down”. (Original plan was to re-use the triple cage thing from Bash 88, because apparently it was still stored in Kevin Sullivan’s garage or something.) Michael Buffer actually has to introduce this mess with a straight face. Well, I guess that’s why they pay him the big bucks. Hogan starts with Arn in the top cage and they fight it out, with Flair chopping Savage, and Arn clubbing on Hogan. The lighting is terrible and you can’t see anything. They keep brawling and Hogan rams Flair into a pole and chokes him down. Flair & Anderson stop and work over Savage, however. Anderson goes after Hogan and gets a figure-four, so Flair does the same to Savage. Hogan and Savage use powder to escape, however, and move down to the next cage. Uh huh. So now it’s 4-on-2, as it’s Sullivan, Luger, Meng and Barbarian to contend with. Hogan fights with Luger & Sullivan, while Savage takes on the Faces of Fear. (I should also note what a giant waste of Luger this was, as they had spent weeks masterfully building up the Sting storyline and creating this awesome slimy heel character for him before suddenly turning him into cartoon villain again for the sake of having an eighth guy in this mess.) The heels control, but Hogan fights off Sullivan and saves Savage, and then locks the Faces of Fear in their own cage, leaving it 2-on-2. Oh, such strategy. Flair and Anderson head down into the lower cage to try and help, and Hogan and Sullivan fight out to the scaffolding while Luger continues the thrilling brawl with Savage in the cage. However, soon all four end up on the floor, and into the ring. Hogan hits Sullivan with the big boot and stomps away. They switch off, with Hogan hitting Luger with a bucket and Sullivan ramming Savage into the cage. Tony, in an actual quote, says “This has been spectacular.” Well, people describe car crashes the same way. Hogan brings Luger to the ring and gets a corner clothesline, then hammers away while Savage & Sullivan fight on the floor. Wasn’t the point supposed to be that they were fighting in the CAGE? Hence the name, DOOMSDAY CAGE? Luger hits Savage with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DEATH, but brawls out with Hogan again. You have to wonder what exactly the Horsemen and Faces of Fear are DOING while trapped in that other ring. Luger clubs Savage down with a chair and then goes after Hogan, but he makes the comeback and the heels get whipped together. And now the other heels, Jeep “Painful Constipation” Swenson and Z Gangsta (Zeus) head out and drag our heroes back to the DOOMSDAY CAGE, and into the ring on the bottom of that cage. Was there something wrong with the ring they were in before? Somehow, the match gets WORSE, as Permanent Vacation overpowers Hogan and Gangsta chokes Savage down. He pops up with a double axehandle, however, while Hogan goes to the eyes of Traffic Citation and then turns his attention to Gangsta. He gets choked down, which to Tony is the most thrilling thing to happen all match, and Notable Quotation press-slams Savage. Hogan comes back on Gangsta, but now the Horsemen rejoin the match (which of course makes no sense, but god forbid either of THESE goofs do the job when Flair is available) and things look bleak for the Megapowers. The heels pound away, as Catalytic Conversion uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS, but now Booty Man gives them powder (oh man, this stuff just writes itself) and frying pans. That’s how you cook the crack old-school, I guess. Now Luger runs in as well and turns the tide, using a loaded glove, but it hits Flair by mistake and Savage pins him at 25:09. This would prove to be the last hurrah for Hulkamania, as fan reaction to this mess was so overwhelmingly negative that his heel turn was necessary to keep his career alive. Without a doubt the WORST PPV main event ever, lacking not only internal logic and interesting action, but the entertainment value of Heroes of Wrestling. This one gets the full negative monty. –***** (I stand by that one.) The Bottom Line: You may stumble across this show and accidentally watch it, then, like a victim of prison rape, blame yourself for the pain, humiliation, and rectal bleeding, but DON’T. This was WCW’S fault, not yours! There are support groups for survivors of this PPV out there to help you, and I would advise you to make use of them. Other people have been through the same thing. We can help you. Strongest recommendation to avoid humanly possible. (Or, you know, get really drunk and watch it for free on the WWE Network. Whatevs.)
The Netcop Retro Rant for Uncensored 98 – No Meltzer on Monday = I watch more wrestling. In this case, we go back and redo a show that I did without my notes the first time, way back in 1998. (Since this is still a “Netcop” rant this would have been written in 2000, by the way. The font of the original Word document gives it away for me as well, because I was REALLY into Verdana for some stupid reason at that point.) My feelings on the show then were that it sucked for the most part, but then I was getting more pissed off at WCW’s booking by the day at that time and my judgment was thus clouded (There’s an understatement.), and I had about 10 other people who were bitching about the show hanging over my shoulder, so I wasn’t in a position to be objective. (And you KNOW how important objectivity and journalistic integrity is to me!) I wanted to go back and watch it again, but my copy of the show ended up looking like shit, so I never ended up watching it again and simply did the rant from memory. (See, INTEGRITY!) The results weren’t pretty, and I did a lot of the matches a big injustice as a result. So in the interest of fairness to a show that Phil Rippa recently called the best show he ever paid money to see (Phil used to say lot of odd stuff.), I thought I’d give it the ol’ second look without any distractions. Well, aside from my criminally woeful lack of sleep and/or money. (At this point I was working a shitty job where I did very early morning shifts and thus had the entirety of the day to watch wrestling and 24 DVD marathons. Given the lousy wage and the fact that I only worked 25 hours a week, I have no idea how I not only survived on that, but paid rent every month and had what I can only classify as ridiculous amounts of disposable income as well.) – I would, as always, be remiss in not mentioning that 1998 produced 12 of the lamest PPV promo spots ever produced by WCW or any other wrestling promotion. This month’s winner: The Game Boy ripoff spot featuring Wrath. (Oh, MAN, I totally forgot about that stupid promo. Let’s go to the videotape!) (Now if THAT doesn’t get you hyped up for this show, I have nothing more to say to you.) – Live from Mobile, Alabama, the only city named after a trailer. – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & the Iron Professor. – Opening match, World TV title: Booker T v. Eddy Guerrero. This was the start of the “psycho Chavito” angle, as Chavo was forced to be in Eddy’s corner after losing a match to him the week previous. Eddy stalls to start. Quite a lot. Booker gets him in and blasts him with a backdrop and sideslam. Eddy bails and the crowd gets on his case. Back in, Booker hits a sidekick and poewrslam, and Eddy bails again. Booker chases and tosses him back in, elbowing him for two. He goes upstairs and Eddy strikes, knocking him off and superplexing him. Slugfest, and Booker hits a vicious superkick for two. Eddy counters the axe kick by dropkicking the other knee, and he works on it. Eddy uses a long kneebar to wear him down. Eddy hits a slingshot senton on the knee for two. Booker bails and Eddy follows with a tope. Back in, it gets two. Booker recovers and hits the axe kick, (Here’s one of those things I notice about my writing that I’m sure no one else does, but around this time I started deliberately changing my spelling of Booker’s “ax kick” to “axe kick” instead, even though I’m pretty sure “ax” and “axe” are interchangeable. I just remember it seemed very important to me at the time to make sure that “e” was there.) and a dramatic spinebuster, but a missile dropkick misses. He tries another axe kick, but misses and crotches himself. Eddy tries to superplex him, but Booker shoves him off and hits the elusive dropkick for the pin at 11:03. Ending seemed a bit odd, but the match was solid. *** Eddy sneak attacks a smirking Chavo to wipe the smile off his face after the loss. – Konnan v. Juventud Guerrera. Juvy goes after Konnan but gets lariated. Konnan bails and stops a Juvy highspot, and they brawl. Back in, Juvy gets a springboard dropkick for two. Konnan comes back with a warped lucha submission move, sort of a deathlock. Juvy tries a comeback and takes a release german suplex for his troubles. Konnan steals a move from Shinjiro Ohtani – he whose boots Konnan is not worthy to lick – by scraping his boots across Juvy’s face in the corner. He goes into a rocking horse cradle, but drops Juvy right on his head, so Juvy bails to regroup. Back in, a fireman’s carry gets two. He tries a superplex, but Juvy lands on his feet and comes back. Konnan gets an ocean cyclone suplex for two, however. Powerbomb attempt, but YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB…oh, wait, that’s Kidman. Juvy still gets the facejam, but the 450 misses. Konnan hits the 187 (I feel like I’m a short order cook…) for two. Samoan drop gets two, but Konnan does that there cocky heel cover, and Juvy rolls him over for the fluke pin at 10:13. This was all Juvy bumping for Konnan, but still worth watching. **1/4 – Cruiserweight title match: Chris Jericho v. Dean Malenko. This is the match that ended up leading to Jericho becoming the megastar that he is today. Jericho has one of the first pairs of “1004” tights here. Wrestling sequence to start, and Jericho screams like a girl. Jericho tries a hammerlock and yells out “Here’s #643!”, then Malenko takes him to school again. (And yes, for those who keep asking, this is where the “Arm-BAR” running gag comes from.) Jericho hits an enzuigiri, but misses the springboard dropkick. He tries running away, but Malenko brings him back. Jericho counters a leapfrog with a spinebuster for two. Suplex gets two. Jericho goes into the resting. Lionsault gets two. Slugfest in the corner goes Dean’s way, and a backdrop suplex gets two. Jericho comes back with a senton for two. He puts Malenko in the corner and dropkicks him, which serves to piss him off. Malenko starts countering moves, but Jericho gets an inverted suplex. Dean rolls him up for two. Backslide gets two. Jericho puts Malenko on the floor, then puts him back in. Jericho goes for a superplex, countered by Malenko for two. Dean misses a dropkick and Jericho gets a hard-fought Liontamer, but Dean makes the ropes. We go upstairs, and Malenko hits his killer gutbuster for two. Jericho swats a dropkick aside, and hooks the Liontamer, and that’s that at 14:41. Pretty good match for Jericho, who was still improving at this point. ***1/4 Gene Okerlund then badgers Malenko, calling him a loser who blew it. Gene asks him where he goes from, and Malenko replies: “Home”. In the weeks following, Jericho would mercilessly taunt Malenko, getting both men over without Malenko ever appearing on TV. And from there, Jericho springboarded to stardom. – Scott Steiner v. Lex Luger. Steiner is freshly heel-turned, and no one gives a crap. (Oh come now, I’m sure that much like the Rankor, even Steiner had a handler who cared for him and kept his steroid supply topped off.) Steiner didn’t actually get over until April of 99, when he beat DDP into a steaming pile of goo and debuted his “hooches”. Belly to belly suplex starts. Weak brawling outside follows, and Luger ends up suplexing Steiner off the apron. Wow, that was almost a bump. Back in, Luger hits his usual stuff, but Steiner blocks the rack with a low blow. He hooks the REAR CHINLOCK OF EXCRUTIATING TORMENT, but Rick Steiner saunters out and distracts Scott long enough for Luger to hit the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DEATH for the pin at 3:52. Well, you know what they say about ripping a band-aid off quickly making it less painful… ½* – US title match: DDP v. Raven v. Chris Benoit. Three-way lockup to start. Now that’s neat. We hit the floor in short order, where DDP hits the stairs. Raven & Benoit go inside the ring. Benoit gets two, then DDP takes Raven out. Benoit baseball slides Raven, and DDP hits a pescado on both. DDP neckbreakers Raven for two, Benoit suplexes Raven for two. DDP pancakes Raven for two. Benoit drops the flying headbutt on Raven for two. Rough night for Raven so far. DDP stomps Raven for two after Benoit gets off. DDP & Benoit brawl, and Raven follows with a pescado on both, then covers each in turn for two. DDP & Benoit fight up the aisle, Raven follows. Several two counts result. Raven grabs a trash can, and winds up wearing it, and DDP & Benoit double-team him with a pair of crutches. Benoit slams the garbage can into DDP’s often-injured ribs, and Benoit and Raven then team up to toss DDP through a convenient video wall. Neat spot. Benoit nails Raven with a kitchen sink, just to be cute. Raven retaliates by suplexing a table onto him. Raven sets the table up, but goes through it. They head to the ring, and Raven gets a low blow. He sets up a chair but Benoit hits his own drop toehold onto it. DDP crawls back to the ring. Benoit & Raven continue beating the tar out of each other. Benoit gets a sleeper, and DDP runs in for the triple sleeper spot that I hate so much. (SMH, you might say.) Benoit hits Raven with two of the rolling suplexes, and DDP suplexes both at once in a cool spot that the Radicalz lifted at Judgment Day. (There you go, written in June 2000.) Benoit holds DDP, and Raven gets a stop-sign from Lodi (still playing Raven’s lackey at this point) and nails DDP. Another table gets set up, but Benoit gets his own shot on Raven with the sign. DDP is on the table soon after, and Benoit tries to superplex Raven through DDP and the table, but DDP recovers, pushes Benoit down to the floor, and hits a bad-looking Diamond Cutter off the top, through the table, and pins Raven to retain at 17:10. I was about a hundred billion times more impressed with this match after seeing it this second time. ****1/4 Benoit supplied the match flow, Raven supplied the booking, and DDP probably supplied the autographed pictures of himself. (Come on, that’s still a pretty funny line today.) – Kevin Nash v. The Giant. Giant does stuff, Nash does stuff, nWo runs in at 6:30. Been there, done that, got a bad rating already. ¼* – Curt Hennig v. Bret Hart. Bret works a headlock to start. That goes nowhere, so Hennig bails. This was during the period when WCW didn’t know how to use Bret. Oh, wait, sorry, guess I should narrow it down a bit. This was just before his heel turn. You know, the one where he went nWo without ever giving an explanation? Anyway, back into the ring, where Bret quickly gets the Sharpshooter, but Rick Rude pops him and Hennig takes over. He works the knee. Hennig gets a figure-four and continues working that knee. What a thrilling match. He goes for a superplex, but Hart knocks him off and beings the comeback. Wait for it…wait for it…FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret misses a blind charge and Hennig hits the Hennigplex for two. Rollup gets two. Bret reverses a sunset flip into the Sharpshooter and Hennig taps at 14:00. Way long and very boring. Finish was good, though. ** – WCW World title: Sting v. Scott Hall. Hall won World War III in 97 to set this up. Hall works the arm for a bit to maintain the illusion of still having wrestling ability. He chokeslams Sting and mocks the Giant. Sting comes back with a bulldog and a standing dropkick that sends Hall to the floor. Back in, Hall catches him with a lariat for two. Fallaway slam gets two. Collision leads to Sting’s cliché “fall on the guy’s crotch” spot. Hall distracts the ref, and Dusty sneaks in to drop a bionic elbow. Hall gets two off it. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash and the Scorpion deathlock, but stops to nail Dusty, and the ref is bumped (The late Mark Curtis, master of ref bump, once again demonstrates his superiority by making sure to take the bump right in front of the camera, and rolling his eyes back in his head for added facial expression as he collapses – CRAFTSMANSHIP, people, that’s what counts). Hall uses knuckledusters for two. Outsider Edge is countered with the Deathdrop for the pin at 8:27. Basic Nitro match. * – Age in the Cage II: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage. This was the culmination of the first stage of the first nWo breakup tease angle, although the trigger on that particular storyline would take another 5 months to be pulled as nWo Wolfpac was formed. On the other hand, the New Blood have now had roughly 20 different matches and/or feuds within the same stable. Draw your own conclusions. (Russo is a moron?) Hogan does his usual kicking and choking to start. Big boot gets two. Hogan continues methodically beating on Savage, who comes back with choking. Both guys are heels, so neither is particularly over, but I’d bet if you asked either one they’d both take credit for the buyrate. (I’d credit that commercial.) Hogan whips him with his belt. Big stinky nasty wart-infested Giant-killing legdrop misses and Savage whips him with the belt. Zzzzzzz. Hogan gets rammed into the cage (okay, “rammed” is subjective – “lightly tapped” is more accurate) and starts bleeding. Remember, kids, it’s OKAY to break company policy as long as you still put asses in the seats and have friends who run the company. (Or you’re married to the boss’s daughter.) Remember, no one cares about those midcard jabronies anyway, so if guys like Jericho and Benoit wanted equal treatment, let ‘em go to the WWF and see how far they’d get without Hogan’s star power to carry the ratings. Ungrateful bastards. Hogan backdrops Savage into the cage, which is the one single good bump in the match, and of course he bleeds, too. They fight to the door, and the referee politely opens the door for them so they have a meaningless brawl on the floor and thus completely invalidate the ENTIRE POINT OF HAVING A FUCKING CAGE MATCH. (Yeah, what was WITH that? I mean, now we just take it for granted that 17 people will run into any cage match booked, but back then there was still some semblance of attention paid to the stipulation and they just killed it dead here.) Back in, Savage recovers and goes to the top of the cage, hitting a double axehandle for two. Hogan’s “Upstage-O-Meter” starts flashing, so the Booty Disciple runs in (Run in? Cage match? Me no understand how these words go together) and takes out the ref. Call it a no contest in roughly 14:00, since no bell was ever rung to, you know, END THE MATCH. (I believe the phrase you’re searching for is SPORTZ ENTERTAINMENT FINISH) Sting rappels into the cage, and we get a big staredown, lasting nearly a minute, before (surprise surprise), Sting’s friend Savage turns on him and walks out. This is not to be confused with Superbrawl from the year before, where Savage also turned on his friend Sting — that year he didn’t walk out on him. The WWF won their first ratings victory in 82 weeks less than a month later, which is kinda the punchline and moral of the story all wrapped up in one. Pick a number between 1 and 5, add a “-“, and there’s your damn rating. Go with -* from me, cuz I’m generous tonight. The Bottom Line: Still not a terrifically great show by any means, but with the awesome three-way and some good action on the undercard, I’d definitely bump this one up to “Recommended show” without much hesitation. The “main event” matches absolutely kill the show, however, so be warned in advance.
(2013 Scott sez: Ah, what the hell. Let’s continue through the fascinating trainwreck that is 1998 WCW.) The Netcop Rant for WCW Uncensored 1998. – Live from Mobile Alabama. – Your hosts are Huey, Dewey and Louie. – I’m working without my notes tonight because my copy of the show was too fucked up to watch again. If anyone has an EX quality copy, preferably off a satellite dish, I’d like to acquire it. I have ECW out the wazoo to trade for it, along with other stuff. I need a better copy of Superbrawl VIII as well. So this’ll be an abbreviated version. (Having an anal retentive ECW mutant roommate meant that as much as I disliked the promotion, I always had TONS of trade-bait for stuff I actually wanted to watch.) – Opening match: Booker T v. Eddy Guerrero (w/ Chavo Jr.). And this is Job #1 for the Holy Trinity. I actually prefer Booker going over to Eddy winning the title, but really everyone expected Eddy to win this thing and now he’s getting demoted back to feuding with his nephew, it looks like. (Yup.) The match itself is pretty good, but they never really seem to mesh to the godlike levels that I know Eddy can achieve. Still, Booker wins a good match, and I’m happy so far. – Gonnad v. Juventud Guerrera. And a-downhill we go. This is just awful for both guys, although Gonnad sucks hard to begin with. At one point Gonnad is trying a new variation on the Boston Crab where he lifts Juvy off the ground and holds onto his hands, but he drops him right on his head and bends his neck in an ugly fashion. Sloppy, very sloppy, and Juvy is hurt as he has to roll out of the ring and walk it off for a couple of minutes before continuing. Gonnad spends much of the match yelling “arriba la raza” and generally trying to get the crowd to give a shit. (Much like most of his WCW career.) Finally Juvy reverses a sloppy cover into a cradle for the pin. After the match, Gonnad beats the hell out of him, starting a trend that would continue throughout the night. – Chris Jericho v. Dean Malenko (Cruiserweight title). Job #2 for the Holy Trinity. This was not a great match by any means. Lots of slow points and Jericho just doesn’t do it for me, no matter how great Herb Kunze thinks he is. (Of course I came around to Herb’s way of thinking soon after.) Still, it was the second-best match on the card and we’re 2/3 so far, so I’m still reasonably happy. (I was a pretty grumpy guy in general back then.) Jericho wins with the Liontamer cleanly, and then Mean Gene comes in and verbally berates Malenko, crediting him with losses at two PPVs he wasn’t even at, before Malenko says he’s going “home.” Whatever that means. (IT MEANS HE GETS RESULTS, YOU STUPID CHIEF! But random Simpsons quotes aside, it was kind of an odd setup for an awesome payoff at Slamboree.) – Lex Luger v. Scott Steiner. Well, at least it was clean. Sort of. (Has anyone ever accused either guy of being clean?) Lex and Scott go out and do their usual crapola before Rick comes down to interfere, allowing Lex to hit Scott from behind with the BIG FOREARM OF DEATH for the pin. This of course is counter-intuitive to Scott’s push, but logic has never entered in WCW’s booking before. (Given we were just coming off Steiner’s big heel turn, this was definitely a weird result.) The usual brawl with Rick & Lex v. Scott & Scott breaks out afterwards. Terrible match. – Chris Benoit v. DDP v. Raven (US title match): Subtract Benoit and this sucked shit. Chris carries the entire match, which liberally steals spots from ECW in several places, including a stop sign disguised by a sign saying “USE THIS SIGN”. I suppose everyone will gush about how “hardcore” this was, but it was pretty weak brawling. (I bet people will also make “air quotes” while gushing about the match. Damn hipsters.) It also gets converted to “falls count anywhere” along the way, just for fun. (See what I mean?) Finish comes as Benoit gets tossed out of the ring, and DDP Diamond-Cuts Raven off the top rope onto a table. It sounds better than it came off. Benoit was the only one using any psychology here (hitting DDP in the ribs — what a concept!) and Raven did his usual spots. Nothing special at all. And Benoit jobs again, by proxy. Job #3 for the Holy Trinity, making them 0/3 in title matches and I guess showing that Bischoff is putting them in their place or something. I dunno, they tried combining a garbage match and a three-way match, and they can’t really do either right to begin with. – The Giant v. Kevin Nash. And now we’re into the main events and the real bullshit begins. The powerbomb has been reinstated for tonight only, so of course we don’t see it here. (Ah, WCW.) Shit match, much more along the lines of what we’ve been expecting out of these two all along. They lumber around for a while before Giant goes for the powerbomb and the ENTIRE FUCKING nWo RUNS IN. Hello???? Isn’t this sort of crap supposed to be saved for Nitro and not a PPV? (Gotta protect Nash’s spot.) DQ win for the Giant. Very disappointing. – Curt Hennig v. Bret Hart. 21 minutes long and a total pile of shit. (Normally I would step in and argue with myself, but no, this was AWFUL.) This is the worst match I’ve seen Bret in since he lost the World title to Sid in 1997. Either Bret wasn’t trying or Hennig really is that bad now (or both…), but this was boring as hell and a non-stop headlock. Rude blatantly interferes a couple of times, but Bret eventually puts Hennig in the Sharpshooter for the tap-out. And then Rude and Hennig just obliterate Bret, including a wicked Rude Awakening by Rude. *Another* post match beating? Haven’t we been seeing these for weeks now leading up to this? – WCW World title: Sting v. Scott Hall. (Hey, Hall finally gets his title shot from World War III!) Kick, punch, kick, punch. Sting pulls out 7 wrestling moves, showing more here than in any other match this year. And Dusty graces us with his presence, interfering on numerous occasions and even influencing the booking as we get brass knuckles and a ref bump. (Oh yeah, nWo Dusty, how could we forget that? “There will be no comeback” is still a great soundbite, though.) *Sigh* Sting kicks out of all the nefarious schemes and flips out of an Outsider’s Edge attempt and hits the ultra-weak Scorpion Deathdrop (I still hate that move) for the pin. Not even close to what I know both guys are capable of. At least it was clean… – Main Event: Age in the Cage II: Hulk Hogan v. Randy Savage. This was the most boring cage match I’ve seen since, well, Age in the Cage I. And again the entire cage match concept is defiled not once but TWICE in the same match as the referee simply unlocks the cage and allows them to fight outside for a bit, then go back in. Hogan blades, showing what a hypocrite Bischoff is for panning away on everyone else, and then Savage blatantly cuts himself on camera to rub it in. Oh, blood, wow they’re hardcore, aren’t they? And then it gets good, so naturally we have to put a stop to it. Savage hits a nice-looking axehandle off the top of the cage, and goes for the big elbow off the top when Brutus Beefcake runs in and stops him, then takes out both referees. Then Sting drops in and they…don’t do anything. I mean it, they literally just stand around and look at each other for 3 minutes. Oooooo, that’s exciting. (There was some issues with time cues or something, if I remember right.) Then, just to top it off, Savage suddenly clotheslines Sting and walks away. Stop me if this starts making sense. No decision is announced, end of show. The Bottom Line: What the fuck was that main event supposed to be? A screwjob, non-finish in a CAGE MATCH? On a PAY-PER-VIEW??? (Hey whoa, calm down there Jesse Baker.) What kind of a slap in the face to the paying customer is that? Is Bischoff losing control of his company so fast that everything had to end in run-ins or post-match beatings to keep the troops happy? This was just Nitro booking all night long. I liked two matches (Booker/Guerrero and Malenko/Jericho) but if they were anything less than “good -> very good” I’d be horribly disappointed so that’s not saying much. I didn’t like the US title match, but then I don’t like garbage wrestling to begin with so that’s not saying much. But the rest was just awful! 6/9 matches at ** or less is disgraceful, especially considering that many of those involved did good matches at the far superior Souled Out, including Nash and the Giant. The run-ins and beatings were ridiculous. It was just the same stuff as we got on Nitro and Thunder leading up to the show. What’s next, do we do rematches of everything at Spring Stampede? A tag match with Hogan and Beefcake against Sting and Savage? Who does Sting defend against next, Savage? (Um, yes.) People who were saying that the WWF didn’t have a direction after Bret left should take a long, hard look at WCW right now and ask where it’s supposed to be going right now, because this show was like a car wreck. Certainly not the worst PPV ever or anything, but definitely the worst WCW show this year. Later…