The Netcop Retro Rant for In Your House V. (Ugh. THIS show.) – Before I forget, I just want to mention that Smackdown is the greatest wrestling game ever. Seriously. And coming from someone who thought he’d be slavishly devoted to Wrestlemania 2000 forever, that’s saying a lot. (Written before No Mercy came out, obviously.) I was skeptical when I saw the initial previews and movies, but having played it for what feels like 48 hours straight (WWF Champion Chris Benoit, BABEE!) I have to say that it not only plays faster and smoother than WM2000, but the moves are easier to pull off, more intuitive, and they look better. The role-playing aspect is neato-keen, as are the backstage brawls and really cool gameplay modes (example: When you play “I Quit”, you actually have to grab a microphone and jam it in the guy’s face). All the Titantron videos for the wrestlers are included in their glory (go ahead – TRY not to mark out when you see the Y2J one for the first time, I dare you). The only major downsides are the sucky and/or non-existent sound (inexcusable for the Playstation’s capabilities), horrifyingly bad Create a Wrestler appearance edit (can’t complain about the move editor though, no-sirree) and the usual fuzziness and jaggies associated with any system not starting with “Dream” and ending with “Cast”. Although if it’s ever released for THAT, I’ll never leave the house again. Overall, call it ****1/2 and an absolute must-buy for wrestling fans. Like with WM2000: Believe the Hype. (And then they went on to make a newer, mostly the same, version for another FIFTEEN YEARS. Also, what the fuck is a Dreamcast?) – On with the show. – Live from Hershey, Pennsylvania, home of chocolate and some indy promotion with really obnoxious fans and a balding booker. Original airdate: December 17, 1995. (Original rant date: Sometime late in 2000.) – Your hosts are Vince “We believe in free speech as long as it’s the WWF that’s getting screwed over and not some poor documentary maker” McMahon and Jerry Lawler. (No idea what I was referencing there.) – Opening match: Sid & The Kid v. Razor Ramon & Marty Jannetty. Hmm, what a dilemma: Do I explain the circumstances or start firing off the drug jokes? Well, I think we already know what a bunch of potheads the Clique and Jannetty were during this period, so I’ll just explain the setup: The Kid stole Ramon’s private stash, so…oh, wait, I guess I promised not to make those jokes. (Allegedly.) Okay, so this was a standard “spunky partner gets tired of condescending treatment from overly macho best friend and turns into capitalist sellout” angle, as the Kid joined Ted Dibiase’s Corporation and turned on Ramon, requiring Ramon to really scrape the bottom of the barrel and get a new partner in Marty Jannetty. (Hey now, come on. It could have been worse and he could have been stuck with the clown or the pirate or the ninja or something.) It was that old poetic justice thing again, because Marty had been tag champs with the Kid back in 1994 for about 10 seconds, before the WWF came to their senses and realized that the tag champs were MARTY JANNETTY AND THE 1-2-3 KID. Okay, well, I liked them, but they WERE total jobbers at the time. Oh, and by the way, Goldust is sitting at ringside admiring Razor, thus beginning the angle that REALLY changed wrestling, no matter what any other recappers on the ‘net might have you believe in ridiculously long-winded three-part columns on the WWF at this time. No names mentioned, of course. (It was CRZ.) The angle in question was that Goldust was in fact in love with Ramon and he started quite blatantly making passes at him on national TV, so blatantly so in fact that GLAAD majorly freaked out and they ended up killing off the Goldust character entirely by 1997. The angle changed wrestling because Goldust was the first wrestler to not only be overtly effeminate (like Gorgeous George before him), but to actually display outright homosexual tendencies and then act on them. The Marlena character was added to tone down the character somewhat while under the pretext of creating more ambiguity for him, but the message being sent by the Goldust character was a far more interesting one: Was he a bad person merely because of his sexual preference, or because he was trying to force himself on Razor Ramon, who clearly wasn’t “into it”? THAT was truly the first “shades of grey” angle introduced by the WWF, because really a case could be made that he was doing nothing wrong at first. He was attracted to Ramon and he decided to make it known. It actually took a lot of courage on Dustin Rhodes’ part to go through with the character, because he had to know it would end up scarring his career in wrestling for life, and yet he was never squeamish about doing everything asked of him. Later on, the angle was SEVERELY toned down, to the point where Goldust was now merely “playing mind games” with his opponents and acting out a character like he would a movie scene, but for the first few months Goldust was easily the first halting introduction to the modern Attitude era that would bring wrestling back to the forefront, sleaze and all. ANYWAY, the match itself pretty much sucks. (To say the least.) Sid and Kid were on the fast track to the titles, but here’s a shock: Sid left the promotion shortly after this, leaving The Kid dead in the water until finally getting fired later in 1996. (The Smoking Gunns were heavily rumored to be quitting at the time, and Sid & Kid were awaiting the title switch to happen any day. Which of course never did, and then Sid retired due to neck injury anyway.) Ramon and Jannetty take turns on LONG heat segments with nothing much of note happening aside from some good segments when Kid and Jannetty are in together. Ramon finally gets the final hot tag, and does the paint-by-numbers finish, ending with a second rope bulldog on Sid for the pin at 12:20. Nothing happening here. * (It was really REALLY boring. Sometimes I’m hard on a borderline match during the time I wrote this because I was bored or distracted or drunk or something, but this match was the drizzling shits and a whole lot of chinlocks with no flow.) – Jeff Jarrett makes his triumphant return after a 6-month contract dispute. Jerry Lawler presents him with a gold record for “With My Baby Tonight”. Nobody cares, as usual with Jarrett. (Another giant flop of an angle, as this was supposed to be JJ’s shocking return to freshen up the midcard and it just died.) – Ahmed Johnson v. Buddy Landell. This was just a huge inside joke for the smart marks. Ahmed was supposed to be fighting Dean Douglas, but Douglas was on the outs with the WWF and had a “back injury” (wink wink, nudge nudge). (He did actually have a serious injury. I feel kind of bad now knowing all the shit that Douglas endured, as the fake nature of the injury was basically a smear campaign from the Clique to paint him as a quitter, and it wasn’t until later that people realized Shane wasn’t actually lying about it. Even more hilarious is SHAWN MICHAELS calling someone out for fake injuries. That being said, it was a stupid gimmick and Douglas was terrible in the role anyway.) As a result, Douglas presented his “graduate student”, Buddy Landell, better known as “The Nature Boy”. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Landell is wearing a suspiciously flowing sequined robe and using music that sounds suspiciously like that used by another blond-haired Nature Boy when he passed through the WWF in 1992. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Ahmed squashes Landell in 30 seconds and finishes with the tiger bomb. DUD And just because I KNOW someone is going to e-mail and ask me why that was supposed to be funny, Shane Douglas hates Ric Flair with a passion and has been known to spend entire 4 hour shoot interviews whining and bitching about him and the treatment he received, and how he was supposed to “pass the torch” to Douglas and then never did. Get it now? (Poor Buddy, as he was actually supposed to continue on with the company and get a bit of a push out of this, but something like the day after this show he slipped in a parking lot and injured himself so badly that he had to quit the promotion and never came back. That man could fuck up ANYTHING ever handed to him.) – Hogpen match: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Henry O. Godwinn. Okay, it’s time we had that talk again about why the WWF got killed by WCW around this time. See, the Old Ways of doing things were that a wrestler was given a gimmick, and then became defined by that gimmick rather than developing an actual character. In this case, Godwinn is a hog farmer, so his “speciality” is a match where the loser is the one to get dumped into a hogpen. This mentality survives to this day even with Ken Shamrock’s “Lions den match” and Kane’s “Inferno match” and a multitude of others. Back to Goldust for a second: He was one of the first people to be given a gimmick (movie reciting weirdo), and when that didn’t get over he was given a CHARACTER (weirdo in love with Razor Ramon) and THAT’S what got him over. Vince doesn’t learn very fast, unfortunately, so it took him a while to catch on. (That actually sums up 1995 pretty well. We were bombarded with pirates, clowns, garbage men, fitness gurus, evil dentists, guitar players, grunge rockers, Ultimate fighters, and vaguely defined Caribbean legends, but in the end the only ones the fans cared about were Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart.) To the match: Neither man is over to great degree at this point, because both are boring with no character at this point. HHH is a Greenwich snob, but so what? Aside from heat for his formal bow, people have no reason to care about him. Ditto HOG, who carries a pig with him everywhere. Big deal, so he carries a pig. HOG ties HHH up in the ropes early on and rubs some slop in his face. Oooo, what political satire by the rapier wit of Vince McMahon, as the inbred hillbilly uses his country know-how to teach that fancy-pants Greenwich snob a thing or two. Hey, guess what: That sums up the NEXT THREE YEARS for the WWF. This match was not only a dumb idea, it was a god damned allegory, too, for the Monday Night Wars! Hunter gets understandably pissed off about this and hits a neckbreaker to take over. Then a kneedrop. Can’t forget the knee. Outside, HHH gets rammed into the stairs. They fight to the hogpen, where HHH nearly gets backdropped into the pen, but holds onto the sides and then drops an elbow on HOG from it. Okay, that looked cool. They head back to the ring as Lawler does some redneck humor. Godwinn takes over with power stuff as HHH bumps around. Back out to the hogpen, where Godwinn tries the slop drop but it’s blocked. He whips HHH into the pen, then hits the slop drop properly. HHH staggers to his feet, and Henry makes that same cardinal mistake: He charges with his head down, allowing Hunter to backdrop him up and into the hogpen for the win at 9:04. Surprisingly well-worked gimmick match. **1/2 (No way, this was terrible. One star, if that.) – Diesel v. Owen Hart. The Rick already covered the Syracuse thing a couple of weeks ago, so I won’t get into it here. Short version: Shawn Michaels got an enzuigiri from Owen on a live RAW and “passed out” in the ring. Diesel was still on good terms with Shawn at that point, so he wants VENGEANCE! Diesel tosses him around to start and clotheslines him to the floor. Back in, Owen hits a leg lariat and missile dropkick, then he works the leg. The ENZUIGIRI OF DOOM gets two. Diesel recovers and hits Snake Eyes and the Bossman rope jump thing. Big boot and jackknife finish…but he picks Owen up at two. The ref objects, so Diesel clobbers him to draw the DQ at 4:35. Well, that was just about the lamest ending possible. *1/2 (To be fair, no one got a pin off a music distraction at least.) – In another Ask the Rick moment, Ted Dibiase introduces us to…Xanta Claus! The best thing about the angle is listening to Vince McMahon’s hyperactive reaction to “Santa’s” selling out and how Ted Dibiase is the most evil person on earth because of it. Just the whole surreal nature of pro-wrestling acting like Santa, too, is not just a figment of someone’s imagination. Anyway, Xanta is of course Ballz Mahoney before he was any good. (Did he get good at some point that I missed?) – Casket Match: King Mabel v. The Undertaker. Mabel hits a quick Bossman slam, no-sold by the Taker. Bellies-to-belly suplex and a big fat legdrop are followed by a splash, and Mo helps drags UT out and into the casket. They conveniently forget to shut the lid and go celebrate, allowing UT to escape, kick righteous ass, and roll Mabel into the casket for the win at 6:11 to end Men on a Mission forever. Sadly, Mabel would return 4 years later as Viscera. I guess it took him that long to figure out how to escape from that casket. 1/2* (The beating delivered to Undertaker seemed to hint at a much more interesting direction for Taker, but then just degenerated into…this. Really the feud peaked with Taker destroying the Royals at Survivor Series, and they pushed their luck by extending it here. He should have just killed Mabel and sent him packing in November in that match and been done with it.) – WWF World title match: Bret Hart v. British Bulldog. Mat wrestling to start, as they trade wristlocks. Bret slides in and out of the ring and hits an atomic drop, but Bulldog catches him coming off the ropes with a knee to the midsection and hangs him in the tree of woe. Odd moment as Davey seems to nail Hebner legit on the backswing by accident, and then he HELPS HIM UP?!? What self-respecting heel would do that? (Waylon Mercy?) Smack him around now, say sorry later. Bulldog counters a crucifix and drops a leg for two. Cornette delivers a Santa-themed racket shot. Lots of resting here. Bret’s corner bump gives Bulldog a two count. Back body drop (or as Vince would say, “BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK bodydrop”) gets two. Bulldog holds a side headlock. Criss-cross leads to a monkey flip and Bret takes over. Bulldog to the Bulldog gets two. Piledriver gets two. Superplex is blocked and Davey bounces Bret crotch-first on the top rope, and the poor guy goes about three feet in the air on the upswing. Ouch. Bret gets tossed to the stairs and blades. Bret and the WWF have since feigned innocence, but it was such an obvious spot, and Bret did the “blading position” for a minute afterwards, and it was to the forehead (really, now, when do you EVER see someone bleed from the FOREHEAD by accident in real life?) so I’m thinking someone was telling a fib here. (Yeah that would be Bret.) Bret stands up and there’s a HUGE pool of his blood on the mats. Man, that’s just ugly. ECW’s trained seals chant “He’s Hardcore!” right on cue for that one. Back in, Bulldog gets a piledriver for two. Hanging suplex gets two. Military press gets two. Diving headbutt gets two. He goes for a bow-and-arrow, but Bret reverses to the Sharpshooter, and Davey Boy escapes. Bret bails, and comes back in with a quick german suplex for two. The mat is literally covered in Bret’s blood, although the cut is hard to see because the camera is zoomed out. Oh, and Bulldog’s white tights are now pink. Pleasant, huh? Bret backdrops him out and hits a pescado, then tries what I think was going to be a quebrada (!), but gets caught and powerslammed on the floor. Bulldog pulls up the mats, but Bret blocks a suplex and crotches him on the railing. Back in, a superplex gets two for Bret. Bulldog eats foot on a blind charge. Majastral cradle gets the pin for Bret at 21:09. (A young Chris Jericho gave him that finish!) Well, that was a pretty underwhelming finish. Good match, though. **** I can’t give the bladejob more than 0.3 Muta in good conscience, because the actual cut was small and he wasn’t wearing the crimson mask. – Oh, to clarify for those who keep asking, the Muta scale refers to the severity of bladejobs that wrestlers do. It’s based on one that the Great Muta did in Japan a few years back against Masa Chono. He ended up with a bloody face, body, and the ring and most of Chono was covered in his blood. The cynical online fanbase was so impressed that they spontaneously decided that from then on, all future bladejobs would be judged against that one, with 1.0 Muta being the maximum and everything else rated below that as need be. The Bottom Line: The main event is really good, but it doesn’t save a lacklustre show by any means. (This was the literal definition of a one match show. Everything else on this show from the opener onwards was wretched.) This was really the Dead Zone for the WWF, as they tried to rebuild after Kevin Nash wrecked the company (where have we heard THAT one before?) and were just seeing what would get over until Wrestlemania, when Shawn Michaels would be “given the ball” for the first time. But then I’m pretty down on 1995-96 WWF in general, so my apathy to this show is no surprise, really. Recommendation to avoid.
The Netcop Retro Rant for Survivor Series 1995 – This is one of those weird shows, in that Vince was completely self-destructing behind the scenes, but the product was great for some reason. Maybe distraction allows him to focus better or something, who knows. (Well RAW was certainly not great at this point, as those who have been following along with the past few months of tapings can testify.) – Live from Washington, DC – Your hosts are Vincent K, Jim Ross, and making his surprise return…Mr. Perfect. (Not gonna lie, I may have pooped my pants watching this on PPV. Although clearly he didn’t give a shit, unlike myself, and didn’t prepare in the least for the show.) By the way, I actually had a few people e-mail and ask me this, so let me clear up a Netcop Joke: Mr. Spiffy is my pet name for Mr. Perfect, because when he joined WCW in 1997 it was obvious he was never going to get over as “Curt Hennig”, so I suggested that they call him the next best thing — Mr. Spiffy. He could then say things like “Now that’s what I call…spiffy!” and have some fun parodying himself by doing skits where he’d be almost, but not quite, perfect at various sports, missing by a few inches each time. (Much like that attempt at a running joke.) Anyway… – Opening match: Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Barry Horowitz & Bob Holly v. Bodydonna Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Pritchard & The 1-2-3 Kid. This would be Kid’s debut as a heel, one week after guest-reffing a match between Ramon and Sid, and turning on him. Rad Radford (the late Louie Spicoli) is a “Bodydonna in training” at this point, although ironically it would be PRITCHARD who would shortly be repackaged as “Zip”, Skip’s partner. (Not really ironic. That’s more in the realm of happenstance. And man, Rad Radford, the most 90s gimmick of all and career-killing levels of bad.) Jannetty cleans house to start, and he looks thoroughly baked so tags out quickly. (Allegedly.) Rad gets the better of Hakushi, who then gets beat on in the heel corner. Crowd starts chanting for Barry Horowitz, which is pretty surreal. I still wonder why Vince didn’t just PUSH the guy if he was so over. It’s not rocket science, I mean it’s not like there’s some genetic code that says a guy has to be a jobber his entire career. (So much wrong with the Horowitz deal, from the non-push after he started to get over, to repackaging him immediately as a Larger Than Life WWF Superstar Character™ who was a nerdy Jewish stereotype.) Holly gets a quick pin on the Doctor with a flying bodypress, and Skip rolls *him* up right after to send him packing. Hakushi and the Kid do a great little sequence, and Radford pins Hakushi after Kid kicks him in the head. Horowitz and the Kid go next, with Barry taking a beating. Radford continues it, but keeps picking him up. And what happens when a heel keeps picking up a jobber, kids? That’s right — he gets pinned while showboating, and this is no exception. Sunny yells at him, pretty much disqualifying him from the Bodydonna Sweepstakes. Skip & Barry have their showdown, but Kid pins Barry after a snap legdrop, leaving Jannetty 2-on-1. He does a cool sequence with Skip, pinning him after a top rope powerbomb! That was pretty unheard of at that time in the WWF. Kid comes in and mops up with Jannetty, pinning him after an assist from Sid at 18:36. Minus a bit for the bad ending, but otherwise this was the shiznit, if you will. ***3/4 Survivor: 1-2-3 Kid. (This was setting up Sid & Kid as a tag team, but that wound up not happening for various reasons.) – Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka v. Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari. I had to get the names from the PWI Almanac because they had fucking Dok Hendrix shilling the crappy Survivor Series Commemorative T-shirt during the ring introductions. (Now I use The History of WWE site! http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com ) At least it’s not that Barry guy. And this would be a total spotfest as the women are basically given 10 minutes to wow the crowd. So Asari goes and pulls out the first ever Sky Twister Press on PPV, which is called “Whatamaneuver” by Vince, then called properly by JR. Blayze pins Asuka with the german suplex soon after. Hasegawa hits a chain of 5 double-underhook suplexes while we’re watching the replay of the Sky Twister Press. See, Vince had absolutely no idea how to deal with any match that exceeded the North American pace, which is why it took so long for him to grasp the whole cruiserweight concept. (It took him a lot of time to grasp a lot of concepts.) Aja Kong comes in and kick’s Hasegawa’s ass. Kong can best be described as the female Vader, I guess. (Did she get beat up by the female Paul Orndorff, I wonder?) The only woman I ever really followed in Japan was Akira Hokuto, so I’m pretty much at JR’s mercy for the backstory on these chicks. (It’s true, my sojourns into joshi tape trading were woefully underdeveloped. If I had money to blow on Japan I usually binged on Michinoku Pro or New Japan Super Juniors stuff instead. Now you can get all that stuff on one DVD for like $1 on Rudoreels or other sites like that. Takes all the challenge out of it. Jesus, if I had the resources I have now back when I had nothing but free time and disposable income, I probably would have done nothing but wrestling reviews 24 hours a day. These days I literally have a 10-DVD set of Mid-South, 8 or 9 DVDs of recent New Japan, the WWE Network, and access to whatever I want on YouTube, and my free time is occupied by taking my 4-year old to see Big Hero 6. TOTALLY WORTH IT.) Aja nails a NASTY backdrop suplex, dropping Hasegawa right on her head, to get the pin. Asari comes in and tries a cross-body, bouncing right off Aja, then gets splashed and pinned. Inoue comes in and does a little more damage, but tries a sunset flip and gets sat on for the pin. That leaves Alundra 3-on-1. Blayze dominates Watanabe and pins her after a piledriver. Faye & Kong have a heel miscommunication moment and Bertha gets suplexed and pinned by Alundra. So it’s Kong v. Blayze. Alundra hits a missile dropkick and a standing moonsault, but Aja shoves her off the top rope and pins her after a spinning backhand at 10:00. Pretty damn good, given the circumstances. *** Survivor: Aja Kong. This was supposed to start Blayze’s next big program, but she went and dumped the Women’s title in a trash can on Nitro, the night after this if I’m not mistaken. (About a month later.) – And since we’re in Washington, we get a visit from the fake Clinton for some hijinks. (God, they were using him on RAW leading up to this, and it was just so pathetic.) – Bam Bam Bigelow v. Goldust. (Poor Bam Bam was just so clearly beaten down by the Clique at this point and desperately wanted out.) Goldust’s entrance takes FOREVER. At this point he was just weird, rather than sexually deviant. Goldust s..l..o..w..l..y wears down the Bammer, then pins him with a bulldog at 8:18. Oh my god, that sucked. 1/4* Honest to god, I had nothing interesting to write between the introductions and the pinfall, it was that boring. – The Undertaker, Henry Godwinn, Fatu & Savio Vega v. King Mabel, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Isaac Yankem & Jerry Lawler. The story here is that, during the crack-induced period (…allegedly…) when Vince hired Bill Watts to book, Mabel did a big fat legdrop on UT’s face and broke it, necessitating a goofy purple mask that looks like something Kyle Rayner would be wearing today. (I have since come around on Kyle and he’s pretty much one of my favorites now as the White Lantern. Geoff Johns really did an awesome job rehabilitating him with the Ion/Parallax stuff a few years back.) Needless to say, Taker is PISSED, and is thus more over than ever. Most of the match (11 minutes to be exact) is meaningless filler, as the teams go through the motions of a match and the faces deliberately don’t tag UT in, saving him up for the big finish. Perfect, by the way, tells McMahon that Helmsley prefers to be called “Triple H”, although that name didn’t catch on until two years after this. Undertaker finally gets the hot tag, and obliterates the heel team. (This was pretty awesome.) Lawler tries to run away, but none of the team will tag him, and the result is a tombstone, to a HUGE pop. Goodbye. Yankem comes in next, tombstone, goodbye. Of course, it would take THREE tombstones for UT to do the same thing when Wrestlemania XIV rolled around. HHH tries, gets chokeslammed from the ring apron into the ring, see ya. Mabel gets the brief advantage but UT sits up, and that’s all Mabel needs to see, deciding to take the smart route and run away to fight another day. Taker’s team gets the win at 14:23, with the entire team surviving. 1/2* (That rating belies the tremendous entertainment value in seeing Undertaker finally cutting loose and destroying the group of heels like a force of nature.) – Wild Card match: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog & Sid v. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon & Dean Douglas. If you’re thinking this team looks weird, you’re right. It was set up by Gorilla Monsoon to stir things up. We get the one-and-only Shawn v. Shane match pretty early in, and it’s pretty good. Ahmed comes in and kicks ass, but tries to slam Yoko, which is immensely not smart. He gets beat on for a bit, then tags in Shawn, who pins Douglas on a rollup. Owen & Bulldog go next, then Shawn & Razor. JR wonders if they can have a match not involving a ladder. Razor gets the Edge, but Ahmed makes the save. Crowd is torn on who to cheer for. Sid comes in and stinks up the joint. He calls for Shawn’s help on a double-team superkick, but Ramon ducks and Sid takes it. Shawn gives a hilarious “Oh, well…” shrug, and Ramon pins Sid. (THAT was the World champion personality that Shawn should have had, not whatever bullshit they saddled him with to “fix” him.) Sid powerbombs Shawn for being a smart-ass, and I can’t say as I blame him. Razor gets two from it. Shawn then gets pummeled by Yokozuna, including that VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM. Ahmed gets the hot tag and pins Owen quickly with the tiger bomb. (I was deliberately calling it that to troll guys like Scherer on RSPW, by the way.) Ramon cleans house but takes a spinebuster from Ahmed. Ahmed poses on the second rope, and Ramon comes from behind and Edge’s him off. Sid & Kid wander to ringside and distract Ramon, and he walks into a Bulldog powerslam as a result and gets pinned. So Yoko is 3-on-1. He does well against Shawn, but misses the FAT-ASSED BUTTDROP OF DEATH and Ahmed gets the hot tag. Bodyslam! Davey Boy comes in to break up the pin, because he’s a bad person and all. So Shawn superkicks Yoko and then ties up the Bulldog, allowing Ahmed to get the pin unfettered at 27:23. And now of course the Bulldog wants to celebrate with his teammates. Match wasn’t terrible. **1/4 Survivors: Michaels, Johnson, Bulldog. – WWF World title match: Diesel v. Bret Hart. Hart v. Michaels was already pencilled in for WM12, so it’s not like the result here was a secret of national security or anything. (Guys in the locker room were openly talking about Bret’s title defense schedule and such weeks before the match, according to the Observers at the time, and Diesel himself was basically phased out of the top position on the main shows, and in fact barely appeared at all outside of being Shawn’s buddy. Clearly the writing was on the wall for Nash.) Diesel and Bret both pull off turnbuckle pads to reinforce that it’s no-DQ. Diesel pounds Bret in the corner, so Bret bails. They fight outside for a bit as Bret uncharacteristically runs like a chicken. Back in the ring for a slugfest, which Bret loses. He bails again, so Diesel rams him backfirst into the post. He grabs a chair and nails him for good measure. Back in the ring and he goes for the powerbomb early, but Bret blocks it and comes back. Lots of cheap stuff from Bret, then he starts working on the knees of the champ. Figure-four wears him down further, then Bret grabs a cable in an amazingly dickish move and hogties Diesel’s ankles around the post. He takes the chair and demolishes his knee with it, actually drawing boos. Diesel finally looses himself and slams Bret off the top rope, then chokes him out with the cable. Side slam gets a two count. Nash is doing an amazing job of selling the injury at this point, the best I’ve ever seen him do. He manages Snake Eyes, but Bret reverses a second attempt and comes back. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM! Bret sends Diesel to the floor, but the pescado misses. Bret crawls onto the apron, and it’s HISTORY TIME! The biggest running gag in WWF’s history begins here, as Diesel shoves Bret off the apron, right through the Spanish announce table. (VINTAGE ANNOUNCE TABLE!) Bret is acting like he’s on his deathbed. Diesel tosses him back in for the kill, but when he goes for the powerbomb Bret simply collapses. The ref wants to stop the match, but Diesel shoves him aside and tries it again…and Bret small packages him out of nowhere for the pin and the title at 24:50. Diesel clearly mouths a very naughty phrase at the camera which rhymes with “Another trucking skit”, then powerbombs Bret twice and takes out a bunch of refs, yelling “I’M BACK!” at the camera. He started pissing off the Undertaker soon after, and got jobbed out, leading to him joining WCW in 1996. Wonder whatever happened to him? This would be Nash’s second-best match ever, only eclipsed by the one he had with Michaels in 1996. ****1/4 The Bottom Line: Can’t lose here. Even if the offices of the WWF were going to hell, the workers were shining, especially the rising Shawn Michaels, the resurgent Bret Hart, and the newly motivated Diesel. Recommended show. (It was good but actually a bit disappointing based on how good you would have expected a couple of matches to be, like the Goldust-Bigelow and wild card matches. Still an easy thumbs up, but one that could have been an all-timer with better depth in the midcard.)
My favorite Robin Williams bit of all time. RIP.
Today’s Question: Going back to a question last month on this very blog about the greatest promo you’ve ever seen, in the career of Mick Foley (as Cactus Jack, Dude Love, Mankind, or Mick Foley), I’m curious: What one promo/interview in the career of Mick Foley stands out as his best?
Yesterday’s Question: Besides Hulk Hogan, who’s heel turn surprised you the most?
I’m calling this a digest version, because work stuff, and a last-minute doctor’s visit has me swamped for time, so I couldn’t go through everyone’s responses and comment specifically. However, I would have to say this was tough to choose just one….The Horsemen alone, for example, could put together a greatest hits (Dusty, Ole, Luger, Sting – numerous times, Kevin Greene – all memorable). Barry Windham and Shawn Michaels also had awesome turns. I also liked Austin Idol’s 1987 Memphis turn against Jerry Lawler, and the Road Warriors turn on Sting, but as far as the most surprising, along with possibly the best executed, there is only one choice. The Holy grail of all Heel Turns – The 4 Horsemen dump Sting, 1990.
What takes the cake for me is how Ole Anderson very calmly in a “You know, at any time, we can stomp you in the ground” tone of voice, very calmly tells Sting…….”You’re not a Horseman anymore….Its…..OVER.” (The look on Sting’s face: Classic).
See you next time with a new topic, and hopefully a full rant
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…
(2013 Scott sez: It occurs to me that I never actually posted this followup to the original drunk version.) The Netcop Retro Rant for Superbrawl VIII Quick background: I originally did a rant of this show from the live PPV broadcast, and I was both somewhat drunk and very annoyed at the time, so I gave it a bad rating. To make matters worse, the review was HORRIBLE, done in an experimental format that proved to be one of the worst reviews I’ve ever done. (Re-reading it now, it’s not so bad. I count my revamped RAW reviews in 2005 as worse than that.) So I felt I always owed this show a second look, and here it is… – Live from San Francisco, CA. Original airdate, Feb. 22 / 1998. – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Iron Mike. – Opening match, TV title: Rick Martel v. Booker T. Newsflash: I just heard that Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the garbage on the WCWSN tapings, so there’s another title going from dead to worse. (Yes, this was a thing that REALLY HAPPENED. There’s a top 5 list for someone to follow up with on Wrestlecrap – Top 5 Worst Ways A Title Was Awarded. HHH still wins.) Meanwhile, two years ago, it actually meant something. Martel won the thing from Booker on Nitro shortly before this, and Booker was feuding with Saturn at the time, so it ended with this as a rematch for the title first, and the winner gets Saturn immediately after in another title match. (Today they’d just have Teddy Long make a three-way after all three guys lost to the other secondary champion in Beat the Clock qualifiers.) Booker goes after Martel quickly, clotheslining him to the floor. Raven and the Flock join us at ringside and do nothing of note all night. Booker works the arm. Leg lariat and kneedrop gets two for him. Martel actually draws heat, getting a “Martel sucks” chant, as Booker blocks a rollup and superkicks him for two. Back to the arm. Blind charge misses and Martel backdrops him to the floor. Booker gets up but ends up bumping onto the railing. Back in, and Booker hits a quick slam and breakdances up. Martel gets a powerslam on him for two to break up that comeback. Spinebuster sets up the Quebec Crab, which Booker escapes easily. Martel hits a crossbody, which Booker rolls through for two. Rollup for two from Booker. Martel hits a quick lariat for two. Booker comes back with a flying forearm and ax kick, the usual sign that the end is near. Spinebuster sets up a flying bodypress, which misses. Martel goes to the second rope, but gets caught with a leg lariat on the way down and Booker gets the pin and the title at 10:31, his second. ***1/4. Sadly, Martel landed REALLY badly coming off the ropes and ripped his knee apart, and had to retire as a result, right in the peak of his comeback. Saturn leaps out of the crowd and attacks, and we’ve got… – TV title match #2: Booker T v. Saturn. Saturn applies the Rings of Saturn right off the bat. Booker escapes and gets a sunset flip for two. Booker rolls out and gets whipped to the railing. He returns the favor right away. Back in and Booker blocks a clothesline and powerslams Saturn. He gets tossed out again, and Saturn follows with a pescado and a pump splash from the apron to the floor. Back in, Booker recovers enough for a flying forearm. Blind charge misses – nice looking bump off that one. It gets two for Saturn. Super backdrop suplex follows, and Saturn follows up with a regular superplex, but Booker blocks it and comes crashing down with a wicked stiff missile dropkick. He hits a leg lariat, but Saturn nails an exploider suplex for two. (That was during the brief period when I cared about trendy move naming vis-a-vis ECW enough to use “exploider” instead of just calling it a “suplex” or just the Americanized “exploder”.) Belly to belly gets two. He hits a Lionsault, but it leaves both guys down and out. Saturn goes for choking on the ropes. Booker tries a flying cross body, but misses. It gets a two count for Saturn. Back up, both collide for a double knockout. Saturn misses a blind charge of his own, and gets spinebusted. Ax kick flattens him, but the Harlem Hangover misses. Saturn hits a Northern Lights suplex for two. German suplex gets two, but Booker comes back with one last burst and hits a quick sidekick for the pin to retain at 14:20. Tough match. ***1/2 – La Parka v. Disco Inferno. No real angle here. Parka gets a quick chairshot and a powerslam to start. And now we dance. Disco comes back with two running corner clotheslines for two. Parka hits a leg lariat to knock Disco out and follows with a corkscrew plancha. Brawling sees Parka whip him into the rail and clothesline him. Back in, Parka gets a two count. Flying splash misses and they brawl outside again. Disco gets the better of it this time. Back in, Parka gets a head kick for two. Majastral cradle gets two. Resting abounds. Blind charges misses, cue the Disco comeback (on second thought, let’s not…). (Too bad, he did in fact make a comeback with TNA a few years after this was written.) Disco puts his head down and gets kicked in the face, however. Parka uses a headscissor to take Disco to the floor and hits a tope suicida. Back in, he hits the ringpost and Disco comes back again. He shoves the ref, allowing Parka to find his chair and sit Disco in it. They end up fighting on the top rope, where Disco tosses La Parka off, headfirst into the chair, followed by the Stone Cold Apocalyptic Chartbusting Last Stunner Dance for the pin at 11:39. Dull but solid. *** (That’s a hell of a rating upgrade.) – Brad Armstrong v. Goldberg. Before he was Buzzkill, he was just roadkill. (RIP) Spear, jackhammer, and we be outta here at 2:23. ½* – Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera. FINALLY, THE JUICE HAS…oh, wait, wrong gimmick. Jericho refuses to take the belt off, so they start the match with him wearing it. (There’s a Ziggler gimmick waiting to happen.) Juvy kicks him in the belt, and he removes it. Jericho dominates, but gets caught with a springboard leg lariat. Juvy follows with a rana off the apron to the floor. Jericho acts dead and tries to take the countout, which is a REALLY funny spot that he never does anymore. (Really, why wouldn’t more champions try that tactic? Not outright walking out on the match like the lame-o writers come up with twice an episode sometimes, but actually putting the onus on the challenger of winning the belt? Leave the ring, force the other guy to chase you and MAKE you get back into the ring. That’s heel psychology!) Juvy tosses him back in and chops away. He flips out of a german suplex and gets dropped on the top rope. They hit the floor and Jericho tries to springboard off the steps, but ends up running into the railing instead. Back, and Jericho gets a piledriver fro two. Arrogant cover gets two. Juvy hits a victory roll for two. Delayed suplex and senton gets two. They fight on top and Juvy comes off with a rana but Jericho counters with the electric chair. Juvy dropkicks Jericho to the floor and follows with a springboard elbow. Back in, Juvy hits a tombstone and 450 for the pin…but Jericho was in the ropes, so we continue. Jericho clips him, but Juvy rolls him up for two. Jericho gets a lariat for two. Powerbomb is reversed by Juvy to a DDT for two. He goes for a top rope rana, but Jericho blocks. Juvy sets up again and this time hits a springboard variation and gets two. Jericho gets an inverted suplex, but the Lionsault misses. Liontamer is attempted, but reversed to a rollup for two. Juvy tries to finish with another rana, but this time Jericho blocks and applies the Liontamer for the submission at 13:27. Whew, great finish. ***3/4 Juvy unmasks after some taunting by Jericho, and the Juice we all know and love is revealed at last. Jericho, of course, steals the mask for his trophy case. (The only case where WCW unmasking someone helped him out. Before there was no connection with the fans or empathy, and once he was unmasked we got all the great babyface expressions and emotions from Juvy during the matches. Unlike, say, Psicosis, where the initial “Put the mask back on him!” joke reaction from Heenan was probably the correct one.) – The British Bulldog v. Steve MacMichael. This is a feud that started with one of the all-time great bad lines, supplied by Mongo on an episode of Nitro: “Don’t stand there drinking coffee when a man’s talking to you!” Mongo gets the quick advantage. Bulldog goes for the Sharpshooter (doing very badly at it), but Mongo continues his, ahem, blistering offensive onslaught. Some of the punches even make contact. Almost. Brawl on the floor, where Mongo punches the ringpost. The ringpost actually does a better sell job than Mongo is usually capable of. Bulldog works on the wrist, in order to prevent the three-point stance. Well, I guess it’s a *kind* of psychology. And sure enough, Mongo goes for the three-point stance, but his wrist is too sore to stay in the down position. Why he couldn’t just lean on the OTHER wrist I’ll never know. (Because SCIENCE!) Anyway, the wrist is now crippled or something, and Bulldog applies a wristlock (which Mongo mistakes for a wristwatch) and gets the submission at 6:10. But see, Mongo protests that he never tapped out, thus protecting his spot or something. Yup. DUD – US title match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Chris Benoit. This was just before DDP’s big feud with Raven, and his sudden revelation that adding the word “scum” to anyone’s name could make him sound cool. (Much like Steve Corino, I guess.) This mini-feud with Page was actually a neat bit of politicking on his part, as he saw the incredibly heated Raven-Benoit feud and decided he wanted a piece. So he had Benoit moved into a “respect” feud with himself (which had the advantage of giving the illusion that he was a great wrestler) and then phased Raven into the feud as a result of that previous Raven-Benoit rivalry. Once Raven was in, he then segued the feud into DDP-Raven, and sent Benoit crashing back down to the undercard again. Isn’t backstage politics fun? Have I mentioned recently that Benoit beat the Rock on RAW last week? Who’s Page beaten recently? (Well, in the grand scheme of things, DDP is a hell of a guy who will always have my admiration now for what he’s done to help people, so 1999 Scott should probably shut up with that comparison now.) Anyway, Page works the arm to start here. He whips Benoit into the corner and gets a rotation gutbuster. Benoit suplexes him onto the top rope in retaliation. Quick crossface attempt, but Page makes the ropes. Pinfall reversal sequence, then DDP gets a backdrop suplex. Benoit dodges the Diamond Cutter by rolling out. He gets back in and they have a staredown, and it occurs to me that the natural progression would be for Benoit to slap the smirk off DDP’s face, and HE DOES! A really loud one, too, that gets the crowd ooo-ing and aaah-ing. They get into a slugfest, and Benoit hits a cheapshot. Rollup gets two. DDP counters that with an ocean cyclone suplex for two. Benoit dropkicks the knee and goes back on offense. He uses a cobra sleeper, but DDP escapes with a jawbreaker. Benoit hammers on him in the corner, to a big pop. DDP responds in kind. Benoit pulls out the snap suplex for two. I love it when he uses that. Back to the sleeper. DDP escapes, but Benoit tenaciously goes right back at it. DDP dumps him over the top in desperation. Benoit goes to the top, but gets crotched. DDP gets a superplex for a double knockout spot. Slugfest follows as they get up, and DDP mounts a comeback. Spinning lariat gets two. DDP goes upstairs and hits a flying clothesline for two. Suplex attempt is suddenly reversed to a crossface, and the crowd goes NUTS. DDP makes the ropes. Suplex attempt again, this time reversed to a cradle for two, and again reversed by DDP for two. Page gets a belly to belly for two, but Benoit comes back with the rolling suplexes for two. The crowd is DEEPLY into this. Double knockout, then DDP comes back with a jumping DDT for two. Diamond Cutter attempt, but Benoit blocks and goes for a backslide, which Page flips out of and hits the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere, and it’s academic from there. He retains at 15:43 in an awesome match for Page. ****1/4 Lodi offers sage advice via a sign: “Benoit, We Knew You’d Lose”. (Better advice: “Lay off the unprotected headshots and don’t fuck someone else’s wife.”) Work, shoot, it’s all the same thing. I panned this match in my original go-around because of my initial bitterness at Benoit’s loss, but time has mellowed me to it, because really it’s all worked out just fine for Chris, while all the jerks who held him back are busy sinking with the Titanic right now. Instant karma IS gonna get you. (It sure got Benoit.) – Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. This is no-DQ. I believe it’s also stipulated as being “no-workrate” and “no-heat”, but I could be wrong. Luger has heavily taped ribs. HUGE “Luger sucks” chant, so I guess San Fran is nWo country. (In all fairness, he did suck at this point.) This was during the initial stages of the drawn-out and boring angle that would eventually lead to the Wolfpac and thus destroy WCW completely. Although to be fair hindsight is 20/20 and all that. (Just look at the Page-Benoit review for proof.) Savage kicks him in the ribs all over the place a bunch. They fight outside, and back in, where Luger suddenly ignores the crippling injury, makes the comeback, and fights off nWo interference to get the rack for the submission at 7:20. Whatever. * The Savage-Hogan split is furthered here, leading to their epic battle (Age in the Cage III) at Uncensored the month after, which of course we will get too next month when I bite the bullet and slog through all of those wretched shows. – WCW World tag title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Outsiders. After 6 long months of incredibly screwy title changes, backstage politics, boneheaded substitutions to prevent certain people from jobbing, and match after incredibly bad match, this was finally the one that ended the feud. Scott Steiner’s long-awaited heel turn and singles push had been teased ENDLESSLY leading up to this, to the point where every match he was involved in from Halloween Havoc 97 onward was “the one where he’s gotta turn”. And FINALLY, here it is. Thankfully, they don’t draw it out any longer than needed – about a minute into the match, the Steiners clear the ring and do their standard “barking pose”, and Scott suddenly turns on Rick and destroys him. Rick’s heart is thus ripped out, and the Outsiders squash him and finish it with an Outsider’s Edge at 4:14 to regain the titles. Nash, of course, did nothing. ½* Scott made his re-debut on Nitro the next night as “White Thunder”, and took another year to get over. (Scott Steiner is another example of the philosophy of not giving up on something you want to get over. They did something like a dozen minor repackages and re-pushes of the guy before it finally took at the main event level, and they could have given up right after WHITE THUNDER and didn’t. Maybe they should have, but they DIDN’T.) – WCW World title match: Sting v. Hulk Hogan. This was as a result of the incredibly screwy finish of Starrcade 97. The title ended up being held up and put up for grabs here. Hogan chokes him out with the WEIGHTLIFTING BELT OF DOOM to start. Then he chokes him with Sting’s own coat. Alleged brawling outside follows. Helpful hint for Hogan: Most streetfighters don’t utilize back rakes as part of their offense. (Unless they’re a secret assassin like Remo Williams.) Back in, Hogan continues squashing Sting with the usual. Sting comes back and whips Hogan with his own belt. What irony. It’d be almost Shakespearean if the match didn’t suck so much. Hogan runs away, and we get more brawling outside. Back in, and Sting gets the stinger splash and scorpion deathlock, but Hogan makes the ropes. Ref gets bumped on a second splash. Hey, a ref bump, that’s just what this match needed. Hogan’s legdrop gets two as another ref comes in. Half-assed suplex gets two. After some resting, a rollup gets two. Back outside, more brawling. No way these guys need this much time for this match. Sting takes over, but good ol’ Ballshot #1 turns the tide. He manages two stinger splashes, but now we have yet another ref bump. An nWo run-in follows, but Sting fights them off and hits the deathdrop on Hogan. But because Hogan won’t job to Sting’s finisher, we have Savage do a BONUS run-in (2 for the price of 1!) and hit the already unconscious Hogan with…something…and that’s enough for Sting to get the pin and the title at 16:30. Waaaaaaay too much Hogan offense and general screwiness. ¼* Sting spraypaints “WCW” on Hogan as the announcers declare this the big triumph for WCW, blah blah blah. Hogan would have the title back around his waist a mere two months later, thus making the announcers look like idiots (In all fairness…), as per the status quo in WCW. The Bottom Line: The great thing about the 97-99 period for WCW was that the nWo/”main event” group and the mid-card were both segregated into their own little niches on the card, and thus the chances of having a talentless lunk stink up a perfectly good Benoit match were minimal, and thus you ended up with some damn good wrestling on WCW PPVs. (It’s true! Which is why it might actually be a good thing for the Main Event Superfriends to have their own mini-division these days.) And that, my friends, is why I continued watching through the wretched nWo years. Do like I do and ignore the crap that managed to float it’s way to the top of the booking toilet like so much diarrhea, and this is a great show with four matches breaking ***, an easy thumbs up no matter how you slice. Recommended show, but as always stop before the main event.
The Netcop Rant for WCW/nWo Superbrawl VIII (2013 Scott sez: I haven’t done a Scott Sez redo for a while, and I decided all by myself without suggestion from anyone to do Superbrawl VIII. This was the original version of the rant, written and posted basically while the show was airing, and I was pretty drunk at the time, but I thought it was interesting enough to keep in the archives, I guess. So we’ll do a compare and contrast.) Live from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, thus guaranteeing a built-in fanbase for Raven’s Flock. (Maybe Lodi should have been holding red equals signs.) We start with another lame black & white promo, which is ironic, considering… (I don’t really get what’s ironic about that.) Hosted by Eeny, Meeny and Miney. Mo is delayed at LAX due to weather problems. Okay, I was of two minds during a show more than a few times, so for a lot of the matches, I’m going to divide my review into Good (net)Cop and Bad (net)Cop. Try and follow my lead. Opening match: TV Title match #1: Booker T v. Rick Martel. Martel is once again in full heel mode and my interest in him is gone because of it. Booker is OVER. The Flock’s entrance at ringside is highlighted at one point during the match. They really get some time to stretch out here, moreso than on Thunder or Nitro, and they don’t really take advantage of it. It was just kinda slow, that’s all. Goes about 18 minutes before Martel comes off the second rope with whatever and Booker nails a Harlem sidekick in mid-air to block, which puts Martel’s lights out. And we have a two-time champion in Booker T! Yah! *** (Martel was actually on a pretty good run here in his comeback bid.) TV Title match #2: Booker T v. Saturn. Saturn charges in immediately after the previous match and they start it up right away as Saturn hammers on Booker. The announcers inform us that Martel tore some ligament, which will hopefully mean I won’t have to watch him wrestle for a while (I hate the heel Martel). (In fact Martel’s career was basically over following that injury.) Match is very lethargic as Booker seems winded and Saturn just sucks. Lots of time spent outside the ring, as Booker gets virtually no offense in. Tony blathers on about who the referee for the main event will be. (Yeah, their whole practice of hyping a main event for a show we already bought, or stole in our case, really was stupid.) Finally it gets good about 12 minutes in as both guys exchange some high-impact stuff. Booker goes for the Hangover and misses, but Saturn can’t capitalize as Booker hits the Harlem Sidekick and gets the pin to retain the title. *1/2 (Yeah, I know I underrated this one, as the redo will show.) Good Cop sez: I liked the booking, which put Booker over as a bigger badass than ever and really established him as a top face, and hopefully put an end to this triangle feud. Time to move onto Eddy. The matches were pretty disappointing, however. Bad Cop sez: Who cares about the match quality? BOOKER T RULZ! Consensus: Good opening. La Parka v. Disco Inferno. Fans are pretty into La Parka now. (Not that they did anything with him.) He whips the chair at Disco before the bell, nearly getting him right in the head. Total “charisma over talent” match as both guys dance, stall, play to the crowd, and basically do everything *but* wrestle. And as a result, the crowd is pretty dead. And of course NOW Tony talks about the match. Sheesh. Finally, La Parka brings in the chair, but Disco…very….slowly….stops him from coming off the top rope and using the chair, slamming him off the top onto the chair, then hitting the Stone Cold Chartbuster for the pin. * Good Cop sez: Really poor match for both guys, and putting Disco over made no sense on several levels, unless they’re priming him for another run at the TV title. This sucked. Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING. And La Parka didn’t even get to hit him with the chair afterwards. This sucked. Consensus: This sucked. (I bet the redone version has a higher rating.) JJ Dillon reinstates Nick Patrick with no conditions, but tells him that he will, under no circumstances, be involved in the main event. This, of course, tells us that he’ll be involved in the main event. Patrick actually kisses Mean Gene in his happiness. That’s a bit too much information… Brad Armstrong v. Bill Goldberg. We take a pool to bet on how fast Goldberg will destroy Brad Armstrong. Estimates range from 46 seconds (me) up to 3:16 (CanSen). Time of the match: 2:25, which means that Zenon wins. Oh, yeah, the match: Goldberg does some sloppy, dangerous moves which I’m sure RSPW will cream over, spear, jackhammer, yada yada yada. (Goldberg used to be a smark darling for some reason.) Good Cop sez: I’m sick of Goldberg and I don’t need to see him squash Brad Armstrong on a major PPV. (Get ready for MORE Goldberg!) Bad Cop sez: GOLDBERG SUCKS! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. (I kind of think the lack of Nitro in Canada meant that us Canadianites didn’t have the same love for Goldberg that the US did. Really, Canada was hardcore WWF territory, which was demonstrated by that Nitro in Toronto where Goldberg was booed like crazy.) Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera. Jericho leaves the belt on until Juvy kicks him there. Tony, at one point, calls a Juvy move a “flying body attack,” which may be *the* most generic move description in the history of wrestling. (I’ve been mocking that one ever since.) If you don’t know, just let Tenay call it, dude. Some other stuff happens, and then Juvy hits the 450, but Jericho has, like, 3 of his appendages in the ropes, although the announcers nevertheless act like it was a close call. Then it’s a super hot ending, as a flurry of offense from both guys nearly gives each the win before Jericho blocks a rana into the Liontamer for the tap-out. D’oh! **1/2 Jericho makes fun of Juvy as he removes his mask, which ruins the whole Juvy mystique for me. Sigh. (Juvy ruined his own mystique just fine later on. Hindsight says that unmasking him was actually the right move, because he went from generic luchador to literally a babyface star.) Good Cop sez: I think Jericho is on the bottom rung of the whole Cruiserweight talent ladder, but he continues to get a bigger push based on his whining in the ring and in real life. I didn’t like this match, and their styles aren’t really compatible. It just never clicked for me. (What the hell was my problem with Jericho? I certainly changed that tune later on.) Bad Cop sez: Cruiserweights suck. But unmaskings are cool. Consensus: Disappointing. Steve McMichael v. The British Bulldog. This was *so* bad. Not as bad as the main event, but still pretty wretched. After hearing me complain about lack of ring psychology, Mongo proceeds to sell a wrist injury to the point of stupidity (I mean, not being able to do a three-point stance because of the wrist injury?) before Bulldog puts him in an armbar for the submission, although the announcers act like he never gave up. -* Good Cop sez: It makes me sick to my stomach to watch Davey Boy Smith deteriorate before my eyes like this. (Yeah, it would get worse once he went back to the WWF.) And Mongo hasn’t had a good match since WarGames. (He pretty much disappeared soon after this, in fact. Like, literally just walked out of the promotion and they had no idea where he went.) Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. (Or Thunder.) [Note: The crowd is just dead silent by this point.] US Title match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Chris Benoit. And they blow it again. Terrible match for Benoit. Restholds galore, and the only markout moment of the match was the triple german suplex which Benoit seems to be adding to his usual repertoire now. (Yup, it became a signature move, of course.) WHOMP ASS~! But it’s for naught, as DDP reverses a Benoit move into the Diamond Cutter for the pin. FUCK! ** (Oh, now you’re just letting emotions and alcohol influence your rating, 1998 Scott. I bet it’s like **** on the redo.) Good Cop sez: Benoit jobs again. And the match did nothing to advance the Raven storyline or give Benoit more credibility as a title contender. DDP just can’t keep up, it’s that simple. Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING! Consensus: Disappointing, but at least it was clean. Tony says by the way, Giant won’t be here tonight after all, but tune into Nitro because he’ll be there. Hey, more WCW bullshit. Whoo-hoo! No-DQ: Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. Oh, like you need me to tell you a) How bad it was; b) Who won or c) Who ran in, but I will anyway. a) It was pretty horrible. b) Luger wins with the Rack. c) The nWo runs in and beats up Savage so Luger can win. –** (That sounds harsh.) Good Cop sez: Why did Luger win? Savage is the one getting the push. (BECAUSE SCIENCE!) Bad Cop sez: Bounce, Liz, bounce! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. [Note: The crowd is almost comatose right now.] “Unified” tag team title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Outsiders. Yeah, unified, sure, whatever. (It was supposed to be “unifying” the WCW and NWO tag titles, see.) Thankfully Scott punks his brother a mere two minutes in, thus saving me having to watch these four stink up the ring again. (That was a weird turn. Also set up one of the most dramatic makeovers in wrestling history.) Dibiase gets creamed by Dusty and the nWo do everything but play catch with the carcass of Rick Steiner before pinning him to regain the titles yet again. It did, however, completely reawaken the crowd. DUD Good Cop sez: Finally Scott turns. Thank god. Match was incredibly bad, of course. (Yeah, they had been teasing that turn out FOREVER.) Bad Cop sez: Hey, I liked it. I thought it was cool to turn him right at the beginning of the match, and I liked watching Rick get killed. Concensus: None, really. Bad match with a fun angle that was three months too late. Uncensored promo which directly rips off the Game Boy commercials. Main Event: “Unified” World title: Hulk Hogan v. Sting. And what the FUCK does it unify, huh? And what the hell happened to Sting? (18 months in the rafters and no steroids happened to him, DUH.) This is a HORRIBLE match, featuring not one, but TWO ref bumps, and Sting has been reduced to Lex Luger’s level: Take an ass-kicking, then come back with a repeated move (the Stinger splash) and a lame finisher (Deathdrop) to get the win. Which is what happens, as the entire nWo runs in, but Sting fights them off as Randy Savage bops Hogan with something and allows Sting to get the pin. Nick Patrick makes the count, of course. -** Sting claims the belt, then spraypaints “WCW” on the fallen Hogan, end of show. (Yeah, that should have been how Starrcade went.) Good Cop sez: I never, ever want to watch Sting wrestle again if this is his ceiling. (He’d get a little better, but yeah, that 18 months off was basically the end of top-level worker Sting.) DDP was able to carry Hogan to a better match than his kick-and-punch festival. Dallas fucking Page! And why couldn’t they do this ending at Starrcade, when it would have been appropriate and meant something? Bad Cop sez: YEAH! STING KICKS ASS! nWo SUX! STING FINALLY WINS! Concensus: Wretched match with an ending they should have done three months ago. The Bottom Line: Wrestling wise, this was easily the worst PPV I’ve seen in quite some time. There was no match I’d even classify as “good” after the opener, and even the Martel-Booker T match was on the fringes of being “good” and was flirting with “okay”. The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that saved this show was some really good angles that were long overdue. If Hogan had gone over in the title match, it would have been a cinch as “Worst Show of the Year”. On the other hand, I kind of liked the show on a markish level, as Sting finally got his revenge and Scott turned in a cool way and Juvy unmasked. So it wasn’t all bad. Just most of it. Later. (Way too harsh, 1998 lush Scott.)