JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us in for two hours of WCW Saturday Night. JR’s horned up for Superbrawl III, but he’s cut off by entrance music before he can even start running down the card.
SCOTTY FLAMINGO and BOB COOK vs. MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL and JOHNNY B BADD
For god knows what reason, Johnny decides to grab hold of his home-grown Badd Blaster, and shake it around like a low hanging maraca. Now, being the home of the Atlanta Braves, it’s entirely plausible he’s simply adjusting his junk like a seasoned ballplayer, but he seemed to be doing a lot more than a cup shift. Even Jeff Blauser, who lead the league in crotch grabs in 1993, is sitting at home wondering what in the hell he just saw. So, given that Flamingo, Bagwell, and Badd are relatively even in the pecking order, you know Cook is doing the job here. And, despite knocking Bagwell clear into spring training with a big right hand, it is indeed Cook who takes the fall from a backslide courtesy of Bagwell at 5:43. A bodyslide would have been far funnier – but Johnny already surpassed the x-rated content allowed for this program. *1/2
TONY SCHIAVONE catches up with a far-too-proud BARRY WINDHAM backstage, still giddy over costing Steamboat the US title last week. He congratulates Rhodes on winning the title by himself, as he’s always been capable of doing. Looking ahead to Superbrawl III, Windham is getting a crack at the NWA title against Muta. This has been a career goal of his, and in less than a month, all his dreams are going to come true.
“BUMBLING” BILL WATTS hooks up with JIM ROSS to talk about Rick Rude’s recent stripping … of the US title. Rude is refusing to give up the gold apparently, so despite Rhodes being the champ, he’s without the belt. Watts has a stern message for Rude: The only way he’s going to be able to keep the belt is to come back and win it from Rhodes. That … really doesn’t make any sense at all. Of course, this is the same man who banned top rope maneuvers, so he’s not exactly a fountain of brilliance. Then, channelling his inner Gene Snitsky, he declares that what happened to Steamboat was not Dustin’s fault. He trashes that lousy NFL for using replay, because they’re pure and would never overturn a referee’s decision. Except the 4000 times it happened during the Dusty Rhodes era.
VINNIE VEGAS vs. CHAD BYRD
Oh god, Byrd might be the worst looking jobber of 1993 to date. He’s been gifted Ricky Morton’s hair, Sheamus’ complexion, Roddy Piper’s 2003 body, and Debra McMichael’s ruby red lips. I would have immediately pushed him to the moon. Unfortunately, WCW doesn’t possess the same kind of long-term money drawing vision that I do, and he falls victim to Snake Eyes at 1:20. NEXT!
CHRIS BENOIT vs. JOHNNY RICH
Look, I love a young Chris Benoit and all, but WCW is positively tantalizing me with Johnny Rich! This guy smiles, and immediately becomes the spitting image of Troy McClure. This guy can’t miss! You might remember him from such beatings as this one. The fans chant boring because they’ve got lima beans for brains, but Benoit ignores them and kicks the shit out of Johnny Rich. Chris goes to finish with a crucifix, but Rich drops back with a Samoan drop, and everything changes! A dropkick gets 2! A powerslam gets 2! And just when you’re thinking upset, Benoit does a standing switch and murders the movie star with the Dragon Suplex at 4:03. **1/2
Meanwhile, inter-promotional foreigners, THE ROCK & ROLL EXPRESS, are given promo time. Morton says he’s not the same man he used to be when he was active in WCW, but just like old times, they took the SMW tag-team titles from a team managed by Jim Cornette. They become the first team from another promotion to wrestle on a WCW pay-per-view next month. I’d be far more impressed if it was The Rockers.
THE WRECKING CREW vs. THE ITALIAN STALLION and LARRY SANTO
Zbyszko gives a shout out to our new commander in chief, Hillary Clinton. He thinks he’s funny, but he’s possibly clairvoyant. I’d like to give a special shoutout to this match, featuring 4 wrestlers I couldn’t give a damn about. You’d think a gimmick like “The Italian Stallion” would be right up my alley, but given the fact he is not, and will never be Rocky Balboa, I wish he’d choke on a bresaola log. Team Ugly wins with the Wrecking Ball at 4:05. Begone terrible wrestlers. 1/2*
Of course, I am not that lucky, because the victors hang around to talk to LARRY ZBYSZKO. Fury screams about the Minnesota Wrecking Crew for some reason, before declaring themselves the new Wrecking Crew. The upshot – they want a tag-team title shot. If they lose, can they leave town, and possibly earth?
PAT ROSE vs. ROBBIE V (in an Underdog Challenge)
Robbie V is a positively adorable newcomer to WCW, armed with cute little rosy red cheeks. This guy is what grandmother’s dream of for their granddaughters.
Pat Rose is of course an old veteran, competing since 1983, known for his epic wars against the fire ball throwing Japanese legend, King Koopa. Given the odds stacked against young Robbie, this is an aptly named Underdog Challenge. Robbie ducks the initial sequence with the splits, and then snaps off an ultra-fast kick that sends Rose to the floor. Rose tries to regroup, but he takes a springboard crossbody for 2. The fans are loving the kid here, who happily appeases their cheers with a triple jump armbar, which he hangs on to and works on the mat. Rose fights him off, and uses a choke hold – going completely against the plumber code of conduct. Robbie fights off a sleeper by ducking down and driving Pat’s head into the buckle, and he quickly puts on one of his own. Rose jabs a thumb into Robbie’s eye, and might be setting him up for his finisher – jumping on his head. But instead, V hits a spin kick and finishes with a split legged moonsault at 5:54! ** About three years later, Rob Van Dam ripped off this guy’s body of work and became a star in ECW.
Stylin’ and profilin’ from Parts Unknown, VADER, PAUL ORNDORFF, and HARLEY RACE are angry. I’m not entirely sure why – because they seem to know they have the upper hand on the Z Man and Johnny Gunn, who they face later tonight, but it doesn’t stop them from screaming and grunting a lot.
Z MAN and JOHNNY GUNN vs. VADER and PAUL ORNDORFF (with Harley Race)
Call the coroner, this won’t take long. JR’s excited for the opportunity here for Gunn and Z Man, because he’s optimistic to the point of needing an intervention. JR speculates that they should implement a game plan on not letting Vader tag in, which would be right up there with Hulk Hogan not using racist language during the social media era on the Obvious scale. Vader then tags in, roughly 30 seconds into the contest, and starts pawing at Gunn like a bear. Gunn manages to drop down to avoid a crossbody, and Vader crashes to the floor. Gunn nails him with a tope, but Orndorff is waiting in the rings to beat him off. Back in, Vader happily murders Gunn in front of Zenk, begging him to tag in, but Zenk can’t be bothered. Bored, Vader tags out and Orndorff hits a t-bone on Gunn … leaving him lying right in front of Zenk, who’s suddenly full of piss and vinegar and willing to tag in NOW. Orndorff immediately tags out to Vader anyway, and Zenk gets beaten around like a punching bag. Some of those shots look extra stiff, likely for being a total pansy earlier. He tags out, and Gunn comes in for round 2. He decides toe-to-toe with Vader is the best way to handle this, and he has his dropkick swatted away like Vader’s dealing with a mosquito. The big splash sets up the powerbomb for the win at 6:38. ** Orndorff then piledrives Zenk on the cement, because he’s fun like that.
STING is interviewed by TONY SCHIAVONE in this week’s edition of WCW Up Close. Tony takes us back to last year’s Great American Bash, which Tony calls a “fantastic night”, clearly not knowing his audience because poor Sting lost the belt to Vader that night. Sting says it was a physical night, and he tried to outlast Vader, figuring 250 pounds would have more stamina than 450. However, he misjudged Vader’s stamina, and one powerbomb later, his run as champion was over. Tony asks him to compare the Bash match to his Starrcade match for the King of Cable. Sting says he used the same strategy, just trying to wear him out. This time though, he felt Vader wearing down, and as soon as he felt him huffing and puffing, he pounced and managed to pick up the win. This takes us to the rubber match at Superbrawl, once again for the belt. But first, he needs to visit the White Castle of Fear. Sting says he knows nothing of this White Castle of Fear, but he’s played games before, defeating Jake Roberts in his own Spin the Wheel Make a Deal match. So he doesn’t really care what Vader has planned, because he never runs away from challenges. More looks than brains on that one.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. BARRY WINDHAM
Scorpio’s role is pretty undefined at this point. He wins the lion’s share of his matches (results of this one notwithstanding), has a little flash and funk in his repertoire, but … where’s he going? It’s 1993, so he’s far too small to be taken seriously making a run at the big belts, and they’ve already given up on the Cruiserweight thing, so he’s treading water now. Tonight he’s actually drowning, on the receiving end of an extended squash. Barry brings the funny by ordering the referee “DO YOUR JOB!” following a regular 2 count. Scorpio tries a comeback, but his slingshot 450 completely misses the mark, letting Barry nail the Implant for the easy win at 5:09. Scorpio’s always got his steppin’. *1/2
LARRY ZBYSZKO has made his way to the bowels of the building, where CACTUS JACK and THE BARBARIAN are hangin’. Jack tells Orndorff that as long as his neck snaps, crackles, and pops like “a bowl of sadistic Rice Krispies” that he’s not finished with him. He suggests that if he and Barbarian show up on Wonderful’s doorstep, that he not come out and play.
Cactus Jack makes a piss poor neighbor.
TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. CACTUS JACK and THE BARBARIAN
The fans scream wildly for Cactus Jack, which he doesn’t seem to appreciate at all. Instead, he turns his attention to the match at hand, and decides to fight both cowboys at the exact same time. Slazinger gets dumped, and Jack goes to drop the elbow off the apron, but Tex rolls away as fast as he can before Foley can even take flight. The fans are a rowdy bunch, chanting now for Tex, and going wild during every one of his moves. And finally, they simply decide to over sell every move – the audience version of Curt Hennig, and let out “ohhhhhhhhh!” after every single move, adding barks when the Barbarian’s involved. Barbarian delivers the Kick of Fear to the back of Slazinger’s head, but a second one misses, and Pierce helps his buddy change momentum – including a gentle boot to the back of the head getting a loud “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Jack comes in and hits the double arm DDT on Pierce out of the blue, and we have winners at 5:17. This was awful, with no flow, but the fans were in their smarkiest glory, and I enjoyed this. 1/2*
RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. DUSTIN RHODES (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
Rhodes has stolen one of Sting’s Sgt. Pepper jackets, which is probably gonna catch him some hell later. Or not, Sting’s a pushover. “DID YOU STEAL MY JACKET?” “No.” “Okay pal, I must be mistaken.” Rhodes works an STF, drawing a “BORING” chant – and quite frankly, they’re right. Steamboat counters with a half nelson, rolling Rhodes around for a series of 2 counts, but not able to finish. Larry calls this a human game of chess; and the biggest tell that your match is going to hell in a handbasket fast is when Larry Zbyszko is enjoying himself. The guys trade hiptoss attempts, reversing repeatedly until they fall to the floor. Steamboat doesn’t take kindly to this, suggesting that Rhodes did … something or other, and the next thing you know, they’re fighting! During a wrestling match! Well I never! Steamboat eventually bitch slaps Rhodes, and Dustin gives it right back, upsetting the referee because he doesn’t need this in the middle of a professional wrestling match. Steamboat slams Rhodes a couple of times, but his big splash is blocked by the knees. They trade some near falls, with an inside cradle nearly causing a double pin, but no one stays down for the 3. Steamboat goes for a sleeper, but Rhodes counters with a beautiful Stunner for 2! A high knee from Rhodes sets up the bulldog, but Steamboat shoves him off just as TV time expires at 9:40. This picked up towards the end, but these guys aren’t clicking at all. Sadly, their feud doesn’t appear over, so we’ll probably be forced to do this at least one more time before Windham slides back in against Dustin. **
Not much to see here, but Van Dam’s TV debut is probably worth a peak. Thankfully, our trip to the White Castle of Fear is right around the corner … play the game Sting, play the game.