Saturday Night on Saturday Night!
By Dave Newman on 13th March 2021
Had a really interesting WCW Saturday Night match pop up on my playlist that I wanted to review, so I figured I’d try and make Saturday Night on Saturday Night a thing. Probably helps with that cool Arn/Regal match I reviewed in the Lords of the Ring article too.
This will take in the pre-Nitro glory days and the weirder days of the late nineties. I’m also avoiding the years that are predominantly collected on the Network.
Oz vs. Sting
These guys would wrestle a lot more towards the end of the decade, but this is probably their first match together. JR flying solo on commentary. Full neon pink gear on the Stinger and full neon green gear on Oz to fully place this in 1991. The commentary, featuring Cactus Jack and Rick Rude as upcoming opponents for Sting, places it after Halloween Havoc. JR says that Oz is hoping for an upset victory, really placing him as a giant jobber. They exchange slams before Oz gets a flying shoulderblock that’s was basically brushing Sting with his shoulder and then falling over and rolling on the ground, then further botching it by failing to get him over the top rope on a clothesline. Sting finds a way to fall out anyway and comes back with a clotheslines off the top rope. Oz reverses a side headlock with a back suplex and then gets a just about military press, which is impressive, although the drop over the top rope neck-first wasn’t. Apparently Brian Pillman had suggested that as a finisher for him and they workshopped it a bit until they got to Snake Eyes. Sting misses a Stinger Splash after a couple of sunset flips, but Oz misses his own charge and the Stinger wraps it up with a cross body off the top. Rather ignominious match. Fair play to Kevin Nash for sticking it out with how shit his early career was and he was at first, a guy like him who did still have the size today probably wouldn’t have gotten over at all and called it a career before even a glimpse of stardom.
Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Dave Hart
The weird period where Ravishing wasn’t a babyface but was feuding with both Sting AND Vader. He’s also eschewing the robe and the striptease. The tights are either orange or pink or purple depending on which part you look at. Tony and Bobby are talking about the imminent arrival of, you guessed it, Hulk Hogan. Rick’s definitely hitting the sunbed at this point. A minute in the side headlock before he gets bored and snaps off the Rude Awakening. Nobody did that better. Just a squash. Then to Mean Gene, AKA Divot Head, who talks to him about the aftermath of Superbrawl, where he slammed the cage door on Sting after the match and got the neckbreaker on the floor. Rude’s denying Sting a shot and proclaiming himself the true champion. Sadly, Sting would end up the belt in a manner that spelled the end of the Ravishing One at the same time.
Beautiful Bobby vs. Dave Sullivan
I know who should win this, but I think I know who WILL win this. Before that, Scheme Gene talks about Ric Flair having been in New York recently, but you’ve got to call the hotline to find out why. I’m guessing shopping. Bobby’s between the awful Bad Attitude team with Steve Keirn and the Blue Bloods, which strangely gave his career a little extra life, so he’s no longer got Chase and instead has Keirn’s awful music. Speaking of awful music, Evad has I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac, which gives us the strange dynamic of Bobby calling out the Hulkster on his way to the ring. The Brain on Evad: “This guy is such an idiot that he saw a sign in the airport that said ‘WET FLOOR’, so he did.” Dave overpowers Bobby, but Eaton comes back with his sweet punches and an elbow off the top. Bobby’s also strangely chatty today with his trash talk on him. Dave can barely run the ropes, then starts picking Bobby up for SOMETHING, which looked like he was going for a torture rack, but Bobby must’ve just told him to drop him so they went like a belly-to-back. Kevin Sullivan runs out to seemingly save Bobby from a broken neck. A collision sees Kevin and Bobby hit heads, but Dave tries to suplex Bobby and Kevin pulls the leg out from under him and Bobby gets the “cheap” win. Well, at least he won, as I hoped. Bobby was fine, as professional as ever, while Evad characteristically fucked up everything. Heenan’s call on the replay: “Dummy tries a suplex. Loses his footing somehow… well, Kevin tripped him. So what? They’re brothers. Bobby beat him.”
Roadblock vs. Goldberg
Seemed like (Rochester) Roadblock was a constant of the Apter mags. He apparently got a tryout for the WWF at a TV taping in ’92 as the Golden Retriever, which reeks of Vince seeing his blonde mane at the time and going “He’s got hair like a Labrador, pal! Call him the Golden Retriever, Patterson!”. This is actually Goldberg’s first match on Saturday Night and only his third match. The gladiator music is in place by now, which I think he didn’t have until this point. There’s already mystique being built around him by Tony and Dusty. Bill no-sells a clothesline and gets a heel hook until it’s broken in the ropes. Shoulder block takes down Roadblock, who responds with a cheap shot, then a big belly-to-belly. Bill actually comes back with a spinning heel kick, then launches at him with knees. No spear, as he goes straight to the Jackhammer, which he doesn’t hold up, but Roadblock is massive anyway. Bill was also a bit more chatty here during the match and to the cameras, but when he regularly added the spear as his setup move and became the stoic he was over like fuck.
Jerry Flynn vs. Rick Fuller
This is what Saturday Night was made for! Jerry comes out smiling and slapping hands at first, then immediately goes heel and mouths off at the camera. Weird! Fuller even gets music, but comes out scowling, so it’s heel against heel. Mike Tenay and Scott Hudson are interrupted by a cackling sound, which would lead to one of the great flops in wrestling, Chucky as Scott Steiner’s buddy. Flynn gets a spinning heel kick in the corner and a back kick after ducking a clothesline. He goes to the cross armbreaker, but Fuller gets the rope. Scott pimps Big Sexy and Goldberg appearing on QVC in the week. I bet Goldberg was pretty taciturn, but I could imagine Nash getting high and just dicking around for his own amusement. Fuller gets a spinebuster in name only, because it was like picking up a bag of rubbish and then just taking his arms away. Flynn skips a charge and chokes Fuller in the corner. Flynn ends up in the Tree of Woe, but slips down within seconds. Fuller actually is about to win some points with me by pulling the heart punch out of mothballs, but he just slaps him under the armpit instead. Damn, he should’ve just pinched his nipple if he was going to waste that. As offended as me, Flynn goes to the cross armbreaker and Fuller taps out. This match stunk of “Are you big? Are you tough? Are you trained? Are you busy? Will you take a cheque?”, but both promotions were just loading up with everyone and anyone at the time to gain a foothold.
La Parka vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
This is the match to blame for this review! I don’t think they could’ve picked two more different members of the roster if they tried. The Chairman is going with the blood skull look this time. Mike promotes a TV taping in Rome, Georgia. The first 100 people to buy tickets get a signed photo of Buff Bagwell! The next 100 get two. Plus Bobby Heenan and the Nitro Girls will be at the Kemper Arena to promote ticket sales for an upcoming Nitro. Damn, if someone had taped that it would’ve been more fun than Nitro at the time. Hacksaw was about to get pushed reasonably big again in the Russo era as a janitor and in connection with the Revolution and Team Canada. La Parka teases breaking the flag, but waves it for Duggan, then turns on him. Hacksaw punches him out. La Parka forgoes any plans of doing a lucha match and just bumps as much as he can, then sticks his tongue out at the crowd through the slit in his mask. He goes up, but Duggan is up too soon, so he drops off and kicks him. Duggan is almost in the other corner, so the Chairman goes back up to miss a splash that was up there with Tom Zenk jumping into air against Brian Lee at that Clash one time. More punches and a slam to set up the three point stance clothesline and the Old Glory kneedrop. This was Duggan doing the same match he probably did until recent years with any kid on an independent show that was willing to bump for him as long as he didn’t have to.
The Bottom Line: Nothing really decent on the action side, but I’m holding a few back until next Saturday night, so it’ll get better! Great time capsule of the A-show that became the D-show.