The SmarK Rant for WCW Saturday Night – 07.04.92
Time for an extra-patriotic edition of WCW Saturday Night! Brought to you by JOLLY RANCHER CANDY! Presumably just the red, white and blue ones.
Taped from Center Stage in Atlanta, GA
Your hosts are Jim Ross and a rotating cast of commentators, starting with Ron Simmons.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Big Josh v. Dick Slater & Greg Valentine
See now THIS feels like a Battlebowl draw. What do we call the heels, the Dirty Dick Hammers? Because I’m not comfortable with that. Greg beats on Josh in the corner, but Josh comes back with a slam on both heels and chases them off. I don’t know what’s up with Slater here but he looks almost gaunt compared to his usual stocky frame. Slater comes in and Bagwell grabs a headlock and they work off that and battle to a stalemate. Over to the Hammer again as JR promises to show us a Brad Armstrong match later, PLUS we’ll talk about tomorrow’s show at the Omni, PLUS a major announcement from Bill Watts! Man, it’s a like a recipe for ratings. The heels take over on Bagwell and work on his leg. No wonder he needed those calf implants. Valentine drops an elbow and stretches the hamstring, but Bagwell fights away from him, so Slater cuts off the tag and goes to work with a spinning toehold. Bagwell fights out of that, but Valentine goes around and takes out Big Josh to cut off the tag again and Slater stays on the leg. Did you know that Bagwell went to Sprayberry High School in nearby Marietta GA? That is totally new information. Slater switches to a legbar and the heels manage to bait Big Josh into the ring AGAIN and hit Bagwell with a double backdrop suplex behind the ref’s back, and Slater gets a piledriver for the pin at 7:28. Man, they didn’t even get a hot tag, that’s savage. I don’t think Slater and Valentine as a team went anywhere but it was a good opener. 1 for 1.
The Steiner Brothers v. Buddy Lee Parker & Randy Starr
The Steiners were the WCW tag team champions and had added the IWGP tag titles to their collection as well at this point. Scott takes Parker down and goes for the leg, but Buddy makes the ropes. So Scott wraps him up with a bow and arrow hold and Buddy has to make the ropes again and lets the other jobber try it. Scott immediately tosses him around and then Rick just punches him in the face and flattens him with the Steinerline. Back to Buddy and Scott hits him with a tilt a whirl slam and then finishes with the Frankensteiner at 3:20 to a giant pop from the crowd. Good thing they took the belts off them right away! 2 for 2.
The Steiners chat with Jim Ross about wrestling Williams & Gordy tomorrow night in the Omni, and Rick promises that Japan are a bunch of yellow cheaters and it’s nothing but sake and noodles for their opponents.
Cactus Jack v. The Italian Stallion
The announcers play up tensions between Jack and Ricky Steamboat, which was setting up a feud that ultimately went nowhere outside of a couple of house show matches. Jack beats on the Stallion and tosses him for a somersault senton off the apron. Back in, Jack bulldogs him out of the corner and finishes him off with a double arm DDT at 2:30. Thanks to Bill Watts for taking away the pretty blue mats because otherwise I would have thought they were wimps for taking those bumps on the floor. 2 for 3.
Cactus Jack chats with Jim Ross about how he’s getting paid really well to take out Ricky Steamboat, presumably by the Dangerous Alliance. “Random acts of violence just don’t do it for me anymore, call it maturity, BANG BANG!” See, everyone can learn and grow.
Ricky Steamboat v. Bob Cook
Delightfully, Cactus Jack now joins us on commentary for this, replacing Simmons. Steamboat works a headlock on Cook and blocks a boot to the gut by throwing kicks, and then takes him to the mat with the headlock again. Cook fights out and Steamboat takes him down with the headlock again while Jack lays some philosophy on us: Fame is fleeting, but infamy is forever. Cook fights back with his LEGENDARY right hands while Jack promises that when he’s done, Steamboat’s family will be terrified to leave the house and will have to be huddled together in fear all the time. Steamboat comes back with his chops and pins Cook at 4:18. I mean, I have to give a point to Jack basically going full supervillain and promising to kill Steamboat and his entire family. 3 for 4.
Brad Armstrong v. Pat Rose
Next up on the commentary team, Scotty Flamingo, since he’s defending the Light heavyweight title against Brad at the Omni tomorrow night. They trade takedowns on the mat while Scotty puts himself over in the third person and calls Brad a choke artist. He’s not wrong. Brad dropkicks Rose to the floor and works on the arm while Scotty declares guys like Jushin Liger to be “fly by nights in a cockamamie Halloween costume” and also disparages “Johnny B. Bozo the Clown”. Maybe he was thinking of Big Josh? Brad works an armbar while JR continues hyping Georgia Power Safety Night at the Omni tomorrow. So is it Safety Night sponsored by Georgia Power or just a Power Safety awareness night in Georgia? Like what’s the theme, don’t touch downed wires on the highway? Because I don’t see that one drawing a big crowd of kids. Brad continues working the arm while Scotty clarifies that he just doesn’t like Brad and can’t cheer for him. Rose finally escapes that predicament but Brad backdrops him and thankfully finishes with the legsweep at 6:42. 3 for 5.
World TV title: Steve Austin v. Michael Hayes
So there’s no mention of Hayes being half of the US tag team champions here, and apparently the Freebirds lost the titles to Dick Slater & Barbarian on a Main Event taping at the end of June, and then the belts were just dropped and literally never defended again. Speaking of belts, Austin has what appears to be an old WCW Six-Man belt here, presumably because they were in between designs and whoever commissioned the new one accidentally misspelled “WCW” and/or “Television” before sending it off to be made. I’m just guessing, honestly. Paul E. Dangerously joins us for commentary as the delightful parade of awesome color men continues. Austin tries a headlock and Hayes escapes that and goes to a hammerlock before taking Austin down with an armbar. Dangerously accuses Hayes of pulling Austin’s hair to gain that advantage. Maybe Austin should consider shaving his head? Hayes stays on the armbar but Austin reverses to his own while Dangerously points out that Austin has an open challenge to Barry Windham where Austin can win in 5:00 or less. This also applies to basketball games with Michael Jordan or hockey games with Wayne Gretzky. Austin takes Hayes down with another armbar and slugs away in the corner, but Hayes fights back with chops and calls for the DDT, taking forever to set it up. Austin easily escapes and finishes with the stungun at 5:40 to retain. Hayes was rapidly getting worse at this point and this was junk. 3 for 6.
Steve Austin joins Jim Ross and reiterates Dangerously’s point about how he can beat Barry in 5:00 or less, so Barry hits the ring and accepts the challenge RIGHT NOW. Paul thinks this is a bad idea, but luckily a bunch of referees come out and split them up before any wrestling matches can take place on this wrestling show. Whew. However, Bill Watts is the final word and he says to HOOK EM UP.
Barry Windham v. Steve Austin
Watts confirms that they’re not running a babysitting service and if they want to fight, they should fight. 40 years of wrestling fandom would lead me to disagree about wrestling promotions not being babysitting services a lot of the time. So they slug it out and Austin puts him down with an elbow, but Windham hits him with a big boot and Austin tries to run away. Dustin Rhodes chases him back in while Watts clarifies what is happening: Austin’s alligator mouth has overwhelmed his tadpole fanny. Well that clears it right up. Windham slugs away in the corner but misses an elbow and Austin backdrops him and goes for a pin despite the lack of a referee. And then Windham hits the lariat and Dustin runs in and counts the pin at 3:10. And they’re gonna meet tomorrow night at the Omni, fans! Weird but fine. 4 for 7. This stuff would be way better if it was actually building to something we could WATCH instead of a specific house show in Atlanta that only 0.1% of the audience could attend. Like they had hours of TV every week, plus Clashes, plus PPV, but nope, gotta sell 1000 tickets to the Omni.
Paul E. Dangerously rants to Jim Ross about how they were screwed and Austin never really meant that five minutes stuff in the first place.
The Barbarian v. Steve Pritchard
Barbarian gets a big boot and delayed suplex while Dangerously continues his rant, and chokes Pritchard out in the corner. JR & Paul talk about the potential of Pritchard as Barbarian finishes him off with the big boot at 1:20. 4 for 8.
Greg Valentine joins us and he’s got something to say! Let’s talk about Dustin Rhodes, who is NOT the Natural because he’s coasting on his dad’s name. Yeah good thing Greg VALENTINE would never do that.
Bobby Eaton v. The Z-Man
Zenk works an armbar to start and turns it into a hammerlock on the mat. Bobby tries to drop him on the top rope to escape, but Zenk bounces on the ropes and lands on his feet. Eaton then slugs him in the corner, hits him with a backdrop suplex, and pins him at 5:12. Wasn’t really much going on but it was fine. 5 for 9.
Meanwhile, at the Clash, the Steiners somehow manage to have the world’s most boring tag team match against Williams and Gordy, which leads to the heels winning clean and advancing to the finals of the NWA World tag team title tournament.
Terry Gordy joins us while Jim Ross reminds us that Gordy’s chop block is OUTLAWED! …in the NFL. And? You can’t bodyslam people in the NFL either.
Terry Gordy v. Larry Santo
Gordy takes this geek down and crossfaces him on the ropes, then pounds him with knees and chops him down before cranking on a neck vice on the mat. Spinebuster and Regal Stretch (which JR calls the “Oriental Twist”) finish at 2:42. Sounds like a dance that all the racist kids are doing. 5 for 10.
Cowboy Bill Watts joins us and he’s been studying the tag team situation and he’s thinking that he wants quality and not quantity, so he’s getting rid of the US tag team titles and wants to merge the NWA and WCW titles, at which point Dick Slater and Barbarian come out to challenge the Freebirds to the match that was already taped weeks earlier. Why are THEY suddenly a tag team? We just watching Slater and VALENTINE open the show as a team, and now Greg is already split off and challenging Dustin Rhodes and suddenly Slater is teaming with Barbarian instead for some reason. Further, if Bill wants quality and not quantity, then why are they even having this stupid NWA World tag title tournament? And why not actually wait until after it’s over to bury it like that? And yeah I know that in real life Bill was handed the tournament from Kip Frey before him, but the tournament isn’t even done yet and already he’s complaining about it! What a counterproductive segment this was.
Nikita Koloff v. Tracy Smothers
Nikita takes him down and gives him a clean break on the ropes, and then takes him down with a headlock while JR promises BIG NEWS on the hotline that we’re gonna be interested in. Really selling it there, Jim. Koloff continues working the headlock while JR clarifies that Koloff cares more about the US title than the World title, because the US title symbolizes FREEDOM and AMERICA, unlike the tyranny of Lithuania where he grew up. Well he’s kind of dumb then. Tracy escapes the headlock with a dropkick in the corner and works on him with shoulders, but Koloff fires back with his own shoulders and finishes with the Sickle at 4:25. This was fine. 6 for 11.
Sting joins us, ahead of his (cough) “challenge” from Arn Anderson at the Omni. Sorry, I couldn’t type it without laughing either. It’s non-title, because not even WCW thinks that AA is worthy of a shot at this point. And then, in a minor point, Sting’s facing Big Van Vader for the title next week on PPV, and is this SERIOUSLY the first time they’ve even mentioned the PPV on this damn show? Seriously, not even a control center or update segment or anything before now. They haven’t even mentioned any matches besides Sting v. Vader. But gotta hype that Georgia Power Safety Night at the Omni! This company is so messed up. Hot take, I know.
US title: Rick Rude v. Jimmy Garvin
Rude is taking this so seriously that he doesn’t even have the belt with him. Of note, his “Black Cat” ripoff is fully intact here. In other music weirdness, Michael Hayes used “Badstreet USA” for his music, but Garvin uses “I’m a Freebird and What’s Your Excuse” here. Which by the way is one of the worst entrance themes in history. No wonder they lost the US titles to Slater and Barbarian. They don’t even have matching gear anymore! Meanwhile, Nikita Koloff is on commentary and he’s not even TRYING to maintain his Russian accent anymore, going full on Scott Simpson from Minnesota at this point. Garvin works a facelock on Rude but gets beat up in the corner, so he goes to a headlock on the mat and Rude drops him with a suplex to take over. Rude with the bearhug and slams him out of that, then hits him with a knee off the ropes and finishes with the Rude Awakening as it’s good night at 4:30. Garvin is also awful at this point and this sucked. 6 for 12.
And then Rude calls out Koloff ahead of their clash in the Omni on GEORGIA POWER SAFETY NIGHT and we’re out of time!
Not gonna lie, I really enjoyed the show as a standalone effort, but this did absolutely nothing to make me want to see anything upcoming at the PPV. They literally didn’t even mention the show until 10 minutes before the end of this episode, and even then DIDN’T EVEN TELL YOU THE NAME OF THE SHOW, and instead spent the whole time hyping the Omni show in Atlanta and laying out all THOSE matches in detail.
It’s Great American Bash, by the way.
But I still enjoyed this one a lot, as it was fun to watch and flew by.