Welcome back for more Dream Matches! This time we got to a sorta-request- a PPV match between Brock Lesnar & Rob Van Dam! Then a powerhouse bout between Scott Norton and the One Man Gang from 1996 WCW! Also, more of Freddie Joe Floyd, as he takes on a post-KOTR Steve Austin in 1996 WWF! More of High Energy, as they fight the jobber due of Barry Horowitz & Kato! The Powers of Pain in WCW as the Super Assassins against JTTS duo the State Patrol! And finally, we get the all-time greatest dream match of all: THE BEVERLY BROTHERS vs. DISORDERLY CONDUCT! Can WCW Saturday Night contain that level of star powers? Read on!
2002 KING OF THE RING FINAL:
BROCK LESNAR (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. ROB VAN DAM:
* So someone recommended I review the Vengeance match between these two, but it’s not on YouTube I think- but hey! Another KOTR match! This is the Finals to 2002’s show, during the Year of Lesnar’s Mega-Push. This tourney led to Steve Austin temporarily quitting as well as Chris Jericho turning on the IWC, ripping on fans for giving his RVD match on this same show only ***1/2 or so. Something like “If you don’t like this, then you’ll never like anything we ever give you” because he had an elevated opinion of that bout. Brock’s in black trunks and looks like absolute MONEY with that huge, bulky muscular physique, while RVD’s in great tiger-striped tights.
RVD uses speed and thigh-kicks to try and wear Lesnar down, knocking him into the corner with a superkick that looks like it hit for real, then tries his “two shoulder-rams into a charging monkey flip” spot, only to be caught in a big powerbomb! Brock throws boots and rams RVD into the corner and poor Rob is just SCREAMING in pain after every shot, going all-out to put the new guy over. Twisting powerslam gets two. Long bearhug has Rob in agony, but Brock goes into the post off a charge! Brock catches a kick, but RVD avoids a powerslam and throws a ton of kicks, finally toppling the beast with a flying side-kick! Rolling Thunder hits, but he’s launched off at two. Spinning legdrop & Five-Star Frog Splash… but Heyman grabs Rob while he’s selling the ribs, then garrotes him on the top rope. But RVD falls back onto Lesnar, getting two! The crowd bought that and Heyman sells it like a heart attack-inducing kickout. RVD boots Heyman down for that and goes up- but Brock catches him trying a moonsault and hits the F5! Brock wins the King of the Ring at (5:36)! The Brock Era had truly begun.
Not a bad little match- they skipped the “feeling out” period and just threw bombs, RVD selling his ass off and screaming in agony with everything. Good psychology with the rib stuff, as RVD’s Frog Splash caused him even more pain, then a distraction from Heyman gave him a tiny bit of an “out”. Both guys had already wrestled so can be forgiven for doing a quickie bout. They would wrestle the next PPV at Vengeance, Brock winning again in a more substantial match, as it becomes increasingly clear that even the big names haven’t found a way to beat Brock yet.
Rating: **1/2 (too short and not “big” enough, but they did pretty well for the time and even used psychology with the rib-smashing)
The One Man Gang was gone from WCW by the time I started watching it, so I find him such a weird fit.
THE ONE MAN GANG vs. SCOTT NORTON:
(WCW Pro, April 6th 1996)
* Okay, now THIS is a weird one. One Man Gang was on his way out from WCW at this time, while Norton was just getting started (though spending much of his time in Japan). Gang gets the Dungeon of Doom theme music, but no manager! Scott’s in a red & black singlet, and is absolutely DWARFED by his opponent- Norton was big in a “normal person big” kinda way, but is in no way close to Gang’s weight class, which shows you how big the ’80s wrestlers really were.
Gang stuffs Norton into the corner, but shockingly Scott just beats the shit out of him, rams him into the corner, then clotheslines him down! Norton puts his head down and gets kicked, but straight up ignores it, and only gets knocked down after missing a clothesline. Gang punches and rams him again and again, but Norton simply chooses a random point to stop selling and fires back- Gang has to go to the eyes and choke him to bring him down again. Nope, Norton’s not selling anymore. He blasts Gang, who does a rubber-legged sell, then bowls him over with another shot. Gang gets choked and elbowed in the corner, but goes to the eyes again- he tries a whip, but Norton reverses it, then catches him coming out of the corner with a friggin’ powerslam, pinning him at (2:33)! Gang had only recently been US Champion, and Norton treated him like a glorified jobber!
Pretty bizarre match, showing Norton’s inadequacies as a worker. He was giving up something like 100 lbs. to his opponent and several inches in height, but he’s going to start no-selling him and just fighting back from everything like a power guy? He should have been fighting from beneath, dodging him and THEN using his power stuff, not just arbitrarily deciding to stop selling offense and hammering him. At least Gang knew his role here, bouncing around and bumping for Norton’s punches and clotheslines, then going up for that cool powerslam finish.
Rating: *1/2 (seemed like it could have been a good Hoss Match, but ended up a squash-adjacent contest with Norton just deciding not to sell for anything but eyerakes)
HIGH ENERGY (Owen Hart & Koko B. Ware) vs. KATO & BARRY HOROWITZ:
* Now this is an interesting one- verrrrrry early in High Energy’s run (Koko still has an afro and long red tights instead of his famously-huge parachute pants & MC Hammer hair) as the New Foundation has already split up (Jim Neidhart got fired), and they’re taking on the top-tier jobber Barry, and now-depushed and jobbied out Paul “Kato” Diamond.
Kato keeps pulling hair to keep Owen down in a hammerlock, but Owen keeps kipping up, eventually landing on his feet from a monkey flip and Owenzuigiri-ing him. Double-clothesline brings Kato down, but he slugs Koko when he blasts Barry for no reason, and tags out- Koko nonetheless armdrags & dropkicks Barry all over the place, doing his taunt repeatedly. Barry manages a knee, but eats a boot and takes a double-backdrop- he scores another shot, but Owen does his rope-flip armdrag and Koko adds a clothesline. Barry begs off and brings in Kato, who actually beats Koko’s ass with martial arts and his standing side-kick. But Kato puts his head down and gets slammed, then Owen hits his belly-to-belly suplex- Barry breaks it up and Koko runs in, too- Barry & Kato get rammed into each other and Stereo Missile Dropkicks pick up the win, Owen taking Kato at (6:56)!
Wow, this was an ETERNITY by jobber match standards- a sign that Kato was still a “pretend featured guy”, and a good showcase of the new tag team, who dominated everything and only gave a little to their opponents, so they could show off their variety of moves.
Rating: *3/4 (too non-competitive to be a real “featured match”, it still pulled off a good string of offense from High Energy)
A “State Trooper” gimmick is pretty classic “early ’90s WCW” to me. Like it’s SORT OF like 1980s WWF with the goofy gimmicks, but is a little too dumb for even WWF… so it fits perfectly for a company that really WANTED to be 1980s WWF but sucked at it.
THE SUPER ASSASSINS (Super Assassin #1 & 2, w/ Col. Robert Parker) vs. THE STATE PATROL (Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker & Lt. James Earl):
(WCW Worldwide, Dec. 16th 1995)
* So the Super Assassins are getting a mini-run in WCW at this point, but not really a PUSH, and they’re getting put against the dwarf-like low-end tag team the State Patrol, whom I’ve never seen before. It’s Power Plant trainer Sarge (Parker) and some other guy (Dale Veasey) who was a career journeyman/workhorse, having wrestled since 1982. They’re decked out as State Highway Patrol officers, complete with cop shirts and trooper hats, with Earl sporting a handlebar mustache. They look the gimmick- I’ll give ’em that. But then they dress down in jobbery gear, with the balding Earl in tights and Parker in a singlet.
The Patrol use their speed against #2 (Warlord), even hitting him with a shoulderblock version of Total Elimination with a run-in. A double-clothesline puts Barbarian down and they’re doing pretty well- Barbarian gets a bit going, Parker reversing on him a bit until Barbarian hits a powerslam off the ropes. Parker’s mauled for a bit, but Earl charges in and chop-blocks him when he tries a powerslam- that gets Parker two. Double suplex only gets one and then they CLUBBER~~ Barbarian as if Rhodes was on commentary and they wanted to impress him (alas, it’s Tony/Bobby). Warlord lands on Parker from a bodyslam attempt and the Assassins hit a Suplex/Flying Cross-Body combination, but they fuck around instead of pinning him and Earl comes in on Barbarian, blasting away and actually doing pretty well, but he runs straight into a big boot and is dead. The Assassins finish him off with Demolition Decapitation at (6:12), Buddy hilariously coming in to break it up, but stops because Warlord’s out of position, and they just stand there and it looks like Parker just chickened out because Warlord flexed at him.
Pretty basic, simple match, controlled by the Patrol of all people, making the Assassins look dumb with double-teams and reversals. Not sure why these two dwarfs were using CLUBBERING~~ on huge guys like this, but they looked okay. I can see why they’d be in a good spot as the “High Energy” of WCW, but they didn’t last long.
Rating: ** (solid enough TV bout- the Assassins showed almost nothing but the Patrol wrestled around them okay)
“STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN vs. FREDDIE JOE FLOYD:
(WWF Superstars, Sept. 7th 1996)
* An interesting one, though Freddie is a total jobber at this point. Brian Pillman is on commentary.
Freddie does well to start, outwrestling Austin and hitting a headlock, but Austin pulls the hair to assist on a whip. Freddie tags him with a cross-body for one, but Austin grabs his own headlock. Austin has no tape on his wrists here and it’s weirding me out- like the bare arms is just contrary to my mental image of him, and I had to actually check Google to see if he in fact typically wore any! Weird how the human brain works. Mine, anyways. Pillman discusses his backstory of being taken in by the Hart Family after growing up fatherless, and Mr. Perfect goads him until Pillman brings up Perfect losing to Bret at SummerSlam as the jabs get more intense. Austin gets a shoulderblock and some boots, but Freddie comes back and ducks a bunch of stuff until the Thesz Press puts him down. Austin picks him up, rakes the knee across Freddie’s head, and locks him in the Stone Cold Stunner for the pin at (2:12). God it’s weird looking at that move before he added the kick and theatrics. Having him do it as a basic grapple move messes with me.
Rating: * (Fine enough little jobber match- Austin gave Freddie a little bit to work with and let his technical stuff look good before just stuffing him)
“Ex-WWF Guys who were never actually big stars” is an oddly well-represented group in WCW’s gigantic ’90s roster.
WAYNE BLOOM & “MEAN” MIKE ENOS vs. DISORDERLY CONDUCT (Mean Mike & Tough Tom):
(WCW Saturday Night, Jan. 31st 1998)
* Yes, BOTH TEAMS have a guy named “Mean Mike” on them. The former are the Beverly Brothers, now refashioned as WCW jobbers (but like… above jobbers like Disorderly Conduct. They’re in that “Sal Sincere” division). Bloom is in red tights, and Enos now has a Steiner-style black singlet with orange on it. I notice yet again that the Beverlies are absolute GIANTS in there.
They take a minute to lock up, but Enos hits an overhead belly-to-belly and a a powerslam on Mean Mike (Scott Hudson points out the same name issue I just did, as well), getting two. Mean Mike hits an elbow to take the lead, but Enos drops the straps (?!) and hits a spinning Argentine backbreaker. Tough Tom clotheslines him down and Enos tags out, Bloom sweeping Tom after taking an armdrag. Bloom heels it up on him and they hit the “Beverly Leapfrog Move”, but Tom catches Enos with his head down- he backs him into his own corner, though, and Bloom secretly tags in and BAM- Beverly Bounce finishes at (3:43). Poor Mean Mike on the apron has to almost run in, but stop because he realizes Enos won’t catch him in time, leaving him standing there like an idiot while his partner gets pinned. Okay that’s the second match in this one set with that finish- weird coincidence.
Quick little jobber match with some flurries by D.C. before inevitably getting crushed. Interestingly, it’s pretty well exactly a 1994 Beverlies squash in the end, though Enos was being “Steiner Lite” in there, probably in hopes of getting noticed for a push. Best he got was a jobber match on PPV against Benoit, I think.
Rating: * (pretty good for a squash)