FINALLY… the legendary ARACHNAMAN!
I’ve got a wild batch of Dream Matches for you today! First up is an amazingly-weird 6-Man Tag featuring the Dangerous Alliance versus a murderer’s row of infamously-stupid WCW Gimmicks: Big Josh (Doink as a lumberjack), PN News (obese white rapper) and Arachnaman (day-glo Spider-Man)! Then it’s a very strange one-time-only bout as the Smoking Gunns split up and team with the most bottom-tier “Not Quite Pure Jobbers” in the company, as it’s Bart Gunn & Freddie Joe Floyd vs. Billy Gunn & T.L. Hopper!
Also, how about some more Ice Train as he teams up with 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell against Ron Simmons and Harlem Heat! And then the stupidest jobber in WCW, Horshu, faces The Giant! And we cap things off with a bizarre WCW Tag Title defense as Scott Hall defends the gold by himself against the legendary due of Disorderly Conduct!
THE DANGEROUS ALLIANCE (“Stunning” Steve Austin, Arn Anderson & “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton, w/ Paul E. Dangerously & Madusa) vs. P.N. NEWS, BIG JOSH & ARACHNAMAN:
(WCW TBS Power Hour, Jan 11th 1992)
* OH MY GOD OH JESUS YES!! THIS IS WHAT I WAS PUT ON EARTH TO REVIEW!!! Fucking P.N. News, Doink the Clown and Brad Armstrong as a Player 2 version of Spider-Man versus the Dangerous Alliance! The Alliance is of course Paul E’s stable of baddies post-Horsemen, and mean nothing to me as a fan because I wasn’t watching at this time- I’ve heard WCW/NWA fans go ga-ga over them, and most are legit workers, though- seems like a pretty good stable. News is in neon green, Josh is dressed like a goddamn lumberjack in blue jorts and a red shirt, and Arachnaman is in blue with yellow. I swear to God the announcer says the latter is from “Web City”. I think the Alliance is coming down to a Jimmy Hart Version of “I Want a New Drug”. Bobby’s in white tights, Arn in red trunks & Austin in trunk-shorts that look like someone made them out of the opening of “Saved By The Bell”.
Arn starts off with Arachnaman, who indeed is doing a kind of shitty Spider-Man imitation “crouch” when he moves about, but the superhero gets the better of a couple exchanges. Bobby cracks him one, but eats a backdrop and headscissors. News comes in with a dance and tricks Bobby into running into his ass, then clotheslines him down- Austin comes in with some brawling, but is himself clotheslined, and is knocked dizzy into the face corner, where he’s beaten on! Josh stomps on his chest and Bobby’s dropped with a left, so Arn tries a shot as these guys can’t get their shit together against these absolute jobber dinks.
Josh and his teammates soon pinball Arn all over the place and Josh wipes out the other heels! Paul E calls Madusa in the back (“What the hell’s going on?!”) for some strategy with the boys. Josh continues to beat up Bobby, but Austin drags his partner out of the way and Josh eats the post, then Arn IMMEDIATELY cranks the arm into it again. Hammerlock slams sets up a multi-person tag-fest as they stay on the shoulder, and Austin comes off the top for two. Josh finally manages a kneelift and tags out, leading to Arachnaman running wild on the heels. All six guys hit the ring for a donnybrook, but Arn & Arachaman collide heads, dropping them both- Bobby comes off the top with the Alabama Jam (flying legdrop) to the back of Arachnaman’s head, letting Arn steal one at (10:37).
Interesting match- the first 7 minutes is almost all the heels failing something and then stalling for time, so we didn’t really get going until the segment on Josh, and then it was over pretty quickly. It was kinda interesting how the faces dominated so readily until the exact moment the heels were able to cheat, and then momentum never really went the other way. Though the biggest heel stable in the company needing to fight dirty to score a pin on ARACHNAMAN is pretty funny.
Rating: **1/4 (perfectly fine TV match that didn’t really get going until later)
Hard to talk about bad 1990s WWF gimmicks without discussing an out of shape Tony Anthony as a wrestling plumber.
BILLY GUNN & TL HOPPER vs. BART GUNN & FREDDIE JOE FLOYD:
(WWF Superstars, Oct. 22nd 1996)
* So this is during the Smoking Gunns split, where Billy (and his hilarious 1990s middle-part hairdo) acts like a heel for the first time, abandoning Bart to the New Rockers and crushing on Sunny. Now the Gunns are paired off with some of the weakest of the “Salvatore Sincere Division”, both being respected Southern wrestlers with terrible looks fashioned as JTTS guys. Billy’s in dark jeans and Bart in light, while a very fat Tony Anthony’s in his white tank-top and black pants. Floyd’s in the usual green trunks.
Billy avoids Bart and brings in Hopper as JR riffs on “McMahon’s marketing genius- the wrestling PLUMBER!”. Bart scores some armdrags and Freddie’s in for his back elbow for two. TL clotheslines him and Billy’s in, but Freddie gets squirrelly and we have a Gunn stand-off. Billy teases tagging out, but knuckles up and the brothers grapple, ending up in the “international” basic-training sequence and ducking stuff to show their knowledge of each other. They quickly tag out and Billy knees Freddie from the apron, putting him in peril. Back from break with Billy hitting a bulldog on Floyd and taunting his brother. Hopper gets a big boot for two and brawls away. Billy gets a clothesline after being sunset flipped, and Hopper’s in again with a side suplex. He misses a falling headbutt and Bart’s in off the hot tag, nailing both guys and powerslamming Hopper- Billy breaks up the pin immediately. Freddie dropkicks Billy out, and the faces hit a double dropkick… for the pin (6:33 shown)? Haha, really? What is this, 1987 Georgia? Billy teases making good with Bart, but suckers him with a clothesline and the feud is on! Billy takes off his boot and absolutely waylays Bart, Freddie AND Hopper with it, just going nuts and treating his own partner like shit.
So this gives Bart the win in the nascent Gunn feud (which is ongoing- they in fact never get back together, as we’re off on Billy’s first of many failed solo pushes), but in a match that sees only 30 seconds of contact between the brothers, so the fans still want to see them fight (… in theory, anyways). The match was mostly Anthony/Floyd, which didn’t set the world on fire.
Rating: *1/2 (basic forgettable TV tag match- no real heat sequences and ending on a mid-match Rockers move)
THE GIANT vs. HORSHU:
(WCW Worldwide, July 11th 1998)
* Yes, I’m subjecting y’all to more of Luther Reigns back when he was in wrestling’s most inexplicable character- HORSHU. Like “Horseshoe” but sorta like it’d sound in Japanese, except it’s a standard-issue white guy who’s making horseshoe shapes with his hair and arms, because… I don’t know. I really don’t know. And he’s being squashed by the Giant, who I don’t recall doing a lot of stuff like this on the D-shows.
Horshu jumps the Giant while he’s still stretching out on the ropes, but the big guy just reverses a whip, charges in with his dropkick, then finishes with a big boot and the Chokeslam, literally holding Horshu up in the air for several seconds, at (0:49). Wow, I don’t recall seeing THAT variation of it before!
Rating: DUD (too short to count, but I did like that Chokeslam)
Perhaps the most infamous of WCW’s “Filler Saturday Night” guys. I’m obsessed with how generic and un-flashy they are.
WCW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES:
SCOTT HALL vs. DISORDERLY CONDUCT (Mean Mike & Tough Tom):
* Okay, a lot to unpack here, and I’m old now so I forget why Hall was going solo. Looks like it was him teaming with the Giant… oh, Hall cuts a promo declaring that he carried Kevin Nash (with whom he was feuding) for years, and to show it, he will defend the titles solo. Hall’s got a drink with him here, as I think this is also around that angle where they played up his real-life demons- he definitely sounds like a lush (though that’s probably not acting). And he’s defending the belts solo against legendary Saturday Night jobbers Disorderly Conduct! Hey, are the tag belts different colors?
Hall starts off missing Mean Mike with his toothpick, so has to do it again- damn, he IS loaded! Mike takes the arm-snaps and overhand chop, but Tough Tom swipes at Hall from the apron, setting up Mike’s clothesline. Tough Tom chokes away as Disorderly Conduct start using what Monsoon used to call “that continuity!”, quick-tagging in and out, and SCOTT HALL actually looks to be in trouble against MEAN MIKE and TOUGH TOM. God, what a soldier. A double-team gets two, but he starts elbowing one off the apron after a double beatdown in the corner, gets his spin-punch, then catches Tom on a cross-body for his patented fallaway slam. Mike comes in and gets chokeslammed (complete with the Giant-mimic move), and we’re done. Hall can’t decide which to hit with his finisher, so he hits both Mike AND Tom with Outsider’s Edges, then stacks them on top of each other for the definitive pin at (4:40).
Pretty simple little match, with just enough comeuppance for Hall for getting too cocky with the jobbers since he was outnumbered. Him just firing back with elbows and punches when they surrounded him was a good way out of that sticky situation, and then he just murders them. It’s funny to watch Tom have to sell a friggin’ fallaway slam for a full minute, too.
Rating: *1/2 (a fun little spectacle with some good Hall shit- decent psychology and a comeback even from guys this weak)
Did they ever explain why Kane & Kole became Booker T & Stevie Ray, or was it one of those “MVP to Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz/Thurman Plugg to Bob Holly” deals where they acted like it was always that way?
“WE RAN OUT OF BLACK GUYS” MATCH:
2 COLD SCORPIO, MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL & ICE TRAIN (w/ Teddy Long) vs. RON SIMMONS & HARLEM HEAT (Kane & Kole):
(April 16th, 1994)
* I think this might be all of WCW’s black people in one match. And weirdly enough, it features the 2 Cold/Bagwell tag team, a green rookie Ice Train, and Simmons/Harlem Heat as heels (and with Booker T & Stevie Ray’s original WCW names- did they ever explain the change?). Heat & Simmons are in black, while 2 Cold/Bagwell are in white & orange tights. Train’s in white trunks, which is a look I’ve never seen on him before.
Ron suckers Bagwell into turning around and lays waste as we start, but Marcus uses his speed to take over with some good stuff for a flurry of two-counts. Ice Train comes in and hiptosses both Heat members and nails his old pal Ron, but Stevie Ray (Kane) turns the tide on 2 Cold. Booker T tries some stuff, but 2 Cold does a quick hop to the top with a cross-body for two- a criss-cross ends in a Harlem Side-Kick. 2 Cold manages a roundhouse kick and enzuigiri to escape, but Bagwell splashes right into knees and the heels are in charge again. Bagwell goes to the cross-body again but ends up kneed by Ron- Booker’s Ax Kick wipes him out and Stevie Ray stomps a mudhole. Ron distracts everyone so his team can crush Bagwell on the floor while Heenan is just going all-out in putting over Heat on commentary as a next great team with so much potential.
Bagwell is Morton-ized for a while and the fans actually get into it despite the heel offense being VERY basic aside from Booker’s spinning forearm smash. It goes on way too long and kills the crowd, only to go on extra longer and win them back (haven’t seen THAT before)… oh god and they keep on it so the fans die again. AND AGAIN! At least his selling is good. He makes his like ninth comeback but doesn’t go to his own corner and Heenan is apoplectic (“am I the only one here with any BRAINS?!”). Bagwell gets his nineteenth wind and finally dodges a top-rope move to tag Ice Train, who slams both Heat members and then hilariously gets clipped by Simmons when he picks up Booker, who lands on him for the pin (14:44). hahahahaahaha- TEN MINUTES of a heat segment and 20 seconds later they LOSE?
Oh man, wayyyyyyyyyyy too long in that heat sequence. It kinda worked for the live crowd as they kept getting back into it, but it was 8-9 minutes of chinlocks and boots with a powerslam in the middle. And then all that heat is built up for “Ice Bag” (re: Heenan) to immediately fail!
Rating: *1/4 (good selling by Bagwell but disappointing otherwise- Scorpio didn’t even fly around!)