One night before WrestleWar ’91, hopefully with some setup for that event!
Hosted by Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes, dressed like two, fat white guys in their casual clothes, from the desert in Phoenix with a live preview, with Missy Hyatt somewhere else, then the odd couple of my favourite, Bob Caudle, and Paul E Dangerously back in the arena. Paul tries to act like the cool grandson who’s doing Bob a favour by sticking around and showing him how everything works, which Bob smilingly no-sells.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Mark Kyle
Kyle attacks from behind, but Dustin turns it around quickly. Ducks a few clotheslines to get his own, then works on the arm. A lot of empty red seats visible on the hard camera side. Clothesline in the corner sets up the bulldog for the finish. It got a lot better when Dustin worked out ways to hit that out of nowhere. Nothing much to this one. Because WCW.
Big Josh vs. Joe Kazana
Zero reaction for Josh, who the fans haven’t got the gimmick with yet. Paul E suggests he has a history in midget tossing, which wouldn’t fly today. Nor would the midgets. They do the deal of him not knowing how to wrestle and just powering out of stuff, which is at least authentic, but doesn’t make for a good match. Double axehandle finishes in a minute that still felt long. Because WCW.
Missy’s at a gym in Phoenix and suggests she could go into the changing room to speak to Sting but won’t right now. Last week they namedropped Lisa Olson and this was about to be the start of a running gag she had with Stan Hansen whenever she went looking for a “babe”.
Stan Hansen vs. Scott Sandlin
Speak of the devil! Stan mauls Sandlin and hits him with a shoulderbreaker. Armbar of all things finishes, even with Sandlin in the ropes. Shit match, but Stan is at least decent enough to throw a lariat in after the bell. Because WCW.
Missy speaks to Sting at the gym, where he doesn’t say much of clear interest but does mention that the Steiners are also in Phoenix while Brian Pillman is at the arena in Atlanta. Foreshadowing!
The Four Horsemen vs. Larry Santo, David Isley, Tommy Angel and Scott Summers
Arn winces as he climbs the steps and isn’t even dressed for action and just stays at ringside scowling. His description on his podcast of how painful it was for him after his neck surgery in ’97 is excruciating to listen to. The short version: it felt like Braun Strowman has dug his fingers into the back of his neck and started pulling it apart from the muscles. Naitch starts with Angel then brings in Sid for a clothesline. Santo and his ugly tights comes in for a forearm from BW. Next in, Isley to chops from Flair. Sid and Windham double up for an assisted tackle, which makes me consider that they would’ve made a pretty formidable tag team. Summers is the last man in and the low man on the low end of the totem pole. Flair chops him to make lasers shoot out of his eyes, then beats him up on the outside. Arn drags himself around to get a slap in. Back in, Sid and Barry double clothesline. Powerbomb to send him back to the Xavier Institute. The rest of the jobbers get to experience the powerbomb too. The medics do actually carry a pile of them off on the gurney without much due care or attention. The Greatest…
Paul E talks to the Horsemen after the match. Arn shrinks into the background while the Nature Boy handles it, but then adds a few words in his usual excellent manner, including the word sarsaparilla.
Beautiful Bobby vs. Jim Boss
Boss isn’t massively big, but he’s in pretty awesome shape once he takes the budget gold robe off. Paul E is pondering a vague threat that Arn made in the last segment still. Suplex and eye rake from Bobby as he works out of a front facelock. Paul E says it’s Illegal Alien Night tomorrow, a dollar off your ticket if you bring a velvet painting with you. Bob denies that… after all, Jesse Helms wouldn’t let illegal aliens in to begin with. Bobby’s not been very interesting in recent squashes, without a Corny to amuse or direct him, but he does pull out the back suplex off the second rope and skips a sunset flip by just moving sideways and throwing a gut punch in. He also spoils an O’Connor roll by just standing still. Alabama Jam for the finish with a spank on the ass during the pin. That might’ve just redeemed it. The Greatest…
Back to Phoenix, with a beached whale sighting… Oh, that’s just Dusty in the pool. Jim has his WCW t-shirt tucked into his fluorescent green shorts, and he had the nerve to call Caudle the epitome of a man wearing brown shoes.
The Z-Man vs. Joe Cruz
Cruz had an interesting Barry Windham/Magnum T.A. look and good size, but never really got over other than in Europe or the minor leagues. Zenk actually gets a bit rough with some knees in the corner. I’m always surprised that the last few photos of Zenk (in mugshots) had no eyebrows when they were so prominent here. Strange hip toss reversal spot, as Zenk looked like he was going for Scott Hall’s chokeslam reversal, but then went to backslide. Side camera shot shows even more empty chairs on the right. Well, I’d take a toilet break during this one. Superkick and sleeper finishes, with Cruz the last person in the arena to go to sleep after this bore. Because WCW.
Flyin’ Brian vs. John Peterson
OK, I know (or think I know) what’s coming, so I’m a bit surprised about the placement of this match on the show. Pill gets a variety of elbowdrops on Peterson. Arn Anderson wanders out, as does Barry Windham, as the pieces start to fall into place for Paul E. Next, Flair, and of course Sid on the other side. Crucifix pin on Peterson, and then the Horsemen swarm Pillman for a classic beat down. They get him down for Naitch to drop some knees on the back of his neck and shoulder, which would lead to him turning up at the PPV taped up like a mummy. Pillman sells it like he’s been knocked out as JYD and friends make the save. The Greatest…
At the gym, Sting gives a pissed off response to Missy about the attack. Well, maybe you should’ve been there, bud.
Terry Taylor vs. Robby Campbell
First appearance of Taylor with Alexandra York, but still using the babyface music and not the Dallas music Michael Wallstreet had. Back to the victory time prediction from York. I feel like I recognise Campbell as someone else, but he’s definitely not a Scotsman. Jawbreaker and throat shot. Campbell actually gets a slam in, but looks incredibly green and grabs a headlock on the wrong side. Dropkick and fivearm for the win for Taylor. Not extraordinary, but Taylor was always better as a heel for me given how cocky he was. The Greatest…
Junkyard Dog, Tommy Rich and Ricky Morton vs. Magnum Force and Bill Ford
So, to the shock of nobody (as they were the only team being promoted), the faces are now the world six man tag team champs after the Omni show last week. JYD sounds awful on an insert promo. Ricky and Tommy try some Rock ‘n’ Roll Express stuff to mixed success. Funnily enough, they’d lose the belts and then be in another team with a different partner to regain them later in the year. Hint: he’s been on the show very recently. JYD gets a short clothesline and Tommy gets a dropkick. The champs have actually been working the leg pretty consistently, with Dog even getting a single leg Boston at one point. That takes the total moves I’ve seen him do ever up to six. Bill Ford, who the announcers consistently call by his Scrap Iron nickname, takes a good beating until one of the Magnum Force guys comes in. He and his partner work over Rich until Dog gets the Thump and Morton scoots in for the pin, which would be their finish at the PPV. Because WCW.
Dan Spivey vs. Carl Robertson
I’ve probably said this before, but Robertson looks like he’s just out of high school and like he’s growing his first moustache. Spivey clotheslines him out then suplexes him on the floor. Back in, side suplex for a feigned pinfall attempt. Fireman’s carry into a drop before the side slam finishes. Spivey does a bit to the camera where he wanted to say “I’m the new U.S. champion!” but it came out as “I’m the new S…. champion!” and he realises as he says it but can’t take it back! The Greatest…
Spivey promo afterwards. Why not do it as an insert during the match? At least he doesn’t fluff “new… U.S…. champion!” this time.
Missy in Phoenix is in the pool with El Gigante, but he’s not talking. Bill Alfonso has been telling stories on YouTube about how he was the prep man for the giant when it came to his conquests, but I doubt he’d need the help with Missy.
The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Keith Hart and Rob Morgan
Hart is tiny and Morgan is incredibly tall. There’s a part of me that thinks this is the guy who would end up being Rob Mayze, AKA Prince Kharis the Mummy in SMW. No DDP with Hayes and Garvin as he’s obviously not been at this taping. P.S. is good enough to throw in some insults directed at Doom “tomorrow night”. Hart tries to reverse some moves on him, so he gets the left of death. Garvin and Morgan tag in for a bit, then Hayes roughs up Morgan and facetiously apologises as he continues it. Garvin comes in and brags about holding a side headlock with one arm. Hayes back in for the DDT with the final sell for the match at WrestleWar during the pinfall. What a pro. The Greatest…
Bob and Paul E sign off in Atlanta, then back to Dusty in his Speedos, jacket and cowboy hat with JR to sell it one more time for the PPV.
Melting it down: Could’ve done with a bit of order editing for the Pillman angle so it was a harder sell for the PPV, but overall fine.