Happy SuperBrawl Saturday Everyone!
Back with another Stinker Review, where I look back at a show that has a reputation for being bad and decide whether it’s rap sheet is deserved or not. Next month we’re back to reader requests, so if you have one you’d like me to put in the Stinker Hat then please let me know in the comments section.
This show came during the pretty lousy Kevin Sullivan Era of WCW, an era that lasted from roughly January to March 2000 and was replaced by the Russo-Bischoff New Blood Vs Millionaires Club Era. Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddy Guerrero had all jumped ship to the WWF, whilst Konnan and Shane Douglas were sitting at home because they didn’t want to work for the new regime, meaning that the overall wrestling quality of WCW’s shows had taken a notable dip.
Sullivan was pushing the likes of Sid and Hogan on top still, despite the fact that if they were any staler they could have been fed to the ducks at the local park, whilst Jeff Jarrett was regularly refusing to take the World Title because he didn’t want to go down in history as the lowest drawing World Champion of all-time (He seemed to get over that when he started up NWA:TNA).
I’ll be watching the Warner Home Video version of the show, so if they are any noted differences with the version up on Peacock/WWE Network then that will be why. I have to say that the tape had NOT aged well, something that is sometimes a trend with these Warner tapes. They clearly didn’t mind skimping on quality control.
The event is emanating from San Fran, California, on the 20th of February 2000
Calling the action are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and the world’s most rotund Kopite Mark Madden
The first Botchamania calibre moment is that when you start the video it’s listed as “WCW PPV Superbowl” in the top left corner.
Mean Gene Okerlund is backstage where he wants a word with Commissioner Kevin Nash, but Jeff Jarrett and The Harris Brothers show up and say they have knocked Nash out, so Jarrett will be commissioner tonight. I’m not sure on the legalities of that one to be honest.
Tony and the rest of the announcers then start running down the card. This had to be done because a card hadn’t really been announced yet. I’m not sure if it was for this particular show, but at one point the marketing department got so annoyed by not being given any matches to hype up that they put something in the newspaper along the lines of “They won’t even tell US what matches will be on the show, for heaven’s sake don’t miss it!”. Anyway, having to wait for this to happen means the show is robbed of pretty much any momentum right out of the gate.
I will say that the theme for this show is really good at least. Like something out of a PSX game.
Final of WCW Cruiserweight Title Tournament
The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea w/ Paisley Vs Lash LeRoux
This tournament came about because Oklahoma (Ed Ferrara) won the belt from Madusa and then decided to vacate it. So not only did non-wrestler Ferrara win the belt but he didn’t even have the decency to do a quick pin fall job to move it back on to an actual wrestler. Prince had previously been TV Champ and had been repackaged into this new gimmick, whilst Lash was pretty green but had been working hard to develop his skills.
Lash makes the mistake of spanking Paisley (Sharmell Huffman) before the match starts, leading to Prince cutting him off immediately and Paisley getting a cheap shot of her own. Prince wasn’t exactly the most exciting guy from an in-ring perspective, but being a preening Prince cosplayer was more interesting than just being a generic babyface as he had been previously. He takes most of the match here, with the idea being that they want to put him over strong, which is fine I guess but it doesn’t really do much for Lash.
The action isn’t that bad, although it is a bit sloppy in places, with Paisley spending most of the match standing on the apron as opposed to at ringside, which the referee allows for some reason. The crowd doesn’t really care that much either, so the match feels pretty flat. Paisley eventually plays dividend by holding onto Prince so that Lash can’t deliver a rana off the top and that leads to Prince getting a DDT off the second rope for the three count.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE IAUKEA
Pretty meh opener to be honest. I can understand them going with the more experienced Heel Iaukea as Champ for the time being until they could build up a challenger, but they didn’t really give Lash much in the match itself
Norman Smiley is having his ribs taped up.
Mean Gene is backstage with Brian Knobbs. He cuts a generic babyface promo about how he isn’t going to give up despite losing a lot recently.
We see that there is a private room with a mystery person in it.
WCW Hardcore Title
Champ: Bam Bam Bigelow Vs Brian Knobbs
Bammer won the belt thanks to Fit Finlay turning on Brian Knobbs, with the idea being that Finlay was teaching Knobbs some kind of lesson about overcoming adversity or some such nonsense. Finlay comes out to distract Bigelow to start, allowing Knobbs to get the advantage. This was such an odd storyline. The match itself is your standard Hardcore Title match from WWF/WCW during this period, as both guys quickly brawl to the back and hit each other with assorted plunder.
Knobbs eventually asks that Finlay leave so that he can prove he’s capable of doing this himself, leading to both men brawling back towards the ring. Knobbs tries to bulldog Bammer through a table back in there, but Bigelow counters it and flings Knobbs through it instead before following up with Greetings From Asbury Park. Bigelow is a stupid babyface (at least, I think he’s a babyface) and doesn’t go for the pin, which allows Finlay to run back down for a distraction so that Knobbs can hit Bammer with a metal bin lid for the three count.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: BRIAN KNOBBS
So much for Knobbs wanting to do it on his own. Match was pretty by-the-numbers to be honest, as both the WWF and WCW overdid these sorts of matches during this era and they eventually just started to feel formulaic
Ric Flair, Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth hang out backstage.
Extras outside of Scott Hall and Sid’s locker rooms tell one another that no one is allowed to enter, even the president! Some of the acting from the extras there rivalled the sort of performances you’d find in a school play for quality.
3 Count (Evan Karagias, Shane Helms and Shannon Moore) Vs Norman Smiley
3 Count were a wrestling boy band and actually did a reasonably competent song called “I Can’t Get You Out of My Heart” that WCW should have probably tried releasing as a single for ships and giggles. Norman got choke slammed through a table at the hands of The Wall so he’s got taped ribs here, which means 3 Count are braver than usual as a result.
This isn’t a bad match actually, with 3 Count taking some nice bumps for Norman and Norman doing some good selling of the mid-section. The crowd responds reasonably well to it due to Norman having an over act as a lower card comedy act. Norman actually gets a decent amount of offence in, as I have to head downstairs to the other VCR as the tape is quite literally killing my older one. That’s now bad this show is. As that happens, 3 Count destroy Norman with some splashes off the top and a Boston Crab from Moore ends it.
WINNERS: 3 COUNT
Too short to be any more, but it was entertaining for what it was
Norman leaves under his own power following that.
The private room still exists.
Jeff Jarrett is scheming with The Harris’ about who is behind the door.
Special Main Event
The Wall Vs The Demon
WCW had a deal with the band KISS that the Gene Simmons themed wrestler The Demon would wrestle in a certain amount of Main Event matches; hence this bout fourth on the card is now a “Special Main Event”. I don’t think KISS’ lawyers were too happy about that one. I do love “God of Thunder” as Demon’s theme, and he looked pretty cool in the getup, but that was about as far as it went. My earliest memory was him doing his full entrance and getting pinned by Bam Bam Bigelow in something like 5 seconds from a weapon shot.
Wall was getting a monster push at the time and was probably getting primed for a feud with one of the top stars in the company, but when Russo and Bischoff came in he ended up getting shunted back down to the mid-card. Wall actually jumps Demon from behind when Demon stupidly comes out of the ring to look for him when Wall doesn’t immediately appear during his entrance. Wall controls things for a bit after that, although Demon does get a brief flurry in. The crowd really couldn’t care any less though, and start openly turning on the match after a certain point.
This match is pretty bad, as both guys needed to be carried in order to have a good match and it’s clear that they are having issues working together, including a notable moment where Wall takes the old Flair bump off the top rope but Demon neglects to protect him properly, leading to Wall landing on his head on the way down. My Dad, who didn’t really understand wrestling when he used to watch it with me, noticed right away that Demon had messed up when I first watched this back in the day and knew that a receipt was coming. Wall does indeed get Demon back for that, giving him a vicious Choke Slam off the top rope for the win.
WINNER: THE WALL
These two had no place being on pay per view without anyone there to help carry them through it. Real amateur hour stuff
Mean Gene is backstage with Ernest “The Cat” Miller. Gene asks Cat where James Brown is, as Cat promised him. Cat confirms that Brown is indeed here.
The Harris’ make a very lame attempt to get into the private room and walk off after 2 seconds of trying. What lousy hired goons they turned out to be.
Tank Abbott Vs Big Al
Abbott was a former MMA Fighter who had transitioned into wrestling and had been getting a solid push. Big Al is supposedly a guy from Abbott’s past who doesn’t like that Tank is wrestling these days. Even though Russo was gone by this stage, we still have a pole match, as you have to climb up and claim a leather jacket in order to pick up the win. Big Al has a rip off of “Spirit In The Sky” as his entrance music, which isn’t really a song you associate with supposed scary tough guys.
This match is absolutely terrible, as they tie each other together by the wrist with a belt and start punching each other, although the belt quickly becomes untied and they have to pretend that it isn’t. They basically just trade punches and swear at one another until Al knocks Abbott down. Al doesn’t go for the jacket though and instead just takes forever to move Tank’s out cold body around before finally settling on just standing on his face.
Al decided to do that rather than pull Tank groin first into the ring post, because doing that was “too good for him”. This match is straight up embarrassing. Tank decides he’s had enough of selling following that and destroys Al with some punches before climbing the pole and flinging Al down to the floor. They were lucky no one died there. Tank then climbs the pole to claim the jacket and put us out of our collective misery.
WINNER: TANK ABBOTT
LOSERS: THE REST OF HUMANITY
That was one of the most embarrassing matches I’ve ever seen from a supposed mainstream wrestling promotion. Al was absolutely useless and Tank was only marginally better. The fact they let them go out there at all was a disgrace, but to let Tank do that spot where he flung Al out to the floor was bordering on being criminal. I don’t exaggerate when I say that Al could have been seriously hurt there. It was a spot actual skilled wrestlers would have to be at their best to do safely and they let these two amateur level guys go out there and do it. Matches like this make me think that WCW going out of business was just karma coming to collect
We’re sadly not done, as Tank grabs a knife from the jacket pocket and threatens to slit Al’s throat, causing the director to quickly cut away before they get taken off the air. Tony scrambles to try and explain it by saying it was actually a pair of scissors and Tank was trying to cut off Al’s beard, even though Al doesn’t have an especially long beard and it was clearly a knife. It’s moments like this that really make me understand why Tony eventually just mentally checked out whilst working for this company because they seemingly had a mission to make him look as stupid as absolutely possible.
Mean Gene is backstage with Big T, Stevie Ray and Mr. Biggs. Stevie says Big T is watching his back instead of Booker T from now on and that someone else from Booker’s past is involved in this feud as well.
Big T w/ Stevie Ray and Mr. Biggs Vs Booker
This was a feud where Harlem Heat split up, with Stevie now teaming with Big T and Booker no longer allowed to use the Harlem Heat music and name thanks to lawyer Mr. Biggs. For some reason he can’t use the “T” in his name anymore either. There is a pretty funny gag in the video package where we see that Booker gave Biggs an atomic drop and Biggs now has a neck brace and is pushing through litigation over it like the good lawyer scum he is.
Big T would probably be better known for his run in the WWF as Ahmed Johnson. Booker is given silly lame music here because he’s not allowed to use the Harlem Heat theme anymore. He would get a better one not too soon after though, which I believe he used during his G.I. Bro run later in the year. Ahmed was pretty out of shape for this WCW run, especially in comparison to how he used to look in the WWF.
There’s a lad in the front row with a Sunderland shirt on, as these 2000 WCW shows are just full of weird little occurrences like that. I feel for the poor bugger if he paid to fly all the way to the USA from the North East of England in order to watch this show. Booker does a reasonable job carrying the totally out of shape Ahmed here, with Stevie helping Ahmed out now and then. Booker takes most of the match actually, and does have it won with a Missile Dropkick, at which point the lights go out and a big dude shows up on the apron to distract Booker. This allows Ahmed to jump Booker from behind and get the Pearl River Plunge for the three count.
WINNER: BIG T
Booker looked good here, but he had pretty much nothing to work with
Biggs says the new Harlem Heat faction is too much to overcome, although Booker would manage it next month with the help of Billy Kidman.
Mean Gene is backstage with The Maestro and Symphony. Maestro says he will listen to nothing but James Brown music if Brown is actually here, but Cat will become his lackey if Brown isn’t here.
The Harris’ have got some guy to try and open the private door, but none of the keys work, so they beat him up. Again, what useless hired goons.
Vampiro Vs Billy Kidman w/ Torrie Wilson
This was a pretty straight forward issue, as Vamp and Kidman split matches on TV, so we have the rubber match tonight. They are both babyfaces I believe. This is mostly back and forth, with both men trading moves, leading to Torrie taking a bump off the apron. Vamp tries to use a chair outside the ring on Kidman, but Torrie distracts him to stop that and Kidman gets a Van Daminator, which he gets a two count from back inside.
This probably has the most energy of anything on the show thus far, as both men are working hard, but there are a lot of sloppy moments where they aren’t on the same page. I can’t fault the effort on display though, as they are clearly doing everything they can to have as good a match as possible. The crowd doesn’t really know which of the two wrestlers to cheer for, and the match has a bit of a flat atmosphere at points as a result.
They do respond to the bigger moves on display though, as they can tell that these two guys are putting the effort in to entertain them. Kidman ends up getting a messy reverse DDT off the top rope when Vamp tries a superplex of some kind and that’s enough for three.
That’s probably a bit generous, but there have been so many sucky matches on this show that I appreciate two guys throwing everything at the wall in an effort to have a good one
Mean Gene is backstage with Terry Funk and Dustin Rhodes. Funk cuts a promo on Ric Flair, saying that he’s going to kick Flair’s butt.
Sid demands that one of the security personnel fetch Mene Gene.
David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney are messing around with a stretcher.
Mean Gene is with The Mamalukes and Disco Inferno. Vito tells his mum that he’s spoken with a priest and he’s signed off on the match tonight, so she doesn’t need to worry. Johnny says their opponents have put him off his cheese sandwich, so tonight he’s going to break their thumbs.
Sicilian Stretcher Match
WCW Tag Team Titles
Champs: The Mamalukes (Big Vito and Johnny The Bull) w/ Disco Inferno Vs David Flair and Crowbar w/ Daffney
Flair and Crowbar ruined Vito’s sister’s wedding, possibly by stealing a very tasty Tiramisu, so The Mamalukes are looking for vengeance tonight. It’s a stretcher match where you have to take both team members past the stretcher line. This is another match where the wrestling isn’t especially good, but all four guys are working very hard and the two managers get involved as well, so it ends up being pretty entertaining as a result.
The stretchers of course get used as weapons, with some nicely executed spots by both Vito and Crowbar, who are the two most experienced guys in the match. Johnny and Flair were both green as broccoli at this stage in their respective careers, but the mostly brawling based action in this one helps cover for that. Daffney has such fantastic energy as well, so whenever she gets involved it’s almost impossible for it not to be fun
A table gets involved at one stage, with Vito powerbombing Crowbar through it in the corner, which is followed up with Johnny getting a wacky leg drop from the top onto Flair. It took a while for Johnny to steady himself before he jumped, but the move did look very nice when he finally delivered it. The Mamalukes tape Flair to one of the stretchers so he can’t escape, which leads to him getting carried out, leaving Crowbar on his own.
Crowbar does the best he can fighting against The Champs all by himself, but Johnny ends up destroying him with his own crowbar and Vito follows up by splashing Crowbar through a table outside the ring. Crowbar gets taped to a stretcher following that, with Daffney getting taped to a wheelchair (with Disco shoving a handkerchief in her mouth for good measure, which finally shuts her up). Crowbar gets carried out and The Champs retain as a result.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: THE MAMALUKES
It might just be that I’m starved for something good on this show and it’s making me give any match where the people involved actually seem to care more leeway than they possibly deserve, but I had fun with this one. It wasn’t going to win any technical wrestling awards, but it was an energetic brawl and the two more experienced guys did a good job walking their less experienced partners through it
Jarrett tells The Harris’ he has a plan. I bet it involves hitting someone with a guitar. Just a hunch I have.
Mean Gene shows up at Sid’s locker room, where Sid tells Gene that Jarrett’s scheming will not help him tonight.
The Cat joins us, with a fake James Brown. Maestro says it’s time for Cat to become his lackey, at which point the real James Brown shows up and dances with Cat. Cat was clearly a Heel in his pre-match promo, but I’m guessing this angle was supposed to turn him babyface? In case you’re wondering, yes, WCW did pay all that money for the real James Brown to show up and didn’t bother adequately promoting it, thus negating the point of him even being there in the first place. Cool as it was to see Brown, this segment dragged.
Mean Gene is with Scott Hall. Hall says he can go and he’ll show that tonight.
Following a video package, we get a Mean Gene interview with Ric Flair, who cuts a fantastic promo to hype up the next match.
Texas Death Match
Ric Flair Vs Terry Funk w/ Dustin Rhodes
This was a continuation of the big feud between the two men in 1989, although Funk is the babyface this time. Funk had originally come in as WCW commissioner but had lost that to Kevin Nash on the previous pay per view. Ironically it was originally supposed to be Flair who was in the commissioner role against Nash but he smartly turned it down because he knew it would only lead to him getting clobbered once again and he liked his chances as a Heel better.
This one is a bit like a Last Man Standing match, although you have to pin or submit someone before the ref will start counting. This one has probably the best heat of any match on the show so far, as the fans are super into Flair and thus see this match as a big deal as a result. This match is of course nowhere near as good as their classics from 1989, but it’s still a decent outing when you consider that Funk was considerably more broken down physically at this stage.
There are plenty of stiff chops, some good brawling and some excellent selling by both men. I would have probably preferred them just to do a No DQ match or something without the 10 count stipulation, and Funk seems to agree as he tries to turn the match into an I Quit match at one stage. Funk’s chest is beaten red raw after a certain point, with Flair even drawing blood at one stage, which leads to Funk trying to break Flair’s neck with a piledriver through a table just like he did back in 89.
Flair manages to survive it this time, with Funk stupidly lifting up Flair’s arm on a pin attempt so that he can punish Flair some more. That ends up biting him in the bum, as he sets up another table and goes for a Moonsault through it, only for Flair to knock him off and get the three count. Flair manages to make it up before Funk and that’s the finish.
WINNER: RIC FLAIR
An actual good match! There were few issues with it, notably the stipulation actively taking away from the action, but both men worked very hard and did the best they could to turn back the clock
The private door still exists.
Mean Gene is backstage with Jimmy Hart and Hulk Hogan. Hogan cuts the usual promo, talking about how Luger has been breaking arms but tonight it’s revenge for himself and Jimmy Hart. He even threatens to go after Liz as well, teasing that he’ll morph into Hollywood Hogan during the match itself.
Lex Luger w/ Miss Elizabeth Vs Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart
Michael Buffer is doing the ring announcing for this one, so you know it’s an important match. Luger had been breaking arms, including those of Hart and Hogan, so Hogan is looking to get him back here. Hogan was starting to do a Faces of Foley thing with his Hulk and Hollywood personas, but it didn’t really work as well with him as it did with Mick Foley because Foley is better at doing that sort of high concept stuff whilst Hogan is a more straightforward kind of worker.
He’s got the red and white and blue and he’s doesn’t even know how he do! This is your standard Hogan match, with Luger jumping Hogan as he comes in leading to Hogan fending him off and getting a shine. Even in 2000 the formula still kind of worked, it was just by that stage fans were not interested in paying money to see it. Of course, by 2002 the act had become fun nostalgia again, but in 2000 this sort of stuff was pretty blasé.
Hogan is slightly more intense than usual here, in an effort to get the angle over. Interestingly Luger gets the cut off but doesn’t actually cheat for it, instead just getting a back elbow, and its’s Hogan who then flagrantly cheats by using the cast on his arm during his comeback. The crowd gets into that at least. Detached from the fact that WCW was getting destroyed by the WWF in 2000 and stuff like Hogan doing this tired act was doing nothing to reverse it, if you like Hogan matches then you’ll probably think this is fine. Hogan ends up hitting Luger with the cast and delivering the Legdrop of DOOM™ for the three count.
WINNER: HULK HOGAN
A watchable Hogan match. You know the formula and you know what is going to happen, so as long as you enjoy Hogan’s act you’ll have fun with this
Flair and Luger try to beat Hogan down post-match, but Sting makes his return following Starrcade 99 and saves Hogan, leading to some posing.
Hall, Sid and Jarrett make their way to the ring for the Main Event.
The private locker room is empty! The plot thickens!!
WCW World Title
Champ: Sid Vicious Vs WCW United States Champ Jeff Jarrett w/ The Harris Brothers Vs Scott Hall
Jarrett, Harris Brothers, Hall and Kevin Nash were all in the nWo together, but Jarrett and The Harris’ broke away from The Outsiders, so Nash made this match so that his buddy Hall could get a Title shot. Hall was really in the doghouse at the time and this was his last ever match on a WCW pay per view. I believe some people backstage thought he was going to be fired once this one was over with, but he picked up an injury in this particular match and got sent home instead.
Jarrett and Hall are both solid workers, so whenever Sid isn’t involved this is a pretty watchable match. It’s insanely rushed though, which can happen when you have eleven matches on one show. It’s ludicrously overbooked after a certain point as well, with Jarrett taking out all of the referees so that pro-Jarrett referee Slick Johnson can come down in order to cheat the babyfaces. That goes down like a fart in church with the crowd, as all the ref bumps totally take them out of the match.
Jarrett nearly beats Hall with a guitar shot, but Roddy Piper joins us in a ref shirt of his own (although he missed his cue and Johnson had to do a ludicrous slow count so that Piper could stop him in time) thus revealing that he was the guy behind the mystery door. We get a Choke Slam for Jarrett and a powerbomb for Hall, which gets a three from Piper.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: SID VICIOUS
This started out okay, but then the overbooking kicked in and it became a real mess. Also the run time for the supposed Main Event was ludicrously short and it made the match feel unimportant as a result. They couldn’t have cancelled some of the dreck on the undercard to give this an extra five minutes?
Sid gets a brief moment to celebrate and we’re out of time. Tony almost dares us to watch Nitro the next night as the show ends.
Is It Really A Stinker?
This show was an abomination, with only one match I’d class as being good and a whole load of crap everywhere else. You can watch this and see why WCW was struggling so much, as the show was full of bad wrestling, lame gimmicks and a Main Event corps that wasn’t going to draw a single penny when put up against the likes of Rock, Triple H, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and others.
Some of the younger guys really were trying their utmost to have good matches out there, but they were either too inexperienced, saddled with crap opponents or just so visibly trapped in the mid-card merry-go-round that their efforts were all for naught anyway. The Main Event was an absolute joke too, as giving just 7 minutes for your World Title match just makes the belt look completely worthless and they actually had the potential to have a good match thanks to Jarrett and Hall being solid workers who could have walked Sid through a 12-15 minute match quite easily.
When you’ve got Johnny The Bull and David Flair (probably with a combined amount of 18 months of wrestling experience between them, at most) in the second best match on the show then you know you’ve booked an absolute turkey of a pay per view.
Final Rating: STINKER