The SmarK Rant for NWA Power Hour – 01.19.90
To be honest I’m still tinkering with Monday nights for reviews. My current thought process is a rotating odds and ends schedule, so I can cycle through stuff like GLOW and Lucha Underground and these old WCW shows, and maybe cycle Dark Elevation back in now and then, and hopefully not get sick of doing any of them right away. I dunno, it’s a work in progress. I still do need a break from Dark though. I do want to keep trying to do Observer Flashbacks on non-PPV Sunday nights though, so that’s my immediate goal. We’re also going to eventually come to the point when I run out of RAW and Nitro reviews to repost and have to start up those again, but that’s not until we get to late 1997 and we’re still a ways away from there yet. But I do think about these things.
Taped from Saginaw, MI
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jim Cornette, who is unimpressed with the quality of the fans in Michigan and likens them to serial killers.
Norman the Lunatic v. The Italian Stallion
WCW using Norman as a kid-friendly character wasn’t the worst idea in the world, but it’s always struck me as such a waste of Mike Shaw and his talents as an obnoxious self-absorbed heel that we never saw again after he left Stampede. Stallion bounces off Norman to start and gets slammed and Norman helps him up to be a good sport. Norman uses his ass to escape a go-behind, but then misses a splash and Stallion tosses him to the floor and beats on him. So then Kevin Sullivan joins us on commentary and accuses Terry Funk of taking Norman under his wing because Norman reminds him of his brother Dory, and they go out and get sodas and “put peanuts in their Cokes” and go off to have fun. Wait, wait, PEANUTS IN THEIR COKE? What the actual hell is THAT nonsense? Is that like the bizarre thing in the US where people drink iced tea without sugar in it? Back in the ring, Stallion gets a slam and drops an elbow on Norman, suddenly embracing the heel role and he goes to the armbar to work on Norman, and then he follows with a corner clothesline and ANOTHER slam! Stallion to the top, but Norman hits him on the way down and then sits on him for the pin at 6:10. This was a pretty entertaining squash and Norman gave Stallion a ton of offense and sold it all convincingly. 1 for 1.
THE WRESTLING NEWS NETWORK! WITH GORDON SOLIE!
BREAKING NEWS: The first Clash of the year takes place in February, and then WrestleWar 90 happens on February 25, with a main event of Sting v. Ric Flair! Hopefully nothing happens at that Clash to mess up those plans, but how likely is THAT? Also, Gordon wants to congratulate the Destruction Crew on winning Rookie of the Year in the PWI year end awards, which is weird to hear. THE FORBIDDEN DOOR IS OPENING. Less weird when you know that AWA was loaning them out to WCW as the “Minnesota Wrecking Crew II” in exchange for cash, but still weird. Also in what universe were either guy “rookies”? Even in kayfabe the characters had been around since 1988.
BREAKING NEWS AGAIN: Jim Cornette has a new fish tie. He wears it just for the halibut.
Huge if true.
Lex Luger v. Eddie Gilbert
Apparently a non-title match. What’s with Eddie Gilbert being all over these shows lately? They fight for the lockup to start while Ric Flair does an inset promo to rant about Luger not being worthy of a title shot. Luger takes Gilbert down with a headlock while Cornette differs with Flair’s interpretation, and in fact he’s pretty sure Luger is going to win the NWA World title from Flair before the PPV anyway. Man, again, they completely whiffed on not running super-heel Luger against babyface Flair in 1990. They could have milked that for MONTHS but Flair was obsessed with being heel all the time. Gilbert chases Lex to the floor as we get some complaints of hair-pulling. He’s got a point, that mullet was glorious in 1990 and should not have been touched. Luger rakes Gilbert on the ropes while Cornette wants to clarify that he did NOT slander WCW’s fans by calling them “rednecks”. He called them “slopeheads”. Gilbert goes to an armbar, but Lex boots him down and continues preening his beautiful mane of hair in between moves. We wouldn’t see a head of hair like that one again until Kevin Nash exploded on the hair care scene in 1994. Gilbert goes back to the arm, but Lex runs him into the turnbuckle and Eddie’s knee appears to give out. So Lex beats on him and doesn’t seem quite sure where they’re going, but Eddie gets a small package for two. Lex goes back to work on him, but Eddie makes a comeback and backdrops him out of the corner, but he’s still limping around the ring so I’m guessing he twisted his ankle or something. Eddie tries to go to the top rope, but Lex catches him and drops him with a Hot Shot of his own in a cheeky move, and pins him at 9:00. They were kind of sleepwalking through this one but I enjoyed it. Have you SEEN Lex Luger’s hair in 1990? It was glorious. 2 for 2.
FUNK’S GRILL with special guest Cactus Jack, as peanut butter meets chocolate for the first time. Jack has no time for fancy cars or women, because he’s a man and he’d rather hurt a man than love a woman. Also he’s not concerned with money. Well he’s in luck, then! Because he sure won’t be making much of it for a long time! Terry discusses beans and onions, and Jack notes that they taste like owl. But he likes eating owl. Moving onto his current storyline, Jack bitches about getting low grade tag team partners and being forced to turn on them because they’re so useless. Terry: “Did you ever think it’s because you’re nuts and they’re sane?” Jack: “…..no.” This was TREMENDOUS.
World TV Title: Arn Anderson v. Buzz Sawyer
Thankfully Arn finally got his belt after beating Muta last week and not actually being awarded the title belt. I wonder if it was done that way so they could repackage it as a non-title match if they decided to go another way with it? Buzz immediately hits Arn with a boot out of the corner and tosses him to the floor, but he charges and clotheslines the post, allowing Arn to take over and go to work on the arm. Back in the ring, Arn gets the hammerlock slam and slugs Buzz down before going to the armbar, but Buzz bites him on the leg to escape and puts him down with a knee to the gut. Buzz misses an elbow and Arn goes back to the armbar, so Buzz puts him on the floor with another knee. Here’s a random thing about Buzz that I didn’t fully realize until now: The WrestleWar 90 tag match with Kevin Sullivan against the Dynamic Dudes a month after this was Buzz’s final match in the sport outside of a single WCW house show appearance in early 1991. Also he was only 30 years old at this point despite looking like Arn Anderson today. Talk about the business taking it out of you. Buzz goes to a bearhug and beats on Arn for two, and then goes to an abdominal stretch and holds the tights for leverage. Arn fights out of that, but Buzz cuts him off again and tosses him, and they brawl on the floor, where Buzz rams him into the post. Back in the ring, Buzz misses a blind charge and takes the turnbuckle bump, allowing Arn to make the comeback. So now Arn tosses him and runs him into the ringpost, before following with the spinebuster for two. Can’t believe he kicked out, it’s almost like he was on some kind of painkilling substance. And then the J-Tex Corporation runs in for the DQ at 12:08. I feel like Joe Pesci in Casino watching that finish, where Joe’s like “You’re making me stick your head in a vice to protect THAT GUY?” It’s Buzz Sawyer, he can do the job. He had one foot out the door anyway. Also Buzz took the WHOLE match for some reason. Maybe Arn wanted the sympathy heat, I dunno, but I’m gonna go with the standard explanation of “Buzz Sawyer is a self-important dick”. 2 for 3.
Most of the show was great, although I wasn’t feeling the main event despite what you’d think would be a slam dunk pairing of bald tough guys.