Missing a week due to the strange uploads on the Network. Going by the quality drop in the second half of the January 1st episode, I wonder whether it’s due to poor quality tape. We’ll see this week if the problem persists as the next two episodes are also missing.
Hosted by Tony and Jesse from Center Stage.
Pretty Wonderful vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio
Orndorff’s guitar music was pretty slick at this time. The babyfaces rush the ring to start and run off the heels. Once it’s properly off and running, the good guys work over Orndorff’s arm until he catches Bagwell with a Stun Gun and brings in Roma. Backbreaker and elbow as Tony reminisces over Orndorff’s days as a tag team champion with Jimmy Snuka of all people. Double elbow for a pinfall attempt, but 2 Cold has the ref’s attention. Roma gets a bearhug, but Marcus breaks and gets a kick before a fairly lukewarm tag to Scorpio. A number of spin kicks and an attempt to set up something where Roma and Orndorff are run into each other that’s botched (“Shit!” says Roma), so Scorpio gets a rolling cradle instead for the win. Orndorff turns him inside out with a clothesline after the match and holds him for a swan dive splash from Roma. Pretty hot if basic match with some improvisation to fix the finish.
Brian Pillman promo on his match later with Steve Austin and his Clash match with the Colonel, with a Dire Straits reference thrown in.
Ron Simmons vs. Scott Studd
Simmons is still officially a babyface but has pretty much turned heel in his own mind at this point. Studd misses a dropkick and Ron slingshots him into the corner and stomps away. Military press into a dropping gut spear, which is one of those believably basic but brutal moves that doesn’t really hurt that bad. Ron finishes with the sidewalk slam/spinebuster, which was generally even more stiff in WCW than it was in the WWF. Nice squash match.
Gene talks to Ron ahead of his match at the Clash with protege Ice Train, in what was an abortive push for Train. Ron says that Ice Train isn’t in his league yet, so Train comes up to kiss up to him. Ron blows him off and asks him “You like money? Fast cars? Women? You stay in this match and you won’t get any of it!”. Train tells him he’s going to stay in the match and not back out, so Ron slaps him and manages to catch Gene and his mic on the swing too, which causes Gene to do a bit of his panicked dance selling. A shame the end was near for Ron as he was killing it here with an intensity he’d channel later as Faarooq.
WCW Control Center with Gene. Love the music for this bit, even if it’s mixed a little loud. Back to Starrcade, where Vader smashes up a locker room after losing his belt. Then to the Clash, where Ric Flair and Sting will face Vader and Rick Rude in an elimination tag team match. Sting and Naitch, in one of his worst woolly jumpers, promo for the match. Also, 2 Cold and Scorpio against Roma and Orndorff, Pillman vs. Parker, the Nasty Boys against Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne, then Dustin Rhodes challenges Lord Steven Regal for the TV title.
Dustin Rhodes vs. The Gambler
Top quality jobber for Dustin here, as the Gambler was a really decent worker, bumping well for the clothesline and taking the bulldog in quick succession. Dustin was in a position where they really should’ve given him a go in the main event picture as good as his feud with the Stud Stable later in the year was.
Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne vs. Bob Cook and the Sheik
Sheik is one of the lamest Sheiks I’ve ever seen, looking like Jerry Flynn with a tea towel on his head. Cagematch surprises me by revealing it’s actually George Weingeroff, who apparently did better in the turnkey business according to his old partner Lanny Poffo. Cook actually gets an early advantage over Jack, so Jack fires back in the corner and threatens the elbow to the floor on Sheik when he runs in and is bounced. Maxx in with a big elbow. Sheik comes in and gets his own advantage, so Maxx walks him back and sets him up for a divorce court from Jack. Payne Killer submits Sheik. Cook actually tried to break it by kicking Payne in the face, which Maxx just scowled back at.
Gene speaks to Cactus and Maxx, with Jack going on a weird tangent about the Flintstones before getting intense over a recent attack from the Nasty Boys on Worldwide, then promises a dabba-doo time, a yabba-dabba-doo time, a gay old time. Maxx picks up on it by promising to carve out a place in history.
Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal
These two wrestled a lot in Regal’s first year in WCW, so should be a decent one. Tony takes time out to cover the continuity error of Lord Steven having Sir William as his valet, when a sir is higher than a lord. Turns out that Sir William lost a wager to Lord Steven where the loser had to serve as the other’s valet. Jesse pours scorn on the idea (“Who told you that? Alfred Hayes?!”). I’m not an AEW viewer, but I hope they have the early nineties version of Tony, who paid attention to detail and was really into it, rather than the late nineties version who didn’t give a shit. Regal cartwheels around a monkey flip, but gets caught in Erik’s finisher, the STF, before grabbing the ropes and going outside. Erik springs him back in and applies a hammerlock. Erik gets a shinbreaker and the STF again, again too close to the ropes. Spinning toe hold sees him kicked off outside in a big bump. His early push from his dad really hurt him, but he did his bit to improve himself as a worker massively. Trio of European uppercuts when he comes back in, but he responds with two dropkicks that aren’t great but are at least OK. Double axehandle off the top for two. Miss on a dive hits the ropes and Regal quickly rolls him up for the win. Could’ve gone longer, but was good for what it was.
Tex Slazenger vs. Johnny B Badd
This comes off the confrontation a fortnight before where Badd called Tex ugly and Shanghai Pearce uglier. There’s actually a so bad it’s good documentary on YouTube from the nineties featuring Bob Armstrong, the Iron Sheik and others at a Georgia independent show, with one guy claiming to be Shanghai, with mask and all to cover that it obviously isn’t. Who claims to be Shanghai Pearce? While I’m typing that, Tex gets Johnny in position for a powerbomb, but Johnny reverses into a huracanrana for the quick victory! That was out of nowhere and they didn’t really know how to do the leg trap part of it, but Johnny improvises by leaning back and pressing the legs down. Shanghai runs in after and tries to hit him with his boot, but he hits Tex and Johnny goes for the mask but doesn’t get it this time.
Promo from the Main Event with Steve Austin challenging Sting and Dustin Rhodes to a tag match for the extended episode tomorrow with Rick Rude.
Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman
Seeing as Scott was reviewing a 1990 episode with a spurious “triple main event” including Steve Williams against a jobber, this is also the third match of a triple main event, with Johnny against Tex being another third! Austin claims his knee is out on an early leapfrog, which of course it isn’t, but he can’t keep the advantage off a cheap shot and ends up in an Indian deathlock. I knocked Brian still wearing his Blondes gear, but Austin’s just as guilty even though he got a new vest. Pill gives away going for a figure four and gets kicked off, but gets to wrap Austin’s leg around the post, with some great pained expressions from Steve. He goes outside and tries a piledriver on the floor, but Brian reverses and then chases Colonel Parker before running into a clothesline and getting his arm posted. Back in, Austin beats on the arm while Tony and Jesse speculate on who the new commissioner will be revealed as at the Clash. Tony goes for Ray Stevens… close! Bit of alternating between Pillman trying to go back to the legs before peppering Austin one-handed with chops. Austin pulls the tights to throw him out, where Parker attacks behind the ref’s back, then tries a slam back in which Pill turns into a small package for the win. Rare Pillman victory over Austin in a really good match.
The meltdown: Good show again this week, a little more manageable at only an hour, but I’ll pick up next week with the first February show available as the year becomes very interesting.