Featuring a very rare “Sabu in WCW” match!
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week, I have some classic WCW stuff, including a bout featuring that very weird cup of coffee SABU of all people had with the company in 1995! I always remember reading about it, but had never seen it.
We start off, however, with a classic Steiner Brothers match shortly before their break-up, as they take on Mortis & Wrath on WCW Saturday Night! Then it’s Sabu vs. Harry Dean Baker on WCW Prime (a show I don’t remember existing)… followed by the SUPER SHOCKMASTER, who was a brief attempt at saving the “Shockmaster” gimmick by repackaging Fred Ottman as a nasty heel. It did not work.
Following that, it’s the battle of the failed 1991 WWF gimmicks as The Dragon (Ricky Steamboat) battles Col. Mustafa (the Iron Sheik)! And finally it’s a late-stage WCW bout as my Sean O’Haire watching continues, with him & Chuck Palumbo taking on Lance Storm & Mike Awesome!
THE STEINER BROTHERS (Rick & Scott, w/ Ted DiBiase) vs. MORTIS & WRATH (w/ James Vandenberg):
(WCW Saturday Night, Nov. 1st 1997)
* A potentially good match, but on SaturdayNight it’s always iffy if you’re gonna see any kind of effort. A solid two minutes is just the heels’ walk to the ring (keep in mind the aisle is like 30 feet long). It’s a weird era for the Steiners, as Scott is INCREDIBLY juiced to his Big Poppa Pump levels, but still has long black hair… but an evil parallel universe goatee and a shiny black singlet.
Scottie starts us off by LAUNCHING Mortis across the ring on a hiptoss- Wrath kicks him, but Scott makes his own comeback with a pumphandle toss and ducks Wrath’s clothesline so Rick just Steinerlines the hell out of him. Yeah, they ain’t in a selling mood tonight. Wrath throws some kicks into Rick’s gut, but misses a charge and eats a release German that does NOT look fun to take (dude’s like 280 and he’s doing the “flip over the shoulders” sell)- everyone takes Steinerlines but Vandenberg grabs the foot and Rick takes Wrath’s pump kick. A butterfly suplex gets two, and they set up a weird reverse Boston crab/legdrop off the second rope which looked like Mortis had to talk Wrath through, then the Flatliner (giving yourself a Rock Bottom) & double-back elbow. Wrath misses a Vader Bomb-style elbow to set up the hot tag- Scott whups everyone and an overhead belly-to-belly on Mortis gets two- Wrath breaks it up and dumps Rick, but sails out from Scott’s clothesline and that sets up the finish- Scott hits the Butterfly Bomb on Mortis and the Steiner Bulldog (Rick bulldog off Scott’s shoulders) ends things at (6:17). The Steiners win handily!
Actually pretty decent! Short-ish and mostly a heat segment on Rick interspersed with Steiner murder, but that’s the best use of these guys sometimes. Wrath & Mortis were turning into a real job squad at this point, but Wrath didn’t quite have it yet.
Rating: **1/4 (basic TV match with solid moves from everybody)
SABU vs. HARRY NEW BAKER:
(WCW Prime, Sept 25th, 1995)
* Okay, this little era always fascinated me as a young fan- I’d been reading a LOT about Sabu in the Apter Mags at the time, and he was a tape trader darling already, but then he suddenly shows up in *WCW* of all places?! This did not last, and I remember none of the specifics (apparently he’d get DQ’d for putting guys through tables), but it happened. They’re billing this as his debut, but a match over Alex Wright had already aired by this point. Baker is a ridiculous-looking fat guy with hair only on the top of his head and a red & white singlet. Sabu’s in neon yellow pants.
Baker actually kicks Sabu off of him a few times, but keeps getting drilled and a slingshot something gets two. Somersault legdrop and slingshot roundhouse get two, and Sabu works the arm as Dusty gives Chris Cruise sh*t for correcting him on calling the jobber “Newberry” (“Imma be callin’ for a new co-host soon if you don’t be quiet!”). Sabu bounces off him and gets a leap-up victory roll for two, then ranas him to the floor, following with a somersault pescado and then slingshots out again, hitting a Frankensteiner on the floor! Finally, he dusts the kid off with a rope-assisted armdrag and then his Triple-Jump Moonsault at (4:06), banging his head on the mat as he flips.
A very weird little squash, as Sabu hit highspot after highspot (most of which, I must emphasize, you did NOT see on TV at this point, and most fans watching this would have never seen PERIOD), piling them on like nuts on this big, tubby jobber. Poor New Baker just had to keep getting up to take it as Sabu had his “Get My Sh*t In” pants on, nearly hurting himself as well.
Rating: 1/2* (just one highspot after another- would have been incredible for the time but just looks immature now)
Shockingly, this failed to get over.
THE SUPER SHOCKMASTER vs. MIKE THOR:
(WCW Main Event, Jan 16th, 1994)
* Yes, it’s the SUPER Shockmaster- this is actually still plain old Fred Ottman, but repackaged as another guy after his infamous trip on Pay-Per-View. Like, they literally just swapped outfits and said it was a different guy so the stink wouldn’t be on him. It did not work- he wasn’t around long. Possibly not helped by Larry Z on commentary just accusing him of being the same guy. Ottman appears to be in better shape here, lacking as huge a gut or his beard, and sporting a blue & yellow-lightning-bolt singlet with a matching mask. Mike Thor is a jobber with a goofy blond mullet (in 1994?) with a tiger-striped white & black singlet.
Super Shockmaster, now playing heel, clubs away at Thor and steps on him. Choking sets up a claw-hold on Thor’s face, Shockmaster smashing him down to the mat for the finish (1:25). Tony Schiavone interviews the guy, who cuts one of the worst promos in history, using a cartoonishly growly voice as he explains, and this is directly quoted, “any resemblance to the Shockmaster and myself is strictly coinicidental. Y’know, I wanna clear something up: the fact that he’s a big, STRONG, incredible indimmvidual, and the fact that we’re BOTH named the Shockmaster… are the ONLY resemblances that we have.” He then calls out Vader. However, he’d be back in the WWF within months, replacing Earthquake as a guy to job to Yokozuna and then Bob Backlund.
Rating: DUD (bad even by squash standards- just slow-motion pounding and a weak finish)
To be fair, to a kid this would look pretty cool.
THE DRAGON vs. COL. MUSTAFA:
(All American Wrestling, Sept. 8th 1991)
* A truly bizarre Dream Match, as Ricky Steamboat’s failed throwaway 1991 WWF run intersects with the IRON SHEIK’S failed throwaway 1991 run, as it’s post-SummerSlam yet he’s still farting around. The Dragon’s in his red tights and Mustafa’s in the olive drab.
Tragically, we’re joined in progress, thus missing some of this no-doubt classic contest. Ricky uses his ’80s offense while Mustafa does the “Run n Gun RAW Selling” by getting up after each move only to be knocked down again. Mustafa bails for a minute (Lord Alfred suggesting everyone is really underestimating his ability), selling additional strikes horribly before casually making a comeback, looking almost immobile now. The Dragon gets a sunset flip to come back, but lands on the knees trying a splash and a gutwrench suplex gets two for Mustafa. A throat thrust off the ropes gets two after a huge delay, and the Dragon blocks and reverses a suplex, then goes up for the Flying Bodypress to finish at (3:36 shown). Haha, and then Lord Alfred is like “Sad to say I was wrong there in my judgement”, just burying the guy.
Man, Mustafa was SO bad, you guys. Hot take, I know. The man was nearly fifty at this point, and was so barrel-shaped and beaten-up he could barely get up without struggling, and even leaned down to pin guys in an awkward, horrible manner. His gutwrench suplex was pretty good, but everything else was plodding, and the Dragon could only use his smooth ’80s stuff like dropkicks & slams to keep the match moving.
Rating: 3/4 (a borderline jobber match, honestly)
CHUCK PALUMBO & SEAN O’HAIRE vs. TEAM CANADA (Lance Storm & Mike Awesome):
(WCW Nitro, 05/02/2001)
* WCW- when Lance Storm received his biggest push ever (by being the best worker left who hadn’t quit, more or less) and Mike Awesome cut his amazing mullet off and was a Fat Chick Thriller- at this point he’s merely a traitor to his country, though. Storm’s in his red/black tights & Awesome’s in plain red trunks, while Palumbo’s in blue trunks & O’Haire’s in black shorts.
Awesome & O’Haire start us off, and the problem with Awesome in the Big Two immediately becomes apparent, as the former mega-powerhouse is the same exact size as these two rookies, neither of whom is even a power guy. They slap each other’s tits (like seriously, Awesome’s even swatting overhand and barely grazing him), then Awesome gets whipped off the ropes but just grabs him with a release German (!), then clotheslines him to the floor and follows with his over-the-top suicide dive! Palumbo runs in and catches him with a Jericho slingshot dropkick, though, but Storm pops him with the slingshot missile dropkick. I guess they’re just legal now, but a few International sequences lead to a blind tag and O’Haire merks Storm with his kneeling lariat. O’Haire lands strikes and a wristlock and they swing Storm face-first to the mat with a double-armbar for two. Storm tries a comeback but Palumbo powerslams the hell out of him for two.
Storm is getting his ASS KICKED, managing only rollups before getting bludgeoned down again repeatedly, finally getting his foot up in the corner and he high-knees out- Awesome gets a flying clothesline and O’Haire saves. Palumbo quickly comes back and they hit that Beverly Brothers leapfrog move. Awesome slingshots off the top with an elbow to O’Haire, then hits a Frog Splash- Palumbo saves. Storm gets rid of him with great style (I love that smooth hop over the top rope he does), but O’Haire gets out of the Awesome Bomb, only to telegraph a spinkick and get backdrop suplexed. Palumbo runs in and does one to Awesome, but Storm hits the Superkick and then gets annihilated by O’Haire’s spinkick- another kick has him so dizzied he actually takes down AWESOME and puts on the Canadian Maple Leaf (half-crab)! He finally realizes his mistake but gets knocked to the floor, leading to Awesome eating the Superkick/Seanton Bomb (somersault senton) combo, the boys actually stopping to pose before pinning him (7:38).
A very tightly-paced “almost all cool moves” spotfest, as everyone works pretty hard and doesn’t sell much. Some good exciting flying around to start, getting the fans into it, then they settle into some slower stuff. O’Haire’s strikes looked good but he was pretty well ignoring Storm’s comebacks, same with Palumbo- they just kinda took a shot then bounced back with their own. Awesome then hit his “all highspots” style stuff on both guys, but they just kept coming at him and nearly everyone’s scoring reversals- poor Storm being the only guy to sell for extended periods.
Rating: **3/4 (pretty good spotfest of big moves, not so much with the selling)