— page 7
Civic Center, Charleston, West Virginia
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone
we’re getting closer and closer to Road Wild. Hopefully we can
continue the roll they’re on that started last week. The main
stories going are on what side is Hennig on and Luger vs. Hogan, both
of which should wind up being interesting ideas. Other than that
there are some decent stories going on and I’m enjoying this show
more lately. Let’s get to it.
Flair vs. Vicious and Delicious
with Norton. Scott elbows Hennig down almost immediately and chops
him to the floor. We head inside for Hennig’s arm work to go
nowhere, so here’s Flair. Nice job of making your new guy look inept
there WCW. Norton runs Flair over and hits a big shoulder block to
take him down again. Off to Bagwell but his posing lets Hennig get
in a shot to the back of Buff’s head to slow things down. Buff
pounds on Flair in the corner so Flair chops him down.
dropkick and it’s Figure Four time. Hennig and Norton get in a fight
and Flair lets the hold go for no apparent reason. We take a break
and come back with Norton choking Flair in the corner. Flair pounds
back at Norton but double teaming puts him down again. Norton and
Bagwell double team Flair for a bit but Bagwell gets chopped down,
allowing the hot tag to Hennig. House is cleaned and Syxx goes after
Flair. Flair pulls Norton. to the floor and the PerfectPlex pins
Really basic match here which was designed to put Hennig over. It
did a better job at putting Norton over but at least they were
trying. Hennig would be the biggest story in the company for the
next few weeks, and unlike Jarrett a few months before, Hennig would
actually be OVER by the end of it. See what talent and charisma can
get you? Jarrett had talent but it wasn’t the right character for
him at all.
chat. By chat I mean strip session to show off how ripped he is.
Luger talks about how ready he is for Hogan. However, he mentions a
clause in Hogan’s contract that says Hogan has to defend his title
every so often, so next week it’s Hogan vs. Luger for the title.
Iaukea vs. Ultimo Dragon
runs the Prince over to start. The headstand in the corner
mesmerizes another opponent and the champ puts on a reverse chinlock.
The wide section of empty chairs that were full during the first
match is a telling sign about the interest in this match. Then
again, the people in the match could probably tell you the same
thing. Dragon loads up the super rana but Prince superplexes him
down instead. We get a pinfall reversal sequence before Iaukea
dropkicks the champ down for no cover. A superkick gets two and
Iaukea blocks the Dragon Sleeper. The second attempt works though
and Prince taps.
Dragon was good but man alive Iaukea wasn’t interesting at all. The
problem with the TV Title is that it went on guys the fans were given
no reason to care about. Dragon is indeed very talented and can put
on entertaining matches, but his matches aren’t great enough to make
people overlook his lack of personality. That’s the problem with a
lot of the luchadores and other guys in WCW and there was no way
that Hennig is officially the newest Horseman. Here’s Hennig who
says he’s not a Horseman but Flair says Hennig is just laying low.
Steve McMichael/Chris Benoit
Mike and Tough Tom. They’re masked guys who I have seen in Memphis
wrestling before. Benoit starts with let’s say Tom and gets hit by
Mike in the back to give Tom the advantage. Off to Mongo who runs
over both Hangmen and powerslams Mike down. Some clotheslines do the
same thing and we’ve got a phone call for Tony from the Outsiders.
Hall tells Tony he better accepts the charges. Tony: “Well if it’s
1-800 Collect I will.”
the time, making that somewhere between clever and eye roll inducing.
The match gets ignored as the Hangmen take over on Mongo. Steve
comes back with a bulldog and there’s the tag to Benoit. The call
finally ends as everything breaks down. Mongo can barely tombstone
Mike but it sets up the Crossface by Benoit for the win.
Phone call aside, this wasn’t very good. The Hangmen were jobbers
and that’s fine, but the Horsemen looked to have a lot of trouble
with them which they shouldn’t have had. Not a good match or
anything and it didn’t showcase the Horsemen. The phone call didn’t
help anything either, especially since it didn’t accomplish anything
and it only said the Outsiders would be on the show next week.
Chris Jericho vs. Alex Wright
here. The opening part of the match is ignored for the sake of house
show ads as Wright slaps Jericho in the corner. They fight for arm
control with the champion taking Alex to the mat. Those big
stretches of empty seats in the crowd are kind of distracting. A
spinwheel kick puts Wright down and out to the floor, causing the
match to come to a halt.
Wright but gets suplexed down to change momentum. Wright stomps
Jericho down in the corner but misses a top rope knee drop. The
Lionsault hits Wright’s back but Jericho doesn’t cover. Wright goes
to the apron and gets put in a sleeper by Jericho who is in the ring.
Alex guillotines him down and hits a German suplex for the clean pin
and the title.
This was an interesting match as you had Wright losing most of the
first few matches after his turn before winning the title completely
clean here. The fact that it was a clean pin helps, but I’m not
exactly sure what the point was in jobbing him out the last few weeks
to give him the belt here. Still though, not bad.
Malenko and Debra with something to say. Dean says he’s in with
Jarrett and Debra is shaking hands with Wright as he walks up the
ramp. Apparently Jarrett was seen with Eddie Guerrero on Saturday
Night and Dean isn’t cool with that. Jeff says people just want to
be with winners. Debra runs her mouth of course. Thank goodness
Jeff and Debra would leave in just a few months.
pyro is back.
start until Page busts out a pumphandle backbreaker for two. That’s
a new move for him I believe. A neckbreaker puts Syxx down as well,
followed by an elbow to put him on the floor. Syxx comes back with
some kicks in the corner and there’s the Bronco Buster. Vincent
comes out but Page avoids the Buzzkill. He hits the Cutter on Syxx
but the Vincent distraction lets Hennig come in and blast Page with
something in the back of the head. Syxx gets the easy pin.
This didn’t have the time to get anywhere but the match was more
about an angle than the wrestling. Page was on such a roll at this
point that seeing him lose was actually a shocking sight. Today, you
see people losing almost all the time, which makes wins and losses
mean very little.
HENNIG IS PART OF THE NWO!” Very clearly indeed.
They head to the mat to start with both guys fighting for arm
control. Dean takes Hector down with a snap mare as we hear about a
Bobby Heenan personal appearance in Milwaukee. He says he’s the
human being that made Milwaukee famous, which should get a chuckle
out of old school fans. Off to a headscissors on the mat by Malenko
but Hector escapes into a modified STF. They trade rollups out of
the corner followed by a sunset flip for two for Guerrero. Here are
Jarrett and Debra as Dean puts the Cloverleaf on for the tap out.
Technically fine but this Jarrett stuff is really dull. Allegedly
he’s trying to form his own team to fight the Horsemen, but at the
end of the day it’s Jeff Jarrett leading the charge. That makes it
pretty hard to get interested in the team at all, especially with
Debra getting to talk about them every week. Nothing special to see
out to check on his uncle and gets beaten up as well.
and says he doesn’t like Rey. Apparently Rey is filling an
Affirmative Action quota. Of Americans? Konnan vs. La Parka later.
match but Savage is in the crowd with something to say to him.
They’ve got a match at Road Wild. Giant says what Savage is about to
see is just a preview.
here’s Eric Bischoff to commentary. Thankfully during his full
entrance and the walk to the desk, nothing happened in the ring.
Muta fires off some fast kicks but gets caught in the corner and
chopped a lot. Giant pounds away in the corner so Muta bails to the
floor. Back in and Muta goes to the eyes before firing off some
dropkicks. Some more shots to the knees take Giant down and there’s
the Muta Elbow. Giant shoves him off of a cover and shrugs off some
top rope shots. He grabs Muta by the throat and after covering his
eyes from the Mist, the chokeslam gets the pin.
What did you expect from this match? There are only a handful of
ways to fight Giant and going after the knee is the mos common
answer. The covering of the eyes is one of those things that seems
to be common sense but no one ever does. Muta is a really talented
guy but he was basically a jobber in the NWO. Much like the rest of
the show, nothing of note to see here.
comes to the announcers’ desk and grabs Bischoff. He drags Eric to
the ring for a chokeslam to a good pop.
beats him down and hits his rolling clothesline. La Parka dropkicks
him out of the air and hits a legdrop for two. Tony of course is
gushing about the chokeslam. La Parka gets a chair with Konnan’s
name on it but Konnan dropkicks it into his face. 187 and Tequila
Sunrise end La Parka. Quick match.
the save post match.
about the world title match next week and we get a phone call from JJ
Dillon. Apparently he and the executive committee want Sting back in
the ring by September.
face to start before shoving referee Randy Anderson into Scott to
take him down. Steiner comes back with a gorilla press slam to send
Savage to the floor. Savage throws a chair into the ring and we take
a break. Back with Steiner hitting a belly to belly suplex, sending
Savage to the floor. Just like old times, Randy hides behind Liz and
sends Scott knees first into the steps.
crowd with Scott in trouble. Back to ringside and Steiner is rammed
into the barricade to keep Randy in control. We head back inside and
Scott catches Savage off the top in another belly to belly. Rick and
Liz get in an argument, allowing Steiner to backdrop Savage over the
top and out to the floor, which should be a DQ. Now Steiner throws
Savage into the crowd, possibly injuring Randy’s shoulder.
they brawl a bit more with Scott maintaining control. Steiner gets
two on a small package followed by a butterfly powerbomb for no
cover. A Super Frankensteiner puts Savage down but Liz throws in her
shoe. Cue the Outsiders for the SHOCKING, yes SHOCKING I SAY, run-in
This wasn’t bad but it was mainly brawling. Scott didn’t know how to
wrestle a main event style match at this point but his singles push
was coming. Granted it was years before it actually worked but they
were trying at least. The ending was obvious because the announcers
were so sure that the Outsiders weren’t there that they had to be
there. As usual, not much to see here.
Outsiders beat down the Steiners until Giant makes the save. He
calls out Nash but Nash hides behind security. The security steps
aside and says go get him….but we’re out of time. Well we could
see Nash get in, but we need to see Giant chokeslam Bischoff one more
time to end the show.
The show wasn’t terrible but this felt like a big commercial for next
week’s show which in theory is a commercial for the PPV the following
Saturday. On top of that, considering there’s a world title match
the next week, there wasn’t a lot of focus on it. It seems more like
Giant vs. Savage is the world title match when you look at how much
hype they got. The matches here were nothing special either.
Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
on a Tuesday for reasons that weren’t given. Anyway the main event
tonight is a match I remember pretty well for some reason as Benoit
and Flair challenge the Outsiders for the tag titles. Other than
that we get to hear if Luger’s challenge to Hogan for a title match
at Road Wild is accepted or not. Let’s get to it.
Girls of course. They’re certainly better looking than Tony and
Bischoff to really get things going. They have a microphone and are
standing in the ring, so Tony deduces that they obviously have
something to say. You can’t buy analysis like this people. They
decide to lay down on the mat and take it easy for this interview.
Hogan says that most of the people in this arena and in the back are
here because of him. Now that we’re in the 90s, he sets the pace for
Konnan is another step of the way closer to world dominance. I
wouldn’t exactly call it that but it’s his company I guess. Luger
wants what Hogan has, because Hogan is the best. Hollywood says he’s
smarter than Luger is and he wants him in a title match one on one.
He accepts the challenge for Sturgis. Hogan seemed to be rambling a
lot more than usual here which is weird for him. He may sound crazy
most of the time but he usually makes it sound decent.
other matches for Tsubusa, both of them in six man tags in Japan.
He’s a masked guy with a shiny cape and that’s about it. The 187 and
Tequila Sunrise make Tsubusa tap out in about 25 seconds.
Dragon vs. Steven Regal
guy and Regal is defending. The champ cranks on Dragon’s arm but
Dragon speeds things up to escape. Dragon has the awesome black and
gold attire on tonight so you know he’s going to be on his game.
Regal gets kicked hard by his challgener before doing his headstand
in the corner. Steven takes him down and pounds away on the mat
before putting dragon on the top, only to get taken down by a sunset
bomb. A reverse suplex puts Dragon down so Dragon comes back with
the kicks and a Dragon Sleeper to win the title out of nowhere.
Dragon is one of those guys that had the skill in the ring and was
better than most of the other cruiserweights, but the lack of
personality always held him back. Now that being said, this was
solid stuff because it was what Dragon was best at: matches where he
had someone solid to work with and you got a good match out of it in
the process. Solid stuff here, especially for a four minute match.
announce who the next Horseman is going to be. The choice
is…..Syxx? Yeah that Syxx. Syxx comes out and makes fun of the
Horsemen for being old (the announcers actually bought Syxx as the
new member of course) and Flair says Syxx almost cost him his job.
Ric belts him in the face and Benoit comes out to stand between Syxx
and Flair. Syxx promises Outsider revenge and that’s that.
for a bit, Giant no sells some dropkicks and grabs Muta by the
throat, and Muta mists him for the DQ.
Savage in this version) comes out for a beatdown but Giant shrugs
them off. Luger comes out to help but Giant grabs him for a
chokeslam….but puts him down before he chokeslams him. He was
blind for that fight and the near chokeslam on Luger. I’m not
entirely sure what the point of the Luger stuff was there.
to start as we hear about the Nitro Parties, which is exactly what it
sounds like: a bunch of people watching Nitro and filming it. Mongo
puts on a headlock followed by a shoulder to take Dean down, but a
knee drop misses. Steve blocks a sunset flip out of the corner and
hits a kind of World’s Strongest Slam for no cover. Malenko comes
back with a good German Suplex which pops the crowd a bit.
of move puts Dean down and here are Debra and Jarrett for a
distraction. Mongo goes after him but gets guillotined on the top
rope, allowing Dean to hit a dropkick and one of the worst looking
small packages of all time (Mongo’s fault) for the pin. This was
supposed to be an upset because of the size difference, but does
anyone buy Mongo as a bigger talent/star than Dean?
The best way to sum this match up is in four words: Mongo bad,
Malenko good. Really that’s all there is to it. McMichael tried but
he just never got better no matter how long he was in the ring for.
He couldn’t even get rolled up without it looking terrible. When
Dean Malenko can’t carry you to a decent match, it’s clear you’re not
Malenko why he’s associating with Jarrett. Dean doesn’t answer
because Mongo comes up. Security takes him off and Jeff pitches a
partnership idea to Dean. Malenko says ok and Debra runs her mouth
because WCW feels we haven’t suffered enough tonight. Jarrett runs
his mouth a bit more and apparently Dean is going to think about it
with a headscissors but a dropkick misses. Eddie starts stomping but
we head to the floor for a chase. Back in and Hector uses a side
roll to roll Eddie around the ring about four times for two. Eddie
comes back with some biting but another headscissors sends him to the
floor. Hector hits a big plancha on the floor but back inside, Eddie
powerbombs him down and hits the Frog Splash for a fast pin.
This is the same problem I’ve mentioned before: Hector is a talented
guy, but other than his name, he doesn’t mean much to most WCW
audiences. I get what they were going for here with the sibling
rivalry thing but it’s hard to care here because Hector isn’t a guy
we know as far as his stuff in WCW goes.
in to beat up Eddie. He puts him in the Cloverleaf but Hector breaks
it up. Dean then beats up Hector as well.
a major talent acquisition to announce. Dancing Stevie Richards
comes up to say that he’s signed a contract. JJ wants to talk about
Raven so Stevie says he needs to go see Raven in the front row.
Dillon offers Raven the contract, saying that everything he wanted is
in the deal. Raven is confused but Richards says that he negotiated
Raven’s contract himself. Apparently Bird Boy is almost making as
much money as Richards and gets a rental car with a tape deck. Raven
goes on another rant and rips up the contract. Oh and he hits
here with Norton. Luger hits a hip toss to start but Norton comes
back with a clothesline to take over. Luger comes back and here’s
the NWO run-in to give Lex the DQ win.
Racks Vincent. Lex talks a bit until Hogan comes out to exchange
some brief insults.
and Konnan is here to meet them.
vs. Benoit/Flair, presumably for the titles. Before the bell, we cut
to the back to see Hennig and Flair talking. Apparently it was
supposed to be Hennig coming out earlier when Syxx appeared. Wrath
and La Parka start things off with the skeleton man (La Parka) taking
over with some kicks. He goes up but jumps into an elbow so it’s off
to Psychosis vs. Mortis. Mortis stomps away in the corner but
Psychosis breaks free and goes up…..and falls without being touched
at all. Ah the perils of live TV.
with a dropkick and everyone falls to the floor, where La Parka hits
a big corkscrew plancha to the floor. Psychosis slides in to try to
dive on Wrath, only to get caught and slammed onto the floor. Mortis
suplexes Psychosis back in for two but misses a top rope backsplash.
Onoo and Vandenberg get in a fight, as do Wrath and La Parka.
Psychosis rolls up Mortis for two but there’s no referee to count.
Wrath picks up Psychosis for a powerbomb and Mortis makes it a
powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for the pin.
This was WAY better than you would have expected and got pretty
entertaining by the end. The botch was bad but it happens every now
and then and there’s almost nothing you can do about it. La Parka
and Psychosis didn’t look like jobbers here, but rather a tag team
that got beat by a better one. This was a surprisingly fun match and
I liked it way more than I was expecting to.
breaks a wooden chair over Mortis’ back but Wrath kicks his head off
to stand tall.
means anything as a singles guy. Buff armdrags him down and things
speed WAY up, resulting in a hiptoss to take Booker down. He
immediately spins up and kicks Bagwell down to take over before
knocking Buff to the floor. Back in and Bagwell chokes away a bit
and slaps Booker in the back of the head. A clothesline turns Booker
inside out for two.
Nick Patrick get in a shoving match and Bagwell hides in the corner.
HHH and Earl Hebner used to do the same spot at house shows. Booker
comes back with a big forearm to the face and some atomic drops for
no cover. The Harlem Side Kick gets two but Patrick gets hit in the
side of the head. Norton clotheslines Booker down and the
Blockbuster gives Buff the pin.
Bagwell was a low level NWO guy but he had a pretty good finisher
which I would like to see make a comeback as someone signature move.
Booker would get way better in the next year or so before becoming
the company’s top star in just a few years. Decent match here but it
was a little boring.
crutches, saying he’s refused surgery on his bad knee. He talks
about how he’s not scared of anyone or anything, but here’s Konnan to
kick the crutches away. Some luchadores come out to defend Rey but
Konnan says he’s got the Wolfpack watching his back.
doing his “I hate WCW thing”. Of all the people you waste an
idea like that on, you pick Wallstreet? The fans want DDP who hasn’t
been here tonight I don’t think. It’s officially Hennig vs. Page at
Road Wild. The PerfectPlex wins this in about 35 seconds.
out with Hennig but Page gets sent into the buckle to give Curt the
advantage. The PerfectPlex is countered into a Diamond Cutter and
the place goes nuts.
to Alex Wright’s music.
Outsiders vs. Ric Flair/Chris Benoit
a title match. Tony says it is, and while this is probably a bad
idea, I’ll go with it. Pay no attention to the Steiners winning like
84 #1 contenders matches in a row prior to this. We start with a
brawl and Flair vs. Hall get us going in the ring. The Horsemen
stand tall (not as tall as the Outsiders but tall in the metaphorical
sense) until we officially start with Benoit and Hall.
him down but Benoit hits a dragon screw leg whip and a northern
lights suplex for two. Hall bails so it’s off to Nash for a try at
the Canadian. Actually make that the Carolinian who is immediately
shoved down by Big Kev. Nash does all of his usual stuff in the
corner but Flair comes back with punches to the face. Syxx pops
Flair in the back of the head, giving Nash two off a side slam.
fallaway slam for two more. Nash comes in for some more high quality
choking and the running crotch attack while Flair is throat first
across the middle rope. Hall hits a running clothesline in the
corner to keep Flair in trouble. Nash hits a big over the shoulder
Snake Eyes on Flair before it’s back to Hall. Flair grabs a sleeper
out of nowhere but Hall reverses into one of his own, only to have
Flair quickly suplex out of it.
Benoit who cleans house on both Outsiders. Clotheslines put both
guys down and Flair stops Syxx from breaking up the Swan Dive. The
headbutt gets two on Hall until Nash makes the save. Benoit punches
out of the Jackknife but a Hall distraction lets Nash hit the big
boot for a pin out of nowhere.
I remember this match being a lot better. The ending seemed very
rushed and likely happened because they were out of time. If you
gave this match another five to seven minutes, it could go way up in
quality. Benoit getting a chance to shine is always a good thing, as
he was really starting to come into his own at this point. Not a bad
match but nothing great either.
Buzzkill on the bad arm until Mongo makes the save. The Steiners
come out to stare at the Outsiders as we go off the air.
This was a better episode of Nitro as you can see Road Wild’s card
coming together pretty well. Tonight had some good action and a lot
of it too, as we had ten matches on a single card. This worked
pretty well as WCW is starting to roll a bit heading into the biker
PPV. Pretty good stuff here tonight.
Arena, Orlando, Florida
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
Bash at the Beach and not a lot has changed because not a lot was on
the line last night. Hogan and Rodman lost as Luger made Hogan tap
out for the second time in less than a month. Other than that,
Hennig was the mystery partner but he walked out on Page halfway
through the match. Road Wild is in a few weeks now and there’s a
good deal of stuff to get through before we get to that. Let’s get
us to the show and introduces, for the first time ever, the Nitro
Girls. Basically they’re cheerleaders who lasted for YEARS.
Kimberly is their leader for an excuse to keep her on television.
The girls dance around on chairs for a bit.
about how awesome the end of last night’s show was. For some reason
the audio sounds really weird here. We talk about the fake Sting
from last night, which Larry points out the flaw that somehow no one
got last night: if that’s the real Sting, he’s now taller than Hogan.
for about a minute and here’s Giant to chokeslam the referee to a BIG
pop. The match just stops and Giant chokeslams the Prince and some
with the NWO, especially Kevin Nash. He knows it was Nash that
attacked him with the bat last night and he wants a piece of him NOW.
Instead he gets led off by more security.
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Eddie walking out on Chavo last week in a tag match. Chavo hammers
him to start and sends Eddie flying to the floor, where the younger
one hits a HUGE dive to take both guys out. Back in and Chavo gets
crotched followed by a rana from Eddie. He tells Chavo to say hello
to grandma and punches Chavo in the face again. Chavo charges into
an elbow but comes back with a pair of suplexes for two each. His
Frog Splash hits Eddie’s knees though, and it’s an Eddie powerbomb
and Frog Splash for the pin.
This is one of those matches that would have been better with more
time. These guys know each other very well and know how to bounce
off of each other really well. Chavo would get WAY better and Eddie
was always solid, so there was almost no way this wasn’t going to be
at least decent.
another splash until Hector comes out for the save.
Kimberly with something to say. Kimberly looks great here in a white
bra and shorts. Page says six months ago he had a match in
Minneapolis and after the show, he went out for a few beers. He ran
into Hennig and they realized they had a lot in common. Page says he
would have asked Sting for help last night, but Sting has already
helped him too many times. Luger and Giant were busy so they were
out. That left Hennig, but apparently Hennig isn’t a standup guy.
Page says he’s full of surprises, and if you don’t believe him, ask
Savage about La Parka.
bit more in smaller outfits.
beat up the Outsiders.
Delicious vs. Steiner Brothers
simplicity, Scott Steiner will be called Scott and Scott Norton will
be called Norton. Scott and Buff start things off as we hear about
the Steiners facing the Outsiders for the titles at Road Wild. Buff
takes Scott down and dances a bit, resulting in Rick smacking him in
the back of the head. Scott hiptosses him out of the corner so Buff
complains of a tights pull. A dropkick puts Scott on the floor so
Scott comes back with a BIG clothesline to take over.
Bagwell down as the fans are very into this match so far. Another
clothesline sends Buff to the floor and it’s off to an armbar back
inside. Here’s Rick to bark a lot as we see Konnan getting out of
the NWO limo. There’s your newest member I guess. Nash arrives as
well and is limping pretty badly. Back in the arena and everything
breaks down with Vincent cheating a bit behind the referee’s back.
Norton rams Rick’s head into the mat and it’s back to Buff, who jumps
into a belly to belly from Rick. Hot tag brings in Scott who cleans
house until Mura and Chono run in for the DQ.
This was a fine tag match before the lame NWO ending. The idea is
the NWO is trying to wear the Steiners down before they get tot he
Outsiders at the PPV which is a good enough idea. That’s the idea
with WCW: the build up was fine, but the execution at the end almost
and beat up the NWO.
night where Raven cut one of his usual poetry style promos to Gene.
As for tonight, Raven says he’ll do what he has to do and the only
announcement is that there is no announcement. Richards mentions
that he (as in Richards) has signed with WCW so Raven headbutts him.
FINALLY got rid of Kevin Sullivan so tonight he can go back to
beating people up. Benoit stomps away on Enos in the corner but Mike
comes back with knees in the corner. We hear about the return of
Clash of the Champions, which would be the final edition of the show.
Enos hits a fallaway slam off the middle rope and a neckbreaker gets
two. A kneeling piledriver gets two more and it’s off to a bearhug.
That gets broken up quickly so Enos powerslams him down for two. Not
that it matters as Benoit Crossfaces him for the tap out.
This was a bit better than a squash as Enos got in a lot of offense
and was in control for most of the time. Then again Benoit was
supposed to be banged up because of the match last night and he won
anyway so it’s not a big problem or anything like that. Decent
little match here.
in hour #2, but there’s no pyro for it or anything.
Diamond Cutter sign at La Parka as he comes in. Savage runs in less
than a minute in to beat up La Parka for the DQ.
runs in and beats up Savage. Curt Hennig comes in and knocks out
Page with a foreign object. Hennig didn’t look at Savage or anything
like that so it looks like he’s in business for himself. Savage hits
the elbow on Page.
years ago, Page used to ask Hennig for his autograph. Page wouldn’t
last thirty seconds with him, just like he can’t with his wife.
Flair comes out and tries to recruit Hennig again.
something to say. Before they get out, we’re told that Nitro is on
Tuesday next week. Nash is brought out in a wheelchair after having
changed into ring gear since he arrived. A lot of the team is here,
minus Hogan. Konnan is with them too. Apparently Nash is APALLED at
being accused of being Sting last night. He would NEVER attack
another combatant from behind. Nash stands up and talks to Konnan,
who opens his shirt to reveal the NWO shirt. They very slowly wheel
Nash to the ring.
Harlem Heat have called this a street fight all night but it appears
to be a normal match. Booker and Syxx start things off as Heenan
talks about how everyone needs to buy the PPV replay to see what
happened again and be sure of what they saw. This is something
that’s missing from wrestling anymore: this mentality of YOU HAVE TO
SEE THIS. Anymore it’s more like “here’s what we’ve got, please
corner but Booker Spinaroonis up and kicks Syxx’s head off. Here’s
Hall off a tag to face Stevie. Stevie immediately pounds him down in
the corner and Hall is in trouble. Hall comes back with a middle
rope bulldog for two but Stevie clotheslines him right back down. A
double punch from the Heat gets two on Scott as things slow down.
Hell puts an armbar on Booker but Mr. T. kicks him in the face to
a bit and a slam by Ray gets two. We hit the chinlock for a bit
before Scott suplexes out of it. Booker comes in with the ax kick
for two and they slug it out a bit. Nash stands up before sitting
right back down. Booker superkicks Scott down for two and everything
breaks down. Nash gets up and blasts Booker, allowing Hall to hit
the Outsider’s Edge for the pin.
Another decent match here with an ending that everyone could see
coming a mile away. That’s not always a bad thing, and in this case
it was the right call because you’re going to get Nash booed if you
have him shown to be a liar. The Heat continue to be treated like
nothing of note in the huge Steiners vs. Outsiders feud which never
really got paid off.
Chono vs. Public Enemy
on the floor and Rock takes the Mafia Kick from Chono. In a visual I
could live without, Chono does the Public Enemy dance on the floor.
Back in and the Public Enemy pound away in the corners to clear the
ring. Things finally get going like a normal tag match with Chono
vs. Grunge. Chono chops away in the corner but gets caught in a
neckbreaker. Rock comes in with a double ax and here’s Muta.
all so here’s Chono again to miss the Mafia Kick. Rock “hits” a
moonsault press to take him down and it’s off to Muta vs. Grunge.
Muta mauls him until Rock kicks Muta in the back to slow things down.
Off to Chono vs. Rock again as things break down. A Vincent
distraction lets Muta hit the Green Mist, allowing the Mafia Kick to
It was clear here that Public Enemy was completely overmatched and
they had no chance at winning in a straight match. Chono and Muta
are both great and they’re two of the three Japanese guys that most
American wrestling fans would recognize (Liger would be the third).
That helps a lot as most of the time when a foreigner is brought in,
it’s “here’s this guy who is awesome and you should just accept him
based on how aewsome we say he is.” That doesn’t work at all,
which is why Muta was the best choice if the Japanese guys were going
to be in the NWO.
vs. Jeff Jarrett
him, as apparently she’s jumped from Mongo. Flair beats on Jarrett
to start with a ton of chops and punches. Jarrett dropkicks him to
the floor and backdrops him n the outside to take over. Back in and
Flair rolls through a cross body for two but he goes shoulder first
into the post. Flair almost immediately goes up and jumps into a
dropkick but Jeff doesn’t cover, sending Heenan into a fit.
down but Jarrett won’t cover again. Jeff has two Figure Fours broken
and Flair gets two off a small package. Jarrett takes down his
straps and Flair pounds away in the corner. During the match, Debra
commandeers a camera and cuts a promo about how hard her life is
because she lives with McMichael. After almost a minute of this,
Mongo comes out to yell at her. Flair gets Jarrett in the Figure
Four….and Mongo comes in to stomp on Jarrett for the DQ. You
couldn’t wait another minute???
It’s Jarrett vs. Flair. You know this is going to be at least
passable if not pretty good. The ending was annoying but it makes
sense as it’s all about emotion for Mongo instead of logic or titles.
Decent match here as Jarrett and Flair were their usual smooth
selves and could make any move look easy.
main event interview. Luger talks about how he’s had some bad
moments but last night made up for them, as he got to Rack Hogan,
Rodman in Savage in less than two minutes. Luger challenges Hogan
for the title at Road Wild and says if anyone from the NWO wants to
fight before then, bring it on. Here are about eight NWO guys and a
fake Sting follows them out. Actually make that the real Sting, who
is enough to keep the NWO from running in to end the show.
Not a terrible show here as the majority of the episode dealt with
fallout from last night. We’re moving towards Road Wild now which
should be a decent card given what they’ve got to build up for the
show. Luger is white hot here and would deserve the title shot he
got. See how easy it can be to logically book a show? Why can’t WWE
get that today?
Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
this series with the go home show for Bash at the Beach which is the
final show before we get to something a little more interesting than
celebrities in the main event. Tonight we have a pretty famous
moment which is a cool building block for a feud. I won’t spoil it
for those of you unfamiliar with it so let’s get to it.
Sting cleaning house last week to end the show, as Hennig and Raven
came to ringside as well.
Hennig to open things up. The fans boo Hennig for some reason. He
says he’ll be at Bash at the Beach and will be active in some
capacity, but he won’t say if he’s Page’s mystery partner or not.
Hennig declares himself a free agent and here’s Flair with some
blonde. Flair is all fired up and says Hennig is here to join the
Horsemen. Curt says he didn’t say he’s joining, although he seems
intrigued by the offer.
but all four guys get in the ring for a staring contest before any
contact is made. Booker pounds Johnny down in the corner and
clotheslines him down for two. It’s off to Rock who has a bit better
luck as he pounds away on Booker’s arm. That’s about the extent of
his luck though as Ray comes in and pounds away in the corner.
and a side slam by Booker gets two. An elbow misses Rock and the tag
brings in Grunge. Everything breaks down and here’s Vincent of the
NWO for no apparent reason. Sherri points him out to Booker which
breaks up a Heat double team move. Booker goes after Vincent and
Sherri accidentally pushes Rock into Stevie, giving Grunge a pin. It
was about as messy as it sounds.
This was four minutes of punching and kicking before we got to the
ending where things got more complicated than they needed to.
Apparently Vincent had interfered in a Harlem Heat match on Saturday
Night as well, so there’s some kind of a story there which is better
than some random attack I guess. The match sucked though.
yells at Sherri. Gene accidentally calls Vincent Virgil here.
Booker says Sherri needs to get her act together or she’s gone.
Sherri quits instead.
row again. Konnan hammers away to start but Gomez comes back with
his usual jobber offense. Tenay talks about Raven being ECW Champion
without saying ECW. Konnan cranks away on the head and arm for
awhile and hits the rolling clothesline for two. The Tequila Sunrise
(kneeling arm trap half crab) ends Gomez pretty quickly.
Just a squash here and Gomez continues to be one of those guys that
is always around but never really did anything. Konnan would be
continuing his heel turn (I think?) in the next few months before
finally joining the NWO just like almost every other heel on the
roster would do.
Garza/Juventud Guerrera vs. Villano IV/Villano V
start things off here with Garza flying all over the place. The
Villanos are a bit bigger so they’re better as targets than guys
flying through the air. Off to Juvy who speeds things up even more
and hits a rana to send IV into the corner for the tag to V. Garza
comes back in and gets caught in something like a Demolition
Decapitation from the Villanos.
back to IV for a clothesline. A powerslam gets two for IV but a
double elbow misses. The non-brothers double team a bit and
everything breaks down. We get a move we would call Poetry in Motion
to both Villanos but IV catches Juvy in mid aid and slams him down
into a double dropkick and a sunset flip gets one for Guerrera. A
double gutbuster slows Juvy down but Garza hits a backbreaker and
moonsault for two. This is very fast paced stuff. Heel
miscommunication sends the Villanos to the floor and there’s the
Corkscrew Plancha from Garza to take out IV. Juvy Driver and 450 get
the pin on V back in the ring.
Take four luchadores, give them five minutes, cover your ears so the
fans don’t hurt your ears with the cheering. This is one of those
ideas that just works and didn’t need a lot of work. These guys were
all very talented and could impress the crowd by going out there and
doing what they had been doing in Mexico for years. Standard lucha
tag match here and it was fun stuff.
invade the announce desk but Larry Z won’t leave. They say they’re
going to take Page and whoever the mystery partner is very lightly
because they’re just too good. Just a quick promo to hype the tag
match Sunday here. Hall throws his shirt at Larry and Zbyszko wants
to fight. Nothing comes of it of course.
and Luger teaming up on Sunday. They’re not sure if they can trust
each other but they’re going to.
Delicious vs. Eddie Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero
as the as the NWO B tag team. Before the match, a limo is seen
arriving in the back. We take a break and come back to see Chavo vs.
Buff starting things off. Buff is looking pretty roided up here and
pounds away to start. Apparently Syxx and Nash aren’t here, which
Tony thinks is some kind of genius master plan. Yes, the master plan
is to have LESS forces here while they’re in a war. Keep that up
Tony. We need thinking like that.
makes a blind tag to missile dropkick him. Scott will have none of
this falling down thing and suplexes both Guerreros down. Eddie
doesn’t seem to want to stay in despite being tagged so Bagwell slaps
him into reality. Things speed up and Bagwell gets dropkicked down,
only to come back with a hotshot to put Eddie down. Back to Norton
who throws Eddie around by the throat. Larry: “He picked him up
like a baby.” What kind of person picks up babies by the throat
and throws them into a corner? Instead of commentating Larry needs
to be filling out police reports for child abuse.
crawl on his knees across the ring to tag in Chavo so he can get
beaten up for awhile. Bagwell jumps into a boot and Eddie doesn’t
seem interested in tagging back in. Now he walks away as Norton
suplexes Chavo down for two. A quick rollup gets two on Bagwell but
he walks into a wicked powerslam from Norton. Eddie yells at Chavo
to get up from the stage as Norton picks Chavo up from a cover.
Norton powerbombs Chavo down and holds him up for a Blockbuster which
gets the pin.
This was a more entertaining match which was helped because I like
the Blockbuster a lot. Other than that, this was more about an angle
instead of the match, which was really just a long squash. Vicious
and Delicious never went anywhere but they were fine for matches like
this one. More weak stuff on the show so far.
Larry wants to watch the next match instead of letting Heenan sit
down. Scratch that as we’re going to have a four man booth for
Parka’s chair usage of the last month. They trade armdrags to start
and Heenan’s headset doesn’t work. A small package gets two for La
Parka so Savage clotheslines him down. Hell walks to the announcers
desk as Savage slams La Parka and loads up the elbow. La Parka gets
his feet up, hits a Diamond Cutter on Savage and pins him. The mask
comes off and it’s Diamond Dallas Page, drawing a BIG pop from the
The match sucked, but this is one of those moments that people always
remember from Nitro. Page vs. Savage was one of those feuds where
they kept them apart long enough between the matches that you wanted
to see them fight when you got the chance. This is called building a
feud and unfortunately it’s a lost art today.
Miller/Glacier vs. Silver King/Psychosis
Mortis at least. The bell rings and Glacier causes some
lucha-miscommunication, but we cut to the back to see the Guerreros
in a fight. Glacier and Psychosis are starting things off but before
anything happens it’s off to Miller for, wait for it, wait for
it…..KICKING! King launches Psychosis at Miller but Psychosis’
kick only grazes him. Everything breaks down and we get a lot of
kicking. There’s a leg lock to Psychosis by Miller but Silver King
breaks it up. Psychosis kicks Miller down but a second one is
countered into a powerbomb….and here are Mortis and Wrath for the
thing. In case you’re not familiar with him after I reference him
week after week, congratulations: you’re now almost exactly like most
old school wrestling fans. Marshall was a really bad commentator on
the D level TV shows and that’s about it.
blonde again. Flair brings out Piper, his opponent on Sunday.
Actually, it’s just a mannequin. Oh I don’t see this ending well.
Flair says Piper isn’t the icon and the blonde (with the thickest
country accent I’ve heard in years) asks why he’s called Hot Rod.
The real Piper comes up behind Flair as Flair goes on a big rant
and Flair gets his clothes ripped off, revealing green boxers. The
Horsemen come out for the save but Piper beats them all up. The
Horsemen finally get him down and Benoit hits the longest Swan Dive
I’ve ever seen. Someone comes in for a save as we go to a break.
Even the announcers couldn’t tell who he was.
we don’t mention who the other guy was.
to say but Stevie Richards comes in to speak for Bird Boy. He calls
himself Dancing Stevie Richards and tells Tenay to go “ask one of
the Mexicans what their favorite movie is.” Richards asks Raven
some questions but again gets no answers. Tenay gets shoved away.
McMichael vs. Steiners
Jarrett in the ring. Good enough I guess. Steve and Scott start
things off with Steiner immediately taking it to the mat. Mongo
comes back with a powerslam but walks into a spinning belly to belly
for two. Off to Rick vs. Benoit with Benoit going off on Steiner in
the corner. Rick comes back with a release overhead belly to belly
for two and grabs him on the mat.
and punches Rick a bit as the match slows down. Rick shoves him into
the corner so Scott can beat on McMichael on the floor a bit. Savage
is in the back beating up Nick Patrick and hurting his shoulder.
What would a main event be without a cutaway to something in the
back? Scott gorilla presses Benoit and puts him in an STF. Rick
gets the tag and puts Benoit in an STF of his own.
a dragon screw legwhip and it’s off to McMichael. Scott comes in and
belly to belly superplexes Mongo down for two. Rick gets the hot (?)
tag to clean house and everything breaks down. Jeff Jarrett runs out
and beats up Mongo as Sullivan comes out with a chair to crack over
Benoit’s head. Rick sees what happened and steals the pin anyway.
This was more along the lines of a way to build up Mongo and Benoit’s
singles matches on Sunday. The match was kind of a mess but it was a
very physical mess which made things more interesting. When the
Steiners started throwing people around it was always entertaining,
as was Benoit suplexing everyone all over the place. Not a terrible
match but it was messy.
Bischoff to close the show. Bischoff talks about seeing Luger on
Regis and Kathy Lee this morning and how after Sunday, no one is
going to want to see him again. This is a really basic interview
until Luger and Giant chase them off to end the show. The NWO comes
in and Luger puts Bischoff in the Rack with Giant running
Over than the Savage and Page stuff, this was a pretty dull show.
The matches weren’t any good and while the PPV was built up, it’s
still nothing that I have any interest in watching. Thankfully after
this we would move towards matches that were for more than bragging
rights and honor. This show on its own doesn’t do anything that well
though, other than the Page stuff which is really memorable.
Date: July 27, 2012
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Booker T, Michael Cole, Josh Matthews
Raw 1000 over now we can actually start building towards Summerslam and
we’ll begin that with finding a new #1 contender. There’s a fourway
tonight and the winner gets Sheamus at the PPV. Other than that it’s
hard to say what we’ll get tonight as things will have to be reset from
MITB but we had a throwaway show last week. Hopefully things pick up
from last week. Let’s get to it.
Miz to open the show. Miz says he’s the new face of the IC Title and
he’d love to thank every one of Christian’s fans, because they voted for
him to defend the belt on Monday. He gets ready to say his catchphrase
and here’s Christian. Christian says he’s using his rematch clause
tonight so here we go.
hits a quick slam and punches away in the corner. Christian sends him
to the apron but charges into a shoulder to the ribs. Miz gets knocked
to the floor and a baseball slide takes him out. Back in and the champ
punches Christian right back down and hits the corner clothesline. Top
rope double ax gets two and we hit the chinlock. Christian fights out of
it quickly and hits a flapjack, causing Miz to roll to the apron. For
the second time though Christian charges at Miz on the apron and again
it goes badly for him as Miz backdrops Christian to the floor.
take a break and come back with Miz still in control but Christian
fires off some right hands. A cradle gets two for Christian but the
Reality Check gets two for Miz. Another corner clothesline runs into a
boot to the face from Christian. He loads up what was probably the frog
splash but Miz gets up before Christian can jump. They fight on the top
with Miz getting knocked down, but the splash hits knees for two.
comes back again by knocking Miz backwards and hitting a missile
dropkick from the middle rope. Christian makes his comeback and slams
Miz’s back into the top rope. A cross body gets two as does the reverse
DDT. The sunset flip out of the corner is countered by Miz but a big
kick to the face misses as well and Christian rolls him up for two.
middle rope back elbow puts Miz down but the Killswitch is countered
into the short DDT for two. Miz goes up but gets slammed off the middle
rope. Christian sets for the spear but Miz bails. Back in and both
finishers are countered but Miz pokes Christian in the eye and rolls him
up to retain at 10:38 shown of 14:08. He had some tights in the rollup
This worked well as they had time to get things going. The idea here
that Christian was 100% tonight and Miz still beat him (albeit with
cheating) is fine. It makes Miz look good as he gets another victory
over a pretty big name and lets him get some more relevance, which he’s
been lacking horribly since losing the title last year.
gets in some shots but runs into a big boot to the chest. Ryback
suplexes him to the apron but Mahal gets a knee to the head of Ryback to
take over. A jumping knee to the head actually gets one as Mahal is in
control. Mahal works on the back with knees and an elbow followed by the
camel clutch. Ryback will have none of that though and hits the Over
the Shoulder Boulder Holder to escape. A spinebuster puts Mahal down but
he ducks the clothesline. Mahal bails and takes the countout loss at
2:45. Nice to see them give Ryback something that isn’t just a 90 second
is in the back and looking sad when Sheamus comes in with a present.
Sheamus lists off everything that happened to Bryan on Raw but Bryan
yells about AJ not being done with him and about Rock being gone for six
months and how no one cares about Charlie Sheen. Sheamus hands him the
gift and says it was for Bryan’s wedding night and leaves. Bryan
complains about the wrapping job and opens the gift. He slams it down
and leaves. The camera shows us that it was a book with a picture of
Sheamus kicking Bryan at Mania. The title: How to Last More Than 18
Feeling out process for the first minute or so. Sheamus has a big black
eye. A big shot to the chest puts Cody down for two and they fight over
arm control. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker puts Cody down for another two.
Cody escapes the ten forearms in the ropes but after a chase, Cody gets
caught in them anyway while standing in the ring. They both go to the
apron and Sheamus is sent into the post. That gets a 9 count on the
floor…and here’s Ziggler.
take a break and come back with Cody working on the arm that went into
the post. A dropkick gets two on Sheamus and a running knee to the head
gets the same. Cody tries a full nelson which is quickly broken up. A
dropkick to the knee slows Sheamus down but he puts Cody down with a
hits a knee lift and powerslam but a charge into the corner misses.
Cody misses a moonsault press off the top and the Irish Curse gets two.
Sheamus gets sent to the floor to give Cody a breather. Back in the
Disaster Kick gets two but an attempt at a second one is caught in mid
air into White Noise. Brogue Kick ends this at 9:38 shown of 13:08.
This was a good TV match and another win for Sheamus. Cody is still in
limbo but he can still put on some decent matches like this one. He
desperately needs a feud or a character change soon though as he’s
floundering where he is now. Either way this was fine and Sheamus being
on TV every week is a good way for him to stay over like he does.
thinks about cashing in but backs away. Chris Jericho runs out and
throws Ziggler in and Dolph gets a Brogue Kick. His head looked like the
mannequin on Conan. Jericho is wearing a Ziggler shirt for some reason.
Sheamus leaves and Jericho hits a Codebreaker on Ziggler.
entrance for Cesaro. Cesaro immediately takes him to the mat and smacks
Santino in the head. Gutwrench suplex puts Santino down and it’s off to
a chinlock. Santino makes his comeback with the usual stuff and he
survives an Aksana distraction. The Cobra is countered into a hot shot
and the Neutralizer gets the pin at 2:07. Basically a squash.
attacks immediately and sends Tatsu to the floor. Back in and a Russian
legsweep puts Tatsu down followed by some elbows. Sandow fires off the
knees to the chest and the neckbreaker gets the pin at 1:16.
says that he is the martyr of everyone that was glad he got beat up on
Monday. It didn’t air on this video I’m watching but apparently HHH came
out and Pedigreed him. That may have just been for the live crowd.
gets the shot at Sheamus at Summerslam. Kane and Del Rio are sent to
the floor. Bryan hits the suicide shove on Kane and Rey hits the seated
senton on Del Rio. Back in and it’s Rey vs. Bryan with Rey being taken
off the top so Bryan can take over. Kane is sent into the steps as Bryan
fires away the kicks to Rey. Rey takes Bryan down and loads up 619, but
Del Rio breaks it up because why would you want one of the four people
in the match to take a finishing move?
comes back in and takes down Del Rio before hitting the top rope
clothesline on Bryan for no cover. The smaller guys escape the double
chokeslam but they can’t escape a double suplex. Everyone is down as we
take a break. Back with Del Rio stomping down Bryan in the corner. Bryan
comes back and fires off kicks of his own in the opposite corner but
Del Rio kicks him in the arm to break the momentum.
cross armbreaker goes on but Mysterio breaks it up. Kane comes back in
and cleans house, getting two off a clothesline to Rey. He charges into
some boots from Rey in the corner but Rey counters a powerslam into a
DDT to put both guys down. Del Rio comes back in and beats them both
down before focusing solely on Kane. A Backstabber gets two as Bryan is
back in with kicks. There’s the LeBell Lock on Del Rio but Kane makes
is sent to the floor and Del Rio hits a Codebreaker on the arm. That
gets two as does the chokeslam with Rey making the save. Bryan sends
Kane into the crowd, leaving Del Rio and Rey in the ring. A kick to the
head gets two for Rey but Bryan breaks up the 619. Rey hits a 12 2 18 on
Bryan and Del Rio and the top rope splash gets two on Bryan. Ricardo
pulls Rey to the floor and Del Rio steals the pin on Bryan at 9:45 shown
This started off slow but after the commercial break it got much
better. They picked the pace way up and never let there be the same two
guys in there for very long at all. The ending was a nice touch too as
Del Rio came out of nowhere to steal the pin. This was a good TV main
event which is the right idea, and it sets up a match later on which is
the more important thing.
With three matches that went over ten minutes each and were all good,
it’s hard to call this anything but good. This was a very wrestling
heavy show and a lot of stuff was addressed. We had a title match, a
furthering of Jericho vs. Ziggler, a world title announced for the PPV,
and two matches with upcoming midcarders. That’s a good use of two hours
and makes this one of the better Smackdowns in a long time.
July 25, 2012
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
William Regal, Byron Saxton
back with the sixth week of NXT and it barely feels that long at all.
We’ve got some stories coming together and tonight it’s Cesaro vs.
Riley which should be a decent match. It really is remarkable how
much better this show is with just some minor adjustments to it, like
giving us stories and matches consisting of more than about ten
people. Let’s get to it.
new intro for WWE programming is shorter than the old one. It says
WWE: Then, Now, Forever. I’m not sure I like it better than the old
one but it’s fine.
Dallas/Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis/Michael McGillicutty
says Michael and Johnny could be one of the best tag teams ever. I
don’t often say this, but I think Regal may be wrong. Also, why is
WWE so obsessed with having Bateman vs. Curtis? Apparently Cena says
that Bateman is the strongest pound for pound guy in the company.
That’s not something I would have guessed. Fast paced start with
Bateman/Dallas clearing the ring but Dallas gets caught on the floor.
inside and McGillicutty hooks a chinlock on Dallas but it doesn’t
last long. Dallas grabs a sunset flip but Curtis had gotten a blind
tag and breaks it up. Dallas escapes a hold from Curtis and there’s
the tag to Bateman to no reaction. A flapjack puts Curtis down and a
flip neckbreaker gets two. McGillicutty cheap shots Bateman,
allowing Curtis to hit a Falcon’s Arrow for the pin at 4:06.
C. For a quick tag match which
didn’t mean much of anything, this wasn’t bad at all. They were
moving very fast here and even though the matchup that is being
pushed here in the form of Bateman vs. Curtis is played out, the
addition of two extra people helped a lot. McGillicutty could be
something awesome, but his name is crippling him.
Cesaro vs. Alex Riley
has jumped in on commentary. Riley gets his usual good reaction, and
since Cena isn’t here to be annoyed because of something we never
would know about if not for dirt sheets, Riley can actually have a
match. Cesaro takes him down with amateur stuff to start but Riley
speeds things up and hits a dropkick for two. Cesaro hot shots him
and Riley is in trouble again. The crowd got very quiet all of a
gets very excited about an abdominal stretch but Riley counters into
a rollup for two. Antonio muscles him down and hits a big boot in
the corner for two. A delayed gutwrench suplex gets two. Back to
the abdominal stretch but Cesaro hooks his leg over Riley’s head on
top of it. It looks great but Riley counters in about 10 seconds.
Riley pounds away with right hands and some clotheslines. A
spinebuster puts Cesaro down but Aksana pops up on the apron. Cesaro
hits a kind of spear/side slam and the Gotch Style Neutralizer (Regal
called it that) gets the pin at 5:12. It’s a falling forward cradle
C-. This was an extended squash
and in that regard it worked well. If the recent reports about Riley
are true, that’s another name on the list of guys that have a bunch
of potential who are held down because of some stupid thing that
happened backstage that only a handful of people think means
anything. Cesaro looks good but for some reason he can’t get on TV
at all. I’m sure it’s because he “doesn’t know how to work” or
something like that.
Onoo says that he brings danger to the table because he can fly, he
can use holds and he can hit you. He closes it out with this: “My
name is Kassius. I hurt people.” I like that.
McIntyre, who faces Seth Rollins tonight, says tonight the talking
about Rollins ends.
vs. Sofia Cortez
quickly takes her to the mat but gets caught in a headscissors. They
get back to their feet but Cortez armdrags her down again. Nattie
comes back with a discus lariat and spanks Cortez a bit. Natalya
hooks a suplex and a cool looking pinning combination for two.
O’Connor Roll gets two for Natayla and Cortez kicks her out of the
ring on the kickout. Natalya is fine but sits on the floor for the
countout at 3:10. She shouted at the referee to count because she
wasn’t getting back in.
C+. I know I bash the Divas a
lot, but this was a decent little match. They were moving out there
and they never looked like they were trying to follow a list of moves
out there. What I mean by that is it looked natural out there, which
is a big flaw in most Divas matches today. Good stuff here and I
don’t remember the last time I said that about the Divas.
runs back into the ring and beats Cortez down, putting her in the
on Raw 1000. That really was a fun show.
Ascension vs. Dante Dash/Garrett Dylan
and O’Brien start but O’Brien charges through him and blasts Dylasn
off the apron. Kameron comes in and Ascension drops rapid fire
elbows on Dash. Down goes Dylan off the apron again and the Downcast
(jawbreaker out of a flapjack) gets the pin on Dash at 1:46.
E. Langston is still coming and he debuts next week.
Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
miss the full Broken Dreams entrance. That thing was awesome.
Rollins speeds things up to start and dropkicks Drew down. Another
dropkick puts McIntyre on the floor and a dive takes Drew down again.
Back with a double clothesline putting both guys down. Rollins nips
up and hits an enziguri to take Drew down. They head to the corner
but Rollins’ charge hits the middle buckle. The advantage doesn’t
last long as Rollins rolls Drew up for two and clotheslines him down
for the same. A Phoenix Splash (moonsault into a 450) misses and
Drew kicks Seth’s head off. Futureshock gets the clean pin at 5:30
shown of 9:00.
C-. This was basically a squash
with a surprise ending. Rollins looked good here with him flying all
over the place and hitting almost everything he tried. The ending is
a bit questionable but it gives McIntyre a bit of credibility when he
loses on this show more often. That’s probably the right move and
the match wasn’t awful or anything.
Rating: B-. That seems to be
the consistent grade for this show. There were some good matches
here and at the end we had the promise of something major being
announced next week. I have a feeling I know what that is and
that’ll make things a lot more interesting around here. The main
event wasn’t much but it did its job well enough. Another good show
McGillicutty/Johnny Curtis b. Derrick Bateman/Bo Dallas – Falcon’s
Arrow to Bateman
Cesaro b. Alex Riley – Gotch Style Neutralizer
Cortez b. Natalya via countout
Ascension b. Dante Dash/Garrett Dylan – Downcash to Dash
McIntyre b. Seth Rollins – Futureshock
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews
July 19, 2012
Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, California
Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, Booker T
just after MITB and the only major change is that Ziggler is the MITB
case holder for this show. Other than that we’re just in a holding
pattern tonight as everything is likely to be shoved forward on
Monday at the 1000th Raw. I’d be surprised if we found out anything
about Summerslam tonight but it’s possible. Let’s get to it.
you know your enemy? Mine is currently Pandora charm bracelets.
the freshly returned Rey Mysterio to open things up. We’re in his
hometown tonight so you know the pop is big. We get a quick recap of
Alberto injuring him in this arena a year ago but now he’s back here
with his family. He couldn’t wait for tonight to get back which is
why he was there on Raw, and Alberto being there just made the whole
Alberto who calls Rey a chihuahua and says that Rey is back, only to
get hurt again. Alberto says that he could hurt Rey all over again
but instead he’ll just let Rey leave. Rey says no way so Alberto
says whatever and starts talking about Sheamus. Rey says that at
MITB, Sheamus beat up Del Rio. Del Rio says that he’ll be the next
world champion, and here’s Ziggler.
talks about winning the case and about how he was going to cash in on
Sunday which would make him the World Heavyweight Champion right now.
Del Rio says that he’s loco and challenges Dolph for a fight right
now, along with his burra (female donkey) Vickie. Rey says get it on
right now but Dolph suggests he and Del Rio team up against Rey. Cue
Sheamus and I think I know where this is going. Sheamus says that if
Ziggler takes another step towards Rey, the briefcase is going up his
trunk and he’ll drive Dolph into the Pacific Ocean. Del Rio runs so
Ziggler gets an ax handle to the face and almost a 619.
a break the tag match is announced. If you don’t know what I mean,
go read something else.
Time Players/Hunico/Camacho vs. Primo/Epico/Kofi Kingston/R-Truth
and Epico get things going with things moving very quickly. Hunico
slams him face first into the mat but is quickly pulled down into an
armbar. Off to Primo for a dropkick and more armbaring, this time on
Camacho. A blind tag brings in Truth for some gyrations and a
spinning legdrop. Everything breaks down and we take a break. Back
with Kofi getting tagged in to beat on Camacho. The Boom Drop hits
but Hunico breaks up Trouble in Paradise, allowing Camacho to hit a
spinebuster on the flippy Jamaican.
to Hunico with a slingshot hilo for two. Titus comes in and slams
Kofi down for two before hooking an abdominal stretch. Young comes
in but Kofi takes him down with a shot to the face. Hot tag brings
in Primo who cleans house. A spinning flip dive off the top takes
down Darren and everything breaks down. Titus knocks Primo off the
top into the gutbuster from Young for the pin at 6:50 shown of 10:20.
C. This was fine when you
consider how many people were in it. The tag division is actually
growing a bit here with four teams to fight each other which is a
nice change of pace. Also it’s nice to see at least some of them on
TV almost every week. This wasn’t a great match or anything but at
least it’s better than nothing.
Show comes out post match and cleans house on everyone but the
Players. He leaves them all laying with punches and chokeslams
before asking for a mic. He says “and what” and leaves.
Piven was on Raw once.
get a LONG recap of Cena’s path to MITB and his promo on Monday,
announcing that he’s cashing in at Raw 1000.
be a bully.
Sandow vs. Zach Ryder
yells during Ryder’s entrance about how stupid it is so Ryder charges
into the ring and it’s on. Ryder pounds him down but Sandow gets in
a shot to the head and takes over. Sandow puts Ryder on the apron to
drop an elbow as the fans cheer for Zach. Back in and Sandow fires
in knees to the ribs, followed by the double arm neckbreaker for the
pin at 1:25. Basically a squash.
for the Peep Show with Bryan and AJ as the guests. Christian talks
about the situation and we get a clip of the proposal from Monday.
Here are AJ and Bryan with AJ now in a Bryan top. There’s a ring now
on her finger now too. Christian asks about the wedding planning and
we get a video of the pair going to various places set to classical
music. I miss little videos like this one. Christian asks if Bryan
is serious and if AJ has forgiven Bryan for what he did, both of
which receive a yes answer.
asks the fans if they think this is true love or if AJ knows what
she’s doing. The fans say no, so Christian asks AJ if she knows what
she’s doing. That earns Christian a slap and the marriage
participants go to leave, but Christian says hang on a sec.
Apparently Bryan has a match tonight and it’s with AJ’s psycho
Bryan vs. Kane
start the match after a break so that the set can be cleared out.
Bryan fires off some YES kicks but Kane knees him in the ribs to
break that up. Kane kicks him down for two and puts on a
bodyscissors. A backbreaker hits Bryan and Kane bends Bryan’s spine
over the knee. Bryan finally gets up and does the backflip out of
the corner before taking out Kane’s knee. Here are more kicks but
Kane grabs him by the throat.
is broken up and there’s a BIG kick to the head for two. Bryan goes
up but jumps into an uppercut for two. Side slam gets two for Kane
and the big man goes up, only to jump into a YES Lock attempt. Kane
escapes and they head to the floor with Kane accidentally knocking AJ
over. Kane goes off on Bryan and sends him into the announce table.
Back inside and Kane loads up the chokeslam but AJ jumps on him,
drawing the DQ at 5:13.
C+. I was getting into this one
by the end. The ending is annoying but there’s no need to have Bryan
get a win before the wedding as that is likely going to end in chaos.
These two have some chemistry together and it was here again, which
is always a nice thing to see. AJ still being psycho is a good thing
too as it’ll play into the wedding on Monday.
stays on Kane’s back and rips at his face. Bryan charges at Kane but
gets chokeslammed with AJ still on Kane’s back. AJ gets down in
Kane’s face like she’s about to kiss him and gives him the freaky
look. Kane looks confused and Bryan pulls AJ out to the floor.
Bryan and AJ kiss on the stage.
Slater again and he has a new legend to face, which is the first time
he’s done that on Smackdown. We get a quick video about Heath’s
experiences against legends.
Slater vs. Animal
of the Road Warriors. Animal looks OLD. He isn’t fat but he has no
muscle definition at all. The match runs 45 seconds and Animal wins
with a powerslam and elbow drop.
and Vickie are arguing in the back and Vickie screams a lot.
run down the stuff for Raw 1000.
Del Rio/Dolph Ziggler vs. Rey Mysterio/Sheamus
Dolph’s entrance we get a clip from Monday with the Codebreaker to
Ziggler. Ziggler and Sheamus start things off and the champ runs him
over with a shoulder block. Ziggler goes after Sheamus’ arm which I
guess is still injured. Sheamus picks him up and hits a quick Regal
Roll for two. The fans want Rey and here he is, hitting a slingshot
legdrop for two. Rey is in a t-shirt here which is a different look
takes Rey’s head off with a clothesline for two and it’s off to Del
Rio. Rey rolls away from Alberto and tags in Sheamus, sending Del
Rio to the floor in fear. Ziggler gets caught in the ropes with the
ten forearms and is sent to the floor. Sheamus goes out after him
but gets dropkicked coming back in as we take a break. Back with
Ziggler getting thrown off Sheamus and there’s the tag to Mysterio.
kicks Dolph in the face for two and it’s 619 time. Del Rio kicks
Mysterio in the back to break that up though and comes in with a
chinlock. Back to Ziggler for some rope choking and an armbar.
Alberto comes back in and works on the arm again but allows Rey to
get close to a tag. That doesn’t connect though and Rey gets sent
into the corner. Rey backdrops Del Rio to the floor but Ziggler
comes in and breaks up the tag to Sheamus.
picks up Rey but gets caught in a spinning DDT to put both guys down.
There’s the hot tag to Sheamus and Del Rio comes in again. Sheamus
cleans house on everyone, including sending Del Rio into Ziggler,
knocking Ziggler into the announce table. White Noise takes down Del
Rio but Ricardo breaks up the Brogue Kick for the DQ at 9:46 shown of
C-. Not much to see here,
especially with an ending like that. That’s not much of a return to
the ring for Rey as he never even got a hot tag. The ending was
stupid too as it’s the second DQ ending in a big match we’ve had
tonight. The match wasn’t even that good either as it was a slow
paced version of the main event tag. Not horrible though.
Rio puts the Armbreaker on Sheamus again before leaving. Ziggler
looks like he’s going to cash in but Rey breaks it up. Sheamus kicks
Ziggler’s head off to end the show.
Rating: D. And that’s being
VERY generous. There was nothing tonight that means anything as
Rey’s return was pretty much wasted and it looks like we’re getting
more Del Rio vs. Sheamus. That would be fine if it was set up by
something different. Instead, Del Rio is going after Sheamus’ arm
AGAIN, because that’s how this feud is set up I guess. This show was
worthless, but Monday should have a few things on it. Bad show this
week and one of the worst in a long time.
Time Players/Hunico/Camacho b. Kofi Kingston/R-Truth/Primo/Epico –
Gutbuster to Primo
Sandow b. Zach Ryder – Double Arm Neckbreaker
b. Daniel Bryan via DQ when AJ interfered
b. Heath Slater – Elbow Drop
Mysterio b. Alberto Del Rio/Dolph Ziggler via DQ when Ricardo
July 18, 2012
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
William Regal, Byron Saxton
week four or five here and things are seeming to change on this show,
which is fine but it also would have been fine if nothing had changed
at all. I believe this is the beginning of the second set of tapings
so things are likely going to change a bit more here. I don’t
remember any announced matches for this so it’ll be a surprise.
Let’s get to it.
I said I don’t know any of the matches but WWE has promised me a
great main event tonight.
main event is Slater vs. Gabriel. I forgot about that one.
Snuka vs. Kaitlyn
is called the girl next door. I’ve never had a neighbor that looks
like her. Tamina tries her power stuff but results in a chop to take
Kaitlyn down instead. Kaitlyn leg whips her down and things slow
down again. Tamina is screw this wrestling stuff and chops her right
back down again. Now it’s a flying chop to mix things up. Kaitlyn
hooks a kind of abdominal stretch in the ropes to take over.
gets two for Kaitlyn and she hooks a bodyscissors on the mat. Tamina
gets up and hits a spinning hair grab to slam Kaitlyn into the mat.
Wouldn’t that hurt Tamina too? Tamina tries the splash but Kaitlyn
grabs her leg. A Russian legsweep puts Tamina down and Kaitlyn hooks
an arm hold while using her legs to hold down Tamina’s head. Tamina
is like SAMOA POWER and uses a Samoan Drop to escape. Superfly
Splash gets the pin at 5:20.
D+. I know that the complaint
about the Divas that I usually have is that the matches are too
short, but then we have matches like these where I don’t care at all
no matter what they do. I have no idea who I was supposed to cheer
for here or why I’m supposed to be interested in them. This was five
minutes of moves with some flow to it but nothing of note. Also,
that splash is on the verge of losing the name Superfly Splash
because it’s barely the same move.
moment is Jericho debuting in 99.
E. Langston, a very muscular black guy is coming. He has more
personality in his calf than Ezekiel Jackson has in his whole body
from what I can tell.
Mahal vs. Percy Watson
grabs a headlock to start as Regal tells stories of facing Mahal’s
uncles over 25 years ago. I’d love to just hear Regal tell old
wrestling stories. Watson comes back with a suplex but Mahal fires
in the knees out of the cravate to take over again. A knee drop gets
two for Mahal. Apparently Watson and Cena are friends. Ok then.
points out how the hand grips that Mahal has in this chinlock make
the hold more painful. Now that’s some good analysis. Watson comes
back with his jumping attacks and the Heisman Splash for two. Percy
takes too much time though and walks into a jumping knee and the
camel clutch gets the tap at 4:22.
D+. They’ve wanted to push
Mahal for awhile here so I guess this works as well as anything else.
NXT is a good place for him but Mahal needs more promo time. We
really don’t know anything about Mahal though other than the Khali
stuff from a few years ago. Still though, the idea of having a heel
like that here is fine for a show like this. The match was dull
Steamboat vs. Leo Kruger
takes him into the corner with chops to start but you can’t chop a
Steamboat and gets away with it. Richie rips some skin off Kruger’s
chest and a monkey flip sends Kruger flying. Steamboat chargers into
the corner but Kruger uses a move I’ve never seen before. He grabs a
rollup but uses it to ram Steamboat’s head into the bottom buckle to
grabs a small package for two but Kruger puts him right back down
with ease. Steamboat gets in a clothesline and some forearms to send
Kruger to the floor. We get a chase but as they head back in,
Steamboat hits a cross body but Kruger rolls through and puts his
feet on the ropes for the pin at 4:30.
C+. This is what we’ve been
building to on NXT for awhile. Not this match in particular, but
putting these guys that we’ve built up together and seeing who comes
out on top. That’s how you start a new promotion or a brand in this
case, and it works very well when it’s done right. They’re doing
that here on NXT and it’s working well.
Diaz promo, I believe the same from last week.
Diaz vs. Paige
comes off like something resembling Lady Gaga. She’s on a wireless
mic and says she wants to give this show a makeover and sounds like a
chick imitating Cher from Clueless. Her parents are Eddie and Vickie
Guerrero so the genes are there. Diaz takes her to the mat and rams
Paige’s face into the mat. Paige comes back with a kind of superkick
but Diaz will have none of that, and hits the Gory Bomb for the pin
at 1:49. That’s the kind of debuting squash you need.
Riley is looking for catering and runs into Aksana. Nothing of note
happens here but Antonio Cesaro pops up. Aksana says Riley was
hitting on her, which Cesaro says is so American. Cesaro wants a
match next week, which Riley says is very European of him.
Slater vs. Justin Gabriel
is on commentary here as usual for the main event. Gabriel armdrags
him down and hooks an armbar for early control. Slater fights up and
gets taken down by the exact same sequence again. Gabriel tries to
go up but Slater shoves him to the floor as we take a break. Back
with Slater holding a chinlock for a few moments followed by a
neckbreaker for two. A hard Irish whip into the corner gets two.
Back to the chinlock as the fans chant that they want Frostees.
sends him to the apron and catches Gabriel with a knee coming back
in. A middle rope neckbreaker gets two as Slater is staying on the
neck which was hurt when Gabriel fell to the floor earlier. Gabriel
fires off some kicks and a sitout powerbomb gets two. Slater comes
back with a good looking spinebuster for two. They trade some
counters resulting in Slater hitting a reverse suplex for two.
neckbreaker out of the corner gets two for Slater and he loads up a
belly to back superplex. Gabriel knocks him off and tries AJ Styles’
backflip into a reverse DDT, but he doesn’t hit it quite right as it
looks like he lands in an over the shoulder gutbuster. Not that it
matters though as Gabriel hits the reverse DDT for the pin at 8:50
shown of 12:20.
B-. This is exactly what people
like Gabriel and Slater need. They’re not going to get this kind of
TV time on Raw or Smackdown anytime soon, but here on NXT they can go
and have a 10-12 minute match and get the experience that they need.
This was an entertaining match and for a TV main event on the lowest
level show, that’s all you can ask for.
Rating: B. NXT continues to be
awesome with only the Divas being weak, but that almost goes without
saying. There’s one thing here that I’d like to point out that I
really like about NXT: Dusty Rhodes is the GM and has appeared I
think twice in 5 weeks. What is cool about NXT is that we know who
is in charge and who is making these matches, but we don’t have to
see Dusty making these matches. Think about how much time is spent
on Raw and Smackdown just seeing people say hey, you two are in a
match. NXT is as fast paced as you could ask for and man is it
refreshing. Another good show here.
Snuka b. Kaitlyn – Superfly Splash
Mahal b. Percy Watson – Camel Clutch
Kruger b. Richie Steamboat – Rolled Through Cross Body
Diaz b. Paige – Gory Bomb
Gabriel b. Heath Slater – Reverse DDT
The Netcop Retro Rant for In Your House: Canadian Stampede. – Me and my big mouth. I make an offhand comment about this being the last great PPV before Wrestlemania XIV for the WWF, and I suddenly get deluged with e-mails asking for the rant on it. I’m not a machine, people. (Yes I am.) But because I love each and every one of you equally (except CRZ), I figure I’d capitulate to my adoring public and finally do the long-awaited Canadian Stampede rant. But first, the minor details: This was the last PPV to bear the “In Your House” moniker as the primary title and was the last two-hour PPV for the WWF, as all of them from Ground Zero on were given catchy names first and foremost and were three hours long. It was also one of the highest grossing shows of the year for the WWF, even with our shitty exchange rate. (UFC also is discovering how much Calgary loves to spend money this weekend.) It was also the last WWF PPV released on Coliseum Video before the changeover to WWF Home Video. I was actually supposed to be there live, but work intervened and I had to get left behind here in Edmonton to tape about 4 copies of the show at once. Everyone else did a road trip to Calgary and apparently had a great time (not that I’m bitter), (Yes I am.) including having drinks with Shawn Michael’s then-fiancée Julie and wardrobe chick Terri Fittipelli. The setup for this show came on the heels of Bret Hart’s massive heel turn…in the US. See, up here in Canada, his anti-US stance was interpreted as being an ultra-patriotic Canadian answer to the usual jingoistic American bullshit that we’ve been swallowing in our own media and TV shows via the US for the past fifty-some years. Whereas the US had many people to represent them in wrestling, all Canadians ever had were the goofy Rougeaus (who were massively over in Canada), the lumbering Dino Bravo and the occasional flash of brilliance from Bret Hart. See, the US as a whole doesn’t really deal well with opposing points of view to interfere with it’s blissful xenophobia, so when Bret started going off about how fundamentally unfair the US justice and health care systems are and how Canada might actually have a better one, that was interpreted as the actions of a heel. (And you’ve got ObamaCare now. So Bret was right.) But up in Canada, what we heard was someone actually standing up for us instead of making us the butt of back-bacon and maple-syrup type jokes, and a result, by the time Bret and family returned to Calgary for this show, they were literally national heroes. (I can’t overstate enough that they were literally NATIONAL HEROES. It was crazy, especially now considering how apathetic the country and population in general is towards WWE these days.) The United States as a whole didn’t really understand that because Steve Austin’s anti-hero was the prevailing trend at the time, which was kinda Bret’s whole point with his tirades against the eroding family values of the US to begin with, and in fact the cynicism built into the American mindset of Generation X and the greedy baby-boomers was such at that time that an all-American hero probably would have been booed out of the building anyway. Witness Kurt Angle. Sure, the Patriot worked in the short term as the foil for Bret Hart, but that wasn’t because people liked it, it was because they hated Bret. And the climax of all this was Bret’s triumphant return home, in what would end up being the last time that the real Bret, the Canadian hero and the man that I truly respected and would follow through almost anything, would show his face before life beat him down into insanity and a web of his own paranoia and self-loathing. I think this show stands as pretty much the best memory he could have gone out on, anyway. – Live from Calgary [dramatic pause], Alberta, Canada. – Your hosts are JR, The King and Mr. McMahon. – Opening match: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Mankind. This is a rematch from King of the Ring where HHH went over Mick to win the crown, turning him face in the process. The crowd is AMPED, and as a result everyone cranks it up a notch for this show. And when Mick Foley cranks it up a notch, look the fuck out. If long play-by-play bores you, too bad, because I’m doing it for every match here. Slugfest to start, won by Mick as he hits a quick slam, legdrop and double-arm DDT. Zen (my roommate) sighting #1: He walks by the camera at various times in the night carrying very prominent signs. The first one is “Everything Zen”. (Not surprising.) Mick tosses HHH and drops a Cactus elbow, adding a “bang bang” for fun, and to foreshadow his impending transformation. It gets two. He tosses HHH again, allowing HHH to head for the hills. Mick chases and they brawl on the ramp, with Mick getting a suplex there. HHH sunset-flips back into the ring, but gets caught with the Mandible Claw. Chyna saves him. Mick chases her and HHH nails him from behind, allowing Chyna to hiptoss him into the steps for that nasty spot he always does. HHH clips him for good measure as he climbs back in and goes to work on the knee. Figure-four (rope assisted) gets two. Mick breaks it and comes back. An accidental low blow gives us a double-KO. Mick is up first and hits the charging knee to the corner, then puts HHH in the Tree of Woe and drops an elbow on his nose. Pulling piledriver gets two. Cactus clothesline sends both out, where Hunter nails Mick in the knee with a chair, and when the ref is distracted with him Chyna adds a clothesline for good measure. Back in and Mick catches HHH with the Mandible Claw again as he tries a top rope move, but Chyna posts him to break it up. Mick chases her again, and HHH follows for a brawl on the floor, which ends in a double-countout at 13:09. Super hot opener and a great match to boot. **** (Sounds a bit high to me, actually. They would do better later in the year. I’d probably go ***1/2 or so now.) That would be enough to make a two-hour show thumbs up right there. But I guess they were in an over-achieving mood tonight… – TAKA Michinoku v. The Great Sasuke. The idea was to push SASUKE as the light heavyweight champ, and Taka was just some jobber he brought along to make him look good. Funny how that one turned out. But first, Mick and HHH continue their brawl as they return from the dressing room and fight into the stands and the penalty box. Zen sighting #2 in honor of the match: “This is Workrate”. It was my goal in the pre-show planning session to make *the* definitive smart mark signs, and I think it worked. Feeling out process to start. Crowd seems a bit disinterested. Taka works on the arm but gets caught with a spin kick. Sasuke goes into a half-crab. Sasuke uses some stiff kicks, so Taka nails him and dropkicks him in the face, twice. KAIENTAI~! Sasuke backdrops Taka to the floor and follows with a tope. Both are down. Back in and Sasuke hits a viciously stiff kick combo, the last one right in the mouth, drawing the requisite “oohs” and “aahs”. Taka blocks a kick and legwhips him, then dropkicks him out of the ring and debuts the springboard plancha to a big pop. Beautiful camera work there. Back in and Taka reverses out of a german suplex and hits a rana for two. Sasuke comes back with a handspring elbow, sending Taka out. Quebrada (Asai moonsault) follows. Back in, Taka gets a belly-to-belly for two. Ohtani-like springboard dropkick gets the crowd going, and the Michinoku driver gets two. Taka goes upstairs and gets dropkicked coming down and a moonsault press from Sasuke gets two. Thunder fire bomb and tiger suplex finishes it at 10:00. Stars for everyone! We’re having a 2-for-1 special tonight! ****1/2 They would then proceed to TOP that match the next night on RAW, with Sasuke debuting the Space Flying Tiger Drop on North American TV, an event I was lucky enough to be there for this time. (This was indeed crazy for the time. Again, I’m probably a bit too high on the rating, but it blew away everything else on the show as far as pure work went.) – Meanwhile, outside, Mankind and a bloody HHH brawl into the parking lot before finally being seperated. This would set up the cage match at Summerslam, and then finally their wild brawl at the MSG RAW that saw the return of Cactus Jack the first time. As a side note, Foley debuted another personality 8 days after this, as his alter ego Dude Love helped Steve Austin regain the tag titles from Owen & Bulldog in San Antonio. – WWF World title match: The Undertaker v. Vader. This was supposed to be Ahmed Johnson’s big breakthrough match after his heel turn, but (and here’s a shock) he was injured, so Vader took his place, thus actually promising to give us a GOOD match. Undertaker pummels Vader to start, and hits a stinger splash for two. Ropewalk gets two. Vader comes back, but Undertaker hits the flying clothesline for two. Vader goes to the headlock. Undertaker boots him out. They brawl on the floor and Undertaker goes to the stairs. He necksnaps Vader from the apron, however, and comes in with a clothesline off the top for two. An uppercut puts Vader on the floor again. Taker chases Paul Bearer (who has been screaming “Murderer!” all match in reference to the angle that introduced the Big Red You-Know-Who) and Vader jumps him. Back in and Vader boxes his ears. Flying clothesline from the second rope gets two. Splash gets two. They rest for a bit, and Undertaker mounts the comeback. Vader knocks him down again. Undertaker keeps fighting up and tries a chokeslam, but Vader kicks him low to block. Undertaker tries the tombstone, but Vader falls on him for two. Vaderbomb misses, and Undertaker returns the low blow and then CHOKESLAMS HIM OFF THE TOP ROPE. Awesome. Another chokeslam gets two. Tombstone finishes at 12:37. Crowd goes NUTS. Guess what? This earns worst match of the night honors…at ***1/2! When have you EVER seen that outside of Japan? (Oh man, the WWF champion doesn’t even get to main event! What a mid-carder.) – Farmer’s Daughter sing “Oh Canada”. Zen and HSB got to hang out with them, too, lucky bastards. The Fink introduces Ralph Klein (Alberta’s premier and the only politician in the whole fucking country with the guts to stand up to Quebec) and the Hart family. – Cue the magic. – Main event: Goldust, Ken Shamrock, The Legion of Doom and Steve Austin v. Brian Pillman, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog, Owen Hart and Bret Hart. Everyone from the US team gets SERIOUS heel heat. Steve Austin is nearly booed out of the building. The Hart Foundation is introduced one-by-one, with the ovation building with every guy, until the roof is nearly ready to blow off the place when Bret comes out. It gives me a lump in my throat to watch it. (This was probably the high point of Brian Pillman’s life, and I’m glad he got this moment before his death. The look on his face when he get to play a straight babyface while basking in the ROAR of the Calgary crowd one last time is something to behold.) Austin & Bret start. Oh, by the way, the announcer make mention of a little documentary being shot at ringside. Something about “wrestling” and “shadows” or something like that. Bret beats the hell out of Austin, drawing INCREDIBLE face heat in the process. The crowd literally boos Austin’s every move. I mean, literally, when the guys MOVES they boo him. Austin quickly gets the cobra clutch, and they do the reversal spot in the corner for two. Austin misses the rope run, and Anvil tags in. Austin gets the Thesz press and tags Shamrock in. Zen sighting #3: He gets my masterpiece, “What’s Kayfabe?” on screen for a good chunk of time, and then had it confiscated by Adam (of George and Adam fame) about 10 seconds later. (Today of course no one would care about such a sign, but we were REBELS back then, dammit!) Shamrock controls easily, so Pillman tags in. He uses a blatant cheapshot and gets CHEERED for it. I know wrestlers always say that they like playing a heel and riling up the crowd, but Pillman had a grin about 4 miles wide on his face the entire match because of the babyface heat he was drawing. Backbreaker gets two. Shamrock hits a belly-to-belly, and everyone tags out. Owen & Goldust go. Enzuigiri gets two for Owen. Crowd starts with a VERY loud “Austin sucks” chant, and Austin wisely plays off it for fun. Hawk comes in with a legdrop on Owen for two. Flying splash gets two. Owen quickly comes back with the Sharpshooter, but Animal breaks. Big heel heat. Bulldog comes in with a hanging suplex and powerslam for two. Bret & Animal go next, and Bret kicks his ass. Goldust comes in and gets his ass kicked, too. Then he gets caught in the corner and a mass-beatdown results and the crowd is rabid and I’m nearly standing up and cheering even now. Owen comes in and hits the post on a blind charge, but comes back with a leg lariat on Animal and a missile dropkick. Rana is reversed into a powerbomb and powerslam. The LOD hits the Doomsday Device fro two, and another brawl erupts. Austin posts Owen and smashes a chair into his knee, then takes a shot at Bruce Hart in the front row. Crowd lets Austin know how much he sucks as Owen heads to the back for medical attention. Austin gets pummelled in the corner to the delight of the crowd, but he fights free. Austin and Pillman go and a quick stunner ends that fight pretty quick. Bret bails him out and posts Austin, then smashes a chair into HIS knee and applies the ringpost figure-four as the announcers gasp in shock at the bloodthirsty crowd. Back in the ring, Bulldog crotches Hawk on the top rope for two. Austin heads to the back for medical attention, too. Animal & Anvil get into a test of strength. Anvil wins and the Harts double-team Animal. Bret gets caught in the corner, but Shamrock plays to the crowd and Pillman sneaks in and clotheslines him. Hey, Ken, you’re a HEEL here. Shamrock then gets caught in the Hart corner and sent to the floor, where Pillman gleefully launches him into the Spanish table. Pillman is just having the time of his life out there. Sadly, this would be the last great match of his career. It’s nice to actually see a smile on his face for an entire match, ya know? Hart gets the russian legsweep for two. Bulldog comes in and pulverizes Shamrock, but a low blow turns the tide. Ah, now you’re catching on, Kenny. Goldust comes in to clean up with a bulldog on Bulldog and the Curtain Call, but Pillman interferes again. Goldust goes aerial and gets superplexed down for two. Austin makes his return. It’s Bret v. Austin again, and Austin wins this round. Suplex gets two. Bret DDTs him and goes for the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Sleeper is escaped with a jawbreaker, and it gets two. Bret comes back and gets the Sharpshooter, but Animal saves, and the crowd is PISSED. Austin does his own version, and Owen returns now to make the save. Austin clotheslines him out to the floor and they fight there. Austin takes a shot at fomer referee Wayne Hart, and they end up brawling as Wayne jumps the railing. Bret comes over and nails Austin for hitting his brothers, then rolls him into the ring. Austin has some choice words for Bret, which lets Owen roll him up for the pin at 24:30. Like you need to ask what this gets. ***** – In a glorious end to the whole thing, the entire Hart family clears the ring of Team US, and then Austin makes another go at it with a chair and gets the shit beat out of him 10-on-1. That’ll learn ‘im. The Harts continue the beating until security finally gets in long enough to arrest Austin and drag him back to the dressing room in handcuffs. Austin flips off the crowd behind his back as the Harts celebrate, end of show. The Bottom Line: Some quick match puts the average match rating at a little over ****. 4.19 stars, to be somewhat exact. That means there were no matches on this card that were anything under “fucking awesome” in layman’s terms. If this show had any sort of long-term historical significance it could very well be considered the greatest PPV ever. I still think it got screwed over in the 97 RSPW awards in favor of the sentimental favorite ECW show, but that’s life. At any rate, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart, and if nothing else will serve as a reminder that all-too-brief time in 1997 when Bret Hart was motivated again and happy. It also provided a brief window when Canada could express it’s own unique form of patriotism, because sometimes heroes still do exist, even if they do get screwed over in the end. Canada won’t forget him, though, even if Vince wants to. Strongest recommendation. (As a bonus, here’s the RAW from the next night, via my 24/7 rant) The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Night RAW – July 7 1997 – Live from EDMONTON, ALBERTA! My first ever live RAW, although you’d probably have to be looking really closely to see me. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. – This show, and the Canadian Stampede show from the night before, absolutely represented the pinnacle of Bret Hart’s hero status in Canada. You wouldn’t even believe how over Bret was all night long. – And of course we start out with none other than Bret Hart, wearing an Oilers jersey to really suck up full force. Bret gives a pretty famous speech here, thanking us for letting him be our hero and how he loves to leave the US. He clarifies that he’s not anti-American, he’s pro-Canadian. Although playing the gun control card in Alberta doesn’t go over too well, because it’s the Texas of Canada. He promises to regain the WWF title for the fifth time at Summerslam. In retrospect, I wish he wouldn’t have. Next up, Owen Hart, who is readying to defend the Intercontinental title against Steve Austin in another match that kind of changed the face of wrestling forever. British Bulldog also joins us, and we get a rousing Canadian national anthem on the TitanTron. Which allows Steve Austin to run in and lay them all out with a chair to a big heel reaction. Like they weren’t having the time of their lives with this stuff. – Taka Michinoku v. The Great Sasuke. Sasuke was still being pushed as the great white hope of the light heavyweight division here, although that would quickly change. Brian Christopher joins us on commentary to really amp up the annoyance. Taka attacks to start but gets kicked to the floor, and Sasuke quickly gets a tope con hilo. Oh man, he’s totally ripping off the Undertaker. Back in, Taka tries to work on the arm and they go the mat for two, where Sasuke reverses to an anklelock. Taka makes the ropes, so Sasuke puts him down with a spinkick combo and Taka bails to regroup. Taka pops backin with a missile dropkick to put Sasuke on the floor, but he blows the somersault moonsault and then does it again. Well, it popped the crowd so I’ll forgive it. Taka suplexes him back in, but Sasuke reverses to a german, which Taka flips out of and into a belly to belly for two. Michinoku Driver and Taka goes up, but whiffs on the moonsault. Sasuke tries a Lionsault, but Taka dropkicks him in mid-move. Taka charges and gets dumped, and Sasuke follows with the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP. This is about as far from Tommy Rogers v. Bobby Fulton as you can get, yo. Back in, Taka reverses a suplex, but Sasuke gets a bridged german suplex for two. Crucifix powerbomb finishes at 5:45. Taka gets basically written off a jobber by the announcers, but he’d be back and Sasuke wouldn’t. Highspot extravaganza, although still really short. *** – Savio Vega v. Crush. This is the official start of the Gang Warz period, as Crush and Savio introduced their posses the week before. Interesting that DOA were mostly the precursor to Undertaker’s 2000 revamp. Savio attacks Crush to start, but gets booted down and pounded, as the crowd makes Crush into the defacto babyface early. Backbreaker and Crush holds it as a submission move, but Savio comes back with a leg lariat to put Crush on the floor. This triggers a showdown between the factions, and back in the ring Crush comes back with a bad clothesline to put Savio out. DOA attacks him for the DQ at 2:21. * Just storyline stuff. – Meanwhile, Paul Bearer continues to insist that Undertaker’s brother, Kane, is still alive. And Undertaker is a murderer. A MURDERER! Man, who knew that silly idea would last 11 years and counting? – [Blur] Tag team tournament finals: Faarooq & D-Lo Brown v. Owen Hart & British Bulldog. Love that blurred graphic. Winner faces Steve Austin and a partner of his choosing next week for the tag titles. Steve insists that Mankind will never be his partner because he’s an earless freak. Owen hiptosses D-Lo to start, but gets elbowed down. Over to Bulldog, so Brown brings Faarooq in and we get a posedown. Bulldog with a powerslam and clothesline, but D-Lo gives him the cheapshot as you get a pretty good shot of Zen with a “Lawler’s Hardcore” sign at ringside. The Nation works Bulldog over in the corner, but he comes back with a faceplant. D-Lo cuts off the tag and suplexes Bulldog for two, then goes to the chinlock, but Bulldog fights out and then runs into a knee. Back to the chinlock and Owen gets suckered in to break it up, allowing more shenanigans from the Nation. Faarooq with his shitty powerslam for two, but a splash hits the knees and D-Lo has to cut off another hot tag. Brown chokes Bulldog out and pounds him down for two, but Bulldog escapes the Dominator and it’s hot tag Owen. Leg lariat for D-Lo and Faarooq and the crowd is losing it, especially when Pillman attacks Kama with the Canadian flag. They all brawl on the floor and Owen beats the count at 6:49 to win the tournament. Weak finish that really dragged a hot match down. Mankind (with an Austin 3:16 shirt) comes out and promises to see them next week in a funny bit. Kind of neat seeing uber-heels Owen & Bulldog wrestling a total babyface formula here and popping the crowd the whole way, but it worked. **3/4 – Meanwhile, a pissed-off Austin gives his thoughts to Vince McMahon, and when Vince finishes with “Thank you for joining us”, Austin tells him to shut up. That’s the kind of touch that made him a superstar. – Steve Austin v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Some doofus at ringside has a sign that says “Hunter: Future World Champion”. Yeah right, Nostradamus. And I suppose he’ll marry Vince’s daughter and take over the promotion after that, too, because that’s about as likely. Lockup to start and Hunter gets all in Austin’s face, so Steve decides to out-wrestle him. Austin offering a formal bow is great. Austin starts working the arm, so HHH goes to the eyes and slugs away, forcing Austin to fire back and interrupt his wrestling exhibition. Hunter bails and Austin follows to dump him on the railing, then offers another bow. This one was weird because we (the crowd) really WANTED to cheer for Austin, but it just wasn’t the right place for it. Back in, Hunter with a rollup for two, but Austin flattens him with a lariat for two. Austin with the facelock as we take a break, and return with Austin going for a superplex, as Vince puts forth my theory about the crowd wanting to cheer for Austin but being afraid to. Weird, I’m thinking like Vince now. And yet I don’t have a creepy childhood neurosis about getting beat up by muscular men, so that’s good. Hunter stomps away in the corner and adds the kneedrop for two. Austin comes back with an atomic drop, but walks into a clothesline, as the crowd now starts cheering for Hunter to overcompensate. Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and clotheslines Hunter out of the corner, but Chyna trips him up and draws a face pop. Hunter grabs a chair, but Mankind runs out to save his buddy and take the chairshot in his place, and KICK WHAM STUNNER ends it at 6:15. This was pretty good, with the weirdest crowd dynamic you’ll see outside of Goldberg v. Lesnar. *** Austin, impressed with Mankind’s moxie, offers him a spot as his tag partner, and turns on him after a hug. DTA, Mick, DTA. Mankind promises that drastic measures will be taken next week and he’ll never be the same again. Gotta say, given that buildup it should have been Cactus Jack introduced to the WWF as the payoff. – Eric Shelley v. Brian Christopher. Shelley is representing all of Canada, according to ring announcer Sunny, which doesn’t say much for us. Christopher attacks after offering the handshake, but Shelley monkey-flips him and goes to the armbar. Christopher comes back with the Stroke and a northern lights suplex, but Shelley gets a bad rollup for two. Dropkick puts Christopher on the floor and Shelley tries to follow with the highspot, but splats on the floor and looks stupid in the process. Back in, Christopher with the missile dropkick while Lawler does Polish jokes about Ivan Putski. Shelley comes back and misses a corner splash by a mile, allowing Brian to finish with an inverted DDT and flying legdrop at 3:45. Shelley was pretty awful here. *1/2 They were trying to do a “WWF-ized” version of the cruiserweight division with storylines and heels, which shows how they didn’t get what made it work for WCW in the first place. – More with Steve Austin, as he promises that if he doesn’t win the title from Owen Hart at Summerslam, he’ll kiss Owen’s bare ass right there in the ring. – Bret Hart v. Goldust. Bret attacks on the floor, and into the ring for an atomic drop and clothesline, but Goldust slugs back. A slam is reversed by Bret for two and he whips Goldust into the corner and works the back with a backbreaker, then hangs him in the Tree of Woe. Goldust bails as DOA heads down to ringside now. The Hart Foundation also joins us and we take a break. Back with Goldust and Bret brawling on the floor, and back in Bret drops the elbow for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Goldust slugs back as this drags on, and we hit the chinlock. And now LOD & Shamrock head down as Goldust gets the lariat for two. And back to the chinlock. Much of the match has been taken up by people looking menacing, which I’m sure works great for TV but isn’t exactly enthralling viewing. Bret comes back with a suplex for two and then blocks a sunset flip for the pin at 7:24. ** And we’re out.
The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF In Your House: International Incident. – In retrospect, perhaps this wasn’t the best PPV title to pick out of the trunk. Well, what’s done is done. (I must have been writing this in September 2001.) – Let’s go back to July 1996, as WCW was busy changing the world and Vince was farting around with Shawn Michaels, still trying to figure out how to get him over. – Live from Vancouver, BC, home of all the WWF’s crappier vintage of PPV. (And UFC’s.) – Your hosts are Vince, Jerry & Good Ol’ JR. – Free 4 All match: Savio Vega v. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. This was shortly after Bradshaw’s debut, when the WWF thought the cure to their financial troubles was to find someone who could imitate Stan Hansen. (Of course, the REAL answer was imitating Ted Dibiase.) They slug it out, won by Savio. He kicks away, but eats turnbuckle. Bradshaw pounds away, but misses a blind charge, and again, and a third time. He finally bails and they brawl outside, where Bradshaw then punches the post by mistake. Not exactly his day. Back in, Savio works on the hand as Vince declares this a “real romp’em stomp’em affair”. Ah, truly he had his finger on the pulse of young America. Big boot from Bradshaw, but Savio comes back with chops. A pair of leg lariats get two, but Bradshaw catches him for the blockbuster, and Zebekiah pushes them over and holds Bradshaw on top of Vega for the pin at 4:44. Heel beatdown follows, and JR declares that Savio will never forget this day. Well, that makes one of us. ¾* – I would be remiss in not mocking Michael Hayes during his Dok Hendrix period, shilling for the PPV and advertising the big special for that month…a half-price membership in the WWF Fan Club! Considering how low most IYH buyrates were, I’m pretty sure they were the only ones buying the damn things to begin with. – Opening match: The Smoking Gunns v. The Bodydonnas. Gunns were the champions, but this is non-title, just to make sure to kill any last vestiges of people thinking of buying the show. I mean, what the hell is the selling point of a NON-title match supposed to be? Especially when the Bodydonnas were already the biggest joke in wrestling at that point thanks to Cloudy, perhaps the dumbest idea Vince McMahon came up with that year.(Remember, transvestites = COMEDY.) Next, of course, to dying Tom Pritchard’s hair blond and naming him “Zip”. The Donnas double-team Billy, and Vince calls shenanigans. Gunns bail and stall. Zip & Bart slug it out back in the ring, and Zip goes armdraggin’. They work the arm for a while. A long while. Bart clotheslines out to break and Billy stomps away on Skip. Fameasser ends a rally, but Skip goes back to the arm shortly after. A rather surreal conversation breaks out at ringside, as JR suddenly goes off about the speed of the Bodydonnas (while Skip is standing around holding an armbar, mind you), and Vince counters by pointing out the speed of the GODWINNS, of all teams. JR seems legitimately incredulous that Vince would say something like that, and asks him if he meant the Gunns, trying to cover for Vince, but indeed Vince meant the Godwinns. I really wonder sometimes what was with Vince and the hillbillies. Billy bails, setting up Skip for an ambush, which prompts a funny line from Jerry about how Skip would never stand a chance to get someone like Sunny. Anyway, Skip is YOUR crack addict-in-peril. Bart tosses him around while Tammy mugs for the camera. The thrill is gone with her, thanks to drugs and naked pictures. (To her credit, she managed to get the naked pictures pretty much scrubbed from the ‘net, although the drug-addled Facebook and Twitter updates have brought her right back down to earth again.) Skip goes up, but gets powerslammed. Billy screws up the double-team leapfrog, failing to clear Bart and landing lamely back on the mat as the crowd gives him a sarcastic ovation. (The singles star of the 90s, ladies and gentlemen!) The beating continues ENDLESSLY, as the crowd is just gone. Bart & Skip get crossed signals and screw up a reversal sequence, then repeat it. Billy goes up, but lands in an atomic drop, hot tag Zip. I’d be quaking in MY boots if a guy named Zip with blond hair was after ME. (Original name: Flip. Why they spent the time and effort to change the name and then came up with ZIP as the BETTER alternative says a lot about this time period.) Billy quickly trips Zip, and the Gunns go for the Sidewinder, but Skip pops in with a missile dropkick on Bart and Zip gets the pin at 13:06. Boring and heatless. ½* The Donnas disappeared for good soon after. – Mankind v. Henry Godwinn. Godwinn is subbing for an “injured” (no-showing) Jake Roberts, allowing Jerry Lawler to unleash a bevy of drunk jokes about Jake. The best of them is Jerry declaring that Jake has succumbed to the “Wrath of Grapes”. Mankind attacks to start, and bites away. He goes low, but HOG slugs away. Mankind bails. Back in, Mankind hammers away and Henry responds in kind. Mankind comes back with an elbow, bulldog and elbowdrop. Running knee in the corner and guillotine on the apron follow, and mats are pulled up as they head out. Mankind gets a neckbreaker on the concrete, and they head back in. Blind charge misses, and Henry lariats him, but gets tossed. Mankind follows, but gets slammed on the concrete. Slop drop is blocked, mandible claw finishes at 6:52. Okayish last-minute squash. ¾* (I think they really could have done a cool brawl later on, once the Mankind character was established and Godwinn wasn’t such a jobber.) I think that instead of Henry O. Godwinn, he should have been O. Henry Godwinn, so that they could have all his matches feature some sort of twist finish to them. (There you go, my year of English in university justified by doing that joke.) – Steve Austin v. Marc Mero. What? This is a rematch from King of the Ring, what? (Definitely written in September 2001.) Austin was the RVD-ish bad boy heel at this point, who the more rebellious element of the fanbase cheered for before the rest “got it”. Austin pounds away to start, but gets bodypressed for two. Mero works the arm, and Austin grabs a headlock, which leads into an early pinfall reversal sequence. Mero slugs away, and Austin takes a powder. Mero attacks and rolls him up for two. Austin fakes another mouth injury (ala KOTR), then suckers Mero in and dumps him, drawing BIG cheers from the Austin Cheering Section. They head out, and Austin posts Mero. Mero climbs onto the apron, and gets shoved into the railing as a result. Back in, the FU Elbow gets two. Austin hits the chinlock, but misses a Bossman straddle. Mero crotches him on the top and comes back, but Austin goes for a powerbomb. Mero tries to block with a rana, and they end up tumbling out. Mero hits a somersault off the apron, and a wicked standing moonsault off the apron. NOW the whole crowd is into it. Back in, springboard splash gets two, but Austin crotches him. Stunner is blocked and Mero gets a springboard legdrop for two. Austin clips him, KICK WHAM STUNNER, goodbye at 10:47. Big face pop for Austin. Match wasn’t as fluid as the King of the Ring one, but it had it’s charm. **3/4 – Undertaker v. Goldust. (This was the WORST feud.) Goldust stalls FOREVER. I’m eternally shocked that a pairing that produced that such shitty results as this one did got so much PPV time in 1996, with four appearances (counting Beware of Dog #1). UT nails him and he stalls again. Finally, they slug it out on the floor, and Taker drops him on the stairs. Back in, Taker chokes him down, and clotheslines him. Legdrop gets two, and he continues manhandling Goldust. OLD-SCHOOL ROPEWALK OF DOOM, but an elbow misses, and they head out. UT retains control, but Goldust pulls a turnbuckle off and whips Taker into it, backfirst. Stairs to the back, and Taker is in trouble. Hey, what’s that thing he’s doing, where he pretends to be affected and/or in pain from the actions of the heel? Um…selling, I think it’s called. But, but, but…I thought he didn’t DO that back in the Dead Man days? At least that’s what all the whiny rationalizing Undertaker fanboys who write me always seem to be trying to convince me of. (BikerTaker was not a good phase for him as far as workrate, fo shizzle.) Goldust hits the chinlock, but Taker comes back with a small package for two. Flying lariat and tombstone, but Mankind pops out of a hole in the ring for the lame DQ at 12:06, thus negating the whole point of making me sit through 12 minutes of this tripe. ½* Taker then disappears into the hole while steam rises out of it and Mankind sits there like an idiot waiting for Taker to re-emerge and UT’s music starts and stops intermittently. Finally, Taker pops out of the OTHER side of the ring, through another hole, and gets his revenge. Thrilling. – Unintentionally funny bit during the “Vince & JR banter” bit to fill time before the main event, as fans behind the table get all excited and stuff, and a security guard is all like “Hey, no excitement on a 1996 WWF PPV, sit down you hooligans!” and he proceeds to stand there on-camera, monitoring the poor guys in the front row and making sure no enthusiasm is shown for the duration of the segment. (As with today, only WWF-Approved Fun is allowed.) But then my general experience with the security guys at wrestling shows is that they’re all a bunch of grumpy rent-a-cops whose crushed dreams mean that no one else gets to have any fun, either, so maybe I’m biased on that score. (Even worse was a couple of years back when I was at Def Leppard, front row no less, and the security guards were being such Nazis about letting ANYONE stand up and have fun that even Joe Elliot told them to fuck off and let people rock out.) – Owen Hart, British Bulldog & Vader v. Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & Sycho Sid. Warrior was supposed to be part of the babyface team, but, you know, it’s Warrior, so instead we get Sid, who at least can be reasonably assured of making his dates before disappearing without giving notice. (I wonder if his kid is just gonna no-show Big Brother after a few days and turn up on a softball field somewhere, too?) Shawn & Vader start, and Shawn moves quick, but gets slugged. Rana is blocked, but perseverance pays off as he completes the move. Vader bails and gets baseball slid, and pescado’d. Another dive misses and Shawn eats railing. Back in, Vader hammers him until Sid comes in (to a BIG pop) and he pounds the shit out of Vader, Owen, Bulldog and anyone else in there. He cleans house and the crowd goes NUTS. Okay, Canada likes Sid, I have to apologize for my country for that. (Also, for Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen.) Owen comes back in and gets clocked, and Ahmed hits a triple german suplex! Holy crap. Elbow misses and Bulldog pounds on him, but Ahmed comes back with a spinebuster and Pearl River Plunge. Vader saves, but Ahmed wears him out in the corner. Vader comes back with an avalanche and pummels him, but walks into a powerslam for two. That’s some impressive strength. Owen comes in with a leg lariat to take over again, and the crowd keeps chanting for Sid. So Ahmed tags out and gives them what they want. Big boot on Owen and Sid whips him in the corner, and Owen takes a vicious bump there. Bulldog comes in and gets an amazing delayed vertical suplex on Sid, for two. Vader pounds him, but Sid shrugs off Bulldog and Shawn comes in via the top rope. He misses a blind charge, posts himself, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Shawn whips Bulldog into Vader for two, but Bulldog takes over again. Owen uses the ol’ Oklahoma Roll for two. Shawn counters it for two, Victory Roll gets two, countered for two by Owen, rollup, bridge, reverse, backslide, you know the drill. Awesome stuff. Owen nails him with a cast to break it up, and gets two. Bulldog legdrop gets two. Powerslam gets two. Owen cheapshots Shawn again with the cast, and Vader comes in to kick some ass and chew bubblegum, minus the bubblegum. He tosses Shawn, and then back in gets a short-arm clothesline for two. Vader bearhugs the neck as some idiot runs into the ring and gets triple-teamed by Bulldog, Ahmed and security. Shawn fights out, but gets splashed. Sid nails Vader, but Shawn can’t QUITE make the tag. Bulldog puts him in a body vice, and then reverses a crucifix into a fallaway slam for two. Blind charge misses, but Owen cuts off the tag again. Double-KO with Shawn & Owen, but Bulldog powerslams Shawn for two. Sid saves. False tag to Ahmed, and Shawn gets gang-raped by the heels. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Heel miscommunication follows, and finally it’s the HOT tag to Sid. Chokeslam Vader! Chokeslam Owen! Chokeslam Bulldog! It’s BONZO GONZO in Vancouver as Shawn gets launched onto Vader. Shawn gets the tennis racket and uses it for two, but the Vaderbomb finishes at 24:30. That was a rather fortuitous finish for Jim Cornette, considering he promised a refund to everyone if the heels didn’t win. (He could do that these days, but then he’d be out like $100 and Sinclair would probably close ROH down.) Hmmm…almost…TOO fortuitous. You don’t think maybe this wasn’t on the up-and-up or something, do you? Wrestling? FIXED? **** The Bottom Line: Minor bright spots aside, 1996 sucked ass for the WWF for the most part, and this was no exception, earning the lowest buyrate in the history of the promotion with a 0.37, a record which held up until December, when they shattered it with a 0.35 for It’s Time. But then the buildup, hype, undercard and main event dynamic (with Ultimate Warrior flaking out and leaving the promotion the week before the show) all rivalled post-Russo WCW for sheer stupidity, so by the time the show rolled along they’d already decided it was a write-off anyway. I just wish they’d have resurrected Saturday Night’s Main Event if they just wanted a buildup show for Summerslam, though, instead of wasting our time with this junk. (I didn’t even ORDER this show, although I was living on my own for the first time at that point and could really only afford one PPV per month anyway.) But hey, the main event is really, REALLY good, so you might wanna track that match down at least. But it’s not enough to save the show. Strong recommendation to avoid.
(Dammit, almost forgot about the WWF’s July IYH offerings, as I was concentrating on the Bash/Bash combos from WCW. Oh well, we’ll do a bit of catchup for a few days.) The SK Retro Rant for WWF In Your House II – Since I had to redo the Michaels-Jarrett match recap for my Best WWF Matches of the 90s rant, I figured that since the show was only 1:40 anyway, I might as well redo the whole shebang. For those who haven’t read the embarrassingly markish original review from 1995 in my wet-behind-the-ears days on RSPW before I discovered the miracle of ripping off John Petrie’s recap style, count yourself lucky. (I accidentally highlighted the whole thing and hit delete before I could post it here. Sorry, my bad.) For those who HAVE, here’s a better version… – Live from Nashville, TN. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler. – Just to clarify, this was from the era before the In Your House shows had cutesy nicknames and buyrates that broke 1.0. (Back then maybe, but the horribly disappointing IYH buyrates would have Vince dancing in the aisles today if his shows were doing 200-300K domestically on a regular basis. Of course, these shows were only $15 and today’s are $50 a shot, so obviously there’s a huge disparity in the money being made today anyway.) As an interesting sidenote, although most people credit WCW Nitro with being the catalyst for the big war between the companies, but in fact when WCW switched to a monthly PPV schedule in order to milk that cash cow for every cent it was worth, the WWF was forced to follow suit or else look minor league. In retrospect, I think everyone would have been happier if both companies had just limited themselves to six shows a year, but that’s one genie that’s not going back in the bottle. – Opening match: 1-2-3 Kid v. The Roadie. Future Clique-buddies COLLIDE. Roadie is of course the prototype version of the character who became Road Dogg, at this point acting as Jeff Jarrett’s lackey. Kid ambushes him to start, and they do a leapfrog sequence that looks nice but goes nowhere. Bad-looking headscissors puts Roadie on the floor and he stalls. Kid follows with a pescado that misses, but he improvises and turns it into a flying kick instead. Ah, for the days when X-Pac wasn’t concussed or stoned all the time and could still do that stuff without too much effort. (12 years after this was written, he’s finally trying to tell people in his position at the time that maybe it’s not such a good idea to do the stuff he did.) Into the corner for the kick combo, but Kid gets caught with a powerslam. Kid gets dumped and Roadie follows with a clothesline off the apron. Since the Kid is a babyface here, he works in the requisite spot where he gets crotched hard to the post and falls back-first to the mat. Never mind the concussions, I’d be worried about taking too many of THAT sort of bump in one lifetime. Back in, Roadie gets a pair of legdrops and struts. And stalls. Well, he’s obviously a student of Jeff Jarrett. He finally covers for two, and then we hit the chinlock. Slugfest, and Kid hits a spinkick for two. Corner dropkick, and Kid goes upstairs with a frog splash for two. Cool. Roadie catches him trying a rana and powerbombs him for two. Roadie misses the blind charge and Kid goes up for the kill, but Roadie crotches him and hits a PILEDRIVER off the top rope. Yup, he’s dead. Pin is academic at 7:27. Hot opener. *** (Roadie was getting something of a push here, but Jarrett’s departure kind of fucked up his life for a good while before the Outlaws revived it.) – King Mabel & Sir Mo v. Razor Ramon & Savio Vega. To this day you have to wonder if the WWF braintrust looks back at 1995 tapes and go “Hmm, two fat black guys in purple who were playing royalty…and it didn’t get over?” (Are You Serious?) Kinda shoots down that whole theory about Vince being a marketing genius who can get anything over, doesn’t it? (I think that theory is LONG shot down and the wreckage pillaged for survivors.) Ramon was, generally speaking, in the doghouse over his inability to kick his drug habit(s) and got relegated to top-drawer angles like this one. Ramon in fact was gonna be the guy to job to Mabel in the finals of the King of the Ring but got in trouble and was replaced by Savio, giving the world one of the worst finals ever for the worst tournament ever on that fateful show. (Oh hey now, I’m pretty sure the 64 man tournament for the WCW World title in 1999 was WAY worse than that one in the grand scheme of things.) Ramon runs through the usual on Sir Mo to start and Ramon & Vega work him over. Savio clotheslines him but gets caught in a bad place. A quick sideslam from Mabel turns the tide and Vega ends up on the floor. Back in, Mabel pulls out an enzuigiri for two. I’m shocked he had the thrust needed to escape the earth’s gravitational pull. Savio plays Kwang-in-peril, and that goes on for a while. Mabel uses that old standby of fat guys, the Vulcan Nerve Pinch, to no avail. Savio breaks free and tries a slam, and that goes about as well as you’d expect. Mabel gets off a northern lights suplex with the help of Savio throwing himself nearly ¾ of the way across the ring. Beating drags on as the match has no heat. So of course Vince took this as a sign that Mabel was ready for the main event of his next PPV. (Well, in fairness to Vince, at least he had a long-term plan that he was sticking with.) Mo misses the Mo-Sault, hot tag Razor. Backdrop suplex for Mo, but Mabel comes in…via the top rope? Ramon slams Shamu off and I can damn near feel the arena shaking 6 years later. Mabel manages a DDT but misses a splash. Pier-six leaves Mabel and Ramon alone, and a bellies-to-belly suplex finishes Ramon at 10:10. Got okay near the end, but still 4 minutes too long. *3/4 – Jeff Jarrett does a “live” version of “With My Baby Tonight”, which of course would, a year later, be revealed to have been sung by Jesse Jammes and create that HUGE money-drawing “Real Double J” feud that again demonstrates without a doubt what a marketing genius Vince McMahon is. (It was a pretty catchy song, though. Today they would have it pimped on iTunes moments after the initial performance and it probably would have done pretty well with the shitkicker-and-belt-buckle crowd.) – Henry O. Godwinn v. Bam Bam Bigelow. This was during HOG’s tryout period for the Corporation, which as any good wrestling fan knows, inevitably leads to the heel failing the test and turning face. (Remember those dudes who were trying out for Legacy and failed?) Bigelow gets a couple of suplexes to start, and a shoulderblock puts HOG on the floor. They brawl, and head back in. Bigelow gets a DDT, but charges and hits the floor. HOG slams him there, and back in we go. Bigelow misses a blind charge and takes a lariat for two, and we HIT THE CHINLOCK. Another lariat puts Bigelow down again and HOG chokes him down. Big elbow gets two. Bigelow comes back with headbutts and goes up. Headbutt misses, and HOG goes up, but misses HIS big move, and Bigelow simply rolls him up for the pin at 5:38. I suppose I’ve seen worse…if I think hard. Bigelow was just totally unmotivated at this point, and can you blame him? ½* – Intercontinental title match: Jeff Jarrett v. Shawn Michaels. Shawn is ungodly over here. He sends Jarrett flying into the corner with a pair of rights to start. JJ gets an armdrag and struts to celebrate. Shawn alley-oops over him in the corner, but gets nailed with a right and bails. Back in, JJ grabs a headlock and they do a complex hiptoss-reversal sequence. Shawn wins iteration #1 by poking him in the eye, then Jarrett wins the second one, only to get clotheslined to the floor. Great sequence. Shawn skins the cat back in, and Jarrett decides to walk out. He plays mindgames with Shawn, faking coming back in a couple of times before finally Shawn snaps and chases him. Back in, Shawn goes off the top but gets nailed coming down. JJ misses a dropkick and Shawn nails Roadie off the apron and dumps Jarrett, then follows with a tope that the crowd eats up. Back in, Jarrett ducks a cross-body, but gets sunset-flipped. He recovers and Shawn charges, but Jarrett backdrops him clear over the top rope and to the floor backfirst, the move that has since been dubbed by history as The Holy Shit Bump, for good reason. (Tell me why he needed spinal surgery again?) JJ tosses him back in, and hits a gourdbuster for two. He goes into the abdominal stretch, using the Roadie for leverage. Leaping DDT gets two. Jarrett chokes him out, but hits Roadie by mistake. Shawn rolls him up for two, but gets tossed to the corner and Flair Flips to the floor. Jarrett goes to the top to draw the referee over, then lets Roadie do the actual dirty work of clotheslining Shawn off the apron. Back in, Shawn rolls through a bodypress for two. Jarrett sunset flip is blocked for two, but he finishes the move for two. Jarrett hits a Holly-ish dropkick for two. Sleeper gets a two count, but Shawn escapes with a backdrop suplex and crawls over for two. Shawn makes the superman comeback, hitting a flying forearm. Double axehandle gets two. Flying elbow gets two. Shawn posts him and goes upstairs, but Roadie crotches him and Jarrett superplexes him. Figure-four, but Shawn reverses to a cradle for two. Figure-four again, but this time Shawn pushes him off and into the ref. Roadie sneaks in and clips Shawn, and Jarrett hits a flying bodypress for two. Jarrett comes off the ropes to finish, but Roadie is busy gloating about his interference and doesn’t even notice that he trips the wrong guy. Oops. Superkick, goodbye at 19:58 and Shawn Michaels wins the I-C title for the third time. ***** Just a terrific blend of the old-school southern mentality from Jarrett with the requisite sick bumps from Michaels and a super-hot crowd. On the other hand, I can certainly understand how lots of people might not love this match as much because of the stalling and generally slower pace, but I like it as a counterpoint to all of Shawn’s high-impact, fast-paced stuff. To each their own, and as Stuart Smalley might say, that’s…okay. (It was definitely something of a throwback for the time, and I can see people HATING it today, so I totally continue to understand non-Memphis fans giving me shit for the rating.) – WWF tag team title match: Owen Hart & Yokozuna v. Lex Luger & British Bulldog. How art the mighty have fallen. From the biggest push in WWF history to a tag team wrestler in the space of a year. And he couldn’t even get over doing THAT. It still boggles my mind that they spent millions of dollars on this goof, during the STEROID TRIALS no less. Sure, Luger is probably 100% natural given his genetics and fanatic training routine, but would YOU want a guy looking like that on top of your promotion with the feds breathing down your neck? The general assumption was that the Allied Powers take the titles here. (That assumption of course failed to take into account THE LUGER EFFECT. He’s seriously like the Anti-Cena, the guy who can snatch defeat from the hands of victory in any situation.) Yoko dominates Luger to start, but misses an elbowdrop. Luger punches him into the corner, where Yoko lands on Owen’s foot. Ouch. Owen understandably gets a little miffed and the heels argue. Owen slaps Luger and hides in the ropes, but gets hiptossed. Bulldog comes in and works the arm. Owen flips out of a wristlock, Bulldog follows suit. Would it have killed them to ditch Luger and Yoko from this and just do THAT match? Bulldog drops him facefirst and catapults him into the corner, for two. We hit the chinlock. Yoko gets a cheapshot on Bulldog and he becomes wifebeater-in-peril. (I have much less sympathy for her now given how crazy she turned out to be. Although god knows she claimed much worse things than just physical abuse in that stupid book of hers.) Yoko utilizes that there Vulcan Nerve Pinch again to waste time, and Owen comes in with a leg lariat for two. Bulldog gets off a sunset flip for two. Owen hits the ENZUIGIRI OF DOOM and gets two. Blind charge misses, and it’s the hot tag for Luger. Vince actually says “house of fire”, showing why we all thanked the gods that he bowed out of commentary in 97. Owen gets tossed onto Yoko, and he bails. Pier-six follows, as Owen and Bulldog fight in the corner and Luger does his thing with Yoko. The Powers double-suplex Yoko and Luger has the pin, but that wacky ref is distracted by Cornette. The champs pull a Midnight Express and nail Luger, and Yoko gets the pin at 10:52 to retain. You have to know Luger was in the doghouse if he was doing the job like that. It is, however, always a pick-me-up watching Luger blow the big one. * – WWF title, Lumberjack match: Diesel v. Sid. Sid bails to start and gets thrown back in, repeat a couple of times. Then he finally gets the sense to go out to the HEEL side, where he’s able to catch a breather. This is before anything has even happened in the match, mind you. Diesel charges like an idiot into the fray and gets pummelled. Sid gets two from it. He works the ribs and allows the heels to cheapshot Diesel now and then. Diesel comes back with a clothesline and a pair of elbowdrops. He then stops to hit a hands-free plancha onto the heels, and then back in. Didn’t really accomplish much, but it looked neat. Snake Eyes from Sid, but Mabel pulls Diesel out and beats on him, and the groan from the crowd when they realize what this is going to lead to is almost audible. 5,000 people simultaneously realizing that Diesel v. Mabel is going to headline the next PPV is NOT a pretty sight. Back in, Sid gets two. Powerbomb gets two. Diesel powers out of another try, and Sid falls into the babyface section and gets killed. Back in, Diesel finishes with a big boot at 10:02. About as good as you’d expect Sid v. Kevin Nash to be. DUD (I’m a little annoyed that Sid Jr. is already on the block on Big Brother. I’m gonna be really disappointed if he gets kicked off before the others learn that his dad is LOADED and unemployed Frank has no need to actually win the game. And hopefully he’ll powerbomb fucking Mike Boogie through a table, too.) The Bottom Line: Total one-match show as the WWF was DEEP into the Bad Period and nearing bankruptcy. This was a one-match show all the way (Michaels v. Jarrett), and that match is probably not for all tastes, so I can’t really recommend the show at all unless you’re a Michaels completist like me. (I’m reasonably sure that match is on one of the million Michaels DVDs anyway.) Recommendation to avoid.
TWO, TWO, TWO rants for the price of one! With all the rhetoric from WCW about how the nWo just might reform on Sunday, we might as well head back to when they formed for the first time, as WCW puts on one of the best one-two punches in PPV history with the famous Bash-Bash combo of 1996. ROLL FILM! – Part One: The Retro Rant for Great American Bash 96 – Sgt. Craig Pittman presents the American flag to start out. – Live from Baltimore, Maryland. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Dusty Rhodes. Tony offers condolences over the death of Dick Murdoch, and Dusty blows it off. – Opening match: Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers. Fire is eventual nWo B-teamer Scott Norton, and Ice is the big fat black guy Ice Train, aka Jeff Jarrett’s limo driver. Special stipulation: There must be a winner. I wish that stip was in all matches. Juice Train controls Scott with some power stuff to start. He’s really, really, terrible, btw. Think D-Von Dudley on juice. (D-Von did get a lot better. Although I have to wonder what “D-Von Dudley on juice” is supposed to be compared with. D-Von NOT on juice?) Norton gets on my nerves by no-selling a bunch of Rick’s stuff. Rick hits a killer clothesline and belly-to-belly for two, however. Scott tags in and hurts his shoulder to become Ricky Morton. Crowd is getting into it for some reason. Scott comes back and nearly does the world a huge favor by breaking Norton’s neck on a backdrop suplex. Oh well, maybe next time. Norton comes back by no-selling some stuff to move into his only useful mode: Offense. Anyway, Rick gets the hot tag, but Fire & Ice end up hitting their powerbomb splash combo for two. Scott makes the save. They go for a Doomsday Device, but Scott makes the save again. Steiners get the super bulldog but Train makes the save. Scott hits a massively ugly Frankensteiner on Norton for the pin. No resting makes Scott happy. **1/2 – Mean Gene interviews Kevin Sullivan, who runs down Brian Pillman. – US title match: Gonnad v. El Gato. El Gato is of course Spanish for “Pat Tanaka”. This was absolutely the low point for the US title, as Gonnad brought the luchadores into WCW and was given a heatless run as the US champion as his reward. (Yeah, well, the ends justify the means, I say.) This is also, by the way, exactly the reason why I hate him so much. (But his radio show is pretty entertaining.) This is a boring mismatch as Gato controls with some dull submission moves. The first big spot comes as Gato is on the ring apron and Gonnad sunset flips to the floor, thus powerbombing Gato on the floor. He must have injured himself badly on the move, because we go into the ring FAST and Gonnad finishes it with a rollup. *1/4 – Sting has a special message for Steven Regal. He was halfway between hyperactive goofball and long-haired weirdo at this point. He’s wearing pink and black facepaint…is this a secret plot with Bret Hart? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FOUND OUT! – Blood Runs Cold promo. (See, they were running these promos all the way back in 1996! Glacier didn’t even DEBUT until 97! And you thought the WWE Network was a longshot.) – Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Marcus “Not Buff” Bagwell. (Something something Gandalf.) Bagwell was in the last vestiges of the American Males period before turning heel. Brawl outside the ring to start, and Bagwell controls when he get into the ring. Bagwell hits a nice pescado (standing slingshot over the top rope to a guy on the floor, for the benefit of someone who e-mailed me about it recently). Bagwell blows a move off the top and DDP takes over. I mean “blows” in the storyline sense, not the “smart” one, btw. Oh no, it’s the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF SEVERE DISCOMFORT! You can break a nail with that. Tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Bagwell comes back with a both-ways-atomic-drop combo. DDP’s exaggerated selling is ridiculous. Bagwell slingshots into the ring with a clothesline for two. I like Stan Lane’s version better. Bagwell runs into an elbow on a blind charge, and DDP gets a couple of twos with his feet on the ropes. Bagwell comes back again and tries the fisherman’s suplex, but it’s about 7 inches away from the ropes so DDP holds on to block, then applies the Diamond Cutter for the pin. Eh. ** (DDP was still a few months away from respectability as a worker yet.) – Giant interview. Pretty clichéd stuff. – WCW Cruiserweight title match: Deano Machino v. Rey Mysterio Jr. This is Rey Jr’s debut. Tenay is doing commentary and notes that this is the first ever meeting between these two. Tony wonders if Rey can live up to the hype. Yeah, whatever happened to that Rey Mysterio guy, anyway? Slow matwork start, then we GO BABY GO! Rey armdrags Dean to the floor, then debuts his springboard dropkick. Beautiful sequence allows Rey to hit a sunset flip, but Dean rolls through and slingshots Rey out of the ring. Rey moves out of the way of a baseball slide. Dean viciously injures Rey’s arm and then goes to work. Rey walks to the top rope and dropkicks out of an armbar, then does a flip out of a powerbomb, only to get clotheslined for two. Malenko continues working on the arm as Tenay mentions Eddy Guerrero beating Jushin Liger to win the Best of the Super J tourney for 1996. Never did get a copy of that show, oddly enough. More vicious working on the arm. Tony begins a grand tradition by talking about the nWo (not called such yet) during a cruiserweight match. Sigh. Fans are getting restless with all the mat work. Malenko turns it up with a butterfly suplex for two, then goes back to the arm, pissing off the fans. Rey finally counters and sends Malenko to the floor, then nails a somersault tope to wake up the crowd. He springboards back in with a dropkick for two. They do a complex pinning reversal sequence that ends with Mysterio getting two. Mysterio gets the rana-rollup for two. Malenko catches him on the top rope, however, but Mysterio hits another rana off the top. Malenko goes for a tilt-a-whirl but Rey falls on top for two. Malenko powerbombs Rey and puts his feet on the ropes for good measure and gets the pin. Now *this* is the character that Dean needs to go back to. **** Great debut for Rey. – Big Bubba v. John Tenta. Bubba is dressed like a gay biker. (Yeah… “dressed like”…) The issue here is that Bubba shaved half the hair of Tenta to boot him out of the Dungeon of Doom. Compelling stuff, folks. Yup. Yessiree. You betcha. Bubba was actually halfway motivated at this point. But then, half of sucky is still sucky. Tenta catches Bubba with a powerslam and gets the pin. –** (A double death match. Boo.) – Mean Gene interviews Team Football: Steve MacMichael and Kevin Greene, along with wives Debra and whoever Kevin’s wife is. How unbelievably apropos for the bizarre world of wrestling that friggin’ DEBRA would become the biggest star of them all. – Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit v. Kevin Sullivan. (Hey! Why wasn’t this one on the Falls Count Anywhere DVD?) The Horsemen were seemingly falling apart at this point, with Sullivan trying to recruit Arn Anderson for the Dungeon, and Pillman departing for the WWF. So Benoit took over for Pillman against Sullivan. We go fighting into the crowd right away, and fight up the stands. Boy, do you get the idea that these guys don’t like each other? Sullivan drags Benoit up the stairs and they fight into the men’s room. He slams a stall door in Benoit’s face as Tony and Dusty nearly have a coronary. Vicious shots with the door. Dusty is truly in his glory here. Tony: “HEAD FIRST TO THE COMMODE!” Benoit comes back and slams Sullivan into the doors as Dusty reels off his famous catchphrase: “There’s a lady! There’s a lady in the men’s bathroom!” Sullivan dumps a bag of toilet paper on Benoit and then a garbage can gets involved. They fight back to the stairs, and Tony notes that if someone falls, they fall bigtime. As if on cue, Benoit takes a shot to the head and then gets tossed down the stairs. Sullivan kicks him square in the nuts for good measure, then crotches him on the railing. Benoit returns the favor. He retrieves a table from below the ring after a couple of tries, and sets it up in the corner. Sullivan misses a charge to the corner and hits it…and it doesn’t break. Wow, high quality. Benoit puts it on the top rope, but gets backdropped onto it. They fight to the top, and Benoit gets a superplex, for the pin. HUGE pop for that. Benoit slaps Sullivan around, and Arn Anderson runs out to make the save…then turns on Sullivan! Horsemen beatdown ensues and the roof nearly blows off the place. 10 points for effort, plus several million for originality. ***** (Vince Russo would beat this formula into the ground over the years, but this was the first and best iteration of it in mainstream wrestling.) – Gene the lecher cuddles with Woman and Liz, then interviews the reunited Horsemen. Bobby Heenan managing the Horsemen is just so…right. It’s a shame it was aborted after the nWo thing started. But wait, there’s still only THREE Horsemen, isn’t there? – Lord Steven Regal v. Sting. Sting and Luger were the tag champions at this point. Regal goes right to work with dickish submission moves after getting kicked out of the ring. Sting comes back so Regal rolls up and badmouths the fans. Regal offers a handshake to Sting with a big goofy grin on his face. Regal’s facial expressions are priceless. (I feel like William Regal v. Joseph Park would be the greatest feud in the history of wrestling for just that reason.) They trade some stuff, with Regal retaining control. Regal looks to be wrestling a lot stiffer than usual for some reason, just generally being a jerk. Regal works on the arm and neck, and builds to finally hitting the Regal Stretch. Sting breaks and makes the Superman Comeback, hitting the Stinger Splash and deathlock for the submission. This was pretty much Sting’s last good match. ***3/4 (I must have been forgetting about the DDP match in 99.) – Ric Flair & Arn Anderson v. Steve MacMichael & Kevin Greene. The Horsemen are “coached” by Heenan, while the football players have Randy Savage. Mongo had been doing color commentary on Nitro before this. Crowd starts a “Mongo sucks” chant. Tony relates a story about Mongo signing with Bear arch-rivals the Packers for the money, a bit of foreshadowing that is nearly unheard of for WCW announcers. Arn and Mongo do a three-point stance, which leads to a drop toehold from Arn when Mongo charges. Smart move. The football players get AA in the corner and stomp him. Greene tags in and spazzes out, while the Horsemen calmly stall. Total mind-games from the Horsemen. Flair tricks Greene into going into the three-point stance, then kicks him in the head. Great stuff. Greene cleans house with shoulderblocks and the Horsemen bail. Savage drags them back. Greene dominates Flair with clotheslines, looking pretty okay. Mongo tags in and dominates Flair, looking less okay. He puts the figure-four on Flair and the place explodes. The wives and the Horsemen women nearly get into a catfight, but they run back to the dressing room. In the aftermath, Mongo gets beat on by the Horsemen and his knee injured. Crowd starts a “weasel” chant for old times’ sake, so he obliges with a cheap shot on Mongo. Mongo chokes out Flair, who retaliates with a ballshot. This is so classic. Horsemen with a double suplex on Mongo for two. Mongo atomic drops Arn into Flair and makes the hot tag to Greene. Greene cleans house, again looking decent. Flair flips right into a big boot from Mongo. Greene celebrates like a goof, so Arn clips him from behind and pounds on his knee. Flair goes for the figure-four and Greene cradles for two. But inevitably Flair does get the move, and Arn lends a helping hand. Benoit hits the ring to attack Savage as Greene fights to escape. Debra returns from the dressing room with the Devilish Women, wearing an evening gown and carrying the infamous Haliburton full of money. Mongo thinks it over for a minute, then takes the money and wallops his partner, allowing Flair to get the pin. Wild, wild, booking and that took more balls than I thought anyone in WCW had. Horsemen Beatdown #2938 proceeds full steam ahead on Randy Savage, with Heenan calling the shots. Mongo is thus officially inducted as the Fourth Horseman. The crowd, who was cheering the heels at the beginning, completely turns on them by the end. Just absolutely brilliant. Match sucked, of course. ** – Then, in the moment that completely turned WCW from an also-ran into the #1 force in sports entertainment, Eric Bischoff brings out the Outsiders, who still aren’t even named at this point. Crowd chants “Diesel” at Nash. Bischoff sets up the six-man at Bash at the Beach, with the Outsiders and a mystery partner against Randy Savage, Sting and Lex Luger. Bischoff refuses to name the WCW team members, however, so Nash powerbombs Bischoff THROUGH A TABLE! This is still so glorious to watch today. Massive heat for Hall and Nash because of this. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the nWo era, as all the old guard of WCW are systemically flushed away and the WWF refugees literally take over, on-screen and off. – Main event, WCW World title: The Giant v. Lex Luger. Luger is the TV champion and half of the tag champs at this point. The crowd is notably distracted after that last bit. Lex runs right into a big boot to start. Luger comes back with a series of clotheslines, sending Giant to the floor. He hammers away and applies a sleeper, so Jimmy Hart jumps onto the ring apron to try to nail Luger. Sting comes out to stop him and chases him back to the dressing room. Giant escapes and s.l.o.w.l.y works over Lex. Luger makes the comeback and tries the rack, but his back gives way and Giant hits AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATHECHOKESLAM for the pin. * – Part Two: The Retro Rant for Bash at the Beach 96. – A video montage set to a rip-off of Seal’s “Crazy” (which would have had SOOOOO much more effect if they had used the real song) starts us off. – Live from Daytona Beach, Florida. – Your hosts are Tony, Dusty and Bobby. – Opening match: Rey Mysterio Jr. v. Psychosis. Some matwork to start, and then they say “fuck this wrestling shit” and Psychosis pulls out a tope con hilo to get it going. He hits a legdrop, and then goes to the top and gets the guillotine legdrop, but amazingly it only gets two. Running clothesline gets two. Primo spot as Rey is laid out on the apron, and when Psychosis runs towards him, Rey alley-oops him into the ringpost, then pops up and hits a rana to the floor. Back in the ring and Rey snaps off the rana for two. Back in the ring, and when Rey goes for a leapfrog Psychosis goes with the momentum and dumps Rey onto the top rope. Rey goes to the floor, and Psychosis hits an eye-popping spot, delivering a MAN-SIZED senton from the top rope to Rey on the floor! Back in the ring and Rey does his fake-out, then rana’s Psychosis to the floor, hits the springboard dropkick, then finishes it by coming off the top rope and hitting a rana on Psychosis on the way down. Amazing choreography. Back in the ring, and Rey dropkicks Psychosis out again and follows with a quebrada (Asai Moonsault). Rey goes for the rana to finish, but gets powerbombed for two. Psychosis rams Rey into the turnbuckle chestfirst and sets up Splash Mountain, but Rey reverses into his rana for the pin. Crowd goes nuts. This would be one of the three greatest openers ever, along with Liger v. Pillman from Superbrawl II and Owen-Bret from WM10. ****3/4 – Gonnad promises to keep his US title away from Ric Flair. – Big Bubba v. John Tenta. In a monumentally stupid booking decision, this match is scheduled after the awesome opener. See, there’s a pole, and it’s got a sock full of silver dollars, and whoever gets it can use it. As exciting to watch as it sounds. And then, to really build the excitement, the pole is about 20 feet high, so neither guy can climb it. Tenta tries to disconnect the pole from the ringpost, but that doesn’t work, so Bubba finds a roll of tape and tapes Tenta to the ropes, then whips him. Who booked this shit? Then, in yet another Amazing WCW Coincidence ™, Bubba pulls out a handy pair of scissors (you can take an eye out with that!) to cut some of Tenta’s hair off. But Tenta gets them, cuts himself free, and tries to cut the pole loose. That doesn’t work either, so Bubba sends Jimmy Hart up the pole, which of course backfires as Tenta gets the SOCK OF DOOM and nails Bubba for the pin. Foot apparel figuring into booking wouldn’t be seen again until Mankind, for good reason. -*** – The Idiots speculate on the identity of the mystery man. – Mean Gene interviews Team WCW. Sting has bizarre yellow and black facepaint…could this mean a secret alliance with the Killer Bees? TUNE INTO NITRO TO FIND OUT! (Never not funny.) – Taped Fist / Lord of the Ring match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Duggan leads a USA chant to throw evil foreigner DDP (from Scumsylvania) off his game. DDP’s evil plan to tape Duggan’s feet together doesn’t work, and a slugfest erupts. They fight outside the ring. The Idiots talk about DDP’s troubles and his benefactor. You know, it would have been SO easy to just toss in a throwaway line during the nWo’s recruitment speech for DDP about how Dibiase rescued him from the gutter and how he should be grateful for it. But instead, we get the alternative: Nothing. (It could have been HORNSWOGGLE!) Duggan clotheslines DDP around the ring, but makes the fatal error of climbing back into the ring without seeing what DDP is doing. DDP kicks the middle rope, crotching Duggan, and then executes the Diamond Cutter for the pin. Nothing to see here… * – Dog Collar match: The Public Enema v. The Nasty Boys. Rocco Rock is chained to Sags and Knobs gets Johnny Grunge. We get the, ahem, Double Trouble Bash at the Beach Bubble (to quote Dusty) to split the screen. They all immediately go brawling outside the ring, thus rendering the dog collar stip meaningless. Knobs and Grunge go fighting on the beach set, and Knobs hits him with…an inflatable shark. And Grunge sells. If it wasn’t WCW, he probably would have bladed off the shot, too. Tony: “You can do much more with a surfboard than you can with a rubber shark.” I can’t make up quotes like this. Rocco hits a flying body attack off the lifeguard’s chair while Knobs beats on Grunge with a chair. This is truly the epitome of “mindless brawl”. Sags gets a nasty move with a piledriver on the concrete, and of course a table gets involved. Sags gets put on it and Rocco comes off the railing to put him through it. They fight into the ring, and Sags finds another table. Once again, Sags gets put on it, but moves this time and Rocco bounces off the table…which doesn’t break. Holy shit that looked painful. Sags puts Rock on the table and loads up the Shitty Elbow by wrapping the chain around his arm, and AGAIN the table doesn’t break. Damn, that table is tougher than Steve Williams. (Sadly, the table also got cancer and died a few years back.) The Nasties clothesline Rock with the chain and Sags pins him. Ugly, ugly ending. Someone better fire that table. Fun match besides the ending. *** As an epilogue, Sags is FINALLY put through the TABLE OF DEATH by being tossed off the top. (You gotta finish the job! Just like the Christian-Orton match from MITB last year.) – Cruiserweight title match: Dean Malenko v. Disco Inferno. This is Disco’s PPV debut. This is also the match that turned Disco into an RSPW golden boy. (Boy that sure didn’t last long.) Dean cranks on Disco, kicking his ass from one end of the ring to the other. Vicious brainbuster that would end the match in any other universe only gets two. I think the hairspray layer in Disco’s hair protected him. Backdrop suplex and then Dean goes to work on the knee. Deano is just being vicious. Snapmare and dropkick to the back of the head gets two. Dean goes to the STF and gets a sunset flip for two. More shitkicking from Dean. Disco finally comes back with rights off a Dean error. He guillotines Malenko on the top rope, but checks the hair before going for a cover. That’s pretty much it for the Disco offense, as Dean takes him out of the ring and rams him to the railing, then back into the ring for a crucifix-like submission move. Disco fights it and *barely* makes the ropes. Dean gets a springboard legdrop for two. Disco comes back again with a series of elbows, and hits a Rude Awakening, but again checks his hair before covering, and Malenko makes the ropes. Backdrop for two. Swinging neckbreaker, but now he dances and that costs him the title as it only gets two. Malenko promptly comes back with a springboard dropkick and applies the Texas Cloverleaf, but Disco small packages for two. Clothesline for two. Malenko with his own clothesline, and they fight over a backslide. Malenko breaks and hits the Tiger Bomb, which leads into the Cloverleaf for the submission. Ended up being a tough, tough match for Dean. ***3/4 (Clearly Disco’s best match ever, so he peaked pretty early in his career.) – Gene the Lecher interviews Kimberly, wearing nothing but a Bash at the Beach towel. Kimberly, not Gene. Call now to order. – Joe Gomez v. Steve MacMichael. This is *so* not a PPV quality match. See, the problem with Mongo is that he makes a good heel, but the nWo thing turned everyone not associated with them into de facto babyfaces, and he had no idea how to play that role properly. Boring bathroom break match which Mongo finishes with his shitty tombstone piledriver. Way too long. DUD – Ric Flair delivers an interview that is damn near giddy. Gene the Lecher makes innuendo-laden remarks towards Woman. – US title match: Gonnad v. Ric Flair. This was such a glorious match for me to watch. The go-go boots SO WORK on Liz. Anyway, Gonnad controls the early going as Woman shrieks at ringside. I would HATE to be the Sullivans’ next door neighbor, especially if they had sex on any kind of regular basis. At what point did Gonnad go from power wrestler to mat wrestler? He’s using a lot of slams and clotheslines here. Flair ends up on the floor and the Devilish Women console him, and Gonnad follows him down with a bodypress off the apron…taking down Liz with Flair! YOU BALD-HEADED WANNABE GANGSTER BASTARD! She seems to be okay, luckily. Woman knocks Gonnad off the top rope to give the advantage to Flair. Just for insurance, Flair chats with Nick Patrick and Woman wanders into the ring and kicks A FIELD GOAL on Gonnad’s gonads. Entire crowd goes “Ohhhhhhhhh” in sympathy pain. More shenanigans lead to a series of two counts for Flair. Man, that was like the best ballshot I’ve ever seen, and it’s all the more glorious when it’s Gonnad getting it. Gonnad makes the comeback and Flair does all his heel stalling tricks. Flair’s figure four attempt gets reversed for two. Gonnad gets his own figure four on Flair…and a bad one at that. Hasn’t he ever done one before? Gonnad with his THREE AND A HALF MOVES OF DOOM and a cradle, but Liz is up on the apron, and Woman nails him with the SIZE SEVEN OF DEATH, and Flair pins him with his feet on the ropes, just to be Flair. Flair wins the title for the first time since about 1980. **1/4 – Mean Gene tries to weasel his way into the Outsiders’ dressing room, but no go. – The Giant & Kevin Sullivan v. Chris Benoit & Arn Anderson. (Benoit and Anderson probably should have ended up with the tag titles. They seemed like a perfect combination for that.) The heels attack from behind in the aisle. Mongo decks the Giant from behind, and Giant chases him back to the dressing room, leaving Sullivan two-on-one against the Horsemen. I don’t like those odds. Giant makes his way back to ringside after a short time. The storyline is that everyone knows the Horsemen are dead if Giant gets tagged in, so they keep Sullivan in their corner. Dull match as Kevin gets battered nonstop. Finally, Sullivan escapes a spike piledriver and hot tags Giant. Sullivan and Benoit fight to the back, leaving Giant against Arn “Dead meat in an about 15 seconds” Anderson. You guess the rest. *1/2 Meanwhile, Benoit hits a dive onto Sullivan from the broadcast location. Then they head back to the ring and Benoit continues the abuse, but Woman calls him off. This turned into the soap opera angle with Benoit and Woman that ended up going nowhere thanks to the nWo. (Well, eventually there WAS a payoff for it…) – And finally, the match that changed everything, the one mystery partner that actually lived up to the hype… – Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage v. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & ???? Nash has got a beer gut bigger than all outdoors. All three of the faces are wearing face-paint in a show of unity. Tony is finally forced to put names to Nash and Hall in order to call the match. Big pier-six to start, and Luger gets KO’s almost immediately in the chaos. He is taken back to the dressing room, leaving Sting and Savage against the Outsiders. Odd booking, probably a swerve to make the smarts think that Luger would be the Third Man. The Outsiders proceed to decimate Randy Savage. It’s so sad to see the Wolfpac fighting like this. Ugly spot as Savage hurts his neck on a botched elbowdrop from Nash. Sting comes in to take over the Ricky Morton role. The Outsiders run through their usual offense. Sting is just getting creamed. Finally he gets the hot tag and Savage goes nuts, tossing Hall out of the ring and pounding on Nash. He hits the axehandle out of the ring and then again back in, but Nash lowblows him. And then….Hulk Hogan comes out. He rips off the shirt, clears the ring…and legdrops Savage. We have our mystery partner. This was possibly the single most shocking thing I had ever seen in wrestling at the time. (And while I was watching it, my girlfriend called me just to talk! Thank god for VCRs) The nWo destroy Savage and then Mean Gene comes out for The Interview as the ring fills with trash: MG: Hulk Hogan, excuse me, excuse me, what in the world are you thinking? HH: Mean Gene, the first thing you need to do is to tell this people to SHUT UP if you wanna hear what I got to say! MG: I have been with you for so many years…for you to join up with these two men absolutely makes me sick! And I think that these people here and a lot of other people around the world have had just about enough of this man here [Hall] and this man here [Nash] and you want to put yourself with this group? You’ve gotta be…kidding me. HH: First thing you gotta realize, brother, is this right here is the future of wrestling. You can call this the New World Order of wrestling, brother! These two men here came from a great big organziation up north, and everybody was wondering who the third man was, well who knows more about that organization than me, brother? MG: I’ve been there, I’ve done that…and you have made the wrong decision, in my opinion. HH: Well lemme tell you something…I made that organization a monster…I made the people rich up there…and when it all came to pass, the name Hulk Hogan, the man Hulk Hogan, got bigger than the whole organization, brother. And then Billionaire Ted, he wanted to talk turkey with Hulk Hogan, amigo. Well, you know, Ted promised me movies, brother, Billionaire Ted promised me millions of dollars, Billionaire Ted promised me world calibar matches! Well, as far as Billionaire Ted goes, Eric Bischoff and the whole WCW goes, I’m bored, brother. That’s why these two guys here, the so called Outsiders, these are the men that I want as my friends, they’re the new blood of professional wrestling, and not only are we gonna take over the wretling business with Hulk Hogan and new blood, the monsters with me, we wil destroy everything in our path, Mean Gene. MG: Look at all the crap in this ring! That’s whats in the future for you if you want to hang around with this man Hall and this man Nash. HH: As far as I’m concerned, all this crap in the ring represents these fans out here. For two years, brother, for two years I held my head high, I did everything for the charities, I did everything for the kids, and the reception I got when I came out here, you fans can STICK IT, brother, because if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan you people wouldn’t be here, if it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis. If it wasn’t for Hulk Hogan, all thse Johnny come lately’s you see wrestling wouldn’t be here. I was selling the world, brother, while they were bumming gas to put in their car to get to high school. So the way it is, with Hulk Hogan and the New World Organization of wrestling, brother, and the new blood by my side, whatcha gonna do when the New World Organization runs wild on you? WHATCHA GONNA DO? MG: Tony, Bobby, Dusty, let’s get back to you. Tony: All right, we have seen the end of Hulkamania. For Bobby the Brain Heenan, for Dusty Rhodes…I don’t know. I’m Tony Schiavone. Hulk Hogan, you can go to hell. We’re outta here. Straight to hell. [slams down headset] End of show. The Bottom Line: That, my friends, was probably the pinnacle of WCW’s creative powers, and the show that signalled the start of a year and a half of ratings dominance. Only now can the nWo finally be declared dead and buried, three years later. From that point on, EVERYTHING centered around the nWo, as they introduced new members, punked out WCW wrestlers, and just generally wreaked havoc until finally everyone got bored of it and started watching the WWF. If only Hogan hadn’t poked his nose into the angle, it could have been the greatest ever. Oh well. Strongest recommendation for both shows.
The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Bash at the Beach 95 – Live from Huntington Beach, CA. – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – This is of course from the beach, with no actual seating. WCW made various claims from between 50-100,000 people, but actual attendance (free, to boot) was about 10,000. The setup looks kinda like Road Wild, except with phony Hollywood beach bunnies instead of racist redneck bikers. It certainly looks unique. (Meltzer kept harping on this one during a recent radio show, noting that AAA was having a giant show in the same city at the same time, and he wondered why no one from WCW wanted to go watch the show and scout for talent instead of partying with the Hollywood phonies. I guess not everyone appreciates lucha libre as much as strippers and blow.) – US title match: Sting v. Meng. (Today we went to a festival in the park with a friend, and while there that friend ran into another friend who happened to be a Tongan. Tattoos and everything. It took a lot of self-control to keep from asking him if he was related to Haku.) This is a rematch from Great American Bash. They go right for the test of strength to start and that goes nowhere. Meng pounds away and they slug it out, but Meng no-sells it all. I think they missed a major opportunity in not booking Meng v. Renegade at this point. Not an opportunity to draw money or anything, but an opportunity to amuse me. And that’s the important thing. (I never really got why they switched Meng’s character abruptly from suit-wearing badass to CRAZY TONGAN WILDMAN without any explanation. I mean, I know in wrestling that sort of thing is common, but you’d think that sort of drastic personality shift would indicate personal problems.) Meng hammers away in the corner and grunts a lot. Choking follows. Lots of it. Legdrop gets two. Meng goes to the NECK-MUSCLE MASSAGE OF DEATH, but Sting reverses to an armbar. Meng’s attempt at a suplex is blocked and they do more jockeying, and that goes nowhere. Sting’s clothesline is dramatically no-sold, in case we missed the point when he didn’t fall down. Sting is aghast. What acting. Meng goes up and misses a headbutt from the middle, which allows Sting to get the Scorpion Deathlock. Col. Parker distracts Sting and he lets go like an idiot, and Meng tosses him. Suplex back in gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Meng works on the back in the laziest manner possible as Tony makes his ridiculous claims about the crowd being the largest in WCW history. Meng goes to the abdominal stretch and we get lots of crowd shots. Sting gets a sunset flip for one, and Meng gets his own, which Sting blocks with a bad-looking butt-splash. Everyone is out. Meng is up first and we get a Boston Crab as the psychology is just all over the place. Pick a body part and stick to it. Sting makes the ropes, which of course tricks the heel into thinking the match is over, and a missed elbowdrop allows Sting to come back. Backdrop suplex and clotheslines follow. He clips Meng and gets a Thesz Press for two. Rana gets two. Cross-body gets two. Stinger splash is blocked by a thrust kick, which gets two. Meng goes up again with a big splash for two. And once again he thinks it’s over, and this time gets rolled up for the pin at 15:30. This was How to Bore the Crowd 101. ** Hawk saves Sting from any further abdominal stretching. – World TV title: Renegade v. Paul Orndorff. Criss-cross to start and Orndorff takes him down and pounds away. He goes up and hits boot on the way down, and Renegade comes back and dumps him. Orndorff lands in the sand which, as Tony notes, is very abrasive to the skin. (Oh Tony, you were like a neverending supply of running jokes for our group back in the day.) Back in, Renegade works a headlock and pumps up the crowd. Okay, just the headlock. He gets an alleged dropkick that ends up 0.8 Watts, and Orndorff bails and tosses sand in Renegade’s face. Well, now you KNOW you’re watching a classic. (However, Renegade sent away for Charles Atlas’ bodybuilding course and became a real man afterwards!) Back in, Orndorff gets a side suplex and goes to the chinlock. Orndorff gets his own dropkick and stalls, then decides to go for the piledriver. Sadly, Renegade escapes and gets ANOTHER 0.8 Watts dropkick, and then ANOTHER one. This guy really needs to learn how to throw a dropkick. (That was the least of his problems.) Powerslam fails to excite the crowd, and when Orndorff tosses Renegade they CHEER. WCW should have taken the hint. This isn’t even a hardcore crowd, it’s casual beach dwellers, and even THEY hate the guy. Back in, Renegade escapes a suplex and gets a backdrop suplex for the pin at 6:11. Crowd boos that one out of the building. Or off the beach, as it were. Orndorff punks him out and piledrives him, which turns him face with the crowd. Renegade doesn’t even have the decency to sell it, popping right back up with a flying bodypress. –* (At least it’s not Kamala v Jim Duggan.) – Kamala v. Jim Duggan. (Fuck!) And here I thought the show could only get BETTER after that last match. Thankfully Duggan is here to save us from any potential Ugandan invasion forces. This was during the early days of the Dungeon of Doom, when suspense was running high as to who the newest members would be, and when I say “high” I mean as in “drugs were needed to enjoy this angle”. They slug it out and Duggan wins that battle. Kamala won’t go down. A clothesline drops him, but he comes back with some chopping. Duggan tries a slam, and gets pounded. Choking follows. Into the bearhug, and Duggan misses a charge after escaping. Into the PURPLE NURPLE OF DEATH, but Duggan slugs out and bites to come back. Clothesline and Duggan slams him, which is about the one impressive thing in the whole match, and the three-point stance puts Kamala down. Zodiac runs in behind the ref’s back, knocks Duggan out, and Kamala gets the pin at 6:06. I don’t know what was more astounding – that Kamala actually got a serious push, or that no one figured out Zodiac was Brutus Beefcake. DUD – Diamond Dallas Page v. Evad Sullivan. Don’t even get me started on the rabbit. Sullivan attacks to start and suplexes DDP in, but Page backs off. Atomic drop and clothesline set up a suplex, and Dave is pumped. He stops to put the moves on Kimberly, however, and gets stomped down by DDP. Page pounds away, but misses a charge and crotches himself. Sullivan comes back and slugs away. Clothesline and he wants whatever, but goes after Max Muscle and gets hit with the Diamond Cutter at 4:26. This gets nothing and likes it. DUD (It’s the parade of Hogan hangers-on and wannabes!) – Normally I wouldn’t bother with pre-match promos, but Jerry Sags quotes Frampton in between screamed clichés, so he earns a spot in the recap as a result. – WCW World tag title: Harlem Heat v. Nasty Boys v. The Bluebloods. The crowd is chanting for the Heat, so Booker tells them to shut up. It’s a pier-nine brawl to start (after a complex coin toss that was supposed to set the Nasties & Heat as the starters) and the Nasties clean house. Knobs and Booker start proper, and Booker pounds away and chokes him out. Knobs ventures too far into the wrong corner, and Regal tags himself in. Booker takes him down and superkicks him, and Stevie Ray comes in for more pounding. Eaton tags in and gets backdropped and bails, which allows Sherri to get her shots in. Back in, Stevie gets a sideslam, but Eaton tags Sags mid-move and the Nasties do some CLUBBERING, CLUBBERING, THEY BE CLUBBERING in the corner. Knobs headbutts Stevie low and they go after the leg. Sags decides to tag Regal in, so Stevie makes the comeback and the Heat work Regal over in the corner. Booker goes to the Blueblood corner and gets pounded, however. Knobs comes back in and misses a charge, but Regal subdues Booker. Knobs clotheslines Booker for two. Nasties double-team Booker for two. Regal slaps him around and drops a knee, then tags Sags back in again. Sags promptly turns on the Bluebloods, and they brawl for a bit, allowing Booker to tag Stevie back in. Sags & Stevie slug it out, but Eaton comes in and takes over for Sags. The Bluebloods work Stevie over in the corner, and Knobs comes in with an elbow and a splash for two. Booker comes in and gets a sidekick on Knobs for two. Stevie comes in with a kneedrop, and Regal tags himself in and goes after Knobs. Bluebloods work Knobs over in the royal corner, and Bobby comes off the top with a knee for nothing, as Booker saves. Regal Stretch, but Sags saves. Stevie gets tagged back in and hammers on Knobs in the corner, and Booker gets tagged by Regal, which prompts Knobs to suddenly make the comeback out of nowhere. Regal hammers him down again, but Knobs blocks a sunset flip with a buttdrop, and Sags gets the hot (?) tag and cleans house. Everyone brawls and Regal gets splashed by a bunch of people, and apparently Stevie Ray was in the pile and thus gets the win at 13:10. What a stupid finish. Match dragged on and had absolutely no flow to it. *1/2 – Lifeguard match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair. This would be a lumberjack match, except with lifeguards mixed in. Nyuk nyuk. Savage knocks him down and pounds away to start, and a trio of clotheslines put Flair out. The lumberjacks put him back in, but Savage chokes him out on the apron. Savage pounds away in the corner, but Flair gets an atomic drop out of the corner and starts chopping. Savage gets tossed and the babyface lumberjacks gently put him back in, and Flair chops again. Blind charge hits elbow and Savage slugs away and knocks Flair down with an elbow. Flair Flip and he heads out and back in via the lumberjacks. Savage gets tossed to the sand and thrown back in. Suplex back in is blocked, and Savage suplexes Flair to the outside. Back in he goes. Tony notes that Savage’s suplex was not a deliberate toss over the top. I’d say SUPLEXING a guy over the top is pretty deliberate, but the rule says that you BOTH have to be in, which is why it’s not a DQ. Just in case your teacher ever puts that on a pop quiz in history class. Flair takes over with a sleeper, but Savage sends him into the corner to escape. Flair chops away and tosses Savage, which SHOULD be a DQ, but I guess this is no-DQ or something. Back in, Flair comes off the top and collides with Savage in a weird spot, and Savage whips Flair around and slugs away. Sleeper is reversed by Flair into the kneecrusher, and goes to work on the leg. Savage keeps fighting back, but hits boot on a charge and NOW! WHOO! WE GO TO SCHOOL. Figure-four, but Savage reverses pretty easily. Flair gets a delayed vertical suplex for two. Savage comes back and slugs away, and Flair goes out again and makes a run for it, only to be caught and brought back. Back in, Savage backdrops him and gets the axehandle, but AA comes in and distracts the ref. Flair charges and gets backdropped over the top, but Arn comes in again and DDTs Savage. Flair gets two. Savage gets a backslide for two. Charge hits elbow and Flair goes up top, gets slammed, and the big elbow finishes at 13:53. That was so predictable that I typed the finish like 30 seconds before it happened. Match was nothing special and lacked emotion – it just felt like a couple of guys doing their usual match. **1/4 – WCW World title, cage match: Hulk Hogan v. Big Van Vader. Since Hogan is involved, this is pinfall, submission or escape. Hogan attacks and sends Vader into the cage to start, and chokes him out with the t-shirt. Double axehandle and he slugs away, but Vader won’t go down. They slug it out and can’t ram each other into the cage, until Vader finally wins that battle. He keeps pounding Hogan, but gets rammed into his own mask, which Hogan then proceeds to use as a weapon. More punching. Vader comes back with an avalanche, however, and goes up for a pump splash. Back up for another go, and that gets two. Vader spears him into the cage and keeps pounding away. Drop suplex and Vader goes for the door, but Hogan recovers and sends Vader into the cage. He tries a slam, but gets pounded back down again. Vader goes back up, but misses a senton bomb and Hogan comes back. Corner clothesline and Hogan tries another slam, but Vader falls on top and gets two. We hit the chinlock, and Hogan comes back with a clothesline. He still wants the slam, however. He gets it, but hurts his back. Vader comes off the middle rope with a splash and gets two. Hulk-up time, as he no-sells a trip to the cage and comes back. Vader eats the cage a few times and it’s the big boot, but Zodiac tries to get into the cage, only to be foiled by Dennis Rodman. Hogan drops the leg, poses, and then does it again. Sure, just totally emasculate the guy, why don’t ya? Hogan climbs, but gets caught by Vader, who then falls off and allows Hogan to exit at 13:09. Real bad. * This was also Vader’s final WCW PPV, as he left for the WWF shortly before Fall Brawl. The Bottom Line: Well, Savage-Flair was a major disappointment, and was pretty much the only match on the show even close to “worthwhile”, so that pretty much makes this the usual WCW disaster of epic proportions. (Man, how did I forget about THIS one in my list of horrible PPVs?) Strong recommendation to avoid.
July 13, 2012
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews
is the final show before Money in the Bank and most of the show is
set. For the short term, tonight Zach Ryder is in charge after
winning a battle royal last week. We have another week or two before
we get a permanent GM so putting Ryder out here like this is a good
idea as it gives him some TV time to remind people that he’s still
alive. Let’s get to it.
open with a clip from Z True Long Island Story of Ryder celebrating
his win in the battle royal.
you know your enemy? Mine is that extra day off after the All Star
Game. What was the point of it?
Ryder to open the show. He welcomes us to Zach-Down and leads us in
a huge fist pump.
Del Rio vs. Sin Cara
Rio makes fun of Ryder so Ryder makes this match. Cara avoids a
charging Del Rio but gets taken down by a fast knee for two. The
stupid lights are off again. Del Rio takes him down before bending
Cara over the middle rope for some choking. Cara avoids a charge in
the corner and fires off some kicks. A DDT gets two on Alberto but
he comes back with a chop to put Cara down.
Del Rio misses a charge of his own and Cara kicks him to the floor.
A suicide dive sends Del Rio into the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Cara hitting a running kick to the chest for two. Del Rio
shrugs that off and grabs the arm as is his custom. He hooks an
armbar and cranks on it for a good while. Del Rio misses a charge in
the corner (a theme in this match) and Cara snaps off a rana to take
over. A spinning DDT gets two for Cara but a Swanton misses. Cross
Armbreaker finishes this at 6:40 shown of 10:10.
C+. This was a better match
than I was expecting and Cara looked pretty good in it, but the big
issue: why does Cara need to be in here? He’s in the MITB match on
Sunday and therefore may be a world title contender in the very near
future, but he has to job here. Why? Was there NO ONE else on the
roster that Del Rio could have made to tap here? I know I say this a
lot but WWE keeps doing it.
get a quick Tout video from Cena, talking about his favorite Raw
moment, which is the night when he was drafter to Raw. This is
followed by some fans’ videos. This is going to get old REALLY fast.
All of these favorite moments are from the last two years.
Show complains to Ryder about how the show is being run. He
threatens to knock Ryder out but Khali stops it. Ryder makes a match
between the two of them tonight. Khali does Woo Woo Woo.
vs. Darren Young
pounds him down to start but Primo comes back with some punches. The
running hip attack hits Young while he’s in 619 position but Primo
walks into a hot shot. AW is on a mic all of a sudden and says this
beatdown is courtesy of All World Enterprises. Young chops away and
drops a leg on Primo while he’s on the apron. Back in there’s a
regular legdrop and an elbow gets two. AW is playing this role
perfectly. Off to a cravate to kill some time but Primo makes a
comeback. Young knocks him right back down but he wastes too much
time, getting small packaged and pinned clean at 4:08.
D+. Nothing to see here, but
AGAIN, what is the point in having one of your #1 contenders lose
here? Young isn’t great on his own, but why did he need to lose
here? What does this gain? If my memory is right, the match on the
preshow is non-title, so you don’t need to keep the Colons strong.
Also why isn’t the tag title match happening there? This makes next
to no sense on all fronts.
you know: Raw has aired 300 more episodes than Monday Night Football.
Yes WWE, it means something that when you air 50 episodes a year,
you can beat a show that airs 17 a year. Good job.
Raw moment is Edge retiring.
and Sheamus are doing nothing in the back so Jericho comes up and
runs his mouth. Ryder makes them the main event.
Marella vs. Cody Rhodes/Dolph Ziggler
and Cody start us off and the Canadian is taken down by a shoulder
block. Christian comes back and brings in Santino, causing Cody to
runs away. Off to Ziggler whose hair is slicked back enough that you
could barely tell it was there from behind. Ziggler takes him to the
mat and we have no commentary. Santino cranks on the arm and I’d
assume the audio being gone is a production thing that will be fixed
during the broadcast.
works on the arm and brings in Christian, but it’s back to Cody who
takes over. Ziggler comes in and we hit the chinlock for a bit.
Back to Cody whose Alabama Slam is countered and Christian hits a
flapjack to take over. Hot tag brings in Santino and he cleans
house, but Cody breaks up the Cobra. Cody and Christian brawl up the
ramp, allowing the Zig Zag to hit Santino for the pin at 4:32.
C-. Not much to see here and
while it’s annoying to have another big name and in this case a
champion get beaten here, at least it was by someone that would be in
the same match as them on Sunday. Santino is there for comedy anyway
so it’s not that big of a deal. Ziggler and Cody are the favorites
for the match too so if one of them win, that makes it a bit better.
ReBound is the ending to the show with the tag match and AJ slapping
both Bryan and Punk.
Khali vs. Big Show
is back now. They circle each other for a bit and the WMD gets the
pin in 33 seconds. I’m so glad they did this aren’t you? One good
thing though: Khali has nothing to lose here so the win means
something (I guess) and Show looks dominant going into Sunday. Why
can’t that be the case in every match?
vs. Tyler Reks
sense after Hawkins getting beat last week. Ryback throws him around
to start and sends Reks to the floor, only to get stunned coming back
into the ring. That’s the extent of Reks’ offense here though, as
Ryback suplexes him down. Reks gets a right hand to Ryback’s ribs
but gets clotheslined right down. Shell Shock gets the pin at 1:50.
Handicap match next week?
Jackman was on Raw once.
will be on the 1000th Raw.
fans Tout their favorite Raw moments. They’re all from the Attitude
Era other than one from 2007. Again, why am I supposed to care about
Gabriel vs. Damien Sandow
takes him down quickly and hooks a chinlock. Justin makes a short
comeback with some strikes but he walks into some knees to the face
and the double arm neckbreaker gets the pin at 1:30. Total squash.
recap the reveal of the Anonymous Raw GM because once just wasn’t
enough I guess.
run down the card for Sunday, all four matches of it.
vs. Chris Jericho
here. Sheamus shoves him into the corner and Jericho slaps him.
Sheamus pounds him into another corner and Jericho bails to the
floor. Back inside and Jericho gets drilled down again. Jericho
gets a boot up and hits a middle rope missile dropkick for two.
Sheamus is having none of that and hits the ten forearms before
knocking Jericho off the apron and onto the announce table.
take a break and come back with Jericho kicking Sheamus in the chest.
Jericho hooks a chinlock but Sheamus gets up and avoids a charge,
sending Jericho’s shoulder into the post. Irish Curse gets two as
does the Regal Roll. Jericho tries a quick Codebreaker but Sheamus
counters. Brogue Kick gets Sheamus caught in the ropes and Jericho
hits the springboard dropkick for two.
knocks him down again and loads up the High Cross but Jericho
counters into the Walls. Sheamus makes a rope but gets put right
back into the hold. Jericho pulls him back into the middle of the
ring but Sheamus escapes and White Noise gets two. Brogue Kick
misses and the Codebreaker gets two. Sheamus kicks Jericho away and
pulls himself to the top but jumps into two knees to the face called
the Codebreaker. THAT gets two and Jericho is furious. Jericho
tells Sheamus to get up but walks into the Brogue for the pin at
12:00 shown of 15:30.
B. This was your usual good
Smackdown main event. I can live with Jericho living here because he
dominated the match and lost on a Hail Mary Brogue Kick from Sheamus.
They beat on each other for a long time until it was hard to say who
was going to win at the end. That’s hard to do anymore but it worked
very well here. Good stuff.
breaks here’s Del Rio’s car but Del Rio pops up behind Sheamus and
puts him in the armbreaker over the stage. You know, exactly what he
was supposed to do a few weeks ago before their other match. Sheamus
is in trouble to end the show.
Rating: C. This wasn’t bad, but
Smackdown continues to be completely not required wrestling to watch
anymore. With all of the recaps on here and the quick squashes other
than the main event, there wasn’t much worth seeing. MITB looks like
it’s just a bump in the road before the 1000th Raw which is the real
major show this month. After that though, it looks like they could
be in big trouble. Nothing to see here but it’s nothing too bad.
Also, what did Ryder do here other than make like 2 matches?
Del Rio b. Sin Cara – Cross Armbreaker
b. Darren Young – Small Package
Show b. Great Khali – WMD
b. Tyler Reks – Shell Shock
Sandow b. Justin Gabriel – Double Arm Neckbreaker
b. Chris Jericho – Brogue Kick
July 11, 2012
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Byron Saxton, William Regal
back with the fourth week of the show which I believe is the final
show from the first batch of tapings. After the six man that ended
the last episode, there really isn’t anything set for tonight. I’ve
heard talk of creating an NXT Title but that wouldn’t be for at least
four more weeks because the next set of tapings is already done.
Let’s get to it.
Kidd vs. Camacho
this is what NXT is good for: you can get a guy like Camacho some
ring time. He hasn’t had much but he can get some here and it’s fine
for him to get it at this level. Kidd avoids a kick to the ribs and
nips up into a dropkick. Camacho takes over with a fist to the head
but Kidd flips through a backdrop and grabs a quickly broken leg
hold. Backslide gets two on Camacho and it’s off to an armbar.
sends him to the apron but Kidd skins the cat and sends Camacho to
the floor. Hunico tries to interfere and gets ejected for his
efforts. Kidd dives on both guys and we take a break. Back with
Kidd kicking Camacho in the face and trying the Sharpshooter but a
rope is grabbed. Camacho goes to the floor but grabs a running boot,
sending Kidd face first into the apron.
inside and Camacho is in control and working on the back of Kidd. A
backbreaker gets two and he stomps on the chest of Kidd a bit.
Another backbreaker gets another two and Kidd gets draped over the
top rope. Camacho hooks a seated third cousin twice removed of an
abdominal stretch which Kidd breaks, only to be headbutted right back
down. A belly to back suplex puts Kidd down and a legdrop gets two.
tries to speed things up but gets caught in a wheelbarrow slam for
two. A middle rope legdrop misses for Camacho and Kidd fires off his
kicks. Camacho is draped over the bottom rope and Kidd hits a
slingshot legdrop to the head to keep Camacho down. Back in and
Camacho hits a butterfly suplex off the top for two. Camacho sends
him to the apron but charges into a kick to the head. A Blockbuster
gets two on Camacho as he gets his foot on the rope. Dang I thought
that would have been it. Kidd loads up the Sharpshooter but here’s
McGillicutty for a distraction. Kidd knocks him to the floor but
walks into a DDT from Camacho for the pin at 12:15 shown of 15:45.
B-. I was really getting into
this by the end of it. It’s amazing what guys like Camacho are
capable of when they have time and a guy like Kidd to work off of.
I’m so glad that Tyson is getting a main show push as it’s long
overdue for someone as steady in the ring as he is. This
McGillicutty feud has gone on for awhile though and it’s hard to see
why it needs to continue.
Wyatt video, this time about faith. It’s a shame that he’s out for
so many months.
Jackman was on Raw once.
Gabriel says he’s back to make a statement. Heath Slater comes up
and says that Gabriel will make a statement of failure. Slater talks
about taking out legends and Gabriel says it’ll be a young guy
beating up Slater tonight.
English vs. Bray Wyatt
talks on the way to the ring, calling himself the angel in the dirt
and singing Time is on My Side by the Rolling Stones. Wyatt pounds
him down and sends English to the floor and into the barricade. Back
in and Wyatt rolls around on the apron before splashing English in
the corner. Wyatt dances with English a bit (literally) before
hitting a rolling Downward Spiral for the pin at 1:48. Awesome debut
here and a good transition from promos to in ring work which was what
I was worried about from Wyatt.
on Seth Rollins, who will knock you out.
run down the MITB card.
Steamboat says he’s got a great opportunity here. Leo Kruger comes
up and they get in a brawl.
on Raquel Diaz, featuring Tweets from her.
vs. Prime Time Players
Slater vs. Gabriel is next week. JR sits in on commentary for this
one and there’s no AW for the Players. Jimmy and Darren get us going
and Jimmy goes nuclear by going for the hair. Young gets takes into
the Uso corner for a continued beating before it’s off to Titus for
more of the same. Back to Young who charges into a powerslam from
Jey for no cover. The Players head to the floor and Jey has a hair
hits a dive onto both Players and we take a break. Back with Jimmy
uppercutting Titus, only to be knocked down after looking at Young.
Young comes in with a kind of spinning toe hold. It’s clear JR has
no idea which Uso is which, nor does he care. Jimmy kicks Darren to
the floor where Darren trips up Jey before there can be a tag. Back
in and Young works on the knee some more and tags Titus.
gets in a shot to Titus but O’Neal breaks up the tag at the last
possible second. Back to the knee but Jimmy breaks it up. For some
reason though he goes to the Players’ corner instead of his own. A
backdrop puts Titus down and there’s the tag to Jey. Jey cleans
house and hits the running Umaga attack on Young in the corner for
two. Titus takes Jimmy’s leg out again which allows the Players to
hit the Demolition Decapitator on Jey for the pin at 9:51 shown of
C+. Nothing great here but
another win for the Players before they finally get their title match
is just fine. The Usos are still stuck in limbo but they’re good at
a job like this. JR not knowing which was which says a small
something, as there’s nothing to tell the two guys apart unless
you’re looking at their chest. That being said, they’re a tag team
and there’s nothing wrong with them being so similar, as it makes
them look more like a unit.
Rating: B-. This was a totally
different kind of show this week but it still worked. This came off
a lot more like a show that the old NXT did and that’s ok for the
most part. Having a fresh batch of faces makes that work well, and
given the match quality was good all around, what more can you ask
for? With talk of the tournament coming for a title, there’s a lot
of upside on NXT in the future.
b. Tyson Kidd – DDT
Wyatt b. Aiden English – Rolling Downward Spiral
Time Players b. Usos – Demolition Decapitator to Jey Uso
The SK Retro Rant for Bash at the Beach 1994 (This was written during the weird transitional time for me between Wrestleline and 411, when my stuff was getting what I would consider more proficiently-written, but I was still in a strangely gleeful state of mind about the death of WCW. Of course, now I think we all wish that they had stuck around, even if they probably would have morphed into TNA eventually anyway, and it makes rants like these ones seemed overly, I dunno, mean at times.) Whereas before WCW was run by a bunch of no-nothing bozos who couldn’t tell their asshole from their elbows, at least they were the no-nothing bozos deemed to be the authority by Turner. And if someone did something that was deemed TOO exceptionally stupid by someone higher up, you could always fire him and replace him with another Turner beancounter who would be guaranteed to screw up just as bad, but probably for less money. And then came Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. See, once Hogan came into the picture with this show, the problem was no longer the guys supposedly in charge, it was now with the locker room itself thanks to Hogan’s incessant political favors for his longtime friends. While WCW could in the past (and did) fire guys like Bill Shaw, Bob Dhue, Bill Watts and even almost Bischoff a couple of times, now they had Hogan under an iron-clad longterm contract and couldn’t just jettison him despite completely disrupting the locker room without providing anything in terms of tangible money returned until 1997. So that makes this an interesting show, because while it was the beginning of an era for WCW where they actually had some mainstream exposure, it was also a larger tradeoff for the cancer that Hogan brought to the previous work ethic displayed there by the people he displaced. Was it worth it in the long run? Well, you don’t see WCW around these days, do you? In fact, for anyone else in the future who gets into any kind of argument with one of the remaining WCW lemmings, I’d recommend pulling that particular trump card out and watching them squirm. Good fun for everyone. (Obviously Bischoff ended up having just as much of a negative effect on the fate of the promotion as Hogan did with his own Boogie Nights-like decline into debauchery and forgetting his roots and all that, but Hulk certainly didn’t help.) – Live from Orlando, Florida. Tony declares it a “capacity crowd”, but suspiciously the gate was only a little over $100,000 and their last PPV only drew 5,000, so smart money says that there was enough paper to keep Barrimundi’s fire going through the biggest flood season. (Whatever that reference was, it’s so obscure now that I had to Google “Barrimundi” to try and figure out what the fuck I was talking about. It’s some sort of fish, so I have no clue what the context was 11 years ago. Anyone clue me in? Anyway, a quick check of the Observer at the time shows that in fact, no, WCW made a shit-ton of money on this show FOR REALZ, with close to 10,000 paid and 14,000 total in the building.) – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby, plus Jesse here and there. – Opening match, TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Johnny B. Badd. It was supposed to be Sting, but he’s injured, which WCW explains in typical WCW fashion by having Sherri give him an EYERAKE OF DOOM and thus put him out of action. Good thing she didn’t do something REALLY devastating like hit him with her shoe, or else he might still be on the shelf today. A sign at ringside has “Johnny” spelled as “Gonny”, thus leading me to believe WCW planted it themselves, since southern fans would tend to forget that second “n”. Wristlock sequence to start, won by Badd. Badd works the arm and Regal begs off. Regal works the mat for a bit, but gets rolled up for two and begs off again. Badd armdrags him and Regal stalls. He works a headlock on Badd, but Badd goes back to the arm. Regal bails. Back in, Regal hits a chinlock, but gets reversed to a hammerlock. Regal suplex is blocked with a wristlock, but Regal takes over with a headbutt and dropkick. Badd keeps working that arm, however. Big celebrity sighting of the night: Chris Lemmon! If you don’t know who he is, don’t worry, because that’s part of the joke, see. (It just kills the joke when you have to explain it.) Badd dropkick gets two. Flying headscissors and hiptoss follow, and he hits the PUNCH OF DEATH to send Regal scurrying outside. (Marc Mero should come back for a match against Big Show, and the big spot can be them punching each other at the same time for a draw.) Badd follows with a pescado and sunset flips back in for two. Regal reverses the pin in an awkward spot and gets the win at 10:45. Odd finish, to say the least. **1/2 – Mean Gene presents Antonio Inoki with a plaque, thus drawing the ire of Lord Regal for reasons never adequately explored (…for some reason), which leads to a match on the next Clash that sucks. (Inoki was there as a favor to Hogan. Naturally.) – Vader v. The Guardian Angel. (Failed gimmick #2 for the former Bossman. This one was actually a clever idea, although I wonder why they didn’t do something like a Walking Tall thing where he starts taking the law into his own hands vigilante style? That might have been pretty cool and fit with his real life redneck persona.) It feels like we had some variation on Vader v. Ray Traylor on every WCW show in 1994. Vader attacks to start and hits a spinkick (!). Angel ducks a lariat and suplexes Vader, then slams him with ease. Lariat and Vader bails. They brawl outside, where Vader gets control, thanks to Race. Vader pounds away, but Angel fights back…and gets clobbered. See ya. Vader goes up for a sunset flip, but Angel sits on him to block. Feel the overwhelming power of Bossman’s ass! Vader gets a short-arm clothesline, and goes to an STF?!? Angel fires back but gets slammed and Vaderbombed. Vader wants the moonsault, and actually hits it, but can’t cover. Race comes in and gets killed. Weak ref bump allows Vader to get a supposed nightstick from Race that looks like one of those canes that blind people use. (Perhaps he stole it from the referee.) Angel of course steals it, the ref sees him with it, and calls for the DQ at 8:00. Ye gods, what was the point of that? ** Didn’t really gel as well as their usual match here. – Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson v. Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck. Dustin needed a partner to take on the Parker stable, so he asked…Arn Anderson? What’s wrong with this picture? This match, by the way, is the reason why I often refer to him as “Duh-Stin”. (That catchy-phrase never really caught.) Arn & Buck start, but Buck wants Dustin. Funk comes in to take his shots, but gets sent to the floor. Back in, Funk chops at him and lays in the badmouth. Dustin dumps him over the top, however, while the ref’s back is turned. The heels regroup, but Rhodes gives both an atomic drop. Funk suplexes out of a headlock, and Buck ducks a Rhodes bodypress and Dustin goes flying out of the ring. Funk lays in the boots out there for fun. KICK HIM, KICK HIM LIKE A DOG! (Funk and Buck were a really fun team that would have torn up Memphis in the 80s.) Back in, Buck gets a Funk-assisted abdominal stretch. Funk gets a standing neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Rhodes gets pounded in the corner and Buck hits the chinlock. CLUBBERIN, CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN, TONY! Dustin fights out of the corner with bionic elbows. Backdrops for the heels! Double noggin knocker! Lariat for Funk! HOT TAG ARN…and he turns on Dustin. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Funk gets the easy pin on Rhodes at 11:37. It should be noted that in the original telecast, WCW’s crack camera crew actually missed the fateful DDT that Arn delivered to Rhodes, but they fixed it for the commercial release. Match sucked aside from the finish, of course. *1/4 (Yeah, but I was marking out so much for that heel turn. Shame that Flair was having his balls chopped off by Hogan, because Flair/Arn/Funk/Buck v. Dusty/Dustin/Nasty Boys at Wargames would have been AWESOME fun. The one we got was pretty good too, but a proper Flair/Arn/Funk version of the Four Horsemen kicking the crap out of a second generation of Rhodes? Sign me up!) – US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat. Austin blindsides him to start, and attacks the knee, but Steamboat chops him. Austin meets the post, and Steamboat does the UT ropewalk to work the arm. Sadly, he doesn’t yell “old school” first, thus lessening the impact of the move. He then goes the Anderson playbook and hammerlock-slams Austin. Slugfest and Austin goes up, but Steamboat dropkicks him off and lays in the shots as he’s hanging upside down. Back in, Steamboat goes arm-draggin’. Austin fakes a knee injury off a leapfrog, but Steamboat isn’t buying. Hiptoss and dropkick, and Austin bails. He asks for time to heal his crippled knee, but MIRACULOUSLY recovers as Steamboat nears the ropes, and he yanks him out to beat on him. Back in, Steamer goes to the sleeper off a footrace and gets a rollup for two. Back to the arm. Austin goes low with that darned trick knee, however. (No wonder he wore that knee brace for the rest of his career!) A suplex and three clotheslines follow, but Steamboat won’t stay down. He finally does a crazy, delirious selling job that results in him drunkenly falling out of the ring. Austin suplexes him back in for two. Steamboat reverses a suplex and cradles for two. Armdrag and back to the arm for Steamboat. He drives some knees into Austin’s arm, boring the crowd. Collision on a leapfrog puts Steamboat on top for two, but Austin catches a HUGE spinebuster and drops a knee. He goes to the 2nd rope and drops another knee, but Steamboat gets up, wanting more. Slugfest and Steamboat catapults him into the ringpost for two. Austin nails him, but Steamboat wants more. More chops, but Austin backdrops him and hits a neckbreaker for two. Steamboat escapes a rear chinlock, but Austin clobbers him for two. He works that pinfall attempt, getting about 12 two-counts. Steamboat bridges out and mule-kicks Austin. Austin chokes him out on the ropes, then takes Steamboat limp arm and waves “Hello, everybody!” to the camera in the funniest moment of the night. Man, remember when Austin actually had a sense of humor? (Luckily he has one again now that he doesn’t have to put up with all the bullshit of wrestling and is financially set for life.) Austin comes off the ropes, but walks into his own stungun. He bails and they fight off the apron, but Steamboat takes a header into the railing. Ouch. Austin charges and hits the ringpost facefirst to one-up him. Back in, Dragon hits the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DOOM and a backdrop. Double-chop gets two. Austin dumps him, but Dragon skins the cat back in and chops away. Austin dumps him again, same result. Steamboat cradles for two. Small package gets two. Rollup gets two. Austin freaks out and tries a tombstone, which is reversed, reversed by Austin, and reversed again by Steamboat to complete the move. Steamboat goes up, but Austin pulls the ref in the way…and Steamboat doesn’t want the DQ. He should have taken it, because he hits a bodypress, which is rolled through for the pin at 20:16 by Austin to retain. Great match, though. ***3/4 (The Clash rematch where Steamboat wins the title is of course even better, although it ends Steamboat’s career.) – World tag team title: Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan v. Pretty Wonderful. I guess the theory here is that they didn’t want Hogan to have to follow that last one. It must be a terrific feeling for Orndorff, who drew tens of millions of dollars with Hogan in the 80s, to be setting the table for him in a heatless tag title match while Hogan is making more millions by working 10 matches a year. (And he had all that nerve damage from wrestling Hogan with a bad neck night after night in the 80s. And then Orndorff got CANCER! Life really did suck for him.) Megastall to start. Orndorff does some posing between armdrags, annoying Sullivan. Jack & Roma go next, and Roma stalls and dominates. Jack bites to take over. Oh, c’mon, at least follow your own internal logic, guys: The camera showed several clear shots of Jack before the match…with his teeth OUT. Fans pop for it anyway, but that’s WCW for ya. (The elderly fanbase in Orlando could relate, I guess.) The champs double-team Roma, leading to more stalling. Orndorff pounds on Jack, and they brawl out, which proves to be a mistake. Back in, Orndorff bails again. Back in, Sullivan gets his shots in the corner, and Jack works on the arm. Pretty Wonderful nails him in the corner, however, and beat on him for a bit. Sullivan comes in and rams both guys headfirst to the turnbuckle a few times…at the same time. Cool spot. Double-stomp on Orndorff gets two, and he works the arm. Fans get bored and do the wave, so Jack hits the facelock. Roma & Sullivan slug it out, but Orndorff piledrives Sullivan for two. Roma fucks up a top rope elbow but still manages to pull it off for two. Sullivan is apparently YOUR dwarf-in-peril as Orndorff unleases the dreaded BOOGIE-WOOGIE ELBOW OF DOOM. Sleeper, but Sullivan breaks. Roma drops an elbow for two. Sullivan misses a hot tag chance and Roma hits the chinlock. Orndorff misses a blind charge, but Roma gets a running forearm to maintain control. Roma misses a Money Shot, and now it’s the hot tag to Jack. Double-arm DDT for Orndorff, no ref. Roma trips him coming off the ropes and holds his leg down for the Orndorff pin and the title at 20:14. Ludicrously long match that played completely against the strength of Jack & Sullivan in order to showcase the un-over and un-interesting Pretty Wonderful. See, but they had a REALLY good name, so WCW felt that it was in their best interest to push them to the moon. God knows that Cactus Jack guy probably wouldn’t ever draw a dime in his life anyway. * (I guess Pretty Wonderful had that mainstream look they were going for, I dunno. Another weird bit from the Observer: WCW was so pissed off about Jack spitting on the tag belt in ECW that they flew Brian Pillman in for the show, with the intention of having him substitute for Jack here in losing the belts if Jack’s ongoing injury problems were too much or they just wanted to get rid of him. So Pillman and Sullivan almost ended up being tag champions for a night.) – WCW World title match: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan. Hogan gets a good pop, but not a 100 million-billion-zillion dollars a year pop, if you know what I mean. Besides, the fans were mostly freebies, and they always cheer for Hogan historically. For those not familiar with the backstory here, well, there is none really. Flair was this huge mega-face for WCW before they decided to hotshot a non-sensical heel turn in order to give Hogan a big heel to squash in his debut match. If I’m booking, I do Hogan/Flair v. The Nasty Boys for name value as a tag team main event and then have Flair turn on Hogan to set up Fall Brawl, but WCW wanted the buyrate NOW and didn’t think of things like logic or the future. (To their credit, they did a HELL of a buyrate for this show and made $3 million more than I’ll ever see in my bank account, so who am I to talk?) You know how a kid will get $10 as a gift and come home with an extra-large Slurpee and $8.50 worth of Pokemon cards, then wonder where his $10 went to? That’s what WCW was like here, shooting their wad on the very first PPV in a desperate attempt to justify all the money they had spent. And while this show did a decent 1.0 buyrate, (The biggest in their history, so that’s a fair bit more than “decent”) the very next show did a laughable 0.5 buyrate without Hogan, showing that he had very little effect on the promotion as a whole. Shoving to start, won by Hogan. Flair stalls, and dodges Hogan’s punches, drawing a noticeable face pop from the Flair faithful. Flair goes to the hammerlock and and holds a wristlock. Hogan uses an armbar takedown (!) and Flair bails and hides out behind Sherri. Back in, Hogan slugs away and hits the cross-corner clothesline. Big boot misses and Flair bails again. He gets a cheapshot back in and chops at Hogan. Kneedrop misses as Hogan no-sells and punches away. Sherri trips him up and Flair sends him out. They brawl and head back in as Flair comes off the top with an axehandle. He hits the kneedrop, Hogan no-sells again. Flair uses the ropes for two. Hogan gets a clothesline for two, so Flair hits the chinlock. That lasts a while. Hogan comes back, Flair Flip follows, and they head out. Suplex on the floor, and Hogan suplexes him back in. Legdrop misses, Flair goes for the figure-four, blocked, blocked again, blocked a third time. Hogan’s generosity in even allowing the champion to TRY the move is breathtaking, what a guy. Suplex by Flair, Hogan no-sells. Big boot gets two, ref is bumped. Sherri splashes Hogan off the top as Nick Patrick takes over. Figure-four finally gets applied, and the crowd goes NUTS, as the actual paying customers do their damnedest to drown out the Hogan fans. Hogan makes the ropes without expending too much effort, but Flair keeps at the leg. Hogan no-sells…AGAIN…but runs into an elbow. Flair goes up, but Hogan no-sells that elbow and slams him off. Hogan gets his own bad figure-four as Mr. T removes Sherri from ringside. Overbooked, much? Flair then pulls out brass knuckles and KO’s Hogan…for two. Hulk up, and you know the rest. Hogan gets the title at 21:51. Hogan treated Flair like a jobber, but Flair’s usual broomstick formula match managed to make it a worthwhile excursion, better than I remember it from the initial viewing in 1994. ***1/4 Hogan’s no Vince Russo in the ring, though. – I officially stopped watching WCW at this point, boycotting the promotion until November 1995 in protest of the Hogan Love-In. And in fact, the WWF was getting so bad by this point that if it hadn’t been for ECW and SMW, I would have quit watching wrestling entirely until something decent came up again. The Bottom Line: WCW needed an all-around blowaway show to really justify the Hogan investment, and this wasn’t it. They also needed to maximize Hogan by letting him give the rub to a bunch of the undercard would-be stars, and this show didn’t do that, either. As a result, they all left for the WWF, who are still in existence today, while WCW is not. And it’s really as simple as that, folks, when you break it down. The show itself is watchable with a couple of good matches in the main event and US title match, but everything else is the usual marginal WCW pap for this era and isn’t worth the rental. Mild recommendation to avoid. (Yeah, it’s interesting from certain aspects, but just not a very good show overall.)
The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Beach Blast 93 (2012 Scott sez: Apologies in advance. This one is another terribly written rant when really the show deserves much more care and attention in terms of ripping it apart.) – Live from Biloxi, Mississippi – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura – Worth nothing: The pre-game show features the infamous “Masters of the Powerbomb v. Superpowers” mini-movie in its entirety. If you don’t know what this was, you don’t want to, believe me. (As featured on Are You Serious!) – Opening match: TV Title: Paul Orndorff v. Ron Simmons. I think I was off making dinner for myself when this was on, but Zenon tells me it was pretty crappy. Simmons is DQ’d for throwing Orndorff over the top rope. (Quality wrestling reviewing in 1997, ladies and gentlemen!) – Okay, now I’m back… – Marcus Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio v. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. As always, I remind you that the Texicans migrated north to Arkansas and became the Godwinns. Tons of stalling. Not much resting, surprisingly enough, just nothing the least bit fancy. Your typical “establishing” match to build heat for Bags and Scorps. It saddens me greatly that if Buff’s career is over, then this is his legacy. (Actually that would put this into 1998 if we thought Buff’s career might be over.) Jesse makes lawyer jokes to kill time (What do you call 400 dead lawyers at the bottom of a river? A good start. What do you call a busload of lawyers with one empty seat going off the edge of a cliff? A tragedy.) (Jesse learned to love the legal system a bit more once he took Vince to the cleaners over royalties, I’m thinking.) Bagwell makes the hot tag and they finish off the Texicans with a belly-to-back suplex leading into the Firebird/450 splash from Scorpio. Not bad. **1/4 Worldwide hit type of affair. – Paul Orndorff introduces us to the Equalizer. Thanks, man. – Erik Watts v. Lord Steven Regal. Those of you who are newer fans might recognize Watts as Troy of Techno Team 2000. (Those of you who are now newer fans probably read that last sentence like Lisa reading “Yahoo Serious Festival”) Those of who were on the ‘net back then recognize him as “that fucking little talentless bastard of Bill Watts.” (In all fairness, I’m pretty sure he is the legitimate son of Bill Watts, not a bastard.) Either way, it’s valid. Watts got a mega-push based solely on the fact that daddy was Executive Vice-President of WCW at the time, despite showing no talent or over-ness with the fans. Watts knows amateur wrestling, so we get a boring mat wrestling match. And I do mean *boring*. Watts can’t do *anything* even vaguely aerial, and he has the muscle tone of Jimmy Hart with a gawky figure to boot. He belonged in the undercard of an indy promotion at that point, not on PPV against a legitimate wrestler like Steve Regal. Watts goes for the dreaded STF early, and Dundee pops him with the umbrella and Regal rolls him up for the pin. He should’ve won clean, but what the hell. *1/2 (Now of course Watts would get buried in developmental hell as wannabe movie star Lucas McQueen until he quit the business out of frustration. So maybe their system DOES have an upside.) – Jesse interviews His Lordship. – Maxx Payne v. Johnny B. Badd. Ahem. This is the result of Payne blasting a lethal dose of…er…confetti in Badd’s face with the Badd-blaster. Badd’s visage was so scarred by this that he had to wear an exceptionally gay looking mask to cover himself. Geez, Mark, I would’ve went with the scars and taken my chances…oh well, at any rate it boggles my mind that they used to *pay* people to think this stuff up. (In all fairness, they didn’t get paid very WELL.) Payne is no longer playing the psycho, but rather just your average embittered guitar player. (And boy did he EVER get embittered in real life later on. Daryl Peterson did a documentary on his own years ago, where he took his own footage from his brief WWF time and basically exposed the entire locker room as a bunch of drug addicts and general scumbags. I think the movie was called “The Thing That Should Not Be” or something and lawsuits were of course filed over it.) And WCW wonders why they were only drawing 500 people per show at this time? Punch and kick match that ends with a Badd bodypress (in both senses of the word) off the second rope for the pin. 1/2* – WCW World tag title: The Hollywood Blonds v. Arn Anderson & Paul Roma. The Blonds are using the NWA tag belts here, because the WCW and NWA versions were interchangeable until September when the NWA officially died. Austin & Pillman are hilarious as they antagonize the fans and play awesome heels. As usual with all things Roma after 1990, it stinks when he’s directly involved. I think the man was born without a personality. Roma plays Face In Peril as Pillman wrestles with a wedgie. Crack kills, Brian. Hot tag to Anderson, who assume the Face In Peril role and the match really takes off until the end. Anderson gets the hot tag to Roma again, who’s the House O’ Fire. Spinebuster by Arn, and it’s not looking good for the Greatest Team Ever. Only a two count, however. Arn is escorted out and Roma rolls up Austin, but Pillman pushes them over and…Blonds win??? *** – Why the question marks? Because in 1993, WCW taped extensive footage of Roma and Anderson being the tag champs around this time, so RSPW just naturally assumed that Beach Blast would be the card where they took the titles. When it wasn’t, it produced one of the biggest collective “What the hell?” reactions ever heard on the newsgroup. The ending is assumed to have been changed to “swerve” us, which would be the first example of Mr. Bischoff doing so in a long line of examples of it. Roma and Anderson went on to win the titles at the following Clash, but WCW’s cutesy booking shot itself in the foot, because Brian Pillman was injured and had to be subbed for by Steve Regal, which produced the ridiculous situation of Regal and Austin defending the tag titles! (In the post-Russo era, this stuff all just looks normal somehow. Oh yeah, two people who aren’t the champions defending the belts, whatever.) – US Title match, Ironman challenge: Dustin Rhodes v. Rick Rude. Most falls in 30 minutes wins. This was a horrible feud as Rhodes was pushed to US title status on the strength of nothing but his father’s position as Executive Producer (ie booker) of WCW. The US title was held up for months as these two battled in boring matches over the belt, and the title was devalued immensely because of it. (Not as much as Santino has devalued it.) It never really recovered, IMO. Rude wins the first fall, Rhodes wins the second. The rest is utterly slow and boring until the big finish where Rhodes hits all of his stuff and Rude keeps kicking out. Time expires, so it’s a screwjob ending on top of everything else and the belt is vacant another couple of months. *1/2 This is why overtime in the Michaels-Hart match at WM12 was a *good thing* (I…wouldn’t go that far.) – NWA World title match: Barry Windham v. Ric Flair. An okay match, which is basically Flair’s big return. Everyone knew Flair was going over here (again, footage of Flair as champion was taped for this time period at the Disney tapings, and WCW wasn’t about to pull another swerve). Bizarre ending as Flair quickly hooks the figure-four on Windham, who grabs for the ropes and ends up getting counted down for three! Que? The crowd doesn’t even realize Flair has won the title until the ref breaks the hold and raises his hand! **1/2 I still don’t get that ending… (Clearly I was getting bored with recapping this show at this point.) – Main event: Vader & Sid v. Sting & Bulldog. Oh, yeah, after seeing Cheetum the Evil Midget blow up Sting’s boat, I’m pumped for this! (At least Cheetum wasn’t revealed as the anonymous GM two years after the fact.) Sting and Bulldog have matching coats. Minimalist power stuff here, then stalling from the heels to start. Really bad match. Bulldog hot tag Sting, who takes on both guys but gets nailed by a Sid clothesline after an apparent brain cramp (gee, should I stay in *my* half of the ring or go antagonize Sid?). He becomes Face in Peril. Quick hot tag to Bulldog, who gets stomped by the heels again. Heh. Vader was drawing some serious face heat by this time. Vader pump splashes Bulldog, then debuts the Vadersault! Sting barely makes the save, then Bulldog pulls a crucifix out of nowhere for the pin. Boo! **, mostly for Vader’s work. That moonsault spot really should have ended it. How can you top it? The Bottom Line: Not terrible, but nothing actually worth going out of your way to see. The Disney tapings really fucked with WCW’s booking and it shows with cheap swerves like the tag title match and non-suspense in the Flair-Windham match. Recommendation to avoid Blash Blast ’93. (Also recommendation to avoid reading this rant again.)
(2012 Scott sez: And now…the Bill Watts era.) The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Great American Bash 1992 – Live from Albany, Georgia. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Magnum TA, Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura. – Eric Bischoff interviews Bill Watts to start, who defends the “off the top” rule and basically wishes everyone in the NWA tag title tournament good luck. (Funny that Bill was already on the defensive about his stupid rule changes at this point.) – This is very much a special interest show: It features the NWA World tag team title tournament and a World title match between Sting and Vader, and nothing else. The first round of the tournament was held at Clash 19 a few weeks previous to this show, and as well Steve Williams and Terry Gordy fought the Steiners in a quarterfinal round match on that same show, which was won by the MVC (Miracle Violence Connection, their Japanese team name.), sending them to the semi-finals on this show. Opening match: Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger v. Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat. Good enough choice for an opener, but it has two distinct portions: The portion involving Ricky Steamboat (which ROCKS) and the portion involving Nikita Koloff (which SUCKS). I wish I could have seen Ricky Steamboat v. Jushin Liger before Steamboat retired. Not much to say about this one, back and forth with good action until Pillman tries a flying bodypress and Steamboat rolls through for the pin. *** (Oh yeah, it’s 98 Scott all right.) – I should mention that Jim Ross had managed to oust Dusty Rhodes as the booker at this point, so everything is clean no matter how boring it may be. – The Freebirds v. Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto. The tape I’m watching cuts out almost the entirety of this match, but it’s the Freebirds AND Hashimoto in the same match so it’s safe to say it sucked. (Professional wrestling reviewing at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. Although to be fair this was before the days of Youtube where you could just look something up if you tape cut out.) The Japanese team shows up later in the night so I guess the ‘Birds jobbed here (yay!), which is good because I hate their guts. – My tape cuts back in just in time for the intros to… – Rick Rude & Steve Austin v. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes. This would be approaching the zenith of the Windham-Rhodes team. The Dangerous Alliance was in decline, as Rude spent all his time with Austin and Madusa instead of Paul E. Decent enough match, everyone was pretty much at the top of their game at this point. Rude even pulls off a top-rope dropkick! Interesting note: Rude is US champion and Austin is TV champion at this point. Rude lost his belt to Dustin Rhodes and Austin lost his to Barry Windham (albeit briefly and before this match). Life is funny sometimes, no? Long headlock sequence in the middle really kills this one. Hot tag to Dustin, who cleans house. Austin tries a piledriver on Windham, but Rhodes is the legal man and comes off the top with a clothesline for the pin on Austin. *** Lots of goofy graphical effects interject themselves for some reason. (I saw this one a few years ago on 24/7 or Vintage Collection or something, and it’s pretty badass, like ***1/2 – ***3/4) – Bischoff interviews the Van They Call Vader and Harley Race, in preparation for Sting. – Semifinal #1: Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat v. The Miracle Violence Connection. Williams & Gordy were in the midst of the monster push of a lifetime here, and had recently beaten the Steiners to win the WCW World tag titles. Bill Watts just LOVED these two. (Who didn’t really? You put Steve Williams and Terry Gordy together and get them to beat the piss out of people, what’s not to love?) Extended armbar here. The crowd dies here and never really gets back into it for the rest of the night. Mat wrestling exhibition. This is why WCW fired Jim Ross as a booker in the first place. (To be fair, I don’t think Ross ever had THAT much power, since Watts was really the main decision maker. JR certainly had his ear, though.) Really long and dull match. Blame WCW for the onset of 6 match PPVs, as this one goes about 20 minutes plus. Semi-hot ending has Steamboat going for the bodypress, but Gordy pushes him off, into the arms of Dr. Death, who Stampedes him for the academic pin. ** (Another one I saw later where I short-shrifted the original viewing. Outside of the dull middle portion, this was a hell of a tag match, again a ***1/2 affair.) – Semifinal #2: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Shinya Hashimoto & Hiroshi Hase. Man, this is a no-nonsense PPV. Just bang-bang-bang, one match after another. (Wrestling is SERIOUS. No fancy stuff!) The arena is so dark it looks like Hardcore Heaven. Dustin v. Shinya is the closest the world ever got to Dustin fighting his father. (I don’t know what Shinya Hashimoto did to piss me off.) Bad match which gets marginally better when Hase is in. Hot tag to Windham about 15 minutes in, who beats up Hase and then nails the lariat for the pin. *1/2 – Tony & Magnum interview Ron Simmons. – WCW World title match: Sting v. Big Van Vader. Vader still has that goofy helmet. Setup: Vader splashed and destroyed Sting in the Omni a few months ago. Big staredown to start. This is match #2 in a series of about 40,000, the last of which occurs at Fall Brawl 94 to quietly end one of the longest running feuds in wrestling. This is like the prologue in a long novel, as Sting has yet to really meet Vader in a meaningful match and doesn’t realize what he’s getting into. Sting starts out smart, sticking and moving fast, but gets dumb and never recovers. Vader crushes him. He even puts Sting in the Scorpion Deathlock at one point. Vader is mauling Sting like a grizzly, with stiff rights and clotheslines. Sting makes a comeback, but it takes as much out of him as it does Vader, and Sting isn’t in great shape here to begin with. Sting hits a fallaway slam, but it takes forever for him to execute and you can tell he’s out of gas and the end is near for him. German suplex (barely) for 2, Stinger splash, and again, but Vader drops down on the second one and Sting slams his head into the ringpost. He’s bleeding and is a walking dead man and everyone can just feel it. He takes a couple of big shots at Vader, but he just casually steps aside and Sting falls flat on his face and stays there. Vader picks him up and powerbombs him, but it’s just a formality because Sting wasn’t getting up to begin with. The three count is academic. Vader claims his first WCW World title, and the crowd is in SHOCK. ****1/4 This is one of the best fucking matches I’ve ever seen. Vader just absolutely dismantled Sting here, and Sting’s gotta be the biggest company man ever, because he did the mega-job, getting the crap kicked out of him for the cause of putting Vader over BIGTIME. This is the match that *made* Vader. (That’s how wrestling used to work, yes. A big star puts over a guy who they want to be a big star and makes him into a big star too, and then they fight again for EVEN BIGGER MONEY. Like Chael Sonnen v. Anderson Silva II. I think Aries-Roode should rip off the finish from the first Silva-Sonnen fight, with Aries beating the hell out of Roode for 15 minutes before getting trapped in a triangle choke.) – Bischoff interviews the new champ. – NWA World tag team title final: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v. Steve Williams & Terry Gordy. Ole Anderson is the referee here, proving if anything that there *is* a job he can do worse than booking. (High five! Anyone?) I always thought the NWA tag titles looked better than the WCW ones. The Steiners come down to ringside, but get chased off by WCW security. I can appreciate the attempts from Ross & Watts to push mat wrestling, but it’s sooooo boring to sit through it. Crowd is dead silent throughout after that last match basically ripped out their heart. Eyebrow-raising moment: Mongo’s name gets dropped in reference to Steve Williams’ football career. This is a slow, deliberate match which is 99.99% controlled by the MVC. Headlock, armbar, submission moves…just about as basic as you get. Dustin makes a hot tag to Windham, who immediately gets caught in a headlock and becomes the Face in Peril in Rhodes’ place. Hot tag #2 to Rhodes, who becomes Face In Peril in Windham’s place. God forbid the crowd should be excited about anything here. Windham never gets hot tag #3, as Williams goes for the Oklahoma Stampede, but Windham comes in and dropkicks Rhodes on top. (If I were booking it, that’d be the ending right there…underdog win and poetic justice in one.) Williams easily kicks out, however, ruining the fans’ night by ripping Rhodes’ head off with a clothesline and pinning him to become the first and last NWA World tag team champions, unifying them with the WCW version right out of the gate. *1/2 The Bottom Line: Aside from Vader-Sting, this was an utterly pointless waste of time. The MVC were already WCW World champions at this point, there was no need to put the NWA World titles on them as well! Let a babyface team take them, like the Steiners, and then build to a big unification match. (I was just going to say that! Thanks, 1998 Scott.) Instead, we get boring MVC win after win, as they take out everyone and capture all the gold in one night and send the fans home bored and unhappy. Wrestling is not a sport to watch the better team win with superior athleticism. In the real world, Williams & Gordy were the best team in the field and would have won with solid mat wrestling, true. In the wrestling world, however, the better team rarely wins, and even more rarely with mat wrestling. The Steiners should have won this tournament to set up the big blowoff between them and the MVC that Ross was pushing all night. It never happened. Wrestling is not the real world, and when it tries to be the results are a dull show like Bash 92. For Bill Watts/Jim Ross wrestling “purists” however, I’m sure this show is exactly what anti-screwjob factions are screaming for. If nothing else, I’d like to warn y’all that clean, basic mat wrestling is generally boring as hell. As an interesting note, Williams & Gordy went on to lose the “Unfied” titles to Windham and Rhodes, the very team they beat to unify it. (The cat burglar has been caught by the very person who was trying to catch him!) Recommended for Sting-Vader, but not really much else unless you’re a big MVC fan. (Don’t be a hater, 1998 Scott. There was some SWANK tag team wrestling on this show and I’ll take a three-hour PPV of clean finishes and basic wrestling these days seven days a week and twice on Sunday. This is another one I wanna YouTu…er, I mean, watch when a legal WWE authorized DVD copy comes out…and see if it the show looks any different to me now.)