Thursday, July 2, 2015

WCW Power Hour: January 16, 1993

Going Anon: You failed to note the very loud "Erik Watts sucks" chant while he's being interviewed in the back.

I have failed each and every one of you. I vow to work harder at bringing up any and all of Erik Watts’ lowest moments.

LIVE from a taped studio, TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are running on Cactus Jack-mania. Of course, they immediately divert my attention by casually dropping in that The Barbarian is facing 2 Cold Scorpio in the main event. Oh, hell, yes. Scorpio, I dare you to step. This could be glorious.

I opt to skip through the replaying of the US title tournament semi-final matches, or Jim Ross in the Superbrawl Master Control Studio. I am completely taken by the Super Mario Kart commercial however. That game was the boss. I used to haul my Super Nintendo to a friend’s house who also had a system, and a group of us would two barrel a pair of TVs all night, running tournament after tournament. My wife and I played it roughly a month ago, but she hated it. I have since considered filing for divorce.

TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. TOMMY ANGEL and THE ITALIAN STALLION

I love that WCW never stopped recycling their awful, awful music, even with the added pressure from the WWF’s in-house work in the late 90’s. Tex and Shanghai are using “Generic Cowboy” which would later be given to Bobby Duncum Jr. Chris Benoit used that silly clapping theme at the Clash of Champions. Austin’s would be recycled a half dozen times. And Ron Studd would murder Fit Finlay in an unsolved European case before robbing him of his music. My sound completely gives out after the entrances, so I’m left to speculate what’s in the paper grocery bag Tex brought to the ring. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I’ve opted to rule out his lunch, an International Object, and Damian, leaving me with the obvious answer. It’s rolled tightly, and doesn’t appear to be very heavy … so I figure it’s whatever’s left of Erik Watts’ dignity. Angel hits a fantastic German suplex on Tex, which is pretty much our lone highlight. The Italian Stallion, meanwhile, can go to hell for ripping that name off, and I’m hoping he draws the ire of a drunken Paulie and gets stabbed in the beans with a broken beer bottle. Pierce pins Angel with a combined DDT at 3:29. *

Elsewhere, MISSY HYATT hosts Missy Does the Mail. On the topic of Cactus Jack’s actions from this week, she says it sums up her longstanding believe that you can’t trust a man who wears his teeth as an earring. However, Harley Race was wearing some fairly atrocious polyester, so Jack can’t be blamed for his actions. Also, the letter writer offers her some bareback riding lessons, and Missy says “I can’t wait!” Isn’t this a kid friendly show? I’m fairly sure an open proposal to contract Missy’s wide array of STD’s by plugging her without the shrink wrap doesn’t belong on Saturday morning programming.

The volume completely cuts out now, which is great, because I don’t have to listen to BILL APTER suck the kneecaps of ERIK WATTS … which might be the most play he’s ever going to get.

THE BARBARIAN (with Cactus Jack) vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO

I’m still without sound, but Tony’s kinda useless anyway so I’ll get by. Barbarian powers Scorpio back to the corner and barks in his face repeatedly, like the Alpha dog asserting his dominance in the pound. A series of headbutts take Scorpio to the mat, and probably to another planet. The fool tries a sunset flip, but Barbarian’s like “bitch, really?” and doesn’t even flinch. Scorpio runs away from the attack, but then leaps on his head and hits a victory roll for 2. A dropkick has the Barbarian in a white hot rage, but he rolls outside to confer with his good friend, Cactus Jack. Scorpio threatens to fly, and winds up kicking Barbarian all the way to the guardrail. He shakes it off and gets back in. Scorpio’s waiting with a kick to the face, but Barbarian just roars in his face and murders him with a clothesline. Barbarian threatens a powerbomb, but stops mid-way and hangs Scorpio over the ropes in the corner instead. A single uppercut causes him to fall off the buckle and on to the apron, so Barbarian pulls him back in and goes for a backbreaker. Scorpio slips off the back, and pays dearly for that stunt with a clothesline that would have chopped down a giant redwood. Barbarian goes easy, working a headlock, which Scorpio stupidly tries to fight off. Barbarian just throws him through the middle ropes like garbage – which might be a rare mistake from the promotion’s top guy, because 2 Cold re-enters with a sunset flip for 2. You can about see the steam come out his ears when Barbarian pops up, and Scorpio takes the kind of pounding you’d usually reserve for tenderizing a whole cow. Barbarian drops a couple of elbows across Scorpio’s throat, and attempts to put him to sleep. Scorpio manages to escape and hits a pair of dropkicks, followed by a big splash for 2. Barbarian sits up like the Undertaker on speed, and delivers the Kick of Fear with enough force to make a soccer ball explode. Scorpio tumbles to the outside of the ring where he lays for awhile, but he manages to beat the count. He quickly hits the Pele kick, and does a 180 legdrop for 2. A superkick sends Barbarian to the floor, and Jack reminds him, “hey, you’re the Barbarian, you’ve cannibalized bigger guys than this in one sitting!” Barbarian nods and gets back in, but Scorpio catches him with a surprise suplex and hits a slingshot somersault legdrop for 2. A superkick rocks the big man again and time runs out at 10:00. Saved by the bell, 2 Cold. It’s probably for the best, this was undoubtedly ending with Scorpio’s head being ripped off like a chicken, and that just gets messy. **


That’s it for now. Saturday night has a rock-star lineup tonight, and although the show may not feature Barbarian, it’s likely to be a good one. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WCW Clash of the Champions 22: January 13, 1993

On Sunday Night, Cactus Jack left about 800 wrestlers for dead. Everyone, from jobbers all the way up to the World Champion were no match for Jack and his shovel. Are there going to be repercussions for the madman from New Mexico? Will Dustin Rhodes win the big one? Just what DID Erik Watts do to get arrested? And what the hell is a Thunder Cage? We hope to address this tonight, but being WCW, I’ll be happy if just one of these points is touched on.

Since this is 1993, Vader’s team is dubbed “THE EVIL TEAM” by the Unknown Voice Over. Shades of grey weren’t wrestling’s strongest suit in those days.

LIVE from Milwaukee, WI, TONY SCHIAVONE is joined by … BILL WATTS? This can’t possibly be our announce team. Watts gloats about teaming with The Crusher against Larry Hennig and Larry Zbyszko in Milwaukee shortly after founding father Soloman Juneau settled in the region in the early parts of the 19th century. Watts takes us through the state of the union; Van Hammer tore a guitar string and won’t be able to arm wrestle tonight. He’s being replaced by Vinnie Vegas for reasons. Meanwhile, his son Erik, who he says is “like a son” to him, told him he was arrested for no good reason at all. And because of this relationship, Bill believes him; but it needs to be investigated. As a result, he won’t be wrestling Cactus Jack. Wouldn’t an appropriate punishment be to have him wrestle Cactus Jack?

In the back, LARRY ZBYSZKO is with the aforementioned ERIK WATTS, and it becomes increasingly obvious that he’s been charged with stealing the wardrobe from the host of Nick Arcade.

 

Bill Watts is frustrated that his son can’t compete, but has a fair replacement: Johnny B Badd. Man, that’s a shockingly low opinion he has of the man who’s “like a son” to him.

JIM ROSS and JESSE VENTURA are the real announcers, though I don’t know if this is an improvement.

CACTUS JACK vs. JOHNNY B BADD

These guys actually have a little history, partnering together in the Lethal Lottery at Starrcade – but like all other Cactus Jack partners, Badd ate it like a champ. Ventura correctly points out that the audience has a shocking number of Cactus Jack signs, fallout from Sunday’s anti-hero face turn. Cactus misses an avalanche, and gets rolled up for 2. Badd works an armbar, but that doesn’t go very far, and Johnny gets punched in the head. Badd slams Jack’s face into the buckle, and cradles Cactus for 2. Up top, Badd misses a sunset flip, and Jack drops an elbow for the quick pin at 2:53. This should have been a completely one-sided squash; that was WAYYYYY too much offense for (at this point) useless Johnny. 1/2*

During the break, the greatest music video in the history of wrestling debuts. I’ve posted it before; but let’s go through it one more time. A group of naughty (black) kids refuse to go to school, despite the pleas of the (good) white kid, because they just want to play basketball. They continue to play, when a limo pulls up, and a large woman begin shrieking “EVERYBODY HERE COMES TOO COLD SCORPIO!” The basketball is whiffed with one of the worst looking air-balls I’ve ever seen, which is both necessary to take us to the next part of the video – but also subliminally highlight that these kids should probably focus on their studies since an NBA career is not in the cards. The ball takes a perfect bounce into the limo, and Scorpio bursts through the doors bouncing the ball – basically playing the Wesley Snipes version of the Kool Aid Man. He dunks, drawing high praise from the drop-outs. Scorpio asks why they’re not in school, and one of the delinquents tells him they’re off to the Arcade. Scorpio tells them Mortal Kombat is going to have to wait, they need an education, and he’s going to take them there. The kids perk up, thinking they’re about to hop in the limo, bathe in Dom, and toss around Benjamin’s like Floyd Mayweather. However, Scorpio immediately blue balls them and informs the group “we gonna step”. Then he dances with a bunch of sluts for some reason. This entire segment is Faces of Fear levels of amazing, and completely defines a generation. What that is, is really hard to say – but we’re going to assume it involves stepping.

2 COLD SCORPIO vs. SCOTTY FLAMINGO

It breaks my heart in knowing Flamingo has no shot in hell following that video, because any man willing to strap on those tiny pink bicycle shorts and thrust violently at whatever’s he hallucinating about deserves a rocket strapped to his back. Flamingo actually has the crowd support which pleases me greatly. Scorpio hits Flamingo with a springboard back elbow before whiffing on a kick that Flamingo sells by literally jumping backwards and out of the ring. Champ. Scorpio decks him with a big right hand off the apron, but Flamingo’s back in first and hits a dropkick to send Scorpio back to the outside. A plancha (!) connects, and Flamingo throws Scorpio back in for 1. Scorpio sneaks in a small package for 2, and that enrages Flamingo and his protruding penis. Scorpio keeps on, hitting a pair of dropkicks and Flamingo begs for a time out. Instead, he’s given a rotating splash off the top, but Flamingo kicks out at 2. A Stinger splash misses, and Scorpio eats buckle, allowing Flamingo to roll him up for 2. A dropkick from Scorpio sets up a legdrop, and the Diss That Don’t Miss finishes us off at 4:12. **

CHRIS BENOIT vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG

This is Benoit’s WCW debut, and he’s introduced as a 7-year veteran by Ross to give him some credibility. Man did he age fast, he looks like a kid here, even though he’s in his mid 20’s. Benoit goes for an early powerbomb, but Armstrong rolls off the back and hiptossees Chris. A dropkick leads to an armbar to slow Benoit, who is an absolute ball of energy here. Benoit bridges loose and takes Armstrong down, winning a test of strength. Armstrong backdrops out, and goes back to the armbar. Chris finally has enough and counters into a hammerlock, but Armstrong dumps him through the middle rope, leading to another debut … the feathered mullet.


Back in, Armstrong plants Chris with a dropkick, and goes back to the armbar. I’m not sure keeping Benoit moving at a snail’s pace is the best way to show him off. Benoit shakes loose and goes for a Liontamer, but Armstrong won’t turn, so Benoit gives him a hot shot instead. Armstrong staggers on the apron, so Chris gives him a violent headbutt, and then nails him with a double jump clothesline drawing a massive pop! Armstrong crawls back in, and takes a clothesline so hard I’m surprised his head’s still attached. A backbreaker is followed with a scoop slam so hard that Armstrong bounces off the canvas like a basketball. Chris heads up, but Armstrong goes to cut him off. Benoit ain’t having that, headbutting Armstrong like a boss, and as soon as Brad falls, Benoit’s right behind him with the swandive. Still, Armstrong rolls away, and Brad hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Benoit immediately stands up and hits the Dragon Suplex for the win at 9:15! This was the tale of two matches, but as soon as Benoit got going, this was outstanding. It’s incredible they didn’t offer this guy a huge contract and immediately insert him into the US title picture, because he was ready, even at this point. ***

Meanwhile, TONY SCHIAVONE introduces a video package to highlight the reunion of the Rock n Roll Express. They’ve been tearing up Smokey Mountain Wrestling, but WCW’s arranged a one-time appearance for the new SMW tag-team champions to appear at Superbrawl. That’s a fantastic working partnership. I actually have the bulk of the SMW library on one of my hard drives … do I dare extend myself even thinner?

JESSE VENTURA excitedly hosts the latest in the Strongest Arm competition. The reigning champion is hurt, and the runner up, Ron Simmons, is in the main event – but we’re given Tony Atlas challenging … Vinnie Vegas. Apparently Vegas is being given this opportunity because he was eliminated unfairly from the tournament, since he is left handed. This is actually happening, isn’t it? Vegas, for the record, is sporting an incredible pair of pink hospital scrubs tonight. Jesse provides some scintillating play-by-play that I could not possibly top (“HERE COMES VINNIE VEGAS BACK! HE’S ROLLING THE DICE!”), and after roughly two and a half decades, Vegas wins. You know, even with the hindsight that Over the Top drew absolutely no money, WCW continues to run with this. Though, really, I’m secretly ok with that.

And speaking of things I’m totally ok with, VADER is screaming about Sting from inside a blizzard. He has a special challenge to present him with, but he wants to do it from inside his White Castle of Fear! Sting is promised a good time if he’s willing to live on the edge. I think this was Chapter 14 in 50 Shades of Vader.

LARRY ZBYSZKO covers the #1 contender tournament for the US title that’s been going on. Rhodes and Steamboat face off on Saturday Night, and will face Rick Rude on the 23rd … unless he’s too hurt to fight. If that’s the case, this weekend’s bout is for the strap. Fun!

THE WRECKING CREW vs. THE Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN

Rage and Fury make up the Wrecking Crew, but while Fury is probably not known to you, he has a couple of very famous brothers in Animal, and John Laurenitis. Rage is just the latest incarnation of The Reverend Al Green, who has not begun his beastial transition from 70’s Soul Singer to Dog. Ventura sums up his predictions: “I’ll take the two ugly guys!” That’s not very kind to Tom Zenk. Rage tries a press slam, but Zenk escapes and hits a cross body for 2. Team Powder Blue clear the ring, and while the Crew reground, Z-Man hits a tope on both! Gunn comes in and is held hostage by Rage, but he sidesteps the attack and Fury nails his own partner. Fury regroups and blasts Gunn with a forearm, but Gunn hits a quick faceplant and tags out. Zenk takes a gutwrench powerbomb to set up a spinning sidewalk slam, and Z-Man is reeling. Rage comes in and ties up a bit with the referee giving Z-Man a chance to hit a crossbody, but Rage hangs on and just drops him down into a slam. A second rope axehandle is blocked with the superkick, and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn cleans house, but Rage hits a cheap shot to set up the Wrecking Ball and the pin at 6:08. I always like a couple of lumbering, clumsy heels, and these guys will be exactly what the doctor ordered on the J-shows. *

LARRY ZBYSZKO has tracked down BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN. Pillman promises that the champs are about to pay a hefty fine for carrying the gold, and guarantees a dynasty is about to kick off. I’m all in on the Hollywood Blondes era.

STING is welcomed to the arena by TONY SCHIAVONE to respond to Vader. He’s never walked away from an invitation in his life, and he certainly won’t walk away from the White Castle of Fear. DUSTIN RHODES and RON SIMMONS join Sting, and even though Van Hammer is too useless injured to join them tonight, they don’t feel any more short-handed than they did before he was hurt. Only Van Hammer could be double booked and STILL not let anyone down when he fails to appear.

Back in the locker room, LARRY ZBYSZKO is joined by VADER, PAUL ORNDORFF, BARRY WINDHAM, HARLEY RACE, and the man who doesn’t need any partners to single-handedly win this match, THE BARBARIAN. Race doesn’t want to talk about the Thunder Cage because he’s so angry at Cactus Jack. Someday, he’s going to pay for “coming at me with a SCOOP … SHOVEL!” In fact, he doesn’t like anyone associated with Cactus Jack, and fires the Barbarian. The Barbarian lifts Race in a double armed chokehold because he’s the coolest man on the planet, but Vader cheap shots him from behind and Orndorff piledrives him. Race: “ONE MORE TIME!!!!” No one dares do it one more time, because there’s no reason to make the Barbarian any angrier than they already have. Just this stunt is going to cost everyone living in a small village their lives.

WCW airs a package on the history of Superbrawl because whatever The Barbarian is doing is definitely too graphic for your average viewer, and once they’ve managed to clean up the locker room, Larry’s retaken his post with RICKY STEAMBOAT and SHANE DOUGLAS. Steamboat promises that the dynasty is going to end before it begins. Douglas just wants to get to the ring and get it on. So does Chyna, quite frankly.

SHANE DOUGLAS and RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN (for the WCW world tag-team titles)

We’re on a 30-minute time limit given the TV limitations, but that seems asinine since there’s like 30 minutes left in the show and we have a Thunder Cage to see, assuming anyone survived the wrath of The Barbarian. I’m kinda amped to see this incredible collection of talent, and Shane Douglas, in one ring at the same time. Steamboat tries to end things early with a crossbody, but that just draws everyone in for a massive brawl. The faces clear the ring, and Austin’s not impressed at all. Back in, Steve offers the hand of friendship, but Steamboat slaps it away. Disrespect Austin and pay, and he beats the shit out of Steamboat. Pillman comes in, but Steamboat has his way with him, hiptossing and dropkicking him at will. Douglas and Steamboat tag in and out quickly, hitting one move at a time to Pillman’s arm, wearing him down. Pillman twists his knee and it looks like we may be throwing in the towel on this one early. Douglas cautiously checks it out … and takes a headbutt to the gut while Pillman laughs like a hyena. Pillman goes for a rana, but Douglas turns it into a slam for 2. Austin comes in but Douglas wrestles him right down to the mat. Steamboat helps keep Austin in the corner with a hammerlock slam, and a sunset flip from Douglas gets 2. Austin comes back with a handful of tights for 2, and gets into a test of strength. Neither wins, but Douglas rushes to the corner and bounces back with a second rope rear elbow for 2. Steamboat slams Douglas on Austin for 2, and when Pillman rushes to save his buddy, Steamboat slams Brian on Austin as well! Things calm down a little, and Austin inches his way back to his corner. Pillman decks Steamboat allowing Austin to hit a backdrop suplex, and Pillman tags himself in. A cheap shot draws in Douglas, and while the referee restrains him, Steamboat is thrown over the top rope where Austin happily slams him on the concrete floor! Dirty and delicious. Steamboat fights his way back to the apron and nearly suplexes Pillman to the floor, but Austin kicks Steamboat in the small of the back, and Pillman reverses to bring Steamboat back in for 2. The boys beat Steamboat like a pinada, and the longer he takes to spew forth candy, the harder they hit. A faceplant from Pillman is held on, and Steamer’s face is ground into the mat. Steamboat gets a surprise sunset flip, but Austin was busy chatting to the referee to get a count. Austin tags in as Steamboat desperately tries to karate chop his way loose, and JUST as it looks like he’s going to get out, Austin hits the backdrop suplex for 2! The crowd collectively gasped when Ricky was denied the tag, great spot. Austin works a reverse backbreaker, and Pillman makes the blind tag to attack … but Steamboat ducks and Pillman nails Austin! A springboard double karate chop knocks down both challengers, and Steamboat makes it oh so close before Pillman stops him. Steamboat hits him with a spinning suplex, and both guys are down. Pillman desperately tries to stop the tag, but Ricky makes it this time as the arena explodes, and Douglas destroys both guys. Pillman takes a belly to belly, but the referee is trying to keep the desperate Steamboat in his corner … and Austin drops a knee off the top rope! Pillman is rolled on top, but Douglas kicks out and the place is rocking now! Austin and Steamboat trade punches on the outside while the referee desperately tries to maintain order, but JUST as the referee starts dragging Steamboat back to his corner, Austin grabs a belt and sneaks in to blast Douglas upside the head with the sharp side of the gold! The referee was still paying attention though, and immediately disqualifies both guys at 13:43! The fans are positively rabid now, THRILLED the miserable bastards got caught. They don’t care though, as Pillman hits a DDT on Steamboat, while Douglas spurts blood from his forehead. Next, the belts are used to whip Steamboat, but BRAD ARMSTRONG leads a BRIGADE OF LOSERS to the ring to save the day. Austin and Pillman take the gold and parade around the ring, holding the belts as high in the air as they can. This is everything I could ever hope for from my favorite scumbags. ****

VADER and HARLEY RACE head to the ring to talk with JESSE VENTURA. Race gloats that Vader’s the greatest champion in history, but that draws out an irate RON SIMMONS. Simmons says the first time Vader lets his guard down, he’ll put him on his back. Race tries a sucker punch, so Simmons kicks his ass and then goes for Vader. A spinebuster takes out the champion, and Simmons turns back to the ramp to slaughter Race. Vader rushes in to save his manager, and jumps on the back of Simmons which HAS to smart! He splashes Simmons on the concrete, and attacks the injured shoulder with a pair of shoulderbreakers. STING and DUSTIN RHODES rush in to save their friend, but they’re way late. Simmons is out of the main event.

BARRY WINDHAM, PAUL ORNDORFF, and VADER (with Harley Race) vs. STING and DUSTIN RHODES (in a Come Dressed as You Are, handicap Thunder Cage match)

As it turns out, street clothes for Vader are exactly the same thing he wears all the time. I admire his dedication to the look. So, to answer what exactly a Thunder Cage is, it’s essentially a Hell in a Cell, but constructed like an upside-down deep fryer basket. Rhodes goes after Windham as you’d expect, but a blind tag surprises Windham, and he eats a face plant from Sting. Vader wants a piece of Sting, and tags in to go right after him. Sting is immediately overpowered, and Vader flexes to remind him he’s the man. Sting throws some desperate punches, but Vader starts throwing his giant clubs. Sting battles back and Vader starts rocking, so he quickly hits an atomic drop, followed by a DDT. The Stinger Splash has Vader wobbly, and Sting doesn’t relent, hammering with everything he’s got! The fans are loving Sting’s fight, but you know it this isn’t it, because here comes the heels. Sting fights them off, but Vader is able to recover and he hits the bear clap. Off the top, a clothesline drops Sting. Ross: “That defies logic! A 400 pound man should not be able to come off the top rope like that!” So, he opts to defy logic again, but his splash misses and Sting clotheslines him to the floor! The fans are rockin’, and Sting howls to them … completely missing that Orndorff has rushes him from behind, and Sting’s dropped with a German suplex! Vader officially tags Orndorff in, and he stomps Sting into a puddle. An elbow to the little Stinger (which Jesse reminds us is a legal blow in this match) brings in Windham, and he’s ready to dish a little violence. A vertical suplex is followed by a cheap shot to Rhodes. Dustin rushes in, and gets avalanched by Vader in the corner. Good job Dustin! Vader tags in, and crushes Sting with the avalanche as well before hocking a loogie at Rhodes. My man! A press slam, complete with Vader tossing Sting in the air as he benches him, keeps Sting down, and Windham comes in to hit his Superplex. Sting fights off the Superplex, which would have undoubtedly ended this, and gets the hot tag to Rhodes. Dustin fights with all 3 guys who have come into the ring now, and manages to beat them down briefly. Windham eats a corner clothesline, as CACTUS JACK rushes in with a pair of bolt cutters! He hacks his way through the lock, and welcomes himself to the fray – officially declaring himself on the side of the faces! Windham tries to stop him as Orndorff works over Rhodes, but he rips off his boot and starts clobbering all 3 guys! Vader avalanches Rhodes again, while Orndorff tosses Jack through the ropes, where he flies into the side of the cage and splats on the floor full force, as always. Sting is dumped, leaving Rhodes one on one with Orndorff. However, Cactus wills himself back in, and he comes off the top with the boot to the back of Orndorff’s head and scores the pin at 11:25! Sadly, this was rushed because TV time was at a premium and WCW didn’t think to cut out some of the unnecessary fat. **1/2

JIM ROSS wants a word with Jack, and the audience is fully behind this. Jack says for the last 9 years he’s been called a psycho, and a warped loser. He’s got a neck that hurts him every morning when he wakes up thanks to Orndorff, and he’s probably in over his head. His ribs hurt because Vader splashed him, and he knows he’s in over his head. However … you can beat him, you can hurt him, but you can’t stop him. “SO PAUL ORNDORFF, BRING IT ON! BRING EVERY OUNCE OF ENERGY CUZ YOU’RE GONNA NEED IT!” The face turn is complete, and it looks like we have the first break-out main eventer of 1993.


I wasn’t expecting a ton out of this show given the clog of names like Van Hammer and Erik Watts being heavily advertised – but not only was the dead weight shoved aside for the most part, all of the young guys were given plenty of opportunity to shine, and shine they did. Austin is looking like a polished vet, Chris Benoit is a phenomenal new intense entry to the federation, and Mick Foley’s the second hottest commodity they’re riding (behind Sting). We’re off to an incredibly promising start to 1993, and it’s all up to WCW to take advantage.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

WCW Main Event: January 10, 1993

The Clash of Champions is coming up Wednesday, but not before a major edition of The Main Event takes us home. And as you’ll find out, for roughly the first time ever, I’m actually not kidding. JIM ROSS and MICHAEL P.S. HAYES are LIVE (taped) in front of a green screen featuring a slow moving blurry audience that appears to be cheering and booing at random intervals at … Gary Michael Capetta?

BARRY WINDHAM vs. DUSTIN RHODES

This is actually a ridiculously big match for the Main Event – good on you WCW for paying attention to your H-shows. Windham thinks it’s amazing that Rhodes has even displayed the guts to show up tonight given his broken wrist. Rhodes charges the ring, and fists start flying like electronics on Black Friday. Rhodes throws his best clotheslines with his good arm, including one that sends Windham over the top rope. Hayes correctly points out that’s a DQ, but Ross defends it as … it’s the referee’s discretion? What the hell is that nonsense? Pee Wee Anderson should have been fired years before his public humiliation in 1997, he’s making awful judgment calls. Back in, Rhodes hits another clothesline, but Barry immediately plants him with a jumping DDT. With momentum now in his corner, Windham starts attacking the raw wrist of Rhodes. DOUG DILLENGER stalks around the ringside area in a 3 piece suit for god knows what reason, while Windham delivers a half nelson slam on the wrist. A second jumping DDT is blocked with a backdrop, but before Rhodes can do anything, Windham claws at the eyes. Rhodes fires back, and both guys start getting ridiculously violent. The referee tries to break it up to have a clean fight, but they both shove him aside and it’s a double DQ at 4:27. Barry kills Rhodes with a jumping DDT after the bell, and informs Anderson he doesn’t really care that it’s “over”. As a result, the entire brigade of striped shirts is forced to intervene on Dustin’s behalf and save the day. **

MICHAEL HAYES hits the ring to chat with HARLEY RACE. Hayes talks up the Thundercage as the most dangerous structure ever constructed, and asks Race who the heck is going to replace Rude? Race says he’s scoured the earth for the nastiest people on the planet, and he’s decided that … Cactus Jack and Paul Orndorff are going to wrestle to determine the vacancy. I mean, I can’t hate the Jack involvement, but Race really had to scour the earth for that? He didn’t come up with anyone better while he was going the streets of Djibouti? There was nobody meaner in Qatar? I’m thinking Race didn’t put a lot of effort into his world travels.

BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN vs. LARRY SANTO and T.C. CARTER

T.C. Carter is a long time WCW jobber – which is unfortunate since he’s just defined half of the entire WWF Attitude Era. On one side, we have Steve Austin, and on the other, an 80’s pimp. He looks a little meaner than the Godfather, so I’m thinking you probably don’t want to get caught up in an argument with one of his ladies over whether or not she didn’t state up front that fetish of yours comes at an extra cost. Carter beats down Austin, so he backs up to the corner, and as soon as he does, Austin comes out with some killer intensity, just pounding the ever loving shit out of Carter. Now THAT was the rattlesnake in Steve all the way, turn your head for a second, and he’s gonna get you. Carter gets picked up for the Stun Gun, and just for kicks, Pillman dropkicks him into the move to accentuate the punch, and picks up the easy win at 2:49. Even in a squash, Austin’s scary good at this point, and I’d dare say potentially even more polished as a ring performer than he’d be by the time he got around to the main events. *

MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. Memphis Heat asks: Does that mean she had done everyone in the locker room already and the mail was the only left she could do?

Memphis, that’s silly. The sheer notion that Erik Watts has been inside a woman since his mother was carrying him is absurd. Anyway, in this segment, Missy plugs the Hotline by promising to tell us the REAL reason Ron Simmons lost the World Title to Vader. Given how uncomfortable he looked, I’m going to say a bad case of hemorrhoids had flared up – and the sheer distraction of a throbbing sphincter was simply too much to handle against a quality opponent like Vader. Now, given that Missy fails to actually answer any mail, let’s turn things over to Devin Harris, who has a quality suggestion regarding Ron Simmons moving forward. Why didn't they just have Ron Simmons die in a car wreck? That would have been the perfect ending to completely killing off his character.

Oh, we’ve still got a long way to go before we reach that point. An entirely different company hasn’t had the chance to put him in a blue gladiator helmet while having him play an angry Black Panther. Or, live out his days as a walking caricature, known to anyone born after 1990 as “the guy who says Damn”. His assassination is FAR from over.

CACTUS JACK vs. PAUL ORNDORFF (in an Anything Goes Street Fight)

HARLEY RACE hangs around ringside for what is a shockingly stacked show. Orndorff attacks ringside, slamming Cactus’ head into the guard rail, hard enough to get a loud uncomfortable clang from the impact. Wonderful pulls Cactus’ flannel around his neck to choke him out, before throwing some punches the hard way right to the eye. Jeeeeeez! Next up in the car crash, Foley gets thrown into the ringsteps, which he hits full tilt with his hip before careening over, and then Orndorff slams him face first into the steps … which of course Cactus takes as hard as possible. Into the ring, Orndorff stands on Jack’s throat with his workman’s boot, but it does little to keep the wild man down, because he’s back up and pissed off. Orndorff’s shirt is ripped right down the back, and Jack starts clawing and scratching at the bare skin. The shirt is then used as a noose, and while Orndorff lies neck first across the second rope, Mick rushes with a hard knee to the back. Since there’s no DQs, Paul is tossed over the top rope where he falls skin first on the concrete. He gets back to his feet and tries to pull Jack to the floor, but Cactus kicks him in the face and slams Orndorff in the stairs. A running elbow onto the floor MISSES, and Jack is forced to absorb that. Orndorff steals a can of beer from someone in the front row and slams Jack in the face with it. As he staggers around, Orndorff uses a running elbow that sends Jack head first into the ring post, which is again taken hard and without protection. Cactus is feeling no pain though, and he throws Orndorff into the steps, and calls for the finish. The Cactus Clothesline is set up … but Orndorff ducks, and Foley flies ridiculously fast over the top and to the floor. He crawls back to the apron, but Orndorff kicks him in the kidney until he belly flops back to the floor. So much of this is completely unnecessary, but that’s a young Mick Foley in a nutshell – both why I love him, and am sometimes uncomfortable watching him. Orndorff removes his belt for a whoppin’ as Race rolls Cactus back towards the ring, but Jack rakes Paul’s eyes … then dives off the apron delivering a clothesline to Race for being an interfering prick! The fans eat that up, but that was a bad idea, because VADER won’t take that lightly. He comes in, and starts delivering some meaty hooks to Jack’s face, and that’s enough to let Orndorff follow with the spike piledriver. You can scrape him off the mat, he’s dead, but they’re not done. Race drops a knee across Cactus’ face, and because he’s sprawled out on his back, Orndorff uses that as an invitation to choke the life out of him with his belt. Vader, even more happily, delivers the big splash to his prone enemy, and then for fun he does it again from the second rope. Orndorff is declared the winner by Race at 9:16, and despite the lack of finish, this was an excellent old school hardcore brawl. Even better, it sets the stage for Cactus to be an early challenger to Vader’s belt – and you KNOW those guys are gonna deliver some ridiculously hard-hitting stuff. ***

MICHAEL HAYES heads down to the ring to talk to the trio of heels. Harley’s thrilled that Orndorff’s included in the Thundercage, and begs Sting’s team just to show up. Lost in all this, CACTUS JACK has returned with a shovel in hand, and he attacks Vader from behind while Orndorff’s giving himself a pep talk for Wednesday. Race takes a shot between the eyes, and Wonderful is clocked in the head. Jack completely clears the ring to a massive pop, and the rest of the heels on site rush in. VINNIE VEGAS is smashed in the face! TEX SLAZINGER eats a beating! SHANGHAI PIERCE takes a mouthful of shovel! Even a crew of jobbers try their hand, and are completely decimated! It looks like a warzone, with bodies strewn all around the ringside area, and Jack standing tall. Great segment.

After a break, Hayes, who managed to go without getting clocked, wants a word with the wild man. Foley’s face has had time to swell up from the street fight, and his eyes are purpled and swollen. He says that Vader and Race made a big mistake … they let him live. For all the World Title and knowledge Race has got, he’s missing one thing … eyes in the back of his head. He reminds them that while the Thundercage was created to keep men from getting out, it was never created to keep Cactus Jack from getting in. BANG BANG!

Jim Ross sums up the lunacy brilliantly:



After composing himself, Ross remembers that he needs to tell us that Erik Watts was arrested in Charlotte for some reason. Wait, what?!? We’re just hearing about this now? How the hell can that be? We’re like 8 seconds from going off the air and we’re just throwing that out there? I’m not okay with this. What did he do? Solicitation? Narcotics? J-Walking? Disturbing the Peace? Public Intoxication? Stalking? Double Homicide? This is some seriously shoddy reporting on the part of WCW, and it might be the worst cliff hanger in TV history.


Who am I kidding, they got me, hook line and sinker. AWESOME edition of Main Event this week, a billion thumbs up.

Friday, June 26, 2015

WCW Saturday Night: January 9, 1993

I wasn’t the only person completely baffled about a 6-man tag-team match being included on WCW’s VHS release where nobody seemed to know the wrestlers. In fact, WCW themselves never expected it. HOWwrestling: The truth behind that six-man - It was supposed to be the Steiners vs. the Hellraisers (Hawk & Sasaki) but the WWF signed the Steiners and blocked WCW from showing it, even though WCW argued it was a New Japan show which they had rights to and the WWF didn't. Then the WWF also signed Jim Ross, who was subsequently no longer available to go back and dub commentary on the new match.

Great insight here, but I’m still not willing to accept that Schiavone and Ross DIDN’T go to a sushi bar together. You aren’t taking that away from me.

We’re gonna skip the Power Hour this week, because … well, virtually nothing of note took place. I did a recap that ate up just over 1 page of written word, and I’m not gonna bother with it. However, I’ll give you the highlights. 28 seconds was dedicated to Teddy Long taking us through Jim Ross’ second career as the host of the Atlanta Falcons pre-game show. And … well, this gem:

MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. The first question asks what the chances of Austin and Pillman taking the straps from Steamboat and Douglas. Hyatt looks at this mathematically. Steamboat loses 11 points for being married, and 7 more for having kids – since he won’t be able to train picking up after his brat while his wife is out shopping. Douglas gets 6 points for being single, but loses 10 for his god awful hair. The challengers are in far better shape, because Austin gets 3 points for those gorgeous blue eyes you could just drown in, 6 more for those round and well defined shoulders, 3 for the perfect pecks, and 10 for his hair. Given that his trademark became no hair at all – he should take a great deal of pride in knowing he was rockin’ it both ways. Pillman gets 8 points for his smile, 5 for his waist, and 11 points for not having an ounce of fat. “Brian Pillman can take MY belt anytime he wants to.” Missy’s whoring it up act is always fun. Missy actually whoring it up … not so much.

And with that, we’re off to the races.

JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to Center Stage, in Atlanta! Tonight is all about the build to the Clash of Champions coming up later this week. I’m down.

MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL vs. BOB COOK

Ross gives mad props to Bagwell for winning WCW Magazine Rookie of the Year. This would of course pale in contrast to his sweeping of the 2001 RSPW awards, which included Worst Wrestler, Worst Worker, Least Favorite Wrestler, and Worst Match. You’re probably not particular impressed; but you need to understand that he ended a decade long by Hulk Hogan in the majority of those categories, no small feat! The announcers fail to pay any attention to Bob Cook, which I consider a hate crime. Here we have short, portly man, who is not letting his lack of facial follicles stop him from attempting a sad little mustache, while rocking a mullet straight out of the trailer park – and while most people meeting his description are found sourcing scrap metal from whatever rolled into their backyard that morning, Bob has decided to make something of himself. He even shows a little savvy, dodging a dropkick and punching Bagwell in the face repeatedly with his giant hams. While working a chinlock, I note that poor Bob is going bald. This man has NOTHING – would YOU mess with him?!? Marcus Bagwell is not particularly charitable, and leaves Bob with none of his dignity when he uses a Perfectplex for the pin at 5:40. This hurts my heart. *

Ross and Zbyszko promise to show us the Vader / Simmons title change, and … well, I guess they didn’t lie. I thought we might get to see the whole match, but no, they show us the end of the match where the title changed. Spoiler: Vader wins.

VADER and HARLEY RACE are god knows where. Harley gloats about being at the top of the mountain; but they’re standing in front of a blue curtain, nowhere near the white castle. Vader adds: “I AM VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADER!” I imagine he is!

VAN HAMMER vs. RANDY SLEDGE

Randy Sledge! Where have you been all my life? So what he lacks in shape, he makes up for in hair. He’s managed to groom a perfect mushroom cut, and then, if he wasn’t already the hippest cat in the room, he added a rat tail! This looks to be some sort of metaphoric battle between good and evil, as Van Hammer’s styling a pair of shiny silver pants, lined with stars all over the place, Sledge is wearing the black singlet, with a star on his crotch, another on his ass, and two on each boot. And, as Hollywood is apt to script, the alleged good side triumphs with a slingshot suplex at 2:14. Why can’t the coyote win, just this once? DUD

TONY SCHIAVONE stops Hammer on his back to the shower. Tony’s hopped up on some sort of early 90’s energy drink, because there is nobody more excited to see Tony Atlas and Van Hammer settle the Strongest Arm competition once and for all. Van Hammer says he’s already climbed the mountain, but he’s bringing a lot of bass and treble to the fight. Oh.

Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN vs. MIKE THOR and CHICK DONOVAN

O…M…G. Chick Donovan? In 1993? This is the greatest gift in the history of amazing gifts. He’s the spitting image of Randy the Ram here, while tied up in a Chippendales vest and bowtie. I had no idea the old CWA mainstay was still working – but a quick Internet search tells me that not only was here working here, well into his 40’s, but he’s still working TODAY, well into his 60’s. That’s it, I’m moving to the South. One of you readers must have some sort of job offer that’s going to get me a work visa so I can live in your beautiful country and follow the exploits of Chick Donovan. Donovan actually beats Zenk in a test of strength, which is probably the most effective anti-depressant I’ve ever taken. I’m going to replace my Wellbutrin with Chick Donovan owning the Z-Man. A bearhug from Grandpa Love Machine has Zenk wailing, and Thor comes in to try and put this one away. Unfortunately, I know a weak link when I see one, and Thor gets kicked in the face and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn nails the flying jalapeno on Thor, Zenk hits a superkick, and Gunn finishes with a dick to the face at 6:50. **

TEDDY LONG and CACTUS JACK share a moment. Foley can’t wait until the Barbarian steps into the Thundercage at the Clash, because there’s going to be buckets of blood. I agree with EVERY word Cactus just said, but I think we’re imagining different things. He talks smack about ERIK WATTS, who immediately gets in Mick’s face. He throws Cactus through the prop lockers, and locks on the STF. None of this is going to help me sleep tonight.

2 COLD SCORPIO vs. MUSTAFA SAIED

We saw Saied last week, and much as I want to throw him a little support, I can’t. His hair is perfectly normal, and his tights look like fluorescent Granny Panties. You can’t unsee that. Scorpio hits a superkick, and sends Saied to the floor with a dropkick. Of course, high flying in 1993 means “jumping off the apron gently”, and Saied sells it like he’s been shot. Back in, the 450 finishes quickly at 2:27. JR’s imagination has been captured – but really, outside of the 450, he’s not really flashy and his good matches were few and far between. 1/2*

TONY SCHIAVONE, wearing a plaid shirt and a red tie, wants to talk about BARRY WINDHAM’s bad blood with Dustin Rhodes. Windham points out that Dustin’s interfered in several of his matches, while he’s never done that to Dustin. He goes back to a match on Worldwide last week, which is conspicuously missing from my library. I’ll have to open a ticket with CFB Network tech support. Windham took Shane Douglas to the floor during the tag-team affair, and DDTed him on the concrete. Rhodes had an issue with that and ran down. Tony thinks he was just trying to help his friend. Windham: “Hey, when I want to know how my friends are doing, I call them on the phone, I don’t go sticking my nose in other people’s business.” Rhodes took a tag from Steamboat which the referee tried to stop, and Windham tried to help by kidney punching Dustin. Still, he got in and the referee let the match continue. Windham: “What match? I didn’t want him in the ring! I was trying to keep him out of the ring!” Barry’s particularly pissed because Dustin then walloped him with a cast across the face and the referee counted the pinfall. Windham issues a warning to Rhodes, which is the next time he steps in the ring with him, he’s going to relish the pain he’s going to put him through.

TEX SLAZENGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE and VINNIE VEGAS (in the Battle of the Bullies)

A Godwinn under any other name is still a Godwinn, and no matter how you dress up Tex and Shanghai, they’re still gonna suck. In the case of Tex, this also applies when he’s undressed. DDP is still 4 years away from being any good, and you probably know Vegas better as Master Blaster Steel. Page cheats like crazy on the masked man, softening him up for Vinnie. Tex fights loose and tags in Pierce. Vegas hits a gutwrench slam, and Page hits a face plant, using Pierce’s hair liberally. Pierce throws a clothesline to get back to his corner, and Tex hits a stomp off the second rope. Pierce works a step over toe hold, and Tex pulls his arm for added leverage. I admire the fan in the front row holding up a 4 foot poster that reads “TEX” in bold red font. That’s someone who knows what he likes, isn’t afraid to express it, and I respect that. Page gets worked over for 3 or 4 hours, before making the hot tag to Vegas. He’s shut down immediately with a rake to the eyes, and is forced to tag Page back in. That … doesn’t seem very wise. Still, Page hits a neckbreaker, and uses a Pedigree on Pierce for 2! Vegas fights Tex on the floor, and the referee is too busy watching them to notice that Pierce has hung Page over the top rope with a bullrope! Vegas rushes over with a wooden chair and smashes it over Pierce’s head, and the referee throws a double DQ their way at 8:50. How the heck are we supposed to settle the battle of the bullies now? You can’t just give a match that kind of a title and leave it without a conclusion. I expect the WCW booking committee to start drawing up ideas STAT.

Next up, this is happening:


Honest to god, does TONY SCHIAVONE’s mother dress him? They’re talking football for some reason. VADER is a former All-American, getting drafted in the first round by the LA Rams and winning a Superbowl Ring. Knowing goddamn well the Rams never won a Superbowl, I decided to Google this mess, and found that Vader was actually drafted in the 3rd round. I realize that heels are meant to be liars and all, but isn’t it Schiavone’s job to call him out? Instead, he’s eating this up – and then asks if he’s going to give a title shot to Sting? He says he’s ready to accommodate Sting anytime, any place, as long as he gets a rematch for the King of Cable. Ummm, ooooo kay? He defends his loss to Simmons in the summer, because he spent all his time training for Sting, and he was dealt Ron instead. As soon as he got his rematch, he was ready, and won, exactly as he expected to. If he wants a rematch, he can bring it. He fears no man, and fears no pain. His plan? To be the longest reigning WCW champion in history.

Looking at that last segment – this is EXACTLY what the WWE is lacking in every one of their heels except for Lesnar (which is why he looks so much better than the rest of the roster). Vader isn’t a chickenshit, which is pretty much the only heel they know how to write for any more. He talks shit, and is prepared to back it up with his actions. He is the real life version of basically every video game Final Boss that had ever been created to that point, and this is why Vader was so damn effective in his role. You knew he was going to maim pretty much anyone he’d face, and if his opponent had even a sliver of hope, you could immediately rally behind that person because it’s so glorious to watch the evil topple.

TONY ATLAS (with Cactus Jack) vs. DUSTIN RHODES (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)

We’re clearly headed right into Rhodes against Windham, so hopefully they make this one quick. Rhodes comes out firing, with dropkicks a plenty. Every time Atlas tries to get up, Rhodes hits him again or sweeps out the legs to keep him down. Atlas finally gets up in the corner, so that Rhodes can’t take him down. He goes to work on the broken wrist, slamming Dustin on it with a hammerlock. Ross reports that Rick Rude isn’t going to be able to compete at the upcoming Thundercage event – so they’ll update us on the new game plan before the end of the show. Rhodes takes back over with a clothesline and finishes with a bulldog at 4:12. *

BARRY WINDHAM vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)

Steamboat, carrying both tag-team titles, makes a bee-line straight for the ring, and he’s a ball of energy tonight. You can feel how much these two hate each other – as they just throw a maelstrom of fists at each other in the opening moments. Windham bails, but Steamer’s right behind, chasing him until he’s able to catch and chop the hell out of Windham’s chest. Back in, Windham hides in the corner long enough for Steamboat to back off when asked; and that gives Barry the chance to attack at the leg. Steamboat goes for a slam, but Barry’s too heavy and he falls on top for 2. Steamboat throws a desperation karate chop at Windham’s head, but that’s all he’s getting before Barry turns the tide with a hard clothesline. With Ricky down, Windham stomps on Steamboat’s wrist, playing into the Dustin Rhodes injury. Barry works a hammerlock on the mat, driving his kneecap into the wrist over and over while the kids scream in horror. Steamboat elbows loose, but Windham’s not ready to give up yet – dropping down to the floor to snap Ricky’s arm over the top rope. Steamboat crawls to the apron, but Windham wants him in the ring, and attempts to drag him back in. Steamboat surprises him with a sunset flip over the top, and the big guy topples backwards for 2. Windham gets up, walking right into a jawbreaker from the former world champ, and Steamboat starts beating on Barry’s shoulder. Steamboat continues to sell his own wrist as he attempts to hold Windham in place, and when it looks like Barry’s making his way loose, Steamboat turns to his legs to hold the hammerlock. Steamboat wiggles around until he’s able to work a full half nelson on the mat, and Barry’s fading fast. Steamboat goes for the knockout blow, but he misses the karate chop, and in the process really hurts his wrist now. Windham, arm dangling to the side, uses his good arm to slam Steamboat’s face into the canvas. A vertical suplex gets 2, but Windham goes to the well a second time and Ricky reverses it mid-move for 2. Steamboat gets a head of steam to prep a clothesline, but Windham tries to sidestep and both guys collide head first into each other, Barry hitting so hard he collapses to the floor. Windham just makes it back to the apron at 9, and Steamboat’s ready with a suplex to bring him back in – except his wrist is mush, and he can’t hold it, letting Windham fall on top for 2. Windham uses a gutwrench slam, but he can’t get the pin, and he’s frustrated now. Going up turns out to be a huge mistake for the big man, and Steamboat catches him for a slam. Ricky decides to use the top rope, trying his karate chop – but Windham sidesteps and delivers a kidney punch on the way by. A jumping DDT makes the audience groan, and Windham locks on the Figure Four. Barry uses the ropes liberally, but Steamboat won’t tap out. After a long struggle, Steamboat reverses the hold, but Windham’s out quickly. Both guys are staggering, throwing haymakers. Windham whips Steamboat across the ring, but he can’t make it before his legs fall out from underneath. Back in, Windham puts on a headlock, but Steamboat turns that into a single leg atomic drop to set up the Figure Four! Windham howls, desperately clawing for the safety of the ropes, but he can’t make it. As a last hope, Barry pounds at the weak legs of Steamboat, and he’s forced to break the hold. A vertical suplex doesn’t finish Ricky off, and Steamboat faceplants Windham. He starts with the karate chops, and hits a swinging neckbreaker! Off the top, a karate chop gets 2. Steamboat picks up Windham for a slam, but his legs swing wildly and clocks Nick Patrick in the face, sending the referee sprawling to the floor in pain. Steamboat hits a top rope crossbody for a count of 6, but the referee is dead and it doesn’t count. Windham illegally tosses Steamboat over the top to the concrete, but he does it just as Patrick is stirring, and he calls for an immediate DQ at 17:37. ***1/2

Windham isn’t done, slamming Steamboat on the floor and preps the jumping DDT. SHANE DOUGLAS rushes in to save his partner, beating the piss out of Windham … and you know that means BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN aren’t far behind. DUSTIN RHODES takes it to Windham on the floor, while Austin and Pillman double team Douglas in the middle of the ring. Steamboat hits the ring to protect his partner, and the newest heel unit bails for now. Steamboat’s announced as the winner in a bit of a shock – it seemed readily apparent we were gonna get Rhodes/Windham, but that’ll have to wait now.


Fun edition of Saturday Night, and it effectively sets up Wednesdays Clash. The mid-card is positively stacked these days, with Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, and Steve Austin as the clear breakout stars heading into 1993 – and the timing is ripe to see who of this crew is going to develop. The main event scene is absolutely decimated, with little of substance beyond Vader and Sting, so the time is now for any one of these guys to explode as the next big thing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

WCW New Japan Supershow III: January 4, 1993

Back in the early 90’s, WCW was gaining steam nationally – but still maintained some of its regional roots. In an effort to ensure fresh faces coming in and out of the company, they formed a partnership with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This partnership would see the exchange of talents; most notably regular North American circuit tours for Jushin Liger, but it was also a fertile breeding ground for some of the North American guys to grow and come back as more complete athletes. Of course, being WCW, all that did was earn them a ton of TV time with absolutely no marketable push, but at least they killed time until Hulk Hogan was ready to reap the ratings glory in the main event slot.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because this is still 1993, and Hulk Hogan is thankfully elsewhere. Every year, WCW would travel to Japan to put on a supercard with New Japan’s elite, which would air on pay-per-view. This is the third and final installment of the Supershow series, and I’m working off the Turner release. I’d love to see the complete show – but the WWE Network lies when it says it has every pay-per-view of all time, cuz this ain’t there. Of course, there are bigger fish to fry – like the complete library of WCW Prime, so I’ll pick my battles wisely.

ERIC BISCHOFF welcomes us to the gigantic Tokyo Dome, with over 63000 people in attendance. He hands things over to the dream team of TONY SCHIAVONE and JIM ROSS. JR in the role of Tony’s lapdog has me downright giddy; and it’s incredible the mean-spirited Vince McMahon never thought to bring this concept back at some point in the last 15 years.

JUSHIN LIGER vs. ULTIMO DRAGON (for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title)

 Dragon has stolen Ricky Steamboat’s neglected WWF head-dress, and parades around like a jackass to … well, the Japanese don’t really boo, so much as cheer with less enthusiasm. Liger, on the other hand, is somehow channelling the future by slapping WCW’s late 90’s logo on his chest.

Or possibly Japanese Batman

Both guys trade throws and dropkicks before stopping mid strike like a Zack Morris time-out to soak in the adulation of the appreciative crowd. Dragon tries to take out Liger’s leg with a grapevine, so Liger uses his free leg to start kicking Dragon in the face. Liger’s able to reverse into a deathlock, and he applies a front facelock to really add to the pull. I’d be tapping harder than a male pornstar, but Dragon’s not human, getting out of that somehow. Liger tries the Lasso from El Paso, but Dragon sweeps out the legs and snaps some hard spinning toe holds that make Terry Funk look like Annie Funk. A drop toe hold sees Dragon hold the base, and he works a reverse grapevine chinlock before rolling through with a bow and arrow. Liger won’t uncle, and he takes advantage of a Dragon letting up for just a second, applying the Gory Guerrero special in the centre of the ring. It’s enough to wear him down a little, and Liger releases, hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Dragon gets whipped into the corner, and takes a spinning heel kick to the side of the head. They criss-cross, and Liger dodges a rana, but he takes the edge of Dragon’s boot on his way down, knocking him a bit silly. Dragon kicks the shit out of him while he’s down, and hits a front suplex to really scramble his circuits. And, as a reminder that anything you can do, Dragon can do better, he alters the Gory special to include a Dragon sleeper. Liger’s about to tap, but Dragon senses they’re too close to the ropes, so he drags Liger to the middle of the ring and locks on the camel clutch. Liger still won’t tap, so Dragon heads up, but he slips and is only able to hit a boot to the side of the head instead of the full impact dropkick he was planning. Liger’s slow to his feet, and he has no chance to defend himself from a handspring back elbow. Liger hits the floor – and Dragon’s not gonna let him get a second of rest, flying with a super plancha that drives them over the guardrail and into the front row!! Dragon gets back in and waits for the count, but Liger makes it back to the apron. No worries, because Dragon brings him back to action with a brainbuster, and goes to finish with a tombstone. Liger reverses, but Dragon’s able to release that, and plants him with the move! Dragon goes up instead of going for the pin, but he slips a second time, changing on his way down with a sad looking headbutt, and he only gets 2. Liger’s able to shake it off, and he runs into Dragon … who’s waiting for him with the Capture Suplex, for a super close pinfall. Dragon rushes the corner, but Liger’s hot on his heels with a monkey flip into a pinfall for 2. Dragon uses the elementary but effective package to get 2, and more importantly, re-assert his control. And, he follows with the rarely seen Straight Jacket Suplex, but Liger’s able to make the ropes and Dragon looks like a man who has no idea what to do anymore. Giving Liger even a second is never wise, and the hesitation lets Liger hit a spinning heel kick that sends Dragon to the floor. Before he even knows what happened, Liger’s picked up him, and powerbombs him on the outside!!! Dragon’s dead, and he just lies there as Liger hits a super senton to the floor. Liger stands mid-ring, waiting for the count, but Dragon scrapes himself off the concrete and heads back in. A vicious Liger immediately suplexes him, and arrogantly covers with one hand for 2. Dragon’s pulled to his feet, simply to eat a palm thrust to the jaw that you can hear all the way in the cheap seats. A half crab is applied in the middle, but Dragon claws to the ropes, still seemingly completely out of it from that nasty powerbomb. Liger realizes this, and powerbombs the man again. While Dragon tries to get to his feet, Liger perches himself waiting to strike … but it’s a ploy, and as Liger comes off the top, Dragon blasts him with a clothesline just as Liger’s trying the same. Liger rolls to the safety of the floor, but Dragon’s still got life, hitting a springboard senton splash that drives them both into the guardrail. Both guys slowly roll their way back into before the count, and it’s Dragon who leaps to attempt a victory roll. Liger ain’t having that, and just faceplants the bugger as hard as he can. Liger goes for a third powerbomb now, because he’s had enough of this, but Dragon rolls through the move (nearly breaking his neck in the process), and he hooks the legs for 2. A lionsault sets up a powerbomb from Dragon, but Liger kicks out to the shock of Dragon. La Majistral gets 2, and the fans are absolutely electric watching this display. Dragon goes up, but Liger cuts him off, and hits a DDT off the top rope!!! The referee takes forever to make the count, and Dragon kicks out at 2. Back to the powerbomb, and it connects for a third time today. Liger puts Dragon’s corpse on the top rope, hits a super Frankensteiner, and that’s enough for the pin and the title at 20:10! Through the masks, you could feel the intensity and absolute necessity to win here. Great storytelling from both, and it never felt like it was a bunch of moves slapped together for the hell of it. The modern flyers should take note of what made this work; with each move setting up the next, and the guys changing the pace based on the mistakes of the other guy, giving them each ample time to work their spots. ****

RON SIMMONS vs. TONY HALME

This is Simmons’ first match after losing the strap to Vader last week, and the future Ludwig Borga is an excellent place to start the climb back up. Apparently this was initially scheduled to be a match for the belt, so Halme might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder just missing out on his big shot. Simmons tries shoulderblocks, but Halme doesn’t even budge. He’s not so tough he can avoid a drop toe hold though, and Simmons follows with a clothesline. A faceplant sets up a spike piledriver, and Simmons gets 2. Simmons tries a hiptoss, but Halme won’t move, and now angry Tony starts with his kidney punches. Simmons is reeling as Halme hits a jumping elbow, but he kicks out at 2. A hard sidewalk slam gets 2. Halme steals the spinebuster from Simmons, but can’t score the pin. Simmons staggers to his feet, and one punch from Halme sends big Ron to the floor. Halme brings Simmons back in with a suplex, and he starts beating on the kidneys again. Simmons manages a desperation powerslam, which Tony notes was the move that won him the world title last year, but Halme doesn’t fall as hard as Vader, and kicks out. Simmons hits a pretty bad spinebuster, and it’s enough to pick up the win at 6:02. Simmons looked awful here, sloppy and just off his game. *

DUSTIN RHODES and SCOTT NORTON vs. MASA SAITO and SHINYA HASHIMOTO

Norton’s a New Japan mainstay; and even after he’d sign with WCW years later, he’d keep travelling Japan as a bonefide draw – a deal he likely worked out to supplement his income. In fact, he’d win the IWGP heavyweight belt a couple of times years later, making you wonder just what the hell goes on overseas where Scott Norton and Albert are a big deal. Saito’s roughly 185 years old here, so I’m actually a little surprised he wasn’t picked up by the WWF in early 1997 to give them some Japanese credibility. Norton pounds his chest and grunts like a gorilla, so Hashimoto kicks him in the throat. Norton laughs at him and hits a clothesline. Norton starts using the vaunted move, Run Hard Into Your Opponent, and Hashimoto bounces around like the world’s fattest pinball. Norton covers with one hand, and when that doesn’t work, he looks to Rhodes. Hashimoto thrusts Dustin in the throat, and turns things over to Saito, who takes 8 minutes to get off his walker and drag his IV into the ring. Rhodes suplexes Saito, but he manages to miss a charge when Saito simply never stands up because he’s calling for the sweet taste of death to take him now. Rhodes charges back in and chops Saito, who immediately dissipates into a pile of dust. Norton takes over against the ghost of Saito, clotheslining the corpse and chopping away at whatever the hell is left. Norton trips over the dead body which Ross calls the “Saito Suplex!”, and then Dustin stumbles into the same thing. Hashimoto tags himself back in, bringing a little excitement back, since both wrestlers are now protein based lifeforms. Norton comes in and superplexes Hashimoto somehow, before deciding to stand on Shinya’s throat. A Rude Awakening sees Hashimoto fall backwards and show off his gaping plumber’s ass. Dude, no, lift them pants. Rhodes tags in and hits a big boot for 2. Hashimoto is tossed to the floor, where both Americans work him over, while Saito rocks back and forth like a later-in-life Freddie Blassie. Back in, a powerslam from Norton gets 2. A powerbomb looks to finish, but Saito spiritually runs in to make the save. Hashimoto hits a desperation DDT and makes the hot tag. Norton walks into the light, and is immediately greeted with the Saito Suplex. Norton calls for the Grim Reaper to end this charade, while Dustin eats a Saito Suplex. He’s like that guy online who keeps using the same move against new players who have no idea how to defend it, and honestly, I’m surprised I’m not seeing all kinds of slurs being printed on the screen every time Saito hits that thing. Hashimoto hits a spinning heel kick on Rhodes. A DDT looks to finish, but Norton makes the desperation save. He takes his eyes off the ball on his way back out, missing that Dustin’s taken an enzuigiri and Team Divine Intervention win this round at 13:57. This had no business being anywhere near this long. 1/2*

MASAHIRO CHONO vs. THE GREAT MUTA (for the NWA world heavyweight title)

Ric Flair was stripped of the NWA strap when he bolted to the WWF in the spring of 1991, and Chono won the subsequent tournament to crown a new champion, defeating Rick Rude in the finals of the G1-Climax (which sounds less like a tournament, and more like a high powered vibrator). Muta had actually wrestled in that same tournament, losing a semi-finals match to Chono by submission. Chono’s got a fantastic Evil Sensei mustache on the go here. The collective gasp from the audience when Muta sprays the green mist during the intros really adds a big match feel here. The guys go through a feeling out process, before Muta hits the outside and openly grabs a hammer from underneath the ring. The referee is fairly appalled at his brazen attitude, and takes it away immediately – though that was seemingly Muta’s plan. Back in, Muta works an armbar, but Chono methodically works his way loose and pulls at Muta’s knee joint. Muta gets loose, but Chono takes him back down and works a seated Sharpshooter. Muta gets to the ropes before it’s converted into an STF. Chono keeps on him, but Muta dumps his opponent on the floor, sending him into the guardrail. The referee gives Muta a stern warning, but Muta isn’t even listening, as he slams Chono back into the ring and delivers a karate chop off the top rope. Muta tosses Chono again, this time on to the staging area, where he is right behind with a running bulldog face first on the ramp! Chono heads up the ramp about a half football field, before spinning and hitting a sprinting clothesline on the champ! The fans groan in agony as Chono sells. Back in, Muta takes Chono to the top rope and connects with a superplex. A hard side suplex gets 2, but Muta expected that, immediately hitting a German suplex for 2. A handspring back elbow connects square in the face, but the moonsault misses and Chono’s ALL over him with the STF, dead centre! Muta somehow crawls to the safety of the ropes, but he lets out a primal scream to let us know his knee was shredded there. Or – so he’d have us believe, because as Chono stalks his prey, he’s greeted with a dropkick to the chops. Atta boy Muta! Chono angrily applies a crucifix for 2, and heads up. A top rope shoulderblock connects, but Muta kicks out. A powerbomb folds the challenger in half, but Muta kicks out at 2. Chono holds his head, frustrated, and he misses Muta coming at him with a kick to the face, but the rapid moonsault misses a second time – and this time it’s costly, with Muta taking a knee to the face. Chono comes off the top … but Muta was waiting for it, dodging the shoulderblock with a faceplant on the way by, and Chono’s hurt. A backbreaker gives Muta time to hit the moonsault on his third try, but Chono somehow kicks out. Muta’s livid, since NOBODY kicks out of his moonsault, and he scampers up to the top to hit a second one for the pin and the NWA title at 13:12! This was great – both guys fought a hard, smart match, and Muta simply wanted it more tonight. ****

TAKAYUKI IIZUKA, AKIRA NOGAMI, and EL SAMURAI vs. NOBUKAZU HIRAI, MASO ORIHARA, and KOKI KITAHARA

Ross and Schiavone abort mission at this point, leaving their post to go to a sushi bar together. And no, I’m not kidding, that’s the story they’re running with. Given that the 6-men here aren’t given name graphics, and everyone enters to the instrumental version of “A Man Called Sting”, I’m left asking that if nobody in production gives a crap about this match, why can’t I just watch Tony and Jim having dinner? This is potentially untapped five star entertainment. I like to think that Tony misidentifies everything on the menu while calling it the greatest sushi in the history of this great country, while Ross tries to explain to the waiter what a Route 44 diet peach tea is – pointing to his miniature cup of steeped green tea and giving an exasperated “this ain’t it!” The referee pats down the competitors, looking for, to quote Eric Bischoff, “foreign objects, either in the tights or in the boots, no Vaseline or other chemicals.” Other chemicals? What the hell does he think these guys are packing? Mustard gas? Sarin? Any number of nerve agents? To be fair – one of the guys is wearing a hood, I guess it’s plausible he’s managed to MacGyver a gas mask under there. I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about New Japan harbouring terrorists, and I hope the Pentagon had this pay-per-view tapped for reasons of intelligence. And yes, I’m totally stalling because I have absolutely no idea who the hell is who – and Bischoff does a piss poor job of segregating them; likely because he’s as aware as I am. He does not, however, miss a single Back Leg Round Kick. As fate would have it, that in the grand tradition of many pro wrestling matches that came before it, one guy pinned another at 15:12. This is probably a completely unfair review to all 6 guys, who put forth an effort, but you can put that squarely on the head of Bischoff. **1/2

STING vs. HIROSHI HASE

Ross and Schiavone have already been kicked out of the sushi bar, because they’re back and calling this one. Ross calls Hase his favorite athlete in Japan, and while he lists the various reasons, let’s face it, it’s because he’s wearing a varsity jacket. Ross grumbles about sushi, while Sting benches Hase over his head repeatedly to a crowd of “ooooooh”s. A dropkick sends Hase to the floor, and Sting screams to the heavens. Hase re-enters with some chops, and a headlock takes Sting to his knees. Hase releases, and they collide mid-ring like bulls, with neither guy moving an inch. Hase hits a waistlock takedown, and applies a half crab with his knee on the back of Sting’s neck. Hase stands with Sting’s legs tied up, and starts swivelling his hips ala Rick Rude with Sting in the hold. A reverse STF is applied, but Sting won’t tap. So, Hase tries to embarrass Sting with his own hold, going for the Deathlock, but Sting chops Hase in the face until he releases. Hase, pissed off, kicks Sting in the hamstring repeatedly, with loud blows that echo throughout the arena. Back to a half crab, Hase sits down on Sting’s back this time while he tears at the joint, but Sting’s a giant pain who won’t give up. Hase releases and decides to attack toe to toe, which is a mistake because of the size difference, and Sting delivers a quick suplex for 2. Hase comes back with a Russian legsweep, and Sting clutches his leg. Hase takes Sting up in a fireman’s suplex, and he turns it into a Stun Gun. Sting clutches his throat, so Hase, not missing a beat, punches Sting in the throat. Sting ducks to hold his throat, giving Hase a chance to pick him up, holding him upside down for an extended period before hitting a spike piledriver! A knee to the throat off the top gets 2, but Hase doesn’t even seem phased. Hase goes right into a sleeper, and as Sting gets woozy, Hase drops back in a rear naked choke. The referee asks for a break, presumably because he’s working a choke now, and Hase releases at 4 and a half. He drags Sting to the outside, and drops Sting’s neck across the safety rail. Back in, Hase nails a pair of Rock Bottoms, but Sting kicks out at 2. Hase gives a sly smile, and goes straight to a German suplex with a bridge, getting 2. Next up, Hase works a full nelson, and appears to be going for the Dragon suplex, but Sting reaches forward and drags them both to the floor. Sting slams Hase on the concrete, and elbows his opponent’s face directly into the guardrail. Back in, Sting goes for a top rope clothesline, but Hase kicks him in the stomach and he folds like a house of cards. Hase chops at Sting in the corner, but Sting refuses to sell anymore, screaming in Hase’s face, and the hulking up routine is on. Stinger splash sets up a pair of faceplants, and Sting gets 2. Sting uses a modified backbreaker submission, but Hase rolls off the back and bridges back. Sting bridges forward at 2, then uses the corner to flip himself over and get Hase off. He leaps to the second rope, and throws a back elbow blindly, getting 2. Sting nearly scores a pinfall off a German suplex, but Hase quickly manages to roll Sting up with a handful of tights for 2 of his own. Sting explodes forward with a nasty clothesline, and he goes for a second one but Hase sidesteps and attempts the Rock Bottom. Sting elbows his way loose, and nails a jumping a DDT! With Hase seeing stars, Sting heads up and nails the top rope splash for the pin at 14:42! Hase put on an absolute clinic here, wrestling circles around Sting – but that really should come as no surprise since Hase was likely one of the 5 best wrestlers on the planet at this point. Sting didn’t quite seem to know how to properly sell for all the offense, sometimes recovering far too quickly from some of the attacks (I wish he’d sold the leg after Hase spent 5 minutes ripping his hammys apart), but it was an overall enjoyable display and a fine main event. ***

If you’re not really a Puro kinda person, but wouldn’t mind seeing a little of what Japan has to offer – this is probably a pretty strong compromise. Seeing familiar American faces, with English announcing, against some legendary Japanese names makes for a fun break from the norm. I wish WCW had continued this tradition to the end, but if I always got what I wanted, WCW would have never gone out of business either.


We’ll head back to the grind with the Power Hour this weekend; another mysteriously absent entry from the WWE network library. Will Chris Sullivan appear again? Will his studliness overcome adversity? The answer to both is hopefully yes, but you’ll have to read to find out. (Spoiler: No.)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

WCW Main Event: January 3, 1993

Tony Schiavone welcomes us to WCW Main Event – brought to you by Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts! Run, jump, and hack your way through 7 terrifying stages, and rescue the princess! I guess … that’s one way to make it sound like Mario, as opposed to, say, the most anger inducing impossible game this side of the original Battle Toads. Of course, having a super frustrating sponsor for WCW is completely apropos. I hope next month’s sponsor is those plastic shell boxes for modern day electronics, with absolutely no way to open the product without requiring Tommy John surgery.


JIM ROSS and MICHAEL HAYES handle the commentary.

CHRIS SULLIVAN vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO

Chris Sullivan! Where have you been my entire life? Despite sharing the same facial DNA with Gene Okerlund and the guy who sells Micro Machines, I’m fairly certain he’s also the man responsible for delivering internal mail at my office.



Sullivan is completely disgusted by Scorpio’s insistence on steppin’, and he comes at 2 Cold with an attack so vicious, that Scorpio flies all the way to the guardrail, and Sullivan’s ponytail almost comes off. Scorpio gets back in and trips up this previously unheard of stud machine, and wins with a slingshot 450 splash at 1:09. A valiant effort from Sullivan, and I think we’ll need to see him every single week for the remainder of our lives to really get a feel for his incredible skillset.

DUSTIN RHODES vs. DANNY DEESE

Oh hell yes! I don’t know what I did to please the baby Jesus today, but to continually bless me with this parade of talent is like experiencing Christmas morning again and again.


Rhodes is of course in the semi-finals of the US title tournament after his win over Vinny Vegas, so a win here from Deese would have to immediately put him in the WCW Top 10. Ross calls Rhodes the favorite, which seems a little premature. Deese throws some methodical right hands – but I know his slowness of the blows is clearly because his fists are made of stone, and he’s toying with Rhodes in cat-like fashion. Dustin dropkicks the portly Reese, and a bulldog scores the massive upset at 1:46. A bad night for two of the top guys on tonight’s program. Maybe they should think about forming an unstoppable tag-team instead?

The main event sees a replay of a big tag-team match between Vader/Rude against Steamboat/Douglas before Starrcade – and since I may touch on it in another time and place, I won’t do a full recap here. However, Vader’s in classic form here, destroying anything and everything in his path – booked like a fat Brock Lesnar, but showing JUST enough ass to make you believe in the babyfaces. Plenty entertaining, and a nice way to wrap this one up.


Tomorrow brings WCW’s yearly Japan Supershow, and to say the card is loaded is an understatement. Jushin Liger, Ultimo Dragon, Muta, Sting, the Steiners, and a ton of the top Japanese guys from the era (Chono, Tenryu, Hase) are all on board. Heck – Ludvig Borga’s even chipping in. It might have no impact on the actual WCW, but it’s a fantastic cross-promotional concept that I wish we’d have seen more of. We’ll tackle all that, and more, as we head into the Clash on January 13th.