Thursday, November 24, 2016

WWF RAW: March 3, 1997

Last week on RAW, one of the most wildly chaotic nights in pro-wrestling took place. ECW invaded the WWF’s flagship show, and with tensions rising, Jerry Lawler hauled out his trust gas can and blew that som’bitch to high heavens.

Robert Davis: I had just begun getting ECW on Primestar when this Raw happened. I thought it was one of the coolest shows theyd done in years and for me this is the episode that truly kicked off the "Atitude Era" as it was truly so against the grain of the WWFs usual show that it really showed times were going to change.

Well - we're close. Tonight, however, things return to a semblance of normal, as the main roster continues to tour through Europe, stopping in Germany for a pre-taped RAW. Up against the return of Roddy Piper (despite the fact we know how THAT turned out), they'd be forced to turn up the heat to keep it close.

VINCE MCMAHON reminds us that the Cold War is over, the Berlin Wall has come down, and the first ever European champion gets crowned tonight. I want to make fun of the incredibly dated Berlin Wall montage as somehow being culturally relevant enough to reference in 1997, but this is a company that still wants to trot Hulk Hogan back into the fold in 2016, so this may actually be the most trendy discussion point Vince McMahon has ever touched on.

Speaking of dated throwbacks, THE HONKY TONK MAN joins McMahon in the commentary booth. JIM ROSS is unseen, largely because he’s certainly not there, but through the magic of post-production, he’s present and accounted for.

BRET HART is backstage, and promised to stay focused tonight despite Steve Austin’s continued interference in every match he’s taking part in. In fact, he hopes Austin’s watching what he’s about to do to Hunter Hearst Helmsley.


Make no mistake about it, there are two things the Germans love – and that’s David Hasselhoff, and Bret Hart. From the second that guitar riff hits, the stylish designer sweater wearing throngs of Bratwurst scarfing Aryans lose all semblance of their bodily functions, finding themselves locked in a screaming wave of near orgasmic pleasure. Basically, Bret Hart is the fluffer for their all-expenses-paid orgy.

During the lock-up, STEVE AUSTIN is seen arriving at WWF studios in snowy North America.

Helmsley takes over early with some mat-work, but Bret wriggles free and works a head-lock. Triple H drives a knee into Hart’s midsection and takes over, just as we head to our first commercial.

Upon return, McMahon tells us absolutely nothing has changed. How is it possible that in 20+ years of RAW, that not only has no match ever ended during the break, but momentum hasn’t changed once? The odds against this have got to be astronomical. While Hunter slows down the action with a DDT into his signature move – the incredibly long stall, I’m going to conjure up an email for Nate Silver and his team to investigate this commercial break business.

Eventually, Hart takes back over by catching Hunter on the top rope and delivering a superplex. That sets up the Russian legsweep for two, and the backbreaker isn’t far behind. The elbowdrop sets up a vertical suplex, and if Scott Keith’s taught me anything, that means we’re nearing the end. Sure enough, the Pedigree is blocked, Hart catapults Helmsley into the buckle, and the Sharpshooter is blocked with a hairpull. Hart flips out, locking Helmsley in the tree of woe and refuses to break, shoving the referee aside for the DQ at 8:47. CHYNA rushes the ring to challenge Hart to a fight, but SECURITY (Jerry Brisco sighting!) escorts her away. Those two mailed that one in with more vigor than Amazon’s warehouse on Black Friday. **

Elsewhere … well, they try and have a sit down with Steve Austin, but he’s nowhere to be seen – but we ARE treated to a toilet flushing. Oh.

VADER (4-3-1) (with Paul Bearer) vs. ROCKY MAIVIA (7-1-0) (for the WWF Intercontinental title)

During the entrances, we’re flashed back to the Final Four. See, in the glorious old days, if someone bled, you were gonna hear about it for eternity, and dang nabbit, we liked it that way!

As a result of his beast-like performance, Vader has been granted a title shot, and even the announcers are treating this like a slam dunk – Maivia is as good as cooked. Frankly, I’m rooting for this, if only to make WCW have Prince Iaukea subsequently drop the TV title to, oh I don’t know, Anyone Else. Vader gets all up in Maivia’s grill, and Rocky shows a little personality for the first time in his life, feeding it back and looking every part the bad-ass. Vader responds by about taking Rock’s head off with some mammoth punches, and clotheslining him right past Hell, and back to North America. Vader gets cocky, and a schoolboy shocks him with a 2. Of course, that just serves to piss off the old guy, and next thing you know, Rocky’s getting knocked around like a tennis ball in a schoolyard game of Butts Up. Rocky manages to block a suplex, and then somehow throws the big guy with a vertical suplex of his own, getting 2! Bearer prays to the urn for reasons that seemingly make sense to Vince McMahon, and as Rock starts throwing clotheslines, we take a break!

We’re back JUST in time to see Vader dropping a splash on Maivia for 2! Vader turns into Harambe, and drags Rock to the corner, and a splash off the second rope gets 2, despite Vince telling us “forget about it, he’s got it!” You’d think his 20 years at the announce table would cause him to eventually slow down and count organically, and even Paul lets him know it wasn’t a 3.

Vader ties up Rock in the kind of hold that’s usually reserved for my trips to the local Philippine massage parlors, but unlike me, Rock won’t tap out. Vader ain’t impressed, so he powerslams Rock like a bitch, and heads up to finish. Demanding to know who’s the man, Vader flies off the top – right into a powerslam from Rock, and he gets a close 2! A belly to belly suplex gets 2, and Rock’s got some momentum now. The floatover DDT catches the big guy off guard and knocks his mask right off! Rock heads up to finish with the crossbody, but Vader rolls through to escape the pinfall. Rocky dropkicks the Vader to the floor, and is hot on his heels, causing MANKIND to rush in, grab the urn from Paul, and clock the champ upside the head to save his buddy – which of course means a DQ at 7:19. Vader is *not* thrilled about this at all, feeding it to Mick for a second, before drawing Rock back in the ring and smacking him around with his big-ass bear paws. This was quality stuff, and Vader’s been on a roll these past few weeks. ***

We recap last week’s ECW invasion, causing JERRY LAWLER to jump on the phone and call long distance to Germany. He, speaking on behalf of the entire WWF roster, is completely embarrassed that McMahon opened his doors to them, and calls it the darkest day in the history of the company. He says if Paul E shows up again in Worcester next week, he’s going to be sorry, and this time they’ll finish him off.

THE SULTAN (2-2-0) vs. FLASH FUNK (1-2-0)

Vince reminds us that this is emanating all the way from Germany, and with a little luck, they’ll leave both guys there. Sultan puts both Flash Funk and everyone at home to sleep with one transitional move, but thankfully…

PAUL E DANGEROUSLY has also found the number to tonight’s show (which we can presume he called collect), and he’s had enough of being challenged by Lawler. He throws in a shot about Lawler’s cheap boss not even ponying up a ticket to fly him to Berlin, and Vince stutters, moving it along. Heyman, smelling blood, flat out says since Lawler works for him, he accepts again, but he’s not promising it’ll be in Worcester – they may just invade the Garden. Vince wraps it up, and Heyman reminds him “don’t forget to say Sunday Night April 13th now!” Vince: “Errrr, sure, thanks.” My first date in high school was less awkward than this mess.

In the ring, Funk hits a moonsault for 2. A rana is tried, but Sultan sits down midway through the move, and Funk falls square on his face, knocking himself out. Camel clutch ends this one seconds later at 4:07. DUD

Earlier today, SYCHO SID yelled about Mankind. Whether he’s referring to Mick Foley or the general population is up for interpretation, but one thing is clear – he is the master and ruler of the world.

AHMED JOHNSON is here in his wrasslin’ gear – but he’s not fighting, he wants to respond to Faarooq’s challenge to a street fight at Wrestlemania. Honky Tonk expects Ahmed to do the right thing, be a man, and refuse to take the match. Actual promo: “Faarooq – you won summon me tutu street fie? Welcome! All separate challenge. But I won’t comb myself. Yacht sometime.” Once that’s translated in German to the crowd, he’s got more. “I got worms for Faarooq! URF GONE DOWN! URF GONE DOWN! URF GONE DOWN!”

MANKIND (2-1-0) (with Paul Bearer) vs. SYCHO SID (1-3-0) (for the WWF world heavyweight title)

Mankind does a pre-match promo in German, sold as part of his deranged genius character – but keen-eyed readers of Have a Nice Day will remember he learned German during earlier European tours with WCW years earlier, including losing his ear to the garbage can because he didn’t know the German word for formaldehyde. Sid and Mankind start brawling right off the bell, and find themselves on the floor trading punches. Back in, Sid works a chinlock, while we head back to the USA…

STEVE AUSTIN has finally decided to show up for his scheduled interview. He’s pissy because he was flown into WWF studios sitting in seat 36-C – right next to the airplane outhouse. He was forced to eat a stale sandwich in a brown paper bag; and while you might be right to assume that’s what made him sick, it was actually Bret Hart whining and crying every time he’s on TV. Vince cuts him off, promising to get back to this later.

In the ring, Mankind is squealing like a hog, riding on the back of Sid. Good lord. Foley throws a series of blows at Sid’s head while he’s rocking precariously on the apron, but Sid doesn’t go down. Instead, he trips up Mankind, and slams his face to the buckle. A trio of nasty boots to the face have Mankind wobbly, but his fourth misses, and Sid’s crotched in the ropes – just in time for commercial!

We’re back as Mankind is getting knocked to the floor, and the fans are solidly behind Sid. Bearer threatens to whack Sid with the urn, but he’s spotted, and opts to run away. Sid chokeslams Foley head first into the ring post (Jesus!!!), and the champ is in good shape. He drags Mick back to the apron to finish, but Mick drops down with a guillotine over the ropes! A legdrop gets 2, and Foley quickly puts on a chinlock. Sid gets loose, but Mankind is waiting with the Mandible Claw, and Sid is quickly down on the mat, gasping for life. A couple of close 2 counts follow, but Sid finds a burst of energy, gets on his feet … so Foley kicks him in the nuts and hits the double arm DDT for 2! That was slick. Mankind goes for a sleeper hold, but Sid breaks out, charging at the challenger … walking right into a big boot! Foley jumps on his back, rearing back on a sleeper, but Sid drops backwards, sending all of Mick’s weight crashing to the mat. Bearer gets involved, but Sid stops him, and heel miscommunication causes Mankind to knock his own manager off the apron. A chokeslam is on point – but Mankind kicks out at 2, drawing some pretty shocked gasps from the fans! Sid figures to hell with that, nails an impressive looking powerbomb, and that’s all she wrote at 10:22, drawing a MASSIVE pop! Sid is an enigma, both running around as the company’s top babyface AND second biggest heel at the same time. He’s the best. ***

Tune into La Femme Nikita!

STEVE AUSTIN once again joins us from WWF Studios, and Vince brings up the fact he’s been a pain in Bret Hart’s ass for months. “What is it with you?” Austin says he’s sick of Bret talking about being screwed since he’s been screwed for every one of his seven years in the business. When Shawn Michaels hurts his knee he gets a special video, when he’s sick they need to announce it to the whole world – but at Final Four, he was sick as a dog with a “blowed out” knee and he didn’t say a damn word. “How many one-legged people could go 25-minutes with three of the best wrestlers in the world? And I ain’t makin’ fun of no one-legged people!” He feels he’s the rightful World Champion, whether he’s been crowned or not. At Wrestlemania, he’s accepted a submission match with Bret Hart, despite the fact he doesn’t know but one or two moves himself. He’ll just beat the hell out of Bret Hart until he quits. “I ain’t got no quit in me, and you can bet your bottom dollar I won’t look at the ref and say I quit. And that’s the bottom line, cuz Stone Cold Said So!” To the best of my knowledge, that’s the first time he’s dropped that money line – but we’re about to hear it a whole lot more often. Quality stuff, as always.

OWEN HART (1-1-0) vs. THE BRITISH BULLDOG (1-3-0) (for the WWF European title)

There’s been a fictitious tournament running throughout their European tour in order to crown their first ever European Champion – which is more or less meant as a vanity belt to be defended during their twice-yearly trips over the pond. The tension is palpable here, with Owen’s continued shenanigans having pushed Bulldog to the brink of explosion, and a tournament is a creative way to get them in the ring without a full-fledged breakup to drive it. The pair trade wrist-locks, and Owen breaks the monotony with a monkey flip attempt – blocked by Bulldog. Owen tries a rocker dropper, but Bulldog fights out, so Owen goes to the hiptoss instead. Right away, the message is clear – Bulldog knows Owen inside and out and has a counter to everything he’s got in his repertoire. Owen offers a hand for the clever manoeuvering, and Bulldog takes the props.

A test of strength is won by Bulldog to the surprise of no one, but Owen escapes using a double leg flip off the ropes to reverse the hold. A rana is blocked with a vicious powerbomb, and Bulldog holds on, catapulting Owen over the top to the floor, and a MASSIVE pop! Bulldog holds the ropes for his partner, and Owen gingerly gets back in, with no dirty stuff. Back to action, and Owen’s victory roll gets a close two. Bulldog starts to work over Owen’s arm on the mat, and once it’s loosened up a bit, he pulls him up in a hammerlock, and slams him down right on the arm as we head to break!

Bulldog remains in control, and a crucifix gets 2! Owen leaps up and goes for an enzuigiri, but Bulldog knows it’s coming and ducks, allowing him to rapidly lock Owen in the Gory special! Owen pulls on to Earl Hebner to escape, but he manages to do only that before finding himself caught in a keylock. As they wrestle through the holds, Owen backdrops Bulldog to the floor and celebrates like he just won another Slammy! The crowd boos – but Owen returns the favor to Bulldog by holding the ropes as he gets up, and he doesn’t strike, much to the surprise of everyone in attendance. Owen’s got the smarmy shit thing down, and there isn’t a fan alive who trusts him to borrow a dollar, let alone take care of his partner and brother-in-law.

Just as things start to heat up again, Owen wrenches his knee, and the match may be coming to a premature end. Bulldog heads over to check, and Owen stomps the shit out of Bulldog’s knee as soon as he’s within striking distance. That sets the crowd off, and Owen proudly goes for the Sharpshooter. Bulldog uses his core to fight Owen off, and he preps the running bulldog – but Owen cinches free and smacks Bulldog with a violent spinning heel kick. A backbreaker sets up a whip to the buckle, back-first, and as Bulldog collapses, Owen drops a leg for 2. Bulldog fights back to his feet, but Owen drives his knee into Bulldog’s stomach. Honky Tonk goes into an amazing Stu Hart impression now, telling us “errrr, eh, Owen’s taking some errrrr … liberties with Davey Boy ehhhh”.

Bulldog takes a few moments to walk things off, and he limps back to the ring apron. Owen heads over to attack, but Bulldog was playing possum – quickly re-entering with a slingshot sunset flip, getting 2! Owen’s up first, and he drops an elbow on Bulldog’s face, before applying a chinlock as we head back to our final break.

Action’s moving fairly quickly when we’re back, with Bulldog getting launched onto another continent from an overhead belly to belly! Owen leaps onto Davey’s back with a camel clutch attempt, but he can’t cinch it, and Bulldog is up, dropping Owen with the electric chair! Bulldog charges, but Owen boots him in the face, and tries the pin with his feet on the ropes, getting 2. Rather than argue, Owen hits a neckbreaker, following up fast with a flying elbowdrop for 2! Back to the chinlock – Davey’s looking like a guy who’s at the end of a war, and has next to nothing left. Owen puts the gassed Bulldog on the top rope, and the superplex is turned mid move into a DDT with Bulldog landing on top – but SOMEHOW Owen kicks out at 2!!! Bulldog feels it now though, hitting a trifecta of running clotheslines, setting up his patented vertical suplex for 2! With an overhead gorilla press, Owen is dumped on the top rope, crotch first! The referee considers a DQ, but better judgment keeps the match moving.

Bulldog clearly feels a smidge of guilt, and helps Owen back in – a huge mistake when he finds himself on the receiving end of a German suplex for 2! Into the corner, Owen finds himself caught on Bulldog’s shoulders, and the powerslam seems eminent … but Owen hangs on to the rope, blocking the move, and it gives him enough to cause Davey to collapse at the knees, and Owen lands in a pinning position for 2! A springboard flying forearm shot is countered by Bulldog, rolling through for 2! Owen, frustrated, whips out his laser fast enzuigiri, and the Sharpshooter is right behind it. Bulldog fights with everything he’s got, forcing the break at the ropes, and Owen is beside himself. He charges into a tilt-a-whirl, but lands on his feet and goes for the tombstone! Bulldog rocks backwards to counter the move, right into the running powerslam, but Owen kicks out of his finish! That simply didn’t happen in 1997! As Bulldog argues, Owen leaps from behind into a monkey flip, but Bulldog reverses it at 2 and scores the pinfall at the end of this marathon to claim the belt at 18:24!

To quote Stefon: This match had everything. Emotion? Brothers-in-law dealing with family nonsense have some serious pent up frustration they need to get out of their system. Action? There were dozens of nearfalls, counters upon counters from two guys who know each other better than anyone else alive, all off of a combined repertoire of never-ending fresh moves. Intrigue? Could Owen play it straight, and could Davey control his temper enough to get through this without attempting homicide? And, just to cap it all off – Owen manages to show enough class to raise Davey’s arm, while continuing to linger JUST close enough behind him during the celebration that you’re left to wonder if he might actually be enough of a piece of garbage to attack him during his moment. He doesn’t, instead shaking his hand one more time, cementing this as the absolute best match in RAW history. *****

Friday, October 21, 2016

WCW Nitro: March 3, 1997

A screaming TONY SCHIAVONE can’t help but let us know that Monday Nitro is LIIIIIIIVE and ON THE AIR – while VCR tracking lines and general distortion remind me that it was live A MILLION YEARS AGO.

We’re on home turf in Atlanta, Georgia – the hottest ticket in the land announces Big Tone. But, before we get into the fact he’s joined by LARRY ZBYSZKO, we need to cut to the back because…

HOLLYWOOD HOGAN has emerged from a stretch hummer! And he’s joined by a few of his hundred closest friends, not limited to ELIZABETH, KEVIN NASH, SYXX, TED DIBIASE, MR. WALLSTREET, VINCENT, SCOTT HALL, RANDY SAVAGE, NICK PATRICK, and ERIC BISCHOFF. Behind it, a limo arrives with … DR. HARVEY SCHILLER. “He’s WAY above Bischoff” says Larry Z, powdering his nose a nice corporate brown. Schiller is legitimately one of the highest-ranking officials inside the Turner corporate structure, as the President of the entire Turner Sports operation. There ain’t much bigger on the food chain, and I’d venture a guess that backstage shenanigans aren’t afoot tonight.

KONAN and HUGH MORRUS (0-0-0) vs. JEFF JARRETT and MONGO MCMICHAEL (with Debra McMichael and Haliburton) (0-1-0)

Tony reminds us that Jarrett and Mongo are the only healthy members of the Horsemen that can actually wrestle right now, proving that nobody watches Worldwide, including Tony himself, who called a Benoit/Anderson tag-team match JUST LAST NIGHT. Jarrett starts with Morrus, and the Horsemen take turns teeing off on the big man to an absolutely rabid crowd. You know, I personally wouldn’t be a disciple to the idea of sending out Mongo or Konan to fire up a crowd, but Atlanta’s completely smitten with WCW at this point. Morrus takes out Jarrett, and does a hilarious version of the Fargo strut to a MONSTER pop. Konan takes Jarrett hostage and Morrus goes to finish with No Laughing Matter, but Jarrett kicks Konan in the nuts and saves his bacon as Morrus hits his buddy with a top rope cross body. Mongo tags in, and the place freakin’ explodes as he starts in with the 3-Point Stance on both guys! It’s looking like the end, but keen-eyed camera men have spotted THE PUBLIC ENEMY trying to steal the Haliburton from Debra. Jarrett leaps off the apron to get into a tug-o-war over the suitcase, and Jarrett wins … walloping his buddy in the face who’s come over to see what’s going on. Konan dives on top, and scores the upset win at 3:16. ** just for the crowd.

ARN ANDERSON and RIC FLAIR hit the ring, followed closely by “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. Mongo’s got a nasty gash on his forehead, and Anderson is incensed – demanding answers from Jarrett who he KNOWS “is not that clumsy!” Jarrett tells him not to start instigating, and asks for Ric to back him up. Flair isn’t having it, because he’s tired of Jeff making him look bad. “We gave you a chair – sit in it, quit falling off it!” Debra defends Jarrett, saying it was clearly a mistake, and she needs everyone to pull together because she refuses to be part of a losing team. Why Arn hasn’t just given him a spinebuster and stomped Jarrett to death is beyond me.


Page is given a heroes’ welcome, returning from the epic beat-down last week that saw him taken out in an ambulance. If the WWE ever wanted to get Roman Reigns over for good (or really, anyone they’ve decided is the next big thing), then this is the template to follow, because there is no way this man should have ever been a top-level fan favorite. At this point, there’s no turning back, because his discus punch nearly causes the crowd to spontaneously combust. The Diamond Cutter sends them into an orgasmic state at 2:11. 1/2*

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants to relive the beating DDP took last week, primarily at the hands of Randy Savage. DDP has a quick message for Mach: “If you’re that much of a Savage … snap into THIS!” – queue up the Diamond Cutter.


Mendoza, clearly having his finger on the pulse of what that fans want from their Cruiserweights, goes to mat based chain wrestling. Why does Mendoza wear “IV” on his tights anyway? I mean, it makes sense when Villano 4 does it – but Mendoza has no direct ties to him. Certainly he didn’t steal his tights just because they’re the same height, weight, build, and tone, did he? Is he working as a pharmaceutical sales rep, distributing saline hydration bags? The announcers do not spend any time discussing it, which is simply sloppy journalism. Mike Tenay would have never let this mystery slide. Juvi comes back with an ultra fast rana, and hits a baseball slide to Mendoza on the floor. Juvi tries something else, but Mendoza yanks him by the legs, slamming him face first into the apron – triggering memories of Regal/Mysterio last month. Back in, Mendoza tries a suplex, but it’s spun around and snapped into a neckbreaker instead. A springboard guillotine is on point, but Mendoza kicks out at 2. Juvi starts in on the chops, but Mendoza no sells, so Juvi hits a Frankensteiner and hangs on … for 2! Mendoza comes back, and the boys battle to the top corner buckle, trading blocked suplex attempts until Juvi just crotches his opponent. The Firebird Splash ends matters at 4:06. Mendoza has no business anywhere near WCW’s Cruiserweight division. *1/2

JIMMY HART, KEVIN SULLIVAN, and JACQUELINE decide to take over the announce booth for some reason. You know, why the hell not? The nWo proved the announcers are a bunch of easily intimidated slugs, you may as well. They’re here to brag about Sullivan’s dominance over Benoit at Superbrawl, and show off Jimmy’s disgusting new jacket – a personal valentine to Jackie and Kevin that reads “Too Legit to Quit”. For the love of god, it’s been like a year, can we settle this already?

MIKE ENOS (1-4-0) vs. DEAN MALENKO (9-3-2)

The announcers spend the entirety of the entrances justifying why they ran away during the last segment, and once they take some real time to explain it … they come away looking like even bigger pansies than ever before. It’s because, and I swear I am not making this up, freakin’ Jacqueline is the toughest person, male or female on the entire roster, and Tony wants NO part of that. “THIS LADY IS TOUGH!” cowers Schiavone. Enos surprises Malenko with a surprise attack as he goes through the ropes … and that’s pretty much all he gets, because Malenko’s no longer the Iceman, he’s Mr. Intensity! Enos is choked out repeatedly, with Malenko breaking at 4. You should only get a cumulative-5 count for the match, it would save a whole lot of scumbaggery. With Enos sufficiently brain dead, Malenko starts to work over the knee, cumulating with a particularly nasty kick while Enos has his leg draped over the guard rail. Back in, Malenko goes for the kill, but because Enos is BIG, he throws Deano with a belly to belly overhead … and his knee collapses from the move. Malenko latches on a grapevine like a swamp leech on Wil Wheaton’s plums, but Enos makes the ropes. A crossbody off the top sees Enos roll through for a surprise 2-count. He follows with a short arm lariat, but Enos then trips over himself because his leg is shot, and Malenko goes back to kicking the crap out of him. The referee forces a break, which causes Malenko to get in his grill, and Enos scoops up the small man during the hysteria. Of course, given he can’t put any weight on it, Malenko calmly hooks forward into a small package and scores the win at 4:29. *1/2

Dean grabs the microphone, and you can hear the world let out an audible groan. Dean reminds us he’s a great technician, but if there’s one thing he’ll excel at, it’s beating Eddie Guerrero. Honest to god, why is he allowed to speak 3-times a week? Couldn’t we give some of that time to, oh I don’t know … say “Lord” Steven Regal and ask him what the latest word on Fit Finlay’s unsolved disappearance is?

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is joined by ERIC BISCHOFF because RAW is about to start. Bischoff extends his thanks to Lex Luger, and is happy to put the nWo title belts against all of WCW – and given he’s the most powerful man in the company who is single-handled responsible for the most destructive force in the world, he demands the fans show him the respect he deserves. Cheers erupt, but it’s because DR. HARVEY SCHILLER has appeared. Bischoff is all smiles and greets his boss. Schiller asks Eric if he really believes he has unlimited power, and Bischoff is quick to point out that based on his contract that he’s the Executive Vice President, so yeah. Schiller asks if he really believes he can arbitrarily fire referees and strip titles at will? Eric gets a little defiant, and tells him absolutely. Schiller, in turn, is more than happy to suspend him. This means no financial transactions, no power, no phone calls, and quite frankly, he doesn’t even want to know he’s been in the men’s room at a WCW event. Schiller walks off with a desperately pleading Bischoff hot on his tail. Dr. Schiller’s an interesting cat – I’ve doled out a few dozen suspensions in my time, but I can’t remember ever doing it in front of the entire staff (and customer base), nor can I recall ending the meeting by not escorting the person out of the building myself. I gotta get me a job in ‘Murica – it looks like a whole lot more fun!

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (10-2-0) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (10-3-2) (for the WCW United States title)

Sonny shows himself to be the real millennium man, by stopping on the ramp to take selfies with himself and the Dragon! Of course, he’s using a disposable Fuji film camera – but he’s still a good 15 years ahead of his time. You may recall that Dragon suffered his second loss of the calendar year on WCW Pro over the weekend, in a match where he tried to steal Glacier’s Super Helmet. Alert WCW historian Dr. Unlikely was quick to recall this wouldn’t be the last time:

Here we see Sonny Onoo trying to get his hands on the helmet, and just two years later, he'd be brokering a deal to get his charge, Kaz Hayashi, to buy the helmet for $25,000. Again we see, there is nothing you can possess, which Sonny Onoo cannot take away.

Say what you will about WCW, but this incredible attention to detail is the kind of intricate booking that’s sorely lacking on today’s programming. Dragon changes gears tonight, looking to claim the US title so he can cover up some of his nekkid spots that were previously taken care of by the giant collection of belts he is no longer in possession of. Guerrero leads the fans in a “USA” because he has no pride. Dragon strikes first, hitting a vicious Frankensteiner, followed by glaring at the entire world. Eddie comes back with a rana, but Dragon sends Guerrero packing to the floor, where Onoo is waiting with an onslaught of kicks. That just serves to piss Eddie right the hell off, but he stays focused on the match and opts not to chase Sonny around the ring. Back in, Dragon hits his martial arts kicks which drops Eddie, and he then follows with a myriad of punts to the kidney which HAS to smart. A spinning heel kick sets up a crossbody, but Eddie rolls through, hooks the ropes, and scores an illegal pin at 2:50. Dragon wuz robbed! *

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants a word with the champ. Eddie says he’s a man of pure intentions, and he’s tried to apologize to Malenko, but it’s clear it’s not accepted. DEAN MALENKO storms the ring, because you can never have too much Dean Malenko. Malenko won’t stand by while Eddie gives the fans a … EXCUSE ME? Oh – he said Snow Job. The alternative would have been quite the undertaking. And they yell.

MIKE TENAY and BOBBY HEENAN join Tony in the booth while Larry fades into Bolivian. Tenay is all smiles because Bischoff is out. Bobby suggests if you want to see Eric in person, just head on over to the unemployment line tomorrow. I … don’t think that’s how a suspension works, Weasel.

MR. WALLSTREET (2-2-0) vs. SCOTTY RIGGS (5-1-0)

You know you’ve got the world by the short and curlys when Scotty Riggs gets a substantial pop. Still heartbroken from the loss of his one-and-only Marcus Bagwell, tonight he works towards finding new hope – by getting down with Marcus’ new best friend, Michael Wallstreet. Tenay tells us that Bagwell is tearing up “The Orient” with Masa Chono, and won’t be with us for awhile; and to be honest, I’m cool with that. Wallstreet dominates the early going, which means the match moves at a snail’s pace between moves. After dropping a leg for 2, Wallstreet moves to his signature move: the rear chinlock. Riggs fights to his feet and breaks loose with an Ace Crusher, but he can’t follow up and winds up eating turnbuckle moments later. Wallstreet sets him up for a superplex, but Riggs nails a missile dropkick and follows with a top rope sunset flip for 2. With the action heating up, the fans stand up to pay attention to the entrance because … HEY – Mike Tenay lied, MARCUS BAGWELL hits the ring for the DQ at 4:30. If I can’t trust Mike Tenay, I have nothing.

Meanwhile, WCW “claims” LEE MARSHALL is on the road for 1-800-COLLECT, in Panama City to hype next week’s show at Club La Vila – but given what I just learned about Buff Bagwell’s whereabouts, I’d venture a guess to say he’s actually snuck into La Parka’s dressing room here in Atlanta. Marshall tells us that the good people of Panana City have banned Bobby Heenan’s thong, since it’s “too much Weasel and not enough material”.

RODDY PIPER heads out to a thunderous ovation, the first time we’ve seen him since Randy Savage inexplicably joined the nWo after months of Hogan torturing him passed the breaking point of insanity. Piper starts off by reminding us he’s put Hogan to sleep twice now, and the only reason he’s not the champion is because he got completely blindsided by Savage’s turn. He won’t be speaking Gaelic tonight (thank Christ) – but instead declares full scale war against the New World Order. He recognizes he might need a little help, so with the help from the fans, he’s going to call on some potential guys.

SOME GUY comes to the ring to face Piper, and is locked in a chicken wing and taps in less than a minute. The fans boo him out of the building, and … that’s a wrap.

Next up, we’ve got … SOME GUY – but thankfully I recognize this one. Yes, it’s Roman’s brother, the much more useless LUTHER REIGNS. He comes out with some surprisingly good power stuff, but Piper slips behind him and puts him to sleep in under a minute again. He gets a bit of a better response, but the consensus still boos him to death.

Up next, we have SOME GUY who looks about as generic as generic gets.

Thankfully, he’s stopped by SOME HAIRY GUY with Seth Rogan’s hair and body type. This one wants a boxing match, and Piper’s game, because he just so happens to have a pair of gloves stuff down his shorts. Don’t judge; who amongst us doesn’t carry our sports equipment on our junk? Big Hairy hangs in there with Roddy, and even decides to try to apply a grapevine for some reason. Piper decks him with some quality hooks and the guy just keeps on coming – making this guy clearly one of the freaks that he wants the fans to rally behind but they’re having none of it. Piper declares a draw, but the fans give him the thumbs down despite Piper trying like hell to keep him in the game. Piper gets on the mic, begging the fans to vote for this guy, and then starts the brawl again. Tony: “We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of our sport!” Eventually, this stops.

Our segment continues – because here comes SOME GUY! I kept trying to place him, because he looks like one of those big uglys that WCW loves to push on the D-shows, but it turns out that he’s just kick boxer that Piper knew. Like the boxer, Piper clearly wants this guy to get over, and gives him a fair bit of offense – but his pants won’t stay up and the big guy spends every 8 seconds hiking them up. His selling is atrocious, doing this fake-ass head shake on Piper’s punches, and he nearly kills Roddy on a gorilla slam that he has no idea how to perform. Piper decides he wants him on the team, while the fans continue to boo this out of the building. And remember – these are people who were hot for Jeff Jarrett and Hugh Morrus in the opening segment!

Finally, we’re joined by SOME GUY. Ok, to be fair, this one is JOHN TENTA, and the fans are happy to see him because at least they KNOW him. Tenta no-sells an eye-poke, and he goes for a chokeslam before SOME GUY #4 and SOME GUY #5 save the day. Piper breaks up the melee, and declares the rain in Spain has fallen – and this is his family.

I mean … holy shit. This got nearly 20 minutes of air-time! A collective crew of 5 unknown wrestlers, and John Tenta who we haven’t seen since he was wrestling Carson City Silver Dollar on a Pole matches against Big Bubber are going to main event the next pay-per-view against the nWo. I can’t decide if WCW’s arrogance has reached the point where they actually believe they can put ANYONE on pay-per-view and break 1.0, if Piper has so much control over his own booking he decided to get his friends a nice pay-day, or a combination of both. Either way, as a multi-million-dollar touring company, this is beyond unacceptable. It’s insulting to the fans in the arena, the fans at home paying money, and … well pretty much everyone except Vince McMahon. While Souled Out was a pitiful display, I could understand that WCW genuinely believed the nWo might be able to exist as its own entity and at least make the attempt. This, on the other hand, is the moment where I can see the cracks really starting to develop – where it became clear that Bischoff was enjoying sucking his own kneecaps so much, he decided to see how it might feel to shove his head up his own ass. You want the start of the downward trajectory? This is it, right here. Slow, inoffensive in the short-run, but a sign of what’s to come.

MR. JL (1-8-0) vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (8-3-2)

JL is coming off his biggest (and only!) win of the year, beating Billy Kidman on Pro! But, don’t get too invested because …

PRINCE IAUKEA wants to weigh in! See, he grew up on “The Island”, and never did he believe he’d be TV Champion. And, now that he is, Rey Mysterio deserves another shot at the title. Wait, what? How does him growing up on The Island have anything to do with that? This company has far too many microphones – let’s keep them away from anyone currently in contention for the TV title except for Steven Regal, shall we?

Meanwhile … oh who cares, WCW doesn’t, so neither do I. West Coast Pop wins it at 4:05.

Up on the ramp, MADUSA, looking incredible tonight, is with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. She reminds us that she trashed a world class title to come to WCW, and she can’t even got on TV because Bischoff is more invested in himself than anyone else. She wants the shot at Akira Hokuto’s belt – but before we can expand on that, she’s attacked by LUNA VACHON up out of the blue. Well heck, there’s a surprising addition to the roster. Nothing will come from it, because WCW has no idea how to book women, but it’s a nice thought.

After the break, we’re joined by THE NEW WORLD ORDER, including Bischoff (who is not doing himself any favors with the boss by being here), and shockingly, STING. Bischoff starts off by telling Schiller that he can’t be fired because he and Hogan are friends with “Ted”. Hogan tells the Doctor that he’s out of his league, just like Roddy Piper and the other guys “suckin’ wind”. Savage says Piper’s got mental problems, which got a laugh out of me. Sting stays in the corner, silent and unmoving the entire time, but still with the nWo.


Tony declares the Steiners’ “great shape” as the reason they bounced back so quickly from their car-flipping accident a few weeks ago. I guess it’s taboo to suggest an out of control Perc addiction got them back so quickly – but at least it would be more believable. Rick takes the fight to Luger in the early going, but that just fires Lex up, and he runs over Steiner with a clothesline. Rick comes back with a powerslam, and Scotty tosses him with a nasty belly to belly suplex. A double underhook Steinerbomb somehow doesn’t leave Luger crippled – and he manages to tag out to the Giant. A big boot levels Scott, and an elbow drop gets 2. Rick blindly tags in, and hits a top rope sledge behind Giant’s back, before both guys work to suplex the big man together! All 4 guys get in each other’s faces, just as THE NWO make their way through the crowd. Everyone stops dead to watch – before challenging the entire nWo to a fight together. They get backed by RODDY PIPER and THE FAMILY, and the fans are electric, desperately wanting the nWo to get creamed in what is finally looking like a fair fight. The fans break into a “WE WANT STING”, collectively praying together that he’ll come to his senses and save WCW. Of course, just as the nWo hits the ring … WE ARE OUT OF TIME!

What an electric ending! After nearly a year of build-up, and now standing with near unlimited power, we’re reaching the point where WCW needs to start clawing back some of its power. Whether that comes from Sting finally showing he’s on WCW’s side once and for all and challenging for the belt, or DDP dropping the big guns, or even Lex Luger being anointed WCW’s favorite son and saving the world, the fans are absolutely ready for some positivity and to have the nWo show a little ass for a change. The iron is hot … now’s the time to strike.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

WCW Worldwide: March 2, 1997

It’s finally Sunday – meaning we’re dropping the biggest pro-wrestling show of the week … yes, it’s WCW Worldwide! And tonight, our wild lineup includes stars like The Amazing French Canadians, Harlem Heat, and … wait, what the hell, Arn Anderson?!? How bloody long has THIS show been in the can?

The worst part about this news is that we’re not going to be able to check it out together, because my copy of the show is actually cut short halfway, thanks to the miracle of VHS running out of space. NOT cool, 1997.

TONY SCHIAVONE and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN talk Arn Anderson’s return. They acknowledge he’s injured, but Heenan said he’s not a pansy like so many of these guys who sit on the disabled list, and this isn’t going to keep him away. Errrrrrr, this is awkward.

THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (1-6-0) (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. J. DRAYTON and LONNIE JAY (0-0-0)

Parker’s not even dressed up like a Revolution-era Colonel, so I’m going to figure this show was taped at some point in the last decade. Rougeau demands the fans stand for the National Anthem, which they promptly butcher the hell out of; a lesser crime than Tony and Bobby talking over the entire thing. Incredibly, they finish on their own terms, which should give you an idea of how jobberific their opponents are. I feel obligated to screen cap them just to prove to you that I haven’t invented this horrible team.

Heenan tries to decipher the meaning of “Plowboy”, and continues down this road of speculation long after Tony corrects him. Ouellette flattens him with a vicious looking clothesline, and then Rougeau throws Jay into the corner forcing him to tag in Drayton. Drayton circles Rougeau, stalking him … completely missing the bulldozer attack from Ouellette, sending Heenan into a laughing fit. Even the Colonel gets in a couple of free shots, right before they finish matters with the Quebec Crash at 2:04 while Heenan chokes for air. *


Tony finally admits that we’re showing a pre-recorded match, because the referee here is JIMMY JETT, who was fired by Eric Bischoff last Monday. Of course, he makes it abundantly clear, only THIS match is pre-recorded – and by golly everything else is LIVE LIVE LIVE (or, was, at some point in the 18th century). Then he calls High Voltage a “great young tag-team”, spewing lies at a higher rate than Donald Trump. Rage shows a little fire, but he can’t make up for the utter uselessness of Kaos, who’s entire moveset seems to consist of various elbow drops. Rage drops a leg, and Kaos … drops an elbow. We finally get a hot tag to Sonny Trout, and he clears the ring for about 4 seconds until High Voltage remembers they’re scheduled to win, and Rage gorilla presses his buddy on top at 3:56. DUD

We get a rehash of the Malenko / Lee Marshall interview that already aired on Pro. Next!


Something stinks – and it’s emanating from Buck. This is our inadvertent main event. Chavo tries a crucifix, but Big Smell falls backwards like a Samoan drop. Chavo holds on regardless, and gets two by rolling through. As he applies the armbar … our tape hits the end of its spool! A quick google search reveals Chavo took this one down, while Harlem Heat fought Benoit and Anderson to some sort of draw – which we can safely assume was a five-star classic, and cemented Stevie Ray as the greatest athlete of our generation.

Alas, that brings us to the end of this weekend’s run of jobber-heavy programming – so we’ll have to make due with Nitro until we get more. Tough life, for us pre-recorded junkies.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

WCW Pro (Syndicate): March 2, 1997

I fully intended to write this piece on Saturday night. I had just woken up, and planned to order some food and watch a little WCW. The indigestion made me re-think any plans of eating, and I decided to wait until it passed before getting my day started. 5 days later, here we are.

The indigestion, it turned out, was a gall stone, and the discomfort quickly ratcheted up the pain charts from “ugh, I need a Tums” to “SWEET MOTHER OF GOD IS SUICIDE AN OPTION?” Within hours, I was in a Filipino hospital, underdoing surgery to remove my gall bladder before it burst.

I was released yesterday, after they had decided that they had kept me there about as long as my insurance was willing to pay them for (which was about 48 hours after I’d begged to go back to my hotel) – and after spending the day catching up on sleep, we’re … right back to where I was on Saturday, ready to recap 20-year old syndicated WCW programming that was originally viewed by about 8 people. I’m still uncomfortable, but that’s just because I had a wad of gauze jammed into my belly button. I’ve got food in my system, so let’s party like it’s 5 days ago!

Yes, I totally recapped WCW Pro already, but WCW, being WCW, decided that on top of needing an edition of Pro for the North American audience, that an International edition was also required. Apparently, the choice of jobber match you air is critical to the success and well being of your operation, and it varies from region to region. I don’t have a ton of the syndicated episodes, but what I have, we’ll watch.

Like the American version, CHRIS CRUISE is left to lust over DUSTY RHODES, while LARRY ZBYSZKO lurks like a voyeur in the shadows.


Dusty declares “Calo” his favorite of the Cruiserweights – and what’s not to love? The immobile hat, the perma-glasses – the guy is a rock star. Unfortunately, he’s nowhere to be seen here. Juvi and Psychosis are still a relatively untapped tag-team, but they’d wind up working together regularly over the years, and from memory had some pretty stellar team chemistry. Everyone gets full entrances much to my delight, and the fans dutifully give Ciclope and Galaxy a THUMBS DOWN as instructed by the producers. The heels attack before the bell, but the faces take over quickly and nearly put it away with a sky twisting leg drop from Psychosis, getting a very close 2. Dusty finds new love in “See Clo Play”, who spends most of the match walking around outside the ring, while Galaxy takes a sick rana from Juvi while simultaneously taking the electric chair from Psychosis, and the good guys take it down at 2:00. Sick stuff in a compact little match. *1/2

LEE MARSHALL fondly recalls Gene Kiniski’s claims to be the greatest wrestler to come out of Canada, before introducing CHRIS JERICHO who he believes may challenge that title. Bret who? Jericho tells Lee he certainly isn’t the greatest wrestler of all time, nor does he believe he possesses the skillset to be, but he’s getting stronger and more knowledgeable. I hate this wiener version of Jericho so much – I can’t even believe this is the same guy who’s going to be the hottest heel act in the company in a year from now.

ALEX WRIGHT (8-4-0) vs. JOHNNY SWINGER (0-2-0)

Cruise compares himself to Alex Wright, being that he’s the youngest announcer in WCW today. He fails to mention they’re also both unbearable, and nobody would shed a tear if they never saw either one again. Swinger is so named because he swings his hips, which you’d think a guy like Wright would find particularly appealing – but the 5 o’clock shadow might be a little more butch than he prefers, and Wright steps in for a fight. Of course, for Alex Wright, that means a series of hiptosses, armbars, and European uppercuts. Swinger drops a leg for 2, which disappoints Dusty because he was ready to run (yeah ooookay Dust) down to ringside and point him to the pay windah since he doesn’t know where it is. A top rope kneedrop misses, and the pain causes Swinger to emote. Wright finishes with the German suplex at 5:15. This was about 5 minutes too long. DUD

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (9-2-0) vs. THE CHEETAH KID (0-3-0)

The fans erupt into a “USA” chant right away, which I guess means they’re backing MARK CURTIS here. This might be the most WCW match ever; where on their 7th most important TV program, they’ve got the reigning and defending TV champion under a hood, masquerading as a 2nd rate jobber (as opposed to a 2nd rate jobber with a belt). Dragon works a nerve hold, because when I think Cruiserweights, I think transition moves. Cheetah gets a small package for 2, and that’s all Dragon’s giving him. A dropkick to the face is no sold by Dragon, and he fires back with an enzuigiri, before finishing with the Dragon suplex at 3:07. *

LEE MARSHALL wants to pick DEAN MALENKO’s brain, specifically addressing rumors that Malenko wants to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Malenko confirms he’s thought about it (shocker) – and that the bigger the opponent, the harder they fall.

Elsewhere, Kevin Nash flags down an ice cream truck, and orders a Vanilla Midget.

DISCO INFERNO (3-3-0) vs. JIM POWERS (with Teddy Long) (1-2-0)

Disco doesn’t appear to be motivated tonight, half heartedly going through his disco moves during the entrance. Even freakin’ WILDCAT WILLIE is putting on a healthier display of charisma.

Dusty’s saying Powers needs this win “real bad”, because he’s on the edge of losing his spot by the pay windah. Does he have gambling debts? An army of children? An irate Dr. Zahorian coming to collect? This is actually a rare matchup on this show where I have no idea who’s going to take it down. I assume Disco has the upper edge, but they keep playing this push cocktease with Powers and those blue balls are set to explode. Powers dumps Disco to the outside, which upsets the dancing machine because his hair is out of place. Back in, Disco misses a slingshot senton (whoa – where did THAT come from?), and Powers puts him in a headlock. Power slams Disco’s head into the buckle ten times, and then throws him with a fairly dangerous looking overhead belly to belly that nearly cripples the Inferno. Of course, this is the 90’s, and it only gets 2. Powers misses a charge in the corner, jamming up his knee, and Disco locks on the Last Dance – which he’s FINALLY figured out without the instruction manual! Powers won’t tap, but Long hits the ring and calls it off for his client, giving Disco the win at 4:31. *

BILLY KIDMAN (2-5-0) vs. CHRIS JERICHO (9-2-0)

Kidman is coming off one of the most embarrassing losses of the year, dropping one to Mr. JL who hadn’t won a match since the New Kids were together. Today, that would have him on the cusp of getting future endeavored, but in late 90’s WCW, he’s still solidly above 78% of the roster. Jericho ain’t one of them, however, but they’re looking to put on a good little show, trading dropkicks. Kidman boots him in the midsection, but off the follow up he eats a gutbuster and Jericho takes over. A front vertical suplex gets 2, and Cruise suddenly decides to bury Kidman, pointing out he’s been “out wrestled, out gunned, and out matched in every match he’s ever had”. Ease up tiger, he DID beat perennial #1 Goldberg contender Jerry Flynn on the February 16th Worldwide, he’s not ALL bad. Kidman sneaks in a small package for 2, but that just sets Jericho off, connecting with a backbreaker and holding it in place. Chris even shows a little of his future aggression, demanding the referee “ASK HIM” if he quits, repeatedly. Kidman comes back with a dropkick to set up a tornado bulldog, but it only gets 2. Kidman goes for a crucifix, but Jericho just falls backwards in a Samoan drop, hits the Liontamer, and finishes with the missile dropkick at 4:27. Good stuff from both guys here. **

Cruise drops a quick reminder to order the Uncensored pay-per-view on March 16th, and calls it a night. And so will I – my antibiotics and sleeping pills are kicking in.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WCW Pro: March 2, 1997

It delights me to no end that I’m able, in 2016, to post a review of a WCW C-level show from 1997, featuring the re-emergence of a relatively unknown lower card player from the mid 80’s NWA (dressed in his much less famous ridiculous costume), and have you at full attention.

Mr Money On The Table: Lasertron....fucking Lasertron. In 1997! Wow. I used to like him a lot in 1987. Not because of his wrestling skills or anything but because just like three year old me, he played Lazer Tag too.

Bettis: In 1997 we still have Bunkhouse Buck, Col Parker, and the reemergence of Lasertron from a 10 year hiatus? Love it.

BigDaddyLoco: Reading through this I really thought Top Gun vs Braun Strowman would be a match that I needed to see, but then Lasertron walked into my life and I am now torn.

Guys, as much as we all want to believe this is the start of something special, given we all share fond memories of Lasertron and … whatever the hell it is Lasertron represents, I’m sad to inform you that to the best of my (and Wikipedia’s) knowledge, this is a one and done. We’re going to see Guerrero again, and if it turns out that another Lasertron appearance sneaks its way in via Worldwide or the re-emergence of WCW Prime then we’ll celebrate with laser pointers and corrective vision surgery, but old Hector wasn’t a big fan of WCW management and wasn’t prepared to sign on longterm with a group he didn’t respect. Unlike, say, Lanny Poffo, Hector still had his pride.

We’ve managed to put together the last of the missing WCW puzzle pieces, and effective immediately, WCW Pro has been added to the rotation! I know it’s been a wild journey, and keeping this historical perspective in check while missing out on this critical staple has been challenging – but I now proudly sport the entire 1997 WCW collection from top to bottom.

CHRIS CRUISE lives! Smartly, WCW has kept him with DUSTY RHODES, and just to add to the car wreck, they’ve tossed in LARRY ZBYSZKO for good measure. Yes, a program being watched closely by several families in the mid Carolina region somehow has the budget for three announcers. I miss everything about the WCW experience.


Hardbody Harris (or Harrison, depending on the week) is often confused with Hardwork Bobby Walker for god knows what reason, but Harris is the one we’ve been waiting for. Currently serving time for human trafficking (pimpin’ ain’t easy!), Harris was detailed in Chris Jericho’s first book as basically being the most delusional person in a company that was top heavy in that department. Desperate for TV time, he pitched a ton of ridiculous ideas at the wall, with two standing out. First, he wanted to feud with Sting. Hey, if you’re gonna make a play, go for the top guy, and that’s a fine place to start. However, his story was that he was going to paint his face black and call himself Stang. I love the idea of Hardbody banging out a few extra reps in front of a body length mirror, and convincing himself “Stang is money”.

When that was thrown into the reject pile (later Vince Russo’s office), a never dejected Hardbody went to work on his next idea, and this one couldn’t miss. He was going to feud with the red-hot DDP, and to do that, he’d start by stealing DDP’s crystal ball. What crystal ball? Oh, the crystal ball DDP was going to start carrying to the ring because of Reasons. This crystal ball was going to mean more to Page than the urn to Undertaker, and Hardbody would taunt him with it right through to their inevitable record breaking pay-per-view showdown. It was at this point, Harris would take the crystal ball, and throw it into a piranha tank! DDP, realizing he had only one choice, would dive in after the crystal ball, and be eaten by piranhas.

How none of this was green lit I’ll never know (though he probably should have pitched that during the DDP angle he’d have been Stang), but Hardbody Harris is going to live in infamy for all the right reasons between now and the end of this match. Which, unfortunately comes fairly quickly, cuz we’re in the midst of a 5-year push for Morrus where he dominates jobbers but never does anything to warrant a higher or lower place on the card, and in usual Morrus fashion, he wins with No Laughing Matter at 3:18 while cackling all the way back to the Dungeon of Doom which is somehow still a thing. Match highlight: Cruise gushing over Harris’ body. 1/2*


To this point I’ve completely ignored Cruise hyping the “return” of a former tag-team champion tonight, but it turns out he was referring to Bunkhouse Buck – who I’d be far more shocked to see if he hadn’t appeared on WCW television as recently as 16 hours ago. In fact, the Southern Posse are the more unlikely pair to appear, last wrestling together on the 01/05 Worldwide – though both Trout and Thames have worked as singles since then.

Still, they work like a well oiled machine for about 30 seconds, working over Buck with a series of quick tags and strong punches, but a boot from Buck turns the momentum over for good. Cruise talks about the great teamwork of Buck and Enos, because they successfully performed the dreaded double … Irish whip. Enos nails a neckbreaker, setting Buck up to knock out the opposition with his violent musk - a lethal combination of moonshine, campfire smoke, and the leftover glow from fully clothed high cardio sex in a canvas tent in the 100-degree midday sun. Enos finishes with the electric chair at 2:51. DUD

BILLY KIDMAN (2-4-0) vs. MR. JL (0-8-0)

JL might not have any wins this year, but it doesn’t matter because … HE’S A GROWLER! Whatever that means! He’s actually 1-1 without the hood, but I guess he’s more interested in keeping his identity a hot secret, so the lucha outfit stays. Kidman goes for a tornado bulldog, but JL tosses him aside with a little bit of force, and Kidman hits the deck to catch his breath. JL doesn’t let up, hitting a plancha off the buckle to the floor, and heads in to finish. Unfortunately, he misses the dive, and that lets Kidman head up – but a well timed dropkick stops Kidman in mid-air and JL’s back in command. JL sets Kidman up in the corner, snaps off a DDT from the top rope … and scores the unlikeliest of pinfalls at 2:18! Dusty points out this is a fairly significant upset which both the other guys blow off, meaning Rhodes is the smartest guy in the booth. Jesus Christ, we’re in BIG trouble. *

VILLANO 4 (1-2-0) vs. KONAN (with Jimmy Hart) (6-4-1)

Apparently this match was recorded back in the dark ages, because Cruise starts discussing the fact that this weekend is the 50th anniversary of women having the vote, which sparks a debate in the booth somehow. I won’t give away the identity of the misogynist who, in 1997, is arguing that women need to have their right to vote taken away, but his name rhymes with Barry Nabisco. I’d say more, but Konan takes care of business like a woman in the kitchen (AMIRITE) with the double leg slam and 187 at 2:01.

THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (9-1-0) (with Sonny Onoo) vs. GLACIER (3-0-0)

Holy major matchup – where the heck are my clear cut underdog bottom licking $25 rent-a-jobbers? Glacier even gets his full 74-minute entrance. I’m … genuinely intrigued by this because I can’t for the life of me figure out what the bookers are going to do here. Is this where they pull the plug on the Glacier experiment, or do they actually have the cojones to job out one of the Cruiserweight division’s genuine jewels on their 4th most important television show. Both guys trade martial arts move, ducking and dodging away until Glacier connects on an enzuigiri and bounces around like he’s Brock Lesnar. Where the heck has this guy been? Dragon fires back with some brutal kicks, and locks on a sleeper. Glacier gets to the ropes, so Dragon chops him down and then hits an enzuigiri of his own for 2! Glacier gets up and hits a tilt-a-whirl slam, but Onoo trips him up and Dragon knocks him to the floor. Onoo starts launching a nuclear assault with the karate kicks (which are no-sold), and the referee immediately calls for a DQ at 2:04, as Glacier grabs Onoo by the throat. Dragon saves, and Onoo tries to steal the 4000-year old helmet – but Glacier rushes him, and Onoo tosses it back instead of eating the fist buffet coming his way and beats the hell out of dodge. This entire segment was perversely entertaining, and brilliantly done to save face for both guys.

I think I could get used to this show!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WCW Saturday Night: March 1, 1997

I’ve been stationed in the Philippines for work since the beginning of August, and one of the biggest adjustments, as someone who has never been outside of North America, has been getting used to the food. The Philippines is relatively Americanized, but their palates slant heavily towards sugar. I assumed finding spicy foods would be a snap in any Asian country, but it’s not the case here.

Desperate to mix things up, I was at the grocery store looking for hot sauce. I ventured into the Ethnic Food aisle, containing all sorts of imported brands like “Oreos”, “Heinz”, and “Pop Tarts”, and checked out the sauces. Tabasco is often the only heat available, but I prefer a more vinegary base, like Frank’s. A helpful store clerk saw a confused tourist, and eagerly appeared at my side to assist.

“I’m looking for Frank’s” I informed him. He was clearly overtaken by confusion, but I figured I’d press on. “Hot sauce,” I clarified.

He pointed to the tabasco, looking proudly at the problem he’d just solved.

“No, Frank’s red hot, it’s different” I explained. The quizzical look made it clear hope had run out. Still, I couldn’t help myself. “I put that shit on everything!”

“Maybe I don’t understand, sir” he sheepishly told me. “Fair enough!” Rats.

I’ve been able to get by with weekly trips to a local Indian place and gorging myself on the chicken biriyani – but the second I touch back on North American soil, I’m making a bee line for the closest Buffalo Wild Wing and ordering the hottest thing on the menu.

That was my Saturday. And – in the world of WCW, it’s also Saturday … NIGHT! We take a quick look back at the end of Nitro, where friggin’ Sting turned his back on the company and joined the nWo, because apparently they don’t know when to quit.

From deep in the bowels of the Cyborg Factory, aboard the Mothaship, DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE remind us that the tag-team titles have been returned to the Outsiders because fuck you that’s why. Rhodes is cool with it, because Luger gave them back on the condition “leth’s fight” – you know, as opposed to what he’d done to WIN the belts. Also, Macho Man is nWo for no apparent reason.

HIGH VOLTAGE (2-4-0) vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (with Jimmy Hart) (5-2-1)

Well if there was EVER a way to welcome me back to the world of recapping, opening up with the greatest tag-team in the history of the universe is a fine way. I could do without High Voltage, but I have high hopes for their impending demise. For some reason, Meng decides to let Voltage tee off on him for a solid minute, before hitting Rage with a back drop suplex. The mighty Barbarian tags in and goes wild on Rage. Kaos leaps in with a springboard something, but Barbarian turns it into a slam. Both guys throw manic punches in the corner, and I’m just waiting for this to turn into an outtake from the Temple of Doom. KALI MA SHAKTI DE! The clubberin’ means someone best get a Kleenex for Dusty, but we don’t judge here. Kaos hilariously tries a sunset flip, and Meng kicks him in the face while saying, and I quote, “haw haw haw haw haw ho ho ho ho”. Rage gets the hot tag, hitting Meng with a ton of moves that are completely no sold for my amusement. A springboard crossbody gets 2, broken up by Barbarian half assing a kick to the back. Meng easily hits a sitdown powerbomb, and follows with a catapult into the Kick of Fear from Barbarian for the easy win at 5:01. Eighty-five stars, one for each of the Tongans it would take to wipe out ISIS without any weapons in hand.

MARK STARR (1-6-0) vs. LA PARKA (2-3-0)

Starr has been on a nasty losing streak since he quit his cushy union job and no longer had the backing of Local 1103. Of course, Parka hasn’t fared much better in 1997, suffering from a bad case of WWL (Wrestling While Latino). The safe bet: Sid Vicious runs in. Parka levels the big man with a clothesline, and a spinning heel kick sends the former Man at Work to the outside. A suicide spinning heel kick catches Starr in the temple, and a top rope flying body attack gets the win for the Skull Captain at 2:04. The canned heat is livid. 1/2*


Buck’s continued ability to wrestle is incredible, given I swear he was shot and killed by Burt Reynolds’ bow and arrow in 1972. He looks Chris Jericho over like he’s Ned Beatty, and charges in hungrily. Jericho side-steps, and puts him in a headlock. Buck powers out, but eats a spinning heel kick. Buck comes back with a boot to the face, and he claws at Jericho’s nose.


Buck mounts Jericho from behind – but Jericho is able to somersault backwards and dropkick Buck in the chest! Buck quickly wraps his arms back around the young man, leaning in close, and whispers sweet nightmares into Jericho’s ear.

Jericho backdrops loose, and an atomic drop leaves a throbbing pain in Buck’s groin. Missile dropkick finishes at 3:39. Jericho celebrates his win with a 45-minute hot shower and years of therapy. *

Meanwhile, CHRIS CRUISE is in Atlanta, Georgia, calling into the show via 1-800-COLLECT because he’s too cheap to write off the quarter as a business expense. And why? The update: Nitro is coming in 2 days, and he’s going to be there. YOUR WCW money hard at work!

JIM POWERS and BOBBY WALKER (with Teddy Long) (1-0-0) vs. DOC DEAN and ROBBIE BROOKSIDE (0-1-0)

I miss WCW and their roster of 4,812, where even the jobbiest of jobbers could get managers and undefeated streaks because somehow, there’s an even LOWER tier of jobber. Doc Dean probably deserves better than this, but he’s not even the most wasted talent on this show, so no sympathy. Dusty wants to know why Brits are so skinny, theorizing they don’t have food in England. While he chews on that (and several slices of pizza), Walker hits a headbutt off the top for the inevitable at 3:12. 1/2*

HUGH MORRUS (8-3-0) vs. TOP GUN (0-0-0)

HOLY CRAP! TOP GUN IS BACK?!? And it’s not even an imposter – it’s clearly the real deal, with the letters “TOP GUN” lovingly affixed to his tights with athletic tape.

I’m so in awe of Top Gun. Through his flabby, non-athletic body, lies a man … a flabby, non-athletic man, sure, but here he is – going toe to toe with Hugh Morrus! Of course, he’s not doing very well, pretty much getting his ass kicked from here to the Dungeon of Doom, and his paltry offense is met with hearty laughs. Morrus goes to unmask the mysterious man, and THAT seems to light a fire under the gun, as he delivers … well, something. Then Morrus slams him and hits No Laughing Matter anyway, getting the win at 3:28. He still lasted longer than CM Punk. Morrus calls out the Horsemen, reminding him there’s 4 of them, and a lot of himself. Morrus might be better served just shutting his mouth and heading to the pay windah. DUD


Juvi doesn’t usually wrestle unless there’s a title on the line that he’ll never win, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect here. A spinning heel kick sends Mendoza to the floor, and the camera proceeds to completely miss Juvi hitting a slingshot guillotine all the way to the outside mats! It looked like it probably looked great! Back in, Mendoza hits a rana, and follows with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Juvi reverses a whip to the corner, but misses the shoulderblock and crashes violently into the ring post! Mendoza hits a suicide dive through the middle ropes, and moves Juvi back in for the kill – but it’s Juvi who snaps off a rana for 2! Mendoza heads up, but Juvi cuts him off with a super Frankensteiner to secure what Tony calls “yet another win” at 2:53. Mendoza sucks; I’d ship him back to AAA and ask for Villano V instead. *1/2

SCOTTY RIGGS (4-1-0) vs. SUPER CALO (1-6-0)

Riggs might be in need of an Employee Assistance Program, because he continues to enter to American Males and clapping away, despite being dumped at the altar months ago. Take off the ring my man, it’s time to move on.

If you saw his eyes, you'd know he was dead inside

Calo is sporting his fancy winter toque – always a classic. Riggs, clearly a man without an identity, starts chanting USA for some reason. Calo is locked in an armbar, but Riggs is more concerned with brushing the hair out of his eyes instead of making the man tap, and it costs him as Calo gets loose and works the arm. Riggs is kicked in the face, and Calo follows with a sidewalk slam. A springboard crossbody nearly steals the win for the luchadore, and when it fails, Calo sends Riggs to the floor. A hands free senton bomb to the floor is on point – and MORE impressively, the hat and sunglasses NEVER BUDGE! This man is either the smoothest MFer in Mexico and spends his nights parting women’s legs like Moses, or he’s got an awful case of glaucoma and might want to find a more suitable career. Either one is in play. Riggs staggers to his feet just in time for a flying Calo to flatten him with a crossbody from the buckle to the floor, and he moves back in the ring for the kill. Riggs blocks whatever Calo had planned, and runs him over with a clothesline. A flying forearm gets the win at 3:21. I mean, on one hand, Calo brought it, showing immense talent, a wide array of high flying moves, and a ton of charisma, but on the other, Riggs is white. *

LASERTRON (0-0-0) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (9-3-2) (in a non-title match)

On one hand, you have the opportunity to promote a brother vs brother affair, and hope to get a swanky little match that’ll please the smarks watching this at home. On the other hand, you could slap Hector Guerrero inside of the second most ridiculous costume of his career.

It’s hard to argue with their decision, quite frankly. Eddie hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Lasertron comes right back with a headscissors. Guerrero with a Frankensteiner, and Lasertron hits the outside to throw a violent temper tantrum, nearly getting counted out. Back in, Lasertron offers his hand of friendship, but Eddie wants no part of this, so Lasertron jams his thumb into Eddie’s eye. A bodypress gets 2, as does the subsequent backdrop suplex. Eddie comes back with a sunset flip, and the next thing you know, they start rolling around the ring about 700 times locked in a parallel Oklahoma roll. Eventually they knock that off, and Eddie hits a top rope rana before finishing with the Frog Splash at 4:36. Dusty is so impressed he spends the post-match talking about how great Lasertron looked. **

LEE MARSHALL has pulled DEAN MALENKO aside in the locker room, because despite possessing more charisma, the nearby bath towel isn’t as eloquent a speaker. Dean says a few “individuals” aren’t showing him respect, and you KNOW he means business, because his eyebrows move a little. Syxx is eventually gonna get his, but he’s gunning for Guerrero’s US title first. Don’t hold back or anything, Deano.

My copy of the show goes to hell at this point, saving me from hearing the Public Enemy and Lee Marshall banter away. Unfortunately, it recovers in time for the main event.

THE PUBLIC ENEMY (with table) (5-1-0) vs. THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) (1-5-0)

The only positive thing I can say here is that thankfully, all of these guys were contained in just one match as opposed to two. Grunge tosses around Ouellette for awhile, but then we stop to dance while the Colonel cools Carl down with his signature hanky. Back in, the Canadians team up to stomp away in the corner, before Rougeau tries pull Grunge’s dank ass hair out of his head. The fans chant for America while the Colonel gets in a few licks behind the referee’s back. A double hotshot causes Rougeau to ask “WHAT ABOUT THE YOU ESS EH NOW EH?” That’s a pretty deep question, one I’d have to defer to a philosophy student working on their Masters degree. Rougeau slams Ouellette onto Grunge for 2, and smacks Rock for a few laughs. Unfortunately, the distraction lets Grunge take out both Canadians with a burst of energy, and after a slow crawl, he manages to make the hot tag. Tony lets it slip that Rock hasn’t seen any action to this point, making him a good Christian lad waiting for the right person, or helplessly unconfident. All 4 guys brawl, with the Canadians eating a pair of atomic drops. Both guys take 10-count face slams to the buckle, but Ouellette comes out of the corner, swings wildly … and hits his buddy by mistake. The Enemy goes for the Drive By, but the Colonel whacks Grunge in the belleh welleh, knocking Rocco backwards and through the table outside the ring! For some reason, the referee feels this warrants a DQ at 6:33. TPE are declared the winners, but it’s the Colonel standing tall, waving the Quebec flag with defiance. VIVA LA FLQ! 1/2*

Tony and Dusty go to wrap matters up by speculating on Sting’s motivation. Dusty believes that there’s still some good inside Sting’s black soul, and he’s hanging on to the straw with dear life that he’s still with WCW. We turn to the video evidence which seems to indicate otherwise, but you know what would really help? If Sting would just get over his butthurt and tell us what’s on his mind – it’s been 6 months already! It’s time to man up. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. And go on a date with Scotty Riggs.