Saturday, September 24, 2016

WWF Shotgun Saturday Night: March 1, 1997

We are joined in progress (on a TAPED show?!?), with THE LEGION OF DOOM standing in the crowd, shrieking about Wrestlemania and Chicago. They intend to be at the Granddaddy of them All, but they’ve got some stiff competition to crack to break into that lineup; what with the New Blackjacks, Flash Funk, The Sultan, and The Headbangers all vying for spots of their own. The star power has never been stronger headed into Wrestlemania!

VINCE MCMAHON roars us into the wild, wild Shotgun Saturday Night, hyping HUGE moments on the way, such as the debut of Miguel Perez! Unlike Savio Vega, Miguel IS Puerto Rico! JIM CORNETTE joins him in the announce booth.

CRUSH and SAVIO VEGA (with PG-13, D’Lo Brown, and a Well Dressed Man) vs. GOLDUST and MIGUEL PEREZ

Perez and Vega immediately take to throwing haymakers at each other, because when you accuse a man of NOT being Puerto Rico, you cross a line! Perez continues to sport a carpet on his back that would make Albert jealous. Eventually, the PR war settles down, and we’re left with Goldust and Crush. Goldust seems to take a particular fascination to punching Crush in the face, and I’m left to wonder if he’s trying to cop a feel at the penis drawn on Crush’s head. Perez heads back in, and with Vega on the outside, he’s able to connect on a tope con hilo! Back in, Vega fights off the Brillo pad and tags in the dick head. A belly to belly is delivered with some trash talk – but even though words hurt, it only gets 2. Crush sends Miguel to the floor, where Vega happily throws him into the ringsteps. Crush tries a pin, and Vega even slyly kicks Perez’s leg off the ropes, but the referee catches him in the act and gives him a stern scolding. Perez goes for a sunset flip, but that just sets Crush off, stomping away like a Thwomp block. Vince, sensing this might never end, calls for a commercial.

McMahon’s intuition is strong, and we return with Crush hitting a nice spike piledriver for 2. Vega and Crush start trading quick, illegal tags, which Cornette applauds. Perez tries to show a little fire, but a huge right hand from Vega knocks him back on his hairy, hairy ass. Crush hits a powerslam and drops the leg, but his ego takes over, pulling Miguel up at 2. That costs him, because on the follow up, Perez hits a DDT and makes the hot tag to Goldust. A really contrived double noggin knocker is delivered, and everything breaks down into an all out brawl. As the referee works to keep Perez on the apron, Crush nails Goldust with a chair, and Vega’s limp body is dropped on Goldust for the pin at 10:42. Miguel Perez grabs the chair and wallops both guys over the skull because he’s a poor sport. Still, sportsmanship or not, Perez managed to keep this out of the negative stars, which makes him a modern day Ric Flair against Savio Vega. *

After about 15 minutes of re-hashing all the ECW action from Monday, KEVIN KELLY welcomes THE UNDERTAKER to the ring to discuss his impending title shot at WrestleMania. Taker insists that the show be referred to as “WrestleMania the 13th” moving forward, which draws gasps and oooooh’s from the production truck. He says for years he’s represented causes instead of championships, but the creatures of the night have called to him, and they want the belt. No matter what Sid is prepared to dish out, he can take it and more. Fairly sure Sid called Taker’s bluff on that point.

HENRY O. GODWINN (with Phineas I. Godwinn) vs. BLACKJACK BRADSHAW (with Blackjack Windham)

Given this was taped the same night as RAW, would it have killed them to trot out, say, Taz, to flatten some random jobber instead of this? I realize you’ve gotta take care of your own, but when you’ve literally got a choice of Blackjacks and Godwinns, maybe you call an audible. After nearly 2 minutes of gruelling action, both guys are lying around the mat, playing dead after a vertical suplex. They eventually stagger up, hit simultaneous clotheslines, and Vince begs for a commercial.

Henry is mid-powerslam when we return, and gets 2. Cornette urges Henry to finish this soon, since Bradshaw allegedly has better stamina – at least according to locker room snitch Brian Christopher. Godwinn hits the Slop Drop, but Windham breaks up the pin. Phineas protests, so the referee turns his attention to calming him down, and the Blackjacks make an illegal switch. Henry, dumb as a post, never notices, and he walks right into a small package from Windham at 4:37. Windham immediately rolls out, slaps on a hat, and the referee never notices the difference … until INSTANT REPLAY allows him to reverse the decision! It was a fair oversight, given the only physical differences between the two are age, 40 pounds, height, and completely different faces. The Blackjacks are ANGRY, and … walk right into a beating from the Godwinns. Go away, all of you. DUD

Before we leave, Vince once again sends out his heart to his significant other who is currently recuperating from a series of traumatic, but still unknown issues … TELL ME A LIE, SHAWN MICHAELS, AND SAY THAT YOU WON’T GO! At this point, I’m convinced they’ve just got this running on a loop to see how far over the edge they can push Bret Hart.


One more reminder that this Monday is the finals of the European Title tournament, NONE of which we’ve seen on TV to this point – but apparently the Bulldog and Owen Hart will be squaring off. Guess we’re not saving that one for Mania; but it COULD trigger the end of their relationship for good if things go sour.

Friday, September 23, 2016

ECW Hardcore TV: February 27, 1997

To say ECW just had their biggest night ever is an understatement. Just 3 months earlier, an epic display of bad judgment had left the company on the verge of financial ruin. Between the impending lawsuit from Mass Transit’s camp that, on paper, looked like a slam dunk, and seeing their pay-per-view opportunity sliced and diced with New Jack’s exacto knife, the cult company looked like a sure bet to be done within months.

However, through the grace of Vince McMahon, who himself was on the cusp of bankruptcy, Heyman managed to keep afloat as he continued to knock at the doors of the Pay-Per-View industry. Somehow managing to sweet talk his way out of the incident in Revere, Barely Legal was green-lit for April 13th. Finally, with most of the WWF roster on tour in late February, and RAW newly beefed up to 2 full hours, the two companies were able to come together to fill TV time and make a little magic on one memorable Monday night.

This week’s Hardcore TV is the first since their big moment – and … it looks like we’re getting highlights from CyberSlam, which I recapped previously. CyberSlam didn’t air on TV though; it was a special fan convention show featuring Q&A’s and the like, and the only way to see the whole deal was to buy the eventual VHS release – so airing this on Hardcore TV and picking up any extra momentum that may be carrying over from RAW seems like a fine decision.

We kick things off with SHANE DOUGLAS running his mouth at THE PITBULLS; and run it he does, getting censored every two and a half seconds. He’s more than a little pissy that Pitbull #1 compared him to Shawn Michaels; the only man in the country that might have more hate for Shawn than Bret Hart. He suckers them into bumrushing him on the stage, where THE TRIPLE THREAT is waiting in the shadows to lay down the beats.

We then slide backwards into the opening match, which saw THE ELIMINATORS defending their tag-team titles against SABU and ROB VAN DAM in a match that you’ll either love, or hate, with no in between. I fall into the latter, because there’s nothing I hate more than watching guys lie around waiting for everyone else to make sure they get their spots in. This came across as unrealistic as it ever gets; which is sad in a sport that already forces a certain suspension of disbelief from the word go. The Eliminators retain here, with a Total Elimination pin on Van Dam. I gave this one *1/2; which in my subsequent viewing here, might have been generous.

Next up, TRACY SMOTHERS makes his ECW debut again TAZ, and he wines and dines with the boo birds just for being a pretty boy bitch. Taz wins the crowd over by completely destroying him, and Taz is actually a fascinating guy to look back on. He’s a short little fat guy, who in any conventional wrestling sense would NEVER be given a shot to succeed – but by being allowed to run his pissed off New York mouth and then back it up in the ring with a zillion violent looking suplexes, with the announcers selling him as the toughest, most dangerous man alive, he wound up being the marquee player in this company. It’s both incredible, and a reminder – the look isn’t as important as the man and the marketing.

We’re given some fresh content, with a promo from CHRIS CANDIDO. He said he grew up admiring Terry Funk, but he’s grown sick to death of hearing about him in ECW. Candido breaks into a hilarious impression, by taping up his forehead, and crying about his family. “I was the NWA Champion in 1977 when Freckles Brown fell off a cow…”


Candido says he’s ready to go through a table to show how tough he is … or rather he would, if he didn’t have a growth on his back that sorta hurts right now, and he doesn’t want it to get infected. He says he’s also willing to take a thousand chairshots to the face, but then backtracks, because he’s got a puppy that’s been travelling with him lately, and he needs to be able to walk it every morning, so he can’t risk that. With all that said, he promises he’s still a legend … because he’s Chris Candido.

Finally, we’re given the start of the RAVEN and BRIAN LEE team taking on TERRY FUNK and TOMMY DREAMER. See, I would have run by airing all of THIS instead of the tag-team match at the top, because this was a thoroughly entertaining 20 minutes that got a half dozen different storylines involved, including the Fullington’s being dragged in to the mess. Unfortunately for Raven, Tyler finally escapes from the cult-like hold he’s had over him, and re-unites with his father, who proceeds to beat the ever loving shit out of Raven with his cane, and somehow winds up getting the pin despite not being involved in the match. It’s a violent mess of soap opera crap, but it’s the best kind of “can’t look away, this is actually kinda riveting” crap. Raven’s ability to weave a story in the ring is at its peak at this point, and the former Johnny Polo is actually starting to look like one of the most well polished workers in the entire world.

That’s a wrap for this one. However, if you’re hungry for more fresh blogging by me, you can visit capital-eats.com, which is my restaurant turned travel guide, currently chronicling my time in the Philippines, my home for the remainder of 2016.

Next up, the weekend approaches, and that means we’ve got Shotgun nestled in with a pile of WCW B, C, and D shows, my bread and butter. Ladies and gentleman, I’m home again.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

WWF RAW: February 24, 1997

It’s incredible how quickly the entire direction of a company can change in the blink of an eye. Just two months ago, we were being prepped for a second kick at the can of Shawn Michaels as a main eventer, this time being ordered to cheer for him because he’s sick and hasn’t even had the strength to shave, and is deeply in love with Jose Lothario and Vince McMahon but not necessarily in that order. He appeared to be headed into a collision course with a whiny Bret Hart for a Wrestlemania Rematch that would hopefully top the previous years’ battle (in quality, and not, heaven forbid, time). Meanwhile, Steve Austin was being a pesky little shit, Mankind just wanted to be wanted, Sunny was having sex with Elmo (bringing a whole new light to the line “Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away” from my childhood), and Faarooq refused to stand for the National Anthem. Everything was status quo.

Then Shawn Michaels lost his manhood smile, and just like that, everything was turned upside down. What was nice about matters back then, is that everyone had intricate backstories, and previous relationships weren’t forgotten about dependent on their current heel or face status. Steve Austin had been the Internet Troll that was calling Bret Hart on message boards for nearly a year, and even though Hart would show up from time to time to mop the floor with him, Austin never stopped. Even while Hart was focused on Shawn, Austin never stopped being himself, including cheating to win the Royal Rumble at Hart’s expense (and pushing Bret further down the road to insanity). That allowed the company to cash in their insurance policy, and when Austin screwed Hart out of the title on last week’s RAW, it became clear that this was full on war and wasn’t going to stop until somebody was dead.

Good story telling like that doesn’t exist any more. When Michael Cole and JBL try to convince us that the wrestlers ARE telling stories, they’re not, because they behave like cookie cutter video game carbon copies of human beings. Being a face means you dress with the faces and become friends with all the faces. Being a heel means you’re angry a lot, and are willing to hang out with other heels. There is absolutely no room for error in this formula in the modern day WWF, where backstories are immediately forgotten when that frown turns upside down. Tight writing, and identifiable people breeds success. That’s why THESE shows are about a year away from kicking off the most ridiculously hot, dominant era of wrestling in history, and the modern shows are putting up the kind of ratings that would have had them out of business in the mid 90’s, before digital media saved their bacon.

So that’s where we stand, headed into tonight’s show, which is taking place LIVE from the Manhattan Center in New York City. VINCE MCMAHON is happier than a Godwinn in a pig pen to be back on his home turf; highlighted by the fan holding up a napkin that reads “BISCHOFF SUCKS” behind his head. JERRY LAWLER is also here, reminding us that he called out ECW last week, and against all odds, they accepted his challenge and are in the audience.

THE GODWINNS (1-3-2) vs. THE NEW BLACKJACKS (0-0-1)

The Blackjacks debuted on Shotgun, getting into a gruelling 2-minute draw with the Headbangers before the Godwinns ran in. The fans have been waiting with bated breath, and immediately greet the mustachioed twosome with a hearty “BRADSHAW SUCKS” chant. I love that Windham, who has been stinking up arenas for the last half decade gets a complete pass, because at least he’s not Bradshaw. Phineas takes a beating from Windham for about 25 seconds, but feels like an eternity, before he’s able to turn the tide and tag in Henry. A little trickery allows Bradshaw to dump Henry to the outside, where Windham is waiting with a soup bone. Elsewhere, KEN SHAMROCK causes Jerry Lawler to have an orgasm. He swears they go wayyyyyy back, buddies for years. Phineas gets the hot tag, and locks Windham in a sleeper. Bradshaw uses this time to set up the Clothesline from Hell, but even though Phineas gets his foot on the bottom rope, the pin is counted at 5:53ANOTHER REFEREE shows up to act as the attorney for the Godwinns, but the assigned referee isn’t having it, so Henry dumps slop over his head. Lawler crows that the Godwinns are facing a suspension, while the ref slips and slides through the slop. And I mean that literally, they served their whole suspension while the ref was in the slop, cuz this is the 90’s and anything goes! DUD

As the ring area is cleared, THE ELIMINATORS hop the guard rail and give Total Elimination to a random ring attendant! PAUL HEYMAN is hot on their heels, and screams at Lawler that the challenge has been accepted. Lawler just stares on, shocked, like a cow at an oncoming train. Vince eloquently sums it up as “the King’s answer has been challenged!” I miss bumbling McMahon in the booth.


LITTLE GUIDO vs. BIG STEVIE COOL (with Da Blue Guy, Hollywood Nova, and 7-11)

Heyman joins the announce booth, adding a cool factor RAW hasn’t had at the table since Heenan left. Lawler calls the bWo a total ripoff, causing Heyman to put Jerry on the spot and ask exactly whom or what they’re ripping off. The entire table goes into an awkward silence, and I love it. Thankfully, RAVEN breaks up the tension by just showing up, and the distraction lets Guido snap off a rana for 2. Stevie hits the floor, and Raven just stands over him looking intimidating until Guido rolls Richards back in.

Backstage, GOLDUST says he’s the real star, while ECW is just a B-movie at best. He’s then cut off by technical difficulties. Lawler snipes that they’re actually having technical difficulties in the ring.

A corner powerbomb from Guido gets 2, while Heyman says he doesn’t care if Goldust is heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, that as long as Marlena comes along with the package, he can be whatever he wants. That’s as close to tolerance as we’re getting in 1997, so kudos to Heyman for kinda sorta being okay with it. Vince stops to plug La Femme Nikita while Richards warms up the band and hits the Steviekick for the win at 3:41. Lawler: “Big deal, I’ve only seen Shawn Michaels do that to like a thousand people”. Heyman: “The difference is, Big Stevie Cool has never lost his smile.” OH SHIT SON! *

Because this show isn’t already surreal enough, they opt to trot out THE HONKYTONK MAN. He shares his excitement to officiate the upcoming match, getting an audible “YOU SUCK” from someone in attendance.

SUNNY vs. MARLENA (in an arm wrestling match)

Sunny orders the fat, ugly fans in attendance to get a look at a real woman, and strips down. If she’d decided at this point to sign with Vivid instead of waiting until 2016, she’d have made enough money to make Vince McMahon her bitch. Meanwhile, Marlena’s still smarting from being beaten up by what Sunny describes as a “big beastly woman” last week – and we quickly relive Chyna’s debut. Marlena refuses to do the “smart thing”, and won’t forfeit here. Sunny refuses to lock up, going through a series of poses and warm ups, wasting tons of time. Once she’s finally ready, Marlena pulls away, and she’s threatened with a DQ by Honky. And finally, we’re treated to the ever intense arm-wrestling match that’s had us all on the edge of our seats. They go back and forth, and just as Marlena’s about to win, Sunny pulls a handful of coke out of her cooch and tosses it into Marlena’s eyes! SAVIO VEGA appears, and begins to stalk the blinded Marlena, but GOLDUST rushes in for the save and slams Vega’s face into the arm-wrestling table.

SAVIO VEGA (3-3-1) vs. GOLDUST (3-4-0)

This became an official match during the break apparently, and the ECW fans in attendance are ecstatic – chanting about anything except what’s happening in the ring. Meanwhile, the legendary MIGUEL PEREZ, who you may remember was on WCW Worldwide as recently as last night (winning his match by tossing his opponent’s salad), has defected and joined the WWF to express his disgust at his fellow countryman, Savio Vega for his disrespectful behavior of late. People can talk about the Lex Luger jump all they want, but for sheer impact, it’s hard to top this one. Vince wants to get the pulse on the streets of Puerto Rico, and Perez says Vega is shameful, and Savio is “no longer Puerto Rico”. Strong words! Strong, confusing words! Meanwhile, CRUSH has attacked Goldust on the floor, and despite being the size of a Mack truck, the referee doesn’t see it. Savio rolls Goldust in, and the pair get into a slugfest. Vega, determined to keep his streak of negative star matches alive, takes Goldust down with a nerve hold, and keeps it in place for about an hour. Finally, Goldust fights loose long enough to walk into a mule kick for 2, and Vega goes back to the nerve hold. Goldust eventually goes low to turn the tide, while Sunny bounces her boobs on the ring apron. He heads up to finish, but Vega crotches him and goes for a superplex. Goldust fights him off, but now Crush trips him up, so Goldust hits the floor and slugs him. Goldust gets some momentum, but D’LO BROWN distracts him, and Crush decides just to hit the ring and cause the DQ at 8:24. Miguel Perez leaves the announce booth, and drops Vega with a missile dropkick to save the day. They couldn’t have sent THESE guys overseas with everyone else?!? -**

Lawler heads to the front row to interview KEN SHAMROCK, who he keeps calling the “Ultimate Fighting Champion” which is a half-truth; he’s a FORMER Superfight Champion, which he’d dropped to Dan Severn nearly a year earlier, a title that has since been morphed into the Heavyweight Championship currently held by Mark Coleman. Lawler wants Shamrock to give props to their friendship, and Shamrock just looks at him sideways and tells him “I don’t even know you!” Lawler insists Shamrock admit he taught him all the submission holds he used to win fights, and Shamrock calls him a straight up liar.

MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. TAZ (with Bill Alfonso)

Heyman does the intros, reminding us that Taz “main events” Cyberslam against Sabu on April 13. Everyone needs to be taking notes on how to promote the hell out of your shows, because Heyman is a master. Lawler asks McMahon if any of this is embarrassing him; but Vince reminds him it was HIS stupid ass who invited them here in the first place. Taz runs through his suplex repertoire on poor Mikey, who’s on the wrong end of a Northern Lights, a rear salto suplex, and a double leg slam. For some reason, SABU decides to enter the fray by jumping off the bloody RAW set and diving onto security! He storms the ring, but never gets there before getting carted off, and Tazz finishes with a Tazplex and Tazmission at 3:32. Vince calls it a big win over “Mickey Whipwreck”.

THE HEADBANGERS (3-1-3) vs. THE LEGION OF DOOM

The fans lose their collective shit over LOD making a surprise appearance here, and despite stinking up WCW’s tag-team division most of last year, they’re still legends. Mosh starts doing his stupid dance thing, and he can’t even finish it before Animal’s had enough of that and starts beating him down. The fans start a “NITRO SUCKS” chant, a shockingly unified show of respect for LOD. Vince gloats that they’ll never censor fans here, and encourages them to say, do, and bring whatever they want to the arenas. What the hell happened to THAT guy? Animal violently powerbombs Mosh on the back of his head, but Thrasher saves, allowing Mosh a greater likelihood of suffering from CTE. “BISCHOFF SUCKS” scream the fans, while Hawk dropkicks Mosh for 2. A rear naked choke goes nowhere, so Hawk goes back to the classics, and hits a standing vertical suplex instead. Mosh fights back, which Hawk sells for about 3 tenths of a second. Thrasher comes in, and Hawk misses a corner dive, eating post and giving the Headbangers a little hope. Vince isn’t having this, and calls for a commercial!

During the break, the Headbangers remained in control, but we’re back just in time to see Hawk hit both guys with a clothesline and make the hot tag to Animal. Mosh eats a powerslam, and everyone hits the floor to square off. Hawk suddenly realizes the count is getting late, and dives in, but he’s not in time and we have a double countout at 7:49. Mosh is hit with the Doomsday Device anyway, making me wonder why the hell they couldn’t have made THAT the finish instead? It’s not like the Headbangers looked strong by not “losing”. *1/2

Obligatory “TELL ME A LIE” video is played. Vince encourages us to send cards, flowers, anything, as Shawn prepares to undergo … therapy for his lost smile. I’m not even joking, this is legitimately what’s happening right now. If this was part of their plan to Pansy Shawn Up, then this is amazing writing – but I can’t give them that much credit because they initially brought Shawn back as a babyface, legitimately trying to use this to get him even more over as a sympathetic character.

D-VON DUDLEY (with Sign Guy Dudley) vs. TOMMY DREAMER (with Beulah McGillicutty)

Lawler wants Heyman to kiss his royal feet for giving ECW more exposure to their impending PPV in one night than they’ve had in their lifetime. Dreamer and D-Von hit the floor, where Dreamer grabs a cane from a fan and slams it over D-Von’s back. Lawler: “That’s some wrestling for you.” Vince hopes things don’t get out of hand, and Heyman says he’d welcome that. Dreamer sets up the ring steps on the apron, and dropkicks them into a stumbling D-Von. Dreamer tosses the steps in the ring, and Vince questions what’s happening here. “Oh, they’re wrestling, Vince” explains Lawler helpfully. D-Von is handed a chair by Sign Guy, while Lawler loses it on Heyman now, saying he’s never been ashamed to be a wrestler, even having the mayor of Memphis offer to tag with him someday. However, when he looks at the crap in the ring like this, he’s ashamed to be associated with it. Heyman: “YOU’LL NEVER BE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS!” Lawler has been masterful at helping ECW’s cause, completely believably working everyone by using legitimate arguments against the company – and in turn only making the rebels want to jump on it harder still. Dreamer nails a spike piledriver and finishes with a DDT at 4:30. BUBBA RAY DUDLEY rushes in and helps his brother with a beautiful 3-D, while a drunken SANDMAN doesn’t even have time to put down his beer before showing up. The trouble is, he stops to finish his beer first, and the Dudleys beat his ass. That doesn’t last long, and a chair turns the tide, with Sandman teeing off on their skulls.

Back at the announce booth, Lawler orders Heyman to get the hell out, so Heyman tries to jump him, causing the entire ECW locker room to run to the bosses’ defense while a defiant Lawler stands on the announce table, wildly taking shots at anyone who dares to get too close. This is uncontrolled chaos at its finest, and the fans are going ballistic.


After working out the mess during the break, Lawler says he didn’t instigate any of this, and promises if ECW ever shows their faces again, he’s going to shove his fist down Heyman’s throat. What’s so incredible about all of this, is that they legitimately could have run with a WWF / ECW war and made millions, but opted not to and STILL turned the company into a juggernaut. I want to call this a missed opportunity, but given how things are going to turn out, it’s more of an interesting “what if” than anything.

TODD PETTINGILL is now asked to interview KEN SHAMROCK, since Lawler’s got no credibility. He introduces his wife Tina, and father Bob, and … I don’t really care. Shamrock’s asked to comment on the Undertaker / Sid match at Mania, and he figures Undertaker’s got better balance, so he’s going to take it. He can’t pick a winner in the Austin / Bret submission match, so Pettingill asks the crowd instead. Austin is given a roar, while Bret’s name is booed loud enough to hear up in Canada. The times are a changin’ …

FAAROOQ (4-1-0) (with PG-13, Crush, D’Lo Brown, Savio Vega, and A Well Dressed Man) vs. THE UNDERTAKER (4-3-1)

Faarooq stops on his way to the ring and invites Shamrock to get in the ring and show us what he’s made of. Shamrock says he’d be willing to step in the ring if it was legit one-on-one, but Faarooq doesn’t know how to fight without his army of goons. Vince feels this is the PERFECT time to tell us all about La Femme Nikita! Of course, given the Undertaker needs 20 minutes to get to the ring, he’s probably not wrong.

Faarooq decides to use delay tactics and runs around the ring, but Taker wastes no time in taking out D’Lo and catches Faarooq. Back in, he goes Old School right away, before clotheslining Faarooq back to the floor. Faarooq uses the time to regroup for a minute, but Taker winds up right back in control. The announcers start to hype next week’s show from Germany, and Lawler asks if McMahon knows the language. Vince says thankfully more Europeans are bilingual, and Lawler disgusted answers “yeah, I’ve heard that about them.” Phenomenal.

During a quick break, the Nation interfered with vigor, and it seemed to be the only thing that kept Faarooq on even footing. He hits a chop block to take the dead man down, and gets 2. Taker comes back with a fameasser(!), and gets 2! A legdrop misses, and Faarooq attacks the legs. The fans chant “YOU STILL SUCK” – which isn’t fair. He NOW sucks, he USED to be great. We move to the chinlock, and Faarooq cheats liberally. Taker battles back, but a powerslam gets 2 for Faarooq. He heads up, but Taker catches him on the way down and uses Faarooq’s own momentum to slam him. He clears Nation debris from the apron, but D’Lo hangs around to pull down the rope and Taker hits the floor. Faarooq grabs the stairs, but Taker patiently waits on his side of the ring and kicks them back into Faarooq’s face. It doesn’t quite have the same impact after seeing Dreamer dropkick them HARD into D-Von earlier. Back in, Faarooq hits a surprise spike piledriver, but Taker sits right up, and that draws the Nation for the DQ at 11:32. Sigh. THE LEGION OF DOOM rush in to help clear the ring, which wakes the crowd up from their 15-minute nap – and that’s how we close out this fairly historic show. 1/2*

The WWF was completely outclassed on their own turf tonight. I doubt anyone would have faulted Vince for taking a long, hard look at his own roster and contemplate cutting his losses with the bulk of them and running with a handful of ECW guys instead. Heyman’s Kool Aid was being guzzled by the gallon, and these guys were ready to show the world how badly they wanted it, while the WWF dopes were left just showing the world how bad they really were.

As mentioned earlier, it’s a shame this never got a chance to bear fruit in the long run, because given the chance to really “compete” (as opposed to the modern brand extension), this could have really been something. The problem with cross contamination, of course, is that neither side wants to look bad and someone (usually the team with the most money) will wind up dominating the other in a one-sided war … so it’s probably best that they stayed away. The nWo worked because WCW was prepared to show ass. Vince has never been willing to do the same.

We will never see anything like this in a modern wrestling capacity. WWE’s publically traded status simply wouldn’t allow for intra-brand cross-over, and the potential of anyone going rogue on their flagship show. It’s actually a little mind-blowing Vince was ever open-minded enough to allow it to happen to himself, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and with WCW putting his head in a vice, Vince did what he needed to. Of course, the right move might have been to have a show in the can before sending your A-listers overseas; but in terms of a backup plan, this was pretty smokin’.

Back to business next week, with the real roster in Germany as opposed to the half-wits in New York tonight. We’ve got an incredible match on the horizon – possibly the best ever in the history of RAW, with the crowning of the first ever European Champion.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

WCW Power Hour: January 30, 1993

Before we delve into this week’s edition of the Power Hour, I need to address a particularly disturbing charge that was levied my way in Scott Keith’s most recent Nitro recap.

Right on the cusp of the second hour of the September 30th edition of Nitro (join the discussion now by using hashtag JerrySagsAsshole on Twitter!) that I might have taken a great deal of pleasure in a random Hugh Morrus / Brad Armstrong match.

Scott – I thought we had something special. I thought we knew each other. For you to so hurtfully, and WRONGLY accuse me of being drawn to an Armstrong brother is something I am not sure I’m ever going to be able to get past. I hope your ad revenue is up, because I’m cashing in my Blog health benefits and taking advantage of my right to 4 weeks of covered therapy sessions. I’m open to couple’s counselling, but it might get ugly.

My bread and butter is the jobbers; which is why I take this so personally. I like to believe that they congregate in their own world, the WCW Power Plant, not unlike the Dungeon of Doom. A land where you must be invited to enter, a place you must obey a short underqualified leader, a location where the water is not hot. The plant is actually home to the Cyborg Machine, which is just left of the Mothership and a block from the Pay Windah. Typically starting with Ricky Morton’s hair as their base template, the crack team of Buddy Lee Parker, Jack Boot, and the Leprechaun work diligently to create embarrassing wrestlers who have no business headlining their county fair, let alone appearing on national television.

No sir, Brad Armstrong brings me no joy. It’s the real men, who stick out like a sore thumb, who are forced to change their names to “Valentino” so as not to upset the Hammer, that really make me happy. Scott, I expect you to do a few things for this blog for the damage you’ve caused.

1 – Please review the gallery below to fully understand what constitutes a real jobber.




2 – Stop dodging the topic of “Montreal” and answer the damn questions once and for all.

3 – Please log on to Candy Crush Saga and send a free life to Dougie; he does not appear to have one.


*****

This week on the Power Hour, a huge rematch is scheduled, where Cactus Jack gets one more crack at Paul Orndorff. Half of that match sounds phenomenal.

TONY SCHIAVONE, fresh from the shower and wearing a shirt made out of leftover cyclist spandex welcomes us to an exciting morning on the Power Hour. LARRY ZBYSZKO is here, but is thinking about golf.
                                                                                                                                       

BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN vs. MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL and BRAD ARMSTRONG

Bagwell and Armstrong have come together through a hometown connection of Marietta, Georgia, which carries more credibility than the modern of system of “hey, I’m a babyface now, we’re friends”. Austin and Pillman move in to beat the shit out of them before the bell, but with peaches and cream and the clear running through their veins, Team Georgia knocks them out of the ring. Austin’s not impressed, and screams at the ref to “TELL ‘EM BOYS TO OPEN UP THOSE FISTS, JESUS CHRIST!” Saturday morning programming! Pillman tries to level Armstrong with a double sledge, but Brad dodges and drives a closed fist into his midsection. Cheater! A hungry Austin gets the tag, and he squares off with Bagwell. Buff gets in a few moments of glory before Austin simply catches him and holds him steady for Pillman to drop an elbow on his head. Pillman calls for the end, but Bagwell blocks a big splash off the top with a foot, and makes the hot tag. Armstrong cleans house, planting Austin with a dropkick, but the referee misses the pin because Bagwell’s being a turd. Pillman intervenes, and a double Stun Gun is all she wrote at 4:01. This was a 20-minute match on crack. **1/2

I may watch too much Saved by the Bell, because I far too quickly recognize the unnamed blonde tennis player in a Pert Plus commercial as Zack’s manager Mindy from “Rockumentary”. If you think my WCW recaps are far too long, give me a 22 minute episode of Saved by the Bell and I’ll bang out a novel.

THE BARBARIAN (with Cactus Jack) vs. TIM DIXON

This is much more my speed, yessir. Dixon hilariously decides to jump the Barbarian … who stands there and stares at him, trying to decide if he’s special needs. Eventually it’s on, and Barbarian beats him with more force than Gordon Ramsay at an omelette convention. Kick of Fear (dot com!) finishes at 1:29.

In this week’s edition of Missy Does the Mail, MISSY HYATT is … not facing the camera, and rocking out on another planet. Eventually she realizes she’s being filmed, snaps back to reality, and addresses a letter from Sonny Onoo from Mason City, Iowa who wants to party with Missy. Missy’s thoroughly disgusted at the notion of partying with someone from Iowa; hell, she won’t even hang out with Tom and Roseanne Arnold. Sonny also asks who she’s partied with. Missy refuses to tell … for about 8 seconds before insinuating she was recently double teamed by the Rock n Roll Express in Vegas.

Missy’s deviant sexual behavior during the Saturday morning cartoon lineup aside, we need to address the fact that 2 years before he tried to buy WCW from Bobby Heenan, Sonny Onoo was brought up! I should probably be completely appalled that the evil foreigner is actually from Iowa, but when he was asked about his hometown he always answered that he was from “my many homes around the world”, so Iowa isn’t that much of a stretch. I am, however, interested to learn more about his trashy white woman fetish. I just don’t see how Missy stands out from the crowd, given that he comes from a country that sold used panties straight out of vending machines (at the time – though this article will explain that industry has now collapsed in favor of the bottle of urine industry). Heenan used to claim Sonny was a man of great taste ... how can I trust anything the Brain ever tells me again? The curtain’s been lifted and there’s no going back.

BARRY WINDHAM vs. DAVE HART

Dave is the never-talked-about 9th Hart brother, and it’s largely because of the acid washed tights he’s trying to style. He has the hints of a potentially amazing mullet, but it’s just starting to sprout and has a long way to go. A jumping DDT sends Hart back to the Dungeon at 1:44.

If you thought the premature appearance of Sonny Onoo was going to be this week’s highlight – I’m afraid we’re about to get overshadowed by a tsunami.

Earlier this week, STING was invited to a party at the White Castle of Fear, and armed with an expensive TV crew and helicopter, he made his way to the Rocky Mountains. And, he seems to actually believe it’s going to be a party, because he’s antsy as hell while the copter gets moving, clapping nervously and wanting to get down. On his way there, Sting has time to mull over key questions, like does Vader really want to play a game, and is this a trap? However, there is no time to consider these rational thoughts, because through the miracle of modern television, seconds later we are landing, as Sting reviews his invitation one more time.


The “White Castle” isn’t so much a castle at all – but actually one of the back door portals that eventually became known to us as the Dungeon of Doom. Dark, damp, cold … this is clearly the first time Vader’s had a new guest at his house in years, and he’s trying like hell to impress. A large spread of fruit has been tastefully laid out, and acting as the centrepiece is his oversized horned Japanese gas mask that he sometimes wears to the ring for intimidation. Tonight is no time for intimidation … tonight is a night for friendship. While Vader is completely unseen as we pan the area, you can bet he’s pacing around in the back nervously, hoping Sting really likes the party.

Sting arrives, as a sultry blonde seductively works over an apple. More ladies lie in the mist, eagerly anticipating Sting’s arrival. Vader has spared no expensive tonight, as Dirty Dan’s Pink Kitty Escort team is out in full force, and they are fawning over Sting like a cat over a bowl of tuna. Sting heads over, arms open, as the bevy of beauties force themselves on him, and he smiles that playboy smile. Elsewhere, Vader is pumping himself up in front of a mirror, and Harley Race happens in to tell him the guest of honor has arrived. Vader grins devilishly.

Back in the party room, Sting appears on the verge of spraying whipped cream all over his dong, which might have set off an avalanche … but distracting us is a one-eyed midget, who keeps telling us that Sting needs to play the game. Back off chump, Sting’s been playing the game since he walked in, and he’s about to get more play than Wilt Chamberlain. Except … one of the girls turns to him and tells Sting that he’s about to lose the game. All the women suddenly turn their heads as the music lowers, making one evil scowl after another. Realizing he’s not going to have sex, Sting turns to the camera and tells America “there’s something familiar about all of this”.

After Vader destroys his mirror, he walks out into the party room, draped in what appears to be a polar bear rug. Needing a confidence boost, Vader asks the party goers just who the man is. The ladies, knowing who’s buttering their bread tonight, start a tripped out “Vader” chant, while the one-eyed midget gets all up in his grill and tells him “you’re the man!” Vader groans in orgasmic pleasure.

Sting compliments Vader on his place, telling him it’s very reminiscent of his personality … cold. OH SNAP, STING DONE CROSSED A LINE SON! Harley Race cracks up, telling him he’s very funny, and then asks him if he’s ready to play. Sting asks the question on everyone’s mind … what the hell is the game, exactly? Instead of answering, Vader starts uncontrollably grunting and panting, and honestly I’m afraid he’s either shitting his pants or is having a stroke.

The spread of fruit is thrown across the room, and Vader tells Sting he’s about to show him what a real strap match is … Vader style! Everyone dies laughing, except the midget, who just keeps pointing and shaking like Michael J Fox, insisting they play the game. Sting grabs a strap, and a burst of lightning sets the table on fire. Both guys go into a tug of war, while the crowd gives a half-assed chant for “Vader”. They pull and sweat, when suddenly Vader gains the advantage. Sting is being dragged to a firey death … when the world explodes!!!! HOLY CRAP! Then we’re ordered to buy Superbrawl if we want to find out how this ends!

Years later, I think we can all agree this is the best moment in the history of professional wrestling, and easily the finest sell job for a pay-per-view in history. That cliff-hanger will never be topped. Did the room explode? Did Sting eventually succumb to the fire? Or maybe did Vader let up, tell him he’s just kidding, and to go have his way with the ladies as he chooses? Seriously, I won’t know unless I shell out money to my cable provider, which seems like more of a necessity than an option.

WCW tries like hell to keep pace with the amazing segment we just saw by re-airing the phenomenal 2 Cold Scorpio video – but there’s no amount of steppin’ or truancy that is going to come close to playing the game.

PAUL ORNDORFF vs. CACTUS JACK

Cactus shoves the referee out of the way and starts violently working over Orndorff’s skull. The referee figures what the hell, and lets it ride. Jack headbutts Orndorff to the point of near unconsciousness, but a pinfall attempt only gets 2. Jack keeps on, but Paul throws a desperation knee lift and Jack is seeing stars. A faceplant keeps the advantage, and Orndorff works a choke hold. Jack throws an elbow in the face in retaliation, which seems like a good game plan. A legdrop across the ropes has a guillotine effect, and despite the protests of the referee, Jack chokes him out in the ropes. Orndorff rakes the eyes, which is just enough distraction to pull Jack by the hair, driving him head first to the mat. Jack completely no sells, and slams Orndorff into the buckle before tossing him through the middle rope. Jack charges, but Orndorff is ready and backdrops him onto the exposed cement – yikes. Jack tries to get back into the ring, but Orndorff cuts him off and suplexes the big man across the floor again! Back in, Paul drives his knee into Jack’s midsection, before rearing back with the camel clutch. Jack points his guns to the heavens, which triggers his version of the Hulk Up, the Jack Off. A series of elbows get Orndorff to release the hold, and a running elbow smash knocks Orndorff out. A backbreaker sets up a second rope legdrop, but Orndorff gets to the ropes to break the pinfall. The pair heads back to the floor, where they stagger around like drunken soldiers for awhile, leading to a double countout at 9:55. This wasn’t a particularly inspired brawl, with both guys more going through the motions than anything. Can we just move Jack on to Vader? *1/2


After a quick reminder that WCW has been brought to you by Bart’s Nightmare for the SNES, and that Missy Hyatt’s hair and makeup were done by Super Hair – 15, we sign off until 6:05pm when Saturday Night takes centre stage.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

WCW Saturday Night: January 23, 1993

JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us in for two hours of WCW Saturday Night. JR’s horned up for Superbrawl III, but he’s cut off by entrance music before he can even start running down the card.

SCOTTY FLAMINGO and BOB COOK vs. MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL and JOHNNY B BADD

For god knows what reason, Johnny decides to grab hold of his home-grown Badd Blaster, and shake it around like a low hanging maraca. Now, being the home of the Atlanta Braves, it’s entirely plausible he’s simply adjusting his junk like a seasoned ballplayer, but he seemed to be doing a lot more than a cup shift. Even Jeff Blauser, who lead the league in crotch grabs in 1993, is sitting at home wondering what in the hell he just saw. So, given that Flamingo, Bagwell, and Badd are relatively even in the pecking order, you know Cook is doing the job here. And, despite knocking Bagwell clear into spring training with a big right hand, it is indeed Cook who takes the fall from a backslide courtesy of Bagwell at 5:43. A bodyslide would have been far funnier – but Johnny already surpassed the x-rated content allowed for this program. *1/2

TONY SCHIAVONE catches up with a far-too-proud BARRY WINDHAM backstage, still giddy over costing Steamboat the US title last week. He congratulates Rhodes on winning the title by himself, as he’s always been capable of doing. Looking ahead to Superbrawl III, Windham is getting a crack at the NWA title against Muta. This has been a career goal of his, and in less than a month, all his dreams are going to come true.

“BUMBLING” BILL WATTS hooks up with JIM ROSS to talk about Rick Rude’s recent stripping … of the US title. Rude is refusing to give up the gold apparently, so despite Rhodes being the champ, he’s without the belt. Watts has a stern message for Rude: The only way he’s going to be able to keep the belt is to come back and win it from Rhodes. That … really doesn’t make any sense at all. Of course, this is the same man who banned top rope maneuvers, so he’s not exactly a fountain of brilliance. Then, channelling his inner Gene Snitsky, he declares that what happened to Steamboat was not Dustin’s fault. He trashes that lousy NFL for using replay, because they’re pure and would never overturn a referee’s decision. Except the 4000 times it happened during the Dusty Rhodes era.

VINNIE VEGAS vs. CHAD BYRD

Oh god, Byrd might be the worst looking jobber of 1993 to date. He’s been gifted Ricky Morton’s hair, Sheamus’ complexion, Roddy Piper’s 2003 body, and Debra McMichael’s ruby red lips. I would have immediately pushed him to the moon. Unfortunately, WCW doesn’t possess the same kind of long-term money drawing vision that I do, and he falls victim to Snake Eyes at 1:20. NEXT!

CHRIS BENOIT vs. JOHNNY RICH

Look, I love a young Chris Benoit and all, but WCW is positively tantalizing me with Johnny Rich! This guy smiles, and immediately becomes the spitting image of Troy McClure. This guy can’t miss! You might remember him from such beatings as this one. The fans chant boring because they’ve got lima beans for brains, but Benoit ignores them and kicks the shit out of Johnny Rich. Chris goes to finish with a crucifix, but Rich drops back with a Samoan drop, and everything changes! A dropkick gets 2! A powerslam gets 2! And just when you’re thinking upset, Benoit does a standing switch and murders the movie star with the Dragon Suplex at 4:03. **1/2

Meanwhile, inter-promotional foreigners, THE ROCK & ROLL EXPRESS, are given promo time. Morton says he’s not the same man he used to be when he was active in WCW, but just like old times, they took the SMW tag-team titles from a team managed by Jim Cornette. They become the first team from another promotion to wrestle on a WCW pay-per-view next month. I’d be far more impressed if it was The Rockers.

THE WRECKING CREW vs. THE ITALIAN STALLION and LARRY SANTO

Zbyszko gives a shout out to our new commander in chief, Hillary Clinton. He thinks he’s funny, but he’s possibly clairvoyant. I’d like to give a special shoutout to this match, featuring 4 wrestlers I couldn’t give a damn about. You’d think a gimmick like “The Italian Stallion” would be right up my alley, but given the fact he is not, and will never be Rocky Balboa, I wish he’d choke on a bresaola log. Team Ugly wins with the Wrecking Ball at 4:05. Begone terrible wrestlers. 1/2*

Of course, I am not that lucky, because the victors hang around to talk to LARRY ZBYSZKO. Fury screams about the Minnesota Wrecking Crew for some reason, before declaring themselves the new Wrecking Crew. The upshot – they want a tag-team title shot. If they lose, can they leave town, and possibly earth?

PAT ROSE vs. ROBBIE V (in an Underdog Challenge)

Robbie V is a positively adorable newcomer to WCW, armed with cute little rosy red cheeks. This guy is what grandmother’s dream of for their granddaughters.


Pat Rose is of course an old veteran, competing since 1983, known for his epic wars against the fire ball throwing Japanese legend, King Koopa. Given the odds stacked against young Robbie, this is an aptly named Underdog Challenge. Robbie ducks the initial sequence with the splits, and then snaps off an ultra-fast kick that sends Rose to the floor. Rose tries to regroup, but he takes a springboard crossbody for 2. The fans are loving the kid here, who happily appeases their cheers with a triple jump armbar, which he hangs on to and works on the mat. Rose fights him off, and uses a choke hold – going completely against the plumber code of conduct. Robbie fights off a sleeper by ducking down and driving Pat’s head into the buckle, and he quickly puts on one of his own. Rose jabs a thumb into Robbie’s eye, and might be setting him up for his finisher – jumping on his head. But instead, V hits a spin kick and finishes with a split legged moonsault at 5:54! ** About three years later, Rob Van Dam ripped off this guy’s body of work and became a star in ECW.

 Stylin’ and profilin’ from Parts Unknown, VADER, PAUL ORNDORFF, and HARLEY RACE are angry. I’m not entirely sure why – because they seem to know they have the upper hand on the Z Man and Johnny Gunn, who they face later tonight, but it doesn’t stop them from screaming and grunting a lot.

Z MAN and JOHNNY GUNN vs. VADER and PAUL ORNDORFF (with Harley Race)

Call the coroner, this won’t take long. JR’s excited for the opportunity here for Gunn and Z Man, because he’s optimistic to the point of needing an intervention. JR speculates that they should implement a game plan on not letting Vader tag in, which would be right up there with Hulk Hogan not using racist language during the social media era on the Obvious scale. Vader then tags in, roughly 30 seconds into the contest, and starts pawing at Gunn like a bear. Gunn manages to drop down to avoid a crossbody, and Vader crashes to the floor. Gunn nails him with a tope, but Orndorff is waiting in the rings to beat him off. Back in, Vader happily murders Gunn in front of Zenk, begging him to tag in, but Zenk can’t be bothered. Bored, Vader tags out and Orndorff hits a t-bone on Gunn … leaving him lying right in front of Zenk, who’s suddenly full of piss and vinegar and willing to tag in NOW. Orndorff immediately tags out to Vader anyway, and Zenk gets beaten around like a punching bag. Some of those shots look extra stiff, likely for being a total pansy earlier. He tags out, and Gunn comes in for round 2. He decides toe-to-toe with Vader is the best way to handle this, and he has his dropkick swatted away like Vader’s dealing with a mosquito. The big splash sets up the powerbomb for the win at 6:38. ** Orndorff then piledrives Zenk on the cement, because he’s fun like that.

STING is interviewed by TONY SCHIAVONE in this week’s edition of WCW Up Close. Tony takes us back to last year’s Great American Bash, which Tony calls a “fantastic night”, clearly not knowing his audience because poor Sting lost the belt to Vader that night. Sting says it was a physical night, and he tried to outlast Vader, figuring 250 pounds would have more stamina than 450. However, he misjudged Vader’s stamina, and one powerbomb later, his run as champion was over. Tony asks him to compare the Bash match to his Starrcade match for the King of Cable. Sting says he used the same strategy, just trying to wear him out. This time though, he felt Vader wearing down, and as soon as he felt him huffing and puffing, he pounced and managed to pick up the win. This takes us to the rubber match at Superbrawl, once again for the belt. But first, he needs to visit the White Castle of Fear. Sting says he knows nothing of this White Castle of Fear, but he’s played games before, defeating Jake Roberts in his own Spin the Wheel Make a Deal match. So he doesn’t really care what Vader has planned, because he never runs away from challenges. More looks than brains on that one.

2 COLD SCORPIO vs. BARRY WINDHAM

Scorpio’s role is pretty undefined at this point. He wins the lion’s share of his matches (results of this one notwithstanding), has a little flash and funk in his repertoire, but … where’s he going? It’s 1993, so he’s far too small to be taken seriously making a run at the big belts, and they’ve already given up on the Cruiserweight thing, so he’s treading water now. Tonight he’s actually drowning, on the receiving end of an extended squash. Barry brings the funny by ordering the referee “DO YOUR JOB!” following a regular 2 count. Scorpio tries a comeback, but his slingshot 450 completely misses the mark, letting Barry nail the Implant for the easy win at 5:09. Scorpio’s always got his steppin’. *1/2

LARRY ZBYSZKO has made his way to the bowels of the building, where CACTUS JACK and THE BARBARIAN are hangin’. Jack tells Orndorff that as long as his neck snaps, crackles, and pops like “a bowl of sadistic Rice Krispies” that he’s not finished with him. He suggests that if he and Barbarian show up on Wonderful’s doorstep, that he not come out and play.

Cactus Jack makes a piss poor neighbor.

TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. CACTUS JACK and THE BARBARIAN

The fans scream wildly for Cactus Jack, which he doesn’t seem to appreciate at all. Instead, he turns his attention to the match at hand, and decides to fight both cowboys at the exact same time. Slazinger gets dumped, and Jack goes to drop the elbow off the apron, but Tex rolls away as fast as he can before Foley can even take flight. The fans are a rowdy bunch, chanting now for Tex, and going wild during every one of his moves. And finally, they simply decide to over sell every move – the audience version of Curt Hennig, and let out “ohhhhhhhhh!” after every single move, adding barks when the Barbarian’s involved. Barbarian delivers the Kick of Fear to the back of Slazinger’s head, but a second one misses, and Pierce helps his buddy change momentum – including a gentle boot to the back of the head getting a loud “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Jack comes in and hits the double arm DDT on Pierce out of the blue, and we have winners at 5:17. This was awful, with no flow, but the fans were in their smarkiest glory, and I enjoyed this. 1/2*

RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. DUSTIN RHODES (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)

Rhodes has stolen one of Sting’s Sgt. Pepper jackets, which is probably gonna catch him some hell later. Or not, Sting’s a pushover. “DID YOU STEAL MY JACKET?” “No.” “Okay pal, I must be mistaken.” Rhodes works an STF, drawing a “BORING” chant – and quite frankly, they’re right. Steamboat counters with a half nelson, rolling Rhodes around for a series of 2 counts, but not able to finish. Larry calls this a human game of chess; and the biggest tell that your match is going to hell in a handbasket fast is when Larry Zbyszko is enjoying himself. The guys trade hiptoss attempts, reversing repeatedly until they fall to the floor. Steamboat doesn’t take kindly to this, suggesting that Rhodes did … something or other, and the next thing you know, they’re fighting! During a wrestling match! Well I never! Steamboat eventually bitch slaps Rhodes, and Dustin gives it right back, upsetting the referee because he doesn’t need this in the middle of a professional wrestling match. Steamboat slams Rhodes a couple of times, but his big splash is blocked by the knees. They trade some near falls, with an inside cradle nearly causing a double pin, but no one stays down for the 3. Steamboat goes for a sleeper, but Rhodes counters with a beautiful Stunner for 2! A high knee from Rhodes sets up the bulldog, but Steamboat shoves him off just as TV time expires at 9:40. This picked up towards the end, but these guys aren’t clicking at all. Sadly, their feud doesn’t appear over, so we’ll probably be forced to do this at least one more time before Windham slides back in against Dustin. **

Not much to see here, but Van Dam’s TV debut is probably worth a peak. Thankfully, our trip to the White Castle of Fear is right around the corner … play the game Sting, play the game.

Monday, August 3, 2015

WCW Worldwide: January 23, 1993

Last year, I recapped the trials and tribulations of Roddy Piper’s entrance into WCW. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There were moments when he had me in the palm of his hand, believing that he was the baddest man on the planet, and the only guy we could trust. There were moments where I couldn’t stand another second of him being shoved down my throat. And there were moments of some of the purest, most unintentionally hilarious television in history.

And it’s that last part, for which I’ll always remember Roddy Piper.

A lot of people will cite the coconut to the head of Jimmy Snuka, his emotional Intercontinental title win, or any of his legendary battles with Hulk Hogan. Those iconic moments are important, they’re historical. But I’m a horse of a different color. I thrive on the utterly ridiculous. And Roddy Piper was a gold mine.

During his initial WCW run, I got to witness:

  • ·         A VHS tape, delivered to Tony Schiavone by an obviously crazy person, which in turn Tony decided we HAD to watch immediately – despite the fact anything could be on the tape. On the tape … was Roddy Piper singing “I’m Your Man”, which somehow translated to Starrcade 1996.
  • ·         Taking the WCW audience, play by play, for a job he once did for Mr. T, a decade earlier.
  • ·         Roddy Piper being stretchered out of an arena while screaming in tongues.
  • ·         Mr. and Mrs. Murray – WCW’s geriatric Gaelic translation team, who are able to tell us, definitively, that Piper was screaming “the battle isn’t over until you get home” which somehow translated to Superbrawl VII.


You never knew what you were getting with the Hot Rod, which was part of his charm. You could just as easily get the bone-chilling promo right before Superbrawl VII, as you could get him going completely off script and making Piper’s Pit at Wrestlemania 21 a completely indecipherable segment.

My favorite Roddy Piper story of them all is the legendary trips that he and Ric Flair took to the Domincan Republic – where Roddy did such an amazing job of riling up the locals that Ric was forced to drop the NWA title, lest he be shot and killed. Of course, even under the pressure of death wouldn’t stop, screaming The Star Spangled Banner at obnoxiously loud levels, waving around the flag, and basically trying to incite a war. I suspect if he’d been stabbed on the way out he’d have worn the scars as a badge of honor. He wasn’t right … and we loved him that way.

I hated the fact that his 2006 run with Ric Flair was cut short due to cancer. He looked like he was having the time of his life, hanging out with his best friend, in the role of Crazy Old Men Tag-Team Champions against a group of male cheerleaders. It looked like it was exactly what the doctor had ordered to keep him young at heart … until the doctor ordered surgery instead.

Between him and Dusty Rhodes, the chances of having someone go off script and piss off the WWE figureheads have dropped about 90%, and that’s simply a shame. I just hope he was healthy and happy in his final days, and that his family has peace amongst themselves.

****

Meanwhile, over on WCW Worldwide, they’ve stacked the card one more time – because we’re going to see not only Tex Slazinger, but ALSO Shanghai Pierce … TOGETHER AS ONE! Don’t go messin’ with a hooded boy.

Our hosts are JESSE VENTURA and TONY SCHIAVONE’s incredible hair-part. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was also styling my hair the exact same way in January of 1993, but of course I was 10.



THE BARBARIAN vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO

The Barbarian is hailed as being from Parts Unknown, but did they ever bother just asking him? He seemed pretty open about his Tongan Roots just a couple years later. Don’t expect any answers from Scorpio, he’s too consumed with steppin’. A missile dropkick takes the mysterious Barbarian off his feet, and when he rolls outside to take a breather, Scorpio hits an axehandle off the apron. Back in, Scorpio goes for a Frankensteiner, and he gets powerbombed for his insolence. A backbreaker doesn’t yield a submission, so Barbarian must be showing restraint tonight. A dropkick attempt is swatted away, and a clothesline sends Scorpio to the floor. Tony says it’s not a DQ because momentum carried him over and not deliberate activity. It was a deliberate clothesline, and momentum is ALWAYS the cause of someone careening to the floor, so da fock is he talking about?!? Scorpio comes back with a crappy belly to back suplex, and his slingshot legdrop gets 2. Sweet Chin Music sets up a slingshot 450 splash, but Barbarian kicks out and backdrops Scorpio to the floor for a DQ at 4:18. I hate this stupid over the top rule, there is no rhyme or reason to its consistency. The fact this remained a plot point until 1997 is just insane. 1/2*

From WCW Magazine, Weather Man Wannabe ERIC BISCHOFF joins us. He takes us through the Vinnie Vegas / Van Hammer feud that is lighting the world on fire, and apologizes that we aren’t going to get the arm-wrestling match we’re all clamouring for because of Hammer’s injury. Bait and switch.

ERIK WATTS vs. PAT ROSE

Pat Rose is probably better known to video-gamers around the country, so you might not have been aware of his brief career crisis in early 1993 where he dabbled with a little pro-wrestling.



Thankfully, Erik Watts is the definition of “walking Goomba”, so this is a wonderful place for Pat to start. He pounds his opponent early, but when he reaches into his tights for the star of invincibility, it slips away. The momentary lapse is enough for Watts to hit a lariat and throw on the STF at 1:05. Don’t waste your time Pat, the princess in THIS castle is Missy Hyatt. She’ll try and tempt you with mushrooms, but they taste like regret and the clap.

JESSE VENTURA asks for an interview with Watts, and he’s pissed off at both father and son for what happened to Arn Anderson at the gas station. Erik says Bill did nothing; but Jesse says that Erik always does what his “daddy tells you to”. Erik freaks out that he’s his own man. No one believes you.

BARRY WINDHAM vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG

Barry reads the riot act to Armstrong before they lock up, and Brad responds with a sassy little bitch slap. Given the 6 inch, 100 pound disparity here, I’m gonna rate that a solid “George Steele” on the scale of smartest things I’ve seen in pro-wrestling. Lo and behold, a forearm shot gets an audible groan from the audience, and a spinning belly to back has Armstrong likely regretting his early decision. Brad backdrops loose from a powerbomb attempt, but Windham pops back up and goes back to the whoopin’. Armstrong throws a desperation dropkick that sends Windham through the ropes, but all that does is get him kicked in the face and planted with the jumping DDT at 3:50. *1/2

Elsewhere, TONY SCHIAVONE asks to chat with PAUL ORNDORFF, and he’s in a foul mood. Orndorff, not Tony. He calls Sting a ham n egger (what exactly does that MEAN anyway?), and wants to fight him anywhere in the country. HARLEY RACE makes his way out, thankful he’s got Paul in his camp.

TEX SLAZINGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT and SHANE DOUGLAS (for the WCW world tag-team titles)

So the story goes that apparently old Tex is under a mask because Watts felt that he was too good looking to get a heelish reaction. Yes, Henry Godwinn, sex symbol. Had they marketed him as the hunk du jour, that ALONE would have been ample to get the negative reaction they were looking for; the redneck version of Buddy Rose. Naked Mideon could have been a thing years ahead of its (unfortunate) time! The heels dominate the bulk of the action, and sadly that doesn’t make for a very good match since neither guy is any good. Steamboat plays our man in peril, making Shane Douglas our hero tonight, and I don’t think I can live in that kind of a world. Douglas gets the easy win with a cross body at 5:32 to retain. *

JESSE VENTURA congratulates the champions on their win, but informs them that Austin and Pillman are asking for a rematch, next week on Worldwide. Steamboat’s ready to get down to business, and welcomes the challenge. Oh boy.

STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN grab the main event slot to talk with TONY SCHIAVONE. Pillman says it’s going to be a sad irony to look back at the career of Steamboat and Douglas and realize that they’re simply going to be known as the team that launched the era of Austin and Pillman. Austin laughs it up, and when Tony tells us he’ll see us next week, Austin barks “I DON’T WANT TO WAIT TIL NEXT WEEK” with a shit eating grin on his face.


Bit of a bore this week, but it sets the table for a killer showdown next week, which enough for me.