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.

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, 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 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 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.