Sunday, July 6, 2014

5 WCW Characters Systematically Destroyed By Vince Russo

(This was originally written for my old Shooting Star Press website in September 2009)



People having their character destroyed is simply a part of life. Just witness the 2004 US Presidential Election where candidate John Kerry was accused time and again of wearing flip flops. It was so cutting that the American public overwhelmingly voted for Gene Simmons.

We know who's really responsible for the recession.
 
However, the entire concept of the attack is lost when you’re working against your own product. Ahhh, but in the world of wrestling this type of behaviour is commonplace. Grudges are held against wrestlers under your own brand for stunts they may have pulled while working for the competition, or worse, for failing to shake the hands of Darren Drozdov. And then there are men like Vince Russo who do it for seemingly absolutely no reason at all – other than complete and utter insanity.

5) Jim Duggan

 

Of all the people Vince Russo ruined, Jim Duggan appears to be one of the strangest. A harmless cancer survivor in his late 40’s, Duggan was essentially relegated to losing to young talent and making token appearances on some of WCW’s syndicated programming. It appeared that Duggan was just making the most of the time he had left, and pleasing young crowds with his patriot act.

This probably isn't the Patriot Act GW Bush had in mind.
 
Upon Vince Russo’s arrival to WCW in October of 1999, his first mandate seemed to be to make everyone more "interesting". This meant if you were Norman Smiley, technical wrestling was out, you now head up the hardcore division and cry like a little girl during every single shot with a weapon. If you were Meng, you were still a savage from Samoa, but now you have to grow an afro the size of a small country and eat bananas like a monkey.

During a meeting on WCW TV with the “Powers That Be”, Duggan was told if he wished to keep his job, he’d have to travel with the company as their janitor. Duggan embraced this opportunity, likely because he was still being paid at his old contract wages with none of the physical contact, and proudly donned a pair of brown coveralls that made him look like a giant turd.

“Hilarious” moments of this new transformation saw Jim Duggan playing chopsticks on the piano while screaming at the top of his lungs, washing the toilets with Vince Russo’s toothbrush, eating brownies laced with laxatives, and walking around with a fusebox just in case the power happened to go out while David Flair stalked Kimberly.

Just like Yogi Bear.
 
In the ring, the Revolution were tired of Duggan and his antics, and called him out regularly. When he was suckered into a match that would force him to turn against America if on the losing end, Duggan in fact lost and refused to adhere to the stipulation. The obvious “shocking” move would see Duggan turn on the States happily was clearly on the horizon, but thankfully Vince Russo was fired before this could happen.

Thankfully, this never happened.
 
Unfortunately, the same people who fired Vince Russo eventually brought him back, and the very first move they made with Jim Duggan was to turn him Canadian against the pro-American group “Misfits In Action”. Shaving off his trademark caveman hair and scruffy beard, Duggan renounced America and proudly sung Oh Canada to the obvious rage of at least half of the 3 or 4 people in attendance every night. When Vince Russo was fired again, Duggan was dishonourably sent back to America and wouldn’t be seen again until 2004 in the WWE when he’d arrive to hang out with his son, Eugene.

 

4) Hugh Morrus

 

From 1996 until 2000, wrestler Bill DeMott portrayed a character on TV named “The Laughing Man” Hugh Morrus. His character was your typical schizophrenic who generally played “The Big Man” in whatever stable of wrestlers he was booked with at any given time. Mildly successful, he was given regular time on Nitro and Thunder, where he hovered around in the TV title race.

Did we mention he could do a moonsault?
 
Vince Russo made it known upon his entry to WCW that wrestlers like DeMott would see more opportunity than the previous management had allowed. As proof of this, Hugh Morrus disappeared from TV for several months, until December when he reappeared with a crazy old man in a hospital gown walking around randomly.

The crazy old man was his “pop”, whose entire gimmick was to walk around like an escaped mental patient. After one appearance, both Morrus and “pop” were never seen or talked about again for a long time.
Fast forward to Russo’s dramatic return, Morrus was part of a group of wrestlers who were fired on television for ... well, nobody’s sure, the 14 fans in attendance were pretty blitzed, but they recall that someone was fired and there was definitely a reason. Never one to take instruction well, Morrus hung around. He would lead the other fired wrestlers with an army theme known as The Misfits In Action, or MIA. Chavo Guerrero Jr. became Lieutenant Loco, Van Hammer became Sergeant Stash (originally Private Stash, but he didn’t want to be a Private ... we are not making this up.), Lash LeRoux became Corporal Cajun, and The Wall became a heroin addict.

Facts are facts
 
DeMott would re-debut with his group at Slamboree, walking into a United States title shot as “Captain Hugh G. Rection”. He’d be promoted to General shortly thereafter, and kept the cock reference, err, coming. He would be re-united with his crazy old “Pop” and a big titted pornstar named “Major Gunns”, whose roles were to ensure as little emphasis would be placed on wrestling as possible.

"Pop"
 
He’d spend the remainder of his run in WCW feuding with a group of phony Canadians.

3) The Cruiserweight Title

 

Look folks, at Shooting Star Press we’re definitely a lot of things. But we’re still within our minds enough to know that the Cruiserweight Title is not in fact a person during most hours of the day. Today’s topic though is character destruction, and the Cruiserweight Title definitely qualifies.

Ultimo Dragon. Dean Malenko. Eddie Guerrero. Rey Mysterio Jr. Absolutely none of these men were involved in the Cruiserweight division at all when Vince Russo swaggered into Atlanta. Once considered the crown jewel of their company, the title was quickly reduced to a bigger joke than the WWF Hardcore Title which was being contested for inside of giant slides in amusement parks at the time.

WWF Hardcore Title defense, May 2000.
 
The Disco Inferno had been treading water as champion, and the title was shifted onto WCW Saturday Night mainstay Evan Karagias. Given the gimmick of a really horny young man looking for previously enjoyed cooch, he gave Madusa a title shot in exchange for a crack at her crack. Trying to recreate the magic Russo had experienced with Chyna, Madusa was now the champion of the Cruiserweight division.
Making all of 1 title defence against Brad “Buzzkill” Armstrong, Madusa went on to engage in a feud with Russo’s assistant, Ed “Oklahoma” Ferrara. Oklahoma was a parody of Jim Ross, complete with Bell’s Palsy, bad commentary, and 300 pounds. It should be noted at this point that the weight limit for the Cruiserweight division was 225 pounds, so he was ineligible to compete for the title. He’d win it, of course, with the help of a bottle of barbecue sauce.

Cruiserweight Title shots under Russo: 0
Pinata on a Pole matches: 1 
 
WCW attempted to repair the damage by moving the title to Russo creation “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea” while Russo was on hiatus, but Iaukea lacked anything resembling a personality or decent wrestling skill, so the division continued to sink. When Russo returned in April like a crack fuelled whirlwind of insanity, the title began to trade hands weekly. Crowbar and Daffney would hold the title simultaneously even though Crowbar was above the weight limit. Daffney would then win the tiebreaker. Lance Storm would also win it that summer, also clearly well over the weight limit, though at this point nobody cared. Eventually he’d give it to Elix Skipper on the condition that he turn into a Canadian, and any further title changes are undocumented because nobody was watching.

2) Mike Awesome

 

In April of 2000, WCW was hitting the reset button on their programming like an angry 8 year old who hasn’t taken his Ritalin before a Super Mario Brothers marathon. On a near daily basis, management was being restructured all in the name of the ratings game.

During one of these shuffles, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff had been brought back to be in charge of creative, and one of their first moves was to acquire ECW champion Mike Awesome. Awesome had been rescued from a bit of obscurity having spent most of his career on the indy circuit and Japan, and was on the run of a lifetime. A hot program with Masato Tanaka and an upcoming feud with Rob Van Dam and Sabu had lifted him among the top players in the industry. The shift to WCW would no doubt be a huge deal, and an easy money maker for both sides.

How can this miss?
 
After an initial appearance attacking WCW mainstay Kevin Nash, Awesome was jobbed out in his first pay-per-view appearance to Scott Steiner in about 3 minutes. An “Awesome” debut it was not. Within weeks he was mired in the midcard as the New Blood Special Enforcer, and seemingly heading nowhere fast. It would get worse.

By June, Russo had grown bored with the former ECW champion and decided to freshen up his character, turning him from killer to thriller. A Fat Chick Thriller that is. Yes, Awesome revealed on television to the 18 fans left in attendance and the entire staff of Shooting Star Press that he was a man who appreciated women with a little flesh on their bones, a thrill seeker who was always up for tons of fun. Fat chicks were spotted on television getting swooned by the charismatic mullet.

Professional wrestling!
 
Thankfully for Mike, Vince Russo has the attention span of a house cat, and Mike was repackaged in short order. But because he’s on this list, you know it can only get worse. Trading in the fat chicks for a leisure suit, Mike Awesome was now simply known as “That 70’s Guy”, a mellow dippy trippy hippy straight out of the 60’s, hosting his own segment The Lava Lamp Lounge. He was seen driving around a bus straight out of the Partridge Family, and hanging out with Gary Coleman. Coleman would be waffled by a Jeff Jarrett guitar much to the delight of the family of 4 in attendance who’d mistaken attended the wrong show.


After transforming hardcore psychopath Crowbar into his buddy, and doing a direct rip of “Those Wild And Crazy Guys” from Saturday Night Live, WCW eventually threw up their arms and turned Mike Awesome into a Canadian shortly before the company would close its doors for good.

1) Hulk Hogan

 

One of the most underrated points that lead to the change from a children’s program to a more mature product in the late 90’s was the rise of the Internet. Wrestling companies have loudly complained about the Internet as much as the Internet has complained about them, but ultimately, they intertwined to work hand in hand to create the Attitude era of wrestling.

ZOMG, first!
 
The anonymity of the Internet helped people’s voices ring loud, and Hulk Hogan became the #1 target of their wrath. Discussions of his political clout, lack of in ring ability, and general disdain towards their childhood hero popped up as quickly as the zits on their anonymous faces. Unfortunately for Hulk, one writer openly embraced the Internet Wrestling Community ... Vince Russo!

Upon entering WCW, his motivations were made clear from the beginning. Ric Flair was buried in a desert, Sting was phased out as the face of WCW, and Hulk Hogan was painted as a selfish politician. In his very first appearance working for Vince Russo, Hogan was scheduled to wrestle for the World Heavyweight Title. To make the appearance that he was working against the script, Hogan arrived in street clothes and laid down to champion Sting, before walking off. He wouldn’t be seen again until Vince Russo was terminated in January.

Hogan was put back in the title picture and was being groomed as the man to take Sid’s gold, only to see the Bischoff and Russo duo take back over in April of 2000. Hogan was tight with Bischoff, but still wary of Russo. Still, with Bischoff he trusted his career in the hands of Russo, and began dressing like Stone Cold Steve Austin. Heading up the war against the New Blood and armed with the letters FUNB, an obvious acronym for Fuck U Nick Bockwinkle, Hogan tried to develop an edge.

Gimme a hell yeah!
 
The Hulkster doesn’t have that edge though, and the entire concept felt forced. To boot, Hogan was put in a feud against lightweight Billy Kidman where he was repeatedly booked to make Kidman look like a chump. The entire feud had been built on comments Hogan had made months earlier about how Kidman couldn’t headline a flea market, and the booking seemed to back it up. He was then positioned into a World Title feud with Jeff Jarrett when all hell broke loose.

Reverting to his Hollywood Hogan persona for whatever reason was convenient for Russo at the time, Hogan entered the arena at Bash at the Beach to see an identical scenario to the previous year occur; Jeff Jarrett lay down as soon as the match began, allowing Hogan to get the pinfall and “win” the belt. Stories had been appearing on the Internet throughout the week that Hogan had been difficult to deal with heading into the match, and it was all confirmed when Vince Russo took the microphone 20 minutes later.

While the previous segment had been booked with Hulk’s approval, the idea was he’d return months later as the Real World’s Champion against whomever would presumably end up with the belt after a big tournament and feud. Russo however was far more interested in going into business for himself, and cut a scathing promo against Hogan. Hogan was called everything from selfish, to a politician, to being impossible to deal with, that he’d booked the match against Jarrett with his “creative control” card in his contract even when it was bad for business. He finished it all off by calling him a big bald son of a bitch, which wound up triggering a lawsuit by Hogan, who presumably was so surrounded by yes men he was unaware he was bald. However he was spared the ultimate indignation; he was never turned into a Canadian.

He would turn into a walrus, however.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

WCW Prime: July 29, 1996



There are only 10 episodes left of Prime. Will the producers realize between now and then Johnny B Badd no longer works in WCW? Not this week!

Once again, we are thankfully joined by MIKE TENAY, and less thankfully by CHRIS CRUISE.

KENSUKE SASAKI (with Sonny Onoo) vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW World Heavyweight title)

This is a rematch from a recent tour of Japan where Sasake lost in what Tenay calls a close, hard fought match. Onoo: “Giant big – but Kenzo strong!” Glad he’s here! Giant boots Kensuke in the face, and Chokeslams him for the easy win at 1:22. I’d describe this as a close hard fought match. DUD

SCOTTY RIGGS vs. LEX LUGER

Interestingly, Riggs was the guy Luger was essentially cuddling in the back during the nWo beatdown from Nitro – now paired on Prime. I’d like to say this was planned, but seeing as this was likely taped in mid-1991, I can’t give them that much credit. Luger hits a clothesline and jiggles his terts. Fans are solidly behind Riggs; but how could that be, Luger’s a beloved babyface by everyone, and has been since May! Riggs hits a rana, and follows with a pair of dropkicks. Luger walks into an armdrag, while Cruise and Tenay start to fight. Cruise admits he’d join the nWo sooner than lose his job; and when Tenay gives him hell, Cruise says it’s interesting he made his on-screen debut at the same time as Hogan’s turn. Tenay shoots that down REAL fast, saying he’s been doing telecasts since 1994; including a pay-per-view that he co-hosted with none other than … Chris Cruise. Cruise: “You weren’t with the company back then!” Tenay: “You’ve taken a blow to the head.” Riggs misses a missile dropkick by 30 feet, and Luger finishes with the Rack at 6:05. **

THE BOOTY MAN (with Kimberly) vs. MANNY FERNANDEZ

Tenay, being the only announcer with a brain, suspects Booty might be the fourth man working with the New World Order. The facts; he’s a lifelong Hogan supporter and friend, he has made no statements against Hogan’s actions, and everyone in the locker room hates him. That last point kills me. High Knee gets the win at 1:22. DUD

DISCO INFERNO vs. SCOTT ARMSTRONG

Tenay politely points out that even though Armstrong usually fights hard; he has a terrible won-loss record. Disco boogies all over the ring, drawing massive heat from the producers who pump in plenty of boos while the fans cheer wildly. Scott hits a trio of dropkicks and you’d think he just won the World Title with the pop from the alleged crowd. The most interesting thing to come out of this match, is that Tenay casually mentions Rey Mysterio will be defending the Cruiserweight title against the Ultimo Dragon – a new international wrestler, at Hog Wild. Have I mentioned lately how amazing this company is getting? Armstrong can’t finish with any of his three backslide attempts, and after he misses an avalanche, Disco rolls him up with a handful of tights for the pin at 4:43. *

LAST CHANCE IN JULY – but no, Glacier is a damn liar. He’s coming but not til later.

THE GAMBLER vs. “HARDWORK” BOBBY WALKER

Cruise backs off his earlier threat to join the nWo after a stern talking to from his direct supervisor. Tenay says the report on Walker from the Powerplant is he’s always the first one to arrive, and the last to leave. What he leaves out is that it’s because the White Trainers lie to him about the start and finish times as part of their racist ploy. I’m afraid to root for the Gambler, Walker might sue me; though something tells me I have nothing to worry about in terms of results. Walker hits a jumping forearm smash, scoop slams Gambler, and finishes with a springboard clothesline for the pin at 3:16. I love that move, every time Walker starts making his way across the ropes he either falls on his face, or comes damn close – but he still comes back for more abuse next time out. *

THE PUBLIC ENEMY vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS (in the Prime Cut Moo Match of the Week)

Why do the Public Enemy have to be on EVERY show? Can’t we send them to Japan like they do with Benoit and Scott Norton on a regular basis? I really don’t have the desire to recap this, I have seen everything TPE has to offer, and it ain’t much. Rick Steiner is set up on a table while Rocco throws Scott into the guardrail. Rocco calls for a senton, but Scotty trips him up while Rick clotheslines Grunge. Rick is again placed on the table, but he rolls out of the way from Rocco’s senton. Scott hits Grunge with a tigerbomb, and Rick’s top rope bulldog finishes at 3:19. Thank god this was short. 1/2*

Back to the announcers. Tenay can’t wait to see Hogan get chokeslammed, but secretly, let’s face it, he’s going to spray his translucent man goo all over the first four rows of bikers as soon as he sees the Ultimo Dragon. We’ll leave you with that mental image, until next time.

WCW Nitro: July 29, 1996



For the fourth straight week, WCW comes live from Disney’s MGM Grand Studios! TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO are your hosts. Two title matches tonight, Giant defends against Arn Anderson, and Rey Mysterio Jr. battles Eddie Guerrero for the Cruiserweight title. On top of all this, the WCW Car raced this weekend and Greg Sacks took the checkered flag. What a time to be a wrestling fan! Larry then says “New World Odour” for the first of 6,219,305 times over the next 3 years. The video from Saturday Night of the Outsiders accosting Sting in a dark parking lot is replayed.

MIKE ENOS vs. “HACKSAW” JIM DUGGAN

Larry tells it like it is: “awwww not Hacksaw!” Fans chant USA to show that darn Mike Enos who’s boss. A clothesline sends Enos to the floor, but no DQ is called for because hell if I know when they use that rule any more. Back in, Tony argues that Hacksaw must have a brain because he was a former US Champion and US Champions always have brains. New World Odour count hits 4, and we’re 7:30 into the show. Back to the floor, Enos gently slams Duggan on the concrete. Duggan starts unleashing his meat hooks, but a hair pull and eye rake ensures Enos remains in control. Enos drops a leg, which crosses Duggan’s eyes, and causes him to start hulking up. Enos stops that by putting a headlock back on. Duggan escapes and starts throwing kidney punches, but distracts himself by telling the referee to stay off his back and winds up getting ridden around like an old mare. Enos hits a double sledge, but Duggan takes him over with a sunset flip for 2. Enos fires back with a neckbreaker for 2. A big splash off the top misses, and Duggan starts stomping around. Hacksaw reaches deep inside his pants, whips out his roll of tape, and the fist connects for the pin at 7:31. The referee eyes the tape suspiciously after the match, unsure if it was used to win – but he thinks better of it and leaves Duggan the victor. *

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND hits the ring to talk with Duggan about the New World Order. Duggan’s hurting for all the fans out there. He doesn’t understand why Hogan turned his back on everyone who loves him, everyone he loved. His oldest kids first word was Hulkster. Duggan then causes me to nearly do a spit take when he says Hogan’s “a great technical wrestler”, but he doesn’t want to wrestle Hogan, he wants to beat him up.

RIC FLAIR, CHRIS BENOIT, and MONGO MCMICHAEL (with Debra McMichael, Woman, and Elizabeth) vs. STING, LEX LUGER, and RANDY SAVAGE

At this stage, I almost have to believe Luger would still make sense as the 4th guy. Yes, he’s taken some beatings; but he was “eliminated” on a serious injury at Bash at the Beach via something that doesn’t seem to have impacted him beyond that particular night. He’s always been a rat, he’s not wearing facepaint here, and was the only man in the building 2 weeks ago when the nWo was running rampant. Savage attacks Flair as soon as he hits the ring, but Benoit’s all over him to defend Ric with his life. Thankfully, Sting has beef with Ric and beats him down without the cavalry to protech him. Flair hits the floor, hiding between Benoit and Mongo while Tony calls for a commercial break.

Good news, Glacier is still training – and though he was coming in July 1996 and is likely a great big liar, he’s on his way REAL SOON.

Back from break, Benoit has been sent in to deal with Sting, but he fares poorly. Ric vows to show him how it’s done. He gets whipped to the buckle, and Savage is waiting for him on the floor. Savage smacks him in the head with the fruit tray from Flair’s own VIP section. Tony: “HE’S GOT FRUIT ALL OVER HIM!” Back in, Flair begs off from a fired up Sting, but it’s the usual ploy to poke him in the eye. Savage tags in, so Flair hits the floor to shove his tongue down Liz’s throat. Larry encourages Savage to choke her out; and Tony agrees. Wrestling in the 90’s! Savage attacks, so Flair runs behind the bleachers. Savage finds him anyway, and drags him back to the ring to meet his maker. Flair just tags out to Mongo instead. Mongo throws a back elbow in Luger’s face, but Lex ain’t having it and sends him to the floor. Flair heads back in for the kill, but Luger no sells everything and slams Ric. A standing vertical suplex gets 2, much to Lex’s dismay. Benoit heads in, but he and Savage get into a pull-apart brawl. Benoit wins; and then turns back to Luger. He beats him down, and Flair again begs for a piece. As soon as he comes in, Luger roars and kicks his ass. Nothing’s going poor Ric’s way tonight. Sting comes in and bites Flair in the face. Ric pokes the eyes to escape, and heads up – but he’s caught and superplexed for 2! Mongo heads in and gives Sting a backbreaker. Over to Benoit, who throws a double forearm to the throat for 2. Backdrop suplex gets 2. Flair again calls for a tag, and immediately Sting takes back over with a series of reversals. I’m loving this; Benoit and Mongo are carrying this bad boy, but as soon as Ric hits the ring, Team WCW sees red and immediately comes to life. With an assist from a Benoit cheap shot – Flair locks on the figure four and cheats with the ladies help. He throws a few slaps at Sting … big mistake. Sting roars and reverses that instantly. Flair tries for another but gets small packaged. Benoit tags in, and throws Sting around. Flair comes back in, and Sting beats him down – but now JIMMY HART rushes down screaming the Outsiders are in the back and he needs help. Nobody listens to him as Luger calls to Rack Ric, but he finally gets Lex’s ear and they head back.

Sure enough, in the back, ARN ANDERSON is down at the hands of THE OUTSIDERS who are holding baseball bats. MARCUS BAGWELL is laid out as well, and when SCOTTY RIGGS sees it, he takes a garbage can upside the head. REY MYSTERIO JR. comes flying out of a nearby trailer – right into the awaiting arms of Nash who LAUNCHES HIM HEAD FIRST like a freakin Lawn Dart into the side of the trailer! They head into a limo as Savage rushes onto the scene – jumping on top of it as it drives away. Everyone from the previous match survey the damage; Team WCW, the Horsemen, and the Dungeon of Doom, all together with a common purpose. This was the night things turned real for the fans, as dozens of local 911 calls came in reporting the Outsiders attack.

This is brilliant sold by all involved; even after the break the wrestlers sort of just continued to mill around, asking each other for answers, forgetting all aspects of cliques or feuds focusing on the bigger picture – that the WWF Outsiders were more than just a wrestling threat, but also a threat to their physical well-being. Nearly lost as everyone is getting loaded on to the stretchers; Rey Jr telling EDDIE GUERRERO “there was four of them!” Also nearly lost, Alex Wright’s impeccable English! Rey is unmasked as he’s loaded onto the stretcher, but he keeps his face covered with Tony quickly explaining the Mexican lucha tradition of never taking the mask off for any reason.

Somehow through all this, MENG gets in Benoit’s face and informs him “uh nuh wah nuh Dungeon!” and Benoit starts to shake violently and threatens to throw down.

ERIC BISCHOFF and BOBBY HEENAN join the announce team as the bodies are scraped off the concrete. Heenan tells Bischoff he’s had neck problems and refuses to do the broadcast tonight unless Bischoff can guarantee him he’s safe. Bischoff refuses to guarantee anything, so Heenan tells him he will not spend his days crippled and paralyzed for anyone, and leaves. Tony and Larry agree to stay; but Tony doesn’t look happy about it. Nearly 20 minutes after the attack, the fans start chanting “BORING” – though we can’t blame them because they have no idea what’s going on in the back due to the lack of TurnerTron. Arn and Bagwell are loaded into the same ambulance, and are joined by Flair and Sting; Bischoff explaining Bagwell works out with Sting a lot at his gym, even though they don’t hang out on TV they’re great friends away from work. These little touches of reality just make it better and better.

HIGH VOLTAGE vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS

Bischoff admits this is a standby match; that most of their card is now in disarray as Anderson, Mysterio, and the Males were all booked. Rick appears to have no interest in being here at all when his brethren are down. With Scott starting with Kaos; Rick paces around on the floor watching the entrance way. Bischoff wonders where Savage wound up, rightfully pointing out he hasn’t returned from riding on the hood of the limo. Scott tries to talk Rick into focusing, and tags him in. He pays no attention to Kaos though, and takes a cheap shot. Voltage nail a double team dropkick, and follow with a double suplex. Bischoff buries the newbs by stating even if they win here, it won’t be recorded in the WCW Record Book under the circumstances. Scotty gets the hot tag and hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on Ruckus. Rick follows with an upside down turnbuckle bodyslam, and Scott finishes with the Screwdriver(!) at 4:46! *1/2

BIG BUBBA (with Jimmy Hart) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO

Eddie was scheduled for a Cruiserweight title match against Rey – so this is another napkin booked contest. Eddie points to the entry way in honor of Mysterio. Bubba dumps Guerrero and gets on the buckle to pose; but by the time he’s up there, Eddie’s already back in the ring and waiting. A dropkick sends Bubba to the floor, where he stalls for him. Back in, Bubba launches Eddie in the air and slams him hard. A few bitch slaps are given to remind him who’s boss. Eddie gets hotshotted on his throat; and Bubba gets 2. Guerrero hits a backdrop, but takes an uppercut to get knocked back down. Camel clutch is applied, but Eddie forces a release by getting to the ropes. Bubba moves to a body scissors, but Eddie won’t tap. Avalanche gets 2. A very vocal pre-pubescent group of fans start chanting “BUBBA’S A LOSER!” Bearhug slam gets 2, and that frustrates Bubba. Eddie gets a small package out of nowhere while Bischoff notes that there are a couple of National News organizations contacting them. He says some other witnesses have said there were in fact 4 guys in the limo. Bubba goes back to a chinlock, which he works for a solid minute. Eddie gets up, and tries a crossbody, but Bubba just drops down with a powerslam. Bubba puts Eddie up top; probably the one place you don’t want him, and sure enough he sees an opening and hits a tornado DDT! Hart tries to distract the referee, and tosses the megaphone to Bubba. Eddie sunset flips him as Bubba reaches for it and gets the pin at 10:50! Holy crap that was long. *1/2

The first “Paid for” ad from the nWo re-airs from the weekend.

After we get back, Bischoff has disappeared from the announce booth. Tony says he “had some stuff” to take care of … hmmmmmmmm …

GREG VALENTINE vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW World Heavyweight title)

Somehow Greg Valentine is considered an acceptable replacement for Arn Anderson – welcome to the world of WCW. I’m not thinking Valentine’s gonna get his requisite hour to get warmed up. Instead, he throws a couple of clotheslines that do nothing, before getting pounded with a big frying pan hand. Valentine comes off the top with a double axehandle, but a second attempt results in a Chokeslam. Giant gives him a second one for kicks and scores the pin at 1:41. DUD

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND is given the duty to wrap the show up, and he interviews Giant. Giant does his awesome Hogan impression; foreshadowing his Backlash 2000 appearance nearly word for word. He says he did that just to show how easy it is to play that role; and Hogan’s a phony. He promises he’s got a Chokeslam noose that will fit right around Hogan’s neck.

For sheer drama; this is the pinnacle of wrestling programming. Some may take the Pillman 8mm incident; but WCW managed to keep the realism rolling without the hokeyness of Steve Austin wrestling with a turtle kiddy pool. Big, big thumbs up to this week’s edition.

Monday, August 5, 2013

WCW Saturday Night: July 27, 1996



It’s a shortened edition of the show for a shortened WCW roster! Only half the cyborgs needed. ENGAGE CYBERNETIC ENGAGEMENT SEQUENCE!

TONY SCHIAVONE and DUSTY RHODES don’t wrestle, because they’re less cyborg than droid. Dusty promises to share his views on Hulk Hogan. I’d prefer he stick to what he knows.

“SQUIRE” DAVID TAYLOR (with Robert Eaton) vs. DEAN MALENKO

Dave Taylor jerks the curtain for a second straight show (Prime doesn’t count, it’s not a show); I smell politics working against this sure fire star. Taylor is hiptossed, screaming for dear life on the flip. He’s dropkicked to the floor, HEY where’s the DQ? Eaton screams at Malenko, I agree, bloody cheater. Taylor back in, here it comes, THREE European uppercuts! Malenko then dodges one and backslides Taylor, but Taylor ain’t going down like that, no sir. Fans chant USA because they’re bigots against England. Back to the corner, Malenko throws elbows, but Taylor’s all nuh uh, cuz HE has one move and it’s the European Uppercut, and he’s throwing again. Taylor’s the reason everyone in Britain has awful teeth by the way; he’s given them all a little taste of the uppercuts on his way up the ladder. Fallaway slam, Dusty screams UPSET, but friggin Malenko kicks out. Forget that, we need another European uppercut, and we get one! Argh, my man misses a crossbody, Malenko hooks the Cloverleaf, and he wins at 4:52. Tough loss, he’ll get it back next time. He’s still a gentleman so he shakes Eaton’s hand. *1/2

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND talks to Malenko because apparently he doesn’t know who the real winner tonight was. Dean wants his Cruiserweight title back, and has made a deal with Jimmy Hart. Hart promised Dean that he’d get the title back if he helped take care of the Benoit problem. Gene: “Hart sometimes scratches a little more than your back if you know what I mean.” Spoken like a jilted ex-lover.

THE FOUR HORSEMEN (with Woman, Debra McMichael, and Elizabeth) vs. THE AMERICAN MALES, JIM POWERS, and CHAVO GUERRERO JR.

Man, Chavo went from pushed young talent to Jobber Committee in record time. Even Joe Gomez is startled. No word on where the hell Flair was on Monday. Benoit helps Woman through the ropes; quite the gentleman. TEDDY LONG lurks in the shadows. Bagwell and Flair start, with Bagwell hitting a dropkick, meaning he’s already run through 100% of his offense. Flair chops him down and struts. Bagwell counters with some limp wrist punches, and backdrops Flair across the ring. Flair begs off, but it’s a sucker move cuz Bagwell moves in and gets tossed through the middle rope to the floor. Chavo tags in and dropkicks all members of the Horsemen except Mongo who’s too good for that. Benoit powerbombs him in half, and a Pier 6 breaks out. Mongo finishes Chavo with a tombstone in the melee and gets the win at 3:11. 1/2*

To no surprise, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants to talk turkey with Benoit and Woman. Benoit tells Woman he wants a viable explanation for what happened on Monday. Woman suggests he question Debra instead. Chris says he depends on Woman, but Woman’s clearly still not happy at Debra entering the Horsemen. Chris demands she succumb to his will, and she does, grabbing his arm and walking off.


This is our first ever paid advertisement, with the debut of the porno music and the painted beard. Nash says they’ll decide who the next member is, “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. Hall says they’re new, true, and taking over WCW. He’s dropped most of the Cuban accent at this point. After the third man they delivered, you know the fourth man is going to be huge. Hogan: “We don’t need you, we don’t want you, we’ll take you when we want you”. Hall says Luger and Sting got soft, and they’re still fighters. Hogan’s excited for his title shot at Hog Wild, and can’t believe WCW’s so weak to beg the Giant to be their savior. This was unlike anything ever shot in wrestling; it was grainy, it jumped from thought to thought, with rapid camera switches. The wrestlers weren’t asked to stay on point; rather they said whatever they felt like. In a word; edgy. If I could find it, I’d link it, and hopefully a helpful poster will do so.

THE NASTY BOYS vs. STING and RANDY SAVAGE (with the Haliburton)

Saggs starts working over Savage with a flurry of fistwork, leaving Savage a heap in the corner. Powerslam brings in Knobbs, who promptly misses an elbowdrop. Sting beats Knobbs down while the referee begs him to remember those fists need to stay open. Sting connects on a dropkick for 2. Big splash is blocked by those Knobbsy Knees, and Dusty gets some CLUBBERING! Backbreaker leaves Sting hurting, and he’s then tossed to the outside. Knobbs jams the Haliburton to Sting’s midsection. Back in, Savage retrieves his briefcase of money, while Sting hits a faceplant. Macho gets the tag and distracts the referee while Sting clocks Knobbs with the Haliburton. Savage drops the elbow while DEBRA MCMICHAEL sneaks in to steal the case! We have winners at 3:43, in many different factions. *

Backstage, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants to chat about Sturgis. Savage promises there won’t be a World Title match, because Savage is going to hit him upside the head with a Tire Iron before the match starts; Hogan will never even make it to the ring. I am so deeply in love with the really, really, really crazy version of Macho. Sting focuses in on the Outsider – he feels they work in numbers, anytime they have the advantage, they strike. I seem to remember them working the last pay-per-view 2-on-3, but what do I know.

ROUGH & READY (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS

Enos gets the upper hand on Scott Steiner, and quite frankly, I’m not okay with that. Thankfully, neither is Scotty, who throws him across the ring with a belly to belly. SISTA SHERRI arrives at the top of the ramp, as Rick works over Slater. Slater retaliates with a side-Russian legsweep. Dusty prefers to gawk at Sherri instead of pay attention to the brawl in the ring. Outside the ring, the Colonel holds Slater hostage while Sherri slips her tongue down his throat. Rick gets a roll up for the pin at 4:04. I don’t get it. 1/2*

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND asks The Steiners to beware of the Colonel at Hog Wild. HARLEM HEAT arrives on the scene to laugh at the Steiners chances, while Scott takes offense to them stealing his TV time. That of course brings in the rest of the convoy from the ring; with Slater screaming the Colonel is a no good snake in the grass. Sherri points and laughs at Slater, while the Colonel holds up his cane defensively. Seriously, the sooner Fuller leaves for the WWF, the better.

Our second paid announcement comes courtesy of the Outsiders. They’re watching Sting and Luger from night vision. A phony call comes in to Luger to break them up, and The Outsiders slam Sting’s head with the trunk of his rental car. They take off before anything can come of it.

THE BOOTY MAN (with Kimberly) vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart) (for the WCW World Heavyweight title)

I guess if Hogan gets a title shot, all his friends do too. Booty throws his best stuff, which isn’t really all that good, and has his High Knee no-sold. Giant then beats him down, ramming him from buckle to buckle. Two Chokeslams finish at 2:13. RIP Booty. But not too peacefully. DUD

Taking us home once again is “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. Giant calls Hogan out for leaving Booty to die in the ring without any help; but he doesn’t care because he’s been riding Hogan’s coat tails for years. Giant promises to leave Hogan on the wrong end of a very long Chokeslam. And that’s all she wrote for this edition!

Not a particularly great show, but the angles moved along, and it was short. Nitro’s up next, still in Disney MGM. Where does the nWo angle take us next; and can Rey Mysterio sustain it?