Monday, February 11, 2013

WCW Superbrawl VI

That wacky Brian Pillman! Gone for 15 years, but certainly not forgotten, at least not by modern day members of the Wienerboard Association. And something tells me, we’ll be talking about him a whole lot more after this show, and a whole lot less going forward.

BigDaddyLoco: Am I correct with thinking that nobody expected Pillman to leave after this PPV? I could be way off, but his contract ended, WCW was a little sick of him but in the end him signing with the WWE was a surprise.

You’re correct in a sense – but we’ll allow graves9 to explain a little further, as he does it so much more succinctly than I could.

graves9: The whole Pillman thing was a worked shoot that only he, Sullivan and Bischoff were in on. The whole I respect you booker man stuff and Pillman's appearances in ECW were all part of it. Pillman's last appearance in WCW was actually at Uncensored where he attacked Sulivan. Pillman came up with an idea to make the whole thing to be even more realistic is if Bischoff gave Pillman his release and Pillman would eventually come back, but Pillman went to Vince and he got himself more money and a guaranteed deal which wasn't the norm back then not long after Pillman got in a car accident and the rest is history.

Yeah, the guaranteed money was a huge deal. Outside of the big players, like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Macho, and Mean Gene, people just weren’t getting guaranteed contracts at that point. What Pillman got from Vince was pretty unprecedented for a mid-card guy. Pillman did an amazing job of generating a lot of heat in a very short period of time when Internet Wrestling Discussion was just starting to grow past its infancy into the toddler zone. Vince bought in; and made a bold move that had Bischoff caught with his pants down.

thecubsfan: The bigger picture is Brian Pillman desperately wanted to be a main event guy, and he figured out that going somewhere else (ECW) and being treated like a main eventer would be his best chance at finally being treated like one in WCW.

I think history has proven him generally correct - a few months later, a couple of midcard guys who were about on Pillman's level will come back to WCW and be treated like top guys because another company had done so. They didn't even need to be successful top guys - they weren't in that other promotion - but just that they were designated as such. But I don't want to spoil things...

Meltzer, who was obviously close to Pillman, has always said that Pillman really wanted to make it in WCW. There were a lot of management people who came thru there who didn't think he was really that good and tried to run him off, and I'm sure he would've taken a lot of pride in proving them wrong.

My hunch is Pillman's goals changed a lot after the car accident - he had to know it would be a long time, if ever, for him to be physically okay enough to be a top guy, so everything else had to be put aside and he had to just take the better deal. The money was good but the guarantee was probably better. 1996 WWF wasn't in great shape and 1997 WWF told Bret to go talk to WCW; there's no way they don't cut or drastically reduce Pillman's pay as soon as the buzz wears off and the reality of his situation sinks in.

There's no telling how things would've changed had Pillman not gotten into the accident (and he would've not had as much a need to self-medicate, which seems iffy since that played a role in the accident), but if everything else had stayed relatively the same, he definitely would've been better going to the WWF. We have the foresight to know what's about to happen, and there's no place for Pillman in all that. If Pillman made it, in shape and in mind, to WWF '98, there was indubitably a place for him in the Austin title run. I don't want to a fantasy book, but there's surely a main event title match in there somewhere.

I wouldn’t consider it fantasy booking to assume that Pillman had a title shot coming his way after Austin got hot. The logical place he was headed was to steal Terri Runnels from Dustin, and move on to better things with the new power couple once he finished with Goldust. While the feud itself was weak, I have little doubt Pillman couldn’t have used it as a means to generate more heat, and his personality on the whole would have been a perfect fit when we went full bore into the Attitude Era. I’d go so far as to say that Mick Foley probably suffers the most by Pillman remaining on the roster. Pillman’s a little sexier as a heel, and an easier sell to Vince McMahon as a top guy than Foley’s rugged act.

redsoxnation: The interesting question with Pillman if it had played out in WCW was how the Horsemen association would have continued. Eccentricity was not something the Horsemen embraced, and how this would have impacted Pillman and potentially Benoit long term would have been fascinating.

The natural assumption is that Benoit and Pillman break off from the Horsemen and start their own deal; but considering how things ACTUALLY turned out, I feel safe saying that once Memorial Day rolls around, they pretty much become fodder for the stars and Pillman’s “is he nuts?” angle more or less dropped.

BigDaddyLoco: The biggest problem with Finlay at the start was his look was terrible. I would appreciate it more today, but I just couldn't take the guy seriously at the time. Was there a mustache to go with the brown mullet or did I make that up?

LIVE from St. Petersburg, Florida – it is Superbrawl and THE ENTIRE WORLD IS WATCHING if TONY SCHIAVONE is to be believed! DUSTY RHODES and BOBBY HEENAN are dressed for a big event; with Heenan renting a lovely tux, and Dusty whipping out his jeans with the fewest number of mustard stains.

THE PUBLIC ENEMY vs. THE NASTY BOYS (in a Falls Count Anywhere match)

Tony: “The Nasty Boys are wearing Nikes, or Reeboks, or whatever.” I’m sure the sponsors approve of the plug. It’s neat to look back on this kind of stuff and realize that teams like the Public Enemy wouldn’t even sniff the jockstrap of someone in a position to recommend them for a big league contract today. And we’re all the better for it. Rocco gets a table from the back, and while he carries it back to ringside, Saggs meets him in the aisle and smacks him in the head about 6 times in a row as hard as he can. I’d suggest obvious brain damage, but it’s Rocco Rock we’re talking about. Grunge fights off Saggs with the chair. Rocco sets his table up at ringside, and his luck continues as Knobbs catches him on the apron and slams him through the table. Saggs grabs a garbage can and starts teeing off on Grunge’s skull with the lid. They head into the ring, while Rocco and Knobbs pair off in the aisle. Saggs hits a DANGEROUS looking spike piledriver on the trashcan, but that only gets 2 because Grunge grabs the ropes. Yes, for those keeping score, everything’s legal, except pinfalls in the ropes. Knobbs t-bones Grunge through a table by the entrance way, which Grunge goes through head first. Of course, he’s on his feet moments later, and bulldogs Saggs onto a chair. Both teams start wildly throwing chair and garbage can shots, all of which unmistakably bash their opponents square in the head. Is it any wonder 50% of the match participants are dead? As I say this, Saggs actually suplexes a table onto Rock who’s just out. And as I say that; he’s back on his feet again. Nobody’s selling anything here; but I’m supposed to believe later that people can’t get up from a legdrop from Hogan? Rocco heads up into the crowd about 8 feet off the ground, Swantons onto a table because Knobbs moves out of the way at the last second. Knobbs then smashes him in the face with a piece of table and scores the pin at 7:50. I was really, really uncomfortable watching this. I know I keep harping on this point, but it’s insane just how uneducated about brain damage we were at this stage – because there was NOTHING safe or “professional” about this brawl. Sorry, this doesn’t hold up well in the “concussion era” of wrestling. *

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND brings in new United States champion, KONAN. I actually have to google this because I could swear I’ve been recapping every single remotely meaningful WCW show, and it seems it happened on a completely obscure airing of “WCW Main Event” back on January 29th. This wasn’t even touched on, like at all, on any of the programming. This, for the record, is just about the lowest point for the United States Title, because while Kensuke Sasake and One Man Gang were nowhere near “World Champion” material (which was usually the pre-requisite for US Champion; being just one step away from being main event material) – Konan was a joke. Now, that’s not to say it wasn’t beneficial, as the trade-off for him getting a run with the belt was Bischoff getting free access to the All You Can Eat Luchadore Buffet, but it meant we had to accept Konan as US Champion, which is something I still can’t do, to this day. There was an interview here; but you’ll get my hyperbole instead.

JOHNNY B BADD (with Kimberly, Frisbees, and Badd Blaster) vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE (for the WCW Television Title, $6.6 million, and Kimberly?)

Kimberly is decked out in Johnny’s tassels now – and most of Shawn Michaels’ dance moves, though less of a diva. Fully enjoyable is the referee carrying around a giant hokey cheque, in the style of Ed McMahon, that reads “$6.6 million ... CASH”. Page is carrying a dozen long stem roses for his wife, who rejects his advances. Johnny attacks from behind. So wait, even though Page is a bit of a scumbag, we’re supposed to be rooting for the guy who stole his wife, and is trying to take what’s left of his life by nabbing his fancy lifestyle? Is he planning on cutting Dallas’ head out of family portraits and replacing it with his own? Badd nails the Badd Mood early, but Page kicks out at 2. Page hits a pair of snapmares, which makes me wonder why he didn’t just go for the Diamond Cutter and end it now. They fight over a backslide, which is won by Johnny, and that gets 2. Page hotshots Johnny, and points to his head instead of going for the pinfall; which even Heenan calls him out on. A gutbuster leaves Johnny writhing, giving Page time to ask Kimberly for a 10. Kimberly looks right in a camera and lets us know: “I don’t think so!” Page continues his showboat routine, and Johnny gets in a fluke roll up for 2. Page kicks him in the ribs, and tells Kimberly “I’m a real man!” Kimberly gives Page a 0, which throws him so off balance that he falls backwards over himself, and Johnny gets a small package for 2. Page applies a chinlock, and uses the ropes to cheat, which Kimberly points out but the referee still misses. As is the norm; it takes 3 tries before Page is caught, and in the ensuing mayhem, Johnny gets another fluke pinning attempt for 2. On their feet, looking like Rocky and Apollo after 15 rounds, Johnny lands a big hook that drops Dallas. A top rope axehandle has him ripe for the picking, and Kimberly gives Johnny a 10. Johnny goes back up, hitting a super sunset flip this time, and again gets 2. Powerbomb also gets 2, as Page won’t quit. DDP rolls to the apron, and when Johnny picks him up, Dallas hits a stunner across the ropes. Back in, Johnny scores a nearfall out of the corner, but Page kicks out. Page drops Johnny with an elbow, cheats with the ropes, but Johnny still kicks out. Pancake from Page gets 2. Page goes to the cobra clutch since nothing else is working, but Badd escapes with a Stunner, and hooks a sleeper on Page. Page gets to the ropes to escape, and both men collapse. Page goes for a tombstone, but Badd reverses and nails the move for the win at 14:59. Yes, DDP jobs to Badd for the seventh consecutive time, and has officially lost everything. DDP was game here, and this almost felt like a trial for the infamous match he’d have with Sting in April of 1999 ... but Marc Mero is no Sting. ***

Meanwhile, HARLEM HEAT are with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. I’m setting the over/under for “suckas” at 5.5. Harlem Heat vows to win the belts, which is no surprise, until Gene reminds them they’ll have to defend against the Road Warriors right away. That just fires Booker T up, and he drops the sixth “sucka” of the interview – an even 3 each. Congrats to all of you that took the over.

HARLEM HEAT vs. STING and LEX LUGER (for the WCW World Tag-Team Titles)

Booker promises that he gonna get Lex. I guess he figures Sting is no issue, because if he just promises to be his friend, he can double cross him later. Heenan slays me as a camera zooms in on a little Stinger in the crowd, quipping “what an ugly kid!” This match feels like an ideal time to keep the batteries going with some Jamaican Jerk pulled pork nachos; heaven on a plate.

Tony feels this is an ideal time to hype Monday Nitro, I guess assuming those who order the PPV aren’t likely to watch Nitro. Booker and Sting start, with Stinger hitting a quick clothesline. Booker comes back with a cross armbreaker, but that goes nowhere fast. They trade off, with Stevie quickly sending Lex to the outside. Luger takes his sweet time getting in which pisses Sting off, so Luger just rolls in and tags out. A dropkick gets 2, but Stevie stops any follow up with a thumb to the eye and tags out to Booker. Booker keeps the ring cut off with a headlock. Sting escapes and hits a faceplant, scrams, and turns things over to Luger. Lex hits a running kneelift for 2. An elbowdrop misses, and Booker puts him down with the 110th Street Slam. Spinaroonie leads right into the Harlem Sidekick – and just incase this is getting good, Booker tags out to Stevie Ray. Booker still does the bulk of the work, hitting a neckbreaker across the ropes while the referee is busy with Sting. Booker comes back in since Stevie’s useless, and they knock each other out with clotheslines. Booker tags first, and Stevie cuts the ring back off. Stevie hits one of the worst powerbombs I’ve ever seen, and thankfully that only gets 2. The one handed nerve hold is applied, because using 2 hands requires effort. Stevie Ray’s near decade long push is only trumped by Animal’s runs in WCW in 2001, and WWE in 2005 as some of the worst examples of leeching off your brothers’ hard work. Though, one more Stampede Wrestling revival, and I’m giving Bruce Hart the lifetime achievement award. Booker comes back in and drops Luger with the axekick. Luger inches towards the corner, so Booker just attacks Sting, and while the referee holds Sting back, Booker uses Stevie’s help to bring Luger back to their corner. The referee chastises Stevie Ray – and Luger actually gets a tag, but because it’s missed, Sting is told to get the hell out. He doesn’t listen, giving Booker a Stinger Splash, which would seem a little off-kilter for the king of fair play. Stevie Ray drops down the ropes, and Sting flies to the outside. Back in the ring, Stevie goes to finish on Luger, but ANIMAL runs in, hits Stevie with a piece of lead, and Luger falls forward to retain the titles at 11:48. Booker pleads his case to an unsympathetic referee. *1/2

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants a quick word with the champs. Gene asks Sting if he saw what happened – but Sting doesn’t care this time, celebrating the cheap win, and saying he’s completely on board with this strategy. Hmmmm...

ONE MAN GANG vs. KONAN (for the WCW United States title)

Apparently I’m missing all sorts of fun on WCW Main Event, because not only did we not see this title change, but also the 600 pound Loch Ness made his debut! Are you kidding me? I must get access to this footage! Konnan goes low, by dropkicking Gang at the knees, and sending him to the mat with a spinwheel kick. A missile dropkick has Gang staggering – and Konnan spears him to the floor. A somersault plancha hits the mark, and Konnan is in control. But wait – one big fat kick changes that, and Gang takes over. He drops a leg, and asks “WHAT ABOUT IT NOW KONNAN?” Gang, as Dusty puts it, “cuts off that breathing apparatus”, and hits a sidewalk slam. Throat punch is followed by the Big Titty To Konnan’s Face, but apparently this is ineffective for anything short of breastfeeding. This post will now draw several hundred searches for “Big Titty”; don’t think for a second it’s not intentional. Of course if I was serious I’d throw in terms like “Trish Stratus” or “Lita” or “Tony Schiavone” – but I am not that kind of a calculating person. Despite my tangent, apparently this match has managed to continue. Konnan hits a headscissors takeover off the top, and follows with a dropkick. A second one misses, and Gang hits the 747 for the ... wait, he pulls Konnan up at 2, because ... wait, why? Gang misses a top rope something, and Konnan hits a somersault splash for the win at 7:26. *

THE ROAD WARRIORS are accused by “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND of rigging the title match later. Animal doesn’t deny it – he says he wants Luger in the ring for revenge. Hawk refuses to apologize to Harlem Heat.

KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. BRIAN PILLMAN (in a Respect match)

Pillman springs to the ring, and starts whipping Sullivan right away with the leather strap. Sullivan takes some nasty, nasty shots, so Sullivan fights back with a pretty stiff right hand. Pillman just grabs the microphone out of nowhere and screams “I respect you ... Booker Man!” at 0:56. And with that, Pillman, looking severely pissed off, walks to the back. Sullivan stands around looking confused, Tony tries to cover by talking about the intensity of the brawl, and Heenan says that in all likelyhood Pillman didn’t want to face Sullivan as he’s a tough, tough man.

ARN ANDERSON comes down to ringside, fully dressed, with pleading from Jimmy Hart, and DOUG DILLENGER not far behind. After a brief conversation, Arn takes the place of Pillman.

ARN ANDERSON vs. KEVIN SULLIVAN (in a Respect match)

The crowd is obviously very confused here by what’s going on. Arn strips down to his shorts, because he wasn’t ready to wrestle, but remains fully professional as Sullivan starts whipping him in the back. Arn fights to his feet, and drops a knee right into the beans of Sullivan. Sullivan won’t give up his respect, so Arn hangs him in the ropes by the strap. Heenan: “He’s enjoying himself, he’s never had a better time!” To the floor, Sullivan whips at Arn, so Anderson uses the strap to pull Sullivan face first into the ringpost. Back in, Arn heads to the top rope, but Sullivan pulls him back in by the strap, and this brings in RIC FLAIR. Flair asks for peace between the Horsemen and Dungeon – and join forces to kick Hogan and Savage’s respective asses. The referee rolls up the strap, and Sullivan removes the tape from his fist, while Flair vows to destroy Hulkamania. “Savage – tonight, I’m taking the belt AND Liz!” Arn promises to get into bed with the devil himself to end Hulkamania, and the pair agree to end it. The match was about 3:45, as we had no bell to end it.

So what happened with Pillman? It’s been discussed to death on the board and even in this thread, but basically, Pillman’s loose cannon character was taken to a whole new level, as he and Bischoff orchestrated a giant work on the wrestling world. They decided by having him “shoot” on PPV – Bischoff would release him from his contract. He’d be free to run amuck in ECW for awhile, before returning to WCW as one of the hottest names in the business. Just 6 days later he turned up in ECW, and got one of the biggest reactions in wrestling history as a hero’s welcome, before completely turning the tables on them by referring the fans as “smart marks” over and over and over and over. He was escorted out of the building moments before following through on his threat to whip out his Johnson and piss all over the ring. And, just to cement his insanity, he attacked a fan with a fork on the way out.

With the gimmick developed – Pillman smartly used his newfound free agent leverage to negotiate all 3 companies against each other, looking for the best deal. Realistically, the plan was to return to WCW all along, but in April, he crashed his car while hopped up on drugs (helping him cope with the recent suicide of an ex-lover) – and shattered his ankle to sawdust. He shouldn’t have been ever able to walk again, but the ankle was fused back together, and handfuls of painkillers got him back in action way too quickly.

Amazingly, despite his newfound obvious limitations, Vince McMahon gave him the first EVER guaranteed contract in WWF history. Vince felt obligated to do something after losing a staggering number of main event guys (and two very recent giant ones) – and Pillman was the best shot he could muster. His act continued, as he and Steve Austin absolutely terrorized Bret Hart in a one-sided feud because Bret was at home and unable to respond. Unfortunately, Pillman was a bit of a Bret sympathizer, so Austin broke his ankle in a chair in the spot we’ve come to know as “Pillmanizing”. Pillman’s response? Threatening to shoot Austin on live television that nearly got RAW thrown off the air all together.

Unfortunately, as the painkillers took over Pillman’s life, his friends and co-workers knew he was a shadow of his former self. He couldn’t do a fraction of the things he used to do, and already jacked with about 40 pounds of extra muscle on his frame that couldn’t support it, it was only a matter of time. In October of 1997, his heart finally gave out from the years, and years of steroid and painkiller abuse. He was 35 years old.

So what’s his legacy? As I’ve talked about before; I feel he’s the template to our modern day CM Punk Pipebomb character. A guy who used whatever means he could to establish himself in a world of wrestling giants. His work from 1993-1996 is some of the very best in wrestling history, and still talked about to this day. His work ethic was unparalleled, his interviews legendary. He and Steve Austin fed off each other and brought each other’s games to another level; and while Austin was headed for superstardom with or without Pillman, their time spent together in 1993 and 1996 did wonders for each man, and it’s one of the greatest “What If” questions that lingers together.

So, while we absorb that, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND has an interview with JIMMY HART and THE GIANT. It’s the same interview we’ve seen on every single edition of WCW Saturday Night since I started this project, so I can’t be bothered.

THE ROAD WARRIORS vs. STING and LEX LUGER (for the WCW World Tag-Team Titles)

Sting hasn’t re-touched his makeup, so you know he means business tonight. Luger delays, walking Sting back up the ramp to discuss this in depth; making it clear he really has no intention of fighting Animal and Hawk. And just as Sting convinces him down to ringside, Luger heads back up the aisle again, looking pretty terrified. Fans start booing, and Luger gets in the face of a really vocal one telling him “YOU get in there!” After additional delays, the Warriors have enough and chase Luger right back up the aisle again. After nearly 5 minutes, we finally get under way. Luger refuses to start, so Hawk and Sting pair off. Hawk dropkicks him in the mush, and Sting heads to the floor. Hawk chases Sting around the ring, but Sting suckers him in and kicks him in the chest. In the ring, Hawk botches a swinging neckbreaker, and neither guy seems to know how to respond, so they try pinning each other while wondering why the other guy isn’t selling. Animal gets the tag, and works over Sting’s arm and shoulder. Sting gets control and tags in Luger. Animal stops selling right away, and stalks his prey. Animal slams Luger’s head into the turnbuckle, kicks him in the face, and hits a running powerslam for 2. Hawk wants a piece, and nails Luger with a running clothesline. Lex is dumped to the floor with ease, where Animal happily pounces, whipping him into the guardrail. Back in, Luger gets in some shots on Hawk, and drops him with a clothesline before finally tagging out. A snap suplex gets 2. Animal tags in, and gets hit with a shoulderblock. Sting then headbutts Animal right in the plums – which Tony defends as unintentional but I ain’t buying. Luger tags in and connects with a running atomic drop. Back to Sting, who hits the running faceplant and heads to the top. A super splash is blocked by Animal’s knees – and he gets the tag to Hawk. Sting dives for a tag, and gets it, so Hawk just beats the holy hell out of Luger before he even gets in. A legdrop from Hawk gets 2. Hawk goes for a sleeper, but Luger hits a jawkbreaker, and both men tag out. Stinger splash on Animal gets up the Scorpion Deathlock, but Hawk breaks that up with a clothesline. Luger’s late to save – and the announcers point out how reluctant he still is to get in the ring. Hawk delivers another stiff clothesline, and Animal puts on a chinlock. Sting escapes, but the Warriors keep the ring cut off. Sting hits a vertical suplex on Animal, but Animal pops right back up. Animal hits Sting with a suplex, and then Sting no-sells that to a HUGE pop. Everyone gets in the ring, and a melee breaks loose that ends up outside the ring. As the teams brawl, both teams get counted out at 13:56. **1/2

RIC FLAIR and WOMAN are with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. Flair gloats about keeping the Dungeon and Horsemen together. He knows Savage is running scared. Gene asks, in the sleeziest way possible, “if you win can we assume there will be a little ride on Space Mountain tonight?” Flair promises he’ll have Woman on his left, Liz on his right, and no telling WHO rides tonight.

Moments later, he catches up with RANDY SAVAGE and ELIZABETH. Savage says that he and Liz are truly the MegaPowers, and promises “complete, mental, insanity”. I think we reached that point a long time ago there, Mach.

RIC FLAIR (with Woman) vs. RANDY SAVAGE (with Elizabeth) (in a steel cage match for the WCW World Heavyweight title)

Tony promises that no matter how long this match goes, they’ll be staying with it. Which is good – we certainly wouldn’t want them to get bumped for a new Thunder in Paradise or anything. Flair offers Liz one last chance to come and kiss a real man before the match, and Savage replies on her behalf with an “ohhhhh nooooo”. Flair takes forever to get in the cage because Savage won’t give him the space to safely enter; and when he finally does, Savage pounces. He beats Flair down and goes for an early pin, which isn’t counted because the referee is too busy locking the door. Flair goes low, and then chops away at Savage. Savage gets tossed face first into the mesh, and he is hung up in the ropes. And for kicks, he decks the referee, knocking him out cold, and stomps on him to ensure he stays down. Savage gets a backslide that seems to pin Flair, but there’s no referee. Liz looks on tentatively from ringside, but Savage has control, and chokes Flair out with his boot. Flair comes back with an elbow to the face, and Savage is rolling around with nowhere to go. Flair heads to the top rope – but as always, gets caught, and Savage puts HIM in the Figure Four! Flair fights the hold, while Woman shrieks at the top of her lungs. He reaches the ropes, but it doesn’t matter. The referee then steps out of bounds by kicking Flair’s hands off the ropes – what the hell is that?? Tony says “it’s a cage, anything goes”, so you think he’d be allowed to hold the ropes even if it doesn’t break the hold. A big right hand gets 2. Savage quickly climbs up to the TOP of the cage, and flies back with a double axehandle attempt ... but Flair sidesteps and punches him in the midsection! A vertical suplex from Flair gets 2, and he’s out of energy, so the only thing he can do is cover Savage over and over. 5 consecutive 2 counts don’t get the job done, as Woman pleads for Flair to finish. Savage is again sent face first to the cage, and is draped across the top rope like laundry. Figure Four is applied mid ring, and Flair uses the ropes for leverage. Apparently THIS type of rope holding is permitted. Meanwhile, Savage gets to the ropes, and cage, and the referee pulls Flair off. They’re fighting under completely different rules, this is asinine, is it any wonder why the fans often rebelled and cheered for Flair anyway? (I mean, aside from the fact he was always the coolest guy in the room.) Flair chops, and chops at Savage, but Savage throws him face first to the cage to change the feel, and grates him across it like a block of cheese. Flair apparently starts bleeding, and WCW is so determined NOT to show it that we get a bunch of really weird camera angles that don’t show us Flair’s face. It’s hard to watch at this point, and it’s impossible to see what happened. Flair gets crotched on the top rope, and falls in where Savage gets a 2 count (and someone starts ringing the bell). The match continues despite the gaffe, and we continue to not show Flair’s face. Flair tries to escape the cage, but Savage grabs him, and we look at their feet as they fight. Flair seems to win that battle, but both guys collapse back in the ring. Savage throws Ric into the cage, so Flair just starts to climb, but Savage stops him. The door opens as they fight – what the hell kind of terrible chain do they have holding it in place? We take the wide-angle crowd shot, looking at the guys from what feels like the 3rd deck of a baseball stadium. This nonsense about not showing blood is ridiculous, it’s pay-per-view for good sakes. Woman tries to throw powder in Savage’s face – but Savage ducks. Now LIZ hands Flair her shoe, which Flair uses and regains the belt at 18:56! HULK HOGAN comes rushing on scene, and Liz takes off. Hogan enters the ring with a chair, but ARN ANDERSON is in there too. Arn takes the bullet, with a chairshot from behind, as Flair escapes the cage and heads to the back. ***

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND gets a word in with Hogan, who’s still wearing his eye-patch. Hogan figures Liz’s turn goes back to their separation – and reminds us that last week her shoe came off pretty easily when he took the spiked heel to the eye. He starts taping his fists, and reminds us that the only way to win HIS cage match is to escape the cage because it’s unsanctioned. Glad to see the 1980’s WWF rules taking over my WCW.

THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan) vs. HULK HOGAN (in an Unsanctioned Steel Cage match)

MICHAEL BUFFER kills me in the intros by introducing The Giant as “the man who literally returned from the dead last October at Halloween Havoc”. Hogan enters the cage by scaling it from the outside, and rips off his shirt from the top rope. His shirts never seem to last more than one use, are we sure they are American Made? Hogan bites Giant in the eye, and chokes him out with his fist-tape. More biting, what a sportsman. And more biting. Jesus man – enough, that’s ridiculously unsanitary. Hogan goes to slam the Giant, but can’t do it, and Giant clobbers away. Giant uses the bearhug, and Hogan bites his way out. Giant grabs Hogan’s shirt and chokes him out. Hogan fights back with fists instead of teeth for a change, and threatens to slam the Giant. And his attempt fails miserably, as Giant falls right in top of Hogan. A vertical suplex has Hogan convulsing, and the door is open for Giant. Hogan holds his leg and pulls him back in. Giant throws Hogan into the cage a couple of times, and poses. Giant goes back to the bearhug, and the fans try to rally him. Hart screams at Giant to “put some pressure baybee!” Tony: “Wouldn’t you like to take that Megaphone, and ...” Heenan: “I sure would! Hit Hogan right between the eyes with it!” Hogan fights his way out of the bearhug, but a big kick from Giant stops the rally. Giant drops Hogan with the Chokeslam, and declares it over, so naturally Hogan pops right back up having a Hulkamania seizure. Giant steps in, and Hogan bites his forehead again. Giant is tossed into the cage about 10 times in a row, and now Hogan has the strength to slam him. Big boot, legdrop, legdrop, legdrop, and now Giant pops right back up! The two brawl to the top of the cage, trading chops. Hogan wins the war, and Giant falls backwards “like Jack and the beanstalk” says Dusty – and Hogan escapes at 15:07. Sullivan attacks with a chair right after the match, so Hogan throws him into the cage. The entire DUNGEON OF DOOM attacks – Hugh Morrus, Meng, Zodiak, Shark, Barbarian, One Man Gang, and Hogan beats up ALL OF THEM simultaneously. I am not kidding. LOCH NESS now comes down to ringside, but the Dungeon of Doom holds him back from attacking today. *1/2

Like Bart Simpson reminding himself “Krusty is coming” – I am rocking back and forth here repeating “Hogan is leaving, Hogan is leaving” ... Just 1 more month ...

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