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SirSmUgly last won the day on May 1 2023

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  1. Surfer Sting was a complete goof. A lovable goof, but a goof. I'm not sure he was a viable character after about 1995.
  2. While I don't totally line up with this list, I line up with it enough that I would like to submit it as evidence that Vader was Sting's best opponent, and it's not even close. If Flair is second, it's a distant second.
  3. Thunder Interlude – show number thirty-two – 17 September 1998 "The WCW Gang adds unnecessary twists and turns to the saga of Ric Flair's WCW return” I’m once again oddly relieved to be watching Thunder instead of Nitro…I don’t know how much longer this feeling of relief will last… I don’t buy any sense of kayfabe danger that Eric fucking Bischoff has a chance to beat Arn Anderson in an arm wrestling match…Lee Marshall tries, but nah…The only danger in that specific matchup is a run-in that knocks Arn out, and even then, I’d still think unconscious Arn had a chance… Huh, a random Bobby Eaton appearance!...Wrath is going to devour him metaphorically, and maybe literally if the big guy is hungry…Wrath hits a diving lariat to Eaton as Eaton is standing way the hell across the ring, which is pretty impressive…The Meltdown ends it in only a minute or two…I personally want Wrath/Meng ASAP…I know Nash is going to beat Wrath in the lead up to Starrcade, so I hope they get Wrath/Meng onto a card by about mid-November…(Editor's note: As I refreshed the page, I saw caley's point about Scott Norton...I don't entirely disagree, but I would put Meng and Wrath ahead of Norton as guys who come off as borderline main-eventers when they're mowing dudes down...Either of the first two would be in line for that kind of push before Norton if I were booking this company...YMMV...) The Halloween Havoc CGI graphic is charming due to its very '90s style... Mike Enos faces Lenny Lane…Lane doesn’t do anything for me, but if they’re going to do something with them, maybe they should give him a win here…Or maybe Enos will beal Lane into about the fifteenth row…That beal toss ruled…Enos hits a press slam…It’s too bad that this company doesn’t care about tag teams because there is room on these shows for the Destruction Crew…They can at least put on solid WCWSN and Worldwide matches that make those shows more worth tuning in to…Enos has really enjoyable offense, and he unloads a lot of it on Lane…He launches the guy in an inverted crucifix toss for three…Yeah, that was way more fun than boring old Lenny Lane getting a victory…This was one of the more entertaining squashes I’ve seen on WCW television in awhile… Gene Okerlund interviews Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner…It only serves to remind me that the Steiner boys are still feuding with one another…Which is, as you may know from reading these reviews, kind of a bummer to me… We get a little recap of Chris Jericho’s one-sided feud with Bill Goldberg…There are a handful of Flair career retrospective videos scattered throughout the show, and we get one of those here as well…I won’t stop to point all of them out, but they’re pretty cool little video packages… Mike Jones (WHO?!) just passed, so I won’t complain about getting a Vincent match in 1998 on Thunder…Actually, Virgil wrestling jobber matches on Superstars and Prime Time in 1992 and 1993 can be pretty fun, so I’m not entirely against the guy…And I did root hard for him as a kid in the Ted DiBiase feud…Yeah, I have some good memories of him in WWF…Anyway, this upcoming Thunder match might be alright, as he’s killing one of the Armstrong Boys…Virgil leaves his nWo cap on his head so that said Armstrong boy can pull it down over his face and punch him…That was a decent spot in a nothing match...Vincent quickly gets control, hits Armstrong with a diving clothesline from the apron, and lands a weak double-axehandle from the top after tossing Armstrong back into the ring…He does hit a nice armdrag, though…Huh, Vincent finishes with a keylock drop that he transitions into an armbar for the submission…I was pleasantly surprised at some of the offense that Vincent pulled out in this one… Chucky cackles over the PA once again…I’m excited about him shitting on Rick Steiner in a promo battle, and I mean, you can’t even believe how excited I am about it… If Thunder were being booked in EWR, we’d already be at the point where the “you overused Ernest Miller at the last show” message would pop up…Recap of Miller getting arrested on Nitro, which I think went on too long when it originally aired…Then we get an Ernest Miller/Rick Fuller match…Woof…They let Miller talk before the match…Again, I do enjoy Commissioner Cat, or I did when I saw it on its original run, but Ernest Miller, annoying karate champion is not a draw…Miller does the “I’ll turn around and count to three, and you’d better be out of here before I turn back around” thing…Fuller just stops the count at two…He gets kicked a lot after that…Miller flings the guy around at ringside for awhile…Fuller finally makes a tiny comeback…He misses a splash, though, and Miller rings him up with a springboard Feliner for three…The Cat hypes himself on the mic after the match… Curt Hennig/Norman Smiley is next…Aw, man, let’s get a few wins for Smiley…Smiley leverages the arm to outwrestle Hennig…Hennig slides out of the ring, annoyed and rattled…Hennig finally lands a drop toehold and then targets Smiley’s knee and quad…Smiley tries to fight out of the corner and manages an Irish whip, but Hennig catches him as he ducks down and applies a Perfect Plex for three… Scott Hall and Stevie Ray (w/victorious Vincent) are a makeshift tag team tonight…Hall is too sauced to do an efficient survey…He gets it done eventually, to less-than-ideal results (for him and for nWo Hollywood)…Kevin Nash and Konnan are their opponents…Hall falls over before the match even starts…This match is centered around two things…First, Hall being an incompetent drunk…Second, whether or not Nash will get his hands on Hall and maybe finally Jacknnife him…Unfortunately, the first one makes for shitty television…The crowd starts chanting for Nash to tag in about four minutes into the match because they at least want the promise of the second one to be honored…Instead, Konnan wrestles this whole match…Hall drnukenly hangs himself in the ropes, falls outside the ring, and gets counted out as Stevie Ray vents about having to tag up with a dude who can't hold his liquor…I can’t express to you how awful this segment was on multiple levels… Video recap of Flair’s return on Nitro…they play a large chunk of the segment…Then, it’s on to the main event of Arn Anderson versus Eric Bischoff in an arm wrestling contest…Ric Flair’s ability to return to WCW for good is on the line…It’s entirely anticlimactic as a stip because there’s no way they’re bringing Flair back just to sideline him immediately…I have no problem with them showing Flair cutting this promo again and then ranting at Bischoff because man, is it entertaining…Bisch bait-and-switches before the arm wrestling match happens and says that he never said he’d be the guy arm wrestling Arn…He subs in Buff, who says that they both have had catastrophic neck injuries, so it’s pretty much fair…I suppose this raises the stakes somewhat, but eh…Buff wins the thing in a second…Well, that was pointless since we know Flair’s coming back and wrestling anyway…I think I vaguely recall Bischoff booking himself in his second straight Starrcade match in 1998, this time against Flair, now that I consider things... There were some fun squashes in here, but nWo Hollywood generally drags things down up and down the card…Vincent and Hennig were unobjectionable tonight, but everything else from that stable’s members stunk...Going with an OWW grade for this show because, while I did enjoy the first thirty-five or forty minutes of Thunder, the last two live segments were the epitome of bad television, and there wasn’t enough elsewhere on the card to make me feel good about this show.
  4. He can be both! Human beings are multitudes, after all.
  5. I am going to wait to see Curt's posted clip because his commentary on it and the reaction to the post have given me something to anticipate about 1999 WCW.
  6. Huh, I interpreted your paraphrase as Sting being self-serving. WWF wasn't interested in doing anything with Sting's career and had no ideas for how to use him right because they just wanted to take a WCW centerpiece. And considering how they did use him once he finally got there, he wasn't wrong! The HHH match is especially egregious for many reasons.
  7. I don't believe Nintendo hasn't ever done a mass layoff. They have cash reserves and I think - I'm not a Japanese labor lawyer - are somewhat constrained from doing so at their Japanese studios by Japanese law. I agree about the definition of AA vs. AAA, but for me, I'm focused on games lower in budget and scope. I'll play anything that looks good, but trying to hit on big budget games with lots of scope creep is simply unsustainable financially. Sony lives off of those games and has multiple 10M+ and a few 20M+ sellers and can't even do it.
  8. I just saw the Rock cook Seth Rollins in a Twitter promo. He did some "God speaks to Billy Gunn" level shit to him, goddam.
  9. Show #157 – 14 September 1998 "The one in which Ric Flair drives home Eric Bischoff’s unsuitability as the leader of a major organization on accounting for his ABUSE OF POWER and that he’s an OVERBEARING ASSHOLE and such" As the Nitro Girls dance, I realize that I’m feeling like I ran off a cliff and, much like Wile E. Coyote, have only just looked downward to see that I’m about to plummet into space. Sure, I’ve given low scores to Nitro and Thunder. Yes, I’ve handed out negative numbers and OW grades in the past. But I’ve only now realized, looking ahead to the next few months of shows, that I think we’re in the part where WCW is abjectly bad until late 2000. Uh oh. At least I get joy out of reliving the ‘90s and writing about wrestling! Tony S. teases a Four Horsemen reformation as the Carolinas crowd, on cue, chants WE WANT FLAIR. Tony S. continues talking, and the crowd chants GOLDBERG. Maybe they should put those two fellas on TV and give them a lot of TV time, huh? Mike T. harasses some people who are sitting in a limo at a South Carolina airport. Then he harasses a guy just trying to clean a jet. Now that’s some good reportin’. For the third straight show, we see Ernest Miller kick a couple of them good ol’ Armstrong boys and have a pull-apart with Norman Smiley on Thunder, and then he has another pull-apart with Smiley which happened at Fall Brawl. This Ernest Miller push is poorly executed, let’s put it that way. Alex Wright deserves better than what he’s been given in 1998. Tonight, he’s been given a chance to maybe lose to a Hendrix-quoting Van Hammer, who, might I add, is dressed like That ‘70s Guy Mike Awesome. Look, I like Van Hammer more than most, but this is not how you use him. You use him as the big man and hot tag in a big man/little man tag team. We were forever robbed of a long-term Van Hammer/Juventud Guerrera tag team. Larry Z. makes me laugh by mentioning that he saw members of the now-disbanded Flock wandering around before the show: “It looked like 4 AM at the Greyhound station.” Ah, I see why Ernest Miller was mentioned before this match; he comes to ringside and hits Hammer with a jumping kick. He gets in the ring, and Alex Wright just leaves after dancing for a bit. Miller grabs a mic and says no one can beat him and then, while Dellinger and the fuzz prepare to haul him off, he yells SOMEBODY CALL MY MOMMA – a catchphrase is born – and then yells YOU CAN’T STOP ME while a bunch of cops do, in fact, stop him. In fact, we follow all the way to the back to see Miller get stuffed into a cop car. I don’t know why we needed to see that. War Games stills. It was the worst War Games ever by a wide amount. Gene Okerlund misses his cue, but finally hustles to the ring to introduce Bret Hart for an interview. The Hitman limps out. Maybe he’s working an injury or maybe he’s covering for a real injury. I don’t care enough to look it up. Bret apologizes to the fans and pulls an abrupt face turn. Or maybe it’ll be a swerve down the road. What a stupid heel turn in the first place. He dumps the U.S. Championship on the mat – he didn’t earn it anyway, he says – and then he gets me all fired up for an eventual Hogan match that is never going to happen via a series of vociferous threats he makes toward that bald son of a bitch. Do we get Hogan showing up to respond? No. Fucking Roddy Piper comes out here. Piper reads the Hitman the riot act while Bret reacts like a puppy who got admonished for destroying a pair of Jimmy Choos. Piper eventually forgives Bret and tells him to “soar with the eagles.” Yeah, maybe Bret should join the notable Philadelphia wrestling team the BIRDS OF WAR *caw* *caw* *caw*. Then Piper makes a requisite Bill Clinton reference, which of course gets booed in South Carolina. Man, Roddy Piper sucks. Anyway, this whole segment was complete ass. Saturn comes to the ring after a brief review of his big Fall Brawl win. Kendall Windham is the newest guy to have his name misspelled on the chyron. I am not happy to see him, as he signals that some of the worst things about late-‘90s WCW are fast upon us. Saturn gets on track after Windham gets an early advantage, but loses that advantage when Windham bails, then re-enters the ring and suckers Saturn in. This is a little too back and forth; Saturn shouldn’t be struggling with Kendall fucking Windham. Actually, you could say that Windham beats Saturn’s ass in this thing. Come on, now. It’s a pretty dull and overlong affair that finally ends when Saturn reverses an Irish Whip and catches Windham in a DVD. Even if you argue that Saturn had a tough match the previous night, as Larry Z. does, that’s not enough from a wrestling psychology standpoint to explain the looooooooooong beatdown Saturn takes in the middle of the match from Kendall fucking Windham. After the match, former Flock members come to the ring. Horace, Sick Boy, Riggs, lodi, and Kidman come to the ring. Raven and Kanyon are in the stands; Raven exhorts the former Flock members to rejoin him, but dammit, a stip’s a stip. Saturn and Raven do an angel/devil sort of thing. Saturn gives everyone compliments and encouragement except for Lodi, who he completely dismisses, haha. Lodi tries to join Raven, but Kidman stops him. Everyone else rolls the fuck out. I mean, yeah, that was the stip, you bums. Then Saturn tries to get over his bad “mind over matter” catchphrase. He should stop trying to do that. Since they brought Renegade in to be a duplicate Warrior at Fall Brawl, they figured why not throw him out there to get destroyed by Wrath the next night? Sure, why not. Wrath wins a squash with the Meltdown. He continues to look like a fun midcard gatekeeper. It took over forty minutes for “Rockhouse” to hit. Acceptable. Liz looks cute tonight. Bisch, Hogan, and Disciple do not. Bisch celebrates that Flair isn’t in the building right now. Then, he lets Hogan speak for some fucking reason. Hogan insults a bunch of his opponents, you know how it is. He’s a complete cornball. He eventually challenges Warrior to a match. Cue smoke. When the Undertaker does dopey parlor tricks, it rules so hard. Warrior does it, and I am immediately checked out. So, the smoke dissipates, and Warrior has kidnapped Disciple to, um, “reprogram” him. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how that off-screen reprogramming happens. Hogan yells WARRIORRRRRRRR. When Sid yells GOLDBERRRRRRRG, it rules so hard. Hogan yells WARRIORRRRRRRR, and I am immediately checked out. Tony S. hyped a Juventud Guerrera/Kaz Hayashi match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship at the start of the show, but he now telegraphs a title change by telling us that Kaz is injured and that Kidman will be his injury replacement. Good, let’s get this belt onto someone with a bit of momentum. This Juvi title run wasn’t exactly as counter-productive as the Sting or Goldberg WCW World Championship runs of 1998, but it was pretty counter-productive! Juvi and Kidman have excellent chemistry together, so I expect something quite good. After a chop exchange, Juvi runs Kidman right into the mat, capping a series of pacey moves with a missile dropkick that sends Kidman for safety outside the ring. Kidman does get control when he re-enters the ring and gets two off a nice floatover powerslam counter to a Juvi leapfrog. Kidman works a chinlock for a bit and then stuffs a Juvi comeback, but he summarily eats double-boots to the face and then is crossbodied over the top rope and to the floor. We get a break. We come back to Mike T. yammering on about Flair’s Lear jet and Kidman trying to put Juvi away. Kidman goes back to a chinlock and a single guy yells BOOOOOORING. He’s not wrong. Kidman’s chinlocks are boring. Work the damned things. He bails out of the move quickly, at least, and gets 2.9 on a sit-out spinebuster. He gets another two, maybe 2.5, on a wheelbarrow slam. This is not one of their better matches, unfortunately. Actually, I'd go so far as to call it "not very good." Kidman seems completely out of ideas for what to do in between the big spots. Juvi makes one more comeback and gets two off a rana that he leaps from the top to hit. Juvi moves out of the way of a charging Kidman and tries a Juvi Driver, but Kidman flips out of it and gets another 2.5 off a gourdbuster. Kidman hits a front slam and goes up for the SSP, but Juvi crotches him in desperation. Juvi follows up with a top-rope Frankensteiner and positions him for the 450, but Kidman is up and catches a diving Juvi with another sit-out spinebuster, followed by the SSP for three. It was solid at the big false finishes, during the opening Juvi blitz of offense, and during the finishing run; it was subpar at every other point. Saturn walks out and applauds Kidman for his success. The crowd is surprisingly jazzed about Billy Kidman, let me tell you! Gene Okerlund chases down J.J. Dillon and tries to get the scoop on Ric Flair. It doesn’t work. Okerlund tries to call in favors, but the brave, the proud, the Doug Dellinger says, “Not tonight.” What an authority this man is! Jackie Chan says hello to Larry Z. from a studio somewhere even though we all know that Jackie Chan doesn’t know who Larry Z. is; then, Chan promotes a TNT special after Nitro and also the movie Rush Hour. The first one. Man, I’m old. I do get a chuckle out of Larry Z. claiming to have taught martial arts to Jackie Chan. Larry Z. is second only to Stan Lane in the “terrible pseudo-martial arts kicks” rankings. Eddy Guerrero and Eric Bischoff fight about Eddy’s contract status in the backstage area. Bisch banishes Eddy to Japan. Did he actually tour with New Japan at this point? Davey Boy Smith faces off against Barbarian in a rematch from the Battle Royal at Royal Albert Hall show. Davey also faces off against that damned trap door again. He was hurt by landing on it at Fall Brawl, so I’m surprised to see him out here for a match. I enjoy Barbarian, but he’s not particularly scintillating on offense tonight, and Davey is injured and, well, it’s not 1991 anymore. Jimmy Hart helps block a Bulldog running powerslam right in front of the ref, who doesn’t bother to DQ Barb, but Bulldog ends up ducking a Kick of Fear and hitting a weak powerslam for three anyway. Then he sells his back, and it’s not hard for him to do effectively; he looks in some pretty bad pain! Gene Okerlund grills J.J. Dillon in the ring. Dillon comments on this Steiner Brothers feud that won’t…fucking…END. Will this end at Halloween Havoc? I can only dream of it. Oh no, just as I was going to type a question about the Child’s Play promotion with Chucky and when that happened since Havoc is coming up, the lights flicker and the little murderous doll cackles over the PA system. I can't wait for a fictional doll to outsmart Rick Steiner on the mic, not gonna lie. Not that it's hard to do that. Why is Jim Neidhart being booked so much? At the very least, leave this guy on Pro. There is no excuse for a company with this much talent to run Neidhart out here every three days. “Rockhouse” plays, but smoke fills the ring before anyone even makes it out here, and Warrior pops out of the smoke with the Disciple kneeling behind him, and look, uh, it’s suggestive. As Hogan and a bunch of A-Teamers come to the ring, I think to myself, well, at least I didn’t have to watch Jim Neidhart wrestle tonight. Warrior looks like a doofus in his garish longcoat, jeans with a big-ass belt buckle, tassels, and boots. Warrior, um, straddles a kneeling Disciple and says a bunch of stuff. Let's just say that if we shot this promo in a dingy apartment somewhere, we could sell video of it to closeted conservative senators for a tidy profit. Warrior accepts Hogan’s challenge for Havoc. Then he disappears in a puff of smoke. It’s real, real, real dumb. The nWo members enter the ring and try to figure out what just happened. Warrior’s kidnapped a man and is going to fuck the defiance out of him, that’s what’s just happened, duh. Silver King and Norman Smiley are a tag team tonight, and they are very entertaining as they make their way to the ring. They’re probably going to job to Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell, but I’m just glad to get more Norman Smiley. Wait, no, it’s a handicap match. Even worse. Dammit, show Norman Smiley some respect! Steiner, with a little helpful interference from Buff on the outside, tosses these dudes around, double-underhook powerbombs one guy onto the other, and then does a stacked Steiner Recliner on both guys for the win. He also immediately sells a back injury because we’re probably going to do a bunch of bullshit injury angles for the next month in this Steiners feud. The Giant vs. Meng? I’m into it. Meng hits a hundred hand slap, they chop each other, there’s clubbering. This is my kind of wrestling. Meng is out here giving zero fucks. He hits a side kick which wobbles Giant, who recovers, pulls down a strap, and gets serious. Yo, this fucking RULES. They just throw fists, Giant lets loose with a headbutt that does nothing, and Meng walks through a couple strikes before the Giant’s reach wins out; Meng and Giant go for finisher-enabling goozles at the same time, but Meng’s arms are too short to hotbox with the Giant. Chokeslam, three, and that was the best match I’ve seen on Nitro in awhile. Drunken Scott Hall (w/Vincent) is out next, and I think I’m good with having Hall on television anymore. He had a heck of a run from his early ‘90s Diamond Studd days through about early 1998. Razor Ramon is a legendary character. But yeah, the guy is cooked as a wrestler because he’s an alcoholic. He needed to go get treated for alcoholism and maybe get therapy for his guilt over killing a man, then do something other than be in the wrestling business. Hall surveys the crowd and it goes Wolfpac > WCW > Hollywood, as usual. After the break, Lex Luger enters the ring as Hall’s opponent. Hall does a lot of goofy drunken frat-boy stalling. It’s not amusing. Hall trips over the bottom rope after stepping out of the ring for a second. The crowd laughs. Tony S. is very upset by Hall being in this condition and thinks that the match should be stopped. This is some vile television. Not entirely because I’m offended that they took Hall’s IRL illness and made it part of his character, even though that’s dumb and shitty. But also because it’s terrible fucking television. I mean, this goes on and fucking on, with Hall flopping and wobbling around and stepping out to take sips from his cup. Luger shoves Hall into the corner and lectures him about being a drunken wreck. Bischoff storms out to try and convince Hall to head to the back. Hall is like I’M FINE, BOSSH *hic*. Nash and Konnan walk down and try to stage an intervention. This is truly some of the worst television I’ve seen in awhile. It might be worse than the nWo Tonight sketches because Hall is an actual fucking alcoholic who they’re having be in denial that he’s an alcoholic as a character. They have the guy spew all over Bischoff, he’s so drunk. When your character and the IRL person both already share the same name, I don’t know, maybe it’s not good to continue to erase the line between them so much. I also don’t think that WCW and its cast of characters, no matter how talented many of them are, are in the space to have a thoughtful and serious angle centered around an alcoholic wrestler. J.J. Dillon introduces Arn Anderson. Dillon apologizes to Arn for ambushing him a couple weeks ago, but Arn agrees with me that it was the real talk he needed. Yeah, sometimes your boys just have to check you. That is the value of having male friends, at least as a male. Arn tries to cut an epic promo, but the crowd is just like WE WANT FLAIR after about a couple minutes. Arn reassures them that Flair is coming, just let him get through this promo, geez, come on, now. Arn introduces the newest version of the Four Horsemen, who all join him in the ring: Mongo McMichael, Chris Benoit (a worker whom this show has sorely missed from the standpoint of consistent good matches; he and Booker both being off TV at the same time has been especially noticeable to Nitro’s undercard match quality, let’s just say), Dean Malenko, and finally RIC FLAIR, GET ON DOWN HERE. Arn really gets over the mystique of the Horsemen while he introduces everyone and apologizes to Malenko for not calling him Horsemen material. This show has also missed Flair. I’ve written before that I could go without seeing him in the ring ever again, but you know, I think I take that back. He’s well into his post-peak, but he’s consistently churned out fun TV matches since Nitro began. Flair cuts a teary-eyed promo that the crowd loves. Well, for a few seconds. Then, he focuses his ire on Eric Bischoff. Bischoff, who is in love with worked shoots right now considering the Eddy, Hall, and now Flair angles, should fall out of love with them. The vast majority of worked shoots are terrible. Bischoff comes out to ringside so that Flair can, in a legendary fit of pique, state this to Bischoff: YOU’RE AN OVERBEARING ASSHOLE, YOU’RE AN OBNOXIOUS OVERBEARING ASS. ABUSE OF POWER, ABUSE OF POWER, CUT ME OFF, IT’S CALLED ABUSE OF POWER. YOU, I HATE YOUR GUTS. YOU SUCK, CUT ME OFF. YOU ARE A LIAR, YOU ARE A CHEAT, YOU ARE A SCAM, YOU ARE A NO-GOOD SON OF A BITCH. FIRE ME, I’M ALREADY FIRED. FIRE ME, I’M ALREADY FIRED. We all know the above rant was amazing, but I still feel that I should say this: That rant was fucking amazing. To jump back, this show has missed Benoit and Booker. Trust me, I’m not saying they’re equally as good in-ring, but they consistently had good television matches for the last year on a weekly basis. Rey can’t get right health-wise either, which is a problem. The show has missed Flair. And even though I was down on Savage as a character, he’s another guy who would come out every week and fill time with solid TV matches up and down and across the card. I think Bischoff wasn’t aggressive enough in pushing guys with clear charisma and in-ring talent like Psicosis, but also, Chavo has just disappeared from television, and he was a weekly highlight of these shows. Is he hurt, or does creative just have nothing for him? Also, why doesn't Jericho, the hottest midcarder on the roster, show up every week? Will he even show up tonight? (Editor's note: He did not). Then, Bisch has taken Eddy and basically ended his weekly in-ring shows of excellence to get over a bad angle. Bisch can’t control injuries, but he’s made things worse with his bad booking. Diamond Dallas Page joins commentary to observe the Sting/Goldberg World Championship match which will determine Page's opponent for Halloween Havoc. I am staggered that Sting’s first match against Goldberg is on a Nitro after a PPV upon which Goldberg did not appear. At the risk of repeating myself, people incorrectly emphasize giving Hogan/Goldberg away on the Georgia Dome Nitro as a mistake when actually, giving it away for free should have been a teaser for Goldberg defending the title against all the other main eventers + a potential Hogan rematch on PPV. I am convinced that Bischoff is in utter denial when he claims that he didn’t panic about the WWF catching up and then dominating the ratings battle. If that’s true, explain all this worked shoot desperation edgelord angle shit? Explain giving away fresh Goldberg matchups on TV more than once? I’d love to be Sam Beckett so that I could leap into Eric Bischoff's body the day after the Georgia Dome Nitro and book all the way through the Fingerpoke of Doom Nitro in January. I’d save Nitro's ratings enough that it would be too viable to cancel in 2001. I’d alter the course of history so that WCW would still exist today. Al would congratulate me on a job well done. I’d jump out, end up seeing that I jumped into the body of a Klan member whom I need to put on a path to decency and goodness, and say OH BOY while the credits roll. Wait, what was I writing about? Goldberg straight dominates Sting to start and hits him with a sick powerslam. Sting dodges a corner charge, kicks Goldberg, and rams him into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede. Sting follows up with a vertical suplex, but Goldberg no-sells it, and Sting wisely bails to reconsider his strategy. See, this rules. They should have made the viewer pay fifty bucks to see it. Back in the ring, Sting can’t compete with Goldberg’s power. He uses his greater agility to leapfrog Goldberg and hit a dropkick, but Goldberg pretty much no-sells it again and captures sting in a legbar that Sting quickly escapes by grabbing the ropes. Sting is selling frustration and bewilderment in his posture, and it’s really good. Sting is an underrated worker, IMO, even though he does get quite a few flowers. He doesn’t get enough of them. Sting puts on a headlock and hangs on for dear life, even when Goldberg tries to back suplex his way out of it. Goldberg finally breaks the headlock and just looks at Sting like it was nothing to him at all. This is a compelling matchup, but there are only five minutes left, which is a shame. Goldberg uncharacteristically tries a Tombstone, but Sting reverses it and hits one himself. Goldberg gets up, but more slowly than before; he stands up and eats two Stinger Splashes. Sting tries to finish him, but Goldberg blocks a beal toss. Sting decides that he’s got to go for more heavy damage and hits another Stinger Splash, then tries another, but Goldberg follows him out of the corner for a flash spear. Sting barely dodges it, chop blocks Goldberg, and tries to turn him over in the Scorpion Death Lock. After a fight, he gets it on, but Goldberg just pushes up off the mat and damned near breaks the hold entirely. Sting can’t quite get it cinched in as a result, and we are having a hell of a finish, just a hell of a finish, there’s so much struggle in this…and Hogan comes into the ring, boots Sting in the head, and leaves him ripe for a spear and Jackhammer. Hogan immediately jumps Goldberg at the bell, and Bret comes out and chases Hogan off. Goldberg helps Sting up as the show fades to black. Look, there is zero excuse for putting that match on free TV and then even less excuse for making Hogan the focal point of the finish. It’s a shame because this matchup was excellent and deserved a clean finish in the main event slot of a PPV. I enjoyed most of it, but the end, when Goldberg and Sting were selling this great struggle over the Scorpion Death Lock, was just marred by what happened after that. This show went from one extreme (drunken Hall, Warrior kidnapping the Disciple, Hogan interfering in Sting/Goldberg) to the other (Flair ranting, most of Sting/Goldberg). There was so much good and so much bad all jumbled up together that I think it averages out almost exactly? 3 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
  10. That Rumble match made me finally "get" the appeal of Greg Valentine.
  11. I personally seek raw catharsis from pro wrestling stories compared to stories in books, movies, or shows. I don't have any issues with a show or book narrative that lacks closure, but a pro wrestling story that lacks closure blocks me from catharsis and drives me up a wall. That's why pro wrestling stories are so important to me; something about them induces, for me, purer emotional reaction (in some ways) than if I read a great fictional book or see a great fictional film.
  12. Turning Bret heel was a catastrophic error, as was making his first feud against Ric Flair, who the WCW crowd would obviously support in a "who's really the man?" feud. If you bring him in and have him go after the remnants of the nWo, maybe you've got something there. And I don't mean Curt Hennig or Crush, either. Hart/Hall hadn't been done since 1993 and would have been extremely fresh in 1998. He beats Hall, beats Nash, and then gets that Hogan matchup after that. And hey, you still can turn him heel after that so Sting can beat him in a battle of the extremely cool submission finishers. Bischoff contends that Waltman leaving hurt the most because when he jumped back, it had a "WCW is lame, everyone wants to come back to the WWF" impact, which I do understand, but I think it hurt even more that Chris Jericho had an insane 1998 and his reward is to be an instant upper midcarder on a hotter show in 1999 WWF. Waltman is one thing, but "hot star who got over organically leaving for the competitor and being positioned like the hot star that he is" is a whole other thing.
  13. I saw part of that arc. I'm trying to remember when I stopped watching weekly AEW. It was pretty early. I think I stopped somewhere during the meandering. Do you think, Technico, that this story advanced Hangman as a character in the long term in some noticeable way? Does it feel like his character has evolved from where it was before? As a side, note, I love a good segue. Shawn Michaels careening from feud to feud directly because of the result of the Ric Flair match at WrestleMania was not the greatest example of that, but it stood out in the midst of the boring crap that was on WWE television at that time.
  14. Hollywood abandoning the mid-range market where you budget a movie for 10M and make 40M at the box + whatever you get for DVD/BR/streaming rights is pretty much analogous to what video games did right now. Every major publisher except for Nintendo abandoned the AA market and primed their customers to expect only AAA masterpieces every time a release came out, and this is the result: Nintendo continues to roll along selling AA games at a full-price MSRP that almost never drops and that never does permanently drop, and the rest of the industry is slashing workforce so they can make the shareholders happy at the next quarterly report.
  15. Per this discussion: When I watch wrestling, I want and love broader story arcs. I don't mean a story told in a single feud, but a narrative arc that takes a character or characters and grows them as they move through the story. Modern wrestling takes too much of the dumb in-ring shit from CHIKARA (that was good in the specific context in which it occurred), but not enough of the unifying story arc stuff that, while also dumb, was a unifying thread that encompassed more than just one feud in the company.. Lucha Underground was probably the closest thing we had to modernizing the broad concept of overarching story arcs. I've been watching a lot of WCW and have my complaints about the nWo arc never ending, but had it ended properly at Starrcade 1997, it would be a gold standard. That era of WCW has a series of story arcs that, while they go on too long and are usually booked into dullness by the end, are compelling and encompass a number of spots on the card. Raven's Flock is actually what I'm thinking of; that had a surprisingly satisfying story arc in which Raven used his free agency to get J.J. Dillon to agree that he could have hardcore matches for every one of his matches if he wanted, then he gathered lower-card losers like his buddy Stevie Richards who he knew he could control and used the power that he had from negotiating his contract to basically maneuver them like chess pieces into matches of his choosing within the scope limited by his contract. Eventually, he brought his long-time friend Saturn into the company as his second, but unlike the rest of the toadies that he convinced to follow him, Saturn had a mind of his own and ended up being the downfall of the whole Flock. There were missteps along the way, sure! It's not a perfect story. But from the point at which Raven shows up in mid-1997 to when the Flock is forcibly disbanded by Saturn in late 1998, we get this wonderful arc in which Raven tries to keep power over his followers using what he was able to negotiate in his contract and ultimately failing because one member of his group decided to push back against him. This was a roundly satisfying character story. Had Raven just disappeared from WCW television after this, it actually would have been perfect because it felt like his full story had been told. The other cool thing is that because other characters were caught up in it, it was able to sometimes fill multiple story spots in the company in an effective way, and in the midcard, no less. I don't think, beyond LU, there have been many or any stories in American wrestling that take eighteen months to tell a grand story about a character and then to wrap that story up narratively so I feel like I took a journey. That, I miss deeply and would love to see in more modern takes on pro wrestling. I understand that there are matches that are just there to be good matches, that there are looser character journeys that happen on wrestling shows, and that feuds are still a thing. But I don't think there's been anything nearly as effective as, say, the Savage and Elizabeth saga that started right before WM V and basically narratively completed at WM VII and that had people ugly crying on television in years. I don't watch AEW regularly or WWE at all, but I do read here and other places and have a sense of the big angles, and they don't seem to have the same sense of narrative that wrestling should have. Like, I hear people talking about Cody Rhodes "finishing the story," but what's the story? It's all based on this real-life truth that he was a career midcarder who left, raised his profile, and is back to become a world champ like his dad. That is a narrative story arc, but one which relies on knowing the real-life career goals of a guy playing a wrestler, which I find far less interesting than a story arc that is built around a character. In fact, real-life stuff is a crutch for long-term narrative arc storytelling. In the '80s, I had no idea as a kid that Randy and Liz had already been married for awhile, so them getting kayfabe married hit harder. Maybe you can't put the internet back in a box and shove it into the corner of the closet, but LU showed a formula for telling longform stories with clear character development in the internet era. Thank you for coming to my TEDx Talk.
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