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Everything posted by SirSmUgly

  1. As the only person on this board, or maybe on Earth itself, who loves the Doc/Gordy vs. Steiners series, I hope that you join me as the second person to love that feud. I don't expect it, but I hold out hope.
  2. I think Guerrilla Monsoon is the one who noted this, but maaaaan did Vince just do an abrupt switch on all the stuff he'd been building for SummerSlam. I mean "abrupt" as in "in mid-July." It's looking like we're getting: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Intercontinental Championship match) The Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc. (Tag Championship match) The Beverly Brothers vs. The Road Warriors Nasty Boys vs. High Energy Rick Martel vs. Tatanka British Bulldog vs. Repo Man The Mountie vs. Sgt. Slaughter The Undertaker vs. The Berzerker Ultimate Warrior vs. Papa Shango Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (WWF World Championship match) Once we hit mid-July, Vince does a quick tag title switch, but then also flip-flops the feud partners rather than running a Disasters/Money Inc. rematch. Shawn Michaels involves himself in a Bret/Martel match to switch HBK into a short-term feud with Martel and to free up Bulldog for Bret. We end up getting: The Natural Disasters vs. The Beverly Brothers (Tag Championship match) Money Inc. vs. The Road Warriors Rick Martel vs. Shawn Michaels Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog Crush vs. Repo Man The Undertaker vs. Kamala Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior (WWF World Championship match) Nailz vs. Virgil Watching those '92 Superstars shows, the switch-up is so abrupt, it's crazy. Obviously, running Bret/Bulldog was the right call, and Bret/Bulldog + Disasters/Beverlys were both very good, but the TV feels utterly disjointed in the run-up to the show because it drops months of build in a hot second. This card also doesn't have Flair wrestling on it; it's an odd bit of trivia (to me) that Flair didn't wrestle a SummerSlam match until 2002 (against Chris Jericho). You can see the utter dearth of upper card babyfaces in this company. Was Hogan shooting a movie or something? The obvious move is to give him a bunch of money to finally have that singles match with Ric Flair at this show. Even though running Bret/Bulldog necessitates changes to Martel/Tatanka, Repo/Bulldog, and Bret/HBK. I'm not sure why it was also necessary to switch Berzerker out for Kamala against the Undertaker or to suddenly flip-flop the tag teams in the Beverlys/Road Warriors/Disasters/Money Inc. feuds. You could just run a rematch for the tag titles and blow off this dumb "sissy" shit between the Road Warriors and the Beverlys. The matches that we got ended up being aesthetically superior, I'll say that. If the idea was that the Beverlys were going to lose to the Road Warriors and would be insufficient dance partners for the Disasters as their next title feud, just having lost a feud to the Road Warriors, the Nasty Boys can slot into that role as title challengers until October, when Money Inc. gets the gold back...which is what they did anyway, IIRC. Anyway, I have no clue why they blew up the tag match pairings except that Vince wanted matches that were as good as possible. Which, hey, I like that too, but book in that direction in the first place, maybe. Anyway, I would have run this card: Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog (Intercontinental Championship match) The Natural Disasters vs. Money Inc. (Tag Championship match) The Beverly Brothers vs. The Road Warriors Rick Martel vs. Shawn Michaels Tatanka vs. The Mountie The Undertaker vs. The Berzerker Ultimate Warrior vs. Papa Shango [ed. note: This would have stunk, but a) it was set up for months, and b) maybe with enough stupid gaga, it's a fun sort of stink] Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (WWF World Championship match) I'm sure there's something that I don't know about the booking of this thing that someone will tell me necessitated the weird card changes, though. On another note, it's too bad we didn't get the Steiners and Quebecers into the company quickly enough to run those teams vs. the Natural Disasters. We only got Beverly Brothers/Steiners.
  3. I didn't think any of those DDP brawls were good, and the Rodman one stunk IIRC. I've recently seen the DDP stuff, but I haven't seen the Rodman match for awhile. I believe a Porta Potty is involved in the latter. WCW tended to have lukewarm brawls in general by 1996-1997. WWF surpassed them in that style of match around that time. By 1998, I'm not expecting to see any awesome brawls in WCW. Say what you will about that somewhat overbooked wandering arena-style brawl that WWF developed at the end of the '90s, but it made for some great matches.
  4. Show #135 – 30 March 1998 "The one that has too many old washed dudes getting multiple segments (okay, this isn’t really descriptive enough, I know)” I’ve finally come back around to watch Nitro, and it starts with a reminder that Nash and Hogan suddenly don’t like each other. I’m hoping that we move the split along quickly and get to the point. Maybe tonight? We are in Chicago tonight. There is a world in which an nWo split is a worthy angle to compete with Austin/McMahon over on the other channel. I’m not sure entirely what that angle looks like – and it’s not the one we got – but this should theoretically be workable. The Beverly Brothers come to the ring to face High Voltage in a match that I should probbaly be far less excited about than I am. I legit enjoy High Voltage and am a fan of the Beverlys, especially on free TV. They’ve had good PPV matches (vs. the Natural Disasters at SummerSlam ’92, vs. the Steiners at Royal Rumble ’93), but I think both Bloom and Enos’s best skill is in having fun, eight-ish minute TV matches. They're also elite squash match workers for my money. Rage, who is the interesting prospect in the High Voltage team, has a pretty fun exchange centered around an armbar with Mike Enos. It’s a smidge awkward, but the spots are creative and Enos lifts Rage up into the air on his shoulder, which is impressive. Rage struggles with a deadlift overhead suplex, but clears it. Enos and Bloom work Rage over; Enos hits an overhead pumphandle suplex from the second rope. This is really fun stuff, so of course they send the Giant down to chokeslam everyone for a no contest. I am a huge fan of the Giant, but I genuinely was having fun with this opener, so Fuck you, WCW. I forget which one of you who reads this (has read this before, but not now?) was a fan of the one where Savage tossed out the opening competitors and refused to leave the ring, but at this point, I see this trope as diminishing returns by 1998. It was objectively cool the first time (even if it didn’t age well for me personally), but man, I just wanted to see a quality bout with a finish. The Giant yells about/to Roddy Piper and leaves. Speaking of Roddy Piper, here he comes to talk with Gene Okerlund. The Giant is alongside him. Oh yeah, there’s a bat match at Spring Stampede that I have ZERO recollection of. I forgot about that, or about the Giant being Piper’s partner for that bat match. Piper shouts out Harry Caray for the cheap pop almost immediately. I bet the White Sox fans in that crowd were peeved, though. So yeah, Piper cuts an atrocious promo, you know how it is. He declares that Nash must wrestle a tag match against Sting and Luger tonight, but he’s not allowed to pick Hogan as his partner. Why would he? They suddenly hate each other. I bet he picks Savage because Hogan will be big mad about it. Heh, okay, so it’s kinda funny that Piper has to read off the notes he took on his taped wrist to remind himself of all the former names that Brutus Beefcake Zodiac Booty Man E. Harrison Leslie has had. Piper books himself against Hogan tonight. How can he do this? He’s the commissioner again, is how. He was upgraded from consultant in the last week or two, I guess. They play the whole argument/discussion from Thunder between Hogan and Nash. It’s not compelling even though they try to work a shoot regarding Sean Waltman and Scott Hall’s whereabouts. This should be more exciting an angle than it is! Saturn, flanked by Raven and most of the Flock, comes to the ring to face off with Fit Finlay. Saturn’s hair is a damn mess. Just go bald, dude. This is another interesting matchup that I hope doesn’t get interrupted by the Giant chokeslamming everyone again. These fellas really go for pace early. Finlay pops a lariat off and gets some control, but not much. Neither guy really controls for very long. They hit each other with nice strikes, though, and the occasional sweet suplex. Finlay’s throwing some sick lariats, too. He hits a lariat and a flipping forward slam for two, but Saturn gets to standing and is able to find a capture suplex and the Rings of Saturn for the submission. That was definitely a “last guy to land a bomb will win it” match. They could have a best of 21, and I’d gladly watch it. Hey, Scott Hudson is now on the road report, and the road report now has a sponsor! Also, it’s not call-in! There are no shitty weasel jokes! This is acceptable. Oh, yeah, WCW will be in Hulk Hogan’s hometown of Tampa next week. Speak of the devil: Hogan and most of his nWo-ITES, DUDES come to the ring. Let’s summarize this shitty-ass promo: He’s glad to fight Piper tonight, he’s mad that Piper is being mean about Nash not getting along with him, the Disciple is pretty good actually and a great bodyguard, and Nash is acting like a lil’ bitch right now and the rest of the nWo won’t be teaming with him either. Nash comes out to respond to Hogan’s nearly-endless stream of chatter. He’s basically just like Savage wasn’t lying that most people in the nWo want to stab you in the back, but I’ll stab you in the face, and also you’re acting like a lil’ bitch, not me. That’s a paraphrase. Hogan’s like Whateva brah, you still ain’t got no partner for tonight and Nash is like Yes I do, you lil’ bitch, but I ain’t telling you who it is. Again, all paraphrase. In 1998, WCW put on a Real Audio pay-per-stream in Auburn Hills called Malice at the Palace. Unfortunately for them, it would only be the second-most famous event called the Malice at the Palace to take place in this venue. Chris Jericho comes out holding a plastic cup of vodka, since it is odorless and can pass for water water. He’s also got a print-out under his arm…hmmm. He rips up a fan’s sign that is in praise of him, but the camera shows that there are actually a lot of fans’ signs in praise of him. Uh-oh, you’re getting over as a face Jericho, figure out how to tamp that down. He runs Dean Malenko down on the mic before the match. He also invokes the memory of Dean’s dead dad (which is a thing that happens sometimes in Malenko feuds) and quotes "Mmmmmmbop." Yeah, that’s how you heel. Marty Jannetty, who I have enjoyed a whole lot in this WCW run, is Jericho’s opponent. Jannetty runs through some nice offense while Jericho screams for mercy. Jannetty hits a facebuster and sets up for the Rocker Dropper, but Jericho back suplexes his way out of it and quickly locks on the Lion Tamer for the win. So yeah, this is the CLASSIC post-match incident in which Jericho reads off all 1,004 moves he knows. Wrestling moves that Jericho claims to have mastered: Moss-covered Three-handled Family Gredunza, Saskatchewan Spinning Nerve Hold, Shooting Star Staple Superplex, **commercial break here**, like fifty or sixty armbars, **hour two starts with fireworks here**, Jericho Screwdriver Twist **his mic cuts out** I’m fucking DYING. Which isn’t the point, but this gag was TOO well executed. People started laughing the second he started it. This gag would have been perfect in front of a JCP crowd in the studio; they would have started in with WE DON’T WANNA HEAR IT immediately. It kind of works because Prince Iaukea comes down and confronts Jericho, defending the honor of his trainer Dean Malenko’s Dad Boris, and the crowd does give a cheer for the interruption. However, I think Jericho just made a bunch of new fans, which is too bad as he is clearly trying to be the most annoying shithead heel he possibly can. Iaukea runs Jericho off. Jericho yells GIVE ME MY HOLDS as the ref tosses all that printer paper at him. He walks back to the locker despondently, screaming I STILL HAVE TWO HUNDRED MORE HOLDS! There’s a weak Jericho sucks chant, but that was actually a masterpiece of wrestling comedy. It’s hard to hate someone who's that funny, even if they are a dick. Glacier comes to the ring as Iaukea’s opponent. Glacier’s not very good, but Iaukea’s a whole lot of fun. Glacier uses his size advantage to control the match early, but he gets caught celebrating in the corner and slammed from the chair position. Glacier take back over with kicks, but he whiffs on a kick and gets dropkicked in the hammy. That injury helps Iaukea get some control, though Glacier catches a springboard and turns it into a powerslam. Glacier tries to follow up from the top, but he’s caught on a dive and gets Northern Lights suplexed into a bridge for the loss. It was an action-packed four minutes! I liked it! It's the undoubtable El Dandy against the unmasked Juventud Guerrera tonight. This is an interesting matchup, and I’m here for it. Dandy does a great job of being the heavy and grounding the speedy Juvi. He uses Juvi’s hair to swing him around and crotches Juvi on the ropes by dumping him when Juvi tries a springboard. Dandy is a really good base for these lighter, flippy cruisers and should have been deployed better in the style of Dean Malenko. I’m not sure why they didn’t do that with Dandy, maybe push him a bit more in that role. Juvi gets killed for most of this, but ducks a lariat and hits the Juvi Driver for a quick three. Kaz Hayashi is a lunatic who takes wild bumps and generally wrestles as if the very act of being healthy and alive isn’t important to him, so yeah, more Kaz Hayashi on my television, please! The General Thread for this month was talking about the Kaz/Raven match from Worldwide 1999, and if you haven’t seen that, you should watch it just because Kaz takes a flat back bump over the ropes and onto hard floor that, uh, is NUTS. So Kaz is here to wrestle Chavo Guerrero Jr. Kaz is a bit quicker, so Chavo only gets control when he asserts his size and hits a back suplex. Chavo runs through some nice offense, but can only get two counts. Kaz tries to speed things up, and of course, he takes risks. In the process of increasing the pace, Kaz misses a springboard crossbody and eats another back suplex for two. Chavo tries a third back suplex, but Kaz flips out of it. They blow a rana spot, but Kaz just moves right along to the next spot and hits a missile dropkick, then scores two with a bridging German suplex of his own. Kaz tries to follow up, but Chavo dodges him and then grabs him for a tornado DDT that gets three. Eddy’s not here tonight, so Chavo helps Kaz up and shakes his hand before leaving. I’m sure Eddy has a VCR, Chavo! I bet he’s taping this! Maybe he’ll see the replay! He won't be happy! Raven lumbers through the crowd with DDP’s U.S. Championship, sits in the corner, and laments the lack of literacy amongst the WCW faithful (he really did do that, I'm paraphrasing). He asserts that he will speak the language of violence tonight as that is most WCW fans’ first (and only) language. But instead of doing that, he keeps talking! He talks a lot about his former friendship with Page for like another few minutes! Basically, Raven feels as though his former friendship with Page was not reciprocal, and that’s what has him so upset. This is actually a pretty good promo if you’re inclined to listen to it, but the crowd just wants Raven to shut up, get a fucking chair, and start swinging it. Buff Bagwell (w/Scott Norton) is Raven’s opponent. Now, Raven’s Flock beefing with the nWo has potential. Buff gets a face pop when he comes out. I thought it might be because Raven is a very talky and whiny heel, but I think they just like Buff a lot. I think it’s 80/20 liking Buff to hating Raven. Maybe 70/30. Buff gets the early advantage and poses to a pop, so Raven takes a walk. He gets in Norton’s face, but then sees Page running down the stairs in the crowd. Raven grabs the gold and runs off, ending this match prematurely. Buff doesn’t care: HE WAS SCARED, Buff yells while smiling lasciviously into the camera. This ruled! This is the kind of entertaining ga-ga that I love. Page walks over to the desk after Raven escapes and takes Heenan’s seat. Page can’t figure out the headset, though, so he just grabs a mic. Page asserts that his past friendship with Raven was in fact reciprocal, but Raven is a gaslighting jerk who ignores that he comes from a wealthy family. While I understand Page’s response, money does not equal happiness. As Page notes, Raven’s relationship with his father was apparently troubling. Then, Page shares TOO MUCH INFORMATION about his childhood in a worked-shootish way that I personally find somewhat uncomfortable and a bummer, but he pulls it all back thematically. Page cuts a Dollar Tree HARD TIMES promo that is easily the worst thing about this whole segment, but it’s ultimately fine, I guess. The rest of it ruled, though. Disco Inferno and his very loud shirt dance it out against Billy Kidman. The cameraperson gets a kick out of someone holding a sign that says I’M SICK OF ALL THESE DUMB SIGNS. I mean, it’s not bad. It’s like a dad joke, but on a wrestling sign. Kidman opens up on Disco with forearms, but Disco launches him in the air and hits a lariat for two. This is another back-and-forth match with quick switches in control. Kidman uses a headscissors to get some actual control for awhile and scores a handful of two counts, though Disco gets a desperation two count of his own in there with a sunset flip. Kidman regains control and tries a Frog Splash, but whiffs. Disco makes his comeback and scores a flurry of two counts, but whiffs on a double-axehandle from the second rope. This feels like a match that stands on a knife’s edge; both men counter one another and look for the killing blow. The killing blow is a Disco piledriver (!!!) that does keep Kidman down for three. Man, I love a good piledriver. Curt Hennig and Rick Rude have been sort of a bummer these last couple months. It hurts me to say that. I think one of the issues is that they feel very early ‘90s, but it’s 1998. Randy Savage has the otherworldly charisma to get away with that. Rick Rude is charismatic, to be sure, but it ain’t that Randy Savage charisma. Rude takes Tenay’s spot at the desk while Hennig wrestles Jim “WCW Still Can’t Spell My Name Right” Neidhart. They try to spice things up with a little ringside brawling, but this match is what it is. Hennig bumps while Neidhart calls Rude out in between attacks. I sure would hope that Rick Rude’s comeback feud would be against someone other than 1998 Jim Neidhart. Henig finally makes a comeback that goes…into a Neidhart bearhug. Rude takes off to intercede and gets put in a bearhug of his own before both nWo members double-team Neidhart. *sigh*. Rude busts out the handcuffs and cuffs Neidhart to the ropes, but Davey Boy Smith comes down for the save. I can’t believe that Neidhart and Bulldog have consistently been given more to do than Bret Hart. Crush helps the nWo members regain the advantage, but Bret Hart finally makes it down to the ring for the save. The crowd is hot for the Hitman – give him some cool shit to do! Bret grabs the mic and whines about getting screwed AGAIN, and I wish he’d stop the pity party and just kick some ass. Tony S. reminds us that, in fact, the TV Championship is still on a ten-minute time limit when it’s defended on free TV. Even I forgot that last week. Booker comes to the ring to defend against Chris Benoit again after last week’s time-limit draw. Benoit only knows one way to wrestle, with the intensity of a feral cat who has missed the last three mealtimes, which I think Booker responds well to. They’re cagier with one another for this rematch, testing one another out for the first minute or so. They try an intricate roll-up that doesn’t go that smoothly; the narrative throughline is that this match is going to build off the last one, with two guys who know they might have to pull out a surprise to get the win. The match is strike heavy. Benoit lays them in because it’s what he does; Booker lays them in to press his size advantage. The pace is so much slower than you’d expect, but I’ll refrain from complaining because I get that it fits better with the idea that these guys are tentative about being caught out by one another. Benoit finally gets enough control after suffering through a beatdown to hit two rolling Germans, but Booker elbows out of it; they run the ropes and hit hard on a crossbody/forearm double-attempt. There’s a ten-count, and Booker pops up first with a Spinaroonie and a jumping side kick. Book goes up top, but Benoit catches him. They fight over control; Book knocks Benoit to the mat, but Benoit sidesteps a missile dropkick and goes for the Crippler Crossface. Book immediately grabs the ropes, and they get to standing and throw bows until the bell rings. They keep throwing them after the bell rings, for that matter. The crowd wants to see a finish, dammit! They got into that last three or four minutes, which ramped up in intensity nicely. Psicosis and Ultimo Dragon resume their rivalry from a few months ago. They have an iffy rope-running spot early. Dragon looks physically diminished from where he was before this last injury layoff. Psicosis does hit a nice suicide dive in there, which is when a few of Raven’s Flock come down to attack Psicosis – remember, Lodi caught Psicosis on a dive a couple shows ago, and Lodi’s ankle didn’t like it. Dragon and Psicosis band together to fight off the Flock in what was not a good match, but at least wasn’t very long. Ray Traylor finally isn’t long for this company. Really, he's finally not! He’s going to be another victim of Goldberg and decide that he’d rather move to the other company…and be a victim of Steve Austin. Well, you know, sometimes you gotta suffer for that paycheck. Traylor, who didn’t get anywhere near to vanquishing Hulk Hogan on his mission to get revenge on the nWo, tries to get Goldberg into a shoulderblock war. Goldberg just says Fuck it and hits him with a lariat instead, haha. Goldberg eats a spinebuster for a light snack and then it’s spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT. Kevin Nash comes out first for the big tag match, but he’s alone. Sting and Lex Luger, who haven’t had any TV time at all leading up to this match even though , Hogan and Nash have been all up in the videos through recaps and live promos, come to the ring. Now, you might not have guessed this – it took tons of brainpower for me to come up with the possibility – but Randy Savage runs out as Kevin Nash’s partner and jumps Sting. This is a messy arena brawl in which tags are merely a suggestion most of the time. The crowd is definitely hot for it, and I think it’s entertaining. The heels start out hot, so when Savage and Luger make a comeback, it’s earned. A few minutes in, Hogan comes out and attacks Sting even though Savage is standing right there. Sting knocks Hogan away and Stinger Splashes Savage on the railing. In the ring, Luger racks Nash, but the Booty Man runs in and hits the Stone Cold Stunner on Luger, than rolls Nash onto Luger for three. Meanwhile, Roddy Piper runs out and starts the match with Hogan, I guess, and Zodiac runs over to help Hogan fight off Piper as we go into break. All three of those last dudes I mentioned fight back out into the aisle after we come back from break. Hold on, what’s on RAW right now? Ah, it’s the New Age Outlaws defeating Cactus and Funk for the tag titles. Yeah, that sounds WAY cooler than watching these three old fucks have a lukewarm brawl. Terry Funk is older than all these guys, possibly older than all of them combined if my math is right (and it always is), but he was born having fun brawls and will die in that condition. This crowd is kind of into it? Maybe it’s more that they want to be, but it’s such a weak brawl. They chant HOGAN SUCKS at one point, but not connected to anything Hogan’s really doing at the time. I’m ready to declare Hogan completely washed. He had a last burst of very good work at the start of his heel turn and for about a year after that, but man, he’s awful at this point. At least when he’s in WWE four years from now, he’ll be supported by awesome match layouts and doing some of what he does best at his age and athleticism (dying as an underneath babyface in big matches). Piper finally gets a sleeper locked onto Hogan, so Dizzy Hogan runs in again and hits Piper with a Stone Cold Stunner to draw the DQ. The baddies beat up Piper while Kevin Nash jogs down. Nash gets in the ring, signals that he’s here in friendship, and holds Piper so Hogan can hit Piper in the face. You can guess what happens next. So, as Nash squares off with Hogan, Giant stomps down again and runs everyone off. Every week that passes, it becomes more apparent that Bischoff needed more urgency in elevating new faces to the main event. Nash, Sting, and Bret are a good veteran base, and Goldberg is an obvious candidate for elevation, but the crowds are also begging for Benoit to be there. I personally think Benoit’s more of a gatekeeper type, but WCW crowds see a main event guy. He has Horsemen cred, too. They should pair Benoit with Flair again and let Flair talk for him. It’s also obvious to me that Eddy, Booker, and Jericho are guys who can at least be spot main eventers in the next six months, and that Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell are at worst lining up to be popular upper-midcard fixtures. There is zero reason to have Piper, Hogan, and Savage dominating your main event in 1998. I think there is room for them on these shows, but not in that position. They should be transitioning to special attraction status. Yeah, it's nothing that people haven't already said, I know. But even though this show really struggled whenever it had to deal with main event plotting, and even though Sting is so sidelined that I forget that he’s the World Champ sometimes, I still enjoyed most of it. The mid-card stuff is very good, and not just the matches. I think the Raven/Page angle is good, the budding competition between Booker and Benoit looks promising, and Jericho is single-handedly carrying this feud with Malenko. Eddy didn't show up tonight, but the Eddy/Chavo angle is very good, too. There are some compelling storylines on this show! There’s no Thunder interlude during this week’s set of WCW shows, so until the next Nitro, I leave you with the score for this Nitro: 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes
  5. The Crush/Savage feud was ice cold in general. Crush's heel turn took away the two things that were cool about him - signaling for/doing the Cranium Crunch and his dope entrance music. It's fine to use Savage as a special attraction, but book him properly in that role.
  6. Yeah, he's already limited at this point, which is understandable. He did a lot of damage to his knees and hips doing all those Savage Elbows and double-axes from the top. But yeah, he leaves and then comes back blown up and totally immobile as I recall. I remembered that he was injured, but I didn't remember that he was injured for that long. I'm watching him right now have a tag match with Kevin Nash against Sting and Luger. It's got a lot of arena brawling, and he's fine at it. If his knees are so shot that he's going to be out shortly, though, it probably wouldn't have worked in WWF.
  7. I need to double-check this - I'm in spring of '98 now - but Savage is still moving okay in early '98. That Savage could do it. IIRC, once the calendar ticks over to 1999, it's like the guy was super-washed all at once. That Crush match at WM X isn't any good, but for whatever reason, it holds a special place in my heart. That finish is also incredibly dumb; it reminds me of the Foley/Rock Halftime Heat finish with the forklift in terms of utter silliness.
  8. I am into whatever. Give me something you liked, that's all I ask, and don't worry about whether or not I'll like it. Unless that thing includes shards of glass or beds of nails, I guess. For you, as I go back into my WCW watch, is a match between Lex Luger and the Giant from Starrcade '96that I think was the best Luger match in his second WCW run and maybe top three or four in his combined WCW runs overall. https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7ujxw8
  9. It would have gotten in the way of the Rock being in that role, though. Savage having WWE-style wandering brawls in 1998 is probably great for his late-stage career, though. I bet he has at least a couple bangers in that role, whereas I'm not sure he has a classic WCW wandering brawl from his time there. I think he probably settles into the upper-midcard and usurps Jarrett's "staunch misogynist" gimmick. He's probably feuding with Val Venis because Val shot a porno with Gorgeous George or something like that.
  10. I laughed, but note I said "long-term!" The Sting/Luger/Giant/Hogan/Savage "shifting alliances angle lasted ten months and ended abruptly when the nWo crashed the party. The nWo angle overall lasted forever and never had the heels get vanquished. Within that, this Savage/Hogan Wolfpac/Hollywood split is pretty bad! It's poorly paced and Nash's motivations are poorly introduced. The Crow Sting arc was spoiled by not only the Starrcade ending, but the ending of the Nitro the night after and the ending of SuperBrawl. Savage/Flair was very good, but I don't think it was consistent about the plausible through-line of Flair becoming an example of "He Who Fights Monsters" and losing control of the Horsemen because he was so driven to madness by provoking Savage's madness. Jarrett/Mongo ended on a wet fart because Jarrett jumped at the end of '97. Maybe the Jericho/Malenko feud will be the correct answer once I get done with it (and we'll see how long it takes to play out), but the Disco character arc is consistently laid out and booked and is - I can't believe it - a triumph of booking, especially when you book a guy as a loser now to book him as a threat later. Short-term, Bisch did a lot of awesome stuff. Long-term, I think he liked the ideas of slow burns for character development and angle development, but he had a hard time bringing those things to a satisfying culmination.
  11. That match is even better in context. Saturn annihilated Disco for the TV title weeks before and generally beat him down when they crossed paths, plus Disco was smarting from losing to Miss Jackie on PPV. The through line is that the whole locker room thought he was a clown, and he badly needed a big win to prove them wrong. I have said in that Nitro thread that Disco has arguably the best character development of anyone in the company. He grew from an unfocused joke who cared more about keeping his hair in place and dancing than about winning a match to a scrappy, never-say-die babyface who loses his share, but is always liable to overcome his opposition with sheer heart. That match is in many ways the culmination of this off-and-on journey of a couple years for this character. I do not exaggerate when I suggest that it is the best long-term thing Eric Bischoff ever booked.
  12. Sorry for the double post. Beach Blast '92 is my favorite WCW PPV ever. The whole card is excellent. I have it right in front of Spring Stampede '94 and then maaaaaaaybe Starrcade '96. I love Rude's panic at the end of the match where he's desperately trying to pick up a pinfall. His inability to do so was so satisfying.
  13. I fell off of my Mid-South watch once I got to '85. The bloom is off the rose. Still, I wanted to finish what's on the Network and see some Power Pro, so I fired it up again. First thing I see is a workout video showcasing Butch Reed in which Joel Watts and his dork-ass friends kick the whole thing off with some shitty breakdancing. ... ...this is going to be a rough year for Mid-South until the Midnights and Fantastics get back here.
  14. Thunder Interlude – show number twelve – 26 March 1998 "The WCW Gang really speeds up the progress of the major angle, like they strap a rocket to it" Bischoff is back in the truck terrorizing Craig Leathers’s crew…He’s doing the whole “suppress bad stuff that happens to nWo” shtick, but this time, Doug Dellinger comes in and carts him out. Leathers’s truck is like, Fuck it, we roll it I guess. And what is so shocking that we are seeing?...Just a hastily-conceived spot to get Nash and Hogan to have beef that comes out of nowhere because, and get this, they can’t agree on which of their enemies to hit with a bat first…Could they not have brought two bats and avoided such a dumb argument entirely?...I’m sorry, I do tend to pick at poorly-conceived plot points… Eddy Guerrero continues to show his cousin Chavo the way of Lie, Cheat, and Steal…This will pay off eventually…2003-2004-ish, y’all will finally be on the same page…Chavo’s got another title shot against Booker even though he’s lost two of them in the last couple weeks already…Eddy flips opponents with Chavo to take that title shot and to leave Chavo with a match against Chris Benoit…Benoit has one of the best mudhole-stomping spots in the business…Rude and Bisch chase the desk off…Oh joy…Benoit just beats the piss out of poor Chavo…Bisch takes thirty seconds to hype Eddy before yammering on about that stupid-ass angle from the end of last Nitro…If this motherfucker heels by supporting the Clintons in the face of Ken Starr's special counsel one more time, I’ll have to hit mute…Benoit pounding Chavo into the mat is entertaining, but these dudes on commentary are just awful…Chavo tries his best, but Benoit controls most of the match and maneuvers Chavo into the Crippler Crossface for the win… Well, I never thought I’d welcome a commentary desk that includes Lee Marshall, but I’m so glad he, Tony, and Bobby are back and that Bisch and Rude are gone…Bischoff is now out with Hogan to hit the ring and to blah blah blah…These corny fucks do their Baghdad Bob impression for much longer than they need to…Nash comes to the ring…Nash shows his pop culture acumen by mentioning David Copperfield (magician, not Dickens character)…Nash pretty much says the Wolfpac is the true nWo and calls out Hogan and Bischoff for firing Syxx…I have noticed that Hall hasn’t been around, probably due to being a drunken prick, and Nash blames that on Hogan and Bischoff, too…Hogan’s like Syxx is a bum and you’re Hall’s best friend, you tell me where he’s at…They talk out their issues w/r/t trusting one another…Hogan suggests that he and Nash tag together tonight to reinforce their trust…This was somewhat interesting, but because I don’t buy into the gravity of the incident that sparked the discord between these two, I’m not really invested in the angle yet… La Parka and Prince Iaukea is one of the random WCW matchups that I’m here for…This isn’t anything super-awesome, but it’s fun…I continue to think that Iaukea is an enjoyable TV wrestler…Actually, he probably is at a great point in his development to actually be TV champ now…I think I’d enjoy him against Booker, Benoit, Eddy, and Chavo…Iaukea wins it clean with a Northern Lights and a bridge… Tony S. interviews Lex Luger…Luger is asked about the nWo, and cheekily responds, “This interview was supposed to be about me”…NOT IN BISCHOFF’S WCW, LUGER, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE nWo…But yeah, Luger comes out and accepts the Hogan and Nash tag challenge on behalf of himself and Sting… Hey, it’s Disco Inferno, haven’t seen him in a minute…He’s matched up against Chris Jericho…Jericho wrestles while wearing Juvi’s mask on a necklace…I love this character development of Disco being intense in every match because he really wants another title…Jericho has a nice stalling vertical suplex in there that, along with a cocky pin, gets a two-count…Disco hits a nice pop-up spinebuster to counter a running lariat…Disco tries his best to get a two count, getting close on a swinging neckbreaker…Jericho pops off a double-underhook backbreaker and fights to put Disco into the Lion Tamer for the win…Fun, fun, fun television match…Jericho takes Disco’s headband as a trophy… Goldberg comes to the ring to kill Jerry Flynn off, which maybe he’s done once or twice before…They’re now counting Goldberg’s streak numbers, and I refuse to even pay attention to how the number grows or why…Apparently Goldberg beat Flynn, but it was closer than normal, so Goldberg wants a rematch…Goldberg turns an ankle lock attempt into a legbar…Goldberg’s overhead belly-to-belly and powerslam are so explosive…Goldberg powers out of an arm breaker attempt with a powerbomb…Goldberg looks great and gets huge chants for it…They do some mat wrestling that is unnecessary because everyone wants to see Goldberg toss this dude and splat him…Flynn gets way more offense than he really should before it’s spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT…Tony S. does a Castrol GTX plug during the sponsored replay about Castrol standing up to all conditions by noting that Goldberg is not a condition that even Castrol can stand up to…Heh, pretty good, Tony… Most of the Flock wanders out…Lodi blew out his ankle trying to catch Psicosis’s twisting Tsukahara in their Nitro match and will be out with injury…Billy Kidman takes on one of my personal favorites, the aforementioned Psicosis…Psicosis fucks up a rebound off the ropes…Eh, they can't all be successes…Kidman shoves Psicosis off the ropes when he tries the Tsukahara and then hits a Shooting Star from the apron to the floor…Kidman scores a couple of two counts…These fellas are kinda struggling out here with the more intricate spots…Psicosis looks off, especially…Kidman gets the advantage and celebrates, which ends with him hung in the ropes and guillotine legdropped for two…Kidman cuts Psicosis off and hits a suplex, but calls for help from Sick Boy…Sick Boy botches the help, hitting Kidman with a springboard dropkick meant for Psicosis…Psicosis drops another guillotine legdrop for three…Not nearly Psicosis’s best work, but it wasn’t bad or anything… Tony S. interviews Diamond Dallas Page…The cameraperson does a zoom-in when Page hits the BANG! taunt...Leathers, who told you that you could try new things?...Page doesn’t want J.J. Dillon’s help in getting his rightfully-owned U.S. Championship back from Raven…Page gives respect to Sting for their match on Monday…It was a quality bout…Page tells Raven that Jake Roberts was the guy who helped Page’s career, not Raven…Page is pretty much tired of Raven in general…Stop zooming in suddenly when Page goes BANG! you idiot cameraperson… British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart (NEIDHART’S NAME IS STILL SPELLED INCORRECTLY) are a tag team tonight…They face Curt Hennig and Crush (w/Rick Rude)…Well, I guess every show needs a snack/bathroom break segment…Rude sends Marshall packing on commentary…Rude made me laugh a couple shows ago with a dorky-ass promo, but he has pretty much sucked every time he’s been given a microphone besides…Bulldog and Crush have a spot that I’m not sure what it was supposed to be, but Bulldog eventually ends up getting two out of it…I realize that everyone in this match, including the manager doing guest commentary, is dead…Tony S. is the only survivor if you include the desk…That thought actually depresses me quite a bit…It’s been 25 years, but other than Heenan and Marshall, everyone in this segment died before the median age listed on the actuary tables…I contemplate my own mortality instead of really paying attention to this very dull and below-average match…it ends in a double count-out as they all have a shitty brawl toward the back… Perry Saturn faces Diamond Dallas Page in an enticing matchup…They get right into it…Saturn controls throughout the opening, getting two off a wheelbarrow suplex…Page doesn’t really do much other than lock on an abdominal stretch for five seconds…WCW main eventers working TV matches in which they get eaten up is a weird thing…Almost every other company has the main eventers guzzle the guys underneath them on the card on television…In mid-to-late ‘90s WCW, it’s the reverse for a number of guys…Page makes his comeback, but his Diamond Cutter attempt is cut off with a jawbreaker…Page crotches Saturn up top, but before he can follow up, Raven calls Page out on the ramp…Saturn tries to get the drop pn DDP with a dive from the top, but Page hits him with a mid-air Diamond Cutter and chases Raven down instead of covering...Page ends up taking a count-out loss… Eddy Guerrero (w/ Chavo Jr.) is back out to take his shot at Booker T.’s TV Championship…Book comes to the ring and calls out Chavo for being a punk bitch and giving Eddy the shot…Booker wants to know what this whole deal is with the Guerreros…Eddy interjects, but Booker shoves him away…Book tells Chavo that he’ll show Chavo how to deal with a bully as Chavo tries to warn that Eddy loaded his fist…Book doesn’t pay attention and gets hit with the loaded fist…Book kicks out at 2.9 anyway…Chavo tosses the knucks back into the ring, where the ref sees Eddy fumbling with them…Eddy gets a DQ, but he uses his position of power to command that Chavo hit Booker with the knucks…Chavo does, under duress…Eddy makes Chavo put the boots to Book, but Chris Benoit comes down wearing a Hitmen jersey and runs them off…More an angle than a match, but I like this angle and enjoyed the segment… Scott Norton (w/Buff Bagwell) has a beefy dude brawl with Rick Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase)…This is perfectly acceptable televised wrestling with a sprinkling of suplexes and lariats and stuff that I like to see these big dudes do…Buff is very active around ringside…His consistent cheating is a nice addition to the match…Norton tries to bean Steiner with Steiner’s own dog collar…He whiffs and Steiner grabs the collar and punches his way out of a back suplex while wearing it…Rick lands on top of Norton and gets the three…Scotty Steiner is there at ringside because he’s the guy who tossed the collar in from off camera…Scotty runs away before Rick can get to him…I hope Scott vs. Rick gets blown off at Spring Stampede so we can move on to new things for Scott… It’s main event tag match time…Sting and Luger come to the ring side by side, but Hogan and Nash do not…WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!...Nash didn’t even exchange his blue jeans for tights to wrestle this thing…Nash makes Hogan start and ostentatiously puts his hand out just in case Hogan already needs a tag…Hogan controls on Sting with some laconic offense for a bit…Sting turns it around…Luger is in and controls next…Hogan finally gets space and tags a goofily-smiling Nash in…Luger is FIP…The work isn’t any good, and really I just want to get to the end and see if we get any progression in the angle…Nash whiffs on a big boot and hits Hogan when Luger ducks…Sting gets the hot tag and hits the Stinger Splash on Nash…Savage runs in to jump Sting and causes a no contest…There’s a donnybrook, and in the midst of it, Hogan goes after Savage, but Nash pulls him off…The rest of the nWo runs out to jump Luger, but Sting fights them off…Nash and Hogan chirp at one another while the nWo separates them… It's so strange in that this whole nWo breakup tease started months ago in the middle of 1997, got abruptly put aside, and then got re-started with Savage and went almost nowhere for weeks…Then all of a sudden, Nash is involved in this thing (for the first time since the middle of ’97) across two shows in one week…Tension out of nowhere after all this slow-playing of a breakup is some very poor pacing…This is a side effect of Bischoff struggling to know where to go with the bulk of the big angles he ran, IMO…I might listen to him chat with Conrad about this week of shows to see what he says he was thinking regarding this angle… Some of the spots were sloppy, and I’m not entirely sure where some of these angles are headed, but this was an enjoyable show…I dig the Eddy/Chavo/Booker/Benoit crossover conflicts, especially…I give it a WOOOOO…
  15. Tenryu and Great Kabuki vs. Bob Orton Jr. and Jeff Jarrett – Super World of Sports, October 1990 While I have always thought that Tenryu and Orton are fun (and am typically bored by, but not particularly turned off by Kabuki’s work), the person that I’m most interested to see is Jeff Jarrett. Other than some of the fiery babyface stuff he did in Memphis, I’ve always found Jarrett underwhelming, bordering on kinda shitty until I watched his first WCW stint during my Nitro rewatch. He was so good in the ring that year, having good matches with Giant, Benoit, Malenko, Page, and even Mongo. He worked fun TV matches and fun PPV matches; he had excellent singles matches and excellent tag matches. That re-watch gave me a new perspective on Jarrett and his potential. Tenryu is well into his “grumpy dude” phase, I see. I enjoy two big dudes opening a match with a shoulder block battle. Jarrett’s in for the first time and works an arm lock on Kabuki, then hits a beal and a couple of headscissors for a two count. People are fired up for Tenryu tagging in and killing Jarrett for specific reasons, I guess. I just want to see Tenryu try to cave in Jarrett’s chest because it seems like it’d be a cool thing to watch even if it’s devoid of any context. Jarrett gets knocked around by both his opponents to the crowd’s delight and finally tags to Orton. Orton does a workmanlike beatdown of Kabuki, and Jarrett gets back in the ring and has an okay sequence with him next. Kabuki basically works as FIP, with Orton running interference to prevent a hot tag before tagging back in himself. The control segment is fine, but we’re all ready for the hot tag, which Tenryu gets. He goes to work on Orton and then hits a pretty sweet leaping back elbow from the top for two. Jarrett gets in and in the best spot of the match so far, he and Tenryu have a strikefest that feels pretty heated. Tenryu wins a shoulderblock, but Orton tags him from the apron and Jarrett hits a dropkick. Tenryu and Orton trade moves outside the ring while, inside the ring, Tenryu stuffs a headscissors attempt with a rib breaker and then lands a powerbomb into a pinning position for three. This match wasn’t particularly good or bad; it was the equivalent of a throwaway TV match that’s perfectly cromulent and that you probably wouldn’t remember the day after you watched it. I did enjoy watching Jarrett, though; my read here is that he's unsure of himself as a heel, but he is successfully testing out some of the stuff he’d do as a showboating, preening heel in 1997 WCW. The flashy headscissors attempts, which he spams too often as a way of showing off his athleticism, end up catching him out in the end. This was an interesting look at Jarrett in an earlier heel form. By 1997, he perfected that form and had what I think is his best year by far and which actually should be talked about as one of the great calendar years for an American wrestler in the ‘90s. Then Russo came along and Jarrett’s heeling in the ring pretty much trended downward after what was a meritorious high point in ‘97.
  16. So here's a match that I didn't remember, but that I enjoyed quite a lot from the final Clash: Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon. https://www.reddit.com/r/SquaredCircle/comments/12z12t9/ultimo_dragon_vs_alex_wright_for_the_tv_title/
  17. I'm not going to watch the Taker vs. Taker matchup again; it is easier on my psyche to believe you. As a side note, I was a dumb kid who was HYPED for that match and when I checked out the tape three months after the show or whatever, I was down bad. I don't remember any of those matches, and I'll need to steel myself to watch Kane matches on purpose, but I'm making a note of this and will at some point come back around and do some work to find the best Kane match. Not that much work; I'm not a masochist. But a little work.
  18. Show #134 – 23 March 1998 "The one that, through comparison to a close competitor, proves that the last impression that one leaves is often as important as the first impression” We get a cold open with Roddy Piper and Gene Okerlund. I’m in hell. But you can’t say Piper isn’t mega-over! The people love this man. Piper’s shirt has Taz wearing a kilt (the Tasmanian Devil of WB fame, not the short orange dude from ECW/Red Hook) on it. Piper name drops Harry Caray and says that he’s a consultant to WCW and he’s laying down some more laws. Piper then name drops Michael Jordan and talks about banning baseball bats until Spring Stampede, at which point he will have a baseball bat tag match in which he’s tagging with the Giant against Nash and Hogan. I clearly was so scarred by this that I don’t remember it happening. Well, that, or I was too busy watching RAW at the time to clock any of this. Piper continues crapping on Nash and makes a Nash/Giant match for tonight. He finishes up by declaring that Savage and Hogan are gay for one another and then booking himself in a match against Savage, also for tonight. It was a dreadful promo for the most part, but I expect as much from ‘90s Piper and thus was able to brace myself in advance. Larry Z. is also over enough here in Louisville that he gets up from the desk to bask in their adulation while Tony S. hypes the show. Hey, Tony announces a Sting/DDP World Championship match later tonight. That’s interesting! Chavo Guerrero Jr. is fired up by Eddy on his way to the ring. Actually, Chavo brushes Eddy’s arm away, so maybe he’s not that fired up at all. Chavo’s wrestling Ultimo Dragon next. Chavo always comes out with fire, but Dragon takes control until Chavo sends a weak boot to his gut on a dive. Chavo just can’t keep Dragon down though, and Dragon gets two off an Asai moonsault. These dudes basically wrestle at full speed and trade two counts, actually. Chavo gets close a couple of times, but he tries to vertical suplex Dragon in from the apron, and Dragon twists over the top and applies the Dragon Sleeper for the tap. Man, these dudes pinballed around in the four-ish minutes they had. Post-match, Gene Okerlund tries to stir up more problems between Chavo and Eddy. Honestly, they don’t even need him to do it because Eddy’s already stirring shit up enough. Eddy apologizes to the crowd and the Guerrero family. Then, he demands that Chavo apologizes to their grandma, and Chavo, irritated, mutters a quick “Sorry, Grandma.” This was hilarious. I love these two. It's Bischoff and Hogan, who we didn’t have wasting any of our time on the last Thunder, which was nice. Well, that little break is over, though I’m excited for the point at which Hogan permanently decides that he’s too big and important for Thunder. Maybe we’ll get a few good Thunders between then and when Nash starts booking. These fellas cut another shitty promo in a sea full of them. Hogan bites a line from the goddam RIDDLER, the Jim Carrey one from Batman Forever. Holy shit. This guy SUCKS and is the WORST. Then he references a fucking song about yellow polka dot bikinis from *googles* 1960. How current! He talks about his relationship with Rupert Murdoch that probably, yeah, I bet they get along. I mean, this is worse than the awful Piper promo from earlier. Truly putrid. Anyway, Hogan wants to wrestle Giant alongside Nash tonight or whatever. These lame fucks have made about eighty million baseball references in their promos because we’re in Louisville. Fuck off twice. I’m genuinely wondering if the Russo era’s promos will at least be batshit insane and bad instead of dorky, out of touch, and bad. Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell are the perfect bro duo. They genuinely complement one another. Steiner’s now calling himself Big Poppa Pump, which is airbrushed on the back of his singlet. He’s also got SUPERSTAR airbrushed on the front, which is extremely on the nose. He’s going to reignite the hot January 1993 WWF matchup with Wayne Bloom, except without tag partners this time around. Bloom is one of those guys who is deceptively big. He didn’t look this big in WWF, but that’s the land of the monsters. He spent a lot of his time wrestling the Road Warriors and the Natural Disasters, looking smaller than he was. Steiner dominates until Bloom throws a flurry of punches and hits a suplex for two. However, he gets caught on a duck down and double-underhook suplexed by Steiner shortly after. That leads to a super Samoan Drop and a Steiner Recliner for the win. Buff hypes Steiner as we fade out to commercial. That act feels so contemporary, in sharp contrast to what came before it. Tony S. kicks us down to Gene, but he’s wrong about Gene being next, for which I am thankful. Instead we get Lodi, who thinks he’s a luchador or something. That’s way better than getting Gene. Psicosis, who is now one of my favorite luchadores/wrestlers in general after re-watching over two years of major WCW shows, is his opponent. Lodi’s back advertises support for either Rush Limbaugh (in which case, ew, said support is dumb and bad) or Rush, the Canadian band of such hits as “Tom Sawyer” and “YYZ” (in which case, said support is correct thinking). I assume the former because Lodi's a heel. Lodi’s very into his heel schtick, which Psicosis unfortunately has to work around. I’m okay with heel schtick, but Lodi comes off a bit try-hard. Anyway, Psicosis hits a GORGEOUS twisting Tsukahara to the floor. Back in the ring, he hits a Falcon Arrow and a guillotine legdrop for three. It was short and sweet, and Psicosis got to show off some sick offense. Diamond Dallas Page, sans U.S. Championship (Raven showed up on TRL with a stop sign and stole it, remember) faces off against Sting for the WCW World Championship only forty minutes into this show. This Nitro is loaded, which maybe is because Bischoff is feeling a little heat from the burgeoning Austin/McMahon program over on RAW. The initial collar-and-elbow spills through the ropes and to the floor before Nick Patrick can break it up. OK, I get it, we’re setting a tone here. Both fellas get in the ring and eye one another. Sting gets a quick roll-up for a two, then kicks Page’s wheels out twice, going for the Scorpion Death Lock each time. Page escapes both times. I’m into this; they’ve sold me on the intensity and competitiveness of this thing. Page is so shook by those last couple of near escapes that he uncharacteristically bitches at the ref. Back to standing, Page gets a swinging neckbreaker for two and tries a Diamond Cutter, but Sting shoves away quickly. Page goes back to work, wins an exchange, and gets two on a DDPancake. This match is an economy of action. It all happens in bursts, after which there’s a calm period where tension can re-build to the next burst. Very effective pacing, I think. After a DDP headlock to release and then re-build tension, there’s another flurry that ends with Page getting dropped over the turnbuckle headfirst, then clotheslined for two. Sting works a headlock to calm things down, then back to standing, he and Page counter one another, including a nice spot where Sting tries to elbow out of a waistlock, so Page ducks an elbow and lets Sting’s momentum turn him around into position for an overhead belly-to-belly. They end up having a punch-out, which Sting wins. Sting goes with the face crusher (times three) and then eats knees on a top-rope splash attempt. Once again standing, Page punches Sting back into the corner, then tries to hit a Diamond Cutter out of the corner. Sting blocks it once, then twice, and finally ducks out and grabs Page’s head, then slips him into a Scorpion Death Drop for the clean three count. Wow, that fucking RULED, man, this was great. Sting gives Page some props for that performance and the men hug post-match. Great booking, great layout, Page looks like a future World Champ with a little more seasoning, and best of all – A CLEAN FINISH TO A BIG MATCH! It's a random Rick Fuller sighting. Luger’s going to rack him, probably after taking a bog-standard beating. Well, Luger actually takes some offense for the first thirty seconds of the match before the bog-standard beating happens. I think Luger might be at the point where he needs a heel turn to refresh himself. He cooled off – or, IMO, was cooled off by the booking – and is now directionless in the upper-midcard. I feel like Luger realizes it on some level, too. His work always becomes languid when he’s directionless. Luger makes a comeback with some forearms/clotheslines after a ponderous beatdown and gets the rack for the submission victory. Yeah, Luger’s cooked as a babyface and is acting like it, turn him. Eddy Guerrero, still in the process of driving poor Chavo insane, wrestles Kaz Hayashi tonight. Eddy shows Chavo how it’s done. He has no time for handshakes and shit like that; he only has time for punches and leg lariats and exploder suplexes and other varied and impactful offensive moves. Kaz fights back and hits a wild flipping suicide dive…oh wait, a tope suicida, yeah, okay, thanks Tenay. Kaz follows up with a missile dropkick back in the ring that gets two; he goes up top again after a back suplex, but gets dumped into a backbreaker on the dive. Eddy hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to double the damage. They have a fight over a vertical suplex that Eddy wins. Eddy takes some time to beat Kaz down in front of Chavo as an instructional approach, then gets two off a pumphandle backbreaker. One superplex and a Frog Splash later, and I both love the finish and believe that the work to Kaz’s back set him up logically for it. This was cool because Eddy’s a prick, but he really did take Kaz apart surgically, so you can’t deny that Chavo could learn something from watching him. Since all Japanese people are friends with one another by the infallible logic of pro wrestling, Ultimo Dragon comes down to check on Kaz and bumps shoulders with Eddy, setting up a conflict for later. Eddy makes Chavo hold the ropes open for him on the way out of the ring like the aforementioned prick that Eddy is. We get another Bret Hart promo package. How about doing something interesting with him instead, you chumps? Fuck me, man. The nWo music hits, and we strangely cut to a video package for Konnan in the middle of it. After it plays, Konnan locks up with Prince Iaukea. I enjoy Iaukea’s basic, but explosive offense. He’s not the most explosive wrestler around, don’t get me wrong, but he puts some energy into his moves. Konnan takes over and slows this match down, then keeps Iaukea down however possible. Konnan is such a weird wrestler. This is another match that I don’t think is good, but Konnan is weirdly compelling in spite of his shaky work. He struggles to lock on a standing Figure Four, then hits a nice release German after that. I don’t know, it’s all dualities. Anyway, here's something I’m not expecting: Konnan goes for the cradle piledriver, but Iaukea fights out of it and counters with a Northern Lights suplex that he bridges over on for three. What, did Konnan only agree to do the job if he got a video package beforehand or something? This whole thing was random. Chris Jericho (w/ Cruiserweight Championship and fantastic-looking Monday Night Jericho t-shirt). He grabs a mic and shares his support for Stanford athletics, which could certainly use it here in the Year of Our Lord Twenty and Twenty-Three. Lenny Lane comes out and interrupts him. If you’ll recall, they wrestled one another Nitro in Show #130, and then on Thunder in show number ten, Jericho thought back to Show #130 and recruited the similar looking, similarly-built Lane to pull a fake-out on Dean Malenko. Lane’s here because he’s still awaiting payment for participating in said fake-out. Lane wants his thousand bucks. Jericho, being a conspiracist both in kayfabe and IRL, imagines that actually what had happen was that Lane stole his gear and his Loverboy tape (I had to look up what the fuck Loverboy even was). Jericho then pretends to be a character in a Looney Tunes short: He demands his gear back by yelling LET ME HAVE IT and then, as the Daffy to Lane’s Bugs, re-affirms that he wants Lane to LET ME HAVE IT. Lane lets him have it, “it” being a slap, and he controls their now-match until Jericho is able to dodge a leapfrog and hit a leg lariat. Jericho hits a backbreaker and goes for the Lion Tamer, but Lane rolls him up for two, then hits a Breakdown for two. Jericho files that move away in the recesses of his mind. Lane is all fired up, but he gets flapjacked out of another leapover and put in the Lion Tamer for the loss. That was alright, man, alright indeed. Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Eric Bischoff come to the ring for what I guess is a handicap match now. Is Piper just going to let Hogan interject himself into this thing? Maybe the Giant went and got a partner to even things up, which would be a nice twist. Well, no, doesn’t look like it. He comes out here by his lonesome. Hogan’s in the ring first, but his weak offense is ineffective. He tries a body slam, but gets body slammed instead. Hogan doesn’t get any offense in, really, which is a rarity. I’m wondering what the catch is. Finally, Hogan rolls out of the ring while the Giant steals a Scott Hall taunt, which is fair considering how much Hogan steals from everybody else. Back in the ring, it’s more of the same until Giant side slams Hogan, at which point Hogan rolls out of the ring again. It could just be me, but I think Hogan is physically shot almost completely at this point. He was actually pretty limber and could go when he needed to at the point of his heel turn in 1996. He held that standard up for about a year, which is impressive for a guy entering his mid-forties. But yeah, he’s totally washed here in 1998. Nash tags in and struggles until Hogan just says Fuck it and jumps in to double-team the Giant. Even that doesn’t work, so the Disciple runs down and tries to hit a Stone Cold Stunner, but he’s not Stone Cold Steve Austin or even close, so Giant easily blocks it. Bischoff tries to interject and gets a chokeslam for his troubles. The Giant came out alone, faced tough odds, and now looks strong, so that worked out in the moment, but I have reservations. I mean, if we were headed for Giant definitively killing off Hogan and Hogan being off TV for a few months before a re-package, this would be more encouraging, but we know the Giant will somehow end up back in the nWo because Bischoff is a damn mess. Chris Benoit and Booker T. are going to have a best of thirty-five or so over the WCW TV Championship at some point soon, so maybe that starts tonight? A feud with 1998 Benoit over the gold with back-and-forth victories sounds way better than one with 1998 Rick Martel (and I like Martel). Booker wins the early going with a shoulderblock. Benoit responds with, you guessed it, open-hand chops. Benoit stomps a mudhole in the corner. They pick up the pace; Booker powerslams Benoit. These two are talking shit to one another during the beatdown, which is nice. It feels like competitive athletes shit-talking in a more legitimate sporting competition. The men fight over a knuckle lock, which ends with Booker hitting a roundhouse kick and then a lariat. Benoit ducks another roundhouse and there’s a standoff, after which Booker gets FOLDED on a release German, ooh, that one was NASTY. Benoit’s up first and gets two off an elbow. I think these fellas are a good pairing because they can match speed and physicality. Benoit controls, but gets pancaked. Booker follows with a Spinaroonie and a side kick, but Benoit catches him when he goes up top and superplexes him. Another series of counters ends in Benoit hitting rolling Germans. Benoit tries to follow up, but Booker ducks out of an Irish whip attempt and hits a spinebuster. When both men get to standing, Booker crotches himself on a jumping side kick attempt, and Benoit takes advantage with a Northern Lights and a bridge, but it gets two. We get one more series of moves, a strikefest that ends in a time limit draw, and the crowd boos because this was good and it should have gotten more than ten minutes. Yeah, this certainly made me want to see a rematch. Though actually, I had totally forgotten about the time limit as this match happened. I’m not sure I’ve seen a time-limit draw for this belt in a few months on any of the TV I’ve watched. Curt Hennig and British Bulldog wrestle while Rick Rude jacks Tenay’s headset and joins the desk. Rude blathers on (with Heenan interjecting favorably toward Rude) while this match happens. Thankfully, it’s not long. Rude leaves to go help Hennig out (Heenan: “I’m glad he’s gone, that jerk”) as we go to break. Back from break, Rude tries to stop Bulldog from hitting the running powerslam. Bulldog stomps him away and hits it. He then confronts Rude, who is armed with handcuffs. Rude cuffs Bulldog to the ropes and commences a beatdown along with Hennig. The Hitman runs out for the save, and the best thing to happen so far occurs: Bret hits an inverted atomic drop and Rude sells it exquisitely. Bret locks Hennig in the Sharpshooter until corny-ass Crush comes out. Hart breaks the hold and fends off Crush, then Vincent, Konnan, and Scott Norton to a huge pop. Yeah, maybe give this man more to do? But also, don’t give him a mic so that he can complain about getting screwed. Aw man, he's got a mic and is complaining about getting screwed. This whole act is sad Bret, and I don’t like sad Bret. WCW Bret = sad Bret. It bums me out. On Thunder, Goldberg rolled some nWo B-Teamers because he could. He comes out to roll Renegade for like the second or third time. Renegade himself notes this and declares on his way to the ring that he’s solved the Goldberg puzzle. I like the confidence! I don’t like his chances, however. So, this is funny: Renegade successfully diagnoses and then reverses an Irish whip and follows up with his cartwheel back elbow! I mean, he did learn something. Unfortunately, what he failed to learn is that his cartwheel back elbow is a weak move, so Goldberg just eats it for a light snack, then spear, Jackhammer, SPLAT. Randy Savage and Liz head to the ring for the main event against Roddy Piper. I wish they’d flipped this match position with the Sting/Page match because it would have been nice for Nitro to end on a good match with a clean finish and a mutual respect spot. It’d just be nice to have something a little different. Liz interjects early on to try and hold Piper back, but she's generally ineffective. Wow, I wonder who would choose watching a match that was a billion times better in 1985 instead of watching Steve Austin do whatever fuckery Steve Austin does. I feel an intense desire to flip the channel. Holy shit, the main on RAW was Austin/Rock! Oh man, that sounds fantastic. Well, I’m stuck with this lukewarm arena brawl. Liz back rakes Piper before Piper can hit a piledriver onto concrete. Piper stalks Liz and then sexually assaults her in response. I mean, hey, this is a show where everyone assaults everyone! Everyone can get it! I guess! Piper tries a sleeper, and Savage knocks Piper into Liz as he tries to escape. Mickey Jay checks on Liz. Hogan uses the opportunity to run down and jump Jay and then, alongside Nash, enter the ring. Nash wants to clock Piper with a baseball bat, but Hogan wants Nash to hit Savage. They have totally unearned intense and sudden heat over this minor disagreement. Sting runs down with his own bat and I don’t give a FUCK. Are we really going to get Nash and Hogan splitting over that?! That’s it?! That’s the catalyst?! Anyway, the Giant comes down to even the odds and the babyfaces clear the ring. BONUS COVERAGE: Kama Mustafa, D’Lo Brown, and Mark Henry lead the WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock to the ring for the 3/23/98 RAW main event. Earlier in the night, the Rock clobbered Faarooq with an unprotected chair shot to the head because he’s a dick, man, a real dick. This is just before WM XIV, so Stone Cold Steve Austin is not yet the WWF World Champion. Give it a week or so. Jim Ross makes sure to claim that Steve Austin is the most popular WWF wrestler OF ALL TIME (and that Shawn Michaels is the greatest WWF Champ of all time), take that Piper, Savage, and Hogan who are all involved in the main event on the other channel! Austin breaks a collar-and-elbow in the corner and hits the double bird. They fight over a wristlock, so Austin says Fuck all that and hits a back elbow. We see DX and Mike Tyson watching this match on a tiny television in the back. The Rock takes over for a sec and tries to flick Austin off, but Austin just gets pissed off and punches him. The Rock fights back and hits a lariat and a few punches. They have a punchfest before running the ropes. Rock wins a shoulderblock, but Austin gets up and catches Rock with a Thesz Press and then goes for the Stunner after that. The Rock escapes and rolls outside, but Austin decides to dive off the apron and hit Mark Henry with a clothesline, then grabs the Rock’s head and smashes it into the steps. Back in the ring, the Rock begs off and gets mudhole stomped in response. We get another rope run, and Rock ducks a wild swing and heads back out of the ring to get some space. Austin, irritated at having to chase this guy, grabs a chair, but the NoD members distract Austin and Rock sneaks back around and jumps him from behind. The Rock throws punches and bashes Austin into various ringside fixtures. Pressing his advantage, Rock gets Austin back in the ring and stomps him down in the corner, then boot chokes him. Rock draws the ref’s attention so Henry can get a choke in from ringside. I mean, Austin deserved that last one. We go into a commercial break, and when we get back, Austin grabs a sleeper hold off a rope run, but Rock breaks it, slams Austin, and hits a People’s Elbow for two. Rock sinks in a chinlock, but I’ve been entertained enough that I’m fine with this. Austin works right out of it anyway; he scores a few punches and a shoulderblock, but Rock counters with a knee to the gut and slams Austin. He throws double birds at Austin and goes for another People’s Elbow, but Austin rolls out of the way. Rock pursues and scores a few punches, but Austin fights back with punches and lariats. Austin ducks down on a rope run and catches a boot, but when Rock tries to follow up with a punch, he leaves himself open for a boot to the stomach and a Stone Cold Stunner that gets three. D’Lo runs in with a chair and eats a Stunner. DX comes out to the top of the ramp. Shawn Michaels cuts a corny-ass promo promising to beat Austin with the SCM at WrestleMania. Austin flicks him off – wow, didn’t see that coming – and calls Michaels down to the ring. Michaels takes his jacket off and walks down to the ring, but Hunter holds him back. You don’t get any more of that matchup unless you buy the PPV! I GUARANTEE you that I remember nothing about this latest Piper return because I watched RAW first and then caught Nitro on replay at some point, but probably I was half-distracted and still charged up about all the stuff happening on RAW. Look, I did this to see just how different the show’s main events felt, and honestly, they were both very similar: arena brawls with some outside interference. It’s just that one show’s main event felt tired and lame, centered around a major storyline that both has been going on forever and yet still hasn't taken time to develop key aspects (are you really telling me that Nash and Hogan are going to beef over whom to hit with a bat first?!). The other show’s main event felt like progresssion toward something, a changing of the guard was on the way, fuckery was afoot. This Nitro was very good except for the main event. I’ve said that so many times before in so many past reviews, but I wanted to see if I could demonstrate it more clearly with a little comparison. Sting/Page should have ended this show. And you know, it’s a shame because I think perception matters. There was some GREAT work on this show, but you have to think about the lasting impression that you leave. The main events on these WCW shows consistently leave a poor lasting impression, and at the time, RAW's endings generally left the impression that something exciting was ACTUALLY just around the corner because it paid stuff off regularly (even when the payoff sucked, like the Higher Power payoff). This is a show worth an easy 4.25 out of 5 Stinger Splashes, but it bums me out to see the rot settling in like this.
  19. Was it the second return to WWE for Regal when Vince decided that there was already a famous Steve and they needed to change his name? I believe this is the same era in which Shane Helms became Gregory Helms. Regarding this match, I get Sting's idea here. This was a placeholder feud for him while he was also involved in the main event intrigue and later the nWo stuff, and he gave Regal a ton to try and help him out throughout this feud. It didn't always come off very well, though. I will note that the WCW babyfaces often wrestled TV matches in which they'd get almost no offense in except for their finish or maybe a couple of moves leading into the finish. Sting did this sometimes, but Savage and Luger are particularly guilty of this - if you find it a wrestling sin, that is. Sometimes, I find it nice that Savage is trying to give a new guy to the company a chance by taking all their best stuff, but other times, it feels lazy and like Savage or Luger is just out there getting through another TV match so they can get to the promo that they actually care about.
  20. Thunder Interlude – show number eleven – 19 March 1998 "The WCW Gang finally gives Goldberg more interesting things to do” The fellas at the desk recap the never-ending nWo drama…We’re indoors in Indiana tonight… Chris Jericho defends the Cruiserweight Championship against Super Calo…Jericho's got an airbrushed picture of his own face on the back of his shiny vest…He has to ask Penzer where he is before declaring on the mic that “Terry Hut” is his favorite town…That "what town am I in" gag’s an oldie, but goodie…This might be a weird comp, but in terms of characterization, ’98 Jericho reminds me strongly of heel New Day-era Xavier Woods…They have the same deal where they get under your skin enough that even if you laugh at their antics, it's hard to root for them…Though I freely admit to rooting for heel New Day, actually…The match is entertaining…The crowd is into Calo during the shine segment…They’re into his comeback after Jericho’s control segment…Calo gets 2.9 off a missile dropkick, but Jericho turns what looks like a rana attempt into a Lion Tamer for the win…Solid opener…Haha, the look of irritation on Mark Curtis’s face when Jericho makes him raise his arm in victory again… Kendall Windham versus El Dandy is certainly a WCW-ass matchup…Dandy’s working babyface tonight…This is inoffensive, and I won’t remember it for being good or bad or at all, really, by this time tomorrow…Windham wins with a bulldog… Curt Hennig and Rick Rude cut a promo in which they crow about beating up Bret Hart at Uncensored…Rude cuts a semi-corny promo, but I can’t hate him too much…Aw hell, let's be honest...It’s totally corny and uses pimple puns as insults, let’s be honest…Oh man, Hennig stinks it up too…Their contrived “too sweet” joke is a textbook "lame dad joke"…This was pretty bad television, but maybe for some of you, this promo would be so bad, it’s good… La Parka’s back on TV, hooray…He faces Saturn in another unique matchup…Parka dances, Saturn takes the opportunity to throw lariats…Saturn dominates, culminating in a two-count off a wheelbarrow suplex…Parka hits his own lariat and control shifts back and forth for the next minute or two…Lodi has KILROY WUZ HERE written on his chest and Kilroy peeking over a fence drawn on his back…Vonnegut rules and is one of the best things about Indiana in general, so that’s a nice touch…After a successful dive, Parka grabs a chair, but Saturn dropkicks him into it…A suplex and a Rings of Saturn later, Saturn is the winner…fun little TV jaunt… The Raven/DDP/TRL incident that twiztor posted last page is played in full…It rules and I love it…Raven and Page sliding around on the hardwood floor because they wore the wrong shoes for this kerfuffle makes me chuckle…This was the coolest pop culture thing WCW did during this era by FAR… Barry Darsow comes to the ring…Lodi’s BRAD – YOU BETTER CALL SOMEBODY! sign makes me laugh, and actually, the back-and-forth on t-shirts and signs across TV shows about the relative success of various Armstrong family wrestlers has been delightful…Ray Traylor is Darsow’s opponent…They have a match that’s not very good, but it’s Big Boss Man vs. Demolition Smash…Or Ray Traylor ’85 vs. Krusher Kruschev…The point is that the nostalgia gets me through it…It’s not abjectly terrible or anything, though…Traylor catches Darsow with a Boss Man Slam for three… Tony S. warns us all that Roddy Piper will be on Nitro…I’ve steeled myself already after seeing him pop up on the autoplay…In seriousness, they got a surprising amount out of Piper with the first one, maybe two Hogan matchups, but at the point that he put on one of the worst segments of all time with the Piper’s Family tryouts, it was time to cut bait… Yuji Nagata and Prince Iaukea have a match that’s watchable enough…I find Iaukea to be a decent TV wrestler, but Nagata typically bores me…Nagata's heel control segments are typically plodding and boring, a nice suplex or kick aside…Sonny Onoo hops up on the apron to intervene, but his kick hits Nagata…Iaukea takes advantage with a Northern Lights Suplex and a bridge for three… Lots of Giant vs. Nash recap…Hall and Nash definitely reacted to X-Pac showing up on RAW by going out there oiled up on Nitro…I’ll have to track down what Nash and Bischoff might have said about that Nitro specifically w/r/t Waltman’s firing… Crush vs. Marty Jannetty almost certainly happened on a random Superstars in 1993, right?...Huh, not in 1993 or 1994…I didn't fully realize just how much Jannetty was in and out of the company at that point...We did get Demolition/Rockers at one point, though…I talk about that instead because this match is a lot of Jannetty selling for Crush, which is bo-ring…Marty fights back with his agility, but eats a tilt-a-whirl slam for three…Again, not terrible, but not much going on here… Eddy Guerrero and Psicosis will hopefully pick things up here…They do, with lots of pace and counter-wrestling…I’m into clubbering, y’all know that…But clubbering is a skill like anything else…Crush doesn’t have it and Darsow once had it, but is past his prime…Psicosis hit a guillotine legdrop with Eddy draped over the middle rope…The setup was contrived, but it looked cool, so I forgive it…Psicosis hits a corkscrew moonsault to the floor, and I again wish they’d push Psicosis…Back in the ring, Eddy dumps Psicosis to reverse a superplex attempt…Eddy hits the Frog Splash and gets out of dodge with a tough win…That was a fun TV sprint, of course… Brad Armstrong comes to the ring for another match with Raven…Raven’s too bored for a match, though…Reese and Hammer beat Armstrong down while Raven sits there…Raven has a mic and speaks about BA not taking his offer last week to join the Flock…He didn’t really have much of a chance to, in fairness…Raven’s still mad that MTV invited Page to be on their network since he’s the U.S. champ…Raven wants to be a star, dammit…For some reason, the match isn’t cancelled or thrown out, and Raven DDTs Armstrong for three…This is nonsense, you can throw out a match before it begins because of shenanigans, regardless of what commentary says… This Bret Hart video package reminds me of how poorly Bret Hart has been used since he got here…How do you have this guy and waste him in a feud with Curt Hennig in 1998?... Scott Norton and Chris Benoit are probably going to hit each other pretty hard…Yeah, we get the requisite chopfest…Norton uses his size to do some clubbering that is beneath his standard…Norton’s often good with forearms and lariats and slams…I do like his powerslam and cover for two, though…But I’ve seen him do better…He hits a nice Samoan drop in there, too…Benoit dodges a corner charge and hits a release German…Benoit hits the flying headbutt and locks on the Crippler Crossface…Norton survives in it for twenty seconds or so until Benoit breaks it to chase down Vincent on the apron…Norton gets back up, stuffs a Crossface attempt an a suplex attempt, and hits the shoulderbreaker for three…I think the ultimate winner makes sense…Norton, like Meng, is the kind of gatekeeper status that needs wins like this sometimes…I’m not sure he should have survived in the Crossface that long, though… Goldberg steamrolls Wayne Bloom…I think probably Goldberg should have won a title by now, or at least killed a higher caliber of opponent…I know that he’s in for the U.S. Championship the night after Spring Stampede, IIRC…Still, only killing jobbers for like three months after the Mongo feud isn’t great use of him…Goldberg throws a nice pumphandle slam in the mix…Goldberg takes a whip to the corner and rebounds with a spear…then Jackhammer…and SPLAT…I guess WCW has decided that Goldberg is 56-0 after this one…Well, look, Saturn wants to challenge Goldberg…They should have done this a month ago to give Goldberg more to do… Curt Hennig’s back out (w/ Rick Rude) to wrestle…Rick Steiner is Hennig’s opponent…Can Scotty Steiner be far behind?...IDK how Sonny Onoo won Worst Manager in the Observer when he’s not even the worst manager in the company…Ted DiBiase is pointless in this role and has the charisma of a jar of mud in it… Rude trips Rick when Rick goes up top for the bulldog about two or three minutes in…Rude and DiBiase mix it up, but Hennig helps dispatch DiBiase…Rick makes a comeback on Hennig and Rude…the nWo B-teamers run in…Traylor runs in for a failed save…Vincent taking the chance to choke out DiBiase on the floor is a quality spot, but this mostly sucks…It’s an nWo B-team beatdown…Zzzzzzzz…Hey, Goldberg finally comes out for the actual save…That rules…Goldberg kills off the whole nWo B-Team because he rules…Then he walks out like a boss after he’s done…Well, okay, this lame beatdown was worth it just for that…Traylor and Steiner finish off the remnants of the B-teamers…Scotty Steiner didn’t even think it was worth it to show up for this… This show was mostly boring except for Goldberg (who got elevated into more interesting possible feuds tonight) and the guys who wrestle in the Cruiser division + Saturn…It gets a WOOO…
  21. Yeah, I've seen enough dudes with wives who are better-looking than them to know that it's not hard to compensate for your mug. Hell, my wife is definitely better-looking than me (and better-smelling than me, thus my OG name).
  22. Show #133 – 16 March 1998 "The one that uses a swimming pool better than it does Sting” SPRING BREAK(out)!!! So, I watched Uncensored, then watched WM XIV, then watched Austin/Dude Love at Unforgiven, and now I kinda would rather be watching 1998 RAWs. Oops! Uncensored main event recap. The main was not good! The nWo, except for Savage, comes down to crow about how they’re still together. Bischoff and Hogan don’t shut the fuck up. You know how it is. Hall and Nash are wearing magnificent beachwear, though. So, Savage jumped Sting at Uncensored, and now Hogan’s hoping that Savage was just, uh, faking his anger at Hogan? Testing him? Who cares. Hogan’s gone so far as to get Hogan/Savage vs. Sting/Luger made for tonight. That will probably go poorly for him and also extend this FRICKIN’ nWo breakup angle for even longer. Lodi plugs RF Video on his way to the ring with the rest of the Flock. Goldberg comes out to kill him off. Lodi wore an inflatable tube to the ring, and I was hoping that Goldberg would violently deflate it like Uncle Phil did to Carlton in Will’s courtroom retelling of the pool party incident. Goldberg takes about 45 seconds to win this sucker. Riggs, Sick Boy, and Kidman try a run-in after the match, but it’s not particularly effective. Saturn steps onto the apron, but he’s not stupid enough to go in there and get his ass beat. He just mean mugs Goldberg safely from where he’s at. Mega-heel Gene Okerlund shills some NEWZ about some WCW wrestler quitting pro wrestling. I wouldn’t pay for a hot dog from this scumbag, much less some NEWZ. Fit Finlay wrestles Ultimo Dragon, who I’m glad to see back. Was Dragon hurt or just touring elsewhere? It’s a coin toss. This is a match worked around a style clash, which for me is interesting enough at its core to make for a decent TV match. Dragon comes out hot early, gets caught, and gets ground down by Finlay with strikes, finger stomps, and liberal use of the ring apron as a weapon, among other strategies. Dragon tries to make his comeback, but is rusty athletically. He doesn’t quite stick a flip out of a backdrop and botches a kip-up. Finlay regains control and hits a double stomp to the solar plexus since Kevin Sullivan’s finally off TV. Dragon almost locks on a Dragon Sleeper; Finlay avoids it once, but gets caught in another Dragon Sleeper to end the match after Dragon flips behind him on a vertical suplex attempt. Vicious and Delicious come to the ring, but Scott Norton is the person wrestling a singles match against Chris Adams. Adams is game, but struggles with Norton’s power. Adams gets pushed around and slammed to begin the match, and he immediately goes to the superkick and high-risk moves to try and be competitive. He tries, sure, but doesn’t have much luck. Norton has a cool spot where he stands on Adams’s wrist with one foot and uses the other to stomp his hand. Someone should steal that spot and use it regularly today if no one’s using it. Adams tries another high-risk flurry, but whiffs on a top-rope jumping kick and suffers a Norton shoulderbreaker for three. WCW Spring Break (sponsored by Cinnaburst ™) gets a video package. Ladies dance and chew Cinnaburst ™ brand chewing gum. Dude bros climb rock walls and chew Cinnaburst ™ brand chewing gum. Cinnaburst ™! Now with Chewing Crystals! The Beverly Brothers come to the ring to face the remnants of the Hart Foundation (Bulldog and Neidhart). I like Bloom and Enos, and so I figure this’ll be perfectly okay TV wrestling. It’s pleasant enough watching Bloom and Enos wrestle as heels. Enos misses a middle-rope headbutt and Neidhart hot tags Bulldog to end the heel control segment. All four men end up fighting one another, and Bulldog hits Bloom with a walking powerslam for three. I won’t remember it tomorrow, but at least I won't be remembering it because it sucked! They let Tayo uncover her natural hair and let me tell you, she is something, man, she is something. I have many opinions about the Nitro Girls that I spare you from, but I’ll say this: Tayo, Chae, and Kimberly should break away from the other four like USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon breaking away from the Pac-12. Bischoff is back out here with Savage and Elizabeth *sigh*. Bischoff’s all like WELCOME BACK TO THE nWo, BUDDY, but Savage is not interested in hugs and welcomes and shit. Savage reinforces that he’s always been nWo, but he just wants to beat Sting for the big gold so that he can leverage that into pushing Hogan out of nWo leadership. Which is what Sting and Luger should have figured in the first place, but, oh, nevermind, they’re WCW babyfaces. Raven comes to the ring to complain, as usual. This time, though, he complains about Chris Benoit getting in the way of his chance to beat DDP for the United States Championship. Raven thinks that the U.S. Championship is his destiny, which is true, but in the most hilarious, cursed monkey’s paw sort of way. Raven’s also still mad that Page ditched him and made him feel bad and shit, but I didn’t see Page forcing Raven to become disaffected by the relative wealth that Raven grew up in; nor did I see Page force Raven to move him to Philly, start wearing a leather jacket, and mope a lot. Chris Benoit is Raven’s opponent next, and the winner of this match gets a shot at Page’s gold at Spring Stampede. Benoit beats the piss out of Raven for the first four or five minutes of this sucker. He beats him in the ring, he beats him out of the ring, and then he beats him in the ring some more. I mean, this dude is whooping Raven’s ass pretty much into the commercial break. I get a small kick out of this “Only on Peacock” hype video ending with footage of a WWE wrestler followed by footage of an AEW wrestler. Back from the break, Benoit is beating the shit out of Raven outside of the ring, but near the entrance this time. Benoit whips Raven into the WCW standee, then walks him back down the narrow ramp over the pool. Hey, that narrow ramp over a pool is a cool little visual oddity. They go back into the ring where, and you won’t believe this, Benoit beats Raven half to death. He’s gone for covers here and there and gets two on a nice Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge. Benoit rips Raven’s shirt off so the chops hit harder. Benoit loses control after Raven ducks a lariat and hits a mean uppercut – no, sorry, that didn’t happen. What did happen was Benoit continued to punch, slap, and kick Raven. This is getting to the point where I think Benoit’s offense must be kayfabe shit if he hasn’t put this guy away by now. The issue is that Benoit's supposed to be having too much fun punching Raven to just beat him, but he's gone for pinfall attempts. This would be a more effective narrative if he never bothered with trying to get three. Benoit hits rolling verticals and finally signals for the flying headbutt. He goes up and misses it after taking his sweet-ass time getting up there. Raven rolls out and grabs a chair, then hits a chair-assisted bulldog to score what is his first significant offensive move of this match. Raven has more plans for the chair, but Benoit fights an Irish whip and reverses it into a Crippler Crossface. Unfortunately for Benoit, he forgets about the chair, sitting right there, just waiting for Benoit to bonk into it as he drops down. Raven gets up, hits a quick Evenflow DDT on the chair, and gets a three that he only gets due to his own perseverance and Benoit’s desire to keep punching Raven rather than getting a three and getting out of dodge. That structure was interesting (and commentary knew what these fellas were trying and got over the story/structure on commentary). I’m not sure it was that fun to watch, but I appreciate the artistry in the structure. I would like Ernest Miller to stop with the kickboxing gimmick and start with the James Brown gimmick. Instead, he keeps on with the kickboxing gimmick and wrestles Yuji Nagata, and mmmmm NO, this is not what I want. The match is actually inoffensive, though. There’s some faux-MMA stuff in this sucker, but also Nagata hits a capture suplex, so that’s good. It’s not the match that I want, but that doesn’t make it horrible. The crowd chants BORING, but I just think that’s because of the lack of personality in the ring because the work is just fine. Well, okay, Miller botches a leapfrog spot, but still. I think the top-rope Feliner is cool. That’s what Miller uses to get three. Scotty Steiner hits the ring to face Ray Traylor, who OMG is still in WCW! Well, I’ll never forget when Traylor left WCW this time around because I am so surprised about how long he stuck around on re-watch. Look, here’s my assessment of this match: It’s not very good, but then Traylor clotheslines Steiner into the pool, so actually this match IS very good. Traylor also hits a top rope crossbody. Look, let’s go with this: This match was whatever until the pool spot, at which point it became very cool. Traylor goes up top again while Scotty signals for a time out, and Buff runs down and hangs Traylor up top. Steiner gets up, hits Traylor with a super Frankensteiner, and then locks on the Steiner Recliner for three. Buff hits Traylor with a strap after the match, then uses the strap to measure Steiner’s arms. This went from meh to pretty damned fun in a jiffy. Thank you, swimming pool. Chavo comes to the ring. Wait, Eddy stops him before he comes to the ring. Eddy has Chavo under his command, so Eddy wants Chavo to wear a SWEET t-shirt with CHEAT TO WIN on it. It’s airbrushed and everything. Chavo doesn’t want to wear it, maybe because he’s style-impaired. Oh, it says MY FAVORITE WRESTLER IS EDDY GUERRERO on the front! I would like to acquire that t-shirt in real life. Booker T. defends the TV Championship against Chavo up next. Booker tries to talk some sense into Chavo, who doesn’t want to hear it. Chavo shoves Book in rebuttal, and Book counters Chavo’s point with a lariat. Booker controls early with a bunch of strikes and a powerslam. He loses control when, after pummeling Chavo outside the ring, he stops to point at what I’d assume is a bonny lass in the crowd and yell THIS IS FOR YOU, BABY. Chavo kicks the rope that Book is stepping between as he does this, crotching him. The ladies are nice, Book, but you gotta stay focused! Chavo hits some nice offense, including a good-looking dropkick. Booker gets a sunset flip in there for two, but Chavo gets up and slows Book with a basement dropkick to Book’s knee. Book fights up from a Chavo chinlock and hits a spin kick followed by an axe kick. He follows with a spinebuster and a missile dropkick for three. Chavo did his best, but is a level or two beneath Booker based on this match. He really only had control when Book was distracted. Decent TV bout. Do you want to Bite the Burst ™? The young people at WCW Spring Breakout sure do! I’m sorry, but Reese wearing cutoff blue jeans and a flannel shirt tied around his waist looks absurd. This dude would wear the flannel and blue jeans, but in a “chops his own wood” sort of way, not a “disaffected Gen-Xer” sort of way. I’d believe this more if he wore a full pair of jeans rather than cutoffs, put the flannel on properly, and came in the ring looking like Ron Swanson on a weekend camping trip. So yeah, Reese wrestles Diamond Dallas Page next, and he uses his size to pummel Page for most of this thing. So, I dig this spot: Reese breaks a Page standing chokehold, applies one of his own, and double-handed chokeslams Page. Then, he yells IT’S OVER, I KILLED ‘IM, I KILLED PAGE and celebrates like an over-excited lunk. It made me laugh and I enjoyed it. Page’s first effective offensive move of the night is the one that wins him the match: a floatover Diamond Cutter. Juventud Guerrera gets a shot at Chris Jericho. They had a pretty dope SuperBrawl match, so I’m excited for this one. Jericho grabs a mic to run through his big wins – he destroyed Rey’s knee and Malenko’s dignity and took Juvi’s mask and the Cruiserweight Championship. He thinks his mom is very proud and he plans to add more moves to his arsenal to up the count from 1,004 real soon. Juvi, don’t just stand there and shake your head while Jericho gabs – kick him in the mush! After trading disrespectful slaps, Juvi wins out on an early exchange with a back kick, and he continues to stay a step ahead of Jericho. It isn’t until Jericho stops trying to match speed with Juvi and asserts his power and size advantage that he gets control. Juvi tries a springboard crossbody and Jericho catches and Tombstones (!) him for two. That move leads to Jericho controlling the match with a series of crisp moves, ending in a Tiger Driver ’91 – no, sorry, that didn’t happen either. What actually happened is that Jericho stomped around throwing a tantrum while the crowd chanted JERICHO SUCKS. Jericho controls with kicks, suplexes, and slams. Jericho thinks he got a submission off a backbreaker and celebrates, but he didn’t get no submission. He shakes his head and yells YOU PEOPLE THINK THAT’S FUNNY? at the young college ham-and-eggers in the crowd. Finally, Juvi flips out of a back suplex attempt and hits a rana for 2.9. Juvi catches Jericho on a leap over and hits a Juvi Driver, but he’s caught at the top on the 450 attempt. Juvi fights Jericho off and hits a top-rope leg lariat for two. Jericho tries a powerbomb, but that gets countered into a Juvi DDT for another two. That’s about where Jericho checks out of this one, as he grabs his title, whacks Juvi with it for the DQ loss, and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf Canadian Maple Leaf while the timekeeper hammers the bell. Jericho's decided that this move isn’t good enough to become move number 1,005, then is upset about the college kids being at a wrestling show instead of at home studying during Spring Break like he did. It’s ’98 Jericho, he’s gold. He and Juvi have very good in-ring chemistry to boot. The Outsiders are out here with a mic, and probably they’re sauced. Hall does a survey, and I’m particularly sure he was shotgunning beers right before this. Nash suggests that the fellas in the crowd don’t forget to fuck some of the thiccest ladies at Spring Break(that’s how I’m putting it) and then, oh yeah, it’s time for a Kevin Nash is well-informed check: Mentions Mark McGwire as a comparison to himself w/r/t showing prodigious power. They call out the Giant. The Giant hears said callout and walks to the ring. The Outsiders vacate the premises, and when the Giant stalks toward them, Nash does a cannonball into the pool to get away. The Giant has to settle for giving Hall a wedgie and press-slamming him into the pool. Then the Giant saunters away like a dude in a Western, dropping a “Score one for the good guys” as he goes back up the ramp. Heh heh, that was pretty good, man. These dudes are all entertaining. Hollywood Hogan, Randy Savage, Liz, and Bisch all come to the ring for the tag match. Hogan and Savage get in the ring and immediately start bickering. Hogan grabs the mic so that he can steal/iterate upon Savage’s catchphrase. Do I even need to signify the sound I made? Oh, heck, why not: *sigh*. Luger comes out by himself to Sting’s music. It looks weird. Sting doesn’t make it out, and Bischoff grabs the mic to crow about Sting not making it. I guess they mixed up Sting’s plane tickets or something? Anyway, Sting shows up in a helicopter. That copter is sending gale-force winds around this ring. Sting rappels down from the copter, which I would absolutely never have agreed to do, and I think Sting is a madman. So, the match begins, and we have a surprisingly pacey tag match with all four men brawling around the set. Sting hits a jumping piledriver on Hogan into the pool—no, sorry, you should know I’m just fucking with you by now. What happened was that the Disciple came out and he and Hogan threw Savage to the wolves inside the ring. Savage eats a ponderous beatdown from Sting and Luger for awhile. Savage eventually force tags Hogan and Hogan of course gets the first offense for their whole team while the Disciple more than holds his own against Savage on the outside. What is the purpose of this angle? Is it to get Ed fucking Leslie over? Because he’s looked like a killer the last few weeks. Luger actually has to make a hot tag to Sting, who honestly I almost forgot is the champ because this Hogan/Savage drama that has no meaning and is never-ending is what's showcased. Luger racks Hogan; Disciple clocks Luger and drags Hogan out of the ring. Savage eats a beatdown until the rest of the nWo runs in. Luger and Sting fight off the nWo while Hogan beats up Savage outside of the ring. And if that ain’t the capper, as I cancel the autoplay, I see the screencap for the next Nitro, and Roddy Piper is in it. Fine, you basically are letting me know that you think I should get fucked, WCW. Whatever. You can’t hurt me anymore. Everything except the main event is fun, the main event stinks, the world turns on its axis, yada yada yada, nothing changes. 3.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes.
  23. I didn't realize Summerslam was last night. Wow, that's early in the month of August for that show. I read the (surprisingly short) thread here and it sounds like Roman is still the champ and they're doing that Bloodline angle, still. I get that lapsed WWE fans have come back to WWE lately because of Roman and that angle, but wow is that thing apparently pitched specifically (only?) for the WWE set. I'd rather watch 1999 Nitro and make fun of how absurdly bad it is than sit through a zillion months of Roman Reigns being dull, but inoffensive as champ. And in fact, I'm going to do that! I also didn't realize what "Collision" was until I looked it up and realized that it's that Saturday show that I heard AEW was adding a few weeks (months?) back. I'll tell you, I expected to get old and out of touch, but not quite this early in my life.
  24. I just watched WM XIV and saw the Austin title win, so Chaos (sorry, still can't tag folks) gave me a timely match this week. I'll watch anything during this Santo (unless it involves bodily mutilation), but I am into re-assessing stuff that I've seen before, especially the stuff that I've seen before, but don't really remember. Like Chaos said, it's the Austin/Dude Over the Edge match that everyone remembers, not the Unforgiven one. Heck, I don't remember anything about this at all. I dig the general idea that Cactus was out here getting his ass beat, not winning titles for it, and no one cared, so his logic for becoming a heel as Dude Love made sense. Fuck it, why not sell out and be the hokey champ that Vince McMahon prefers? I bet Dude would deliver the line SUFFERIN' SUCCOTASH with pep and verve if Vince made him! It's not like he needs the fans' respect that the fans refuse to give him, anyway! Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs. Dude Love, WWF In Your House: Unforgiven ('98) The video package at the beginning does a fantastic job of explaining this whole angle just in case you weren't watching post-WM for some reason. I do think that the only thing that's missing is more of Dude's reasoning for not being Cactus or a babyface anymore. Also, I was surprised that Vince was aware of modern movies enough to suggest that Austin's claim of a screwjob conspiracy against him was the result of seeing too many Oliver Stone movies. Huh, it's interesting when we find what happens to get through to him, pop culture-wise. Mick Foley's dancing is fucking AWFUL, which is great since he's a heel now. He comes out to the ring to almost complete silence. Aww. Poor Mickey Foley. No one sees him as a threat or wants him to be Dude Love/a heel. It's too bad because the reason he's cut this turn is pretty great and he should get more heat since he's also explicitly blaming the fans for this turn toward corporate dorkiness. Mick's out here cupping his hand to his ear like Hogan, trying desperately to get a heel reaction. Aww. Austin shows up, gets his pops, and gets jumped. Mick's probably doing some of the best work of his life here. Dude Love is the part of him who is tired of getting his ass beat all the time, so while he still has some of that Cactus violence in him, he's far more willing to bail out or run away when he starts eating a beating. It's the subtle character stuff that makes this work so well for me. It's just too bad for him that Austin's a clear level above him, so Austin rolls him early on while he tries to get away. He even sort of gives up and sprints toward the back after getting slaughtered. Well, it's a sprint for him, but a very slow jog for most people. Austin catches him, beats him up on a raised bandstand, and then MURDERS this crazy fuck Foley by beal tossing him a good five feet from the bandstand to concrete. JESUS, the SPLAT sound Foley made. Anyway, people are very excited about Austin, but I'm entranced with Foley and his work right now. This guy is barely held together physically and moves like a malnourished sixty-year-old man, but he can take a couple wild bumps and do great character work to more than make up for it. Dude finally dodges a splash on the ropes and gets a little offense in. Mick's not going to be too hardcore with the beatdown because he's dude, and he even locks on a resthold for a bit - the resthold allows Vince and his cronies Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco to come to ringside. Vince teases that he's going to do Screwjob Redux by nodding and winking at the timekeeper. This is one of those things that is compelling at the time, but since I've lived through the diminishing returns of Screwjob teases, Screwjob discussion, and Screwjob mythologizing, it's less effective for me than it would have been twenty-five (!!!) years ago. Austin makes a comeback, but gets backdropped into the aisle. Ross and Lawler bicker over Vince Jr. and their fealty to his whims while Vince shit-talks Austin in the aisle. That's a mistake since Austin immediately revives just to stalk him. Dude jumps Austin from behind and continues his assault. Back in the ring, Dude locks on an abdominal stretch and Vince frantically tries to get the timekeeper to call it, but Austin reverses before that can happen. Austin also reverses a vertical suplex outside the ring and dumps Foley right onto the steps in a spot that looks and sounds great, which a) causes Dude to say FUCK IT and try to escape and b) Austin to chase him down and beat the shit out him. Still, Dude survives: He hits a swinging neckbreaker back in the ring to stuff an Austin duck down. Then, he loads up the Sweet Shin Music, but Austin catches his boot and Foley ends up discus clotheslining the ref after being spun around. After the bump, Dude escapes a Stunner attempt and locks on the Mandible Claw Love Handle. Dude gets a visual KO, but the ref is entirely out. Austin gets to his feet, backdrops Dude outside, and grabs a chair; Vince cuts him off and the chair hits Austin in the head. Dude uses the chair to charge Austin, but it gets smacked into Dude's face twice. Austin takes the chair, gives Vince an unprotected chair shot, and hits the Stunner on Dude, then counts his own pin? And I guess it's legal? So why didn't Dude just call his own submission four minutes ago? Or why didn't Vince call it for him? Gerry Brisco decides that Austin loses by DQ for hitting a WWF official with the chair, so that's the final finish, I guess. Ooooookay. Everyone puts on the low voices of concern for five minutes post-match in which we watch Vince getting backboarded and carried out, which is also dumb. I don't think it's the greatest way to end a PPV that's showcasing your new hot world champ. Well, that finish and aftermath was sorta dumb, and Foley is incredibly broken down physically, but 1) Austin being Austin, 2) Foley's character work, and 3) the "Will Vince screw Austin" intrigue carried this nicely. On the other hand, it's clear why everyone remembers the OtE match and forgets this one. The OtE match is about a billion times better and maybe the Form of the Good for Attitude Era brawls with gaga finishes. This Unforgiven match was just the bridge between the Dude turn and that OtE match.
  25. WrestleMania XIV ('98) Notes: I’m going to go ahead and give myself more homework by reviewing the Big Five PPVs in 1998 WWF after watching their WCW counterparts that share a month with them. Last time, I talked about the Royal Rumble of 1998, which was a good show and right in line with the quality of Souled Out ’98 for WCW. I forgot to mention in my previous post that, having owned this series and watched it many times on VHS (!!!), I would rank the Big Five for 1998 in this order, from highest quality to lowest: Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, King of the Ring, WrestleMania, SummerSlam. Let’s see if that order still holds for me in 2023. The opening video makes it pretty clear that the Attitude Era’s on its way. No more of that camp ‘80s shit! It’s all crotch chops and junk thrusts and middle fingers now. The message: It’s the same company, same history, but now we’re onto some WrestleMania-era fuckery that you’ll one day look back on with nostalgia much like you do Hogan slamming Andre and suffering a spinal explosion or whatever. The Nation of Domination has great entrance music that formed the spine of pretty much all the Rock’s great entrance music. We hear it as Faarooq and Kama Mustafa come to ringside to enter a fifteen-team battle royale. If one member is eliminated over the top rope, both are eliminated from the match. L.O.D. (2000) are here with Sunny. Hawk and Animal are wearing a cross between S&M wear and the sort of tactical gear that some old military dude hawks on a doomsaying paid commercial that airs on Comedy Central at one in the morning. Anyway, remember the New Midnight Express? Remember the New Blackjacks? Remember Too Cool as the much-less-over Too Much? They’re all here. I even see Ricky and Robert getting a WrestleMania payday in there. I actually like the idea of having a battle royal on every WM 1) to get people a payday and 2) because a battle royal is a nice change of pace in a card. Barry Windham randomly runs to ringside and eliminates Chainz. I guess, to correct my former remark about the New Blackjacks being in this match, Windham is no longer a New Blackjack, and Chainz was subbing in as a New New Blackjack in this match to help Bradshaw out. 1998 Barry Windham vs. 1998 JBL sounds like a feud from hell. 1988 Barry Windham vs. 2004 JBL sounds pretty good, though! This is why time travel would be a neat thing that ultimately, avaricious and hateful people would use to destroy civilization, kinda like A.I. But at least with time travel, we could book 1988 Barry Windham against 2004 JBL. A.I. can’t make that happen IRL. The final four teams are the New Midnights, the Harris Twins, L.O.D. 2000, and the Godwinns. A Harris Twin gets dumped, followed by Phineas Godwinn. This sparks the Godwinns to clobber L.O.D with the slop bucket. Phineas snarls at Sunny on his way out, probably remembering that time when she led him on like the doofus that he is so that she could have access to the tag titles. The New Midnights get the advantage, but summarily both Bodacious Bart and Bombastic Bob eat stereo clotheslines that send them over the top rope and to the floor. This sets up a title match between the L.O.D. and whoever the tag champs are at Unforgiven. The crowd likes the Road Warriors and are happy about the outcome of what was a match that I completely forgot happened. And I’ve seen this show multiple times over the years! Lots of promotional video for this WrestleMania. Lawler, who spent last match perving over Sunny, takes time to perv over Sable. They should upload versions of these shows with Lawler’s commentary edited out because MAN, it’s lame. TAKA Michinoku and Aguila have a match in what is a half-hearted Vince McMahon attempt to mimic the success of WCW’s cruiserweight division. WCW’s wrestling fans, because of decades of bringing in dudes from New Japan and pushing them as marquee wrestlers, are naturally more open to this sort of match than the provincial WWF fans who don’t believe that much outside of the WWF matters. So I think that it’s meaningful that Taka’s high spots and some of his better looking offense in general get some good pops from the crowd, as I’ve seen WWF crowds sit on their hands for really good high-flying stuff before. Taka apparently idolizes Ricky Choshu, according to Jim Ross. No, wait, that’s just an Oklahoman pronouncing Riki Choshu’s name like an Oklahoman. We get multiple dives and splashes and planchas from both men. Lawler is like FUCK YOUR PERFECTLY EXECUTED CORKSCREW PLANCHAS, BRIAN CHRISTOPHER IS THE BEST and while I get the in-joke, I really wish that color would actually try to get over some of these extremely well-executed moves. Anyway, these fellas have a pacey match with some great execution of their moves, and the finishing run is good. Taka tries a Michinoku Driver, and Aguila flips out into a rana attempt that gets stuffed with a sitout powerbomb. Taka misses a top rope move, then Aguila misses his own, as he eats a counter-dropkick followed by a Michinoku Driver. TAKA retains the Light Heavyweight Championship that I’m not sure will exist for much longer. Maybe it makes it to 2000, actually? 2001? Gennifer Flowers interviews The Rock, which is a sentence that I just wrote. The Rock drops a bunch of gems in this. Let’s see: In response to a question about what he’d do as the leader of the United States: “Well actually Genni, the Rock feels like this: First and foremost, the term leader is really beneath the Rock. The Rock feels like this: A more appropriate term would be ruler.” In response to a question about how he’d handle the homeless situation: “The Rock feels like this: As long as the Rock has his palatial palace down on South Beach…he couldn’t give a damn whether or not they live in a Frigidaire box or a Kenmore box. As long as those homeless pieces of trash keep their cardboard homes off the Rock’s freshly mowed grass, everything’ll be copacetic.” In response to a question about the judicial system: “As long as the Rock’s fans understand that he’s the judge AND the jury, everything’ll be fine…actually, Genni, after the Rock contemplated that for a second, if the Rock WERE a jury, nine times outta ten, he’d be a HUNG jury, if you smell what I’m cookin’.” Not only did teenage me learn a new vocab word that he uses in actual conversation today (copacetic), but he found this interview to be the one that put him fully onto the “Make the Rock the WWF Champ” bandwagon. I don’t know why, but even today, this interview just kills me, like I think it’s one of the funniest interviews I’ve ever seen in pro wrestling. The Rock’s the only wrestler who could do “Bill Clinton preys on young, powerless interns” comedy or dumb political comedy in general that I don’t immediately roll my eyes at in this company and probably in this whole pro wrestling business. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (with his valet, bodyguard, and charisma source Chyna) comes to the ring to a dope, up-tempo live instrumental of the DX theme. He'll defend his European Championship against Owen Hart. Chyna is handcuffed to Commissioner Slaughter at ringside to prevent her from interfering, but do you think a former WWF World Champion can stop Chyna from doing what she wants to do? Absolutely not. Chyna shoves Sarge to a nice pop and then gets in his face. Chyna fucking RULES and is the BEST. Owen’s cooled off a bit since about December, but still has some juice as a crusading babyface. You’ll be shocked to know that he loses this match and turns heel again, not too much longer after this IIRC. This match is perfectly cromulent and might be one of the two or three best Hunter matches at WM. HHH/Danielson is his best (obviously, IMO, like not even close). I have a soft spot for the first HHH/Undertaker WM match and like it way better than both of his future Undertaker WM matches. Then after that, I’d probably slot this match in. I didn’t love the Batista match, though, so keep that in mind. This match is, and I felt this way both the first time I saw it as a teen and now, entertaining because Owen’s a fun fiery babyface and Chyna is entertaining no matter what she does due to her immense physical charisma. Hunter is typically a terrible wrestler in heel control, the excellent heel control in the Danielson match notwithstanding. I was actually a little bit mad in a weird way about that match after it was over. Are you telling me HHH had interesting, dynamic, targeted heel offense in him the whole time? What the fuck? It felt like he was trolling me personally after that match. I watched him stink it up in the mid-aughts for minutes at a time in main events, and he damned well knew he could have been doing work that didn’t suck. I digress. Owen’s face gets cut, and the blood is a cool visual. HHH starts to work the ankle, and despite my earlier comments, I think it’s actually decent work from him, especially combined with Owen’s selling of the attack. Owen makes a comeback and gets a couple of two counts. He hits an enziguri, but sells his ankle, hurt from both multiple weeks of Chyna and HHH attacks and the ankle work in this match. That means a delayed count, which means a 2.9. HHH stuffs a rana attempt with a powerbomb for two. Chyna beefs with Slaughter outside the ring. Both Owen and Trips exchange moves in the finishing run; Owen counters a Pedigree and goes for the Sharpshooter; Trips kicks him away and Owen rebounds from the corner and headbutts Trips in the junk for a 2.9. Trips tries another Pedigree that gets countered by Owen rolling through into a Sharpshooter. Chyna reachesinto the ring and drags Trips to the ropes behind Tim White’s back because Slaughter is completely ineffectual. He's even more ineffectual after Chyna throws powder into his eyes. Owen comes over to her, and she junk-punches him behind White’s back, allowing HHH to grab Owen and Pedigree him for the win to a fairly sizeable pop, actually. Tim White uncuffs Chyna after the bell rings, and Chyna beats the shit out of Slaughter for a while (also to a pop) before joining the winner in the ring. I think I liked that even more than I previously did. That was really fun; also, anyone who has seen me write about WCW in the past few months know how much I value a woman kicking the shit out of full-grown men in my pro wrestling. Marc Mero and Sable match up against Luna Vachon and Goldust in a mixed tag match. We get a video package for this match. I hate this “Mero’s a bum and Sable is the real star” thing, not only because I dig Mero as a worker and a personality, but also because I don’t want to see Mero be an abusive husband heel. I want to see him as a somewhat goofy, mostly fiery babyface! This was just the wrong time for Mero to be in the business. I also think that Sable is terrible. She can’t work and has a completely wooden personality. Even worse, this video package had Dustin in a bustier with fake boobs built into it, which was very visually unpleasant! YMMV, IMO, and all that. Ross notes that mixed tags at WrestleMania are rare and notes that Goldust’s pops teamed with Sapphire against Randy Savage and Sherri in one of these rare events at WM. That feels like a totally different company, time, and maybe even universe. This match is at least smartly laid out; everyone wants to see Sable kill off Luna, so Luna runs away from her and tags out immediately when she can. I also don’t want to see boring-ass Sable kick Goldust in the face. Bring Chyna back out and have her fuck everyone in this ring up instead if we’re gonna have more “women beating up men” spots. The crowd explodes when Sable finally corners Luna and goes off. The other thing is that Mero and Goldust work well together and actually have a really fun run after the spot where Sable beats down Luna. Mero’s knees might be shit, but he hits a dope moonsault and a nice super Frankensteiner in there. Luna breaks up a pinfall after Mero hits a TKO, which leads to Sable making a blind tag. Sable gets two off a powerbomb, then gets massive chants while Luna finally works her over a bit. Sable eventually catches Luna in a TKO for three to a huuuuuuge pop. I mean, this was the best possible match you could lay out and execute with these four. It was surprisingly decent and sorta fun, as much of a charisma vacuum as I find Sable to be. I completely forgot that Colonel Parker was in WWF at this time as Tennessee Lee. So, Jeff Jarrett comes off of what I think was a great heel run in WCW to a) be the NWA National Champion alongside Jim Cornette and then to b) go back to his Double J get-up/valet Genni Flowers to the ring. What the fuck, man? Genni is the ring announcer for the next match: The Rock defends the Intercontinental Championship against Ken Shamrock. The Rock, as I mentioned in my Royal Rumble ’98 review, has been quite creative when it comes to screwing Ken Shamrock out of winning this title. So, we see a video package in which the Rock destroys Shamrock with an unprotected chair shot. Gross. Then he does it to Faarooq in the same package. Ew, unprotected chair shots. Shamrock runs down and immediately puts in work on Rocky. The crowd is hot for this one, too. So, the Rock can lose his title by DQ in this match, which makes a lot of sense considering how often Rock has finagled his way into keeping the gold over his reign, as I recall. Speaking of heel control segments, I think the Rock struggled with those early on, but he’s improving with each showing. He even drops a People’s Elbow that gets a decent reaction in this match. Anyway, the story of this match is that Shamrock’s fed up with the Rock and might get DQ’d himself. Shamrock grabs a chair, for example, though he ends up losing it after a confrontation with the ref and taking another unprotected shot to the head behind the ref’s back as a result. As it turns out, the chair shot just wakes up Shamrock, who locks on the ankle lock shortly after and gets a tap out. Shamrock fights off the onrushing NOD members and goes back to putting the Rock in the ankle lock well after the match. Faarooq fakes a save, but then flicks the Rock off and leaves. Rocky’s bleeding from a busted mouth while Shamrock keeps on the ankle lock, which (while not quite Austin/Bret) is a neat visual. Officials come down to stop Shamrock, so he belly-to-belly suplexes a bunch of them. That gets the match outcome reversed; Shamrock is DQ’d and the Rock retains. Man, the Rock took his share of L’s at WrestleMania, didn’t he? The Rock is stretchered out with the belt draped over him. That’s our champ! Wait, hold on, after the decision is reversed, Shamrock runs down and beats the shit out of the Rock some more, slamming him on the bandstand and tossing him into equipment. The Rock lays there, bleeding and writhing in pain. That’s still our champ! That old “you think we’re not athletes, but we fuck up our bodies all the time” PSA/ad that plays here is a classic, now that I think about it. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie/Terry Funk face off with the New Age Outlaws in a Dumpster Match for the WWF Tag Team Championships. OK, this is funny: On WCW programming at this time, Brad Armstrong wears a T-shirt that says ARMSTRONG CURSE. Road Dogg’s t-shirt tonight says, on the front, LOOK MOM, NO CURSE. Ahahahahaha. Admittedly, the shirt also says DOGG 4:20 on the back, but hey, we can’t have it all. This match is basically a casket match, but there’s a dumpster instead of a casket and both guys on the team have to be in it with the door shut before the match is over. I really like casket matches (maybe I’m just weird like that), so I’m into this. I do hate the cheat of the dumpster used to end the match not being the “official” one, leading to a negation of the title change. This is a garbage match; why are we being precious about which dumpster gets used? The match itself is fun garbage wrestling, though. Billy Gunn bleeds from his nose early. Ooh, blood in three matches, and not a blade was used! A ladder gets involved because why the fuck not? There’s a wild spot in which Cactus and Gunn trade punches on top of the ladder; down below, Road Dogg cracks Funk in the head with a cookie sheet, starting a domino effect where Funk topples the ladder and the guys on the ladder land in the dumpster. The Outlaws double powerbomb Funk into the dumpster, think they're about to win, and then angrily realize that Cactus crawled out and away while they were doing that. They chase Cactus down and fight him into the backstage area. These dudes just hit Cactus with everything they can find. See, WCW at this time would typically have these creatively safe garbage brawls that, other than maybe having a creative table spot from Public Enemy in them sometimes, would be the same thing over and over. This match, on the other hand, is eclectic in its mayhem. There’s that previous spot with the ladder, dudes getting piledriven on pallets, and a forklift used in the finish (Funk uses it to dump the Outlaws into a backstage dumpster before Foley shuts the lids on them). Funk yells I GOT YA, YOU SON OF A BITCH while banging wildly on the dumpster as Howard Finkel announces the new tag champs back in the ring. This was some wild shit, man, I really liked it, like way more than I remember. In general, I think this show is better than I would have rated it before this re-watch. I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and most of these matches are laid out in ways that are creative, make perfect sense for the participants involved, or both. Maybe I had a low opinion of this show partly because I remember Undertaker/Kane as being an interminable slog. However, considering how much higher I am on this show as I watch it today, might this match be better than I remember it? The video package to introduce it isn’t bad, mostly because I could watch Paul Bearer ham it up ALL DAY. But no, this match sucks. Pete Rose comes down and gets spiked by Kane, so that’s funny (and the start of a great running joke). Rose trolls the partisan crowd of Red Sox fans pretty good, actually. This dude’s a natural heel. I mean, I’m not sure you want Kane to get a massive face pop here, but whatever, this was entertaining. I also think druids holding torches to light the Undertaker’s way to the ring is another great visual in a show full of ‘em. But then the bell rings, and Kane is one dude who has almost no great matches for someone who has been in a position to have a lot of high-on-the-card, even high-profile ones. I’m rifling my brain for a great match that Kane’s worked. I’m sure he’s worked a verging-on-great tag once or twice, but I don’t know about singles, and I definitely don’t remember him ever working something great. I think Kane was best as the heavy in the Kane-and-Waltman tag team, and most of the greatness of that team was X-Pac being one of the best FIPs in the history of American pro wrestling, like Ricky Morton-level in his execution of that role. I digress yet again. This match is full of plodding offense and bores the shit out of me. This thing could have been five minutes shorter and all the more bearable for it. By the laws of pro wrestling, Kane is punished for pulling the Undertaker up after chokeslamming and pinning him. ‘Taker comes back, kicks out of a Kane Tombstone, and hits three Tombstones for the win (Kane kicks out of the first two). I will say that ‘Taker does try with a spot where he dives through the Spanish announcing table, but no, that doesn’t get close to saving this thing. The best parts were the pre-match gaga, the Undertaker table dive, and Paul Bearer’s antics outside the ring. Bearer yelling DAMN YOU, DAMN YOU TO HELL at Undertaker or going full Redd Foxx with the pantomime heart attack after Kane barely kicks out of the second Tombstone is so good. Paul Bearer rules. It’s also a nice touch that Undertaker stops just crossing Kane’s arms and actually lateral covers and hooks Kane’s leg on the third Tombstone. But yeah, those little things, while cool, aren’t enough to cover for the black hole of awfulness that is Kane. We’re definitely making a transition from the old days to the new ones: There’s a promo commercial with Blassie, Ladd, and Monsoon talking about how the old days are gone, but they love these high-flying, never-say-die fellas in the current days of the Attitude era. Vince Jr. is very good at playing up his company's legacy and nostalgia. He has a knack for it. It’s main event time! After all the video packages, Tyson comes to the ring in a DX shirt. Not to spoil things, but it’s a bluff! Cone Stold is his man! So, people always talk about Michaels being clearly hobbled in this match, but I’m not sure that it makes much of a noticeable different in his work. This is a fun little match in which we unfortunately get a shot of Michaels’s bare ass, but at least we get it out of the way early. I mean, Michaels takes a backdrop onto HHH standing on the floor. His work is about like usual. HHH and Chyna get booted from ringside after Helmsley attacks Austin. Austin shrugs off a Michaels attack to toss Helmsley into the bandstand area before HHH leaves; these dues follow up by using some of the band equipment and the dumpster from the tag match as weapons. Back in the ring, Michaels takes a full speed flip bump into the corner that sounds gnarly. HBK avoids a Stunner attempt, but gets shoved off the apron and into the commentary desk. One of the things about this whole show is that it feels violent, man, dudes are out there crashing into everything and getting hit with various instruments. Three guys bled even without any obvious blading going on. This show feels modern, or what was modern at the time. Uncensored didn’t have that feel outside of maybe the triple threat match, which was a far worse example of arena brawling than the dumpster match on this show. Everything about WWF right now is simply cooler and trendier than WCW. Michaels does start moving gingerly at the end of the match, but he’s taking wild bumps over the top rope anyway, so yeah. Michaels works Stone Cold over, keeping him outside the ring and draping him over the table with a baseball slide. Michaels targets Austin’s knee with some fun offense, including a great-looking chop block. Austin’s very bendy and the way he falls makes it look nasty. Michaels locks on a Figure Four, but Austin turns it. Stone Cold makes a comeback, and I only somewhat hate the catapult that Austin uses as part of it because I just can’t get over that move. I can accept an Irish whip as a move that doesn’t break illusion, though, so I know it’s just a weird quirk of mine. Michaels goes for a sleeper, but Austin backs him right into the ref to break it. The ref’s down, and we’re here in the finishing run. Michaels lands a Savage Elbow, then tunes up the band. We get a nicely-worked series of SCM/Stunner reversals that leads to a Stone Cold Stunner and Tyson counting the three. Tyson’s count is what Nick Patrick’s count SHOULD HAVE BEEN at Starrcade. I also don’t feel like HBK’s selling after getting punched by Tyson is egregious, though people have said that he no-sold it or whatever. No, he just laid there, working his jaw, looking like he was halfway unconscious. Man, this show pretty much ruled except for the Undertaker/Kane match. It was way better than Uncensored, like the two shows aren’t even close in quality (and wow, the main event had a definitive finish!). I’m thinking that maybe this shouldn’t be ranked lower than KotR for my tastes? Eh, we’ll see when we get there. I can’t put it above the Rumble, which I love, and Deadly Games is a masterpiece of booking, but we’ll have to see about KotR.
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