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  1. Red Bull's been around since the late '80s, but you are probably right anyway. @TheVileOne Nick Khan maybe understands cost-cutting, but not wrestling?
  2. Vince did a hell of a job in that game with the BOOMSHAKALAKAs and the UNNNNBEEEELIEVABLEs and the YOU HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT TOs. Like, he clearly was on an eight ball and an energy drink in that recording booth.
  3. Kenta Kobashi vs. KENTA The Kentas COLLIDE! Yes, I've seen both of these men before numerous times, and I am fine with them, generally. This is basically what you'd expect from both guys. They stiff each other and KENTA is quite cocky. I can enjoy stiff work, but in the context of, like, a hatred-filled brawl where I have the backstory of how the hatred has built up over months or years of feuding. This is an out of context match (for me, from this perspective), where they stand there and hit and kick each other for real. There are needless head-drops, gloried over by slow-motion replay. KENTA being a cocky little shit who needs to be shown respect by the old lion comes through, so I think there's something of a clear reason for the hatred even just watching this match as a one-off. Maybe what I'm missing is escalation? They go right to stiffness and head drops. Like three minutes in, KENTA hits a rana on the apron to the floor. This is a chance to ruminate on what I like about pro wrestling, which is that whatever I'm watching in the ring needs to feel like it springs from something. This match is not necessarily bad! I have not enough information to really get the backstory, being someone who is not knowledgeable about NOAH. And I can't deny that KENTA comes off like a guy who needs the smirk slapped off of his face. But I do think, as I get older, I get farther away from being able to enjoy matches out of context. That's not to say that I can't do it - I am enjoying the Portland set, for example. I'll watch random WCW C-Show matches and enjoy them. But I think that I now require for a match like this, where the wrestlers are acting like there are clear stakes and the violence level is raised, a clear reason to accept or even enjoy the heightened violence. Otherwise, it's just a little too hard for me to get past two guys killing themselves. I think that for wrestlers whose work I am fairly knowledgeable of, I can get past that a bit - I can watch Terry Funk do something violent out of context more easily because I have seen enough of Funk's work across three, four decades to sort of get him. I wouldn't say that I have that breadth of knowledge about either KENTA or Kobashi, though. But that is a ME problem because these two work like they don't like each other. Kobashi's comebacks are timed correctly, at the point when the viewer wants badly for him to get one back on KENTA for acting like a shithead. There is a later slap-fest that makes sense in the spot that it happens. This is absolutely a very good match by objective standards, or as objective as any set of standards can get. It's just that not only do I need you to activate my suspension of disbelief, I need you to active my suspension of realization that these guys are giving each other brain damage. Anyway, these two work well together and are excellent strikers. KENTA does a great job from being super-cocky to start, lots of lazy pins and taunting, to frustrated late in the game when he can't put Kobashi away. It's really a shame that he did nothing in WWE because he absolutely has star power. He's got great facial expressions and is a fine athlete. Eventually, KENTA's frustration leads to a silly mistake that leads him right into a lariat and then a Burning Hammer for three. Good match, but I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as I should have. Kobashi was pulling a mid-'90s Randy Savage taking an ass-beating and then popping up for the win after hanging on for dear life most of the match. It's an effective approach! I'm not mad about watching this match, either! As always, this helps me to calibrate what I like and don't like about pro wrestling and how that has changed over the decades.
  4. Show #16 - 18th December 1995 "The one where I'm like 'DAMN Hogan, you really are garbage'" The Nitro book that I'm reading above, while having some great stuff from the Turner execs in it (like I learned that Nash and Hall were going to come in as Axel and The Bad Guy, which, I did NOT know that at all), is also pretty repetitive about stuff we all know about the era because we've seen it and relived it ad nauseam. However, one thing that it emphasizes that is relevant to this episode of Nitro is that pre-heel turn Hogan was floundering. Well, he is over tonight, but... ...before we get to that, Alundra Blayze Madusa is out to cut a really stilted promo and to drop the WWF Women's Championship in the trash. Madusa is so unlikeable, but she's been cast as a face in WWF for years, and then will be cast as a face here in WCW even though her character (which she doesn't exactly have to stretch to portray) is a shithead xenophobe. She's a passable worker at this point, still, but she will be wasted for her whole tenure. They should have just had her as a sometimes-physical valet for the Horsemen or nWo or something, like when she was most useful back in 1992. Oh, and I am not looking forward to the Evan Karagias/Oklahoma shit when I eventually get to it. Also, Refrigerator Perry is here because Mongo's sick of people rolling on up to the broadcast table. Perry, an imposing defensive lineman in his day, ends up being woefully ineffective at this. Next up, Eddy Guerrero finally gets his matchup with Ric Flair that he was expecting to have a couple weeks back. It's not a good match; the two are slightly off with their timing. Flair's obviously over, but happily, so is Eddy (even though the latter got another jobber intro, what the hell?!). Eddie gets the early advantage and Fargo struts. The story of the match is actually that Flair is still not taking Eddy seriously, so Eddy gets the better of him until an attempt from the top rope is foiled by Flair stumbling into the ropes and knocking Eddy all the way to the floor and into the guardrail. Eddie jams his knees on the way down, so you know where this is going. Chops, WHOOs, knee attacks, Figure Four, with the twist that Eddy passes out from the pain rather than gives up. Flair stomps Eddy out of the ring as Mean Gene Okerlund comes down for an interview with him and Arn. This match wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't good. Sort of disappointing even considering my ambivalence toward Flair's in-ring work. Arn tells Okerlund that he personally respects Paul Orndorff, but that he made the timeless mistake of attacking a Horseman without numbers. Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart come down, which is basically, you know, being outnumbered considering that Hart's a skinny little manager guy. Sullivan then proceeds to threaten Arn and Flair over Pillman being a real dick, man, just a real dick. Arn threatens right back. Again, even the bad guys can't count on one another! It's everyone for themselves! Pretty effective segment because I do want to see Sullivan beefing with the Horsemen; that sounds pretty interesting! While the announcing team is clowning on the WWF Women's Championship getting trashed, Craig Pittman apparently dodges Perry somewhere off-camera and heads straight for Bobby Heenan. Well, I'd get on Perry for letting Pittman easily shed his block, but hey, Perry's not Anthony Munoz. He's the block-shedder, not the blocker. Anyway, Pittman wants Heenan's services as a manager, but Heenan passes and promises to help him out with a reference, which as I recall turns into a post-Doom Teddy Long as a manager. I mean, Pittman was a worse kayfabe client than Norman the Lunatic. This is too bad about Pittman, who feels maybe ten years too late or ten years too early for a run in a major company. He's going to get basically wasted in the lower-midcard from here on out. Lex Luger comes out and is awkward as shit. It's enjoyable. He does his weekly whiff of a high-five with Jimmy Hart in the aisleway and enters the ring to face off with a jobber-entranc'd Marcus Bagwell. This is an acceptable TV match with the best spot being Luger getting kicked off the apron, yelling AOUGH, taking an awkward bump into the guardrail that he clearly purposely jumped into after his initial landing on the floor, and yelling AWUUUUGHOAHAHAUGH. Luger, you goof. Anyway, Luger catches Bagwell in the Torture Rack for the win, then cuts a ringside promo where he names everyone but Sting when talking about who he's going to beat up before he beats up Savage for the big gold. Also, he explains that "submitting" means "giving up." Oh Luger, you complete goof. Robert Eaton comes out, doing his King Ralph gimmick. He faces Sting in a match that is cromulent enough. Once Eaton misses a top-rope kneedrop, it's all academic from there, leading to Eaton taking a comical back bump off a Stinger Splash and submitting to the Scorpion Deathlock. Sting talks to Okerlund after the match. He's irritated with his buddy Luger for not giving him respect in that previous interview. He also mishears Okerlund saying that Luger "omitted" his name as Luger "admitting" his name and then says something about Luger admitting his name indirectly, and I'm like, haha, you goof, hanging around your buddy Luger gave you a real case of the goofs, huh? LE GEANT~ is out for the main event, a WCW World Heavyweight Championship shot against Randy Savage. This match is mostly just here. The crowd is hot for it, though. There is a narrative through-line, which is that The Giant is an athletic freak, but is just too inexperienced to use that to his advantage...and even so, he's still incredibly hard to beat (unless you're Hulk Hogan). Savage gets the early advantage, tries a body slam, and from there, The Giant beats his ass, but doesn't put him away. Sullivan has to direct him a bit because he doesn't press the advantage, and after Savage escapes a suplex attempt onto the concrete outside by hooking the ropes, The Giant follows up with a totally unnecessary top-rope splash attempt that he totally whiffs on. Savage hits the Flying Elbowsmash, but only gets two, and it looks like game over for Savage's title reign from there as The Giant hits a chokeslam and a Hulk Hogan-style legdrop when Hogan comes out. Let me now share, not necessarily in order, the things that Hogan does during this run-in and its aftermath: 1) Hogan hits both The Giant and the ref with unprotected chair shots to the head. 2) Hogan punks out Mongo and Perry for trying to calm him down. 3) Hogan chairshots The Giant a million times when the latter man comes back in the aisleway, but is being held back by Sullivan and Craig Pittman, of all people. 4) Hogan steals two of the Macho Man's catchphrases that are over and says them himself. Ay, fuck this dude. Worst of all, 5) Hogan is incredibly transparent in his interview and basically came out not to save Savage, but to ruin The Giant's title aspirations since, as Hogan notes, The Giant and Ric Flair are getting title shots while on probation, but Hogan isn't. Then, Hogan demands a title shot from Savage. What the fuck is this shit? Hogan is over as a face tonight, which makes me think that everyone in this arena is an asshole. No good matches, but no bad matches. Some storyline movement, but Hogan is just unwatchable at this point. This dude is out here lifting catchphrases off of his more popular counterpart who is also rapidly becoming outdated in his promo style, but is still beloved anyway. The fuck is this shit? Also, I'm going to have to sit through Madusa insulting Japanese wrestlers and bashing up Yamahas with a sledgehammer in the next few months. Ugh. This episode was kind of a bummer. 2.75 out of 5 Stinger Splashes for me.
  5. If Bryan is Nash in this scenario, I can't wait to see him rocking FUBU for his weekly in-ring interviews. That actually would get me to tune in to AEW again.
  6. @MorgantiAs I recall, you said you were just a dude looking to be entertained. OK, I think you should be sufficiently entertained by this: This is a little gem of a TV match, and that's largely because these two guys understand their gimmicks entirely. Gilbertti is such a goofy dipshit loudmouth IRL that he is MADE for being...a goofy dipshit loudmouth in a leisure suit. He makes the Disco Inferno gimmick, which honestly I think would have failed as a lower-card comedy gimmick had literally anyone else portrayed it, a top-ten lower-card joke gimmick all-time IMO. Bonus: It's short and the best of the action is post-match!
  7. So I just got this in the mail: I'm very excited to read this over the next few days. I'm most interested in the comments from Turner execs, which I don't think I've read enough of. It'll hopefully turn out to be a nice companion piece!
  8. Show #15 - 11th December 1995 "The one with the start to an awesome feud that never happened" The commentary team yaks through the opening and thus we join Eddy Guerrero vs. Mr. J.L. in progress. Eddy's straight-up OVER at this point. Charlotte has good crowds that appreciate good wrestling, to be sure, but still, Eddie basically got himself over by being a fantastic worker in about three months of Nitros and Saturday Nights. That's impressive no matter who he's wrestling in front of. Anyway, this match is a bunch of moves without any compelling flow or narrative, but that's the point, and it gets the crowd hot. Eddy takes it by reversing a J.L. roll-through. It's going to be fun to watch Eddy develop into a very good talker to match his work over the next three years of shows. He's one of the people I'm most excited to see develop. Lex Luger's here to talk about how he's friends with Sting, but also he wants to be champ. Time-filler. Disco Inferno comes out. This is the perfect gimmick for a dude who is a corny moron in real life. He's great at it. His (awesome) theme music cuts while he's dancing to play the (equally awesome) theme music of his opponent for tonight, the recently-departed Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff. Orndorff is generally always fun when he's around, but something about the post-Psychic Friends Network Mr. Wonderful, with the mirror and the song and the confident swagger, really does it for me. Loved it as a pre-teen, love it now. The match is a perfectly cromulent TV match. Disco jumps Orndorff, throwing punches at the guy who came out and cut off his dancing, dammit! Orndorff eventually turns the tide, which leads to my favorite Wonderful Elbow prelude ever. I posted this in the R.I.P. thread yesterday, but it deserves posting here as well: I say this with no malice and as a comment meant to compliment rather than demean: That was the BEST "white guy does a goofy dance" in all of professional wrestling history. It's like Orndorff called on the spirits of Akeem the African Dream, PN News, Disco himself, and the future spirits of Too Cool and channeled them all into that elbowdrop dance. This match gets all the Stinger Splashes just for that spot. Anyway, a nasty back suplex later (and a needless foot on the ropes to boot), and Orndorff's a strong-looking winner. The Four Horsemen are out on the ramp to talk to Mean Gene, and by "four," I mean "three." I haven't seen Benoit with these dudes yet, though I'm only watching Nitro. Anyway, Brian Pillman does pretty much all the talking, and it's pretty bad. Pillman at his worst sounds like he should be doing color commentary on a random 1993 RAW with Vince McMahon - random pop cultural and political references that don't land and goofy laughing at his own shitty punchlines. He claims that Hogan couldn't cut it as a Horseman, says that Steve McMichael is gay for the American Males (oh mid-'90s wrestling, you disappoint me so sometimes), and then shits on Paul Orndorff for the aforementioned Psychic Friends Network thing. That last remark draws Orndorff back out as Flair talks. Orndorff shows respect to Arn and Flair, but verbally abuses Pillman by telling him that he's to the Horsemen as Hunter Hearst Helmsley is to the Kliq. Well, no not in those words, but you know, that's the general sentiment. Arn and Flair seem to have respect for Orndorff and try to calm him down, but Pillman slaps Mr. Wonderful, and Mr. Wonderful tackles Pillman. So, here's a nice touch: At first, Flair and Arn only try to separate the two. Neither man throws a punch or kick at Orndorff until Orndorff, swinging at everything, starts to punch Arn. Only then do they put the boots to Mr. Wonderful. Aha, so they DO respect him! The other nice touch is that Pillman lets Arn and Flair do all the work, dancing around and being a general prick while they beat down Orndorff and then spike piledrive him on the concrete. The announcers play up how devastating the move is, and they end up doing a long, protracted medical spot with him where they strap him to a backboard even as the next match starts. It's sort of uncomfortable just because Orndorff actually did have a neck/spinal injury in a later comeback with WCW, but the angle is very well done and given the seriousness needed to sustain an upcoming angle. Bobby Heenan leaves commentary to spend time checking on Orndorff, which is a really nice callback to their past. This set up an Orndorff/Horsemen feud that I was very interested in at the time, and every time I watch this, I think of what might have been. Orndorff was actually injured enough, with those atrophying arm muscles, that the Disco match would be his last match on TV until 1999 IIRC. It's too bad - I assume this wasn't an angle just to write him off because there was really no need for them to do that. I think they were expecting him to return after a bit of time off and pick up the angle. It's a shame that this feud never got pulled off because Orndorff was always good. Even Pretty Wonderful was a solid tag team (and I say "even" because Paul Roma is the epitome of mediocrity). A healthy Orndorff working as a face would also have been an awesome opponent for heel Hulk Hogan in 1997 for a month or two. Honestly, you swap him with Piper and those matches are way better, even if Piper was the bigger name (and honestly, the promos are probably better too; I am not looking forward to self-indulgent Piper on the mic). Orndorff/Pillman was just star-crossed as hell considering the health (and for the latter, the contractual status) of both men, but it remains a big-time match on PPV that I'll always feel a little sad about having never seen. Orndorff had been churning out consistently good-to-excellent work across a number of roles for, what, fourteen or fifteen years by this point, at least? Then, he came back in '99 and there was pretty much no drop-off, as I recall. He was a fun worker and always entertaining. And as someone said in the R.I.P. thread, the Wonderful Elbow is probably the best one of those moves. Godspeed, sir. While Orndorff's getting carted out, Lex Luger comes out for a match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I've never liked Hacksaw, not even when he was allegedly good back in the pre-WWF '80s. Look, the Gorilla Suit Incident in Mid-South was amazing, but I credit that mostly to Bill Watts for having a moment of showrunners' genius. This match is not good. Hacksaw does stuff at half-speed, tapes his fist, Jimmy Hart gets on the apron and distracts the ref, and Luger sends Hacksaw into his own four-by-four that Hart has picked up and wielded before racking him. Well, at least it wasn't long! Randy Savage has a time-filler of an interview with Mean Gene, though I really enjoyed the cadence of Savage's opening line, a singsong "Problems, problems, how you gonna solve 'em? One at a time, one at a time," after Gene laid out his upcoming match schedule. This dude could make an APA style guide sound fun by reading it, honestly. The main event pits Ric Flair and Arn Anderson against Hulk Hogan and Sting. It's a good main event. The crowd is hot for Flair in his hometown and they hate Hulk Hogan. The heels come out hot, but Sting gets isolated and they work his knee. Arn and Flair hit all the points while working over Sting - quick tags, running distractions properly, and so forth. It's a treat to watch. They even shut down a couple of Sting's Sting Ups, though one Sting Up is very cool as Sting fights through the pain of a Figure Four to drag Flair back toward Sting's own corner while still in the Figure Four. Eventually, there's a hot tag, and Hogan fires through Arn and Flair both for a win with the legdrop. The fun begins when Pillman rushes the ring to attack Hogan and Sting. Luger follows, but merely to save Sting. He tries to keep Sting from helping Hogan, but Sting does anyway. Savage runs in, and seems peeved about Sting's slowness to help Hogan. He gets in Sting's face and Sting, who bless him has tried to keep it together while dealing with all these nutbars who have invaded his company, throws a sweet punch and knocks Savage down in a moment of extreme irritation. Eventually, he apologizes, Hogan takes up for him, and the good guys are once again not on the same page. Is Sting going to get fed up with it all and turn his back on the good guys? I mean, yeah, sort of, later on, and he will be justified then, too! The main event was hot, except for anytime Hogan was on offense. Lots of "Hogan sucks" chants. The guy seemed rattled. It was funny to me. The other stuff wasn't great, but the all-time-great Wonderful Elbow (and aftermath of that match) and the main event are enough for 3.25 Stinger Splashes out of 5.
  9. Yo, I was just watching the Nitro where he starts his aborted face turn and feud with the Horsemen that is maybe top five on my all-time "I wish we got to see this angle play out" list, and the match prior to it is against Disco (starts at the move in question): I hit replay on this elbow about ten times, no lie, and then once the match/angle was over, sadly thought about how sick Orndorff looked when his son posted some video a couple weeks back. Man, all I can say is that in tribute to Orndorff's awesomeness, I will post this elbow for others to enjoy and probably talk about how much I enjoyed this man's career in the Nitro update that I post.
  10. Vader vs. Antonio Inoki This match is not very long, and I suppose that it's a neat curiosity. There's weirdly not much to it. Oh, there are big spots (and I appreciate Vader dumping Inoki onto a table outside, and when Inoki slid off the table, using said table as a weapon instead). But there's a lot of laying around for a fourteen-minute match and a weird sleeper-hold spot on the apron that goes on a bit long. There is a lot of these guys standing around mean-mugging for a match this short. Vader looks cool and I am reminded of what an AWESOME bumper he was at that size. Was he the best-bumping superheavy ever? If I didn't know Vader, I'd probably be interested in watching more Vader. The match itself, though, is disjointed and never really feels more than like a bunch of spots, some heavy on brawling/bumping and others on sort of boring hold-working, and none of them really pulled together with clear transitions. Mediocre as a match, but Vader throws punches and chokeslams and bleeds and looks generally cool as fuck.
  11. OK, hot take: I've never seen a 2-out-of-3 falls match from Houston that I'd rate better than "okay." The second falls are almost always rushed, IMO.
  12. I rented this tape from Blockbuster eventually as a kid, like maybe a year after the show. As a big fan of both THE TEAM OF DOOM and Muta, believe me when I say that I was pissed after watching the show. I was really glad that I didn't shell out the extra allowance to rent a VCR for two nights so that I could hook it up to our VCR and transfer the show on a blank tape (as was my way, look, I was a nearly-broke kid in a working-class family, don't judge).
  13. @moribund I'm glad that you liked it! I'm going to be honest, I root for the heels in Memphis against Lawler. I can't stand Lawler as a face. He's just not someone who I can root for. He comes off like a complete dick in promos, IMO. @twiztorWhenever someone doesn't seem to have a lot of experience with WoS, I give 'em WoS. '70s/'80s WoS is basically top-five to me. Like, if I need comfort viewing, it's '80s JCP, '92 - '98 WCW, or WoS from this time period as the first things that I go to. Anyway, here's the greatest heel of all time IMO, Jim Breaks. I picked this match because it's short and a pretty good showcase of what WoS actually is, and Breaks is very good, as usual. I had a lot of Breaks at this length to pick from, which makes it hard to figure out what to pick, so I just went with something that I've seen and enjoyed that is brief.
  14. Show #14 - 4th December 1995 "The one with the NBA crossover (haha, what a pun!)" Lex Luger and Randy Savage will be wrestling in the main event tonight, and it's a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match. Eric Bischoff also lets us know that WCW officials are putting Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and The Giant on probation for their attacks on referees and Randy Savage, collectively, last week. In other words, everyone is very tense about their chances to become champ. The WCW WHC feels desperately important because of how everyone is shifting their alliances just to make it to the top. Well, except for dependable ol' Sting, who just wants to be champ and to save Lex Luger from the charms of Satan Jimmy Hart. But first... Marcus Bagwell and Scotty Riggs, the American Males, are out to wrestle Harlem Heat (with Sensational Sherri, momentarily at least) for the WCW World Tag Team Championship. You may recall that back on Show #3 - 18 September 1995, the Males pulled the upset to win the gold from Harlem Heat for a short reign. This match is attempting to do two things, I think. First, it wants to advance the Sherri/Col. Parker angle and wrap that angle into the match (will Parker distract Sherri and keep her from focusing Harlem Heat at ringside and keeping them on task. I should say that the commentary team does a great job of getting this "will Harlem Heat be distracted if Sherri's not there" narrative thread over throughout the match. Second, it wants to get Bagwell over. Bagwell gets in the bulk of the Males's offense and is the hot tag to Riggs's FIP. The ending of the match also sets up the "Bagwell is way better than Riggs and will eventually realize it and do something drastic" angle that's coming down the pike. So, this match only does one of those things. It definitely advances the Sherri/Parker angle, as he puts a ring on it and they walk off together halfway through. However, the guy who actually ends up getting over in this match is Booker T. He gets a face pop on entrance. Later, he gets into a shit-talking exchange with former Los Angeles Laker and current (at the time) Phoenix Sun A.C. Green at ringside that heats up the crowd. I'm guessing he called Green a 40-year-old virgin or some shit like that. Still later, he whiffs an attack, but Spinaroonies up and kicks Riggs in the face to a huge pop. The finish is Riggs being too dumb to stop drawing the ref over post-hot tag, leading to Stevie Ray holding Bagwell in place for a Booker T Harlem Hangover. He crushes Bagwell with it to a massive pop and basically walks out with the gold to cheers, continuing to shit-talk Green on his way out. I said in the review for that earlier Heat/Males match that Booker is a guy with a dearth of great matches who somehow feels like he earned his rep as a worker anyway, at least to me. I think a big part of it is that he's very underrated in his physical charisma and somewhat underrated as an athlete, especially at that size. Combine that with being a slightly out-of-control worker who might drill you with some shit that hurts, but that looks like it hurts in that awesome pro wrestling way, and I get why people love his work even if his "Best Matches" list doesn't come close to standing up in comparison to almost, like, anyone else out there at that level or above. And man, did he look king-sized in that match. I was reminded why I was such a big fan of his. Luger and Sting are in the aisle to talk to one another and to Gene Okerlund. It's an aimless sort of time-filler segment where each man tells the other that they're not letting friendship get in the way of wanting to be champ. Then, Sting is meant to go to the ring for a match with Kurasawa after the segment. Even though his music hits, he heads to the back with Lex, getting like halfway there before about-facing and going to the ring like he meant to walk the extra distance. That was my favorite part of the segment. Here is how not to have a semi-competitive match where the guy higher on the card wins. Sting comes in firing, Kurasawa gets control and does a bunch of arm work, as is his forte, that gets abruptly cut off and ignored into a Scorpion Deathlock for a submission. Kurasawa actually spent time working the arm, so the blowoff (and I mean entirely; I'm not asking Sting to do a one-armed Scorpion Deathlock or anything, but it all meant absolutely nothing) really made me feel like my time was wasted. Savage wrestled Kurasawa, sold the arm injury throughout, and actually, he still is because Kurasawa softened up that arm back in Show #8 - 23rd October 1995 and then Luger destroyed it a few weeks later, and now it's a key injury that they're using to sell that Luger well could win the title tonight. Meanwhile, Sting blows that shit off entirely. Meh. On the other hand, Savage and the booking team taking care to work the initial arm injury from his Kurasawa match through the weeks ahead. The contrast is just a bit too much for me to let Sting off the hook here. Here, on the other hand, is how to have a semi-competitive match where the guy higher on the card wins. Scott Norton is out to face off with The Giant. Norton's been built up as a brick shithouse, a real tough bastard with ridiculous strength. The Giant is The Giant, an athletic freak with a wondrous blend of size and agility. So, they work a really fun TV match that makes sense. Norton gets a spot that is pretty fucking awesome where he holds the Giant in the air for like eight or nine seconds before atomic-dropping him. The Giant hits a thunderous body slam on Norton, really gets him up there, and then hits a sweet chokeslam on Norton as the latter comes off the top rope. Hey, a logical finish because Norton figured out that he'd have to do something different to beat this guy, and he got caught going to a place that he was not comfortable with. We get: Norton is a freakishly strong and tough character himself, The Giant is an elite athlete with promise, The Giant is a legit main eventer who ultimately was never really in trouble, Norton is a credible gatekeeper a la Meng, and a match structure that indicates that The Giant is so dangerous that opponents have to do out-of-character stuff just to have a shot at him. Fantastic work here in the layout, and honestly, this was just fun for a short match in which two guys do cool feats of strength. Ric Flair comes to ringside with a friend from the Phoenix area (tonight's location): former Sixer, then-current Sun, and then-future Rocket Charles Barkley. Barkley looks super-happy to be there. He gets in the ring, heels on his own home fans a bit (they have no time for Flair), and then spends the segment massively putting Flair over. Okerlund asks them if they're hitting the town together, and I hope that they went to Casey Moore's on Ash in Tempe and got sauced with the college kids. And then they probably would have got stereo DUIs, of course, but let's not dwell on that. Flair talks shit and then they leave. Aimless, but fun anyway. Main event time! Lex Luger is out, wearing a shit-eating grin second only to Flair's in the previous segment. Randy Savage is out. The match is worked around the arm, as Savage goes from wanting to brawl with Luger to settling for getting his revenge by trying to destroy Luger's arm. Eventually, we lead up to the finish, which is filled with jibber-jabber. Savage dodges interference and ends up getting a visual pinfall off a flying elbowsmash, though the ref is out. Hart is in, then Flair comes back and drills Savage with knucks. That draws Hogan down and the ref calls for a no-contest, I think? Maybe that or a DQ win for Luger since the ref didn't see Flair, but saw Hogan come in and beeline for Luger. Hogan takes out Hart (he noggin-knocks them, but as it should happen, Hart bounces crazily off Luger pecs and Luger just sort of takes a half-step back in wooziness). Then, he goes to punch Luger, but Sting intercedes and eats the punch himself. Post-match, Hogan, Sting, and Savage have a philosophical argument about Luger's aberrant behavior. Is it nature that makes Luger a scumbag, as Hogan and Savage attest, or is it nurture that has led him to Jimmy Hart, a possibility favored by Sting considering that Hogan and Savage never gave Luger a chance to prove that he was worth knowing? This is truly a question for the behavioral scientists, and also I guess everyone at the commentary desk and all of us watching at home. This was a well-balanced show even with most of the talking segments (other than the last one) treading water. We basically got a blend of angle advancement and the cementing of a few guys's levels. I do honestly think that the tag match didn't actually make they guy that they thought they were going to make, but Bagwell does come out positioned above Riggs as he needs to be. The Giant and Norton are properly positioned and those positions are established. The storylines regarding who should trust whom are advanced. The only minor issue is that Luger is such an asshole that it's just a bit hard to see Sting's position that Luger is lashing out at people who immediately suspected him. I mean, Luger is really killing it with character work right now, but he needed to show a bit more emotional vulnerability so that we could get why Sting doggedly stuck by him. That's a minor complaint, though. 3.75 Stinger Splashes out of 5.
  15. What do the back of Barry Horowitz's trunks have to do with this?
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