While awaiting Nitro tonight on TSN, I amuse myself with a show I missed ranting on the first time around for some reason…
– The Netcop Retro Rant for Spring Stampede 1997.
– Live from Tupelo, Missssiiiipppiiisssssiiiiippppiissssi. Damn American state names.
– Your hosts are Tony! Dusty! Bobby!
– Opening match: Ultimo Dragon v. Rey Mysterio Jr. Mike Tenay is joining us for commentary. Rey takes it to the mat quickly. Odd camel clutch variant from Rey, as he grapevines the legs at the same time. Ultimo wows the crowd with his kicking combo. He goes into some oddball submission moves and a cross-armbreaker. Crowd has no idea what to make of it. Wicked move as Dragon powerbombs Rey, then hangs on and guillotines him backwards on the top rope. Just gorgeous. Sleeper from Dragon. Since when does he use that? Running powerbomb, but Dragon does go for the pin. Nasty tombstone, but he picks Rey up at two. Back to the sleeper. Why is he using a standard US sleeper? Stiff kicks from Dragon, then a gourdbuster and a bridged indian deathlock. They end up outside the ring and Rey whips Dragon to the railing. Back in the ring, and back to the sleeper again. Crowd boos, and rightfully so. There’s WAY too much resting here. Rey with his own sleeper. He hits a weak spin kick to send Dragon out, then teases the highspot. Dragon wanders to the other side of the ring and Rey hits the real highspot, a somersault plancha. We cut to the dressing room where Lee Marshall gets a door slammed in his face by Syxx. Back to the ring with Rey back in control. Dragon dropkicks Rey off the top rope to the floor, then does his nice pescado combo. Back in the ring, Rey tries a Lionsault and Dragon dropkicks him in mid-air, then pulls out a GIANT SWING OF DOOM! Egads. Rey gets the rana pinfall combo, but Dragon reverses to a sunset flip for two. Dragon with an enzuigiri for two. Rana off the top gets two. Pinning combo reversal sequence yields a couple of twos, then Rey gets the rana rollup for three. Remember when they gave cruiserweight matches 20 minutes? ***1/2
– Back in the dressing room, Scott Steiner tries to charge the nWo dressing room and gets arrested. Making death threats to road workers or something.
– WCW Women’s title match: Akira Hokuto v. Madusa. It’s a shame that Hokuto left her personality at the airport when she came to WCW. Much hair pulling goes down here. And choking, can’t forget that. And screaming. Tons of that. Plus some biting. Oh, yeah, Lee Marshall is here as an expert on women’s wrestling. Lee can hardly be declared an expert on picking his own nose, let alone women’s wrestling. Madusa’s german suplex gets two (albeit with a botched bell-ringing, and Sonny Onoo’s interference allows Luna to run in and deliver a KICK TO THE KNEE OF DEATH that allows Akira to get the pin. And people think that WWF’s Women division sucks. Sheesh. 1/2*
– WCW World TV title match: Prince Leeiacocca v. Steven Regal. HEEEEEEE’S A MAAAAAAN, SUCH A MAAAAAAAAN. And boy does he look like he was hitting Scott Hall’s stash before the match. To compare, Rocky Maivia was jobbing his Intercontinental title to Owen Hart around this time. Regal draws heat like nuts by badmouthing the fans. Regal and Nakimaki trade armbars and headlocks. The Idiots yak about everything under the sun nWo-related to keep from calling the boring match. Iaukea reverses a sunset flip for the pin to retain his title. Regal kills Iaukea after the match. Thankfully the Prince would drop the title shortly after this. *1/4
– Gene Mean shills the hotline and brings out “15 time” WCW champion Ric Flair. Okay, where are they getting that one from? 13 WCW + 2 WWF? I thought they didn’t those 2 other reigns? Flair mentions something about some guy named “Jeff Jarrett” as a Horseman. Anyone else heard of this guy?
– The Public Enema v. Jeff Jarrett & Steve MacMichael. Debra is not quite as yummy back then. You know, I’ve had nightmares featuring these guys wrestling. Mongo cleans house with the THREE POINT STANCE OF DEATH and the Horsemen do the Fargo Strut. Doesn’t really work on Mongo. Jarrett with the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF EXTREME DISCOMFORT. Geez, guys, just forget the damn wrestling match and do a brawl already. Finally, about 10 minutes in, they end up outside the ring and the brawl begins. Jarrett gets put on a table but Grunge misses. Wow, what a shock. Okay, I take it back, go back to wrestling. They do some wrestling and Mongo f*cks that up. Okay, I take it back, go back to brawling. Jarrett gets the hot tag and applies the figure-four, but Rocco nails Jarrett with the BRIEFCASE OF DOOM and Grunge gets the pin. Just horrible. DUD
– Gene Mean interviews Harlem Heat and Sista Skanky. This is the infamous interview where Booker T finishes by calling Hulk Hogan a “nigga”.
– US title match: Dean Malenko v. Chris Benoit. Man, it breaks my heart to see the Vanilla Midgets fighting like this. This was during the “Chris is doing Nancy Sullivan” period. Poor sap. Long feeling out process as they trade armdrags and shoulderblocks. Chris doesn’t seem to be FEELING IT tonight. Malenko gets firm control off a backdrop suplex. More submission moves. The crowd is dead silent. It’s laughable when the announcers talk about the US champion getting a shot at Hulk Hogan down the line. Benoit gets a couple of twos with a suplex. He reverses a Malenko move to an inverted suplex, and then Jackie comes out to beat on Woman. Jimmy Hart follows as Benoit hits the swan dive for two. Now Eddy Guerrero is out to chase Jimmy Hart (who has taken the US title). Malenko suplexes Benoit onto the floor! They fight outside, but Arn Anderson blindsides Malenko and tosses him in, then Kevin Sullivan follows and nails Malenko with a Singapore cane. What the FUCK was all that supposed to be? Benoit wins by DQ after the clusterf*ck ending. Malenko tells Benoit that “he was not supposed to be here”. This was, for the record, building to the much-anticipated Apocolypse angle that ended up going nowhere. Much like this match. **1/2
– WCW World tag team title match: Kevin Nash (w/ Ted Dibiase, Syxx and Nick Patrick) v. Rick Steiner. Always the revolutionary force, WCW pioneered the idea of defending a tag title without a partner. Nick Patrick is the Evil Ref here. Nash looks noticeably non-grey. Scott Hall was drunk or stoned or injured or something. Rick hits an ugly belly to belly and a powerslam, each for two. Syxx pulls down the top rope and beats down Rick, allowing Nash to take control. He runs through his usual lazy moves and hits the powerbomb, but it only gets two. Rick blocks another try with a low blow. Rick to the top for the Improbable Bulldog, which gets two. The announcers pretend that Nash didn’t kick out, even though he did. See, because Patrick is an EVIL REFEREE. Syxx and Dibiase take forever pulling off a turnbuckle pad and Nash drops him on it face first. Again. Dibiase begs Nash for mercy (thus leading to Ted leaving the nWo), but Nash drops him on the turnbuckle again. Dibiase walks away from the nWo and Nash drops Rick on the turnbuckle again. The powerbomb and pin is academic. Really bad match. 1/4* The announcers talk about “dissention in the nWo” and all the usual catchphrases that don’t mean anything.
– Mene Gean interviews Lex Luger and a svelte Giant. It’s so sad the way they pretend like a) The match will mean anything and b) The winner will actually get a shot at Hulk Hogan.
– Four Corners match: Booker T v. Stevie Ray v. Lex Luger v. Giant. Now Luger and Giant I can understand, but Harlem Heat has no place in a “Number one contender” match. 3/4 of the participants here suck. Luger and Booker start. This is essentially being contested as a tag match. Luger gets tagged in against the Giant, then the faces tag Harlem Heat in simultaneously. They do a fake fighting sequence and everyone stands around. Wow, this is sure exciting. Luger tags in and we’re back to the standard tag match. Stevie Ray pulls out a Booker-ish axekick to stagger the Giant and Booker hits his own patented one to take him down. Back to the resting with Luger in the ring. Borrrrrrrrrr-ring. The Heat misses a rocket launcher, allowing Luger to make the hot tag to Giant. Giant goes for AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHTHECHOKESLAM, but changes his mind and tags in Luger instead, who racks Stevie Ray for the submission. Luger’s title shot would come 5 months later. 1/2*
– Hey, it’s Randy Savage. And he’s walking! Couple of funny lines as Savage chats with Liz on the way to the ring: “I’m having a party, gonna invite 14 to 22 women…any problem with that?” Liz: “No.” Savage: “Good. I like it like that. SLIM JIMS FOR EVERYONE!”
– Main event: Randy Savage v. Diamond Dallas Page. Stalling from Macho Man to start. They fight outside the ring right away and Savage ends up nailing some kid in the front row with his foot. Good one, Macho. Back in the ring and DDP tries some sort of atomic drop…thing….that doesn’t quite work. Back outside the ring and they fight to the back. They trade shots with a garbage can and then head back to the ring. Savage hides behind Kimberly, and Liz nails Page from behind. You go, Liz! Savage drops DDP on the railing and drops the axehandle on him. He tosses him into the stairs. Back in the ring for a two count. Savage goes out to torment Kimberly some more and grabs a chair. He nails Page, then goes to slap around Penzer for fun. He takes his chair for good measure. DDP is up and does a VanDaminator to Savage. Slugfest, and a Savage clothesline gets two. DDP gets his own for a double KO spot. Savage with a pair of bodyslams, but DDP won’t stay down. A third slam and Savage suddenly rolls out and beats on Penzer again, then grabs a bell from ringside. Kimberly grabs it from him, but he’s taken so long that DDP moves away from the big elbow. Savage counters the Diamond Cutter with a kick to the balls. It gets two. Savage kicks the crap out of Mark Curtis in frustration. He steals his belt and whips him with it, then drops the Big Elbow on DDP. Geez, Savage, you can’t get the pin after taking out the ref. What a moron. Nick Patrick, Evil Referee at Large, lopes into the ring to take over. DDP hits the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere and Patrick counts the pin, suddenly back in the Idiot’s good books again. Nash powerbombs him to reinforce the point. Savage goes after Kimberly and Eric Bischoff stops him. Yes, it’s more make-believe dissention in the nWo that gets forgotten a week later. **
The Bottom Line: Opening match is good, but the rest is forgettable junk. WCW was in a creative funk at this point, the likes of which would not be seen until their recent downward spiral. Nothing to see here, keep the line moving…