– There was a really good episode of WCW Saturday Night this week, featuring a couple of young guys in a good match for the point they’re at, along with a rockin’ little match between Chris Adams and Dean Malenko, and Kanyon was there, and Devon Storm and Booker T ripped it up. The point? No matter how badly the Powers That Be try to kill the wrestling, the good will always catch up. So let’s see how they can screw this one up.
– Live from Washington, DC
– Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Scott Hudson.
– Opening match: Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux v. Vito Legrasso & Johnny The Bull. Lash has his own Cajun-themed music now. Brawl to start. Lash takes some punishment from Vito, who is the member of the Goon Squad that DOESN’T suck. Lash tags in and takes over on Johnny, who is completely useless. Well, he’s got a good range of punching and chinlocks, I suppose, but I can’t really think of anything else that WCW might see in this guy. Vito has some good personality, however. Disco plays face-in-peril before Vito misses a ridiculously overblown move off the second rope and Lash gets the hot tag. He gets press-slammed by Johnny, who proceeds to blow a standing leap to the top, then misses the move. Disco hits a frog splash for two, but Lash makes the save. Several non-dramatic two counts later, Lash collides with Disco by mistake and takes the Last Dance, allowing Vito to hit an Implant on Lash and pin him at 9:38. I’ve seen worse, but Johnny is no great shakes. *1/2 Disco gets chloroformed and carried off in a body bag. Then, once they get backstage, they let him out and dump him in the trunk of their car and drive off. Knowing Russo, he’ll return to Nitro tomorrow as the newest member of the team.
– Benoit comes out to formally accept Scott Hall’s forfeited US title, and issues an open challenge. Not a good idea when Russo is booking, Chris.
– Cruiserweight title: Evan Karagias v. Madusa. Evan the Backside Boy has Spice with him. At least this doesn’t break Standards & Practices “Man v. woman” rules. That would require a man in the match, see. Brawl to start. Evan misses one of those moonsaults where it wouldn’t have hit even if the opponent had stayed exactly where they were. Madusa gets a dropkick off the second rope, and Madusa leads him through a sloppy pinning sequence and then nearly breaks his neck on a piledriver/powerbomb something. Well, better luck next time. Spice calls him over for some advice, then turns on him and Madusa hits the GERMAN SUPLEX OF DOOM for the pin and title at 3:30. I don’t even want to start listing the reasons why this could compete for worst match, angle, feud and promotional move of the year, because I’d go on all day about it. On the bright side, confining Evan to under 5 minutes per match is always a smart idea, and if we’re lucky it’ll lead to a lesbian angle with Madusa and Spice. DUD
– Hardcore title: Norman Smiley v. Meng. We head immediately to the back for some exciting running-away by Norman. Fit Finlay and trainee Brian Knobbs attack Meng and that’s the bulk of the “match”, as they wear him down and finally knock him out with a lead pipe to the head. Norman emerges from his hiding place and pins him at 4:30. DUD
– Backstage, the Misfits kidnap Oklahoma.
– The Revolution v. Jim Duggan & His mystery partners. As everyone already knows, it’s the Varsity Club, along with Kimona as a cheerleader. I think we can already safely declare the group a failure. I guess it’s 4-on-3 because Shane is at ringside doing commentary, although since the Varsity Club were heels for their run in 1987-89, they’re probably turning on Duggan here anyway. And sure enough, Duggan wants to handle things himself while the announcers yell about how he’s not making the tag to them. Yup, it’s the dreaded Sledgehammer of Plot rearing it’s ugly head again. Duggan cleans house by himself for a bit but gets caught in the corner. He keeps refusing to tag his partners, and finally they run-in for a pier-six brawl, and then, duh, turn on Duggan. Shane leaves the commentary position and pins Duggan at 4:48, and he has to renounce his citizenship on Nitro. That’s a shame. Ã‚Â¼* I’m pretty sure almost no one in the crowd knew who the Varsity Club was, especially with Tony pointing out that we hadn’t seen them in more than a decade. Way to keep the product fresh and hip, guys. On the upside, Rotunda looked to be in a really good shape.
– Vampiro v. Dr. Death. Oklahoma is locked in the cage at ringside, courtesy of the Misfits. Brawl on the floor to start. Okie has a headset so he can continue his one joke at ringside. ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! ONE JOKE! Back in the ring for some punching. Doc clips him a couple of times. They fight for a superplex, which Doc wins and nearly kills Vampiro in the process. The Misfits run in and get tossed out, but that allows Vamp to get a spin kick on Doc. Doc comes back with some punching, then shoves the ref away for the lame DQ at 5:10. Bleh. Ã‚Â½* Vamp gets 5 minutes with Oklahoma as a result, although he didn’t really do anything to earn it.
– Vampiro v. Oklahoma. Oklahoma provides his own commentary as he hits a DDT right away and executes the “Oklahoma Stomp”. Hey, nice to see the booker giving himself a good portion of offense like that. Fear not, because soon all of the Misfits run in and Vampiro is able to eke out a close win over a fat, out-of-shape writer at 5:00 with the Michinoku Driver. Whew, I know I’d have trouble when faced with the awesome power of Oklahoma. Hey, what’s that flying away out there? Oh, it’s just Vampiro’s heat. Bye bye, heat, fare thee well. DUD
– Creative Control & Curt Hennig v. Harlem Heat & Midnight. Stevie Ray decided to stay in the back because he’s got issues or something. Maybe he just thinks it’s 1998 again, which was of course the last time we saw this angle. Now if only Creative Control had stayed in the back, the match might not suck. The heels control the match without too much trouble. Booker T hot tags Midnight and a brawl erupts. Midnight plays face-in-peril for a bit, as Stevie Ray joins us at ringside but doesn’t join in. Booker tags in and cleans house, but Hennig hits him with an international object for the pin at 7:52. The ending was such a clusterf*ck that I don’t think anyone in the audience caught the shenanigans from Hennig. Creative Control is thus the #1 contenders to the tag titles, which is kind of like being the assistant hall monitor in school and means just as much. Ã‚Â¾*
– Dustin Rhodes v. Jeff Jarrett. Hey look, it’s Over’s cousin Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Not Over. This is a bunkhouse match, which is name #1593 that Russo has for a hardcore match. JJ jumps Dustin during the pre-matc interview and we’re underway. Dustin pounds on Jarrett with some decently stiff shots for a while, then duct-tapes the ref to the ropes and the silliness starts, as Curt Hennig comes down to the ringside and it’s basically 2-on-1. Dustin manages to hit Shattered Dreams on Jarrett, but Hennig breaks up the count. They fight to the back, where Jarrett comes off the ladder with a guitar shot for the pin at 11:18. Way too long for the screwiness involved. *1/2
– Diamond Dallas Page v. David Flair. Flair jumps Page with a gold crowbar before the match. David actually looks halfway competent thanks to DDP’s meticulous match-planning and over-the-top selling of his lame offense. A low blow leads to the figure-four, and David gets the crowbar off the pole and takes a mighty swing, but DDP ducks and hits the Diamond Cutter for the pin at 3:53. Wow, I bet he’s thinking “I just beat DAVID FLAIR, I’m going to Disneyland!” I know I would be. *
– Sting v. Lex Luger. They should probably just turn Liz before the match even starts, just to get it out of the way. Sting gives Liz a “super high-octane” can of mace to use, which probably means he’ll be getting it. Luger attacks fast, or at least as fast as Luger moves these days. Sting comes back with the help of some slaps by Liz. She grabs the “mace” and of course turns on Sting, but it’s silly string! OH MY GOD, STING HAS A BRAIN! This is the first time in his life he’s actually out-smarted someone! Sting proceeds to destroy Luger, getting a flying splash for two. Two stinger splashes draw Liz in for the DQ at 5:22. Ã‚Â¼* Lex & Liz do bad things to Sting, giving him some time off to shoot movies or whatever.
– Kevin Nash v. Sid. First powerbomb wins. Sid controls with some brawling and a wussy chairshot. What’s the point of having a ref, anyway? How much skill does it take to call a powerbomb? And mere SECONDS after I write that, the ref gets bumped, thus fulfilling his purpose for being there. Sid then hits the worst powerbomb I’ve seen since the Cruiserweight title match. But of course, the ref is out. Jarrett runs in and blasts Sid with the guitar, and Nash tries to powerbomb him and can’t, because his he has a bad back. You don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that both guys are immensely lazy, do you? He wakes up the ref, tells him about the phantom powerbomb, and is declared the winner at 6:58. Okay, let me get this straight: They specifically booked a match where neither man would have to lay down for the other, and even THAT wasn’t good enough, so we get a finish where Sid won’t even take Nash’s finisher? Good lord. DUD
– US title match: Chris Benoit v. The Mystery Opponent. And that opponent is Jeff Jarrett. That’s a “suitable replacement” for Scott Hall? Jarrett might be getting a little over due to sheer force of willpower, but oversaturation is going to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later. At least the match shouldn’t suck. Benoit chops away to start. Superplex, and Benoit just walks over and retrieves the ladder. That’s a big mistake right there Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the drama of fighting to get the ladder is one of the things that defines these matches. Jarrett baseball slides it and busts Benoit’s nose open. Ouch. They trade shots into the ladder. Benoit gets his leg caught in it and Jarrett pulls it down to the mat. Jarrett climbs up, but gets caught in the Ladder of Woe. Jarrett wiggles free and pushes Benoit off of the ladder. They fight on top and Benoit shoves Jarrett off. Jarrett pushes it over. Benoit does the same. Jarrett dropkicks the ladder from underneath Benoit, which is a pretty crazy bump. Benoit does a nice roll under the ladder and nails Jarrett with it, then climbs to the top and decides to drop the headbutt off the top on him. That’s enough punishment, so he climbs back up and claims the US title at 10:12. Some nice bumps, but there was no drama, the ending was anticlimactic, and the match was too short. Still, match of the night so far. **3/4
– WCW World title: Bret Hart v. Goldberg. Wasn’t Roddy Piper supposed to be reffing this thing? Lockup and headlock sequence to start. Goldberg hits the snap powerslam pretty quick to take over. Bret counters the anklelock into the Sharpshooter, but Goldberg breaks it. They fight onto the floor and the ref gets bumped. Sigh. Another one takes his place. And gets bumped a minute later. Oh, COME ON. Just bring out Piper already. Goldberg misses the spear and Bret gets the ringpost figure-four as a third ref takes over. Bret works the knee. Figure-four, reversed by Goldberg. Crowd starts chanting “Goldberg sucks” as Bret continues on the knee. Ref #3 gets bumped as Goldberg comes back with a superkick and a spear. And here’s Roddy Piper, to screw Goldberg .er, ref the match. Bret suddenly gets the Sharpshooter out of nowhere and Piper half-heartedly calls for the bell before the move is even applied at 12:10. Wow, yet another reference to Montreal, what creativity. I think it was done better the first 15 or so times we saw it in the WWF, though. Okay match but the ending was horrible. **1/2
The Bottom Line: If THAT was the big angle that’s supposed to fuel the promotion for the next 6 months, then they’re in BIG trouble.
Remember: April 1, 2000, Vinnie Roo gets the pink slip. That’s still my official prediction.
Meanwhile, this show gets no love from me, as it was not afraid to suck the meat missile with gusto. When a journeyman jobber like Vito LaGrasso held match of the night honors for a good two hours, there’s a problem. But then you probably knew that.