– Can you believe that I actually got e-mails in the days leading up to this show encouraging me to trash the show for their entertainment? My god, a man has lost his job and you people cackle with glee because a PPV might suck as a result? Think of poor Vince Russo, sitting on the street with a sign saying “Will Book For Food” while homeless people wrestle in jello for his amusement. Do you feel PROUD to have cost a man his employment with only a two-year guaranteed contract to fall back on? Okay, I do, but I’m not a very good role model to begin with. For the record, I was the first one to predict that the Reign of Terror would come to an end three or four months after it began, in my “That’s [Sports] Entertainment” rant from October, available on this very website for your reading enjoyment. I think Vinnie Roo may have set a new record for futility in running WCW, breaking the mark set by K. Allen Frey in 1992 (he was fired after 5 months), but I’ll have to check to confirm that one.
– Live from Cincinatti, OH
– Your hosts are Tony, Mike and Bobby
– Opening match: Kidman v. Dean Malenko. See, Konnan was attacked by the Revolution before the show, so the Triple Threat Theatre is now Kidman v. Malenko, Saturn and then a mystery man. Retarded stipulation du jour here: It’s a “catch as catch can” match, so if you touch the floor, you lose. How this is supposed to build heat for a match that could easily hit **** by itself is beyond me, but then this is WCW we’re talking about. And wouldn’t you know, Dean forgets the stips and rolls out to take a breather after 2:11 of the feeling-out process, and loses. Well, there goes the only hope of a good match on the entire show. DUD Methinks Dean screwed up there.
– Vampiro v. David Flair v. Crowbar. This was changed to a three-way before the show, because it’s WCW. Vamp handles both without too much trouble, no-selling Flair’s chops and delivering some of his own. Vamp and Crowbar fight on the floor, with Crowbar hitting a splash from the apron to the floor. Back in for a slingshot legdrop that gets two. Flair is wisely staying the hell over in the corner and letting the wrestlers wrestle. Vampiro gets a superplex for two. Crowbar slams Flair onto Vamp for two. Vampiro screws up a Kidman powerbomb reversal, but gets a uranage on Crowbar for two. Crowbar gets a flying splash and David gets the figure-four on Vampiro (complete with Whoo!), but David & Crowbar argue over who gets the pin. David hits an awful suplex on Crowbar and makes out with Daffney, allowing Vampiro a rollup for two. Nail in the Coffin finishes it (mercifully) at 10:28. The addition of Crowbar helped it a little bit, but David’s mere presence just kills any match he’s involved in, and Vampiro & Crowbar are just too sloppy to put on a good enough match to carry him. *1/2
– The Harris Boys v. Big Vito & Johnny The Bull. I still don’t get why the perfectly usable Creative Control gimmick was scrapped for yet another “bald biker” gimmick for the Harris twins. Disco is seconding the mafia tonight. Ron gets double-teamed in the Sicilian corner with some nice stuff, as Vito holds things together pretty well. Johnny gets caught in the wrong corner and becomes face(?)-in-peril. Did the mafia turn good when I wasn’t looking? The match goes straight down the crapper with the Harrises on offense, and has absolutely no heat. Fast forward to the end, as the Harrises try a spike piledriver, but Vito pushes Ron off the top and goes up himself. Disco pushes Vito off, but he falls right onto Don and gets the pin at 9:31. This storyline has absolutely no legs. Ã‚Â½*
– Cruiserweight title: Madusa v. Oklahoma. Please be quick. Cheap heat from Oklahoma pre-match, showing who wrote Jeff Jarrett’s schtick in the WWF. Madusa gets two missile dropkicks to control, but OK hits a DDT and heads out for his BBQ SAUCE OF MILD DISCOMFORT. Spice and Asya team up to stop him, lest he baste anyone, and throw him back into the ring. It backfires as Oklahoma gets a fluke rollup on Madusa for the pin and the title at 2:55. There’s nothing else I can add to that result to express my disgust, so I’ll move on. -**
– Hardcore title: Brian Knobbs v. Fit Finlay v. Norman Smiley v. Meng. Smiley has riot gear. I hit you and you and you, you and you and you hit me. Knobbs and Finlay work as a team. Meng takes out Knobbs in the ring, so Norman tries to capitalize, but underestimates the awesome recouperative powers of Knobbs and gets wiped out with his own riot shield (oh, the irony) and Knobbs gets the pin to retain at 6:08. And the crowd goes less-than-wild. * Okay, the joke is dead, now kill the Hardcore title or move Smiley onto something worthwhile.
– Bunkhouse match: Kidman v. Saturn. Saturn hits a press slam for two, but Kidman comes back with the rebound clothesline. Saturn crotches Kidman and dumps him to the floor for two. Saturn controls in the ring. Crowd is dead, and with good reason. Table gets set up but not used yet. Flying elbow gets two. Shockingly, Saturn CAN powerbomb Kidman, and it gets two. Moonsault misses, and Kidman comes back with the bulldog and Rydien bomb for two. Saturn suplexes him over the top through the table to get a two-count, however. Back in, and this time YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN, and he just covers instead of going for the Shooting Star Press, and it gets the pin at 10:03. Man, that was pretty anticlimactic. Dull match. **1/4
– Stevie Ray gets in touch with his homies on the streets. Hey, is that Vince Russo living in a cardboard box?
– Booker T v. Stevie Ray. With the absense of actual athletic competiton to wager on, bookies should post odds on things like “Is Booker T able to carry his worthless brother?” Brawl to start, which Stevie gets the better of. And a LOT of resting follows, with Stevie doing his lazy chinlock. Booker reverses the Slapjack and comes back with some kicks, but, of all people, AHMED JOHNSON runs in for the DQ at 6:29. Although his beer gut made it into the ring 20 seconds before he did. Hey, Tony, it’s called a Stairmaster, look into it. Stevie Ray dubs him “Big T” and calls him the newest member of Harlem Heat. We may have a new contender for worst tag team in wrestling. Match was, of course, really, really bad. DUD
– Jerry Flynn v. Tank Abbott. Tank does a Butterbean job on Flynn and gets the knockout at 1:39. DUD
– Last Man Standing: DDP v. Buff Bagwell. Brawl into the crowd right away. Back in the ring and they exchange neckbreakers. Oh man, when will Bagwell learn that if you have a move as piss-poor as his spinning neckbreaker, DON’T DO IT. I mean, the guy hardly even makes contact. Back to the brawling again, and they fight to the WCW.com location and smash the monitors. DDP ends up on the table and Buff goes all aerial and comes off the backdrop with an elbow. Neat spot. Back to the ring, and DDP comes back after Buff poses too much. Buff manages a pump splash, and we do some crowd-participation as they fight the 10-count a few times. Buff gets the Blockbuster, but DDP gets up at 9. Riot baton to the head gets another 9. Page manages to hit the Diamond Cutter, but Buff makes it to his feet first and gets the win at 11:40. This was whatever. **
– Caged Heat match: Kidman v. The Mystery Man. Yes, that new Revolution member is none other than the Wall. I bet Shane Douglas is loving EVERY MINUTE of this WCW run. And isn’t the whole point of Revolution to break down the Wall? Man, the booking committee needs to take a PolySci course. The crowd is less than enthused with this choice of mystery opponent. I’m just constantly amazed that there are people high up who actually think the big idiot has any kind of potential in the business. The cage is never used aside from a Kidman bump to it outside the ring. Wall lumbers around the ring for a while, Kidman makes the comeback, but jumps off the top and into a chokeslam for the pin at 4:59. Talk about stupid and pointless. Ã‚Â½* I mean, this was REALLY the best they could think of? Hell, next time make La Parka the new member or something so we can have a GOOD match.
– Kevin Nash v. Terry Funk. Brawl in the aisle to start. Funk gets powerbombed through the table, and he blades. Nash executes his best move Ã¢â‚¬â€œ talking Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and tells Funk that if he can crawl back in the ring, he’ll let him keep the commisionership. Funk does so, and Nash admits that he lied. We get the WIDE-ANGLE SHOT OF DOOM for the rest of the match due to the blood. Nash is the clear babyface here. He beats Funk down with a chair, but Funk comes back with a DDT for two. Funk staggers around a lot, and sets up three chairs. Why? So there can be three chairs in the ring to be powerbombed through and pinned at 7:55. The announcers bemoan that Kevin Nash will now be running the company and what a disaster it’ll be. I love shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments. Ã‚Â¼*
– WCW World title: Sid v. Chris Benoit. AA is still the ref for the match, although it doesn’t really mean anything now. Sid tosses Benoit around a bit as the locker room empties to watch the match. Benoit does some nice bumping off a press slam and a drop suplex. Crowd is clearly on Sid’s side, which is understandable but unavoidable due to circumstance. Benoit dropkicks the knee to put Sid down. He dropkicks the steps into Sid’s leg, twice, outside the ring. This time (unlike Fall Brawl) Sid sells. Figure-four back in the ring, reversed by Sid. Chris continues working on the knee, including a bridged indian deathlock. Sid fights back to his feet, but Benoit dropkicks his knee again. Sid comes back with a powerslam for two, but Benoit hooks an anklelock. German suplex and Benoit hits the swandive headbutt for two. Sid gets a last gasp with a bigass chokeslam for two, but Benoit is in the ropes. Sid argues that with Arn, and Benoit hooks the crossface from behind and gets the submission and the World title at 14:50. Interesting note: Goldberg couldn’t make Sid quit, but Benoit could. WCW is nuts if they don’t play that up. At least it was a decent match this time around. **1/2
– Backstage, new commish Kevin Nash threatens to make Benoit’s life a living hell starting on Nitro. That effectively makes Benoit the lead face by default, and if played right, Benoit as the underdog champion getting tormented by the nWo could draw big. And the blowoff against Bret Hart should be great. Cross your fingers, kids.
The Bottom Line: I’ll need a couple of days to digest Benoit actually, finally, getting the World title. Even if it doesn’t last, from now on he’s “former World heavyweight champion Chris Benoit”, and that’s enough to bring a smile to my face for at least one day.
The rest of the PPV was horrible, of course, as WCW looks more like the AWA every day. Still, this show isn’t really fair to make a larger judgment on, because of circumstances and all. We’ll see how bad Nash and Sullivan can screw up the next one, however.