– Well, it’s time for the grand-daddy of them all again, which is appropriate because most of the main eventers are grandfathers.
– No Mercy update: After umpteen frustrating runs in the World title gauntlet, being hammered by the New Age Outlaws in a handicap match, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create Scott Steiner to deal with the situation. Armed with about 12 different suplex variations and the Screwdriver as a finisher, I proceeded to pound them in 2:00 to advance and finish the track. I’m stuck at 96%, however, and can’t figure out what block I’m missing – it seems to be the second from the left, on the “Win the Royal Rumble and deal with HHH’s goons for two months” block, but everything in that path is a must-win one, so I’m at a loss to figure it out. Oh well, gotta keep playing and find out, I guess.
– Live from Washington, DC. Home of President Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush Gore Bush.
– Your hosts are Tony, Mark & Scott. So Madden gets punished by being allowed to do the PPV and Stevie Ray gets bumped? SOMEONE CALL BOBBY WALKER!
– Opening match: Three Count v. The Jung Dragons v. Knoble & Karagias. Chavito (now using Eddy’s discarded “Low Rider” knockoff theme) does color commentary. Kaz and Shannon start and the crowd starts chanting “boring” 30 seconds in. Ah, comped crowds, gotta love ’em. Shane stalls and then everyone goes for the ladder. Three Count SWERVES us and finds a SECRET ladder under the ring, however, climbing for the contract first. The Dragons stop them. All sorts of ladders get brought to the ring, as K&K smash shane into a ladder and drop Kaz on his head on a ladder. Ouch. Billy Gunn’s got nothing on them. Knoble & Karagias argue over who gets to climb or who f*cked who’s sister in high school or whatever the ridiculous storyline is, so Yang dropkicks them. Highspots erupt on the outside, with everyone hitting their usual dives. Knoble lands on all of them, as Evan sets up an impromptu scaffolding with a pair of ladders and the ropes. Yang dives at him and gets powerslammed off it, but Shane then follows up by giving Karagias a fameasser off the ladder. These guys must have the best chiropractor in wrestling. Hmm, Jim Hellwig DOES have a degree, too Two ladders get set up and four guys climb them, but the end is result is Yang and Moore left on top, as Moore hits a drop sleeper off the top of it on Yang. Sloppy there. Leia Meow earns her pay by stopping Knoble from climbing, but Evan chases her off. The Dragons set up an even bigger scaffolding with about 16 ladders. Those wacky Japanese. Kaz falls off it, as does Evan. Shannon skins the cat up it and headscissors Knoble off, leaving both Three Count members to grab the contract and get that prestigious title shot on Nitro. Brutal spotfest, and I doubt anything tonight is gonna touch it. ***3/4
– Meanwhile, Kroni>| enjoys a completely heterosexual steambath.
– Lance Storm v. The Cat. Storm draws a standing ovation from us by pointing out that Canada elected their leader in one day, while it took two months for the US to elect theirs. Stalling to start. Cat gets a big kick, but gets tripped up by Major Gunns. Storm pounds away. Cat comes back with a ballshot, but Elix Skipper trips him up, and they brawl outside. Miss Jones bumps the ref with a vicious kick, and she brawls with Major Cougar. Storm gets a missile dropkick, no ref. Cat’s kick gets two. Jim Duggan waddles in, half-heartedly hits the Cat, and Storm gets the half-crab for the submission. Wow, he beat the Cat, he must be so proud. Match was semi-entertaining. ** Team Canada of course turns on Duggan and pounds the shit out of him after the win. Can’t wait for that Duggan v. Storm blowoff.
– Hardcore title: Crowbar v. Terry Funk. They start in the back, thus completely defying Madden’s ranting about “old school hardcore” from a couple of PPVs ago. A truck gets used, and Crowbar is slammed through a table. Funk slams a door on his head for fun. They fight into the arena, using a car door as a weapon. Madden actually uses the “I’ve seen a bent Crowbar, but never a broken one” line, as predicted by Bruce Mitchell yesterday. Nice to see Madden busting out the originality. Crowbar gets handcuffed at some point and faces several chairshots to the head. I know they enjoy making reference to Wrestling with Shadows in this company, but did we REALLY need allusions to Beyond the Mat, too? Crowbar chokes Funk out with the handcuffs, but suffers more chairshots and a piledriver on the car door, giving Funk the pin and the title. Oh boy, more Terry Funk. *
– Kroni>| v. Vito & Reno. Da Baldies take control of Clark early, before he decides to stop selling at some arbitrary point and they start beating on Vito. Hit the chinlock. Vito makes the comeback, goes to tag Reno, and gets double-crossed with a SWERVE, as Reno rolls the dice and pins (?) Vito. Uh, okay. Ã‚Â½* So now we’re back to where we were a couple of weeks ago. What awesome storytelling.
– Ambulance match: Bam Bam Bigelow v. Mike Awesome. Just a bunch of brawling to a dead crowd. Nothing really else to say here, because they didn’t do much. They end up on the ambulance, where Bigelow falls through the roof, giving Awesome the win. Too little, too late for Awesome. *
– US title match: General Rection v. Shane Douglas. Slugfest to start. Brawl on the floor, but Shane goes low. Rection goes to the bearhug back in the ring. That lasts a while. Backbreaker sets up the moonsault, which Shane blocks. We hit the chinlock. Out for more brawling, and Shane hits the post, HARD. It draws blood hardway. Back in, moonsault #2 misses, as Shane goes for the chain. Chavo comes down to give it back to Shane after he misses once, but the ref sees it and calls for a DQ. What a mess. DUD The MIA leaves in separate groups. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
– Glacier promo. Damn, I thought they had forgotten about that.
– Jeff Jarrett & The Harris Brothers v. The Filthy Animals. This is a bunkhouse street fight, so we have a popcorn machine and a bar in the ring. I guess they had an extra one on-hand from when Scott Hall was with the company. Yay, another hardcore match. I was beginning to think we’d only get three of them on the night. An energetic mess, not unlike the LOD v. NOD street fight at Wrestlemania 13. Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on whether you liked the match, I suppose. No real flow here, as the Animals mostly dominate the Harrissessesseseseeesess, until Jarrett powerbombs Rey Rey into a dumpster and the ref restores order. Why? Kidman takes a beating. Hot tag Konnan, and Rey returns with a broom to clean house. Hah, I kill me. Harrissae chokeslam him through a table, and the Stroke finishes Kidman. Entertaining crap. ***
– World tag title match: The Perfect Event v. Kevin Nash & DDP. Nash pounds Palumbo to start. Page posts Stasiak and hits a sambo suplex for two. Palumbo punks him out and Page plays geezer-in-peril. Yawn. Hot tag Nash, as he hits the usual and Sanders lowblows Page. Stasiak nails Nash with the belt for two. The Thrillers run in and get Diamond Cutted. Nash lifts his leg for the big boot, and finishes Palumbo with the Poochiebomb for the tag titles. I fail to see the point of doing the same finish with the same guys in the same match as last month, but I’m sure Nash convinced someone that it would draw money. **1/4
– Goldberg v. Lex Luger. Brawl to start. Goldberg casually clotheslines him and suplexes him. Brawl on the floor as Buffy and the Sarge join us. Spear is dodged by Luger, and he decks Goldberg and the Sarge with brass knux. It gets two. Bagwell “accidentally” hits the Blockbuster on Goldberg and Luger goes for the Rack, but Goldberg escapes. Spear for Luger, Jackhammer finishes. Bagwell turns on Goldberg, as if the angle wasn’t already dripping with subtlety. Bagwell & Luger v. Goldberg & Sarge at Sin? Send me the tickets RIGHT NOW, baby. Match was junk, but slightly better than last month’s junk. Ã‚Â¾*
– WCW World title: Scott Steiner v. Sid Vicious. Sid has long tights tonight, making him look like the Great and Powerful Oz. Slugfest to start. Steiner offers a test of strength, and it’s Hogan v. Warrior all over again. The second one, mind you. Sid legdrop gets two after he wins that battle. Scott lays out Sid and swears at some fans at ringside. I know if I paid $100 for a ringside seat, I wouldn’t go home happy unless a sweaty steroid freak yelled obscenities at me. Back in, elbowdrop and pushups follow. One of the only flaws of No Mercy: No pushup taunt for Steiner. He hits the belly-to-belly and Reclines Sid, but he makes the ropes. Midajah comes off the top, but hits Steiner by mistake. Chokeslam gets two for Sid, but Steiner recovers and nails the ref. A lead pipe to the head gives him two via a second ref, Charles Robinson. Jeff Jarrett arrives for no adequately explained reason, but hits Steiner by mistake and gives Sid a two-count. Jarrett pulls Robinson out to stop the count, but Chuck does an end-run around Jarrett, slides back in, and counts two again. Now THAT’S dedication to your craft. Steiner ballshots sid, suplexes him, and puts him in the Recliner until he passes out (doesn’t ANYONE over 40 submit anymore in this promotion?), probably from boredom. Ã‚Â½*
The Bottom Line: Given that I was expecting nothing and got a not-bad show thanks to some hard work, it at least falls into the “pleasant surprise” category. However, the same swerve-happy booking as usual kills any momentum and the eternal WCW Glass Ceiling prevents anyone outside of the Good Ol’ Boys from advancing to the main events, so those feeling hopeful about the future of the promotion should probably look elsewhere.
I bet I’ll get a million e-mails telling me what a great show this was because of all the garbagy brawling and run-ins and how actual wrestling doesn’t matter, yadda yadda. The sad fact is that the guys in the ladder match have never been pushed against anyone other than themselves and never will be, and Sid will be main-eventing to 0.10 buyrates until he drops dead from an HGH overdose, because that’s the way WCW works and no amount of false hope from the few remaining WCW die-hards is gonna change the facts.
Say, someone should write a book about that! Now there’s an idea.
Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.