Re-Writing The Book: The Fingerpoke Of Doom, Part 2

Did you read Part 1? If not, do so, then come back and join us for Part 2 of …

What if the “Fingerpoke Of Doom” title change never happened?

Our story resumes at Superbrawl. Turner Sports President Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped in and made three matches for the event: Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko will face Barry Windham & Curt Hennig in a steel cage, Scott Hall & Kevin Nash get Roddy Piper & WCW President Ric Flair, and Goldberg will square off against Lex Luger. The only issue left up in the air is Sting’s opponent for the vacant World Title …

February 21st: Superbrawl

The rumors of Sting’s mystery opponent permeate every discussion of the announcers during Superbrawl, but no one can settle on a likely contender; most of the obvious people (Nash, Hall, Goldberg) are already wrestling, and none rest on Ric Flair’s good side. And with the Administration being excluded via their losses in the tournament, the only option seems to be handing Sting the title without a fight.

In the meantime, the announcers try to focus on the stories in the ring, starting with Goldberg’s match against Lex Luger. The referee-Charles Robinson, whose hair has undergone a bleaching and bears such a resemblance to his boss that he’s now being referred to as “Little Naitch”-shows blatant bias on the part of Luger, giving him leeway to use every cheating tactic in the book, while Goldberg is admonished for every strike, and any grapple more serious than a collar-and-elbow tie-up. But Luger underestimates the power and ferocity of Goldberg, and goes for a Torture Rack barely three minutes in (and after a limited offense of choking and closed-fist punches to boot). Goldberg slides out, hunkers down, and hits the spear. The crowd is whipped into a frenzy for the well-known follow-up to the spear, and even with Little Naitch throwing a conniption fit and trying to paw at Goldberg to let Luger go, Goldberg drops him with the Jackhammer for a ridiculously slow three-count. Goldberg feigns an attack on Robinson, which sends him scurrying away as if his ass were on fire, and celebrates his victory. The announcers note how fast Goldberg dispatched of Luger, and how he should be able to wrestle another match later on (since he’s done it before).

The steel cage tag match is a bloody affair, almost reminiscent in its carnage of mid-eighties NWA and people like Tully Blanchard, Magnum TA and Dusty Rhodes. The faces of all four men are bounced off the cage and raked open, but none more than Dean Malenko; he falls victim to Barry Windham (who towers over the cruiserweight in both height and weight) having snuck in spurs, which Windham uses to perforate Malenko’s forehead like a paper towel. But the Windham/Hennig combination gets over-zealous with their punishment of their juniors, and it proves to be the fatal mistake; Windham uses the cage to position himself in the middle of the top rope, intending on a leaping lariat for Benoit. But Malenko rushes the big man, saving his best friend, and opening a fluke window of opportunity when Windham topples end over end, and is trapped upside-down, his leg caught in the twisted ropes. Windham struggles to loosen the ropes, but Malenko uses his resources, tearing off the tag rope and using it to bind one of Windham’s hands above his shoulders so he can’t bend up to loosen his foot (and makes sure to get in a few cheap shots). With Windham detained, Malenko joins Benoit in the two-on-one beat down of Hennig, and make him tap with the sadistic combination of Malenko’s Texas Cloverleaf and Benoit’s Crippler Crossface being applied simultaneously.

With two victories for Eric Bischoff’s reorganized New World Order (with Benoit, Malenko and Goldberg having been the first men to switch allegiances on last week’s Nitro), the night seems to be heading for a trifecta with The Outsiders’ match against Ric Flair & Roddy Piper. But before the match even begins, bad omens pop up, and none bigger than Hollywood Hogan, who quietly makes his way to the front row in the audience and takes a seat, his emotionless face hidden behind sunglasses. Another bad omen is Flair’s pervasive power abuse, by which he conveniently adds a street-fight stipulation to the match.

The two big men seem to have the match well in hand, fighting off even the most dirty of tactics by the ever-scheming Flair and Piper; every shot to the groin by The Administration leads to a violent retaliation from The Outsiders in the form of a chair or some other foreign object. Every poke in the eye or illegal tag from Flair and Piper earns more wrath from the already-pissed giants. But it is the uncontrollable fury that Flair and Piper use against The Outsiders.

With the ring cleared of their opponents, Hall and Nash set up a table in the ring to put Flair through. Once Flair is dragged in the ring, Nash takes his sweet time in setting up the Jackknife, while Hall keeps Piper occupied on the outside. But Piper uses a drop toehold to send Hall into the steel steps, and the master plan goes into effect; Hogan leans over the railing and hands something to Piper, who slides in the ring. Nash hauls Flair up for the Jackknife, and Piper plants the object, a tazer, into Nash’s back. Nash convulses, dropping Flair, who quickly makes the cover, gets the duke and bails. Hall manages to climb in the ring and sees the discarded tazer lying on the mat, next to the downed Nash, and turns to see Flair and Piper backing down the aisle, taunting and razzing their foes.

After a few more matches pass, the main event-or, what is left of it-is scheduled to begin. Sting goes to the ring and waits. Standing next to him, Michael Buffer, having announced Sting, stands in silence; he, like everyone else, has been kept in the dark about who the mystery man could be.

The music of Ric Flair pierces the silence, and the President comes to the ring. He offers a hand to Sting, who just looks at it; Flair, undeterred, grabs Sting’s hand and shakes it anyway. “Stinger! Tonight … tonight, you’re gonna make history! Tonight, the Stinger goes one on one with a former World Champion … a real man of tradition … and …” Flair pauses, letting the crowd build itself to a fever pitch. “And … the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, Bret Hart!

For the first time in months, Bret Hart, the reigning United States Champion, comes to the ring. The crowd-who remembers that Bret has been less than trustworthy in his short time in WCW-is unsure what to make of Bret, especially when he shakes Flair’s hand upon arrival. Bret surrenders the US belt to the referee, discards of his jacket and shades, and steps up to meet the challenge of Sting. The two stare at one another in the silence reserved for those gladiators who respect their opponent, but also see the necessary evil of having to destroy the object of their respect.

When the bell rings, the two men circle one another, studying each other like two caged tigers. At first, the two men run through tests of strength, collar-and-elbow tie-ups, and reversal sequences to feel each other out; they find they are remarkably similar, with Sting giving up a little to Bret’s technical expertise, and Bret giving up to Sting’s speed and a bit of size. The action is a perfect back-and-forth event, with no man showing for any amount of time his superiority over the other. And for two men who are, for the most part, totally new to one another in the ring, they seem to know each other well; all the signature maneuvers are countered, blocked or escaped. All the while, Ric Flair sits idly by, next to the timekeeper, waiting to congratulate the winner, whomever it may be.

The end comes so suddenly, no one is really sure it has happened until the belt is in the winner’s hands. Bret whips Sting into the ropes and goes for a dropkick. But Sting sidesteps and bats Bret away. Bret collides with the mat, more stunned by the lack of contact with Sting then the fall and impact. But Sting wastes no time; he grabs Bret’s legs and flips over in a bridge. Bret struggles and squirms, but when the referee’s hand hits the mat for the third time, any effort to fight back becomes moot.

Flair immediately comes into the ring, WCW Championship belt in hand. Bret, now getting to his feet, eyes Flair with eyes like lasers. Flair helps Sting get to his feet and thrusts the belt on Sting, now a five-time WCW Champion. Bret offers a congratulatory handshake, and Sting does not decline; Flair, meanwhile, is demanding a microphone.

“Whoo! Stinger! Whoo! By god, World Champion! On behalf of The Administration, I congratulate you on a job well done.” He claps Sting on the shoulder, and brings his voice down low. “I know you’re gonna wear this belt with pride, as you’ve done in the past, and do this company and its history proud, and you’re gonna represent The Administration and the proud tradition it represents.”

Sting, who is still catching his breath, raises an eyebrow. “But Ric,” he says, “I never said I was part of The Administration.”

All the jubilation and excitement drain out of Flair’s face as if guarded by a drain plug that has just been removed. Flair’s voice goes from calm and pleasant to cold and distant. “Sting, you wanna be careful about what you say. You’re a good man, Sting; you’ve been a company man your whole career. I know we’ve had our ups and downs, but I’m here to tell you-from the bottom of my heart, and from your friends, friends like Lex Luger-that we’d hate to see you jeopardize all that by putting yourself at odds with The Administration. You’ll represent this company well as champion, and with The Administration backing you, there’ll be no stopping you. We will rule this company and crush those punks in the nWo.” Flair taps a finger on Sting’s chest. “But without us, Sting … there won’t be a place to hide, or a person you can trust.”

Sting’s eyes show no fear. If anything, they’re full of the youthful defiance he has always shown … and, until the past year and a half, had been buried behind stony cold and feelings of betrayal. “If you’re trying to intimidate me, Ric, it isn’t working.”

“But I know you’re a smart man, Stinger; I may not be scaring you, but I damn well know I’m getting through. The Administration won’t take to be played for long. You got twenty-four hours to make your decision, Sting. By tomorrow night, I expect an answer.”

February 22nd

Nitro’s card is as stacked as a pay-per-view, starting with Dean Malenko challenging Bret Hart for the US Title; also, Chris Benoit will face his former Four Horsemen mentor Ric Flair, and a triple-threat match between Goldberg, Scott Hall and Bam Bam Bigelow. But even with the stacked card, discussion among the commentators naturally turns to the events of Superbrawl, Sting’s big decision, and speculation about what decision he will make.

But before that can occur, Eric Bischoff and Kevin Nash come to the ring, met by Gene Okerlund. Okerlund wastes no time with the questions; “Big Sexy, Mister Bischoff … why are you out here?”

Eric answers first, a big Bischoff smile almost cutting his head in half. “Gene, the New World Order has a lot of issues we wanna address; there are still a few people under nWo contract who haven’t pledged their loyalty to us, and of course we still have a membership drive going-just picked up Bam Bam Bigelow, as a matter of fact!”

“But isn’t he facing-“

“You mean to tell me your family doesn’t have squabbles, Okerlund? The New World Order is a family, just like any other … not all of us get along all the time, but we’re all united towards one goal: eradicating Ric Flair’s Administration. And that’s the real reason I’m out here. If last night at Superbrawl showed us anything, it showed that Ric Flair is desperate to keep his stranglehold on WCW. See, when he beat me for the Presidency of WCW, it was only for 90 days, and his term is coming up … so if he can control the WCW Champion, he’ll still be able to flex his muscle around here, even if his term is up.”

“But Sting hasn’t said he’s with the Administration? Aren’t you jumping at shadows?”

“Maybe I am, but in war, you can’t be too careful, can you, Gene? That’s why I took it upon myself to go to Dr. Harvey Schiller and ask him to step in. Tonight, on Nitro … there will be a 20-man battle royal. The winner gets a World Title shot at Uncensored!” The crowd erupts, but Eric talks over them. “And before President Flair can get too excited about stacking the deck somehow … Dr. Schiller has already chosen the participants.”

“Well, this is big news! A twenty-ma-“

Nash swipes the microphone from Okerlund’s hand. “Didn’t you notice the seven-foot guy standing next to you, chrome-dome?” Nash glares at Okerlund, who makes tracks for the back. Once he is gone, Nash says; “Ya know, last night at Superbrawl, I got a taste of what it felt like for Goldberg back at Starrcade, when Scott hit him with the tazer. I’m not saying what Scott did was right, cause it wasn’t … but last night, I got a taste of it myself, and lemme tell ya, it sucked. Sucked bad. Now, Piper … I’ll catch up with him … it may not be tonight, ya little skirt-wearing piss-ant. But when I do …” Nash chuckles, pounding one fist into his other hand. When he’s made his point there, he then says; “Now … Hollywood Hogan. He buys a ticket, sits at ringside, interferes in a match … real clever, baldy. Ain’t seen that since Raven came to WCW. Poor baldy … see, he’s getting old, and he don’t like it. Arthritis is setting in … probably more times than not, he can’t remember where his car keys are … it’s a bitch getting older, ain’t it, Huckster? And you tried to surround yourself with younger guys so you could feel cool, even for a little protection so you could make one last grab at the brass ring. But he got greedy, and the young guys who came here in to shake things up … well, we all realized that our ‘leader’ was just another one of senior citizens we want outta here, and he had no intentions of stepped aside for us. How it must be eating him alive to be sitting on the sidelines, seeing guys like Benoit and Malenko and Goldberg run through his boys, while he sits in a chair and waits for that first Social Security check! Hate to break it to ya, old man, but times change! The old go away, and the young take their place!” Nash pushes the hair out of his face, turns to Bischoff and asks; “Last I checked, we got a big event on March 14th, right?” Bischoff nods. Nash turns back to the camera, a smile devoid of any happiness on his face. “I remember when that pay-per-view first came around, everything about it was unsanctioned. WCW just put up the venue and the official. I think we need to return to that, Hogan. You and me … no New World Order … no title shots … no contracts … no rules. Two guys with a grudge who wanna beat the living hell out of each other. Whattya say, Huckster? I know Father Time hasn’t shriveled ’em up to raisins. Write it down, so you don’t forget, and let me know. But don’t take too long, Hogan … time ain’t exactly on your side.”

Malenko pushes Bret to his limit in their match for the United States Title, using his speed advantage to dazzle the Excellence Of Execution, while relying on his mat-based prowess to keep Bret on the mat. Even Bret’s size and strength advantage, which he uses as best he can to wear down Malenko, isn’t enough to keep the hungry cruiserweight from capturing the company’s #2 title. But the technical prowess of Hart wins out in the end; while in Malenko’s Texas Cloverleaf, Hart reaches back and grabs Malenko’s ankles, tripping him. With Malenko on the mat, Hart is able to stand and lock in his Sharpshooter, which he holds onto for the victory. Malenko is furious with himself, and Hart offers no condolences or congratulations for a well-fought match; they eye one another, and Hart leaves.

Benoit’s match against Flair is a clinic for technical wrestling, with Benoit working over Flair’s head and neck to prep for the Crossface, and Flair weakening Benoit’s legs for the figure-four. However, Flair cannot rely on himself to win the match, and when his Administration friends see he is on the ropes, Piper comes out for some illegal assistance. But before he can get very far, Eric Bischoff intercepts Piper and clocks him with a set of knuckles. Benoit seizes his moment and slaps on the Crossface, but Flair gets to the ropes. Benoit holds on just for a second, and that proves to be his undoing; Flair barks something to the referee, Charles Robinson, who quickly turns and commands the bell be rung. The official decision is announced: for violating the ref’s orders to break the hold, Benoit has been disqualified. The crowd whips up into a riot, and Flair has to walk through a storm of flying soda cups and garbage to get back to the locker room.

As if the ending to the Benoit/Flair match didn’t agitate the fans, the canceling of the triple-threat match ruffles even more feathers, but is unavoidable, when all three participants are rendered unable to compete through various ways; Bigelow is discovered in the locker room, unconscious and bleeding, with two small burn marks on the back of his neck. Ric Flair produces a tazer from Scott Hall’s locker, and the police take Hall away on assault charges. And Goldberg is nowhere to be found in the arena; his locker is empty of personal possessions, and no one in security has seen him come in.

It is Ric Flair (flanked by Piper, Luger, Hennig and Windham) who breaks the news to the dejected (and angered) crowd. “The Administration regrets to inform you all that the match between Goldberg, Scott Hall and Bam Bam Bigelow will not be able to compete in tonight’s three-way match. I’m sure you all saw that Scott Hall perpetrated a heinous and unwarranted attack on Bam Bam, and was arrested for it. Were I Scott Hall’s boss, I would punish him … but I guess that’s how Eric Bischoff likes to run his business. And right now I got a business to run myself … Stinger! Come out on here, champ.”

Sting’s music cues up, and-with a baseball bat in one hand and the WCW World Title in the other-the new WCW World Champion makes his way to the ring. Flair offers his hand for shaking, but Sting doesn’t even acknowledge it. Like the night before, Flair seizes it and shakes anyway, Sting’s arm jiggling limply. “Whoo! What a night last night, ay, Stinger? Whoo! But I got another surprise for you. Bret!”

Bret Hart, still in his wrestling gear, comes to the ring (sans the US belt). Flair offers him a hand as well, but unlike Sting, Bret shakes it, prompting speculation from the announcers and a murmur of confusion from the crowd. Sting watches all this with a skeptical eye, growing more so by the moment. Flair says some words to Bret, then addresses Sting and the crowd again. “Sting … I don’t wanna take up too much of your time-you’re the champ, you’re a busy man. I know that better then anybody. We all know why we’re here. So why don’t just skip all the nonsense, and you tell me what I already know, so we can get to planning a victory party.”

Sting uses his bat to point at Bret (who, from the expression on his face when he looks down at the bat, which is almost poking him in the chest) and says; “So what’s he doing here?”

“That’s not important, St-“

“It’s important to me, Ric. Why is Bret here?” And, looking at Bret while directing his question to Flair; “And why did he shake your hand?”

“Respect, Sting. C’mon, Sting … almost every man in this ring has held a world title … every guy here has held gold over and over. And you’re just like us, Sting; you’re a legend in this business. Just the mere mention of the name Sting, and people know you’re talkin’ about a champion. A legend. An icon in this business … just like me and Barry and Curt and the Package and Hogan. Bret recognizes that. That’s why he shook my hand.” Flair puts out his hand, and this time, it stays out in the air, waiting.

Sting regards the hand for a moment, then gives his answer by backing up a few steps, shaking his head. “I respect your accomplishments, Ric. All of you, I got nothing but respect for what you’ve all achieved in this business. But what you’re doing to guys like Benoit and Malenko and Goldberg … good, hard-working guys who just want their shot in this business, the same way you wanted a shot when Harley Race and Terry Funk and Shohei Baba were on top. And I’m not saying I think guys like you-even me-need to retire, Ric … but there comes a point, ya know? I just don’t wanna be involved in issue your Administration has with the nWo.”

Flair holds up in hands, as if to say “I understand, say no more”. He approaches Sting and embraces him, giving a few manly claps on the back. When he pulls back, he says; “I love ya like a son, Stinger. We may have had our differences in the ring, but you’ve been a company man through and through, and I gotta respect that.”

Flair turns away, looks at Bret and gives a small but perceptible nod. Sting picks up on it, but knows its too late; the Administration swarms and overruns him. Even with the ball bat (which manages to get a piece of Hennig and Luger before being torn away by Bret), Sting is out-gunned, and is put on the canvas within seconds. All the while, Flair looks on, his face now as red as fire. “Then if you won’t join us, Sting,” Flair screams, “I’ll make sure you’re buried with that belt!” He faces the crowd, tearing his jacket off in the process. “This is what The Administration will do to every member of the New World Order, and everybody in WCW who doesn’t fall in line! I will not tolerate this kind of insubordination from anyone!” Flair wheels around, in time to see Bret putting Sting in the Sharpshooter. Flair gets down on the mat, inches from Sting, who is writhing in agony as Bret sits back, putting the pressure on Sting’s lower back. “You say you don’t wanna be involved, Sting? I can make your dreams come true-you’re fir-“

“That’s enough, Mr. Flair,” a voice says from the entrance. A well-dressed man flanked in security comes out. The security immediately dispatches to the ring, and Flair’s soldiers break away from Sting, who is pulled out by accompanying paramedics. The well-dressed man, Harvey Schiller, elects to stay put. “You’ve done enough damage to this company. I will not have you firing the reigning World Champion and vacating the title yet again to suit your selfish purposes. Effective immediately, Mister Flair, I am suspending your Presidential powers until March 15th; at such time, you will compete against your predecessor Eric Bischoff at WCW Uncensored in a Last Man Standing match, to determine the permanent President. And should you try to interfere in the course of tonight’s battle royal for the number-one contendership, I’ll see to it that you don’t even have the opportunity to wrestle at Uncensored.”

Flair’s suspension is great news for fans, giving plenty of heat as Nitro heads into its main event: the twenty-man battle royal for the World Title shot at Uncensored. But with Bam Bam Bigelow on his way to the hospital, Scott Hall having been arrested for the tazer attack, and Goldberg still not at the arena (due to, word has it, a delayed flight), replacements have to be named, so the final 20 are: Nash, Konnan (substituting for Goldberg), Disco Inferno (for Bigelow), Ernest Miller (for Scott Hall), Benoit, Malenko, Flair, Luger, Piper, Hennig, Windham, Buff Bagwell, Scott Steiner, Booker T, Chris Jericho, Raven, DDP, Wrath, Rick Steiner and Perry Saturn.

Within 20 seconds of the opening bell, Nash eliminates Disco and Miller. Scott Steiner eliminates Rick while Rick is trying to eliminate Buff. Saturn is the next to go, eliminated by Nash and Wrath. Malenko ends up getting double-teamed by Hennig and Windham and dumped, but Benoit comes up from behind and dumps Hennig (which leads to a brawl between Hennig and Malenko on the outside). Buff and Scott Steiner work on Wrath, finally getting rid of the monster with a double-clothesline; Bagwell stays to taunt Wrath, but ends up the victim of his own stupidity as none other than Scott Steiner tosses him over. Bagwell and Steiner get into an argument, and Flair uses the opportunity to eject Steiner. Steiner berates Flair from the floor for the double-cross (in a fine show of hypocrisy), and when referees try to escort him away, he starts swinging, taking down to refs. Officials are sent to the back to get security, but Steiner grabs Flair’s legs, trips him down and yanks him out the ring. By the time security can haul Steiner away, he has made Flair eat the steel steps, thrown him onto the barricade, and pummeled him with his freakish forearms. A big boot from Nash sends Flair’s buddy Windham over the top rope and down to the ground next to him, bringing the total participants left in the match to 10 (including Flair, lying motionless on the arena floor).

Luger and Piper try to marshal the remaining me against getting out the obvious favorite, Kevin Nash, but the lack of trust the Administration has fostered in WCW is not forgotten in the battle royal. Piper manages to eliminate Konnan before getting dumped himself by almost everyone in the ring (minus Luger and Nash, who are slugging it out on the other side of the ring). Jericho turns on DDP and tries to toss him out, but DDP lands on the apron; Jericho taps his forehead in smug satisfaction until DDP whistles to get his attention. Jericho charges, and DDP falls flat, pulling down the top rope; Jericho tumbles over, eliminating himself, while DDP rolls back in underneath the bottom rope. Booker comes over to help Nash deal with Luger, but Nash pushes Booker away. Booker tries for the jumping side kick, but Nash dodges, and Booker winds up straddling the top rope, a sitting duck for Nash to clothesline to the floor. With Booker gone, there are five people left in the ring, six counting Flair, who has finally stirred enough to stagger to a standing position.

But Flair doesn’t have enough wherewithal to recognize the very angry man in jeans and a black t-shirt leap out of the crowd; nor does he even have the time, for Goldberg pulverizes Flair with a spear before Flair can so much as blink. The crowd goes nuts for the sudden appearance of “Da Man”, who picks up Flair’s limp, lifeless body and throws in the ring. All action in the ring has virtually come to a halt as Goldberg cinches in the headlock, then lifts Flair up over his head and holds him there for what feels like an ungodly amount of time. A splendid sea of flashbulbs fills the arena as Goldberg finishes off his Jackhammer, sending Flair crashing into the canvas. No one bothers to stop Goldberg as he drags Flair over to the top rope and unceremoniously hurls him over the top rope. When the referees take no action to remove or invalidate the elimination, the action in the ring finally resumes, with Luger and Raven trying their hand at the fresh meat. Nash, however, pries Luger away from his pursuit of Goldberg, leaving Goldberg to deal with Raven, who finds himself on the outside of the ring looking in courtesy of a military press slam to the outside. DDP seizes his opportunity, spins around an unsuspecting Goldberg, and plants him with a picture-perfect Diamond Cutter. But no sooner is DDP standing and celebrating his felling of the monster then Goldberg is back up on his feet. DDP turns around in time to eat spear, and Goldberg puts him in position for the Jackhammer. But he is too close to the ropes, and DDP pulls on the rope as Goldberg hauls him up; the rope sends Goldberg’s load off-kilter, and DDP drops behind Goldberg on the apron, then reaches over and slugs Goldberg in the back of the head. Goldberg reels forward, but DDP isn’t prepared for Benoit, who hits DDP square in the mush with a dropkick that sends DDP back to the locker room, and whittles down the match to its final four: Benoit, Nash, Goldberg and Luger.

Immediately, all eyes turn to Luger, who tries to beg off the impending pain he is about to suffer. It surprises no one that none of the three men advancing on The Administration’s last, lone representative in the battle royal show Luger no mercy. Instead, Luger is not only punished but humiliated: Benoit locks in a Crippler Crossface for the better part of sixty long, agonizing seconds before turning Luger over to Nash for a Jackknife. Luger’s body barely finishes shaking from the impact before Goldberg is on him, picking him up and hoisting him high for a Jackhammer. After that, all three men take the pleasure of tossing him over without the least bit of struggle. The teamwork vanishes before Luger’s feet hit the arena floor, and Benoit takes it to Goldberg with flesh-searing chops across the chest. At first, Goldberg shrugs them off, but Benoit gives no pause between the strikes, and soon, Goldberg is being driven back, wincing with every blow as crimson welts form on his chest. Benoit has Goldberg fully backed into the corner and is unleashing a barrage of chops and kicks when Nash barrels forward, sandwiching Benoit in between the two big men, and crushing Goldberg under over 500 pounds of human being. Nash grabs Benoit and hurls him up and over, leaving the two rivals alone.

Goldberg staggers forward, meeting Nash in the center of the ring. For a few eternal seconds, there are no blows, no moves, no words-just two men, staring at one another with eyes cold as steel, both wanting to deny the other their shared goal of reclaiming the WCW World Title.

Goldberg is the first to strike, his fists working the torso of Nash so quickly, he cannot formulate a plan, let alone a simple block. Goldberg pushes Nash back until he is resting on the ropes, backs off a few steps, and charges. Nash lifts his massive boot and Goldberg runs headlong into it; Nash musters up enough strength to put Goldberg on the mat with a clothesline to the back of his head. Nash picks up Goldberg and puts him in position for the Jackknife, but Goldberg counters the with cheapest, but most effective, counter possible: a nutshot. Goldberg catches Nash before he can fall to the ground and hurls him into the ropes; when Nash comes back, Goldberg catches him and uses Nash’s momentum to propel them to the ropes. But Nash doesn’t let go and, before either can react in time to stop it, both men go tumbling over the top tope together. Nitro ends with the referees arguing over who eliminated who, and Nash and Goldberg glaring at one another.

March

The first Nitro of March (on March 1st), once again, stacked to the rafters with big matches and big developments for Uncensored: Bret Hart is slated to face Chris Benoit in a non-title challenge, Bam Bam Bigelow will get a crack at Scott Hall, and a major eight-man tag to cap things off, pitting Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Lex Luger and Scott Steiner against Eric Bischoff, Sting, Kevin Nash and Goldberg.

But for Bischoff, the night is interrupted, as Nash finds him not moments after the show’s opening in the locker room, face down and unconscious, a ball bat by his body. Medics check on him, and while confirmation doesn’t come for a while, its obvious Bischoff is out of the main event, and by whom, even with the ball bat present.

While the fact that it’s a non-title match makes everyone livid (obvious politicking on the part of The Administration), the Benoit/Hart match still has the air of a match with far-reaching implications. And by match’s end, it becomes evident why: for all of Bret Hart’s technical prowess and ability, for all his claims of being “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be”, Benoit is just that much better. Quicker, more agile, more vicious and more persistent than Bret could ever was (is or will be), Benoit matches Bret move for move and then some; even a fake ankle injury by Bret doesn’t fool Benoit, who goes after the faux injury with every intention of turning it real. For fifteen long minutes, Bret finds himself on the defensive for virtually every minute: every move he makes is less offensive and more an attempt to buy himself time, or stop Benoit’s momentum so he can formulate a plan. But Benoit never lets up, punishing Bret with everything in his arsenal, from high-risk aerial moves like his swan dive head-butt to suplexes and piledrivers. Finally, after fifteen minutes of punishment, Benoit slaps on the Crossface; Bret manages to make it to the ropes, and Benoit releases the hold immediately (remembering the fiasco with Charles Robinson and the bullshit DQ). Bret bails and waves at Benoit and the ring in a dismissive gesture; while it isn’t a submission, it is a forfeiture, as Bret continues to walk away, and the count gets closer to 10. When the ref gets to 10, Bret turns around and gives Benoit the finger-he has managed to maintain his composure and dignity, and without giving Benoit the satisfaction of winning. But Benoit is not satisfied, and gives chase, catching up to Bret near the ramp with a forearm shot to the small of the back. Bret, not expecting the ambush, goes down in a heap, and Benoit follows his down, quickly reapplying the Crossface. This time, he doesn’t let go, no matter what the referees say or do. When one tries to approach close enough to pry his arms apart (as if he could), Benoit kicks wildly, all the while keeping his hold on the deadly submission move as tight as ever. He doesn’t let up when Bret taps-pounds-on the ground; no until Bret is crying-quite literally crying, as Benoit can feel the wetness of tears on his flesh-in submission, begging Benoit to release the painful hold, that it is too much for him to bear. Only then does Benoit release. And though the record books will record a count-out victory for Benoit, everyone else-especially Bret-knows it was a submission victory.

The Bigelow/Hall match, however, doesn’t provide near a thrilling conclusion or satisfactory end. Instead, it becomes a demonstration of how far the Administration will stoop to eradicate the New World Order (and anyone else who stands in their way). As the two competitors brawl and pummel one another, they are interrupted by something most confusing: their own nWo music. Lex Luger comes out, staggering as if he were drunk, his blonde locks dyed jet black and slicked, a toothpick in his mouth. In his hand is a microphone and a familiar object: the tazer. “Hey yo,” Luger says in a horrid faux-Hispanic accent. “Survey time … how many times will a moron fall for the same trick?” He smiles-although there is no humor in the grin-and says; “Looks like they will once again. Score one for the good guys.”

Windham and Hennig, who have been waiting behind the distracted Bigelow and Hall, strike with ball bats. Hall and Bigelow can’t even put up a fight against the two, and when Luger comes to the ring with the tazer and electrocutes the two, they have no chance of escape. Hennig, Windham and Luger eventually leave Hall and Bigelow bloodied and bruised, but not before adding one final insult: with a can of spray paint, Luger sprays a blood red “nWo” and a circle-slash over it, then beneath that a mockery of their “4-Life” slogan: “2 The Death”.

With that kind of lead-in, the main event-now a handicap 4-on-3 match-has a pallor cast over it: two of the nWo’s strongest members have been downed, and Bischoff, their President, is incapacitated. The match begins with Flair, Piper and Luger deciding to have a reluctant and irritated Steiner as the leadoff man against Nash. Nash tries to reason with Steiner about his being a tool of The Administration, but Steiner opts to attack instead of listening. Quick tags in and out keep Nash isolated and worn down, but when Nash finds a window of opportunity to hit some offense, somehow its always Steiner who ends up in the ring again, regaining control of the situation. The merry-go-round of punishment for Nash continues until Steiner makes the mistake of whipping him into the ropes near his own corner; Goldberg makes a blind tag and steps in. Steiner stops short when he sees Goldberg has come in, but Goldberg is already in motion, and collides with Steiner in a thunderous spear. The crowd pops big, and when Goldberg dares one of The Administration come to in and stop him from hitting the Jackhammer (while holding Steiner above his head), no one steps in. Goldberg drops Steiner down like a lead weight, but his pin is broken up by Flair. Goldberg tries to grab him, but Flair evades his clutches, which gives a fatigued Steiner the chance to fell Goldberg with a shot to the groin.

Steiner tags out to Luger, who sets to putting the hurt on Goldberg. But, like before, when Goldberg starts to mount any sort of comeback, Luger (or whomever the Administration wrestler happens to be) tags right back out to Steiner. Steiner taps Luger on the shoulder and asks the obvious question. When Luger shrugs his reply, Steiner replies with a physical motion as well: a hard shove. Luger shoves back, and Flair and Piper step in and separate the two before things get out of hand. When Piper, Flair and Luger all step out onto the apron, Goldberg blasts out nowhere and hits Steiner with another spear. Concern crosses the faces of The Administration, which turns to fear when Goldberg throws Steiner into his own corner and barks out one simple word: “TAG!” Steiner looks at Goldberg, who has backed away to the center of the ring. Steiner regards him a moment longer, then turns and tags Piper. No sooner is Piper in the ring and Steiner out than Piper smacks Steiner on the shoulder. Steiner glares at Piper, then steps in, and stuns everyone with a stiff, disrespectful slap across Piper’s face. He then walks back to the corner, tags in Flair and leaves. When Steiner drops down to the floor, Luger drops down with him, and the two start to argue. Luger shoves Steiner, and Steiner responds with a kick to Luger’s gut; Steiner grabs a handful of Luger’s hair, pulling him up close to his own face, yelling at him; “You wanna disrespect the Superstar? You think Scott Steiner is your chump?” Steiner hurls Luger shoulder-first into the steel steps, then looks at Piper and Flair, standing slack-jawed in the ring, and punctuates a middle finger with an audible (although it shouldn’t be) “Fuck you, y’old cocksucker!”

Flair and Piper are in too much of a state of shock to even remember they’re in a match, and when Piper turns around, he eats a spear. Goldberg pops right back up and points at Flair, who is shaking his head and holding up his hands, begging for mercy. Goldberg doesn’t give any, and charges for another spear. But Flair, ever the crafty veteran, pulls the referee in front of him, and the ref takes the brunt of the spear. Goldberg barely notices the error he’s made (since Flair took enough of the hit to put him on the ground, holding his stomach), and goes back to his corner; he motions to Nash and the crowd pops. But when he motions to Sting, the whole place becomes an erupting volcano of noise, and Goldberg makes the tag.

Sting stalks Flair, and when Flair struggles to his knees and sees his old adversary, he begs for leniency again. Sting, having been Flair’s fool before, is no fool tonight, and goes on the attack. A whip into the corner leads to a Stinger Splash, and Flair gets another one in the opposite corner. A third whip into the corner sends Flair up and out, and Sting-knowing this move, too, like all of Flair’s moves-clotheslines him down and to the arena floor. Sting chases Flair down to the floor, and Sting’s teammates leave their posts (since there is no ref anyway), with Nash headed for Piper and Goldberg for Luger.

But Sting’s advantage evaporates, as Flair reverses an Irish Whip into the barricade. Flair bashes Sting’s head on the steel post before tossing him back in the ring. Sting gets to his feet, holding his aching head, but Flair drops him with an illegal (no ref, no rules) kick to the balls. Flair grabs Sting’s legs, gives a “whoo!” to the crowd, and applies his figure-four. Sting immediately rears up, refusing to give in … but his help-Nash and Goldberg-are busy with Luger and Piper on the outside, and he is locked tight. Sting refuses to surrender, and when he sees a replacement zebra, salvation, the ropes, seems only inches away. But when he reaches for them, and the referee kicks his arm away, Sting knows the deck has been stacked too tall to climb. Sting leans forward and tries to punch his way out of the move, but has no sooner thrown a punch than Charles Robinson signals to the timekeeper to ring the bell. Only the crowd hears that Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Lex Luger and Scott Steiner have won by disqualification due to Sting’s use of a closed fist; the competitors are too busy brawling.

But the return of Scott Steiner, armed with a ball bat, gets attention. Piper, having downed Nash with a steel chair, sees Steiner come down the aisle and makes a beeline for him; Steiner meets him with a Babe Ruth swing-for-the-fences right into Piper’s gut. Piper crumbles like a thousand year old piece of paper in the rain, and Steiner walks right past him, headed right for Luger. Luger, who has stopped the onslaught of Goldberg by strangling him with broadcast cable, dodges the first swing, but the second-a home run blast to the small of the back-drops Luger like a bad habit. Luger rolls over and gets another blast of bat, this time in the gut, and Steiner leaves him on the floor, coughing up blood, and gets in the ring, where Flair still has Sting in the figure-four. Charles Robinson tries to stall Steiner, but the referee is a mere stick figure next to the freakishly large Steiner, who disposes of Robinson as if he were little more than a mosquito. Steiner walks up to Flair, who looks up and sees the enraged Superstar, and realizes he has no escape. Steiner doesn’t even let Flair get a word of begging out; he just wallops Flair in the gut and chest, over and over. Flair’s legs loosen, and Sting untangles himself and pushes away, watching the pent-up rage of Steiner pour out through the bat. Finally, the savage beating gets to Sting, and he gets up and steps in, catching the bat and ripping it from Steiner’s hands. Sting throws the belt out of the ring and just looks at Steiner, standing gamely on one leg. Steiner yells at Sting, who just stands there, saying nothing, until Steiner snaps, seizes Sting and tosses him across the ring with an explosive belly-to-belly suplex. The crowd, before a barely-contained riot as Steiner mowed through Flair and his associates, now deflates, unable to process what they’ve seen; Steiner has, single-handedly, taken out virtually everyone in the ring. Nitro ends with Steiner walking away from the ring, leaving behind the carnage he has wrought.

The final Nitro before Uncensored features more build-up for the pay-per-view, signing more matches that harken back to Uncensored’s original format of all gimmick matches: Bret Hart is ordered to face Chris Benoit in an I Quit match for the US Title; Scott Hall and Bam Bam Bigelow get Roddy Piper and Lex Luger in a Tornado “Tazers and Bats” match, with the familiar weapons hung from hooks above the ring and Dean Malenko gets Curt Hennig in a steel cage.

But questions abound regarding two matches and the one man at the center of both: Kevin Nash. And so, to clear up the confusion, Mean Gene introduces Dr. Harvey Schiller, who invites Nash to the ring. Nash comes forth, his usual look of mirth and good humor nowhere present.

“Mr. Nash,” Schiller says, “I have been in communication with the championship committee of World Championship Wrestling for the past two weeks, trying to iron out the issue of your match at Uncensored.”

Nash leans in, and Gene points the microphone at Nash. “With all due respect, Dr. Schiller, I really don’t give much of a damn about your committee. I’m number one contender. I won the shot at Sting, and I’m getting it at Uncensored.”

“But it’s not that simple, Mr. Nash. There are two issues at the heart of this: the first is that there was no clear winner in the battle royal. We have reviewed the tapes from numerous angles time and again, and we cannot conclude either you or Bill Goldberg made contact with the ground before the other. This has left us with only one conclusion: that both you and Goldberg won the battle royal, and are both equally deserving of a World Title shot against Sting at Uncensored.”

The audience goes nuts for this idea (and Nash is smiling big), but Schiller raises a hand to try and quiet them down. “If I could be allowed to speak … there is a second problem, a much larger one. That is the issue of Hollywood Hogan.” The crowd gives the mention of Hogan’s name a rousing dose of hatred. “You volunteered yourself for an unsanctioned match against Hollywood Hogan at Uncensored this Sunday. Hollywood Hogan’s lawyers have responded that he is willing to fight you, and the contracts have been drawn up to allow this match to participate on the pay-per-view, with WCW merely providing the referee and location. But a match of this nature is bound to get out of hand, and injuries are likely, Mr. Nash, and that jeopardizes your World Title match. So, we are at an impasse.”

Nash shrugs. “I’m not seeing the problem here, doc. I got two matches, so what?”

“So, we cannot accept the liability or legal entanglements that could arise from you injuring yourself in one or both matches. The legalities could be disastrous for WCW, and the loss of you as a performer would cripple this company.”

Nash nods in understanding, stroking his goatee. He paces the ring a bit while Mean Gene echoes the dangers of competing in a street fight, then a triple-threat against Goldberg and Sting. Finally, he comes back to the meeting and says forcefully; “Why don’t you let me worry about wrestling two matches?”

“But-“

“Go back and talk to the suits, Harvey. You tell them Big Sexy promises he can beat the stuffing out of some blown-up old has-been like Hogan and still have enough in the tank to handle Goldberg and Sting. If they still quake in their Jockeys, then draw up a new contract; one where I absolve WCW of the consequences of me wrestling twice. I will not give up one for the other, you dig?” Schiller opens his mouth to argue, but Nash makes a snapping-shut motion with his hand, and Schiller closes his mouth, ending the situation, and resolving the biggest issue of the pay-per-view.

March 14th: Uncensored

To give Nash enough time to recuperate (should he even be able to continue), the unsanctioned street fight opens the show. Hogan shows up in street clothes: a pair of jeans, a black t-shirt and boots, further hammering home that this will not be a wrestling match at all. And very early in, the point is proven, as punches and brawling dominate. Nash makes the attempt early on for a Jackknife-the first real maneuver of the match-but Hogan counters with a low blow, dropping Nash. Hogan immediately heads outside and starts tossing in all manners of objects: chairs, a fire extinguisher from under the ring, the ring bell and even the timekeeper’s hammer, which he uses first to bash at Nash’s hands. The ref’s pleas to stop are ignored, and Hogan continues pounding with the hammer until he gets a better idea-he grabs the chair, puts it under Nash’s hand, and crushes Nash’s hand like a grape under a tire. Hogan tosses aside the hammer, strips off his belt and starts to whip Nash. Red welts raise even through Nash’s tank top as the leather strap tattoo his back with stripes of pain. Hogan keeps whipping until Nash rolls into his saving grace: the fire extinguisher. He grabs it (with his good hand), and swings at Hogan’s legs, and Hogan crumples. Nash gets up, grabs the chair and proceeds to beat Hogan until he rolls out of the ring. The fight continues outside, with both men trading forms of violence, opening up wounds on one another from impacts with steel posts, tables and steps. The back-and-forth carnage continues when they get back in the ring, and Hogan slowly obtains the upper hand by continuing to work on the injured hand of Nash with various weapons, stomps and even biting. But Nash manages to reverse an Irish Whip, and when Hogan eats some Nash boot, Nash mocks Hogan’s old ear-to-the-hand signal for the finish; Nash checks all four corners of the arena and finds a validating opinion in all four. But Nash’s version of the Big Legdrop only gets two, so Nash sets up Hogan for a Jackknife; but, like before, this gets him a shot in the nuts. Hogan grabs the belt from the mat, quickly wraps it around his head buckle-out, grabs Nash by the hair, measures and delivers a solid haymaker between the eyes. Nash hits the mat, out before his back is flat, and to the shock of everyone, Hogan gets the pin.

The dejection suffered by Hogan’s unexpected victory is only increased when Hall & Bigelow fail to beat Piper & Luger (thanks in part to their third man, Barry Windham), and Dean Malenko loses to Curt Hennig in a steel cage (also thanks to Barry Windham). With the record at 0-3 for the night, the nWo seems to not only be showing they can’t hang with the veterans after all, but barely even deserve to be competing with them.

Then comes Benoit/Hart.

Their I Quit match picks up almost where their Nitro confrontation left off: with Benoit all over Hart like a storm drenching the earth. Hart can barely counter, let alone mount an offense, against the ferocity with which Benoit brings to the match; every chop paints a red stripe across Hart’s chest, and every maneuver seems to be delivered with extra hatred and intensity. The only way Hart can turn the tide is by taking advantage of the no-DQ stipulations and using every dirty tactic he can to ground Benoit. From chair shots (which Hart uses extensively, wearing Benoit down into a fine, welted pulp) to blatant choking (using wiring on the floor to rob Benoit of oxygen), Hart finally seems to turn a corner, even if he is fighting with an un-Bret-like lack of strategy. Only when Benoit is safely on the mat and writhing in pain does Bret feel safe enough to hit a real wrestling maneuver, and the excellently executed piledrivers, backbreakers and leg sweeps only add to the overall doom that has pervaded the evening. With every impact, Bret makes sure to grab the microphone and demand Benoit quit, who always responds with “Never!” Eventually, Hart drags Benoit to the middle of the ring and taunts the crowd by taking his time applying the Sharpshooter. First, he spreads Benoit’s legs, then casually puts his leg through.

The reversal occurs so quickly, Bret barely has time to register; Benoit suddenly sits up and with both hands, grabs the leg Bret has stepped through with. Bret stands slack-jawed, Benoit’s legs in his hands, as Benoit pulls on Bret’s leg with every ounce of strength he has left. Bret teeters and wobbles, but doesn’t fall until Benoit frees up one hand to punch Bret in the knee. Bret teeters more, and Benoit uses both hands to finally pull Bret’s leg out from under him. Bret hits the ground, and Benoit tightens his legs around Bret’s leg, turning the Sharpshooter into a leg grapevine. Benoit sits forward and pounds on Bret’s knee again and again, screaming at him to quit, but Bret will do no such thing. Benoit torques on the leg until it becomes obvious that Bret will not surrender that way, and Benoit transitions the hold into another submission maneuver: Bret’s own Sharpshooter. The agony is writ large on Bret’s face, but even his own devastating finishing hold, which had earned him many a victory and title, will not put Bret out of the match. Finally, after what seems like forever (a good four minutes in the Sharpshooter), Benoit releases that and floats up to Bret’s upper body to apply one more submission maneuver: The Crippler Crossface. Bret is now barely able to utter denials and, as seconds fade into moments, the life disappears from Bret Hart until his eyes roll back and his body goes slack in Benoit’s arms. The referee checks Bret’s arm, and when it drops for the third time, the audience whips into a frenzy as the referee declared Chris Benoit the new United States Champion.

The World Title match follows, and Goldberg is the first to enter. The Wolfpac song plays for Nash, and after a few heart-stopping moments of will-he-won’t-he, Nash parts the curtain and walks to the ring-his hand is bandaged, and he walks slower than normal, obvious pain in every step. Sting is the last in, and enters the ring to see Nash and Goldberg locked in a stare-down. Sting wastes no time in attacking Nash, the weakest link of the three, and Goldberg joins in, taking turns hitting moves on Nash for what feels like an eternity (several minutes, at least), until Sting goes for the pin. Goldberg pulls him off, and Sting retaliates with a kick to the gut. Goldberg and Sting start to duke it out, ignoring Nash, who is rolling into the safety and anonymity of the corner to watch his opponents do his work for him. But when Sting throws Goldberg into the ropes, Goldberg comes back with a spear; Nash gets up and clobbers Goldberg in the back of the head. Nash brings him over to the turnbuckle and throws him shoulder-first into the ring post, softening up his spearing shoulder. Nash sets about working on the shoulder, and when Sting recovers, he joins in … until he attacks Nash, and then those two go at it for awhile, trading blows and control of the match while Goldberg nurses his shoulder. Sting eventually gets the upper hand on Nash and works on weakening his hand even further. After several minutes of Sting on the offensive, he slips behind Nash and drops him with a Scorpion Death Drop, and goes for the pin, only to be interrupted by a kick from Goldberg. Goldberg whips Sting into the ropes and tears through him with another spear; when he signals for the Jackhammer, the crowd goes into hysterics. Goldberg picks up Sting over his head, but Sting wiggles out and drops behind Goldberg; he wraps an arm around Goldberg’s head and drops down, hitting his second Scorpion Death Drop, but too exhausted to make the pin himself. All three men eventually rise at the same time, and Nash makes the first (cheap) offensive move by sneaking up behind Goldberg and dropping him with a blatant low blow; he then gives Goldberg a shove, who goes through the ropes and tumbling out of the ring. Sting tries to kick, but Nash catches it, spins Sting around, gets a kick of his own, and as quick as lightening, puts Sting in position for the Jackknife and hits. By the time Goldberg realizes what’s going on, he can’t stop the referee from counting to three and crowning Kevin Nash the new champion. Nash celebrates his victory, but Goldberg’s cold glare at Nash says it all, though: we’re not through, it says.

Last up on the evening is the Last Man Standing battle for the Presidency, and, for the bulk of it’s 10 minutes, it is an ugly slugfest reminiscent of the Hogan/Nash match; Flair ends up busted open, his hair dyed red in short time, and Bischoff as well, staining his karate gee crimson. The action is back and forth for the match’s duration with few falls counted, until the end; Flair, having worked on the legs with kicks, chairs and everything he can find, locks Bischoff in a figure-four, looking to literally keep Bischoff from standing. Flair has Bischoff in it for two minutes before he lets go, assuming the damage is done and he has won. He doesn’t pay attention to the crowd’s murmuring and confused reaction as Scott Steiner makes his way to the ringside area. Behind him-even more confusing-are DDP and Buff Bagwell. The ref sees them coming and tries to stop them, but Steiner pushes the ref away and goes after Flair with suplexes and fists. Bagwell fetches a chair and gives it to Steiner, who bashes Flair’s brains in, while DDP picks up the hobbling Bischoff and drops him with Diamond Cutter. Steiner points to DDP and to Flair, and DDP gives one to Flair as well.

Suddenly, the crowd goes nuts, and Steiner, Bagwell and DDP turn to see why: Sting is coming to the ring, armed with a ball bat. He slides in the ring, and Steiner pushes his buddies back, urging Sting to bring it to him. Sting glares at him a moment longer, then unleashes with a volley of shots to the helpless Flair. After Flair has absorbed enough blows to render him unconscious, Flair moves to Bischoff and does the same; all the while, Steiner, Bagwell and DDP cheer him on. When he is done, Sting joins the other three, arms raised in the air as if victorious, then leave the ring, walking backwards as they watch the referee make his count. When the ref reaches ten, and neither man has moved so much as an eyelid, they all clap and cheer. The event ends with their prideful celebration of ruining the main event, while the announcers are almost speechless in their confusion: what is going through the mind of Sting? And who’s President?

To be concluded …

You didn’t think Eric S was leaving too, didja? Hell no, not in the middle of the DNC!

Just for mentioning my Zima crack from the super-secret writer’s forum, Aaron Cameron gets a pimp. Scary story … back in my homeland of Oregon, when the remodeled VW Bug first came out, there was this Bug that was painted deep blue, had Zima stuff stuck all on it, and had a Zima bottle that was as big as the car itself rigged to the roof. The Zima Bug, we (Kurtis & I) christened it. Scariest thing we’d ever seen, to see a Bug transporting a fake bottle of shitty beer that could almost be a small car itself. A few months later, saw another Bug with a similar-sized can of Red Bull. I hope they were employees of Zima/Red Bull, because otherwise, they needed serious psychiatric help.

And gracias to Kurtis and Gohan for being sounding boards, as usual; friends and fans, couldn’t do this column without ya.

I’ll be on vacation for the early part of the week, so don’t be surprised when I don’t get to emails until Wednesday. Just thought you deserved a heads-up.

With the match ending in a draw, who is President? What is Sting thinking, and what is Scott Steiner’s plan? Who will Nash defend against at Spring Stampede? All these questions will be answered next week with Part 3-The Conclusion!