The SmarK 24/7 Rant for WCW Starrcade 98
– Has it really been 9 years since this atrocity? Oddly enough, I haven’t watched it since the original rant, so needless to say this one’s overdue for a redo. And that’s what WWE 24/7 is for!
– Live from Washington, DC.
– Your hosts are Tony, Brain and the Iron Professor. Here’s a moment that creeped me the hell out — in talking about the Horsemen being banned from the building tonight, Tony names Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko and then says Chris Benoit and pauses before going “…yes…” as though fans at home would be shocked by hearing that name in 1998. WEIRD. At least he’s not on this show.
Cruiserweight title: Billy Kidman v. Rey Mysterio v. Juventud Guerrera
This was during the short-lived LWO angle that Bischoff threw to Eddie to appease him after throwing coffee at him. Rey and Juvy were the star “pupils” of Eddie, but Rey rebelled against him. Kidman and Rey go after Juvy to start and Rey gets a backbreaker on him, then Kidman whips Rey into Juvy with the broncobuster. Rey hits Kidman by accident and that’s it for the alliance, and they slug it out while Juvy cheers them on, back when he had a personality. It turns into a three-way slugfest, won by Kidman, and Juvy gets put on top. Rey and Billy fight over the superplex honors, and Rey brings Kidman down with a victory roll for two instead. Kidman slams Rey onto Juvy, but then breaks up the pin because that would cost him the belt. Juvy comes back with a double bulldog on the Filthy Animals, and covers both of them for two. He manages to hold off both guys with chops, but Rey runs him into the corner and follows with a german suplex, into a Kidman lariat for two. Rey turns on Kidman for two, then Rey gets two on Juvy, then Juvy gets two on Kidman. Juvy dumps Kidman and then tosses Rey onto him, and follows both out with a springboard clothesline that falls a bit flat because of bad timing. Back in, Juvy goes up and gets dropkicked coming down, taking him out of the match for a bit. Rey sets up for another victory roll on Kidman, but Juvy springboards in with a rana on Rey off Kidman’s shoulders, which gets two. Kidman breaks up the pin and covers Juvy for two. Kidman gets a Matrix-like bulldog on Juvy while dropkicking Rey, and that gets two. Sideslam and Kidman goes up, but a flying splash hits knee and Rey cashes in with a springboard moonsault for two. Rey and Juvy slug it out and end up on the apron, where Rey hits him with a rana to the floor. Kidman suplexes Rey back in while he recovers, and goes up with a flying legdrop that gets two. Juvy saves, so Kidman powerbombs him for two. Rey tries the sunset bomb but can’t get his balance, so he improvises a bulldog instead for two. Juvy hits Rey with a backbreaker for two. This is getting very spotty with no story being told. Rey dodges a charging Kidman and both Kidman and Juvy end up on the floor, and Rey follows with the quebrada on them both. Back in, Rey springboards in with a very impressive snap springboard rana, but picks him up and gets hit with the Drunk Driver by Juvy as a result. Kidman saves there. Kidman gets put on top and Juvy alley-oops Rey up with a rana for two, then thinks better of it and makes the save. BK Bomb on Juvy gets two, and Rey saves. Rey takes Juvy to the floor with a rana, and now Kidman gets his high spot, hitting them with the Shooting Star Press from the top to the floor. And now Eddie comes to ringside, bringing the HEAT with him. The ref gets distracted with him while Kidman pins Juvy, allowing Eddie to sneak in and turn them over for two. Rey turns them over again and Kidman retains at 14:58. This was all just spot spot spot with resting in between and would have been far better served as a singles match. ***1/4
– Eddie puts Rey and Juvy in their place after the match, firing them from the LWO and talking about how easily he’d win the title if given the shot. So he calls out Kidman RIGHT NOW and adds that he’s a “dweeb” for good measure. You had me at “sissy boy,” Eddie.
Cruiserweight title: Billy Kidman v. Eddie Guerrero.
Eddie attacks to start and we’re on again. He lays Kidman out with a clothesline and kills him with the powerbomb for two. Quick small package gets two. He lays in the chops and adds the faceplant as Juvy further undermines his sexuality by wearing Eddie’s leather jacket. Eddie gets the abdominal stretch and asks for help from his bitch, Juvy, but Rey puts a stop to that. Eddie goes out to have words with Rey, which allows Kidman to comes back with a flying headscissors before Eddie chops him down again. Eddie tries another faceplant, but Kidman counters with a dropkick and stomps Eddie down. Eddie goes for the knee while Kidman questions Juvy about his relationship with Eddie, and Eddie puts the legbar submission on. That goes nowhere, so Eddie lays Kidman out with a forearm and Rey pulls him out for some comforting. Eddie follows them out and charges, but hits the railing. Juvy again helps out and allows Eddie to ram Kidman into the post to take over again, and they head back in, where Kidman gets the rebound bulldog to come back. He pounds away in the corner and catches a sleeper, but Eddie counters with a jawbreaker and Kidman is running out of gas. Eddie slaps him around and then takes off his hiking boot and knocks him out with it. He pauses to throw the boot at Rey, because he’s awesome, and then gets two. Brainbuster sets up the frog splash, but Kidman comes back again with a superplex for two. And Eddie hits him in the knee again and goes to work, but Rey keeps breaking things up. Eddie keeps coming with the flying headscissors and tries another powerbomb, but you can’t powerbomb Kidman! Kidman just keeps coming back, stomping Eddie down and slingshotting in with a legdrop for two. To the top, but Eddie blocks a rana when Kidman gets too fancy, but can’t get his own. Juvy interferes again, brings Kidman down and allowing another try, but now Rey interferes and helps Kidman, and the SSP finishes at 10:48. Now this was more my speed, with Kidman fighting from underneath and doing desperation stuff while a chess game was going on with the LWO members outside. ****
Norman Smiley v. Prince Iaukea.
Now here is a truly epic match, worthy of the biggest show of the year. Fans, bless them, immediately start the boring chant. Iaukea kicks Smiley out of the ring and follows with a somersault from the apron, and back in for two. They trade shots in the corner and Smiley takes the Prince down with a hammerlock and into a short arm scissors. Norman breaks off the attack and dances, then gets the spinning slam for two. And into a headscissors on the mat and a bodyscissors that gets two. Fans have no patience for this, but that’s OK because the announcers are talking about everything else on their minds anyway. Double underhook suplex and he dances again, then another one after a delay gets two. Prince fights back with chops, but Norman takes him down again and it’s more dancing. This gets over, but Prince gets a northern lights suplex for two. And Norman takes him down again with the bodyscissors. He works on the arm a bit and the match is just going nowhere and wasting time. I’m so bored I pop onto the web and order the Shawn Michaels and Best of RAW DVDs while I’m waiting for it to pick up, and finally Prince makes the comeback and gets a high cross, which Norman rolls through for two. Backslide, but Norman reverses to the Norman Conquest chickenwing for the submission at 11:30. Yes, ELEVEN MINUTES for this. 3/4*
– Hey yo, Scott Hall shows up, still trying to seduce Kevin Nash back to the dark side. Poor Scott just never pulled out of that downward spiral he fell into.
Ernest Miller v. Perry Saturn.
This was fresh off Miller’s heel turn, when he was still pretty lame and hadn’t found his voice yet. Saturn had recently come off of splitting from Raven and was more over than at any other point in his career, so of course this is what he’s doing on their big show. Miller teases leaving, but then slides in for the sneak attack and misses in a cute spot. Saturn pounds him in the corner, so Miller bails again for more stalling. Back in, the Cat chokes away in true karate master fashion, but Saturn rolls him over with a hammerlock for two. Saturn wrestles him on the mat and gets several near-falls, and Miller bails again. Back in, Miller catches a roundhouse kick, but stalls yet again before getting two. They slug it out and Saturn catches him with a backdrop suplex into a belly to belly for two. Neckbreaker and he goes up, but lands on a Miller superkick and both are out. Miller recovers first with another kick and brings Sonny Onoo in, but he hits the Cat instead and the Death Valley Driver finishes at 7:08. Miller’s selling was totally bizarre, as he would stop and do his goofy stalling before selling anything and he looked totally lost on the mat with Saturn. *1/2
– Ric Flair joins us to say Woo a lot and not much else.
– Meanwhile, Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell get all up in K-Dog’s area, but thankfully Lex Luger is there to prevent anyone from getting a cap in their ass.
Brian Adams & Scott Norton v. Fit Finlay & Jerry Flynn.
What the gay was the point of this, anyway? The announcers get all horny because the main event is now…wait for it…NO DISQUALIFICATION! They note that the executive committee was behind locked doors for HOURS coming up with this decision. Wow, how do I get that job? Adams slugs it out with Finlay to start and gets a corner clothesline, but Fit responds with his own and follows with an elbow for two. Finlay misses a charge and hits the post, and Norton comes in and overpowers him, no-selling all and powerslamming him. Over to Lightning Foot, but Norton’s having none of that and pounds him with chops before missing his own charge. Back to Adams, who Flynn chops down, but Vincent gives him a cheapshot and Brian gets the backbreaker for two. Flynn kicks him down and brings Finlay back in, and a forearm shot gets two. Adams piledrives him and brings Norton in for a DDT as nacho sales triple before our eyes. Neckbreaker gets two. Corner splash and Finlay bails, and Norton starts working on the back. Shoulderbreaker gets two as Tony excuses the rampant boredom as the fans saving up their excitement for Kevin Nash. Honestly. Back to Adams, and since he’ll actually sell stuff Finlay gives him a DDT for two and goes up. He lands on the foot and Adams follows with a press slam into a gutbuster. It’s, uh, I dunno, we’ll call it the hot tag to Flynn and kicks people, but Norton powerbombs and pins him at 8:55, because that’s what he does. *
– Attention everyone! Mean Gene needs our attention, because here’s Eric Bischoff. Uncle Eric apologizes in advance for beating up on Ric Flair later tonight, because he’s desperate and broke after not saving a dime in the 104 years he’s wrestled. That one sure turned out to be the honest truth.
WCW TV Title: Konnan v. Chris Jericho.
This was basically the end of Jericho’s WCW run, as his contract expired and he became the first of the disgruntled WCW midcarders to make a run for the WWF. Konnan “shows Jericho how to rock a mic” by saying his same stuff over again. Jericho grabs a headlock and they criss-cross into a seated dropkick from Konnan that gets two, but Jericho dropkicks him in turn and pulls out the goose-step. I miss goofy Jericho sometimes. He misses a crossbody and Konnan clotheslines him to the floor, but Jericho directs him into the railing and then the post. Back in, a suplex and the ARROGANT PIN~! gets two. I still think would have gotten over huge in the WWF. Jericho hits the chinlock and chops away in the corner. To the top, but a flying whatever takes too much time and hits the foot. Konnan comes back with the rolling clothesline and an Alabama Slam for two. Jericho fires back with a quick Lionsault for two and K-Dog bails, but it was just a ruse, as he tricks Jericho into splatting on the stairs when he tries his flying splash. Back in, that gets two. Konnan goes for the rug muncher, but Jericho reverses to the Liontamer and then redirects into a catapult instead. The ref is bumped and Jericho nails Konnan with the belt to draw a pretty good face pop, and that gets two. Konnan finally comes back with the rug muncher and SHITTY HALF CRAB OF DEATH for the submission at 7:30. Gah, Konnan was just SO lazy at this point, not doing anything past his comfort zone of the easy brawling style, and these guys just never meshed. Jericho in particular had it in neutral given that he knew he was leaving. *1/2
Eric Bischoff v. Ric Flair
OK, so back in 1998, Ric Flair took time off to watch his son wrestle, and missed a meaningless Thunder taping as a result. Bischoff decided to make an example out of him and suspended him, and soon it turned into a stalemate between the two, with Flair staying home and Bischoff not backing down from the punishment. Fans completely turned on the promotion, chanting “We want Flair” in vocal fashion and embarrassing the company, so finally after months away Flair returned and reformed the Horsemen yet again, and with tons of real life heat to build between the two…WCW booked Flair to have a heart attack in a silly angle and signed a match between a 13-time World champion and Eric Bischoff. Way to go, WCW. At least Bischoff v. Larry Z from the year before was somewhat believable. Flair attacks to start and pounds him in the corner, then stops to strut. A chop puts Eric down and Flair drops the knee, then stomps on Bischoff in the corner. Eric fakes a knee injury (but it can’t be “real” in the context of wrestling because it’s the right one) and he suckers Flair in for a high kick to the back of the head. Tony notes that anyone who has followed tournament karate fighting knows what a name Bischoff is in that sport. Well no wonder this show flopped, those 3 people obviously didn’t have enough friends. Flair blades, but goes low on Uncle Eric, twice, in a spot that I enjoyed much more back when I wasn’t wishing that Bischoff would start a new promotion and give Vince some competition. Flair gets rid of the ref and gives Bischoff some great chops in the corner, plus another shot to the nuts for good measure. Hey, yeah, why not. Suplex and he gets the figure-four, but here’s the run-in, as Curt Hennig gives Bischoff an international object and he gets the pin at 7:05. Totally the wrong finish, as the crowd completely turns on the screwjob ending. Flair would of course go over cleanly the next night on Nitro to get his revenge, but THIS should have been his revenge, because this is the show that people PAID to watch. Also, given that finish, Bischoff should have had zero offense and that should have put the heat on whoever interfered to give him the win, building up THAT match with Bischoff as the middle-man rather than the end result, instead of the visual of Bischoff having his hand raised to serve his own ego. **
The Giant v. Diamond Dallas Page
Oh yeah, I totally forgot about the Giant’s second stint with the nWo, where he was smoking to get him over as a heel. This was his last major appearance with WCW before signing a 10 year deal with the WWF that they quickly came to regret. I wouldn’t really call his jump a matter of being disgruntled, as he was quite gruntled, but clearly he was going to end up in McMahonland sooner or later. Giant spits his gum at Page, so Page spits his spit at Giant. Ew, better get your face sanitized, who knows where that saliva has been. Page slugs away and clotheslines Giant to the floor, but Giant swats him down and headbutts him into the crowd. Page fights back with a garbage can, but Giant tosses him into the stairs and posts him. Back in, Giant goes to work on the knee, which is a rarity for him. DDP goes to the eyes to break free, but Giant smacks him down again in the corner as we move at a glacial pace. Giant goes to the bearhug and Page tries to counter with the Diamond Cutter, but Giant powerslams him for two. Back to that bearhug, but Page reverses to a sunset flip, which Giant blocks and turns into a backbreaker. Giant takes forever to go for the cover and gets two, but a hiptoss attempt is turned into a DDT by Page. That gets two, and Bret Hart appears (he was a heel at this point, for those like me who lost track ages ago) and accidentally hits Giant with a chair. Page gets two from that. DDP goes up with a flying clothesline, twice, and Giant tries a chokeslam, but Page goes low and reverses to the Diamond Cutter from the top at 12:46. This was more about building up Page v. Bret, a feud that went nowhere, like everything else in this ridiculous promotion. So very slow and dull, although the finish was good. **1/2
WCW World title: Goldberg v. Kevin Nash
OK, what’s with the ring announcer here? Because I’m pretty sure that it was Michael Buffer doing the announcing for the PPV, but it’s been dubbed out and replaced with someone who sounds like Jeremy Borash. Weird. Are they trying to avoid residuals? Big pop for Nash here, which is probably how he kept himself from crying in his sleep at night afterwards when he thought about how he destroyed the business. They fight for the lockup to start and Nash grabs a headlock, but Goldberg suplexes out of it. Back in, Nash throws the knees in the corner and Goldberg counters the boot choke by pushing Nash over, and they trade some laughable submission holds on the mat. Goldberg pounds away, but Nash finally gets his choke in the corner. Goldberg ducks the big boot and spears Nash. Big Kev goes low to stop the Jackhammer, and gets the sideslam and elbow for two. Running choke gets two. Clothesline gets two. Goldberg comes back with a neckbreaker and suplex for two. The Bretkiller Kick and powerslam get two. Why couldn’t that superkick have put a hole in Nash’s head instead of Bret’s? And then the run-ins start, with Disco Inferno and Bam Bam Bigelow occupying Goldberg’s time, and finally Scott Hall appears with a cattle prod to put him down, and the Poochiebomb ends the undefeated streak and gives Nash the title at 11:19. For reasons that elude me, the win provokes a giant pop from the crowd. Well, some people still buy New Coke, so stupid people are everywhere, I guess. The match itself was booked as one of those Hogan-Warrior deals where it’s supposed to be super-epic, but neither guy can pull epic off. Nash’s title reign, of course, would be the very definition of epic, lasting a whole day and leading to the Fingerpoke of Doom atrocity on Nitro. So it’s good times all around here. **
This is not one of those shows where it ages well with 10 years of perspective. Oh no, quite the opposite, as it’s somehow even more wretched when you’re forced to watch junk like Prince Iaukea v. Norman Smiley without any context, or storylines involving multiple nWo factions that don’t make any sense without months of backstory. I’d say most of the show is actively unwatchable, in fact, and Bischoff v. Flair just serves to angry up the blood again.
Take a major league pass on this pile of shit. Good job, Kev, you killed the company.