The Stomping Ground: A Look Back at WCW

Greetings all! I’m your humble host Mike Gojira, back for another bombastic round of wrestling discussion. As per usual, I once again shall strive to differentiate my columns from those already on the Pulse. Will I mention Edge’s retirement/what it means for the company’s future?

Of course.

Will I dedicate an entire column to the subject like so many others before me?

Hell no.

Seeing as how WCW officially died 10 years ago around this time, I figured I’d take a look back at some memories I have of the company that I often watched for an hour before switching to Raw at 9 pm.

The Man of 1,004 Holds vs Stinko Malenko
This was the feud that really made me a Jerichoholic. I wasn’t a fan of Jericho as a plucky face, but his segments involving Dean Malenko and the Cruiserweight Championship were great. When Malenko stole the title from Jericho while hidden under the mask of Ciclope, that was amazing. Jericho’s attempts to find a loophole, however, were even more incredible. His recitation of all of his moves (The Three-handled Family Credenza) that continued well past a commercial break was comedy gold. Ah, to think of a time when cruiserweights were given a simple yet good storyline.

The Birth of Goldberg
While many scoff now at Goldberg’s workrate and the fact the company had to hide how green he actually was with two-minute squashes, you cannot deny the proverbial lightning in a bottle that was Bill Goldberg. Never before had a Jewish name been chanted so vigorously (Jeebus notwithstanding). Was it stupid to give away Hogan/Goldberg without ANY forewarning? You bet your ass. Did it bring eyes to the TV? Yup.

The Mexican/Japanese Cruiserweights
Yuji Nagata. Psicosis. Juventud Guerrera. La Parka. Ultimo Dragon. Eddie Guerrero. Rey Mysterio. Ciclope. Chavo Guerrero. These guys knew their shit and you knew the best part of Nitro was the opening hour where the cruiserweights would wow the audience with their acrobatic stunts. A cruiserweight Battle Royal spotfest with no rhyme or reason to it? I’ll take that over Chavo vs Hornswoggle Round 234 any day of the week, thank you.

Perry Saturn vs The Flock
A storyline I loved involved Saturn’s rebellious attitude toward his former leader Raven and The Flock. When he finally disbanded the team and Billy Kidman was allowed to go off on his own, I was happy to be a wrestling fan.

The Ridiculous Midcard Gimmicks
Ah, Glacier. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually thought he was pretty cool for a little while. Then Mortis and Wrath got involved and the whole thing smelled of a Mortal Kombat ripoff. We also had Das Wunderkind, Alex Wright, who was repackaged as a Nazi sympathizer named Berlyn with The Wall as his enforcer. Did you know he beat Triple H in their first-ever PPV appearance at Starrcade 1994? Look it up. Prince Iaukea was decent, from what I can remember…and then he became The Artist Formerly Known As…yadayadayada. You get the idea. It was dumb. We saw the rise of Norman Smiley, Ernest “The Cat” Miller, the Booty Man (complete with Booty Babe!), the dismal Dungeon of Doom, and a ridiculous assortment of bargain basement no-names.

Bash at the Beach 1996
I’ll admit I was not a WCW fan at this point, but once I heard Hogan turned heel I was intrigued and started to watch Nitro on a regular basis. The nWo was a novel idea that got over extremely well and would have been an even bigger success than it already was, had the company decided to keep the group small.

Awaiting Emo-Sting
Sting was hiding in the rafters for months. WCW was falling apart due to the Hogan/Bischoff regime. Starrcade was around the corner, and Sting finally decided to man-up and take it to Hogan. Unfortunately, what was built up to be the biggest match in wrestling history turned into a clusterfuck finish involving Bret Hart that turned Sting’s momentum against him. He didn’t hold the belt for long after that.

The Wolfpack
C’mon, the Wolfpack was cool; admit it. How they could stupidly believe that Curt Hennig was legitimately a part of the team confused me, because months earlier he had turned on the Horsemen in the same manner. Where did the turn get him? Nowhere. It’s unfortunate that the Finger Poke of Doom killed the Wolfpack dead (if I may be redundant).

Celebrities in the Ring
Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman, Jay Leno, and David Arquette. Only one became a champion. I’ll give you a hint: he wasn’t an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. Or a talk show host.

Kimberly Page
God damn, she was smokin’ hot. That is all.

Best of Seven: Chris Benoit vs Booker T
My friends and I agree: the Best of 7 series between Benoit and Booker was a fabulous set of matches that showcased the abilities of both men to bring it night after night. The WWE tried to recreate the magic years later, but failed (in my opinion) since Benoit lost AGAIN. What was the point?

World War 3
I loved the concept of 60 men, three rings, one winner. Unfortunately, the nWo dominated the damn thing and it became a pointless exercise in frustration for me to watch.

Sid Breaks His Leg…Literally
Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew. How Sid Eudy (see what I did there?) managed to walk away from that injury boggles my mind. At least he didn’t shit his trunks or ask for a do-over.

WCW vs nWo: Revenge
I loved WCW/nWo World Tour, but Revenge became the superior installment of the video franchise and would be responsible for the creation of WWE Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy, widely considered the greatest wrestling game of all time. For some reason I had a penchant for using Larry Zbyszko in Revenge a lot more than most of the other wrestlers. Go figure. Now Larry is busy calling out Chris Jericho. What a shame.

The One Warrior Nation
What. The. Fuck. Warrior appears in a mirror to taunt Hogan? Check. Warrior turns Brutus Beefcake into his Disciple? Check. Ridiculous finish to a Hogan/Warrior rematch nobody actually wanted to see? Check.

Lex Luger Beats Hogan…Then Loses at Road Wild
I marked out as Hogan gave in to the Torture Rack and Luger had finally taken the belt off of the nWo…just to lose it again at the PPV the following Sunday. Stupidity, thy name is WCW.

Rowdy Roddy Piper Puts Hogan to Sleep
The supposed “Greatest Match of All Time” at Starrcade was a real let-down. Everyone thought Piper had finally beaten Hogan for the title…but it turns out that this was no title match. Huwhut? I could’ve sworn…nope. No title on the line. My cousin still taunts me to this day about it, since I built up the match so much and convinced him to come over to watch the PPV. Damn it, Matt, haven’t I paid my dues yet?!

The Worked-Shoot That, Uh, Didn’t…Work
Hogan, Jarrett, Russo. What a terrible combination. Arguments still continue to this day about the legitimacy of this one. Not sure what to believe? All three men work together right now in TNA.

The Owen Hart Memorial Show
Shortly after we lost the great Owen Hart, we got a night of fantastic matches dedicated to Bret’s brother, including a phenomenal one-on-one between Bret Hart and Chris Benoit.

The Finger Poke of Doom
I covered this already in my Top Ten Swerves in Wrestling column a few weeks back. Go ahead and take a gander. This was the moment I decided WCW didn’t deserve my attention any more.

Ahmed Johnson Has Been Brought to You By The Letter T

What a crock of shit. After breaking up Harlem Heat, Stevie Ray turned heel and aligned himself with a ridiculously overweight Ahmed Johnson who had rechristened himself as “Big T.” He and Booker T had a match for the right to use the letter in their respective names…and Booker actually lost! I’d love to say that awesome and wacky highjinks ensued, but I’d be lying to you.

There are a bajillion other moments I could name, but I won’t because I’m sure you guys will drop them in the comments below.

Random Thoughts

The Wrestling world lost two greats this week; one to forced retirement and the other to untimely death. I’m talking, of course, about Edge and Larry Sweeney. I did not know Sweeney personally, but I do recall seeing him at a few live ROH shows and he played a fantastic heel manager. My condolences to his family and friends.

As for Edge, what more can be said? He was one of the best smarmy heels of all time, delivered great matches in the Tag Team division, had amazing feuds with Kurt Angle, Undertaker, and John Cena, and did it all while dealing with a repaired neck that would ultimately end his career. To go out as Champion and have your last match at Wrestlemania is a truly wonderful thing.

Primo showed me he could still work…and then botched Sin Cara’s finish. Way to go, Colon. Guess his last name is apropos. By the way, there is NO WAY Sin Cara will ever hit that move on larger opponents, so good luck with that. Time for a new finisher, methinks.

I can’t wait for Awesome Kong to show up. They’ll probably change her name to Amazing Zilla or something, but she’ll definitely make the Divas more watchable.

Time for some Tough Enough news. Seeing Matt Cross eliminated so early in the competition may have been the wake up call that he needs. Maybe he’ll go find a personality and come back a year later as a new man.

Yeah, R-Truth is the number one co-contender (is that even a word?). I believed Hardcore Holly had a better shot at Lesnar’s title before I saw any potential in this one.

Cheap Plugs

James Alsop returns with Part 2 of his WCW retrospective. Somebody get him an icon pic quickly! He stole my old one!

RHETT DAVIS! I AM CALLING YOU OUT…for no particular reason. Check out his O’Really Report, especially his Top 5 Edge Moments. What, no Paul Bearer Looney Toons stuff? For shame!

Chris Sanders is all the rage with his thoughts on R-Truth and Edge. Didn’t I use that “rage” pun already? I think I just died a little inside.

Ah, that silly Jonah Kue. He thinks he’s the heel in our little feud. Little does he know that I chopped up his pet dog and fed it to him as peppersteak! Time for a Kue’s Kennel match! Or you could just read his shpiel here.

As Mad Magazine would affectionately say, you’ve got the usual gang of idiots all over the Pulse, like Glazer‘s analysis of all our stuff, Wheeler‘s Raw Review, Blair‘s TNA Reports, and Chris Biscuitti, a man who spends all of his free time responding to your comments. Bless you, CB!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,