I had originally watched some stuff from early 1993. It started with Flair/Perfect. The best match on the rest of the tape was the Headshrinkers squashing two guys with skullets. There were also 2 Kamala squashes and a Damien Demento squash. Blargh. Therefore, another tape from a few years later.
1. Worldwide. Bill Goldberg vs. Mark Starr.
Surreal stuff here, as Goldberg still used his first name, and they hadn't really decided whether or not he'd be a heel or face at this point. The crowd has already decided, and they're behind him.But, the announcers put over some angle where he stole Steve McMichael's Super Bowl ring. I guess that was supposed to make him a heel. Mark actually gets in some offense, but gets caught on a cross-body and is given a shoulderbreaker. A bad spear, and a decent jackhammer. The non-squashish nature of the match was so strange in retrospect.
2. Harlem Heat (w/ Jacquelyn) vs. The Armstrong Brothers
Please keep Stevie Ray's involvement to a minimum. Maybe the Worldwide crowds are smarter than I thought, as they actively pop whenever Booker tags in. I'd credit that to prompting, but Stevie gets no such reaction. I take back my anti Stevie Ray comments, as the Armstrongs are kind enough to bump for him. Still, it's obvious to anybody who was the more talented of the two. The Big Apple finishes Scott. The Big Apple was like the Hart Attack, except it was Booker delivering a high kick as opposed to a clothesline. Decent syndie style match, but I wish I had the volume muted, so I wouldn't have been reminded about the epic Jacquelyn/Disco Infern feud.
3. Sumo Fuji & Shiima Nobunaga vs. The Faces of Fear (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Meng & Barbarian sell deck all. This may have been the first match in WCW for either of Ultimo's students. Fuji does some great bumping though off a belly-to-belly from Barbarian. Shiima gets caught in the Tongan Death Grip leading to the 3. Bless Ultimo's students hearts for selling for these wastes of space.
4. Aguila vs. Super Loco. Aka Essa Rios vs. Super Crazy.
Sunny is the guest ring announcer. Just say no, folks. This is the first match in the light heavyweight tournament. Other first round matches were TAKA/Devon Storm, Brian Christopher/ Flash Flanagan & Eric Shelley/Jerry Lynn. Scott Taylor eventually replaced Lynn. Cornette puts over Aguila as a big time flyer. Crazy-ass armdrags galore from Aguila, who JR says is all of 19 at this point. Loco botches a tope something fierce, getting caught in the ropes. A spinkick from the top rope to a crotched Aguila also misses completely. At leat Aguila didn't sell it. Rolling surfboard from Crazy. Later on, Aguila's moonsault off the top to the floor is absolutely perfect. Notable sign: "Piper/Hogan Age in the Cage. Can WCW get any worse?" It's a shame this sign holder wasn't able to psychicly predict Hogan/Warrior II was only a year in the future. Aguila won with a twisting splach off the top, which was a letdown given the insane highspots up until that point in time. Would have been better if Loco hit his spots, but I won't bitch too hard.
5. Vader vs. The British Bulldog
It's standard build-up to the American vs. Canadian Survivor Series match. It's a dog collar match, but this one is special for one reason only. While the post-match beatdown is on the victorious Vader, a "fan" runs into the ring to make the save for the U-S-A! U-S-A! That fan was a spotty lad by the name of Steve Blackman. It also lead to my favourite Scoops blooper of all-time, as Al was convinced that it was really a fan that ran in, despite the fact that the cameras focused in on his entire interference, as well as security escorting him from the ring and over the barricade, where they let go of him, as he takes a leisurely stroll to the back.
6. Pantera & Mosco de la Merced vs. Scott Taylor & TAKA Michinoku.
Hey! Remember when Scott Taylor prefered to wrestle instead of doing 80's dance moves in the squared circle? Pantera does a nice rolling headbutt from the top to Taylor, and also throws a beautiful tope onto TAKA that sees him on the ring apron, then flies through two sets of ropes to blast TAKA. Taylor moves to face-in-peril status. Still, little crowd reaction for anything but the spots. Dropkicks from both men to a seated Mosco, which is strange, since the Hershey-ites for everything during Crazy/Aguila. Mosco spends the rest of the match in the ring, before getting Michinoku Driven.
7. Mankind vs. The Sultan.
Foley wins in about 2 minutes. The Mandible Claw was the first move that wasn't a punch or kick up until that point. All 4 of the above matches came from the last RAW/Shotgun from where the news that Bret Hart was off to WCW had just broken, FYI, so the commentary is somewhat strange to listen back on.
8. Mike Anthony vs. Steven Regal.
If you squint, Mike kinda looks like RVD, with the kicking, with the ponytail, though without the recreational habits. Regal sells an armbar from Anthony like its the most painful thing on the planet. For some reason, the Flock watched this from ringside. Stevie's wearing a "Lord Stevie" half-shirt. A poke to the face sets up the stiff Regal pummeling that we can all enjoy. Reverse suplex from Regal, and Steve slaps on a Regal stretch to get a submission win.
9. Bobby Eaton vs. Kevin Northcutt.
It ain't 1991 or earlier, so excuse me for not caring about an Eaton squash. Alabama Jam.
10. Battalion vs. Max Mini.
Mexican minis stuff. YES! Battalion was the former Espectrito/Mini Vader. Max Mini was the former Mascarita Sagrada Jr, and I believe is the current Tzuki in CMLL. Crazy armdrags from Max, as Battalion gets heel reaction from brutalizing his much smaller opponent. Max almost busts the Spanish announce table as he flies outside for a tope. Also, Max does an Asai moonsault, and Michael Cole actually called the move! Max wins with a victory roll. Post match, two more rudo minis run in, and two tecnico minis make the save. There was a Skydome house show around this time that saw a minis trio match get about 20 minutes. And the crowd popped like nuts for their work.
11. Vader vs. Martin Roy.
Roy is the ugliest jobber ever. Vader teases the moonsault to a huge crowd pop, but returns to heelishness by ending it with a Vaderbomb.
12. Princa Iaukea vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
This is from Pro. Actually, this starts with some nice chain wrestling from these two in the opening. Chavo goes from a monkey flip position into a sunset flip in a really nice pinning move.Prince is playing the heel here, since he controls the meat of the match. 2 for Chavo off a Northern Lights Suplex. Prince misses a splash, and one Majistral later, Chavo gets his hand raised.
13. Lizmark Jr. vs. Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Why did Sonny Onoo have carnations with him? Is there some stereotype I was unaware of? Suffice to say, this one was a clash of styles, and it never really clicked. Lizmark didn't get a whole lot of offense in, but we had the psychology of Nagata working over Lizmark's knee, and a few nice kicks thrown in for good measure. The end sees Onoo on the apron. Nagata takes out the knee, and gets a Nagatalock (almost an angled figure-four) submission. Ultimo Dragon runs in after the match to attack Onoo & Yuji.
14. Rick Fuller vs. 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan
HOOOOOOOO NO! Although Fuller wasn't too bad as a big man jobber, it's still Duggan, and it ain't the mid 80's.
15. Fit Finlay vs. Brad Armstrong
It's basic to start. The two exchange headlocks et al. Fit eventually trips up Brad, then twists and beats Brad's legs into some unnatural position. Brad's willing to let fit paste him with forearms, and that always bodes well. Fit unleashes one of Homer Simpson's favourite fighting moves, namely kicking some back. of course, since it's Fit, it looks like he's trying to shoot Brad's spine through the front of his chest. We get the obligatory WCW SN Armstrong come back, but the "rookie" mistake is made. Yup, that idiot Dusty Rhodes called Brad a rookie. Tombstone time.
15. Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
WOO-HOO! It is impossible for this to suck. They work off hammerlocks and headlocks, while Dusty speculates that the nWo will take over TNT NFL broadcasts. Some quick takedowns while Dusty continues to spew nonsense, before they return to the mat, as Dean slaps on a wristlock/head scissors combo. Again, this segment ends with a staredown from these two. They continue the pattern, with no big spots from either man. Rey was never just a spotfest, and he shows it by not looking one bit out of place. The stuff picks off the Texas Cloverleaf, which Rey turns into a roll-up for 2. Rey's Asai moonsault if caught, but Rey slips out again for another pinning combo for 2. A third spot is turned into a Malenko gutbuster. A second cloverleaf is applied, only for Eddy "Sucks" Guerrero to run-in and stomp Rey. Dean thinks he's won after the bell, only to find out he's been DQ'd. The two stare down outside the ring, only for Rey to take them both out with a springboard plancha. Good scientific match.
Only a few real bad matches in this batch. Sultan/Mankind, and the Duggan/Vader/Eaton squashes.
"What happened to X-Pac? Who do you think is in the burgers?"
Normally when the heel screws with the face, the logical outcome is that the face goes in, whoops the heel, and beats him in the blowoff, no questions asked. My problem is that that isn't going to happen.