Alright, so we’re clearly back into having a jobberific good time. If we thought WCW Prime was scraping the bottom of the barrel when it came to piss poor match ups, we ain’t seen nothing yet. WCW was churning out about 28 different weekly shows, and we’re headed to a new level of sludge. Welcome to the rotation, WCW Worldwide.
Taped from Disney MGM Grand, our hosts are TONY SCHIAVONE and BOBBY HEENAN.
SGT. CRAIG PITTMAN (with Teddy Long) vs. THE GAMBLER
This is like a clash of everything I hate about pro wrestling, taking on everything I love about pro-wrestling. The Gambler is NOT given an entrance, which is a crime against humanity. That’s half of the Gambler’s appeal. The cocky smile, as he whips cards out from his jacket – as if to say “that’s right, CARDS, and on any random shuffle, I might beat you a pot!” WCW is pretty much the anti-modern day WWE. The WWE sees their mid-card guys doing nothing, and will turn their push into job material overnight. WCW on the other hand would push Craig Pittman on the B, C, D, and G shows for years, despite the fact he never improved, was never over, and had about 3 moves in his arsenal. And he’s black! Vince McMahon would never ever stand for this. So after about 2 minutes of getting his ass-kicked, Gambler hits a belly to back suplex that drops Pittman on his head, with a force so severe that Pittman pops right up while Gambler does something resembling a rain dance. A belly to belly overhead suplex leads to a ridiculously elongated set up to Code Red for the tap out at 4:44. 1/2*
SCOTT “FLASH” NORTON vs. MANNY FERNANDEZ
Bobby: “They call him flash, not because he hangs around parks or anything, but you know … arm wrestling or something.” Actually, if Norton started wrestling in a well buttoned trench coat that displayed a hint of bare leg, I think I’d die. Manny completely botches some sort of springboard something that Heenan is all over. “It’s like he was offering him a towel to dry off after a shower or something!” Manny eats a shoulderbreaker for the easy Norton win at 2:04. DUD
DEAN MALENKO vs. BILLY KIDMAN
This should be good, mostly because the ring has ropes so Malenko is unlikely to err. Malenko quickly takes down Kidman and dropkicks him in the back of the head. Kidman comes back with a monkey flip, but Malenko lands on his feet and flattens the young man with a backdrop suplex. Heenan shows a little foresight, by saying “Malenko’s great, Kidman will be good later on.” Kidman hits a tornado rana, but Malenko fires right back with a short powerbomb for 2. Deano moves to a brainbuster, as he’s showing all kinds of fire tonight, but Kidman still manages to kick out. Kidman tries to get something going, but it’s for naught as he winds up taking a backbreaker for his effort. Malenko whips Kidman to the corner, but he heads up and hits a lightning fast top rope crossbody for 2! A tornado DDT gets 1, because it’s too close to the ropes but the kid has momentum now. He goes for an Oklahoma roll, but Malenko just shrugs it off and pancakes him. Fireman’s carry gutbuster from Malenko hits, and a Fireman’s carry roll finishes at 6:10. Great Worldwide match. ***
KURASAWA vs. KONAN
Konan is still carrying around the stupid Mexican Heavyweight belt, a title so prestigious that its title lineage basically starts and stops at Konan. And you thought the Million Dollar title was the only vanity belt in wrestling. Kurasawa uses karate chops and gives evil laughs, because he’s basically a giant Asian cartoon stereotype. Not to worry, he wouldn’t be the last. Tony hypes a potential appearance from the Leprechaun later. I’m sure they’ll literally be hanging from the rafters for that one, Tony. Konan is still wearing an eyepatch from taking Woman’s shoe to the eye at Bash at the Beach, which Tony decides is slowing his quickness. I’d suggest the root cause is actually his intense laziness. Kurasawa claws at Konan’s eye, which the referee says is wrong, so Kurasawa apologizes with lots of bows. Kurasawa heads to the top, but misses a super senton – holy hell! Konan comes back with a rolling clothesline (what the HELL is the point of that exactly? It takes forever and can’t possibly add extra force), and finishes with the cross armbreaker at 4:42. * I guess the eye problems have taken the tequila out of his sunrise.
JIM POWERS and JOE GOMEZ vs. CHRIS BENOIT and ARN ANDERSON
This is a nifty little main event match. Arn starts with Powers, for whom he plays the world’s smallest violin. Then he does jumping jacks, and laughs his ass off, because he’s Arn frickin’ Anderson and he does what he wants. The announcers wonder if Arn is making a mistake taking Powers too lightly, but eventually (rightly) settle that the only mistake he’s ever made is following Ric too closely and not making a serious run at the belt himself. Benoit comes in, and gets roughed up by Powers. Gomez comes in to follow up, but he serves as Benoit’s chopping board. Arn runs the pretty boy’s face across the ropes, but Gomez escapes with a back bodydrop. Benoit re-enters to deliver the violence. Both guys focus on the elbow, presumably to set up the Crossface. Gomez dives for the corner, which only serves to get his ass cut off by Benoit, AND gets himself a lecture for his selfishness. Hah! Arn comes in but Gomez fights enough to get Anderson teetering – but Arn holds on to Gomez’s foot and tags back to Benoit. Chris, with little care for human life, kicks Gomez in the face and runs at him like a steam engine. He misses – and Gomez makes the tag to Powers! Benoit’s face is slammed to the buckle a dozen times, with the type of force that will turn a man’s brain to that of an 80 year old Alzheimer’s patient. Powers goes for a dropkick, but Arn hooks Benoit back from the blow, and Powers hits air. Benoit promptly kicks Powers to the back of the head, and hooks a 69 for the submission at 9:12???
Different floats for different boats I suppose. Good tag-team wrestling. **1/2
The announcers, with seconds left in the show to spare, wish to give a shout-out to Dentyne Gum, Seadoo, and Super Soaker XXP275. And right before sign off, Heenan starts speculating with 250,000 bikers in Sturgis that it’s a perfect set up for more outsiders to hide underneath helmets and help the nWo war. Tony asks how many he expects? Heenan figures up to 250,000. I can’t argue.
I've always been partial to WCW Worldwide, since it was the only WCW tv show on broadcast tv in my city when I was a teenager. Since I didn't have cable, I would try my hardest to stay awake until 1 am in order to watch it.
WWF Metal on the other hand was in the much more reasonable 12 am timeslot.
Wondering if anyone out there has come across a comprehensive year-in-review type feature, column or webpage yet? Just trying to put together a faux year in review for Inside The Ropes and looking for a good point of reference.