After several weeks of absolute chaos in the WCW schedule, I can confirm, officially, that WCW Saturday Night is BACK to 2 hours long. Our long national nightmare is over. Of course now, I’m Canadian so it’s YOUR long national nightmare, I’m more concerned about the fact I keep seeing SNOW at least once a week.
BigDaddyLoco:What is starting to stand out to me is the amount of dead performers on these shows. I think we have had some episodes of Saturday Night with more, but I count seven on tonight's.
I’ve kinda strayed away from the deceased topic because I don’t want these recaps to be a downer; but rather a memory of WCW in both the great and ridiculous manner it went about business. It’s hard to ignore; and I’ve taken my fair share of shots at Benoit during this process.
There was a show awhile back I cringed regularly watching, because TPE and the Nastys repeatedly bashed each other in the skull with all sorts of plunder, with ZERO regard for anyone’s safety. Is it a WONDER that Rocco and Grunge are gone? They masked their lack of in-ring ability with a willingness to take unprotected headshots; in exchange they probably make a few hundred thousand dollars during their careers, and died before the age of 40.
Thankfully, I think we’ve learned, to some degree, that maybe getting your brain knocked around isn’t a healthy life decision. It’s entirely possible that steroids aren’t the health disaster the media often plays them up to be and that there are benefits to them, but when coupled with the word abuse and now you’re in trouble. I look at these things like alcohol. A social drink a couple times a week won’t kill you, and there might even be some health benefits. But pound back a litre of vodka a day, and your liver may just shut down.
This wrestling business is a carnival of bodies willing to do anything, ANYTHING, to make a few bucks. And I’m a giant hypocrite who loves seeing guys risk it all for the sake of entertaining me. I don’t always feel good about that, especially knowing what could (or did) happen, but when I’m stuck in the moment and watching incredible things transpire that appear to be super-human ... well, I’m just a simple mark.
I give Vince a world of credit for taking the safety of his performers up a notch. It may not be perfect, but wrestling never will be. It’s not safe, no matter how we slice it, and we will continue to lose performers once in awhile at an age that’s far too young. Hopefully, with time, we’ll see those lives extended another 10, 20, and 30 years, and they’ll be able to reap some rewards from their life’s work.
To be continued ... on with the show.
The more I see the wrestling cyborgs in the opening of this show, the more I realize just how dated the 90’s are becoming. My kids are going to think I’m old, aren’t they?
DUSTY RHODES and TONY SCHIAVONE are all over Macho’s most recent arrest; a now weekly occurance!
SHARK vs. RANDY SAVAGE
I guess Savage made bail, which is a pretty impressive feat seeing as how his ex-wife is throwing his money all over arenas throughout the country. Shark gets his eye gouged, which does serious damage. It’s almost as though he’s not a Shark, he’s a man, although not for a few more weeks. He comes back with a slam, and misses his big fat legdrop. Savage attacks with a knee that sends Shark sprawling to the outside, and Savage rams him head first into the ring post. Savage tries a slam, but Shark is way too fat for that, and he falls on top for 2. Shark shows his fin, and heads up to the second rope for a Shark Attack, but it misses! Savage quickly rushes to the top and hits the elbow for the win at 2:46. Then he threatens to kill everyone in the arena for good measure, starting with Nick Patrick and Randy Anderson. 1/2*
Meanwhile, we get some footage of Savage’s arrest on Nitro. It’s basically way too many shots of Savage swearing his ass off on his way to the back of a police car.
THE NASTY BOYS vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY
The Enemy rush Brian Knobbs in the aisle, and run him head first into the ring steps! Then they do it again, because why not. Saggs is then targetted, directly in the ribcage, which is heavily bandaged from the street fight on Nitro. Somehow this becomes an actual match, tagging in and out despite me not having heard an opening bell, or any of this being particularly legal. Saggs is given a second rope headbutt from Grunge, but he still manages to recover enough to power loose from an attempted piledriver. Rocco comes in with a standing senton, and then bites Saggs’ nipple. Now that’s hardcore. Miscommunication leads to TPE clotheslining each other, but Knobbs is still out. Where the hell is the medical staff? Rocco hits a top rope senton, and finally Knobbs is on his feet with a trash can and he starts waling on both men. Of course THAT gets DQed at about 5:18. Can these teams stop facing each other now? DUD
TONY SCHIAVONE talks to the STEINER BROTHERS about being on opposite sides of the ring at Slamboree. Neither is particularly excited about the prospect of having to do battle; and honestly I’m not sure Rick even understands what’s happening.
The WCW Cruiserweight tournament is updated; but the lack of brackets and the seemingly randon matches aren’t making this easy.
“EARL” ROBERT EATON vs. STEVE DOLL (in a WCW Cruiserweight Title tournament match)
Winner of this is headed to Japan to face one of Rey Mysterio Jr., Psychosis, Jushin Liger, Shinjiro Ohtani, or Chris Benoit. Oh. Steve Doll is way too big to be a cruiseriweight, don’t give me this crap WCW. Dusty recounts a story about when the Steiners were brothers, and I’m without my Advil. Eaton hits a good looking backbreaker. Tower of London finishes at 2:20. *
Your WCW Propaganda of the week; the burial of Johnny B Badd at the hands of one “Lord” Steven Regal.
A quickie video package recaps the feud between Fit Finlay and Steven Regal.
FIT FINLAY vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL (with Jeeves)
Less intensity to start than our other encounters, as Finlay works a chinlock. However, then the fun starts, with a Shining Wizard from Finlay. Regal comes back with an atomic drop, and hits a butterfly suplex for 2. Finlay hits an elbow, and then grinds it into Regal’s face in the ensuing cover. Regal is dragged by the head as Finlay heads outside, and Regal’s face is smashed in the corner of the apron. Regal comes back with palm thrusts, and now he grinds the elbow into Finlay’s nose. Finlay blind charges, but Regal sidesteps and he eats post. With Fit on the apron, Regal clotheslines him HARD off of it. There was no holding back on THAT one. If that isn’t enough, Finlay gets dropped face first across the guardrail. Regal now grabs a chair, and swings his home run swing – but he only hits the post as the chair flies away. Finlay tears up the mat to expose TV cables and concrete. With this newfound weapon, he starts rubbing Regal’s face into it, and the referee calls for the bell at 4:16 because these two are ridiculous. Finlay piledrives Regal anyway, because he can’t be contained by no bell. **
A young ZACK RYDER sits in the front row.
Woo woo woo
“DIRTY” DICK SLATER vs. THE GIANT (with Jimmy Hart)
I believe the South would call this a “whoopin’”. Dusty starts doubting the Giant can be beaten one-on-one, and I’d LOVE to buy that except Hogan’s done it a few times already. Maybe Dusty doesn’t watch pay-per-view. Chokeslam finishes at 2:52, and I feel I’ve written those words 40 times this year. 1/2*
TONY SCHIAVONE rushes on to the scene to get words with the Giant and Hart. Giant reminds us that the World Title is his legacy, and he’ll be walking out of Nitro with the belt.
CHRIS BENOIT vs. ALEX WRIGHT (in a WCW Cruiserweight Title tournament match)
Wright is particularly fired up tonight, and he’ll probably need it because Benoit’s not going to go light. In fact, the chops Wright eats about 5 seconds in are top quality; I’m a little surprised he’s not bleeding from the chest. Alex comes back with a spin wheel kick, and aggressively stomps away. Flying elbow gets 2. The referee tries to pull Wright off Benoit, and Benoit uses the distraction to throw a forearm smash. Benoit ties Wright’s leg up in the ropes, and shoves the referee away who keeps threatening to DQ him. On thin ice, Benoit rips Wright out of the ropes and applies a Lion Tamer. Wright seeks solace in the ropes, and Benoit angrily gets in Nick Patrick’s face. Half crab is worked, with Benoit standing on Wright’s ear. Kids, that’s no joke. Benoit releases, and hits a backdrop suplex for 2. The pair start rolling around in a punching match, which the referee breaks up. Benoit complains about hair pulling, but Patrick tells him to knock off the BS. So Chris just ties Wright up in the ropes again, but his dropkick attack misses, and Wright escapes. He beats Chris down with a pretty rough ground and pound, and hits a belly to belly overhead for 2! A trifecta of European uppercuts drop Benoit. Scoop slam sets up a slingshot splash for 2. Knee to the face sets up a monkey flip, but Benoit sits down, holds the rope, and steals the win at 6:24! This may be Wright’s best match ever. ***1/2
ARN ANDERSON meets Benoit in the back, to shake his hand. Benoit says he hopes that Arn’s done with the Dungeon of Doom, causing KEVIN SULLIVAN and JIMMY HART to get in Benoit’s face. Sullivan tells him to say it to his face. Benoit responds by telling Sullivan that the next time he ever hits a Horsemen that he’d better knock him out, because if he gets up, it’s game over.
Secret video footage sees DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE washing windshields for people driving by, and asking for $5 per person. Naturally, the drivers don’t care for THIS, and much swearing results. DDP beats it out of town when the cops swing by.
THE BOOTY MAN (with Kimberly) vs. TED ALLEN
Schiavone calls Allen “a great wrestler, talented man”. When, in 1981? Three high knees send the Nightmare back to dream land at 1:15. DUD
STEVE ARMSTRONG vs. MENG
Meng cracks me up by backing Armstrong to the corner, breaking cleaning making sure to pat him on the chest in a show of sportsmanship, then making the monster face and beating him down. Armstrong tries a cross armbreaker in midair, but Meng just holds in there with the one arm and slams him down. Armstrong tries a missile dropkick, but just winds up getting caught and catapulted into the buckle. Meng chokes the life out of Armstrong, breaks at 4, and then does it again, making sure only to break at 4. There’s cheating, and then there’s Meng. Camel clutch gives Meng ample time to cut a promo: “Oooooh ahhhhhh! Hoooooooh ahhhhh!” Armstrong gets loose and punches Meng in the head which is about as smart as microwaving a 6 pound brisket. Meng powerbombs Armstrong, which sets up a superkick for the win at 5:00. My heart says *****, but objectively it was probably about *1/2
HARLEM HEAT vs. STING and LEX LUGER (for the WCW World Tag-Team Titles)
Now I don’t want to accuse WCW of racism or anything, but these kids are the only ones shown rooting for Harlem Heat during their intros:
Luger works Stevie Ray into a rage pre-match by talking all kinds of nonsense, so Sting plays peace maker and starts with Booker. They start off by botching a leapfrog and Sting just plows him over with a spear. Booker’s put in a headlock, and like a good Christian, Sting thrusts his hips in Stevie’s direction. Oh my! Luger puts Booker on the mat, and Sting drops a leg. Booker jabs Luger in the eye, who turns things over to Sting. Booker chokes him in the corner, but Sting explodes out with a clothesline. Luger gets a vertical suplex for 2. Booker kicks his way out of the corner, and tags in Stevie. Double team clothesline drops Luger, and Stevie goes deep in the well of moves, using his rarely seen “punch” maneuver that he must have learned in Japan or something. Booker comes back in because Stevie has nothing left, and works a chinlock. The hold is released, and Booker lets Luger get to his feet, only to flatten him with a flying jalapeno. Stevie drops a couple of legs for 2. Chinlock is applied, but Luger fights loose. Both guys go down in a double clothesline spot, and Sting calls for a tag. JIMMY HART rushes down with a white towel in hand, and he throws it in ending the match at 8:57. The official announcement is that Harlem Heat gave up, which is kind of ludicrous. Sting is NOT happy. **
WCW Propaganda spot; Lex Luger slaughters Mark Calloway.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants a word with the tag-team champions. Sting promises the next time he sees Jimmy Hart he’s going to knock him out. Luger feels the same way, and doesn’t want to win this way. Sting says the minute he sees Hart, he’s going to be taken out of wrestling ... for good. Sting wants a rematch on Nitro, and Luger’s good with it. And that’s a wrap.
Special thank you to John Tenta, Randy Savage, Rocco Rock, Johnny Grunge, Steve Doll, Ted Allen, Randy “Pee Wee” Anderson, Woman, and Miss Elizabeth who were all featured or seen in video packages throughout the night for giving it their all to entertain us. I hope each of them are resting in peace.
And to you too Michael Ryan. Thank you for taking a little time back in 2005 to introduce me to the local independent scene, and showing me a great time. The outpouring of love from the Ottawa and Montreal wrestling community that I am seeing on Facebook speaks volumes about the kind of person you were. You loved the wrestling business more than anyone I’ve ever had the pleasure of chatting with. If I can find my copy, I’ll take a little time to review the ISW DVD you hooked me up with, and the complete and utter chaos you helped mastermind. All the best my friend.
You do realize if the split up desegregate the Nasty Boys and Public Enemy that means 2 matches a show involving those teams rather than 1, right? Put that way, let the feud become Jimmy Valiant vs. Paul Jones' Army and last forever.
I love Meng. His matches on these episodes are the ones that I immediately look for on YouTube after reading the recaps. Shame he never got a main event push, but understandable considering the stories about how he probably would never drop the belt once he had it because no one could legit beat him up.
Benoit was astounding/frightening to watch from this period until the end. The ferocity of his moves and the intensity of his demeanor makes me think that the only crazier person in the ring than him was the guy who agreed to the match. I hope you're still recapping in 1997 when I predict that Meng fights Benoit in a Death Match at Slamboree.