In response to Saturday Night’s latest from the Dungeon of Doom, Dr. Unlikely weighs in:
This was the vignette that I was cryptically hyping back during the original runs of these retro-recaps. I think, like most of us, I really did not like Kevin Sullivan at the time this stuff was actually happening, but looking back on them now I can see a beautiful, sad story being told about the Taskmaster's role as the Cassandra of wrestling, the one, true visionary who recognized the threat of the nWo and sought to rally a defense for it but was doomed to be ignored because of his past actions.
Consider that Sullivan himself, if we go by WCW history, may even be the man responsible for the nWo. It was he who helped plant a dark seed of evil into the heart of Hulk Hogan during Hogan's initial battles with the Dungeon of Doom. Did Sullivan know what he and The Master had done, and is that what so spurred him to form the Alliance To End Hulkamania, so he could stop the terrible problem he had created before it blossomed into a new world order? Is that how he brought Hogan's former friend Jimmy Hart into the fold, and why he built an army collecting many of Hogan's greatest foes (and Andre's son, The Giant) to do together what they could not do alone?
But again, despite being right and despite having a plan, Sullivan was doomed. Primarily, because it was his feud with Benoit that prevented the Dungeon of Doom and the Four Horsemen from uniting into a combined force that would have stopped the nWo right at the outset.
But even more primarily, because his plans apparently consisted of things like "Hey, Jimmy, you know how I said we gotta get ridda Benoit to save the dubbya-see-dubbya?" "That's right Taskmaster!" "Well, it's cool, I magically conjured up an evil leprechaun what oughta bite him to death."
Sullivan's plans to save WCW, as we see above:
-Find/magically create an evil leprechaun to literally eat Chris Benoit, thus allowing the Dungeon of Doom to bring a humbled Four Horsemen in line; make Jimmy Hart watch said evil cannibal leprechaun
-Use Maxx to stop the cannibal leprechaun from eating Jimmy Hart, the man we must assume that Kevin Sullivan has that faith in to be able to control The Giant and win Lex Luger back over to their side, thus gaining them Sting
-Bring in Big Bubba, newly energized by a spiritual awakening that his own form of justice was right all along, and use his expertise in battling Hulk Hogan to guide them
-Bring in super powerful son of Andre the Giant, Hogan's greatest nemesis, to directly counteract Hulk Hogan and keep Ric Flair in line
-I don't know, I guess the Faces of Fear kill the Outsiders? He kind of totally forgets to include them and his plans don't seem to ever directly address Nash and Hall, and it's like, come on, Taskmaster, bring back The Shark and you can have the best halves of the Twin Towers and the Natural Disasters, Hogan's greatest tag rivals, on hand to stop Hogan's hand-picked evil tag team. How do you not come up with that, man?
So yes, it was a terrible plan that failed almost immediately, but still, it was a plan! And the only one anybody ever had to actually do something about the nWo during the entire remainder of WCW's existence. So here's to Kevin Sullivan and to the Dungeon of Doom and WCW's demise, which happens right here on the Mothership, August the 10th, 1996. He delivered the bomb, alright.
(From here on out, I will largely be monitoring for the further adventures of Cobra and, of course, to see the Jimmy Hart respond to all of this by creating the First Family.)
I include this, because through the mania that represents the DoD, the good Doctor points out exactly what I was feeling throughout the two big matches at Hog Wild – that this bumbling group of idiots were the ONLY people who sat down and thought “hey, let’s DO something about the nWo.” Where in the hell was the rest of WCW? They were having their champion of their company attacked on all ends, while their belt was spiritually sodomized. And the cavalry somehow decided “you know what? That’s fine, it’s Hogan’s birthday, let him have his cake and violence too.”
This was the fatal flaw in WCW’s war. How could ANYONE cheer to get rid of a group of wrestlers who were smarter than a roster that had roughly 760 employees battling for air time (on shows like the preceding program!) So let’s forget Sting, Macho, and Luger for a moment. Sergeant Craig Pittman takes up hours of my screen time month in and month out. You’re telling me HE had nothing better to do that potentially defend WCW? They spent all this time on Monday with wrestlers surrounding the ring to defend themselves, but come the PPV with the WORLD TITLE – the most VALUABLE piece of WCW property on the LINE against these guys, nobody did a good goddamn thing.
It doesn’t bode well for the future, kids. It’s DoD or bust.
So with the PPV behind us, it’s time for WCW Worldwide. Will anyone respond to the previous night’s actions? No? This was taped months ago? Okay!
Our hosts are “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN and LEE MARSHALL. He’s greeeeeeeeat!
HIGH VOLTAGE vs. LOS GUERREROS
Heenan hilariously starts “reading” through the menu at Taco Bell. “I’ll have a Chavo, a Chavo Jr., a Hector, hold the Mando.” Guerreros work a series of fast tags against Rage, and Chavo goes to finish with a slingshot splash for 2. Heenan starts discussing the history of the Guerrero family, and the family dinners. “Afterwards, you reach for Pepto Guerrero”. Rage gets control on Eddie, but I can’t take my eyes off his tight pink singlet showing off his very apparent punt. Just no. Voltage shows some teamwork on Chavo, as well as their penii. Seriously, these guys went to the spandex store, and told the clerk “yeah, the extra small please.” The Festrunk brothers would be jealous, I assure you. The Guerreros try some sort of double team assisted thing which completely fails as a result of Chavo’s inability to get air, but he redeems himself with a moonsault pin on Kaos at 6:30. *1/2 Replays show a pretty sweet Rock Bottom delivered from Eddie on Kaos that the cameras completely missed.
KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. COUNTRY LEGEND CHAD BROCK
Usual from Kevin Sullivan. Anger, anger, anger, double stop, pin, drive through at 0:49. DUD Post-match, RON THE LEPRECHAUN bites Chad and Mark Curtis.
ICE TRAIN vs. MAXX
Train has nary a shoulder problem to be seen, while Maxx gets no entrance nor a journey to the Dungeon of Doom. Worldwide exists in its own vortex, where the only continuity is Braun the Leprechaun. Which is still a step up from Johnny B Badd’s WCW Prime. Maxx hits a flying shoulderblock which gets cruiserweight comparisons from Heenan, without the racist jokes. Maxx misses an elbow, and the Train Wreck is right there for the win at 3:27. *
BIG BUBBER (with Jimmy Hart) vs. CHIP MINTON
Heenan insists that at Hog Wild he wants “Pentagon Type Protection”. I’m sure we’ll get right on that, we’ll need to alert Last Night. Marshall mentions Minton is a winter Olympian. Heenan: “What does that mean, he made snowballs?” Big splash misses from Bubba, and Minton throws a series of short headbutts to his midsection getting 2. Then Bubba remembers he’s facing a jobber, throws a clothesline, a lazy Pedigree, and finishes with the Bossman Slam at 3:05. *
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND hypes Hog Wild.
ROUGH & READY vs. HARLEM HEAT (with cell phone) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
Main event time with about 20 minutes left in the show. The cell phone appearance puts the time of recording back around 2 months earlier. Heenan disappears from the booth for some reason. During the pier six brawl, Heenan comes back. He says a limo had appeared out back, so he wanted to investigate. At WORLDWIDE?? Heenan confirms it’s not the Outsiders. I’m bloody shocked. Stevie Ray pairs off with Enos, and tosses him around the ring with an arm wringer. Good for him, he’s expanded his moveset. Booker enters, because the talented one is also the whoppin’ boy. Booker kicks his way out of the attack from Slater, getting enough to score a 2. Slater pops up wanting to brawl, and then digs deep into his Southern roots to pull out … an STF. Enos keeps Booker in the heel corner, and Slater slams Booker’s knee around the ringpost. Enos grapevines the injured leg, but Booker breaks the hold with a thumb to the eye. Booker gets a mild tag, and the Heat double teams Slater. Booker hits a jawbreaker, and Stevie drops a leg for 2. Booker re-enters so that he can get beat up some more, taking a backdrop from Slater for 2. Enos tosses Booker with an overhead belly to belly release suplex for 2. All 4 start to brawl again, and Slater kicks Booker to the floor. Enos promises to finish, but Booker blocks a vertical suplex, and retaliates with one of his own. In comes Stevie, with an AWFUL clothesline for 1. He’s getting embarrassing. Slater throws a few headbutts to Stevie, but he has a head of rocks so Stevie no-sells and hits some of his own. Slater hits a swinging neckbreaker, and Enos helps a double team. Booker breaks it up and tags in, only to eat a powerslam. Stevie picks up the phone and says “right now”. Heenan suspects it’s Hogan. Harlem sidekick from Booker to Enos gets the pin at 11:52. Who in their right MIND gave these guys 12 minutes on Worldwide?!? 1/2*
The announcers wrap. But who was on the cell phone? There is no time for such questions – goodnight from WCW!
The start-up costs of a wrestling promotion in this day and age is just astronomical. ECW was not a competitor to the WWF, not even close. It was an alternative, but it was never a pimple on McMahon's ass.