After Hulk Hogan’s emotional promo on Nitro that turned the fans from a Heel Crowd to Nuclear Heat in 0.3 seconds, two big questions loom for fans of the Prime … 1) Who is replacing Dusty Rhodes this week, and 2) Is Johnny B Badd still in the opening credits? In reverse order, Johnny is STILL here some 4 months after his WWF debut, and the other answer …
MIKE TENAY joins CHRIS CRUISE who is hiding behind a Hulk Hogan poster, before smashing it to the floor. They’re here to hype Hog Wild, and hate on Hogan a lot.
GOLDBERG PAT TANAKA vs. JOE GOMEZ
Tenay immediately wins me over by stating that Tanaka’s quick as a cat, almost “El Gato” assuming he were Mexican. Gomez flattens Tanaka with a sledge, and sends him packing to the floor. Back in, Gomez misses a dropkick, and Tanaka connects on a roundhouse kick. Gomez fires back with karate chops, and Gomez hits the double chop for the win at 2:52. 1/2*
BILLY KIDMAN vs. VK WALLSTREET
Tenay dubs Kidman a top rookie with a poor win/loss record. In short, he’s the Wily Peralta of WCW. Expect Peralta to break out in 3 years. Continuing the baseball parallels, Wallstreet is essentially the 2013 Yankees. There’s nothing remotely impressive about him, everyone would prefer if he went away, but somehow he’s still treading water with a winning record. Kidman’s tornado bulldog gets 2. A second attempt winds up with Wallstreet falling back into a backdrop, and he dumps Kidman to the floor. Back in, Stock Market Crash finishes at 2:30.
OUR WORLD IS ABOUT TO CHANGE BUT DAMNIT IT’S TAKING ITS SWEET TIME
KURASAWA vs. SGT. CRAIG PITTMAN (with Teddy Long)
Kurasawa is a former Olympian; Pittman once went through the Olympic trials as a wrestler – and tying this all together is once again Mike Tenay who points out with the Atlanta Olympics ongoing, it’s a perfect mesh of international Olympian flair. Is it too much to hope Dusty isn’t in a big rush to return from vacation? Pittman does one armed pushups, and challenges Kurasawa to do the same. He can’t, and Pittman has a big belly laugh – except it was a total ploy to lower his guard so that Kurasawa could sweep his feet out. That was thoroughly enjoyable. Kurasawa beats Pittman down, but Pittman slithers across the ring commando style (the crawl, not in the nude) – and back on his feet he drop Kurasawa with a spear. Kurasawa leaps back up with a series of kicks. Top rope elbowdrop misses, and Pittman starts working the battering ram on the arm. Code Red is applied, and Kurasawa taps at 2:38. Cruise calls this a “shocking victory” because apparently he’s new here. DUD
DEAN MALENKO vs. CHIP MINTON
In a pre-tape, Malenko promises our next match will feature the greatest wrestler in the history of the sport – high praise to heap on newcomer Chip Minton. Minton is a former Olympic bobsledder, because of course he is. Malenko works a rear chinlock to all sorts of crazy canned heat. Malenko uses an abdominal stretch, and cheats with the ropes without getting caught. Minton telegraphs a high sunset flip, but it works for 2. A backslide also gets 2. Deano fires back with a clothesline, and a tigerbomb gets the win at 4:05. *
THE STEINER BROTHERS promise to win the tag-team titles back. Rick screams that they’ve been all over the world, blah blah blah dogpound, blah blah blah. I did about squirt soda out my nose when Rick mispronounces “Pubic Enemy”.
ARN ANDERSON vs. MIKE HAYNER
Hayner is of course the artist eventually known as Prince Iaukea. Anderson nails a fireman’s carry takeover, to a surly round of boos. Arn misses a pair of elbow drops, and Hayner rolls to the safety of the outside. A top rope dropkick from Hayner gets 1, and that might about finish his offense. Arn chokes the future Prince out, and blocks a sunset flip by just sitting down on him. Spinebuster finishes at 2:54. 1/2*
MEN AT WORK V3.0 vs. HARLEM HEAT (for the WCW World Tag-Team titles)
Tenay finally brings up that Kanyon suffered what may be a career ending ankle injury, which is why Winner has taken his place. Cruise suspects Harlem Heat forgot to wear their tag-team titles; I suspect this was taped in 1989. Harlem sidekick drops Starr off the bell, but he comes back with a crossbody on Booker for 1. Winner pairs off with Stevie Ray, who levels Winner with a clothesline. Booker snapmares Winner, but misses an elbow drop. Starr hits a dropkick on Booker, and I guess this is basically the heat segment. Stevie kicks Starr in the back to break up the offensive attack, and Booker nails a forearm smash. In comes Stevie with the mild tag, where he chokes out Winner. Booker comes back, and we have a double clothesline spot. Pier 6 breaks out for some reason, and a Harlem Sidekick from Booker on Starr sets up a Heat Bomb for the win at 5:03. **
Meanwhile, CHRIS CRUISE is ripping up Hulk Hogan’s bandana, and blows his nose with it. Cruise promises what he did at Bash at the Beach will NEVER be forgiven. EVER! MIKE TENAY wraps things up with more energy than Dusty’s exhibited since 1943. Write to WCW, demand Mike Tenay. They might even Fed Ex you a blank response.
At the last two wrestlemanias I attended the meet & greets. Lemme explain how things went: WM20: We were ushered into a room, where 8 wrestlers were sitting behind a long table. They signed a placemat we all received with the PPV logo and such.