CHRIS CRUISE and DUSTY RHODES promise “a lot of wrestling action” which would make this the first time that’s ever happened on this show. We’ll check out Hulk Hogan schmoozing with celebs, and Cruise asks the question on everyone’s mind: “Craig the Pitbull Pittman … what can you say about him?” He can’t wrestle, he can’t emote, he doesn’t connect with the crowd, his finisher is performed better by 100 different guys on the roster as transition moves, he has the lowest star per match rating through the year to date, and I get angry every time he’s placed in a featured match on WCW Prime. Though, that’s just off the top of my head, and I doubt Cruise really wanted an answer.
HUGH MORRUS vs. SGT. CRAIG PITTMAN (with Teddy Long)
May as well get this over with. Teddy vows to show the Dungeon of Doom “what it’s all about” – whatever the hell THAT means. Pittman does push ups, and goes into the test of strength with Morrus. He wins easily, and then takes Morrus down with a waistlock. Morrus laughs and heads to the floor, while Pittman does more pushups. Hell, I’d just let him keep on pushing up til he collapsed, then rush in for the pin – but Morrus ain’t all there and does some pushups of his own. Pittman retaliates by doing one handed pushups, and FINALLY someone uses their head and Morrus drops an elbow on Pittman. Scoop slam sets up the top rope elbow, but Pittman dodges it and hooks Code Red. Morrus makes the ropes, then puts Pittman on the top rope and chops him to the floor for a DQ at 4:27. Cruise: “The referees are getting strict about this!” Since WHEN? DUD
KENSUKI SASAKE vs. CHRIS BENOIT
Cruise brings up the fact Sasake is a former US champ, but Dusty blows him right off telling him “ain’t nobody better athletically than Chris Benoit”. The two trade off some pretty stiff chops before Sasake press slams Chris, and he rolls to the floor. They start talking Joe Gomez, and Dusty’s so excited he might bring some “marachias and tacos”. Marachias – I’m telling you, planet Dusty is the greatest place on earth to visit. Benoit slams Sasake, and flashes the four. Stiff forearm shot gets 2. Sasake retaliates with a back elbow. Abdominal stretch is hooked on Benoit in the centre of the ring, but Benoit escapes easily. Still, Sasake powerslams Benoit, and Cruise notes that’s how he won the US title – but Benoit kicks out at 2. Powerbomb gets 2! Cross armbreaker is applied, but Chris pulls himself to the safety of the ropes. Benoit immediately hits the Dragon Suplex and gets the win at 4:45. Benoit promises he’ll never die. We cut to commercial before he can add to that statement, thankfully. **
Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan has video packages. Which is better than Hulk Hogan being HERE.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. FIT FINLAY
This is Finlay’s first appearance since his street fight with Regal on Nitro, and thankfully the mullet is still very much in tact. Heel vs. heel here; and I get the sense Finlay’s a little more willing to get his elbows dirty than Page is. Sure enough, he claws at DDP’s face, and Page rushes to the outside of the ring for safety. Carefully he re-enters, and Finlay clotheslines him viciously. To the outside they go, where Page is slammed on the bare floor – which Dusty calls “the whole banana!” I never, ever want to hear the words “whole banana” ever used on my wrestling programming again, thank you. Back in, Finlay misses a blind charge at hits the post – Page is right on him with a Diamond Cutter for the win at 2:50. I don’t get this one, sorry, Finlay was being pushed as a major potential player – and now he’s being used as job fodder to boost Page’s stock on the 5th most important WCW show? *
“DESPERADO” JOE GOMEZ vs. MANNY FERNANDEZ
Chris Cruise points out Gomez’s selling points: he is taller than Fernandez, and has a better tan. Who can argue with that? Fernandez pulls Gomez’s hair because he’s such a scoundrel, but Gomez sweeps the legs out from Manny and gets 2. Fernandez takes control back with some well-timed punches, but Gomez comes back with a dropkick and a shoulderblock gets the pin at 3:08. Not an impressive display of whatever it is we’re supposed to be seeing in Gomez. DUD
DEAN MALENKO vs. MIKE HEYNER (for the WCW World Cruiserweight title)
Dusty finally gives a mention to the WWF Invasion with Razor Ramon and Diesel – saying he wishes WCW would consider letting him slap on a pair of tights and defend the company, but apparently they’re sticking to him being retired. If only that stuck. Heyner, the clear #1 contender to this title, gets in a schoolboy and nearly steals the title with a 2. That’s it though, as a flipover hotshot, followed by a reversed Indian deathlock scores the pin at 2:13. 1/2*
THE FACES OF FEAR vs. HARLEM HEAT vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY (in a Triangle Moo Match of the Week)
They’re billing this as the first ever triangle tag-team match, but I’m guessing that’s nonsense on a hunch more than anything else. Now, I’ve been doing this series for 6 months now, and you think I’d have as strong a feel about the product as anyone, but even I can’t tell you who the hell the faces are in this match. I suspect it’s Harlem Heat – but they’re vicious heels against the likes of the Steiners, LOD, and Sting & Luger, so really, it’s match dependent and I don’t like it. Rocco hits a rana off the top rope onto Stevie Ray, but gets press slammed seconds later. The Heat hit a double clothesline, while Cruise struggles to tell Booker and Stevie apart. Barbarian runs Booker over with a clothesline, and then hits a sweet powerslam by catching Booker mid-leapfrog! Booker fires back with a Harlem sidekick, and turns it back to his useless brother. Meng tries to save, but Booker’s all up in the referee’s grill yelling “GET THAT SUCKA OUTTA HERE!” Meng winds up tagging in anyway, and the Fear double team Stevie Ray (or Booker T if you’re Chris Cruise). Booker comes in, which Cruise correctly identifies, meaning in his world, Booker tagged in Booker. Meng chops away, and hits a dropkick for 2. Grunge comes in, and eats a couple of forearm shots from Booker. Chinlock is applied, because if anything needs slowing down it’s a 3-way tag-team match. Grunge escapes, and Booker tags in Barbarian. TPE works over Barbarian in the corner, but Meng sneaks in and dropkicks Rocco. Rock attacks, Meng doesn’t care for that, and destroys him with a powerbomb. Cruise: “Meng comes in against the Barbarian.” All hell breaks loose, but Rocco hits Barbarian with a crossbody off the top and it’s enough at 7:46. *
For all intents and purposes, this entire program was terrible. Saturday Night is next; and let’s hope the jobbers there are a little more colourful than the bland crew we got on Prime this week.
I don't think TNA is ready to pull the trigger on Hernandez yet. Whether that's a good idea or not remains to be seen because either they have another Batista (slowly gain personality, improved single's work, title run)