Sunday, December 31, 2006
When Sting first came upon the wrestling scene, big, brutish, face painted mongrels were very common in the world of wrestling. Sting and his then partner (Jim "Warrior" Hellwig) were no different. But, over the years, as he gained in ring time, confidence, and ability, as well as fan support, Sting crafted a style all of his own. He worked a strong style, mixed with brawling and a lot of high flying. He was one of the first main eventers to implement high flying, risky moves into his arsenal. Also, in regards to character, the "silent" Sting angle drew huge money all the while it was used and Sting pulled it off brilliantly.
2) Conditioning- 9/10
There is no questioning Sting's physique over the years. He has always been in phenomenal shape. His cardio is excellent, and he has had his share of long bouts over the length of his career. His shape wasn't as good as it used to be when he joined TNA, but since has shaped up. The only thing stopping Sting from getting a 10 is his self-admitted pain killer usage.
3) Skill- 8/10
Sting, is not the most scientific of wrestlers, that is not even an argument. But, there is so much more to the show than that. Over the years, Sting has had decent matches with mediocre talent, and great matches with decent talent, and a few classics with great talent. You're only as good as the opponent you're in the ring with and Sting has had to face some awful guys in his past, but his intensity and fire have pulled him through it. I heard Ric Flair say he always thought Sting was great, but never reached his true potential, and I have to agree. As good as Sting was, very rarely was he pushed to the limit during his career and I would say that is what stopped him from reaching his true potential.
4) Psychology- 10/10
This is a score that doesn't come easy to give. Sting, as he has progressed through his career, has learned a lot about wrestling. I think his psych isn't so much about selling a certain body part or playing off an injury, which he has done, but with getting the fans involved in what he does. When Flair turned on him and joined back with the Horsemen in 95, Sting played to the fans, showing his complete disappointment in what had transpired. Just recently, he was stalked in his personal life by Jeff Jarrett and even put his career on the line to get a title shot with him, and he played it exactly to the tee, with having great reservations about doing it. If I was to rate him during the dying days of WCW, I would have ranked him much lower, as I would have everyone involved, but since then, Sting has showed a lot of maturity in his game.
5) Interviews- 5/10
I'm not really a fan of Sting's mic work. Being in main event programs and being a main star, we are so used to hearing certain people speak, but rarely do we really listen to what they are saying. Sting rarely has anything witty or original going on in his promos; I often hear him meandering around basic topics, such as revenge, or titles, or whatever. The fire he has when in front of the fans performing is never shown during his interview time.
6) Character- 7/10
Sting has went from a California beach boy who liked to fight around, to a hero for the fans of wrestling, fighting any evil athlete who came his way, to a "Crow" like character, bent on revenge, to now the aging legend, looking for one last run at glory, and he's pulled it all off while wearing face paint. To have the longevity Sting has had, you need to be able to adapt and change and he certainly hasn't done it in the ring, so he has in character. And while I wouldn't say is exactly with the times, I would say he still brings a certain merit and credibility and wisdom to his style. Sting has been a perennial face, which never being a heel costs him some points, but not enough to overshadow his innovative accomplishments.
7) Fans- 10/10
Probably his strongest category. Sting has had an overwhelming popularity with wrestling fans since his early days in the NWA. He has always seemed to be dedicated to them, even though he has had a few lazy periods in his career. The fire he had and charisma with the people was one of the things that drew a wrestling fan into his work. Sting also remained loyal to his fan base; he didn't jump ship to McMahon just for the money and even if you don't like Sting or his work, I think you have to respect that.
8) Basics- 6/10
Haven't seen a lot of evidence of Sting's awareness of the building blocks of wrestling, but he can throw a mean strike. Once in a while, he pull out some knowledge; an armdrag sequence, a few rest holds, but his transitions are pretty weak and have degraded as he's gotten older. But, he definitely knows enough and what he knows looks good enough to pass in a match.
9) Matches/ Feuds- 10/10
Being the flagbearer for a whole promotion, like Sting was for so long, you get to face the top talent that comes through and Sting has battled against every top name that ventured through the doors of WCW. His feuds with Rick Rude and Vader were among his best, both story and in ring, wise. He also worked programs with all of the various super heel groups that dominated WCW during it's time, such as The Four Horsemen, The Dangerous Alliance, and the New World Order. He's also had long running feuds with the Great Muta and Ric Flair, both the likes of which made him a star in this business.
10) Gutcheck- 10/10
Again, reviewing the Stinger in this day and age, I give him a 10, whereas a few years ago, maybe not. Sting had a publicized drug problem, he had periods where he didn't care about his work, and probably even for himself, but like I said earlier, staying loyal to WCW and being the person that carried them through so many unprofitable years counts for something. I'm sure there were times when Sting had offers to join WWF for a lot more money than he made in WCW, but he stayed and carried the banner for the promotion. And for the most part, tried to make something of his matches, I would say, not phoning in every night like some past stars have been known to do. He made several tours of Japan, to make more big money and to hone his craft with the tough guys of wrestling. And now, in his late 40's, he came back to TNA, not because he is poor because I'm sure he's set for the rest of his life, but because it seems to me like he genuinely cares. His in ring has been substandard, barring his title match with Jarrett, but maybe now he'll pick up the ball and run with it like he did for so many years.
Final Score: 82
PO: Thumbs Middle
1) Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Vader – 5
2) Jean Paul LeVesque vs. Alex Wright – 4
3) Johnny B. Badd vs. Arn Anderson – 3
4) The Nasty Boys vs. Harlem Heat – 4
5) Kevin Sullivan vs. Mr. T – 1
6) Sting vs. Avalanche – 3
7) Hulk Hogan vs. The Butcher – 2
Duggan and Vader were briefly stiff with each other in a fairly enjoyable opener. Duggan’s push was coming to an end here and this was used as a stepping stone to get the Hulk-Vader feud going. Duggan went back to the mid-card and never held another title until he dug the TV title out of the trash in 1999. LeVesque, as if you didn’t figure it out already, is a very young Triple H. This went way too long for two rookies on a major show but LeVesque showed some glimpses of his future self. Badd was supposed to face the Honky Tonk Man but from what I’ve heard, Honky walked out when he found out he had to job. There wasn’t much to this one as they had a pretty simple match which feature Badd going over. The Nastys and Harlem Heat had a decent tag match but it quickly turned into a mess. Sags got dumped on the rail shins first in a lame spot after a lame brawl up the aisle. The Nastys won by DQ after Sherri interfered. There wasn’t really much to it. The only thing I can remember from the Mr. T match is that he couldn’t get his stupid looking ref shirt off and got beat by Sullivan. Afterward, Dave Sullivan, who was dressed as Santa Claus, ran in to save T and ended up getting his pants ripped off. Yeah … it was as dumb as it sounds. Sting and Avalanche had a tedious and forgettable match which featured shoving, taunting, shouting, and occasionally wrestling. And this went on for 15 minutes! Sullivan ran in for the DQ finish and the Hogan comes in with a chair. Lame. Speaking of Hogan, his match with Butcher featured nothing but backrakes and bad chair shots. There was also the occasional rest hold because they didn’t know how to do anything else. Hogan dropped the leg for the win then brawled with Sullivan some more. The best part of the show, thought, featured Vader totally punking out Hogan in the locker room and demanding a title shot. Good for Vader but bad for us for having to sit through this train wreck of a show.
2. Jean Paul Levesque vs. Alex Wright – 3
3. Johnny B. Badd vs. Arn Anderson – 4
4. Harlem Heat vs. The Nasty Boys – 6
5. Mr. T vs. Kevin Sullivan – 0
6. Avalanche vs. Sting – 4
7. Butcher vs. Hulk Hogan – 2
Vader and Duggan started out surprisingly stiff and heavy hitting and I was all about it. This match was exactly what it should have been, a semi-explosive opener to get the show started with a bang. Vader definitely brought out the best in Duggan, something few have ever done. Jean Paul (nowadays Triple H) and Alex Wright was a big ball of stink. They gave this one way too much time, especially considering they were both extremely green and neither could properly carry the other one to a decent bout. I think Alex Wright, the character, was ahead of its time – these days they could push it as an extremely homoerotic guy from San Francisco’s Castro district and really piss off people.
I was hoping Johnny and Arn would steal the show with an under appreciated gem, unfortunately, this was too akin to your average WCW Saturday Night throwaway match to be worth much. Arn was trying to work Badd over, but I just got the odd impression that Badd was more concerned with visualizing nibbling on Arn’s nuts than properly selling for him. Harlem Heat and Nasty Boys locking it up in the show’s sole tag team match, and, my personal favorite encounter of the show. Yes, I’ll be the first to say there were some major miscommunications and moments of pure sloppiness, but overall, this was a classic back-and-forth tag match that was loaded with physicality and bad stereotypes. One of the biggest botches of the show happened when Stevie Ray tried to do a front layout suplex on Jerry Saggs onto the guardrail, but came up short, and dropped him awkwardly shins first onto the steel barrier. The dynamic between older-white female manager Sister Sherri and her team of big black brutes was definitely not by mistake, and always the object of much curiosity of mine – was she just managing these guys, or, was she fucking them as well? I’ve seen Jungle Fever, and I’ve heard the rumors, so what exactly was Sherri in it for, the money, the giant dick, or both?
Mr. T should have stayed away from professional wrestling after being embarrassed by Roddy Piper in the ‘80’s. Instead, he shows up here, looking like an injured zebra, as for some odd reason he’s wearing skin-tight spandex adorned with referee’s stripes. Mr. T and Sullivan have a timid and super sloppy brawl that blows more tremendously than Sister Sherri in the hood. Avalanche, may he rest in peace, wrestled Sting in a pretty by the numbers big guy versus little guy match. I was kind of into it, but my gracious viewing buddies ordered a bunch of sausage and pepperoni pizza pies, so I was momentarily distracted from the debatably tolerable action on my TV screen.
I read about the main event of this show in some book or something, and immediately, it went up on my want list because it sounded so damn bad I just had to see it. And, the moment of truth came, as I finally watched it and this motherfucker was really outright horrendous! All I can honestly remember is a bunch of back rakes, a couple ridiculously soft chair shots after the match, and not much else. I don’t know who thought it was a swell idea to put Butcher (Brutus Beefcake) in a main event, but boy, did they ever fuck up royally. After the match in the dressing room, Hogan’s celebrating with a bunch of closet homosexuals and open drug addicts, when Vader bumrushes the scene and punks out Hogan, saying, “who’s really in charge of this company?” Hulk says, “you’re right, maybe it is Vader time” and shoves Vader, leading to an impromptu mosh pit in the locker room worthy of a From Autumn To Ashes show.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
1 Innovation- 1/10
There isn't much in the way of innovation that Lex brought to the world of wrestling in his long career. Lex was a muscle man powerhouse wrestler who meandered through his career, sometimes on top of the world, sometimes not. But, as far as bringing something new into wrestling, Luger never strayed far from what he was comfortable doing. The only thing he possibly could have innovated was using the Torture Rack, but that didn't have a major impact on the sport.
2 Conditioning- 8/10
Luger should get a 10 in this category: He was always known for his physical attributes, his adonis like physique, and his workout regimen. But, throughout his career, he has been plauged with using steroids, pain killers, and even harder stuff. Luger's face drooped so badly and he looked so feeble in his last few appearances, it is obvious all this drug abuse has taken a toll on him. But, he still ranks high because if Luger had anything, it was that he looked like a million dollars even…
3 Skill- 5/10
…if he wrestled like a buck fifty. In his younger years, Luger was tapped to be a major star in the future and certainly had all the credential. He started out in the Florida territory and worked his way into NWA. He worked major programs with major stars, but never quite got to that peak level. Only when Ric Flair jumped ship to WWF did he break through to become World Champion and flag bearer of a promotion. Luger has wrestled many long matches earlier in his career, but selling and bumping was never his strong suit. He was always a subpar worker who for whatever reason, be it fans, or promoters, stayed relatively near the top of the card.
4 Psychology- 5/10
Luger is a guy who never changed much from his younger years. Seems like the only thing that changed was he learned he could get away with doing less and still get the same push. Again, I wouldn't say Lex is the most psych devoid guy there is, but he keeps it simple. Maybe if this was something he would have strived to pick up, speaking of the intricacies of psychology, he may have looked better in the eyes of wrestling fans and had even more success.
5 Interviews- 6/10
I don't totally hate Lex on the mic; but, he has followed the pretty standard interview format for his whole career, which there' s nothing wrong with that, but if you can talk and have something to say, say it. Which leads me to believe he doesn't. Luger is dumbfoundedly articulate in his promos, and I haven't noticed himself tripping over his own words, so at least he has good poise in front of the camera.
6 Character- 5/10
Who is Lex Luger, the character? He's a guy who has been flopped around so many times during his career, he's never really had one. Probably his most famous is the All American hero, a role that I never felt like quite fit him. He never looked comfortable playing it, although the fans took to it pretty well. The best I've seen Luger excel in is when he's playing a slimy face, teetering on the edge of going heel. He seems to fit him for some reason. Luger isn't a hot heel, by any means, though even though he's probably more used to the role.
7 Fans- 6/10
At least the fans recognize Lex and have throughout the years. I'm sure he will be remembered as a "legend" by many fans when his name is mentioned throughout the years. But, I beg to differ; just because a man has stayed on top of wrestling for most of his years and achieved a certain amount of success doesn't make him a legend, as this review will show. When he was spearheading the movement for WCW against the New World Order, he was hugely over, as well as his WWF run. So, he definitley has had the fan support in years gone by. How they react to him now, is questionable, to say the least.
8 Basics- 3/10
I think even a 3 is too high for this category, but I'm sure over the multitude of matches he's had, he must know some basics. Besides knowing holds and being able to pull them off, Luger's strikes are suspect in many ways. He has a few different punches, I noticed, his best being his short hand jab. But, his reach way back to behind my back strike and forearm clubs are lacking in any enthusiasm. His kicks are basic, with no technique and his transitions and smooth spots are few and far between.
9 Match/ Opponent- 7/10
Anyone who's had the lengthy career of Luger is bound to have had some classic matches and opponents and Luger certainly has had his share of them. He has faced most of the top names from the last two generations of superstars and had decent from good matches with them. He had a classic fued with Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair (who didn't w/ Natch?) and some other good runs with Sting, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Nikita Koloff, Randy Savage, The Giant, and Hollywood Hogan. As far as classic matches, those are harder to find, but Luger has ran the gammet of feuds and opponents.
10 Gutcheck- 3/10
This score, I feel, is completely justified. Luger has taken WCW twice and WWF once on his back as their stars and only one of those times made any money and that was largely because of the brilliance of the WCW invasion angle with New World Order. To say his work ethic has been lazy as the years have pressed on is an understatement; his last years in WCW were abysmal and that is being Pope-like. Luger has never put his back on the line for any promotion and has been plauged with a few injuries that he used to the full degree. He has shown how selfish he is in the business (ditching WWF for more money with WCW while lying to Vince about his contract) and has given very little back to the industry that has kept him employed for so long. And he killed Elizabeth.
Total Score: 49
PO: Thumbs Down
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
This was, at least, the main event built up to be a big show: Undefeated Goldberg against Kevin Nash for the WCW Title. Can we stomach so much ego in one ring? We shall soon see!
1 Juvi Juice v. Rey Mysterio v. Billy Kidman- 8
Wow! This was freaking Icecapades Awesome! Okay, it was even better than seeing bad actors in costumes with ice skates on. Even still, these three seemed to glide across the ring with the greatest of ease and the most kick of ass of spots. It was really refreshing to see these guys again when they were still young and would try anything. Rey would just grab Juvi by the neck, like he was a bad German Shephard, and give him a hurricanrana out to the floor. One of the best three ways I've seen in recent memory. I would have like to see it get more time, but for the pace they kept, this was really appropriate.
2 Billy Kidman v. Eddie Guerrero- 5
Wow! Kidman wrestled again, but he was kind of a salty slug in this second match. But, matter not, because Eddie was deep in most heelish of moods- he had on cowboy boots, tight Levi's and a mullet that could choke a giraffe. There was some funny stuff with Rey hitting Juvi on the head with Eddie's boot on the outside, plus Juvi was wearing Eddie's leather jacket like he was his popular high school girlfriend. Both guys, in-ring, were hitting good stuff and Eddie was eventually pinned with a bomb ass Shooting Star. Great effort by all the guys involved, especially Kidman for hanging in there.
3 Norman Smiley v. Prince Ieakeau- 4
Everybody's favorite faux hardcore, screaming TNA jobber was in rare form in this Starrcade clinic. A match featuring two guys who combine a single fan's appreciation in the whole building got over 15 minutes to show their stuff… at Starrcade! Nash had the book; I guess he had an affinity for tiny wrestling shoes and Hawaiian dudes…much like I heard his wife does! Norman kind of just played with the Prince like they were in the Power plant before finally, eventually, pulling him into a Chicken wing. The finish was good, though.
4 The Cat v. Saturn- 2
We were discussing Saturn's failed singles career and then we realized the Cat had a pretty Shitay one himself. Sonny Onoo was at ringside doing his best impression of a moving Twinkie ( he was wearing a bright yellow ring coat.) This match was a joke, and the punchline was as funny as Scott Hall taking a dump on Sunny's hotel room food, well, wait a minute, that was pretty funny, okay, as funny as Scott Hall puking on Lex Luger on Nitro, well, hold on a second, that was damn funny as well, okay, it was as funny as Scott Hall's life falling apart.. Fine, the match was bad.
5 Brian Adams/ Scott Norton v. Fit Finlay/ Jerry Flynn- 4
If you're scratching your head looking at those 4 names, you're doing the same thing we were. This was an example of Bischoff over saturing New World Order to everyone. I thought this match had some potential in the stiffness department, but it was Finlay and Flynn that were pummeled.
6 Chris Jericho v. Konnan- 3
Jericho was pounded into dog food in a rather quick fashion in this throwaway, Nitro-esque match. Not a lot happened in this match; they went outside very briefly and put together some badly contrived spots with the steel steps, then they got back in the ring and Konnan got the duke.
'7 Eric Bischoff v. Ric Flair- 1
The setup for this match was the highest ratings Nitro had gotten in a while, when the Horsemen reformed- I guess someone( Bischoff/ Nash) thought it would be cool to do a match from it. Well, let me tell you, it reeked of stinktitude( if I may borrow a line from some second rate TNA talent). Flair got a few stiffy chops in on Easy E, but after that Curt Henning, in a bright blue tuxedo, showed up and gave Bischoff a "foreign object" that he used to beat Flair. Let's pause and accept this as wrestling reality and then move on.
8 The Giant v. Diamond Dalls Page- 5
I hadn't actually seen a DDP match in quite some time, but he still cared at this time in the game, luckily for us, because this match could have easily have been a long, slow, suicide thoughts ridden match. But, Page pulled some excitement out of Giant and Giant had to pull his knee out of Page's severed back after a sick backbreaker. They had a cool finish that I didn’t' see coming, as well as a Bret Hart run-in. Bret in WCW… God, there's so much material there, I just can't wrap my brain around it. He looked like I did in the 6th grade with high shorts and sneakers on. Maybe he thought it was recess, or thought he would revert back to childhood and pretend he didn't have a cow of a wife and a bad career going.
9 Kevin Nash v. Goldberg- 5
The historic streak ended, due to Nash's own politicking and he got the belt at the end of this match. It wasn't long, nor was it bad per se. Neither guy had much emotion in their sells; the only one Nash even made a facial for was when he was legitmately hurt from a rib breaker. Disco, Bamm Bam and Hall all had a hand in interfering, which brought down the score a little bit; as well as the scowling contest the two wrestlers had in the ring, which I'm sure is better than the Bratwurst eating blowjob event that would take place later that night with a pound of frozen dogs and the Nitro Girls. But, the crowd surprisingly erupted when the match was over, even if WCW had just washed their biggest draw down the toilet. It went down the drain much easier than Luger's murder weapon would a few years later.
2. Billy Kidman vs. Eddie Guerrero - 4
3. Norman Smiley vs. Prince Iaukea - 5
4. The Cat vs. Perry Saturn - 2
5. Brian Adams and Scott Norton v. Fit Finlay and Jerry Flynn - 4
6. Chris Jericho vs. Konnan - 3
7. Eric Bischoff vs. Ric Flair - 1
8. The Giant vs. Diamond Dalls Page - 5
9. Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg - 5
The opening three-way dance was exquisite. While watching it, I absolutely couldn’t get enough. It was fast-paced action, to say the least, with all three guys really working hard and sacrificing to entertain us. I’d take this over any Ring of Honor three-way any day of the week – here we didn’t just get crazy spot one after another, but brilliant crafted storytelling amidst the mayhem. I’d forgotten how good these guys were during this era. Directly afterwards, Eddie Guerrero saunters down to ringside and pummels Kidman in an impromptu match. Billy essentially played Eddie’s bitch, crawling around the ring, as the mullet-sporting madman went to town all over him. Kidman scored the surprise victory, however, with a sensational shooting star press that made me pour my fruit punch over my own head in excitement.
Smiley and Iaukea had no story that I could discern, and went a tad long given that crucial missing element; however, it was largely well-wrestled and Smiley’s submission finish was a pleasant surprise. Saturn and The Cat was extremely bad, and should have been reserved for an episode of WCW Thunder, and not given valuable time on their supposed biggest pay-per-view of the year.
The following tag match featured four big brutes, and managed to be mildly entertaining the short time it lasted. Jerry Flynn just looked ridiculous, with his larger than life mullet, and goofy look plastered on his face. I thought Jericho and Konnan might be worthwhile, but was definitely disappointed when all we actually got was nothing more than a mere glorified squash.
Bischoff and Flair was bad – I’d rather them had a public debate, airing each other’s dirty laundry, so to speak, than put us through this debacle. Both looked in no shape to be performing, and would have been better suited doing heroin with their respective trophy wives. DDP and Giant had a basic match, utilizing the familiar “big man bullies little man” formula, with the only memorable moment being a devastating backbreaker by Giant that likely had Page pissing blood for the next couple days.
Goldberg and Nash was a spectacle, that much is certain, but arguably a letdown in terms of what the crowd anxiously anticipated. It’s important in terms of historical significance, as Nash ended Goldberg’s infamous winning streak here, but otherwise patently insulting. The interference by Disco Inferno (whom I loathe), Bam Bam Bigelow, and Scott Hall didn’t help matters. I’m sure later that night, in a Washington D.C. strip club, over an order of chicken wings and draft beer, Bill and Kevin shared a laugh or two over how much money they were making, and how little they truly cared about the business and individuals who made them stars.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
1 Z-Man v. Bobby Eaton- 3
2 Team South Africa (Col. Deklerk/ Sgt. Kruger) v. Team USA (Steiner Brothers)- 0 3 Team Britain (Chris Adams/ Norman Smiley) v. Team Mexico (Konnan/ Rey Misteric)- 1
4 Team New Zealand (Jacko Victory/ Rip Morgan) v. Team Japan (Great Muta/ Masa Saito)- 2
5 Team Canada (Troy Montour/ Bull Johnson) v. Team U.S.S.R (Victor Zangiev/ Salmon Hashmikov)- 0
6 Terry Taylor v. Michael Wall Street- 3
7 Skyscrapers v. Big Cat/ Motor City Madman-1
8 Freebirds v. Ricky Morton/ Tommy Rich- 3
9 Team Mexico (Misteric/ Konnan) v. Team USA (Steiner Brothers)- 1
10 Team Japan (Saito/ Muta) v. Team U.S.S.R (Zangiev/ Hashmikov)- 2
11 Stan Hansen v. Lex Luger (Bullrope Match)- 4
12 Doom v. Arn Anderson/ Barry Windham (Street Fight)- 6
13 Team Japan (Muta/ Saito) v. Team USA (Steiner Brothers)- 6
14 Sting v. Black Scorpion (Cage)- 3
Man, this was a massive card! We start out with Zenk-Eaton( which Zenk was on a 35 match winning streak as told by his info card before the match. Remember when stats made matches seem more real and important?) Anyways, the content itself was really ambitious and not everything worked. Both men could throw great punches and could sail from the top rope tremendously. If this was a tighter match, it could have been pretty good. Next, we have our international tag tournament. Steiners mauled this team from South Africa (of all countries, why did they get a team?), including a brilliantly no sold front flip from the "high flyer" of the team onto Rick outside. He held his legs at the ankle, as if just having fucked him from a sitting position and laughed. (reminds me of my first time.) Britain and Mexico got along as well as their food mixes inside the digestive system of a human being. Then, we had New Zealand(again, why that country?) who got crushed by an extrememly poised Japanese combo. And finally, the worst match of the show featuring four guys who really looked as lost as could be. The Ruskies got the duke after a flubbed 2 count. The crowd looked as stupified as Jim Ross did as he saw Paul Heyman sitting next to him, open up a Magic 8-ball and inject the liquid content into his veins.
Next, we have Wall Street and Taylor. They had a 8:32 time limit. Go figure. Very basic stuff. The Skyscrapers blew through their large opponents then played a game where they fought with their own sense of morality on trying to figure out if they wanted to break Madman's neck. The Freebirds had a face painted Jamaican transvestite with them at ringside. All 4 of these guys could punch and really work a good tag to a degree, but none of them exhibited the latter quality in this bland encounter. Mexico and USA locked up in a wretched affair and again Rick no-sold and laughed it off. The announce team found it proper to point out the massive bruise that had developed on Misteric's ass. Then, Japan and Russia traded a few Germans, but ultimately ended in non-fabulous fashion.
Luger was pulled like a stubborn horse to what became an alltogether mess with Hansen. It is rare you can see a US Hansen match, but after you do, you could see why he moved to Japan (also because he likes those little sushimi rolls and sex with underage, pale skinned women and he was already banned from the local teenage morgue.) The street fight was refreshing and ahead of it's time. Both teams potatoed each other and bled real good, just like in a real street fight! And just because it finished uglier than Hacksaw Duggan's wife doesn't mean they would stop fighting. Now, that's dedication! The Tourney finals finally injected some actual wrestling into the darned lost cause and kept me entertained with both teams showing off their vast array of suplexes and the size of their pricks. The main event had it's flaws: first, the Bruiser was the ref and he looked like a fucking mascot for Long John Silvers. Then, Flair(who was under the mask) desperately tried to wrestle like he was someone else and while I admire his attention to detail, why strive to be anyone else when you are already best in the world? Sting took a good cage bump, but even his crowd heat couldn't make this worthwhile.
Overall, a fun show to watch but quality wise, not the best.
Oh my God! It’s the Black Scorpion!! … And he seriously sucks.
1) Bobby Eaton vs. Tom Zenk – 4
This was an entertaining bout that had it’s share of miscues. There was a nice suplex on the ramp and Jim Ross compared Eaton to a NASA satellite. Hmmm. Eaton won with a small package after Zenk missed a top-rope dropkick. A good opener that set a decent pace.
2) The Steiner Brothers (Team USA) vs. Sgt. Krueger & Col. DeKlerk (Team South Africa) – 2
This was the first round of the Pat O’Connor Tag Team Tournament (hereby referred to as the POC3T) and it was a total squash. Krueger and DeKlerk were supposedly from South Africa and made the trip only to get their asses beat by the Steiners. I forget who tried a top rope dive on Rick Steiner on the floor but it didn’t work as Steiner just kinda caught him and did nothing.
3) Norman Smiley & Chris Adams (Team England) vs. Rey Misterio & Konnan (Team Mexico) – 3
Another first round match in the POC3T. This was somewhat competitive and it was cool to see Smiley before he started screaming. Misterio’s name was misspelled on the graphic as “Misteric”. This did not belong on a pay-per-view. Misterio and Konnan advance to the delight of no one.
4) Jacko Victory & Rip Morgan (Team New Zealand) vs. The Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Team Japan) – 3
The third first round match in the POC3T. Victory and Morgan fought the good fight but alas, it twas not to be as they were squashed by Muta and Saito. I still have no idea on how New Zealand was decided upon for the tourney.
5) Danny “Bull” Johnson & Troy Montour (Team Canada) vs. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hashimikov (Team USSR) – 2
The final first round POC3T match. The USSR contingent look like they have no pro training whatsoever except for the basics. I have no idea about the Canadian fellows. Crowd was really dead for this. The Russians advance to face Muta and Saito later.
6) Terry Taylor vs. Michael Wallstreet – 4
This had potential to be good but since both men are still working their same routine this doesn’t make it above the mid-card. Also, I need to point out that the York Foundation gimmick where the computer was used to formulate a gameplan against the opponent was pretty lame. Anyway, they kept it pretty basic here and the end result was a satisfying match that was won by Wallstreet.
7) The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey) vs. The Big Cat & The Motor City Madman – 1
Big Cat is Curtis Hughes and after doing some research, I still have no idea who the Madman is. Anyway, this was a squash and Sid didn’t sell shit. Afterwards, the Skyscrapers choke Paul E. for fun during an interview.
8) Tommy Rich & Ricky Morton vs. The Freebirds – 4
Just like the opener and the Taylor/Wallstreet match, this had the potential to be good but it quickly became a mess. The match was just over six minutes and that was nowhere near long enough for these four to have a good match. There were also four guys in the ring at the time of the pinfall and I’m not exactly sure why.
9) The Steiner Brothers (Team USA) vs. Rey Misterio & Konnan (Team Mexico) – 2
And we’re back to the POC3T. Another squash for the Steiners as they move on in the tourney.
10) The Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Team Japan) vs. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hashimikov (Team USSR) – 3
This is the other POC3T semi-final. Muta and Saito work the Soviets over and barely break a sweat to advance on to face the Steiner in the finals.
11) Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen – Bullrope Match – 4
It’s usually a pleasure to see Hansen work high profile matches in the States but this was not one of them. They brawl outside the ring for the majority of the match. A ref bump later and Luger regains the US title. Nothing really notable except that Luger would end up being world champion in six months.
12) Barry Windham & Arn Anderson vs. Doom – Street Fight – 5
This was an awesome, old-school brawl. All four got busted open and just beat the crap out of each other for ten minutes straight! The finish came when Windham pinned Simmons and Anderson pinned Reed at the same time. The bout was eventually ruled a no contest but they just kept fighting. Definitely a classic matchup but the finish brought the score down.
13) The Steiner Brothers (Team USA) vs. The Great Muta & Mr. Saito (Team Japan) – 4
It’s the finals of the POC3T and did you really expect Team England to make it all the way? If you didn’t see this matchup coming then you need to stop reading right now. The teams got briefly stiff with each other but in all honesty, it didn’t go over too well. The Steiners won after Rick pinned Saito and were presented a gigantic trophy for beating two unknowns and a hard-ass Japanese contingent. Muta and Saito were presented with $20 gift certificates to Sushi World.
14) Sting vs. Black Scorpion (Ric Flair) – Cage Match – 4
This is the climax to perhaps one of the most infamous and craptastic angles of all time. I actually own a tape that has nothing but the interviews, matches, and vignettes that made up this angle. The reason this is being held in a cage is because numerous Scorpion impersonatators have interfered with Sting’s matches. Dick the Bruiser, who has a vague resemblance to Popeye, is also the referee for … um, yeah … I can’t think of a reason for him to be involved. The Scorpion came out to the ring in this really dumb spaceship after about five other people dressed as the Scorpion came to the ring. Anyway, the whole match is Flair trying to wrestle like he’s not Flair because the guy they picked for the role, a wrestler known as The Angel of Death, backed out at the end. Sting took some good cage bumps but not enough to salvage this match. Afterwards, there’s a huge run-in by the Horsemen and mega assault on Sting. Steiners come out with bolt cutters and break into the cage. Scorpion is revealed to be Flair as the show ends.
There’s really not much left to say about this one. The tag tournament took up the bulk of the show and everything around the first half was filler. The street fight and cage match are pretty interesting to watch, if nothing else.
2. Team South Africa (Col. Deklerk and Sgt. Krueger) vs. Team USA (The Steiners) – 1
3. Team Britain (Norman Smiley and Chris Adams) vs. Team Mexico (Mysteric and Konnan) – 2
4. Team New Zealand (Jacko Victory and Rip Morgan) vs. Team Japan (Masa Saito and Great Muta) – 3
5. Team Canada (Bull Johnson and Troy Montour) vs. Team USSR (Victor Zangiev and Salmon Hasimkov) – 1
6. Michael Wallstreet vs. Terry Taylor – 4
7. Big Cat and Motor City Madman vs. Skyscrapers – 1
8. Tommy Rich and Ricky Morton vs. Fabulous Freebirds – 3
9. Team Mexico vs. Team USA – 2
10. Team USSR vs. Team Japan – 2
11. Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen – Texas Lariat Match – 4
12. Doom vs. Arn Anderson and Barry Windham – Street Fight – 6
13. Team USA vs. Team Japan – 5
14. Black Scorpion vs. Sting – Steel Cage Match – 3
Starrcade entered into the 90’s with a huge show, filled to the brim with matches galore, including an international tag team tournament filled with racial stereotypes aplenty. The show started with Zenk and Eaton, and while it was fast-paced, they blatantly blew a handful of spots. Still, that being said, it wasn’t a bad opener. Then, we get right into our highly touted tournament. Team South Africa made absolute fools of themselves. The Steiners didn’t sell a damn thing for them – period. I laughed until I cried when one of the South Africans somersaulted over the top rope onto Steiner, who just sort of let the guy bounce off of him and go crashing to the floor upside down. Team Britain and Team Mexico had all the potential to be really good, but what we actually got was pretty unimpressive. Memorable moments included Mysteric taking a nasty bump to the floor, accidentally landing awkwardly on the nearby ring steps, and the Britain boys blundering through a double-team maneuver leaving Adams to fumble face-first into Norman’s crotch.
Team New Zealand featured two out-of-shape drunkards who were totally outclassed and outworked by the magnificent Team Japan. Muta’s kicks were crisp, and Saito is always a joy to watch operate. Team USSR were two hairy amateur types, and Team Canada (not to be confused with the horrible TNA incarnation) featured two stereotypes, including a “Indian chief” who looked like he should be standing in-front of a cigar store somewhere near a deciduous forest. Their match ended so abruptly that everyone seemed confused, including the ref, who was probably to preoccupied overanalyzing the new rash that was forming on his genitals.
Wallstreet and Taylor kept it simple, but solid, in a basic match void of much charisma or story. I think there was an angle being played out, involving the York Foundation, which would have been a totally useless stable save for Alexandra York’s epic tits and totally righteous laptop. The date rapists known as the Skyscrapers destroyed Big Cat (real creative name) and Motor City Madman (who looked like perennial ECW loser 911). Morton’s usual partner was injured, so he got Tommy Rich to fill-in, and they waged war against the Fabulous Freebirds who were sporting sequined suspenders and generic painted faces. It became a convoluted mess; though, as I predicted, and ended up a jumbled clutter much like Salmon Hasimikov’s underwear that night. I was excited about Team Mexico and Team USA, but it was over too quickly, and only noteworthy due to Konnan working weird submissions on Rick Steiner in the early goings. Team USSR looked completely out of place in a wrestling ring, and were better suited in Russia’s drug trafficking scene; Team Japan beat their asses soundly.
Luger was mauled by Hansen in their gimmick match, essentially a Texas bullrope match, but with a nifty new name that never caught on. Hansen’s a beast, and Luger’s a non-talented hack; when put together, they got through a moderately good match, but nothing worth seeking out. Hansen’s facials during sells are pretty fun, but Luger’s so brutally bad at acting hurt and selling pain that it nullifies Hansen’s contributions. Doom versus Windham and Anderson stole the show, in my humble opinion. It was a wild, wild brawl with a lot of intensity, stiffness, big bumps, and emotion. The finish was weak, with the ref doing two simultaneous counts at the same time, but otherwise, this was rather choice.
Team Japan versus Team USA ended with the Americans winning, of course – I recall as a kid, my brother and I both being pretty upset, as for whatever reason, I think because my brother thought Muta’s orally spraying of colored mist was cool, we were pulling for the foreigners. The match was building up nicely, but ended kind of inconclusively for my tastes. The main event was definitely weird, as Ric Flair was wrestling under the guise of Black Scorpion, and had to in effect, wrestle a completely different style which didn’t come off well at all. Flair’s movements were mechanical, almost distractingly so, and Sting couldn’t save this one from being a bust. Still, the aftermath is pretty wild, with all kinds of people fighting, including Dick the Bruiser who looked like an old fogy Popeye.
Friday, December 15, 2006
1 2 cold Scorpio/ Marcus Bagwell v. Pretty Wonderful- 5
2 Awesome Kong v. Shockmaster- 1
3 Ricky Steamboat v. Lord Regal- 6
4 Tex Slazenger/ Shanghai Pierce v. Cactus Jack/ Maxx Payne- 2
5 Steve Austin v. Dustin Rhodes (2 of 3 Falls)- 5
6 Rick Rude v. The Boss- 6
7 Nasty Boys v. Sting/ Road Warrior Hawk- 4
8 Vader v. Ric Flair- 8
WCW had a wonderful, deep tag division at this time and this opener was a good argument for it. Pretty Wonderful were like the classic 80's team; over the top, colorful robes, and cutesy name. Both teams geled well together and put on a very likable first encounter. Our next match featured tons of fun, without the fun. Shockmaster literally looked as if he could have just gotten dressed to go out to a construction job, and was recruited to be at Starrcade. This only went about a minute, stretching the lengths of both men's abilities. Anytime you get to see the Dragon work, it's a treat, and especially against Regal. They had such good chemistry together; the only downside of watching a Regal match at this time is you know how it ends: 15 minute draw, and that's exactly how this ended. The next tag match featured four rugged men who love to beat the snot out of each other, so what do they do: try and wrestle? I would have preferred Foley take a guard rail bump, or Payne to smash Norma Jean (his guitar) over Naked Midian's head. Rhodes and Austin only lasted 2 falls and neither were that spectacular. They were good, but the story of this match was lacking. They were working at break neck speed, but there was nothing behind it. And they failed to use this gimmick match effectively. Very disappointing from two guys who would share a port-a-potty a few years later on national TV. Rude and the Boss was surprisingly very fun to watch. Both men have awesome strikes, awesome sells and I hadn't really seen many of their matches. It went to a DQ, which was unfortunate because Rude was World Champion and Boss wasn't the man to take his belt. Sadly, both men are no longer with us, and at least one of them had to work with Vince Russo. Life's a bitch. The Nastys were more than happy to tangle with WCW's favorite painted team, whom I never knew ever teamed together, none the less earned a title shot, yet here they were. There wasn't a lot of good tag action from Sting and Hawk, but they did mimic the Doomsday (which I heard, ironically, when Doomsday comes, only cock roaches and Jerry Sags will be left; interesting.) Flair vs. Vader: this match was booked as perfectly as it could be. Flair was shown leaving his home, saying goodbye to his kids, kissing his wife and driving to the show with Mean Gene in a limo. It was right out of Rocky II when he fights Apollo and we follow him from his house. Really well done. It was the 10th anniversary of Starrcade, a show Flair started. It was Flair's 20 year in ring anniversary. Vader's manager was Harley Race, the man Flair beat at the 1st Starrcade. And they were in Flair's home town of Charlotte. What could make a better story than his glorifying win, getting back on top as World Champion? That would be Vader, whose run in WCW is one of the best big man runs ever in all of wrestling. He was legit stiff and worked Flair pretty good in the match. They set a great pace for themselves, and never got rushed. The crowd was living electricity and they built up to Flair winning through the whole match. The way he won I don't really like (almost a half assed schoolboy) but I loved that he pinned Vader clean and a quick win was the only way to do it. Classic event.
2. Shockmaster vs. Awesome Kong - 1
3. Lord Steven Regal vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat - 6
4. Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne vs. Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce - 4
5. "Stunning" Steve Austin vs. "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes - Best 2 out of 3 Falls Match - 5
6. "Ravishing" Rick Rude vs. The Boss - 5
7. Sting and Road Warrior Hawk vs. The Nasty Boys - 4
8. Ric Flair vs. Vader - 9
When I was a kid, I like thousands of other youngsters, was a huge Hulk Hogan fan. But, in the early 90’s, as I got a little older, I started rooting for wrestling’s notorious villains. That being said, I was a big Ric Flair fan, as he surpassed Hogan as my personal favorite. So, when they announced that his career would be on the line in the main event of Starrcade ’93, you better believe I was sitting there watching intently, on pirated pay-per-view. Let’s see how that show holds up today, shall we?
The show starts with a good tag match, featuring the likeable good guys against the older, more cocksure veterans. Bagwell and Scorpio worked well together, utilizing a lot of their agility and speed. Orndorff’s best days were far behind him, and Roma’s sells were atrocious, as after being hit, he’d prance around like a flamingo or something. Still, this match had good energy, and was a fine opener.
Shockmaster and Awesome King lasted less than two minutes, and featured over 600 pounds of pure unadulterated manhood. Granted, nothing could have made this a good match, per se, but I’d like to have seen it get at least a few more minutes, so they could have at least attempted trying to tell a story. Regal and Steamboat was a clinic, however; a real joy to watch. It went to a time-limit draw, which happened all the time in Regal’s old title defenses, but was wrestled like an actual athletic competition and very compelling.
The following tag match featured four rugged men, all sporting beards and tubby waistlines, and was a bit of an eyesore to be honest. It was less of a brawl than I’d imagined, though; which isn’t exactly a good thing. Watching these guys try to work over body parts with actual wrestling holds is as surreal as stumbling upon a sibling’s homemade porno, not that I’d know what that’s like or anything.
Rhodes and Austin was good, but I’ll be damned, this is the third match between these two that I’ve watched in less than a month. They’re capable of better than this, too; the structure of this match was weak, and the performances not up to par with the rest of their series together. Seeing Rude and Boss (Ray Traylor, or Big Boss Man) work together was kind of interesting, not just because they’re both unfortunately dead now, but I couldn’t recall them ever doing many matches together. I’ve become a huge fan of Rude’s as of late, his knack for selling is great, and he utilizes psychology brilliantly. I wanted to honor The Boss, so I went to his gravesite where I planned on leaving a copy of this show and an old figurine of him in remembrance – only to find his ex-nemesis Nailz already there, on his knees masturbating on Traylor’s tombstone.
Sting and Hawk as a tag team is mind-blowing enough, but pitting them against The Nasty Boys is just asking for my brain to implode. This match was pretty lengthy, and I don’t know if it was just that I was watching this at 2:00AM, but I had a real hard time getting into this one. On paper, you’d expect one thing, but the end result wasn’t what I anticipated. I forget the finish, too; but I’m pretty sure it was something preposterous.
The main event is a classic match in my eyes. I realize the score is high, but it’s my score, and I believe it warrants the recognition. Sure, nostalgia has a lot to do with it, but to me when I was growing up, this match was equally as important as Hogan vs. Andre at WrestleMania III. It still holds up, too; Flair said in his book that Vader was punching him hard legit, and the evidence is clear on the video. This is a very physical match, and Vader’s just a pure monster, demolishing Flair. The Charlotte crowd is absolutely on fire, Vader’s the perfect bully, and Flair’s victory still exhilarates me every time I see it. This is arguably the greatest Starrcade main event ever.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Ah, tis the night as dreary as the flower's lowering gaze is the mediocre forearms of the Duke of Luger, and the stroll beneath the moonlight, with bated breath and heavy petting, the tonsils swishing about like Flouride in the mouths of Babydoll and Jimmy Jam, the way the moon fits it's perfect crescent inside the bald globe of AA, once the eyes have seen the wonder that is Flair, and we all cream jeans.
1 Freebirds/ Sting v. Eddie Gilbert/ Rick Steiner/ Larry Zybyzsko- 5
This match had me perplexed, as much as the graveyard scene from "Easy Rider." It had a pace, a face beatdown with all the heels getting in their very heely offense, then a massive Sting comeback, but then it keeps going?! But not anywhere important. PS Hayes gets himself over with a comeback too, like the kid in class who wanted a turn so desperately. Then, it never ends. We get a 15 minute draw- and everyone's protected. It was a wild ass match too; and Gilbert and Steiner's tights were outlandish- like Zybyzsko selling a DDT.
2 Barry Windham v. Steve Williams- 3
These are two of my absolute favorites in the business, at least Windham in my top 10, but I'll be damned if this didn't blow chunks. It wasn't the wrestling per se, it was the structure of the match. First off, it was face vs. face and they were being super gentlemanly about the whole thing (ie shaking hands, helping each other in the ring), but the fans shit all over it like Bruiser Brody used to do to little Puerto Rican honeys before he was shanked. Then, Doc takes a groin shot and milks it; Windham takes a car crash bump outside, then gets back in and rolled up. Super quick and not worthy of being done.
3 Midnight Express v. Rock n' Roll Express (Skywalker match)- 5
I give this a five only due to the fact that it was stiff and they tried to make an impossible circumstance work in their favor. The Skywalker is a huge scaffold above the ring, that's probably at best 4 feet wide and you have four guys on top of it. Much can't be done unless you have the power of the Force. But, they punched hard and used a tennis racket better than Andre Agassi could ever do, even in the bedroom with Brooke Shields. Bubba and Morton had a standoff at the end, and Morton gave him a cup check that doubled the big bruiser over.
4 Nikita Koloff v. Terry Taylor- 4
There wasn't much substance in this match.
Nikita surprisingly worked Taylor over with wear down moves the whole time, but near the end, it was he who was sweating heavy like Ed Leslie passing through a metal detector at the airport (heard he was delayed for possibly smuggling metal on a plane or planning a terrorist attack- he had a cavity search conducted, but he said it was nothing compared to the way Hogan had handled him over the years.) Some stupid interference ended it and Nikita hit his pansy ass Russian Sickle. He also spout out some Mayan in the middle of the match to help Mel Gibson promote his new movie. Don’t scoff; he'll take all the help he can get.
5 Road Warriors v. Tully Blanchard/ Arn Anderson- 5
This match had potential and it played out exactly as I thought it would, just like every celebrity marriage and the plan for the war in Iraq: fell apart. Arn and Tully started playing the scared, plaything pussies that the Warriors love them to be, but the match never really gained any steam. Add a Dusty finish, and you have a big old mess on your hands, like Gene Okerlund's diaper.
6 Lex Luger v. Dusty Rhodes( Cage)- 6
Rhodes and Luger was a great offering, not without it's problems but stayed mostly off the steel. They had some tremendous near falls and Luger was pretty mobile in his younger days. Dusty even took a bump or two, go figure.
7 Ronnie Garvin v. Ric Flair (Cage)- 8
I fell in love with 80's wrestling all over again. This is evidence that Flair was the greatest wrestler in the world. He made everyone, even accomplished toughmen like Garvin, look like God's personal bodyguard with a high level of beatdown ability. The chop fests in this match rivaled anything else ever done by the open hand. They used the cage, and effectively, unlike the last match and Flair bled like the sick pig that he is( I read passages from the Missy Hyatt book- the Flair shots were the tamest in the accounting of the world class dick sucking whore's life) I didn't like the ending, even though I remembered it from days long gone by in my youth when I used to rent this tape from the local mom and pop video store. A tremendous main event for a so-so teetering on lame duck show.
1) Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, & Sting vs. Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner, & Larry Zbyszko – 5
2) Barry Windham vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams – 4
3) The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express – Scaffold Match – 5
4) Nikita Koloff vs. Terry Taylor – 4
5) The Road Warriors vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard – 6
6) Dusty Rhodes vs. Lex Luger – Cage Match – 6
7) Ric Flair vs. Ron Garvin – Cage Match – 7
This was the first ever pay-per-view offering from Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA and the six-man tag was a hot way to open the show. The face team of Hayes, Garvin, and Sting were over huge. I’m not exactly sure why they decided that it should end in a draw but it was still good enough to warrant an average rating. Windham and Dr. Death started off at a very quick pace but slowed down after just a few minutes in a rather lackluster bout. I’ve seen the Midnights and the RNRs wrestle some damn good tag matches but this just was not it. There’s only so much you can do in a scaffold match and after about eight minutes or so it seemed to drag along. It was almost a carbon copy of the previous year’s scaffold match. Koloff and Taylor was a so-so match that I don’t remember too much of. The purpose of it was to unify the NWA and UWF television titles but I don’t think anything was achieved. I would go so far to call it one of Taylor’s best matches. The match featuring the Road Warriors was the typical NWA 1980s tag team match. Arn and Tully were at the top of their game here, as were the Road Warriors, which makes it worth at least one watching. I covered the Luger match when I reviewed the Dusty Rhodes DVD. Rhodes carried Luger to a pretty enjoyable but forgotten match in the long run. The main event featuring Flair and Garvin was quite possibly one of the best cage matches I’ve seen. They got stiff and really worked together great. I still don’t know why Garvin was the champion heading into this but Flair managed to regain the title in a solid match to cap off an above average show.
2. Barry Windham vs. Steve Williams – 2
3. Rock ‘N Roll Express vs. Midnight Express – Scaffold Match – 4
4. Terry Taylor vs. Nikita Koloff – 4
5. Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson vs. Road Warriors – 5
6. Lex Luger vs. Dusty Rhodes – Steel Cage Match – 6
7. Ric Flair vs. Ronnie Garvin – Steel Cage Match – 8
The opening six-man tag featured all kinds of guys, with varying degrees of talent, and carrying varying severities of sexually transmitted diseases. It went to a time-limit draw; with the only truly memorable moment being Zbyszko’s strange sell of a bulldog where he practically did a headstand. Windham and Williams are two truly tough brutes; here we got them working a really short match void of any of the aggression we so desperately hoped for. The scaffold match was your typical scaffold match; a bunch of guys timidly tiptoeing around, throwing substandard punches, etc. It’s a spectacle, true, but offers little otherwise. Taylor and Koloff worked a more basic match, not relying on much flash, but told a pretty decent, albeit uniform story. It was a treat seeing Anderson and Blanchard mix it up with the always-devastating Road Warriors, although, it wasn’t the classic it could have arguably been. It’s disappointing knowing they were capable of having an epic bloodbath, and instead, we got a marginally acceptable showing. Rhodes carried Luger to a pretty good match; I’d given it a 7 upon originally reviewing it in my critique of the Dusty Rhodes DVD, but upon closer inspection, changed my score. It works on some levels, but there’s not a lot going on during the mid-portion of the match, and ultimately, Luger’s just not that good. The main event, however, is borderline excellent. Garvin’s a little rough around the edges, but damn, he can sure beat someone’s chest into hamburger meat, and on the other end, Flair could make a corpse look like a superstar. As a child, Garvin was signing autographs at a local bowling alley one night and I went; when I got up to meet him, I said I didn’t want an autograph, but instead, just wanted to shake his famed “hands of stone.” There’s blood, drama, and a major title change – all elements of a great main event finale.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
1 Chris Benoit v. Jushin Liger- 5-
Benoit is the master of the art of making a match look like a fight. He slammed Liger harder than usual ( very un-WWE like) on all of his top moves and Liger silently cursed his name under his cool mask with weird hair growing from it. They tried to pack in all that they do in their usual classics into a tight ten minute affair and it blew up at the end, in a badly botched hurricanrana pin. Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart showed up too; just to add to the bad hair affair (hey, Benoit was sporting his wet mullet during this.)
2 Koji Kanemoto v. Alex Wright-3
This match was drawn out longer than the first one, with none of the impact. Wright looked like a goof and had no fire in anything he did, including an overshot plancha. His aim was even worse the night he was jerking off in a hotel room and it fired into Disco Inferno's mouth, at least by Wright's point of view; Disco was moderately happy. Kanemoto's wasit sash was the balls, and so was his Pescado to the outsdie. He won in rather lackluster fashion and the fans cheered.
3 Masa Chono v. Lex Luger- 3
Two of the bigger stars on the card and they exchanged a lot of kicks, none of which had much merit. Brian and I were watching Luger sell; everytime he got hit, he screamed and strechted that horse face out, without really showing where the pain was coming from, then brief seconds later, his expression was blank again (like when he thought Liz had just passed out due to coke overdose; of course, he was high he forgot he had stabbed her with a knife.) Regardless, the finish to this came out of nowhere and was the only thing the crowd liked in it. That's makes one of us.
4 Johnny B. Badd v. Masa Saito- 5
This matchup was interesting. After watching a variety of old tapes over the last year or so, I realize Badd could actually work. Saito is a surly old prick who would probably rather be sitting at home in his underwear, watching young naked Geishas on TV, but chose to stick around wrestling a little bit longer, so everyone else must pay the price. He and Badd got into a slap fest that rivaled anything I'd seen on Jackass and resulted in Saito getting the better of it. This ended in a countout, but the match kept right on going despite the fact, when Badd overshot a flip over the top bigger than Wright did earlier. A laughout loud moment, for sure, (which is more than I can say for the last couple Jim Carrey flicks.)
5 Eddie Guerrero v. Shinjiro Ohtani- 6
This was the best match of the night. Both guys actually built the match up to it's properly executed climax, all parties were happy, then they had a cigarette and discussed ex girlfriends. Eddie pulled off every move crisply and Ohtani's springboards are my Cream- atorium. ( I just came up with that; email me if it works.) It was funny because the announcer's dubbed these guys as the next generation of their respective promotions and to see how their careers ended up is a pleasure, because at least professionally, they have been very successful.
6 Hiroyoshi Tenzan v. Randy Savage- 2
Savage was the champ and he merely got worked over in this boring waste of time. He made no comeback; only hitting a fucked up suplex attempt over the top rope and the sloppiest, most protected elbow of his career. He may as well have slapped a couple Trojans over that bad boy because his feet hit the ground first and he even missed the elbow and pinned him with a flying rib smash. A first, and definitley a last.
7 Kensuke Sasaki v. Sting- 5
This match, upon further thinking, had some intensity. Sting also got the crowd into this match, and while shorter than I would have liked, had things that worked. Sasaki's neo Japanese punk boy hair cut was not one of them, but his over the shoulder throw was. Come to think of it, Sting's hair was a little Beverly Hills Jason Preistly and kind of distracted me later in the show. But, nonetheless, the finish was very satisfying and the crowd ate spoonfuls.
8 Lex Luger v. Ric Flair v. Sting- 4
This was a triangle match and the winner got a Title shot immediately afterwards. Whoever came up with this strange card should lay off the hashesh. It's flow made no sense, but anyways, this match had three guys that were uber-familiar with each other but really didn't show it. Flair settled in for the long haul and bumped big early for the powerhouses, then tagged out and rested on the apron. Sting was the glue that barely held this together, but ultimately wobbled and fell apart. A double countout finish abided this ego fest and gave Flair his Get out of Jail card to fight Savage.
9 Randy Savage v. Ric Flair- 4
These two men showed nothing of their past encounters and the match was pretty bland until the end. The crowd wasn't really into it, nor where the competitors. Flair bladed majorly at the end for a megaphone shot( Jimmy Hart managed him and Luger the same night? What the fuck?), then the Horsemen came in and secured Flair the win. They said it was his 12th World Title, but what totally overshadowed it was Brian Pillman ripping the belt from Flair's hands to mercilessly whip Savage with it! It was crazy and hilarious. So, an historic milestone in Flair's career capped off a oddly booked and very standard show.
1) Ole & Arn Anderson vs. The Rock N Roll Express – Cage Match – 6
2) Big Bubba vs. Ron Garvin – Louisville Street Fight – 5
3) Jimmy Valiant vs. Paul Jones – Hair vs. Hair Match – 3
4) Tully Blanchard vs. Dusty Rhodes – First Blood Match – 5
5) The Road Warriors vs. The Midnight Express – Scaffold Match – 6
6) Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff – 6
This was one of those tapes where they only showcased about half the matches and then half of those were clipped. The cage match was exciting to watch because of the old school tag psychology used. Arn was really young and soon became a master in the ring. Morton bled and the Express won to retain the tag belts. Bubba and Garvin had some flaws but they still managed to put on a decent match. Garvin hit a nasty piledriver as the highlight. Valiant and Jones was more choreographed that the annual Rockettes Christmas Spectacular in New York. It looked like it belonged more in the WWF than in the NWA. Valiant bled and his head weeble-wobbled more than a bobble head doll. I expected more from Blanchard and Rhodes. Rhodes busted JJ Dillon with the elbow before the match even started. Dusty busted Tully open with the elbow following a ref bump and then Dusty got busted too. Ref saw that Dusty was bleeding and awarded the match to Tully. The scaffold match is historic mainly because I believe that it was the first one ever. I gave it a good rating mainly for all the times they teased falling off the scaffold. Cornette bumped off the scaffold after the match and blew out both of his knees. Flair and Nikita rounded out the tape. It was intense at times and at other times featured them just going through the motions. Starrcade 86 is remembered for the scaffold match and not much else. As a matter of fact, I’ve already forgotten most of it.
2. Koji Kanemoto vs. Alex Wright - 4
3. Masahiro Chono vs. Lex Luger - 3
4. Johnny B. Badd vs. Masa Saito - 5
5. Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Ootani - 7
6. Tensan vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage - 4
7. Kensuki Sasaki vs. Sting - 5
8. Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair vs. Sting - Triangle Match - 4
9. "Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair - 5
It’s always a treat watching Liger and Benoit work, whether it be together, or separately. This was a nice sampling of their respective talents, but far from their best work. I’ve seen these two work with each other in Japan, in this is just a small taste of their ferocity. Still, besides a bungled hurricanrana by Liger as a finish, this was just dandy. Next, Koji, who’s typically (well, at least in ’95) just awesome, works a forgettable match against Alex Wright, who appeared here greener than She-Hulk’s pussy. Koji didn’t demonstrate any of the killer instinct that made him so notable, and Wright displayed all of the reasons why, at this point in his career, he was considered comparable to Steve Armstrong at best.
Luger and Chono, two typically tasteless competitors, had a match filled with weak kicks and groans, and little else. I wanted to see Chono crush Luger’s skull, but what we got was a big pile of suck that I wanted nothing to do with. I was interested in seeing surly Saito battle flamboyant Badd. And, it was actually pretty solid, until the offensively bad finish, as Saito got disqualified for tossing Johnny over the top rope.
Ootani (which is an interesting spelling of his name, but the one WCW supplied us) was actually one of my favorite wrestlers in the late ‘90s. I loved his work; unfortunately, over time, he gained facial hair and lost heart. Still, at this point, he was absolutely awesome, and his springboard moves were things of beauty. Eddie, as always, was solid, which means this was a near orgasm-inducing treat. Tensan (another odd spelling) is well known as being a bulky beast, the Japanese equivalent to Earthquake, give or take a couple moves and pounds. Here, he beat Savage’s ass for 95% of the match, in a rather methodical manner; before Savage scored a quick victory with the sloppiest flying elbow drop I’ve ever seen him do.
Sasaki, who these days, is having some of the best matches in the entire world, looked like a complete fucking idiot here. I’m not saying his wrestling was bad, I’m talking about his actual physical appearance. He was wearing these heinous neon green shorts, and sporting the most ridiculous haircut I’ve ever seen, some flattop/mullet hybrid that brought tears to my eyes. His match wasn’t bad, and the crowd exploded when Sting got the submission victory over the bizarre foreigner that looked like a street thug from Streets of Rage 2.
Sting, Luger, and Flair in a three-way is something I’ve often dreamed about – but they weren’t wrestling in it, if you catch my drift. This match is lengthy and never quite delivers with the goods. It mostly consists of Flair stalling, Luger’s obnoxious sells, and a very tired Sting trying to make it somewhat redeeming. Flair gets the win, thus leading to our main event, where he battles Savage in a match I quickly forgot. Seriously, when I think back, all I remember is Flair’s stupid hair, resembling a pompadour gone ghastly, and Savage’s fluorescent trunks and bodacious bulge. Flair wins the match, and championship, and celebrates while bleeding profusely like a Columbine student; all the while, his buddies accompany him in the ring, saluting him on his victory, while Brian Pillman whips Savage’s carcass with the title belt.
I was really excited to see this show, as New Japan Pro Wrestling is arguably the greatest federation of all time, but damn, mixing fine cuisine and dog feces will always result in bad news. Fuck Hulk Hogan, give me Masa Saito and I’m content.