Sunday, June 8, 2008

WCW Capital Combat '90: Return of Robocop

1. Teddy Long vs. Paul Ellering - Hair Match - 1
2. Midnight Express vs. Z-Man and Brian Pillman - 5
3. Rock 'N Roll Express vs. Fabulous Freebirds - Corporal Punishment Match - 6
4. Doom vs. Steiner Bros. - 7
5. Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger - Cage Match - 5

I remembered watching this show nearly 18 years ago on illegal cable out at an aunt's house in West Chester, OH. I'd been hoping to see it again eventually, and due to Adam's tireless efforts, I was afforded an oppourtunity to do just that. I'm guessing this was a commercial release and not the pay-per-view version, as it transitions too nicely, plus missing some stuff if I recall correctly. The two things I remembered from childhood were Robocop bending the metal bars of a cage Sting had been locked in (don't ask) and the Freebirds and Rock 'N Roll boys whipping the hell out of each other in some type of diabolical match that seemed downright disturbing way back then.

"Precious" Paul, while looking better than expected shirtless, in a lame throwaway bout to start isn't a good way to open a major show. Thankfully, it goes short, like Long's lists of lovers. Kudos to Long's ridiculous acting antics, though, those months in theatre class finally came in handy for something. The gimmick of the Midnight Express match was that their manager James E. Cornette was placed in a cage that was raised above the ring so he couldn't interfer. He should have whipped out his pathetic phallus and took a piss on the crowd. The cool story of the match is that it's believed the heels need to rely on Cornette to get a victory, but here they pull out a win sans any outside interference. The match goes awhile, the bulk of which is the heels working over Pillman, who does a satisfying job selling most of the punishment and displaying the proper emotion. The hot tag to Zenk doesn't change much, as after a short flurry, the heels take back control before eventually outwitting everyone and scoring the win and belts. No epic Eaton bumps, really, for shame.

I thought the Corporal Punishment match was a standard strap match, but it's actually different, as there's two whips that are used, similar to a cat-of-nine-tails whip like the one your fetish father has hidden in your parents' closet. This match is pretty brutal, maybe not as grotesque as my childhood reflections, but a lot of painful fun. The Freebirds take a lot of the shots, prancing around selling the stinging pain, but still finding time to whip their hair of course. There isn't as much infamous Freebirds stalling as anticipated, with the pace being pretty straight ahead. Memorable if for no other reason than being different.

I loved the Doom versus Steiners match, Jim Ross states beforehand it'll likely be the most physical bout you'd likely see anywhere, and he was right about that. While the Steiners selling and psychology isn't up to par with many of the era's teams, they counterbalance that by being powerful animals, quick to drop a guy right on his skull without a pause. There's a couple "holy shit" moments here that I had to rewind a bunch. My three favorites are a radical Frankenstein
er, Rick doing a Steinerline to Butch Reed, but for whatever reason Reed doesn't go down and Steiner just wipes out in a violent car-crash like moment, and lastly, Rick doing a tombstone/piledriver hybrid that drops Simmons right on his skull in one of the most frightening bumps I've seen possibly ever. Wow! The heels get the big win and belts here, too.

The main event is classic Four Horsemen-era Flair, just a raving madman in an earlier promo, and a complete workhorse in-ring. Luger is limited, of course, but still young enough and in good condition here to keep up. There's an anti-climatic finish, which steals this of being truly worthy seeking out, so don't fret if you don't have this in your personal collection. And yes, the Robocop appearance is on the show, where the dastardly Horsemen lock up Sting only to have Robocop slowly walk down the aisle to free our blonde hero from his prison. Watch the looks on Ole and Arn's faces as they bumble over the guardrail and through the crowd to escape Robocop--priceless.

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