Thursday, September 15, 2011

WCW Slamboree 1997: Return of the Nature Boy

1) Lord Steven Regal v. Ultimo Dragon- 7
This match had a little bit of everything in it. Both guys were throwing really heavy lumber here, Regal though doing his subtley, but Dragon was just thundering kicks into Regal's back, which brings to mind a forgotten member of the wrestling community who was top notch in his own field: Mark Curtis. He registers every kick with the polar opposite of Regal and conveys everything a wrestling fan should be thinking while watching the match. Just a great performer. I loved the chain wrestling both guys were using and their style meshed well. Nowadays, most general wrestling fans may not appreciate the slower style just just as sophisticated these two were working but it was music. They kind of hit a wall around 14 minutes and needed to fit in an angle while adjusting some of the last spots so kind of hurt the pace they had going but the fans popped huge for a Regal title win and he even got a chant during it, so for historical means, this balances out. Loved Mike Tenay also conveying some Regal character touches, speaking about how he thinks the TV title is the only meaningful singles belt, with him not being a US citizen and the NWO infecting the World championship.

2) Madusa v. Luna Vachon - 4
So this one starts and they bring in Lee Marshall, who's apparently the guru of the women's division; he explains the angle leading to this because I'm sure no one else knew. Luna starts with really gross clubs to Madusa's head and back; looked like a gorilla pounding the ground at the zoo, requesting dinner. Pace was as languid as Luna's hair fashion but late in the bout, she took a bump off a lariat that was AJW in nature and even caused Schiavone to pop. Ending came out of nowhere but looked good.

3) Rey Mysterio jr v. Yuji Yasuraoka - 3
If you're a casual fan and wondering why you've never heard of this Yuji character before, it's because i'm guessing this was his last appearance. He looked stage shocked; even Dusty mentioned his debut 24 hours earlier on Saturday Night didn't look good. Rey actually starts out twisting this guy like he's Liger or something, in a cool bit of footage. But Yuji just is lousy at doing anything dynamic, couple stiff kicks other than that this is kind of a boring match featuring Rey Mysterio jr which just didn't happen at this point.

4) Mortis v. Glacier- 2
Still can't believe WCW did a Mortal Kombat storyline PG rated. This wasn't really a match but an angle, as Wrath intervenes and we see The Cat debut, after some fun knee beating by Mortis. Dusty had one of the stupidest lines of the night when they were trying to figure out the identity of said Cat "Ain't no one kick like that except Ernest Miller."

5) Dean Malenko v. Jeff Jarrett- 6
I dug. Don't remember a lot from Jarrett's strange run at this point, wearing an absolutely hideous white outfit left over from his country music period. Malenko is one of those guys who you never know you miss until you watch their matches. He does so many subtle things, to either counter something or turn the tide his way it's unbelievable. They were fine with sticking to the ground and Jarrett held his own. Fans were reacting too. Some really great back and forth closing in on the end, where actual top moves from the 80's were sold huge by the announce team (sleeper, figure four) and the fans were into it.

6) Chris Benoit v. Meng (Death Match)- 7
Is it strange I feel numb to seeing Benoit and Nancy together her, knowing the future? Shit like this happens daily in the world, couples leaving this world in violent unadulterated acts of unspeakable horror, but it's the child involved that just stains the whole thing. Never forget shitting a brick when watch the finale of "The Shield" series and it using the Benoit tragedy as part of the story. Sick.

Onto the wrestling, Meng's an underestimated mother fucker when looking back. Would be pushed big for a while everywhere he went then dropped back down. Benoit puts him over much better than the screenwriters of Super 8 did their monster. The chop battles here were nothing less than Puro dick measuring at it's finest. Benoit dished out some hella nasty suplexes to Meng, just on his neck, every single time. Nancy at ringside was great in her role, screaming for Benoit's life to Meng. Wasn't sure how this would end but the buildup was great and the finish was brilliant.

7) Steiner Brothers v. Konnan/ Hugh Morrus- 5
Was kind of surprised at this match being so high on the card; the announcers really gave no reason why it just happened. Rick was over HUGE here. Morrus looked the same chubby dick he was on Tough Enough and matched the Steiners in stiffness. Konnan didn't seem to want to be there, sandbagging numerous suplexes and being much happier with shitty armwork for his part. This was fun for the destruction the Steiners and Morrus caused on each other, it was widespread.

8) Steve McMichael v. Reggie White- 3
I couldn't think of a worse guy off hand to put a green football player in the ring with. White's a heck of an athlete though and even though he was getting up in age, he performed well. Mongo's selling style is all over the place, ranging from drugged gorilla to sideshow performer. White's overhead forearms were as pretentious as Nancy Hart's career.

9) Ric Flair/ Roddy Piper/ Kevin Greene v. Kevin Nash/ Scott Hall/ Syxx- 5
This has cluster written all over it but I damn sure enjoyed myself. You thought Anderson Silva was over at UFC Rio? He ain't got nothin on Natch. This is Flair's first match back from an injury and they wisely booked North Carolina. That's what made this so good; the booking. Flair and Piper were getting up there, Green is exactly his name, so you kind of think you're counting on the Clique guys to keep it going. But everyone plays their role to perfection. Flair just owns everyone he's in the ring with, they leave his beatdown pretty abbreviated which is for the best. Tell me Piper couldn't have been in the Expendables movie? He was fun here, all the Piper shtick still got over despite his taped up hip, he was mobile as expected. Green was a battleship and I can't recall anyone off hand Nash put over as big as he did Green here. NWO guys all sold more so here than most of their run, and it was a feel good type of match that you think would have meant more storyline wise, but seems to have been done in a bubble, which is still fine.

Overall, for a show I know I'd never seen, I enjoyed the hell out of this and would recommend it overall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yasuraoka was really good in WAR, but he flopped in WCW, for whatever reason.