Thursday, March 26, 2015

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Thunder 1/24/01

25 days and counting to SuperBrawl!

1. Cruiserweight Contender Countdown Match w/ Shane Helms, Elix Skipper, Evan Karagias, Billy Kidman, Jimmy Yang, Jamie Noble, Rey Mysterio Jr., Lash LeRoux, Shannon Moore, and Kaz Hayashi - 4

For once, we don’t open the show with a long winded, circle the wagons style argument, we actually open with a match! This consisted of pretty much every cruiserweight under WCW contract at the time and the rules were that of a gauntlet match, you fight until you lose. Opening portion was good with Helms and Skipper as the action was brisk and set a good pace but after a short while, Helms advanced with the Vertebreaker, and dispatched Evan Karagias in short order as well with the same. Kidman was next and held up pretty well until he was eventually sent packing by Jamie Noble. Kidman was probably the MVP here and had good segments with both Helms and Noble, including a nice spot where Kidman reversed a Vertebreaker into a Kid Crusher on Helms. Lash, whose contributions were some god awful punches, and Moore were quickly eliminated at the end, leaving the final as Rey against Kaz. Kaz hit a stiff ass powerbomb on Rey. Rey came back though with a second rope bulldog for the win. Fun match to start out with but it felt like it dragged a bit towards the end.

Our weekly talking segment is next with Cat in an odd shirt, ranting about stupid shit and announcing a main event of Steiner & Animal against Kronik as the announcers cream their pants

2. Norman Smiley vs. Mike Awesome - 2
3. Jeff Jarrett vs. Hugh Morrus - 2

Norman wiggles in front of Awesome and gets leveled by a clothesline for his efforts. Before the match, Norman ran into Glacier backstage and acted like he had just observed the second coming of Christ. Awesome destroys poor Norman while Glacier returns and glad hands and poses for pictures around the ring, getting a reaction as cold as the arctic he represents. Not a whole lot too this except for the Glacier stuff. Jarrett did his typical pre-match schitck on the mic. They had a brief brawl on the floor with Jarrett jamming a chair into Morrus’ ribs. Morrus sells everything with zero emotion. If I would’ve know I was treading water, I’d be pretty emotionless as well. We get a mid-ring collision that was super clumsy. Wall saunters down to ringside, blatantly interferes in front of the ref, and Jarrett gets a win with that shitty looking leg sweep. I’ve seen better matches on shit-level indy shows.

4. Crowbar vs. Ron Harris - 2
5. Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Rick Steiner - 3

Completely random match here with Crowbar and Harris that amounted to exactly nothing. Tony mentions Crowbar’s former career as a gas station attendant in Maryland. That’s odd to say the least. Everything here has been really non-descipt. Crowbar got in a few good shots right at the end but damn this was boring. Was sort of hoping that Bigelow and Steiner would be somewhat violent. Steiner just deadlifted Bigelow on a big suplex. Action here has been pretty good, nothing great but certainly not as bad as some other stuff I’ve seen on this project. Steiner has been just a wrecking machine since coming back. Bigelow was good doing his trademark spots. Second rope bulldog laid out Bigelow for a pinfall. Always enjoy two big dudes pummeling each other.

6. Road Warrior Animal & Scott Steiner vs. Kronik - 3

Pretty sure this is Animal’s first actual match since showing up as the black and white clad mystery man at the Sin PPV. Animal looked pretty good in the first exchange with Adams. Steiner gets tagged in and gets a full nelson slam for his efforts. Clark does another one of his wild running front flips off the apron. Still can’t figure out what prompted him to start doing that. Damn, Clark got Animal up in a big pumphandle slam. What the hell is going on here at the end. Kronik seems lost trying the high tide double chokeslam, Cat runs down after Bagwell and Luger interfere and disappears into a void along with Scott Steiner. Ending is just what has been seen the past couple shows with Flair’s cronies beating down all the good guys.

This wasn't as bad as the episode of Nitro before this but it still felt really stale. Same dudes every week, same ending. It's like the movie Groundhog Day. You know, where Bill Murray keeps repeating February 2nd until he actually learns from mistakes and redeems himself to get out of the time loop? Yeah, it's pretty much exactly like that except I feel like I'll never get out of the stupid time loop as these people will never redeem themselves.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bravados vs. AR Fox & Uhaa Nation

Bravado Brothers vs. AR Fox and Uhaa Nation - EVOLVE 36 - 6

Almost went higher on my score and this was just a midcard bout. I imagine had this gone on in the main event slot they'd have ratchet it up another gear. Hadn't seen the Bravados in awhile but they're still rocking the plaid kickpads so that's aces. Although, aesthetically, not a fan of Harlem's new look, bald head and long beard, looks way too much like Necro Butcher during his maligned run in The Embassy and that's never a good thing. AR Fox is one of the few guys that genuinely wows me just about every time I see him perform. Not only is he as smooth as it gets with his aerial stuff but he also busts out crazy spots you wouldn't even think up with your WWE action figures. Fox and Nation got plenty of opportunities to bust out swank offense but the Bravado boys weren't helpless, putting up a good fight, and even nearly procuring a win including one section where they did multiple moves on AR Fox onto Nation who was crumpled in the corner in a neat sequence. Fox shocked and awed as he's wont to do, from somersaulting over the turnbuckle and out about 8-foot from the ring crashing into a lighting grid and plenty more. Nation is going to be a star in WWE if utilized correctly. He's got the musculature of Bobby Lashley but much more explosive athleticism and great agility. Let's hope they don't stick him with New Day and let him work a US title program with Luke Harper, eh? Fox and Nation pick up a hard fought victory but post-match the brothers' muscle Moose ruined the celebration allowing the Bravados to hit the "Gentlemen's Agreement" on Nation. Excited to finish the rest of this show and catch up to EVOLVE 37 & 38 soon too. With CZW having a lousy 2015 so far EVOLVE is pushing toward the top of the independent pack presently.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

WWE Main Event 3/6/15

1. Curtis Axel vs. Fandango - 4
2. Zack Ryder vs. Adam Rose - 3
3.Paige vs. Summer Rae - 3
4. The Ascension vs. The Usos - 4

Main Event got pulled from the WWE Network, but come one, us real, hardcore fans aren't going to let that get in the way of us getting our wrestling fix. Fandango's tights resemble a Magic Eye puzzle. Is this heel versus heel? Surprisingly sound and snug arm work done by Fandango which Axel remembers to sell when he later goes on offense. Biggest knock on Curtis is he always has such a vacuous look on his face. Fandango countered what appeared to be the early stages of a Perfect Plex into a quick match-ending roll-up. Better than you'd expect.  Oh, weird, I just watched Ryder and Rose's match from Superstars (which aired the same day here domestically) earlier this morning and thought it was pretty decent. Curious how this'll compare. The feud is built on a Twitter flame war (#badidea). Rose is getting pretty handy at taking nice spills out to the floor in-front of the Rosebuds. Ryder takes an apron bump -- guess he'd been watching some ROH TV since it seems like you'll get one of those per episode. Rose chinlock looked looser than Sunny. Ryder reversed a suplex into a neckbreaker then got adequate air on a missile dropkick. Rose caught Ryder coming through the ropes with the Party Foul for the win. This may have been a bit more athletic but the Superstars counterpart was superior and better received by its live crowd with Ryder getting a rare victory. Speaking of Superstars, it's usually only 2 matches, but Main Event generally has 4. Damn you, international copyright law strictures.

I actually think Summer would be a better fit in TNA (who'd also be best suited throwing their checkbook at Veda Scott, Mia Yim, Kana, Tsukasa Fujimoto, and Candice LeRae to rebuild their Knockouts division but I digress). Paige threw a nasty side kick and I really dig that aspect of her game. Paige wins with the PTO and I hope to see her go over with it again at WrestleMania. Main event on paper has me colored curious. Random Big Show vignette airs. Konnor can't hit the ropes for shit (noticed that during their match with Prime Time Players on Superstars too). I do like that they're both vocal in the ring. I'm not as cold on them as a lot of people but they definitely have a ton of work to do. Really hyped on this reaching "5" territory but so far they're skating around a "3" like the number of dicks Missy Hyatt can fit in her mouth. Guessing Ascension works Los Matadores on the WrestleMania pre-show and they get 4 minutes. Jey pops Konnor so hard that Jim Ross' face momentarily straightens out. Jimmy's rolling senton is a 5.3 on the Shannon Moore scale (and that's being generous). Viktor clearly looking for Konnor to break a pinfall when he should be selling was bush league. Samoan Splash gets the Usos the win. Very good for Main Event "main event" and would feel even fresher had it been on a Raw. I don't give half-points or else this would be a 4.5. This is scheduled to post hours before I attend UFC 185 live in Dallas so greetings from Fuel City Tacos and stay tuned to NHO for more analysis and Bob Roop jokes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Leatherface vs. Freddy Krueger

Leatherface vs. Freddy Krueger - IWA Japan '97 - 2

60 minute time-limit? Oh, the horror. Leather busts out a damn Japanese leg whip that Freddy sells like an old man tripping over a antique radio and splitting his pantaloons. Match spills outside quickly and Leatherface bumps off the stage at Kōrakuen Hall. They brawl up through the bleachers as Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper smoke a joint and watch together in a palatial suite somewhere. Leather back to working the leg in a plot twist. Wish this was in 3-D. I was really waiting for a run-in by Leather's supercentenarian Grandpa. Freddy uses some dominatrix's whip as a noose to strangle Leather into unconsciousness for a cold and flat denouement. I'm much more interested in the post-match hijinks as Freddy holds the prone Leatherface's head allowing the dominatrix to pour some green liquid down his gullet leading to him to vomit profusely resembling an imposed turd muching in the vein of Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom.

Monday, March 9, 2015

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Monday Nitro 1/22/01

The odyssey continues as tonight’s episode of Nitro shall be called “the night of bad finishes”.

We open with Jarrett, Steiner, Bagwell, and Luger in the back snapping chicken bones while watching Sid break his leg. Not sure what was in bad taste more … the chicken that they ate or this segment. Then we go to the ring with the same crew, plus Road Warrior Animal and Ric Flair, who introduces Alex Wright as the number one contender at SuperBrawl in a baffling announcement. Kevin Nash then appears, powerbombs Wright through the stage, and announces himself at the number one contender. Cat comes out, starts booking matches, then Flair starts booking other things as they just go back and forth talking over each other and making no sense for what seemed like forever. These talking segments that seem to open Nitro each week are so painful and forced and just seem to be a giant re-hash of the same thing every week, Flair is the evil boss, Cat is the good guy commissioner, and so on. This was just bad, like low-level indy bad.

1. Mike Modest vs. Christopher Daniels - 3
2. Lance Storm vs. Konnan - 1

A completely random match kicks off the in-ring proceedings for this episode. Modest you may remember from Beyond the Mat as the guy who worked for an ambulance service picking up bodies. Daniels looks completely strange with hair and one of those pencil thin beards that seemed to be popular in the late 90s. This was the beginning of the new wave of cruiserweights randomly popping up throughout WCW and there was some good action here with the pace staying rather quick. Modest with a really awesome looking full nelson suplex that Scott Hudson called a “dragon suplex”. Daniels tried the Angels Wings move but botched it and it ended up looking like a weak powerbomb. Such a shame that Scott Steiner had to come out and ruin the fun as this was going really good. Storm and Konnan only went about two minutes and was completely forgettable. Before the bout, Storm got on the mic and claimed this was the final battle between Team Canada and the Filthy Animals. Konnan retorted by stringing random words together. Huge brawl at ringside and Storm locked in a half crab for the win. Nothing more needs to be said, felt completely like a squash of Konnan.

At this point, we’re nearly halfway into this show and there’s only been about 5-6 minutes of in-ring action.

3. Lex Luger vs. Diamond Dallas Page - 2
4. The Mamalukes vs. Mark Jindrak & Shawn Stasiak - 3

Ok, so somewhere in the chaos of the opening segment, Luger and DDP was set up with the winner becoming the special referee in tonight’s main event. Luger took a page out of Larry Zbyszko’s playbook early and stalled like hell. I’ve mentioned it before but Luger is just so stiff and rigid in his movements that it’s not even funny. Imagine DDP trying to have a match with a door and you’ll have the general idea. Ending picked up a bit with DDP kicking the match into high gear but then there was a goofy spot with DDP accidentally elbowing the ref which led to Jarrett interfering and smashing DDP with a guitar. Tag match felt like quite a random match. Tony hypes on commentary that this is the first match the Mamalukes have had together since October. Good to see they hyped up their return and buried them in the middle of the show here. Nice double powerbomb spot by Mamalukes. Did I just see Jindrak hit a lionsault? Pretty sure I did. Vito did a really stupid mistake, distracting the referee while his partner had the pin. Afterwards, O’Haire and Palumbo run down and the referee awards the match to the Mamalukes for some reason. 

I should note that we’ve had four matches and not one has had a single clean finish. NOT ONE!!

5. Shane Douglas vs. The Cat - 2
6. Chavo Guerrero Jr. & The Wall vs. Hugh Morrus & Lash LeRoux - 3

Why do I have the feeling this will continue the trend of bad finishes tonight? Flair comes on the big screen and changes this to a No DQ match for the commissionership. Really sick of this mad with power Ric Flair angle already. Douglas tried an indian deathlock style submission but nope, that didn’t work. Douglas sells Cat’s strikes like he slipped on ice while shoveling his driveway. So much interference from Mike Sanders, Sean O’Haire, and Rick Steiner. Steiner stopped Douglas from hitting Cat with a chain, punched him, and then Cat polished it off with a spin kick.  The Misfits in Action exploded in the tag match but it had all the effect of a fart in the middle of Sunday church service. Fun exchange to start off with between Wall and Hugh. Chavo and Lash kept the pace quick although at times it was a bit sloppy. Morrus on the apron yelling at the referee much like he used to yell at NXT recruits until he got called out on his excessant bullying. Wall seemed to be a non-factor except for the first brawl with Morrus. Roll up from Chavo wins this for his team in what is the first clean finish tonight.

7. Kevin Nash vs. Buff Bagwell - 3

Luger comes out to referee dressed in workout gear. Guess the guy WCW sent with twenty bucks to run down the street and get Luger a referee shirt from the sporting goods store hadn’t made it back yet. Magically, after commerical, Luger has a referee shirt on. Guess whoever they sent to procure a ref shirt made it back in time. I sense bullshit and cheating. Luger started with the bullshit early, getting physically involved, slow counting when Nash had a pin, and holding a chair that Bagwell drop kicked in Nash’s face. Bagwell’s offense was supplemented by Luger’s chicanery, however Nash has a few bright spots mainly in the beginning where he doled out some nasty elbows in the corner. We get DDP interfering and hitting Luger with a Diamond Cutter, Nash hits a powerbomb and does the old count the fall yourself with the ref’s hand spot, leading to a giant brawl to close out the show. 

It's shows like this that really make me wonder why I started this project in the first place. I’ll see it through though but from what I remember after watching all this for fun a while back, the TVs up until SuperBrawl are just absolutely a chore to sit through.

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Buff Bagwell vs. Total Package

Total Package vs. Buff Bagwell - WCW Thunder 10/21/99 - 3

I figured the masochist in me needed to spend my Sunday morning watching a match between two of the guys I've always considered two of the least talented in-ring performers of their era. This is when Luger was simply going by "The Total Package". He should have got a spokesperson gig for USPS. Lex surprisingly leans into a back elbow then takes a powder outside allowing for Elizabeth to akwardly take a cheapshot at Bagwell. Wonder if any of these three ever attended any of Bischoff's swinger parties? Outside the ring Luger shows his interpretation of a vicious streak with some torpid stomps and such. I always assumed Bagwell was protogynous. Buff fights his way out of a headlock, rebounds off the ropes, and marvels with a flying crossbody that Lex forgot to sell. Wonder if I can find the GPS coordinates of the pawn shop where that gold necklace Buff was wearing sits today. Really didn't like Package's powerslam where he does like a half-turn then takes a knee like a varsity lacrosse player in lieu of another pep talk by coach. Luger locks in the Torture Rack and Buff taps faster than Elizabeth when she forgot Luger's safeword that night at the Marriot. Spoiler alert: it was "USS Intrepid".

Sunday, March 1, 2015

NHO Podcast Episode #7 - WWE's Greatest Factions DVD Part 2

It's part 2 of our review of the WWE's Greatest Factions DVD. Join us as we dive deep into the NWO, The Brood, Million Dollar Corporation, Nation of Domination, Blue World Order, and the Corporation. It's your monthly helping of audio awesomeness from the NHO review crew! 

Matches discussed include:

- War Games Match Roddy Piper, DDP, & Ultimate Warrior vs. Bret Hart, Hollywood Hogan, & Stevie Ray vs. Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, & Sting (Fall Brawl '98)
- Edge, Christian, & Gangrel vs. Al Snow, Bob Holly, & Scorpio (Rock Bottom '98)
- Elimination Match: Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, & The Heavenly Bodies vs. Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, & The Smoking Gunns (Survivor Series '94)
- Triple H & New Age Outlaws vs. Owen Hart, Kama Mustafa, & D-Lo Brown (Over the Edge '98)
- Big Stevie Cool vs. Axl Rotten (ECW TV 1/7/97)
- Gauntlet Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Corporation (Raw 2/13/99)

Download the MP3 file here

If you missed Part 1, check it out here

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