Date: February 21, 1999
Location: Oakland Arena, Oakland, California
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Date: February 21, 1999
Location: Oakland Arena, Oakland, California
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We've been building to this one for awhile now and to WCW's credit, I'm kind of interested in how the show goes. The feuds have been well built and if there's ever been a night that can turn WCW around before the abyss, it's this one. Everything is in place for the good guys to go over and for all the heels to get what's coming to them. Unfortunately, something tells me I have a better chance of winning Miss America 1983 than that happening. Let's get to it.
We open with a clip from Thunder, showing the Blonde in a bed sheet being given tickets to SuperBrawl. It's also implied that she's been shocking him with the taser.
Opening video focusing on people winning the World Title over the last year or two and how Hogan ruined what the belt meant.
The set looks a lot like the Nitro set but with no ramp.
The announcers talk about the show a little bit.
We recap the Tag Team Title tournament and how many teams have split up on the way. Tonight the Horsemen have to beat Barry Windham and Curt Hennig twice in a row to become champions.
The title belts are in a glass case in front of the entrance.
Gene says call the Hotline.
Disco Inferno vs. Booker T.
This was added on Thunder due to Disco interrupting Booker trying to get Stevie to leave Harlem Heat and getting shoved for his efforts. Disco cost Booker a match later in the night. They stall to start as Tony finally admits that the main story is no longer about tradition vs. NWO but rather good vs. evil. In other words, what wrestling has been since it got started. Booker elbows him in the face to start but gets kneed in the ribs. The crowd is REALLY hot tonight. Disco hits a swinging neckbreaker but Booker is right back up.
A slam puts Disco down but he walks into an armdrag. Booker gives a look that says “you got me” so Disco dances in the corner. That earns him a bunch of right hands to the face and some loud chops for good measure. The flying forearm gets two but Disco nails a knee to the ribs and puts on a sleeper. Booker fights out but misses the side kick and gets clotheslined out to the floor.
After sending Booker into the steps, Disco takes him back inside for the dancing elbow drop and two. Booker comes right back with the spinning kick to the face and the ax kick. Disco goes up and jumps into the whip spinebuster but he comes right back with a hard running clothesline. The Chartbuster is countered into a belly to back suplex and Booker spins up. Another side kick drops Disco but he pops up again as Booker goes up top. Booker shoves him down and nails the Harlem Hangover to finally get the pin.
Rating: B-. Who would have thought this would have been this good? Booker T. is one of the few bright spots in what is becoming a dreadful WCW. He goes out there, puts on consistently decent to good matches and doesn't get dragged down into bad storylines. I'm glad he got a spot on the card here as he's more than earned it. Hopefully he gets a better push soon. Disco looked good out there too. His in ring work is always forgotten and that's a shame.
Chris Jericho vs. Saturn
Loser wears a dress, or has to keep wearing a dress depending on who loses. Ralphus is still in the pink dress and Scott Dickinson is coming out with Jericho. Saturn's dress is a bit more form fitting this time and the top half is the same as a lot of wrestlers' singlets. Dickinson is refereeing because WCW's bosses don't think these things through. After the bell, Jericho says Saturn looks ridiculous and calls him a cross eyed cross dressing freak. Saturn is even an embarrassment to Ralphus. Saturn finally has had enough and he lays out Jericho with a backdrop to the floor.
Jericho gets whipped into the barricade twice and Saturn dives off said barricade with an ax handle to the head. A soda to the head thankfully has no effect on Saturn but a whip into the barricade works a bit better. Back inside with Saturn grabbing a t-bone suplex as Tony and Bobby continue to interrupt each other in a joke that has gone on all show now. Saturn catapults Jericho back to the floor and follows him with a nice plancha.
Now Saturn sends Ralphus into the ring and rips the dress off of him, which might be an improvement. Jericho uses the distraction to kick Saturn down, only to be taken to the mat and have his head rammed into the canvas. Dickinson hasn't been a factor at all yet. Jericho blocks another plancha but he jumps off the top and into Saturn's boot. Saturn hits a frog splash for no cover but Jericho grabs a rollup for two.
In the corner and Saturn wraps the bottom of his dress over Jericho's head and hammers away. Saturn rolls through a cross body and puts on the Rings of Saturn but Jericho gets his feet in the ropes. A Falcon's Arrow from Saturn looks to set up the Lionsault but Jericho rolls away and hits the real version for two. Jericho is frustrated and walks into the Death Valley Driver. Saturn hits another one on Dickinson....and walks out for the countout. Or is it a DQ? Penzer says countout so we'll go with that.
Rating: C. Good match here but the ending stops whatever they had going. More importantly though, what in the world was the point of Dickinson? He was evil, got suspended, came back and did absolutely nothing. The match was good enough, but I don't see why you don't give Saturn a clean win here.
Konnan and Rey are ready for the hair vs. mask match later. Rey slammed Luger's arm in a car door on Thursday. These are the kind of guys that should have been in the tournament if it was actually something serious.
We recap Page vs. Steiner. Scott claims that Kimberly wants him so he threw her out of a moving car. Steiner then sued Page for $1 million for emotional damages. Tonight it's Steiner's title vs. 30 days with Kimberly. Why Page would agree to adding that is beyond me.
Cruiserweight Title: Kidman vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo is challenging after turning heel due to the team performing badly in the tournament. A hurricanrana and armdrag drop Chavo before a dropkick sends him to the floor. Back in and another clothesline sends Chavo back to the floor for more stalling. Kidman gets tired of waiting and baseball slides Guerrero into the barricade. Tony tells us that Luger is out of the hair vs. mask match later due to a biceps injury caused by Rey's attack on Thunder but Nash has a replacement partner.
Kidman tries another dive but only hits steel to give Guerrero control. Back in and the brainbuster gets two for the challenger and we hit the chinlock. Kidman gets sent to the floor and Chavo follows him out with a big flip dive. Back in and Kidman backdrops his way out of a powerbomb attempt but he comes up favoring his back.
Chavo goes up, only to dive into a dropkick to the ribs. Kidman can't follow up though and Chavo grabs a top rope hurricanrana for two. The BK Bomb connects for two but Chavo pops back up and tries a powerbomb. He deserves the faceplant he gets and Kidman hits the Shooting Star to retain. To continue Tony's odd way of saying things, he said Kidman dragged Chavo to the corner “for proximity purposes.”
Rating: B-. Another good match here as you would expect from these two. Chavo is a good worker in the ring and now that he's just a guy instead of being completely insane he'll be able to showcase that a lot more. Kidman is getting really close to being a great champion but he has to face Mysterio at some point to cement that status.
Video on Goldberg vs. Bigelow.
Tag Team Titles: Curt Hennig/Barry Windham vs. Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit
This is a tournament final, but since it's double elimination and only Hennig/Windham are undefeated, Malenko and Benoit have to win two matches in a row. If Hennig and Windham win the first fall, they win the belts. Benoit and Malenko have already won three matches this week to get here. Heenan notices a nice plot point: you have current Horsemen against former Horsemen here.
Dean chases Windham around to start before they hit the mat to fight over hammerlocks. Off to Benoit vs. Hennig as the fans are still as hot as they were earlier in the night. Tony talks about Hennig, Malenko and Windham all being second generation wrestlers. Heenan: “So is referee Mickie Jay.” Tony: “Who was his father?” Heenan: “Oh he wasn't a wrestling referee. He umpired a peewee football league in Moline, Illinois back in the 40s.”
Hennig chops Benoit in the corner so Benoit chops him so hard that Hennig falls to the mat. They slap it out and it turns into a fight in the corner. The running clothesline puts Hennig on the floor as Tony says Benoit has never been a champion before, meaning Benoit's TV Title wins at house shows either don't count, or Tony wasn't informed of them. Barry comes back in and hammers away in the corner, only to get chopped right back.
Off to Malenko who dropkicks Windham into the ropes. Barry is a good two and a half feet from Hennig but Hennig comes in anyway. The referee puts him out but Windham gets in a cheap shot to take over. That was kind of an odd sequence. Hennig comes in legally and gets nailed by Dean, allowing him to roll to the corner for a hot tag to Benoit. Chris comes in and beats up both cowboys with ease and a backbreaker gets two on Curt.
A LOUD chop has Hennig in trouble and it's back to Malenko for some shots in the corner. Heenan wants all car races to have no brakes because he likes his wrestling fast. Benoit nails the Swan Dive but Windham breaks up the cover. Curt gets crotches on the top rope and dropkicked out to the floor but comes back in with a low blow right in front of the referee. That's perfectly fine with the son of a Moline football league umpire and Barry comes back in for two off a gutwrench suplex.
Dean gets sent to the floor and chopped up against the barricade for two back inside. Hennig gets sent into the corner as the fans think this is boring. Benoit takes Curt's head off with a clothesline but Barry comes in with a cheap shot to take over. The superplex gets two as Dean makes the save and it's back to Hennig for more chops. Hennig's running neck snap gets two but Benoit finally rolls over and tags in Dean to clean house. Barry gets caught in the Cloverleaf and Benoit stops Hennig, forcing the submission for the first fall.
Since this is basically a two fall match I'll save the rating for after the whole thing is done. There's a thirty second rest period between falls.
Windham has taken his belt off and chokes Dean down, which there is no reason for the referee not to see. Barry keeps choking with the belt and pulls Dean to the mat for the pin and the titles.
Rating: C-. This match is proof that WCW just does not understand what it's doing. After the last month of putting up with this way too complicated tournament where WCW didn't even know who was in it half the time, we sit through a long yet good match where the Horsemen win, only to have them lose the second fall a minute later because it's double elimination. Not only was the tournament boring, but now the ending makes people mad.
Who in the world thinks Hennig and Windham deserve Tag Team Titles? They've teamed together for all of a few weeks and now they get the belts after the Horsemen win four matches in a week to lose the last fall in a minute? This is bad storytelling and completely missing what your audience wants. Yeah Benoit and Malenko can come back and win them later, but all the momentum and the interest is gone now. Horrible decision and just a stupid move. For WCW to think Barry Windham is more valuable than Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko in 1999 is ridiculous.
As for the match itself, it wasn't bad but the refereeing here was atrocious. There's a difference between relaxing the rules a bit and having referees mean as much as ECW referees. When a guy is punching the other man low right in front of the referee, something should be done. Otherwise, why bother having them there?
We recap the US Title situation which went from Hart defending against Benoit to Roddy Piper defending against Scott Hall, and all it took was Will Sasso from MadTV. Yeah Benoit loses again because Roddy Piper needs this push.
Kevin Nash/??? vs. Konnan/Rey Mysterio Jr.
This is Rey's mask vs. Liz's hair due to Lex Luger bullying Rey. Nash's mystery partner is....Scott Hall. Liz is looking great here in a short skirt, tight low cut red top to show off the surgery and thigh high boots. Luger is seconding the Outsiders. Heenan rants about how stupid he thinks Mysterio's mask in the most heelish thing he's said in a long time. I know Heenan is mean most of the time but it's usually more sly than flat out mean.
Hall throws the toothpick at Mysterio so Rey throws it right back. Rey gets thrown down twice in a row but he comes back with a quick armdrag. A springboard seated senton (called a Thesz Press by Schiavone) drops Hall and Rey nails Nash with a forearm for good measure. He dives too many times though and gets caught in a fall away slam. Nash comes in and throws Rey down by the throat as Heenan keeps ripping into Mysterio about the mask.
Back to Hall for some clotheslines and you can clearly see a purple and yellow Razor Ramon elbow pad sticking out from under the Wolfpack pad. Rey escapes the Outsider's Edge and tags in Konnan who hammers away until Nash gets in a cheap shot from the apron. There's the big boot choke in the corner before it's back to Hall as Rey plays cheerleader on the apron. Konnan fights back but a double clothesline puts he and Hall down. Liz and Luger seem to be plotting something on the floor.
Rey gets the tag and dropkicks both Outsiders before using Nash's back as a launching pad to dropkick Hall a second time. Everything breaks down and the fans are getting back into it. Luger pulls Konnan to the floor and sends him into the steps as Rey hits a moonsault press on Nash, nailing him in the head with his knee to knock Kevin silly. Liz distracts the referee though, allowing Hall to give Rey the Edge and put Nash on top for the pin.
Rating: D. This wasn't as long as the previous match but the ending is just as stupid. As soon as you knew Liz's hair would be on the line you knew the NWO would win, but WCW's stupidity continues as they think Rey is better without his mask. Heaven forbid you sell the thing and make a bunch of money off of it or something like that. Also the name King of Mystery doesn't have quite the same meaning now. This is another match that didn't need to happen and whose only purpose seems to be to disappoint the fans.
Rey unmasks and Nash tells him to put it back on. Mysterio looks very young.
TV Title: Scott Steiner vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Scott is defending and has been after Page's wife Kimberly, including throwing her out of a car. Assuming this stipulation isn't dropped, it's title vs. 30 days with Kimberly here. Scott, sans Buff here, brings a girl in from the audience and gently kisses her after talking trash about Page. It's a serious Page this time and the champion stalls on the floor to start. Page will have none of that and sends him into the barricade before they head inside.
Punches and choking have Steiner in early trouble but the referee drags Page off of him, allowing Scott to get in a rake to the eyes. They head outside again and both guys are sent into the barricade. Back in and Page scores with a top rope clothesline and a neckbreaker sends Scott back to the floor. Buff Bagwell runs out to give Steiner a pep talk but Page tells them both to come on. Both guys get atomic drops but the numbers game catches up to him as Steiner nails a clothesline.
Steiner chokes on the ropes and Buff gets in a few chokes of his own. Page gets tied in the Tree of Woe for even more choking. The fans are far quieter than they were about an hour ago. Interesting how having heels win matches they didn't need to win over underdogs will do that to you. More punching in the corner has Page in trouble but he comes back with right hands of his own. A belly to belly gets two for Steiner but Page pulls the champions trunks halfway down on a rollup for two.
Steiner nails a backbreaker as Buff has put a chair in the corner. A big chair shot to the back (even Tony says the referee should have heard that) puts Page down and Bagwell uses some wire cutters to unhook the turnbuckle pads. Page hits a very low headbutt to escape the Recliner but the referee ejects Buff. A discus lariat puts Steiner on the floor and Page follows him out with a plancha.
That's fine with Scott as he whips Page into the steps but takes too long going after the steps, allowing Page to nail Steiner with a clothesline. Back in and Page gets crotched on the top, setting up a top rope Frankensteiner for two. The Diamond Dream (jumping spinning DDT) drops Steiner but Page can't follow up. Instead Steiner sends Page into the exposed buckle and GOOD GRIEF WHY DO WE HAVE REFEREES IF THEY JUST WATCH PEOPLE CHEAT??? Robinson ejected Bagwell for taking off the pad, saw Steiner move the middle pad, and then saw Page go into the buckle and is totally fine with it. Of course he is.
Steiner rams Page back first into the exposed buckle three times because there's nothing wrong with that apparently. Page passes out in the Recliner. There's no mention made of the 30 days with Kimberly, meaning that Thunder is even more useless now because the stipulations made on that show are completely forgotten three days later.
Rating: D. This would be the third straight match where the fan favorite and logical winner has been completely destroyed and at least the second match where the referee doesn't seem to mind cheating at all. The fans are getting quieter and quieter every single match and I can't blame them at all.
Heenan brings up the thirty days because he's the only person there with a brain (maybe there's something to that name after all) and Tony completely ignores him because continuity is a bad word in WCW.
Page is put in a neck brace and taken away on a stretcher, despite Steiner working over his back for most of the match. The fans chant “PAGE SUCKS” because he's a hero who has been wronged, meaning he has absolutely no chance at winning a major match in this promotion.
Bam Bam Bigelow is with Mark Madden (who is actually fatter than Bigelow here) and says that this was his plan tonight as he's gotten in Goldberg's head and gotten a contract out of it.
US Title: Scott Hall vs. Roddy Piper
Piper is defending. Sign in the crowd: “Jericho, make the Wight choice.” Disco is here with Hall, who takes a full theme song before he comes through the entrance. Hall shoves Piper back and gets slapped in the face for his efforts. Roddy, seeming fine after the big beatdown on Monday, throws the kilt over Hall's face and drags him down to the mat for early control. Some left hands drop Hall and a slow motion neckbreaker gets one.
Roddy pulls some of Hall's hair out and knocks Disco off the apron. Hall does the comedic sell of some atomic drops before getting poked in the eyes. Piper is sent to the floor where Hall sends him face first into the steps. Back in and Hall hammers away before tying Piper up in the Tree of Woe. Disco gets in some choking and we hit the abdominal stretch with Inferno helping. Heenan actually gives us some insight: Disco pulling on the arm isn't meant to hurt Piper, but to prevent him from hiptossing Hall.
The referee catches the cheating and stops it, followed by Piper immediately hiptssing Hall to escape. Score one for Heenan. The fans are just DEAD for this. Piper puts on the sleeper and no one cares. I mean I literally do not see one person on their feet or showing any happiness whatsoever. Nash comes in and the distraction lets Hall roll Piper up with his feet on the ropes for the pin.
Rating: F. If the fans are that silent about a title match, the match can only be considered a failure. On top of that, this is the match that we lost Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit for. Roddy Piper was the United States Champion in 1999 and lost it to Scott Hall. This was deemd a better choice than Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit. Let that sink in for a minute.
Piper won't give up the belt post match until Disco takes it from him. Roddy tries to fight them off before bailing. Naturally no one is interested in helping the veteran because why would a good guy get any support?
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldberg
The fans go NUTS for Goldberg because they know they've finally got someone they can cheer for that can win. It's in a meaningless match that should have headlined a Nitro in mid-December but on this show it's exactly what we need. Goldberg is billed from Stone Mountain, Georgia here for the only time that I can remember.
Tony brings up the challenge that Goldberg made on the Tonight Show that shocked the world. Anyway the fans are.....oh you wanted to know what the challenge was? Well that's not important enough for Tony to specify. Thanks to the magic of Youtube, the challenge was Goldberg challenging Steve Austin to a fight for $100k of Goldberg's own money. This is the only time I've ever heard this mentioned and I never heard anything about this from anyone in the WWF, so I'm thinking this is WCW panicking and trying to get someone to notice them.
Quick sidebar here. In the clip from the Tonight Show, Goldberg says that people have been calling him a Steve Austin ripoff. I've heard people say this for years and it has to be one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. Other than being bald and wearing black trunks, what do these two have in common? They have different styles, different physiques, they're about as far apart on promos as you can possibly be (Goldberg barely talked for over a year), and Goldberg barely even has a character. Other than two on the surface characteristics and the timing, they're about as opposite as you can be.
Anyway, on to the match. They get in each others' faces and shout a lot (oh dear they're both bald. I CAN'T TELL THEM APART BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM SO SIMILAR!) before Goldberg shoves Bigelow back. Bigelow hammers away but a shoulder only keeps Goldberg down for half a second. A delayed slam drops Bam Bam and sends him out to the floor. Back in and Goldberg nails a flying shoulder before hitting an FU and the worst looking cross armbreaker (it was missing the cross and the breaking parts) I've ever seen.
Bigelow rolls to the floor as the fans chant ECW. He trips up Goldberg and hits Goldberg low a few times, with the referee telling him to cut it out. Now Bigelow goes after Goldberg's knee, wrapping it around the post and putting on a leg lock inside. Thank goodness they went this route instead of using the Goldberg formula. The fans were dangerously close to being entertaining.
We hit the chinlock for a bit before Goldberg fights up and slams Bigelow to get a breather. He can't follow up though and Bam Bam nails a clothesline. The top rope headbutt connects for two before Goldberg wakes up and hits the spear, a superkick, another spear and the Jackhammer for the pin. He BARELY got Bigelow up.
Rating: D+. This was decent enough but I have no reason why Goldberg is out of the main event scene. He never got a rematch and never really talked about wanting revenge on the NWO. Instead he jumped back a month for his showdown with Bigelow that I don't think many people cared for. Goldberg beating another monster is a fine idea, but wouldn't Goldberg vs. Nash have made more sense? At least with Luger there's a reason for Goldberg not to go after him.
WCW World Title: Hollywood Hogan vs. Ric Flair
Now, in a normal wrestling company, when the heels win almost every single major match, it would usually be a sign that we get a feel good moment to end the show. You might as well start making out Flair's tombstone now. Flair comes in very calmly and it's a slow start. A hard chop in the corner has Hogan in trouble but he takes Ric into the corner for some knees to the ribs. Flair gets backdropped and clotheslined in the corner as this is starting to look like Starrcade 1997.
They trade chops in the corner and Flair hits the knee drop. That's more like it, but as soon as I say that Hogan hits a clothesline out of the corner. The Flair Flip in the corner sends Ric to the floor and a chair shot to the head busts him open. Back in and it's all Hogan and he slams Flair off the top. Some elbow drops are no sold and Flair is ticked off. That lasts all of two seconds as Hogan nails him in the corner and whips him with the weightlifting belt.
Flair absorbs the shots...and is knocked down by a belt shot to the head. Ric chops away in the corner and Hogan HULKS UP. Thankfully Flair kicks him low (the referee is fine with it. Again.) and takes off the weightlifting belt to whip Hogan a few times. Now Hogan is bleeding so Flair bites at the cut. Cue the Blonde in a red dress (Tony recognizes her, which makes me wonder WHY HE NEVER MENTIONED IT IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS) to slap Flair.
Ric hammers away in the corner and gets two off a vertical suplex, but the referee is bumped on the kickout. Hogan elbows the referee for good measure before nailing Flair with the big boot. The legdrop misses though, but we've got a masked man. Flair is going after the leg and Heenan thinks the masked man is Bischoff. Whoever he is, he uses the taser on Flair and holds hands with the Blonde, giving Hogan the pin and the title.
Rating: F. I'll get to the masked man and how stupid it is in a minute. The match was about what you would expect from a Hogan match at this point. The bigger problem though was the lack of a payoff. Flair has gotten destroyed every step of the way and now he gets beaten up in the big match. This is another example of a match that should have been a layup but instead of scoring, they beat themselves over the head with a brick. Horrible match and idea in general.
The masked man celebrates with Hogan and the Blonde. The mask comes off and it's David Flair, because beating up, humiliating and beating up Ric Flair again wasn't enough. The NWO celebrates to end the show.
Overall Rating: D-. You know what the worst part of this show is? The first fifty minutes. Those were some solid matches that got the crowd going and put them in a good mood. It's a shame that no one is going to remember any of them because of how horrible the rest of the show was. I can't say a show is a failure when the first third was good, but that's the extent of the positives.
Let's start with David Flair. If you look at this story as a whole, it makes very little sense. I understand the idea: David is young and was given the Blonde to convince him to turn on his father. Why such a young man would be stupid enough to accept help from someone that destroyed him is beyond me, but that's a common hole in wrestling logic. You would think that Ric could find his son a dozen gorgeous women (which he just happened to do in a few months but we'll get there later), but instead we get to humiliate Ric AGAIN because why would the fans need a hero to cheer for?
That should be the subtitle of this show: Who Needs Heroes? Other than Goldberg winning a pretty meaningless match, the biggest face to win here was Booker T., in another match that doesn't mean much. This show was all about the NWO and making sure they looked as dominant as possible and taking out every bit of their competition in the process.
I rarely get angry doing these reviews, but this show was so bad that I was actually getting ticked off watching it fifteen years after it happened and knowing what was coming. That's how stupid this show was and somehow, WCW is going to get WORSE. This show wasn't just doing things wrong. This show was seeing what was the right move and running as far away from it as they could. It's one of the most maddening shows I have ever seen and leaves me with almost nothing to look forward to.
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