I apologize for falling over a week behind in my recaps – I am on VACATION and ON LOCATION from lovely Cape Cod, Mass. I expected to have time to keep on top of these bad boys, but we’ve been so busy it’s been made impossible.
It’s been a wild few weeks since Hog Wild came to an end. We’ve seen the nWo expand from 3 members, to somewhere between 5 and 7 (depending on whether or not we count DiBiase and Nick Patrick). A mysterious voice lingers and threatens us all as #8. WCW says Glacier debuted, but the only footage that exists seems to be of him posing, which we’ve already seen for 6 months. And speaking of at least 6 months, Scott Norton and Ice Train continue to be prominently featured even though nobody seems to have any interest in their feud. DDP has started a war with the Guerrero family, and may or may not be in bed with Nick Patrick and the nWo. Chip Minton and The Gambler haven’t won matches, and High Voltage has won too many. Konnan discovered the secret door to the Dungeon of Doom, and was not eaten by Braun, which is more than we can say about poor Chad Brock (RIP). Steven Regal won the TV title and was never seen again, everyone’s a traitor, and Chris Cruise is unbearable.
I think we’re up to date.
This is the first one I’ve done via the WWE Network stream – which you can watch along with me.
LIVE from Winston Salem, NC, our hosts are TONY SCHIAVONE, BOBBY HEENAN, andDUSTY RHODES. Heenan says the guys in the back are trading bets that tonight is the nWo’s final match. Which means SOMEONE is betting on the nWo, so I’d suggest smoking those guys out and annihilating them. Nobody knows who WCW’s fourth guy is, with Sting having defected to the nWo.
The fans are clad in a sea of nWo shirts. WCW is just printing money at this point.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. CHAVO GUERRERO JR.
So at the Clash of Champions a month ago, Eddie defeated Page for the Battlebowl ring. Page immediately stole it back, and somehow that’s led to Chavo playing the role of surrogate for Eddie. Which would be fine if he had an ounce of Eddie’s talent or credibility, but this is an awful mismatch that has no business on pay-per-view. Chavo takes Page to the floor, and hits him with a slingshot tope. Page is tossed into the guardrail, and later in the ringsteps. The belt is ripped right off Page’s waist, and Chavo whips him. Heenan correctly points out that Chavo would have been disqualified if Patrick was reffing this thing. Back in the ring, a crossbody block gets 2. Chavo works the arm a little, presumably to prevent the Diamond Cutter. Page makes the ropes, but the useless RANDY ELLERdoesn’t force a break. If it was Nick Patrick, he’d already be eating it from Gene. Page escapes, but Chavo hits an armddrag, and hangs Page in the ropes. He tries a baseball slide dropkick, but Page gets out of the way and finally gets some offense in. Back in, Page hits a top rope clothesline and calls for the Diamond Cutter. Alas, it’s for naught. Chavo manages a small package, but Page wiggles loose and continues his assault. Page pantomimes kicking dirt over Guerrero, and paint brushes him with the boot. Pancake gets 2. Chavo tries to get a little something going, but eats Page’s elbow. Page goes to punt Chavo, but he rolls away and Page does the slip on the banana peel routine. A knee rocks Page, and Chavo follows with a springboard clothesline. Missile dropkick gets 2. Chavo goes back, and this time hits the super headscissors, but Page escapes at 2. Page blocks a charge with a back elbow, but even with his feet on the ropes he gets 2. Page launches Chavo so hard that he clears both top ropes and they find themselves in the second ring, drawing a loud pop. Chavo comes back with a rana, and a schoolboy gets 2. Page fires back with a 360 Powerbomb, again to a LOUD pop. He signals for the Diamond Cutter, and the fans are completely eating him up. Lo and behold, he delivers, and scores the pin at 13:07. It seems absolutely unbelievable how much Page has improved in just the last 6 months alone (because lord knows, I had to watch those matches 6 months ago), and even more unbelievably, the fans have noticed. Stardom is calling, Mr. Page. **1/2
Gene issues a special report, recapping the entire nWo saga to this point.
SCOTT NORTON vs. ICE TRAIN (with Teddy Long) (in a
This Feud May Never Endsubmission match)
Submissions weren’t really common in WCW at this point, and outside of specialists like Benoit and Malenko, most guys used pinfalls. Including these big lugs. So it’s almost laughable that we’ve spent nearly a month using the B and C shows trying to build these guys up as submission gurus, when all they’ve been able to muster are lousy armbreakers. This is literally the most random gimmick they could have slapped on here, this side of a Cole Miner’s Glove match. Train hits his finisher, the big splash, seconds into the match. He goes for a second, but Norton rolls away, and plants him with a DDT. Train comes back, and applies his big finish, the chinlock. Amazingly, Norton doesn’t tap. Tony laments the loss of Fire and Ice in the tag-team division. I’m sure everyone else IN the division misses them too, since they never won any matches! Norton applies a cross armbreaker, and Teddy threatens to throw in the towel, but Eller tells him to get lost, it’s on Ice Train. We’re long before mainstream UFC, but the idea of a 90 second cross armbreaker from a guy with arms like Norton and NOT tapping is something I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around. Not only that, he then slams Norton with EASE, and applies what Tony calls a “Japanese armbar”. It’s basically a normal armbar, but smaller and more efficient. Train tries the big splash AGAIN, but Norton lifts his knees to block. A powerbomb hits, and Norton applies a Boston crab. Train won’t give, so Norton shifts and works the armbar. Teddy jumps on the apron, distracting Norton. Norton goes to kill him, but Train comes in behind with a full nelson, and Norton taps at 7:17. Ironic, because I think this feud has also lasted 7:17 (that being months:days). Is this the end? Do NOT bank on it. *1/2
JUVENTUD GUERRERA vs. KONNAN (with Jimmy Hart) (for the Mexican Vanity title)
MIKE TENAY hits the booth JUST in time to watch Juvi excitedly walk backwards right into the ringsteps and topple over. This could have happened on any one of the syndicated shows and been edited out, but he chose pay-per-view, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Konnan gives Juvi the fist bump of respect, but it’s a trick, and he knees Juvi in the gut. The announcers fail to give the appropriate amount of respect to the Dungeon of Doom for teaching him such treachery, but Tenay DOES launch into a discussion of whether or not WCW tried to Americanize Konnan when he came to WCW. It matters not, because now he represents, cuz la raza represents him. Juvi nails Konnan with a triple springboard full body assault, and follows with a tope to the outside. Konnan ain’t having none of that, and powerbombs him on the floor, causing Jimmy Hart to scream “ARIBA LA RAZA!” I’m loving the fact that the Dungeon of Doom is made up of society’s dredge and weirdos, and that Jimmy Hart assumed that the Mexican guy NOT wearing a mask is clearly enough of a freak to join his gang (and was right). Juvi does a convoluted trip between the two rings, and then even more unbelievably he does a headscissors that propels Konnan over the ropes and back into ring #1. Juvi hasn’t impressed me thus far, he’s trying wayyyy too hard, instead of sticking the lucha basics. Konnan backdrops Juvi over the top, which hangs him over the 2nd ring’s ropes like a wet towel. Konnan works some mat holds, but releases. Juvi tries a springboard moonsault, but gets powerbombed for his trouble. A duplex of German suplexes shake Juvi up, and he takes a powder. Juvi works his way back in with a springboard missile dropkick, and the big legdrop gets 2. Juvi tries to sunset flip powerbomb Konnan off the apron and to the floor, but he blocks with the ropes and dropkicks Juvi. Back in, a double leg dropkick off the top gets 2. The two trade bridges, to no avail. Juvi hits a springboard spinning heel kick for 2. Juvi comes again, but Konnan hits the wheelbarrow suplex that gets a loud reaction. They get tied up in the ropes, giving Juvi the chance to hit a somersault guillotine off the top. He goes to finish with the Firebird splash, but Dusty doesn’t even stop telling his story to acknowledge the move so you know it’s not enough. Konnan blocks something in the corner, and nails the double leg slam, following with a bridge for 2. A super brainbuster gets 2, before Konnan finally finishes with Splash Mountain at 13:45. They tried, lord did they try, but it just never clicked to take it to the next level. It just felt like a bunch of moves instead of a story – something Juvi would get better at in the years to come. ***
CHRIS JERICHO vs. CHRIS BENOIT
Temper your expectations a little, Jericho’s a major wiener at this point and not the shit disturbing d-bag he’d become later on. Benoit gets a loud reception, since the show’s in the heart of Horsemen country. Benoit viciously attacks Jericho, with a nasty hairpull that might have concussed him, and the fans are loving it. Spinebuster is on point, and Benoit applies the Liontamer like a boss. And no, he didn’t steal it – in fact he was the one who taught it to Jericho. Jericho escapes, and turns it around with a dropkick to the back of Benoit’s head. A springboard dropkick sends Benoit to the floor, and he nearly kills himself trying a springboard elbowdrop off the top, tripping mid move and falling headfirst – thankfully blocked by Benoit. Jericho’s unshaken, and heads up to a loud set of boos, and the missile dropkick gets 2. A powerbomb gets 2. The pair start trading violent chops, which Jericho ruins with a spinning heel kick. Benoit comes back with a snap suplex from the apron that sends Jericho to the floor. Jericho is sent face first to the ring post, and Benoit asks him if he wants to be famous? I REALLY recommend he NOT answer yes. Hotshot hangs Jericho out to dry, and a double forearm smash gets 2. Over to the abdominal stretch, which Benoit sells beautifully by turning himself purple while he pulls, and screams “ASK HIM!!!” Scoop slam sets up the swandive, and it’s one of the nicest ones you’ll ever see. Jericho manages the energy to apply a backslide for 2, but Benoit’s up and stomping on him before anything else develops. Benoit goes back to the Liontamer, but this time Jericho rolls forward and holds for 2. Northern Lights suplex from Jericho gets 2! Jericho lays in the chops, and reverses a tombstone attempt from Benoit into one of his own. Lionsault misses, but he lands on his feet and a clothesline gets 2. Top rope frankensteiner gets 2. Jericho goes back up again, but Benoit crotches him and hits a backdrop superplex for the pin at 14:36. Benoit kicks dirt on Jericho’s corpse, and gets a standing ovation. ***1/2
SUPER CALO vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (for the WCW cruiserweight title)
MIKE TENAY has barely had enough time to reasonably recover from his last Latin experience, but with the ferocity of an 18-year old virile male, he’s ready to go with as much energy as ever. In fact, off the bell he’s already giving us Calo’s personal life story. A very audible fan yells “BOOOOOORRRRRING”, at the same moment Tony declares “this is very impressive!” Calo applies an armbar, because that’s what we want to see with a couple of Cruiserweights. Tenay expects this to be an offensive NBA style match, with non-stop action, but we’re 2 minutes in and literally nothing has happened. Rey finally wakes up with a springboard rana, and Calo hits the deck. Back in, Calo dropkicks Mysterio because we need to slow this baby down. He does hit an impressive powerbomb, using the ropes as a spring for a little extra bounce. Rey is sent to the floor, and Calo hits a dropkick off the top. A scoop slam keeps Mysterio down long enough for Calo to hit a slingshot senton to the floor. Back in, a reverse headscissors off the top gets 2. Mysterio’s arm is jerked off the top, and Calo puts on a short arm scissors. That leads to Dusty talking about the night Pat O’Connor put HIM in a short arm scissors for 30 minutes, and he’s still here to talk about it. That Mysterio WISHES he had half of Dusty’s manly forte. Calo moves on to the inverted surfboard, and drops Mysterio down on his shoulders for 2. Rey hits the floor, holding his arm for dear life. Just thank his lucky stars he didn’t have to face Pat O’Connor, I’ll tell you what. Back in, Mysterio botches a crossbody that was supposed to propel both to the floor, but the referee is there for an assist and pushes Calo over the top for some reason. That gives Mysterio the energy to hit the no-hands over the top rope somersault dick to the face. Back in, Calo dropkicks him in retaliation for the stuffed sausage, and turns his attention to the ever exciting wristlock. Once again Calo jerks the arm over the top rope as he falls to the floor. On the apron, Rey manages to spin out of a wristlock and hits a springboard rana to the floor. Tony calls for a replay, and none ever comes. A second dick to the face has Calo dazed, and back in a springboard sunset flip gets 2. Springboard sky twisting bodyblock gets 2. A rana is hit, with Rey holding the legs on the follow through for 2. Calo misses a dropkick, and Rey finishes with a triple springboard rana for the pin at 15:47. Very impressive finish, and thank god Rey retained because Calo SUCKS and I can’t live in a world where both he AND Ed Ferrara are former champions. I struggle enough with Jacqueline and Madusa. **1/2
THE NASTY BOYS vs. HARLEM HEAT (with Colonel Robert Parker and Sista Sherri) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
Dear god NO, I can’t take it. Make them ALL go away please. What is it going to take to put the damn belts on the Faces of Fear, and just let them squash jobber losers in under 2 minutes for the next year? Stevie Ray and Jerry Saggs start, because this is hell. This would have been a compelling time to test Booker as a singles star, and it probably could have worked given the right storyline. Have the nWo attempt to recruit Harlem Heat so they can control the tag-team titles, Booker constantly refutes them because they have integrity, but Stevie has other plans and sells out. Booker dispatches of his traitor brother, and hones in on the rest of the nWo playa hatas. In fact, why ISN’T my fantasy booking happening, instead of the bloody CLUBBERIN’ that’s got Dusty in a happy place. Saggs threatens Booker with Pity City, but Sherri saves the day. Saggs offers to hit her with a chair – and I’m talking about a non-folding chair with the big metal legs. You know them from your high school auditorium, they’re bulky and awkward. Speaking of bulky and awkward, Stevie and Knobbs pair off. Stevie hits a bicycle kick, and since he’s now run through his entire moveset, he tags out to Booker. Booker hits the flying jalapeno, and punches Saggs in the face for fun. Saggs rushes in the ring, and in a nice spot, MARK CURTIS dives at Saggs almost with a crossbody block to prevent him from any kind of interference. Somehow a brawl erupts for a second, leading to Saggs chasing Sherri around, but nothing comes of it and everything goes back to a regular match. Booker is all smiles when he hits a double teamed second rope karate chop, but it doesn’t last when he misses the Harlem sidekick and crushes his beans. Saggs gets the hot tag, and bulldogs Booker. Stevie takes an avalanche, and gets dumped. Saggs calls for the finish, but Sherri re-appears and this time Saggs pulls her in by the hair. Booker tries to save, but Saggs rolls him up for 2, as Sherri skates away. A spike piledriver gets 2, saved by Stevie. Knobbs is all over him, but Curtis holds him back. Saggs heads up, but the Colonel trips him up with the cane and Saggs goes splat. Booker goes for an easy pin, but Saggs kicks out at 2. Axe kick knocks Saggs to the floor, where Stevie and Sherri work him over. Parker even gets in a kick, a rarity! Stevie can’t score the pin though, but Knobbs keeps trying to get involved allowing Booker to stomp his partner behind the referee’s back. Saggs manages to hit a double face slam on both members of Heat, and Knobbs gets the tag to a big pop. Clotheslines for everyone. Heenan calls Knobbs “fresh” before realizing the irony of his statement, as Knobbs hits a big splash on Booker for 2. Avalanche knocks Booker down, and Knobbs heads up while Saggs holds Booker hostage. The Colonel distracts, hands his cane to Sherri who breaks it over Knobbs, and Booker steals the pin at 15:31. And then somehow EVERYONE spontaneously combusted, and were NEVER seen again. **
In the back, a glowing MIKE TENAY interviews RANDY SAVAGE, who appears to be neither Mexican, nor a recent visitor to Mexico. Savage promises to hit a grand slam tonight against the Giant, setting himself up to rip Hogan’s black heart out of his chest at Halloween Havoc. Black heart? Is Hogan a smoker? Is he suffering from some sort of artery blockage? Is Savage looking out for his buddy’s best interests by removing the obviously damaged organ? Tenay does NOT ask any of this, instead opting to send Savage to the ring.
RANDY SAVAGE vs. THE GIANT
NICK PATRICK has been assigned to this which would seem to be a conflict of interest, but apparently the WCW brass have been blessed with coleslaw for brains. Giant enters to the Dungeon of Doom theme initially because apparently nobody told production that Giant left them last week. Someone eventually tips them off, right as Savage blasts him with a knee to the face. The camera spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on Giant’s tight tights, and while I’m not sure what goes on in the WCW Powerplant, I can tell you Giant definitely understands the small package. Savage hits the floor, and Giant flattens him with a crossbody block(!!!!). Who IS this man, and why is he letting the plodding Big Show wrestle in the WWE if HE exists? Giant hits a backbreaker, and holds his knee in place to torture Savage a little more. The fans are really in to this, as displayed by everyone’s eyes watching the entrance ramp for anyone. Giant applies a Boston crab, which is very exciting for the handful of fans watching the ring. Savage escapes and bites Giant in the eye. That’s followed with god knows what off the top, because Giant catches him in a bearhug and slams him with ease. A kneedrop misses, and Giant tries to walk it off but that’s enough to let Savage on his feet. He attacks the knee instantly, and goes up a second time. This time it’s a super faceplant, but Giant throws him off at 2 with enough force to send Savage about 5 feet in the air. Savage is all adrenaline now though, and slams the big man to a MASSIVE pop. That draws out HOLLYWOOD HOGAN just as Savage drops an elbow, and Savage chases him to the back where THE OUTSIDERS are waiting. Nash blasts him with a chair, and all 3 men work him over, while Nick Patrick misses the entire thing because he’s busy sharing his recipe for fall lentil soup with The Giant. Savage is rolled back in for the easy pin at 7:47. The fans were way into this during the hot points, which sometimes is enough to pull the rating up a little. Not a lot, mind you. **
MIKE TENAY is with RIC FLAIR, ARN ANDERSON, LEX LUGER, WOMAN, and ELIZBETH. Tenay wants to know who the 4th man for WCW is? Flair simply promises that WCW is going to kick ass. Arn says that he’s lost a partner, Luger lost a friend, and WCW lost an icon. But that draws in STING, and everyone’s fists go up. Sting says it wasn’t him on Monday night. Luger says he looked him right in the face on Monday in that parking lot, and doesn’t believe him. Sting says if he can’t believe him, he’ll prove it later.
You know what would have helped? Sting explaining where he has been for the last 6 days while everyone sat around feeling depressed about his actions. “It wasn’t me.” That’s weak. I used that excuse when my mother asked why my brother was crying, when I was 4.
TEAM NWO vs. TEAM WCW (in a Wargames match)
MICHAEL BUFFER does the ring introductions, and explains the rules which are the same as any other year. SCOTT HALL starts for the nWo with TED DIBIASE in tow to hang around ringside. ARN ANDERSON is out for the Horsemen as usual. NICK PATRICKis the assigned referee. Arn is fired up, and even Dusty can’t believe a day has come where he’s rooting for Anderson. Arn works over Hall’s leg for a bit, before Hall crawls to the safety of the second ring. He lures Anderson over, and beats him down. Arn comes back with a sleeper hold, but Hall escapes, so Anderson plants him with a spinebuster. Shock of all shocks though, the nWo won the coin toss, and KEVIN NASH is in now. Arn is waiting, but the double team is too much and he eats a big boot. Together the Outsiders launch Arn face first into the cage. Snake eyes has Arn doing the drunken stumble, and Hall tries to decapitate him with a clothesline. LEX LUGER is WCW’s second man in, and he hits both members of the Outsiders with a clothesline! Individually, Luger dishes more clotheslines out, and the fans are thrilled to see him. Luger uses Hall as a battering ram against a couple of sides of the cage, but Nash saves. Arn has managed to get back on his feet, and he sends Nash face first into the mesh.HOLLYWOOD HOGAN makes his way in now, and Luger is on him like a dog on meat. Arn joins in, and the fans are electric! The Outsiders are still around though, and they break up the party. Hogan slams Luger and starts dropping elbows, while the fans chant “WE WANT FLAIR” at the top of their lungs. WCW delivers, as RIC FLAIRhits the ring and demands a piece of Hogan. Heenan announces he’s not sure if Hogan can beat Flair, which would ignore the last 2-years worth of proof that says otherwise. Flair’s got brass knuckles on, and starts knocking out nWo members left and right. It’s a Horsemen party, at least until STING hits the ring on behalf of the nWo. Sting hits all his trademark stuff, though those watching closely might notice something’s off. In fact, some fans in attendance do, and start chanting “WE WANT STING!” Hogan hits Flair with the big leg drop. Sting hits the Stinger splash on all 3 members of the Horsemen, and beats his chest like a gorilla. Finally, WCW’s final guy is in, and … it’s STING? He walks right up to the obvious imposter now, and hits the bulldog. Everyone in the nWo starts eating it, courtesy of the real deal. Legitimate Stinger splashes are gifts for every one of them. Luger apologizes, but Sting asks “is that good enough for you? Is that proof enough?”, and walks away. Luger is heart-broken for the second time in a week, allowing Hogan the chance to hit the leg drop and bite his nose. The fake Sting puts Luger in the Deathlock, while Hogan applies a front facelock. Nick Patrick orders the bell, and the nWo wins via submission at 18:15. The match itself wasn’t great, but kicking off one of the greatest angles of the 90’s makes it all worth it. **1/2
Luger tries crawling to the back, calling for Sting’s help, but the nWo continues to work him over in the aisle. Flair and Anderson get back involved, with Flair giving a particularly nice ball-shot to Nash that makes me smile. RANDY SAVAGEappears out of nowhere now, pulling Hogan back to the ring area. However, THE GIANT is right behind, and Savage succumbs to the numbers, eating a Chokeslam.ELIZABETH rushes down as Hogan pulls out the spray paint, and Heenan starts announcing she’s with the nWo. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case, because she throws herself on Savage to protect him, and Hogan spray paints her with the nWo colors. Hogan asks for the stick, and calls Liz and Savage losers. Hogan says they promised to be together until death parts them, and he offers to make that a reality tonight. As usual, he’s a liar, and simply spits on them instead. They’re wayyyy early on PPV time, so to give the fans at home their money’s worth, we spend eons just hanging around the ring while the nWo poses. Eventually, after The Giant gives away one more Chokeslam, things are turned over to the announcers to waste another 5 minutes or so. Nothing of interest in mentioned, so we’ll wrap here.
Lots of questions as we head into Nitro tomorrow, and for a change, that’s a good thing.