What is it that attracts us to professional wrestling?
I was left to wonder that, when I was questioned by a work colleague. Here I am, a fully grown 32 year old man, a married home owner, living the middle class dream as a quality assurance manager by day, and WCW quality performance analyst by night.
They couldn’t understand how on earth I still allow myself to watch something as low brow as wrestling; something that catered to the lowest common denominator. So often in the past, I’ve found this position so difficult to defend, especially with the modern day product that is so carefully structured and homogenized to deliver the exact same meal, week after week. That same, unfulfilling, gut rotting meal.
Still, I didn’t hesitate this time. It’s an escape. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I watch my fair share of old school NWA and WCW. It’s something to make for easy background noise when I just need to take a load off. It’s nostalgic; like the current run of Ninja Turtles or Jurassic Park remakes. It’s a creative escape. I love to write, but I don’t like writing about things that don’t interest me. Even the worst WCW shows are far more entertaining than anything else I could come up with on my own. It allows me to be observant, to catch those little moments of sheer ridiculousness that nobody else does, and share it with you. I have a library of over 4000 shows sitting on a hard drive that I can access on my PS3 at any time. I have a WWE Network subscription. It’s not for everyone, but it’s for me. I imagine, it always will be.
Well, until the Faces of Fear are no more. Then I turn it off FOREVER.
LIVE (but TAPED!) from the Cyborg Factory on the Mothaship of TBS, home of the Pay Windah, masters of Filibusterin’, starring the Debulush Woman, and that Jethebel Elizabeth, where Clubberin’ and Plundah are all the rage, it’s WCW Saturday Night! TONY SCHIAVONE and some forgettable well-spoken guy host.
LA PARKA vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Excellent start, WCW. Unless of course, they’re only given 2:21. Then I might be forced to deliver the Canadian rage all over again. Jericho might be an unbearable wiener, but the boy can wrestle. La Parka flies at Jericho off the bell, and misses a dive, hitting the buckle. He picks himself up, and flattens Chris. Jericho comes back with a dropkick, ducks a spin kick, and hits one of his own. Parka bounces back with a springboard headscissors, followed by a springboard karate kick, and scores a 2. He seems confused by his lack of victory (for all the facial displays he is able to provide), and powerbombs Jericho for 2. He goes for a second one, but Jericho rolls through and delivers a German suplex, holding on to the bridge for 2. A back elbow levels La Parka, but he shakes them bones and powerslams Chris for 2. Jericho bounces up, applies a crucifix, and scores the win at 3:23. That’s disappointing, I was sure La Parka was getting the rocket push right up to Hogan. **
In the locker room, “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND feels confident standing next to LEX LUGER. Really? I feel like Lex Luger would make me feel quite unconfident in comparison, but good on you for being true to yourself, Gene. Luger vows to have his way with every member of the nWo. Errrr, ok, that’s cool, just not on camera if you don’t mind.
After a break, Gene is joined by JIMMY HART and THE FACES OF FEAR while Lex heads off, presumably to shower up and start making bedroom eyes at Vincent or something. Which he might even appreciate, at least someone would be paying him some attention. Meanwhile, Hart lobbies for a title shot, and Meng is asked how he feels about that. Thankfully, I speak a little Jungle Gibberish. “Aren’t you the guy who Makes the Donuts?” Which is actually a great observation from Meng, and we’ll need to investigate. Barbarian just sticks out his tongue, and is far too cool for this stuff.
“LORD” STEVEN REGAL vs. BOBBY EATON (for the WCW world television title)
I don’t mean to disparage the good name of the former Earl, but Regal’s coming off a hard fought victory against the legendary Tony Pena, so he might want to just give up now. Eaton powers Regal back to the corner, and gets a thumb to the eye for his effort. Regal starts chain wrestling, which rarely goes well this early for his Lordship. A shot to the jaw has Regal showing a range of disgust, anger, and pain all in one facial expression. I would pay $1000 to watch him perform in a Murder Mystery. A backdrop sends the Lord flying, and Eaton’s on him with a vertical suplex, but Regal packages him on the way down and scores the win at 2:18. I don’t know how I’ll be able to express to the Faces of Fear that I’ve developed some strong feelings for Regal this year, but hopefully, they’ll understand. *
SONOKO KATO vs. KAORU
Tony tells us that Kato is 17-years of age, which is of course a big fat lie. Why do that? She’s 20, that’s plenty impressive. Kaoru is booed, not because she does anything particularly heelish, or is unattractive, but because that’s what the Applause sign is telling them to do. If you thought the WWE manipulated their audience, you ain’t seen the Disney tapings. Kato hits a bulldog, and prances around congratulating herself. A second bulldog lands a 2 count, which causes her to celebrate again. I’m not sure I get it. Kaoru fires back with a sunset flip out of the corner, and nearly scores the pin. Kaoru leaps and hits Kato with a box to the face, causing the largely male audience to boo. Riiiight. Kato kicks Kaoru in the back, and drops a leg for 2. Dusty notes that neither girl has much body fat and are obviously top contenders, but if titles were won on low body fat, Dusty would have spent his career losing to lower tier workers than Scott and Steve Armstrong. Kato misses a top rope guillotine, and Kaoru nails a brainbuster. Top rope springboard moonsault finishes matters easily at 2:37. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Gene doesn’t interview either of these ladies. **
KONAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (for the Mexican heavyweight vanity title)
Good to see the return of the useless Mexican title – you keep living the dream Konan. This is a return match from Monday that I certainly wasn’t clamouring for, but perhaps Mexico was dying to see their Hulk Hogan get revenge on that evil Guerrero. The pair trade chinlocks. Snore. Konan pokes Eddie in the eye, which leads to more exciting moves, like the arm wringer. Eddie connects with a headscissors, but Konan fires back with the tumbleweed clothesline. A top rope dropkick misses, so Eddie heads up to finish. Jimmy jumps on the apron to block the Frog Splash, but Eddie fights him off and steals the megaphone. Konan rushes over, and takes a megaphone shot to the head to cause a DQ at 3:33. Froggie Splash hits anyway, and that’s too much for THE FACES OF FEAR to watch, who run in and start the CLUBBERIN’! The viciousness! The violence! The power! Eddie might never walk again! 1/2*
Next up, a treat for anyone watching this prior to June of 2007; video footage of last weekend’s house show in Baltimore between Benoit and Sullivan. From the little we’re given, it appears to have taken the template of their Great American Bash brawl (as all subsequent matches would), but with a greater level of violence. In the bathroom, Benoit is given a Kick of Fear from Meng AGAINST THE WALL! Holy crap! The beatdown draws Woman in to defend her man, including jumping on Sullivan’s back and trying to claw his eyes out.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND stands with KEVIN SULLIVAN and JIMMY HART to gets their comments on what we just saw. Sullivan says he’s made a lot of mistakes in his life, and while he has no regrets trying to end Benoit’s life, he made the same mistake Chris is making now. He tells Benoit that he is just a stepping stone, and he isn’t “the last one”. He vows to put Chris through hell for ruining his life and causing him mental anguish these last two months. Gene looks Sullivan square in the eye and tells him, with no disrespect intended, “you’ve never been wound very tightly”. Gene speaks for ALL of us at home in asking “guys, am I missing something here?” Sullivan glares at him and says if anyone knows what he’s talking about, Gene is the guy. If I hadn’t sat through Vince Russo, I’d call this one of the most confusing and stupidly incestuous angles of all time. Sadly though, it only ranks about a 1.2 on a WCW2000 scale.
BUNKHOUSE BUCK and MIKE ENOS vs. HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri)
I abhor short term memory loss, and it was only just a month ago when we tried out the combination of Buck and Enos. It went REALLY poorly, largely due to Buck’s continued loyalty to the Colonel. Nothing has changed, as far as I know, other than the Colonel turning into a Clue Suspect. On the other hand, I appreciate that they’re trying to freshen up the never-ending Rough & Ready/Harlem Heat rivalry. In fact, R&R won the last match by DQ, bringing their record to a brag-worthy 1-7 this year. In watching Buck on the apron, I realize that we’re sorely due to see him come back in the WWE. No, not as Jack Swagger’s father again, but as Luke Harper’s. They’re both equally disgusting, and you wouldn’t even need to come up with any more back story for Harper, all of his behavior would just suddenly make sense. Booker jams a thumb in the eye of old Buck, while Tony suggests this team name themselves Rough & Rugged. I like it, let’s go with that. Stevie winds up getting double teamed for awhile, but the heels can’t put him away. A sidewalk slam brings in Booker T, who quickly hits the flying jalapeno for 2. Everyone starts to brawl, and Buck hits Stevie with his finisher – the cowboy boot to the face. Sherri manages to trip him up before going for the pin, allowing Booker time to hit the Harlem sidekick and score the win at 4:17. * Don’t give up, Rough & Rugged. 1 match is a small sample size, you’ll need at least 7 more to ensure you’re truly outclassed.
Over on nWo Saturday night, we appear to have found new contenders in the fourth round of the tag-team tournament.
Height: not tall enough
Weight: 140 lbs.
Hometown: Athens, GA
Pro record: 0-1
Played a 3 Musketeer
THE BACK STABBER
Weight: 280 lbs.
Hometown: Back Alley, NY
Pro record: 20-20
Uses the Knife Edge
He’s Razor Sharp
Tonight’s ring announcer is SYXX, who has been lazy about continuing his cruiserweight tournament. DOCTOR X is your referee, as always.
TOMMY GRECO and THE BACKSTABBER vs. THE OUTSIDERS (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
No, that’s not a typo. Nash is in fact defending the US title, which is on loan from the Giant, as well as providing play by play. Hall chops away, AKA a “gunshot!” Backstabber gets a tag in, and Hall hits him right away with the Japanese clothesline. Hall takes over commentary as Nash comes in. Nash hits the “squisher”, and Backstabber rolls out. Greco comes in without a tag, but nobody seems to care as he takes a double arm chokeslam from “9 feet in the air!” Hall tags in, and Nash just stays put to do commentary. “Sometimes, I get so close to the action it feels like I’m in the ring.” The fallaway slam connects, which affects the colon if Nash is to be believed. Hall rolls in the Backstabber, as Nash comfortably just sits on the top turnbuckle. THE GIANT interferes with a chokeslam, allowing Nash and Hall to score a dual pinfall, with Nash calling it.
These were cute the first couple of times they ran them, but they’re running out of ideas, and as a result, running this whole shtick into the ground. I could do without any more nWo Saturday Night.
JUVENTUD GUERRERA vs. CHRIS BENOIT
It’s been nice knowing you, Juvi. Against all odds, Guerrera takes the early advantage, and chops down Benoit. Chris misses a chop, but Juvi blows a sunset flip and lands on Benoit’s head for 2. An Oklahoma roll gets 2. Juvi calls for a rana, but off the springboard Benoit catches and powerbombs him. Holding the legs, he catapults Juvi into the buckle, and follows with a backdrop suplex. To the corner, and we chop. Scoop slam sets up the Liontamer, which Benoit applies the real way, and Juvi’s twisted in a seriously unnatural position. Still, he won’t tap, so Benoit releases and beats him down. A vicious clothesline sends Benoit up top – thumb to the throat – and the swandive connects. Crossface finishes at 3:16. ** Tony thinks WCW needs to start considering Chris Benoit to lead the charge against the nWo.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND grabs Benoit for a quick word. Gene’s disappointed Woman isn’t joining them. Benoit says that Woman’s become a lot more than just his manager, and is currently making travel plans. Gene doesn’t much care for his lack of candor, and asks why everyone’s trying to swerve him all the time? Benoit fails to answer, and turns his attention to Sullivan. He says that the whole Dungeon of Doom gave him their best, and it STILL wasn’t enough to get rid of him. Gene asks why the Horsemen didn’t save Chris on Saturday. Benoit says it wasn’t Horsemen business, it’s all about himself and Sullivan.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE vs. SCOTT NORTON
Tony finally figures out what the deal with Page is; that he’d probably love to join the nWo, but his ego won’t allow him to because he insists on being the coolest kid in school, and they didn’t pick him first. Of course, Page has said this himself at least a half dozen times, but Dusty is genuinely amazed at Tony’s ability to piece the puzzle together and believes he’s right. Norton uses his power to overtake Page in the early going. DDP winds up staggering around after taking an avalanche, and a clothesline gets 2. Page takes a powder, and on his way back in he gives Norton a quick snapmare over the top rope. Norton is choked in the ropes, and Page liberally uses his 5 counts. Swinging neckbreaker gets 2, but Norton kicks out with some authority, launching Page several feet. A shoulderblock knocks Page off his ass, but on the follow up charge, Page uses the momentum to fall backwards into a hot shot. A pancake connects, and Page calls for the Diamond Cutter. Page tries, but Norton just throws him off mid-move, and sends Page to the floor. DDP reaches into his tights, and on his way back in, Norton picks him up. Page punches him in the face with the object repeatedly, falls on top, and gets the win at 4:10. Still completely scummy, that’s my Page. *1/2
Page stops in for a quick word with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND on his way to the pay windah. I am loving the fact we are to believe this is happening seconds after the match, despite the fact Page is now wearing a completely different colored set of tights. Page says he’s tired of answering the exact same questions on every bloody show, he just wants to go back to where he was before all this political crap started. His focus is on the US title tournament, and he plans on walking off with the belt. Gene pressed, but Page tells him to stop asking him about Hall and Nash because he doesn’t care what they’re doing. The end.
Despite there being about 15 minutes left in the show, that was our main event, because we once again replay the entire Piper contract signing from World War 3 as the credits roll. If this is anything like last month, we can be sure we’re going to see this at least another half dozen times between now and Starrcade.