Road Wild 1999
Date: August 14, 1999
Location: Sturgis, South Dakota
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Date: August 14, 1999
Location: Sturgis, South Dakota
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Back to Eric Bischoff's big idea so he could ride motorcycles around the Black Hills. The main event here is Kevin Nash vs. Hulk Hogan in a title/career vs. career match, which still doesn't sound fair to Hogan. After sitting through the disaster that was Thunder though, I really don't care about what is fair in WCW. Let's get to it.
The opening recap of course focuses on Nash vs. Hogan. In case the five or six videos on Thunder weren't enough for you of course. Actually, the more I think about it, one of these guys leaving means we might get someone new in the main event. FREAKING SWEET MAN!
Tony talks about this history of Road Wild. As in the show that debuted back in 1996 (1997 if you consider Hog Wild its own show). Just printing his quotes are better than almost any jokes I could come up with.
Here's the first show of any WCW employees: Tenay in a jean jacket and sunglasses, Tony in a darker jean jacket, sunglasses and a backwards hat, and Heenan (looking mostly normal) in a black shirt and hat. My goodness this stuff never gets easier to sit through. They hype up the main event and other big options to eat up time.
We recap the Dead Pool vs. the yet to be named Filthy Animals which I don't think has an actual story. They just started fighting one day and led up to this match. Tony says the fighting took place on the WCW Network. Good grief you mean they thought of it first???
Dead Pool vs. Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio Jr./Kidman
I do like the road design for the entrance ramp and the whole atmosphere is always really cool. It's Vampiro and the Insane Clown Posse (Violent J. and Shaggy 2 Dope) with Raven in their corner here. It's a big brawl to start with the Clowns thankfully being knocked to the floor so Vampiro can handle the wrestling. Kidman hits an early Sky High, followed by a slingshot hilo from Eddie. They head outside for a few seconds and we see that the ring is up on a mini platform like in previous years.
Vampiro nails a nice spinwheel kick to drop Eddie as Tony points out that the Clowns aren't really wrestlers. Granted I question how much they're actually singers or musicians either but that's a discussion for another time. We now get to the real point of the match as Tenay says Vampiro might be touring with the Clowns in the future. J. comes in to imitate whatever moves he saw watching wrestling as a kid, including a clothesline and a jawbreaker.
Tenay brings up the fans that have been stuck in the airport for all eternity, stalking wrestling personalities and asking them about whatever main event is coming up. Vampiro comes back in but Eddie climbs the ropes into a hurricanrana, only to have J. make the save. A Rock Bottom gets two on Eddie and the Clowns hit a double suplex. Amazingly enough, one of the most talented wrestlers of all time doesn't have much of a problem beating up a clown named after a Scooby Doo character. He drops Shaggy with a superplex and the hot tag brings in Mysterio.
Raven actually does something (when was the last time he even had a match?) by tripping Mysterio to the floor so Vampiro can hit the Nail in the Coffin on the floor. J. comes back in and I keep getting distracted by the steak sandwich stand opposite the hard camera. Things slow back down again as Tenay brags about the Clowns being able to hit legdrops in the wrestling ring they've set up in their backyards. The moral of the story: don't backyard wrestle unless you can get WCW mainstream coverage.
Shaggy powerslams Rey (Tony: “Great execution. As good as you'll get!” The British Bulldog is rolling over in his grave.) and drops him with a clothesline for no cover. Rey raises a boot in the corner and hits a split legged moonsault, allowing the hot tag to Kidman. Everything breaks down and Kidman is left alone with Shaggy. Apparently he's more of a Yogi Bear fan as he drops the Shooting Star for the pin to thankfully get us to a match full of actual wrestlers.
Rating: D+. The thing is, the match isn't even all that bad. The problem here though is how many notches Mysterio, Guerrero and Kidman have to crank it down so the Clowns aren't overwhelmed. Those three are some of the best wrestlers WCW ever had but they're stuck in the opening match against some musicians because WCW would rather make a quick splash off having the Clowns in a boring match than put on a product that could actually compete against WWF, which Mysterio, Guerrero and Kidman tearing the house down for these twelve minutes could have been a big part of.
The Clowns aren't even horrible in the ring, but they're very, very limited. They can do basic stuff like clotheslines and suplexes, but so can every single wrestler on the roster. Instead of Mysterio defending the title (which he hasn't done on a major show since May from what I can find) or Eddie actually wrapping up that stolen wallet story, we're stuck watching these guys do stuff they taught themselves so they can have a thrill. That's what we get for our $30?
We recap Harlem Heat vs. the Triad for the Tag Team Titles. Booker was getting beaten up by the Triad but Stevie came out to help him. He wanted to reform the team, but Booker said take off the NWO colors. Stevie said okey dokey and that's about all it took.
Tag Team Titles: Jersey Triad vs. Harlem Heat
The Triad is defending but it's only Kanyon and Bigelow at ringside because Flair can't let them have all three members around anymore. Kanyon says most of the bikers here likely don't have cable, so he explains the usual question, only to be drowned out by the engines revving. Booker is in black and white after making a big deal out of Stevie not wearing the black and white. I smell a secret alliance and feel the need to tune into Nitro to find out more.
The champs jump them to start but are quickly knocked to the floor. Only WCW would put Bam Bam Bigelow, a former biker covered in tattoos, in front of a biker rally as a heel. Tony isn't sure if Harlem Heat will have continuity after only wrestling a few matches in the last year. You mean like Bigelow and Kanyon? Stevie tries to get the crowd going but Kanyon sends him into the corner and drives in some shoulders to the ribs. Ray pops back up and throws both champions out to the floor and things slow down again. Heenan: “I remember one time I picked up the Beast From the East. Her name was Monica.”
Back in and Booker comes in to stomp Kanyon in the corner but gets dropped to the mat and choked. Tony and Bobby actually agree that Charles Robinson was a fair referee most of the time. Tenay: “.....what?” This commentary is extra golden tonight. Back to Stevie who tells the fans to rev their engines, which for some reason keeps Bigelow from going after Stevie when his back is turned. Shoulder blocks have no effect on either guy so Ray runs him over with a clothesline.
Kanyon gets in a knee from the apron and comes in to mock the bikers a bit. Heenan turns into a manager and starts coaching Kanyon on how to choke. It's back to Bigelow for a corner splash and a chinlock so he can whisper some sweet spots into Ray's ear. Back to Kanyon who tries to put Stevie down so Bigelow can go up top, only to have Kanyon catapult him into Bam Bam for a breather. The hot tag brings in Booker to fire off his kicks but Bigelow low bridges him to the floor. Oddly the fans have gone far more silent since Booker came in.
Kanyon nails his middle rope Fameasser for two as we've slowed down again. He loads up the same move but this time Booker powerbombs him for a nice counter. I love when wrestlers learn during the match. Stevie comes in again to hammer away but Page runs out, only to get knocked down by Bigelow, setting up Booker's missile dropkick for the pin and the titles.
Rating: C+. It's a very good sign that Benoit and Booker T. have picked up a title each in the last five days. Going back to Harlem Heat was a step backwards, but I'm very glad to see the younger guys getting something out of all this. The match was pretty good too with a basic tag team formula that has worked for years and will continue working for years to come. It also keeps up the idea that once the villains lose their backer and have to fight fair, the good guys win. In other words, Wrestling 101 works even in WCW.
We recap the Revolution vs. the Rednecks. For some reason this is treated as more about Hennig vs. Saturn than anything else. There isn't much of a story here other than they needed something for these teams to do and threw them into this match. Oh and CHAD BROCK!!!
Revolution vs. West Texas Rednecks
It's Douglas/Malenko/Saturn vs. Hennig/Windham/Duncum with the rednecks billed as the villains as WCW still doesn't get their audience (nor do they get their money but at least Bischoff got to ride a motorcycle!). Saturn says they don't care about the cowboys or Chad Brock (heresy!) so just pick who gets beaten up first. It's a brawl to start again with the Revolution cleaning house. We settle down to Malenko vs. Barry Windham, who can't make the t-shirt over trunks look work.
Dean takes over to start and brings in Saturn for a back elbow as Tenay goes into Professor mode, talking about how the Rednecks all have fathers who wrestled. That's the kind of guy wrestling needs again (and not Matt “let me beat you over the head with my knowledge and names of moves that no one uses” Striker) and I'm sure there's someone out there. Douglas comes in with a nice powerslam on Duncum as the Revolution keeps the wrestling strong. Heenan tells a story about having an 115 degree temperature but coming back just two years later. Wrestling could use a commentator like him too, but I don't think one exists.
Saturn suplexes Windham down and hammers away but Kendall nails Saturn from the floor to change control. Good old fashioned cheating never hurt anyone. Well Saturn maybe but that's beside the point. Off to Hennig for the necksnap as a truck drives along the road behind the ring. You can't say this show looks the same as the rest of them. Hennig lets Saturn tag and house is cleaned for a bit before it's off to Douglas.
The Rednecks come in to break up a Pittsburgh Plunge attempt and “whoever it was” (Tenay's words) trips him to the floor and Shane gets beaten down on the floor. Things settle down to Windham suplexing Douglas for two. The Rednecks get us into a regular tag team formula with Kendall getting in his shots from the floor. Since we're getting into a good wrestling match, it's time to talk about Savage vs. Rodman. Duncum suplexes Douglas for two and we hit the chinlock.
Back to Windham for a DDT and the slowest two count I've seen in years. If a heel was getting counted, the announcers would suggest the referee was crooked. Shane stops Duncum with a boot in the corner and Saturn gets the hot tag. Everything breaks down and Dean puts Hennig in the Cloverleaf, only to have Kendall break it up with the cowbell. Saturn nails Duncum with the Death Valley Driver for the pin.
Rating: C. Well at least the right team won. They actually had me thinking that the Rednecks were going to win there just to tick the fans off even more. The Revolution finally has some momentum, but unfortunately it's momentum against midcard acts instead of against the main event guys. I guess that boxing match against Piper was the extent of the youth movement's main event push, because we need room for the main events we're getting.
Speaking of what we're getting, this was the third straight match that could have been on any given Nitro but instead they're all on this show. The Tag Team Title change meant something, but so far nothing has happened to really give the fans a real thrill. Nothing so far has felt like a big moment and we're about an hour into the show. That's not a good sign given what's coming.
We recap Bagwell vs. Cat. Miller said he could dance like no one else, Bagwell dressed up in black face and stole Cat's shoes, Miller beat him up a few times, let's have a match.
Buff Bagwell vs. The Cat
Speaking of matches that have no business on pay per view. Tenay says Bagwell is one big match away from winning championship gold. If you throw in a far better offense I can't say I disagree, but he's stuck in this mess of a feud. Sonny is in a biker vest with no shirt underneath for a disturbing look. They still can't start the match because both guys have to try to talk with Cat cutting off Bagwell every time and the bikers cutting Cat off. Bagwell: “Cat, you're not a crowd favorite if you know what I mean.” Unless he's being completely literal, no I don't know what you mean.
We finally get going with Cat hiptossing Bagwell and dancing a bit. The idea works so well that he does it again but with a slam this time. We're two minutes into the match now as a PUSSY CAT chant starts up. Buff comes back with a hiptoss and slams of his own, sending Cat to the floor so Buff can dance. Back in again and Miller spends almost a minute teasing a handshake as this match is dying in front of our eyes. He finally gets in a cheap shot on Bagwell and chokes in the corner, only to take two dropkick. Of course, it's time to dance!
Cat hits him low (what took them so long?) and superkicks Bagwell down but the referee yells at Miller, allowing Sonny to get in some lame choking. They repeat the same sequence before Miller slaps on a chinlock. Bagwell reverses a suplex into one of his own and both guys are down. Back up and a cross body gets two on Cat so Sonny gets on the apron. To complete the disaster, Cat is rammed into Sonny's briefcase and one of the worst rollups I've seen in years (I've had to say that too often in this review) gives Bagwell the pin.
Rating: F-. Where do I even start? How about Buff can't even beat ERNEST MILLER with his finisher??? Last time he beat Piper with a pin in a boxing match and now he beats Miller with a rollup without the shoulder even being on the mat. The match was horrible as it was borderline comedy with all the dancing and repeated spots, mainly focused on choking. This was a disaster and something that should have been buried on Thunder instead of something that was supposed to make me care about Bagwell. How does beating up a goofy dancer who can't do anything but choke and kick make Buff look like a star? Awful mess.
Miller and Onoo lay Bagwell out post match while Buff's music is playing. They REALLY had to do this?
We recap Benoit vs. Page. This is part of the Revolution vs. Triad/establishment feud with Benoit wanting to prove that he could hang with a former World Champion like Page. Benoit finally got his chance to win a singles title by beating David Flair for the US Title in a fair fight and now Page wants to beat him to regain his confidence.
Oh I'm sorry I had the wrong notes. That's the feud that should have happened. Instead Page made a bunch of Your Mama jokes about Benoit to tick him off, then Benoit won the US Title and this was made a No DQ title match at the last second.
US Title: Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Benoit is defending and this is No DQ. Before the match, Page says Benoit loves his mother, just like anyone else can for $2.99 a minute. Tony says this is the scene of one of Page's best matches: last year when he teamed with Jay Leno. First the Miller match and now those memories brought up? They slug it out to start and Benoit punches out of a helicopter bomb, knocking Page out to the floor.
Back in (and thankfully away from a shirtless guy that makes Ralphus look trim) with Page getting two off a suplex. We're already in a reverse chinlock as Page starts in on the ribs. A fireman's carry into a faceplant drops Benoit for a delayed two and Page drives knees into the ribs. We hear Page's career history, which really is quite the story. Page plants him with an Anderson spinebuster for two but stops to yell at the referee.
Things slow down as Page walks around the ring before a side slam gets two. I can live with him walking around like that because, unlike Miller, Page has actually shown us more than entry level offense and it fits his character to be a cocky jerk. That's the kind of stuff that separates guys from nothing like Cat to stars like Page. Benoit gets a breather off a jawbreaker and goes up, only to get caught in the Tree of Woe.
Page takes the referee's belt away and tries to whip Benoit but Little Naitch actually stands up to him. Granted it doesn't work as Page wraps the belt around Benoit's throat (Heenan: “WALK THAT DOG!”) before doing the same with Benoit over his shoulder. Very cool yet disturbing visual actually. Benoit escapes and starts rolling the Germans for two but Kanyon breaks up the Swan Dive.
The Revolution is shown watching on the monitors as Benoit throws Page into Kanyon for two. Page suplexes him down and Bigelow adds a top rope headbutt for another near fall as Benoit just won't quit. He knocks all three members together for a pair of falling low blows (ala Sting), setting up the Swan Dive to Page to retain the title, no thanks to the Revolution.
Rating: B-. I'd be stunned if this isn't match of the night. I really liked the story here with Page being all cocky and underestimating Benoit because he had the Triad in his back pocket, only to have Benoit fight all three of them off and win in the end. That being said, it's really nothing great as it's far more about the story than the wrestling. It would have been nice to have Benoit win the title here, but I wouldn't want to live in a world without that David Flair title reign. I mean, it did SO much to make you hate Ric more right?
Breathe in people. It's big match time.
A motorcycle is given away. I didn't hear this advertised on any WCW show leading up to this.
We recap Sid vs. Sting but unfortunately we don't get any Halloween Havoc 1989 clips. Basically Sid is calling himself the Millennium Man and wants to lead WCW into the future. Sting is his first target as he's being built up for Goldberg.
Sid Vicious vs. Sting
The announcers claim that Sid has been in WCW a little over a month (it's been two months) and he's undefeated (if you don't count tag matches or disqualifications of course). Apparently Sting has given up all of the power that he won from Flair. That clears up some questions, but did they have to wait two weeks to explain it? Sid stalls on the floor to start but gets kicked into the corner for a pair of Stinger Splashes.
He knocks Sid to the floor and that's enough action to start as Sid takes a seat on the edge of the platform. Sting sends him into the crowd and they walk around ringside for a bit. When did Sting stop wrestling and become a full time brawler? 1997? Back in and Sting misses a Splash in the corner so it's time for the wide world of choking. A backbreaker gets two on Sting as the crowd has died again. Off to another chinlock as Tony thinks the temperatures lowering could mean the matches go long. Global warming never sounded better.
They head back to the floor with Sid dropping him throat first across the barricade and we hit that chinlock again because Sid needs air. Back up and Sting drops him with a shoulder, setting up the falling low blow (third time in two matches). Sting goes to run the ropes but Sid trips him from his back. Yes, somehow Sid has invented a way to wrestle while laying down. You knew someone was going to do it someday. Snake Eyes puts Sting down again but Sid goes up, only to get taken down with a superplex. Not that it matters as the Stinger Splash is caught by a chokeslam for the completely clean pin.
Rating: D. The resting here was ridiculous as Sid was sitting/laying down at every given chance he had in a match that didn't even last eleven minutes. This is the kind of thing that people look at in WCW and shake their heads as they wonder why they're still watching. I mean, am I supposed to just wait for Sid to have another major match where he can be even lazier? I can get behind the idea of building up Sid as a monster, but could he put some effort into his matches? He doesn't even use a lot of power moves as most of his offense revolves around choking. You can't throw a powerslam in there?
Quick recap of Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg. Rick and Scott had destroyed Goldberg earlier in the year so Goldberg could go make a movie. Goldberg came back and started brawling with Steiner without a mention of the beatdown, but he did manage to say the TV Title wasn't worth fighting for. How do you respond to that?
Goldberg vs. Rick Steiner
Non-title. It's a brawl to start of course and Goldberg just nails him with a clothesline. Steiner tries something like a cross body to no effect and the superkick drops him. They're clearly not going long here and that's the best idea possible. Rick bails to the floor ala Sid before coming back in with a low blow. At least he bothered to shove the referee. Rick takes Goldberg's knee brace off and beats him with it in whatever ways he can (which to be fair isn't a long list).
I'll give Tony this: he FINALLY points out that a knee brace Goldberg wore into the ring isn't a foreign object and shouldn't be considered cheating. I believe that's the only time I've heard a commentator say that and it's accurate. A belly to belly gets two for Rick and another brace shot to the head has him in trouble. Goldberg gets up and press slams Steiner into a powerslam, setting up the spear and Jackhammer. He really did just pop up from that offense and win with his signature moves.
Rating: D+. Believe it or not this wasn't the worst thing they could have done. Ignoring the TV Champion losing in less than six minutes, Goldberg not selling, the knee brace shots having almost no effect and Goldberg's comeback lasting all of three moves, this was the best possible option they had. Goldberg was supposed to destroy Steiner here and that's basically what he did, setting him up for a bigger feud down the line. They really need to get the TV Title off of Steiner now though as it's dying every single day he holds it.
We recap Arliss (the character, not the actor. Well depending on who you ask that is but I'm not getting into that mess again) bringing Rodman back to face Savage. This was before Rodman became a real face by kidnapping Gorgeous George, potentially raping her, attacking from behind and running from a fight. This story was such a mess and I really don't want to know the logic behind it as I fear it might destroy my mind.
Dennis Rodman vs. Randy Savage
Hardcore for obvious reasons. Now this should be interesting as this match is very fondly remembered but I'm very curious as to how well it holds up. It should also be noted that Savage promised to bring a very bad man here to guard George. That man would also be revealed as the Hummer driver, even though this was ignored on Nitro this past week. Savage comes out alone because he doesn't want George around Rodman. To be fair I don't want to be around Rodman either. Rodman wants to know where she is but Savage says Rodman is his tonight. More swearing ensues and I have no idea what they're talking about.
They're on the floor about six seconds in with Savage going into the barricade a few times. Back in and the announcers are already praising Rodman as hard as they can. What took them so long? An elbow to the jaw puts Savage down and Tony says that's enough to show that he's a fine competitor. He follows it up with a Russian legsweep for another really slow two and even knows how to argue with a referee. He gets tired of dealing with Billy Silverman and lays him out before slowly walking around the ring.
Savage gets in his first offense after about three minutes by raking Rodman's face. Heenan: “REBOUND THIS!” Mickie Jay comes out to referee as Savage hits his third choke of the match. He punches out a photographer to steal his camera and uses it to nail Rodman for two. The near fall earns Jay a right hand of his own and Scott Dickinson comes in to give us three referees knocked out.
Rodman gets back up to throw Savage outside but Savage tosses him over the barricade. The fans throw Rodman back as Savage walks around looking for weapons (or a real opponent). We're on referee #4 now as they walk backstage. Rodman kind of armdrags Savage down but gets thrown into some trash. Here's the big spot of the match: Rodman gets thrown into a portable toilet, which is then shoved over. The door opens and the waste comes out, only to have Rodman pop back up. Seriously, THAT is what people say made this match entertaining.
Back to ringside with Savage being thrown into the lighting structure before Dennis “hits” a middle rope “clothesline”, accidentally knocking the referee down. Gorgeous George comes out to the reaction of the match and hits Rodman low. She also gives Savage a chain to knock Rodman out for the pin to end this mess. Yes, Savage needed George and a chain to beat a basketball player.
Rating: D. It was messy (literally), it wasn't really entertaining, Rodman nor Savage have any business in a ring at this point.....but I didn't completely hate this. Maybe it's low expectations or Rodman having a better presence than he did in the horrible tag match in 1998, but this could have been about a million times worse. Yeah the toilet spot was stupid and a lot of the moves didn't hit, but this is like the Clown match earlier: it's not fair to expect a good match out of someone who isn't a good wrestler. The praise this match got is overkill, but this could have been WAY worse.
We recap Hogan vs. Nash, which seems to be the real match they wanted to get to instead of Goldberg vs. Hogan or Goldberg vs. Nash. The idea here is they're arguing over who was the real force behind the NWO and it's Nash's career vs. Hogan's career and title to try and add in some drama. Hogan turned face earlier in the week to get rid of any possible drama for this match.
WCW World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash
The fans and announcers are entirely behind Hogan. Nash shoves him into the corner a few times to start and the engines rev again. He grabs a headlock (Hogan: “OH MY GOD!”) and we're already stuck in first gear. Another shove sends Nash to the floor and the stalling begins. Back in and we hit the test of strength with Nash getting the better of it. Tony continues his bizarre commentary by saying Nash is two inches taller than Hogan. If you drop Nash down to 6'11, that puts Hogan at 6'9. That's a stretch even for WCW.
Nash starts going after the back but takes too long on the framed elbow. There's nothing here that wouldn't be seen on a Nitro main event so far. Hulk hammers away in the corner but gets raked in the eyes. Nash uses the boot choke as we're only in signature mode here. They head outside for nothing of note before Nash slowly walks around the ring. He calls for the Jackknife but keeps hammering away, including the framed elbow. The big boot and Jackknife plant Hogan and it's Hulk Up time. You know the rest and Nash is sent on vacation. Uh I mean retired. Yeah retired. For like, ever.
Rating: D. So after all that time (the full five days) of buildup for the career vs. career stipulation and the huge Nash heel turn (three weeks ago I believe) after Hogan's long title reign (less than a month at this point), they did the paint by numbers Hogan match and expected us to be amazed. This was the Hogan formula from the 80s taking place four months from the year 2000, which tells you almost all you need to know about WCW.
The worst part is Hogan vs. Nash could have drawn a fairly decent crowd if promoted the right way. It's a big main event that we hadn't seen yet but it's thrown onto maybe the lowest level PPV of the year on a Saturday instead of the usual Sunday. They set this match up to fail and I really don't get the thinking there. Granted that could be said about almost everything around this time.
Overall Rating: D. This really isn't the worst show ever, as the first half (save for the Bagwell vs. Cat mess) is totally watchable. Mostly boring but watchable. You have some decent action and a title change plus a good Benoit vs. Page match. Unfortunately, that all led to the second half of the show and that's where this show gets its reputation.
The main event guys hit new levels of lazy and sluggish here with Sid somehow coming up with offense from his back. I mean, he can't even sit up to trip Sting? The main event had as much heat as an igloo on Christmas Eve, Sting vs. Sid was just there to set up something for the future, Goldberg vs. Steiner was a Thunder main event and Rodman vs. Savage was just a celebrity appearance. Maybe Nash leaving for awhile will open up a main event slot, but the thoughts of who they might put in there terrifies me.
You know what this needed to be? A Clash of the Champions. Cut out the opener, Miller vs. Bagwell and make Sid/Savage vs. Rodman/Sting (Tell me you wouldn't pay to see Sting and Rodman try to have a conversation) a tag match. That's not a bad two hour show and it would certainly make fans feel better than paying for this mess. This show didn't need to be a three hour pay per view as the matches and feuds just aren't there for one. They need to mix things up soon though because this product is killing them.
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