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2015 Scott Sez: Slamboree 96

(It was pointed out to me that I skipped this show and went right to the Nitro the night after.  So here we go.  Also, this show was dogshit and thus I’m never watching it again, but I’ll probably at the very least rewatch Bash 96 to get a fresh look for the Scott Sez repost.) 

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Slamboree 96

- Into the home stretch of WCW PPVs now, as we wrap things up with Slamboree '96 (which I didn't order back in the day and have only watched once since then) and then finish off with Road Wild '99 (which I watched live, but was very drunk while doing so). And then that'll be every WCW PPV ever, in the bag.  (We are at least now approaching the point when I met my longtime circle of friends in Edmonton in late summer of 1996 and learned about the wondrous creation that was that the black box imported from Mexico, which meant I didn’t have to order PPVs anymore.) 

(…allegedly.)   

- Live from Baton Rouge, LA

- Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty.

- This of course is the last, and worst, iteration of Dusty Rhodes' original "Battlebowl" idea, with "random" drawings forcing people to team up, with winners advancing until there's 8 people left for a battle royale to crown the "Lord of the Ring".  (Now, at the point I was writing this, would Lord of the Rings jokes have been a hilarious and topical thing?  Because I’m surprised I didn’t go for the low-hanging fruit in some form if so.) 

- Opening match: Road Warrior Animal & Booker T v. Road Warrior Hawk & Lex Luger.

Let's see if Booker can carry three guys at once. (Spoiler:  Fuck no.)  Oddly enough, Hawk & Animal have different variants on the same "Iron Man" ripoff. (So apparently when they did the graphics on Nitro a few weeks before this where they were the “Roadwarriors” as all one word, it might have been some weird legal dodge because WWF ended up with the rights to the Road Warriors name after their initial stint there.  If so, that’s would be all kinds of fucked up.)  Luger was in full babyface mode at this point, in preparation for the impending nWo invasion. (More specifically, Giant chokeslammed him through a table on Nitro leading up to this, which was the babyface turn once and for all.)  Animal starts with Luger and they do the dramatic lockup in the corner, before Luger stomps away. Powerslam, but he doesn't cover. Animal works him over in the other corner, and gets his own powerslam. Luger gets a suplex, which is no-sold, and Booker comes in to work on Luger's arm. Charge hits boot, and Luger gets a clothesline out of the corner to take over again. Okay, we've obviously mastered the punching and kicking, let's move into the 20th century now. Booker misses an elbow but recovers with a Spinarooni and sidekicks Luger. That gets two. It's funny - WCW marketed Booker as a viable contender while ignoring the marketing possibilities of the Spinarooni, while the WWE markets his catchphrases while ignoring the viability of him as a contender. That pretty much sums up their differences in a nutshell. (Guess this was written pre-2003.)  Axe kick gets two. Partners Hawk & Luger get into a fight, which leads to a pier-six brawl, and Luger runs away from the fight. It's a double-countout at 6:55, which eliminates both teams from the tournament. That is so incredibly stupid that it can only have come from WCW. Horrible match, filled with bad wrestling. DUD

- The Public Enemy v. Kevin Sullivan & Chris Benoit.

This match really stretches the bounds of credibility as far as random drawings go. (This whole show really stretches the bounds of credibility as far as “wrestling PPV” goes.)  I mean, at least back in the early 90s the teams were suitably bizarre and thus seemed random. Benoit starts with Rocco Rock and gets pounded, and Rock hits him with a headscissors. That turns into a shoving match and stalling follows. Rocco gets a rana as Dusty and Bobby have a funny discussion about what would happen if they were partners. A second rana is reversed into a powerbomb by Benoit. He pounds away and brings Sullivan in, which turns the match into a brawl. That's smart, because 3 out of the 4 guys aren't good for much else. Sullivan pounds on Rocco with a chair, but gets put on a table. Benoit cuts off a dive by Rocco with a clothesline, but gets suplexed out of the ring. Sullivan and Johnny Grunge keep fighting on the floor, but Sullivan and Benoit both end up on the table, and the Public Enemy dive onto it, putting Benoit through when Kevin moves. Back in, Rocco gets the pin on Benoit at 4:44. This could have been SO much more if they had booked it like one of the crazy brawls both teams were known for. 1/2*  (OK, I confess to being really confused as this point.  Benoit and Sullivan didn’t interact at ALL on Nitro around this time, but by Bash 96 they’re engaging in a giant blood feud?  When did Sullivan transition from Pillman to Benoit as far as the feud went and where did that happen?) 

- Sgt. Craig Pittman & Scott Steiner v. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man.

I've had nightmares involving these four guys wrestling each other. I mean, seriously, Rick Steiner and BRUTUS BEEFCAKE? Is that someone's idea of a sick joke? (That’s Hulk’s idea of DRAWING MONEY, brother.)  Kimberly is playing Brutus' "booty babe" as a result of DDP jobbing to him at Uncensored. So there's at least one (or two) things to watch here. (I was referring to her boobies.)  Pittman and Booty start, and do a ridiculously bad mat- wrestling sequence. Pittman headbutts him low to end that charade, and Scott Steiner, who was not yet the Big Bad Booty Daddy and thus couldn't really be confused with The Booty Man at that point, comes in with a butterfly powerbomb for two. For some reason he tags Pittman back in, as Booty tags out to Rick. Pittman pounds on Rick, who cheerfully no-sells everything and powerslams him. Pittman gets a german suplex, but Rick comes back with a Steinerline and Pittman decides that cowardice is the better part of valor and tags out to Scott. This actually gets the crowd going, and Scott takes Rick down with a fireman's carry. Rick responds with a side headlock, but Scott goes behind to control on the mat. They do some mat-wrestling, and Scott gets a side suplex, but Rick gets a Steinerline. Scott suckers Rick into checking on him, and cradles for two. Scott gets a full-nelson, but Rick reverses to a german suplex and goes up. Scott follows and superplexes him, but Rick tags out to Booty to end the awesome. So we get Booty v. Pittman again and Pittman works on the arm, into the cross- armlock. Booty tags Steiner to escape the hold (which isn't actually legal), and Rick suplexes Pittman for the pin at 8:21. Oh man, that stuff with the Steiners fighting in the middle was shaping up to be one of the best matches of the year given some time and a proper match. The rest was junk, so it evened out. **3/4 I briefly considered giving it another 1/4* in celebration of Kimberly leaving her bra in the dressing room, but then we've already seen her naked anyway.

- Lord Steven Regal & Squire Dave Taylor v. Hacksaw Duggan & VK Wallstreet.

Amazingly, it's another combination of archenemies facing regular tag team partners. Oddly enough, Mike Rotundo was playing a Wallstreet spoof of Vince McMahon 4 years before the WWF went public. (And now he and his sons all work for Vince.  Life is funny.)  Duggan and Regal start and we get a posedown-slash-stallfest. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess who does what. Regal gets a cheapshot, but Duggan hiptosses him. Clotheslines send Regal running to the corner, and tags abound. Taylor and Regal work over Wallstreet's arm, but he fights back with forearms. Duggan and Wallstreet can't get the teamwork going, however, and Regal takes advantage with a beatdown on Duggan in the corner. Duggan & Regal collide, but Wallstreet won't take the tag. Duggan makes his own comeback, including nailing his own partner, and uses the ATHLETIC TAPE OF DOOM on Taylor for the pin at 3:49. Short and bad. (Just like both of Rotundo’s kids, AM I RIGHT?)  1/4*

- Dirty Dick Slater & Earl Robert Eaton v. Alex Wright & Disco Inferno.

Disco ducks away from Slater to start, in order to save the hair. Dancing follows. Slater chops away, prompting Disco to tag out. Eaton slugs away on Wright, but he fires back and gets a hiptoss and bad headscissors. Leg lariat gets two. Slater comes in with a neckbreaker, but Wright escapes a piledriver and Disco cleans house. Was that supposed to be the hot tag? It's breaking loose in Tulsa and Wright dumps Eaton, but Slater nails Disco with his boot and gets the pin at 2:56. Yeah, okay. DUD  (Disco was really a non-entity on Nitro at this point, as the last I’ve seen of him was getting squashed by the Booty Man.  It really wasn’t until the two and three hour versions of the show that guys like him started getting any kind of TV time.) 

- DDP & Barbarian v. Meng & Hugh Morrus. This show gets better and better. Speaking of Hugh, I was watching bits and pieces of Confidential, and listening to him yelling at kids about how they'll never make it in the WWE was kinda surreal. I mean, this is HUGH FREAKIN MORRUS telling someone that THEY don't have what it takes to make it. (Huh.  Now there’s an oddly coincidental comment on my part.)  All they need now is HHH to come out and tell the kids that they don't know how to work. (They do have that, it’s called NXT.  That’s what he’s been telling Hideo Itami, in fact.)  DDP grabs a headlock on Morrus to start, but gets dumped. Hugh follows with a pescado and misses by a mile. Back in, Page gets a lariat for two and brings the Barbarian in. This leads to the showdown of the Faces of Fear, as Meng starts pounding with chops. Barbarian overpowers him in turn and elbows away, but neither guy sells anything. Barbarian finally gets a back kick to drop Meng, and he presses Page onto him. Meng comes back with a headbutt and Morrus comes in and goes up right away. Flying elbow gets one. He changes his mind and goes up again, but DDP crotches him and Barbarian gets a belly-to-belly superplex for two. That looked pretty bad. Meng comes back in for some double-teaming and Morrus heads up for the moonsault, which gets two. It's BONZO GONZO and DDP eats a superkick from Meng while Barbarian hits Morrus with the KICK OF FEAR, and since DDP is in the ropes, Barbarian's pin counts and they win at 5:16. Who booked this shit? (Kevin Sullivan.)  They tried, but the universal suck force bound them together too tightly. 1/2*

- Big Bubba & Stevie Ray v. Scott Norton & Ice Train.

Kill me now. It's like someone wanted to book Fire & Ice v. Harlem Heat, but decided to replace Booker T to ensure the worst match humanly possible. Why? Who would be cruel and inhuman enough to book such a match? (Kevin Sullivan.)  Norton pounds on Stevie, but charges and hits boot. Stevie clotheslines him and brings Bubba in, as Norton does an astounding amount of selling for an astoundingly bad run of offense. Spinebuster gets two. Norton gives Bubba the worst faceplant ever seen on TV, and Juice Train gets a buttsplash for two. Clothesline and both guys are out, as even Tony is riffing on the excessive number of clotheslines in the match. When TONY SCHIAVONE thinks you're lame, you've got trouble. Norton comes back in and hammers on Stevie, but Bubba collides with his own partner and Norton pins him at 3:28. And thank god it's over. DUD

- Eddy Guerrero & Arn Anderson v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage.

If there's any justice they'll give this a decent amount of time. Arn attacks Savage while waiting for Flair to make his entrance, and Flair adds some punishment on his own partner until Eddy (still a babyface) makes the save. Flair chops away, but Eddy wants to bring it! Liz & Nancy quietly make their way to ringside. Eddy backdrops Flair and dropkicks him a couple of times, but Flair goes to the eye, and then nails Savage for fun. I guess that was a tag. Arn comes in and beats on Savage, with Flair's blessing, but Macho fights back. Arn keeps pounding in the corner, but eats boot. He gets the spinebuster for two, however. Flair tags back in, beats on his own partner some more, but Eddy pokes him in the eye and chops away. This is wild. Another dropkick sets up a tornado DDT, and Savage comes in and goes after Flair again, while Arn turns on his own partner and DDTs him. Flair gets the pin on Eddy at 4:05. Oh man, that match was amazingly fun stuff and it's tragic that they cut it off at 4 minutes. ** Liz and the Horsemen give Savage some more abuse on the floor afterwards.

- We review the winners and set up the next round of matches (determined by another "random" drawing, with one team getting a bye due to the double countout. Mean Gene and some Hooters girl select a team at random for the bye - Fire & Ice. The rest of the matches are drawn from there.

- WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Brad Armstrong.

Tony talking about the "lengthy double-elimination tournament" for the belt (in reality: One match between Shinjiro Ohtani and Chris Benoit) is slightly bizarre given that even in 1996 it was easy to look this stuff up on the 'net. Also Dean is apparently a youngster. (In all fairness he looks exactly the same today.)  They do some mat-wrestling to start and Brad gets an enzuigiri. They fight over a hiptoss and neither gets it, but Brad armdrags him and Dean bails. Back in, Dean dropkicks the knee and wraps it around the post, going to work on it. He uses an Indian deathlock and gets a backdrop suplex. Brad reverses a fireman's carry into a sunset flip for two, but Dean goes back to the knee and keeps him down. Stump- puller (now there's a move you don't see everyday) and Dean goes back to the knee. He grabs a kneebar, but Brad makes the ropes. Pump splash hits foot, and Brad makes the comeback. Charge hits boot, but he gets a powerslam and goes up for a missile dropkick. He puts Malenko into a Texas Cloverleaf, but Dean makes the ropes. Brad gets dumped, but goes up again until he gets caught by Dean and hit with an Atomic Gutbuster for the pin at 8:25. Crowd didn't care about any of this, and you can thank Rey Mysterio Jr. for completely salvaging this division from the scrap heap. Match didn't really work, either. **  (And then Brad was on Nitro the next night doing a meaningless job to DDP anyway.) 

- Dick Slater & Robert Eaton v. Hacksaw Duggan & VK Wallstreet.

(Yes, two of these people are going to the FINALS.)  Slater hammers on Wallstreet to start while Duggan takes Eaton. Duggan and Wallstreet want to go, but Duggan calls for peace...and Wallstreet turns on him and dumps him. Slater gets a legsweep on VK for two. Elbow and the Slater-Eaton team work him over in the corner, but he comes back on Eaton. Eaton bails and Duggan beats on him outside, and back in Wallstreet gets the abdominal stretch, but Duggan refuses to help out by grabbing his hand. What a wuss. Duggan tags himself back in and pounds everything that moves, and gets two on Slater. We hit the chinlock. Slater & Duggan collide and tags abound. Duggan & Wallstreet disagree and Eaton rolls up Wallstreet for the pin at 4:04. Well, at least it was short. 1/2*

- The Public Enemy v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage.

Liz throws out Savage's alimony money into the crowd, so Randy charges out and attacks Flair during his entrance. Security pulls them apart to prevent anything interesting from happening, and TPE wins by forfeit. GIMME A BREAK.

- DDP & Barbarian v. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man.

I can't imagine this show getting much worse, so there's always that on the bright side. Just call me Positively Netcop. (Well don’t really call me Netcop because I don’t wanna get sued.)  We're really rushing through now, so this should be short and painless. DDP pounds on Booty to start, but gets dumped. Tony actually stops to give a logical explanation for DDP's reinstatement following his retirement match: Since Johnny B Badd left the promotion and thus the match with Booty Man wasn't for the TV title, DDP was under no obligation to put anything up, either. Okay then. Steiner comes in and pounds Page, but gets dropped on the top rope. Barbarian uses the power of the foot on Rick, but gets caught with a backdrop suplex. Sloppy belly-to-belly gets two, but Barbarian no-sells and powerbombs Rick, for two. Booty accidentally ties up the referee's attention, allowing the heels to work Steiner over in the corner. Barbarian gets a clothesline, but Rick hotshots him and makes the "hot" tag to Booty Man. High Knee of Death gets two. Rollup is broken up by Page, and Barbarian GETS THE PIN at 5:05?!? From an ELBOW? Geez, is Brutus suffering from that brittle bone disease like Mr. Glass or something? (Cocaine is a hell of a drug.)  DUD

- US title match: Konnan v. Jushin Liger.

Liger is sporting the EVIL BLACK TIGHTS tonight, but the pink boots sort of ruin the effect. Konnan only has one "N" in his name at this point. Konnan takes him down with a reverse bow-and-arrow to start, but Liger escapes. They do the wristlock reversal spot and lots of RVD-ish flipping results. Liger gets a senton and Konnan bails, which allows Liger to follow with a pescado. Back in, brainbuster gets two. Liger goes into a cross-armlock, but Konnan reverses to a Regal Stretch. Liger goes to a half-crab while the crowd snoozes. They exchange palm strikes and Liger gets the Koppo kick, and they head up. Liger gets a superplex and goes back up with a flying splash that gets two. Dropkick puts Konnan out, and Liger follows with a plancha, but Konnan catches him with a kick on the way down. Back in, Liger gets a fisherman's buster for two. Konnan gets a whiplash slam for two. Liger reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip for two. Cradle gets two. Ligerbomb gets two. Liger goes up and lands on Konnan's foot, which sets up Splash Mountain for the pin at 9:30. Crowd was getting into it by the end. ***

- Flair and Arn Anderson are doing an interview, but Steve MacMichael interrupts and challenges them to a match for the next PPV. Kevin Greene comes out as Mongo's partner.

- Battlebowl finals:

Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, DDP, Barbarian, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge. This is just a plain old battle royale, with the winner getting a title shot at the Giant. Let me repeat that: The winner of THIS match, with THESE guys, was supposed to get a shot at the champion on PPV. This is why WCW was in so much trouble before the nWo. Usual kick and punch stuff with absolutely no storyline to the match. Page gets booted out by Barbarian, clearly eliminated, but the ref misses it (even though the camera shows it all). Gotta love WCW. More kicking and punching as guys randomly switch dance partners with no rhyme or reason. They should have done a Survivor Series elimination match or something to settle this. Rocco charges Barbarian and gets backdropped out. Slater hits Eaton with his boot and eliminates him. Slater follows him out via unseen elimination, and brawls with Eaton back to the dressing room. DDP dumps Norton, leaving four men. Ice Train powerslams everyone and forms an alliance with Barbarian, then turns on him. DDP Diamond Cuts everyone, and pins Grunge, and Train. Um, WHAT? Barbarian kicks out, however. This is retarded. What is this, the AWA World title battle royale? Where's Tom Zenk? (Good question.  Did we ever figure out what the hell happened to Zenk that caused him to disappear off the face of the earth?  Jail?)  Barbarian clotheslines Page for two. He charges and Page gets two in the corner. Page charges and Barbarian gets two. Tombstone piledriver (which looked like it nearly killed DDP) gets two. That was almost an OwenDriver. Sleeper is stopped by DDP going low, but Barbarian gets a powerbomb for two. Barbarian goes up, but misses the flying headbutt, and the Diamond Cutter ends it at 9:36. And the crowd goes apathetic. ** DDP didn't get his promised title match until more than two years following, at Halloween Havoc '98, and even then he had to win WarGames to earn that.

- WCW World title: The Giant v. Sting.

We've got like 10 minutes of airtime left here, so this should be quick. Those who give me that garbage about Big Show not being able to move faster and be thinner than he is now should watch his stuff from 1996, when he still sucked, but sucked in such a way that you could at least watch his matches without being embarrassed by it. This would be the point when Sting started growing his hair out, for whoever asked me a couple of weeks ago. Sting tries a bodyblock to start, but bounces off harmlessly. He keeps hammering on Giant and tries a sleeper, but gets shoved down. Seriously, Giant is MAYBE 400 pounds here. Maybe. If he got down to that size again and stayed there, I'd have no problem with him in the main events. (Keep in mind this was written something like 14 years ago, and now Show is still stinking up main events.)  Sting keeps bouncing off Giant, and bails. Back in, Sting tries an enzuigiri, but that gets no-sold. Giant charges and Sting tries a slam, but Giant falls on him for two. Giant elbow and he simply walks on him to set up another elbow. Back elbow puts Sting down again and Giant works him over in the corner. Headbutt low and Giant chokes away. Another elbow and we head to a bodyscissors. That's a pretty smart move, actually. Giant uses the ropes for good measure. That goes on for a while. Giant tosses him and sends him hurling down the aisle, but Luger prevents a chokeslam through the table by holding Jimmy Hart on the table. A REAL man would sacrifice his manager for the greater good. You think Ric Flair would have blinked twice before throwing JJ Dillon out there as a diversion? Giant misses a dropkick and the ref is bumped by mistake, as Sting makes the comeback and gets the Stinger Splash. He keeps hitting them, and Giant keeps not selling them. Giant finally goes down as Luger has Jimmy Hart tied up, but there's no ref. Sting makes the fatal error of going after Hart with another splash, misses, and then recovers with a flying splash for two. Ref is bumped again on the kickout, so Sting hits him with another splash and gets the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger "accidentally" hits Sting with the megaphone, chokeslam, goodbye at 10:40. Surprisingly good, given that they kept it around 10 minutes to compensate for Giant's weaknesses. ***  (And then there was no followup on that megaphone deal the next night.  Because WCW.) 

The Bottom Line:

Well, when the nicest things I can muster up about a show are that some of the matches are "surprisingly good" and "entertaining despite all the other crap" and "they tried hard but still sucked", you know there's not going to be much worth watching here. Not the worst show ever, but one of the weirdest in terms of booking, and certainly not one that you'd wanna watch more than once.

Strong recommendation to avoid.

Comments

  1. I have a hunch Kevin Sullivan was not into what Hogan wanted and booked garbage on purpose.

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  2. Stranger in the AlpsMarch 15, 2015 at 11:28 PM

    I had a black box. I had it from 1997 to 2001, when I decided to sign up for satellite. I don't know why I did that. That was like finding money, spending some of it over a four year span, then throwing the rest of it in the trash because....that's very Stranger of me.


    But I compiled a nice collection of VHS tapes over that time frame. Which are now pointless to have since I have the Network now.

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  3. " (They do have that, it’s called NXT. That’s what he’s been telling Hideo Itami, in fact.)"


    Interestingly enough, I've read opinion on a couple of sites (cagesideseats, etc.) that early Hideo is cool but that "there's something missing", so maybe he's not entirely off? At least when it comes to capturing the fans.

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  4. Yeah, Itami's having trouble adapting.

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  5. I think he's not sure how to transfer into the restrictions of WWE's style.

    He did fine in ROH where he could just do the same shit he did in Japan, so I don't think it's the language barrier.

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  6. This might possibly be the most boring wrestling show ever produced. Not even the Heroes of Wrestling kind of bad that it's fun to mock, but just dull.

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  7. I can only guess, but maybe the Luger thing was to say "we shouldn't be surprised that he turned" IF Hogan hadn't gone through with the turn at the bash. I can only assume that's why Lex was taken out so early.

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  8. I seem to remember the whole Kevin Sullivan vs Benoit feud being on Saturday night main event leading to the Bash PPV

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  9. My best friend's dad had a black box and it was the greatest thing ever. I could usually get my dad to buy 1 or 2 wwf ppvs a year as a kid but once I met my friend we watched every wwf ecw and wcw ppv. It was like heaven for me.

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  10. Just wait for WrestleMania!

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  11. There's too many good wrestlers at Mania for it to be this dull.


    Cesaro/Kidd in the tag match.


    Ziggler, Bryan, Ambrose, Stardust in the ladder debacle.


    Rollins and Orton will legitimately kick ass.


    Triple H...has probably something planned to make Sting vaguely entertaining.

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  12. I think he needs to add in more signature moves, the Tornado Hotshot is good, but he needs more recognizable stuff to pop the crowd.



    He's got the opposite problem of a guy like Wade Barrett. Barrett is all big moves and playing to the back row but he lacks the fundamentals to fill a match out. Itami has the fundamentals and cardio, but he lacks the signature moves and taunts for the fans to go crazy over (with the exception of the G2S). Fans can totally respond to strikes as finishes and signature moves (Superkick's work as near falls for Harper, Ziggler and Show, Bryan's Knee is over) but I think they don't know which one of Itami's kicks is supposed to be his version of a clothesline/forearm, and which ones are supposed to be "HOLYSHITHESDEAD".


    American crowds know that an elbow drop is getting a perfunctory two-count, while a DDT can do the 2.5 kick-out.


    He's probably the only big-name Japanese wrestler with a chance of making it over because he's not reliant on big, dangerous spots, but he also (from what I understand) is very much a master of the Japanese psychology.

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  13. A lot fewer Japenese guys are reliant on big dangerous spots these days.

    Okada matches I've seen aren't filled with Burning Hammers. Just a killer lariat. Admittedly this is based on a small pool, some 5-6 matches

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  14. The finisher arms race that began with the Backdrop Driver ended with Misawa's death. They've transitioned to making things meaningful now.

    It's why it's so awesome.

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  15. Just a pity Triple H can't make Triple H vaguely entertaining.

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  16. I think part of the issue is also how he's being presented. Not badly, per se, but he's in a sort of no-man's-land between being an attraction and the upper midcard. The Breeze feud is promising because it's his first sustained interaction with someone. But it's also not as prominent as the Owens/Zayn war, Balor's ascent and even the rise of the womens' division. We're at the point now where an NXT version of the Florida Heavyweight Championship could help as a selling point for this type of program.

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  17. I have noticed less tiger suplexes from the ring apron to the floor.


    But there's still dudes like Marufuji whose big moves would definitely pop a WWE crowd. Like with Ibushi or Goto or Takahashi, they have the crazy moves that Japan is known for (yeah, not as crazy as before, but it's still more than Itami is using).


    I think the fact that KENTA relied less on that sort of stuff is going to be to his benefit (I think his fighting spirit stuff can get over big in the states).


    If I was to bring in some talent for a one-night appearance, I'd hit up Dragon Gate (which is my wrestling guilty pleasure), but if I wanted a cornerstone of my company I think Itami can provide that.

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  18. Not a Trips fan? Even after last year's Mania performance with Bryan?

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  19. The Flair/Arn and football players interaction was great.


    I remember Flair acting cocky when presenting Arn as his backup... then both of them shying away when Kevin Greene was introduced.


    Nowadays the heels would probably yawn and undercut the babyface threat. Then Vince McMahon would depush the faces because they weren't "getting over."

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  20. Itami is not helped by being basically the least flashy wrestler they have.


    He of all the people there reminds me of an old-school NWA babyface (Sami may be the white-meat of white-meat but while his character is based around how much of a good, honest, down-to-earth guy he is it's still a character). Itami is a guy we like because he kicks people real hard, wins matches clean and has FIGHTING SPIRIT!!!


    Balor may only have an entrance, but it's SUCH an entrance, and combined with the weird demon-spawn bodypaint does a lot. He's got way more charisma than Itami, so he can get away with it.


    Babyfaces are almost always much less complex than heels. We like them because of what they do, not what they are. When babyfaces have their weird, complex shit it's almost a relic of their time as a heel (look at Savage, Flair, Punk, Undertaker, Austin, Triple H, HBK, Rock).


    I don't think Itami needs to turn heel, but I do think that he's the guy NXT needs to protect the most. It's difficult to find a place for him among the top babyfaces there. Sami has the best character of any babyface in years and a great journey (barely crawled to the top only to have the stuffing knocked out of him by his former best friend) that he's still riding. Adrian Neville is the respected vet with a hint of a dark side and is a proven champion. Finn Balor has an aura about him, plus he appeals to a very basic sense of wish fulfillment from the audience (he's an AX model that moves like a dancer and puts the fear of hell into his opponents, Sami may be the guy we all aspire to be, but Finn is the guy we all want to be). Hell, even Baron Corbin is established as the king monster of NXT's mid-card.


    Itami shouldn't be a monster that destroys everybody in 30 seconds like Corbin, nor should he be the eternal underdog that Sami Zayn is. He doesn't have the skillset to be the Coolest Dude In the World like Balor. And he doesn't have the history with the crowd to make him the Face of NXT that Neville is (dude has been there forever and was champ for near a year). I think a long, character building feud filled with gimmick matches would do a lot for Breeze and Itami. (Re)establish that Breeze can kick ass and give Itami time to sink into their world. If you're going to have anybody wrestle the main-roster guys, give them to Itami. All he has is wrestling, so you have to make his matches IMPORTANT (but outside of the title scene for now).

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  21. You really think the heels of today aren't respectful enough towards the babyfaces? What shows are you watching?


    Seth Rollins takes any opportunity he can to say "Roman Reigns punches really hard", dude sold for Jon Stewart. Triple H sold a powerpoint like it was death itself.


    Now, if you were going to say something about the babyfaces not showing ass for the heels? I'd have your back 1000%.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I watched his one on Scramblevision, largely-unfamiliar with WCW, but fascinated by these new, unheard-of wrestlers.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I like your phrasing, Scott, and will always check the blog. But when you do this ...


    Strong recommendation to ...return to the present.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Tag match will likely be bumped to pre-show(or all tag guys will be thrown into battle royal), you yourself called it "the ladder debacle", Rollins and Orton will legitimately bore the fans to tears, Triple H.....wasn't any good 15 years ago, and he sucks far worse now.

    ReplyDelete
  25. My best friend's mom had a black box and it was the greatest thing ever...............................It was like heaven for me.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think it says something that the 4 years from regular competition guy still manged to outshine the two-wrestlers that were wrestling on weekly TV.


    Unless you thought the main-event was better.

    ReplyDelete
  27. You hated 2000 Triple H? Lol wut?


    The ladder match will be a mess, but I doubt it will be boring. Ladder matches are rarely well-constructed 'smart' matches, but with that many talented wrestlers it'll probably be fun.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The Main Event was way better. And that's with Randy Boreton and Batista!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes, I hated 2000 Triple H.


    It was a guy with moderate talent, in there with guys like Rock, Angle, Benoit, Jericho. He nearly always won. And he did 25-minute interviews where he buried everyone, and spoke about how great he was. In return the other guy s got 3-minute interviews where they talked about how great Triple-H was.


    We also had the horror that is Stephanie all over the show, screeching about how great Triple-H was. The whole McMahon-Helmsley thing drove a lot of fans away. The problem was there were great guys like Rock, Angle etc. who fans loved to watch. But when they ate the pedigree for the 100th time, people realized what the WWF was all bout....The Game-uh!'s Ego-uh!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Battle Kat LitterMarch 16, 2015 at 3:27 AM

    A PPV without the Hulkster? Of course it flopped, brother.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Me too. When I moved last year I made the decision to dump the tapes. No need for any of them anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  32. The best thing about this ppv is the song they used for it

    ReplyDelete
  33. Doctor FunkopolisMarch 16, 2015 at 5:37 AM

    Didn't he say in a shoot that he was trying to keep him happy and still book an interesting show underneath?

    That period just before the Hogan turn in WCW was weird. The real main stories didn't involve Hogan at all. Hell, for a good run the main story seemed to be Sting/Luger. Hogan was just there with a few other main eventers and a group of jobbers.

    They couldn't wait to actually pull the trigger on Flair/Savage.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The black box??? I thought nobody had those???? I got flamed on here for being of the opinion that more people were watching PPV on black boxes in the 90's than people streaming illegally today.

    ReplyDelete
  35. He needs the Orient Express theme, STAT.

    ReplyDelete
  36. No way is Wrestlemania going to be that bad. That show was literally 90% of boring random tag matches.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Dude check out some of Norton's stuff from Japan. He had plenty of matches at or around that mark. He wasn't useless and if anything was underrated because he almost always jobbed to the star talent and the wins he got over jobbers was kind of wasted because they never pushed him above a certain level.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "This match really stretches the bounds of credibility as far as random drawings go. "


    Why? The beauty of a random draw is that every matchup has as much probability of happening as any other matchup.


    There's no way to tell that 8 7 3 1 6 4 2 9 5 is any more random than 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.

    ReplyDelete
  40. "with winners advancing until there's 8 people left for a battle royale to crown the "Lord of the Ring". (Now, at the point I was writing this, would Lord of the Rings jokes have been a hilarious and topical thing? Because I’m surprised I didn’t go for the low-hanging fruit in some form if so.) "
    Still didn't drag as long as Peter Jackson's vision of The Hobbit.

    ReplyDelete
  41. He needs a gimmick overhaul. Drop the Itami name and come up with something simpler, and do something other than the same goddamn Japanese character they've put on every Asian wrestler ever. Someone should just play Sleeping Dogs and model him after someone on there.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Battle Kat LitterMarch 16, 2015 at 6:24 AM

    I'm not usually into fantasy booking, but if Hogan was involved in this PPV he could have been drawn with a heel as a partner against two heels, and his partner could have turned on him so Hogan has to defeat 3 heels, which he does. The same could have happened in the second round (odds stacked against the Hulkster!) and he beats them too. And in the Battle Royale finale he could have been up against 7 heels and beaten them all to win against the odds.

    That would have saved the PPV and made it an all time classic. Shame he wasn't there.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Page gets booted out by Barbarian, clearly eliminated, but the ref misses it (even though the camera shows it all). Gotta love WCW.<./B>

    And this was stolen and it was made into a major angle in WWF at Royal Rumble 1997 with Steve Austin; causing Bret Hart to slowly go down the path of rage! Something that caught my eye.

    ReplyDelete
  44. I had one of those until 97 when my cable company changed the way they showed ppv

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  45. It's the word more that makes you look stupid.

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  46. KENTA used to do top rope Falcon Arrows. And German suplexes off the top too.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I had one. And so did plenty of my friends. But more? That's crazy

    ReplyDelete
  48. Or he gave it that rating because it was good

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  49. Needs more GTS

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  50. Maybe a name like....I don't know....KENTA?

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hogan winning makes everything better.

    ReplyDelete
  52. MaffewOfBotchamaniaMarch 16, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    ''(So apparently when they did the graphics on Nitro a few weeks before this where they were the “Roadwarriors” as all one word, it might have been some weird legal dodge because WWF ended up with the rights to the Road Warriors name after their initial stint there. If so, that’s would be all kinds of fucked up.)''

    WWE owns the Road Warrior name? But didn't they only wrestle there as Legion of Doom? Or am I missing something very obvious here?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Yay! Piracy!

    ReplyDelete
  54. He's a guy that's great at Japanese style and shitty at American. Kind of like Albert or Kenta.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I agree. If Luger never was injured, it would've stayed 3 on 2 as a handicap match against the heels. If Hogan came out and the full baby face team was still there it would be more obvious whose side he was on.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Well yeah, that last statement is quite foolish,

    ReplyDelete
  57. The whole feud was a WCWSN deal.

    Benoit was never featured on Nitro until Raven

    ReplyDelete
  58. You have never seen Starrcade 94, 98 or 99 have you?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Sullivan said in his youshoot that he booked the Dungeon of Doom to make Hogan trust him.

    He (sullivan) knew hogan was getting booed in the South (where they were running. WCW didnt run house shows after Bischoff took over) so they did creature features on top to placate Hogan and surround him with guys that he could trust.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I saw an IWGP Title match or two, and found them dreadfully slow and boring as well. But a lot of NJPW stuff from that era is dull to me- I vastly preferred the Juniors and All-Japan styles.

    ReplyDelete
  61. But specifically having two people who are feuding end up as a team or having two people who regularly team up as a team is much less probable... and for some version of that to happen for EVERY match... is even less probable.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Doctor FunkopolisMarch 16, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    Was Sullivan's eye on a heel turn the whole time? Because that would be brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Saturday Night June 1: Following a squash of Alex Davis, Sullivan tells Okerlund that he's doing Arn Anderson a favor by getting rid of Benoit early, before he decides he wants to become the Enforcer himself and take Arn's spot.

    Monday Nitro June 3: Following a squash of Prince Iaukea, Sullivan tells Okerlund that he plans to get rid of Benoit, just as he did Pillman.

    Saturday Night June 8: Following a squash of Tony Quick, Sullivan tells Okerlund that the only wrestlers he respects outside of the Dungeon are Arn and Flair. Arn wanders by and agrees that Sullivan was right about Pillman, and that after the Bash, it'll be clear where everyone stands.

    Saturday Night June 15: Sullivan films a black and white vignette (is he nWo?!?), where he goes on a drugged out trip and vows to show the Horsemen what Benoit is all about.



    I didn't claim it was Shakespeare or anything.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Calling me stupid? Are we in grade school? I guess feuding with developmentally challenged people like Jesse Baker is more your speed.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Got me. Its kind of a weird theory that I was just speculating about.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I have a hard time not pointing out the glaringly obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I dont believe so.


    I think that with Hall/Nash coming in, Bischoff/Sullivan/Taylor/Graham together put together the foundations for the NWO.


    Bischoff saw the idea in Japan
    Sullivan came with the idea of using their own names
    Zybysko came up with Hall coming from the audience and interrupting the Enos/Doll match
    Taylor/Graham I believe were the agents for the Bash match and Nash came up with the finish. (although Hogan fucked up the finish by not getting the 3 count)



    Sullivan says he "kidnapped" Hogan and kept him at his house the night before bash so nobody could get into his ear.




    He never said what the ideas for Hogan had their been no NWO angle.


    My guess would have been Sting heel turn. Hogan already went over the Horsemen and the DoD. There was nobody coming up, Austin and Foley had been fired. Pillman quit. The Midgets had no chance. Plus with creative control, Hogan was bulletproof.

    ReplyDelete
  68. There are some decent Norton matches (including an odd one with Sting), but yeah, he was only marginally better in NJPW than he was Stateside, aside from a few neat power spots like suplexing two guys at once.

    ReplyDelete
  69. The next night on Nitro the announcers went out of their way to declare what Luger did to be an accident, so they were hitching themselves full-tilt to babyface Lex, apparently.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Not specifically, but he was intending to get Hogan to do wilder stuff, but he had to earn his trust first. It's possible that without the DOD angle in the summer, that we don't get Darkside Hulk or the shaved-moustache angle in the fall, much less the eventual Hogan turn.

    ReplyDelete
  71. What I don't get is, that they had Ric Flair, Macho Man, Booker T, Steiner Brothers, Regal, Benoit... and the Battle Bowl was filled with: Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, DDP, Barbarian, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge.


    It's like a WWE King of the Ring tournament...

    ReplyDelete
  72. Doctor FunkopolisMarch 16, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    See? All of those guys who had been in the business and had a lot of experience, pitching in to help make an angle work with their own little inputs along the way?

    It put them right out of business! What you need is writers who work 90 hours a week and whom you will ignore in favor of doing whatever it is a singular individual wants to do in the end anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Doctor FunkopolisMarch 16, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    Hogan was so over the top insecure during this period, I can't imagine how that must have felt for Sullivan trying to work with any of it.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Theberzerker, #1 HUSS CHOMPIONMarch 16, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    You did a Scott Sez on this show already, back in 2012. Thanks for the refresh though!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Bray Wyatt is 6'3 and pretty good >:|

    ReplyDelete
  76. They wanted to do this but nobody on the roster was willing to be his partner, who would have had to get a Hogan beat down multiple times in one night, a sure fire trip to the hospital.

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  77. It's not any less probable than any other combination though.

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  78. It is amazing that they have a PPV that is so out of date and out of touch like this...and then literally within days...nWo angle starts.

    ReplyDelete
  79. It's crazy to imagine what the rest of 96 would have been like without the nWo starting. More high heel shoes and coffee being used as weapons? More Luger turning heel/face from show to show? They were going to do Hogan/Savage and Havoc anyway so would they still made Hogan a heel or would Savage have turned? It was just a different company all of a sudden and it was hard to imagine them dominating WWF without the nWo angle starting.

    ReplyDelete
  80. He may not have been on Nitro, but Disco Inferno was a mainstay on the REAL A-show at the time...WCW PRIME!!! He was unbeatable on that show...

    ReplyDelete
  81. I feel like our experiences were very different and yet, just as satisfying.

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  82. I feel like Slamboree was the start of the Sullivan/Benoit feud. It was after that that Sillivan started cutting promos on knowing what "Horsemen material" was and how he ran the "last guy that wasn't horseman material."

    ReplyDelete
  83. The Horsemen v Sting/Luger/Savage.

    ReplyDelete
  84. There's a way to do it that is interesting but SO CLEARLY rigged though.

    ReplyDelete
  85. There was at least one Fire and Ice vs The Steiners match that I found unbelievably good, in the old big guys throwing each other all over the place tradition.
    Vicious and Delicious was a cool team who were tragically overshadowed by the Outsiders. They had a much more interesting dynamic and might have warranted a push, but they couldn't compete with the star power of the NWO's main team.
    I can't recall any great singles matches I ever saw him in, but I thought he had some really good looking moves, really liked his Shoulderbreaker, so much better than the lame one The Rock originally tried finishing with.
    I may have been a slight Norton mark.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Weren't they sometimes billed as Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, the Legion of Doom? Maybe that is how WWE owns the Road Warriors name.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Could Barbarian have been pushed harder if the WWF hadn't planted him so firmly in the lower midcard after the Powers of Pain split? I remember thinking him vs. Page as the finals of this Battle Bowl was the jobbiest thing ever, but Barbarian now strikes me as a dude who maybe deserved a little credibility. Even though his title push against Simmons was rejected, he did look like a legit monster. And he was always competent in the ring (deserving the praise he's received for his Royal Rumble match with the Big Boss Man and the Rockers tag match at WrestleMania VI). Shutter at this if you will, but what might have happened if he'd been built up as a monster challenger for Ultimate Warrior's belt right after his singles reinvention? Certainly he was never a potential top guy, but he might have at least occupied the upper spectrum of the midcard instead of the lower.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Let's be best friends

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  89. It is MUCH less probable to be partnered with a man you are feuding with or a man you normally tag with than to be partnered with a man you are not feuding with.


    If there's 10 guys in the drawing and you're feuding with 1... that's a 1:10 ratio vs a 9:10 ratio.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I have fond memories of Scott Norton because out of all the guys in my dorm when we watched Nitro, everybody was the most awed at Scott Norton because of how big, powerful, and mean he was, and HIS matches were must see tv. Me, as a seasoned wrestling watcher by then, I wasn't as caught up with it because I thought most of his matches were boring, but it just goes to show that a guy who you think absolutely sucks is the greatest ever to others.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I thought he shoud've got stronger push after Wrestlemania 6. I like the way Chico Santana sold his offense especially the top rope clothesline.

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  92. Good call on the Barbarian, even though the Warlord was bigger, I was always more of a Barbarian fan....

    ReplyDelete
  93. I remember skipping this show because Pacific Blue was on. Smart move in hindsight.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Wait, what's the story on HHH and Itami? Last I heard, HHH was super high on him.

    ReplyDelete
  95. I agree with this. One of the biggest problems is they can't settle on a finisher. He's had three or four different kicks used as finishers, and none of them really work. I'd have just stuck with the Tajiri-style buzzsaw kick.

    Maybe a submission or something would be better.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Those aren't even the most boring Starrcades. 87 and 89 were far worse.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Don't turn him heel. And avoid anything super cartoonish.

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  98. Deal! Your appreciation for the Faces of Fear is definitely infectious.

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  99. He was the worker of the Powers of Pain, the Bret Hart, if you will.

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  100. There is a lot of frustration with Itami right now in that he's not connecting with the audiences (true) and seems unable to adjust to the WWE style (also true). Obviously HHH really wants him to succeed because it's supposed to be his big project, but I'm just not seeing it.

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  101. Seriously though... how bad ass was Barbarian here?

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  102. You know when you buy 3-4 video games at the same time that you've always wanted, but you end pre-dominantly playing 1 or 2 while you keep saying "Eventually I will get around to those other games"? That's what happened here - he brought in Owens, Balor and Itami and Itami is collecting dust.

    ReplyDelete
  103. At least both had star power.


    The execution was terrible but Steiners/Warriors, Flair/Sting/Muta/Luger?


    On paper, its great.

    ReplyDelete
  104. HHHs projects have pretty much gone tits up.


    Sheamus
    Supposedly he was high on Mizdow when he was just Sandow
    Kong
    Sin Careless


    I believe that is why he went with the indy route, cuz they already can work US style, have a fan base and it gives HHH smark cred.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Y'know, all four of them are situationally awesome. Well, Sin Cara was awesome like twice.


    And Awesome Kong getting pregnant...unfortunate timing all around.

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  106. If he had only changed his name to Brock Norton.

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  107. But that has nothing to do with randomness, where everything has the same probability.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Scott's orginal rant in the 1990's: off night for Tito. Years later, he admitted it was a fun little squash.

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  109. You know, when you read this in Vince McMahon's voice it sounds frighteningly realistic

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  110. HHH's tag team division project was going along pretty well in 2012-2014. But the lack of focus put them back at square one.

    ReplyDelete

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