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Souled Out 2000

Souled Out 2000
Date: January 16, 2000
Location: Firstar Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Attendance: 14,132
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan 

Reviewed by Tommy Hall 

And then everything changed. The big matches for this show were scheduled to be Chris Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett in a 2/3 falls match for the US Title and Bret Hart defending his WCW World Title against Goldberg. Then Goldberg, Hart and Jarrett all got hurt so we're going to get Sid Vicious vs. Benoit for the World Title, which is being announced the night of the show. Other than that, Russo is GONE (pause for the parade) due to his solutions to the gaping holes caused by these injuries, which I'll get to later. Let's get to it.


The announcers immediately talk about the changes to the World Title match and show us clips of the injuries occurring, including the Goldberg superkick to Hart and Benoit's Swan Dive off the top of the cage this past week on Nitro to knock Jarrett out. It's interesting that the headbutt hit the arm but still rattled Jeff that much.

We look at the Revolution attacking Konnan during the pre-game show, which somehow leads to the new Triple Threat Theater. Instead of Jarrett vs. Benoit in a 2/3 falls match, Kidman of all people will be running a Revolution gauntlet in the three gimmick matches, including against Revolution's mystery partner.

We run down the card to fill in even more time. Apparently Page vs. Bagwell is last man standing.

Also earlier tonight, David Flair and Crowbar have attacked Vampiro, meaning it's no longer Flair vs. Vampiro but instead it's a three way dance with Crowbar added.

After six and a half minutes of recaps and explaining the card, we're ready to go.

Kidman vs. Dean Malenko

This is Catch As Catch Can, which was originally the Dungeon Match and means you win by pin, submission or your opponent leaving the ring. You know, because Kidman vs. Malenko needs a wacky stipulation. Dean takes him into the corner to start but Kidman drives him in just as quickly.

That goes nowhere as Malenko takes him down into a headscissors, only to bail into the corner when Kidman comes up swinging. A jackknife cover gets two for Dean but Kidman rolls away and fires off right hands, sending Dean rolling to the floor.....to give Kidman the win. Either Dean screwed up on a pretty unique rule or he wanted out as fast as he could. That's it for Dean in WCW.

Clip of Vampiro powerbombing Crowbar for a pin on Thunder. The post match stuff that set up the match tonight isn't included but why bother with something like that?

We recap Daffney being all psycho and hooking up with David Flair, who then joined forces with Crowbar. This somehow tied into David's godfather Arn Anderson, who helped them win the Tag Team Titles. Vampiro and the Misfits hit on Daffney so she kneed them in the groin, setting up tonight's match. In theory this was going to be Vampiro and someone against the champs, but it was changed to a three way on the pre-show for no logical reason.

Vampiro is about to address what's going on but Masahiro Chono of all people interrupts and yells in Japanese.

David, Crowbar and Daffney promise to break Vampiro's bones and rip off his flesh.

Vampiro vs. David Flair vs. Crowbar

It's a big brawl to start but Vampiro faceplants both of them to take over early on. There's no reason for Flair and Crowbar to fight each other aside from general insanity so this should be a tag match like it was supposed to be. Vampiro's suplex is countered into a northern lights suplex for two but a spinning kick puts Crowbar down as well. There's a suicide dive for Crowbar as Daffney bounces up and down on the bottom rope.

David's chops have no effect as the announcers talk about Ric Flair being on some house shows but not appearing on TV. Vampiro chops David a few times and throws him onto Crowbar. The Rock Bottom on the floor is broken up by Crowbar's flip dive for a huge crash. A big splash from the apron crushes Vampiro again as the Tag Team Champions are only kind of working together.

Back in and Crowbar plants him with a German suplex, continuing to make me wonder why he's stuck in this story. Vampiro one ups him with a release superplex, prompting about forty seconds of replays of the match's big spots. David remembers he's in the match and gets two off a vertical suplex as this becomes the handicap match it was supposed to be. That goes nowhere as Vampiro superkicks both of them down and plants Crowbar with a Rock Bottom for two.

More double teaming gives the champs control and a top rope splash gets two for Crowbar. David slaps on a figure four that makes Dusty Rhodes look like Ric himself but Crowbar goes for a cover, starting a brawl between the champs. Back up again and Vampiro cleans house, sidesteps a charging David to send him into Daffney and the Nail in the Coffin gives Vampiro the pin.

Rating: D+. Total mess here but it was fun at times. Like I said though, the booking was all over the place and it was just a spotfest, but the bigger problem is the Tag Team Champions just lost a glorified handicap match in ten minutes. Why this wasn't a tag match isn't clear, especially when you have all those people on the roster not doing a thing. David continues to be completely worthless.

Buff Bagwell arrives.

The Mamalukes are ready for the Harris Brothers in a bonus match.

Harris Brothers vs. Mamalukes

Ron shoves Johnny the Bull into the corner to start but eats a spinning kick to the face which sounded like it made some solid contact. Back in and Ron runs over Vito (in his sleeveless, shiny neon green shirt) but Johnny comes in with some right hands to the ribs to take over. Vito drops an elbow low, only to have Ron take Johnny out to the floor and whip him into the barricade.

A big side slam plants Johnny back inside and it's off to Don for a lame chinlock. The Twins maintain control and hit Johnny low as I'm trying to figure out who to cheer for in this match. Vito gets goaded into the ring so Ron can choke in the corner before throwing the Bull to the floor. This match just keeps going and the fans chant DOA. Vito breaks up a cover off a DDT and crotches Don, only to have Disco shoves him off by mistake, helping Vito with a top rope clothesline to Ron for the pin.

Rating: D-. This is one of those matches that just kept going for no reason other than they needed to fill in some more time. On top of that it's a bonus match so there isn't even a story going on until the ending where Disco didn't mean to help the Mafia guys win. Really dull stuff here but either team would be an upgrade for the Tag Team Titles.

Madusa rants to Spice about Oklahoma.

Cruiserweight Title: Madusa vs. Oklahoma

Madusa is defending but Oklahoma has the Cruiserweight Title belt because this story is stupid. Oklahoma vows to prove that men are the dominant sex and runs down all the horrible housewives here in Cincinnati. “Madusa, get those silicone balls out here so I can bounce them back to the kitchen.” Madusa comes out in a bikini with a loincloth as she fires off kicks to start.

Some hair drags put Madusa down but Oklahoma (wearing a singlet with his name on it in the WWF Attitude logo style) avoids a charge, only to have Madusa fall onto his crotch. A pair of middle rope missile dropkicks drop Oklahoma but he comes right back with a DDT because he's somehow better than the best American female wrestler of this era. Spice takes the barbecue sauce away from Oklahoma and here's Asya to help out.

Not that it matters as Oklahoma pulls the loincloth down and rolls Madusa up for the pin and the Cruiserweight (Ferrara weighed about 300lbs) Title. Too short to rate, but the man that said he was better than all women just pinned the female champion despite her having two people to help her. Somehow, this is supposed to be entertaining rather than, you know, horrible and disgusting.

The girls pour the sauce down his singlet post match. That's an appropriate response after being cheated out of a title by a chauvinist announcer whose entire character was originally built around mocking an announcer. All hail the Powers That Be!

Hardcore Champion Brian Knobbs credits Fit Finlay for giving him back the Eye of the Tiger. He'll beat up Meng and Smiley tonight and then take out Finlay to become the new master.

Hardcore Title: Brian Knobbs vs. Fit Finlay vs. Meng vs. Norman Smiley

Knobbs is defending. This is called Four The Hard Way and I'm sure it's going to be the hard way as opposed to something easy like gum surgery. Norman comes out in riot gear. Brian takes over with a bunch of trashcan lid shots before double teaming Meng with Finlay's help. Meng shrugs it off and knocks Norman down (Heenan: “RUN!”) before everyone goes to the floor. Norman does a kind of leg sweep to put Brian down but Finlay blasts him in the head with a trashcan.

A headbutt with the riot helmet puts Norman down again and it's table time. Knobbs and Finlay hit Meng with the trashcan and it's time to split up because this match needs to be doubled. Thankfully it doesn't last long as Norman and Finlay come back to ringside with Smiley being dropped face first onto a chair. Meng's cover on Brian is broken up and Norman is left alone with the champ. Instead of covering though he stops to dance, allowing Knobbs to hit him with the riot shield to retain. Tenay says Knobbs is a force to be reckoned with a mere four days after winning the title.

Rating: D-. You can see the problem with this division in this match alone: they're not doing anything. This is just the weapons title with people who have nothing else to do filling in the spots. At least with the WWF version, the hardcore guys were entertaining and had enough charisma to carry the division. This is everyone but Norman treating it seriously and making it a very dull sit every time they're out there.

Meng cleans house post match.

Kidman vs. Perry Saturn

Bunkhouse Brawl, which means hardcore (that sounds familiar), even though I don't think either of these two have ever been in a bunkhouse in their entire lives because most people aren't cowboys. Saturn headbutts him down to start and plants Kidman with a gorilla press for two. He crotches Kidman on top and hits a springboard clothesline (kind of at least) to drive Kidman to the floor for a big crash right on his side.

Thankfully with Kidman's hip still in one piece, Saturn knocks his head off with a clothesline and gets two off a legdrop. Saturn rips the shirt apart and starts cranking on the arm. A beal with the torn shirt sends Kidman down again before Saturn remember this is a hardcore match and pulls out a table. Kidman finally scores with a dive as Tony and Heenan plan starting a table business. There's a comedy gimmick in there somewhere.

Back in and Saturn takes over again with a top rope elbow getting two. Saturn busts out a layout powerbomb (yes he can!) for two but misses a moonsault. The BK Bomb gets two but Saturn launches him over the top and out through the table for two on the floor. They head up top with Saturn loading up a superbomb, only to get backdropped down. It's time to go back to the drawing board with another powerbomb but Kidman faceplants him down (maybe he can't) for the pin. That's it for Saturn in WCW.

Rating: D+. This was a glorified Saturn squash until the ending came out of nowhere. Kidman took a good beating and it came off like the Jeff Hardy formula, which isn't the worst idea, but Saturn destroying him for ten minutes with the hardcore rules barely meaning anything.

And now, Stevie Ray goes back to the hood. Heenan's words. Stevie talks to some old friends and says this is where he and Booker come from. He says a pile of cardboard boxes is home to someone and this is where they're from. Some people Stevie knows asks where Booker has been but Stevie says they just forgot about this place. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this was actually really well done.

Stevie says it's done tonight.

Booker T. vs. Stevie Ray

Before the match Booker, wearing a red vest with sleeves so skinny they look like suspenders, says he's going to give Stevie the whipping he deserves for saying Booker has forgotten where he came from. Stevie tries to get in a cheap shot but Booker ducks underneath and nails a spinning kick to the face. A big clothesline drops Booker and the match slows way down.

They head outside with Stevie slowly walking around the ring until Booker fires off some right hands. Back in and Stevie gets in a thumb to the eyes and hooks on a chinlock. A backdrop puts Booker down and we cut to the crowd for no apparent reason. Booker escapes the Slapjack and scores with the Book End, but Ahmed Johnson runs in for the DQ.

Rating: D. Booker is good, but carrying Stevie Ray is almost impossible. There's only so much you can do when you're in a story this lame and we passed that point as soon as the bell rang. Really dull match but I was a huge fan of Ahmed Johnson so somehow I can live with this.

Stevie names him Big T. Unfortunately, I remember where this is leading and it's going to get even worse.

Sid is ready to fight his friend for the World Title.

Tank Abbott vs. Jerry Flynn

Here's Tenay's recap: “This past Monday, they were put inside the same jail cell and even that couldn't keep them apart.” Abbott punches, Flynn kicks, they trade some lame submission holds and Tank punches him out for the pin in less than 100 seconds.

We recap Page vs. Bagwell, which is over accusations that Bagwell slept with Page's wife Kimberly and Buff implying that Kimberly has been with the entire locker room. In other words, it's over whether or not Kimberly is a slut.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell

Last man standing. Buff punches him out to the floor and they're quickly in the crowd with Buff punching him over what appear to be hockey boards. Back to ringside with Bagwell still in control but Page comes back with a neckbreaker. The Diamond Cutter is broken up and Bagwell goes outside for a dive from Page. They both go down off a single right hand and fight near the WCW.com station.

Both guys throw a monitor and Tony thinks it's hilarious. A keyboard shot to the head puts Bagwell down but Buff comes back with an elbow off the set through the table. It's Page's turn to no sell and they head back to the ring as there hasn't been a count yet. Page, bleeding from the side, crotches Bagwell against the post. Even more no selling ensues as Bagwell shrugs off a Diamond Cutter and hits a Vader Bomb for eight.

Buff DDT's Page for seven and it's Blockbuster time. The fans react, so is Buff supposed to be the good guy here? Page eats Blockbuster but gets up at nine. Bagwell pulls a police baton out to beat on Page for nine, only to walk into a Diamond Cutter. It's actually Bagwell up first with Page not being able to answer the count. So yeah, Page lost by hitting his finisher. That's certainly different.

Rating: D+. That ending is really confusing stuff as you would think Buff could have just hit the Blockbuster for the win. They were trying to play up the idea that Buff blocked the move but he went down like anyone else would have. Really weird ending to a boring but not horrible match.

Kimberly comes out and watches as Page beats Buff down.

Kidman vs. ???

This is in Caged Heat, which means Hell in a Cell. Shane Douglas comes out to introduce the mystery opponent: the Wall. Yeah it's Kidman vs. the Wall in an unannounced match inside Hell in a Cell. They fight over a chair on the floor to start with Wall getting the better of it. Kidman is tossed into the cage a few times as the crowd is just gone. They head inside with Wall getting two off a clothesline. A sunset bomb out of the corner gets the same for Kidman and he counters a suplex into a DDT for the same. Kidman goes up top and dives right into a chokeslam for the pin.

Rating: F. This is another instance where I can sum up the problem in one sentence: a Hell in a Cell match that lasted five minutes That's ignoring the fact that these two have no personal issues and Wall is just there because Shane is still injured and you can't put Asya out there.

Kevin Nash vs. Terry Funk

Hardcore. Again. If Nash wins he's the Commissioner but if Funk wins, the NWO is gone. Nash jumps him in the aisle and throws in some big right hands, followed by a chair to the back. There's the Jackknife through the table but Nash goes inside to talk trash instead of covering. He tells Funk that he can keep his job as Commissioner if he can get back in, but as soon as Terry gets back in, Nash says he's a liar.

Another clothesline puts Funk on the floor and he crashes on his head to make it look even more effective. Terry nails him with a chair a few times to limited avail so Nash chairs him down again. A DDT plants Nash and Funk slowly slugs away before setting up some more chairs. That earns Funk a low blow and a powerbomb through the opened chairs to give Nash the power.

Rating: D. So Nash is the Commissioner after spending weeks beating up the lame duck Commissioner. I'm so glad we got to sit through this, though at least Nash is somewhat relevant to the product and has been around longer than a few weeks. I can also see why Flair wasn't interested in coming back for something like that.

Nash officially takes over at midnight.

Arn Anderson, guest referee for the main event, basically says none of this matters as it's all about getting Nash out of power. He stumbles over his lines here which is something you never see from him.

WCW World Title: Chris Benoit vs. Sid Vicious

Feeling out process to start with Sid shoving Benoit into the corner but being nice enough to help him up. Some of the roster comes out to watch at the arena entrance. Sid shoves Benoit to the floor by the throat and it's time to regroup. Back in and Benoit gets smart by going after the knee by dropkicking the leg our bringing Sid down.

With almost the entire locker room watching (and looking like they're at a funeral), Benoit takes it to the floor and crushing the leg between the post and the steps. A Figure Four has Sid in even more trouble but he turns it over, sending Benoit to the ropes for a break. Sid is wrestling as the face here but Benoit is only the heel by default.

Benoit snap suplexes him for one and then puts on the bridging Indian Deathlock to make Sid scream. The hold has to be broken because of the pressure it puts on Benoit's neck so Sid can try a quick comeback, only to eat another dropkick to the knee. The rolling Germans are countered with a powerslam for two and the fans actually show some signs of life.

A long leg lock has Sid in even more trouble and a release German sets up the Swan Dive but Sid powers out at one. The chokeslam gets two due to Benoit's foot being under the rope. There's the Crossface for an immediate tap to give Benoit the title. Anderson wasn't a factor in the entire match.

Rating: C. Watchable match here with Sid getting in almost nothing. That's the big key here: Benoit took him apart and then made Sid submit (unlike Goldberg in an interesting bit). Unfortunately there was almost no emotion or drama here as it was just about who was going to win and there was no reason to be upset with either guy as champion.

Replays show that Sid's foot was under the rope, which was their out to take the title off Benoit once he quit.

Benoit praises Sid for a great fight and talks about seeing the Dynamite Kid when he was eleven years old. Anderson comes in and shakes Benoit's hand. Cue Nash to say he's going to make Benoit's life a nightmare starting at midnight.

Overall Rating: D. Let's get the important part out of the way first: this was a big, big improvement over the Russo shows. It may not have been good or even decent, but there's a huge difference between a show making me scream at the screen fifteen years later and just being pretty lame. There's only one decent match on the show and only one moment that matters, but at least it's a nice feel good moment.

The interesting thing here is that you might like the show better without seeing the build. It's a totally different show than they set up due to the injuries and changes to the card, but that doesn't mean it's anything good. The new version of WCW starting tomorrow night is going to be.....I guess the word is interesting, but the roster being depleted all at once is one of the final nails in the coffin, which we'll get to on Monday. Bad show, but a boring bad instead of infuriating.


Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Comments

  1. The famous story is that Russo wanted to have a battle royal for the vacant World title to be won by...Tank Abbott. The former UFC washout who had done pretty much nothing of note in WCW. Even Busch knew what a stupid idea that was and pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back to dump Russo.
    Sadly, one good move would be topped by the bad of Busch agreeing a week later to give Benoit, Guerrero, Saturn and Malenko their releases and cost WCW four of their best guys in one go.

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  2. I had to go back and watch the Madusa v. Oklahoma "match" and wow, that was an embarrassment on every level.

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  3. I like how this show was a big improvement over the Russo era, when this show was not well thought out and booked at the last minute.

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  4. The sad thing is no-one had credibility around this time so it didn't matter who the WCW title went to.

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  5. I can't believe how quick they got rid of Russo. What had it been, 4 months? I completely hate how, when he is writing, a 9-minute match is considered 'epic', and everything else goes 1-3 minutes. However, WCW fucked themselves by changing direction and creative teams FIVE TIMES in a year and a half (The Nitro relauch in spring '99, Russo comes in the fall, Sullivan is back after Souled Out, Russo comes back in April, and then whatever the hell happened around Fall 2000), Russo's writing was just a small part of their problems. I think, as we are about to find out, Sullivan's crew doesn't exactly turn the ship around. Each crew had its advantages/disadvantages. I fucking love watching WCW on the WWE Network, having access to all the PPVs is mindnumbingly great. I waish they would put this era of Nitro/Thunder on there. Bastards.

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  6. It wasn't just a battle royal, he was going to do a full blown Royal Rumble.

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  7. The news cycle that weekend was just fantastic.

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  8. In kayfabe, Jarret got the concussion from Benoit, but he really got it from the Jimmy Snuka cage dive.

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  9. When I was in high school, my basketball coach would say of someone who kept screwing up, "He couldn't find his ass with both hands." That was WCW....

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  10. Getting rid of Russo so soon and just before a PPV was pretty shocking news at the time and even weirder they brought him back again despite WCW management knowing how incompetent the guy as.

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  11. And then the "Radicalz" jumped ship, now that was shocking. WCW going under, not so much.

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  12. I remember not getting much sleep that weekend and being mostly on the message boards to discuss the latest news.


    I live a sad life. Then. Now. Forever.

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  13. I actually thought WCW going under was shocking. They still had decent ratings and with Turner's money, I figured the company would always be around.

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  14. Yeah but by that point, Turner was no longer in power of his own company following the AOL merger. Without him as their champion, WCW's days were numbered.

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  15. I know that, but rumors of WCW going out of business only started surfacing in the last few months of the company's existance, I think.

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  16. So here's how it all boils down:
    Nitro ratings from 3.08 to 3.10 but remember, they dumped an hour (which means an hour of ad revenue) so it really averaged out to a 2.9
    Average attendance from 4,600 per show to 3,600.
    Buy rates literally dropping in half.
    Oh yeah and failure to make new stars and utterly nonsensical TV.
    Yep, Russo sure was the answer WCW needed.

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  17. From day 1, Bill Busch tried to keep Vinny Roo down and curtail his creative freedom.


    Bro.

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  18. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 6, 2015 at 9:17 PM

    It's amazing that someone with even the slightest idea of how wrestling works/is supposed to work can make a far better show than Russo in four days instead of all the time he had.

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  19. I wonder how much was really changed other than the main event. This show is fucking worthless. Especially, post '07.

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  20. I don't hate the guy and I don't want to come off as a bitter old fart...but Kidman's look of disappointment and frustration at the end of the Catch-as-Catch Can Match pretty much sums up everything wrong with post-kayfabe wrestling. You won the fucking match, dude, fucking act like it.

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  21. WWF buying the assets is something I never EVER thought I'd see. Then one day it just happened.

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  22. There was still a loyal core audience that tuned into TNT out of sheer force of habit if nothing else, but the number of people actually willing to shell out money for the product evaporated almost as soon as Russo took control.

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  23. I think the whole card was changed sans the Nash/Funk match given that the US title match was scrapped too.

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  24. Back in the fall of 2000, McMahon made an offer to buy. It was in an issue of the Observer. That entire fall/winter/spring there were rumors of buying. Very similar to TNA in 2013-14.

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  25. JOE GOMEZ FTW!

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  26. I'll admit, with some trepidation, that the Daffney/Crowbar/David Flair combo actually entertained me a bit. Daffney was -great- in her role and so much better than the generic Nitro girls that were all over the programming at the time. Flair was a load, but he wasn't that bad at this character, comparatively, and I suppose my low expectations made it seem better than it was. The show still sucked at the time, so I guess I was just getting what little enjoyment I could.

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  27. I agree, that and Norman Smiley were probably the best hits of the Russo era.

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  28. Robinson TilapiaJune 6, 2015 at 9:39 PM

    I've been waiting for this exact point in time with your reviews for a while now. Some interesting, and pretty forgotten, stuff coming up.

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  29. Kayfabe, Kidman should've acted relieved or even just a bit snarky that Dean 'forgot the rules.' In reality, I can't blame him for being rather pissed at an opponent who screws up that badly (or was just phoning it in and leaving town) a minute into the match.

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  30. Be pissed in the locker room. In a stage environment Kidman would have been lit into, fined, and possibly fired by the director for essentially breaking character. Schiavone is doing his best to try to save the segment by pointing out that Kidman caught a huge break--Kidman should be fucking ecstatic.

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  31. Those two acts were good. At Slamboree 2000, Daffney/D.Flair/Russo lay-out Kevin Nash and Ric Flair in one of the most surreal scenes I can remember.

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  32. But wasn't that Malenko going into business for himself? I always got the impression it was, so Kidman's reactions was legit. He thought Dean fucked up which forced Charles Robinson to call the match. Granted, as a performer, he should have played along.

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  33. main events*

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  34. Malenko's motivations are completely irrelevant. He lost, Kidman won without breaking a sweat, Kidman needs to act like that's what actually happened and not like he lost a chance to do a bunch of kewl spotz. My "bitter old fart" promise will not be fulfilled tonight, it seems.

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  35. I was firmly in the corner of WCW even through the Russo trash to this point, then I was thrilled when Benoit won the title. My loyalty finally shifted when he jumped to WWF, although I would still watch WCW for Booker T, Kanyon, and a handful of other guys.

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  36. Yeah, I said Kidman should have played along anyway ya old fart.

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  37. Remembering these shows makes me sad because of how bad WCW really got before it finally died. I tried to like the company from 1999-2001 but goddamn it was so awful most of the time.


    There were a few bright spots, certainly, but overall I have no desire to watch almost any of that programming ever again

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  38. AnInternetToughGuyJune 7, 2015 at 12:41 AM

    minor nitpick and only b/c it didn't seem like hyperbole in the post, there's no way Ferrara weighed 300lbs in that match. he's short, and has a slight belly (which, fat weighs less than muscle, etc). I'd be surprised if he was more than 240 here.

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  39. AnInternetToughGuyJune 7, 2015 at 12:42 AM

    I relate big time to that, man.

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  40. The thing was, with Russo coming in, all the parts I hadn't liked about the WWF came over to WCW, while WWF started rapidly getting more tolerable to me. The Radicalz moving over was actually one of the last straws - I never followed WCW quite as closely again, although I always kept checking back in. I thought the last few months before it died were among the best - Steiner's period as heel champion was actually pretty good and, while the Magnificent Seven weren't great, at least they weren't NWO version 48.

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  41. AnInternetToughGuyJune 7, 2015 at 12:55 AM

    I really wish Steiner had gotten a hold of the World Title earlier. Granted Russo and the revolving door of booking powers made this virtually impossible, I think a long, semi-strong looking heel reign by Steiner would've been grand.

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  42. The title goes from Hogan to heel Sting at Fall Brawl '99 (pre-Russo), then:
    Sting vs. Hogan worked shoot (Hogan goes home)
    Goldberg
    Title is vacated
    Bret Hart
    Title is vacated
    Bret Hart
    Title is vacated
    Chris Benoit (who beats Sid Vicious)
    Title is vacated (because Benoit quits)
    Sid Vicious
    Title is vacated
    Kevin Nash
    Sid Vicious
    And then four months of Sid before the Bischoff/Russo reboot.


    That's the death of WCW right there and that's 100% pure Russo.


    WCW was bad when Russo entered, but it could have been stabilized within a couple months with just simple logic


    1) Don't send Hogan home. That was the worst decision. If you were going to phase Hogan out, he at least needed to pass the torch in a proper manner. There would have been better off letting him beat Sting (the decision to turn him heel was awful, and should have been backed out of as quickly as possible anyway), and build to a Hogan/Goldberg pass the torch match at Starrcade '99 and then run Goldberg/Hart for the first time at Souled Out '00.


    2) Benoit, Guerrero, Booker, Steiner, Jarrett should have been your US Title scene and they should have been prepping Benoit, Guerrero and Booker to make the jump over the next year to the top of the card. It's entirely possible the Radicalz don't quit if someone competent takes over WCW instead of Russo


    3) They should have run a legit Shane Douglas/Ric Flair feud. They could have gotten a lot of mileage out of that.

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  43. Buffalo HopscotchJune 7, 2015 at 2:31 AM

    I think the problem with Hogan was always his creative control. He was never going to let himself be phased out and be used to put over other workers, so it was easier to just not use him at all than deal with him.

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  44. Buffalo HopscotchJune 7, 2015 at 2:33 AM

    Dean often used to bail from the ring like that in his matches when he was a heel, so I was never sure if it was Dean just saying "fuck it" or if he legit forgot and just went to one of his tried and true moves.

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  45. Buffalo HopscotchJune 7, 2015 at 2:35 AM

    Sullivan at least had a long term plan to rebuild Goldberg as a superstar. It meant that they lost the Radicalz and he went back to using Hogan, Luger, Flair and the Outsiders again, but at the worst he saw that Goldberg was the guy who could save them.

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  46. Buffalo HopscotchJune 7, 2015 at 2:37 AM

    "Bro, if this was real..."

    Russo, the TV show is real and nobody wanted to see Tank Abbott, let alone as World Champion.

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  47. For proof, see the hilariously bad way he left TNA

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  48. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 7, 2015 at 4:20 AM

    Oh yeah that was a big part too. A week after this show, WWF put on one of their best shows ever with Royal Rumble 2000. It wasn't like most of 1999 where Raw was actually really bad too. Now Raw was getting in a groove and putting on some of the best shows ever.

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  49. I love how Shane Douglas bitched up as soon as he got to WCW, "that was just work".

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  50. The worst part of WCW at this time was breaking up Harlem Heat. Seriously, everything that is offensive to the reviewer isn't as bad as written. I can remember everything leading up to this PPV like it was yesterday. And although this Harlem Heat breakup enabled Stevie Ray to join the broadcast booth, giving the audience several all time great phrases, i hate having to see Booker and Stevie fight.

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  51. It's ok. You're among friends.

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  52. Has there ever been a good brother vs. brother feud? Other than Owen and Bret? No one wants to see brothers like the Hardys, Steiners or the Heaters fight.

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  53. Steiner should have just gotten the belt at Spring Stampede, murdered Page, and then held the belt with the same character work until a big match with Goldberg at Halloween Havoc. That might actually have done business.

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  54. Put the belt on Steiner at Spring Stampede and build to Steiner vs. Goldberg at Starrcade 2000

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  55. Undertaker vs Kane!

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  56. Steiners would have been awesome, but they waited too long to pull the trigger on that one, so by the time they did fight, they were just a shell of their former selves.

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  57. Souled Out in a vacuum isn't really a bad show.

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  58. Exactly, no way Hogan was ever going to pass the torch and I think Russo was right for not using Hogan. Hulk was no longer moving the needle and he was a cancer backstage so the best thing Russo could have done was to send him home and only use him to wrestle a few times a year, much like how WWE uses Brock.


    However, the way Russo sent Hogan home was pretty stupid. I would have done something like Hogan beating Sting by DQ when Lex Luger interferes and do an injury angle with Sting and Luger putting Hulk on the shelf.

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  59. No matter how you want to do it, you always run into the creative control issue. You think Hogan is going to consent to an injury writing him out?

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  60. I liked Benoit, but never marked out when he won the WCW title because the way it was executed was pretty poor. Benoit's title win at WM20 was a more glorious feeling.

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  61. Well I did have him win by DQ and I think Hulk would prefer to win and do an injury angle rather than putting someone over outright.

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  62. Steiner was ready to carry the company in 1999 with Buff Bagwell as his sidekick.

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  63. I think the Gronkowski brothers would be a good feud! 😀

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  64. I didn't think David was any good either, but I felt like they used him pretty well.

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  65. Steiner was just white hot, his promos were by far the best of WCW for the final couple of years.

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  66. Phil vs Grant was always good stuff in Eastenders.

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  67. Macklin, Man Without FearJune 7, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    I really liked Sid/Benoit. Thought it was good.

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  68. As god as your witness?

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  69. "Bro, if this was real, I'm telling you, the people know that this IS NOT REAL."

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  70. That's probably pushing it. He was very much NOT over in early 1999 even though WCW was trying eveything they could to ram him down the audience's throat as a big deal, and then wasn't doing anything of note after what, Spring Stampede except the reformed Steiner Brothers deal?

    He hit his stride after the comeback in 2000, and would have done fine with a long run as heel champ starting at Spring Stampede that ended with a heavily built up Goldberg match.

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  71. Did they really draw this house? I've been under the impression by this point WCW was drawing a 1/3 of that figure.

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  72. Clark O'BrienJune 7, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    The Hardys were weird in that they had no one-on-one chemistry at all. They probably knew eachother as well as any two wrestlers could but every match they've had has been boring.

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  73. I can't even watch 1998 WCW anymore, because it's still pretty good and I know what's coming once the calendar turns to '99. Talk about blowing a great hand; they had nearly ever card in the deck at one point.

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  74. I never knew till I read The Death of WCW that Jerry Jarrett and his backers offered $60 million for WCW a year or two before they closed ship. By the end, the product had become so toxic that it was nearly worthless once their TV shows got cancelled.

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  75. They never seemed to have real animosity. Owen's hatred of Bret was visible. Rick's disappointment with Scott was visible, even if their matches sucked. Booker T's frustration at having to fight his brother showed. Matt and Jeff were just "Bleh" to me.

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  76. They still had towns here and there that they'd pop good numbers in. I don't know the specifics of this show, but I recall it doing a good gate, so I think it's one of their few strong showings during the dark days.

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  77. I wonder how that would have worked out in 94, had Vince gotten his wish to push Scott solo. If either brother had gone heel. Like, Rick vs Scott at Mania X, despite the other bro vs bro.

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  78. It depends. I'm sure Hogan has no objection to getting paid to sit on the sidelines. But he doesn't want to look like anything less than the Immortal Hulk Hogan.


    Look at what Vince was able to do with him a couple years later. You bring him back periodically, pay him well, make him a big deal, maybe give him a run, and then he drops the strap, he goes back to the sidelines, and he comes back again when he can make a big splash.


    Hogan was never going to be the guy who put over anyone and everyone no matter who he worked with. That's why Russo was an idiot, because Hogan wasn't going to put over Kidman, or Jarrett, and honestly he was right.


    Hogan did put over Goldberg.


    I have no idea why he didn't put over Sting. And it never made any sense to me why he wouldn't work with Hart.

    Seeing as he put over Goldberg clean once before, I could see him agreeing to do that again.


    That's what I would have gone with. And Hogan clearly had no issue getting paid to do nothing, because he went home when Russo asked him to.

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  79. It looks like a pretty good sized crowd when watching it on the Network.

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  80. Owen and Bret were great promos, both in very different ways. Matt was kinda good as a goofball, but Jeff has always been terrible. They had no chance getting across the kind of animosity you'd need to in selling a brother vs brother feud.

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  81. Probably half got in for free

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  82. "Other than that, Russo is GONE (pause for the parade) due to his solutions to the gaping holes caused by these injuries, which I'll get to later."


    I don't think you ever got to them (I assume there was going to be some discussion about the idea of Tank Abbott as WCW champion.)

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  83. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 7, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    I'm going to get to them on Nitro, when you can see the holes.

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  84. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 7, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    That's true for the most part. It's the lack of any reason to care about these matches due to the lack of story. That's what I was getting at with the line about not watching the TV shows being a benefit.

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  85. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 7, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    Any time you get to the maiming/attempted murder part, it doesn't work. I can accept Owen and Bret eventually reuniting after a feud over the title, but Matt burned Jeff's house down. That's a bit more than I can buy.

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  86. One idea was putting the title on Tank Abbott. In an attempt to do something believable, the idea was originally to have a "rumble match" in which Sid would be an early entrant in the match and would last all the way to the end when Abbott would come into the match and eliminate him with one punch. Russo sasys Abbott might not have held the belt for more than 24 hours. The day after he came up with the idea, he was removed from the position of head writer and told to start working with something else. Russo declined the offer and left the company. Of course Sullivan takes his place, the Radicalz quit. Which I think is interesting for all the shit that Russo was doing they had no issues with that and the minute Sullivan was promoted to head booker all of them were out. I also can't believe WCW let them walk and furthermore they were able to show up on RAW what the next night.

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  87. kbwrestlingreviewsJune 7, 2015 at 2:17 PM

    I think the Sullivan thing was more just the last straw. The Russo stuff had them on the brink and then they picked someone they knew was going to be just like it was before Russo where they're all spinning their wheels and never getting anywhere. Also I believe Nash had some control in the new regime and that was another death trap.

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  88. Tank Abbott might have been a serviceable champion killer heel, but he hadn't been built up at that point and was generally wasted by WCW (like feuding with "Big Al" over a jacket). Just have Tank go out there, brawl, do some submissions, and KO punch everyone in his path. Not a great wrestler, but with his look and reputation from UFC it could have worked.

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  89. Steiner's should have been Scott crushing Rick and that be that. Putting Scott over to launch his singles career was the last bit of usefulness Rick Steiner had by 1998.

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  90. Nash never made the guys life a nightmare... verbally berating, harrassing, and laughing at co-workers in front of other employees when Nash has been hired a booker and makes decisions about who gets pushed would never cause a guy to become insecure about his size and become addicted to roids... not Kevin Nash

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  91. by 2000 WCW were the industry experts on papering televised events

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  92. how hard would it have been to figure out that Scott Steiner kicking the nWo's ass makes more sense then putting him in the group and only being handed the microphone as the 5-6th guy in line during the group promos

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  93. That's...not really true. The product was shit, but the overall brand was strong enough that it was still pulling in solid ratings, and as such could have remained fine in the near term with new owners. The problem was that the company was a financial wasteland, and because of that there was no chance in hell the company was going to be profitable for new ownership without the television time.

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  94. WCW in mid-98 or so is just stupid stacked: Hart, Page, Goldberg at his most over, Sting and Flair, Nash getting over as a legit upper card face...and then down the card you've got Jericho coming into his own with a great act, Malenko, Benoit, and Booker all super over as midcard acts, plus Rey/Kidman/Eddie/Juvi in the cruiserweight ranks putting on great matches in their sleep.


    It's really a testament to what a disease Hogan/Bischoff were that they fucked that up so badly.

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  95. The infamous Ric Flair promo is coming. Wierd enough Russo quits and Flair, Sting, and Hogan return.

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  96. I forgot Ahmed Johnson showed up this early.

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  97. Adam "Colorado" CurryJune 7, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    The were experts long before that.

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  98. Yeah, but Hogan mythology is funny to listen too. I mean Andre died shortly after Wrestlemania III.

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  99. Heck, last I heard from Hogan he died DURING WrestleMania III.

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  100. He wasn't 300 pounds, brother - we weighed him on a truck scale in Detroit. He was 650.

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  101. I never liked Benoit until WM20. I was hoping he put some life in the WWECW in 2007 too, but you know ...

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  102. Reid had the talent, but he never got in the business and then he died.

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  103. Me and my dad marked out for it back in the day, but we also thought Steiner vs. Triple H at Royal Rumble 2003 was a great match.

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  104. I liked Tank in the day. He was a great bar fighter that had his 15 minutes of fame.

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  105. AnInternetToughGuyJune 7, 2015 at 8:41 PM

    BROTHER, BROTHER, BROTHER!

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  106. The Ghost of Faffner HallJune 7, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    Ideally I think any wrestler who breaks character like that SHOULD be read the riot act and fined, but I don't think it happens as often as it should. To use but one example, I don't recall ever hearing about Eddie Guerrero getting in any sort of hot water for his blatant kayfabe-breaking outburst at Summerslam against Mysterio. ("Where the FUCK was Vickie???")

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  107. Was Tank actually any good in the UFC, or was he basically White Kimbo Slice?

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  108. Probably because he wouldn't have had the outburst if Vickie hadn't missed her cue. At least with Kidman/Malenko it was two pros out there when shit went sideways. Vickie had been in the business, what, 8 minutes at that point?

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  109. Cincinnati was always a pro-WCW town, even during the dark days of the early 90's, that was one of the only towns where WCW did decent business while the WWF usually didn't draw very well in Cincinnatoi.

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  110. They even had popular bottom card acts like Norman Smiley, Lodi, Disco Inferno, Chavo Guerrero Jr. and The Cat to name a few. Most upper mid carders in WWE today can't even get the kind of pops those glorified jobbers got in 1998.

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  111. He was White Kimbo. He could beat up unskilled bums who never fought in the UFC again but put him in there with anyone that's a skilled fighter and he's totally exposed as a one trick pony.

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  112. The Ghost of Faffner HallJune 8, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    Oh yeah, Vicki was definitely at fault. But it's not as if this was a whispered comment to the official that the camera happened to pick up (a la Sid in WarGames), this was a full-blown tantrum. I would think someone would get called on for being that blatantly unprofessional, regardless of whose fault it was.

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  113. I think rumors of TNA sinking have been going on since their very first show, and have never once let up.

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  114. Now I've been as much in favor of judging Benoit's matches independent of his heinous act....and even I can't really say him winning the title is a "feel good moment" in hindsight

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  115. If I'm not mistaken, wasn't Booker T. and Ahmed/Big T's feud over.....the "T" at the end of his name? Did I smoke too much weed in the 90s and imagine this or did this like really happen????

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  116. And he was 7 feet, 500 pounds....all business "brother"

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  117. Booker and Ahmed, I thought, was in March 2000, when Russo was gone. IDK either. In smoked a ton of weed too back then.

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  118. It was on some level. To some, it looked like they were finally going to push the talented guys instead of the big, talentless schmoes.


    Course, then Russo got turfed for Kevin Sullivan, and we all know who went where after that......

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