The Netcop Rant for WCW Road Wild 1997.
(This was of course written at the time of the show, so don’t expect much here quality-wise.)
How *does* WCW manage to do it? They have a perfectly respectable, albeit boring, PPV going, then in the span of two matches they fuck it up and flush the whole mess down the toilet. Amazing. They don't pay Bischoff enough for his talents. (But he apparently got some good side-benefits at the strip clubs.) The story of the show is basically bad for a good chunk of the show, then it gets good for two matches, then it goes down the crapper again. Easy thumbs down just for the poor match quality alone.
On with the rant...
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (That one would have worked better if Bagwell was feuding with Vampiro) and Flapjack Norton v. Harlem Heat.
(The Buffy joke was still pretty obscure at that point, as it wasn’t exactly a runaway hit back then. Although I only started watching last year on Netflix, and now I’m doing the Angel-Buffy alternating thing at the start of season 4. Season 3 was pretty much one of the best seasons of TV I think I’ve ever seen and “The Zeppo” might be one of the best single episodes ever.) I think Harlem Heat has just about hit the wall of usefulness to the WCW regime at this point, and it's showing here. (Indeed, because by the end of the year they would be broken up and Booker pushed as a single.) The Heat promises a surprise, which everyone and their brother knows is Jackie, and who should come out to interfere for them but the ugly woman in the ugly flesh. (Meow. Seriously though, Jackie was a terrible fit for the Heat, and only there because she was black.) Everyone just phones this one in, a trend picked up by the rest of the card. Harlem Heat wins, of course. **1/2
K-Dog v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Oh, yay, my day just wouldn't be complete without having to endure a Konnan match. (My god 97 Scott was angry about this show.) This is a "Mexican grudge death match" whatever that means. What is this "Arriba La Raza" shit, anyway? (Eddie kind of appropriated that one for himself later on.) Shut the hell up, Chuck. Just about the most boring "death match" I've ever seen, as Chucky works over the leg again and again and again and again. This is not Rey's type of match. He valiantly tries to inject two or three highspots into it, but Chuck's having none of that. "No workrate in *my* matches!" I can hear him saying now. I'M SICK OF EVERY GUY IN WCW PUTTING THIS WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT OVER! (Price of doing business, compadre.) Most pointless bit in a pointless match: K-Dog tries to unmask Rey. Borrrrrrrrinnnnnnng. Charles "I'm a Piece of Shit but I have all the Mexican guys by the cajones" Ashinoff (I had a weird running joke thing going way back then where I posited that Konnan wasn’t actually Mexican but rather a white guy from New Jersey.) wins via tap-out (fuck! I hate the tap-out) to the Tequila Sunrise. (What’s wrong with the tap out? I guess any sort of change from the traditional tropes of wrestling was an issue.) * for the few moves pulled out by Rey. (I’m betting it was at least a little better than that.)
Steve MacMichael/Chris Benoit v. Jeff Jarrett/Dean Malenko.
I'm busy chatting with CanSen and Brother Zen during this one, so I'm not really paying attention to the lack of action leading up to the first elimination. I sort of tune in when Jarrett purposely eliminates himself, thus furthering this excruciating angle, but that interest is killed as Dean gets squashed by the Horsemen 2-on-1. What-fucking-ever. Just turn Malenko already and have Jarrett dragged by his balls through the parking lot and GET IT OVER WITH. I'm sick of seeing this idiot get pushed week after week in this stupid angle THAT NO ONE CARES ABOUT while he's wearing the US title that he doesn't deserve. He's not over, he's not talented, and NO ONE CARES. They're not going to care. Just give it up already, WCW, and fire the stiff. AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHH, I'm going insane here. ** (JJ did in fact quit soon after dropping the title to Mongo in September.)
Alright, next match.
Alex Wright v. Chris Jericho.
I DON'T CARE!!!! I DON'T FUCKING CARE!!!! I feel like screaming that every time I see the cruiserweight title defended these days. This is an okay match, I guess, but so what? Who cares? Who cares if Alex wins? Who cares if Jericho wins? What difference does it make if either guy walks out with the title? None. That's why this particular title is now meaningless. It's a time-filling jobber title. Syxx has now succeeded in ruining an entire division of wrestlers. Congratulations. Wright wins, but it doesn't matter because all the talented guys are jobbing to K-dog. **1/2 (I’m starting to feel like I should track this show down and do a non-psychotic version of the rant.)
Suxx v. Ric Flair.
And speaking of the evil one...remind again why this idiot is getting pushed into matches with Flair? Kevin who? Scott who? Ugh, fuck I hate politics. Continuing the ongoing trend, both guys dial this one in 1-800-Collect. This is a pretty bad match even by Flair's recently lowered standards. Suxx gets his idiotic rider move in at one point. Restholds galore. BOOOOOORRRRRRINNNNNNG. The one good spot of the match comes at the end: Suxx tries his gay move (by that I meant self-indulgent and a waste of time, much like this rant), but Flair gives him the ol' "knacker-whacker" to block it and pins him with feet on the ropes. I'm happier about the match ending than anything... **
The show so far:
5 matches, nothing over **1/2 and I'm going insane watching the least talented guys get the biggest push.
But it does get brighter for two matches...
Curt Hennig v. DDP.
(Weren’t they just teaming up for Hennig’s debut at the PPV before this? So he turned on DDP, turned babyface again and joined the Horsemen, and then turned heel on THEM to join the nWo all within the span of two months?!) Hennig has the lamest music in wrestling now. (That would soon change!) Get thee an orchestra, Curt. There was a time in the AWA when I thought these two guys were the same person, seriously. (Well I was 14 at the time, what did I know?) Kim's lookin' good. Curt's lookin' fat. Best match of the night, easily. Hennig controls the match most of the way through with the usual moves. You know the routine. Those motorcycles are really fucking annoying. Ref bump gives Hennig the opportunity to expose a turnbuckle, knocking out DDP. He hits the Move-Formerly-Known-As-The-Perfectplex but DDP kicks out. Ref bump again, and Flair runs in, KO's DDP, Hennig gets the win. Booking makes no sense, but the match was very watchable so I'll forgive DDP jobbing yet again and the non-sensical Horsemen angle. ***1/2
The Giant v. Randy Savage.
Not really much to say here. Paul Wight remains one of the most watchable guys in wrestling. Giant controls the beginning, Savage turns the tide, but gets caught in the chokeslam. SEE YA! Fun match, but nothing overly notable, which is not always a bad thing. *** (Giant v. Savage in 1997 doesn’t exactly sound like a *** match.)
Up until this point, there was a good lack of screwjob endings and outside interference, Flair be damned.
Then came the tag title match...
The Outsiders v. Rick & Scott Steiner.
Speaking of teams outliving their usefulness, it's time to job the Outsiders out and let Kevin spread his singles wings. (Shit, I’m the one who gave them that idea.) Scott plays Ricky Morton here and takes MASSIVE abuse for like 15 minutes without a tag. Kick, punch, clothesline, nothing notable here. Nash looks way old with blond hair. Now the Outsiders are doing the "suck my dick!" routine patented by Suxx. (I’m referring to the crotch chop there, by the way, back before it had a formal name.) Okay, so Scott has wrestled the entire match, give or take, and gotten the beating of his life by the Outsiders. FINALLY, he makes the hot tag. Rick comes in, does one or two quick moves, then the Steiners hit the bulldog off the top on Hall. 1, 2, Nash pulls out Nick Patrick for the DQ. This is, by far, perhaps the biggest bullshit screwjob ending I've seen in months. (Sounds like every match on RAW we see now.) This not only defies the storyline for the past 6 months, but it defies the storyline of the match itself. Ladies and gentlemen, this is now officially a WCW Dead End Angle (tm). Everything has built to the Steiners winning the tag belts, and they've been screwed out of them in the blowoff match that they needed 6 months to earn. (Yeah, but they’d get their rematch and win the titles…from Hall and Syxx.) This is just complete and utter bullshit and just the kind of crap I'd expect from the nWo masturbatory booking brigade. Fuck you, WCW. (Man, I’m just going all Jesse Baker on them!)
Lex Luger v. Hulk Hogan for the WCW World title.
Luger finally gets to wear the 10 pounds of gold he should have been wearing 9 years ago, and it looks a little out of place on him. Not a good omen. Lex the Bouncing Babyface irks me for some reason. Although back in 1988, I was Luger Mark #1. Hogan is in full cowardly heel mode here. Crappy match. Hogan dishes out 99% of the offense, which consists of about 4 moves. Kick, punch, choke, whatever. Hogan yaks more than the announcers. Luger takes nonstop punishment for 20 minutes, then Hogan misses the legdrop and Luger revives. The entire nWo comes out, including Sting (the real one? who knows.) (Yeah, the real Sting. Moron.) and 5 of them storm the ring. Luger takes care of all of them, but gets whacked in the back by Sting's bat coming off the ropes, legdrop, new champion, fuck you WCW. 1/2*
After the end, the nWo re-annoints the belt with their buddy Rodman. I hope Hogan dies. Seriously. I'm just beyond being sick of this nWo crap. (Two more years of it to come!) I'm tired of these cheap cop-out endings and 5-on-1 attacks with no DQ. (Lots more years of that to come too!) Why does Nick Patrick DQ the Outsiders for pulling him out of the ring but Randy Anderson doesn't DQ Hogan for having the entire Roman Legion storm the ring when he's in trouble? Fuck it, I don't care. I'm sure Nitro will win with a 10.0 over RAW tomorrow, it doesn't matter. (Not for much longer.) I'll keep watching the WWF and hoping Hogan's plane blows up tomorrow so I never have to watch him book himself over everyone else who deserves the title more than him again. What a shitty PPV.
As always, I remain the net.cop. (Until someone threatens a lawsuit and Sean Shannon caves in.)