Written by: Arnold Furious
Vince Russo is a prick. I think this opinion is widely recognised within the wrestling business. Coming into this show he was engaged in a war of words with Hulk Hogan. He blamed Hogan for ruining WCW and painting him into a corner with his unlimited creative control. Russo wanted Hogan to put Jeff Jarrett over for the world title. Hogan refused. He believed Jarrett wasn’t a big enough draw (remember Hogan also refused to put over Sting and Randy Savage not to mention the people he didn’t even want to work with). Russo tried to change everything about the match to accommodate Hogan but it was a no go. Hogan wouldn’t lose. So Russo suggested turning their personal stalemate into an onscreen angle. Jarrett would lie down for Hogan thus giving Hogan the title and Russo would create his own title that Jarrett and another guy would compete for. The problem was, that was only half the story. You see Hogan wanted to come back and keep competing but Russo just wanted him gone and used the shoot-ish situation to his advantage. Hogan was less than impressed and pretty much sued the shit out of WCW for screwing him. I like to think of this show as “assholes collide” though so they both deserve anything nasty that happens to them. Could Russo convince the crowd that the worked shoot was really a shoot? Stay tuned. But first I have to sit through a Russo booked PPV. My mind just recoiled in horror. It can’t be that bad though, right?
I’m skipping the standard history lesson (next week campers, next week) because there’s not much you need to know. Russo’s booking involves getting everyone on TV regardless of how retarded the angle needs to be to do so. Crash TV reduces the match times significantly. After the last show I looked at Starrcade ’99 WCW’s world champion Bret Hart had to retire because of his post concussion syndrome. So no world champion. That’s bad. Also Russo got booted out shortly afterwards and was replaced by Kevin Sullivan. The bad news there was that Chris Benoit wouldn’t work for Sullivan and told the company so. WCW replied with – “if you don’t like it here, leave”. So he did. He took Malenko, Saturn and Guerrero with him and went to the WWF. So all the talent has gone including Russo until WCW got desperate and brought Russo back along with Eric Bischoff. They worked together on the Millionaire’s Club vs New Blood angle whereby everyone over 40 was lumped together as the old guys who were holding people down. They were meant to be the heels but the way WCW had been booked since Hogan’s arrival in 1994 they were perceived as the babyfaces and the kids got booed for turning on them. You just can’t win. I’d lost interest in WCW by this point due to Russo’s increasingly erratic booking and the fact that Benoit was in the WWF and Bret had retired so any other storyline is a mystery to me. Let’s see what we get.
We start out in the parking lot as Ernest “The Cat” Miller arrives. He tells Smooth (his limo driver) that there will be no interference in the cruiserweight match. Cat beats off the Jung Dragons in a tribute to Inspector Cloiseau vs Kato, which isn’t funny because Miller doesn’t have the charisma to carry it off. Hosts for this are Fat Tony, Scott Hudson and, shudder, Mark Madden.
Cruiserweight title – Juvi Guerrera (c) v Chavo Guerrero Jr
The Filthy Animals are in Juvi’s corner (that’s Tygress, Rey Jr, K-Dawg and Disco). Chavo has the MIA in his corner (Major Gunns, Hugh Morrus, Van Hammer, Lash LeRoux). It turns out that Juvi stole the belt and Chavo is actually the champion. Well he’s actually billed as “Lieutenant Loco”. Everyone is ejected from ringside. Juvi goes to the overselling right from the off. I get the feeling he’s doped up to the eyeballs by this point. Stalling. They fight over a suplex and Juvi takes it to the floor. Juvi stalls some more and that gets him caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. For some reason the crowd is still hot but I note that half the arena is blacked out suggesting this wasn’t a sell out. Powerslam gets 2. Chavo goes to the spanking. I didn’t need to see that. Outside again and Chavo hits a big ass plancha. Filthy Animals come back out in masks. Juvi takes advantage with a roll up for 2. Chavo outside and Juvi hits a slingshot legdrop to the floor. Sweet. Animals are sent backstage again. Why did they bother having them come out? Mark Madden is irritating the hell out of me. Slingshot splash gets 2 for the Juice. Running powerbomb gets 2. People’s Elbow gets 2. In comes MIA in masks from the crowd. Major Gunns distracts Juvi thus resulting in him being crotched. Juvi blocks a tornado DDT but Chavo hits a sit out front suplex for 2 instead. SHUT UP MADDEN. Shut up (his constant use of the term “Juicerweight” is really grating on my nerves). JUVI DRIVER but Chavo gets his foot on the ropes. Tornado DDT and Chavo gets his belt back at 12.07. **. Decent cruiserweight match but what was up with the booking? They sell like crazy for atomic drops but then undersell finishing moves? Huh? In the same match? Then we have run in’s that don’t do anything. I mean, what kind of moron was responsible for this shit? I also want to kill Mark Madden after his retarded commentary on that first match. He was so bad that even WCW fired his fat ass. But then they hired him too.
BACKSTAGE Ernest Miller chats to the Jung Dragons. They don’t understand him even though one of them is Jamie freakin’ Noble in a mask (note – masked “oriental” wrestlers in North America are normally just American’s. Well, they’re normally Pat Tanaka but I digress). Jarrett comes in with a fat lady claiming that he’s going to end Hogan’s career tonight.
Hardcore title – Big Vito v ?
This was meant to be a match with Terry Funk but he’s injured or he hates the company. I forget. The mystery opponent is Screamin’ Norman Smiley with Ralphus. Vito challenges both men to a handicap match. Ralphus gets a beating with a kendo stick. Backstage straight away then and they use plunder. BIG WIGGLE! Vito traps Smiley in the elevator. Ralphus “runs” back to the ring where Vito catches up with him. Vito breaks a table setting it up but still manages to splash Ralphus through it and it’s over at 5.55. 1/4*. Slightly amusing but ultimately not worthy of being on a PPV.
BACKSTAGE Goldberg arrives with Scott Hall’s contract in his pocket. He’s having a match with Nash for that contract. Nash is interviewed and gets nostalgic but really looks like he doesn’t care.
Daffney v Miss Hancock
Miss Hancock is one Stacey Kiebler. This is a wedding gown match. They’re fighting over David Flair, for some reason. This is about as good as you’d think. The referee and David Flair both lose their trousers. They all start running around and this is like watching a bad 20’s silent comedy. Crowbar runs in to batter Flair. Tony thinks this is pretty funny. I think this sucks. Gourdbuster on the trouserless Flair. Stacey strips. Doesn’t she lose that way? Er? -** for billing this as a match. Everyone has a cake fight post match. This has NO PLACE ON A WRESTLING PPV. It’s embarrassing that WCW got reduced to this slapsticky shit. It’s like watching a bad soap opera.
BACKSTAGE Ernest Miller gets watched by the Jung Dragons again. What? Hogan isn’t here yet. They lay down the backstory for some sort of shoot. It’s taking the ring crew AGES to clean up all the shit that got left all over the floor after the last match. Think Good Housekeeping match minus any wrestling. Or anything interesting. The mess is so bad that it’s impossible to clean up and worse – it’s providing a dangerous working environment. Meanwhile the crowd is getting RESTLESS because NOTHING is happening.
Tag titles – Chuck Palumbo/Shawn Stasiak (c) v Kronik (Adams/Clarke)
Tony refers to Palumbo as “Palumbi”. Yep, he definitely didn’t care by this point. This is predictably horrible. Adams press slams Stasiak onto Palumbo on the floor. Stalling. Urinage slam from Clarke. Kronik aren’t selling, like that’s a shock. Palumbo takes a full nelson slam for 2. Low bridge on Adams that Adams takes a while to actually sell that as he struggles with ‘falling over a rope’. Yeah, that’s a tricky one dumbass. Palumbo takes advantage of the fallen Adams with a chair shot. Stasiak covers for 2. The now isolated Adams takes a beating in his standard unconvincing fashion. Clarke eventually gets a hot tag. Palumbo avoids a Meltdown and hits a DDT. They screw up something else where we see 3 guys standing in a ring not knowing what the hell they’re doing. Adams hits an F-5 on Stasiak. Palumbo gets thrown outside and High Times (double chokeslam) connects but Palumbo rushes back in to break the count. High Times on Palumbo. Top rope clothesline/powerbomb combo from Kronik saves this match from negative stars and gets them the win and the tag titles at 13.35. Good lord that match was long. DUD. If it weren’t for the finish this piece of crap would have been in the minus stars easily.
BACKSTAGE Ernest Miller talks on the phone. Jeff Jarrett is pissed off meanwhile about the lack of Hogan. He’s going to “start screwing with the show”. The Jung Dragons attack Ernest Miller again. WCW – booked by retards.
Booker T v “Positively” Kanyon
Kanyon is in the midst of his “DDP” gimmick. He even comes out to DDP’s music. Crowd is hot for Booker and chant his name. Booker sidekicks Kanyon’s fake hair off. Dropkick scores for Book and a clothesline. Booker checks Kanyon’s book, which has a brick in it. Top rope clothesline gets 2. Kanyon takes over and we go outside where Kanyon uses the ringsteps. Booker takes a shot in the shoulder and then a dropkick in the lower back. Kanyon’s attacks and subsequent taunts remind me of bad guys in fight movies. Mid rope superplex from Kanyon gets 2. That was cool. Kanyon sets a chair up in the corner. Is this no DQ? Booker stops him using it with a powerslam for 2 though. Sit out Alabamaslam from Kanyon gets 2. He’s the innovator of offence. Reverse Boston crab is applied. Booker gets out and hits a flying forearm. Kanyon gets whipped into the set up chair and a spinebuster gets 2. Ref takes the chair off Booker and Kanyon waffles Booker with the book. Booker kicks out of course because there’s no brick in there anymore. SPINNEROONIE. Harlem sidekick. This is great psychology. Scissors kick. Book End gets 2. Jarrett runs out and guitar shots Booker. KANYON KUTTER. It’s over at 10.03. ***1/4. Good match with some fine innovation from Kanyon, great cheating psychology and the usual goodness from Booker.
BACKSTAGE Mike Awesome tries to chat up the fat opera chick that Jarrett brought in tonight. Pamela Paulshock comes in to be a blonde interviewer. Awesome declares his intentions to be US champ tonight and tells Pamela she’s not as hot as the fat opera chick. Mike Awesome – Fat Chick Thrilla! He’s also That 70’s Guy, the Canadian Career Killer and some other stuff that I don’t even remember.
US title – Scott Steiner (c) w/Midajah v Mike Awesome
This match would have been amazing if they’d had the chance to do it before Steiner fell apart psychically. Steiner jumps ahead of the bell but gets backdropped into the fans. Awesome dives over the rail and they brawl out into the masses. On the way back Awesome gets brained with a chair shot. Back in the ring a bicep kiss elbow gets 2. Belly to belly superplex gets 2. Backbreaker but a vertical suplex is blocked. Steiner gets dumped on the ropes and he falls to the floor. Awesome follows out with an elbow drop. Steiner takes a weak shot with the ring bell. Chair shot to boot and there are still no sign of any DQ’s out here. Back inside and Awesome hits a slingshot splash for 2. Flying clothesline and out comes Ernest Miller to watch this. Steiner blocks a suplex and hits one of his own. Belly to belly and Awesome nearly lands on his head. Miller gets on the mic and tells Steiner he can’t use the Steiner Recliner because the move is banned. Awesome recovers and hits an Alabamaslam for 2. Frog splash gets 2. Awesomebomb is blocked. Ref is bumped. Miller comes in and superkicks Awesome by mistake. Steiner hits him with a belly to belly. Steiner covers Awesome for 2. White Thunder belly to belly and Miller tells Steiner he’ll be stripped of the title if he uses the Steiner Recliner. Steiner hooks it anyway and is promptly disqualified at 9.35. **1/2. Good in terms of workrate, surprisingly so really, but bad in terms of booking. The silly DQ and the whole presence of Miller ruined the match. Steiner goes outside to punk out Miller. Steiner goes back in to hardway suplex Awesome onto his head. So the short of it is – he’s no longer the champion but he didn’t have to job and he still beat 2 guys.
Vampiro v The Demon
This is a graveyard match and the most ass backwards stupid thing WCW put out under Russo and that’s saying something. This is Undertaker stuff from the early 90’s level except this is 2000 and no one buys it anymore. Someone gets chokeslammed. I can’t tell who because it’s too dark. Vampiro falls into a grave and drags Demon into it. This is another cheap B movie approach. Vampiro emerges from a lake and tries to drown the Demon. This is….different. Wrestling was such a foreign concept to Russo. Vampiro uses another B movie cliché by jumping out of a coffin. Demon takes a shot with a concrete block. Well, “concrete” block. He gets dumped in the coffin, buried and set on fire. Er? Match over? DUD. Not what I’d term a wrestling match. It was certainly different but that doesn’t make it good. Putting this and the earlier wedding gown match on the same show isn’t smart. Unless you’re Russo.
BACKSTAGE Shane Douglas cuts a promo. Shane rips off some HHH promo’s because the Tripper ripped him off for his heel look in ’99. Shane Douglas – always feuding with better wrestlers in different companies to the one he’s in. Dumbass.
Shane Douglas v Buff Bagwell
Buff starts out fast and hits a dropkick. They go outside where Douglas goes low and exposes the concrete floor. A piledriver on the exposed floor is avoided. Back inside and Buff hits a swinging neckbreaker. Buff gets crotched however. Douglas goes to work on Buff’s neck with the rolling neck snap. Bagwell has a history of neck problems including breaking his neck live on Thunder. Out comes Torrie Wilson to slap Douglas and Buff gets a roll up for 2. 2nd rope splash gets 2. Torrie comes into the ring and kisses Buff but then low blows him. Huh? Pittsburgh Plunge gets 2. Wham, Bam, Thank Ya Mam gets 2 for Buff. He goes for the Blockbuster but Douglas gets up in time and hits the Bareback for 3 at 7.52. What the hell? Were they watching a Danny Doring match before going out there or something? 1/2*. Nothing much doing I’m afraid. Torrie plays the Francine part post match. I expect Chris Candido to come out and celebrate with them. I think I may have watched too much ECW.
BACKSTAGE Hulk Hogan is here. Also backstage Jeff Jarrett does an interview calling Scheme Gene “Jurassic slapnuts”. He says Hogan’s made a lot of enemies so allies won’t be hard to find. CHOKE ON THAT SLAPPY! He says tonight will be like the Usual Suspects. Russo’s film obsession continues.
WCW title – Jeff Jarrett (c) v Hulk Hogan
Vince Russo comes out during the introductions. I did try and ask Jeff Jarrett what the hell happened here but he refused the interview. I suspect mainly out of loyalty to Vince Russo who I personally despise. The announcers shill the backstage antics between Russo and Hogan. Jarrett just lies down and Russo tells Hogan to cover him. Russo throws the belt in the ring and walks. The announcers talk about “deviating from the script”. It’s a shoot brother. Hogan calls the situation “bullshit” and covers Jarrett with one boot for the win at 1.19. Jarrett doesn’t even look at Hogan as he gets up and leaves the ring. Fat Tony calls it a swerve. That, ladies and gentlemen is the final nail in the WCW coffin for Hulk Hogan. What Russo didn’t tell Hogan is that he’d use this shoot to get Hogan out of WCW because of his strong creative control.
BACKSTAGE Vampiro comes back from the graveyard walking past Hogan who’s given his belt to some kid backstage. Hahaha. Valuable belt, huh? Hogan doesn’t look at Vampiro or acknowledge the camera. Bye Hulkster. I can’t stand you but you probably didn’t deserve that but then again you should have jobbed to Jarrett in the first fecking place.
Vampiro comes out to cut a promo. He’s interrupted by a coffin being brought out by some Druids wearing Sting masks. This is so 1993. Russo must be an idiot to be booking this crap AGAIN. Sting appears and baseball bats Vampiro into the coffin.
BACKSTAGE Goldberg talks. He’s intense and pissed off. He wants to make Kevin Nash suffer before ripping up Hall’s contract in front of his face.
Vince Russo comes out again and the crowd is less than receptive. Hudson calls Russo “the boss”. RUSSO SHOOTS. He talks about political bullshit that WCW has. No shit. Russo says he’s back for the guys who bust their ass for WCW. Like Booker T, MIA, Animals, Jarrett. Russo is really worked up. He calls Hogan a politician who doesn’t give a shit about WCW. Russo says that Hogan wanted to play his creative control card and win against Jeff Jarrett. “You will never see that piece of shit again”. Russo says there will be no rip off here tonight. He says the Hogan memorial belt now means nothing and he’s got a new belt. There will be a new belt and that’s Jeff Jarrett’s belt. Russo tells us that Jarrett will defend his title against Booker T here tonight. “Hogan, you big bald son of a bitch – kiss my ass” – Russo.
There’s the greatest promo of Vince Russo’s career. He tried to repeat it, he tried to emulate it but he never did. Now, the down side. With all these “shoot” angles and interviews that we’re told are “real”. How then are we supposed to suspend our disbelief that everything else is real? This is real but this shit with Vampiro isn’t. Then why should we care? And why should the wrestlers even bother unless they’ve got something nasty and therefore controversial to say that will get them on TV. In the long run “shoots” don’t do anything for your company except kill it. Case in point – WCW. There was no Bash at the Beach in 2001 because by then the company was dead. I don’t like Russo and I certainly don’t like Hogan so I’ll leave this up to your judgement. Here are the facts –
1. Jarrett and Hogan were scheduled to face each other. Jarrett was booked to win that match by Vince Russo.
2. Hogan activated the creative control clause in his contract and refused to lose the match.
3. Russo and Hogan agreed to a shoot angle.
4. Russo went through with the shoot angle AND THEN SOME declaring that Hogan would never appear on TV again. Why? Because if he did appear on TV then Hogan could use his creative control clause again and keep getting out of doing jobs.
5. Hogan believed it was merely an angle and that he’d be back.
6. Russo knew that he couldn’t have Hogan back after what had happened.
7. When Hogan realised he’d been screwed over by the shoot angle he sued WCW. That lawsuit, I believe, was for defamation of character and was settled after the WCW sale.
Now the important part. If you were Vince Russo would you have done the same thing? Would you have done it the same way? Certainly Hogan hadn’t been viable as a main eventer in WCW for a long time beforehand and simply couldn’t draw anymore. But then the real mistakes are back when Hogan was signed in the first place and handed total control over his character. To boot WCW never seemed to care about how many main events Hogan stank up even after the money stopped coming in. In short Russo did what I feel he had to do and that was get rid of Hulk Hogan. The main problem was Hogan wanted to continue wrestling in the main events. If he’d seen that he couldn’t do that anymore and been willing to drop down the card then Russo wouldn’t have had to just got rid of him. That’s my take on it.
Ok, moving on. The announcers try to piece together what the hell is going on. WCW – thrill ride. We get some clips of Goldberg’s “heel turn”. Ill advised doesn’t even sum this up. The whole angle was set up to put Kevin Nash over as WCW’s top babyface. So here tonight Goldberg is the heel. Nash walks by Steiner backstage and asks him to watch his back tonight.
Scott Hall contract match – Kevin Nash v Goldberg
Does Goldberg’s music remind anyone else of the theme music to 24? Nash does this whole match on autopilot. Is there any lazier wrestler in the business? Goldberg hits a suplex and jaws with the fans but Nash comes back with a chokeslam for 2. Out comes Scotty Steiner to watch Nash’s back. Steiner uses Hall’s contract as motivation for Nash. Hang on here, isn’t Steiner a heel? Nash is a babyface with a heel in his corner against a heel who isn’t perceived as such and doesn’t want to be one. Russo booking at its finest ladies and gents. Nash hits a sidewalk slam. Goldberg tries for a spear but that’s dodged. Steiner runs in to beat Nash down. What? Steiner, a heel, turns…heel? SWERVE. Spear. Jackhammer. Goodbye Scott Hall at 5.26. DUD. Nash gets hooked in the Steiner Recliner and this isn’t popular at all.
BACKSTAGE Booker T gets some interview time because he’s just been thrown into the main event. He’s going to take his opportunity. Gene can dig that. Nash meanwhile is still out there milking the reactions. Just feck off Nash you lazy piece of garbage.
WCW title – Jeff Jarrett (c) v Booker T
One thing Russo did do was promote new guys into the main events. First Bret Hart and Chris Benoit now these guys. They work a mat sequence – in your face Hogan. Mark Madden calls Hogan “scum”. Ever get the feeling most of WCW was happy they made an example of Hogan? Near misses into a Booker dropkick. Harlem sidekick and Jarrett gets sent outside. Into the fans. Crowd fighting – how original. That kills a few minutes. Booker takes a chair shot as they steal directly from Awesome-Steiner. Booker takes a piledriver on the announce table. Ouch. Back in the ring now and Jarrett works a sleeper. Booker fights out and puts his own one on. Jarrett gets out with a shinbreaker. Figure 4 is countered into a roll up for 2. A 2nd Figure 4 is strapped on. Booker turns it over but Jarrett gets the ropes. Jarrett carries on working the knee though. He misses the Bret sit down from the ropes and Booker hits a scissors kick. Spinneroonie and the spinebuster gets 2. Crowd is going nuts btw. Sidekick from Booker only connects with ropes. Ref is bumped and Jarrett goes for a belt shot. That misses and Booker connects with his own belt shot for 2. Jarrett goes low and brings in a chair. That’s set up in the corner, like Kanyon did earlier and it backfires, like earlier. Booker gets 2 off the chair. Jarrett gives the ref the Stroke because he’s pissed off. He goes for the rope guitar shot but lands in the BOOK END. A new referee runs in and it’s over at 13.40. ***1/2. Just about good enough to justify them doing it and send Hogan packing. Crowd goes BATSHIT. It doesn’t score higher because they used a lot of rest holds and lots of plunder. Booker winning was the WCW equivalent of Mick Foley winning the WWF title. So good decision but with Russo booking you knew they’d blow it.
Overall PPV rating – D
Take Booker T off this show and we’d have an ‘F’ or lower. It is worth watching, at least once, for the Vince Russo promo. It’s his only contribution to wrestling of any significance so it’s nice to see. Major problem for WCW is it came years later than it needed to in order to save the company. Many have simply blamed Russo for not being able to use the talent he started with. That’s also true. In the ring only Booker T matches are worth watching. The other 8 matches all suck.