Written by: Scott Keith
– Live from Vancouver, BC
– Your hosts are Tony, Mark and Scott.
– Opening match: Three Count v. The Jung Dragons. WCW always does this — they know they have at least one hot match, so they put it first and thus guarantee it gets forgotten by the fourth or fifth match. I’ve never understand that reasoning. Tank Abbott has a shirt with nipple-holes cut out, for those of you who are into that sort of thing. Three Count bolts for the ladders right away and bring one in. Shane gets backdropped into the ladder by Ynag, who then gets crotched on it. Shane hits a lame splash on Jamiesan, and then the Dragons get piled on a ladder and splashed. Nice spot as we get stereo Doomsday Devices. Yang climbs and gets pushed off. Jamiesan hits a bodypress off the ladder, onto Three Count on the floor. Cool. More spots follow, too many to note here. Dragons hit spinkicks on Three Count, but Evan powerslams Kaz on the ladder. Nasty spot as Shane catapults the ladder into the Dragons via the top rope. Dragons hit double splashes on Shane from the ladders, and Jamiesan grabs the gold record…which is then taken by Tank. I guess that counts as Three Count getting the first part? Dragons sandwich Shane in the ladder and Jamie legdrops him from the top. Ouch. Tony vainly tries to explain the logic of the potential finish, but it’s a lost cause. Kaz & Shannon race up the ladders, but Tank pushes both of them over (?), and Evan climbs up and gets the recording contract for the win at 11:32. I don’t quite get the logic of having that finish, but retarded booking and blown spots aside, there was more than enough high energy and suicidal stuff to entertain me here as they die for my pleasure. ***1/2
– The Cat puts the Filthy Animals into the tag title mess as special referees. Because THAT’S what it needs to make it better — more participants.
– The Great Muta v. The Cat. Kick, kick, kick. Tigress wanders out. More kicking. Outside, more kicking. Muta spits mist, but Tigress hits Muta with a chair and Cat gets two. More kicking. Nice to see both guys showing off their moveset. A big kick from the Cat finishes at 6:48. Thrilling. DUD
– Judy Bagwell on a Pole: Positively Kanyon v. Buff Bagwell . Judy’s actually on a forklift. Brawl to start. Back in, Buff does some punching. Kanyon hits a russian legsweep off the second rope for two. He snips off a turnbuckle for some reason. A whiplash powerbomb gets two. Kanyon uses a cobra clutch for some inexplicable reason to waste some time as Buff sells it like a resthold and gives Russo another excuse to work in the sleeper arm-test spot. Buff escapes and comes back with a hotshot for two. Kanyon Kutter gets two…and David Arquette makes his triumphant return. Good god. Buff comes back…and Arquette of course turns on him, because it IS Russo booking this show. Buff takes both guys out with a Blockbuster and gets the pin at 6:46. One or two Kanyon spots saves it from DUD, but not by much. 1/2*
– WCW World tag title match: Kronic v. O’Haire & Jindrak v. Perfect Event v. MIA. Disco Inferno is the in-ring ref and the other Animals are lurking around ringside. He slow counts everyone throughout the match. Epic Palumbo v. Adams match to start. Hey, shouldn’t Brian Adams be a massive babyface here? Hugh Morrus plays bad-pun-in-peril for a while. A long while, in fact, as the crowd completely goes bored out of their mind with yet another sleeper spot and some horribly mistimed stuff from everyone involved. There’s just nothing happening. Finally, Kronik gets in and the match breaks down six ways from Sunday, as they try High Times on Palumbo, but now Vampiro and Muta add ANOTHER team to the match and run in. Kronik still pounds Palumbo, but Disco won’t count. So now Chavo Jr. adds ANOTHER run-in to the match and steals the ref shirt, counting the pin for Kronik himself (and thus screwing over his own team) at 12:23. I think Kronik has actually gotten WORSE since getting this big push. You’d think that WCW would have looked at the horrible clusterfuck that was Thunder and realized that this was gonna blow goats, but I guess that’s why I’m not in charge. DUD
– Strap match: Shane Douglas v. Kidman. This is standard pinfall rules, thus negating the entire point of having a stipulation. Brawling outside to start. Back in, Kidman does some whipping, as does Shane. Kidman gets a rana and a pair of dropkicks. Rydien bomb gets two. More strappin’. Bulldog gets two. Torrie takes a swing at Kidman with her shoe, but hits Shane instead (what a shock) and Kidman gets two. Shane hotshots Kidman for two. Pittsburgh Plunge gets two. Kidman hits his version of the Tomikaze for the pin at 8:22. I hope Tommy Rogers is getting royalties for all the versions of that move floating around. Match was your typical Nitro mess with a couple more minutes added on. *1/2 Douglas tries to hang Kidman after the loss, Vito makes the save, and Reno attacks Vito. Man, we don’t get that Reno-Vito blowoff tonight? Bummer.
– Meanwhile, Jarrett does a good job of punking Booker out as he leaves his car.
– ROTC match: Major Gunns v. Miss Hancock . Catfight starts, then they go into a HORRIBLE wrestling match, and Hancock rips off Gunn’s shirt for two. I don’t know which is stupider — Pinfalls in a stripping match or ripping off someone’s shirt and getting a near fall. Gunns gets an X-Factor and tears off Hancock’s shorts for two. Gunns gets a sunset flip for two. I apologize if my using actual wrestling move names to describe the “action” is misleading you into thinking that what they were doing is resembling wrestling, but it’s the closest equivalent I could think of on short notice. Please, ladies, head to the mud now because this isn’t working. Brawl outside, and Gunns is left in her bikini bottoms. Into the mudpit, where Hancock suffers “stomach pains” and gets pinned by Gunns at 6:43. Um, wasn’t the point to strip your opponent? Whatever. Hancock keeps clutching her stomach, and I get a sinking feeling where this angle is going (ie, Terri Runnels and D-Lo 1999) and I don’t like it one bit. -*** Notice how all the worst matches we’ve seen in decades are coming under Russo’s tenure? Just saying. To insult us even more, as Hancock gets carted off in an ambulance (still covered in mud), Tony has the gall to “break character” and insinuate that this is indeed a shoot. Right, SURE it is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The entire crux of the Russo mentality is that “The entire show you are watching is a work, but what you are watching RIGHT NOW is a shoot” and that is repeated for every match. How can anyone older than 12 actually be expected to believe that Stacy was really pregnant and “had a miscarriage” over a few worked shots to the mid-section?
– The Demon v. Sting. Faster than I can type this sentence, Sting finishes with the usual at 0:53. DUD . Vamp and Muta attack, and Kronik saves, and they want a tag title match TONIGHT. I don’t wanna see either Kronik or Muta wrestle twice in one night at this point, does my vote count?
– Canadian title match: Lance Storm v. Mike Awesome . Storm has the Goldberg security escort. He appoints a special guest referee (crowd: “Bret! Bret! Bret!”)…Jacques Rougeau (crowd: [silence]). Real smart there, guys. Awesome gets a quick double underhook driver to start, and a legdrop gets two. Storm superkick and he tosses Awesome to the post, and gets some Canadian Violence in. Awesome dumps him and they brawl. Back in, Awesome slips on the top rope, but goes for an Awesomebomb, which is reversed to a backslide for two. Ligerbomb from Awesome gets the pin, but Rougeau overrules the ref on the grounds of Canadian Rules, which state a five-count is needed. Storm sunset flip is blocked for three. Awesome gets a Dragon Sleeper for the tap-out, but this is Canadian Rules, so submissions don’t count. Sure, let’s just job the champ two or three times in his home country, why don’t we? Can you imagine Russo having that conversation with Bret in 1997? “Okay, so Shawn’s gonna get a clean pinfall and submission over you in the first five minutes, but it’s Canadian Rules…” and I bet it’d go downhill from there. Storm gets a few four-counts but takes a German suplex and flying shoulderblock for four. Awesome frog splash gets five, but now Canadian Rules state that Texas Death rules are in effect and Storm has to beat a ten-count. I know that Russo is going for the Over the Edge 98 thing here with Dude Love against Steve Austin, but that was a real good match even without the silliness, and this isn’t. Besides, Storm is supposed to a BABYFACE here. Awesome brings a table in, but Storm chairshots him for four. They fight on top, both go through it. Rougeau declares first man up is the winner, then punks out Awesome just to make Storm look completely weak. Storm retains at 11:01, and I bet Meltzer’s gonna get a call from that Awesome mark tomorrow on the show. The match was somewhat less than all that and a bag of chips. Maybe just a bag of chips. **1/4 Bret Hart makes a surprise appearance (Hello dipshits — why not use HIM as the ref?) and we do the All-Canadian Hug.
– WCW World tag title match: Kronic v. Vampiro & Muta. The inexplicable Vampiro push continues. Clarke overpowers Vamp for two. Powerbomb gets two. Adams slams Muta for two. He powerslams Vamp for two. Vamp reverses a powerbomb and Adams plays pothead-in-peril as the match completely dies. Hot tag Clarke, Meltdown follows, but he doesn’t take the pin. Ref bump as Kronik hits High Times on both guys, but the friggin’ HARRIS BROTHERS return as you can hear the crowd audibly groan, and punk out Clarke, putting Muta on top for the pin and the titles at 9;06. This is stupid on SO many levels, not the least of which is that we’re gonna have to see Harrissssessssess v. Kronik on the next PPV, and Muta wrestling more. 1/4*
– Kevin Nash v. Scott Steiner v. Goldberg. Tony tries to sell that Goldberg was in a motorcycle accident and won’t be here, just to show how uncooperative he is. Nash gets a big boot on Steiner…and Goldberg runs in with taped ribs. Steiners drops an eblow on him for two. Are they shooting yet? I can’t tell. Steiner gets dumped and Nash & Goldberg go. Slugfest goes Goldberg’s way. Steiner suplex Nash for two. Crowd gets into the “shoot” with a massive “boring” chant. I think I heard a few “Hogan” ones there, too. Goldberg pushes out of a Poochiebomb attempt and “walks out” on the match, meeting Russo in the aisle and “shooting” on him too, using naughty words. God, this is beyond idiotic. And now Tony is getting all upset, talking about how Nash and Steiner will have to “improvise” a new finish or some nonsense. As if Nash ever “improvised” anything not planned out for him move-by-move in his entire career. Steiner backbreaker gets two. Steiner’s chick comes out and hits some lowblows on Nash. It gets two for Steiner. Steiner tries a sleeper, but Nash breaks and finishes with the big boot and Poochiebomb at 10:49. Was that a shoot? *
God help us all, it’s Nash getting ANOTHER title shot at Fall Brawl . I didn’t think it was possible to drop a buyrate much lower, but I guess that theory will be tested in one month.
– WCW World title match: Booker T v. Jeff Jarrett . Quick rollup for Booker gets two, and a leg lariat leads to a powerbomb for two. He dumps Jarrett. Brawl on the floor and in for a posting of Jarrett. Missile dropkick misses ugly, and Jarrett works the knee, smashing a chair into it. Boston Crab, which Booker escapes, and gets a rollup for two. Double KO spot. Spinebuster gets two, axe kick follows, but the ref is bumped on the breakdance spot. Oh, joy, a ref bump. Sidekick is blocked with the guitar to the leg, which is a nice spot. Jarrett hooks the figure-four, but Booker makes the ropes. I was actually thinking that they might switch the title for about 0.5 seconds until Tony started declaring that there was going to be a title change. I really wish wrestling announcers would get into the 21st century and realize that fans have picked up on that trick. Jarrett makes the run at Booker with the title belt, but hits the ref instead. Great, TWO ref bumps. He sets up a table, but irony shows her hand again and Jarrett goes through it in a weak bump. Into the ring, another ref comes in but gets bumped on a Jarrett chairshot. Jarrett hits the Stroke on said chair, but no ref. Still another ref comes in and counts two. Booker gets an ugly neckbreaker for two, and the Book-End finishes at 14:31. I thought the company line was that Booker and Jarrett would have a blow-away match to erase the memory of last month’s one? I actually liked the one at Bash at the Beach better than this one, which felt even more rushed and stuck together with chewing gum.**3/4 Fans pelt the ring with garbage after sitting through that PPV.
The Bottom Line: Rome is burning while Russo is shooting. I think six months of this is pretty conclusive evidence that a) Reality angles don’t draw money and b) The crowd doesn’t care about them. A good match to start and a decent main event (but reminiscent of Summerslam 93, where the WWF literally promised a ****+ Michaels-Hennig match and couldn’t deliver) but the chances of the Dragons/Three Count feud leading anywhere are nil and Booker’s becoming a lame duck champion after a promising start, much like the entire dying promotion. Next month: Kevin Nash brushes his teeth, live on PPV! It’s REAL, baby!