Written by: Scott Keith
– Live from Sturgis, SD
– Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Mike.
– Opening match: Vampiro & The Insane Clown Posse v. Kidman, Rey Mysterio & Eddy Guerrero. This was the payoff match for the endless undercard feud between the ICP & the luchadores that was supposed to lead to Shaggy 2 Dope winning the Cruiserweight title at one point. Kidman hammers on Vampiro to start and gets a Rydien Bomb, and Eddy springboards in with a senton, and Rey springboards in with a legdrop. Vamp gets tossed, and back in Eddy hits him with a leg lariat and monkey-flip, but Vamp comes back with a spinkick and chops away. Eddy ends up on the floor and gets beaten down by the ICP, and he’s YOUR Vanilla Midget In Peril. Violent J gets a clothesline and pounds away, and Shaggy suplexes him. Why do the announcers always cite people talking “at the airport” about the main event as though that’s the universal signal of fan acceptance? Is there some giant water cooler at every airport in the country where wrestling fans gather just to talk about the latest Kevin Nash main event? Eddy gets his springboard armdrag, but the ICP cuts off the tag and keep him in the corner. Vamp chokeslams him for two. Small note: Outdoor shows make for terrible ring-lighting, which is why only WCW was dumb enough to do them on PPV. ICP gets a double-suplex, but when Shaggy goes up, Eddy makes the comeback and crotches him to set up a superplex. Hot tag Rey, and he hits J with a quebrada for two. Raven pulls him out of the ring on the 619 (or least the move would become the 619), and Vampiro gets a Michinoku Driver on the floor to turn the tide again, and Rey gets to play punching bag for a while. Back in, Violent J gets a sideslam for two. He stomps away and drops an elbow for two. Kneecrusher and Vampiro comes in for a release powerbomb and goes after the knee. Shaggy powerslams him for two. Shaggy gets a lariat, but doesn’t go for the pin and opts to charge into the corner instead. That’s some pretty counterproductive strategy. Hot tag Kidman and it’s BONZO GONZO as the heels bail, leaving Shaggy alone with the faces. Vamp hits his own man, and Kidman finishes Shaggy with the SSP at 12:20. This was solid but wasn’t anything more than the absolute minimum formula needed. ***
– WCW World tag title: Bam Bam Bigelow & Kanyon v. Harlem Heat. This was during the Jersey Triad angle that went on for months and saw Benoit do the job like 300 times to DDP. Here’s WCW logic: Book a couple of big black guys as babyfaces at a BIKER RALLY in South Dakota. Talk about fundamentally misunderstanding your audience. Big brawl to start and Kanyon gets dumped by Stevie, and Bigelow is double-teamed out of the ring as a result. Back in, Kanyon hammers on Stevie in the corner, but gets press-slammed and bails. Back in, Booker works the arm but gets elbowdropped and choked. Kanyon overpowers him, but Booker sidekicks him for two. Next up, the Bigelow-Stevie Ray showdown that could have sold out this PPV ALONE! Stalling begins that war, just like all the great ones. Heck, everyone remembers learning in school about Hitler pointing to a kid in the front row of a rally and yelling “Shut up, fat boy!” before launching his blitzkriegs. Stevie gets caught in the corner and Kanyon innovates offense by dropping like 10 elbows in a row and doing more choking. The Triad gets a series of corner clotheslines, and Bigelow hits the chinlock. That gets two. Kanyon uses the ropes for two. Stevie fights back, but misses an elbow. Stevie slingshots Kanyon into Bigelow to come back, hot tag Booker. Forearm for Kanyon! Spinkick for Kanyon gets two! Bigelow stops the axe kick by pulling down the top rope while Tenay analyzes the difference between doing the move in a singles match and a tag match. It astounds me that Tenay can make something so fundamentally stupid sound like someone actually put thought into it. Back in, Kanyon rides Booker down with a legdrop for two. Booker tags Stevie again, however, and he hammers away on the heels. DDP runs in to direct traffic, but heel miscommunication results in a missile dropkick that ends it at 13:08 to give the Heat their 8th tag title. Their epic reign would last for a week, at which point they lost it to the awesome duo of the Windham brothers, possibly in order to finance Barry’s buffet-crawls. *1/2
– Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko & Shane Douglas v. Curt Hennig , Barry Windham and Bobby Duncam Jr.. Speaking of the West Texas Rednecks, booking a bunch of racist cowboys as heels at a biker rally…more brilliance. You couldn’t come up with more efficient ways to lose millions of dollars than this company did. Saturn, Douglas, Malenko and Benoit were “The Revolution”, and the idea was that they were the young guns looking for their shot at the top to overthrow the old main eventers. They were of course immediately buried in their first appearance and were the first ones to leave the promotion in 2000 when given the chance. I love shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments. Malenko and Barry start, and Dean hammers away and gets a corner clothesline. Saturn works a headlock on Windham as Heenan calls Bobby Duncam Jr an established star and maintains a straight face somehow. He would be dead from drug-related causes soon after. Bobby hits Shane with a big boot, but gets powerslammed. Saturn fires away with kicks in the corner, but gets stomped down by Duncam. Windham comes back in, but gets suplexed (barely – it was like suplexing Shamu the Whale for poor Saturn at this point) until a cheapshot turns the tide. Hennig necksnaps Saturn and Duncam works him over for two. Saturn gets a quick german suplex and brings Dean in for a dropkick (called a suplex by Tony), and the Revolution does some double-teaming in the corner. Shane’s fisherman’s buster is cut off by the heels, and he gets pounded outside. He crotches Hennig on the post, however, but gets slammed trying to come into the ring via the top rope. Barry suplexes him for two. Clothesline gets two. Duncam gets a shoulderbreaker for two. Suplex gets two. Bobby hits the chinlock, and Windham DDTs him for two. Collision puts both guys down, but Bobby Duncam comes back in for a charge that misses. Hot tag Saturn, not that anyone cares, but Windham clubs him down. Malenko gets the Cloverleaf on Hennig, but Kendall nails him with the cowbell. Saturn hits Duncam with the Death Valley Driver for the pin at 10:55. Well there’s 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. **
– The Cat v. Buff Bagwell . In a strange way, I almost miss Ernest Miller , especially once he found his niche as a babyface while WCW was disintegrating. We get the world’s longest stallfest to start, and Miller gets a hiptoss and celebrates. Well, he’s already one up on Bagwell in terms of skill. The crowd chants “Pussycat”, which is one of the wittier dirty chants I’ve heard. Bagwell comes back with his dizzying array of bodyslam variations and dance moves, and Cat bails. Stalling out the yin-yang follows, and Miller chokes away in the corner. Bagwell comes back with two dropkicks, and Miller goes low to stop that rally. Superkick, more stalling. Sense a pattern? Sonny Onoo chokes out Bagwell, and Buff can’t even be bothered to sell. Miller does his own choking and kicks him down again. More stalling follows, and more choking. We hit the chinlock, but Buff gets a suplex. Onoo tries using the briefcase to turn the tide, but Miller runs into it and Buff gets the pin at 7:22. Oh yeah, this sucked. DUD
– US title match: Chris Benoit v. DDP. This is no-DQ, and Benoit hammers away to start and baseball slides a retreating Page. Page sends him into the railing a couple of times and they head back in. Page gets a belly-to-belly for two. Page goes to a rear chinlock and faceplants him out of a fireman’s carry for two. Gutbuster and choking follows. Benoit cradles for two, but Page reverses to his own cradle for two, and a lariat puts Benoit down again. Spinebuster gets two. They fight over a pinfall, which Benoit turns into a sunset flip for two. Page lays him out again with a lariat for two. Page slowly pounds away and gets a sideslam for two. Benoit reverses a slam into a jawbreaker, but goes up too soon and gets crotched by DDP. Page hangs him in the Tree of Woe and then steals the ref’s belt for some whipping action. When Benoit escapes, Page opts for choking with the belt instead. That gets two. Page gives him a Hangman with the belt, but Benoit flips out of it and whips Page back with the belt. German suplex gets two. Another one gets two. He won’t let go, and gets a third one for two. To the top, but Kanyon runs out and pushes him into a Rock Bottom that gets two. Benoit whips DDP into Kanyon for two. Page clotheslines him again for two. Bigelow now runs in and hits Benoit with a flying splash for two. Page whips Bigelow at Benoit, but it misses and Bigelow ends up headbutting Page low. Flying headbutt finishes Page at 12:14. The idea was to show that Benoit could beat the Triad by himself and stand on his own as champion, but Sid squashed him a month later to win the title. ***
– Sid v. Sting. Speaking of Sid, WCW was once again gamely trying to make him into a monster heel by having him go over everyone in the promotion on his “Millennium Man” tour. The end result of this was months of WCW World champion Sid Vicious in 2000 before Russo & Bischoff sent him packing in April. Sting overpowers Sid and sends him out of the ring with a Stinger splash, and they brawl out. That goes nowhere, so we head back in, where Sting misses another splash attempt and Sid kicks him down. Tenay notes the Sid not only can beat you with the chokeslam, but with the powerbomb as well. Wow, what a repertoire. Because it’s not like those aren’t basically the same move anyway. Sid continues to demonstrate his vast knowledge of technical wrestling by choking on the ropes. Backbreaker gets two. We hit the chinlock, as Sting was probably looking to be saved by Jesus from wrestling this shitty match for much longer. For some it’s alcohol, for others it’s Sid Vicious. Clothesline and Sid stalls. We hit the chinlock. Sid goes up and gets slammed off, but Sting’s splash hits knee and Sid gets two. Sting makes the comeback with a superplex and a pair of Stinger splashes, but a third one misses and the chokeslam finishes at 10:39. Usual yawner from Sid. *1/2
– Rick Steiner v. Goldberg. Speaking of dumb mistakes, this was during the period when, in order to promote the doomed “Mayhem” album, they replaced Goldberg’s trademark theme music with Megadeth’s flop “Crush ‘Em”. Slugfest to start, and Goldberg gets a clothesline and they collide. You know, given a bit of forethought, they could have played up on the real-life tough-guy reps of both guys and built this NJPW-like into a “shoot fight”, rather than a midcard squash for Goldberg. Goldberg’s Bret-Killer Kick sends Steiner bailing (sadly not with a career-ending concussion), but Rick goes low to come back. Steiner uses the knee brace as a weapon and chokes him out with it. An elbowdrop keeps up the frantic pace, but Goldberg comes back with the snap powerslam, spear and Jackhammer at 5:39. Waste of PPV time. Ѕ*
– Randy Savage v. Dennis Rodman . This is a hardcore match in order to disguise the obvious limitations of both guys. After some trash-talking, they fight out right away and Savage meets the steel pole. Back in, Rodman gets an elbow and a short-arm clothesline while Tenay & Tony shove each other aside in order to declare Rodman the next superstar of wrestling. Legsweep gets two, which Tony marvels at. WOW! A RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP! And he’s not even Russian! The ref gets in Rodman’s face and gets wiped out as a result. Another ref joins us as Savage goes to the eyes to come back and chokes away. Savage drops him on the top rope in a bad spot, and beats up Ross Forman in order to work a camera into the match. That gets two. Another ref bites the dust as a result of issues with the count, as does a third ref. They head outside while the innocent victims of Savage stand around holding their heads in an awesome show of selling prowess. The way Ross Forman was holding his head like that really made the match for me. They head up the rampway, where Rodman gets a hiptoss that sends Savage down the ramp and into the garbage. Savage tosses some poor guy out of a Porta-Potty, and Rodman takes his place. Talk about your cruel and unusual. Back to ringside, Savage hits that steel pole again and they head back into the ring. Rodman goes up and wipes out the referee in a horrible spot, as Gorgeous George joins us and gives Savage a chain. She goes low on Rodman, and Savage gets the pin at 11:30. Amazingly, people at the time praised this match due to the toilet spot and because Rodman did a couple of clotheslines. Time has not been kind to it, trust me. Ѕ*
– WCW World title, career v. career: Hulk Hogan v. Kevin Nash. To this day I don’t get the booking for this feud – Nash loses the title as a babyface to Savage, Hogan wins it the next night as heel, turns face, and then faces Nash for the title. Why not just keep the belt on Nash, turn him heel, and have him lose the title to Hogan so that Hulk’s big return to the yellow and red underwear means something? Nash wins Hogan’s trademark LOCKUP OF DOOM spot to start, but Hogan comes back and triumphs. ****1/2! Oh, sorry, just thought I was one of the people over-rating Hogan-Rock there for a second. Nash works a grueling headlock, somehow surviving the shine from Hogan’s bald head, but Hogan suplexes out of it and Nash bails. I hear that Nash is going to join the Tony Hawk extreme sports scene with his own videogame: Kevin Nash’s Pro Drinker. Okay, I stole that one from an e-mail forward, but it’s still funny. They do the test of strength as Bobby calls them the biggest draws in this sport in front of an unpaid crowd of like 5000 people and a buyrate of 0.5. Wow, zero dollars, that’s quite a draw. Nash does his usual stuff and Hogan fights back with punches. Nash gets his own punches and Hogan is down again. Sideslam gets two. “Nothing in a hurry about Nash” notes Tony. Yup. He gets his running chokes and pounds away in the corner. Big boot and Poochiebomb get two, and you can guess the rest from there. Hogan retains at 12:15 with the usual. ј* Nash’s retirement lasted like 3 months.
The Bottom Line:
This show got mediocre-positive reviews at the time because of the terrible run the company was on under Nash’s booking regime, but years later it just looks like the usual WCW crap, especially given the power changeover just a couple of months later that killed any goodwill they had been building up. There’s a good Benoit match, but that’s like saying that the sun coming up is notable. As much as I enjoy Nash doing the job to put over new talent like that Hogan youngster, the rest is just throwaway crap.
Recommendation to avoid.