Written by: Arnold Furious
Now onto this tape and the dedication of Heartland Wrestling Association to honour their fallen hero Brian Pillman. He was a native of the HWA territory as he was from Cincinnati and even played for the Bengals. So Cincinnati got together and did a show in his memory. This was the edition in 2000 that became famous above all the other Pillman tributes for one thing. They all brought together a number of top ranking talents from top federations but at this one they brought together Chris Benoit and Steve Regal. They tore the house down and the jobless Regal promptly got hired by the WWF and has been there ever since.
Shark Boy v Jamie Noble w/Tony Marinara
Noble is under his Japanese guise of Jamie-San although it’s patently obvious that he’s not Japanese (at one point you hear him shout “get out of the way” in the most Southern accent ever. Is he from Lubbock, Japan?) Marinara is Tony Mamaluke in his WCW gimmick. Shark Boy is defending the HWA cruiserweight champ here. It takes me a while to get used to the camera, which is almost in the ring making it look and sound like a movie. Noble looks the business on the mat. The mic picks up everything at ringside with Marinara arguing with a fan about George Steinbrenner. Shark Boy runs some comedy and then wipes out the heel duo with a pescado. Noble goes back inside and hits a plancha and you can hear his Southern drawling from under his mask. Back inside and Shark Boy gets a Brisco corner roll up for 2. Missile dropkick from Noble for 2. Noble promptly chinlocks the match to death, which I think shows how far he’s come these days compared to this. Ace Crusher from Shark Boy and a flying rana gets 2. Noble blocks the Diamond Dust into an inverted DDT for 2. Noble misses with a splash off the ropes and gets nailed with the Diamond Dust for the Shark Boy win at 8.57. *1/2. Nothing much doing. Noble looked fairly green back then but solid. Marinara slaps Noble around post match so Noble kicks his ass.
Race Steele v Chip Fairway
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – golf gimmicks are death. And yet Fairway doesn’t even look that goofy. This is for the HWA title and we get D’Lo Brown out here to award the belt to the winner. VERY basic stuff to start but Fairway has a nice armdrag. Steele shows his power with a press slam but both these guys look green as hell. This looks like an exhibition match from 2 Tough Enough graduates. That’s NOT a complement. Steele hits a rana and a dropkick to show a bit of versatility. Fairway bails and won’t come back in so Steele backs up – SUICIDE DIVE! Whoa! I would say that Steele was a big muscular guy but the referee is taller than him, which kind of takes away from the effect. Back inside and the Chipper hits a leg jam for 2. Spinebuster and a twice botched Lionsault gets 2. If you can’t do a move – don’t attempt it! Top rope elbow misses for Fairway. Leaping calf kick from Steele but Fairway comes right back with a jawbreaker. Chip’s caddy looks to make a move with one of them fancy golfing sticks but D’Lo takes it off him and breaks it. Hey! That’s worth more than your salary! Steele finishes off the obviously HANDICAPPED (golf jokes – who love ’em, EVERYONE) Fairway at 10.22 with a move of such devastating speed that the cameras miss it. DUD. I hope that amateur hour is now over. Steele celebrates with some moderately priced sparkling wine and his jobber undercard buddies.
Cody Michaels v “Taxi Driver” Mad Anthony McMurphy
Michaels jumps the popular McMurphy ahead of the bell. Apron senton from Michaels and a plancha. Do one, or do the other – don’t do them both one after another, it lessens the effect. Back inside and Michaels gets his feet up in the corner for a rope cheating 2. Drop toehold into the ropes gets 2. Michaels looks pretty fluid in terms of hitting moves but he looks NOTHING like a wrestler. He just looks like some guy they dragged in off the street. McMurphy with an impressive vertical suplex and an elbow drop for 2. Twisting DDT from Michaels and that looked nasty. As in one inch away from a wheelchair nasty. McMurphy hits an Alley Oop (yeah, the horror!) for 2. Sunset flip gets 3 at 5.13. Hmmm. The Mad Taxi Driver takes it. 1/2*. Very basic match but you can’t fault the attempt at putting a match on.
“White Lightning” Tim Horner w/Missy Hyatt v Dr Tom Pritchard
Dr Tom is the first WWF performer out here although he looks like a tramp as per usual. Missy tries to demonstrate how Dr Tom is a loser by making a L shape on her forehead but she uses the wrong hand making herself look like a total muppet. At least these guys have a solid grip on mat basics although not much beyond that. To show the outright basicness of this Horner gets a 2 count off a freakin’ snap mare. Crossbody also gets 2. Horner bails but gets suplexed back in for 2. Horner outside again but he sunset flips back in. Dr Tom grabs the ropes but Missy flashes him causing him to lose his grip and that’s the end of that at 8.28. 1/4*. SO boring.
Harris Brothers v Kidman/Disco Inferno
The Harris Brothers are nWo 4 Life at this point. Kidman has Torrie Wilson in his corner. They bring out a baseball player to be the referee. As the Reds SUCK I don’t care who he is. Stalling to start before a Harris show of power. Kidman uses his speed before becoming my hero by calling some guy in the crowd “fathead” although Don Harris was a more obvious target for that abuse. Fathead plants Disco with a Bossman slam to illustrate his fatheaded point. Disco plays a little comedy so in comes Kidman with the SERIOUS swinging bulldog. Kidman rapidly gets isolated while the referee gives the bizarre command of “no wedgies”. Disco back in as the Harris Brothers wedgie free offence gets nowhere. He hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Kidman turns on his tag partner for something or other and wails on him. H-Bomb and WCW official Charles Robinson comes in to make the count on Disco at 6.11. Hey, WCW booking can even ruin matches in whole other federations! That Vince Russo is a GENIUS. No, not that. The other thing that nearly rhymes with it – penis. That’s it. 3/4*. Meh. At least it was better than watching bad Indy wrestlers, but not by much. The crappy Reds player knocks Robinson on his ass with the worst faked punch I’ve seen all night, which is saying something. Sports personalities – stick to your own sport, unless you’re Mike Tyson and might actually make the business money.
Hugh Morrus v Vampiro
Vampiro is SERIOUSLY over. Biggest pop of the night by a long way for his entrance. Why? Would be my question. This is one of those rare times when I’m actually routing for Bill DeMott. Vampiro hits a spinning heel kick and his Yakuza kick. Morrus outside and Vampiro follows out with a pescado. Big brawl at ringside and then out into the seats. Morrus gets control out there and climbs up onto a balcony where he dives off onto Vampiro – you can see NOTHING of this because it’s so dark out there. Back to ringside then with Vampiro back in charge but that doesn’t last at Morrus hits a powerslam. No Laughing Matter misses and Vampiro hits the Nail in the Coffin for the win at 7.54. *. Ok. That’s about it. The ringside brawling was fairly solid.
Chris Benoit v Steven Regal
Everything about Regal is the same as now except the name. Crowd is just MENTAL for Benoit who comes out to his WWF music and is the IC champ. There’s a quick feeling out process before Benoit gets onto the arm and Regal can’t shake him. Regal counters his way out and gets on Benoit’s arm. Nice. That ends up in a bridging test of strength and they hit all of that. Regal catches Benoit’s boot and promptly catches an Ensiguri to go with it. Onto the apron and Benoit hits a DDT on there. Ouch! Benoit drags Regal back in for 2. Back suplex gets 2. Regal was bloodied by the DDT btw. Regal does a great drop toehold into the STF. Benoit gets out so Regal levels him with a standing dropkick. Regal with…a Mexican surfboard? He doesn’t take it all the way and ends up with a Mexican stretch. Benoit, almost predictably, elbows him in the face for that and hits a German suplex. Regal goes to the midsection with kicks and already this is way more over than anything else on this card. Benoit sneaks behind again – ROLLING GERMAN SUPLEXES but Regal elbows out. Benoit switches for another German suplex and calls for the FLYING WOLVERINE! Regal cuts him off on the ropes though and hits a butterfly superplex! That gets 2. Regal out counters Benoit on the mat twice in quick succession to make himself look REALLY awesome. Release Blue Thunder gets 2. Regal with the ELBOWS and they battle over a tombstone, which Benoit NAILS. FLYING WOLVERINE!!! MISSES! They switch standing again but Benoit hits the Dragon suplex and slaps on the Crippler Crossface for the tap out at 12.46. ****. Really great sound technical match. It got Regal re-hired by the WWF practically on the spot and it’s very easy to see why. An absolute class above everything else on this show. In a nice touch Benoit goes to check on Regal and helps him up. GREAT sell job from Regal on that.
Why does anyone ever give this guy a LIVE mic? Shane says he’d have been here last year but someone didn’t want him there. SomeONE, Shane? He talks about how great he is for beating Ric Flair. I’m only going to say this once – GET OVER YOURSELF FOR THE LOVE OF JEHOVAH!!!!! Oh and SHUT UP. Oh, look FAST FORWARD, my buttony little friend. His ramblings eventually bring out DDP. Shane gets the Diamond Cutter and DDP counts the 3 himself. BANG, CUTTERS! Shane dedicates his ass whipping to Brian Pillman. How big of him.
ECW title – Justin Credible (c) v Raven
Credible draws INCREDIBLE heat. Raven takes the cane and wails on Credible. Flair bump to the floor from Credible and that was a big one. Raven goes out with a chair shot. Back inside and Raven chokes with the cane. Back outside again and way out into the fans for a seat destroying ECW brawl. Back inside with a chair but Credible lifts the chair drop toehold. With Raven down Credible arranges furniture at ringside but ends up getting thrown onto the table himself. Note – onto as it didn’t even crack. SNOTRAG! That clearly irritates Credible as he superkicks Raven for 2. Credible gets countered on the resultant exchange into a DDT…for 2. Credible goes low for 2. THAT’S INCREDIBLE gets 2. Raven comes back with his own chair drop toehold for 2 but it’s all for naught as another THAT’S INCREDIBLE finishes at 8.32. **. Not bad but rushed somewhat with there being almost no selling in the 2nd; and I’m almost embarrassed to use this term but ‘half’ of the match. The multiple finishers gave the crowd little hope of a belt change, which I’m guessing was the idea, because it was so short. No build up, no tension. But still it was ok, it’s much better than the local yokel stuff at the start.
Eddie Guerrero v D’Lo Brown
Eddie has Dimitri Young in his corner and D’Lo has Danny Graves (I think, from the graphic). Eddie apologises for his lack of Mamacita because she’s keeping his bed warm. Eddie rags on D’Lo for using “his move” without his permission. Eddie dropkicks ahead of the bell because D’Lo refuses to recognise his act of theft. Hopefully now he’ll see the error of his ways. They blow a fairly simple spot, which gives you an idea of what drugs and how many Eddie was on at the time. Eddie recovers for a snap suplex but D’Lo avoids the Frog Splash. Eddie adapts into the rolling shoulder just to be a smartarse. D’Lo manages a back suplex anyway. WOBBLY-HEADED LEGDROP! D’Lo climbs but gets crotched. Superplex from Eddie for a DKO. Dean Malenko runs in to assault Eddie but that doesn’t work too well so in comes Saturn to make sure Eddie takes an ass kicking. D’Lo back in for the save and we have an impromptu tag match.
Eddie Guerrero/D’Lo Brown v Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn
The heels spend a lot of time early in the match out on the floor looking scared of what D’Lo is about to do. Eddie ends up starting with Malenko. Eddie is isolated right away thanks to NEFARIOUS CHEATING. On Eddie? That just feels wrong. Eddie hits a suplex and D’Lo gets in and Saturn batters him with a clothesline. This is pretty disjointed so far. Malenko gets some focus by going after D’lo’s arm. You can always trust Malenko to bring some kind of continuity with him to a fight. Heels work over the arm, a lot. Malenko then almost drags D’Lo into a neckbreaker spot to give the opposition something to work with as well. Saturn miscues with a superkick allowing D’Lo to hit a sit out powerbomb. Eddie levels Saturn with something offscreen and D’Lo finishes him with a frog splash at 7.56. 1/2*. The difference between their WWF work and this is amazing. Just a total mess. Aside from Malenko attempting to tell a story the rest of the match just fell apart.
Overall tape thoughts – D
I can’t in good conscience recommend this even to check out the great Benoit-Regal match that got heavily touted as a potential MOTY. It’s good but it’s not that good. Elsewhere you get the HORROR, the abject HORROR of bad Indy wrestling. You can’t put a price on avoiding the Chip Fairway’s of this world.