Written by: Kevin Kildenberger
Last week EB promised a big surprise. Now WCW is replete with promises, some are kept and most are either anti-climactic or downright broken. I am not sure if Bischoff planted some sort of seed in Vince’s mind six days before the PPV but at this point I would not doubt anything. Now all bets are off as it is official: Bret is no longer a part of the WWF as Vince flushed 14 years of loyalty down the crapper because he has paranoia and power issues. Of course he is involved in the fight of his life and it has been only recently that attendance and buyrates have increased while ratings (not a real measuring stick for money made or success but rather for ad dollars and bragging rights, something Bischoff will not be able to grasp in less than year’s time) have remained fairly stable. Now here is what baffles me and one of the reasons I wrote this, to try and dispel some rumors. Contrary to popular belief the WWF was not on its last legs after the Screwjob. The first part of 97 was a blackhole when it came to money, going live every week and spending a lot of money in the hopes of making some. But by October revenue was increasing due to the above reasons. That is why he was willing to keep Bret. WWF did lose money in 1997, six million but had the summer turn around not occurred then the losses would have been far worse. But by this time the WWF was turning it around and was well on to making copious amounts of money. The corner was not fully turned but the chance to put the WWF out of business most likely had past. Now, that is not to say had Bischoff and the rest played their cards correctly the turn around could have been stymied for a while and WCW had remained on top for longer but I do not think there was any way to put them out of business because with Bret gone, while not good probably lightened up the tense atmosphere and also a lot of the Attitude Era elements were in place and by this time unless the WWF completely laid a turd they were not going out of business anytime soon. Anyway we will see how WCW responds to what happened last night, one thing for sure, the ratings skyrocketed with an amazing 4.8 first hour and 4.0 second for 4.4 total while RAW saw a great 3.0 and 3.8 for a 3.4 total.
The nWo comes out with a Canadian Flag waving and Hulk has the Maple Leaf on Hulk’s boots. Tony and Larry play dumb as to why and that this must be a part of their big surprise promised last week. EB tells the crowd he loves them. EB has not one but two surprises, the first is the long awaited re-debut of the real giant of wrestling and here comes Nash. He comes out in a wheelchair pushed by Syxx and draped in a Canadian flag but then leaps out of the chair and gets in the ring to celebrate with the rest of the crew. Nash does a terrible imitation of Lou Gehrig and his speech. Nash has been at home listening to the Giant run his mouth and he would like to give him the beating of his life but he does not work for free. The fans chant they want Sting. Giant has to wrestle on his terms and that is getting into WWIII and Nash is heading home to Detroit. The other big surprise tonight and then kisses ass to Hogan and also he gets to spend a billionaires money. The announcement that he has been working on for some time and the newest member of the nWo and seeing as Bret Hart is a knockout kind of guy (meaning his punching out of Vince). He has Liz lead them in a rendition of the Canadian National Anthem. Holy shit they are struggling, Hennig tries but fails and EB states that is for Bret the newest member of the nWo. The announce crew are baffled….
They buy into Bret joining the nWo and Tenay babbles about how Bret stands for tradition. Larry pours water on their theory of Bret being a part of the nWo thinking it is a trick.
Flair and Luger will face of tonight after last week’s shenanigans.
Gene reiterates again that the nWo may have signed Bret Hart. And he has backstage sources that a rival promoter was essentially pummeled.
Match 1: Steven Regal and Dave Taylor v. Harlem Heat
Regal and Booker start off and Regal goes after the arm but is back dropped off the whip and then kicked. Dave runs in and gets nailed too. Regal decks Booker and Taylor gets the tag but is driven into the corner and Stevie Ray gets the tag and after a brief flurry Ray runs him over and tags Booker back in. They struggle and Regal gets the tag and they both drop Booker and Booker dives into both and here comes Ray and he takes both men down. They are both bodyslammed and Ray side slams Regal. Booker is up top and he misses as he took forever. Booker is kicked to the floor. Booker goes up for the slam but Taylor clips the legs and then double underhook slams him and then pins Ray.
Poor Heat….the announcers act stunned.
Match 2: Disco Inferno v. Chris Jericho
Disco and Jericho push each other and now they go at it. Jericho takes him down and pounds him. Disco whips him sternum first into the corner and then clotheslines him. Jericho goes for a sunset flip and is hit instead. Raven and his Flock have arrived on the scene. Disco misses from the middle rope and is kicked in the head, double underhook backbreaker and it is over after the Lion Tamer.
Why is Disco facing off against Saturn again at the PPV?
Disco is leaving the area and Kidman throws a drink at him and is tossed over the railing and given a Stunner. Sick Boy comes over and nearly sliips and hits Disco, Saturn joins in but Riggs hits both only to stare at Raven as the latter walks off.
Match 3: Glacier v. Barbarian
Glacier is knocked down but nips up. Barbarian misses in the corner and Glacier rips him into him with kicks and punches. Barbarian gets his legs swept and kicked in the head some more. Barbarian fires back and clubs him in the back of the head. Here comes Jimmy Hart and the fans love it as he screams at Barbarian to get Glacier. Glacier is run into the steel steps and he gets on the apron and is flung into the ring and after a delayed attempt he gets two. Glacier eats an inverted atomic drop and is chopped in the corner, Glacier blocks a hip toss as does Barbarian but he gets tossed in a belly to belly. Hart gets up on the apron and is knocked off with a Cryonic Kick but then Glacier turns right into a big blow. Barbarian goes up top and leaps into a kick to the face and is pinned.
Glacier is clearly going nowhere….Hart in his hometown gets destroyed.
Glacier turns around and Meng puts him in the Tongan Deathgrip and Jimmy pushes him back….finally.
Raven and Saturn are in the ring, Raven apologizes for what he did to Riggs’ eyes. He wants to reiterate his message and talks about being bullied and that was then and this is now. All the freaks and disenfranchised have come forth to stand beside him to help him get vengeance for those that did it and he blames the crowd for making him. A fruity looking dude wearing make up and a nipple ring staggers around the ring and it is Van Hammer.
Recap of Mongo and Goldberg.
Match 4: Yuji Nagata v. Alex Wright
The fans tell Alex he is a faggot as they lock up and go back and forth. Wright is sent to the floor and lures Nagata out where he clotheslines him and then beats on him with some chops, he drives him into the side of the ring and rolls him back in. Wright goes up and takes forever so he is crotched and superplexed. Nagata runs into a boot as he took too long, Wright slams him and goes back up top and stomps on the gut. Wright dances around, and is called a faggot again. Nagata ducks and tosses Alex over and whips him into the corner but misses and is back suplexed. Sonny goes over to Debra and pays her and then kisses her and she slaps him and Alex stares at them and is hit and finished with the Lock.
Nagata getting a minor push to nowhere….
Not sure why Debra is with Alex Wright….
Here comes EB and Hogan and EB wants the music cut as someone broke into their locker room. They unfurl a poster and it is a poster of a girl: it is a movie, The Real Reason and it has Sting in the movie. They are upset that Sting is trying to break into Hollywood’s territory. Hogan screams that he keeps trying to follow into his footsteps then he wants to face him right now as he has had it. He and Bischoff call out Sting who of course does not come out. And they leave the ring.
Tenay relays some information about the movie and how it is playing in Art Houses. Tenay claims Sting is playing mindgames with Hogan.
Um….this is wrong on so many levels. If Sting has been dressing as the Crow for over a year and no one can find him but he filmed a movie: a comedy no less, sans make up. I know kayfabe is dead but Jesus at least attempt it and not make a mockery of the angle. Hey, Undertaker Kane is in a movie and his mask is off!! Stupid.
Match 5: Saturn (c) v. Chris Benoit for WCW TV Title
Saturn greets him on the outside and beats him down. He continues to hammer him in the ring but Benoit comes back and unleashes a surge of chops that sends Saturn to the mat. Benoit back suplexes him and he kicks Saturn over and over. Saturn rolls him up and uses the ropes to get the win. Benoit keeps going and sends out the Flock and then puts Saturn in the Crossface. The Van Hammer thing gets on the apron. Fit Finlay comes in from behind and blindsides him giving him a Tombstone. After he leaves the rest of the Flock unload on him.
Match should have been longer.
Gene welcomes Flair. Flair is going to dismantle Hennig, Luger is just in the way. Lex is number one here as Flair is one, Elvis is two and Lex is three. Flair talks about snapping the neck of Hennig and is basically going to take him apart. He calls out the rest of the nWo and he does not care how he does it.
Match 6: Eddie Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) for WCW Cruiserweight Title
Eddie stomps him as Rey enters the ring and he slams him getting a two count. Eddie whips him into the corner but misses a dropkick. Rey catapults him but Eddie lands on his feet. Rey climbs up top and scissors him over and this time the monkeyflip works. Eddie is sent to the floor. Rey goes upside down and scissors Eddie across the floor. Rey rolls him back into the ring and goes up top, Eddie superplexes him, rolls over and gets two. Rey ducks and back drops him and then rolls him up and gets two. Rey bodyslams Eddie, and nails him with a springboard moonsault getting two. Rey puts him in a headscissors, breaks the hold and bodyslams him but eats knees off the split-legged moonsault. Eddie snaps him over and dropkicks the back of the neck. Eddie hits the back and then launches him straight up but off the powerbomb attempt, Rey lands on his feet and crushes him with a springboard DDT. Rey is slow to recover and calls for his finisher and he leaps into Eddie but is pushed into the rope and Eddie crashes into him with the Frog Splash and gets the win.
Short but still fun.
Here comes Dean Malenko and gets in the grill of Eddie and then turns and leaves.
Match 7: Randy Savage v. Ray Traylor
Ray charges down and Savage retreats. Savage goes to fuck with Penzer again and Ray blindsides him. Ray flings him into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Savage grabs the leg but is shrugged off and sent to the floor. Ray belts him with a steel chair and tosses it and Savage into the ring. The ref gets rid of the chair. Ray takes off Savage’s head with a boot. He poses for the crowd and turns into an eye gouge. Savage kicks him in the gut, but leaps right into a spinebuster and Ray gets two. Ray sandwiches him into the corner, drops him with a right hook. He does his rope thing where he slides under and hits him. Ray goes up top and Liz crotches him. Ray tumbles onto the mat, Savage hauls him up and bodyslams him. Savage goes up and finishes him with the Elbow.
One move and Ray is done? Well, why even bring him back? Jobber.
Savage goes up again and drops the elbow. Liz ran to the back and comes back with the spraypaint. Savage drops another elbow and gets rid of the ref. Liz spraypaints him and Savage hits one more elbow. And the fans love it!
The decision was reversed….well Ray got a win.
Match 8: DDP v. Curt Hennig (c) for WCW US Title
They lock up, DDP nails him with a back elbow and then spits on Hennig. Curt armdrags him over, and DDP then goes after the arm only to be pulled down to the mat. They exchange slaps and Curt gets slammed twice. DDP will not let go of the hair on the headlock. Curt tries to power out but cannot, pushes him into the ropes only to be knocked down. DDP catches him with a swinging neckbreaker. DDP goes for the Cutter and Curt escapes to the floor and grabs his belt to leave. DDP goes after him and runs him into the apron, rolls him back into the ring but is flung head first into the corner. Curt kicks him in the ribs and does it again. The fans chant for DDP as Hennig continues to hammer the ribs. DDP turns and clocks him but goes for the back body drop and down he goes instead. Curt drops the heel onto the ribs and starts to peel off the tape. He applies an ab stretch and uses the rope for leverage. The ref breaks the hold and Curt is knocked down and misses the kick and down he goes again. DDP slugs him in the gut over and over. Curt tries to leave but is hauled back in and hammered and leveled with a clothesline. DDP pancakes him but sells the ribs and when DDP goes for the Cutter he is nailed with a jawbreaker. Curt grabs the belt and cracks the ribs. The ref calls the match and Curt goes to hit him again but the belt is kicked into him and Curt beats a hasty retreat.
Both are capable of better.
Match 9: Ric Flair v. Lex Luger
They lock up and Flair is chucked across the ring. Flair puts him in a side headlock but runs into a brick wall and he goes down again. Flair charges at him and is gorilla slammed. Luger clotheslines him to the floor. Flair pulls him out and his chop has zero effect so Flair gets back in the ring and his chops do nothing again. Flair is run over but gouges the eye and clips the knee. Flair stomps on the back of the knee with alacrity. Flair bends the leg around the middle rope and kicks the knee a few times. He now twists it and puts Lex in the Figure Four. Luger turns it over and both get to the ropes. Flair and Randy Anderson get into a shoving match. Flair rabbit punches the head and then struts his stuff. He goes back to work on the knee. Flair plays the heel as he taunts the crowd; he tries to suplex Luger to the floor but is suplexed back into the ring. Flair nails him with a stiff chop and Luger is getting riled. Luger reverses a whip and it is another gorilla press slam. Luger screams and flexes at Flair and sends him upside down in the corner and Flair runs over and leaps right into Luger and is placed up top in another corner. Lex superplexes him off. Luger powerslams him and calls for the Rack and Curt runs out and causes the DQ. Luger beats up Flair some more and tosses him into Curt and Flair comes alive and unloads on him and they brawl until the break as they head towards the back.
Okay match. Flair was dominated and needed to look strong but so did Luger, so while the match was not good Flair made Lex look good.
And for the third time Hogan and Bischoff come out. Hogan once again calls Sting a coward. The nWo told Hogan he was the best and that the pukes here are wannabes. EB agrees that Sting fears Hogan. Sting rappels down and Hulk looks stunned. Sting gets in the ring and gets in Hogan’s face and here comes Savage and Sting turns to look at Savage and one blow from Hogan sends him down and now the beat down is on as the rest of the nWo comes down. Hogan drops the leg and does it again as Hogan tells Sting he is nothing. EB is running commentary on the beatdown. Hogan screams that he is God and hits him with another one.
So Sting who no sold every blow in the past was dropped by one blow…..from Hogan of course but he should have fought back before being overwhelmed. The nWo did need too beat him up and thus build more heat for the PPV. Overall I felt that something was amiss, the show did the job in setting up the PPV but nothing more. The wrestling was lackluster and it just felt disjointed. The opening promo was not that great but serviceable and that is how I felt about the entire show. The whole debacle with Sting and the movie is just downright terrible. I know wrestling is not real but do not water down their most important angle to promote a clearly terrible movie and basically state that Sting is living the dream in Hollywood but in wrestling he is a dark and brooding creature. It just takes you out of the moment….