Thursday, November 9, 2017
Oh WCW 1999. You can be a cruel mistress. Their roster was so full of potential but was so poorly mishandled that it can be frustrating. This show reportedly has over 20,000 fans in attendance, but I’ve read that they have to give away 7,000 free tickets and still barely reached half of the capacity. Kevin Nash was the head booker at the time and finds himself in the title picture opposite Diamond Dallas Page. This would be the seventh Slamboree even.
As usual, the WCW opening video package is highly disappointing and low budget. It does actually promote what seems to be the entire card. The commentary team is the usual trio of Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay. Also, because it’s WCW, they don’t go to the action, choosing instead to have commentary talk and Mean Gene promote his hotline.
I hate that they dub Raven’s WWF theme in. Benoit and Malenko represent the Four Horsemen, while the champions are from the Filthy Animals. It’s an interesting set up here as three men are legal at once, meaning it’s always a triple threat match. Things start pretty quickly, highlighted by Saturn belly to belly suplexing Kidman over and to the outside. I think it’s cool that each team brings something different. You have the high flyers, the technical and the brawlers/hardcore style guys. Kidman channels Benoit but misses an ugly diving headbutt. There are some close calls with submissions and pins but there’s always someone from another team to break things up. When some of the carnage clears up, the Horsemen duo isolate Saturn. They’re in control for the most part actually. Saturn hits a sloppy move to take Kidman outside. Benoit hits the rolling Germans but again, the pin is broken up. Raven sees his first action in a while, looking like the freshest guy in the match. He does the Three Amigos before it was cool and I liked it here because he did it to Benoit, who was known for the triple Germans. Malenko makes the mistake of trying to powerbomb Kidman, which he counters into a rollup for two. Kidman sets Benoit up top and launches Rey up to him for a super rana. I thought that was the end but Saturn breaks it up. They try it on Saturn but he reverses into a super bomb. We get another YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN moment courtesy of Saturn. Double A gets involved, laying out Saturn with a spinebuster. As Kidman goes for his finisher, someone with a Sting mask knocks him off, allowing Raven to hit him with an Evenflow. Raven gets the three count at the same time that Malenko had the Texas Cloverleaf on Saturn.
That could have been so much better. There were a few too many moments of standing around waiting for the next spots and giving us the typical WCW run-in finish was disappointing. They did work with a rather hot crowd, didn’t overdo anything and it was mostly fun, which is what I want from an opener.
The man in the Sting mask reveals himself to be Chris Kanyon. For those unaware, within two months, Kanyon would be part of the Jersey Triad and they would be champions. Oh, WCW.
We are taken to a poorly done DDP vignette.
What did I do to deserve this? If this even cracks a star, I’ll be more shocked than when Brock broke the streak. Konnan again threatens that his opponent will toss his salad. Like, does he really even know what that means? They clobber away at each other for a bit ad none of it is interesting. Vincent and Horace get in cheap shots. Seriously, who decided to give four of the worst guys on the roster PPV time? Once Stevie is blown up, he resorts to rest holds before Konnan makes his comeback. Rey Mysterio tries to get involved and takes out the two scrubs at ringside. He then leaps onto Stevie and Konnan rolls up him in the slowest way possible, stealing it.
It’s like there has to be at least one DUD on every WCW show I review. This was beyond terrible with bad interference, bad work and a somehow worse finish.
Another mediocre WCW video package airs for Kevin Nash. It’s at least better than the DDP one. There’s also a Sting one, a short interview with Rick Steiner where he calls Booker and Stevie Ray by their government names and something between DDP and Bigelow. Too rapid fire to really mean much.
Neither guy gets any theme music. Commentary reveals that this will be held under Falls Count Anywhere rules and they act like it’s the most groundbreaking news ever. Bigelow brings out a bunch of weapons, so they just whack each other with them. Knobbs is still wearing his Nasty Boys gear, having not found something on his own that works. Both men just continue to use weapons with no real structure or anything like that. I mean, I saw trash cans, chairs, a street cone and even a rearview mirror. After a while of senseless beating, they move to the backstage area to take advantage of the Falls Count Anywhere rules. Bigelow ends up hitting a suplex through a table to earn the win.
A bit too long for what they were going for. Knowing they had to fill over ten minutes, they seemed to just be killing time by wailing on each other with weapons for no real reason. It was better than the previous match at least.
Apparently, this is a return match from Nitro a few weeks ago where Stevie Ray cost Rick the match. Rick is convinced that Booker was in on it but it doesn’t seem that way. Booker’s tights are at Steve Urkel levels of high. Rick is in control from the start, using his power advantage. Booker hits three successive kicks that Steiner sells like garbage. Rick takes back over but none of the work seems inspired. Even when he nails a release German suplex, it just feels lackluster. It doesn’t help that the crowd is basically silent for all of this. Rick adds to their boredom with a lengthy chinlock. Scott Steiner shows up as Booker starts to rally but gets knocked off the apron. STEINERLINE only gets Rick two. Booker sends Rick into Scott and hits an axe kick for two. Scott trips up Booker, opening the door for Rick to nail the diving bulldog and win the gold.
In the prime of each of their careers, this may have been good. Instead, we were treated to Rick completely phoning it in and Booker not being much better. The interference at the end wasn’t welcome, since we’ve seen it in three of four matches so far.
Ric cuts one of his usual “Space Mountain” promos. Robinson does one too but it’s nowhere near as good. He does have the Flair mannerisms down perfectly at least. He’s even got the flabby chest. They actually do some wrestling early on. Wristlocks and hammerlocks galore. You can clearly see Robinson telling her what spots to do at times. She gets a pop for a full nelson into a snapmare. The future Molly Holly takes a body slam bump from Robinson on the outside. He does the Flair chops and strut in the ring until George turns things around on him. Points to Robinson for even taking the Flair corner and top rope bumps. Classic. Asya tries to get involved so Madusa kicks her. Robinson starts to go after the knee, since he promised to win with the Figure Four. He applies it but George turns it over. Flair tries to flip it back over but Savage knocks him outside, all while Asya distracts the referee. George finishes off Robinson with a second rope elbow, reinstating Macho Man to the company.
They got more time than they probably deserved but you know what? I actually somewhat enjoyed that. It wasn’t good wrestling but considering who was involved, they did better than expected. Robinson was great at using Flair’s mannerisms and George surprised me at times.
Judging by the video package, this feud was built on Buff Bagwell making bad poop jokes towards Scott Steiner. This is kind of a brawl from the start. Steiner clubs away and tosses Buff around outside. He just continues to mostly dominate. There are points where Buff looks to kind of be begging for mercy. Scott brings a chair into play, even though it’s not a No DQ match. Buff clotheslines it away from him and starts a babyface comeback with some weak dropkicks. We get a classic WCW ref bump and Rick Steiner shows up to hit Buff with a steel chair. He wakes up the referee in time for Scott to lock in the Steiner Recliner. Buff is out cold so the official calls for the bell.
Oh look. Another interference riddled finish. The match itself up to that point wasn’t very good either. Steiner mostly dominated though it felt so uninspired as did Buff’s babyface comeback. None of this clicked.
The video package before this is glorious as we see Ric in a mental health hospital, dancing with nurses in ring gear. The winner of this match will be the President of WCW. To be fair, running WCW in 1999 sounds more like a punishment than a reward. Charles Robinson replaces the referee as Flair, the current President, fires the existing official. It feels like a fight as they just wail on each other. Piper gets in some short punches, giving us the Flair flop. Flair turns it around, hitting a ton of chops. The crowd is pretty into this at least. There is this strange moment when Piper pins Flair and they don’t count the three. It didn’t look like they were purposely screwing him though. It just looked like they messed up the whole thing. Flair locks in the Figure Four but Piper escapes. He gets a backslide on Flair but Robinson ignores it and does so again for a small package. Piper puts on the Figure Four now and Flair clearly gives up but Robinson ignores it. He also ignores Arn’s interference, which Piper sends back. He puts Flair in the sleeper until Asya enters. Piper puts her in the sleeper and lays out Robinson. Flair hits Piper with the brass knuckles to win. BUT WAIT! Eric Bischoff, who somehow has completely white hair just a year after having jet black hair, comes out and changes the result. I’m not sure what his role at the time was since Flair was President.
Two guys way past their primes (especially Piper) having a rather dull match riddled with a bunch of overbooking and interference. That actually describes a lot of WCW main events in the back half of the 90’s.
If WCW would have played their cards right, this could have been a MASSIVE money match in 1998. Sting winning the title to close out 1997 and then facing the unstoppable Goldberg the following year would have been huge. Instead, it’s kind of an afterthought here. They botch a spot quickly, causing Sting to hit the mat. Goldberg applies a cross armbreaker but it looks pretty weak. Sting tries for the Scorpion Death Lock. Goldberg is too strong, powering out. Sting goes after the leg as Goldberg is sporting a knee brace. Things finally pick up as Sting hits two Stinger splashes. He goes for a third but Goldberg catches him in mid-air with a pretty big Spear. Bret Hart, who supposedly quit the company, shows up and whacks Goldberg in the head with a chair.
A match with a fair amount of potential wasted. Both guys seemed to sleepwalk through most of the match. Once it finally started really getting interesting, we got yet another run-in.
Bret Hart continues the attack with the chair. When he leaves, the Steiner Brothers show up and attack both Goldberg and Sting. Why? We don’t know.
WCW missed the boat on making DDP a massive star. He was super over and should have been the one to end Goldberg’s streak at Starrcade 1998. Apparently, Nash was the heel but had booked himself to come across as the babyface. DDP tries for the Diamond Cutter right off the bat but Nash avoids it and clocks him. Nash starts to pound away at him. The crowd seems kind of into this but not as much as they should be. Probably because they’re unsure of who to cheer for. DDP goes after the leg and pulls off another heel tactic by kicking Nash low behind the official’s back. They continue to brawl until DDP hits Nash with a Diamond Cutter on the outside. DDP continues the attack inside. He taunts to the crowd, acting completely like the heel, instead of taking advantage. He targets the knee, wrapping it around the ring post. Nash mounts his usual comeback, complete with snake eyes onto an exposed turnbuckle. I don’t know why that wasn’t a DQ. Nash hits the Jackknife but before he can pin, Randy Savage shows up and elbows him. He had been helping DDP for weeks. They call for the DQ this time but again, here comes Eric Bischoff. He ejects Savage and restarts the match. DDP tries to bring a chair into play and it hits the top rope, bouncing back into his face. Nash covers him for two. Nash lifts DDP up and wins the title with a second Jackknife.
Tony Schiavone calls this a brutal World Title match. In at least one sense of the word, he’s right. This match was brutally boring. I came away disappointed because I usually enjoy DDP matches and Nash can go when motivated and with the right opponent. To me, this felt like another lackluster effort covered up by overbooking.
Overall: Wow, this show sucked. It got off to a decent start with a pretty fun triangle tag team match but this fell way off of a cliff after. Nothing else on the show was even able to reach two stars. There was constant interference up and down the card as well as tons of phoned in performances from many of the guys on the card. Just a classic WCW experience from this time period. The next is scheduled to be WWF