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Inspired by the Forgotten Good Workers/"Hey I Thought This Guy Was Supposed To Suck?" thread and the ghost of the Smarkschoice project.

 

Dustin Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson, WCW Main Event 8/28/94

 

This was an enjoyable teaser for War Games. Dustin came out all bandaged up, looking to lay a beating on Arn. He was on auto pilot a bit, which is something Dustin was prone to doing, but Arn was his usual consummate self. It's amazing how much Arn bothered even on tapings like this. They basically worked they type of match you'd have in the opening two-to-five minutes of a War Games match, though it was a notch or two down on the type of intensity they'd bring to an actual War Games match. After stooging for a while and doing the type of punch drunk selling that rivaled Terry Funk, we got a nice stretch of Arn on offence before the Colonel and Meng got involved.

 

The finish was the usual "order to the PPV" finish, but it did involve Ricky Steamboat trying to scare the heels away with his torch. This was slightly comical, but you've got to love how committed to the cause Steamboat was. If they told him to scare off the heels with the torch, he went and did it. Meng stared down the flame. Probably would've been more badass if he'd swallowed the flame and put it out.

 

Okay for what it was.

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What a cartoon ending, with the torch and the breathing fire. No wonder Steamboat retired soon after. ;-) I really appreciate Arn's intensity -- his facial expressions and selling and aiming for hurt limbs all point towards the fact this this is a man fully aware of what's going on in the ring and what will deliver the best match. You're right that it isn't much of a match, but he always makes even the throwaway stuff worth watching.

 

Great idea for a thread. I've been toying with starting a "What are You Watching" topic since the Matches section is gone. WCW is as good a way to begin as any.

 

Ricky Steamboat vs. Arn Anderson, WCW Main Event 8/21/94 (9:45)

 

Arn and Ricky are not getting along as the match begins. They start with some solid chain wrestling that eventually ends up on the mat with Ricky working over the arm and shoulder. It's interesting to watch this match and the Dustin one back to back to compare the styles Arn works. The Dustin match is a brawl, which this match has a much more technical feel. The pace really picks up until Arn throws a spinebuster which causes both of them to crash. Arn uses his size and power to dominate for quite a bit, even cheating a little by holding onto the ropes [funny how tapping repeatedly didn't make for a submission in those days]. There's a great camera angle of Steamboat coming off the corner for a cross-body -- from the camera's view, it looks like he's coming from a mile away on the other side of the ring. Arn finally gets the pin with a little help from Meng and Col Parker.

 

Quick TV match that's nothing special and probably won't prompt a second viewing for awhile. But it's a demonstration of what can be done when you put two masters in the ring. They know what they're doing better than almost anyone, and it's a joy to watch.

 

Johnny B.Badd vs. Dean Malenko, WCW Pro 12/23/95 (approx 8:00)

 

This match is for the Badd's TV Title on what I am guessing is the C-show. Mero is accompanied by Kimberly, who of course he won at WW3 and who is now his "official manager". I think this is an interesting matchup because Mero shows he can keep up with Dean. But he also provides that fun-to-watch factor so lacking in Dean's matches (when they're not with a charismatic worker like a Mero or an Eddy). That said, I feel this one loses steam about 5 min in. They start off so strongly, and then apart from a spot or two really begin to mail it in. Malenko gets DQ'd for a pretty screwy reason. The best bit about the second half of the match is that Kimberly's miniskirt-clad arse is on screen pretty much the whole time. Also, Dusty spouting a lot of nonsense on commentary = always fun.

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Cool, I'll check out the Arn/Steamboat match later.

 

Dustin Rhodes/Ricky Steamboat vs.Arn Anderson/Bunkhouse Buck, WCW Main Event 9/4/94

Sting/Rhodes/Steamboat vs. Funk/Anderson/Buck, WCW Main Event 9/11/94

 

These were disappointing considering they were part of the Studd Stable feud. The first match had an uncharacteristically weak performance from Steamboat and the second match is like watching guys brawl in a Royal Rumble match.

 

Sting & Dustin Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson & Bunkhouse Buck, WCW Main Event 11/6/94

 

This was meaningless filler before the Clash with Dustin vs. Vader and Sting tagging with Hogan for the first time. Completely forgettable.

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I forgot to mention the really odd thing that happened in the 6-man where Funk had a confrontation with a fan who kept saying "punk, punk, punk" over and over again. Weird.

 

The Patriot vs. Lord Steven Regal, WCW Saturday Night 2/26/94

The Patriot vs. Lord Steven Regal, WCW Main Event 3/20/94

 

Now THIS is why you do an ongoing WCW thread.

 

The Sat night match is a non-title return match from Patriot's debut, where he took Regal to the television time limit. The cool thing about it is that Regal works it like a New Japan tour match instead of a studio taping. Right from the get go, he's throwing nastier strikes than usual and they work this tight little match that's similar to Regal's matches with Hashimoto (complete with cauliflower-inducing matwork and nose shattering uppercuts.) The Main Event match is nowhere near as good, and Bischoff and Jesse have any ongoing bet that's really distracting, but there's still some quality wrestling on show. The Sat Night match is the one you want to watch, though. Lots of fantastic stuff in that match, from Wilkes as well as Regal.

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I'll watch those Regal matches before long - they sound intriguing. There's a Vader/Steamboat match from 2/26/94, too, and I have never seen those guys work before.

 

 

Rick Rude vs. Mark Starr, WCW Saturday Night 5/14/94

 

This is a nothing squash that goes about 4 min, with Rude shouting for Vader the whole time and looking about ready to burst a blood vessel. Starr only gets one bit of offense, which is a flurry of slaps Rude completely no-sells [ok, that bit was pretty amusing]. Afterwards, he meets Scheme Gene and cuts a promo on Vader to hype their match at Slamboree: "It's Rude against Vader. It's a rottweiler against a pit bull. It's a clydesdale against a racehorse. The shotgun against the Mac-10. Vader -- Philadelphia, PA -- it's Evil against Evil."

 

It's an interesting match for its historical importance. During the post-match interview, Rude is carrying the belt he won off Sting in Japan, and they repeatedly refer to the title win. However, he doesn't wear it to the ring, so logic tells me he taped the match before Japan. Since Rude got hurt in Japan then I am guessing this is his last televised match.

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Speaking of Dustin's 94, I know people generally love the Dustin/Studd stable feud but man, I can't get over that shitty ending to War Games. Dusty with Parker in the figure four and the Nasties dropping elbows, meanwhile the central guy in the feud is off to the side, not on camera, and doesn't factor in the finish. Pretty crappy blow-off if you ask me.

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Lord Steven Regal vs. Terry Taylor, WCW Saturday Night 1/1/94

 

Quite a decent match this. I'm not overly familiar with Terry Taylor as a worker, so I'm not sure how it relates to his prime, but aside from some awkward moments here and there, it struck me as pretty much a pre-cursor to the Zbyszko match. A nice contrast between Regal's Japanese influenced European style and Taylor's more traditional US style stuff. The finishing stretch was really cool.

 

Barry Windham vs. Steven Regal, Worldwide 4/17/93

 

I can't remember whether I watched this for the Smarkschoice poll or not, but anyway Regal appeared to be a face here and it was kind of interesting to see him use his European uppercuts and forearm smashes as babyface comebacks instead of heel moves. Barry was the NWA heavyweight champ at this point, so it was essentially a Barry Windham match with him calling it. All in all, they meshed better than I expected.

 

Dick Slater & Dick Murdoch vs. Dustin Rhodes & Robert Gibson, The Main Event 8/11/91)

 

It's too bad the Hard Liners were such a short lived team as that combination of Murdoch and Slater is pretty appealing. This match existed solely for Ricky Morton to do a run-in and attack Robert Gibson, just as so many other WCW matches existed solely for a run-in, but it was pretty fun while it lasted. You can't go past that heel team.

 

Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham, The Main Event 6/24/90

 

Same formula as above, minus the run-in which was replaced by some outside interference from Ole. The Horsemen looked good like you'd imagine, but it was one of those matches where it's so cut and dried as a throwaway TV match that your biggest impression of the match is something random (in this case, the size difference between Windham and Rick Steiner.)

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Lord Steven Regal vs. Terry Taylor, WCW Saturday Night 1/1/94

 

They worked it like a Kevin Von Erich vs. Jimmy Garvin in WCCW. I remember really liking this match.

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Watching Will's Regal set, that match with Taylor was one of my favourites up to that point. I watched the Stemboat match from Starrcade right before it and I didn't think there was much between them.

 

Main thing I remember from the Taylor match was them using the same bodyscissors spot Kevin Von Erich and Terry Gordy used in one of their matches on the Texas set, right down to Regal doing the same shtick Gordy was (getting free of the hold, hitting the ropes, stumbling and bumbling before falling back into it).

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Scott Steiner vs Goldberg, Nitro 2/22/99

 

The match itself is about 5 min on-screen, thanks to a commercial break, and the entrances are well longer. The crowd is superhot. Steiner starts out with some aggressive striking, and then Goldberg no-sells having has face smashed into a turnbuckle. The crowd gets even wilder, if such a thing were possible. Goldberg picks up Scotty and does about 4 overhead presses before pulling a Warrior and dropping him straight down. Some shenannigans by Bagwell at ringside help to even the odds. They botch a whiplash spot (Goldberg's head slides under the top rope); both guys seem thoroughly winded. Rick Steiner runs in, and eventually Scott gets DQ'd (I guess because Bagwall bodyslammed the ref over the top rope).

 

Considering how little actual wrestling Goldberg does here, Steiner carries him to a fun sprint between monsters. It's not remotely subtle, but with the insane crowd it's easy to get drawn in. I wonder if Rick Steiner ever got that kind of crowd response since?

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Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat vs. Greg Valentine, Dick Slater & The Barbarian (Worldwide 08/29/92)

 

Valentine, Slater and The Barbarian, how's that for a trios? This was too short to be anything special, but all six guys are pretty workers so it was fun while it lasted. Would've liked to have seen this get the "Kip Frey" treatment.

 

Ric Flair vs. Bill Irwin, Power Hour 9/29/89

 

For some reason, I like watching the short TV matches Flair had before jumping to Titan. If you've never seen this, you're not missing much, but this was pretty good as far as this sort of thing goes. The short television match is something of an art form and difficult to do well (sort of like short films in cinema), and there's just enough offence from Irwin to make this work. Flair's stuff doesn't look all that great in this particularly outing but they manage to pack a lot into a short time and give it a decent sort of an arc. The structure was better than the above match. Babyface Flair isn't all that interesting, however.

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Brian Pillman & Larry Zbyszko vs. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton, WCW Saturday Night 8/8/92

 

In theory this should've been awesome since Zbyszko was looking for a measure of revenge and paid for his troubles, but Jesus Christ is this a boring match. One of the worst WCW matches I've ever see. Ross just drones on and on.

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Jake Roberts/The Barbarian vs. Ron Simmons/Barry Windham, WCW Saturday Night 9/26/92

 

Another awful match. Roberts was already starting to look pretty rough by the time he showed up in WCW and his ring work was abysmal. As good as WCW was in 1992, it took a dive in the second half of the year. This got the "skip ahead" treatment and didn't look good at any point.

 

Ricky Steamboat vs. Barry Windham, WCW Saturday Night 1/9/93

 

God almighty was this boring. There's a thread over at DVDVR where people are trying to say that Windham and Steamboat are universally praised workers; well come over and spin this. If the second half of '92 took a nosedive, then '93 was the beginning of one big long rut. Steamboat and Windham aren't the type to easily mesh in singles, but Barry was the king of the boring ass singles matches and this was yet another example of Steamboat not working to the storyline. This was the semi finals of the number one contender tournament for the US title and Ross was trying to sell it as a grudge match between Windham and Steamboat over what Barry did to Dustin. Could've fooled me because it looked like any old Steamboat or Windham match to me. This also got the skip forward treament and I had the pleasure of watching everyone who was involved in the poorly booked feuds at the time running in to remind us that A is feuding with B.

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Vader & Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (Main Event 01/03/93)

 

This looked promising on paper, but it was a real cookie cutter match. Which isn't to say it didn't work; I just have no interest in watching contrived Vader matches where Steamboat sells melodramatically.

 

Steven Regal vs. Johnny B Badd (Main Event 10/10/93)

 

I can't remember whether I watched this program for the Smarkschoice poll or not, but this was better than the other matches I've been watching. The thing I like about Mero is that while he may not have been a good worker, he was always trying things. Sometimes it looked bad (like his strange looking armdrags) and sometimes it was out of synch with either his character or the flow of offence in the match, which may have meant that he was over-extending himself in such cases, but you always got the feeling that he trying to make a fist of it. This was a typical time limit draw, but the rhythm was easygoing and Regal used a lot of his best offence (like his kick ass senton.) No problems with this.

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... but Barry was the king of the boring ass singles matches and this was yet another example of Steamboat not working to the storyline.

Haven't seen that particular match, but I don't know if that statement is something I would agree with. It seems to me like he didn't get very many opportunities to work singles matches in the first place. Prior to getting the NWA belt, he spent most of the year in tags. Going back to 1991, he had that series against Pillman which were all strong, I think a TV match against Arn late in the year which I liked, then TV title matches in `92 against Austin and Arn which again were at least pretty good. His NWA defenses against Regal, Scorpio, Arn and Johnny B. Badd were great. The only match that kinda sucked was against Muta.

 

I honestly can't think of any other singles match he had during 91-93. I think maybe a match against Rude during the KOC tournament?

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I also love the Pillman matches and his TV matches with Arn, but the key to those matches is that they're short. I don't think Windham had the tools to wrestle long television matches. Loss' WCW matchlist has 23 Windham singles matches from '92 and '93, and I'd wager that the biggest factors in whether they're good or not are the length and the performance of his opponent. I don't think he was all that great in leading match or being in control. Stuff like the Scorpio match contradicts that, but that was a short, sharp match. A lot of Windham's bouts meander.

 

A few more matches:

 

Steven Regal & Bobby Eaton vs. Johnny B Badd & Marcus Bagwell (Saturday Night 08/05/95)

 

The Blue Bloods were an excellent tag team who unfortunately didn't have a lot of excellent opposition to face, but for some reason I find Mero and Bagwell likeable despite being cheesy as shit. This was nothing special, but it was fun watching Regal and Eaton work.

 

Nasty Boys vs. Southern Boys (Saturday Night 10/06/90)

 

The Nasty Boys were awesome in their brief stint with WCW in 1990. I wasn't sure how these sides would mesh and I was confused when Ross told me to look for the Nasty Boys to dominate on the mat (did he even know how they worked?), but this was a really solid match and a decent tune-up for the Steiners. After the match is a clip of the contract signing, which was cool too. It's a shame we didn't get more of the Nasty Boys in WCW before they jumped to Titan.

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Most of the WCW I've been watching lately has been rubbish.

 

The US title contender tournament WCW did in early 93 was incredibly weak and made worse by the fact that Rude couldn't actually defend the belt. Somehow they managed to fuck this tournament up despite the multiple storylines involved. Steamboat vs. Spivey was a decent enough big man vs. little man match and Windham vs. Badd was pretty good (again because it was short), but that particular taping had no heat, and I ended up trailing off in thought about why Spivey was such a Barry Windham wannabe and how the Badd gimmick was even more awful in its infancy.

 

Then I tried switching to some '96/'97 Sat Night stuff. Watched a cool Villano IV vs. Mysterio match that ended after two minutes, reminding me how much I hate this era of WCW Sat Night. Didn't really have the heart to keep watching anything else from this time frame.

 

Switching to '89, Arn Anderson and Mike Rotunda managed to boring the fucking shit out of me, which was a bit surprising since I kind of liked Rotunda around this time period. Following youtube links and scraping the bottom of the barrel, I watched an Enforcers vs. Rick Steiner handicap match, which was pretty decent for the gimmick it was using, but was killed by the Freebirds coming to ringside.

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Watching WCW from January 1998 :

_the Steiner heel turn was actually quite good, as they were very patient with it, having Scott refusing to tag his brothers for no reason and stay in the ring by himself to win matches, and it grows and grows to the point of big frustration for everyone involved. I like the fact that it was about Steiner slowly developping a big ego but still beating the shit out of the nWo, there was no sudden reason out of nowhere. The funny thing is the rather homoerotical aspect of his connection with Buff, both love to show off their biceps to each others. I remember the actual brother vs brother feud was rotten, but the build to the heel turn is quite good.

_cool to see Rick Martel with an old-school style getting pushed right away. It was refreshing.

_cool to see Marty Jannetty having good matches with everyone, including a very good one with Malenko and two fun ones with Raven. He was a JTTS, but he delivered. Too bad he wasn't pushed into the TV title picture

_Booker T's work doesn't hold up at all. The guy is incredibly limited thus far, every match looks the same as far as what he does. And he's sloppy as hell with his kicks, giving Martel a concussion ith his Harlem Hangover. I always thought he was being overrated as a worker, but I wasn't prepared to see him look as mediocre as he was. He can thank Martel and Saturn for giving him good matches.

_The world title booking is a huge mess, they seemed embarrassed themselves that they fucked it up at Starrcade. Only interesting thing in the main event picture was Randy Savage being the loose screw of the nWo. His work was intense too, despite being programmed with Luger, who at this point was cruising.

_Amazingly random guys showing up like Black Cat from NJ, which gives us Black Cat vs Marty Jannetty on Nitro. Or Steiners & Ray Traylor vs Black Cat, Gedo & Michiyoshi Ohara. Yes. I loved WCW for those. So WAResque.

_Louie Spicolli as Scott Hall little suck-up was funny.

_Bret Hart was handled so poorly it's mind-blowing. Dull "feud" with Flair, built by dull interviews and Flair attacking Jim Neidhart. Granted, their match was very good, as good as Flair vs Bret would have been in 1998. But then, Bret just goes "Flair, you'll always be the Man", now I'll wait to get into the title picture." yawn.

_The British Bulldog looks like complete crap. Oh my God, really terrible.

_Chris Jericho is developping his character, whines, bitch, make hypocritical apologies each week, hurt Rey Mysterio Jr. Great stuff.

_DDP was getting soft in term of character (compared 96-early97), too much "I'm the people's champion". But man, was he over like crazy. You don't deny being over like that.

_Goldberg was getting a streak going, although there's no "Who's next", smoke or count yet. And squashing people like Mark Starr and Jim Powers isn't exactly the most impressive stuff. Still, it was obvious this guy was going to be something already, the people started to notice him and by the end of the month, they pop like crazy for his moves.

_Tons of Super Calo, Juvy, Lizmark Jr., Psychosis, Silver King on my TV, which was cool damnit.

_Souled Out was a very good PPV in terms of matches. Hall vs Zbyszko sucked, and the Dusty heel turn was useless, and Nash vs Giant ended up by Nash ganso-bombing Giant, but outside of that, really good PPV, much better than anything the WWF could put on at the same time. And a lot of diversity too, which was why these WCW undercards were so fun. A "lucha" match, a brawl (Raven vs Benoit), a classic heel vs injured face match (Jericho vs Rey), a tag match with a twist (Steiners & Ray Traylor vs Bagwell, Norton & Konnan), a face vs face title match (Booker vs Martel), a dream match (Flair vs Bret), a grudge match, angle driven (Lex vs Savage). It felt minor because there was no world title nor US title match, but the work was mostly excellent.

_Thunder looked like a bad idea from the get-go, the first two shows really deliver nothing special. Add to that a third hour for the last Nitro of the month, and you get to the point of overexposure, filling the time with matches like Konnan vs Jerry Flynn, Hacksaw Duggan vs Meng, and boring interviews with JJ Dillon, Ray Traylor, and more nWo (always the same, Nash, Hall, and the obligatory boring Hogan promo each week).

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I remember liking Souled Out 98 a lot the last time I liked it too. Don't remember thinking anything on the show was great, but it was a "solid" show from top to bottom even if I thought Bret v. Flair was merely "good."

 

Also I agree on Booker T. To me he aged really poorly. One thing I always did like about him was the multitude of finishing moves, but other than that he does not impress much in the rear view. Though the implication that Saturn of all people carried him amuses me.

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You could say that about Booker T, Kidman, Raven and probably a lot of other over midcarders that people seemed to want push harder. I do think Booker had serious potential as a serious act, but WWE played up his comedic stuff more. He wasn't as high on the card in WCW, but he was presented as an accomplished athlete. I wish they would have gone all out on a push before they did, but I guess his '98 injury would have derailed things even if they were going to push him to the top.

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Though the implication that Saturn of all people carried him amuses me.

Saturn threw him around, worked spots and submission holds, and although Booker was not a good seller at all, at least if was fun to watch. As soon as Booker went back on offense, he was doing his own 5 moves of doom and that was it. Saturn didn't really "carry" Booker, but he was the entertaining part of the match. Saturn was more fun here than he was in ECW though.

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February 1998

_Booker T puts Martel out with an injured knee. Man, this guy was not only mediocre in the ring but also not safe at all. Two PPV's and two injuries, to the same guy. He stopped doing the Harlem Hangover after giving Martel and Saturn concussions.

_I had totally forgotten that Yuji Nagata was working in WCW at the time. Makes for odd matches like Yuji Nagata vs La Parka on Thunder. They totally missed the boat on La Parka, they should have pushed the guy, he was great and the fans could have cared about him easily.

_Jericho continues to develop, and he's gold, although his "feud" with Juvy was sad in that Juvy just loses his mask for no reason whatsoever. But it's obvious Jericho was going to be something special. For a few weeks there's this über cool team of Jericho and Guerrero. These guys should have been on top of WCW by the next year or two if Bischoff had a brain.

_Goldberg still has no smoke up his nose, but the crowd really gets behind him. They are aware of that fact and instead of putting guys like Mongo with him on PPV, he gets Brad Armstrong so he can look like gold. His match with Regal was really bizarre. I never bought the "Regal shot on Goldberg" story, but it's hard to not notice Regal being quite stiff and looking a bit uncooperative at times. It made for the best Goldberg match though, as squashing Armstrong, Jim Powers or Mark Starr really meant shit.

_The revisionnist history wants to tell us that Bret didn't fit in WCW, but god the fact says otherwise, they just didn't do shit with him. After a month and a half they seem to remember that Bret was involved in the Starrcade main event, so we get some ass-half promos about Bret being Hogan's N°1 target. Then Bret is trapped by the new member of the nWo.... Brian Adams. Yeah. And then he gets into a feud with... Curt Hennig, who's a glorified mid-carder.... while Hogan quickly forgets about him. Seriously, they couldn't have handled Bret worse than they did. I got a kick out of Gene saying "We know who that guy was" when Adams show up. TNA 10 years before, anyone ?

_I like DDP, but it's obvious he drags Benoit down in the ring. DDP as far as ring work and character clearly peaked in 97.

_Superbrawl was a major PPV on paper, but didn't deliver. Way too much Booker T. And three nWo matches that looked bad. Finally we get the Steiner turn, which was way overdue by this time and the match was barely the angle itself. Still, Steiner turning was a good thing. Luger vs Savage again was just a nothing match, the only notable thing was the crowd shitting on babyface Luger, to the point of loudly cheering Liz when she interfered to break the torture rack. And Hogan vs Sting had yet another screwy finish, because god knows Hogan can't job clean. That said, Hogan was the only one working hard, as Sting looks just incredibly lazy, even in the post match celebration.

_Amazing promo by Hogan on Nitro after he loses the belt, basically saying Sting is beneath him, that he'll work against Scott Hall (=midcard) while putting the main event focus on himself vs Savage. Way to fuck up one year and a half of build even more after the Starrcade main event fiasco.

_I enjoy Disco Inferno and Buff Bagwell way more than I thought I would.

_WCW signed Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog and Brian Adams from WCW after the Montreal screwjob, and they get TV and PPV time... Montreal really was a blessing for WWF...

_Best random match of the month : Meng vs Barbarian on Nitro, beating the shit out of each others.

_Crap, Public Enemy is back...

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February 1998

_Amazing promo by Hogan on Nitro after he loses the belt, basically saying Sting is beneath him, that he'll work against Scott Hall (=midcard) while putting the main event focus on himself vs Savage. Way to fuck up one year and a half of build even more after the Starrcade main event fiasco..

I remember at the time putting over this promo over HUGE as an example of just how great Hogan was. :) They thought they were moving past Hogan, and he just turns everything back around himself, and is so strong on the mic that the marks would go, "Yeah... that's right, Hogan is The Man in WCW despite Sting having that belt over there." :P

 

Sort of evil brillance captured in one moment, probably better than any single moment in that era. I suspect there were more evil moments after that, but the promotion had peaked by this point... sort of the resolution of the peak.

 

John

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