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Little reviews of WCW PPVs


JerryvonKramer
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Ok, so as I mentioned before and as you can see from my sig, I've been embarking on a little project for the past 18 months or so to watch every single WCW PPV from Wrestlewar '91 onwards. Kind of an arbitrary starting date, but I think 91 was generally when WCW really branded itself as a distinct entity from NWA, even if Turner had owned it since 88. My basic motivation for doing this (see here) was, in short, to fill in the massive gaps in what I'd seen from WCW. Being from the UK, we got Worldwide here, but never got the PPVs. Very frustrating, I'd have to wait till PWI or another of the mags hit my little town, and the programming was usually about 7-8 months behind where the mags were so it was all really hard to follow. I was GUTTED to miss the Dangerous Alliance War Games match, for example. So when all these had become available through the internet, this was my big change to "catch up".

 

As I got into these shows, I started making some small notes to capture my reactions to each show. These are sort of crap little review things, of little to no worth, but since there are very few sites out there systematically reviewing the WCW PPVs of this period, I thought I might as well stick them on my site. I accept that my analysis is hardly stunning, but I do think I offer a slightly different take on things from the general IWC orthodoxy.

 

Since I've joined this site, might as well post each new review as it comes. I'm very very slow on these things, because I'm busy and wrestling competes with many other interests for the small amount of spare time I have but would like to hear your memories of these shows or if you have any profound agreements or disagreements with the stuff I say. Again, I accept I'm no Meltzer here, and I'm proud of being no Scott Keith, don't even give star ratings most of the time, I'm just noting my reactions as I come to these shows freshly and nothing else.

 

As I've joined you, I'm up to Halloween Havoc. The review on the site is here, but I'll also paste it to save you clicking:

 

Halloween Havoc 95

 

Television Title: Johnny B. Badd vs Diamond Dallas Page © w/The Diamond Doll & Maxx Muscle

 

Randy Savage vs. The Zodiac

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs. Kurosawa w/ Col. Parker

 

Sabu w/ The Original Shiek vs. Mr. J.L.

 

Lex Luger vs. Meng w/ Kevin Sullivan

 

Sting & Ric Flair vs. Brian Pillman & Arn Anderson

 

Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant (Monster Truck competition on the roof of Cobo Hall)

 

Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger

 

World Title: The Giant w/ Kevin Sullivan vs. Hulk Hogan © w/ Jimmy Hart

I have to say, I really really enjoyed this show. It's 1995 WCW, so I went in expecting absolutely nothing, but there's some decent wrestling here and a few real laugh out loud moments, whacky booking and one stone cold classic moment of wrestlecrap.

 

Badd vs. DDP surprised me, after a lack lustre first five minutes or so, I sighed a little bit. Badd seemed to open every PPV for the past three years in TV title matches where he was the nearly-but-not-quite face challenger. Anyway, suddenly the pace picks up a bit and these two really go at it for about 15 minutes. The execution isn't perfect from either guy, but I genuinely didn't know which way this was going to go and I was into it. Easy *** for me. On a side note, how long did DDP have to be with Kimberly/ Diamond Doll before he realised that she just wasn't supporting him? She'd been booked pretty solidly as a face manager who hated her man for about 3 or 4 months before this. Watching it, I couldn't help but wonder "well, if you hate him that much honey, stop gold-digging and leave him!" I mean what was the moral core of Kimberly meant to be at this point? Is it ok to be two-faced on the side of the ring, but still keeping playing DDP to take your pay check?

 

Savage vs. Zodiac (subbing for Kamala) is just a blank, as you'd expect, but I don't understand the point of saying "IF Savage beats Zodiac and IF Luger beats Meng, then they get to face each other" - I mean, was there ever any doubt that that would happen? It doesn't make sense at all to make the condition one way: if they are going to do a conditional, any contingency should be possible (i.e. Zodiac vs. Meng should have been a hypothetical possibility), just to keep some semblance of verisimilitude alive here. Anyway, Savage cuts a really incoherent, even crazier than normal promo, in which he sort of challenges Hogan for the belt while criticising the angle of Gene Okerlund's mustache (I am not kidding here). Then Mean Gene, who is in a sort of irritable mood this evening, snipes back attacking Macho's beard. You couldn't make this stuff up. I was really confused for much of this PPV, but still vaguely enjoying what was going on in a state of bemusement.

 

Hawk vs. Kurosawa (Manabu Nakanishi) is a little curious. It's pretty short and Hawk jobs reasonably cleanly, which is something I have never seen and neither was I expecting it. So does that mean Kurosawa was being pushed here? Who knows. Also, I'm consistently surprised at how late Col. Parker stuck around. We're in November 1995 here and Parker is still making PPV appearances. What became of the Sherri love angle? Where are Harlem Heat tonight? Nevermind.

 

I was pretty surprised to see both Sabu and The Sheik on this show. Pretty random, and seems like a one-shot deal because they were in Detroit. I thought this match against Mr. JL (Jerry Lynn) was pretty sloppy. Just seemed disjointed and like a short spotfest to me. Also, the camera seems to miss the Sheik's fireball, even on the replay. Heenan sells it like the most incredible thing he's ever seen. Heenan is in quite an annoying mood this evening too, more on that later.

 

Next a promo from THE MASTER and THE TASK MASTER who are in the Dungeon of Doom. No idea what's going on at this point. The Master shouts lots. Luger vs. Meng is again short and there is intrigue as Sullivan interferes to ensure Luger wins and costs Meng the match. Shenanigans are afoot!

 

Match of the night is Arn and Pillman vs. Sting and Flair. Flair is injured so this is a handicap match to start. Sting seems to fare well against both of them for a good 6 or 7 minutes. I mean the heels get no offence in at all. Then Flair shows up. Cue lots double teaming from Pillman and Arn as Sting plays face in peril for the next 15 minutes. Terrific stuff this. Heel Pillman is just so awesome. He's a real cock y'know, I love it. Love the dynamic between him and Anderson here too. A lot of classic Horsemen style double teaming here, and the crowd is just electric with the "WE WANT FLAIR" chants and Heenan is selling it like a madman. Then when Sting finally makes the hot tag, it's a great double cross. I should have seen that coming but I didn't, and it made me laugh for about two or three minutes. LOVED this. **** for me for the entertainment alone. Real 80s NWA style.

 

Then there's the Monster Truck "Sumo match" on the Roof! Eric Bischoff is here inexplicably to take over commentary just for this one segment with the guy who designed these trucks, who also happens to be a charisma void. The monster truck duel is just bizarre. Anyway, I had a little mark out moment when Giant fell off the roof. You've got to remember I've been watching WCW shows from 1991 on pretty much solidly now for about 2 years, so this stuff is shocking to me -- I'm sort of experiencing it as a fan back then might. In the aftermath, I laughed at Bischoff's worked shoot panic and Heenan's complete overselling. As a side point here, I can't believe that throughout 1995 WCW consistently tried to get over the fact Paul "The Giant" Wight was Andre's son. It's so absurd on any number of levels, a) he's blatantly not Andre's son and b ) the comparison massively draws attention to Wrestlemania 3 and, basically, the competition. Schiavone even mentions the Pontiac Silverdome at one point. What were they playing at here? Compare that to how Vince treated NWA guys like Harley Race, where he'd repackage them and essentially erase their histories and you can see clearly that WWF in the 80s had the confidence to do its own thing, whereas WCW in the mid-90s felt the need to hark back to the successes of its main rival in order to get over. This pisses me off really, and it's Uncle Eric all over. Why didn't he have the confidence to let WCW be WCW? That Arn and Pillman vs. Flair and Sting match was NWA/ WCW through and through, and by far the best thing on the card. Not only that, the crowd were WILD for that match, much wilder than they are for any of the Hogan/ Dungeon of Doom bullshit. So why not maintain the identity you have? Why try to be WWF circa 1987?

 

Anyway, before the main event, there's the quick business of Luger vs. Savage to deal with. Now on any other show from about 1988 till 1994, Savage vs. Luger would have been a massive deal. I mean you could probably have main evented Wrestlemania with that match. But here's it's just nothing, just a throwaway. Jimmy Hart -- in case you've forgotten, Hogan's manager at this time -- comes down to interfere, creating MORE intrigue. He seems to want to tell Luger something, but ... anyway, Savage wins. GREAT PLAN SULLIVAN! Let me get this right, you deliberately caused Meng to lose to Luger only for Luger to lose to Savage? What was the point then? Why didn't you come down or send someone just to make sure? Or was Jimmy Hart the person you sent? Hmmmmm .... Another side note: Savage's elbow looked really poor on this show, the angle wasn't right, he usually got a lot more elevation on the jump. Savage looks like he's winding down by this stage, not even the same worker he was at Wrestlemania X just a year earlier.

 

So now it's time for the main event. I should mention here that Hogan has been wearing black on this PPV with NO MUSTACHE! This is the little-remembered "darkside" Hogan (here's a thread on it). So first there is the speculation as to whether the Giant is dead. I mean he has fallen five stories. But NO! He's ALIVE! He's immortal! Hogan uses a lot of heel tactics in this match - raking the back, gouge to the eyes, biting, thumbs to the throat - curiously Fat Tony completely neglects to mention this, unlike whenever Hogan "lost it" in the WWF when they'd go to town on the fact that Hulk clearly means business (trying to remember when he did this before, I think vs. Slaughter?). Anyway, a huge amount of stuff happens at the end here, some of it alright, some of it hilariously bad. First of all, Jimmy Hart finally turns heel by knocking out the ref to interrupt the pin count after Hogan has dropped the leg. This would have been a lot more effective and surprising if they hadn't TELEGRAPHED it in the Savage / Luger match. Secondly, Luger and Savage hit the ring, and -- to the surprise of no one -- Luger double crosses Savage because he has allied himself with evil Jimmy Hart and The Dungeon of Doom. The only element of surprise here is that they teased a possible Savage heel turn earlier in the show, so there was at least a tiny question mark over whether he'd help Hogan. Then ... an all-time classic moment. A very tall man wrapped in bandages walks down the isle like a mummy and Tony Schiavone completely loses it: "THE YHHEETTTTAAAAYYYY!! It's THE YYHHEETTTAAAYYYY!". First of all, why can't Schiavone say "Yeti"? That had me in stitches. Secondly, what the flying fuck is this guy now? The Yeti?! Why's he costumed like an undead mummy then? Thirdly, why does his offence consist solely of the gayest looking bearhug I've ever seen? On what planet does standing with your arms around someone and sort of humping their back as a dog might do constitute damage? Do you know what it reminds me of ... the enemies from the old NES game Kung Fu. Fourthly, WHY is he there? I mean plot point 1: Jimmy Hart has just double-crossed Hogan and united with Sullivan and plot point 2: Lex Luger has just turned on both Savage and Hogan, given them both torture racks, and joined the Dungeon of Doom too! Did we need plot point 3: The YHETAY comes out for, well, basically no reason? Made me laugh though, so I guess it was worth it.

 

So the Horsemen reuniting and that match itself are awesome. Everything else here is symptomatic of the best and the worst of WCW in 1995. Unlike some of the other shows from 95 which are just bad and boring, at least this one is funny and goofy and brings the wrestlecrap thick and fast. And in a way, the storytelling, while completely overbooked, is actually compelling because I genuinely didn't know what was going to happen next. The Luger/ Jimmy Hart/ Dungeon of Doom angle was reasonably interesting as was Savage teasing a bit of heelishness or at least tweenerness early on. This felt to me like more promising things were round the corner - 95 was a pretty bad year, and with the Horsemen back together with awesome heel Pillman as a member, Sting still getting crazy heat, simmering tensions between Savage and Hogan and an ambitious Lex Luger backed by Sullivan and co, the possibilities were at least decent. I can imagine this being a bit less entertaining if you watched it cold though - I think a lot of my enjoyment derives from the fact I saw this in sequence.

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Badd and Page had pretty good chemistry. I think in general they had similar ideas about how to lay out a match and it worked to their advantage. To be honest I think their series would have been even better a year or two later when Page was a more complete talent, but it was still good undercard wrestling especially for that era.

 

Actually thinking about Page you really wish the guy had been working in the WWF at the time, as his style would have worked really well with Paterson booking, and there were heavyweights over there he could have had some really great matches with.

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I was actually considering mentioning Marc Mero for the forgotten/underrated workers thread. I think he was really quite good by this stage.

 

The idea that Diamond Doll was the real winner of the money was teased here but not confirmed. A lot of this stuff from 95 is new to me as I was completely not watching around that time.

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and b ) the comparison massively draws attention to Wrestlemania 3 and, basically, the competition. Schiavone even mentions the Pontiac Silverdome at one point. What were they playing at here? Compare that to how Vince treated NWA guys like Harley Race, where he'd repackage them and essentially erase their histories and you can see clearly that WWF in the 80s had the confidence to do its own thing, whereas WCW in the mid-90s felt the need to hark back to the successes of its main rival in order to get over. This pisses me off really, and it's Uncle Eric all over.

Sixteen years later, and he's still doing the same thing in TNA.

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Seem like there is a problem with my site, can't upload any files and the WCW page is down. Looks like it'll take some time to fix.

 

World War 3 '95

TV Title: Diamond Dallas Page w/ Diamond Doll vs. Johnny B Badd ©

 

Taped Fist Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Big Bubba Rogers

 

Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto w/Sonny Oono vs Mayumi Ozaki And Cutie Suzuki

 

US Title: Chris Benoit vs Kensuke Sasaki © w/Sonny Oono

 

Lex Luger vs Randy Savage

 

Sting vs Ric Flair

 

Three Ring Battle Royal for the World Heavyweight Title: Scott Armstrong, Steve Armstrong, Arn Anderson, Johnny B. Badd, Marcus Bagwell, Chris Benoit, Big Train Bart, Bunkhouse Buck, Cobra, Disco Inferno, Jim Duggan, Bobby Eaton, Ric Flair, The Giant, Eddy Guerrero, Hulk Hogan, Mr. JL, Chris Kanyon, Brian Knobbs, Kurasawa, Lex Luger, Joey Maggs, Meng, Hugh Morrus, Maxx Muscle, Scott Norton, One Man Gang, Paul Orndorff, Diamond Dallas Page, Buddy Lee Parker, Brian Pillman, Sgt. Craig Pittman, Stevie Ray, Lord Steven Regal, Scotty Riggs, Road Warrior Hawk, Big Bubba Rogers, Jerry Sags, Ricky Santana, Kensuke Sasaki, Shark, Randy Savage, Fidel Sierra, Dick Slater, Mark Starr, Sting, Dave Sullivan, Kevin Sullivan, Super Assassin #1 and #2, Booker T, Squire David Taylor, Bobby Walker, VK Wallstreet, Pez Whatley, Mike Winner, Alex Wright, James Earl Wright, The Yeti, and Zodiac.

I thought this was a lot of fun and some really good matches here. Easily the best WCW PPV of 1995 thus far. Badd and DDP have great chemistry in the opener. Probably not quite as good as their Halloween Havoc match, but still pretty damn solid. And here's where Diamond Doll finally completes her long teased babyface turn. Feminism WCW 1995 is interesting: she puts HERSELF up as "the prize" here because DDP seems to care more about the TV title than her: women's rights baby! And a whole year before the Spice Girls too.

 

Contrary to the opinions of Scott Keith and Matt Peddycord, I thought Big Bubba vs. Duggan was a perfectly servicable little brawl. Didn't feel long. Punches seemed brutal. Both men fired up. Probably the best Hacksaw match I've seen in WWF or WCW outside of the Vader match at Starrcade '94.

 

I like this show, it's ticking along at a pleasant pace. Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto vs Mayumi Ozaki And Cutie Suzuki was a nice surprise, random, a bit out of place, but nice and watchable. Kensuke Sasaki vs. Chris Benoit was cool, a nice change of pace to the WCW '95 norm and Sasaki was working some crisp stiff chops here. Goes over very very clean, which was a surprise as it seemed like Benoit was getting a push here having just been inducted into the Horsemen. Schiavone and Heenan even note that the other Horsemen don't come down to help him.

 

Luger vs. Savage seems like a real throwaway, heavily mediated by Savage's arm injury. But soon after we get a WICKED Flair promo and you can feel the electricity in the air. Flair's just got this way of lighting up the place. Sadly, I think this show was the moment where his body finally turned from being just past his peak to being "middle-aged" Flair. I mean he looks past it here. Which is only slightly sad, because he could still go. The match against Sting isn't a classic but it's fun and the no-selling of the Flair chops is a great little story.

 

The 60-man battle royal is just madness, it's total mayhem pure and simple. I'm not going to write it off like Scott Kieth or Matt thingy-mah-jig though, because 1) seeing all 60 guys coming down the isle and each of them getting announced gave me goosebumps, 2) Pez Whatley was a very unexpected appearance, and 3) The YHETTTAAYYY after being billed as one of the "3 giants of the 3 rings" (The Giant and Hogan being the other two) hilariously gets eliminated first. Also, and inexplicably, he's in some sort of ninja outfit here rather than in the mummy bandages. Ha ha ha.

 

So all I could think watching this was ... Wrestlemania 4 ALL OVER AGAIN. Savage's big moment ruined by Hogan standing in his spotlight yet again. Hogan's tantrum is ridiculous here. However, I don't know what match Scott fucking Keith was watching here but unless my tape was dubbed by Turner, the crowd DID NOT TURN ON HOGAN here. They were clearly cheering him and supporting him, and lukewarm for Savage. There's no doubt about that on my tape. None at all. Here's what Keith says: "Hogan, sportsman of the year, throws a huge temper tantrum and won’t endorse Savage, and the arena just completely turns on him ala Royal Rumble 92. Hulk Hogan, hero to millions." That's simply not true. But in any case, I did not care for that finish. It would have made more sense for Giant to eliminate Hogan to set up a rematch for Starrcade and for Luger to challenge Savage for the belt at the same event. In a way, it's actually probably for the best that it didn't work out like that.

 

All-in-all, a very fun show and better than any WWF PPV event that year.

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and b ) the comparison massively draws attention to Wrestlemania 3 and, basically, the competition. Schiavone even mentions the Pontiac Silverdome at one point. What were they playing at here? Compare that to how Vince treated NWA guys like Harley Race, where he'd repackage them and essentially erase their histories and you can see clearly that WWF in the 80s had the confidence to do its own thing, whereas WCW in the mid-90s felt the need to hark back to the successes of its main rival in order to get over. This pisses me off really, and it's Uncle Eric all over.

Sixteen years later, and he's still doing the same thing in TNA.

 

I think it was more of WCW willing to acknowledge the outside wrestling world (esp. in view of working with NJPW and AAA) while WWE generally kept an isolated world view.
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  • 2 weeks later...

and b ) the comparison massively draws attention to Wrestlemania 3 and, basically, the competition. Schiavone even mentions the Pontiac Silverdome at one point. What were they playing at here? Compare that to how Vince treated NWA guys like Harley Race, where he'd repackage them and essentially erase their histories and you can see clearly that WWF in the 80s had the confidence to do its own thing, whereas WCW in the mid-90s felt the need to hark back to the successes of its main rival in order to get over. This pisses me off really, and it's Uncle Eric all over.

Sixteen years later, and he's still doing the same thing in TNA.

 

I think it was more of WCW willing to acknowledge the outside wrestling world (esp. in view of working with NJPW and AAA) while WWE generally kept an isolated world view.

 

Yeah, I always liked that about WCW and disliked the WWF for doing that.

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  • 3 months later...

Guys don't know if this will be of any interest, but I've recorded some podcasts ranking the top 50 video games with some online acquaintances recently (see here).

 

In more wrestling related news, I've been watching Superbrawl VI on and off for the past week and only have the Hogan vs. Giant match to go. Before I do my little review, is there any reason why the World Title match wasn't on last?

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In more wrestling related news, I've been watching Superbrawl VI on and off for the past week and only have the Hogan vs. Giant match to go. Before I do my little review, is there any reason why the World Title match wasn't on last?

Because it was Hogan, I'd wager. Was his percentage of PPV income dependent on if he headlined the card?

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Looking back, I don't think Hogan had a match that was ever not the last match on a PPV he was on until Spring Stampede '98 -- the bat match with Nash against Piper and Giant. His next PPV match at the GAB teaming with Bret against Savage and Piper was also not the headlining match. Same for Hogan/Warrior at Havoc (even though that was the match put in the position to draw the money). Pretty sure those are the only WCW PPVs he ever worked where he didn't headline whether he was champ or not. I'm not counting Russo era and don't want to look that up because it will just be depressing and frustrating to re-live that time period, but it may also apply there.

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It was basically just token jobber offense. At no point was Kidman ever portrayed as even remotely being a threat to Hogan in any way. He lost all their matches, lost almost all of the impromptu brawls, Hogan's promos treated him like a complete joke, and Kidman was generally made to look like a total loser who should've never even dreamed of taking on a half-crippled geriatric. It was similar to how Triple H treated a lot of guys like Jericho or Booker, making himself a boring invincible hero who easily slaughtered his opponents at every turn. Considering that pushing Hogan had done nothing but lost WCW money for the past two years, it was clearly time for a change, but he still insisted on being treated like the biggest draw in the industry.

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HHH at least allowed Jericho to look like a threat bell-to-bell. Hogan-Kidman was worse. Not that the feud was a particularly good idea that was going to help Kidman in the first place. If Kidman vs a headliner was going to be a program, he would have been better off with DDP or Jarrett.

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Superbrawl VI review now up:

 

http://www.parviniworld.com/Superbrawl_VI.html

That was a fun read, Jerry. I remember being particularly disinterested in almost everything WCW did at that point.

 

If I remember the DDP storyline correctly, casino security footage was found that proved Kimberly won the money at bingo and Page switched her card. The climax to the Badd-Page feud was Badd leaving abruptly for the WWF and Brutus Beefcake, as the Booty Man, taking over and Page losing a retirement match to him. Some student filmmaker allegedly found a penniless and homeless page on the streets somewhere before ultimately he was picked up in a limo and then there was a mystery as to who his benefactor was. Ultimately, Page returned to WCW and they never explained who the benefactor was.

 

Admittedly, I liked the idea of someone finding Page on the street and turning the tape into WCW. That and the police refusing to intervene in the McMahon hostage situation because they thought it was a publicity stunt were nice touches, as opposed to the camera just happening to be there moments before something goes down.

 

Also, Jerry, SuperBrawl VI was the card that WCW was teasing on Nitro would be a bloodbath and Vince fired off A Nasty Letter to Ted Turner tattling on Bischoff for advertising "barbarism".

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  • 1 month later...

Two for the price of one today because the forum was down when I did Uncensored '96. Both pretty rubbish shows. Any feedback welcome as ever, but would particularly like some detail on Jeeves.

 

Uncensored '96:

 

http://www.parviniworld.com/Uncensored96.html

 

Slamboree '96:

 

http://www.parviniworld.com/Slamboree96.html

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