Thanks to http://www.digits.com for their badass righteous free counters
Fall Brawl '00 Recapitulation
Note to Cobo: if you feel more comfortable writing my name with an 'e', do it. You're the internet celebrity, I'm the mark. Abuse me. Use me. Just up and confuse me. My first rant was a WWF one, then Toryumon, and to completely fuck youze on your ass, I bring the WCW rant. Next time: New Japan. IT'S ALL THE SAME TO ME.
If you've listened to Wrestling Observer Live with Meltzer lately, you've heard Vince Russo's stay in WCW ripped a new asshole time and time again. Even his WWF tenure is criticized by Meltzer, Alvarez and especially Cornette on a pretty consistent basis. Russo in the WWF drew the largest ratings and brought wrestling to the greatest popularity it ever achieved. I think there was a lot of jealously from WWF people that got cast out as a result of his success.
I mean, say what you want, but the guy is one of the most creative bookers ever in this business. He booked the largest money drawing angle in North American history: Steve Austin v. Vince McMahon. Some people hated Crash TV, but it brought us the most entertaining television ever. Russo came up with storylines for undercard guys that were being given horrible gimmicks that just weren't real enough. He put them in angles that got the fans interested.
Anyway, what I'm building to here is the essential conflict between the old style of North American wrestling and the new style. The proponents of the old style include Meltzer, Cornette, Scott Keith, etc. These are the guys that think Ric Flair was the greatest. That 1989 was the greatest year for wrestling ever. That the old days are the good days, and that today is worse. They grew up with the NWA, and regional organizations as well, and they love the old days because those were the mark days. Now some of the marks have changed their thinking as smarts, but they were never bale to appreciate ECW and Crash TV as the phenomenal, positive changes in the wrestling industry that they were.
It all came together for me when I heard Jim Cornette preaching hate about Paul Heyman and Vince Russo.
Because I started to think about Mick Foley. In 1989, Mick Foley would never have made it in the big time. He never would have been a main-eventer.
It was Paul Heyman who started to think outside the box. Who took a chance that working the hardest mattered, and that old-school booking would no longer draw a dime in this country. He booked real angles, with real wrestlers, who didn't fit the mold the NWA and WWF had created. He showed that workrate simply mattered. And the guys that couldn't work? He booked around them. He made guys like Taz, Sabu, RVD huge stars within his own company-and if he wasn't getting his wrestlers stolen every five minutes he wouldn't have had to book the way he did near the end.
I kept thinking about the way that wrestling has changed. You know who popped into my mind-Chris Benoit. Who never got a shot in the old-school booking of WCW. Who got tossed around by the bookers Jim Cornette worked for and Dave Meltzer worships.
It was Vince Russo who started to think outside the box. While the phrase itself is clich‚d, the thought isn't. It was Russo who extinguished male managers-because he knew that in the modern era of wrestlers, WWF superstars had to cut their own promos. The regional managers just didn't work anymore.
Despite the cries on Meltzer's show, they aren't coming back-and for good reason. The managers allowed no-talent hacks to survive.
Mick Foley and ECW as a whole revitalized the industry. If not for them, the wrestling business never gets as big as it gets today. Fellas, there was a reason Smoky Mountain went out of business. It was 80s when the marketplace wanted 90s. And the 90s was the decade of "garbage wrestling." All the purists hate "garbage wrestling."
What everyone forgets is that before garbage wrestling came along, ECW was the realism. It was brutal, and it drew fans and it drew attention from the WWF because it was real. They broke kayfabe in a way that it had never been broken before-and fans liked that. Vince McMahon used it, and spawned icons in that new mold. The biggest icon this industry has ever seen: The Rock. Stone Cold Steve Austin. HHH.
But let me get back to where I started.
Russo. WCW. Russo, for sure, worked better when he had someone checking his ideas, censoring them, filtering them. He was no good as a boss. Easily subverted by politics, it turned out he did not have the heart for the wrestling industry.
As Jim Cornette cried out in booking meetings that the old-school was getting lost, we knew what drew ratings. What would make wrestling bigger than it ever had been before. A lot of people bitch that old-school booking is no longer in vogue. That Jericho lost to Rhyno and it makes him look weak. I stands all I can and I can't stands it no more! That is bloody ridiculous. Winning or losing, for better or worse (and I'm inclined to say better) doesn't matter anymore. Fans don't need to care who wins or loses, they need t care about stories. And before Russo and Paul Heyman were the top bookers in this country, there weren't as many of them.
Look at the stories Mick Foley created in the Russo system.
Cut to WCW. Russo was in over his head, no doubt about that. But while the internet accuses him of burying WCW, they ignore a fact that I will always think of when I hear those three letters.
It was already dead.
Here's a list of things Russo didn't book:
Goldberg losing to Kevin Nash via a stungun. Goldberg defeating Hogan for the title. Rodman's involvement in a PPV main event. Master P. Sid v. Kevin Nash. Macho Man Randy Savage wins the World Title. Let's go back further: Hulk Hogan buries Ric Flair and Sting.
WCW was already dead, and there was a long road to profitability.
It had been killing itself for years and years. And what it couldn't do was change with the times the way the WWF was able to. It couldn't push the right guys until it was too late.
People who saw WCW feature Macho Man & Sid v. Sting & Kevin Nash on PPV as the main event actually lamented that old-school southern style that won't come back. And people still say that WCW should use that. Listen, the southern style is dead and it ain't never coming back.
The old days and workrate were oft separated from each other, folks. The old matches suck and the new ones are better. It is only in 1998-2000 that how good a worker you were really began to MEAN something.
Hindsight is 20/20, and when we look back at the ONE YEAR Russo had to right a company that had been falling on its ass since it existed, we judge him too harshly. It was everything WCW was that killed it.
So when I think back on the Russo era, I think of a lot of good things. Nobody liked when David Arquette won the WCW Title, and I won't scapegoat it at all. Russo could have vetoed it. But more importantly, he booked the right guys in the right angles for a long time. Bret Hart v. Chris Benoit at Mayhem. Bret Hart v. Goldberg. I will always remember the Nitro in the World Title tournament where Bret, crippled with a knee injury, beat Goldberg with the help of the Outsiders. Russo was willing to push new guys: Chris Benoit, DDP, Jeff Jarrett, Booker T.
It wasn't Vince Russo that drove Benoit et al out of the company.
Anyway, if this WWF summer has taught us anything, it's that the old won't cut it and nobody could push the new like Russo.
To the show:
This is probably my favorite show of the Russo era, just because the booking was pretty on target and the workrate was excellent. I reviewed it at the time, and some of my comments on the show ended up being relatively ironic. I make new comments in italics.
This began WCW's streak of awesome PPV logos, which seemingly ended with WCW Sin. For some reason the logo of the PPV has a lot to do with whether I'll buy the show or not. Long live my superficiality.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Mark Madden, along with Scotty Hudson, whose commentary ability has declined like Jericho's workrate.
1. Kwee-Wee v. Elix Skipper. Skipper has gotten increasingly buff since he debuted. He's now bigger than Storm, and yet he's still a cruiser. I hope they move him out of the division. Nice slam to start, and a dropkick sends Elix out of the ring. Wristlock reversal sequence and an elbow drop gets two for KW. They do a neat-o reversal sequence, and a USA chant comes out.
I'm amazed the Canada stuff still gets boos, it seemed played to me. Elix tries to escape the wristlock in a variety of ways, but they fuck up a leapfrog and try to do something else. Elix takes control with a clothesline to the back of Funk's head, and Skipper sells the arm. Skip gets backdropped to the apron, comes off moonsault style and hooks a dragon suplex (nicely executed) for two. Good upper body strength, but talk about showy. Gets two again. Gets two again. Nice touch. Major Gunns and Paisley are at ringside, by the way. Backdrop suplex and the cool twisting legdrop for two. Skipper hooks a sleeper and pounds on the arm. Kwee-Wee tries to fight out of it. It takes way too long. I'm glad the women are all gone from WCW, they weren't that hot besides Torrie and she was doing nothing at that point anyway. KW hits a bodypress but Prime-Time fall-away suplexes him out of the ring. Skipper rips Funk off the apron and Funk hits his head. Beautiful quebrada takes out the cameraman. Nice visual, even if it was unintentional. Back inside, KW stops the count by putting his foot on the ropes. Overdrive attempt is reversed in a doctorbomb, and the Natural Born Thrillers are out. Kneelift from KW, and armdrag, and Thesz press allow Angry Allan to come out. Dropkick for two. Large backdrop gets two. He tosses Skipper, who sells the knee. Mike Sanders interferes, but Elix gets his top rope flying bodypress reversed for two. Skipper starts working over his leg for no discernible reason. Oh, Sanders hit Kwee-Wee in the leg. Elix Skipper dodges a clothesline by bridging, and chopblocks the knee. Overdrive finishes it to retain the title. *** They could have used a little more time, but while Kwee-Wee is kind of lackluster, Skipper is sharp out there, and he could be a star if this wasn't WCW.
THE AFTERMATH: These Aftermaths will relate more to the wrestler's potential value in the new WCW and their place in the Russo era. Skipper could be a star in this industry as part of tag team and later on as a singles competitor. Allan Funk? Who knows. They put on a good match here.
2. Shannon Moore, Evan Karagias, and Shane Helms v. Lt. Loco, Lash LeRoux, and Seargant A-Wall. 3-Count does an entire new song before the match. Hugh Morrus' recent comments about MIA being broken up because they got more over than they should are ones I agree with. The reason fans eventually got into the MIA is because it wasn't just a gimmick, they developed the characters. Although he's lucky he was pushed at all; I have no idea why anyone thinks he's a good worker.
Why does Loco start up a USA chant? Loco and Shannon start, and they work well together, with Chavo whipping out an ocean cyclone suplex and tagging Lash in. Crowd is into the MIA. Shannon hits a second turnbuckle moonsault, and tags Evan in. Big military press, but spin kick leads to the tag to Helms. The Wall comes in to a nice pop, and Helms administers a huge nasty spinebuster slam. The count is broken up. The Wall destroys three count and tags Lash in. Heels gets the Sidewinder (spinning neckbreaker-samoan drop combo) for two on Lash, and Shannon comes in on Lash. Shannon breaks out the Val Venis knee-to-the-gut-off-the-ropes spot and fameassers LeRoux for two. Suplex crossbody combo for two.
Heels work over Lash. He tries a comeback but Evan gets a powerslam and flying elbow for two. The Free Fall brings Shane in for two. Slugfest, and Shane brings out the Russian legsweep into the backbreaker and there's a Shannon floatover splash for two. I love that move. Shannon misses a blind charge and Lash whips out the whompass springboard X-Factor. Hot tag, and the Wall cleans house. Big boot! Backbreaker! Helms stops the tide with a low blow, and an awesome senton starts the huge spots. Helms gets caught by Wall on the apron, but Moore distracts him and Shane Helms SUPERKICKS Wall off the apron through the table. Awesome.
Chavito is back in the ring, but he dodges a superkick so that Shane hits Evan, and catches Moore coming off the top with a sit down ranabomb. Neat. Heels drop a double suplex on two men, but no go, and Lash and Loco try to suplex Evan, but he turns it into a double DDT and covers. Wall breaks up the count, and Chavo pushes Shane into the Whiplash. Perfect ending to one of my favorite matches of the Russo era. ***1/2 Best six-man of the year, hands down.
THE AFTERMATH: I certainly don't think they should have featured Hugh Morrus on RAW, but with the MIA he took a gimmick that could have gone either way and Russo gave the midcard guys enough push to make it work. Go on, name a successful WWF faction post-Russo in which all the guys received added push as a result of being in it. Time's up. Shane Helms has good talent. Shannon Moore has good talent. The Wall has good talent. Period.
3. Kronik v. The Harris Boyz. Crush asks for the match to be a first blood chain match. Kane v. HHH FLASHBACKS! Er...FLASH FORWARDS! THE MOST BRUTAL MATCH OF ALL! God knows I won't bother including play by play of this match. Suffice to say, the Harris Boyz have never had a match over *, and this one won't get there either. Plenty of weak brawling to go around, as they fight through the crowd. Bryan Clarke is the only one with his working boots on (what a change), and he works in his usual spots, even though he's never going to the WWF, that's for fuckin' sure. Assorted boring weapons such as a baseball bat are used until Kronik "bleeds" and the ref rings the bell because he didn't see whatever. Bo-ring. DUD All four of these guys were at one time in the WWF. Maybe if Crush brought back the Skull-Crusher as his finisher, he'd be over again. If WCW is reading, that was sarcasm.
THE AFTERMATH: Hi, we're four single guys looking for a job in a wrestling company. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? No? Fair enough.
Lance Storm to the ring- "I am so close, yet so far from home. I can't believe living this close to the greatest country in the world, you all haven't packed up and moved north of the border by now. If I can be serious for a moment, the Death Valley Driver guys are a bunch of mo-mos. Long live Jeremy Botter! Hoo-wee!" Fun-ny.
4. Lance Storm v. Hugh Morrus, US Title. They play the entire Canadian national anthem. Duggan is the special guest ref. Boy, this one was just begging for a clean match with no one at ringside. I dig the story the announcers try to tell, even if the match never gets there. Hugh no-sells Lance's offense and hits a back drop. Thanks, Billy Gunn. He tosses Lance carefully through the bottom rope. Lance tries a crucifix, but Rection sits back on it. Body avalanche, and a second one misses. Scoop slam by Storm, and they go the top for a second rope superplex for two. Low blow, and I feel like I'm watching Nitro. Superkick for two. I guess Duggan's the special enforcer, but if so, why is he wearing a referee shirt? Perplexing. Dropkick for two.
Lance whips out the PPV plancha and hucks Rection into the turnbuckle. A reversal of fortune finds them inside the ring. Jawbreaker, but Rection gets a powerslam for two. Lance kicks out Jarrett style by raising his arm but not his shoulder. Hugh hits a doctorbomb for two. Lance tries a northern lights suplex, but a reversal sees a dragon screw legwhip and a Maple Leaf attempt. Rection nails a release German suplex, and tosses Storm, but Duggan rolls him back in. Hugh sets up for the moonsault but, of course, Duggan turns on Rection for no reason that I can think of and Lance puts on the Maple Leaf for the win. They had something going there, but the ending stops it, Russo style. **, but they could have used a bit longer and psychology to make this a good match. I still will never understand what is so great about Lance Storm. The guy is just not good at all, and the internet is only marking out for his look and gimmick. It's notable that Duggan still plays to crowd as a face after his heel turn.
THE AFTERMATH: ** is the match two guys FEATURED in the WCW invasion put on. I liked WCW as a separate product near the end, but I don't care for the run-ins. They is blowing it. And DDP? Not. Gonna. Work.
NBT interview. Gene calls Mike Sanders a prick, and tells O'Haire he can blow it out his ass. This, of all things, gets Gene over.
5. Mike Sanders, Reno, Johnny the Bull, Shawn Stasiak, Chuck Palumbo, Sean O'Haire and Mark Jindrak v. Disco Inferno, Juventud Guerrera, Konnan, Big Vito, Rey Mysterio, Tygress and Paul Orndorff. Stasiak says that Konnan "has a homo complex." Well done, you should be in the WWF for a long time. Rey and Jindrak start. Stalling suplex on Rey leads to an elbow and a whip out of the ring. Rey sets up a contrived legdrop on the rope spot. Rey's second rope moonsault gets turned into a tilt-a-whirl slam. Huge powerslam gets two for O'Haire on Rey. Juvy comes in with a bodypress, and turns a military press into a jawbreaker on the ropes. Slingshot dropkick, but O'Haire hits a neat-o Falcon Arrow. Juvy hits a rana on O'Haire off a double team and hits a tiger scissors to take down Jindrak. Big Vito comes it and beats on Jindrak, but Disco comes in and clotheslines Jindrak for two. Another tilt-a-whirl slam gets O'Haire in again, and a dropkick gets two.
Sidekick and arrogant cover for two. Disco applies a swinging neckbreaker, and Konnan tags in and attacks with the Rolling Thunder clothesline. 187, but O'Haire does a clothesline from hell, picks Konnan up and a mis-communication spot has Disco hitting a Stunner on Konnan. Konnan is eliminated, 7 to 6. Johnny the Bull hits a nice spinebuster but misses a twisting legdrop. No one will tag in for Disco, and he takes the Roll of the Dice from Reno for three to make it 7 to 5.
Vito and Reno square off. Slugfest, and atomic drop into mafia kick occurs, but Palumbo comes it, only to get implant DDTed for two. Vito brings a stickball (?) bat into the ring, but misses and takes a caneshot into Roll of the Dice for three. I don't know what Reno did to deserve this kind of push, but it went nowhere anyway. Filthy Animals regroup, as they are now down 7 to 4. Juvy comes in and kicks Reno in the face off a press. Juvy hits a top rope spin kick and tags in to Rey. They hit Poetry in Motion, and Juvy hits the Juvy Driver into a "variation" of the Whassup Drop, and the pin is academic. 6 to 4.
Now it's Jindrak and O'Haire v. the face team, and the big men clean house. Missile dropkick sets up a plancha from Juvy, but they catch him and do the cool toss into the ring bit. Sean finishes Juvy with the Seanton Bomb, and it's 6 to 3. Orndorff comes in to clean house, and he takes the vacuum cleaner to the fuckin rug! His deliciously old school offense is stopped by a Johnny the Bull caneshot. Orndorff takes the cane to young Johnny, and hits the piledriver for three. I thought that was the ugly one, but I was wrong. 5 to 3.
Orndorff kicks some more ass, tossing Mark Jindrak in the process. O'Haire breaks out a variety of nasty maneuvers, but takes a knee to the face. Orndorff tries to piledriver Jindrak and does, although it goes badly. O'Haire quickly pins Orndorff to make it 5 to 2. At this point the match is stopped, and the injury is a shame because this match was Michinoku Pro good.
The match continues on Nitro, and though I didn't save that one on tape, the ending was damn fine even though it came as Tygress pinned Mike Sanders or some fucking thing. ***3/4 for the whole shebang. Interestingly enough, Tony stuck with kayfabe through Orndorff being taken to the back.
THE AFTERMATH: Jim Ross said of the former Natural Born Thrillers (ANOTHER good Russo gimmick that got over, by the way) that they need to learn to pace a match instead of throwing out impressive spots. I agree completement.
6. Scaffold match, Billy Kidman and Madusa v. The Franchise Shane Douglas and Torrie Wilson. The scaffold is set up right in front of the WCW-tron. It's a nice scaffold, if too far away from the ring. Kidman asks for the scaffold to be raised, and it gets pretty high up. Shane has the ECW "I'm fucked" look on his face. Good to see. It was really nice of them to give Torrie to Shane, although god knows it didn't work. It's so dangerous out there. Shane does a backdrop, and then Madusa gives him a sidekick. Shane is nearly Over the Edge, but he rebounds and stalks Madusa. Madusa misses an enziguiri, and Shane locks on an STF, which is broken up by Kidman. Kidman now hunts Torrie but gets powerslammed on the scaffold. Shane tries a piledriver, but is backdropped vehemently. Kidman tries a German suplex but hits the sit-out powerbomb.
Shane hits the Franchiser. Man, they are trying their hardest, but it's fucking impossible to get over a match that the crowd can't see. Franchise tries to come down, and kicks Madusa in the process. Shane manages to kick Madusa off, and she takes the bump relatively safely. Shane says, "Fuck you," and turns back to Kidman, who dropkicks him. Shane hits what looks like a gourdbuster, and Torrie hits a low blow to allow Shane to TOSS Kidman off the stage. I say: neat bump. I guess the Franchise wins the match, but only god knows. They walk off the scaffold to get the win? Whatever. They tried their best and I respect that. **1/2 Best scaffold match you'll ever see. It's the Shawn-Razor of one of the worst gimmick match concepts in history.
It's sad that Tony hypes an ambulance after this thing, even with Orndorff's actual injury fifteen minutes previous. Also sad was Scott Hudson and Mark Madden yelling "[insert move here] on a scaffold!!!" after every maneuver. It's not an amazing WWF ladder match, it just doesn't deserve that hype. I'm not criticizing them for hyping the product, I just question their judgment.
THE AFTERMATH: Kidman should be pretty big in WCW, Shane's career is over, we hardly know ya, Troy. I'd be sad but you can't work anymore, so what's the point?
A large part of pay-per-view time is taken up by a stupid David Flair pregnancy skit. Who was the father? I have no idea. They should have just let it be Ric and have been done with it.
7. Sting v. Great Muta v. Vampiro. Well, Sting's not trying, even though he's a good sport about the whole thing, Muta is useless and Vampiro is a nut, so you take what you can get here. At some point Sting just stops selling Vamp's offense, destroys the Dark Carnival. Sting beats the entire Dark Carnival up with a baseball bat, hits the Scorpion Death Drop and gets the pin. This was purely a match to put Sting over in preparation for his title shot on Nitro, and it served its purpose, although it did nothing for anyone else. 1/2* I liked the whole Sting v. Vampiro idea even if the execution was off. It really did elevate Vampiro...in my eyes, at least. I'm just a boy in the world, that's all that they'll let me be.
Mike Awesome interview, as That 70's Guy. I'm amazed he had the talent to get this gimmick over. It should prove to the WWF guys that he's capable of a lot more than the Canadian Killer gimmick.
8. Bunkhouse Brawl, Jeff Jarrett v. Mike Awesome. Jarrett cuts a Memphis promo against some of the Buffalo Bills who are at ringside. Jeff Jarrett will never be a top guy in wrestling, and the reason is that he's never worked a program with a guy so legitimate he transcended the business. It could have been Benoit, it could have been Rock, it could have been Austin, but it wasn't any of them. He's really increased his workrate since arriving in WCW, so it's kind of a shame that he got smoked the way he did, pegged forever as one of the least drawing world champions of all time. If you had to make a list of the top ten worst WCW World Champions who weren't celebrities, it'd probably go like this. When I say worst, I mean least credible.
I'd actually like to hear if anyone disagrees with this list. You know where to hit me.
Back to the match: Begin the weak brawl, as they pummel each other around ringside. Jarrett straps him with a leather belt. Why they didn't go for a straight match here is fucking beyond me. Awesome gives bumps, he doesn't take them. Clothesline sends Jarrett out, and Awesome wins dueling chairs on the outside. Awesome puts him on a table, in the ring, but Jarrett cuts him off and kind of backdrops him through it. Mike hits his table directly on the head, but he worked in Japan so it apparently has no effect. Thanks for the table spot. I've seen Nitro matches between Bigelow and Fullington that were more watchable than this.
Jarrett gets whipped in a barbed wire table, and Awesome hits a pick up sit out powerbomb for two. Mike misses the frog splash, and it's at this point that Jarrett taunts the Buffalo Bulls players at ringside. They enter the ring, and pieface Jarrett to set up the sit down Awesomebomb for two. Awesome tries a running awesomebomb but Jarrett hits a low blow, and goes outside for El Kabong. Gary Coleman runs in a stops Jarrett with a ballshot. He poses Austin style. Then Jarrett gives Gary Coleman the guitar. Jarrett tries the stroke, but Sting comes in and hits the Scorpion Death Drop. Awesome covers for the pin. * What a bunch of overbooked shit. I can forgive interference, but not when it occurs three times, demeans the credibility of the guy who should get the win, and is the end of a half-assed match anyway. Jarrett's matches with Chyna were better than this.
THE AFTERMATH: Jarrett's out of a job, that's for sure. He should have gone out of the WWF with a little less fanfare. Mike Awesome should be a big piece of the new WCW.
Review of Steiner v. Goldberg, probably the hottest angle in WCW in the past two years.
I can just picture DDP proposing a feud between him and Steiner for the next PPV. DDP: "We hate each other on and offscreen! It'll be as hot as Bret and Shawn! I'm Bret, he's Shawn! Listen to this: DDP has been screwed out of the World Title! It'll draw millions!"
Goldberg was a nice guy to do this job, and I think Scott will be happy to return it. Oops! Spoke too soon.
9. Scott Steiner v. Goldberg. Steiner wears the scary face mask, and I forget the real reason why. Steiner stalls to start, which is really unusual. I feel like putting an emoticon here, but we know I'm not that guy. They lock up, and Goldberg hits a jumping shoulderblock. Military press slam (!) and Steiner rolls outside. Goldberg follows, and Schiavone claims it's everything we expected in five minutes, although it's only been three. Steiner throws him against the rail, and back in the ring hits the clothesline, elbow drop combo for two. Chops, but Steiner whips Goldberg to the turnbuckle and takes a nasty kick in his face for the trouble. Butterfly suplex by Goldberg sets up punches, but Steiner hits what is basically a Diamond Cutter to retake the advantage. Big belly to belly suplex for two. Tombstone reversal, and Goldberg turns it into a press slam for two. Nice.
Steiner jumps out of the way of the spear, and heads to the top rope (!) but Goldberg catches him coming off in a powerslam. Boy, this is proof that Scott Steiner can still lay out a classic. Big pop for the powerslam, but both men are down. Scott rolls outside the ring, but he throws Goldberg into the steps, Cobo-style. He's working stiff, and it's getting ugly. Midajah comes out to ruin what would have been an awesome clean match. She brings out a pipe. Steiner continues the vicious assault with a chair. He puts Bill in the tree of woe, and assaults him with the chair. Goldberg blades. Steiner picks him up and t-bones him. Steiner moves into pushups and applies a backbreaker for two. Steiner tries for a dragon suplex, but Goldberg fights out, and Steiner hits a nasty overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Whew, Goldberg lands right on his head there. Steiner asks for the pipe, but Goldberg hits the spear.
He goes for the jackhammer, but Vince Russo is in and hits Goldberg with a baseball bat. At this point, the Dusty finish finally became known as the Russo finish, but I'll discuss the impact on the match later. That gets two for Steiner. Steiner tosses Goldberg, and he stalks Russo. Steiner resumes the assault and throws him into the rail. Steiner decides to go to the table, and he slams Goldberg through the precut table, propped up on one leg, for two. Not a terribly impressive visual, needless to say. Inside the ring, Steiner says he's going to finish with the Steiner Recliner. Goldberg is suffering, but he finally backs out of it and picks Steiner up on his shoulders and drops him LEG-FIRST on the ropes. Oh man.
Steiner's back up, and he has Goldberg on the top rope. They battle up there, but Midajah knocks Goldberg out with the pipe momentarily, allowing Steiner to hit probably the sickest top rope belly-to-belly suplex I've seen in a long time, for two. Steiner goes to finish again with the Recliner, but he reaches the ropes and bilks Steiner out of the ring. Steiner brings a chair in, but Goldberg hits the Roll of the Dice (suplex position into neckbreaker) to subdue Steiner. Russo attacks at this point, but Goldberg destroys him only to get hit with a lead pipe by Scott Steiner. Steiner Recliner, and Goldberg's hand can't stay up, so it's over. Oh man. **** God all mighty, this match is All Japan good. This match compares well to stiffer stuff in New Japan today, and that's saying something.
Steiner did everything he could to put Goldberg away there, and he got himself over without jobbing out Goldberg badly. Goldberg even continues selling post-match. It's hard to deduct for interference, because it really was well done, but nevertheless, the match is seriously overbooked. I mean, what was the point of Midajah out there? Nothing. The Russo stuff was necessary in the short term, as it set up Russo v. Goldberg-not that that got over, but some were thinking it might.
Video package reminds me how much I hate Kevin Nash.
10. Booker T v. Kevin Nash, World Title, Cage Match. Booker T cuts a nice promo before the battle. I'll be recapping puroresu style for this one. Nash receives the tweener pop, which I'm sure always pleases him. Way to get Booker over as a face, you big fuckhead. Cage matches suck, but at least it eliminates the possibility of interference. It seems like someone could lay a nice match out for them here. Nash gives Booker a Misawa body slam, but Booker retaliates with ROLLING THUNDER ELBOW~!. Nash continues the onslaught, unleashing brutal right hands in the corner. He takes a bite of a sandwich and then continues. Booker comes back but takes a LARIATOOOOO! for two. Nash goes into one the most horrific surfboard stretches I've ever seen. Booker T fights over, body slam, legdrop, it's over. Diesel side slam gets two, as Nash looks at ringside to see if Vince is cool with his offense. Nash exposes the turnbuckle and tries to drop Booker on it. Reversal, and Booker hits the body slam and nice sidekick to set up the axe kick. You can see the smile on Nash's face as he realizes what will happen in just a few months. Booker T tries the Book-End, but Nash throws him off and hits the big boot. Nash chokeslams him for two. Since when does Nash do the chokeslam? I digress-Big Sexay crawls over, 1, 2, no.
Nash winks at the camera and smashes Booker against the mesh, as he apparently realizes he is in a cage. Booker fights off, and pounds Big Foxy with stiff~! rights. He bashes Nash against the exposed turnbuckle and Nash is bleeding a gusher. He is at .8 muta folks, this is sick! Nash says to Booker quietly "punch at the cut, the cameras are watching." Nash is actually bleeding fairly steadily. Nash sets up for the powerbomb, but Booker climbs up to the top turnbuckle out of it. He comes off with the missile dropkick for two. Booker tries a sidekick, but Nash catches and hits the LARIATOOOOO! on Booker. Both men are down, and Nash is wearing the crimson mask. Booker T whales on Nash until Nash hits a low blow. Nash keeps selling, good for him! Big foot for real this time, and NASH IS DROPPING THE STRAP! WILL WE SEE THE BURNING HAMMER!?! NO, IT'S THE TIGER DRIVER '91, HE SETS UP BUT DECIDES TO GO FOR THE JACKNIFE INSTEAD! Booker flips out of the Jacknife, and hits the Book-end for three. Match lasted about 9:04. This was the last nine minutes of a pretty good match. There was no build, so there was really no heat. Nevertheless, I have nothing bad to say about what was put out there, and the finish was clean, so **3/4 for the fine effort by both men.
If see Kevin Nash or Scott Hall in the WWF again I will turn off my television for good, never to watch again.
THE FINAL AFTERMATH: Steiner v. Goldberg is worth checking out in and of itself. This. Is. A. Really. Good. Show. The younger guys worked their asses off, and even Kevin Nash probably had his best match in two years. Now I move into reflection mode...
Vince Russo. The very name exposes fear in the heart of many. Yet if Russo could have succeeded in WCW-and that was a possibility-the wrestling world would be better off today. I lament the death of WCW, because Russo gave me some good moments, even if it didn't work out. Sniff. wCw won't be any good, it looks like, so I take comfort in MY good "old" days.
Historically, the Steiner win is pretty big, and the Booker T win isn't so bad. This is the show that pretty much showcased a lot of the stuff in WCW today and how it could work on PPV, so it's a fine model.
The previous two sentences, for all intensive purposes, proved worthless.
Recommendation, not that you'll be able to find it anywhere commercially.
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