Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Superbrawl VIII
Posted by Jack Bramma on 09.20.2012
DDP and Chris Benoit battle for the US Heavyweight Championship, Sting and Hollywood Hogan battle for the vacant WCW world belt, and Macho Man tries to tear apart the nWo from the inside.
• Scheduled Card:
1. WCW World Television Champion: Booker T vs. Rick Martel (c).
2. WCW World Television Championship: Saturn vs. Winner (c).
3. La Parka vs. Disco Inferno.
4. Brad Armstrong vs. Bill Goldberg.
5. Title vs. Mask Match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho (c).
6. Mongo McMichael vs. British Bulldog.
7. Special Return Match for the WCW United States Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page (c).
8. No DQ Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger.
9. WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship: The Outsiders vs. The Steiners (c).
10. Match for the Vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting.
• Video package includes a series of black and white stills setting up Sting/Hogan II. The gothic voice-over is always a nice melodramatic touch that I enjoy.
• Tony starts to say that Hogan and Sting will fight tonight for the “most prestigious title in the history of wrestling.” Ehhhhhh, not really. Tony then plays up all the mystery surrounding Macho Man’s allegiance to the n.W.o or whether he could cost Hogan the match. Tenay piggy backs and adds in “tonight, we finally crown a world’s heavyweight champion.” Brain says that Hogan might lose the balance of power in the n.W.o if he can’t bring the belt back to the stable.
• WCW World Television Champion: Booker T vs. Rick Martel (c). Originally, it was Book/Saturn for the belt but WCW hotshotted the belt onto Martel, so instead we’re combining the two: The winner of this match has to defend the TV title later tonight against Saturn. Book is super over with the crowd. Martel offers Book a shake to start but he shoves him away and goes to the rights and hits a big back drop. Book with another haymaker and sends Martel reeling to the floor. BUT WAIT! RAVEN HAS COME OUT TO JOIN THE FLOCK AT RINGSIDE! Martel back in and he and Book slug it out as Raven slowly makes his way around ringside. Martel tries a hiptoss but Book blocks and clotheslines him down. Tenay talks about the “historic Cow Palace” and then unloads one of the worst mixed metaphors of all time: “you can cut the tradition with a knife.” Book with a back elbow and covers for a 2 count. Book goes to a resthold as we cut to the Flock sitting in the front row. This must be near the beginning of their shtick because Tony is clueless: “Now, they have to buy their seats, am I right?” Martel gets a break in the corner and pounds Book down with boots which according to Tony makes him “more aggressive than he’s ever been.” What if he upgrades to combining punches and boots in the same flurry? Book shrugs it off and hits a spinkick as the crowd eats it up again. Book drops a knee for 2. BACKTOTHERESTHOLD! Tenay explains the resthold as both guys trying to conserve energy and slow the pace knowing they might have to work two matches tonight with another against Saturn. I’ll buy that. Book blocks an O’Connor Roll attempt and hits the Harlem Sidekick for 2. MOARRESTHOLD! This goes on for a bit before Book blocks a turnbuckle smash and then throws Martel around with a hiptoss. Book: “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Unfortunately, it would be Martel taking the brunt of that due to the small ring and Book overthrowing him. Martel lands awkwardly on the ropes and tears out part of his knee.
• Like a MAN, Martel backdrops him to the floor to cut him off and then hits the MODEL HAMMER to send Book into the guardrail. Martel diligently pounds Book into the apron and poses to sizeable boos. Book’s not the most consistent seller in the world, but he’s solid when he’s on and sticks to bumping. Back in, Book avoids a charge in the corner and goes to the forearms and a sideslam. Book whiffs on an elbow but no sells the impact and uses it as a setup to Spinroonie. What the hell was that? Book with a head of steam but runs into a powerslam. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2 for Martel. Martel goes to the anchor hold. Book elbows his way free but runs into a spinebuster. Boston Crab time WITH A TORN KNEE LIGAMENT! Book gets the ropes and goes back to booting Book’s lower back. Brain: “If it had been Martel [grabbing the ropes], the ref probably would have kicked his hand off the ropes.” Tony: “Why would you say something like that?” Brain: “Because that’s what I’ve seen my whole life. Things like that happen.” Tony: “Well you deserve things like that.” Brain: “I WON’T ARGUE OUT HERE WITH YOU FOR THE NEXT FEW HOURS! I’M GOING TO HAVE TO ASK YOU TO LEAVE!” Martel with a slick crossbody but Book rolls through and covers for 2. Book now with a deep-seated O’Connor Roll for 2. Martel comes back with a clothesline for 2. Book ducks a few clotheslines and hits a burrito. Book sets up the Ax Kick and the Sidewalk Slam. He raises the roof and heads up for a crossbody but Martel ducks out of the way. Martel now tries a double ax handle but jumps off into a Harlem Sidekick. Book covers for 1, 2, 3 to crown a new champ to a big pop at 10:35. Took them a bit to develop their rhythm but this was fine especially considering Martel, the tough bastard, was working with one wheel after the halfway point. Book is/was superathletic but had yet to figure out how to channel his athleticism into having great matches. Martel would tear his knee even further taking the final sidekick and more or less was forced to retire. **3/4
• Post-match, Saturn jumps the rail, unceremoniously dumps out Martel, and puts the boots to Book. Saturn hooks in the Rings of Saturn to wear down Book. Apparently, being the worst ref ever, Mickey Jay is going to start the match right now. He's not even waiting for Saturn to release the hold or give Book a rest break.
• WCW World Television Championship: Saturn vs. Booker T (c). Crazy detail: Saturn has hair. It's thinning and he'd shave his head soon after this but still it's a crazy visual. Saturn with a quick small package for 2. Saturn tries other pinning combinations but Book winds up in the ropes. Saturn now hooks in the BLATANTCHOKE with his flannel shirt. Without Nirvana, there'd be no Flock. Saturn sends Book into the corner but he slides over and up and comes down with the Brisco roll up for 1, 2, only 2. Book bails out to the floor for a breather so Saturn sends him into the guardrail. Saturn follows up with a flapjack into the guardrail and slams Book's ribs into the ringpost. Saturn breaks the count and tries another whip but Book counters and Saturn eats rail. Saturn no sells and jumps Book from behind which Tony calls “smart wrestling.” Back in, Saturn slowly chops Book and lunges into him with a few awful knees. They horribly botch a whip sequence and Saturn boots him into the corner. Not good. They repeat it and this time Saturn runs into a World's Strongest Slam. Saturn dumps Book out again and hits a plancha to the floor. Saturn then hits a springboard VADER BOMB! Back in, Book ducks a few shots and hits a burrito. Book goes for a flying hipcheck in the corner but Saturn avoids and Book bombs out and eats it facefirst. Saturn puts him up top for the super back suplex. Double KO spot. Bobby points out that if Book loses he'll be the shortest TV champ ever and Tony almost orgasms at his call. Tony: “If Booker T loses – GOOD CALL, BRAIN! – it'll become the shortest title reign ever in the history of our sport!” Brain: “You think this Brain thing is just a gimmick?” Tony: “YES I DO!” Because Mickey Jay doesn't count while Book is in the ropes, Tony compliments him and then transitions to how he hopes this will land MJ the job refereeing Hogan and Sting tonight.
• Meanwhile, Saturn preps a superplex but Book counters to a gordbuster and hits the Missile Dropkick FROM THE HEAVENS! Book recovers to hit the spinkick. Saturn ducks behind Book and hits an Exploder. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½ for Saturn. Saturn with a belly to belly for another 2. Saturn counters and hits a Lionsault press and for some reason sells it himself for the double KO again. This is like the 4th double KO tease of the match. Book must be blown up big time after that first match. Saturn with more generic choking to buy time. Book stumbles trying a springboard crossbody and Saturn throws him into the mat and covers for another 2 count. Saturn goes to the chinlock to slow it down even further. Tenay now chimes in to say that they are getting word from the back that Martel tore his MCL. Book and Saturn get heads of steam and collide on a double crossbody attempt. Tony: “I'm not sure if foreheads hit or what.” Saturn with another powerslam and now he collapses in a heap from exhaustion. Damn, I understand Book being tired but Saturn might need to just hit up the stairmaster. Saturn comes up dry on a Stinger Splash and runs into a Sidewalk Slam. Book with the Ax Kick, Side Slam, but NO SPINAROONIE! HE'S SHOWING SIGNS OF FATIGUE! Book goes for the Harlem Hangover but Saturn moves and Book eats mat. Saturn with a Wrist Clutch Northern Suplex for 2. Saturn with a slow Australian Style German Suplex for another 2. Why the fuck haven't they taken this home when they are so clearly tired and ad-libbing? Book flips out of another suplex and almost lands on his head before hitting the sidekick. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to retain at 14:17. A decent match submarined by the sloppiness and double KO's from lethargy. Watching these single's matches of Book, it's like he's trial and erroring his way through being a single's worker. Learning on the job, because the spots are disconnected and there's little strategy between them. It's like Whack-a-Mole wrestling with its random spinkicks and sidewalk slams that aren't yet timed right and just randomly appear. **3/4
• La Parka vs. Disco Inferno. LA PARKA MAKES PPV! THE CHAIRMAN OF WCW! I can now die a happy man. This feud as you might have guessed is over who can dance better. Parka wants a chairshot to start but the ref holds him off so Parka just THROWS IT AT DISCO! SABU CHAIRSHOT! Disco regroups and throws Parka into the turnbuckle for some punishment. Parka no sells and runs over him with a shoulderblock. Parka sends him off for a powerslam and DANCES! WOOOOOOOOOO! Disco wants an O'Connor Roll but Parka ducks so now Disco hits a powerslam for 2. Disco with a few running clotheslines in the corner for another 2 count. Parka cuts off Disco with a LEFTY LARIATO! Spinwheel kick follows so Disco takes a breather. Parka follows with a corkscrew plancha as Brain and crew ramble on about Hogan and the belt. Park breaks the count to dance some more and then chops Disco and nicely counters a whip to send him into the guardrail. LARIATO! Brain: “I'm surprised La Parka is not coming off the top rope or doing some of those saulto moons.” Parka flapjacks Disco on the rail and then tells a fan to suck it. Back in, Parka covers for 2. Parka goes for a splash off the top but whiffs and Disco shitcans him out. Now, we repeat the EXACT SAME SEQUENCE on the floor except this time from Disco. I don't have a problem with that because it's a conscious repeat instead of an “I suck and forgot what we just did” repeat. Now, Disco gets in the ring to dance and the crowd boos him because they prefer their dancers from south of the border wearing skeleton costumes. VIVA EL DIA DE LOS MUERTOS! Parka cuts off Disco with a Stun Gun and some STIFF kicks to the head. Cover gets nothing as Disco is in the ropes. Parka plays to the crowd and goes to the chinlock. Disco elbows out but Parka La Magistrals him for 1, 2, only 2. Parka sends Disco into the turnbuckle and connects with a dropkick. Cover gets another 2 count.
• Meanwhile, Tony tries to explain the psychology of arrogant heels: “A lot of time with wrestlers who do a lot of showboating who are very arrogant, you're going to see nonchalant covers. We know by the fact that they dance that they are showboaters; therefore, it would be logical to see nonchalant covers.” He says that like a biology teacher trying to explain the Krebbs Cycle. Parka wipes out on a charge in the corner as the crowd is getting restless. Disco with a back elbow for 1, 2, still 2. Parka with more kicks and an anti-Newtonian rana that sends Disco to the floor. Parka with a suicide dive to the floor. Tenay: “Tope suicida, south of the border, the suicide dive.” Tony: “Tope suicida?” Tenay: “Correct.” Tony: “Very good. First time I've ever heard you say that.” Tenay: “[with pride] Add a little bit something different from time to time.” Brain: “Can you get it with chips and salsa?” Tony: “Thank you, Brain, for adding nothing to that exchange.” Back in, Disco gets the boot up on a few charges and then Parka gets overzealous and runs into the ringpost. Disco with an inverted atomic drop and a burrito for 2. Disco hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Disco pounds down Parka in the corner but the ref pulls him away. Disco accidentally waffles the ref. That allows Parka to cold cock Disco from behind. Parka brings the chair in and smashes Disco into it. The ref recovers to see Disco crotch Parka on the top rope and then armdrag him off the top into the chair. Disco hits the Chartbuster to win it at 11:44. Another workmanlike encounter that was solid for the first few minutes with the callback and the dueling dancing taunts, but the go home seemed a bit thin and lacking in the vigor department. **1/2
• Meanwhile, Gene Mean is with JJ Dillon. Gene says he doesn't want to speculate but he will about the status of referee Nick Patrick. Eastbound and Down makes his way out at the behest of JJ. Dillon says Nick has been officially reinstated. Nick goes bananas (or at least as bananas as a wooden, stilted ref can). He hugs JJ and kisses Gene and then commandeers the mic to cut a promo: “I knew you'd see the light, Mr. Dillon. I want you to know this is one of the happiest days of my life. For all you fans out there who stuck behind me through this whole ordeal and for my family out there watching, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I'm so glad that tonight in tonight's main event, I will be able to vindicate myself in front of all you people. I'm going to call this match right down the middle just the way I see it.” His delivery is so painfully dry that the whole thing is like performance art. Bravo, Nick Patrick. JJ, however, has other ideas and says that Nick isn't reffing the main event tonight. JJ walks off as Nick chastises Gene about his authority over the refs and demanding back pay.
• Brad Armstrong vs. Bill Goldberg. For those of you expecting a squash, I'll have you know that you can't look past the likes of a Brad Armstrong. I'll let Raven tell you why.
• Crowd starts a legit chant for Goldberg at the bell. Goldberg with an outside trip takedown. He no sells and tries a rolling kneebar. Brad shoves him so Goldberg press slams him into a BULLDOG POWERSLAM! That move is just so devastating to watch and powerful. Goldberg throws him into the corner and hits a belly to belly suplex. Armstrong chops him in the throat and hits a Russian Legsweep and Tenay is afraid the streak is over before it gets started. Tenay: “THE SIDE RUSSIAN LEGSWEEP! THAT'S HIS TRADEMARK MOVE THAT HAS GOTTEN HIM SO MANY WINS THROUGH THE YEARS!” Goldberg no sells and hits a Gargoyle suplex. Spear, Jackhammer and the Armstrong Curse continues at 2:25. Squash but not as entertaining as Raven's. ¼*
• Title vs. Mask Match for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho (c). Juvy wore a mask at one point, is a former champ and is putting his mask on the line in a chance to regain the belt. Jericho steals a fan's Jericholic sign and then tears it up. Tony: “Mike you said that for Juventud his mask is identity, his entire career. You're saying if he loses, he'll be finished.” If a balrog tore open the ring and pulled Juvy done into the abyss upon losing, this is automatically better than all of Juvy's WWE stint. Mickey Jay wants the belt but Jericho refuses to take it off. Brain: “Look at Jericho with that belt. He doesn't want to take it off. It's his security blanket. That's his binkie.” Tony: “His what?” Brain: “Binkie.” Tony: “His binkie?” Brain: “Yeah.” Tony: “OK. Weeeeeee've had a binkie sighting here at Superbrawl VIII.” Tenay: “He wears it everywhere. Last week, we saw he wore it in a restaurant. Earlier today, he was working out at a gym in the Bay Area and he had it on.” The crowd lets Jericho hear it for whining and not taking the belt off and then Jericho throws a tantrum. Jericho still refuses and goes into a collar and elbow while still wearing it. Well, belts are for holding up your pants. They trade arm wringers before Jericho goes to the chops. Juvy baseball slides through and dropkicks Jericho down by connecting with the belt. Jericho finally takes off the belt reluctantly. Juvy with a spinwheel kick and THE JUICE IS LOOSE! Jericho takes off with a hammerlock and boots Juvy down. Juvy comes back with a ugly flying headscissors and a springboard spinwheel kick from the apron. Juvy heads up top and jumps off and ranas Jericho to the floor. The ref starts the count as Jericho plays possum to try and win by countout. MJ gets up to 8 on the count as Juvy rolls to the floor and starts throwing bows. Back in, Jericho literally walks Juvy to the middle for the next spot. Juvy lands on his feet out of a German attempt but gets alley ooped into the top rope. Juvy bails out to the apron and then gets dropkicked off by Jericho. Crowd chants that Jericho sucks as he works over Juvy. For the third time in this match, Tony segues into talking about which locker room Macho Man is currently occupying: Sting's, Hogan's, Nash's, or Gorgeous George's. Jericho sets up the ring steps and preps a Stinger Splash off them but Juvy catches him and FLAPJACKS HIM INTO THE RAIL! OWWWWWW! That looked brutal. Back in, Juvy tries a crossbody but Jericho catches him in a TOMBSTONE DRIVER! Jericho elbows Juvy down and goes to the C'MONBABY for nothing to boos. Tenay starts going through Juvy's career highlights like he's narrating an obituary in anticipation of the Mexican drug lords leaving Juvy buried out in the desert like the Filthy Animals after his expected loss tonight. Juvy floats over a slam and Victory Rolls Jericho down for 2. Jericho recovers and gets back on the offensive. Jericho with a hanging vertical suplex and a senton for 2.
• BACKTOTHEMACHOMANONCOMMENTARY! Brain: “The most dangerous man in this sport – possibly any sport – is getting ready, if he's not ready, already.” Jericho with a backbreaker and bridges into a submission. Juvy doesn't quit but Jericho releases and starts celebrating anyway. MJ says no go and Jericho throws another tantrum to boos. Juvy comes back with chops but runs into a clothesline for 2 from Jericho. Jericho puts Juvy up top but he flies off trying a rana only for Jericho to counter to an Electric Chair. Jericho heads up top but Juvy dropkicks him off and Jericho cuts a flip to the floor. Jericho says the hell with it and he's taking a walk but conveniently turns around to catch a Juvy splash. Brain: “No upgrading on that flight. Just one passenger: Juvy.” Tony: “You interrupted me for that line?” Back in, Juvy catches Jericho trying up and over and spikes him down with the MICHINOKU DRIVER! Juvy calls for the 450 and HITS IT! Cover gets 1, 2, 3—NO! Jericho's hand is on the ropes. The bell rings and Juvy celebrates but MJ waves it off and tells Juvy the cold, hard truth. Jericho clips the knee from behind on the distraction. The crowd does NOT explode at Juvy's phantom win or the beatdown from Jericho. Juvy with a wheelbarrow roll up and still the crowd isn't biting for the false finish. Juvy counters a powerbomb with a DDT. He covers for 1, 2, 2.99. Juvy goes for a rana but Jericho locks the rope. Juvy lands on his feet and catches a flying Jericho in an atomic drop. Good sequence there. Juvy puts Jericho on the ropes for a springboard rana and covers for 1, 2, 2.99999. They go through the Flair/Steamboat sequence but stop before the backslides so Jericho can hit a reverse suplex. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but whiffs. Juvy tries another wheelbarrow move but Jericho counters and goes for the Liontamer and the crowd FEELS it in anticipation but Juvy rolls him up for another 2. Juvy tries one more rana but Jericho catches him on the way down and deep seats the Liontamer and Juvy taps to a pop at 13:31. This was certainly laid out to be a classic where the babyface gets over through losing by the thinnest of margins – with the face seemingly getting screwed over at every turn and reeling off every desperation move to get a pin and still coming up short. However, the crowd just wasn't into Juvy enough to pull it off. The execution is good to great as the match is a good bit better than the rest of the night so far and Jericho winning here was ultimately the right call as he was just too entertaining. ***3/4
• Post-match, Jericho gets the stick and thanks the Jericholics for all their support. Juvy says he loves his father and then unmasks. The crowd seems pleasantly surprised that he's not a gargoyle. Juvy would end up getting a bit of a push out of this which including El Mariachi-like vignettes and getting beat up by Reese aka Yeti aka not the same guy as Road Block (thanks).
• Mongo McMichael vs. British Bulldog. Bulldog avoids a charge and pounds away in the corner. Mongo no sells and hits a gutwrench slam and stomps a mudhole. Mongo goes to the BLATANTCHOKE. Mongo goes to more rights and a bodyslam. He goes for the leg drop but Bulldog rolls out of the way and starts working the hamstrings. Bulldog calls for the Sharpshooter and Tony even namedrops it on commentary because Bret is already in the fold. Unfortunately, the crowd doesn't really care because it's Mongo and Bulldog. Mongo gets the ropes so Bulldog keeps booting him down. Mongo comes back by gouging the eye and choking Bulldog some more. Mongo smashes him down and facewashs him on the apron and shitcans him out. Mongo then hits the worst double ax handle of all time and Bulldog sells it anyway. Mongo throws him around ringside as Bulldog tries to bump this into a good match. Mongo goes for another STRIP CLUB HAMMER but Bulldog moves and Mongo absolutely BLASTS the ringpost with a haymaker in a decent spot that had good sound to it. Bulldog now slams the hand into the stairs and the guardrail and instantly this match just went up like **. Back in, Mongo no sells and Bulldog just absolutely LAUNCHES himself across the ring flipping into the turnbuckle to sell a whip. That was crazy. Mongo calls for the 3 Point Stance. BUT WAIT! THE HAND IS TOO HURT! PSYCHOLOGY! Mongo no sells a broken wrist and plants his good hand and hits the chop block anyway. Mongo hits another and calls for the Tombstone, but the bad arm is too much to overcome. Bulldog with an armbar takedown and hooks in a sweet Fujiwara armbar and Mongo gives up at 6:11. Shockingly, that was watchable. Bulldog brought his working boots as he bumped all over the place and the match even had some psychology. **1/4
• Post-match, Mongo gets his heat back by saying he refused to quit and waffles the ref.
• Special Return Match for the WCW United States Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page (c). Tony plays up both finishers of the CC and the Diamond Cutter as immediate match-enders. Both guys slap hands out of respect to get us started. DDP goes to work on the shoulder with surges and an arm wringers. Both guys counter and roll through and it's the ECW standoff in the early going. More chain that Benoit gets the advantage on with an armdrag. DDP now with a few forearms and elbows. He pulls Benoit out of the corner only to throw him back into the turnbuckle and hit a gutwrench gutbuster. Nice. DDP goes for a suplex but Benoit counters and hangs him out to dry on the top rope. DDP now blocks a suplex so Benoit takes him down and goes to the CC. Page escapes to the ropes and takes a breather. Tenay says that DDP prepared his strategy tonight off watching a Best-of-Benoit comp that he personally made. Back in, they go to the test of strength and go through a series of roll ups for 2. Benoit goes to the chops and DDP cuts him off with a back suplex. DDP wants the Cutter and now Benoit bails out to avoid in a callback to the same spot for the CC. Back in, they go head to head and smack it out and then trade GnP. DDP with a leap frog and preps a monkey flip but Benoit sniffs it out. Benoit tries another roll up but DDP takes over with a Wheelbarrow suplex for 1, 2, only 2. Benoit baseball slides through and clips the knee. Thought we might be drifting into the heat but instead Benoit goes to a version of the Cobra Clutch to wear DDP down.
• Dallas counters out with a jawbreaker. Benoit chops him down and stomps a mudhole in the corner. DDP tries countering but Benoit hits a snap suplex for 2. Benoit goes back to the hold. Benoit sends him off and then locks in the Sleeper. DDP tries to counter with a suplex but Benoit lands on his feet and reapplies. DDP has HAD IT and backdrops Benoit to the floor. Benoit no sells and heads up top but DDP crotches him on the top rope. I'd have preferred a third attempt at the Sleeper in succession but I digress. DDP preps and hits a top rope superplex. Double KO spot. They get to their feet and slug it out again. DDP wins that one with the DISCUS LARIATO and calls for the Cutter. He goes for it but Benoit throws him to the apron. DDP heads up top and hits a shoulderblock off the top. Benoit with a quick takedown and goes for the CC and the crowd senses it but DDP quickly gets the ropes. They go through a small package sequence for 2 each time. DDP sends Benoit into the turnbuckle and hits a belly to belly suplex for 2 again. Benoit with a standing switch and goes to the ROLLING GERMANS! Bridge on the third gets 1, 2, 2.9999. Crowd exhales with the kickout. Benoit sends DDP off for a hiptoss but DDP counters to a DDT. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Another Cutter attempt but Benoit counters with a backslide. DDP flips him over and hits the DIAMONDCUTTER! Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to retain at 15:47. Another really solid match. All steak here with very little sizzle, though a little sizzle could have crept this into MOTYC territory. Still, just a very good, face-face, back and forth match with lots of well-placed spots and reversals. ***3/4
• Meanwhile, Tony announces that due to flight delays, The Giant will not be here to talk about Kevin Nash breaking his neck. Tony and Tenay compliment the Championship Committee for outlawing the Jackknife. Tony wants Brain to pipe in but then he delivers a fantastic argument for watching the rest of the PPV and ending this cutaway: “I don't want to talk to you two anymore. I want to see the most dangerous man in wrestling, Savage. I want to see Hogan and Sting. I want to see some people fight like we've seen all evening. I don't want to talk to you two. LET'S GO BACK TO ACTION! ROLL IT! GO!” Seriously, why can't more announcers play up how awesome what their seeing is and how bad they want to see it and all the matches? Unfortunately, the production truck and Tony ignore Brain and play a video package for Giant/Nash even though that's not tonight.
• No DQ Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger. Macho is coming out to the n.W.o music and in black-and-white gear but Tony continues playing up that Macho may not be in league with Hogan. I absolutely LOVE the way on commentary that Brain continually puts over how batshit insane Macho is as a character ("THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THIS SPORT!"). It instantly explains away anything he does with just the blanket “HE'S CRAZY!” explanation. Beat up refs? Beat up stable mates? Refuse to tag in? Beat up your tag partner during the match? Randomly beat up La Parka? Walkout? HE'S CRAZY! For other wrestlers, it didn't work. But with a select few, Stone Cold being one of them and Macho Man being another, the “I'm crazy and don't mess with me” gimmick was gold and Brain puts it over wonderfully on commentary. On the other hand, Luger has taped up ribs and no gimmick.
• Luger dodges an early attack and goes for a press slam but collapses under the weight and strain on his ribs. Crowd with a THUNDEROUS LUGER SUCKS chant. Macho gets the boot up in the corner and immediately goes to work on the ropes. Macho shitcans Luger out and drops him ribs-first on the guardrail. He chases away a camera man. Why? HE'S CRAZY! Back in, Macho stays on the ribs and covers for 1. Macho now spits on Luger and boots him around. Savage with a few more ax handles to the breadbasket as Brain plays up his intestinal fortitude and Tony says that Luger may blackout from the pain. Luger small packages Macho for 2 only to get pounded down again and dumped out. Macho throws him into the guardrail and then eyeballs the entire Flock and considers beating all of them up. Why? HE'S THE MADNESS! Macho throws him into a camera man and then brings him into the front rail. Macho waffles Luger's ribs with a chair and hits him with a few closed fists. Mickey Jay tries bringing them back to the ring and Macho CRAZILY smacks the ref. Macho now threatens a fan in the front row but Doug Dellinger holds him off under the promise that he'll try not to fall asleep while someone riffles through his bags in the back. Back to ringside, Macho throws Luger into the stairs and the guardrail. Luger tries blocking but botches that so they do it again and Luger again doesn't block it. This is a one-sided ass kicking. Finally, Luger blocks the fourth only for Macho to boot him in the midsection to hold him off. Back in, Macho hits a suplex but Luger no sells to zero reaction.
• Macho's all WHAT THE FUCK, BRO? I'M NOT FLAIR! STAY DOWN and boots Luger in the ribs. Luger no sells and powerslams Macho showing zero signs of fatigue, selling, injury, etc. What a pile of shit that is. The fans rightly boo Luger into next week as he calls for the Rack. He gets Macho up. BUT WAIT! MISS ELIZABETH COMES IN AND GIVES LUGER THE THUMB TO THE EYE! THE B-TEAM HAS COME OUT! They try and storm the ring as Mickey Jay calls for the bell in a No DQ match. No contest at 7:20. Macho and Luger fight off the n.W.o. Luger racks Macho finally in the chaos. MY GOODNESS, IT'S HOLLYWOOD HOGAN! He calls the troops off to let Macho take a beating and teach him a lesson. Wait, what? This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Why do I get the sense that after kneecapping Sting back in December, Hogan sensed that Macho also was getting over more than him and tried to sabotage Macho and do it again next month at Uncensored? The ring announcer says Luger wins which doesn't make any sense unless the first bell ringing was an accident and Macho tapped to the Rack after the fact. Whatever. Match was fun solely for seeing Macho in his element of berating small children and threatening referees for no reason, but Luger sucks and the ending was a mess because as usual Hogan fucks over Macho. *1/2 because Macho's awesome.
• WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship: The Outsiders vs. The Steiners (c). Dusty accompanies Hall and Nash. Hall gets the stick. It's survey time. The crowd is clearly there for the n.W.o as if it wasn't obvious by now. The Steiners are accompanied by Ted Dibiase. Scotty doesn't seem entirely pleased about all this and merely points to his bicep a few times. Dibiase tries to talk strategy with the team but Scott walks away. Brain nicely points this out on commentary but Tony says it's probably nothing. It's never “probably nothing” in professional wrestling.
• Rick and Razor to start. Rick no sells the toothpick to hit a right hand. Hall tries a shoulderblock but Rick no sells. Hall tries an eye poke but Rick... NO SELLS! And pokes him in the eye. I'm sensing a pattern here. Rick with a belly to belly suplex and Hall is punch drunk already. Rick mounts in the corner for the punches. Rick punches himself out and gets blown up and just barely gets Hall over with a belly to belly suplex. Nash in with no tag but he's quickly dumped out by Rick. Rick barks his way around the ring and the Steiners go to their signature pose. Scott promptly waffles him and hits a butterfly suplex and thus White Thunder, Big Poppa Pump is born and he immediately has a fan following. Scotty waffles Dibiase and Dusty throws him into the ringpost. Hall covers for the academic 1, 2, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT'IM. The Outsiders try pounding him down but Rick no sells and comes back with haymakers. Scotty distracts the ref long enough for Hall to botch the Razor's Edge. He tries it again and finally hits it to win the tag belts at 4:18. Important for historical reasons meaning the birth of the Big Bad Booty Daddy but other than that, it's the typical all-angle swerve from the n.W.o that clogs up the upper card. Could have at least put Benoit/DDP on after this. DUD
• Meanwhile, What. The. Fuck. Uncensored 98 has the worst promo video of all time. Well, maybe not. I mean, it is kind of catchy in a “I wish I could get this annoying song” out of my head way.
• Although in fairness, allegedly, this Game Boy ad was part of the inspiration.
• Match for the Vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting. I covered the first match between these two in part III of the Essential Starrcade Collection review. Hogan out first and goes through the ear cup routine. Sting, on the other hand, sprints to the ring and immediately runs into Hogan whipping him with the belt. How is that not a DQ? Hogan now goes to the BLATANTCHOKE with the belt and talks trash to Sting telling him to tell the people who the man is and who he worships. Well, at least Tony is trying to cover up for Hogan's cheating by saying that “interim commissioner” Roddy Piper declared that we must have a winner and no screwjobs like last time. CLEAN, DECISIVE WINNER IS GUARANTEED! Hogan with a few rights and chokes Sting some more. The crowd tells Hogan that he sucks. Hogan now pulls Sting's jacket over his head and makes him look like an idiot. Hogan now chokes Sting with the trenchcoat and shitcans him out. WHY DOES EVERY HOGAN MATCH INVOLVE MAKING HIS OPPONENT, WHETHER FACE OF HEEL, LOOK LIKE SHIT?! To the floor, Hogan rakes the back and Sting stumbles around selling for rights and chops. Hogan chops him in the throat and slides back in the ring to hit the front double bi pose to big heat. Sting of course is in a coma during all this and Hogan slides out to give him an atomic drop. Hogan shoves Sting into the ringspot and the guardrail. We're 5 minutes in and Sting has had NOTHING. Just a joke. Back in, Hogan now hooks Sting into the test of strength while he's down. Now a few of the sheep in the crowd chant for Hogan as Sting looks to overpower. Of course, Hogan no sells and boots him down. Tony tries to make sense of all this: “Sting tried to get an early start. He wanted it; he got it, but it didn't go his way. Always a disadvantage when you're the second man in the ring.” Say what? Look ordinarily I'd just bury Tony as he tries to rewrite the champion's advantage on coming out last as a liability but instead I'm going to cut him some slack since he's trying to make sense of Hogan's charade. Meanwhile, Hogan continues absolutely trashing Sting and not giving him ANYTHING for upwards of 7 minutes now.
• Tony again tries to spitshine this turd: “Hogan doing a lot of posing. He's very methodical. Hogan is not going at a pace that is too quick for him. He's going at the regular Hollywood Hogan pace.” Translation: a slow, vanilla brawl where Hogan owns every advantage and wins every exchange. You know, the old crack is that Dusty while a good booker was not as good booking himself as he always ended up presenting himself as John Wayne in True Grit always coming back from the dead in the last reel. Hogan, on the other hand, clearly read Paradise Lost one too many times but must have always gotten bored with Milton's epic similes and dramatic flourishes and stopped reading after the first 2 books because he clearly thinks the evil, diabolical Lucifer is the hero of the story. Hogan slams Sting down and hits a few elbows and poses again. Sting no sells and timidly Hulks up. He pounds down Hogan and throws him into the turnbuckle. Sting with an atomic drop and pulls off Hogan's belt to whip him with it a few times for a decent callback. Hogan bails out to try and take a walk to lure Sting to the back where he'll try to run over him with a White Hummer but Sting runs him down and chokes him with the belt. Sting now breaks the cardinal rule of horror movies: he gets rid of the weapon before the monster is done for good. He disposes of the belt but continues throwing Hogan into the guardrail. Sting goes for the Stinger Splash on the floor but Hogan moves and Sting eats guardrail in a spot that is made by Sting's commitment to taking the tough bump. By the way, for those of you pondering how the match should have gone, they should have eliminated the first half of the match so far, have it begin with Sting making Hogan his bitch only to miss the splash and Hogan take over right here like he's about to do. Sure enough, Hogan gets a chair and waffles the hurt Sting. Hogan can't even be bothered to hurry up in putting on his damn belt while waving his hands in the direction of Sting's face which Sting unfortunately sells as an eye gouge. Tony: “One of the most physical world title bouts we've ever seen.” Back in, Hogan bites Sting in the corner. Sting NO SELLS AND HITS THE STINGER SPLASH! THE CROWD ERUPTS! YESSSS! MORE OF THIS!
• Sting rolls over Hogan for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK! Hogan gets the ropes. Charles Robinson forces the break. Sting goes for another Splash but Hogan pulls Charles in the path and Sting bumps the ref. Hogan INSTANTLY goes back to full health as the ref bump must have been a power up for him. BUT WAIT! NICK PATRICK HAS COME OUT! On cue, Hogan hits the Atomic, Death-Defying, Phosphorescent, Orange Goblin Leg Drop. Nick dumps out Charles Robinson and counts for 1, 2, 2.999. Kickout gets a pop. Hogan argues with Nick for a moment. Hogan goes to the GnP but Nick pulls him away. Hogan's all I THOUGHT THE CHECK CLEARED. Nick says WHAT ABOUT MY BACK PAY? Hogan throws up his hands so Nick says he's enforcing the rules tonight. Hogan with a back suplex and says it's over. Sting kicks out at 2 again. Hogan tries several pinfalls but Sting gets the shoulder up each time. We go back to the test of strength and HOGAN WINS! HAHAHAHAH! OF COURSE HE DOES! He pounds Sting down and stomps on his hands. Hogan with a few PORT TAMPA HAMMERS and breaks out a fuckin' SCHOOL BOY for 1, 2, 2.9999. Hogan again argues the count and shitcans Sting out. Hogan goes through his routine on the floor only for Sting to try and get a flurry of two moves but Hogan ain't having that shit. Back in, Hogan no sells and gives Sting a BLATANTLOWBLOW. He pounds down Sting but Sting finally no sells AGAIN to another pop. STINGER SPLASH! ANOTHER! Sting wants the Deathdrop but Hogan finagles his way into a horribly contrived set-up to bump the ref. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! THE B-TEAM HAS COME OUT! Sting holds them at bay as THE MADNESS! SAVAGE! Savage comes out and lays out Hogan and Sting covers for 1, 2, 3 to win the belt at 16:37.
• I can't believe it and don't want to believe it but somehow WCW screwed up the same match twice. You'd figure with two months of hindsight and another opportunity to get it right they would, but nope. Either or both times, it should be almost ALL of Sting kicking Hogan's ass but Hogan's deathgrip on the main event just wouldn't let that happen. Yes, Sting won the belt but it was a Pyrrhic victory because after a few months of this crap, Sting was done as the top guy in WCW. He'd get shunted down the card while Hogan had a lateral move in a feud against Macho. Sting would lose the belt to Macho who hot potatoed it back to Hogan a day later. While Hogan would main event with Rodman, Jay Leno, and Warrior, Sting wouldn't get another world title shot for months or a PPV main event on his own. He'd get a fluke title win in early 99 that meant nothing and lasted an hour but would only get the belt for real again in late 99 by heel turning on Hogan of all people at Fall Brawl. Sad state of affairs that they screwed this up. *
The 411: Really solid PPV until the prime time players show up in the last hour to bathe in the tears of small children with two swerves, several run-ins, and no clean finishes in the final three marquee matches. Watch the first 2/3 for workrate and the final 1/3 for personality.