Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Uncensored 1997
Posted by Jack Bramma on 11.26.2012
Roddy Piper loses his mind, Dean Malenko wants Eddie Guerrero's US Championship, Harlem Heat tries to save face against the Public Enemy in a Texas Tornado Hardcore Match, and Team Piper vs. Team nWo vs. Team WCW for the fate for the wrestling industry.
• Scheduled Card:
1. No Disqualification Match for the WCW United States Championship: Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero (c).
2. Psicosis vs. Ultimate Dragon.
3. Martial Arts Match: Mortis vs. Glacier.
4. Strap Match: Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs.
5. Tornado Match: Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy.
6. Return Match for the WCW World Television Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Prince Iaukea (c).
7. Triangle Elimination Match: Team Piper vs. Team n.W.o vs. Team WCW.
• We start off with the typical, low-tech, Riddler-esque clip art intro for this PPV.
• Our hosts are Brain, Tony, Dusty, and Dusty's red leather jacket that he wore for 3 years straight in the mid 90s. I think he only took it off to join the n.W.o.
• Big Dust: “We have to come expect the unexpected—IF YOU WHEEEEEEL—from Uncensored. It will be unexpected tonight.” How could you top that intro for this PPV?
• Tony runs down the big 3 team main event of Piper's crew, WCW, and n.W.o with the insane stipulation of if WCW has the last man standing, the n.W.o must vacate ALL of the belts and can't wrestle for the next THREE YEARS!(?!) Bischoff has been suspended and Dennis Rodman is in the house but not scheduled to wrestle. Quite the clusterfuck of storylines. Tony: “Very bizarre rules for the main event, of course, this is always a very bizarre event.”
• No Disqualification Match for the WCW United States Championship: Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero (c). YEAH! *****! WOOOOOOOOOOO! Whoops, sorry, knee-jerk. Tony plays up how brutal the tournament has been for Dean to get to this match and how Eddie lately has been breaking the rules. HEEL TWEENER EDDIE! Only to be supplanted by full blown HEEL EDDIE which hopefully Eddie reveals tonight. Dusty: “Sometimes rules need to be broken... to get the means to the end, DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING?!” Yes, that's right. Dusty believes the means to the end are a physical object presumably that can be discovered once one crosses over to the dark side. Why did I ever stop listening to these guys?
• Dean starts poking around and putting his finger in Eddie's chest. Eddie doesn't take kindly to that so it becomes a shoving match which Dean wins. Eddie blows through him with a shoulderblock and IT'S ON! Eddie grabs a headlock and goes to the closed fists. Dean switches to a headlock but gets sent off and now he blows over Eddie with a shoulderblock. WHOA! THE CROWD POPPED FOR A SHOULDERBLOCK! Eddie bails out and the crowd lets him hear it. Back in, Dean sends him into the turnbuckle and stomps a mudhole and the crowd POPS AGAIN! Man, they HATE Eddie and he's not doing anything other than getting beat up. There's no grandstanding by Eddie here to get them to hate him more, no taunts or gestures; these pops are purely based on how much they want to see Eddie get his ass kicked. It's amazing. They botch a whip reversal so Dean covers with a vertical suplex. Rather than cover, Dean gets in Eddie's face and smacks the taste out of his mouth! POP! Dust: “FINGER SHAKING AND A TATTLE-TELLING HIM RIGHT THERE!” Eddie now goes to the eyes to come back and throws Dean into the turnbuckle. Now, it's Eddie stomping the mudhole. BOOOOOOO! WE HATE YOU! I LOVE IT! These guys are doing some real basic stuff but it's intense and the crowd is electric. Dust: “Now, he's turning it around and stomping a mudhole. They both got like mudhole-stompin' on their minds and both of them has commenced to go to the mudhole-stompin' early. And now, the mudhole-stompEE is standing up stomping a mudhole in the other guy, Brain.” Brain: “Yes, you just heard it from our Director of Mudholes, Dusty Rhodes.”
• Eddie sends Dean across but gets hotshotted into the top turnbuckle and high angle back suplexed down. SWEET! POP! BUT WAIT! In true WCW fashion, there is some “commotion going on in the backstage area.” And, yes, it appears that Tony will personally make sure we get a camera back there. Dean rolls Eddie into a half crab as of course, we cut away from the classic brewing to see Rick Steiner laid out and Syxx, Nash, and Hall discovering him with a broken broomhandle laying nearby. Dean now rolls them back into a a half LIONTAMER! He switches to a cover for 1, 2, only 2. Eddie stumbles around and Dean shitcans him out TO A POP! Dean now brings the US strap in the ring and waffles Eddie with it a few times. The crowd is just popping for everything. Dean with a LARIATO. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Dean goes for another LARIATO but Eddie ducks and catches him in a URANAGE! Now, Brain and Dust are arguing about which one needs to get “unwobbly” and get up. Eddie now starts smacking Dean around and goes to the nose grinder and a Euro uppercut. Eddie clips the knee with a dropkick and the crowd actually BOOS! Eddie slingshots to the floor and hits a LATINO HEAT HAMMER on the bad knee. Eddie hits a few more LATINO HEAT HAMMERS and a slingshot senton ON THE KNEE!
• Now, Eddie hooks in a heel hook. Eddie switches and rolls Dean into an STF. When looking for reasoning for the n.W.o's attack, Brain sights the refrain from a few years prior that seemed to dominate the commentary when anything weird happened at this PPV, “IT'S UNCENSORED!” I hope this continues because back in 1995, Brain almost blew a gasket and strangled Schiavone for not shutting up about it. BUT WAIT! Now, we got to the cutting edge split screen to check on Rick Steiner's condition. Dust: “WE GOT A AMBULANCE! A GURNEY!” Dean struggles and makes the ropes while Tony and Brain focus on Rick Steiner's medical plight. Dean bails out and tries to hobble away but Eddie follows with a HEEL EDDIE HAMMER to the knee. Eddie shoves Deano into the guardrail and boots away. Dean counters a whip and sends Eddie into the guardrail TO A POP! Tony speculates that Team WCW may be a man down tonight in the main event as the crowd chants for DEAN, DEAN, DEAN! I have never in my life heard a Dean Malenko chant until today. Pops, yes, chants, no. Eddie decides to show some heart and help Dean up the stairs and into the ring, but at the last second, he shows his true colors and abandons Dean and dropkicks the knee INTO THE RINGPOST! WOOO! HEEL EDDIE! Eddie slingshots in with a boot to the knee and locks in the Figure Four! And uses the ropes for leverage! Tony: “WELL, IT'S UNCENSORED! IT'S NO RULES! ANYTHING GOES!” Eddie is now twirling the mustache and taunting Dean that he will break his leg. Dean escapes the hold with the dreaded THUMB TO THE EYE! Eddie still lays into Dean with a few Euro uppercuts. He tries a third but Dean counters to a backslide. Eddie flips over! Lands on his feet! EURO UPPERCUT! Eddie sends him off and hits a flying back elbow. Eddie taunts and goes for the slingshot senton but Dean ducks out of the way and bails out. Eddie rolls through and dropkicks Dean to the floor and into the guardrail. SLICK! This is just sooooooooo smooth and beautiful right now.
• Eddie goes for another HEEL EDDIE HAMMER off the top but Dean sidesteps and Eddie eats guardrail! PSYCHOLOGY@!~!@ Dean now tears apart the guardrail and drops Eddie on it face-first! WOOOO! Back in, Dean goes to work on Eddie's arm and hooks in a Fujiwara armbar. Eddie drops the straps and now it's MAN UP TIME! TILT-A-WHIRL BACKBREAKER! WILDBOMB AND BRIDGES INTO A COVER! 1, 2, 2 ½! Dean no sells and counters a whip. They both go for suplexes before Dean decides to twirl a bit of his own mustache and hits the BLATANTLOWBLOW on Eddie. BUT WAIT! Eddie drops down (and kind of no sells) to hit a low blow of his own on Dean! Eddie with a small package for 1, 2, 2.7. Dean catches Eddie in a powerslam and hits up top and hits Eddie's Frog Splash! 1, 2, 2.99999—DEAN PULLS HIM UP! Dean's not done and wants a Wild Bomb of his own but Eddie counters with a rana. Dean comes back with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Eddie gets in the electric chair position and tries to reverse to a roll up but slips off and Dean covers for 1, 2, only 2. Eddie now cradles with La Magistral for a 2 count. Eddie goes for a wheelbarrow roll up but Dean counters to a wheelbarrow suplex. Cover gets 1, 2, still 2. They seem to have lost a bit of crispness and rhythm since the botched roll up. Eddie hits a beast tornado DDT and now he steals Dean's finisher and wants the Texas Cloverleaf! BUT WAIT! SYXX HAS COME OUT! He steals the US strap and spits on Eddie. Eddie releases the hold to get his belt back. Syxx goes for the waffle with a video camera but Eddie ducks and Dean catches it. Eddie steals the belt back and goes to waffle Dean, but Dean waffles Eddie with a camcorder to a pop admittedly. Dean covers for 1, 2, 3 to win the belt at 19:15.
• Couple of things, fuck that finish and the n.W.o if they felt they needed to be involved with it. That was setting up to be MOTYC before a bit of a clunky last few minutes and it just comes off as so “protecting your spot” to siphon the heat onto yourself and the top stable, even if it fits the n.W.o's angle of trying to corral the belts. Still, it's no wonder both guys were gone to the fed in a few years when you can wrestle like THAT and the n.W.o has to interrupt your match for an injury angle and then get themselves over in your finish. Also, I always hate the “pull him up” spot to inflict more punishment but it especially makes little sense from Dean in a razor thin, competitive match like this. And the selling and leg work went out the window for the last few minutes of stereo false finishes. That's still an incredible 18 minutes of wrestling with a final 90 seconds that stylistically, psychologically, and booking-wise leaves a bad taste in my mouth. ****1/4
• Meanwhile, Mean Gene is in the back to talk up the main event. He's with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper's incensed that he has to fight all these guys just to get a shot at Hogan later in a cage. That travesty would be at HH 97 which you can read about here -- WCW Halloween Havoc 1997. Piper wants Hogan in the cage because he is quite the fetishist: “I LIVE METAL! I EAT METAL! I GOT METAL IN MY HIP AND I AIN'T TALKING ABOUT THE QUEEN MARY! SPEAKING OF RODMAN, HE COMES KNOCKING ON MY DOOR AND WANTS TO TRY ON MY KILT! WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?! HE WANTS ME IN IT!” Piper's now pissed that he's supposed to have the Horsemen in his corner, but they are nowhere to be seen. See, Piper originally tried to form his own team of jobbers including Luther Reigns and Earthquake but that idea was kiboshed.
• BUT WAIT! Benoit, Mongo, and J-E-double F J-A-double R-E-double T make an appearance. Jarrett has that horrible S&M gear on. Piper has seriously lost his mind or is on the coke bender of all time as he just screams about Benoit being a wino and Debra being a hussy going out with Jarrett and Mongo at the same time and just randomly turns around and screams “UNCENSORED!” into the camera. This is after all the man that did this.
• ANYWAY, Jarrett takes the stick and tries to clear the air. He says they have Piper's back tonight. Mongo takes over and says he can't wait to get his hands on Luger and The Outsiders. Mongo bringing some fire tonight. Piper tries to rile up Benoit saying that he doesn't need a man with ice water in his veins but a man with FIRE IN HIS HEART! Benoit says nothing for about 10 seconds before Piper spazzes out and has to have Jarrett's help learning how to hold up four fingers. Man, that was some FIRE! Insanity but in a good way.
• Psicosis vs. Ultimate Dragon. Dragon is not yet Ultimo. Continuing the camera motif from Syxx, Sonny Onoo is taking pictures with new his “digital camera” according to Tony which is just about the size of Zack Morris's cell phone. Brain says that he's sure Onoo also has some pictures “he'll show you out back later” which I'm not sure if that's a veiled reference to the Terry Garvin School of Self-Defense or something less ominous and sexual deviant.
• Dragon goes through reversals galore and floats into a headlock while Tenay takes over and calls both two of the most “colorful” cruiserweights in WCW because they're wearing gaudy ring attire. They go through some chain and Dragon gets the advantage with an armdrag and we're square. Tenay says they are both trying to ascend the rankings to face Syxx for the CW belt and Tony nicely counters: “I don't know what the point is. Even if you beat him for it, he'll just hit you over the head and steal it back tomorrow.” They continue fighting over a wristlock and rolls up and Dragon again comes out on top with another armdrag. Psicosis sends Dragon off but Dragon no sells and hangs on to the ropes. Finally, Psicosis kicks some sense into him but Dragon runs him around and lands on his feet out of a backdrop and goes to the kick combo that takes down Psicosis. Dragon applies the leg grapevine. Psicosis escapes out and hits a dropkick for a 2 count. Psicosis hits a clothesline in the corner and goes for another but Dragon does the handstand in the corner to psych out Psicosis. HA! Dragon gets the boot up (down) to stave off Psicosis and then tightropes down the ropes for no reason only to whiff on an enzuigiri and then connect on the second attempt. Well, if that wasn't unnecessarily complicated I don't know what is. Dragon applies a Camel Clutch. Brain decides he wants to contribute by offering that Dragon travels back and forth from the States to Mexico to Japan via rickshaw. Psicosis escapes and switches to his own Camel Clutch. Psicosis releases to hit a bodyslam and head up top for the guillotine legdrop. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Dragon runs into a boot in the corner and Psicosis hits a second rope elbow drop for another 2 count.
• Dust now joins Brain's humor adventure as he claims he also “trained” in Tijuana via limo rickshaw with a hot tub. Psicosis goes to a chinlock and then for like the fifth time combined in the match just RELEASES THE HOLD and Dragon just STANDS UP! Not exactly smooth transitions from these two getting in and out of holds. How is it possible they can counter everything seamlessly and headscissors you into a dizzying frenzy in the first few minutes but can't chain-wrestle their way out of a paper bag when it involves a rest hold? Dragon comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dragon applies a Sleeper but Psicosis counters to a jawbreaker. Dragon no sells and reapplies. Psicosis sends him off and he eats a shoulderblock. Psicosis now no sells and counters to a sleeper of his own. Dragon slides to the side and hits a Saito Suplex. Dragon runs into a boot in the corner and a spinwheel kick off the top from Psicosis. Dragon takes a breather and Psicosis with a head of steam flies out with a no hands plancha. Dust has a ball recounting Tony's narrative about the foundation of the building. Tony: “Both men land beyond the mat on the carpet on top of the concrete actually laying over particle board on top of ice here at the North Charleston Coliseum.” Tenay: “You asked for high risk moves.” Dust: “I got one there because they went all to the way to the PARTICLE BOARD! WHICH ARE LAYING UNDERNEATH THE CARPETS! WHICH ARE LAYING ON TOP OF THE CONCRETE!” Brain: “Laying underneath all of that is DIRT.”
• Psicosis slides back in to slingshot out with a guillotine leg drop TO THE FLOOR! That's some man shit. Psicosis poses for the crowd and seems none too pleased with them sitting on their hands so he gets a head of steam toward Dragon but gets monkey launched off the apron onto the top rope and then eats it to the floor... where the mats are covering the carpet covering the particle board covering the ice COVERING THE DIRT! Dragon seizes the advantage and whips Psicosis into the rail and hits a handspring back elbow on the floor. Dragon follows up with an Asai moonsault! Dust says both men are “drowsy” which is probably the most accurate thing he's said all night even if it's a poor choice of words. Psicosis tries crawling back in the ring but Sonny Onoo distracts and hits a roundhouse to the back of the head. Onoo to the ref: “I think he may have slipped. He had an accident.” Back in, Dragon with a moonsault off the top and covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Dragon sends him off but telegraphs a backdrop. Psicosis goes for a powerbomb but Dragon counters to a rana only for Psicosis to roll through into a sunset flip for 1, 2, only 2. Dragon is now trying everything and rolls Psicosis into La Magistral for 1, 2, 2.7. Psicosis goes for a Stinger Splash but eats turnbuckle. Dragon says it's over and wants a rana off the top. Psicosis counters but they both eat a gordbuster off the top and it's a double KO spot. They both go for spinwheel kicks and both come up dry and it's another double KO spot. That was cool. Dragon up first and slams Psicosis down. Dragon goes back up top but Psicosis cuts him off with a top rope rana. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Dragon cradles back for another 2 count. Psicosis tries a rana but Dragon counters to a RUNNING LIGER BOMB! Dragon is not satisfied and puts Psicosis up top. He looks to go for a rana DDT(?) but instead Psicosis bumps for a suplex slam off the top. Tenay calls it a “tornado DDT” which maybe that's what it was supposed to be but that is NOT the move I just saw. Not wanting to end the match on a botch, Dragon finishes Psicosis off with a Tiger Suplex for 1, 2, 3 to win at 12:46. A solid cruiserweight match with some nice moves and spots but a bit touch and go getting from one to the other at times. It was basically the first match with all of the same moves but without the psychology or the personality though I liked how the ending was just each guy going for a more badass move to end it. ***
• Meanwhile, Mean Gene is with DDP. Tony speculates that if Rick Steiner is injured, then DDP should step up and fill in on Team WCW. Brain puts over the DiamondCutter as already the most deadly move he's ever seen in wrestling. Gene wants to talk to DDP about Macho Man. DDP plays to the crowd and gets a “DDP” chant going. Page since he came here tonight to FORCE Macho to acknowledge him. He wants Savage to SNAP INTO A DIAMONDCUTTER! BUT WAIT! THE MACHO MAN HAS COME OUT... to the broadcast position. Macho says he misjudged DDP and now that he respects him; he respects him so much because he has seen his wife, Kimberly Page, naked in a centerfold for a magazine. Macho shows some class by hiding Kimberly's goods behind some n.W.o letters. Macho, for no real reason, also calls Pamela Anderson, one of the other centerfolds, “one of his old girlfriends” and emphasizes that “Tommy Lee is cool with that.” Macho's the man. DDP is enraged, but Macho plays it cool: “YOU'RE THE MAN! BROTHER, I'M YOUR FRIEND! I LIKE YOU! I WANNA BE LIKE YOU!” MY GOODNESS, KIMBERLY HAS COME OUT! She's been spray-painted by the n.W.o! DDP goes to console her only to get waffled by The Mach from behind with the stick. Macho continues deliriously complimenting Page while threatening him and putting the black and white on him: “YOU ARE THE MAN! DA MAN! NOW, I'M GONNA PILEDRIVE YOU!” Kimberly holds him off, so he gets Liz to spray-paint Kimberly again.
• Martial Arts Match: Mortis vs. Glacier. Mortis is Kanyon in a Skeletor zombie gimmick and he's accompanied by James Mitchell, known as James Vandenberg. He's basically Kane. Tony tries to play up the angle by saying that Mortis and Glacier have some history, but he doesn't know what it is. Awesome. Tony instead tries to explain what type of match this is: “This, a martial arts, match-up where martial arts rules will apply during the match. Of course, pinfalls, submissions to win the match or to knock your opponent out.” There ya go. And in case you didn't know, Glacier actually has half-Samurai gear with half of a chest piece, some shoulder pads, and a helmet. Dust takes over and says that Vandenberg was talking trash about Glacier and called him a “slow-moving block of ice” earlier tonight. Oh yeah, and Glacier is undefeated.
• At the bell, Mortis completely ruins his zombie mystique by talking trash even though he has a mask covering his face. Mortis: “YOU AIN'T NOTHING!” Glacier tries to show he's something by going for a MK sweep but Mortis avoids and spits on him. Glacier no sells the loogie and front kicks him down. Glacier with an armdrag, another kick, and a backdrop. Mortis comes back with a shot to the ear and another and Glacier sells a fucked up equilibrium. Mortis with more kicks to the back and he poses to mild jeers. Glacier ducks a charge and this time connects with the MK sweep. Glacier hits a roundhouse and covers for a 2 count. Mortis baseball slides out to the apron to taunt but gets dropkicked off and flops into the guardrail. Glacier follows out with a plancha and channels the Ice Gods. Vertical suplex on the floor follows. Back in, Glacier covers for 1, 2, and Mitchell breaks up the cover. What a pile of nothing. This is Mortis's first match EVER and he needs a cheap kickout on Glacier?! Now, Tony wants Mickey Jay to DQ Mortis even though IT'S UNCENSORED! ANYTHING GOES! Glacier chases Mitchell around only to eat a baseball slide dropkick from Mortis and Glacier eats it into the guardrail nicely. Mortis gets Glacier up and walks him up the stairs to give him a Snake Eyes on the apron. Nice. Mortis flips back in the ring on a slingshot and LARIATOS Glacier down as Dusty is so riveted that he wants to check with a PA to see if they can get Kimberly's photo shoot back to the broadcast booth. Mortis covers for another 2 count. Mortis springboards back and tries a leg drop. Glacier blocks and then gives Mortis a Heart Punch... to the midsection. He hits another but Mortis no sells and hits a Rocker Dropper for 2.
• Time to take this home. Brain and Tony figure the match sucks so they'll try to guess Mortis's height and weight like true carnies. Mortis no sells some elbows and boots Glacier back down. Mortis tries another Rocker Dropper but Glacier counters to a powerbomb. Dusty tries explaining why there are so many wrestling moves in a “martial arts fight”: “HE WENT BACK AND GOT A WRESTLING MOVE OUT OF HIS ARCHIVES!” Glacier ghosts Mortis on a shot to the head and goes for the gut but Mortis sells it like a KO punch anyway hilariously. Glacier sends Mortis off and follows behind with a SWAT team roll and a back elbow. Dusty: “LOT OF MOMENTUM IN THAT ROLL!” Brain: “LIKE AN AVALANCHE!” You see, because he's a glacier and it's cold and he's moving fast so... yeah. Glacier with a reverse tilt-a-whirl and he's fired up but no one cares. Dusty tries explaining the complexity of a front slam as Glacier hits another kick. Mortis outsmarts the go-behind routine and boots Glacier down. He covers for 1, 2, only 2. Mortis heads up top but Glacier backs into the ropes to crotch him. Glacier hits a superplex for 1, 2, 2 ½. Dusty is amazed at the “cruiserweight moves” these two are doing like superplexes. Glacier heads up top but jumps off into a Northern Lights suplex from Mortis. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Glacier counters to a jawbreaker but no one cares. Glacier again whiffs on the Sub Zero chop off the top so he crossbodies Mortis for 2 again. Glacier goes for the Sweet Chin Music (that he invented by the way)(just ask him) but Mortis pulls the ref in the way. Mortis uses the distraction to hit a SCM of his own. He covers for 1, 2, 2.99999. Brain: “WHATTAMATCH!” Vandenberg tries to hold Glacier for Mortis, but miscommunication ensues and Glacier hits the Cryo Kick. Cover gets 1, 2, 3 to win at 9:04. Not horrible, but a napping crowd and some sloppy taekwondo from two goofy gimmicks less than a year after the n.W.o “revolutionized” the business with how “real” it was isn't going to cut it. *3/4
• Post-match, Mitchell calls out the troops and it's Wrath (Bryan Clarke) in a Pinhead gladiator helmet. He and Mortis put the boots to Glacier and then Wrath hits a Rock Bottom to finish off the beatdown.
• Meanwhile, Tony brings us footage of that “horrific car crash that kept the Steiners out of action for two weeks.” This is legitimately one of the those LOLWTF clips. See, Syxx was Paparazzi way before Alex Shelley was even a wrestler and carried a camera with him everywhere. He, Hall, and Nash decided to play chicken with the Steiners and ran them off the road.
• Strap Match: Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs. THE AMERICAN MALES COLLIDE! See, Buff joined the n.W.o. And well that ended his tag team. On the way to the ring, Buff says he doesn't care if he wins he's just going to kick Riggs's ass. Scotty runs out and stampedes Buff out of the ring before they can even get tied together. Rather than play up the brother-brother, partner-partner allegory unfolding in front of our eyes, Tony talks about the main event stipulations. Asshole.
• Traditional rules as you have to touch all four corners to win. Scotty whips Buff a few times early but Buff goes low and takes over. Buff with a loud whip and a clothesline and poses. And now Dolph's current gimmick is making more sense – it's not a Perfect ripoff, it's a Buff Bagwell ripoff. Now, I feel all dirty inside. Buff chokes for a bit but gets bored with that so he quits and slams Scotty down. Buff heads up top but Scotty crotches him and then whips him right across the face. Brutal. Riggs cues up a top rope superplex and then doesn't even sell the impact of the bump. Flair frowns on you, Scotty Riggs. Riggs whips Buff a few more times and Buff bails out. He tries running away so Scotty pulls him into the ringpost. Back in, now Scotty is the one choking Buff. Riggs sends Buff off for a back elbow. Dust uses his years of wrestling experience to explain that the match would be much easier if you were trying to pull a pile of cement around the ring, instead of a person. Thanks for that. Dusty: “See, if you was haulin' cement around at the end of a strap, it would be easier. See this man, you got to get him out, so he's not movin', you know what I mean? If he's moving, it's harder to pull than a sack of cement. You follow me on that?” Tony: “...[pause]... Yeahhh, I guess I do.” Dusty: “CEMENT IS A DEAD SACK! IT'S EASIER TO PULL AROUND!” Buff takes over with more choking and tells the fans to shove it. Riggs baseball slides through and goes low with the strap a few times to a pop and hits a Bluechipper dropkick. Scotty hogties Buff but and touches 2 corner. Buff comes back with a flapjack into the ropes. Rather than sell, Buff talks trash to the camera. Nice. Buff smacks him around and stomps a mudhole. Scotty tries to fight back only to eat another waffle or two. Buff poses and tells the folks at home that he loves himself more than anyone. Tony: “Not many times in strap matches where you can stop and calmly cut a promo, but that's Buff Bagwell.” Buff goes to a front facelock or something and Scotty goes down in a heap. Buff drags him to a few corners but Riggs ties up in the bottom rope and won't release to cut off the momentum. They slug it out and Buff wins that with an atomic drop and a clothesline. Buff goes to the BLATANTCHOKE.
• Buff stops to cut another promo. Dusty: “This is brutal. BRUTAL!” Buff tries to force Scotty to do the old American Males taunt but Scotty no sells Simon Says and instead hits a BLATANTLOWBLOW. Buff no sells a fuckin' LOW BLOW and hammers him down. Tony: “Amazingly, he missed because Buff is still standing.” That's one to describe what Buff did. Buff snapmares Scotty down and goes to the chinlock and nose grinder. Buff now hangs him over his back with the strap but botches it so he repeats twice before he says fuck it and slams Riggs down and then goes for a PIN?! IN A STRAP MATCH! Randy Anderson won't count, so Buff gets all indignant and demands a count anyway. If you're going to botch, might as well go all the way and pretend like it's what you meant to do. Buff shoves the ref but eats one back that sends him reeling in the old Flair spot. Buff begs off: “I'M SORRY! I'M SORRY!... [To the camera] Not really.” Buff heads up top for the Blockbuster but whiffs. Riggs comes back with a few Lefty LARIATOS to a mild pop. He whips the tar out of Buff and chokes him. Riggs hits a Powerbomb and heads up top to hit a Missile Dropkick. He touches corner 1, 2, 3 and goes for the fourth. Buff breaks it up much to Dusty's chagrin. Riggs with a charge but gets backdropped out and lands back-first ON THE APRON AND LANDS IN A HANGMAN'S SPOT! OWWWWWW! That's the exact same way Michaels's damn near ended his career during the casket match with UT. Buff taunts and Riggs looks like he's legit messed up as he's just laying out flat and not even attempting to sell. Buff touches corners 1, 2, 3, and 4 to win it in strong fashion at 12:27. Buff managed to have a match in the middle of his 15 minute promo which he quickly continues as soon as it's over. This gimmick only works when the crowd is electric and both guys really lay into each other with the bloodthirsty hatred. While there was some stiff shots, Buff was just too clumsy and self-interested to even have a good match, because he was too busy getting his character over and trying to get phantom pinfalls. **
• Meanwhile, Hogan, Macho, Hall, and Nash cut one of their cooler than school promos in black 'n white. They all have a laugh at DDP for seeing his wife naked. Then, Hogan and crew talk about how Rodman is the secret weapon tonight, but man does Hogan ever sound stoned. This is 100 miles removed from his possibly cocaine-fueled binge promos just a few years earlier and is more mellow and calmer.
• Tornado Match: Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy. This is a return match of sorts for HH because they gave the entire industry a black eye two years earlier in the same gimmick match against the Nasties. Let's see if they learned their lesson about concession stands. PE brings some trash cans into the ring to start and we're underway. It's a pier-4 brawl to start as the HH have the advantage. Dust: “IF YOU'RE GOING TO BRING PLUNDER TO THE RING, DON'T LET IT BE USED ON YA!” Rock comes back by breaking out a frying pan and waffling Book. Sherri tackles him from behind and Grunge breaks out the toiletries. Dust: “LOOK! HE'S GOT A COMMODE LID! THAT'S A TOILET LID! THERE'S ONE BATHROOM MISSING A TOILET SEAT CAUSE IT'S OUT HERE!” Stevie no sells the shitter attack and waffles Grunge with a paint pan and the BOOT OF FEAR! Book hits a side kick on Rock to take back over. Rock waffles Stevie with a few trash can lids. He goes for a charge but gets backdropped out as Book hits the Ax Kick on Grunge. Sherri and Stevie double team on Rock and Stevie throws him into the stairs. Book goes to the BLATANTCHOKE and covers for 2. Grunge with a head of steam but there's just no room to even run off the ropes so he stops short and hits a swinging neckbreaker anyway BECAUSE IT'S UNCENSORED! ANYTHING GOES! He poses and Stevie waffles him. Rock follows up by waffling Stevie from behind and the crowd pops for the misdirection. Grunge then lays out both Stevie and Book with a trash can. Dusty: “WOOOOO! HE LAID HIS OLD, TIRED ASS OUT!” Rock follows up with another shitter shot on Stevie. Brain: “THIS IS THE BEST! WCW UNCENSORED!” Poor Brain is losing his soul by the second selling this and reminiscing about the good ol' days with Monsoon.
• Rock shitcans Stevie out into the crowd but eats a RAISIN' THE ROOF HAMMER off the top from Book. Grunge joins the party as they put a trash can over Book's head and punch him around. Rock goes for the waffle on Sherri but Book cuts him off with a hook kick. Sherri ghosts Rock on a shot but then recovers with a BLATANTLOWBLOW. Sherri tackles Rock and chokes him with an extension cord. Back in, Book flies off into a shot to the breadbasket from Rock. Rock with another trash can lid shot for 2. Brain and Dusty just lose it on commentary laughing at each other, but mostly at Dusty as Tony tries to maintain order with the world falling down around him. Rock goes for Old School but Book crotches him on the top rope. Sherri brings over a trash can lid and goes for the waffle but Rock ducks and she hits Stevie but he no sells because it's just chaos at this point and why the hell not. Book throws Grunge into the guardrail as the match drags on past its expiration date. There's only so many times you can cut off a guy and hit him with a cookie sheet before it's time to go home. Tony: “A pin here would be anticlimatic.” Book covers but Grunge breaks it up and hits a LOWBLOW on Stevie. Now, they are all blown up and have to lay around. The crowd wakes up and starts a TABLETABLETABLE chant. Some exhausted, oxygen-deprived brawling continues as the PE prep a table spot. Back in, Stevie with a side slam on Rock to break up the momentum. Book heads up top and Stevie slams him off onto Rock with the Rocket Launcher but Grunge breaks up the cover. MOARCHOKING! Dust: “They are drained, I'll give them that. Not a lot of fast moving.” Book goes for the Ax Kick again but crotches himself and Rock tosses him out. Grunge puts Stevie Ray on the table and Rock flies out with a flip splash on Grunge on Stevie through the table. Book runs into a clothesline from Rock. BUT WAIT! JEFF JARRETT! IT'S MONGO! THE HORSEMENT HAVE COME OUT! Mongo waffles Grunge with the briefcase. Book hits the Harlem Hangover to win it at 13:20.
• Just a mess. Enjoyable in a disconnected, incomprehensible way, so it's got that one up on the travesty two years ago, but a mess nonetheless. This one doesn't even have the scenery-changing appeal of those Bossman/Al Snow/Bob Holly wandering backstage brawls from the Fed that ripped off ECW. Instead, it's just ringside chaos of a 1000 weapon shots from four wrestlers, one valet, a run-in and finally a wrestling move to end it. But leaving ringside is what started them down the vortex of the Shit Charybdis two years ago, so maybe it's all for the best. **1/2
• Okerlund is in the back with Team WCW, Luger, Giant, and Scott Steiner. Gene runs down the complicated rules to the main event again and then pivots to ask Scott about how Rick is doing. YES! Even with long brunette hair, Scotty can't hide the “highly-educated”, “Mexico North”, “I'm hungry” roots of BIG! POPPA! PUMP! Let's hear it Scotty: “Well, ya know, Mean Gene, that is the first time I seen my brother carried out in an ABBBBULANCE! AND I DIDN'T LIKE IT! But I know my brother, and he'll be back. N.W.O! SCOTT HALL! KEVIN NASH! LIKE I NEEDED ANN--AHH-- ANY MORE INSANTIVES TO WANNA GET IN THE RING AND BEAT YOU TO A PULP! RODDY RODDY PIPER! FOUR HORSEMEN! STAY OUT OF MY FACE! CUZ I'M ON A MISSION! SCOTT HALL! KEVIN NASH! YOU NOT GON BE ABLE TO HIDE AHH---BEHIND AH POLITICS! OF ERIC BISCHOFF! I'M GONNA KICK SOME BUTT TONIGHT!”
• Giant's up next as he's already went from a debut as heel to face to heel joining n.W.o to back to face by leaving the n.W.o. Showster says it's time for him to do some spring cleaning. He's coming out tonight for revenge in honor of Rick Steiner. IT'S TIME TO DO SOME RACKIN'! SOME CHOKESLAMMING! SOME SUPLEXIN'!
• Luger is last and brings the goods with an awesome, old school promo: “Ya know, Gene, to put this whole thing into proper perspective, this is more than just a plain and simple wrestling match. This is about society. This whole anti-establishment trash that is espoused by the n.W.o. They have trashed, bashed, thrashed each and every one of us. They have no respect for authority, for society as a whole, all the youngsters out there who watch us on television, all the past champions from the National Wrestling Alliance all the way to the present World Championship Wrestling. There's a lot of tradition, lot of honor, lot of injuries, lot of titles have been defended WITH HONOR! They have no honor. So we come together tonight with everything on the line. Adversity has brought us three together. Giant, myself, and Scott Steiner. Adversity brings us together, it makes us strong, the bond all that much greater. Gene, I have never been more prepared for a match in my career. We can talk about it all that we want, but THE WORDS! ARE! DONE! Time for action and action's what's going to happen.”
• Return Match for the WCW World Television Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Prince Iaukea (c). Tenay joins us to take over on commentary. Prince goes for a roll up but Rey avoids. Prince avoids the moonsault and we're off the races ending with a Prince Samoan Drop. Prince goes for a springboard splash but eats knee. Rey flips out to the apron and Stun Guns Prince down. Tenay notes that because this is PPV the time limit has been extended to 15 minutes as Rey flips back in with a seated senton. Rey covers for 2. Prince goes for a Razor's Edge but Rey counters to a rana and bridges for 1, 2, only 2. Prince with a tilt-a-whirl that ends with a Rey headscissors. Prince bails out to the floor but Rey follows with a flip splash. Back in, they sloppily counter some stuff and Rey tries to cover with the assisted-backflip and they botch that too. Bad sequence. Prince gathers Rey up for the rebound powerbomb back in. Prince baseball slides Rey out to the floor. Prince now springboads out with a splash. There is a ton of laying around going on where this just comes off like spot, lay down, spot, lay down. On the floor, Prince goes for an atomic drop but Rey blocks so Prince weakly sends him into the guardrail but Rey runs the entire length of ringside and backs into the guardrail like this is WCW Nitro for Playstation and he can't figure out which button is reverse.
• Prince goes for a crossbody off the guardrail but whiffs and eats mat to crickets. Back in, Rey hits a springboard Arabian press and covers for 1, 2, nearfall. Rey runs Prince into the corner with an AWFUL Stinger Splash and floats out to the apron. PHEW! This stinks. Rey jumps back in with a bulldog for a 2 count. Rey locks in a reverse triangle choke. Rey with a Lionsault and poses to mostly indifference as Brain, Dusty, and Tony start trying to cover and explain why Prince sucks tonight. Brain: “Understand this, the Prince hasn't been wrestling that long.” Alright, he's blown up because he's green as a gord. Dusty: “Prince is running on adrenaline... The Prince has really gotta prove where he is at right now... KNOWLEDGE—UH! WILL HELP YA OUT TOO! Back in the back too, I seen the Prince earlier too and he was, uh, with his robe and—uh, ya know, and training and running, and—uh--and working and I was having some pictures taken with Rey and Rey was really in the game plan. Bottom line is he might be over-exercised.” Tony: “Over-exercised?” Dusty: “Sometimes, you get that way.” Alright, forget being green, Dust says it's because he pulled a Warrior and exposed the business by running himself out before the match. Tony: “I don't think the Prince has gone longer than 15 minutes before.” THAT'S IT! He doesn't suck, he just has no gas tank because he's wrestled a handful of matches in his career and none longer than half of an episode of Seinfeld. ANYWAY, Rey covers for 1, 2, only 2. They now REPEAT THE CORNER SEQUENCE as Rey now hits an Arabian powerbomb off the second turnbuckle.
• Rey covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Rey hits a dropkick to Prince's chest and poses to more crickets. Rey goes for a senton off the top but eats mat. Prince takes off with a short dropkick and... nothing. He takes his sweet time and hits a Northern Lights suplex for a 2 count. They continue smothering the PPV with a pillow by standing around so Prince can grab Mysterio by the head without any resistance and walk him into the ropes. PLEASE! JUST END THIS! Tenay: “[At a loss]... Methodical offense.” Dusty: “Yeah, that's it, C'MON WITH IT!” We're now at reason four why Prince is laying an egg – his wrestling style is slow despite earlier in the match going hold for hold for one of the fastest wrestlers ever. Prince gets Rey up for a very.... slow.... powerbomb and then takes forever to cover. What is this crap? Prince goes for a springboard but Rey counters with a dropkick. Prince takes back with over with a Bret Hart Low Blow. Rey took a legit one to the stones and has to take a breather to recover. Prince off the ropes with a leg drop and covers for 1, 2, only 2 as the match dies an agonizingly painful death. They both go for dropkicks and Rey suspiciously manages to catch Prince below the belt. RECEIPT! Rey does the Dragon handstand in the corner and dropkicks Prince away. They both go back to laying around and the crowd has gone from dead to confrontational and wants the match to end. Mysterio gets the cover with a Victory Roll and covers for 1, 2, only 2. They jockey through more reversals but the Prince is just too damn tired to go through this sequence. Tony: “I think Prince off the standing reversal was trying to buy some time as to figure out what to do next. He stood behind him for about two seconds before executing the backward roll.” Rey runs up the turnbuckle and comes off with the Whisper in the Wind as Brain now decides that Iaukea sucks because he's nervous. Rey covers for 1, 2, as the bell mysteriously rings at 11:59 for the dubious 15 minute time limit draw. WHATAPILEOFSHIT! Someone in the back must have saw they and the PPV were drowning and decided to cut their losses. BUT WAIT! Rey gets the stick and wants to keep the match going. Prince agrees. His reasoning? IT'S UNCENSORED! THERE'S GOT TO BE A WINNER! Rey melodramatically regrabs the stick and tries a rallying cry: “LET'S BRING IT ON! MORE TIME! YAY!” This is so surrealistically awful.
• They restart and Rey tries to get the crowd going and gets a meager pop. Rey calls in Prince for a handshake. Rey goes to the chops and hiptosses Prince down after a leap frog. Rey hits a springboard enzuigiri and a springboard guillotine leg drop. Delayed cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Prince runs up the turnbuckle in the corner but Rey catches him with a spinning headscissors off the top. Rey calls for the rana but Prince rolls through for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 1:43.
• If you told me that wasn't even Rey Mysterio but someone else like Hector Garza or Ciclope under the mask filling in, I'd believe you. THAT'S how bad this match was. Easily the worst Rey Mysterio match I've ever seen. I'm surprised they didn't fire Prince on the spot before the time limit was up. DUD
• Triangle Elimination Match: Team Piper vs. Team n.W.o vs. Team WCW. The screen graphic calls this a “three team match.” Buffer calls it a “three team challenge, last man standing match.” Instead, I'm going with the wikipedia label of “triangle elimination match.” Let's cover the wonky rules: three teams, “four rounds.” First segment is 5 minutes and then every 2 minutes another man joins the match. You can be eliminated by pinfall, knockout, submission, and over the top rope. Stipulation: if WCW wins, n.W.o must vacate all belts and not wrestle for three years. If n.W.o wins, they get title shots whenever and wherever they want for any belt. If Team Piper wins, Hogan must face Piper in a cage match. It takes Buffer about 5 minutes to explain all of this. Piper's music plays but Benoit is the first one out to start. Scott Hall out for the n.W.o. And The Giant for WCW.
• Benoit goes to work on Hall as Giant stalks out. Hall catches Benoit with the snap ab suplex, but Benoit comes back with a weak left lariat. Giant finally gets to the ring and blows through both with a double clothesline to a pop. Double coconut follows. Giant no sells more and has headbutts and chops for both. Giant throws Benoit across the ring by the hair and then choke tosses him as well. Hall goes for the 10 punches in the corner but Giant no sells and tosses him. Giant with a BRUTAL whip on Benoit and a clothesline. Hall tries to take over but Giant hits an elbow drop on him. Giant goes to the BLATANTCHOKE on Benoit in the corner. Dusty: “HE'S A BIG-FOOTIN' HIM!” Hall tackles Giant from behind with a Sleeper. Giant tosses him to escape out and ChokeSlams Benoit. Giant goes for the cover but Hall breaks it up. Every single person on the crew even Tony and Dust admit that's a rather intriguing strategy. Giant with a head butt and the claw hold and Hall is punch-drunk. Giant goes for a Stinger Splash in the corner with only a few seconds to go in the first period, but Hall ducks and Giant eats it to the floor to eliminate himself. I'll wait and judge the eliminations and the format until the end, but if they are going to use shitcans to protect everyone this will not be good.
• Immediately on commentary, Brain points out how WCW only has Luger and Scotty left before Rick was beat up earlier. Good analysis. Jeff Jarrett is next for Piper. THE MACH FOR NWO! Jarrett hits a neckbreaker and Bossman attack on Hall and struts as the place pops for Savage and Luger coming out. Jarrett with a dropkick on Mach. Luger ducks one and press slams Jarrett down and flexes and somehow Luger manages to look lazy even doing that. Luger now press slams Savage but Hall breaks that up. Hall cues up the Outsider's Edge on Jarrett but Jarrett blocks. The two minutes have flown by as Mongo, Nash, and Scott Steiner are out now. Nash with a Snake Eyes on Jarrett that he completely no sells. Instead, he feeds into a tilt-a-whirl slam from Steiner. Scott with a butterfly suplex but Nash jumps him from behind. Nash eats a belly to belly suplex as the place comes alive. Hall again calls for the Edge as Steiner hits a Gargoyle suplex on Macho. Benoit breaks up the Edge this time. Nash hits a BOOT OF FEAR on Jarrett and Jarrett gets clotheslined out. Benoit and Macho brawl out to the floor and then back in. Mongo goes for a powerbomb but gets backdropped out by Hall.
• The next two minute segment blew by as well mainly because Piper sneaks out a full minute early and Steiner gets tossed out. Yeah, this is a battle royal, so deal with it and the hottest guy in the match with all of the motivation and sympathy from the crowd gets tossed out. Luger, Hall, Nash, Macho, Benoit, and Piper are left in the ring. The crowd pops for Piper as he tackles Macho from behind. Buffer is just now realizing that Piper has come out early and introduces him. The clock says 1 minute to go which is now a minute BEHIND and Hogan and Rodman are out together at the correct interval but the clock is wrong. Terrific. Showing how much he cares, Hogan struts out and brags about being with Rodman and having him in the n.W.o and drapes the belt on his shoulder. Back to the ring as Piper chokes Macho with a chain and he and Mach brawl to the floor as the match is starting to fall apart. The camera has lost any focus on the ring at this point. Hogan continues posing for the camera and NOT getting in the ring. Hogan finally slides in as the crowd chants for STING. That's right, in the middle of a three team, 12-man, last man standing, triangle, elimination, challenge battle royal with the fate of all the titles, the n.W.o for the next three years, the continuation of Hogan-Piper from 20 years ago, and the fate of the universe, the crowd realizes they have been duped yet again and chant for someone not even in the match. Hogan chokes and shitcans Piper THROUGH the ropes. Piper and Hogan, just like they will at HH, completely shit on the match by disregarding the rules and spirit of the match, to brawl all over the building. Piper WEAKLY throws Hogan into the guardrail and then Hogan tries to escape through the crowd. Macho comes flying into view because HE'S CRAZY~! Piper now chokes Hogan with the chain. Hogan no sells to take over with Macho back in the ring. Hogan ghosts Piper on some punches continuing to not break a sweat or take a bump. However, he does manage to clear the middle of the ring so he can walk Piper to the other side for their shitcan spot and Piper's gone via Rodman pulling the rope down.
• Security holds back Piper as he lunges for Rodman. Hogan has again bailed out to the floor to throw Piper around. Macho joins him because why not. Benoit brings the goods by pounding on Hall while Luger and Nash stand around and plan their 401ks. Rodman holds Piper hostage by choking him with the chain while Hogan and Mach can pound him down. Hall FINALLLY gets someone up for the Outsider's Edge and of course it's Benoit. Hall hits it with Nash's help and they of course throw Benoit out.
• It's the entire n.W.o team left against Luger. Piper is now taken out in handcuffs by security. Rodman mounts the apron to raucous boos as it's Rodman, Hogan, Nall, Nash, and Macho pounding on Luger. The n.W.o huddles up to pose for their yearbook picture. Luger counters a powerbomb and fires up and takes out EVERYONE. HE RACKS MACHO! SAVAGE SUBMITS! Luger clotheslines Nash out. Atomic drop for Hall. LUGER RACKS HALL! HALL GIVES UP! Luger takes out Hogan with a clothesline. Luger gets Hogan up in the rack. BUT WAIT! MACHO SNEAKS BACK IN! SPRAYPAINT TO THE TOTAL PACKAGE'S EYES! Luger collapses and Hogan falls on top for 1, 2, 3 to win it at 19:29.
• Because of the completely ridiculous stipulations, you knew the n.W.o or Piper was going over, so once it was just Luger left, the ending was academic. But even if the ending was obvious and Luger's fire up was red-hot and Hogan had to go over, how we get to the final segment is so boringly, ass-backwards executed. I get that they wanted to recreate the WW3 environment a few months earlier where the lid blew off the place for Luger almost winning, but if you want it to be a battle royal, just get it over with. Otherwise, the shitcan out just comes off as a lazy copout. There's a certain kind of genius in having ZERO pinfalls or submissions just to save the heat for Luger's comeback at the end, but having 18 minutes of lazy, lethargic brawling for 90 seconds of crowd energy is a bad idea. If it felt like there was much rhythm to the middle chunk of the match after Giant got eliminated, MAYBE we're in good territory, but it's not, so we're not. **
• Rodman now spraypoints Luger and smacks him around and Hogan throws Luger out of the ring like a piece of shit. We're outta time, tune in to—BUT WAIT! IT'S STING! FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS! HE RAPPELS DOWN FROM THE RAFTERS WITH A BAT! STING WAFFLES HALL! NASH! MACHO! DEATHDROP FOR HALL AND NASH! Hogan and Rodman are at bay. Hogan demands that Sting drop the bat and he obliges. Hogan and Rodman move in for the kill. Sting lays out Hogan as Rodman watches on. SCORPION DEATHDROP! WE'RE GOTTA GO! GOOD NIGHT FROM CHARLESTON! TUNE IN TO NITRO!
• One of the biggest pops in the history of WCW for that return. This was basically the segment that set the template for WCW's main event overrun with endless brawls and Sting appearances for months, if not years.
The 411: A strange show to rate. The opener is fantastic but the wrestling is all downhill from there. However, for once, WCW delivers on the sports entertainment aspect of a PPV with a dynamite ending where Sting swoops in and single-handedly saves the PPV. I also enjoyed all of the promos all night long with the teams building toward the main event and Macho attacking DDP. One great match, some great promos and build to the main event, and average to passable wrestling otherwise.