Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Slamboree 1997
Posted by Jack Bramma on 08.03.2014
Jeff Jarrett goes after Dean Malenko's US Championship, Mongo takes on Reggie White in a battle of the gridiron, and The Outsiders and Syxx have a date with Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, and Kevin Greene in Charlotte.
• Scheduled Card:
1. WCW World Television Championship: Steven Regal vs. Ultimate Dragon (c).
2. Ladies Grudge Match: Luna Vachon vs. Madusa.
3. Yuji Yasuraoka vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
4. Mortis vs. Glacier.
5. WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Jeff Jarrett vs. Dean Malenko (c).
6. Death Match: Meng vs. Chris Benoit.
7. Konnan and Hugh Morrus vs. The Steiner Brothers.
8. Mongo McMichael vs. Reggie White.
9. No Disqualification, 6 Man Tag: Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, & Syxx vs. Kevin Greene, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Ric Flair.
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• Opening vignette focuses on how this PPV will feature three NFL All-Pros, Mongo, Kevin Greene, and Reggie White, including two from the vaunted Packers-Bears rivalry. It’ll be Mongo-White and Flair/Piper/Greene taking on The Outsiders and Syxx. I just had to reinforce that all of these WCW video packages come off 30 years old especially in comparison to the WWE ones, even contemporaneous.
• We start off with Tony, Dusty, and Brain dressed as Brother Love. Brain tells Reggie that the gridiron ain’t the squared circle and Mongo knows this game, so he better watch out. Tony and Dust talk up how Flair is returning tonight from injury and he and Piper will be standing up for tradition against the dastardly n.W.o.
• WCW World Television Championship: Steven Regal vs. Ultimate Dragon (c). Regal is no longer Lord and Ultimo is still Ultimate and has Onoo with him. Tenay, the wrestling insider, steals the booth from the boys to school them on puro and the Marquis of Queensbury and the rules dictating English nobility. At the bell, they circle and Regal tells the front row to back up a smidge because their stink is polluting his atmosphere. Dragon tries a waistlock which leads to some arm chicanery and reversals. Dragon flips him with an armdrag so Regal goes to the headscissors. Dragon works the abs with some leg raises and then kips up. Now, it’s time for the TEST OF STRENGTH! Tenay and Dust debate whether or not Regal is the greatest TV champ there ever was and Tenay wins on sheer vocabulary as Dust labels the arena “hollow grounds” instead of hallowed grounds. Dragon neckbridges and powers up so Regal armdrags him under for a 1 count. Tenay: “Of course, one of the television champions was the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes—“ Dust: “AWW, HUSH!” Dragon gets the shoulder up again at 1, so Regal stretches him into a straitjacket and then adds on the rear mount. Dragon rolls under and counters into his own as Brain pipes in to debate about whether Regal or Dragon has traveled more around the world. They battle for a feud and Regal has HAD IT WITH THE FUCKIN’ CATCH AS CATCH CAN and catches Dragon and gutwrenches him down because he can. Cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Tony: “REGAL IS GOING FOR THE WIN, HERE!” Thanks for that. Regal stomps him around and goes to work as Tony also speculates that the origins of this feud were over who kicked Prince Iaukea’s ass more thoroughly on a recent episode of Nitro. Dragon tries to come back with a headlock and shoulderblock for 1, 2, shoulder up. Dragon grounds Regal with another headlock. Regal counters with a few rolls up that go nowhere. Regal with a leap frog but Dragon sniffs it out with a dropkick. They botch a whip and because Regal’s a bit cranky, he busts up Dragon and then no sells his drop toe hold. Dragon finally gets him down and stomps on his back.
• Dragon goes the handstand in the corner and kicks Regal down. Time for a kick combo and down goes Regal again. Dragon stiffs him with a few more kicks and then fish hooks him on the chinlock just to be a dick. Dragon rolls Regal into a half crab. Brain: “How many times in your life do you get to see a man dressed like a rooster, standing on his head on the top rope?” Tony: “Well… not many, Brain. You’re right.” Regal gets a rope break, but that’s no reprieve as Dragon hits a neckbreaker and goes to another headscissors. Tenay: “Another unique aspect to this World’s TV championship is that it combines the prestige of a title belt with exposure, wrestling on TV every week. We all know how important prime time TV has become in the wrestling game.” Dust: “Exposure is the name of the right. You are right here at Slamboree; so much at stake, tonight, with tradition. You talk about everything, and the butterflies has GOT TO BE IN! MY MAN, REGGIE WHITE! And—and—everybody’s stomach. I wonder how he felt Super Bowl-wise, compared to this. OHHH! I GUARANTEE YA! WHAT A NIGHT IT’S GON BE!” During Dust’s soliloquy, Regal countered and went for a Regal Stretch but no dice as Dragon made the ropes. Regal released and just starts shitkicking the daylights out of Dragon and the crowd HATES HIM! GLORIOUS! Man, these two have just been pulverizing each other after that chain opening. Dragon rolls out to the floor to regroup and of course, Regal kicks his ass back in and suplexes him. 1, 2, kickout. Tenay: “Regal is so intent on winning the TV championship. He claims it’s the only belt worth holding.” Dust: “Wha--?” Tenay: “He currently isn’t interested in the US title, isn’t a citizen, of course. And he even questions the n.W.o’s vandalism of the world belt.” That’s Dylan-esque hot fire from the professor. Regal grounds Dragon with a MasterLock but Dragon counters to one of his own. Dragon counters back with the butt bomb and a sunset flip for only 1. Regal escapes and wants the Regal Stretch again. Dragon gets the ropes again, so Regal pastes the back of his head. Dragon is all FUCK THAT NOISE and shoots for a double and mounts into GnP’ing Regal with smacks galore.
• Dragon floats into a kimura and then switches to an armbar. Brain recommends biting Dragon. Tony: “Thanks a lot, Brain.” Brain: “You’re welcome, SCHIAVONE!” ANYWAY, Regal rolls into the deathlock for another attempt at the Regal Stretch. Dragon blocks so Regal switches to a bow and arrow called “the old surfboard” by Dusty. Brain: “Does anyone know if the Dragon speaks English?” Tenay: “He speaks limited English. Speaks a lot of Spanish as well as Japanese.” Brain: “Most people in this country speak limited English.” Dust: “HE KNOWS HOW TO SAY, ‘UNCLE’ AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE!” Dragon bites to free from the submission and kicks Regal down. Time for the stiff soccer kicks and THE MUTA LOCK! REGALREGALREGALREGAL! Now, the crowd loves Regal. Dragon releases the hold to switch to Camel Clutch. Regal frees himself by poking Dragon in the eyes, landing Euro uppercuts, and closed fists. Regal tries a backdrop but Dragon lands on his feet and dropkicks Regal to the floor. Dragon distracts the ref, so Onoo can waffle Regal down with a crescent kick. Dragon then gets pissed at Onoo’s interference, which is hilarious considering that Dragon was so ingrained to working heel that he distracted the ref, so Onoo could work him over in the first place. Back in, Dragon hits the handspring back elbow and the top rope rana. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99. Dragon wants a moonsault but Regal moves out of the way. Regal Stretch but Dragon escapes for the fifth or so time by going to the ropes. Regal blocks a backdrop by going for the Butterfly Suplex. NO! RANA COUNTER! 1, 2, KICKOUT! School boy from Regal gets another 2 count. Dragon takes him down with a spinwheel kick and then they clumsily can’t sync up a La Magisteral. They still can’t get it together as Regal takes an ugly Lionsault. Dragon is all STAND STILL, GAIJIN and they try a few suplex counters before Dragon dumps him out. He skins the cat back in to try a plancha back out but Regal moves and Dragon eats mat. The match has damn near fallen apart in the last 2 minutes with terrible timing and no rhythm at all. On the floor, Dragon recovers and trashes Regal into the rail to set up the Asai moonsault. Dragon again occupies the ref, so Onoo can hit light him up. AGAIN, Dragon is pissed and wants a meeting of the minds. Onoo’s all I PREFER MIZOGUCHI TO KUROSAWA and Dragon’s all WHAT ABOUT ICHIKAWA and Onoo can’t stand that blasphemy and kicks him to the back of the head. In the distraction, Regal also kicks Dragon in the back of the head. Back in, reverse suplex and Regal Stretch. Dragon gives it up and we have a new TV champ to a big pop at 16:06.
• A strange, almost operatic match with three distinct parts. The rather boring, perfunctory chain stuff at the beginning, that was only interesting as each guy seemed more and more pissed at getting countered and piefaced around in a hold. Once Regal gutwrenched Dragon, the match picked up nicely and was awesome for a solid 10 minutes with lots of intensity and, yes, submissions, but submissions more of a personality than just token, my turn for the headlock. Also, a good chunk of the match was entertaining because neither guy gave two shits about preening or mounting for 10 punches – because it’s heel-heel, they just worked on trying to one-up each other at being a stiff asshole. The final few minutes were a minor disaster with the high spots not coming off well at all and their timing horrific. It’s not enough to completely derail the match, but it does suck a lot of fun out of the last few minutes which also included an unnecessary heel turn on a heel to help a heel win to a pop. ***1/4
• Ladies Grudge Match: Luna Vachon vs. Madusa. The most interesting man in the world, educated in the ways of women, Lee Marshall joins the boys on commentary. Tony briefly recounts the “controversy” surrounding the barely 6-month-old WCW women’s title. In cooperation with GAEA Japan, they held a tournament won by Akira Hokuto. Tony says that Madusa recently defeated Akira in Japan, but Sonny Onoo isn’t recognizing the victory because their fingers were crossed behind their backs during the contract signing… or something. ANYWAY, next month at the GAB, Hokuto would defeat Madusa again, but the belt would be vacated soon after and never heard from again.
• Luna takes her down to start and rakes the back. Hairtoss and some screaming get Luna fired up. Madusa comes back with nothing so Luna headbutts her back down. They slug it out and Madusa comes back with smacks, until Luna goes to the eyes. Luna chokes and struts and goes back to choking as Marshall talks about Cheryl Miller and Martina Navratilova. Brain segues into the finest women bowlers in the state of Wisconsin but Madusa cuts off Luna with a roundhouse. Luna trips her and goes back to the PATENTEDBLATANTCHOKE. Luna goes to the midriff for some choking and back to the throat for choking. Suplex and Luna floats into a cover but Madusa bridges out then loses her mojo and quits the bridge. Fantastic. Madusa runs in for a clothesline and a few chops. Another screaming splash in the corner and a clothesline folds up Luna. Madusa covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Luna tries to escape but Madusa pulls her back to the middle. Madusa goes to a few kicks as Marshall brings her up legendary kingboxing prowess. Luna comes back with a thumb to the eyes, called “the equalizer” by Dusty. Dusty: “This ain’t been a pretty thing.” Madusa tries a sunset flip but Luna drops down to CHOKE! Dust: “SHE A-RAGGING HER, NOW, BOYS!” Madusa rolls back into a cover for a nearfall. Madusa leaps into a hairtoss telegraphed by about 10 steps. Swinging neckbreaker from Luna and the crowd is dead. Luna heads up top but whiffs on a splash. Madusa stands in the vicinity of her whilst Luna suplexes herself. Bridge gets 1, 2, 3 and a smack on the ass from Madusa at 5:11. Energetic if a tad Wisconsin women’s bowling shoe unattractive. *
• Meanwhile, Schemin’ Geno is shilling his hotline BUT WAIT! IT’S THE MACH AND LIZ! Mach steals the stick and invites Gene to take a hike. Last month, DDP defeated Macho in a No DQ match, so I’m sure he’s got something to say about that. Mach says the world revolves around the N.W.O! THE WOLFPAC! HOGAN! BUFF! SCOTT NORTON! EAZY E! DDPDDPDDPDDPDDP! NO! HE DOESN’T WANT TO FEEL THE MADNESS ANYMORE! BUT WAIT! DDP HAS COME OUT WITH A CRUTCH! He enters through the crowd and scares off Savage. Bisch comes out and calls out the troops for back up. DDP says that he knows Macho is busy and can’t wrestle him. He’s got a date – not with Kimberly or Liz but with Hogan; Macho’s gotta wash his car and KISS HIS ASS!
• Macho has heard enough and moves in for an attack but quickly gets beat down with the crutch. Buff, Flash, and Vincent are in to eat the same. DDP WAFFLES BISCHOFF WITHB THE CRUTCH! BUT WAIT! Norton gets him from behind and goes to the TAPEDUPRIBS! Crowd is going bananas as Giant comes out to even the odds. Angle advancement but SPECTACULAR and makes you want to see them go at it.
• Yuji Yasuraoka vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. Tony plays up how Yuji debuted the previous evening on WCW Saturday Night. Tenay takes over to ram home how this is the proving grounds for Mysterio to reinforce his number 1 contendership to Syxx’s cruiserweight championship.
• Dusty says that Yuji is going to have to show him a lot more than he did last night to take him in a fight over Rey Mysterio. Yuji goes to the leg kicks early to the hamstring. Rey begs off to the corner to sell. Yuji with a TD and floats into a bridge for a few 2 counts. He snapmares Rey over for the chinlock. Rey counters out to a spinning toe hold and torques the leg. Yuji gets the ropes and we’re back to square 1. Rey with a TD and he hooks the legs in a bit of a reverse Gory special setup then switches to a reverse full nelson. Yuji suplexes him over with Northern Lights. He slams Rey down and goes to the back kicks and stomps. Another slam and Dust and Brain argue over whether or not, punches and kicks are part of Yuji’s regular arsenal or if it’s a fake out to Pearl Harbor Mysterio, tonight. Brain also manages to call him “Yogi” and “Yuki” within the same sentence. Yuji goes to an arm wringer before Rey counters to his own. Rey springs to his feet only to get LARIATO’ed down. Yuji sends him off for a spinwheel kick and no one cares.
• Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Rey with a backdrop to come back and he goes to the forearms. Rey flips up for the anti-Newtonian rana. Rey wants the plancha but the ref blocks and starts the count. Rey responds by flipping OVER the ref with the TOPE CON HILO! Crowd finally comes alive a bit for that. Back in, Rey applies the Camel Clutch to slow things down again. Rey releases to go to the chops. He flips to the apron and uses the shoulderblocks to create separation. He springboards in but gets caught awesomely with a spinkick from Yuji. Dust tries to call it a low blow but loses steam improvises: “He caught him low, not around the neck. Way down around… the… low region of ya body. That’ll hurt ya, right there.” Yuji covers for another 2 count as Rey gets the bottom ropes. Yuji sends him across for another step up spinkick and then pulls him down into a FUJIWARA ARMBAR! Awesome sequence even if it seems to belong in a different match. Yuji gets him up as Tenay mentions LANCE STORM! He used to be Yuji’s tag partner in Japan. Brain: “Lance Storm? Sounds like a weather man in Omaha.” Yuji sends Rey into the turnbuckle bad-arm first and then pulls Rey into an armbar. Yuji switches to a keylock. Dust: “And for the layman’s out there, a keylock is you can’t get ya arm out.” Tenay: “And also reaching through with your own arm and grabbing your own wrist.” Dust: “EXACTLY! YOU CAN’T GET YA ARM OUT! UNLESS YOU BREAK IT YASELF!” Rey won’t tap so Yuji boots the arm. Rey tries a head of steam but runs into another LARIATO. Cover gets 1, 2, no. Back to the arm and Yuji applies a slow flying armbar. Rey gets the ropes, so Yuji is forced to release.
• He wraps the arm and boots Rey to the floor. Rey hooks his good arm and won’t budge on a whip, so Yuji jumps over the ropes to the floor and busts the arm on the ropes. Yuji follows up with an off-screen double jump plancha. He’s pleased with himself but the crowd still doesn’t care. Back in, hanging vertical suplex gets 1, 2, kickout from Rey. Rey gets the boot up in the corner and then drops Yuji in the corner for a split leg moonsault. Cover gets 1, 2, nearfall. Rey tries to wheelbarrow his way out of an armdrag but Yuji sits down on him for 1, 2, no. Rey counters to one of his own for another nearfall. Rey ducks a spinwheel kick and hooks up Yuji for a powerbomb. Rey heads up top for the superfly splash but whiffs. Crowd is out to lunch as Yuji fires up for a SWEET double arm DDT. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.999999. Yuji is pissed and argues the count. Yuji wants another but Rey counters to a Northern Lights suplex for 1, 2, 2.99. They botch a whip reversal and Yuji covers with another spinwheel kick and some forearms. Yuji heads up top but Rey counters with a dropkick. Rey cues up the springboard rana. He nails it and puts away Yuji at 14:59.
• Yuji was game for the usual Rey PPV match – kick his ass the entire match and then get beat with a rana at the end. The arm work was pretty damn good from Yuji and it was a nice change of pace to see some mat work in-between ranas and such. As far as I can tell, Yuji disappeared back to Japan and never again appeared in WCW. Good stuff but the crowd couldn’t have cared less. ***
• Mortis vs. Glacier. Mortis is accompanied by James Vandenberg aka Sinister Minster. “GLACIER, TONIGHT, WE SEND YOU BACK TO YOUR IGLOO IN A BODYBAG! LET THE BLOODSPORTS BEGIN!” Kanyon and Vandenberg stole Glacier’s Rayden headgear and he’s pissed but he’s also UNDEFEATED! Tony and crew play up the possibility of Wrath interfering. Dust wants to talk strategy on how Glacier should confront the alleged sorcery of Mortis: “Fighting fire with fire, duking it out. If ya gotta go to a fight and everybody’s a dukin’, then ya duke. If everybody’s a… ahh… usin’ other weapons, then ya use other weapons.”
• Glacier runs in but gets booted down quickly by Mortis. Dust: “They didn’t even let the snow clear before they into this one.” Mortis pounds away on Glacier’s knee and uses the haymakers as well. Mortis stomps a mudhole on the leg to prevent the Cryo Kick. NOOOOOOOO! NOT THE KNEE! Mickey Jay finally gets a break but Glacier is done. Mortis gestures to the back. Dust: “HE’S A-CALLIN’ FOR SOMEBODY!” WRATH HAS COME OUT! Brain: “SPELL IT!” Tony: “W-R-A-T-H! WHAT IS THIS, A SPELLING BELL?! IT’S WRATH!” Brain: “I KNOW WHAT IT IS, BUT SOME OF THE HUMANOIDS MAY NOT AT HOME!”
ANYWAY, for no reason at all, Mortis climbs up top for Glacier to cut him off with an Electric Chair. Glacier goes to the ice picks and a back drop but still sells the leg. Glacier clotheslines Mortis out but gets waffled from behind by Wrath. DQ at 1:53. Sports entertainment-riffic. ½*
• Post-match, they choke him and kick him around. Mortis then rides Glacier and faceplants him into the stairs. That certainly looked brutal. BUT WAIT! HERE COMES ERNEST MILLER! He kicks the heel out of the ring and saves Glacier. The crew is initially stumped as they think he’s a fan, but Tony then recalls his resume and remembers that AH YES! That’s the current World Heavyweight Champion of Tournament Karate! Mortis bumped like hell for his spinkick.
• Meanwhile, Gene shills the hotline again but not before he makes his intentions known to the fine lady ring attendants.
• WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Jeff Jarrett vs. Dean Malenko (c). Jarrett is in the Four Horsemen and is seconded by Debra McMichael. The Horsemen are face, but Jarrett is a heel. Dust wants to know about what kind of welcome Jarrett gets at the Mongo household, but Brain sidesteps the gossip. Jarrett still has the awful shredded paper gear. Unfortunately, the boys once again leave the prognosticating to Dust: “YOU AIN’T GON SEE A HIGHLIGHT RISK—A HIGHLIGHT—SAY IT AGAIN! REAL FAST! HIGHLIGHT REEL! YOU AIN’T GON SEE A LOT OF SPRINGBOARDIN’, HERE, IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY!”
• Jarrett plays to the crowd at the beginning but gets greeted with roaring chants of JARRETTSUXJARRETTSUXJARRETTSUX! Jarrett goes to the headlock and gets sent off for a shoulderblock on Deano. Dean regroups to the corner for another lockup. Jarrett drives him into the corner. Rather than clean break, Jarrett shoves him down but Dean rolls onto his feet. Dean wants a hiptoss but Jarrett floats into an ARMBAG! LUCHA JARRETT, BABY! STRUTTING TIME! Dean is ready to waffle him and Jarrett thinks better of it. Now, THAT’S what I’m talking about. 90 seconds in and this is awesome. Malenko drops him down but Jarrett counters into an armbar. He sends Malenko off and takes him down and then stomps on his back. WOOOOOOOOOOO! STRUTTING TI—Dean’s ready again to pound him down and Jarrett retreats to a neutral corner. Malenko with a go behind into a snapmare then a chinlock. Jarrett tosses his way free but Dean goes back to the headlock. He tries a headlock TD but Jarrett counters to a headscissors. Malenko neckbridges back into an STF and then goes top position with another chinlock. These guys are going at it, tonight. Jarrett goes to his feet for a single leg and goes to the toe hold. He tries to drop an elbow but Malenko escapes to get back to square one. Jarrett tries to hook up and MALENKO WON’T COME OUT OF THE CORNER! UNPRECEDENTED IN THE HISTOFY OF THIS GREAT SPORT! Jarrett: “GET OUT HERE, MALENKO!”
• Back out of the corner, they fight over the single leg and Jarrett gets it with an inside trip and goes back to the toe hold. Dean kicks him off for a trip of his own into a heel hook. Brain must have snuck into the box wine a little early, tonight, because he lets out a doozy and the crew kills him for it. Brain: “See, a lot of people don’t realize that Malenko is the Man of 1000 Holds. He knows more than a 1000, but he is so quick. Very quick. You talk about Mysterio and the likes of… people like that… Calo. Nobody, I don’t think, is quicker than Malenko, because he knows what he’s doing when he’s doing it. Some of those guys just do things to hurt ya.” Tony: “Knows what he’s doing when he’s doing it.” Brain: “You know it.” Tony: “Most of us do.” Dust: “They talk about my language and how I kinda run words together, sometimes, now. But that statement he just made, I mean, you can’t even get that out of a briefcase.” ANYWAY, Malenko stays on the knee and brings Jarrett to the floor to wrap it around the guardrail and DROPKICK THE BAD KNEE! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Jarrett begs off and wants a timeout. Back in though, he no sells to cut off Deano at the pass. I could get behind that if he sold it a bit, no such luck. Jarrett stomps away and lands a Bluechipper dropkick for 1, 2, 2 ½. Jarrett sends him off for an ab stretch. Jarrett then gets some leverage from Debra behind the ref’s back. Crowd ain’t biting, so Malenko hiptosses his way free. Jarrett ignores to counter and reapply. Malenko gets the ropes to escape. Jarrett again tries to reapply but Malenko spins him around to escape and gets PISSED and kicks his ass. Dean whips him off for a haymaker and Jarrett is reeling and bails out to take a breather.
• JARRETTSUXJARRETTSUXJARRETTSUX! Back in, Jarrett wants a test of strength but then kicks Malenko to the breadbasket to get a cheap advantage and then hooks him in the test of strength anyway. HEEEEEEEEEEEL! Jarrett switches to a half kimura, half armbar. Jarrett: “HE AIN’T GOING NOWHERE, NOW!” Malenko escapes with a trip so Jarrett goes back to the hold. Dean sends Jarrett into the turnbuckle to counter and lands a back suplex for 1, 2, kickout. Jarrett gets the foot up in the corner and hits a swinging neckbreaker. He calls for the Figure Four but Stinko counters by just absolutely POTATO-ING Jarrett in the knee. Crowd has come alive again as it’s CLOVERLEAF TIME! NO! SMALL PACKAGE! ONE, TWO, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM! Jarrett tries a kick but Malenko catches the leg. He teases Jarrett into trying an enzuigiri but whiffs on that as well. He wants the Cloverleaf again but Jarrett gets the ropes. Malenko isn’t satisfied and catapults him into the ropes. FINALLY, CLOVERLEAF! NO! Jarrett dumps him to the floor and trashes Malenko into the guardrail. Back in, Jarrett tries a crossbody but Malenko rolls through for 1, 2, kickout. Jarrett with up and over out of the corner and applies the Sleeper. Malenko drives him back into the corner and ducks behind for a Sleeper of his own. Jarrett counters to a KNEEBREAKER! FIGURE FOUR! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Dean struggles but makes the ropes. JARRETTSUXJARRETTSUXJARRETTSUX! Dean tries up and over but Jarrett catches him. He tries a Snake Eyes but Malenko counters and they bump heads for a double KO spot. They are pulling out all the classics, tonight. BUT WAIT! MONGO HAS COME OUT! He has a word with Debra and tosses Jarrett back into the ring while he’s still groggy. Back in, Malenko and Jarrett counter kicks and waistlocks before Dean lands a Butterfly Suplex. Cloverleaf and Jarrett taps at 15:04.
• Absolutely incredible, phenomenal match. Other than Angle in TNA, this might be Jarrett’s last great match ever? I know there’s a slew of *** affairs and broken guitars littered between 97 and the present, but damn, that match was awesome and seems EASILY a few steps above the overbooked nonsense in his main event run. It was damn near perfect from the word go with Jarrett busting out his grappling boots to go hold for hold and counter for counter with Malenko. But even as he was a step ahead, he couldn’t get a literal step ahead to do the Strut, which I loved as a character moment from both. Jarrett was ahead of Malenko cutting him off at the pass each time and even getting an ab stretch three times before Dean had to Hulk up and get him out of the way. Once Malenko got a leg up in the gamesmanship by going after Jarrett’s knee, Jarrett tried taking breathers and cheating to get ahead, but in the end came up short. The only drawbacks – the psychology didn’t really amount to a cohesive focus and thus the selling wasn’t really there to make it an all-time classic. Also, the ending came off just a tad flat, because Debra was such a small part of the match, that it was a shame, she had to be the focus of the ending. Maybe if Dean had been trying a sunset flip and Jarrett needed Debra’s help to avoid and then Mongo escorts her out and Jarrett falls that way. Or Jarrett goes for the Strut at the wrong time and Malenko finally waffles him for the victory. Either way, great match that was just a tad bit more psychology and a stronger ending away from a bona fide classic. ****1/4
• Death Match: Meng vs. Chris Benoit. Lots of possible painful overtures with this one obviously. No pinfalls, submissions, countouts, DQ’s, etc. The match ends when one man can’t continue. Meng scares away Jimmy Hart on the entrance to say he’s going it alone. Benoit is in the Horsemen and accompanied by Woman.
• They avoid some strikes to start and feel each other out. They finally lock up and Meng tosses him into the corner but misses with another hook kick. Test of strength but Meng gets the cheap advantage with a kick to the ribs. Benoit blocks the next one with a DSLW. Stalemate thus far. Meng with a kick to Benoit’s back and he bails out to regroup. Back in, Meng folds up Benoit with a BEAST overhead belly to belly suplex. Meng goes for a short arm clothesline but Benoit ducks behind for a German suplex. Benoit hooks the ropes to avoid a kick and goes after Meng’s knee. Benoit wants a F4 but Meng boots him to the floor. Meng goes to the chops but Benoit drops him into the ring steps. Back in, test of strength goes to a rope break and the ref counts even though no DQ and such. Meng chops Benoit before the break anyway. Benoit trades places and goes to the chops as Dust says for the zillionth time tonight that “ya gotta fight fiy with fiy.” Meng no sells everything Benoit’s got and shoves him outta the corner. Meng goes to the kicks and pulverizes Benoit. BUT WAIT! JACQUELINE HAS COME OUT! To watch from the aisle. See, Jacqueline seconded Sullivan in his never-ending feud with Benoit and Woman – re: Horsemen/Dungeon, etc..
• ANYWAY, Benoit fires back with knees and a hair toss as Woman stink-eyes Jacqueline to the back. Meng ducks a shot and clubs down Benoit. Meng with a headbutt and rolls Benoit into a half crab even though there’s no submissions. Benoit gets the ropes anyway and now Brain finally wakes up and realizes that a rope break is meaningless. They chop it out and Meng headbutts Benoit down and then poses. Meng follows up with a nice Spike Piledriver. Ref starts to count as it’s finally clear that it’s basically a Last Man Standing Match. Benoit beats the count at 7. Crowd gets behind Benoit as he pulls Meng into the CC. Meng gets the ropes and of course, another break as Dust argues vehemently that Benoit didn’t have to break the submission before turning track and arguing vehemently that Benoit simply had to release the hold. Back in, Meng no sells some stuff to club down Benoit. Dust keeps wanting these guys to put each other in a submission even though that’s not how you win. Meng pounds Benoit down and the ref starts the count. Benoit beats it at 5 and fires up only to get pummeled again. Benoit beats it at 8. Meng goes to the kicks but hooks himself on the top rope. Benoit comes back with Rolling Germans but Meng elbows free on the third one. Benoit wants the CC and locks it in but Meng gets the ropes. Meng rolls to the floor and Benoit dives to the floor on Meng. Back in, Benoit says it’s over but Meng crotches him. Benoit floats over him from the top rope into another German suplex. Diving headbutt follows but Meng awesomely catches him in the Tongan Death Grip. Benoit collapses and the ref calls for the bell at 14:55.
• Hard-hitting contest, but neither the ref nor the crew knowing exactly what the rules were drags it down. This feud would continue another month and Benoit would win the return match at GAB in the same stipulation. **3/4
• Konnan and Hugh Morrus vs. The Steiner Brothers. Konnan and Hugh are also in the Dungeon and accompanied by Jimmy Hart. Scott with a quick armdrag to start as Hugh claims that he pulled the hair. Tony talks up how the Steiners never lost the tag belts that they won at Souled Out from the Outsiders but Bischoff stripped them because they didn’t use an n.W.o referee. ANYWAY, Scott goes to the top wristlock but Hugh uses the hair to pull him down which is pretty awesome because now the ref won’t believe either of them. Hugh gets a cheap forearm off not giving a clean break and then goes to the haymakers. Scott sends him off and eats a SHOULDERBLOCK! DOWN GOES STEINER! Steiner telegraphs a backdrop and Hugh clubs him DOWN AGAIN! THREE CONSECUTIVE TAKEDOWNS FOR THE BIG MAN ON SCOTT STEINER! HUGH MORRUS FOR WORLD CHAMP! Whoops, sorry. Brain talks up Scotty’s back injury to explain why he’s even taking a modicum of heat off the likes of Morrus. On cue, Scotty blocks a smash and belly to belly suplexes him down into top position. Rick in for some barking and he feeds into Hugh’s CLUBBINGBLOWS. HO TRAIN! HUGH MORRUS IS UNSTOPPABLE! TOUGH ENOUGH REPRESENTING! He tries another Ho Train but whiffs to eat another belly to belly suplex. Time for some Steiner-lines. He heads up top for a super Steiner-line and hits it. Hugh careens to the floor as it’s time for the heels to regroup. Konnan tags in and plays to a mostly apathetic crowd. Who knew in 1-2 years he would be one of the most over guys on the roster? Konnan tries the SWAT team roll but Rick scouts it with another Steiner-line. Tony in reference to the Steiners: “HOW COME THEY HAVE A WINNING PERCENTAGE OF OVER .875?!?!” They counter waistlocks and Rick lays him out with a German suplex. Konnan slowly feeds in to a few strikes and then plays dead. Rick awkwardly rolls him over for a 2 count and is blown up. The damn FACE is working the count because he can’t get to his feet to make a tag. Scotty finally tags in as Tony has gone to the baseball metaphors to give this the big fight feel. He runs into a boot in the corner but Scott takes back over by branching out of his wheelhouse with another belly to belly suplex. Konnan rolls over to tag in Hugh but Scotty jumps him before he can get in the ring which Scott sells better than Hugh.
• Steiner: “FAAAHHHHHHHHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHHHHHHAHAHAH!” Scott sends him off but Hugh counters and Jimmy Hart trips him up into a swinging neckbreaker. Hugh picks up Scott into a GORILLA PRESS SLAM INTO A STUN GUN! BEAST! Konnan starts shitkicking Scott behind the ref’s back. Konnan tags in for the SWAT team toll clothesline for 1, 2, no. The heels now drop into a combo Rings of Saturn on Scott and Rick breaks that up to a pop. Hugh keeps on the Fujiwara armbar though while the ref gets him back to his corner. Konnan tags back in and goes to the same hold while Dusty dazzles us with his submission knowledge: “HE’S A-TRYING TO TEAR HIS ARM OUTTA HIS SOCKET! YOU CAN DO THAT WHEN YOU’RE 340 LBS!... NOW THEY GOT THE OTHER ARM STRETCH OUT! THEY’RE REALLY PULLING THEM TENDONS! A LOT OF PRESSURE APPLIED! ” Hugh then gets in for the most blatant illegal blind tag in history but Rick being no far of cheating, illegally dumps him to the floor. Scotty with another belly to belly suplex but he’s gassed and takes a breather as well on the mat. Hugh gets in and again, the ref is forced to play deaf, dumb, and blind even more so than usual to ignore all of this cheating. Hugh dives off but eats boot from Scott. Tag to Rick and he cleans house and dumps out the legal man, Konnan, only to powerslam Hugh. Bulldog on Hugh and the ref counts on the illegal man for 1, 2, broken up by Konnan. The Steiners mount in the corners for 10 a piece. They go for the coconut but Rick and Konnan collide which Konnan sells but Rick doesn’t. This is falling apart. Hugh has had it and DESTROYS Rick with a LARIATO. Hugh wants the No Laughing Matter. Rick doesn’t get under enough and Hugh grazes him in a nasty looking botch. Hugh no sells the faceplant but Dust senses the end is near: “THIS MIGHT BE THE COUPE DE GRAYAH!” Frankensteiner and Rick hooks the leg on the illegal man for 1, 2, 3 to end it at 9:40.
• Well, that was something. I wouldn’t call this good; in fact, it’s a helluva lot closer to bad than good. And yet, I somehow enjoyed it. Was it both Steiners getting blown up in a sub-10 minute tag match and needing to lay flat on their faces to cover for it? Was it the worst blind tag ever right in front of the ref that led to the pin on the wrong man? Was it that devastating combination Rings of Saturn that was never seen before and will never been seen again on a borderline unconscious man in the form of Rick Steiner with no oxygen? Was it that No Laughing Matter that was supposed to miss but somehow partially connected? Was it Dusty trying to speak French and discuss MMA on commentary? No, it was none of those things, although they were great. It was Hugh somehow getting the better of both Scott and Rick for fleeting seconds in the early going before he got suplexed into oblivion. I’m down for some hoss-hoss slugfests and this delivered on that in spades, even if it was negative on the grace factor. **
• Post-match, Konnan DDTs Hugh and leaves the DOD.
• Mongo McMichael vs. Reggie White. This is billed as the “First Ever Battle Between Super Bowl Champs.” Except, ya know, on the football field. This is White’s debut and he’s seconded by his strength coach. White is coming off winning the Super Bowl with the Packers earlier in 97. He’s working in a football practice jersey. Mongo is accompanied by Debra and the Halliburton and has spent the year jobbing to the n.W.o, Jarrett, and Public Enemy on back to back to back PPV’s. Let’s get to it.
• Brain: “I wonder how many times White has been in a fight like this without pads on.” Lock up and Reggie drives Mongo back into the corner. Dust: “LOTTA POWER! WHOAAAAAAAAAAA BABY!” Mongo comes back almost tearing his rotator cuff with a hammerlock and tosses Reggie into the ropes. Mongo follows up with the jumping jacks and applies a headlock. Mongo: “WOWWW! I BETCHA THAT HURTS!” Gonna be a long match. White sends him off and they collide but both no sell the collision. Back to the headlock for Mongo and White sends him off for more of the same. Dust: “TWO HITS! NOBODY DOWN!” White eggs him on and now he’s got the headlock and he torques it and the crowd is getting into it. Mongo sends him off and eats a shoulderblock. Mongo tries to no sell and then Flair Flops to his back in a spot that could have worked – but it came off less like a Flair Flop and more like, no sell, 3 seconds pass, fall down for no reason. Dust: “THERE IT WAS! THIRD ONE TOOK HIM! REGGIE NEEDS TO DROP DOWN INTO THE THREE POINT AND UNLOAD ON HIM!” Mongo has HAD IT and draws a line in the ring and dares White to cross it. What’s IN-FUCKING-SANE is that this is the exact same match Flair and Arn worked against Greene and Mongo at GAB 96 except with White playing Mongo and Mongo filling in for FLAIR! Crowd is into it at least. White squares up for the showdown but Mongo begs off. They go at it again and Mongo shoots for the chop block and then showboats with the toe touches. White sells for a few steps but then Jack Bauers up and walks off a torn ACL to draw his line in the sand. Mongo charges in from the stance but White LEAP FROGS HIM! LOOK AT ‘IM MOVE, TONY! Mongo eats turnbuckle and then White levels him with what can charitably be referred to as a clothesline. Dust: “HE STRONG-ARMED HIM! HE DIDN’T HIT HIM IN NO… CERTAIN AREA! HE JUST WENT AHEAD AND THUGGED HIM!”
• Mongo, to his credit, does his best Flair and bumps like hell for it and flops out of the ring. Mongo says it’s over and he’s taking a walk. BUT WAIT! SOMEONE HAS COME OUT! He’s nameless, jerseyless, and heatless but Tony is a bit late in relaying that he’s Gilbert Brown, also of the Packers. Mongo tries to waffle him with the briefcase but Brown ducks and fireman’s carries him back to the ring. Back in, Mongo eats a not terrible, if techniqueless dropkick for 1, 2, kickout. A MONGO chant gets going but its overpowered by a REGGIE chant. Mongo answers the critics with CHAIN WRESTLING! HOLD #713! ARMBAR! Mongo: “JESUS MAY HAVE YOUR SOUL, BUT I GOT YO ASS!” White no sells blasphemy and hits another White-line. Dust: “HE THUNKED HIM, AGAIN!” Back in, White applies a headlock and Mongo wrestles himself as he teases a pushoff but then holds on to himself using White’s waist to guide him. Mongo gets a rope break and clips the knee AND NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL, PEPE STYLE!
• Side slam and White is done. Mongo goes for a senton but White slides out of the way. Back to square one as White goes to a headlock but Mongo sends him off only to get CROSSBODIED! 1, 2, 2 ½ ! Reggie goes to the vaunted nerve hold which Dust puts over. Dust: “ALL KINDA NERVES BACK IN THERE! PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT! GO UP BEHIND SOMEBODY IN YOUR HOUSE AND GRAB A-HOLD OF ‘IM! JUST WATCH THEM!” Brain: “You must have a lot of fun at home.” Mongo begs off and prays that he’ll “go to church.” Mongo gets a rope break and then backwards punts Reggie to the stones: “I’M GOING TO CHURCH, BABY, I THINK I HEAR THE CHURCH BELLS RINGING, NOW!” Mongo then ghosts him on a headbutt to the breadbasket and goes back to the heel hook. Mongo switches to a half crab and Reggie contorts only to make the ropes. They botch a turnbuckle smash and then Reggie blocks a few and sends Mongo in. Mongo no sells and goes back to the knee to toss him down to crickets. Mongo fires up for, what else, A FIGURE FOUR! White boots him to the floor to counter. Mongo heads up top but White cuts him off and slams him to the mat. WHITE SELLS THE KNEE! HE CAN’T GET TO HIS FEET! Mongo capitalizes with forearms and White comes back with CLUBBINGBLOWS and another few White-lines. Mongo begs off only to get atomic dropped and dumped out. Mongo pulls him to the floor and they slug it out and Mongo gets sent into the rail. Back in. Mongo cuts him off at the pass but White counters for a suplex. Brain: “REGGIE’S CLOTHESLINED! SUPLEXED! YOU COULD BE LOOKING AT THE NEXT WORLD’S CHAMPION!” Reggie splashes him and covers but the ref is distracted. Mongo goes for the Halliburton waffle but Gilbert pulls the briefcase away. Mongo parlays with the ref to talk it over with Gilbert. BUT WAIT! JEFF JARRETT HAS COME OUT! He tosses another Halliburton to Mongo who promptly gives Reggie El Kabong de Samsonite. Mongo hooks the leg for 1, 2, 3 to win it at 15:18.
• Let’s start with the finish. That’s awesome Horseman misdirection and all, but it makes very little sense in context with the ending of the US title match. If Mongo and JJ have dissension over Debra, why would JJ come out to help him beat Reggie? If they don’t have dissension, why would Mongo come out and cost him against Deano? You can always do one of my favorite wrestling mark staples – explaining away things in kayfabe that make no sense (i. e., Mongo and Jarrett have dissension but Horsemen > belts or Horsemen > NFL, so Jarrett and Mongo will take care of their business another time but not at the expense of the master plan, OR the Horsemen blew the match against Deano to dupe White into believing there was dissension in the ranks, etc.), but in reality, it’s just two finishes that don’t make a lot of sense together.
• As a total, what a bizarre spectacle that was. Of all people, Mongo is doing a Flair impression to carry a non-wrestler in his first match ever and, gasp, it’s not the worst thing ever. Disclaimers out of the way: I don’t hate Mongo and think he can be very effective in short bursts in certain segments; also, I love the NFL celebrities that made their foray into wrestling – LT, Greene, White, etc. They’re big, muscular, enthusiastic guys, who look the part and are athletic and energetic enough to make it work better than say, Jay Leno or David Arquette. Mongo’s so damn corny as a cocky asshole who has no class or grace that he’s entertaining almost despite himself. Also, this was booked almost perfect with Mongo using WRASSLIN!~! to beat the football player until he was outgunned and outmuscled so he had to resort to Horseman cheating. I loved it, but I shouldn’t have. ***
• No Disqualification, 6 Man Tag: Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, & Syxx vs. Kevin Greene, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Ric Flair. Tonight, we’re in Charlotte, FLAIR COUNTRY and Greene is a member of the Carolina Panthers. Well, let’s see how we arrived here. The n.W.o took over wrestling in mid 96 and ruled WCW and the ratings for the better part of 2 years. WCW countered with various faces of the company over that period to take on and conquer the n.W.o – Giant, Luger, Flair, Piper, Horsemen, etc. Sting wouldn’t make his starring performance until late 97 and Goldberg until 98. In the meantime, Hogan didn’t work the spring much, so it was the n.W.o sans Hogan vs. Flair, Piper, and crew. The Horsemen and Piper got aligned back at Uncensored when Piper’s band of bandits including Luther Reigns and Tenta, tried out on Nitro to be part of Team WCW and made the cut, but where overruled by the Horsemen.
• ANYWAY, to me, this feud is best remembered for two reasons: 1. The epic promo where Flair said he’s had more world championships than Syxx has had pieces of ass and the subsequent beatdown where Piper lost his mind due to n.W.o leaflets and Flair was left to go after three guys in a street fight but succumbed to the numbers game after trying a Figure Four. And we’ll get to the second reason after the match.
• At the bell, Tony has completely lost his mind as he starts reminiscing about great Flair moments in Charlotte since this is Nature Boy’s first match in months after an arm injury. He says that Flair beat a giant (Vader) into submission that night back at Starrcade 93 when he won the belt, and after that night, that man was “never to be seen from again.” See, Vader is now in the WWF so he doesn’t exist or something. That’s fine and all, but Vader didn’t leave WCW til SEPTEMBER OF 1995! ANYWAY, crowd is electric, of course. Syxx and Flair to start. IT’S ON, MOTHERFUCKER!
• Flair sends him off but eats a shoulderblock. They lock up again for more of the same and Syxx hiptosses him over. Syxx tries to strut but Flair chops him down. TAKE THAT, PUNK! Dust: “STRUT YOUR STUFF OVER THIS WAY!” Syxx ducks another chop and spinwheel kicks him down. The n.W.o are fired up and Syxx goes to the chops. Flair no sells for some of his own. Rights and chops and the crowd is feeling it. Backdrop and down goes Syxx. STRUTTIN’ TIME! He shucks and jives his junk at the heel corner and Hall is livid and sell the hell out of it as the crowd erupts again. Dust: “COME ON IN AND GET SOME OF IT!” This is crazy. Hall can’t take it anymore and feeds in only to get punched out. Flair’s got chops for everybody. SYXX! HALL! NASH! WHOAAAAAA! Nash no sells and is aghast. Flair ain’t scared though and waves him in as he retreats to the face corner. HIP THRUST! FRONT DOUBLE BI! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Dust: “JUMP YO ASS ON SOME TRADITION! EXCUSE ME!” Hall instead tags in but Flair dodges the toothpick waffle. Flair struts and tags in Greene. Greene runs some drills and shakes the ropes like he’s Warrior. Hall isn’t impressed and spits on him. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Nash tags in and Greene tells him not to announce his presence in melodic and rhythmic intonations but to carry with him the beating he intends to lay down upon his adversaries. Nash educates him in the ways of pugilism and grappling and shoves him with IT’S SING IT, DON’T BRING IT, MARK! Nash goes to the hip checks in the corner. HOW BOUT DAT, FOOTBALL BOY?! Crowd chants for Greene as he bowls over Nash with a shoulderblock. Nash no sells to feed into a LARIATO! Greene scoops him up for a bodyslam. WITH EASE! Nash bails out to sell his back and Hall and Syxx try to sneak Greene only to get double LARIATO-ed down.
Crowd loves every bit of it. The n.W.o has a meeting of the minds and they decide they want Hall/Piper. Hall mocks Piper as Piper has a taped up hip from a beatdown last week. Hall tries to test out the hip, so Piper smacks him to a pop. Piper goes to the lefts and rights and combos in the corner. Piper tells all of them to kiss his ass. Hall telegraphs a backdrop pand eats a knee lift. nW.o has got nothing so far. Hall says THAT’S IT and drives him into the corner for some heat, but Piper shoves him way free and punches all of them around. Piper hooks Hall for a swinging neckbreaker. Nash distractrs the ref, so Syxx can sneak in and clip the knee. NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL, HOSTILE TAKEOVER STYLE! Hall mocks the strut and wants the F4 but Piper kicks him off. Piper tries to make a tag but goes to the wrong corner awesomely. He regroups and dives to make the tag to Flair. Flair goes to the chops and rights and he clears the ring except for Hall, but Hall goes to the BLATANTTHUMBTOTHEEYE. Flair Flip and he tries to come off the top but Hall catches him in a Snap Ab Suplex. Hall clotheslines him out to the floor where he’s outnumbered. Piper tries to save him but Syxx jumps him. Greene pummels Syxx and the donnybrook is on. The ref holds off the faces so Nash can hit Flair with a big boot. Back in, cover with feet on the ropes gets 1, 2, no. Crowd gets a rally clap going as Nash hits Snake Eyes. Nash chokes and then Hall waffles him behind the ref’s back. Another choke from Nash with Hall’s help. Nash gathers up Flair for a side slam and tags in Hall. Hall with a corner clothesline and now Syxx in for the Bronco Buster. He flips off Piper and spits on him. Flair fires up for chops and a shoulderblock to Syxx’s back. They recover with Syxx landing on his feet out of a suplex and tossing Flair in for a punch from Hall. They redo the previous spot and both collide on a coconut. Piper and Hall in but the ref missed the tag to Piper. PIPER WAFFLES THE REF! NO DQ! Greene in for a backdrop on Syxx and some forearms. The brawl is on. BUT WAIT! CROOKED REF NICK PATRICK HAS COME OUT! Greene dumps out Syxx and now it’s just Flair/Hall. Flair goes low on Hall as Syxx eats post. Greene chokes Syxx on the outside while Nash jumps Flair from behind. Hall calls for the Edge but Flair counters to the Figure Four! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! THE PLACE LOSES IT! GREENE TAKES OUT NASH! SLEEPER ON NASH! POWERSLAM ON SYXX! ALL THE HEELS ARE DOWN! Nick doesn’t know what to do and counts for 1, 2, 3 at 17:20.
• Just an awesome event with two hometown heroes and Piper temporarily slaying the n.W.o dragon in a showdown for all (see: some) of the marbles. It’s fun as hell but part of the problem with WCW was that things like this never lasted long or more apropos, long enough. Giant and Luger’s victory to end the Outsider’s reign of terror lasted one night after Superbrawl VII when they were stripped of the belts. Sting’s “victories” over Hogan at Starrcade and Superbrawl VII were body blows that never equaled the build up and Sting was never the same. Goldberg never got his revenge on Hogan for the Fingerpoke of Doom and on and on and on.
• But much of that has nothing to do with match, just that aftertaste that wouldn’t last. The n.W.o sold brilliantly for the faces and didn’t try to half-ass it or save face even in jobbing. They knew they were losing but still showed fire and energy when they didn’t always do that. Greene’s limitations were perfectly masked and his enthusiasm shown through enough to make it work in spades. And Flair will always be Flair but he was FEELING IT this night and you could see it. Electric moments in a damn fine match. ****1/4
• Post-match, A celebratory mood overtakes everyone. The crew says they see people crying. Piper says the n.W.o is finished. Greene: “N.W.O! NO MORE! NO MORE, BABY! THEY’RE GONE!” Which brings us to reason #2. The next night on Nitro, Flair, all by his lonesome, would take on Syxx and get destroyed by the n.W.o in one of those, “babyfaces don’t look good here, heels do” company mantras that lasted pretty much since Hogan’s turn to join the n.W.o.
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The 411: By my count, you've got two ****+ matches, two ***+ matches, and two more near *** matches. Crazy high entertainment value and quality in-ring wrestling almost all night and one of the few times ever the n.W.o took a clean beating and liked it. The downsides are no Hogan, Sting, Macho, Luger, Giant, DDP, etc. It's a B-show but possibly one of WCW's best B-shows ever.