This was shortly after Malenko had been brought into WCW. Sting seriously does make Malenko look ridiculously small, which Mongo points out in a brilliant moment of commentary after Bischoff praises Malenko's knowledge and Heenan puts over Malenko as having been born to wrestle. Mongo's hard-on for Sting comes raging through as he says "look at this atha-leet" and points out that Malenko's small and sucks, and then Bischoff talks about Dan Gable, and then Heenan brings up the Bears probably losing some games they were favored to win, and Mongo, who apparently suddenly feels really stupid, goes on a TRULY BIZARRE defensive that I can't help but transcribe:
"Well let me tell ya what, I was a good sport about (losing), I didn't cry around, and pitiful-mouth about like some of these wrestlers we got in THIS league."
Luckily they go to commercial break before Mongo has an aneurysm or shits his pants. Mongo starts changing his mind as Malenko works Sting's leg over, breaking out the red-headed stepchild line. Malenko busts out a loooovely German suplex which Sting takes big and brave. Finally Sting manages to turn the tide by forcing Malenko to make a mistake, but then he immediately misses the Stinger Splash and eats a flying dropkick. Malenko goes for the cloverleaf, Sting small packages him, and that's the end. Sting, limping, manages to get a totally pointless flex in as Malenko absorbs the loss and leaves, disappointed in himself.
Dean Malenko v. Chip Minton (July 7, 1996)
The bobsleigh guy. Watching this poor guy in the ring with Dean Malenko is rough and I kind of feel bad for him. Here he is as a world-class, Olympic athlete, and little Malenko makes him look completely retarded, by which I mean Minton's greenness makes himself look just awful. The poor guy. I'm sure he tried really hard, but pro wrestling isn't for everyone. At least he can run the ropes so that makes him better than Necro Butcher. Heenan is busting Schiavone up in the booth this match. This is OK to watch only in that poor Malenko is walking Chip Minton through this by the hand, and Minton, bless his heart, is doing absolutely as well as he possibly can, and that sucks. Malenko finishes him off with a double underhook power bomb.
Chavo Guerrero Jr. v. Chip Minton (April 10, 1999)
Years later Minton has gotten into muscle milk and become a jerk and well ... he still sucks. He had learned how to play a very basic 1980s jobber heel but that's about it. Everything that might have been improved in his ring work over three years went into having bigger muscles. Minton gets a brief flurry of alleged offense before falling victim to the tornado DDT.
Kurosawa v. Chip Minton (July 6, 1996)
OK, OK, one more, and back to '96. This aired the day before Bash at the Beach '96 where the nWo formed. Creepy ass Chris Cruise and his hilarious I AM A WRESTLING COMMENTATOR voice are here with Dusty Rhodes on The Pro. Oh and then there's Larry Zbyszko.
OH! And Zbyszko says, "There will be a new world order in professional wrestling tomorrow." What do you know! This match is horrible. Kurosawa's offense consists of nothing and he and Minton have about as much in common as me and Usher do. Kurosawa squashes him and once it's announced that he's won, after he's clearly won, the directed boos begin to fly.
Steve Austin v. Tracy Smothers (November 17, 1991)
Sometimes I wonder how big Steve Austin would have gotten had he not been let go from WCW. And then I quickly disregard the thought because then I would have missed all the awesome Stone Cold years. But he was already a pretty strong guy in WCW and talent like that is hard to keep down. I mean yeah WCW dicked around plenty of talented guys, but they were all smaller than Austin and couldn't cut promos like him. But oh well.
This match features internet celebrity Tracy Smothers, who is a favorite of many who love redneckery but never engage in any themselves and frankly would be scared to death to be in the same room as Smothers if he's had a few, probably, because he probably starts fuckin' around with firecrackers and pretending he's gonna let his dog attack you. I'm kind of a hillbilly and I've seen Smothers live a few times with IWA-MS in '04/'05 and yes, I too love Tracy Smothers, but I goddamn sure wouldn't want to be around him for too long. The man is a bit unhinged. Which I mean in, like, the best possible way.
He's also a terrific professional wrestler and always has been. Tracy was a man born to be in the Southern territories and little more, and there's not a thing wrong with that, but by the time he was ready to go the territories were all but dead. He did some good work in WCW during his brief run there and was kickass in Smoky Mountain (which I might say was the best American promotion of the 90s), but for the most part he's a "lost gem" of the wrasslin' game and that's too bad. I mean, me and some other geeks know who he is, but we're geeks.
Austin, like many great TV champs before and, uh, a few after, is cool beans enough to give Tracy plenty of offense. All things considered, the NWA/WCW TV title might be my favorite belt ever. It was different, with the TV time limits and the fact that so many could credibly challenge for it. This is one of those little five-ish minute matches where Smothers gets his offense in and Austin hits his finish and that's that.
The Fabulous Freebirds v. The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys (June 13, 1990)
Steve Armstrong actually says, "You think the Civil War was somethin'? Check THIS out!" And they're the babyfaces.
I know it wouldn't be this way for people older than me, but for ME, a Southern Boys-Freebirds match, with "Badstreet U.S.A." and Gary Michael Cappetta and that WCW walkway, this is what pro wrestling smells like. This is pro wrestling to me. This is the sort of thing that can always trigger the love of the wrestling.
It is a crying fucking shame that the most successful Armstrong boy was Road Dogg. Not that I hate Road Dogg or something (he had his moments) but Brad and Steve could really go, and I think Steve even had a small bit of charisma, at least as a tag team, but by this point tag teams were on the way out. It took about five or six more years for it to really start to suck, but tag wrestling was going downhill by the turn of the decade. The WWF really fucked it up first, but once Hall and Nash took over in WCW, it was over there too.
By '91 the Freebirds were on their last legs but the Southern Boys are pretty sweet bumping around and making their lackluster offense look good. Southern Boys wind up getting the big win in a solid Big Show Opening Match that cut a pretty good pace, and Jim Ross tells us to look out for Tommy Rich and Bam Bam Bigelow coming up next. Nooo.
Bobby Eaton v. Ricky Morton (September 29, 1990)
As much as I generally don't like singles wrestlers forming short-term jerkoff title-winning tag teams, you can reverse that and amp it up by 25 and that's how I feel about tag wrestlers going single for a match here and there. Eaton and Morton were, of course, so awesome that they're your two dads and by 1990 they had plenty of history.
Also something I liked: formation of tag teams that made lots of sense between two struggling singles guys. Greg Valentine and Dick Slater did it all too briefly in WCW. Shit, that's where Money Inc. came from basically, since DiBiase was out of chances as a credible top heel and IRS wore a fuckin' tie. This is where basically all Arn Anderson tag teams after Tully came from, and every Owen Hart tag team ever (Neidhart, Koko, Yoko, Davey Boy, Jarrett).
This is part of something called the gauntlet and since I was eight years old and surely missed some shows now and then I don't remember what that was. But the winner of the whole shebang gets $15,000 so that's cool. Eaton's still got Cornette and the awesome awesome awesome music so this is off to a good start. Ricky Morton is already ringside by the time his music starts. Can you imagine such a snafu now?
Eaton's a "runner" and Morton is a "blocker" and JR tells me something about time limits and referee's decisions and I don't know what in the holy shit is going on here so I'm just going to hope this match is as good as I want it to be.
Morton starts strong and Caudle notes that Eaton is a bit slow out of the starting blocks in this one after the first five minutes. They go to a break and when we come back Morton throws Eaton into the ringpost, then tosses him on the damn floor in the entranceway. This is interesting booking because Eaton is just horrible so far, by which I mean he's got what would appear to be a God awful gameplan and isn't "there mentally" or whatever.
Eaton mounts his comeback, but then HERE COMES RICKY, and the crowd just goes apeshit before Eaton quickly cuts him off. Bobby attempts the laziest cover I have ever seen, all on his knees like he was about to lay down but had to fart at the last second. I don't know where the hell this is at but this crowd is wicked into Ricky Morton and this is another thing we miss now. Crowds intimately familiar with wrestlers, their histories, etc. The two grandmas sitting front row ringside would probably just as soon hit Cornette with a brick as they would say hello to him.
I think what I really, really wish would have happened is that WCW would have never thought they needed to be on Vince McMahon's level. But that's a whole other deal.
Anyway, they get to to the time limit, which is sort of clumsily executed over the PA and with the guy on the bell, and then we go to Jim Ross and Terry Taylor who talk about stuff. Then I get commercials hyping Mickey Rourke's Year of the Dragon at 12:05 on NIGHT FLICKS. Stan Lane gets involved and Eaton wins quickly in the OT period. Match was pretty damn good.
THE SPOTLIGHT UPON: ARN ANDERSON
Arn Anderson v. Steve Austin (1992)
This is in Japan. I do not get Japanese wrestling. I have tried over the last decade or so to get into it so many times, and while sure I love a great match and the country provides a great many, I am not enough of a fan to become at all emotionally invested enough to even, like, gather favorite Japanese wrestlers. It just doesn't happen. And I even find gaijin-gaijin matches a bit difficult. But God knows I love Arn Anderson and Steve Austin so let's try this.
Eh fuck it. This is all clipped up and I still hate silent Japanese crowds. I understand it, I just hate it. Give me Ricky Morton lovin' grandmothers any day. As for what I can see the match isn't too special anyway, as it's all Arn arm work and then Austin stun-guns him for the win.
Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson & Tully Blanchard v. Dusty Rhodes, Jerry Lawler & Magnum TA (November 18, 1985)
This is at the Mid-South Coliseum and as a bunkhouse match you'd really expect this would be way longer and more awesome than it is, but as it is it's about six minutes of mayhem and punch punch punch punch punch kick belt punch stuff, and I can't really argue with that. You'd just hope that with these six guys in Memphis with these rules it'd go 15 or 20 and be bruuuutal, but it doesn't and it isn't. It's still pretty cool. Best part of the match is probably Lance Russell calling them "six entirely violent citizens in that ring."
Arn Anderson v. Scott Steiner (September 23, 1990)
Apparently this has something to do with $15,000 too. Steiner was half of the tag champs and Arn was TV champ. Steiner had apparently wrestled Bobby Eaton and Ric Flair on consecutive nights and oh fuck my life Missy Hyatt is on commentary with Jim Ross. Holy shit she is annoying. At least she wasn't a fucking monster yet. She likes the heels! Can she get this across to you in the most obnoxiously obvious way possible? This is Steiner around his athletic peak and Anderson still in his prime years but Hyatt is such a distracting and unpleasant noise that it's almost impossible to pay attention to the match itself. At one point she theorizes on what Steiner -- WHO ISN'T A HEEL AND SHE LIKES HEELS -- might do with the $15,000 if he wins it, settling on "probably buy a bunch of baseball cards."
"That has to. hurt. Arn Anderson. PLEASE GET UP ARN alright."
I WANT TO GO DEAF
Arn breaks out his totally underrated DDT and for a moment I forget all about Missy Hyatt. Then she starts talking again. Arn holds onto the ropes to get a pin on a sunset flip. But then the match gets restarted because someone saw something or whatever. Anyway, Flair pulls the ref out for a DQ.
Arn Anderson v. Rick Steiner (January 13, 1997)
It's almost unbelievable that by 1997 they were still using "Steinerized" as entrance music. Arn with a great little start as he hits a sharp fireman's carry on Rick, does some jumping jacks, and barks. Steiner counters a punch with an overhead belly-to-belly which Arn barely sells before calling down ... someone and nobody comes.
Oh fuck this was that night they pretended the Giant and Hogan were having a 45-minute main event to drive up ratings for The New Adventures of Robin Hood. Anderson bails again and calls for someone to come help him and nobody comes, and Arn gets counted out. Man fuck. My random Arn choices have been GYPS, dude.
Arn Anderson v. Robert Gibson (1986)
If this sucks I'm going back to non-Arn matches. If this sucks I lose all faith in Arn Anderson matches on the internet. Gibson dominates until the commercial break and thank God this match does not suck and in fact is pretty badass. The contempt that a man like Arn Anderson has for a cross-eyed ugly prettyboy like Robert Gibson is simple and plain. While Gibson tries to neutralize Anderson's power and use his speed and technical ability, Anderson merely wants to hurt Robert Gibson by rubbing his eyeballs on the ropes and punching him in the mush and squeezing his face. Someone starts banging on a tin can that used to hold corned beef hash and that signals that the time limit is up. Flair comes in and gets his sunglasses knocked off, which Ricky Morton steals and insults him over. Flair seethes over the loss of his designer sunglasses and Morton's accusation that HE should be world's heavyweight champion if not for the Horsemen. YEAH.
Arn Anderson v. Steve Armstrong (March 30, 1996)
This was supposed to be Arn & Sullivan squashing the Armstrongs but the Tathk Mathtuh was up in arms about something or other to do with a chair. The Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom had absolutely nothing in common and trying to work together was foolish, even if the end goal of ending Hulkamania was a worthwhile one. So anyway it's Arn against both Armstrong boys, and then Randy Anderson flips a coin and it winds up with Steve winning the right to get creamed by Arn. And creamed he gets, as Arn smokes him and finishes him off with the DDT in a couple minutes. I vaguely remember this show when Tony says after the match that in an earlier interview Arn said there's never been an Armstrong that could beat an Anderson. This was just a squash but you have to understand I clicked the title "WCW Saturday Night 3/30/1996 - Arn Anderson & Kevin Sullivan vs. Armstrong Brothers" and then there was no Kevin Sullivan so it's a big win.
Arn Anderson & Eddie Guerrero v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage (May 19, 1996)
Lethal Lottery is one of the great wrestling concepts but WCW never made it stick as a big event. Still I can watch these shits all day. Combustible combinations! Friend against friend?! That one tag team that lucked into staying together! This is a near-perfect LL matchup. You have Anderson and Flair, long past their quarrels, Flair teaming with his bitter rival the Macho Man, and then a little fella named Eddie Guerrero gets to jump in there for just one night and mix it up.
Arn jumps Savage before Flair can come to the ring, and geeky little babyface Eddie is like, "What are you doing holmes?! That's cheating!" What a turd. So Flair runs in and kicks Savage, his partner, and Guerrero starts unloading on Flair. The few times they got to match up (including one of those Sturgis shows) it was readily apparent that Flair loved making Eddie Guerrero look good, which is heartwarming. He's pinballing around for Guerrero and trying to make his way back into it with eye pokes and the like. More great LLness: Flair elbows Savage as a tag, then drags Eddie over to Arn and forces that tag too, so that Arn can get in and put it on Savage. Savage swings at Flair. This is great!
Anderson whomps Savage, but Macho makes the comeback only to get hit with the spinebuster for a near-fall. God do I wish Savage had been in the NWA to mix it up with the Horsemen instead of off fucking around with Hulk Hogan and Zeus and the Ultimate goddamn Warrior. Guerrero and Flair get back in and Flair is back to just flying around and letting Eddie have his way. As Savage beats on Flair, Anderson DDTs Guerrero. Flair gets the pin on Eddie, who lays there for probably too long shaking his leg at the brutality of the deadly DDT. Short but kicks your ass, including Elizabeth slapping Savage after and Anderson DDTing him on the floor. WOOO!
Arn Anderson & Steve McMichael v. Jeff Jarrett & Eddie Guerrero (January 20, 1997)
I want some Arn-Eddie opposite sides badassery and here's ... this. This could be as good as the last match I guess except the Flair and Savage components have been replaced by Jeff goddamn Jarrett and fucking Mongo. Has anyone ever explained Jarrett's 96-97 WCW outfit? I'm not even hating, but what the hell was the point of it? What WAS it? WHY was it?
The Jarrett wants to be a Horseman angle really sucked and was made worse when it was completely unclear WHY Ric Flair would want Jarrett in the group, unless deep down Flair was being realistic and trying to tell Arn, "Look, dude, we let fuckin' MONGO in, we need some help here."
This is in Chicago so Mongo's over, and WCW was pretty goddamn smart here by shoving Eddie into this match for no real reason other than Eddie Guerrero was one of the few guys on the roster good enough to make Mongo look credible. Anyway they're also smart in that Mongo does a few things, Eddie does a few things, Mongo gets the upperhand, and he gets the fuck out of the ring so that the pro wrestlers can continue having their match while this uncoordinated ponytailed doofus waits for his cheap pop moments. Guerrero runs away to chase Syxx, and Jarrett gets spinebustered, and put into Anderson's Boston crab. So Debra, managing Mongo and Arn, throws in her ... sash to surrender for Jarrett. And Arn is like, "Mongo, could you please attempt to keep your stupid ass wife in check?" And Mongo's like, "She's got a sash baby!" FUCK Mongo is the worst Horseman ever, bar none. Even Paul Roma wasn't taking shit from old ladies in evening gowns.
Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard v. The Rockers (January 23, 1989)
I guess I should throw in one from Arn's WWF run. This is from MSG and I've never seen it, or if I have it's been a long time and I probably watched it at someone else's urging and barely paid attention and went "Yeah that was pretty good!" and moved on. Rod Trongard is on commentary at the end of his run in pro wrestling, and he's joined by Lord Alfred Hayes who keeps saying "BLAN-chard." They turn it around and have the Rockers controlling Blanchard's arm and switching in and out without tagging, with Hebner missing legal tags from the Busters. Poor goddamn Arn and Tully can't get anything done early on as the pretty boy Rockers are just making them look like assholes over and over. I mean this is basically a Rockers extended squash until Anderson lies in wait on the floor and levels Shawn, who's chasing Tully.
Shawn is in peril! Lord Alfred has apparently fallen asleep. Wait there he is. The Tully/Arn run in the WWF is really weird because they didn't fit in, in some ways, but the WWF's tag division was pretty terrific at the time and in the ring, they brought out the best in just about everyone they wrestled. It's kind of a blessing that they had their stint there if only to freshen up Arn for his return to Atlanta. Jannetty gets the hot tag and goes bonkers. But in the chaos, Arn trips Jannetty and holds one of his stupid tassles from outside, and Tully gets the three count. Suck it, fake Robert Gibson.