Don't be fooled by his looks, he's got a mean left hook. I guess he's just joining them for no reason.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura are ringside on February 21 at the Civic Center in Asheville, NC. Maxx Payne is going to play the anthem on his guitar. Tremendous. At least he can actually play a guitar unlike that doofus Van Hammer. This really makes Van Hammer look even stupider. Now he's just an idiot with poofy hair and muscles.
The Hollywood Blonds v. Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Erik Watts
Ridiculously, they dub in the "American Males" song for Bagwell and Watts. Bagwell outwrestles Austin to start. Schiavone and Ventura actually have far better chemistry than Ross and Ventura did, as Schiavone is for the time a little more flexible to Jesse's goofy jokes, while Ross would seemingly actually get pissed at him. "Bagwell's rubber-legged, he looks like you at the bar the other night." "Were you there?" Watts gets in and he's all like YEAH! But Pillman responds with chops. Ugh, the Erik Watts "dropkick." The best part of this is Schiavone and Ventura busting chops, the wrestling is the Blonds trying to put on a clinic against a team where '93 Bagwell is the worker. Bagwell's dropkick isn't much better than Watts', but it's slightly better. Bagwell's armdrags aren't much better than Watts', but they're slightly better. And Bagwell is without a doubt appealing to both deluded ladies and gay dudes, which Watts is not. Watts gets a tag from Bagwell and the boo-birds are out in force. When it happens a second time, Ventura has to point it out. Pillman is especially good in this one, doing that possum deal with the bad knee on Irish whips, flying into the guardrail. And Austin looks better than he has in a good while, too. This new team is what both of these gentlemen needed. Extended Watts heat sequence makes me consider getting a snack but I'm fat enough and I have to keep telling myself, he's going away soon, he's going away soon. If you're ranking just on effectiveness, the best heel team of the 90s was the Blonds, I suspect. I mean who else is really even close? The Heavenly Bodies? Blonds win when Austin busts Bagwell's ribs behind the ref's back. Surprisingly good for how long Watts was in, and Bagwell deserves half a gold star for carrying that partnership.
Eric and Johnny make the first mention of RIC FLAIR! tonight. YEAH! Outside, Missy Hyatt meets a limo, trying to get "the first-ever interview with Ric Flair." Then the police frisk her. THERE HE IS! THE MAN! WOOOOO!!! Long story short, Missy doesn't get the interview as always, and we go back to ringside with the people chanting "We Want Flair" again.
Great, now the 2 Cold Scorpio song is stuck in my head again. More of the Ventura/Schiavone ball breakery but this time there's a match between Chris Benoit and 2 Cold Scorpio in 1993 going on, so they're almost distracting in their amusing nature, because I feel like I want to be watching this closer than I am, but I am human, so fuck it, I probably farted out the first seven or eight minutes of this match. Ventura screams at Schiavone to call them WRESTLERS instead of athletes. Slower than you might really want way down deep in your balls, but tight stuff and it feels like you can expect a pick-it-up finish. I've never been able to get a full read on how I feel about Scorpio so I'm hoping this project will give me a start on finally forming a genuine opinion on Scorpio finally. I mean it's only been like 18 years since I first saw him, and I have an opinion on Roadblock and Big Sal E. Graziano, so I should probably get squared away on 2 Cold Scorpio for God's sake. He takes the mean Benoit offense like a champeen, so that's a positive. This match is really not getting over much at all, which is a shame, but really it's not as good as the Benoit-Brad Armstrong match from the January Clash and there's just way too much chinlocking in this motherfucker for it to really be cookin'. Benoit gets the back superplex, but hurts himself at the same time. With the clock starting to tick away (they're faking a 20-minute draw, and faking that it's 20 minutes at all) they pick it up with much quicker offense, while selling the long, hard battle, and while maybe this was state of the art in 1993 in the States, it's not the type of thing that holds up now -- well, it holds up as good, but it doesn't hold up as incredible by any means, and that's even having immersed myself so much in this shit that I might as well be living in 1993 as far as wrestling goes. Scorpio twisting splash gets two. Second rope legdrop from Benoit gets two. Scorpio pins him at a billed 19:59. It was real good despite my whining.
Backstage, Dustin Rhodes is on the phone. On the platform, Maxx Payne cuts a promo with Eric Bischoff. Payne tries a creepy promo and then plays his guitar again. What a whacky man!
Bulldog came over to WCW after either feeling like he was disrespected by the WWF or like he couldn't really roll there with their steroid scandals. Wild Bill Irwin gets to do the deed, guaranteeing this will be straight out of 1984 if he's the one leading the dance. There were plenty of guys on the roster who could have lost to Smith, but Wild Bill is of no concern to anyone so here he is, back on PPV, back in the spotlight, to lose to the Bulldog, who by this point in his career had about zero gas tank left, not that he exhibited more than a quarter tank in what is basically his only famous singles match (not his best) at SummerSlam while Bret held his hand through the whole thing and took him on a trip to the land of the great matches, or at least the perception of great matches, or whatever. Davey Boy Smith has not aged well for me, you might be able to tell. Irwin is far more with it than Smith is in this match and carries it as best he can, because Smith is doing dick all. They have an ugly whirlwind trade of slaps and Davey huffs through the delayed vertical suplex. Smith gets the win in about six minutes for a forgettable debut to start a forgettable WCW career. He also would have been hard-pressed to look any less enthusiastic during the match. After the match he calls out Vader and does crummy cheap heat crap which doesn't really work.
Badd and Hyatt talk. Backstage (just behind the curtain it appears) Bischoff is with Orndorff, who gets chased out by a shovel-wielding Cactus Jack.
Falls Count Anywhere: Cactus Jack v. Paul Orndorff
Jack amps this up fast, as he slams Mr. Wonderful on the concrete, drops an elbow (not off the apron or the ropes, sadly) and then hits a sunset flip to the concrete from the ropes. That move is silly and gratuitous. Orndorff is in a new era and LOVING IT as he brawls around the entrance area with Jack, throwing him over guard rails and onto concrete, falling over onto the aisle, throwing right hands and elbows at the sadistic chubster with the offensively bad ring gear. Orndorff suplexes him onto the bike rack and that's just hurtful lookin'. This carries on with Orndorff beating the shit out of Cactus in the squared circle and the more Foley gets his ass kicked, the better it is, until frankly you're taking about a pretty awesome match that rivals Sting-Jack FCA from Beach Blast. Orndorff goes to work with a chair, cracking Jack in the leg over and over and over, after having removed his knee brace and beaten him with it. This becomes just plain nasty as it looks like athletic, tough, veteran Orndorff beating the living hell out of Jack forever, which is what it is, until Orndorff gets too cocky and gets cracked with the shovel for the finish. Match ruled, and was an insane performance by Cactus.
Back to the unholy trio of Bischoff, Badd and Hyatt.
Heavenly Bodies have Cornette and Midnight Express jacket Bobby Eaton with them. Smoky Mountain in WCW, by God. Too bad this didn't last longer. Too bad they didn't absorb WCW. Too bad Cornette wasn't named head booker. This is pure Southern tag team action and the Asheville faithful eat it up, because it's fucking ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, and they like pure Southern tag team action. They hate heels hugging on the floor after Ricky and Robert get to them to start the match. They love Rock n' Roll. Rock n' Roll. Rock n' Roll. FUCK, they don't want ERIK WATTS. Even though I understand expansion and changing times, IMO it is indisputable that the Southern style of tag team wrestling is the best style of tag team wrestling there ever is, was, or will be, and I never quite understood why you'd take away this from your promotion, no matter who you were. If you weren't a Southern promotion in roots, why not just bring it in? The guys don't have to look like this, but they could learn to work these matches. It is proven. Maybe it wouldn't work now (it probably would, but let's argue that), but throughout the rest of the 90s we saw tag team wrestling go to hell when there were plenty of guys around who could do this stuff. I'm not saying the whole promotion should work like SMW worked or whatever, but if they could've kept tag team wrestling here...aw, fuck it, why bother going further with this?
This is basically Express-Express for a new day, with Dr. Tom being a fine replacement for Beautiful Bobby. A confused collision between Lane and Cornette gets a great reaction. Hell, the whole match gets a great reaction. Stan Lane still looks good (Stan Lane looked good at Heroes of Wrestling, for God's sake) and the Rock n' Rolls are a little older and the fatter that goes along with it, but goddamn if Ricky Morton can't still play the best Ricky Morton there is. GODDAMN this match is good. This show is GREAT! Eaton interferes but hits the wrong man, and the Rock n' Rolls get the win with Morton holding down Lane, who is desperate to break up the pin. The WWE dubbed music for the Rock n' Rolls sounds like a rip of Meredith Brooks' "Bitch."
Weeeell... this stinks. Payne is dreadful as a U.S. title challenger and pretty dreadful overall, and saps all of Dustin's usual energy with his plodding and sleep-inducing "array" of offense. The other problem is that since he's in with Dustin, who is never billed as being a Big Wrestler despite being about 6'6", he doesn't even look as big as he's supposed to, and just looks like a kind of chubby guy in bad gear, sort of like a less-fat but just-as-white version of P.N. News, who always looked more ridiculous thanks to his outfit, and Payne looks more boring thanks to his, more boring than he is, and he's plenty dull to begin with. About two seconds into an abdominal stretch, Payne pushes the referee over for the DQ, then takes it to the floor where he delivers a shoulderbreaker to Rhodes to no crowd reaction. Once the announcement is made that the match is over, everyone is happy. Maxx Payne has arrived and it SUCKED.
The trio of retard talks some more. Then GMC introduces us to THE MAN! THE NATURE BOY! RIC FUCKIN' FLAIR BACK IN THE WCW! BY GOD! Boy is it weird to see Ric head to the ring, returning, fans cheering, without blubbering and wailing, but walking with the confidence and style that is becoming of being Ric fuckin' Flair. Flair talks with Tony and will sit in ringside for the coming NWA title match -- the title Flair reminds us he never lost.
NWA Heavyweight Title Match: The Great Muta (c) v. Barry Windham
Muta and Windham get the instructions from Pee Wee Anderson while the crowd chants "We Want Flair." I'd say best part of this match is the commentary with Ventura and Flair kissing each others asses and bustin' on poor Tony, but that would be a lie. It's basically the only good part of this match. It's competent wrestling because it's Muta and Windham and they both are awesome, but this is a side headlock crawl from Muta to start before we get to the excitement of a Barry Windham sleeperhold. And on and on they go. Muta winds up clear heel to the audience, with Windham getting a big pop for the win with the DDT. Flair grabs the belt and helps Windham put the belt on, which annoys Windham.
The three goobers address the coming main event. Missy acts like it's their first meeting, while Badd notes that Sting will have "all his fans and all the Stingers" behind him. I am growing to truly hate Johnny B. Badd.
Like the Roberts match at Havoc '92 this is non-sanctioned, so I guess if you make a five-minute movie with a cackling midget, WCW won't sanction whatever comes out of it. Probably not the worst policy. This is arguably the best strap match ever. The building story is that Vader isn't going for the win so much as trying to damage Sting, possibly for good. Sting gets his usual hot start so that you know he can hurt Vader, even though it had been proven repeatedly by now that he can in fact hurt Vader, but the formula worked, so why fuck with success? It's not like the matchup was tired or anything. The parts with Vader punishing Sting are exceptional, but the Sting advantage early is nothing short of great either. Sting winds up Supermanning this ho and carrying Vader around the ring on his back to touch three ringposts, but then he trips over the referee, who hadn't even been awake and counting anyway. Vader blades HIS EAR in this match. Jesus CHRIST. Vader, pouring blood, wins the match. Sting whips Vader with the strap after, which sends Vader high-tailing it out this sumbitch.
We end our evening with the idiots. Johnny and Missy go to a party. Barry Windham replaces them and talks for a moment.
All in all this is the best WCW show in a long, long time. Vader-Sting, Express-Bodies, Cactus-Orndorff are all legit great matches. Scorpio-Benoit is good and maybe great if you're more into Scorpio than I am. The opener is a pleasantly entertaining surprise. Flair is back. Davey Boy Smith...um. Hmm... Uh, Vader bleeds from his EAR! His fucking EAR! AND RIC FLAIR IS BACK! Really one of WCW's best PPV shows ever. A must-see TV event.