I felt like I was maybe being a little too hard on Vince Russo, so I decided to watch a show from WCW before he took over to see if it was really any better.
Maybe I shouldn’t have picked Road Wild 99.
There is a video package in the beginning building up the Kevin Nash vs. Hulk Hogan title match where both men’s careers were on the line. For half the package Hulk is Holllywood Hogan and for the other half he’s Hulk Hogan. Very odd.
Tony, Mike and Bobby are dressed like your dad trying to look cool. Tony explains that Hogan came back as Hulk Hogan on Monday night. Bobby Heenan is out there in a black hat and black t-shirt like he is a member of the Westside Connection. They promise (threaten?) Sting vs Sid, Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg and Dennis Rodman vs. Randy Savage.
A horribly produced video package showing the birth of the Filthy Animals by their repeated attacks on Vampiro and the ICP. Oh no, and Raven too. Raven, ICP and Vampiro are the Deadpool. So Raven, easily the best worker in the group, isn’t wrestling. It’s Vampiro and the freaking ICP vs. The Filthy Animals. So less than two months from now Vamp is with the Misfits, but a year after that he’s back with the ICP? I don’t like the ICP’s music at all, but I’ve heard interviews with them and they really seem to get not only the wrestling business, but the business of self promotion, so I really respect them in that regard. The Animals consist of Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman. This is maskless Rey, so he’s automatically the worst version of Rey possible. There’s snack stands in the background whenever they switch to the hard cam, so it’s like they are wrestling at the state fair. I have Flo Slam (a great service that I can’t recommend enough. Worth the $20 a month easily) and they show ACW shows on there. ACW is a company in Florida that promotes their shows in a mall and you can see the food court and shops in the background. ACW is not the number two promotion in the US with millions of people watching every week, like WCW was here. Plus the ACW shows are easy to watch and follow.
So, with regards to the match, it’s fine when Vamp is in there with anyone, and not very good when the ICP are in. The ICP, to their credit, do try hard and don’t kill anyone. The fat ICP guy actually does a decent job as a sneaky heel, running in to break up tags and pins. The ICP do fuck up some spots to a comedic degree, however. Imagine thinking that a good use of three of your best workers in the company is to be in this match. No wonder they went out of business. Rey gets a tag and looks like he is going to get over, but Raven interferes. The Deadpool gets the heat on Rey and it goes on and on and on and on. Finally, Vamp accidently kicks a clown and Kidman hits the Shooting Star Press for the pin. Not an awful match, but REALLY long and boring at times. Still, everyone tried really hard, even the clowns, and it was watchable. More watchable than a lot of stuff on WWE now a days.
Highlight package of Harlem Heat reuniting to fight the Jersey Triad. Video packages were never really WCW’s thing. Just a mess with no real concise direction.
Bam Bam Bigelow, well past his prime here, is out with Kanyon as the WCW tag team champs. Kanyon does something resembling a promo here, but the sound quality is a notch above the usual indy show so it’s hard to hear him. It gets harder when all the bikers rev their engines. Their opponents are Harlem Heat, who I am sure will get a nice reception from this crowd of obviously open minded individuals. There’s actually one guy with a Harlem Heat sign. Interesting. Bigelow botches something to an embarrassing degree 30 seconds into the match. A lot of stalling to begin. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this is really easy to watch when Kanyon and Booker are in there and is less fun when Stevie or Bam Bam are in. Stevie press slams Kanyon and then tries to get Bigelow up for a regular slam. Bigelow dead weighs him but Stevie is strong as hell and gets him up anyways. That’s two big spots for Bigelow and both are completely awful. Booker comes in with Kanyon and they do a good job. The announcers are talking about Flair no longer being the president, and that Sting is now the president of WCW. I might have to go back and watch these old Nitros. Booker T was so good at this point. Bigelow actually breaks up a pinfall without falling down. But now it’s Stevie Ray and Bam Bam Bigelow. In the ring. Doing spots. I can’t wait.
-Stevie gets the crowd to rev their engines
-Stevie is getting pumped by the crowd noise. Babyface Stevie Ray is the best
An awful lock up leads to an awful headlock which leads to an awful shoulder tackle. I did learn that Stevie was getting fired up because he is a genuine fan of automobiles according to Schiavone. Unfortunately Bigelow tags out. Jeez. Bigelow comes in and botches an avalanche, almost running into his partner. He does lock in a heck of a chin lock though. Bigelow looks like some sloppy fatso they found in this crowd. After what feels like 1,000 years Stevie makes the hot tag to Booker. Booker hits a kick and seemingly waits for Bigelow to run in. So of course he doesn’t. Now Bigelow pulls Booker outside and beats him around ringside a bit. Damn it, I really thought this was almost over. Kanyon does some wacky moves and Booker counters one to a power bomb. A lukewarm tag to Stevie Ray. DDP runs out, but Stevie Ray reverses a whip and sends Bigelow into Page. Booker comes off the top with a dropkick and Stevie pins Bigelow to win the match. It was really only bad when Bigelow was in there, but holy shit was it bad when he was in there.
Oh boy, another video package. Curt Hennig and Saturn are apparently feuding? What an odd little feud. Saturn got beat up by the cowboys until Malenko and Shane Douglas saved him. You have to be kidding me?
Nope, it’s a six man tag with Curt Hennig, Barry Windham and Bobby Duncum Jr taking on Saturn, Malenko and Douglas. At least we get to hear Rap is Crap loud as can be. The dudes in the crowd are LOVING it. Kendall Windham is out there too, and he looks like a total drug addict. Saturn and Co are officially called the Revolution here. So it’s a group called the Revolution vs. The West Texas Rednecks. Shane Douglas is not in game shape here. Saturn mumbles for a bit. Barry Windham in there with Dean Malenko is comedic. I think everyone forgets how tall Barry Windham really is. They actually do a good job putting over the relationship and history of the West Texas Rednecks on commentary. All second generation, all guys that grew up around the business, and Heenan mentioned that he managed all of their fathers. No one in the crowd cares about this. I think there’s more people at the sausage tent than watching this match. Barry Windham going up for all of Saturn’s suplexes is pretty cool. Barry still moves pretty good at this point, but he’s just missing it at this point. Sad to see him wrestling in a t-shirt, especially while I am also watching 87 Crockett on the Network as well. This match is real clunky. Probably would have been better with Windham and Hennig vs. Malenko and Saturn. Douglas is just taking up space. He’s trying hard, but he’s just not good at this point. And Duncum is just there. Duncum kicks a lot. Now a rest hold. The story of this show is boring matches. Not bad matches, like you would get with Russo, but just boring matches. In front of a dead crowd. Eventually Saturn gets a hot tag and he STICKS Duncum with a Death Valley Driver for three. They brawl a bit after the match, and that has more intensity and fire than anything during the match. Terribly boring.
Buff Bagwell is feuding with the Cat. There is no video here, we are just told that they are feuding.
We get some shots of motorycles before the Cat comes out. The Cat is accompanied by Sonny Onoo. The dubbed music for Cat’s entrance is amazing. The Cat talks shit to everyone on his way to the ring. If I remember correctly they had an actual fight either before or after this match. Miller is wearing gloves with the confederate flag on them. That’s something. Some of the women in this crowd need to realize that because something comes in your size, that doesn’t mean it’s for you. Buff Bagwell is out now. Buff tries to talk, Cat steals the mic, now Buff has the mic back, but Miller steals it again and won’t let him talk. It’s nice to see someone get some actual (cheap) heat here. I think The Cat yells at every ringside fan. Buff finally cuts a promo and tells Cat to kiss his ass and asks for the motorcycles to rev. Sonny Onoo is in a great outfit here. The bell rings, and they celebrate by stalling some more. Cat hits one move and dances.
This is a long night.
Cat hits another move, and dances some more. The crowd gets a loud Pussy Cat chant going. Buff hits 4 moves total and he poses and plays to the crowd. Cat bails outside and continues to make friends. Some more stalling and neither man agrees to a test of strength. They wrestle for a bit and it’s terribly boring. Here is where I really start to think that WCW before Russo might be worse than WCW during Russo. At least a Russo show is exciting. Things happen, all the time, on those shows. Sure, entirely too much, but at least stuff is happening. This show is just a bunch of people no one cares about having long matches that aren’t particularly good. It’s like watching a current day WWE PPV in a lot of ways. There’s nothing wrong with what they are doing, but there’s nothing worth investing yourself in either. Anyways, Cat tries to whip Buff into Sonny Onoo who is holding a briefcase. Buff reverses and pins Cat with the worst roll up you’ve seen in a long time. Yes, that’s the same finish we just saw in the tag team title match. Buff wins and gets the shit kicked out of him by Miller. Miller walks out with his hands raised while Buff’s music plays. So you know who got over? No one.
A video package for DDP vs. Benoit. This includes DDP making fun of Benoit’s mother. I didn’t even know this match was happening because of the lack of match breaks for Benoit matches. It made me wonder if they will go through and do the same for all the Alberto Del Rio matches once he has his inevitable issue.
DDP is out first and he cuts a completely awful promo. Complete with another mom joke. One of the worst Dice Man impersonations ever. Benoit’s music is so awesome. This is for Benoit’s US title. I am willing to bet I won’t have much to say about this, because I am willing to bet it’s awesome. It’s also a No DQ match. They could use some graphics here once in a while. Schiavone has the nerve to say this is the spot of one of DDP’s greatest matches: his tag match with Jay Leno. No, that is not one of his greatest matches. Page does a great job working over Benoit’s midsection. Just a really basic match with Benoit starting out quick, Page dominating while Benoit gets a couple of hope spots, and some good cheating by Page to get the crowd pissed. He takes off Charles Robinson’s belt and whips the shit out of Benoit for a bit. Oh, then he chokes him with the belt. That’s a little uncomfortable. Tenay: “choking the life out of Benoit at this point.” We’ve gone past a little uncomfortable when Page starts hanging him with the belt. Thankfully that ends soon and Benoit starts his comeback which, to the surprise of no one, is awesome. Kanyon runs in and pushes Benoit off the top. They show the Revolution watching in the back. Now Bigelow is out and he does a terrible looking dive. Still no help from the Revolution. Some friends they are. Of course they botch an “irish whip into my partner” spot which leads to Benoit hitting the headbutt off the top for the win. Practically the same finish in three fucking matches. You have to be kidding me. Still, really good match. Now the Revolution is out. Tony says that Benoit needed to win on his own. Well maybe allude to that earlier? Still, hard to complain. Aside from the… unpleasantness with the belt, this was a super match.
Now they are giving away an “American Iron Horse” motorcycle. There are some ladies there who look like left oversfrom the miss NWO contest at the first Souled Out. And no, I will not be reviewing that one. Even I have my limits. Anyways, congratulations Darnell Cotter of Cleveland Ohio. Until this past NBA season, this was the biggest Cleveland win in decades.
A frantic video package detailing the madness between Sid, Sting, Rick Steiner and Goldberg.
A nice fireworks display goes off. It’s still day time, but it appeared to be a nice display. Sid is out first for his match with Sting. Sid is doing his wacky undefeated gimmick here. I mean, he lost all the time on house shows and by DQ and stuff on TV, and he included beating guys up in his streak, but aside from that this was totally legit. Sting is supposedly the president of WCW? What? They didn’t mention that until he was in the ring. If I was president of a wrestling company, I would book myself against someone that could work. Sid sells for the first minute and it’s comedic as hell. Oh lord, they go in the front row for a minute. What a great looking group of folks. These shows always made WCW look so bad. This is a one man show from Sting, but Sting isn’t really that good so it’s just a meh match. Shawn and Bret could have a one man match with Sid. Sting is neither of those two. Sid goes through his pedestrian offense and wow! There’s a dude in the crowd who has to weigh 4 bills plus with no shirt on. Awesome. Right in the front row too. He must look like one of those two twins on the motorcycle when he drives into Sturgis. Google the McGuire Twins if you don’t know what I am talking about. Chin locks and rest holds are the order of the day here. At least Sting is someone this crowd sees as a star, so every time he does something they at least react a bit.
UGH!! JUST END THIS ALREADY! Every time Sting starts a comeback, Sid cuts him off. Sting finally gets the upper hand with a superplex and a pair of Stinger Splashes, but Sid catches him on the third one and hits a chokeslam for… the pin? Sid just wins out of nowhere. What an odd boring match. I can usually get through these shows in 2 sittings. I am on my fourth for this show and I am about to turn it off. It’s just so damn boring!!
A very similar video package for Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg airs. Honestly, it’s almost the same as the one for Sting and Sid. Tony basically says that the most exciting part of this program is Hulk Hogan’s return. So why the fuck am I bothering with any of this. Steiner is announced as some sort of champ. I couldn’t tell you which one because he isn’t wearing a belt and the graphic with his name makes no mention of him being a champion. Oh, he does have a belt, but you can’t see it until they zoom the camera WAAAAAAYYYYYY out and you see him just toss it aside. Goldberg is out second and the crowd really sees him as a big star. Goldberg has a hell of a knee brace on here. Steiner takes a bump off a clothesline that guys in NJPW would say no to. Brutal. This match is just the right kind of sloppy. It’s two guys looking like they are having a fight, not a choreographed dance. There’s an element of disagreement here, and it works for the match. Rick Steiner hits a great kick to the nuts and starts working on the knee of Goldberg. That explains the massive knee brace. Nice spot where Steiner attaches the brace to his arm and starts laying into Goldberg with the brace on. Is this no DQ? Steiner hits a Steinerline with the brace as a big 18-wheelerdrives by. Big league! The announcers explain that Rick can use the brace as a weapon because Goldberg was wearing it to the ring. Hmm. So, if someone grabbed the spikes of the Road Warriors, in theory, they could stab Hawk with them. Someone should have told the Horsemen that.
What started as a fun brawl quickly broke down to a boring match with Rick in control. Impressive belly to belly by Rick though. Goldberg finally comes back and hits a great press slam into a powerslam. Spear, jackhammer, good night Rick. Too short to be awful, but the stretch where Steiner is in control just starts to drag a bit. Still, on this show, quick and to the point was super welcome. And at least the people cared.
Time for Dennis Rodman vs Randy Savage. Apparently this angle involved Arliss? Of HBO fame. And kidnapping. And Savage calling people punk asses. Oh!! Savage said he had the driver of the hummer to protect Gorgeous George. What an awful video package. Seems to be a theme for this show. They are showing the crowd while talking about the rest of the show. Just get it going already. Jeez.
After what feels like 20 minutes, some music starts playing. This leads to another 8 years of crowd shots while no one comes out. Dennis Rodman FINALLY makes his way out and he appears to be in no condition to perform. Like, at all. When I was in high school, Dennis Rodman was my favorite basketball player. Modeled the way I played after him. Rebound a lot, play good defense, hustle, and play hard. Can still out rebound almost anyone I play against. Randy Savage is out, and if you have only seen prime Randy Savage, this is not that at all. This is juiced to the gills Randy Savage. Oh no, Rodman has the mic. This is horrible. He asks where his bitch is. I assume he means George. So Savage says Rodman is his bitch.
The ICP must be thrilled that Rodman was on this show. They were instantly not the worst people wrestling on the show the minute the bell rang here. Although they might have been better than Bam Bam Bigelow on this night. Rodman is wearing sunglasses. Nothing makes wrestling look more fake than a guy wearing sunglasses and they stay on. Rodman is in control early, including a very well done Russian Leg Sweep that gets a 2 count. Very boring. Rodman tries to intimidate the ref, and Savage is still selling. You would think he was in there with Hogan or something. Rodman lays the ref out and walks around some more. Now another ref is out. Savage goes to the eyes to break free. Savage looks almost as bad on offense as Rodman did. Almost. Rodman actually sells pretty well and even takes a few good bumps. Savage hits a photographer and steals his camera to hit Rodman with. Now Savage hits a ref. This is a TNA main event. Another ref gets taken out. That’s three refs and one photographer. Rodman body drops Savage out of the ring and he lands smack on the photographer.
They fight and brawl up the ramp and all the way to the backstage. Rodman actually does some pretty dumb stuff for a guy of his stature. Savage puts Rodman in a port-a-potty and tips it over. Gross. When they pull Rodman out a bunch of stuff falls out that is supposed to be… well… you know. Now we are back in the ring. Another ref bump and Gorgeous George makes her way out. Wow. She hands Savage a chain. Nice show your tits chant from the crowd. George punches Rodman in the balls and Savage hits him with the chain and gets three. Tenay: “what a battle this was.” He has no idea. I’ll give Rodman some credit. He was awful, but he did take more bumps and sold more than anyone would expect given his level of fame. But another awful match. At least it wasn’t boring.
Time for career vs career with Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash. I don’t recall either man retiring. The same video package that started the show plays. Oh goody, a Michael Buffer intro. I can’t wait to hear what Nash told him to say this time. “Rated as the greatest big man ever to step in the ring.” Get all the way the fuck out of here with that. “Tonight, all his strength and all his glory is on the line in one match.” This is a hair match? Amazing. I wish someone would let me book a wrestling company AND put myself over. American Made is an underrated theme. Hogan is out in the red and yellow, which is always awesome. The people are going a bit nuts for him. Hogan is talking all the way down to the ring. “Let’s go get Nash, BROTHER!!” Buffer says Hogan is without a doubt the most famous man in pro wrestling. See, that one is true. Hogan threatens to press Nash over his head and throw him into the crowd. I tend to doubt that.
The bell rings and the announcers talk about Hogan’s son Nicholas convincing Hulk to put the red and yellow back on. Both men walk around for a bit. They do some power spots and Hogan eventually backs Nash into a corner and poses. They walk around some more. Maybe they are trying to get to 10,000 steps. Nash puts on an all time bad headlock. For a while. Hogan finally uses an awful back suplex to escape. Just in case anyone started to get into the match, Nash rolls outside and walks around. Nash back in and they tease a test of strength forever before they finally do it. Tony calls Hulk the most amazing athlete ever. Does he watch sports? Nash finally takes over by cheating and begins going through the motions, I mean working Hogan over, with his traditional terrible offense. If I fall asleep during this match, this will be the 4th time I have fallen asleep during this show. Hogan comes back briefly with boring offense before getting cut off by Nash. Nash bores me half to death and FINALLY hits a big boot and jackknife powerbomb. Of course Hogan kicks out and Hulks up. Comeback, boot, leg drop, and my nightmare is over. What an appropriate way to end this awful boring show with an awful boring match,
Well, WCW apparently wasn’t apparently doing much better 3 months before Russo showed up. In many ways, this was a lot worse. Say what you will about Russo, and don’t worry because if you don’t, I will, but at least his shows weren’t boring. Over booked, crass, bad wrestling shows, but not boring. This show was random matches in front of a crowd that didn’t care to see anyone except the stairs. It actually felt like a modern day Raw. Boring matches that don’t really mean anything and a lot of guys that no one cares about. So this was far from the worst show I’ve seen, but it’s probably the most boring.
As for next time, I have looked at the Worst Major Wrestling show awards from previous years Wrestling Observer Rewards and there are some gems there, so I hope you will join me next week when I review the worst wrestling show of 2003: WWE Backlash!