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WCW's Highway to Hell


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#41 goc

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:57 PM

That reminds me of my greatest shame as a wrestling fan - the first WCW PPV I actually bought was %&%$&$&$ Uncensored 96! Yeah I admit it, I actually thought the main event was so strange it would be worth watching.

I didn't buy the PPV but I kept anxiously awaiting it's arrival at the video store so I could rent it and see that match. Extremely disappointing. But how the heck did we start talking about that?

El-P I salute your efforts and hope you manage to hold out as long as possible. I tried to do a running review of the start of TNA with the weekly PPVs over on DVDVR but I only made it about 12 or 13 weeks before I tapped. And I actually think you're in for even worse because at least with early TNA they weren't wasting TONS of talented people while making horrible TV.

#42 El-P

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:37 AM

All this concern about my mental health is heart-warming. I'll hang on for as much as I can, good people. I won't quit on week 4 though, as it was actually really good.

WEEK 4 (January 25 to 30, 1999)

Stupid beating of the week : nWo beats up Curt Hennig, because he wasn't wearing the nWo colors I guess. Now this is truly stupid, there's no reason why they would get rid of Hennig, especially that way. He was the one feuding with Flair, which kickstarted this whole David Flair beating. He didn't do anything to piss people off except team up with Windham who is not part of the nWo. I guess that was the rational here, but this beating would make sense only if Hennig would turn face. Which of course, he won't.

Gimmick match of the week : Scott Hall vs Bam Bam Bigelow (Nitro). Now you're taking. Bam Bam can certainly work a ladder match with Hall, and I thought this was quite good. Hall is recycling a lot of spots he was using with Shawn, occasionnaly taking Shawn's role too. To me this is better than any WWF stuntfest or the ridiculous Rock vs HHH match from 98 with the 90 year old ladder climbs, as they didn't do those awkward sequences of ultra slow climbs, they first used the ladder to beat each others up, then after a while they tried to get the stun gun, and the counters were pretty timely and quick. Nice enough selling, some brutal bumps. Yeah, I liked this. The finish is a non-ending but it doesn't matter as it's Goldberg getting his revenge from the PPV, spearing and both of them at the same time, and shocking them to boot.

Stiff-fest of the week : Meng & Barbarian vs Fit Finley & Dave Taylor (Nitro) : For those who wonder, Jimmy Hart put together Meng and Barbarian as members of the First Family. This is basically four guys beating beating the crap out of each others, and it's fun as hell. Just exchanging stiff shots back and forth, and those four sure can do that. It's supposed to be a tournament match, with a wall of wrestlers around the ring to prevent the nWo to clash the scene. I think Tenay utters the words "It's like a reverse Lumberjack match". Somewhere, Russo was listening.

Random match of the week : Chris Adams vs Lenny Lane (Saturday Night) : Chris Adams was the best B & C shows-only worker in 1998. And he's back with a vengeance, and a judogi. Don't ask. He went back to his roots or something. Lenny Lane really had potential to me, he's the most fun JTTS they had, so it's a fun little match with no implication at all on the big picture.

Best beating of the week : nWo beats up Rey Mysterio Jr. while Konnan has to watch, on Thunder, as a reenactment of the David Flair beating. This was good as this time it made Rey Mysterio look like a big deal, he's the center of an angle involving the big wheels. It should have led to Rey not losing his mask and being pushed as a major babyface, of course, but hey... At least I thought this was a very good heel beating, plus the announcers mentionned that Flair & the Horsemen weren't in the building so to explain the lack of save (Goldi & DDP weren't here either), so it's all fine with me. Plus you get Kevin Nash "singing" Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers at the end, which is pretty funny.

Crassiest move of the week : Norman Smiley lifting up Saturn's dress and giving him the big wiggle (Nitro). Holy shit, that was dirty. Of course the crowd went crazy for this. And he got his ass kicked for it.

Match of the week : Hulk Hogan & Kevin Nash & Scott Steiner vs Ric Flair & Chris Benoit & Steve McMicheal (Nitro). For once a main event that delivers ! Benoit vs Hulk, not something you see everyday. Of course Mongo sucked, but he didn't get in the way too much, it's mainly Benoit in here, as they smartly milked the hell out of Flair vs Hogan. So yeah, it is really fun, Steiner is actually bumping for Benoit at the beginning before a nice face in peril segment, which leads to a hot finish. Bischoff interferes, as always, but then something happens that should have happened like two years ago : the entire WCW roster jumps in the ring to fight off the nWo with the Horsemen, and I mean everyone, including Ciclope, Fit Finlay, La Parka, everyone ! This is awesome to watch, as the nWo retreats. And then it's not over, on the entrance ramp shows up Goldberg, who then proceed to kicks the shit out of every nWo guys who tries their hands at him !! Holy shit, did Nash really book this show ?!

Promo of the week : Bret Hart (Nitro) Yeah ! Hart is back, he's still the US champ depsite his groin injury. Of course he's not happy he has to fight Booker T and speak in a totally condescending tone about him and list a bunch of names who should be contenders to his belt instead, dropping random luchadors and other cruiserweights, to the outrage of Mean Gene. Bret was so awesome here, with an asshole smirk the whole time. I know he said his heart wasn't into it at the time, but my theory is that his lack of interest actually fed his heel character, which had a "don't give a flying fuck" feel to it which made it so fun. And of course, it's during this promo that he uttered the famous words...

Line of the week : "Who are you to doubt El Dandy ?". This is classic. This may be the greatest line in the history of our sport.

Seriously an excellent episode of Nitro, and some other good stuff on B-shows. Norman Smiley has been my favourite wrestler in the company thus far. Another guy they should have pushed like crazy once he got himself over.

#43 thebrainfollower

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:41 PM

Dang nab it El-P now you've made me want to track down this Nitro from a tape trader. I'd like to suggest each member of this board try to work in the phrase "Who are you to doubt El Dandy" in a non-wrestling conversation just to see what happens.

#44 Exposer

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

Dang nab it El-P now you've made me want to track down this Nitro from a tape trader. I'd like to suggest each member of this board try to work in the phrase "Who are you to doubt El Dandy" in a non-wrestling conversation just to see what happens.

Dylan is the champion at this.

#45 thebrainfollower

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:22 PM

Tape trading or talking about El Dandy?

#46 Exposer

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:57 PM

Talking about El Dandy. I've witnessed him use that line in arguments with his wife.

#47 goc

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 07:53 PM

Totally not against buying wrestling footage, but something like one episode of Nitro is really easy to find, and much faster to watch using the power of the internet.

#48 artDDP

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

I remember this period of Nitro being pretty weird (at least to me) where one week the show would rock from top to bottom and then the next it would be painful to sit through. I'd often wonder if they rotated bookers week to week.

#49 El-P

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:29 AM

WEEK 5 (February 1 to 6, 1999)

Pussy of the week : Curt Hennig. "Hey, Barry, the nWo beat the shit out of me and dumped me off the side of the road. Why don't we team up in the tag team tournament and win the titles. Now that will piss Hall & Nash pretty bad, uh ?"

Match of the week : Barry Windham & Curt Hennig vs Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko (Nitro). It's part of the infamous tournament. Still no bracket. Double elimination tournament now, your team has to lose twice to be eliminated. Okay... But it's a really good match, and the good news is that Hennig seems to be back in working mood. Probably teaming up with Windham motivates him more than teaming with Brian Adams against the Bulldog & Neidhart.

Debut of the week : The Sandman, or at least a guy with no name wrapped in wires. (Nitro). Of course let's pretend those vignettes with Raven at home never existed, as the announcers don't seem to recognize that Jim dude who was visiting him and blowing kiss to that girl with no name at poolside. He cuts a goofy promo talking about extreme and hardcore, and we get a fun little match with Bam Bam Bigelow. And Hak does the job in 6 minutes. Way to go to get a new guy over. But hey, Sandman is on my TV again, and I missed him since the end of my ECW watch a few years ago.

Stiff-fest of the week : The Cat vs Scott Norton (Nitro). Oh my god, this is brutal. The Cat calls out Norton, and gets the living shit beat out of him. The crowds gets into this big time. Norton comes off looking like a monster, and The Cat sells his ass off (and gets a purple chest in the process). In term of competitive squash, or just a plain monster abusing a loudmouth, it's pretty awesome.

Random match of the week : Barry Windham & Curt Hennig vs Brian Enos & Bobby Duncum Jr. (Thunder). Well, not so random as it's a tournament match, but still, Duncum & Enos are pretty random. Once again, Hennig keeps on being fun again, that's the best news of this early 1999. Bobby Duncum on the other hand, was not much of a worker at all, seemed green and sloppy, while his partner provides the badassery needed to make this match interesting. Windham is Windham in 1999, which means he's still a damn good worker. Despite the nebulous (to say the least) booking, this tag team tournament has delivered some cool stuff thus far.

Shitty booking of the week : Rey puts his mask on the line against... Liz's hair. Ok, I understand the reasonning behind this, as it's a direct reference to the tradition of hair vs mask. But it's not Mexico, it's not lucha libre, nobody believes Liz will lose her hair (and she didn't sell the stip like she was concerned at all), and if you add the fact that we already had Bischoff losing his hair (well, kind of) a few weeks ago, it just makes the odd impossible for Rey to win this in any way shape or form. It wouldn't have been very complicated to find a stip that would at least be credible, like Liz becoming Konnan's valet for a month for instance. That I can buy. Liz shaving her head, nope. Well, of course, Rey's mask shouldn't be put on the line in a tag match against Lex & Nash, but that's beyond the point. Ah, if Russo would be booking we'd have Rey's mask vs Liz stripping to her underwear at least. I should also mention that while Nash came off cool as hell during his promo, totally cattering to the crowd like he's still a babyface (he just can't help himself), Rey's promo was pretty poor and awkward, and full of nonsense (talking about how Nash and Luger showed him nothing but respect since he came in WCW... uh... forgot about the dart throwing against the wall in 1996 Rey ? He also said he was watching both of them when he was a little boy and admired them. Well, for Luger the timeframe can match at least, but was Rey really a fan of Oz ? Anyway...).

Idiotic angle of the week : Hulk Hogan and Chuck Zito are stalking David Flair. Nitro ends on a stupid cliffhanger leading to... nothing basically, at least that's what we're led to believe to on Thunder. Okay, this is the part where Nitro crosses into Attitude Era WWF sitcomish shittyness, complete with full invisible camera mode on (although the cameraman was actually acknowledge in those vignettes).

Line of the week : "I'd like to say hello to my cat Smokey". Bret Hart, guest announcer on Nitro during Chris Benoit vs Scott Hall. Yeah, he didn't give a fuck.

The whole show was ponctuated by sequences of Eric Bischoff being plunged into a pool of cold water by WCW employees. It was not funny and poorly done, but Eric was a trooper and went into a water several times. Also the never ending storyline nobody gives a fuck about gets a lot of airtime, I guess to fill the 5 hours of Nitro/Thunder. I'm talking about Vincent vs Stevie Ray for the control of nWo B-Team. And the luchadors are now mainly back to being jobbers. Lash Leroux debuted on Nitro (he was working solely on Saturday Night until then) and looked actually pretty decent for a 22 years old spot machine cruiserweight, and not as annoying as I remembered him to be. I guess this will evolve into nothing too good. Perry Saturn has turned the whole "wear a dress" gimmick into his advantage, and now totally embrace the freak look, complete with makeup and "Life's a drag" catchphrase, which fit the character and was a pretty smart twist on the whole gimmick.

#50 El-P

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:03 AM

WEEK 6 (February 8 to 13, 1999)

Debut of the week : Blitzkrieg in a match vs Rey Mysterio Jr. (Nitro). Hey, now I remember why this guy was the Internet darling for a few months when he popped up on TV, in an era where MOVEZ weren't evil yet. This guy had amazing explosiveness, he was quick and smooth as hell as a flyer, and had a cool little superhero outfit. In term of working impressive acrobatic sequences, he was just head and shoulder ahead everyone else in the company save for Rey, and it shows here. He does the job but gets over in the process, as he pushes the king of cruiserweight Rey pretty hard. This would probably be my match of the week too.

Honorable mention : Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Juventud Guerrera (Saturday Night). You can't go wrong with these two together, although it's pretty much a routine match at this point, but a routine match between Rey and Juvy is better than most match. They actually screw up a spot, but cover it pretty well. The difference between those two and most of the young guys they had in the cruiserweight division is that they take the time to actually sell a bit between big moves. Of course it's still a go-go match.

Useless title change of the week : Roddy Piper wins the US Belt from Bret Hart (Nitro). Yep, Roddy Piper, who at this point is really awful in the ring. Bret plays around with his whole "I'm injured" gimmick, but it can't save the match especially when the finish sees the involvement of a fat guy from a TV show (Will Sasso). This stinks.

Slut of the week : Torrie Wilson, debuting in very bizarre vignettes shot in a subjective sort of view, but we don't even know if the guy who she's vamping is filming or if it's supposed to be a porn-like POV stuff. What's even more puzzling is that none of this is even acknowledged on TV by anyone. I remember being intrigued by all of this back then and very, *very* let down by the payoff. Anyway, she also can't act to save her life, which makes it even more look like some sort of stuff from a porn movie.

Nonsensical turn or the week : The Barbarian turning on Meng (Thunder). These two were feuding in 1998, then Jimmy Hart put them back together without much explanantion then after a few weeks of competing in the non-bracketed, nebulous tag-team tournament, Barbie turns on Meng from nowhere. Blah. I was so glad to see the Faces of Fear back together, they're much better as a team than individual wrestlers.

Nonsensical vignette of the week : Raven is working his depression. Yeah, all of this was a ruse apparently, to piss off his mother. Raven is a rich kid who's happy with his life and isn't depressed at all. He breaks kayfabe with Kanyon and goes shopping with him. And really Kanyon playing Pretty Woman is an obvious sign of his sexual preference, he's gay as all hell during this sequence. Well, it is kinda funny if you like Raven, but it also makes no sense whatsoever. This is the first time the funny, sarcastic and smiling Scott Levy we all came to know in a hundred shoot interviews shows up on screen, complete with winks to the camera.

Stupid angle of the week : Scott Steiner drops Kimberly from a car. I hate this kind of overacted, overscripted angles. Steiner stalking Kim was good enough, and it was "credible". This is not.

Line of the week : "What a mark !" Raven talking about Kanyon.

So this week we also had tons of nWO B-team segments, which is something that needs to die. And also Kaz Hayashi buying Glacier's gimmick, save for the blue lense that The Cat actually bought. Ah ah. Nash is so funny, or so he thinks. Wait a minute. Woman portrayed as a slut : check. Violence against woman : check. Nonsensical turns (Chavo Guerrero also turned on Kidman for no good reason BTW) : check. Surprise title change involving a shitty worker and a TV "celebrity" : check. Nonsensical character developpment : check. Matches interrupted by backtage "comedy" segments : check. Shooty-shooty stuff with meta comments about gimmicks and carny vocabulary being used on camera : check. I think Vince Russo is already in the place.

#51 flyonthewall2983

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:01 AM

I was thinking someone could make a comp (if they haven't already) of the best matches from this period.

#52 jdw

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

A trader named CMPunk made a massive comp covering JCP/WCW going back into the 80s and all the way to the end. The WCW one from Jan 7, 1991 to the end was 186 discs. He included lots of angles and non-wrestling. I suspect that someone could redo it and having it even larger. I think people have organized the season sets better since then, some obscure stuff has popped up, and there's likely a different appreciation now for WCWSN stuff than back when he put it together. On the other hand, he also included all the Big Stuff that "work fans" might not include... so who knows.

#53 flyonthewall2983

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

I mean the last 27 months specifically.

#54 jdw

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:58 PM

Discs #155 - #186.

#55 Strummer

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:52 PM

The Hogan/Nash/Steiner v Flair/Benoit/Mongo match actually scored a higher quarter hour rating than RAW that night. The last time WCW accomplished that. And of course it showed there was still money to be made with Hogan v Flair. The buy rates for Superbrawl and Uncensored reflected that

#56 goc

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:09 PM

I bought a hard drive almost specifically for WCW and have barely even watched any. I feel like jumping in and watching along but then that might sour me on going back and watching 1997 when it was still really good.

#57 goc

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:49 PM

I have no idea how long this will take nor if I'll go the whole route... Maybe I'm just masochistic.

WEEK 1 (January 1 to 7, 1999) :

Death of WCW angle : The Fingerpoke of Doom. What can be said that hasn't been said already ? Actually in term of execution it was really well done and nobody saw it coming. I had forgotten that they also beat the shit out of Goldberg in the post-match celebration and that no one comes to his aid. No one. Man, WCW sure was depleted in term of babyfaces, as the Wolfpäck had been the big babyface faction for the last 6 months, and most of them (save for Konnan and Sting) turned heel there. I don't remember what was Bret Hart status at the time of Starrcade, I think he had been injured of something at some point while he was playing Hogan's pal and basically manipulating everybody. He's not there at this point. Anyway, it's a reset two years back. The nWo is in full force and Hulk is the champ.

I just watched the first Nitro of 1999 and finally saw the whole thing in context. I did think it was actually really well executed. There was really no indication at all that the swerve was coming and then they really milked it during the Goldberg beatdown afterwards, even handcuffing Goldberg and spray painting him. But I still understand the initial hatred because it kind of does feel like a big reset button.

#58 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

I loved the whole Raven/ Kanyon "What a mark" shit from back then. It was funny.

#59 Death From Above

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:23 AM

Also the never ending storyline nobody gives a fuck about gets a lot of airtime, I guess to fill the 5 hours of Nitro/Thunder. I'm talking about Vincent vs Stevie Ray for the control of nWo B-Team.


I still haven't cleared my mind of the PPV match these two had.

Burned in permanently.

Also... they had a PPV match. Which in itself is boggling enough. I mean... In a sense I commend WCW in an ass backwards way, in that at least for a brief time they got away from "random guy 1 vs random guy 2" as a PPV undercard (I seem to remember A LOT of that on PPVs, which always seemed lazy given the gigantic roster) and at least there's a storyline attached to it. But... these are not the people to use in that scenario.

It was also pretty obvious to any sane human being that Scott Norton could have physically ripped either of them limb from limb. The angle still would have sucked if it was Stevie Ray vs. Scott Norton, but at least I can believe that. Norton, Adams and... whoever the hell else was there I can't remember, came off as massive bitches that they'd even allow fucking Vincent to get one over on them and be the boss.

#60 Ditch

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:10 AM

I think WCW never knew what to do with Norton because he was always going to put New Japan first, yet he was too credible and high-paid to use as a jobber.




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