Saturday, July 19, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Monday Nitro 1/8/01

WCW Monday Nitro 1/8/01
Minneapolis, MN
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson, and Disco Inferno

It’s the first Nitro of 2001 and the final Nitro before the Sin pay-per-view!

1. WCW Cruiserweight Title: Shannon Moore vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

This was originally supposed to be non-title but Chavo decided to put the title on the line here against Moore so that way if Moore won, then it would be a Chavo vs. Moore rematch on the PPV. Moore rushed out of the gate with some fiery offense, leading you to believe that he may have a chance, albeit a slim one, to win the title. This was a nifty little match with Chavo playing a good heel. Moore hit a nice springboard fameasser followed by a glorious botch trying to do some high risk move in the corner. The brainbuster at the end from Chavo was all kinds of nasty and pretty much ruined Moore’s night.

2. The Cat vs. Ron Harris

Before the match, Cat just had to run his mouth about the Harris Brothers. This immediately led him to getting double teamed when the match started. Cat’s karate moves didn’t phase Harris at all and amounted to exactly squat. The referee was completely incompetent, allowing the Harris’ to do an illegal switcheroo and double team Cat right in front of him. Quick match, nothing exciting.

3. Lance Storm vs. Billy Kidman

This is yet another continuation of the Filthy Animals vs. Team Canada feud that feels like it’s never ending. For a TV match though, this was good. The action kept up at a decent pace. Storm hit a nice forward roll and then dropped Kidman sternum first on the ropes. Kidman countered a Storm jump off the top rope with a sick dropkick that caught Storm in mid-air and then got a really close nearfall off of a Lo-Down. For some reason, a chair was thrown in 90 seconds in. Not sure why as it didn’t really come into play until the last bit of the match when Storm took a header into it. The finish had Kidman getting the win with the Kid Crusher. Worst part of the match was the brawl on the outside with all of the Animals and Team Canada that seemed to just inexplicably stop since the match in the ring was in the final stretch. Probably the best match I’ve seen from this project thus far.

4. Shane Douglas vs. Sid Vicious

Sid and his jean shorts look really old. First move that Sid did in this match was a clothesline and it was awful, therefore that meant that pretty much the rest of the match that’s all the offense he threw. Douglas did his best to make this watchable but Sid is just so stiff and rigid that there wasn’t much he could do. Douglas got finished off with a powerbome and Sid showed no expression whatsoever though this whole thing while going through the motions.

5. Kronik vs. Goldberg & DeWayne Bruce

I wish someone would actually take the time to explain how Bruce wound up getting involved with Goldberg. Does he have a deep, dark secret on him or something and is therefore forcing him to kill his career by teaming up in bad matches on national television? Anyway, we had a lame brawl on the outside with Goldberg taking one of the worst leg trips into the railing I’ve ever seen. Bruce is just brutal to watch. For all the hype he has for being this hard-ass at the Power Plant, he’s showed absolutely nothing the two matches of his I’ve seen. Kronik nearly got the upset with the High Times move but Goldberg fought back with a series of kicks, a spear, and a jackhammer to win.

6. Minnesota Massacre Match: Kevin Nash & Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mike Sanders, Sean O’Haire, & Chuck Palumbo

This was a mess. Earlier in the show, Commissioner Mike Sanders announced this match and explained the rules, which seemed very complicated and that it would involve “randomly selected opponents” for the Thrillers (himself, O’Haire, and Palumbo). Then, later, a disembodied HAND reached in a suit coat that supposedly belonged to Sanders and swapped out the envelope that had the “randomly selected opponents” with a different one. Finally, to the match, and it turned out the that the MYSTERY HAND made Kevin Nash and DDP the “randomly selected opponents” for the Thrillers. The match itself then started and no one seemed to know what the rules were. On commentary, Schiavone kept saying it was “last man standing” so I guess that works. O’Haire and Palumbo both tried to kick DDP at the same time but collied with each other and fell to the mat in a heap in an unintential moment of hilarity. So much punching from all participants that it wasn’t even funny. DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and Nash hit a powerbomb for the win in what was essentially a handicap match.

7. WCW World Title: Scott Steiner vs. Jeff Jarrett

Before the match started there was a LOT of talking. So much, in fact, that when the bell actually rang to start the match there was only five minutes left in the show. They had a match that was decent but in no way memorable. A brawl on the outside culminated in a low blow on Steiner. Then, we get a random run-in from Sid, who seemed to be moving faster than he was in his earlier match, and the Mystery Man in his black and white bumblebee outfit. All four brawled and the show ended.

Not much of a go-home show for the PPV.

Next up: Thunder, the actual last stop before Sin!

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Live Event Report: HWA Cyberclash 7.0 - 7/5/14

Over the Independence Day weekend, my friend Tim and I decided to go check out some live HWA wrestling over in Middletown, Ohio. The building isn’t big, as it used to be a Ponderosa restaurant way back when, but there was a good turnout of may 50-60 people. I like the fact that it’s a small, intimate, unique venue where there isn’t a bad seat in the place. The parking, however, left a lot to be desired as there was a line already when we got there about 6:45, which meant the lot was already full and we had to park over at a paint store the next block over. We got some seats in the third row, right in front of the hard camera, sat back, and prepared to enjoy some local indy wrestling.

1. Devon Nos vs. Sid Fabulous vs. American Kickboxer #2

Kickboxer and Sid Fabulous used to be a tag team a few years ago and had a good run as a mid-card team doing a male dancer gimmick. Eventually, the two went their separate ways with Kid Fabulous morphing into the second coming of the American Kickboxer. I’m not entirely sure how Devon Nos fits into this whole thing but apparently he’s friends with both guys. Kickboxer and Sid, who is still doing the aforementioned male dancer gimmick, had a brawl to start that you could tell was a little heated. Aside from that, this felt pretty much like a standard three way match where two guys would wrestle and the other would wait until it was time to join the fray. Take that, rinse and repeat for about 5-7 minutes and you’ve got the basic idea here. This was short, got the crowd motivated, and was a good choice to open up things with.

2. Kongo Kong vs. Brian Dewey

Dewey is a local who wrestles for a bunch of other companies in the area and is a fill-in here for Mustafa Aziz, who was Kong’s original opponent. Kong came out with a scrawny heel manager with a really growly voice, which doesn’t fit the stereotype at all. If I were him, I’d maybe lay off the Marlboro’s a little bit. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Kong before, he’s a very large human with a fro, tribal face paint, Rikishi-esque gear, and a generally mean attitude. Dewey’s night was absolutely ruined by Kong who just destroyed him with an assortment of hard hitting big man offense, including a giant top rope splash that not only shook the ring but the Richter scale as well.

3. Amber Rodriguez vs. Cherry Bomb vs. Heidi Lovelace

Lovelace is the only person in this match I’ve heard of but I’ve never seen her actually wrestle before. Cherry could easily pass for Sara Del Ray from a distance if you weren’t paying close enough attention. Lovelace felt like the glue that held this together. Another basic three way match in the same formula of the opening match. Rodriguez showed a bit of dimension to her characted shaking her “ghetto booty” quite a bit and being a complete ditz and claiming victory after the referee counted three on a rope break. These three stuck to the basics pretty well, things moved at a reasonable pace, and wasn’t entirely inoffensive.

4. The A+ Squad (Pepper Parks & Dean Jablonski) vs. Black Wallstreet (Chet Lennox & “Human Terminator” Solo)

Jablonski and Parks were accompanied by local indy manager Brock Guffman, who has been working this area for years in many differents feds doing many different things. Parks has grown a beard and has bulked up a good bit since I last saw him. Jablonski looks like a marine drill sergeant. I could easily see him shouting at young recruits in boot camp. The opponents I’ve never heard of. Solo comes across and a sort of plain, generic looking dude and I completely forgot his name five minutes in. Lennox did most of the work for his team and Solo came in for a few power spots. Again, nothing too notable but a solid match. It was nice to see Jablonski and Parks coming back home to team together one more time, even if it was for one night only.

5. Shark Boy vs. Dru Skillz

Shark Boy is still doing the Stone Cold character from about six years ago in TNA when he was teaming with Curry Man. Skillz is a mean looking dude who seemed to enjoy punking out some of the little children in the crowd during the match. I enjoyed the crowd participation as it helped the match a lot. Shark Boy would have an armbar applied, bite the fingers, and the referee would turn to the crowd to ask if Shark Boy really bit the fingers. Skillz would taunt the crowd and everyone shouted back “What?” continuously. That’s probably the only time I can think of recently where that chant wasn’t completely annoying. A fun little match that was enjoyable for Shark Boy’s antics and the participation.

6. 11-Person Battle Royal

I have no idea who was all in this match but a few of the people I recognized were Necro Butcher, “Hebrew Hammer” Joseph Schwartz, Jerry Andrews, and “Honey Badger” Brendan James. The thing here was that the winner would become the number one contender to the HWA Heritage Title. Necro was in up until the end of the match and spent pretty much the whole match just wearing people out. He destroyed some hapless mystery man in the corner with a steady diet of Kobashi-esque chops. Honey Badger is a local wrestler from Rockstar Pro Wrestling and his contribution to this match was a hard, hellacious bump on the floor. Schwartz is a good comedy wrestler when he’s in singles competition but got lost in the shuffle here. It should be noted as well that he was working on a Saturday, the Sabbath, which is the Jewish day of rest. Necro and Andrews were the last two in and had a good exchange on the apron teasing eliminations. Andrews eventually won and I was not happy.

7. HWA Heritage Title: Jeff Holloway vs. B.J. Whitmer

This was probably the most technically sound match of the night. Whitmer always seems to show up on HWA shows, maybe it’s his way of giving back to the place he got his start. Holloway seems to be a good hand in the ring but needs to add a bit of dimension to his persona and he felt a bit plain. Despite the low turnout, Whitmer seemed motivated to put on a good match regardless and as I mentioned, they put on a good, technical match. The work was solid, not outstanding or noteworth, but very solid. I was surprised to see Holloway get the win and this sets up a title match between Holloway and Andrews who I believe are a regular tag team, but I could be wrong on that.

8. Apollo Starr vs. Brian Beech

This was set up earlier in the night when Starr and Dru Skillz interrupted Cody Hawk’s return speech to HWA. Beech is one of Cody Hawk’s guys and has been working indy shows in the southwest Ohio area forever. He’s also subbing for Cliff Compton who I was really looking forward to seeing live. Not long ago, I went to a CZW show in Indianapolis and I remember Starr working a pre-show match there. He’s improved a good bit since then I would say. Never was really a big fan of Beech but he put on a good showing. Both guys brawled their way through this and again, nothing special here, but a good effort.

9. HWA Heavyweight Title: Chance Prophet vs. Dustin Rayz

My enjoyability of a Chance Prophet match is mostly dependent on who he is matched up against. The last time I saw him live, he was matched up with a giant, bulky, immobile dude who hasn’t been seen since. This time, he was matched up against Dustin Rayz, a guy who is a pretty decent hand in the ring and wrestles quite often in this area. This was the first shot at the HWA Title I think Rayz has ever had and this turned out to be a nice little match. The crowd brawl at the beginning didn’t seem like a crutch to cover up one or the other being lazy, it felt like it had some meaning to it, which was nice for a change.  The work was mostly solid and both guys put forth a good effort and showed they can go when given the main event spot. Rayz capitalized on his opportunity and won the title with a vicious pedigree style piledriver that looked to have messed up Prophet something awful. This was a better match than I had envisioned but felt a little constrained by time. Rayz winning the title was a shock to me but a surprise title change was a nice way to close out the show.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

WWF Wrestlefest '95

WWF Wrestlefest '95
Coliseum Video - 1995
Hosted by: Stephanie Wiand

This tape is part of the rare and hard to find “500 series” released in by Coliseum Video in 1995 and 1996. This particular series is the rarest of the rare, the holy grail as far as collecting Coliseum Video WWF tapes goes. These ten tapes were mail order only and couldn’t be bought in stores. This is one of the cheaper tapes in the series, that can currently be found for about $70 on Ebay while most of the others will set you back over $150 or more. Let’s see if there are any rare gems on this rare old VHS tape.

1. Jean Pierre LaFitte vs. The Undertaker

A well known pirate, LaFitte dominated the high seas in the 1700s by attacking American and British ships, peddling knock-off Oakley shades on a street corner in Boston, and then hocking bootleg DVDs in Baltimore. Years later, he made his way to the WWF. If you don’t remember this, don’t feel bad, most people don’t. He was around for about six months and his biggest feud was with Bret Hart over a leather jacket. Welcome to 1995 WWF. Both guys pretty much stuck to the basics here and seemed to be in cruise control. Match wasn’t long, maybe about 6-8 minutes and looked like it was filmed in a gym somewhere. Really strange to see major WWF stars in a 500 seat auditorium. Crowd wasn’t into this at all either, I’ve seen more livelier crowds at funerals. Taker polished off Pierre with a chokeslam and people yawned.

2. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, & Hakushi vs. Bret Hart, Savio Vega, & Razor Ramon

Six of the marquee guys of mid-1995 in this match. Action starts between Yokozuna and Razor as Gorilla Monsoon drones about how Yokozuna was weighed in an airplane hangar in Singapore for this match in West Virginia. What? Some good action between Razor and Owen highlighted by a stiff looking heel kick from Owen. Bret and Hakushi had a nice exchange as well that saw Bret absolutely plant Hakushi with a DDT. Haven’t seen a whole lot of Yokozuna yet, except to come in and just beat down people. He was pretty much working the Andre the Giant role the whole match, coming in as needed to lay a quick beatdown to quell some offense from the opponents. Savio did this horrible looking and telegraphed dive off of Yokozuna in the corner onto Hakushi, who was way out of position. Wait a second, did I just see this match end on a clothesline of all things? Yep, I sure did. This was a fun little match with some pretty good action but nothing worth going out of your way to see.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Dr. Tom Prichard

This is plucked from and episode of Superstars that has probably since falled into the ether somewhere. Michaels seems to be in complete showboat mode thus far and doesn’t look to be taking anything seriously. Prichard and his entourage consisting of Jim Cornette and Jimmy Del Ray seem to be in no mood for Michaels’ high foolishness. Quite honestly, neither am I. Prichard worked the first bit of the match as a punching bag and foil for Michaels, with Jimmy Del Ray getting the most offense in. No, seriously. The illegal guy in the match, got the most offense in for the heels. Prichard though, after the interference, kept things moving by working over Michaels’ back. Ending seemed rushed with Michaels making a quick comeback and finishing off Prichard with the Sweet Chin Music.

4. Jerry Lawler vs. Adam Bomb

On paper, this certainly seems like an interesting match and turned out to be a true study of how to be an effective heel and a one-man show. Lawler ran this whole match by using basic psychology and doing some really good selling of Bomb’s big-man offense. The most offense he got in the whole match was when Bomb took a big fall to the outside and Lawler shoved his head into the steps. Lawler was so good in this match that I forgot he had an opponent and it seemed like he was just wrestling himself. Even the end with Lawler getting the pin by putting his feet on the ropes fit it perfectly with the flow of everything.

5. Bob Holly & Alundra Blayze vs. Hakushi & Bull Nakano

Time out, before we even go to the match, the host of this tape, Stephanie Wiand, calls this a “Sadie Hawkins mixer” in the most cheesy way possible. What the hell did she even mean by that? Anyway, the women start this one off highlighted by Bull flinging Alundra across the ring by her hair numerous times. Holly and Hakushi managed to screw up a simple Irish Whip. Nicely done, gentlemen. Monsoon calls this “a main event in any arena across the entire world”. Well, OK. Not sure I’d plunk down a twenty to see this match top the card. Action breaks down and Holly and Alundra do a double dive spot. Blayze hoists up Bull in a German suplex to get the pin. The women were pretty much the shining stars of this match, otherwise, this was not good at all.

6. Bret Hart vs. Jimmy Del Ray

This looks like it could be from the same Supertars taping that the Shawn Michaels/Tom Prichard match from earlier was, maybe even the same episode. Bret controlled the majority of the match with an assortment of technical stuff. Really liked the takedown he had after catching a spinning kick from Del Ray. Del Ray tried a moonsault, a give him a 9 for form but a zero for landing it as he missed completely. Bret’s comeback with the leg sweep, the elbow, and everything else led to him quickly polishing off Del Ray. Basic TV match here, nothing more, nothing less.

7. Lex Luger & British Bulldog vs. Jeff Jarrett & The Roadie

The commentators keep referring to Roadie as “Road Dogg”. They must’ve been able to see into the future or something. This match has been going nowhere fast, watching Jarrett strut, Luger work a hammerlock, and Roadie doing the most action of anyone thus far. Bulldog seemed to be an afterthought except for pretty much the beginning and getting a hot … well, lukewarm tag to clear the ring as Stan Lane put it on commentary “like a lawn mower”. Again, nothing here worth checking out a second time. A colossal mess of a brawl led to Luger and Bulldog getting the win in a match that accomplished absolutely nothing.

8. The Smoking Gunns vs. Men on a Mission

Gunns rush the ring and this starts out with more fire in the first 30 seconds that anything else on this tape combined. Not sure when this match was filmed but it appears to be before Mabel won King of the Ring. If there’s one thing that I love about wrestling, it’s seeing big dudes like Mabel, Vader, and Yokozuna just completely wreck shop and ruin peoples lives, and that’s exactly what Mabel did. Mabel did some sort of back suplex looking move that looked completely nasty and had to destroy Bart Gunn’s back and probably made his night absolutely miserable. Billy got a hot tag after what seemed like an eternity (seriously, I've seen epic ten-part documentary films from Ken Burns that were shorter than Bart's face in peril segment) and managed to get a pin with a small package.

9. WWF Intercontinental Championship: Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon

Has there ever been a title change on a match filmed exclusively for Coliseum Video? I doubt it. First five minutes of this was stalling from Jarrett and Roadie with Razor cutting a promo. Finally, the action starts and the pace stays pretty quick. Crowd is pretty hot from the get-go as well. That shark cage Roadie is in doesn’t look sturdy at all. There’s a ref bump and Roadie sends down a mystery object on a rope from the cage that Razor tries to use and is unsucessful. A vicious Razor’s Edge on Jarrett led to a lame double count-out finish as Jarrett scurries away and Roadie gets a post-match beatdown. I’m guessing this same match was done around the circuit numerous time with the same finish.

Final Thoughts:

At points, this was a bit of a chore to sit through. Kevin Kelly once said that mid 90’s WWF had a “antiseptic feel to it” and after watching this, I’m inclined to agree. A lot of the stuff felt really stale and bland. If you’re a Jerry Lawler fan, then it’s worth looking up for his performance against Adam Bomb. The six-man tag was fun watching six of the top guys from spring of ’95 going at it and Mabel was a blast as usual in the tag match against the Gunns but even all of that isn’t enough to save this tape.