WCW Saturday Night Interactive! : 04.05.1996

Marcus Bagwell vs The Giant

With a shortened WCW Saturday Night this week, the options were very much few and far between. The choice of the people ended up being a match between Marcus Bagwell and The Giant – a match that was never originally meant to happen. You see, the initial main event of the evening was due to see Lex Luger face off against the new WCW World Champion, The Giant, in a world title match (The Giant having beaten Flair on Nitro). As the show begins, Dusty and Schiavone are joined by Bagwell, who is there as the proverbial cheerleader, telling the fans that he believes in Luger, even though Luger is going through one of his ‘suspicious face’ runs.

As the main event is due to begin, a visibly concerned Bagwell hits the ring and explains that he hasn’t seen Luger yet. It is hilarious in some ways watching Bagwell play the sympathetic face, as he just has a look that screams heel. Apparently, Luger was a ‘charity golf event’, so that might explain why he is not there. The lack of Luger doesn’t stop The Giant heading down to the ring and demanding a match with Bagwell.

On the recommendation of someone, I’ve started to dig into WCW 1992, and the first show from WCW 1992 saw Bagwell being offered a shot at Steve Austin’s TV Title, turning it down, and getting his ass handed to him by The Dangerous Alliance. Fast forward four years, and little has changed about his character. He still seems very ‘aw shucks’ in his delivery, still the young man who will get there, by gosh. He tries to turn down The Giant several times, before a crack at his courage is enough for Bagwell to take off his waistcoat and meet The Giant one on one.

Considering this is only the third match on the card, and lasts a little over a minute, this card seems devoid of actual wrestling. Bagwell begins by rocking The Giant with several punches, before both men hit the ropes. Bagwell ducks a couple of clotheslines, and launches himself at the big man with a crossbody block. Like a watermelon hitting a wall, Bagwell splats to the ground; The Giant unmoved. Two chokeslams later, and that is the match.

Bagwell is in danger of getting more abuse from the world champion, only for Lex Luger to finally make his appearance, still wearing his golf clothing as Dusty is so helpful to point out. The Giant heads out of the ring, leaving Luger to ponder what might have been over a fallen Bagwell.

Elsewhere on the broadcast – Benoit defeated The Barbarian, The Steiners defeated The State Patrol, and Alex Wright defeated Billy Kidman. Also, I caught a glimpse of the ‘Blood Runs Cold’ promo video, so I only probably have to wait a year for the debut of Glacier.

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WCW Saturday Night Interactive! : 27.04.1996

Booty Man vs Ted Allen

So Booty Man wins. No real surprise there. He hits him with the high knee, which is a pun on the word ‘hiney’. Booty. Hiney. Great work. Whoever came up with that needs a raise.

I’m just going to use this time to talk about Brutus Beefcake, the original and (not really too much of a stretch) best iteration of Ed Leslie in the wrestling ring. When I was younger, my first two wrestling videos were Wrestlemania IV and Wrestlemania VI. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I loved IV. It gets a bad rap now, and probably rightly so, but I used to really enjoy sitting through such barnburners as Don Muraco vs Dino Bravo and Rick Rude and Jake Roberts chinlocking their way to fifteen minute time limit draw.

One of the biggest reasons I enjoyed this card was Brutus Beefcake’s attempts to beat the Honky Tonk Man for the IC Title.

Brutus Beefcake was a character who was easy to get behind, especially during a time before I really cared about wrestling workrate. He wore bright pink with weird fishnet bits? Awesome! He liked to cut people’s hair after the match? Brilliant, sign me up. I wished and implored Beefcake to win the title every time I put on that VHS, and every time he came up short. Small victories were gained as he grabbed Jimmy Hart and cut his hair, but it wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for, or the outcome I’d expected. How can this poor mans’ Elvis defeat a guy as cool as Beefcake?

If ever there was a man who represented the law of diminishing returns, it is Ed Leslie. As I grew older, as he progressed in his wrestling career, the interest in Beefcake waned. He became Booty Man, Zodiac, The Disciple; each iteration more awful than the last. As my interest grew in wrestling, holes bigger than the ones in Beefcake’s tights were noticeable.

Dream Team-era Beefcake, hiding behind the wrestling talent of Greg Valentine, was arguably the best. He was able to get in the ring, deliver his stuff, and get out to allow Valentine to do the grunt work of the match. Beefcake as a face was over, and continued to entertain anyone who, in hindsight, was under the age of about 10. Everything past that – forget it.

Keith Richards once said about Madonna that she had a thimbleful of talent in a sea of ambition. Beefcake is wrestling’s variant on that theme – has any wrestler managed to exist at the highest level for as long as that with less talent? You could make a stand for his physical look (at least early in his career) and his charisma as Brutus, but what did he bring that allowed him to sit near the top of the wrestling world for 15 years.

More importantly, why am I still having to watch him in 2015? Cheers guys. Good job.

WCW Saturday Night Interactive! – 20.04.1996

Madusa vs Col. Robert Parker

This is one of those moments where I will just assume that everybody hates me. Not content with giving me one Madusa vs Col. Robert Parker match, I get the pleasure of watching the re-match from the following week. No Fire and Ice, no Ric Flair, no Booty Man – ok, so that last one might not be too much of an issue.

As Parker heads to ringside, it is made clear that this time (due to the ending of the previous match, no doubt) it will be a No-DQ match. This just screams to me that Dick Slater should  get involved from the offset, as there is now no reason for Slater not to interfere. Indeed, it would be stupid if he didn’t, especially due to Parker’s general fear of Madusa. Parker even hides behind the referee to try and keep Madusa at arms length.

And interfere Slater does – he grabs her by the hair as she is unsure which man to go for (Slater had been flicking at her with a towel to distract her). This hesitation allows Parker to run in and hit her with a knee in the ‘belleh-welleh’. Automatically, this match is one hundred times better than the previous incarnation as Dusty drags a turd kicking and screaming into watchable-ness just through his inane commentary. A vicious looking choke drop plants Madusa into the mat, before Parker attempts to drop her with a piledriver. At no point does it look possible that the piledriver will connect, and unsurprisingly, Madusa reverses it with a backbody drop. One body slam later (which, although a little rough around the edges, is an impressive feat of strength when you consider the relative size differences) and Col. Robert Parker is hightailing it towards the back. The ref counts and Madusa is your winner by Countout, leading to the inevitable No-DQ, No Countout rubber match (…I fucking hope not).

If they actually gave these matches a bit of time, they might be worth a watch – Madusa works well as a sympathetic babyface, Parker as the scheming heel – spend a bit of time with Madusa getting a beat down before finally fighting back for the big pop and the victory would make a lot of sense. However, we just get six minutes of wasted time over the course of two weeks where no-one benefits and nothing is really resolved. These two matches couldn’t have been more pointless.

What else did I see: As I flicked through the editing software, I caught The American Males defeating Men at Work following a missed moonsault by Kanyon. A moonsault that missed when Bagwell didn’t move. A completely bizarre spot.

More bizarrely, Ric Flair needed the interference of Woman raking the eyes of Jim Duggan to save his WCW World Title. I get that Flair likes to make his opponents look good, but this is going a step too far.

As my usual site doesn’t have all the results, the Booty Man defeated The Punisher, The Steiner Brothers and The Public Enemy went to a Double DQ and Fire And Ice defeated Maxx Muscle and The Gambler.

WCW Saturday Night Interactive! – 13.04.1996

Col. Robert Parker vs Madusa

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to say during this column – primarily because I just don’t understand this feud. A Jerry Springer-esque love triangle between Sherri, Col. Robert Parker and Madusa ending up in a wrestling wedding and at least THREE matches between Parker and Madusa. As an angle goes, I don’t really get the point or what the audience got out of this feud between a manager and a woman wrestler (made even more bizarre due to a fairly simplistic attempt to push the Women’s Title later in the year).

This is the second match of their trilogy (I say trilogy – I wouldn’t be surprised to see this match pop up more than three times looking at the booking habits of the WCW committee at the time.) At WCW Uncensored 1996, Robert Parker defeated Madusa in just over three minutes following interference from Dick Slater. Using the wonderful power of the WWE Network, I checked out the finish; I honestly didn’t want to waste more time of my life than was necessary on this pairing. The finish was interesting enough – Slater pulled Madusa’s leg on a bridging German suplex, Parker rolling into a quick three count.

Ah, Dick Slater. The one good thing about this feud is the opportunity to see Dick Slater in and around a wrestling ring. If ever there was a vocation that screamed out to a man with Dick Slater’s looks and personality, pro wrestling was it. I’m enjoying ‘The Real World Champion’ Dick Slater in 1984, and it is almost as fun to watch ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater mooching around the ring in 1996. An injury would shortly end his career, though spending the majority of his time as the third wheel in these matches wasn’t exactly seeing him being used to the best of his ability.

The match is pretty much a non-entity. It lasts about a minute from bell to bell, and is just a chance for Madusa to showcase her righteous anger to the glee of the crowd in attendance. A standing headscissors is a nice little touch, and Parker does a job ‘showing ass’ for Madusa by bumping well for a man of age. Madusa is on fire and getting her revenge – all is right with this match from a fan’s perspective.

The sudden ending sucks hugely.

Arguably, you couldn’t make Madusa look more stupid. With the man reeling, she grabs him by his shirt and launches him over the top rope. Ding ding ding, DQ! It isn’t even an arguably, 50/50 decision as to whether she meant to or not – she launches him without a care in the world. As a wrestling fan, we have to believe that a wrestler wants to win every match, so for Madusa to throw the match away in this manner just doesn’t make sense. From a technical standpoint, Parker has won 2 out of 2, the second match in a legitimate way, so this should be the end of that.

So – what’s the matchlist for next week’s Saturday Night?

Madusa vs Col. Robert Parker?! Again?!

Fuck.

WCW Saturday Night 13.04.1996

WCW World Champion Ric Flair (w/ Elizabeth & Woman) & the Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs
Eddie Guerrero defeated Mr. JL
Chris Benoit (w/ Arn Anderson) defeated Dave Sullivan
The Belfast Bruiser defeated Lord Steven Regal via disqualification
Col. Rob Parker defeated Madusa via disqualification
Brad Armstrong defeated Dean Malenko
Arn Anderson & Kevin Sullivan (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Larry Santo & Rick Fargo
Sting defeated Chris Kanyon
The Nasty Boys, Rick & Scott Steiner fought the Road Warriors & Public Enemy to a no contest

WCW Saturday Night Interactive! – 06.04.1996

The Public Enemy vs Southern Posse

Sometimes, the offer to allow people to vote on the choice of match really does throw up one of the least interesting (to me) selections. I felt sure that people would be interested in seeing Ric Flair defending his World Title against the Booty Man and his booty plan (according to a pre-match interview, at least). Lex Luger vs The Giant sounded more enticing on paper, with ‘how are they going to get out of this?’ making it at least a match with a question mark over it.

But no – I get The Public Enemy vs Southern Posse. I don’t even know who the Southern Posse are, and was hoping that they might have been one of those teams that elicited a nod of acknowledgement when I saw them on the screen.

This might have been the case, but their screen time literally lasts two seconds. A screen-in-screen interview with The Nasty Boys, consisting of Brian Knobs spending a lot of time making wretching and hacking noises over the top of a generic Jerry Sags promo, was followed by a promo from The Public Enemy, calling The Nasty Boys stupid. By the time we head back to the ring, a (painful looking) flipping senton off of the top rope is enough for The Public Enemy to pick up the three count. All over and done in around a minute, with only one move properly shown on screen.

Researching the need for a Nasty Boys promo was about as interesting as my time on this episode got, as I found out that Johnny Grunge had entered the ring during a Road Warriors/Nasty Boys/Steiner Brothers triple threat match whilst wearing a Nasty Boys t-shirt and took the pinfall, gifting the victory to The Steiners in the process. A novel way to develop a feud, and infinitely more interesting than the Southern Posse match.

I skipped around the rest of the episode, as is my usual want, looking for something else that might be worth mentioning. Booty Man’s promos are equal parts awful and awesome, the reference to the aforementioned ‘booty plan’ a particular highlight. The match between Booty and Flair seemed to fall apart due to Randy Savage’s desire to get back at Flair – this was during the angle that saw Flair steal Liz, along with Macho’s money – a particular favourite angle of mine from when I was young.

In the only other real action of note, Lex Luger defeated The Giant by DQ after Sting had to come down and save Luger from an attempted Giant attack with a megaphone. Good to see the tag team champions on the same page….for now. Why The Giant was DQ’ed though is beyond me – he was attacked by Sting before he did anything DQ-worthy. Odd end to the main event this week.

Historyofwwe.com, my usual repository for the cards and results, has nothing outside of the main event. So does Cagematch.net, another site I use. Oh well, guess you get the jist from my beautiful words. Look forward to next week.

WCW Saturday Night Interactive! – 30.03.1996

Whilst it is a shame that I get to view some John Tenta action at a time when he was billed from ‘Tsunami’ and pretending to be a shark, I’ve always had a soft spot for Tenta. It is unsurprising really, due to my WWF fandom back in the day, as The Natural Disasters looked huge to my childish eyes, and that was all that was necessary to enthral me when I was younger. Though they weren’t the most exciting team in the world, Tenta was always solid in the ring and was a legitimate big-man threat whenever he needed to be.

He was also part of my first ever live experience as a wrestling fan. TWA Wrestlexpress, a show that was originally billed as being run in the Coventry Skydome, only to eventually tumble off of a cliff and be held in a small leisure centre in Dagenham. My Dad bought tickets the week before on a whim and we got to see luminaries like Steve Corino, The Sandman and Horace Hogan, whilst Tenta teamed with Justin Star against Flash Barker and Klondyke Kate. It was amazing to see the man in person, even if the event was such a smaller scale than was originally planned.

This match follows the Tower of Doom match at Uncensored, so Lex Luger has nailed his colours to the mast and got rid of Jimmy Hart and is a face…at least for now. This is the second Shark vs Lex Luger match within a year on Saturday Night, Lex Luger winning the 1st match after Meng (…I’m not sure why) kicked Shark in the back of the head. The match in 1995 was the best part of twelve minutes long; this one is barely given three.

The intrigue I have for the match isn’t about who will win, as Luger will clearly get the victory and retain his WCW TV Title – it is more about how Shark will be defeated. In terms of body shape, Tenta doesn’t have a body that looks like it would be easy to Torture Rack, so at least I have that prospect to look forward to. Shark attacks before Luger is ready, setting the tone for the rest of the match, as the majority is an extended Luger beatdown. This was always going to be a match of punches and kicks, though Tenta does nail Luger in the chest with a couple of big headbutts. Luger has the briefest comeback, but the men channel Andre vs Hogan and Shark almost gets the three count after Luger is unable to complete a slam, letting Tenta come crashing down hard on his chest.

A wrestler like Tenta earns the right to be called ‘methodical’ rather than ‘slow’, and the match is pretty methodical when Tenta is on the attack. A nice bodyslam in the middle of the ring is the normal set-up for Tenta’s running sitdown splash (which I’m assuming is called the Shark Attack in WCW) across his career, though the ending doesn’t allow for this to be the case. Tenta goes to grab Luger, who quickly slaps him in a small package for the 1,2,3. No Torture Rack. Shame. Nothing really going on in this match at all, which is also a shame.

Attached is a Lex Luger promo, discussing his decisions over the past few weeks with regards to Jimmy Hart. Standard stuff really, but gives a broader view of the angle that is playing out.

What else did I see: The Giant managed to catch a flying Big Bubba Rogers off of the top rope and slam him. As feats of strength (and balance) go, it was very impressive. Pity the following chokeslam looked pretty awful…

WCW Saturday Night Results:

3/27/96; Rome, GA; Forum
3/30/96:
Arn Anderson defeated Steve Armstrong
Jim Duggan defeated Dave Taylor (w/ Jeeves)
The Booty Man (w/ the Booty Babe) defeated Maxx Muscle
Eddie Guerrero defeated Devon Storm
Harlem Heat defeated St. Buddy Lee Parker & Lt. James Earl when Booker T pinned Earl
WCW TV Champion Lex Luger defeated the Shark
WCW US Champion Konnan defeated Pat Tanaka
The Belfast Bruiser defeated Bobby Eaton
The Giant defeated Big Bubba
Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs defeated Meng & the Barbarian when Riggs pinned Barbarian
Sting defeated Hugh Morrus
WCW World Champion Ric Flair (w/ Elizabeth) defeated Dick Slater (w/ Col. Rob Parker)

WCW Saturday Night Interactive! – 23.03.1996

Earl Robert Eaton vs Sting

The conversion of Bobby Eaton to Earl Robert Eaton is a vague recollection in my aging brain, so whilst I always enjoy an Eaton match, it is even better to see the work he did in this gimmick. Eaton, arguably, didn’t always have the most charismatic personality, but from the entrance onward, the shift in character is really fun. A changed residence of Stoke-on-Trent (a pretty horrible place in the UK, not exactly where you’d expect a blue blood to come from) and the waving of the smoke with his hat as he heads to the ring had me enjoying the gimmick already. Sting – well, he’s Sting. The crowd pops, he looks suitably muscly and bronzed and the match is on.

Having re-read a few of the columns previously in this series, I’ve highlighted on more than one occasion how much I like Dusty Rhodes’ inane commentary at times, and he is on top form in this match. Whilst discussing Booker T replacing Lex Luger in the Chicago Street Fight, he makes it clear that Luger wouldn’t know anything about street fighting due to the part of Chicago he came from. Further into the match, Dusty appears to try and give Eaton another gimmick change, calling him ‘Duke of Earl Bob’. Stellar work as always.

The match is really just a way of furthering the Sting and Lex Luger angle, unsurprisingly. The lack of offense from Eaton is a bit poor in terms of building a competitive match, albeit with the limited time they had to work the match. When your only real offensive move of note is a clothesline after you’ve missed your finisher (which itself is an odd choice for a spot due to the high impact of the Tower Of London miss), you aren’t really being allowed to bring much to the table.

The finish sees David Taylor hit the ring and the top turnbuckle, only for Lex Luger to run down and shove Taylor off into Eaton. Sting gets the cover for the 1,2,3. Strange for such a crowd favourite to not get the easy finisher pop that would have happened if he locked in the Scorpion Deathlock, but the focus is so clearly on the interactions with Sting and Luger afterwards.

On the video is also the interview that follows the match – watch until the end to see a classic act of Lugerish-ness that cracked me up. Sting and Luger are on solid ground…for now.

What did I miss: Ric Flair defeated Sgt. Craig Pittman after shenanigans and a handful of tights. I appreciate that Flair likes to make his opponents look strong, but to have the World Champion go over in that way against someone like Pittman doesn’t really make sense. Put the champ over strong.

Oh, and highlights from Nitro saw the debut of Z Gangsta and The Ultimate Solution. Funnily enough, they don’t look as big or imposing as you’d expect based off of the commentary and the selling of the wrestlers in the ring. TUS just looks fat, primarily.

WCW Saturday Night Results:
WCW TV Champion & WCW Tag Team Champion Lex Luger defeated Brad Armstrong
Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves) defeated the Gambler
Arn Anderson & Kevin Sullivan (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Julio Sanchez & an unknown when Anderson pinned Sanchez
WCW World Champion Ric Flair (w/ Woman & Elizabeth) defeated Sgt. Craig Pittman (w/ Teddy Long)
Col. Rob Parker (w/ Dick Slater) defeated Tommy Bonds
Eddie Guerrero defeated Steve Doll
Rick & Scott Steiner defeated Chris Kanyon & Mike Winner when Scott pinned Winner
WCW Tag Team Champion Sting defeated Bobby Eaton (w/ Jeeves)
Public Enemy defeated the Road Warriors via disqualification