So here we are again.
I put it to you, the Cewsh Reviews readers, to choose our next review, and the options ran the gamut from interesting and bizarre shows, to truly notorious crap fests. But like a partner returning to an emotional abusive spouse, we find ourselves back in the doomed clutches of WCW in the year 2000.
Years after we last visited the bleak, post apocalyptic landscape of the most absurd period in the history of any major wrestling company, (TNA included,) it’s time to take another look at the car accident in progress that was WCW right before the end. For old time Cewsh Reviews fans it’s been awhile, and for new readers, you may not have read our reviews of those other shows yet, so let’s run through a quick primer on things that happened in previous reviews during this same year.
- An entire PPV was built around shots of a closed door that we never got to see open.
- Music legend James Brown showed up and grudgingly danced, leading to my second favorite Cewsh Reviews gif of all time.
- Two tag teams had a ladder match for a record contract that was won by the manager of one of the teams, who was not in the match.
- Buff Bagwell wrestled a match where the prize for winning was custody of his real life mother.
- Stacy Keibler had a miscarriage in the middle of a mud wrestling match, (in the storyline, thankfully.)
- Someone threw a box at Terry Funk.
- Mike Awesome killed a man.
- David Arquette won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
That’s the whirlwind of chaos and bafflement we have already experienced, and now we trudge determinedly on, to find the very heart of chaos itself. Onward, brave travelers! Onwards to glory!
Segment 1 – OPENING VIDEO FEVER!
Now, usually I don’t do an INTRODUCTION! And an OPENING VIDEO FEVER! But this time its necessary, because we have some things we need to talk about coming into this show. The very first image we’re presented with on this show is Vince Russo standing in the ring and saying, “Ric Flair is a piece of shit.” which may set the record for the most blunt opening video in wrestling history. He then follows that up by saying “I am the Bat Man” (while holding a bat,) and “Ric Flair, you will be my New York City bitch,” which means…something probably.
The reason Russo is running down Ric Flair so hard is that this is the time when WCW split itself into two gigantic factions. No, not the NWO and WCW factions, we’re talking about the New Blood and the Millionaire’s Club. In theory, the New Blood was meant to represent the up and comers who never had a chance with all of the aging stars from yesteryear clogging up all the spots on top of the card. Undercard guys in WCW for years had struggled to climb the card for this very reason, and it ultimately cost WCW guys like Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, etc, who would go on to be massive stars when given the opportunity. You might think they would be the good guys, since they represent exactly what fans had been begging for for years, but you would be wrong. In a truly bizarre set of circumstances, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff decided that THEY should be the leaders of the New Blood, while beloved legend Ric Flair captained a team of old rich guys that we were supposed to cheer for.
Let’s see, what else should you know before starting this show. Well, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are feuding, and that somehow involved Billy Kidman getting a win over Hulk Hogan and the slowest speed collision in television history.
OH! And this might be kind of important. There are no champions coming into this show. None. Every title in the entire company has been vacated and they are having tournaments for TWO TITLES IN THE SAME GODDAMN NIGHT. Let’s get started!
Segment 2 – WCW World Tag Team Championship Tournament – Ric Flair and The Total Package w/ Elizabeth vs. The Mamalukes w/ Disco Inferno vs. The Harris Brothers
A few things right off the top. Firstly, I want to commemorate the people who actual paid real, physical dollars to sit in the front row of this show, as they either are either so rich that money has ceased to have any meaning for them, or are the only actual WCW fans that still existed by this point, and are deserving of our awe for their perseverance.
See The Sadness In Their Eyes?
Secondly, Mark Madden, who is on commentary here along with Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson, is a turd.
Tony Schiavone Is All Of Us
Okay, now on to the match. This is the first match in the tag team tournament for tonight, which is actually just two matches and then the winners meet in a title match. This is a triple threat match, because the theme for tonight is that the New Blood have stacked the deck against the Millionaire’s Club at every turn, making it almost impossible for them to win anything. That is also the reason why Ric Flair and Lex Luger are in a match with the HARRIS BROTHERS and no one seems to be batting an eyelid at how bonkers that is.
The match unfolds as a 4 vs. 2 handicap match, where Ric Flair gets beaten down again and again and again by a parade of people wearing the exact same black suit pants.
Dockers Had A Sale.
At some point a few guys that the announcers refer to as “vaguely Sicilian” show up and kidnap Disco Inferno, but no one in the ring notices. Then, after a serious of spots so ugly that I’m not even clear on what the guys involved were supposed to be doing in them, The Total Package lifts up Johnny the Bull for a Torture Rack and quickly gets the win.
Asking me to rate this match is like asking a professional ballet critic to rate your niece’s ballet recital. No matter what, someone’s feelings are getting hurt.
23 out of 100
The Old Guys Over The Young Guys Following The Torture Rack.
Segment 3 – Mike Awesome Can’t Stop Dancing.
I don’t know why he is doing this, and I don’t care. Hit the music!
Go for it, Mikey!
Segment 4 – Eye For an Eye Match – Jimmy Heart vs. Mancow
Look, I try to come into these things with a sense of journalistic integrity. I really do. It doesn’t do justice to the hard work countless people put into each moment of this product for me to disparage it without cause, and I want you to know that I really approach every segment hoping, praying, that it will be good and redeeming and worthwhile. Sometimes that actually does happen, and i’m rewarded with moments of profound happiness. And then sometimes Jimmy Hart rips out a radio DJ’s eye and they have a match based on that. This is that time.
As near as I can tell from the promo video, Jimmy Hart went onto Mancow’s morning radio talk show, got into a not-at-all fake seeming argument with the host, and then damaged his eye in the scuffle. This has led to Mancow, who is a shock jock whose overturned garbage can of a show was at the time syndicated in 28 states, (which is slightly more than half of the states!) vowing to get his revenge in something called an eye for an eye match. And this leads to Mancow leading a small army of strippers and weirdos to the ring, who provide all of the entertainment that this match has to offer.
I’m not entirely sure what this match is meant to be. If it is just some sports entertainment fluff to be overbooked and had fun with, then why do these two decidedly non wrestlers go at it as if they’re trying to have a real match?
In A Manner Of Speaking
At one point Jimmy Hart climbs to the second rope.
The end result is too sad to take a screenshot of.
Ultimately, Mancow wins the match by just kind of laying on top of Jimmy Hart for awhile, but before he can celebrate, we get an unexpected visit from Billy Kidman. Kidman makes a beeline to the ring and just starts beating Jimmy Hart’s ass. The announcers remind us that this is because Jimmy Hart is friends with Hulk Hogan, giving us a rare chance to bask in the glow of the fact that a Billy Kidman vs. Hulk Hogan feud is a real thing that actually happened.
This match could hardly be considered a match. Mancow went for it and tried his best, but of all the people to be in there with him, why Jimmy Hart? Everything looked horrible and was an outrageous waste of time, especially since Mancow frequently had WCW guys on his show anyway. They gained nothing from this. It was just a thing for the sake of being a thing.
9 out of 100
Mancow Over Jimmy Hart Following An Aggressive Nap.
Segment 5 – WCW United States Championship Tournament – The Wall vs. Scott Steiner
The Wall is out next and…
WHERE IS EVERYONE GETTING THESE DRESS PANTS?! Is there a Dockers in the locker room? Is there a pants related story arc i’m missing? Is everyone who is wearing pants a heel?
Anyway, the Wall looks like if your dorky uncle happened to be 6’6 and decided to start wrestling, and he’s in the ring with Scott Steiner. It’s possible that some of you readers may not have recently, or ever, seen Scott Steiner and more specifically his arm muscles, so let’s go ahead and check those out for a second.
It looks like the head of a tiny man that has gotten trapped under his skin and is trying desperately to get out. Saying that this body is impossible is like saying that the Eiffel tower is tall. It doesn’t fully get across the idea, you know?
This match is part of the United States Championship tournament. It is not a particularly good match, but it does have one great spot. Towards the end, a table is set up outside of the ring and the Wall goes to chokeslam Scott Steiner through it, but Steiner thumbs him in the eyes, throws the referee in the way, and just kind of wanders off, leaving the Wall to blindly send the ref on a paid medical vacation.
The Wall is disqualified, Scott Steiner wins, and all is right for the freaks and the peaks.
52 out of 100
Scott Steiner Over The Wall Following A Disqualification.
Segment 6 – WCW United States Championship Tournament – Mike Awesome vs. Uhhh, Bam Bam Bigelow? Ernest The Cat Miller? Either? Both?
Throughout the course of the show, we’ve been seeing incredibly short backstage segments. The first had Bam Bam Bigelow interrupting a Mike Awesome promo, calling him a jabroni, and Awesome beating him up. The second had Ernest Miller giving a promo until Bam Bam beat him up. Near as I can figure, the idea is that Bam Bam beat up the Cat to steal his spot in the tournament, which is absolutely not how tournaments work. So this match starts with Awesome vs. Bam Bam, and they fight for awhile until the Cat runs out, superkicks Bam Bam, and then put on red shoes and begins dancing. And if you want to truly know what comedy is, queue up this match and listen to the music that WWE has dubbed over his dancing. It sounds like a 4 year old trying to play a James Brown song on a Casio keyboard. I cried tears of laughter.
Oddly, after being kicked, Bam Bam just never comes back, and Awesome quickly pins the Cat with a splash off the top rope and is announced the winner. So that’s cool I guess?
50 out of 100
Mike Awesome Over Everyone Following A Splash.
Segment 7 – WCW World Tag Team Championship Tournament – Harlem Heat vs. The New Blood
I got so excited when I saw that Harlem Heat was going to be in this match. The part of me that had been trying to push down any thoughts of hope for a good match on this show started to stir and hope sprang eternal. And then Harlem Heat came out.
Sadly, there is no Booker T to be found here. This is the unfortunate period where Ahmed Johnson had been renamed “Big T” and wrestled Booker T for the rights to the letter “T”. This is also the period where Ahmed began to look like an Ahmed Johnson themed blimp that was being piloted around by someone who didn’t understand the controls.
Stevie Ray Is Still Cool, Though
They are facing the New Blood, who are represented here by Shane Douglas and walking Tinder match disappointment Buff Bagwell.
He Never Takes The Hat Off And His Mother Watches
This is a fairly standard tag match, though it is extremely hard to sort out who we’re supposed to be cheering for, as the only person in this match who is remotely likable is Stevie Ray. Finally, Douglas gets tagged in, punches everyone a few times, and then hits his finisher on Stevie Ray and pins him while Ahmed just kind of stands in the corner, and watches his team lose.
“It’s So Far Away Though”
Stevie Ray naturally takes issue with this stunning lack of teamwork and comradery from a man who once said of potentially wrestling Chyna, “I AINT GONNA SELL FOR NO BITCH.” Powerful words from a powerful man.
49 out of 100
The New Blood Over Harlem Heat Following What Tony Schiavone Is Choosing To Refer To As A Vertical Suplex.
Segment 8 – WCW United States Championship Tournament – Booker vs. Sting
YES. This is AWESOME. Finally this show features a match that should actually exist. Sting, the foundation of this company, the babyface that carried the whole thing for a decade, squaring off against the young, charismatic badass who is set to take his place in the decade to come. Done right, this could be a Tanahashi/Okada level match in the making. Instead, it is the 8th segment of 20 on this show. But let’s not get bogged down in negativity! This match could actually be good!
And it is! Sting and Booker have a very entertaining 6 minute match, that convinces me beyond doubt that they could have had an absolute classic with 20. As it is, though, this is easily the best thing on the show so far, and maybe the most inoffensive match that I have seen WCW put on in the year 2000.
After the match, Booker follows Sting up the ramp and demands he get back into the ring, where they fist bump, despite being on opposite sides of a stable war. It’s actually a surprisingly deep moment that the fans are all in on, and could have led somewhere real. Whether it did or not is irrelevant. In this moment, it’s very cool.
Kudos to both guys. Let’s keep this momentum going, and we just might make it to the end of this review with our sanity intact.
78 out of 100
Sting over Booker Following The Scorpion Death Drop.
Segment 9 – WCW United States Championship Tournament – Vampiro vs. Billy Kidman
I haven’t really been talking about it much, but the through line of this entire show is that Billy Kidman put Hulk Hogan in the hospital by crashing a Hummer into Hogan’s limo, and everyone but Kidman is worried that Hogan is going to show up tonight and kick all of their asses. Now, Kidman is part of the New Blood stable, which is ostensibly composed of all of the young, hungry guys with star power who have been held down by the main events who have been around forever and wont go away. Their rivals, the Millionaire’s Club, has all the top stars like Sting and Hogan in it, and they’re out to snub out these young punks. This enormous stable conflict, involving all of the major players of WCW’s past, present, and future, is headlined by a feud between Hulk fucking Hogan and Billy fucking Kidman. That’s a real thing that people sat down in a board room and decided, as a team, was going to make money.
Here’s the problem. Billy Kidman is a talented wrestler and a handsome dude, but he has the charisma of a Highlights magazine and he’s as big as the kids that usually read them. Selling him as a threat to Hulk Hogan in his Tommy Hilfiger jean shorts is an impossible task to such an extent that you might think Hogan agreed to work with him just because no one could possibly ask him to do the job. This storyline is stupid, and there is so much talent around this company that you could push that it boggles the mind that this is what they’re going with.
Here, he’s wrestling Vampiro, who is pretty cool. They have a pretty by the numbers match for a few minutes, until we go suddenly backstage and a Dodge Charger is shown pulling into the garage. It’s Hulk Hogan! Billy Kidman is stunned!
Vampiro: “Awwwww, You’re In Troooouble.”
Because this takes place during the Vince Russo era and everything is shoot comments all the time, one of the commentators immediately yells that, “Hogan is just here to collect his PPV bonus,” which is all the more damaging because it’s almost certainly true. Then Hogan gets his hands on Kidman and we again get to see the height discrepancy.
Height isn’t everything, but this isn’t meant to be a giant vs. lightweight match. It’s presented as a battle between equals to some extent, and Hulk Hogan has Kidman looking like a 10 year old that just tried to steal an X-Box. Meanwhile, Hogan has decided to murder Kidman before multiple thousands of eager fans, so he grabs the steel steps, winds up to throw, and chucks the stairs directly into the ring ropes. The crowd, sensing that murder is unlikely to happen, as Hogan missed a target directly in front of him by several feet, begin to boo.
Hogans picks Kidman up and chucks him through the announce table a few times until it breaks, and then throws him back in the ring, where Vampiro pins him for the win. I’m not super up on the rules at the point in WCW, but i’m pretty sure that attempted murder via Hulk Hogan should cause some kind of disqualification, right? Right, Hulk?
I Do Not What You’re Trying To Tell Me With That Expression, Hulk.
This was the second longest match of the night. More than half of it was a beat down involving someone not in the match. Cool. Cool cool cool.
51 out of 100
Vampiro Over Billy Kidman Following MURDER STAIRS.
Segment 10 – No One Can Stop The Path of Rage
We now follow Hulk as he goes backstage looking for Eric Bischoff, who is next on the hit list. He stalks through some curtains and yells at some random person standing by the wall that if they touch his car, he’ll beat their ass.
We then get to watch Hulk Hogan walk down a hallway yelling “WHERE’S BISCHOFF?” and opening random doors for about 5 solid, uninterrupted minutes before he finally finds the right one. He rushes in to throttle Eric, and is promptly tackled by police officers that Vince Russo has organized to stop him. This is probably meant to be heelish on their part, but I mean he did just drive his car into the production area and threaten a bunch of stadium employees. Seems fair to me.
All of this chaos results in this classic image of Hulk Hogan in a tiny chair with guns drawn on him and one tiny, sad Spring Stampede logo hanging crookedly on the wall in the background. Working on getting this made into posters.
It’s Like A Renaissance Painting
Segment 12 – WCW Hardcore Championship – Norman Smiley (c) vs. Terry Funk
Following the commotion, we pan smoothly to Terry Taylor who is watching the ruckus, (which is a much savvyer production move than i’m used to from this company.) Terry Funk walks up, and Taylor tells him that Norman Smiley is afraid to wrestle Funk and is refusing to compete in the ring, and is instead waiting in catering for him. An incredulous Funk is given directions to go to “turn right at the Doritos”, and he stumbles off in that direction. Tell me, Terry. How are those instructions adequate? Are you supposed to just walk around the building until you find a bag of Doritos and then take a right? What are the freaking odds that you’ll just stumble across a bag of…
Oh. It’s Doritos. Just like he said. Alright then.
Funk enters catering and asks if any of the collected people in there have seen Norman Smiley. They all immediately stooge Smiley off, except for the man on the left in the gray suit who is trying to throw Funk off the scent.
True Heroism Comes From Small Acts Of Rebellion
Funk enters the bathroom and hears someone screaming in terror. Of course that can only be our favorite hardcore badass, Norman Smiley, wearing a baseball catcher’s protective gear. What follows is a gruesome display of carnage. The things these two men do to one another assault the mind and violate the senses. I can not impress on you enough how hardcore the situations they find themselves in are, leaving us with the blurry after effect of memories too scarring to access fully, screaming at us from across the cosmic wasteland. Here are some of my favorites!
The Pop Drop!
The Rinse And Repeat!
The…Whatever This Was!
Terry Funk wins the match, and he gets to celebrate for a whole 3 seconds before Tony Schiavone, in the same breath he was using to congratulate Funk, suddenly bellows, “IF YOU ORDER SPRING STAMPEDE YOU GET A MOUSE PAD.” Which made me break into confused laughter for a solid 10 minutes.
First One Of You To Send Out For This Mousepad Gets A Dollar
53 out of 100
Terry Funk Over Norman Smiley Following Just Throwing A Big Ladder At Him.
Segment 13 – WCW United States Championship Tournament – Mike Awesome vs. Scott Steiner
This is not much of a match.
For roughly 4 minutes, Steiner and Awesome do some moves and Awesome looks pretty great in everything that he does. At one point Schiavone says that he hopes that the referees will tighten up a bit on the disqualification rules, as every match thus far has featured someone doing something illegal and getting away with it. He hardly gets the words out of his mouth before Kevin Nash saunters down to the ring and breaks a crutch over the back of Mike Awesome. The ref, who was looking directly at Nash the entire time, says nothing and Awesome quickly taps out to the Steiner Recliner.
48 out of 100
Scott Steiner Over Mike Awesome Following The Steiner Recliner.
Segment 14 – You’ll Never Forget The Name.
We go backstage to find Vince Russo yelling at Dustin Rhodes for interfering in the hardcore title match and allowing Terry Funk to win. They then have a spirited debate over which of them is more responsible for the success of the Goldust character which, you’ll remember, is a character from a different wrestling show. This is not important to the show in any way, I just wanted to let you know they dedicated 5 minutes to reminding us that WWE is where the better characters are.
Segment 15 – WCW United States Championship Tournament – Vampiro vs. Sting
We are barely halfway through this show.
This match could be really cool, and they flirted with it a little more in other places, but on a show with this much going on they don’t even pretend to pay it any attention. This match is 4 minutes long and nothing happens in it. As an apology for not actually reviewing anything, I offer you this picture of Sting giving you some serious clown face realness.
He Seems Like He’s Having A Good Time
50 out of 100
Sting Over Vampiro Following The Scorpion Deathlock.
Segment 16 – WCW Crusierweight Championship – Shannon Moore vs. The Artist vs. Lash Leroux vs. Crowbar vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Candido
If you thought that pitting 6 crusierweights in a match and only giving it 5 minutes was a recipe for a clusterfuck, you would be right. But, in this case, not for the usual reason. This match is a pretty normal run of crash tv style crusierweight madness, when suddenly Daffney runs in to support Crowbar, but misses and accidentally gives him a Frankenscreamer, (which is an amazing name for a move by Daffney.) She gets taken out, only for David Flair to run in next and start wooing and chopping both members of 3 Count who are in the ring. Then comes Paisley, (or as she’s better known: Sharmell,) who gets her own shots in, before finally Tammy Sytch, (Sunny,) runs in ALSO and helps Chris Candido get the win. Then she and Paisley get into an a fight before being restrained by referee Charles Robinson and Shannon Moore. They…do not thank them for intervening.
Look Into Robinson’s Eyes To Behold The Look Of Eternal Suffering
It is a gigantic mess of people flying every which way that the camera guys don’t even try to keep track of. At one point 3 Count go for a move where Moore is going to spring off of Helms to the outside to land on some people, but all the people had already left, so Lash Leroux heroically dives in to catch him, preventing what could have been a gnarly injury.
The whole thing is an ugly mess. But at least stuff happened. So for that alone, I give it CONTEXTUAL 90 out of 100, but an actual…
61 out of 100
Candido Over Everyone Else Following TAMMY TIME.
Segment 17 – WCW Tag Team Championship – The Total Package and Ric Flair vs. Shane Douglas and Buff Bagwell
This is the culmination of the tag team championship tournament, and will be contested between two dirt bags, a man who has changed his name to The Total Package, and an old man still wearing the clothes he wore to Red Lobster for the early bird special. Flair’s clothes are so incredibly un-wrestling like that the announcers spend his entire entrance trying to rationalize them for the audience.
We All Have Fat Days, Ric
Before the match starts, we get the pleasure of Vince Russo joining us for commentary.
And that’s it, boys and girls. That’s the moment in this show where I couldn’t take any more. For 8 months I tried to finish it to no avail. This show is a black hole that sucks such meager concepts as love and hope into it and produces nothing but sorrow. Do not tread upon this fateful show. You have been warned.
Now how about that Sting picture?