/WCW House Show
|WCW House Show||
San Francisco, CA
Arrived at the Cow Palace close to 5. The two parking guys talked it over and then waved me through without collecting the seven clams. The Media Pass is GOOD. I bow to the Media Pass.
While waiting an hour for the doors to open, I paid five bones for a "program" - better known as a "two month old WCW Magazine, marked up a dollar from cover price, with a mimeographed page with tonight's card inserted." I was amused by the Chris Jericho column, of course, as well as the back cover exhorting me to please buy Bash at the Beach on 11 July. The wrestling configuration seats over fourteen thousand. The entire ringside and lower section looked sold out, with the upper section only sparsely filled. So using my incredibly poor crowd estimation skills, I peg the crowd at around.....let's say 7200. Tickets were 15/20/30.
Met Jason Bucy, Victor Tsou and Kleanthes...Something before the show. I was thinking I'd hang with them and we'd all take turns dissin' folks, except the people who actually PAID for the seat I was sitting in came calling. Well, that won't do.
I asked them who they'd come to see. "Saturn, Benoit, maybe Vampiro." Hey, guess who WASN'T on the card tonight. Such is the life of a WCW Live Event attendee.
Let's run down the card as advertised. Keep in mind this West Coast swing was called the "Card Subject to Change '99 Tour:"
DOUBLE MAIN EVENT TAG TEAM MATCH: "Hollywood" Hogan & Sting vs. Macho Man Randy Savage & Sid Vicious Goldberg vs. Ric Flair (with David Flair) TAG TEAM MATCH: Konnan & Rey Mysterio vs. Curt Hennig & Barry Windham Buff Bagwell vs. Rick Steiner TAG TEAM MATCH: Eddie & Chavo Guerrero vs. Kendall Windham & Bobby Duncum SPECIAL GUESTS: Nitro Girls & DJ Ran FOUR WAY "HAKS' RULES" MATCH: Hak (with Chastity) vs. Knobs vs. Meng vs. Barbarian (with Jimmy Hart) [a match which originally had Fit Finlay, by the way] Juventud vs. Blitzkrieg Chris Adams vs. E. Miller (with Sonny) "We reserve the right to change the order of events. All matches are subject to change. The promoter is not responsible if the wrestlers fail to appear due to conditions beyond our control. Whenever possible, a substitute will be arranged. Championship matches are sanctioned by World Championship Wrestling."They apparently ALSO reserve the right to change people's names and spell creatively. SO ANYWAY. And of course, if you read Mike's Friday update, you already knew that hardly ANY of these matches were going to make it as advertised.
We start five minutes late as DAVID PENZER takes to the (old WCW logo) ring to welcome us once again to San Francisco and the historic Cow Palace. Tonight, we'll see all the stars of World Championship Wrestling, including the Cat, Buff Bagwell (ladies scream here), Curt Hennig and the West Texas Rednecks, Konnan, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Junior, "the undefeated" Sid Vicious, Rick Steiner, Sting (big pop), Goldberg (also big), and Hulk Hogan (mixed - but loud), and a "very special guest" and a "very special challenge."
No one sings the national anthem, much to my dismay. Maybe they'll let me do it next time if nobody else wants to..
Live 105 personality MO is booed out of the ring by the WILD 94.9 posse, who was busy handing out freebies before the show. Shrewd radio folk, they. Mo asks us if we're ready to see the "titans" of WCW. Huh. I'm actually thinking she doesn't watch much wrestling at all...
Let's bring out the NITRO GRRLS! Well, four of them. The best four, though - SPICE, JAZZ, CHAE and STORM. I was going to shout out my undying affection to Spice but I promised MiCasa I'd avoid representing CBS Sportsline in anything other than a bland light, so I politely nodded my head instead. Uh huh.
First match saw THREE TIME WORLD KARATE CHAMPION AND AVOWED REDNECK HATER CAT (with Sonny Onoo) go over GENTLEMAN CHRIS ADAMS in 9.23, despite Cat's promises to deal with his opponent in under five minutes - or never come to San Francisco again (crowd cheers). Say what you will about Cat's lack of wrestling ability - the man draws heat. He seemed to do a lot more dancing to set up his moves than actual wrestling, natch. Who does the crowd root for when two heels collide? Well....nobody really. Everything was directed in relation to Cat. All right, Cat missed a move! Cat seems pretty good at picking out random fans and making fun of them, at least, although his pelvic thrusts can HARDLY be considered "family friendly." Onoo got lots of outside interference on despite the keen eyes of referee "Blind" Mickey J.
David Penzer directs our attention to the WCW Mastercard tables, where we can sign up for the card of our choice, and receive a FREE WCW cooler! It's almost big enough to hold ONE can of soda!!
When DISORDERLY CONDUCT came out to take on BRIAN KNOBS & BARBARIAN, I decided it was time to make a strategic visit to the merchandise stand for my "Rap is Crap" T-shirt. So WCW got money out of me after all. I ALMOST bought a Sting mask, but somehow managed to summon the strength of will to avoid dropping the ten bucks - probably because the T set me back twenty. Despite being another heel/heel matchup, the crowd found time to give the First Family members the face treatment as they managed the pin at 8.49 - just barely eking out of Penzer's announced twenty minute time limit. Post match, SID VICIOUS sauntered out to powerbomb both of the lads from Sturgis who get woefully underpaid for the work they have to do, not to mention the nicknames they are forced to endure. Sid SPEAKS! "In case anyone's counting, that's two more - next will be the Stinger..." Sid wants everyone to know that in the new millennium, one name and one name only will be heard. This is the crowd's cue to chant "Goldberg..." After a polite interval, Sid softly remarks, "I said we would not hear another name" and I have to chuckle.
Penzer reminds us that there's lots of nice merchandise - too late, boyee!
Ric Flair's theme fires up and I hearten up - will I get to see THE MAN once again? The last time I saw him in person was at the 1993 Royal Rumble, of all places. No, it's DAVID FLAIR out by himself, taking on BUFF BAGWELL in a "One hand tied behind the back" match. Buff somehow manages to pose even with only one free arm. Flair, who finally seems to have an emerging personality, demands Buff be untied, then takes bumps a plenty as Buff takes it to HIM. Finally, Flair decides he's had enough, only to learn that at house shows, referee Mickey J. has a secret "answer the ten count or be fined $5,000" weapon that you never see on television, but almost always at least once during house shows (gives the audience a chance to count along, see?). Flair even gets a chance for his trick knee to act up, but the (ugly) Buff blockbuster secures the pin in 5.47.
Penzer begs for us to please watch Nitro for KISS (no reaction from the crowd) as well as a WCW title match between Hogan and Sting!
BRET HART comes out to a standing ovation. Yeah, THAT Bret Hart. Paraphrased: "Surprise, surprise. I'll make this pretty brief. You know a couple of months ago I was out here on Nitro - I didn't know what to do with my career, and I still haven't really made a decision. But I've still got some things I wanna prove. There's ONE match that should have happened and it never has...Hulk Hogan...the one match the world's been waiting to see has never happened, and until that happens I can't make that decision, so I got on a plane, I got my wrestling gear, I came to the Cow Palace...and I'm gonna as the promoters, and I'm gonna ask Hulk Hogan, and I'm gonna as you wrestling fans if it'll be okay if I could just have one match with Hogan tonight. It doesn't have to be a title shot, I just want to prove something to myself. I'm ready to go, thank you." Crowd roars approval. Sounds to ME like he's made a decision, but we'll let that go.
Penzer is SHOCKED! Although he seemed to allude to this earlier tonight when he started the show. He's gonna pass the word, and as soon as he hears back, he'll share with us. "We could have ourselves a dream match here tonight!"
BARRY WINDHAM & KENDALL WINDHAM & BOBBY DUNCUM, JNR (with Curt Hennig) had a six man tag against EDDIE GUERRERO & CHAVO GUERRERO JNR & REY MYSTERIO JNR (with Konnan) - Konnan still hitting the buffets? He did get to "speak on dis" but at least managed to say that the Cowboys "talk all that crap" instead of the nonsensical "talkin' about they're fuuhlyyyfe" that he seems fond of doing. No tossed salads or peeled potatoes, but because he's in the right area, he lets loose with some possibly dirty Spanish instead. Did I mention the faces came out to "Psycho?" Well, they did. Finally some decent wrestling type action - no frog splash, sadly, but Rey does do a nice quebrada moonsault, and a pretty 'rana. Hennig also uses a foreign object to stop Rey's roughrider bronco buster, which I enjoyed. Finish say Eddie hit a missile dropkick on Rey, who was being held in position by ... Kendall? Dropping them into a cover. Charles Robinson counted the pin in 8.19, well shy of the thirty minute time limit.
"Brief Intermission" - DJ RAN did his DJ Hurricane impersonation by spinning tunes with no transitions, beatmatching, or crossfading. I BELIEVE he scratched around five times during the six or seven song set. I noticed one APW T-shirt in the crowd during this intermission. And lots of Austin and DX shirts. How many WCW shirts do you see at a WWF event, anyway?
The four NITRO GRRLS came out again. Spice's shoulder straps fell down FOUR times. I counted. I also have a new appreciation for Jazz and will forgive Larry Zbyszko's most obvious lechery during his commentary - she's worthy of it.
Penzer reveals that Hogan's said yes backstage. Hooray! 'cause with Sid and Sting wrestling and Savage AWOL, I was worried WE WOULDN'T SEE HIM TONIGHT!!
SID VICIOUS is unusually silent during his matchup with (THIS IS) STING. Penzer relays a message from Sid. "...would like me to let all of you know that you are not worthy to hear him speak. Nonetheless, he demands ABSOLUTE SILENCE and most definitely DOES NOT want to hear the name 'Sting!'" Naturally, the crowd chants Sting's name like rabid dogs. Sid threatens to leave and is halfway back up the aisle when Sting takes the mic. "Stizzing in the hizzouse!" Then, in his best "TV announcer" voice: "Maybe it'd be better for Sid to leave - because we're all allergic to JACKASSES!" The Born Again Sting, ladies and gentlemen! Sid manages to get back in the ring at the nine count. Strangely similar to their Road Wild match, ending sees Sid steal a chair from ringside and prepare to strike, but for referee "Blind" Nick Patrick's timely intervention to stop the swing. Sid turns around and is ready to waffle PATRICK when Sting steals the chair, and unleashes a mighty WHACK 'pon the countenance fair of Mr. Vicious. So, of course, Patrick DQ's Sting and gives the victory to the undefeated one. (8.48) THEN, there's an aisle attack post-match, everyone ends up back in the ring, Sting hits a Scorpion Death Drop and Patrick counts a pin. (1+ minute?) Penzer announes STING as the winner and I'm confused - but at least everybody ELSE is happy.
Penzer reminds us that in case we haven't seen the Nitro Grrls PPV, we'll still have many chances in the remaining days of August. Hey, that's not family friendly of him!
RICK STEINER, sizable gut NOT hidden as the TV title belt is absent, (not announced as Champion either) goes down to COLD BEER in 2.26. Goldberg is OVER, baby - slightly more than Eddie and on par with Sting. Steiner gives Goldberg ONE chance to leave, before "I'm gonna beat the dogshit outta you, boy." Hmmm. This was like every Goldberg match you've ever seen and I'm sorry I didn't time the entrance, too. It WAS fun watching the people around me go apeshit whenever Goldberg did ANYTHING. The guy in front of me actually was chanting "cold beer" but I'm sure he didn't get that from me... maybe he got it from someone who got it from me, though?? Mickey J. was the ref - I don't know why I tell you this, but I wrote it down, so I might as well. Goldberg is apparently NOT your new television champion - well, the match wasn't on TV, anyway...right?
Penzer reminds us that KISS (again, no reaction) and a Hogan/Sting title match will take place on RAW.
BRET HART vs. HULK HOGAN - it's weird. You can BUY Hogan T-shirts - they apparently haven't been kept in some warehouse all this time, because they've got the new WCW logo on them. And yet, Hogan comes out in a ripped up OLD WCW logo Hulkster shirt. Ah, who cares. Hogan cuts a promo before the match, saying that Hart DESERVES a title shot, and he's happy to give it to him. Is YOUR spider sense tingling? Note this was the only belt on the line tonight, apparently... This turned out to be a damn good match. Hogan put his working boots (such as they were) on and even busted out his drop toehold and back suplex! Hart tried to play it semi-heel for a bit, going to the closed fist and not letting off in the corner, but the crowd was still behind him. Both men worked off a rear chinlock, and each time the crowd cheered for whoever was in the hold. You get the feel that this match was a proving ground, or a test of what might work down the road. We were progressing along nicely at about a ***1/2 pace (Hogan rallied back with the three punches, big boot, but missed the legdrop - Hart put on the Sharpshooter, but Hogan POWERED out - what hurt knee?) when SID VICIOUS and RICK STEINER came in to give us force Charles Robinson into calling the old standard - (no contest 10.16) - a smattering of trash until (THIS IS) STING came out soon after, then both WINDHAMS, then GOLDBERG to make it four on four. The heels were dispensed with, leaving the Goldberg/Sting/Hart/Hogan photo op. Cue "American Made." Will Hogan and Hart shake hands? YES! And hug, too. Send 'em home happy!
You know, Hart and Hogan DID wrestle before... Nitro, 28 September 1998. Of course, it was all a ruse to get Sting back then. But, it confirms something, anyway...in that blow-by-blow almost a year ago, I wrote "Hogan's greatest match ever!" before the screwjob. I am CONVINCED that that can again be the case with these two in a pay-per-view main event. Hogan CAN break the four star barrier, but only Bret Hart can beat it out of him.
Anyway, fair to middlin' show. No Revolution, no Lenny or Lodi, no Regal and Taylor, no Harlem Heat, no Hak, no Savage (no wrestling women?), no Chastity, no Jimmy Hart, no Meng (although I'm probably the only guy to miss him), NO LUCHA (c'mon! This IS California! And as close to Blitzkrieg's hometown as WCW gets, right?), but hell, no Hacksaw Jim Duggan either... and some pretty big stars wrestled a FREAKIN' HOUSE SHOW tonight. So, tip the scales for WCW. Besides, last time I saw WCW was SuperBrawl VII, so it's an unfair comparison, yo.
WCW house shows Saturday in Reno and Sunday in Los Angeles - similar results perhaps?
(and [slash] wrestling)