/15 April 2000
|WCW Saturday Night by E.C. Ostermeyer||
The "New Era" in WCW is upon us, and nowhere is the change more apparent than on the "WCW Saturday Night" show.
I had been dreading the changes that would be made to "WCW Saturday Night" , since the scuttlebutt was that the main push would be in the revitalization of first "WCW Monday Nitro", and then "WCW Thunder." Given Vince Russo's (very vocal!) feelings about the show content of the "Saturday Night" product, it wasn't hard to imagine that, if any changes to that show were in the offing, they would be of a drastic nature.
After puzzling over what the worst-case scenario would be for "WCW Saturday Night," I came up with the following.
The show that would have, at most, five matches, each no longer than four minutes, with the balance of the two-hour period looking like if "WCW Worldwide" and "WWF Sunday Night Heat" had been combined to form one hideous mutant "thing!"
Lots of "highlights," lots of rock videos, and lots of "talking heads."
Oh, and make sure there's commercials.
LOTS of commercials!
The so-called "new direction" for "WCW Saturday Night" was made abundantly clear, on this past "Monday Nitro", when Vince Russo called in all the WCW Title belts, and "Mr. Saturday Night" Hacksaw Jim Duggan's WCW Television Title was conspicuous by it's absence.
Additionally, there were few, if any, WCW Power Plant grads at the Bischoff/Russo "Company Meeting" in the ring.
Yep, it didn't look good for our little "meat puppet passion play!"
So it was with some trepidation that I tuned in at 6:05 PM EDT, on Saturday , April 15th.
What can you do when your worst fears are realized?
We open the show with the usual
You know, where the happy, bouncy, "with-it' young people are all piling into the discotheque, and the chartreuse "WCW Saturday Night" logo is hogging the dance floor.
We then go to
Terry Taylor/Larry Zybszko talking heads Segment #!:
Taylor is sittin' in for Scott Hudson, who lost his father this past Monday night. (Our heartfelt condolences, Mr. Hudson.) Taylor discusses how well Monday Nitro was received by the fans, and all the excitement that was generated in Denver, both in the ring and backstage.
LarryZ, no fan of either Mr. Bischoff or Mr. Russo, said their embrace at the start of the show this past Monday was like "Judas Iscariot hugging Benedict Arnold!"
We go straight to the footage in question from "Monday Nitro", wherein Messrs. Russo and Bischoff inaugurate the "New Era" of wrestling in general, and WCW in particular. The "company meeting" having all the wrestlers in and around the ring was certainly impressive. Bischoff and Russo then separated the talent into the "Millionaires Club", composed of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Sid Vicious, Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger, with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall added in for good measure, and the "New Blood", composed of everybody else!
(I still question Scott Steiner's inclusion as a member of "New Blood.")
In accordance with a new directive on there being a level playing field (and with my "Irony Meter" nearly popping a gauge), all titles are to be vacated, and tournaments held tomorrow at the "Spring Stampede" PPV to determine the new champions. Bischoff then taunted Sid Vicious into giving up the WCW Heavyweight Championship Title belt, first saying that it was a "long way back to West Memphis". Then, after receiving the belt from a begrudging Sid Vicious, that he would see Vicious "on the sixteenth, because that's when the REAL WCW Heavyweight Champion would be crowned!" Sid Vicious, needless to say, looked "vicious!"
Again, both Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the WCW Television Title are conspicuous by their absence.
I have decided to give up taunting David Arquette-Cox for Lent. Anyway, he's got enough difficulties trying to dissociate himself from "Ready to Rumble" without my adding to his plateful of woe.
Taylor/Zybszko talking Heads Segment #2:
The WCW Heavyweight Title tournament results were discussed, and footage was shown of the first round match between Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberley) and Lex Luger (w/ Elizabeth.)
As both were members of the "Millionaires Club," both had their entrance music and pyrotechnics cut short.
Once underway, what ensued was a surprisingly good match from two veterans trying hard.
Unfortunately, the match was marred with the appearance of "New Blood" member Buff Bagwell at ringside. Bagwell flirted first with Kimberley, to the obvious discomfiture of DDP, and then with Elizabeth, which distracted Luger enough for DDP to nail Luger with the Diamond Cutter and get the pinfall.
Taylor/Zybszko Talking Heads Segment #3:
The career of Eric Bischoff is discussed with LarryZ making the cogent comment that Bischoff's career was built on the backs of men like Hulk Hogan.
Footage showed Billy Kidman feeling like he just got a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, that he's been held down so long by the "Good Old Boys" like Hulk Hogan. Kidman then called out Hulk Hogan, who arrived in street clothes. Words turn to blows, and Hogan begins to dominate, whereupon Bischoff arrives in the ring, and wallops Hogan with a steel chair. Kidman quickly pinned Hogan, with Bischoff doing the three count. After the match, Hogan went on a rampage backstage looking for Bischoff and Kidman. Hogan was then shown in his limo, on the phone, hollering for his lawyer to get a match with Kidman signed. The "White Humm-vee" made its appearance, (Wow! THAT'S an old angle!), and repeatedly rammed Hogan's limousine. Bischoff and Kidman exited the Humm-vee, and taunted Hogan about how he should have known all along who was "driving the Hummer" so long ago.
Taylor/Tenay Talking Heads Segment #4:
Mike Tenay swaps out with LarryZ, and the upcoming "Spring Stampede" PPV is hyped.
Ric Flair is discussed, and footage is shown of Russo calling Flair a "piece of (bleep) on the bottom of my shoe, that I'm gonna finally scrape off and flush down the toilet!" Flair, arriving after the show had started, gets to watch the replay courtesy of a grinning Terry Taylor, out in the production truck. Later, in the ring, a livid Flair compared himself to Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle saying that, like them, he was a legend as well. This brought out Scott Steiner, who, with fake teeth installed, proceeded to make fun of Flair. While Flair was occupied with Steiner, Shane Douglas waffled Flair from behind. Recovering, Flair challenged Douglas to a match. Additional footage showed the Flair/Douglas "Come As You Are" brawl, with Vince Russo weighing in, baseball bat in hand. Flair wins this impromptu brawl by DQ.
Afterward, Russo takes Flair's "$15,000 Rolex" as a trophy, as he and Douglas leave the ring.
The Sting/ Sid Vicious match is discussed, with appropriate footage appended. A good, albeit slow match, which saw Sid wheezing like an asthmatic bellows, as Sting virtually carried him through the whole match. The Wall makes his appearance, chair in hand, and cracks Sid over the head with it. The Wall powerbombed Vicious through a table, outside the ring. Unconscious, Sid loses by count-out, as WCW Security escorts the Wall to the back.
Jeff Jarrett and Curt Hennig's match is discussed, with footage showing how Hennig requested a match with Jarrett from Vince Russo. Additional footage shows the match in progress, when Sean Stasiak (aka "Meat" from the WWF) comes to ringside with Hennig's old "Mr. Perfect" music as his entrance theme. Once the referee was knocked out, Stasiak waffled Hennig. He then had a great deal of difficulty doing a very sloppy body slam on Hennig, who took the brunt of the fall on his left knee. The damage (real or otherwise) done, Stasiak exits, and Jarrett nailed the groggy Hennig with The Stroke for the win.
The outcome of the WCW Heavyweight Title Contenders Tournament was shown, between Sting and Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberley). This was a wild match, with more give-and-take between the two veterans than was shown in the footage provided, with DDP hitting the Diamond Cutter for the win, and the right to meet Jeff Jarrett at "Spring Stampede" for the WCW Heavyweight Title. Whoops, DDP got to meet Jarrett a little bit early, but Jarrett missed his "El Kabong" guitar shot on DDP and wound up walloping Kimberley instead!
Talking Heads Segment #5:
We follow up the previous plot-line with DDP's interference with Jeff Jarrett's in-ring interview. This developed into a huge "Pull-apart" between members of the New Blood and the Millionaires Club.
The "Ready to Rumble" premiere at Mann's Chinese Theater is discussed. Footage is shown of various personalities in attendance, with special attention to the WCW talent.
Jack Nicholson and Kevin Spacey are conspicuous by their absence, but Rena "Sable" Mero, late of the WWF, is all too conspicuous by her attendance.
And we segue into highlights from last Wednesday's "Thunder" broadcast, where the "Nitro" plot-lines are developed and matured even further.
Bischoff gave DDP the "night off", but, since the fans wanted to see a "Page" wrestle each week, he was booking DDP's wife Kimberley to wrestle Madusa. After Bischoff made a snide comment about what kind of striptease outfit Kimberley would favor the fans with, DDP charged the ring, but was waffled by Bam Bam Bigelow. Another "Pull-apart" ensued as the locker room emptied.
For cryin' out loud, Arquette-Cox is wearing a kid's sheriff's outfit, accosting human females, and shilling for 1-800-CALL-ATT!
The six-man WCW Cruiserweight Title match from "Thunder" is analyzed next, as Chris Candido, Juventude Guerrera Jr. and TAFKAPI (w/ the luscious Paisley) take on Devon "Crowbar" Storm, (w/ David Flair & Daffney), Lash LeRoux and Shannon Moore (w/ Shane Helms). This was a wild, high-flying match, with plenty of action outside the ring as well as in, highlighted by David Flair getting a crowbar, ummm, "in-seam adjustment" from Daffney for paying a leetle too much attention to Paisley. Then Daffney stole the show with (I kid you not!) a neat-o snap hurancanrana on Shane Helms from the top turnbuckle. I thought Heenan was gonna swallow his tongue! With Crowbar ready to be pinned, TAFKAPI and Candido had differences over who would actually do the pinning, and ended up brawling with each other. TAFKAPI nailed Candido with his DDT finisher, but Crowbar pasted TAFKAPI, then hit Candido with a front face slam and got the pin for his team.
Next, Taylor and Co. analyze the wild and wooly Tag-team Hardcore Match where the winners end up as opponents in a WCW Hardcore Title match at the "Spring Stampede" PPV. Norman Smiley & Terry Funk, Brian Knobbs & Fit Finlay and the team of Hugh Morrus & Meng all put on one heckuva match. Highlights include Knobbs and Meng brawling through the concession area, Meng mistaking a cardboard standee of Goldberg for the real thing, and spearing it (!), then using the same standee to fend off a CO2 blast from a Knobbs'-wielded fire extinguisher. Their brawl continued outside onto the mezzanine ramp-way, where Meng tossed Knobbs over the railing and down (supposedly) 30 feet to the pavement. Meantime, Dustin Rhodes arrived to continue his feud with Terry Funk. As Rhodes and Fit Finlay were setting up a table outside the ring to finish off Terry Funk, Norman Smiley rolled back into the ring, nudged Funk with his boot to see if he was still dangerous, then promptly pinned his own partner! I'm still not sure how that counts as a win, since I always thought that pinning your OPPONENT was the object. Still, it's a Hardcore match, so there are no rules anyway. Oh well, Smiley will face Terry Funk at Spring Stampede.
And we come back just in time to see Harlem Heat 2000 clobbering the stuffing out of Sid Vicious. This 3-on-1 Handicap match was set up by, you guessed it, Eric Bischoff, in order to make sure Sid doesn't show up at "Spring Stampede." Everything goes according to plan, until Booker shows up to settle some old scores with Harlem Heat 2000. Kash goes over the top rope and eats ring apron, Mr. T. likewise on the other side, and the Stevie Ray gets clobbered, allowing Vicious to nail him with the powerslam for the win. However, after consultation with Russo, Bischoff comes to the ring and reverses the decision, denying Sid his place as a contender for the WCW US Title.
Sting's brawl with the three (?) Villanos is also analyzed, (with post-production faux pas from the "Thunder" show neatly excised, thank you!) where Villanos IV & V are easily pinned. Villano VI (my ID number, since there is a Villano III still wrestling somewhere.) proves to be a different Villano entirely, as he pushes Sting into the referee, who's conveniently knocked out by the collision. Villano VI then finds Jeff Jarrett's gee-tar hidden under the ring, and "El Kabongs" Sting with it. The Villano's mask is removed and, surprise, surprise, it's Jeff Jarrett. Diamond Dallas Page arrives, nails Jarrett with the Diamond Cutter, rolls the unconscious Sting on top of him, then wakes up the referee, who gives Sting the win.
The "Colorado Collision" match was next, a sort of mini "Royal Rumble" where a new wrestler comes out after a set period of time to join the bout already in progress. Vampiro's entrance was shortstopped when Sting snuck in behind him and hit the Scorpion Death Drop. Scott Steiner, never one to miss an opportunity, put Vampiro in the Steiner Recliner for the win.
The "Talking Heads" discuss the fate of one Jimmy Hart of blessed memory. Confidant of champions, honored booker of "WCW Saturday Night", finder of some truly entertaining "Indy" talent, Jimmy's fate on last Wednesday's "Thunder" was to end up being avoided by all and sundry, then have his questions snidely brushed off by a laughing Eric Bischoff. Hart then climbed into the ring, demanding some answers, and instead got clobbered by Bischoff and Billy Kidman. Kidman then spray-painted the red "N.B." for "New Blood" on Jimmy's back.
Ric Flair and Buff Bagwell's match gets analyzed. Not much to see, as first Shane Douglas interfered, and got golotta-ed twice by Flair. Then Vince Russo (with baseball bat) came out to do the beat-down on Flair. Lex Luger, in for the save, gets a bat across the kidneys from Bagwell. The beat-down continues, with Team Package getting all of it. Flair wins by DQ, if you are scoring at home.
The Kimberley Page/Madusa match is discussed, with Taylor opining that Kimberley wanted the match in the first place. After the match had been pretty much Madusa the whole way, Diamond Dallas page arrived to extract Kimberley from Madusa's clutches. Madusa wasn't standing for any interference, and delivered a couple of stiff roundhouse kicks to DDP's chest and back. DDP responds with the Diamond Cutter, then leaves the ring looking really p.o.-ed.
This leads to the final review of the evening, the Main Event from "Thunder", DDP (w/ Kimberley) vs Bam Bam Bigelow. The usual brawl, with the referee being knocked out as DDP is going for the win. Eric Bischoff comes out to do the count out, but stops at a two count. As DDP lunges after Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett nails DDP with the guitar. David Arquette-Cox, who's in the audience, rushes to help DDP, but gets The Stroke from Jeff Jarrett. Tossed from the ring, Arquette-Cox gets a hot-shot on the steel guardrail, and he's done for the day. Chris "Champagne" Kanyon levels Jarrett, but gets waffled by a Bischoff-wielded steel chair , and the rest of the "New Blood", including Vince Russo, join Bischoff and the others in the ring.
Terry Taylor and Larry Zybszko shill for the "Spring Stampede" PPV once more, and we are done.
No matches, all footage, "Talking Heads" segments, and commercials.
There is literally nowhere to go but up from here.
I am asking all of you, my gentle readers, to do yourselves (and myself) a big favor.
If you are a fan of "WCW Saturday Night," please let the folks at WCW know how you feel by emailing them at:
This is too good a show to be turned into a two-hour infomercial for "Nitro" and "Thunder".
Let's hope things get better.
See you next week.
Mail the Author