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WOW in Los Angeles


Guest columnist: Clint Wolf



I'm back with a report from the latest WOW taping, and still all a-glow and a-twitter after getting an autograph from Riot. Eat your heart out, Rasmussen!

I actually took a notepad with me to the event this time, so this is going to be a lot more detailed than my last report. DO NOT READ IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED.

  • I was unable to get ringside tickets, but the general admission was first come first served, and being one of the first in the doors at 6pm I scored sweet seats in the first row of the Loge level, right across from the main cameras. I sat next to a guy named Bob and his son Sean(sp?) who've been going to live wrestling events a long time, and regaled me with their tales of wacky backstage antics. They also knew referee Jesse Hernandez, who came over to say hi. Nice guy.

  • WOW apparently has four refs on staff. Jesse, Josh Milton (aka Whipping Boy, aka Target, aka Bump-O-Rama), and two others whose names I don't know but CRZ will no doubt supply in his recaps.

  • The merchandise stands were wisely open before the event started this time, before everyone gets worn out. T-shirts for $10, but I refrained from buying one since they looked like one trip through the washing machine would rip the graphics to bits. Inside the arena people were wearing shirts (newly bought?) for Poison, Caged Heat, and Riot.

  • Chronic lateness abounded once again. Though slated to start at 7pm the crowd warm-ups don't even begin until 7:30, probably a good thing since half the audience that would eventually be there still hadn't shown up. The ringside section where I sat before remained unfilled for a long time, and they eventually moved people down from above.... Ticketmaster LIES!!!!! That or we had folks who bought tickets and then didn't bother to show.

  • At 6:30 the TV show from last weekend plays on WOW Vision to catch us up. Although it doesn't really since there's a month's worth of episodes from Nov. 4th that haven't aired yet...

  • Sign handouts began at 6:50. Whoever's responsible for them goes above and beyond the call... for instance, a couple of the Disciplinarian's "signs" were actually made up as slate boards with chalk scribble on them. There's also a huge Riot sign across the arena made up to look like an L.A. Times article (L.A. NEEDS ANOTHER RIOT!), and I covet it, but alas I'm stuck with my own humbly scrawled placard. Which is at least better than another sign I see with "Roit!" on it. I hope that one wasn't a handout.

  • Sign of the night (which I *think* is a handout) is one saying "KILL THE REF!" with Josh Milton's picture on it. At the rate J.M. is going he'll probably kill himself before anyone else can...

  • The crowd warm-up is again handled by the pair of anonymous "hip" gentlemen. One day I'll have to find out who they are... if I care. A pep squad from Lincoln High School is in attendance and still in their colors.

  • Show gets started about 8pm. Lana Star & Patti Pizzazz are out in skin tight street clothes to interrupt McLane (god bless 'em). PP wears a pink top and black pants while LS wears a black top and pink pants... or is it the other way 'round? There were guys that rolled out a red carpet for them to come down the aisle on (heh!). The pair got a BIG pop from the crowd.

  • Lana challenges Poison and Ice Cold to a second round match for the Tag Team Tournament. Poison and IC arrive on the entryway to accept and smack talk ensues. Poison and Ice end by telling them to "Kiss It!" with a synchronized hand kiss and ass slap.

  • Disciplinarian is out for the first match, and scolds the guys still rolling up the carpet in the wake of Lana's exit. She's up against Jade who executes a few headscissors moves during the match, one of which looks good and another which looks like it almost gets TD killed. Disciplinarian with a Pedigree to win it-- much better than a backslide finisher, that's for sure. Disciplinarian tells Jade "You've been excused", breaks her yardstick over Jade's back. "Class dismissed."

  • Jungle Grrl fights Farah the Persian Princess (pop for Farah on her entrance). The rope work looks a *lot* better as both work to sell the Irish whip impacts and a nice backdrop. JG busts out with a perfectly executed pumphandle powerslam! Crowd chants "JUNGLE! JUNGLE!" as she goes up top for her finisher splash and 3 count. Post match McLane interviews and shows his charming(?) naivete by saying he's seen nothing like that splash in all his years! Jungle ignores him and cuts a nice little promo ending with the warning: "Never hunt what you can't kill..."

  • Selina Majors is out, McLane introducing her as a "Four time champion of the world...". ??? . To spite the internet community, Selina gets a good pop from the crowd. Selina sez she's gone through EZ Rider and Charlie Davidson, now she wants Thug, and she's got a contract for a special match. No DQ... No Countout... Falls Count Anywhere In The Building... the crowd is loud, and gets louder as Thug makes her appearance to agree to the stipulations. She's signed the silly little contract. Selina sez Thug should've read the fine print, as EZ and Charlie are banned from ringside. The mic work is mostly mutual threats to "kick your ass" although Selina says "kick your fass" at one point... a contraction of fat ass? Or just slurred speech? Thug out and Selina posing for the crowd to some major face reaction... either that or we're all just marking out for WOW's first ever hardcore match. It'll be the Main Event tonight.

  • Lana Star and Patti Pizzazz are out to fight Poison and Ice Cold. Poison is from the "Toxic Unknown". Patti makes me laugh because she's still doing her cheerleader routine, encouraging people to boo her opponents. WOW's decision to turn her heel was a good one, now she can be as airheaded as she wanna be.

  • The improved ropes work continues... all four ladies are moving faster and getting in good looking shots. Only in WOW will you hear people cheering for a bodyslam. But a good mix of other moves are here including some nice double-teams... Ice Cold with a textbook Side Russian Legsweep. Poison fans in the seats up behind me are rabidly screaming "RIP HER HAIR OUT!!" "BREAK HER NAILS!!!". This is actually one of the best matches of the night, with good action and a *lot* of heat. PP and LS win it with Lana delivering a mirror shot to Poison behind the ref's back and rolling PP on top for the 3.

  • Slam Dunk is out next (pop). Four guys in the center section have the letters D-U-N-K up on poles. She complains to McLane about not being in the Tag Tournament, insisting she doesn't need a partner and is a tag team all by herself. Asian Invasion appear at the top of the ramp as McLane tells her she's given him a great idea... a handicap match!

  • This is basically a "get over the monster heel match", but it's entertaining. Slam Dunk with a double foot choke of the little ones in a corner. Lotus & Jade getting in some nicely done doubleteam offense, and both jump on Slam Dunk for each pin attempt. Slam Dunk ends things with a double chokeslam and a hand on each Asian for the pin. She continues the assault after the bell with an airplane spin for both. The D-U-N-K guys doing some chant for her but I can't make it out.

  • Danger is out and has added a water spit to her entrance that coincides with her pyro. She's off suspension and ready to kick some ass in the Tag Tournament with her partner...

  • RIOT!! The two cut a promo on their opponents for later tonight, Beckie the Farmer's Daughter and Bronco Billie. Danger: "Tell the audience what's going to happen to them, Riot." Riot: "They're going... to DIE!" I might be paraphrasing since I was too busy in mindless mark mode to write. Danger says the other WOW girls are on the "Highway to Hell" -- is this supposed to be the name of their team?

  • Jane Blond is out (pop)... when she gets to the ring I first think she messed up jumping over the ropes, but no-- she lands sideways on them and lies there while nonchalantly kicking one leg up 90 degrees-- wow! Her opponent, Caliente (POP! Plus chant of "Cal-i-en-te!")

  • The match has a couple of missed spots which surprises me because neither is a slouch at workrate... in particular one ropes sequence has Cal running by JB almost a foot wide of the mark and JB falling down anyhow-- but some editing should fix that for the audience at home. JB up to pose full height on the turnbuckle while waiting for Caliente to turn around-- jeezus JB has good balance. Awesome missile dropkick from JB to end it, and MAJOR heel heat as she takes the microphone. I must admit I cringed in anticipation, but JB was actually quite good on the talking thing. She's just warming up on her "license to thrill" and is out for revenge on Danger after the tabling incident-- I'm looking forwards to that match! JB warns her opponents: "I'll leave you shaken /and/ stirred..."

  • The ropes poses and the technical/aerial style make me think of Shawn Michaels. Not a bad wrestler to be compared to...

  • I put my foot firmly in my mouth in my recap of show #5 where I mentioned Jane's "shrill attempt" at an English accent. No less than Hammerin' Heather Steele herself emailed to correct me and let me know Jane is truly British, born and raised.

  • Terri Gold out in her street clothes to talk with McLane. Replay of Terri getting the belt back from Mystery, McLane hams up the "spontaneous" appearance of the fans in the ring to congratulate her. I don't quite understand the next exchange-- Terri has refused Ice Cold's title shot because she needs to "win the belt back"? Eh? Mystery never won it from her, right? Ah well, here's Ice Cold and Poison out to take exception. They get in the ring and Ice and Terri have words... Terri changes her mind and says she'll defend against IC after all. Ice Cold asks Poison what she thinks and Poison spits liquid in Terri's eyes. Terri collapses like she's been maced, McLane screams "Poison! Spitting some kind of venom!!" I'm laughing my ass off because this is oh-so early 90's. Some nameless EMT or doctor guy is in the ring to tend to Terry, he tells McLane it's "some kind of acid". Terri recovers enough to say she's going to fight anyhow... BUT... BUT HOW WILL SHE FIGHT WITH NO VISION?!? Don't touch that dial!!!

  • Bronco Billie and Beckie are out to face Danger and Riot. The only really new move I see is something of a half Camel Clutch from Riot. The match is a bit off but the heat is excellent. The "Bulldog" move derived from the way cowboys jump off their horses to take down a calf... Billie's version of it actually looks a lot more like that than the usual faceplant... it looks effective and I dig it. Beckie and Billie win this with one of the coolest spots of the night as she reverses Riot's powerbomb into a Sunset Flip. Post-match, Danger berates Riot for losing them the match and for not being able to defeat opponents without "this" (throwing the bat down to her). This is a departure from the usual way these things go and it's awesome... Danger doesn't so much as touch Riot-- she doesn't need to, the words do all the work. Danger leaves and Riot goes berserk at the fans booing her, looking crazy dangerous. A Riot/Danger feud? Cooooool....

  • Tanja the Warrior Woman is out, same gimmick but a much better looking sword. It's another match for the Tag Tournament and she's teaming with Roxy Powers against... CAGED HEAT! Huge reaction for the Ladies of Lockdown and they deserve every bit of it. "What time is it?!?" Crowd: "HARD TIME!"

  • The match itself is not as good as it could be and I actually put most of that on Roxy... she seemed really off. Loca and DLP finish it off with a 3-D. Then they set up a Doomsday Device for the other and make Josh Milton count three a second time (heh!). If Josh had any sense he'd be hightailing it for the back right now, but he doesn't and of course he's the next victim. Caged Heat really take all the "Dudley Girlz" talk to heart as here comes a WHAAAZZZUPPPP!!!!!!!!! spot!!! The only difference being Delta drives in an elbow instead of a headbutt. Milton again does his suicide dive over the ropes as they throw him out... then some more in-shape looking officers of the law are out to chase Caged Heat from ringside. Caged Heat MUST be one half of the finals at the PPV. A match between them and the Country Connection has the potential to tear the house down.

  • Beach Patrol take on Mystery and Misery in the Tag Tournament, and none too soon as the people right behind me have been complaining more and more loudly about a lack of Sandy. Some guy at ringside with a "?" sign stands up every time he thinks the camera might be on him and blocks my view, grr. Misery does SWEET powerslams, as well as a fisherman suplex. The Beach Patrol win this and get a HUGE pop when they do. Daughters o' Darkness attack after the bell in revenge.

  • Harley's Angels out with Thug, and they talk some smack about Caged Heat. Was that a challenge? But first here comes Boom Boom... at first I think the bass is turned waaaay up on her entrance music, but it turns out that people are just stomping their feet in time, a la "We Will Rock You". Damn, there's either a lot of 'em or the Forum's stands are vibrata-rific!

  • Caliente turns out to be Boom Boom's partner, and as I watch her full entrance video I see that she wrestles Zorro at one point! Heh.

  • There's a lot of crowd heat for this match. A chant of "EZ! EZ!" is met with one for Caliente. EZ Rider's cheering section (family?) in the homemade t-shirts is back and gets filmed by a roving cameraman. Charlie Davidson hits a good looking sidewalk slam. The Indian Deathlocks have been and continue to be a popular move tonight.

  • Now the fans across the way break out with a "BOOM BOOM!" chant/stomp. Boom Boom is really working this match and the crowd is responding. Alas, behind the ref's back comes interference from Thug and Boom Boom is held down for a Vader Bomb move from the only gal in the Fed even bigger than her. Thug scoots, the ref returns, the Angels win it. Could a Thug / Boom Boom feud be in the works out of this?

  • Post-match, EZ's crowd leaves the arena. Guess she's not coming out again tonight.

  • Next up, Beckie TFD faces off with Jacklyn Hyde. Out in the audience there's a whole row of guys who stand up with their faces painted half-and-half, and they don't look anything like the people (I'm betting family) who were out supporting Jacklyn last time. Jacklyn's got pigtails! Beckie out, as usual looking like she's having the best time of her life. As at the last tapings there's a woman up in the stands with a cowbell that she clangs constantly in support of Her Beckiness.

  • Jacklyn took Beckie over for some well done turnbuckle bashes. Beckie was as good as ever, and wins with her splash off the top. Some guys in front have their planted "MARRY ME CALIENTE" sign folded over so it just says "MARRY ME" and wave it wildly at Beckie... those fickle fiends!

  • Post-match, McLane is up to interview Beckie and says no one delivers a splash like she can. As *soon* as Beckie agrees with him the growl of a big cat rings out through the arena and... uh oh... here comes Jungle Grrrl looking ready to kill somebody. She gets up in Beckie's face and says the only thing worse than listening to "this hillbilly" ramble on (ooh) is hearing her run her mouth about being the best at the splash. Gist of this is... yup, you guessed it, we gonna have a finisher match!

  • If I sound markishly enthusiastic about that match, you better believe I am. These are two of the best workers in the fed, the booking is classic, and there was *heat* just for the facedown, before the two have even touched each other.

  • Poison is out to take on Terri Gold, I guess a grudge match from earlier. Terri appears none the worse for wear vision wise, which will make a lot more sense when aired on TV as being two weeks instead of two hours later. People are chanting for both women. A slingshot spot makes me realize suddenly that the move has been rare tonight, which means it'll be rare for about a month's worth of episodes... has the feedback of the fans been taken to heart?

  • There's a ref bump and Ice Cold is out in a ref's outfit to count 3, but the bell ringer isn't having any of that and the match continues. Terri with a top rope moonsault ("Goldsault") and the win.

  • Sometime between here and the next match McLane is babbling, and I find his relentless rube-osity is actually beginning to grow on me. Scary. Maybe I'm getting tired.

  • Hammerin' Heather Steele is out and her opponent is Riot. This is no time to nap! The roving camera catches me marking out shamelessly with my 'FINISH HER' sign and I don't even care... this is the effect Riot has on otherwise level-headed men. Steele does the job again and takes the powerbomb after I've been teased with its execution all night. God bless her... if Riot's only stuff tonight was getting a verbal beatdown from Danger I might have gone home all mopey and stuff.

  • Oh, and Riot actually managed to hit a move off the turnbuckle this time instead of getting thrown off. Yay!

  • Lana Star came out in a Santa hat and a rather form-fitting black outfit. She invites everyone to the upcoming Lana Star Christmas Special on December 15th, and says even McLane can be there. He can play Scrooge. I don't remember exactly what was said next, but the upshot of it all is LANA LAID OUT MCLANE WITH HER MIRROR! YES!!!! LANA IS GOD!!!

  • Yes, I'm easily pleased.

  • Wendi Wheels is out next and points to the sky rather than revving her arms. A new, less odd motion? Ah, nevermind, there's the arm rev. She's gonna fight Mystery, who comes out with Misery and Goon.

  • Crowd on opposite side starts singing CCR's "Rolling on a River" for some reason.

  • Wendi takes an ugly bump to the outside, then she's back up and delivers a damn fine flying clothesline as they bounce between ropes.

  • Blowouts for everyone as Misery and Goon invade the ring. Wendi leaves and we find out that the match has been ruled a "no contest". My fellow fans take exception to that and are actually hurling trash at the DoD as they leave.

  • Paradise is out to fight Jungle Grrrl. Looks like Paradise's family is in attendance, a big clan making a lot of noise.

  • Jungle Grrrl was just *on* tonight, pretty much everything she did looked good. Paradise was no slouch at holding up her part and selling the offense. Flying headbutt from JG, and then something I did not expect to see happen at all... JG put Paradise up on top and took her back down with a Superplex! The splash was almost anti-climactic after that, but Grrrl made sure to grab a mic and tell Beckie she hoped she was watching, because she's next. Cool.

  • As I thought last time, the arena's been emptying as it gets late and parents are taking their little ones to bed. My friends and I are asked if we want to move down closer to ringside to fill things up, but nah, these seats are plenty posh.

  • Ice Cold is out to face Terri Gold for the title. Ice shouts to the ringsiders heckling her that they're a bunch of maggots and gets quite a reaction-- probably at least in part because it was a toss up whether she said maggots or another word that rhymes with it.

  • Ice Cold with an abdominal stretch at one point, including heelish holding of the ropes for leverage. Another spot has Ice flip upside down in the turnbuckle (attempting a Flair flip?) ... then she apparently slips and comes down on her head. For a scary moment everything stops as I at least am afraid she hurt herself, but she gets back up and the match continues.

  • Ice's double axehandle off the top could still use some work. That goes for just about every axehandle I've seen in WOW, but for IC it's particularly important since it's one of her big moves. The problem is that the wrestlers tend to jump to the side and then whack their arms sideways against the back, and for me those arms just aren't big enough to knock someone down. A fully overhand chop with bodyweight behind it would sell a lot better.

  • Terri Gold once again getting a babyface support chant from the crowd. She rallies and puts Ice down with another Goldsault.

  • Post-match Ice Cold screams at the fans and this time clearly says "maggots", but she still gets more heel heat than I've seen for her yet, including another round of trash throwing. She's certainly improved her ring work since the earliest tapings.

  • McLane confirms that Friday Dec. 15th is the next taping and will indeed me a "Christmas Spectacular" hosted by Lana Star. The main event... Terri Gold defends her title...

  • Against Danger. Awooga!

  • Time for the main event-- HARDCORE MULLET MATCH! Bob points out some trash cans to our right that have mysteriously appeared and predicts they'll be part of the action. Thug is out first to a big reaction, then Selina is out and Thug meets her on the entry ramp to start the brawl.

  • I didn't take any notes here because I was running around the arena following the match as best I could. I don't know how it'll look on TV, but from up close it was awesome and both ladies were really bashing the living crap out of one another. Bob's prediction was very true, and despite the difficulty of chanting "W.O.W.", W.O.W. was indeed chanted.

  • Hell of a match. Interesting ending as well. Damn good finish to the evening.

    Apparently at least some of the ladies were wrestling while battling flu. There seemed to be more missed spots in this one than the last taping, but that looked to be because they were being more ambitious with the moves-- I appreciate them at least taking the risks and look forward to next time.

    The slingshot spots were *much* fewer, and I either didn't notice the stompholds as much or they cut back on them as well. The ropework was leaps and bounds above last time, faster and with much better looking impact. The punches and kicks also improved in a lot of cases.

    In short, the major criticisms I had from the last taping look like they're being addressed, although I certainly don't claim to be the catalyst for that. I'm just happy to see noticeable improvement on the weak points.

    WOW in general seems to be following through on its promise to listen to the fans, since I've seen a lot of stuff that was suggested on the website show up in the production, up to and including finisher names and catchphrases.

    Now if we could just get Boom Boom out of that silly grass skirt...


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