/WCW in Salina
|WCW in Salina
|by: Chris Jones
Hello, my people!
I'm Chris Jones and I'm somewhat fresh from WCW's most recent house show effort, live from the legendary Bicentennial Center in pristine Salina, Kansas! What do you mean you've never heard of either place? Don't you get out now and then?! Come on!
As this is my show report, and I can pretty much do whatever I want, I'm going to provide you with more than a simple results run-down. I shall present characters... drama... intrigue... stories! And by the time I'm done, you'll feel like you were there yourself. Usually I hate the recaps that always include the guy writing talking about how all this cool stuff happened to HIM, as most of the time it's just bullshit anyway. But since this is MY recap, I'm gonna let you in on what I did at the show, as well as some of the past stuff I've been a part of so I can claim this as a "column" rather than just "results" at some point.
Of course, if you're only interested in the results, drop on down to the line and start reading. But otherwise, grab hold of something... cause here we go!
I should first tell you that, over the past decade, both the WWF and WCW have come around my area a total of 5 to 6 times. So whenever they DO get their asses in gear, it's a pretty big deal. WCW has played in the Salina arena about 3 times since May of 1998, so they're getting better. The WWF was last around back in 1997 with a show in Wichita.
WCW first started coming around in 1993 when they came to the Bicentennial Center. My buddy Mike, who you'll meet shortly, lived next door to one of the guys that helped run the arena, so kickin' tickets were not hard to score. We had second row seats directly on the aisle, but the people in front of us never showed up, so we made good use of our positioning the entire night. Brian Knobs actually spit directly on me at one point while I insulted him as he bailed out of the ring. I've been a closet Knobs fan ever since. That little butler guy that used to follow around Steven Regal got up in our faces for booing his Lordship.
And the best part of all... Sid was there that night, facing Ricky Steamboat. I was a HUGE Sid mark at the time and, despite Sid being a heel, I spent most of the match trying to get a "Let's Go, Sid!" chant started. To say it failed would be an understatement, so I waved my Sid signs (yep, I had signs at a house show) like a jackass instead. Sid was being managed by Col. Parker back then, and after Sid got the Powerbomb win, Parker pointed me out to Sid as the lone guy who'd been cheering for him. Sid... I shit you not... stuck out his hand and shook mine, gave me a nod, then jerked away from the other fans who tried to touch him. I damn near pissed my pants!
But that feeling would pale in comparison to the Fall 1997 WWF show. Through no connections of any sort, my posse and I managed to get front row seats for this one, just off center of the ring. One of the big matches for the show was to be Dude Love and Steve Austin against Owen Hart and the Bulldog, but due to Austin's injuries from SummerSlam it was changed to Owen vs. Dude for the I/C title. And if you're REALLY a huge Chris Jones fan (and who isn't?), you'll recall that this match is what got me mentioned BY NAME in the News From Dayton (now Online Onslaught), as Rick Scaia cleared up the confusion that some other web guy had made when he mis-read my report and said Dude won the I/C belt that night.
Anyway, when the announcement that Austin wouldn't be wrestling was made, the entire crowd booed... but Austin came out to start the show by cutting a promo on Owen. I was (and will always be) a large Owen Hart mark, so I waved my "OWEN 3:16" sign (yep, I had signs again) as obnoxiously as I could while Austin spoke. As he ranted on Owen, he saw me waving the sign, pointed DIRECTLY AT ME, and said... and I'm quoting... "You stand there and hold your little Owen 3:16 sign any longer, and I'll come slap the hell outta you, son!"
The crowd popped and I continued waving it while trying not to FAINT over the fact that Steve Austin had just insulted me. When he was done with the interview, he left the ring on our side and talked some trash towards me as I held up the sign. Later that night, Owen made his entrance, took the sign from me, and climbed onto the ring apron holding it in the air. After the match, he signed it for me. I still have that sign.
Leap ahead to 1998 and WCW's return to Salina, once for a house show in May and then for WCW Saturday Night tapings in November. I met Scott Hall and the Giant, among others, at the May show... and then at the tapings, guess who walked right past me in the crowd before the show? Does anyone remember Dr. Ubangi something or other? That weird dude that played Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner's doctor? I guess he is/was a roadie for WCW. I asked him if he was Buff's doctor when he walked past again and he turned and smiled, gave the peace sign, and said his vaunted catchphrase of "right on!". I wonder what happened to that guy.
The most notable occurrence from the tapings came during the dark match main event of Bret Hart vs. DDP when Bret let loose the following phrases: "Page is a piece of shit!", when fans chanted DDP... "quit fuckin' with the fans out there!", as DDP played up to the crowd... and then just a point blank "fuck you!" to my side of the arena as we booed him. He wasn't on the microphone, but I could certainly hear him. Bret's family values never cease to impress me.
And with that, we come to the current action! It's high time you met my posse, so let's get to the intros!
MIKE - Simply put, the coolest man alive. He's been my best bud since junior high and my brother-in-law since he married one of my sisters 2 years ago. The man knows people everywhere and is practically a local celebrity, as he can't go anywhere without people coming up to talk with him. This show was no exception.
CHARITY - My woman, baby! She's not a wrestling fan in the least, but came because it was this or tractor races 30 miles away. She teaches dance to elementary school girls, aerobics to fat women in their 40's, and reads to the blind in her spare time. I'd describe to you how mind-blowingly hot she is, but it's not as if you'd believe me on just my word anyway.
JAKE - Charity's younger brother. My God, he LIVES! (A few people reading this are finding that really funny. Well, they might at least chuckle.) He's a senior in high school and was supposed to bring a date, but she "got the flu" at the last minute. No, really... she did. I know her brother. Jake sent out reports of the show to several sites, so if you see a Jake credited for the results anywhere, this be the guy!
CHRISSY - Sort for Christina. She's my twin sister (yes, Christopher and Christina... direct all letters to my parents). I don't know why I'm mentioning her, she also got sick and pulled out at the last second, leaving me with an empty ticket. The bitch! I'm out 25 bucks! And hell if I'm going to scalp it in a sea of rednecks.
CARLI - Chrissy's best friend, who took Jake's date's ticket when we found out she wouldn't be attending. Then we learned Chrissy wouldn't be coming, but Carli likes wrestling so she stuck around anyway. Lucky for her... I ain't starting out $50 in the hole!
Now that you know the players, let's get started with the show!
We came to the arena in groups, but we all ended up there about a half hour before bell time. Due to new ticket rules in the arena (they have to leave the first two rows open for the goobers that camp out), Mike's connections got us third row seats directly on the entrance aisle. But the people in the first two rows were short, so they were really good seats. The aisle seemed to be about 10 feet wide, so no wrestler was in touching distance unless they made a conscious effort to walk over to the railing. And to make things worse, there was about 4 inches between the railing and the seat next to it, meaning that at best two people in one row could squeeze up against the rail to watch the guys enter. But on the bright side, it meant no little kids would be charging up before and after every match.
I got the seat directly on the aisle, Mike sat next to me, Jake next to him, then Charity, Carli, and the empty seat my sister left. There were some goofs already in our seats who did NOT want to leave, as they realized that their seats were actually on the other side of the aisle at the opposite end of the row, meaning not anywhere near the aisle. But they wisely got up before I went off on them. And there was some weird woman sitting behind me already drinking beer. MUCH more on her later.
Back in May of 98, WCW sold out the arena in just under four hours, the fastest sell-out in the arena's history. This time around... I think to say "half full" would be generous. There were empty seats everywhere, but the crowds are always hot regardless of how many people are there. A few kids were running across the chairs, jumping over them and climbing from row to row. Mike promised that at some point during the night, one of the kids would fall and hurt himself but then pretend he's not hurt as to not look like an idiot. I, being who I am, put 10 bucks on it and said not only would a kid fall, he'd hurt himself bad enough to cry. Mike amended his bet to include a kid not falling at all, since we needed a winner, but there was little doubt that a kid would eventually crash and burn. The game was afoot!
The entrance the wrestlers walked down was pretty strange... they'd exit the curtain on a large raised stage, then walk down a set of steps for about a 15 foot walk to the ring. I was told later that the stage was for a concert at the building the next night. They had a similar set-up at last year's house show and Disco Inferno slipped and fell on it while dancing during his entrance.
With the ladies all seated, I motioned to Mike that I wanted to go backstage. He got Jake and the three of us headed off. I planned to use a plan of my own to get us back there, but Mike knew one of the security guards and he let us in. Thanks, Joey! It was pretty dead except for a few other backstage hounds. I thought I saw Stevie Ray at one point, but I'm now guessing I was wrong. Creative Control walked by and the 2-3 others standing near us walked after them, I'm assuming to get their autograph. Just as I was about to give up and suggest we come back later, Mike tapped me on the shoulder and said "Look behind you."
I did. I'd heard he was going to be there earlier in the week, but WCW routinely screws us with their lineups by announcing several guys who never show. Mike actually mailed Tony Schiavone and Mark Madden and got confirmation from both that Ric Flair would be there as advertised. But even though I was hoping, nothing prepared me for what I saw.
Yes indeed... JEFF F'N JARRETT was walking down the corridor towards us!!!
By some devine intervention I was able to not faint and wet my pants all at once. In fact, I let out "Hey, Double J!" as I saw him. He sort of grinned and greeted us with a "how are you guys?" as he approached. I extended my hand and told him I was a huge fan. He thanked me and shook Mike's hand, also. (Jake froze up... don't tell him I said so.) Jeff said something, probably "enjoy the show", and then headed off. Yep... a meeting that Jarrett probably forgot 10 minutes later, but it made my freaking YEAR, baby!
It sucks to have the high point of the show before the action starts, but what can you do? We made our way back to the seats, where our tale of meeting Jeff Jarrett spread through the nearby rows. I learned that our section of the 2 rows in front and behind us were pretty cool, as we cracked jokes and traded stories with one another. And the seats are so close together that I had to be careful standing as to not hit the person in front of me, so we were all a little family. From here on out, any mention of this particular part of the crowd will be as "my section". And about 5 rows behind me were several mark 9 and 10 year olds and their equally marky older brothers, who I hereby dub the "mutants".
About 10 minutes before bell time Doug Dillinger walked down the aisle... actually, more like limped down the aisle. I wonder what happened to him. He took a seat just to my right about a foot in front of me. I shook his hand just for kicks. He interacted with a few kids who marked out over seeing him.
Finally, David Penzer made his way down! The lights dimmed and the show was underway! Since I promised a line to mark the actual results, I better get that out of the way.
DISCO INFERNO vs. SOME MUSIC I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE - Disco did his usual entrance to a nice pop. The music played for a few moments before CURT HENNIG walked out! Hot damn, he came after all! Hennig got into it early with some retar... erm... mentally deficients in the front row. I knew these guys from school years ago, they're not retarded, but they rode on the "special" bus nonetheless. Hennig held the ropes open for them as they heckled him. Your standard match here with Hennig hitting several of his trademarks; the big dropkick, the snap mare and flip over neck snap, and so on. Disco got on the microphone and said something about Hennig being pretty good for a guy who should be retired. It's at this point that the woman sitting behind me enters the story. She began screaming "GO DISCO, YEAH!!!" in my ear like a complete idiot. I ignored her and impressed Charity by calling the match finish... Disco attempted a backdrop that Curt turned into the Perfect Plex, about 15 seconds after I said it. It's your standard Hennig finish, of course, but SHE doesn't know that!
Hennig walks off smugly, stopping in the aisle to look around with a knowing look. Jake and I did the "we're not worthy" arm motions, which he nodded to.
THE MAESTRO vs. EVAN KARAGIAS in a non-title match - Evan walked down close to the opposite railing so he could slap hands, then CHARGED over right at me and slapped hands (including mine!) on our side. He almost scared me he ran over so fast. It's lucky for him I didn't break out my funky ninja skills! Notice I'm not talking about this match? It was just lousy with at least 5 totally blown spots that I noticed. Lucky for these two the crowd in Salina is 98% total marks, or "you fucked up" chants would have been loud and long. Not that I expect much from a house show, but STILL. Evan got the win with some twisting splash off the top rope that looked less impressive than it sounds. So why was this non-title? The woman behind me was screaming complete gibberish during this match, as she didn't know who either guy was. And at this point she started repeatedly bumping into Mike and I. Mike asked her to stop, but she was already tanked. Doug Dillinger sent a local rent-a-cop over to sit right next to her seat. Always thinkin', that Doug.
MENG'S MUSIC VS. PRINCE I'M OKAY-UH - Who'd have thunk it, Meng's music brought out THE BARBARIAN! Mike stumped me early by asking "Whatever happened to the Warlord?". I was so perplexed I had to leave this potential classic and go get some refreshments. I returned to "boring" chants and Prince getting nailed with the Big Boot for the pin. As the Barbarian walked off a guy several rows behind me shouted "YOU THE MAN!!!" as he passed by. Judging by the Barbarian's face, he doesn't hear that too often.
MUSIC I KINDA RECOGNIZED, BUT A GUY I DIDN'T vs. GENERIC JAPANESE MUSIC - Turns out the guy belonging to the music was PSYCHOSIS, sans mask! I don't recall seeing him wrestle since he was unmasked. The generic Japanese music played for a bit before... holy fucking shit... JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER came out!!! What the hell was HE doing here?! I popped like a giddy schoolgirl and tried getting a "Li-ger! Li-ger!" chant started. As the crowd is full of uneducated white trash, it failed. I even had to explain to some of the FANS around us why it was so cool that he was there. Not much of a match, unfortunately, but it IS just a house show. The woman behind me didn't sit down the entire match and now, aside from screaming her now slurred cheers, was slamming into me repeatedly. This time I asked her nicely to sit down, but she was too drunk to understand. Not wanting to make a scene, I just sat there stewing. Liger won with that cradle move Bret Hart beat the Bulldog with at In Your House 1995. Sure it has a technical name, I just can't spell it.
A freaking 20 minute intermission was next. Doug Dillinger was actually approached for autographs. I figured "what the hell?" and got one myself. One kid tripped while running across the seats, but saved himself by grabbing his dad's arm. Damn! Mike, Jake, and Carli went to get some food as I sat down with my legs reclined on their empty seats. Charity sat on my lap about a minute before the woman behind us stumbled around in her drunken stupor and SPILLED HER BEER ON ME. It went down the shoulder of my jacket and mostly got on Charity, who was NOT happy. With Doug all busy signing autographs, I told the local rent-a-cop that something needed to be done, so he told her to sit down and shut up. That's not really what I had in mind. The woman sat down but it only lasted about 10 minutes.
Finally Penzer came back out and we were greeted with some knock-off of Kid Rock's "Cowboy" that played as the lights went down. I rose up and looked to the entrance... it's JEFF F'N JARRETT!!! JEFF JARRETT!!! JEFF JARRETT!!! Ahem, sorry. I popped like mad while the rest of the idiots in attendance started hurling ice at him. Jarrett, who didn't have a guitar, got the microphone and insulted the crowd. He said the Powers That Be told him Dustin Rhodes isn't allowed in WCW arenas any longer, so he wins by forfeit. The ref began counting Dustin out when some other music started. As Jarrett looked to the entrance, Dustin leaped the railing and slid inside! We've got us a match!
GOD vs. DUSTIN RHODES - They brawled outside the ring, up the aisle, and onto the entrance stage. Man, Dustin's looking out of shape. More ice pelted Jarrett... fuckin' lowlifes. They got back inside and went straight into a rest hold series for about 4 minutes. Three guesses as to who needed the rest. Dustin eventually fought back and got Jarrett in Shattered Dreams position. He asked for a crowd reaction before delivering the blow and got a HUGE pop before kicking Jarrett in the nuts. Dustin grabbed the microphone, said "who's a slapnutz now?" and went for another kick that Jarrett blocked by pulling the referee into the way. The ref took a bump by Dustin's charge and fell down, giving Dustin a chance to grab a chair. Massive pop for the first and only chair use of the night. Just as he went to swing, the ref grabbed the chair from him. Dustin turned around to argue, got caught with the Stroke, and that's all she wrote!
A huge shower of ice rained down on Jarrett as he left. I was officially embarrassed to be there, and not because it's Jarrett they were throwing things at... that shit doesn't fly with anybody.
HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN (with 2x4, overalls, and flag) and CHAVO GUERRERO JR (with Amway bag) vs. CREATIVE CONTROL for the WCW Tag Team Championship - Holy shit, is Jim Duggan over! Biggest pop of the night to that point, easily. He got a huge "USA" chant started early. Creative Control entered in their suits and dress shoes. Those are some BIG mofos! They also got the ice shower and seemed rightfully annoyed by it. The crowd was heavy into this one with chants for Hacksaw. Duggan hit the 3-point stance clothesline on both guys, then hit the kneedrop of death on one as Chavo knocked the other to the floor as the ref followed. But enter CURT HENNIG, who charged down and used the 2x4 on Hacksaw. Since neither guy is Patrick, it must have been Gerald who rolled over and covered as the ref slid back inside and counted the 3. During the match the woman behind me began screaming her slurred version of the Hacksaw chants and began stumbling into Mike and I again. Mikey, not about to put up with it any longer, looked around for his security guard buddy as the one seated near us had disappeared. He saw the guard and shouted at him to come over as the woman spilled her beer on the poor kid sitting next to her. I saw that and had my mouth open to finally tell her off, but Charity beat me to it and ripped the bitch a new one with "sit the hell down and shut the hell up" being the basic message. Mike started a "Charity" chant that spread through my section, as everybody was tired of the woman. The guard, Joey, came over and took a seat by the railing, telling the woman to NOT move for the rest of the night. She didn't. Lucky for her! I got mad ninja skills, I'm tellin' you!
Before the next match, Penzer reminded the idiots not to throw things, which got a nice ovation. He then remarked that some of "Salina's finest" would escort anyone caught throwing things out of the building, and the cops got a MAJOR round of boos. Most heat of the night! I'd go on about the Salina police force, but that's a story for another time.
RIC FLAIR vs. CHRIS BENWAA - Flair entered first to an incredible pop. I don't remember if I cheered, I just stood there in awe and gawked at him. Benoit came out and Carli remarked "man, he's got some short arms!" I never really noticed that before, but she's right. The match started and Flair played the heel, getting the crowd to totally turn on him in a matter of minutes. Just incredible. A "Nature Girl" chant started from the Mutants and Flair pretended like that 3rd grade insult was getting to him. He grabbed the microphone and told Benoit that he might have been a Horseman, but he was getting his ass kicked tonight. He then did the "take your wife, make her a woman, sit down fat boy" speech at some guy in the front row. Decent match here. Benoit put the Figure Four on early, which Flair got out of. Flair eventually got it on himself and Benoit got to the ropes. Flair got in referee Charles Robinson's face and the two had a shoving contest that Charles won. Sniff, it seems like just yesterday he was Lil' Naitch. Benoit took advantage and eventually hit the Swandive Headbutt for the pin.
As Benoit left he walked towards my section slapping hands, but then pulled out JUST before he got to me. Penzer plugged this week's Nitro, stopping just short of saying Bret/Luger for the world title, seeing as how we had a world title match up next. What if Bret LOSES tonight, Dave?! I decided against starting a "Raw" chant during the Nitro plug, even though it worked like a charm at the May 98 show.
BRET HART vs. STING (with old Crow music) for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship - Both Sting AND Bret slapped my hand on the way down. Go me! They started off and Sting seemed to play the heel, going to the eyes and pulling the hair a few times. The Mutants started chanting "Owen Hart" for no apparent reason, except to get themselves attention. I shouted "I don't think he'll be here" to them, which got a laugh from my section and shut the mutants up at the same time. Sting and Bret went at it for about 5 minutes before CURT HENNIG AND CREATIVE CONTROL rushed into the ring and attacked both guys! The crowd booed loudly like they expected the show to end with a screw-job, and Hennig clipped Sting's knee on the way out just to confirm that it wasn't over. Sure enough, Sting asked for the match to keep going. A few minutes later Bret had the Sharpshooter and the victory.
We waited around as Bret and Sting made their exits. Penzer thanked us for coming and then signed a few autographs before getting the hell out. We stood around as Charity and Jake talked with some family friends when Mike nudged me and reminded me of our bet. Incredibly, no kid had fallen the entire night. Beaten and defeated, I reached for my wallet...
But wait! Honest to God, as I was about to pull out his money, two of the seat jumpers were racing out and they collided and crashed to the floor. I looked... I listened... I heard CRYING!! YES! YES! I WON! Mike's jaw dropped as I openly cheered the event. I quickly realized that cheering over kids hurting themselves didn't reflect well on me, and I pretended I was directing it elsewhere. Mike gave me my $10 and we made our exit into the night!
You know, with the exception of the Barbarian, Dustin Rhodes and Creative Control, I was taller than EVERY guy who wrestled on the show. And I'm only 6'2"! I was a few inches taller than Jeff Jarrett... but he's still my hero!
Anyway, it was about a 2 and ½ hour show, counting the intermission. And it wasn't too bad! I had no complaints, other than the freak sitting behind me and the morons throwing things. And it's hardly every day you get to meet Jeff Jarrett! A big thumbs up from me for this night's outing!
See you in a few weeks with Starrcade!
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