Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 8/1/98 & 8/9/98

My buddy Charlie was down from Portland and we had picked up several Simpler Times 6-packs earlier in the day and had been putting them to good use all afternoon. At some point around midnight he wanted to watch wrestling, which was odd as he hadn't watched wrestling since the boom period of '97-'00. So I threw in some '98 WCW which is the greatest wrestling to watch drunk, sober, happy, depressed, neutral, angry, melancholy, etc. If you are feeling complete and utter ennui in life, I think it's fair to say that a couple episodes of WCW syndicated television are a nice cure-all. These shows are infinitely rewatchable, and they're pretty much the greatest possible wrestling you could ask for. Everything is a surprise, as WCW had about 600 people under contract and taped things 3 years in advance, so you never knew who was gonna show up. "Didn't Billy Joe Travis die 2 years ago? John Nord was getting a TV push in '99?" Those kinda questions get asked every episode. The wrestling is booked in a vacuum and at times you feel like a kid again because you don't know who will win. When you get match ups like Silver King vs. Super Calo, that's a push right there. No way I know who's winning. Armstrongs vs. Disorderly Conduct? Jeez, I've never seen those teams beat anybody, so no clue who goes over when both sides meet. This is only a few of the reasons why WCW syndicated TV is, was, and will always be my favorite wrestling. You get it all. Lucha, tassles, fat guys, face punching, hillbillys, awesome fans, relaxed commentary, and the sweet, sweet wrestling. So enjoy the new feature: My Favorite Wrestling!

WorldWide 8/1/98

1. Ultimo Dragon vs. Saito

SAITO either wrestles now (or recently) as Ryo Saito or Super Shisa I think, and this was good fun as a teacher/student match should be. Saito looked real good here eating Ultimo's offense. Saito got to do a ton of moves and the crowd was way into it. Ultimo threw a spin kick that caught Saito right under the chin and it was great. For a guy who hates stiffness, Ultimo sure popped him there. I can't think of any other situation where two Japanese guys working in a vacuum would get the crowd this excited.

2. Sick Boy vs. Julio Sanchez

Sick Boy was not a good wrestler. Time has told us that. And I will forever hate Sanchez since ECW used him regularly as a wrestler while employing Chris Hamrick as a manager. Travesty. These guys looked like mirror images of each other here, one in cutoff shorts, one in tights. These guys weren't great. Although Sick Boy's pedigree really plants guys painfully. He doesn't let go of the arms like HHH. And Sick Boy did a fist drop, so what more could you really ask for?

3. Kendall Windham vs. Disco Inferno

This might sound like hyperbole to some, but Kendall vs. Disco might be the best WCW match I've seen in ages. Not sure how much influence the Simpler Times are having at this point. The only syndicated matches (off the top of my head) that could compete with it are Benoit vs. Big Train Bart (Necro's trainer) from '95, Kendall/Barry vs. B.A./Swoll from '99, Hak vs. Bull Pain from '99, and Raven vs. Kaz Hayashi from '99. Kendall vs. Disco was just too completely awesome and -- no joke -- made Kendall look like one of the best in the world. Kendall's left hand is arguably the greatest punch in wrestling...EVER. Seriously. It looked like a million bucks in this match. Kendall punched Disco the whole time, stomped him in the corner, kicked him hard in the stomach, and MAN did Disco sell it all well. He sold each of Kendall's punches perfectly, whipping his head back, writhing on the ground holding his face. Disco's comebacks were peppered in perfectly as well with a great swinging neckbreaker and a piledriver that Kendall took and sold GREAT! This match was awesome and Kendall just looked like a monster, completely badass. Disco helped that out to a big degree. These guys made each other look great and this was just a killer match that gets a bunch of time, like 7-8 minutes. I would rate this 8 stars.

4. Juventud Guerrera/Psychosis vs. Villano IV/V

For those of us who got big into lucha, I assume WCW syndicated TV had some hand in that, and stuff like Villanos IV & V vs. Psychosis/Juvy gave us a short fun sprint with some big dives, a big springboard dropkick, Psychosis dumping himself on his own head, and good times had by all. If all lucha was like this, but longer and with even more guys, then of course we were going to start buying tapes.

WorldWide 8/9/98

1. The Gambler vs. Hugh Morrus

Morrus really stinks here but THE GAMBLER is a guy I've always dug, and he gets even better the more I see him. Morrus is always really selfish in his squash matches, taking like 95% of them with so-so offense. Gambler had a nasty back elbow and not much else, which is a shame as whenever he gets the chance he always has great offense. It's funny that Gambler was a jobber back then, but somebody like Karl Anderson gets regular Japan bookings these days with the same look and less talent. Anderson doesn't even have a jacket with playing cards on it. Idiot.

2. Vincent vs. Frankie Lancaster

This was a real nice Vince showcase and he really made the most of it. Just stiffs up Lancaster the whole match, takes a big bump for him, and ends it with one of the nastiest arm bars I've seen. He did a single-arm DDT and looked like he just posted Frankie's wrist right into the mat and then wrenched it into a great Fujiwara armbar, but working it from his back. Just awesome. Vincent/Curly Bill could really work, and it would only come through in small flashes of brilliance like this. You know Frankie Lancaster today from his debilitating kidney disease (I assume).

3. SUWA vs. Jerry Flynn

SUWA match! SUWA at one point was my favorite wrestler in the world, and with Finlay is the man I most wish would return to wrestling matches. SUWA was my favorite in the workd like 5 years after this match. I'm not even sure Toryumon had started at this point. Flynn's matches are always best when his opponent doesn't mind being a punching bag (erm...kicking bag). When he's in with a bigger star, usually that guy won't take any of his stiff kicks. But lower card guys and foreigners? Yeah. You're getting kicked. SUWA was not the biggest dick in wrestling as he would become a few years later, but he still was doing stuff like eyepokes and snarling at all the wide eyes in the crowd. Flynn kicks him a bunch and this was awesome.

4. Sick Boy vs. Hardbody Harrison

To the surprise of everybody, this wasn't that good. The only thing Harrison was worse at than wrestling, was defending himself in court.

5. British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart vs. Steve & Scott Armstrong*

This was a perfectly fine little tag to main event the start of My Favorite Wrestling, with Armstrongs getting plenty of offense and heeling it up. Bulldog has looked pretty lousy at other points in WCW, but he looked alright here. But these kinds of matches are almost always the Armstrong show, and an Armstrongs tag that gets 6+ minutes is almost always going to be good.

And that's kinda the best thing about WCW syndicated TV. For some reason (atmosphere, sense of surprise, beer) even the crummy matches have worth and are fun. It's the ultimate pro wrestling comfort food. And it's why it will always be My Favorite Wrestling.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

SAITO is Super Shisa.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Log said...

Phil and Will really need to get crackin' on that WCW b-sides comp.

6:07 PM  

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