Segunda Caida

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

Monday, May 28, 2018

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Pro 6/15/96

Jushin Liger vs. Eddie Guerrero

ER: Sheesh you throw on a disc of Pro without looking up match lists ahead of time (pro tip: if you're looking at match lists before popping in ANY TV wrestling from 20+ years ago, you're doing it 100% completely wrong. Not knowing what's next is almost all of the fun). Liger is wearing his sick black/gold/silver gear, and tons of fans in fannypacks are super excited by Eddie. And this completely owns. They start off with a bunch of quick stuff, and then Liger takes over with a great rolling capo kick, fat somersault senton, an actual fast and violent looking handspring back elbow, big powerbomb, throws nasty palm strikes to back Eddie into the corner, really dishing out a beating. Fans are amped for an Eddie clothesline but Liger plants him tailbone first over his knee with a backbreaker. Liger is a total dick in this and it's great. Sadly we cut to finish shortly after that, with an Eddie frog splash. That's the one micro downer about syndicated WCW, the finishes are usually pretty sudden and/or predictable. But all of this was awesome. This kind of thing isn't really a hidden gem, as any time someone like Liger turned up on TV, that was going on comps and getting traded. This was a match an internet wrestling fan would have booked in 1996.

Kensuke Sasaki/Masa Chono vs. Steiner Brothers

ER:  Well this episode hit banger status pretty quick. The layout of this was cool, as the evil Japanese team jumps the Steiners and gets an early advantage by being sneaky and cheating, but the Steiners each hit painful belly to belly suplexes on them and Scott hits lariats. So we start with a bunch of big dudes crashing into each other, and then Chono tells everybody to calm the hell down and we start working a nice southern tag with Team NJ cutting off the ring, Chono working a nice cravate. I dug things slowing down and driving the Florida white shirts crazy, and it built to a nice Steiners comeback. Rick catches Chono up top and hits a big suplex, Scott hits the Tiger Driver and an awesome Frankensteiner, fans go nuts. Steiners against a team who has no problem taking a beating is always gonna be fun. Chono was a real hoot in this, stooging around holding his back, bumping for stiff Steiner stuff, crazy episode so far.

Scott & Steve Armstrong vs. Public Enemy

ER: I swear Public Enemy is on every fucking episode of Pro. But then I always end up kind of enjoying them. So many people in the crowd have fannypacks, it's insane. But this is fun. Armstrongs throw a zillion dropkicks, and PE kind of suck but they also have no problems trying stupid shit. Some of their stuff doesn't work, but they try it and shrug it off pretty well if it doesn't. Scott takes a big bump to that hard Pro stage, and they tease Rocco giving him the Drive By through a table on the floor, but Scott scrambles away and Rocco does the Tiger Mask feint, and I bet if I was a little younger when Public Enemy came into WCW I would be WAY into them. If I saw them putting someone through a table one time, single digit age me would flip out. Rocco does do the Drive By to Scott, but not through a table, just on the mat, and he protects him really well which was something I didn't realize PE did. So that's pretty cool. I liked this.

We get a big WCW Motorsports infomercial, with Sting and DDP hanging out in a pit crew, an announcer running down how Car 29 has done in some recent races, how cool Diamond Ridge Motorsports Inc. is, and the WCW pit crew getting face paint like Sting. I bet when WCW bought (leased?) a racing team, one of the pit crew guys made a joke about how they'd all have to wear face paint, and the other crew members laughed because how stupid would that be? And then a month later nobody was laughing.

Scotty Riggs vs. Ric Flair

ER: I always love seeing Flair working small studio matches, though it is an eternal drag to see him accompanied by Woman and Elizabeth. The whole match you have Cruise, Dusty, and Zbyszko selling the Great American Bash (airing the next day) with a main event of Arn/Flair vs. Kevin Greene and Steve McMichael, and Larry is going on and on about football players with big mouths who think they can be wrestlers, and brings up Alex Karras getting beat by Dick the Bruiser and crying and limping all the way home, and Dusty cuts him off with "You're still talking about that 20 years later!?" You know he is. And this match rules. It goes 11 minutes, and Flair bumps around the whole time for Riggs, and any momentum Flair gets is because he cheats or has Woman cheat. It's so ridiculous and so awesome. Flair takes two big backdrops, tons of back bumps off shoulder blocks, flops on his face after getting punched, works the mat with him, gets beat in a knucklelock, basically a guy in the main event of the next PPV giving 80% of a long TV match to someone who doesn't get on PPV. It's great. Woman claws at Riggs' eyes after he takes a super fast bump to the floor, Flair jabs a thumb into his eye and throws great headlock punches, and Flair drops a clean kneedrop. Riggs gets some pretty great nearfalls, the best coming from a roll-up when Flair attempted the figure four. And the finish was fantastic, with Riggs going up top and Flair falling into the ropes, causing Riggs to take this painful as hell looking Hamrick bump where he falls off the ropes and catches his knee on the way down. Flair immediately goes in for the kill. This was a tremendous TV main event, easily comp tape worthy, and totally surprising. I had no thoughts on Riggs before this match, and suddenly Flair gives me an affinity for him in 11 short minutes. This is a total WCW syndicated classic.

Easily one of the best episodes of Pro you'll ever see, the 4th most important WCW show at this point of 1996.


COMPLETE AND ACCURATE WCW B-SIDES


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