Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, July 01, 2018

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Worldwide 6/30/96

Dave Taylor/Bobby Eaton vs. Fire & Ice

ER: This is fun for what we got, but man I really wanted to see an actual full tag match between these two. Just like the Faces of Fear vs. Duggan/Pittman match from the previous episode, the potential was high as there were 4 tough guys who didn’t mind hitting hard or getting hit hard. And there were plenty of guys getting hit hard in this match, it was just a very quick 4 minutes. Taylor and Train do a nice shoulderblock exchange, and Taylor wrecks him with a few uppercuts, high dropkick to the chest, and a nasty forearm smash across the chest. I love Dave Taylor. A C&A Dave Taylor will need to be done in the future. I have a feeling he won’t really have many classic singles matches, but he is never less than enjoyable in a tag or multiman. So the match is going great, but sadly Eaton gets kind of steamrolled. He tags in, throws a couple nice punch variations to a held-by-Taylor Ice Train, then goes for an ill-advised top rope elbow. Once he misses that Fire & Ice just takes over. Norton didn’t seem in the mood to sell anything, Eaton takes a big crooked backdrop, eats Norton’s crippling shoulderbreaker and a big splash from Train, and on the floor Regal advises Taylor to not even attempt to break up the pin. So what we got was real fun, but could have been all time great had it gotten 10 minutes and actually let Eaton shine a bit.

Kurosawa vs. Alex Wright

ER: This had some miscommunication, and the layout left a lot to be desired, but I was impressed by how expressive Kurosawa was. Wright had a bunch of potential but often disappointed. He hit a couple athletically pretty but light landing dropkicks, and a couple European uppercuts that seem a lot weaker when we're merely 10 minutes removed from Dave Taylor. But Nakanishi took Wright's offense in a fun stooge style, really cartoon-y but atmosphere appropriate. Nakanishi has light arm strikes but really heavy legs, so he hit a couple of so so forearms but then aimed to kick a hole in Wright's chest and threw some big stomps. He also committed to a big missed elbow off the top. So there was some heart in the match, but it didn't go to a very interesting place. Nakanishi did some offense for awhile, then Wright came back with a spinning heel kick and German suplex. And, how crazy is it that Nakanishi is basically still working a full schedule?

ER: Macho Man does a promo with Mean Gene to build up the upcoming WCW Theatre at MSG show, and threatens guest referee Bruno Sammartino . Still can't believe they don't use a graphic of Bruno to build this up. 

Rough & Ready vs. Cobra/Bill Payne

ER: Bill Payne was around for a shockingly long time, was a guy big enough to actually get an entrance now and then, but also never win a match. He looks like Super Crazy mixed with Julio Fantastico. Rough and Ready were truly the cruelest gift, an awesome pairing that only got paired 20 times, with half of those not making television. I love the combo of 1996 combo of mid 40s Dick Slater and Pussy Wagon Mike Enos (The Mauler??). Bill Payne eats a full landing vertical suplex from Enos on the spinning stage, painful spill, and I'm now a Bill Payne fan. He also eats a badass fallaway slam off the middle ropes from Enos. Enos is really muscling this guy around and it's awesome. Slater kicks Payne in the gut with a flat out great stomach kick, and Enos hits one of the biggest high rotation power slam you've seen. You need to cherish the Rough & Ready that you come across in the wild. It is nature's endorphins.

The Gambler vs. Booty Man

ER: Gambler has his sick as hell red trunks with all four playing card suits on the back. Gambler is such a great stooge, and a real pro, the kind of guy I really appreciate. I'd rather watch all of the Gambler matches than the best Kenny Omega matches. Gambler is the Chris Elliott of wrestling. A little thicker, but an understanding of physical reaction, a fun but punchable face, and an undeserved smug cockiness. Booty doesn't bring much of interest other than Kimberly Page. Gambler brings nice clubbing arms, solid stomps, big falls, and leans into Booty's high knee. High Knee. Say it.

Kensuke Sasaki vs. The Giant

ER: Surprised they would put Sasaki in with the Giant, as I didn't think Sasaki was there to lose one minute matches. He throws hard chops and hard leg kicks, and Giant's big chokeslam is super impressive, as he lifts him with one arm, then lifts him higher before dropping to his knees with the slam. I wanted more, obviously.

Hugh Morrus vs. Lex Luger

ER: Luger is a god on these 1996 shows, and he has truly gotten the worst of what WCW has to offer. Who else is having to make chicken salad out of a main event opposite Hugh Morris or Konnan? Luger knows how to craft matches out of these lugs beyond lugs, working this one like a great Hogan match. Morrus gets a couple of big slams to start and they slow play them, with Morrus hamming it up and Luger selling them with a "You think that's a knife" face. Luger let's him think he's at a disadvantage, then just explodes on Morrus with a bunch of nice forearms and shows off a bodyslam of his own and hits a nice powerslam on a big guy. Luger really does work the best version of the Hogan match you're used to, because he's not working with the same level of insecurity. He's cool with his spot on the pecking order, happy with the amount of money he's made, not scared of guys like Hugh Morrus. He knows he can sell for Morrus and naturally look like a star, so it makes a Hogan-style match more like a Nice John Cena match without toddler shorts and goofy faces. Morrus gets to merely miss the No Laughing Matter instead of having Luger take it, then just kick out and go for win. Missing the moonsault that leads to a Luger comeback is a much more organic way of moving the match along, and Morrus also gets to eyerake his way out of a Torture Rack. A Hogan match with him missing a legdrop would make it more interesting, give it some more depth. Morrus didn't look great here, but it didn't matter, because we had Lex Luger running things in 1996.


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