Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, January 20, 2019

My Favorite Wrestling: WCW Saturday Night 7/25/98

Bobby Eaton vs. Scott Putski

ER: And at 3:05 Pacific Standard Time on this Saturday afternoon in the middle of Summer 1998, Bobby Eaton was given a task that would have turned away most men. Show opener, tone setter, just do it with one of the bigger stumblebums on the roster. Scott Putski is truly putrid, and had I gone to a Saturday Night taping perhaps I would have brought a poster board sign stating Putski is Putrid, or as long as I was using MAD Magazine type humor on my sign, Scott Pukeski. He being Bobby Eaton, wearing his shiny and sequined ring jacket that looked like a torn open King Cake, wearing that jacket that I’m sure was sold on eBay for much less money than I would have paid for it, he being Bobby Eaton, he has a nice little match against Scott Putski. Until Scott Putski makes his usual conscious decision to cease having a good match. Eaton goes over for some short arm drags, Putski grinds his knee in Eaton’s left arm, Eaton makes it look like Putski can semi-convincingly work an arm and Eaton also rubs this left arm out occasionally after. Eaton throws punches you like and walks directly through a Putski right to the body, Eaton refuses to break stride and silently makes an agreement with the audience that nobody was to acknowledge that punch thrown by Scott Putski. At this point it’s time for us to go home, and Putski runs for that finish line like a man with his boots tied together. He almost drops Eaton on his head during a backdrop where he can’t muscle him up properly, he barely lifts Eaton up for some kind of spinebuster type attempt, and then he almost gets Eaton up for an ugly Lo Down style powerbomb. Putski made everyone sad at the end of this.

Stevie Ray vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

ER: Boy serves me right for trying to watch 1998 WCW on an early AM plane ride. But this match keeps threatening to get good, and keeps eventually swerving back into not good territory, but maintains its threat of being good. One major thing WCW matches like this have going for them, is the short TV match structure works so much better than WWE’s current structure. Here were two water oxen clubbing at each other and working strikes and slams, and not once did Stevie Ray grab a chinlock for 20 seconds to build to Duggan’s comeback. Once you notice that every 4 minute WWE match has a babyface comeback out of a chinlock, it’s disheartening, and it’s refreshing seeing two meaty guys just clonk each other for the duration of their allotted 4 minutes. Duggan doesn’t always have great punches, but his fists read well; they are round, and he balls them up tight, so the visual of him throwing a heavy hand at your jaw set a high floor for him. Stevie Ray takes an incredibly slow bump over the top to the floor, gets a couple nicely timed eye pokes in on Duggan at different times, grabs a terribly bearhug that Duggan sorta does an okay job of fighting out of….but we get heavy punches the whole time, back elbows, a couple slams, and it all felt like something constantly moving forward without stopping. One thing I was genuinely excited for the entire match was finding out who was taking the pinfall. I always love establishing WCW hierarchies among B-show competitors, and wasn’t sure who outranked who at this point. Amusingly, this match goes to a double DQ when they both shove the ref, and 6 other refs hold them apart as Stevie Ray and Jim Duggan have a pull apart brawl.

Doc Dean vs. Rick Fuller

ER: Rick Fuller is your proto- Rhyno/Albert big man who somehow never got the opportunities those two got. Doc Dean didn’t get much here, and due to him being a foreigner he got roundly booed while not getting much. The match went on a little longer than I anticipated, especially since Dean only got a couple quick corner punches before getting shoved off, and then only got a sunset flip attempt, which was blocked. Fuller owned this match and Dean was there to bump all around for him, and he did. Fuller hit a big chokebomb, and caught a crossbody attempt from Dean and just walked around with him for awhile before planting him with his unparalleled over shoulder piledriver, always a killer.

Barry Horowitz vs. Chris Adams

ER: You know who's really great in '98/'99 WCW? Chris freaking Adams! Until watching several of his '98'99 WCW matches I had no clue that he would have worked really well in similar era BattlArts.  He's really vicious with all his offense, from tight headlocks and a stiff shoulderblock, to hard elbows to the jaw, to a hard kneelift and cool rolling kneebar. Horowitz really gets nothing in this, Adams just roughed him up for 3 minutes. Adams really came off with this badass shooter charisma during this era, it was a really cool coda for his career that was sadly almost over. Honestly a Chris Adams in  WCW C&A is a pretty great idea. I bet there are some awesome gems in there, with nearly two years to pull from. I think it's on!

Villanos vs. High Voltage

ER: Man this was a pretty great little scrap. High Voltage were a super fun tag team with a bunch of fun tricks in their bag. They did a lot of things really well and were always open to ideas, a team that worked really hard and that was probably harder than they needed to. They were always breaking out weird double teams that you'd only see them do once, always looking for something vaguely dangerous that would never stick. Here they make up a couple suplexes (two different times they hold a Villano in monkey flip position but then just throw them into a backdrop), and Kaos drops a leg off the middle rope while Rage holds a Villano in a Boston crab. Rage hits a cool springboard crossbody Doomsday Device, Kaos hits a genuinely great flying double lariat, Villanos are super stiff breaking up pinfalls and hitting a cool missile dropkick, dropping nice elbow drops. Both these teams would be great to see in a series, would be nice to see Villanos get a bit more. But this match was the kind of thing you want to see when you pop in a WCW disc.

Steve McMichael vs. Julio Sanchez

ER: What a weird shitty on paper match that somehow totally works in execution. Julio Sanchez was an indy darling when indies didn't have many darlings, and McMichael was a guy who was no good but had a lot of energy and tried, and that means something. There were some things that sucked, McMichael throws bad clotheslines (a couple variations of bad clotheslines!); but then there are those cool moments that surprise you like Sanchez hitting a nice kneedrop (when have you seen Julio Sanchez drop a nice kneedrop??) and Mongo hitting a big back suplex, great running tackle, cool tombstone piledriver, and then you're taking a look in the mirror over how much you enjoyed a Mongo vs. Julio Sanchez match.

Road Block vs. Lash Laroux

ER: "Hey Eric, you wanna see a Roadblock squash to guide us into your MLK day off?" Obviously I want that to happen. Lash looked exactly like current Adam Devine only ginger, and he gets absolutely worked by the gigantic Roadblock. Roadblock turns up on a disc and brother it's like when I bought a 25 cent pack of Donruss baseball cards in the Raley's checkout line with my mom, and found an Elite Series Jose Canseco card. Some dude offered me $250 for that card at a local baseball card show. I did not take that man up on his offer. I don't think I know where that Jose Canseco card is today, and if I did I likely wouldn't be able to sell it for the 25 cents that the pack originally cost me. Unless it turns out the fucking Melendez brothers were sitting in the background in one of those situations that makes day to day life bearable and worth waiting around for. I don't know where that card is (parent's garage?) but I got Roadblock on this disc, squishing the hell out of a cajun who would have a kind of impressive status leap within a year. Roadblock crushing him with huge right arm chops, a great lariat, big boot, leaping elbow drop, just the best Son of One Man Gang. Roadblock was a decade too late. He throws a great powerslam and hits his Dead End, just flipping backwards over those ropes like Charlotte, but belly flopping like Louie Anderson. There really is no 90s finisher more damn fun than the Dead End. This match is pure undistilled joy.

Jerry Flynn vs. Fit Finley

ER: Well you knew this would be a cool asskicking. It was Flynn early and Finley down the stretch, both guys landing shots throughout. Flynn even opens the match with a hard as hell spinkick to Finley's chest that Finley sells like a brick hit him in the chin. He sells it for the next couple minutes of match too. Flynn hits kicks to the head, nice kneedrop, an awesome big left hand in the corner, tosses him around ringside; Finley is really cool in how he sells offense based on how much a guy's offense deserves to be sold. Flynn had nice offense, Flynn gets his offense sold. Finley takes over by getting the boots up and runs through the greatest Finley hits. Hard shots with none wasted, sticks the rolling senton, snaps off the tombstone. Just was the exact kind of asskicking you wanted, that these two always deliver.

Scott Hall vs. Konnan

ER: I really dig this era Scott Hall. The guy had so much personality. He was like an actual tough version of John Tatum. I love coward sniveling pretty boy John Tatum, but Scott Hall is Tatum with stubble and posturing. If you know you know. And Hall is in the driver's seat for a ton of this. Hard short arm shoulderblocks, great stomps to the back of the head, choking Konnan over the middle rope (and also allowing my boy Vincent to sneak in shots), and all the while making all these great expressive faces, totally nailing his character. We even get Vincent helping Hall lock in an extra tight abdominal stretch because that was a THING and the WCW crowds always responded to things like that. Konnan is sluggish on a lot of his eventual offense, but at least he throws some pump behind his seated dropkick. Barely bends on a snapmare, but can throw a dropkick. Konnan goes down kind of shockingly easy here. Sure you had Vincent with some interference on the floor, but Konnan didn't have any kind of run here, not even putting two moves together at any point. Hall and Konnan were both guys who would show up in main event "big name" squash match on Saturday Night, but it's a rare thing to have them together, let alone with one being so dominant. WCW hierarchies are just one of my favorite things in pro wrestling.

I live for this.


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Blogger Lee Casebolt said...

I'd kill for a 10-12 minute Horowitz/Adams match.

11:06 PM  
Blogger EricR said...

At minimum people need to see more '98/'99 Adams. But yeah match time is really my only complaint with syndicated WCW. The 3-4 minute standard has created some gems (and WCW was good about guys going out there and doing their best stuff for those 3-4 minutes) but some potential great matches definitely taken home far too early.

2:31 PM  

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