The show opens up with a pretty damn good montage of different wrestlers answering questions such as ‘who would you like to throw out first/last’, and ‘what will you do as Champion’. Tony & Bobby run down the card, which makes a lot of sense, because if you go back over the Nitros I’ve reviewed, they never once mentioned what other matches would be on the card except for WW3.
Afterward, we get us some fantastic Hogan work as he declares no more darkside, and promptly burns his black clothing in a burn barrel. He says he wants to be Sting’s friend forever, with Sting adding that the black is no more. That all lasted about 6 months. Hogan then burns a copy of the Observer, and says that the internet has the scoops. So, basically, I can say Hogan has personally put me over. He also says the “rag sheet” is a joke because it said The Giant would win the title, and that Macho’s arm is injured, when he is in fact a cool 100%.
We get a clip from Saturday Night where Kimberly puts herself up for a prize. Unfortunately, nobody burns anything in a burn barrel, which is something I’ve now come to expect and demand.
Diamond Dallas Page w/ Kimberly vs Johnny B. Badd © – WCW TV Title
Badd has the match in the beginning, but once DDP starts pulling out some by-the-book-classics such as “hide behind the woman”, “stomp the fingers”, and “eye-poke”, he gets the match back in his pocket. He keeps it up with developing some more of the well-known Page mannerisms, such as the Pancake Slam & 360 clothesline. The whole match DDP keeps asking for the numbers from Kimberly, but she won’t deliver. When she finally does it’s for Badd, and it earns quite the pop. Badd finally puts Page down with a sling-shot leg-drop off the top rope. It takes a minute for the match to get going, and is often clunky, but once they hit the half way point, things really start rolling. Hard-hitting with a lot of big moves, and tons of close finishes. Much better than their match at Halloween Havoc
Badd pins DDP after a sling-shot leg-drop at 12:35 | ***
Big Bubba Rogers vs Jim Duggan – Taped Fist Match
Only way to win is via pin-fall or knock-out. Duggan attacks Bubba when he’s on his way to the ring, with his 2×4 slung around his body like a machine gun. Since it’s a “taped fist match” we get ourselves a lot of wrestling, with some fantastic psychology. Well, I should probably edit that last sentence a bit, such as replace everything I said and replace it with “tons of punching and that’s all. Wait, more punching”. Bubba uses knux and uppercuts Duggan for the win, really though, we the fans are the winners. This should have been a bit shorter, and a full on hardcore match.
Bubba wins with an uppercut that knocks out Duggan at 10:08 | *1/2
Cutie Sazuki & Mayumi Ozaki vs Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto
Bull weighs a cool 180lbs, and makes no bones about using it Vader style on the lighter females. It’s a solid match with Bull being a complete beast. It’s stiff and about as far removed from North American women’s wrestling as you can get. You won’t be seeing Alicia Fox doing a front flip from the turnbuckle to the outside, or Naomi hitting a top rope guillotine leg-drop.
Bull pins Cutie after a Guillotine Leg-Drop at 9:16 | ***
Chris Benoit vs Kensuki Sasaki w/ Sonny Ono – US Heavyweight Championship
I know I tend to over exaggerate things, but please don’t think I’m crying wolf when I say Chris Benoit’s mullet is at least 300ft long. I wasn’t expecting too much, as I haven’t seen a lot in Sasaki but this is a great match. It’s damn stiff, taking a move as simple as a body-slam and turning it into a something serious, as well as making a heavier impact when using moves not often seen. Sasaki takes out Benoit with what I can best describe as a side-ways Taka-Driver/Nail in the Coffin/Juvi Driver. Great stuff, definitely worth hunting down.
Kensuki pins Benoit after a Driver at 10:01 | ****
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs Lex Luger
Before the match, Mach’ cuts a promo, and when asked about his arm, he gives what is the greatest answer to any question ever: “My arm is one million percent. That’s BETTER than 100%!”. Hogan was definitely right when he said Macho didn’t have an injured arm. I should also note this cool new shirt Savage is wearing that only covers from his wrist to his elbow and looks like a a bandage. Pretty stylish. The match doesn’t last too long, which is a shame, because this is far and away their best so far. Savage is pissed and doing his best to hurt Luger, who takes advantage of any opportunity he gets. He puts Savage in the Rack on the outside until he’s unconscious, then drags him in the ring and puts him in an arm-lock as the ref calls for the bell. Decent, but short due to Macho not being injured.
Luger wins with the submission at 5:28 | **
Ric Flair vs Sting
Flair immediately makes the match awesome by having the strategy of getting his ass kicked, then going into one of the empty rings and talking shit. Sting is pretty invincible for the first half of the match, but after over-reaching a few times and doing things like splashing the guardrail, Flair takes over and beats him down while working the leg. Eventually he works himself back up, and we walk down the familiar road that ends in the Deathlock. In the mid-90s, these Sting/Flair matches were paint by the numbers, but they were still a lot of fun. This one is no exception, and is like revisiting a band you always loved. We don’t want the new shit, we want the hits.
Stinger forces Flair to submit at 14:30 | ***1/2
World War 3 Battle Royal
Your contestants are as follows:
Arn Anderson, Alex Wright, Brian Knobbs, Ricky Santana, David Taylor, Scott Armstrong, Sting, Joey Maggs, Pez Whatley, Disco Inferno, Meng, Stevie Ray, Mark Starr, Buddy Lee Parker, James Earl Wright, Lex Luger, Eddie Guerrero, Cobra, The Giant, Paul Orndorff, Chris Kanyon, Bobby Walker, Bobby Eaton, Chris Benoit, Randy Savage, Buff Bagwell, The Yetay, Kurosawa, Hugh Morrus, Zodiac, VK Wallstreet, DDP, Scott “Flash” Norton, Brian Pillman, SGT. Craig Pittman, One Man Gang, Super Assassin #1, Mr. JL, Bunkhouse Buck, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike Winner, Hawk, Shark, Steve Armstrong, David Sullivan, Scotty Riggs, Johnny B. Badd, Black Bart, Steven Regal, Dick Slater, Maxx Muscle, Super Assassin #2, Fidel Sierra, Kevin Sullivan, Jerry Saggs, Jim Duggan, Booker T, Big Bubba Rogers, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan
The match is a fucking mess, and the thought that this was WCW’s answer the Royal Rumble is a joke. There’s a camera on each ring, and they’re all shown on the same screen. It’s confusing, disorganized, and about as uninteresting as a battle royal can get. I’d also like to mention that the Yetay, who we last saw as a mummy, is now parading around in a very large child’s ninja Halloween costume. At the very end, just as Macho dumps One Man Gang, Hogan is pulled out of the ring, under the ropes, by The Giant, meaning that Mach’ is now the champion due to the ref’s not seeing Hulkster’s elimination. Of course, because Hogan is a fair sport and always stands by his friends, he puts up a HUGE shit fit and stomps around the ring in protest. Of course, before he did this, he bodyslammed The Giant on the outside. So, the way it went in the back was that Hogan had to be introduced last, could only be eliminated in a nefarious manner, AND got to bodyslam The Giant on the outside. Well, thankfully he didn’t ask for his usual amount of bullshit.
Macho Man wins the title after dumping One Man Gang at 29:40 | No Rating
I didn’t rate the battle royal because it just didn’t feel like something that was ratable. It was literally watching a bunch of guys stand in a ring and punch each other.
As for the PPV as a whole, it’s not bad at all. Decent opener, great women’s match, awesome US title bout, standard fun with Flair & Sting, and the battle royal is interesting from a one-time view perspective. We’re definitely not out of the woods yet in terms of match quality here with WCW, but we’re about to enter the Flair/Savage feud, and that was all sorts of fantastic.