This week on Random Reviews, we go back in the time machine to 1997, and find out some of the matches we’d have seen if we were only allowed to watch WCW Worldwide. Originally starting in the 70s, Worldwide was home to the infamous “Disney tapings”, where hours of content were taped in one evening, resulting in dead crowds by the end of it all. Let’s see what we’re in for here…
Billy Kidman vs. Jimmy Graffiti (WCW Worldwide; aired January 4, 1997)
Holy crap, Kidman looks YOUNG here… a lot younger than the 22 years old he would have been when this was taped. Jimmy Graffiti is the late “Gigolo” Jimmy del Ray, looking more like a bad clone of the Public Enemy than the “Heavenly Body” he’d previously been.
Kidman starts off trading hold early on, using the ropes to escape a hammerlock and hiptoss Graffiti, whilst Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan on commentary are busy half-heartedly (kayfabe) plugging the upcoming nWo Souled Out pay-per-view. Who’d have thought that an nWo show in Cedar Rapids, IA of all places would have bombed?!
Graffiti decks Kidman with a punch to the head, before hitting a front suplex, and a clothesline for a two-count. Kidman’s successful with a sunset flip, but that only gets him a two-count, and Graffiti returns to offence, chopping Kidman in the corner. Graffiti misses a legdrop, and falls to a crossbody off the top rope by Kidman for a near-fall, before Graffiti shoves Kidman out of a tornado bulldog out of the corner (what would become Spike Dudley’s Acid Drop/Dudley Dog).
Graffiti then enters unfamiliar territory, but is successful with a cannonball-like senton off the top rope, and that gets him the win over the youngster. That was a weird clash of styles – had this match been a year later, Kidman would have been better placed on the card, but this was the definition of “throwaway”. ***
Meiko Satomura vs. Malia Hosaka (WCW Worldwide, taped November 10, 1996; aired February 16, 1997)
This came in the middle of when WCW were vaguely interested in having a women’s division – albeit one that lasted barely a year! WCW wheels out the stereotypical Japanese music for both women, and even has Sonny Onoo managing Malia Hosaka. And they were shocked to lose the racial discrimination lawsuit!
Hosaka jumps Satomura at the bell, and throws her to the mat with a hiptoss-like throw, but Satomura fires back with a crossbody off the ropes, before dropping Hosaka with an awkward dropkick. Her second dropkick is a little better, but she gets met with a spinning wheel kick as she tries to charge Hosaka in the corner.
Satomura regains the offence, and begins screaming so loud whilst moving that I convince myself that she’s channelling “Iron” Mike Sharpe, before connecting with a Frog Splash off the top rope to score the upset win. This wasn’t too bad, but way too short **
Ernest Miller vs. Glacier (WCW Worldwide, taped February 12, 1997; aired April 13, 1997)
After a long, long time coming, Glacier finally arrived in WCW in 1996 – but found himself quickly on the B-shows. Here, he’s facing Ernest Miller – long before he became “The Cat” or found any charisma.
They start out ducking each others kicks, but after a few spots Miller takes down Glacier with a scissored-kick that would have been used as a pinfall attempt fifteen years later. More kicks stun Glacier, but he recovers to connect with a back kick in the corner, only for Miller to duck a roundhouse kick as he went to finish him off.
Glacier capitalises on Miller’s inexperience by chopping him in the neck as Miller went for a back body drop, then scoring a powerbomb and knocking Miller’s head off with the cryonic kick for the win. This was short, but really wasn’t very good, thanks to Miller being green *½
Steven Regal vs. Chris Jericho (WCW Worldwide, aired May 31, 1997)
Hey, here’s a little gem – Steven/William Regal and Chris Jericho… this can’t not be good, right? Regal’s acknowledged as the WCW Television champion, but thanks to the wonders of the Disney tapings and “plans changing”, doesn’t have the belt with him, whilst Chris Jericho’s using his first WCW theme here, the one that was a blatant rip-off of Mammoth’s “All The Days”.
They lock-up to begin, with Jericho taking Regal into the corner and getting a clean break as the crowd chants “USA”. In a match between a Brit and a Canadian, because ‘Murica.
Regal works a wristlock on Jericho, but it gets reversed, and back again as Regal takes down Jericho into a STF-like hold with a few crossface-punches thrown in for good measure. Jericho grounds Regal with a knucklelock, and keeps the hold on for a good while despite Regal’s attempts to escape, with Jericho in the end breaking the hold and hitting a springboard armdrag out of the corner.
Regal lands on the apron and gets taken to the floor with a springboard dropkick, before thumbing Jericho in the eye as he went to go back inside. Some jumping knees and European uppercuts stun Jericho, before Regal hooks away at the nose.
Jericho uses his ass to bust free of a full nelson, before taking down Regal with the move that’d become the Lionsault. The pressure remains when Jericho whips Regal into the corner, and delivers a back body drop as he rebounded out, but Regal holds onto the ropes as Jericho went for a monkey flip, and rolled him up with his feet on the ropes to score the win.
Good little match, but like with all TV wrestling, way too short for what these guys were capable of ***½
Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) vs. Power Company (WCW Worldwide, aired July 12, 1997)
The Power Company are your steroided up jobber tag team of the day here, and they start off with one of them being taken to the ground by a knee to the midsection by Stevie Ray. Ray then kicks the same guy as he went for a back body drop, before clotheslining the second Power Company guy as he tried to run in.
Booker T gets tagged in and hits a double clothesline on Power Company A, before taking him down with a flying twisting forearm for a near-fall. Booker hops over the top rope to avoid Power Company A charging at him in the corner, but gets attacked by Power Company B on the floor with axe-handle smashes until Sister Sherri makes the save.
Booker falls over what was meant to be a drop toe hold as Power Company A tags in Power Company B, with B coming off the top rope with a double axehandle smash. Power Company A is tagged back in and takes down Booker with a clothesline, with Stevie Ray needing to break up the pinfall attempt.
In comes B again, and this time Booker ducks the clothesline and takes the two of them out by himself, before tagging in Stevie Ray, as he cleans house before bringing Booker back in for the Big Apple Blast (bearhug/sidekick double team finisher) on Power Company A to score the win. That wasn’t too bad, but by God the Power Company got way too much offence for being a nameless jobber team. **½
Lizmark Jr. vs. Ric Flair (WCW Worldwide, aired August 23, 1997)
Well, here’s another treat – just as Worldwide got a new graphics and set – we’ve got luchador Lizmark Jr. taking on Ric Flair. That’d be akin to seeing John Cena vs. Bo Dallas on an episode of Main Event these days, right?
Flair starts with a headlock takeover on Lizmark, before grounding the luchador with a hammerlock, forcing Lizmark to reach for the ropes. Flair punches and chops Lizmark in the corner, before chopping him down again after he’d sailed over Flair with a moonsault off the top rope.
A back suplex floors Lizmark as Flair gets a two-count, before Flair resumes with a wristlock, which gets reversed, forcing Flair to reconsider and apply a leglock, turning it over into a single-leg Boston crab. Lizmark fights out and gets Flair in a headlock, but he escapes and Flair continues to work on Lizmark’s legs.
Schiavone absolutely buries Lizmark when he calls a back body drop “his best offensive move so far in this match”, as Lizmark follows with a pair of dropkicks, but he missed with a third, and that was pretty much all Flair needed, as he hit a suplex then the figure four leglock to get the win by submission. That was pretty damn good for a TV match! ***½
Mike Rapada vs. Scott Hall (WCW Worldwide, aired November 8, 1997)
We’re almost in 1998 here, but Mike Rapada looks like he’s been frozen in time for a decade – the utter personification of white meat babyface jobber. Against Scott Hall, you can kinda guess how this is going to go…
There’s a lot of stalling at the beginning, and after a brief flurry, Hall sends him into the corner and quickly follows up with a clothesline. Syxx (at ringside) gets in a cheapshot after Rapada found himself on the middle rope, and a few kicks later, Rapada is tied up in an abdominal stretch in the middle of the ring.
Hall makes short work of Rapada with a belly to back superplex, then the Outsiders edge for the 1-2-3. I don’t think Rapada got a single move in here… utter squash! **½
Bill Goldberg vs. Frankie Lancaster (WCW Worldwide, aired December 13, 1997)
We end 1997 with Bill Goldberg – and given that his opponent is an already-in-the-ring jobber, this is academic. Goldberg powers Lancaster down to the mat after a tie-up, then connects with some sledges to the back, before sending him to the canvas with a clothesline.
Lancaster gets whipped into the corner, and tries to block Goldberg with a back elbow, but he gets dropped with a backbreaker, and then a really awkward looking spear that looked closer to the football tackle it originated from. Goldberg only got a two-count from that, but one Jackhammer later, and it was all over. SPLAT! *½
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