Friday, August 11, 2000

The World's Greatest WCW New Blood Rising 2000 Preview

WCW's come a long way from the utterly horrendous Bash at the Beach lineup last month, though you couldn't really tell by looking at this one. Sure, 50% of the card is quite strong... but the other half and more than a couple unnecessary gimmicks have made things more complicated than they should be. Ten matches seems a bit much, and many of these feuds could've held off until next month or resolved themselves on television. It's a good rule of thumb that if Judy Bagwell's mentioned on the card, things aren't quite as good as they could be. Such is the case here. While the Canadian crowd will certainly be as hot as ever (again, I'll agree with John), they won't have nearly as many hometown boys to cheer this time. Back at Mayhem, the last time Turner ventured North, both Bret Hart and Chris Benoit were featured at the top of the card. giving the fans that extra bit of enthusiasm throughout the night. Regardless, audience participation is one thing Russo shouldn't be concerned with; the Canucks are generally a great crowd with little exception. With Lance Storm running wild through the midcard, we've been given a nice little side story leading into this big event.. and it's nice to see ol' Vince has been planning ahead.

3 Count w/Tank Abbott vs. Jung Dragons
Double Ladder Match

Has the potential to be surprisingly good. Both these teams haven't even thought about their full potential yet (which is probably why they're risking life and limb, Hardy-style, in multiple ladder matches like this), and haven't really figured out that WCW pays the same whether they're giving it their all or phoning it in. Good! Good for them! More importantly, good for us. I'll put my money on these six heading out there, absolutely killing themselves for our enjoyment, and then heading back to their lower-midcard spot on the card. The fans want to like these guys, they just haven't been given a reason to. It's really difficult to pick a winner here, though I'm required to give it a shot. Let's see, the Dragons have a beef with the Cat. The Cat's still the commissioner. 3 Count's walking away with their gold record and Tank Abbott, secure in their ability to dance another day. Fun matchup, and one I'll applaud every step of the way.
Winners: 3 Count

The Cat vs. The Great Muta

Man, you'd think WCW would take advantage of their ability to utilize one of their most historic names on a big PPV event like this. Instead, they've nonsensically teamed him with The Demon and ICP, along with a slightly more acceptable Vampiro. Regardless, he's up against commissioner Cat here.. a man who was so completely awful in the ring, they stuck him in a permanently out-of-ring role. I'll give credit where credit's due, however, he's really thrived as a commish.. that's why his return to the ring is all the more tragic. I'll have to reopen the 'to hell with Cat' club Muta better grab a 'V' here.
Winner: Muta

Major Gunns vs. Ms. Hancock
"Rip off the Camouflage" Match

Boobs, mud and boobs. Should I say anything more? Nah.. that's probably about all they've booked.
Winner: Ms. Hancock

Kronic vs. The Perfect Event vs. General Rection & Corporal Cajun vs. Mark Jindrak & Sean O'Haire
Tag Team Championship Match

I suppose this is a way of trying to tell us the tag division is alive and well.. but I just don't buy it. Of the 8 men actively participating in this match, I'd willingly watch 2 of them on any given day. Jindrak and O'Haire are still green as grass, though you can't blame WCW for trying something new. The whole MIA thing has really fallen flat on its face, with the release of Van Hammer driving the point home. The Perfect Event haven't done much since dropping the belts last month, aside from the occasional run-in, and Kronic's done well enough being just.. Kronic. This one has strong potential to become a bumblefuck.. just don't say I didn't warn you. As for victors.. well, I'll go with Jindrak and O'Haire, because they're fresh off a heel turn.
Winners: Jindrak and O'Haire

Kanyon vs. Buff Bagwell w/Judy
"Judy Bagwell On A Pole" Match

Good god, whose idea was it to bring back former WCW Tag Team Champion Judy Bagwell?! Can we get this guy executed? Judy Bagwell is the antichrist. Not only did she doom the world with her presence of her damned son, "Buff", and his tremendously awful ring presence, but she doomed half the known world when she stepped into the ring in his defense. Thanks to Judy Bagwell, 'workers' like Mark Madden, Gene Okerlund and Pamela Paulshock have found the necessary inspiration to walk that aisle and grace us with their talents. Not even strong workers like Kanyon are safe from her rage.. as evidenced by the existence of this brilliant "Judy Bagwell on a pole" match. Argh. It's pretty obvious Buff will be walking out the victor, but I don't care. I want to see a Kanyon victory, followed by a celebratory diamond cutter through 14 barbed wire tables.. delivered on the lovely Ms. Bagwell herself. Let's see if WCW really listens to their fans.
Winner: Kanyon

Shane Douglas w/Torrie vs. Billy Kidman
Strap Match

I'm not quite sure why John's always so down on the Franchise..maybe he'll impart some words of wisdom upon us a little later on? Personally, I think he's a much better fit than a Hogan or a Savage ever was. His body hasn't completely turned on him yet, he's got more than enough mic skills to fill the void, and he'll do what's right for the company.. even if it isn't right for him. That's what impressed me the most, as I read through the interview he did over on Wrestleline a couple months back. He seemed sincerely motivated to do whatever it took to catch up with and / or surpass the WWF, no matter the cost. That's a guy I'd like on my team, no matter what anybody else has to say about him. Looking at the match, WCW's done a good job building it up over the weeks. Douglas has done more to elevate Kidman than Hogan ever did (ie; he sold more in one match than Hogan did throughout their feud), and the subplot with Torrie is entertaining. What I don't get is why this has become a strap match. Maybe I missed something on Nitro or Thunder, but I don't recall that having even a remote tie to the match/feud at hand.. which is usually what makes a gimmick work. Would the casket or buried alive matches have worked without the Undertaker? Sure. Would the crowd have been as into it? Not likely. Aside from that little gripe, though, I'm anticipating a strong enough match between these two. Nothing classic (unless Kidman does something nasty, like a shooting star press from the top to the floor), but solid all around. For a finish I'm taking Billy, after Torrie's interference ends up helping the wrong man.
Winner: Billy Kidman

Lance Storm vs. Mike Awesome
Canadian/US Title Match

Here's the one to watch. Storm and Awesome's initial WCW meeting, the finals of the US title tournament last month, was something special. They worked an excellent, back and forth match that woke the crowd up for the rest of the night. It really wasn't over until it was over, and when it was the right man had won. Storm's run with 3 titles is truly the shining highlight of the 'new' WCW, reminding me of a younger Chris Benoit or Chris Jericho in the same federation. The drive is there, the talent's there, and the crowd interest isn't missing. Given a solid amount of time, this could be one for the ages.. just don't get Awesome's former valet involved. They ran a great series of combos, reversals and false finishes in the US finals; if they retain even a shred of the same formula, the fans will get their money's worth. Oh yeah, they're running some sort of "mystery ref" deal here, too. If they had any sort of intelligence at all, they'd bust out somebody Canadian.. somebody like Bret Hart. I know, I know.. Russo's already denied it's Hart on WCW Live. Screw that. I'm going with my gut and calling Hart as the ref, giving his blessing to Storm on the way to a Canadian title defense.
Winner: Lance Storm

Sting vs. The Demon

I suppose this was to shake up the mix of things, avoiding another Sting / Vampiro PPV clash.. but I'd rather see a replay of a previous match than this. The Demon is proving himself to be an all out waste, what with his complete lack of speaking ability, unlikable personality, slow ringwork and sorry gimmick. Why they're lowering Sting's astronomical popularity with a match against him is beyond me.. he should be fighting for the number one contender's slot, not elevating undeserving youths. Given that he's had some time off recently, I'm willing to bet the Stinger isn't up to the carry job this is gonna require.. and the match will definitely suffer for it. Vampiro is likely to make an appearance, pretty well killing that "let's keep the matches fresh" vibe.. and ending the match in favor of the company man. Sting takes it by DQ.
Winner: Sting

Scott Steiner vs. Kevin Nash vs. Bill Goldberg
#1 Contender to the World Title Match

I've been pleasantly surprised by the buildup for this one. All the near-clashes between Nash and Steiner have actually given me some sort of interest in where this is headed. Obviously, none of these three would be completely out of place holding the World Belt, though I'm much happier with Booker as champion. Some would call this the 'real main event'.. and while I won't go that far, I will admit that its end result is just as important as the World Title match. With all the collisions between Steiner and Nash over the last few weeks, Goldberg's presence has almost been overlooked.. which makes me wonder about the end result of all this The easy pick would have Nash and Steiner kicking each other around the ring, possibly counting each other out and giving Goldberg the win by default.. but I don't see Goldberg / Booker II in the cards just yet. If they're looking to establish the World Champ as a solid main eventer for good, they'll give Nash the nod here, only to suffer a rare clean loss to the current belt holder next month. Not quite as likely, but it's got my vote.
Winner: Kevin Nash

Booker T vs. Jeff Jarrett
WCW Heavyweight Championship Match

Likely to top their match last month. Jarrett and Booker were apparently given very little time to put anything together last month, what with the confusion going on backstage, and relied heavily on a formula they'd used a couple weeks back on Thunder. This time, they've had almost a month to piece things together, and I think the result might surprise you. I'd expect Jarrett to carry a solid advantage throughout, with Booker holding onto his belt in the end. Despite the fact he's already a multiple-time champion, Jarrett still isn't perceived as main event material. Perhaps now's the time to get him there, while Goldberg, Nash and Steiner are all taking their shots at the gold. Booker retains, while Jarrett heads to the bottom of the upper card to hone his skills and public perception.
Winner: Booker T

In Closing...

Well, there. That wasn't so hard. Like I said, there's a hunk of the good and a hunk of the bad. We've got an antichrist (Judy Bagwell) and something delivered from above (Awesome / Storm). I don't think there's as much room for variation as was available on the Bash at the Beach card, and fans aren't likely to get as surprising a result, either. While the PPV leaves a bit to be desired, it's a sign that WCW is in the road to recovery. Someday we may yet have another ratings war.
until next time, i remain

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