Reno vs. A-Wall
Hardcore Title Match
If you're like me, you weren't quite sure who the champion was in this one until the little bracketed 'C' next to Reno's name solved the mystery for you. The WCW Hardcore division has become something of a retainer for talent that doesn't have anywhere else to go, with little or no storylines to dictate the title's defenses on tv or PPV. As a rookie, Reno's shown a bit of promise, but certainly not enough to merit carrying gold this early. He's got something of a nice beginner's power offense, combined with little or no personality and easily recognizable hair. It got Meng through several years of action as a WCW pro, so I suppose the combination's worth a shot here. Given a strong teacher, Reno could possibly become something.. but if Kevin Nash is the only veteran he knows to look up to, well.. it isn't really worth the effort. As for the Wall, I'd seen enough of him the first time he vanished from the scene. With the failure of MIA as a face stable, I'd figure WCW won't be giving them any sort of reward here.
Buff Bagwell vs. David Flair
The whole 'who fathered Stacey's baby' fiasco isn't really something that's interested me thus far, as it hasn't netted any mentionable positive advancements in David Flair's character. He still looks like somebody stuck a corn cob up his ass, isn't half the worker his father was and knows not the difference between charisma and a funeral procession. By introducing Buff Bagwell, WCW made the obvious official: this angle is worthless. Let us pray the physical altercation Sunday night is kept to a short, painless minimum. When the dust settles, my choice is Buff.. why WCW doesn't realize the liability he's always been is a mystery to me.
Winner: Buff Bagwell
Jindrak & O'Haire ? vs. Mysterio & Kidman vs. Boogie Knights
Tag Team Title Match
So long as Kronik is still out of the title picture, I'll remain happy. Mysterio and Kidman are the only really solid team of the bunch here, as Jindrak and O'Haire are still in the formative stages of their careers and DISQO / Wright were both average workers at their best. We should get a decent amount of solid action here, regardless.. as the Thrillers haven't completely refused to sell for the Filthy ones, and DISQO's style is easily adaptable to just about any other. So long as the consistantly rusty Wunderkid is kept out of the majority of the exchanges, we'll get our money's worth. Let's go with the dancin' fools here, capturing the gold after several close calls in the weeks past.
Winners: Boogie Knights
Mike Sanders vs. The Cat w/Ms. Jones
3 Round Kick Boxing Match for WCW Commissionership
As is the case with about any other "worked shoot", be it Roddy Piper and Buff Bagwell's boxing match last year or the Marc Mero / Butterbean extravaganza from a couple years earlier, this won't be pretty. The Cat's supposedly a legit three time World Karate champion, but for someone of such accolades, he hasn't really shown anything to confirm it in his time within the hallowed halls of WCW. His kicks are sloppy and arrant, rarely landing with any sort of effectiveness near their target. While some may argue he's simply looking out for the safety of his opponents and holding his kicks back, I call a foul. This may surprise you, but I studied Tae Kwon Do for nearly 5 years during my teenage years, eventually achieving the status of a first dan black belt... the first rank above your average black belt. If there's anything I learned with this training, it's the fact that the best of the best have an uncanny amount of control over their bodies. As a relatively lowly first dan, I still had the ability to stop my kicks inches from my sparring partner's face, proving I could've nailed them but didn't. If someone like myself could have such control, imagine the kind of power a three time world champion would command. He hasn't gained my respect by raising three fingers and claiming to be 'the greatest'. Then again, he'll likely look a lot sharper than Mike Sanders, who hasn't even bothered to claim he knows what he's doing in the world of martial arts.
Winner: The Cat
Shane Douglas & Torrie Wilson vs. Konnan & Tygress
There's talk this one won't be going down, as the state of Nevada has some sort of ruling against cross-gender violence in the area of sporting events. What an atrocious, closed-minded way of thinking! No man-on-woman violence! Unthinkable!
Finish wading through that sarcasm and give me a quick listen here: male on female violence is wrong, plain and simple. Whether it be simulated in the world of sports entertainment or all-too real with domestic violence, it's an atrocious thing and something that I'm ashamed to admit has a place in the world of pro wrestling. To see such matches becoming more and more commonplace is just silly.. especially when you consider the fact Tygress and Torrie Wilson have little or no formal training between the ropes. They're likely to hurt themselves or others, all because the promotion wants to look 'cutting edge' by giving us these kinds of confrontations. Tell me, would a straight up Douglas / Konnan match have been that much worse if the women had stuck in the corners as valets? Chances are, it would've been twice as interesting to watch.. and that's an issue that the booking committee really needs to consider in the end. By putting together matches like this, you're screwing with the reason fans come to the PPVs in the first place.. you're lowering the quality of your matches. Since I've got to pick a winner here, I'll put my cash on the line with Konnan and Tygress, avenging Kidman and Madusa's loss in the scaffold match.
Winners: Konnan and Tygress
Mike Awesome vs. Vampiro
Vampiro actually went a ways toward making this feud interesting with his brief promo on Nitro. It may have been a little rushed, but the end result was just what should have been desired: increased crowd interest for his match with Awesome at Havok. Both are rather underrated as workers, a notion I think they could shatter with a strong match here. Vampiro really needs it, after several months off following the atrocious 'Dark Carnival' angle. Similarly, Awesome could do us all a favor here by taking a big bump, knocking his way out of that nasty "70s guy" gimmick. It all adds up to a neat little match and a big Vampiro victory.
Lance Storm ? & Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. General Rection
U.S./Canadian Title Handicap Match
As former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach De La Rocha once said; "read my writing on the wall." There's little doubt Duggan will be making his second turn in as many months here, returning to the unofficial 'Team USA' and costing Lance Storm his proudly held Canadian Heavyweight gold along the way. I really hope things don't turn out that way and Storm continues the most successful WCW title reign in years (and I mean any WCW title.. World, US, Tag Team..), but as the man says, the writing's on the wall. Duggan turns, Storm drops his gold to an undeserving challenger and the angle moves on for at least another month.
Winner: General Rection
Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting
One of the best built WCW angles in a long time. Jarrett's work as the 'fake Sting' was that of a heel at his very best. It made audiences despise him, gave the angle something to focus on and gave the fans something to follow as the feud progressed. This isn't just another match, using the tired 'revenge after a well placed guitar shot' cliche to build it.. Jarrett made things personal, and in doing so took the feud to a whole other level. Sting has good reason to be pissed at him, and fans can empathize with that.. they want to see Jarrett get his ass kicked this Sunday night. Bookers, take note: they're interested in the product. Might be something you should look into for further use down the line. As a feud meant to build Jarrett as a main event heel, I don't think it's about to end after only one month. JJ squeaks out a victory here, leading Sting on for another couple months of teasing.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett
Goldberg vs. Kronik
I think it's great how they've conveniently rediscovered the formula they used to build Sid's win streak late last year, here utelizing it with Goldberg's run. C'mon, don't tell me you really thought they'd wait the year it took him to his 175 wins as a rookie before giving him another shot at their gold this time around. They're pretty obviously building him up for a payoff title shot at Starrcade, and that means they'll have to make a mockery of the memorable winning streak that got him here.. slimming the whole thing down to a couple months. Goldberg's getting two and three wins attributed to him for one match of work. He's running into matches that aren't even his own, collecting a jackhammer and moving one step closer to Starrcade. It's far from legitimate, and serves to piss me off more than interest me in the thrill of the chase. At least they're humbling the right people thus far, embarrassing Kronik Sunday with a clean job to a single man. I really dislike Kronik.
Winner: Bill Goldberg
Booker T vs. Scott Steiner
World Title Match
A main event I've been anticipating for quite some time now. I toyed with a Booker / Steiner feud over the US Title, leading to a future World Title collision between the two all the way back at Spring Stampede, and couldn't be happier we're finally seeing it here. WCW truly has come quite a long ways from the Hogan / Flair and Nash / Sid main events of just one year ago.. and I'll give credit where credit's due. This could be a strong enough feud to hold the company's head above water on its own for some time. I won't kid myself for a second, believing that's what they've got planned (remember Goldberg at Starrcade?), but it's a nice thought all the same. What we've got here is two heavyweights that know how to go. Their styles compliment each other to an extent, and with each maintaining their obvious roles as face and heel, there's little question who to cheer and who to boo. The resurgance of the heel is a beautiful thing, as referenced with this match and the Jarrett / Sting clash earlier in the card. As far as I'm concerned, that resurgance is a good part of the reason Steiner's gonna take the belt here. We'll need a heel champion going into Starrcade, and if Booker retains here that would only give the heel one short month to build his title reign as legitimate before dropping the gold in late December. Steiner wins his first gold here, to retain against Booker's rematch at next month's PPV as well.
Winner: Scott Steiner
You're really starting to see some of the Starrcade card come together with this program, which also bodes well for the booking committee. They've stopped looking for a short term fix, and have moved on to the long view.. building feuds that will carry several months. I can see the shadows of Steiner / Goldberg, Sting / Jarrett and possibly Booker / Storm looming in the distance, and those three alone could make for a strong enough card for the "granddaddy of them all" come Christmas time. There may be hope yet in the WCW camp, but don't get your hopes up too early. We've certainly seen potential from these guys before, only to have them fall on their faces. Let's hope nothing trips them up again this time.
until next time, i remain