At Odds with Wrestling Homework: WCW New Blood Rising 2000.

Taking place on August 13, 2000 and not thought of highly. It’s time for the At Odds with Wrestling Homework Assignment. Every week there isn’t a new PPV, the At Odds hosts – Joe and Adam – select a “classic” event to watch. As a super fan, I try to watch these events too and provide additional commentary. Also, we’re debating what series to do next on the House Show podcast so I’m always on the watch for what might be a fun PPV to do next. Thankfully, this is the one and only edition of New Blood Rising.

There’s a lot to complain about. A. LOT. I’ve been thinking about it for days and decided it boils down to this. Every single person on this show is about themselves first and no one or thing else second. Not their opponent. Not their tag partner. Not the company. Me me me.  There is no attempt to get a longer story over, or even short term and tell a story in the match. Nothing makes sense because of everyone’s agendas and pull. Nothing is a straight up one on one match without gimmicks. If everything is a schmoz then nothing is a schmoz. Even the announcers are only out for themselves. All of this is to the detriment of the programming.

Three Count (with Tank Abbot) vs. Jung Dragons in a Double Ladder match. What is a double ladder match? They’re going for two things. Alright, but tag team titles are two things and one team gets both. None of this matters though because the focus is on Tank Abbot. The camera multiple times ignores in ring action in a ladder match to show more Tank. But, he does catch the gold record which means the Otis Money in the Bank win is an homage to this show.

Ernest Miller vs. Great Muta. And what the hell happened to Muta? I actually like him in the Dark Carnival. Different, dark, but placed high on the card in prominent matches. But this? And Ernest wins! Muta is still putting on good work but this is absurd. Ernest is some sort of authority figure, but if there’s a larger Dark Carnival vs WCW feud the show did not do a good job of putting that over.

Buff Bagwell vs Chris Kanyon in a Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match. Make it stop. We’re three matches in and dear God make it stop. Credit where it’s due, Judy is having a blast. She’s enjoying her time out there and isn’t holding back. There’s a world in which she could have been a more interesting and beloved character. A world in which every one doesn’t mock the concept of the match and the match itself as it’s happening. The announcers are treating it as a joke. The wrestlers are. Even previous biggest joke David Arquette shows up.

KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) (c) defeated The Perfect Event (Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo), Sean O’Haire and Mark Jindrak, and The Misfits In Action (Gen. Rection and Corporal Cajun).

I actually really like KroniK and I wish they could have had a good run in WWE when they were brought over. Two big dudes beating the hell out of everyone teams are great. They’re also the most experienced in the ring. Rection is probably third but everyone else is tied for a distant fourth. They’re all kids who know how to do a cool move or two but can’t put a match together. But what does it matter? The whole point is to look cool for a moment and get yourself over. Screw your partner, your opponent. Hell, let’s have the tag champions not in possession of their own titles but also not attacking the team that has stolen them. 8 guys in this match plus all the Filthy Animals inside and outside and somehow it’s so chaotic it becomes uninteresting. It’s background static noise which wrestling should never be. If you’re boring viewers with a match like this what hope do you have for a one on one affair?

Billy Kidman beats Shane Douglas (with Torrie Wilson) in a strap match. Arguably the best match on the card. Kidman looks great here and is trying his hardest. Douglas is doing his ECW Franchise gimmick but it works. Torrie, give her credit, is trying to be her best Francine and doing as well as I believe she could. These two might be the exception for talent working with each other instead of against. The ending features Vito and Reno and no one knows why. Just more bodies out there without reason.

It’s a difference between a romance and pornography. Without reasons to care about the characters it’s just bodies banging around.

Major Gunns vs Ms Hancock in a ROTC – rip off the camouflage – match which also involves going into mud. Yes, as a male, I enjoyed this match. As a wrestling fan who has seen numerous people get hurt because they weren’t properly trained this could have been bad. Gunns hits the edge of the mud pool and it looks violent. It’s not even a match. It’s an excuse for stripping and then they threw in the Hancock loses her baby story with David Flair.

All of this is what happens when a wrestling booker hates wrestling. Soap opera trash talk TV. No place for great in ring work or even titles.

Sting defeats the Demon in under a minute. Why? Who does this help? Then Vampiro and Muta attack Sting. KroniK makes the save. A match is set up. So Sting. Icon Sting. Is given a minute long match to set up a tag title match. Sting destroys an opponent in under a minute on a show all about the New Blood in WCW. This feels like he contractually had to wrestle tonight but said screw you, I’m out.

Lance Storm defeats Mike Awesome under Canadian Rules. Lance held WCW’s three midcard titles all at once. Awesome was given bad gimmick after bad gimmick in WCW. Lance was a star here though. I’d push him to the World title scene if the company lasted longer. Jacques Rougeau coming out as the Canadian referee was entertaining as hell. If there wasn’t so much over booked soap opera crap surrounding the card, this match would have been great. But after seeing so much lesser work this evening it drags this match down as well.

Muta and Vampiro defeat KroniK for the tag titles. Even though the Filthy Animals have a match tomorrow night on Nitro for those titles. Even though they don’t have the titles in hand. Even though the Demon left the Dark Carnival earlier in the night. And KroniK and Muta wrestled earlier in the night. Nothing about the flow of the show makes any sense. I can’t blame wrestlers for not caring as long as they’re paid.

Kevin Nash defeats Scott Steiner and kind of Goldberg for a title shot. I hate worked shoot stuff. If “only this is real” then you’re mocking the audience for the rest of the show not being real. Penn and Teller can expose magic while still performing magic. Vince Russo cannot expose wrestling and still put on a show. Goldberg refusing to take the power bomb and flipping off Russo on the way out is horrible and furthers nothing. If I walked into a store and heard everyone fighting, I’m walking out. Why would I want to support or engage with a toxic work environment? This Goldberg angle doesn’t make me wants to spend money, it stresses me out. Thankfully, Midajah is hanging out of her pants in a highlight of the evening.

Booker T beats Jeff Jarrett to retain the WCW World title. A better match but still full of shenanigans. Shenanigans that would have been fine on their own but again, it matters less because the whole night has been screwy. At this point I’m exhausted from the evening and not at all in the mood for this match.

This might be fun to watch in a group. Or discuss as a group with your friends. On a podcast for example. But I spent three hours watching this last night and I feel like I wasted the entire day and a good portion of my life.

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