For this week’s homework assignment, we head back to the glory days of the WCW reboot. Each and every week without a major wrestling event the hosts of At Odds with Wrestling, Joe and Adam, alternate assigning each other and listeners like me a classic wrestling event from the past. This week Adam continues to rewatch the time when WCW decided to stop everything and rebrand itself to varied degrees of success. This is a fascinating watch over 20 years later.
This is week two of the reboot. I watched a copy of the original airing of week one. This time though, I checked out how the show was on Peacock. It’s possible a segment or two has been cut. The worst part of it is the awful non copyright music choices. The music chosen for the first segment is horrible and I damn near changed my mind and turned off the TV.
Highlights are shown from last night’s Spring Stampede PPV and that looks like a grossly overbooked show. (Highlights provided by WCW magazine! Buy a copy at your local newsstand.)
Security makes sure the building is locked down and the Millionaires Club will not be able to get in. Tony Schiavonnie, Scott Hudson, and Mark Madden are the announce team for the night.
Red confetti and balloons (because New Blood) rain from the ceiling. Vince Russo comes out with all of the new WCW champions – except for one. WCW era Tammy Sytch is underrated. Terry Funk is the only non New Blood member to win a title last night, the WCW Hardcore belt, and thus he will defend that title tonight. Jeff Jarrett comes out on his own, because he’s the World champion. There is a lot, LOT, of Jim Ross slander coming out of Russo and Jarrett. Jarrett challenges “Diamond” Dallas Page to the first Triple Cage match as inspired by Ready to Rumble at Slamboree. Adam, I know you’re reading this. David Arquette wins the title on a future Thunder show. Ready to Rumble is not available on any streaming site, but it is available to rent.
Eric Bischoff comes out with the newly turned heel Kimberly Page. Weren’t there rumors in the infamous sleaze thread that the Bischoff and Page couples were known swingers? I have all that printed out somewhere. They insult DDP. Coincidentally, this is when Page shows up to the building. The locked down building. Page beats up a couple members of security and then walks in an open door. An open door that is right by the ring entrance stage. The ring security parts and lets Page in to attack. The security was actually Ric Flair, Sting, and Lex Luger in disguise!
Backstage, Eric Bischoff is yelling at: Hugh Morrus, Chavo Guerrero, Lash Leroux, Booker T, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Jerry Flynn (who I did not recognize). Technically, this is the rookie appearance of Misfits in Action. Security quits. Hulk Hogan calls Eric on the phone which is placed in this room and we hear Hogan’s end of the phone call. All of this is exactly how phones actually work.
“The Perfect One” Shawn Stasiak vs Curt Hennig.
Miss Hancock comes down to take notes on the match. Well, that makes one of us. The referee is down, Curt hits a Hennig Plex. Stasiak fights back with some brass knucks. Shawn hits a version of an F5 called the Perfect Plant and gets the win.
Outside we see the action through a camera in a police car. The police are stopping Hulk Hogan from entering the building. Until they don’t. Which is seconds later. Hulk can’t find the entrance for the stage and the camera cuts to save him the embarrassment. Hogan comes out through the side. Stasiak is still in the ring beating up Hennig. Hogan tosses Stasiak out. Hulk then helps Curt. You know, to call back their deep friendship in WWF.
Hogan says he will lead by example. We’re using shoot names now. That means it’s real. Hogan calls out Kidman. Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson appear on camera. They’re backstage and so is Eric Bischoff who is leaning against the white Hummer.
Hogan in the back looking for Kidman.
Mean Gene interviews Jeff Jarrett. Jeff says the New Blood is complaining about opportunity. When? When did this happen? Also, the reboot is a week old. Give it some time before complaining there’s no change. Jarrett says he has an open contract for any non-millionaire to challenge him for the title tonight.
The Wall vs Terry Funk (WCW Hardcore champion).
Russo fired Dustin Rhodes last night. Dustin is off TV until January. The Wall barely catches Funk coming off the top with a moonsault to the floor. Wall piledrives Funk onto a table. The fight goes into the crowd. Tables which are set up on an elevated platform, like they usually are, fall onto the Wall. Who did this? Another WCW mystery. Funk gets the pin.
KroniK is backstage and they confront Russo. They helped out last night (their debut) and want a tag team title match. Russo says you get one but not tonight.
Someone signs up to fight Jarrett.
Mean Gene interviews DDP.
Some hockey players are front row.
The Mamalukes are in the ring ready for their match. KroniK is backstage destroying the Harris Brothers, who were supposed to wrestle. KroniK comes out and destroys the Mamalukes. Johnny the Bull makes the most of his minutes and shows off a good vertical leap.
Vampiro comes out and cuts a promo on Sting. The lights go out! Sting rappels down and cuts a promo on his fellow “brother in paint”.
Hogan is still in the back looking for Kidman. He sees a bunch of kids, man.
DDP vs Mike Awesome.
Awesome hits a crazy clothesline dive from the top to the floor. Oh, WCW now has a relaxed DQ rule. I can’t imagine who would come up with that. Kanyon comes out and goes after Awesome. Now there’s a bell. So there’s relaxed DQ but not no DQ. That sounds like a sensible rule that will always be consistent. The match is thrown out. Kevin Nash’s music hits. He sneaks in behind Awesome, attacks, and Nash puts Awesome through a table.
Russo tries to talk sense into Jarrett’s as yet unseen challenger.
Tank Abbot has shown up.
Mean Gene interviews the tag team champions – Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas. Shane challenges Lex. Lex pops up and accepts.
Tank comes out. Tank attacks the hockey players. This was a very sloppy segment and someone could have gotten hurt.
Hogan sees Terry Taylor entering the building. “I’m late.” You think, Terry? Just a little bit. Oh, by Terry I mean Taylor, not Terry as in Hulk who used his real name earlier.
1-800-CALL-ATT road report.
NitroGirls.com commercial. An updated version too, featuring Skye, who we saw earlier under a different name. I checked, this site is no longer active. Although I do have the VHS calendar somewhere.
Jarrett and Russo talk. “Here we go again JJ Dillon.” Russo is playing to an audience of one.
Lex Luger (with Miss Elizabeth) vs Shane Douglas.
If Russo interferes during the match, Team Package gets the tag belts. I had to look it up, Team Package was Lex and Ric Flair. Which has to be a dick joke.
Buff comes out and chases Liz. A fan dressed as Sting hits Shane with a bat. It’s Flair. Now the match is thrown out. So bats and nut shots are not part of the relaxed rules. Russo comes out for the fight, but it’s okay because the match is over.
Hogan finally finds the white Hummer in the dirtiest oldest looking part of a parking garage I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t feel safe walking or driving in this space.
Kidman and Hogan fight. Torrie helps. “We don’t wrestle anymore in WCW.” I had the same thought. Hogan dumps Kidman in a dumpster. The Hummer won’t start so Eric runs away. Hogan gets the Hummer to start right away. I guess because this garage looks like a horror movie we may as well have stalled cars. Hogan rams the Hummer into the dumpster, possibly horribly hurting Kidman. No, there were no camera cuts in between Kidman in the dumpster and Hogan ramming it.
Kidman is carefully lifted out and stretchered out of the dumpster.
Jeff Jarrett vs… Scott Steiner!
Steiner comes out with his Freaks, I recognize two of the three. There’s a nut shot but the match continues. Steiner has Jarrett in the Steiner Recliner. Booker T runs in and kicks Steiner. Now the match is over.
Hogan is looking for Bischoff. We’re past the 10 o’clock hour. Hogan finds Eric hiding by phones and computers. They run out to the ring, which Hogan finds right away this time. Hogan hits Eric in the nuts. Russo comes out. Bret Hart comes out?! Bret loads up a chair like he’s going to hit Hogan and that’s when the show goes off the air.
There were five matches on the show. Already established “millionaires” Curt Hennig, Terry Funk, DDP, and Lex Luger. Three New Blood talents that just debuted/returned last week: Shawn Stasiak, Mike Awesome, Shane Douglas. Jarrett and Steiner have been around a bit but never at World title level, so that’s at least some progress. And The Wall was there too. Of those five matches Stasiak and Funk won their matches and the rest were DQ or thrown out. So score 1-1 for Millionaires vs New Blood? No cruiserweights, no tag, no women (but WCW didn’t really do that in any era). Tons of Russo, Bischoff, and Hogan. This is the illusion of change. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.