WCW on WWE Network

Discussion in 'Pro Wrestling' started by Iafeta, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Evil_Mush

    Evil_Mush Juniors

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    Yeah 1997 was an exciting time for wrestling fans in NZ!
    Wrestling was initially on free to air TV from 1988 until it was pulled after Royal Rumble 91 - specifically remember this cos we'd set the VCR to record but Dad inexplicably stopped it just after Virgil turned against Million Dollar Man, and then it just wasn't on any more :'(... and while one of the secondary WCW shows was on Sky Orange for a bit in the 95/96 time period you had to be either rich or at a motel to watch haha!

    Then out of the blue WCW Uncensored 97 is suddenly being advertised for a Friday night in April on TV2 and thus we joined the excitement just as nWo was hitting high gear (that's the show where Crow Sting descends from the rafters right at the end laying waste to the entire nWo, only about 7 members at the time... as Tony Schiavone screams IT'S STIIIING IT'S STING GOODNIGHT FROM CHARLESTONNNNN!!!!!). And alongside the likes of Viper, Renegade and The Pretender, Fridays made for an exciting nights viewing!!! It was initially WCW Pro each week with little 5-10 minute snippets of Nitro at the end of each show, but that still ruled after the 6 year tv drought!

    Summerslam 97 saw the return of WWF to free TV on TV4 though with the unfortunate timing of being aired the same night as Princess Dianas funeral, not that we could properly watch it at our place in Wanganui (well could faintly make it out if we held the bunny ears in just the right position!) so I'm not sure when the weekly WWF shows started as it was mostly snowy white noise with the odd image and soundbite cutting through the static!!!!

    Good times, simpler times, unbelievable how good we have it now, wrestling on tap with the network (and Internet in general)!
     
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  2. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    That’s exactly like my memories. My older brothers used to VHS the WWF shows. I assume it was Superstars. They definitely showed the PPVs as I remember watching Summerslam.
     
  3. Manurewa_Marlins

    Manurewa_Marlins Bench

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    We got WWF for free for a month or two before that I think, but Summerslam was our first PPV. I remember that day was my footy prizegiving/team party and I got mum to pick me up early so I could go home and watch it. Adults in the living room watching Dianas funeral crying. Kids in the bedroom screaming at the 14'' tv when Michaels hit Taker with the chair.
     
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  4. Shaun Hewitt

    Shaun Hewitt First Grade

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    I used to mark over Road Block (a really big dude in about 96). I thought he could go have gone all the way to the top, but in reality, he was opening most shows he was on (if i remember correctly)

    Damn, this nostalgia feels, might have to re-sign up to the network!!
     
  5. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    I thought the same back in the day. But then I watched again recently.... uggghhh. Time does not serve his memory well. Poor gimmick, pudgy, not a particularly great worker, ugly as AF
     
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  6. Manurewa_Marlins

    Manurewa_Marlins Bench

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    I recently got my hands on the old Raws/Smackdowns/PPVs from 1997-2002. Started watching 1998 from January on with the mrs. She's not a fan at all, but we managed to get all the way to the Rumble without her asking me to turn it off haha. It's genuinly engaging television. The matches are quite short and shit...but the angles and characters are brilliant.

    Some notes thus far...They dropped the ball with Don Callis...WWF crowd doesnt care for workrate at all, they chanted boring through the Jarrett/Windham NWA title match that was actually pretty damn good...Kane was getting babyface pops ahead of the Rumble, the swerve in the title match between Taker and Michaels was very well done...The Rock is brilliant, my girl really digs it when he refers to himself in the third person, even when talking to a camera man 'Get that camera out of the Rock's face' haha.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the post-Mania shows.
     
  7. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    Touching on the 'WCW on Australian TV' topic from before, when I started watching in July of '99 it was on TNT. At 9pm, Cartoon Network would switch over to TNT and straight into that week's edition of Nitro. If the spoilers were interesting, I'd tune into see what kind of shenanigans the Outsiders were up to or tune into see Billy Kidman vs. Psichosis in a Hair vs. Mask match.

    At midnight, they'd play a syndicated Nitro from 96/97 which always looked extremely dated. A common complaint of WCW is that the television got stale, but watching those shows with Hogan in the red & yellow, the old ass Taskmaster, the Amazing French Canadians, John Tenta, Big Bubba etc. felt like a millenia from '99. At least to a younger version of myself, of course it didn't occur to me that Hogan returning to the yellow and red 3 years later was a desperate attempt to put the toothpaste back into the tube and completely bought into the redemption arc Hogan was on.

    In 2000 Optusvision got a crappy Fox 8 knock off called Channel O. The network mostly played syndicated shows like Mr. Cooper, Family Matters, Full House but of interest was WCW Saturday Night and WCW Thunder episodes from 1998. This was in the middle of 2000 where WCW was a trainwreck and completely unwatchable, so even getting a chance to watch the LWO in action and the Flock was a welcome relief.

    These days it's nearly impossible to keep up with all the content the WWE has to offer, but it's something I admired about WCW. It seemed like everyday of the week there was a wrestling show to look forward to and it was so easy to get immersed in the competition. Meanwhile prior to SmackDown, the WWF had 4 hours of TV a week and it wasn't always that good.

    Then in 2001 one of the Optus Sports channels started airing both Nitro and Thunder a day or so after they went to air in the states. By this point I was so done with the product, but I did tune into see that final episode in Panama which was like a Clash of the Champions style special. I remember being hyped with the Shane McMahon twist, not understanding that WWF vs. WCW had become a glorified McMahon angle which I was sick of.

    I wasn't a huge fan of the TV product, but I loved WCW/nWo Revenge for the Nintendo 64. My favourite wrestlers from that were:

    Goldberg
    Sting
    Diamond Dallas Page
    Rey Mysterio Jr
    La Parka

    Forget the Macarena, the only dance I bothered to learn was La Parka's.

    Hayabusa & Muta were also sick in that game.

    Watching the shows back now, I find myself enjoying the following...

    Arn Anderson
    Eddie Guerrero
    Rey Mysterio Jr
    Chris Jericho
    Kanyon

    Lately I've been watching the road to Road Wild '98. Stevie Ray is trying to claim power of attorney over Booker T and his WCW TV Championship. Chavo Guerrero Jr keeps doing run-ins in the middle of matches involving either his uncle or Stevie Ray and gets a big reception everytime. Bagwell exaggerated his condition to get back at Rick Steiner and the nWo Black and White are on the warpath after Goldberg won the WCW Championship. There's a lot of bad TV - the Leno/Bischoff stuff is death but there's still plenty to like. The highlight is Mongo's angle where he's trying to reform the Horsemen and Double A is doing his best to just let things be.
     
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  8. Valheru

    Valheru First Grade

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    The last few months I have been watching a lot of the old NWA/WCW shows I hadn't seen before (everything pre 1996 really) and also been reading the accompying observers which is real interesting.

    Anyways, I had always heard that certain shows were really good, American Bash 89 and wrestlewar 89 for example. I watched Wrestlewar 1991 yesterday, had never heard anything about the show so went in with low expectations but it was a very good show and well worth checking out.

    I won't give a full rundown but there is nothing actively bad on there and there are 4 x 3 stare plus matches with the highlight being wargames between the horseman (flair, Sid, Windham, Zybyszko) vs Steiners, Pillman and Sting. This is a 4-4.5 star match and well worth checking out. It is famous for one of the sickest spots ever where Sid damn near killed Pillman with a botched power bomb. Problem was Sid was near on the height of the cage so when he put Pillman up for the move, Pillman hit the cage and never came into position properly and Sid dropped him square on his neck. It was clear Pillman was out but what does Sid do, picks him right back up and performs the move again, he did it properly this time but Pillman was legit unconscious and had no way to break his fall the 2nd time.

    They had to improvise a finish from here with El Gigante quitting on behalf of Pillman who didn't know what day it was.
     
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  9. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    I think it’s WrestleWar 92 that has a massively underrated and under remembered main event featuring the Dangerous Alliance. This stable was outstanding - Paul E Dangerously as manager (Paul Hayman), Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Larry Zbysko, Arn Anderson, and Beautiful Bobby Eaton. The match is one of the best War Games you will see.
     
  10. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    From a business stand-point, the Dangerous Alliance didn't record the business expected of them, but the stable is remembered as one of the high-points in WCW history. That WrestleWar '92 match is remembered as one of the greatest matches in WCW history, if not THE greatest and rightfully so. It's a well laid out match with some of the greatest performers of all-time, I really enjoy studying the match and trying to get the mechanics.

    I haven't checked out the episode, but apparently Austin reviewed it and was actually surprisingly critical of the match. I could be misremembering, but I'd be keen to dig through the archives and see what Steve had to say about it.

    For mine, WCW never surpassed 1989. That was their year and it seemed like every major storyline would come back to that period.
     
  11. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    Interesting. I listened to that. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I think on reflection he’s still being a bit harsh. Yes, perhaps it should have shot to a hot start from the get go. And they argue that the finish really doesn’t put the faces over, but I think it gives plausible deniability with the heels too that that was the only way to beat them. Psychology wise that makes sense to me because the Dangerous Alliance was the elite and something unique would be required to beat them.

    One thing I’m noticing in WCW in particular is when their characters gimmicks are something normal but dialled all the way it gets over. But when it’s cheesy it falls flat on its face. So going back to the early 90s they had a god awful wrestler with a good look called Van Hammer. They tried to push him to the moon but he never got over. He was a poor wrestler but he had a psychedelic rock gimmick. I don’t expect a rockstar to beat someone up. But an Enforcer, like Arn Anderson, something like that I can get behind.

    I feel those cheesy gimmicks put a ceiling on most. I hate going back to Alex Wright but watching around June to August he is getting massive heal heat. For the most part they do a great job with it. Then Disco Inferno rocks up and the cheese factor rises.

    Interestingly Ray Traylor has just returned. I feel the Dungeon of Doom ruined him in WCW. But here he is just Ray coming back from an injury, the nWo offered him no support, now he’s here for vengeance. The crowd starts popping.

    Sometimes wrestling is kinda simple really.
     
  12. Valheru

    Valheru First Grade

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    On the Wargames matches, what do you guys think of it as a gimmick in general?

    Its downfall IMO is the fact that the match can't finish at any time which really makes the first 15 minutes unexciting because there is no possibility of spontaneity in terms of the finish. Some might argue the Royal Rumble is the same which is partly true in that there is a minimum match time but it is elimination based of which they can happen at any time.

    For me that excludes any wargames match from being able to reach 5 stars. Having said that I consistently rate them 4-4.5 stars which shows just how well booked most of them were.
     
  13. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    I’m not so sure about that. It’s a conglomeration of individual fueds and often an epic stable fued brought to life. It’s a good way to use a cage - to me you use a cage only when you have two sides that you can’t control and you need to find a way to constrain them to end the fight.

    It’s also a good way to go midcard talent in with main eventers so they get more of a rub just by association.

    It’s all about the story. Sometimes though imo they can balls it. I feel Fall Brawl 97 is the death of Curt Hennig in WCW. Curt was hugely over when he came in. He was one of the few wrestlers who in my opinion could fill Arns role. The turn, massive twist no doubt, and the way they did it I felt was cool as in slamming Rics head forcing the hand cuffed Horsemen to give up. That was cool. But, then the Horsemen die for a while, and Curt becomes a lackey to Hogan. Just like Bret Hart did later on. How they booked those two chaps I will never understand frankly.

    If Curt needs to go heel, he should be a stand-alone heel imo. Almost the hired gun role. Because when he went into the nWo he was the biggest case of a talent being lost in the mix.
     
  14. Shaun Hewitt

    Shaun Hewitt First Grade

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    Re 1997, that isn't a relfection on the War Games though, that's an issue with the post War Games booking.

    War Games is among my favorite match types ever. They always seems so intense!
     
  15. Valheru

    Valheru First Grade

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    Yeah agree with that.

    I just always thought the gimmick would be even further enhanced with some sort of elimination element in the first 15 minutes of the match before the submission finish comes in to affect.

    As it stands, the first 15 minutes can feel contrived because you know there is no possibility of a finish.
     
  16. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    I could see how in 1987, the WarGames concept would be considered awesome. The spectacle of having two rings, inside one giant cage and having the top stars beat the tar out of each other sounds awesome. However, by the time I got into wrestling, the WarGames concept had already been dwarfed by ladder matches, hell in a cell and all the insane stunts you'd see in ECW, FMW & IWA.

    Don't get me wrong, a lot of the really good WarGames matches still hold up. They just don't have the edge they once had and you've really got to pay close attention to appreciate them. Whereas Shawn Michaels/The Undertaker, the TLC matches etc. are still pretty gripping to this day.

    As far as Hennig goes, I thought the Fall Brawl 97 spot was one of his career highlights. So much so, they were still referring to it a year later on TV and drew a monster rating out of a Dean Malenko vs. Curt Hennig Cage Match on Nitro.

    The problem with Curt in WCW is that they had a shiny new toy complex. Whenever they'd get a new talent, they'd push it to the moon until the next star came in. In '97 it was Hennig, then it went Rude and Bret. Then by '98 it's the nWo Wolfpac angle, NBA Stars, Goldberg, Leno, Warrior and whatever else.

    In fairness to WCW, Hennig was in the twilight of his career and only had so many bumps in him. He was never going to be WCW Champion and they had other guys to work the US and TV titles. He did get lost in the shuffle for awhile there, but when he hooked up with Windham he was perfectly cast in the tag division. The Hennig/Windham vs. Benoit/Malenko feud was really good and kick-started a tag team renaissance for the company after a fairly horrid run for the majority of '98.
     
  17. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    I think the initial part of his turn was phenomenal. It showed a new side to the nWo ruthlessness, and the way the Horsemen refused to surrender until Flair was being put into an apparent life or death situation showed them to be bad to the bone too. And then Hennig presenting Hogan with Flairs robe, and the Hennig/Flair matches, they were all great.

    But then it was like creative had nothing for him. Which was a massive deluxe balls up. He was one of the best in selling. His matches always got blokes credibility. His characterisations, charisma, star quality and mic skills were still fantastic. But he was relegated basically to nWo B status.

    As for War Games losing its lustre, disagree. In 1997 ECW was over with a small portion of the wrestling world. Their TV distribution at that point was limited to late late late nights on channels that were really hard to find outside of the Tri State area. WWF really hasn’t gone to any prominence in gritty gore. They’d had Bret, Austin, and 2 years prior the ladder matches. This was before Mankind Undertaker. FMW? Would have really only been seen in the US by hardcorev tape traders. WarGames in 1997 was still massively legit. Where it soiled the bed was 1998 which yes all those other factors were becoming factors and it became an Ultimate Warrior smoke and mirrors charade.
     
  18. Big Pete

    Big Pete Referee

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    My point wasn't that the WarGames matches lost their luster, it's that the appeal was lost on certain generation (ie us Attitude Era millenials).

    As far as ECW, FMW, IWA etc. you'd be surprised. I remember a Mick Foley VHS from way back when spoke about how insane IWA was and even included a match from the promotion. FMW had a vocal fan following online, chances were if you were into Pro Wrestling you would have heard about Hayabusa. As for ECW, it was actually drawing more fans than WCW in 2000. All the websites I frequented back in the day treated ECW equally and the same could be said of the magazines I bought (World of Wrestling etc.)

    Even WCW seemed to be over WarGames and instead opted to bring back the Tower of Doom match. As time went on, wrestling just became more dangerous with promotions like CZW rising to prominence. I barely knew anyone on the roster (Sick Nick Mondo is the only guy who comes to mind), but the music compilations were so prominent in the early-to-mid 00s it was hard to ignore.
     
  19. Valheru

    Valheru First Grade

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    The rap is crap stuff was great.

    The best part about it was they were portrayed as heels whilst the filthy animals were the faces.

    Only one problem with that, the traditional southern territories of WCW in the south hated rap and loved country/western so the animals were promptly booed out of most buildings lol
     
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  20. Iafeta

    Iafeta Referee

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    Yes I like the West Texas Rednecks stuff too. I just didn’t like him in the nWo. He was consigned to being nothing more than filler. And yet when he arrived in WCW the fans were super into him and his matches were very good.

    Agree the premise of face v heel really backfired spectacularly.

    Just watching Fall Brawl 1997 now. Eddie v Jericho is an early match on the card. Totally different from anything I expected to see. Was a mat wrestling match for the most part. Some innovative stuff. The finish though was incredible. Jericho takes Guerrero up for a superplex but Eddie changes it to a cross body mid flight and then into something of a DDT. Live it looks like Jericho is dead. Watching the replay though you can see their technical proficiency and though it looked like he landed on his head live he was completely safe the whole time. And then the frog splash. What a move.
     
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