A change from the norm this week, as this British-based writer takes a look at the WWE Wrestling Classics, shown on Sky Sports this past Thursday, which is actually an old episode of WCW Worldwide from the spring of 1991. Confused, then blame the tree huggers and the panda lovers for this state of confusion.
The show starts with a flashback of "The Man of Two Holds", El Gigante, kicking the hell out of Barry Windham and Ric Flair in a previous episode of whatever WCW show this came from. Ricky Morton is on this match too, but what was happening is never fully explained at any point in the show.
Our announcers for the show are Fat Tony Schivane and the legend himself, Gordon Solie. After a brief introduction it's straight into tag-team action as Sting and Lex Luger go up against Hopeless Jobbers 1 and 2. Luger is actually the U.S. Champion at this point in time, but is not actually carrying his belt to the ring. Strange, eh? And Hopeless Jobber#2 is actually none other than Marc Mero, here billed as Mark Merol, and before he sought the advice of Teddy Long and became a Little Richard copycat.
Mero(l) actually puts up quite a good showing against WCW's top two babyfaces. Fat Tony & Mr. Solie hype up Sting & Luger's upcoming match against the Steiners at the first Superbrawl show. This was back when Scott Steiner could actually get into the ring without tripping over the ring apron, and Luger was capable of putting on a good match. We are constantly told how Sting and Luger are such a great team, and are worthy contenders for the Steiner's World Tag-Team Championship. After press-slamming Hopeless Jobber#1, Sting comes off the top rope with a Stinger Splash for the win.
After a short break, it's "The Man of Two Holds" El Gigante against Hopeless Jobber#3. This match sucks. Gigante sucks. Let this be a lesson to any wrestling promoter out there - just because a guy is big, doesn't mean that he'll be good. Jorge Gonzalez was the worst "big man" wrestler in history. He pins Hopeless Jobber#3 with a claw hold. At least when the Von Erichs used this hold they showed a lot more intensity.
After a brief Superbrawl report in which Mr. Solie hypes other matches for the show, including Arn Anderson v Bobby Eaton for the TV title, I think I'm watching Raw for a few minutes as the playa himself, Teddy Long, comes to the ring with Kevin Sullivan and the One Man Gang, the artist formerly known as Akeem in the WWF. Teddy berates former charge Ron Simmons (Farooq) on his way to the ring, before OMG squashes Hopeless Jobber#4 in under three minutes. OMG is probably pining for the main event status he achieved opposite Savage and Hogan two years previously. Fat Tony then interviews the three of them, as Sullivan, in his usual, loving, demented way tells of Long's problems with Simmons, and how Long came to them to recruit the Gang for his feud. Watching this makes you realise just how much Long is wasted on guys such as Rodney Mack and Mark Henry.
Ad break - bah gawd, the new rugby season is upon us. Men playing with odd-shaped balls. Truly exciting. Then that awful ad for Ocean Finance. For some reason this annoys the hell out of me, especially that fat northern bloke who "had been to other companies, but had been refused". It's because you're annoying, that's why you were refused, you annoying git!
Back from the ads, and it's a classic example of a man who was better off in tag-teams as "Dangerous" Dan Spivey goes up against Hopeless Jobber#5. Dan is demented because of the stark, staring eyes he has. But then again, Donald Pleasance had the same eyes, and helped defeat Michael Myers on several occasions. Spivey uses the usual big man moves, big boot, big clothesline, suplex without leaving his feet, before pinning Hopeless Jobber#5 with a sidewalk slam. It was better when he was with Vicious or Rotundo, wasn't it?
Then it's time for one of our feature matches as Alexandra York (Terri Runnels), with the burly Mr. Hughes standing behind her, tells us of the program she devised on her Spectrum computer for her charge, Terrence "I used to be a chicken" Taylor, and of how said program will help him defeat Big "I'm going to be a clown" Josh. It gets me thinking that these days, there's more silicon in Ms. York's breasts than there ever was in one of those computers she used.
Then it's the battle of the weekend mid-carders as Josh and Taylor, with Hughes and Terri....I mean Ms. York at ringside. Josh overpowers the chicken man at first before Terri.....I mean Ms. York comes up with a new program to help her man, which involves Mr. Taylor using the usual heel tactics against the beloved baby face (I never loved the guy, even when he was a rip-off from a Stephen King novel). Josh makes a comeback, and Mr. Taylor tries to use the Spectrum against him. But Josh grabs the old Speccy and clobbers Mr. Taylor with it. The ref has no choice but to disqualify BJ.
In the middle of the ring, as Terri.....I mean Ms. York looks on from ringside, BJ begins to play with the Spectrum, perhaps trying beat his previous high score on Manic Miner. Terri......I mean Ms. York sends the big black dude into the ring to retrieve the Spectrum. Back then those machines were considered top of the line, you know, although geeks with Commodore 64's would have you believe otherwise. Sure, the keyboard was better, but eventually, the Speccy got there. And the Commie 64 never had a built-in disk drive or tape deck at the end, did it?
Another ad break - the Champions League is coming to Sky! Could Alex Ferguson v David Beckham be the best candidate for feud of the year? It's certainly hotter than anything on Raw or Smackdown right now.
Norwich Union Direct - quote me happy by getting rid of this crappy ad campaign. I don't care if I've got a friend who works for them.
Back to the show, and the head of the Diamond Exchange, Diamond Dallas Page, comes down to the ring with a dolly-bird and introduces us to the gem of his Exchange, the fake Freebirds, Michael PS "Sean Waltman cut my hair" Hayes, and Jimmy "Jam" Garvin, as they go up against Hopeless Jobbers 6 & 7. The 'Birds are accompanied by Big Daddy Dink, who used to be a Knight of the British Empire as Sir Oliver Humperdink. From a knight to a roadie. What the feck happened?
Hayes is obviously the better wrestler of the two, but those of us with longer memories would have you believe that this isn't the Freebirds. The 'Birds were Hayes, Terry and Buddy, not Jimmy "I'm a camp twat" Garvin. He is no substitute for Terry or Buddy.
Hang on - Jimmy "Camp Freebird" Garvin is really "Rugged" Ronnie's brother? Are you sure about that?
The Fake Freebirds get the win after Hayes DDT's Hopeless Jobber#7. I don't care what you say, Jake's DDT was far better. They then begin to beat up on the Hopeless Jobbers until the Young Pistols, who counted Tracey "I want to be Italian" Smothers, and one of the Armstrong boys among their number, come out and save the jobbers, therefore heating up their feud over the vacant U.S. Tag title match at Superbrawl.
Our main event is for the least prestigious title in the history of professional wrestling, the World Six-Man Tag-Team Championship. WCW obviously put a lot of pride into this championship because our champions, Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich and the Junkyard Dog don't actually have any championship belts. If Michael Mann had been introducing this match he would have been screwed.
Morton, Rich and JYD are defending their belts against the world's hairiest man, Dutch Mantell, and the State Patrol team of Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker and Lt. James Earl Jones or something like this. The State Patrol is a perfect example of how a tag-team never was over with the crowd. But then again, this crowd seemed dead for the entire show. It's obvious that crowd cheers were added during the editing, because this crowd just seemed to sit there with their hands in their laps. Mind you, if someone had put Tommy Rich in a wrestling match in front of me, I'd either just sit there or spend the next few minutes passing something or other in the toilet. It's hard to believe that Rich ever was NWA World Champion. He has to be the worst ever wrestler to have ever held such a prestigious title. But on second thoughts, isn't the Big Show a double World Champion?
This match sucks, plain and simple. Rich is only paired with Morton because Morton's long-time Crock 'N' Troll Express tag partner Robert Gibson is on the injured list. Rich being in this match is enough to turn anyone off wrestling, but the State Patrol's constant botching of moves is another reason to turn off. It's hard to believe that one half of this tandem was later given the task of overseeing the training of future superstars in this sport. Was Goldberg really trained by a guy who was little more than a jobber? It would appear so.
It says something that Mantell is probably the best wrestler in this match. Mantell was never close to ever winning a world title, but at least he put some effort in.
During a six-man brawl, Morton pins Parker with a roll-up. They have successfully defended their titles. But as they actually have no belts, can they actually defend them?
Fat Tony and Mr. Solie (respect) then quickly wrap things up, and the show is over some ten minutes before it's actually meant to end. Me thinks Sky cut out a huge chunk.
Overall, not too bad. At the time, the WWF, with Superstars and Wrestling Challenge, were putting out far better products. At least they had upper-midcarders on their shows, guys who were actually feuding with others, rather thanwrestlers who would cut promos by saying "I'm (insert name here), I'm in WCW, and I want to beat someone." I can't use the word ass because it wasn't allowed on wrestling programmes in 1991.
Will I be watching next week? Perhaps. The cricket season's over, and there's little else on at 5.30pm on a Thursday afternoon. I just hope that the next show we get something better. A shame the panda-lovers had their way, wasn't it?