20 years ago the world of wrestling had another busy week, but busiest of anyone was Rick Rude. The Ravishing one managed to appear on WWF Raw and WCW Nitro in the same night, while apparently displaying an exceptional rate of facial hair growth. Rude also made a televised appearance for ECW over the adjacent weekend too. Busy boy, but what else was happening ‘down south’ in 1997? Let’s find out in this week’s ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’…
- The Giant got in Meng’s face after The Faces of Fear defeated The Public Enemy. Meng refused to release his Tongan Death Grip on Johnny Grunge, which prompted The Giant to make the save. Tony Schiavone made reference to some kind of confrontation between Meng and Giant last week, but it wasn’t on Saturday Night or Nitro so this felt totally out of the blue and/or a complete fabrication.
- Hardwork Bobby Walker got some air time this week. Teddy Long cut a promo for him, before Bobby chipped in towards the end. The gist of it was that he is called ‘Hardwork Bobby Walker’ because he works hard and that his new finisher is called ‘Quiting Timing’. Imaginative stuff. Later, Long and Walker propositioned Bobby Eaton after Beautiful Bobby had just been defeated by La Parka. In a fantastically awkward moment, La Parka decided to hang around for this little angle. Did the luchador waste anyone with the chair he was holding? Nope, he just hung around like a third wheel.
- Alex Wright thinks he looks good, which Mean Gene seemed to agree with. Wright is under the impression that he is still the Television Champion, despite having lost the title to Disco Inferno who himself has since dropped it to Saturn. Later, Wright was upset by Hector Garza who scored the win with a sloppy standing moonsault. Neither Wright nor his manager, Debra, were happy about the loss, obviously.
- Speaking of Saturn, Raven once again introduced his right-hand man by proclaiming; “let the stretchings begin.”
- Steven Regal defeated Chris Adams, with the aid of a distraction from Dave Taylor. Afterwards, Regal and Taylor put the boots to Adams. Later, Norman Smiley offered to help Adams in this very British feud, should he need it.
- Kidman defeated Juventud with a Shooting Star Press. Afterwards the rest of The Flock attacked Juvi.
- Following possibly the juiciest story the WCW Hotline has had this year comes probably the dullest; This week Mean Gene was revealing who might be in the World War 3 battle royal. Yawn.
- A big guy called Horshu made his debut, defeating Joey Maggs with a flying something from the second turnbuckle. Being large, jacked and lacking hair it is easy to see why some dirt sheets confused this guy with Goldberg while they were both working dark matches over the summer. Incidentally, Horshu would later go on to become the equally forgettable Luther Reigns in the WWE.
- Steven Regal defeated Chris Adams
- Billy Kidman defeated Juventud Guerrera
- Glacier defeated Barry Horowitz
- Norman Smiley defeated Lenny Lane
- Horshu defeated Joey Maggs
- Saturn defeated Scrub
- La Parka defeated Bobby Eaton
- Mortis defeated Super Calo
- Hector Garza defeated Alex Wright
- Faces of Fear defeated Public Enemy
The big news from Nitro this week caused Eric Bischoff to be even more smug than usual, which is saying something. I am of course talking about the WCW return of Ravishing Rick Rude. While that is big news, it was the timing of his return that caused such a stir. A moustached Rude was introduced as the newest member of the nWo by Eric Bischoff and was accompanied by Hollywood Hogan during the group’s now customary show-opening promo. Rude talked about rights and wrongs. The rights included Bret Hart leaving “The Titanic”, which was a reference to the WWF’s parent company; Titan Sports. The wrongs Rude cited included Shawn Michaels being a world champion and Vince McMahon ordering a referee to screw Hart. Rude closed by stating his regret at missing the beat down on Sting last week, but is anxious to join in the fun next time. This showed, by wrestling standards, an outstanding level of continuity because Rude was embroiled in a feud with Sting when he sustained the back injury that forced him to retire in 1994. The controversy, and reason for Bischoff’s good mood, came around an hour later on the USA Network. A bearded Rick Rude appeared on WWF Raw, introducing Degeneration-X and participating in a beat down of Sgt. Slaughter. Rude’s defection to WCW was made possible by the fact that Raw was pre-recorded last week and he was working for the the WWF without a contract, but that doesn’t explain why he decided to make the jump. Well, Rude was a good friend of a certain Bret Hart and was understandably pissed off following last week’s Survivor Series. As it relates to Rude’s appearance on ECW’s syndicated shows over the weekend; the lack of a WWF contract and the promotion’s working relationship with ECW made that pre-recorded appearance possible.
In Other News From Nitro –
- This nWo promo also played host to Hogan’s usual rhetoric, Scott Hall giving the injured Syxx a shout out and Kevin Nash throwing cold water over his feud with The Giant. Their rivalry is essentially over who WCW’s one true giant is, but Kev said Giant can have the moniker and that he is happy just being big and sexy. Big Sexy also clued us in as to why he and Hall have been wearing WCW Tag Titles recently, despite not being champions. Kev and Scott feel that they (The Outsiders) are the true champions because The Steiners defeated Hall and Syxx for the belts, despite the ‘Freebird rule’ being utilised by The Wolfpack. The Wolfpack being the trio of Nash, Hall and Syxx.
- The New World Order had a busy night attacking people. Firstly, the entire group attacked former member Ray Traylor after big Ray cut a promo saying that he does not expect help from the WCW roster. Even group leader Hogan joined in this attack by whipping Ray with his weightlifting belt. The B Team beat the crap out of Larry Zbyszko after Eric Bischoff taunted the announcer. Easy E fed off the scraps and posed over Larry’s unconscious body. The Steiner Brothers got jumped by the entire group during their entrance and it was an nWo run-in during Scott Hall’s match with The Giant that sparked a massive rumble to close the go-home show before World War 3.
- A fan tried to get at Bischoff during his attack on Zbyszko. Luckily for the fan, Doug Dillinger and other security guards got to him before Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell caused him some serious harm, because they were about to.
- Scott Hall worked over The Giant’s hand in their main event. It remains to be seen if this injured paw will play into an angle further down the road.
- Rey Mysterio got a big win over Chris Jericho and was spotted scouting Eddie Guerrero during Eddie’s match with Dean Malenko. This match ended in a double count out when both men failed to answer the referee’s ten count after a Malenko top rope release side suplex. Mysterio will face Guerrero in a rematch from the Cruiserweight title at Sunday’s pay per view.
- Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael vs. Goldberg is now official World War 3. Speaking of Mongo, he was disqualified against Alex Wright after he threw referee Nick Patrick across the ring.
- Curt Hennig got himself intentionally disqualified against Lex Luger by shoving Nick Patrick – who was in the wars on this show – into his opponent. Once back in the ring, Hennig decked the ref for good measure too. The Giant made the save, presumably for Luger but I’d bet Patrick was glad to see him too.
- Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Benoit each appeared in pre-recorded promos putting Bret Hart over while also expressing shock, disbelief and disappointment that he has apparently joined the nWo.
- The Faces of Fear had a scrap with Glacier and Ernest Miller after Meng had defeated Sub-Zero, I mean Glacier.
- We got to see Scotty Riggs’ gross eye after his eye patch and dressing came off during his match with Saturn. To remind you, he injured it a few weeks ago when Raven dropped him on a steel chair in what Raven has since called an accident. Prior to this match Kidman, on behalf of Raven, gave Riggs another chance to join The Flock but he refused. After the bout, Riggs copped another beating from the rest of The Flock.
- Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Glacier
- Alex Wright (w/ Queen Debra) defeated Steve McMichael by DQ
- Rey Misterio Jr. defeated Chris Jericho
- Diamond Dallas Page defeated Villano V (w/ Villano IV)
- Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Dean Malenko ended in a Double Count Out in a WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
- Saturn (c) defeated Scotty Riggs to retain the WCW Television Championship
- Lex Luger defeated Curt Hennig (c) by DQ in a WCW United States Championship Match
- The Giant defeated Scott Hall via disqualification
“Very nice pants Alex, I wanted to compliment you on that.”
Mean Gene, not for the first time, full of praise for Alex Wright’s choice of pants
The Wrestling Observer contained so much coverage from the infamous ‘Montreal Screwjob’ that Disco Dave Meltzer had to make it a two-parter. This week’s edition opened with this paragraph, which is pretty on the money now that we really are 20 years removed from the incident; ‘It will go down in history as the single most famous finish of a pro wrestling match in the modern era. Twenty or 30 years from now this story, more than any famous wrestler jumping promotions, more than any prominent death, and more than any record setting house, will be remembered vividly by all who watched it live, and remembered as legendary from all who hear about it later. Through the magic of videotape, the last minute of this match will live forever, and be replayed literally millions of times by tens of thousands of people all looking for the most minute pieces of detail to this strange puzzle.’
- Some people like to rag on Dave Meltzer, but reading his coverage of the lead up to and events of the Survivor Series, he is pretty much on the money. There are countless books, documentaries, shoot interviews and podcasts which have looked at every microscopic detail of every possible perspective of the incident, but Disco Dave’s coverage in the days following holds up extremely well.
- Having been unable to persuade Rey Mysterio to unmask, Eric Bischoff’s attention has turned to Juventud Guerrera. Not that he’s forgotten about Rey though.
- Rumours are abound that WCW’s Thursday show, which launches in January, will be called WCW Thursday Thunder.
- How’s this for a list of injuries; swollen kidneys, a herniated disc and tendinitis. Despite this, Konnan is only expected to miss a couple of weeks.
- Stevie Richards has left WCW. Apparently he had a falling out with Raven for real but had enough sense to see that without an on-screen relationship with Raven he had no chance in the company, so he quit.
It seems that every episode of Raw from this time period is a significant one when viewed in hindsight, and this week’s offering was no exception. Recorded on 11/11/97 i.e. last Tuesday, two days after the Survivor Series, we saw Vince McMahon’s infamous interview in which he claimed “Bret screwed Bret”.
Raw 3.15 – 4.12 Nitro
You can read all previous ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’ posts here