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Figure Four Weekly 8/21/2017: A weekend in Brooklyn for Summerslam

A Weekend in Brooklyn for SummerSlam

 

by Joseph Currier (@josephcurrier)

As WWE's four-day stretch in Brooklyn began to wrap up, my biggest takeaway from my time in New York City was just how special live wrestling can be.

Being at an event in-person can make a great show like NXT TakeOver seem even better, a marathon like SummerSlam feel less tiresome, and the Raw crowd amusing itself with the wave and playing with beach balls somehow a bit less annoying.

TakeOver was the reason for my trip and ended up being the highlight at the end of it. Due to the nature of it being a quasi-developmental brand, NXT is constantly changing. And while that has led to ups and downs in quality, there's never been anything close to a bad TakeOver special. Being at one live was a genuine bucket-list moment as a wrestling fan.

The quarterly NXT specials have a formula that makes it almost impossible for them to disappoint. The length of the show is perfect, everyone works hard and exceeds expectations, and there are usually moments that leave fans wanting to see what's next.

This time, what's next is how Adam Cole will fare in NXT after making his debut. The crowd was anticipating Cole from at least the second I walked into the arena, with "Adam Cole Bay-Bay!" chants breaking out sporadically throughout the pre-show. And just as fans started to think Cole might not show up, they were given what they had waited the whole night for.

In the ring, Asuka vs. Ember Moon stole the show on Saturday. There were so many meaningful callbacks to their last match and the feud they've had. Asuka has an aura that few others in WWE can approach.

Everything at least met expectations at TakeOver, with most matches exceeding them. It's become a cliche to say that NXT outdid the WWE pay-per-view from the same weekend, but that doesn't make it any less true.

While SummerSlam was far more uneven, the highs still managed to reach the standard that had been set the night prior. There were both good and disappointing matches spread throughout the six-hour broadcast. Being in the building didn't make the bad stuff much better, but the good more than made up for it.

The Universal Championship main event was the spectacle that everyone had hoped for. Multi-man matches involving Brock Lesnar are always great -- they're longer and usually have more action than when he faces someone one-on-one.

This fatal four-way in particular was so successful because of who Lesnar's opponents were. Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe at the top of the card have made Raw much easier to watch. And they all complement Lesnar's style well and have been presented as believable threats.

The audience at the Barclays Center came to its feet right when the four-way brawl broke out, and they didn't sit down for the rest of the show. It seemed to be a high-end contender for WWE's match of the year when it was over. And like with NXT, WWE was able to have the fans leaving the arena wanting more -- even at the end of a six-hour long show. Lesnar vs. Strowman (which will be the main event of No Mercy next month) felt like the biggest thing WWE could do going forward, with unfinished business between Lesnar and Reigns also being apparent.

WWE didn't get everything right at SummerSlam. Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura may have been more of a letdown live after the crowd was so hyped at the start, some of the matches probably could have been left off the show and made it a better experience, and most storylines weren't as inspired as the main event.

But Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Strowman vs. Joe was an example of how good WWE can be when it's at its best. Combined with The New Day and The Usos trying to have the match of the night on the pre-show, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose winning the Raw tag titles, and a few more enjoyable matches, SummerSlam couldn't be anything other than a positive experience.

Like with a lot of people coming from out of state, Raw on Monday was the epilogue to my weekend in NYC. Despite memorable moments like Lesnar vs. Strowman being set up and Reigns and John Cena sharing the ring, the episode will be remembered for the crowd playing with beach balls.

Those antics rightfully annoyed people watching at home and took away from what was going on in the ring, but they didn't do much to harm what was a great trip. Watching pro wrestling live, whether it's at your smallest local indie or WWE's second biggest weekend of the year, can remind you of why you love this. Just remember to leave the beach balls at home.

 

Mexico Notes

 

by Dr. Lucha Steve Sims (@DrLuchaJr)

Well, after a year or so of waiting, the time has arrived. The match of máscara contra máscara between tecnico The Psycho Clown and rudo Dr. Wagner Jr. takes place this weekend. The card for Triplemania is supposed to begin Saturday evening August 26th 2017 at either 8 pm or 9 pm local time (CDT). Based on a long history of tardiness from AAA in this area, it is possible this match won't go off until after midnight and into early Sunday morning. Tele visa's Channel 5 in Mexico has been running its own promos saying that "Triplemania XXV" will air at the conclusion of the Mayweather-McGregor telecast.

This show is, to the ticket-buying public, a one-match show. A ton of tickets – more than half of all tickets available for sale - were sold, at big-show prices, before any other match was announced for the card. The website of La Arena Ciudad de Mexico states that there are over 22,000 seats in the stadium's construction. It's not clear if this would include floor seats available, my guess is it does, and AAA will have to block off some seats for the stage and show. Still, a sellout of this arena at these prices would make this the largest gate ever in Mexican wrestling, by my calculations well over $1,000,000. I do suspect they will either sell out or come fairly close, and that they will pass those milestones.

AAA needs this. Such a gate will make up for three anni horribili. Since the time they signed Rey Misterio Jr., Alberto del Rio, and Sin Cara away from WWE at contracts that proved too rich for reason, they have had a disaster Rey de Reyes, a disaster TripleMania and a mediocre one, the death of the top heel and the person who ran the business side of things in the front office, and the departure of an experience booker to be replaced by a novice one, all during a three-year period in which both the overall Mexican economy and gang/drug violence has gotten worse.

And so the backdrop is set. Wagner, with a history of last-minute negotiations over money, and Psycho, presumably at some point in time going to face the music for vehicular vandalism, may make for nervous fans nervous promoters over the last few days of anticipation. The finish, and the likely plot of the match, would have been set long ago – Wagner would not have participated if he were to have to wait until match week to find out his marching orders.

From here, it looks like a Wagner win. It is possible that the show will sell out early enough that he could be enticed to lose by giving him a substantial raise – and both his mother and father lost their masks when they did because each thought that what they were offered in payment was the most they could ever make for cashing in. This will be the case for Psycho and Wagner this Saturday. Short of that unlikely scenario, the result seems fairly straightforward. There's a golden opportunity to have a possible-even-more lucrative Triplemania 26 next year by LA Park getting involved and almost costing Wagner his mask. Short of something that big as a storyline, I hope it's a match like Psycho and Texano a few years back, a wild affair with a decisive finish.

It won't be a match of the year, not nearly, not in the way that the modern fan base rates these things. As wrestling has shrunk so much in the past 35 years, the fans that remain are more homogenous worldwide than ever before. They like one specific style of match, and the wrestlers know. A big reason there are so many highly-rated matches these days is because the remaining fan base will spends its ticket and merchandise money on the shows and wrestlers who provide those matches, thus most 2017 wrestlers aim to wrestle that match and that style. The fans who are left don't just like it, thy adore it, and loudly, and the wrestlers aim to do more and better of the same, and the cycle continues until the fan base is replaced, or the fans have a change in taste, or outside forces (say a strong cycle of UFC) impart an influence on the system, all going on as long as new stars can be created (that law is wrestling seems immutable). This match won't be in that style at all. It will be wild and crazy and bloody and intense and the two will make you believe that their wrestling lives are at stake. It may be a really good match, or so-so; these two are accomplished enough that it's unlikely to be a bad match. But I do believe it will be remembered for a very long time, as a touchstone of lucha libre. Adding the live Televisa (even at a not-so-great time of day) viewings to its regular outputs, it's possible that more people in Mexico will see this match than any other wrestling match ever. That's a great responsibility for both of them, I wish them success.

 

Europe Notes

 

by Oliver Court (@AnotherOli)

Having fallen behind somewhat on PROGRESS and being forced (against my will) to dive back into ICW for podcasting purposes, I spent this week watching Chapters 52 and 53 from the former and the two nights of Shug's Hoose Party 4.

After a surprisingly great Square Go show in February that mainly focussed on the in-ring product and paid off a really good feud between Trent Seven and Wolfgang, I had high hopes that ICW would turn away from their Attitude Era-esque crash booking, but the return of perpetual heel authority figure Red Lighting and the heel turn of Grado opened the floodgates for grimy bullshit, which was firmly on display across these shows. No-one better represents the grubby booking of the ICW main event than Bram, who was all over these shows like a bad rash. Regardless of how you feel about Bram as a person (though the general consensus is negative), he's an uninteresting performer and dragged every match he was wrestling or interfering in down into tedium. The final image of the weekend was of Bram waving a chair around at Jack Jester descending a rickety cage in an ICW Championship match as if he were in a bad Gladiators game, allowing heel champion Joe Coffey to sneak out and retain. Not exactly a classic moment to end a big weekend on. There were some good matches across the two shows, with the WWE UK Championship four-way standing out, as well as BT Gunn defeating new Zero-G Champion (and criminally pigeon-holed) Kenny Williams to take the title from him. Gunn and new Women's Champion Kasey Owens were the big winners from the weekend, and will hopefully get chances outside of ICW to further prove their burgeoning in-ring skills.

I've been critical of many decisions PROGRESS have made this year, which I feel have distracted from their great in-ring action with lazy storytelling that leans far too heavily on their WWE affiliation and has caused wonky booking, but going from ICW to Chapters 52 and 53, it's easy to see the difference in quality. Toni Storm vs Laura Di Matteo for the Women's Championship may have been my favourite match across all four shows discussed in these notes, which is saying a lot after LdM's terrible SSS16 performance. She and Storm kept their match close-quarters and their strikes were infectiously heated. It's a good match for LdM to have on her resume and is further proof that triple threats are generally rubbish – why confuse a young wrestler with multiple opponents when they can prove their quality against just one?

 

Japan Notes

 

by Alan Counihan (@Alan4L)

With the G1 Climax firmly in the rear view and many of the other Japanese promotions having put on their big summer show, it's a good time to take stock and look ahead to what the last four months of the year have in store for us in Japan, and what issues each company faces.

New Japan:

The rise of New Japan in both popularity and quality this year has been staggering – especially the considering the heights they were already at. Based on the cards put out for the next few months it seems like they're going to at least attempt to take the foot off the pedal before getting into Tokyo Dome season. The big match of the fall is EVIL's challenge of Kazuchika Okada at King Of Pro Wrestling – a huge match for the for the former Takaaki Watanabe (someone who was never pegged as a future IWGP challenger). They are spreading all their title matches out over September's Destruction tour and KOPW, and the upcoming cards are 95% multiman tags so it's unlikely we'll see anything near the amount of MOTYC's that the first 8 months of the year produced.

Dragon Gate:

They're testing something new right now with the Unit Survival League ongoing rather than the traditional Summer Adventure Tag League and it seems to have caught on and sparked some life into the promotion. The Dream Gate championship is still lifeless though in the hands of YAMATO and the big question is how long he keeps it for. The next challenger will be either Big R Shimizu or Masaaki Mochiuzuki and either way that seems like a run of the mill defence. It will be interesting to see who emerges as the challenger for Final Gate.

NOAH:

They've had a sneaky good in-ring year but it hasn't led to much in the way of business success. Attendance on the whole and their main TV carrier G+ haven't been as active in taking on recent shows as they would normally be. They have a very good young roster and are doing things they didn't do for years (trusting "indy" guys in key spots), so it will be interesting to see if they persevere and if things start to click with a larger fanbase.

DDT:

Coming off their annual "Peter Pan" show in Sumo Hall this past weekend, DDT seems firmly invested in their youth movement, and continues to churn out talented youngsters. They're doing all the right things and have carved out a pretty good niche for themselves. The biggest question here is which of the young generation are next to take the leap to join Takeshita and Endo a top the card.

BJW:

They just switched their deathmatch title to hugely popular stalwart of the division Masashi Takeda. The Strong Heavyweight title still remains firmly around the waist of Hideki Suzuki and their biggest task right now is building strong challengers for him

AJPW:

If New Japan are like The Patriots having a record setting perfect season, All Japan are someone like Oakland coming from the depths of despair to building something pretty darn impressive and exciting. It's been a fantastic year thus far for Uncle Jun's promotion and there is a feeling that this weekend's Sumo Hall event will be a big celebration of their growth. Losing Jake Lee to injury is an unfortunate blow but as long as their crown jewel Kento Miyahara stays in good health, they're going to be ok!

 

TV Reviews

 

by Bryan's Friend Vince (@FO_VVerhei)

WWE Retro Raw 273 (8/17/98)

Steve Austin tried to force his way into Vince McMahon's office. He failed. Convenient of Austin to do this right as they went live, then walk away just as the credits rolled.

By the way, Shawn Michaels is still in the opening graphics. So are Bret Hart and Sid if you look close enough.

A hearse pulled into the arena. Austin was driving and he got out. He had the smoking skulls championship belt, just out of nowhere. He demanded Vince come out to talk to him. Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Sgt. Slaughter came out first, then Vince. Austin said Vince must be happy he and Taker weren't tag champs anymore. Vince denied this. Austin wasn't buying it, but it was OK with him because now he didn't have to team with Taker anymore. Perhaps the first time a guy ever said he didn't care about a championship. Shitty history. Austin vowed to beat Taker's ass tonight and stuff him in the hearse, along with anyone who tried to get in his way.

Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn vs. Owen Hart. They plugged the "Lion's Den" match between Shamrock and Hart at a theater next to Madison Square Garden during SummerSlam. Owen and Shamrock did all the wrestling here. Severn just stood in the corner, arms at his sides. Like, for three or four minutes. So we got a pretty good Hart-Shamrock match here. Very fast-paced. Finally Severn got involved, breaking up a pin after a Shamrock belly-to-belly. Then Shamrock hooked Owen in the ankle lock, but Severn grabbed Shamrock in a choke from behind. Owen joined in, putting the boots to Shamrock, and Severn was declared the winner. So I guess the whole thing was a plot by Severn and Owen to work together? Or Owen was just an idiot? They kept beating Shamrock until Steve Blackman ran out to make the save. He wiped out Owen, then Severn backed away. But when Blackman turned his back, Severn choked him out too. Finally Severn and Owen left together. Blackman and Shamrock recovered. Shamrock was frustrated and started to throw a tantrum, but there was nobody there to fight. Finally he bullied Slaughter to the back.

Brawl For All: Godfather vs. Bart Gunn. During the entrances, Jerry Lawler talked to "The President" on the phone, and we got more Monica Lewinsky jokes. Jesus Christ. They showed Godfather and Vader attacking Bart the night before on Sunday Night Heat. Godfather refused to give Bart a night with the hos. Bart spent most of the first round dodging Godfather's punches with ease. They traded some shots as the round ended. These dudes went to TOWN in the second round. Godfather trapped him in the corner and hit a series of body shots. Bart survived and just started throwing the same looping left hand to the head, over and over and over, and you could see them coming from a mile away and Godfather couldn't do anything about it. Bart scored a knockdown as the round ended. Somehow they said Bart was up 20-0 at this point. It didn't matter, because quickly in the third round Bart hit more lefts, then surprised Godfather with a right that knocked him OUT. This was a very fun terrible fight. Bart cut a promo on Ross demanding respect, and Ross said he was earning it.

They cut backstage to a door, saying they were waiting for Undertaker to show up. Conveniently, Shamrock and Blackman came storming through, tossing furniture around.

Michael Cole said Severn would be training Owen Hart for his Lion's Den match against Shamrock, and we would have a statement from Shamrock and Blackman later.

Gangrel vs. Brian Christopher. This was Gangrel's Raw debut, though he had defeated Scott Taylor on Heat the night before. Edge was shown in the crowd intently watching. They even put a spotlight on him. Gangrel won a total squash with the impact DDT. Good debut, especially the entrance, which was an all-timer.

Shamrock screamed his way through a promo backstage, and they continued to throw furniture around.

MORE SHOTS OF THE DOOR. DOORS ARE SCARY.

DX did a promo to hype up a street fight with the Nation when the Nation showed up to fight.

DOA vs. Scorpio & Faarooq. Announcers talked right over the ring announcer and then more phone calls with "the president." Things settled down and I could actually watch this tag match for a while, then they cut backstage to show DX and the Nation brawling, and then they started cutting from the ring to the back to the ring every six seconds. This made it impossible to watch either one. THIS IS AWFUL TELEVISION. Then Faarooq made a comeback, but the brawl made its way out on stage and down the ramp. Scorpio hit a 450, but the ref was distracted. DOA did a twin switch and hit a small package for the win. The guy who took the 450 just got up and rolled out of the ring. Looked fine. Why did they even bother switching?.

AHH! A DOOR! CALL THE NEIGHBORS! THERE'S A DOOR ON TV!.

DX vs. the Nation in a street fight. They broke up the street fight so they could do entrance for a street fight. DX was so eager to fight they stopped to do their catchphrase and talk about sucking it. Everyone came out with a variety of weapons. This was such a flagrant ECW ripoff they may as well have pushed out a shopping cart full of toys and played Natural Born Killaz over the speakers. It was four dudes in DX against three guys in the Nation. Yes, 4-on-3 advantage babyfaces. Maybe Mark Henry counts as two guys. The good news is the head shots were limited to trash can lids. And cookie trays. Well, there's a trash can shot, but it wasn't that brutal. All seven dudes plus the ref were in the ring and getting in each other's way. Rock still managed to hit a people's elbow. Double J came out to brawl with X-Pac for Christ knows what reason. Southern Justice laid out X-Pac. DX went after Southern Justice. Double J cut off some of X-Pac's hair. All ten dudes kept brawling. Nation was triple-teaming Hunter in the ring. A complete slaughter, throwing him into a ladder and vice versa. He was bleeding from the mouth. They set the ladder up over him, then Rock left and his music played. Uh, wut? A no-contest in a street fight? What the hell? Billy Gunn was bleeding from the side of the head too.

Tiger Ali Singh came out to pay somebody to do something gross. They showed video of Babu doing training earlier today and getting sweaty. Somebody was offered $500 to come and lick his feet. Lawler was sure to point out this would be extra gross because Babu was Asian. They had gunk between his toes and the guy went in there after it. Babu was trying so hard not to laugh. Well this sucked.

THE DOOR! THE DOOR IS OPEN! AND NOW WE CAN SEE ANOTHER DOOR! AHHHHH!.

Sable vs. Jacqueline in an arm wrestling match. Sable came out with the bikini contest trophy. We were supposed to believe Sable had a prayer here. They had an AWFUL worked arm wrestling match, and when it looked like Sable might win Jacqueline pulled away and turned the table over on Sable. Then she grabbed the trophy and broke it over Sable's back. Marc Mero and the Oddities ran out and then Mero and Jacqueline ran away. Giant Silva carried Sable away like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Val Venis did a backstage promo about his gauntlet match against Kaientai, with Yamaguchi-San being last in line.

Droz's World. Sucked.

DOORS! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!.

Droz vs. Bradshaw in a Brawl For All match. First round was just a 60-second hockey fight. That was awesome. More of the same in the second. If Wrestling Observer had a Fight of the Year award in 1998, this would have won. Droz got a takedown just as the round ended. He went for another in the third round, but Bradshaw stuffed it. So they went back to bombing each other. They were gassed and almost nothing happened in the last 20 seconds. Bradshaw was declared the winner, though it was a narrow decision. So it's Bradshaw vs. Bart Gunn in the finals. By FAR the best fight in the tournament.

Al Snow was doing shots in a bar somewhere, whining about throwing 16 years down the tubes to be in the exact same space. He yelled at Head for being drunk.

THE DOOR! IT'S SIDEWAYS NOW!.

Sable was storming through backstage.

Dustin Rhodes told us not to poison our minds with the next segment, and we should read a good book instead.

Sable called out and called Jacqueline a bitch. Jacqueline appeared on screen and called Sable a ho. They challenged Sable to find a partner to face her and Mero at SummerSlam. The Oddities stormed in and the next thing I knew Michael Cole was on TV saying Undertaker was there and Austin was looking for him. This show is exhausting and feels five hours long.

Val Venis vs. Kaientai in a gauntlet match. Val came out with a massive super soaker, coated pink. Subtle. He made a semen joke. I like Taka's "we're going to cut your dick off" motion. Men's Teioh went first. Val won in 90 seconds with a fisherman's suplex. Funaki was next. He came off the top and Val pinned him with a powerslam immediately. This set the tone for Funaki's next decade. Togo came down to wrestle but more importantly the President was back on the phone. At one point he said "thank you" and it sounded like he said "fuck you" and all the announcers froze. They had a fun little four-minute match. Val was getting worn down, but still hit a powerbomb and the money shot for the win. So obviously Taka Michinoku was next. Val missed a charge and went flying out of the ring, and Taka hit a plancha from the top rope to the floor. Then, I think Val got the heat on him. He hit a bunch of moves in a row, and the pace of things finally slowed down. Taka tried a Michinoku driver, but Val blocked it with his leg. Seriously, he didn't just rely on his weight, he grapevined the leg to block it. But then he missed an elbow and Taka hit the Michinoku driver for the win. This was Val's first loss in WWE. So Mrs. Yamaguchi-San is back with her husband now, and she came in and slapped Val as they all stomped him. Then Val got his hands on his weapon and doused everyone with a white fluid. Yes, he bukkake'd them out of the ring.

Undertaker's music and light show hit. Somehow he made it to ringside with nobody noticing, but we didn't see his face, just the back of his giant robe. So Steve Austin came out to confront him. Then Kane's pyro went off, and of course it was Kane dressed as Taker. Though Lawler said it was Taker disguised as Kane, disguised at Taker. AND HE WAS RIGHT. You could tell by the tattoos. Unless you are Jim Ross, in which case you were convinced it was Kane due to the mask. So they had a brawl, up to the hearse. Austin threw him into the back of the hearse and slammed the door. Then he went to get into the driver's seat, but Undertaker was already sitting there, and he drove the hearse away. So they went through the time and trouble to give Kane fake tattoos to look like the Undertaker just so this stupid, nonsensical angle could continue. Great.

WCW Monday Nitro 153 (8/17/98)

Hollywood Hogan and his crew came out for a promo. Announcers were pushing like crazy that this was the only live show tonight. He said he was done playing games with geeks and the media and called out Goldberg. Then he said the Giant would beat Goldberg's ass and hand the belt to Hogan. What a great heel, too scared to fight and getting his heavies to do it for him. Giant, by the way, looked like a very scary 600-pound man here. Just massive.

Mean Gene and JJ Dillon plugged WarGames, saying that instead of two teams of 4 or 5 men, it would be three teams of 3. Still two rings with a cage and a roof. The team captains would be Hogan, DDP, and Kevin Nash. Three men would start, one guy in every two minutes, and the winning person would get a title shot against Goldberg at Halloween Havoc. So it's not WarGames at all. It's a Royal Rumble in a cage. Or an Elimination Chamber without eliminations.

Nitro Party clips. The dude pretending to be the Giant had some serious man titties. Like, even bigger than mine.

Steve McMichael vs. Sick Boy. DIDN'T THEY JUST DO THIS? AND DIDN'T IT SUCK? They said the taped show on the other channel would have a main event that went about 10 seconds. I wish this match had gone 10 seconds. GAWD, this was terrible. Just horrendous. Two clumsy oafs stumbling all over the ring. I was tempted to just make one five-minute GIF out of the whole thing. Mongo won with the tombstone. Lord.

Mean Gene brought out DDP and asked who his two partners in WarGames would be. Page said this was too important a question to handle via phone call, so he had gotten on a plane to talk to guys. Well that's just silly. Like, the most ridiculous thing anyone's ever said. Page said the guy he had talked to was 1-0 against Hogan, and Hogan would see him in September. He talked about Hogan and company jumping him before his match with Bret Hart, and Bret came out to defend himself. They went back and forth. Bret rattled off all the guys who were injured because of him: Benoit, Booker T, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper. He accepted Page's challenge for a match tonight.

Mean Gene brought out Raven for an interview, but Horace immediately interrupted. He said Raven made him sick to his stomach. For four months he had watched Raven's back and helped him win matches, and Raven hadn't done anything for him or anyone else in the Flock. He challenged Raven to a match. Raven accepted, but said it would be a tag match: Raven & Saturn vs. Horace & Kanyon. Saturn and Kanyon came out. Saturn refused to team with Raven. Raven said he was scared, and Saturn said if Raven tried to tag him, he'd punch Raven out. Dillon showed up and made the match official, and said anyone who caused their own partner to lose would be suspended for 90 days, and there must be a submission or pinfall winner. What a disaster this sounds like.

High Voltage vs. Dancing Dildoes. Well this certainly is a WCW match. About three minutes in Meng ran out and killed Alex with the Tongan death grip. He hit the ring and murdered the other three as well. Also, the ref. And a security guy. Finally some guy who had the same haircut as the Wizard of Oz maced Meng, which proved difficult, but Meng no-sold it and death gripped him too. Crowd loved this, but where is it going? Meng got his title shot last week.

Eddie Guerrero came out in street clothes, with his bag. Eddie said this was an unscheduled interview, and if they cut him off he would go to another network. His mullet was glorious here. He said he was tired of being mistreated and unappreciated by Eric Bischoff. He said Bischoff was holding down young talent. Crowd had no idea what was going on and chanted that he sucked. He rambled on about Eric holding him down and having something personal against him and stopping him from climbing up the ladder. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? It's Eric's fault Eddie's not winning matches or titles? This went on and on and ON. He said he loved Chavo Jr. and didn't want to get him in trouble. You know, the guy he's been feuding with for months. Also, he had a wife and two kids to support. But he didn't care, Eric could take this job and shove it. And he left. Well this sucked.

Kanyon & Horace vs. Raven & Saturn. Match began with Saturn pushing Raven into a schoolboy and then having to break up the pin. Saturn threw a bunch of cool suplexes, and these were not small men. They crotched Kanyon on the top rope for the heat. Raven, Saturn, and all the fans were distracted by a fight or something in the crowd. Raven brought a chair into the ring, but Kanyon dropped his face into it and hot tagged Horace. Raven and Saturn got whipped into each other and hit HARD. Jesus Christ. It led to the "accidental headbutt to your partner's nuts" spot. Saturn kicked out of a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo, which was 1998's answer to Lio Rush going off a ladder and through a table. So they hit more MOOVES and Horace grabbed a stop sign, but Kanyon got wacked with it and Saturn pinned Horace with a DVD. Then Raven and the Flock attacked Saturn. Kidman tried to stop them and got DDT'd too. Then Horace said he wanted Saturn and hit a full nelson slam. But Raven DDT'd Horace too. Well I have no idea what's going on here. Match was fun while it lasted.

Wolfpac came out. They were all excited for WarGames. And that was it. Pointless.

Scott Norton vs. Scott Putski. Sure were a lot of Scott's in WCW. Hall. Steiner. Riggs. Levy. Norton won in a minute with a powerbomb.

Hogan's back. He ranted about WarGames, and asked who could possibly be out there that he, the god of wrestling, he couldn't beat. He promised there wasn't a warrior out there he couldn't beat, when the lights started to flicker and finally go out. We heard a speech about the destruction of evil, and then THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR came out on stage. Announcers were playing dumb, but the fans all knew who it was and had been calling for him all night. Hogan's jaw was shaking. Warrior hit the ring and fired up the fans. Hogan said he thought Warrior was dead. Did I mention that Warrior was wearing jeans tucked into his custom made red-and-white cowboy boots. Warrior noted that people had anticipated his arrival. Hogan removed his nWo shirt and offered it to Warrior. Warrior declined it and said for years, pro wrestling had had to rip him off for years, and there had been constant speculation he would return. He went into a long speech about how Hogan had gone out of his way to erase parts of his history, and how he used to stand for everything good, great, and heroic. But then Warrior had beaten the unbeatable. He said Disciple was there to be Hogan's barber. He asked Bischoff to identify himself, then warned him to stay out of his business. He had shown up uninvited but still intended to bill Bischoff for his appearance. OK, that was awesome. He said Hogan was evil, and he had the power to destroy him. He said beating Hogan meant nothing, because everyone else had already done it. Um, how long is this going? He promised to be back next week. The ring filled with smoke, the lights went off, there was pyro, and when it all cleared he was gone. This was great when Warrior came out and pretty good throughout his speech, but MAN it went forever.

Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko. They did entrances, then Hennig stalled for a while, then they went to commercial. I'm assuming that Warrior promo went way long and fucked up the timing of the whole show. They teased finishers. Rude got on the apron, so Dean went after him, but Rude hit a knee from the apron and wiped hm out on the floor. Hennig finished him off with the fisherman's suplex.

Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner came out for a promo. Literally half of Steiner's body was wrapped in casts and bandages. They had some geek in a smock out there to play doctor. Scott said Rick Steiner had hit him in the elbow bone, and all the bones were connected, so his knee hurt. The doctor confirmed this. They showed that Scotty couldn't even hold his arm up. They asked the doctor, Cecil Schwartz, if Scotty would be ready by September 13. The doctor said "right on." I don't know if that means yes or no. Rick came out and promised to beat the hell out of Scotty at Fall Brawl. This was dumb.

Chavo Guerrero Jr vs. Chris Jericho vs. Stevie Ray. Chavo was out here still pretending to be crazy after Eddie had said that was all fake. Jericho kept tricking Chavo into attacking Stevie and Chavo kept being dumb enough to fall for it. And he was the only babyface in the match. Finally they did work together and hit a double missile dropkick. Ref got bumped. Stevie immediately walloped Jericho with a gimmick. Giant came out and chokeslammed Stevie. Stevie didn't go up at all for this, but Giant is a GIANT and muscled him up and slammed him. That was amazing. The ref was counting all three men out, but Jericho grabbed the ref, Chavo slipped and fell out of the ring and was knocked out, and Jericho was named the winner. Seriously. Well that was dumb. They showed the chokeslam again. First, Stevie Ray is just unforgivably bad. I've never seen somebody sandbag a guy like this. Second, the Giant is utterly terrifying. It's not like he was under the guy in like a fireman's carry. He had one hand on the neck and one on his back and still got him up. Just ridiculous.

Bret Hart vs. DDP. Page ran wild for a while, but when he went for the punches in the corner, Bret hit a low blow and dropped his face on the turnbuckle. Bret then hit 75,000 moves in a row. I guess that's not totally fair, but regardless, this was boring. Page kicked out of a piledriver and Bret got pissed at the ref. At last Page made his comeback. Ref got bumped. Yes, second match in a row. Bret grabbed a gimmick. Yes, second match in a row. Then he put the gimmick in Page's trunks and pulled Page on top of himself, then kicked out at two when the ref recovered. He started the sharpshooter, realized he had fucked it up, headbutted Page in the nuts, then hooked the sharpshooter. Page got the ropes. Bret was not just half-assing it out there. He might have been quarter-assing it at best. Page hit the cutter out of nowhere, but Bret's foot was under the ropes. Bret then claimed he'd been hit with an object and ordered the ref to check Page's tights. The ref found the gimmick and named Bret the winner by DQ. Why in the hell did this have to be so complicated? Why couldn't Bret have just hit him with the gimmick and won?.

Goldberg vs. Giant. How big was this arena? Felt like it took Goldberg ten minutes to walk from his locker room to the stage. Giant manhandled Goldberg a bit, but then Goldberg grabbed him and bodyslammed it. Place was going apeshit or everything they did. Disciple tried to interfere but thankfully Goldberg was having none of that. They kept doing stuff. Giant may have actually been 600 pounds, because he was completely blown up. Goldberg hit a spear when Disciple attacked for the DQ. So Goldberg speared and jackhammered him too. Scott Hall ran out to attack him, but then Kevin Nash ran out to even the odds. Hall dodged a spear and Nash ate it instead. Second time that's happened. Nash and Goldberg went nose-to-nose as the show ended. Much better than Raw, at least.