[Ed note: As I’ve mentioned a few places before, I’m really uncomfortable with the fact that wrestling has continued happening amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Fanfyte has suspended weekly coverage of new wrestling for the time being, since, you know, there shouldn’t be any new wrestling right now! Since it’s incredibly dangerous! Because there’s a pandemic! Instead of recapping the wrestling that happens week by week in May 2020, we’re going to write about wrestling that happened in other months of May. Welcome to “Let’s Pretend It’s Any Year Other Than 2020.”— LB Hunktears]
It’s May 2000, and life is pretty good. We solved Y2K, David Arquette is doing his best Jon Snow as WCW World Champion, and we all paid $30 to watch Slamboree on pay-per-view. Things can honestly only go downhill from here. So let’s enjoy it while we can, because TNT won’t see another wrestling show for 20 years.
Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Candido (c) vs The Artist
This is a good match if you like more physical cruiserweight bouts, but an even better match if you like casual sexism and rampant misogyny. Commentary rails on both Tammy (soon to be Sunny in WWE) and Paisley, calling them tramps, bimbos, and everything in between. 2000 was a wild time for cable television, I guess. I was admittedly more of a Zoom fan at the time.
The Artist wrestles in slacks and a white button down like he’s on his trial shift at your local Olive Garden. Candido takes a crazy bump early on, launching himself over the ropes and landing on his shoulder. For a WCW cruiserweight match, you don’t get a ton of high flying here; the first half is a lot of power moves and strikes as each man tries to get the upper hand. Paisley and Tammy get the biggest pop of the match when they square off on the ramp, leading to Tammy nailing The Artist with a chair shot. There’s a weird mix up where The Artist somehow kicks out after the hit to the head, and they start to play Candido’s music before the ref waves it off. After a piledriver and a flying head butt from Candido, the Artist finally lays down. Tammy gets stripped of her dress, and that’s our hot cruiserweight action, folks.
More Pro Wrestling:
- WCW’s Ready to Rumble and an Ode to the Modern Wrestling Fan
- 4 Mechs That Should Be Real and Piloted by Wrestlers
- A Pilgrimage to Scott Steiner’s Shoney’s
World Hardcore Title: Terry Funk (c) vs Norman Smiley and Mystery Partner
Pre-match, Funk goes to find Smiley in the bathroom, but gets ambushed by Norman and his mystery partner with a fire hydrant. Smiley chases Funk throughout the backstage, hitting him with all the variety of trash cans the arena has to offer. Funk turns things around and Smiley starts his high pitched screaming, providing a clear character inspiration for Dule Hill in Psych. Commentary rails on the mystery partner for not helping Smiley, as Funk knocks the absolute life out of his head with a chair. After taking out a catering table, Funk drags the mystery partner down the ramp to the ring, who, again, has been not at all helpful here. This is easily explained when Ralphus is revealed as the mystery partner, and Terry Funk pantses him over the top rope, like there definitely aren’t children in the audience who are about to be scarred for life. After some more Ralphus shenanigans, Terry wins with a roll up on Smiley. This felt a million years long.
Shawn Stasiak vs Curt Hennig
Some clear exposition tells us Stasiak has been calling himself the Perfect One, and Curt Hennig is having a cow about it. After tossing each other around the outside, Stasiak wraps a monitor cord around Hennig’s neck, which is totally legal somehow. This version of WCW has no rules thanks to Vince Russo’s immaculate leadership. Back in the ring, Stasiak locks in a sleeper hold, but Hennig dramatically powers out after like a quick 2 minute nap. He rolls out of the way of a splash and starts wailing on Stasiak. Ref Charles Robinson pulls Hennig off of Stasiak in the corner, because I guess that’s the absolute one rule they’re still following. This gives Shawn a chance to turn the match and hit Mr Perfect’s own finisher for the win. The absolute offense. There’s nothing really special about this one, but Stasiak’s theme does slap a bit.
United States Championship: Scott Steiner (c) vs The Man Formerly Known As Hugh Morris
Before the match, Morris gets on the mic and says you’re not allowed to call him Hugh Morris anymore. His Christian name is Hugh G Rection, and he’s a Captain now. He’s also wearing two separate camo prints, a move I haven’t seen since my grandpa took me fishing when I was 11. Big Papa Pump comes out swinging, but the new Captain gets a fair amount of offense in. The fans hate Steiner here, which I have to assume is because his greatest work is still 8 years away. Captain Rection hits Steiner with a tombstone, but misses the majority of a moonsault after a distraction from Shakira at ringside. His feet still look like they kick the life out of Steiner’s neck, but Mr Pump pops right up like he feels no sensation in his entire body. Steiner puts Rection in a submission and he taps immediately. Booker T then runs in and lays out Steiner while Russo’s security team attacks the Misfits in Action, who have been sitting ringside in some sweet camo of their own. Everybody is just wailing on everybody.
Mike Awesome vs Chris Kanyon
This starts off pretty evenly matched, both surprisingly quick for their size. Commentary gives Kanyon a shoutout for being Oliver Platt’s stunt double in Ready to Rumble, although there’s no announcement of whether he was also the double for all of Platt’s dick kicks. Awesome throws Kanyon into the crowd, and a group of 13 year olds have the best moment of their life. Scott Hudson finds time to make a “wazzap” reference, just to remind us all what time period we’re experiencing right now. Kanyon’s finally able to fight back in the ring, crouching Mike’s awesome parts, but no matter how many offensive moves he hits, he can’t win. Awesome reverses and hits Kanyon with a frightening looking powerbomb that lands him right on the neck. I’m starting to be amazed that there’s anyone who wrestled before the year 2006 who still holds complete control of their neck. Awesome brings Kanyon out into the ramp, but Kevin Nash comes out to interfere on Kanyon’s behalf. The New Blood are out to go after Nash, but the Millionaires Club and RnB Security come out to get all of these guys a pay day. The match ends in a DQ, which is a bummer because this was the most I’ve enjoyed a match all night. At least I now know Ric Flair comes up exactly to Kevin Nash’s shoulder.
The Total Package/Lex Luger vs Buff Bagwell
Remember when stealing a person was a normal way to start a wrestling feud? You could just nab somebody’s wife, their kid, their sibling. It was all free game. Luger is all in his meaty head here because Russo legally owns Elizabeth right now, and drags her everywhere tied to him. No one sees anything weird about this. Buff is super over, dancing to the ring sans top hat. There’s a crazy amount of baby oil at stake as the two guys start with a pose off. They go back and forth for a while, Bagwell coming out on top and putting Luger in a submission. Backstage, Elizabeth finds a baseball bat somewhere and goes to town on Russo’s knee, then makes it to ringside to support her man. She nails Bagwell in the back, and Luger gets him to tap with the torture rack. Love is real!
Post-match, Chuck Palumbo comes out to attack Luger, putting him in the rack while Bagwell carries Elizabeth backstage in her second kidnapping in as many weeks.
Shane Douglas vs Ric Flair
It’s cool to hear Flair sounding so lucid; it’s been a hot minute since he could string together so many words without his head threatening to explode. I also wish more wrestlers would go for the tassels on the boots gimmick, I think it’s a great look. Douglas locks in the Figure Four early on, but Flair refuses to tap. He goes for Douglas’ eyes and then hits a low blow. The two brawl on the outside before Douglas manages to toss Flair off and goes for a chain stuffed in those stylish boot tassels. Flair, who can’t feel anything on his head due to the overuse of bleach, comes back from a chain covered fist and the two exchange chops. Flair’s going for the Figure Four when Buff Bagwell and Vince Russo doing his best Sting impersonation cause the distraction, and Douglas picks up the win.
Flair orders Russo into the ring to fight, but- wait! The real Vince Russo comes jogging down the ramp, while the fake Sting knocks Flair out. He takes off the Party City mask to reveal….he’s David Flair! Everybody’s gotta work out their daddy issues somehow, I guess. Kevin Nash comes out to Flair’s aid, but falls victim to a low blow from Daphne. There are so many people involved in this segment and I honestly can’t figure out why. This is wildly convoluted.
Vampiro vs Sting
For fans of the 90’s gothic horror and face paint, we’ve got this bout. Vampiro has been pulling spooky tricks on Sting for weeks, but the icon comes out hot here, tossing our second favorite wrestling vampire around the outside for a good few minutes. Commentary continues to remind us this is the New WCW and Sting is on the frontlines, which is a very sad sentence to think about in the year 2020. Vampiro gets control again with trip to lead pipe city. The crowd is madly in love with Sting and I can’t blame them, the guy has a crow in his entrance. He’s awesome. After a low blow, Sting hits two splashes in the corner and double Scorpion Death Drops to win. What a victory for howling arachnids everywhere.
Hulk Hogan vs Billy Kidman (w/ Guest Ref Eric Bischoff)
Eric Bischoff and Hogan have a brief contest to see whose hair is more see through, before Bischoff forces Hogan to send Horace to the back. The audience is dying to see Kidman get his ass kicked, and lucky for them he’s crotched on the top rope in the first 2 minutes. Hogan throws him around for a while, before poor Torrie Wilson is used as a shield and Kidman takes over. Hogan whips Kidman with the weight belt before Bischoff takes it away, which is weirdly the first time he’s intervened all match. Hogan’s able to escape the belt and hit a slam, but Bischoff refuses to count it. Kidman makes a small come back, but Hogan gets him on his back and goes for the leg drop, only to be stopped by nasty little Bischoff once again. Hogan punches the ref, leading to a series of chair shots and a two-on-one assault against Hogan. There’s a lot of chaos with tables, with Hogan taking out Bischoff and rolling out of the way of Kidman’s splash. Horace Hogan comes out and counts for Bischoff, giving Hogan the win. Nothing in this match felt legal, least of all Hogan’s sandpaper tan, but the audience gave some of the biggest pops all night.
David Arquette (c) vs DDP vs Jeff Jarrett (Triple Threat Cage Match)
Remember how Ready to Rumble ended with a triple cage match, a stipulation so silly that it stood out in a film full of butt gags? Well, WCW made your nightmares a reality by giving us a triple threat in a triple cage match. DDP has told Arquette to stay out of the way, which seems easier said than done when you see his fire Pokémon based gear. Understandably, most of the action here is between DDP and Jarrett. Arquette flutters around like someone brought their kid to Thirsty Thursday at G Door, unsure where he is least obstructive to the working adults. Page sets up a ladder, and both he and Jarrett practice climbing as slowly as possible. It’s DDP who makes it to the second level first, followed by a bleeding Jarrett.
The whole set up here looks a lot like one of those Jeepers Peepers indoor jungle gyms, which, given their popularity in the 90s, is actually probably where they got the idea from. In a wild move, DDP spears Jarrett through the wall of the second cage, and the two fight on the outside for a bit. Arquette starts to sneak up to the top while Mike Awesome goes after Page from absolutely out of nowhere. Instead of going for the belt, Arquette lays down and waits like a little dog. The third level of the cage is full of guitars, naturally, and Page hands one up to buddy Arquette, to take out Jarrett. But you can’t trust those Hollywood guys, as Arquette swings at Page and steps aside for Jarrett to claim the title. Double J is our World Heavyweight Champion, and he didn’t even have an IMDb page.
Right after the match, Awesome goes after DDP again, but Kanyon interferes. Awesome throws Kanyon off the cage, which is definitely attempted murder, and goes up top to celebrate with Jarrett. And that’s our show!
This is actually a fairly entertaining show, but not for any reasons related to the quality of wrestling present.
- Most of the matches here were pretty short- the whole show wrapped up in a tight 3 hours
- Billy Kidman pre-9/11 please dm me
- SO much interference. We got about 1.5 clean finishes all night. An experiment in just how many matches you can end with 8 men who weren't involved in the match brawling for little reason.
- Did you know the New WCW was all about the New Blood vs the Millionaires club? What could possibly go wrong in splitting the roster into exactly two groups?
- Wrestling in the 2000s cared little for women as people and less for the head as the part of the body that stores the brain
- What are the DQ rules here? Things are just lax until the story needs them to be stricter?
- I know this is 20 years ago and Hogan is super popular but... C'mon. He looks like a thumb in a vest and a Hannah Montana wig.
- The level to which Russo and Bischoff are involved in so many storylines and matches is just wild. Tommy Wiseau in The Room-esque tomfoolery.