The SmarK Rant for WWE Vintage Collection – 09.02.11
by Scott Keith on September 2, 2011

The SmarK Rant for WWE Vintage Collection – 09.02.11

- Your host is Mean Gene.

- Here’s an obscure theme for the week:  The WCW US title tournament in January of 1993, contested on WCW Saturday Night.  How can you not love this show, programmed for wrestling nerds like me?  I don’t even care if the matches are any good, I just love having complete records of stuff like this.

Dustin Rhodes v. Vinnie Vegas

JIP with Vegas working on the back, but he misses a charge and Dustin tries to slam him.  That doesn’t work very well.  Gutwrench gets two for Vinnie, and he applies a bearhug.  He slams Dustin down off of that for two, and then goes back to it.  I will say that hanging around with Shawn Michaels for the next three years did WONDERS for Big Kev’s skillset.  Dustin slugs out of the bearhug and puts him down with a lariat and a dropkick for two, but Vegas catches him in the throat.  He goes for Snake Eyes, but Dustin reverses out and bulldogs him for the pin at 3:50 to advance.   *

Barry Windham v. Johnny B. Badd

Windham was the LONE WOLF at this point, which apparently meant he didn’t give a shit.  Windham is a guy who has long confounded logic, as he was (arguably) the best worker in the world for a while, son of a big star, and Dusty Rhodes’ booking protégé.  He could have been World champion and then ran wrestling for years after he retired, but he just stopped caring early in the 90s and never got it back.  He tosses Badd, and gets a kneedrop back in the ring and follows with a suplex for two.  Gutwrench gets two.  Badd makes a comeback, but Windham runs him into the turnbuckles.  Badd comes back with a rana and goes up with a sunset flip, but Barry rolls through and SCHOOLS him with a vicious clothesline. FUCK YEAH.  The Implant DDT finishes at 4:20.  That finish was INSANELY good, which is why Barry was so frustrating, because he’d get these flashes of greatness every now and then, like inventing the implant DDT and blowing everyone’s minds, and then he’d just fade into the woodwork again a week later.  **

Ricky Steamboat v. Danny Spivey

I don’t even remember Spivey being in the promotion at this point.  Spivey gets an abdominal stretch until Steamboat chops out and forces him into the corner.  Spivey clubs him down again and goes to a bearhug, then into a backbreaker for two.  Steamboat comes back with a backdrop suplex and jumps over the top to avoid a charging Spivey, but they collide anyway.  Steamboat recovers first and finishes with the crossbody at 3:32.  *

Semifinal #1:  Dustin Rhodes v. Tony Atlas

Hey, that’s Saba Simba!  Sorry, channeling Roddy Piper there for a minute.  Dustin goes after the legs, but Atlas goes after the injured arm and works an armbar.  That goes on for much longer than you’d like to see.  Dustin escapes a slam attempt and makes the comeback with the lariat for two.  Bulldog finishes at 3:43.  ½*

Semifinal #2: Barry Windham v. Ricky Steamboat

JIP with Barry holding a figure-four and using the ropes.  I’m intrigued because I don’t know who won, and either guy has history and chemistry with Dustin.  Steamboat slugs out of the hold and they pound on each other in the corner, but Barry goes to the knee and Steamboat’s leg gives out.  Windham goes right after it, wrapping it around the post, but Steamboat comes back with a kneecrusher and his own figure-four.  Windham is tall enough to get to the ropes easily, but he chooses to elbow Steamboat in the injured knee instead to escape, because he’s an asshole.  That’s a nice touch, intended or not.  Floatover suplex gets two, but Steamboat comes back again and rams Barry into the mat.  He fires back with chops and gets a neckbreaker, then follows with the flying chop for two.  The ref is bumped and Steamboat goes up again with the crossbody, but no ref.  Windham dumps Steamboat over the top for the DQ at 4:42, as the ref revives in time to see.  **  Windham goes for the beatdown, but Shane Douglas makes the save, so the HOLLYWOOD BLONDS run out and beat the shit out of Steamboat instead, Dustin saves, and it turns into a ginormously awesome six-man brawl and I want to see that fucking match!

US title tournament finals:  Dustin Rhodes v. Ricky Steamboat

No clipping this time, we’re complete from the opening bell.  Steamboat gets a slam to start and goes to the headlock, but Dustin powerslams him and Steamboat bails.  Back in, Dragon with the armbar and hammerlock, and he shoots the half for two.  Dustin gets his own armbar, and they criss-cross into another Steamboat hammerlock.  Dustin reverses out of that and into a headlock, but Steamboat takes him down and goes back to the arm again.  Dustin slams out of it and hits three more to injure the back, then goes to an abdominal stretch.  We take a break and return with Steamboat working on a wristlock and adding the hammerlock slam for two.  Dustin goes to the arm, but Steamboat hiptosses him and gets the armbar again.  This has been deliberately paced, to say the least.  Dustin finally shows some balls and clotheslines Steamboat off a leapfrog attempt for two, then they collide off a criss-cross and both are out.  Dustin recovers first and gets the bulldog for two.  They do a pinfall reversal sequence and it’s pretty ugly, so they give it up and Steamboat gets a suplex and goes up.  Crossbody gets two.  Ref is bumped and they tumble to the floor, but now Barry Windham comes out and gets the DDT on the floor that he was looking for last week.  Steamboat is dead, and Dustin wins the US title by countout at 12:46.  That was a fairly shitty match for these two, with a really dumb finish.  *1/2

Disappointing on the wrestling side this week, but I like historical curiosities like these.

 



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  • Michael L

    Still, I’d take Windham’s lack of world title runs over Luger’s half-assed booking for the title. He was almost always booked to be the guy who blows it when it comes to the big match. Think of his PPV matches for the title:

    GAB 88: Matched stopped due to bleeding
    Starrcade 88: Luger loses when leg collapses on a torture rack
    WrestleWar 90: Gives up the title to save his “friend (never mind that Luger & Sting hated each other only a few months ago)
    Capital Combat 90: DQ in a cage match when Horsemen interfere
    Summerslam 93: Wins by countout and celebrates as if he actually accomplished something
    Wrestlemania X: Loses to Yoko by DQ when he pushes guest ref Hennig

    Furthermore, both times he did win the title were heavily marred by bad booking and circumstances:

    GAB 91: Luger finally had Flair in a cage and the Horsemen had broken up so presumably no interference this time. But Flair gets fired ten days before the show, and so it winds up being Luger v. Windham, with the fans really only caring about Flair. Luger is turned heel for no justifyable reason and has a pretty poorly booked title run. Doesn’t even show on TV for the last month or two of it, which is justified as being “in seclusion” in preparation for his match against Sting.

    July 97: Five days before Luger is scheduled to face Hogan on PPV at Road Wild, Luger gets a match on Nitro and wins the title. Everybody and their sister knew Hogan was going to get it back (because the real money was in Hogan/Sting), so Luger is pretty much a lame duck the minute he wins the belt.

  • Battlebowl92

    left out Tony Atlas getting an actual win over Van Hammer (!!)

  • incognito

    I remember watching this at the time. Dustin got pissed over the interference, said he didn’t want to win it that way, so they had a rematch next week that went to a draw.

  • alex

    I agree with Tony, WCW was really starting to get good when Hogan came in and ruined everything. This tournament actually is pretty deep talent wise then Hogan brings in Beefcake, Tenta, etc.

  • Eric Sczulesikzzcdcczkey

    Another poor “Rant” from an overrated wrestling reviewer. Keith’s little tantrums may have funny in the cynical and sarcastic 90′s but are awkward and embarassing today.

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