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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW World War III 1996

September 1, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW World War III 1996  

Relevant Storylines: Ultimato Dragon has more belts than X-Pac has had pieces of ass and Mysterio has had birthdays. The Nasties, Faces of Fear and Outsiders are trying to see who can go the longest without getting off their feet. And Hollywood Hogan knows about Piper’s hip surgery but takes 20 minutes to tell us about it because he was reading movie scripts.

Scheduled Card:
1. J-Crown Championship: Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Ultimo Dragon (c).
2. ”One Arm Tied Behind Your Back” Match: Nick Patrick vs. Chris Jericho.
3. Jeff Jarrett vs. Giant.
4. The Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat.
5. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Psicosis vs. Dean Malenko (c).
6. Triple Threat Match for the WCW World Team Championship: The Nasty Boys vs. The Faces of Fears vs. The Outsiders (c).
7. World War III.

• The video package for this is much closer to a monster truck rally ad in its rapidity and ADHD than anything else.

• Brain, Schiavone, and Dusty Rhodes wearing the EXACT SAME COAT FROM LAST YEAR are our hosts! How is that even possible that he’d break that horrible member’s only-looking monstrosity out twice in the same city for the same show?! Brain says careers could be ended tonight in the 60 man battle royal. Big “weasel” chant for Brain because everybody loves Bobby. Dusty shares his lisp-ridden wisdom in a tongue twister: “Piper picked this opportunity to pick a fight. Now, he’s going to bring his contract, HIMSELF, IN THE FLESH out here tonight. WCW. Where the Big Boys Play…. Hulk Hogan, the question is will you step up to the plate and accept this man’s challenge, because WHEREVER’S THERE’S A FIGHT—UH–WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF FIGHTING HERE TONIGHT!”

J-Crown Championship: Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Ultimo Dragon (c). Mysterio is about 12 years old here. Just ask Chris Jericho. Dragon gets his entrance with his 8 belts around his arms, neck, waist, wrists, etc. Dusty stumbles his way through trying to hype this match by saying “I gerontee ya!” fifteen times and then mentioning Piper and Hogan again. The fan boos Dragon and his belts because he’s from another country… er—–I mean.. HE’S WEARING A MASK! Nope, that can’t be it! Well, FUCK HIM! Brian Hildebrand, bless his soul, is the ref and rather than lift up Dragon’s warchest of belts just decides to point at them on the apron to show that yes, that pile of sheet metal is on the line.

• Dragon tries a roundhouse and then gets a headlock as Dusty continues incoherently for 90 seconds about tension surrounding the n.W.o. and Tony wants “Bob” (Brain) to pipe in but he says he’s busy watching the match. Mysterio counters to a headscissors and that goes nowhere. Dragon gets the Fujiwara armbar and drives a knee into it a couple times. Mysterio escapes and drives Dragon’s knee into the mat. Brain tries offering some analysis as Dusty railroads him: “THAT COULD BREAK A LEG! THAT COULD BREAK A LEG!” Brain: “No doubt about that.” Dusty: “No doubt about what?” Brain: “That that could break a leg.” Dusty: “That’s a good call, Bob, we’re off to a ROARING START!” Dragon switches to a hammerlock and then back on the arm. Dragon with a slam and an elbow for 2. Dragon goes to the chinlock and gives him a couple elbows to the head. Mysterio escapes with a hammerlock but Dragon rolls through to his own arm wringer. They both go for a series of moonsaults and springboard aerial assaults that I won’t even bother trying to recap but both come up dry and it looked impressive. Dusty: “THEY WERE FLIP FLOPPING AND FLYIN!” Dragon gives Mysterio a series of kicks and takes him down. Dragon sends him into the turnbuckle and smacks him around. Dragon backdrops him but Mysterio lands on the apron so Dragon springboard dropkicks him down to the floor. Sonny Ono is ringside and puts the boots to Mysterio. Back in, Mysterio tries a suplex but Dragon counters to a beautiful German suplex for 2. He sends Mysterio off and flapjacks him back down and just kicks the shit out of him. Dragon tiltawhirls him into a fireman’s carry and then Torture Racks with an Airplane Spin and drops down with a backbreaker. Awesome. Dragon then rolls him into a half crab. Brain compliments his strategy. Dusty: “That was a good, uh uh… resume of synopsis by you right there.” Even Schiavone puts him on blast for that nonsense. Meanwhile, Dragon beasts him up with a WILDBOMB and rather than go for a cover alley oops him back into the top rope! Cover gets 2. Dragon sends him off and gives the spinebuster and the BIG SWING! Dragon falls over due to dizziness and the crowd laughs on cue. Ono tries to jump Mysterio on the floor but the ref holds up off. Dragon with a FishermanBuster for 2. Dragon then gives him a Brainbuster! Close for another 2. Dragon tries another but Mysterio counters to a small package for 2. Dragon is pissed so he boots the shit out of him and goes to the heel hook. Dragon gets tired of the hold so he hits the SPIKE TOMBSTONE! Holy shit! These are some deadly finishers that he’s letting Mysterio kick out of. Dragon dropkicks him to the floor and then does the 619 fakeout and then kicks him anyway. Dragon jumps to the floor and then counters a whip and sends Mysterio into the guardrail. Dragon then gives him a FUCKING TOMBSTONE ON THE FLOOR! Dragon is INSANE. Back in, Dragon flies out with a slingshot splash to the floor. Because of the 3-ring set up, Dusty, Tony, and Brain are seated with their backs to the camera on the monitors and Dusty finds this hilarious. Dusty: “WATCH OUT, BRAIN, THEY’RE RIGHT BEHIND YA!” Back in, Mysterio sends him into the turnbuckle and then hits the top rope huracanrana but Mysterio gets his hand on the bottom rope. Dragon then gets him a RUNNING LYGER BOMB for 2. Dragon sends him off but Mysterio gets up the boot and hits a spinwheel kick that they sorta botch. Mysterio then hits a springboard Arabian press for 2. Crowd bought that as a finish. Mysterio flips over out of a whip and then springboard dropkicks Dragon to the floor. Mysterio then follows out with a springboard flip splash and the crowd is FEELING IT! Back in, Mysterio with a springboard sunset flip for 2. Dragon gets a roll up for 2. Mysterio cartwheels into a huracanrana(!) for 2. Dragon is all ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT and gives him the beast DRAGON SUPLEX! Cover gets 2. Mysterio flips out of a powerbomb with a sunset flip for 2 again. Mysterio tries another springboard but Dragon catches him and then rebounds him off the top rope into a sit out powerbomb and that’s enough to keep Mysterio down for the 3 at 13:48. First half was squash city with Dragon putting Rey Whipwreck through his lumps and a death-defying reel of kayfabe finishers until Rey made his comeback but it still wasn’t enough. I’d take this over over most X-Division matches today and over anything Jack Evans has ever done. ***1/2

• Meanwhile, Mean Gene says that WCW is on the cutting edge of the intrawebs because they are having live play by play results but act fast because they only have 8000 spots. Ha. But here’s DDP. Gene wants to know if the n.W.o have successfully recruited him. DDP says EVERYBODY wants to feel the BANG! And then dodges the question. Gene, being a broadcast journalist isn’t taking that and presses him for an answer. DDP says it doesn’t matter if Bischoff is his next door answer. DDP says the 60 man battle royal concerns him and he won Battlebowl so he can win this. BANG! This is when WCW was hitting almost all the right strides in the n.W.o angle.

”One Arm Tied Behind Your Back” Match: Nick Patrick vs. Chris Jericho. Ridiculous stip but it’s only Jericho that has to be tied up. Nick Patrick looks like Eastbound and Down, is wearing a neck brace, and is the evil n.W.o ref. Jericho is the plucky babyface and has a fat Teddy Long as his manager. Nick shoves him and Jericho shoves back to a big pop. Jericho trips him up with one hand but Nick begs off. He tries a cheap shot and then gets hiptossed down. Patrick sells the fake neck injury and wants Jericho to back up. Jericho gets a “PATRICK SUCKS!” chant. Nick wants a test of strength and then mocks Jericho only having one hand. Jericho then torques a hammerlock with one hand. Nick ducks under and then Jericho does it back and drives him into the turnbuckle. Nick is a pretty skilled seller and bumper to my surprise. Jericho hiptosses him over again and Patrick again powders out. Nick shoves Teddy who was mouthing off at him so Teddy shoves back. Jericho talks with the ref on camera for some reason. Jericho blocks some Patrick rights until Nick fakes him out and smacks him. Jericho smacks him back. Jericho stomps his feet and clotheslines him down. Jericho gives him a single ax handle off the apron and then tries a clothesline but eats ringpost. He tries another and again Patrick slides out of the way and Jericho hits the ringpost with his free arm. Nice psychology. Nick hammerlocks the bad arm and works some jabs. Back in, Nick with a snapmare and the Eddie Guerrero necksnap. Patrick with some combos in the corner and taunts to pretty big boos. Jericho fights back with rights. Nick tries a charge but eats boot. Jericho tries to get the crowd on his side but they are kinda mild. Jericho sends him into the turnbuckle 10 times for the count-a-long. Jericho sends him off and gets the one arm backdrop. Nick does the heel runaround and a shoulderblock. He heads up top but Jericho pulls him off with one arm and hits the superkick to win it at 8:05. Decent enough given the mediocre gimmick. In Jericho’s book, he says that the twine came loose and he had to pretend his arm was still tied. I’ll be damned if I could tell, so kudos to Jericho for that. I will say the crowd seemed more into Patrick getting his ass kicked than anything to do with Jericho. Thankfully, they’d turn him heel and let Jericho be Jericho. **

• Meanwhile, Brain, Tony and Dusty discuss about how the contract signing between Hogan and Piper will go down tonight. Tony wants to take it to the back where the wrestlers (I. e. Buff Bagwell) are answering questions. The best part is the way Dusty quizzically repeats website like he couldn’t tell you what it is if his life depended on it.

• Next up, Mean Gene is with the injured Ric Flair who won’t be one of the SIXTY guys in the WW3. Flair opens his mouth and the crowd erupts before he even speaks because VA is Flair country. Mean Gene asks him about the n.W.o. Flair cuts the pro-WCW troops promo and says that even though he’s on the shelf he promises that WCW will have the last word.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Giant. Announcers are playing this as Jarrett claiming that Giant never ChokeSlammed him in his last match. Giant has the US belt but he stole it from Flair who also isn’t champ anymore because he’s injured. Dusty: “Let me tell you something Tony that he has around his waist that doesn’t belong to him and that’s the United States Heavyweight wrestling title, right or wrong, yes or no, YAY OR NO!” Jarrett jumps Show with rights and Show throws him off and telegraphs a backdrop. Jarrett comes back with another right that Show no sells. Show swings violently and misses and Jarrett looks lucky to be alive. Jarrett tries another right in the corner and Show no sells that too. Jarrett tries mounting in the corner and Show easily throws him across the ring and takes him down with a clothesline. Crowd is into every move Show does just based on his sheer size. Show tries a Stinger Splash but whiffs. Jarrett hits a dropkick and drives Show into the corner. He tries a splash of his own but Giant gets the boot up and bodyslams him too. TROLL YELL! Giant drops an elbow and does the Andre the Giant spot on his chest. Jarrett tries coming back with some shotgun chops and Giant no sells and hits the CLUBBINGBLOWS! Giant sends him into the corner and chokes but the crowd is focused on Sting in the rafters. Giant hits a big boot and the Atomic Leg Drop of Doom but doesn’t cover. Sting makes his way down from the catwalk through the crowd as they go bananas. Giant with a ribbreaker and goes for a VaderBomb but Jarrett slides out of the way and gets a crossbody for 2. Jarrett ducks a clothesline and Giant shitcans himself as Jarrett struts. Sting grabs Jarrett from behind and gives him the Scorpion Death Drop to a pop. Sting walks out as the announcers say he’s joined the n.W.o. Show back in and hits the ChokeSlam to win it at 6:08. This was OK, but the kind of match no show for an angle that should be saved for Nitro and not a PPV. When the crowd ignores the match for a run-in that takes up half of the match itself, something’s a bit amiss. *

• Piper is out next and he calls out Hogan. Instead he gets Bischoff, Dibiase, and Vincent because, according to Sleazy, Hogan is busy with some movie scripts. Way to devalue your own PPV, asshole. Piper paintbrushes Vincent a few times just because he can. Piper says he’s been here 28 years and never once has he had his hair primped or his nails done like Bischoff. Piper says he’ll sign the contract but he wants no-DQ, no-sneak attacks. THE MATCH OF THE CENTURY! Bischoff goes to touch the contract and Piper damn near bites his hand off. Piper wants Hogan out so here comes Hogan and Giant, Miss Elizabeth, Hall, Nash and Syxx. The fans begin pelting the ring with trash slowly. Hogan cuts a meandering promo and demands to see Piper’s hip scar. The significance seems to be lost on the crowd but now Hogan acts like he has an ace up his sleeve. Hogan signs the contract and Piper jumps him and of course the entire n.W.o whoops his ass. Hogan gets a chair and smashes him on the scar. Hogan chop blocks that leg and sprays n.W.o on it and then spits on Piper. This seriously went on damn near 20 minutes. This wasn’t a bad segment; in fact, it was quite good but 20 minutes of angle advancement on a PPV is horrific from a structural standpoint and just lazy.

• Meanwhile, Tony laments the nWo’s HEINOUS actions and even runs the people watching at the arena and at home into the ground. Schiavone: “I know there are fans throughout the arena with n.W.o shirts on. If that’s who you look up to, then you’re just as low as they are!” Always a good idea.

The Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat. If HH win, Sherri gets 5 minutes alone with Col. Robert Parker. Robert Parker, she coming for you, nigga! The Canadians want their anthem played and then of course butcher the lyrics. Booker and Jacque to start as Booker works the arm. Jacque gets the headlock but Booker takes him down with a shoulderblock. Jacque no sells and kips up and gets the dropkick. Booker no sells and kips up and hits the back kick. Stevie Ray in and they hit a double shoulderblock and he takes down Jacque with a bodyslam. He sends off Jacque who gets a shoulderblock but Stevie no sells. Pierre in and takes him down with a clothesline. Pierre clumsily hits a Stinger Splash behind the ref’s back but Stevie Ray comes back with a back suplex and a slow scissors kick for 2. Booker in and drops a knee. Stevie back in and that allows Booker to shotgun Pierre behind the ref’s back. Stevie drops an elbow and some boots for 2. Booker in and hits the ax kick but since it’s not 1999 Pierre comes back with an eye gouge. He tries an elbow drop but comes up dry. Booker tries one and also whiffs but he gets the spinaroonie and a leg lariat. DUSTY: “HE GOT ‘IM! THAT’S THE HARLEM SHUFFLE!” The timing has been lackluster thus far. Booker gets a head of steam but Jacque botches trying to bring him to the floor so he does it again. He sends him into the barricade so Parker can boot him around. The Amazings put the boots to him and then hit a doubleteam STO. Jacque then bodyslams Pierre onto Stevie for 2. Then they hit a double flapjack to crickets. Smart move by Bischoff blowing the crowd’s load on a damn contract signing. Brain makes a joke that Tony and Dusty should make a country music song out of the shlock they are pitching back and forth as Booker tries a roll up but Pierre clotheslines him down for 2. Jacque rolls him into a Boston crab and the fucking ref just walks away so Pierre can legdrop him illegally. This sucks. Dusty: “THE FIGHT OF THE LIFETIME! THE FIGHT OF ALL FIGHTS!” Booker makes the mild tag to Stevie who backdrops Jacque over and then press slams him onto Pierre. Booker in and tries to whip Pierre off but sends him into the ref by accident and then shitcans himself missing a sidekick. The Amazings hit a Spike Piledriver on Stevie and then go under the ring. COLONEL PARKER, GET THE TABLES! They set some stairs and a table up in the corner and who the hell knows what they are doing. Actually, it’s just a makeshift ladder and they try the Andre/Snuka combo splash off the top but Stevie rolls out of the way. Booker heads up top and hits Harlem Hangover and pins as the illegal man to win it at 9:19. This wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it definitely wasn’t any good. The two teams and the ref were practically in three different rings (aha!) just based on horrific timing. *3/4

• Post-match, Dusty: “We got another fight between a man and a woman and IT’S GOING TO BE AN OLD-FASHIONED DUKESTER!” Sherri potatoes him and sends him into the turnbuckle and then shitcans him. Back in another ring, Sherri hits a couple of clothelines and a crossbody off the top for a 2 count. The Amazings pull him to the floor and Sherri and the Heat chase him to the back.

• Next, Mean Gene is with Lex Luger in the back. He says he doesn’t know what Sting is doing with a baseball bat. Luger says it REEKS of n.W.o. He’s waiting for months for an explanation but Sting is a man of no words. Mean Gene puts over Luger as a WW3 favorite.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Psicosis vs. Dean Malenko (c). Machino tries a waistlock and Psicosis tries a drop toe hold that Dean actually blocks so Psicosis goes to the heel hook. Dean sells before switching to an STF and Psicosis gets the ropes. Brain says that Psicosis’s hair makes him look like Peggy Bundy. Psicosis gets a waistlock before Dean shakes off what weak shit and goes to an ankle lock. Dean switches into an Indian Deathlock/anchor hold and then rolls up Psicosis for 2. They go through a couple of headlocks and headscissors and then trade armdrags and it’s a stalemate. The crew puts over how deadly Malenko is as the ultimate submission badass and for once, they’re right. Psicosis rolls through a wristlock and applies his own and Dean does the same thing and kips up for another stalemate. Psicosis gets a side headlock but Dean gets a rope break. Dean tries him up and goes to the top footlock and then grapevines the leg. Psicosis gets the ropes and the crowd isn’t exactly thrilled with this. Dean gets a trip and goes back to the half crab and then knucklelocks the hand as well. YES! Psicosis tries powering up and gets a shoulderblock and covers for 2. Psicosis runs off and Dean sidesteps and kicks him into the ropes and Psicosis looks to botch his springboard flip back to his feet. Dean mocks him by checking his wristtape watch for the time but no one notices even if that spot would have went over huge in Japan. Psicosis spinwheel kicks him to the floor and over to the top to come back. Psicosis tries a splash off the top but Dean decides to up the heel quotient and just moves out of the way to let him eat guardrail. Back in, Dean snapmares him and goes to the triangle choke. Dusty and Tony keep blathering on and on about the n.W.o and Sting as Psicosis gets the ropes. Dean is single handedly determined to bring this match into awesome as he hits a springboard legdrop for 2 and hooks in a BEAST half Liontamer! Fuck this crowd that’s sitting on their hands for this. Dean gets him off and hits a butterfly suplex RIGHT INTO THE TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Psicosis finds REFUGE in the ropes according to Dusty. Dean smacks him around in the corner and gives him some knees to the grill. Dean dropkicks the knee and just chokes in the ropes. Dean drops a few knees on the leg like an asshole and then drops an elbow across it on the apron. Dean is in full-on Terminator mode tonight. Back in, Dean hooks him in the Tree of Woe and smashes the leg. Dean wants a monkeyflip but Psicosis tries to drop him over the top rope so Machino counters to the rana to the floor! Tony wonders if it’s a DQ and thankfully Bill Watts was asleep at the wheel because it’s not. Dean baseball slides to the floor but Psicosis catches him in a pumphandle backbreaker and then hits a corkscrew plancha off the top! YEAH! Back in, Psicosis hits the springboard guillotine legdrop which use to be his finisher but I guess not now because that only gets 2. Dean avoids a charge and Psicosis eats turnbuckle but Psicosis crotches him on the top rope and then hits the top rope Frankensteiner for 2. Dusty: “ONCE AGAIN, WE SEE THE GREAT RECUPERATIVE POWER OF THE CRUISERWEIGHTS! Call them cruiserweights, they are great athletes. I don’t know about cruiserweights. I suppose I coulda been a cruiserweight.” Tony: “I don’t think so.” Dean counters a suplex attempt with a small package for 2. Psicosis hits the forward roll kick. They go through FOUR Tombstone reversals before Dean finally SPIKES HIM DOWN! Cover only gets 2. Psicosis leapfrogs Dean but Dean jumps on his back and then rolls him back up and bridges for the 3 at 14:35. I was enjoying Dean systematically destroying Psicosis that I would have liked to see him tap to the Cloverleaf, but that was still bad as hell even is Psicosis decided to ignore the leg for a while. That’s the first match I’ve seen in a while where someone not named Angle, Benoit or Triple H really got VICIOUS with their psychology in damn near kayfabe crippling a man. I love it. ***1/2

• Post-match, Brain: “That was a victory this man EARNED!” Tony: “He earns all of them.” I’m laying odds they are in the battle royal later.

Triple Threat Match for the WCW World Team Championship: The Nasty Boys vs. The Faces of Fears vs. The Outsiders (c). Tony apologizes for leaving the Nitro set but says he won’t let Nash and Hall push him around and he’s considering not even showing up at Nitro tomorrow. Nasties clear the ring of the Outsiders before Faces of Fear can even get out there. The FOF then run out and start beating up the Outsiders in the aisle. They all get in the ring and now the FOF work over Hall and the Nasties work over Nash. Now, the FOF and Nasties turn on each other and pound on each other. Barbarian and Knobbs settle as the legal men. Knobbs takes him down with a boot and a clothesline. Saggs in and they hit another double clothesline. Tony says the Outsiders must get the pinfall, submission or DQ to retain which is a disaster waiting to happen in and of itself (DQ in a 3-way?) but Dusty corrects him and says there can be a disqualification. Tony sheepishly reminds him that a DQ IS a disqualification. Tony: “Thank you, for those that don’t know a D and a Q are in disqualification.” Brain: “Also, Dairy Queen.” Saggs drops a leg for 2. Knobbs in and tries to drop an elbow but whiffs the FOF jump him in their corner. That brings in Saggs and now it’s the pier-4 brawl with the Outsiders watching on. Meng takes down Knobbs with a clothesline as Tony says he doesn’t feel safe with the n.W.o and chastises Dusty for saying he’d let the n.W.o beat him up because he’s a commentator, not a wrestler anymore. Nash in with hip checks on Knobbs. Razor in with rights and boots as well. Meng gets punched in and then Nash smacks him back out and Meng takes offense. Over the next minute or so, the Outsiders and FOF all trade uncooperative tags in a bizarre sequence. Razor boots around Barbarian and taunts until Barbarian chokes him and hits a Ho Train. SNITSKY TAUNT! Barbarian gets confused by the Nasties wanting in and he instead tags in Meng which strikes Tony as the most brilliant thing in the history of our great sport. Meng gives Razor the Bret Hart boot but Razor no sells and comes back with an eye gouge. Razor piefaces Knobbs who takes offense and counts it as a tag. The Nasties jump the Outsiders in their corner and the crowd is into it. The Nasties and the FOF get into a brawl and the ref is trying to break it up. Dusty: “SIX WAY CLUBBERING, RIGHT HERE AT WORLD WAR 3!” Knobbs takes down Barbarian with a back elbow and Saggs is in and hits a piledriver. He covers but Hall breaks it up. Saggs tags in Nash who takes offense and he jumps Saggs. Barbarian tries a charge but Nash gets the boot up and hits a clothesline and the crowd loved that for some reason. He covers but Meng breaks it up. Nash with a side suplex but again Meng breaks it up. Nash in with rights and a clothesline on Barbarian. Barbarian no sells and breaks him into his corner and smacks his around. Meng in with a back suplex for 2. Hall now takes in Barbarian and the FOF face off like they are going to attack each other but luckily Meng takes in Knobbs. More BRILLIANT STRATEGY FROM THE FACES OF FEAR! Barbian and Knobbs lock up and Knobbs sends him into the Nasties corner so they can work him over. Dusty: “THAT’S THE GREATEST CLUBBERING IN THE SPORT RIGHT THERE! THE MASTERS OF THE CLUBBERING!” Saggs in and gives him the low blow legdrop and tags Knobbs in and they target Barbarian’s leg. Razor tags Knobbs from behind and goes to work on his leg now. Nash and Meng in and another brawl erupts! The Outsiders and FOF brawl until the ref separates them. Nash hits running clothesline on Meng and the camera angle of it was used on numerous WCW commercials. Nash with a bodyslam but Knobbs gets the illegal tag from behind. Knobbs tries to jump him but Barbarian is still legal so Knobbs sends him into Saggs boot. Saggs in with a ribbreaker for 1. This is going on a bit too long for what it’s trying to accomplish. Meng in with a piledriver but Saggs breaks it up. Meng smacks him around and tags in Hall. Saggs gives him an inverted atomic drop and a low blow and the crowd GROANS! Knobbs and Meng in. Meng with a headbutt. Barbarian in with nothing. Meng and Knobbs decide to both tag in the Outsiders. The crowd and announcers play this as genius strategy of course. Hall and Nash tease attacking and then both jump to make tags but the Nasties and FOF take a breather to a big pop from the crowd. Hall and Nash go eye to eye again and then Nash goes down without even a fingerpoke and Hall covers his own tag partner for 1, 2,–The Nasties in to break it up. That was pretty cool actually. The FOF are in. More CLUBBERING! Knobbs shitcans Meng but Hall waffles him with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone. Nash with the Jackknife finishes Knobbs (the illegal man) off at 16:08. This was entertaining in the same way that a Royal Rumble is entertaining. Collision of personalities that aren’t normally placed in close proximity. You’ve got 6 guys, 4 of whom don’t use moves and 2 of whom can’t be bothered to, so this was basically the antithesis of wrestling much less formula tag wrestling, but again it was fun as hell to watch them beat the shit out of each other and then no sell because that’s basically all of their gimmicks. The APA would have fit right in with this crowd. ***

• Now in order to get ready for this match, we split into 3 commentary teams for each ring. Dusty joins Mike Tenay on 1. Brain and Tony on 2 and Lee Marshall and Larry Z on 3. Again, they put over Luger as a favorite. Other names mentioned are Giant, Dean Malenko and Kevin Nash. Then it degrades into hilarity as they start mentioning EVERYONE as a possible winner from Ice Train to Mongo to fuckin’ Road Block.

World War III: Benoit attacks Kevin Sullivan outside of ring 3 and the FOF attack him in kind. Arn joins them and they continue brawling in the isle. Mongo joins them as does Konnan. Then the feed divides into 3 camera that is basically impossible to follow AGAIN so I’ll do the best I can. Even the master, wideshot doesn’t help any. Lee Marshall says that Arn Anderson slammed Konnan into a guardrail but you can’t see any of it. Buff almost shitcans DDP but he lands on the apron. Benoit hits Bossman with a Canadian flag on the floor and he no sells. The n.W.o is holding court in their ring with nobody going near them. The FOF/Horsemen brawl continues. It sounds like the FOF just stampeded into the commentary team for ring 3 as Lee Marshall can be heard “umph”ing and Larry Z says he’s out of there. Tony says the refs have informed him that FOF and the Horsemen have all been eliminated. Lee Marshall can amusingly be seen groveling near the apron of ring 3 for medical attention. X-Pac hits a roundhouse on Disco as the n.W.o has targeted him. Dusty: “TONY RUMBLE IS OUT!” Ciclope is tossed out of 2. Buff almost tosses Regal but he hangs on. La Parka is tossed out by Luger and this is just a logistical nightmare. Juvy and Jericho tease a suplex over the top as several others are eliminated in here. The n.W.o continues to stand around as a stable as Mysterio botches clotheslining Dragon over the top. The Giant damn near kills Joe Gomez before catching him and throwing him out again.

We’re 10 minutes in an no semblance of a cohesive narrative yet other than the n.W.o working together and no one else doing that. The commentary teams keep talking about various interactions but you can’t see hardly any of it on the cameras. Mysterio and Dragon continue to bring workrate to the n.W.o ring. The only cool spots for a while involve the rings trying to toss the big guys. Giant and Road Block, a guy who’s legit 6’10” and 400 ish lbs go face to face and Giant clotheslines him over the top. Eddie Guerrero boots away on DDP. Mysterio kicks Disco to the floor but under the ropes. Everyone in a particular ring including Luger, DDP, Harlem Heat, American Males, etc. jumps on Big Ron Studd with a whole bunch of Stinger Splashs in a cool spot that the crowd is REALLY going on. The ENTIRE RING jumps on him to keep him down. Duggan and the French Canadians eliminate each other. Eddie Guerrero eliminates himself trying a plancha on Regal for some reason. The American Males both get eliminated and they argue with each other about whose fault it is. DDP lowers the bridge and Wallstreet is gone. Public Enemy goes to work on Scott Hall and that goes nowhere. I find it hilarious that in the midst of the chaos of the n.W.o ring, they still find enough room to get out of the way and allow Mysterio and Dragon to hit some cruiserweight specialty combos for damn near TWENTY MINUTES. DDP and Eddie brawl on the floor and Tony demands to know if they are still in it or not and no one knows. Tenay says they are but I saw Guerrero do a plancha over the top so who the hell knows.

We’re 20 minutes in and the remaining THIRTY MEN are supposed to be in ring 2 but we’re still got 3 cameara feeds going. It’s still hard to tell what’s going on. Booker tries choking Regal who pokes him in the eye. Dusty says Jack Boot could be the winner until Hall kicks him to the floor. Johnny Grunge from PE is tossed to the floor. Boot and Grunge now brawl on the floor for no damn reason. Just what we need, a hardcore match going on WHILE A THIRTY MAN, THREE CAMERA BATTLE ROYAL IS GOING ON! Luger clotheslines Giant a couple times and he wobbles around but won’t go down. Tony: “LUGER’S ALMOST GOT GIANT! … Upper left hand corner of your screen!” Malenko is tossed out by Jeff Jarrett as DDP tosses out Pittman. DDP works over Jericho in the corner but Jericho comes back and chokes him. Disco is STILL in there as Rick Steiner looks to toss him but he hands on. Nash finally tosses him to end his HTM run in WW3. They must have got the go home call because it’s spring cleaning time. BUNKHOUSE BUCK IS OUT! Both members of Harlem Heat, Rick Steiner, Ron Studd are all gone. Mysterio tosses Dragon and Mysterio saves himself on the apron. Alex Wright is gone. Jericho tossed to the floor. Ice Train is out.

• FINALLY, we switch to a single camera as we get the requisite n.W.o/WCW standoff. It’s Mysterio, DDP, Luger, Regal, Eddie (who was eliminated 15 minutes ago), Jarrett vs. Giant, Hall, Nash, and X-pac. Brilliantly for the storyline, DDP is standing sort of with the n.W.o but not exactly. Jeff tries to strut and Razor gives him a right. DDP goes for Eddie and we’re off. DDP tosses Eddie again. Nash stalks Mysterio into the corner as Tony mentions Nash using him as a dart into the TV truck. Mysterio jumps at Giant who catches him and ChokeSlams to the floor on Eddie. Jeff almost tosses DDP but he lands on the apron. Razor hits an Atomic Drop on Jarrett and goes for the Edge but DDP breaks it up. Jarrett gets tossed. DDP goes for Regal who lowers the bridge and he’s gone. The n.W.o teams up and tosses Regal. It’s the n.W.o now solely against Luger. He knocks them all down with clotheslines to a BIG POP until Giant cuts him off. Giant goes for a splash in the corner but Luger dodges and Giant lands on the top rope. Luger PICKS HIM UP IN THE TORTUKE RACK! THE CROWD LOSES IT! Hall clips his knee from behind to end that flurry. Hall tries the Razor’s Edge but gets backdropped over the top. BIG POP! Syxx runs toward him and gets press slammed TO THE FLOOR! Luger hits the steel plate forearm of doom and wants the TORTURE RACK! Luger racks him but Giant tosses both to win it at 28:04.

• Man, that sucks. The crowd erupted for Luger and then died as soon as Giant won. Honestly, I’ve never ever heard a crowd get behind Luger like that, not even winning the title against Hogan on Nitro. They would wait almost a year to put the belt on him and that only lasted for 5 days. The first 15-20 minutes were just a swarm of guys and you never could tell what was going on with the commentators mentioning stuff that wasn’t on camera or if it was was too small to notice. Everything after the WCW vs. n.W.o standoff especially the finish with Luger plowing through everyone is good stuff. *** but I like battle royals.

The 411: A much better WW3, some good cruiserweight matches and a shockingly enjoyable triple threat power tag match make this a recommendation. The nWo had taken over but hadn't gotten but so lazy and hadn't siphoned everyone's heat and storylines just yet. Worth a look.
Final Score:  6.5   [ Average ]  legend

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