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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW World War III 1997

September 3, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW World War III 1997  

Relevant Storylines: Kevin Nash is “injured.” Hollywood Hogan wants to be the first ever person to be his own number one contender. Raven wants Riggs to join the Flock. And Mongo “squashes” Bill Goldberg.

Scheduled Card:
1. Glacier and Ernest Miller vs. The Faces of Fear.
2. WCW World Television Championship: Disco Inferno vs. Saturn (c).
3. Yuji Nagata vs. Ultimo Dragon.
4. WCW World Tag Team Championship: Steve Regal and Dave Taylor vs. The Steiner Brothers (c).
5. Scotty Riggs vs. Raven.
6. Mongo McMichael vs. “Bill” Goldberg.
7. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero (c).
8. No DQ Match for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair vs. Curt Hennig (c).
9. World War III.

• We start out with a Fallout 3-esque guy in a gas mask wandering a waste land and radios back to the base saying he has discovered 60 warriors. They urge him that it’s too dangerous and he blows up before he can escape. That was pretty awesome and cheesy at the same time.

• Tenay, Brain, and Tony announce the stakes. The winner gets a title shot at Superbrawl AFTER the Sting/Hogan match happens at Starrcade. Brain says whoever wins the battle royal it’s mostly due to luck.

Glacier and Ernest Miller vs. The Faces of Fear. Cat isn’t funny yet and mostly does karate. The FOF jump them but Cat kicks Barbarian to the floor. Looks like Meng and Glacier are the legal men. Glacier gets some kicks but Meng knocks him down. Glacier comes back with a sweep for 1. Glacier goes to the arm and Cat in with an ax handle and some weak shit. He goes for a crossbody but needs Glacier to dropkick him over to even get a cover for 1. Barbarian in and he no sells some kicks that go nowhere. Glacier in and tries a leapfrog but doesn’t do any offense with it and jumps on the arm instead in a weird spot. Barbarian shrugs him off and tags in Meng. Glacier tries some stuff and sends Meng off and they botch the spot that supposed to knock Barbarian off the apron. So Glacier dropkicks him back into his partner and they do it again. Cat in with a charge on Meng and springboards off him for a splash on Barbarian. That’s pretty cool. Glacier follows out with a plancha and tries to scare off Jimmy Hart but Barbarian jumps him from behind. Back in, Barbarian whiffs on a charge. He sends Glacier off but Meng is in and backdrops him into a waiting Barbarian who POWERBOMBS HIM DOWN! AWESOME! Crowd explodes for that but Cat breaks up the cover. Barbarian chokes in the corner and then whips him into Cat who doesn’t even bump for it. What is this? Outside of this powerbomb, this has been shit. Meng with a dropkick on Glacier for 2. Meng with a Bret Hart backbreaker for 2. The FOF pound Glacier in the corner and the crowd livens up for that for some reason. Might be a bunch of early smarks just fucking with them but who knows. Barbarian chokes and Meng clotheslines him from the apron. Barbarian goes to a chinlock because this isn’t moving slow enough. Barbarian with a bodyslam and tags in Meng. Meng with a shoulderbreaker for 2. Meng goes to the TONGAN DEATH GRIP! Glacier just looks a bit agitated. Fucker. Who is he to doubt that submission move? He must not be a jam up guy. Barbarian in with the Bret Hart bump. Meng back in as Glacier tries fighting back and Meng clubs him from behind. Alright, that’s about enough of this. Meng whiffs on an elbow drop but just boots Glacier anyway. Glacier slides behind and gets a back suplex that folds up Meng. Glacier tags in Cat who hits some kicks and a clothesline. Barbarian in and another clothesline for him. More kicks and Cat knocks Jimmy off the apron. Meng puts on the Death Grip again and Barbarian dumps Glacier and Cat sells the submission into the pinfall for 3 at 9:13. This is a who’s who of who cares. Good enough for substandard government work. **, one for the backdrop powerbomb and one for somebody jobbing to the death grip.

WCW World Television Championship: Disco Inferno vs. Saturn (c). Alright, this should be better as Saturn is beast when he wants to be. Saturn enters from the front row with Raven from the Flock. Tenay wonders how much the Flock will factor into WW3. Saturn with a headlock TO on Disco and smacks him around. Saturn with a fireman’s carry and another paintbrush. Disco tries a headlock and Saturn bulldozes him with a shoulderblock. Disco gets a hip toss, a body slam, and a right hand and Saturn powders out. Saturn shouts at the cameraman WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!? Saturn waffles Disco over the ref demanding a break and runs off but gets hiptossed again. Disco sends him off again and Saturn again takes a breather to regroup. Disco slingshots him back in using the ropes but eats a kick and a clothesline and Saturn is fired up. Saturn boots him but Disco comes back with an inverted atomic drop. Disco throws him into the corner and works him over with rights and elbows. Disco takes him down with a back elbow and a fist drop for 2. Disco tries an elbow drop but Saturn has the boot up. Disco blocks and tries another elbow drop but Saturn rolls out of the way. Saturn beasts Disco over with a pumphandle gargoyle suplex. Cover gets 2. Saturn slams him down and tries a moonsault but Disco rolls under and gets a clothesline for 2. Saturn comes back with a small package for 2. Saturn with a dropdown back slide for 2. Disco with a waistlock but Saturn reverses and crotches him on the top rope and then crossbodys him off the ropes and to the floor. That’s pretty sick in a wreckless kinda way. Disco goes over to gives Kidman the Chartbuster. What the hell for? They weren’t even trying to get involved. Disco with another on Lodi. He tries another on Van Hammer who blocks and Saturn Ho Trains Disco from behind. Back in, Saturn wants a Tiger Suplex but Disco blocks and gets a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Disco heads up top and gets a crossbody for 2. But Saturn no sells, rolls under and hooks in the Rings of Saturn and Disco gives up at 9:22. Once Saturn got into his moveset, things were mildly interesting but other than that not much. Another average-ish match but nothing special on either side other than Disco’s odd attack of the Flock. **

Yuji Nagata vs. Ultimo Dragon. YEAH! Dragon wants to get his hands on Sonny Ono and Yuji is standing between him and his goal. If Dragon wins, he gets 5 minutes with Ono. Dragon keeps shooting for Ono as Nagata backs him off with kicks. Dragon has a taped up elbow and Nagata goes right to it with high kicks. Dragon rolls under a kick and sweeps Nagata down. Dragon tries the handspring back elbow but Nagata catches him and takes him down directly into the FUJIWARA ARMBAR! Dragon rolls over so Nagata hooks in the regular armbar! This is already better than Saturn/Disco but the announcers are rambling on about Ono. Dragon floats over into a bridge for 1 and dropkicks Nagata and he takes a breather. Dragon makes a beeline for Ono. Ono kicks his arm a couple times but Dragon shakes it off and tries a suplex and that allows Nagata to attack him from behind. Back in, Nagata whiffs on a dropkick and Dragon gets the headlock TD. Nagata tries sending him off but Dragon stays on the hold and grounds him down. Nagata almost escapes and Dragon reapplies the hold. That’s a nice working of the hold but the crowd is antsy. Nagata tries sending him off again but Dragon STILL holds on so Nagata folds his ass up with a high angle back suplex and a DR FG and another. Nagata wrenches the neck to be a dick and the ref demands a break. Nagata with a spike piledriver for 2 and goes to the sleeper. Dragon elbows out but runs back into the sleeper. Nagata and Dragon can’t make up their mind if its a sleeper or reverse chinlock as the selling is changing and so is the grip. Dragon elbows out again and Nagata tries to grab it again but Dragon now hits the back suplex. Nagata is still up first and boots him down. Nagata with another piledriver for 2. Nagata chokes to not much from the crowd. So he gestures at them and they start booing mildly. Nagata with an enzuigiri and goes to the Camel Clutch. Nagata just THROWS him back down into the mat but Dragon comes back with a kick so Nagata jumps back to the FUJIWARA ARMBAR! Terrific transition even if the crowd is dead. Nagata goes back to the sleeper and wrenches the neck again. Brain says Nagata should turn the mask around backwards. Nagata is getting nothing from these fans and it’s pitiful on their part, although understandable. Nagata with a belly to belly suplex. Dragon gets sent off but flips off and comes back with a series of DR FG kicks and now the crowd is back into it. Dragon fashwashes him in the corner. Nagata takes a breather. Dragon comes flying out with a plancha but Nagata tries a kick to cut him off yet Dragon CATCHES THE LEG! Dragon with the Dragon Screw LW and Nagata is trashed. Dragon heads up top and comes flying out with a splash. Back in, Dragon heads up top but Nagata pops up with it. Dragon hits the MDK BOMB and bridges it for a 2 count. Dragon heads back up top and hits a moonsault for another 2 count. Nagata tries a suplex but Dragon slides out and hooks in the DRAGON SLEEPER! Nagata taps out but Ono distracts the ref. Dragon is pissed and wants the victory. Dragon puts him up top for the Frankensteiner and hits it. Cover gets only 2 as Ono puts Nagata’s foot on the ropes. The fans are booing that crap. Dragon wants Ono but here comes Nagata. Dragon blocks a boot and picks him up for a back suplex but they rotate into Ono to knock him off the apron. Nagata floats over into the cover. But looks like they are in the ropes. Nagata covers anyway and gets a 4 count (yes, four, it’s probably on a Botchamania) for the win at 12:48. Man, that ending certainly sucked and looked awful with their timing and positioning. This had some nice puro flavor with the armbars and such and Nagata’s a pro even if he’s a nobody stateside. ***1/4

WCW World Tag Team Championship: Steve Regal and Dave Taylor vs. The Steiner Brothers (c). Tony says they are getting this title shot because “they have been very awesome lately.” There ya go. Million Dollar Man is managing the Steiners who are all face. This is during the period when the Outsiders starting bringing out their own belts to claim THEY were the champs. The Steiners are hometown boys tonight so the crowd is clearly with them. Scott is already well on his way from Scott Steiner to Big Poppa Pump and from pretty roided to seriously roided.

• Scott and Taylor to start. Lock up goes into the counter and Taylor hits a forearm. Scott blocks a hiptoss and takes him over. Nick Eastbound and Down Patrick asks Taylor if he wants to quit after one hiptoss. Scott gets sent off and takes down Taylor with a shoulderblock. Tenay runs out of breath running down the Steiners accomplishments as Taylor brings Scott into the corner for some heel chicanery. Scott blocks a backdrop with a butterfly suplex. Regal in but Rick clotheslines him down. The heels powder out and the Steiner get their pose. Regal and Rick in. Cue the USA chant. Regal brags about his bicep size but no ones interested. Rick goes to the arm but Regal shoves off that trash and gets a trip and goes to the test of strength and of course Rick wins that one. Rick bridges and kips up but Rick stays on the knuckles. Rick armdrags him across the ring but Regal comes back with Euro uppercuts. Rick runs into a knee in the corner and another Euro uppercut. CHECK OUT THE PYTHONS! And the crowd boos Regal’s posing. I love it. Rick blocks a punch and goes to the armbar TD. That goes nowhere so Scott in. He comes in with a belly to belly suplex for 2. Scott goes for the leg and then an STF. Rick in and goes back to the arm. Since when were these guys submission wrestlers? Regal escapes and brings in Taylor who gets a belly to belly suplex. Rick ignores his clothesline and gets a shoulderblock instead and catches him out of a leapfrog for a powerslam. Crowd loved that but Regal breaks up the cover. Scott in but Regal knees him from behind and then Taylor clotheslines him to the floor. Regal knees him on the floor a bunch as Brain, Tony and Tenay argue about whether or not the Steiners are “stupid” and which team is more intelligent. No, really. That’s what they’re talking about. Back in, Taylor gets the Euro uppercut and taunts to big boos. Regal in with MORE DANCING and kicks Scott in the head and drops an elbow for 2. Regal sends him off but Scott takes him down with a clothesline. Regal grapevines the leg to cut off the tag and STILL manages to tag in Taylor. Regal is the man. Taylor in for nothing so Regal is back in with knees. He tries avoiding a whip but eats a belly to belly suplex. Scott makes the mild tag and Rick is in with clotheslines and body slams. Rick drops an elbow but Taylor breaks up the cover. Rick with a backdrop and Scott backdrops Taylor onto Regal. They shitcan Taylor to the floor and then hit the combo bulldog to end it at 9:46. Standard formula match but Regal brings personality to doing the ordinary slavish stuff so that brings it up just a bit, but don’t expect much other than a Steiners-esque extended squash. **1/2

• Next, Mean Gene is with JJ Dillon. JJ says that Raven has 24 hours to sign a contract and if he doesn’t, he may not be on Nitro. I don’t know what the story here was other than just trying to not let Raven sit in the crowd and call his own shots all the time, kayfabe wise.

Scotty Riggs vs. Raven. Riggs has an eye patch here but is not yet in the Flock. This is the story of trying to get him to join the Flock. Guess how that one ends. Raven takes him time getting to the ring with the Flock from front row. Kidman gets the stick and says this is Raven Rules. Riggs follows with a plancha on Raven, Saturn and Kidman to accept that challenge. Riggs beats up Raven around the ring and sends him into the stairs. Riggs with more rights and demands Raven get up but the crowd doesn’t care. Riggs pounds him in the corner and gets a swinging neckbreaker and a splash for 2. Raven tries a charge but Riggs with a leapfrog and Raven eats turnbuckle. Riggs with a roll up for 2. Raven suckers him into the corner to cut him off. Brain suggests that Raven should try to move the eye patch over the good eye and then knock him out cold so he doesn’t know what’s going on. Brilliant. Raven chokes with his flannel shirt and then dumps him. On the floor, Raven sends him into the apron but gets reversed and sent into the stairs again. Riggs chokes him with a camera cord WITH AUTHORITY! Raven hocks up something and Riggs breaks the hold because of it. Riggs hits more right hands but Raven comes back with a jawbreaker and HOLY SHIT, the crowd is DEAD. Nagata was getting more than these guys. Raven flips off someone and drops an elbow. Someone slides in a chair and the crowd perks up for that. Raven hits him across the back and sets it up for the drop toe hold into it. Riggs comes back and drop toe holds Raven into it instead. Raven sells it well and the crowd likes that. Riggs drapes the arm for a delayed 2 count. Riggs throws the chair at him and hits the Van Daminator. He covers but Raven gets the foot on the ropes. Riggs wants a bulldog into the chair and HITS IT! Crowd is being pulled into caring just a bit for the hardcore stuff. Riggs covers for 2 again and the crowd goes back to silence awkwardly. Raven falls out of a suplex and hits the Evenflow but he’s too out of it to cover. Raven instead wants the mic? He says it didn’t have to be this way. He feels his pain and spikes him down with another Evenflow. Raven hits one more and still doesn’t cover. Mickey Jay starts the count and Raven wins by KO at 8:45. Crowd absolutely did not care for 90% of the match and the 10% they did pay attention to was just chair spots and then they went back to sleep. Maybe check out the chair stuff and skip everything else unless you’re a novice to Raven’s character, in which case it’s “interesting” to see how the Flock worked. *1/2

• Post-match, The Flock waves off the EMTs and instead carry out Riggs themselves through the crowd. Presumably so they can all ride dirt bikes, hang off railroad tracks and try to hang on for as long as possible.

Mongo McMichael vs. “Bill” Goldberg. He’s still Bill at this point and Mongo has a lead pipe to even the odds in a regular match mind you. Brain says Goldberg can win WW3. Mongo interrupts his intro to get on the stick. He says they are not getting the match they wanted. He says he can attack people from behind too. We cut backstage and Goldberg is laid out. Whaaaaa? I must have forgot all about this. Goldberg apparently stole Mongo’s Super Bowl ring and Mongo jumped him to get it back. I swear I don’t remember this at all. Mongo says he wants a match. Debra is dragging out Alex Wright, because she wants him to take on her husband for the Super Bowl ring…. Or something?

Mongo McMichael vs. Alex Wright. Mongo tries taunting to start so Alex starts beating him with the DEADLY LEATHER COAT!~! Mongo no sells and gives some clotheslines and a body slam and sends Alex to the floor. Alex says he’s taking a walk but Debra is adamant. Wright uses EBD Patrick as a distraction to hit some rights and Mongo hits a shitty flapjack and some elbows as Tony says he “improvised in mid air.” If I was Alex, I wouldn’t ever want Mongo improvising anything in mid air on me. Mongo with a side slam for 2. Alex sends him off and comes back with a dropkick for a 2 count. Alex works him over with chops in the corner but Mongo sends him into the opposite corner and gets the 3 point stance chop blocks. Mongo with a clothesline. Alex with an up and over and Mongo just ignores that and hits another side slam and calls for the Tombstone and hits it for the 3 at 3:35. 1/4*. Mongo squashes the unenthusiastic Alex Wright who just wanted to dance but he let a woman get him down. This was fine for 3 minutes of putting over Mongo as a guy who means business but what do you expect?

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero (c). Tony seems to think this is the first time Rey has EVER been announced from San Diego instead of Tijuana. Brain calls San Diego a “suburb” of Tijuana to show his stereotype humor is in fine effect. Rey puts a mask on a much bigger guy than him as Brain says he needed a mask and Brain makes a crack about his relative size to the mask. This is the follow up to their FANTASTIC match at HH 97.

• Eddie’s full blown heel and the crowd loves Rey. Eddie goes to the arm and takes him down and Rey bridges up and armdrags him over. Eddie complains to Charles Robinson that he was pulling the tights. Nice already. Eddie goes to the hammerlock but Rey snapmares him over and now Eddie complains about the hair. The front row says he’s lying and Eddie shouts them down WITH GUSTO! They EXPLODE in anger toward him. WOW! Off the charts heat for Eddie so far. “EDDIE SUCKS! EDDIE SUCKS!” Eddie covers his ears. Eddie sends Rey off who gets a shoulderblock. Rey with the spinning headscissors. Eddie gets him down to the mat and bridges for a 1 count. Rey tries a baseball slide but Eddie folds him up with a CRUCIAL GERMAN SUPLEX! Rey looks legit dazed as he appeared to land on his head. Eddie taunts for a second and hits a high angle back suplex. Eddie goes to the ab stretch. Surprisingly slow pace for these 2. Rey blocks a backdrop with a kick. They try another headscissors but their balance is off so they botch it. They do the knuckle lock and Rey springboards off the ropes to headscissor him over. Rey tries teasing a suicide dive so Eddie trips him up. Eddie tries the slingshot senton but Rey avoids. Eddie comes back and Rey flapjacks him into the ropes to crotch but Eddie kicked Rey’s head. Odd. Something didn’t look right about that. Eddie gets to the apron and Rey tries some complicated set up for the Arabian powerbomb and it’s sloppy too. Eddie lands on his feet and comes back with the awesome tiltawhirl backbreaker. Back in, Eddie goes up top but Rey cuts him off and tries a superplex. They jockey for position and Eddie instead hits the top rope superplex and taunts to more boos. Eddie heads top and rolls through a splash attempt. Rey gets the huracanrana for 2. Eddie gets a BRUTAL flapjack. Double KO. Brain says Rey’s out of it from the suplex earlier where he landed on his head. Rey flips out of a powerbomb and armdrags Eddie over. He gets another headscissors for 2. Eddie comes back with a basement dropkick as he mouths off to the crowd for more boos. Eddie with chops and a Euro uppercut. “EDDIE SUCKS!” Eddie hangs him out to dry on the top rope and tells the whole crowd to kiss his ass. Nice. Eddie now tries the Arabian powerbomb in the exact same spot and Rey counters to the rana. Rey follows out with a 360 body press. Rey gets an Arabian press back in for 2. Rey alley oops Eddie back into the turnbuckle off a charge. Rey wants another headscissors but Eddie counters to a NICE powerbomb. Eddie showing his love for la familia hooks in the Gory Special and bridges Rey into a cover for 2. Rey sunset flips him for 2. Rey slams him down and heads up top but Eddie cuts him off and tries the Liger Bomb. Rey counters and they botch something else as he falls off Eddie. They just aren’t feeling it tonight. Eddie sends him into the corner but Rey gets the pop up moonsault for 2. He hits the springboar guillotine legdrop. He calls for the springboard rana. He hits it and the roll through is pretty sloppy. Cover only gets 2 as Eddie gets the ropes. Rey puts him up top but Eddie counters to a Stun Gun. Eddie heads up and hits the Frog Splash. Covers for the 3 at 12:44. Couple of things: they smartly didn’t try to replicate or one up the Havoc match but they were clearly off their games tonight with a few noticeable botches. Still even 80% of these guys on an off night is better than 100% of most of the roster. Worth checking out for Latino Heat in action. ***

• Meanwhile, Tony informs us that the biggest match in professional wrestling history will be Sting-Hogan next month at Starrcade and HE MEANS IT THIS TIME!

No DQ Match for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair vs. Curt Hennig (c). This was of course part of the EXCELLENT feud where Hennig joined the Horsemen and then turned on them. There’s so much crap and so much awesome in this feud. A symbolic example: Hennig/Flair got this over huge and Hennig even got Flair’s robe and what happened? Hennig gave it to Hogan on Nitro to “pay homage to Hollywood” or some nonsense so it could all be about Hogan. Of course, Hogan would be wearing the robe next.

• The ref keeps telling the timekeeper to ring the bell but something’s wrong apparently. Hennig switches rings and Flair gives chase. Hennig stops stalling or whatever and Flair hits him with some chops and sends him into the turnbuckle. Rather than talk about this street fight, Tony starts hyping up the battle royale as Ric and Curt take it into the crowd and the bell still hasn’t rang. They walks over to a camera tower for nothing and then Hennig headlocks him back to ringside. What the hell was that for? That was a waste of 90 seconds. Back to ringside, Hennig with chops and says DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE IN HERE WITH?! THE UNITED STATES CHAMPION! That might be intimidating if Flair wasn’t a 57 time World Chmp at this point. Hennig with more chops and weakly chokes Flair with the camera cord. Hennig brings Flair in and then chokes him with the cable again. Hennig says WHERE’S MY COMPETITION?! And turns his back on Flair. At least, Brain is on top of stuff pointing out the horrible idea that is to count out the dirtiest player in the game. Luckily it doesn’t bother him as Perfect clotheslines him to the floor anyway. The bell still hasn’t did anything so I’m going with my own count. Flair comes back with a Stun Gun and now shitcans Hennig. Tenay bills this as a Battle of Minnesotans as Flair goes up top and HITS THE DOUBLE AX HANDLE TO THE FLOOR!!! YEAHH! It turns out that IC title match against Carlito wasn’t the first time he’s ever hit something off the top rope. That’s worth this match even if it sucks so far. Flair with more chops on the floor and Hennig bumps for them. Flair sends him into the guardrail as Perfect cuts him off by AN EYEPOKE! What kind of sacrilege is that? Flair falling for an eyepoke? Anyway, Hennig gives him a backdrop on the floor. Back in, Hennig covers for 2 and then pokes the ref in the eye for not counting 3. Hennig drops an elbow for another 2. The ref threatens to eject him in a No DQ match as Hennig drives the leg into the mat and Flair is selling death. Hennig comes down on it. He tries again and Flair actually scoots out of the way but ends up getting more punishment. Hennig with the low blow leg drop as Hennig pulls him back to the middle and hooks in the spinning toe hold. Hennig goes to the Indian Deathlock and smacks him down! Flair tries to choke and Hennig torques the hold. Flair gets to his feet on one leg and now clips Hennig’s knee to pay him back. WOO! Flair trips him up and Hennig does his flip or a 360 if you’re Tony. Flair drops a ginger knee. WOO! Flair struts and the limp is mostly gone. Flair chops and Hennig bumps. Flair goes up top and Hennig won’t be the butt of history’s joke twice as he slams Flair off the top for 2. Flair has very buzz on these chops or maybe it’s just he keeps hitting Hennig’s strap on his singlet because the sound is horrible. Hennig switches places and outchops him and Flair flops. Cover gets 2 as Hennig lays the leather to him in the corner. Flair comes back with rights and the hair toss and comes up short so Hennig has to back himself about 5 feet into the ring post for the crotch spot and thus gets no crowd reaction. This is… not good for either of these guys. Hennig comes back with another eye poke. Flair sends him off and they collide on a shoulderblock. Hennig runs away and Flair follows with a back suplex in the next ring for 2. They trade more chops in the corner as Hennig gets the senton neck whip. Hennig is selling the leg pretty decently. Hennig sends him into the corner and Flair flips but his knee buckles on the apron. On the floor for more chops from Hennig and he sends Flair into the stairs. This is mediocre by any standard for either guy, but Flair was having really good even GREAT matches into the next DECADE. This isn’t 1987 but it isn’t 2007 either and both are far from over the hill and yet are barely in second gear. On the floor, Hennig chokes and it goes on a little too long given that it’s not even that good of a choke. Flair pulls him into the guardrail and BARELY gets him over for the suplex back in. Tenay charitably says it’s due to the leg selling and I’ll buy that. Flair gets a chair and atomic drops Hennig across the bridge of the chair! HERE WE GO! Flair then punts the damn chair back into his stones and Pillmanizing his leg TWICE FOR PAYBACK! Flair gets another chair and the belt. Flair gives him a shot across the leg and then poses with the belt for a second and then…. drops it right next to Hennig’s head. Oh, what ever could he do that for? Flair hooks in the Figure Four and it looks to be over but Hennig grabs the conveniently placed belt and hits Flair in the leg with it and waffles him to retain at 18:53. Man, this breaks my heart because I love both of these guys as workers so much but this can’t hold a candle to even their average matches. Both guys went to their signature spots without really building to them and they came off half-assed. The leg psychology both ways is solid and the selling is good enough and Flair even hits something off the top rope and gets sort of vicious with the chair. But it’s just such a colossal disappointment. **1/2

World War III: Buffer: “A 60 man battle royal. 3 rings. 60 wrestlers.” That’s 2 years in a row that he’s repeated the number of participants. Alright, NEW RULES! Now rather than waiting til the secondary rings have 10 left, they wait until only 5 left and then jump into the main ring. Also, you are eliminated if you touch the floor. Doesn’t matter if its over, under, or through the ropes. Tony says we’re going to see “a lot of wrestlers you don’t normally see in WCW” which is true and pretty telling of the fact that they have no chance of winning. The n.W.o gets their own entrance. Tony says the “numbers” would favor WCW if it was n.W.o vs. WCW. Everyone in the stable is wearing the Syxx shirt. Nash doesn’t come out and Tony and Tenay don’t know what’s going on with him but speculate on a phantom knee injury. Even though we still have 3 three rings, we only have one commentary team. Brain: “How are we going to call this thing? Are we going to go back and forth between rings?” Tony: “We’re going to call it as we see it.” Brain: [sarcastically] “Yeah, who knows. It’s war.”

• Giant (face and not in the n.W.o) is a storm in his ring. This is already a MUCH quicker pace than previous years as Giant tosses like four right off the bat including Disco and a Villano. Louie Spicoli is gone as well. Tenay says this is the most dangerous match in wrestling and “injuries” are a given. La Parka is out and so is Norman Smiley. Public Enemy are supposed to go out but botch it a couple times before Meng kicks both to the floor. Scott Hall dumps the often doubted, jam up guy, El Dandy. Rings 1 and 3 are down to half already and 2 must be full of a bunch of self important hanger-ons because it’s still full. DDP and Booker T brawl in the corner. Silver King and Cat work over Stevie Ray as Luger joins in. Luger pokes Stevie Ray in the eyes as Steiner works him over. Brad Armstrong gets tossed by both members of Harlem Heat pretty emphatically. We’ve cut out of the three ring split and have mostly stayed on the middle ring. Damien Demento is tossed and cuts a 45 minute promo about being held down and undervalued only to get attacked by Paul Roma and Matt Hardy for gimmick infringement. Brain says Luger looks the best so far as DDP botches clotheslines Wrath over the top. DDP tosses Prince Iaukea and Yugi Nagata as well. Renegade and Wrath tumble to the floor and then brawl on the floor. What is with jobbers being determined to have a street fight AFTER getting eliminated from a battle royal? They must not be happy collecting the n.W.o B-Team paycheck of running in, taking a bump for Goldberg and hitting the showers.

ANYWAY, we’re at about 10 minutes in as Jericho is tossed out. Mysterio is caught alone in the ring with the n.W.o. Mysterio ALMOST tosses Scott Hall to a big pop but the moment is missed on TV during the returned 3 way split screen. Buff keeps trying to toss Mysterio and he keeps hanging on to the apron. Giant keeps working his way through his ring but he has a wrap on his hand for a broken thumb. Chris Adams hits the floor and he’s out. Benoit and DDP start brawling and they tumble OVER the ropes and back through the ropes without hitting the floor. That was pretty sweet. Malenko is tossed out by Virgil in one of the biggest talent disparities in history. Hacksaw is tossed out and so is Cat. Ring 3 is down to 5 but they all take a breather waiting for the other rings to get down to their limit. That COULD be played up as a nice strategy perk or benefit but there’s just too much chaos to make this point. Macho and Hennig and the entire n.W.o keep pounding Mysterio and booting him until he FINALLY gets tossed. I think? NO! Looks like Mysterio is holding on to the apron about half way down. Ring 3 forgets about their breather and starts fighting again anyway. Ring 2 is now in their breather. Mortis and Alex Wright try to toss Giant and both end up getting shitcanned by Giant. Ring 3 is down to Meng and Giant. Scott Steiner is tossed out of the n.W.o ring as their the others ones left. Ring 2 forgets their breather as well as Stevie Ray is gone but Booker is still in there. This is actually getting pretty interesting seeing each ring get down to their last few guys and whether they’ll wait to move into Ring 2 or keep brawling. Giant hits a DROPKICK! Meng is toast and Giant is the lone survivor of Ring 3.

We’re at 20 minutes in and now the announcer says that everyone should get into Ring 2. We’re down to Buff, Macho, Virgil, Perfect and Hall representing the n.W.o and Giant, Luger, Stevie Ray, Rick Steiner and DDP representing WCW. The refs want them to get into Ring 2 but the n.W.o refuses and Hall tosses the ref. I love this turf war and how they won’t get out of the ring. Macho climbs the turnbuckle and taunts the WCW guys in Ring 2 telling them to bring it to Ring 1. The WCW guys take the bait and they all erupt into Ring 1. Crowd is fired up as DDP hits the DiamondCutter on Virgil and Virgil rolls to the floor. Macho and Luger fight in the corner as Booker T is tossed and so is Rick Steiner. Only Luger, Giant and DDP going against the n.W.o now. Giant rams Buff and Macho together. Luger mounts Hennig in the corner but Buff attacks him from behind. Luger no sells and he’s a house of fire but the entire n.W.o jumps him and he gets to the apron. Giant sneaks the pile and tosses Buff. Luger and Perfect fall out as well.

Final Four: Macho, DDP, Giant and Scott Hall. Macho and DDP and Giant and Hall square off. Giant hits some chops with his good hand. DDP wants the Diamond Cutter but Macho counters with a jawbreaker and wants the top rope elbow but Giant cuts him off. Macho, never the sharpest knife in the draw, jumps into the waiting Giant’s arms. Macho though is a dirty bastard and pokes him in the eye to escape! DDP though hits the Diamond Cutter to a pop and tries to toss Macho but Giant refuses. Uh oh! Something smells rotten. Giant says he wants the ChokeSlam first. Giant hits it and then they push Macho to the floor. Hall is punch drunk but finally gets to his feet and realizes he’s all alone. Hall escapes to Ring 2 without hitting the floor and then does the Kliq pose and the announcers think Nash. The announcers play this off as brilliant strategy but I think it’s pretty fucking weak. Nash doesn’t come out and instead it’s Hogan. Tony and Tenay have no idea what this is all about and it is stupid. Tony: “What a swerve! If Hogan wins here and Hogan wins at Starrcade… ?” Tenay: “Is that their plan?” Tony: “It has to be their plan!” I like how they trail off without actually saying what the diabolical plan is other than to be your own number 1 contender which is quite the bizarro universe comic book plot. WE’RE SWERVING, BABY! Crowd chants for Sting HUGE. Hogan bodyslams Giant to a pop to emulate WM3 brother because he’s a face you see, I mean a heel, I mean a cool heel who the fans love. Hogan crotches DDP on the top rope and rakes the back. Giant bearhugs Hogan and Hall as Sting (not really) comes down from the rafters and the fans go batshit. Hogan tosses DDP as the masked man comes in. Hogan eliminates himself in fear. “Sting” tosses Giant and eliminates himself. Hall is your lone survivor at 29:48. “Sting” gets back in the ring as Hall eggs him on and of course it’s Nash. Tenay: “TALK ABOUT THE ULTIMATE SWERVE!” Hogan gives DDP the fucking DiamondCutter on the floor to totally bury him as the rest of the n.W.o comes out to celebrate.

• As usual, the first 10 minutes is mass hysteria and damn near impossible to follow, but this was BY FAR the best WW3. The quicker eliminations and waiting to get each individual ring down to 5 or fewer before combining was a much better idea and gave the match a much better flow. The Mysterio/n.W.o stuff along with the final showdown between n.W.o/WCW was very solid stuff. But MAN does that ending stink to high hell. That was masturbatory booking at its finest as they waited for 56 guys to get out of the way and half an hour to pass before the “stars” came out to “give the fans what they paid for” or some such shit. Save this kinda tripe for a Nitro which God knows they did enough of it there too, not for a PPV. Of course, at least after all this hype and bait and switch, we’d finally get the ass kicking of the century by Sting on Hogan for all the marbles. What? You mean we didn’t? Hall didn’t get his title shot? Ah, shit. ***1/4 almost all for the 10 minutes before Hogan and Stink’s Insurance Policy shows up.

The 411: The undercard is decent despite a couple of bait and switches and this is the best WW3 battle royal but MAN is that the worst finish known to man. I just HATE that end to the WW3 even if the match had the strongest story and the strongest segment of any of the WW3s. I'm just barely going to go thumbs down but it's a toss up.
Final Score:  5.5   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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Jack Bramma

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