Monday, September 6, 2010

Canon Wrestling Review: WCW Saturday Night: January 5, 1991

I wanted to watch and review some pro wrestling today, so here I am, watching the first episode of WCW Saturday Night from 1991. Will it be any good? We can only hope.

We start with Sid Vicious, which is always a good sign. Sid's opponent tonight is Pablo Crenshaw. An odd name combination to be sure. Pablo looks a little bit like Cheech Marin, while Sid Vicious looks like himself. A video plays of Sid laying out a challenge to Lex Luger, and the match begins. Boot to the gut by Sid, followed by the human frisbee move, where Sid just threw Pablo Crenshaw from the top of his shoulders and sent him spinning down to the mat. Sid continues to dominate with some clotheslines and a big legdrop where he actually got pretty high off the ground before finally finishing things off with the powerbomb. Just a squash match here, so I'll give it a 1 out of 5.

To the back, where Paul E. Dangerously is interviewing the 'healthiest man in WCW' Rip Rogers. Rogers has challenged Brian Pillman to a match where pinfalls are not allowed in the first five minutes. Why, you ask? Because Rip Rogers is the Marathon Man and will show that he can go all night long to get the job done. So, warns Rogers, Pillman better watch his carbs or otherwise The Marathon Man will beat him. The match is next, and a video plays of Pillman talking about the match, saying there will be no limit to the punishment he dishes out on Rip Rogers. The match starts with a shoving contest. Pillman hits a shoulder block and goes for the pin, but falls do not count right now. Pillman rolls up Rogers for four straight small packages, but once again falls DO NOT COUNT as of now, even though the ref counts as if they count. Rogers bails to the outside to regroup. Back in, Rogers takes the advantage after a boot to the face from the corner and a clothesline. Rogers throws Pillman out and goes to the top, where he connects with a double axe handle, sending Pillman into the guardrail. The guardrail collapses to the floor upon impact, although since there are no fans behind the rail, so nobody's in danger. Back in Rogers with a headbutt, but Pillman reverses a whip to the corner. However, Rogers counters an attempted monkey flip and Pillman is sent to the ground. Rogers goes for the cover, why I don't know, since it was his idea to have no pinfalls in the first five minutes and we're still not past the five minute mark here. Back up, the two counter and escape a series of moves, which culminates with Rogers turning a body press from Pillman into a cover, but it won't count. We have eclipsed the five minute mark. Pillman tries to grab Rogers from behind, but Rogers ducks and Pillman goes flying out of the ring. On the outside, Pillman counters an attempted bash into the guardrail with one of his own, and climbs up unto a stage just outside the ring, where he leaps and hits Rogers with a clothesline. Back up, Rogers gains the advantage by whipping Pillman into the apron, and then gives Pillman an airplane spin, making both men dizzy. Rogers whiffs on an elbow drop, and Pillman sidekicks Rogers before both men go into the ring. After a slam, Pillman goes to the top and tries to hit the big splash, but Rogers got the knees up. Rogers can't take advantage, as Pillman reverses an attempted turnbuckle smash, dizzying Rogers. Pillman up top, Rogers ducks to take away the possibility of a flying body press, but Pillman instead goes with the sunset flip, which gets the three count. Interesting little match featuring two rather good workers, but the stipulation and the constant covers made the match a little confusing. Still, not bad. I'll give it a 2.59 out of 5.

Highlights are shown of Z-Man winning the Television Title from Arn Anderson on the previous episode of Saturday Night. Then we get an interview with Z-Man promoting this show's TV Title match against Dr. X, which I think is a named that has been used by like 62 wrestlers at this point. Up next is Reno Riggins against Beautiful Bobby Eaton. Eaton is shown before the match talking up his upcoming match with Z-Man at the next Clash of the Champions. Riggins has the words 'Las Vegas' on the back of his tights, and his name is Reno, so he must love the state of Nevada. Match starts with Eaton giving Riggins an armlock and then a quick elbow to the face. Reno reverses an Irish whip into the corner and delivers what Jim Ross calls a handspring elbow, but the camera missed the handspring so I can't tell. Riggins is whipped into another corner, goes behind a charging Eaton and rolls him up for 2. Eaton gets up, and shakes Riggins' hand as a show of respect. Well, that was nice. Eaton then headlocks Riggins and punches him in the face. Irish whip, Riggins reverses, leapfrogs Eaton twice, than hits a high dropkick on Bobby Eaton. After a series of counters, Eaton gains control with a diving clothesline. Riggins eats a fist to the head, and goes out to the floor. Back on the apron, Eaton delivers another clothesline to send Riggins right back out. Back up, Riggins tries for a slingshot attack, but Eaton wisely moves out of the way and lets Riggins land on his butt. Eaton with a few heel tactics and punches, but Riggins fires some punches of his own and whips Eaton in the corner. Riggins goes for another handspring elbow, but Eaton is ready and bulldogs Reno down to the mat, setting him up for the Alabama Jam legdrop. That connects, and Eaton gets the win. Quick match, but rather fun and Riggins got a lot of offense in for a prelim wrestler. I'll give it 2.32 out of 5.

Terry Taylor is interviewed by Paul E. Dangerously, and he is not happy about being passed over for a TV Title shot by Z-Man. So in response, he promises to beat the former TV Champ Arn Anderson and warns the fans that if he has to become more outspoken in getting a title shot, than by golly he will. A commercial for WCW Main Event advertises a Norman/The Juicer vs. Freebirds tag match, and an interview with future Wrestlemania main eventer Lawrence Taylor. Sounds like a must see show. The next match seems like a must-miss show, as the Renegade Warriors of Chris and Mark Youngblood take on two guys you've never heard of, Chuck Coats and Ed Brock. The Warriors are a Native American tag team with face paint on, while Coats and Brock are two typical meathead looking guys. Chris rolls up Coats for a quick two count. For the next four minutes, the Warriors dominate their opponents with a series of flying attacks, such as a double axe handle and a dropkick from the apron to the floor by Chris on Coats. The match ends with a sit-down splash from the top rope by Chris on Ed Brock. Nothing but a showcase match for the Warriors as they get ready to face Arn Anderson and Barry Windham at the next Clash. Since nothing was botched, I'll give it a 1 out of 5. Afterwards, a promo for Wrestle War '91 is shown, featuring the War Games cage match. For some reason, Michael Hayes is dressed up like Uncle Sam, declaring "I want you, for WrestleWar". Well, all right then.

This next match should be fun, or the opposite of fun anyway, as a character named Minotaur faces off with Mountain Man Bailey. Bailey sports coveralls over a wifebeater and a blonde mullet, while Minotaur has his right arm covered up in a leather sleeve for some reason. Minotaur crawls in the ring and the match starts. Minotaur pounces up from a squatting position and shoulder blocks Bailey all the way to the outside of the ring. That proves to be the highlight of the match, as the rest of the match has Minotaur do a move on Bailey, look crazily into the camera for 20 seconds, than repeat. At one point, Minotuar yells out "The Power of ..." well, I couldn't exactly make out the rest, although Jim Ross claims he said "The power of the Minotaur". It's usually not a good sign when the announcers talk about the 'tortoise-like pace' of a wrestler, and this was no exception. Minotaur finishes off Bailey with an elbow drop to end this match that was about three minutes long, but felt like 15. I'm giving this an 0.25 out of 5.

Lex Luger comes out next to face Mike Sample, who is too dumb to face the camera when being introduced, probably because his name is actually Mike Samples, not Sample as the ring announcer indicated. I'm 1000 percent sure who's going to win this match, and if you know anything about wrestling, you are too. A video plays of Curtis 'Big Cat' Hughes who promotes the upcoming football match against Lex Luger. What is a football match, anyway? Luger dominates for the first two minutes with a body slam and a shoulder block and a couple of other power moves before Samples gets a couple of blows in, which Luger totally disregards and goes right back on the attack. Two clotheslines, one of which had Samples falling to the ground well before the move connected, and a flying shoulderblock from the second rope gives Luger the victory. Another squash match. I'll give it a 0.56 out of 5.

Hey kids, remember to call the WCW Hotline at 1-900-909-9900. You can talk to Lex Luger every Friday, awesome! Michael Wallstreet and Gregg Sawyer are the next match, and Alexandria York, Wallstreet's manager, predicts with her computer that Gregg Sawyer will lose in less than six minutes. I don't even need a computer to figure that out. The match starts, and Wallstreet takes 45 seconds to take his suit off, leaving a mere 5 minutes and 15 seconds for Wallstreet to fulfill York's prediction. A clock comes on the screen counting down from 6 minutes on. Ross and Bob Caudle are really putting over Wallstreet on commentary, more than any other wrestler on this show thus far, which is somewhat surprising. Anyway, after a few moves, Wallstreet back suplexes Sawyer out of a headlock. Wallstreet elbowdrops Sawyer five times in a row and then goes for the cover, but lifts Sawyer up. Wallstreet tries a backdrop, but Sawyer counters with a sunset flip for one, which seems to make Wallstreet angry. Wallstreet throws Sawyer to the outside, beats up on him some, and both men come back in. The finish comes about 10 seconds later when Wallstreet catches Sawyer with the Stock Market Crash, making the computer right once again. Not the worst match on the show, I'll give it a 1.1 out of 5. Afterwards Missy Hyatt interviews Wallstreet, who says nothing worth repeating. Paul E. Dangerously comes out and is upset that Missy Hyatt is doing his job, so the two have words before Alexandria York stumbles through a couple of lines and Paul E. leaves.

Up next is Z-Man's first Television Title defense against the mysterious Dr. X. I'm going to say that Dr. X is being portrayed by Skip Sheffield, although I might be wrong about that. Arm twist and takedown by Z-Man to start, and here comes Terry Taylor to ringside. This might be trouble. The two exchange holds while Z-Man keeps an eye on Taylor. Taylor leaves and joins the commentary team, while Z-Man locks up Dr. X in a bow and arrow hold. The two seem to have some trouble decided what to do next before Z-Man hits a hip toss and dropkicks Dr. X down. Z-Man tries for a boomerang body-press, but slips and ends up doing a Shiro Koshinaka style hip-attack on Dr. X which gets two. An obvious botch, but at least two went on as if it was planned. Dr. X pounds away on Z-Man in the corner and does some rudimentary arm work while Taylor complains about being passed over while insisting that he's not complaining. This has heel turn written all over it, but I can't remember if they actually went through with it or not. Anyway, the arm work goes nowhere, as Z-Man uses that same arm to clothesline Dr. X down. Z-Man hits an awful looking sidekick and a better looking dropkick before finishing Dr. X off with a top-rope dropkick. These two had very little chemistry for whatever reason, and it made for a sloppy match. I'll give it a 0.59 out of 5.

Clips are shown of the Freebirds tricking Rick Steiner in a match from two weeks ago, giving the Freebirds a shot at the U.S. Tag Team Titles. The Freebirds then gloat about their ruse some. The next features the "greatest rock n' roll band of all-time' The Freebirds of Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin. I highly dispute their claim. They are facing two nobodies in Jimmy McKinnon and Keith (not related to Bret or Stu) Hart. Keith Hart has a wispy mustache that you may normally see on a 16 year-old. Hart reverses an arm drag, but is shoved to the ground for his efforts. Hayes continues to punish Hart and throws him to the outside. To the outside, Hayes flattens McKinnon with a left and Hart accidentally trips over him. That doesn't stop Hayes from picking up Hart and whipping him into a high backdrop from Jimmy Garvin. Back in, Hart takes three straight body slams and a clothesline from Garvin, and Hart is bumping around like a pinball for the 'Birds, so I give him props for that. Hart catches Garvin with a boot and gets a tag to McKinnion, who proceeds to get pounded by Garvin. Gutwrench Suplex by Garvin and he tags out to Hayes, who delivers two side slams to McKinnon. Hayes sets up McKinnon, and Garvin traps Hart as the Freebirds deliver stereo DDTs to their opponents for the victory. Another squash, but not a totally boring one. I'll give it a 1.3 out of 5. After the match, Norman talks about his upcoming match with Sid, which I believe was the match of the year for 1991.

Gordon Soile presents that week's WCW Classics, which features the Sting vs. Ric Flair match from the first Clash of the Champions. That's a great match, but I won't review it since only the final five minutes are shown. I'll just say that I highly recommend that match if you are a wrestling fan,as it's a lot better than anything else on this show. Afterwards, Sting and Flair pontificate about their long-running feud, and each man threatens to defeat the other in their own unique way. Arn Anderson talks about his upcoming match with Terry Taylor, which is coming up next. Shoving match to start, and Arn goes to work hammering away at Taylor with a series of punches and kicks. Taylor gets out of the corner with a sunset flip that gets two, but Arn is angered by that and continues to pound away on Taylor. Taylor dodges a charging Arn Anderson out of the corner, and body slams Arn down. Taylor goes to work on the left arm on Arn, slamming it against the ring post. Taylor continues to wrench on that arm, and then delivers a backbreaker to Arn that gets a two count. A bodyslam by Taylor gets another two count, and Taylor continues to work on the arm. Arn finally gets up and bodyslams Taylor with his good arm, but misses an elbow drop, allowing Taylor to take the advantage once again. Anderson reverses an irish whip and hits his patented Spinebuster on Taylor, but he can't make the cover because his arm hurts too much. Back up, Anderson decides to stomp Terry Taylor in the head, and he goes to work trying to disfigure the handsome features of Taylor. Irish whip, Taylor goes for a sunset flip, but Arn bends down and punches Taylor in the face. Anderson covers, but only gets a two count and goes with a reverse chinlock instead. Taylor is able to escape and back suplexes Anderson, but misses an elbow drop. Anderson tries to do a Vader splash, but Taylor got the knees up. A jawbreaker sends Anderson flopping down on the mat. Taylor eats a knee to the face. Anderson goes to the top but is thrown off by Taylor, who then follows up with a series of punches. Back up, Anderson reverses an irish whip, Taylor ducks a clothesline and hits a flying body press, but Arn turns it around on Taylor and covers him. Anderson puts his feet on the ropes and gets the three count. Very good television match here, as both men were ready to go and really came up with a good story for the match. I'll give it a 3.24 out of 5.

Jim Ross interviews Lawrence Taylor from LT's restaurant, who is Lex Luger's coach for his upcoming football match with Big Cat Curtis Hughes at the Meadowlands. Taylor insults Paul E. Dangerously and Curtis Hughes some and promotes the football match, which will feature both competitors in full football gear and the winner is the man that knocks his opponent out of the ring. Kind of like a sumo match, only with football pads. Taylor insults Paul E.'s name, saying it sounds like a girl's name. Not long after this, Taylor and his Giants went on to win the Super Bowl when Scott Norwood missed a 47 yard field goal.  Tonight's main event is Tim Horner vs. George South. Really? That's the best they could do? Ok then. Horner starts with a quick arm drag, followed by another arm drag. Horner and South do a nice sequence of moves which concludes with a pair of dropkicks and an arm drag into an arm bar by Horner. Horner and South exchange armlocks before Horner does two more arm drags, making it five thus far. South gets a couple of punches in and Irish whips Horner, but it's reversed and Horner monkey flips South to the mat before giving him a wristlock. Irish whip by South, reversed by Horner, and after a couple of counters Horner ends up rolling up South with a bridge to get the three count. Quick match, but competitive. I'll give it a 1.6 out of 5. Afterwards, Missy Hyatt and Paul E. Dangerously bicker about each other. Paul E insinuates that Missy is a tramp, which draws a slap from Missy, and that's the end of the show.

Overall, this episode wasn't too bad for a wrestling program of that era. There were a couple of quality matches, but also a couple of matches that probably could have been better as well. Overall, I'd give the show a 5.2 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this post or other previous posts, or ideas for future posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at I leave you with a couple of videos from this episode:

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