We get another backstage segment with Jeff Jarrett and Ric Flair where they talk a lot without saying anything at all. Booker T then has an interview about never being the US Champion. Back to the ring.
Totally Buffed (Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell) vs The Natural Born Thrillers (Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire)
Both of these teams have awful names. Count that as a point to WWE, because at least when they name a team, they get it right. We get a video package, but it doesn’t really show either team being good at wrestling… I’m sure this is going to be painful to sit through.
It wasn’t! Luger cut a terrible promo and they posed. He got gassed cutting the promo. Buff Bagwell forgets how many times he’s won the tag titles and how many tag partners he’s had (5). They brag about getting rid of Goldberg, but by this point the fans don’t care enough to chant. Then Totally Buffed lost really, really quickly. Like, in less than a minute. The promo was several times longer than the match. The entrances lasted longer than the match. Scott Hudson calls it a squash. I’m sure WWE will capitalise on the rising stars of Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire when they take over.
Winners: Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire
Backstage Scott Steiner is doing pull ups on the bar that hold up a shower curtain as it bends to support his girth. He then starts cutting a shouty promo. What he says is nigh unintelligible, which works into his character quite well. At this point in WCW, Scott Steiner was a paranoid mess; chock to the gills with roid rage. As such, WCW let him be himself on screen and it doesn’t disappoint. Steiner is more akin to the monster from the film Akira than a wrestler.
There’s an old story about the territory days where Bill Watts used to keep a gun in his office because Scott Steiner scared him so much. That was many years and a lot of steroids before this. If Roman Reigns were booked a bit more like Steiner and less like Bugs Bunny, maybe him facing Brock Lesnar would be an appealing prospect? Still, Scott Steiner once legitimately tried to gouge DDP’s eye out in a row backstage, so I’m quite looking forward to how this match plays out.
They show a package recapping all of the bad things Kanyon and The Cat have done to each other. The Cat had a failed but endearing run in WWE lasting only a few weeks. His gimmick would be recycled and given to Brodus Clay to much success and a lot of merchandise sales before Clay hit the WWE’ glass ceiling. Chris Kanyon was a real missed opportunity in WWE – a very gifted wrestler with a penchant for inventing moves and he was able to make any gimmick work – he really was the Damien Sandow of his day.
In the ring Buff and Luger are selling their loss. Bagwell, who has a history of neck injuries, is playing up his sore neck which is a bizarre move for a heel. The commentary team don’t know what match is next – not letting the announcers in on what was happening in the show was a trademark of WCW – while it is unprofessional and annoying I can’t actually decide if it’s any worse than the current announcers repeating themselves and treating the audience like idiots.
Kanyon vs Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller
Kanyon is out with a really charismatic entrance. The Cat follows. Two fun facts about the Cat. Firstly, he was hired because he was Eric Bischoff’s son’s Karate instructor. That’s right Garrett Bischoff; the failed TNA prospect. Bischoff had an affinity for putting himself over as a martial arts expert (legitimate blackbelt, but really c’mon). Second fact: The Cat had a great appearance in the hit film The Wrestler as The Ayatollah. I mention these because, despite my love of Chris Kanyon, these facts are waaay more interesting than anything onscreen.
The story behind this match is Kanyon’s stalking of The Cat’s love interest ‘Ms Jones’. This may remind you of the angle between DDP and the Undertaker, which made no sense. Firstly, because no one wanted anything to do with ‘Taker’s wife, let alone DDP who was married to an actual wrestling cheerleader; secondly, Kanyon would have been much better in the role, but he was relegated to basically being a palette swap of DDP for tag matches. The match is decent, The Cat wins with his spin kick finisher, not a lot else to say.
Winner: Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller
Kanyon, like any good heel, attacks Miller after the bell and goes to attack Ms Jones but The Cat’s mate Smooth makes the save with a chair. Smooth stupidly throws the chair at the retreating Kanyon, but Kanyon does not capitalise on his foe essentially giving him a weapon.
In the back, the father-son Rhodes team continue to eat burritos. After my own heart, so they are. We have a great video package hyping Booker T vs Rick Steiner. Why WWE don’t do more vignettes for their pay per view matches, I don’t know.
Booker T vs Rick Steiner
Booker T’s theme hits – interestingly, he’d keep this theme (minorly edited) throughout his WWE run, and a sound-a-like version for his stint in TNA. Rick Steiner comes out – sadly Rick had always been overshadowed by the lunacy of Scott Steiner, which is unfortunate because if you dig through his career there’s a lot of good stuff there. The announcers really hype Rick up in such a way that I wouldn’t expect the WWE commentary team to do today. Rick is a great heel and he works this match as such, taking cheap shots at Booker and trash talking the crowd. Rick Steiner is literally the miniboss Booker needs to face before facing the final boss, Scott Steiner.
The match itself isn’t anything great, but both guys do a great job of making it feel like a big deal. They do the arm-raising hope spot in a sleep that you used to see years ago and don’t see any more. Booker hits a botched spinebuster that looks nasty and hits a scissors kick which Schiovane tells us is called the ‘Ghetto Blaster’. Riiiiiight. Booker accidentally kicks the ref in the face and the ref, oddly, doesn’t go down, and only shambles around the ring. Shane Dougals interferes and nails Rick Steiner with his casted hand and Booker T hits his Rock Bottom knock-off, the Book-End. The ending didn’t make Booker look very strong, but the match was decent.
Winner: Booker T
In the back, Buff Bagwell is laid out and Animal finds him. Luger suspects Animal of attacking Buff. All these guys are over the hill.
Next time find out what happens in the Main Event, Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes vs. Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett.