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SK RANT
World Wrestling All-Stars PPV:
The Inception
January 7, 2002

by Scott Keith
TheSmarks.com/411Wrestling.com/OnlineOnslaught.com

 

- Taped Down Under.

- Your hosts are Jeremy Borash & Jerry Lawler.

- This was a show where "expecting nothing coming in" would rank as the understatement of the year.  I even threatened the dreaded HOT POKER UP THE ASS rating system to deal with the predicted badness, but to my amazement it wasn't needed.  I should point out that the production values are low-rent Nitro, with a murky satellite-feed video quality and bizarre sound production (commentary filtered through the PA, out-of-nowhere heat machines), but nothing worse than I-Generation or Heroes of Wrestling did.  The crowd was big and jacked, which helped a lot.

- WWA Commissioner Bret Hart brings the WWA World title out, which he will award to the winner of the "Seven Deadly Sins" tournament tonight.  But first, he trashes WCW and wrestling in general.  No one ever beat him for the titles, blah blah.  I can't believe he'd bust on Benoit.  The WWA apparently has integrity, so tonight it's all stipulation matches, all the time!

- Opening match, WWA Cruiserweight title:  Juventud Guerrera v. Psicosis.  My god, Psi is even uglier without his long hair.  The Juice wears a mask to the ring, presumably to hide from any narcotics agents in the front row.  This is a ladder match.  Borash makes veiled references to Juvy's last trip to Australia where he was arrested, but doesn't get into it.  Juvy gets a tornado DDT quickly and and Psi bails.  The editing is quite choppy here.  Juvy drops the ladder on him and they head back in.  Juvy spears him in the face with the ladder, then catapults it up into his jaw.  Psicosis blades as Juvy puts the ladder in the corner.  He gets hotshotted into the ladder, however, and Psi sets it up in the corner and puts Juvy on the top rope and guillotines him off the top of the ladder.  Cool spot.  He moves to the middle and climbs, but Juvy dropkicks him off and climbs himself.  He changes his mind and lays in the boots to Psicosis instead, then grabs another ladder from the outside.  Psicosis baseball slides it into him and drops it on him back in the ring.  A ladder gets set up in the corner, but the crushing force of irony interjects itself as Psicosis gets whipped into his very own trap.  Juvy sets up the second ladder in the corner and goes up, trying a bodypress that misses by a mile after it looked like he slipped off the ladder.  Both guys climb in the center, and Juvy literally folds him in two with a powerbomb off the top of the ladder!  He goes up and kills him with a 450 that's basically a formality, and then grabs the belt at 8:03.  Not much between spots, but the ones there were provided sick fun for all.  **3/4

- Meanwhile, an arriving Nathan Jones snubs Lenny & Lodi, while Disco demands security.  When you need a true-to-life portrayal of a clueless jackass, call Disco Inferno.

Dog-Collar match:  Konan v. Road Dog.  Apparently the WWF got the rights to the double letters in the WCW sale.  Jammes and Konan do their spiels before the match, as Jerry McDevitt runs to his phone.  Seriously, the WWF will sue their asses off if they keep doing that shit.  Dog starts getting funky right away, but K-Dog nails him with the "Mexican heavyweight title" belt and tosses him.  He hiptosses him back in and gets the rolling clothesline, then starts touching corners.  Jammes goes low and Konan follows in suit.  They slug it out, won by Jammes, but Konan blindsides him and pulls what appears to be a length of polish sausage out of his pants.  And I don't just mean that in the flattering way, either.  He waffles Jammes with.whatever it is.and gets a carpet muncher.  He goes up, but the meat product fails to connect and Dog comes back and hogties Konan.  He touches all four to win at 3:42.  All punching, but they at least know when to make comebacks and how to work the crowd and stuff.  *  I've certainly seen worse.

- Hardcore match:  Norman Smiley v. Devon Storm.  Storm is basically doing the Crowbar gimmick.  He pounds away and gets a quebrada for two.  A slide misses and he ends up on the floor, and Norman baseball slides him and uses a garbage can for purposes other than the manufactor intended.  Storm slingshots back in with a splash, and another quebrada onto a chair.  He charges, but Norman backdrops him and starts dancing.  Storm uses a kendo stick to stop that.  Smiley bails and Storm tries to follow with a tope suicida, but Norman whacks him with a chair at the ropes.  He sets up a table on the floor, but heads back in to do the Big Wiggle first.  He tries a suplex out, but gets suplexed in instead.  Storm tosses him and dropkicks him off the apron, then puts Smiley onto the table and slingshot splashes him through it.  Norman staggers up and Storm charges after him, but hits the railing.  Smiley wales on him with a garbage can and puts it on his head, then pounds it with a chair for good measure.  Storm goes low and chops away, then superkicks him as they reach the staging by the entrance way.  Smiley comes back with an atomic drop and goes to the kendo stick for backup.  They head backstage, where Norman gets put in a garbage can and they interrupt Disco's phone call.  Back to the staging area, more kendo stickery follows.  Storm dumps a piece of railing on Smiley, then sets up a pair of tables on the stage.  Norman gets put on top and Storm climbs the WWA-Tron, and splashes him through both tables, hurting himself in the process.  So badly, in fact, that Smiley just rolls over and gets the pin at 9:51.  Nice to see both guys busting ass like crazy here, and the result is a hardcore match on the high end of the stuff WCW was doing at its peak with the division.  ***1/2

- Meanwhile, through a verbal misunderstanding, Disco is assigned the Bananas in Pajamas as a security force.  Indeed, the explanation sounds like a bad punchline, as he wanted a pair of SUITS, but got a pair of FRUITS.  How deaf do you have to be to make THAT mistake?

- Meanwhile, Bret opens the battle royale to any employee of the WWA.  Interviewer Stevie Ray immediately throws his hat in the ring.

- Battle Royale/Quarter-final match:  We've got Buff Bagwell and Disco Inferno to start, and they beat on each other.  Stevie Ray takes both on, then Storm & Smiley fight back out to the ring and continue in there.  The King decides to join in the fun, and drags Borash with him.  Stevie quickly dumps Borash after a comedy spot.  The refs come in to try their luck, as does a cameraman.  Disco dumps Storm, so he comes over to the table and takes over commentary, doing a better job than either Lawler or Borash.  The interviewer chick comes in and tries her luck, and gets into a catfight with Jerry Lawler before eliminating herself.  Lawler seems on the verge of tears.  The refs get tossed, leaving Stevie Ray to face Smiley, Disco, Buff and King.  They confer and decide to charge Stevie, but then Disco, like an idiot, remains the only one to actually go through with it and he gets clocked by Stevie.  The Bananas of Doom join us as Stevie gets dumped.  King wiggles on Norman, but Buff dumps them both.  He DDTs Disco, but Disco comes back with the finisher of the next century.the Village People's Elbow.  That is just unspeakably stupid and hilarious at the same time.  The Banana Mercenaries betray him, however, dumping him to give Buff the win at 6:24.  Battle royales suck, but I laughed my ass off here, so as comic relief it did the job intended.  The stipulation was pretty clever, too.

- Guitar on a Pole:  Jeff Jarrett v. Nathan Jones.  Another quarterfinal here.  Smartly the huge-but-dumb Jones is flanked by talk show host Rove McManus, acting as a manager to speak for him.  You'd think someone in the WWF would get their head around that concept one of these days.  Jones, by the way, is freakishly huge and Nash-like, without the nice hair.  I have no idea why the WWF gave up on this guy.  JJ slugs away and keeps him off guard, but Jones comes back with a tilt-a-whirl slam that looked bad.  Big boot, but Jarrett gets a jawbreaker and running rope straddle.  Jones goes for a chokeslam, then settles for a sideslam and a Cactus Clothesline to the floor.  They brawl and Jones presses him back into the ring, and heads up for a flying clothesline.  He tries for the guitar, but Jarrett goes low and grabs it himself.  McManus comes in to help, but gets El-Kabonged and Jarrett finishes the distracted Jones with the Stroke at 4:03.  Okay, now I see why they gave up on Jones.  Jarrett was his usual smooth self here.  *

- Jerry Lawler calls out the Fruits to explain their actions, but gets no answer from the silent bananas.  Lenny & Lodi come out.of the dressing room, that is, and give us a piece of their mind.  Bret Hart has a plan, however, since Juvy is hurt from the ladder match and can't make it to the semi-finals.  So he banishes the bananas and makes the semi-final match.

- Road Dog v. Lenny v. Lodi.  Jammes holds them both off and they do the "Lenny falls on Lodi out of the corner" spot, but Lenny comes back with a prancing legdrop for two.  Dog dumps Lenny and punches away on Lodi, but they get 3D on him for two.  Lodi rams Dog into the turnbuckles while Lenny sits on the top rope with his legs spread, and that's just about the most disturbing wrestling spot I've seen all week.  Heel miscommunication allows Dog to come back, but Lodi goes down on him.with a low blow.and the West Hollywood Blondes fight over the pinfall.  Lenny rolls up Lodi for two, vice-versa for two.  Lenny moonsaults Lodi into a 69 position for two, so Dog drops a knee on both of them and finishes at 3:57 to advance to the finals.  No subtle imagery in THAT match, no sirree.  DUD   Lenny & Lodi are hilarious at their chosen gimmick, however, and the WWF would be well-advised to bring them in to spice up the tag division.  They can even do some three-ways with Jeff Hardy!  Matches, that is.

- Semi-final #2:  Buff Bagwell v. Jeff Jarrett.  This is Bagwell's stip to choose, and he goes with lumberjack rules, using Nitro Girls armed with whips.  Could be worse, I guess.  Jarrett works a headlock, but gets hiptossed and bails, then thinks better of it.  Buff clotheslines him and dropkicks him out for real this time, and Jarrett gets a whippin'.  Back in, Buff tosses him out again, more of the same.  Jarrett tries tossing Buff, but the girls are more sympathetic to Bagwell and offer him a massage before helping him back in.  Jarrett goes low, but Buff dumps him and he gets whipped again.  Jerry is in his glory.  Back in, Buff Blockbuster, but the ref is busy making time with the lumberjacks.  Jarrett gets the Stroke to advance at 4:05.  Just time filler disguised as a wrestling match.  DUD

- Luna Vachon v. Vampire Warrior.  Warrior is the Artist Formerly Known as Gangrel, and they are married in real life but having marital problems here.  Warrior's using Tantric as his music, showing he at least has better taste in entrance music than women.  Warrior refuses to fight his wife as she slugs away at him.  She gets a sunset flip for two, but Warrior just dumps her.  She finds a set of salad tongs and does the obvious with them, and inflicts some damage with a cookie sheet before Warrior just has enough and DDTs her for the pin at 2:28.  About as interesting as it sounded.  DUD

- WWA World title, cage match:  Jeff Jarrett v. Road Dog.  But first, Disco comes out to gripe about the Great Produce Conspiracy against him.  The bananas come out to respond and kick Disco's ass, but Disco has obviously taken self-defense classes and knows exactly what to do if attacked by a banana:  Fight him up to the top of the cage, and then toss him to the table below.   Quick, call the paramedics and a grocer.it's too late to save the banana, but we might be able to donate his organs and get a nice fruit salad out of it.   Hey, it could be worse, I was gonna go with a variation on the old "How do you make a banana split?" joke before thinking better of you, the reader.  And before you ask, the answer is "Tell him he's double-parked."  Hey, it's a freakin' BANANA JOKE, you were expecting Dennis Miller?  And that's the thrilling conclusion for the night-long angle with Disco and the fresh fruit, thus redefining the word "pointless" as only Disco Inferno can do.    Dog tells Jarrett he can "suck it", and once again they'd better watch it because I'm pretty sure that's a WWF trademark.  A quick search of the US Patent office website reveals that it's not a registered trademark, but I bet they can still sue.  Dog attacks and slugs away, but meets boot.  Jarrett slugs away in turn, but Dog fights back.  Funky kneedrop gets two, but Jarrett gives him a little cage to remember him by.  Some strutting burns time, but Dog sends him to the cage to get his revenge.  They battle to the top of the cage and pound on each other up there, then climb down and out.  Dog grabs the ringbell and waffles Jarrett, busting him open.  Back into the cage as Jarrett gushes blood, but grabs a sleeper.  Dog fights out and reverses, but Jarrett suplexes out of it for two.  They slug it out, and Dog uses a big boot to win.  The ref gets bumped soon after, however, and Jarrett exits again and grabs his guitar.  He kabongs Jammes, then puts him in the Sharpshooter for the benefit of Bret Hart at ringside, but Bret won't ring the bell, ring the fucking bell.  Another ref comes in and gets blindsided right away, so Jesse does his version of the Sharpshooter, and again Bret won't stoop to Vince's level.  Well, this is no good for either guy, so Jammes goes out and grabs the title belt away from a departing and disgusted Bret Hart, but misses a big swing at Jarrett and gets Stroked at 10:25 to give Jarrett the WWA World title.  Montreal-obsessed booking aside, this was a solid effort from both guys and a terrific bladejob from Jarrett.  ***

The Bottom Line:  It's amazing how much I missed having a true alternative to the WWF without realizing it.  Was this the greatest PPV ever?  Of course not.  But it was a solid first effort from someone other than the WWF featuring a totally different style of wrestling with guys who are well above the green indy worker level and well below the age of hasbeens.  I'm skeptical as to whether they can pull off a live PPV, but for $20 this is a breath of fresh air in a stale PPV market with three really good matches justifying the price and solid entertainment all around.

No hot pokers this time  thumbs up and definitely check out one of the repeat airings this week.

E-MAIL SCOTT
BROWSE THE RANT ARCHIVES


  
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