[TV Review] World Championship Wrestling – 1.5.91

WCW SN 1991

Commentators: Jim Ross & Bob Caudle

Before it was called Saturday Night the flagship show of World Championship Wrestling was simply known as…World Championship Wrestling. This changes soon enough during 1991 so I’m going to still tag it as Saturday Night on the website. The feud between Terry Taylor and Arn Anderson reaches its conclusion this week as the two face off once again, but this time there will supposedly be a clear and distinct winner. The Z-Man also makes his first defense of the Television Title against a…masked gimmick character from the Buddy Rogers era. WCW rules, man.

The Lineup

  • Sid Vicious vs. Pablo Crenshaw
  • Brian Pillman vs. Rip Rogers
  • Bobby Eaton vs. Reno Riggins
  • The Renegade Warriors vs. Ed Brock & Chuck Coats
  • Minotaur vs. Mountain Man Bailey
  • Lex Luger vs. Mike Samples
  • Michael Wallstreet vs. Greg(g) Sawyer
  • Tom Zenk (c) vs. Dr. X for the WCW World Television Championship
  • The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Keith Hart & Jamie McKinnon
  • WCW Classics w/ Gordon Solie
  • Terry Taylor vs. Arn Anderson
  • JR Interviews Lawrence Taylor
  • Tim Horner vs. George South

*****

The Z-Man defeated Arn Anderson to win the WCW (then NWA) Television Championship last week, which an opening video helpfully reminds us. Cut to Jim Ross and Bob Caudle, our hosts for this evening, who hype up the match between Terry Taylor and Anderson scheduled for later tonight.

Sid Vicious vs. Pablo Crenshaw
Vicious makes it known he wants the United States Championship courtesy of prerecorded comments. Crenshaw manages to avoid a corner splash but that only makes Sid mad; soon enough it’s curtains for ye ol’ Crenshaw via Power Bomb. Obviously it was a squash but Sid had some fun with it. (2:53)

  • Final Rating: SQUASH

Paul E. Dangerously is standing by with Rip Rogers, who he calls the ‘Healthiest Man in Professional Wrestling’. Rogers has challenged Brian Pillman to a match where pinfalls don’t count for the first five minutes; Rogers says he requested this because Pillman is good in a sprint but he’s better in a marathon.

The recording I’m watching has old 1991 commercials on it. Does this have anything to do with the show I’m reviewing? Not at all but it’s awesome and is making me nostalgic. If I subscribe to Sporting News I get a VHS that has the greatest moments in American sports history!

Pinfalls Don’t Count For First Five Minutes
‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Rip Rogers

Rogers is pretty confident for a man who didn’t even get a televised intro. Pillman promises that there won’t be any limits to the abuse he will be dishing out via prerecorded comments. Pillman goes for a pin right away but they don’t count until after five minutes. Ref went to count anyway but shhh. Do submissions count though? Rogers’ gimmick is that of a health nut but as someone who follows him on Twitter I doubt it was just a gimmick. Pillman keeps trying for pinfalls and the ref keeps counting anyway. Either no one explained the stipulation to the ref beforehand or this was a post-production stipulation tossed in because they had five plus minutes of footage to burn. Rogers takes control at the three minute mark, hitting a flying double axhandle to the floor on Pillman. Rogers blocks a corner monkey flip and covers Pillman but gets a two-count…even though the pinfall wouldn’t have counted. This is a good idea but the execution is so dumb. So so dumb. Both men dodge each other’s elbowdrops and now falls will finally count. Jim Ross is working overtime trying to make this work in spite of the many pinfall attempts. Bless him. Action spills to the floor and Pillman hits Rogers with a flying clothesline from the Center Stage bleachers. Nice. Rogers rebounds and connects with an Airplane Spin on Pillman but misses an elbowdrop. Back inside the ring Pillman slams Rogers and goes for a Superfly Splash but Rogers counters with a knee to the gut. Pillman rolls to the apron and a still dizzy Rogers tries to take advantage. Pillman, however, fights him off and hits a sunset flip from the top rope to get the victory. The five minute stipulation was pretty much ignored and pointless but this was a very good match otherwise with some fun spots. Rip Rogers and his love of brawling is very entertaining and Pillman’s clothesline from the bleachers was super cool, especially for 1991. Really good stuff here, nice little gem. (7:29)

  • Final Rating: ***

Jim Ross lets us know how we can select WCW’s Sexiest Wrestler. You have to mail in a postcard like a goddamn barbarian. Winner will be announced at Clash of the Champions later in the month. Can wait.

Gems from this break: a commercial for Dr. Mario and a trailer for the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic Lionheart.

Footage from last week’s show plays of Z-Man’s Television Championship victory. Ross’ commentary as usual was on point. We then cut to a precorded promo from The Z-Man himself, who is ready to make his first defense tonight against…Dr. X. His first defense is against a generic masked wrestler? The B and C-shows at least have a Moondog as his opponent coming up.

Gems from the break: Burger King tries to make mini-cheeseburgers a thing (sorry guys only White Castle can do that) and Subway isn’t toasting their subs yet so they’re useless.

‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton vs. Reno Riggins
Eaton will be taking on Z-Man for the Television Championship at Clash of the Champions. Eaton talks big game about Z-Man during his prerecorded comments. It’s mostly English but his southern drawl is also real defined. Riggins gets in some offense at the start because Eaton is a pro like that, even letting Riggins get a two-count off a roll-up. Eaton shakes Riggins’ hand as a sign of respect, no cheap shot or anything. Eaton blocks a roll-up and takes Riggins’ head off with a clothesline. Riggins goes for a sunset flip from the apron but Eaton moves out of the way. Why that would hurt more than if he did actually hit the sunset flip is one of pro wrestling’s many secrets. Riggins tries a back handspring elbow but Eaton catches him with a bulldog and finishes him off with the Alabama Jam for the victory. This could have been a simple squash but Eaton was cool enough to make it competitive. (4:14)

  • Final Rating: *

Paul E. Dangerously is at ringside with Terry Taylor. Taylor whines that he was robbed of his TV Title opportunity when Anderson was champ thanks to Horsemen interference. Taylor vows to beat Anderson tonight and will be a squeaky wheel from now on because he’s tired of being passed over. May your heel turn be a slow burn. Hey that rhymed. I’m a poet.

TBS is showing The Man Who Would Be King starring Sean Connery and Michael Cane (My Cocaine) tomorrow morning if you’re interested and it’s still twenty-five years ago. There’s also a super sweet Conway Twitty Best-of collection. You can save a few bucks if you go cassette over CD.

The Renegade Warriors vs. Ed Brock & Chuck Coats
The Renegade Warriors are Chris and Mark Youngblood and yes they’re doing the full-on Native American thing…with an ugly neon twist because this is the 90s after all. Chris chops Ed Brock out of the ring and dropkicks him from the apron. Mark tags in and the Renegade Warriors hit a double chop as Jim Ross touts the impending debut of The Minotaur. OH BOY THAT GUY, CAN’T WAIT. Bicycle Kick in the corner followed by a legdrop from Mark and finally Coats tags in to see what he can do against these Native Americans from New Mexico. He, uh, doesn’t do much as he eats a double tomahawk from both Warriors before getting finished off with a flying seated senton. The Renegade Warriors go on to have a really awful match at Halloween Havoc 1991 that has forever soured me on them but we’re about nine months away from that so I’m going to try and keep an open mind about them before then. Warriors will be taking on the Horsemen at Clash of the Champions.

An ad airs hyping WrestleWar, the first PPV of 1991 for WCW, that will take place next month. War Games is making its return for this one. Hell yeah.

Minotaur vs. Mountain Man Bailey
Minotaur is a dude with a pockmarked face, greasy hair, and a whole lot of muscle that doesn’t exactly look natural if you get what I’m saying. He also wears some nonsense thing on his right arm and crawls his way into the ring like, you know, a minotaur I guess would (I thought they were bipedal creatures but what do I know I failed Mythological Biology). Mountain Main Bailey is WCW’s resident hillbilly, less about the hog tying and more about that sweet Applachian meth. Minotaur immediately headbutts Bailey out to the floor and rams him into the ring post. Minotaur beats on Bailey and supposedly yells ‘THE POWER OF THE MINOTAUR’ but it comes out like ‘DAPOWA…OFDAMINABAHHH”. Cool story. Minotaur finishes Bailey off with an elbowdrop and this match is over. Apparently the man behind the Minotaur gimmick, Steve DiSalvo, had a good run in Stampede Wrestling and Puerto Rico. You wouldn’t know it here though; here he just looks like a scrub with a dumb gimmick and name. (2:27)

  • Final Rating: *

Turbografx desperately tries to be a player in the console market in the standout ad of this break. I never owned one nor have I ever played one but I wish I had. Looked cool.

Lex Luger vs. Mike Samples
The WCW graphic leaves the s off Mike’s name, the jerks. Luger is the United States Champion and will be facing The Big Cat in a Football Match at a house show this Friday at the Meadowlands Arena. Big Cat talks some trash in the prerecorded comments. Luger will have NFL great Lawrence Taylor in his corner, Cat will have Paul E. Dangerously. LT was still relevant in football at the time so this was a big get for WCW. The Football Match will essentially be a sumo match but with both men wearing football gear instead of awkward-looking sumo thongs. Man it’s wild to hear the commentators hype an untelevised house show as a big deal, wrestling has changed so much since I started watching. Anyway Luger dominates and wins with a flying football tackle because of course he does. I want to watch that match but I don’t think there’s a full clip of it anywhere. If you’re reading this and can send a link my way, let me know. (2:21)

  • Final Rating: SQUASH

Michael Wallstreet [w/ Alexandra York] vs. Greg Sawyer
York gets on the house mic and says that Sawyer will lose in less than six minutes according to her magical COM-PEW-TOR. Wallstreet is so unconcerned that he spends the first minute getting out of his entrance attire and talking with York. Beautiful stalling, Classic Rotundo. WCW spells Sawyer’s first name as “Gregg” in the graphic but that’s stupid and I refuse to conform. Speaking of Classic Rotundo Wallstreet even does the “use the ropes for leverage during a submission move” spot. Goddamn this man is so boring. Anyway a Stock Market Crash finishes Sawyer off with three minutes or so to spare. I love the gimmick but ughhhhh why’s he gotta be so dull in the ring? (3:03)

  • Final Rating: SQUASH

Missy Hyatt is at ringside with Wallstreet and York. Wallstreet brags about being in USA Today, a claim I highly doubt is legitimate. Paul E. Dangerously interrupts, saying he’s the one who’s supposed to do the interviews. Hyatt says Dangerously is mad because a woman can do his job and make more money. York asks if Dangerously is a legit sexist and he dodges the question, bailing as the segment ends. So this existed to push the Dangerously/Hyatt feud. Fair enough.

WCW Television Championship
‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk (c) vs. Dr. X
It’s still the NWA Television Championship right now as WCW doesn’t split from the NWA for another few weeks. Can’t believe Zenk’s first defense is against a masked gimmick straight out of the 50s. Terry Taylor stops by to watch the match, still mad Zenk got the shot instead of him last week. Taylor joins the commentary team as Dr. X gets outwrestled by the Z-Man. Taylor mentions again that he wrestled Anderson three weeks in a row and Zenk stole his shot the one time he wasn’t on the show. Dr. X works Zenk’s left arm over and uses the hair to keep him on the mat. Zenk fights back with a couple of rights and and a clothesline. Zenk hits a ‘glancing blow’ superkick and finishes him off with his weird-looking Missile Dropkick to retain the championship. Meh. (4:18)

  • Final Rating: *

Did you send in your postcard in for the WCW Sexiest Wrestler contest yet? Now that Minotaur has debuted I feel like I need to change my vote…

TNT is showing ‘Three Elvis Flicks’ sometime during the week. TNT and TBS were so much better as regional networks that just happened to also be on national television.

We see footage from the December 22, 1990 episode of WCW where The Fabulous Freebirds make Rick Steiner a deal: if Hayes beats him they get a U.S. Tag Team Title shot but if Steiner wins the Freebirds will stop bothering him. Hayes wins via DQ after Steiner is framed for using a 2×4 that Garvin threw in. Cut to a prerecorded Freebirds promo who gloat about tricking Steiner.

The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Keith Hart & Jamie McKinnon
Apparently this Keith Hart isn’t the same Keith Hart from he legendary Canadian family. Oh well, almost a wild Hart sighting? Michael Hayes is wearing some glittery glam rock pants with suspenders while Jimmy Garvin is looking relatively normal. He’s not putting up with that shit this week. Freebirds double team Hart, connecting with a back bodydrop on the floor so hard that he actually bounces off of the concrete. JESUS KEITH IT’S A SQUASH MATCH, SETTLE YOURSELF. McKinnon manages to get a tag but he doesn’t do anything other than get beat up by The Freebirds, culminating in a DDT and a victory for I guess the #1 contenders to the Tag Team Titles. Keith’s crazy ass floor bump notwithstanding this was whatever. (3:43)

  • Final Rating: SQUASH

Norman has some pre-recorded comments for Sid Vicious, vowing to get revenge for Sid’s attack next week. Sid put him head first into a steel post while he was handing out toys to the kids, scrambling his brains a little bit. Norman mentions that he shouldn’t be wrestling yet so expect that to play a role in how the match plays out next week. We’ll get there, friends.

Segment Time: WCW Classics
Gordon Solie is here with a clip from the WCW archives. This week it’s the big Sting/Ric Flair match from the first Clash of the Champions in 1988, the match that made the former a star. The last five minutes are shown in their entirety. Solie says this match made Sting into the superstar and World Champion he is now. Cut to comments from Sting who is white-hot furious and wants to get his hands on Flair following that Starrcade 1990 debacle. Ric Flair retorts by bragging about his Black Scorpion master plan and how he’s got a new look/attitude for the 90s WOOOO. I’m pretty sure both of those comments aired on one of the earlier shows of the day but I’m not gonna go back and check. Anyway I like the idea of this segment and wish WWE could incorporate it somewhere on their eight hours of weekly TV.

Arn Anderson has some comments about Terry Taylor. Anderson doesn’t care about the TV Title anymore since he isn’t champion now but he does care about being the clear, distinct winner between the two. MAIN EVENT TIME. Well MAIN EVENT OF THE SHOW TIME, Main Event is tomorrow.

Terry Taylor vs. ‘Double A’ Arn Anderson
This is Taylor and Anderson’s fourth match against one another, so I can imagine that the fans watching at the time were probably bored to death of this being on every episode of WCW by now. I skipped 1990 for all sorts of reasons (mainly the fact it’s a garbage fire and an uninteresting garbage fire to boot) so this is new to me! Hooray! Shoving match to start, Anderson beats Taylor down in the corner. Taylor floats over Anderson and rolls him up with a sunset flip for two. Anderson decks a charging Taylor with a left hook and rakes his eyes across his boot laces. Love that move so much for reasons I can’t explain. Taylor catches Anderson with a bodyslam and rams Anderson’s left arm into the ring post, wrapping it around to injure it further. Given that Anderson was heavily relying on that arm for his offense that actually makes some sense, cool. Anderson escapes a wristlock with a scoop slam but stupidly tries an elbowdrop with his hurt arm and misses it. Taylor goes back to work on the arm as Caudle hypes upcoming house show/TV taping events. Taylor’s offense is squashed with a Spinebuster, which elicits a pop from the crowd. Everybody loves Arn Anderson…is the name of a sitcom I pitched once to CBS but the executives were more into Ole Anderson. Bad jokes, got ’em for days. Taylor tries a sunset flip but Anderson counters with a right hand, simple but effective, for a two-count. Taylor counters a Vader Bomb with a pair of knees but runs into a knee during a corner splash attempt. Anderson heads to the top, Taylor slams him off, that’s what you get for being friends with Ric Flair. Taylor ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody but Anderson rolls through and uses the ropes for leverage for the 1…2…3! Oh damn, out of nowhere. Good match, dug the finish. Anderson technically gets the definitive win but he did it by cheating so Terry Taylor fans have something to grab onto. (6:22)

  • Final Rating: **1/2

Next on TBS: Battle of the Commandos, starring Jack Palance. Jack Palance is one of the manliest men to have ever existed. I’m pretty sure he was doing two-finger pushups on his deathbed.

Prerecorded Interview Time: Lawrence Taylor
Jim Ross is with Lawrence Taylor at Taylor’s restaurant to ask him about the Football Match scheduled for the big show at the Meadowlands. Taylor makes fun of Paul E. Dangerously for having a girl’s name then says he’ll coach Lex Luger right to victory. Taylor warns Dangerously that he’s one fight he doesn’t want to tangle with. Tough football guy talking trash about beating up a scrawny manager. Real manly of you, LT. Why don’t you pick on someone your own size, like Bam Bam Bigelow? Wait…

‘White Lighting’ Tim Horner vs. George South
Holy shit this show isn’t over, okay then. I’ll eventually get used to WCW shows doing this. Maybe. I’m way too used to how wrestling TV is done in the current era, goddamn. Ross says he’s going to tell everyone what LT said ‘off the record’ on their hotline, which is a massive breach of journalist ethics. What a jerk. Horner uses his speed to tumble around and hit South with multiple dropkicks in short order. Next Saturday night Norman will take on Sid Vicious, which probably broke Meltzer’s snowflake scale when it aired. Horner continues to outclass South, leading to a wristlock as Ross puts him over in a big way on commentary. Horner escapes a slam attempt and pins South with a bridging roll-up. Horner is really fun to watch, how did he never have a go as WCW Light Heavyweight Champion? Wait we’re not there yet. (2:53)

Final Rating: *1/2

Jim Ross is standing by with his ‘infantile’ colleagues Paul E. Dangerously and Missy Hyatt, who will be settling their score in an arm wrestling match at Clash of the Champions at the end of the month. Ross asks for civility but he doesn’t get it; instead Dangerously tells Hyatt to dress like a lady instead of a slut (implied, not said) and Hyatt slaps him to conclude the episode.

*****

Final Thoughts: A solid two hours of action as WCW continues to power through the footage they have left over from 1990, tying up storylines and the like. Pillman and Rogers had the match of the night without question but Taylor and Anderson had a solid contest too and we even got a talent debut! Granted it was Minotaur but whatever. Not a bad first episode of 1991 for the flagship even if the snowflakes tell you otherwise. This blew by quicker for me than RAW or SmackDown has lately.

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