by Daniel Johnson
The Monday Night Wars era is arguably the most exciting period in wrestling history. Not just that it is arguably the most exciting period there ever will be is wrestling. That may sound like hyperbole or looking back with misguided nostalgia, but so much of the New World Order, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and even Bill Goldberg are still fun to go back and watch. The war kicked off in the mid 1990s and for a while WCW was kicking the WWF’s ass. Aside from Monday nights a major source of revenue was gained through pay-per-view buy rates, which was another battle in the war WCW was winning for a time. In 1998 the tide was turning as stars like Steve Austin, The Rock and Mankind rose in the WWF. But wait! WCW still had Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting and so many others! How could they be out of business just a few years later? Then you see “Lightning Foot” Jerry Flynn was wrestling pay-per-view matches and it becomes a lot easier to understand. Not that, that was the only reason or that a guy like Jerry Flynn was a bad performer. It’s just that…well did you ever plunk down money on a pay-per-view to watch a Jerry Flynn match? Let’s look at five WCW matches from the late 1990s that never should have been on pay-per-view, but inexplicably were.
5. Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams from WCW Slamboree 1998
Brian Adams makes his first appearance on this list, but rest assured it won’t be his last. Brian Adams left the WWF in 1997 after wrestling under the name Crush since 1990. Despite keeping the same name for nearly a decade the caucasian Crush had three incredibly different gimmicks including a stint in a black militant group. For you newer fans that isn’t a joke. Although come to think of it, The Caucasian Crush could have been a good name change. Actually, no it sounds like a white supremacist gimmick some company like Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW) would have. Anyway, the Crush name died so Brian Adams could live in WCW as NWO guy #47. Adams’ biggest achievement during this time was standing in the background as Hulk Hogan cut 15 minute promos. Someone on the booking committee really must have been a latter day Demolition mark because Adams kept getting singles matches including this stinker from WCW Slamboree 1998 against Lex Luger. Luger was on fire at this time and forced Adams to submit in just over five minutes to the surprise of no one.
4. Steve “Mongo” McMichael vs. Brian Adams from WCW Road Wild 1998
I’m not religious, but Jesus Christ, seriously? Adams obviously had more than a friend on the booking committee. A common joke I’ve heard is Diamond Dallas Page washed Eric Bischoff’s car and painted his house to get in WCW. Well, if that is the case when Adams wasn’t wrestling he must have had a full-time schedule working as a free landscaper and general handyman for the WCW brass. A few months after calling it quits to Lex, Adams wrestled Steve “Mongo” McMichael at WCW Road Wild 1998. This time the match went a full six minutes then 32 seconds more. Adams most likely would have had a seven minute match, but he didn’t feel like trimming Kevin Sullivan’s shrubs that week. Also, again good lord! At least Lex had momentum Mongo never should have been hired as a wrestler in the first place, by WCW or otherwise. On top of that McMichael was on his way out. Mongo wrestled with WCW until March 1999, but outside of WCW’s nutty three ring circus that was WCW World War 3, this was Mongo’s last pay-per-view match. This time Adams lost by getting dumped on his head with a tombstone piledriver. The push Mongo received from defeating such an opponent was enough to get him to his coach where he proceeded to watch football and eat nachos.
3. Juventud Guerrera vs. Silver King from WCW Fall Brawl 1998
Non-lucha libre fans may argue that a lot of lucha libre matches didn’t deserve to be on pay-per-view in WCW’s heyday. Plenty of them had storylines, but just as many if not more didn’t. However, for people who had eyes and were willing to give lucha libre a chance they got to see some of the most exciting, high flying WCW action of the day. That being said, not every WCW lucha libre match was a great one. At this point in his career Silver King was not on par with the likes of Super Calo or Damien never mind some of the more critically acclaimed performers who should have been wrestling Juventud Guerrera for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. The match had some cool moments like Guerrera’s reverse hurricanrana, but the result being so obvious manages to even make Juvi’s 450 splash finisher less exciting.
2. “Lightning Foot” Jerry Flynn and Fit Finlay vs. Scott Norton and Brian Adams from WCW Starrcade 1998
Yes, Brian Adams makes his third appearance on the list. This one is a tag team match so I figured I’d include a picture of Demolition Crush. It reminds me that Adams didn’t always suck even if the glory days of Demolition were long gone by the time Crush joined. Making this match particularly puzzling is it being booked at WCW Starrcade 1998, which was at a time when it was promoted as WCW’s version of WrestleMania. The fifth match on the card to be precise. You know who wrestled on the fith match at WrestleMania that year? The Rock. For some reason I don’t see “Lightning Foot” Jerry Flynn starring in a multi-million dollar movie any time soon. The most interesting part about this match, which is to say the only interteresting part is seeing how stiff Scott Norton worked. Norton has handed out his share of potatoes over the years, but Norton was clearly not happy wrestling in this match, which makes his work that much more vicious. Fit Finlay didn’t look like he wanted to be their either actually. Norton pins Flynn after pulverizing him with a clothesline and finishing up with a powerbomb.
1. Chris Benoit vs. Mike Enos from WCW Souled Out 1999
In 1999 if my mom really wanted to convince me pay-per-views weren’t worth spending money on she should have showed me this match and said, ‘Now can you give me a reason why this is worth $30?’ I wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on. This was a show opener, which is a shame because when WCW had a good opener they often really delivered. The WWF were doing great business in 1998, but it was not until 1999 that it really became clear who was going to win the war. There may be tons of reasons why the WWF won, but WWF’s desire of simply wanting it more shouldn’t be discounted. Heck, Vince McMahon wanted to win so badly he was just plain reckless sometimes. WCW Souled Out 1999 was held the same month as the WWF Royal Rumble 1999. You know what that event featured? One of the WWF’s main eventers trying to murder another one of the WWF’s main eventers. The would be homicide victim being Mick Foley, largely considered one of the kindest and most lovable men to ever top a major wrestling card, emphasizes Vince’s tunnel vision even more. You know what WCW featured on their January pay-per-view? This match! I’m not saying booking Mike Enos in a pay-per-view match is on the same level as conspiracy to commit murder, but it probably should be. Don’t get me wrong Mike Enos had some good showings. The problem is they were in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) 10 years earlier. Enos was still in good physical shape, but other than that you cannot say much positive about Enos as a performer in 1999. In this match he hits a clothesline that is so lame it makes you question if he was even really taught by Eddie Sharkey, arguably the greatest trainer ever in pro wrestling. Chris Benoit finishes Enos off with a crippler crossface. As Chris Jericho would say because this match involved Benoit, technically it no longer existed. However, when it took place Enos was such a non-factor it somehow didn’t exist back then either. So when WWE erased it from history they created such a black hole of a paradox that the end of existence will soon come when it consumes us all. Thanks WCW booking committee.
Photo 1-2, 4-6: onlineworldofwrestling.com
Photo 3: en.wikipedia.org
Categories: Wrestling Lists