Flashback Friday! Vince Russo 101: A Look Back At WCW Mayhem 1999!
I started this feature last week when I reviewed WWF Fully Loaded 1999, this week I’m continuing with an event from this golden period in modern wrestling, but this time it’s the other team, WCW Mayhem 1999 from Toronto, ON and hope to hear back on your memories of the event or if you hadn’t before seen it and watched it on my recommendation what you thought of it. Suggestions for future Flashback Friday’s are welcome also.
The month before at Halloween Havoc, WCW Champion Sting lost to Goldberg in an unsanctioned match, however, due to the match being unsanctioned Goldberg’s title win was voided and due to Sting attacking WCW referee Charles Robinson during the match he was stripped of the title the following night on Nitro.
A tournament was set up to determine a new World Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. 32 men were drawn in the original line up that night and that led us to 4 remaining. Chris Benoit, Jeff Jarrett, Bret Hart and Sting himself. Two semi final matches would be held before the winners advance and compete in the main event for the WCW Title.
The show opened with Jeff Jarrett and Chris Benoit in the first semi final match, the match was nothing to remember and certainly didn’t compete with their match at Starrcade in December of 1999, the commentators tried their hardest to make Jarrett look like a contender even though a month before he lost to Chyna in a “Good housing-keeping match” at WWF No Mercy but they did more to damage Jarrett’s credibility then make him look any bit like a contender and they had no problem in admitting he was there because of his friendship with WCW booker at the time Vince Russo.
In a pure nonsensical move that shows us why WCW failed; Benoit, who was wrestling in his home country of Canada and was a face at the time could only beat the Jarrett (who as I mentioned already wasn’t a believable contender) by cheating and hitting Jeff with a guitar.
In the other semi-final former champion Sting went up against Bret “Hitman” Hart in a good match which ended in the old Owen/Bret spot, when Sting locked on the Scorpion Deathlock and Bret rolled him over and forced the Stinger to tap out to the Sharpshooter to set up the all-Canada final in Toronto.
I think having the event in Canada, they should have done the semi-finals on TV before and billed it as Bret/Benoit going into the PPV, it would have seemed like a bigger deal for the PPV and for Canada, but none the less it was a good match between the two. Like much else on this card it didn’t live up to previous or future bouts – this one in comparison to their match on Nitro from Kansas City in the arena where Owen fell was just fantastic. But even though this match has inexplicable interference from The Outsiders who were then run off by Goldberg, the match was still good. The back and forth to set up the Sharpshooter finish was nice, but again would of seemed like a bigger deal had Bret not already beaten Sting with the same move an hour before hand.
Bar the tournament matches, there was only two somewhat good matches on the card. A too short United States & Television Championship defense by Scott Hall, when he defeated Booker T who answered his open challenge. Scott Hall, long before the weight pilled on and the age hit him was a great wrestler. I’ll admit his bouts in WCW weren’t as good as hit outings while portraying Razor Ramon in the WWF but its almost forgotten about that he could wrestle due to the shambles of matches he’s had in recent times.
The other was a inter-gender tag match between The Revolution (Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Asya) up against The Filthy Animals (Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson). The Toronto crowd roared “boring” during the early exchanges between Guerrero and Malenko – the unfortunate thing was the crowd were right. The entertaining part of the match came when it was down to Saturn, Guerrero and Wilson (sitting on the outside). The back and forth between Saturn and Guerrero were great. Perry Saturn easily one of the most underrated stars of recent times and Guerrero needs no justification for his talents.
What I couldn’t help but think of during the match was Perry Saturn’s pre-match promo, I couldn’t make sense of it, maybe you can:
“What if the dinosaurs were still alive, they’d be walking around crapping all over the place like a bunch of filthy animals. Speaking of The Filthy Animals, tonight were gonna extinguish them just like we did the dinosaurs. Oh I know what you’re thinking “man wasn’t alive when the dinosaurs were”, all I’m trying to say is “what if?”, come on let’s go!”
Anybody understand? Didn’t think so. In what I’m hoping was a joke David Flair “wrestled” Kimberly in what was billed as a marquee match on the card, Flair walked to the ring hit the referee with his crowbar, got beat up by Kimberly then before he could attack her he was confronted by both Kanyon and Kimberly’s husband DDP. Page took out Flair a Diamond Cutter and left. Then David got up – completely no selling the move and attacked Arn Anderson who had come to check on David who then left through the crowd. My god it was awful. Ric definitely isn’t his Dad.
Other matches that filled the card were Brian Knobbs and Norman Smiley in a Hardcore match that made anything from TNA Hardcore Justice look like gold. Vampiro and Berlyn, in re-watching the event I skipped this. Goldberg defeated Sid Viscous in an I Quit match that ended after a few minutes with a sleeper hold. Buff Bagwell botched for 7 minutes with Curt Henning and Meng and Lex Luger pretended they could wrestle. Those latter matches say it all really. I was a fan of WCW back in the day and haven’t watched it in a long time. I hope this isn’t what it was all like, next week I’ll be reviewing WCW Uncensored 1999 – my fingers are crossed for something worthwhile.
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