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Tuesday, May 30th 2017.
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WCW Capital Combat: The Return of Robocop

by Scrooge McSuck

Robocop

- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on May 19th, 1990, from the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. Attendance is listed at 7,500, which seems believable, but how many paid? Let's get this out of the way right now... what the fuck is the deal with using ROBOCOP for a cross-over promotion? I'm sure in 1990 Robocop was a mild deal due to a sequel coming out, but who in their right mind thought this made ANY sense?! Anyway... Jim Ross and Bob Caudle are at ringside to call the action, and Tony Schiavone, fresh off a less-than-impressive stint in the WWF, is handling host and interview duties.

Opening Match: The Road Warriors & Norman (the Lunatic) vs. Kevin Sullivan, Cactus Jack, and Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Oliver Humperdink):

Weird... the Road Warriors, who were allegedly on their way out of the company, were the featured performers on the promotional poster. Even if they weren't leaving, they were nowhere in position to be featured in a high profile match, anyway, with the marriages carrying over from the Winter. Norman would soon be repackaged as a Truck Driver, and Bam Bam's run in WCW in 1990 was even more brief than in 1988. Nice of WCW to carry over continuity from the WWF with Humperdink as his manager. No "Iron Man" rip off, or "that song where everyone Shouts from Animal House" for Norman, but nothing is dubbed in either. I'd rather the music be muted than poorly dubbed, like we'll experience later in this show. Animal and Cactus start, with Animal showing off his "agility" by doing not one, but TWO leap frogs! Whip to the corner, and we get an ugly boot spot that was clearly blown. Hawk in, casually stiffing the hell out of Jack with a clothesline. Bam Bam comes in to slug it out, but gets dropkicked to the floor. Norman works over Cactus and throws a challenge out to Bam Bam... only to tag out to Animal. Well, he is a moron, and a lunatic, so that makes sense. Bam Bam tries launching Cactus at Hawk, only for him to go flying over the top, to the floor. Hawk follows with a clothesline from the apron. Whip to the rail, complete with Cactus landing in a pile of empty chairs. In the front row. Norman ends up playing face-in-peril, but not for too long. Cactus channels his inner-Macho Man, coming off the top with an axehandle, and hanging Norman across the top rope. Animal winds up getting the hot tag, cleaning house of Cactus. Everyone gets involved, and out of nowhere, Hawk finishes Sullivan with a clothesline at 9:17. **1/2 Random finish and Hawk being overly stiff for no good reason aside, a fun opening match that probably could have used a bit more time.

Johnny Ace vs. Mean Mark (w/ Theodore R. Long):

I'm never going to get used to seeing him as anything other than The Undertaker. Ace has some seriously wussy surfer music and is from "The City of Sunshine." What is with WCW and these fucking awful hometowns!? It's the remains of the Dynamic Dudes and New Skyscrapers. Spivey left for Japan, and Shane Douglas left to be a job guy in the WWF. Guess who got the better of that move. Ace grabs a headlock to start, but a shoulder tackle does nothing. Mark blocks a hip toss and connects with a clothesline, but misses an elbow. Ace dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a plancha! Air Laurinitus! He works the arm, forcing Not-Yet-Undertaker to sell like a normal person. Ace with a twisting body press from the top for two. Mark sends Ace to the floor, and brings him back in with a delayed suplex for two. Ace makes the unfortunate decision of going after a heel manager, allowing Mark to take control. We hit our first chinlock, but it's brief. Mark with a slam and high elevation leg drop for two. Ace counters a slam attempt with a cradle for two. Mark avoids a dropkick and covers for another two count. Ace offers a comeback, connecting with dropkicks and taking him over with a monkey flip. He misses something from the top rope, and Mark finishes him with a Heart Punch and rope-walk elbow drop at 10:38. That was pretty cool to see, actually. Crowd popped for Mark, despite being the heel. ** Surprisingly not bad, despite not being the most action filled match.

- Gordon Solie is backstage, selling us on the Robocop cross-over. I'm sorry, but even someone with Gordon Solie's credentials of getting stupid shit over isn't going to work on me. Apparently Robocop is here to protect the thousands of little Stingers that have been threatened by the Four Horsemen. This stuff is funnier than any Adam Sandler movie since the Waterboy.

Mike Rotunda & Tommy Rich vs. The Samoan Swat Team:

I'm sorry, that's CAPTAIN Mike Rotunda. Not as in "Captain of the Varisty Club", but Captain of a Boat, complete with anchor on his tights and a skippers cap. If we're playing Gilligan's Island, who's Tommy Rich? He's too old to be Ginger and too ugly to be Mrs. Thurston Howard the Third. The SST are Fatu and the Savage, a.k.a Tama, so I'll just call him Tama. I guess Samu skipped town not too long ago. If you're a fan of stall tactics, this is your match. It's almost five minutes before the first bit of action takes place. Rotunda and Rich control early, using some illegal tactics like switching behind the back of the referee and faking tags. Fantasy Warfare suggestion: Mike Rotunda vs. Sheamus, over who sweats the most in the least amount of time. Seriously, he's like a fountain. We move at a snails pace as Rotunda becomes out face-in-peril. Highlight of the match is Tama grabbing a nerve-hold, and the expression of boredom on Rotunda's face as it's applied. Check it out, I'm dead serious: He's all "really, this is what we're doing?" as he goes into the act of trying to look like he's in severe discomfort. After several fake hot tag spots, Rich finally manages to get in the ring. He grabs a sleeper on Fatu, but Tama nails him from behind, and Fatu covers for the three count at 17:54. * Yeah, I'm not kidding. These two teams went nearly 20-minutes, and did absolutely nothing with it. The crowd was completely uninterested and everyone in the match seemed to have it in cruise-control.

- And now with the stuff that would make the cut for the Turner Home Video release. So thank you WWE Network for finally letting me see the undercard matches. In the immortal words of Meatloaf, two out of three ain't bad.

Hair vs. Hair Match: Paul Ellering vs. Theodore R. Long:

What's the point of this, especially when both men are practically bald already!? I know, I know... it's WCW. It doesn't have to make sense. Missy Hyatt does guest ring introductions, because they had to pay her for something that night. I guess this was the inspiriation to Sunny's WWF role during the time she had no real direction (as in all of 1997 and 1998, before putting her with LOD 2000 and firing her weeks later for being a drug addict). Long is sporting head-gear and boxing gloves for this. He attacks before the bell, with Ellering over-selling a few punches. He rips the love off, implying it's loaded. He slams Long, hits him with the glove, and that's enough for the three count at 1:57. Long gets trimmed afterwards. N/R Waste of time, but thankfully as short as it can be without removing it from the show entirely.

U.S. Tag Team Championship Match:
Flyin' Brian & The Z-Man vs. The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette):

My mouth is watering just anticipating how awesome this is going to be. Music rights issues FINALLY rears it's ugly head, as the kick ass theme music of the Midnight Express is dubbed over with some seriously crappy music. Stipulations dictate Cornette needs to be locked in a cage at ringside... because? It's WCW. He refuses, but the Champs eventually chase him into hiding inside the cage. Those no-good tricksters... Pillman and Zenk dominate for roughly 10-minutes, constantly out-smarting the Express, avoiding potential double team tactics, and using some Midnight Express-inspired offense and shenanigans to really frustrate the challengers. Calling the match move for move would be a waste, it needs to be seen to be appreciated. At around 12-minutes, Pillman makes the big mistake, missing a body press and landing on the floor. Eaton gives him a swinging neck breaker on the floor for his troubles, to a babyface pop. Lane and Eaton demonstrate why they were arguably the greatest tag team of the late 80's, working in all their signature spots (minus the double goozle), and doing everything with such fluidity it makes my heart weep at how much of a lost art Tag Team wrestling has become. Eaton hits the Alabama Jam, but it only gets two. Z-Man gets the hot tag, but gets double teamed and hit with the Rocket Launcher. That only gets two. Eaton misses a charge to the corner, allowing Zenk a hope spot, but Lane nails him with an enziguri, and Eaton cradles him for the Titles at 19:50! That was some friggin' awesome stuff. ****1/2 It's hard to say "one of the best tag matches I've ever seen" when this was standard Midnight Express formula, except amplified by a motivated team pulling the same tactics in deliciously ironic situations. If there's a Midnight Express match and they're the heels (that 1989 face run kinda' sucked), it's probably really good, so watch them whenever you can.

- RoboCrap Time! Sting is recovering from some kind of knee injury, but hes healthy enough to make a live appearance for the thousands of little Stingers! Seems like a crowd mostly comprised of adults, but whatever. The Horsemen show up to lock him in the cage Cornette was just in, but Robocop... very... slowly... walks down the aisle, bends the foam-rubber bars, and pulls the door off the imaginary hinges. I love how the Andersons and Sid just casually retreat, almost without emotion. What a spectacular 30-second appearance that a 3 hour PPV was named after. It's like calling WrestleMania 27 "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" for the 30-second cameo of Paul Ruebens.

- Junkyard Dog is back, and ready to drag Ric Flair through one of the worst matches of the latter's career. That includes anything he's done through 2013 Jim Cornette shows up to mouth off to the JYD, only for JYD to make implications that he's (Dog)pounding Cornette's momma. You can hear Jim Ross holding back laughter at Cornette's reaction. It was pretty funny.

Corporal (Kirchner) Punishment Match: The Rock N' Roll Express vs. The Fabulous Freebirds:

And, of course, "Badstreet USA" is dubbed over with some of the most generic music anyone can find. I've heard rumors this was originally titled a "Capital" Punishment match, which makes sense in tying in with the name of the show, but not-so-much in logical thinking. Fancy talk for "leather straps are legal." Each team gets one, and keeps them in their corner, because that makes a lot of sense. Hayes appears to be picking a fight with Clint Howard and Herb Abrams in the front row. After tons of stalling (it's Michael Hayes, towards the end, what did you expect?), the Express get some shots in with the straps as Ross puts over child abuse. That's not very PG. I still don't understand why the straps aren't readily available. Anyway, the match really stinks. The Freebirds do the bare minimum, and even that looks half-assed. I don't think Hayes attempts anything but punches until well-into the match. Gibson takes a beating, then remembers only one person can play Ricky Morton better, and that's the man himself... Ricky Morton. The Freebirds don't actually use the straps until the last few minutes of the match, and only once, meaning the stipulation is F*CKING POINTLESS. Gibson gets the hot tag and makes a brief effort of cleaning house. Hayes plants him with a DDT, but as he sets up for a second, Morton comes off the top with a sunset flip, and it's enough for the three count at 18:29. The Express use the straps to chase the Freebirds away, afterwards. * If not for the RnR Express trying to carry things, this was one of the worst tag matches I've ever seen out of the Freebirds, and the crowd was surprisingly into it.

- "The World's Strongest Man" Doug Furnas is here! YAY! Sting is here, too! DOUBLE YAY!

World Tag Team Championship Match:
The Steiner Brothers vs. Doom (w/ Theodore R. Long):

I don't recall the event, but it was the Steiners that won a match that forced Doom to unmask. Of course everyone knew it was Simmons and Reed, but losing the masks instantly gave them more credibility than being called "Doom #1" and "Doom #2" like masked Jobbers on WCW Saturday Night. The Steiner's de-doo-rag Long, showing off his new haircut. It was less than an hour ago, we don't need to blowoff the angle already! Scott starts with Simmons, running through him with shoulder tackles, followed by a powerslam. Simmons responds with clubberin', and Scott takes him down with a release German suplex. Reed tags in, and flexes... you think he's a Natural? I know, that joke really sucked. Rick tags in, looking as if he just rolled out of bed, and gets flung to the ground like a rag-doll. How often do you see THAT? Reed gets sent to the floor, where Scott viciously attacks him. The Steiners seem to be heeling it up quite a bit here. Rick with an UGLY (as in dangerous) Tombstone on Simmons, then sends him back to the floor with a clothesline. Scott with a modified version of the Oklahoma Stampede on Reed for two. Reed nails Scott with a running high knee to the face, making him our face-in-peril. Double axehandle and a swinging neck breaker gets two. Scott with a desperation T-Bone Suplex on Simmons, but Simmons is up first and goes back to pounding away. Whip and a stiff clothesline gets two. Jim Ross makes a weird reference to the Steiners and the Detroit Pistons... weird because he sounds really uncomfortable making Basketball references after spouting off college football and wrestling stats for the entire match. Scott from out of nowhere with a Frankensteiner, and hot tag to Rick. Clothesline and powerslam to Reed for two. Bedlam erupts, Rick goes for a super-sized Belly-to-Belly Suplex, but Simmons nails him from behind, and Reed lands on top for the three count and titles at 19:12. ***1/4 Not the prettiest match ever, but just non-stop, hard-hitting action. These two teams went from having some lousy matches to a solid chemistry over the course of about 6-months. Of course, these days, anything after two weeks without improvement is immediately abandoned.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship; Steel Cage Match:
Ric Flair (w/ Woman) vs. Lex Luger (U.S. Champion):

The whole point of a Cage Match is to prevent interference and give us a clear-cut winner, right? Considering the history of Lex Luger's failures, maybe, JUST MAYBE, he would be allowed to finally go over and get the Championship that's alluded him since the early months of 1988. Goes to show how deep the roster is for main event cred when Sting's injury forced Luger to turn after a very successful run as a douche heel. Thank goodness for the returning JYD to shore things up! And with that, my sarcasm alert machine just exploded. I like how the cage is big enough to work outside the ring, but still be closed in. It also has that incline at the top, making climbing in and out impossible. Pretty sure it's the cage used at Halloween Havoc '89, minus the stupid electricity gimmick nonsense. According to Jim Ross, Lex Luger not only spent two weeks in a hospital, and not only suffered from a staph infection, but also spent the last few days with a 103 fever. Pfft... John Cena would over-come the odds quickly enough to enjoy a bowl of Fruity Pebbles while watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

For whatever reason, the referee insists on frisking Woman (you know you're thinking of the scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit), and actually finds something in one of her gloves! SMARTEST REFEREE EVER! Flair quickly cheeses Luger off with chops, and gets nailed with a shoulder tackle and clothesline for it. Luger with a suplex from the apron, sending Flair to the floor to look for a way to escapr. Luger with press slams, no-selling of the chops, and rams Flair into the cage, giving him an excuse to blade... while the camera keeps a watchful eye on him the entire time. D'OH! Luger continues to dominate this abridged version of their usual match, until a Super-Plex causes the knee to suddenly feel more pain than anything that's been done in the previous 10-minutes. Flair works the leg a bit and slaps on the Figure-Four, using ropes for leverage. Suddenly, the Horsemen return, no doubt having lost Robocop on that fork-in-the-road in the locker room. Luger offers a comeback, no-selling the leg in spectacular fashion. Here comes Sting, and HOLY CRAP, IT'S TIN FOIL MAN! Oh, nevermind, just El Gigante. And yet this would be the most impressive he's ever looked. Suddenly (again), the cage is raised a bit, Barry Windham gets in, and it's a DQ FINISH IN A CAGE MATCH at 17:20. The Horsemen beat down Luger until Sting casually chases them away. What a shitty finish. **1/4 Match was going alright, if unspectacular. They were really rushing for things, never really going the extra mile, and the last 3-5 minutes was over-booked nonsense. Luger the Choker continues his ways of not winning the big one.

Final Thoughts: There's a strong emphasis in Tag Team matches that I've never noticed, before. Excluding the silly managers match, there's only two singles matches, and one of them is between two guys struggling at the bottom of the card. Everything else showcases the depth of the Tag Team Division, with more hits than misses. The Midnight Express vs. Pillman and Zenk match stole the show and is recommended viewing, but there's also a solid outing between the Steiners and Doom, and the undercard stuff isn't too shabby, either. The Main Event disappoints, but nobody was buying anything from WCW until Sting came back, so who cares? Mild recommendation to give this show a look. Nothing memorable (ROBOCOP!), but a fun waste of three hours.

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