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WCW Pro- May 11, 1997

by Infinite Devil Machine

Ultimo Dragon

- Welcome folks to yet another of Infinite Devil Machine's B and C-show reviews! It's time to scrape the bottom of WCW's barrel for some hot, sticky syndicated action. The temperatures are starting to heat up in May. Summer's right around the corner for WCW, as they're still embroiled in their war with the NWO as the ubiquitous Wrestlecrap stable The Dungeon Of Doom, who are miraculously still around at this point, continue their ongoing to war against a newly reformed Four Horseman. Its Faction Warfare in WCW, heading into the worst named mainstream pay-per-view of all time, Slamboree! But enough talk, let's get to the action!

Sargent Buddy Lee Parker and Pat Tanaka vs. Jim Powers and "Hardwork" Bobby Walker (w/ Teddy Long)

- Man, you want to talk about an oddball team? You've got the square jawed G.I. Joe "Sargent" Buddy Lee Parker in full on military fatigues and camo and Pat Tanaka, probably best known for his stint in the WWF as one-half of The Orient Express, in a karate outfit. Its like Buddy Lee Parker walked in and recruited a partner at the last minute from the Benny Hanna's next to the arena.

- Needless to say, Jim Powers and Bobby Walker aren't much better. They're part of Teddy Long's stable of jobbers. Did Long putting his guys together in random tag-teams give him the idea to put together random tag-team main event matches on Smackdown every night when he was GM there? Makes you think, playa.

- Lockup to start, Parker with a headlock on Powers. Powers shoots him off, but eats a shoulderblock. Criss-cross and a leapfrog and Powers scores an armdrag on Parker. I just realized it, but Powers looks like the white dude half of American Alpha, only with less wrestling ability. Back up, and Parker fights out of an armbar with a knee to the gut and a clubbing blow. Tanaka tagged in and Powers counters with a drop toehold. Powers with an arm wringer and a tag. Walker in and they score a crappy double-team version of Matt Hardy's Side Effect move. Walker covers for two. Back up, Tanaka reverses a whip to the corner and then just kinda... stands there. Huh? Whip across, Tanaka reverses but Walker explodes out of the corner with a running clothesline and nails it so hard he falls on his ass. Walker springs to the top in a smooth motion and nails a nice flying ax-handle. Tanaka with an eye rake and a Karate chop to take over, before tagging out. Parker in and locks in a headlock, Walker counters into an arm wringer and tags out, Powers with an axehandle on the arm. Powers in and he taunts for an armbar, but Parker wrestles him down. Parker works his way into a front facelock. Powers wrestles out but Parker gets his foot on the ropes to break. Back up standing, lockup, and Powers drives Parker to the corner. Parker scores a knee and fights out and starts clubbering and nails a couple forearms. Powers tries to brawl back, but Parker cuts him off and facelocks him before tagging in Tanaka. Tanaka in and forces Powers to the corner for a couple shots. Whip across and Powers counters a charge with a big boot. Powers with the old "count to 10" spot slamming Tanaka's head to the buckle. Walker's tagged back in, Powers cheap shots Parker off the apron and Walker scores with a top-rope flying forearm for the win.
Winners: Jim Powers and "Hardwork" Bobby Walker
Rating: 1/2* - Call it generous. The wrestling was technically pretty solid. "Perfectly Acceptable", if you will. But damn, Pat Tanaka did literally nothing in this match.

- Make sure to check out Slamboree 1997 on pay-per-view! Kevin Greene, Ric Flair, and Roddy Piper take on the NWO live on pay-per-view!

Chavo Guerrero vs. Hardbody Harrison

- Funny to see Chavo this early in his career. He's yet to make his trade off the legacy of his uncle Eddie or find his hobby horse Pepe. He's a pretty vanilla "technico" babyface.

- "Hardbody" Harrison was one of a handful of WCW wrestlers, including, oddly enough "Hardwork" Bobby Walker from the last match, who, under the direction of Sonny Onoo, sued WCW under the pretenses of racism, claiming that WCW didn't push enough minorities and they weren't given the same chances white wrestlers received.

- Lockup to start, Harrison forces Chavo to the corner but Chavo avoids an attempted big right hand. Lockup again, Chavo corners Harrison, but Harrison cowers in the ropes to avoid a right hand. Lockup again, but Harrison counters with a boot and an elbow across the back of the neck. Harrison with a couple shots, Chavo counters a whip with a sunset flip for a two count. Chavo with a dropkick and Harrison bails. Back inside, Chavo counters a charge with a toehold and stomps and hammers away. Chavo with a nice snap suplex and scores with a whip and a Tito Santana-style flying forearm. Chavo with a back-suplex and finishes things with an Oklahoma roll. Weak finish.
Winner: Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Rating: 1/2* - Pretty decent showcase for Chavo's work. He was always fairly underrated. Definitely a pretty weak finish, though.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Rick Fuller

- Jarrett was a Horseman around this time. Probably one of the lesser regarded wrestlers to ever join the Horseman not named Steve "Mongo" McMichael or Paul Roma.

- Rick Fuller looks a bit like Brian Clark aka Wrath aka Adam Bomb aka Brian Clark from Kronic. But he never got any kind of a run.

- Lockup and Jarrett with an armdrag and The Jarrett Strut. Lockup again, Jarrett with a headlock, gets shot off and Jarrett counters with a hiptoss. Jarrett does the old "lounge in the corner" spot. Jarrett, in 1997, got only slightly less fan reaction than Global Force Wrestling. Jarrett with an arm wringer, Fuller counters and whips him off. Fuller with a big hiptoss and a big slam. Fuller scores a legdrop for two. Fuller with a couple clubbing blows, Jarrett counters a charge with a toehold and walks over Fuller before stomping away. Jarrett chokes Fuller on the ropes and splashes him across the back. Back up, Jarrett continues controlling and scores a short clothesline. Jarrett scores with a nice snap suplex, Fuller reverses a whip, but Jarrett avoids a splash and Jarrett loads the big guy up with a back suplex before finishing things off by submission with the Figure-4 Leglock.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett
Rating: * - Not a bad short match. Jarrett was a boring worker and a boring heel, but he could go. Fuller was a big dude, but he was just a big jobber. As good a match as you could ask for between these two dudes.

- Backstage, we see The Dungeon of Doom; Kevin Sullivan, Meng, the future Jacqueline and Jimmy Hart talking about the events of a match between Chris Benoit and Meng on an episode of Saturday Night. Sullivan interfered and the whole thing broke down into a show ending melee, that also involved a load of WCW jobbers trying to break things up.

- Back to the arena and this one has some potential.

Chris Benoit (W/Woman) vs. "Mean" Mike Enos

- Fun Fact- This match opened WCW Souled Out 1999, two years after this.

- Benoit starts things off aggressively, hammering Enos into the corner with forearms and some nasty chops. Benoit stomps Enos down into the corner. Benoit with a whip, Enos reverses and follows in with a clothesline before hammering away and stomping Benoit down. Enos uses the ropes to stomp away and chokes away on Benoit. Enos chokes away with a piece of his leather chaps before pulling Benoit back standing. Enos scores a nice back-suplex, but stupidly stops to pursue Woman on the floor instead of following up. On the floor, Enos stops to taunt Woman, but Benoit clobbers him with a Baseball slide dropkick before smashing Enos into the post. Back in the ring and Benoit nails Enos with his trademark double-armed clothesline. Benoit with a whip, but Enos reverses and scores with a wild kick and follows things up with a nice, hard powerbomb. Benoit basically no-sells it, pops back up, Enos blows Woman a kiss but turns around into a clothesline and Benoit finishes things by submission with the Crippler Crossface. Not bad.
Winner: Chris Benoit
Rating: *1/2 - Not bad. Not bad, at all. Unlike the other matches on this show, this match had a bit of a story and some good back-and-forth wrestling. Enos, who was never awful, looked pretty good and it was a solid win for Benoit. Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling.

Main Event: Villano 4 vs. The Ultimo Dragon (W/ Sonny Onoo)

- Ah, this is Dragon during his WCW run where he had something like 18 championships at once. Mostly from Japanese promotions that WCW had a working relationship with.

- Villano 4 and 5 were a great jobber team in WCW. They're perhaps most notable most recently for wrestling, as a trio involving the Villano's seemingly 400 year old father one of the worst matches of 2015 against three guys dressed like clowns on a Triple-A pay-per-view. It was uglier than a windowed abortion performed by a blind, drunk doctor. An absolute mess.

- Quick start, Dragon charges Villano with a spinning kick, but Villano avoids it. Villano chops away, Villano with a whip, but Dragon counters with a hurricanrana. Back up and Dragon nails a dropkick. Villano bails, Dragon charges but fakes him out and spins back in, with his own version of Rey Mysterio's precursor to the 619 before turning around and diving over the top with a crossbody. Back inside, and Villano manages to botch being thrown either into the corner or over the top rope. Its like a preview of Villanos vs. The Clowns about 21 years early. Dragon with a whip to the corner and follows in with his trademark handspring back elbow. Dragon follows it up with a series of kicks, a mare and a couple kicks to the back. Dragon with a single-leg Boston crab, but Villano fights out. Dragon cuts him off with a series of chops and kicks. Villano eats a couple good looking kicks, catches one and scores a Dragon screw legwhip on Dragon. Villano with a shot to the leg. Back up, and Villano manages to score a flying headscissor. Villano with a couple Mexican armdrags and scores with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Villano scores an odd looking cross armed, fisherman hook suplex with a bridge for two. Villano with a legdrop and a seated chinlock. Up again, Villano shoots Dragon off and scores with a clothesline. Villano with a kneedrop. Back up, Villano with a whip and backdrop but, Dragon looks like he tries to land on his feet, but botches it and lands flat on his face. Ooof. Spinning back-kick and a headscissor with a cradle by Villano for two. Up again, brief criss-cross sequence and Villano lands a powerslam for two. Up again, Dragon with a go behind, Villano counters, Dragon tries a rollup, Villano holds the ropes and nails Dragon with a clothesline. In the corner, Villano whips Dragon across, Dragon counters a charge with a jumping back-kick. Dragon muscles Villano up to the top and drops him with a hurricanrana before polishing Villano off with a nice bridging Tiger Suplex. Man, solid stuff.
Winner: The Ultimo Dragon
Rating: ** - Damn good match, especially for a weekly B-show. Despite a couple botches, with Villano blowing being thrown into the corner and Dragon blowing his own trademark spot of landing on his feet out of a backdrop, it was still good, solid cruiserweight action. We're spoiled now, with wrestlers the quality of Ultimo Dragon, and wrestlers, frankly, leagues beyond the Villanos mixing it up every day on TV these days. But for 1997, a solid match like this was well beyond most of what the major leagues were presenting on TV then. Good stuff.

Final Thoughts: For a weekly syndicated B-show, this was WCW at its best. Even without any NWO influence (on the live show at least, they were all over the recaps as you'd imagine), this was still classic WCW. We had good undercard stuff including former WWF guys in featured spots, Chris Benoit and Mike Enos having a decent heavyweight battle and Dragon and Villano 4 having a really solid cruiserweight showcase match. This show's on Youtube. If you're interested, go check it out. Its a short, fun watch. I'd recommend it. Thumbs up.

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