WCW World War 3 (1995)
by Scrooge McSuck
- I never thought I'd bother doing a recap of one of the World War 3 PPV's, but here we are. I would just like to say it now, and get it out of the way... who in their right mind names a PPV "World War 3", then RUNS WITH THE NAME for several more years, adding a year to it. I guess it's still not as lame as calling a PPV "Fatal Four Way", but it's still high on the list of dumb names for a PPV.
For those with little knowledge of WCW, or who just don't give too much of a shit, there was a big twist to the finish of Halloween Havoc ('95): Hulk Hogan defended the title against the Giant (yes, I almost typed Big Show), but his manager, Jimmy Hart, turns to join the Dungeon of Doom, and got Hogan Disqualified. The next night on Nitro, it was revealed that there was a stipulation in the contract that stated if Hogan were too lose by Disqualification, it would also mean losing the title. HOWEVER, because of the shenanigans involved, the title switch was nulled, and the title left vacant of a Champion. To determine a NEW Champion, we would have a Battle Royal... not just any kind of Battle Royal, but the biggest Battle Royal in the history of wrestling. 60 Men. And with three rings being occupied. Yes, someone thought using 3 rings to house 60 different participants was a good idea. Considering 45 of them wouldn't believable win, and about 20 of those 45 were Saturday Night scrubs, it screamed desperation.
- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View, on November 26th, 1995, from the Scope in Norfolk, VA. Tony Schiavone and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. I'm sure Mike Tenay will be making at least one appearance tonight.
- "Mean" Gene Okerlund is standing by with the trio of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Sting. Pretty famous at the time for the absurdness involved. In the weeks leading into and after Halloween Havoc, Hogan "turned to the darkside of Hulkamania" (George Lucas DIDN'T sue?!), wearing all black. All because he had his mustache shaved off. Who is he, Sampson? Anyway, it was all a plan to get into the heads of Kevin Sullivan and his Dungeon of Doom. Then, for whatever reason, says that Randy Savage's elbow injury is healed and he's in a 100% condition. Despite wearing a very large bandage. THEN it gets even crazier, as Hogan makes references to a "dirt sheet" being full of lies (no doubt referencing Dave Meltzer's Observer Newsletter), and burning "it" along with his black costume. It really just looked like a rolled up piece of paper, as I'm sure the Observer was a little bit bigger than two pages deep. Quite an odd way to kick off the show. What was the point? Did Meltzer give away the ending to the Battle Royal, or film Hogan having sex with somebody else's wife?
WCW Television Championship Match:
This is not just a title match, but also the services of the Diamond Doll are on the line. If you recall, Badd regained the Television Championship at Halloween Havoc, defeating DDP, the man who was directly responsible for costing him a shot at the United States Championship several weeks before that. Here's the big rematch, I guess. All matches will take place in the middle ring, I guess. Lockup into the corner, and what a surprise, DDP gives a clean break. Lockup gets rough, and they spill to the floor. Badd sends DDP into the post, then gives chase. Whip to the ropes, and Badd with a body press for two. Criss-cross, and Badd connects with a Samoan drop for another two count. Badd with a sloppy headlock takeover. DDP gets a few near falls turning it over into pinning attempts, but Badd holds onto the headlock. DDP finally counters with an overhead wristlock, then uses a handful of hair to bring it to the canvas. Badd counters into an armbar, but another yank of the hair gives DDP control. Badd returns the favor in full view of the referee, and argues he's innocent. Awesome. DDP charges, and goes flying over the top rope. Badd teases a dive, but 6-1-9's it, and ends up completing the plancha after the fake-out. DDP uses the Diamond Doll as a distraction, and throws Badd into the security wall.
Johnny B. Badd © vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/ The Diamond Doll):
Back in the ring, DDP sends Badd chest-first into the corner, then takes him down with a back suplex. Whip to the ropes, and DDP counters a head scissors with an odd looking powerslam. DDP wants a 10 from his Diamond Doll, but it's No Dice, Jim Rice. I smell face turn! Whip to the ropes, and DDP connects with a clothesline for two. Whip to the corner, and DDP follows in with a shoulder to the midsection. Back across the ring, and this time he meets the post. That's what happens when you get greedy. Badd with an inverted atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. The Diamond Doll gives him a 10+... whatever that means. Badd with a Liger-Bomb, but it's only enoguh for a two count. Whip to the corner, Badd rushes into an elbow. DDP with a rope assisted roll up, but that only gets two. Whip to the ropes and DDP with a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker. Badd with a crucifix from out of nohwere for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and this time Badd finally gets the head scissors. He goes for a slingshot splash, but meets the knees. DDP with an awkward looking gutbuster for a two count. Is the A/C out or something? Both guys are incredibly sweaty for such a short match. Badd counters a second attempt, but takes an elbow for it. DDP sets up for the Tombstone, but Badd counters with his own. That only gets two. Badd with a big left hook, knocking DDP to the floor. Badd with a somsersault plancha. Back in the ring, and the slingshot leg drop finishes Page off at 12:35. Not a great match or anything, but flowed better and much more enjoyable than their match at Halloween Havoc. The Diamond Doll aproves. Free at last and all that nonsense.
Taped Fist Match: "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Big Bubba Rogers:
I guess this is the blowoff to the shenanigans that took place on the Main Event leading to Halloween Havoc. I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch this match, but I guess Big Bubba had nowhere to go but down the card when Sting was the only person with the balls to do a job for him. Duggan attacks from behind, because he's a great guy and model sportsman for all. Into the ring, Duggan teases using the 2x4, but chooses not to. Punching, punching all the time. Duggan changes it up with clotheslines, sending Bubba to the floor. For whatever reason, we take it into another ring, and holy damn, there's a LOT of lightings shining down on the ring area. No wonder everyone is sweating their balls off. Duggan with a hop off the apron, landing on the security rail in the process. Bubba pounds away, screaming "How does it feel?!" the entire time. These two can't seem to make up their mind what ring to fight in. Bubba with an enziguri, probably the high spot of the match. Bubba tapes his hand even more... sorry, I don't know how this stuff works. Duggan mounts a comeback, sending Bubba to the floor with a shoulder block. Schiavone and Heenan have long given up on the rules for this match. I guess they learned their lesson from Uncensored. Bubba tapes Duggan to the top rope and resumes the beating. In a goofy stupid spot, Bubba runs into a fist from Duggan at half speed, and sells it like a uppercut from Mike Tyson. Bubba charges again, and takes a bump to the floor. If only this were Battle Royal Rules. Duggan with a slam, followed by the big charging clothesline. Suddenly, VK Wallstreet shows up, and takes an immediate blow to the chest from the 2x4. Bubba KO's Duggan with a "chain" handed off to him, and Bubba is declared the winner at 10:08. So it was Last Man Standing rules, too? Crap match, but it looked like Bubba was still trying.
Mayumi Ozaki & Cutie Suzuki vs. Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto (w/ Sonny Onoo):
Nice of WCW to bring in Bull Nakano, since I'm sure no casual WCW and WWF fans have heard of either of the other three. Mike Tenay joins the broadcast position for this one, probably to call the PBP since we'll see moves only he can call properly. It's All Japan vs. JWP... never heard of them. The heels attack at the bell and lay Ozaki out with double clotheslines and charging boots. Nakano tosses her by the hair, complete with rag doll effect. Hokuto from the top with an elbow, followed by more hair pulling. Hokuto torments Suzuki with her own partner's outstretched arm. Nakano with some biting, followed by a snapmare. Suzuki comes in illegally, but Nakano no-sells her and continues to punish Ozaki. Nakano no-sells Ozaki's offense, and lays her out with a clothesline. Hokuto comes in, and is quickly taken down with a DDT. Suzuki finaslly gets the tag and connects with a dropkick for two. Suzuki with a single leg crab, then Ozakislaps it on Nakano for the hell of it. Suzuki works over the leg of Hokuto, then goes back to the Boston Crab. Nakano comes in and manages to avoid some double teaming. She lays Suzuki out with a powerbomb, but misses a moonsault. Ozaki and Suzuki with double stomps from the top rope, but it only gets two. Nakano with a double suplex on the two, but Hokuto misses a body press. Double dropkick sends Nakano to the floor. Hokuto with a double body press from the top, then it's synchronized hurricanrana's for two counts from Ozaki and Suzuki. Suzuki with a body press for two. Ozaki with a bridging German suplex for two. Hokuto with her own, but she practically drops Ozaki on her head. Nakano with a charging clothesline for two. She clobbers Suzuki with a big clothesline. Hokuto with a double missile dropkick, followed by a somersault plancha to the floor. Back in the ring, and the Doomsday Device connects on Ozaki, but Suzuki breaks the pin. Hokuto with a slam, and the Guillotine leg drop finishes it at 9:16. Started off a little slow, but that was a hell of a final few minutes, and both teams clearly have plenty of experience working together, meaning all the highspot double team stuff came across as fluid, without long pauses to set up.
WCW United States Championship Match:
I have absolutely no idea what the set up for this one was, if there was anything. Sasaki won the U.S. Title from Sting, then played hot potato with the belt among other questionable names, such as the One Man Gang and Konnan. Lockup into the corner, Benoit puts the boots to Sasaki and snapmares him over. Lockup to the corner, Sasaki unloads with chops, snapmare, and back to the neutral position. Benoit grabs a waistlock, then takes Sasaki down with a drop toe hold. They go for the greco-roman knucklelock, and this match is so important, we talk about the big Battle Royal. Benoit brings Sasaki to the canvas with an overhead wristlock. I guess the only purpose is to further the All-Japan/WCW thing that went on to be the focal point of Starrcade. Was Bill Watts still hanging around, telling Japanese workers to "stink up the ring", cause this is pretty dull stuff. Sasaki with a pair of slams for two, then hooks a chinlock. According to Heenan, Benoit is Canada's Greatest athlete. What would Iron Mike Sharpe say?! Criss-cross sequence ends with Sasaki throwing Benoit down with a press slam. Doubl leg sweep, Benoit kicks him to the floor, then follows out with a high-risk dive. Back in the ring, Benoit with a snap suplex for only a one count. Snapmare and head scissors applied by the challenger. Onoo briefly joins the broadcast position as we ignore the match. Whip to the ropes, Sasaki with a powerslam for two. Benoit with his signature trio of German suplex, but Sasaki pops up and lays him out with a clothesline. Tombstone attempt is countered by Benoit. He goes to the top, and connects with the swandive headbutt for a two count. He sets Sasaki up on the top rope and connects with hurricanrana for another two count. Sasaki blocks a boot and slams him down, spinebuster style. He locks on some weird submission,but Benoit quickly hooks the ropes. Whip to the ropes, and they trade clotheslines. Sasaki with the Snow Plow, and that gets three at 10:00. To sum this up fast, a lot of no-selling, a lot of big spots for the sake of them, and very little flow.
Kensuke Sasaki © (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Chris Benoit:
"Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart):
Here we go with (some of) the fallout from Halloween Havoc, where Luger not-so-surprisingly turned heel to officially join the Dungeon of Doom in their crusade against the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Despite what was mentioned at the top of the broadcast, Savage IS injured and sporting a very large and obvious bandage. Savage attacks before the bell, sending Luger to the corner and laying him out with an elbow. Savage with choking, followed by more choking. Savage with rights and MORE choking. Savage charges in and meets a boot. Luger goes for a clothesline, but Savage ducks and connects with one of his own, then slaps on a pretty bad Boston Crab. Think Rock applying the Sharpshooter. The "action" spills to the floor, with Savage still in control. Certainly a change from the typical "Savage takes a beating the whole time" formula. Savage with a slam and Elbow Drop, but Hart distracts the referee from making a count. Savage throws Luger to the floor, again, and introduces Luger to the security rail. Luger finally turns the tide, sending Savage into one of the extra rings. Luger with the Torture Rack, only breaking it to prevent a Count-Out. Back into the ring, Luger slaps on an armbar... yes, a regular run of the mill armbar, and THAT wins it at 5:28. Match was shit, but Savage's injury pretty much required either a short match or no match at all. Thankfully Sting and Luger are pals enough to not come to blows.
Sting vs. Ric Flair:
More fallout from Halloween Havoc. In case you missed that review, Flair had spent weeks begging Sting to team up with him to take on Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. In short, Flair turns on Sting during the match, and reforms the Horsemen (and eventually adding Benoit to make it FOUR, duh). Flair starts with some trash talking, and Sting responds by sending Flair to the floor with a right. Flair takes it to Ring #2, and Sting again lays him out. Whip to the ropes, and Sting with a press slam. Flair thumbs the eyes to slow Sting down, then starts pounding away with rights. Sting sells the first chops delivered, a first, I believe. Whip to the corner, and Sting explodes back out with a clothesline. He mounts Flair in the corner with punches (10 of them, of course), then tosses him across the ring with a hip toss, followed by a dropkick. Flair rolls out, then takes it to Ring #3. Meanwhile, Sista' Sherri and Col. Robert Parker are watching... why? Sting no-sells the chops ('bout time), and lays into Flair with more rights. Sting with a clothesline, sending Flair over the top, to the floor. He's running out of rings to go to, though, so he starts taking a walk. He's just bluffing, and eventually returns to the ring. Knucklelock, with Flair using the hair to try and take advantage, but Sting nips up and no-sells the chops. Flair hits the ropes, and gets thrown down with another press slam. Flair lures Sting to the floor, but Sting blocks being thrown into the rail, only to miss a Stinger Splash and throwing himself into them afterall. Flair grabs a chair, but the referee prevents him from using it. Flair with chops and rake of the eyes, and it's back into the ring we go.
Sting no-sells a chop and simply goes for a choke, but Flair breaks that with a very obvious low blow. Whip to the corner, and Flair continues to put the boots to Sting. He comes out of the corner with his signature knee drop, then wastes time playing to the crowd. He measures up and goes for the leg with well placed kicking. Flair casually tosses Sting over the top, to the floor. Makes me think, when did they finally do away with the DQ rule for throwing someone over the top rope? Flair continues working the leg, without doing much worth noting. Back in the ring, Flair clips the knee with a shoulder, then takes Sting down with a back suplex. He slaps on the Figure-Four, dead center of the ring to a pretty solid babyface pop. Flair with slaps to really taunt Sting, so he starts no-selling and rolls over to reverse the preasure. Whip to the ropes, Sting blocks a hip toss and takes Flair over with a back slide for two. Sting no-sells the chops again, and he's looking pissed. Flair plays the cat to Sting's mouse, taking it to yet another ring. Sting with a press slam and a pair of clotheslines. Flair thumbs the eye, then unwisely goes to the top rope, and shockingly, Sting slams him off. Whip to the corner, and Flair just barely makes it to the apron, only to get knocked back down with a clothesline. Sting blocks an inverted atomic drop, and sets Flair up across the top rope, taking him back down with a super-plex. Sting slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock, and it's over at 14:30. That kind of came out of nowhere. Not nearly at the levels of what they were capable of doing, but still a good match. Basically the crib notes version of a great Sting/Flair match. A little disappointing, but you get most of the effect of what you were hoping for.
WCW Championship, World War 3 60-Man Battle Royal:
(Participants: Arn Anderson, Alex Wright, Brian Knobbs, Ricky Barrio, Dave Taylor, Scott Armstrong, Sting, Joey Maggs, Pez Whatley, Disco Inferno, Meng, Stevie Ray, Mark Starr, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Lt. James Earl Wright, Lex Luger, Eddie Guerrero, Cobra, The Giant, Paul Orndorff, Chris Kanyon, Bobby Walker, Earl Robert Eaton, Chris Benoit, Randy Savage, Marcus Bagwell, The Yeti (A Ninja), Kurasawa, Hugh Morrus, The Zodiac, VK Wallstreet, Diamond Dallas Page, Scott Norton, Brian Pillman, Craig Pittman, One Man Gang, Super Assassin #2, J.L. Bunkhouse Buck, Kensuke Sasaki, Mike Winner, Shark, Steve Armstrong, Hawk, Fidel Barrio, Dave Sullivan, Scotty Riggs, Johnny B. Badd, Black Bart, Lord Steven Regal, Dick Slater, Maxx Muscle, Super Assassin #1, Kevin Sullivan, Jerry Saggs, Jim Duggan, Booker T, Big Bubba Rogers, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan)
Really, anyone have money on someone not named Hogan, Sting, Flair, Savage, Luger, or Giant winning this? Nice of the Yeti to suddenly go from Zombie Mummy to Giant Ninja, with zero explanation. So it's 20 men in each ring, and once each ring is halved (convenience not an issue), we merge into one ring. That makes a lot of sense. The Yeti appears to be the first man eliminated, but there's no way to keep up with this thing. We're split into three rings, and we even have multiple broadcast teams. Hawk and Hogan pair up briefly for a cool moment, too bad you can't see it. There goes an Armstrong. Anderson and Flair work Sting over on the floor. Brian Knobbs gets dumped over, good luck trying to figure out by who. Switching from broadcast team over and over is giving me more of a headache than the match. I guess Knobbs wasn't eliminated, after all. Maybe Saggs? Who knows. Two cameras waste time watching Hogan and Bubba hug the ropes. Smart directing, goobers. I'm starting to realize why I've ignored these shows. Bischoff informs us of Sting helping Luger... thanks? Knobbs sends Mark Starr to the floor. Looks like Cobra and the State Patrol guys are all gone, too. Hogan goes after a Masked Assassin (either Warlord or Barbarian, I can't tell). Mr. Wonderful and Luger are on the floor, but neither are eliminated. Alex Wright and Pez Whatley hump it out. We're 8-minutes in, and there's still too much deadweight. I mean, really PEZ WHATLEY isn't gone yet? Clear these rings out!
Hogan pounds away on Black Bart and a Barrio Brother, Main Event in any arena in the world. We're informed of eliminations of Marcus Bagwell and Chris Kanyon. One Man Gang and Randy Savage go at it in the corner. Black Bart is gone, probably at the hands of Hulk. On the floor, Luger back drops out of a Piledriver attempt from Arn Anderson. There goes Fidel Barrio, but Hulk Hogan withstands the quadruple teaming of random midcard heels. Bobby Walker gets dumped by Craig Pittman. He was thrown "literally" over the top rope. Thanks for the insight. Knobbs, Stevie Ray, and some scrub get tossed in one quick succession. Giant slaps a bearhug on Sting. There goes Wright and Whatley. FINALLY. I can't tell, but looks like we're starting to merge rings. I don't know if I approve of that, or not. Robert Eaton goes bye-bye. Luger and Anderson have spent more time on the floor than in the ring(s). Benoit and Pillman work over DDP. VK Wallstreet goes out, courtesy the Macho Man. Scott Norton goes moments later. We're finally merging all the rings together, so it's down to one ring, with a good 30+ people still left. It's so hot, Zodiac's face paint is damn near completely gone. Gang, Sullivan, and Zodiac gang smother Hogan. Smell the awesome! Kurasawa gets dumped, as does Joey Maggs. Duggan finally sends Big Bubba packing. Scott Armstrong gets stretchered out. Duggan gets tossed.
We're a little bit more managle, with Sting, Flair, Savage, Hogan, Giant, Pillman, Sasake, Luger, One Man Gang, Hawk, Eddie Guerrero, Arn Anderson, and Paul Orndorff still in it. Hawk dumps Pillman, and Pillman takes Sasake with him, as well. Hogan sneaks up from behind and tosses Hawk, too. Stinger Splash to the Giant and Eddie Guerrero. Hogan blocks a piledriver and back drops Orndorff out. Guerrero has a little thing with Anderson, and comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Flair slaps the Figure-Four on him, but Sting helps out. Savage tries to slam the Giant, but guess how well that works. Anderson with a spinebuster on Guerrero, then casually tosses him out. Sting sends Flair to the corner and follows in with a splash, then adds one for Arn Anderson. Luger gets knocked through the ropes, again. Giant with the Chokeslam to Savage. Sting blocks a piledriver and sends Arn into Flair, knocking him off the top, then tosses Anderson. We're down to six men! Sting and Luger work on the Giant, and Savage and Hogan double up on the Gang. Sting and Luger double clotheslone Giant into the ropes and dump him, but at the same time, Hogan dumps Sting and Luger! Giant pulls Hogan out, and Savag tosses the Gang... and referee Randy Anderson awards it to Savage, thinking Hogan was eliminated, too. Only Hulk Hogan can find ways not to do jobs in Battle Royal's, then bitch about losing to the fans. No wonder he pretty much was forced to turn heel in '96. Savage winning came as quite a surprise, but the whole thing was a big mess, and only the last 5 or so minutes were really watchable.
Final Thoughts: Despite a complete trainwreck of a main event eating up about 40-minutes of the PPV run time, the undercard was solid enough to save this from the junk heap. While there was nothing technically outstanding to look for, only the match between Jim Duggan and Big Bubba was truely a waste of time. Savage and Luger wasn't much better, but was so short it hardly would effect my opinion on the rest of the card. Hell, I guess if you're an anti-Hogan fan and enjoy watching him act like a giant baby, then the conclussion of the main event is worth a look, too. Mildly recommended for the undercard. In an odd twist, this might have been the best WCW PPV in 1995. The only show I've never seen was Starrcade, but really, that's how bad 1995 was. This was one of the best.
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