What Is He Thinking?! Volume 1: One Man Gang
by Scrooge McSuck
- I've been toying around with an idea that might not seem like a popular choice. Sometimes when I have a hard time coming up with full shows to recap, I just watch some very random stuff, some good, but the vast majority of it really weird or just terrible. Hopefully, I'll find the motivation to keep a running series of this, where I choose a specific topic, wether it a wrestler, a storyline, whatever, and dedicate a collection of footage for a compilation review. Be warned... I will most definitely not be dedicated entire compilations to overly positive stuff. Not that I'm a masochist, but the kind of things I want to do are usually not good, or I don't find an entertaining motivation to follow through.
With that mini-introduction out of the way, let us jump right into the premiere of "What Is He Thinking?!", with the spotlight of the day... The One Man Gang. In WCW. In 1996. Yes, we're in for quite a treat with this one, aren't we? One must be asking "who on earth would want to sit through a bunch of stuff about the One Man Gang, especially towards the end of his career?" That person is me, and honestly, it looks GOOD in comparison of other stuff I'm toying around with right now.
Quick note: I haven't seen much of the One Man Gang outside of his WWF run, as both the Gang and Akeem, but honestly, I was a mark for him as a kid, and still kind of enjoy his stuff from that era of his career, even if it wasn't the greatest quality of wrestling or entertainment. Just wanted to put that out there before we get going, because there's no turning back once we do.
- I'd like to mention that his first match of significance was the "World War 3 60-Man Battle Royal", where he ended up being one of the last men left in the ring, with Randy Savage having a "tainted" victory because of some nonsense involving Hulk Hogan. I'm only bring that match up rather than recaping it because it's a 30-minute battle royal that's impossible to follow, thanks to the three rings and poor camera work. You would think they would scrap that idea immediately, but some ding-ding ran with the concept a few more years before finally canning it.
WCW United States Championship Match:
This was originally a dark match held before Starrcade '95 began it's Pay-Per-View broadcast, and we're joined in progress on the January 13th, 1996 episode of Saturday Night. Sasake has Gang in trouble in the corner, but the Gang cinches tight like he's in a boxing match. Gang with a shot to the eyes, and he's clubberin' to keep Sasaki on the canvas. Gang with choking, followed by more choking. Sasaki rams Gang back into the corner, and follows back in with a clothesline and a crappy bulldog. Gang catches him coming in the corner again with a knee to the face, and the 747 splash finishes Sasaki off at a clipped 1:37, making the One Man Gang the NEW United States Champion. Huh... Seriously, who green-lit that idea? There's more to this than it seems, though. I guess this is clipped for a reason: The match originally was restarted, with Sasaki retaining the Championship, and working dates as the U.S. Champion for a while following the show. I guess someone decided they couldn't keep their secondary belt on a guy on loan from Japan, and decided to take it off him in a backstabbing kind of way, and put it on the Gang.
Kensuke Sasaki © vs. One Man Gang:
One Man Gang (US Champion) vs. The Super Giant Ninja:
From the January 20th, 1996 edition of WCW Saturday Night. The Super Giant Ninja is a repackaged Ron Reis, formerly known as The Yeti. Somehow being a stupid "ninja" with an equally lame name is a step up in the gimmick ladder. Seriously, how original of a name is this... The Super, Giant, Ninja? Giant Ninja isn't enough, he's a SUPER Giant Ninja! How does he come across as Super? Did he ever win a match? I'm sorry, I'm rambling... The Gang is a representative of the Dungeon of Doom, but I don't recall him doing a stupid vignette like Zodiac or Shark to explain it. Tony Schiavone totally buries the idea of the Gang being the U.S. Champion. Shoot comments that aren't supposed to be shoot comments are still awesome. Lockup into the corner, and they quickly slug it out. Ninja with some terrible chops, but Gang barely sells them and crushes the Ninja in the opposite corner with an avalanche. Gang clubs the Ninja, the SUPER GIANT NINJA, across the back a few times, lays the Ninja out with a scoop slam, then comes off the ropes with the 747 Splash for the three count at 1:20. The One Man Gang is quite possibly the loudest seller of being in control I've ever seen or heard. At least it was short.
- One Man Gang joins Mean Gene Okerlund to hype the upcoming episode of Monday Nitro, from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. He's going to defend his championship against Hulk Hogan, a main event in any arena in the country... in 1987. Gang screams at the top of his lungs for every second of this promo. Gene Okerlund's aggravation is sold well enough to be a shoot, it's that annoying.
Hulk Hogan vs. One Man Gang (US Champion):
From the January 22nd, 1996 episode of Monday Nitro, and as previously mentioned, coming to us from Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. Unlike previously mentioned, this is now a Non-Title Match, because Hogan would either have to job or do a non-finish, unless he would willingly accept a title lower than the World Championship. Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, and Steve McMichael are calling the action. Was that Ted Turner at ringside?! Lockup into the corner, and Hogan quickly pounds away with rights. Whip to the ropes, and Gang rolls out of the ring to avoid a big boot. He does the "point to my head 'cause I'm smart" spot, and gets knocked off the apron. They brawl outside the ring, with the Gang getting thrown into the ring steps. Back inside, and Hogan mocks the Gang's goofy over-selling. Hogan with biting, followed by a rake of the TOP OF THE HEAD? What is this, Moe clawing at Homer in the Simpsons Movie? Whip to the ropes, and Gang clubs Hogan across the back of the head. Gang with a scoop slam and the 747 splash, but Hogan pops right up, and we all know the rest. Hulk Up Time! Hogan whips Gang back and forth to the corners, hits the big boot, slam, and the leg drop to end it all at 3:02. There was practically no pop for the slam or leg drop. Suddenly, the Zodiac runs in and gets beat up. The Gan wakes up and gets beat up. Chris Benoit too. Here's Savage, to completely make the Dungeon of Doom and Horsemen look bad. Remember that alliance? The Alliance to End Hulkamania? The Giant comes down, too, but everyone holds him back, for whatever reason. Match was crap, and Hogan practically squashed the US Champion.
One Man Gang (US Champion) vs. Mike Davis:
From the February 3rd, 1996 episode of WCW Saturday Night, with Dusty Rhodes and Tony Schiavone calling the action. We're informed the Gang will defend his title against Mexican Heavyweight Champion Konnan at SuperBrawl, but he'll also face Konnan tomorrow night on the Main Event, also a title match... that makes sense from a booking point of view. Gang attacks before the bell, and lays out Davis with a clothesline. Gang with clubbing blows in the corner, followed by choking. Tony Schiavone: "He chokes, he screams..." to describe the One Man Gang. Whip to the corner, and Gang with a weak avalanche. Delayed scoop slam, and the Gang comes off the ropes with the 747 Splash for the easy victory at 1:33. So, was there any confidence in giving the Gang more than 3-minutes of ring-time, or was it just generally known he sucked it that hard?
WCW United States Championship Match:
From the February 4th, 1996 episode of The Main Event, with Schiavone and Rhodes calling the action. Konnan is still looking like a real wrestler, having yet to transition into his wife beater and beltless pants look that I despised so much for so many years. For a member of the Dungeon of Doom, the Gang never has anyone with him. Schiavone actually recognizes Konnan's appearance in WCW in 1990, back when he was still masked. Konnan uses his speed to avoid the Gang, then takes him down with a knuckle-lock from the top rope. Konnan with a shoulder block from the top rope, but he sells the injured arm, and gets clotheslined from behind for it. Gang works the arm then spends the next eight years slowly punishing Konnan with generic stuff. Gang with shoulders to the midsection, and a charge to the corner misses. Konnan with a basement dropkick, followed by a spinning heel kick to stagger the champ, then takes him out with a cross body through the ropes! Gang pulls Konnan back in over the top, but Konnan hooks the rope, and lands on top for the three count and United States Championship at 4:00... so wait, they transition the title from Kensuke Sasaki to the One Man Gang, and then to Konnan?! Well, I guess you gotta try something. Gang attacks afterwards, but Konnan slips out of harms way. Match was watchable to start and towards the end, but the usual sluggish action otherwise from the OMG.
One Man Gang © vs. Konnan:
WCW United States Championship Match:
The much anticipated rematch from SuperBrawl VI. That was sarcasm, of course, just incase it wasn't as obvious as I was hoping for. The Gang attacks before the bell, with clubberin' blows across the back. I didn't think it would be possible to lose interest in a match within 15-seconds, but I already have. Whip to the corner, Konnan does a tumble to escape, and hits a pair of dropkicks and a spinning heel kick to drop the big man. Konnan with a sloppy springboard dropkick, and a body press to take the Gang out through the ropes. Konnan with a somsersault from the apron, and man this is a dead crowd, cause that didn't get a pop, in the days before the Lunchadores and Cruiserweight division. Back inside, the Gang regains control, and drops a big leg. More trash talking and choking. Gang with a side suplex, taking about an hour to set up and complete it. Did Rhodes call Konnan "Konnad?" Okay, I'm officially tapping out on this compilation, as the crowd justifies my hatred with a boring chant. Stop calling him Konnad! It's entertaining me, unlike the lame action. Hey, Steve Grissom, WCW Motorsports Driver, is at ringside enjoying the lack of action. Gang chokes Konnad across the middle rope. When Schiavone says you're calculating, that's his way of saying "slow as shit." Konnan mounts a comeback with a flurry of rights and lefts, then takes Gang down with an ugly head scissors. Konnan with a pair of dropkicks... and then misses a third, in a horribly awfully obvious spot. Gang with the 747 Splash, but he picks Konnan up at two? Are you fucking retarded? Gang heads to the second rope and misses another, even though Konnan rolled away BEFORE he left his feet. Konnan with another crappy somersault, and it's over at 7:25. Well, that sure did suck. That must be why every single Gang match is usually 2-minutes long. Talk about a styles clash, too. Sloppy luchadore heavyweight vs. shitty big man.
Konnan © vs. One Man Gang:
WCW United States Championship Match:
Why must this continue? THREE matches between these two? Oh my God, I don't know what I'm thinking, doing these kinds of compilations. From the February 17th, 1996 episode of World Wide, with Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan calling the action. I guess the official spelling is "Konan", but whatever, I don't care at this point. Canned heat is VERY obvious, compared to the live PPV reactions. Gang with a weird, sleazy stalker face. Konnan with a dropkick and drop toe hold, followed by a second rope missile dropkick. Whip to the ropes, and Konnan tumbles in with a clothesline, followed by a cross body to the floor. Gang manages to land on top and pounds away to more canned heat. Same exact transition as SuperBrawl. Back inside, and they blow the somersault hurricanrana spot. Konnan works the arm and settles with a wristlock. Gang fights back and a sloppy side suplex follows, and I mean sloppy. I swear, it's the same fucking match, without being the same match. Konnan drastically oversells a knee lift, trying to make this watchable. Konnan fights out of the corner with a series of punches and heel kicks. Konnan mounts the Gang in the corner and applies a chinlock? Konnan with a diving clothesline, but the Gang is too fat, and comes back with a rake of the eyes. Gang with his third or fourth leg drop, then cranks on a front facelock. Bringing the movset here, aren't you? Konnan avoids a charge into the corner and takes Gang off his feet with a dropkick. Gang quickly regains control with a slam and elbow drop. He heads to the second rope, and predictably misses the splash. Konnan to the top as Gang flails around like a flopping fish, and the somersault finishes him off at 6:46... OK, practically the same match, except less bad, but still being bad. Please let this be the last time I ever have to watch these two stink up a ring together.
Konnan © vs. One Man Gang:
One Man Gang vs. Pez Whatley:
From the February 24th, 1996 episode of Saturday Night, with Schiavone and Rhodes calling the action. Lockup into the corner, and Whatley pounds away with rights, followed by a headbutt. Whatley to the second turnbuckle, and he connects with another headbutt. Gang catches Whatley with his head down, and boots him down, then follows with choking. Clubbing blows in the corner, followed by a lot of screaming. Gang with crushing body blows in the corner, and a rake of the back. Gang chokes more, punches more, screams more... I'm sorry, but this was an awful choice. What the hell was I thinking? Whatley mounts a mild comeback with some odd rhythmic punching. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Gang squashes him like a bug. 747 Splash, and it's over at 3:14, and so is this puppy. No more Gang! Yes! Yes! YEEEEEEES!
Final Thoughts: And that's all she wrote. Although this was technically the last match featuring the One Man Gang, it was taped weeks in advance, with the SuperBrawl match against Konnan being the true last match in "real" time. You might think I glossed over things and cherry picked matches, but nope, this was the entire in-ring run of the One Man Gang from December '95 through February 1996, clocking in at a whopping 43-minutes, roughly estimated. It sure as shit felt worse. I honestly can't believe how much of a mark I was for this guy. Sitting through a collection of matches from a 2 month period, and seeing just how bad it was, goes to show that children are, in fact, stupid and should never be heard from. I give the One Man Gang's 1996 run a big fat thumbs down and should be glad I wasn't subjected to it when I was 11.
I've mentioned (or I think I did) having a few ideas lined up for test runs with this format, and I am SO going to pick something more enjoyable next time. Again, it's basically covering brief runs of superstars that seem out of place, a storyline compilation that is ridiculously bad, and other weird stuff no one else would do. Suggestions are welcome at ScroogeMcSuck85@yahoo.com, as long as I can find a satisfactory amount of footage to warrant covering a topic.
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