41-Person Guerilla Warfare Battle Royal - 02/05/2000 (aired 03/05/2000 on WCW Thunder) - Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN
This is from the ridiculous Vince Russo/Eric Bischoff coalition era of WCW, coming after their reboot of the promotion which managed to position all of the ageing veterans as legends rather than has-beens, and all the exciting young stars as whiney, snot-nosed jerks. So we’ve got 11 members of the New Blood (Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Shane Douglas, Buff Bagwell, Mike Awesome, Vampiro, Billy Kidman, Chris Candido, The Cat, Shawn Stasiak and The Wall) and 11 members of the Millionaire’s Club (Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page, Curt Hennig, KroniK, Chris Kanyon, Hugh Morrus and Horace Hogan), and pretty much anything goes until there’s one man left standing who, despite this being the go-home show for Slamboree, gets a World title shot at The Great American Bash, the title currently held by that grappling great David Arquette. Oh, WCW.
You’ll note also that 11-plus-11 doesn’t equal 41, but another 11 New Blood members join the fray at 3:20, with Konnan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Disco Inferno, The Mamalukes, The Harris Boys, Harlem Heat 2000 and Norman Smiley all helping to fill up the ring, making the action even more impossible to follow. Case in point, Horace looks to have been eliminated, but the cameras miss it completely. Big T. (Tony ‘Ahmed Johnson’ Norris gets into a brawl with Brian Adams, renewing their Nation of Domination vs. Disciples of Apocalypse days. If only Brian ‘Chainz’ Lee had been in the promotion to hook up with Adams and the Harris Boys, eh? Flair beats on his number one fan Shane Douglas with a lead pipe out on the floor as ‘Big Poppa Pump’ gets into a slugfest with the former Adam Bomb in the dream match you never knew you had, and then Tank Abbott waddles aimlessly down the aisle just in time to see ‘Champagne’ Kanyon get eliminated, the cameras again missing it. This is just hopeless.
Hennig, stylishly rocking white wrestling boots over his blue denim jeans, gets dumped out by Stasiak, which is amazing given how little room they have for movement in that ring. The cameras again miss an elimination, this time a double one with both members of KroniK getting hoyed out on the far side, and they also miss the eliminations of Luger and Bagwell, also both on the far side. What horrid production values. As if to illustrate that point further, the next thing shown is Sting and Vampiro brawling on the outside before another jump cut reveals Hugh Morrus and Scott Steiner both laid out on the floor. It is literally impossible to tell what’s going on. Somewhere in there, the Misfits in Action of Lash LeRoux, Van Hammer and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. have joined the battle royal but not only did the cameras miss it, so did the announcers. And as if that wasn’t silly enough, out come Madusa, Mona (the future ‘Mighty’ Molly Holly) and Asya, I guess figuring anything the guys can do, the girls can do just as badly.
Hilariously, after another missed elimination (Big Vito by Guerrero, Jr.), the camera actually catches the double elimination of two guys… and the announcers don’t bother to call it! I think it was Van Hammer and Stevie Ray, but don’t quote me on that. It doesn’t help that most of the guys are in their jeans and t-shirts, making it even harder to tell who’s who. Douglas kicks Madusa in the cunt, then she stamps on his balls in a real victory for equality, as “Janitor” Jim Duggan runs in to eliminate Bigelow, Cat, Smiley and even ex-UFC fighter Abbot all with his trusty 2x4, then eliminates himself instead of bothering to let anyone else do the honours. Because when you’ve got guys like Scott Steiner, Mike Awesome and Chris Kanyon on the roster and your promotion is badly in need of an injection of young talent, the best thing you can do is wheel out washed up old ‘Hacksaw’, put him in a boiler suit and have him singlehandedly run rampage over everyone in the ring. No wonder WCW went out of business.
Meanwhile, a mysterious limousine which has been parked outside the building all night suddenly appears on screen, and a pair of boots are seen emerging then walking. Meanwhile, Terry Bollea (identified as such by Tony Schiavone) gets into a fist fight with Kidman, as the mystery man is again seen from the shins down, the crowd chanting for Goldberg. It isn’t him however, rather 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, returning to his old Memphis stomping grounds after spending the better part of a year out of action. He immediately goes to work, eliminating Stasiak, Wall, Awesome and Candido as the New Blood just stand around and gawp at him like complete idiots. He then tries to eliminate himself with a slingshot that Douglas manages to get in the way of, making a total pigs ear of it. Instead, Savage just clambers out through the ropes in the normal fashion, and somehow that’s enough to eliminate him.
DDP clotheslines Jarrett over the top but the momentum puts himself out too, leaving the final four of Hogan, Flair, Kidman and Douglas. Did I say final four? I meant final five, as Bret Hart comes out and belts Hogan across the back with a steel chair, which to an extent makes this Hart’s last match until his WWE return in 2010. Yes, it’s really just a run-in, but they’re counting everyone as being in the thing, and since you don’t actually have to go out over the top to be eliminated, I guess the fact that he just walks away is good enough. That apparently eliminates Hogan as well because, well, why wouldn’t it? Bollea, true to form, decides to eliminate Kidman from the outside, just like he did to Sid Justice at the 1992 Royal Rumble, although he might at least have some reasonable justification to do so here, leaving Flair to capture Douglas in the figure four leglock. Oh, and you thought that was all? Of course not, because now here comes star of the show, Vince Russo himself, who whacks Douglas in the leg with his rubber baseball bat like a total arse, despite the fact Flair was holding him in a figure four and neither guy could reasonably move, making them both sitting targets. Russo slides out under the bottom rope (was he a legal participant? Who even knows at this point) and Flair gives Douglas a home run hit with the bat to put him out and end the misery at 22:41.
At least, you’d think that would end it, but this is WCW under Russo and Bischoff, so shenanigans abound! Firstly, Hogan goes for a superplex of all things off the steel steps but Bischoff blasts him in the leg with another baseball bat (at least, I think that’s what happened, the cameras actually missed the whole escapade yet again, fittingly enough) which allows Kidman to drive Hogan through the announcer’s table. Hardcoremania, runnin’ wild! Amusingly, Savage and Flair completely ignore this and celebrate in the ring instead, which I like to presume is down to years of the ‘Hulkster’ treating them both like garbage, and then suddenly the camera cuts to Jarrett and DDP climbing up the scaffolding of the “ThunderVision” big screen. I’m not really sure what the purpose of that is or how they even got there because again, the cameras managed to miss the whole thing, and even more infuriatingly, the next shot is of Hogan and Savage softly shaking hands. By the time the focus is back on the scaffold, DDP is laid out under the entrance stage, with Jarrett walking away clutching a guitar. What happened? Nobody will ever know, so I hope the bump Page took was worth it. Even more gloriously, Arquette comes out with a guitar but legitimately accidentally falls through the wooden part of the stage like a complete clown (yet again missed by WCW’s crack production staff), and that finally wraps things up.
As for that titanic Arquette vs. Flair World title match this mess set up for The Great American Bash? Actually, Jeff Jarrett defended the World title on that show against Kevin Nash, rendering this monstrous waste of time… well, as nothing more than a monstrous waste of time, one of the most unprofessionally produced, impossible to follow pieces of trash I haver ever seen from a supposedly major-league wrestling promotion. That being said, I do have to admit it carried a certain charm in its badness. Earlier in this book I awarded a Randy Savage & Lanny Poffo vs. The Interns match a negative star rating on account of how unbearably bad it was (principally down to the atrociously useless Interns), and whilst I concur that this match was also completely red reels and deserving of a similarly poor rating, the sheer ludicrousness of it gives it an entertainment value beyond its initial perceived worth. Much like Ed Wood’s unfathomable Plan 9 from Outer Space enjoying cult status amongst cinephiles for being one of the all-time classic “so bad it’s good” slices of film, I just couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Yes, I’m going with a negative star rating again, but I’d rather contradictorily recommend actually seeing this thing if you’re ever in the mood for a laugh. It’s so anti-pro wrestling that it’s actually brilliant.
Final Rating: -**