I didn't dig it, sucka...
With the last couple of articles, we've dwelled on things that were more disappointing than outright disastrous. Aspects of wrestling history that have made people annoyed rather than froth at the mouth with rage (that's my reaction to many of these events- you may have your own...). However we are well back into the horrible, the reprehensible, the downright loathsome with this edition.
In July 2000, Hulk Hogan and Vince Russo had their famous falling out about where the company was going which led to the famous
worked shoot, real shoot, shot work, clusterfuck that was Bash at the Beach. However at the end of all this there was a goal that Russo was working towards.
And it revolved around this man.
Vince Russo claimed in a interview with Kayfabe Commentaries that Booker was the guy who all of creative wanted to see become World Heavyweight Champion after Bash at the Beach and it isn't hard to see why. Besides the fact that Booker had been one singles worker who had managed to move outside the whole nWo schmozzle, Booker was a worker who never whinged and never played politics at the expense of others in the locker room. And apart from all that, he was a good set of hands who could talk- a novel concept.
And then he lost it a couple of months later to Kevin Nash on Nitro.
But never mind, at the Fall Brawl he won it back in a Caged Heat Match (which I think is just a Steel Cage match) and so we thought we could look forward to some WCW programs with a reliable and capable champion.
But then there was another fly in the ointment.
"Vince Russo?" I hear you cry, "But didn't he want the belt on Booker T in the first place?"
Yeah well, the last couple of months Vince had also been getting in the ring and wrestling the likes of Ric Flair and beating him (admittedly with help from Ric's son and some fake blood, but still...) to the point where he was now the number one contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Title.
That's right, Vince Russo was the #1 contender. And Booker would be defending his championship in a cage on the 25th September 2000.
And what followed was...chaotic to say the least.
Firstly, Booker T takes a friggin' age to get inside the ring. I mean babyfaces often hi five the crowd on the way in, but Booker goes all the way around the cage in a sort of saunter. In any other company I would assume that it's just to get the crowd going, but in late WCW I wonder if there was some SNAFU in the ring that meant that Booker needed to stay outside and hog the camera for a while...
And then half the locker room comes out in some bizarre vigil around the cage.
Look, I know that this match has to be overbooked, that's fine. But this a whole bunch of guys looking like noobs rather than contributing anything interesting to the match. Or at least that would have been preferable to what actually happened...
Because the bell rings and Russo pulls a baseball bat out of his pants and begins hitting (or more accurately, pressing hard) Booker T with it all around the ring before attempting to escape only to find his path blocked by Mike Awesome. So he then tries to escape through the top of the cage where once again Awesome heads him off as well as Sting,
And Booker T during this whole sequence? He's on the floor wracked with pain.
Let's remind ourselves that Booker T is a deserving World Heavyweight Champion. Vince Russo is a writer. How does this sequence do anything to further the idea that Booker is actually a worthy champion is beyond me.
Of course Booker then gets some offence when Vince is brought off the ladder (which we don't actually see because the camera is too busy looking at Sting rappel down to actually concentrate on the fucking match) before Lex Luger gives Vince a lead pipe which he inflicts on Booker who had suffered from a brain fade and decided to argue with the ref for about 3 minutes.
But then, just when all looks lost, Vince gets frustrated with the ref and knocks him out, leading to EMT's flooding the ring, including one Ric Flair in disguise (I honestly hope the WCW audience were provided with theatre programs for all these twists and turns) who slaps on the most bizarre Figure Four on Russo (who essentially reverses it before it's even synched in).
Of course, we can't focus on Booker now getting his revenge without a whole bunch of Russo overbooking on the outside, where the camera focuses on a whole bunch of guys brawling before finally Booker hits Russo with a scissor kick and a superkick, and makes his way towards the exit.
Which is when Goldberg comes out, down a ramp that was seconds ago replete with people brawling now mysteriously clear (I can understand a few wrestlers brawling to the back on occasions such as this, but twenty? Wouldn't a few stay out there?).
Of course Booker could just open the cage door and still win...
I mean it's only like a foot away from him.
Or he can look like a stunned goldfish. Whatever works.
Then, he let's Goldberg in to finish off Russo. Ok, we're thinking. Now leave.
Or you can wait to get ambushed by Scott Steiner and then stand there like the biggest idiot ever to wear that goddamn title and wait til Vince Russo runs around the cage and almost beats you to the door.
Only for Goldberg to spear Russo out of it while bashing Russo's head against the crowd barricades (which are ludicrously close to the cage)- giving Vinnie Ru the win and the title.
Almost everything about this match irritates me no end. I hate the way that the camera keeps cutting away to the outside in order to cover the other wrestlers rather than the match that's going on inside. I hate Russo's selling in particular, which does nothing to convey brutality and pain (the way he takes bumps is just...ugh). I hate the fact that Russo took a stupidly dangerous spear from Goldberg that caused him a huge amount of discomfort and injury. Which leads me to hate the fact that he retired as a 'wrestler' and vacated the title with the immortal phrase "I am not a wrestler" (news when you are holding supposedly a Wrestling World Title) while in the same promo claiming that the match proved that he could win the title.
So essentially, a guy who claimed that he wasn't a wrestler vacated the title and shat on the guy he beat- a full time wrestler- that the match proved that how he could be the world wrestling champion.
And that's what irritates me more than anything about this match- how much it essentially makes Booker look like a second rate champion. While guys like Hogan were getting Sting and Goldberg to wrestle, Booker got a writer. And he couldn't even beat him. So why should he be seen as the new saviour of WCW?
And that's article 62! Next time we look at arguably the least anticipated main event of the past five years that placed another nail in the coffin of one of WWE's oldest PPVs. See you then!
The InVasion Saga
Article One: Shane has a surprise for Daddy
Article Two: Booker T vs Buff Bagwell and the Temple of Boos
Article Three: Daddy's little Girl Gets in on the Action
Article Four: "WHY AUSTIN DAMMIT?! WHY?