WWA Eruption sputters
By JOHN F. MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling
Two hours and fifteen minutes of my life I'll never get back again.
That about sums up my experience watching WWA: Eruption, the World Wrestling All-Stars show that took place on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia and aired on a taped-delayed basis on pay-per-view last night.
Those of you waiting for another national wrestling company to emerge and pose some serious competition for the WWF, I have some bad news: WWA is not it. .
Eruption underscored that sentiment in spades.
While there have been far worse pay-per-view events in wrestling history, (1999's "Heroes of Wrestling" immediately springs to mind) WWA: Eruption is an early contender for worst pay-per-view of 2002.
How bad was Eruption? It was so bad that the ring announcer kicked off the live portion of the show by welcoming all the fans to World Wrestling Allsports -- the freaking clown couldn't even get the name of the damn promotion right!
Can you say, Plan 9 from Outer Space?
That embarrassing mistake was just one in a long line of production miscues and mistakes that plagued this show from beginning to end. From the inconsistent camera work that missed several key spots to the poorly lit arena that was so dark it reminded me of those TV tapings from Bob Giegel's Kansas City promotion in the early '80s (long-time NWA fans will know what I'm talking about), this show was a production failure.
Perhaps the biggest production faux pas (aside from no instant replays or graphics on the screen with wrestlers, names and their weight when they walked to the ring) was that during the course of the opening 30 minutes of the show, you could distinctly hear the stage producer's time cues and camera directions come over the commentary of play-by-play man Jeremy Borash and colour commentator Disco Inferno.
As for storylines, the WWA managed to drop the ball in their misuse of Jeff Jarrett. Arguably the best wrestler in the fledging company, he only made a brief appearance on the telecast. Jarrett rolled up to the arena in a limousine at the start of the show but was met outside by Borash and promoter Andrew McManus who barred him from the building so as to prevent him from interfering in the main event (more on that in a minute).
And that's it as we never see or here for Jarrett again for the rest of the show. Real wise use of your top talent.
As for the main event of WWA Champion "The Front Row" Nathan Jones vs. Scott Steiner, the less said the better. Suffice to say Jones, a green Australian kid they're trying to push as a superstar, reminds me of Lex Luger circa 1987. Oh, the horror!
One of the few bright spots was to see Sid Vicious, the WWA Commissioner, walking with the aid of a cane after suffering that horrible leg injury last year at the WCW Sin pay-per-view. To bad he didn't have the good sense to hobble out of the arena and as far away from this farce as he could.
No word on their next pay-per-view. Hopefully, I can dupe John Powell into reviewing it when the time comes around, thus saving me pleasure, of wasting a perfectly good Sunday evening.
WWA Eruption Results
After introducing Borash and Disco, they pan to the back of the arena where Sid pulls up in a limo
Nova versus AJ Styles (WWA International Cruiserweight Title
This was a semi-final match in the tournament to crown a Cruiserweight Champion. Styles pinned Nova with the Styles Clash (sort of a combination of Tajiri's Tarantula and a face-first DDT. A good match but it only lasted about five minutes. Why did't they give them more time?
Winner: ...AJ Styles.
Match Rating: 5 / 10.
The Starettes (the WWA's answer to the Nitro Girls) were brought out and danced to entertain the crowd. They aired clips of Jerry Lynn's match at the WWA's last pay-per-view in February. Sid came out and talked about his injury, put over McManus for giving him a job and hyped the main event.
Chucky versus Jerry Lynn (WWA International Cruiserweight Title
Chucky is a local kid who looked pretty good and used the ropes to hit some nice springboard moves on Lynn. Lynn pinned Chucky with the cradle piledriver. Real short match (less-than two minutes). Again, why didn't they give them more time?<
Winner: Jerry Lynn .
Match Rating: 4 / 10.
Backstage, Puppet the Psycho Dwarf cuts a lame promo on Tio, his opponent for the evening.
Puppet the Psycho Dwarf versus Tio (Weapons Match)
Horrible match. They used weapons (chairs and garbage cans) and Tio scored the pin when he executed a splash off ladder onto Puppet. After the match, they show Tio backstage flirting with Midajah (Scott Steiner's valet).
Match Rating: 1 / 10.
Stevie Ray and Buff Bagwell versus Ernest "The Cat0" Miller and Brian Christopher
As Bagwell was making his way to the ring, Disco had the line of the night when he said..."Oh, look, there's Judy Bagwell's son". Priceless. Stevie Ray and Miller still stink, just in case any of you forgot. Christopher hit a top rope legdrop on Bagwell to win the match. Afterwards, the The Starettes and some kids from the crowd got in the ring and danced with Christopher.
Winners: Ernest "The Cat" Miller and Brian Christopher .
Match Rating: 3 / 10.
The Funkster, a Hulk Hogan look-alike is shown backstage and cuts a classic Hoganesque interview. The guy has the act down perfectly.
The Funkster vs. Quebecer Pierre
This was a comedy match that allowed the Funkster to "Hulk-up" and do all the trademark Hogan spots and mannerisms.
Winners: The Funkster .
Match Rating: 3 / 10.
A video package of Nathan Jones aired. Scott Steiner comes out and insults Australia. He takes credit for breaking Sid's leg in WCW. Sid announced that he'd be the special enforcer for the WWA Title match and would be sitting at ringside. A video package of the 6-man cruiserweight match from the last pay-per-view aired.
AJ Styles versus Jerry Lynn (WWA International Cruiserweight Title
Best match of the night. Styles and Lynn exchanged some great counters earlier on both executed some unique submission moves. Lynn hit a nice northern lights release suplex into the corner. Lynn somehow got busted open. Styles hit a springboard plancha on Lynn on the floor. They did a series of quick, rolling pins and then Lynn nailed a nice sitting powerbomb for another near fall. Lynn hit a cradle piledriver, but Styles kicked out. Styles reversed a powerbomb into his Styles Clash and Lynn kicked out. Very nice sequence as I love the psychology of both guys kicking out of each other's signature move. Styles nailed a corkscrew senton-monsault to score the pin.
Winner: Sum and new WWA International Cruiserweight Champion AJ Styles.
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
A video package of Devon Storm vs. Sabu aired
Devon Storm versus Sabu (Cage match)
The rules of this were dumb as you could score a pinfall anywhere in the building -- so why make it a cage match? Storm powerbombed Sabu into the cage a couple of times, bloodying his back. Sabu took a page out of the playbook of his uncle, the original Sheik, and began to carve up Storm's head some object. The action spilt to the floor where Storm put Sabu on two stacked tables and hit a splash from the top of the cage onto Sabu through a couple of tables. Back in the ring, Sabu threw a fireball at Storm, put him on the table, and hit a moonsault from he top of the cage while Storm lay prone on a table. The table didn't break so Sabu went back up and hit a legdrop, sending Storm through the table and scored the pin
Match Rating: 6.5 / 10.
Midajah vs. Queen Bee (Evening Gown Match)
Queen Bee is a Penthouse Pet. I can't even describe how horrible this was. They were both wearing ridiculous platform boots that made it impossible for them to move around. This was so bad that it makes the "epic" Trish vs. Terri match a few weeks ago on RAW look like Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr.
Winner: Midajah .
Match Rating: -50 / 10. (Probably the only time in the history of SLAM! Wrestling a match has received a negative rating).
Nathan Jones versus Scott Steiner with Sid as special enforcer (Steel Cage WWA World Heavyweight Title tournament
A decent match that went close to 15 minutes, thanks in no part to Jones. Steiner showed little signs of ring rust or his nagging injuries as he was actually able to carry the green Jones to a passable match. Usual stuff here: Sid and Midajah getting involved, Steiner pummelling Jones and Jones throwing the lamest punches I've ever seen. His offence looked very weak the entire match. Anyway, Steiner nails Jones with the belt behind the referee's back and hooks him in the Steiner Recliner for the submission win.
Winner: ...and the new WWA World Heavyweight Champion...Scott Steiner.
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Overall Event Rating: 3 / 10.