Wrestler of the Day – August 21: Steve McMichael

Today’s Wrestler of the Day was awes…..well he was good at…..uh……his music was good. Yeah we’ll go with that. It’s Steve McMichael.

McMichael, better known by his nickname of Mongo, was a big time football player who became a wrestling commentator after retiring. He was then brought in to wrestle with fellow football player Kevin Greene at Great American Bash 1996.

Ric Flair/Arn Anderson vs. Kevin Greene/Steve McMichael

This is another attempt at crossing over with football, which just never works for one reason: football players can’t wrestle that well because they get a crash course in wrestling. Now there have been players that have gotten long training and are wrestlers for a long time who become good wrestlers and Mongo got close to doing that, but not when they do it in the off season or after retiring for the most part.

Heenan manages the heels here for no apparent reason. Savage manages the faces because he hates Flair, which is fine as it gives them a lot more credibility. Greene walks like a robot. His wife is hot though so that helps a lot. Rhodes makes a great comment that the football players who have been learning to wrestle shouldn’t try to wrestle. So wait, they wasted their time for the last few months? That’s a great endorsement there Dusty.

Arn and Mongo get down in a three point stance because that’s a brilliant idea where Mongo of course dominates him. Tony says that Mongo left the Bears for money. Remember that line. This really is just getting stupid all around. What’s commonly forgotten about Flair is that he was a college football player as well at the University of Minnesota, so the three point stance isn’t exactly a foreign concept to him.

Very soon we start to see the problem: the football guys know about 5 moves each, two of which are boots and punches. You can see that Flair and Anderson are completely carrying them and calling the whole thing, including hearing Flair call spots to Mongo, which might be due to the extreme close-ups in the corner.

Flair whispered, but with the camera 4 inches from him you can’t really blame him for that. The heel women chase away the face women. The announcers are still trying to make this sound epic and are still failing on every level. Mongo gets beaten on forever until the hot tag to bring in Greene for more punches, tackles and slams. Another five minutes or so of beating on Greene until Flair gets the figure four on.

Debra, Liz and Woman come back but Debra is dressed up now and Liz has a briefcase. You know what’s coming next. The shirt and money are in the case and Mongo hits Greene with it to join the Horsemen and end the match, drawing a huge pop as this is Horsemen country. Post match, there’s a huge beatdown by all four Horsemen. Benoit and Savage fight as I drool over the idea of that feud. You can see Flair say good job to Green after he pins him and the Four Horsemen are back!

Rating: C-. This was just pretty bad to say the least. I’ll give the football guys credit though as they were at least trying very hard. The turn at the end was clearly the most important part and while the match went on too long, it wasn’t terrible for what it was. Could have been better but it also could have been worse.

So Mongo is a Horsement, meaning it’s time for an eight man tag. From Nitro on July 1, 1996.

Rock N Roll Express/Joe Gomez/Renegade vs. Four Horsemen

Anderson vs. Morton to start after a break. Everything breaks down quickly and the Horsemen bail. Flair vs. Morton now. How often do you see all of the Horsemen in one match as a team? Morton gets a rana and there’s the double dropkick by the Express. Were this 1986, the crowd would be in a frenzy. Here it barely gets two. Flair vs. Gibson now and then off to AA.

Enziguri takes Anderson down as the Horsemen aren’t looking all that good here. Off to Benoit and Renegade who hasn’t meant anything in like a year. Benoit hammers away and it’s off to Flair again. No Mongo yet. The card for Bash at the Beach doesn’t sound half bad actually. Gomez beats on Flair and hits a backdrop but Flair cheats and brings in Benoit. Chris was in his element as a Horseman, he really was.

Benoit mauls him and the natural order of the universe is restored. Finally off to Mongo who gets a decent reaction actually. This is his in ring debut as a Horseman I believe. Mongo is in a word, really bad. He does some stuff that looks like a football player doing moves before thankfully bringing Flair back in. Gomez gets a sunset flip on Anderson for two.

There’s a spinebuster which is called a sidewalk slam here. Back off to Benoit who gets caught in a backslide for two. And that more or less ends Gomez’s career as Benoit is all fired up and the punches go flying. Off to Flair who does the same but Gomez manages to escape the Figure Four. Anderson and Flair work the knee and it’s off to Benoit who is all too comfortable with taking apart a body part.

Back to Mongo who is in desperate need of experience for the most part. Powerslam doesn’t look that bad. Neither does an elbow. That was FAR better than his first time in there. Off to Anderson but Gomez gets a shot in and the hot tag to Renegade. He cleans a few rooms and everything breaks down. Mongo totally botches the briefcase shot as he doesn’t actually hit Renegade (he tosses the case and the announcers make fun of him for it) but Renegade goes down anyway, into the Figure Four and we’re done.

Rating: C. Meh pretty basic match here but it was cool to see the Horsemen united like this. Mongo was indeed bad, but it was his second wrestling match ever. How mad can you really get at him for something like that? The powerslam wasn’t bad but he never really got any better at all. Points for trying though.

Now a six man version from Nitro on July 22, 1996.

Sting/Lex Luger/Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair/Steve McMichael/Chris Benoit

No Anderson, not even as a second. Flair isn’t here either but we were told earlier he would be making an entrance. After a break Arn is checking a white limo for whom I’d assume to be Flair. He can’t find him though so Arn, who just happens to be in wrestling gear, is filling in. The announcers speculate about who the next guy in the NWO could be and Heenan says it’s all about money. I guess you could call that foreshadowing.

Sting vs. Anderson to start us off. Mongo takes Sting down and the double beatdown is on. Back inside and here’s Benoit. I’d love to see early 90s Sting vs. Benoit in a 20 minute match or so. Mongo gets a bad neckbreaker for two. A bad dropkick follows and we look at the white limo. Off to the Crippler again and an elbow gets two. Only Sting has been in so far.

Anderson takes a few punches but manages to stop the tag. Back to the football dude who hammers on him in the corner and it’s very clear Mongo isn’t ready to be in there yet. It’s not his fault but he’s just not experienced enough yet. Even a few months in a minor league would have done wonders for him. Lex finally gets the hot tag and cleans house. Everything breaks down and the girls try to slip in the briefcase. Savage manages to steal it back and clocks Benoit with it, allowing Luger to get the easy pin.

Rating: C+. This was fine. It was short but given Mongo, that’s probably a good thing. He was trying but the experience and coordination just didn’t click. He was a great football player but it’s a different thing and I think he learned that quickly. Savage was never legally in the match I don’t think.

We did eight and we did six, so here’s four, from Halloween Havoc 1996.

Faces of Fear vs. Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael

Mongo has barely any experience at all so expect a heavy dose of Benoit here which is hardly a bad thing. If nothing else we get the music again for the Horsemen. This feud went on forever and there was never really a blowoff for it other than it just stopping. Meng and Mongo start and McMichael hides from a kick. Oh that looked bad. It’s always cool seeing Benoit’s mix of wrestling and brawling. Not a lot of people were as good at it as he was.

Mongo loses a sumo match to Meng. Is there a reason this is happening? Mongo wakes up and uses football moves to get Meng down. This works so well that Meng kicks him in the face. I love that. Whenever someone does something stupid, KICK THEM IN THE FACE. McMichael tries some dropkicks. This is a very sad sight. The match is only watchable when Benoit is in there so the tag can’t come fast enough.

In a NICE move, Meng backdrops Benoit into a powerbomb from Barbarian. It’s an awesome move, so Dusty starts talking about the Outsiders. Why you ask? It’s Dusty so this is normal for him. A double headbutt from the top hits Benoit as it’s a good thing that he’s in. Tony talks about an old rule called the One Save Rule, which says that if you save your partner more than once it’s a DQ. This rule isn’t in effect anymore and I’ve never heard of it.

Mongo pops Meng with the briefcase, thereby completely ignoring all stereotypes, and the top rope headbutt ends it. The Dungeon runs in and since the Horsemen are with Anderson at the hospital it’s Benoit vs. everyone. That only works for so long though as the Dungeon stands tall. At least there’s a feud here to explain this. Sullivan goes up to Woman and says let me show you why I’m still the man and does what we would call a punt on Benoit.

Rating: D. I know I gave the previous match the same grade but this is somewhat better. There’s a feud here which makes sense so that’s definitely a good thing. This was really bad when Mongo was in and decent when Benoit was in. Mongo always looked like he was trying, but he just didn’t ever get the hang of it. This is a great example of it.

Mongo would actually main event a PPV in a unique match. From Uncensored 1997.

Team WCW vs. Team NWO vs. Team Piper

WCW: Giant, Lex Luger, Scott Steiner
NWO: Hall, Nash, Hogan, Savage
Piper: Piper, McMichael, Jarrett, Benoit

This is kind of like a cross between WarGames and a battle royal. You have three guys start and go five minutes. Then after two minutes we get another man from each team (Team WCW will miss an entry due to Rick going on and they weren’t smart enough to have Page fill in). It’s elimination style, which means we don’t have to deal with 11 guys in the ring at once. You can put someone out via pin, submission, knockout and over the top.

If Team WCW wins, the NWO is stripped of all titles and can’t wrestle for 3 years. If Team Piper wins, Piper gets Hogan in a cage at a time to be announced. If Team NWO wins, they more or less have carte blanche (Previously they would have gotten a title shot anywhere anytime, kind of like Money in the Bank). They change that back to the MITB thing but it would ultimately be the free reign thing.

Benoit, Hall and Giant start us off. They’re not at ringside which is kind of stupid as you would be able to jump them as they come out in theory no? Benoit jumps Hall before Giant gets there. Not that we can see that as we need to see Giant’s very slow walk to the ring instead. Giant gets in very slowly which is rather smart before taking them both down with a clothesline.

Benoit tries to chop away and it doesn’t work at all. It’s almost hard to believe that Benoit would be world champion before Hall. Basically this is Giant and two other guys in there as he keeps dominating the entire time. Elbow drop on Hall so Benoit tries to jump Giant. No real attempts to throw anyone out but since you can win by pinfall that’s ok.

Sleeper doesn’t work for Hall and Giant gets a huge chokeslam to Benoit for only two. Hall saves, I guess out of fear of fighting Giant one on one. Giant busts out the claw of all things but a corner splash misses and Giant is gone first! That leaves two guys for Team WCW. The clock runs out on the first period and it’s Jarrett, Randy Savage and Luger. That puts five guys in the ring at the moment if you’re keeping score.

It’s more or less a battle royal at this point as Luger can’t gorilla press Savage out. Jeff avoids a Razor’s Edge and here come Mongo, Nash and Scott Steiner. No real effort to put anyone out right now as everyone is really just beating on each other. Belly to belly puts Nash down as we only have Hogan and Piper left. Nash gets a big boot and clothesline to Jarrett and he’s out. Jeff that is. Mongo gets backdropped out so Team Piper has just Benoit and Piper left.

Here are Hogan and Piper so everyone is out there now. Nash gets a big boot to Steiner to knock him out so Luger is all that’s left for WCW, Piper and Benoit for Piper and all of the NWO is left. Wait where’s Hogan? What a shock he’s going to come out last isn’t he? Oh there he is with Dennis Rodman. Piper is on the floor but not out. Scratch that as he’s back now. Seven people in at the moment.

Hogan, Piper and Savage are on the floor with Hogan kind of chilling and Piper choking Savage. The Outsiders beat up Benoit and everyone is finally in there at the same time. Hogan throws Piper through the ropes and they brawl on the floor a bit. After Savage jumps them in the aisle everyone goes back to the ring. In a HORRIBLY stupid looking moment, Piper is sent into the ropes but Rodman pulls it down to put him out. This would have looked passable if Piper didn’t JUMP OVER THE ROPE BEFORE IT WAS PULLED DOWN. And people wonder why they went out of business.

They keep brawling on the floor anyway and Savage helps as it’s the Outsider Edge for Benoit. The tag champs toss him out and Team Piper is gone. Luger is the only one left for WCW and he’s against technically five guys counting Rodman. The NWO literally stands around for a minute and a half posing before Nash sets him up for a powerbomb.

Luger escapes and racks Savage, clotheslines Nash and racks Hall to eliminate all three in under thirty seconds. And never mind as when he goes to rack Hogan, Savage gets the spraypaint from Rodman and pops Luger in the face with it so Hogan can get the winning pin. The NWO won a big match. I’m shocked too.

Rating: B-. The match was actually pretty good as it didn’t really get stupid and for a big multi-man tag, this actually worked. I fail to see why Rick wasn’t out there but still, pretty good stuff. The ending was obvious but it doesn’t ever drag, the stuff they did made perfect sense the entire time and it was kind of interesting. Shockingly good main event.

And now, more football at Slamboree 1997.

Reggie White vs. Steve McMichael

GREAT. This is EXACTLY what this show needs. Why is Reggie White fighting? Who knows? Who cares? My guess is because even though Mongo is a face here, he turned heel on Greene like 11 months ago and this is REVENGE. You would think that Greene would want revenge himself, but he’s in the main event with the guys that Mongo turned on him for. In theory White is a heel here, but naturally he’s treated as the hero against a Horseman in CHARLOTTE. He has his strength coach with him. This is White’s first match ever and they put him with STEVE FREAKING MCMICHAEL. Let’s get this over with.

Feeling out process to start as Mongo is definitely playing heel. They collide and both stumble. They do it again and Mongo stumbles a bit. White hooks a headlock and they ram again with Mongo going down this time. Steve draws the scrimmage line and they go at it with Mongo taking the leg out. They do it again and White jumps over him, then hits him in the side of the ribs which is a “clothesline.”

Mongo tries to leave but one of White’s teammates comes out to throw him back in. It’s a nose tackle from the Packers apparently. White gets some great height on a dropkick for two. The kick sucked but he was UP THERE. The fans cheer for Mongo but he keeps playing heel because that’s what was set before the match and White (not his fault) doesn’t know how to be a heel because HE ISN’T A WRESTLER.

Mongo hooks an armbar and shouts about how Jesus may have White’s soul (White was known as a very religious man) but Mongo has him right now. That gets McMichael sent to the floor and it’s more stalling. White hooks a headlock but Mongo escapes and clips him to take over. Side slam puts Reggie down but he comes back up quickly and puts the headlock on again before hitting a cross body for two.

Off to a nerve hold by White but McMichael hits him low and makes fun of church bells. Off to another leg lock and then a half crab. They ram each other into the corner a few times but Steve kicks the knee out. Figure four is countered and White shoves him down. He actually SELLS THE KNEE….or maybe he’s just tired. They slug it out in the corner and Reggie is all fired up.

There’s an atomic drop and a much better clothesline to put Mongo on the floor. Back in and McMichael takes over, only to have his suplex countered. He hits a splash but there’s no referee because of Debra. Briefcase is stolen by the other football player but Jeff Jarrett comes out and throws in another case and the shot with that gets the pin on White.

Rating: F. As in FIFTEEN MINUTES that this match got. Now before I get into this, I want to emphasize something: Reggie White was TRYING out there. He looked fired up, he was going the entire time, and there have been far worse celebrity performances in the past. That being said, the match was WAY too long and McMichael was the totally wrong person to try to carry him.

Think back to the 96 Great American Bash when it was Mongo/Greene debuting as a team. They faced Arn Anderson and Ric Flair, two of the best ring technicians ever. Flair and Arn walked then through a 20 minute match and it wasn’t that terrible. That being said, this was a HORRIBLE idea. You took basically a rookie and had him work a fifteen minute match with a football player. Horrible match, but more based on the people that put it together rather than the wrestlers.

Another Horsemen match from Nitro, June 30, 1997.

Steve McMichael/Ric Flair/Chris Benoit vs. Buff Bagwell/Masahiro Chono/Scott Norton

Bagwell and Flair start things off and we get a strutting competition. Buff pounds on Flair in the corner and it’s off to Mongo who has a dumb look on his face. Mongo gets caught in the wrong corner but he comes back with right hands to Chono. Back to Flair who pounds away for about five seconds before Benoit comes in to a nice reaction. Chono kicks him down but stops to argue with Flair, allowing Benoit to clothesline Chono down and hit the Swan Dive. Everything breaks down and Vincent comes in for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here as the whole match wasn’t even four minutes long and had the NWO DQ as required by WCW law. Also I’m not sure what was accomplished here at all, but on a shot this big I can understand the matches being this short. It isn’t fun to sit through but it’s understandable.

For reasons that still aren’t clear, Mongo would be given a shot at some gold at Clash of the Champions XXXV.

US Title: Steve McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett

Jarrett is a talented wrestler from Tennessee who wanted to be in the Horsemen but never fit. He won a match to become a Horseman which gave the team five members instead of the usual four. Jarrett and McMichael (nicknamed Mongo) argued almost every day and Mongo’s wife Debra got in the middle of things because she liked Jarrett and eventually helped him win the US Title in June. Mongo wants Debra to be in his corner because she’s his wife, but Debra just kept causing trouble which eventually (among other things) led to the downfall of the Horsemen.

Jeff speeds things up to start and keeps moving around Mongo while pointing to his head. Mongo misses again and Jeff ducks down into a three point stance to take out the challenger’s knee. Jeff lays across the ropes and struts as he was known to do but gets clotheslined down to the floor for getting on Mongo’s nerves.

We take a break and come back with Mongo being whipped into the steps. Debra chokes Mongo across the ropes to really rub in how evil she is. The fans don’t seem to care though. Back inside and Jarrett hooks a sleeper but Mongo reverses into one of his own. Debra gets the referee’s attention so Eddie Guerrero, another of Debra’s clients, comes out and accidentally blasts Jarrett in the back with the title belt, giving Mongo the pin and the title.

Rating: D. The wrestling wasn’t very good, the story wasn’t very good and the fans didn’t care. What else can you expect from something with all those things going wrong? Jarrett just didn’t work in WCW at all and the whole thing was bordering on being a disaster. Debra screwed up a lot of things in the Horsemen as well as they went from an elite group to petty arguments like you would see in high school.

Mongo’s wife Debra would turn on him and pick up Alex Wright as her new client. Here’s their showdown at World War III 1997.

Steve McMichael vs. Bill Goldberg

This is over Mongo’s Super Bowl ring that Goldberg stole at the previous PPV. Mongo comes out with a pipe Goldberg’s music hits and there’s no Goldberg. Mongo says this isn’t happening and says he can sneak up on people too. We go to the back and Goldberg is out cold. So no one noticed the big man in his underwear out cold on the concrete just behind the entry way? Mongo more or less gives an open challenge, resulting in this.

Steve McMichael vs. Alex Wright

Wright isn’t here because he wants to be but because Debra, Mongo’s estranged wife, brings him out and more or less makes his fight. Wright whips him with his jacket to start. Wright is from Germany so wouldn’t that be a foreign object? Mongo is like screw this and hammers away, sending Wright to the floor. He tries to leave but Debra more or less makes him come back.

Alex tries to fight and gets slammed down to the mat with ease. Mongo is barely breaking a sweat in this. Was there a reason they didn’t have Goldberg in this that I’m not getting? Debra’s voice is irritating to put it mildly. Wright takes over for a very little bit with chops but McMichael takes out the knee. Side slam sets up the Tombstone to end it. Total and complete squash and no rating here. Heenan asks Who’s Next for Mongo. Nah that’ll never catch on.

Here’s the showdown from Starrcade 1997.

Bill Goldberg vs. Steve McMichael

Steve “Mongo” McMichael is a former Horseman and NFL player, but he’s absolutely terrible in the ring. Goldberg is still undefeated at this point and would become a much bigger deal after this show is over. This is happening because Goldberg stole McMichael’s Super Bowl ring and they’ve attacked each other a few times since. The brawl is on in the aisle to start but Mongo’s offense isn’t having much effect. Goldberg literally picks him up and carries Mongo into the ring like a rag doll.

Goldberg picks up a table at ringside as the bell rings and the actual match begins. Mongo suplexes him down for two but a big shoulder tackle takes Steve down for two. We head to the floor where the table is leaning against the post. They fight around the ring with Mongo taking over before heading back inside, only to have Goldberg punch Mongo as Steve dives off the top. Goldberg hooks a quick leg lock and is toying with Mongo at this point.

The spear (the setup for Goldberg’s finisher) hits for two and Goldberg loads up the table on the floor. He tries to slam Mongo over the top and through the table but the referee breaks it up. A dropkick of all things puts Mongo down and out to the floor and we have to be getting close to done. Mongo gets back up onto the apron, only to be punched through the table. Back in and the Jackhammer (suplex but instead Goldberg turns it over into a powerslam) ends Mongo.

Rating: D. This was terrible but Goldberg’s day was coming. It was clear that Mongo just wasn’t any good as a wrestler and thankfully in 1998 he would be pushed WAY down the card and rarely ever have a big match again. The match itself was slow and plodding, but Goldberg would be pushed to the moon very quickly after this.

Brace yourselves. Nitro, February 9, 1998.

Glacier vs. Steve McMichael

Louie Spicolli has jumped into the commentary booth and is carrying bags he says belongs to “his friend” Larry. Still no word on where Larry is. Glacier tries to jump the Texan from behind but gets slugged down to the floor with ease. Back in and Glacier pounds away, only to send Mongo right back to the floor. They head back in again for Glacier to fire off his basic karate stuff followed by a snap suplex. Glacier jumps into an elbow, gets forearmed in the head a few times and the Mongo Spike (tombstone) ends this very quick.

The Horsemen would occasionally team up on TV, including on Nitro, June 29, 1998.

Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Harlem Heat

Benoit and Booker get us going which is the best idea for everyone. Stevie comes in before there’s any contact though and gets stomped down into the corner with ease. A clothesline out of the same corner takes Benoit down and it’s off to Booker who gets caught in a dragon screw leg whip. Tag brings in Mongo to pound on Booker with his generic power offense until he charges into a boot in the corner.

Back to Stevie for his own generic power offense as the crowd audibly dies. Booker comes back in for a spinebuster for two but Benoit has had enough. Everything breaks down without any tags and here’s Bret Hart with a chair to blast Booker in the back, giving Mongo (who didn’t see Bret) a pin.

Rating: D+. Simple explanation for this: Booker and Benoit good, Stevie and Mongo bad. That’s as basic as you can get here and the fans seemed to feel the same. I’m not even sure why Stevie doesn’t like Benoit in the first place. Is it just because Benoit offered to help Booker whenever he needed it? That’s why we’ve in the third week of feuding?

Mongo would even get some squashes. From Nitro on July 20, 1998.

Steve McMichael vs. Sick Boy

Hey look a match. Tony tells us that the wrecked car is a reference to Jay Leno, who always drives a different car to the Tonight Show. Tony: “That’s all it could be.” Lodi and Sick Boy jump Mongo on the floor and a clothesline gets two for Sick Boy. Mongo comes right back with a three point clothesline and the tombstone for the pin in about a minute.

The Horsemen would reunite in the fall, giving us even more pairings, such as this one on December 3, 1998 on Thunder.

Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Raven/Kanyon

Before the match Raven sits in the corner while Kanyon grabs a mic. Kanyon yells at him for putting his head through a window tonight and talks about Raven’s mother. The fans actually get tricked as Kanyon asks who is NOT better than Kanyon before we go to Arn Anderson leading the Horsemen to the ring. Benoit runs Kanyon over to start but gets caught in a sweet rollup for twp. They trade wristlocks until Kanyon takes him down and chokes away out of anger at Raven.

Kanyon stops to call the depressed Raven an idiot, allowing Mongo to run him over out of a three point stance. Steve misses a boot in the corner though and gets caught in something like a neckbreaker. The Horsemen take over with Benoit chopping the skin off Kanyon’s chest before stomping him down for good measure. Raven doesn’t do much so Benoit goes over to yell at him before Kanyon gets double teamed some more.

A backbreaker gets two for Chris but he charges into a boot in the corner. Not that it really matters as he takes Kanyon down with a dragon screw leg whip, only to miss the Swan Dive. Raven still won’t tag so Kanyon hits a powerbomb into a faceplant for two as Raven walks away after being tagged. That’s a countout as Benoit puts Kanyon in the Crossface.

Rating: C+. The idea here worked pretty well with Raven’s downward spiral into depression continues with him walking away from his only friend. Other than that the Benoit stuff was very good, but Mongo just wasn’t working out there for the most part. Thankfully he won’t be around much anymore.

Here’s a match that should have happened years earlier. Nitro, January 25, 1999.

Hollywood Hogan/Scott Steiner/Kevin Nash vs. Horsemen

This has A LOT of time, as in nearly half an hour. Hogan is still listed as a Presidential candidate. Before the match, Nash gets a cheap pop and Steiner says that Kimberly has been flirting with him out back. If she wants to tease him, she better be ready to please him. Hogan is glad that there aren’t any WCW or Ric Flair fans out here because they stink very badly. He’ll take care of Ric at SuperBrawl because Flair is the first one being hunted by the Pack.

After a break we get the Horsemen’s entrance and the opening bell. It’s a brawl to start of course and Benoit gets to beat up Hogan in one of the only times they ever had contact. Flair goes after Hogan but Nash makes the save. The NWO clears the ring to start as the announcers bring up Sting for the second or third time tonight. It’ll be nice to have him back. This turns into a discussion of Alex Wright no showing the show tonight.

Benoit and Steiner get things going with the power man running him over and kicking Benoit in the head. Scott runs into a boot in the corner though and Benoit fires off more right hands. A dropkick sends Steiner outside and Benoit holds up the fingers to Nash and Hogan. Kevin comes in for a knee to the ribs but Benoit runs him into the corner and chops away.

Off to McMichael for a slam, setting up the Swan Dive but Hogan makes a save. Steiner gets in a shot from the apron and Nash hits the big boot to take over. Hogan comes in and man alive is it strange to see him in there against Benoit. It doesn’t last long though as Hogan clotheslines Benoit down and suckers Flair in before hiding behind Steiner. A non-existent tag brings in Steiner for a belly to belly and two on Chris. Nash comes back in for the side slam and it’s back to Hogan with a belly to back suplex.

We take a break and come back with Hogan still on Benoit. Again he suckers Flair in but tags Scott to get in a few shots on the Canadian. The fans want Flair as Nash slams Benoit and elbows Ric in the face. Everything breaks down and Benoit gets caught in the Tree of Woe for some choking by Nash. Hogan whips Benoit with the weightlifting belt and suplexes him for another two count.

Choking ensues and it’s back to Nash for the foot choke in the corner. Nash misses a big boot in the corner but Steiner breaks up a hot tag attempt. We hit the bearhug on Benoit and he seems to pass out. Hogan wants the pin but can only get two. An elbow gets the same but the legdrop misses, allowing Benoit to FINALLY tag Flair. Everything breaks down and Bischoff comes in with a foam finger wrapped around a 2×4. Flair gets Hogan in the Figure Four but Nash nails him with the board for the DQ.

Rating: B-. This was the six man formula done very well and the match was very good as a result. Benoit is an excellent face in peril and he had the crowd going nuts for the tag to Flair. I’m fine with a messy finish here as you don’t want to have a champion do a job before a pay per view. If WWE could get that through their heads, a lot of my headaches would go away.

Mongo would leave with a whimper. Here’s his last WCW match on February 8, 1999’s Nitro.

Outsiders vs. Ric Flair/Steve McMichael

It’s a brawl to start and the Outsiders are knocked to the floor. Hall and Flair get things going with Flair chopping him into the corner. Scott comes back with some right hands in the corner to no effect but Hall nails a clothesline to put both guys down. Flair elbows him in the jaw and goes up, only to be slammed back down. It’s off to Nash but Ric is able to tag in Mongo, who stomps on Nash’s foot. Both Outsiders are slammed down but Nash kicks McMichael in the face to take over.

Tony brings up Sting again as Mongo gets double teamed in the corner. Hall hits the fall away slam for two before putting on the sleeper. Mongo jawbreaks his way to freedom and the ice cold tag brings in Flair. Ric beats up Hall with ease and a few knee crusher set up the Figure Four. The hold stays on for a good while but we cut to Hogan knocking on the bathroom door. Bischoff hands him the mop bucket that he poured the bleach into earlier and says that this should work.

Hogan leaves with the bucket and all of the backstage workers are out cold on the floor. Back to the arena and Hall is out of the hold without much damage. A shoulder puts both he and Flair down as Hogan comes out with the bucket. He throws the bleach in it at Flair but hits Mongo to blind him and the match is thrown out.

Rating: D. This was Mongo’s final match and thank goodness for that. The guy dragged down a match between three guys that shouldn’t have their stuff dragged down like this. The fans did not care about him when he was in there and after two and a half years, there’s really no excuse for him to not get any better at all.

Mongo just wasn’t very good. He was given all the help they could give him, but there just wasn’t enough there to make him work. I’ll give him this though: to come from a football career into this spot and do even close to decent is impressive. He could have gotten a lot of good out of being in developmental for a few years but instead he was thrust onto the main show and it never worked out. Great theme song though.

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