Wrestler of the Day – September 5: Disco Inferno

Get your dancing shoes on because today is the Disco Inferno.

After a few years in the indies, Disco would head over to WCW. Here’s one of his first matches from Nitro on October 30, 1995.

Sabu vs. Disco Inferno

Here’s a strange pairing. Next week it’s viewer’s choice somehow. There will be two groups of wrestlers and you pick the matches. That’s kind of cool I guess. Heenan is back now and talks about the Braves being the world champions. We also hear about the Olympics coming soon. I think this is Disco’s TV debut. All Sabu to start with random off the top stuff. When he didn’t have the tables and ladders etc he was very watchable and enjoyable at times.

Disco comes back with really basic stuff as he was even more of a joke at this point than he was later on. The fans chant for Sabu as I think this was an ECW town, so that makes sense. Disco’s offense lasts like a minute as Sabu is like boy please and the somersault legdrop ends it. Sabu puts him through a table afterwards. Well he tries to since the table doesn’t break.

Rating: C+. Not bad at all as Sabu was still something totally freaky at the time and no one was like him. Rey wouldn’t debut for like 9 months so Sabu was very cool and new still. This went nowhere but it was a fun little squash. It’s interesting to think where Sabu could have gone in WCW had they not thrown him out.

Disco wouldn’t do much to start but would get a Cruiserweight Title shot at Bash at the Beach 1996.

Cruiserweight Title: Disco Inferno vs. Dean Malenko

I hate to say it, but that song is very catchy. He says everyone is here to see him dance and once he wins the title he’ll dance. The guy had charisma and energy. You can’t take that away from him. And let’s talk about the main event more. Ok to be fair, this was a huge match for a change rather than the usual run of the mill main events so I can’t complain that much.

They talk about how awesome the cruiserweights are even though a lot of the really great ones aren’t there yet. This is all Malenko so far. Malenko’s in ring work is really underrated as far as the flying stuff goes. He actually was ranked as the best in the world in the PWI 500 in 97. I was surprised by that. Maybe six minutes in, Disco hits his first offense which is a punch. And now he just goes off in the longest string of offense he’s ever been on I think.

It lasts all of a minute. Heenan says pincovers. I thought only Taz used that term. Most odd. Disco hits his Stunner which was his finisher but checks his hair first. Dean starts busting out springboards of all things. He really could do just about all of it. Dean just goes off and hooks the Cloverleaf for the tap out. Malenko just going off like that made it work for me.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t bad, but the ending was never really in doubt. Inferno looked pretty decent if nothing else, but it’s not like it meant much as Rey would beat Dean the next night in the opener to win the title. Disco would get better but he was nowhere near there yet. Decent little filler match though.

Back to Nitro on December 30, 1996.

Disco Inferno vs. Glacier

There’s a big black spot all over the ring from the stuff that Jacques threw at Stevie in the previous match. After the bell, Disco says drop out of the match or face the wrath of his new leg lock. Glacier flips him over and we’re ready to go. Disco gets kicked a lot so he hides behind the referee and comes back with a clothesline. He sets for his new leg hold but can’t remember how to do it. Instead he hits a pretty good neckbreaker but Glacier pops up and hits a superkick to end it.

Rating: D+. Ice > Fire I guess. The match was, again, pointless and nothing interesting. Glacier would stay undefeated until roughly July while Disco would stay a joke for years to come. At the end of the day though, he took a stupid gimmick and kept a job out of it for how many years? That proves something, although it might be that WCW is stupid enough to keep him around.

Disco would miss a lot of time due to an injury so we’ll come back on Nitro, September 22, 1997 with Disco getting a title shot.

TV Title: Alex Wright vs. Disco Inferno

Wright is defending. Disco shoves him into the corner and gets slapped which fires him up. The fans don’t like Wright at all which is a good sign for him. Wright gets sent to the floor and walks in front of Raven before going back inside to crank on Disco’s arm. We take a break and come back with the champion hitting a spinwheel kick before stomping on Disco in the corner.

You would think the champion would follow up there but instead it’s time to dance. A belly to back suplex puts Wright down but he comes back with a back elbow for two. Wright hits a top rope stomp for no cover because it’s time to dance even more. Disco dodges a charge in the corner and pounds away before crotching Wright on the top rope. A swinging neckbreaker gets two for Disco but he misses a middle rope elbow. They both miss a few moves before both trying cross bodies at the same time. They collide in the air and Disco falls on top for the pin and the title in a shocker.

Rating: D+. The match itself wasn’t much but to say this was a surprise is an understatement. On the other hand though, I have almost no idea what the point is in having Disco win the title when Wright has been on fire lately and has the crowd HATING him. Disco on the other hand was just a comedy guy who hadn’t done anything in his entire WCW run until this point.

Disco would quickly drop the title to Saturn but get another chance on Nitro, December 8, 1997.

TV Title: Saturn vs. Disco Inferno

The announcers say we have to take a break because they’re scared for their lives. Back with Saturn throwing Disco around as Tony spends the first few minutes talking about how they need to not ignore the match. Saturn is knocked to the floor and Disco sends him into the steps, only to have Saturn drop him onto the top rope back inside. The champ cranks on Disco’s arms before hitting a high angle suplex for no cover.

A top rope elbow misses and we head back to the floor again with Saturn sending him into the barricade. Disco Stuns Lodi over the barricade before pounding away on Saturn in the corner. Saturn hits a neckbreaker to take over again, followed by a big suplex for two. Disco counters a powerbomb out of nowhere and Stuns Saturn for the pin and the title.

Rating: C. I have no idea what the point of this was. We spend two months making fun of Disco for losing to Jackie and then give him a clean pin over a killer like Saturn? That’s supposed to make us forget about everything he’s done for the last few months? The match wasn’t bad but the booking makes you wonder what WCW was thinking at this point. I guess the idea was that Raven wasn’t there to guide him, but……Disco Inferno?

After losing the title, Disco would go back to his midcard self including this match on Nitro, March 30, 1998.

Disco Inferno vs. Billy Kidman

Disco throws him into the air and gets two off a clothesline to start. He stomps a mudhole in Kidman in the corner and throws him out tot he floor. Kidman comes back in with a slingshot headscissors and the announcers finally stop talking about how awesome Randy Savage is and wondering who Nash’s partner will be.

A slingshot legdrop gets two for Kidman and Disco gets a near fall of his own off a sunset flip. Kidman dropkicks him down and hits a quick backbreaker, only to miss a top rope splash. Disco gets two off an elbow drop and a neckbreaker but charges into a sitout spinebuster for two. Kidman makes the mistake of lowering his head though and Disco hits a great piledriver for the pin.

Rating: C+. Much better match than I was expecting here with Disco actually going move for move with Kidman. I don’t remember him using the piledriver that often but it’s a good finishing move for him, especially if the Chartbuster is being taken by Disciple. Really nice match here with both guys looking good.

Disco would get back on PPV at Bash at the Beach 1998.

Konnan vs. Disco Inferno

This is an added bonus match. It’s a Wrestlezone special I guess. Disco is billed from Funkytown of all places. Alex Wright is with Disco here and tries to speak some Spanish. Thankfully Mike and Tony are here to tell us they can’t speak Spanish. Where would we be without them to explain jokes to us? Nash and Luger are with Konnan. Gee I wonder what’s going to happen. Nash talks for awhile to eat up more time.

Disco gets beaten down quickly which shouldn’t surprise anyone. We hear about Disco’s legit good resume in wrestling which is often forgotten. Disco gets in some jobber offense as it’s pretty clear what we’ve got on our hands here. Wright gets in some shots while Luger/Nash aren’t thrilled with it. There’s a Rack for Wright and a powerbomb for Disco. Tequila Sunrise ends this squash.

Things would get a bit better when Disco hooked up with Alex Wright to form the Dancing Fools. Here’s a match from Road Wild 1998.

Disco Inferno/Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy

Tokyo Magnum is here with the dancers. Wright rolls away from Rocco to start before hiptossing him down and dancing. They fight over a wristlock until Alex dropkicks him down and tags in Disco. He’s not quite ready to fight yet though and drops to the floor for a three way high five with the other dancers. Back in and Disco takes Grunge down with a clothesline before bringing Wright back in for a missile dropkick. Alex stops for some dancing and turns around into a Rocco clothesline.

A double flapjack puts Inferno down and Tokyo throws in a trashcan out of nowhere. Grunge gets cracked over the back as the referee is cool with all of this. Rocco brings in a ladder and that’s too much for the dancers who go for a walk. Tokyo doesn’t want to leave but his partners come back with a table. Disco grabs a mic and says let’s make this a street fight. Tony states the obvious: “Haven’t we already made it one already?”

The referee is fine with that so Public Enemy goes to the back to find a toilet seat and a kitchen sink. Grunge pounds on Disco on the floor as Tony hypes up a cookie sheet. Wright suplexes Rocco through a trashcan but Grunge blasts Alex with the sheet for the save. Rocco loads up the flip dive through the table but Disco makes a save to prevent Wright’s demise. The kitchen sink is brought in and nearly broken over Grunge’s back. The fans want to see the table but they get Tokyo Magnum thrown inside instead.

Public Enemy throws the dancers into each other and give them stereo atomic drops, only to have Wright come back with a leg lariat to Grunge. Tokyo hits Magnum by mistake as Grunge blasts Disco in the face with the ladder. Alex walks away as Rocco see-saws a ladder into Disco’s hair. Now Tokyo walks away, leaving Public Enemy to set up three tables on top of each other next to the platform. Grunge climbs a ladder to put Disco on the top table, allowing Rocco to climb the scaffolding for a huge elbow drop. Grunge has to throw Disco back inside, avoid a top rope splash from a returning Magnum, and get the pin.

Rating: D+. The match was fun and the spot at the end was good (though also odd looking with a delay before each table broke) but it took over fifteen minutes to get there. The wrestling stuff at the beginning was a waste of time and they should have just gone to the street fight stuff from the beginning. Not horrid though.

Disco would get on a roll late in the year and had a #1 contenders match for a shot at the Cruiserweight Title at Halloween Havoc 1998.

Disco Inferno vs. Juventud Guerrera

Winner gets a Cruiserweight Title shot against Kidman later tonight. Disco stomps away in the corner to start but grabs a side slam for two. Juvy lands a LOUD chop to take over and does some quick dancing of his own. Guerrero tries the backflip out of a Fameasser position but just falls to the side. A second attempt at a Fameasser works a bit better and Disco gets monkey flipped over the top. Juyy baseball slides into a headscissors and both guys go down for a few seconds.

Back in and Disco takes over with an atomic drop and clothesline before stopping to dance instead of cover. We hit the chinlock with no cranking on it at all before Juvy slides to the apron to take Disco down with a Stunner. Disco heads outside again and turns his back on Guerrera, allowing him to be taken out by a nice plancha. They head inside again and Disco grabs a swinging neckbreaker but lays on the mat instead of covering.

Disco counters a sunset flip with a right hand but stops for a Macarena. He busts out a giant swing of all things but dizzies himself. It doesn’t turn out all that badly though as he falls head first onto Juvy’s groin. Referee: “Juvy are you ok?” All three announcers: “NO HE’S NOT OK!” Disco takes forever to get up top so Juvy can nip up and grab a top rope hurricanrana. Now it’s Juvy on top with a spinwheel kick (his hip hit Disco so Tony’s “flying body attack” description is more accurate) for two and the sitout bulldog gets the same. Juvy loads up a victory roll but Disco shoves him off and nails the jumping piledriver for the pin.

Rating: B-. Shockingly good match here with Disco wrestling a normal style against the high flier in Guerrera. I’ll give Disco this: he turned a ridiculous gimmick into a successful career and had some solid matches throughout. That jumping piledriver looked great as well and made things even better.

He had to fight a monster on Nitro, January 19, 1999.

Disco Inferno vs. Wrath

The dancer has the Wolfpack shirt and is wearing red and black tights. Wrath shoves him around to start and hits some hard chops. Tony talks about Alex Wright not showing up to be in Disco’s corner for reasons not explained. Hall sneaks out with the tazer as Wrath drives knees into the ribs. Disco comes back with the swinging neckbreaker and dancing elbow for two before we hit the chinlock.

Some shots to the knees have Wrath in more trouble but he backdrops Disco with ease. A hard dropkick puts Disco on the floor and Wrath follows up with a slingshot elbow to the jaw back inside. The Death Penalty looks to set up the Meltdown but Hall uses the Tazer to distract Wrath, allowing Disco to hit the Chartbuster for the upset.

Rating: D+. And that’s it for Wrath meaning anything at all. As soon as the first loss happened you could tell his career was going down, but this is a big fall down for him. This isn’t one that you can say he’s going to bounce back from either. Wrath’s push is officially dead in the water and he’s another talent wasted in WCW.

We’ll jump ahead to Halloween Havoc 1999 with Disco defending his Cruiserweight Title.

Cruiserweight Title: Disco Inferno vs. Lash Leroux

Disco is champion coming in. The massive demon holding the massive pumpkin is always cool to see for the set. It’s shaking here (intentionally) which makes it look even better. Disco takes over to start and Lash isn’t really able to fight back. The ring is really big looking by comparison to the modern WWE one. Out to the floor and Lash goes into the post. He finally gets something going with a combination belly to belly/powerslam for two.

Lash grabs a sleeper and this match is really nothing special. Disco sends him over the top but Lash hangs on. Disco gets the first shot in anyway but the Last Dance (Stunner) misses. A neckbreaker, a middle rope axe handle and a piledriver all get two for the champion. Lash grabs a blue thunder driver (his move according to Tony) for two. They botch…something involving a clothesline and the Last Dance keeps the title on Disco.

Rating: D. It’s passable but this probably belonged on Nitro more than anything else. They weren’t clicking at all and it was really hurting things. Lash wasn’t anything special but he got a lot better once they put him into the MIA. Disco was always around and had a much better career than he’s remembered for. Pretty sloppy match though.

We’ll jump ahead again to Fall Brawl 2000.

Filthy Animals/Big Vito/Paul Orndorff vs. Natural Born Thrillers

Filthy Animals: Konnan, Rey Mysterio, Disco Inferno, Juventud Guerrera, Tygress (female manager)

Natural Born Thrillers: Mark Jindrak, Sean O’Haire, Mike Sanders, Chuck Palumbo, Shawn Stasiak, Reno, Johnny the Bull

This is elimination style. Yes it’s that Paul Orndorff. He trained most of the Thrillers in the Power Plant (the same place that said one Dave Bautista had no future in wrestling) and he drew about 15 years ago so he’s PERFECT here. Orndorff is a mystery partner here. He SHOCKS the Thrillers. OH NO! IT’S ON OVER THE HILL OVERRATED GUY THAT HASN’T MEANT A THING SINCE WE WERE IN 5TH GRADE! Wait….this is WCW and he’s over fifty…..WE’RE SCREWED!!!

Stasiak goes on commentary for no apparent reason. Konnan makes gay jokes and introduced Orndorff. Wow this is so completely overhyped. No one cheers either. They just kind of breathe. Also, we get to see a 51 year old man that looks about twice that old in lime green tights. Rock on brother man.

This was billed as 6-6 but there are so many people that a lot have to drop to the floor, making it look like 4-4. Rey and Juvy are tag champions as I try to fill space. Ok apparently they aren’t….they just have the belts for the second straight PPV in a row. Rey tags in Juvy to absolutely NO reaction. I wasn’t looking at the screen and didn’t even notice it. Normally you get a sound from the crowd to let you know that something happened but there was NOTHING here.

O’Haire hits a Falcon’s Arrow to take down Juvy who of course is fine like 4 seconds later. Vito, the big guy on the team I guess, beats up Jindrak and is only there for Johnny. And here’s Disco to again complete silence. Oh never mind they think that he, a face, sucks. Jimdrak, a guy about 6’5, can’t get a dropkick past the ribs of Disco who is about 6’0. Ok Konnan is in the match despite sitting on the floor so far.

Konnan crashes into Disco so Disco accidently hits him with the Last Dance (Stunner) to eliminate him. Shawn says five to go, implying 6-6 to start. Disco can’t get anyone to tag him in so Vito punches him and Reno Rolls the Dice to end him and make it 6-4 I guess. Vito hits an Edgecution on Palumbo for two. Bull hits Vito in the head with a kendo stick and a Roll of the Dice (rolling cutter, Cross Roads) ends him.

That leaves it as Juvy, Rey and Orndorff left, so Madden suggests that Tygress is on the team too. So then Tony says it’s 6-2 as Orndorff is there for…..oh screw it let’s just get this over with. Guerrera hits a flying…..something to Reno. Tony calls it a body attack which sounds like something from Mortal Kombat. Juvy Driver and WHAT’S UP on Reno makes it however many vs. however many. Oh and over ten minutes in and I think there are 4 people that haven’t even been in yet.

Rey and Juy apparently ARE the tag champions here. Tony said they weren’t 8 minutes ago and now they are. My goodness I know WCW at this time is called insane but I’ve always thought it was overhyped. In this match alone, about ten minutes long at this point, we can’t establish how many original participants there were in this match, we’ve gotten three different answers as to how many people are left on one of the teams at this point, and we don’t even know if two guys are tag team champions? Ok according to Wikipedia they are the champions but are forced to forfeit them tomorrow for no given reason. Now why can I establish that and the paid announcers can’t?

The fans hate Tygress all of a sudden as Juvy’s plancha is just caught. And then HOKEY SMOKE O’Haire and Jindrak LAUNCH Juvy from the floor into the ring off a double hip toss. That looked incredible. A Swanton Bomb ends Juvy…..and here’s Orndorff. Of course he beats up all the young guys but a kendo stick takes care of him. He hits a bad piledriver to get rid of Johnny the Bull.

Rey and Tygress (now on the apron) just let Orndorff get double teamed and do all the work. Sanders hasn’t been in yet. He of course beats up Jindrak and O’Haire on his own, making them look completely weak in the process. He goes to piledrive Jindrak and of course gets hurt coming down, giving himself a stinger (same thing that happened to Austin in 97 off the Owen piledriver) and O’Haire quickly covers him for the pin because of the injury.

Rey and Tygress I guess don’t get that he’s really hurt and keep going on Jindrak. After a pair of Bronco Busters we get the idea so they beat up Sanders and Palumbo to keep the crowd into it I guess. Pay no attention to the fact that they’re landing around Paul’s legs or anything like that. And they stop the match because of the injury. They would conclude it the next night where Rey and Tygress would beat five guys on their own.

Rating: F. There should be two ratings here. The match itself was entertaining and was about a B/B-, but to let a guy in there that was 51 years old and had retired because of a neck injury and then, shocking no one with a brain, hurts his neck in his first match back in like 5 years is simply irresponsible. I don’t care if he swears up and down that he’ll be ok or whatever. You don’t let him into the ring with his neck hurt like that, and this is why.

He wasn’t even taking a bump and he got hurt. Imagine what would have happened if he had been taking am ove and got hurt like this. There is just no way you can validate letting Orndorff go out there. It didn’t sell any more shows because he wasn’t even announced, so this comes off as just irresponsible by WCW and there’s no way that is ok in my mind.

Off to Germany for a show not many people have ever heard of called Millennium Final.

Tag Titles: Boogie Knights vs. Mark Jindrak/Sean O’Haire

So the non dancers are the champions here, but Disco Inferno is hurt. Since we need to have a German win the belts though, we have Alex Wright teaming with General Rection for no apparent reason at all and he’s wearing a sweatshirt despite wearing tights in the previous match. Rection isn’t US Champion here as you saw a little bit ago but he’s announced as it and holds up a German flag. He and Jindrak start us off.

We hear that Wright has been inserted into the Triangle Match later on to qualify for the Europe Cup with Awesome and Nash. It’s weird but slowly and surely you get to understand German to an extent. Wright hits a sweet double nip up to get back up. That was awesome. They mention the Dancing Fools and Berlin but say tonight it’s just Alex Wright. Now why couldn’t we get this Alex Wright in America? This guy is freaking awesome.

The heels take over on Rection to set up the insanely hot tag that’s coming soon. The General looks like a fat Jeff Hardy. And we hit an arm bar ten minutes into the match. That fails to make sense but it’s WCW so whatever. The Seanton Bomb misses and there’s the hot one. Actually make that a slight fever one.

There was a tiny pop at best. And he’s getting beaten up now. This is already making my head hurt badly. I think Alex forgets to kick out of a rollup meaning that Mark has to just kind of let it go which looks completely stupid. Wright hits a missile dropkick from the top for the pin and the titles for him and Disco and a huge pop.

Rating: C-. Odd booking aside, this was all so that Wright could get a huge pop and that’s fine. He’s the hometown boy and he deserves a moment like this. I think it was mentioned on TV as a European match but Rection was never mentioned so there we are. This wasn’t bad but it wasn’t anything worth watching either. It’s your standard TV match which is fine. Not a great match but a cool moment.

After WCW went under, Disco would head to the WWA promotion and appear at their Revolution event.

Disco Inferno vs. Scott Steiner

Total dominance by Steiner that ends with the Steiner Recliner in about two minutes. Disco got in as much offense as a career comedy character would on a big name power guy.

He would appear in TNA a few times, including this match at Turning Point 2004.

Pat Kenney/Johnny B. Badd vs. Glen Gilbertti/Johnny Swinger

Gilbertti and Swinger are known as the New York Connection. Great: Jacqueline is the referee. Kenney is kind of famous as Simon Diamond from ECW. He and Swinger were a tag team in ECW so theres history there. Theres no story here that I can find so were in filler territory. Kenney and Swinger start as the fans chant Simon Diamond. Simon (screw it) fights off both of the NYC until Gilbertti is sent outside.

Off to Badd who looks really weird with short hair. The NYC double teams Simon to take over. Badd seems content to chill on the apron. Its not a heel move or anything. He just doesnt seem to care. Jackie breaks up some double teaming and Swinger gets two off a clothesline. They work on Simons back which was injured in the match somewhere. Simon hits a sitout spinebuster on Swinger which allows the tag to Badd. Both heels get knee lfits TKO to Glenn is broken up by Swinger. Gilbertti shoves Jackie and Stuns Badd but Jackie gets involved (of course) and slams Gilbertti. TKO by Badd ends this.

Rating: D. Imagine that: Jackie messes up a match. To be fair though the match was boring, mainly because there was no real story to this. The NYC were one of the leftovers from the older run of the company so they were brought along for about five minutes. This was nothing of note though and was pretty bad. To be fair though, it was just there to bridge us to the second half of the show.

One more match from the World Wrestling Legends reunion show.

Disco Inferno vs. Koko B. Ware

Disco is doing even more of his gimmicky stuff than ever. Koko doesn’t have a bird with him. Frankie died a few years ago so there’s a possible explanation. Koko is fat again. Disco jumps him and thankfully they’re in shirts here. Disco is the heel here too. Koko has green hair so the announcers are trying to figure out what it might be.

Pretty much nothing but punches and kicks here. Chinlock sequence to Koko who gets to make the big face comeback. Disco is more concerned with his hair than with the match which is something kind of funny. He misses an elbow and here comes the Bird Man. Last Dance is countered into a bulldog for the pin. Longest match of the night so far at 4 minutes.

Rating: F+. Yeah it was just punching and kicking here but they didn’t try for anything special. This whole show is like that: it’s not about the wrestling but rather just being there and getting to come out to in front of the crowd one more time. That’s perfectly fine and they’re not trying to make this all serious like they did with Heroes of Wrestling. The result: this is fun.

Disco Inferno is actually an interesting story. He isn’t the most talented guy in the world and he was given a horrible character, but he turned it into a long and successful career. Disco won the TV, Cruiserweight and Tag Team Titles which is a better run than a lot of other wrestlers could hope to do. I was lucky enough to talk to him a few times when he worked for WrestleZone and he’s actually a nice guy. The guy was goofy but he made it work and that’s very commendable.

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1 comment

  1. MikeCheyne says:

    The Disco Inferno theme song is one of the few WCW themes that I really really liked. It’s hard not to have some reaction to it and his entrance, which makes him a fine opener character as either a heel or a face.