Thursday, 23 April 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW New Blood Rising 2000

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Event poster
August 13, 2000
Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia.

On April 10th, 2000, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff returned to World Championship Wrestling and immediately set about instigating a reboot of the entire company.

Storylines were scrapped, all the titles were declared vacant, and war was declared on the wrestlers who had been hogging WCW's main event scene for the last couple of years.

Stars like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sting, Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page and Ric Flair were all supposed to be the heels, the guys you'd want to see getting their asses kicked by a gang of young and hungry performers called The New Blood.

Like many things in WCW, it didn't work. Fans routinely cheered for The Millionaire's Club (Hogan et al.) and rooted for them to kick some New Blood ass.

Realizing they'd got it wrong, the WCW brain trust let the whole thing drizzle out in about a month or two.







So, totally ignoring the fact that The New Blood had already risen, peaked, and fallen again, the company looked to replace their now-defunct Road Wild brand with this, New Blood Rising 2000.

Let's head down to Canada and relive what happened, shall we?

Let’s Get Down to Business

We began New Blood Rising with the obligatory video package, this one focussing on the main event rivalry between WCW Champion Booker T and the man he beat for that title, Jeff Jarrett.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, and Mark Madden called the event
This feud could be summed up thus:

Booker T cut a promo in which he said ‘let’s get down to business,’ and talked seriously about being a legitimate champion who would never relinquish the belt to Double J.

In response, Jarrett just said the word ‘slapnuts’ a lot and hit a bunch of people with guitars.

We then went live to the arena for the first WCW PPV to emanate from Canada since the previous year’s WCW Mayhem.

Tony Schiavone then welcomed us to the show with his usual hyperbolic introduction before sending to the ring for our opening contest.

Fair’s fair, you’d never guess that this was a company less than a year away from folding.

Everything about the presentation suggested that this was a big deal.

At least it did until Tank Abbott came down and started dancing with Three Count.

Six-Man Ladder Match
3 Count (‘Sugar’ Shane Helms, Evan Karagious, and Shannon Moore w/ Tank Abbott) vs. The Jung Dragons

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Tank Abbott dances with Three Count
It got worse. Abbott wore a 3 Count t-shirt with the nipples cut out. There he stood, nipples out, dancing and cheering on 3 Count as they engaged in a match that could have been so much better without the stipulation.

Had they just kept this as a six-man cruiserweight match, we might have had a fast-paced, high-flying outing which, though it may not have been a classic, would have proved to be a suitable opener.

Alas, this was WCW, so they had to ruin things by making it a gimmick match.

That gimmick was that 3 Count’s gold record was hanging above the ring along with a contract. If 3 Count got the contract, it was business as usual for WCW’s resident boy band.

If The Jung Dragons got it, however, then Shane Helms, Shannon Moore, and Evan Karagious could never sing again.

The problem here wasn’t so much that the gimmick was silly (though it was), it was that the two inexperienced teams clearly weren’t ready to structure this kind of match.

Despite a few good spots, the whole thing came off as a sloppy, uncoordinated mess.

At various points, members of The Jung Dragons would scale the top of the ladder, remember that they weren’t supposed to win, and then just kind of stand there, obviously waiting for a member of 3 Count to get into position and knock them off the ladder.

Eventually, 3 Count retrieved the contract and, since they already had the gold record after Abbott stole it from the Dragons, that meant they won the match.

This was not good at all.
Your Winners: The Jung Dragons

Afterwards, Tank Abbott and his exposed nipples ran off with 3 Count’s contract and gold record, leaving the three men confused.

Word to Yo’ Mutha

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Tank Abbott dances with Three Count
Out in the back, The Filthy Animals pleaded with Commissioner Ernest Miller to let them referee tonight’s upcoming tag team title match.

In exchange, the animals promised that they could guarantee Miller won his match with The Great Muta tonight.

The Cat agreed and fist-bumped every member of the group besides Disco Inferno, who was ordered to leave after dropping a cringe-worthy ‘word to yo mutha’ on the Commissioner.

The Great Muta vs. Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller

The Great Muta, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

Ernest Miller, not so much.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - The Great Muta before his match with Ernest 'The Cat' MillerThough it was never really explained why the two were fighting, the announcers did vaguely insinuate that it had something to do with Muta being part of Vampiro’s Dark Carnival.

Whatever the reason, the actual match wasn’t terrible, and that’s about the best thing that could be said about it.

It was the sort of thing that might be used to kill a few minutes on Nitro. That’s not to say it was bad, but let’s put it this way, if you used it as a bathroom break then you weren’t going to miss anything.

Toward the end, Tygress came out to keep The Filthy Animal’s promise by jumping off the top rope and waving a steel chair in the vicinity of Muta’s head.

The Japanese legend kicked out of the subsequent pin attempt, but Miller won anyway a few moments later.

Blah.
Your Winner: Ernest Miller

Backstage, Buff Bagwell went looking for his mum, who Schiavone told us would be up for grabs tonight in a ‘Judy Bagwell on a Pole’ match.

Yep.

Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match
Positively Kanyon vs. Buff Bagwell

Ok, let’s do this.

If Kanyon wins, he gets Judy Bagwell as his valet.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Buff Bagwell's mum featured in a Judy Bagwell on a pole match
Still doing his best DDP impression after turning on Page back at The Great American Bash 2000, Kanyon drove a forklift to the ring with Momma Bagwell tied to it.

Taking to the microphone, Kanyon insisted that he’d searched the whole of Canada for a pole big enough to hold Buff’s mum but couldn’t find one.

As such, he declared that this was officially now a ‘Judy Bagwell on a Forklift’ match.

Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t anything special.

Much like the previous Muta/Miller bout, there was nothing particularly offensive about Bagwell/Kanyon. It’s just that nothing interesting happened.

The most exciting moment came near the finish when former World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette came out to try and help Kanyon win.

He failed, of course.

Bagwell got a double Buff Blockbuster on both men, winning the match and, um, his mom.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Post-match, Buff rescued his mother from the forklift truck and hugged her while his theme song sang about how sexy he was.

Only in a pro wrestling review will you read a sentence like that, ladies and gentlemen.

Speaking of hugs, Kanyon embraced Arquette after the match but then turned on him with a Kanyon (Diamond) Cutter.

Lance Storm: A Big F’N Deal

Out in the back, members of the Canadian police force and ‘secret service’ were shown flanking a huge limousine.

This was the kind of entrance you usually saw for Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan, but nope, it was just Lance Storm and his many titles.

After some time-killing banter from the announcers, it was on to the next match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Four-Corners Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke) vs. The Misfits in Action (General Rection & Corporal Cajun) vs. Mark Jindrack and Sean O’Haire vs. The Perfect Event (Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo)

Special referees: Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Disco Inferno & Tygress

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Buff Bagwell's mum featured in a Judy Bagwell on a pole match
Rey Mysterio Jr. And Juventud Guerrera came down wearing the tag team title belts. They weren’t the champions, they just came down wearing the titles because WCW did this sort of thing ALL THE TIME and yet nobody ever talks about.

Seriously, as I write this, I’ve covered every WCW PPV from January 1996 to August 2000 and I’ve lost count of the number of matches I’ve seen in which a guy who isn’t the champion will come out wearing the belt while the actual champion comes out acting like he doesn’t care that somebody else has his title.

The announcers never mention it. There’s no explanation for it in any pre-match video. It just kind of happens and we’re all just expected to go with it because WCW that’s why.

Rant aside, The Filthy Animals were out here to referee. Yes, all of them.

Well, most of them. Konnan was out to do commentary and set about burying everybody the minute he got a headset on.

Seriously, this wasn’t him playing the heel, this was him being a d**k.

The minute Sean O’ Haire and Mark Jindrack came out, he lay into them for being ‘terrible’ and lacking charisma. It didn’t come off as his character trying to put his own team over at the youngster’s expense, it came over as Charles Ashenoff not giving a damn and just burying the roster.

Before the bell, Disco Inferno told the combatants that he would be the in-ring official while his Filthy Animals colleagues would be the outside officials.

In fairness, Disco’s pre-match mic work was the first entertaining thing on the show.

The match itself was the second.

The best contest on the show so far, this was a well put together match that managed to avoid turning into the kind of overcrowded clusterfunk that bouts with this many people descend into it.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Chuck Palumbo and Brian Adams
Eventually, it became apparent that The Filthy Animals were conspiring to have Jindrack and O’Haire win, not because they were in cahoots, but because the Animals got a shot at the titles the following night and thought the newcomers would be the easiest to beat.

Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t to be.

The most popular team in the match, Kronik dominated the closing moments and got the win thanks to Chavo Guerrero.

After Disco made one too many slow-counts, Chavo ran in, decked the disco-dancing fool and stole his referees' shirt in order to make the count.

I don’t know about you, but I love that the wrestling logic which dictates that the only thing you need in order to be an officially recognised referee for a match is the right shirt.

Also, at one point, Vampiro and Muta ran in and attacked Kronik. This would be important later.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Kronik

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews Jeff Jarrett
Out in the back, Jeff Jarrett was upset that Pamela Paulshock was interviewing him rather than Mean Gene Okerlund.

Jarrett didn’t like Okerlund or anything, he just liked referring to him as a ‘Jurassic Slap Ass’ and seemed a bit cross that he wouldn’t get to do so.

Responding to Paulshock’s question about tonight’s main event, Jarrett gave the same promo he always gave in this era:

‘I’m going to win the match because I’m the chosen one and I have all the stroke, slappy slap ass slapnuts.’

Strap Match
The Franchise Shane Douglas (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Billy Kidman

Sadly, there was no yapapi involved in this strap match. There was Torrie Wilson, however, which is probably better.

The future WWE Hall of Famer had joined forces with Shane Douglas at last month’s Bash at the Beach, raising the ire of her former lover Billy Kidman.

As a result, Kidman had returned to he babyface locker room after his ill-advised heel run saw him get his ass handed to him by Hulk Hogan.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Shane Douglas and Torrie WilsonTonight, the two men would compete in a strap match in which you won by pinning your opponent, making the whole stipulation -like almost everything in WCW at this time- pointless and stupid.

Before the bell, The Franchise cut a compelling promo in which he mocked Kidman for not being man enough to keep Torrie satisfied.

As a character, Douglas was on form, and his promo proved to be 500 times more enjoyable than anything he and Kidman did in the ring.

Nothing either man did looked like it was effective and the crowd didn’t care about any of it.

After a few minutes of nothing, Kidman won and the crowd continued not to care.
Your Winner: Kidman

In fact, they only cared when Kidman took the strap and gave Torrie a spanking, but then they stopped caring again when The Franchise attacked and tried to hang his rival in the corner.

Eventually, Big Vito ran to the rescue and proved to be the most over person in the whole thing.

Vito was attacked by Reno (remember him? Me neither) but saw him off too.

Meanwhile, Booker T was shown arriving at the arena and unloading his bag out of his car. This wasn’t very exciting, but it’s a good job the camera crew were there to film it otherwise we would’ve missed Jeff Jarrett sneak attacking the champion.

Back in the arena, this happened...

Mud Rip the Clothes Off Match
Major Gunns vs. Miss Hancock

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Major Gunns faced Ms Hancock in a "rip off your clothes and jump in the mud" match
During this era, both major promotions would put the female members of their roster in ‘wrestling matches’ which were little more than thinly-disguised efforts to show as much female flesh as they could get away with and please the horny men in the audience.

It rarely worked.

Though the women themselves may have been stunners, watching them frolic around in their knickers was usually more embarrassing than sexy.

This match was a rare exception.

Both Major Gunns and Miss Hancock were gorgeous women and made sure that they flaunted it as they worked together to put on a neat little wrestling match the likes of which you might expect to see at a pro wrestling school at the end of the first month’s training.

That’s not a criticism either. Neither woman was a full-time wrestler, and yet nothing they did in the ring looked terrible.

Hancock even bust out an impressive handspring-elbow which was even better than the one legendary veteran The Great Muta had performed earlier.

They did all this while making sure we all got a good glimpse of their bums as often as possible.

It was better to focus on this rather than the rules of the match because, unsurprisingly, they didn’t make sense.

Both girls wore camouflage and at various points would rip items of clothing off one another as in your standard ‘strip-u-nekki’ match.

The announcers even told us that the girls were supposed to strip off the camouflaged items.

But that wasn’t how you won the match. You won the match by pinfall, so who knows what the kayfabe logic behind the stripping actually was.

There was also a mud bath and, inevitably, both girls ended up in it.

There, Miss Hancock looked to have the match won, but then doubled over in pain, allowing Gunns to roll her up for the three count.
Your Winner: Major Gunns

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Ms Hancock faced Major Gunns in a "rip off your clothes and jump in the mud" match
Afterwards, everybody, including Gunns, acted really concerned about Miss Hancock, who fell over clutching her stomach.

The announcers also did that horrible thing of trying to convince us that this wasn’t ‘real’ without actually coming out and yelling ‘BUT EVERYTHING ELSE YOU’VE SEEN IS A WORK!!’

They even dropped the Miss Hancock gimmick and started calling her Stacy Kiebler as she was wheeled off on a stretcher.

Get it? It wasn’t Miss Hancock going to the hospital, it was Stacy Kiebler because this was REAL!

Later, this would turn out to be the start of a pregnancy angle that nobody wanted and hardly anybody remembers.

Sting’s Nine Lives Have Run Out

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Pamela Paulshock interviews Vampiro and The Dark Carnival
Back at Bash at the Beach 2000, Vampiro had beaten The Demon in a ridiculous graveyard match.

Taking the old adage that ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ literally, the Gene Simmons impersonator had enlisted in Vampiro’s Dark Carnival, a faction which also included an out-of-shape Great Muta.

Backstage, Pamela Paulshock reminded Vampiro that no matter what he did to Sting, the WCW Icon always bounces back.

Tonight, Vamp’ insisted that Sting’s ‘nine lives’ had run out and that Demon would beat him tonight.

The Demon vs. Sting

This wasn’t even a match. Sting descended from the rafters like he used to do in 1997 and beat his opponent in about 30 seconds.

Demon didn’t even get an offensive move in.
Your Winner: Sting

Afterwards, Vamp and Muta came out to attack Sting, but Kronik came out to the rescue.

Seeking revenge from earlier, Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke battered Vamp and Muta while Sting just casually walked off and Demon stood around looking lost.

The tag champs challenged The Dark Carnival to a match later on in the show and even offered to put their tag titles on the line.

Though we never heard from Vamp or Muta, the announcers told us the match was official.

World Championship Wrestling United States Canadian Heavyweight Championship
WCW Canadian Champion Lance Storm vs. Mike Awesome

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Lance Storm and all his titles
Mike Awesome was amazing and it’s a crime that WCW took a giant crap on his career towards the end.

Tonight, however, he was still pretty much the same Mike Awesome we knew ana loved as he went up against Canadian Hero Lance Storm.

Storm, who got the full Goldberg entrance with security and all, came to the ring with his three titles and awesome theme music.

He then proceeded to cut a typically dry promo in which he claimed that he was happy to finally be wrestling in front of the great Canadian fans rather than those stupid, terrible Americans.

Naturally, Lance was insanely over here. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this was probably the most over he would ever be in his career.

You know who else was over?

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. The crowd chanted The Hitman’s name after the Canadian Champion announced that he had recruited a Canadian legend to serve as special referee and ensure that the ‘Canadian rule book’ was adhered to.

You could literally hear the crowd becoming deflated when that Canadian legend turned out not to be Bret Hart but Jacques Rougeau.

Last seen on PPV back at Wrestlemania 14, Rougeau stood by as both champ and challenger entered into a spirited performance.

The two ECW alumni delivered a crisp, solid wrestling match with some seriously high-impact moves.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Bret Hart appeared on the showIt’s a testament to how good Mike Awesome was that he blatantly slipped off the top rope at one point but landed on his feet, played it cool and delivered a hard clothesline as though that had been the plan all along.

Awesome eventually won the match thanks to a huge sit down powerbomb, but Rougeau declared that Canadian rules required a five-count.

Awesome then won again, this time by making the champion submit with a Dragon sleeper but again the former Mountie got involved, insisting that titles couldn’t change hands on a submission in Canada.

Undeterred, Awesome beat Storm a third time and pinned him for the five count, only for Jacques to make it a Texas death match in which the champion had til the count of ten to get up after being pinned.

Had this taken place on US soil it would have no doubt infuriated the live crowd, but the Canadians loved it and that only served to make it even more entertaining.

Eventually, both men crashed through a table and Jacques declared that the first man to his feet would be the winner.

Naturally, he decked the challenger to prevent him from getting up, allowing Lance Storm to retain his title.

If that sounds overbooked, it was to an extent, but it was so much fun I’ll let it slide.

By far the best thing on the card so far by a thousand miles.
Your Winner and Still WCW Canadian Champion: Lance Storm

Afterwards, Bret Hart’s music hit and the one Canadian hero everyone really wanted to see made his way to ring.

Known for having a bee in his bonnet about dodgy officiating, it looked as though The Hitman would call out his fellow countrymen for their shenanigans, but instead, he smiled and gave them both a big hug.

Nash is Going Over Steiner

Hey, you know who we haven’t seen enough of tonight? Vampiro.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Pamela Paulshock interviews Kevin Nash
Not to worry. Kids, if you send in a copy of your cable bill showing that you purchased New Blood Rising, WCW would send you a free Vampiro t-shirt.

Cool, right?

Speaking of which, former Big Daddy Cool Kevin Nash was standing by backstage with Pamela Paulshock.

Pamela noted that Goldberg hadn’t yet arrived for his scheduled three-way dance with Nash and Scott Steiner, but Big Sexy didn’t care.

In a short but decent promo, Nash claimed that he was only in pro wrestling for the money and the title and that he would beat Steiner anyway tonight to get a title shot.

Actually, he didn’t say he’d beat him, he said he was ‘going over’ him because according to WCW logic there was nothing cooler than using insider terms on live TV.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke) vs. The Dark Carnival (Vampiro & The Great Muta)

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Kronik
Oh look, it’s Vampiro and Great Muta again. Haven’t seen them for a while.

Also, I just realised that The Dark Carnival’s theme music was the ICP song Take it from the WCW Mayhem album.

Like many WCW bouts from this time, the best you could probably say about this one is that it was OK.

Like, there was nothing particularly bad about it, but at the same time it was kinda meh and, after the riotous entertainment of Storm/Awesome, the crowd certainly didn’t care.

Towards the end, Muta accidentally sprayed referee Mickie Jay with the green mist, giving Harris Brothers the chance to run to the ring and beat up Kronik while the referee sold the powder to the eye like he’d just been shot.

Muta then hit a moonsault, Mickie counted to three, and we had new champions.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: The Dark Carnival

Backstage, Booker T told Pamela Paulshock that Jeff Jarrett would have to kill him if he wanted his title.

This was followed by a brief video package for our upcoming three-way.

Three-Way Match
Kevin Nash vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Goldberg

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Scott Steiner gets ready to drop an elbow on Goldberg
If they’d just left this alone as a straight forward singles match between the two former nWo members, it would have been a solid big man match.

However, this was WCW, so they couldn’t help but mess things up by throwing some
Goldberg nonsense in there.

The match was billed as a triple threat, but Goldberg didn’t come out when he was announced, leaving Steiner and Nash to go at it.

Eventually, Big Bill arrived, sporting bandaged ribs ala DDP after a kayfabe motorcycle accident.

We then got a few minutes of the advertised three-way before Goldberg decided that he didn’t want to be powerbombed by Big Sexy and ‘went off script’ by walking back.

He was confronted by Vince Russo, who demanded the former champion get back in the ring. Instead; Bill yelled ‘F**k you!’ Very loudly at Russo and it’s amazing that the WWE Network hasn’t censored that out.

Back in the ring, Steiner and Nash continued to brawl, giving us a decent effort that Big Sexy eventually won with the powerbomb.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash

After a video package for the Booker T/Jeff Jarrett match, it was onto our main event.

World Championship Wrestling World
Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T vs. Jeff Jarrett

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Booker T defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Jarrett
Though it was nowhere near to main event standards, this was otherwise a decent match.

It would have been even better if Booker T had remembered how to sell.

After slamming the champion’s leg in a car door earlier in the show, Jarrett spent the first two-thirds of the match working the same body part.

Booker was fine with this when he was on the defence? But as soon as he went on the attack, it was as though his leg made an instant, miraculous recovery.

It was no noticeable and so stupid that it really took you out of the match, so much so that it was hard to care when the final third broke down into multiple red bumps and overbooking.

Booker and his fully healed legs won with the Book End, but the crowd were apparently so fed up that they started hurling garbage into the ring.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: Booker T

Afterwards, the champ suddenly remembered his leg was supposed to hurt and started staggering off.







For some reason, I had high hopes for New Blood Rising.

Alas, all such hopes were buried under big, dirty sheets of mediocrity.

Check out the stupidly fun Lance Storm/Mike Awesome stuff, but otherwise, avoid this one.





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