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THE ROCKTAGON
W/ JAMES SWIFT

Howdy ho, faithful readers! I hope you've had a wonderful break in betwixt Rocktagons, because God knows my last couple of weeks have been, and I quote, "tumultuous". Anyhoo, no need to go into the sordid details, but yes, the rumors of me suffering a Jeff Hardy-esque mental breakdown are accurate, accept my temporary visitation under the Grim Reaper's icy scythe was far from a "worked shoot". THIS IS NOT FICTION, IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED BUT FOR TERMS OF LEGALITY, THE LAST WEEK OF NOVEMBER I SUFFERED FROM "SEASONAL ALLERGY-INDUCED EXHAUSTION", YES THAT'S IT NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS.

Uh.shit, I hope I just didn't screw me self over legally there. Anyway, I've never really given two hoots about Christmas. As far as I care, it's just a bunch of corporate hullabaloo and religious tomfoolery, and additionally, I hate the whole red\green color scheme. Does a number on the eyes, I tell you. That being said, the wintry season did always give me one reason to get excited: STARRCADE.

For all of you knee-nibblers out there, Starrcade was a lot like WCW's WrestleMania, except they royally screwed up on marketing it as such. Marketing gaffes in WCW? GET OUT OF HERE!

In keeping with the year's somewhat feeble attempt to remain in continuity, let's take a gander at the 1993 installment, shall we?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present unto thee: WCW Starrcade 93!

Holy shit, the opening to tonight's show is absolutely jaw-dropping. The main event hype job here is positively sublime, as Vader comes off as a total death machine (essentially, he's the monster heel Brock Lesnar WISHES he could be in the UFC). Erstwhile, a somber Ric Flair, with his career on the line, lugubriously wishes his family adieu as he makes his way to the arena with Mean Gene. THIS IS HOW YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO WRITE STORYLINES. No cartoon bullshit, no outlandish occurrences: Vader didn't climb atop Flair's roof and shit down his chimney. Vader is just being himself (a bad mother effer) and Flair looks legit scared at the potentiality for tonight's ass whooping. Compelling, compelling stuff. Now, here comes the inverse to that statement.

Tony S. and The Body (sporting a bitching ponytail) are your hosts. We are coming to you LIVE from Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the world's smallest large-screen television (or so the travel brochure would lead you to believe.)

2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell are curtain jerking tonight's festivities. As always, they are being accompanied ringside by Teddy "of all the guys in WCW circa 1993, who would've expected that this mother fucker would be the sole representative with solid employment fifteen years later?" Long. Even though it is mid-December, the moniker-less duo are STILL sporting the gaudy Halloween colored pants from two months prior. The two exchange funky handshakes and do white people dancing while the cameras pan over the largest gathering of white trash ever assembled under one roof. Seriously, if NAMBLA and Aryan Nations ever merged, tonight's event-goers would make up its gold-level contributor composition.

Teddy Long then receives the coveted WCW Hotline 1993 Manager Of The Year Award, which I believe is about one step above winning "most improved" at the Special Olympics as far as backhanded decorations go.

The heel team is comprised of the two Pauls, Orndorf and Roma, being led to the ring by our favorite multi-jowl sporting luchador, Assassin #1. My guess is that he probably ate Assassin #2.

Fast action to begin, with Scorpio and Bagwell cleaning house early. At one point, 2 Cold lands a fouled-up precursor to the Pele kick on Mr. Wonderful. I wonder if a certain Georgia native with horrible taste in hairdos was watching back then? The Pauls take an extended breather. Dear lord, you HAVE to see this one guy in the crowd. It's as if Dave Mustaine, Beavis and a rooster made a Down syndrome baby. Roma and Bagwell tangle to get things re- ignited, primarily utilizing an additive that consists of arm drag variants. Scorpion in for a bit, whom proceeds to work the arm a tad longer (utilizing a top-rope vault to really tweak that sumbitch.) Tag back for Bagwell. Scoop slam (the best Roma is capable of, apparently) and in comes Orndorf. Let's get Scorpio in on this, shall we? More arm work for the long-donged one, and Paul utilizes the eye rake (as opposed to the eye garden trowel, which is nowhere near as effective). Paul throws some European uppercuts, and gets to stomping. Supplex escape from 2 Cold, a funky flip, arm drag and a flying leg scissors (a weird off-brand flavor, to be sure) into a scissor lock. Damn it, the "WHOOMP" chants have returned! There's this one fat middle- aged guy in the front row that's WAY into the banter. Odds are, the folks at Perverted Justice have paid him a visit or two. Bagwell splash, and only a two. Roma and Bagwell are dancing, and The Worst Horseman, much like Nagasaki, gets the Atomic Drop. More Arm-drags, please! Scorpio's turn to dish out the punishment. Paul Roma adds "psychology" to this bout by shouting "He's hurting my arm!" So, yeah, fuck Paul Roma. Paul O goes to town on the future Buff-one. Weird ass body slams and elbow drops follow. Sleeper hold predicament negated, the Pauls take the upper hand. Multi-back breakers from Roma. Thick elbow for a two count. Roma hits the Power Slam and misses the big splash from the top rope. Time for Orndorf and Scorpio to shine. Top rope crowning from 2 Cold, with a steady string of knuckle burgers and spinning wheel kicks for dessert. Assassin preps for the old loaded head butt routine. A meeting of the minds later, and Paul O. secures the pinfall.

Winner: Paul Orndorf and, begrudgingly, Paul Roma (he still sucks, however)

Back to the limo ride with Flair and Mean Gene. I've never really seen this used before in a pro wrestling angle, and it is DAMNED effective. You might want to dig up an old VHS copy of this show just to see this.

Time for our collective brains to explode, as two gigantic meatballs in generic attire strut to ringside. Totally pissing on copyright laws, the non- combatant in the duo is named King Kong. That's not the part that ensures an aneurysm: that is satiated by his comrade, AWESOME Kong. No, not that Awesome Kong.well, truthfully, under that mask and a Soul Man dye-job, that very well COULD be the same Awesome Kong. Screaming entrance music? Nondescript lucha mask? Furs? Black spandex? This guy is essentially every heel cliché in the book. His adversary for tonight's illustrious gala? Oh, ho-ho.the Shockmaster. The Kongs double-team old Fred, and if you've ever wondered what 1,200 pounds of flab would look like in one live-action Katamari ball, this bout facilitates your sick, twisted desires. After about two minutes of profuse jiggling, Shocky lands a bodyslam to send this crippled colt to the Elmer factory.

Winner: Not a damn soul.

Ric makes his entrance at the arena via police escort. He strolls through the double doors as if he's just entered the gallows. Phenomenal stuff.

The World Television Title Match is up next, and it's a pants splooger: Ricky Steamboat (with awesome music) vs. Champ Lord Steven Regal. Commence marking the fuck out in 3, 2.

Time for another addition to our continuing "Great Moments in Commentating" series:

Jesse "The Body" Ventura: Don't you watch TV, Tony?

Tony Schiavone: I watch tapes of you and me!

Uh.

Tony then proceeds to explain the origins of Boxing Day, and holy shit if I didn't learn something new and awesome. I'm officially beginning a campaign to get this observed as a national holiday in the United States now.

We begin with several takedown attempts in the corner, leading to a standstill tie-up in the middle of the ring. Tony S. pines for the good old days of yore (recounting an awesome Flair / Steamboat cage bout from 84) while simultaneously explaining the time restrictions entailed for Television championship bouts. You know, Tony Schiavone is saving a lot of face tonight. If he keeps this up, I might just have to keep the homosexual jokes to a minimum. Maybe.

Regal fights his way to a clean break, and Steamboat sells a punch to the wrist as if he was, well, himself. Takedown, and Regal works the arm. Steamboat counters with a wristlock of his own. Whip, arm drag, and a couple of near fall exchanges. Criss-cross and a leg tie up, leading to a Steamboat enziguri. Top-rope Karate chop and Steamboat works the arm some more. With five minutes to go, Ricky cranks the hell out of Regal's arm. NASTY European uppercut \ karate chop exchange leads things to the outside. Regal's Handler (Remember Sir William?) feigns an umbrella aided attack on Steamboat, leading to a merry-go-round segment culminating with Ricky eating a SICK dropkick from Regal. Two minute flurry leads to some great striking and throws, with counters and reversals galore. Steamboat misses the top rope splash after some outside tomfoolery, and the time limit expires. Overall, a damned good match with a somewhat disappointing ending.

Winner: Steven Regal (via Time Limit Draw), umbrella enthusiasts

Schiavone's concern for Ric Flair's less than sunny disposition leads Jesse to discuss the finer points of retirement. These two are really clicking tonight.

Tonight's all about the esoteric ring gear, as the next bout features a rare appearance by Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce. For what purpose, only God knows. Their adversaries for this eve's affair are Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne (sans bullet time, apparently), whom by the way, hails from my all time favorite non-existent plane (that being the State Of Euphoria, of course). To prove my thesis that tonight is white trash central, there's a close up of a fan sporting an Anti-Seen shirt. You have to be pretty scummy to wear the apparel of a GG Allin B-Band in public. Yuck.

Maxx and Shanghai scuffle to begin the bout as Jesse makes sundry sexist comments. In come Cactus and Tex for some more, uh, physical conflict. Ventura likens Jack and Payne to disheveled puppies. More brawling ensues. I think Tony S. sums it up best: "What a contrast we have from our last match!" which, essentially, is a euphemism for "This bout sucks". Payne locks in the "Payne Killer" (just an arm bar variation) before the hold is broken by a stomp. Jack nails the double-armed DDT on Tex to secure the victory.

Mean Gene interviews Kyle Petty, whom looks like a Southern fried facsimile of Weird Al Yankovich. Despite being nothing more than pandering to the coveted PBR drinking serial Republican voter demographic, he does a halfway commendable job of putting over Flair.

Up next, it's a 2/3 falls bout for the U.S. title. Out first is Stunning Steve, followed by the champ Dustin Rhodes. These two didn't exactly tear the house down back at Halloween Havoc, so consider me less than enthused for the following match. Good standup followed by some thorough mat work. Steve takes a lengthy breather. Some knee drops from Rhodes, followed by a sequel to Austin's previous breather. Back in the ring, test of strength spot: Gee, I hope no shenanigans are afoot! Jesse utilizes his soapbox to take a few jabs at Rush Limbaugh. Austin feigns a power bomb that gets transitioned into a backslide by Rhodes. Austin 3:16 says I need to go outside again. Outside brawling segment, and Steve gets launched over the barricade. Steve offers Dustin a handshake, and Rhodes cold cocks him. Such blatant poor sportsmanship! Patented fist drop from Steve. Austin takes the lead on offense. Rhodes resurgence bolstered by a sunset flipped and fanned by a shitty looking dropkick. Colonel Tom Parker distraction allows Austin to secure the upper hand. Double knockdown spot. Failed body slam attempt by Rhodes leads to a near fall for Austin. Paternal elbows and a clothesline from Dustin sets up a powerslam, but the end result nets only a dos. Rhodes launches Austin over the top rope, which is a big no-no in WCW. Austin secures the first fall via DQ. Rhodes totally ignores the purported "rest period" betwixt falls and continues to clobber Stunning Steve on the outside. Austin juices as the yellow clad EVENT STAFF takes Tommy to the back. Double axe-handle, and apparently some Gremlins have managed to find their way into the arena's lighting fixtures. The spotlight is quiet literally on Rhodes at the current juncture. Utilization of auxiliary power is regained, and a funky pinning predicament allots Austin a rare two straight falls victory.

Winner: NEW United States Champion Stunning Steve Austin, faulty wiring

The Boss (As in Big, Man) is getting a World title shot against Rick Rude next. The much talked about Hooters ring girls are finally granted screen time, and one of them looks like Tawny Kitaen's water logged doppleganger. Two minutes of jawing to get the bout going, followed up with some feeble hand slaps and tornado twirling into the ring posts. Rick Rude is playing the role of chicken shit to a "tee". Boss dominates the offensive game for quite the duration. Outside brawling segment leads to Rick Rude getting knotted up in a unique looking tree of woe predicament. The Boss utilizes that plot mechanism to milk out a few minutes, and resorts to the ultimate time filler, the bear hug. Boss misses the fabled "I'm going to hit you in the back of the head with my cock" finisher, which allows Rude to retain via a Sunset Flip.

Yeah, outside of the Steamboat \ Regal match, this show has been pretty bad. I'm not saying that our hopes should be dashed, by the ensuing bout DOES feature the Nasty Boys. Draw your own conclusions.

You know what? My early Christmas gift to all of you is me hitting the fast forward button. In case you give a shit, Sting and Road Warrior Hawk defeat Jerry and Brian after THIRTY MINUTES of eye-searing agony to win the Tag Team Championships. It was as bad as it sounds, believe me.

And from the sewer to the penthouse, it's time for Flair \ Vader.

Vader makes his way ringside first, and Ric Flair enters in typical spectacular fashion. Michael Buffer makes a paycheck. This bout has a magnetic, heavyweight prizefight aura to it already.

Shoving contest to begin, with Flair taking a bump that reeks of, well, himself. Flair gets tossed again as Vader berates the audience. Flair tries to run down Vader, whom promptly returns the favor by making Ric swallow knuckle burgers. A great moment occurs when Vader locks Flair in an arm wrench and Ric screams as if he's being tossed into an Auschwitz kiln. Vader slaps the taste out of Ric's mouth and feeds him a short-order clothesline. Vader leads on offense, shaking off everything Flair throws at him. The Nature Boy quickly gets brutalized in the corner. High angle press slam from Vader, whom is clearly enjoying the psychological (and physical) toying of Flair's sensibilities. Ric rolls to the outside, and Vader follows. Vader gives Ric a guard roll drop (Which, in case you're wondering, is nowhere near as tasty as a gum drop). Vader misses a splash and this allows Flair to sneak in his first effective offensive moves of the night. Harely Race takes the opportunity to pepper Flair's face with windmill punches before tossing him back in the ring to be Vader's chew toy. Supplex and back to the corner punches. Time for the patented Ric Flair turnbuckle bump. The chops do nothing! Sick looking fall-forward slam by Vader. Flair does a phenomenal job of selling a clothesline as if his face had just been broken. Vader misses a top rope splash, which allows Flair to nail a top rope chop of his own. A barrage of chops and three top rope fists later, Vader FINALLY goes down. It's a short-lived second wind, as Vader quickly negates Flair's progress with a Superplex. Flair screams through bloodied teeth. Flair takes another roll to the outside, as Harley Race utilizes some shoe tip whenever the circumstances arrive. Flair simply cannot get a putsch going. Flair finally gets the upper hand after some serious slugging. With the big man down, Ric begins softening up the leg. With the ref distracted, Flair drops a chair on Vader's isolated ankle. Flair punches the shit out of Vader and even sneaks in another chair shot when the opportunity arises. Back in the ring, Ric is scrapping and biting, doing EVERYTHING he can to keep the momentum going. This feels like an authentic BRAWL at this point, and not the goofy early 90s outside stuff we're conditioned to. An exhausted Flair drops in the corner. Flair continues to work the leg and peppers Vader with punches. He attempts to lock in the Figure Four, but Vader easily powers out. Vader screws the pooch on a bonsai drop that would've easily won him the bout (and likely legitimately injured Flair). The Figure Four is FINALLY applied, and thanks to Race's distraction, Vader is capable of yanking some rope fibers. Rejuvenated Flair gets squelched by a Vader boot. Vader misses a pivotal moonsault. Post Race interference, Flair is able to trip up Vader and secure an out of nowhere pinfall to regain the World title and prolong his career. Silver confetti pours over the arena as Flair quickly makes his way to the dressing room to the strings of an oh-so-familiar theme.

Backstage, Vader absolutely DESTROYS his locker room, but doesn't do us all a favor and take out his frustrations on Eric B. Really neat touch: the plastic encasing over the furniture. Attention to detail FTW!

The winner's locker room sees Flair celebrating with his family, and as with any Christmas special, a couple of guest appearances are in order (namely, Sting and Ricky Steamboat). The show concludes with Mean Gene expressing his gratitude for having "his" champion back. Genuine emotion here; after a rather uninspiring run in Vinny-Mac Land, this effectively is the wrestling equivalent of "It's A Wonderful Life".

Cue the credits.

This is without question a one-match show if there ever was one. Granted, the main card had some speckling of intrigue with Ricky\Regal, but the main attraction here is the absolutely delectable World Title main event, which for my money, is the best "Monster Heel vs. Lion Heart" bout of all time. You simply have to see this one, folks.

All right, that's a wrap for this session. Good luck with finals, enjoy whatever nonsensical December celebration you choose to celebrate, and feel free to hit me up on the Intranet at www.myspace.com/xxjswxx.

SEND FEEDBACK TO JAMES SWIFT

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TWF FLASHBACK

November 2006

SATIRE: DISCONTINUED WWE XMAS PRODUCTS!

by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).