Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Revisiting WCW's Collision in Korea!

With World War III possibly looming in North Korea, how about we take a look back at happier days in Kim Jong Country - you know, back when 190,000 people turned out to watch a joint WCW/New Japan 'rassling show in 1995?

By: Jimbo X

A lot of people out there are, understandably, worried about the situation in North Korea. Assuming this blog is being read in the post-apocalyptic fallout of what once was civilization hundreds of years into the future, let me do my best to explain what happened.

OK, so it was the year 2017. North Korea's leader was this really fat guy with an inferiority complex who wanted to look like he had a bigger dick than America's president (who used to host a game show on NBC a few years earlier ... it's really an interesting story.) Well, for years and years, nobody fucked with North Korea even when they were trying to fuck with everybody else because China kinda' sorta' served as their big brother who was there to keep them in check and bail 'em out if they ever picked a fight they couldn't finish. Well, China finally got sick of playing their brother's keeper so when they started fucking around with South Korea and Japan and actually started launching missiles and shit and really trying to hit stuff, they said "alright, tubby, you've got to fight this 'un on your own." Now this relic of the pre-irradiated age was published before the nuclear warheads started flying, so I'm having to guess what caused WWIII to break out. Odds are, the North Korean leader made some wisecrack about the U.S. president, and then the North Korean leader wanted to have a dick measuring contest right then and there so he prolly shot a nuke that didn't work at Tokyo or Seoul and that's when the U.S. cranked up Hulk Hogan's music and turned N.K. into the world's largest parking lot. Of course, that led to Russia launching all their missiles by accident, and next thing you know, half the fucking Western hemisphere is glowing neon green - tsk, tsk

But you know, times weren't always so bad in North Korea. In fact, in the mid 1990s, things were actually pretty decent there. Well, I mean, just as long as you overlook the totalitarian death camps where countless families were systemically slaughtered, but come on, how hard is that?

Rather, I'd like to turn your attention to April 1995, when the notoriously secretive North Korean government actually opened its doors to outsiders for something called the Pyongyang International Sports and Culture Festival for Peace. Over the course of two days, more than 300,000 people flocked to the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium (to this day, the largest stadium on the planet) for a celebration entailing gymnastics, massive choreographed routines and, of course, the absolute best kinda' entertainment anywhere in the world ... pro 'rasslin

Yep, that's right. The North Koreans could have pretty much booked ANYTHING they wanted for the super rare public display - indeed, it was the first time many Western journalists were EVER permitted inside the country - but instead of bringing in the Rolling Stones or Michael Jackson, they wanted World Championship Wrestling, gahdammit. The two-nights of grapplin' goodness was a joint production with New Japan Pro Wrestling, headlined by a battle of two of the most iconic faked fisticuffs showmen in history; representing the good old U.S. of A you had "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair, and in the other corner, representing Japan and kinda sorta North Korea, you had Antonio motherfuckin' Inoki. Needless to say, that match - which I believe only happened once, but I could be wrong - shattered pro 'rassling attendance records. Even the low ball estimate - 150,000 people, per the Meltz - gives it nearly 50 percent more attendees than the largest claimed WWE attendance ever. So yeah, to say this event was just a little bit historic is a mild understatement. 

WCW being WCW, though, they didn't actually broadcast the event until four months later. What should have been the biggest WCW show ever was treated like a one-off oddity, and despite literally having the entire world media looking at it, the company never took advantage of the global publicity opportunity. But yeah - that really shouldn't surprise nobody, I 'spose. Even now, the WWE has all but forgotten the event happened (prolly because it makes their grandiose, exaggerated attendance claims look like shit), and the crossover card - officially titled Collision in Korea - remains one of the very few WCW PPVs unavailable on the WWE Network. 

Thankfully, old Jimbo here has an old -ass VHS copy just laying around from back in the illegal cable box days. This sumbitch sure is dusty, but I'm just certain the contents inside the black plastic case just have to be solid rasslin' gold, right? RIGHT!?! Well, let's stop the conjecutrin' and fire this baby up on the old Sanyo and see if this stuff was ever worth going out of our way to watch in the first place ... 

Our announcers for the festivities are Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff and New Japan representative Kazuo Ishikawi - a.k.a, SONNY MOTHERFUCKIN' ONOO, who naturally, is about a foot shorter than his two American co-hots. Ishikawa (fuck it, I'm just going to call him Onoo because it's easier) sums up the Flair/Anoki main event thus: "it's an American, it's a Japanese and it's in Pyongyang ... this is wrestling diplomacy at its best." 

Eric B. said Korean fans are much like Japanese fans in that they are both really polite. He also notes this is the first time many Koreans have ever seen pro wrestling before, when in reality, it's probably the first time most of the audience has ever been outside of their detention holding cells before. Too Cold Scorpio is out first, breakdancing in his American flag pants. All of the announcers are extremely quiet and subdued, prolly because there was an imperial guardsman with an AK-47 standing right off screen ready to plug a bullet in their skull for saying the politically incorrect thing. "You have to remember, this is a communist country," Eric B. reminds the TV viewing audience. "Everything is controlled by the government ... this is one of the most closed societies on Earth, and that's one of the tings that makes this event so unique."

Boy howdy, I bet all them North Korean critters sure loved them all this interracial homoeroticism!

Anyhoo, Scorpio's opponent is "Wild Pegasus" Chris Benoit, and Teny keeps calling him all four names like that over and over again. We get a shoving contest to begin and Tenay talks about Benoit winning the Super J Cup. We get a wristlock exchange, and the Koreans go crazy when Scorpio starts doing his flips and shit (and remember, this is undoubtedly the first time anybody in the crowd has ever seen a black person in real life, which makes it about a million times funnier.) We get a test of strength and Mike and Eric argue over which wrestler is stronger. Like, they get really into it, comparing Benoit's upper body muscles to Scorpio's leg tendons and shit. Scorpio does a series of monkey flips, complete with this one spot where it looks like Benoit is trying to fuck Scorpio missionary style. Tenay brings up the fact both these guys were on the same tag team at the When Worlds Collide PPV from 1994, which for some stupid ass reason, I've never watched in its entirety although I probably should have a long time ago. Scorpio hits a moonsault, then a super kick. Onoo says Benoit probably doesn't know much about martial arts because he's Canadian and I legitimately laugh my ass off.

Scorpio misses on a body splash off the top rope and Benoit hits him with a knee to the midsection. Eric says wrestlers usually come flying off the ropes at 25 to 30 miles per hour, which is so much bullshit it might actually work as garden fertilizer. Benoit racks Scorpio on the top rope and stomps him a little. Scorpio whiffs on a spinning kick so Benoit rocks him with a dropkick. There's this great moment where Eric asks Onoo if he is impressed by Scorpio's kicks and he 's all like "eh, it's OK." Too Cold with a standing side kick. Benoit lands a Tombstone piledriver, then he goes up top. He hits the diving headbutt and that's enough to get the three. So yeah, you have two of the best wrestlers of the 1990s and you book 'em in a barely six minute long throwaway curtain jerker - yep, this really is a WCW show. Believe it or not, Marky Mark Dave Meltzer actually gave this thing four stars in The Wrestling Observer back in the day. Alas, I'm a much tougher critic, and the best I can allot something this short is a meager [** 1/4].

Up next its Tokimitsu Ishizawa vs. Yuji Nagata. They both come out to the most stereotypical Japanese restaurant ching-chong rice-munching music you've ever heard in your life. The in-ring announcer is dressed like a move theater usher - well, that, or a member of the Lollipop Guild. Both wrestlers are wearing black underwear and boots, so good fucking luck telling them apart. 

Onoo is hilarious as shit as he just fucking buries WCW alive, talking about how great it is to see Japanese competitors performing "professional wrestling the way it was meant to be." Eric can only respond with a meek "well, that is yet to be seen," when deep down, you know he's really thinking "gook, I'll slap your face if you bad mouth my company one more time."

Literally the only way to distinguish the two wrestlers is that Ishizawa has knee pads on. Ishi with a toss. Nagata working on a kneebar. Ish gets a clean break at the ropes. Onoo says their technique is superior to American wrestlers. "When was the last time you saw good sportsmanship in American wrestling?" he quips. Nagata looks for an armbar. He keeps hammering Ishi's elbow. Nagata with a hiptoss takedown and another armbar attempt. Ishi trying to lock in his own armbar, while Nagata looks for a pseudo-rear naked choke. Eric B. said that few American besides him and Muhammad Ali have been to North Korea before, because good luck finding anything to talk about during this match. Ishi is still working that arm. He stomps Nagata a million times, and then Nagata misses on the enziguri. More stomps from Ishi. Nagata with a release belly to back suplex, three kicks to that stomach, a crossface on the mat and Ishi taps. The whole thing barely lasted four minutes, in case you were wondering. It was too competitive to be a squash, but too unremarkable for me to really give a damn. [**]

Bischoff said the North Korean government spend a solid year planning the event. Masahiro Chono and Hiro Saito then come out to what would later become Rey Mysterio's music in WCW. Their opponents are El Samurai and former sumo star Tadao Yasuda. Eric B. and Mike T. talk about the transition from sumo wrestling to pro wrestling being like the transition from pro football to pro wrestling. Chono and Yasuda to begin. Yasuda with a headlock. Time for a test of strength, because who doesn't love that shit, amirite? Chono with a gut kick, then a wristlock before Saito clobber shim with a hammerfist off the top rope. 

Now Saito is working a wristlock. Bischoff explains this is a compilation of two days' worth of matches, so if the audiences see wrestlers competing more than once, that's why. Saito with a bodyslam and Samurai gets tagged in. Samurai hits a scoop slam and a leg drop. Chono with a big boot to Samurai's chin. Samurai with a sunset flip for just a two count. Yasuda is tagged in. He gets a boot, a bodyslam and whiffs on an elbow drop. Chono gets the tag and his opponents wallop him with a double clothesline. Saito lands a HYUGE spinebuster on El Samurai. Chono gets tagged in and he puts him in a camel clutch. Eric B. wonders aloud if they call it an "Irish whip" in Korea.

Chono hits Samurai in the balls and Eric B. asks Onoo if that's the kind of scientific wrestling he was talking about earlier. Onoo wins the whole fucking world and all its treasures past and present when he responds by saying that it's simply Chono punishing Samurai for working in Mexico for so long. Yasuda is tagged in and he suplexes Saito. He lands a couple of E. Honda sumo slaps then Chono gets in and Yasuda crushes him in the corner with his flab. LOL, even as a sumo wrestler, Yasuda is barely that much fatter than the average American. El Samurai is tagged in. He hits a body splash, but it's only worth a two count. 

Chono kicks Yasuda in the balls and Onoo refers to it as "a heel kick." Chono hits El Samurai with a flying shoulder tackle off the top rope and yep, that's what gives us our three count. Eric Bischoff questions the sincerity of Chono's courteous behavior after the bell. "Yeah, that was a real polite bow," he said, "after kicking his opponent in the groin three times." Holy shit, the jawing between Bischoff and Onoo is literally the best thing that's ever happened to the universe. I consider it a meh-inducing [**] bout, but commentary like that automatically makes it an infinity snowflakes plus one affair in the sheer entertainment department.

We get a quick montage of Ali, Flair, Giant Baba and the Steiners sightseeing around Pyongyang. Than Mariko Yoshida and Manami Toyota come out wearing angel costumes and kimonos. Onoo says Toyota reminds him of his sister and that's why he's never introduced her to Bischoff. Their opponents are Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto. You've got to dig Bull's Marge Simpson blue hair and Hokuto's gas mask/giant white afro ring attire. "How would you like to have that knocking on your hotel door at six in the morning?" Eric asks. Tenay somehow manages to do him one better by saying that Bull has a lot in common with Vader, and not just because they look alike.

The heels double team Yoshida. Bull clotheslines those hos and she fucking LARIATS Toyota to death. Eric B. with this hilarious insight: "Toyota, feeling like she just got hit by a Dodge Ram!" Toyota with three missile dropkicks off the top rope. Just a two count. Yoshida tagged in. She gets clotheslines and scoop slammed. Akira tagged in and she hits a body splash and a spinning kick to the face. Akira with a piledrive, than a bunch of kicks to Yoshida's thighs. Time for the Mexican Surfboard treatment, which Tenay calls "The Rito Romero Special." Fuck, what a dated reference ... carbon-dated, actually. Bull is back in. She works a mean surfboard variation of her own. Toyota breaks it up. Akira with an elbow drop off the top rope and then Bull tries to bend Yoshida in half. Akira hits a leg drop, but it's only worth a two.

Yoshida gets a crossbody block and then lands a handspring elbow like the Great Muta. Then another. Her fisherman (err, fisherwoman) suplex only registers a one count. Akira hits a superplex for two. Bull lands a clothesline off the top rope, then Toyota gets the hot tag and Akira immediately makes her eat some knees on a splash off the top rope. Bull gets tagged and she fucking MURDERS Toyota with a power bomb, but it's only good for a two count. Yoshida lands a double missile dropkick (that means each leg hits a different bitch) and then she wipes out both those hos with a suicide dive over the top rope, which is followed up by a Toyota springboard plancha. Toyota hits a moonsault on Akira, but it's only good enough for a two-count. Akira counters with a victory roll - it's only a two. Yoshida tagged in. Akira hits a German suplex for a two count. Bull is tagged in. Yoshida with a splash off the top rope, and you guessed it, it's only good enough for a two. Yoshida and Toyota land stereo dropkicks then Akira hits a solo dropkick off the top. Akira then wipes both of them out on the show floor with a full rotation senton off the top rope. Back in the ring, Bull hits a top rope leg drop on Yoshida and that's all she wrote. It may not have been as good as some of the other joshi classics these broads have been in, but it's far and away the best match of the show thus far, and it ain't even close. [***]

And you know what? I WOULD tap it, and I don't give a fuck what you think about me.

Scott Norton comes out wearing a spandex Beetlejuice ensemble. I totally forgot just how big of a motherfucker this dude was. His opponent is SHINYA HASHIMOTO, you motherfuckers, and he comes out to what would later become Dean Malenko's WCW music.

These two guys' body types couldn't be anymore different. Eric B. says there are different kinds of conditioning, and Hashimoto has mastered the art of conditioning his body for abuse. He also makes a crack about Norton spending all his free time at the gym and Shinya spending all his free time at the Japanese equivalent of Pizza Hut, which oddly enough, I think is Domino's.

Hash with a full nelson. Norton easily breaks free. Norton sends Hash reeling with a shoulder tackle. A knife edge chop sends Hash to the canvas. Norton with more shoulder butts in the corner, then a good old fashioned avalanche splash. Hash with a kick to the stomach, then a kick right to the jaw. The spinning wheel kick only gets a two. Hash works an armbar, then he throws in some elbows for good measure. Mike Tenay says Hash trained in Canada, but delicately tiptoes around using the name "Stu Hart." Meanwhile, Eric B. just keeps talking about what it was like working in AWA back in the day, because there really ain't shit to say about what's happening in the ring.

Norton with a shitty flying clothesline. Tenay says Norton and Road Warrior Hawk went to the same high school and wonders what it would have been like to be bullied by them. Now Hash is working the arm again. Eric B. tells a story about one time Norton allegedly beat up Oakland Raiders receiver Dave Casper at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Hash kicks Norton in the stomach and he no sells it. Norton hits him with a clothesline, but it's only worth a two. Norton with a facelock then a neckbreaker. Shit, this match sucks. Norton with a bodyslam. Then an elbow drop. And another. Norton looking for a powerbomb. Hash counters with a back-body drop, followed by a dropkick. Hash working for another over-the-shoulder armbar. Onoo chides Norton for grabbing his opponent's hair and scratching his eyes like "Americans do when they are in trouble." Norton with a backbreaker. He goes up top and lands a Vader-ish splash. Just a two. Norton punching Hash in the midsection. Norton works a sleeperhold. He gives up the submission and just starts stomping him. Holy fuck, can you imagine the WWE having a relationship with New Japan this chummy today? You know, one in which they not only cooperate with another promotion, but actually agree to let THEIR talent look good against them, too??

Hash clips Norton's knee and kicks him in the sternum. Just a two. Elbow drop. Only a two. Hash with a DDT. Just a two. Onoo gives Norton credit for his resiliency, which he attributes to his time working in New Japan. Hash works a sleeperhold. Norton fucks up a powerslam so he just hits a shitty looking DDT instead. Holy goddamn shit, this match is the devil's asshole. Norton hits a knife edge chop and Hash collapses. Now Hash is chopping back. Hash with a kick to the sternum. Just a two. Norton finally lands a powerbomb. He goes up top and hits a splash. Yep, it only garners a two-count. All of a sudden, confetti starts falling out of the sky, indicating South Korea has officially invaded. No, wait, that just means the 20-minute time limit has been reached. Of all the fucking matches on the card to go Broadway, they had to pick this one?  This was just one big stankin' old turd of a match, and a firm reminder why Scott Norton never got a push despite looking like a fucking Marvel Comics villain in real-life. We all weep for Hash, who certainly deserved better than this snoozer. [* 1/2]

Hey, let's take a look at some gymnastic routines and people waving giant flags in the stadium, why don't we? There's this great shot of Scorpio sitting in the stands in a suit and tie clapping and being palpably horrified he's the only black person in at least a 3,000 mile radius, and it is glorious

Alright, here comes Yasuda again. He's taking on Road Warrior Hawk on night two of the festivities. Tenay talks about Hawk being in a tag team with Kensuke Sasaki back in the day. Eric B. tells a joke about being on a plane with Hawk in his shoulder pads and nobody laughs, which ironically enough, makes me laugh.

Yasuda with some sumo slaps. Hawk splashes his ass in the corner. Hawk with a headlock, a shoulder tackle and the Yasuda assumes the traditional sumo stance. He smacks Hawk, the he gets right back and clotheslines the fuck out of him. Hawk with a bodyslam. He goes up tope but misses on the body splash. Yasuda with a body slam, then a butterfly suplex, but Hawk no sells it and clotheslines him again. Hawk with a power slam. He hits hit with a flying clothesline off the top rope and Yasuda botches the shit out of it, but it's still good enough for the three count, anyway. Gah, what a totally pointless, boring-ass squash. [*]

When the nearest black dude is literally two continents away, you REALLY have to convince the locals you're enthusiastic about things. 

Up next it's the Steiners vs. Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki. Hey, remember their one match from 1991 in the Tokyo Dome, that even now pro rasslin' nerds on the Internet can't determine whether or not is vastly overrated or vastly underrated?

Hase (with a hilariously gay mustache) and Scott (with his sweet ass mullet) to begin. Scott with forearm smashes in the corner then a hiptoss. Scott with a headlock and a shoulder tackle, then he gorilla press slams his foe out of the ring and onto one of the NJPW trainers - you know, all them motherfuckers ringside rockin' gaudy silver windbreakers with their last names on the back of 'em. Rick comes in and belly to back suplexes Ken. Eric B. wonders what Korean fans think about the Steiners and Onoo fires back "well, probably that they're a bunch of crazy Americans and they're wrestling."

Hase and Scott back in the ring. Time for a Greco-Roman knuckle lock. Hase with a wheel kick and dropkick. Scott hits a snap suplex, stomps him a little then lands a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. Rick is tagged in and so is Ken. Rick feeds him a couple of hand burgers. Ken keeps no-selling Rick's clotheslines, but he misses on an elbow drop. Ken with a German suplex. Ken leaps off the top rope but gets hit with a belly to back suplex from Rick. Ken with a powerslam. Hase tagged in and it is chops galore. Rick with a short arm clothesline, then he slams Hase into the turnbuckle sternum first. Scott is in and he drops Hase with a belly to back powerslam. Scott knocks Ken off the mat, then feeds Hase a running boot to the face. Then Hase dropkicks that white nigga' and Rick gets the tag. Rick with a release German suplex. Ken breaks up the pin attempt. Scott gets the tag and he locks Hase in an STF. He gets out, so Scott hits him with another belly to back suplex. Rick is tagged in. He punches the shit out of Hase's face and then Scott stomps on his solar plexus. Scott is tagged in and he hits Hase with a tiger suplex variation, bu it only gets a two. Rick is tagged back in and Hase hits a t-bone suplex. Ken finally gets tagged in and he powerslams the fuck out of both Steiners. Then Scott hits him in the balls, but it's kinda' for naught because Ken fires back with a double clothesline to take out both of his American adversaries a second or two later. Hase is tagged back in. He puts Rick in that stupid fucking giant swing and of course he's dizzy as fuck afterwards, allowing Rick to hit a release German suplex and tag Scott in. He immediately hits Hase with an abdominal stretch-powerslam combo, but it's only worth a two-count.

So Ken and Rick fight on the outside and Scott hits Hase with the fucking Steiner Screwdriver but the camera COMPLETELY MISSES THE FINISH. Anyway, you know ain't nobody getting up from the Steiner Screwdriver, so yeah, that's our match, ladies and gents. An alright bout, overall, but these four are definitely capable of putting on much better - and it ain't nowhere close to matching their Tokyo Dome match, that's for damned sure. [** 3/4]

Onoo says Inoki was trained by Rikidozan (a famous Japanese 'rassler who was born in North Korea, before "North Korea" was actually a thing), so that by proxy means Flair don't stand a chance in the main event. Eric B. just looks like he swallowed a turd and says Onoo's stance is, and I quote, "premature." 

Flair, of course, comes out to the theme from 2001, while Inoki comes out to some truly regal sounding shit which, in my humbled-ass opinion, is WAY better than that goofy "Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye" nonsense.

Inoki is pretty much the only wrestler on the show to get any kind of reaction out of the crowd. Onoo says Inoki is using wrestling as a bridge for peace, and in the very next sentence he buries American pro wrestling as "barbaric."

There's a collar and elbow tie up to begin, then Ric gets a headlock takedown. Then Inoki gets a takedown. He's looking for an early armbar and the crowd cheers. Flair gets to the ropes and locks in an armbar of his own. Flair takes a quick breather on the outside. He rolls back into the ring and hits Inoki with a shoulder tackle. Then Inoki recovers and he just stomps the FUCK out of Flair. Ric rolls to the outside and takes another respite. Ric with a kick to the gut and some knife edge chops. Onoo thanks Bischoff for finally saying something positive about a Japanese wrestler. Now Flair is stomping the hell out of Inoki, and then he rolls out for a breather. Flair jacks Inoki's huge assed jaw on the top rope. On the outside, he hits Inoki with some chops and tosses Inoki into the metal ring post. Flair suplexes him back into the ring. Just a two count. Flair with an atomic drop (on a Japanese wrestler? How distasteful!) and he starts working on Inkoi's left knee. Now he's working an STF, then he stomps on Inoki's ankle. Ric clips Inoki's knee and hits a knee drop. Ric with chops and stomps in the corner, then another atomic drop (because as we all know by now, it takes at least two atomic drops to get the Japs to surrender.) Now he's looking for the figure four leglock. He has it. Inoki looks fucking MANLY grimacing in pain. Inoki starts peeling his way out of the leglock. He's free. Flair pulls him right back out and tries to lock it in again, and Inoki goes for a roll up. It's only woth a two. Inoki tried to go for a backslide. That's just a two. Flair lands some chops and Inoki lands some punches in an awesome exchange. Inoki coldcocks Flair and starts clapping his hands to get the crowd pumped up. More chops and punches are exchanged. FLAIR FLOP TIME! Flair begs Inoki to stop pummeling him, but Inoki don't understand our American constructs of sympathy and keeps rocking Ric with right hands. Flair takes his patented turnbuckle bump to the outside. Flair with a gut kick and a snapmare. Flair goes up top. Inoki, of course, grabs him and launches him off. Inoki with a dropkick with easily three miles of daylight (for the non-wrestling-watching normies, that means Inoki's move didn't even come close to looking like it connected), and Flair kicks out. 

Flair rallies with some big punches. Then Inoki starts firing back with punches of his own. Flair with a bodyslam and an elbow drop coming off the ropes. Flair with a big backdrop suplex, but it's only good for a two-count. Inoki uses leg scissors to get out of a body slam attempt, then Inoki does his trademark cartwheel kick thingy and Flair sells it like a shotgun blast. Inoki goes up top and hits a knee drop. Inoki then hits his jumping roundhouse kick to the back of the skull (basically, it's the same thing as Fighter Hayabusa's back brain kick from Pro Wrestling on the NES) and that's what gives us our three count, folks. Inoki gets some flowers after the match and it looks like Flair is going to attack him so all the New Japan guys in windbreakers look legitimately nervous and then Flair just waltzes on over there and simply shakes his hand and leaves. Well, on a purely technical level the match wasn't much, but the "big event" atmosphere really made this one feel like something special. I might be a tad too generous here, but I feel pretty confident rating this one a solid [*** 1/2] for top "match of the event" honors.

I guess just the thought of getting hit by that dropkick was enough to put Ric Flair on his back!

We conclude the show proper with more montages of the festivities in Pyongyang - and trust me, you ain't missing much of anything right here. So all in all, this is a pretty forgettable show, really only noteworthy for the novelty of transpiring in Kim Jong's backyard. I suppose the main event was a pretty decent match (although not the all-time classic it probably should've been,) and the undercard had maybe one or two halfway decent little offerings (the women's tag, for sure, and MAYBE the Steiners/Hase and Sasaki bout.) Pretty much everything else on the card, however, is totally unremarkable, with the matches fluctuating from way too short wastes of talent (the Scorpio/Benoit opener) to pointless squashes (the one with the Road Warrior and that shitty Sumo fellow) to just fucking terrible (why, God, did anybody think it was a good idea to give Scott Norton 20 minutes of PPV time?) 

Really, the best thing about the whole show is listening to Eric Bischoff and Sony Onoo snipe at each other like a bunch of passive-aggressive junior high bitches. Onoo absolutely pisses all over the WCW product and Bischoff retaliated by ... taking it like a punk and then giving the motherfucker a job working for HIS company just months later! And of course, years down the road Onoo would accuse Bischoff and pals of being racist in the workplace, and that made his ass a couple hundred thousand dollars richer in the process. So I guess that means Onoo wins like, four or five different ways over Eric B., I suppose. 

Anyhoo, is this card really worth going out of your way to witness? Eh, the spectacle of it all is kinda' cool, but the in-ring product is such a mixed bag that it kinda' makes the whole endeavor mostly a disappointment. Shit, the camerawork is so crappy you really don't even take in the grandiose North Korean backdrop, so you might as well just be watching any old WCW program from spring 1995. Flair and Inoki might be worth catching just to say you saw the two wrestle, but beyond that? Much like North Korea as a whole, there really ain't Jack shit to see here, folks.


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