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The Bad Guy, Scott Hall

Softball Sid

Slobberknockers abound
Ringside Shadows #117: WCW Talent Evaluations, part IV
(S-Z... But there is no 'Z' in wrestling, so it's really... S-W... whatever)

Just in time for the beginning of the new regime, I'm wrapping up this long-winded WCW talent evaluation. Since we obviously haven't seen any of the new roles these guys'll be portraying just yet, I'll be grading them based on their characters, ring presence and overall value at this point. Some things could change in the next two short nights, but it wouldn't be fair to judge the last quarter of the wCw's field in a different light than I did the rest. There's a good variety in this little closing section, with some fallen stars, some competant workers, some straight ass and one hot body (mmm hmm). I'll keep this one short, and for those keeping track I'll even throw in a complete listing of talent and my final grades at the end. Picking up right where I left off, let's take a glance at the razor himself..

Scott Hall

The man around whom the angle of the decade was built. Sure, some might argue that McMahon and Austin took the cake, but for what it was, nothing could hold a torch to the nWo 'invasion' angle when it was in full throttle. Unfortunately, neither was based with a well conceived ending in mind, and it really hurt both in the long run. Anyway...

Hall's problems both inside and outside the ring are the stuff of legends, but for all the wrong reasons. Hall's a notorious troublemaker, and his image, workrate and stance within the company have all suffered as a result. Without his difficulties with alcohol and a backstage presence that's shaky at best, there's little doubt Hall would have at least one world title under his belt by now. Instead, he remains one of the industry's most high-profile "also ran"s. In his prime, Hall was stupendous between the ropes, with more than one five star match behind him. Heat is never an issue where Scott's concerned, as fans love to hate him.. he just drips of heel charisma. Icing on the cake is his finisher, which I never really get sick of. It's really too bad to see problems getting the better of him, and I firmly believe he should've stayed away from the temptations of the road while he still had the chance. When he was on top of his game, healthy and clean, I'd give Hall an A. Now that he's fallen from grace, the result isn't quite as pretty.

Overall Grade: C

Sid Vicious

I didn't really care for him in the old NWA days, as a member of the four horsemen. He's always been intimidating as hell, both due to his size and his persona.. but that's pretty much the limit of his scope. His chokeslam used to be a thing of beauty (check a tape of Wrestlemania VIII... in the preview before his match with Hogan, they spotlight the story leading up to the feud, and a couple are shown there), but have since gone somewhere else. I have no idea how he got over as a face, nor why he was pushed as one.. but WCW's been anything but logical in the past months.

Despite his generous portion of suck, Vicious was really the only credible champion WCW could've chosen at the time (with Sting out, Flair aging even more poorly, DDP out, Goldberg out, Hogan bitching, Nash out, Hart out, Benoit leaving the promotion and Savage out).. so I won't argue with their reasons. His promos are listed under Websters' definition of "horrid," and his match quality is a footnote on the same page. Being over counts for something, I suppose, and a well enough planned turn raises his value beyond the failing region.

Overall Grade: D+


Remember when Spice was enough to make the mouth water? This goes to show you how much a terrible haircut can affect one's appearance. Sure, she's still the owner of quite a fine body, but that hair color and style just... oi. That's not to say I would pass her up, given the option. Anyway, I just needed to make a comment on that recent turn of events. Give me back the "short haired nitro girl" I loved all those years ago!
Overall Grade: Still Gorgeous

Stevie Ray

A man that exposes the industry and puts his opponents at risk every time he steps into the ring. Stevie's so completely inept that he can't even climb through the ropes with his credibility intact. His pedigree ('slapjack') is performed so terribly that it's more than a slight risk to the poor sap forced to take it. If I were in the position to choose between taking Stevie's finisher and walking away from the promotion, I'd take the latter... it's that bad.

When on the mic, Stevie Ray makes even his brother look like a speech major, graduating at the top of his class. His offense is worse timed and less varied than Sid's (oooh), and he's among the few to ever blow up during a rest hold. Stevie, along with every other member of this new Harlem Heat 2000 should 'blow up' in a different sense.. and the rumors of his massive pay cut aren't enough, in my book.

Overall Grade: an emphasized F


Sting's been there through basically everything. Built as the new franchise way back in 1990 (in a match that fellow columnist Matt Spence witnessed firsthand), the Stinger's more than carried the torch for his generation. His feuds with Flair and Vader have been very worthwhile, and he was given the enviable spot as the leader of the nWo's opposition back when the angle still meant something. Eternally over, Sting ranks up with Flair as one of the most respected men in the industry. Though his offense has been on a decline of late, Sting still ranks as one of the best rounded main eventers in WCW today and more than deserving of a new run as world champ in the near future. When he felt like it, his promos were top notch.. though he seems more interested in shredding lines from "Batman and Robin" and "The Crow" lately. He's never had a problem with putting guys over when the need arises, and that alone deserves bonus points in my book. Sting's a loyal player, and his heart's clearly in it for the betterment of the sport. Unfortunately, his time's almost up gang, so enjoy it while you can.
Overall Grade: B

Tank Abbott

Not good.. and little potential has been shown for improvement, let alone willingness. Abbott's one of those guys that's in it to look good and grab some money while the sport's still hot. I guarantee when this big revenue for the industry drops, Abbott won't be anywhere to be found. His work's lazy, dull and monotonous, his build is anything but fantastic, and his single promo stands as less than quality programming. I'm sure WCW was hoping for another Ken Shamrock when they snatched this guy up, but without the well-rounded experience and the Harts' training... Abbott's nothing of the sort.
Overall Grade: D-

Terry Funk

Another story of "the body that would not quit." Funk's been in more than one position that I'm surprised he walked out of, and he continues putting himself at risk today. As a fifty year old that can hit a moonsault, there's only one Funk in every generation. He's been largely underrated by the masses, but even those who recognize his abilities are starting to doubt his sanity anymore. With his aging, just about everything that originally made him special has since left him. He'll still take a nasty bump, bleed like a stuck pig and try to put a good match together, but he doesn't fit in with the state of wrestling today. Already a veteran when Foley was just breaking in, Funk's taken nastier bumps over a longer period of time.. and Foley's retired. It's obvious his stint with WCW isn't working with the audience he was brought in for.. leaving him more than a bit confused and directionless. It's a sad sight, and I'd really like to see it put to a halt soon.. before his last match leaves him with more than a broken leg or a dislocated shoulder.
Overall Grade: C-

TAFKA Iaukea

The cruiserweight champion... and not at all confident with his new gimmick. They've stuck him with Paisley, who's actually done an admireable job in her efforts to get the man over.. but it just isn't working. He doesn't care for the gimmick, and it shows that he hasn't done a single thing to turn it around. His mat style hasn't changed a bit and should be much slower, with a possible emphasis on submission moves.. a technique that really doesn't fit with the division. Instead of a precise striking method that should retain credibility while looking as minimal as possible, the Prince has stuck with his halfhazard wannabe lucha kicks and top rope efforts. His finisher, while not as horrible as Stevie Ray's, remains ugly as can be.. even with champs like Kidman and Candido selling it. Another gimmick that needs to be rethought and a worker that needs to be given direction and a swift kick in the ass or a pink slip.
Overall Grade: D

The Total Package

Another former member of the Horsemen, Luger hasn't done much to improve his game in the last decade. Always one to emphasize his physique over a match's quality, the Package isn't responding well to the betrayal of his body as the years go on. Where his intimidating build would suffice before, a poorly executed clothesline is far from a suitable replacement. Stuck with Flair once more in this big 'team package' schpeel, the two aren't exactly improving their stock with bad angles, poor interviews and declining presence. Luger should've gone out on top after winning the title from Hogan in '97.
Overall Grade: D-


It's damned nice to see Vampiro elevated to a much higher spot on the card, especially considering some of the shit he's gone through to get there. While many doomed him from the start due to his famed problems with Konnan, Terry Taylor (the man responsible for bringing him in) has stuck with him, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out he's the one behind the whiplash elevation going on this past month. His push gives new hope to notoriously buried young stars like Booker and Kidman, and shows us that WCW isn't all about the elders. I hope his acceptance by Hogan wasn't a token move meant to deflect critics of his pompous attitude, but only time will tell there.

While he remains a controversial figure, Vampiro's been pulling out some nice little matchups lately against the likes of Flair and Luger, and his offense is a nice amalgam of the high flying lucha style and the mat based ethics of old with a couple nice kicking combos thrown in for good measure. While they could've made a better choice for elevation, they could've made much, much worse and I have no argument against Vampiro's selection.

Overall Grade: A-

The Wall

Overpushed, and as a result despised by the majority. He showed some promise as Berlyn's bodyguard, but WCW dropped the ball with the angle as a whole, and became too hurried with their push for the big man. He's beginning to break into the big time, with a big rub from Hogan (???).. and his workrate's steady decrease has continued. Much like the Undertaker in his infamous KOTR Hell in a Cell match, the Wall is defined by the workers that take the bumps for him.. with Crowbar jumping immediately to mind. WCW seems intent on making up for the mistake they made initially for this guy, but I just don't see it happening.
Overall Grade: C

...and that does it for this series, way overdue for a conclusion. Since I'm pretty much positive nobody plans to stick around for the anal retentive little sum-up that follows, I'm gonna go ahead and wrap up my comments here, with an unrelated thing or two thrown in. It's the spice of life.

I swung by WCW.com a couple times over the past few days, initially to grab the rest of the names for this evaluation and then later as an interested fan. I've got a bit of praise to offer... on the big page, built to preview Spring Stampede, WCW's done right by me. They've got a little section called 'history', offering complete matches from four previous Stampedes.. including workers that aren't involved with the promotion any more, workers who've been anything but kind in their post-employment words. There's Austin vs. Muta and DDP vs. Raven in there, alongside Goldberg vs. Nash and an atrocious Luger vs. Harlem Heat vs. Giant shitfest. The point is they aren't ashamed of their past, nor are they hiding the workers that made them money years ago. They're spotlighting the ENTIRE MATCHES, not just a highlight reel. My major problem is a technical one.. they chose motherfucking Real Player to encode them. Real Player has to be the bastard child of the internet community.. it streams like ass, and acts like it's streaming even when it isn't. The video is nasty at best, and the audio's grainy... but hey, at least they're trying.

One final thing before I go, a question sent in by a reader that I got a kick out of;

Jones820@aol.com wrote;
"I know your not an advice columnist, but this pertains to wrestling so I thought you could help...im a dedicated member of World Gym...im not built like The Complete Tool, but im in great shape nonetheless...but I saw something last week on Thunder that really disturbed me....Brian Knobbs was wearing a World Gym shirt....just like one I own but its a different color,.,,,,,,,,,,,how does one deal with the pyschological torment when one owns a shirt like Brian Knobbs? do I (a) Burn my own shirt...(b) get membership at gym not endorsed by the master of the Pit Stop...or (c) just hire some thugs to shove him in a crate and fed ex his fat ass to Greenland?"

Like he said, I'm no advice columnist... but nothing really speaks like the masses. Got advice? Send us an e-mail. We're listening. Personally, I'd say to hide the shirt away, wearing it only in the privacy of your own home.. or perhaps the gym itself. An association with Brian Knobs is one step away from an eternal damnation in the pits of hell.

And that should do it for me.. I'll be around Tuesday for the Tuesday Review, and John and I have our Spring Stampede preview lined up for Friday. Should be a good one this Monday night, so enjoy. And now, as advertised, the complete results of my WCW Talent Evaluation..

3 Count: B+  Asya: D  Bigelow: C-  Berlyn: D+
Scott Steiner: D+  Big T: F  Billy Kidman: A-  Booker: A
Bret Hart: B+  Brian Knobs: D-  Buff Bagwell: C-  Buzzkill: C-
Chavo Guerrero: B-  Chris Kanyon: B  Crowbar: A-  Curt Hennig: C+
David Flair: C-  DDP: B+  Disco Inferno: C+  Dustin Rhodes: D
Evan Karagias: C-  Fit Finlay: B  Goldberg: B  Jim Duggan: D+
Hugh Morrus: D-  Hulk Hogan: F+  Idol: C+  Jeff Jarrett: A
Jerry Flynn: D  Juvi Guerrera: B+  Kaz Hayashi: B  Kevin Nash: C-
Kid Romeo: N/A  Konnan: D  Lane: B-  La Parka: A-
Lash LeRoux: B-  Madusa: C-  The Maestro: C+  Marmalukes: B-
Meng: D  Mike Rotunda: D+  Mona: C  Norman Smiley: A-
Oklahoma: F-  Psychosis: B+  Rey Mysterio: B-  Ric Flair: C
Rick Steiner: D-  Roddy Piper: N/A  Scott Hall: C  Sid Vicious: D+
Stevie Ray: F  Sting: B  Tank Abbott: D-  Terry Funk: C-
TAFKA Iaukea: D  Lex Luger: D-  Vampiro: A-  The Wall: C

until next time, i remain


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