Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews to be banned nationwide in Uzbekistan, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we return for only the second time ever to the magical and distant land of Australia to cover the debut show of World Wrestling Allstars, WWA Inception 2001! Now you would certainly be forgiven for having never heard of WWA before, as it was never very well known in the United States, but imagine a promotion stocked to the gills with former WWE, WCW and ECW talent, running the same year that WCW ended, and booked entirely by TNA's Jeremy Borash. Yeah, exactly. What resulted was perhaps the wildest and most disparate combination of talent ever combined into one promotion, and would prove to be the spiritual predecessor to what we now know as TNA. What ALSO resulted were some shows that make most Aussies double over with laughter if you even mention them. So with all of this talent, and away from the corrupting influence of WCW, what could possibly make these shows so laughable? Well I will serve as your loyal fact finder to find out.
So without any further ado, let's do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: I'm just going to post it here for you to watch so you can see what you're in for. Right around the point where Buff Bagwell shows up the feeling you'll be experiencing is called "dread."
Cewsh: Okay, here we are in the first part of the first pay per view for Australia's first major wrestling promotion. To kick things off with a bang, out from the back comes BRET HART, who is apparently in charge around here. Now, if you remember your history, you'll note that this is the very first national wrestling show that Hart had appeared on since concussions and grief over his brother's death caused Bret to be unable to wrestle for WCW any longer. This is also about a year before he would have a stroke that would remove him from the business entirely for 6 years. So this is an interesting point in the Hitman's career, and a bit of a triumphant return to wrestling for him. Please try to keep that in mind as you read what is to come.
Bret wanders down to the ring, and begins to cut a promo in that special Bret style of his where every inflection is out of place and he pretends the crowd isn't there. In this case he winds up and delivers a 5 minute promo about things that have nothing to do with this show. Those things include 9/11, how nice the beaches of Australia are, WCW, the WWF, how much better he is than all the wrestlers in WCW and WWF and how much of a piece of shit Vince McMahon is. Eventually he ALSO manages to mention that tonight we'll be crowning a WWA International Champion. He suggests that this will be the first time this has happened, even though they vacated the title immediately before this show so they could pretend they were a brand new promotion.
Bret informs us that it's time for the matches, and since I don't have any say in what happened 12 years ago, I guess that's what is going to happen.
Cewsh: This is the first match in the tournament to crown a new WWA champion, and while you may find it refreshing to see the much underpushed WCW crusierweights being given a shot at a big championship, let's just see how that whole thing shakes out shall we?
To begin with, Juventud Guerrera comes out and grabs a microphone, instantly causing me to mark out like a little kid on Christmas Day. If you followed WCW to any extent in the late 90s, you may have been lucky enough to hear some of the Juice's juicy, juicy promos. If not, then don't worry, I'll show you his most famous one.
Before we finish up with this match, though, I want to give a shout out to the referee who bucks all ref bumping traditions in the face of adversity. In one of the spots of the match, the ladder falls down on Psicosis and Juvi, which was planned, but the ref wanders into the way also and takes the ladder directly in his face. But not only does he not go flopping across the ring like a dead fish, but he actually completely no sells it and shoves the ladder out of his way while the two wrestlers fall down unconscious. Not only did this make the ref look like he was by far the biggest badass in the ring, but it also no doubt earned him a plaque in the referee hall of fame.
58 out of 100
Cewsh: I kind of feel like I nailed it with the segment name there. In an attempt to mirror as many of WCW's flaws as possible, WWA has hired their very own version of the Nitro Girls. This group of ladies doesn't have a name, nice uniforms, or particularly good looks, but if nothing else you could definitely say that bad dancing is a KIND of dancing, and they seem to be absolute prodigies in that field. Meanwhile, backstage, a limo is pulling up, and some guy gets out accompanied by Nathan Jones. If you don't remember him from his WWE days, let me refresh your memory. Nathan Jones looks like this:
And, just to drive it home, here's a picture of him standing next to other human beings:
So yeah. He's sort of big. He's also in the tournament later tonight, and is being flanked by the equally imposing force that is Rove McManus. If you are from Australia, (as demographics show that 1 in 10 of you are,) then that name probably brought on a double take and an incredulous laugh, because Rove McManus is to Australia what Jimmy Fallon is to America. Just without the fame. And the talent. And the money. You get the idea. But he's here to be the hype man for his fellow Aussie. They make it not even 3 steps before running into Lenny and Lodi, the worst gay characters in wrestling history, as they just sort of stand there and make funny faces at the gigantic pile of punches that is Nathan Jones. Apparently being totally unfazed by imminent death is a gay stereotype now, as well.
We close out this barn burner of a segment with confused Disco Inferno wandering around the completely empty backstage area demanding some security to protect him. Disco, by the way, does not have a match on this show, so he apparently came to the arena to demand security while he sits in a chair and eats some chips. It's good work if you can get it.
Cewsh: Here we have an epic clash between two people who have dropped an arbitrary letter from their name. It's a common practice done to prevent them being sued into outer space by WWE, while still getting to use names close enough to ring a bell to their fans, but I feel bad that they're the only ones on this show who have to abide by these restrictions.
Okay, so this is a dog collar match. That means that, in order to win, you have to touch all four turnbuckles in a row while being tied to your opponent. This gimmick has resulted in some truly awesome, intense brawls, and it has also resulted in some of the worst matches ever contested. I hope I'm not breaking your heart by suggesting that this match errs closer to the latter. Even if you are the biggest Konan and Road Dog fan in the world, (looking at you R-Truth, 3 Live Kru 4 Life!) you can probably see how they don't make for the best opponents. Since Konan is basically only good at talking and making music videos, and this is not, in fact, a music video, this match is a goddamn mess before we get anywhere near the ending. But HANG IN THERE, because the ending is a work of art. Here is a time lapse recap of the events that unfolded:
00:00 - After knocking down Road Dog, Konan takes about 30 seconds to look around, as if trying to see if the referee can see him. The referee is standing directly behind him, but Konan ignores this and pulls a gigantic pink crow bar out of his pants.
00:30 - Everyone watching attempts to figure out how the shit he had a 3 foot long crow bar down his pants for the entire first ten minutes of this match.
00:35 - Seemingly noticing that he's holding a crowbar for the first time, Konan goes ahead and hits Road Dog with it.
00:40 - His evil deed done, Konan decides to dispose of the weapon, which isn't actually illegal in this match, by putting it BACK IN HIS PANTS.
00:45 - In his excitement, Konan reaches up and takes off his collar, thus violating the only rule of this match. The referee seems cool with it.
01:45 - The ref decides that Konan looked better with neck jewelry after all, and asks Konan to put the collar back on. Konan takes the collar, goes to put it back on, and then chucks it directly into the ref's face instead. The referee seems cool with this too.
2:00 - Konan pulls out his pink crow bar again and tries to hit Road Dog from the top rope. This backfires. While Konan is reeling, the ref manages to put the collar back on him, and Road Dog promptly hog ties him with the chain, and takes this opportunity to hump him for some reason, before touching all four corners and wandering off.
Suffice to say that this match is a failure in terms of wrestling, but a complete triumph in the field of prop comedy.
51 out of 100
Cewsh: Yeah, nobody gives a shit about Devon Storm. In fact, having Devon Storm as part of your World Title tournament does more to devalue the belt than everything Vince Russo has ever done put together. Though, since Vince Russo is really responsible for Devon Storm's career, that whole analogy is a lot more meta than we have time to get into right now.
Basically, it's like this. Storm beats up Smiley, Smiley does the Big Wiggle to Storm, fans head for the bathrooms, and Storm ends the match by doing this:
I'm not angry with you, WWA. But I'm rapidly becoming very, very disappointed.
60 out of 100
Cewsh:When WWA were putting together this show, they really wanted to add as much of a celebrity punch as they possibly could, in order to draw eyes to the burgeoning promotion. Rove McManus was one example of this, but he wasn't even close to WWA's premier celebrity attraction. Jeremy Borash dug deep into the pop culture of Australia, and dug out the greatest team of entertainers ever assembled. The. Fruits. In. Suits. Awwwww yeah.
These legends of Australian children's television are a take on America's Bananas In Pajamas. And when I say "take on" I mean "rip off of", and when I say "legends" I mean "horrifying fruit monsters". It isn't clear why we randomly see them backstage, but I have a terrible feeling we haven't seen the last of them.
Cewsh: We go to another area backstage, and get to meet our backstage interviewer for this show. It is none other than one half of Harlem Heat, and Booker T's brother, Stevie Ray, and he is looking sharp in a black beret. He is interviewing Bret Hart about how the tournament is going to this point, and then we see a graphic of the bracket for the tournament. It may be the most sad and confusing thing I have ever seen.
Let's break this down. We have one first round match where a guy won with no offensive moves, which is fine since despite being called a tournament match they were never in the thing to begin with, one where both of the guys got injured and can't move on, one which will be determined via battle royal and one that appears to be Jeff Jarrett against the audience members in the front row. The battle royal doesn't even get it's own bracket box! And this is the debut show to determine their top star and champion! The entire time Bret is talking about it, Stevie Ray is giving him looks like, "You know this is ridiculous, right?" That is, right up until Bret says that literally any human being employed by WWA can participate in the battle royal, at which point Stevie gives the greatest face imaginable right into the camera, hands Bret his precious hat and runs to the ring.
No matter what else happens on this show, this moment will have made it worth it.
Cewsh: Look at the listing of people in this match. LOOK AT IT. We have two men in banana costumes, two referees, our announce team, a random cameraman, one of the dancers, two guys who already wrestled, and then Buff Bagwell and Disco Inferno. Prompting the question, WHY WASN'T THIS JUST A MATCH BETWEEN BUFF AND DISCO?
It's hard to get too mad, though, because the spectacle of this match was amazing from start to finish. First of all, this battle royal is not structured in any way. Buff and Stevie start out, and people just randomly show up in the ring throughout the match. Lawler forces Borash to get involved and then leaves him to get clobbered by Stevie, (who is making all my dreams come true tonight.) The two refs outside get in the ring, and Slick Johnson immediately starts jumping on people's shoulders when they're not prepared for him and generally putting everyone in danger. The cameraman just sort of gives a shrug and puts his camera down to get involved, and I am frothing with rage that he doesn't win this, because how great of a story would that be?
The dancer gets sexually assaulted by Lawler and runs away and much to the dismay of everyone with functional hearing capabilities, Devon Storm gets on the mic and starts doing commentary by himself. He says "I could beat that guy" 7 different times and mumbles through the rest, before Borash and Lawler come back and kick him out unceremoniously.
Buff Bagwell wins the match and, perhaps for the first time in wrestling history, that's the smart choice here, as he can actually wrestle a match and isn't, say, a giant banana.
Please keep your "giant banana" jokes to yourselves. We're a family blog, after all.
65 out of 100
Cewsh: If I offered you a million dollars and a night with Emma Stone as the prize, even then would you feel comfortable betting that this match is anything but miserable?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
But while this is guaranteed to be bad, it's the WAY that it fails that is just so special. See, Nathan Jones is the only actual Australian on this show, and they treat him very much like the heroic patriot who is fighting for his country. So here he's facing the top heel in the company in the first round of the tournament. And in fairness to Jarrett, this match is actually pretty decent in the beginning. Jones throws Jarrett around a little, Jarrett cheats a little. It's pretty much the best case scenario for a match between these two people. But then, of course, Jeff brings the guitar into things.
Jeff grabs his trusty guitar and sets up to hit Nathan Jones with it, as you have no doubt seen him do 8 billion times before, but before he can do it, the trusty sidekick Rove McManus comes flying to the rescue. Seeing as how Rove is a celebrity and not a ninja, he does this by diving headfirst at Jarrett, who treats the opportunity like he's just stepped up at the home run derby. One face obliteration later, and Jarrett casually walks over to Jones, gives him the Stroke, and wins the match.
So let's recap. Nathan Jones is only non WCW/WWE guy on their roster who the fans have any interest in. He is paired with a celebrity to get him more exposure, and is put in the highest profile match of the first round. He is then beaten clean as a total afterthought after 5 minutes. I...uh...I'm not a booker or anything, but golly that seems silly. And to have that as the cap to a match that was extremely limited to begin with...well let's just say this isn't going on anyone's "Best of" compilation. Not even Nathan Jones', which is currently just a slideshow of pictures of him looking mean.
49 out of 100
Cewsh: So Jerry Lawler is in the ring, and apparently wants to interview the massive celebrities that are the Fruits in Suits. This despite the fact that they've already been on the show twice and nobody had any interest in talking to them then. They come down and just kind of stand there while Lawler makes jokes about how "fruit" is another word for someone who is gay. HOHO! As if summoned by the demon of offensive gay stereotypes, Lenny and Lodi come bustling down to the ring and, as usual, they look like two straight guys who are supposed to look gay, and just put on some pink and call it a day.
Lenny and Lodi are bad guys, (because queers, right?) and so they say mean things. Gunslinging Commisioner Hart won't have any of these shenanigans, and promptly punishes these two jerks for berating the fans by...entering them in the title tournament against the lovable Road Dog? Wait, what?
Cewsh: Wow. Okay, so apparently Lenny and Lodi will both be taking the place of the injured Juventud Guerrera in a triple threat match against the only actual good guy on this entire show. Since Lenny and Lodi are basically Billy and Chuck without the charm and talent, (and the other group includes Chuck Palumbo for fuck's sake,) this match is a goddamn train wreck. Road Dog spends about 80% of it unconscious,, leaving Lenny and Lodi to do what they believe to be gay mannerisms at each other and dry hump awkwardly. Then they land conveniently in the 69 position and Road Dog pins them, while taking a moment to dry hump both of them.
And thus ends one of the most preposterously homophobic segments of wrestling ever committed to film. Please don't mistake my pleasant tone here as me condoning or forgiving it either, but everyone involved in the conception and delivery of the characters of Lenny and Lodi should be culled from the wrestling industry and have Road Dog's balls draped on them until they feel sorry for what they've done.
Seriously, this is fucking bullshit. In 2001, there's no excuse for this.
9 out of 100
Cewsh: Buff Bagwell is backstage with Stevie Ray, and he's cutting a promo about his second round match with Jeff Jarrett. About 5 seconds into it, Stevie Ray tells him to shut up and hold his microphone, which Buff does. Then Stevie berates Buff for being a coward and a loser for 5 unchecked minutes before grabbing the mic back and asking Buff what the gimmick for his match will be, (because Buff gets to choose apparently?) But the match may as well have been a "Buff Bagwell in a diaper" match, because having an announcer punk out a top star immediately before a big match is what we in the reviewing business call "Russoproductive." Which means that it starts off looking good and then swerves you and fucks everything up.
On the other hand, I am falling in love with Stevie as an announcer. Twice in a row, he's just randomly stopped doing his job in the middle of the interview. It makes me feel like this is just booking payback from Borash for all the abuse he's taken as an announcer.
Cewsh: Puppies. Whips. And Buff.
Run those three words through your head right now. Absolutely nothing that that combination could conjure in your imagination is anything short of horrifying. And yet, that's the gimmick that Buff Bagwell has chosen for this match. So what is a Puppies, Whips and Buff match? Well it has three key elements.
Puppies: In this context, they mean tits. Because Jerry Lawler is announcing and he has a troubling tendency to associate sexual things with wild animals. The tits are provided by a group of unknown women who are scantily clad.
Whips: Those women are carrying straps, because this is apparently going to be a lumberjack match where the girls can strap you if you are thrown out of the ring.
Buff: Buff Bagwell will be in attendance I have to assume he added this to make sure that all future uses of this gimmick would result in him getting automatically booked on the show.
The story of the match, such as it is, is that the ladies on the outside of the ring are Buff's groupies, and therefore they won't hit him when the chance presents itself, even though they're lighting Jeff Jarrett up like a Christmas tree every chance they get. You might think that this would give Buff an advantage in this match, (and make him the heel,) but you would be wrong. Because as Buff hits his Blockbuster finisher, one of the girls takes it into her head to wander into the ring and start playfully beating the referee with her strap. Obviously this woman has had some sort of mental break, what with this being the worst possible thing she could do at that moment, and having had no reason to want to do it in the first place. So Buff doesn't get the pin, Jarrett hits the Stroke, and we're done here.
Here's the thing. Ever since the ladder match, which ended the way ladder matches do, every single match on this show has ended in the most ridiculous way possible. It's getting to the point where I have to assume that either Jeremy Borash patterns his booking style after Russo's, or that he's just fucking with us for his own amusement. I mean seriously. This match had a conclusion so preposterous in theory and execution that it has to be the work of a master troll or someone who should never be allowed access to a writing device ever again.
62 out of 100
Cewsh: WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW?!
Somehow, wedged in on this show like an afterthought that requires no explanation, is a match between Luna Vachon and the Artist Formerly Known As Gangrel. It is called a Black Wedding match because this is supposed to represent their second honeymoon. Since they're both crazy sadists this would make sense, except that the entire concept of the match is that Gangrel doesn't want to fight his wife at all, SO WHY IS THIS MATCH HAPPENING?! They brawl for a bit, and even crash through the presents that are stacked up at ringside. And while I should be telling you more about the match since that's basically all I'm here to do, I desperately need to take a second to talk about those fucking gifts.
First of all, and this is really the big question, were those actual gifts that people got them? What do you even get two gothic, sex crazed lunatics? Was there a spending limit for the roster? Who do you think was the cheap one on the roster? Because I can totally see Bret skipping out on the thing altogether, and if Road Dog didn't get them a bong then I'm a Rhyno's uncle. And if those are all props presents, then who was the unlucky bastard who had to wrap 100 fake presents just for one poorly done spot? Why am I getting so invested in the prop presents in a throwaway 5 minute match? I don't know!
In non gift related happenings, Gangrel eventually has to fight, and effortlessly beats Luna with the Impaler, putting an end to this awful, awful match, that nonetheless is more successful than all of the wrestling weddings in history, simply because they're actually still married at the end.
In closing, let this stick with you. There is a 100% chance that these two made a sex tape. So enjoy that image.
23 out of 100
Cewsh: Disco Inferno shows up and demands to be part of the main event, because of course he does. Along the way he makes another “fruits” joke, which the crowd responds to by chanting “You’re a wanker” at him, earning Australia my eternal love and affection. Wanting to defend the honor of "fruits", the Fruits In Suits turn back up looking mysteriously about a foot taller and 50 pounds more muscular than before. They confront Disco in the cage that has been erected for the main event, and this probably isn't the wisest decision that a celebrity guest has ever made. So one of the bananas gets thrown off the top of the goddamn cage and through a table, which I imagine was a great surprise for the any of the small children who may have tuned in to see them.
Cewsh: Here we are. The main event and conclusion to the epic tournament of epicness. In one corner you have Jeff Jarrett, decorated champion, and second generation star. In the other corner you have Road Dog, one of the greatest tag team wrestlers of all time. Once upon a time, Road Dog was named The Roadie, and was actually the manager and bodyguard of Jeff Jarrett during their early WWE tenures. Jeff moved on to bigger and better things, and Road Dog would find his soul mate in Billy Gunn, but over time the question became obvious. Did the Roadie surpass the Star? Unfortunately, that question was never answered, as they never got to have a true, blue one on one match to prove who was superior. One yet, here fate has brought them together in a cage on the far side of the planet to do battle for the future of a company until only one of them remains. Double J verses Double J. Let get it on.
See what I did there? I built on their easily referenced backstory to make this match seem more significant than it really is. It should probably go without saying that WWA did none of this, and gave these two 10 minutes and 26 seconds to do whatever they could to rescue this show from the garbage dump. To their credit, Jeff and Dog seriously bust their asses to try to make this a good match, but there's just so much working against them. There's the shoddily built cage, the dim lighting, the confusing rules, (at one point Jarrett leaves the cage and nothing happens, so he climbs back in,) the camera man who is in the cage with them and seems to be in Jarrett's way every time he moves in any direction. And then there's the finish, where Jeff Jarrett puts Road Dog in the Sharpshooter and Bret Hart refuses to allow the match to end because HEY PLAGIARISM MAN. So then Road Dog reverses it and gets a Sharpshooter of his own, but Bret Hart doesn't discriminate when he's discriminating, and he refuses to let this work either. This time, hart goes so far as to say that he's now all offended and now NOBODY gets to win the belt and starts to take it home.
Noticing that this entire night of toil and struggle is about to be for naught, Road Dog runs down and grabs the belt from Bret and takes it back into the ring. So naturally, Jarrett steals it, clocks him, hits the Stroke and wins the title because this show is like Vince Russo's booking walking through a House of Mirrors. Every step a dimly viewed and distorted reflection of something that was ugly already, (HOHO!)
But at least we have ourselves a glorious champion who can proudly represent the company from here on...
...except that Jeff vacates the title before the next show, rendering this whole show moot and pointless.
Cewsh: I am at a complete loss for words. Even in the darkest days of WCW I have never witnessed such a horrible combination or batshit insanity and dullness. They took every bad finish and offensive storyline they could muster, signed all of the most irrelevant and drugged up wrestlers they could, and they just let the whole thing detonate in front of our eyes. And while this was their first ever big show, they literally had months to prepare for it, as they had been touring extensively leading up to it. For all the shade I've cast at WCW and TNA over the years, neither of those companies has ever sunk to a low this low.
From now on, every time someone abuses Jeremy Borash on TNA television, I will nod grimly at the screen as a single tear trails down my check. Because for what he did this day, being felt up by Bully Ray is the least of what he deserves.
In closing, it should be illegal to sell this show without a bottle of Cewsh Reviews Rum. I hate all of the things. Goodnight.
Well that'll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed the single worst thing to come out of Australia since Crocodile Dundee 2. Next week we're going to move on to something a little more cheerful and exciting as we tackle WWE's last PPV of the year, TLC. Surrounded by intrigue due to the debut of the Shield, Punk's injury, and the possibility that John Cena might actually put over Dolph Ziggler, the show may very well turn out to be one of the most interesting of the year, and therefore is guaranteed to self destruct miserably. Which, of course, makes it that much more delicious for you. So until then, be sure to keep reading and be good to one another!