#WWE59379 – Before They Were WWE Superstars 2

BONUS CONTENT

 

The Rockers vs. Mike Sharpe & The Intruder
[WWF Superstars – 06.01.88 (aired 06.18.88)]
This is rather curiously billed as the Rockers’ WWF debut, which isn’t in any way accurate. I don’t even know where to start with that claim. Their first debut was in 1987 against Jimmy Jack Funk & Jose Estrada. That was a dark match, but presumably footage exists. WWE don’t tend to just throw stuff away. It’s not even the Rockers’ 1988 debut, as they’d wrestled Terry Gibbs & The Conquistador (Jose Rivera) for Wrestling Challenge, and at the same tapings wrestled Steve Lombardi & Terry Gibbs also. It is correct in one sense of the term “debut” though, as this is the first televised Rockers match in the WWF to actually air on TV. It’s a three minute squash. The Intruder is AWA jobber Jesse Hernandez. Mike Sharpe, as you probably know, is the world’s loudest jobber. AAAAAAAARRGGGH, AAAAAAAAAARRRRGH, HIS ARM!
Final Rating: *

 

Avatar vs. Brian Walsh
[WWF RAW – 10.23.95]
James Dixon got the pleasure of covering this disaster in The Raw Files: 1995. Avatar was a character doomed to failure. Snow wasn’t into the idea and he struggled to work under the mask. The match is littered with mistakes, with Walsh not really buying into Avatar as a star either, and the whole concept being doomed from the get-go. The legend of Snow only having one match under the gimmick isn’t true though. He also beat Skip on WWF Mania, appeared on a few house shows, and closed out his Avatar run a few months later by jobbing in a tag match on Superstars. This match did signal the end of the push though, and the character was taken out of any future plans, which included being removed from the Survivor Series ’95 card and being replaced with Dr. Tom Prichard.
Final Rating: -*

 

Chris Jericho vs. Alex Wright
[WCW Monday Nitro – 08.26.96]
This was Jericho’s WCW debut, although he’d worked tapings for the company all week. Technically his first match was a win over Jerry Lynn, recorded for WCW Saturday Night. This is a typical WCW way to debut someone, with Jericho coming in as a hand-slapping babyface. And yet, he still doesn’t win. It wasn’t like Wright needed protecting or anything. The match is okay because both guys are capable. It goes against Jericho’s belief that he has a “debut curse”, which he you can read about at length in his first book. Wright would get counted out but Jericho refuses to take a win that way, which leads to a double… something. The crowd aimlessly boo the non-finish. Jericho tries to explain himself, but the crowd just boo along with his rousing anti-nWo speech. Urgh, WCW. Another creative failure.
Final Rating:

 

Taz vs. Mikey Whipwreck
[WWF RAW – 02.24.97]
This was from the ECW invades RAW show from 1997. Most of the WWF guys were away on tour in Germany (Sid, Bret Hart, The British Bulldog, Vader, The Rock, Mankind, Ahmed Johnson, Owen Hart, plus others) so a depleted show was bolstered by ECW. It was a ballsy decision and created one of the most memorable episodes in the history of the show. Mikey was a name guy for ECW but his reputation was that of an upset merchant, whereas Taz’s reputation was that of the ultimate badass. A win for Mikey would be like Barry Horowitz going over The Undertaker. Jerry Lawler’s counterproductive and borderline worthless commentary here is quite irritating. Taz destroys Mikey while Vince McMahon cuts away for a Faarooq interview. The WWF grate at me sometimes. Sabu turns up then jumps off the RAW sign, and Paul Heyman’s enthused commentary and the general excitement is just so infectious. Meanwhile Lawler bitches and complains about everything while Vince just sits there, dumbstruck, completely out of the wrestling loop. It’s a fantastic little time capsule look back at the point where Vince McMahon realised the WWF needed to change.
Final Rating: **

 

Down Underwear Match
Torrie Wilson vs. Tygress
[WCW Monday Nitro – 10.09.00]
This is an even more dubious ‘debut’ claim than any of the rest. Torrie had wrestled a dozen matches for WCW prior to this, mostly mixed tags with Kidman, and had wrestled both Madusa and Paisley (Sharmell) in singles before this. I can at least understand not including the Madusa match, because it was only thirty seconds long and she was still in WWE’s bad books for ditching the Women’s Title in 1995. This contest is dubbed a “Down Underwear” match because presumably WWF had trademarked “Bra & Panties”, but that seems a bit odd. This is two minutes of awkwardness before Tygress strips Torrie off to win. An apt demonstration of both ladies’ work ethic and in-ring abilities.
Final Rating: DUD

 

Kurt Angle vs. John Cena
[WWE SmackDown! – 06.25.02 (aired 06.27.02)]
This was Cena’s WWE television debut. He comes out to generic music, with generic tights and with a generic haircut. He’d been working house shows for about a month prior to this but as part of Vince McMahon’s “Ruthless Aggression” mantra, Cena felt he could step up. Cena gets to look good in the early going until Angle takes over with suplexes and natural dominance. Cena gets to hang by surviving. Cena even gets a run of near falls, which the crowd bite into. Although that might be partially canned SmackDown! crowd noise. Cena busts out some inventive counters and constantly looks for the win with roll ups. It’s impressively aggressive and optimistic. Kurt eventually just outwrestles Cena to get the pin. Good little match, a solid introduction to the main roster for Cena. John looks thrilled afterwards, despite losing, as he knows he came across well.
Final Rating: **¾

 

Summary: When this was released there was far less information readily available. There was not the mass of wrestling books, shoot interviews and podcasts that there are now. So it came across as a lot more interesting in an age where there was less information. In saying that, even then, if you wanted to know more about wrestlers you’d probably know most of the stuff on this DVD. It is quite alarming how different the segment is based on how much the person was into wrestling. The Torrie Wilson one was different, given her eating problems, but I found the ones that linked directly into wrestling all the way through like Jericho and Snow were the most interesting. Or when the subject was entertaining like Cena. Some of the footage is very repetitious and has been used elsewhere. The Brock Lesnar stuff especially, as I’d recently seen WWE’s Lesnar documentary and it was all taken from that. All in all, it might have interested me if I didn’t already know so much about the people involved. Chances are, if you’re a fan of these people you already know their stories, but seeing the likes of Tazz and Snow (who’ve not had the DVD treatment) get to open up about their earlier life experiences is pretty cool. Mildly recommended.
Feature: 55
Extras: 23
Verdict: 39

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