Other News FUN FACT: Why did Jerry Lawler call a non-WWE PPV while working for WWE 10 years ago this week?
Jan 3, 2013 - 2:40:02 PM
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Imagine the pairing of Jeremy Borash and Jerry Lawler on pay-per-view. It happened ten years ago this week when Lawler co-broadcast a World Wrestling All-Stars event taped in Sydney, Australia.
The timing of the event is interesting. The PPV was taped in October 2001, Lawler returned to WWE from a hiatus in November 2001, and the PPV aired on DirecTV on January 6, 2002 while Lawler was back on WWE TV as a broadcaster.
The event featured a main event of Jeff Jarrett beating Road Dogg to capture the WWA World Hvt. Title in a cage match. The show also included Bret Hart making one of his first post-WCW appearances saying it was "nice to be part of a wrestling company with a little bit of integrity."
The following is PWTorch editor Wade Keller's full report from the WWA All-Stars show, followed by PWTorch Roundtable Reviews from Keller and now-Prowrestling.net editor Jason Powell that were originally published in the Torch Newsletter, available for VIP members in the Torch Archives.
WORLD WRESTLING ALL-STARS
JANUARY 6, 2002
TAPED 10/26/01 IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, TORCH EDITOR
DirecTV offered a preview of the PPV that showed highlights of each of the matches, plus the interview and backstage segments, so there was no pretense that this was a "live" event... Bret Hart came out at the start of the PPV and said it was it was nice to be part of a wrestling company with a little bit of integrity... Jeremy Borash and Jerry Lawler introduced the program from ringside...
(1) Juventud Guererra beat Psicosis in a ladder match to capture the WWA Cruiserweight Title in 15:00. Below average ladder match, and it had a few blown spots that usually accompany this type of spotfest. It probably served its purpose to the crowd. Juvi finished off Psicosis with a nice 450 splash, then climbed the ladder and grabbed the belt. (**)
The Starrettes (a Nitro Girl type act) danced on the entrance stage. Lawler said he loves puppies that love to be petted and that play with each other... Rove McManus and Nathan Jones got out of a limo backstage. Lenny & Lodi, doing their limp-wristed act, gave them a staredown and complained about their sense of fashion... Disco Inferno asked a backstage worker to hire him two bodyguards...
(2) Road Dogg beat Konnan in a dog collar match in 4:00. Before the match Konnan did his usual mic work. When Road Dogg began his usual spiel, Konnan attacked him. Road Dogg fought back, but Konnan KO'd him with a belt. A rudimentary dog collar match followed. (*)
(3) Norman Smiley beat Crowbar in a Hardcore Match in 10:00. A cookie-cutter hardcore match with all the spots that were done to death on Nitro and Raw during the couple years that hardcore matches were "in vogue." Crowbar leaped off the scaffolding onto Norman on a table 15 feet beneath him. Norman draped an arm over the equally hurt Storm for the win. (*3/4)
Disco was upset with the two "Fruits" that the backstage guy hired to guard him. They were two guys in very goofy outfits and masks. You'd have to be either three years old or really high on pot to find that skit funny... Stevie Ray interviewed Bret Hart backstage. Bret invited everybody in the WWA to enter the upcoming battle royal...
(4) Buff Bagwell won a battle royal to advance in the WWA World Hvt. Title Tournament in 12:00. The match included Disco Inferno, Stevie Ray, Norman Smiley, Crowbar, Jerry Lawler, Jeremy Borash, and The Fruits. All (mostly lame) comedy. Crowbar did his Gordon Solie imitation on color commentary during the match.
(5) Jeff Jarrett beat Nathan "The Front Row" Jones (w/Rove McManus) to advance in the WWA Title Tourney. Jones is tall and muscular, but very green. Jarrett bumped around for him, then KO'd McManus with his guitar and gave Jones his Stroke finish for the win. (1/2*)
Lawler interviewed The Fruits. Lenny and Lodi walked out. Bret told The Fruits to leave. He then ordered Road Dogg to wrestle Lenny and Lodi.
(6) Road Dogg beat Lenny and Lodi in a three-way dance to advance to the title finals. Lenny and Lodi turned on each other, and the gay jokes from Borash and Lawler got old fast. Road Dogg surprised both with a double pin. (1/2*)
(7) Jeff Jarrett pinned Buff Bagwell in 5:00 to advance to the finals. Buff pinned Jarrett without a ref first, then Jarrett gave Buff his finisher. (*1/4)
(8) Vampire Warrior (a/k/a Gangrel) beat Luna in 3:00 with a DDT. (1/2*)
Disco beat up The Fruits in the cage.
(9) Jeff Jarrett beat Road Dogg to capture the WWA World Hvt. Title in 11:00 in a cage. Jarrett bled early. Jarrett won after giving Road Dogg his Stroke finisher on the title belt. Solid action. Bret put Jarrett in the Sharpshooter afterward. (**3/4)
Wade Keller, editor (3.5)
A real mess of a show. Although the some of the production values had major league qualities, it came across as a show run by people goofing off. The humor was cornball and the wrestling was mostly really bad. The WWA has to improve on this event by leaps and bounds to have any chance to make a dent in the U.S. PPV market. I can see, though, how the show was appropriate for an international touring act. For the more particular and seasoned U.S. viewers who have the choice between WWA PPVs and the WWF, it's not going to be a contest. To give the WWA a break, this wasn't supposed to air on U.S. PPV when it was filmed, so no thought was given to how it would "play" in this country.
Notes: It's time for Bret to realize nobody cares to hear him talk about the lack of integrity of the WWF in the context of a wrestling show. If his role as commissioner is going to be that he bends over backwards to make the WWA a promotion that follows rules closely, fine. But don't mix that storyline with his tired real-world obsession with Vince McMahon... Strangely, in editing the show, the WWA used the same panning shot of the front row more than once... Crowbar should have kept his Gordon Solie imitation backstage where "the boys" could appreciate it, because it's not that good and goes over the fans' heads anyway... The Fruits looked like characters out of H.R. Puff'n'Stuff... Borash was solid on commentary. Lawler was on auto-pilot, but was still good...
Jason Powell, assistant editor (5.5)
Now Americans know what it's like for U.K. fans who try to follow the WWF. Obviously, this show was aimed at the Australian audience since the company was not planning to air it on U.S. television. So as much as I could have done without The Fruits and campy comedy skits (and while I'm still wondering whether Rove and Andrew are the same McManus), I still enjoyed the show. The booking was atrocious and the camera work was even worse at times, but it was still fun to see some familiar free agent faces who weren't picked up by the WWF. Okay, so this show was worse than even the worst WCW pay-per-views for a lot of reasons, but it was still nice to have an alternative to the WWF.
With that initial thrill out of the way, WWA officials will need to come up with a better effort for its live February event. This show was something of a nostalgia show, so it made sense for the wrestlers to stay true to their most familiar gimmicks. However, everyone on the roster will have to freshen up their acts if this company hopes to be successful on U.S. pay-per-view. Road Dogg may not know, but his act was tired when he lost his last job. And Disco Inferno's gimmick is fine if he wants to remain a second-rate show comedy figure for the rest of his life. It's a shame he does because he's too talented for campy comedy. Juventud Guererra, Lenny, and Lodi were the only wrestlers who updated their looks since the last time they appeared on TV. Unfortunately, Guererra is still "The Juice," Lenny looked a step off, and Lodi just plain sucks in the ring (outside of homoerotic comedy spots). Even the best worker of the show, Jeff Jarrett, seemed to pick up right where he left off in WCW, which isn't a good thing. Hey, speaking of bad catch-phrases, did anyone else have to remind himself that Dallas Page wasn't going to show up on the new Thunder?
Cosmetically, WWA is already a step ahead of World Championship Wrestling (aside from the awful sound mix). Likewise, the hot crowd (some of it canned heat) also made the event seem more tolerable than the final days of Nitro. The announcing team of Jeremy Borash and Jerry Lawler was tolerable in the beginning, but lost momentum as the show went on. Borash has improved since his WCW days, but he has to stop using that annoying radio voice when he calls matches. Please tell me we won't have to sit through the comedy duo of Borash and Disco next month. Here's one vote for Don Callis as Lawler's replacement. All in all, this show was passable for what it was, but nothing better.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
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He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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