Many sites have a match of the week but ours is a little different. These matches are the ones that are fun to watch… in the non-traditional way.
This week, we’ve chosen Mike Awesome vs. Lance Storm from WCW New Blood Rising. Members of the site @TimWelcomed, @typicalROHfan and @TomBlackett give their (lack of) expertise on the only PPV match in wrestling history competed under ‘Canadian rules’.
Part 1: The Introductions
First we get Mike Awesome coming out. My favorite part of this is when they show the crowd you can see a Juggalo kid pop out from behind someone for a split-second and it’s absolutely terrifying… actually, maybe he was just wearing Sting facepaint. Next we have a serious Lance Storm coming to the ring. He’s frowning because Big Bang Theory didn’t exist at this time.
Lance Storm gets the mic and talks and talks and talks. Most of it about him being Canadian, of course. He says that he’s a marked man in the USA. He says it has him worried about a terrorist attack and that it’s not his fault the American’s think they rule the world. What a heel! He then invokes Rule No.32-B so he can name a special referee for this match. I was worried he was going to call out Rule No.49-C, but it is hard to have Judy Bagwell and a pole always on hand. His referee is Jacques Rougeau so that’s something. We sit through the Canadian National Anthem out of respect. The incredible encounter of strength and wit begins.
This is one of my favorite WCW matches ever. It’s so out there. As a child wrestling fan, I HATED Canada. It started with the Hart Foundation and Bret waging war on my favorite wrestlers (Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels) while waving a Canadian flag. I was so into it, I took a mini USA flag to a WWF RAW show, despite sitting in the nosebleeds. This came back to life during the Lance Storm WCW push. To top it off, I loved Mike Awesome! This was basically my WCW version of Wrestlemania. Needless to say, this took years off my 11 year old life.
Storm calls the American wrestling fans rude and obnoxious. As a lifelong American wrestling fan, I can’t deny this statement. Amazing all these years later, I’ve defected to Team Canada. Commentary is not good. I’ll never understand why Mark Madden and Scott Hudson replaced Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay. The Heenan, Tenay and Tony Schiavone team was so underrated.
I’ve watched very little WCW from the Russo Era, and believe me, I know what a serious character flaw that is. What’s immediately striking about this is the silence as Mike Awesome’s ‘Beautiful People’ rip-off music plays. Like, not that the crowd is silent, but literally no-one on the commentary team talks for almost a solid minute. Did that happen a lot in WCW? it’s disorientating!
Lance ‘Bazinga!’ Storm with all the titles is quite a sight to behold. It also took me a few years to realise the Saskatchewan Hardcore Invitational Title was only called that so Russo could have some giggles about there being a SHIT title. I thought it was just a weird little touch that added nicely to Lance’s Canada-obsessed character and yes, I am extremely innocent.
I don’t know who the non-Tony Schiavone announcers are, but the one screaming “SAY IT! SAAAAY ITTTT!” as Lance prepares to cut his promo is clearly the more obnoxious of the two. As his speech goes, on you can feel the crowd ACHING for the special enforcer to be Bret Hart, and oh man, poor old Lance knew it. Seeing him shake his head as he prepares to disappoint everyone with Jacques Rougeau is something I could watch all day. In case you’re wondering, this is the face of a man who knows he’s about to let down thousands of people:
Part 2: The Match
The match continues. Mark Madden’s voice has to be able to infect people with rabies via soundwaves. There’s no way that anybody could listen to this man without suffering from some sort of illness. Mike Awesome pulls out a really low-to-the-ground table? Maybe it was just the camera angle. Lance Storm isn’t dealing with that hardcore BS an quickly gets the match back into the ring. Awesome goes to the top rope but then, with great style, simply slides down (falls) and bounces his ass off the top turnbuckle as to reach maximum velocity for a clothesline to Storm. He meant to do that.
They have the American ref count three on Storm after Awesome hits him with the Awesome Bomb. Rougeau pulls out the rulebook and has them reveal that Canadian Rules state that you must win via five count. WCW, I miss you. This is me forgetting to type because I am excited about seeing a Dragon Sleeper. Storm taps to it, as everyone should. But wait! Canadian Rules dictate that titles can not be won with submissions!
The match continues. After almost losing balance, Awesome hit a big splash for the five count. But guess what, guys and gals? If you knew anything at all, you’d know that after a five count the opponent has ten seconds to reach their feet before you can say you’ve won a match in Canada. Ask Bret Hart. He knows. This match will probably never end. They then declare that after a fall through a table, the first wrestler to reach his feet before ten will be declared the winner. Remind me to bring a sleeping bag to any Canadian wrestling events that I attend. We now have two refs counting to ten which leads to Rougeau knocking Awesome out while the other ref wasn’t looking. This was on a PPV.
Hold up. Bret Hart is here! He hugs Storm and Rougeau. THE END.
E-C-Dub chants break out as Mike Awesome brings out a table. Mike Awesome slips off the top rope and the Canadian crowd erupts with laughter. I can’t stress how beautiful that is. There’s a cool exchange that leads to Awesome hitting a powerbomb and our first battle of confusion begins! There has to be a five count in Canada. Luckily Shane Helms, Shannon Moore and Evan Karagis didn’t follow these rules or we may have seen the Hardys sing in WCW.
The highlight of this match comes from Schiavone running down Madden with the comment “You’re from Pittsburgh, ya lame brain!” Both men go through a table and the newest Canadian rule is the first to stand wins. Jacques Rougeau decks Awesome and Storm wins. Bret Hart comes out in grandma jeans. This sums it best. This is my favorite match of the 1999-2001 WCW days.
Man, Mike Awesome ruled. Lance Storm’s pretty great here too, throwing out a SUPERKICK! pretty early on. The commentary’s a pretty rough time. Tony Schiavone saying “he used the power of his legs to escape” made me laugh a bunch for some reason.
And yeah, it’s a fun match! Mike Awesome fucking up and then immediately clotheslining Storm while mocking the laughing fans was pretty terrific.
THE SHENANIGANS BEGIN and a fun match turns into a CLASSIC. Rougueau hamming it up after he gets the match restarted kills me, especially after hearing Kevin Steen talking about old Jacques being something of a prick in interviews. His pompous waving to the crowd is even funnier when you realise he’s probably not playing a character and just assumes they love him for being the legend he thinks he is:
But yeah, the match gets restarted a bunch, with increasingly ridiculous ‘Canadian rules’. “1, 2… 3. Only a 3 count.” and “kick out at four” deserve to be acknowledged as two of the all-time greatest calls.
Anyway, there’s a table and, in the words of the obnoxious commentator, “Storm wins! Storm wins! Storm wins! Storm wins! Storm wins! Storm wins! Oh Canada! Yeah! Gretsky!”