This week, we’ve chosen Alex Wright vs. Steve “Mongo” McMichael from World War 3, 1997 on November 23, 1997. Members of the site @TimWelcomed, @typicalROHfan and @TomBlackett give their (lack of) expertise on the action.
Part 1: Goldberg who?
Ah. Another match that’ll make me miss World Championship Wrestling. World War 3 was an amazing concept. I love two rings so give me an event with three rings and I’m in heaven. This was supposed to be Mongo vs. Goldberg (everyone’s dream match) but Mongo beat Goldberg down with a pipe before the match.
Who we get in Goldberg’s place is even better. Mongo cuts a promo that makes me want to change the channel. Unfortunately, I can not do so. Alex Wright, who was probably backstage working on his dance moves, is brought out by Debra to face Mongo.
Steve “Mongo” McMichael comes out to the ring with a lead pipe. Does this mean lead pipes are the official weapon of Wrestling On Earth?
What a coward! Mongo attacks Goldberg backstage instead of wrestling him. Leave those low tactics to the Chicago Brownbears and the NFL. This is pro wrestling, bub. I can’t say it wasn’t for the better as going from Goldberg to Alex Wright is like upgrading from steak to ice cream. (I don’t care what anyone says. That’s a great analogy and steak is inferior to ice cream!)
I’ve never seen a World War 3 PPV before (WE WEREN’T A WCW HOUSEHOLD), so the establishing shot of the three rings took me by surprise. It looks completely amazing though. Less cages / chambers / cells and more multiple ring matches in wrestling, please!
Mongo’s initial promo is pretty spectacular. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, this old dog has been learning some tricks!”It’s a Mongo mixed metaphor mash-up meltdown!
Who can replace Goldberg? FUCK YES ALEX WRIGHT, though wow, the crowd aren’t too excited to see the Wunderkind. Alex doesn’t look too pleased either, but he’s a PROFESSIONAL so he’ll get in the ring and do his little dance like a pro.
Part 2: The match
Mongo quickly learns not to underestimate or turn your back on Das Wunderkind. Mongo eventually gets the upper-hand. It goes back and forth for a bit. We get some top-notch chops to the chest of The Mongo One from Alex Wright.
We get Mongo back on top when he performs that illegal tackle to the knees of Wright and then goes on to do his legitimately scary tombstone piledriver. We are put through the sadness of watching our hero, Alex Wright, fall to this idiotic predator.
Alex Wright comes out looking rather dapper in a leather jacket. I wonder why he never got a chance in WWE. Triple H likes to wear leather jackets and it’s a fact than Alex Wright looks more handsome in them. Simple math dictates leather jacket envy.
Wright starts the match off by swinging the jacket at Mongo’s stupid back. With bright yellow gear, Alex Wright knows what the viewers wants. A fan sign with the word “LOSER” written on it is spotted. I can confirm this sign was made solely for Mongo. LOSER thinks he’s the Undertaker and delivers a tombstone pilvedriver on Alex Wright for the win. A terrible moment on Earth.
4:35 seconds into the video and the match finally starts. Leather jacket violence starts things off. Is this allowed? How is this allowed? Are you just allowed to use whatever you’re wearing when the bell rings as a weapon and it’s cool?
Debra nags the fuck out of Alex. “Alex, Alex, Alex, get in there. You can do it, I have faith in you.” GET OFF HIS CASE, DEBRA, HE’S DOING HIS BEST.
Mongo’s offence is bloody awful, but Alex sells like a champ. “Ahh ha ha haaa!” laughs the former football player, showing off his superior skill and strength. He also gives Wright a clothesline and pretends to fall over, as if he’s secretly not very good at all. That’s the sign of a real worker, brother.
Part 3: Aftermath
We get a replay of Mongo’s piledriver to drive home the fact that he just beat Alex Wright. I must say it was really nice to see someone as powerful and respected backstage as Alex Wright go out and agree to put over a young and deserving up-and-comer like Mongo.
The booking was all wrong. It should have went like this spot for spot:
1. Alex Wright pokes Mongo in the eye and runs to ring #2 to dance.
2. Mongo runs into ring #2. Wright runs to ring #3 to dance more.
3. Mongo runs into ring #3. Das Wunderkind runs outside.
4. Alex Wright dances for 9 seconds out of the ring. Mongo chases him and gets counted out.
5. Mongo thanks Wright for the match and gives Wright his Super Bowl ring.
6. Alex Wright dances and is granted the World War 3 title shot.
7. Alex Wright cashes in and defeats Hulk Hogan to win the WCW title.
Mongo’s finisher was the tombstone piledriver? And they called it a tombstone piledriver on WCW TV? Weird. I really like Mike Tenay’s justification for Mongo’s rage:
“Mongo never scored a touchdown. He was never able to spike the ball, and now he takes it out on his opponents’ heads.”
Anyway, this was surely much better than Goldberg vs. Mongo would have been, even if the wrong guy won. Alex Wright continues to dance his way into my heart.