[TV Review] Pro – 1.5.91

wcw-pro

Commentators: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko

The Fabulous Freebirds are in the main event this week on Pro as they take on the makeshift team of Tracy Smothers and ‘The Candyman’ Brad Armstrong. Also on the show The State Patrol actually pick up a win and this might be the only time any of us see this happen on this website so let’s enjoy it.

The Lineup

  • Terry Taylor vs. Dutch Mantell
  • Sid Vicious vs. Darnell Yates
  • The Danger Zone w/ Paul E. Dangerously & Sting
  • The State Patrol vs. Italian Stallion & Brett Wayne
  • Brian Pillman vs. Crusher Knopf
  • Rip Rogers vs. Buddy Landell
  • Tracy Smothers & Brad Armstrong vs. The Fabulous Freebirds

*****

WCW Pro, or WCW Pro Wrestling at the time, was initially a show for the Chicago market so unless you lived in the area you didn’t see it. Luckily for you and me someone thought enough to tape these episodes, so here we are. Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko, the latter wearing a Dad sweater and fresh off a run as AWA’s World Champion for the better part of a year. We get a rundown of the show, which will feature the return of The Danger Zone.

Terry Taylor vs. Dutch Mantell
This match features two of WCW’s more important mid-carders, interesting that it’s the first contest up on this episode. We get some pre-recorded comments from Taylor, who thinks he’ll have a good year…if WCW gives him the chance. Slow heel turn? Taylor and Mantell trade rights then Taylor takes him to the mat with an armdrag. Mantell takes control, connecting with a concealed shot to the eyes and targeting Taylor’s knee by slamming it against the edge of the apron. A half-Crab continues to weaken the wheel further, Mantell grabbing the rope for leverage even though it doesn’t appear to be doing anything. The classic ‘ref doesn’t see the heel cheat’ routine plays out then Mantell clotheslines Taylor over the top and onto the floor. Taylor blocks a guardrail shot and sends Mantell into the steel. Mantell reverses a corner Irish whip but Taylor floats over and gets the win with a sunset flip. Alright then. Okay for what it was, I guess. (3:57)

  • Final Rating: *1/2

Gary Michael Cappeta runs down the card for WCW’s return to Chicago on January 20th. The main event is scheduled to be Sting taking on Ric Flair for the World Title, but he cleverly doesn’t say which one will be the World Champion when the match happens.

Sid Vicious vs. Darnell Yate
Vicious is announced as being from ‘Wherever He Darn Well Pleases’ which rules (the world). Here is he for the second show in a row to beat up a smaller black guy. How southern of you, WCW. Jeez. Sid vows to be World Champion in 1991 via pre-recorded comments. About that…

Sid makes short work of Yates with a Stinger Splash and a clothesline that Yates sells beautifully before hitting the Power Bomb for the victory. Cool beans. Sid would’ve been a good choice for WCW World Champion but as you’ll soon notice 1991 was not this company’s year. (1:16)

  • Final Rating: SID SQUASH

WCW HOTLINE AD! Awesome. I called that once back in 1993…my parents were not happy with the bill. Not my fault Verne Gagne took twenty minutes to tell a five minute story.

In-Ring Promo Time: The Fabulous Freebirds & Buddy Landell
The Freebirds are standing by for some reason in the ring and even more randomly they introduce Buddy Landell as their guest. Landell tells the Freebirds he has all of their albums and how proud he is that the Freebirds took out The Southern Boys. Speak of the devils out come Tracy Smothers and Brad Armstrong. Steve Armstrong is Smothers’ normal partner but he’s not here. Garvin says they’re too busy with The Steiners to deal with them, Smothers snatches the mic and challenges them for tonight. The Southern Boys dropkick The Freebirds out of the ring and Landell stays in the ring, trying to be on their side until he’s caught and out he bails to the floor. Okay that was pretty funny. Buddy Landell rules. Too bad he doesn’t do anything with the Freebirds again this episode so this is ultimately pointless.

Segment Time: The Danger Zone
Paul E. Dangerously tells a story about a ‘Little Stinger’ who came up to him in NYC crying because Sting got beat up at Starrcade 1990. Segue into the Horsemen attacking Sting at the end of the PPV. The Steiner Brothers use bolt cutters to open the cage door right as The Black Scorpion is revealed to be Ric Flair! When we come back to Dangerously he’s standing by with the Stinger himself. Sting says as soon as he locked up with The Black Scorpion he knew it was Flair and admits that Flair’s mind games worked for awhile. Sting says they both want the same thing, the World Title, and Flair will have to fight like hell.

The State Patrol vs. Brett Wayne & The Italian Stallion
The State Patrol are Lt. James Earl Wright and legendary wrestling teacher/WCW Power Plant staple Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Italian Stallion is someone I recognize because Pro Wrestling Illustrated covered his feud with George South pretty comprehensively in the 90s. I never watched a show from the PWF but I read enough about them to feel like I did. Wayne gets the upper hand on the State Patrol with armdrags and dropkicks in the early going. Parker tries to leapfrog Parker but gets caught in a slam and covered for a two-count. Wright pulls Stallion down by the hair to turn the tide. State Patrol have control until Stallion hits them with a double clothesline. Wayne gets the hot tag (?!?) and takes it to Wright with basic wrestling stuff (dropkicks and whatnot) but Wright puts the stop to it with a neckbreaker. Wright picks Wayne up in a suplex position and Parker hits him with a crossbody on the way down for the victory. Cool finisher. Also I’m pretty sure this is the only time I’m going to see The State Patrol actually win a match. Pro is weird. (3:18)

  • Final Rating: *

Footage from the Horsemen/Doom brawl from Starrcade 1990 airs then we cut to Arn Anderson and Barry Windham for a promo, saying the Tag Team Titles belong to the Horsemen.

‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Crusher Knopf
Pillman makes a bunch of airplane puns in his pre-recorded comments because he’s ‘Flyin’, get it? Knopf has the size advantage but Pillman is the star so that doesn’t matter. Pillman connects with some chops and a standing toehold to kill time. Pillman ducks a clothesline and connects with a spinning kick, then finishes him off with a flying crossbody. That’s that. (2:11)

  • Final Rating: SQUASH

Rip Rogers vs. ‘The Nature Boy’ Buddy Landell
Rogers attacks Landell in the aisle as the latter makes his entrance. Landell quickly overpowers him and slams on the floor. Action moves into the ring and Rogers connects with a series of chops in the corner. Landell fights him off as Schiavone announces that The Freebirds will indeed take on Smothers and Armstrong in the main event. Rogers tosses Landell to the floor, climbs to the top turnbuckle, and hits a flying axhandle, Macho Man-style. Rogers whips Landell into the guardrail and charges but gets backdropped into the crowd. Back in the ring Rogers counters a backdrop attempt with a simple kick to the face but only gets a two-count. Both men trade shots and Rogers plants Landell with a DDT. Landell rolls to the floor, Rogers connects with a flying headbutt to the back of the neck from the apron. Landell counters an atomic drop with one of his own and follows up with a kneedrop. Back in the ring Rogers connects with an elbowdrop off the snapmare but only gets a two-count and he yells at the crowd to get them into the match. Doesn’t really work but I appreciate the effort. Rogers connects with a scoop slam and heads to the top turnbuckle. Landell climbs up with him and hits a middle buckle superplex followed by the spinning elbowdrop for the victory. Both men were heels so the crowd didn’t seem to know what to do but these two definitely didn’t phone it in. Got to respect a couple of pros just going for it because they want to have an entertaining match. (4:58)

  • Final Rating: **1/4

Tracy Smothers & Brad Armstrong vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Little Richard Marley isn’t with The Freebirds for this one, keeping in line with the continuity of Starrcade 1990. Armstrong still has ‘Candyman’ on his tights but it doesn’t seem to be a gimmick he’s really living at the moment. Schiavone still refers to the nickname though so I guess it’s still in play. Smothers forces the Freebirds out to the floor after a couple of superkicks. A pre-Young Bucks one-man superkick party! Garvin escapes a side headlock with an Irish whip but that frees Smothers up to punch a trash-talking Hayes. Hayes angrily tags in but Smothers is too quick for him so he calls for Armstrong to be tagged in. Smothers honors the wish and in he comes with a Thesz Press and rights for both Freebirds members. Hayes and Garvin hug for a moment then quickly try to wipe the gay off of them for a ‘ewwww dudes touching each other’ spot. Yeesh. Armstrong and Smothers take turns working over Hayes’ left arm until a short left jab fells Armstrong thanks to a distraction from Garvin. Smothers helps Armstrong to the apron and Garvin knocks him back down. Back in the ring Garvin and Armstrong collide, hurting both men. Smothers gets the hot tag and knocks the noggins of The Freebirds. All four men enter the ring and the Freebirds get whipped into one another. Smothers hits a flying crossbody on Garvin but the ref is too distracted with Armstrong to count. Hayes sneaks into the ring and spikes Smothers with the DDT, allowing Garvin to cover for the victory. Eh I enjoyed Landell/Rogers a lot more, that should have been the main event. This was okay though. (6:32)

  • Final Rating: *3/4

Next week on Pro The Z-Man defends the Television Championship against Moondog Rex. That should be…a match that happens.

Schiavone and Zbyszko close the show, the latter discussing how unmanly Terry Taylor is and how we’re going to find out if Sting is either tough or the luckiest man in the world. Solid segue skills from Zbyszko to connect those two topics together.

Final Thoughts: A much more interesting show than Power Hour was with a couple of decent match-ups. Rogers/Landell took their five minutes of glory and ran with it to deliver a fun brawl but unfortunately they didn’t get to main event the episode. Damn shame. Is it weird that I’m looking forward to a Moondog challenging for singles gold in 1991 for a major company? No? Cool.

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