Looking Back Reviews

The Hardcore Files: WCW #1 (Brian Knobbs vs. Norman Smiley)

Ladies and gentleman, we are back with another edition of The Hardcore Files! But, as said on the last ever WWE Hardcore Files, this is the first ever WCW edition of The Hardcore Files. Now, some of you may not know that WCW had a Hardcore Division, and I don’t blame you for not knowing because it was very, very short-lived. Whether you did or didn’t know though, I invite you to come along on this short journey of what I’m sure will be some of the most outrageous, wacky, cringy, and the overall insane timeline of WCW’s Hardcore title changes. As if WCW isn’t wacky enough, a Hardcore Division was born. We kick things off with Norman Smiley going one on one with Brian Knobbs for the new and vacant WCW Hardcore Championship. So, let’s get into it.

Vacant WCW Hardcore Championship: Norman Smiley vs. Brian Knobbs

Brian came down to the ring accompanied by Jimmy Hart, wheeling down a small plastic dumpster full of weapons that were immediately spread across the ring. Norman on the other hand, came down in full Toronto Maple Leafs hockey gear, which didn’t get him far because once the bell rang, Knobbs stole his hockey stick and started laying in a beating with it. His hockey mask was pulled off right after, followed by Smiley taking a trash can over his head.
Now it’s time to get into the swing of things. Norman was literally screaming like a child and trying to get away from Knobbs who was punishing him with everything he could find. What the hell have I gotten myself into?! It was obvious that Norman Smiley didn’t want to be in this match. The commentary kept calling him screaming Norman, which played well with his character in this match. But, after one crucial mistake on the behalf of Knobbs, Norman wasn’t screaming anymore. With now full control of the match, Norman used his hockey stick to his advantage and hit a mean slap shot right into a trash can that was over the head of Brian Knobbs. He pandered to the crowd who seemingly loved this type of stuff and went back at Knobbs for more. Sadly for him, Brian had enough of his shit and hopped back in the driver’s seat.

After realizing not much damage could be done to Norman with full hockey gear on, he started ripping it all off. Knobbs continued to lay in a brutal beating on Smiley around the ringside area after a short back and forth. The commentary said, “This is WCW, it doesn’t get any better”, which is so hilarious considering how bad this is. But, on a positive note, the trash can/can lid shots over the head of Norman sounded absolutely glorious. The loud sound it made came across perfectly on the television. The action quickly started spilling backstage where Norman took control after drilling a chair into the midsection of Brian. Then, he nailed Knobbs across the face with a broom. I popped hard for this because it seemed like he was supposed to hit him over the back but Brian turned too quickly and took a brutal shot to the face. This actually seemed to piss Knobbs off and then he retaliated by throwing a trash can into the face of Smiley. Knobbs set up a table which he put Smiley through seconds later, but instead of going for a pin, they continued their brawl around the backstage area. This was preposterous to me because they were using anything and everything that was in their reach. Knobbs grabbed a milk carton and hit Norman with it in the face. Those horrific screams started again and they weren’t pleasing. Knobbs gave zero shits and was hitting the living hell out of Smiley.

A hilarious finish quickly followed when Knobbs and Norman started fighting in an elevator. Norman had control at this point and Jimmy Hart went to hit Smiley with a trash can, but of course; the elevator doors shut. Hart started button mashing for the elevator to open and he was ready to swing his trash can. Yet, it backfired. When the door opened, Brian Knobbs was in control and Hart hit his friend over the head. Smiley quickly jumped on him and stole a pin for the victory and became the first ever WCW Hardcore Champion. What a wild match. My god. After the match, a pissed off Brian Knobbs beat up Jimmy Hart and Norman Smiley, tossing them into stands full of bread.

What the hell did I just witness?!


This was a weird way to start out on our first edition. Comparing this to WWE's Hardcore division, they started out with gimmick matches such as ladder matches and actual hardcore type stuff before going full wacky with the 24/7 rule. WCW? Of course, they skip straight to wackiness on the first title defense. Don't get me wrong, this was bad. Watching this live at the time I would've had a complete "WTF?!" Thought. But, knowing what I was getting into, I loved this wackiness and I can't wait for more.


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