Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 21 September 2017

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXII 1996

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXII - January 1996 review
January 23, 1996
Ceasers Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

So, we've just finished reviewing all the major events from 1996, but there was one I hadn't covered - the first Clash of the Champions of 1996. 

I say 'major,' but by this time, the event had fallen from grace and was now no longer the big time attraction the first ever Clash of the Champions had been. Now it was merely just another TV event.

Still, I wanted to make sure I'd covered as much as I could of this game-changing year in pro wrestling. So, let's go back to the beginning of 1996, to a time before any of us had heard of the New World Order, and check out what happened at Clash of the Champions XXXII.

Last Night on Nitro

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Hogan and Savage
Our show tonight began with a recap from the previous evening's WCW Nitro.

Of note:
  • Macho Man Randy Savage beat The Nature Boy Ric Flair. In a repeat of Wrestlemania 4, Hulk Hogan celebrated Savage's win a little too enthusiastically, promoting Savage to tell Hogan off. 
  • Lex Luger used an International Object to defeat Harlem Heat for the WCW Tag Team titles, making he and Sting the new champions. 
  • The Dungeon of Doom and The Four Horsemen were pissed about something. 
From here, we got a run down of tonight's show before going down to Ceaser's Palace, the same venue that brought us Wrestlemania 9. Here, we got our introduction from Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Mean Gene Okerlund
The two hyped up our show tonight, running through the matches before sending us to Mean Gene Okerlund.

Gene was stood outside a little white chapel where Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri were supposed to be getting married later on in the show

After making a few jokes about celebrity marriages, Gene sent us to the ring for our first match.

The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags & Brian Knobs)

Flyboy Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge were fairly new at this point, having only made their debut a week earlier on Nitro.

Tonight, they were here doing what they did best throughout most of their WCW tenure: engaging in a wild brawl.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Nasty Boys vs. Public Enemy
Sure, this kind of match may not have been for everyone, but for this fan, it was a perfectly fun way to start a show, ending when Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags brought furniture into the ring.

More chaos ensued, leading to a double disqualifications.
Double DQ 

The two teams continued to fight into the commercial break, after which a promo for Superbrawl V1 aired.

Eric Bischoff Interviews Ric Flair and The Giant 

Having just lost his title the night before, you may have expected The Nature Boy Ric Flair to be at least a little bit upset, but no.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Eric Bischoff interviews Ric Flair & The Giant
In this promo, Flair smiled and styled and profiled and told us that he wasn't worried about it because tonight he would get to kick Macho Man's ass, and what he didn't finish, The Giant would.

For his part, The Giant called himself a Master of Destruction and, well, promised to destroy Hogan and Savage.

Dean Malenko vs. Alex Wright 

Maybe it was the dancing gimmick that he became synonymous with in the later part of his WCW career, or maybe it was the fact that -apart from that brief Berlin thing- the company never presented him as a serious contender to anything, whatever the reason, I admit to never seeing Alex Wright as a credible pro wrestler.

As such, I would often switch off -metaphorically if not physically- whenever he wrestled.

That, however, was my mistake -and my loss- because here against Dean Malenko, he looked fantastic.

   

This was a short but exciting little match, originally set up on WCW Saturday Night when the two had first met and Malenko had refused to let Wright out of the Texas Cloverleaf.

This time, Malenko won via pin fall and nobody cared, which is a shame.
Your Winner: Dean Malenko 

The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Disco Inferno 

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - The Taskmaster hates Elvis Baby!I try not to use profanity often, but this non-match was utter shit.

In place of the Disco Inferno, a bad Elvis impersonator made his way to the drink and delivered a terrible singing telegram which made him sound drunk or stoned or inflicted with a speech impediment, or a combination of all three.

The telegram announced that Disco wasn't there because he was at Col. Parker & Sister Sherri's wedding.

Taskmaster beat up Elvis and tossed him out of the ring, after which Jimmy Hart grabbed the microphone and yelled 'The Taskmaster HATES Elvis impersonators, BABY!'

This was garbage, but at least it spared us having to watch Disco Inferno wrestle.
Your Winner via Forfeit: The Taskmaster 

That little incident did segue nicely into our next segment: Mean Gene at The Little White Chapel.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Dirty Dick Slater, Mean Gene, and Bunkhouse Buck
Okerlund was there to greet Bunkhouse Buck and Dirty Dick Slater as they arrived for the wedding. Slater said he hadn't seen Parker since the night before at a craps table, and for some odd reason Buck spat about how he didn't care whether the wedding went ahead or not, after which Okerlund said to him 'I know you're excited about this wedding!'

Sure Gene, that's exactly what I got from that too.

Blah.

Okerlund next sent us back to the arena, where Eric Bischoff welcomed New WCW Tag Team Champions Sting and Lex Luger for an interview.

With Lex Luger erring on the side of heeldom, he began ranting to Eric about how he and Sting had proven to be the Tag Team of The 1990s by winning the titles.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - The Road Warriors confront Sting and Lex Luger
Before Sting could chime in, The Road Warriors made their big return to WCW. Sting was delighted to see them and offered them a shot at the titles any time they wanted, but Luger, displaying more charisma than perhaps at any other time in his career, was apprehensive.

Instead, he insisted that Harlem Heat, The Nasty Boys, and even State Patrol deserved a shot before the LOD.

The banter went back and forth, with no real conclusion being reached other than the inevitability that the two teams would eventually wrestle.

Making this one of those shows with more talking than action, the show next took us to Paul Orndorff.

Mr. Wonderful Speaks Out 

In a pre-taped segment, Orndorff reminded us of the devastating injury he had suffered at the hands of The Four Horsemen on a recent episode of Nitro (in reality, a cover up for Orndoff getting neck surgery).

Going over his recent history with the fiction, particularly his hatred of Brian Pillman, Orndorff swore revenge and promised us that it wouldn't be the last we would see of Mr. Wonderful, though of course, it actually was.

Col. Parker Arrives For His Wedding 

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Col. Parker was set to marry Sister Sherri Martel
Next, we cut back to Mean Gene, who was waiting at The Little White Chapel for the bride and groom.

In a bad continuity error, Gene was standing in front of a couple of newlyweds who had actually walked off in the previous segment.

Ignoring that, Parker arrived in a rented limo and was all in a fluster because he'd lost all his money at the casino.

After asking Mean Gene to loan him $50, Parker got on the phone with his 'Little Fried Pie' to assure her that he was going to go through with it.

This wasn't entertaining in the slightest, and it was a welcome relief when we finally got back to some wrestling.

Flyin' Brian Pillman vs. Eddie Guerrero

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Brian Pillman went ape shit in his match with Eddie Guerrero
This could have been a great match, but Pillman was more interested here in playing up to his 'Loose Cannon' gimmick than actually wrestling. So, what he gave us instead was a disappointing, disjointed outing against Eddie Guerrero.

Pillman's behaviour did, however, give us one memorable moment when he went off-script and started roughing up announcer Bobby Heenan.

Irate (and as he would later explain, worried about his neck), The Brain very loudly yelled 'What the FUCK are you doing!?!' and stormed off, only to gather his composure, return to his job, and apologise for his outburst.

That was the only thing that mattered in this match. Pillman won with a handful of tights, but really, this was an underwhelming effort made watchable only for Heenan's F-Bomb.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman 

Out in the entrance way, Eric Bischoff put over Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Kevin Greene, bringing them out as his next guests.

The three talked about their positive momentum and how they would take out Ric Flair and The Giant before Hulk Hogan questioned which one of them would get to take Liz on the town later that night.

It was an odd question from babyface Hogan, especially when he told Savage -his friend, remember?- that his ex-wife Elizabeth was more than the Macho Man could handle.

Honestly, this was just an odd promo.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Sting & Lex Luger vs. The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal & Earl Robert Eaton) 

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Steven Regal & Bobby Eaton faced Sting & Lex Luger
Finally, after an awful lot of drivel and nonsense on this show, we got back to some honest-to-goodness, good wrestling.

Both teams worked hard here to create a fun match which, though it may not have mattered in the grand scheme of things, was still fun to watch.

Predictably, Sting picked up the win, retaining the titles for he and Luger.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Sting & Lex Luger

Back at the Little White Chapel, Sister Sherri finally arrived looking absolutely smacked off her tits, and was mad that Col. Parker had gambled away all their money.

She was then even more upset that she couldn't get into a trailer to change into her wedding dress.

This whole thing was atrocious. There was nothing entertaining about it, and by now I'm really starting to regret committing to reviewing this show.

Eric Bischoff Interviews Flyin' Brian 

Despite making a shambles of his match earlier, Pillman was actually on form here, first threatening to drop 'The Seven Words You're Not Allowed to Say on TV' live on the air before talking about respect, and how he and The Four Horsemen would do whatever it took to get it.

AAA Americas Championship
AAA Americas Champion Konnan vs. Psicosis 

For this keeping track, this was billed as being the WCW Mexican Heavyweight Championship that was on the line here, but that title was actually short lived AAA Americas Championship.


Today, Konnan defended that title against Psicosis in a so-so match which, though it contained some exciting spots, mostly came across as sloppy and awkward.

After a bit of back and forth, the champ retained with a Ziplock submission move which I have never seen performed once before in all the time I've been watching wrestling.
Your Winner and Still Champion: Konnan  

Finally, we got to the wedding of the century, which Madusa interrupted by coming out of Parker's trailer to attack Sherri.

A wild brawl ensued, during which Disco Inferno stole off with a bottle of champagne. That and Booker T accidentally falling on his ass, where the only two good things about this whole thing.

Actually, I lie: the third good thing was that it was finally over and we could get to the main event.

The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Macho Man Randy Savage w/ Kevin Greene and Miss Elizabeth) vs. The Nature Boy Ric Flair & The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart)

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI - Elizabeth returned to manage Hogan & Savage against Giant & Flair
The big news here, of course, was Miss. Elizabeth returning to pro wrestling, not just returning, but looking absolutely stunning in the process.

The match itself was your standard WCW main event for the time; a so-so effort with nothing spectacular to write about.

The end came when Flair used an International Object to knock out Savage and get the win.
Your Winners: Ric Flair & The Giant 

Afterwards, Brian Pillman and The Zodiac ran in, but Hogan and Greene quickly got rid of them, bringing this horrible and tedious show to a much-welcomed end.

   

When I say horrible and tedious, I seriously mean it. Outside of a handful of highlights (the opening Malenko/Wright match, the tag team title encounter, and Bobby Heenan dropping an F-Bomb on live television), Clash of the Champions 32 was a chore to watch, and should probably be avoided at all costs.

And that's the last WCW 1996 event to be featured here on Retro Pro Wrestling. Missed any of the others? Here's the full list.
The next time we cover WCW, we'll look at the ill-conceived NWO Souled Out pay per view.  Be the first to check out those reviews by following Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or the brand new Facebook page

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

TV REVIEW: TNA Impact - January 29th, 2009

Orlando, Florida

Making good on the promise they made on the last show, the Main Event Mafia are taking over Impact this week.

(NOTE: This review was originally written at the time that The January, 29th 2009 episode of Impact actually aired. I found a bunch of my old TNA reviews in my archives recently and wanted to share them on RPW, so here we are.) 

Despite protests from Jim 'I Have No Authority' Cornette, Kurt Angle takes his station in Jeff Jarrett's office, Booker T and Kevin Nash assume announcing duties, Sharmell is the new backstage announcer and Scott Steiner takes on the role of ring announcer.

It's part funny, part confusing, part incentive to turn the channel. But hey, let's see how it goes.

Knockouts Handicap Match: ODB vs. Sojo Bolt, Rhaka Khan, Raisha Saeed and TNA Women's Knockout Champion, Awesome Kong.

Sadly for the girls, their decent effort in the ring is overshadowed by the broadcasting efforts of Booker T and Kevin Nash, who assume alter-egos (Booker becomes the rambling ‘Black Snow’ whilst Nash adopts the name ‘Chet Lemon’...or something) as they take over the announce table.

Meanwhile, Scott Steiner is, intentionally or not, hilarious in his role as ring announcer. Though it isn’t clear whether we’re supposed to think Steiner can’t read, or whether he actually, legitimately can’t read the notes properly, the number of gaffs he makes whilst trying to introduce The Kongtourage (or ‘Kong-Fucious’ as Steiner puts it), are pure comedy.


Worryingly though, if this wasn’t intentional, shouldn’t Steiner really know the names of the stars on a programme in which he is a central character?

As for the action, which largely plays second-fiddle to everything else, ODB gets beaten up and planted with an Implant Buster for a loss.
Your Winners: The Kongtourage

Backstage, Kurt Angle is loving his moment of power and sends Jeremy Borash off to sell some Main Event Mafia T-shirts as we head back to the ring for one of the oddest matches we've heard of in ages.

Handicap Match: Booker T vs. The Referees (Rudy Charles & Andrew Thomas)

Before we get to the action, Sharmell goads the two zebras out from backstage. Trying to draw some humour out of the occasion, we get Thomas practically wetting himself whilst Charles elicits a sense of ill-fated self-confidence from his amateur wrestling background.

Not that it helps him much.
As you might expect, the TNA Legends Champion mauls the striped-shirts in one of the most pointless matches there’s ever been. Yeah, Booker, everyone’s really scared of a wrestler who can beat up two scrawny, largely defenceless referees.
Your Winner: Booker T

In the post-match, Shane ‘Silly Beard’ Sewell legs it ring-wards and rocks Booker with some heavy fists before he’s finally nailed with a scissor kick.

Sting Stung by Angle

Back in the boss’s office, Sting confronts his Main Event Mafia brother and Against All Odds opponent, Kurt Angle. As he makes it known that he’s less than thrilled about taking on Team 3D in a handicap match tonight, Sting teases a turn back to the good-guy squad; not that his ‘heel turn’ has ever really come off. The fans still love The Stinger, and likely always will.

Sharmell with Matt Morgan.

Matt Morgan cuts a decent promo here, and is certainly better on the stick than this writer would’ve imagined. It’s just a shame, then, that he’s out to hype a match against a one-armed man.

Matt Morgan vs. Petey Williams

Yes, I know ‘Maple Leaf Muscle’ has both his upper limbs, but since the Main Event Mafia are running the show tonight, he’s only allowed to use one of them.

Despite the daft setup, this is actually pretty entertaining as Morgan spends the early part of the match swatting Petey Williams away like a well-jacked fly, before finally finding a way to dominate.

The twist comes when the referee sneakily frees Petey’s redundant arm, allowing the little whippersnapper to fly about the place with aplomb before finally tasting the sole of one of Morgan’s giant boots and ultimately losing the match.
Your Winner: Matt Morgan

Afterwards, Morgan and Petey-hater-cum-ring-announcer, Scott Steiner, do a number on the Canadian. Frontline jobbers Eric Young, Consequences Creed and Black Machismo Jay Lethal do their best to rescue their comrade but are eventually overthrown by the ‘Mafia clan in another long and tedious beatdown.

   

Team 3D Speak

With the IWJP tag titles in tow, Brother Ray & Brother Devon come out to address Sting, Kurt Angle and the Main Event Mafia, admitting that they actually feel sorry for The Stinger and thus don’t want to fight him tonight. They’re still going to though, and that match comes right after another entertaining speech from the former Dudleys.


Handicap Match: Sting vs. Team 3D

Midway through what turns out to be an above-average encounter, Scott Steiner turns the tables in his stable-mate’s favour by getting involved in the match. As does Kurt Angle, who plays his part with a nasty low blow and eventually costs Sting the match by disqualification.

Yet whilst the action in the ring is pretty enjoyable, the maniacal play-by-play efforts of Booker ‘Black Snow’ T stop being funny and are just pretty damn annoying in this match.
Your Winners by Disqualification: Team 3D.

The post-match sees another prolonged Main Event Mafia attack, this one finally is  brought to a halt by the arrival of Abyss, LAX and TNA Shareholder, Mick Foley.

After helping clear the ring of the Mafia boys, Foley goes on to put an end to their ‘experiment in booking’ (which, truth be told, is it exactly what Impact seems to be half the time!).

Further more, the Hardcore Legend gives Hernandez another shot at Sting’s World Title (to be used at some point down the line), puts Scott Steiner in a weapons match against The Monster Abyss and throws Angle in a handicap match against LAX later on tonight.

By now, order has been restored, with TNA’s usual clan of announcers, interviewers and whatever Lauren is supposed to be, assuming their usual positions.

This is when TNA Management’s Jim Cornette joins West and Tenay to drop the bombshell of the century. Only joking, he announces that Booker T will fight Shane Sewell at Against All Odds. Wow, can’t wait for that one.

Weapons Match: The Monster Abyss vs. Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner

With Foley stacking the odds against the Main Event Mafia, this is a weapons match with a twist; weapons are legal for Abyss, but not Steiner.

As matches featuring Scott Steiner go, this isn’t a bad one and ends in another DQ finish when, predictably, Steiner can’t resist the urge to plant Abyss with a leadpipe.
Your Winner by Disqualification: Abyss

Afterwards, Steiner continues the beatdown on his opponent before Suicide returns to the fold, swooping down on a zip-line and rescuing the Monster.

Handicap Match: Kurt Angle vs. LAX

With Angle outnumbered, he nonetheless enters into another solid match against Homicide and Hernandez, finally planting Super Mex with an Angle Slam for the win.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle



You’ve got to admit, this episode of TNA Impact was very much like every other. Some decent action (both in the ring and on the microphone) totally destroyed by a complete lack of logic and an overabundance of really stupid ideas.

The whole ‘Main Event Mafia Takes over Impact’ angle was a direct rip-off of World Championship Wrestling’s ill-fated idea to have the New World Order do the same to Nitro, and it bombed just as badly. So much so, in fact, that you have to wonder whether Foley’s intervention was actually planned or if someone in the back suddenly thought ‘God, this is horrible, get it stopped!’

If you ask me (which, I’ll admit, nobody ever does), TNA needs to find a pay-off to this whole Main Event Mafia programme, and soon. The company’s babyfaces are getting their backsides handed to them week in, week out (heck, even the poor refs aren’t immune from the Mafia) and I’m sure I can’t be the only one growing ever-more bored with this total dominance of the Main Event Mafia. Hopefully, the return of Samoa Joe will help not only put an end to this nonsense, but also make Joe an even bigger star. Here’s praying!


I'm slowly working my way through re-publishing all of my old TNA reviews from 2008 - 2009. For now, you can also read:

PPVS: 
TNA Impact: 
For more TNA, WCW, and WWE/WWF reviews follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or hit 'like' on the brand new Facebook page.


    

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 18 September 2017

TV REVIEW: TNA Impact - January 22nd, 2009

Orlando, Florida

The journey between Genesis and Against All Odds got much more interesting on this week's edition of TNA Impact.

(NOTE: This review was originally written when the January 15th, 2009 episode of TNA Impact actually aired. I discovered a number of my old TNA posts in my archives recently and wanted to share them on RPW, so here we are.)

Here's what went down:

4-Way X-Division Championship Match: Alex Shelley (champion) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Sheik Abdul Bashir vs. Sonjay Dutt (with So Cal Val) 

You can always count on the X-Division to give you a good opening contest, and these four don't disappoint here.

As the match starts, Mike Tenay ponders whether Bashir and Dutt will work together to take out the Motor City Machine Guns and, to an extent, they do. But this is more than just a thinly-disguised tag match, with the 'Guns working up the crowd with some smooth chain-wrestling in the early going.

After a good match, Shelley retains his title with a nifty roll-up.
Your Winner and still TNA X-Division Champion: Alex Shelley

In the post-match, referee Shane Sewell is confronted by Sharmell. Apparently, Booker T wants to see Sewell and his naff beard in his locker room.

We then get a shot of three members of the Main Event Mafia making their way to the ring before cutting to the first of a hundred pointless promo videos.

Sewell Answers his Summons

Backstage in Booker T's extravagant dressing room, referee Shane Sewell is asked by the TNA Legends Champion to get behind the Main Event Mafia in tonight's Booker/Steiner vs. Young/Williams bout.

Shane remains non-committal; walking off without telling Booker whether he'll help or not.

A Death in the Family?

The Main Event Mafia come to the ring. Well, at least Kurt Angle, Scott Steiner and TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting do.

Once again, Angle gets on the microphone to talk about how good the 'Mafia are and how much they're like a family.

He then quashes Team 3D's hopes that we'll have Angle/Devon and Sting/Ray at Against All Odds. Though apparently, this upsets Sting.

 'The Icon' gives Kurt a telling off and tells him that nobody but Sting gets to decide who he does and doesn't wrestle.

With tension stinking up the air, TNA Management's Jim Cornette comes onto the stage and says that Angle is right; we won't have Angle/Devon and Sting/Ray at Against All Odds.

Oh no, instead we'll have a four-way match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. At the next pay per view, we'll see Brother Ray vs. Kurt Angle vs. Brother Devon vs. Sting for the belt.

Before leaving, Cornette wonders aloud whether Angle and Sting will be able to co-exist in that match. Hmm, I smell a break up for the Main Event Mafia.

   

Petey Gets Pumped

Backstage, Lauren is with 'Maple Leaf Muscle' Petey Williams.

Petey gives the usual spiel about how he's going to fight Scott Steiner. It's not a bad interview, but what really gets this writer is why, if Petey Williams now hates Scott Steiner, why on earth is he still dressing like him.

Live via Satellite.

Team 3D have been wrestling in Japan, where they've just captured New Japan Pro Wrestling's IWGP tag team titles. Mike Tenay congratulates the former Dudley Boys, before Don 'Oh My God Everything is So Exciting' West lets them know about their match at Against All Odds.

The Duds are fine with it. Either way, they get to put the hurt on the Mafia boys, and that's all that matters.

Sting Tells Off JB

We're back in the Main Event Mafia dressing room, where Sting tells Jeremy Borash that the 'Mafia are fine. It's a great piece of microphone work from Sting, which is only ruined by Scott Steiner giving a god awful promo against Petey Williams.

Knockouts Match: Sojourner Bolt vs. ODB

A pretty decent women's match that finally gets this ODB/Awesome Kong feud properly under way. ODB comes across as hugely popular, and her work here is a shining example as to why she deserves to be at the top of the Knockouts pecking order.

The end comes when TNA Women's Knockout Champion, Awesome Kong, followed by the Kongtourage run in and beat her up.
Your Winner by, presumably, disqualification: ODB

In the post-match, Roxxi and Taylor Wilde run down with weapons and save the day.

The Beautiful People's Revenge

Backstage, Lauren is with the fake 'Sarah Palin', who admits how much fun she had making fools of Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. That's when The Beautiful People absolutely beat the life out of her. And they probably would've done so quite literally had Cute Kip not beat up all the security guards who'd come to 'Palin's' aid, before making the girls stop.

Tag Team Elimination Match: The Main Event Mafia (Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner and Booker T, with Sharmell) vs. Show Time Eric Young and Maple Leaf Muscle Petey Williams.

This match is so one-sided it's so hard to know what it was supposed to achieve. In the early going, Steiner and Booker cut Eric Young off from his partner and beat him up until he's eliminated. Then, despite a fiery effort from Maple Leaf Muscle, the 'Mafia boys do the same to him and get the win in what can only be described as a squash match.
Your Winners: Scott Steiner and Booker T

After the match, Steiner and Booker get in the face of referee Shane Sewell. As you might have guessed, this causes ol' Naff Beard to do his 'God God, I'm Freaking Out!' routine and try to attack the Mafia. Of course, this backfires and he gets his backside handed to him by the 'Mafia.

I'm Sorry, Abby

After coming to blows with his 'best friend' last week, The Blue Print Matt Morgan comes to the ring to apologise to his partner, The Monster Abyss.

Abby (apparently that's Morgan's pet name for The Monster) accepts the apology and gets all excited, throwing his 'girlfriend' Lauren around with joy. With the two now back on the same page, it's time for them to rumble with Beer Money Inc. in a First Blood Match.

First Blood Match: The Blue Print Matt Morgan & The Monster Abyss vs. Beer Money Inc. (James Storm & Robert Roode with Jacqueline).

Of course, you know that any time you get Roode and Storm in the ring together, they're going to whip a storm no matter who their opponents. This match is no different, and even though I'm not convinced that a First Blood match is really necessary on free tv, it's still a good bout all the same.

The end comes when Matt Morgan reveals his earlier apology to be a rouse, busting Abyss wide open with a nasty chair-shot to give Beer Money the win and the Morgan/Abyss team the final kiss of death.
Your Winners: Beer Money Inc.

Afterwards, Morgan continues to beat the life out of Abyss, security guards, and anyone else who happened to get involved. It's a sick looking assault that leaves blood absolutely pouring out of the monster's head.

Abyss Freaks Out

After the break, we see security try to help Abyss. Instead, The Monster freaks out and destroys everything in his path.

JB Talks to Kurt Angle

This is the usual pre-match fight talk, with Kurt Angle telling Jeremy Borash that he's going to end AJ Styles' career tonight.

Tables Match: Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles

This revamped match comes in place of the scheduled Angle/Styles bout which was postponed last week and, as you've probably guessed, this is a sweet match. Despite the hardcore nature of a tables match, Styles and Angle get off to a pretty good wrestling match in the early going before building into a vicious brawl.

In the end, Styles misses a flying forearm and gets put through the table thanks to an Angle Slam.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

In the aftermath, the Olympic Gold Medallist destroys the Phenomenal One's ankle before confronting the announce team, grabbing a microphone and says that tonight is the beginning of the end of TNA.

The Main Event Mafia are taking everybody out, one by one, starting from next week. It's a great segment to close the show with.


This week's TNA Impact was actually a really solid show. 
Even if the group do persist in cramming more pointless promo videos than actual wrestling into their show, when they do take it to the ring, they at least deliver the goods. 

As always, Angle and Styles stole the show, but there was good wrestling all-round tonight and things look as if they're going to get a lot more interesting in the war between the Main Event Mafia and TNA's unlucky Front Line, who so far have been booked to look like plebs.



I'm slowly working my way through re-publishing all of my old TNA reviews from 2008 - 2009. For now, you can also read:

PPVS: 
TNA Impact: 
For more TNA, WCW, and WWE/WWF reviews follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or hit 'like' on the brand new Facebook page.


    

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

TV REVIEW: TNA Impact - January 15th, 2009

TNA Impact Logo
Orlando, Florida

In the wake of their first pay per view of 2009, TNA Wrestling returned to the Impact Zone for another edition of TNA Impact.

(NOTE: This review was originally written when the January 15th, 2009 episode of TNA Impact actually aired. I discovered a number of my old TNA posts in my archives recently and wanted to share them on RPW, so here we are.)

Here's what happened:

Main Event Mafia Ready for War

To open the show, Kurt Angle, World Champion, Sting, Legends Champion, Booker T, Sharmell and Scott Steiner make their way to the ring dressed ready for combat.

As usual, Kurt takes to the microphone and talks about how good the Main Event Mafia really are, before announcing that tonight's main event will see him taking on AJ Styles with Mick Foley as special enforcer. Is it just me, or is the 'Mick Foley as special enforcer' thing growing old really fast?

There's a surprise in store for the 'Mafia boys though, as Hernandez makes his way to cash in his Feast or Fired World Heavyweight title match against 'The Icon' Sting.

That match is next.


World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sting (champion) vs. Hernandez

With the Main Event Mafia surrounding the ring, Sting and Hernandex lock up in the corner before Hernandez starts to overpower The Icon. This slowly transforms into a decent match, with a sadly predictable ending; the Mafia jump in the ring and attack Hernandez.
Your Winner by disqualification: Hernandez (Sting retains title).

In the aftermath, the Mafia begin to attack Hernandez, with referee Shane Sewell (thought he was fired as a referee?) trying to help and Homicide doing the same.  But it's of little use as LAX and AJ Styles – who also came down to help – get their backsides handed to them until Team 3D leg it down to the ring and make the save, putting Angle through a table to end a pretty intense segment.

Team 3D speak

The crowd are going wild for Brother Ray & Brother Devon as the latter reminds us that his whole career has revolved around him and Brother Ray working as a tag team. But despite winning all their championships, they’re yet to prove how good they are in singles matches.

At Against All Odds, we’re apparently going to get Brother Devon vs. Kurt Angle and Brother Ray against World Champion, Sting.

The Dudleys are good on the microphone and really get this segment across well.

   

The Beautiful People are Stupid

We’re backstage with Lauren, The Beautiful People and Cute Kip.

Angelina Love and Velvet Sky are apparently so stupid that they firmly believe they’re going to the White House to be a part of Governor Sarah Palin’s Cabinet, despite the fact that the whole world has been talking non-stop about Barack Obama recently. Even Kip’s persistence that this whole thing is a joke doesn’t deter them, and he storms off in a huff.

Pointless, silly and wasting valuable time, things like this bug your writer to no end.

Le’me at ‘Em, Le’me At ‘Em

In the Main Event Mafia’s lockeroom, Kurt Angle is pretty worse for wear after being put through a table and is unable to compete. Scott Steiner begs Angle to let him fight Styles instead, but the Olympic Gold Medalist simply gets angry and makes everyone leave.


The Beautiful People are Still Stupid

Back in the Impact Zone, The Beautiful People (sans Kip James) and ‘The Governor’ make their way to the ring so that we can make this thing official and get Love & Sky off to Washington.

And it’s here where, after months of stupidity, the pay off finally comes.

Before long, Taylor Wilde and Roxxi make an appearance and have something to say.

This whole thing has been a rouse (no kidding!), set up by Wilde and Roxxi to extract revenge on the two ‘blonde bimbos’ for, well, being really bad people I suppose.

At least, that’s what you think they’re getting at as a whole load of poo falls from the ceiling and drenches The Beautiful People.

As pay offs go, it’s hardly the best, but hopefully this will spell the end of these awful segments.

Lauren with The Kongtourage 

Despite the silly name, it’s nonetheless refreshing to see an all-female stable for a change.

Made up of TNA Women’s Knockout Champion, Awesome Kong, her manager, Raisha Saeed and their lackeys, Rhaka Khan and Sojourner Bolt, The Kongtourage are ready for action next, but not before Bolt gives Lauren a good telling off for calling her ‘So Jo’.

Six Woman Knockout Street Fight: ODB, Roxxi and Taylor Wilde vs. The Kongtourage (Raisha Saeed, Rhaka Khan and Sojourner Bolt).

Whilst there’s nothing especially wrong with this match, when you already saw pretty much the same thing at Genesis last week, it’s hard to keep your attention. Even adding the ‘street fight’ tag and getting the good girls dressed in their street clothes fails to make this anything other than a bit of filler.

In the end, Roxxi picks up the win with the Voodoo Drop on Khan.
Your Winners: ODB, Roxxi and Sojourner Bolt.

After the match, precisely nothing happens. Which is silly, because this spot could’ve been used to generate more interest in the upcoming ODB/Kong title clash.

Relax, Brother.

Returning to the Main Event Mafia locker room, Booker T tells Kurt Angle to relax and that the ‘Mafia will take care of business tonight.

TNA Tag Team Championship Number One Contenders Match: Matt Morgan & Abyss vs. Lethal Consequences (‘Black Machismo’ Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed.) 

I’m not sure if that’s the official team name for Consequences Creed & Jay Lethal, but I’ve heard it mentioned and I’m sticking with.

Regardless as to what you call them, Lethal Consequences put in an entertaining effort against their larger foes, but unfortunately it’s overshadowed by the growing friction between The Blue Print Matt Morgan and The Monster Abyss.

It’s that same friction that ultimately gives Creed and Machismo the win, with Abyss inadvertently powerbombing Lethal atop a prone Matt Morgan. With confusion in the air, Jay simply lies there and gets the win.
Your Winners and new Number One Contenders to the TNA Tag Team Titles: Lethal Consequences (Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed).

In the post-match, Morgan and Abyss predictably come to huge, clubbing blows, so much so that even an army of referees and officials can’t stop them.

Eeeny, Meeny, Miny, er, Mo.

Once again, we find ourselves in the Main Event Mafia locker room, where Booker T and Scott Steiner are arguing over who gets to wrestle AJ Styles tonight.

Like the grown men they are, the two decide to settle things with a game of Eeny, Meeny, Miny with Steiner even going so far as to proclaim: “Hey, I’m good at Eeny, Meeny, Miny Mo.” (of course you are, old man).

Yet before their game can get anywhere, TNA Management’s Jim Cornette (who just seems to be there for no real reason), declares that Steiner will be the one in the main event tonight, and that the rest of the ‘Mafia have to stay away.

Jeremy Borash with Mick Foley.

Mick Foley tells JB that whilst he welcomes Cornette’s gesture, he actually wants the Main Event Mafia to show up tonight. You know, so he can punch them and what have you.

Main Event: ‘Big Poppa Pump’ Scott Steiner vs. ‘The Phenomenol’ AJ Styles.

In an enjoyable main event, AJ Styles manages to drag Steiner through a good match with a somewhat surprising finish.

As Special Enforcer, Mick Foley gets on the ring apron to apparently try and slap Mr. Socko on Steiner, it turns out this was just a ploy to distract the referee long enough for Steiner’s former protégé, Petey Williams to make his TNA return and plant Big Poppa Pump with a sweet-looking missile drop kick.

AJ then hits the Pele and gets the one, two and three.
Your Winner: AJ Styles

In the post-match, Steiner and Williams stare each other down and trade words to end the show.

As Impacts go, this week’s edition wasn’t a bad show from TNA, but it could have still been better. Though the rivalry between the Main Event Mafia and the TNA Front Line continued to evolve, it did so at the expense of answering a few unresolved questions from Genesis.

Namely; if Shane Sewell was fired as a referee on the last Impact but reinstated as a wrestler, how come he’s back in the zebra outfit and officiating matches like nothing happened?

After having a gripping match at Genesis, are the Motor City Machine Guns still the best of friends, or is there tension between them now that Shelley got the X-Belt?

Are Beer Money Inc. pleased to be tag champs again? And how come ODB and Awesome Kong don’t seem bothered by one another half as much as they should be?

Ultimately, it’s all very frustrating. TNA have proved that when it comes to putting on pay per view events, they do a fine job, but when it comes to actually promoting those events properly on TV, there’s still lots of room for improvement.



I'm slowly working my way through re-publishing all of my old TNA reviews from 2008 - 2009. For now, you can also read:

For more TNA, WCW, and WWE/WWF reviews follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or hit 'like' on the brand new Facebook page.


   

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA Genesis 2009

TNA Genesis 2009 - Event Poster
Bojangles Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina
Sunday, January 11th, 2009.

TNA Wrestling kick off the wrestling New Year with the first pay-per-view of 2009, and despite a few last-minute line-up changes to the advertised card; this was a pretty solid effort from all involved.

(NOTE: This review was written live at the time TNA Genesis aired in January 2009. I discovered a bunch of old TNA reviews in my archives and wanted to add them to RPW, so here we are.) 

Here’s what went down.

Six-Man Tag Team Elimination Match: Sonjay Dutt, Jimmy Rave and Kiyoshi vs. LAX (Homicide & Hernandez and Eric Young)

Put together at the last minute (Cute Kip, Shark Boy and Lance Hoyt had been announced to be in this match as recently as the weekend), you can’t help but feel that this throw-away match was put together simply to give these guys something to do.

Regardless as to why they’re here, the six combatants nonetheless deliver an entertaining opening match.

As the bout gets underway, Mike Tenay takes the opportunity to alleviate the lack of fan interest by announcing that Christy Hemme has been injured and won’t be able to compete, and also that Rhino hasn’t yet arrived. The first part is real, the second nothing but storyline.

Turning our attentions to the match at hand and we’re treated to a fast-paced, high energy match with everyone getting enough time in the ring, even despite the predictable multiple-suicide-dive spot TNA seems to do in every match.

The match ends when, with everyone else eliminated, Hernandez leaps onto Jimmy Rave for the three count.
Your winner: Hernandez.


We go backstage next, where Jim Cornette is hanging outside the Main Event Mafia’s locker room, looking for Rhino. Scott Steiner tells Cornette that they don’t care about Rhino, before slamming the door in his face and sending Cornette storming off.

Then, it’s back to the ring for what promises to be an exciting match.

X-Division Tournament Final: Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley.

TNA Genesis 2009 - Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley
The two tag team partners had predicted all along that they’d be facing each other in this tournament final match to crown a new X-Division champion, and as the Motor City Machine Guns lock up, it’s a good time to be reminded that Mick Foley told the two that they’d better have a good match, or else.

As such, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley deliver the goods; working hard to put on an enjoyable match.

Things kick off with some slow and steady chain-wrestling before working their way up to a back-and-forth encounter that has the fans chanting loudly.

In the end, though, it’s Alex Shelley with a sneaky roll-up on his tag team partner for the win and his first X-Division championship.
Your Winner and new X-Division Champion: Alex Shelley.

Up next, we’ve got a match that has been building up for months.

If this were any other promotion, this would have been a well-booked feud. As it is, it involves an odd-looking referee and Abdul Bashir, and isn’t all that interesting.

Grudge Match: Shane Sewell vs. Sheik Abdul Bashir.

TNA Genesis 2009 - Sheik Abdul Bashir vs. Shane Sewell
Shane Sewell gets a good reaction from the crowd, even if he does look a bit ridiculous in a referee-striped outfit.

The former referee wastes no time in going after his rival, beating Bashir around the ring before countering a flurry of fists with a hard arm drag.

Unable to gain the advantage, the Sheik eventually takes off. Sewell follows but is beaten to the punch by Bashir, who makes it back first into the ring. Sheik then takes the advantage finally, building up to Sewell’s big comeback with a figure-four, a none-too-subtle to Charlotte legend, Ric Flair, before we get a somewhat silly ending.

With Bashir fighting back and working over Sewell with a number of blows, Hebner tries to stop him and actually slaps the Sheik in the face before getting chased around the ring.

Sewell then does that ridiculous thing of ripping off his shirt, all for the sake of a roll-up for the win.
Your Winner: Shane Sewell.

It’s time for more title action next in a triple threat tag match for the World Tag Team titles.

World Tag Team Title Match: Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed (champions) vs. Abyss & Matt Morgan vs. Beer Money Inc (Robert Roode & James Storm, with Jacqueline).

TNA Genesis 2009 - TNA Tag Titles - Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed vs. Matt Morgan & Abyss vs. Beer Money
This match was originally scheduled to be Beer Money Inc defending against Abyss & Morgan, but if you caught the last edition of Impact, you’ll know that Jay Lethal & Consequences Creed cashed in their Feast or Fired briefcase in an impromptu match, and won the belts.

As such, we’ve got a triple threat on our hands, and it’s pretty entertaining.

Lots of tags and counter-action takes place, with everyone getting involved and a tease at a feud between Abyss & Morgan towards the close, as a tag belt gets thrown in the ring, Abyss accidentally conks out his partner, Jacqueline makes the distraction and Roode gets the cover for a near fall.

In a second though, James Storm gives the assist to his partner, the referee turns his attentions back to the match and Beer Money Inc regain the gold.
Your Winners and new World Tag Team Champions: Beer Money Inc.

With Christy Hemme legitimately injured and thus having to pull out of her scheduled TNA Knockouts Championship match with current titleholder, Awesome Kong, it would’ve made a whole load of sense to simply find a replacement and hold a title match as planned.

Yet with Kong also reported to have suffered an injury, it made just as much sense to rebook the whole thing as six-woman tag match.

   

Six Knockout Tag Team Match: ODB, Roxxi and Taylor Wilde vs. Rhaka Khan, Sojourner Bolt and Raisha Saeed.

Probably the weakest match on the show, with nothing overly interesting happening, this comes as the third match on the card to be won with a simple roll-up as ODB picks up the win against Saeed.
Your Winners: ODB, Roxxi & Taylor Wilde.

With that little distraction, it’s time for one of the selling points of the Genesis pay-per-view.

Grudge Match: Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle

TNA Genesis 2009 - Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle
The last time these two got in the ring they had a fantastic match, and after some interesting booking building up to this ‘highly anticipated’ re-match, it looks like we could have another one on our hands.

Jarrett and Angle fight hard and stiff, taking out their aggression on one another and whipping up a storm in the early going.

Beating each other up in and out of the ring, the two find themselves back on the outside after an intense spot over the ropes, where Angle clocks Jarrett with the ring bell, beats him with some stiff shots and slams him into the announce table, making the founder of TNA bleed profusely.

This one has erupted into a viciously brilliant match with lots of brawling, counter holds and spots, but ends with a victory for Angle, reversing a pin attempt after taking a Jarrett chair shot to claim the 1, 2, 3.
Your winner: Kurt Angle.

Part way through that last match, we saw Rhino arrive on the scene in a foul mood. At least we know he’s here, and he’s ready to fight for the title.

TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Sting (champion) vs. Rhino

TNA Genesis 2009 - Rhino vs. Sting TNA title match
After the Angle/Jarrett scrap, Sting and Rhino have a tough act to follow.

They try anyway, and though this is a decent encounter in its own right, it’s been spoiled somewhat by having that great match on before it. In the end, after a heated contest, Sting hits the Scorpion Death Drop for the win.
Your Winner and Still TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting

Finally, it’s time for the main event which marks the in-ring return of Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley.

But first, there’s some news. Kevin Nash was taken to hospital earlier in the day with a staph infection in his elbow (apparently all-real), and so they have a replacement…Cute Kip!?!

Good Lord!

Kip gets on the microphone and says that people shouldn’t let the Cute Kip gimmick fool people, he’s worthy of being in that match. He’s been a tag team champion, an Intercontinental champion and a Hardcore champion (yes mate, all in WWE!), and that he deserves to be in that match.

Six Man Tag: Mick Foley, AJ Styles & Brother Devon vs. TNA Legends Champion, Booker T, Scott Steiner and Cute Kip

All six men go at it in the early going before the match finally settles into your standard six-man, with Kip and Styles finally getting things going properly.

The match goes back and forth for a while before all hell breaks loose once more and the ref counts everybody out.

This brings Jim Cornette to the ring. Cornette says things don’t go down like that in Charlotte, North Carolina, and orders the match to be re-started.

Booker T tells Cornette that he doesn’t have the authority to do that, and Mick Foley agrees. He says Cornette doesn’t have the authority (way to undermine someone!), but he does, and it’s being restarted under hardcore rules!

A steel bin full of weapons comes into play (how convenient that it just happened to be there!), and we get some good hardcore action as the match builds to its finish, with Foley planting Steiner with his famous DDT for the win.
Your winners: Mick Foley, Brother Devon & AJ Styles

And that’s your lot, folks. The first wrestling pay per view of 2009 in the can.

Despite suffering from a thrown-together collection of combatants (Cute Kip in the main event) and a lack of originality (no less than three six-man/woman tag matches, only one of which served much purpose), the TNA wrestlers did the best with what they’d be given and made it somehow work.

Match of the night honours clearly went to Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett’s epic rematch, closely followed by the Sabin/Shelley clash which should lead to an interesting story between the two on further editions of TNA Impact. 

I'm slowly working my way through re-publishing all of my old TNA reviews from 2008 - 2009. For now, you can also read:


For more TNA, WCW, and WWE/WWF reviews follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or hit 'like' on the brand new Facebook page.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

PPV Review: WCW Starrcade 1996

WCW Starrcade 1996 Review - Event poster
December 29, 1996
Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee

By the end of 1996, the landscape of World Championship Wrestling looked much, much different than it had only 12 months earlier. 

Gone was the Red and Yellow All-American Hulk Hogan who competed in horrible and goofy gimmick matches like Uncensored's Tower of Doom. Gone was fresh-faced babyface Sting, and gone too were the kind of cheesy angles like the Parker/Martel wedding that would have still looked out-of-place even at the height of the World Wrestling Federation's cartoon era of 1995.

In their place, we had a dark, mysterious Sting, lurking in the rafters after his loyalties had been questioned one too many times by WCW's top stars. From his perch on high, the company franchise player -taking his cues directly from 1994 movie The Crow- stalked a very different Hulk Hogan, one who had turned his back on WCW at Bash of the Beach 1996 to become the ultra-arrogant heel leader of the New World Order, taking his gang of renegades forward in a product that was edgier, grittier, and yet still very much a WCW product.

Tonight, the newly renamed Hollywood Hulk Hogan would get into the ring to see out the year in a heavily hyped main event bout against former rival Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Here's what went down when Hogan, Piper, the nWo, and WCW all collided at the company's final show of the year, WCW Starrcade 1996.

Two Legends Reunite 

WCW Starrcade 1996 Review - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Tonight's show began with the customary video package, this one reminding us just how huge, how historic tonight's main event between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan and challenger Rowdy Roddy Piper really was.

Though choosing to call tonight's match a 'reunion' of two of pro wrestling's biggest stars may have been odd, this was nonetheless a compelling hype video which set the tone nicely for the rest of the show.

Following this, Tony Schiavone, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan all gave us their own take on just why tonight's match was so monumental, with Heenan reminding us that Piper was the one guy Hogan had never truly defeated.

From there, it was on to our opening contest.

Title Versus Match (NJPW J-Crown & WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Both on the line)
J-Crown Champion Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko 

WCW Starrcade 1996 Review - Ultimo Dragon defended WCW Cruiserweight title and NJPW J-Crown against Dean Malenko
Both Champions had enjoyed stellar performances on PPV in 1996, particularly against Rey Mysterio Jr. so it was no surprise to see them go at it in another classic Cruiserweight contest here at Starrcade.

Though some may have enjoyed both men's matches with Mysterio over tonight's bout, that's to take nothing away from what was a solid encounter between two very gifted wrestlers that only got better the longer it went on.

After a building up towards a dramatic finale full of jaw-dropping near falls, the end came when Ultimo Dragon hit a tiger suplex on Dean Malenko and hooked him in for the three count.
Your Winner and Still J-Crown Champion and New Cruiserweight Champion: Ultimo Dragon

Skipping the usual Mean Gene 'tween-match stuff, we went straight to our next contest:

World Championship Wrestling Women's Championship Final
Akira Hokuto (w/ Sonny Onoo and Kensuke Sasaki) vs. Madusa 

WCW Starrcade 1996 Review - Akira Hokuto faced Madusa for the WCW Women's Title
After a tournament to determine a new champion which had apparently been held mostly on WCW Saturday Night, Madusa had, quite inevitably, reached the final.

So too had Japanese star Akira Hokuto, who came to the ring in some truly mad and yet insanely awesome gear that was part angel, part Japanese Warrior Woman and part, erm, gas mask.

Sadly, Akira's outfit was the only part of this contest which was awesome.

Whilst I'm sure this match had its fans, I'm sorry to say I'm not one of them.

Sure, it wasn't terrible by any stretch, but there was certainly nothing -outside of the occasional high impact clothesline- to get excited about.

After a so-so encounter, Akira got knocked to the outside, where she was tended to by real-life husband, Kensuke Sasake.

This distracted referee Nick Patrick long enough for the devious Sonny Onoo to run in and level Madusa with her own American flag.

This was enough for Akira to get back in the ring, plant Madusa on her head, and win the match.
Your Winner and New WCW Women's Champion: Akira Hokuto 

Post match, Sonny Onoo jumped for joy at having his second champion of the evening, not that Kensuke Sasake was all that impressed with his immoral methods.

The NJPW star was clearly upset at Onoo's use of the American flag as a weapon, though his wife seemed too happy with her win to have even noticed.

Hot Rod Speaks 

WCW Starrcade 1996 - Mean Gene Okerlund and Rowdy Roddy Piper
After the announcers showed us Diamond Dallas Page being interviewed for wcwwrestling.com, we went back to the locker room, where Mean Gene Okerlund was standing by ready to interview Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Okerlund reminded Piper that he had said he was wrestling tonight not for WCW, but for himself.

Piper responded to this by basically losing his mind and yelling at the top of his lungs about limousines, icons of pro wrestling, and having six kids to feed.

This was basically the sound of a man taking a bunch of crack and screaming at a camera. Madness.

After Piper hopped off camera to prove that he hip he had received surgery on -and which was attacked by the NWO at last month's World War 3 PPV- was fine, Mean Gene sent us back to ringside for our next match.

   

Jushin 'Thunder' Liger vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. 

As this one got underway, Tony Schiavone told us that Jushin 'Thunder' Liger hadn't been seen in WCW since last year's Starrcade, so I'm guessing that time he faced Konnan at Slamboree 1996, was just a dream.

Speaking of which, Mike Tenay -who always joined in on commentary in these types of matches- told us that this was a dream match, but as dream matches go, this one was somewhat underwhelming.

Again, much like the women's match, it wasn't bad by any stretch. It certainly had its moments, and whilst neither man seemed to have brought their A-game, it's worth mentioning that Liger and Rey Mysterio at their worst are still better than many lesser wrestlers' best.

So what we got was fine, with the odd moment of brilliance thrown in for good measure.

The end came when Liger hit the Liger Bomb to pick up the win, building momentum for his upcoming Tokyo Dome match against Ultimo Dragon for all the belts.
Your Winner: Jushin 'Thunder' Liger 

With that, it was on to our next match.

No Disqualification Match:
Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) vs. Jeff Jarrett 

WCW Starrcade 1996 - Jeff Jarrett faced Chris Benoit in a No DQ match
A theme was starting to develop here, in which matches which looked like they should have been awesome turned out to be woefully underwhelming.

The No DQ rule barely came into effect, and any time that it did would have been better explained as two bitter rivals throwing the rule book out of the window.

The actual action itself was mediocre at best, and the ending was both confusing and dumb.

After endorsing Chris Benoit as a member of The Four Horsemen only a few months earlier at The Great American Bash 1996- Arn Anderson came down towards the end and blanked The Crippler, moving around ringside to take a stand and watch the action.

The Enforcer didn't even budge when Konnan and Hugh Morrus came down to try and, I don't know, gang rape Woman or something.

Anderson instead DDT'd Jarrett on the outside, which meant the camera missed Kevin Sullivan entering the ring and smashing a wooden chair over Benoit's head.

Jeff Jarrett rolled back into the ring, got the pin, and this mess was over.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett 

In the aftermath, Mean Gene tried to get words first with Anderson, then with Jarrett, and finally with Benoit and Woman.

When they all ignored him and moved off to the back, Gene was left to settle with Steve 'Mongo' McMichael and Deborah as his guests.

In a reasonable promo, Mongo lambasted Benoit for being unable to cut it against Double J.

His wife then took over the mic and said that whilst Jarrett was Horsemen material 'those other two, Chris and Nancy' were not.

The look on Mean Gene's face when Deborah dropped Woman's real name live on air was priceless.

The blonde beauty finished her mic time by telling us that we all wished we could be with her, but that she only had eyes for Mongo, so happy new year to us.

With that, Gene sent us back to the announcers, who went over the ending to the last match one more time before randomly switching to questioning where Sting's loyalties lay.

This gave us a vignette about Sting's transformation into the recent mysterious Crow Sting, and finally into the arrival of the nWo for our next match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Syxx) vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart) 

WCW Starrcade 1996 - Scott Hall of nWo Outsiders
Though not the greatest bout of all time, this did pick up the slack a little bit, with Meng & Barbarian doing all they could to dethrone Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

Not that they were ever going to stand a chance with Evil nWo referee Nick Patrick as the official.

Patrick continuously hampered the Faces of Fear's efforts throughout this reasonably entertaining match, then counted a quick pin when Nash power bombed The Ballbearing to get the win for his team.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders 

Afterwards, Hall and Nash looked on furious, as though pissed off at Meng and Barbarian for forcing them to actually put some effort into their match.

From there, it was off backstage, where the nWo had a response for Roddy Piper.

Hogan is Ready for Piper 

WCW Starrcade 1996 - Vincent, Ted Dibiase, Elizabeth, and Hollywood Hulk Hogan - NWO
Flanked by Vincent, with a bored and pissed off looking Miss. Elizabeth standing by, Ted Dibiase held the microphone (and the WCW title) for Hollywood Hulk Hogan to cut a promo about tonight's match.

Hogan ranted about how he had hoped that Piper had seen sense and gone home, but no, the Champion had seen 'one of Piper's six, snot-nosed kids running around trying to bum a quarter for a coke,' so he knew that Hot Rod was in the building.

Compared to some of the lunacy that was such a hallmark of Hogan's babyface promos, this was actually pretty lucid, to the point, and well done.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament Final
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero 

If you recall, Nature Boy Ric Flair had won the US title from Konnan back at Bash at the Beach 1996, only to get injured and forfeit the belt whilst The Giant carried it around as though it was his.

To crown an actual new champion, WCW held a tournament, with Diamond Dallas Page and Eddie Guerrero reaching the final.

Tonight, in a rematch from their previous meeting back at Halloween Havoc 1996, Page and Guerrero would go at it to finally determine a new champion...

WCW Starrcade 1996 - Eddie Guerrero won the WCW US title
... and nobody cared.

Whilst technically this was a fine bout, the live audience just wasn't into it. When they were, it was only to cheer on Page, who was still playing the heel here despite being well on his way to the big babyface turn that would change his entire career.

After some good back-and-forth action, both men collided in the ring, with Dallas collapsing into the canvas and Eddie taking a tumble to the outside.

At this point, Hall, Nash, and Syxx made their way out, the latter two distracting the referee whilst the former hit the ring and drilled DDP with the Outsider's Edge as retaliation for Page refusing to join the New World Order.

Unaware of what had happened, Guerrero hit a frog splash and, one three count later, became the new United States Champion.
Your Winner and New WCW US Champion: Eddie Guerrero

Following the match, the Wolfpac trio returned to the ring and took out Eddie, with Syxx stealing his newly won US title.

A clip then aired promoting the upcoming nWo Souled Out PPV.

If you hadn't had enough of the New World Order yet, you were in luck, as we got more next.

The Giant vs. Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade 1996 Review - The Giant faced Lex Luger
Facing off against The Giant in this rematch from their world title fight at The Great American Bash, Lex Luger was insanely over with the live crowd, receiving what was, by far, the biggest pop of the night up to that point.

Yet whilst the crowd certainly came alive for Luger in the opening moments, they would soon go back to sleep as The Giant took charge and led the way through a tedious, slow-paced encounter that was a chore to watch.

Thankfully, things picked up towards the finish when Luger regained control and went for the pin, only to be physically thrown up in the air by the force of The Giant's kick out.

Naturally, this knocked the referee out, prompting the dastardly Nick Patrick to rush in and take his place, even going so far as to kick Luger's leg to prevent a Torture Rack attempt.

Having none of it, Luger chased Patrick away but was then attacked by Syxx, who promptly fled at the sight of Sting.

The mysterious grappler left his bat in the ring, had a private word separately with both men, and then left.

One low blow and a strike from the bat later, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Lex Luger 

The crowd went absolutely insane for Luger, as the announcers told us that, by being the first man to beat somebody from the nWo, Luger had accomplished something huge.

Whether Piper would be able to top that feat by toppling Hogan was something we were about to find out in our next match.

Icon vs. Icon
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan (w/ Ted Dibiase, Vincent, and Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper 

I can't recall why the title wasn't on the line here, though I'm not sure it matters.


Nor did it really make a difference that Vince and Elizabeth went to the back in the early going.

What did matter, was that this match was good. Really good. Better than any so-called 'smart' fan may have told you.

This was basic old school from start to finish, with both men proving that it really was possible to do more with less.

Heck, at one point, Piper had Hogan in a headlock and the two got more mileage out of it than if they'd done a hundred submissions in one sequence.

No, this wasn't a technical wrestling masterpiece, but it was a good, old school grudge match that this fan seriously enjoyed.

The Giant ran in for the finish, but Piper saw him off and put his sleeper hold on Hogan to win the match.
Your Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper 

Afterwards, Hall and Nash came down to revive Hogan, who then had it out with The Giant.

The Giant was pissed that nobody was there to watch his back, but Hogan was more concerned with telling everyone that The Giant had dropped the ball.

Hogan then called for the belt and posed to end the show as though he had won the match.

And so that was the end of World Championship Wrestling's most historic year - the one where Hogan turned heel, the nWo formed, and things were sure to never be the same again. 

Yet despite having one of their hottest years on record, WCW went out of 1996 on a whimper rather than a bang. 

Whilst some may blame the company's over-reliance on the New World Order gimmick for this show's poor quality, that simply isn't the case. Even when the men in black and white were nowhere to be seen, many of the matches simply disappointed, creating a true let down of a show. 

Thankfully, 1997 would get a lot better, though not right away. 

Next time, we'll go all otu of sequence to review the first Clash of the Champions of 1996 before gettting on with 1997 events.  Be the first to check out those reviews by following Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter, or the brand new Facebook page

   

Missed any of my WCW 1996 PPV Reviews? Here's the full list: 

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