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, 19 October 2017

PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 1997

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - Event poster
January 19, 1997
Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas

By the time 1997 rolled around, the World Wrestling Federation found itself at the receiving end of a creative and financial ass-whooping from nearest rivals, World Championship Wrestling. 

Over the course of the new year, McMahon's sports entertainment empire would begin planning for their triumphant comeback by shifting closer and closer towards an edgier, PG14 product that we would all come to know as the infamous Attitude Era.

Yet at the 1997 Royal Rumble, all of that still seemed very, very far away.

A far cry from the adult-orientated programming we'd be watching by the end of the year, our first big event of 1997 found itself in an awkward and uncomfortable position between the family-friendly New Generation of old and the X-Rated Attitude Era that was to come.

Did that make for a good show?

Let's head down to the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas to find out.

Shawn Michaels is a Man  

Tonight's show began with an opening video in which a deep, foreboding voice told us that whilst Shawn Michaels was once a cocky, abrasive youth looking to realize his boyhood dream, he was coming back to San Antonio tonight as a fully grown man, ready to reclaim his title.

That led us to the opening pyro, and a presentation which honestly looked better than many WWF pay per views had in the past.

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - Jim Ross, Vince McMahon, and Jerry 'The King' Lawler did commentary
Vince McMahon was our lead announcer tonight, introducing us first to his co-commentators Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, and then to our Spanish and French announce teams, the latter of which was made up of the father and son duo of Raymond Rougeau and Jacques Rougeau Sr.

For some reason, all the announce tables had little flags to show which country they were representing. It was a small thing, but it did make a nice touch.

With all that out of the way, it was on to our opening contest.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Mr. Hughes) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena) 

Prior to this one starting, Todd Pettengill voiced a video package which told the story how this match came about.

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - Hunter Hearst Helmsley defended the WWF Intercontinental title against Goldust
Basically, we had Jerry Lawler being homophobic and outright asking Goldust if he was 'queer' (because being gay was still weird in the 90s you see), Goldust said no, and clocked Lawler, which made him a babyface.

Meanwhile, Hunter Hearst Helmsley decided that he wanted Marlena. When she turned him down, he just tried to kidnap her instead.

Seriously.

This all led to tonight's opening match, complete Mr. Hughes in the short-lived role as Hunter's pre-Chyna bodyguard.

The bout itself was mostly long and dull, as though both men had been given a lot of time to kill but neither wanted to use much energy so that they could still compete in the Royal Rumble match later.

After what felt like an eternity, Hughes distracted Goldust so that Helmsley could knock him down, drill him with the Pedigree, and win the match.

Honestly, the only good thing about this whole thing was that you could see Marlena's nipples pressing through her top. I'm sorry. I'm a pervert.
Your Winner and Still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Hunter Hearst Helmsley 

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - Bret Hart vowed to win this year's Royal Rumble match
Before our next match, we got pre-recorded comments from Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, and Mankind.

The former promised to win the Royal Rumble, whilst the latter claimed to be interested only in beating up a lot of people in the big match.

Farooq (w/ Clarence Mason, and The Nation of Domination) vs. Ahmed Johnson 

This was a fun, big man brawl that entertained without doing anything spectacular.

After some decent back-and-forth action, The Nation of Domination ran in to stop Farooq from getting his ass kicked, causing him to get DQ'd instead.
Your Winner via DQ: Ahmed Johnson 

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - Farooq and Ahmed Johnson continued their rivalry
Post match, Ahmed chased off members of The Nation and Pearl River Plunged one unknown random member off the ring steps and through the French announce table. To be fair, that was pretty awesome.

Terry Funk is From Texas 

In another pre-recorded clip, Terry Funk said that even though there were bigger wrestlers, stronger wrestlers,  faster and younger wrestlers than himself, he was from Texas.

I think he meant that he was going to win the Royal Rumble, but this was never really explained.

Farooq is Angry 

Backstage, Farooq yelled at The Nation and promised to beat up Ahmed Johnson in the Royal Rumble match later, because Uncle Tom, or something.

I don't know, this was garbage.

Vader vs. The Undertaker 

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - The Undertaker faced Vader
These two would have a much better match later on in the year when Vader challenged The Undertaker for the WWF title at Canadian Stampede.

If you really want to see these two go at it, that's the one to watch because this one wasn't very good at all.

Like the opening contest, it was mostly long and dull, only getting exciting when Paul Bearer showed up.

That was the cue for the action to spill to the outside, where Bearer leaped off the apron and nailed The Undertaker with the urn. Vader then dragged his foe into the ring, hit him with the Vader Bomb, and pinned him.

Thus we had the start of Paul Bearer managing Vader, a move that would also see The Mastodon in a Tag Team with Mankind.
Your Winner: Vader 

Afterwards, The Undertaker was pissed off at his loss, so he chokeslammed the referee, destroyed a bunch of furniture at ringside, then yelled at Vince McMahon.

   

Steve Austin is Taking Out The Trash 

Backstage, Steve Austin told the cameramen off for being where they didn't belong and said that he was going to toss '29 pieces of trash' over the top rope tonight.

The British Bulldog is Bizarre

God bless Davey Boy Smith. This still cracks me up even today.


Héctor Garza, Perro Aguayo, and Canek vs. Jerry Estrada, Heavy Metal, and Fuerza Guerrera

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - AAA's luchadores competed in a 3 vs. 3 match
'Only in the World Wrestling Federation can you see a spectacle like this,' said Vince McMahon, despite taking the idea to book a bunch of AAA's luchadors directly from WCW.

Unfortunately, McMahon didn't seem to give a damn about this one, and neither did the San Antonio crowd.

Despite all six men trying to engage the fans, everything they did was met with silence, something which really took a shine off the whole thing.

After several minutes of spots that lacked any rhyme, reason, or purpose, Perro Aguyo hit Heavy Metal with a double stomp off the top rope to win the match for his team.
Your Winners: Perro Aguyo, Canek, Hector Garza

Finally, after Vince shilled next month's In Your House PPV and Howard Finkle told us that the attendance was 60,477, it was time for tonight's Rumble match.

1997 Royal Rumble Match 30 Man Battle Royal Featuring: Crush, Ahmed Johnson, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, British Bulldog, Owen Hart, The Sultan, Terry Funk, and more 

Defying the odds, Nation of Domination member Crush and The Nation's arch-rival, Ahmed Johnson drew numbers 1 and 2 respectively.

The two kicked things off with a wild brawl, which was only briefly interrupted by the arrival of Fake Razor Ramon at number 3. Ahmed quickly eliminated The Bad Guy, then eliminated himself by jumping over the top rope and chasing after Farooq, who had just appeared in the entrance.


Crush stood there shaking his head as though saying 'lol, what a dickhead,' before Phineas I. Godwin came down to kick things off again.

Steve Austin entered at number five, and it was here where things started to get interesting. Phineas eliminated Crush, Austin eliminated Phineas, and then it was time for Bart Gunn to come in, get his ass kicked, and get thrown out again.

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts suffered the same fate, and it wasn't until the arrival of The British Bulldog that we started to get your typical rumble match.

Other highlights from the 1997 Royal Rumble included:
  • Owen Hart 'accidentally' eliminating The British Bulldog
  • Mill Mascaras stupidly eliminating himself by diving off the top rope onto the outside to attack Pierroth and Cybernetico
  • Ahmed Johnson chasing off Farooq with a 2x4 that was so big it would make Hacksaw Jim Duggan jealous.

After a while, Austin found himself as once again the only man in the ring and quickly disposed of Savio Vega and Jesse James (Road Dogg) before coming face to face with Bret Hart.


It was only at this point that the Rumble match began to pick up steam, with the likes of Vader, The Undertaker, Mankind, Rocky Maivia, Terry Funk, and Fake Diesel also getting involved.

Towards the finish, Funk and Mankind had both been eliminated and were brawling on the outside. This distracted the attention of all the referees so that they didn't see Bret eliminate Austin.


Stone Cold was then able to slip back in, eliminate everyone who was left, and win one of the most boring and uneventful Royal Rumble matches in history.
Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterwards, Bret Hart was so irate that he yelled at the referees and Vince McMahon, much as The Undertaker had done earlier.

Crunch Time

Prior to our main event, we were shown an awesome video package which showed us how Sid had beaten Shawn Michaels for the WWF title at Survivor Series 1996, and all the events that had led up to tonight's rematch.

That took us to a promo recorded on WWF  Superstars from earlier that day in which HBK said that he had the flu, but that when it came to the crunch, he would be ready to beat Sid and get his title back.

World Wrestling Federation World Heavyweight Championship
WWF World Heavyweight Champion Sid vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario)

WWF / WWE Royal Rumble 1997 - Shawn Michaels beat Sid for the WWF Championship
There's no fancy or elaborate way to explain say it - this match sucked.

The majority of the contest was simply big Sid wearing down the challenger before HBK made an exciting comeback towards the finish and captured his second WWF Championship for what would prove to be a very short-lived run indeed.

So yeah, not the greatest main event in the world, and certainly not the greatest start to 1997, but don't worry folks, things would eventually get much, much better.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels

Afterwards, the new champion celebrated his title victory with what seemed like the entire city of San Antonio, basking in the adoration of his hometown crowd until the show went off the air.

   

Overall then, that was a disappointing start to a brand new year of World Wrestling Federation Per Per Views. 

Many have lauded 1997 as a great year for pro wrestling, but what a lot of those fans seem to forget, is that all the really good stuff didn't come until at least the summer. At the Royal Rumble, all we got was a bunch of dull, disappointing, and completely underwhelming matches. 

Thank goodness that the year was going to get a hell of a lot better. 

Next time, it'll be the turn of World Championship Wrestling's nWo Souled Out experiment, before we return to the World Wrestling Federation for In Your House: Final 4. Don't miss any new Retro Pro Wrestling Review by following along on Twitter @Retropwrestling or liking the RPW Facebook page.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA Slammiversary 7 2009

TNA Slammiversary 7 - Event poster
June 21st, 2009
Detroit, Michigan

The good thing about TNA Wrestling’s seventh annual Slammiversary pay per view being shown three days later on Bravo TV is that, before making the commitment to watch it, your reporter got the chance to ask other people whether they thought it was actually worth watching. 

(NOTE: This is a review I originally wrote live at the time Slammiversary 7 took place back in 2009. I recently discovered a bunch of my old TNA reviews and wanted to add them to RPW, so here we are.) 

The bad thing about TNA Wrestling’s seventh annual Slammiversary being shown on Bravo TV at all is that, when those you ask tell you that it's a very good show, you're then committed to staying up past 1AM just to finish watching it and pull together a few comments.

And so it is that with weary eyes and a big jug of coffee, your favourite pro wrestling reviewer sits down to review all the action.

Here’s what went down:


King of the Mountain X-Division Title Match: Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley vs. Consequences Creed vs. Jay Lethal vs. Suicide (champion)

I’ve got to admit, the King of the Mountain match always confuses me a little, but for those even more confused than I am, here’s the gist:

King of the Mountain kind of works like a multi-man, reverse-ladder match in that rather than climbing up the ladder to try and retrieve the title and bring it back down, competitors take the title up the ladder and win the match by hanging it up. But there’s a further twist, in that in order to be ‘eligible’ to hang the title, you first have to gain a pinfall or submission, and whoever you pin or make submit has to spend time in a penalty box.

That any clearer? No, thought not. Don’t worry about the rules though, just sit down and watch this one in all it’s lightning quick, high flying glory. You want insane spots? You want Chris Sabin taking an epic leap off the penalty box into the middle of the aisle and nearly killing everybody?


You want action, excitement, a bit of drama and even a spot of comedy (Motor City Machine Guns and Lethal Consequences indulging in a group hug of sorts in the middle of the ring is damn funny!)? Well, you got all that, and a lot more.

Man, this is a fun match, but ultimately it has to come to an end and does so when Suicide hangs the belt to retain his title.
Your Winner: Suicide

In the back, Shane Douglas talks up his match against ‘Don’t Call me Christopher’ Daniels.

Daniels vs. Shane Douglas

The stipulation for this one is that if Douglas wins, he gets Daniels’ spot on the TNA roster. Or something.

Anyway, this is the one match on the card that really could be terrible but actually isn’t too bad. It’s a well-paced, old school affair and though it won’t be winning any match of the year (it won’t even come close to being the match of the night), it’s decent all the same.

Daniels picks up the win with Best Moonsault Ever.
Your Winner: Daniels

In the back, Jeremy Borash tells TNA World Champion, Mick Foley, that he doesn’t like his odds in the second King of the Mountain match tonight. Foley replies by singing ‘He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands’ (update in 2017 - I wonder if Bray Wyatt was watching), but replacing ‘Whole World’ with ‘World Title’. Ahem. Yes. Anyway.

   

TNA Knockouts Championship Match: Tara vs. Angelina Love (champion)

For those of you new to TNA, you might recognise Tara.

Remember Victoria? ‘Retired’ from WWE?

Yeah, well now she’s in TNA looking fit and healthy and kicking bum. Your Knockouts Champion, Angelina Love, comes to the ring with Velvet Sky and that other woman in tow, and when your reporter stops drooling over the stunning women, it's on.

This is another decent match, not the best either woman has had separately, but still pretty decent and almost immediately it's clear to tell that Tara is much better suited to TNA’s women’s division.

Why? Because these girls actually wrestle, and wrestle well.

I’d hazard a guess that Tara will eventually win the title, but tonight’s not her night as Madison Rayne blinds the former Diva with some hairspray, allowing Angelina to pick up the win.
Your Winner and Still TNA Knockouts Champion: Angelina Love

In the back, Stevie Richards (or rather, Dr. Stevie), Raven, and Daffney are backstage with Lauren.

Raven does his best to creep out Lauren whilst Richards puts over the Monsters Ball match. Lauren runs off and the three weirdos have a group hug. It’s very weird, but then, that’s what they’re going for.

Inter-Gender Monsters’ Ball Match: Raven and Daffney vs. Abyss and Taylor Wilde.

Monsters Ball = Generic Hardcore Match.

And by God what a sick hardcore match this one is!

At times it’s a bit slow and stodgy, especially when Abyss and Raven take centre stage, but whilst both do manage to get some decent spots in, it’s the girls who really impress here.


Taylor is fearless, Daffney is a freaking lunatic, and between them, they steal this one.

A trip through the crowd by both boys and girls is especially fun, particularly when Taylor launches herself off the top of the set and crashes down on her rival. As is Daffney getting hurled out of the ring and squashing Raven and Richards.

But that’s not the best bit.

The best bit comes at the end, when, with the obligatory thumb-tacks spread all over the ring, Taylor Wilde spinebusters Daffney into the tacks with a sickening thud.

Now, there are some people who’ve criticised TNA for allowing a girl to be involved in such violence, but hey, Daffney’s a grown women, and all kudos to her for taking such a sick bump.

Oh, and as for the end? Raven goes for an Even Flow DDT, Abyss counters with a Black Hole Slam into the tacks, and this one is over.
Your Winners: Abyss and Taylor Wilde.

Holy moly, that was intense. Let’s calm things down a bit shall we?

Matt Morgan vs. Sting

If you didn’t know, every match in TNA has to have some sort of stipulation. For this one, if Matt Morgan wins, he’s in the Main Event Mafia.

After Morgan, Sting makes his way to the ring. He’s tremendously popular tonight, but that doesn’t stop him having a really boring match with Morgan.

It lasts all of ten minutes, if that, and apart from Sting hitting a missile dropkick, nothing even remotely interesting happens.

The Stinger hits the Scorpion Death Drop, and we’re done.
Your Winner: Sting 

After teasing all night that Team 3D may not show up (they were in Japan defending their IWGP tag titles just last night), it turns out Ray and Devon are here after all, and they’re set to defend their TNA belts against your writer’s favourite tag team following the demise of Miz & Morrison; Beer Money Incorporated.

TNA World Tag Team Title Match: Beer Money Incorporated vs. Team 3D (champions)

TNA Slammiversary 7 - Beer Money Inc vs. Team 3D

There’s a reason why Robert Roode and James Storm are my favourite tag team; they consistently put on good matches, even against a team like ‘3D, who despite being legends in their own right, are starting to slow down.

The match kicks off and as Don West and Mike Tenay spend the first couple of minutes arguing amongst themselves, they miss out on some really good opening action, including a sweet head scissors from Storm on Devon.

Things progress, and this really does feel like a ‘big time’ pay per view tag team title match. You can fault TNA for many things, but when it comes to running a tag team division, the company are a million miles better than World Wrestling Entertainment.


Part way through, The British Invasion come down to join West and Tenay (who sounds like such a whiny little girl these days) and are brilliant on commentary as Team 3D and Beer Money remain brilliant in the ring.

Not surprisingly, Magnus, Terry and Williams get involved in the finish of this one, causing the distraction to Devon, who gets rocked with the DWI and loses the match.
Your Winner and New Tag Team Champions: Beer Money Incorporated. 

It should be noted that earlier on in the show (I think it was just before the tag bout, but I’m growing tired now), there’s an interview backstage with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe.

After AJ’s done with his piece, Samoa Joe addresses Kurt Angle and says something along the lines of:

“Kurt, I have taken out the rest of the Main Event Mafia, tonight, it’s about you, tonight, we become the most powerful force in pro wrestling.”

Now, when he says “we” is he talking about himself and the man standing next to him, AJ Styles, or is he talking about himself and Kurt Angle?

Hmm, let’s find out shall we?

King of the Mountain World Heavyweight Championship Match: Aj Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle vs. Mick Foley

Leading into this match, everything in the world said it should fail.

Yes, Angle, Styles and even Jeff Jarrett can put on some good stuff, but nowhere near to the level of the X-Division guys in the opener.

Samoa Joe is what he is at this point, which is not bad but barely motivated, but Mick Foley?

Huge fan of the guy but he’s far too broken down to be taken seriously as a world champion and competitor at this stage of his game.

Still, this one actually transpired into a very good match complete with some wicked spots from Foley himself, who surprises the hell out of just about everybody by digging down deep and pulling out some Hell in the Cell ’98 style action.

But that’s not the biggest surprise, folks. Oh no, that comes at the end, when Samoa Joe reveals that the ‘we’ he referred to earlier really was Joe and Angle. The Nation of Violence resident climbs the ladder, hands Kurt Freakin’ Angle the title, and the match is over!
Your Winner and New TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Kurt Angle

Well, it seems that popular opinion was right, this was a very good show. 

The X-Division opener stole it from the get go, the tag title match really had a ‘big time’ feel to it, and the main event surpassed any and all expectations. Add in Daffney’s insane bump on the tacks and a fair effort in the girls’ title match, and you’ve got a solid card. Sting/Morgan was easily the worst match of the night, followed by Daniels/Douglas, but TNA Slammiversary 2009 was a good show and one that you should certainly check out if you get the chance.


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, 5 October 2017

5 Times WWE Experimented With The Attitude Era Before It Started

As regular readers of Retro Pro Wrestling will know, we've just finished covering every WWF and WCW pay per view that took place in 1996. 




It's been a fun time.

We got to relive the formation of one of the most successful gimmicks of all time in the New World Order. We got to watch Shawn Michaels' first WWF championship run, a run which -though it may have bombed at the box office- certainly delivered plenty of quality main events throughout the year.

We also got to witness the very first examples of the World Wrestling Federation experimenting with the kind of programming that would form the nucleus of the much-missed Attitude Era.


Whilst the general consensus is that the Attitude Era as we know it today began in the latter half of 1997, 1996 saw many moments that would have fit right in with the edgier, more adult-orientated programming that the World Wrestling Federation would begin peddling in the wake of the infamous Montreal Screwjob.

Don't believe me?

Just check out this list of five times that the WWF experimented with the Attitude Era a whole year before it started.

1: Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel - Good Friends, Better Enemies

Even though he was gone for most of it, The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels probably deserves more credit than he gets for developing the foundations of the Attitude Era in it's formative years.

It wasn't just his -ahem- attitude throughout 1997, nor the foundation of D-Generation-X that earned HBK his PG14 badge, but also some of the high profile matches he had back in 1996.

It started with this one - a no disqualification championship match against former buddy Kevin 'Diesel' Nash at In Your House 7.



Sure, this match - Shawn's first as WWF Champion - may have been tame compared to the kind of all-out violent chaos we would get in the thick of the Attitude Era, but for early 1996, it was groundbreaking.

The two smashed through tables, used Mad Dog Vachon's prosthetic leg as a weapon, and introduced fans to the kind of no holds barred style that would be a staple of the Attitude Era's in-ring product.

2: Stone Cold's 'Austin 3:16' speech

Though tame by comparison to the kind of promos we'd get once the Attitude Era kicked off proper, the monologue that Steve Austin delivered following his 1996 King of the Ring victory was groundbreaking in its ferocity and close-to-the-bone style.


For newer fans, imagine CM Punk's 'Pipe Bomb' delivered back at a time when even the word 'ass' was too much to be broadcast on WWF TV.

It would take at least another year for Austin to go from popular mid-carder with a cool gimmick to all out superstar, and another year after that before he would become the trash-talking phenomenon we know so well today, but credit where it's due - Stone Cold was one of the first to drop an Attitude Era style promo in the World Wrestling Federation.

   

3: Mankind vs. The Undertaker - Boiler Room Brawl 

The whole of Foley vs. Taker throughout 1996 could be considered a precursor to the Attitude Era - they had wild, violent matches that really raised the game for everyone, but it was the Boiler Room Brawl back at Summerslam 1996 that was really the standout moment.


The only other time this writer remembers the action spilling backstage was the time Macho Man Randy Savage faced Crush in a Falls Count Anywhere match at Wrestlemania 10, but even that didn't come close to matching what we saw in the Boiler Room brawl - this one really set the tone for the kind of backstage brawls and hardcore matches that were a staple of the WWF's adult-focused product.

4: In Your House: Mind Games

Remember earlier when I said that some of Shawn Michaels' 1996 title defenses helped introduce the in-ring style that would become famous in the Attitude Era? Look no further than his landmark outing with Mankind for the perfect example of just that.


But it wasn't just the match itself that made Mind Games such a perfect example of the WWF experimenting with the Attitude Era before it started. 

Early in the show, we had an appearance from ECW mainstays Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, and Paul Heyman. Then there was the moment Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart all got together in the ring to rag on Owen's brother Bret, in which the language went above the usual family-friendly fare that was used at this time.

In fact, I don't think I can sum this one up any better than I did in my original review, where I wrote:

 it has to be said that this one was memorable not for the matches, but for the shift in tone that was a little less subtle than the companies previous steps towards an edgier product.From the ECW invasion at the start of the show to the dramatic and violent main event, via Stone Cold Steve Austin's 'off-colour' comments and the occasional use of suggestive language, this was a milestone in the World Wrestling Federation's gradual transformation into the Attitude Era. 

5: JR's Heel Turn 

The heel turn itself sucked, but it did give us much more than the ill-fated Fake Diesel and Razor Ramon thingt also gave us a turning point in how Vince McMahon was perceived on TV.


Up until that point, Vinny Mac had been just an over-enthusiastic broadcaster famous for shouting "One, Two, he got him! No he didn't" and of course "What a maneuver!" but JR was the first person to go out on television and out McMahon as the owner of the World Wrestling Federation.

From there, everyone from Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin to The Undertaker would be seen on TV, confronting McMahon as the owner of the company whenever things didn't quite go their way.

   

That's all I've got, but I'm sure there are plenty more examples out there. If you can think of any, drop me a line and let me know. You can reach me either here via Retro Wrestling, on the new RPW Facebook page, or on Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA Destination-X 2009

TNA Destination X 2009
Sunday March 15th, 2009
Orlando, Florida.

This TNA review is from my archives. I'd found a bunch of old posts recently and decided to share them here on Retro Pro wrestling. 

By 2009, I had largely abandoned writing about TNA because their weekly Impact shows were becoming so infuriatingly awful. Yet where the company did usually come into their own was on PPV. As such, I decided to give them one more shot with Destination-X.

Man, was that ever a mistake.

Here’s what happened.

Six Woman Tag Match: Madison Rayne, Angelina Love & Velvet Sky vs. Roxxi, Taylor Wilde and The Governor.

The girls go at it in your straightforward women’s match which doesn’t take too long to get started, nor to finish.

Before your writer has time to stop wondering if there could possibly be a worse name for a female wrestler than The Governor, Taylor Wilde has a bridging German suplex on Madison Rayne and ultimately gets the win.
Your Winners: Roxxi, Taylor Wilde & The Governor.

There may be a lot wrong with TNA’s Knockouts division right now but, thankfully, that match isn’t one of them.

There is, however, a lot wrong with this next unsanctioned match.

Brutus Magnus vs. Eric Young

Young answers and does his best to save a pretty sloppy match against that bloke off Gladiators.

Unfortunately for all of us, EY ain’t no miracle worker, and despite his best efforts, he still can’t help Magnus looking as though he’s completely lost out there.

In the end, Bruti hits Tormentum (which is still the worst-looking finisher in all of pro wrestling in this writer’s opinion!) for the three count.
Your Winner: Brutus Magnus

As we set up for the upcoming Match of 10,000 tags, Sheik Abdul Bashir comes out to provide a bit of a distraction.

To wrap up a segment which achieves absolute zilch, Jim Cornette appears, tells Bashir that nobody likes him and we’re done.

Match of 10,000 Tacks: ‘The Monster’ Abyss vs. ‘The Blueprint’ Matt Morgan

Despite the terrible moniker, this could have been a very good, brutal and bloody brawl. Instead, it was a standard big-man bout with the added ‘on a pole’ stipulation and some drawing pins.

Not surprisingly, Abyss absorbs the inevitable tack-bump and thus loses the bout.
Your Winner: ‘The Blueprint’ Matt Morgan

As a fan, no matter how much you defend pro wrestling, you’ll always have moments when pro wrestling will repay you by providing something so bad that you’re embarrassed to sit and watch it. And if you haven’t had one yet, you sure will if you watch this next segment.


One night With ODB Finals

It’s hard to explain this one properly without an abundance of cursing, but let’s try. Basically, ODB has been holding a contest in which one lucky-fan gets to spend the night with her.

The three finalists are TNA wrestler, Shark Boy (and yes, watching somebody called Shark Boy is usually embarrassing enough!), some old bloke and Cody Deaner, who’s actually signed a contract with TNA, so you know who’s won this one.

Jeremy Borash hams it up as a host of a ‘Blind Date’ like segment. In the end, the whole thing is decided by the most cringe-worthy dance contest ever. Deaner wins. End of.

And yeah, that was bad, but things don’t get any better just yet.

TNA Knockouts Championship Match: Awesome Kong (champion) vs. Sojourner Bolt.

This is a disaster. OK, there have been worse matches, but it’s still pretty bad. Sojo comes across like she hasn’t a clue what she’s supposed to be doing when going on the offence, and even Kong isn’t all that on form.

Kong kills Sojo. Kong wins.
Your Winner and Still TNA Knockouts Champion: Awesome Kong. 

Hopefully, the in-ring return of Samoa Joe can pick things up a bit next.

Samoa Joe vs. Scott Steiner

TNA Destination X 2009: Samoa Joe faced Scott Steiner
Nope, it can’t.

Good Lord, Joe looks like some fat extra from a cruddy straight-to-DVD film about cannibals.

 It’s a far cry from the days when Joe was going to Kill you. Though, to be fair, in his new ‘look at me, I’m crazy violent’ gimmick, he is actually more likely to, you know, literally kill you.

For all intents and purposes, Scott Steiner is pretty much an after-thought in this match. He gets busted open in the early going then cracked with a lead pipe to win via disqualification.
Your Winner by disqualification: Scott Steiner.

In the post-match, Samoa Joe beats on Scott Steiner some more as they go into the crowd to finish a pretty naff match.

Then, after a quick promo from ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles, it’s on with his match.

TNA Legends Championship: Booker T (champion) vs. AJ Styles

TNA Destination X 2009: AJ Styles faced Booker T for the Legends Title
Hurrah! Finally, we get a quality match! Booker T stops being a lazy so-and-so and actually puts some effort in here, though it’s still AJ Styles who really makes this one stand out.

After all the pap on this card, Styles and Booker deliver the goods, and this one wraps up with a great finish culminating in AJ hitting the Styles Clash for the pin.
Your Winner and new TNA Legends Champion: AJ Styles

Before we get to the next match, we get the most ridiculous thing ever.

Backstage, Samoa Joe has gone banana. He’s got his big knife, and it’s got Scott Steiner’s blood on it. Next, he says, he’s going to go slice and dice the rest of the Main Event Mafia.

There’s so many things wrong with this that it would take an age to talk about, so let’s just shake our heads in disapproval and move on, shall we?

TNA Tag Team Title Off The Wagon Challenge Match: Beer Money Inc. (champions) vs. Team 3D

This could be a very good match were it not for the silly ‘Off the Wagon’ stipulation (which essentially means that should the challengers lose cleanly, they’re out of a job) and pointless, over-complicated booking.

All four men do what they do and do it well. The cowardly James Storm gets his team disqualified but Jim Cornette re-starts it, only for Beer Money Inc. to then get counted out.

Why bother?
Your Winners by Count-Out: Team 3D (Beer Money retain the titles)

If you were thinking of tuning out and this point and doing something productive instead, nobody could blame you.

That said, you would be missing out on one cracking match that comes next.

   

TNA X-Division Ultimate X Match: Alex Shelley (champion) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Suicide vs. Jay Lethal vs. Consequences Creed

Now, this is what it’s all about! This is by far the best match of the night; a supreme spot-fest of the finest calibre.

It matches like these for which the chant That was Awesome! was coined.

If you want to see a match steeped in storytelling and that all-important ring psychology, there are better matches out there for you, but if you want to see a bunch of talented chaps doing some pretty cool stuff, check this one out.

This isn’t the best X-Division match ever, and there’s certainly room for improvement, but after such a shoddy show so far, it’s a much welcome relief.

In the end, Suicide performs a mad leap off the scaffold, grabs the X belt and is your new champ’.
Your Winner and New X-Division Champion: Suicide

That match was a lot of fun. Shame it resulted in a guy who looks like a wanker bagging the X strap.

TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Sting (champion) vs. Kurt Angle

TNA Destination X 2009: Kurt Angle faced Sting for the TNA Title
This being TNA, we, of course, can’t have a straightforward singles match. Instead, we’ve got Jeff Jarrett as your Special Guest Referee and Mick Foley assuming his usual Special Guest Enforcer role (which means he’ll basically hang around until the ref’ gets taken out then make the final three count).

All the same, this transpires into a decent, if not superb, match with the usual shenanigans in the finish leading to Sting retaining.
Your Winner and Still TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

No! No! No! Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling’s 2009 Destination X pay per view was bad. It was wrong, it was rubbish and, if I dare say it, it was crap.

The bulk of the undercard was littered with subpar performances made all the more unwatchable thanks to illogical booking and nonsensical gimmicks. When you’ve got a guy running around with a knife and expect people to cheer for him, you know you’ve got problems.

And trust me, TNA have got a lot of problems.

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.

   

Friday, 22 September 2017

TV REVIEW: TNA Impact - February 5th, 2009

TNA IMPACT LOGO
Orlando, Florida

They say that if you don’t like a television programme, just don’t watch it. So why your resident wrestling reporter finds himself once again tuning into a show that he finds frustrating and illogical probably makes no sense at all. 

(NOTE: This review was originally written at the time that The February, 5th 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.) 

The only reason I can give is that there’s still hope for Total Non-Stop Action wrestling. With a varied cast of talented performers, Impact could be a good show.

Let’s see if this one is:

The Mafia’s Address

As per the norm these days, the suit-clad Main Event Mafia make their way to the ring to open the show.

Kevin Nash takes to the mic first and alludes to his penchant for backstage politicking; if Big Kev wants someone gone in this industry, he makes sure they’re gone. For some reason though, he hasn’t managed to get rid of Samoa Joe, so he’s going to beat him up instead.

The stick gets passed to Kurt Angle, who, in typically enjoyable fashion, hypes the Against All Odds pay per view and his impending tag match tonight with Sting against their ppv opponents, Team 3D.

Backstage with Team 3D

More fantastic microphone work comes next from the IWGP tag team champions. Brother Ray and Brother Devon hype their upcoming matches against the Mafia.

The beginning of the end of the Front Line?

The lovely Lauren is backstage with Lethal Consequences, she wants to know if all is still well with the TNA Frontline.

Consequences Creed insists it is, before hyping the tag match later against the Motor City Machine Guns. Black Machismo Jay Lethal also gets in on the act, but apparently is a bit confused; as far as Lethal is concerned, he’s out to face Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty tonight!

Tag Team Match: Motor City Machine Guns vs. Lethal Consequences

At least, that’s what we’re supposed to get. As it happens, this match never really takes place as the TNA tag team champions, Beer Money Inc head to the ring and destroy their Against All Odds opponents.

With Creed taken out, Black Machismo gives a good account of himself in a pretty entertaining handicap match.

Before long however, Eric Young arrives on the scene to make up the numbers, plants the Guns with a double Death Valley Driver and gets the win.
Your Winners: Eric Young and Jay Lethal

In the post-match, Alex Shelley grabs a microphone and challenges EY to an X-Division title match at the pay per view. Young seems to produce a mic from thin air and accepts the challenge.

Admittedly, that was pretty fun. Though a straight tag-match would have been preferable, getting more interest in two pay per view title matches works for this writer.

   

Jim Cornette in the Land of Nonsense

The Kongtourage are gathered in Jim Cornette’s office, with Awesome Kong sporting a wonderfully ridiculous pair of snow boots. With no mention as to why Cornette is now responsible for the Knockouts (wasn’t that the job of Traci Brooks?), Jimbo tells them off for something or other and they storm off to be replaced to Booker T and Sharmell.

Dressed in referee attire, the Legends Champion asks to be the referee for the upcoming Sewell/Bashir clash. When his request is denied, Booker says he’ll get involved in the match anyway. Oh, thanks for giving that one away.

You wouldn’t like us when we’re angry

Lauren is backstage with The Beautiful People and Cute Kip. Angelina Love and Velvet Sky are darn angry and promise to beat up Roxi and Taylor Wylde later tonight.

Shiek Abdul Bashir vs. Referee Shane Sewell

Even despite the nice, tidy bout Bashir and Sewell put together, it’s hard to care about anything they do in the ring.

After all, Booker T has already told us he’ll be involved, so it’s just a case of sitting around and waiting for the inevitable.

In fact, it seems even announcers, Mike Tenay & Don West think so too and start discussing politics instead of the in-ring action.

As soon as the clichéd ref’ bump takes place, here he comes. Sewell and Booker brawl for a little while before they’re split up by officials.
Your Winner by Disqualification (I think): Shane Sewell

A Legacy Tarnished?

Jeremy Borash is backstage with TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting. Sting admits that he doesn’t know where he stands with Main Event Mafia cohort, Kurt Angle, but what he does know is that the TNA World title stands for honour, prestige and all that nonsense, and if anyone else has the title other than him, the belt will be tarnished. Of course it will, Stinger.

The Beautiful People (with Cute Kip) vs. Roxi & Taylor Wylde

Now dressed in pretty matching dresses, Angelina & Velvet attack their opponents on the way to the ring and annihilate them in a one-sided, yet still reasonably entertaining bout.
Your Winners: The Beautiful People

The girls continue their assault before something takes place that is even more predictable than Booker T interfering in the last match; ‘The Governor Sarah Palin’ runs down and fends off the bad girls.

Brutus Magnus vs. Shark Boy

Well, this one’s a forgone conclusion, so instead, let’s lay into the new boy shall we?

Magnus, better known to Gladiator’s fans as ‘Oblivion’ looks like a muppet and his finishing move is rubbish. Tenay and West spend half the match hyping up Magnus’ move, The Tormentum, which actually turns out to be a naff-looking Samoan drop.
Your Winner: Brutus Magnus

With that taken care of, Brutus issues an open challenge to anyone who wants to fight him at Against All Odds.

All’s Well in the Family

Backstage, a fired-up Kurt Angle tells Jeremy Borash that even though there is no tension between the Main Event Maifa, he actually doesn’t need Sting and can do all this on his own.

The Blue Print Matt Morgan vs. The War Machine Rhyno

With Rhyno still selling his Genesis beat-down at the hands of the Main Event Mafia, this turns into a slightly-above-average big man match.

Towards the close, Morgan is interrupted by his former tag team partner, Abyss, who legs it ringwards with bags of drawing pins in hand.

Abby beats up Morgan and plants him with a Black Hole Slam before the DNA of TNA does a runner.
Your Winner: erm, Morgan by DQ.

With Morgan gone, Abyss grabs a microphone and cuts a fantastically intense promo on his rival, climaxing with The Monster punching the life out of the thumbtacks until his hands bleed.

Backstage with Mick Foley

In another throw-away segment, Mick Foley hypes the pay per view and announces that Jeff Jarrett will return next week.

Main Event: Team 3D vs. Kurt Angle & Sting

Not surprisingly, the story here is Angle refusing to tag out to, and ultimately getting into a row with his partner, with the Main Event Mafia coming to the rescue.
Your Winners by Disqualification: Team 3D

Don’t be surprised if you don’t get any further TNA coverage from this writer. There was so much that was just plain wrong with this show that it would take me forever to get through it all, but here’s a couple of things that spring to mind.

• The amount of actual wrestling on the show was shocking. What’s more, out of the six matches that took place, only two were actual straight wrestling matches with the scheduled opponents and a clean finish and neither were that interesting.

• Almost everything was predictable, not least because TNA told us what was going to happen. Booker T ‘I’m going to interfere in this next match’. Great, thanks, Book. Now I know what’s going to happen, I don’t need to watch it.

• Wasn’t Samoa Joe supposed to be returning tonight?

• Why do Team 3D carry those IWGP titles around with them? TNA are promoting Ray & Devon as main eventers, and by having them carry around another company’s tag titles and hyping those belts as incredibly prestigious, they’re only devaluing their own tag titles and champions.



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.

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

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.