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, 23 November 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA Bound For Glory 2009

Sunday, October 18th, 2009
Irvine, California

On Sunday, October 18th, 2009, TNA wrestling presented their biggest pay per view event of the year, Bound for Glory.

As the company's equivalent of Wrestlemania, Bound for Glory 2009 saw the culmination of a number of the biggest rivalries in TNA.

(NOTE: This review was written at the time of TNA Bound for Glory's broadcast in October 2009. I found this along with other TNA reviews in my archive recently and decide to report them to RPW) 

Here's what went down.

Zack Wylde played the American National Anthem.

It's true; the Black Label Society founder opened the show with a heavy metal rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Those fans who weren't desperately trying to look sincere in their displays of patriotism simply looked around, confused.

X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match: Amazing Red defended the X-Division Championship against Chris Sabin, Alex Shelly, Suicide, Homicide and Daniels.

Nobody wasted a second in tearing into each other in the X-Division's trademark fast and furious style.

The Motor City Machine Guns, Shelly and Sabin, were the stars in the early going, even if one or two of their spots did make that all important suspension of disbelief somewhat difficult.


The grand finale of this exciting spot-fest came when Daniels and Suicide climbed high above the ring atop the steel structure for a dramatic exchange of blows. Fans watched with bated breath as the two hung on nervously before making a sickening drop that left Christopher Daniels legitimately hurt.

In the ensuing bedlam, Amazing Red was able to capture his belt and retain the title.
Your Winner and still X-Division Champion: Amazing Red

As the ring crew worked to disassemble the Ultimate X structure, the show went to the back for a couple of interviews.

Lauren interviewed The Beautiful People

Flanked by Madison Rayne and Lacey Von Eric, Velvet Sky vowed to capture the Knockout Tag Team Titles whilst Madison insisted that the only reason The Beautiful People failed to do so last time was that they weren't ready.

JB interviewed Taylor Wilde and Sarita

Responding to The Beautiful People's comments, TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions, Taylor Wilde and Sarita promised to win their upcoming match.

   

TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship: Taylor Wilde and Sarita defended against Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne (with Lacey Von Eric)

Before this one could begin, Lacey Von Eric did her best to seduce the referee, hoping to get him on the side of The Beautiful People. Having none of it, Earl Hebner raced to the ring, snogged Lacey and sent her packing.

When the match finally did begin, it was a short, explosive affair in which the two teams traded the advantage until Wilde hit a German suplex on Madison to pick up the win for her team.
Your Winners and still TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions: Taylor Wilde & Sarita

Backstage, Eric Young and Kevin Nash  cut a decent promo discussing their upcoming Triple Threat match against Hernandez.

TNA Legends Championship: Kevin Nash defended against Eric Young and Hernandez

This basically evolved into a passable handicap match, with Nash and Young working together and Hernandez struggling to overcome the odds.

The twist came at the end, when Young double-crossed 'Big Sexy' by using Hernandez as a battering ram to take out the legend's champion and take his title.
Your winner and NEW TNA Legends Champion: Eric Young

Backstage, tensions were rife between The British Invasion, Beer Money and the team of Scott Steiner and Booker T. All three teams argued, until; the Brits proved to be an unlikely voice of reason and urged everyone to concentrate on taking out Team 3D.

TNA Tag Team Championship and IWGP Tag Team Championship Full Metal Mayhem match: TNA Tag Team Champions Scott Steiner and Booker T vs. IWGP tag team champions The British Invasion vs. Beer Money vs. Team 3D

Both TNA's tag team title and their New Japan Pro Wrestling equivalent where on the line in Full Metal Mayhem; TNA's answer to your usual Tables, Ladders and Chairs match.


Surprisingly, it was Scott Steiner who impressed early in this contest; destroying everyone except for Team 3D (who were taken out at the start) with a number of suplexes and even hitting a very cool top rope frankensteiner).

There was worse luck for his partner, Booker T, who injured his back and was carried out on a stretcher (don't expect to see Booker in TNA again).

The rest of the match was fairly entertaining, featuring cameos from Rhyno (who took out Team 3D), guitarist Zack Wylde (who was watching with the rest of the crowd and took out Brutus Magnus with a chair) and Rob Terry, who eventually helped Doug Williams to win a good match that could have been even better were it not for some timing issues and a lot of stalling.
Your Winners and new TNA Tag Team Champions: The British Invasion

TNA Knockouts Championship: ODB defends her title against Awesome Kong and Tara.

All three women went at it from the opening bell and before long this Knockouts championship bout had grown into a decent match.

Following several minutes of well put together action, Tara found herself in an altercation with a woman at ringside (it was Kim Couture, apparently setting up some MMA angle between the two), and then stormed off.

After leaving Awesome Kong as the sole challenger to tackle champion ODB, Tara returned after several minutes only get destroyed by Kong. Raisha Saeed arrived and insisted that Kong used a chair to pin the champion. Kong refused and it cost her, as ODB retained the gold.
Your Winner and still TNA Knockouts Champion: ODB 

In the back, The Blueprint Matt Morgan discussed his history with Kurt Angle, leading to their match later in the show.

Submission match: Samoa Joe vs. Bobby Lashley

Lashley came to the ring with his ribs heavily bandaged to take on Samoa Joe in a match billed as MMA vs. TNA.

Despite playing the babyface role, Bobby Lashley's every move was met with a loud chorus of boos as the California crowd got firmly behind Samoa Joe in a reasonably entertaining bout. It would have been all the more entertaining were the crowd not so vehemently against Bobby; effectively killing off his super hero come back and rendering the whole point of the match rather useless.
Your winner: Bobby Lashley

Backstage, Mick Foley reminded JB of all the sacrifices he'd made to make a name for himself, and insisted that if Abyss wanted to overshadow the Hardcore Legend's achievements, he would have to do it himself.

A terrific video package followed, detailing the story between Foley and Abyss.

Monster's Ball match: Mick Foley vs. Abyss (with Dr. Stevie as the special guest referee)

The Monster's Ball moniker may just be a way for TNA to dress up your average hardcore match, but there was certainly nothing average about the sadistic bumps the two combatants took in this match.

Foley attacked as Abyss made his entrance and the two went for an early high spot when Foley climbed to the top of the entrance set and knocked Abyss off, sending the big man crashing through the stage.


What followed was a bloody, barbed wire fuelled brawl with plenty of high impact offence. Everything was going well, with both men taking some sickening bumps into the barbed wire, until Abyss slammed Stevie onto the tacks, knocking him out.

Daffney ran to ringside and handed Foley a tazer, which he used to take out Abyss. Mick then made the cover and a second referee ran out to make the count, however Abyss forgot to kick out, and the referee was forced to count to three, then pretend like it never happened. Needless to say, the crowd, this writer, and no doubt many watching at home, were none too happy about that little mishap.

A few minutes later, Abyss sent Daffney through the barbed wire (rumours are that Daffney broke her arm in that spot), covered Foley and used the hand of an unconscious Dr. Stevie to count the three.
Your Winner: Abyss

JB interviewed Kurt Angle backstage. The Olympic Gold Medallist promised to give Matt Morgan a lesson in respect when they met in the ring.

Kurt Angle vs. Matt Morgan

The two arch-rivals fought for respect in a largely disappointing effort by Angle's usually phenomenal standards. That's not to say this wasn't a fun match, but we've seen Angle deliver some true classics.


Sadly, this wasn't one of them.

The Olympic Gold Medallist dominated the bout before winning with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

And now, time for the main event.

TNA World Championship: AJ Styles defended against Sting

Home-state hero and all-round wrestling legend Sting looked to dethrone his friend and protege AJ Styles in a good main event.


Early on, Tazz summed up this writer's thoughts that this symbolic passing of the torch encounter was reminiscent of watching Sting in his early days battling Ric Flair in the NWA/WCW.

It didn't quite go long enough to be the spectacular main event it could have been, but it was nonetheless a very good way to end a very good show.
Your Winner and still TNA World Champion: AJ Styles

Afterwards, AJ handed the spotlight to Sting. The Icon thanked the fans for their support and declared that he didn't know whether he'd be back in a TNA ring.

Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling promote Bound for Glory as their biggest show of the year, their equivalent to Wrestlemania and the event that really showcases what TNA is really all about. In that respect, BFG 2009 was an enormous success. With not one bad match on the card, and most ranging from good to great, the in-ring action was mostly a joy to watch.

Match of the night honours go to the Full Metal Mayhem bout, which had a similar vibe as the opening Ultimate X contest but managed to deliver a multi-man spot-fest encounter in a much more believable fashion.

If TNA could just continue to deliver amazing cards like this, I'm sure they'd attract many more new fans.



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.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Top Ten Matches from the First Ten WWE Survivor Series matches


It can't have escaped your attention that WWE Survivor Series 2017 is this weekend. 

With bouts like The Shield vs. The New Day and a hotly anticipated champion vs. champion encounter between AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar, this year's event is likely to prove that Survivor Series can indeed hold it's own with the other three members of the 'Big Four' when it comes to delivering great matches.

Yes, it's sad that Survivor Series should have to prove anything at all, but for this writer, it often feels as though it does.

As the last major -and I mean MAJOR- events of WWE's calendar, the show is usually overlooked in comparison to 'Mania, the 'Rumble, and Summerslam with many of its best moments destined to languish forever as 'forgotten classics.'

But hey, that's part of the reason Retro Pro Wrestling exists in the first place - to make sure that we don't forget those hidden gems that may otherwise go on unloved.

If you've been following along, you'll know that I've so far covered every WWE/WWF PPV from Wrestlemania 1 up to In Your House 13: Final Four which, nicely, means I've covered the first 10 instalments of the Survivor Series franchise.

To celebrate this weekend's event, I decided to revisit those first ten events and give you my pick of the top ten matches from the first ten Survivor Series shows.

This includes all matches, singles, tags, and traditional Survivor Series elimination bouts, and is based on nothing more than my own personal preference.

I'm not scoring on work rate, crowd reaction, or anything like that - if I loved the match for whatever reason, it goes in.

Don't agree with me? That's all good. Let me know in the comments what your favourite Survivor Series matches are from the first event in 1987 to the 10th event in 1996.

Ready? Let's do it.

10: Team Flair vs. Team Piper (Survivor Series 1991) 

Ric Flair, The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, Warlord and The Mountie VS. Rowdy Roddy Piper, The British Bulldog, Virgil and Intercontinental Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.



Survivor Series 1991 was a mostly terrible show that served as one long, dull commercial for another PPV - This Tuesday in Texas - set to take place just six days later.

The show gave us random crud like a match pitting Sgt. SlaughterJim DugganTito Santana and Kerry Von Erich on the same team against BerzerkerSkinnerHercules and Iron Sheik (as Col. Mustafa) and a weird six-man main event in which I.R.S teamed with The Natural Disasters to take on Big Boss Man and The Legion of Doom, but it did give us a few memorable moments.

It gave us the pre-Barber Shop break up of The RockersThe Undertaker's first WWF Championship win, and this match - the best thing on the card by a mile.

The match was notable for being the first time The Million Dollar Man had wrestled on a Survivor Series team that he wasn't the captain of, and also for stand out performances by The British Bulldog and Nature Boy himself.

Sure, things were spoiled by a convoluted ending in which everybody except for Ric Flair was disqualified - but up until that point, this had the makings of a fun match.

9: Macho Man Randy Savage & Mr Perfect vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair & Razor Ramon (Survivor Series 1992)


As everybody knows, the story goes that this was supposed to be Macho Man Randy Savage partnering with The Ultimate Warrior in their short-lived Ultimate Maniacs team before Warrior left the company with just a few weeks to go.

The WWF brain trust scrambled around to come up with a replacement and found the perfect one in Mr Perfect.

Not only did this work out great for the in-ring action, but it also made perfect kayfabe sense.

Announcers Vince McMahon and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan reminded us that Perfect had once been Ric Flair's Executive Consultant and even vaguely referenced the fact that Hennig and Razor Ramon had once tagged together in the AWA, meaning he was the one guy who knew both opponents better than anyone on the roster.

Storyline aside, the quality of the match was impressive.

Other reviewers have likened it to a good, modern-day Raw main event, but I honestly think that does it an injustice.

Sure, this wasn't necessarily a classic, but it was a quality match in its own right, and one of only two on the entire Survivor Series 1992 card that is actually worth watching.

What was the other one?

Keep reading to find out.


8: 'Wild Card' Survivor Series Elimination Match (Survivor Series 1995)

Team Michaels (Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog, and Sycho Sid w/ Ted DiBiase)
vs.
 Team Yokozuna (Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas (w/ Mr. Fuji)



Honestly, the only reason that this one isn't higher is that Survivor Series 1995 pretty much dominates this list, and I wanted to give some of the other shows their due.

Here we have we have what was basically heels and faces on the same team. In kayfabe, this was a concept designed by WWF President Gorilla Monsoon to frustrate and punish heel manager Jim Cornette by putting members of his Camp Cornette stable on opposing teams, though in actuality, it was just a clever storytelling device that produced some terrific action.

Personally, I didn't enjoy this match quite as much as two others on this card, but that's like saying I didn't enjoy the sex I had one day as much as I did on two other days - even if it wasn't as good, it was still fantastic in its own right.

Weird, sexual analogies aside, this really was a fantastic match, going on for 30 minutes with plenty of action from all sides.

I'll say it multiple times in this review, but Survivor Series 1995 really was one of the best editions of this event to take place in the 1990s, and this incredibly exciting match is a big reason why.

7: Teamsters vs. Bad guys (Survivor Series 1994) 

The Teamsters (WWF Tag Team Champions Diesel and Shawn Michaels, Owen Hart, Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart and Jeff Jarrett) 
vs. 
The Bad Guys (WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, The 123 Kid, The British Bulldog and The Headshrinkers, Sione and Fatu, w/ Afa and Captain Lou Albano)


The 1994 Survivor Series was memorable for a number of reasons.

It was at this show that Bob Backlund wrestled in only his second WWF PPV singles match, beating Bret 'The Hitman' Hart for the championship in a lengthy and enjoyable submission match.

It was here that The Undertaker stuffed Yokozuna into a casket and effectively buried Yoko's main event run for good.

And it was also here the that the friendship between Shawn Michaels and Diesel would finally come to an end.

After first hiring the former Master Blaster as his body, the Heartbreak Kid had developed a friendship with the big guy that had seen the two capture the tag team titles.

Yet after one misplaced super kick too many, 7ft Diesel was beginning to get sick and tired of his smaller ally.

Tonight, things would finally come to a head when Diesel ate Shawn's boot for the third time and turned on both HBK and his teammates.

It was obvious that the whole match had been designed to solidify Diesel's face turn in preparation for a WWF Championship reign that would begin later that week (and end with another quality Survivor Series match that we'll get to later), but that's not to say that the other participants simply sat around and watched the Diesel and Shawn show.

Everybody got involved. Everybody excelled. Everybody worked hard to make this a show-stealing performance.

From the 123 Kid's early exchanges with Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart, to Hart's duel with brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith, to the dramatic, Diesel-turning finale, everything about this was pure gold.

6: WWF Champion Diesel vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart (Survivor Series 1995) 


Like the Jindar Mahal of the 1990s, Kevin Nash's run with the WWF title throughout 1995 had been lacklustre at best. 

After a string of terrible main event title defences against the likes of Sycho Sid (In Your House 1), King Mabel (Summerslam 1995) and The British Bulldog (In Your House IV - a match I weirdly enjoyed), Vince McMahon had decided to pull the plug on his experiment and hand the title over to a more capable worker in AJ Styles Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. 

Bret and Diesel always worked well together, and tonight was no exception. 

The two went at it in a hugely entertaining match which -along with the Wild Card match and the opening undercarders bout- helped make Survivor Series 1995 one of the best Survivor Series cards of the 1990s, if not of all time. 

5: Ten Team Survivor Series Match I (Survivor Series 1987) 

The Hart Foundation (team captains), Demolition, The Islanders, The Dream Team and The Bolsheviks vs. Strike Force, The Killer Bees, The British Bulldogs, The Rougeaus and The Young Stallions.


The first Survivor Series in 1987 already presented what was then a radical new concept in Pay Per view wrestling.

Rather than ending feuds with a card packed full of singles and tag matches, teams of five would strive to survive on a show whose original purpose had been to rival the NWA's Starrcade.

Yet as different as it was, the true stand out, the one that looked unlike anything else we'd seen on TV up to that point was a huge, 20-man elimination match in which two sides comprised of five tag teams each would go at it in a fast-paced, action-packed bout that remains highly enjoyable to this date.

The 1980s really was the golden age of tag team wrestling in the World Wrestling Federation, and here we get some of the very best in the form of The Hart FoundationThe British BulldogsThe Fabulous Rougeaus and Demolition, all colliding in one huge match.

Sure, the sequel to this match that took place the following year at Survivor Series 1988 was technically better, but that's to take nothing away from this one - it was as unique as it was fun, and like everything else on this list, well worth checking out on the WWE Network.

4: WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (Survivor Series 1992)


Out of the three high profile Pay Per View main event matches that Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Shawn Michaels had together, this is the one that most frequently gets overlooked.

On the one hand, it's understandable.

After all, one of those three encounters was a never-done-before-on-WWF-PPV hour long iron man match, and the other was Survivor Series 1997, when, well, you know what happened there.

On the other hand, it's a shame that Hart/Michaels I gets overlooked because it's arguable -and I do mean arguably- the best bout of the three.

Lacking the overly-long time limit of their Wrestlemania 12 match and the controversial finish of Montreal, this Survivor Series 1992 main event was just a straight-up wrestling match that was vastly different from previous PPV main events.

Though neither man were quite at their peak, the champion vs. champion clash showed what both were capable of in a match which blew away everything else on the card by a mile.

3: Ten Team Survivor Series Match II (Survivor Series 1988) 

Team Demolition: WWF Tag Team Champions, Demolition, The Conquistadors, The Bolsheviks, The Brain Busters and The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers VS. Team Powers of Pain: Powers of Pain, The Young Stallions, The Hart Foundation, The Rockers and The British Bulldogs


The first Survivor Series also had a huge 20-man elimination bout that I've listed elsewhere, but despite the novelty value of such a match at the time, it wasn't quite as good as this all-out classic from the 1988 Survivor Series.

Abandoning the lightning-fast pace (for the 80s) that was set in the 1987 match, all ten teams took the time to really tell a story that was as compelling as it was dramatic.

Exchanges featuring The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, and The Brain Busters were highlights of the action, though of course, the most famous moment from this one was the original double-turn:

Demolition became the good guys whilst Powers of Pain aligned themselves with Ax & Smash's now-former manager, Mr Fuji.

A fun classic which is still great fun to watch, even 20 years later.

2: Bret 'The Hitman Hart' vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (Survivor Series 1996) 


Afer dropping the title to Shawn Michaels in their legendary Iron Man match at Wrestlemania 12, Bret Hart had taken a six-month leave of absence from the World Wrestling Federation.

Whilst he was gone, Stone Cold Steve Austin had begun to propel himself into the upper-echelons of the company hierarchy via a memorable, career-altering win at King of the Ring 1996 and countless entertaining performances between the ropes.

Not content with being one of the fastest rising stars in the company, Austin had decided that what he really needed in order to truly establish himself, was to lure Bret back from his sabbatical and into the ring.

The future champion spent months trying to coax The Hitman back to the WWF, even joining his former Hollywood Blondes partner Brian Pillman and Bret's brother Owen Hart in a boundary-pushing segment at In Your House 10: Mind Games to try and push Hart's buttons.

It worked.

Bret made his long-awaited return to the ring on November 17th at Survivor Series 1996 from Madison Square Garden in New York.

His opponent?

Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Though the two would have better matches (including that legendary submission match at Wrestlemania 13), the first in-ring meeting between the two was more than enough to prove why both men deserved to considered among the sport's all-time greatest.

Despite walking away with the win (countering Austin's Million Dollar Dream into a fluky-looking pin), Bret made Austin look like an absolute star.

Indeed, whilst the 'Austin 3:16' King of the Ring speech may have been the one 1996 Steve Austin most fans still remember best, it was this match with The Hitman that truly made Stone Cold a main event player.

1: The Underdogs vs. The Body Donnas (Survivor Series 1995) 

The Underdogs (Team Captain Marty Jannetty, Hakushi, Bob Holly and Barry Horowitz) 
vs. 
The Body Donnas 
(Team Captain Skip, Rad Radford, Dr. Tom Pritchard and 123 Kid, w/ Sunny and Ted Dibiase)


Yes, I know what you're thinking.

This isn't championship material. Heck, it's barely even midcard material, but I unashamedly love this match in all its wonderful glory.

After a year of tension between 123 Kid and his best friend Razor Ramon, the man we'd later know as X-Pac had finally turned his back on the babyface locker room and aligned himself with Ted Dibiase's Million Dollar Corporation.

This match was designed to help establish Kid as a star (he'd eventually win by beating former tag partner, Marty Jannetty), but it did so much more than that.

It took several midcarders with not much going on, put them together, and let them let loose.

When they did, the results were nothing short of incredible.

Technical wrestlng, high-flying, the odd spot of comedy, this one had it all, and was an absolute joy to watch from start to finish.

I get the feeling that because of the star power of its participants, this one often gets overlooked, but I dare you to watch it and not find it wonderfully entertaining.

Go on, I dare you.





Beg to differ? Got your own choices for the top ten matches from the first ten Survivor Series events?

Let me know in the comments below, or let's connect on Twitter - @RetroPwrestling.

You can also catch up on all my latest reviews on the Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page

Thanks for reading and enjoy Survivor Series! 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

PPV Review - WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 1997

WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Event poster
February 16, 1997,
UTC Arena in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

If you ever needed proof that early 1997 was a confusing time in the World Wrestling Federation, you only needed look at tonight's main event: A four-way match for the vacant WWF Championship. 

Yes, only a month after Shawn Michaels recaptured the belt from Sid in a dire main event at Royal Rumble 1997, the belt was already vacant, the result of HBK famously 'losing his smile' and deciding to go home rather than grant Bret 'The Hitman' Hart a rematch.

Tonight, Hart would get his chance to get the belt back anyway, going up against Vader, The Undertaker, and his arch-rival Stone Cold Steve Austin in a match which had originally been set-up to determine who would face the champion at Wrestlemania 13. This was because even though the latter had won the 97 Rumble match, he had done so under controversial circumstances.

Confused yet? Don't worry about it, things will be cleared up -even if only briefly- by the end of tonight's show.

Let's get to it, shall we?

The World Wrestling Federation... for over 50 years, the revolutionary force  in sports entertainment 



Who Will Be The New WWF Champion?


WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler commentated on the event
Our show tonight began with another impressive hype video reminding us that even though Shawn Michaels lost his smile, everybody else was still showing up for work and wanted the WWF title. Tonight, we would get it in a big four-way match.

That took us to Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler (no idea where Vince McMahon was tonight), who introduced us to the show as The Wildman Marc Mero made his way to ringside for our opening match.

The Wildman Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Leif Cassidy

I'm not sure if there was a back story to this one, and to be honest, I'm not interested enough to go and look for one.

Instead, let's just focus on the action, which was passable at best.

Despite having a brilliant opener at In Your House: It's Time back in December,

Leif Cassidy failed to have the same calibre of outing against Marc Mero.

This was somewhat surprising, not to mention disappointing, since Mero too had delivered several enjoyable performances throughout the course of 1996.

Tonight, both men seemed to work hard, but just couldn't pull it together, instead giving us a mediocre opener which Mero won via the Wild Thing Shooting Star Press.
Your Winner: Marc Mero

Next, The Honky Tonk Man, who had recently returned to the company, began making his way to the ring. Jim Ross decided that this wasn't as interesting as Shawn Michaels losing his smile on Thursday Raw Thursday, so he showed us that instead.

Sid Wants His Belt Back

WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Sid wanted the WWF title back
Backstage, Kevin Kelly spoke with Sid, reminding us that the Master and Ruler of The World would face the winner of tonight's four-way match for the WWF title tomorrow night on Raw.

Big Sid was angry that he never got his rematch against Shawn Michaels following their last match at the 1997 Royal Rumble, but said that instead he would just have to beat up the new champion tomorrow night on Raw and get his belt back that way.

Six Man Tag
Flash Funk, Bart Gunn, and Goldust (w/  Marlena and The Funkettes) vs. The Nation of Domination (Crush, Savio Vega, and Farooq, w/ PG13, Clarence Mason, D'Lo Brown and Random Nation Members )

All three babyfaces had endured their own separate issues with The Nation of Domination lately, so tonight they were teaming up to get revenge.

Not that they would get any.


After a sloppy and instantly forgettable contest, Bart Gunn looked to have things won thanks to a top rope Bulldog to Farooq.

Instead, Crush leg dropped the former Smoking Gunn, Farooq got the pin, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winners: The Nation of Domination

Cutting to the back, Stone Cold Steve Austin told Doc Hendrix that because he had eliminated The Undertaker, Vader, and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart all from the Royal Rumble, he could eliminate them tonight and become the new WWF Champion, and there was nothing Doc, Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon, or anybody else, could do to stop him.

   

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley

WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Rocky Maivia faced HHH for the Intercontinental Championship
As The Rock and Triple H, these two would have many a fine outing together.

As Rocky Maivia and Hunter Hearst Helmsley however, what they had here was average at best.

Rocky had only recently beaten Hunter for the Intercontinental Championship on Thursday Raw Thursday, and now was putting the title on the line again in the obligatory rematch.

Like I said, this was far from the best outing these two would ever have together,  but apart from one horribly botched DDT which saw the champion basically dump Helmsley on his head, this was a perfectly serviceable mid-card bout.

Towards the finish, Hunter's arch-rival, Goldust, came to the ring, distracting the challenger so that Maivia could land a German suplex for the three count.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia

Afterwards, Helmsley challenged Goldust to a fight, distracting him long enough for a big, musclebound woman to reach over the guardrail and choke out Marlena until security dragged her away.


Ladies and gentlemen, we had just witnessed the debut of Chyna.

It's Vader Time

WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Kevin Kelly interviewed Vader & Paul Bearer
After a quick clip promoting Wrestlemania 13, we went next to Kevin Kelly, who was standing by with Vader and his new manager, Paul Bearer.

Bearer claimed that joining forces with The Mastodon was a smart business decision, whilst Vader himself trash-talked each of his opponents, not so much threatening to beat them up or anything, just generally noting that he didn't like them much.

He did of course, also tell us that it was Vader Time, which probably meant he was going to win the match.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & The British Bulldog (w/ Clarence Mason) vs. Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon

One of the better matches on the show by a million miles, both teams worked well together to deliver a solid performance, all whilst Owen Hart and British Bulldog continued to display some serious tension between them.

WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Owen Hart & British Bulldog lost to Furnas & LaFon via DQ
A see-saw battle saw some good offence from both sides, but it was the reigning champions who proved to be the most entertaining here.

Towards the finish, Bulldog had Philip LaFon set up for his patented power slam, only for Owen to come in and whack LaFon on the head with a Slammy Award.

The referee gave the match to the challengers via DQ and that, as you can imagine, only pissed off Davey Boy even further.
Your Winners via Disqualification: Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon (Owen Hart & British Bulldog retain the titles)

Post match, Davey Boy yelled at Owen and threatened to beat up manager Clarence Mason. Obviously the Bulldog face turn never transpired, but it certainly looked like an exciting possibility at this stage.

Doc Hendrix Interviews The Undertaker

WWF / WWE In Your House 13: Final Four - The Undertaker
Prior to our next main event, The Undertaker told Doc that he had rediscovered the edge he had back in the early 90s and would be going back to that version of himself, albeit against much better opponents.

Tonight, not Vader, Stone Cold, nor The Hitman would get in The Dead Man's way of becoming WWF champion again.

Bret Hart Is Ready

With his opponents already in the ring, Bret Hart told Kevin Kelly that despite all of his opponents being tough, he was ready and nothing could stop him becoming WWF Champion again.

Final Four Way Match for the Vacant World Wrestling Federation Championship
Vader (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WWF / WWE - In Your House 13: Final Four - Vader got bloodied up in the main event
Whilst the previous tag team match may have been good for what it was, there was no doubt about it: 

In Your House 13 - Final Four was absolutely a one-match show. 

But man, what a match it was. 

Between Vader busting his eye open in horrific fashion and wrestling the majority of the match looking gruesome as all hell, Hart and Austin going after each other with their usual violent chaos, and The Undertaker destroying everyone he came across, this was non-stop carnage from start to finish. 

One of the best WWF matches of 1997, if not the entire 1990s, this made sitting through everything else on the show absolutely worth it. 

After a lengthy battle, Bret clotheslined 'Taker over the top rope to win his fourth World Wrestling Federation Championship. 
Your Winner and New WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Post match, new number-one contender Sid came out for the obligatory staredown with the new champion.

The two would face off for the title the following night on Raw in a match that would only throw further confusion and chaos on the WWF title scene. 

What? You thought we'd have everything cleared up with The Hitman's win?

Not a chance. 

Just 24 hours after winning the belt, Bret would lose it again in that match to Sid, who would face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 13 for the title whilst Bret was left to go at it with his nemesis Steve Austin in a submission match which, rumour has it, wasn't too bad. 

But that's another review for another time. 

   

If you want to make sure you never miss another Retro Pro Wrestling review, like the new Facebook page, or follow on Twitter @Retropwrestling

Until next time, thanks for reading. 


1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW Souled Out 1997

Thursday, 9 November 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA No Surrender 2009

TNA No Surrender 2009 PPV Review
Sunday, September 20th 2009,
Orlando, Florida

With backstage issues surrounding Kurt Angle's real-life drama with Jeff Jarrett, Angelina Love's visa issues, and even Christopher Daniels' recent arrest, all threatening to overshadow their in-ring efforts, Total NonStop Action wrestling recently returned home to the Impact Zone for their latest pay per view offering, No Surrender.

(NOTE: This review was written at the time of TNA No Surrender's broadcast in September 2009. I found this along with other TNA reviews in my archive recently and decide to report them to RPW) 

Titles were defended, new champions were crowned, and bums were flashed, but here's what else went down.

TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship - Tournament final to Determine new champions: The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne) vs. Taylor Wilde and Sarita. 

This is what happens when you don't watch TNA Impact every week and rely on the Internet instead; you end up watching a pay per view without any idea what's going on.

Of course, your reporter is well aware that Angelina Love is no longer with the company due to issues with her work visa (it was the biggest story in the Internet Wrestling Community recently), but what doesn't make any sense is why Madison Rayne is now suddenly in Love's place. The last time I say Impact, Velvet Sky and her erstwhile partner were beating up Rayne every which way, so how they've ended up as best chums again is anyone's guess.

Confusing partnerships aside, the four ladies turned out a short and sweet opening contest that was too short to really be either good or bad. Velvet Sky looked stronger than she ever has done, but sadly it wasn't enough to help her capture the gold as Madison Rayne lost the bout for her team after getting caught in a bridging German suplex by Wilde and drop kicked by Sarita.
Your Winners and new TNA Knockout Tag Team Champions: Taylor Wilde and Sarita

After the bout, the new champions were interviewed by Lauren and vowed to hold on to the belts for a very long time in a very awkward looking promo.

Eric Young vs. Hernandez

Prior to this contest Eric Young, dressed in a suit and flanked by members of his World Elite faction, announced that he would not fight Hernandez. Instead, he was holding out hope that Super Mex would join him in the 'Elite team.

Hernandez however, had other plans, and quickly disposed of his Canadian rival. Several clotheslines and a Border Toss were all it took for the big man to win a very confusing match; why should anyone cheer for Hernandez when all he did was beat up someone who refused to fight back?
Your Winner: Hernandez

Heading to the back, Jeremy Borash interviewed Matt Morgan. The 'DNA of TNA' cut one of his finest promos to date, declaring that the main event would be all about him and Kurt Angle. He says that 'the future is now', and the future, not surprisingly, is Matt Morgan.

TNA X-Division Championship Match: Samoa Joe defends against Daniels

Daniels and Samoa Joe have had many incredible matches during their history together, and whilst their No Surrender effort didn't quite live up to any of those, it was still nonetheless a good, enjoyable match.

The two former friends turned bitter rivals battled back and forth in an early contender for match of the night which was only let down by the knowledge that they could have done even better. Following a hard-fought contest, 'The Fallen Angel' finally succumbed to the Kokina Clutch, allowing Joe to retain.
Your Winner and Still TNA X-Division Champion: Samoa Joe.

Heading to the back once more, cameras caught up with Jeremy Borash and Mick Foley.

   

The 'Hardcore Legend' was furious that somebody had ripped up a caricature painting of himself and Borash.

Apparently he was very serious, but it came across as little more than a joke. Heading back to the arena, Tazz summed up what most of us were probably thinking about the whole thing, "it's just a cartoon."

Next, D’Angelo Dinero was interviewed by Lauren. After cutting an entertaining promo, 'The Pope' was interrupted by Suicide and their 'Falls Count Anywhere Match', a bonus addition to the pay per view, was underway.

Falls Count Anywhere Match: 'The Pope' D'Angelo Dinero vs. Suicide

The two battled backstage and strung together a series of interesting spots with some good brawling. Part way through the match, Suicide pulled down his opponent's trunks, leaving Dinero to wrestle half the match with his backside showing.

It was a decent match between the two which was only ruined by Mike Tenay and Tazz using the time to joke amongst themselves rather than calling the action. That aside, this was pretty fun to watch until Suicide fell through a table and killed himself, allowing Dinero to pick up the pinfall.
Your Winner: D'Angelo Dinero 

Following a quick video package to hype it, we moved on to the battle of the sexes.

TNA Knockouts Championship Match: Cody Deaner vs. ODB for the vacant title

Heading into this pay per view, your writer was all ready to slate this as a terrible match, but it was surprisingly a lot of fun.

Played mostly for comic effect, with referee Andrew Thomas even getting involved and siding with ODB, this was the best match you could have hoped for between the two. Before too long, ODB got the better of the self-proclaimed 'King of the Knockouts' and captured the vacant title thanks to a fireman's carry cutter.
Your Winner and NEW TNA Women's Knockout Championship: ODB 

After the match, ODB celebrated her win during a quick interview with Lauren in which she gave thanks to 'All [her] fans in prison'.

Cameras then moved to Jeremy Borash standing by with Kurt Angle.

The TNA World Heavyweight Champion told Borash that Matt Morgan would never live up to his potential and that AJ Styles' fairytale ending would not take place tonight.

$50,000 Bounty / TNA Legend Championship Match: Kevin Nash defends against Abyss

TNA No Surrender 2009 PPV Review - Legends Title: Abyss vs. Kevin Nash
With Mick Foley joining Tazz and Tenay on commentary, 'The Monster' Abyss looked to capture the TNA Legends championship whilst Nash hoped to claim the $50,000 bounty placed on the head of his opponent by Dr Stevie.

The result was a good, hard-hitting brawl between the two behemoths that got off to a slow start before rattling towards an exciting finale which saw Stevie, Dafney and a taser getting involved. To wrap things up, Nash zapped Abyss in the goolies with the taser to win the match.
Your Winner and still TNA Legends Champion: Kevin Nash 

Afterwards, Dr. Stevie climbed into the ring to get his bag of cash back. Not surprisingly, Nash was none too thrilled about this and delivered a powerbomb before leaving with the money.

Lethal Lockdown Match: Beer Money (Robert Roode & James Storm) vs. The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams) vs. Team 3D vs. Scott Steiner & Booker T

TNA No Surrender 2009 PPV Review - Lethal Lockdown
Before this match, Jeremy Borash interviewed Booker T and Scott Steiner.

In the biggest display of hypocrisy ever displayed on a wrestling show, Scott Steiner cut a barely coherent promo on the British Invasion, even going so far as to say "If you don't speak our language, get the hell out of our country." Whether or not that was supposed to be so hilarious was never quite made clear.

Yet what Steiner and Booker T lacked in delivering a sensible promo, they more than made up for in the ring as the Lethal Lockdown contest barely scraped past the earlier X-Division bout to claim match of the night honours.

Everyone worked hard to deliver a great match, but it was Beer Money who were particularly outstanding and rightfully earned their victory following a tremendous showing.
Your Winners: Beer Money 

Going backstage, Lauren interviewed a seriously angry Rhino. 'The War Machine' gave a strong, intense performance on the microphone and promised to destroy MMA 'star' Bobby Lashley in their upcoming match.

Rhino vs. Bobby Lashley 

TNA No Surrender 2009 PPV Review - Bobby Lashley vs. Rhino
Despite their best efforts, this came across as one of the weakest matches on the card. Both men tried hard, but with no real story behind them, it was hard for anyone to care.

After Rhino hit a gore and the ref took a bump, Lashley ripped off Big Show's Big Fist of Doom to win the match. Now, if Lashley was just going to use that as his finisher, why didn't he just come straight out and punch Rhino right off the opening bell instead of mucking about first? It's the same criticism your writer has of The Big Show; having a punch as a finishing move is just silly.
Your Winner: Bobby Lashley

Backstage once more, Jeremy Borash interviewed AJ Styles and Sting about their role in tonight's main event.

TNA World Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle defends against Matt Morgan, Sting, AJ Styles and Hernandez

As the four advertised competitors (Angle, Morgan, Sting and AJ Styles) were being introduced by Borash, Hernandez' music hit and he made his way to the ring looking to cash in his Feast or Fired briefcase.

Thus, the four-way battle for the biggest prize in the company turned into a five way, though Super Mex really seemed surplus to requirements and was quickly taken out by Eric Young.


That left the original four to carry the bulk of this good main event. The tensions between Angle and Morgan finally exploded whilst Sting and Styles played up their current storyline and finally got the better of the other two combatants.

The end came when Styles and Sting stood over a prone Kurt Angle in the middle of the ring. Sting left to take care of Morgan on the outside, allowing AJ to hit an impressive 450 splash from the middle of the ropes, landing squarely on Angle and pinning him for the one, two, three.
Your Winner and NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion: AJ Styles

As confetti flooded the Impact Zone, fans flocked to the ring to celebrate with the new champion and his old friend, Christopher Daniels.

From an in-ring standpoint, TNA Wrestling's No Surrender pay per view was a good show. Even though not every match was first class, none were particularly dreadful and certainly made for an enjoyable event. Yet what really hampered this from being anything more than 'good' were the usual strange and illogical plot points and strange booking decisions.

AJ Styles as the new champion was the right move in this writer's mind and should go a long way to appeasing those fans who complain that the company never gives the younger stars a chance to shine. Hopefully, 'The Phenomenal' one will keep hold of the belt for some time, possibly even bringing the Main Event Mafia to an end during that time.



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.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

PPV REVIEW: ECW November to Remember 1999

November 7th, 1999
Buffalo, New York

(NOTE: This ECW November to Remember review was originally written back in 2009. I recently discovered a bunch of my archived reviews and wanted to include them here on RPW, hence the introduction referencing 'ten years' and the different format from normal RPW reviews) 

Ten years (2017 update: make that 20!) to the day that Paul Heyman's Original Extreme Championship Wrestling presented the '99 version of their pay per view event, November to Remember, your favourite wrestling reviewer does just that; remembering  an event which featured Masato Tanaka challenging Mike Awesome for the ECW title and a great three-way dance between Jerry Lynn, Tajiri and Super Crazy.

Joey Styles and Cyrus the Virus opened the show

In front of a rabid crowd, ECW's legendary announcer, Joey Styles and the smooth-talking Cyrus the Virus welcomed everybody to the show before Joel Gertner arrived. Gertner did absolutely nothing of note, instead taking a back seat to the arrival of Tazz.

The Human Suplex Machine, about to embark on a career in what was then the World Wrestling Federation, was greeted by loud chants of 'You Sold Out!' from the Buffalo crowd.

Ignoring them, Taz instead turned his attentions to antagonising Styles. The announcer made the smart move and left the ring, leaving Tazz to take his frustrations out on Gertner before hyping his upcoming match with crowd-favourite Rob Van Damn.
   

Spike Dudley beat Simon Diamond 

Prior to the bout, Diamond and Dick Hertz went through an innuendo-laden promo before Jazz came out for no reason and was swiftly destroyed by Hertz.

The match itself was nothing special, with Diamond essentially brutalising his opponent throughout until Spike Dudley scored the upset with the Acid Drop.

Little Guido beat Nova

After the match, The Full Blooded Italians ran in and attacked Dudley, causing Nova to run in for the save and resulting in an impromptu match against Little Guido.

Better than the previous contest, Nova looked genuinely impressive against his diminutive opponent until Big Sal interfered on behalf of his FBI teammate and ultimately cost Nova the match.

The two men continued their assault in the post-match until Chris Chetti came to the rescue. Danny Doring and Roadkill then ran in, destroying the returning Chetti and bringing to an end the overkill of run-ins.

Honestly, if WWE or TNA presented that many pre and post-match run-ins in such quick succession, your reporter is sure that fans would hate it. But of course, this was the original ECW, who could seemingly do no wrong in the eyes of their ever-loyal fans.

 Jerry Lynn beat Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy in a Three-Way Dance. 



Tajiri was led to the ring by a wheelchair-bound Jack Victory and Steve Corino, who cut a pre-match promo putting over 'The Japanese Buzzsaw' as the 'King of the three-way dance'.

Tajiri certainly disappoint here, but neither did his opponents, Jerry Lynn and Super Crazy; the latter hitting a jaw-dropping moonsault from atop the entrance set. Unfortunately for Crazy, it wasn't enough to win the match and shortly after he was eliminated by The Japanese Buzzsaw.

Jerry Lynn eventually pinned Tajiri to end a very exciting bout that was easily the best on the card to this point.

Afterwards, Lynn was attacked by Steve Corino, but managed to overthrow his adversary and leave with his head held high.

Da Baldies (Spanish Angel, Tony Devito, P.N. News and Vito LoGrasso) beat New Jack and The Chair Swingin' Freaks (Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten) in a handicap match.

With a 4-on-2 advantage, Da Baldies wasted no time in attacking The Chair Swingin' Freaks until New Jack and his plethora of weapons came to the rescue. What followed was one of ECW's trademark out-of-control hardcore brawls that spilled all over the arena and was thus hard to keep track of.

Save for a death-defying spot in which New Jack leaped off the top of a basketball board and nearly killed himself, nothing interesting happened until Spanish Angel blasted Jack with a guitar and won the match for his team.

Sabu and Bill Alfonso Cut a promo

In a rare sombre moment for ECW, Alfonso put over Sabu's upcoming contest against Chris Candido, dedicating the bout to the memory of Sabu's recently-deceased friend.

Sabu beat Chris Candido 

Back on home turf following an ill-fated run in the WWF, the sadly-no-longer-with-us Chris Candido made his way to the ring with real life partner Tammy Lyn Sytch (who had a much better run in the big leagues as Sunny) to take on Sabu in a disappointing affair.

As one of the most popular stars in the company, Sabu had the full support of the ECW faithful behind him as he and Candido made full use of chairs and tables to beat the hell out of each other. Unfortunately, the two didn't do anything fans hadn't seen a million times before, and when Sabu finally made his opponent submit with the Camel Clutch, nobody cared.

Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka warmed up

Backstage, Tanaka stopped running on a treadmill long enough to tell Mike Awesome that he would take his title. Awesome, busy working on his arms, replied by threatening to break Tanaka's back.

Mike Awesome beat Masato Tanaka to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Championship

With Judge Jeff Jones in his corner, champion Awesome successfully defended his title against Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling's Masato Tanaka in the best match on the card.

The two behemoths collided in a hard-hitting battle with some high-flying action which belied their well-built frames, and after withstanding some brutal punishment at the hands of the challenger, Awesome finally beat his foe with a top-rope Awesome Bomb.

Rob Van Dam beat Taz to retain the ECW World Television Championship

Hoping to leave the company with some gold around his waist, a WWF-bound Taz met Rob 'Mr. Pay Per View' Van Dan in a decent bout. The challenger looked to be on form too, dominating the bulk of the contest with some heavy-handed offence. Ultimately, however, it was Van Dam who left with the title after beating Taz thanks to the Five-Star Frog Splash.

Afterwards, a departing Taz showed his respect to the champion, slapping hands with Van Dam and shaking hands with the Television Champion's manager, Bill Alfonso.

Rhyno and The Impact Players (Lance Storm and Justin Credible) beat The Sandman and ECW Tag Team Champions, Raven and Tommy Dreamer. 



For most of its tenure, and certainly afterwards, Raven, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman were the true embodiment of Extreme Championship Wrestling, and seeing all three on the same team was a huge attraction for this pay per view.

Their opponents, Lance Storm, Justin Credible and Rhyno were the newcomers on the scene and out to make a name for themselves.

The Sandman, making his return to the company followed a disastrous run in World Championship Wrestling, takes more time to get to the ring than the actual match lasts for; soaking up the adulation from the fans before joining his partners to take on the Impact Players and Rhino.

The match itself was decent enough, though hardly fitting of a true main event performance and after ten minutes of action, Raven turned on The Sandman, drilling him with a Singapore Cane shot that allowed Justin Credible to pick up the victory for his team.

This event would ultimately prove to be ECW's penultimate November to Remember event. The group presented one more in 2000 before eventually being taken over by the global wrestling powerhouse that is World Wrestling Entertainment.

Thankfully, the final outing for November to Remember was a much better send off for the pay per view, as despite a couple of great bouts, the 1999 version was ultimately nothing special.

For more ECW, WWE, WCW, and TNA reviews follow Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter or like the new Facebook page.

   
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

PPV Review: WCW NWO Souled 1997

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Event Poster
January 25, 1997
Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Having dominated the professional wrestling landscape throughout the second half of 1996, there was no doubting that the New World Order was the hottest thing in professional wrestling. 

With this angle alone, WCW had cemented their reputation as the number one professional wrestling company of the 1990s, kicking off the decade's biggest boom period.

So you can understand the reasoning of WCW Executive Vice President and on-screen nWo boss Eric Bischoff when he created an entire Pay Per View centered exclusively around the nWo.

It was, in theory, a good idea, and at first glance, nWo Souled Out certainly looked a hell of a lot different than your typical pro wrestling event. Yet in a classic example of style of substance, the cool aesthetic of this show didn't exactly translate into quality, nor buyrates for that matter.

Here's what went down at the first -and only- NWO Souled Out, live from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The Renegades Arrive 

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review -  Syxx
Our show tonight began with the arrival of the New World Order, traveling into the arena among a convoy of what I'm pretty sure were garbage trucks.

Ambulances ran along side, sirens blazed, and members of the nWo shouted and hollered as though they were having the time of their lives.

At one point, Syxx ran behind one of the garbage trucks and yelled 'look at me!' but then didn't actually do anything cool, or anything at all for that matter, so who knows what that was about.

The whole thing was shot in some murky, black-d and-white tone, really creating the impression that what we were witnessing here was the arrival of an apocalypse.

We Are In Control 

In many ways, it was.

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - Eric Bischoff & Ted Dibiase commentated on the event
As we went to a pre-tapes vignette that saw Eric Bischoff ranting from a podium and other members of the nWo all shouting out various sound bites, it became obvious that what we were watching here was supposed to be a revolution: the death of pro wrestling as we knew it, and the birth of something altogether brand new.

Five minutes into this thing, the show finally cut to the arena, where Bischoff stood aloft the same podium as in the opening promo.

It was, admittedly, pretty sweet looking.

Things then got real boring, real quick, as nothing happened for several minutes apart from Easy E basking in the glory of his own creation. Finally, he was joined on commentary by Ted Dibiase, and we had ourselves our first contest.

Chris Jericho vs. Masahiro Chono 

As the two wrestlers made their way to the ring, we were shown a bunch of overweight bikers hanging around the entrance way, apparently to create the impression that this event was edgy and bad ass.


We were also shown a couple of average looking housewives hanging out on motorcycles. Apparently, these were 'babes.'

This must have been some different variation of the word 'babe' that I hadn't heard of because these girls were anything but.

As the match itself, it was about as good as it could be given the overall distraction of this whole event basically being one big gimmick.

Towards the start, Eric Bischoff noted on commentary just how successful the end had proven to be, and how they didn't have to give away tickets for free just to get people to come, a clear dig at the WWF Royal Rumble 1997 held the previous week which was famous for being heavily papered.

Whilst that was funny, the rest of the pro-nWo stuff quickly stopped being entertaining, and took away from what was otherwise a good opening match.

In the end, Chris Jericho got pushed off the top through a table on the outside, then kicked in the head and pinned by Masahiro Chono to make it nWo 1 - 0 WCW tonight.
Your Winner: Masahiro Chono


   

I should also point out that half way through that match, a bunch of WCW stars including Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri, Brian Knobs, The Faces of Fear, Arn Anderson, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, and Debra McMichael all made their way out and took seats at ringside.

Crowning Miss nWo

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - Jeff Katz interviews a Miss nWo Contestant
Up next, Eric Bischoff showed us photographs of some of the many women who had applied to be part of the Miss nWo contest. All the while, the crowd chanted 'boring, boring.'

They were right. It was.

Finally, Bischoff sent us to Jeff Katz, who asked two of the contestants a question each, both questions laden with sexual innuendo.

The women clearly hadn't bee told what to say, so they simply blushed and barely said anything at all.

Mexican Death Match Hugh Morrus (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Big Bubba

Though slow and sloppy in parts, this one did have its moments, and certainly wasn't the worst match ever.

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - Big Bubba faced Hugh Morrus in a Mexican Death Match
That, however, is about the best I can say about it.

In the end, Big Bubba ran Hugh Morrus over with a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Seriously.

Morrus couldn't get to his feet before the count of ten, so this one was over.
Your Winner: Big Bubba 

Prior to the next match, Jeff Katz spoke to some more housewives on motorbikes.

Eric and Ted then told us about the nWo website, and with that, it was back to the ring.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Michael Wallstreet 

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - Debra McMichael watched Jeff Jarrett from the crowd
This was a mostly boring match that was only made interesting by Debra McMichael spending most of it trying to convince hubby Mongo to help out Jeff Jarrett.

Eventually, he did, drilling Michael Wallstreet with his briefcase then threatening to beat up Nick Patrick if he didn't make the pin.

As such, Jarrett got the win to put the scores at nWo 2 - 1 WCW.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, Debra declared Jarrett the winner whilst Arn Anderson looked on disapprovingly.

More Miss nWo nonsense followed, and then it was on to our next match.

Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs 

As parts of the whole anti-WCW gimmick, the good guys didn't have music, which of course denied us the chance to hear one of the greatest themes of all time:


That, however, was the least of anyone's problems with this match.

Though it did have its moments, the bout between the two tag team partners went about twice as long as it needed to.

To make matters worse,  the majority of this one was shot using a shaky, poor-quality camera that the production crew had been cutting to intermittently throughout the show.

Ted Dibiase tried to pass this off as some new, cutting edge filming technique, but honestly, it just looked dreadful.

In the end, Buff Bagwell debuted his new finisher, The Buff Blockbuster, hit Scotty Riggs with it, and scored the pin fall.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Between that and the next match, the Miss nWo segments continued to get worse.

Not only could none of the women actually hear Jeff Katz, but it became very apparent that, even if they could, they'd never be able to respond to his suggestive questioning with anything like the kind of answers he was looking for due to this being a PG show and all.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Scott 'Flash' Norton

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - Diamond Dallas Page faced Scott 'Flash' Norton
Having courted Diamond Dallas Page for months, the New World Order finally offered him membership on a recent episode of Nitro.

Page had faked joining, only to turn his back on the renegade outfit and cement the babyface turn that would catapult him to stardom.

Tonight, the nWo had sent Scott 'Flash' Norton out to get revenge in this rather nondescript little match.

Like much on this card, it wasn't exactly terrible, just not very interesting, either.

Towards the finish, DDP hit the Diamond Cutter, which prompted Buff Bagwell, flanked by Vincent, Michael Wallstreet, and Big Bubba, to come out and offer Page a second chance to join them.

In an exact repeat of the first time this happened on Nitro, Page faked joining and even put on an nWo t-shirt, but then hit Norton with another Diamond Cutter, beat up the nWo B-team, and ran off into the crowd.

Nick Patrick -who really deserved MVP of the night status- told us that he was awarded the match to Norton via count-out, and this one was done.
Your Winner Via Count Out: Scott Norton

Post match, an irate Buff yelled that Page would never get another chance to join them.

More Jeff Katz nonsense followed before we moved quickly onto our next match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - The Outsiders defended the tag titles against The Steiner Brothers
Finally, we got ourselves a pretty enjoyable match.

OK, this wasn't exactly a masterpiece of technical wrestling, but both members of The Steiner Brothers and Scott Hall all showed up with their working boots on, whilst you have to  give at least a smidgen of credit to Kevin Nash who, despite being the weak link here, at least did an impressive job of selling some heavy Steiner suplexes.

Save for an extended period in the middle of the match that saw Rick Steiner playing the babyface-in-peril which bored the hell out of everybody in the arena (and yours truly), this was mostly fun to watch.

The end came when Nick Patrick took a tumble, Scott Steiner got the better of Scott Hall, and WCW official Randy Anderson ran from his seat into the crowd to count the pinfall.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Afterwards, Eric Bischoff ranted about what a great injustice this was and how he was going to get it cleared up with the WCW Championship Committee. Bischoff would indeed reverse the decision on Nitro, but for now it was certainly a great moment on an otherwise tedious show.

Ladder Match for the WCW United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Syxx

The story here was that Eddie Guerrero had won the vacant US title in a tournament final back at Starrcade 96, only for Syxx to come down, steal the belt, and declare himself the champion.

So, after the anonymous ring announcer introduced the actual champion as 'The Mexican Jumping Bean Eddie Guerrero' (gotta love some casual racism, right guys?) he then announced Syxx as 'The United States Champion of The World,' which was obviously dumb.


That aside, this was, not too surprisingly, the best match on the show so far by a million miles, and also one of the best of Sean Waltman's entire career.

A series of jaw-dropping aerial moves combined with some punishing ladder spots made this a joy to watch.

In the end, both men tussled for the title atop the ladder before Eddie hit Syxx square in the face with it, then kept the belt to win the match.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Eddie Guerrero

Afterwards, Eddie celebrated like he'd just won the belt for the first time, then headed into the crowd to share the glory with Brian Knobs, Arn Anderson, and The Faces of Fear.

Miss nWo Pageant

WCW NWO Souled Out 1997 Review - Miss Lorie was a Miss nWo finalist
I always try to err on the side of optimism with these reviews, but even I don't have anything good to say about this.

It was just dumb.

None of the women really looked like they had a clue why they were there, and mostly just gurned awkwardly for the camera whilst Eric Bischoff took half a millennia to tell us that the least attractive woman there had won it. Bischoff then proceeded to snog the face off the woman in a move that was just too odd for words.

The woman then took her 'throne,' which was quite literally a toilet painted black and decorated with nWo logos.

Moving swiftly on

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant

Back at World War 3 1996, The Giant won a title shot against Hollywood Hulk Hogan.

This caused tension and meant that The Giant became the first person to leave the nWo after just a short period with the group.


Tonight was that shot and, for all intents and purposes, it was your typical Hulk Hogan main event - not the worst thing ever, but hardly enthralling stuff either.

After a few minutes of mediocre action, The Giant chokeslammed Hogan. Nick Patrick refused to count the pin, so The Giant chokeslammed him too.

This brought out Buff Bagwell and a bunch of nWo members, all of whom got more chokeslams.

Hulk Hogan then attacked his rival with a guitar, and this one was apparently over.
No Contest

Afterwards, the nWo spray painted their logo on The Giant's ass then randomly yelled stuff at the camera until the show went off the air.

---

And so the nWo Pay per View experiment came to an end. After everything I've said so far, you'd probably expect me to recommend avoiding this one, but that's not the case. 

Despite everything, NWO Souled Out 1997 is worth watching at least once, just for the novelty value, just don't expect to be entertained by much of what goes on in the ring. 

Indeed, the premise was solid here, but the execution was, sadly, piss poor. 

That being said, credit does have to be given to one Nick Patrick, who not only referred every single match on the card but did so with a charisma and enthusiasm that was unmatched, even among WCW's more animated referees. 

    

Next time, we'll go back to the WWF for In Your House: Final Four, before returning to WCW with Superbrawl VII. To keep up with all the latest reviews at Retro Pro Wrestling, like the Facebook page or follow along on Twitter @Retropwrestling

1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF Royal Rumble 1997

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.