Sunday, 18 June 2017

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - PPV REVIEW

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Event Poster
March 24, 1996
Tupelo Coliseum in Tupelo, Mississippi

Ranking up there with The Ding Dongs and "David Arquette - World Champion," The Doomsday Cage Match has always been regarded as one of World Championship Wrestling's biggest creative disasters, but was it really all that bad? 

Tonight, as we delve back in time to the company's second Uncensored pay per view,. we would find out for sure.

We'd also find out whether Sting and Booker T could co-exist as they went against The Road Warriors in a Chicago Street Fight taking place in Mississippi, and whether or not The Booty Man would prevail in a feud with Diamond Dallas Page that he'd originally had nothing to do with.

Yes folks, this was one show that -before it even begins- just has WCW written all over it.

Ready to check it out with me?

Let's head to the Tupelo Coliseum and get Uncensored, shall we?

The Alliance to End Hulkamania

Our show tonight began with the customary video package, this one showing various members of The Alliance to End Hulkamania promising Hulk Hogan that they would achieve their goal tonight and bring out the demise of Hulk Hogan once and for all.

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Bobby, Tony, and Dusty...not necessarily in that order
We should also remember that Macho Man Randy Savage was involved in this match too, but none of the bad guys seemed to care much about him.

This took us into the show proper, where Tony Schiavone was there to welcome us to the second annual WCW Uncensored PPV.

Joining Tony tonight, as always, was none other than The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

The trio hyped up tonight's main event before taking us to ringside for our opening contest.

World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship
WCW United States Champion Konnan vs. Eddie Guerrero

One thing I've always liked about WCW, is that they were never shy about booking a lengthy, honest-to-goodness wrestling match in the opening spot, and that most of those openers really did deliver.

Such is the case here, as Konnan defended his title against the man the commentary team told us was his good friend, Eddie Guerrero.

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Konnan vs. Eddie Guerrero
Infinitely better than Konnan's title defence against One Man Gang at the previous month's Superbrawl VI, this was a tight, solid effort which really hit the spot.

Whilst  champ and challenger indulged in fast-paced exchanges and lucha libre style spots, this was by no means a 'flashy' opener. It was a straight up, hard fought pro wrestling match that this fan in particular really enjoyed.

The end came when the champ flashed a hint of the rule breaker attitude he would display after turning heel later that year, and apparently struck Eddie with a low blow for the three count.

You couldn't actually see the low blow of course, and for all intents and purposes, it looked merely as though Eddie sat on Konnan's face (there's something I never thought I'd write), but the announcers told us it was a low blow, and it was our job simply to believe it.
Your Winner and Still WCW United States Champion: Konnan

Afterwards, Konnan tried to help his opponent up and raise his arm as a mark of respect, but Guerrero, visibly pissed at being shotted in the nuts, was having none of it.

Col. Parker Can't Wait to Beat Up Madusa

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Col. Parker (w/ Dick Slater) promised to beat up Madusa
After telling us all that we could chat with WCW wrestlers throughout the show via Compuserve (complete with footage of The Giant tapping away daintily at a laptop), Mean Gene Okerlund welcomed his first guests of the evening, Col. Robert Parker and 'Dirty' Dick Slater.

Parker claimed that when he went up against Madusa in their inter-gender match, he was going to beat up his female opponent on behalf of all men everywhere.

Dick Slater also added to the promo without actually adding anything, basically backing up the man he supposedly trained for tonight's match and reiterating the belief that Madusa was about to get beaten up by a man.

It was a cheap, dirty heel way to get heat, and it worked. After this, you definitely wanted to see Parker get his just desserts out in the ring.

Lord Steven Regal (w/ Jeeves) vs. The Belfast Bruiser Dave 'Fit' Finlay

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Steven Regal faced Fit Finlay in a brutal match
Even better in the ring than it sounds on paper, Steven Regal vs. Fit Finlay was another long, solid Wrestling match that was just a joy to watch.

The two European stars took turns beating the living daylights out of each other both inside and outside through ring, with the referee relaxing the rules so that the bitter rivals could really settle their score.

The result was a match which contained everything from violent brawling to punishing submissions and everything in between.

Sadly, the level of intensity was lost on the Mississippi crowd, who were mostly quiet throughout, but to sit here and just take it in, Regal/Finlay was a blast.

In the end, the Irishman won when Regal's Blue Bloods team mates Squire David Taylor and Sir Robert Eaton ran in and attacked him.
Your Winner by Disqualification: Fit Finlay

Post match, Finlay recovered and chased his attackers to the back.

Clearly this one was far from over.

Mean Gene Interviews The Giant and Jimmy Hart

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Mean Gene interviews Jimmy Hart and The Giant
Backstage, Jimmy Hart boasted to Gene Okerlund about humiliating Loch Ness by kicking him out of the Dungeon of Doom after the former Giant Haystacks put his hands on the Mouth of The South.

Turning his attentions to The Giant, Mean Gene informed us that the winner of tonight's Giant vs. Loch Ness would be the new number one contender for Ric Flair's World Heavyweight Championship.

The man who would one day be know as The Big Show promised to destroy Loch Ness tonight, and take Flair's title the following night on Nitro.

We next went back to the announce team, who prepared us for the upcoming inter-gender match before sending it back to Okerlund.


Loch Ness Talks

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Mean Gene Shills the Hotline 1-900-909-9900
No WCW show would be complete without Mean Gene urging you to ring the hotline on 1-900-909-9900, and you have to believe that he was in full force here, telling us that if we called, we'd get to find out which wrestling legend was considering hanging up the tights and heading to Hollywood.

His obligatory shill out of the way, Gene next introduced us to his guest, Loch Ness.

I'm not sure if they ever explained why a wrestler named after a place in Scotland spoke with a thick, Manchester accent, but he did so as he called Jimmy Hart a "Weasel Face" and promised to crush The Giant by dropping all 700lbs of his weight across the Dungeon of Doom member.

Our promo this evening finished with Okerlund suggesting that Loch Ness, who to be fair did look a mess, should see a dentist. It was hilarious and cruel at the same time.

Mean Gene, you sassy bitch.

Man vs. Woman
Col. Robert Parker vs. Madusa
WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Madusa faced Col. Parker in a Man vs. Woman match
Dressed in slacks and a shirt with the sleeves rolled up, Col. Parker sent the commentary team into frenzy when he proved he actually knew how to wrestle by locking up with Madusa in the opening moments of the contest.

What followed was actually more entertaining than it probably had any right to be.

No, this wasn't a technical masterpiece, and you got the same feeling that it had been heavily scripted as you typically got with any match featuring a non-wrestler.

Still, there was a certain mad  hilarity to the whole thing, assisted of course by Dusty Rhodes pronouncing words wrong left and right.

When Parker went on the offence, Dream cried out:

"HE'S RUN A MONK!"

You have to trust me on this one, it was hysterical.

What wasn't so funny was the ending, which came when Dirty Dick Slater got involved, helping Parker to first kick out of a pin, and then score one of his own.

Whilst it may have been more rewarding to give the former Alundra Blayze the win here, it was still a decent effort regardless.
Your Winner: Col. Robert Parker

Out in the back, Lee Marshall caught up with The Road Warriors to talk about their upcoming Chicago Street Fight against Sting & Booker T.

The story here was that Lex Luger, officially Sting's co-champ, was in the Doomsday Cage Match main event, so Booker T was filling in against The Road Warriors.

Not that Hawk nor Animal seemed to care. The latter promised that he and his partner would emerge victorious tonight, whilst the latter yelled his head off about destroying the medulla oblongata of both of his opponents and leaving them paralysed.

This was your typical lust-for-violence promo from the LOD, conducted in front of a chalkboard on which the heels had apparently been planning a strategy on how to beat Hogan and Savage in tonight's main event.

'I Quit Wrestling' Match
Diamond Dallas Page vs. The Booty Man (w/ Kimberly)

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Diamond Dallas Page lost to The Booty Man
Though the announcers definitely called this an 'I Quit' match, it wasn't what you're probably thinking.

Rather, it was an "I Quit Wrestling" match, the confusing name referring to the fact that Diamond Dallas Page would be forced to quit wrestling if he lost this match.

If he won however, he would once again acquire the services of Kimberly, and would also win back the millions of dollars he lost the previous month in his match against Johnny B. Badd at Superbrawl VI.

The name of the match wasn't the only confusing thing going on here though, just the fact that it was The Booty Man going up against Page and not Badd needed some explaining.

In storyline terms, Page had been feuding with Johnny B. Badd and lost everything to him, including Kimberly, six million dollars, and the WCW Television Championship.

Seeking revenge, Page had cost Badd the title to Lex Luger, causing Johnny to blame Kimberly, lose his shit and leave the company, with The Booty Man stepping up to, supposedly, defend Kim's honour, and her money, against her ex, Page.

This of course gave the WCW announcers plenty of opportunity to bury the real life Marc Mero just 12 days before he debuted for the opposition at Wrestlemania 12.

This of course, was the real reason why Brutus 'The Booty Man' Beefcake had now been shoehorned into a feud which originally had nothing to do with him.

Whilst Tony & Co. we're busy telling us that Johnny B. Badd just couldn't cut it 'where the big boys play,' Dallas Page came to the ring with Sideshow Bob hair and an unkempt, really committing himself to the role of a down-on-his-luck pro wrestler who had just about lost everything.

Not that we were supposed to feel sorry for him.

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Kimberly cheers on The Booty Man against Diamond Dallas Page
Page was most definitely the heel here, antagonising the crowd and generally being a bastard as he went up against Booty Man in a very mediocre outing.

The crowd were into it in parts, especially when Booty Man, as a red hot face, took control, but for every spot that was genuinely enjoyable, there were two more that were either deadly dull or decidedly awkward.

The main problem here was length. Given half the time, you have to believe that both men would have been able to deliver a short, explosive contest.

Instead, this really dragged on, meaning it was a great relief when Kimberly responded to Dallas forcibly kissing her by slapping him across the mush, sending him smack into the match-winning High Knee.
Your Winner: The Booty Man

Celebrating his big win, Bruti snogged a clearly smitten Kimberly and led her backstage before she fainted under the awesome power of The Booty Man's magnetic charms and great ass...or something.

Lex Luger is Worried About Sting

Emotions were running high backstage as Jimmy Hart pretended to be choked up about tonight being the final time he led Lex Luger to the ring.

Mean Gene reminded us that  Hart was responsible for ejecting Loch Ness from the Doomsday Cage Match and inserting Luger in his place.

Hart neither confirmed nor denied that, but did present Luger with special Jimmy Hart style jacket with Luger's image on it as a weird kind of 'going away gift' or something.

'I love you man!' Yelled Hart, before running off camera as fast as his little legs could carry him.

This left Lex to talk to Mean Gene about the cage match, something he wasn't all that good at.

Honestly, Luger's bemusing promo here made him sound like he had no idea what the Doomsday match was all about, nor why he was part of it.

He did however, know much more about his best friend Sting teaming up with Booker T to face The Road Warriors.

Despite Okerlund reminding him that he had bailed on Sting on more than one occasion, The Total Package claimed that he was very emotional about watching Sting defending the titles without him, especially since he was a Chicago native and wouldn't be competing in the Chicago Street Fight.

You know, the one taking place in Tupelo, Mississippi?

Anyway, Luger vowed to be watching out for his buddy no matter what, and thus ended a wonderfully over-the-top promo that proved to be one of the most enjoyable things on the show so far, especially compared to the atrocity we got next.

Giant vs. Giant (Winner becomes number one contender to the WCW title)
Loch Ness vs.  The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart) 

The opening graphic here had the 'n' in the first 'giant' blacked out, so it actually came up as 'Gia t vs. Giant'

After that, Loch Ness came out to the music Rey Mysterio would use only a few months later, and trip up on his way to the ring.

That was about the only interesting thing about this mercifully short match, apart from the one high spot in the whole thing.

After trading blows, The Giant had 'Ness backed into the corner. He hurled himself at him, Loch a Ness moved, and The Giant went crashing over to the outside.

For a man of his size, it was a pretty impressive move.

The rest however, was just damn ugly, so it came as a great relief when The Giant dropped a leg drop on his opponent and won the match.
Your Winner: The Giant 

Screaming into the camera after the bell, The Giant claimed that the leg drop was for Hulk Hogan, before promising to beat Ric Flair for the title on the following nights Nitro.

Sting and Booker T Get it On Like a Pot of Neck Bones, Sucka 

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - Booker T and Sting teamed up to face The Road Warriors
Backstage, Lee Marshall wanted to ask Sting about the upcoming Chicago Street Fight, but his temporary partner Booker T interjected, ranting and raving and basically promising that he and Sting were on the same page and ready for war, because can you dig it and it's on like a pot of neck bones sucka, and all your standard Harlem Heatisms.

That's not me being a racialist, if you were around at the time,I'm sure you can back me up that Booker T and Stevie Ray's mic work from this time consisted of basically being as over-the-top black as possible.

Sting was fired up too, declaring that his 'brothers in paint' had thrown friendship out of the window and thus he was going to kick some ass.

In one of the most hilarious moments of this wildly entertaining segment, The Stinger tried to get his partner fired up, yelling at him about it being on like neck bones.

This whole promo was personally my favourite part of the show so far.

Chicago Street Fight
WCW Tag Team Champion Sting & Booker T vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) 

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - The Road Warriors faced Booker T and Sting in a Chicago Street Fight
The longest match on the card by a mile, this street fight lasted 30 minutes but felt like it went on for 3 days, which is odd, because parts of it were actually quite good.

The thing started off with a big brawl in and out of the ring that was as chaotic and out-of-control as you could expect to see in a match like this.

Then it all slowed down, the four combatants fully failing to use the freedom of a no holds barred situation to its potential and instead merely slugging it out in a long, dull and repetitive stretch that almost sent this writer to sleep.

Thankfully, things picked up towards the finish, with Booker T luring Animal backstage, where a
trap awaited.

Channelling his short-lived Narcissist gimmick, Luger was backstage, posing in a mirror as Animal and Booker brawled nearby.

The Road Warrior felled Booker and attacked Luger, prompting The Total Package to retaliate.

Stevie Ray joined in, and the three-on-one beatdown resulted in Animal being tied to a post, unable to continue.

Booker returned to ringside, where he helped Sting pick up the win, finally bringing this one to an end.
Your Winner: Sting & Booker T 

Finally, after some last minute comments from our announce team and some pre-match hype from Michael Buffer, it was onto a match that has been criticised over and over again in the years since.

Was it really all that bad?

There's only one way to find out.

Doomsday Cage Match
The Alliance To End Hulkamania (WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, The Enforcer Arn Anderson, The Taskmaster, Lex Luger, Meng, The Barbarian, Z-Gangsta, The Ultimate Solution w/ Jimmy Hart, Woman, and Elizabeth) vs. The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan & Macho Man Randy Savage) 

Having never actually seen this match before, everything I'd read about it led me to believe that it was
basically Hogan and Savage working their way through eight heels, giving their opponents no offence and destroying everybody in their path.

Of course, I was misinformed. Hulk and Randy did indeed absorb a whole host of punishment from their adversaries, but it turned out that this was actually the least of the problems with this match.

With the cameras placed only outside the cage, and the whole thing shot with very little lighting, it was difficult to tell what was going on.

WCW UNCENSORED 1996 - If you think this picture sucked - imagine how the rest of The Doomsday cage match looked
You had to admire WCW's effort; had this been a Hollywood production, it would have no doubt looked phenomenal.

But it wasn't, it was a pro wrestling match filmed through a cage wall with TV cameras, and it looked terrible. What made things worse, is that when you did see something, what you saw was mostly dull and not actually worth watching..

The problems didn't end there, either.

Clocking in at a little over 25 minutes, the match was at least 15 minutes longer than it should have been.

Trust me, 25 minutes of not very good wrestling shot mostly in darkness with a mesh cage wall obscuring the view is not an easy thing to watch.

Yet watch this stubborn reviewer did, long enough to see The Mega Powers get the win, but only after The Booty Man snuck in to give them eye-blinding powder and frying pans (of all things) to use as weapons.

Even then, it looked as though The Alliance might actually prevail until Flair held Savage in place for Luger to drill him one.

Savage got out of harms way, Luger stopped, thought about it, then decided to hit Flair anyway.

Hogan hurled Lex out of the way, Savage got the pin, and he and Hogan escaped the cage before fleeing to the back.
Your Winners: The Mega Powers 

Afterwards, the two fled to the back, leaving Tony, Dusty, and Bobby to wrap up tonight's show and remind us to check out Nitro tomorrow night for the big World Title fight between The Giant and Ric Flair.

So, was The Doomsday Cage Match as bad as everybody says it was?

No. 

It was worse.

I usually try to err on the side of the optimistic when reviewing pro wrestling, but even I have to admit the whole thing was garbage. That said, we shouldn't be too surprised.

The whole of WCW Uncensored 1996 wasn't exactly a joy to watch. In fact, some of it was downright painful. 

My recommendation is that you check out the Finaly vs. Regal bout (the only must-see thing on the show), and possibly Eddie/Konnan if you want to see Guerrero as he was just breaking out into a mainstream role with WCW, but otherwise, save your sanity and avoid this show at all costs.

Next time, we'll look at WCW Slamboree 1996. Until then, thanks for reading, and remember that you can join me on Facebook or on Twitter @Retropwrestling. https://twitter.com/retropwrestling

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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.