Thursday, 15 February 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Slamboree 1997

May 18, 1997
Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina.

One of the negative aspects of reviewing pro wrestling shows that took place at the height of the 90s boom period is that you don't experience quite the same level of excitement as you did when you originally lived through it. 

Sure, we can talk over and over again about what a great time 1997 was to be a fan -and it was, trust me, I lived it- but you don't really feel it the way you used to.

Thankfully, WCW Slamboree 1997 looked set to change that by presenting a stacked card that combined all the best elements of the companies product at the time, from adrenalin charged cruiserweight matches and top international talent to legendary gimmicks like The Four Horsemen and the New World Order.

Was all that enough to create a show that really stood the test of time and delivered the same level of excitement 20 years later?

Let's head down to Flair Country to find out.

Some Footballers Are Here 

Tonight's opening video focussed on the rivalry between Steve 'Mongo' McMichael and Reggie White, and tonight's main event, which saw Kevin Greene team up with the man he faced a year earlier, Ric Flair, and Rowdy Roddy Piper to take on Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Syxx.

That took us to Tony Schiavone, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who also gave plenty of attention to the two matches featuring football players.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW Television Champion Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Steven Regal 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Steven Regal bt. Ultimo Dragon for the TV title
Apparently, Steven Regal no longer wanted to be called a lord, because his nobility should be taken as a given, or something to that effect.

Here, he challenged Ultimo (not Ultimate) Dragon for the Television Championship which Dragon won from Prince Iaukea on the Monday Nitro following last month's Spring Stampede 1997.

As opening matches go, they don't come much better than this one.

With a red hot crowd firmly into every single move, Regal played the babyface role against the defending champion in an absolute belter of a match.

The action went back and forth several times before spilling to the outside, where Dragon nailed the challenger with the Asaii Moonsault.

From there, Sonny Onoo got a couple of shots on Regal before 'accidentally' nailing Ultimo Dragon with a round-house kick.

As the announcers debated whether or not Onoo had intended to kick his own man or not, Regal slapped on the Regal Stretch and won his fourth television championship.
Your Winner and New Television Champion: Steven Regal 

Post match, Regal celebrated whilst Onoo addressed the camera, claiming that he could break Champions just as easy as he could make them.

Women's Grudge Match
Luna Vachon vs. Madusa 

Here, Luna Vachon was billed as hailing from 'The Other Side of Darkness,' which I'm assuming was somewhere near 'The Outer Reaches Of Your Mind,' just left of Parts Unknown.

By the way, isn't the other side of darkness just, you know, light?

Anyway, Luna went after Madusa in a reasonably fun, yet short and instantly forgettable match.

The two put on a good show for the time they were allotted before Madusa nailed her rival with a truly beautiful bridging German Suplex for the three count.

Weirdly, Madusa slapped Luna's ass as the ref counted three.
Your Winner: Madusa 

Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene Okerlund urged us to call the WCW Hotline to find out who might be leaving WCW before he was rudely interrupted by Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth.

Savage and DDP Want to Kill Each Other 

The nWo power couple stormed to ringside, where Savage, in his usual manic style, put over his fellow stablemates and claimed that Diamond Dallas Page wanted no part of him.

Page argued otherwise, coming through the crowd wielding the same damaged crutch that Savage had previously used to attack DDP with.

Savage bailed, but after consorting with his nWo colleagues, charged into the ring, quickly followed by VincentEric Bischoff, and Buff Bagwell.

Page took out all three, but was felled by a kidney shot courtesy of Scott Norton.

The New World Order then attacked, only for The Giant to come out for the big save.

Talk about intense, that was a terrific angle that really made you want to see Page and Savage tear into each other one more time.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Yuji Yasuraoka

I'm not the biggest fan of Japanese wrestling, so I hadn't heard of Yuji Yasuraoka before watching this show, but apparently, he tagged with Lance Storm in WAR and retired after a short career to become a motorcycle mechanic.

Here, he went up against Rey Mysterio Jr. in a match that went a little too long and dragged in some parts but was very good in others.

Naturally, Mysterio picked up the win, moving one step closer to another shot against Syxx for the Cruiserweight title.
Your Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Wasting no time, we went straight to our next match.


Mortis (w/ James Vanderberg) vs. Glacier 

This rematch from Uncensored 1997 didn't last long before Wrath came out and destroyed Glacier, leading to the disqualification.
Your Winner via DQ: Glacier 

Afterwards, Wrath and Mortis spent about three decades beating down on Glacier until a 'fan' (later revealed to be karate champion Ernest Miller) came out for the save.

This was boring as hell.

Mean Gene shilled the Hotline some more before it was on to our next match.

World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship
WCW United States Champion Dean Malenko vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra McMichael) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) faced Dean Malenko
As with most matches on the card so far, this one was given plenty of time to deliver and deliver it did.

Trading hold after hold and counter after counter, both Jeff Jarrett and champion Dean Malenko put on a very good performance in a match which only got better the longer it went on.

After an epic battle, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael came to ringside to tend to Jarrett, who was writhing in agony at ringside.

Mongo took his wife by the hand and escorted her backstage, but not before throwing Double J back in the ring, where he quickly succumbed to Malenko's Texas Cloverleaf.
Your Winner and Still United States Champion: Dean Malenko 

Let's keep going...

Death Match
Meng vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) faced Chris Benoit in a death match
The rules here were non-existent. No pinfalls, no DQ, no count out, the match continues until one man can no longer continue.

If you were expecting such a stipulation to result in an ECW style, weapon-filled brawl to rival Chris Benoit's epic matches with Kevin Sullivan, you may be disappointed.

This wasn't that kind of match, but it was very good; a solid outing from two hard-hitters who basically just beat the crap out of each other until it was time to go home.

At that point, Meng grabbed Benoit in the Tongan Death Grip and won the match.
Your Winner: Meng 

Afterwards, Woman and a bunch of officials checked in on Benoit, who was totally out of it.

A promo for next month's Great American Bash followed before we went back to ringside for our next match.

The Dungeon of Doom (Konnan and Hugh Morrus w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - The Steiner Brothers faced Konnan & Hugh Morrus
By this point, I'm starting to think that there isn't a bad match on this card.

Sure, Dungeon of Doom vs. The Steiners wasn't the highlight of the night, but it was still a very fun tag bout which certainly deserved a place on this show.

After several minutes of enjoyable action, Scott Steiner planted Hugh Morrus with the Frankensteiner. Rick made the cover, and that was that.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, Konnan turned on his partner and beat him up, much to the confusion and frustration of Jimmy Hart.

Battle of the Super Bowl Champions
Steve 'Mongo' McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael) vs. Reggie White (w/ Some Guy) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Debra McMichael, Steve McMichael, Jeff JarrettThe best thing I can say about this is that it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Sure, Reggie White's offence looked like garbage, but when it was left to Mongo to control the match, it was actually reasonably entertaining for a while.

In fact, if they'd just made this about five minutes or so shorter, I would have told you I'd enjoyed the whole thing. Instead, it went on too long and I quickly lost interest.

Mongo won when one of Reggie's team mates stopped him from using the metal briefcase on Reggie, so Jeff Jarrett came out and give him another one, because apparently they just carried a whole bunch of them around with them.

A three count later, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Steve 'Mongo' McMichael 

The Four Horsemen members celebrated before we cut to Michael Buffer for our main event, or what Buffer called our 'Super Match of the Evening.' 

Anything Goes Six Man Match
The NWO Wolfpac (WCW Tag Team Champions Scott Hall & Kevin Nash, and WCW Cruiserweight Champion Syxx) vs. Kevin Greene, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and The Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Ric Flair teamed with Roddy Piper & Kevin Greene to face the nWo Wolfpac
With a white hot crowd solidly behind him, hometown hero Ric Flair wrestled his first match of 1997 in a genuinely enthralling main event.

Teaming with Rowdy Roddy Piper and pro footballer Kevin Greene, Flair led his men into battle against Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx, and the results were brilliant.

Things were kept relatively simple, but that worked perfectly for this one.

After a veg enjoyable contest, referee Randy Anderson took a tumble, causing former nWo referee Nick Patrick to come out.

Flair slapped Hall in figure four, Piper put Nash to sleep, and Greene hit Syxx with a running shoulder breaker.

Patrick counted to three, and this one was over.
Your Winners: Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Kevin Greene 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was all she wrote for what happened to be one of the best pay per views of 1997.


So, did WCW Slamboree 1997 stand the test of time? Was it enough to rekindle that passion and excitement that we all felt back in the late-90s pro wrestling boom? 

Close enough. 

This was a very fun show from start to finish and one of the best PPVs of 1997 up to that point. There was barely a bad match on the card, whilst the variety of styles and the perfect blend of all the things that made WCW such a hot commodity in the 1990s took centre stage. 

I feel like I haven't said this in a long time, but this one was definitely worth watching. 

1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
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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.