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

Friday, 19 October 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF Fully Loaded - In Your House 23

July 26, 1998 
Selland Arena in Fresno, California

It was the summer of 1998 and D-Generation-X were one of the most popular acts in professional wrestling. 

Popular enough, it turned out, to be the focal point of all the advertising for the 23rd In Your House event, Fully Loaded.

Popular enough, also, to see their leader Triple H feature in one of the marquee matches against another rapidly rising star.

Indeed, despite featuring on only a small handful of PPVs throughout the year, 1998 really was looking to be a breakout year for the man known as Hunter Hearst Helmsley.

It was in this year that he went from solid mid-card act and Shawn Michaels' lackey to showing signs that he too could be a top-level performer.

Tonight, Hunter would have his biggest opportunity to date to prove that he was worthy of a main event spot, a one-on-one encounter with The Rock.

Here's what happened when two of the WWE's most successful stars looked to put on a career-changing performance on a hot summer's night in California.

The King Gets a Peek at Sable’s Peaks

In a rare move, we began tonight with a cold open featuring Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler entering Sable’s dressing room.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 Review - Jerry Lawler interviews Sable
With his flush-red face and giddy demeanour, Lawler looked like your typical horny schoolboy as he asked Sable if she could give us a description of the outfit she’d be wearing in her bikini contest later on in the show.

Rather than describe it, however, Sable offered to show the King and promptly disappeared behind a screen. There, she took her top off and invited The King for a look.

Unable to contain himself, The King went off grinning from ear to ear.

Clearly, whatever Sable was wearing was worth watching the PPV for.

More Questions Than Answers

After the typical WWF signature, we finally got our video package, this one telling us that tonight’s main event threw up more questions than it answered:

  1. Were The Undertaker and Kane really in cahoots?
  2. Could WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin trust The Undertaker?
  3. Was Mankind just a pawn in some wicked game?

Tonight, we’d find out live as the World Wrestling Federation went Fully Loaded!

Pyro and crowd shots followed, along with an introduced from The Voices of The Attitude Era, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, and with that, it was into it first match.

Val Venis vs. Double J (w/ Tennessee Lee)

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 Review - Val venis makes his PPV debut against Jeff Jarrett
Hellloooo Ladies....

Yes, here we had the pay per view debut of wrestling porn star, Val Venis.

Doing his usual spiel before the match, Val claimed that he was about to do something he’d always wanted to do, and insinuated that he might pull his trunks down, but was interrupted by Tennessee Lee.

Warning Venis that he was about to make a fool of himself, Lee led Double J to the ring along with the newly repackaged Southern Justice, who was, of course, the former Godwins, now using their real names and wearing Suits.

Tim White sent Dennis Knight and Mark Canterbury backstage before the match even started, after which Kaientai made a surprise appearance.

Whilst the referee sent most of the group to the back, Yamaguchi-San was allowed to join JR and Lawler on commentary to talk about Val apparently appearing in a porn movie with Mrs Yamaguchi-San.

Not to worry though, because the following evening, the Kaientai leader promised that his men would do something to Val that would ensure he was never the same again.

As we all know, that was the time they tried to choppy-choppy Val’s Pee Pee.

As guest commentary spots often did, this distracted from what was otherwise a reasonable effort from the two men in the ring.

Though fairly nondescript, it did look to have the crowd’s attention until Val rolled up his opponent for the win.
Your Winner: Val Venis

Afterwards, Venis took to the mic to make fun of how short Yamaguchi-San was.

Non-title match
WWF European Champion D’Lo Brown (w/ The Godfather) vs. X-Pac (w/ Chyna)

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 Review - D'Lo Brown pins X-Pac
D’Lo Brown had only just become European Champion after being Triple H on that week’s Raw thanks to an assist from The Rock, but he was not putting the title on the line here because he was a heel and therefore obviously a coward.

Title or no title, this was a decent match with lots of fast-paced action and some great spots from both men.

After a fun encounter, X-Pac stopped The Godfather from getting involved by punching him off the apron, but walked right into a Sky High and lost the match.
Your Winner: D’Lo Brown

Out in the crowd, Edge looked on, brooding.

The Undertaker is not Here

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Kevin Kelly & Tom Pritchard man the booth
Out in the back, reporters Kevin Kelly and Tom Pritchard told us that The Undertaker had not arrived yet.

Kelly was worried -very worried- but Pritchard reminded us what a great reputation The Undertaker had backstage, so there was no way he’d let everybody down.

Terry Funk Announces Retirement #1275

Out in the back, makeshift tag team Terry Funk and Bradshaw were standing by to give comments on their upcoming match against Farooq and Scorpio.

Instead, Funk used the opportunity to announce that this would be his last match in the WWF for about six months because fighting and teaming with Mick Foley had taken it out of him.

The news came as a surprise to Bradshaw, who stormed off, angry.

Gee, I wonder what’s going to happen in this match?

Farooq and Scorpio vs. Terry Funk and Bradshaw

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Terry Funk upset Bradshaw by announcing he was taking six months off
And so, future Acolytes Bradshaw and Farooq found themselves in opposite corners, going against each other months before they finally paired up to become a legendary team.

This is like that time Road Dogg and Billy Gunn has a match against each other at In Your House: 14 - Revenge of The Taker.

Anyway, the match was about as meh as you might imagine and culminated in a loss for the Texans following a pretty sweet 450 splash from Scorpio.
Your Winners: Scorpio & Farooq m

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Bradshaw turned on Funk after the match.

Scorpio tried to help, but Bradshaw turned him inside out with a Clothesline From Hell and then attacked Farooq with a chair for good measure.

Vader vs. Mark Henry

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Mark Henry faced Vader
I feel bad for Vader - once a certified main eventer and a legit badass now a directionless mid-card act.

He and Mark Henry had cost each other a shot at the 1998 King of The Ring tournament and had engaged in a brawl on that show.

This led to a series of angles on Shotgun Saturday Night, and now to tonight’s match, which was bland and void of all excitement.

After a couple of minutes of nothingness, Henry splashed Vader and got the win.

Nobody cared.
Your Winner: Mark Henry

After a shot of The Hart Home in Calgary (site of tonights Dungeon Match) and an update of sorts from Kelly and Pritchard (still no sign of The Undertaker), we got the arrival of WWF Tag Team Champions Kane and Mankind, with their manager, Paul Bearer.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - WWF Tag Team Champions Mankind & Kane
The duo (referred to by JR as ‘The Poster Boys for Pestilence’) stood by as Bearer cut a compelling promo, boasting about The Undertaker’s absence and warning Stone Cold that he would meet his demise tonight.

As good as Bearer was here, he wouldn’t get a chance to say much more as he was interrupted by the men Kane and Mankind had beaten for the tag team titles, The New Age Outlaws.

Getting the biggest pop of the night so far, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn issued a challenge for a title match the following night on Raw.

When the champs didn’t reply, the Outlaws attacked, and we got a full-scale brawl that was eventually broken up by a gaggle of officials and Commissioner Slaughter, who was still around at this point.

The Disciples of Apocalypse (Skull & 8-Ball w/ Paul Ellering) vs. L.O.D 2000 (Hawk & Animal)

So, let’s catch up.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Paul Ellering watches The DOA take on LOD 2000
Chainz was gone, and Skull and 8-Ball had now teamed up with Paul Ellering, the former manager of Hawk and Animal, who were now without Sunny, who had left the company and would never be the same woman again.

Meanwhile, the WWF were moving towards making Hawk’s real-life substance abuse problems a storyline, having him fail to have his partner’s back and other such shenanigans.

This would, of course, lead to that time Droz pushes Hawk off the top of the Titantron, both would leave the company, and Animal would show up in WCW a year or so later, overweight and underwhelming.

Until all that, we got your bog standard big man tag team match.

Despite its slow pace, this one did have some decent spots, though not enough to make it an entertaining match.

After what seemed like an eternity, the Road Warriors hit a Doomsday Device (and unless I misheard, JR called it a ‘Devastation Device’) but identical twins Skull and 8-Ball did the ol’ switch-a-roo and a plain simple DDT gave the win to the bikers.
Your Winners: The Disciples of the Apocalypse

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Vince McMahon w/ Sgt. Slaughter & Gerald Briscoe
Still, at the point where he didn’t have his own theme music, Vince McMahon sauntered out after the match with Gerald Briscoe, Pat Patterson and Commissioner Slaughter in tow.

McMahon told us that if Undertaker didn’t show tonight, it was Stone Cold’s fault and not his, because Stone Cold had done all kinds of heinous things to ‘Taker on Raw.

From there, McMahon reminded us of the caveat that came with all pro wrestling shows that says ‘card subject to change.’

With that in mind, McMahon announced that he had a replacement in mind if Undertaker didn’t show, and introduced us to none other than The Brooklyn Brawler!

Brawler was -as he always was- so entertaining here, so much so I would have liked to have seen him in the match!

Dungeon Match (Submission rules)
Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock

Special Guest Referee: Dan Severn
WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Owen Hart punishes Ken Shamrock in The Dungeon
Supposedly ‘live’ from the Dungeon, though obviously pre-taped, this stiff, MMA/pro-wrestling was hugely compelling - the sort of fight that demands your attention from the word go and is so intense that you just can’t take your eyes off it.

After a seriously hard-hitting match, Shamrock went to kick Owen in the face but ended up pasting special referee Dan Severn instead.

This gave Owen the chance to grab an obviously fake dumbbell and knock Shamrock out with it.

Owen then slapped on a cross face and moved :
Shamrock’s hand up and for him.

A groggy Severn recovered from the kick just enough to see Shamrock ‘tapping’ and gave the match to The Black Heart.
Your Winner: Owen Hart

Damn, that was fun.

Two out of Three Falls for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs. Triple H

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - The Rock is ready for his match with Triple H
I don’t know if they were running short of time or if it was just cut from the version I’m watching (an original copy and not a Network version) but we didn’t get the usual pre-match ‘let’s get ready to suck it’ stuff from Hunter.

What we did get, was the referee sending The Nation and DX to the back but letting Chyna stay because she had a manager’s license.

Speaking of Chyna, she actually made her debut the last time HHH and Rocky Maivia met for the Intercontinental Championship, back at In Your House 13: Final Four back in February 1997.

Funnily enough, The Rock was the champion then too.

Understandably, this match was a lot better than that one. In fact, it was a lot better than anything on the card so far,

Featuring several cameos from both DX and Nation members (yes, after they’d been banished from ringside), plenty of brawling and good old-fashioned wrestling, this was the best match either man had wrestled up to this point in their careers.

It was hugely entertaining and got more and more dramatic as it went on, and would have been even better had the ending not been so predictable.

Right from the early going, JR made sure to give us regular reminders that this match has a 30-minute time limit.

You always know when that gets mentioned that we’re heading for a time limit draw, and that’s exactly what happened here.

After one fall a piece, this terrific match ended when the time expired.
Draw (The Rock retains the title)

The good news is that this led to a ladder match at Summerslam, which to this day remains among my favourite matches if all time.

The Undertaker is Here

Prior to the main event, Kelly and Pritchard revealed that yes, The Undertaker had arrived.

Exclusive Rock Promo

As I say, this is an original copy of the PPV (or at least of the VHS version) so I’m not sure if this exists on the WWE Network, but it’s basically The Rock leaving the arena with D’Lo Brown and bragging about his big win over Triple H.

Dustin Runnels Prays For Our Souls

Having ditched The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust gimmick, Dustin Runnels took to the ring to deliver a solemn prayer, hoping that God could save us from the filth and smut we were about to endure.

Bikini Contest
Jacqueline (w/ Marc Mero) vs. Sable

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Tale of the Tape for Jacqueline vs. Sable Bikini contest
Fresh from a brief run as Harlem Heat’s manager in WCW, future Hall of Famer Jacqueline had now partnered with Marc Mero to help him in his battle with estranged wifi, Sable, even going so far as to challenge her to a bikini contest.

In her defence, Jacqueline looked smoking hot, and at one point accidentally (yeah, right) flashed us a nipple, but this was clearly the Sable show.

The blonde bombshell first teased us by taking off her T-shirt to reveal a ‘conservative’ crop-top, telling us that Vince McMahon had ordered to do so.

However, said Sable, Vince couldn’t stop her as it was live TV, so she took that off to reveal the topless, handprint pasties look that we all remember so fondly.

Naturally, the crowd roared Sable to a win before Vince came, made her cover-up, and escorted her backstage.

At the time, I remember this being total shock value and genuinely excited, but I was a horny 14-year-old back then, and now I’m not sure this has aged all that well.
Your Winner: Sable

After a reminder that Undertaker had cost Austin the WWF title in a match with Kane at King of the Ring 1998, we were told how this ultimately led us to a tag team title match against Kane and Mankind here tonight.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & Mankind (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 1998 - Steve Austin tells The Undertaker he's number one!
This is the first PPV that Undertaker had that badass Attitude Era theme, so that’s cool.

I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews of this match, but I actually think it was good for what it was - filler match to advance storylines en route to Summerslam in much the same way that the In Your House before Wrestlemania was used to build to that event.

Whilst that doesn’t mean it was a five-star classic, it was an entertaining contest that followed the typical chaotic brawling style of Attitude Era main events.

After a good back-and-forth effort, Undertaker tombstones Kane to win the match, and the tag team titles.
Your Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker and Steve Austin

Not that the win put the new champions on the same page. After the bell, Undertaker grabbed both tag belts and stormed off backstage to end the show.

As a pay per view, Fully Loaded was typical of WWF events at the time - garbage undercard with a hot main event that made up for it.

The tag team title match was fun in its own way, but it was the Rock/HHH match that really stole the show, proving that WWF had its next generation of main event stars all ready and waiting for their chance to shine.

Overall, this wasn’t a PPV that is must-see, though that Rock/HHH, X-Pac/D'Lo and the Owen/Shamrock Dungeon Match are worth a watch.

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
  8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
  9. WCW Slamboree 1998
  10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
  11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
  12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
  13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
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    Thursday, 11 October 2018

    PPV REVIEW: WCW Bash at the Beach 1998

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Event poster
    July 7, 1996 
    The Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

    Since its inception in the 1980s, it had always been Starrcade which had held the distinction of being World Championship Wrestling's answer to Wrestlemania. Yet it's probably fair to say that Bash at the Beach was an event just as important to the company during the Monday Night Wars. 

    After all, it was at this event in 1996 that Hulk Hogan famously revealed himself to be The Third Man, kickstarting the New World Order angle that would catapult WCW to the most successful period in its entire history.

    The following year, WCW looked to further its popularity by having Hogan, now the company's resident bad boy, team up with another infamous ne'er-do-weller in the form of basketball star, Dennis Rodman. 

    Fast forward twelve months, and 'Rod the Bod' was back for another summertime fling with Hogan and the nWo.

    Here's what went down when the two teamed up to face DDP and Karl Malone on what was becoming well-established as one of WCW's biggest events of the year.

    Summer Madness

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
    We began our show tonight with one of WCW’s famously terrible opening videos recalling the big matches on tonight’s card.

    Clearly, the company were paying so much money for Lanny Poffo to sit at home that they couldn’t afford a decent production team to make their opening videos.

    Anyway, from there we went to our usual trio of Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, told us just how important tonight’s show was.

    Then, after Mean Gene Okerlund took some time to encourage us to call 1-900-909-9900 (kids, get your parents’ permission) it was onto our first match.

    Raven’s Rules
    Saturn vs. Raven (w/ The Flock)

    Regular Retro Pro Wrestling readers will know that I’m sometimes overly generous with my match reviews.

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
    You may also remember that I normally talk highly of Saturn’s matches too.

    His outing with Kanyon at the previous month's Great American Bash 98 was hugely enjoyable, and he’d had some good matches with the likes of Chris Benoit and Booker T earlier in the year.

    But this?

    This was just awful.

    Saturn seemed off a step throughout the whole match, whilst Raven seemed to just kind of be there.

    That It was bad enough to begin with, but then Nick Patrick got squashed in the corner (ref bumps in No DQ matches. Why?) and things quickly went from bad to worse.

    At one point, Saturn put Raven on top of a table. Tony Schiavone accidentally called it a chair and was mercilessly mocked by Tenay and Heenan.

    That was funny, and probably the best part of the whole match.

    What wasn’t funny was that Saturn then set up another table on top of the first and headed to the top rope. Kanyon then came out and pulled Raven to safety.

    In one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in all my years writing these reviews, Saturn waited a good few seconds after Raven was gone, looked at the empty tables, and waited a second longer, and then jumped through them anyway.


    In the ring, Kanyon hit Raven with the Flatliner.

    Some other stuff happened, but honestly, this was such a mess that none of it mattered.

    Eventually, Raven hit the Evenflow DDT and this one was over.

    You know what? As if all that wasn’t disappointing enough, the WWE Network dubs over Raven’s awesome Come as You Are rip-off theme with the squawking ravens theme he had in WWE.

    Your Winner: Raven

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Mean Gene interviews Eddie Guerrero
    Up next, Mean Gene brought out Eddie Guerrero to hype his upcoming Hair vs. Hair match with nephew, Chavo Guerrero Jr.

    For reasons that didn’t make much sense, Chavo had apparently first booked himself into a match with Stevie Ray, so Eddie -who was never not entertaining as hell- devoted his promo time to warning Chavo that Stevie was going to destroy him, after which he (Eddie) would merely come in, hit the frog splash, and give his nephew a haircut.

    Kidman (w/ Lodi) vs. Juventud Guerrera

    Now, this is more like it.

    Wrestling in his first ever pay per view match, Kidman tore it up with Juventud Guerrera in a match that was non-stop fun from start to finish.

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Billy Kidman faced Juventud Guerrera
    Where the previous match was sloppy, messy, and embarrassing to watch, this was tight, crisp, and an absolute joy to watch.

    Unfortunately for Kidman, making his PPV debut didn’t mean a win. He was hit with Juventud’s awesome 450 splash and lost the match.
    Your Winner: Juventud Guerrera

    Out in the ‘internet location,’ Lee Marshall tried to act cool and talk about how everyone wanted to get rowdy rowdy and bowdy bowdy with K-Dog.

    Konnan used this as an opportunity to put over his Wolfpac brethren before going off on a tangent and questioning Marshall about his terrible choice in beach shirts.

    Stevie Ray vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr

    In keeping with the summer theme, Chavo Jr. Came out wearing a rubber ring and brandishing a water pistol. He then proceeded to infuriate Stevie Ray by dancing about the place and striking poses.

    I won’t lie, Crazy Chavo was super entertaining and actually pretty funny.

    Eventually, Chavo offered his opponent a handshake, only to submit the moment it was accepted.
    Your Winner: Stevie Ray

    You see, by submitting the moment Stevie Ray touched him, Chavo had ensured he was still 100% for his match with his uncle, therefore ruining the plans of Eddie Guerrero, who had expected to go in against a beaten-up Chavo.

    Hair vs. Hair Match
    Chavo Guerrero Jr. Vs. Eddie Guerrero

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Eddie Guerrero hurts nephew Chavo Guerrero
    Chavo’s comedy capers continued in the early going of this match and were equally as entertaining.

    Then, Eddie decided he’d had enough of his nephew’s playing and beat the life out of him.

    What followed was a very solid match that ended when Chavo tried to cut Eddie’s hair but Charles Robinson stopped him.

    The distraction allowed Eddie to roll up his nephew and get the win.
    Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

    Afterwards, Chavo snatched the hair shaver from Eddie and began to shave his own hair like a lunatic.

    This freaked out Eddie and he ran off.

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I really enjoyed this version of Chavo.

    Disco Inferno (w/ Alex Wright) vs. Konnan (w/ Kevin Nash & Lex Luger)

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Disco Inferno gets bowdy-bowdy
    This was billed as a special bonus match, but it really wasn’t much of a match at all.

    After Disco Inferno and his sometime tag team partner Alex Wright mocked Konnan’s usual opening call-and-response promo, Konnan himself came down, completely ignored it, and just did the same promo anyway

    What followed was about a minute and a half of nondescript action, culminating in the referee getting distracted by Lex Luger putting a Torture Rack on Alex Wright outside the ring.

    This gave Kevin Nash the chance to sneak in and Jackknife the bejeezus out of Disco.

    Konnan slapped on the Tequila Sunrise, the ref turned around and this one was over.
    Your Winner: Konnan

    Moving on...

    The Giant vs. Kevin Green

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: The Giant faced football star Kevin Greene
    Last seen on a WCW PPV at Slamboree 1997, football star Kevin Greene made his annual summertime stop at the company for a match with The Giant.

    This had originally been scheduled as a tag match pitting Greene and Goldberg against Giant and Curt Hennig, but since Goldie had gone on to win the title and Hennig had become his first challenger, we had this instead.

    For what it was, this certainly wasn’t bad.

    Kevin Greene may have been an ‘outsider’ who only dabbled in pro wrestling during football’s off-season, but he always seemed to put a lot more effort in, and to take the craft a lot more seriously, than many of his fellow crossover stars.

    Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t an amazing match by any stretch, but Greene and Giant were able to work to each other’s strengths to put on a passable performance before the man who would one day become The Big Show picked up the win.
    Your Winner: The Giant

    Meanwhile, on, Curt Hennig told Lee Marshall that experience was all he needed to dethrone new champion, Goldberg.

    Chris Jericho = Buyrate

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: James J. Dillon confronts cruiserweight champion Chris Jericho
    Next, we were supposed to have a Cruiserweight Championship match pitting reigning champion Chris Jericho against arch-rival Dean Malenko.

    However, as a recap was quick to show us, that match was now off the cards. Dean Malenko had gotten himself suspended by breaking the terms of a no-contact agreement he and Jericho had entered into with JJ Dillon and the WCW Executive Committee.

    Never one to disappoint his legions of Jerichoholics, Lion Heart made his way out to the ring anyway, promising to do a little song and dance routine for the audience.

    It was at that point that ‘Jojo’ Dillon arrived on the scene, admitting that maybe he had made a mistake by not booking the champ in a match.

    Jericho was absolutely priceless in his response, pulling hilarious facial expressions which had this writer laughing out loud.

    Really, however, the last laugh belonged to Dillon, who said that, if Jericho wanted it, he had a match lined up for him against ‘a local wrestler who hasn’t wrestled in six months.’

    Believing this meant a quick-and-easy outing against ‘a no-name jabroni,’ The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla accepted and even requested that the match remain No Disqualification, as per the original terms of his planned match against Malenko.

    Dillon agreed and introduced the local wrestler who hadn’t wrestled for six months, the returning Rey Mysterio Jr.

    No Disqualification World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship:
    WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Chris Jericho
    Wearing a knee brace almost as big as him, Rey Mysterio Jr challenged the man who beat him for the Cruiserweight title back at Souled Out ‘98 in a match that fell short of that earlier outing in terms of quality.

    Mysterio and Jericho would have many classic matches over the years, but unfortunately, this one wasn’t one of them.

    Sure, it was a decent effort, but it lacked a certain spark that made so many other Jericho/Mysterio bouts so spectacular.

    At one point the two briefly, and I mean briefly took advantage of the No DQ stipulation to go for brawl onto the Bash at the Beach set.

    There, Mysterio planted Jericho into the sand, prompting Tony Schiavone to deliver the line of the night.

    ‘That sand may be a soft landing, but the thing about sand is it’s certainly going to be irritating.’

    I wonder if any wrestler had tried to win a match by irritating their opponent before?

    Anyway, a few short minutes later, Dean Malenko arrived on the scene, putting Jericho off his game and allowing Mysterio to counter The Walls of Jericho and roll up his opponent for the three count.
    Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr.

    Post-match, Dean Malenko chased Jericho to the back and beat him up, totally distracting from Mysterio’s big return championship win in front of his hometown crowd.

    World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
    WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Bret Hart challenged Booker T for the cruiserweight championship
    Despite first saying that he was only helping the nWo but not actually a member, Bret Hart came down for his TV title match to the classic nWo theme, which I suppose makes him a certified member at this stage of his career.

    From the outset, this one had all the makings of a really good match, with both champ and challenger holding nothing back and performing the kind of work that made both of them certified legends.

    Yet just when it was looking to go from good to great, Booker dove through the ropes to the outside and smashed head-first into a Bret Hart chair shot.
    Your Winner via DQ and Still WCW TV Champion: Booker T

    Afterwards, Bret destroyed Booker T’s knee then slapped him in the ring-post-figure four.

    Roughly 500 hours passed with Bret applying this hold before Booker’s brother, Stevie Ray sauntered down to ringside.

    Bret merely got up and walked off, whilst Stevie Ray looked on at his brother with disgust and disappointment.

    A heel turn wasn’t far away.

    World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
    WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg vs. Curt Hennig

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: Curt Hennig challenged Goldberg for the WCW ChampionshipWith a nasty cut in his forehead from apparently headbutting a locker too hard during his pre-match ritual, Goldberg headed out to make his first title defence in a match where the outcome was never in question.

    Curt Hennig was one of the greatest pro wrestlers in history, but here he was just another piece of cannon fodder for the champ to destroy in a couple of short minutes.

    Inevitably, a spear and a jackhammer put the champ at 112-0.
    Your Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Goldberg

    You know, this is the first WCW PPV I recall watching where the company did video packages for most of the big matches just like the WWF had done -and continue to do- on a regular basis.

    Such a video preceded both that title match and our upcoming main event.

    Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman (w/ The Disciple) vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone

    WCW Bash at the Beach 1998 Review: DDP & Karl Malone faced Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman
    At Bash at the Beach 1997, Hogan and Rodman had teamed up to face Lex Luger and The Giant.

    This time they were back against Diamond Dallas Page and another basketball player, Karl Malone.

    For the record, there’s still 32 minutes left to go on this show, and this is a match featuring two non-wrestlers and an ageing Hulk Hogan.

    If you thought half an hour sounds long, just try sitting through it, it felt at least three times as long.

    I never thought I’d say this about a match involving DDP, but this main event was utterly atrocious.

    It was painfully slow, featured several decades of stalling in the early going, and saw a drunk-ass Dennis Rodman sloppily fumbling his way through some horrible offence.

    All in all, this match had no redeeming features whatsoever.

    I would say that the only good thing about this match was that it ended, but even that was spectacularly bad: The Disciple hit a stunner on DDP to give the bad guys an unnecessary win.
    Your Winners: Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman

    Post-match, Karl Malone, who, along with DDP, did actually look decent in this match, hit Disciple with a Diamond Cutter, then took out his frustrations by hitting referee Charles Robinson with the same move.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, ends one of WCW’s worst shows of 1998, if not of all time. 

    Top and tailed by two truly appalling matches, everything in between that wasn’t Eddie/Chavo or Kidman/Guerrera ranged from disappointing to dreadfully boring.

    Given how good WCW has been a year or two prior, it’s sad to see the company in such a poor state.

    Recommendation: Avoid Bash at the Beach 1998 at all costs unless you’re having trouble sleeping, in which case it makes for a good anaesthetic.

    1998 events reviewed so far
    1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
    2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
    3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
    4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
    5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
    6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
    7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
    8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
    9. WCW Slamboree 1998
    10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
    11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
    12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
    Other Bash at the Beach reviews
      Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

      Thursday, 4 October 2018

      PPV REVIEW: WWF King of the Ring 1998

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998 Review: Event Poster
      June 28, 1998
      Pittsburgh Civic Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

      "Talk about your psalms, talk about John 3:16, Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!" 

      It had been two years -almost to the day- that Stone Cold Steve Austin had delivered one of the most famous speeches in pro wrestling history, a speech that would set him on a journey to becoming one of the biggest money-making pro wrestlers of all time. 

      In that time, the landscape of the World Wrestling Federation had changed dramatically.

      With Austin as the foul-mouthed, beer-swilling anti-hero at the head of the pack, the company had embraced a new Attitude.

      It was an Attitude that had not only seen the company turn the tables in the legendary Monday Night Wars, but had also seen a man promise to set himself on fire on live television if he didn't dethrone Austin for the WWF title.

      Would we really see pro wrestling's first case of self-immolation? Or would Stone Cold Steve Austin, who had begun his journey to the title two years ago at this very event, see everything he'd worked so hard for finally taken away from him?

      Let's head to Pittsburgh for the first King of the Ring of the Attitude Era to find out:

      God, Have Mercy On Their Souls

      Tonight’s show began with your typical dramatic video package, this one setting a foreboding tone for the rest of our main events.

      First up, Vince McMahon had vowed to put an end to arch-rival Stone Cold Steve Austin once and for all by pitting him in a First Blood match against Kane.

      The video then told us about Undertaker and Mankind reliving their classic rivalry inside the second Hell in a Cell.

      From there, we got the usual shots of a rabid, hot crowd followed by a welcome from Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

      The two were surrounded by gasoline cans just in case, you know, Kane lost and had to torch himself.

      Six Man Tag
      WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Taka Michinoku and The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. Kaientai (Mens Teoh, Dick Togo, and Sho Funaki w/ Mr Yamaguchi)

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998 Review: Taka Michinoku & The Headbangers faced Kaientai
      You know, not every wrestling match has to be a dramatic, emotional rollercoaster packed with high spots and more high spots.

      Sometimes, a match can just be fun, and that’s exactly what this one was.

      With the combination of The Headbangers’ wacky, fan-friendly characters and the Japanese men busting out some entertaining exchanges, this turned into a very enjoyable -if short- opening match.

      After absorbing the brunt of the punishment, Taka Michinoku was finally rescued by Mosh and Thrasher and hit the Michinoku driver for the big win.
      Your Winners: Taka Michinoku and The Headbangers

      Up next, we had the return to WWF PPV of the one and only Sable.

      If you recall, Sable had been banished from the WWF after losing a ‘match’ against estranged husband Marc Mero just the previous month at Over The Edge: In Your House 22.

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998: Vince McMahon with Pat Patterson
      Not long after, she was reinstated by Vince McMahon and now here she was, just weeks after being banished, already back and introducing Vince to the crowd.

      Still, without the ‘No Chance in Hell’ music he’d later be so synonymous with, McMahon strutted out to ringside with The Stooges, Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe.

      After Briscoe instructed Sable to leave and held the ropes open for her, renowned heterosexual and lady’s man Pat Patterson gave Sable a cheeky slap on the ass, prompting the blonde beauty to turn around and slap him so hard she appeared to cut his face.

      Vince then cut a long promo in which he asked the crowd whether they’d come to see Stone Cold retain or Kane win the WWF title. It was like one of Scott Hall’s famous surveys, albeit with only half the crowd reaction.

      From there, McMahon spent the rest of the time insulting the crowd. It was entertaining, sure, but added nothing to the show.

      King of the Ring Semi Final
      Double J (w/ Tennessee Lee) vs. Ken Shamrock

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998: Michael cole interviews Ken Shamrock
      So, for the first year ever, the King of the Ring PPV only featured the annual tournament’s semi-finals and final.

      First up we had Ken Shamrock making quick work of 2018 Hall of Famer Double J in a short and explosive contest.

      I still haven’t figured out why it was necessary to only refer to Jeff Jarrett by the name Double J, especially when we also had Triple H on the roster, but hey, I made that same complaint last time, so I won’t go into it again here.

      This was a perfectly decent though immediately forgettable match that ended when Shamrock slapped Jarrett -sorry, Double J- in the ankle lock to advance to the final for a date with either The Rock or Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn.
      Your Winner: Ken Shamrock

      Afterwards, Tennessee Lee ran in and got belly-to-bellied into oblivion.

      Shamrock then told ringside interviewer Michael Cole that he hadn’t come to the show to be second best, and wasn’t prepared to leave as such

      King of the Ring Semi Final
      WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs. Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998: Dan Severn puts The Rock in an arm bar
      Here’s a big difference between WWF and WCW during the Attitude Era.

      We’re only half an hour into this and yet already on our third match with a promo in between.

      If this was WCW, we’d likely have just finished talking about the opening match

      Anyway, here we had Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn making his WWF PPV in yet another match that was decent by far too short to actually matter.

      As a kid, I used to think Severn was the most boring human being (not just wrestler, but actual human being) on the planet. This match only made me change my mind by a smidgen.

      In the end, The Godfather (who was definitely The Godfather now and no longer Kama Mustafa) and Mark Henry came out to distract the referee whilst D-Lo Brown ran out through the crowd wearing a chest protector and hit the frog splash on Severn.

      Rock made the cover, and this one was over.

      I should also mention that the chest protector was originally to sell a pectoral injury that had apparently been caused by Severn in a King of the Ring qualifying match on Raw, but which would, of course, later become his gimmick.
      Your Winner: The Rock

      Afterwards, The Rock told Michael Cole that there was no way long-time rival Ken Shamrock would beat him in the final.

      Too Much (Too Hot Scott Taylor & Too Sexy Brian Christopher) vs. Al Snow & Head

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998: Brian Christopher & Scott Taylor beat Al Snow & Head
      So, here’s the story as best I understand it.

      Al Snow had ‘returned’ to the WWF but without a contract, and tried all kinds of shenanigans to get in and get a meeting with Vince McMahon, including having Jerry Lawler sneak him into the building.

      When all those attempts failed, Snow simply stole Lawler’s crown, setting up a rivalry with Lawler, his son Brian Christopher, and Christopher’s new partner, Too Hot Scott Taylor.

      Tonight, the duo would make their first appearance on a PPV as a tag team by taking on Al Snow, with Al’s mannequin head as his tag team partner.

      If Snow and Head could beat Too Much, Al would get his meeting with Mr McMahon.

      The match itself was fine and had a couple of fun spots, but mostly it just sucked the air out of the venue.

      After Al looked to have the win, Lawler (who had been appointed Special Guest referee) tossed Christopher a bottle of Head and Shoulders shampoo.

      Christopher then attached the bottle to Head, and pinned Head to get the win.
      It was dumb, but funny, though sadly not funny enough to make up for another the large amounts of tedium.
      Your Winners: Too Much

      UPDATE: Due to a combination of watching and reviewing multiple shows at once and yet only posting a new review once a week, many of these reviews are written many months before they actually get published on here. 

      This one, for example, was first written around March 2018. It was then uploaded to the blog in early August, just days after Brian Christopher Lawler tragically passed away

      Though you guys won't read it until at least October, Lawler's death is still very fresh in my mind and I just wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to a man who had some mightily large shoes to fill and yet was still very entertaining in his own right. 

      Sure, the early days of his run in WWF weren't exactly perfect, and the whole "Head and Shoulders" thing is proof of that, but he was more often than not a joy to watch. 

      Anyway, on with the show.  

      X-Pac (w/ Chyna) vs. Owen Hart

      WWF King of the Ring 1998 Review: Owen Hart puts a sleeper on X-Pac
      Four years prior, X-Pac and Owen Hart had put on a storming five-minute masterpiece en route to Owen’s big win at King of the Ring 1994.

      Tonight they were given a little bit longer to really let rip and deliver the best PPV match Owen Hart had been a part of in a long time.

      It’s worth mentioning that this was X-Pac’s first WWF PPV match since In Your House 6, and his first PPV match overall since Fall Brawl 1997.

      Here, both men delivered the goods right up to a messy finish.

      With X-Pac laying out on the arena floor after absorbing some serious punishment, Mark Henry came down and splashed him one.

      Chyna then got all up in Henry’s face until Vader randomly ran down and started brawling with the future Sexual Chocolate.

      In the ensuing confusion, Chyna drilled Owen with a DDT, allowing X-Pac to get the win.
      Your Winner: X-Pac

      WWF King of the Ring: Paul Bearer
      Up next, Paul Bearer (who really was not in good shape at this stage of his career) came out to remind us that The Undertaker had beaten him up, and to tell us a weird story about Kane watching The Undertaker on WWF Superstars every Saturday morning and wanting to be like his brother.

      Now that Kane was just like his brother, Bearer vowed that Kane would become the new champion.

      Despite looking like crap, this was an engaging promo from Bearer that worked well in getting you even more invested in the upcoming title match.

      World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
      WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (w/ Chyna) vs. NWA Tag Team Champions The New Midnight Express (Bombastic Bob & Bodacious Bart w/ Jim Cornette)

      WWF King of the Ring 1998: Former Smoking Gunns Billy & Bart Gunn square off
      The main highlight of this ‘added bonus match’ was an intense interaction between former Smoking Gunns partners Bad Ass Billy Gunn and Bodacious Bart Gunn.

      Two things made this particularly enjoyable.

      1. JR and King actually acknowledged that the two were -in kayfabe terms- actually brothers despite not being involved in storylines with each other for a long while.
      2. After an intense staredown, the two actually put on the best pure wrestling segment on the card, and that includes the earlier X-Pac/Owen Hart thing.

      The rest of the match was a reasonably enjoyable textbook tag, with Road Dogg playing the face-in-peril and Billy finally getting the hit tag.

      After an exciting finish that also saw Jim Cornette get low-blowed by Chyna, the outlaws hit a double hot shot on Bombastic Bob for the win.
      Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws

      Moving on...

      King of the Ring Final
      WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998 Review: Ken Shamrock celebrates winning the tournament
      The Rock and Ken Shamrock had spent most of 1998 at war, first meeting at the 1998 Royal Rumble and then again at Wrestlemania 14.

      Taking nothing away from either of those two matches, this was definitely the best of the three - a solid outing that became more and more intense as it went on.

      The only thing detracting from this was the guest commentary from Triple H.

      I was a big fan of Hunter at the time, and still enjoy his work, but his juvenile jokes and double entendres added nothing to the presentation here.

      After a good outing, Shamrock slapped on the ankle lock to become your 1998 King of the Ring.
      Your Winner and 1998 King of the Ring: Ken Shamrock

      As this was the Attitude Era as everything was supposed to be edgy and grown-up, we didn’t get the usual coronation ceremony or even a winner’s speech.

      Instead, Shamrock just paced about a bit.

      Hell in a Cell
      Mankind vs. The Undertaker

      From their first pay per view outing two years ago at King of the Ring 1996 to their Boiler Room Brawl later that year at Summerslam 1996 and their Buried Alive match at In Your House 11: Buried Alive, Mankind and The Undertaker had battled in more than their fair share of memorable matches before, but this, this was something else.

      This was what would become one of the most famous matches of all time, a match that put Mick Foley on another level, and guaranteed that Hell in a Cell II was the only thing anybody remembers when they think about King of the Ring 1998.

      You don’t need me to tell you anything about this one, but I will anyway.

      We’ve seen people come off the top of the cage since this match (Shane McMahon against The Undertaker two years ago springs to mind) but it always looks like a planned high spot, too safe, too sterile.

      Even 20 years later, the initial shock of seeing Undertaker just hurl Mankind off the top of the cell in the opening minute of the bout gives me goosebumps, likewise when Foley crashed through the top of the cage and the chair landed on top of him.

      What I had forgotten about, was that after the initial high spots and after Undertaker had chokeslammed Terry Funk literally out of his shoes, there was a good few minutes of brutal action that followed.

      And it was captivating.

      I’ve never been a fan of excessive violence for the sake of excessive violence in pro wrestling, but this wasn’t the case here.

      Everything was done with purpose, everything added to the drama of the match. Everything combined to create a story that is as compelling today as it was 20 years ago.
      Your Winner: The Undertaker

      After a video package recapping the rivalry between Steve Austin and Kane, it was fine for the two to meet in our main event.

      World Wrestling Federation Championship First Blood Match
      WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane

      WWE / WWF King of the Ring 1998 Review: A bloody Stone Cold Steve Austin
      If ever there was a match that screamed ‘Attitude Era,’ this one was it.

      Wild, chaotic and thoroughly entertaining, this was everything you could ask for from a 1998 WWF main event.

      Both champ and challenger battled forth in a hugely enjoyable offering which game to a head when referee Earl Hebner got squished on the outside.

      That was the cue for Mankind to hobble to the ring and attempt an attack on Austin, only for the Rattlesnake to blast his former tag team partner with a Stone Cold Stunner.

      Mankind got back up, but The Undertaker came to the ring to even the score. Both ‘Taker and Austin swung at Foley with a chair, but the middleman ducked and Austin took the brunt of the blow, busting him wide open.

      For reasons that made no sense, ‘Taker dragged Hebner into the ring and doused him with gasoline.

      Apparently, this worked to wake Hebner up, because he took one look at a blood-soaked Austin and called for the bell.
      Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Kane

      24 hours later, Austin would win the title back on Raw

      And so we got yet another WWF Attitude Era PPV with a lacklustre undercard followed by a scorching main event.

      Though there was some fun stuff to be found (the opening six man, Pac/Hart and Outlaws/Express), the bottom half of the card was mostly a cluttered, crowded mess.

      Only when it came to the King of The Ring Final did the show really find its groove, though of course, nobody remembers that.

      The only thing they remember is Hell in a Cell... and there's a very good reason for that. 

      1998 events reviewed so far
      1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
      2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
      3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
      4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
      5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
      6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
      7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
      8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
      9. WCW Slamboree 1998
      10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
      11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
      Other King of the Ring reviews
        Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

        Thursday, 27 September 2018

        PPV REVIEW: WCW Great American Bash 1998

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - poster
        June 14, 1998 
        Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland

        It was the summer of 1998 and World Championship Wrestling were slowly but surely losing their claim to be the undisputed kings of pro wrestling in North America.

        Having dominated much of the mid-90s with globally-recognised superstars and a game-changing nWo storyline, the company were beginning to buckle under the pressure of the new attitude ushered in by their rivals, the World Wrestling Federation. 

        Still, if the Great American Bash line-up was anything to go by, the company weren't exactly ready to go down without a fight. 

        A marquee match-up pitting WCW Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Bret 'The Hitman' Hart against Macho Man Randy Savage & Rowdy Roddy Piper contained more genuine starpower in one bout that some wrestling promotions could put together on an entire card. 

        Meanwhile, there was the latest instalment of the white-hot feud between Chris Jericho & Dean Malenko to look forward to, plus what looked to be a number of other stellar performances. 

        Would this be enough to help WCW score a major victory in the ongoing Monday Night Wars? 

        Let's head to Baltimore to find out:

        Let the Summer Time Begin

        Our show tonight began with a creepy video interspersing clips of a flying American flag with shots of the stars from our main matches tonight.

        It was bizarre to say the least, like something out of a horror film.

        Lighting the mood, Tony Schiavone welcomed us with a loud cry of ‘Let the Summer Time Begin!’ before he and colleagues Mike Tenay and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan began giving us a rundown of tonight’s main matches.

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
        Mean Gene Okerlund made an appearance to remind us that after Sting and The Giant had beaten The Outsiders for the tag team titles, Giant had joined nWo Hollywood and Sting was with nWo Wolfpac. Okerlund reminded us that the two would now duke it out tonight to determine which man got to keep the belts and defend them with a partner of his choosing.

        More hype from the announcers followed despite a clearly getting restless and entertaining themselves with a Goldberg chant.

        Finally, no less than seven minutes into the Pay Per View, we finally got to the action.

        Best of Seven Series Final
        Chris Benoit vs. Booker T

        Chris Benoit and Booker T had been tearing it up in their famous best of seven for weeks now, with the original final actually taking place on Nitro.

        That came when Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, trying to recruit fellow Canadian Benoit to the nWo, waffled Booker with a chair behind the referee’s back.

        Benoit refused to win like that, informed the referee, and got himself disqualified.

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Chris Benoit and Booker T - Best of Seven Series Final
        However, Booker didn’t want a cheap victory either, and thus JJ Dillon had rendered that match null and void and given us a rematch tonight.

        And man, what a rematch it was.

        Both men had the crowds eating out of the palm of their hand with a nigh-on 20 minuet show-stealer that was captivating from start to finish.

        Seriously, I challenge anyone to watch this match and not like it.

        In the end, Booker T won with a top rope dropkick m and would now go on to challenge Finlay for the Television Championship later on in the show.
        Your Winner: Booker T

        If you want to read about the second time Booker and Benoit faced off in a Best of Seven series, see my WWE Survivor Series 2006 review.

        Meanwhile, back in 1998, Chavo Guerrero told Lee Marshall that despite Marshall’s insistence to the contrary, uncle Eddie Guerrero did, in fact, want to fight Chavo later on in the show.

        Saturn vs. Kanyon

        This all dated back to Kanyon, as Mortis, trying and failing to get into the Flock.

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Kanyon faced Perry Saturn
        The masked man had then revealed himself at the end of Raven vs. DDP at the previous month’s Slamboree 1998, and been a thorn in Raven’s side ever since.

        Raven, however, had decided that he was going to get Saturn to fight his battle for him, thus we had tonight’s contest.

        Playing mind games, Kanyon had someone come out dressed as Mortis, and whilst that character was distracting everyone, the real Kanyon popped up behind Saturn, just like something you’d see The Undertaker do.

        The resulting match, though it lacked the white-hot crowd of the previous one, was still very good.

        Both men traded unique offence to create a highly entertaining bout with a highly bizarre finish.

        After Saturn and Kanyon both crashed from the top rope to the outside, two men dressed as Mortis came out, threw the competitors back into the ring, and then started brawling with each other on the outside.

        Meanwhile, back in the ring, Kanyon hit the Flatliner to win the match.
        Your Winner: Kanyon

        Afterwards, one of the Mortisses (Morti?) DDT’d Kanyon then revealed himself to be Raven.

        Raven then berated Saturn for losing and sent the Flock on for a beat down, but instead, Saturn cleaned house and took everybody out.

        Malenko Gives Up The Gold

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Dean Malenko makes an announcement on Thunder
        Prior to our next match, we were reminded that Dean Malenko had, on WCW Thunder, voluntarily surrendered the Cruiserweight title he had won from arch-nemesis Chris Jericho at last month’s Slamboree just to get another match with his rival.

        I’m not sure what the logic behind that was as the two were about to face off for The now-vacant belt, but I’m sure there was some logic there somewhere.

        Match for the Vacant World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
        Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko

        As well as the aforementioned Slamboree clash, Jericho and Malenko had also produced a stellar outing at Uncensored 1998.

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Chris Jericho faced Dean Malenko for the vacant Cruiserweight title
        Here, they looked to make it a trifecta of enjoyable bouts by going all out in a war that surpassed even the two tremendous matches we’d already had on this show.

        With Malenko fired up and looking for revenge and Jericho at his most flamboyant and arrogant best, this was as good a match as you could hope for between two of WCW’s most talented performers.

        After a great back-and-forth, Jericho got in Malenko’s face and told him he was nothing, just like his late father, Boris Malenko.

        Naturally, Dean went berserk, battering Jericho to the outside and nailing him with the worst looking chair shot in the history of pro wrestling.

        That resulted in the bell being rung, but the war was far from over.
        Your Winner by Disqualification: Chris Jericho

        Afterwards, Malenko continued to beat up Jericho, battering him all the way to the back, and then outside the arena to the sidewalk, even slamming him into a mailbox.

        At that point, Doug Dillinger stepped in and Jericho was able to make his escape, hilariously stopping traffic and running across the street and off into a random building.

        Damn, that was fun.

        Uncle Eddie Loves You

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Juventud Guerrera starred in a weird promo clip
        Out in the ‘Internet Location,’ Eddie Guerrero pleaded with his nephew Chavo to call the whole match off because nobody in the Guerrero family wanted them to fight and because Uncle Eddie loved Chavo, obviously.

        From there, we went to the announcers speculating that Chris Jericho could rightfully claim to be the new Cruiserweight Champion despite the match ending on a DQ.

        After that, we got the most bizarre video of the world which saw Juventud Guerrera walking up and down some steps. In between doing that, he sat on the steps, hung out by the gate in this picture, and generally just lurked about.

        It was the weirdest and most pointless thing ever.

        Juventud Guerrera vs. Reese

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Juventud Guerrera faced Reese of The Flock
        I’m writing this review on my phone and autocorrect keeps trying to change Juventud to 'Huge Tits.'

        The less said about that the better.

        Anyway, the story here was that 7ft Reese had basically been bullying the diminutive Juventud Guerrera, giving us a typical David vs. Goliath match.

        As Big Man/Little Man matches go, this certainly wasn’t the worst, and it was pretty entertaining to some degree, but there’s no escaping the fact that this was the one match that finally broke the show’s run of exceptional quality bouts.

        In the end, with Lodi occupying the referee’s attention, former Flock member Van Hammer drilled Reese with a chair. Juvi was able to hit a hurricanrana, and this one was over.
        Your Winner: Huge Tits

        Afterwards, Juventud leapt from the ring into Van Hammer’s arms, and the former heavy metal guitarist carried Juvi to the back like he was a baby.

        Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Eddie Guerrero

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Eddie Guerrero faced Chavo Guerrero
        So, after Ultimo Dragon had failed to win him his freedom back in a match with Eddie at Slamboree, Chavo Guerrero has snapped, attacked the Dragon, and basically gone nuts.

        It wouldn’t be long before we’d see him with Pepe (the horse’s head on a stick child’s toy) but for now, he was just loco, which is the reason Eddie Guerrero didn’t want to fight him earlier.

        Alas, fight him he did, in a match that was decent but not half as good as you might expect from these two.

        It’s a shame because both men worked very hard and Chavo pulled off some spots that were truly impressive, but the fact that the crowd really weren’t into it (at one point chanting ‘WE WANT FLAIR!’) really took the shine off things.

        After a good effort, Chavo hit a springboard spinny-thing DDT to win the match.
        Your Winner: Chavo Guerrero Jr 

        Prior to the next match, we were shown clips from Nitro to remind us that Macho Man Randy Savage and Rowdy Roddy Piper hated each other but were going to tag up later to face Hollywood Hogan and Bret Hart, and then face each other immediately afterwards.

        Before that, however, there was the little matter of the TV title to be dealt with.

        World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
        WCW World TV Champion Finlay vs. Booker T

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Booker T beat Finlay to become TV champion
        A deliberate change of pace next, as Finlay spent the majority of the match working over Booker T’s damages knee in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways.

        That was basically all this was, and whilst it wasn’t bad in and of itself, it took some getting used to following the faster-paced nature of the previous bouts.

        The fact that Finlay spent the whole match in charge (not to mention the fact that Booker T had wrestled eight matches against Chris Benoit just to get here) made the ending predictable, and yes, Booker eventually won the match, but not before completely forgetting that he’d had his leg destroyed, no-selling the whole thing and botching a tombstone piledriver reversal.

        Finally, Booker hit a tombstone of his own, itself looking incredibly crappy, and then getting the three count.
        Your Winner and NEW WCW Television Champion: Booker T

        Afterwards, Stevie Ray came out to celebrate with his brother. I almost expected this to be the night that Stevie turned on Booker, but alas, it was not.

        World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
        WCW United States Champion Goldberg vs. Konnan (w/ Curt Hennig & Rick Rude)

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Curt Hennig (w/ Rick Rude) joined up with nWo Hollywood
        So, the story here was that Curt Hennig was originally supposed to face Goldberg but got injured and, in storyline, nominated fellow nWo Wolfpac member Konnan to take his place.

        I don’t know if it’s just because so many years have passed or because the nWo thing eventually got so bloated and complicated, but I had no memory whatsoever of Hennig ever being a member of the Wolfpac.

        Anyway, you don’t win any prizes for guessing how this match went. It was your typical Goldberg squash in which the champ battered Konnan to put himself at 100-0.

        I will say this though, Goldberg was insanely over. All throughout the show, the crowd had been chanting his name, and when the man himself finally came out, the response was arguably even louder than the one white-hit Stone Cold Steve Austin was receiving at the time.
        Your Winner and Still Unites States Champion: Super Over Goldberg

        Post-match, Hennig and Rick Rude turned on Konnan and revealed that they were nWo Hollywood all along. Now that’s what I remember.

        After a serious beat down, Kevin Nash and Lex Luger ran down to make the save.

        A cheesy promo video for Bash at the Beach 98 followed, after which it was time for one of two (technically three) main events.

        WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart (w/ The Disciple) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage & Rowdy Roddy Piper

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Bret Hart & Hulk Hogan faced Roddy Piper & Randy Savage
        Even with two talented performers like Macho Man Randy Savage and Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart involved, this one came across as lazy and uninspired.

        Half the problem was that Bret just didn’t seem interested and was merely going through the motions here whilst Savage was working with a legit knee injury that would eventually sideline him until 1999, thus he wasn’t up to his usual standards.

        This bland meh of a match saw the heels beat up on Piper for a while after which Savage took some punishment and gave up to the sharpshooter.

        Nobody gave a damn. Not even the wrestlers in the ring.
        Your Winners: Hollywood Hogan and Bret Hart

        Afterwards, Mean Gene tried to get a word with Piper, who was more interested in helping his fallen partner to his feet. Savage, however, had other ideas and clotheslined Piper.

        The next match was on.

        Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

        Short and yet somehow mildly more entertaining than the last match, this saw Savage get some offence in but then cripple himself coming off the top with an elbow drop.

        Frustrated at only getting a two count, Savage then beat up Charles Robinson but got a low blow for his troubles and was slapped in a figure four.

        Replacement ref Mickie Jay ran in, and this one was over.
        Your Winner: Roddy Piper

        ‘This was brutal,’ said Tony Schiavone afterwards.

        Yes it was, Tony. Though not in the way you think.

        Singles Match for the WCW Tag Team Titles
        Sting vs. The Giant

        WCW Great American Bash 1998 Review - Wolfpac Sting faced The Giant
        Remember, both men were technically the champs here but since they were both on opposite sides of the nWo fence, this match would determine which one of them got to defend the belts with a new partner.

        The Giant came to the ring smoking a cigarette because, you know, he was an evil badass or something.

        That match itself was short -stupidly short- and lasted only about six minutes. If this was an undercard bout, fine, but for a main event?

        Regardless, Giant and Sting did the best they could with what they had and actually managed to make a fairly entertaining contest out of the short amount of time available to them.

        Not an amazing main event by any standards, especially compared to the quality main events WWF were putting on at the time, but decent nonetheless.

        In the end, Sting won with a tornado scorpion death drop.
        Your Winner: Sting

        And that, ladies and gentlemen, was all she wrote.

        Whilst the main event wasn’t bad, it’s the undercard that really makes this a worthwhile show.

        Benoit/Booker was solid, Kanyon/Saturn was a surprise highlight and Malenko/Jericho was fantastic stuff.

        The more I think about it, the more I realise just how different WWF and WCW PPVs were at the time. WCW tore it up in the undercard but then faltered in the main event whilst WWF put on a disappointing undercard leading to an entertaining headline.

        But anyway, overall, this is one show that is actually worth watching, and a step in the right direction for WCW, whose last couple of PPVs had sorely disappointed.

        1998 events reviewed so far
        1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
        2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
        3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
        4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
        5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
        6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
        7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
        8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
        9. WCW Slamboree 1998
        10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
        Other Great American Bash Reviews
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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.