Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Wrestling Album (1985) - A Track by Track Review

WWF - The Wrestling Album (1985) - A Track By Track Review

Today, I thought we'd take a detour from the usual reviews of WWF and WCW PPVs to go back -far back- in time to 1985 with the release of the World Wrestling Federation's first foray into the world of rock 'n' roll with 1985's The Wrestling Album. 

Unlike today's WWE Music releases, this wasn't simply a compilation of existing themes, mainly because themes, in the way that we know them today, didn't exist.

Instead, WWF's The Wrestling Album was a compilation of material that would go on to become an integral part of some wrestler's identity.

But more of that in a moment.

Before we get into today's track-by-track review, I need to state that I won't necessarily be reviewing this album the way I would a release from actual musicians.

That used to be what I did for a job before I switched to doing what I do now (including running this blog for fun), but today I'll leave my music snobbery at home and review this in terms of what it was always intended to be - a fun, inoffensive commercial tie-in.

Ready to dive in?

Let's do it.

1: 'The Wrestlers' - Land of a Thousand Dances

Here, 'The Wrestlers,' basically refers to everyone on the World Wrestling Federation roster in 1985, including managers and announcers, and also apparently Meatloaf as the drummer.

Can you imagine Vince McMahon allowing his roster to be called 'The Wrestlers' in this day and age?

Me neither, but that's beside the point.

Kicking things off, this motley crew of sports entertainers grunt, groan, warble and wail there way through a lairy rendition of rhythm & blues classic Land of a Thousand Dances.

If you've never heard this before, do yourself a favour and never EVER track it down.


I know I said I wasn't going to judge this by the same standards as a normal wrestling album, but honestly, you'd have to be as drunk as hell to find something good to say about 'Land of a Thousand Dances.'

Which is fitting really, since most of the guys on this track actually *sound* drunk as hell.

Sure, things start well enough, with the song's famous 'na-na na na naah,' refrain playing over a jovial bassline, but as soon as various wrestlers start spitting out the lyrics one after the other, it descends into a chaotic, cringe-worthy noise that is actually painful to listen to.

"I'm glad to get away from that," says Mean Gene Okerlund in the 'tween-song commentary that follows each track.

Right, Gene, I couldn't agree with you more.

2: Junkyard Dog - Grab Them Cakes

Thankfully, things pick up when Junkyard Dog takes to the microphone to give us the lead single to come from The Wrestling Album.

Yes, seriously, this thing had *singles*.

Grab Them Cakes, which apparently is some kind of dance, is a fun, funky track which puts an upbeat spin on an obscure little number released in 1981 by Captain chameleon.

I mean, just listen to that - it's suave, sexy, and oh-so-seductive.

JYD's version, however, is more Ghostbusters than pottery-scene-from-Ghost.

I mean seriously, there's something about the way Dog croons the first line "well I started this dance / in my neighbourhood," that makes you 100% certain he's going to shout "WHO YOU GONNA CALL?" as the next line.

He doesn't of course, but that would be awesome.

Interesting fact: The backing vocals here were provided by disco queen Vickie Sue Robinson, who had a big hit in the 70s called 'Turn The Beat Around.'

The post-song commentary sees Vince and Mean Gene raving about how good JYD is ('as good as he can wrestle!' according to Okerlund). Jesse Ventura, naturally, isn't impressed.

Nor was The Body particularly impressed with Derringer, who Vince McMahon told us was a new artist who had written a song dedicated to Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham.

That song was next.

3: Rick Derringer - Real American 

There can't be many themes more iconic than this one.

You hear that low, droning synth, you hear the words 'I am a real American, fight for the rights of every man...'

And you know what's about to go down.

Only, it isn't The US Express.

Of course, everybody knows the story by now, Derringer's Real American was intended for Barry Windham and Rotundo, but then Windham left (he was gone before this album even saw the light of day), and some guy called Hulk Hogan ended up using it instead.

Hogan would go on to become the biggest name in the industry, and this theme, all swaggering guitars, impassioned vocals and spirited synths, would go on to be synonymous with him, the Power of Hulkamania, and in some respects, pro wrestling itself.

Yet there's another reason beyond Hogan's popularity that Real American has stood the test of time - it's a damn good song.

OK, so it's certainly a product of time and would sound out of place if it was written today, but I dare anyone not to listen to it and feel good.

Interesting Fact: Backing vocals here come courtesy of a certain Mona Flambe who was, of course, the alter-ego of Queen of the Rock 'n' Wrestling connection, Cyndi Lauper.

Post-match commentary:

Jesse: "I can't believe that's for Windham and Rotundo. Derringer should have buried himself and stayed buried!"

Vince: "Aw, eat your heart out, Jess!"

Mean Gene: "Oh, speaking of 'eat your heart out,' that just so happens to be the title of our next cut, Jesse Ventura!" (what a remarkable coincidence!")

Jesse: "That's right, Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield by The Mouth of The South Jimmy Hart, now there is true talent!"

4: Jimmy Hart - Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield 

So, here we have Jimmy Hart feeling pretty pissed off that his girlfriend had decided to go see a Rick Springfield concert rather than spend time with The Mouth of the South.

The best part?

Jimmy gives us a complete impression of how the conversation went down, which includes saying the words 'Ring ring," to pretend he's the actual telephone.

I'm not making this up. It goes like this:

Jimmy Hart: "Ring ring,"
Jimmy Hart Doing a Woman's voice: "Hello?"
Jimmy Hart: "Hello, hey! Is Cyndi in? (nervous laugh) ha!"
Jimmy Hart Doing a Woman's voice: "No, who is this?"
Jimmy Hart (irate): "What do you mean, who is this? This is Jimmy Hart, The Mouth of the South. Where is she?"
Jimmy Hart Doing a Woman's voice: "She's gone to the Rick Springfield concert!"
Jimmy Hart: "RICK SPRINGFIELD!?!?!"
Jimmy Hart: *makes a sound that I think is supposed to be the line going dead but sounds more like he's mimicking an earthquake or a thunderstorm.

OK, I get it. That could come across as cheesy, but there's something about the way Hart delivers the whole thing that not only works but works in a way that is absolutely hysterical.

Not once have I ever heard this song and not laughed my ass off when he yells "RICK SPRINGFIELD! crunchhhhhhmufflecrunchmufflechhhhh"

It's not all played for laughs though.

Once the song starts proper, The Mouth of the South delivers one of the best songs on the album, a lively pop-rock number that wouldn't sound out of place if it were covered by one of today's guitar pop bands.

The post-song commentary reveals that Jesse Ventura is a big fan of Eat Your Heart Out, Rick Springfield, even going so far as to call it the best song on the album up to this point.

Vince was -unsurprisingly- a little more reserved in his praise of Jimmy Hart, but did admit to looking forward to our next track from Captain Lou Albano.

"Captain Lou!" cries Jesse. "What's he gonna do? Strum the rubber bands on his face!?!"

Don't ask me why, but the first time I heard that, it was spit-your-drink-out funny.

5: Captain Lou Albano (ft. George 'The Animal' Steele) - Captain Lou's History of Music/Captain Lou

So, what we have here is...well, it's a disaster is what it is, but let's break this one down, shall we?

We start with George 'The Animal' Steele looking for Captain Lou as a piece of classical music that I recognise but can't identify plays int he background.

Lou responds, not by saying "Here I am, George," or anything like that, but by launching into a story that begins 'before the beginning of time.'

That's right, BEFORE the beginning of time itself.

Apparently, 'windy wind blew against the rocks,' and made a beat, which led to one of Albano's ancestors being inspired to invent the drums.

This leads us to a whole bunch of noise. I mean a seriously terrible noise that distracts from anything Lou has to say and, not unlike Land of a Thousand Dances, gives you a headache.

This leads us into Lou's version of a song written about him by a group called NRBQ, who apparently did some cross-promotion with the big guy long before The Wrestling Album ever came to be.

The song was produced by Cyndi Lauper, but it's fair to say she sucked at it because the mix is so poor that you can barely hear what Lou is saying over the deafening sound of dreadfulness.
Honestly, this was horrible.

I'd rather listen to 'Do The Mario' and over again for an hour than spend even another minute listening to this.

Jesse Ventura agrees, and in the next bout of commentary tells us that it sounds that Captain Lou was chewing on rubber bands rather than eating them.

As you might expect, Vince and Mean Gene love the song by the babyface, and are very excited about our next track by an unknown group of mysterious musicians known as the WWF All-Stars

6: WWF All-Stars - Hulk Hogan's Theme

Like something straight out of a Rocky movie, Hulk Hogan's theme is everything you could possibly want from a track intended for a larger-than-life good guy hero like the then-WWF Champion.

Pounding drums, intense synths, and a rousing chorus of "Hulk! Hulk! Hulk!" chants all come together in one fiery ball of awesome that really does have 'Hey! It's the '80s!' written all over it.

That's especially true when the dramatic guitar solos kick in, adding a sense of the epic to a track that already sounds as though it should be the soundtrack to some Hollywood montage of Hogan training, saying his prayers, and eating his vitamins.

A highlight of the album in all its chest-thumping, adrenalin-pumping glory, this was later used for the Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling cartoon - or so I'm told, I can't actually find a video to prove it and can't remember it from my childhood.

Vince McMahon liked it too, telling us afterwards that "everybody has to like that one!"

Jesse responds by barfing into the toilet, but quickly picks up when he realises that our next track is by his good friend, Rowdy Roddy Piper.

"Are you ready for this, Gene?" asks Vince, to which Okerlund can only reply by blowing a long, loud raspberry which is both absolutely ridiculous and ashamedly hysterical.

Interesting fact: Hulk Hogan's theme was written and produced by Jim Steinman, he who wrote hits for Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler, and a bunch of others.

7: Rowdy Roddy Piper - For Everybody 

So, here's a little story:

In the early 1980s, a little-known group called Mike Angelo & The Idols released a song called 'The World May Not Like Me.'

The song became better known by the title 'Fuck Everybody,' thanks to a chorus which basically repeated those two words over and over again.

Whilst Mike Angelo & The Idols wouldn't make much of a mark in the musical world (some of its members had better success playing with former Lynyrd Skynrd guitarist Allen Collins), their profanity-laden ode to nihilism and anti-socialism was chosen to feature on a family-friendly album of songs by a bunch of pro wrestlers.

Of course, some of the lyrics were changed, and the song now became 'For Everybody,' but the song's F-U, 'I Don't Care What You Think of Me,' attitude was the perfect fit for Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Never one to shy away from controversy, the man whose character seemed to spend every day of his life living on the edge was well suited to tackle this number.

Not that the whole thing makes much sense when you think about it logically.

"The world may not like me, but that's OK," sings Piper. "There's only one thing, I've got to say...

For everybody."

Wait, what?

Of course, the way Hot Rod delivers that first 'For Everybody' makes it obvious he was trying to get as close to the original lyrics as he could without getting booted off the album, but it's still a baffling lyric no matter how you look at it."

Just as baffling is the fact that Piper was forced to substitute the word 'ass' for the word 'trash' (so at one point he invites us to 'kiss my trash,) but could mention suicide in a later verse without anyone blinking an eye.

Anyway, the song itself is pretty good, replacing the punky, Clash-lite guitar sound of the original with flamboyant saxophones and a sense of joviality which lies at odds with the lyrics.

Piper's got a hell of a set of vocals too. OK, so he may not be a classically good singer, but his voice certainly works here, as it probably could if Hot Rod had founded a punk band of his own.

Apparently, jazz-pop covers of obscure, profanity-filled songs aren't to Mean Gene's liking. He fell asleep during the song and has to be woken up at the end by Vince McMahon so that he can run down to the studio and give us our next song.

8: Mean Gene Okerlund - Tutti Frutti 

The one cover song on the album that stayed true to the original, Mean Gene Okerlund's version of the rock 'n' roll classic is a super-charged, sugar-coated romp that is both exciting and wildly entertaining.

Sounding for all the world like Little Richard on amphetamines, the song's rousing tsunami of sparkling keys and jubilant basslines serve as the blistering backdrop to a performance that Mean Gene truly throws his heart and soul into.

Not the longest song on the album by any stretch, but, compared to some of what we've heard so far, Tutti Frutti offers quality on an album where quality was never taken into consideration.

Afterwards, Vince and Jesse argued not only over Mean Gene's performance but over the validity of having Hillbilly Jim perform a country song on what was supposed to be a rock 'n' roll album.

9: Hillbilly Jim - Don't Go Messin' With A Country Boy 

We all know this one - it's the song used by both Jim himself and later by The Godwins when they were under his management.

It's everything you'd expect a song by a character called Hillbilly Jim to be - a good ol' rootin, tootin' stomp around the barn that takes every hillbilly, farmer, country music stereotype you can imagine and throws it all together into a track designed to make you clap your hands and stamp your feet.

For the perennial good guy that Hillbilly Jim was, it's the perfect theme tune, even if it does happen to be one of the cheesiest things on The Wrestling Album.

Naturally, Jesse Ventura hated it too, but was more eager to listen to our last track, one performed by a man that Mean Gene informs us 'is on a first name basis with Mikhail Gorbachev.

10: Nikolai Volkoff - Cara Mia 

If you were looking for The Wrestling Album to end on a high note, you'll be very disappointed with this one.

Sounding like Abba colliding with the annoying opera guy from those UK TV commercials from Go Compare, this terrible disco version of David Whitfield's 1954 hit was very much intentionally horrible.

Nikolai Volkoff was known for annoying audiences by singing the Russian national anthem before his matches, and this whole song simply takes that to the next level.

As a gimmick, it's genius, but it's nothing you'd ever, ever want to listen to.

Afterwards, Volkoff does indeed break out the Russian national anthem whilst Vince McMahon complains to Jesse Ventura about it ('this is an American album, Jess, you know what that means!).

Once Volkoff is done, our time with the WWF Superstars ends with The Body suggesting he, McMahon, and Mean Gene do a 'duet,' together.

The good guys make a hasty retreat, leaving Ventura whine like a baby that it's his turn to sing.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of The Wrestling Album.

There's some horrible stuff on here, sure, but there's also a surprising amount of good songs on here too. 

Sure, you'd never want to load this up on your iPod and listen to it at the gym, nor would there be any situation when you would invite non-wrestling fans to listen to it, but as a novelty pop record, The Wrestling Album works.

Not only does it work, but it perfectly encapsulates the wild and wacky brand of entertainment that the World Wrestling Federation did so well back in the mid-1980s. 

Thanks for reading. Next time I review anything music-related, it will be a track-by-track review of this album's follow-up, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II. 

Don't miss this, or any other Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following @Retropwrestling on Twitter or liking the Facebook page

Thursday, 21 December 2017

PPV REVIEW: WWF - Wrestlemania 13

March 23, 1997, 
Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois.

To some, Wrestlemania 13 was truly the start of a whole new modern era in the World Wrestling Federation, one that was more violent, more chaotic, and more grown-up than the family-friendly cartoonery of the ill-received New Generation days. 

So, it's either completely fitting or completely ironic that I sit down to review this dawning of a new, modern era on a medium that is anything but modern.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it's one of those rare occasions when I actually own a show on official VHS and can review it as such. Stills are from the WWE Network because, let's face it, VHS picture quality is piss poor.

Anyway, let's head down to the Illinois for Wrestlemania 13.

The Showcase of the Immortals Just Got Darker 

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - Jim ross, Vince McMahon, Jerry 'The King'  Lawler
And so the 13th Wrestlemania got underway with a typically awesome WWF video package which reminded us how this was The Big One, The Showcase of The Immortals and, sharing a tag line with Starrcade, The Grandaddy of them all.

This year however, our video told us that instead of pageantry and glamour, a dark cloud hung over Wrestlemania because The Undertaker was in the main event, and also because there would be lots of violence and possibly bloodshed.

This was the kind of compelling stuff that had me absolutely hooked as a child, and I still find these videos enthralling to this day.

This took us to our hosts for the evening who, as usual during this period, were Vince McMahon, Jerry 'The King' Lawler, and Jim Ross.

As the Wrestlemania/Linda McMahon theme played, the three bigged up tonight's show before we went straight to our opening contest.

The New Blackjacks Are Ready 

With their opponents in the ring, the recently-put-together team of Barry Windham and Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw (now rechristened Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw promised a win tonight because, in their words, that was The Blackjack tradition.

Number One Contenders 4-Way Tag Team Match
The Godwins (Henry O. Godwin & Phineas Godwin, w/ Hillbilly Jim) vs. Doug Furnas & Philip Lafon vs. The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) vs. The New Blackjacks (Blackjack Bradshaw & Blackjack Windham) 

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - Todd Pettengill interviews The New Blackjacks
As per the stipulation, the winner of this one would get a shot at the titles the following night on Raw.

So there was a lot to play for as every team except The Godwins made their Wrestlemania debut and Mosh & Thrasher appeared in their first WWF pay per view ever.

The resulting match was average at best, and that's probably being kinder than most would.

Early on, The New Blackjacks got into a brawl on the outside with Doug Furnas and Philip Lafon, causing both teams to be counted out.

That left The Godwins and The Headbangers to put on a passable show together before the latter picked up the win.
Your Winners and New Number One Contenders to the WWF Tag Team Titles: The Headbangers 

No between-bout fluff on this tape, so it was straight on to our next match.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan (w/ Bob Backlund  and The Iron Sheik) 

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - The Iron Sheik led The Sultan into a match with Rocky Maivia
Another Wrestlemania debut next, this time for superstar-in-the-making Rocky Maivia, who put the Intercontinental Championship on the line against his cousin, Fatu, who was in his short lived gimmick as Arabian Overlord The Sultan.

The resulting match wasn't bad, but then it wasn't very good either.

Mediocre action interspersed with random flashes of excitement was the order of the day here, all delivered whilst guest announcer The Honky Tonk Man told us how he would beat Rocky and Vince McMahon spent the entire bout telling us repeatedly that Rocky Johnson was the Intercontintal Champion's father.

Somewhat predictably, Rocky retained the title and lived to fight another day.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Rocky Maivia 

Afterwards, The Sultan, the Iron Sheik, and Bob Backlund all attacked Maivia, only for his Dad Rocky Johnson to come out to the rescue.

As Johnson was ganged up on by the dastardly trio, Vince McMahon tried to sell us on the idea that Rocky Maivia had no idea that Rocky Johnson was in the building.

Even taking kayfabe into consideration, that was clearly bullshit.

Rocky The Younger got up, and he and his Dad cleaned house to give us a happy moment.

Ken Shamrock Isn't Scared 

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - Ken Shamrock interviewed by Todd Pettengill
Backstage, our buddy Todd Pettengill who asked The World's Most Dangerous Man Ken Shamrock about his upcoming guest referee in tonight's submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin.

Shamrock fumbled his way through a nondescript promo in which he vowed that neither man would intimidate him, and that he would call the match right down the middle.

From there, we went to Doc Hendrix, who asked Hunter Hearst Helmsley about the nature of his relationship with Chyna.

Hunter refused to be drawn into that right now, instead focussing on his upcoming match with Goldust.

With his voice starting to sound more like the Triple H we now know and less like the Greenwich Blueblood he debuted as, Helmsley cut a compelling promo as he promised to beat The Golden One tonight.

The real loser though, according to Hunter, was Marlena, who he vowed would regret not taking him up on his offer for her to join him.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena) 

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - Doc Hendrix interviews Triple H (w/ Chyna)
A few months prior to tonight's show, Hunter Hearst Helmsley had been trying to convince Marlena to join him as his escort.

Naturally, she refused, choosing instead to stay loyal to her man, Goldust.

This kicked off a feud between Hunter and Goldie, which resulted in the latter getting involved in the finish of the former's Intercontinental Championship match against Rocky Maivia at he previous month's In Your House: Final 4.

That night, a mysterious, musclebound woman had reached over the guardrail from the crowd and attacked Marlena. The following night, she revealed herself to be HHH's new bodyguard, Chyna.

That took this feud to another level, resulting in tonight's contest.

With such a solid backstory behind it, and given the fact that both men were decent wrestlers at this stage of their career, I admit I was hoping for something special here.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - Goldust attempts to rescue Marlena from Chyna
Instead, we got a mediocre match with a few exciting spots interspersed here and there, all played out before a mostly silent crowd.

After a match that went at least twice as long as it needed to, Chyna went to attack Marlena on the outside.

Goldust saw this, abandoned the Curtain Call attempt he was about to hit on Hunter and instead went to lift his real-life wife out of harms way.

Hunter then ran into Goldie, who accidentally knocked Marlena into the waiting arms of Chyna. The Ninth Wonder of The World then proceeded to toss the poor little woman around like a rag doll, whilst in the ring, Helmsley hit the pedigree and this one was over.
Your Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley 

Afterwards, Goldust cradled Marlena in his arms before taking her backstage. Clearly, this feud was far from over.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Owen Hart & WWF European Champion The British Bulldog vs. Mankind & Vader (w/ Paul Bearer) 

Despite losing to his brother-in-law and tag team partner The British Bulldog in the final of the European Championship tournament, Owen Hart had recently declared himself the leader of their team. This was a move designed to further the tensions between the two that had been brewing for the past several months.

As the Champions began making their way to the ring, Jim Ross stopped them to ask Bulldog if he was offended by such comments.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - Owen Hart & British Bulldog faced Vader & Mankind
Naturally, Owen butted in, insisting that the only thing that mattered was that he had two Slammy awards and Davey Boy Smith had two titles.

The Bulldog agreed, and headed to the ring to put the titles on the line against Mankind, and Mankind's former arch-rival, Vader.

Though it ran a little long for this writer's taste, the match turned out to be pretty good.

With the Champions taking on the babyface role in his rare heel vs. heel contest, everyone got equal time to shine before Mankind locked the Mandible Claw on Davey Boy and continued to hold it on, even when the two took a tumble to the outside.

A ten count later, and this one reached the best possible outcome that it could have done given the circumstances.

Keeping the titles on Owen/Bulldog seemed like the smart move given the break-up storyline they were teasing at the time, whilst going to a double count out with Mankind and Vader kicking ass all over the place also helped Paul Bearer's men to look invincible despite not winning the titles.
Double Countout 

Prior to our next match, we got an awesome video package recounting the recent history between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

Submission Match (Special Guest Referee: Ken Shamrock)
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart 

This is it. This is *the* Hart/Austin match that everybody still talks about 20 years later.

Yes, their first encounter back at Survivor Series 1996 was great, but even that was nothing compared to the all-out-war that this one turned out to be.

The video reminded us that fans had recently been turning against Hart and favouring Austin. So, when people call this next one a 'double turn' I'm not entirely sure that's exactly accurate - people were already hating on The Hitman before he did what he did next.

Completely different from anything seen on World Wrestling Federation TV before, the two engaged in a wild, out of control brawl that went up into the crowd, around ringside and everywhere in between.

It was violent, it was bloody, and it was brutal, a see-saw battle that will forever live on in immortality as one of pro wrestling's greatest works of art.

After plenty of back-and-forth action, Hart locked in the Sharpshooter and refused to let go until Austin passed out, thus winning one of the greatest matches of all time.
Your Winner: Bret Hart

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 13 - Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin
Not content to leave it there, Bret returned to the ring after his victory and continued to stomp on Austin, fully cementing his heel turn at long last.

Eventually, Ken Shamrock decided that he had seen enough and threw Hart across the ring like he was nothing.

A referee came out to help Austin but got a stunner for his trouble. Stone Cold then staggered backstage whilst the crowd chanted 'Austin! Austin!'

That whole thing was incredible.

Farooq is Bringing The Kitchen Sink 

Out in the back, Todd Pettengill was standing by with Farooq and The Nation of Domination. Pentengill noted the amount of plunder the Nation had in readiness for their upcoming Chicago Street Fight against Ahmed Johnson and The Legion of Doom.

'There's 2x4s, there's trash cans, there's everything but the kitchen sink!' Yelled Pettengill, starting a joke that the WWF would milk for all that it was worth.

The Toddster asked Farooq about the Chicago Street Fight, to which Farooq mumbled something or other before telling us not to be so sure that he didn't actually have the kitchen sink.

That was terrible.

Chicago Street Fight
The Nation of Domination (Farooq, Crush, and Savio Vega w/ Clarence Mason, D-Lo Brown, and PG13) vs. Ahmed Johnson and The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) 

As it turned out, it was Hawk who brought out the kitchen sink, providing the punchline to a joke that the commentary Team would milk throughout the match, the rest of the show, the following night on Raw, and even in WWF magazine.

WWF / WWE - Wrestlemania 13 - LOD & Ahmed Johnson faced The Nation of Domination
Said kitchen sink was used in what turned out to be a very enjoyable brawl.

Offering a welcome antidote to the drama and intensity of our previous match, this was just good fun from start to finish.

After a good bit of back and forth, Hawk and Animal hit the Doomsday Device on Crush to pick up the win.
Your Winners: Ahmed Johnson and The Legion of Doom

Post match, Animal and Ahmed Johnson lifted JC Ice and Wolfie D onto their shoulders so that Hawk could hit a Double Doomsday Device.

Shawn Michaels Is Your Guest Commentator 

Prior to our main event, The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels made his way to the ring to reprise his role from December 1996's In Your House: It's Time and do guest colour commentary for the main event.

Sycho Sid is Ready 

WWF / WWE - Todd Pettengill interviews WWF Champion Sid
From there, we went to a backstage promo in which Todd Pettengill Interviewed the reigning and defending WWF Champion, Sycho Sid.

Sid reminded Todd that this was Wrestlemania 13, the biggest event in the world, which meant he was more than ready for The Undertaker.

Tonight, said Sid, he would not be afraid of The Dead Man, but would instead go out and beat him in tonight's main event.

World Wrestling Federation World Heavyweight Championship
WWF World Heavyweight Champion Sycho Sid vs. The Undertaker

To mark this important occasion, challenger The Undertaker wore the same gray-boots/gray-gloves attire that he wore when he beat Hulk Hogan for his first WWF Championship back at Survivor Series 1991, which was also the same attire he wore in his first Wrestlemania victory against Superfly Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania 7.

Long before The Streak became a thing, Jim Ross reminded us that since that win over The Superfly, Undertaker had remained undefeated at Wrestlemania.

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 13 - Bret Hart confronts Sid and Undertaker
Meanwhile, Sid was wrestling in his first Wrestlemania match since facing Hulk Hogan the following year at Wrestlemania 8.

Yet before both men could go forth and headline tonight's show, they first had to contend with a very angry Bret Hart.

The Hitman returned to a ring dirty with the blood he drew from Steve Austin earlier in the show and bitched out both Sid and Austin, as well as Shawn Michaels.

Taking his heel turn to another level, Hart told HBK to go home and find his smile, then told The Undertaker that the two of them were no longer friends.

As for Sid, the moment Hart pointed to the Champion, Sid began laughing his head off, which was just hilarious.

Hart basically told Sid he was crap and got a powerbomb for his troubles, much to the delight of the Chicago crowd.

As Hart was being carted off, Sid promised to kick Bret's ass after he got done with The Undertaker, but turning his back on The Dead Man proved to be a mistake. The Undertaker attacked and, finally, this one was on.

Funnily enough, the match actually turned out to be better than I remembered.

WWE / WWF - Wrestlemania 13 - The Undertaker bt. Sid for the WWF title
OK, so it wasn't great by any stretch, and there were periods when nothing happened. I mean literally nothing.

Whether it was Sid holding Undertaker in a bear hug, or 'Taker taking a nap with Sid in a poor excuse for a nerve hold, some parts of this match were dull as hell.

But other parts were actually pretty good, especially when things spilled to the outside and Vince McMahon decided to tell us that this was a no holds barred match.

Towards the end, Bret Hart ran out and battered Sid with a chair, but even that wasn't enough to stop The Master and The Ruler of The World.

Sid recovered and looked to have this one won before Hart once again returned to the ring, distracting Sid so that the challenger could hit the Tombstone Piledriver and win his second WWF Championship.
Your Winner and New WWF Champion: The Undertaker

Post match, Undertaker walked around the ring holding the title, pointing to the crowd and saying 'this is for you.'

When we think of Wrestlemania, we typically think of the grand spectacle that is today, with every wrestler on the card going all out to try and deliver the proverbial Match of the Night, but in 1997, that wasn't the case. Most of the card was bland and uninspired, with only the Bret vs. Austin matchmaking for essential viewing. 

Fortunately, the two put on an absolute classic that more than made up for everything else on the show. That said, the Chicago Street Fight was actually pretty fun, so if you have the WWE Network, you might just want to catch those two matches then skip on to something else.

Speaking of skipping onto something else, in our next review, we'll be looking at WCW Spring Stampede 1997, afterwards we'll go to The Undertaker's first title defence at In Your House: Revenge of the Taker. 

Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

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 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

PPV REVIEW: WCW Uncensored 1997

WCW Uncensored 1997 Event Poster
March 16, 1997 
North Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, South Carolina

One year after the farcical debacle that was the Tower of Doom Cage Match, WCW presented the return of its annual no-holds barred extravaganza, Uncensored, albeit this time in a very, very different climate. 

This was now the era of the New World Order, a time when a certain edginess replaced the goofy ridiculousness of last year's Uncensored 1996.

Was that edginess enough to take a show that had always been one of the worst of the year, and make it an entertaining orgy of pro wrestling entertainment?

There's only one way to find out.

Let's head down to Charleston, South Carolina, for WCW Uncensored 1997.

It's Uncensored 

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
It still amuses me that World Championship Wrestling, a company with a huge media corporation behind them, had such poor quality video packages to open their shows.

This one looked like something from 1992, and basically took us through the entire card, none of which looked all that appealing from the outset.

The video took us to our usual hosts, Tony Schiavone,  Dusty Rhodes, and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes.

The three hyped tonight's card before going down to the ring for our opening contest.

No Disqualification Match for the World Championship Wrestling United States Championship WCW United States Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko 

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Eddie Guerrero defended the US title against Dean Malenko
To get to this match, we first have to go back to Syxx of the nWo, who got into the habit of stealing title belts whenever and wherever he could.

First, he stole Eddie Guerrero's newly won US title back at Starrcade 96, only for that to backfire when Guerrero beat Syxx at nWo Souled Out 97 and took his title back.

Unfettered, Syxx next tried to steal Dean Malenko's Cruiserweight title, but Malenko was having none of that, so the two had a match at Superbrawl VII.

During that bout, Syxx once again tried to take the title belt, only for Eddie Guerrero to come down and get into a tug-of-war over the strap with the nWo member.

This backfired, and Eddie accidentally waffled Malenko with the belt, costing him both the match and the title.

The two had been at war ever since, both turning up the intensity in their individual matches so much so that a heel turn seemed possible for either man.

Tonight, they would settle their differences in what turned out to be a very fine match indeed.

Both men played their roles to perfection, with Guerrero showing flashes of the brilliance he would later display during his upcoming heel run, and Malenko turning up the heat as he set out to basically destroy the man who cost him the Cruiserweight belt.

The result was as terrific an opening contest as you could hope to see.

The only bad thing about this one was that, on at least two occasions, we cut to the back to find Rick Steiner unconscious and being carted off in an ambulance whilst Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx looked on, pretending they had just found him that way and acting concerned.

The whole thing was shown on that horrible split-screen that WCW loved to use so much, complete with a flashing background that was enough to give somebody an epileptic fit.

In a fitting bit of closure, Syxx came down for the finish, brandishing a video camera and once again attempting to steal the US title.

Eddie broke the submission hold he had on Malenko and went after Syxx. In the resulting kerfuffle, the video camera got tossed in the ring. Malenko used it to knock Guerrero out, and three seconds later we had ourselves a new United States Champion.
Your Winner and New Unites States Champion: Dean Malenko 
Post match, Malenko looked at the video camera as though it were some weird alien object he'd never seen before, then yelled at Eddie Guerrero for good measure.

I don't care what you say, that finish was perfect in completing the story between Syxx, Malenko, and Guerrero.

Piper and The Horsemen are Ready 

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Roddy Piper and The Four Horsemen cut a backstage promo
Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund told us to call the WCW hotline to find out which WCW star had just left the organisation (sadly, I can't figure out who this might have been).

After that, he welcomed his first guest of the evening, Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Despite being his usual batshit-crazy self, Piper actually delivered one of his most coherent promos to date here, wondering aloud about the whereabouts of his tag team partners for the evening, The Four Horsemen.

At that point, Jeff Jarrett, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, Debra all showed up with Chris Benoit, who hasn't been seen since putting himself in the hospital at the previous month's Superbrawl VII.

Jarrett assured Piper that The Horsemen were united behind him, whilst McMichael actually gave us a good reason why The Horsemen would want to side with Piper; mainly to get revenge on the nWo and Lex Luger for various misgivings.

As this very good promo came to a close, Mean Gene lamented that we wouldn't have time to hear Debra McMichael speak, to which Tony Schiavone said 'that's ok, sometimes you don't need to hear her talk, you just need to look at her.' 

Honestly, 20 years on, there's no way they'd get away with that kind of talk today.

Psicosis vs. The Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo)

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Psicosis vs. Ultimo Dragon
This one had no point or purpose to it, but God bless our guest commentator, Mike Tenay, for trying to add one, telling us that this was all about trying to get a shot at the Cruiserweight title.

Despite that, and despite the crowd not being into this at all, Psicosis vs. Ultimo Dragon turned into a very good Cruiserweight match that ended when Ultimo did some kind of botched move off the top which Tenay called a Tornado DDT, then hit a tiger suplex for the win.
Your Winner:  Ultimo Dragon 

Afterwards, Sony Onoo demanded a decent challenge for Ultimo Dragon by doing that post-match yelling to the camera in the corner of the ring thing that all WCW wrestlers did back then.

Macho Man Acknowledges DDP 

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Randy Savage and Elizabeth
Since aligning with the nWo at the end of the previous month's Superbrawl, Macho Man Randy -Savage had gone on to help his new brothers-in-arms attack their arch-nemesis, Diamond Dallas Page.

After that, however, Savage had been trolling Page like a champion by pretending like he didn't even know who he was, something which only incensed Page further.

Tonight, Mr. Self High Five came out to once again issue a challenge to the Macho Man.

This time, however, Savage actually responded by showing up with Elizabeth (who looked incredible) and a copy of Playboy's Nude Celebrities issue, which featured naked pics of DDP's wife, Kimberly.

Forget the fact that Dallas and Kim were at loggerheads this time last year, that was all in the past.

Now, DDP was enraged that Savage had brought up this magazine, and even more so when a disheveled Kimberly walked out in a battered green dress which had been spray painted with the nWo logo.

This distracted Dallas so that Savage could attack him and spray paint him again, after which both he and Liz had fun in spray painting Kimberley again.

Thus we had the makings of what would become one of the hottest feuds of the late 90s, and the one storyline that would catapult an already red-hot DDP into the stratosphere.

Martial Arts Match
Mortis (w/ James Vanderberg) vs. Glacier 

Here we have the WCW debut of Chris Kanyon in the short lived Mortis gimmick in a match that Tony Schiavone told us would have martial arts rules.

What Tony didn't tell us, is exactly what those rules were.

As it turns out, martial arts rules didn't mean anything, and this was just a standard wrestling match with a few more karate kicks.

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Mortis vs. Glacier
That being said, as standard wrestling matches with added karate kicks go, this was actually quite a good one.

Not amazing by any stretch, but a solid effort that proved Glacier was more than just an elaborate gimmick but a decent pro wrestler to boot.

Speaking of Glacier, it was the ice man who picked up the win, drilling his foe with the Cryonic Kick for the three count.
Your Winner: Glacier

Post match, Glacier began arguing with James Vanderberg, who got his own back by introducing another Mortal Kombat inspired wrestler by the name of Wrath.

The big guy attacked and put Glacier out for the count, all whilst the announcers swore blind that they had never seen Wrath before. Clearly, Tony, Bobby, and Dusty were not frequent visitors to Three Mile Island.

Remember When The Outsiders Attempted Vehicular Homicide? 

Prior to our next match, we were shown the handheld video footage shot by Syxx of the Wolfpac playing chicken on the road with The Steiner Brothers.

The whole thing got a little out of hand, and Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx ran Rick & Scott Steiner off the road, causing their vehicle to crash and overturn.

In a moment that made suspension of disbelief that little bit more difficult to accomplish, Tony Schiavone told us that although the attempted homicide was grounds to get the law involved, The Steiners -who had apparently survived without serious damage- would rather settle things in a pro wrestling match.

That, of course, was until Rick got himself KO'd early in tonight's show.

Strap Match
Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Buff Bagwell faced Scotty Riggs in a strap match
The mid-90s sure did love their strap matches. Off the top of my head I'm sure this is at least the fifth such match I've reviewed whilst covering WCW and WWF in 1996 and 1997.

Here, the gimmick came out again so that ex American Males partners Buff Bagwell and Scotty Riggs could settle their rivalry after the former turned on the latter to join the nWo.

The match actually started off pretty good, but then it basically turned into Buff demolishing his one-time partner in the closest thing to a complete burial you're going to see on mainstream TV.

Eventually, Buff just killed Riggs in the middle of the ring then walked effortlessly to each of the four corners to win easily, with no sense of drama whatsoever.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell 

Next, we cut to Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Macho Man Randy Savage, and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan, who cut a promo on tonight's main event which was filmed in black and white as was the group's signature style.

WCW Uncensored 1997 - The NWO cut a backstage promo
The foursome said nothing of note, other than promising us that we'd see Dennis Rodman later as if this was supposed to be the reason we all turned in to see a wrestling PPV.

Tornado Match
Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray & Booker T w/ Sister Sherri) vs. Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) 

Before they found themselves thrust into the main event, Jeff Jarrett and Steve 'Mongo' McMichael were supposed to be the Public Enemy's opponents.

Instead, it was Booker T and Stevie Ray who went at it with Flyboy Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge in this reasonably entertaining match.

Whilst the action itself was decent, the real highlight here was the commentary.

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Sister Sherri led Harlem Heat into battle against Public Enemy
Dusty simply could not believe that the wrestlers were hitting themselves with toilet seats and trash cans and frequently burst into hysterics.

At one point, Dusty's out of control laughter set Bobby Heenan off, and the two laughed their asses off whilst Tony Schiavone tried to call one guy hitting another guy with a toilet seat like it was the most serious thing ever.

Back in the ring, Jarrett and Mongo came out for the finish and helped Harlem Heat gain the win.
Your Winners: Harlem Heat 

Backstage, Mean Gene reminded us about the stipulations for the main event before welcoming Scott Steiner, Lex Luger, and The Giant.

In an enjoyable and engaging promo, the three swore revenge on the New World Order and promised victory in tonight's match.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World Television Champion Prince Iaukea vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. 

I never thought I'd say this about a Rey Mysterio Jr. Match, but This was terrible.

It was slow, dull, and painfully tedious, so much so that even he crowd gave up watching and began talking among themselves.

Meanwhile, the announcers spent so long talking about the fact that the match has an extra 5 minutes added to the usual TV title 10-minute limit that they might as well have just said 'hey, folks! This one ends In a draw.' 

It did, but then Mysterio challenged Prince Iaukea to carry on the match. The Prince agreed, then went on to beat Mysterio 2 minutes later, putting us all out of our misery.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Prince Iaukea 

Prior to our main event, we got a very weird and terrible promo for the first ever Spring Stampede PPV in April which featured The Four Horsemen literally on horses.

Three Team Elimination Match
Team Piper (Rowdy Roddy Piper, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, Jeff Jarrett, Chris Benoit) vs. Team WCW (Lex Luger, Scott Steiner, The Giant) vs. Team nWo (WCW World Heavyweight Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall) 

WCW Uncensored 1997 - Lex Luger presses Randy Savage
OK, let's start with the rules of this one.

We had four rounds with one man from each team coming out for each round. The first round was five minutes, with each subsequent round lasting two.

Eliminations were by pin, submission, or by being thrown over the top rope. Last man (or men) standing wins for their team.

The prizes up for grabs?

  • If WCW won, the nWo would forfeit all their titles and would not be allowed to wrestle in WCW for three years, so clearly there was no chance of WCW winning. 
  • If Piper's team won, Piper would get Hogan inside a steel cage.
  • If the nWo won, they would be able to challenge for any title, anywhere, at any time, which was kind of dumb considering they already had all the titles except the US title. 
So, basically, the New World Order were putting their entire existence on the line for a US title shot, unless their prize was some sort of insurance policy in case they lost a title.

Either way, it didn't really matter because the match itself was kind of horrible from start to finish.

Basically, it was a messy battle royal that provided little in the way of genuine entertainment.

In the end, it came down to Lex Luger vs. The nWo with Dennis Rodman.

In a repeat of November's World War 3 1996, Lex looked to overcome all the odds by eliminating Hall and Macho by torture rack and Nash by throwing him over. Rodman then handed Macho a spray paint can, which he used to knock out The Total Package.

Hogan got the cover and this one was over.
Your Winner: Hollywood Hulk Hogan for team nWo

I say it was over, it wasn't quite.

The New World Order spray painted Luger and began to head off until Sting descended from the heavens and took out Hall, Nash, and Savage with his trusty baseball bat.

Scorpion Death Drops all round followed before the former champion dared Hogan to get in the ring. Hollywood agreed, but only if Stinger dropped his bat.

He did, but beat up Hogan anyway, standing tall as this one came to a close.

For the first few years of its existence, WCW Uncensored had a reputation as being one of -if not the- worst Pay Per View shows the company would deliver all year. Thankfully, the 1997 edition was somewhat different. 

Apart from two lacklustre final matches, the whole show was more or less enjoyable. Honestly, I don't think anyone is going to class Uncensored 1997 as a life-changing event, but then very few pro wrestling shows are. If you're looking for something to keep you entertained for a few hours though, the undercard matches on tonight's show should do the job just fine. 

Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

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 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA Turning Point 2009

TNA Turning Point 2009 - Event Poster
Sunday, November 15th, 2009, 
Orlando, Florida 

With news of Hulk Hogan's impending arrival in Total Non-stop Action Wrestling, talk of change has been rather prominent in professional wrestling's number-two promotion. So it seemed fitting that the group returned to the Impact Zone for the aptly named Turning Point pay per view; a loaded card full of the group's biggest stars. 

(NOTE: This review was originally written when TNA Turning Point 2009 aired in November 2009. I discovered a bunch of my old TNA reviews recently and have been uploading them to RPW, hence the different format from usual reviews here on the site.)

After turning up the heat in Orlando, the only question the group must be asking themselves now is whether the inevitable change which looms just on the horizon will be for better or worse.

With two Match of the Year candidates featured on an all-round enjoyable show, changing for the better may prove a difficult task for Dixie Carter & Co.

Here's what went down.

TNA Turning Point 2009 - Homicide vs. Amazing Red - X Division Title
The card opened with the usual X-Division bout, as Amazing Red successfully defended his X-Division Championship against Homicide.

Far from the familiar multi-man spotfest that kicks off most PPVs, this was instead a straight-up wrestling match with some exciting spots interspersed with mat-based offence.

Whilst the two grapplers seemed to struggle in places to link the two styles together in a fluid fashion, this was nonetheless a good opening contest which came to a halt when the champion hit the Code Red to retain.

The Knockouts came next as Knockouts Tag Team Champions Sarita & Taylor Wilde and Knockouts Champion ODB successfully defended their titles in a six-woman tag match against The Beautiful People (Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne & Lacey Von Erich).

TNA Turning Point 2009 - Knockouts Six woman Match
The stipulation here saw all the champions on the same team, if one of the tag champs were pinned, The Beautiful People would be crowned champions. Similar, should one of The Beautiful People pin ODB, they'd pick up the Knockouts Champion.

None of that happened, as following a short, passable contest as ODB pinned Madison Rayne to end the contest, which makes you wonder why they bothered with such a cluttered stipulation.

Heading backstage, Desmond Wolfe cut a promo on Kurt Angle. The Brit was confident of a victory, given that he knew Angle much better than Angle.

Back in the ring, The British Invasion (Brutus Magnus & Doug Williams) defeated Beer Money, Inc (Robert Roode & James Storm) and the Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) to retain the TNA Tag Team titles.

Lots of quick tags and innovative action made this a very enjoyable contest right up until the horrible finish which saw Eric Young interfere on behalf of World Elite team-mates, Magnus & Williams.
Kevin Nash then arrived on the scene, stole the Global title and drilled James Storm with it. This distracted Storm's partner, Robert Roode and caused him to fall victim to the British Invasion.

Looking for answers, Jeremy Borash interviewed Kevin Nash backstage. Nash insisted that his actions had something to do with 'Hulk'.

Back to the women, Tara bested Awesome Kong in a Six Sides of Steel match.

The two ladies worked hard to deliver a hard-fought, dramatic contest which came to an end when Tara killed Kong with an impressive Thesz Press from atop the cage. Afterwards, the former WWE Diva looked on the verge of tears, and could barely hold it together when interviewed by Lauren.

TNA Turning Point 2009 - Six Man Match
Slowing things down a little, Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon) and Rhino beat Matt Morgan, Hernandez and D'Angelo Dinero in a street fight. The match was largely forgettable and seemed to be nothing more than filler. Rhino hit the gore on Hernandez to end things.

Backstage, Scott Steiner cut a promo on Bobby Lashley. The two then battled their way through an average Falls Count Anywhere contest which differed little from the previous bout. Steiner hit Lashley with a lead pipe to win the match.

After cutting a promo on his opponent, Kurt Angle defeated Desmond Wolfe in a Match of the Year candidate. To loud chants of 'This is wrestling!' from the Orlando faithful, newcomer Wolfe held his own against TNA veteran Kurt Angle in a very good match indeed.

TNA Turning Point 2009 - AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Chris Daniels - TNA World title
Finally, the main event arrived as TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles successfully retained his title in a three-way against Samoa Joe and Daniels.
Just when fans thought nothing could quite top the Angle/Wolfe encounter, the three TNA Originals delivered a terrific main event, that was solid, well-paced, flowed-well and did what all wrestling matches are supposed to do; entertained the audience. The champion hit a springboard 450 splash on Joe to retain the gold.

It's shows like this that really make your reporter think about tuning into Impact again on Saturday nights. Longtime readers may recall that I gave up watching TNA's flagship show after it all got a bit too confusing and frustrating, but still keep up with the ppvs since, whilst they might do a horrible job on television, the company usually shines on a PPV platform. But after witnessing some incredible action, especially in the last two bouts, and hearing some good things about Impact from the always-critical IWC, it might be time to give the company another shot. 

I'm probably not the only person who feels this way, and Dixie Carter and her company would do well to ensure that, even when Hogan arrives on the scene, they concentrate on taking two steps forward, not three steps back. 

TNA Wrestling's Turning Point 2009 was a solid show, and if the group are adamant on changing, let's hope it's a change to making stuff like this a regular occurrence. 

I'm slowly working my way through re-publishing all of my old TNA reviews from 2008 - 2009. For now, you can also read:

TNA Impact: 
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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.