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. 

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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 

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