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, 26 April 2018

PPV REVIEW - WWf Summerslam 1997

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Event poster
August 3, 1997, 
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

By the summer of 1997, the World Wrestling Federation were finally beginning to recover from the dismal performance -both creatively and financially- that had plagued them for much of the mid-1990s. 

With a compelling heel turn reviving his career, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was delivering some of his best work in years both on the microphone and in the ring.

Meanwhile, The Undertaker was enjoying his first run as World Wrestling Federation champion, putting in solid main event performances against the likes of Mankind, Vader, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Tonight, the two would go head to head on the second biggest show of the year, an event that -if all went according to plan- should have served as the perfect example of how the WWF were finally regaining momentum.

Let's head down to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to find out whether it actually did or not.

Stand for the National Anthem 

Perhaps an effort to counter all the Canadian patriotism showcased at last month's In Your House: Canadian Stampede, we began tonight with a cold open which saw commentators and crowd alike standing for the American national anthem.

This then took us to the usual opening video, in which we were told that life isn't fair, and that's why everybody hated Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, why The Undertaker had to carry the burden of murdering his family, and why Shawn Michaels once lost his smile.

From there, it was fireworks galore, and an impassioned growl from Vince McMahon.

McMahon introduced us to his colleagues, Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Lawyer and Ross speculated that we would see some gold change hands tonight, but before we got to our first title match, it was on to the hottest feud of the summer.

Steel Cage Match
Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) vs. Mankind 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Hunter Hearst Helmsey faced Mankind in a cage match
After Rick Rude and Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam 1990 and Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at Summerslam 1994, the blue steel cage so familiar from many a pro wrestling fan's childhood made its return here for only the third time in Summerslam history, serving as the battleground for a dramatic brawl between heated rivals Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mankind.

The two had battled in the finals of King of the Ring 1997 before taking their hatred of one another to all new levels with some out of control brawling at Canadian Stampede.

Tonight was the night they looked to settle things in the cage, and deliver a great opening contest in the process.

A couple of big spots combined with a great crowd really made this one, especially when Mankind flew off the top of the cage ala his idol, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka.

From there, it was a matter of formality as Mankind climbed back to the top of the cage and down to the outside to win the match.
Your Winner: Mankind 

Afterwards, Mankind was totally out of it until that terrible Dude Love theme struck up through the PA, prompting Mick to release his inner-Dude and dance his way to the back.

A Political Powerslam 

Up next, we had Todd Pettengill, WWF President Gorilla Monsoon and The Headbangers making a special presentation to the governor of New Jersey.

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Gorilla Monsoon, The Headbangers, Todd Pettengill and The Governor of New Jersey
The World Wrestling Federation had not held a PPV in the state for many years because of some entertainment tax law, but this woman had removed them so tonight we were celebrating and awarding her with a WWF championship belt.

I get the point of this, but it was all kinds of cheesy and not very entertaining, so it was a relief that it was kept quite short.

Killing Time 

Whilst the ring crew continued to take down the cage, we were shown a Tiger Ali Singh sat in the crowd with his dad, Tiger Jeet Singh.

What an underwhelming career the younger Singh would have.

From there we were shown clips of the Summerslam beach party which had taken place earlier in the day, and that took us to our next match.

Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. Brian Pillman 

WWE / WWF Summerslam 1997 - Brian Pillman vs. Goldust (Pillman wears a dress if he loses)
If Brian Pillman lost this one he would have to wear a dress on the following night's episode of WWF Raw, so naturally, he lost.

And so did everybody who watched this match because it was pretty bland.

Thankfully, the very unexciting action didn't last long, and ended after a few minutes with a roll-up victory for Goldust.
Your Winner: Goldust 

Post match, Pillman threw a fit and destroyed the mannequin which held the dress he was supposed to wear the following evening.

The Legion of Doom are Angry

A while ago, The Legion of Doom broke Henry O. Godwin's neck when he landed awkwardly from a Doomsday Device.

The Godwins had since returned, and in full on heel mode had viciously attacked Hawk & Animal, leading to tonight's match.

Before we got there, we had Hawk and Animal ranting and raving in their typically violent style about just how badly they were going to destroy the pig farmers.

The Godwins (Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwin) vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal) 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - The Legion of Doom faced The Godwins
Competing in their first Summerslam match since the epic 1992 Summerslam at Wembley Arena (when they defeated Money Inc.) The Legion of Doom went at it with The Godwins in a reasonably decent match.

This wasn't the most entertaining thing you'll ever see, but it was far from the worst, and that's about the best thing I can say about it.

The LOD won and nobody cared.
Your Winners: The Legion of Doom 

Up next, we had the Summerslam sweepstakes in which a little kid and some scrawny Steve Austin wannabe, along with two randoms on the phones, tried to guess which key would unlock a coffin containing $1 million.

Remember McMahon's Million Dollar Mania from a few years ago? This was like that, except with the added bonus that you had Sunny and Sable there looking hotter than hell.

Seriously, that was the only good thing about this whole time-draining segment.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion The British Bulldog vs. Ken Shamrock 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Ken Shamrock vs.WWF European Champion British Bulldog
In his first of only two PPV European title defences, The British Bulldog put the title on the line in a disappointing effort against former UFC star Ken Shamrock.

Davey Boy was still capable of having a good match at this post in his career, but either didn't want to, or couldn't get one out of Ken Shamrock, who was apparently still adapting to WWF style pro wrestling.

As such, what we got here was basically one long chinlock interspersed with a bit of brawling.

Towards the end, the action spilled outside where Bulldog threw dog food in the face of his opponent.

This made Shamrock lose his mind and hit Bulldog over the head with the full can of dog food, losing the match by DQ.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: The British Bulldog 

Afterwards, Shamrock continued his beat down and put the Bulldog in a chokehold in the middle of the ring, holding on for so long that Davey Boy turned purple and passed out.

Eventually, a gang of referees and road agents arrived to just kind of hover around Shamrock and wave their arms a bit until The World's Most Dangerous Man got bored and decided to suplex them all instead.

Shawn Michaels is Fair 

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Todd Pettengill interviews Shawn Michaels
As per the rules of our main event, if special referee Shawn Michaels had to call things fairly or else he would be kicked out of the company.

In a backstage interview, Michaels told Todd Pettengill that he would absolutely be fair, and lied through his teeth by claiming that there was no hatred between him and The Hitman.

Los Boriquas (Savio Vega, Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada Jr., and Jesus Castillo) vs. The Disciples of Apocalypse (Crush, Chainz, Skull, and 8-Ball) 

To be honest, I missed the first part of this match because I was trying to figure out how the WWF explained the fact that Crush suddenly lost that stupid pizza slice tattoo he had until he left The Nation.

Getting nowhere, I turned my attentions back to the match just in time to see Farooq lead The Nation down to ringside.

From there, what we got was a relatively entertaining match that ended when Nation member Ahmed Johnson hit a crappy looking Pearl River Plunge to Chainz on the outside.

Back in the ring, one of the Boricuas elbow dropped the DOA man and got the win for his team.
Your Winners: Los Boricuas

Afterwards, gang warfare broke out among all three gangs (or 'factions' as the commentators euphemistically called them) until Crush got on his motorbike and tried to run everybody over.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Steve Austin vs. Owen Hart
Getting into a fierce rivalry with the reigning Intercontinental Champion ever since he'd been pinned by him at Canadian Stampede, Stone Cold Steve Austin had vowed to kiss Owen Hart's ass if he could not beat him tonight.

That was on Raw. Tonight, Stone Cold wasn't feeling so talkative. As he made his way backstage, he refused to give any comments to a scrawny little newcomer called Michael Cole who tried to interview him.

One he got to the ring however, Austin was fully ready to do whatever it took to win, taking the fight to the champion in the early moments of what would turn out to be the best match on the card up to this point.

It was a very good match, though watching it knowing what was to come kind of took the shine off it, especially when the announcers began telling us about Austin's neck problems.

The whole time, you were just waiting for *that* moment, the moment Owen hit the Piledriver on Austin and broke his neck.

That was hard to watch, even more so when you saw Owen trying not to act concerned but simply stall for time instead.

After getting the nod from referee Earl Hebner, Owen basically lay down and pinned himself.
Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Barely able to stand, Austin did his best to celebrate his victory, but could only raise the Championship belt above his head once before being helped out to the back in a scene that was truly painful to watch.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart (Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels)

WWE / WWF - Summerslam 1997 - Bret Hart beat Undertaker for the WWF Title
The story here was that if Bret didn't win the title, he would never wrestle in the United States ever again. If Shawn Michaels favored The Undertaker, he wouldn't be allowed to wrestle in the States either.

Just to make himself feel at home then, challenger Bret Hart had the crowd listen to the Canadian National Anthem, getting plenty of heel heat before going against The Undertaker in one of the best main events I've watched in a long time.

The two went back and forth until Hart took control and began working over The Dead Man's legs.

All the while, Michaels ran around playing a firm-but-fair referee, a role which only added to the excitement.

Cameos from Paul Bearer, Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart all provided a break from the action, but really it was the dynamic between Hart, Undertaker, and HBK that really elevated this into a solid Match of the Year Candidate.

At the end, Bret used a chair to waffle Undertaker, but Michaels called him out on it.

The two got into a heated argument, with Bret yelling s very visible and obvious 'F*** you!' at the referee and spitting at him.

Michaels swung the chair at Bret, but Bret ducked, so Shawn yelled an equally as obvious 'Shit!'

Hart made the cover, HBK was forced to make a fair three count, and Bret won his fifth and final WWF Championship.
Your Winner and New WWF Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Michaels stormed off with Undertaker in hot pursuit whilst Bret celebrated to end the show.

The World Wrestling Federation may have been regaining momentum by the summer of 1997, but watching Summerslam 1997, you'd never have known it. 

This was a really mediocre show, starting off well enough then descending into tedium before picking up again for the last two matches.

Those two matches would ultimately change the game. Austin neck's injury was the catalyst for that last big push en route to becoming 'The Man' whilst Bret's big win in a fantastic main event would ultimately lead him to a title defence against arch-nemesis Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series and, well, we all know what happened there, don't we?

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
  14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
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Thursday, 19 April 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWE Survivor Series 2009

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 
Washington DC 

World Wrestling Entertainment heads to the US capital for their celebrated Survivor Series pay per view, with two main event Triple Threat matches, a bunch of traditional elimination matches and the epic grudge match between Batista and Rey Mysterio.

Here's what went down.

*NOTE: This is the live-review that I wrote at the time Survivor Series 2009 originally aired. 

I'm in the process of arching all my old reviews and post this one today for the sake of having a complete record of all my wrestling reviews. 

Traditional Survivor Series Match: Team Morrison (Intercontinental Champion John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin and Finlay) vs. Team Miz (United States The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger)

Kicking things off with the least hyped bout on the card, former tag team champions The Miz and John Morrison led their men into battle in this enjoyable inter-brand elimination bout.

Holding their own against the popular Team Morrison, it was The Miz and his allies who were left standing tall at the end of an entertaining, well-paced bout which served well in establishing newcomers Sheamus & Drew McIntyre as credible stars.

Order of elimination:
1. Evan Bourne eliminated Dolph Ziggler
2. Drew McIntyre eliminated Evan Bourne
3. Sheamus eliminated Finlay
4. John Morrison eliminated Jack Swagger
5. The Miz eliminated Shelton Benjamin
6. Drew McIntyre eliminated Matt Hardy
7. Sheamus eliminated John Morrison

Your Winners: The Miz, Drew McIntyre & Sheamus

Backstage, Team Kofi enjoyed a chat, with ECW Champion Christian making light of his status as the only white guy on the team. It was pointless, but still quite funny.

Rey Mysterio vs. Batista

Despite his best efforts, the lightning-quick Rey Mysterio was no match for his much larger adversary, and after a series of 619s and a frog splash failed to put Big Dave away, the former Intercontinental Champion was annihilated by a spear. Batista followed up with three hefty Batista Bombs, prompting the referee to call off the match.
Your Winner via referee stoppage: Batista

Not yet finished with the beat down on his former friend, The Animal hit Rey with a spinebuster onto a steel chair.

Even despite such a heinous attack, Batista was cheered loudly by his hometown crowd, which probably isn’t what the WWE were hoping for. Still, it was a strong angle in which Batista looked better than he has in a long while.

Traditional Survivor Series Match: Team Kofi (Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, MVP, R-Truth and Christian vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, William Regal and CM Punk)

After an exciting build up between Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston, the latter looked set to take that next step towards Superstardom as his team took on Randy Orton’s in another traditional elimination match.

A series of quick-fire eliminations saw the numbers diminish in fairly short order, leaving room for a good tag bout as Kofi and Christian battled Orton and  CM Punk. In the end, it was Kingston who left with his hand raised in victory after overthrowing both opponents.

Order of elimination:
1. Randy Orton eliminated Mark Henry
2. CM Punk eliminated R-Truth
3. Christian eliminated Ted Dibiase
4. MVP eliminated William Regal
5. Cody Rhodes eliminated MVP
6. Christian eliminated Cody Rhodes
7. Randy Orton eliminated Christian
8. Kofi Kingston eliminated CM Punk
9. Kofi Kingston eliminated Randy Orton

Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Kofi Kingston

Moving swiftly on, it was time for Smackdown to take centre stage with the first of tonight’s two Triple Threat matches.

World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat match: The Undertaker defended against Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show

Even the remarkably talented Chris Jericho struggled to carry an out-of-shape Big Show and a broken-down Undertaker to anything more than a slow, mediocre bout. It’s not that nobody tried, but even when they did it still resulted in a rather uninspired affair which reached its inevitable conclusion when the champion locked Big Show in the Hell’s Gate.

Your Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed the surviving members of Team Miz. Sheamus, McIntyre and The Miz himself said nothing of particular note.

Traditional Survivor Series Match: Team Mickie (Mickie James, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, Divas Champion Melina, and Gail Kim) vs. Team McCool (WWE Women’s Champion Michelle McCool, Jillian Hall, Beth Phoenix, Layla and Alicia Fox)

Providing a natural break between the two main event matches, the WWE Divas took to the stage in a forgettable encounter which served to heighten the rivalry between team captains Mickie James and Michelle McCool.

Beth Phoenix continued to look strong before being taken out by Mickie, which ultimately led to the latter standing tall at the end of the bout along with WWE Divas Champion, Melina.

Order of elimination
1. Kelly Kelly eliminated Layla
2. Michelle McCool eliminated Gail Kim
3. Eve eliminated Jillian
4. Beth Phoenix eliminated Eve
5. Beth Phoenix eliminated Kelly Kelly
6. Mickie James eliminated Beth Phoenix
7. Mickie James eliminated Alicia Fox
8. Melina eliminated Michelle McCool

Your Winners: Mickie James and Melina

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Batista. The Animal joked about embarrassing Rey Mysterio in their match earlier.

 WWE Championship Triple Threat Match: John Cena defended against Shawn Michaels and Triple H

After weeks of worrying as to whether DX would work together to defeat him (which by the way, was about the only build up this match was afforded), John Cena’s concerns were quickly alleviated when Michaels planted his partner with some Sweet Chin Music less than five seconds after the bell.

From then on, Shawn, Hunter and Cena delivered a far, far better main event than the earlier effort from the Smackdown headliners, pacing out their lengthy match with some exciting spots, dramatic action and gripping storytelling.

Surpassing all expectations, especially in spite of the non-existent build-up, Michaels, Hunter and Cena proved to their critics why they deserve to be on top of the Raw brand by delivering a terrific main event in which Cena retained the gold.
Your Winner and still WWE Champion: John Cena

Final Thoughts:
WWE’s Raw brand finds themselves in an odd position not that dissimilar to how TNA were for a long while; producing mind-bogglingly stupid television shows, then cranking up the action and delivering something rather special on pay per view.

Tonight’s main event pitting WWE Champion John Cena against DX stole the show by a long mile, whilst the encounter between Randy Orton and rising star Kofi Kingston was easily the best of the three elimination matches.

That’s not to say the opening Miz/Morrison clash wasn’t entertaining; WWE’s young bloods worked hard to create a good opening bout which served it’s purpose well.

On the other hand, The Undertaker’s title defence against Jerishow was anything but entertaining; slow, meandering and achieving very little, it certainly wasn’t anything this writer would recommend you actively seek out.

A decent show overall with the Raw brand triumphing over Smackdown in terms of in-ring quality. Now there’s something you never thought you’d read six months ago.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

PPV REVIEW - WCW Bash at the Beach 1997

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Event Poster
July 13, 1997 
The Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

The 1997 edition of Bash at the Beach was set to be more than just another Pay Per View. 

This, after all, was the one year anniversary of the night Hulk Hogan turned his back on World Championship Wrestling, in the process kick-starting the company's most successful period in history.

A year on, and everything had changed.

The New World Order, rather than Hulkamania, were running wild, whilst Hogan had fully embraced his inner-heel and was currently more entertaining and refreshing than he had been in years.

Here's what happened when he, and the nWo, returned to Daytona Beach one after Bash at the Beach 1996 to celebrate their first birthday.

The Giant is Coming For Hulk Hogan 

A year after turning his back on WCW, Hollywood Hulk Hogan had been at his most wicked and deplorable as of late, teaming with basketball oddball Dennis Rodman to wage a campaign of destruction against The Giant and Lex Luger.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Naturally, that had only angered the WCW duo, who, in our opening video package, were shown swearing revenge against their nWo rivals.

From this video, we went down to our usual trio of Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes.

The trio were excited not only about our main event, but also about the possibilities for Diamond Dallas Page's mystery partner when he took on Macho Man Randy Savage later on in the show.

With that out of the way, it was on to our opening contest.

Wrath & Mortis (w/ James Vanderberg) vs. Glacier & Ernest Miller 

If you remember, Ernest Miller had been good enough to rescue Glacier from an attack at the hands of Wrath & Mortis back at WCW Slamboree 1997, but then hadn't bothered to do the same when the evil duo again ganged up on Mr. Chilly McFreeze at last month's Great American Bash 97.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Glacier & Ernest Miller
Still, Glacier had forgiven his karate fighting friend for that little oversight and decided to tag with him tonight to take our his arch rivals once and for all.

As they often did when Glacier and either Wrath or Mortis were involved, WCW brought out Mike Tenay for a spot of commentary for this match. On PPV, Tenay's expertise was usually reserved for the cruiserweight division, but I suppose they thought bringing him out here would lend a much-needed air of credibility to what was basically Mortal Kombat Cosplay Hour.

Legitimate or not, this was a fun opening match.

OK, so it wasn't the kind of all-out classic we'd usually get from the Cruiserweights in this spot, but it was entertaining in a different way and, let's be honest, all pro wrestling is ever supposed to be is entertaining.

Towards the finish, Glacier had Mortis covered, only for James Vanderberg to pull his charge's foot under the rope and wrap a chain around it.

The despicable Vanderberg then got on the apron to cause the distraction and took a swift kick from Glacier for his trouble.

It was more than enough though, Glacier turned around, got kicked in the chest by Mortis' chain-wrapped foot, and saw his undefeated streak flash away in the blink of a three count.
Your Winners: Wrath & Mortis 

Afterwards, Ernest Miller knelt over his fallen friend, raised his fists to the sky and cried to some angry God above as though his partner had been brutally murdered rather than just pinned in a pro wrestling match.


Diamond Dallas Page Won't Speak 

Backstage, Diamond Dallas Page was being interviewed by some geek for

Page wouldn't be drawn into who his mystery partner was going to be and even joked that it would be his dad, who was sat behind him.

For what it's worth, I have no memory of who the mystery partner was, so watching this show feels as exciting as if it were happening for the first time right now.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon 

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Ultimo Dragon challenged Chris Jericho for the cruiserweight titlWCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Ultimo Dragon challenged Chris Jericho for the cruiserweight title
Having recently defeated the nWo's Syxx for the Cruiserweight Championship, Lionheart Chris Jericho made his first big title defense against Ultimo Dragon in a very enjoyable bout.

Both men were given plenty of time to showcase what they could do together, and the results were even better than you might expect.

After a long and solid bout, Jericho wrapped up Dragon for a three count.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho 

Afterwards, a handshake and a friendly hug between the two combatants put this one to an end.

Quoth the Raven, Fleetwood Mac

Up next, Mean Gene Okerlund begged us to call 1-900-909-9900 before waking to ringside to find Raven and Stevie Richards sitting there.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Mean Gene interviewed Raven & Stevie Richards
Gene asked Raven whether he was going to be DDP's partner tonight, to which Raven replied with a bunch of what Okerlund called 'Edgar Allen Poe gibberish' but what was really some thinly disguised song lyrics.

'Have I any dreams I'd like to sell?' asked Raven finally, paraphrasing 'Dreams' by Fleetwood Mac

Okerlund next turned his attentions to a hyperactive Stevie Richards, who Raven decked with a fist to the head for daring to mention that Raven had a big announcement to make the following evening.

The Great Muta & Masahiro Chono vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)   

The Great Muta and Masahiro Chono were both members of the New World Order here, with Muta even painting the group's logo on his face.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - The Great Muta & Masa Chono vs. The Steiner Brothers
Apparently, The Steiners had been tricked into facing the men from the Orient, believing that they were signing a contract to face Scott Hall and Kevin Nash for the WCW Tag Team Titles.

If Rick and Scott won tonight, however, they would finally get their shot.

It was with this in mind that The Steiner Brothers went at it with their Japanese opponents in an exciting match that saw unique spots combined with a hot crowd.

This combination gave us our third straight good match of the evening, something of a record for WCW at the time.

The finish came when Scott suplexed Muta off Rick's shoulders for the three count.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Post match, Scott yelled into the camera that The Outsiders could no longer hide from them.

Six-Man Lucha Libre Match
Juventud Guerrero, Hector Garza, and Lizmark Jr. vs. La Parka, Psicosis, and Villano IV. 

The last time we saw Hector Garza on an American PPV he was competing in a similar six-man bout at WWF Royal Rumble 1997.

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Psicosis, La Parka, Sonny Onoo
Here, he teamed with WCW mainstay Juventud Guerrera and Lizmark Jr. to take on Villano IV, Psicosis, and La Parka, the latter two of whom were now both under the guidance of Sonny Onoo.

The match itself was mostly a sloppy and disjointed spotfest, and it's only the fact that some of those spots were pretty cool that I'm not completely writing this one off.

Even despite a couple of big moves, this was still the most disappointing match on the card so far, and it was a relief when it ended.

Speaking of the ending, that came when Villano V ran out to discretely take the place of Villano IV, only to prove that he was actually a bit of a wimp compared to the other six men.

Despite only being in the ring for like a minute, Villano V was quickly beaten by a standing moon sault from our man Hector.
Your Winners: Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza, and Lizmark Jr. 

Moving swiftly on...

Career Match
Kevin Sullivan (w/ Jacquelyn and Jimmy Hart) vs. Chris Benoit 

Call it a 'Loser Retires' match, call it a 'Career vs. Career' match, call it whatever you choose, there was really only one word o describe this match:


WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Kevin Sullivan
Over a year since their classic Falls Count Anywhere match at WCW The Great American Bash 1996, Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan beat the hell out of each other in a violent and chaotic brawl which certainly rivalled that famous match from 1996.

They brawled in the ring, they brawled around the Bash at the Beach set, and they brawled in the aisle, with Jacqueline and Jimmy Hart getting a few good shots in too.

Not that Sullivan was too impressed with Jackie. In a disturbing case of domestic abuse, The Taskmaster roughed up his female companion on multiple occasions, a move which would ultimately cost him both the match and his career.

With Benoit tied up in the tree of woe, Jacquelyn produced a random wooden chair from beneath the ring and smashed it over Sullivan's head.

Benoit then hit the flying head butt, and Kevin Sullivan's career was over.
Your Winner: Kevin Sullivan 

Post match, Jimmy Hart yelled at Sullivan for letting 'everybody' (presumedly the Dungeon of Doom) down.

Sullivan shoved Hart away, then walked away from the ring one last time with a tear in his eye.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit 

No sooner had Benoit's Four Horsemen music ended than it fired up again for our next match.

World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship
WCW US Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve 'Mongo' McMichael (w/ Queen Debra McMichael) 

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Debra & Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
As you might expect, this was not the best match on the card, but thankfully it was kept quite short to avoid sucking the life out of the whole show.

After Jeff Jarrett took control of the bout, Debra got up on the apron to distract the referee whilst Jarrett struck Steve McMichael with the Halliburton to win the match.
Your Winner and Still United States Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, Debra revealed that she had been in cahoots with Jarrett. The two embraced then walked off together, leaving poor Mongo oblivious as to the real life damage that his pro wrestling career would have on his marriage.

Up next, Mean Gene, being the judgemental prick that he was, claimed to be appalled by what just happened, but not so appalled that he couldn't stop to shill the WCW Hotline and introduce a commercial for next month's Road Wild PPV.

Rod The Bod and Hollywood Talk About Rod The Bod and Hollywood 

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Dennis Rodman & WCW Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan
From there, we went to one of those artsy, black-and-white nWo promos, this one featuring WCW Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan and his tag team partner for this evening, Dennis Rodman.

In a cringe-worthy promo, the two barely mentioned their opponents tonight, instead focussing on talking about themselves and how great they were.

This was basically five minutes of the two referring to themselves as 'Rod The Bod and Hollywood' over and over again because they were Rod The Bod and Hollywood and they loved Rod The Bod and Hollywood, and also, did I mention, Rod The Bod and Hollywood.


Scott Hall & Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Curt Hennig 

And so, after much hype, it was Curt Hennig who was revealed to be Diamond Dallas Page's partner.

This would have been even more of a surprise if we hadn't recently seen Hennig on Nitro and if he didn't walk out for his first PPV wrestling match since WWF Summerslam 1993 looking bored and miserable.

Seriously, Hennig looked like he really could not be bothered here.

That said, neither could anybody else.

 The amount of stalling in the opening moments of this match was off the charts, taking the shine off what was otherwise a decent, but not exactly brilliant, tag team match.

After a short while, Hennig turned on Page and wandered off, leaving him to the mercy of the New World Order.

Hall hit the Outsider Edge, Savage hit an elbow drop, and this one was over.
Your Winners: Scott Hall and Randy Savage  

It almost seemed like they were rushing things here because from there we dove right into another match.

Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. The Nature Boy Ric Flair 

WCW Bash At The Beach 1997 - Ric Flair vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper
For months, Rowdy Roddy Piper and The Nature Boy Ric Flair had been on the same page, joining forces with football star Kevin Greene to battle the nWo Wolfpac at WCW Slamboree 1997 before teaming up again to challenge The Outsiders for the tag team titles at last month's Great American Bash.

At that show, Flair got so caught up in brawling with Syxx that he ended up abandoning Piper altogether.

Naturally, The Hot Rod was not best pleased about this situation, and thus we had tonight's match, which was basically the two veterans chopping and kicking and punching each other for much longer than was necessary.

Watching the two trade strikes was fun for about a minute or so, but then it just got massively tedious.

The only thing that added any excitement was the arrival of Chris Benoit and Mongo McMichael. The former distracted the referee whilst the latter drilled Piper with a Tombstone Piledriver. Flair made the cover but Piper kicked out in what was a genuinely exciting moment.

Hot Rod then made Flair feel exactly the way I'd felt watching this match by putting him to sleep for the win.
Your Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper 

Finally, it was on to our main event.

Lex Luger & The Giant vs. WCW Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman (w/ Macho Man Randy Savage) 

WCW Bash at the Beach 1997 - Dennis Rodman teamed with Hulk Hogan to face Lex Luger & The Giant
Admittedly, tonight's main event wasn't for everyone.

If you're the kind of fan who values work rate and expert chain wrestling above all else, you'll likely say this one sucked.

If, on the other hand, you can appreciate the match for the entertainment spectacle that it was always meant to be, then hopefully you'll find it as enjoyable as I did.

The action was fairly basic, punctuated by a hilarious spot in which Dennis Rodman, in his first pro wrestling match ever, bust out an arm drag and a simple leapfrog and the announce team went nuts and sold it as though he'd just pulled off a Canadian Destroyer or something.

From there, we got a captivating main event which ended with an appearance from a man obviously fake Sting, who took out The Giant with a chair.

It didn't make any difference though, because Luger picked up Hogan and racked him for the win.
Your Winners: Lex Luger & The Giant 

Afterwards, Luger put Savage and Rodman in the rack too, but the three nWo stars wound up walking away as though they'd won the match.

Despite a few dips (the six Man Lucha libre mess, Jarrett/Mongo, Flair/Piper), the quality of this show was pretty solid from start to finish with plenty of enjoyable moments.

Being the event at which, a year previously, the nWo was born, that monumental occasion was always going to be hanging over tonight's show, but the majority of matches did enough to ensure that Bash at the Beach 1997 compared favourably to its more famous counterpart from 1996.

1997 events reviewed so far:
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
  12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
  13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
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Thursday, 5 April 2018

PPV REVIEW: NWA/WCW WrestleWar 1989: Music City Showdown

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Music City Showdown poster
May 7, 1989
Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee.

About six years ago, I got into my head the mad idea to watch and review every WWF/WWE pay per view from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. 

Thus, Retro Pro Wrestling was born.

Since that time, this whole blog has expanded into something bigger than I ever thought it would be, and I've since covered the beginning of the New World Order and all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff in between.

But look, sometimes, I get burned out following the history of modern pro wrestling chronological order for the sake of this blog, and simply want to watch wrestling for the sheer fun of it.

Normally, when this happens, I go digging through the WWE Network looking for something completely random to watch, and today - that completely random something just so happened to be this - the first ever Wrestlewar pay per view.

Was it worth the watch?

Let's find out together, shall we? 

Welcome to Wrestlewar '89

We began tonight with the opening credits, presented in all their late-80s neon glory with pictures of all tonight's stars appearing on screen like we were about to watch a daytime soap opera rather than a pro wrestling show.

Jim Ross and Bob Caudle introduced us to tonight's show, informing us that we would have no less than five title matches tonight.

From there, we got the American national anthem from some group named The Oak Ridge Boys, who I'm too lazy to Google but who basically look like a cheap knock Bee Gees knockoff.

Jim Ross then ran down the full card, including telling us that The Great Muta would be facing Junkyard Dog tonight.

Doug Gilbert vs. The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart)

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - The Great Muta beat Doug Gilbert As Muta made his entrance, Ross decided to tell us that JYD couldn't make it so Doug Gilbert would be filling in.

Seriously, did Ross just find that out when he noticed Gilbert in the ring? Would it not have been just as easy to announce him when he was running down the card just a second earlier?

Anyway, that aside, this was a good opening contest which delivered a lot in its short three minutes and sixteen seconds.

Muta looked awesome here whilst Gilbert was no slouch either. The two kept the pace quick and the action non-stop before The Pearl of the Orient hit a beautiful moonsault for the three count.
Your Winner: The Great Muta

Afterwards, Doug's brother 'Hotstuff' Eddie Gilbert jumped into the ring to confront Muta and his manager, the late Gary Hart.

To Be The Man...

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Lance Russell interviews Nature Boy Ric Flair against his title match with Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat
Backstage, Lance Russell interviewed The Nature Boy Ric Flair, who at this point in his career was only a five-time champion.

Flair styled and profiled his way through a typically charismatic promo in which he praised his upcoming opponent Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat as the greatest wrestler who ever lived, but still vowed to beat him when then met for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Hacksaw Butch Reed vs. Ranger Ross

Honestly, I'd never heard of Ranger Ross before tonight but he was certainly an interesting character.

A former United States Army Paratrooper, he came to the ring accompanied by a group of military people, wore full camouflage pants and carried an American flag, but then when he got to the ring he took the pants off and gyrated his hips like Rick Rude.

When he got some offence, which he didn't do often in this match, he busted out a little dance.

It might just be me, but I can't help think that he was some kind of cross between Corporal Kirchner and Ernest Miller.

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Hacksaw Butch Reed faced Ranger Ross
I tell you all this because it was the most interesting thing about the match besides the fact that Teddy Long showed up.

Long had apparently been fired by the NWA but had a visitors' pass so that he could come to the ring and take notes.

The actual action sucked, with Hacksaw dominating and spending five years working a chinlock before getting the win.
Your Winner: Hacksaw Butch Reed

Prior to the next match, US Champion Lex Luger rushed through a clumsy promo in which he said the title was the most important thing in the world to him and therefore there was no way Michael P.S. Hayes could get it off him.

Texas Bullrope Match
Captain Redneck Dick Murdoch vs. Bob Orton (w/ Gary Hart)

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Dick Murdoch vs. Bob Orton
This was something like a strap match except there was no silly slapping of the turnbuckles to win, and the rope that tied Dick Murdoch and Bob Orton together had an actual bull rope on it.

Though short, the match was actually pretty fun in an old-school brawl kind of way.

Murdoch won by drilling his opponent with the cowbell and pinning him, but this one was far from over.
Your Winner: Dick Murdoch

Afterwards, Gary Hart helped Orton launch a full-scale attack on Murdoch, even wrapping the rope around his neck and hanging him.

It was brutal and violent and a captivating way to end an engaging contest.

Bob Caudle Interviews Michael P.S Hayes

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Michael P.S Hayes talks to Lance Russell about his title match against Lex Luger
Out in the back, Michael P.S Hayes cut a terrific promo in which he promised to defeat Lex Luger without any help from the Fabulous Freebirds, without any foreign objects or anything.

This was great stuff from the future Hall of Famer.

Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Dynamic Dudes (Johnny and Shane)

Before the match got underway, Paul E. Dangerously got in some practice for his time as Brock Lesnar's advocate by taking to the mic to introduce Samu & Fatu to the live crowd.

After Dangerously had done his bit, two bleach-blonde surfer types named Johnny and Shane ran to the ring carrying honest to goodness skateboards.

It would have been far more impressive if they'd actually skated, but let's not nitpick.

For those of you who need it explaining, the Dynamic Dudes are Shane Douglas and Johnny 'Ace' Laurinitis.

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Dynamic Dudes vs. Samoan Swat Team (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)
The two had a look that just screamed 'jobber' and, alas, that's exactly what they looked like at first, getting absolutely destroyed by the Samoan Swat Team.

Yet in what we were told was a surprising upset, Shane got the win when he was about to be slammed by one of the Headshrinkers but Johnny dropkicked him. He landed on his opponent, got the three count, and this one was over.
Your Winners: The Samoan Swat Team

Out in the back, Lance Russell interviewed Lou Thesz, Pat O'Conner, and Terry Funk.

The trio had been brought in to act as judges for the upcoming Flair/Steamboat match as the two had a tendency to go long and wrestle to a draw. Having Thesz, O'Conner, and Funk to score them like in a boxing match would guarantee a winner.

The three gave some not very interesting comments about their judges role, whilst this writer wonders if a similar gimmick couldn't be used in today's product.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Heavyweight Championship
NWA United States Champion Lex Luger (w/ Some Random Men) vs. Michael P.S Hayes (w/ Hiro Matsuda)

NWA - Wrestlewar 1989 - Michael P.S. Hayes beat Lex Luger for the United States title
Lex Luger had a group of black men bust out a power jog alongside him as he walked to the ring which was never explained. The presence of Hiro Matsuda in Michael Hayes' corner wasn't acknowledged in the intros either, so I had to look that one up.

Anyway, this turned out to be an above-average match with an exciting finishing sequence in which Luger lifted Hayes up and press slammed him no less than three times before the Freebird countered the Torture Rack with a DDT.

Luger still looked to be in control, but referee Nick Patrick took a tumble, allowing Hayes' Freebird partner, Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy to sneak in and just kind of push Hayes on top of Luger.

A three count later and this one was over.
Your Winner and New United States Champion: Michael P.S Hayes

NWA - Wrestlewar 1989 - Sting talks to Lance Russell about his TV title match with The Iron Sheik
Backstage, Lance Russel stood by with Television Champion, Sting.

The Stinger was on some kind of mad sugar rush as he raves on about just how excited he was to be heading out to the ring.

Not once did he mention his opponent or his upcoming title defence, just how happy he was to be heading out there.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion Sting vs. The Iron Sheik (w/ Rip Morgan) 

Prior to this one getting underway, The Iron Sheik yelled at the ring announcer and forced him to inform the crowd that he was a former world champion.

Rip Morgan then attacked Sting from behind, and whilst the referee was busy admonishing Morgan for his behaviour, Sheiky Baby waylaid the champ with his Iranian flag.

Alas, despite such dirty deeds, tonight was not the night for Sheik to break Sting's back nor make him humble.

After just a short couple of minutes, the challenger found himself trapped in the Scorpion Deathlock and forced to submit.
Your Winner and Still NWA TV Champion: Sting

NWA - Wrestlewar 1989 - Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat cuts a backstage promo on hisopponent, Ric Flair
Backstage, Lance Russel interviewed World Champion Ricky 'The Dragon Steamboat about his upcoming defence against Ric Flair.

Never the greatest promo man in the world, Steamboat waffled his way through an awkward monologue about how the best man was going to win.

It was cringeworthy.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat vs. 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair

To give you some idea of the contrasting characters of Steamboat and Flair, the challenger came to the ring accompanied by a bevvy of 40 beauties, none of whom seemed too thrilled to be there.

Meanwhile, Steamboat was joined by his wife and son, who rode a pony to the ring for no real reason.

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Ricky Steamboat defends the NWA title against Ric Flair
After the introductions of both the competitors and our ringside judges, this one was on.

Not only was it on, it was also -as you might expect- the highlight of the night by a million miles.

For over 30 minutes, Flair and Steamboat put on a fantastic display of pro wrestling which proved beyond any doubt why they were both among the sport's all-time greats.

Though I doubt this was the kind of match that could happen today given the limited attention spans of modern audiences, it was still an absolute joy to watch.

After an outstanding effort from both men, Nature Boy rolled up The Dragon to capture his sixth Worlds title.
Your Winner and New NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

Post-match, Steamboat shook Flair's hand and raised his arm in a display of sportsmanship before Jim Ross entered the ring to get a few words from our new champion.

Not that he was able to get very many.

NWA Wrestlewar 1989: Terry Funk interrupts a post-match promo with new world champion Ric Flair
Flair was only just able to put Steamboat over as a great competitor and declare how proud he was to be the six-time champion before Terry Funk, one of the judges for the match, interrupted.

In fact, he interrupted several times, each time putting Flair over before challenging him for the title.

In response, Nature Boy claimed that whilst he respected The Funker, Terry had spent too much time out in Hollywood 'hanging with Sylvester Stallone' to be considered a top contender.

Besides, said Flair, as Champion, he was obligated to first defend the title against the NWA's own list of top ten contenders.

As you can imagine, Terry didn't take too kindly to this and promptly turned on The Nature Boy, beating him to a pulp outside the ring and Piledriving him onto a table.

This still being the 80s, the quality of wrestling tables hadn't yet declined to the point that they immediately broke on impact, so both Flair and Funk simply fell off it instead.

To finish, Terry blasted the fallen champion with a chair then yelled into Jim Ross' microphone that Flair was a 'horse-toothed, banana-nosed jerk!'

Ouch, mind your language Terry, there's kids present!

Nikita Koloff Will Not Be Intimidated

Cutting to the back, an enormous chin with a microphone Interviewed Nikita Koloff about Koloff's role as the special guest referee in tonight's upcoming tag team title match.

Nikita vowed not to be intimidated by either team, and insisted that he would be a fair, impartial referee.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Champions The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & Dr. Death Steve Williams w/ Games Master Kevin Sullivan) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

A short, fun, and explosive contest saw Hawk & Animal take the fight right to Mike Rotunda and Steve Williams and basically destroy them.

Yet just when it looked like we were one Doomsday Device away from new champions, Kevin Sullivan (who had been ordered to the back by Koloff) and Dan Spivey ran out to interfere.

A wild brawl ensued, resulting in the tag champs getting disqualified.
Your Winners via DQ: The Road Warriors (Varsity Club retain the titles)

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA United States Tag Team Champions The First Family (Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert & Rick Steiner w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. The Varsity Club (Games Master Kevin Sullivan & Dan Spivey)

NWA Wrestlewar 1989 - Missy Hyatt leads Eddie Gilbert and Rick Steiner to the ring
Gilbert and Sullivan (lol) began the match in the ring whilst Spivey attacked Rick Steiner on the outside and injured him by driving his shoulder into the ring post.

That left Eddie Gilbert to wrestle the entire match alone, making his win all the more impressive.

After a few minutes of decent action, Steiner snuck into the ring and blasted Sullivan with a vicious clothesline. Sullivan got the win, and this one was over.
Your Winners and Still NWA US Tag Team Champions: The First Family

Understandably upset about the result, Sullivan and Spivey attacked their opponents, with the latter even going after the delightful Missy Hyatt until Sullivan came to her aid.

Rotunda & Williams Stripped Of Their Titles

In their end-of-show wrap-up, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle informed us that Mike Rotunda and Steve Williams had been stripped of their Tag Team titles as punishment for the way that their earlier defence ended.

We then got some final thoughts from our commentators about the Flair/Funk situation, and that was the end of that.

Of all the random shows I could have chosen to review this week, I have no idea why I picked Wrestlewar '89.
I tell you what though, I'm glad I did.
Built around that epic Flair/Steamboat clash, this show had a lot to like about it, especially in the second half of the card.

If you're looking for something different to watch for a few hours, this is one show I definitely recommend.

Looking for more shows from 1989? See:

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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.