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 June 2018

TV REVIEW: WWE Smackdown: 27/11/09

Bridgeport, Conneticut

In the wake of their confrontation this Monday night on Raw, Batista and Kane go one on one to determine the number one contender to The Undertaker's World Heavyweight Championship whilst The Dead Man himself squares off in a non-title match with Chris Jericho.

NOTE: This an archived review written live at the time that WWE Smackdown aired on November 27th, 2009.

I'm archiving all my old reviews and including this one on Retro Pro Wrestling for the sake of prosperity.

Teddy Long books Chris Jericho against The Undertaker

Chris Jericho began tonight's show by heading to the ring to speak his mind and, as usual, the Unified Tag Team Champion had a lot to say.

After bragging about his confidence with regards to his upcoming TLC clash against DX and reminding everyone of his experience in previous TLC bouts, Jericho turned his attentions to the World Heavyweight Championship; imploring General Manager Teddy Long to insert him into the Number One Contender's match later in the show.

Instead, Long booked him into a non-title match against The Undertaker later on in the show, much to the dismay of Jericho and the delight of the Smackdown crowd.

Jericho was as brilliant as ever here and his interaction with the live audience and reaction to Long's announcement were especially enjoyable.

Cryme Tyme vs. The Hart Dynasty

Going at it again in yet another rematch, two of the only few full-time tag teams in the company nonetheless turned this rather pointless outing into a fun opening contest.

Despite the occasional brief flury of offence from Shad & JTG, it was David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd who dominated the bulk of the bout and eventually walked away with the win after a huge Saito Bomb from Smith to Shad Gaspard.
Your Winners: The Hart Dynasty

Back in Teddy Long's office, Vickie Guerrero and Eric Escobar interrupted a chat between the GM and Intercontinental Champion John Morrison. After first denying Escobar a shot at Morrison's title, Long quickly changed his mind when Vickie threatened to call Vince McMahon.

It feels like months since Escobar first arrived on our screens, and he still comes across as a glorified jobber.

CM Punk plugs Jeff Hardy's DVD

After introducing his new right-hand man Luke Gallows, claiming to have rescued the man formerly known as Festus and setting him off down the path of righteousness, CM Punk produced a copy of the new Jeff Hardy DVD and proceeds to lambast the former Smackdown star.

Not surprisingly, this raised the ire of Jeff's brother Matt Hardy, who headed to ringside to confront Punk.

Matt Hardy vs. CM Punk

With their exchange of words out of the way, Hardy and Punk let their fists do the talking as they locked up in a decent contest, trading the advantage until Gallows attacked and gave Hardy the win via DQ.
Your Winner via DQ: Matt Hardy

Afterwards, Gallows and Punk teamed up to deliver a brutal, entirely believable beat down to Hardy.

Josh Matthews interviewed Mickie James

Mickie James told Matthews that she would not let Michelle McCool's hurtful comments get to her, vowed to remain right where she is, and insisted that she had worked hard to get to Smackdown.

Funny, I could've sworn she simply moved over in the draft a few months back.

World Heavyweight Championship Number One Contender's match: Batista vs. Kane

After their confrontation on Raw earlier in the week, Batista and Kane collided for the opportunity to face Kane's brother, The Undertaker in a surprisingly good match.

Beating the hell out of each other, Kane and Batista delivered much more than this writer expected them to. The action spilled to the outside, where Big Dave attacked his foe with a chair then crawled into the ring to pick up the victory via count-out.
Your Winner via count-out: Batista

It's probably worth mentioning at this point that WWE Superstars debuts on Sky One on December 11th. From what I've read, that's a pretty good show, so I'll look forward to that one.

From the Vault: World Heavyweight Champion Edge retained his title against Batista in a 3-1 handicap match also featuring Curt Hawkings and Zack Ryder (Smackdown 2007)

Looking back at Edge and Vickie Guerrero's run as Smackdown's power couple, we get this passable effort as the duo conspire to keep the Big Gold Belt around the waist of the Rated R Superstar. It's hard to believe it's been two years since all this happened.

Intercontinental Championship: John Morrison defended against Eric Escobar (with Vickie Guerrero)

Even the flash and panache of the champion could do little do make Escobar stand out as anything remotely special in this forgettable contest which saw Morrison retain thanks to the Starship Pain.
Your Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: John Morrison

Angry at her boyfriend's loss, Vickie Guerrero dumped Escobar once the match was over. The two then stormed backstage, where Escobar let it be known that being with Vickie made him sick and that he was no glad their relationship was over.

Non-title match: World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker vs. Unified Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho

With a silent Dave Batista watching on from the commentators table, veteran performers Jericho and Undertaker put on a solid main event with a decidedly old-school feel.

Predictably, the end came when Batista got involved, costing Jericho the match on a disqualification.
Your Winner via DQ: The Undertaker

Batista continued his assault after the bell, yet whilst Punk's earlier post-match beat-down was good and believable, Big Dave's attack on The Undertaker was almost laughable, mainly because the chair he used to attack the champion was so flimsy it wafted through the air and struck with all the impact of your average baking tray.

Final Thoughts: 
Ever since Batista returned to Smackdown, a showdown with The Undertaker over the Big Gold Belt has been inevitable. That they've managed to go this long before booking the match is a blessing that many fans will surely be grateful for, even if we are now faced with what was otherwise looking to be a strong pay per view in TLC being tarnished by what is sure to be a dire outing between the two behemoths.

That aside, this week's Smackdown was mediocre at best, with nothing outstandingly good nor bad.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW World War 3 1997

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Event Poster
November 23, 1997
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

WCW's annual 60-man battle royal known as World War 3 has been criticised countless times in the past as a confusing mess of a concept that was difficult to watch and even harder to enjoy.

Yet as bad an idea as many of us thought it was (and let's be honest, World War 3 1996, the first WW3 PPV reviewed on Retro Pro Wrestling, was horrible), it must have done some good for the company in some way.

After all, what other excuses could there be for WCW bringing it back out for the third year in a row?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was 1997, and World War 3 was back.

Let's head down to the Palace of Auburn Hills and find out what went down this time around.

Wrestling is Like a Nuclear War

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our show tonight began with a video which showed a soldier in a gas mask surveying what looked like the scene of a previous nuclear war before locking sights on 'the biggest battle royal' ever.

It was cheesy, sure, but not quite as bad as some of the opening videos we'd seen from the company in the past.

From there, we went to our announcers for the evening - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who speculated on the winner of tonight's big 60 man battle royal.

But that was later, now we had a tag match to get the show underway.

Glacier & Ernest Miller vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart)

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Meng puts the Tongan Death Grip on Ernest Miller
After playing the defacto babyfaces when facing Glacier & Ernest Miller's arch-rivals Wrath & Mortis at the previous month's Halloween Havoc 1997, Meng & Barbarian were back in their natural heel role with Jimmy Hart in their corner for this fun-yet-instantly-forgettable opening match.

Never likely to win any match of the night honours, the bout did at least see Glacier and Miller getting creative with their offence, whilst The Faces Of Fear just being brutal was always fun to watch.

After an explosive finale, Meng murdered Ernest Miller with the Tongan Death Grip for the win.
Your Winners: The Faces of Fear 

Out in the back, Diamond Dallas Page chatted to Mark Madden about his role on tonight's show. Sadly I didn't catch what he said but I'm not convinced it was that important.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Saturn (w/ Raven) vs. Disco Inferno

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Perry Saturn defended the TV title against Disco Inferno
This was during the Raven's Flock days, so Raven and Saturn just climbed over the guardrail from the front row to begin their match.

'Let the stretching begin!' ordered Raven, and this one was on.

I'll be honest with you, I didn't have very high expectations for this match, but it actually turned out to be a decent see-saw battle with lots of good spots and a chance for Disco Inferno to look like a legitimate threat.

At least he did until he decided to randomly attack Kidman, Lodi, and Van Hammer, all members of Raven's flock.

This distraction was enough to let Saturn recover and pull Disco back into the ring.

There, the challenger once again got the upper-hand, but after flying off the top rope, he was wrapped up by Saturn and forced to submit to the Rings of Saturn.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Saturn

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - The Giant promised to win World War 3 a second time
Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund told us to call the hotline to find out who was in the 60 Man Battle Royal after which he interviewed the winner of World War 3 1996, The Giant.

Sporting a cast on his hand, The Giant promised to win again this year whilst getting revenge on Scott Hall for damaging his hand.

Yugi Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon
(If Dragon wins, he gets 5 minutes alone with Sonny Onoo)

If you recall, this whole feud started when Sony Onoo turned his back on Ultimo Dragon at Slamboree 1997, and sided with a bunch of different wrestlers to try and take out the former Cruiserweight champion.

After several failed attempts, Onoo got Yuji Nagata, who finally beat Dragon at Halloween Havoc 97.

After that match, both Nagata and Onoo had worked to injure Dragon's arm, giving us just cause for a return match tonight and the added stipulation that Dragon would get five minutes alone with his former manager should he win this one).

WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Ultimo Dragon wrestled Yuji NagataThe match turned out to be a step down from their previous meeting, but was still a solid encounter with much to enjoy,

Sadly, the finish wasn't one of those things that could be enjoyed.

After some shenanigans involving botched interference from Onoo, Nagata picked up his second straight PPV win over Dragon, rendering the entire stipulation meaningless.  #BecauseWCW
Your Winner: Yugi Nagata

Wasting no time, we got straight onto our next match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal vs. Squire David Taylor)

WCW World War 3 1997 - The Steiner Brothers defended the tag team titles against The Blue Bloods
The Blue Bloods just weren't the same without Chives. Still, it was nice to see them in a title match, even if said title match was a little disappointing.

On several occasions, Mike Tenay referred to this as 'The Masters of the Suplex vs. The Masters of the Mat,' but a more accurate description would have been 'Who Can Work an Arm Bar For the Longest Amount of Time?'

Not the best match in history, but I suppose it was a nice, easy win for the hometown champions.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene Okerlund had words with WCW Random Authority Figure, James J. Dillon.

Dillon told us that despite giving him airtime and the freedom to pretty much do whatever he wanted, Raven still hadn't officially signed a contract with World Championship Wrestling.

This was unacceptable, so Dillon and the whole WCW Executive Committee were now giving the former Scotty Flamingo 24 hours to sign on the dotted line or else face being banned from all future WCW events.

Except for this one, because Raven was in action next.

Raven's Rules Match
Scotty Riggs vs. Raven

WCW World War 3 1997 - Raven and Saturn
The story here was that Scotty Riggs was being recruited to Raven's flock, but would neither join nor attack Raven.

We started things with Kidman reminding Riggs that this was no DQ. Riggs replied by diving over the ropes and levelling Raven, Kidman, and Saturn with a suicide dive.

That beginning and the end of this one were pretty good, but like some kind of limp, out-of-date Supermarket sandwich, the bit in the middle was boring and bland.

The end saw Raven flatten Riggs with an Evenflow DDT whilst yelling on the mic that he didn't want to do this and that it was hurting himself more than it was hurting Riggs.

Raven then took a seat in the corner whilst the referee counted to ten.

With Riggs completely out of it, he was unable to answer and thus this one was over.
Your Winner: Raven

Afterwards, the rest of The Flock hit the ring and carried Riggs off into the crowd.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Bill Goldberg

WCW World War 3 1997 - Steve 'Mongo' McMichael attacked Bill Goldberg with a lead pipe
An often forgotten feud, superstar Bill Goldberg's first rivalry in WCW was against Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, but the two wouldn't get the chance to compete tonight because Mongo revealed that he'd attacked Goldberg from behind with a lead pipe and knocked him out.
No Contest

Mongo did brag that he was here to give the fans a show, and challenged any wrestler from the back to come out and face him.

That prompted his estranged wife, Debra McMichael to drag a reluctant Alex Wright to the ring for a rematch from Halloween Havoc.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright (w/ Debra McMichael)

I know that Mongo wasn't exactly Ric Flair between the ropes, but he had a charisma about him that I can't help but enjoy, and don't know why he was often the butt of jokes back in the day.

The match was fine but immediately forgettable and ended with a big win for the ex-football-player thanks to a tombstone piledriver.
Your Winner: Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

Out in the back, Saturn proved to be the very opposite of Mongo by having all the personality of a brick as he talked to Jeff Katz and Mark Madden for, insisting that he would do whatever it took to keep his TV title.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

Last month at Halloween Havoc, Rey Mysterio Jr. beat Eddie Guerrero to become Cruiserweight Champion in a Mask vs. Title match that remains one of -if not the- greatest Cruiserweight matches of all time.

Since then, Eddie had won the title back so that we could have yet another awesome rematch here tonight.

I'm tempted to say that this sequel wasn't quite as good as the original Mysterio/Guerrero classic, but honestly, it was still so good that you simply couldn't fault it.

After a dramatic contest, Eddie landed a big-time frog splash to pick up the win.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero

As we went into an elaborate, cinematic advertisement for Sting vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Starrrcade, one thing became apparent at this point - this was one of those shows where Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan had enjoyed a beverage or two.

It's a shame to hear the late, great legend fumbling through his lines.

No Disqualification Match for the World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Curt Hennig vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW War Games 1997 - Curt Hennig defended the US title against Ric Flair
Ric Flair and Curt Hennig had been at war since the latter had turned on the former -and the entire Four Horsemen- at Fall Brawl 1997 and joined the New World Order.

Tonight, the two looked to settle the score once and for all in a no holds barred brawl which, though it dragged in places, was still a mostly enjoyable affair.

After a lengthy battle, Hennig countered a figure four by blasting Nature Boy with the US title belt, and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Curt Hennig

When that, it was onto our main event.

World War 3
60 Man Battle Royal featuring Diamond Dallas Page, The Giant, Scott Hall, Buff Bagwell, Randy Savage, Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine, Barry Darsow, Psicosis, Super Calo, Lex Luger, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and more

WCW World War 3 1997 - Randy Savage, Buff Bagwell, The Giant in th 60 man battle royal
The nWo contingent came out for this one showing some love to the recently injured Syxx by wearing his t-shirt.

Meanwhile, half the fun was watching which completely random wrestlers were involved for WCW.

As well as the names listed above, we also had the undoubtable El Dandy, Kendal Windham, Bobby Blaze, Finlay, and dozens more.

That was more fun than the snoozefest that was the first part of the match. Even the new rules -that leaving the ring in any way, not just over the top rope, would count as an elimination- did anything to liven this one up.

When things went down to one ring for the inevitable battle between the New World Order and WCW's top level stars, things did get genuinely exciting, with a solid brawl that ended with The Giant and DDP cleaning house until only Scott Hall remained for the nWo.

It was at that point that WCW did come up with a genuinely creative surprise.

Hall pointed towards the entrance as the nWo's music hit. Both the fans and the announcers believed it would be Kevin Nash -who had failed to appear at the start of the match- finally putting in an appearance, but instead it was Hollywood Hogan, who helped Hall even the score and take the fight to Giant and Page.

Dallas got dumped, but before The Giant could win his Second World War 3 in a row, Sting descended from the rafters.

The announcers couldn't believe that Sting was here, nor could they believe that Sting eliminated The Giant. I can't believe that not once did any of the announcers -all intelligent men apparently- realise that Sting was now seven feet tall or that he'd both grown and dyed his hair, or that he looked in every possible way to be Kevin Nash in a Sting costume.

Of course, he was Kevin Nash in a Sting costume, and that meant Scott Hall was your World War 3 1997 winner.
Your Winner: Scott Hall

Afterwards, the nWo, including former D-Generation-X man Rick Rude, all held a celebration in the ring using DDP as their piƱata.

World Championship Wrestling's recent run of excellent pay per view offerings had finally come to an end with World War 3.

Yes, there were some good parts (Flair/Hennig and another incredible Mysterio/Guerrero outing spring immediately to mind), but any highlights were sandwiched between action which, whilst not necessarily bad, wasn't particularly memorable or exciting either.

Watch the two matches above, and maybe check it the ending of the battle royal for the ridiculousness of the announcers believing seven foot Kevin Nash was legitimately Sting, but otherwise not a show you need to see.

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 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
  20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood
  21. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1997
  22. WWF - Survivor Series 1997
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Thursday, 14 June 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1997

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 review - Event poster
October 26, 1997
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada

There's a lot of stuff that you can claim World Championship Wrestling got wrong during their brief-yet-memorable run throughout the 1990s, but promoting major main-event attractions wasn't one of them. 

Sure, Hollywood Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper were at the peak of neither their popularity nor their physical condition, and sure, the match wasn't going to be a technical classic to rival the kind of stuff we'd see on your average WCW undercard, but look, even in late-1997, Hogan vs. Piper was still a big deal, and WCW did a fantastic job of making it feel like one.

Tonight, the two would collide in a steel cage match which, no matter how it may have transpired, felt like the biggest match in the world as we went into WCW Halloween Havoc 1997.

Here's what happened when Hogan met Piper, when Hennig met Flair, and when two all-time greats put on the greatest Cruiserweight match ever.

Tonight, it's Hogan vs. Piper in a Cage!

Months ago at Uncensored 1997, Roddy Piper led a team into battle against Team WCW and Team NWO, with a cage match against Hulk Hogan being the reward up for grabs if Piper's team won.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 review - Dusty Rhodes Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Piper's team didn't win, but now that Piper was in charge he could -and had- booked that cage match anyway.

Our opening video tonight recapped the recent war of words between the two before taking us to the arena where Steve Blackman's theme music played and Tony Schiavone, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan were there to greet us.

The three, as usual, began by hyping tonight's main event before taking us down to ringside for our first match.

Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 review - Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) faced Ultimo Dragon
After turning his back on Ultimo Dragon at Slamboree 1997 Sonny Onoo had been at war with his former charge, first sending in an army of luchadores to try -and fail- to take Dragon down before finally recruiting Yuji Nagata to do his bidding.

Nagata and Dragon went at it tonight in a very good opening match that really set the right tone for the rest of the show and was a pure joy to watch.

After an excellent battle, Nagata came out on top, finally giving Onoo one up on his rival.
Your Winner: Yuji Nagata

Afterwards, Nagata and Onoo attacked Dragon's arm. This one, apparently, wasn't over yet.

Disco and Jackie Hate Each Other

Out in the back, Disco Inferno bragged to's Mark Madden about how he was going to beat Jacqueline in their upcoming mixed gender TV title match.

Jackie then ran up to tell Disco that he needed to shut up, and then chased him off for good measure.

Special Unadvertised Bonus Match
Gedo vs. Chris Jericho

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Chris Jericho beat Gedo in an unadvertised match
You've got to admire the way 'pulled together at the last minute' becomes 'Special Unadvertised Bonus Match.'

You've also got to admire the way Chris Jericho turned up the intensity in this short -though very enjoyable- bout.

Mixing lucha-style action with the hard-hitting offence of traditional puroreso, this was a very good effort from both men, apart from one moment when a top-rope hurricanrana attempt by Jericho went awry and both he and his opponent nearly died.

Somewhat predictably, Jericho got the win with the Lion Tamer.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Out in the back, beautiful southern belle, Debra McMichael told Mean Gene Okerlund that she was the real star between her and her husband, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Debra and Steve McMichael argue backstage with Mean Gene
Though I may have this wrong (and I'm not sure it's important enough to check), it was implied that a stipulation had been put in place where Debra would have to leave WCW if her husband Mongo beat an opponent of Debra's choosing.

Speaking of Mongo, he came ranting and raving onto the scene so that he and his estranged wife could have a domestic live on air about whether or not Debra could keep her diamond ring and credit cards.

I don't care what anyone says, these two were pretty fun characters for their time, and yes it helped that Debra was more stunning than I think I ever gave her credit for back in the 90s.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship  Title vs. Mask Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio had the best cruiserweight match ever
Yes, it's this match, one of -if not the greatest Cruiserweight matches of all time and one of my own personal top five favourite matches ever.

I mean, seriously, from start to finish, this title vs. mask match was an absolute masterpiece, a work of art that stands the test of time as undeniable proof that Rey Mysterio Jr. and the late Eddie Guerrero are among the greatest in-ring performers of their generation.

Plus, it helped that -unlike a lot of Cruiserweight PPV bouts- the crowd were seriously into this one all the way through.

A true must-see contest, this one ended with a win for Mysterio via a sick top-top hurricanrana that looked almost as brutal as the earlier Jericho/Gedo one.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Post-match, an irate Eddie Guerrero attacked the new Champion.

Call 1-900 909 9900

Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene told us to call the hotline to find out who was in the newest backstage clique was in WCW.

A Word With Bischoff and Hogan

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan claimed Hogan wouldn't wrestle Piper
Out in the back, Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff cut one of those edgy black and white promos in which they insisted that Hogan wouldn't wrestle tonight unless they got a contract saying that Sting wasn't allowed in the building.

Hogan played up like WCW were the bad guys if they didn't agree to this because they'd be depriving the fans of seeing Hollywood beat Piper.

This promo was far too long for what it was, and to be honest I switched off after about two minutes.

World Championship Wrestling
Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright (w/ Alex Wright)

The more WCW I watch, the more I find myself repeating the sentence I'm about to type below:

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Debra McMichael led Alex Wright into battle against Mongo
This was a passable match with a weird finish.

After a few minutes of decent but largely forgettable action (apart from one hilarious spot where Alex Wright tapped Mongo on the back to push him into the ropes and Mongo sold it like he'd just been stabbed), McMichael looked to have the win when -get this- Bill Goldberg came out.

Debra distracted the referee whilst Goldberg first speared, then Jackhammered Mongo, and did it so close to the referee that said referee would have to be a complete moron not to realise that he was there.

Goldberg then picked up Wright and dropped him onto Mongo, the referee turned around, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Alex Wright

Afterwards, Debra thanked Goldberg by giving him Mongo's Super Bowl ring. Alex Wright -now celebrating his third straight PPV win in a row- went to shake the big man's hand, but got beat up and jackhammered instead.

So yeah, that happened. Bill Goldberg, the man who went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 90s, starting his career in a random feud with Steve McMichael in the role of Debra's errand boy.

Macho is Here Because He Wants to Be

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth
In another nWo promo, Macho Man Randy Savage, flanked by Miss Elizabeth, rambled on about Hogan, Bischoff and the cage match before claiming that he didn't really care about that at all.

What he really cared about -in his own insane way- was his upcoming Sudden Death Match against Diamond Dallas Page.

Offering her two cents, Liz told Savage that DDP didn't belong anywhere near Savage, to which Randy replied by going on a sponsored tangent about Slim Jims.

It was a typically batshit crazy Savage promo, and, weirdly, it worked.

Non-Title Inter-Gender Match
WCW World TV Champion Disco Inferno vs. Jacquelyn

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Jacqueline Moore beat Disco Inferno
I'm never entirely sure which spelling of Jacquelyn she used, so we'll go with this one for this inter-gender match.

Things began with Jackie ready to rumble but Disco stalling for about an hour on the grounds that e didn't want to hit a woman.

'This is absurd!' he yelled, and I couldn't agree more.

In fact, the whole first half of the match was a ridiculous -and tedious- game of cat and mouse that saw Jacqueline struggle to catch Disco.

When she did, she basically kicked his ass, rolled him up and pinned him.

Nothing against the future Hall of Famer, she was always fun to watch, but either she nor Disco benefited at all from this, and those of us who had to watch it suffered the most.
Your Winner: Jacqueline

Moving on...

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Curt Hennig vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Curt Hennig attacks Ric Flair's knee using the ring post
Ric Flair and US Champion Curt Hennig had been at war since the latter had betrayed the former the previous month at Fall Brawl 1997, turning his back on The Four Horsemen (which he'd only just joined) to become the newest member of the New World Order.

Since then, the United States title had come into the picture, with Hennig getting the belt away from Mongo, and thus we had our match tonight.

A few years earlier, this battle between Flair and his former Executive Consultant could have been an all-time classic.

Tonight, it wasn't, but it was still the very best match that both men were capable of at this stage in their careers.

That's not a criticism either, this was a very good, old-school pro wrestling match full of passion and emotion.

It ended when Flair tied Hennig up in a tree of woe, put the US Title over the champ's face, and kicked it.

The referee called for the bell, so Flair decked him one for good measure.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WCW US Champion: Curt Hennig

Post-match, a gaggle of referees ran down to stop Flair from destroying Hennig. When they couldn't do it, Konnan and Vincent ran down to help out their nWo buddy.

JJ Dillon Gives Hogan What He Wants

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - JJ Dillon presents Eric Bischoff with the contract saying Hogan must wrestle
After a brief clip that saw Macho Man Randy Savage taking to Mark Madden for, we got Mean Gene Okerlund talking to JJ Dillon out in the entrance way.

JJ claimed that everyone was sick of being bullied by the New World Order, and then when Eric Bischoff came down to once again insist that Hogan wouldn't wrestle, Dillon pulled out a piece of paper which apparently was the contract saying Hogan was legally obligated to wrestle.

That caused Bischoff to rant and rave that Dillon didn't have the authority to make the match, but  Dillon did, and the match was on...

....but not yet.

Scott Hall (w/ Syxx) vs. Lex Luger
Special Referee: Larry Zybysko

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Scott Hall and Syxx are just too sweetAfter taking it upon himself to count the winning fall in last month's DDP/Luger vs. Savage/Hall bout at Fall Brawl, Larry Zybysko was officially the erm, official, for this below average contest.

The only interesting thing here was the mounting tension between Zybysko and Scott Hall, Syxx, and Bischoff, the latter of whom came down towards the finish.

The rest of the bout was so boring that I honestly stopped watching at one point.

The end came when Bischoff distracted Zybysko and Syxx kicked Luger in the head.

Despite not wanting to, Larry was forced to count the fall and this one was over...
Your Winner: Scott Hall

...or was it.

Suspecting something was up, Zybysko called for a replay on the big screen and, after seeing that shenanigans had been involved, restarted the bout.

Hall returned to the ring, walked straight into a Torture Rack and lost the match.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterwards, Hall and Bischoff beat up Zybysko and, adding insult to injury, Bischoff put his foot on Larry's chest whilst Hall counted to three.

A commercial for next month's World War 3 1997 followed, and then it was onto our next match.

Las Vegas Sudden Death Match
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Randy Savage and DDP beat each other senseless
Using some hitherto unknown definition of the term 'sudden death,' this was basically your typical Last Man Standing / Texas Death Match in which the only way to lose was to fail to meet the referee's count of ten.

Diamond Dallas Page came dressed for war in jeans, boots, and ribs bandaged up to sell the recent injuries to that area caused by the nWo, Savage wore a walking advertisement for Slim Jim, which was weird given how anti-establishment the New World Order were supposed to be.

Though this wasn't as good as their memorable outing at Spring Stampede 1997 it was still a decent effort from both men, and both women.

A surprising highlight came when Elizabeth smashed some kind of pizza tray over the referee's head and knocked him out, then began choking out Page with a TV cable.

Kimberly then rushed out and dragged Liz to the back by her hair. After that, the match, which had been pretty mediocre up to this point, finally got good.

At least it did until the finish, when a fake Sting (later claimed to be Hogan) came out and blasted Page with a bat.

Dallas couldn't beat the ten count, and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner: Randy Savage 

Cue Michael Buffer, it was time for our main event of the evening...

Cage Match
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Piper vs. Hogan in a steel cage
Piper came out carrying Hogan's title belt despite not being the champion and this not being a title match.

I've tried not to rag on WCW for being, well, WCW, but the more I review these late-90s shows, the more I find myself seriously scratching my head.

Meanwhile, the cage was the old-school WWF style rather than the mesh style preferred by the company in usual matches, with the bars so far apart that Rey Mysterio and his fellow Cruiserweights could have easily have slipped through them and still had room to wear a backpack.

I mention this because it was more interesting than anything that happened in the ring for the first couple of minutes.

That was until the door came open and the action spilled outside of the cage.

With no referee on the inside of the ring, I'd assumed that the only way to win was to escape,  but that clearly wasn't the case, so at this point, I was both bored and confused.

Hogan tried to walk to the back, but Sting -or at least another, pro-WCW Fake Sting, arrived, pointed his bat at him, and kept him distracted long enough for Piper to come and beat Hollywood back into the ring.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 - Piper vs. Hogan in a cage 2
As both Piper and Hogan tried to climb out of the cage (despite showing us they could go out of the door), another Sting arrived.

A bunch more also got involved, each one looking more like they bought a knock-off Sting costume from the Dollar Store than the last.

The only highlight came when Randy Savage rushed down and leapt from the top of the cage, which was legitimately tall as hell, but missed Piper and nailed Hogan.

Piper then slapped the sleeper on, and Randy Anderson, who had randomly decided to enter the ring despite the announcers earlier making a big deal out of there being no referee, called it.
Your Winner: Rowdy Roddy Piper

Afterwards, Bischoff ran to the ring whilst Savage and Hogan handcuffed Piper to the cage and destroyed him.

To finish, a 'fan,' clearly a plant, climbed into the cage and got his Ass handed to him by Hogan and Savage before Doug Dillinger and a bunch of officials dragged him away to end this mess once and for all.

When I say mess, I really do mean it. That main event was god awful, and was exactly why people so heavily criticise some of the decisions WCW made back in the day.

That, and a couple of other weird booking choices made Halloween Havoc 1997 a disappointing show, especially given how awesome Fall Brawl and Road Wild 97 had turned out to be.

Still, this was the show that gave us the classic Guerrero vs. Mysterio Match, and for that alone it was worth sitting through whatever I just sat through for the last three hours.

Honestly, if you only do one thing after reading this review, make it watching that match.

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 
  15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
  16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
  17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
  18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
  19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
  20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood 
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Thursday, 7 June 2018

TV REVIEW: WWE Smackdown: 04/12/09

Hampton, Virginia

Just nine days away from TLC, The Undertaker plans to call out his upcoming opponent, Batista, whilst Jerishow prepare for their TLC match against DX with a match against Cryme Tyme.

Here's what went down.

NOTE: This an archived review written live at the time that WWE Smackdown aired on December 4th, 2009.

I'm archiving all my old reviews and including this one on Retro Pro Wrestling for the sake of prosperity.

R-Truth vs. CM Punk (w/ Luke Gallows)

Wasting no time in getting down to the action tonight, The Straight-Edge Saviour CM Punk battled R-Truth in a good opening contest.

Punk worked over his opponent's arm in the early going, allowing him to dominate the bulk of this entertaining bout before Truth began to make the inevitable comeback. Unfortunately, said comeback was cut-off by Punk's right-hand man, Luke Gallows, leading to a DQ finish.
Your Winner by disqualification: R-Truth

Afterwards, Gallows and Punk continued to annihilate R-Truth and looked rather pleased with themselves as a result.

Kane vs. Mike Knox

Fresh from his brief cameo in the Undertaker/Batista feud, The Big Red Machine locked horns with the infrequently-seen Mike Knox for seemingly no reason.

The match itself was so dull that commentators Matt Striker and Todd Grisham ignored it completely, choosing instead to hype up the Undertaker vs. Batista match at TLC. Kane chokeslammed Knox to end the contest.
Your Winner: Kane

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show regarding their match against DX at TLC. Jericho, as strong as ever on the microphone, was the mouthpiece for his team; promising to end DX once and for all at the pay per view and putting over Big Show as a monster in a pretty solid promo.

From the vault: Mark Henry vs. Finlay & Hornswoggle (Smackdown 2007)

Taking a look back to the days when Finlay actually had something do to (even if it was hanging around with that annoying leprechaun) and Mark Henry was a bland babyface, we get this handicap match from November 2007. Henry was defeated when Finlay nailed him with a shelaglah after which Hornswoggle hit the Tadpole Splash for the win. Following the match, The Great Khali arrived on the scene and destroyed Finlay.

Triple Threat match to determine the number one contender to the WWE Women's Championship: Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Natayla

With Women's Champion Michelle McCool and her BFF Layla hanging out at ringside, their rival Mickie James fought to earn a shot at McCool's belt in a decent match against Natalya and The Glamazon. Mickie was tossed from the ring in the early going, leaving the two blonde grapplers to put on a good show and carry the bulk of the contest.

The end came when Beth hit Nattie with the Glam Slam. James then dropkicked Phoenix out of the ring and stole the pinfall for herself to end an enjoyable bout that surpassed anything we've seen from the Raw girls in a long time.
Your Winner and new number one contender: Mickie James

Afterwards, Mickie James took the microphone from Josh Matthews; vowing not only to take the Women's Championship from Michelle McCool, but also to extract revenge from her and Layla for all the hurtful things they'd done over the last several weeks. James then shoved McCool, but was quickly outnumbered by the champion and Layla.

A returning Maria made the save before she and Mickie celebrated with the crowd.

Rey Mysterio set to return

Backstage in Teddy Long's office, Batista confronts the GM over a challenge laid down by Rey Mysterio. Big Dave agreed to a street fight against the master of the 619 on next week's show, providing his hold-harmless agreement remains intact.

The Animal also complained about The Undertaker's plans to call him out later on the show, but Long insisted he could do nothing about that.

Non-title match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre

In a match he apparently requested, Intercontinental Champion John Morrison took it to Drew McIntyre in the early going, but it was the Sadistic Scot who walked away with a surprise victory after planting JoMo with a Kobashi DDT following several minutes of enjoyable back-and-forth action.
Your Winner: Drew McIntyre

The show returned from a commercial break to find Vickie Guerrero in the ring. Smackdown's consultant was fantastic at riling up the already excitable crowd with her usual 'excuse me!' catchphrase before calling out her former lover, Eric Escobar, and demanding an apology for the way he spoke to her last week.

When Escobar refused, Guerrero booked him in a handicap match against the Hart Dynasty, which begs the question as to when a consultant was granted booking power?

Handicap match: Eric Escobar vs. The Hart Dynasty

Despite his best efforts, Escobar was overpowered and outwrestled by his opponents in a passable outing, with Smith and Kidd picking up the win thanks to the Hart Attack.
Your Winners: The Hart Dynasty

In the post-match, Tyson Kidd brought Vickie Guerrero back to the ring, holding her ex in place whilst she administered a hefty slap to Escobar's chops.

Luke Gallows Speaks

Heading backstage once more, Josh Matthews caught up with CM Punk and Luke Gallows. The man formerly known as Festus told Matthews that his days walking around in a comatose state was as a result of his friends and family pushing pills on him and claims that CM Punk saved him. Furthermore, Gallows hoped that more lost souls could turn their lives around by following the Straightedge lifestyle.

Non-title match: Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & the Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme (Shad Gaspard & JTG)

As they look to battle DX in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match at the TLC pay per view next Sunday, Unified Tag Champions Jerishow set their sights a little lower on tonight's show as they clashed with Cryme Tyme in a fairly good main event.

Following a short, explosive exchange of offence between the two teams, Big Show knocked out Shad Gaspard (now sporting short hair, for anyone interested in that kind of thing) with his Big Fist of doom to earn the victory for his team.
Your Winners: Chris Jericho & The Big Show

Having hyped up a confrontation between The Undertaker and Batista all evening, Smackdown heads towards the finish-line with the World Heavyweight Champion making his way to the ring to a thunderous ovation from the Hampton crowd.

Unfortunately for The Dead Man, his entrance was cut-short thanks to a surprise assault from Batista. The Animal attacked the champion from behind with a steel chair, and in a repeat of last week's show, proceeded to decimate him in the ring with more chair shots and a blow to the head with the Big Gold Belt.

Big Dave then posed with both chair and title belt as Smackdown drew to a close.

Final Thoughts: Despite that deathly dull outing from Kane and Knox at the start of the show, tonight's edition of Smackdown was nonetheless very enjoyable. CM Punk vs. R-Truth should probably pick up Match of the Night honours, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a tag team match pitting Punk & Gallows against Truth and Matt Hardy on next week's show (remember, Hardy suffered a similar fate at the hands of Punk & Gallows on last week's show).

Speaking of future booking plans, following Drew McIntyre's victory over John Morrison tonight, can we expect a title match between the two, possibly at TLC? I hope so, and I also hope that Morrison retains whenever they do meet over the gold, even though everything suggests the Scotsman is in for a title reign at some point in the near future.

On the negative side, I complained about it in the report, but I'm struggling to comprehend why Vickie Guerrero, who was hired only to help Teddy Long as a consultant, is suddenly granted the authority to book matches as she pleases.

Remembering Umaga
Over the past weekend, news emerged that Eki 'Eddie' Fatu, who competed in the WWE as recently as this spring as Umaga, had sadly passed away.

Umaga was a talented performer, playing the Big Monster role almost to perfection, and his Royal Rumble 2007 Last Man Standing match for the WWE championship against John Cena remains arguably as one of his career highlights. My thoughts go out to the friends and family of The Samoan Bulldozer.

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.