Thursday, 16 August 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Uncensored 1998

WCW Uncensored 1998 - PPV REVIEW
March 15, 1998
Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama

For wrestling fans growing up in the late 1980s, there was no hotter feud, no story better laid out than the union -and later separation- of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage. 

After Savage triumphed in a never-ending tournament at Wrestlemania 4 to become our new World Wrestling Champion, he and former champion Hogan would form an alliance known as The Mega Powers.

As two of the biggest stars on the planet, it seemed that nothing could get in the duo's way. Nothing, of course, besides the champion's own ego and rampant jealously.

Convinced Hogan was out to steal his woman, Miss Elizabeth, Savage turned on Hogan, and at Wrestlemania 5, The Mega Powers finally exploded.

To this day, it remains one of wrestling's best-loved stories, so it's little wonder that, years later, World Championship Wrestling would look to recapture that same magic by pitting Hogan and Savage in a long-awaited rematch.




That rematch was tonight, but with both men past their prime,  not to mention WCW's reputation for making some rather questionable booking decisions, would The Mega Powers explode once again, or go out on a whimper?

Let's get down to Mobile, Alabama to find out.

The Mega Powers Explode Again

Our show tonight began with an edgy looking intro that highlighted the main event rivalry between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and his nWo teammate, Macho Man Randy Savage.

The World Heavyweight title match, pitting champion Sting against Scott Hall, was also featured, but mainly as an afterthought.

From there, Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan told us that tonight's main event would be a cage match. Brain also implied that Scott Hall beating Sting for the world title later might cause some tension between him and nWo leader, Hogan.

With that, it was onto our opening match.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Booker T vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chavo Guerrero)

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Booker T defended the TV title against Eddie Guerrero
A few days earlier, on WCW Thunder, Eddie Guerrero had faced his nephew, Chavo Guerrero Jr. with the stipulation that, if Chavo won, Eddie would have to renounce his evil ways and go back to being a respectful guy, but if Eddie won, Chavo would basically have to be his Virgil.

Chavo lost, and so came out here to watch his uncle challenge Booker T for the TV title in a tremendous opening contest.

Though it lacked the drama and intensity that many of WCW's PPV openers had displayed in the past, Eddie vs. Booker was great fun and set a perfect tone for the rest of the show.

After a good effort, Booker pinned Guerrero to retain the title he'd won just a month earlier at Superbrawl VIII.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Booker T

Afterwards, Eddie lambasted his nephew for not helping him out then kicked his ass to boot.

Special Challenge Match
Konnan vs. Juventud Guerrera

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Juventud Guerrera faced Konnan
By 'Special Challenge Match,' WCW basically meant 'Match.'

The story here was that Konnan felt Juventud Guerrera had let the luchadores down by losing his mask to Chris Jericho at Superbrawl VIII, but Juvi thought Konnan had abandoned the luchadores anyway by joining forces with the nWo.

Thus we had ourselves a match, and a pretty decent one at that.

Yes, a lot of Konnan's offence, which was supposed to be 'unique' and 'innovative' just looked sloppy and terrible, but the effort was there and for what it was, this one turned out to be fine.

Setting the WCW precedent of 'lose your mask, get a push,' Juvi rolled up K-Dog for the big win.
Your Winner: Juventud Guerrera

Not that he looked like a winner for very long - Konnan quickly recovered, splattered his rival with a cradle DDT, then hurled him out of the ring.

Dillon Makes the Powerbomb Legal

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Mean Gene interviews JJ Dillon
After Kevin Nash dropped The Giant on his head like a sack of crap at Souled Out 1998, the powerbomb had been banned, but apparently, The Giant had asked for it to be allowed just for tonight.

Out in the entrance way, J.J. Dillon told Mean Gene Okerlund that, because this was Uncensored, he and the WCW Executive Committee had acquiesced to Giant's request, and the move would be allowed later.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko 

This was during the time that Chris Jericho was doing his famous 'Man of 1,004 Holds' gimmick in his heated rivalry with Dean Malenko.

Whilst we didn't get to see anywhere near that many holds today, we did get to see a very good Cruiserweight match with lots to enjoy.

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Chris Jericho defends the Cruiserweight title against Dean Malenko
Following a long battle, Jericho locked on the Lion Tamer to win the match.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho

Post-match, a really angry Gene Okerlund proved why they call him 'Mean Gene' when he came to the ring and yelled at Malenko for a good few minutes, even straight out calling him a loser.

'Where does Dean Malenko go from here?' asked Okerlund.

'Home,' replied The Ice Man.

I swear down, Gene could be a real asshole sometimes.

Raven is Ready for DDP and Krispin Wah

Out in the back, Raven spoke to Mark Madden and Lee Marshall for WCW.com and told them that he was going to beat Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Benoit when they met for the US title later on in the show.

Scott Steiner vs. Lex Luger

WCW Uncensored 1998 - PPV Review - Scott Steiner faced Lex Luger
At Superbrawl VIII, Scott Steiner had turned his back on brother Rick Steiner in order to join the nWo and set up his transformation into Big Poppa Pump.

That meant a meeting between the Steiner Brothers was sure to be a big thing, but instead of booking that, they put the younger Steiner, now with bleached blonde hair and goatee, in a match with Lex Luger instead.

As matches go, this one wasn't bad, but it was easily the worst thing on the card up to this point.

After some rather nondescript action, Scott Norton and Rick Steiner both ran in, and Luger pulled a three-count from the resulting confusion.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterwards, the two Scotts attacked but got beat up by the one Total Package and the one Dog Faced Gremlin.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Triple Jeopardy Match
WCW United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven vs. Chris Benoit

What a match, seriously.

WCW Uncensored 1998 - PPV Review - Diamond Dallas Page
A three-way, no holds barred, falls count anywhere match for the ages, this one combined ECWesque hardcore brawling, hard-hitting wrestling, and some unique spots including a three-way collar-and-elbow tie-up and the biggest three-way German suplex you've ever seen.

A truly awesome match that only got better and better as it went on, this one ended when DDP hit the Diamond Cutter on Raven from the top rope to win the match.
Your Winner and Still WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page

Post-match, Hammer dragged Raven from the ring whilst Chris Benoit showed his respect for the champ by helping him up.

Whilst the ring crew cleaned up following that wild brawl, the announcers took the time to hype our remaining upcoming matches.

Kevin Nash vs. The Giant

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Big Sexy Kevin Nash vs. The Giant
The Giant came to the ring wearing a neck brace, still selling Nash's Crapknife Powerbotch from Souled Out.

Yet rather than be scared of the huge, pissed off monster out for revenge, or even taking him seriously, Kevin Nash decided to goof around for a while until Giant clobbered him with a decapitating clothesline.

From there, the match was actually pretty good from a storytelling standpoint, with Big Sexy working over the injured neck of his opponent but The Giant using pure rage to fight back.

Just when it looked like he might have a big win, however, Brian Adams hit the ring and attacked him.

Vincent, Konnan, and Scott Norton then ran in for NWO Beatdown #5012, but a pissed off Giant beat them all up and sent them packing.
Your Winner via Disqualification: The Giant

Up next, we got a hotly anticipated King of the Ring 1993 rematch.

Curt Hennig (w/ Rick Rude) vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Curt Hennig consults Rick Rude before facing Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Unfortunately, Curt Hennig vs. Bret Hart in 1998 didn't quite live up to the match they'd had five years earlier, nor did it stand up to their memorable passing-of-the-torch classic at Summerslam 1991, though that was partly due to the story they were trying to tell.

That story was that Bret had to overcome not only a talented wrestler in the former Mr Perfect, but also the aggressive Rick Rude, who ran interference throughout.

Still, this was a decent outing that ended when Hart reversed a roll-up and slapped on the Sharpshooter.
Your Winner: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

Afterwards, Rude destroyed Hart, even breaking him with the Rude Awakening, then he and Curt celebrated.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Scott Hall (w/ Dusty Rhodes)

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Scott Hall challenged Sting for the WCW title
Scott Hall had earned his title shot by winning World War 3 1997, then aligned himself with Dusty Rhodes when The American Dream helped him in his rivalry with Larry Zybysko.

Tonight, he got that shot against reigning champion Sting in a match which had none of the big-time, main event feel you'd expect from a PPV world title match.

That's to take nothing away from the competitors. Both did their best to deliver an entertaining contest, but WCW had focussed the entire show on Hogan/Savage and made this seem like an afterthought, so it came off more like a mid-card Nitro bout than a top-level title match.

Anyway, Sting got the win after reversing the Outsiders Edge into a Scorpion Death Drop for the three count.
Your Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

As the cage was put into place for our main event, we got a promo for next month's Spring Stampede, which compared Bill Goldberg to a baby cow and showed us some guy riding a rodeo bull.

Cage Match
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

WCW Uncensored 1998 - Miss Elizabeth leads Randy Savage into battle against Hulk Hogan
And so, in our big Wrestlemania 5 rematch, we got nWo vs. nWo for the first time in a big-time cage match.

This wasn't on par with that Mega Powers explosion, but it was one of Hogan's better pay per view main events in a long while.

Still, that's not actually saying much as long stretches of this nearly out yours truly to sleep (and not in the way Roddy Piper had put Hogan to sleep in his last cage match at Halloween Havoc 1997).

As if that wasn't bad enough, the ending was confusing and disappointing.

Savage climbed the cage ready to drop the Elbow, but The Disciple appeared and pulled Hogan out of harms way.

Savage climbed down for a showdown with Hogan and Booty Disciple Barber Man, but then Sting, who had been in something of a loosely-formed alliance with Savage in recent weeks, descended from the rafters.

Why he had to do that when he'd just walked down the aisle earlier in the show is beyond me.

Anyway, we then got a standoff, but Savage clotheslined Sting and stormed off, claiming that even though he had never liked Hogan, he was still nWo 4 life.
No Contest

That was dumb and a poor ending to a poor match.






If it wasn't for the main event, WCW Uncensored 1998 would get almost universal praise from an in-ring standpoint.

Not every match was a five star gem, but almost everything before Hogan vs. Savage ranged from decent to solid, whilst the three-way US title bout is a must see.

You know, I used to be sceptical when people would say that WCW pay per views had great undercards with terrible main events, but the more I watch, the more I see just how true that is.

Here's to Spring Stampede.

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
More WCW Uncensored reviews 
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.