Thursday, 13 September 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Slamboree 1998

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - EVENT POSTER
May 17, 1998 
The Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts 

By the spring of 1998, something that at one point had seemed almost impossible was becoming a reality: 

World Championship Wrestling - a company which, for a fleeting moment in history had been the hottest pro wrestling company in the world- was starting to lose its battle against the World Wrestling Federation - a company that just a few years earlier seemed destined to go out of business.

If ever there was a sign that WCW was getting desperate in its attempts to dethrone the WWF once and for all, it was tonight - where head honcho Eric Bischoff had challenged Titan Sports kingpin Vince McMahon to meet him in the middle of the ring.

Though it was an obvious publicity stunt, that didn't stop Bischoff & Co. from making it the main focus of their latest PPV, Slamboree 1998.

As we'll soon find out, every other segment on the show was centred around Bischoff/McMahon.

But does that mean the show as a whole was as terrible as it sounds?

See for yourself:





Welcome to Slamboree

We begin tonight with an odd opening video interspersing shots of buildings crumbling with shots of stars Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Sting, and The Giant.

This took us to our announcers for the evening, Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and, of course, the one and only Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

Eric Bischoff Challenges Vince McMahon

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Vince McMahon's WCW full access pass
After reminding us of the two main event matches, the trio took us back to a clip from WCW Thunder in which Eric Bischoff claimed that despite receiving a cease and desist from Vince McMahon's lawyers, he was still challenging the WWF owner to a fight on tonight's show.

That took us to a clip from earlier in the day in which WCW Head of Security Doug Dillinger waited outside the arena which a bunch of fans for McMahon's arrival.

Despite Dillinger having a Full Access security pass ready for him, Vince obviously didn't show up.

From there, it was onto our opening match.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
WCW Television Champion Fit Finlay vs. Chris Benoit

Dave 'Fit' Finlay hadn't appeared on WCW PPV since his brutal war with Lord Steven Regal back at Uncensored 1996 (and that's a match worth watching if you haven't already).

Two years later, he was now the Television Champion and ready for war against Chris Benoit.

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Finlay battled Chris Benoit for the TV title
The match was as crisp and hard-hitting as you'd expect it to be, and was mostly enjoyable for it.

I say mostly, because there was a section in the middle where the pace slowed to such an extent that it was boring to watch.

Things did pick up, however, and came to a head when Booker T came out.

Booker had some unresolved issues with Benoit following their previous meeting at Spring Stampede 98, and Benoit had even gone so far as to cost Booker the title to Finlay. Looking for retribution, the former champion didn't actually do anything, but his presence was enough to distract The Crippler and led to his eventual demise courtesy of a Finlay tombstone.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Fit Finlay

Out in the back, or what Schiavone called 'The Internet Location,' Chris Jericho told Lee Marshall that it didn't matter who won tonight's Cruiserweight battle royal, they would all fall to the champ.


Brian Adams (w/ Vincent) vs. Lex Luger

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Lex Luger beat Brian Adams
Not yet a member of nWo Wolfpack, Lex Luger had been at war with nWo Hollywood partly because he was, as Tony Schiavone put it 'Trueblood WCW,' but mainly because he was friends with Rick Steiner, who had been taken out by Scott Steiner and the rest of nWo Hollywood.

Yet with what few stars that faction actually had all otherwise engaged, Luger was left to do battle with jobber Brian Adams in a basic big-man match that offered little in the way of entertainment.

This wasn't bad for what it was, it's just that what it was wasn't much at all.

Predictably, Luger picked up the win after 5 minutes with the Torture Rack.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Perry Saturn faced Goldberg
Out in the back, Perry Saturn cut a bland, monotonous promo in which he basically distanced himself from The Flock then promised to beat Goldberg for the US title.

We'd get to that later, but first it was onto our battle royal.

Chris Jericho is Your Guest Ring Announcer

Prior to the match itself, Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho interrupted ring announcer Dave Penzer and declared that he was taking over mic duties for this match.

Though most of Jericho's introductions were basically borderline racist insults about the Mexican competitors (and a nod to The Rockers for Marty Jannetty), some of his barbs were genuinely funny, though you have to wonder why every single wrestler ignored the insult they received and just headed straight to the ring.

Cruiserweight Battle Royal (winner gets a shot at the Cruiserweight title) ft. Ciclope, Super Calo, Chavo Guerrero, Marty Jannetty, Silver King, El Dandy, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera, Vilano IV and others

The rules here were that you could be eliminated via pinfall or over-the-top rope, but there wasn't a single pinfall, or even an attempt at one, in sight, so why they bothered to throw that in there is anyone's guess.

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Dean Malenko won a cruiserweight battle royal dressed as Ciclope
As battle royals go, this wasn't the worst, but then it was hardly anything special either.

After a few short minutes of fairly nondescript action, it all came down to Ciclope and Juventud Guerrera.

A long stare-down commenced, following which the two shook hands and Juvi jumped over the top rope, eliminating himself from the match.
Your Winner: Ciclope

Except of course Ciclope wasn't really Ciclope at all. The luchadore unmasked to reveal that he was actually Dean Malenko, whose bitter rivalry with Jericho stretches back several months.

Shocked and surprised, defending champion Jericho nonetheless hit the ring ready to defend his title.

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

The resulting match may have paled in comparison to their earlier outing at Uncensored 1998, but it was still Jericho and Malenko, so it was impossible for it to be anything but entertaining.

In the perfect ending to the story, Malenko (who hadn't been seen since Mean Gene called him a loser) synched in the Texas Cloverleaf and won the match.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko

'The world's toughest pumpkin has done it!' yelled Heenan, referring to the orange and black Ciclope attire.

It's hard to explain in writing how funny that was.

Vinnie Mac Cam

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - The "Vinne Mac Cam"
I'm not making this up, WCW had a Vinnie Mac cam which included a helicopter shot of a white limousine pulling up to the arena, which the announcers speculated could be Vince McMahon.

'If Jim Ross jumps out carrying his bags, you know it's him,' quipped Tony Schiavone.

Seriously Tony, don't be such a bitch.

We didn't get to find out who was in the limo, as we instead went back to the arena for our next match.

Bowery Death Match
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven 

This was basically a Last Man Standing match inside a mesh cage with a roof on it.

The announcers hyped up the fact that this cage had a roof on it without once saying 'you know, like WarGames.'

Combined with several trash cans filled with plunder that had been stuffed into the ring, this had all the makings of a quality hardcore match, and even elicited a noticeable 'ECW' chant from the crowd.

But quality this was not.

It was a sloppy-arse mess of match with no redeeming qualities and an unnecessary ref bump.

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Raven heads to the ring to face Diamond Dallas PageSure, Billy Silverman getting squashed in the corner was the signal for the obligatory Flock run-in, but I'll remind you that this was a no-holds-barred Last Man Standing cage match - there was little Silverman could have done to stop The Flock getting involved even if he hadn't been face down on the canvas.

As it turned out, half of the Flock were thwarted in their attempts at a run-in by ex-communicated member Van Hammer, who beat everybody up with a huge stop sign then handcuffed Reese to the guardrail.

Despite that, Kidman and Horace Boulder, who had been disguised as members of the riot squad that had accompanied Raven to the ring, both got into the cage, but were only there to eat a couple of Diamond Cutters.

After that brief detour, things got back on track and ended when both Raven and Page went down but the latter was able to beat the 10 count and win the match.

Given what both men were capable of, that was one of the biggest disappointments of 1998.
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

Afterwards, Page escaped through the crowd, leaving a member of the riot squad to take the next five hours and spend it handcuffing the Flock, including Raven, to the cage.

After putting the whole audience to sleep with this, the man took off his helmet to reveal that he was in fact Mortis, who had tried and failed to get into the Flock in recent weeks.

Mortis then unmasked, revealing the face of a man the announcers recognised as being a ‘vendor’ who had been in the crowd at the last few shows and had tormented Raven, and who we would eventually get to know as Chris Kanyon.

That whole thing, from the start of the cage match to Kanyon taking forever to handcuff the Flock, was terrible.

On the Hunt for Vinnie Mac

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - WCW security study pictures of Vince McMahon and WWF Superstars
Continuing to give the competition plenty of free publicity, we went back to the Vinnie Mac Cam, which this time showed us footage of a man holding a piece of paper upon which were photographs of not just Vince, but also Stone Cold Steve Austin, HBK-era D-Generation-X, and X-Pac.

The man was looking for WWF’s biggest stars out in the lobby, and when they naturally didn’t show up, we got some security camera footage of some empty rooms and corridors, just in case McMahon -and I’m quoting Schiavone here- was ‘hiding.’

This was very stupid.

Perry Saturn is Ready for Goldberg

Out in the ‘Internet Location’ Perry Saturn told Lee Marshall that Goldberg had gotten lucky when he beat him at Spring Stampede, but this time things would be different.

By this point, we still hadn’t cleared the ring of the Flock and the Hell in a Cell/ generic cage with a roof, so we had the announcers kill some time until finally, it was back to the action.

Ultimate Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chavo Guerrero)

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Eddie Guerrero puts a hurting on Ultimo Dragon
So, in an effort to get his uncle Eddie Guerrero to renounce his evil ways and become a babyface again, Chavo Guerrero had challenged him to a match.

If Chavo won, Eddie would have to start playing by the rules again. If he lost, he would become Eddie's lackey.

Naturally, he lost, and went on to lose a match against the Ultimo Dragon at Spring Stampede due to Eddie-based shenanigans.

The Dragon, however, had taken a disliking to Eddie and wanted Chavo to break free from his uncle's rule, even going so far as to issue a challenge:

If he beat Eddie, Chavo was free to go.

The challenge was accepted, and thus we had our match tonight.

As you'd expect from two top caliber wrestlers, Eddie vs. Dragon was a very good wrestling match, though it could have been even better had they been given long enough to really tear it up.

In the end, Chavo wound up costing himself his own freedom when he got on the ropes to argue with Eddie.

Ultimo went to attack from behind, but Eddie moved and Chavo went crashing off the apron.

As Ultimo checked on his fallen buddy, his opponent attacked him from behind, hit a suplex, then landed the match-winning frog splash.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Irate, Chavo proceeded to beat up the Ultimo Dragon until Eddie pulled him away. Not that this made things better, Chavo yelled and pushed his uncle, but when Eddie offered Chavo a free slap, the younger Guerrero refused.

Vince McMahon: The Reason for the Ratings

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Vince McMahon's WCW dressing room
Out in the back, we were shown a shot of a special star dressing room reserved for Vince 'The Reason for the Ratings' McMahon.

Did I happen to mention how stupid this whole thing was?

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Goldberg vs. Perry Saturn

These two had met the previous month at Spring Stampede, but this time they were going at it for the US title, with no Flock supporting Saturn.

A step above your typical Goldberg squash, this was a decent effort from both men, but still came down to one thing:

Making WCW’s hottest property look even hotter.

After a short but enjoyable battle Goldberg landed a spear and a Jackhammer to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Goldberg

Prior to one of our ‘Feature Matches’ we got a promo for The Great American Bash which saw Raven basically complaining that he never got any apple pie as a kid.

I wish I was making that up.

Eric Bischoff vs. Vince McMahon

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Scruffy Eric Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon to a fight
So this was it. They went so far with this as to have Michael Buffer do the ring announcing and introduce Vince.

Obviously, McMahon was a no-show, leaving Bischoff, who was a heel (and who looked like shit) to lead the crowd in a ten count, counting McMahon out.

Buffer then informed us that Bischoff had won by forfeit AND disqualification.

Can you get disqualified for forfeiting? That’s news to me.
Your Winner via Forefeit and DQ: Eric Bischoff

Michael Buffer was on form tonight. He introduced our next match as ‘a grudge match from hell’ and then gave up on introducing Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and kinda just yelled ‘Brehhhhh.’



It’s stupid, but it really made me laugh.

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (Rowdy Roddy Piper Special Guest Referee)

Brehhhh, sorry, Bret Hart had cost Savage the title against Hollywood Hogan, turning him heel in the process and setting up a natural match between the two.

Rowdy Roddy Piper was our special guest referee because he just was, and Randy Savage was representing the nWo Wolfpac, but still had the traditional nWo porn music intro.

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Randy Savage battled Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Playing the role of the babyface, Savage absorbed punishment from bell to bell, and the match suffered because of it.

Whilst this could use been a classic, it was a slow plod that saw Hart work over his opponent for half a millennium until Savage was able to reverse a sharpshooter.

That's when things took a turn for the dumb.

Miss Elizabeth ran down and distracted Roddy Piper so that Bret could drill him in the back of the head with an international object.

Savage got the object and Bret backed off until Hogan ran in and attacked Macho Man.

Bret then got the sharpshooter on again, Piper recovered and noticed that Savage was wearing the foreign object but it didn't matter because Savage tapped anyway.
Your Winner: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

This really is turning into a frustratingly bad show.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash vs. Sting & The Giant)

WCW Slamboree 1998 Review - Sting &  The Giant faced The Outsiders
There was a convoluted storyline going on here in which The Giant had joined nWo Hollywood but was teaming with WCW's Sting to face nWo Wolfpac's Outsiders.

Because it's so convoluted, I'm going to ignore the story and focus only on the match.

In and of itself, it was a perfectly acceptable main event, by not one that was ever going to win any awards.

Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were clearly -loudly- the fan favourite but played the heel role right though the match, whilst the crowd clearly hated nWo Hollywood's Giant and were mostly apathetic about Sting, who seemed like an afterthought throughout the whole thing.

After some passable action, Scott Hall turned his back on Kevin Nash and helped The Giant win the titles.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: Sting & The Giant

The look on Sting's face as Scott Hall revealed he was now in the nWo Hollywood camp was the same look I had after watching this show.

It was a look of 'what the actual f--k was that?





I mean seriously. I always try to look on the positive side of things with these reviews, but this really was one of those shows where you start to literally see the wheels falling off WCW.

The company were still hot at this point, but the more they produced shows like this, the further down hill they went.

Benoit/Finlay and Guerrero/Dragon were both good matches, but not good enough to make this show worth watching.

If, on the other hand, you want to see for yourself what a train wreck WCW was turning into, then Slamboree 1998 is a perfect example.


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
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
  8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
Other WCW Slamboree 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.