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, 31 January 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Great American Bash 1992

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Event poster
July 12, 1992 
Albany Civic Center, Albany, Georgia

Every now and again, I like to step away from reviewing every WWE PPV from Wrestlemania 1 to 30 and look at something a little different.

I've already been covering every WCW PPV from January 1996 onwards, so why not dive back and do a few more?

Today, I thought we'd take a look at WCW Great American Bash 1992, an early instalment of one of the company's best-loved PPVs.

Feel like joining me for this trip down memory lane?

Let's get to it.

Welcome to the Great American Bash

We began our show tonight with Tony Schiavone running down tonight's card as a graphic showed us all the wrestlers involved.

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Jesse 'The Body' Ventura & Jim Ross
First, we looked at the finals of the NWA tag team championship tournament with Schiavone telling us that we'd be seeing the likes of Rick Rude & Stunning Steve Austin and Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes.

When it came to Akira Nogami & Hiroshi Hase, however, Schiavone merely described them as "The Team Representing Japan."

Later, as Schiavone and his broadcast colleague, Magnum T.A. began the usual opening spiel, he told us that Nogami wasn't even here because of an eye injury so Shinya Hashimoto would be taking his place.

Schiavone then sent us to Jim Ross and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, who were our commentary team for the evening.

On a personal note, I'm excited about this. It's been a long time since I watched a show that had Jesse Ventura commentating.

Bill Watts Explains the Rules

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Eric Bischoff interviews Cowboy Bill Watts
After Ross and Ventura killed some more time, we were next sent to Eric Bischoff -at this point still a lowly microphone-man- who was standing by for an interview with WCW boss, Cowboy Bill Watts.

After threatening to put the audience to sleep with a rambling speech about how the rules were different in various sports, Watts told us that the rules were also different in our two title matches tonight:

In the NWA tag team title matches, the wrestlers could do anything they wanted to off the top rope. In the world title match between Sting and Vader, however, it was forbidden to jump off the top rope onto your opponent.

This alone showed how confusing things could get.

The company was essentially running two sets of titles.

One of the teams involved in the NWA tag team title tournament were already the WCW champions, and though we had a WCW Championship match later tonight, we'd also be told about an NWA Championship match that was taking place elsewhere on a later date.

Anyway, with a total of five minutes of talking out of the way, it was finally onto our opening match.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarter Final - Match 1
Jushin 'Thunder' Liger & Flyin' Brian Pillman vs. Nikita Koloff & Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger teamed up to face Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff
At a time before these things were common, we got a babyface vs. babyface match to kick things off...and boy did they ever kick things off.

Much as you might expect from a match featuring so much talent in one ring, this was a solid opening contest that really got the fans riled up.

Jushin Liger & Brian Pillman took control in the early going, isolating Nikita Koloff and giving his arm a good going over.

Eventually, however, Koloff bounced Pillman into the ropes and shoulder-barged him using the same arm his opponents had just been working on.

Completely no-selling the damage to his arm, Koloff simply walked off into the corner, letting Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat.

Steamboat and his partner then took their turn to dominate the match, and back and forth we went for the better part of 20 minutes.

Though it wasn't an all-time classic, this was certainly every bit as good as you can imagine.

In the end, Steamboat pinned Pillman to send his team through into the semi-finals.
Your Winners: Nikita Koloff & Ricky Steamboat

Post-match, Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura told us that Steamboat & Koloff would go on to face the Miracle Violence Connection of Dr Death Steve Williams & Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy

Kids, Get Parental Consent

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Rick & Scott Steiner had strong words for Miracle Violence Connection
No, this wasn't a shill for the WCW Hotline. Mean Gene Okerlund was still with the WWF at this time and thus wasn't telling you to call 1-900-909-9900 ever half hour.

Instead, the warning to get parental consent came from Rick Steiner, who warned us that The Steiner Brothers' rivalry with Miracle Violence Connection was about to get a whole lot uglier.

With Eric Bischoff conducting the interview, Rick was, of course, joined by his brother Scott.

This being at a time when the future Big Poppa Pump could still cut a semi-coherent promo, the younger Steiner told us that despite losing out in the earlier rounds of the tag team tournament, he and Rick would stare defeat right in the eye and live to fight another day.

Though the IWGP Tag Team Champions weren't exactly Ric Flair on the mic, their rambling, old-school face stuff was effective here.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarter Final - Match 2
Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael P.S. Hayes & Jimmy Jam Garvin)

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - The Fabulous Free Birds
It was time for Bad Street, U.S.A to meet the land of the orient as Hase and Hashimoto clashed with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin.

Shorter than the opening match, this one also had a completely different style and a completely different feel to it, but that doesn't mean it was any less enjoyable.

Playing the heels, the Japanese duo dominated often, with every Freebird comeback eliciting a response from the crowd that only got louder and louder.

Alas, it wasn't to be Hayes & Garvin's night.

Hase & Hashimoto scored the win and put an end to what was a genuinely enjoyable match.
Your Winners: Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto

WCW Great American Bash 1992 -Tony Schiavone with Cowboy Bill Watts and Hiro Matsuda
Away from the ring, Tony Schiavone stood by with Cowboy Bill Watts and Hiro Matsuda.

Showing all the personality of a piece of spinach, Watts muffled his way through a speech in which he told us that he had taken Ric Flair's nameplate from the Big Gold Belt and given said belt to Matsuda.

Matsuda would then take the title to Japan, where the finals of a tournament to crown the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion would be crowned on an already sold-out NJPW show.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarter Final - Match 2
Dangerous Alliance (WCW United States Champion Ravishing Rick Rude & WCW Television Champion Stunning Steve Austin w/ Madusa) vs The Natural Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

"What I'd like to have right now is for all you fat, out of shape, simple-minded sweat-hogs, keep the noise down while I take my robe off and show you what a real sexy man is supposed to look like."

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Rick Rude w/ Steve Austin
Ravishing Rick Rude, ladies and gentlemen, don't you just miss him?

Here, the US Champion teamed up with Stunning Steve Austin in another compelling contest.

The Dangerous Alliance representatives cut Barry Whindam off from his partner and spent two-thirds of the match seriously laying into him.

It was the kind of really good pro wrestling that absolutely makes you suspend disbelief.

The more the bad guys beat down on Whindam, the more you found yourself on the edge of your seat, desperately hoping he'd finally make the hot tag.

In an age when kayfabe is pretty much dead, it makes a welcome change to go back to 1992 and get completely absorbed in a match.

Much to this fan's delight, Dustin Rhodes finally tagged in and went to work on both opponents.

The whole thing then broke down into a four-way brawl until Rhodes came off the top rope with a lariat to the future Stone Cold, pinning Austin for the three count.
Your Winners: Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Eric Bischoff interviews Harley Race & Big Van Vader
Out in the back, Eric Bischoff interviewed Big Van Vader and his manager, seven-time world champion, Harley Race.

Race seemed to forget his words in the early part of his short promo. When he remembered them, he basically told us that Vader was the uncrowned champion and would dethrone Sting later on tonight.

For his part, Vader told us that he feared no man and felt no pain.

It's funny that we've always been taught that one of the main jobs of a pro wrestling manager is to act as a mouthpiece for their charges. Here, however, Vader was easily better on the microphone than his own manager.

Halloween Havoc is Coming

Taking a break before the next match, Ross and Ventura reminded us that Halloween Havoc was coming up in a couple of months, and with that, it was back to the ring.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Final - Match 1
Nikita Koloff & Rick 'The Dragon' Steamboat vs. WCW Tag Team Champions Dr Death Steve Williams & Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat & Nikita Koloff
A notable change of pace came about in our first semi-final match, as all four men spent the majority of this slow, deliberate match down on the canvas.

Though this methodical, submission-based bout would be unlikely to work in today's fast-paced version of pro wrestling, it did prove to be a decent watch here.

Dr Death and Bam Bam Gordy basically dominated the whole thing, stretching Koloff to his limits before Williams flattened Steamboat to put his team in the final.
Your Winners: Steve Williams & Terry Gordy

After some words from Ross and Ventura, it was onto our next match.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Final - Match 2
Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto vs. The Natural Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Shinya Hashimoto works on Barry Windham
So far, every single one of these matches has been pretty long, so it's no wonder that, as we move into our fourth one, things started to feel a little flat.

Windham & Rhodes, as well as their Japanese opponents still worked hard, but this one just didn't seem to hit home as well as those that had gone before it.

After a lengthy, underwhelming contest, Windham struck with a lariat to put his team into the finals.
Your Winners: Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

Prior to our next match, Tony Schiavone and Magnum T.A. stood by to interview Ron Simmons.

Looking spiffy in a fancy white jacket, Simmons showed a lot of charisma but made little sense.

The essence of his rambling promo was that he'd had a tough journey to get to where he was and was coming for the world title.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race)

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Vader beat Sting for the WCW title
You know, sometimes I watch the late, great Leon White in action and wonder if anybody actually ever told him that pro wrestling is a work.

The man better known as Big Van Vader brutalised his opponent from pillar-to-post. Not that this was a walk in the park for the man from the Rocky Mountains.

For his part, defending champion Sting looked overcome Vader's brute force and unbridled power using quickness, agility, and a good ol' Stinger Splash.

The result was a match that got better the longer it went on.

Sure, it wasn' a five-star classic, but it was a compelling world title match that this fan certainly enjoyed.

In the end, Sting's quickness was no match for Vader's strength. The challenger powerbombed his way to a three-count and became our new champion.
Your Winner and New WCW Champion: Big Van Vader

Post-match, it turned out that Sting was so hurt that a gaggle of referees, Ron Simmons, Ole Anderson and Nikita Koloff had to come and help him to the back.

I like that, it was a great way of putting over the new champion as such a dominant force.

I also like the fact that Nikita Koloff wore flip-flops to the ring.

Vader is The Man

Backstage, Eric Bischoff spoke with the new champion and his manager, Harley Race.

Race told us that Big Van Vader was The Man in Professional Wrestling, whilst Vader ignored Bischoff's question about granting Sting a rematch and ranted excitedly about what a beast he was.

It was entertaining stuff.

NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
WCW Tag Team Champions Dr Death Steve Williams & Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy vs. Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

WCW Great American Bash 1992 - Miracle Violence Connection won the WCW tag team titles
So, this was it then. Our main event of the evening and the final of the tag team tournament.

Like many of the matches that had taken place earlier in the final, this one saw the combatants spend plenty of time on the mat in a proper old-school grapple.

Though that did lend for a different pace than modern audiences may be used to today, it still created a decent -albeit hardly exhilarating- match.

After dominating the bulk of the contest, Williams & Gordy picked up the win when Dr Death turned Dustin Rhodes inside out with a clothesline.

Speaking of Dr Death, how's this for a bit of foreshadowing?

At one point in the match, JR was telling us about how strong Williams was and how he'd been so powerful in every sport he'd played.

"Just ask Steve McMichael of the Chicago Bears how strong Dr Death is," said Ross, a good few years before our boy Mongo would begin wrestling for WCW himself.
Your Winners and New NWA Tag Team Champions: Steve Williams & Terry Gordy

Post-match, Dr Death rambled some nonsense To Magnum T.A. and Tony Schiavone. Terry Gordy then took to the mic to cut a much more coherent and charismatic promo in which he basically gloated about how good he and Williams were.

Don't be surprised if you watch Great American Bash 1992 and hate it. Unlike today's trend of having shorter, fast-paced, high impact matches, this one was back-to-back with one long, 20-minute bout after another.

The majority of those bouts were full of grappling, chain wrestling and basically hanging around on the mat.

While there are certainly a lot of people who would find that boring, this fan found it a refreshing change from the modern WWE product.

Don't get me wrong, I won't be in any hurry to watch this show again, and outside of Vader/Sting there was nothing that really stood out as being worth tracking down, but as old-school wrestling shows go, this one wasn't bad.

Other WCW Great American Bash reviews 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

PPV REVIEW: WWF Royal Rumble 1999

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Event poster
January 24, 1999,
Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, Anaheim, California.

"You've got no chance in hell of ever becoming the World Wrestling Federation champion again, Austin." 

Those were the famous words uttered to Stone Cold Steve Austin by evil WWF Chairman Mr. McMahon in the run-up to Royal Rumble 1999.

McMahon, you see, had been doing everything he could to stop Austin from winning the Rumble for the third year in a row and thus going on to Wrestlemania 15 to compete for the title.

He had even trying to prevent him from getting into the Rumble match in the first place.

Yet Austin had earned a guaranteed place thanks to a victory over the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match back at Rock Bottom: In Your House 26 in December.

Now, the best he could hope for was to ensure that there was no chance in hell that Austin would emerge victorious, even going so far as to entering himself into the Rumble match for the first time ever.

Hmm, no chance in hell.

You've got no chance in hell.

Sounds like that might make a pretty good theme tune, don't you think?

A $100,000 bounty 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Jerry 'The King' Lawler & Michael Cole
We began tonight's show with the standard video package, this one reminding us of the hatred that existed between Mr. McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

McMahon hated Austin so much, in fact, that he had offered a $100,000 bounty for any man who could eliminate Stone Cold from tonight's battle royal.

From there, we went to Michael Cole and Jerry 'The King' Lawler, who told us that for the first time ever a woman (Chyna) would be competing in the Rumble match.

With that, it was on to our opening contest

WWF Hardcore Champion Road Dogg vs. WWF Tag Team Champion The Big Boss Man

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - The Road Dogg faced Big Boss Man
As Road Dogg made his way to the ring, Cole told us that, despite him being the Hardcore Champion, this wasn't a hardcore match because The Corporation had ruled that out.

The D-O-Double-G was super over here. In fact, looking at it, it's almost surprising to see a jam-packed crowd going absolutely nuts for everything, especially compared to today's sterile product.

Though there are some fans who'll likely call this one boring, this fan couldn't help but enjoy this wonderfully old-school match.

Road Dogg and The Big Boss Man may not have busted out every move in their arsenal or put together beautiful chain wrestling sequences, but they made everything they did count, and delivered it all with a mentality that saw them focus only on getting the biggest possible crowd reaction from every little detail.

The result was a fun, enjoyable contest that Boss Man won with the Boss Man Slam.
Your Winner: The Big Boss Man 

From one Outlaw to another, we got straight to our second match of the evening.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion & WWF Tag Team Champion Ken Shamrock vs. Bad Ass Billy Gunn

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Ken Shamrock slaps the ankle lock on Bad Bum Billy Gunn
Billy Gunn had mooned Ken Shamrock's sister on an episode of Raw, prompting the Intercontinental Champion to have one his usual tantrums and attack Mr. Ass.

That was the simple, straightforward storytelling that got us to tonight's match.

Though longer and slower than the previous encounter, this was nonetheless a tremendous effort from both champ and challenger and probably one of the best singles matches Billy Gunn would have in his career.

Despite taking some serious punishment from Shamrock, Bad Ass on multiple occasions looked to have the title in the bag.

At one point, referee Tim White was accidentally clotheslined out of his boots by Shamrock, after which both he and Gunn double clotheslined each other.

This presented an opportunity for a quick run in by Val Venis, who had also had issues with Shamrock due to his sister, Ryan, being in the crowd.

Venis clocked the IC champion with a DDT. Billy Gunn made the cover and Tim White revived himself just long enough to count a nail-biting near fall.

It was fantastic.

Unfortunately, this wasn't to be Bad Ass Billy's night. He went up top, lept off for an axe-handle but missed his opponent and "rolled his ankle" on landing.

That gave the opportunistic champion the chance to slap on the ankle lock and declare this one over.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Ken Shamrock 

Out in the back, we saw Vince McMahon pacing up and down his dressing room as son Shane gave him a pep-talk. Ever present, Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe looked on.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion X-Pac vs. Gangrel 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Ken Shamrock slaps the ankle lock on Bad Bum Billy Gunn
For the third match in a row, we got an enjoyable outing, this time between European Champion X-Pac and his vampiric challenger, Gangrel.

Though fun from start to finish, this championship match was far from perfect.

Gangrel hadn't quite mastered the art of selling, constantly popping up after every high-impact move in a way that took all the levity out of things.

Then, 'Pac came off the top and squashed Gangrel, but Gangrel reversed the pin attempt. Referee Teddy Long clearly counted to three but then only declared it a two count, a move which prompted a loud "You f**ked up!" chant from the Anaheim crowd.

After a short, decent encounter, the champion retained thanks to his patented X-Factor move.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: X-Pac

2023 update: This post has been up for almost four years now and nobody pointed out that I originally wrote that Teddy Long won the X-Pac vs. Gangrel match. It amused me so much I had to point it out.

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Kevin Kelly interviews DXBackstage, four-fifths of DX (Billy Gunn was missing) told Kevin Kelly that the group was tighter than ever but that tonight, it was every man and woman for themselves in the upcoming Royal Rumble match.

Shane McMahon and the women's championship 

Up next, Shane McMahon came to the ring with a weird, techno-style theme that sounded like something straight out of a 1980s sci-fi movie about a far off, dystopian future.

Shane introduced Luna Vachon, then told us that Luna's scheduled opponent, WWF Women's Champion Sable, had suffered a back injury (due to an earlier attack by Luna on Sunday Night Heat) and was unable to compete.

Therefore, said Shane, Sable would have to vacate the title. The champion had other ideas, coming to the ring and simply  saying "ring the bell."

"Have it your way," said Shane in response.

World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship Strap Match
WWF Women's Champion Sable vs. Luna Vachon 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Sable retained the women's championship in a strap match against Luna Vachon
For the record, this was the first strap match we'd seen on WWF PPV since Savio Vega beat Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw in one back at In Your House 10: Mind Games.

That match wasn't great.

This one was even worse.

A sloppy mess of a match, its only redeeming feature is that it was kept quite short.

Towards the finish, Shane McMahon distracted the referee (to this day I can't remember why Shane was involved in this storyline), but a "mysterious woman" came from the crowd and decked Luna, allowing Sable to touch all four corners.
Your Winner and Still WWF Women's Champion: Sable 

Backstage, we were shown a clip of The Big Boss Man talking to Ken Shamrock and Test, the latter of whom was making their WWF PPV debut.

Boss Man reminded his fellow Corporation members that tonight was every man for himself, and vowed to go after the $100,000 bounty on Stone Cold's head.

It's showtime...

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Doc Hendrix interviews The Rock
Before our next match, we were shown an awesome video which not only recapped the rivalry between WWF Champion Mankind and The Rock, but which also reminded us what a tough, sadistic individual the champion really was.

By interspersing soundbites from episodes of Raw with shots of Mick Foley absorbing punishment at the IWA King of Death Matches 1995 event and in the infamous Hell in a Cell match at King of the Ring 1998, we were shown how making Mankind say 'I Quit' was going to an almost impossible job for the challenger.

Not that The Rock himself seemed too concerned.

Talking to Doc Hendrix backstage, The Great One warned Mankind that he shouldn't take him lightly and that when it was all said and done, we would once again have a new WWF Champion.

This was gripping stuff and certainly made this writer very eager to see the upcoming match.

World Wrestling Federation Championship I Quit Match
WWF Champion Mankind vs. The Rock 

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - New WWF Champion The Rock stands over a fallen Mankind
One of the defining moments of the Attitude Era, Mankind vs. The Rock at Royal Rumble 1999 still comes across just as brutal and sickeningly violent today as it did some 20 years ago.

At first, it was plenty entertaining, with both champ and challenger trading offence and goading the other one to say I quit. Then, somewhere around the time that Mankind fell from the stands and crashed through a bunch of electrical equipment, the whole thing took a dark turn.

Rock handcuffed Mankind's hands behind his back, and despite a brief comeback from the champion (including a wicked knee to The Rock's erm, *rocks*), it was the beginning of the end for the champion.

The challenger picked up a chair and delivered one ferocious blow after another. These weren't your regular worked chair shots. These were loud, violent shots that turned your stomach and had you seriously concerned for Mick Foley's well-being.

Even two decades later, you can't help but watch the ending of this match while at on the edge of your seat, hands over your face, just praying for the violence to stop.

It was intense. It was dramatic. It was some of the most captivating storytelling the World Wrestling Federation had ever committed to film and it was, eventually, over.

The Rock practically knocked Mankind out cold then pointed the microphone down at him. What was clearly a recording of an earlier Mankind promo played on the PA system, filling the arena with the sound of Mick Foley's voice saying "I quit! I quit! I quit!"
Your Winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: The Rock

Afterwards, The Rock literally lauded his new title over a fallen Mankind as medical personnel tried to help the battered and bloody wrestler onto a stretcher.

Refusing to go out that way, Mankind crawled to his feet and, drenched in blood, limped out under his own power.

There's no chance in hell 

The final build-up to our main event began with a video package which took us all the way back to Breakdown: In Your House 24 in September 1998. On that night, Austin had lost the WWF Championship after being pinned by Undertaker and Kane at the same time.

Stone Cold had been trying to get his title back ever since but had so far had no luck whatsoever. Tonight, he was hoping that would change. Tonight, Mr. McMahon was doing all he could to make sure that there was no chance in hell that it would.

Austin had been drawn as number one in tonight's Rumble and Mr. McMahon had been booked at number two. The $100,000 bounty had been set, and it was time - almost- for the Royal Rumble.

First, you see, there was the matter of Sunday Night Heat. There, Austin had been denied entry to the arena via the VIP entrance because he wasn't driving a limousine. So he went out, got a limousine with monster truck wheels, and trampled everybody's car.

Then, later on Heat, Mr. McMahon slapped him, so he attacked Patteson and Briscoe.

With all that out of the way, it was onto the 1999 Royal Rumble Match.

1999 Royal Rumble Match

30-Man Battle Royal featuring: Mr. McMahon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Golga, Droz, Edge, Gilberg, Steve Blackman, Dan 'The Beast' Severn, Tiger Ali Singh, The Blue Meanie, Mabel, Road Dogg, Gangrel, Kurrgan, Al Snow, Goldust, The Godfather, Kane, Ken Shamrock, Billy Gunn, Test, Big Boss Man, Triple H, Val Venis, X-Pac, Mark Henry, Jeff Jarrett, D'Lo Brown, Owen Hart, Chyna

WWE / WWF Royal Rumble 1999 - Vince McMahon won the Royal Rumble matchup
Kicking off tonight's main event, Austin battered McMahon around the ring to the absolute delight of the Californian crowd. At one point, Golga popped up as the number three entry but was immediately eliminated by The Texas Rattlesnake.

Golga's arrival, however, did give McMahon the chance to sneak out of the ring and hightail it through the crowd, though he didn't get far before Austin gave chase.

The former champion battered the Chairman all the way out into the arena concourse and into a women's bathroom, where Ken Shamrock and Test were lying in wait.

A corporate beatdown followed as Droz made his way out to the ring and basically stood around doing nothing.

Eventually, Edge was revealed as entrant number five so that Droz would have somebody to brawl with.

Gilberg arrived a short time later but -like Golga before him- was given the Bushwhacker treatment and immediately thrown out.

As the match settled into some kind of normality, we cut from the ring to the backstage area, where an unconscious Stone Cold Steve Austin was shown being hurled into an ambulance and driven away.

Later, Mabel -who had only just returned to the company that night- put in his first PPV appearance since the 1996 Royal Rumble.

The 1995 King of the Ring winner attacked Mosh backstage to claim a place in the match, then headed out to the ring and eliminated five people. Unfortunately, for the big man, that was where his night ended.

The lights went dark and he was attacked by Ministry of Darkness members Mideon and The Acolytes. The three punished Mabel all the way up to the entrance, where they were greeted by The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. The Dead Man said something sinister to his former rival before ordering his henchman to beat him up some more.

Kane soon put in an appearance and cleaned house, only to have The Men in White Coats come out in an attempt to straightjacket The Big Red Machine. Their attempt failed when Kane simply attacked then eliminated himself from the match so that he could chase them off through the crowd.

That left the ring empty, creating the perfect opportunity for Mr. McMahon to return to the ring during Ken Shamrock's entrance.

Next, Billy Gunn turned up, wearing only one shoe to sell the impact of Shamrock's ankle lock from their match earlier. The two rivals went to war as Vince McMahon sat down at the commentary table to boast about sending Austin to the hospital.

McMahon's gloating didn't last long, however.

As we cut to the back to see the Ministry of Darkness putting Mabel into a hearse, Austin arrived, driving the very ambulance that he'd been taken out in.

Stone Cold returned to the rumble and things finally settled down into your basic Rumble match.

All that chaos certainly made for a different kind of match than usual, but that was only part of its appeal.

Some Rumble matches had lacked a certain something in recent years, but this was fun from top to bottom.

In the end, it came down -predictably- to just Austin and McMahon.

Stone Cold took great joy in beating up the boss, but a distraction from new WWF Champion The Rock allowed Vince to throw his rival over the top and claim the match.
Your Winner: Mr. McMahon

Afterwards, Austin chased off The Rock before Vince celebrated his big victory by having an Austin-style beer bash with Shane, Patterson and Briscoe.

On the whole then, the 1999 Royal Rumble was a fun show from start to finish. 

Outside the women's championship strap match, the undercard was enjoyable if unspectacular, while the championship match remains one of the most memorable in WWF history. 

Meanwhile, the actual Rumble match was different than just about anything that had gone before it and was all the better for being so. 

Instead of the usual lulls that tend to happen in most rumbles, this one was pretty much non-stop entertainment. 

A good effort and a show that you're unlikely to regret watching. 

Other 1999 pro wrestling reviews:
For more Royal Rumble reviews see:
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Thursday, 17 January 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Souled Out 1999

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Event poster
January 17, 1999 
Charleston Civic Center, Charleston, West Virginia

From the summer of 1996 to the winter of 1997, there was no hotter wrestling company on the planet than World Championship Wrestling. 

Already giving the World Wrestling Federation a serious run for its money with their flagship Monday Nitro broadcasts, the company found all new levels of success with the arrival of Scott Hall & Kevin Nash.

When that particular band of Outsiders were joined by Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 1996, a New World Order of wrestling was formed (brother) that catapulted WCW into the stratosphere.

For over a year, the Turner-owned enterprise was seemingly untouchable. It seemed as though they could do no wrong...

Until they did.

In December 1997, they promoted Starrcade 1997, headlined by a match between Hogan and Sting which had been a year in the making and which still gets talked about today as one of the most perfect examples of long-term booking ever carried out in pro wrestling.

Yet the disastrous, laughable finish to that match would serve as the catalyst for the company's gradual decline.

As 1997 turned into 1998, the brand would begin to lose their stronghold over the pro wrestling industry and, as the year went on, one bad decision after another saw the company spiralling out of control.

But hey, that was then, and this was now.

1999 was upon us, and World Championship Wrestling had a whole new opportunity to prove that they could turn things around and reestablish their dominance.

Would they seize that opportunity tonight on this, their first Pay-Per-View of the new year? Or would Souled Out 1999 prove to be just another step towards the eventual demise of one of what was formerly the hottest wrestling company on the planet?

Let's head to Charleston, West Virginia to find out.

WCW is back in charge

WCW Souled Out 1999 - WCW President - Ric Flair
In place of the usual opening video, we began tonight's broadcast with the voice of Tony Schiavone saying "we interrupt this broadcast for a special announcement."

This was literally the first thing that happened. The broadcast hadn't even begun yet, so there was technically nothing to interrupt, but hey, let's not dwell on that too much, shall we? I'm sure there'll be things much more dumb than that on tonight's show.

Anyway, the special announcement came from WCW President Nature Boy Ric Flair, who was shown delivering a press conference as though he were the actual President of the United States giving a State of the Union address.

Flair told us that "WCW is back in charge" and that he would lead an army of hundreds in ensuring that the nWo never took over again.

Just to prove that WCW had won the battle against their New World Order rivals, the nWo logo was crossed out in the official WCW/NWO Souled Out 1999 graphic.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
You could see this clearly from the announce table where Schiavone, joined by Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, welcomed us to the show.

The trio reminded us of the ending to Starrcade 1998, in which Scott Hall used a taser to help Kevin Nash beat Goldberg for the WCW title and how that had led us to a "stun gun on a ladder" match between Hall and Goldberg later on tonight.

I'll remind you that Vince Russo didn't join WCW until September of that year.

Speaking of Goldberg, we cut to a shot of him sitting on the floor of his locker room and clutching his ankle as though he'd been attacked.

The announcers also told us that 19-year-old David Flair would be making his pro wrestling debut here, volunteering to help out his father, Ric, after two of the WCW President's allies had turned their backs on him.

We'll get to that fun story later. For now, let's get to the ring.

Mean Mike Enos vs. Chris Benoit

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Mike Enos faced Chris Benoit
WCW's Random Match Generator strikes again.

The company had a long history of throwing odd matches onto PPV for no reason, and this, apparently, was one of them.

Chris Benoit was part of the reunited Four Horsemen and came out with that totally awesome Horsemen theme, whereas Mean Mike Enos was...well, Mike Enos was  basically Generic Bad Guy Wrestler in Black Trunks #1589.

Not that Enos' lack of star power had any negative impact on this match.

The former Beverley Brother dominated the bulk of this solid, hard-hitting contest and though he did spend too much time spitting on his opponent for this writer's liking, he did at least look good here.

Alas, it wasn't to be Enos' day.

The Cripper slapped on the crossface to pick up the win at the end of a reasonably enjoyable opening match.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Moving on...

Norman Smiley vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Norman Smiley faced Chavo Guerrero Jr
Remember that time Chavo Guerero's gimmick was that he was crazy and rode around on a wooden hobby horse called Pepe?

That time was now over because, apparently, Norman Smiley had kidnapped said toy horse and ground it down into sawdust.

Tonight, he brought that sawdust with him in an urn, leaving Chavo to come out horseless and looking for revenge.

Unfortunately for the third generation star, he wouldn't get it.

Smiley controlled the bulk of this really enjoyable match, using a combination of European-style stretching and some typical American pro wrestling spots to hurt his opponent from bell to bell.

Sure, Chavo got some offence in, but this was 90% Norman and 100% fun.

Though not a technical classic, Smiley's larger-than-life personality and unique offence made it a tremendous watch.

In the end, Guerrero looked to be mounting a comeback so Smiley threw Pepe dust in his opponent's eyes and locked him in a chicken wing for the count.
Your Winner: Norman Smiley

Out in the Internet Location, Konnan told Mark Madden that he was going to find out who made the call to kick him out of the nWo. He was going to hunt that person down and, when he caught them, he was going to beat them up.

Konnan sounded either super stoned or super tired here. Whichever it was, he didn't come off well.

Fit Finlay vs. Van Hammer

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Van Hammer faced Fit Finlay
Nothing says 'top-level PPV quality' quite like a Van Hammer match.

Towering over most of his opponents with his well-defined body and long, blonde hair, the WCW veteran had always had 'the look.' Unfortunately, he'd never had much of anything else, especially not the ability to put on an exciting match.

That was particularly evident here as he went up against Fit Finlay in a tremendously tedious contest.

Like Norman Smiley before him, Finlay brought plenty of European-style offence to the table. Unlike Smiley, Finlay had an opponent who wasn't capable of selling that offence in a way that created any excitement.

Not that Hammer's own offence was much better.

After several minutes of inaction that put the crowd to sleep, Finlay emerged victorious thanks to the tombstone piledriver.
Your Winner: Fit Finlay

Up next, we were reminded of Ric Flair's rivalry with Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.

More specifically, we were reminded of the time on Nitro when a fresh-faced David Flair volunteered to help Ric take down the future West Texas Rednecks. Flair had initially been reluctant, but his buddy, Arn Anderson, had encouraged Nature Boy to let David compete.

If this were any other wrestling show, this would be the point where I'd say "that match was next," but this was WCW, so naturally, it wasn't.

Wrath vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Wrath
What was next was this; a match which, while decent, went on for far too long.

When you get a match between two big men like Wrath and Bam Bam Bigelow, you want it to be short, explosive and high-impact.

This was none of those things.

Sure, there was some high-impact offence here and there, but for the most part, both men tried to wrestle a match that was more befitting men half their size.

So, while some parts were enjoyable, others were a chore to watch.

In the end, Bigelow used Greetings From Asbury Park to get the three.
Your Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow

Toss my salad and peel my potatoes...

"Yo, yo, yo, let me speak on this!"

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Konnan faced Lex Luger
If Konnan was angry about being kicked out of the Wolfpac by Kevin Nash and Lex Luger, he certainly didn't show it.

He danced his way down to the ring and then took to the microphone to warm up the crowd.

After doing the whole "bowdy-bowdy" thing, K-Dogg told us about all the different types of salad dressing, then encouraged Luger to "get ready to bow down, toss my salad and peel my potatoes."

I may be naive, but to this day I still don't know what "peel my potatoes" actually means.

What I do know, is that of all the things Konnan had ever said, this was the one thing the producers of the WCW Mayhem music album chose to immortalise in one of the songs from that album.

Konnan vs. Lex Luger

Throughout his career, Lex Luger always worked best as a heel.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Konnan vs Lex Luger
It was in the role of the villain that The Total Package displayed a level of captivating charisma that was simply non-existent as a babyface.

Here, he displayed that charisma in spades when took to the microphone to tell Konnan that despite having a lot of love for him, K-Dogg just wasn't able to make the cut. He then offered his opponent the chance to walk out and forfeit the match, saving himself from a beat down.

Naturally, Konnan responded by clocking Luger, and this one was on.

Like Wrath/Bigelow before it, this one went on for far too long, but it also proved to be the first time all evening that the crowd would really come alive.

Indeed, whereas the Charleston faithful had been relatively quiet since the start of the show, they exploded in the early going as Konnan finally got his revenge over Luger, and remained very vocal for the rest of the match.

That made the whole thing a lot more enjoyable to watch, especially as it looked as though Konnan would get the big win the fans were hoping for.

Alas, it wasn't to be.

Just as he had Luger in the Tequila Sunrise, Miss Elizabeth came to the ring looking absolutely gorgeous and sprayed him in the eyes with what the announcers told us was black spray paint, but which I believe would later be revealed to be mace.

That gave Luger the opportunity to break free, apply the Torture Rack, and win the match.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterwards, Konnan was helped to the back by Mickie Jay and WCW's trainer.

Loser Wears a Dress Match
Perry Saturn vs. Chris Jericho (w/ Ralphus)

Before the bell, Tony Schiavone told us that Saturn and referee Scott Dickinson had broken into the business together but had recently had some sort of falling out.

The disagreement had been fuelled by Chris Jericho telling Dickinson that Saturn hated him, and was played out here by the referee and Saturn having words in the early going.

So, that was basically the ending of the match telegraphed well in advance, but despite the obvious spoiler, this was still the best match on the card so far.

It was interesting watching Jericho here at the start of 1999, knowing where he'd be by the time the year was done. He came to the ring with Ralphus in tow, carrying a brown paper bag which contained the dress the loser would have to wear when they lost.

Locking up with Saturn, the two engaged in a fast-paced, hard-hitting contest that was a pure joy to watch.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Chris Jericho & RalphusNo, it wasn't the greatest match of all time, but compared to what had gone before it, this was five-star classic stuff.

After a gripping see-saw battle, Saturn rolled up Jericho and looked to have the match won.

Dickinson grabbed Jericho's foot to help him reverse the pin attempt, made the predictable move of a fast-count, and gave the match to the soon-to-be Y2J.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Post-match, Dickinson laughed with Jericho as Saturn was forced to slip into a leopard print dress. The former ECW star's latest gimmick was born.

David Flair wants to be David Flair

Out in the Internet Location, David Flair displayed all the personality of an emotionally-stunted biscuit when he said that he wanted to walk out of the arena tonight being known as David Flair and not just Ric Flair's son.

Obviously, the best way to step out from his father's shadow was to team with his father in his debut match. Or something...

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship Four-Corners Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr.
You know, it occurs to me only now that this is the only championship match on the PPV. Interesting.

It also occurs to me that this is a dumb concept. Two men start the match and any wrestler can tag any other wrestler. Whoever scores the pinfall becomes the Cruiserweight Champion.

So, if you wanted to be the champion, why would you even tag out in the first place?

The problem with this concept was easily solved by having the wrestlers basically ignore the whole concept in the first place.

Sure, things started out in traditional four-corners fashion, but it eventually broke down into a four-way free-for-all that offered lots of entertaining spots.

Granted, it didn't offer much other than spots, but it's worth mentioning that "spotfests" in and of themselves aren't universally terrible. Placed in the right position on the card and used sparingly, they can be useful in adding a bit of fun to a pro wrestling show, and that's exactly what this one did.

Following a whole bunch of cruiserweight craziness, Kidman hit the Shooting Star Press on Juventud Guerrera to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Chris Jericho confronts Booker T
Out in the back, a be-suited Booker T was seen talking to's Mark Madden about Chris Jericho's victory over Perry Saturn.

It was at that moment that Jericho himself turned up and got into an argument with the former Harlem Heat member.

Booker accused Jericho's of "having the referee in your pocket" whilst Jericho argued that "it's not my fault I won the match," which, when you think about it, is a dumb thing to say.

Predictably, this argument led to the two men agreeing to face each other the following night on Nitro.

Curt Hennig & Barry Windham vs. WCW President Nature Boy Ric Flair & David Flair (w/ Arn Anderson)

Hennig was still part of the nWo here, but Windham, apparently, was not. Not that it stopped him from being just as callous on the microphone as he and Curt Hennig traded verbal jabs with the Nature Boy.

At one point, Flair told Hennig & Windham that unless they wanted to "go work for the WWF" they had better stop their talking and start fighting.

WCW Souled Out 1999 - Ric Flair teamed with David Flair
They soon did, but not before David Flair spent a few minutes convincing Ric to let him start the match against Barry Windham.

Though all this stalling took a while, it did at least mean that the crowd were more than pumped up to see Windham and Flair Jr. go at it.

At one point, Windham went for a bodyslam which David countered with a headscissor take over and the crowd erupted like they'd just seen Goldberg spear the s**t out of somebody.

Yet just when it looked the youngster would prove to be a chip off the old black, things quickly deteriorated.

The two men regrouped and locked up again. David Flair wrestled his way into an advantage, but when he went for a hip toss, he basically slipped his arm around Windham's waist and forced Windham to hiptoss himself.

It was a horrible looking move that elicited some serious cringe.

Fortunately, that was almost the last offensive thing David Flair would do all match.

Ric tug in, and what we got from here was essentially a handicap match, with David playing the traditional role of "dumb babyface who keeps trying to help his partner but only succeeds in distracting the referee."

Though not a technical masterpiece, this was a decidedly old-school match that did have a lot to offer.

Eventually, Arn Anderson hit Curt Hennig over the back of the head with a tire iron then threw a lifeless David Flair on top of him. Flair, who had just been beaten up, lay prone over Hennig as the referee counted to three.
Your Winners: Ric & David Flair

The bell ringing was not the end of this one.

Very quickly, the nWo Job Squad ran out and began to attack Anderson and Ric Flair whilst David looked on, helpless.

Chris Benoit ran to the rescue, but the numbers proved too much and he too was beaten up. The numbers continued to swell with the arrival of the nWo Wolfpac - that being Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, Scott Steiner and Hollywood Hulk Hogan himself.

WCW Souled Out 1999 -Hulk Hogan taunts Ric Flair & David Flair
As Ric was handcuffed to the ring post, the dastardly nWo men stretched out David, sprayed "EZE" on his back (for Eric Bischoff) then proceeded to whip him with Hogan's belt.

Though this whole post-match angle did go on a little bit too long, it was nonetheless very effective. The sight of Ric Flair, handcuffed to the ropes and crying his eyes out as he tried to shield his battered son from the wrath of the evil New World Order was harrowing.

Indeed, if the whole point of pro wrestling is to elicit emotion, then this was one angle that was perfectly executed. You couldn't help but feel for Flair and hope and pray that somebody would come to the fallen hero's rescue.

Nobody did, and the bad guys simply walked away, ready to fight another day.

Finally, after a brief video package recounting the rivalry between Scott Hall and Goldberg, it was on to our main event.

Stun Gun Ladder Match
Scott Hall vs. Goldberg

WCW Souled Out 1999 -Scott Hall faced Goldberg in a ladder match
Well, what a mess this was.

At Wrestlemania 10, Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels had introduced mainstream audiences to the concept of the ladder match in what is still remembered today as one of the greatest matches of its genre.

A year later, at Summerslam 1995, he and Michaels did it again, putting on another classic that helped both men cement their status as Masters of the Ladder Match.

Three-and-a-half years later, however, Scott Hall showed absolutely no signs of being the same man that had battled Michaels back in the mid-90s.

He began tonight's main event by taking to the microphone and gloating about how he'd cost Goldberg the title at Starrcade '98. He then also reminded us of that shot we'd seen at the start of the show where Goldberg was on the floor, clutching his injured leg. Hall told us that because Goldberg was hurt, he wouldn't be competing tonight.

Michael Buffer disagreed, apologising for "that false statement from Scott Hall" and introducing the former WCW Champion.

What followed was a sloppy, sluggish horror of a match that was far removed from Hall's classics with HBK.

Even when Goldberg was busted wide open, and even when he pushed Hall off the ladder a bunch of times, nothing could escape the fact that this was a truly horrible match.

Part of the problem, of course, was that Goldberg was trying hard to sell the injury to his leg that Hall had mentioned earlier. However, he seemed to be focussing so hard on selling the leg that he became incapable of doing anything interesting.

It was painful to watch.

At one point, Goldberg looked to have the match won. He was at the top of the ladder, about to claim the stun gun that he'd need to zap Hall with to win the match. Instead, Disco Inferno -of all people- ran out and pushed Goldberg off.

Hall then got the stun gun, but the match wasn't over.

Again, you had to zap your opponent in order to win.

Goldberg blocked Hall's attempt to zap him, took the gun and teased zapping Hall with it for several millennia.

Instead, he threw it in the air and then hit Hall with a spear and a jackknife.

At that point, the camera crew messed up and spoiled a surprise by cutting to the entrance way even though nobody was there.

Back in the ring, Goldberg stunned Hall and won this atrocity of a match.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Immediately, Bam Bam Bigelow popped up and started attacking Goldberg, but Hall recovered from being zapped by a stun gun as if it was nothing and proceeded to zap both Goldberg and Bigelow with it.

It was -as many things in WCW were- stupid.

So, was Souled Out 1999 the start of a new era for World Championship Wrestling?

Was this the start of them putting their past mistakes behind them and turning things around? 

In a word, no. 

Apart from that ridiculous and awful main event, there wasn't much here that was on the level of the miserable mistakes WCW had made in the past, but there was nothing that gave you any hope for the future, either. 

Yes, Smiley/Guerrero was a fun little undercard match, and yes, Jericho and Saturn tore it up as best they could and subtly earned themselves Match of the Night honours, but there was nothing here to get overly excited about. 

All in all, it was just another forgettable pro wrestling show; the kind of thing you might feel OK about watching to pass the time on a boring Sunday afternoon, but not the sort of thing you're ever going to recommend to friends.

Other WCW Souled Out reviews:
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Thursday, 10 January 2019

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Event poster
April 4th, 1998
Nynex Arena, Manchester

Today's review of WWF Mayhem in Manchester is one of only a very few reviews that I've done outside chronological order in the past couple of years. This is simply because I actually believed that this event took place the following year, in 1999.

What makes this embarrassing, is that I was actually there. The Nynex Arena (or Manchester Arena as it's now known) was about 20 minutes from where I lived at the time, so it was a no-brainer that I'd be there.

That makes tonight's show only the second time I've reviewed something on Retro Pro Wrestling that I was actually there for in person.

In case you're wondering, the first time was One Night Only back in September 1997, the night Shawn Michaels cheated hometown hero The British Bulldog out of the European Championship.

Fast forward just seven months later, and The Bulldog was in WCW while Shawn Michaels was a home nursing a back injury.

Not only that, but the whole landscape of the World Wrestling Federation felt much, much different than it had done in the latter part of 1997.

Need proof?

Compare reviews from that year to the reviews from 1998.

All done? then join me as I head to the Nynex Arena and relive the first true Attitude Era show I ever attended live.

A New Attitude Comes to England

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Event logo
The version that we're reviewing tonight is the VHS version, which kicks off with Michael Cole telling us basically what I've already told you:

That this was the first Attitude Era event to come to England.

We began with clips of the WWF Superstars outside one of the main hotels in Manchester City Centre and then moved to Cole telling us about the history of WWF PPVs in the UK.

First, he told us about Summerslam 1991, when he, of course, meant Summerslam 1992. I'm surprised nobody in the edit picked up on that.

Then, he told us about the aforementioned One Night Only.

Finally, he showed us clips of the show we were about to see, Mayhem in Manchester.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Brakus

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Jeff Jarrett beat Brakus
Unfortunately, this VHS version was a heavily abridged edit of the actual event, so we started out with more Michael Cole.

This time, he talked over a cut-down clip of a match between Jeff Jarrett and Brakus, a guy Cole told us was a "European favourite," despite the fact that none of us over here had ever heard of him.

From what we could see, the match looked like a fairly standard opener, ending when Jarrett slapped Brakus in the figure four.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

Cole then told us what the next match was and then said "let's get right to the action," so let's do that, shall we?

The Disciples of The Apocalypse (Skull & 8-Ball) vs. The Godwins

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - The Godwins beat Disciples of the Apocalypse
Since nothing interesting happened here, I'll take this moment to tell you that the production values here are non-existence.

This is basically like watching a house show with Kevin Kelly the omnipresent Michael Cole commentating over it.

Not that this is necessarily bad. It's just, you know, a different look.

Back to the match, The Godwins won and nobody cared.
Your Winners: The Godwins

Let's keep going

Marvellous Marc Mero (w/ Sable) vs. Bradshaw

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Sable
I've got a feeling that if all the matches are clipped then this review isn't going to be very good.

Still, I've started, so I'll finish.

All we saw here was a quick clip showing us Sable signing some autographs (because, you know, she was super popular), followed by a return to the ring where Bradshaw reversed a TKO and hit Marc Mero with a Clothesline From Hell to win the match.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

The Nation (WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock & D'Lo Brown) vs. Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart

Though still edited, this was the closest thing we got to a full match so far.

It was also a whole lot of fun.

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Owen Hart & Ken Shamrock faced D'Lo Brown & the Rock
Interestingly, Owen Hart was wearing his Slammy Award Winner attire, something which I'm positive he'd no longer been wearing at this stage.

Regardless as to what he was wearing, he and Ken Shamrock dominated the bulk of what we saw from this effort against D'Lo Brown and The Rock.

Shamrock, in particular, seemed to do most of the work, at one point even going for a walk through the crowd with the Intercontinental Champion before finally putting D'Lo in the Ankle Lock to win the match.

Watching it back, that was a hugely enjoyable bit of pro wrestling.
Your Winners: Ken Shamrock & Owen Hart

Moving on...

The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Cactus Jack

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Goldust faced Cactus Jack
Though it wasn't on a par with the previous match, former WCW alum Cactus Jack and Dustin "TAFKA Goldust" Rhodes worked hard here to deliver a solid match that had a lot to like about it.

OK, so it wasn't the longest bout ever, and ok, so it wasn't exactly five-star PPV quality, but it was an entertaining affair from start to finish.

In the end, Goldust got the better of Cactus thanks to Luna Vachon who, from outside of the ring, held Cactus' leg down to stop him kicking out of Goldust's pin.
Your Winner: The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust

Afterwards, Cactus Jack attacked Goldust, but Luna jumped into her man's defence.

This brought out Sable for a huge pop.

The two girls then had a pull-apart brawl which also saw Marc Mero return to the ring. If you recall, Mero and Sable had defeated Luna and Goldust back at Wrestlemania 14, so there was certainly no love lost there.

After Luna bailed, Sable called her out on the mic. Vachon didn't turn up, so Sable took out her frustrations on Mero, pushing him to the mat.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. L.O.D 2000 (Hawk & Animal)

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - The New Age Outlaws in crappy DX t-shirts
If there's one thing I remember about this event, it's that I went in really wanting to buy the classic D-Generation-X t-shirt, only to find they only had a crappy version that had the WWF logo exploding out of the DX logo.

It was a bad design, but it was the best they had, so I bought it anyway.

I mention this because Road Dogg and Bad Ass Billy Gunn were wearing those t-shirts as they made their way to the ring, having only very recently joined DX.

Still, this was at the time when the WWF's answer to the nWo were still technically heels, and so our champions acted as such.

If you ask me, from an in-ring standpoint, the New Age Outlaws were far better as heels.

Sure, they were on fire when it came to getting the crowd worked up as babyfaces, but most of their actual matches when they played the good guys were long, boring, and formulaic.

Here, they were far more interesting as they took the fight to the men they originally beat for the titles, the recently-repacked L.O.D 2000.

After absorbing plenty of punishment, the challengers looked to have the match sewn up, even lifting Road Dogg up for a Doomsday Device.

Before they could land it, however, Chyna ran in to cause the DQ.
Your Winners via Disqualification: L.O.D 2000 (New Age Outlaws retain the titles)

Chyna put in her second appearance of the evening immediately following that match.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H (w/ Chyna)

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - Bad editing from WWF's production crew
Further proof of bad editing in this video is that the overlay graphic told us Steve Austin was fighting Triple HHH, so like *gets the calculator out* Nine Hs?

Regardless as to how many Hs he had in his name, The DX leader and Stone Cold put on an explosive championship match together.

A rematch of sorts from their meeting almost two years prior at In Your House 11: Buried Alive, both champ and challenger worked hard to deliver a really exciting performance, even if it was a little on the short side.

Towards the finish, the champ drilled Triple H and Chyna with stunners, pinned Hunter, and got the three count.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

And with that, it was onto our main event.

Kane (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Mayhem in Manchester 1998 - The Undertaker wrestled in biker gear
Ah yes, that infamous time that The Undertaker's attire got lost in transit, so he had to wrestle dressed up as one of the members of the DOA.

This early version of Biker 'Taker went up against brother Kane in a Wrestlemania 14 rematch that was decent without being spectacular.

Personally, I would have put Austin/HHH on last as it was certainly the highlight of the show, but that's not to say Taker/Kane was bad.

It was a perfectly fine match for what it was and had the predictable ending of Undertaker hitting the Tombstone piledriver to pick up the win.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

And that, my friends, was that.

All in all then, the first Attitude Era event to take place in England was a rather unspectacular affair.

If you never see this event in your life,  you're honestly not missing much. 

Yes, Austin/HHH was great and by far the best thing on the show, but then again, the two would have better matches down the line, so you don't need to worry about this one. 

Besides, this show was about 90% Michael Cole and nobody needs that, not even Mrs Cole. 

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
  9. WCW Slamboree 1998
  10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
  11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
  12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
  13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
  14. WWF - In Your House 23: Fully Loaded 
  15. WCW - Road Wild 1998
  16. WWF - Summerslam 1998
  17. WCW - Fall Brawl 1998
  18. WWF - In Your House 24: Breakdown
  19. WWF - In Your House 25: Judgement Day 
  20. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1998
  21. WWF - Survivor Series 1998
  22. WWF - Capital Carnage 1998
  23. WCW - World War 3 1998
  24. WWF - In Your House 26: Rock Bottom
Other WWF UK event reviews 
  1. Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall 1991
  2. Summerslam 1992
  3. One Night Only 1997
  4. Capital Carnage 1998
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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.