Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 28 February 2019


NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - NWA-TNA logo
June 19th, 2002
Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, Alabama

At the time that I first sat down to write this review, All Elite Wrestling had just announced their arrival on the pro wrestling landscape.

In the eyes of many fans, the new promotion looked to be the biggest threat to WWE's global dominance since World Championship Wrestling's game-changing run at the height of the Monday Night Wars.

Indeed, while many companies have come and many more have gone, Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire has gone relatively unchallenged for the better part of 20 years.

Though it wasn't always this way.

A year after the company's demise, WCW's former World Champion Jeff Jarrett found himself without a job and without any chance of getting another run in WWE thanks to a falling out with McMahon a few years earlier.

So he teamed up with father Jerry Jarrett to form a new start-up promotion, NWA: TNA.

Though the future would prove to have other ideas for them, TNA at first looked to be the best chance any company had of replicating WCW's success against WWE and establishing themselves as the number two -if not number one- pro wrestling company in America.

Over 15 years later, and despite countless management and roster changes -not to mention countless rumours of their imminent demise- TNA are still alive and kicking, now formally under the name of Impact Wrestling.

Though no longer a threat to WWE, and though their status as America's number two has likely already surpassed by All Elite Wrestling, Impact do still have a healthy following, and to celebrate passing two million YouTube subscribers, the company posted the company's first ever show online in its entirety.

And so, with nothing better to do on a rainy Sunday morning, we head back to 2002, when it was NWA: TNA, and not AEW, who were the Next Great Hope for professional wrestling.

History in the Making 

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Don West, Mike Tenay, and Ed Ferarra call the action
After all the pomp and fireworks, a rather svelte (compared to later years) Don West came bursting down the entrance way and welcomed us to the show as two strippers gyrated in cages at either side of the entrance.

West next introduced us to one of his co-announcers for tonight's show, Ed Ferrara. Last seen on TV doing a terrible and ill-received impression of Jim Ross back in WCW, Ferrara came out doing a new impression:

That of a sleazy, middle-aged man in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Sporting long dreadlocks down to his ass and wearing leather pants and a leather coat, Ferrara looked ridiculous.

He sounded even more ridiculous when he told us that he was here for TNA, not just Total Non-Stop Action but, you know, TNA.

Finally, Ed and West took their seats either side of lead announcer Mike Tenay who had opted not to draw attention to himself like Ed and Don had (West was wearing a garish Hawaiian shirt) but rather to don the traditional uniform of the pro wrestling pay-per-view announcer: The tuxedo.

Tenay, whose familiar voice already leant an air of credibility to proceedings, told us that tonight was all about history. It was about respecting the history of the National Wrestling Alliance, and also about creating history with the first TNA broadcast.

Iron Mike talked to Ed and Don about tonight's Gauntlet for the Gold match in which we'd crown a new NWA Champion. From the way Tenay explained it, the match was basically a convoluted Battle Royal, a bit like a Royal Rumble that would turn into a singles match between the last two men standing.

The Legends are Here...And the Main Event Sucks

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat and the NWA legends present the TNA title
With the intros out of the way, we next went to the ring where Jeramy Borash and his bleached-blonde highlights were on hand to welcome the legends of the National Wrestling Alliance to the ring.

Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr, Jackie Fargo, Corsica Joe and his wife, and NWA committee member Bill Behrens were all introduced before, finally, Ricky Steamboat came out with the NWA Championship.

Taking to the mic, Steamboat did an incredible job of making the title seem like the most important thing in the world, putting over its heritage, history and what a valuable prize it was in the world of pro wrestling. If you were ever going to get fans excited about your main event title match, this was the way to do it.

Of course, one way not to get fans excited would be to have some of the biggest stars competing in that main event come out and tell everybody how stupid the match was...

Which is exactly what TNA did net.

First up, Jeff Jarrett interrupted Steamboat. In kayfabe, Jarrett was just another member of the roster. Jarrett's very first on-screen act in his new company was to tell us all what a bad idea the main event was. Irrate at the introduction, Jackie Fargo took to the mic and, in his capacity as a member of the NWA Championship Committee (or something to that effect), declared that Jarrett was to be the first entrant in tonight's Gauntlet for the Gold.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Ken Shamrock promises to win the TNA Championship
Next, Jarrett was interrupted by The World's Most Dangerous Man, Ken Shamrock.

Receiving a rousing ovation from the crowd, Shamrock agreed with Jarrett, even going so far as to tell us that the main event "sucked."

Still, despite it sucking, Shamrock had entered the match and told us that he'd drawn number 19.

Finally, a healthy-looking Scott Hall strolled through the crowd and repeated Shamrock's statement that the main event sucked but that he was entering anyway.

Having spent the very first real segment in TNA taking a huge dump over their own main event, everybody kind of just left as we cut backstage.

Puppet the Psycho Dwarf Wants Midget Blood

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Goldy Locks interviews Puppet the Psycho Dwarf
Out in the back, Goldy Locks introduced us to a man she called a "midget killer," Puppet The Psycho Dwarf.

Clearly, out his mind, Puppet ranted and raved about how midgets were the true backbone of America and as such he wanted to see them in the opening match so that he could see some "midget blood."

Before things could get any more insane, Puppet and Goldy were interrupted by a pissed-off Jeff Jarrett, who was seen storming past and kicking things over while cursing to himself about Jackie Fargo.

I've no idea what that was.

Six Man Tag:
AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn vs. The Flying Elvises (Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki, and Jimmy Yang)

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn face The Flying Elvises
More than living up to their name, Total Non-Stop Action delivered with their first ever televised match, a lightning-fast six-man battle designed to showcase the company's X-Division.

After a refusing a handshake, The Flying Elvises firmly established themselves as heels by attacking their opponents in the opening moments, but it was AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn, especially Lynn, who were the real stars here.

The babyfaces looked mightily impressive as they each took turns to showcase their unique offence, battling Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki and former Jung Dragon, Jimmy Yang, in a very exciting opening contest.

Yet despite their best efforts, it just wasn't to be for Styles, Ki, and Lynn. After an exhilarating match, Jimmy Yang came flying off the top rope to hit AJ with the Yang Time and picked up the three count, earning him the distinct honour of being the first man to score a pinfall on any TNA televised broadcast.
Your Winners: The Flying Elvises 

After a brief clip of TNA's sexy dancers sexy dancing inside stripper cages, it was onto our next match.

Midget Match
Hollywood vs. Teo

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Teo beat Hollywood
To be honest, your writer wasn't expecting anything more than a farcical comedy routine here and was pleasantly surprised when Teo and Hollywood used the two or three minutes they were allotted to deliver a surprisingly fun bout.

Though I'm trying desperately to avoid using the word short, there's no way around it. This was a very short match, but also very enjoyable, and ended when Teo hit Hollywood with a twisting senton for the three count.
Your Winner: Teo

After more dancing ladies we got...more ladies.

Francine Vows to Become Miss TNA

Out in the ring, Don West and Ed Ferrara introduced the ladies who would be competing in the following week's Lingerie Battle Royal. The competitors included, among others, ECW stars Francine and Electra, Daffney and a young Alexis Laree, better known to you and me as Mickie James.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Alexis Laree (Mickie James) looks on as Francine reminds us she's the Queen of Extreme
With all the girls in the ring, Francine grabbed the mic to remind us that she was the Queen of Extreme, and that, as such, nobody else was worthy of being in the ring with her.

That prompted Electra to stand up and accuse Francine of "singlehandedly bankrupting another company (ECW)". Irrate at the clearly false accusation, Francine lunged after Electra and a small catfight ensued, resulting in Francine ripping Electra's top off to expose her bra. Finally, as she left the ring, Francine vowed that she would win the battle royal next week and be crowned our first Miss TNA.

I'm not sure if this was supposed to be sexy or just entertaining, but it ended up being neither.

Mortimer Plumtree Introduces The Johnsons 

Out in the back, Goldy Locks was standing by with manager Mortimer Plumtree.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Goldy Locks interviews Mortimer Plumtree
Plumtree told us that he had complete control over two men who he was bringing to TNA. Those men?

The Johnsons.

Though the whole idea of The Johnsons was stupid (their whole thing was quite literally one big dick joke), Plumtree was actually pretty compelling as the wimpy manager with delusions of power who gets others to do his work for him.

It's such a shame they combined his natural charisma with such a terrible, terrible gimmick.

The Johnsons (Richard & Rod w/ Mortimer Plumtree) vs. Psicosis & Cowboy James Storm

Imagine having it on your resume that at some point in your past you were a wrestling penis.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Mortimer Plumtree celebrates with The Johnsons
As Richard and Rod (puns very much intended) made their way to the ring, the camera shot to two very young children giving them the thumbs down. I don't need to tell you how troubling that shot is.

Here, the masked dicks took on former WCW star Psicosis and long-time TNA mainstay, Cowboy James Storm in a decent though occasionally sloppy match.

The young, clean-shaven Cowboy James Storm looked a million miles away from the grizzled, beer-drinking veteran we know him as today, especially when he brought out two pistols and fired a couple of blanks in his best impersonation of The Smoking Gunns.

Together with Psicosis, the future TNA champion looked impressive in his debut but sadly wasn't able to avoid a good pounding from a couple of Johnsons.

Yeah, I'm sorry, I went there.
Your Winners: The Johnsons 

Part way through the match, Aleesha (better known as Alicia Webb/Ryan Shamrock) came out to watch the proceedings. Post-match, she had a word with referee Slick Johnson (no relation to Richard and Rod), who then gave her some money and walked off.

Out in the back, Goldy Locks caught up with The Dupps, were told off by Bill Behrens for drinking beer in the locker room.

This is Pro Wrestling, Not NASCAR

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - K-Krush (R-Truth) confronts some NASCAR drivers
Up next, Jeramy Borash introduced NASCAR drivers Hermie Saddler and Sterling Marlin, interviewing both men about NASCAR racing. Having heard enough, K-Krush (Ron 'R-Truth' Killings) came out and said what we were all thinking:

"Nobody cares about NASCAR, this is pro wrestling."

An angry Krush got into it with Saddler and threatened to attack him, only for Brian 'Christopher' Lawler to run out and see off K-Krush, challenging him to a match on next week's show.

Out in the back, a gaggle of referees and jobbers in security T-shirts had to stop Jeff Jarrett from choking out Jackie Fargo.

Christian York & Joey Matthews vs. The Dupps (Stan & Bo w/ Fluff) 

The story here is that Stan, Bo, and Fluff were all cousins, but Fluff was also both Stan & Bo's girlfriend. OK, so it was another dumb idea on a show that seemed to have many, but I won't lie, if Fluff was my cousin, I'd at least be tempted.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - The Dups
Here, they went up against Christian York and future Straight Edge Society member, Joey Matthews.

Though not a great match by any stretch, there was nothing particularly bad about this. It was perfectly acceptable mid-card filler which came to an end with a victory for the incestuous cousins.
Your Winners: The Dups 

As if the NASCAR stuff wasn't enough to give the show a decidedly southern feel, we were next shown a clip from a Toby Keith music video before the man himself was introduced live to the arena by Bleached-Blonde Borash.

Though musical interludes rarely work in pro wrestling shows, the fans were big-time into Keith's song, mainly because it was all full of Eagles and Liberty and Going Murica All Over Everybody's Asses.

One person who clearly wasn't a fan was Jeff Jarrett. Possibly having flashbacks to WWF In Your House 2, Double J stormed out, shoved Keith aside and headed to the ring, claiming that nobody wanted to hear the country music star singing.

Keith had to be held back by officials whilst Jarrett circled the ring, ready for our main event.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Gauntlet for the Gold Match 

Featuring: Jeff Jarrett, Buff Bagwell, Lash LeRoux, Norman Smiley, Apollo, K-Krush, Slash, Del Rios, Justice, Konnan, Bruce, Rick Steiner, Malice, Scott Hall, Vampire Warrior, Devon Storm, Steve Corino, Ken Shamrock, Brian Christopher

And so it was on, a 20-man battle royal with the last two remaining competitors going at it in a singles match for the title.

Jarrett started off in Hulk Hogan/John Cena mode, making quick work of Buff Bagwell, Lash LeRoux, and Norman Smiley and singlehandedly eliminating each man, one after the other. Honestly, anybody would think Jarrett himself were booking the match or something.

Seeing Jarrett do the superhuman thing was very boring, and the match didn't get much better when Apollo came in and put an end to Double J's reign of terror. Still, the former Intercontinental Champion stayed in the match all the way until the 15th or 16th participant, when Toby Keith put in a cameo appearance.

Looking to get some revenge, Keith hit Jarrett with a suplex before he and Scott Hall tossed him out of the ring.

If there are some names you don't quite recognise here, let's go through them.

Del Rios was an exact clone of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner (albeit smaller) who had famously had one match in the WWF as wrestling magician Phantasio. Justice would become Abyss and Bruce was Allen Funk in a "we're gay so we're heels" gimmick with Lenny Lane. Malice was The Wall from WCW.

I say all this because it's more interesting than just about anything that happened in the match itself, outside of Malice killing everybody and Konnan being just as super-over as he was at the height of his WCW run.

After a lengthy battle, Ken Shamrock and Malice were the last two remaining, at which point Ricky Steamboat stepped in as our special referee.

A short, forgettable match later, Shamrock got the win.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Champion: Ken Shamrock

After Shamrock's celebration, Jeff Jarrett stormed back to the ring, still complaining about the stupid idea of having a battle royal to determine a world champion.

bought Jackie Fargo and Toby Keith back out, with Fargo telling us that he'd have somebody take care of Jarrett next week. That somebody happened to Scott Hall, who stormed out and got into a brawl with Jarrett as the show came to an end.

And so that that was that.

Picking up right where WCW had left off with a cringe-worthy version of the Attitude Era product, if NWA: TNA really were the company to challenge WWE's dominance, they certainly didn't show it on their first outing as a company. 

Sure, there was some good wrestling, particularly in the opening contest, but it's fair to say that this show really hasn't aged well over the past seventeen years. In fact, watching this show, it's amazing to think that TNA, in some form or another, has made it this far. 

Other TNA PPV events:
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Thursday, 21 February 2019


WCW Superbrawl IX 1999 - Event poster
February 21, 1999 
Oakland Arena, Oakland, California

It was the year 1999. The dawning of a brand new millennium was fast approaching and the whole world was looking ahead to the future. Everywhere you went, there was a tangible sense of excitement for all things new and innovative and unknown.

How did World Championship Wrestling choose to capitalise on this forward-thinking sense of optimism for a whole new century?

By booking two of the biggest stars of the 1980s in the main event of a major PPV.

Yes, it had been the better part of a decade since Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair had been at their peak, yet tonight we'd see them go one on one for the first time on a major show since Clash of the Champions XXXIII back in August 1996.

Oh, what a long time ago that now seemed to be.

Here's what happened when Flair and Hogan took to the ring as WCW marched slowly onwards to the new millennium.

We're going to Superbrawl 

WCW Superbrawl IX 1999 - Torrie Wilson
Tonight's show began with the weirdest opening - basically, Torrie Wilson sat on a bed, wrapped in a towel and talking about how thrilled she was that an unknown, unseen man behind the camera had bought them both two tickets to Superbrawl.

I'm not sure if there was any kind of relevance to this, or if we'll even find out as the show progresses.

Anyway, this bizarre opening clip was followed by an opening video in which a number of former champions were shown as we heard Tony Schiavone's call from the moment they won their first title.

Speaking of Schiavone, we finally got to the usual introduction from the man himself and his colleagues, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Iron Mike Tenay.

Schiavone reminded us that Flair was already a 13-time champion and that tonight, he was going up against then-current champion, Hollywood Hogan.

We were also told that Flair was dedicating tonight's match to his family. This being wrestling, that would have to play into the story of tonight's match somehow.

New champions will be crowned 

Extending tonight's opening formalities even longer than usual, we next got a look at the tag team championship tournament which had been put together to try and rebuild some kind of tag team scene in WCW after The Outsiders practically killed it off.

The video package told us that one of the most shocking things about the tournament was that it had caused Meng and Barbarian to split up.

It's worth pointing out here that Meng & Barbarian had already split up, had faced each other at the previous year's Road Wild 1998, and then only reunited at last month's Souled Out 1999, with manager Jimmy Hart telling us he'd put them back together just for the tournament.

That aside, we were told that the tournament finals would see Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko taking on Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.

Apparently, Benoit & Malenko had already beaten Hennig & Windham on Nitro but still had to beat them again in order to become champions because this was WCW and nothing was ever straight-forward in WCW.

Mean Gene Okerlund then pimped 1-900-909-9900 for us before, finally, seven minutes into the broadcast, we finally got to the ring for our first match.

Disco Inferno vs. Booker T

WCW Superbrawl IX - Disco Inferno faced Booker T
Apparently, Disco Inferno was now a fully-fledged member of the nWo Wolfpac, which should tell you everything you need to know about the state of that angle.

Regardless of his affiliation, Disco was able to put together a surprisingly good match with Booker T.

The two veterans kept things simple, building from one enjoyable spot to another with the drama intensifying every step of the way.

The crowd were super into every moment and erupted when Booker T finally hit the Harlem Hangover to claim victory in what had been a really enjoyable opening contest.
Your Winner: Booker T 

During the usual post-match replay, Bobby Heenan completely messed up calling the spots. If there was ever a show where it was obvious that The Brain had stopped caring, and might even be drunk, this one was it.

Chris Jericho (w/ Ralphus) vs. Perry Saturn `

WCW Superbrawl IX - Chris Jericho w/ Ralphus & Scott Dickinson
Last month, at Souled Out, Chris Jericho and Perry Saturn had one of the best matches on the card.

Tonight's outing, an explosive, hard-hitting battle that saw both men trade the advantage, set out to be much of the same.

The only difference this time is that as per the stipulation of him losing at Souled Out, Saturn was wearing a dress.

Tonight's match was supposed to be his chance to redeem himself. Win the match, take off the dress.

Instead, Saturn seemed quite content in his new-found career as a cross-dressing wrestler but did rip off the dress that Ralphus was wearing.

Quite why Ralphus was wearing a dress was never fully explained.

In the end, Saturn looked to have the match won.

Rather than getting the three count, however, he attacked referee Scott Dickinson, who had turned on him at Souled Out and accompanied Jericho to the ring tonight, but who then completely forgot he was now a heel and called the match right down the middle.

After taking out Dickinson, Saturn simply walked off, telling the camera that life is a drag.
Your Winner via Countout: Chris Jericho

A great match then, but a really odd ending.

Rey won't lose his mask

Out in the Internet Location, Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. claimed that they were both confident that Rey wouldn't lose his mask against Lex Luger tonight simply because Luger lacked heart.

We were then shown a video package highlighting the rivalry between Diamond Dallas Page and Scott Steiner. This whole rivalry revolved around Steiner claiming that Page's wife, Kimberly.

Moving on, the next match had nothing to do with either of those two things.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Billy Kidman  

WCW Superbrawl IX - Chavo Guerrero challenged Billy Kidman for the cruiserweight title
Short, snappy and right to the point, this was the third good match in a row on tonight's card.

If you've read any of my other recent WCW reviews, you'll know just how rare it is that I get to write that statement.

A good back-and-forth battle, this saw Billy Kidman enter into yet another solid pay per view title defence.

Not that the challenger was any slouch. Chavo Guerrero worked hard here, but it just wasn't to be his day.

Kidman hit the shooting star press and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman  

Prior to the next match, we got a brief video reminding us that Goldberg and Bam Bam Bigelow hated each other and would fight later on in the show.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship (title vacant)
Curt Hennig & Barry Windham vs. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko 

WCW Superbrawl IX - Curt Hennig & Barry Windham
I won't try and pretend I understand what was going on here.

The two teams had already met on Nitro, but to had to meet here again in what the announcers kept telling us was two different matches, but was essentially a two-out-of-three-falls type deal.

The first fall was a long, solid battle which played out exactly as you might expect a match between these four to do.

Though it ran a little long for this writer's tastes, it was a terrific effort which eventually saw Malenko lock Windham in the Texas Cloverleaf for the submission.

We were then supposed to get a thirty-second rest period, but instead, Malenko and Benoit continued to beat up on Curt Hennig.

Malenko then returned to a prone Windham, but the former member of the Four Horsemen had taken off this belt and managed to choke the current Horseman with it.

He then made the cover, got the count, and won the titles for his team.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Curt Hennig & Barry Windham 

In keeping with the theme of reminding us about matches that weren't happening yet, we were next taken back to Nitro where, in a rematch from their Summerslam 1991 classic, Bret Hart and Roddy Piper met for the US title.

Piper would defend that title against Scott Hall later, but first, Hall had another job to do.

Elizabeth's Hair vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.'s Mask
The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Konnan

WCW Superbrawl IX - Rey Mysterio Jr. right after losing his mask
Apparently, Lex Luger had a torn bicep, so Hall was filling in for him in teaming with Kevin Nash to defend Miss Elizabeth's hair against Rey Mysterio and Konnan, with Rey's mask also on the line.

This one turned out to be one of the best matches Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had been involved in for some years. It was strangely good fun to see the two large wrestlers throw Rey around like a rag doll, and equally as much fun to see Rey coming up with some unique offence in order to combat his adversaries.

Konnan was there too, of course, and was very over with the live crowd, but despite his best efforts, he still wasn't able to help Rey save his mask.

Luger pulled Konnan to the outside while Elizabeth distracted the referee. Rey then knocked out Kevin Nash, but a groggy Scott Hall got to his feet, planted Mysterio with a vicious Outsider Edge, then draped Nash's prone arm over him.

A three count later, and Rey Mysterio Jr. would have to unmask.
Your Winners: The Outsiders

With little of the tension and build-up that we'd seen when Juventud Guerrera lost his mask to Chris Jericho the previous year at Superbrawl VIII, Konnan helped Rey take off his mask.

Looking fed up, Mysterio merely walked off, leaving the dastardly heels to mess around in the ring wearing his mask.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Superbrawl IX - Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner and Jenna Flangleton
First things first, it has to be said that Scott Steiner looks weird with the TV title. It's kind of like how you'd imagine seeing The Undertaker with the European title back in the Attitude Era.

Weird or not, Big Poppa Pump lifted a "fan" (obvious plant) and brought her into the ring for a quick pre-match promo in which he told DDP that it wasn't his fault Kimberly wanted him so bad.

An enraged DDP them stormed out and beat the living hell out of Steiner, smashing him around the ring and busting him open.

That brought out Buff Bagwell, who helped his buddy turn the tables by running interference and also cutting off the turnbuckle pads to expose the bare steel.

That last move had Bagwell thrown out by referee Charles Robinson, though it was too little, too late.

The tides had turned and Steiner was able to basically maul DDP to shreds, eventually locking him in the Steiner Recliner until Page passed out.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Scott Steiner

Post-match, Page was put in a neck brace and carried out on a stretcher.

Meanwhile, in the Internet Location, Bam Bam Bigelow bragged to Mark Madden that he was very confident about beating Goldberg.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Scott Hall (w/ Disco Inferno)

WCW Superbrawl IX - Scott Hall squares up against Rowdy Roddy Piper
Ok, so this wasn't exactly terrible, but it wasn't exactly good, either.

Piper looked -and wrestled- like an old and broken man, spending almost the entire time getting beaten up by Hall.

The comeback happened, and even Hall's corner man, Disco Inferno, took a beating, much to the delight of the live audience.

Eventually, however, the number's game proved too much for Hot Rod.

Disco distracted the referee while Kevin Nash ran out and attacked.

Hall made the pin with his foot on the ropes and, three seconds later, became the new champion.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Scott Hall

Afterwards, Piper took the US title and was reluctant to hand over the belt.

Eventually, he did and was then chased off by Hall and Nash.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldberg

WCW Superbrawl IX - Bam Bam Bigelow faced Goldberg
This feud started all the way in the fall of 1998, when Bigelow attacked Goldberg on Nitro and the two got into a brawl during World War 3 1998.

After sidetracking Goldberg into the whole Hogan/Nash/Fingerpoke of Doom debacle, the WCW brain trust finally decided that this one needed a solid blow off.

Unfortunately, this was not a solid blow off.

What it was, was two big men who should have been smashing into one another instead spending most of their time on the mat, putting the crowd to sleep with boring submissions.

After far too much time with far too little happening, Goldberg hit the spear and this one was over.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Finally, it was onto our main event.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair 

WCW Superbrawl IX - Hollywood Hulk Hogan battled Nature Boy Ric Flair with some poontang
Although Hogan vs. Flair may not have been the most ideal main event for 1999, the two veterans nonetheless went out of their way to prove why they were in that position in the first place:

When it came down to it, they could still entertain like few others, and didn't need a whole bunch of fancy moves to do it.

Their match was relatively short, had a red-hot crowd which both men played up to perfectly, and saw champ and challenger doing the best they could with what they had.

Sure, it was mostly brawling and whipping each other with Hogan's weightlifting belt, but even those simple things proved effective.

Towards the finish, Tori Wilson made her onscreen debut, coming to the ring in a red dress to distract Flair (at least that opening shot of her did make sense now), only for Nature Boy to get the upper hand over Hogan anyway.

When Wilson's distraction didn't work, a masked man came to the ring and shocked Flair with a stun gun.

Charles Robinson woke up from a nap (he had been bumped earlier), Hogan made the cover, and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Heavyweight Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan

Afterwards, the masked man embraced 'The Lady In The Red Dress' (as Schiavone kept calling her) before she slowly but surely took his mask off for him.

The man in the mask?

None other than David Flair, who also revealed that he was wearing an nWo shirt despite getting the living crap beaten out of him by the New World Order back at Souled Out.

Finally, Kevin Nash came down for no real reason and he, Hogan, David Flair and Torrie Wilson celebrated to end the show.

After a run of terrible pay per views in 1998, World Championship Wrestling finally put on a card that wasn't frustrating, boring, or otherwise just terrible. 

Sure, it had its weak points; Roddy Piper should not have been competing, and the Goldberg/Bigelow fiasco was a huge disappointment, but other than those mistakes, this was a good show.

The undercard was better than any WCW PPV undercard had been for some time, and the main event was better than probably any WCW main event had been for the better part of three years. 

Again, Flair vs. Hogan wasn't perfect, but after it was all said and done, it turned out the two icons of the 1980s did still have a place in pro wrestling at the end of the millennium.

Other WCW Superbrawl reviews:

  • WCW Superbrawl VI (1996)
  • WCW Superbrawl VII (1997)
  • WCW Superbrawl VIII (1998)

  • Other 1999 pro wrestling reviews:

    Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

    Thursday, 14 February 2019

    PPV REVIEW: WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - In Your House 27

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Event poster
    February 14, 1999
    The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee

    From pretending to be a rooster to barking like a dog, dressing up in a giant turkey costume and being whatever the hell Bastion Booger was supposed to be, Vincent Kennedy McMahon had bestowed some pretty humiliating tasks upon his employees independent contractors over the years.

    Yet for all the criticism levied at some of McMahon's more outlandish ideas, his staunchest supporters always had one very good argument in his defence:

    He wasn't asking his performers to do anything that he, himself, wouldn't do.

    Since the creation of the evil Mr McMahon character, the Chairman of the Board had proven that time and time again.

    In his legendary rivalry with Stone Cold Steve Austin, McMahon had been ritually humiliated on a weekly basis, even going so far as to pee his pants in front of a global television audience of millions.

    Now, The Boss was set to take the concept of leading by example one step further by stepping into the ring -or rather, into the cage- for his first professional wrestling match against his arch nemesis.

    Here's what happened when Vince McMahon faced Stone Cold Steve Austin as the road to Wrestlemania 15 hit Tennessee.

    Crazy, you're driving me crazy, my sweet Valentine...

    Tonight's show was named after the original St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929, a horrific event which saw seven people murdered as a result of a rivalry between gangsters Al Capone and Bugs Moran.

    In keeping with that period, tonight opened up with a video package that had a very retro, Prohibition-Era feel to it - all flickering black and white images and jaunty piano like something straight out of your local speakeasy.

    As cute female voice sang about her sweet valentine driving her crazy, we were shown clips of Austin torturing McMahon, The Rock torturing Mankind, and The Undertaker being just a little creepy.

    As intros go, this one was perfect, fusing the old-school inspiration of the event itself with the modern-day stories of heated rivals that we were about to witness.

    Michael Cole then welcomed us to the show and introduced us to hometown hero Jerry 'The King' Lawler who, predictably, received a huge ovation from the live crowd.

    With that, it was on to our opening contest:

    Goldust vs. Bluedust

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Bluedust (Blue Meanie) faced Goldust
    There are some things from the Attitude Era that just haven't aged well, and this is certainly one of them.

    For whatever reason, Goldust had stolen Head from Al Snow, prompting Snow's J.O.B Squad buddy The Blue Meanie to steal it back. Not only that, but Meanie also blue himself and dressed up as a Goldust parody, Bluedust.

    If you'd forgotten all about this, don't worry:

    You're not the only one.

    In fact, I think the whole Bluedust thing is one memory better left suppressed.

    Thankfully, this horrible thing didn't last long. Goldust gave Bluedust a good spanking, hit the Curtain Call, and pinned him in about two minutes.
    Your Winner: Goldust

    Afterwards, Goldie smashed his rival with the Shattered Dreams.

    World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
    Al Snow (w/ Head) vs. Bob Holly

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Bob Holly won the vacant Hardcore Title
    So, here we have the first time the WWF Hardcore Championship would be contested on PPV.

    Apparently, the previous champion, Road Dogg, had been injured, leaving Al Snow to battle his former J.O.B Squad mate, Bob (Not-Yet-Hardcore) Holly for the vacant title.

    Wasting very little time in leaving the ring and heading out to the back, this quickly turned into a fun little hardcore brawl that saw both men smash random objects over each other's heads and throw one another into walls.

    It's matches like this which make your writer realise why he preferred the WWF's Hardcore Division to some of the more extreme, death-match style wrestling.

    While a lot of death matches were simply sick and brutal, the WWF's stuff has always been a little slapstick, and that's just fun.

    Eventually, Snow and Holly battled outside to the bank of the Mississippi River. This would have been great if you could actually see what was going on. It was pitch black outside and, as such, there were times when you couldn't really see the action.

    What you could see, however, was Holly wrapping up Snow in some chainlink fence and pinning him.
    Your Winner and NEW WWF Hardcore Champion: Hardcore Holly

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 -The Undertaker summons The Ministry of Darkness
    Prior to our next contest, we were shown footage shot earlier in the day in which The Undertaker spoke to his Ministry of Darkness.

    Surrounded by fire and darkness, 'Taker told his troops that tonight was when their purpose in life began.

    The whole thing looked pretty cool but didn't achieve much beyond promoting an upcoming Mideon vs. Big Boss Man match which I'm pretty sure nobody wanted to see.

    Still, it was up next, so let's see it anyway, shall we?

    The Big Boss Man vs. Mideon

    Though the two veterans worked well together to produce the best match they could, that match wasn't what anybody in the arena wanted.

    At one point, a very loud 'BORING!' chant fired up. Though that might have been an unfair assessment, it's true that this wasn't much to get excited about.

    In the end, Boss Man hit the Bossman Slam for the three count.
    Your Winner: The Big Boss Man

    Post-match, The Ministry of Darkness surrounded the ring and then beat up Bossman as The Undertaker and Paul Bearer looked on.

    Viscera gave Bossman a couple of huge splashes, then the Ministry carried him away backstage.

    D'Lo & Mark Henry have their own 'secret weapon.'

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Mark Henry & D'Lo Brown reveal Ivory as their new valet
    Out in the back, D'Lo Brown told Kevin Kelly that he and Mark Henry had something to counteract Debra, the 'secret weapon' that Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett had been using to dominate the tag division.

    That something was Ivory, the former GLOW star who was making her first WWF PPV appearance here tonight.

    Though not particularly captivating, this quick little promo did do a good job of getting us up to speed on Ivory's involvement in the upcoming match.

    World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
    WWF Tag Team Champions Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart (w/ Debra) vs. Mark Henry & D'Lo Brown (w/ Ivory)

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Debra accompanied Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart in their match against D'Lo and Mark Henry
    Before this one started, Henry took to the microphone to call Ivory his "baby" and give her some flowers. It's funny, but this is just another storyline that I have no recollection of.

    Once the tag team champions arrived, they went at it with Henry & D'Lo in a match that was fairly formulaic from start to finish.

    Nothing much seemed to happen until the finish, which saw D'Lo go up top for his frog splash. Debra tried to seduce the former Nation member, which promoted Ivory to go after her nemesis. With the referee distracted by all that, Owen Hart was able to smash Henry around the legs with Jarrett's guitar.

    Double J himself then slapped on the figure four and this one was over.
    Your Winners: Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Kevin Kelly interviews Mankind
    Out in the back, Kevin Kelly and Mankind looked at a clip from Sunday Night Heat in which The Rock attacked Mankind and injured his knee.

    Mankind told Kelly that the injury wasn't enough to stop him competing. In fact, he was about to go into a state of mental preparation ready for his world title showdown with The Rock later on in the show.

    Hello, Kenny...

    Up next, we were shown a recap of the rivalry between Ken Shamrock and Val Venis. If you recall, this all revolved around Venis getting together with Ken's sister, Ryan, and Shamrock being unhappy about it.

    World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
    WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock vs. Val Venis (w/ Ryan Shamrock)

    Special guest referee: Bad Ass Billy Gunn

    Apparently, Val and Ken's rivalry was so intense that referee Earl Hebner had refused to officiate. For reasons that weren't exactly made clear, Bad Bum Billy Gunn stepped in to do the honours instead.

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Bad Bum Billy Gunn
    Gunn came to the ring doing Road Dogg's usual 'Oh you didn't know?' spiel, and proved why that kind of thing was better left to Road Dogg in the first place.

    Still, what he lacked in the intro department, Gunn more than made up for by being very entertaining as a referee.

    Not one to show favourites, Gunn continually counted slow for both men and didn't really seem to fussy about enforcing the rules.

    At one point, Venis had Shamrock in a chinlock and continually yelled "ASK HIM!" at the referee.

    "ASK HIM WHAT!?!" yelled Gunn in response.

    Of course, the referee wasn't the only one putting in the effort here.

    Both Shamrock and Venis worked well together to put on a decent match, even if Shamrock was a little too vocal.

    At one point, Shamrock questioned a referee decision by yelling -very loudly- "What the f**k!"

    Then, while outside the ring, with camera and microphone pointing right at him, he told Ryan Shamrock to slap him.

    Slap him she did, though not as hard as Billy Gunn slapped him later on.

    The champion pushed Gunn, causing Gunn to strike Shamrock and throw him into the ring, where Venis quickly rolled him up and won the title.
    Your Winner and New WWF Intercontinental Champion: Val Venis

    Post-match, Billy Gunn brawled with Ken Shamrock then ran back to the ring to beat up on Val for a bit.

    WWF European Champion X-Pac & Triple H vs. Kane & Chyna

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - X-Pac & Triple H
    I genuinely believe that there were few more talented in-ring performers during the Attitude Era that Triple H.

    Whether it was his classic ladder match with The Rock at Summerslam 1998 (still one of my all-time favourite matches) or any number of performances that he'd put on as the century drew to a close, Hunter was consistently involved in matches which, if they didn't outright earn Match of the Night honours, were at least in contendership for them.

    Such was the case here, as the DX leader teamed with X-Pac to take on his former bodyguard Chyna and her fellow Corporation stablemate, Kane.

    Chyna had recently turned her back on DX at the culmination of a WWF Championship match on Raw between Triple H and defending champion, The Rock.

    Towards the end of that match -fought under I Quit rules- Hunter looked to have the champion in serious trouble. That's when The Corporation ran out and Kane lifted Chyna for a chokeslam. Big Boss Man told Triple H that unless he quit, Chyna would get it.

    Hunter, being the gentleman and general good guy that he was, naturally obliged.

    Except, of course, that was a rouse. Chyna then drilled her man with a low blow and revealed herself to be the newest member of The Corporation.

    That took us to tonight where, in her third year as a WWF roster member, Chyna finally got to have her debut PPV match.

    And man, what a match it was.

    The match of the night up to this point, all four participants played their parts perfectly, working to create an exciting contest that was absolutely captivating from first to last.

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Chyna & KaneThe crowd were hot, the action was fast, furious, and hard-hitting, and the whole thing would have been nigh on perfect were it not for Shane McMahon.

    The boss's son was on guest commentary duty and was highly annoying all the way through. Though that was his gimmick, it was so overplayed that at times it distracted from the action.

    Speaking of McMahon, he got involved in the finish by drilling X-Pac with a clothesline. Barely flinching, 'Pac got up and chased Shane backstage, leaving Triple H to fend for himself.

    At first he did fine, setting up Chyna to eat what looked to be a match-ending pedigree, only to get chokeslammed to all unholy hell by Kane. The Big Red Machine then draped Chyna's prone, lifeless body over HHH, the referee counted to three, and this one was over.
    Your Winners: Kane & Chyna

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - Ambulances waiting for The Rock & Mankind
    Out in the back, we were shown a couple of ambulances that were on standby in case they were needed to help Mankind and The Rock following their impending Last Man Standing match.

    This was followed by a recap of the storied rivalry between champ and challenger. It was a rivalry that began with the great double cross and the crowning of The Rock as champion at Survivor Series 1998.

    It was a rivalry which continued with a match at In Your House 26: Rock Bottom, with Mankind putting butts on seats by winning the WWF title on Raw, and with legendary battles at the 1999 Royal Rumble and Half-Time Heat.

    Finally, it was a rivalry that would end tonight, with one last showdown before the two moved on to different things on the road to Wrestlemania 15.

    World Wrestling Federation Championship Last Man Standing Match
    WWF Champion Mankind vs. The Rock

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - WWF Champion Mankind
    From bell to bell, champ and challenger waged an unholy war on each other, creating a match which -though different from their previous outings- was every bit as compelling.

    They brawled from the ring into the stands and back again. They punished each other outside the ring. The Rock did his usual spot of breaking from the match to talk on commentary. Mankind did his usual spots of diving off the apron with an elbow and doing that suicidal clothesline thing where both he and his opponent tumbled from the ring.

    They smashed each other with chairs. They pounded on each other with fists and well, basically, they knocked the ever-loving crap out of one another.

    The result was a match that was chaotic, violent and thoroughly entertaining.

    In the end, the two exhausted combatants both laid each other out with chairshots, and when neither man was able to answer Earl Hebner's ten count, the whole thing was over.
    Draw (Mankind retains the title)

    As the crowds chanted a very -VERY- loud chant of "BULLSHIT!" a gaggle of referees came down to check on them. Eventually, paramedics came down and, predictably, both men were sent away in those ambulances we saw earlier.

    Finally, after one last look at the latest instalment of the McMahon/Stone Cold saga stretching from McMahon's win at the 1999 Royal Rumble, it was on to our final match of the evening.

    The King Loses His Voice

    Remember when the WWF used to use a black steel cage? One that was like the classic blue-barred cage but, you know, black?

    That cage made its debut tonight, though it would go on to have a relatively short life.

    While that was getting set up, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole talked about the upcoming match. As their doing that, I thought I might as well point out that, all the way through the show, Jerry Lawler had been losing his voice, and was clearly really struggling to speak here.

    Steel Cage Match
    Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon

    WWE / WWF St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 - IHY 27 - A bloody Vince McMahon flips off Steve Austin
    And so, this was it. The boss vs. the man who had been a thorn in his side for the better part of a year.

    Indeed, whilst everyone remembers the year-long build up to Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan at WCW Starrcade 1997, not as many people seem to talk about the year-long build up towards tonight's epic main event.

    When I say epic, I mean it. This was everything the blow-off to McMahon/Austin needed to be, and then some.

    After a game of cat and mouse, Austin finally got his hands on the boss and clobbered him all the way through the crowd and back again.

    Trying to escape, McMahon scaled the cage from the outside by was chased by Austin. On reaching the top, The Texas Rattlesnake threw his rival from the top of the cage. Vince flew through the air and took a wicked bump through the announce table.

    We're talking a HUGE bump here, like Foley Hell in a Cell levels of huge.

    It was insane, but it was only the beginning.

    Paramedics ran down to stretcher Vince away as Howard Finkle took to the microphone to declare Austin the winner.

    "That's bullshit!" yelled Austin as he grabbed the mic and reminded us that since the bell hadn't rung, the match technically hadn't even started. Not letting Vince get away so easily, he rammed his stretcher into the cage, threw Vince into the ring and beat him to a bloody pulp.

    McMahon got not one bit of offence in the entire time. He took a beating and he took it hard, and every time Austin considered walking away to win the match, Vince flipped him off and took some more punishment.

    It was awesome.

    After taking the ass kicking of a life time, Vince finally got a little help thanks to the arrival of Paul Wight, then better known to fans as The Giant from WCW, but today better known to us as The Big Show.

    "THAT'S PAUL WIGHT! THAT'S PAUL WIGHT! HE'S HUGE!" yelled Cole as Wight tore through the canvas and came to Vince's aid.

    Last seen on PPV as Scott Steiner's tag partner in a losing effort against Rick Steiner at WCW Halloween Havoc 1998, Wight made his presence felt by picking up Austin and throwing him into the side of the cage.

    There was just one problem:

    Wight was so powerful that, when he threw Austin, he accidentally broke the cage. The cage wall swung open, Austin clung on, then dropped to the outside and won the match.
    Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

    The victory meant that Stone Cold now had a title shot at Wrestlemania 15, though for now, he seemed more content with cursing out the man we'd soon come to call The Big Show.

    After a lacklustre undercard, St. Valentine's Day really picked up from the DX vs. Corporation tag team match onwards. All three of the top matches on the card were tremendous in their own right, each one delivering something different yet equally as enthralling.

    Though not a perfect show by any stretch of the imagination, the main events more than made up for atrocities like Goldust/Bluedust and actually made this one well worth checking out on the Network.

    Other 1999 pro wrestling reviews:
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