Thursday, 14 March 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Uncensored 1999

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Event poster
March 14, 1999
Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky

If ever there was an annual event which so perfectly encapsulated all the worst aspects of World Championship Wrestling, it was Uncensored. 

It was at Uncensored 1996 that the company gave us the Doomsday Cage Match, an event which is still talked about today as the ultimate embodiment of all things Wrestlecrap.

1997 fared a little better, but still gave us a horribly convoluted Three Team Elimination match between Team Piper, Team WCW and Team nWo, whilst in 1998 we had the awful Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan cage match.

Still, as we discussed in that 1998 Uncensored review, things had been starting to look better thanks to a very solid undercard.

So, if nothing else, there was hope that this year's event might just be the one to break the Uncensored curse and finally give fans a good show from top to bottom.






Did it manage it?

Or was this yet to be another example of all that was terrible about World Championship Wrestling?

Let's head to Louisville, Kentucky, to find out.

The Most Mindboggling Pay Per View of the Year

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Iron Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
We began tonight's show with an ominous opening video which reminded that tonight's main event would be a First Blood Barbed Wire Cage Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship between reigning champion Hollywood Hogan and WCW President Nature Boy Ric Flair.

And you thought using blood and OTT gimmicks to disguise the fact that they could no longer go was something Flair and Hogan only did during their TNA run.

Anyway, from there, we got the usual welcome from Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

Schiavone told us that this was "the most unpredictable, the most dangerous, the most mindboggling pay per view of the year" and that several of the matches would have "bizarre" stipulations.

I'm not sure if anybody told Tony, but "mindboggling" isn't exactly a good thing.

In true WCW fashion, we next went to Mean Gene Okerlund, who reminded us that because of these "bizarre" stipulations, all of tonight's matches were unsanctioned. Apparently, WCW didn't want anything to do with the actual matches, but were still willing to pay for the arena, the staff, and the marketing, and were willing to have their name all over things.

After Gene shilled 1-900 909 9900, we got a quick video hyping the upcoming Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. match before finally, almost six minutes into the broadcast, we got down to ringside.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Mikey Whipreck

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Mikey Whipwreck vs. Billy Kidman
Known and beloved as a staple of Extreme Championship Wrestling, Mikey Whipwreck was making his WCW on tonight's show, challenging Billy Kidman for the cruiserweight title.

Whipwreck was so new that he didn't even get entrance music.

He was also booed loudly by the Kentucky faithful, though I honestly couldn't tell you whether that was because they hated the fact that he was from ECW or simply loved his opponent way more.

Either way, heel challenger vs. babyface champion worked incredibly well here.

Harking back to a time when WCW would kick off its PPVs with what would often prove to be one of the best matches on the show, this was a solid, fast-paced, high impact cruiserweight match that delivered on every count.

After some terrific back-and-forth action, Kidman landed the shooting star press to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman

Up next, we were about to get a match for control of nWo Black and White. If you needed any indication as to how little that stable actually mattered, the match was between Stevie Ray and Vincent.

A brief video showed us that Hollywood Hogan had been stirring trouble by telling both men separately that they were the nWo Black and White leader and that they should beat the other guy up.

The video also showed us clips of Stevie Ray calling Vincent a "roody poo fruit booty" and Vincent responding by telling us he was about to beat Stevie Ray from project to project.

Harlem Street Fight for Control of nWo Black and White
Stevie Ray vs. Vincent

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Vincent faced Stevie Ray for control over NWO Black & White
Second only to his big match against Ted Dibiase at Summerslam 1991, this may well have been the best match Vincent ever had in his entire career.

That's not to say it was a classic or anything, but it was good, at least by Virgil standards.

Using the no-holds-barred stipulation to its full effect, both Vince and Stevie went brawling through the crowds and crashing into chairs before returning to the ring for some bog standard offence.

Towards the end, Horace Hogan ran in and threw a Slap Jack into the ring before turning to the camera and telling us that he didn't care which one of the two combatants used it because, in actual fact, it was he, Horace, who was the real leader of the nWo.

Vincent tried to use Slap Jack the weapon, but Stevie countered with Slap Jack the move (a pedigree) to win the match.

Again, I'm not saying this was great, just great by Vincent vs. Stevie Ray standards.
Your Winner: Stevie Ray

Out in the Internet Location, Chris Jericho told Mark Madden and That Other Guy Who Looked a Bit Like a Fat Jonathan Coachman that he was ready for Perry Saturn.

For some reason, Madden was sucking up to Jericho big time.

Kevin Nash (w/ Lex Luger & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio
Back at Superbrawl IX, Rey Mysterio Jr. had lost a Mask vs. Miss Elizabeth's hair match to Kevin Nash.

Though nobody had wanted to see Mysterio lose, the actual match had been pretty fun.

The novelty of seeing Nash throw his smaller opponent around like a ragdoll was certainly entertaining, as was the sight of Mysterio using his quickness to take Big Sexy off his feet.

One month later, however, and the novelty had worn off.

Since Superbrawl, Mysterio had been on a winning streak, toppling men twice his size such as Bam Bam Bigelow and even Nash himself, in a return match on Nitro.

Tonight, his luck would run out in a disappointing match against the Wolfpac leader.

Rey took charge in the early going, but their timing was so off that Nash's selling looked fake as hell and really made suspension of disbelief impossible.

Later, Big Sexy gained the upper hand and decimated his opponent, but it was no longer as fun as it had been back at Superbrawl.

Towards the finish, Rey attempted a comeback, but Lex Luger tripped him up.

Nash planted Rey into the mat, and this one was -thankfully- over.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Hardcore Hak
Coming up, we'd have an ECW reunion with Raven meeting Hardcore Hak (Sandman) and Bam Bam Bigelow in a three-way dance.

Next, we got a video package splicing clips of the three men attacking each other with promos in which they each promised just to prove that they were more hardcore and extreme than the other two.

At no point did any man claim that they were going to win. Apparently, that wasn't important here.

The video -and the announcers- made you believe that said match was next, but it wasn't.

What was next involved Mr Personality, Jerry Flynn.

Handicap match
Jerry Flynn vs. Ernest 'The Cat' Miller & w/ Sonny Onoo

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Jerry Lynn vs. Ernest 'The Cat' Miller
This was billed as a handicap match but was, as you might imagine, basically Ernest Miller vs. Jerry Flynn with Sonny Onoo occasionally providing comedy spots in his role as the cowardly heel manager.

The Cat spent almost the entirety of the match beating up on Flynn. You'd assume this was to try and get some crowd sympathy for ol' Lightning Foot so that they could cheer him on towards his inevitable comeback.

The problem was that not a single member of the audience seemed to care a lot about Flynn, so the whole thing fell flat.

In the end, Jerry reversed an Irish whip, sent The Cat crashing into Sonny Onoo then pinned Onoo and got the win.

Even then, nobody cared.
Your Winner: Jerry Flynn

WCW Uncensored 1999 - WCW Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Curt Hennig
Later, we'd be having a match in which Curt Hennig and Barry Windham would be defending the WCW tag team titles against rivals Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko.

Following the result of their last meeting at Superbrawl, in which Windham had choked Malenko with his belt, this match would have something to do with whipping each other with belts, but the rules weren't exactly made clear here.

What was made clear, thanks to two promo clips from the competitors, was that neither team liked the other one very much and that somebody was going to get whipped with a belt.

"Raven's Rules" Hardcore Triangle match
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Hardcore Hak vs. Raven (w/ Chastity)

If you happen to watch this on the WWE Network and wonder why Hak's theme sounds familiar, it's because it used to belong to Retro Pro Wrestling favourite Steve 'Mongo' McMichael.

Having made it to the ring, the ECW icon went to war with Bam Bam and Raven in an enjoyable weapons match which, aside from the occasional table spot, basically featured all three men attacking each other with trash cans and assorted plunder for the better part of fifteen minutes.


Though garbage matches aren't really this writer's usual cup of tea, this actually came as a welcome change of pace from the typical WCW fare and was a lot of fun to watch.

After a good bit of ECW-inspired, weapon-based entertainment, Chastity turned on her "brother" Raven by blasting him in the face with a fire extinguisher and headbutting him in the nuts.

Hak made the cover and, three seconds later, walked out as the victor with Chastity on his arm.
Your Winner: Hardcore Hak

As the ring crew cleaned up the ring of all the weapons, we spent some time with Tenay, Schiavone, and Heenan.

As Tenay and Tony talked, Bobby turned around to look at the audience and was admonished by Schiavone for it.

That only seemed to piss off The Brain, who completely turned his back to the camera and spent most of the rest of the segment like that.

"You're paid to be an announcer not to pout," said Schiavone.
"I am announcing. I don't get paid to be talked to like that," replied The Brain.

This was 100% unscripted and 100% awkward.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Lumberjack Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko & Chris Benoit

WCW Uncensored 1999 - WCW Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Curt Hennig face Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko
So, we finally got the thing with the belts cleared up:

Prior to the match, the likes of Prince Iuakea, Meng, Kenny Kaos, Gentleman Chris Adams, Kendal Windham and Hugh Morrus (among others) came out to serve as lumberjacks.

They were all brandishing leather belts that they could use to whip the combatants if they strayed outside of the ring.

The lumberjacks were all topless and wearing jeans too as if they needed some kind of uniform to stand around the ring.

At one point, Tenay acknowledged that Kendal and Barry Windham were brothers and that this might play a role in the match. It did, but it was so subtle and ultimately underplayed that it didn't seem to matter.

As for the match itself, it was far better than their laborious Superbrawl outing and by far one of the best matches on this card by a million miles.

All four men worked their asses off. Combined with the lumberjack stipulation, it made for a terrific match that was a joy to watch.

The finish came about thanks to Benoit & Malenko's Four Horsemen mentor, Arn Anderson. At the start of the match, Arn Anderson came to the ring and convinced Chris Adams to give up his place as lumberjack so that he (Anderson) could take it.

At the finish, Anderson blasted Curt Hennig with his trusty tire iron. Benoit then did the Flying Headbutt of Doom and brought the titles home to the Horsemen.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko

From one gimmick match to another...

Dog Collar Match
Perry Saturn vs. Chris Jericho

Since losing a Loser Must Wear a Dress match to Chris Jericho back at Souled Out 1999, Saturn had been doing just that, embracing the role of a cross-dressing pro wrestler with aplomb and showing that he wasn't afraid to run around in a dress.

Tonight, however, he wore not a dress but some kind of gothic, PVC skirt, black lipstick and yellow contact lenses.


Meanwhile, Jericho tried to get Ralphus to wear the dog collar instead. When he refused, Jericho slapped him and sent him packing.

When the two combatants did finally lock up, the resultant match was...Well, it was kind of meh.

I'm not sure there's ever technically been any such thing as a bad Chris Jericho match, but this was about as close as you'll probably ever get to such a thing existing.

Having been so worked up for the earlier tag title match, the crowd were spent and lifeless, and nothing Jericho and Saturn seemed to do could revive them.

Sure, there were some fun spots here and there, but there was also a lot of dead time where both men just seemed like they were figuring out how to best use the dog collar.

Eventually, Saturn hit the DVD to end this disappointment of a match.
Your Winner: Perry Saturn

Out in the Internet Location, Mikey Whipreck told Mark Madden that, despite his loss to Billy Kidman earlier, he was happy with his performance.

Whipreck said some other stuff too, but the sound quality was so poor that it was hard to tell exactly what it was he said.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW Television Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Buff Bagwell) vs. Booker T

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Booker T beat Scott Steiner for the TV title
Scott Steiner was doing a gimmick where he basically had roid rage all the time and everyone except for Booker T and his ally, Buff Bagwell, were scared of him.

He was on form here, yelling at everyone in sight in between putting on a solid match for the TV title.

Though not exactly match of the night, this was one of the better bouts on the card - a true seesaw battle between two main-eventers-in-the-making that saw Booker T eventually recapture the TV title.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Television Champion: Booker T

Finally, after another typically cheesy WCW promo that showed us the steel cage being built for tonight's main event, it was on to said main event.

First Blood Barbed Wire Cage Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Uncensored 1999 - WCW Champion Hulk Hogan faced Ric Flair in a First Blood Barbed Wire Cage Match
If Ric Flair wins, he becomes our new champion and remains WCW President for life. If, however, he loses, then he's banned from WCW for life. Sorry to spoil the ending for you.
If you thought all the stipulations were a lot to contend with, just wait until we get down to the match itself which was, in a word, dumb.

After making his entrance, Flair told referee Charles Robinson that he shouldn't stop the match for a small cut here or there, but rather to use his discretion. The idea was that the referee should only cut the match if one man deliberately busted the other open, not if they accidentally got cut in the course of the match.

Robinson, however, used "his discretion" a little too liberally.

Flair got busted open by Hogan in the first five minutes of the match.

Robison ignored it.

Hogan then cut Flair open with some barbed wire then raked his head across the cage like he was grating cheese.

Robinson ignored both of those things too.

With blood literally dripping from his forehead, Flair eventually -blatantly- bust Hogan open, but Robinson ignored that too.

Later, Hogan began to be cheered loudly and fell back into the babyface role with ease. He kept trying to pin Flair, only for Charles Robinson to remind him that this was a first blood match...This despite the fact that both men were clearly bleeding heavily.

David Flair and Tori Wilson put in a cameo, though David was beaten up by Arn Anderson, who then slipped Flair a tire iron. Flair used it, slapped Hogan in the figure four, and Charles Robison counted to three.

It was literally the most ridiculous way to end a pro wrestling event since Starrcade 1997.
Your Winner and NEW 14 Time WCW Champion: Nature Boy Ric Flair

And that was basically that. Flair celebrated to end the show.





Right up until the main event, I was prepared to give Uncensored 1999 a decent grade. Sure, some matches fell short, but the opening cruiserweight match, the tag team championship and even the TV championship all made for an entertaining show.

Then the main event happened, and it was just stupid. Both men were clearly, visibly bleeding, but that wasn't enough to stop a first blood match? 

OK then. 

Seriously, this was Tower of Doom cage match kinds of terrible, which is a shame really, because if it had just been a normal cage match then the actual interactions between Hogan and Flair would have made for a reasonably entertaining main event. 

Still, at least we only have one more Uncensored show left to review, right? 




Other WCW Uncensored reviews:


Other 1999 pro wrestling reviews:

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Retro Pro Wrestling

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