Thursday, 9 May 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Slamboree 1999

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Event poster
May 9, 1999 
The TWA Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.

A favourite past time of wrestling fans the world over is to deride, ridicule, and basically shit upon Vince Russo and his work in pro wrestling. For many, Vinny Ru's time leading the creative direction of World Championship Wrestling was a crime that deserved no less punishment than to be the subject of online abuse for the next 20 years. 

But look, in Russo's defence, he wasn't even with WCW when the company decided to run its "Ric Flair in the Mental Institute" angle.

On paper, it sounded feasible:

Now the President of WCW, The Nature Boy had quite literally been driven mad by power, stripping off during promos and even referring to himself as the President of the United States.

Taking advantage of the situation, Commissioner Rowdy Roddy Piper had seen to it that Flair was committed so that he (Piper) could be in charge.

Yet when it played out on TV, it ended up being worse (or at least as bad) than even the most horrendous of Vince Russo's crimes against wrestling.






In his last act before being sent to what Tony Schiavone sensitively called "The Funny Farm," Flair had fired Piper, but then booked him in a match where the two would go at it for control of WCW.

No, this wasn't that Flair had fired Piper then changed his mind. In his insanity (or rather, the insanity of the WCW booking committee), Flair had decreed that Piper was both fired and eligible to compete for control of the company at the same time.

Tonight, the culmination of what has long been referred to as one of WCW's worst ever storylines would take place as Ric Flair, fresh from a stay in a state mental institute, would go one on one with Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Let's head down to St. Louis, Missouri and see how it all played out.

The Fate of WCW Will Be Decided

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Iron Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our opening video told us everything I've just told you about Flair and Piper as well as running down the rest of tonight's card and reminding us that we'd get to see the likes of Kevin Nash vs. WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page, Sting vs. Goldberg and the match everybody had been dying to see:

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Brian Knobbs.

Before we got to any of that, however, we had our announcers Iron Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan giving us their own unique take on the card.

Mean Gene Okerlund then came out to shill his telephone hotline to an audience who were beginning to learn that they could just use their dial-up modem and get all the same "exclusive rumours" for free.

With that, it was on to the action.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Triangle Match
WCW World Tag Team Champions Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Raven & Perry Saturn

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio
These three teams had been involved in a very entertaining feud over the past few weeks, so it was no surprise at all that when they delivered the goods when they finally met.

With The Four Horsemen team now heels, Saturn & Raven had become firm fan favourites whilst champions Kidman and Rey Mysterio -though still loved by the fans- had been having trouble getting on the same page.

Together, all three teams put on a very good opening contest in which team had a man in the ring at all times.

Towards the finish of this enjoyable outing, Arn Anderson got involved and blasted Saturn with a spinebuster. Dean Malenko locked on the Texas Cloverleaf, but at the same time a mysterious man wearing  DDP shirt, a sting mask, and a baseball cap came out of the crowd and decked Billy Kidman.

That gave Raven the chance to get the cover, the count, and the titles.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Raven & Perry Saturn

Post-match, the mysterious man revealed himself to be a returning Chris Kanyon. The three then celebrated with the newly won titles.

Afterwards, we were 'treated' a video package featuring random clips of DDP which served no purpose and really had no place on a pay per view.

Speaking of which...

Stevie Ray (w/ Vincent & Horace Hogan) vs. Konnan

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Horace Hogan vs. Konnan
Apparently, there must be some licensing issue with Konnan's theme music for this event because not only is his original theme not featured, it's not even replaced with another theme like they do with DDP.

Instead, we just got blanket silence right up until the moment when Konnan tastefully invited one of the nWo members to toss his salad.

Note to self: Stop watching Konnan matches at lunch time - it will put you right off your food.

K-Dogg next invited Stevie Ray to peel his potatoes. To this day I'm not sure what that means, and I don't wish to find out. Stevie apparently knew, and it made him mad.

Or perhaps he was just mad that he'd forgotten his tights and was forced to wrestle in his pyjamas.

The match itself was about as uninteresting and uninspired as you can imagine. The only exciting moment came when Rey Mysterio came out to help his buddy Konnan even the odds against the nWo and eventually pick up the three count.
Your Winner: Konnan

Next, we got a similar video package to the earlier DDP one, except this one featured Page's upcoming opponent, Kevin Nash. The Nash video, however, was even more pointless than the DDP one because it didn't even show Big Sexy beating people up - just random shots of him smiling and throwing up the Too Sweet.

Backstage Shenanigans

Out in the Internet Location,  Rick Steiner spoke about his upcoming TV title match against reigning champion Booker T, after which there was yet another pointless video, this time featuring Sting.

Finally, we got a random candid shot of DDP talking to fellow Jersey native Bam Bam Bigelow who was on his way to the ring for our next match.

Hardcore Match
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Brian Knobs

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Brian Knobbs faced Bam Bam Bigelow
If you've seen one WCW hardcore match you've essential seem them all.

This was the same concept as every one of the company's previous efforts to capitalize on WCW's popularity:

Load the ring with weapons, have both competitors use said weapons to hit each other with no regard for storytelling or psychology, then head up the ring entrance for a bit of a brawl.

Though I appreciate that both Bigelow and Brian Knobbs took some painful bumps here, the end result was not very entertaining.

After a fairly boring match, Bam Bam suplexed Knobbs through a merch stand and got the three.
Your Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow

After a quick look at how Stevie Ray had secretly been helping Booker T in his rivalry with Rick Steiner, the latter two men went to the ring for our next contest.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Rick Steiner

Though not the most exciting match in the world, this was a perfectly serviceable outing between two decent performers.

Not that it couldn't have been much better.


For the most part, it felt like the kind of the thing the company would use as filler on an episode of Nitro rather than a PPV-calibre wrestling match, but still, it wasn't terrible.

In the end, Scott Steiner came out and gave his brother the assist without Rick even being aware of it.

One top rope bulldog later and we had a new TV champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW TV Champion: Rick Steiner

So far, we were two title changes in as many title matches.

Scotty!

After a quick video package to hype our next match, we went backstage where Rick Steiner was seen wandering around and shouting "Scottay!' as though he were Timmy from Southpark.

Apparently, the Dog Faced Gremlin did know that Big Poppa Pump had helped him out after all, and went looking for him, bumping into Buff Bagwell en route.

Bagwell looked to be on his way to the ring, but wasn't, because current WWE referee Charles Robinson was.

Little Naitch Charles Robinson (w/ Ric Flair & Aysa) vs. Gorgeous George (w/ Macho Man Randy Savage, Miss Madness & Madusa)

If Gorgeous George wins, Macho Man is reinstated
WCW Slamboree 1999 - Ric Flair & Charles Robison (w/ Asya) confront Macho Man and Gorgeous George
Prior to the bell, Ric Flair invited a slutty-looking Madusa and the future Molly Holly, Miss Madness to his hotel room for a ride on Space Mountain. Little Naitch then took to the mic to warn Savage that, after he was done beating her, he was going to take Gorgeous George so that she could ride his space mountain.

Eventually, after much stalling the match got underway and, you know what, it was actually pretty good...

...Or at least as good as you were going to get from two non-wrestlers.

Trading some basic wristlocks and hammerlocks, the two gradually built up a fun little contest that no doubt surprised anyone who was expecting it to suck.

While George herself was no slouch, it was Robinson doing his Nature Boy tribute that was the real highlight here - even getting the trademark Flair Flop and other signature Slick Rick spots down to a tee.

Alas, imitating the Nature Boy wasn't enough to help him win the match.

After all that entertainment, Gorgeous George flew off the middle rope with the best elbow drop she was capable of delivering and won the match.
Your Winer: Gorgeous George

Up next, Buff Bagwell would finally get to challenge Scott Steiner for the US title. First, however, we got a look back at their rivalry, which mainly consisted of Steiner calling Buff a girl and Buff responding with such mature, well-thought-out insults as "Big Bad DooDoo Daddy" and "Big Poppa Dump."

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Scott Steiner vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Slamboree 1999 - The Steiner Brothers reunite
With several disappointing matches over and done with, your writer didn't have great expectations for this one.

Thankfully, Steiner and Bagwell surpassed those low expectations by creating a match which, while short, was as high impact as it was entertaining.

The crowd were super into it too which made things that much better.

Following an enjoyable bit of back-and-forth, the referee took a tumble allowing Rick Steiner to come in and turn on Bagwell, aligning with his brother.

One Steiner Recliner later and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW United States Champion: Scott Steiner

Another pointless video followed, this one featuring Goldberg. Afterwards, Tenay, Schiavone, and Heenan killed a little bit of time by talking about the Sting/Goldberg match.

Yet another video package came next featuring both that match, the DDP/Nash match and, finally, the whole Flair/Piper ordeal.

I swear to you the whole looked like some 12-year-old kid made it on his first version of Windows Movie Maker.

Battle for Control of World Championship Wrestling
Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ Arn Anderson & Aysa) vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Rowdy Roddy Piper faced Ric Flair for control of WCW
As Nature Boy made his way to the ring, Mike Tenay took the time to tell us about a new feature on the WCW Hotline:

The Ross Report.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Apparently, this was a report run by then-WCW magazine writer Ross Foreman, who is now Head of Media Relations for Impact Wrestling.

Flair started the match by firing the assigned referee and putting Charles Robison in his place.

What followed was ten minutes of outside interference, crooked officiating, chops and punching, broken up by the occasional back body drop.

while the lack of anything particularly novel might be enough to have a lot of fans giving this one the old "minus five stars," but there was something about the way this felt more like an old-school brawl than a wrestling match that made it surprisingly enjoyable.

Towards the finish, Piper looked to defy the odds by putting Anderson and Aysa to sleep, then KO'ing Little Naitch. Big Naitch, however, brought out the brass knuckles, nailed Hot Rod with them, and got the three count.
Your Winner: Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Slamboree 1999 - Eric Bischoff returned and joined forces with Rowdy Roddy PiperPost-match, a grey-haired Eric Bischoff strolled out to the ring and reversed the decision.

Bischoff hadn't been seen in many months. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time he was seen was when Flair beat him for control of WCW back at the tail end of 1998, so quite how Bischoff still had any authority to reverse the decision will forever remain a mystery.

Irate at the decision, Flair kept screaming that he was the boss, then got into an insane argument with a little boy at ringside while Bischoff and Piper hugged it out in the ring.

That was all kinds of nonsensical.

Sting vs. Goldberg

This was a match to determine who was the 'Franchise Player' of WCW.

About two seconds into it, Sting and Goldberg botched a spot so badly it was impossible to even hazard a guess at what they trying to do.

It was so bad, in fact, that the match never recovered.

For the next couple of minutes, two of WCW's biggest stars gave us a sloppy, tedious match which had literally one good spot:


Goldberg spearing sting from out of mid-air.

At the finish, Bret Hart (who had kayfabe quit the company months earlier) came out and destroyed Goldberg with a chair.
Your winner via disqualification: Goldberg

The winner was never announced because The Steiner Brothers came out and attacked both men for no reason, though a DQ seems to be the result that makes the most sense here.

Finally, following another Windows Movie Maker package for the main event, it was onto said main event.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) vs. Kevin Nash

WCW Slamboree 1999 - WCW Champion Diamond Dallas Page faced Kevin Nash
DDP was a heel now, partly because Randy Savage had helped him to capture the title the previous month at Spring Stampede, but also because he'd been getting too big for his britches and bragging about what a legend he was.

That had made Kevin Nash the babyface in this encounter, and at times it was like watching a main event from his 1995 run as Diesel all over again.

The first part of this match was monumentally boring. It looked to be all over when Savage came out and attacked Nash, leading to a DQ.

However, Eric Bischoff came out again and ordered that the match be restarted, declaring that it would go on "to the finish."

That effectively turned it into some kind of impromptu no-holds-barred match, with chair shots and low-blows taking place directly in front of referee Nick Patrick.

This part of the match was much more enjoyable, and ended with DDP getting jackknifed to hell.

A three count later, and WCW head booker Kevin Nash became our new champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Kevin Nash

Funny how that works, isn't it?







Only a month earlier, WCW had managed to crank out one of the best PPVs of the year in the form of the aforementioned Spring Stampede. With Slamboree 1999, however, the company had not only reverted back to delivering lacklustre shows, but they'd also somehow made things even worse than they'd been before. 

Indeed, when an inter-gender match between a non-wrestling female manager and a non-wrestling referee happens to be one of the most entertaining things on the entire card, you know you're in trouble. 

Sure, the opening tag team match was great fun, but other than that, nothing here was as enjoyable as Charles Robinson vs. Gorgeous George, and if that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the state of WCW in the spring of 1999, then nothing will. 




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.