Thursday, 1 August 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Road Wild 1999

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Event poster
August 14, 1999
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

To be fair to World Championship Wrestling, the company had managed to get quite a lot of mileage (literally and figuratively) out of what had started as an excuse for Eric Bischoff to ride his motorbike for a bit.

From the inaugural Hog Wild event in 1996 which saw a newly-heel Hollywood Hogan defeat The Giant and bring the World Championship into the nWo, to the highly criticised in-ring debut of TV host Jay Leno at the 1998 event (via a forced name change to Road Wild courtesy of Harley Davidson's lawyers), the company's annual visit to Sturgis may not have delivered many five-star classics, but certainly created many a memorable moment.

Now, however, Bischoff's Road Wild creation was soon to be put to bed for good.

With his time at the top reaching an end, the mastermind of World Championship Wrestling's most successful period in history once again saddled up and rode into South Dakota for what proved to be the final Road Wild PPV in history.






Let's head to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to see what went down.

Hulk Hogan is Back!

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
We started our show tonight with a confusing video which basically told us that tonight we would see Kevin Nash challenging Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship.

In the few short weeks since Bash at the Beach 1999, Hogan had not only returned to the company after a lengthy absence, not only beat Nash for the title but also ditched the Hollywood gimmick and returned back to the traditional red and yellow.

This video glossed over all of that and focused primarily on Nash and Hogan hitting each other with chairs.

None of it made any sense. Then again, this was 1999 WCW, so you could probably say that about anything.

Heading live to Sturgis, cameras panned the sea of fans before got to the annual embarrassment of seeing Tony Schiavone doing his best impression of a biker he once saw on an early-90s sitcom.

Joined, as ever, by Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Schiavone put over tonight's main event. Again, all three announcers totally overlooked the fact that Hogan was back to being a babyface, which was a pretty big deal at the time.

They also sent us to a second video package, this one even more confusing than the first one.

You sort of got the idea that The Filthy Animals didn't like Vampiro (and that the feeling was mutual), but the whole thing looked as though it had been edited by a 12-year-old with ADHD, so you really couldn't tell why, or what Eddie Guerrero, Raven and the Insane Clown Posse had to do with it.

Hopefully, we'd get some answers in our next match, as it looked to be the culmination of whatever bewildering story WCW had just tried to tell us.

Six Man Tag
The Dead Pool (Vampiro, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J w/ Raven) vs. Eddie Guerrero, Kidman, and WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr.

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
You know, this is the first WCW PPV featuring an Eddie Guerrero match since Bash at the Beach 1998 and man, what a comeback it was for the former leader of the Latino World Order.

If you're anything like me, your first instinct may have been to let out an audible groan at the mere mention of the Insane Clown Posse. Thankfully, the contributions of Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J were kept to a minimum here and, when they did get involved, they -surprisingly- didn't suck.

OK, so those contributions were really only suplexes, punches and kicks, but the rappers played their parts well and left Vampiro to do the bulk of the work.

That work saw him mostly interact with Eddie and Rey Mysterio Jr., both of whom took turns at playing the face-in-peril and who, along with Kidman, shone brightly throughout the match.

All of this combined to make a really enjoyable opening contest with nary a dull moment in sight.

The end came when Vampiro accidentally kicked Violent J, then was pulled into a brawl on the outside. That gave Kidman the chance to hit the Shooting Star Press and pick up the win for his team.
Your Winners: Eddie Guerrero, Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr.

Up next, a recap from recent Nitros told us that Harlem Heat had reformed and were now feuding with The Jersey Triad for the tag team titles. The two teams would face off next.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Jersey Triad (Bam Bam Bigelow & Kanyon) vs. Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray and Booker T)

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow of The Jersey Triad
Funny lols to start with as Bam Bam Bigelow's tag team title fell off his waist and dropped to the floor. Kanyon then took to the mic and vowed that he wasn't going to do his usual 'Who's better than Kanyon?' routine because the Sturgis crowd couldn't possibly be as dumb as they looked. I wasn't sure as to the logic on that one, but there you go.

Pre-match shenanigans aside, once Booker T and Stevie Ray got in the ring, they ended up having a good, solid match with the champions.

Somewhat surprisingly, given that he was the biggest man in the match, Stevie Ray played the face-in-peril as Kanyon and Bigelow proved themselves to be a capable team which this fan would have liked to have seen enjoy a longer run.

Naturally, Booker popped the crowd huge when he finally got the hot tag and cleaned house, a moment which proved to be the highlight of a pretty entertaining contest.

Towards the finish, Diamond Dallas Page ran out to help his teammates but Harlem Heat sent Bam Bam crashing into him. Booker then hit Bigelow with a top rope dropkick, Stevie made the three count, and we had new, eight-time tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Harlem Heat

Between the matches, we got a recap of the rivalry between Saturn and Curt Hennig which, on a larger scale, extended to a feud between The West Texas Rednecks and The Revolution.

We weren't actually told why the two sides disliked each other, jus that they did and would face off next.

Six Man Tag
The West Texas Rednecks (Curt Hennig, Barry Windham, and Bobby Duncum Jr. w/ Kendal Windham) vs. The Revolution (Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Shane Douglas)

WCW Road Wild 1999 - West Texas Rednecks
This was an interesting one to watch because it actually started out pretty good, but then got sloppier, and increasingly more tedious the longer it went on.

Although not the longest match on the card, you got the idea that if they'd shaved a few minutes off it, they could have tightened things up and kept it as fun to watch as it was in the opening moments.

Instead, things gradually disintegrated into a clusterf**k finish in the midst of which Saturn was able to hit a Death Valley Driver and pick up the three count.
Your Winners: The Revolution

Post-match, The West Texas Rednecks tried to beat up their opponents some more, but Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko and Saturn saw them off.

Ernest 'The Cat' Miller (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller and Sonny Onoo
The only thing more ridiculous than the sight of Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo dressed in biker gear is The Cat's WWE Network theme which, as I never fail to mention, sounds terrible.

Once he got in the ring, Miller attempted to goad the crowd but was quickly and loudly drowned out by the sound of that same crowd revving the engines of their motorcycles.

Buff Bagwell eventually made his way out and spent the first minute or so of this match going back and forth on the microphone with his opponent to really get the fans fired up.

When Bagwell took the mic, the crowd cheered then hushed to let him speak. Whenever Miller took it, the crowd turned up the noise to drown him out, prompting the karate champion to take a walk around ringside and yell at them.

That was the best thing about this match. The actual wrestling may not have been much to write home about, but both men proved themselves to be experts in getting a strong reaction from the live audience. That in itself, more than any of the actual moves that they did, made this one worth watching.

After a passable contest, they pretty much repeated the ending from the earlier tag team title match. Sonny Onoo got up on the apron, Buff reversed an Irish whip and sent Miller crashing into him, then rolled up his opponent and got the pin.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Afterwards, Onoo and The Cat beat up -and then mocked- Buff.

We then got a recap of the rivalry between Chris Benoit and Diamond Dallas Page

World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Match
WCW United States Champion Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Diamond Dallas Page faced Chris Benoit for the US title
Prior to the bell, two-time, two-time, two-time world champion DDP promised to become a three-time, three-time, three-time US champion. He then apologised to Chris Benoit for talking trash about Benoit's mother before doing it again anyway, implying that Mrs Benoit was a phone sex worker.

Page was compelling on the mic, but you got the distinct feeling that the crowd were paying no attention to him whatsoever.

What they were paying attention to was the match itself, which was almost as good as you could expect from Page and Benoit. I say almost because the two had put on a superior match -which also involved Raven- back at Uncensored 1998. Yet while this failed to match the quality of that one, it was still the best match on the card so far.

As the final minutes began ticking down, Kanyon and Bigelow ran in to help DDP, but since they were the good guys, Benoit's teammates in The Revolution hung back, watching the match on a monitor and letting Chris deal with things himself.

Deal with them he did, somehow managing to take out all three men before retaining his title thanks to his top rope headbutt.
Your Winner and Still United States Champion: Chris Benoit

Post-match, The Revolution ran down to congratulate the champ. Benoit, Douglas, and Saturn all tried talking to the camera at the same time which was awkward and messy.

Let's Give Away a Bike

Speaking of awkward...

The show's sponsor, American Iron Horse were giving away a custom WCW motorcycle in a prize draw. Some guy who apparently worked for WCW but who nobody had ever heard of tried to host the segment but did a terrible job of it, at one point asking for "the envelope, please" after it had already been given to him.

Some guy called Darnell from Cleveland, Ohio won it, which Bobby Heenan thought was the funniest thing in the world. You could clearly hear The Brain laughing his arse off most of the way through the segment and afterwards.

Though I'm not sure what was so funny about it, I'd love to find out what happened to that bike.

Sid Vicious vs. Sting

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Sid Vicious faced Sting
Before this match, we got another one of WCW's strange video packages that gave no context whatsoever. Sure, we learned that Sting and Sid Vicious had beef, but we never really understood why.

The match itself wasn't the worst thing ever, but it was certainly the worst thing on the card up to this point. Some people were able to get a really good match out of Sid but, as talented as he might have been, Sting was sadly not one of those people.

As such, we got a match that seemed clumsy and half-arsed.

At one point, Sting went to throw Sid into the crowd, but because there was barely any room and the bikers were trying to keep Sid's big legs from kicking their bikes, it just looked terrible.

Later, Sid was down and Sting went to run the ropes, only for Sid to trip him up. It was a simple move that didn't even look like it was entirely on purpose, but the announcers sold it like Vicious had just busted out a Canadian Destroyer.

It was dumb.

After a bunch of minutes of lacklustre action, 'Millenium Man' Sid Vicious struck a chokeslam to keep his recent undefeated streak alive.
Your Winner: Sid Vicious

As the sun set over Sturgis, we were taken back to Nitro to learn that Rick Steiner and Goldberg hated each other and would be competing next.

Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Rick Steiner vs. Bill Goldberg
There's no way of getting around it:

This was horrible.

If you ever wanted to see five minutes of Rick Steiner lazily hitting Goldberg with Goldberg's own knee brace, followed by Goldberg himself making a miracle comeback, hitting a spear and a jackhammer then getting the fall, then this is the match for you.

Otherwise, just trust me that this was absolutely awful and let's move on with our lives, shall we?
Your Winner: Goldberg.

Ah, Goldberg. Remember when you were the hottest thing in wrestling?

Dennis Rodman vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Macho Man Randy Savage faced Dennis Rodman
It's been a good five minutes since I finished watching this match and I've still no idea how to adequately describe the absolute nonsensical mess that I've just seen.

Prior to the match, we were shown a clip from Nitro in which Dennis Rodman basically kidnapped Savage's valet, Gorgeous George. In an in-ring promo, Savage then said he was bringing someone to Sturgis to protect her, insisting that not only was this protector the baddest man on the planet but that he was also the mystery man who drove the hummer in Savage's recent feud with Kevin Nash.

If you were expecting a surprise appearance from someone here, forget about it. This mystery man was never mentioned again for the whole match.

Instead, Rodman staggered to ringside looking stoned out of his mind and wanted to know where "his bitch" (Gorgeous George) was at.

"You're MY bitch tonight," replied Savage, inviting the Sturgis crowd to take 'sloppy seconds' afterwards.

Rodman then demanded that Savage meet him outside the ring because "I DO ALL MY SHIT OUTSIDE", but immediately contradicted himself by rolling into the ring.

After about a minute of sloppy action, Rodman beat up the referee. In any other match, that would be a DQ, but this was WCW, so another referee came out and acted as nothing had happened. Savage beat that guy up, putting us on referee number three, before going outside and beating up a cameraman. He then took the camera and waffled Rodman with it.

"This is horrible," said Schiavone. He was absolutely right.

The match then went outside and into the backstage area despite not being a Falls Count Anywhere match. The referee decided to ignore the count-out rule that had been a part of pro wrestling since time immemorial and simply followed the two combatants.

Out in the back, Savage dumped Rodman into a porta potty then tipped it over. All kinds of crap leaked out, which was probably a perfect metaphor for this match.

Eventually, they made it back into the ring for another ref bump and a short nap for Savage and Rodman. At this point, Gorgeous George ran out, handed Savage a chain to wrap around his fist and then hit Dennis with a low blow. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Savage pummelled Rodman with a chain-wrapped fist and won this utter abomination.
Your Winner: Randy Savage

Macho Man is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time but, my God, that was embarrassing. I almost want to recommend you watch that match just to see how truly atrocious it really was.

Finally, it was time for our main event.

Retirement Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash

Winner becomes champion, loser retires from pro wrestling.

WCW Road Wild 1999 - Hulk Hogan defended the WCW title against Kevin Nash
I get that there will be people who hate this match, but personally, I thought it was a lot of fun to see old-school '80s Hogan doing his stuff at the turn of the millennium.

Though it was very slow in parts, you got the feeling that Hogan was trying at times to replicate his classic Wrestlemania 3 battle with Andre and, for the most part, it worked.

Towards the finish, Nash was in control and hit Hogan with his jackknife. Hogan kicked out, hulked up, and one big leg later, ended Kevin Nash's career...kinda.
Your Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan

Nash would take the rest of summer off and return in October of that year, but for now, he simply lay around while the red and yellow rode high in Sturgis and Hogan celebrated his big victory.





And so, the Road Wild chapter of WCW's turbulent history ended on a bit of a whimper. As I said at the beginning, this show never had a history of producing really good matches, so at least you can say that it lived up to its reputation here, but that's not necessarily a good thing.

Save for the novelty factor of seeing old-school Hogan in the main event, this show really did get worse as it went on.

Honestly, you won't be missing much if you give this one a miss, though I am still tempted to suggest that you check out Savage/Rodman because I don't believe that I've been able to do justice to just what a farcical mess that whole thing was.

1999 events reviewed so far
Other WCW Road Wild events


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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.