Thursday, 2 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Spring Stampede 2000

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Event poster
April 16, 2000
United Center, Chicago

On Monday, April 10th, 2000, six days before Spring Stampede 2000, the landscape of World Championship Wrestling changed entirely.

On that night, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff returned to WCW Monday Nitro and launched a company-wide reboot.

The two declared war against the "good ol' boys network" of established stars such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger and Diamond Dallas Page, declaring a level playing field that would allow the "new blood" of WCW to finally get a fair shot at the top.

Levelling the playing field meant stripping all of the company's reigning champions of their titles and basically starting the whole company over.

Immediately contradicting themselves, the duo then booked Lex Luger, Sting, DDP an Sid Vicious in a mini-tournament to determine who would face Russo's 'Chosen One' Jeff Jarrett for the now-vacant title tonight at Spring Stampede because, naturally, the best way to stick to the old guard was to give them a WCW title shot.






WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Vince Russo rebooted WCWFinally, Nitro also featured Billy Kidman calling out Hulk Hogan, brawling with the Hulkster and pinning him. Eric Bischoff counted the three after drilling Hogan with a chair. When that didn't put Hogan away for good, they rammed his car with a hummer and put Hogan in the hospital.

After all of that, we headed into Chicago to crown new champions and see all new battles rage on as the war between The New Blood and The Millionaire's Club officially got underway.

Hulk is Alive!

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden
Our opening video package recapped the main points from that week's big Nitro reboot.

Curiously, while the Nitro broadcast had censored Vince Russo calling Ric Flair a "piece of s**t," this video did not. I don't know about you, but I'm always surprised at how much cursing they let slip on the WWE Network.

Anyway, this brought us to the arena where a worried Eric Bischoff was seen pacing up and down.

"How the hell did he check himself out of the hospital?" he asked, referring, of course, to Hogan.

Sitting on a nearby sofa with Torrie Wilson draped all over him, Kidman told Bischoff not to worry. A rather relaxed looking Vince Russo concurred.

This was followed by a second video package which spliced clips from the first one with generic shots of WCW's wrestlers beating each other up.

From there, it was pyro city and on to our announce team Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mark Madden. Seriously? Why couldn't they just keep Mike Tenay on the air?

The trio told us that tonight, we'd have tournaments to decide new World, Tag Team, and United States Champions, tournaments in which Russo and Bischoff had ordered the referees to be lenient with the rules. The trio hinted that, although tonight's matches wouldn't strictly be 'no disqualification,' that's what we should expect.

With all that out of the way, it was on to our first match...almost.

Russo! Street Fight! Woooo!

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Ric Flair, Lex Luger and Elizabeth talk to Mean Gene Okerlund
With The Mamalukes already in the ring, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Team Package backstage. I say interviewed, he asked Ric Flair why he was wearing street clothes and Flair  responded with a hyperactive and mostly incoherent promo in which he basically yelled "RUSSO! STREET FIGHT! WOOO!" over and over again.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Title Tournament - Match 1: 4 vs. 2 Handicap Match
The Mamalukes (Big Vito & Johnny The Bull w/ Disco Inferno) & The Harris Boys (Ron & Don Harris) vs. Team Package (Nature Boy Ric Flair & Lex Luger w/ Miss Elizabeth)

This was supposed to be a straight up tag match between the unfortunately named 'Team Package' and The Mamalukes, but this was WCW, where straight up matches were seemingly illegal or something. Before the bell, Russo came out and threw The Harris Boys into the mix, creating a big four-on-two rumble.

It was exciting at first, but it quickly descended into a farce. At various points, both Mamalukes took turns at climbing the ropes to attack Lex Luger from the top but were so slow that Luger just had to kind of stand there watching and waiting. When Vito climbed, he took so long that Luger literally shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes.

That's the kind of match this was.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Bam Bam Bigelow interrupted Mike Awesome's promo
Eventually, The Harris Boys and The Mamalukes turned on each other, which gave Flair and Luger the opportunity to regain control. Luger racked Johnny The Bull for the three.
Your Winners: Team Package

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund tried to interview Mike Awesome about Awesome's participation in tonight's US title tournament.

Before he could say much of anything, however, Awesome was interrupted by fellow ECW alum, Bam Bam Bigelow.

Not taking too kindly to Bammer calling him a 'jabroni,' Big Mike attacked Bigelow from behind and laid him out.

Jimmy Hart (w/ Hail) vs. Mancow (w/ Random Entourage people)

Sigh.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - radio personality Mancow faced Jimmy Hart
Let's do this.

So, Mancow was a radio personality who had insulted Jimmy Hart by claiming he (Mancow) would be a better manager for Hulk Hogan than Hart. The Mouth of the South had then attacked the male bovine in his studio, leading to what I'll very generously call a "match."

Meanwhile, if you don't recognise Hail, he was mostly a WCW Saturday Night wrestler who tragically died in 2006.

That sombre note aside, man, this was f***ing dreadful.

Neither man were capable of any wrestling moves, so they just kind of rolled around on each other in what Mark Madden called a 'cat fight.'

Eventually, the referee took a tumble so Hail picked up Mancow and hurled him onto the outside where he was caught by his entourage of freaks and geeks. Hart then sent Hail away, which gave Mancow the opportunity to win the match with a well-placed chair shot.

I'd say this had no place being on pay per view, but the crowd clearly loved Mancow. So, despite it being one of the worst things on PPV ever, you can't blame WCW for booking it.
Your Winner: Mancow

Post-match, Billy Kidman ran in and beat up on Hart, presumedly to send a message to Jimmy's good buddy, The Hulkster.

Meanwhile, out in the back, an angry Vince Russo yelled at The Mamalukes and The Harris Boys for screwing up their opportunity.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Match 1
The Wall vs. Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner
Remember how Scott Steiner had gone straight from being one of the Steiner Brothers to being in the nWo and had stayed there ever since? That basically meant Big Poppa Pump only two themes:

The nWo theme or the cheesy, early-mid 90s 'Steinerized' theme from the WCW Slam Jam album.

Of course, being that the nWo didn't exist, they gave him 'Steinerized,' and it was totally ill-suited for him in his current Big Bad Booty Daddy gimmick.

That aside, Steiner and The Wall did give us a pretty decent match. It was hard-hitting, it was intense, and it was the first time in what felt like forever that an entire match went by without any interference or shady goings-on.

After a solid effort, Wall went to chokeslam Steiner through a table but Scotty moved referee Slick Johnson in the way. The Wall could have easily known that he didn't have hold of his opponent but didn't seem to care. He chokeslammed Johnson through the table, causing Billy Silverman to come out and immediately ring the bell.
Your Winner via disqualification: Scott Steiner

Apparently, relaxing the rules didn't extend to slamming officials through tables.

The Cat Wants James Brown

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller talks to Mean Gene Okerlund
Out in the back, Mean Gene interviewed Ernest 'The Cat' Miller about his upcoming US title tournament match with Mike Awesome. Miller, who had enjoyed a dance-off with James Brown back at Superbrawl 2000, insisted that he didn't want Awesome, he wanted the legendary singer.

"I was told James Brown was going to be here. I want James Brown!" The Cat demanded.
"What? James Brown can't be your opponent!" replied Mean Gene Okerlund.

I don't know why, but your reviewer laughed out loud for way too long at that.

One person who wasn't laughing, however, was Bam Bam Bigelow. He came out and attacked Miller, presumedly so that he could take his place in the match against Mike Awesome.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Match 2
Mike Awesome vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Mike Awesome faced Bam Bam Bigelow
Unsurprisingly, Bam Bam Bigelow ran out to fight Awesome, eliciting a loud "ECW! ECW!" chant from the Chicago faithful.

The two put on what looked to be the best match of the night so far. It was a terrific contest that made Awesome look like a star in what was his official WCW debut match.

Not content to leave it at that, however, WCW just had to screw it up.

They had Ernest Miller run out and attack Bam Bam, then put on his red shoes to dance. Awesome clotheslined Cat hit him with a wicked frog splash and win the match.
Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Look, I get why this happened, but seriously, if they'd just left it alone, that could have been golden.

Douglas and Buff are New Blood

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Shane Douglas and Buff Bagwell competed for the WCW tag team titles
Backstage, Vince Russo and Billy Kidman urged Eric Bischoff to stop worrying about Hulk Hogan.

Elsewhere in the arena, Mean Gene Okerlund stood by with New Blood representatives Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas. Before you ask, I don't know how veterans Bagwell and Douglas were considered 'new blood' either.

Bagwell put over the new regime in WCW while Douglas talked about his favourite subject in the world:

Ric Flair.

The Franchise called Flair a 'piece of s**t,' making it the third time we'd heard that word on tonight's show after the opening Nitro recap video and Mancow's earlier pre-match promo.

This was not good stuff from either man.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament - Match 2
Harlem Heat 2000 (Stevie Ray & Big T w/ J. Biggs and Kash) vs. The New Blood (Buff Bagwell & Shane Douglas)

For the second pay per view in a row, Stevie Ray and Big T wrestled a match that was better than you'd expect it to be.

That's not to say it was great by any means, but since it was kept to only about two and a half minutes, it wasn't given enough time to actually suck.

After a quick bit of fairly inspired brawling, Douglas hit Stevie Ray with a crappy looking suplex and got the three.
Your Winners: Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas


WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Booker T talks to Mean Gene Okerlund
Afterwards, Kash and J. Biggs had to stop Stevie Ray and Big T. from getting into a heated argument about their loss.

Backstage, Stevie's brother, Booker cut a decent promo in which he told Mean Gene that while he was on the same page as The New Blood, he wasn't really aligned with them.

This was a smart move that allowed Booker to continue being seen as a babyface without actually aligning with The Millionaire's club.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Match 3
Booker  vs. Sting

Booker still wasn't using the 'T' at the end of his name after losing that right to Harlem Heat 2000. Ray and Big T had also taken his music, so Booker had some rare theme that I don't think I've ever heard before.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Booker T faced Sting
Here, he locked up with Sting in what proved to be easily the match of the night, at least to this point anyway.

Though fairly short, the match saw both men worked solidly to give us the kind of straight up, no-nonsense singles match that was such a rarity in WCW at this time.

After a thoroughly compelling contest, Sting got the win over Booker with the Scorpion Death Drop.
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, Booker demanded that The Stinger returned to the ring. He looked angry, but it turned out all he really wanted was to fist-bump him in a sign of respect.

Kidman and Bischoff aren't Scared

Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed Billy Kidman and Eric Bischoff. With the ever-gorgeous Torrie Wilson on his arm, Kidman joined Bischoff in insisting that there was no way at all Hogan would show up tonight, all but telegraphing the fact that he would.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship - Match 4
Billy Kidman (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Vampiro

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Hulk Hogan destroyed Billy Kidman
These two had an enjoyable match back at Superbrawl 2000, so it's no surprise that they once again delivered the goods here.

The two worked hard to give us the best match they were capable of and the results were very enjoyable.

Halfway through, however, a car arrived backstage and out jumped Hulk Hogan. Sporting heavy bandaging on his shoulder after getting attacked by the hummer on Nitro, The Hulkster stormed to the ring and destroyed Kidman, beating him up and twice putting him through the announce table.

For some reason, this wasn't a disqualification even though Lil Naitch was stood right there watching the whole thing go down. His work done, Hogan tossed Kidman back in the ring and demanded that Robinson make the count.

Vampiro covered his fallen adversary and advanced to the next round for a match against Sting.
Your Winner: Vampiro

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - The cops pulled a gun on Hulk Hogan
Post-match, Hogan took to the mic and told "that son of a bitch" Eric Bischoff that he was coming for him. Backstage, Russo urged Bischoff to stay put while he (Russo) went to take care of it.

Sure enough, Hogan stormed through the backstage area and found Eazy E, pinning him up against the wall and threatening to kill him. Before he could do any damage however, Russo came in with a barrage of cops who forced Hogan to back off by pointing their guns at him.

Ah, pro wrestling.

As Hogan was being hurled away in cuffs, he promised to "eat [Bischoff's] ass alive." I don't think anybody had quite explained to Hulk what that phrase actually meant.

Out in the corridor, The Hulkster was being escorted off the premises as Terry Taylor looked on. Taylor was stopped by Terry Funk who wanted to know where Screamin' Norman Smiley was. After being told that his opponent was hiding in catering, that's where the Funker went.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship
Terry Funk vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Terry Funk faced Norman Smiley for the hardcore title
I must admit, I like the way they seamlessly transitioned between the two matches with the whole backstage stuff.

Funk went into catering and, when asked where Norman was, was directed to the bathrooms. Funk walked in and asked, "Norman Smiley, you in here?"

Instead of staying quiet and pretending he wasn't, Screamin' Norman screamed loudly. It was a genius move that was way more hilarious than I can do justice to here.

Like most things involving Norman Smiley, this one was a lot of fun.

As they battled for a Hardcore Championship that had been vacated by Brian Knobs on Nitro (by order of Russo & Bischoff), Funk and Smiley battled around the arena finding all kinds of ridiculous and creative ways to hurt each other. At one point, Smiley climbed a ladder that had been propped up against a wall. When Funk kicked the ladder down, Smiley hung on to a pipe on the ceiling for dear life, then went crashing down through a table after getting waffled by a chair.

Screamin' Norman mounted a comeback. He and Funk waged a fun little war all the way to the ring where, despite a brief run-in from Dustin Rhodes which threatened to suck the life out of the whole thing, the entertainment factor continued.

Funk lifted up a ladder and threw it over the top rope onto the outside, crashing down on Smiley. A three count later and we had our new Hardcore champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Hardcore Champion: Terry Funk

Out in the back, Vince Russo demanded that Booker T do him a favour. The mystery continued...

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Semi-Final 1
Mike Awesome vs. Scott Steiner

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Scott Steiner faced Mike Awesome
This started off really well. It was another hard-hitting contest that looked to have all the makings of a really good match. Yet before either man could take it up a notch, Kevin Nash arrived on the scene.

Looking for revenge after Mike Awesome attacked him on Nitro, Big Sexy waffled the former ECW star with a crutch.

Scotty then locked on the Steiner Recliner and this one was over.
Your Winner: Scott Steiner

Backstage, Vince Russo fired Dustin Rhodes for failing to prevent Terry Funk from winning the hardcore title. Using Booker as his back-up, Russo claimed that the only time Rhodes was any good was when he was Goldust.

"And I created Goldust!" he yelled.
"Yeah, well I went out there and did it!" replied Rhodes, offering the weakest comeback of the century.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Semi-Final 2:
Vampiro vs. Sting

Sting and Vampiro would have a long feud throughout 2000. If this match was anything to go by, fans could expect that feud to feature matches which, while nowhere near terrible, hardly set the world on fire either.

Though both men were capable of good stuff on their own, this one somehow fell flat.

After a mediocre outing, Sting locked Vamp in the Scorpion Death Lock to advance to the US tournament final against Scott Steiner.
Your Winner: Sting

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - DDP and Kimberly talk to Mean Gene
Out in the back, Mean Gene interviewed Diamond Dallas Page about his upcoming world title fight with Jeff Jarrett.

Page insisted that while he was looking forward to becoming the three-time, three-time, three-time champion, he was more looking forward to letting Kimberly get revenge on Double J for hitting her with a guitar.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship Six Man Match
Shannon Moore (w/ Shane Helms) vs. Chris Candido vs. Crowbar (w/ Daffney and David Flair) vs. Lash LeRoux vs. Juventud Guerra vs. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea (w/ Paisley)

Prior to the bell, Shannon Moore and Shane Helms told us that while they were the only two members of Three Count on hand tonight, they were still better than anybody else.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Tammy Sytch made her WCW debut managing Chris Candido
From other reports, I believe that the two then performed whatever Three Count's big hit was, but the WWE Network edits that out and has all five of their opponents rush to the ring for this match.

The Artist had been a solid if unspectacular champion since February but had been forced to vacate the title during the big reboot and would have to fight for it again here.

For a while, it looked like he'd regain the title too. After a fun little spot fest, The Artist battled Chris Candido in the ring, yet just when it looked like he was about to put Candido away, Tammy Sytch made her WCW debut, pushing Iaukea off the top rope and giving her man the win.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Candido

Post-match, Paisley and Tammy got into a catfight that was eventually broken up by Candido.

Backstage, Jeff Jarrett spent the majority of his allotted promo time threatening to beat up Gene Okerlund rather than focussing on his match with DDP.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
Team Package (The Total Package Lex Luger & Nature Boy Ric Flair w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. The New Blood (Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell w/ Vince Russo)

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Lex Luger & Ric Flair (w/ Elizabeth) faced Shane Douglas and Buff Bagwell
Honestly, I think this match was better than a lot of people give it credit for.

Though it frequently descended into a bit of a mess, it followed your basic tag team structure with all four men playing their roles well.

Continuing the theme of excess swearing, Tony Schiavone -of all people- called a very loud 'BULLSH*T!' on commentary before Shane Douglas backed Naitch into the corner and yelled his own very loud "F**K YOU, FLAIR!"

Elsewhere, Luger got a big pop when Flair finally made the hot tag, and even looked to have the match won at one point. However, Vince Russo pulled referee Nick Patrick out of the ring and stole his referee's jersey.

At that point, Kronik made their WCW debut as a team and slammed Luger. Russo made the three count, and that, apparently, was official enough to give us new champions.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell

Prior to the US title tournament final, both Scott Steiner and Sting gave promos to Mean Gene. Steiner vowed that he didn't represent The New Blood, he represented himself, while Sting talked about how Russo and Bischoff couldn't run from himself and The Millionaire's club because they had WCW in their blood.

Neither man seemed to mention the other much at all.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament Final
Scott Steiner vs. Sting

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Scott Steiner beat Sting to win the vacant US title
Here's something I find myself saying more and more as we go through these last dozen WCW shows:

This wasn't bad.

Honestly, that's the best compliment anyone can give Steiner vs. Sting at Spring Stampede 2000. I know it doesn't sound like much, but saying "this didn't suck" about a WCW match in the year 2000 was a high compliment indeed.

The match itself was basically Sting hitting Stinger splashes everywhere and Scott Steiner spending most of his time arguing with the fans until Vampiro popped up from under the ring and dragged Sting 'Straight to hell' much as The Undertaker had done to Diesel back at the 1996 Royal Rumble.

As Mark Madden tried to convince his that actual Hades was underneath the ring, Sting was apparently busy blading before Vamp shoved him back in the ring, bloody and beaten.

One Steiner Recliner later and we had our new champion.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Scott Steiner

Finally, after another look back at the big Nitro Reboot, it was on to our main event

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberley) vs. Jeff Jarret

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Jeff Jarrett celebrates his WCW title win with The New Blood
From bell to bell, Page and Jarrett worked hard to deliver a very solid performance that was 100% worthy of being tonight's main event.

No, it wasn't the greatest match in history. It wasn't even the best match on this card (that was Sting vs. Booker) but it was still good, especially for 2000-era WCW.

With referee Charles Robinson allowing a lot of leniciancy in the rules, both men battled through the crowd and around ringside before making it back between the ropes for an increasingly dramatic finale.

Page managed to survive a figure four before surprising Jarrett with a role up. The Chosen One kicked out, but Page once again gained control. Then, as Eric Bischoff (who had made his way ringside halfway through) grabbed hold of Robinson, Kimberley entered the ring with Jarrett's guitar.

Just when you thought she was going to get revenge on Double J, however, she blasted her husband with the guitar.

Three seconds later, The Chosen One had done it.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Post-match, Kimberly and Bischoff and embraced. Bagwell, Douglas, Steiner, Candido and Sytch all came to the ring to join in Jarrett's celebration.

The New Blood had arrived.





I'm never a fan of shows with tournaments. There are always too many matches and it seems like the show takes forever to review. Still, on the plus side, this was one of World Championship Wrestling's better pay per views of the past twelve months. That's not to say it was great or anything, but compared to some of the absolute crap WCW had been putting out, Spring Stampede 2000 was at least a solid effort.

Track down Sting vs. Booker, maybe watch the Hardcore title match for a laugh, but otherwise, take my word for it, you're not missing much by skipping WCW 2000 altogether.



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