Thursday, 20 February 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Slamboree 2000

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Event poster
May 7, 2000
Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri

There's a reason why there's been no WCW reviews on this blog for over a month: 

By the early 2000s, the shows were getting so bad that it was actually becoming a chore to watch.

Trust me, this blog is supposed to be a fun hobby for me, but reviewing World Championship Wrestling was turning into the worst job I've ever had.

The whole David Arquette - WCW World Heavyweight Champion storyline -which came to a head at Slamboree 2000- was only one of the reasons why.

Mediocre wrestling, frustrating finishes and ridiculous booking were running rampant around this time, leaving very little to enjoy.

Still, I've started, so I'll finish.

So, without further ado, let's head down to Kansas City, Missouri for the first pro wrestling PPV to emanate from the Kemper Arena since Over the Edge 1999, the night Owen Hart died.





The New Blood vs. The Millionaires Club - The War Wages On

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, and Mark Madden were the announcers for the event
We began tonight's proceedings with a cold open, a flashback to that week's Nitro in which Ric Flair, leading The Millionaire's Club, had challenged The New Blood to a battle royal, with a world title shot at The Great American Bash up for grabs for the winner.

Flair had gone onto win that match, which had also featured a surprise cameo from Macho Man Randy Savage.

This was great and all, but since Flair's title shot wouldn't be until the following month, this didn't do much for tonight's show.

Out in the parking lot, The Millionaire's Club were shown arriving on their tour bus while The New Blood all gathered around a TV in the locker room to watch them do so.

We then got the standard sub-par WCW video package which reminded us that Sting and Vampiro hated each other, that Billy Kidman and Hulk Hogan were at war, and that yes, Courtney Cox's husband was our world champion.

Out in the arena, pyro blasted, and Tony Schiavone welcomed us to Slamboree. As the cameras scanned the crowd, Schiavone introduced us to his broadcast colleagues, Mark Madden and Scott Hudson, leaving this writer to pine for the glory days of Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion (w/ Tammy) vs. The Artist (w/ Paisley)

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Tammy Sytch accompanied Chris Candido to the ring
Before the bout, Tammy took to the microphone to insist that since Missouri was the 'Show Me State,' she should show us what she had under her robe.

Chris Candido's valet, whose voice was at least a couple of octaves deeper than it ever had been the last time we saw her as Sunny, then stripped off her robe to reveal a silver dress which made her look like one of The Godfather's hos.

The match then commenced and was a good effort from both men.

Though this was nowhere on par with the kind of cruiserweight classics we'd once seen from the likes of Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, and Rey Mysterio Jr, it was a solid outing that was only spoiled by a couple of blown spots and a botched finish.

That came about when Paisley confronted Tammy to stop her distracting the referee's attention. The two women -who had come to blows at the previous month's Spring Stampede 2000- got into a staredown which resulted in Paisley grabbing Tammy by the hair and dragging her to the ground. In retaliation, Tammy grabbed a chair and managed to take out both Paisley and The Artist at the same time.

Candido covered the artist, referee Mickey Jay counted to three and the bell rang, only for Jay to claim that he didn't count to three after all and that the match must continue.

Rather pointlessly, Candido then hit a piledriver and diving headbutt to score the actual three count.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Candido

Afterward, Paisley ripped off Tammy's prostitute dress. This would have been sexy had Tammy not been wearing an ugly hotpants-and-crop top number.

Terry Funk is Middle-Aged and Crazy

Before the next match, Tony Schiavone and his fake tan told us that one of the cages in tonight's Triple Cage match would be a 'hardcore cage' while another would be -and I quote- "a guitar cage."

Schiavone, Hudson, and Madden then segued into talking about Terry Funk, who would be competing in our next match.

This led us into a video package which showed The Funker getting his ass kicked in various ways, because if you want to get a guy over, then naturally the best way to do is to show him getting destroyed by half the roster.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship Handicap Match
WCW Hardcore Champion Terry Funk vs. Norman Smiley & Ralphus

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Norman Smiley (w/ Ralphus) does the Big Wiggle on Terry Funk
Honestly, I don't think I've ever laughed so much watching a pro wrestling match in all of my life.

I'm also not entirely sure that this was actually supposed to be that funny. Norman Smiley had been billed as competing with a 'Mystery Partner,' a big fat guy wearing a hockey mask to reveal his identity.

Later in the match, Terry Funk would blast away that hockey mask to reveal that the big fat guy was actually Ralphus, who we last saw on PPV accompanying Chris Jericho back at Uncensored 1999.

That wasn't the funny part though, the funny part was that Ralphus had absolutely no idea what he was supposed to be doing.

Rather than helping Smiley in any way, he kind of just wandered around aimlessly. At one point, Funk covered Smiley as they brawled through the backstage area. Rather than break up the pin attempt, the big lug just stood there, watching and holding a trash can. Not long after, he decided to use said trash can to give Funk a gentle little love tap.

It was such a pathetic attempt at offence that Funk deliberately no-sold it, grabbed the trash can and waffled Ralphus with it.

All the while, Schiavone, Hudson, and Madden made such fun at Ralphus that you couldn't help but laugh out loud.

Seriously, if you wanted a quality hardcore match then this wasn't the one for you, but if you wanted a so-bad-it's-freakin-hilllarious comedy of errors, get on this one.

Eventually, this absolute trainwreck made it to the ring where Smiley put the big wiggle on the hardcore champion. Looking to emulate the move, Ralphus stood behind Funk and basically dry-humped him. Not one to take too kindly to getting bummed in by a toothless fat guy, Funk picked up a chair and murdered the former Jericho Personal Security man. Smiley tried coming to his partner's aid, allowing The Funker the opportunity to roll him up and retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Terry Funk

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews David Arquette
Out in the back, David Arquette turned up in a limousine to be confronted by Mean Gene Okerlund.

Rather than asking him anything about tonight's main event, Mean Gene wanted to know about Arquette's wife earning a million dollars per episode for her role as Monica in Friends.

Unsurprisingly, Arquette didn't want to talk about that, but was willing to admit that he was scared about his role in the big triple cage match.

I know that the whole David Arquette - World Champion thing gets ripped on, but at least WCW didn't present the actor as though he was a credible threat or anything. Throughout this whole story, it was treated as though his world title win had been a fluke, that his position as champion was outrageous, and that even the man himself knew he had no business holding the gold.

Shawn 'The Perfect One' Stasiak vs. Curt Hennig

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Shawn Stasiak takes control of Curt Hennig
Poor Curt Hennig looked like crap here but still managed to carry Shawn Stasiak to what was probably the best match Stan The Man's son would ever have.

That's not to say it was a classic or anything, but it was certainly a decent enough match when you consider that one man was a rookie and the other was a knackered veteran who was clearly past caring.

The story here was that Stasiak had decided to piss off Hennig by stealing the 'Mr. Perfect' gimmick, right down to the knock off theme music. This wouldn't have been so bad if Hennig had ever used that gimmick in WCW. As it was, it was purely a WWF gimmick, and Hennig hadn't even used it in that company for at least four years.

Horrible backstory aside, this was a decent match which ended when Stasiak catapulted Hennig into the corner and blasted him with the PerfectPlex, adding insult to injury in the name of victory.
Your Winner: Shawn Stasiak

Backstage, Scott Steiner was shown getting pumped up in The New Blood locker room as Vince Russo told him it was time to go to the ring. Yes, Scott Steiner, who made his professional wrestling debut in 1986, was part of The New Blood in May 2000.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Shakira & Midajah) vs. Hugh Morrus  Hugh G. Rection

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Hugh Morrus changed his name to General Hugh G. Rection
OK, let's do this.

Before the match, Hugh Morrus got on the microphone and declared that he never wanted to be called that name ever again. The name Hugh Morrus, he said, was given to him by Eric Bischoff in order to look stupid. So, to make himself not look stupid any longer, he was now going to go by his 'real name' of Hugh G. Rection, or Captain Rection for short.

Yep, cos that's totally not stupid at all.

I mean for f***'s sake.

"Captain Rection, he's working stiff in there, I'll tell you that," quipped Madden as this one got underway, proving that anything the former Hugh Morrus did from here on in would be overshadowed by penis jokes.

That was a shame because this was a surprisingly good match that saw Hugh G. Rection take a pounding only to consistently fight back and occasionally come close to picking up the three count.

Towards the finish, Rection reversed a tombstone into a piledriver of his own, but when he went for the No Laughing Matter moonsualt, Steiner rolled out of harm's way. Unfortunately, he didn't roll far enough and took a nasty kick to the head as Rection landed. Curiously, Madden told us that the No Laughing Matter had been renamed 'The Raging Climax.' I'm not sure how Madden was supposed to know this when Morrus had only changed to his 'Walking D**k Joke' gimmick at the start of this match.

Anyway, Steiner got to his feet and put his opponent in the Steiner Recliner. Hugh G. Rection went limp, and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW US Champion: Scott Steiner

After the bell, Steiner clamped the Steiner Recliner back on. Rection's Misfits in Action cohorts Van Hammer, Chavo Guerrero, and Lash LeRoux got up from their position in the front row (where they'd been sitting after supposedly being 'fired from WCW') and tried to attack, but Eric Bischoff & Vince Russo's hired security team of low-rent indie workers ran in to hold them back.

In the midst of all this fracas, Booker T triumphantly ran to the ring in his shirt and slacks and took out Big Poppa Pump.

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Chris Kanyon promised to have DDP's backKanyon Has DDP's Back

Out in the backstage area, Chris Kanyon spoke to Mean Gene Okerlund about his friendship with Diamond Dallas Page and how that made him a natural enemy of The New Blood.

Kanyon would take on New Blood member Mike Awesome next.

Mike Awesome vs. Chris 'Champagne' Kanyon

This very quickly turned into the best match of the night so far, and then they hit the finish and absolutely ruined it.

With the crowd chanting "ECW! ECW!" Mike Awesome battered Kanyon from pillar to post and utterly destroyed him. Proving his worth, Kanyon refused to stay down and always found a way to fight back no matter how much punishment he had to endure.

It was completely gripping, the kind of match that really takes you by surprise with just how excellent it is and forces you to sit up and take note, even if that's only so you can see how badly WCW botched it up.

Towards the end, Mike Awesome rolled back the protective matting from around the ringside area and set Kanyon up to powerbomb him onto the concrete floor from atop the elevated entrance way leading to the ring. Before he could do that, however, Kevin Nash's music hit and Big Sexy stormed to the ring.

Nash played into Awesome but was soon surrounded by members of The New Blood. Ric Flair and Sting ran in for the save, and this one was just kind of over.
No Contest

Yep, the official result is that this was a no-contest, even though Nash hit Awesome so technically he should have won by DQ.

Russo owns Elizabeth

Next, we were shown a video package of the rivalry between Vince Russo and Lex Luger, stemming from Russo's claim that he owned Elizabeth's contract, and therefore, owned her.

Somehow, that meant we got a match between Luger and Buff Bagwell here tonight.

Back live, we were taken to The New Blood's lockerroom, where Russo insisted that Liz go change her dress because he owned her and didn't like what she was wearing.

Can you imagine any major wrestling company getting away with a storyline like this today?

The Total Package Lex Luger vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Buff Bagwell strikes a pose before facing Lex Luger
I've always been a fan of The Total Package, but even I have to admit that this was a pretty tedious match.

It was 50% chinlock, 25% posing, and 25% half-way decent wrestling that just didn't capture the imagination.

Towards the end, we randomly cut to the back just in time to see Elizabeth hit Russo with a baseball bat and then run to the ring.

Moving between the ropes, she had the bat stolen from her by Buff Bagwell, who used it on Luger in plain view of the referee.

The gormless official simply ignored it, just as he ignored Liz finally hitting Buff with it as he scaled the top rope for the Buff Blockbuster.

The blatant and unchallenged interference allowed Lugr to slap on the Torture Rack and win the match:
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterward, Chuck Palumbo came down wearing Lex Luger's gear and put The Total Package in a torture rack.

Apparently, Vince Russo was pretty big on gimmick stealing gimmicks at the time. First Shawn Stasiak, now Chuck.

Shane Douglas Hates Ric Flair

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Mean Gene interviews Shane Douglas
When the history books are written, Shane Douglas' career will be defined by two things:

1: That time he threw down the NWA title
2: His real-life hatred of Ric Flair.

That long-standing grudge was on display here as Douglas ranted and raved to Mean Gene Okerlund about how much he hated The Nature Boy.

Admittedly, this was a decent promo from Douglas, who ended things by claiming that Flair's ass would get Franchised, which apparently was a thing.

Shane Douglas vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

If Vince Russo interferes, Flair gets five minutes alone with Russo

By this point, Flair had clearly stopped caring, and couldn't even be bothered to dress properly for his match, coming down to face The Franchise in his slacks, shoes and t-shirt.

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Ric Flair cuts an angry promoThankfully, the legendary grappler still had a little fire in his belly, and used it to great effect to cut a compelling promo, calling Douglas a 'dips**t' and promising to kick his 'ECW ass.'

The match itself was actually very good. Rather than making it difficult for the two men to work together, their real-life animosity adding an intensity to proceedings that made this a much more enjoyable watch than your writer thought it might be.

Apart from a couple of sloppy-looking rolling suplexes from Douglas, there was almost nothing to complain about here...at least not until the finish.

Frustratingly, we got another match which just *had* to end with interference.

As Flair took control, Buff Bagwell and a man dressed as Sting who everybody (Naitch included) believed to be Vince Russo ran out to the ring.

The Russo-Sting blasted Flair with a baseball bat, allowing Douglas to get the roll-up and the three.
Your Winner: Shane Douglas

WCW Slamboree 2000 - David Flair and Vince RussoFired up, Flair took to the microphone to demand his five minutes alone with Russo. When the man in the Sting mask refused, Lex Luger came out, battered Buff Bagwell and hurled Sting-Russo into the ring.

Predictably, that turned out not to be Russo at all but David Flair, who joined The New Blood leader in taking out his pops.

When Kevin Nash came to the rescue, Dafney ran in and blasted him in the bollocks, the result of which was that a sixteen-time world champion and a seven-foot-tall monster of a man were overpowered by a scrawny writer from New York, a small woman, and David Flair.

Vampiro is a Freak

In more New Blood vs. Millionaires Club action, we saw a video package highlighting the bizarre and creepy feud between Sting and Vampiro, including the moment when Vampiro had Sting covered in blood and hanging from a noose.

I don't recall that, but man it looked genuinely like something out of a horror movie.

Vampiro vs. Sting

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Vampiro faced Sting
One of the better matches Sting had been involved in for a while, this one began with Vampiro waiting on the ramp for Sting to arrive, only to get his backside handed to him when The Stinger did show up.

For a good few minutes, the WCW mainstay did his best to destroy Vampiro, only for his demented opponent to make a comeback in a fun bout loaded with action and intensity.

The only drawback was the lax officiating.

Apparently, there were no such things as countouts or DQs in WCW anymore. As such, both men were free to whack each other with a lead pipe in plain view of referee Mickey Jay, who did nothing more than look mildly surprised.

After a short, explosive contest, Sting countered Vampiro's corner attack with a low blow and an awesome powerbomb from the middle rope, destroyed him with two Scorpion Death Drops, and gave us one of the very few clean finishes on the show.
Your Winner: Sting

WCW Slamboree 2000 - DDP addresses World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette
Backstage, Mike Tenay was relegated to interviewer role when he really should have been calling the show.

His first job was to hold the microphone while Diamond Dallas Page told a frightened David Arquette that if he just did everything Page told him, everything would work out.

His second was to interview Billy Kidman, who was standing by with Torrie Wilson, Eric Bischoff, and Kimberley Page.

Kidman cut a cringe-inducing promo in which he claimed that, with Bischoff as the special referee, there was no way he could lose to Hulk Hogan tonight.

In between these two promos, we saw Kevin Nash wandering around backstage, apparently looking for Vince Russo.

Afterwards, we were told that if you really wanted a Buff Daddy pennant (which I'm pretty sure nobody did), you should send in your cable bill to prove that you'd purchased Slamboree 2000.

Billy Kidman (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Hulk Hogan
Special Guest Referee: Eric Bischoff

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Hulk Hogan beats up Billy Kidman
Much as with the Sting/Vampiro match, I enjoyed this one way more than I thought I would.

By this point, Hogan had ditched his trademark Hulkamania yellow in favour of black denim, with a cut-off shirt that read "F.U.N.B" (F-U, New Blood) on the back.

Tonight, he marched to the ring with nephew Horace Hogan to watch his back, but biased referee Eric Bischoff sent Horace packing.

From there, we got a widely entertaining match in which Kidman bumped about the place as though his life depended on it and took a good battering from The Hulkster.

Naturally, Evil Eric refused to count any pin attempts for his former friend and did everything he could to prevent Hogan scoring the win.

Eventually, Hulk got fed up and knocked Eric out then began to stumble and fumble about the place in the name of setting up some tables in the ring.

Bischoff got powerbombed through one while Kidman went sailing through the second after his brief comeback resulted in jumping off the top rope only for Hogan to move out of harm's way.

Hulk made the cover, Horace returned to the ring lifted the hand of a groggy Eric Bischoff and used Eric's hand to count the fall for Uncle Hulk.
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan

I know there'll be some people who will complain that this did nothing to help Kidman get over, but I'd argue that sometimes just putting on an entertaining match is more important than getting someone over, and this certainly achieved that.

Backstage, Vince Russo ran from Kevin Nash, dragging his 'property,' Elizabeth with him. He tried escaping in a bus, but Lex Luger was waiting for him. I'm assuming Lex rescued Liz because when Russo next commandeered a car and drove off, she wasn't with him.

Jeff Jarrett is The Chosen One, Slap Ass

WCW Slamboree 2000 - Mean Gene interviews Jeff Jarrett
With only the main event to go, a video package brought us up to speed with how David Arquette had become the World Heavyweight Champion. Poor Dave had tried to relinquish the title, but pro wrestling logic meant that he had no choice but to defend it in a triple cage match here tonight.

Having heard from Arquette and DDP earlier, it was then Jeff Jarrett's turn to give a few words to Mean Gene Okerlund.

Those few words were, of course, the same ones Jarrett always used at this point in his career:

1: Chosen one
2: Slap ass
3: slap nuts.

In between those words, the future TNA leader said nothing of note, other than that he was going to be our next champion, slap ass.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Triple Cage Match
WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Slamboree 2000 - World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette
Not unlike the climax of the Ready to Rumble movie, the deal here was that the ring was surrounded by a triple-stacked cage match. The 'ground level' had the ring and a bunch of ladders to help you make your way to the second tier, which the announcers dubbed 'hardcore hell.' This had a bunch of chairs, tables and the ever-original kitchen sink attached the cage walls that the competitors could pull off and blast each other with.

The top-level was 'The Guitar Room' and, obviously, had a bunch of Jarrett's guitars in it. The idea was to climb to the top of The Guitar Room and retrieve the belt, which Jeff Jarrett did after a stupidly entertaining and bloody brawl.

For the most part, Arquette stayed out of harm's way and allowed Page and Jarret to destroy each other in a very enjoyable fashion.

At one point, Mike Awesome came out to attack Page, but quickly got knocked on his butt, leaving Dallas free to race Jarrett to the top of the guitar room.

While all of this was going on, however, Arquette climbed to the top and stood by, with the announcers surmising that he must have been waiting to knock Jarrett down should The Chosen One be the first to make it to the top. Instead, the dastardly actor blasted Diamond Dallas Page with a guitar, allowing Jarrett to retrieve the gold.

This wasn't exactly one of Russo's patented swerves, either. The whole build-up to this match had seen DDP insisting that Arquette stay out of the way because he wasn't cut out to be a wrestler. Yeah, no wonder the dude turned on him.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Jarrett

After that fun main event, Chris Kanyon came out to help page fend off another attack from Mike Awesome and Jarrett, but instead Awesome threw Kanyon off the stage and he went plummeting to his demise on the rampway below. Looking on it 20 years later, it did look like a cool spot, but you do kind of wish WCW had done this spot in any arena other than the Kemper.






It says a lot about the state of World Championship Wrestling that this one of their best shows in a long time despite having so many problems. Most of the actual in-ring action ranged from passably decent to wildly entertaining, but the screwy finishes, multiple instances of interference and the fact that the rules were seemingly non-existent all tarnished what could have otherwise been a great show.

Though there's nothing here that is an absolute must-see, Slamboree 2000 does make for curious viewing and is certainly a thousand times better than anything the company had done during their terrible run of 1999.





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