Thursday, 4 March 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWA - The Revolution 2002

WWA - The Revolution 2002 - Event Review
February 24, 2002
Aladdin Casino Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

I couldn't help myself. I needed to see more  World Wrestling All-Stars shows even though the first show, WWA: The Inception had been bad beyond belief.

Not just bad, but farcical

Famously, the show featured the commentary of Jeremy Borash and Jerry Lawler blaring out over the arena PA system for the whole event, but that was the least of this show's problems.

It featured a Bananas in Pyjamas rip-off known as The Fruits in Suits whose sole contribution to the show was to serve as the basis for a bunch of homophobic jokes, Bret Hart lying about being undefeated before interfering in the main event because he didn't want anyone winning with his finishing move and so much ridiculousness that The Inception simply has to be considered one of the worst PPVs of all time.

Still, I couldn't help myself. 

I found the company's second PPV, The Revolution, on YouTube, and just had to know if it was as bad as the first or if the company had managed to turn things around.

Let's head to  Las Vegas, Nevada and find out together, shall we?





It's the Revolution

WWA - The Revolution 2002 - Tantric performed at the event
Rather than starting with the usual opening video package, we instead joined WWA Revolution part way through a live performance by the band Tantric with a song called -naturally- Revolution.

Look, I'm not going to knock on Tantric. Their song Down and Out is a good tune that still crops up on my playlists from time to time, but the production values of this show were so poor that all you heard was lead singer Hugo Ferreira moaning the word "Revolution" over and over. 

Needless to say, this was not Tantric's finest hour.

Nor was it WWA's. 

The show finally gave us our opening video...Three of them in fact.

The first video showed clips from The Inception and other WWA tour shows set to the classical piece O Fortuna

If they'd left it at that, I would've said the show was off to a good start. Unfortunately, they gave us a second short video featuring more of the same clips set to a piece of rock music and finally, a third short video which featured yet more of the same in more of an opening credits style.

It was like they made three different intros and couldn't decide which one to use so simply said "f**k it" and threw all three in.

Unfortunately, the production woes would continue in our first match of the broadcast.

Six-Way Elimination Match
Nova vs. Low Ki vs. Shark Boy vs. AJ Styles vs. Tony Mamaluke vs. Christopher Daniels

WWA - The Revolution 2002 - Christopher Daniels competed in the opening match
There are certain things that we all just take for granted in pro wrestling. Take camera angles for example. 

In any match where the competitors are already in the ring for "super special introductions" we take it as a given that when a wrestler's name is announced, the camera will show us that wrestler so that we can put a name to a face and know exactly who the ring announcer is talking about.

WWA either didn't think that was important or hired a camera crew who had never seen professional wrestling before. As such, whenever a wrestler was introduced in this six-man elimination match, the view either stayed on the ring announcer's face, cut to the hard camera, or gave us some random view of a different wrestler. 

The camera work didn't get any better as the match progressed and ended up completely distracting from the action. At times, the camera crew completely missed what was going on. 

At one point, Tony Mamaluke got busted wide open and nobody had any idea why because the cameras missed it, leading announcers Jeremey Borash and Mark Madden to speculate that Mamaluke had actually cut himself open backstage before the match

I mean, unless he took the whole Goldberg-headbutting-a-locker thing to extreme levels, that seems very unlikely. 

Later in the match, Christopher Daniels was on the top rope, the next he toppled to the mat like a sack of crap and nobody knew why because..you guessed it, the camera missed it.

Look, I get it:

This is a pro wrestling review not a cameraman/show director review, but when the production value is so bad that you notice it more than anything going on in the ring, that seems like it's worth mentioning.

Not that the action itself was bad. 

Here, you had six talented guys who knew full well that their job was to go to the ring, bust out a bunch of cool spots and big moves, and to that end they mostly delivered.

With the possible exception of AJ Styles busting out a second rope Styles Clash, almost everything was instantly forgettable, but this was still a fun match. 

Speaking of Styles, he was really the star of the whole thing which, knowing what we know now about his career, shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Unfortunately for the future WWE Champion, simply outshining everyone else in the match wasn't enough to actually win it. Nova picked up the win with a top rope suplex.
Your Winner: Nova 

WWA - The Revolution 2002 - Mark Madden and Jeremy Borash called the event
Post-match, Madden and Borash killed time by talking about how we should "expect the unexpected" from the WWA which was a not-so-subtle way of letting us know that tonight's advertised card had changed. 

Bret Hart Speaks

Up next, we got an in-ring promo from WWA Commissioner Bret 'The Hitman' Hart whose first job was to tell us exactly how the card had changed.

According to The Hitman, WWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett's scheduled challenger, Macho Man Randy Savage, wasn't able to make the show. So, as Commissioner, it was Hart's job to choose a replacement and out of everyone on the WWA Roster (including bonafide main eventer Scott Steiner and the uber-talented Eddie Guerrero), he had chosen Brian Christopher.

Bret's reasoning for this seemingly out-of-the-blue choice? He liked second-generation wrestlers and since Christopher had been on the last tour (which I'm pretty sure he wasn't), that qualified him to compete for the world title.

So far, so good, but then things got...well, kinda weird.

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  WWA Commissioner Bret 'The Hitman' Hart
Much as he'd done at The Inception, Bret decided that he wanted to talk about 9/11, and told the American audience that despite the anti-American gimmick he played at the end of his WWF run, he was actually proud to hold an American passport by virtue of his mom being born in America. After using the traumatic events of 9/11 to get himself over as a babyface with the crowd, Hart then took a bizarre swerve where he began talking about how great the Canadian hockey team was, eliciting boos and a loud "USA! USA!" chant from the live audience.

Oh, Bret, I'm a big fan of yours, but this was not your finest hour. 

Whatcha Gonna Do, Funker?
Since we last saw him competing as Kwee-Wee back at WCW Greed 2001, Allan Funk had grown his hair long, spouted a moustache and decided to start doing a Hulk Hogan impersonator gimmick.

On tonight's show, we first met him backstage where he confronted pint-sized brawlers Puppet and Teo, both of whom stared at him looking utterly confused while he spouted every Hogan mannerism in the book.

The Funkster then walked off, leaving Puppet to charge at Teo with a trash can lid.

The Funkster vs. Reno

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Allan Funk did a Hulk Hogan impression
This bland but inoffensive match was notable only for the fact that the crowd clearly weren't on board with the heel/face roles. The Funkster was clearly positioned as the face here, but the crowd were having none of it and were firmly behind former Natural Born Thriller, Reno.

Of course, I say firmly - what I really mean is that they'd occasionally get bored and bust out a faint "Reno! Reno!" chant. During one of these instances, Jeremy Borash told us that we could clearly hear the audience rooting for The Funkster. Yep, because when I want to show my support for my favourite wrestlers, I always chant their opponent's name.

Clearly undeterred, The Funkster 'Funked Up' and did the whole hand-to-ear thing, only to be met with a chorus of half-hearted boos from the fans. It was pretty funny. Just not in the way Funk intended it to be.

In the end, Funk blasted Reno with a piledriver and Leg Drop of Doom and that was that.
Your Winner: The Funkster

Out in the back, Scott Steiner emerged from a limousine with a bevvy of beauties.

Out in the arena, Disco Inferno came to the announce table to bemoan the fact that his scheduled match with Brian Christopher had been canceled so that the former Grandmaster Sexay could cash in his clearly well-earned title shot against Jeff Jarrett. Pumped and ready for action, Disco declared that he was issuing an open challenge then sat down to do commentary, by which I mean he sat down to argue with Madden and Borash a bit.

To be fair, the way Borash casually quipped "I don't like you," to Disco was funnier than I can make it sound here.

Native Blood (Navajo Warrior & Ghost Warrior) vs. Kronik (Bryan Adams & Brian Clarke) 

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Kronik appeared
Kronik
were last seen at WWF Unforgiven 2001 in a legendarily bad match against Kane and The Undertaker. Tonight, they competed against Navajo Warrior and Ghost Warrior that wasn't much better.

In fact, this wasn't really anything. Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke decimated their opponents from pillar to post, botched a few big moves (naturally), and then walked away with the pin after a "High Times" double chokeslam.

It wasn't great, but I suppose it could have been worse. 

I take no pleasure from saying that, either, because I'm generally a big fan of the basics behind the Kronik gimmick. Not so much the dumb marijuana references, but the general idea of two big dudes smashing people's heads in does have a place in wrestling. It's just a shame Adams and Clarke never quite mastered that role.

As for Native Blood, their only job was to get beat up by Kronik and serve as the basis for several tasteless jokes by Disco and Madden. If you really wanted to know how little you were supposed to care about these two, the announcers didn't even bother to learn their names, with Borash at one point calling Navajo Warrior "Native Blood One" and later referring to the team as -I'm not making this up- "The Other Team."

Pah. This was nothing. If you never see this match in your life, you really won't be missing anything.
Your Winners: Kronik 

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Puppet The Angry Dwarf cut a promo
Backstage, Puppet cut a promo in which he insisted that "midgets are the true stars of America" and that he was going to destroy "every weeble wobble in America," whatever that means.

This was followed by a brief dance routine by the Starettes (think discount-aisle Nitro Girls) who were thankfully spared from having Borash and Jerry Lawler making lewd comments about them over the loudspeaker as had been the misfortune of the (completely different) Starettes back at The Inception. 

Unfortunately, not everyone got to do their job without awful comments about them being made on the PA...

Falls Count Anywhere Hardcore Match:
Puppet vs. Teo

"Midgets! When was the last time you saw midgets!" asked Jeremy Borash as Puppet and Teo came out already brawling.

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Puppet The Angry Dwarf
Well, the last time we saw little people wrestling -these exact two no less- was at the first TNA PPV, but since this show came first, I get Borash's point. At that TNA show, Puppet and Teo actually put on a pretty decent performance, playing it straight and having an actual wrestling match with none of the goofiness normally associated with dwarf wrestling. This time, the two did their best to give us a hardcore match that was completely overshadowed by the obnoxious commentary -particularly from Madden and Disco- that the WWA production team had decided everyone needed to hear blasting out through the arena.

While Borash seemed to be in awe of the fact that dwarf performers even existed, Mark Madden and Disco Inferno spent most of the match talking about how both men should just die. That's no exaggeration. At one point, Teo climbed the top rope for a leap to the outside and Disco Inferno shouted -I shit you not- "GO ON! KILL YOURSELF!"

Throughout the rest of the match, they continued to crack wise about what it would be like for Teo and Puppet to either kill themselves or each other. Given that Puppet (Stevie Lee) passed away just a few months before I sat down to write this review, this has aged very badly. 

The worst part about this was that the commentary was the only time the crowd reacted to anything at all. Puppet and Teo slammed each other into trash cans, dove off the ropes and generally demolished each other to near silence. The only noise came from the occasional burst of laughter when the crowd found Disco and Madden's idiotic jokes funny.

Honestly, if you want to watch wrestling were Little People are treated with some kind of dignity and respect, this wasn't the match for you.

The end came when Puppet dropped Teo with a TKO onto some thumbtacks -again to almost no reaction- and picked up the pin.
Your Winner: Puppet

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Big Poppa Pump is your Hook Up, Holler if ya hear me!
I was going to say that Puppet didn't have much time to celebrate because Scott Steiner came out and attacked him, but that's not actually true. He had all the time he wanted to celebrate, grab a coffee, and maybe even repaint his house as The Big Bad Booty Daddy took his sweet time strolling to ringside and taking out the two pint-sized performers.

Accompanied by a beautiful woman who wasn't Midajah, Steiner cut a practically incomprehensible promo which can just about be summed up thusly:

Sex = good.
Bret Hart not giving him a title shot = bad.

Steiner then said that since he was there anyway, he was going to kick somebody's ass and went outside to grab Disco Inferno. It was at this point that the weirdest thing in the whole show occurred:

Disco tried to escape through the crowd but was stopped by -of all people- Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Tenzan choked Disco and pushed him into the waiting arms of Steiner. His appearance was never acknowledged by Borash nor by Madden, and I've even scanned countless reviews of this show and not one reviewer mentioned this spot. Honestly, I started to think I'd hallucinated it, but nope, there he is.

What an absolutely weird thing to bring a guy in from Japan to have him appear from nowhere, choke a dude, and then disappear without anyone even noting that it had happened.

Anyway, Steiner then threw Disco around the ring like a rag doll for a few minutes before taking him out with the Steiner Recliner to end the whole...whatever this was.

As Madden and Borash reflected on what just happened (and talked about what was still to come), Hiroyoshi Tenzan got up from his seat behind them and wandered off into the crowd. The announcers continued not to mention him as if he'd never been there.

World Wrestling Allstars International Cruiserweight Championship
WWA International Cruiserweight Champion Psicosis vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Eddy Guerrero

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Eddie Guerrero wrestled for the cruiserweight title
You know, I'm convinced that WWA used the same title belt for both their cruiserweight and world championships. They looked pretty much identical. 

Not that the ring announcer even seemed to notice that a title was involved at all here. He didn't introduce Psicosis as the champion nor did he even tell us this was a title match.

Oh, and for the record, yes, that is how they spelled Eddie 'Eddy' Guerrero's name on this show.

The match got underway and proved to be the best thing on the card up until this point. That's not to say it was an all-out classic or anything. It wasn't, but it was a match in which three talented performers showed up motivated to work and delivered the best match they possibly could.

Sure, it was occasionally soured by the weird camera angles, the odd presentation of a pro wrestling show taking place in a theatre rather than an arena, and Borash constantly boasting about how they were the only pro wrestling promotion not afraid to book a proper cruiserweight division, but beneath all that, what you got here was a good effort from three stalwarts of the now-defunct WCW cruiserweight division.

Not surprisingly given his superior star power, Eddie Guerrero won the match with his patented frog splash and then started to cut a heel promo on the very crowd that had been cheering for him the whole match.
Your Winner and NEW WWA Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero  

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Jerry Lynn confronts Eddie Guerrero
It was a weird promo too because Guerrero talked about how he had battled his personal issues and was now making a comeback -true babyface fodder if ever it existed- but insulted the crowd and generally heeled it up the whole time.

He was eventually interrupted by Jerry Lynn standing at the top of the entrance ramp and shouting "Excuse me! Excuse me!"  - somewhere backstage, Eddie's wife was no doubt taking notes. 

Lynn cut an equally bizarre promo in which he acted like a heel when he was supposed to be the babyface, told Guerrero to "quit your bitchin', biatch" and got punched in the head by the new cruiserweight champion. The two brawled for a bit and then it was over.

What a weird show this really was. 

Before the next match, the Starettes danced again.

No Disqualification Match:
Devon Storm vs. Sabu (w/ Bill Alfonso)

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Devon Storm vs. Sabu
OK, forget what I said about the last match, this was the best match on the card so far by a good mile.

OK, so it went nigh on 20 minutes, and OK so there were enough blown spots to fill an entire episode of Botchamania, but I don't care. It was fun. 

Although it was technically a No DQ match, there wasn't much of the usual garbage that you'd get in these kinds of matches around this time period. A single chair made it into the ring and a single table was set up outside the ring, and that was it. Otherwise, the NO DQ rule was there simply so that the two could spend a lot of time messing up spots on the floor.

All botches aside, this was ridiculously enjoyable and a highlight of the show that came to an end when Bill Alfonso swung a chair at Devon Storm, missed, and struck Sabu. The former Crowbar got the cover, the count, and the match.
Your Winner: Devon Storm 

The two weren't done yet. As Devon Storm staggered up the entranceway, selling the match of a lifetime, Fonzie handed Sabu a chair which the Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal Maniac promptly threw at the man who'd just beaten him. 

Fonzie then made his way to the entrance carrying a table upon which Storm was placed so that Sabu could jump off the video screen onto his rival. It was pretty much the exact same spot Devon had done to Norman Smiley at The Inception.

Meanwhile, backstage, Lodi stitched up Lenny Lane's shorts but it was made to look like he was doing him up the bum, you know, because gay = LOL, apparently. 

Lenny Lane & Lodi vs. Rick Steiner & Ernest 'The Cat' Miller

WWA - The Revolution 2002 -  Ernest 'The Cat' Miller grew some hair
Before the bell, Ernest Miller promised that if he and Rick Steiner lost, he would personally "pucker up and kiss Mark Madden's nasty, fat ass."

Fortunately, there would be no ass-kissing tonight. Miller and Steiner destroyed the "girly-boys" (Miller's words) in about 30 seconds and that was that.

What I don't get, is why a company would have both Rick and Scott Steiner on their show doing pretty much nothing and decide not to book them as a tag team. The Steiner Brothers could have easily done the same beat down of Lenny Lane and Lodi and it would have likely gotten a much bigger pop for the sheer novelty of having Rick & Scott teaming up. Meanwhile, Ernest Miller was still popular enough (and talented enough on the microphone) that he could have responded to Disco Inferno's challenge and made it work.

Still, this was the same company that booked Brian Christopher (God rest his soul) in a world title match, so who knows what was going on there.
Your Winners: Rick Steiner and Ernest Miller 

Afterwards, Miller beat up Madden so much that both Madden and Borash fell out of their seats. 

World Wrestling All-Stars World Heavyweight Championship
WWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Brian Christopher 

WWA - The Revolution 2002 - Jeff Jarrett is your WWA Champion
I take back what I said earlier about WWA only having one title belt to represent two championships. They'd clearly invested in a new belt for their world title and made the belt they'd previously used for their world title as their new cruiserweight title.

Classy.

Speaking of classy, Brian Christopher came down to the ring to his WWF Too Cool theme which had the volume lowered on the broadcast to prevent copyright issues. 

Next, Jeff Jarrett responded to some fans at ringside telling him he sucked by yelling "I may suck, but you swallow!"

This was followed by Christopher grabbing the microphone and first yelling something incomprehensible like "WHEHEHEH JILLA MILLA FLIBAMEHHHH" and then saying "Hey! Jeff Jarrett doesn't suck, he swallows!" as if he'd just come up with the most original insult in the world.

Look, I hate to speak ill of the dead, but the start of this match was not Brian Lawler's finest hour.
"I heard his partner has a better worm," quipped Madden as Lawler stood around in his knickers looking all surprised.

Fortunately, things did get better and this turned into a decent match. Not world title main event decent, sure, but at least decent enough that it would have likely been well received on the mid-card of a Raw or Nitro broadcast. 

The two wrestled a deliberate, traditional Memphis style match that culminated with modern-day shenanigans which then ruined any kind of good favour the two had earned with the crowd.

Brawling on the outside, the challenger accidentally kicked the referee, taking him out of action. He then got into the ring and hit the Hip Hop Drop, prompting a second referee (Slick Johnson) to rush in to make the count, only for the first referee to pull him out of the ring and argue that only he (Referee 1) was eligible to count the fall.

This led to both zebras arguing outside the ring, allowing Jarrett to bash his opponent over the head with a guitar. He made the cover, Referee 1 then made the count only for Slick Johnson to pull him out of the ring which made no sense whatsoever. After all, if anyone had a legitimate claim at officiating the match, it was referee 1. 

Anyway, stupidity finally ceased, Jarett hit The Stroke, driving Christopher into the WWA title belt, and three seconds later it was all -thankfully- over.
Your Winner and Still WWA Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Afterwards, Jarrett celebrated with his title before Tantric's Revolution played over a video of highlights from the event (not that there were many) and the ring announcer thanked us all for coming.







So, was World Wrestling All-Stars' The Revolution PPV as bad as their first event, The Inception?

No, but that's a bit like saying that being run over by a car isn't as bad as being run over by a truck. It was still a pretty painful experience. OK, so some of the action was pretty decent, and yours truly enjoyed the Sabu/Devon Storm match far more than I ever could have imagined. The cruiserweight title match didn't suck, and if you like the kind of "everybody flip around and do lots of spots" multi-man matches that would become a TNA trademark for years, then you'll no doubt enjoy the opening contest.

Still, the production values were awful, the booking decisions bizarre, and the decision to have Mark Madden and Disco Inferno loudly wish that Puppet and Teo would just literally murder each other was beyond words. 

If you're a glutton for punishment, watch this show. Otherwise, stay away.


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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.