Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Monday, 27 June 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WWF The Big Event (1986)

WWF The Big Event - Event Graphic

August 28, 1986,
Exhibition Stadium, Toronto, Ontario

Although currently classed as a PPV (sorry, Premium Live Event) on the WWE Network, WWF's The Big Event was never broadcast on Pay Per View, or anywhere else for that matter other than the fondly-remembered Coliseum Home Video.

Despite that, it was a phenomenal success for the World Wrestling Federation, attracting some 65,000 fans to the Torono Exhibition Stadium for a world title main event between reigning champion, Hulk Hogan, and his arch-nemesis, Paul Orndoff.

Here's what went down:

Welcome to Toronto!

Our show tonight began with a helicopter’s eye view of Toronto with Mean Gene Okerlund giving a voiceover in which he pretended to be on the actual helicopter.

C’mon Gene, your fooling nobody with that one.

As the ‘copter flew across the city and random shots of tonight’s stats were intercut, Okerlund told us how amazing Toronto was before putting over tonight’s big matches.

The wrestling clips from this intro were clearly from the event itself and the first thing you notice is just how loud and crazy the crowds were.

WWE may be more profitable than ever these days, but you can’t help but wonder if the part of Vince McMahon that still cares about his product doesn’t pine for the days when he could pack an arena full of fans who were genuinely this enthusiastic.

Hoss & Jimmy Jack Funk (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Killer Bees (Jumpin" Jim Brunzell & B. Brian Blair)

With the intro, we cut straight to our opening contest with both The Funks and The Killer Bees already in the ring and the trio of Gorilla Monsoon, Big Cat Ernie Ladd, an Lucious Johnny Valiant on commentary.

The match was -I kid you not- fantastic.

OK, so if you compared it to a modern day Bryan Danielson classic it probably doesn’t seem all that fantastic, but it was way better than I expected for a 1986 WWF show.

The Killer Bees clearly brought their working boots and kept up a relentless pace, so relentless that there wasn’t a single moment when I could pause to grab a half-decent screenshot because everybody just kept moving.

Meanwhile, The Funks proved to be the perfect heels for the match, countering B. Brian Blair & ‘Jumpin’ Jim Brunzel’s fast-paced technical style with underhand tactics and general bad guy shenanigans.

It was a lot of fun.

In the end, the ‘Bees decided to confuse both their opponents and the referee by donning masks so that nobody could tell who was who.

The confusion allowed Blair & Brunzel to pick up the win.
Your Winners: The Killer Bees

That whole mask gimmick seemed like something heels would do, the crowd were so vocally into The Killer Bees that it was met with roaring approval.

King Tonga vs. The Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji)

WWF The Big Event Review - Magnificent Murraco vs. Haku

King Tonga was, of course, a svelte and youthful Haku and he was booed by the Toronto crowd just as loudly as his opponent, Magnificent Muraco, which makes it impossible for this writer to tell if Tonga was a heel or a face here.

The match went to a full 20-minute time limit draw but it was heavily clipped so we didn’t see the whole thing.

The heavy editing job was welcome here because this was far from the most exciting match you’ll ever see.

The parts we were shown were mainly rest holds and Muraco slowly, methodically working Tonga’s legs.

I’m not prepared to say that it was awful because it was very much a match of it’s time period, but you do have to question how boring this match really was if all the highlights were so uninspired.
Time-Limit Draw

Moving on…

Ted Arcidi vs. Tony Garea

WWF The Big Event Review - Ted Arcidi

This wasn’t a good match. The crowd didn’t care about it at all and spent half their time looking at something elsewhere in the arena while Tony Garea clearly did his best to make Ted Arcidi look good but failed.

After less than three minutes (at least as it was shown here) Arcidi took Garea out with a bear hug.

To be fair, that finish was at least funny.

To really sync the hold in, Arcidi bounced up and down with Garea in the bear hug so the referee started bouncing up and down with them and it looked like all three were having a fun time.

At least they were because I’m sure nobody who watched this match had fun.
Your Winner: Ted Arcidi

WWF The Big Event Review - Mean Gene Okerlund interiews Jimmy Hart

Out on the arena floor, Mean Gene interviewed Jimmy Hart.

Hart began to rant about all the terrible things The Junkyard Dog had done to him and swore that he’d get revenge tonight.

Before he could go any further, Hart was dragged away by the man who would get that revenge for him, Adorable Adrian Adonis.

Adorable Adrian Adonis (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Junkyard Dog

WWF The Big Event Review - Adorable Adrian Adonis with  Jimmy Hart

I appreciate this may be blasphemy to some, but I’ve never really understood why Junkyard Dog is held in such high regard.

In all the years that I’ve been watching pro wrestling, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a good match.

Of course, it didn’t help that Adonis was his opponent tonight.

Now fully into the flamboyant, gender-bending ‘adorable’ character, Adrian had really let himself go by this stage in his career and couldn’t seem to wrestle a decent match if his life depended on it.

In fact, this match tonight was only a few months removed from his horrible Wrestlemania 2 match against Uncle Elmer which for years had been the worst match I’ve ever seen in my life until I recently watched the scaffold match from WCW Great American Bash ‘91.

Anyway, not only was this match not great from a wrestling standpoint, it made absolutely no sense.

Early on, JYD blatantly pummelled Adonis with his steel chain right in front of the referee who let it slide.

Then, Junkyard (who was the babyface, remember) grabbed the same referee and threw him across the ring in what I’d describe as a pretty unprovoked attack.

Instead of calling for the DQ, the ref simply let it slide and the match continued.

The two combatants then brawled to the floor and barely beat the referee’s ten count.

Once back in the ring, JYD threw Adonis back outside and the referee instantly called for the bell without bothering to give Adonis a ten count.
Your Winner via Some Bullshit Finish: Junkyard Dog

Seriously, what the heck was that?

That was either the worst case of biased officiating ever seen in favour of a babyface or that idiot referee had never seen a pro wrestling match before in his life.

Dick Slater vs. Iron Mike Sharpe

WWF The Big Event Review - Dick Slater Haters Are Greater

Dick Slater wasn’t dirty yet and that made him the babyface here while Iron Mike
Sharpe was a heel whose loud, vocal selling really made this entire match.

The version shown on the WWE Network wasn’t very long and the action itself was decent but forgettable, though Iron Mike’s constant backing off and loud “no! No! No!” Yells every time Slater came near him made this a pretty fun match.

Slater won with an elbow from the top rope to Iron Mike’s head.
Your Winner: Dick Slater

WWF The Big Event Review - Mean Gene interviews Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan

Back on the arena floor, the ever-entertaining Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan spoke to Mean Gene about his involvement in our next match.

Heenan was, just as you’d expect, excellent at riling up the crowd here.

The Machines (uper Machine, Big Machine & Captain Lou Albano w/ Giant Machine) vs. King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Bobby Heenan)

WWF The Big Event Review - The Machines

For those unfamiliar with The Machines, the story goes thusly:

Andre The Giant was in a feud with Bobby Heenan and his crew. Giant no-showed a match which led to Heenan calling for his suspension.

The storyline suspension was granted, which gave Andre the chance to take time off to rehab an injury and film The Princess Bride.

When he returned, the suspension was still in place, so Andre did the whole “masked guy who’s real identity is obvious” ala The Midnight Rider, The Yellow Dog, Mr. America etc and called himself The Giant Machine.

Captain Lou Albano had then recruited two other masked machines who were better known as Bill Eadie and Blackjack Lanza, and thus we got tonight’s match.

Though this was far from a technical masterpiece, the crowd were hot for it and the competitors did their best to keep them hot, which made for entertaining viewing.

After a decent big man match, all hell inevitably broke loose and Giant Machine -who wasn’t officially involved in the match- stormed in and attacked, causing the referee to call for the bell.
Your Winners via DQ: Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd, and King Kong Bundy.

Post match, Andre beat up Heenan who sold like an absolute hero.

Howard Finkle then announced the heels as the winners by disqualification and the babyfaces looked absolutely shocked, as if they didn’t know that having an illegal man come in the ring and attack would lead to a DQ.

Maybe they were hoping they’d have the same dumb ass official from the JYD/Adonis match and expected a different outcome.

Snake Pit Match
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

A snake pit match was basically a no-DQ, anything does match.

WWF The Big Event Review - Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat

To the surprise of no one, this was the best match on the card so far by a country mile.

The two wrestled, they brawled, Ricky Steamboat got busted open, and Jake Roberts was so good that the crowd seemed to love him despite him being a sinister heel.

After an excellent battle, Roberts had Steamboat beaten down and battered into a bloody mess, but The Dragon caught him off guard with a roll-up at the last second and snatched victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat.
Your Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

That was good.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez

It’s interesting seeing Billy Jack Haynes looking so well put together here when I’ve been far more used to seeing him lately as the portly Black Blood at events like Clash of the Champions 15 five years after The Big Event took place.

As the two locked up, it became obvious that Gorilla Monsoon was calling this match solo, and was doing so from a studio rather than an arena. 

Gorilla explained the jarring change in commentary by claiming that his colleagues Johnny Valiant and Ernie Ladd had gone out to buy groceries.

Because, you know, what a normal thing to do while you're in the middle of calling a wrestling show.

Nothing really happened in this match, so a clearly bored Monsoon went through the motions and spent as much time bigging up the magnitude of the event as he did calling what little action there was to call.
Your Winner: Billy Jack Haynes

The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine)

I’m very much one of those people who believes that opposing wrestlers shouldn’t wear the same attire, but apparently, Greg Valentine wasn’t.

He wore the exact same trunks as his opponent which looked kind of dumb and occasionally gave the impression that he was on their team.

Having returned from his grocery shopping, Valentine and Brutus Beefcake’s manager, Johnny Valiant cheered them on as they gradually picked apart The Rougeau Brothers and gave us a solid, formulaic tag team match.

I don’t mean “formulaic” in the bad sense either.

The standard tag team match formula has worked for decades, and it certainly worked here, giving us a match that may have been the best thing on the card had we not seen the Roberts/Steamboat match.

As a side note, I love the way Gorilla Monsoon consistently referred to Raymond Rougeau as “Ray-moan.”

Speaking of The Rougeaus, as good as The Dream Team were at being the aggressors, Ray-Moan and brother Jacques were effective as the popular babyfaces.

That said, they were obviously much better as heels, if only because their heel run gave us one of the greatest pro wrestling themes of all time.

After a well-fought match, The Rougeuas emerged victorious thanks to a sunset flip by Jacques.
Your Winners: The Rougeau Brothers

And on we go..

Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales

We joined this match in progress and I’ve read some pretty poor reviews of it, but I honestly didn’t think it was that bad.

Clocking in at a little under four minutes, it was obviously designed to give space between the excellent tag match and the main event, and it served its purpose well.

After a few short minutes of decent but unremarkable action, Handsome Harley Race got the win with his foot on the ropes.
Your Winner: Harley Race

Post-match, the crowds chanted loudly. I thought they were changing “Hogan!” But Monsoon said they were letting it be known what they thought of the match which may mean they were actually chanting “Bullsh*t!”

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

WWF The Big Event Review - Paul Orndorff thinks he's the champion!

This was a good Hogan-style main event with Paul Orndorff getting the best out of the reigning champion.

This was the match that had sold out the venue to capacity, so it was no surprise that the crowd were red hot for it, and that level of pure excitement helped to elevate this one to something special.

After a good 80s-era WWF main event match, Paul Orndorff got disqualified when his manager, Bobby Heenan, struck Hogan with a chair.
Your Winner via DQ and Still WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

Afterwards, Heenan put the belt on Mr. Wonderful who proceeded to attack Hogan, only for the champion to make his big comeback to send the crowd home happy.

The Big Event was big in stature but not so big on quality wrestling.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a wrestling event with such a large audience of fans who were so rabidly enthusiastic and genuinely excited to be there.

Yes, I know Wrestlemania is a humongous event these days, but while it may match tonight’s event in terms of the crowd it draws, modern day Mania pales in comparison to The Big Event in terms of a lively, impassioned crowd.

Still, the match quality wasn’t great. Although I personally enjoyed the opening match much more than many other reviewers seem to, and although the main event was good for a Hulk Hogan title defence, only Dragon/Snake and the Dream Team/Rouegaus matches stood out as being particularly excellent from a pure wrestling standpoint.

Not the greatest show of all time then, but certainly one I’m glad I watched.

Monday, 13 June 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XVI - Fall Brawl '91

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Event Logo

September 5, 1991 
Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, Augusta, Georgia

WCW Clash of the Champions XVI - Fall Brawl '91 was not only the last of the four Clash events with the Fall Brawl subtitle (I haven't reviewed the other three yet), but it was also the last Clash event to have any subtitle at all.

After this, all Clash shows outside of the 20th-anniversary event would be given a number only, while the Fall Brawl name would eventually return in 1993 for the company's fall PPV. 

Tonight's event would see the finals of a tag team title tournament to find new champions after the previous titleholders, The Steiner Brothers, were forced to vacate the titles due to an injury to Scott Steiner. 

Scott's brother, Rick, had managed to make it to the finals with a temporary partner in 'World's Strongest Man' Bill Kazmaier, but would the new duo be able to replicate The Dog Faced Gremlin's success with his brother, or would the relatively new team of The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) prevail?

Let's head down to Augusta, Georgia, to find out. 

Welcome to Fall Brawl

Our show tonight began with an opening video which was decent by WCW standards.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross called all the action

The video highlighted some of the main matches including a battle royal, the finals of the tag team tournament and an appearance from world champion Lex Luger.

If you somehow missed that, don’t worry because as Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone opened the show, they ran down the card once again.

The now-current AEW announcers then sent it to their colleagues Eric Bischoff, Paul E. Dangerously, and Missy Hyatt, who aimed to get us excited by telling us that Missy would be interviewing the world champion while Dangerously would be speaking to his upcoming challenger Ron Simmons later on in the show.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Eric Bischoff with Paul E. Dangerously & Missy Hyatt

I might have missed something, but they really made it sound like that match was happening tonight. I was a good solid hour into this show before I realised Simmons vs. Luger wasn’t until Halloween Havoc and had to come back to rewrite this part of the review.

With all that done, it was on to our opening contest.

Georgia Brawl Battle Royal

Featuring: The Z-Man, Thomas Rich, Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Tracy Smothers, The Incredible Oz, Rapmaster PN News, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom), The Natural Dustin Rhodes, Terrance Taylor, Big Josh, Barry Windham, One Man Gang, El Gigante

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Battle Royal

As early 90s mid-card battle royals go, this one wasn’t bad.

The match went the better part of five minutes before a single-elimination, at which point Big Josh impressed everybody by skinning the cat and bringing Terrance Taylor out with a head scissors.

Unfortunately, Josh couldn’t hang on and also crashed to the floor. Somehow, Ranger Ross got caught up in it all and was eliminated too.

The eliminations started coming thick and fast then until it was down to Oz, One Man Gang, El Gigante, and Dustin Rhodes.

Just when you got worried that Dusty’s son was going to win in the same the way he’d won every Clash and PPV match since January, Oz dumped him on the outside.

El Gigante then clotheslined both Oz and One Man Gang but was so ineffective that Nash visibly had to jump over the top rope and eliminate himself.
Your Winner: El Gigante

Honestly, I have no problem with that outcome. George Gonzales may not have been a very good wrestler, but it’s totally believable to have the biggest man in a battle royal win the whole thing.

After a quick plug for the WCW Hotline, it was back to the action.

Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final
Badstreet vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

Badstreet came down with The Fabulous Freebirds but they got sent to the back before the match began.

Meanwhile, Flyin’ Brian had been reinstated after the whole Yellow Dog thing went nowhere.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Brian Pillman vs. Badstreet

The two men were given a decent amount of time to show what they could do and absolutely made the most of it, giving us a fast-paced match with a few exciting big spots and a couple of ugly ones too.

At one point, Badstreet suplexed Pillman to the outside, but Brian either tried to reverse into a neck breaker or just didn’t take the bump properly because it looked like he almost snapped his opponent’s neck off on the way down.

Later, Flyin’ Brian dove at Badstreet on the outside but overshot me crashed face first into the guard rail.

Not long after, Pillman won this enjoyable match with a sweet crossbody from the top.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman (advances to the finals)

Before the break, the announcers ran down the WCW Top 10 rankings which put Beautiful Bobby at number ten, but placed tonight’s world title contender Ron Simmons at number two behind US champion Sting.

Speaking of the Stinger, the champ would be in action next.

United States Champion Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd (w/ Theodore Long)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd

Sting had been receiving some mystery gifts as of late, including one that was Abdullah The Butcher and his massive man boobs who came to attack the US champ.

Looking to forget about all that for now, Sting locked up with Johnny B. Badd in a match that was far more entertaining than some other reviewers have given it credit for.

What I liked about this was that, despite being the heel, Badd didn’t resort to shady tactics here.

He simply held his own against Sting and gave a fine account of himself, at least until a mystery package appeared at the entranceway.

At that point, both men just stopped and looked at it before agreeing to continue, at which point Sting immediately scored the win with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Sting

I don’t understand why the US title couldn’t have been on the line if Badd was going to be made to look so strong and Sting was going to win anyway.

It didn’t matter because as soon as the bell rang, Cactus Jack burst out of the package and attacked Sting before throwing him to the outside and hitting him with a wicked top rope elbow.

WCW being WCW, the cameraman missed the shot of Jack bursting from the package.

Light Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi-Final 2
Mike Graham vs. Richard Morton (w/ Alexandra York)

Wow, Mike Graham. WCW had really gone out of their way to bring in some major names for this tournament.

I actually have no problem with Graham, but Richard Morton was overwhelmingly boring as a heel.

His match at Great American Bash ‘91 with his former partner Robert Gibson was one of the most tedious things I’ve ever witnessed, and this sadly wasn’t much better.

This wasn’t awful of anything, it was just completely void of heat or even anything marginally exciting.

Much as I did with the aforementioned Gibson match, I completely zoned out here and almost missed Morton getting the roll-up for the three count.
Your Winner: Richard Morton

After a commercial break, Jim Ross shilled WCW magazine before showing us Bill Kazmaier in the Guinness Book of Records:

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Big Bad Bill Kazmaier

Kazmaier was set to attempt a new world record here tonight and came down to the ring with a bunch of ring crew workers carrying a huge inflatable globe to make sure that everybody knew he was ‘The Strongest Man in the World.’

Big Bill then bent a steel bar around his head but was immediately attacked by his upcoming opponents Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko.

That was, happened I suppose.

Non-Title Match
WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy Jam Garvin vs. The Patriots (Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip)

Ah yes, here we have Todd Champion and Firebreaker Chip representing ‘ WCW Special Forces’ and hailing from the super-specific location of “USA.”

I love the idea of WCW Special Forces, that all these star wrestlers had side gigs saving and protecting the United States, though I do wonder who else they had working for them.

El Gigante rescuing cats who got stuck in trees?

Sting working double duty as a policeman?

Maybe that time Dr: Death Steve Williams rode around in an ambulance back at Clash of the Champions X wasn’t a dumb skit after all but an honest-to-goodness look at his work as a member of WCW Special Forces?

Anyway, here Champion and Chip locked up with The Fabulous Freebirds in a match that wasn’t very good but which nonetheless popped the live audience.

Hayes & Garvin won, which would have been fine except this was a non-title match and the two teams were already being advertised as facing each other again for the titles in a few days time.

This left me with some questions:

1: Again, if you’re going to have the champions win, why not make it a title match?

2: If you’re going to have The Patriots lose, why should anybody believe they were worthy of a title shot literally days after this?

3: If you were going to have the babyfaces win the titles so soon after, why not just do it here to make both the win and this event seem like a bigger deal?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, I just know I’m happy to see The Fabulous Freebirds fighting anybody other than The Young Pistols.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

After the break, Paul E. interviewed Cactus Jack in the middle of the ring.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Paul E. interviews Cactus Jack

Just as Cactus was telling us that Sting’s career was over, a large box identical to the one he’d bust out of earlier was wheeled out towards the ring.

Assuming it was his “business partner” Abdullah The Butcher coming to greet him, The mad man from Truth or Consequences went over to give him a hug, only for Sting to burst out of the box and attack.

This led to a wild and hugely enjoyable brawl.

I’d assumed this set the stage for their now-famous street fight, but apparently, we still had nearly a full year to go before we’d see that one.

Ron Simmons Used to Play Football

Did you know that Ron Simmons’ jersey was retired at Florida State?

What a silly question, of course you did. How could you not?

Jim Ross mentioned it literally every single time Simmons wrestled for the rest of his career.

Anyway, before Simmons came out to compete, we saw a video clip of the actual retirement ceremony followed by a word from his former coach in which he said it didn’t surprise him to see Big Ron competing for the world championship in wrestling.

Ron Simmons vs. The Diamond Studd

Of course, Simmons wasn’t competing for the world championship, at least not yet anyway.

Instead, he was facing The Diamond Studd who was apparently no longer with DDP and who came out yelling “I’m the Bad Guy!” to the camera.

You know, I’d always heard how The Studd Character was the blueprint for Razor Ramon, but it wasn’t until I started watching these early 90s WCW shows that I realise how much of the Razor character Scott Hall already had down before he went to the land of Titan Sports.

His match here with the man whose jersey was retired at Florida State Was decent enough, but it didn’t last long and saw Simmons treat Studd like a jobber, steamrolling over his opponent in about two minutes.

I get that Simmons needed to look strong heading into his clash with Luger, but it’s disappointing that this match wasn’t more competitive.
Your Winner: Ron Simmons

As advertised at the start of the show, the post-match gave us Paul E.‘s promised interview with our man Ron.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Ron Simmons cuts a promo on Lex Luger

Simmons cut a decent babyface promo talking about making dreams come true and how any one of us could make our dreams a reality just like he had.

He then turned his attention to Luger’s entourage of mentor Harley Race and Mr. Hughes.

Ron called the two men out and said he was happy to give them what for, but when Race and Hughes did come out, he changed his mind, claiming that he was tired of looking at them and was going to go and find The Total Package.

Way to backtrack, Big Ron.

Terrance Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Heavy Metal

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Van Hammer

This was Van Hammer’s WCW debut. 

He demolished Terrance Taylor and squashed him in under forty seconds. It wasn’t much to write home about which, as you can imagine, makes my job difficult as a guy who literally writes about wrestling.

Instead, I’ll mention that I only just learned today that some people thought Van Hammer was a repackaged Ultimate Warrior due to the fact that the two looked vaguely -and I mean really vaguely- similar.

WCW had apparently done nothing to discourage that and even had Hammer acting all wild and shaking the ring ropes ala the late Mr. Hellwig.

Of course, Hammer wasn’t Warrior, he was a big, tall muscular guy who, as he made his way out, pointed a Flying V guitar at some clearly visible pyro rigs which exploded when pointed at.

I assume we were supposed to believe Hammer was shooting fire out of his guitar or something, but when you could see the pyro all laid out and ready to go, it kind of ruined the illusion.

Anyway, Hammer seemed to have the look and a tremendous presence about him, but sadly not much else.
Your Winner: Van Hammer

Out in the locker room, Missy Hyatt looked forward to getting an interview with Lex Luger, but before she could, Ron Simmons ever-so-politely knocked on Luger’s dressing room door and then walked in wanting to confront the champion.

Luger was in no mood to talk and shoved Simmons out, closing the door behind him.

Making sure that none of us could possibly forget that he used to play football, Ron got down in a three-point stance and then barged into the room.

He was immediately followed by a gaggle of babyfaces who were to break it up.

There was no need for him to barge in when he could just as easily have walked through the door again, but I guess that doesn’t make for very exciting TV.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
WCW TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom) vs. The Z-Man.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Stunning Steve Austin w/ Lady Blossom

After a few lacklustre contests, things finally picked up with a decent effort between reigning champion Stunning Steve Austin and his challenger, The Z-Man.

Though not the best match in the world, the emphasis on actual solid mat wrestling and well-put-together spots made this one of the better matches on the card.

After a good showing from both men, Lady Blossom slipped her man some brass knuckles which he used to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Stunning Steve Austin

Up next, we were supposed to get the contract signing between Lex Luger and Ron Simmons but apparently, Luger wasn’t quite ready.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Lex Luger and Harley Race

That was convenient really, as it gave WCW an opportunity to roll some footage of Simmons being a super babyface by giving a motivational speech to The Boys Club of Atlanta then taking two school busses full of kids to see him wrestle at the Omni.

When Luger was finally ready, he offered Simmons a job as his limo driver after beating him at the PPV.

I’m not saying that was racist, but I do wonder if that same line would’ve been used if Simmons weren’t a black man, especially since the only other time the “limo driver” angle had been used in recent years was when Ron’s former manager Teddy Long had to be Ric Flair’s limo driver if Doom lost to The Four Horsemen.

Anyway, Ron didn’t take too kindly to that so attacked Luger who then ran away and sped off in a limo.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
Rick Steiner & Bill Kazmier vs. The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zybysko)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - WCW World Tag Team Championship

This was a decent match which, like a lot of Clash contests, didn’t really last very long.

With Kazmier still hurting from the earlier attack, Rick Steiner tried to pick up the slack for his team only to find himself double-teamed and beaten down by The Enforcers.

Predictably, Kazmier finally made the hot tag. Well, I say ‘hot,’ nobody seemed to care so it was more like a slightly lukewarm tag.

He tribes to overpower the dastardly heels but his ribs gave out Zybysko and Anderson quickly overcame him to become our new tag champs.
Your Winners and New WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Enforcers

Post match; the show closed with a compelling promo as The Enforcers boasted that “two plain old wrestlers” had overcome The World’s Strongest Man and a college graduate.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone interview Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko

This was a strong way to end a rather mixed bag of a show.

Clash of the Champions shows were rarely known for being excellent, but this one did at least try.

After kicking off with an inoffensive battle royal, the Pillman/Badstreet and Sting/Badd matches were both high quality, but the show pretty much fell off a cliff somewhere around the hour mark and didn’t really get it together again until the end promo from Anderson & Zybysko.

Not that it mattered, this one was clearly designed to get Ron Simmons over. Indeed, if this was a modern day show, fans would accuse WCW of “shoving him down our throats” (a phrase which always seems to overlook the fact that nobody forces us to watch pro wrestling and we can always just turn it off if we’re not enjoying it) as Simmons himself and his upcoming title match were the real focal point.

We’d see Ron -along with the contractually-obliged mention of his jersey being retired at Florida State- at Halloween Havoc ‘91.

Other 1991 pro wrestling reviews: 

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Tuesday, 7 June 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Judgement Day 2003

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Event Poster

May 18, 2003
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina

There was one glaring omission from the line-up card for WWE Judgement Day 2003:

Bill Goldberg. 

The former WCW star had been brought into the company to much fanfare and even been given a prominent position at the top of the card in a main event match with The Rock back at Backlash.

That match had bombed so badly, and the crowds had turned on Goldberg so quickly and so ruthlessly that tonight, WWE's latest big-money star wasn't even featured on the line-up. 

What we got instead were two big championship matches in Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar and Nash/HHH, and a whole bunch of Steve Austin & Eric Bischoff skits as WWE gave us the last non-big-four PPV to be co-branded for several years.

Let's get on and review this thing, shall we?

May God Have Mercy On Their Restless Souls

The Judgment Day theme always lent itself well to an awesome video package, and this year was no exception.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Tazz & Michael Cole

Our opening video mixed a spooky voice-over that spoke about the day of reckoning being upon us while we got even spookier shots of nooses and electric chairs.

All this was interwoven with clips highlighting our marquee matches for tonight’s show. This included Stephanie McMahon claiming that a stretcher match was the most barbaric match there is, a statement that is just factually incorrect.

After the eerie VO prayed for God to have mercy on their souls, pyro erupted as Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to Charlotte.

The Raw duo then sent us to Smackdown announcers Michael Cole and Tazz who, in turn, introduced us to the Spanish announce team as the familiar sound of glass shattering got Judgement Day 2003 officially underway.

Stone Cold in Red Neck Heaven

Kicking off the show, recently-appointed Raw General Manager Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to drink a little beer and raise a little hell.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Steve Austin kicks off the show

Austin insisted that he was ready to enjoy the show but wasn’t going to watch the show from backstage…


In a locker room…


In a chair…


In a bathroom.

No, he was going to take his beer and watch all the matches from Red Neck Heaven, better known to you and me as a standard skybox.

Six-Man Tag
John Cena and The FBI (Johnny Stamboli & Chuck Palumbo w/ Nunzio) vs. Rhyno, Spanky, and Chris Benoit

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - John Cena raps before his match

Prior to the bell, John Cena gave us a freestyle rap in which he put over his partners the FBI and wrapped up with an inevitable line about felatio.

Cena, Chuck Palumbo, and Johnny Stamboli then gave us a spirited opening contest as they duked it out with the seemingly random team of Rhyno, Brian “Spanky” Kendrick, and Chris Benoit.

The match was clearly designed to pop the crowd and get them pumped for tonight’s event without really meaning much of anything, and to that end, it certainly succeeded.

Fun and fast-paced, the whole thing was over in less than four minutes, but it was a reasonable match to kick off the show.

It ended with a win for the bad guys when The FBI double-teamed Spanky for the three count.
Your Winners: John Cena and The FBI

Out in the back, every day Man of the People Stone Cold Steve Austin had an assistant put sauce on his hotdog for him before the two were interrupted by Eric Bischoff.

Austin’s co-general manager reminded him that since they shared responsibility for running Raw, they also shared the skybox and all of its food and drink.

In a segment that was nowhere near as funny as it meant to be, Austin obliged and offered Sleazy E a hot dog and a beer, the joke being that Eric was apparently too big of a “sissy” to drink beer out of a can.

La Resistance (Sylvian Grenier & René Duprée) vs. Scott Steiner & Test (w/ Stacy Keibler)

Scott Steiner and Test had a problem with each other since Steiner came to the aid of the patter’s girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, back at Backlash 2003.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Test & Scott Steiner vs. La Resistance

Naturally, they were now doing the whole “partners who don’t get along” thing as they faced La Resistance in the French outfit’s PPV debut.

Sylvian Greenier and Rene Dupre hadn’t taken kindly to Steiner recently saying that hell and France were the same thing, leading to tonight’s match.

It was, in a word, a match.

I’ve seen much worse in my time, but I’ve also seen much, much better.

This one just kind of existed until Test accidentally knocked Stacy off the ring ropes into the waiting arms of Big Poppa Pump.

That set about the finish as Steiner got back in the ring but was accidentally booted in the face by his own partner and soon after succumbed to La Resistance.
Your Winners: La Resistance

Post-match, Keibler wanted to check on a fallen Freakzilla, but misogynist Test dragged her away.

Your Secret’s Safe With Me

Backstage, intrepid reporter Gregory Helms confronted Mr. America and suggested that his sources understood that America was actually Hulk Hogan’s secret identity.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Gregory Helms questions Mr. America about his true identity

Calling Helms’ Bluff, the masked man claimed that his own sources had actually told him that Helms was secretly The Hurricane.

Backtracking, the reporter mused that his sources may have been wrong while America gave in and admired that his sources might be mistaken too, brother.

The segment, which was way more fun than it sounds, ended with both men giving each other a “your secret’s safe with me,” nudge and a wink.

Across the way, Eddie Guerrero revealed that Tajiri would replace his injured partner Chavo Guerrero in a match against Team Angle tonight.

That was also a hugely enjoyable segment.

Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri

The term “spot fest” is often used negatively, but this wildly enjoyable tag team ladder match was proof that there can be such a thing as a good spot fest.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin head into battle

It was basically four guys wandering from one stunt to the next, but it was absolutely gripping from start to finish.

At this point I should mention the awesome Judgment Day entrance set which featured an enormous scaffold structure.

It looked mighty impressive and, honestly, if we don’t see somebody climb up it for a Shane McMahon style stunt tonight, I’m going to be disappointed.

Anyway, back to the match, this excellent contest saw Eddie and Tajiri get the better of Team Angle and scale the ladder to retrieve the gold.
Your Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions; Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri

Up in red neck heaven, Steve Austin made fun of Eric Bischoff for drinking like a sissy.

Meanwhile, Terri Runnels’ cleavage made it difficult to concentrate on Chris Jericho’s arrogant promo as he promised to become the next Intercontinental Champion.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Roddy Piper and Chris Jericho have a heated confrontation

Jericho was soon interrupted by another former champion, Roddy Piper.

The two didn’t like each other for some undisclosed reason and took plenty of shots at each other in an entertaining segment that ended with the two refusing to admit that they had a few things in common.

This was followed by a video package highlighting the history of the Intercontinental championship.

The title had been dormant since it was swallowed up by the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002 but Steve Austin had decided to reinstate it and tonight we would have a battle royal to determine the new champion.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
Featuring: Val Venis, Chris Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Goldust, Lance Storm, Kane, Christian, Booker T

Prior to the match, the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, Pat Patterson brought out the new title belt, ready to present it to the winner of our battle royal.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Christian won the Intercontinental Championship

Val Venis then came out to the surprise of everybody, especially our announce team.

Val had previously been working as Chief Morley and had been fired by Eric Bischoff. Apparently, Steve Austin had hired Morely back as Val Venis just to screw with Bisch.

The rest of the competitors came out and gave us a better-than-average battle royal.

Everybody piled on Kane in the early going, but The Big Red Machine battled back and quickly eliminated Lance Storm before the numbers game proved too much and he was dumped on the outside.

The next few minutes then saw Rob Van Dam and Val Venis eliminated quickly and forgettable, leaving us with Booker T and Goldust facing Chris Jericho and Christian in what was tantamount to a tornado style tag match.

A brief rematch, of sorts, from their outing at No Mercy 2002, this one saw Goldust try to eliminate his buddy Booker, only for Mr. 5-Time to get a quick reversal and dump Dusty’s lad on the outside.

Christian then double-crossed Jericho, but was eliminated by Booker.

The problem was that the referee had been knocked out on the outside and never saw the elimination, so Christian stole the title belt from Patterson, knocked out Booker with it, and then eliminated him just in time for the official to see it and award him the match.

This was a good bout that I enjoyed a lot.
Your Winner and New WWE Intercontinental Champion: Christian

Out in the back, Sable talked smack to Torrie Wilson about their upcoming bikini contest then proceeded to oil herself down.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie and Sable have words backstage

Torrie seemed strangely into it.

Bikini Contest
Torrie Wilson vs. Sable

Torrie made her way out first, dancing behind a screen with Lillian Garcia who was singing her theme tune before strutting to the ring.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie Wilson & Lillian Garcia

With Tazz presiding over things, the two Playboy cover stars then took turns to disrobe and shake about a bit, with the crowds equally enthralled by both beauties.

Just as Tazz was about to declare the whole thing a draw, Torrie continued and stripped down to a thong and a revealing bikini top, earning her the win.

Before she left the ring, however, Wilson pressed herself up against Brock’s missus and gave her a slow, lingering peck on the mouth.

Sable was into it.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Torrie Wilson

As I’ve said in the past, I normally find these kinds of segments more embarrassing than erotic, but both ladies looked damn fine here and I can’t deny I enjoyed it.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

Out in the back, Eric Bischoff was struggling to keep up with all the food and drink Austin was plying him with, so Austin tricked the former WCW boss into eating super hot peppers and then drinking the juice from the jar.

That was pretty funny.

Across the way, Vince McMahon interrupted Roddy Piper’s conversation with his protégé, Sean O’ Haire, to give Piper a pep talk before his match with Mr: America.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review -  Vince McMahon speaks to Roddy Piper & Sean O' Haire

Vince reminded him that without Piper being on the opposite side of the ring to Hulk Hogan at events like Wrestlemania 1 and The Wrestling Classic, Hogan wouldn’t be what he was today.

This was followed by a clip from Smackdown where Mr. America handed a US flag to a “kid” at ringside before interrupting a Piper’s Pit segment and getting his ass beaten down by Hot Rod and O’Haire.

The “kid” had then raced to America’s aid but got his ass handed to him too and his artificial leg ripped off, much to Piper’s horror.

That “kid” was, of course, Zach Gowan.

Rowdy Roddy Piper (w/ Sean O’Haire) vs: Mr. America (w/ Zach Gowan)

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Mr. America and Zach Gowan

Prior to the match, America introduced Gowan as his special guest then proceeded to lock up with Piper in their first PPV singles contest since WCW Halloween Havoc '97.

What followed was not a great match by any stretch.

Piper looked to be in horrible shape and couldn’t really do much of anything. Despite this, he played to what strengths he had at this point in his career to at least pop the crowd.

Towards the end, Sean O’Haire tried to hit Hogan with a pipe but accidentally hit his own manager instead.

Vince McMahon then tried to stop Hogan from getting the fall but was prevented from doing so by Gowan.

The whole thing lasted less than five minutes and was a far, far cry from the kind of battles these two would have in their prime.
Your Winner: Mr. America

Post-match, the masked man put Gowan in the corner while he busted out that famous post-match Hogan posedown routine.

Out in the back, Smackdown General Manager Stephanie McMahon advised her ex-husband Triple H to be careful in his upcoming title defense against former buddy, Kevin Nash.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Stephanie McMahon warns Triple H to be careful against Kevin Nash

This was followed by a video package recapping their rivalry.

To sum up, Nash had returned to the company wanting to spend time with his buddies and had tried to resolve the animosity between Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

WWE Judgement Day 2003 - Triple H vs. Kevin Nash

The Game, however, had promised that he would pretty much hate HBK forever and then turned on Big Sexy, leading to tonight’s match.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Kevin Nash (w/ Shawn Michaels)

Given their superstar status, both Shawn Michaels and Charlotte native Ric Flair got separate entrances to the men they were representing tonight, but a brawl immediately broke out and the two battled to the back before the match even began.

What followed was a slog of a match that was nowhere near as bad as some people will tell you but was hardly either man’s finest hour.

After a slow-paced match that didn’t really go anywhere, Triple H got himself disqualified by smashing referee Earl Hebner in the face with a sledgehammer.

I know this wasn’t great, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Nash as a character if not necessarily as an in-ring competitor, so I had no problems seeing him out there doing his thing.
Your Winner via DQ: Kevin Nash (HHH retains)

Post-match, Big Kev got his revenge by beating the hell out of Hunter and powerbombing him through the Raw announce table.

The aftermath, in which an enraged Nash looked like a legitimately vicious monster, was way better than the actual match.

Bischoff Hurls

Up in Redneck Heaven, Eric Bischoff proved that hanging out with Stone Cold was too much for him as he barfed all over the cute blonde assistant and the live audience.

The segment was pretty funny, but I’m distracted by crushing on the blonde girl.

Give me her over any of the WWE divas any day.

Speaking of divas…

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Jazz (w/ Theodore Long) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Victoria (w/ Steven Richards)

WWE Judgement Day 2003 Review - Jazz puts a hurting on Trish Stratus

This was a decent match in which all four women worked hard to deliver.

Unfortunately, your reviewer was so burned out by the lacklustre offerings of the last two matches that it was hard to concentrate or even care about what was going on.

That’s a shame, because it looked like this could have been good. Unfortunately, it was just another thing that simply kind of happened on a very underwhelming show.

In the end, Jazz pinned Jacqueline to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still WWE Women’s Champion: Jazz

Up next, we got a look back at the rivalry between Big Show and Brock Lesnar and how it all started with Show bullying Rey Mysterio.

The Big Show and Lesnar would compete in a stretcher match next.

WWE Championship Stretcher Match
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show

After a disappointing show, this main event stretcher match was a fantastic way to end things.

A rematch from their previous title match at Survivor Series 2002, this was probably (if not definitely) the best match you’ll ever see with The Big Show involved.

Both champ and challenger absolutely destroyed each other in a brutally brilliant contest that captivated from start to finish.

Speaking of finish, that came about as Lesnar struggled to properly carry Show’s enormous frame on a stretcher that was just too small for him.

Thinking outside the box, the champion disappeared backstage which gave us a moment for the predictable Rey Mysterio cameo.

Rey Rey was ineffective against Show, but did distract long enough for Brock to come storming out on a forklift.

In the move of the night, he then dove off the top of the forklift into the ring, taking out his opponent with an awesome flying crossbody.

After beating down his rival some more, Lesnar put a stretcher board on the forklift, rolled Big Show onto it and drove him over the line to keep his title reign intact.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar 

That was fantastic.

You really have to wonder what went wrong for WWE in the first half of 2003.

Wrestlemania 19 had been a phenomenal show, but the two PPVs that had followed it had gotten increasingly worse.

While there was nothing truly terrible here (even Nash/HHH was passable if you don’t expect too much), nothing stood out as being anything special until that amazing stretcher match.

Sure, I enjoyed the tag team ladder match and the Intercontinental battle royal a great deal, and I’d watch those two matches and Show/Lesnar again, but otherwise, this was an underwhelming event that isn’t worth watching.

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.