Mega Powers Running Wild!

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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

Showing posts with label Mayhem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mayhem. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 June 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Mayhem 2000

WCW Mayhem 2000 - event poster
November 26, 2000,
U.S. Cellular Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

In November 1999, World Championship Wrestling ditched their annual World War 3 PPV in favourite of a new event called Mayhem. 

Created to tie in with the launch of the WCW Mayhem video game, that show featured a tournament to crown a new world heavyweight champion after the previous champion, Sting, was stripped of the title due to stupid booking decisions.

12 months down the line, that stupidity was still very much evident in WCW.

Sure, the year 2000 had started optimistically for the Atalanta-based organisation, but by the fall, the company was in a bigger creative and financial mess than ever before.

Don't believe me?

Just check out Mayhem 2000 to see what an absolute disaster World Championship Wrestling was in its final months.







Earlier today...

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Stevie Ray, Tony Schiavone, and Mark Madden called the show
In a break from the norm, WCW Mayhem 2000 began not with the usual opening video, but with a flashback to earlier in the day when both WCW World Heavyweight champion Booker T and number one contender Scott Steiner had arrived at the arena in anticipation of their big showdown later on the evening.

Booker T was all smiles as a group of bad actors pretending to be fans surrounded him and begged for his autograph. Scott Steiner, however, was...well, he was Scott Steiner, which meant he was angry, unhinged and generally a law unto himself.

As he entered the arena, road agent Fit Finlay handed him a pen and asked him to sign in at security. Instead of doing that, Steiner produced a baseball bat from nowhere and smashed the security table -including two laptop computers- to pieces.

We then got a brief introduction from Tony Schiavone before the obligatory opening video finally arrived.

Mayhem /ˈmeɪhɛm/ (noun): violent or extreme disorder; chaos.

Said video interspersed variation definitions of the word 'mayhem' with a look at our key matches tonight - Goldberg vs. Lex Luger, Kevin Nash and Diamond Dallas Page vs. The Perfect Event, and, as we'd already seen, Booker T vs. Scott Steiner.

Returning to the arena, Schiavone greeted us once again with a Thanksgiving reference the likes of which you'd only ever hear on a professional wrestling show:

"You've seen the family, you've had the turkey, now get ready to bash some heads live.."

Right you are, Tony.

WCW Mayhem 2000 - WCW CEO Ric Flair called the shots
Nature Boy is in the House

In a storyline I've somehow completely forgotten about, a short-haired Ric Flair had become the World Championship Wrestling CEO.

Before any of the action, we were shown a pre-broadcast promo from the Nature Boy in which he addressed the crowd and promised and promised everyone lots of great matches.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Mike Sanders vs. Kwee-Wee (w/ Paisley)

About twenty seconds later, Flair's promise was immediately broken.

I try not to use too many curse words in these reviews, but sometimes reviewing WCW makes me want to drop F-Bombs all over the place. that's how frustrating their booking decisions can be.

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Kwee Wee w/ Paisley (Sharmell) challenged Cruiserweight Champion Mike Sanders
Back in the glory days of the cruiserweight division, you could always guarantee that, no matter how much crappy wrestling and ridiculous overbooking took place later in the card, the cruiserweights would always deliver a solid, no-nonsense opener.

Those days were long gone.

Kicking things off, Mike Sanders took to the microphone and called Kwee-Wee a biatch, earning himself a royal ass-kicking from the challenger.

Not long after, Sanders' allies, The Natural Born Thrillers all descended en masse and attacked Kwee-Wee. This prompted Paisley (who, for the record, looked stunning), to go backstage and bring out Meng of all people. The Tongan badass attacked the Thrillers, which brought out Ric Flair and a bunch of security guards. This whole chaotic scene -mayhem for sure- completely distracted from whatever was going on in the ring.

Like seriously...why not just let the two men have a f***ing wrestling match?

When all the carnage had dissipated, they did at least try to do that, but it was too little, too late. Sanders vs. kwee-Wee had started off pretty good, but, post-fracas, it was dull and uninteresting.

Sanders won. Whatever.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Mike Sanders

Backstage, Ric Flair told Mean Gene Okerlund that unless a wrestler or manager was directly involved in a match on tonight's show then they wouldn't be allowed "on the floor." In other words, there'd be no interference for the rest of the show.

I'm willing to bet this doesn't last long.

Backstage Shennanigans

WCW Mayhem 2000 - The Boogie Knights struck a deal with Kronik to get their help
Across the hall, Alex Wright and Disco Inferno paid Kronik for precisely seven and a half minutes o their time to help them win a match against Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr.

We then cut to another pre-recorded promo in which Okerlund interviewed Jamie Noble and Evan Karagious. Okerlund told us that the two men had formed a team out of necessity, but Karagagious was more interested in saying "North Cackalacky" a lot and dry humping thin air, pretending to be some kind of playboy. It was cringe of the highest order.

The joke here was that he and Noble came from the same place and Karagious once dumped Noble's sister or something. I don't know, the whole thing was too horrible for words.

Elsewhere in the arena, Hardcore Champion Crowbar had a new pimp daddy gimmick and was seen strutting backstage with two honeys and a cane.

My goodness, reviewing this show is going to be hard work.

Three-Way Tag Team Match
3-Count (Sugar Shane Helms & Shannon Moore) vs. The Jung Dragons (Yang and Kaz Hayashi w/ Leia Meow) vs. Jamie Noble and Evan Karagious

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Leia Meow accompanied The Jung Dragons for their match against 3 Count and Noble & Karagious
We hadn't seen Leia Meow on PPV since Starrcade 1999 when she accompanied the reunited Varsity Club as their cheerleader, but man, did she look good here.

Fortunately, she wasn't the only good part of this match.

3-Count (now technically 2-count) started the match by cutting a promo about Evan Karagious having a small penis. That was embarrassing, but the rest of the match was nothing but a pure thrill-ride from start to finish.

If you want expert psychology, old-school logic and a Triple H-styled epic, this isn't the match for you. If you like watching a bunch of dudes flying about the place and dolling out the creative offence by the truckload, you might love this.

Sure, it was essentially an eleven-minute spot fest, but it sure was fun.

3-Count won the match, but that wasn't as important as WCW proving that they were capable of giving us a straight-up wrestling match with no stupid and unnecessary extras.
Your Winners: 3-Count

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Jimmy Hart about his match with Mancow
Sadly, WCW wasn't capable of giving their 'tween-match segments any time to breathe.

Within the space about 90 seconds, we got no less than four segments, all of which came across as meaningless.

  • In the back, Bam Bam Bigelow had put That 70's Guy Mike Awesome through a table - Sergeant AWOL came to his rescue but then just stood over a prone Awesome
  • Pamela Paulshock interviewed Boogie Knights and Kronik. Kronik reiterated that they would only help Alex Wright fight Rey and Billy for seven and a half minutes, a fact we'd just established ten minutes ago and had no reason to repeat.
  • Backstage, The Natural Born Thrillers discussed something and Reno agreed to do something. This whole thing was moving so fast that I didn't even note what that something was, nor do I care at this stage.
  • Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Jimmy Hart about his upcoming match with Mancow. God, not this again. Hart had a cast on and was claiming to be injured. Okerlund quipped that Hart's cast was as real as Major Gunns...I'm guessing he meant her hair colour.

Jimmy Hart vs. Mancow (w/ his entourage)

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Mancow was a thing
They did this back at Spring Stampede 2000 and it was awful, so why they felt the need to do it again is beyond me.

Things started with a rambling, nonsense promo from the Mancow thing. At one point, he started talking about interviewing Goldberg then trailed off mid-sentence and called Mark Madden a fat piece of s**t instead.

Jimmy Hart then came down, still feigning injury.

Not surprisingly, the whole thing was a set-up. Hart blasted Mancow with his crutch and got beat down by the radio personality's henchmen.

This brought out 3-Count because f**k the 'no interference rule' that had just been established 30 MINUTES AGO.

Mancow ended up winning. Everybody who had to sit through this atrocity lost big time.
Your Winner: Mancow

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews The Filthy Animals
More rapid-fire backstage stuff:
  • Mike Awesome got put on a stretcher. Pimp Daddy Crowbar checked on him
  • Lance Storm was talking to Bam Bam Bigelow but we couldn't hear what they were saying
  • The Misfits in Action were backstage, bemoaning the no interference thing which clearly didn't matter anyway. Ric Flair came in and asked for a private word with Sgt. AWOL
  • Pamela Paulshock interviewed The Filthy Animals who noted that Konnan wasn't with them because he'd scored with two women the night before. They didn't need him anyway for their match against Alex Wright and Kronik.
I'm honestly starting to think WCW 2000 is bad for my mental health.

Three the Hard Way for the World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship
WCW Hardcore Champion Crowbar vs. Big Vito vs Reno

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Crowbar, Big Vito and Reno battled in a hardcore title match
At Souled Out 2000, WCW had promoted a four-way hardcore match which they dubbed 'four the hard way.'

It was kind of dumb, but at least the play on words made sense.

Now, many months later, they were running a three-way match which Mark Madden told us was called a a "three the hard way" match. Honestly, even the Yapapi Indian Strap Match laughed it's ass off at what a stupid name "three the hard way" was.

Hardcore matches were usually highlights of the WCW undercard.

Though they were never going to set the world on fire, you could normally rely on this division to deliver some wacky, over-the-top fun.

That wasn’t the case here.

Instead, what we got was a mess of a bout in which all three men took turns hit to me each other with random objects.

At one point, Crowbar and Reno decided to team up on Vito but either forgot the spot they were supposed to do or...well, I have no idea what they were supposed to be doing, but it looked as though they just stood in the middle of the ring holding hands with him for a while.

It was really weird.

The non-action eventually spilt backstage where some girl called Marie begged Reno not to hit Vito. This allowed Crowbar to smash Reno with a chair and retain his title.
Your Winner and still WCW hardcore champions: Crowbar

Backstage:

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Mean Gene interviewed The Cat and Miss JonesBuff Bagwell went looking for something. He laughed his ass off the whole time but the audio was terrible so who knows -or cares- what that was about?

Kevin Nash was so concerned about his upcoming match that he sat around casually reading GQ magazine. As he did so, his partner, DDP mumbled something about somebody being ‘s**t outa luck’ and gurned at the camera as if he were Jim Halpert.

Dirty Old Man Mean Gene Okerlund tried to get into Ms Jones’ pants and claimed she needed a shot of ‘Vitamin Gene.’ Okerlund was there to interview The Cat, who promised that if he lost to Shane Douglas, he would kiss The Franchise’s feet and leave the country for seven days.

Handicap Match
Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke) and Alex Wright (w/ Disco Inferno) vs. The Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr. w/ Tygress)

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Brian Adams locks Kidman in a full nelson
This was dumb.

If you paid Kronik for seven and a half minutes of their time, wouldn’t you have them work the whole seven and a half minutes to destroy your opponents and then pick at the scraps once the damage was done?

Not Alex Wright. The dancing buffoon kept tagging in so that he and Disco were paying Adams and Clarke to do nothing.

Eventually, time ran out and the former Crush and Adam Bomb left, leaving Wright to get his ass beat.

The match itself wasn’t bad,  but that was some strange booking.

The sole highlight for this writer was Tygress. The former Nitro Girl joined the commentary team and proved -as she had done on many a PPV around this time- that she was one of the few female performers in the company with any personality.
Your Winners: The Filthy Animals

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Mean Gene interviews Steiner and Midajah
Backstage, we got another completely unnecessary segment with the Natural Born Thrillers. Mike Sanders promised his men that he would ‘set it off,’ whatever that meant.

Elsewhere, Mean Gene interviewed Scott Steiner with Midajah’s enormous breasts in the background.

Okerlund told us that a straight jacket would be hanging above the ring in tonight’s main event while Steiner boasted that he performed best when out of his mind and that most people couldn’t function at his level of insanity.

Steiner was off his nut and was all the better for it.

Shane Douglas (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller (w/ Miss Jones)

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Shane Douglas faced The Cat
Douglas had cost Miller his WCW Commissionership back at WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 and thus they had a match tonight.

Though it wasn’t terrible or anything, it just felt like mid-card filler.

The best part about it was getting to see Torrie Wilson and Ms Jones, both of whom looked stunning.

If you don’t remember Ms Jones, she was the former Nitro Girl who hit headlines earlier this year for plagiarising a teacher’s masters’ project.

The Cat won. It was ok but also kind of blah.
Your Winner: The Cat

Backstage, Jeff Jarrett found his guitars smashed to pieces on the floor and asked two members of the production crew who had done it.

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviewed General Rection
The two men first said that they didn’t know, but then in the very next breath said it had been Buff Bagwell.

Elsewhere, Pamela Paulshock interviewee General Rection and The Misfits In Action about their rivalry with Lance Storm and Team Canada.

Rection was fired up for his final match with Storm, but the biggest pop went to Corporal Cajun for calling Major Gunns a bitch.

Apparently, after being forced to accompany Team Canada to the ring for a while, Gunns had developed Stockholm Syndrome and joined their cause, even after Rection had set her free back at Halloween Havoc.

Also, there was a promo for the return of Glacier which Mark Madden laughed at and basically told us was stupid.

Speaking of stupid...

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Sgt. AWOL

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Bam Bam Bigelow faced Sgt. AWOL
This had originally been scheduled to be Bam Bam vs. Mike Awesome, but as everybody not named Ric Flair knew, Awesome had been taken out by Bigelow earlier in the show.

Before the bell, the Beast From The East announced that since Awesome couldn’t compete, he was declaring himself the winner via forfeit.

Flair, however, had other ideas. The CEO came out and said he had a ‘suspicion’ that Bam Bam had something to do with Mike Awesome being taken out.

I mean, we only saw it live on the show Ric, how much more proof do you need?

That stupidity aside,  Flair then revealed AWOL as a replacement for That 70’s Guy.

What followed was a dull, lifeless match in which nothing much happened.

At one point, they brought out a table, but the match was so boring they didn’t even bother to use it.

Bammer won with Greetings From Asbury Park.
Your Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow

Post-match, Bam Bam acted seriously hurt. Officials and EMTs spent several millennia tending to him and putting him on a stretcher.

Cervical D*cks

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Mean Gene interviewed Buff Bagwell
Backstage, Buff Bagwell wielded a broken piece of a Jeff Jarrett guitar and bragged to Mean Gene Okerlund that he had foiled Jarrett’s plan to beat him.

Gene, meanwhile, was more interested in likening Bam Bam’s kayfabe neck injury to the very real one Buff had suffered back in 1998.

Buff talked about this but goofed up, intending to say ‘cervical disk’ but instead saying ‘cervical d*cks’ and making the crowd laugh at him.

A promo video for Storm vs. Rection followed. That match was next.

World Championship Wrestling United States  Canadian Championship
WCW Canadian Champion Lance Storm (w/ Major Gunns) vs. General Rection

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Lance Storm w/ Major Gunns
These two had met at the previous month’s Halloween Havoc, with Rection finally beating Storm for the title and bringing the ever-gorgeous Major Gunns back to the MIA camp.

That had been a perfect and logical way to end that story, but this was WCW, where perfection and logic didn’t exist, and so we had to have one more match between the two.

As Lance Storm did his usual pre-match heel promo, the EMTs continued to wheel Bigelow out on a stretcher. This proved to be nothing more than a cheap way to keep Bam Bam at ringside so that he could get around Flair’s rule that you were only allowed ringside if you were competing in a match.

Bigelow lept from the stretcher and attacked Rection on his way to the ring, a move that didn’t go down too well with the audience.

The rest of the match was fine, but, like many others on this card, there wasn’t much to get excited about unless you count Major Gunns.

Rection won thanks to the big moonsault, but it was a really anticlimactic way to end both the match and the feud.
Your Winner and NEW WCW US Champion: General Rection

Backstage, Mike Sanders tried to convince Doug Dillinger to send the security team home. Dillinger didn’t seem too interested in doing so.

A promo then followed for what would prove to be the final ever WCW Starrcade.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Jeff Jarrett battled Buff Bagwell
Jarrett cut a pre-match promo in which he claimed not to care about Buff smashing up his guitars because he always came prepared with a backup plan, essentially giving away the ending of the match.

He also tried to call himself a ‘superstar’ but flubbed his line and called himself a ‘stupid star’ instead. The crowd crapped on him so badly for the gaffe that you could tell it completely threw him off and he ended up cutting the promo short.

The resulting match was OK, but for two men of Bagwell and Jarrett’s calibre, it should have been much better.

Things went back and forth several times getting predictably better until Double J predictably pulled a guitar from under the ring and smashed it over Bagwell’s head for the win.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarret

There was also a David Flair run-in during that match, but it was so uninteresting that I forgot to mention it.

A promo video for the tag title match followed. That was next.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Perfect Event (‘Perfectshawn’ Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo w/ The Natural Born Thrillers) vs. Kevin Nash & Diamond Dallas

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo (w/ The Natural Born Thrillers) defended the tag team titles against Kevin Nash and DDP
Mike Sanders revealed that he’d gotten himself and the Natural Born Thrillers jobs as WCW security to get them out to ringside but this didn’t last long.

A few minutes into the match (which started with a loud ‘WE WANT HALL!’ chant from the crowd) Flair came down and sent the NBT packing. Sanders was allowed to stay because he had a manager’s license.

I say license. It was a cheap bit of paper that said ‘WCW: OFFICIAL MANAGER’ on it and looked like the sort of thing you might find in a child’s ‘Let’s Play Wrestling’ playset.

The match itself proved to be the best thing on the show so far, not amazing by any stretch, but a really good effort that blew everything else on the card (with the possible exception of the three-team spot fest) completely out of the water.

Nash and Page won, but it was Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo who worked the hardest.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team

Backstage, Pamela Paulshock interviewed Lex Luger. If I’ve learned anything recently, it’s that it was WCW law that if Paulshock interviewed you, you had to insult her.

Honestly, I feel bad for the girl.

Sticking to the rules, Luger called her a crap interviewer but then stumbled over his words and looked like an idiot.

The Total Package was angry that Goldberg had cost the pair of them an opportunity to compete for the world title and vowed to kick some Goldbutt.

Lex Luger vs. Goldberg

I hate to sound repetitive, but this was OK and nothing more.

Not a bad match as such, but they did nothing interesting and the crowd didn’t care at all.

Honestly, when you’ve got Goldberg in a match and the crowd are silent, you know you’re in trouble.

Near the finish, Goldberg went for a spear but Luger pulled referee Mickey Jay into harm’s way.

Rather than any shenanigans going down, however, Goldberg immediately planted Luger with the jackhammer. Another referee came out and this one was over, making the ref bump totally pointless.
Your Winner: Goldberg

After a brief video, it was onto our main event.

Straight Jacket Cage Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight champion Booker T vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah)

WCW Mayhem 2000 - Booker T defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Scott Steiner in a straight jacket cage match
This was undoubtedly the best match of the night, though let's face it, there wasn't much competition for that honour.

Both men went all out to deliver the best performance they were capable of, even if the addition of the straight jacket did slow things down a lot.

Steiner recovered the straight jacket -which had been hanging from the cage roof- but Booker threw him to the mat and murdered him. Steiner was completely out of it. So out of it that he could have easily have been pinned. So out of it that Stevie Ray on commentary was practically screaming at his brother to make the pin. Booker, however, decided to use the straight jacket instead and spent about half an hour trying to put it on, Steiner.

He eventually did so, but didn't strap the arms together or anything, so he might as well have put a T-shirt on Steiner for all the good it did him.

The battle continued and Steiner found a way to fight back, eventually locking Booker in the Steiner Recliner.

Instead of doing the spot where the man having the move applied to him struggles to hold on for dear life but eventually passes out, Booker's selling let him down and he immediately passed out the second the hold was applied.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Champion: Scott Steiner

Post-match, Steiner took Booker out with a chair then blasted the referee too.







If you value your sanity, don't watch WCW Mayhem. World Championship Wrestling had produced some hot garbage in their time, but this show was right up with the very worst of the very worst.

The three-team spotfest was fun, the tag team title match was decent, and the main event was as good as you were going to get from WCW in this time period but still, do yourself a favour and avoid this one like the plague.





For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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Thursday, 10 October 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Mayhem 1999

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Event poster
November 21, 1999
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

To give WCW credit, when they went with an idea, they really, really went all the way with it.

When they created the nWo, they recruited half the roster to the black & white army and even ran their own nWo PPV.

When they wanted to truly compete with the World Wrestling Federation, they brought in most of that company's biggest stars and most recognizable faces, hiring everyone from Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage to Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

And when they needed a babyface to save Sting from the clutches of the evil Four Horsemen? They didn't just send in any babyface, they sent in freakin' Robocop!

And so it was that when the company teamed up with Electronic Arts to produce a new video game called WCW Mayhem, they once again proved just how much they loved going all the way with things.





Not only did we get the video game, but we also got a music album which combined a small number of wrestlers' entrance themes with a random selection of pop, hip-hop, and metal.

As if that wasn't enough, the company decided to take the Mayhem brand to the next logical level:

Creating an entire PPV designed to promote the video game, and generate interest in the absolute musical weirdness that was  WCW Mayhem: The Album.

Was it any good? Let's head to WCW's first ever PPV from Canada to find out.

The tournament finals are tonight!

After the bizarre, confusing, and annoying finish to last month's Halloween Havoc 1999, Sting had been stripped of the WCW title for attacking an official. As a result, the WCW brain trust had created a 32-person tournament for the vacant title.

At the start of tonight's show, Tony Schiavone talked us through clips from Nitro which showed the first few rounds of the competition.

In notable highlights, Madusa persuaded the Powers That Be to let her enter the competition, only to lose her match to none other than Meng.

Madusa then got re-added to the competition for no apparent reason, but then lost her second attempt to Chris Benoit, who made it all the way the semi-finals after also beating arch-rival Dean Malenko in a steel cage match.

Jeff Jarrett had also made it to the finals by virtue of being 'The Chosen One,' as had Sting -who got in by hitting Brian Knobbs with a baseball bat and pinning him in about five seconds.

Finally, Bret Hart had also made it through despite being injured.

After this lengthy opening video, we then got a second opening video which told us pretty much the same thing as the first, albeit with more soundbites from the various wrestlers promising to become our new champion.

With that, we got the usual introduction from Schiavone and Heenan (I miss Mike Tenay being part of the announce booth), and it was onto our first semi-final match.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final 1:
Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Benoit

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Jeff Jarrett battled Chris Benoit
Easily one of the best opening PPV matches of that year, if not of the past several years, Chris Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett was absolutely tremendous.

Holding nothing back, both went at it full-tilt in a fast-paced, hard-hitting contest with nary a dull moment in sight.

After trading the advantage several times, The Crippler looked to have things sewn up thanks to his patented top rope headbutt, only for Creative Control (Ron & Don Harris) to save Jarrett from defeat.

At that point, Dustin Rhodes ran in to fight with the Harris boys which distracted referee Charles Robinson.

With Lil Naitch's back turned, Benoit was able to wallop Jarrett with Double J's own guitar and score the fall.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Afterwards, a blood Jeff Jarrett joined Creative Control in laying waste to Benoit until Doug Dillinger and a gaggle of nobodies ran in to break things up.

Disco is all about the mon-ay

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Mike Tenay interviews Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno
Out in the back, Mike Tenay reminded Disco Inferno that as well as putting his cruiserweight title on the line against Evan Karagious, he was also putting up $25,000 of his own money.

Tenay questioned whether Disco cared more about the money than the title, but before the champ could really explain how insulted he was by that remark, he was attacked by Jeff Jarett for no reason.

Jarrett laid into Disco and was eventually pulled off him by an odd assortment of characters including Konnan and Jerry Only from The Misfits.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno (w/ Tony Marinara) vs. Evan Karagious (w/ Madusa)

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Evan Karagious (w/ Madusa) faced Disco Inferno for the cruiserweight title
The actual match here was pretty good - not flashy, not out of the ordinary, but a relatively decent cruiserweight title match.

The only problem was that you couldn't really pay any attention to it because some annoying little kid called Tony Marinara was doing color commentary.

The story was that Marinara was the son of some kind of New York Italian mobster, who had been sent by his dad to collect a $25,000 debt owed by the Disco Inferno. Disco, it seemed, had been spending beyond his means, which made the whole concept of him putting $25K on the line seem like absolute nonsense.

Doing his best (worst) imitation of a character he once saw in a Godfather movie, Mariana spent the whole match talking about himself which was completely off-putting.

In the end, he got involved in the finish, which saw him accidentally take a chair shot from Disco Inferno.

Seizing the opportunity, Karagious got Disco in the ring and rolled him up for a three count.

The weird thing was that despite winning the title, Karagious appeared like an afterthought in this match. Even his girlfriend, Madusa, played a more important role.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Evan Karagious

Backstage, Bret Hart was shown entering the arena and sipping on a Starbucks.

Elsewhere, an off-camera Vince Russo was heard yelling at Jeff Jarrett for screwing up his match with Benoit. Russo warned Jarrett that he had until the end of tonight's show to prove himself.

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Screamin' Norman Smiley Screamin' Norman Screams as Normal

Out in the back, Screamin' Norman Smiley was all decked out in full Toronto Maple Leafs hockey gear to protect him in his upcoming hardcore title match against Brian Knobs.

Smiley told Mean Gene Okerlund that he was more than ready for Knobs, but then panicked and screamed like a girl when he heard someone doing construction work off camera.

It was supposed to be funny.

It wasn't.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship
Brian Knobs (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley

What was funnier was this: a kind of slapstick comedy hardcore match in which Knobs and Smiley battered each other with a thousand trashcan shots before wandering off backstage for a brawl through the food storage area.

There, Jimmy Hart climbed a ladder and hilariously began throwing food at Norman from a self.

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Nasty Boy Brian Knobs faced Norman Smiley for the WCW Hardcore titleNext, they brawled into an elevator, but when they came to get out, Hart accidentally struck his own man, allowing Norman to get the win and become the company's first ever hardcore champion.

Though this may not have been a classic match, it was certainly a lot of fun in a goofy, comedic kind of way.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Hardcore Champion: Norman Smiley

Post-match, Knobs hit Smiley with yet another garbage can then beat up on Hart for costing him the match.

You say you want a revolution...

Up next, we got a video package highlighting the feud between The Revolution and The Filthy Animals.

Out in the back, Revolution hinted to Mike Tenay that they would be gunning for Torrie Wilson. Now the oddball of the group, Perry Saturn then appeared to randomly take credit for wiping out the dinosaurs before storming off.

Across the way, The Filthy Animals offered a retort to Mean Gene, basically cutting a generic promo in which they vowed to end Revolution.

In other backstage shenanigans, Tony Marinara promised that he was showing up to Nitro the following night and bringing 'The Boys' (The Mamalukes) which left Disco rocking back and forth and referring to himself as a dead man.

Elsewhere, Jeff Jarrett stormed down a corridor having apparently stolen a 2x4 from Jim Duggan.

Six-Person Inter-Gender Elimination Match
The Revolution (Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn & Aysa w/ Shane Douglas) vs. The Filthy Animals (Eddie Guerrero, Torrie Wilson & WCW Tag Team Champion Billy Kidman w/ WCW Tag Team Champion Konnan)

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Torrie Wilson
For saying there was so much incredible talent involved, this proved to be a seriously sloppy mess of a match.

At various times it looked as though the wrestlers had all had some big falling out backstage and refused to sell to each other. Eddie Guerrero dropkicked Dean Malenko in the back, but the Iceman just turned around and acted as nothing happened.

Later, Eddie put Saturn down then climbed the ropes, only for Saturn to pop back again as if he'd just had a really refreshing nap.

When the wrestlers did lock up, most of the actual action looked disjointed and horrible.

There have been worse matches than this in pro wrestling history, but probably none as overwhelmingly disappointing as this one.

In the end, Torrie Wilson was the sole survivor for her team but she got beat when Perry Saturn hit her with a low blow.

Yes, you read that correctly. A woman lost to a low blow.
Your Winner: Perry Saturn

Out in the back, Jef Jarrett was seen beating up Buff Bagwell in the locker room.

Loser Retires Match
Curt Hennig vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Curt Hennig lost his 'retirement match' to Buff Bagwell
The announcers kept referring to this as a "loser must hang up his boots" match, but I'm pretty sure they meant it was a retirement match and not that the loser had to tidy his clothes away.

Curt Hennig was no longer a West Texas Redneck and was back to being just a straight-up pro wrestling legend, though I believe his feelings about the quality of rap music remained unchanged.

Here, he too got beat up by Jeff Jarrett and Creative Control before entering into a passable contest with Buff Bagwell.

Though neither man's finest hour,  it's was perfectly acceptable as mid-card filler which would have been Ok if this weren't, for all intents and purposes, Hennig's retirement match.

After a strong performance, he lost the bout to Buff Bagwell, who then walked off as though retiring a legend was no big deal.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Post-match, Hennig got a standing ovation from the Canadian crowd.

Sting's formula for success

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Mike Tenay interviews Sting
Out in the back, Mike Tenay told Sting that his formula for success was "beat Bret Hart."

I'm not sure if Tenay knew that this wasn't actually a formula.

Sting replied by asking Tenay to relay a message to The Hitman:

He didn't care if they were in Canada, he was still going to beat him.

Alas, Tenay wouldn't get to relay that message as the match was next, meaning Sting would see Bret before Tenay did.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final
Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Sting

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Sting and Bret Hart faced off in the World title tournament
The last time these two fought on PPV was at Halloween Havoc 1998.

This one was marginally better than that one, but only marginally. For the most part, the two veterans put on a solid show, but then it all came unraveling with the arrival of The Total Package Lex Luger.

Luger took Sting's baseball bat and waffled Sting with it, but Bret wasn't happy, so he attacked Luger and put him in the sharpshooter.

Referee Mickie Jay then decided that because Luger had struck Sting, Sting should be disqualified because who the hell cares about logic, right?

The Hitman argued with Jay that he didn't want to win that way and encouraged the match to be restarted. When it did, things got much better and we actually got a pretty dramatic final sequence which saw The Hitman reverse the Scorpion Death Lock into a Sharpshooter for the Eins, Zwei, Drei.
Your Winner: Bret Hart

Afterwards, Sting called Bret back into the ring for a showdown but revealed that he actually just wanted to shake The Hitman's hand as a mark of respect.

The Crippler is Ready for The Hitman

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Chris Benoit about his world title tournament final match against The Hitman. Benoit, as charismatic and flamboyant as ever, promised to overcome Bret later on tonight.

Man, talk about an over-the-top personality.

Lex is Hurt

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Lex Luger feigned an injury
I feel like this doesn't get said enough:

In terms of character, few were better in the 80s and 90s than heel Lex Luger. Sure, he may not have been amazing in the ring, but his mannerisms were out of this world, and always made this writer in particular laugh out loud.

Here, he was found backstage sporting a neck brace (sorry, 'cervical collar') and telling Mike Tenay that Bret Hart had injured him so much in that last match that there was just no way he could compete tonight.

Ever the generous soul that he was, The Total Package promised to write a personal check to every fan who had hoped to see him wrestle tonight.

His manager, Elizabeth, agreed that this was very generous, though you sort of got the feeling she was more than a little tired of Flexy Lexy ducking out of matches.

Chain Match
Vampiro (w/ Jerry Only) vs. Berlyn (w/ The Wall)

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Berlyn and Vampiro battled in a crappy dog collar match
Though it was called a 'chain' match, this was supposed to be your standard dog collar match.

I say supposed to be because what it actually turned out to be was a big pile of insulting garbage.

Vampiro put the collar around his neck, but then Berlyn decided that he'd rather knock out Lil Naitch than put his collar on. What transpired next was that we got about five minutes of Vampiro brawling inside the ring with The Wall, and Berlyn duking it out with Jerry Only off camera.

This was bad enough, but it was made worse by the arrival of Oklahoma and Steve Williams.

You remember Oklahoma, right?

Basically, it was Ed Ferrara doing a very distasteful parody of Jim Ross.

It was awful, and it made the presentation of this whole terrible match even worse.

In the end, The Wall stormed off after getting into an argument with Berlyn, leaving the former Alex Wright to take a pounding from Vampiro and Jerry Only.

Naturally, Vampiro won the match.
Your Winner: Vampiro

Afterward, Dr. Death destroyed Vampiro.

Scott Hall issues an Open Challenge

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund told us that since Rick Steiner was in the hospital after getting powerbombed through the stage by Sid, that somehow made Scott Hall the Television Champion.

Carrying both the TV belt and the US belt, Hall told Mean Gene that he was issuing an open challenge for tonight. Hall looked a mess here.

One in, one out

Also in the back, Curt Hennig was shown leaving the arena, shaking hands with the likes of Konann on his way out. As he left, Kimberly Page arrived through another entrance, ready for her match against David Flair.

Oh boy, can't wait for that one.

Lex Luger (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Meng

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Lex Luger was an awesome heel
Apparently, The Powers That Be had ordered Lex to compete despite his "injury," so he was forced to face Meng, who he had attacked with a crowbar in order to advance in the world title tournament.

The match wasn't bad, but you know, it was Lex Luger vs. Meng, so it was never going to be a five-star classic.

The sole highlight was when Meng had Luger down in the corner and stood on his neck brace, prompting the clearly terrified Luger to call out "help! help!"

Didn't I tell you heel Lex was a riot?

At the finish, Elizabeth spent about five hours trying to take the top off a can of mace while Luger and Meng hung around on the ropes waiting for, all but killing suspension of disbelief.

Liz was then supposed to spray it at Meng, only for Meng to Meng to move and Lex to get a face full of it, but instead, she pointed the can directly and Lex and sprayed.

It looked stupid.

Finally, Meng tore off Luger's neck brace and slapped on the Tongan Death Grip for the win.
Your Winner: Meng

You know, when this show started I had really high hopes that it was going to be a great show, but the longer it goes on, the worse it seems to get.

Putting friendship aside

Out in the back, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart told Mean Gene Okerlund that he was going to put his friendship with Chris Benoit aside in order to beat him for the WCW title.

World Championship Wrestling United States and Television Championship
WCW US and TV Champion Scott Hall vs. Booker T

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Scott Hall defended the WCW and TV titles against Booker T
It's honestly hard to tell if Hall was drunk or if he'd just stopped caring. Either way, he looked a mess here.

The weirdest part was that despite this, he was able to have a pretty good with the man who answered his open challenge:

Booker T.

Though short, this double title match was pretty enjoyable, at least it was until Jeff Jarrett came down and helped Hall defeat Booker with the Outsider Edge.
Your Winner and still US and TV Champion: Scott Hall

Post-match, Jarrett and Creative Control beat up on Booker T. The lights went out, and when they came back on, a female bodybuilder called Midnight appeared and saved Booker.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Lex Luger went looking for Elizabeth.

From there, we got a look at the story behind our next match. That story was basically that David Flair was some kind of psycho stalker and potential rapist, with Kimberly as his victim.

The two would face off next.

Kimberly vs. David Flair

WCW Mayhem 1999 - David Flair faced Kimberly Page
Tony Schiavone called this "one of tonight's marquee matches," which should tell you everything you need to know about the state of WCW in 1999.

This was less of a match and more of a crappy angle. Flair threatened to bash Kim's head in with a crowbar, so Kimberly kicked him in the nuts. Flair didn't flinch, giving us the idea that he was wearing a cup, so Kim pretended she was getting ready to go down on him, then whipped the cup out and blasted him in the balls anyway.

She beat David up some, but he regained the upper hand and the damsel in distress had to be rescued by her husband's friend Chris Kanyon. Finally, DDP himself came out and was about to hit Flair with the crowbar when Arn Anderson came to David's rescue.

The Pages walked off, and that was that.
No contest

WCW Mayhem 1999 - Mike Tenay interviews Sid Vicious Afterwards, Flair walloped Anderson in the back with a crowbar and Double-A had to be stretchered out, which seemed a little excessive.

We then got a video for the upcoming Sid/Goldberg match, followed by Mike Tenay interviewing Mr. Vicious himself.

Big Sid told Tenay that he would never say 'I Quit' to Bill Goldberg, but would instead beat on Bill until he admitted that Sid was the Master and the Ruler of the World.

I don't care what you say, Sid was always great.

I Quit Match
Goldberg vs. Sid Vicious

I say 'great,' I mean more in terms of his promos and character than anything he did in the ring.

Of course, it didn't help that they made this an I Quit match, effectively taking away the only things that made Sid and Goldberg attractions and forcing them to wrestle a submission style match neither man was suited to.

After a few minutes of nothingness, Goldberg made Sid pass out, and that was basically that.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Backstage, Lex Luger told Mean Gene that he was going to get even with Elizabeth for costing him the match with Meng.

Finally, it was time for our main event.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final
Chris Benoit vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WCW Mayhem 1999 - The Best There is, The Best There was, and The Best There Ever Will BE
This had the potential to be an all-time classic main event.

Instead, run-ins from Dean Malenko, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Goldberg all diluted things to a large degree. The run-ins were all completely unnecessary, but even despite them, Hart and Benoit worked tirelessly to deliver the best main event they could given the circumstances.

The only sad thing was that such circumstances dictated that this was only going to be a very good match rather an incredible one.

Not that this is much of a complaint. This was still a great effort that ended with a win for The Hitman courtesy of the Sharpshooter.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Bret Hart

Bringing his wife and kids into the ring, The Hitman hugged Benoit then celebrated with his new title and the Canadian flag as Mayhem went off the air.





And so WCW's first PPV in Canada was headlined by a good main event between two of Canada's biggest stars, but was it any good?

Yes and no.

On the whole, this was far better than some of WCW's other PPVs from 1999. The opening Benoit/Jarrett match, the fun hardcore match and both of Bret Hart's two matches delivered to an extent, but again there was a lot of frustrating and confusing moments, dumb stuff like the Elizabeth botch, and The Filthy Animals vs. Revolution match in which everybody seemed to phone it in.

With another thirteen or fourteen WCW PPVs to go, I'm hoping, praying, that we get at least one more good show from start to finish but to be honest, I won't hold my breath.



1999 events reviewed so far
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    Thursday, 26 September 2019

    GAME REVIEW: WCW Mayhem - PlayStation (1999)

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - Game Cover
    Released: August 1999

    Maybe you needed to be there. Maybe there's no other way to really appreciate what a big deal the WCW Mayhem game was back in 1999 than to have lived through it.

    For while the first World Championship Wrestling game to be developed by Electronic Arts may not seem like anything special, back then it was the biggest thing to hit the niche market of pro wrestling video games since...well...forever.

    At least, it was if you believed WCW.

    For months, the company invested all their stock in promoting the hell out of this game.

    Week in, week out, Mayhem advertising featured prominently on both Nitro and Thunder.

    As if that wasn't enough, the company even got rid of their annual World War III PPV in October and replaced it with a new event called -you guessed it- WCW Mayhem.

    Meanwhile, gaming critics heralded this as a game of firsts.

    It was the first WCW game to feature all twelve PPV settings as well as Nitro, Thunder, and Saturday Night. It was also the first US-based wrestling game in which the characters could fight backstage.

    Further praise came for the commentary (more of which later) and the excellent job done in motion capturing hundreds of different pro-wrestling moves.






    So yes, back in 1999, WCW Mayhem for the PlayStation was a pretty big deal.

    But how does it stand up twenty years later?

    Let's turn on the PS and find out.

    First Impressions 

    There's a lot to like about this game right from the start. 

    The introduction puts us in a WCW Control Room type environment were serious-looking dudes in identical uniforms and matching hats set about loading up everything you'd need for the perfect wrestling event.


    They load the arena, fill it with a crowd, and even fire our announce team, Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, for a night of WCW action.

    Not content to leave it there, our guys even create their own prototype pro wrestler in their laboratory, but when they crank his aggression levels up to 95%, the perfect prototype transforms into an angry Goldberg, who smashes his way out of the lab and into Slamboree 1999.

    Honestly, as intros to pro wrestling video games go, this is probably one of the coolest ever made, at least for the time period.

    Combined with an aggressive heavy metal riff, it gets you pumped up and ready to smash some heads in.

    So far, a 10/10 score for WCW Mayhem, and we haven't even selected our characters yet.

    Roster 

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation 1 Review - Roster selection Sting
    The game boasts that it features no less than 50 World Championship Wrestling athletes, though not all of them are available when you first play the game.

    While there is a good selection, if you want to unlock all fifty characters then you'll need to go through the Beat the Quest mode multiple times and unlock them all.

    In terms of the starting characters, the roster is split up until multiple factions. 

    You have your main WCW stars, the nWo Wolfpac and Black and White job squad, and the Four Horsemen, as well as cruiserweight and hardcore division

    WCW Roster

    For WCW, cover star Goldberg, as well as Sting, Diamond Dallas Page, Randy Savage, and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart are all accounted for, as are Booker T, Buff Bagwell, Konnan, Curt Hennig and an assorted cast of undercard characters like Kenny Kaos and Bobby Duncam Jr. 

    Weirdly, Kaos is a starting character but his High Voltage tag team partner Robbie Rage doesn't even feature in the game

    nWo Roster

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - Eddie vs. Juvi vs. Psycosis
    If you want your main eventers, Hulk Hogan, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash and Lex Luger are all Wolfpac 4 life here, while Horace, Scott Norton and Stevie Ray are on job squad duty.

    Four Horsemen

    The game starts with the last itineration of the Four Horsemen, with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Steve McMichael all appearing as starting characters despite Mongo leaving the company in February of that year.

    No guesses as to who the unlockable characters are in this group. 

    Cruiserweights

    There's a fun selection of cruiserweights here, with staples like Rey Mysterio Jr., Kidman, Eddie Guerrero, Juventud Guerrera and Psycosis all appearing alongside interesting choices such as Lizmark Jr. 

    Hardcore 

    Raven, Saturn, and Kanyon all represent the hardcore division, with a whole bunch of characters to be unlocked. 

    Everyone else, from major stars like Ric Flair to curious additions like former Smoky Mountain Wrestling star Bobby Blaze and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker all appear as unlockable characters.

    WCW Mayhem Create-a-Wrestler Mode 

    If you don't like any of the roster choices the game gives you, you can always create your own wrestler.

    This is a pretty standard feature in wrestling games today, but the concept was very much in its infancy back in the 1990s and it certainly shows here. 

    Maybe I've been spoiled by playing games like Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain as of late, but Mayhem's Create-a-Wrestler mode is as frustrating as it is disappointing.

    Naming your character 

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - El GiganteFirst things first you have to give your wrestler a name. This is fine, except for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to put a space between words. I spent far too long on this before eventually giving up, convinced that if you wanted to name your character Cactus Jack for example, you'd have to settle for calling him just 'Cactus' or 'Jack' instead.

    To be fair, you can add to your character by giving a pre-set nickname. 

    Some of these are interesting to say the least.

    Of all the genuine WCW names to include, El Gigante is an option, and if you want to go extreme, you can always go by the name War Machine. 

    You could also choose to be Kid Lightning, though apparently not Lightning Kid since Sean Waltman had been back in the WWF for a year by the stage.

    Appearance

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - Create-a-Wrestler
    Things get even more interesting and frustrating when it comes to choosing how your wrestler looks.

    There are only three body types to choose from:
    • Small
    • Large
    • Powerful
    Powerful is exactly the same as large, albeit with a more defined physique. 

    From there, you can select from a bunch of pre-defined character templates which are great if you want your wrestler to look like a Human Wasp Man or a zombie, but not so much otherwise.

    On the plus side, one of the templates is hilariously called 'Invisible' and, as you might suspect, it makes your character completely invisible.

    That's pretty funny.

    What's even funnier is that you can choose to apply the 'Invisible' template to only select parts of your wrestler. So, for example, you could make your head invisible and create The Headless Horseman (to replace Mongo, probably). or you could decide to have a character with no body if that's the kind of thing that gets you giggling.

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - Kane outfit
    When it comes to dressing your wrestler ready for action, the choices are pretty limited.

    If you're used to having an almost infinite number of tights, shorts, and other assorted garments as you do in other games, you'll be disappointed.

    You'll also be pretty bummed if you're familiar with WWF/WWE games which have a habit of sneaking in attire you recognize as belonging to wrestlers not included in the game.

    Whereas it's usually been possible to put together a pretty decent looking Jushin Liger and other characters in the WWF games, that's not really a thing in this game.

    There is, of course, one exception.

    For some reason, the game includes what is pretty obviously Kane's ring gear from that time period. Though I couldn't find his actual mask, if you ever wanted to see The Big Red Machine waging war on WCW Saturday Night, this game is as close as you're ever going to get to making that happen.

    Otherwise, this whole part of the game is pretty lackluster.

    Match Types 



    Selecting the 'Main Event' option from the main menu allows you to wrestle a variety of matches at any WCW event.

    Along with the standard singles and tag options, you can also have a triangle or four-way match.

    Alternatively, you could opt for either Raven's Rules, No Disqualification, both of which are pretty much the same thing, or a Weapon's Match, which is the same thing again albeit with weapons already in the ring.

    Honestly, I wouldn't get too excited about these. Even in the standard matches, you can brawl outside of the ring, head backstage and blast each other with weapons and not get disqualified or counted out, so I'm not sure what difference -if any- it makes if you choose No DQ.

    I would have liked to have seen War Games, or even just a ladder or a cage match, but honestly, it's not a big deal. 

    As we'll get to in a moment, you can have enough fun just playing the actual game that you don't really need fancy gimmick matches to enjoy WCW Mayhem.

    Game Play 


    For the most part, actually playing WCW Mayhem is a lot of fun.

    Unlike some games which seem to take a bit of getting used, you can get the hang of things and start winning matches pretty quickly here.

    At first, the controls felt a bit counter-intuitive for me, especially for some characters. With Bret Hart, for example, hitting down and triangle lifts your opponent up for a suplex, but hitting up and triangle drives your opponent down for a piledriver.

    It's a bit off-putting at first, but you soon get used to it.

    For the most part, the moves look crisp, sharp, and well-executed. 

    All that praise for the game's motion capturing is certain well-warranted. Suplexes are smooth, powerbombs look devastating, and most submission moves are very well done.

    Shortly before I played this game, I also played WWF War Zone which was released the year before Mayhem and wasn't nearly as smooth or engaging in terms of actual gameplay. 

    However, as with most things in life, playing WCW Mayhem isn't exactly perfect. 

    Some moves just don't seem as if they've been mapped out very well.

    For example, if you go to the top rope for an ariel move, the game pays no attention to where your opponent is and just has you diving recklessly in the middle of the ring.

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - Cruiserweight action
    On many occasions, I had my rival knocked out on the mat and climbed to the top, ready to crush him with a sweet splash. Yet because he was too close to the corner or not properly positioned, I just ended up flying over him and hitting the canvas.

    It's at this point that Tony Schiavone would make fun of me, claiming that if I spent a little less time showboating, I would have hit that move.

    No, Tony, if the game developers had thought things through a little better, I would have hit that move. 

    There were other times too when I'd have my opponent in perfect position and yet a move would just completely miss for no reason. 

    Still, as much as I gripe about this, it wasn't enough to put me off playing. On the whole I enjoyed the experience of playing WCW Mayhem, even if it was completely unrealistic. 

    See Hulk Hogan's Fabulous Flying Dropkick 

    When reading up about this game, I saw people who are more into gaming than wrestling talk about how each wrestler has his own unique move set, signature taunts and entrance.

    This isn't entirely accurate. 

    It looks as though Electronic Arts devised about five or six different entrances and five or six different taunts and then just divvied them up at random, almost as if they drew them out of a hat.

    Ok and the next wrestler is...Rey Mysterio Jr. and his signature taunt is...

    *picks out of a hat*

    Hulk Hogan's hand-to-the-ear thing. 

    Then you have Bret Hart hulking up and flashing his muscles, and Wrath doing bodybuilding poses that I don't think I ever saw him do once his entire career.

    Sure, some guys have their trademark mannerisms.

    In making their entrance, Rick Steiner gets on all fours and barks like a dog (naturally), and Scott Hall has his famous strut, but some make no sense at all.

    Juvi, Perry Saturn and a bunch of others all come out and adjust their tights in the exact same way, while just about everbody else does some weird Lex Luger flexing before marching to the ring.

    Then there's the moves.

    If you were expecting an experience that closely replicates what you'd see on TV, you might be disappointed. 

    Again, most trademark moves are present and correct. 

    Goldberg will drop you with a gorilla press slam, most of the cruiserweights will flip, flop and fly, and Bret Hart does his signature side russian leg sweep, but then when you go to follow it up -as Bret often did- with a driving forearm from the corner, The Hitman instead decides that he's going to leap off with a flying splash.

    Not surprisingly, he misses 90% of the time and lands in the ring to be chastised by Tony Schiavone.

    Then there's Hulk Hogan, who will think nothing of hitting you with a standing dropkick or taking you to the top rope for a superplex, you know, just like he did all the time in real life?

    Again, it's like the developers got a bunch of moves in one hat, a bunch of wrestlers in another, and paired them all up at random.

    Story Mode: Quest for the Best 



    On your first play-through, there appears to be a lot to like about Quest for the Best, which is WCW Mayhem's answer to the typical Career Mode.

    Starting at the bottom, you start by defeating the top five contenders to the TV title before winning that belt and then defending it against five contenders.

    You then repeat the same process for the United States Championship, and then again for the world title.

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - US title winner
    At first, this is a lot of fun, and throws up random quirks like Bobby Duncam Jr. being the number one contender to Goldberg's world title while Hollywood Hogan is only the fifth-ranked contender.

    As you work your way up to the TV title, you even unlock a few bonus characters.

    I beat Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker and Bobby Blaze and unlocked both of those, then beat Ernest Miller to unlock his manager, Sonny Onoo.

    So far, so good, but after a while it gets a little repetitive.

    There are no cut-scenes, no 'tween-match drama or random side quests, just keep beating dudes one after another. 

    It actually gets worse once you win the world title. 

    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - World title winnerInstead of just having five challengers, the list of dudes coming after your gold never seems to end, so you simply find yourself squashing one after the other with no real finish line in sight.

    While the gameplay is pretty fun, it's simply not enough to keep you invested in the game for any real length of time when all you're doing is winning one match after the next after the next.

    Still, if you've got the patience for it (which I really haven't), then it's worth going through this process just to unlock all the extra characters.

    Graphics and Appearance 

    As I've said before, I approach these game reviews from the perspective of a wrestling fan, so I'm perhaps not as qualified to comment technical details as much as a serious gamer might be. 
    WCW Mayhem - PlayStation1 Review - Halloween Havoc set

    That being said, WCW Mayhem really is a great looking game, at least for a PS 1 release. 

    The menu and loading screens are bright, vibrant and attractive and the characters themselves are very well done for the time.

    As for the arenas, while the TV set-ups are nothing spectacular, some of the PPV shows look amazing in a way that my crappy screenshots simply don't do justice.

    Sure, WCW Mayhem may not be perfect, but it sure does look the part.

    Sound and Commentary 

    Again, I read somewhere that all of the wrestlers in this game have their own entrance themes. This isn't true. 

    Most of the major stars do, while those belonging to either the Wolfpac or nWo Black & White have their stable's theme. Yet many wrestlers are assigned a theme that doesn't actually belong to them.

    The majority of the cruiserweights, for example, come out to Eddie Guerrero's awesome Latino World Order theme, while anyone from WCW that isn't a main eventer gets the generic Nitro music. 

    That's not a big deal though, as most of the themes that you'd actually want to here are all present and correct.

    Where this game really shines, however, is on the commentary.

    Remember how dreadful it was to have Michael Cole and Taz doing the worst commentary in history on WWF Smackdown - Just Bring It?

    There's none of that here. 

    Schiavone and Heenan provide some of the most realistic commentary you'd ever heard on a video game up to this point. In fact, I'd say it's even better than on some of the games that came long after Mayhem was released.

    Sure, the longer you play, the more likely you are to hear repeated phrases, but for the most part, the commentary is very refreshing.

    At one point, I was brawling backstage and the duo began bickering for a good couple of minutes, much like they'd do on Nitro.

    It's a nice touch, and certainly one of the best things in the game.

    Final Impressions 

    So, is WCW Mayhem for the PlayStation 1 really as good as it was made out to be back in 1999?

    Not exactly.

    Yes, for the most part, it's a great game. It looks great, it sounds great, and if you can get over your character diving into the middle of the ring like an idiot, it plays great too.

    But there's not much too it and I don't think you get the same kind of longevity out of Mayhem that you do with other games.







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