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

Showing posts with label Mongo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mongo. Show all posts

Thursday, 25 October 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Road Wild 1998

August 8, 1998 
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota

Yes, it was that time of year again, time for the stars of World Championship Wrestling to jump on their Harleys and ride into South Dakota.

Their mission?

Put on a wrestling show that nobody would have to buy tickets for just so that head honcho and noted motorcycling enthusiast Eric Bischoff could have a chance to hang out at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

In books, articles, and on countless blogs (including this one), WCW's Road Wild concept has been written off as being a pretty dumb idea, but this time, this time the company were really out to excel themselves.

This time, the company had booked a main event so ludicrous and so baffling that it still has wrestling purists scratching their head to this day.

Here's what happened when World Championship Wrestling rode into Sturgis for the third year running with Road Wild 1998.

Jay Lenno: Wrestling Superstar?

Our show tonight began with a hype video for one of the most ill-advised main events in pro wrestling history: Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff against Diamond Dallas Page and Jay Leno.

WCW Road Wild 1998 Review: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' HeenanYes, that Jay Leno, the podgy, middle-aged television presenter who wasn't exactly renowned for his athletic prowess.

Sure, Dennis Rodman may have been terrible at the previous month's Bash at the Beach '98, but at least you could feasibly make the argument that Rodman was at the top of his chosen sport and therefore had at least some athleticism that could have made a move to pro wrestling work (if 'The Worm' wasn't so off his face when it came to match time).

Jay Leno: Wrestling Superstar, however, will forever go down in history as one of pro wrestling's all-time worst ideas.

Anyway, intro aside, we got our regular introduction from Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Iron Mike Tenay. Whilst Tony Schiavone went all out with the Village People impression and Mike Tenay did at least don a spiffy-looking denim jacket, Bobby Heenan had apparently ditched the annual tradition of looking a bit silly at the Sturgis show and instead just wore a t-shirt and baseball cap.

As we'd soon see, Heenan wasn't the only one who couldn't be bothered making an effort on tonight's show.

From there, we got Mean Gene Okerlund sitting on a bike to shill the show's sponsors, after which, it was down to our first match of the evening.

The Barbarian (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Meng

WCW Road Wild 1998 Review: Former Faces of Fear partners Meng & Barbarian faced each other
Often underrated, The Faces of Fear were one of my favourite tag teams from this period and could always be relied upon to deliver a pretty unique match.

Unfortunately, their quality as a tag team didn't translate to being able to put on a decent singles match.

Whilst Barbarian hitting a couple of huge suplexes (including one off the top rope) was genuinely exciting, they were the only things that were.

The rest was directionless brawling which served only to link the two suplex spots together.

What made things worse was that even when Barbarian hit the Big-Ass Top Rope Suplex of Doom, a cool move no matter who you are, the Sturgis crowd failed to react.

Still, at least this was a blow-off match to an epic, well-thought-out story, right?

Not exactly.

Apparently, not even the announcers new why Meng had returned after a hiatus and begun feuding with his former partner.

After a sluggish opener, Meng slapped on the Tongan Death Grip, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Meng

Though of course, it wasn't.

Throughout the match, you couldn't help but be drawn to the fact that non-wrestling manager Jimmy Hart was wearing elbow pads.

If this seemed like an odd choice of attire, it suddenly made sense. Hart and Barbarian were joined in the ring by former Dungeon of Doom teammate Hugh Morrus.

The three attacked, with Hart diving off the top rope and splashing Meng before Morrus hit the No Laughing Matter moonsault.

Finally, Hacksaw Jim Duggan stormed to the ring to put us all out of our misery and finally get the crowd active with the proverbial "USA! USA!" chant.

The Dancing Fools (Disco Inferno & Alex Wright w/ Tokyo Magnum) vs. Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)

WCW Road Wild 1998 Review: Alex Wright & Disco Inferno vs. The Public Enemy
With very few exceptions, I always like to give any match the benefit of the doubt.

After all, some matches which look bad on paper prove to be actually enjoyable when they actually take place.

Unfortunately, this wasn't one of those matches.

In fact, this one was even worse in practice than it looked on paper.

After several minutes of truly terrible wrestling, Tokyo Magnum handed his teammates a trash can, and Alex Wright smashed Johnny Grunge over the head with it.

Instead of calling for the DQ, the referee just stood there whilst Wright and Disco Inferno stomped the hell out of Grunge.

To make matters more silly, Rocco Rock didn't even bother to help his partner at first, instead going all the way to the back to fetch a ladder to hit them with.

It was at this point that Tony Schiavone told us "they" had changed the match into a no-disqualification street fight.

Who "they" were would remain a mystery.

If it was the wrestlers themselves, what gave them that authority?

If it was the officials in the back, how did they let the wrestlers know?

If it was the referee, why refer to him as a plural?

It was dumb.

WCW Road Wild 1998: That toilet seat is a good indication of how shit Dancing Fools vs. Public Enemy really was
What was even more dumb was that The Dancing Fools walked off and came back out with a table, then challenged Public Enemy to a street fight AFTER Schiavone had already told us that's what it was.

The Public Enemy then went to the back again and brought out more junk including a toilet seat and the kitchen sink because, you know, the kitchen sink joke in hardcore matches never got old.

More garbage -in every sense of the word- followed. This included an incredibly botched ladder spot and Magnum Tokyo accidentally hitting Alex Wright, causing both men to just...walk off.

"This is a mess," said Tony Schiavone, vocalising what we were all thinking.

I say all, the Sturgis crowd did seem to like the sight of grown men hitting each other with aluminium cookie sheets and trash can lids, but honestly, Schiavone was right. This was a mess.

With his partners gone, Disco Inferno had to writhe around selling a beating for the better part of three minutes whilst Public Enemy rearranged furniture for the finishing spot.

Honestly, this took so long that it completely took you out of the match, or at least it would have done had the rest of said match not been so utterly awful.

In the end, Grunge put Disco on top of three tables and Rocco climbed a lighting rig then crashed onto Disco.

Grunge rolled Disco back in the ring, and this was finally over.
Your Winners: The Public Enemy

Man, this was really not a good show so far.

Dean Malenko: Special Referee

WCW Road Wild 1998: Dean Malenko hangs out in the Internet Location
Out in the back, Lee Marshall (looking like a fat Ted Dibiase) asked Dean Malenko if he could be impartial in his role as special guest referee for the cruiserweight championship match between Chris Jericho and Juventud Guerrera.

In his usual charismatic, flamboyant style, The Man of 1,000 Holds basically said that no, he wouldn't.

So there was that.

Raven's Rules: Falls Count Anywhere in Sturgis City Limits Triangle Match
Raven (w/ Lodi) vs. Saturn vs. Kanyon

Raven and Saturn had put on a spectacularly bad match back at Bash at the Beach, but with the addition of Kanyon, they were able to take things up a notch and deliver a passable Falls Count Anywhere match.

An early highlight saw Kanyon and Saturn pay homage to the latter's ECW days by drilling Raven with Total Elimination (or as Joey Styles would have it TOTALELIMINATION!), after which we got your standard three-way match with a walk up to the entrance way and back again.

Though it failed to elicit any real excitement, this was at least more entertaining than the two matches, right up until the finish where Lodi ran in, Horace Boulder got involved and made a terrible mess of everything, and Saturn DVD'd Raven for the win.
Your Winner: Saturn

Not one person in Sturgis cared.

Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

Winner Earns a Cruiserweight title shot

WCW Road Wild 1998: Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Eschewing the usual lightning-fast pace of your typical cruiserweight match, Psicosis and Rey Mysterio Jr. worked a slower, more methodical style here and, surprisingly, it worked really well.

Though this may not have been to the level of their previous pay per view outing at Bash at the Beach 1996, it was still an enjoyable bout that proved the two were much, much more than just one-dimensional spot monkeys.

After a good effort which saw Psicosis dominate the bulk of the contest, Mysterio hit a neat springboard 'rana to earn the right to challenge for the cruiserweight championship.
Your Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr

Moving on, this show was about to go from bad to worse.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
Acting TV Champion Stevie Ray vs. Chavo Guerrero (w/ Pepe)

This whole thing was so confusing and outright stupid that I had to go read a whole bunch of backstory just to make sense of it.

WCW Road Wild 1998: Chavo Guerrero faced Stevie Ray for the TV title - neither man was actually the champion
Basically, Booker T was the actual TV Champion, but he was injured so his brother, Stevie Ray, had taken it upon himself to defend the title.

Since nobody had actually told him not to, Stevie had declared himself the champion.

This led Chavo Guerrero to state -quite rightly- that if Stevie could just randomly declare himself the champ, then so could he.

Thus, Chavo, now in full-on bat-shit crazy mode following his big feud with Uncle Eddie, claimed that he had just as much right to call himself the legitimate champ as Stevie Ray did, and had even typed up a contract to make it official.

On the face of it, that's actually a logical storyline.

I'm not saying it's a great one, but in theory, it works.

In practice, however, none of this was actually explained properly, so all you got was Chavo randomly talking about a contract, two minutes of Stevie Ray chasing Chavo around the ring before hitting him with the Slapjack (Pedigree) for the three count.
Your Winner and Still Self-Proclaimed TV Champion (Dave Penzer's words): Stevie Ray

Afterwards, Big Stevie threatened to beat up Chavo some more, but Eddie Guerrero, who had been feuding with his nephew right up until the previous month, came out to make sure Chavo came to no further harm.

Still quite rightly not trusting his uncle, Chavo refused any help.

Again, this could have worked. This should have worked, but it was all played out in a half-assed random fashion that it made no sense.

Nor did the announcers even try to make it make sense which, you know, is kind of their job.

Chris Jericho is Ready for Juvi

Out in the 'Internet Location,' Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho told Lee Marshall that he was going to put away Juventud Guerrera once and for all.

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Steiner

WCW Road Wild 1998: Scott Steiner (w/ Buff Bagwell) tries to get out of his match with Rick Steiner
And so, months after turning on his brother back at Superbrawl VIII in February, Scott Steiner was finally going to get his comeuppance against Rick Steiner here tonight.

Except he wasn't.

Instead, J.J. Dillon came out and told us that because Rick had battered Scott with a steel chair on that week's episode of Thunder, doctors had declared that Big Poppa Pump would be unable to compete for the next two weeks.

Just to hammer the point home, Buff Bagwell wheeled Scott Steiner out on a hospital bed, wrapped up in casts and wearing an oxygen mask and a drip. Bagwell also wore a neckbrace for reasons obscure.

With the crowd chanting a very loud "BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!" Dillon informed us that the match would take place at Fall Brawl, and if it didn't, Scott Steiner would be "banned for life" for wrestling.

At that point, Steiner made a miracle recovery and lept from his bed in anger. Rick Steiner then gave chase and that was that.

Bullshit indeed.
No Contest

On a related note, the "wear a cast to pretend you're injured but then suddenly forget you're injured and make a miracle recovery" thing is the exact same gimmick Buff Bagwell had already used at Spring Stampede 1998 just a few months earlier.

Brian Adams (w/ Vincent) vs. Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

WCW Road Wild 1998: Steve 'Mogo' McMichael faced Brian Adams
Look, I'm not going to lie and tell you this was a good match. However, I do have a bit of a soft spot for Steve 'Mongo' McMichael.

The guy was hugely charismatic and he always gave it everything he had, even if what he had wasn't very much.

So yes, I enjoyed watching Mongo here, and yes, I know I'm probably one of only three people in the world who did.

In reality, the match was nothing to get too excited about and ended with a ref bump, a botched chairshot which saw Vincent hit teammate Brian Adams, and a Mongo Spike (Tombstone Piledriver) for the win.
Your Winner: Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

Afterwards, Mean Gene hung out with some hot women to once again shill the show's sponsors.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera

Special Guest Referee: Dean Malenko
WCW Road Wild 1998: Chris Jericho defended the Cruiserweight Championship against Juventud Guerrera
At his most arrogant and annoying best, Chris Jericho did a perfect job of riling up the fans before the match, telling them that he rode a Honda motorcycle and calling the fans 'Weekend Warriors.'

Clearly, Jericho was one of the few men on the card who came motivated to work today.

At least his opponent was equally as fired up.

Between the two of them, Jericho and Juventud Guerrera were able to get the crowd more involved in the show than they had been at all up to this point, pulling them along for a very good cruiserweight championship match which was helped further by Malenko.

After what turned out to be the best match on the card, Jericho found himself on the top rope. Juvi charged forward, Malenko launched him into the air towards Jericho, and one top-rope hurricanrana later, we had ourselves a new champion.
Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Juventud Guerrera

Afterwards, Deano Machino laid out Jericho, who could later be seen throwing a tantrum and whacking the corner post with a steel chair.

nWo Invitational Battle Royal
Featuring: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg, Scott Hall, Scott Norton, The Giant, Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, Konnan, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, and Sting

WCW Road Wild 1998: Scott Hall & The Giant
If you ever wanted to see a bunch of main event stars (and Konnan) standing around doing as little as possible, this the match for you.

Right from the word go, you got the distinct impression that nobody in the ring would have even moved if they thought they could get away with it.

It's like they went out to deliberately do the bare minimum and go home. Hell, Lex Luger didn't even bother to get changed, wrestling the whole thing in jeans.

Anyway, with a pinfall or over-the-top rules, Goldberg threw everybody out (apart from Kevin Nash, who eliminated himself going after former partner Scott Hall) and then hit an admittedly-impressive Jackhammer on The Giant to pick up the win.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Ladies and gentlemen, there's still half an hour left and only one match to go, this can't be good, especially as we all know what that match is.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff (w/ The Disciple and Miss Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Jay Leno (w/ Kevin Eubanks)

WCW Road Wild 1998: Jay Leno & Diamond Dallas Page
Kevin Eubanks is apparently Jay Leno's band leader from his TV show...

Because if there's anyone you want in your corner to back you up in a pro wrestling match, it's a band leader.

Surprisingly, this wasn't the worst match on the card tonight, in fact, it actually wasn't *that* terrible.

Perhaps it's because the last time Hogan and DDP met in a tag team main event, an off-his-face Dennis Rodman had been involved and made the whole thing look a mess.

Compared to Rodman's performance, Jay Leno looked like AJ Styles, and to give the TV host his credit, he did try hard and put in some effort.

Still, despite said effort, and a good effort from all involved, this was still only decent at best.

After an over-the-top back-and-forth contest, Eubanks hit Bischoff with Diamond Cutter, Lenno got the pin, and this was all over.
Your Winners: DDP and Jay Leno

Post-match, the nWo did a beat down until Goldberg ran out for the save. We then had an awkward moment where Goldberg and the referee botched the typical "everybody stand with their hand raised" spot to end the show. Making a mess of such a simple move was actually a fitting end to such a horrible, horrible show.

Though you have to give Jay Lenno credit for working as hard as he could, it really does speak volumes about the quality of Road Wild 1998 that his match wasn't the worst thing on the card. 

With the notable exception of Jericho/Juvi, nothing on this show was worth watching, and though I gave some praise to Mysterio/Psicosis and the three-way Raven's Rules matches, those bouts were only really good in context and, in the grand scheme of things, really aren't worth tracking down. 

Watch for the novelty value of Jay Lenno: Wrestling Superstar, but otherwise, avoid this show. 

I ended last month's Bash at the Beach review by saying that it was one of WCW's worst shows of 1998, if not all time, but I stand corrected. This is, and by a long shot. 

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl 1998
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1998 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 14 
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1998
  8. WWF - In Your House 21: Unforgiven
  9. WCW Slamboree 1998
  10. WWF - In Your House 22: Over The Edge
  11. WCW Great American Bash 1998 
  12. WWF - King of the Ring 1998
  13. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1998 
  14. WWF - In Your House 23: Fully Loaded 
Other WCW Road Wild Reviews
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    Thursday, 12 July 2018

    PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1997

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Event Poster
    December 28, 1997
    MCI Center, Washington, D.C

    It's often said that of all the things World Championship Wrestling did in the mid-late 1990s to dethrone the World Wrestling Federation as undisputed kings of pro wrestling, the build up towards Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting at Starrcade 1997 was one of their greatest accomplishments. 

    Encompassing the formation of the New World Order, Sting's transformation into the mysterious 'crow' character, and a near 18-month build up which saw Hollywood Hogan and his nWo organisation running roughshod over the company Sting had long been the heart and soul of, all whilst Sting himself refused to compete and instead lingered in the shadows, the storyline had been executed to perfection.

    So, when the company told you that Hogan vs. Sting was 'The Match of The Century' it didn't take too big a stretch of the imagination to believe them.

    Now that the night itself was at hand, all they had left to do was finish the storyline off with a satisfactory ending.

    Having done so good so far, there was surely no possible way they could mess up something so simple...

    ..Or was there?

    Let's head to Washington and find out for ourselves, shall we?

    It's The One We've All Been Waiting For 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Sting challenged Hulk Hogan for the WCW title
    And so, the most anticipated show of the year began with a dark, haunting video package which did an excellent job of making Hogan vs. Sting feel like the biggest battle of Good vs. Evil since God banished Satan to the depths of hell.

    Seriously, I know I've mocked WCW's cheesy, outdated video packages in the past, but give them their credit here, they got this one right.

    The video led us to Tony Schiavone and our announce team for the evening, which also includes The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Iron Mike Tenay.

    As usual, the announcers built up the main event as a huge deal, and even went one step further than usual by showing us basically all the WCW wrestlers who were not on the card that night taking their seats at ringside.

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Sworn enemies Glacier & Wrath hanging out in the crowd together
    The idea here was that Sting vs. Hogan was such a huge deal that everyone from Harlem Heat, Sonny Onoo, and Hugh Morrus to Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine and Ultimo Dragon were eager to sit through a whole PPV just to watch it, and that this was such an important occasion that once sworn enemies Glacier and Wrath were willing to put their differences aside and sit just a few rows apart from one another.

    OK, so that little continuity error wasn't the greatest, but the whole thing was a nice touch to build up the magnitude of tonight's show.

    As Dean Malenko's music hit for our opening match, Schiavone ignored that to tell us that an nWo press release had been issued, informing us that Kevin Nash would not appear for his scheduled match against The Giant.

    World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
    WCW Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Eddie Guerrero backs off from Dean Malenko
    Over the past few months, Eddie Guerrero had enjoyed two phenomenal Cruiserweight Championship matches against Rey Mysterio Jr. at Halloween Havoc 1997 and World War 3 1997.

    Tonight, he went at it in another title defence against former Champion Dean Malenko in a match which, though it wasn't on a par with Guerrero/Mysterio, was every bit as good as you'd expect it to be.

    Given the best part of 20 minutes to simply let rip, champ and challenger worked hard to deliver a hard-hitting wrestling match with nary a dull moment in sight.

    After working Malenko's leg for the duration of the match, Eddie landed a brutal frog splash onto the challenger's knee and put him away for the three count.
    Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero 

    Up next it was survey time as Scott Hall came out to do the 'How many of you came to see the nWo?' thing he'd just started doing.

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Scott Hall conducted a survey and got chokeslammed by The Giant
    After reminding us that -as a reward for winning World War 3- he would get to face the winner of Sting/Hogan at Superbrawl in February, the nWo founder informed the D.C. crowd that Kevin Nash would not be appearing so The Giant could be declared the winner via forfeit.

    Not surprisingly, this brought out the big man himself.

    The Giant promised to be waiting for Nash when he eventually did return, then merely shrugged when Hall tried to attack him.

    Giving the crowd something to cheer about, Giant then battered Hall, threatened to chokeslam him, but powerbombed him instead.

    All credit to Hall here, he was an absolute riot in selling The Giant's offence and made the whole thing come off beautifully.

    After that, Scott Norton and Vincent came out to help Hall to the back as the nWo B-Team music played. The two then returned to the ring for an upcoming six-man tag team bout.

    Six-Man Match
    Team nWo (Scott 'Flash' Norton, Vincent, and Macho Man Randy Savage w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Team WCW (Ray Traylor and WCW World Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Vincent wrestled in his first PPV match in years
    Apparently, Konnan was supposed to be the third man for the nWo, but it was revealed that Macho Man Randy Savage had taken his place for this match against former New World Order man Ray Traylor and WCW Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers, with another original nWo member, Ted Dibiase, in their corner.

    Speaking of Dibiase, his former lackey, Vincent was competing in his first WCW PPV match since joining the company the previous summer, and his first PPV match for any company since Survivor Series 1992.

    I'm not, of course, including battle royals in that.

    Anyway, as random as this one was, it was actually pretty decent in its own way.

    The good guys spent the majority of the bout in control before it all broke down and Savage got the win with his flying elbow drop.
    Your Winners: Randy Savage, Scott Norton, and Vincent 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews J.J. Dillon
    Afterwards, we got the obligatory Mean Gene Okerlund segment in which he urged us to call the WCW Hotline before introducing WCW Executive Committee Chairman, J.J. Dillon.

    Dillon announced that, in the interest of fairness, the names of all the referees had been entered into a hat and one had been picked at random to determine who would officiate tonight's main event.

    With eye-rolling predictability, the man chosen -at random, remember- for the task was, obviously, former nWo referee, Nick Patrick.

    Bill Goldberg vs. Steve 'Mongo' McMichael 

    At Halloween Havoc 1997, Bill Goldberg had interjected himself in the finish of Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright.

    That has led to a scheduled match at World War 3 which never actually took place because Mongo had attacked Goldberg with a lead pipe backstage.

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Bill Goldberg beat Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
    So tonight, we finally got the big grudge match, and it wasn't the typical squash match affair we all remember Goldberg specialising in during this phase of his career.

    Instead, it was a competitive -though pretty bland- match which was so boring that at one point the fans stopped watching and started arguing among themselves.

    Even a spot where Mongo fell like a sack of crap through a table (prompting a half-assed ECW chant) couldn't save this one from being the worst WCW PPV match of 1997.

    Finally, Big Bill hit the jackhammer to pick up the win.
    Your Winner: Bill Goldberg 

    Post-match, Mike Tenay made a brief reference to Goldberg's undefeated streak, but it wasn't the big selling point that jr would later become.

    Raven's Rules (No DQ)
    Saturn vs. Chris Benoit 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Raven had Saturn substitute for him against Chris Benoit
    For the past month, Raven had been avoiding Chris Benoit, either failing to turn up for their scheduled matches or sending one of his Flock to compete in his place.

    Tonight was supposed to be the night that Raven finally manned-up to go one-on-one with The Crippler, but instead, Raven once again bowed out and had former TV Champion Saturn do his bidding instead.

    Benoit, however, was adamant that he wanted Raven, and cut an awkward promo in which he tried to imitate Raven's cryptic style but instead sounded like he'd forgotten a poem he was reading out to his high school.

    Thankfully, The Crippler was better in the ring than he was on the mic, and this became a decent effort, even though it did drag on in places.

    Despite his best efforts, not even Benoit could fight off the entire Flock, and a DDT from Raven followed by the rings of Saturn brought this one to an end.
    Your Winner: Saturn 

    Ladies and gentlemen, Starrcade 1997 continues with our following contest.

    Buff Bagwell (w/ Vincent) vs. Lex Luger 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Buff Bagwell bored the world to tears with Lex Luger
    This was probably the most boring match in the history of professional wrestling. The fact that I'm still awake to write this recap is a miracle.

    Lex Luger spent the bulk of the match fighting off both Buff Bagwell and Vincent, but just when it looked like he was ready to rack the former American Male, referee Billy Silverman got bumped.

    Randy Savage then ran in to attack Luger but got racked instead.

    Then Scott Norton came down and hit Luger with -of all things- Rick Steiner's dog collar.

    Vicious then dropped Delicious over the Total Package, Silverman made the cover, and this one was over.
    Your Winner: Buff Bagwell 

    Yuck, that was horrible.

    World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
    WCW US Champion Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - DDP challenged Curt Hennig for the US title
    Making up for the last couple of horrible matches, Curt Hennig and Diamond Dallas Page put on a tremendous show that was by far the best match on the card.

    OK, so the competition for such an honour wasn't exactly high, but still, this was a compelling match with plenty to enjoy

    After beating each other to the point of exhaustion, DDP landed the Diamond Cutter to win his first pro wrestling championship.
    Your Winner and New WCW United States Champion: Diamond Dallas Page 

    Out in the back, Eddie Guerrero spoke to Madden and Katz for

    Match for the Control of WCW Nitro
    Eric Bischoff (w/ Scott Hall) vs. Larry Zybysko
    Special Referee: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Larry Zybysko beat Eric Bischoff
    In the wake of Survivor Series 1997, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart was pretty much the hottest commodity in professional wrestling.

    Yet instead of capitalising on the outpouring of public sympathy for The Hitman by booking him in a high profile match at his first WCW PPV to make a tonne of money and establish Bret as the company's biggest babyfaces since Sting, the company instead had him make his first major appearance as a referee for a match between a non-wrestling executive and retired wrestler turned commentator.

    Only in WCW, folks.

    The match was being fought to determine whether WCW or the nWo would be in control of Monday Nitro, and it was a big pile of confusing garbage.

    For the first five decades, Living Legend Larry Zybysko and karate black belt Eric Bischoff merely stalled, teasing that they might, just possibly, make contact with each other before the second coming of Christ.

    After several eternities, Bischoff struck Zybysko with a karate kick to the head then got immediately pummelled by The Living Legend.

    Larry spent the bulk of the bout in control, with Bret admonishing him at every turn for a variety of reasons, almost as though he was secretively on Bischoff's side.

    The actual action was horrible, and came to a head when Zybysko tied up Bischoff in a Tree of Woe.

    Whilst Bret told him off, Scott Hall attached a metal plate to Eric's foot.

    Bischoff then regrouped and went to kick Zybysko with the loaded boot. Not only did he clearly miss, but the metal plate very clearly flew off the boot and very obviously soared across the ring.

    Despite this, Zybysko fell down and pretended to be knocked out anyway.

    The Hitman then turned on Bischoff and knocked him out, before putting Scott Hall in the Sharpshooter for good measure.

    Larry then recovered and won the match, not by pinfall, submission, or any of the normal ways that a person wins a match, but simply by Bret Hart deciding that he was the winner and raising his hand.
    Your Winner: Larry Zybysko (Nitro remains in the control of WCW) 

    Post-match, the announcers explained this whole mess by saying that Bret had seen Hall load Bischoff's boot, but they said nothing about him seeing the metal plate fly off and obviously miss.

    World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship:
    WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting 

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review -Bret Hart was involved in the main event
    Competing in his first full PPV match since Bash at the Beach 1996 (excluding a brief appearance at Fall Brawl 96), Sting got an elaborate entrance the likes of which gave any of The Undertaker's more dramatic arrivals a run for his money and which genuinely gave this fan goosebumps.

    Then he took off his trench coat and Tony Schiavone said 'look at his arms!' so we did.

    Yet instead of looking ripped muscles -as Schiavone's tone of voice implied- the franchise player looked like he hasn't been near a dumbbell, nor the sun, since his last match.

    In other words, Stinger looked like shit.

    So too did the match.

    We got about ten minutes of your typical Hogan main event before a very anticlimactic non-finish in which the champ merely dropped the leg on Sting and won the match.

    It was such a strange, out of nowhere finish that the crowd greeted it with silence. Not Undertaker-Streak-Ending stunned silence but puzzled, head-scratching silence.

    The head-scratching continued when we went outside to find Bret Hart preventing the timekeeper from ringing the bell and muttering something about something not happening again.

    WCW Starrcade 1997 review - Sting beat Hogan for the title via weird botched finish
    You see, the idea was that Patrick would do a fast count and Bret Hart -still with referee powers from the earlier match- would put things right to prevent another Montreal.

    Except, Patrick never counted fast so Sting looked weak and Hart looked like an idiot.

    Anyway, the match was restarted, and the worst WCW PPV of the year -if not the worst PPV of the year overall- was over thanks to a shitty looking Scorpion Deathlock.
    Your Winner and New WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

    Post-match, the whole WCW roster somehow crammed into the ring to celebrate with the new champion in a moment which would have been a lot cooler had it not been for the crappy way the match ended.

    And so that was that. 

    Could WCW screw up what had been an otherwise perfect storyline?

    Apparently so. 

    An 18 month build up, all the hype of this being the biggest pay per view of all time, and what we got was a truly horrible effort that was painful to watch.

    Still - this was World Championship Wrestling's most financially successful PPV ever, so for the company it was a hit, but you just know that nobody in their right mind would have paid money for Starrcade 1997 if they'd known what was actually going to happen at the show.

    1997 events reviewed on Retro Pro Wrestling
    1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
    2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
    3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
    4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
    5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
    6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
    7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
    8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
    9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
    10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
    11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
    12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
    13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
    14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
    15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
    16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
    17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
    18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
    19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
    20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood
    21. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1997
    22. WWF - Survivor Series 1997
    23. WCW - World War 3 1993
    24. WWF - In Your House 19: D-Generation-X
    Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

    Thursday, 21 June 2018

    PPV REVIEW: WCW World War 3 1997

    WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Event Poster
    November 23, 1997
    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan

    WCW's annual 60-man battle royal known as World War 3 has been criticised countless times in the past as a confusing mess of a concept that was difficult to watch and even harder to enjoy.

    Yet as bad an idea as many of us thought it was (and let's be honest, World War 3 1996, the first WW3 PPV reviewed on Retro Pro Wrestling, was horrible), it must have done some good for the company in some way.

    After all, what other excuses could there be for WCW bringing it back out for the third year in a row?

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was 1997, and World War 3 was back.

    Let's head down to the Palace of Auburn Hills and find out what went down this time around.

    Wrestling is Like a Nuclear War

    WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
    Our show tonight began with a video which showed a soldier in a gas mask surveying what looked like the scene of a previous nuclear war before locking sights on 'the biggest battle royal' ever.

    It was cheesy, sure, but not quite as bad as some of the opening videos we'd seen from the company in the past.

    From there, we went to our announcers for the evening - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who speculated on the winner of tonight's big 60 man battle royal.

    But that was later, now we had a tag match to get the show underway.

    Glacier & Ernest Miller vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart)

    WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Meng puts the Tongan Death Grip on Ernest Miller
    After playing the defacto babyfaces when facing Glacier & Ernest Miller's arch-rivals Wrath & Mortis at the previous month's Halloween Havoc 1997, Meng & Barbarian were back in their natural heel role with Jimmy Hart in their corner for this fun-yet-instantly-forgettable opening match.

    Never likely to win any match of the night honours, the bout did at least see Glacier and Miller getting creative with their offence, whilst The Faces Of Fear just being brutal was always fun to watch.

    After an explosive finale, Meng murdered Ernest Miller with the Tongan Death Grip for the win.
    Your Winners: The Faces of Fear 

    Out in the back, Diamond Dallas Page chatted to Mark Madden about his role on tonight's show. Sadly I didn't catch what he said but I'm not convinced it was that important.

    World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
    WCW World TV Champion Saturn (w/ Raven) vs. Disco Inferno

    WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Perry Saturn defended the TV title against Disco Inferno
    This was during the Raven's Flock days, so Raven and Saturn just climbed over the guardrail from the front row to begin their match.

    'Let the stretching begin!' ordered Raven, and this one was on.

    I'll be honest with you, I didn't have very high expectations for this match, but it actually turned out to be a decent see-saw battle with lots of good spots and a chance for Disco Inferno to look like a legitimate threat.

    At least he did until he decided to randomly attack Kidman, Lodi, and Van Hammer, all members of Raven's flock.

    This distraction was enough to let Saturn recover and pull Disco back into the ring.

    There, the challenger once again got the upper-hand, but after flying off the top rope, he was wrapped up by Saturn and forced to submit to the Rings of Saturn.
    Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Saturn

    WCW World War 3 1997 Review - The Giant promised to win World War 3 a second time
    Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund told us to call the hotline to find out who was in the 60 Man Battle Royal after which he interviewed the winner of World War 3 1996, The Giant.

    Sporting a cast on his hand, The Giant promised to win again this year whilst getting revenge on Scott Hall for damaging his hand.

    Yugi Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon
    (If Dragon wins, he gets 5 minutes alone with Sonny Onoo)

    If you recall, this whole feud started when Sony Onoo turned his back on Ultimo Dragon at Slamboree 1997, and sided with a bunch of different wrestlers to try and take out the former Cruiserweight champion.

    After several failed attempts, Onoo got Yuji Nagata, who finally beat Dragon at Halloween Havoc 97.

    After that match, both Nagata and Onoo had worked to injure Dragon's arm, giving us just cause for a return match tonight and the added stipulation that Dragon would get five minutes alone with his former manager should he win this one).

    WCW World War 3 1997 Review - Ultimo Dragon wrestled Yuji NagataThe match turned out to be a step down from their previous meeting, but was still a solid encounter with much to enjoy,

    Sadly, the finish wasn't one of those things that could be enjoyed.

    After some shenanigans involving botched interference from Onoo, Nagata picked up his second straight PPV win over Dragon, rendering the entire stipulation meaningless.  #BecauseWCW
    Your Winner: Yugi Nagata

    Wasting no time, we got straight onto our next match.

    World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
    WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal vs. Squire David Taylor)

    WCW World War 3 1997 - The Steiner Brothers defended the tag team titles against The Blue Bloods
    The Blue Bloods just weren't the same without Chives. Still, it was nice to see them in a title match, even if said title match was a little disappointing.

    On several occasions, Mike Tenay referred to this as 'The Masters of the Suplex vs. The Masters of the Mat,' but a more accurate description would have been 'Who Can Work an Arm Bar For the Longest Amount of Time?'

    Not the best match in history, but I suppose it was a nice, easy win for the hometown champions.
    Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

    Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene Okerlund had words with WCW Random Authority Figure, James J. Dillon.

    Dillon told us that despite giving him airtime and the freedom to pretty much do whatever he wanted, Raven still hadn't officially signed a contract with World Championship Wrestling.

    This was unacceptable, so Dillon and the whole WCW Executive Committee were now giving the former Scotty Flamingo 24 hours to sign on the dotted line or else face being banned from all future WCW events.

    Except for this one, because Raven was in action next.

    Raven's Rules Match
    Scotty Riggs vs. Raven

    WCW World War 3 1997 - Raven and Saturn
    The story here was that Scotty Riggs was being recruited to Raven's flock, but would neither join nor attack Raven.

    We started things with Kidman reminding Riggs that this was no DQ. Riggs replied by diving over the ropes and levelling Raven, Kidman, and Saturn with a suicide dive.

    That beginning and the end of this one were pretty good, but like some kind of limp, out-of-date Supermarket sandwich, the bit in the middle was boring and bland.

    The end saw Raven flatten Riggs with an Evenflow DDT whilst yelling on the mic that he didn't want to do this and that it was hurting himself more than it was hurting Riggs.

    Raven then took a seat in the corner whilst the referee counted to ten.

    With Riggs completely out of it, he was unable to answer and thus this one was over.
    Your Winner: Raven

    Afterwards, the rest of The Flock hit the ring and carried Riggs off into the crowd.

    Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Bill Goldberg

    WCW World War 3 1997 - Steve 'Mongo' McMichael attacked Bill Goldberg with a lead pipe
    An often forgotten feud, superstar Bill Goldberg's first rivalry in WCW was against Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, but the two wouldn't get the chance to compete tonight because Mongo revealed that he'd attacked Goldberg from behind with a lead pipe and knocked him out.
    No Contest

    Mongo did brag that he was here to give the fans a show, and challenged any wrestler from the back to come out and face him.

    That prompted his estranged wife, Debra McMichael to drag a reluctant Alex Wright to the ring for a rematch from Halloween Havoc.

    Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. Alex Wright (w/ Debra McMichael)

    I know that Mongo wasn't exactly Ric Flair between the ropes, but he had a charisma about him that I can't help but enjoy, and don't know why he was often the butt of jokes back in the day.

    The match was fine but immediately forgettable and ended with a big win for the ex-football-player thanks to a tombstone piledriver.
    Your Winner: Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

    Out in the back, Saturn proved to be the very opposite of Mongo by having all the personality of a brick as he talked to Jeff Katz and Mark Madden for, insisting that he would do whatever it took to keep his TV title.

    World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
    WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

    Last month at Halloween Havoc, Rey Mysterio Jr. beat Eddie Guerrero to become Cruiserweight Champion in a Mask vs. Title match that remains one of -if not the- greatest Cruiserweight matches of all time.

    Since then, Eddie had won the title back so that we could have yet another awesome rematch here tonight.

    I'm tempted to say that this sequel wasn't quite as good as the original Mysterio/Guerrero classic, but honestly, it was still so good that you simply couldn't fault it.

    After a dramatic contest, Eddie landed a big-time frog splash to pick up the win.
    Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero

    As we went into an elaborate, cinematic advertisement for Sting vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Starrrcade, one thing became apparent at this point - this was one of those shows where Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan had enjoyed a beverage or two.

    It's a shame to hear the late, great legend fumbling through his lines.

    No Disqualification Match for the World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
    WCW United States Champion Curt Hennig vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

    WCW War Games 1997 - Curt Hennig defended the US title against Ric Flair
    Ric Flair and Curt Hennig had been at war since the latter had turned on the former -and the entire Four Horsemen- at Fall Brawl 1997 and joined the New World Order.

    Tonight, the two looked to settle the score once and for all in a no holds barred brawl which, though it dragged in places, was still a mostly enjoyable affair.

    After a lengthy battle, Hennig countered a figure four by blasting Nature Boy with the US title belt, and this one was over.
    Your Winner and Still US Champion: Curt Hennig

    When that, it was onto our main event.

    World War 3
    60 Man Battle Royal featuring Diamond Dallas Page, The Giant, Scott Hall, Buff Bagwell, Randy Savage, Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine, Barry Darsow, Psicosis, Super Calo, Lex Luger, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and more

    WCW World War 3 1997 - Randy Savage, Buff Bagwell, The Giant in th 60 man battle royal
    The nWo contingent came out for this one showing some love to the recently injured Syxx by wearing his t-shirt.

    Meanwhile, half the fun was watching which completely random wrestlers were involved for WCW.

    As well as the names listed above, we also had the undoubtable El Dandy, Kendal Windham, Bobby Blaze, Finlay, and dozens more.

    That was more fun than the snoozefest that was the first part of the match. Even the new rules -that leaving the ring in any way, not just over the top rope, would count as an elimination- did anything to liven this one up.

    When things went down to one ring for the inevitable battle between the New World Order and WCW's top level stars, things did get genuinely exciting, with a solid brawl that ended with The Giant and DDP cleaning house until only Scott Hall remained for the nWo.

    It was at that point that WCW did come up with a genuinely creative surprise.

    Hall pointed towards the entrance as the nWo's music hit. Both the fans and the announcers believed it would be Kevin Nash -who had failed to appear at the start of the match- finally putting in an appearance, but instead it was Hollywood Hogan, who helped Hall even the score and take the fight to Giant and Page.

    Dallas got dumped, but before The Giant could win his Second World War 3 in a row, Sting descended from the rafters.

    The announcers couldn't believe that Sting was here, nor could they believe that Sting eliminated The Giant. I can't believe that not once did any of the announcers -all intelligent men apparently- realise that Sting was now seven feet tall or that he'd both grown and dyed his hair, or that he looked in every possible way to be Kevin Nash in a Sting costume.

    Of course, he was Kevin Nash in a Sting costume, and that meant Scott Hall was your World War 3 1997 winner.
    Your Winner: Scott Hall

    Afterwards, the nWo, including former D-Generation-X man Rick Rude, all held a celebration in the ring using DDP as their piƱata.

    World Championship Wrestling's recent run of excellent pay per view offerings had finally come to an end with World War 3.

    Yes, there were some good parts (Flair/Hennig and another incredible Mysterio/Guerrero outing spring immediately to mind), but any highlights were sandwiched between action which, whilst not necessarily bad, wasn't particularly memorable or exciting either.

    Watch the two matches above, and maybe check it the ending of the battle royal for the ridiculousness of the announcers believing seven foot Kevin Nash was legitimately Sting, but otherwise not a show you need to see.

    1997 events reviewed so far:
    1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
    2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
    3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
    4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
    5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
    6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
    7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
    8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
    9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
    10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
    11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
    12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
    13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
    14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
    15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
    16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
    17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
    18. WCW - Fall Brawl 1997
    19. WWF - One Night Only 1997
    20. WWF - In Your House 18: Badd Blood
    21. WCW - Halloween Havoc 1997
    22. WWF - Survivor Series 1997
    Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    PPV REVIEW: WCW Fall Brawl 1997

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Event Poster
    September 14, 1997
    Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    The long-term success of the New World Order angle meant a lot of positive benefits for World Championship Wrestling. 

    For one thing, it meant a remarkable change in fortunes and unprecedented profit. For another, it meant that for the first time in the company's short history, they could legitimately claim to be the number one pro wrestling company in North America, if not the world.

    It also meant that they didn't really need to put too much effort in creating compelling storylines and matches; simply pit someone from the nWo against someone from WCW and you had a feud all lined up.

    Thus it was that, for the second year in a row, we got some variation of World Championship Wrestling vs. The New World Order in the company's flagship match - War Games.

    At Fall Brawl 1996, it had been three of the nWo's biggest stars - Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall teaming up with a fake Sting to battle Lex Luger and half of the Four Horsemen, with the briefest of cameos from the genuine Stinger.

    This year, only Nash remained to do battle once more for the renegade faction, with B-Level players Konnan, Buff Bagwell and Syxx joining him for a match against all four members of the current incarnation of The Four Horsemen.

    Yet just because it worked once, we were about to find out that WCW vs. NWO in War Games wasn't guaranteed to work again, and the lack of star power may well have been a factor.

    Here's what went down when WCW presented Fall Brawl 1997...

    It's War Games, And It's Personal 

    Our show tonight began with a recap of the August 25th episode of Nitro, where Arn Anderson retired and Curt Hennig became an official member of the Four Horsemen.

    That led to the infamous Four Horsemen parody by the nWo, which in turn led to Rowdy Roddy Piper (who was now in an authority figure role similar to the one he'd held in the WWF prior to Wrestlemania 12) booking nWo vs. The Four Horsemen in War Games.

    The video took us to the arena, where Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the show and intrigued us to his broadcast colleagues Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and -for the first time in forever- not The American Dream Dusty Rhodes but Iron Mike Tenay.

    The announcers talked up tonight's main event before turning their attention to ringside for our opening contest.

    World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
    WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero 

    The last time we saw Chris Jericho on PPV, it was at the previous month's Road Wild 1997, where he unsuccessfully challenged Alex Wright for the Cruiserweight Championship.

    Since then, Jericho had won the title and came to the ring to defend it tonight accompanied by Break The Walls Down, which was impressive considering that theme wasn't written for another two years.

    I'm kidding of course, Jericho came down to his Pearl Jam rip off theme that WWE Network dubbed over.

    Meanwhile, his opponent Eddie Guerrero had recently turned heel and sauntered to the ring wearing a brilliant scowl and accompanied by a theme song that sounded like a cross between Bad Street USA and Don't Step to Ron.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Chris Jericho defended the Cruiserweight Champion against Eddie Guerrero
    But hey, the entrances were hardly the talking point of the match.

    No, Sir, that honour went to the action itself, which was nothing short of fantastic.

    One of those matches that you could use to show non-fans why you like pro wrestling, Jericho/Guerrero was every bit as good as you might expect it to be, if not better.

    After a great effort, Eddie picked up the win with a beautiful frog splash, ending what Tenay told us was the one-month reign of Chris Jericho.
    Your Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Eddie Guerrero 

    Backstage, Jeff Jarrett spoke to an interviewer from not about his upcoming match with Dean Malenko tonight, but a different match against Curt Hennig on Friday.

    The interviewer did then ask about Malenko, but we cut back to the ring before we could find out what Double J had to say.

    Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Jacqueline) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) 

    With Larry Zybysko now taking Mike Tenay's place on commentary, we got one of those rare matches that pitted two teams of actual legitimate brothers against one another.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - The Steiner Brothers faced Harlem Heat
    I'll be honest with you, I've never been as big a fan of Harlem Heat as lots of other people, but I have to give them their due here - they worked hard against Rick and Scott Steiner and delivered a good -if not great - match that at least had the live crowd fully hyped and popping for just about every move.

    After some good action, The Steiners got the win and the crowd just about lost their minds.
    Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

    Moving swiftly on...

    World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
    WCW World TV Champion Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon 

    For the second PPV in a row, Alex Wright successfully defended a title.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Alex Wright defended the TV title against Ultimo Dragon
    This time, it was against Ultimo Dragon in what has to be considered one of the best of his career.

    The crowd were not into it even half as much as they were for Steiners vs. Harlem Heat, but that was a shame because Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon was tremendous.

    I've said it before that because of the dumb Dancing German Guy gimmick and lack of any meaningful storylines, Alex Wright was grossly underrated.

    Actually watch his matches such as this career-defining performance, his outing against Chris Jericho at Road Wild or his highly enjoyable bout against Dean Malenko at Clash of the Champions 32 and you'll see a guy who would really go.

    Not only could he go, he could also win, picking up the victory via -fittingly- a German Suplex.
    Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Alex Wright 

    Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund told us to call the hotline for an exclusive interview with Arn Anderson, but as he did so, Konnan, Buff Bagwell, and Syxx, and Kevin Nash all stormed past him, barged into a locker room, and then barged out again.

    When Gene went to investigate, we found Curt Hennig lying on the floor in that room, the implication being that the New World Order had gone in and beaten him up.

    Match to Decide the Number One Contender to the US Title
    Jeff Jarrett (w/ Queen Debra) vs. Dean Malenko 

    At the risk of sounding like a stuck record today, this was yet another fantastic match.

    Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, just proper, old-school professional wrestling at its very best is exactly what Jeff Jarrett and Dean Malenko delivered in a bout that deserved to rival anything else on the card for Match of the Night honours.

    After a long and very enjoyable battle, Jarrett made Malenko submit to the Figure Four, earning himself a shot at the US title currently held by his arch nemesis, and husband of his valet Debra, Steve McMichael.
    Your Winner and New Number One Contender to the US Title: Jeff Jarrett

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - The NWO cut a backstage promo about their War Games match with The Four Horsemen
    In one of those edgy, black and white promos that was the staple of their presentation, the nWo War Games team (Nash, Syxx, Bagwell, Konnan) cut a long and tiresome promo in which they none-too-subtly bragged about attacking Curt Hennig before claiming, over and over again, that they wanted to end The Four Horsemen once and for all.

    Wrath & Mortis (w/ James Vanderberg) vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian) 

    Yes, Wrath and Mortis were still a thing at this stage.

    Meanwhile, after The Dungeon of Doom had effectively ended following Kevin Sullivan's retirement at Bash at the Beach 1997, Meng and Barbarian had apparently lost Jimmy Hart but gained some shiny new red pants.

    The match itself was a little underwhelming compared to the awesome card we'd had so far, but that doesn't mean it was a bad match.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - Wrath & Mortis beat the Faces of Fear
    Far from it.

    With Barbarian taking the bulk of the abuse and Meng being just the personification of brutality in his inevitable hot Tag moment, The Faces of Fear worked well with James Vanderberg's men to create a decent hard-hitting big man match.

    Towards the finish, Meng got both Vanderberg and Mortis in the Tongan Death Grip, but that allowed Wrath to come up from behind and slam his opponent down for the one, two, three.
    Your Winners: Wrath & Mortis 

    Out in the back, Chris Benoit, WCW US Champion Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, and Nature Boy Ric Flair were interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 Review - 3/4s of the Four Horsemen cut a backstage promo about their War Games match with the NWO
    Benoit had choice words for everyone in the nWo War Games team, including this zinger:

    'Nash, you've been so many different characters that nobody knows what you're about.' 

    Mongo followed that by promising an apocalypse for the New World Order, and Flair styled and profiled whilst declaiming that he had more heart and determination than Nash.

    Nobody will ever list this as their favourite promo, but it was short and effective, with perfectly acceptable performances from all involved.

    Scott Norton vs. The Giant 

    Honestly, I groaned when this was revealed to be the next match. I mean, Giant vs. Scott Norton? There was. I way this could be good, right?

    Well, no, there wasn't, but at least it was short, and at least both men did their best to make it entertaining, with a violent brawl on the outside proving to be legitimately enjoyable.

    Still, when The Giant choke slammed Norton for the win, it came as a big relief.
    Your Winner: The Giant 

    From there, it was straight onto our next match.

    Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger vs. Macho Man Randy Savage & WCW World Tag Team Champion Scott Hall (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) 

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 - Randy Savage and Scott Hall faced Lex Luger and Dallas Page
    Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger had originally been in the WCW War Games team until the nWo attack on the Four Horsemen prompted a change in the card.

    That left DDP to once again get his hands on Macho Man Randy Savage after the two had a terrefic match at Spring Stampede 1997,  with Luger and Scott Hall thrown into the mix to make this a tag match.

    On an unrelated note, Elizabeth looked incredible here, what a truly beautiful woman she was.

    The action in this one was merely a build up to the bizarre ending, which started when Hall and Savage took out the referee (just as the announcers had suggested they might in the previous Giant/Norton match) and then took out their opponents.

    The nWo beat down was so intense that it prompted Larry Zybysko -who had been having a feud of his own with Hall- to come down to the ring and square off with his nemesis.

    Hall mockingly backed off from Larry, straight into a prone Lex Luger, who wrapped Hall up for a pin.

    Zybysko, using some hitherto unknown authority possessed by retired-wrestlers-cum-commentators, then made the three count, and this one was over, apparently.
    Your Winners via Larry Zybysko pin: Lex Luger and Diamond Dallas Page 

    Our main event was next, which gave Mean Gene just one last chance to shill the hotline - don't forget - kids, get your parents permissions.

    A Slim Jim commercial aired, and then it was on to a match that Michael Buffer told us would be unlike any other match (apart from all the other War Games matches, of course).

    War Games
    The Four Horsemen (Nature Boy Ric Flair, Chris Benoit, and WCW United States Champion Steve 'Mongo' McMichael) vs. New World Order (Kevin Nash, Syxx, Buff Bagwell, and Konnan) 

    WCW Fall Brawl 1997 - Curt Hennig betrayed the Four Horsemen and joined the nWo
    Like the previous match, this one was all about the finish.

    Unlike the previous match, everything leading up to the finish was mind-numbingly tedious.

    That finish see Curt Hennig come to the ring and -predictably - revealing that he wasn't hurt at all, and hadn't been attacked by the nWo.

    Instead, he was with the boys in black and white, and helped Nash, Bagwell, Syxx and Konnan to handcuff Benoit and Mongo to the cage and basically destroy the Horsemen until Mongo volunteered to surrender so that Hennig wouldn't slam the cage door on Flair's head.
    Your Winners: New World Order 

    Naturally, Hennig slammed the door on Flair anyway, and this one was over.

    Apart from a very boring main event and a weird finish to the Hall/Savage vs. DDP/Luger match, this was a fantastic show with lots to enjoy.

    That said, even the main event -poor as it was- had a genuinely exciting finish.

    All in all, one of the best PPV shows of 1997, and one of WCW's best of the past few years.

    1997 events reviewed so far:
    1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
    2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
    3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
    4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
    5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
    6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
    7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
    8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
    9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
    10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
    11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
    12. WCW - Great American Bash 1997 
    13. WWF - In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede 
    14. WCW - Bash at the Beach 1997 
    15. WWF - Summerslam 1997
    16. WCW - Road Wild 1997
    17. WWF - In Your House 17: Ground Zero
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    Retro Pro Wrestling

    New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.