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 wcw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wcw. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 September 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1999

October 24, 1999
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada

Despite his biggest contributions to professional wrestling taking place twenty years ago, there are still some fans who, even to this day, have it out for writer Vince Russo.

The man who brought car-crash style production and swerves aplenty to the Monday Night Wars, the man who injected as much sex into the product as possible, and the man who just couldn't resist sticking everything on a pole has often been accused of many crimes, including turning World Championship Wrestling into an almost unwatchable product.

In Russo's defence, however, WCW was already practically unwatchable before he ever got there.

So far, we've covered all of the company's 1999 PPVs from January to September of that year, and almost all of them were either stupid, complicated, or just plain crap.

That was without Russo's help.





Tonight, Halloween Havoc 1999 would be the first WCW PPV to take place under the reign of Russo, but would it be any worse, or any better, than the company's previous garbage?

Let's head to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to find out.

It's Showtime, folks!

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan called the action
Our show tonight began with an opening video package looking at the main rivalries in the company. Goldberg and Sid Vicious hated each other, Hulk Hogan and Sting hated each other, and we'd see those matches later.

Out in the arena, ominous music played as we panned past the traditional Halloween Havoc stage (remember that giant demon thing holding the inflatable pumpkin) and down to our announcers, Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.)

Without explaining where usual colleague Iron Mike Tenay was, two dropped a bombshell on us:

Rey Mysterio Jr. had been injured so he and Kidman had been forced to surrender the tag team titles. Tonight, Kidman would team will fellow Filthy Animal Konnan to battle two other teams in a three-way, anything goes match to determine new champions.

But first, this:

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno vs. Lash LeRoux

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - WCW Cruiserweight Champion Disco Inferno battled Lash LeRoux
There once was a time when WCW's cruiserweight division gave us awesome opening contests featuring technical and high flying action from the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr., Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera and Dean Malenko.

Those days seemed to be far, far behind us.

Today, we got this, a battle between WCW veteran Disco Inferno and relative newcomer, 'The Ragin' Cajun' Lash LeRoux. Much like the Lenny Lane/Kaz Hayashi battle from last month's Fall Brawl 1999, this was a decent effort in its own right but wasn't a patch on those earlier cruiserweight classics.

The main difference, of course, was that the Mysterios and Guerreras of this world had their own unique style which made cruiserweight matches stand out, whereas this just seemed like a standard wrestling match between two smaller dudes, albeit with one or two flashy moments interjected.

In the end, Disco hit the chartbuster and LeRoux took an impressive bump halfway across the ring before being pinned by the champion.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Disco Inferno

Post-match, LeRoux got up and attacked Disco, planting him onto the title belt with his Whiplash finisher.

Benoit and Malenko Leave the Revolution

Earlier in the day, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko had arrived at the arena to be greeted by Revolution teammate Perry Saturn. Saturn wanted to know why the two had not been in touch, prompting Malenko to inform the former ECW star that he could take The Revolution and stick it up his ass.

"And you can relay that same message to Shane," added Benoit as he and Malenko stormed off, effectively leaving the group.

Harlem Heat are Mad

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Mike Tenay interviews Harlem Heat
At both Fall Brawl 1999 and the previous month's Road Wild 1999, Harlem Heat had entered as challengers and left as the WCW tag team champions, which pretty much tells you that they struggled to hold onto the titles for very long.

Now they'd lost the belts again thanks to some dodgy goings on from Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobs. Tonight, however, Booker T and Stevie Ray promised to win the belts once again in a compelling interview segment with Mike Tenay.

"Now, can you dig that!?!" yelled Booker T at one point.
"I can relate to that," nodded Tenay in what was an unintentionally hilarious moment.

Street Fight for the Vacant World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
The First Family of Wrestling (Brian Knobbs & Hugh Morrus w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Filthy Animals (Konnan & Billy Kidman) vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T &  Stevie Ray)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Hugh Morrus, Brian Knobs and Jimmy Hart of The First Family
The First Family came down for this one wearing Halloween masks, which was a pretty cool touch.

The Filthy Animals then came down wearing the tag team title belts, carrying on WCW's longstanding tradition of people who aren't actually the champions wearing the belts.

When the match got underway, it was actually a really fun, chaotic street fight up until the nonsense finish.

While most of the action took place inside the ring, Harlem Heat went backstage for a brawl with Brian Knobs. Stevie Ray blasted Knobs with some kind of Egyptian mummy type thing after which, Booker made the cover and one referee made the three count.

In the ring, and off camera, Billy Kidman pinned Hugh Morrus and another referee made that three count, which made the fans pop.

The fans then went silent as the referees debated the finish and awarded the belts to Harlem Heat, despite nobody in the live audience having seen what went on backstage.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat

And so, for the third PPV in a row, Harlem Heat won the tag team titles, making them ten-time champions.

Let's hope they held onto them a little longer than a few weeks this time.

You know what else? I'm not even going to pin this one on Vince Russo because WCW had done stuff that was way, way more dumb than this long before he ever got there.

Let's talk about spanking...

Backstage, Ric Flair stormed into the arena with a crowbar in his hand and David Flair hurrying behind him.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Kimberly and Diamond Dallas PageOut in the arena, Diamond Dallas Page and his wife Kimberly came out to talk about Ric Flair giving Kim a spanking on Nitro.

In a horribly cringe-worthy promo from both, Kimberly claimed that Page gave her way better spankings before Dallas himself took the mic to make as many "lol spanking it can mean masturbating" puns as he possibly could.

Somehow, all this talk of spanking gave DDP the idea to turn his upcoming match with Nature Boy from a regular match into a strap match.

God, that was horrible.

Perry Saturn vs. Eddie Guerrero

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Torrie Wilson looks smitten after getting kissed by Ric Flair
Prior to the match, we got a backstage segment in which Mike Tenay informed Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson that The Filthy Animals would be banned from ringside.

Kidman was irate about this, but stormed off anyway, taking future Hall of Famer Torrie with him.

Tenay then questioned whether the Rolex he was wearing was the one he'd stolen from Ric Flair, but Eddie cut him down and promised to bring an end to the Revolution out in the ring.

Once things got started, the match itself became pretty good indeed.

OK, so some fans will no doubt be turned off by how long Eddie spent holding Saturn down on the mat in a submission move, but for this fan, that only added to the enjoyment.

After a solid see-saw battle, Ric Flair ran in and beat up Eddie with his crowbar as revenge for the stolen Rolex. Kidman and Torrie also ran in, but Kidman got attacked with the crowbar and Torrie got a kiss from Nature Boy, though she apparently really liked it so it was OK.
Your Winner via DQ: Eddie Guerrero

After all that, Flair had apparently forgotten to reclaim his Rolex and, after heading backstage once, had to come back out and get it.

That was dumb but, again, no more so than a lot of things we'd already seen on WCW TV so far in 1999.

Bagwell wants Jarrett

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Buff Bagwell called out Jeff Jarrett
Out in the back, we saw Goldberg beating Sid Vicious to a bloody pulp, only for Vicious to get up again and ask Big Bill if that's all he'd got.

Sid looked a mess though I think Bobby Heenan summed it up best:

"He looks like he's had about fifty-five tomatoes shoved in his face."

I don't know why, but that cracks me up.

Anyway, out in the ring, Buff Bagwell made an appearance to claim that he not only had a problem with "those two writers from up north" (Russo and Ed Ferrera) but also with Jeff Jarrett.

Only the week before, Jarrett had appeared at WWF No Mercy 1999 in a losing effort against Chyna, then immediately jumped to WCW and begun waging war on people.

Tonight, he ran down to answer Buff's challenge and the two got into impromptu fisticuffs before Lex Luger arrived for reasons that were inadequately explained (something to do with Elizabeth).

Finally, Luger went to bash Jarrett with a guitar but got Buff instead.

OK, now I'm finally starting to get annoyed with Russo for the distinct lack of actual wrestling on this show.

Speaking words of wisdom...let it bleed

Out in the back, Sid was being stitched up after his earlier beatdown. He could have immediately refused treatment if he didn't want it, but instead, the big drama queen waited until Mike Tenay and a camera crew were there before he tossed the medical professional aside and stood up with blood pouring down his face shouting "LET IT BLEED! LET IT BLEED!"

Somewhere in the background, Paul McCartney was standing by with a piano.

Brad Armstrong vs. Berlyn (w/ The Wall)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 -  Berlyn (w/ The Wall) faced Brad Armstrong
After yet another quick clip in which we saw Eddie Guerrero on the phone telling Rey Mysterio to return to the arena (Rey had taken Konnan to the hospital after the earlier tag match), we went back to the ring for this PPV-calibre match.

I'm just kidding.

This was mediocre at best.

They'd built up Berlyn as a super huge deal, only to throw him into a feud with perennial lower-carder Brad Armstrong. Not only that, but they had Armstrong pick up the win here after several minutes of a match which would have been better suited to mid-card filler on WCW Saturday Night.
Your Winner: Brad Armstrong

Post-match, Berlyn and The Wall beat up on Armstrong.

A word with the Nature Boy

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Mike Tenay interviews Nature Boy Ric Flair
Out in the back, Mike Tenay interviewed Nature Boy Ric Flair. Naitch focussed his attention on The Filthy Animals and warned them not to mess with him before Tenay asked about the upcoming strap match with DDP.

It was at this point that a light came on in Flair's eyes and he delivered this awesome, hilarious promo about how much Kimberley had enjoyed her spanking and how much Torrie had enjoyed her kiss earlier.

God bless you, Nature Boy.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Chris Benoit vs. Rick Steiner

Regardless as to what this writer may think of Chris Benoit the man, you'll rarely see a bad word written about one of his matches here on Retro Pro Wrestling.

Having said that, my goodness this was tedious.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Rick Steiner challenged Chris Benoit for the TV title
Rick Steiner's last few PPV matches had all been pretty bad, but you hoped that The Crippler's undeniable talent would compensate for that.

Unfortunately, not even Benoit was capable of stopping The Dog Faced Gremlin from turning this into an absolute snoozefest.

The challenger took control of the match early on and spent most of it switching between long, drawn-out rest holds and suplexes.

At one point, it looked like the babyface challenger was mounting a solid comeback, but then Dean Malenko came down and you instinctively knew he was there to turn on his buddy.

Predictably, The Man of 1,000 Holds walloped Chris with a chair, revived a groggy Mark Johnson (who had taken a tumble earlier) and handed the match to Steiner.

The whole thing lasted about five hours.

OK, so it didn't, but it certainly felt like it.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Television Champion: Rick Steiner

Afterwards, Malenko met Perry Saturn near the entrance, revealing that he'd been part of The Revolution all along.

Out in the back, Mike Tenay reminded Bret Hart about how Lex Luger attacking him had not only cost The Hitman a chance to win the title but had also injured his ankle.

In one of his more sombre promos, The Hitman declared that despite being hurt, he was still ready to take on The Total Package here tonight.

Lex Luger (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Mike Tenay interviews Bret 'The Hitman' Hart about his match with Lex Luger
I mean, this wasn't the worst match ever, but like the previous TV title bout, the more talented worker couldn't make up for the shortcomings of the lesser talented one.

What we got, rather than Bret Hart carrying Luger to a great match in the way he'd carried so many men before him, was a worn-down Hitman going through the motions with The Total Package and selling the leg injury the whole time.

After a few minutes of passable action, Luger locked Bret in a flimsy looking half-crab, prompting the once mighty Hitman to tap out.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Out in the back, Mike Tenay and Bill Goldberg stood around at the scene of the crime from earlier. Pointing to Sid's blood that was on the floor at their feet, Goldberg told Tenay that he got paid to kick people's asses and that tonight, he'd kick Sid's even more.

Madusa is MAD

Up next, Madusa came out looking smoking hot in a bikini to "model" WCW's new cologne.

Walking out to the where Heenan and Schiavone stood, she then took to the microphone to declare that her role here was "BULLS**T!" before storming off.

It always amazes me that WWE never censors out cusswords on the Network.

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

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Hulk Hogan lay down for Sting in their non-match
The very fact that this was placed basically in the middle of the card should have told you something was up.

The fact that Hogan didn't come out to the ring the first time his music played should have confirmed it.

After Sting's entrance, Hogan finally arrived wearing street clothes. He whispered into the Stinger's ear, then lay down and allowed himself to be pinned.

That was that.
Your Winner and still WCW Champion: Sting

You know what? It's infuriating to watch this now, but as a grown adult, I actually feel bad for the little kid they showed in the front row wearing a Hulk Hogan bandana and getting excited about the Hulkster's entrance.

Imagine getting all geared up to see one of your favourite wrestlers only to have that happen. OK, the more this show goes on, the angrier I'm starting to get with Russo.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Sid Vicious vs. Goldberg

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Sid Vicious faced Goldberg in a bloody war
Before this one could get underway, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came out to attack Goldberg as he made his entrance.

The big man battled back and went on to take the fight to Sid Vicious, not just fighting him, but utterly, utterly destroying him.

The cut he had created on Sid's head had healed by now, but Goldberg quickly bust it wide open again and Sid bled like a stuck pig. Wearing the proverbial crimson mask, the champion absorbed so much punishment and kept coming back for more, staggering around the ring and covering it, his opponent, and the rest of his body, in his own thick, dark blood.

It was an incredible sight. What's more, it was an incredible performance. Sid refused to stay down but was clearly in no fit shape to continue and eventually, the referee had to stop the match.

I kid you not, this was probably the best Sid match you'll ever see, even better than the time he beat Shawn Michaels for the WWF title at Survivor Series 1996.
Your Winner via stoppage and NEW US Champion: Goldberg

Caked in blood and barely able to stand, Sid still wanted more from Goldberg but Rick Steiner came out and saw to it that the battered and beaten former champion finally got taken to the back.

Damn, that was awesome.

Sting issues an open challenge

Up next, Sting made his way to the ring and announced that he hadn't come to Las Vegas for a night off; he wanted a fight and was determined to get one.

The champion issued an open challenge and vowed to return later to take on whoever wanted to step up against him.

Strap match
Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Ric Flair faced DDP in a strap match
Rather than your typical 'touch-all-four-corners' strap match, this one was designed more like the one Triple H and The Rock had just a few months earlier at Fully Loaded 1999. In other words, it was basically pinfall or submission, anything goes match, albeit with the added novelty of a strap.

Though it wasn't on a par with the HHH/Rock outing, it was as good as you were going to get from The Nature Boy at this stage in his career and was undoubtedly one of the best matches he'd been involved in for a good long while.

The two brawled through the stands and around the ringside area, with Page busting Flair wide open.

In the ring, Nature Boy recovered and slapped on figure four, but just when it looked like he was out of the game, he bounced back and got a cover.

Charles Robinson counted to two, but either Flair forgot to kick out or something dumb happened, so Robinson had no choice but to call it a three count and ring for the bell.

Covering up for the clearly botched finish, Page hit the official with a Diamond Cutter.
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

Afterwards, David Flair ran down with a crowbar, but Kimberley got it from him and handed it to Page so that he could whack Ric in the testicles with it, though not before first choking him out with the strap and beating the hell out of him.

DDP's attack was so vicious that Nature Boy had to be stretchered off, only to be attacked by The Filthy Animals. Kidman, Rey, Konnan and Eddie (With Torrie filming) battered Ric, shoved him in the waiting ambulance and drove off with it.

Quite.

Sting vs. Goldberg

WCW Halloween Havoc 1998 - Sting had an impromptu world title fight against Goldberg
The announcers told us that this was a non-title match. This would be important a few minutes later because, after about seven or eight minutes of mostly forgettable action, Goldberg no-sold all of Sting's offence, hit a spear and a jackhammer and won this poor excuse for a main event.

Charles Robinson then handed Goldberg the title and Dave Penzer announced him as the new champion.
Your Winner and apparently new World Heavyweight Champion: Goldberg

Afterwards, Sting hit Robinson with the Scorpion Death Drop to bring this awful show to a close.

The following night, WCW would announce that the match had been non-title, but that Sting would be stripped of the belt anyway for attacking Lil Naitch.





So, was a WCW PPV better or worse under the leadership of Vince Russo?

It was worse.

Way, way worse.

At the start of this show, I didn't think that was possible. World Championship Wrestling had done so much dumb, illogical, boring, or our outright terrible stuff on their 1999 PPVs that I just couldn't imagine anything Vince Russo could do to top it.

Then he turned Halloween Havoc 1999 into a glorified episode of Nitro with far too many backstage segments, far too much nonsense, and far too many awful matches.

Yes, the US title match was amazing, and yes, Page/Flair was good for what it was, but man, when Hogan lay down for Sting, the crowd absolutely hated it, and so too, for that matter, did this writer.

If your local BDSM club is closed and you want a new way to have punishment inflicted on you, sit down through this trainwreck of a show.

Otherwise, steer well clear.



1999 events reviewed so far
Other WCW Halloween Havoc events
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    Thursday, 15 August 2019

    PPV REVIEW: WCW Fall Brawl 1999

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Event poster
    September 12, 1999
    Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

    For the better part of the 1990s, World Championship Wrestling's annual Fall Brawl show was the one night of the year you were guaranteed to see one of the company's signature matches:

    War Games.

    Yet in 1999, both WCW and the wrestling industry as a whole were doing their best to throw tradition out of the window and establish themselves as a new, edgy, alternative kind of product that would basically redefine pro wrestling in the new millennium.

    Alas, for the first time since the early 1990s, this year's show didn't feature any War Games match at all.

    What it did feature, however, was red & yellow Hulk Hogan, Sting, Lex Luger and Kevin Nash. In other words, exactly the kind of stars you'd want to have on top of your card in order to position your company as new, edgy and different.






    With that rather sarcastic introduction out of the way, let's head to Winston-Salem for Fall Brawl 1999.

    Who can you trust?

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
    Tonight's opening video package recounted the problems between World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and his upcoming opponent, Sting.

    Basically, both Hogan and Lex Luger were trying to get in Sting's ear and convince him that the other one couldn't be trusted.

    Would Sting be able to trust good guy Hulk Hogan who had previously been engaged in a notoriously long war with The Stinger back in 1997? Or would he be able to trust Luger, his long-time friend who had a proven track record of turning on him?

    Only time would tell.

    Or maybe the announcers would, as it was to them that we went next.

    Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan told us all about Sting's troubles with Hogan and Sting before running down some of the other matches on tonight's card, including our opening contest.

    This led us to a quick video package detailing the rivalry that Vampiro & The ICP had with Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman, and Rey Mysterio Jr.

    That match was next.

    Vampiro & The Insane Clown Posse (Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope) vs. Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman, and Rey Mysterio Jr.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Vampiro and the ICP faced the Filthy Animals
    Last month, at Road Wild 1999, these two opened the show with a pretty fun contest. Tonight, they didn't quite live up to the standards they'd set back at the height of summer. There was far too much stalling in the early going and something about it just didn't quite click the same way.

    Still, this was by no means a bad match.

    The Insane Clown Posse - while hardly the next Brain Busters- were better pro wrestlers than you might have imagined, and they worked well with Vampiro, Guerrero, Kidman and Rey to put on a solid opener that got better the longer it went on.

    After a good 15 minutes of action, Kidman hit the shooting star press to pick up the three.
    Your Winners: Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr.

    Out in Internet Location, some random guy wanted to know if The Revolution could have a clean sweep in their matches tonight, but Saturn was more interested in how he could download photos of The Nitro Girls.

    World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
    WCW Cruiserweight Champion Lenny Lane (w/ Lodi) vs. Kaz Hayashi

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Lenny Lane and Lodi - The West Hollywood Blondes
    Prior to the match, we got a look back at Lenny Lane's new team with Lodi and how he managed to upset Rey Mysterio Jr. for the title. At the same time, Kaz Hayashi had been on a roll, and even beat Lane in a non-title match, earning his title shot championship opportunity tonight and having the notable distinction of being the first Japanese wrestler in WCW history not to be managed by Sonny Onoo.

    That's a joke by the way before you leave comments.

    Like the previous outing, this one got better the longer it went on.

    To begin with, Lenny's gay gimmick got in the way of him doing anything meaningful with his opponent, but when they finally got on to some proper wrestling, they turned in a decent, though hardly spectacular matchup which saw the champ retain thanks to interference from Lodi.
    Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Lenny Lane

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Sting
    Up next, Mean Gene Okerlund was out in the ring for an interview with Sting. Ever the charismatic superstar, The Stinger was none too happy with Lex Luger and insisted that he and The Total Package were close to having no friendship whatsoever.

    Sting then revealed that he had no problem at all with Hulk Hogan until they got in the ring, at which point he would try to take Hogan's title and become the nine-time champion.

    The whole segment was pretty short and to the point, but Sting was very entertaining here and the crowd, naturally, loved him.

    No Disqualification Match
    The First Family (Hugh Morrus & Brian Knobbs w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Revolution (Shane Douglas &  Dean Malenko)

    It's rare that I ever say this about a Dean Malenko match, but boy was this terrible.

    Both teams started off brawling on the outside, which made sense for a No DQ match, but then they took to the ring and got on with a normal tag match, complete with Malenko standing on the outside while his partner got his ass handed to him when he could have just dove in there and helped him out.

    For the rest of the match nothing, and I mean nothing, happened that justified the no disqualification stipulation. In fact, it's fair to say that nothing of any interest happened at all.

    This was dull, messy and boring. The only good thing about it was that it ended.
    Your Winners: The First Family

    Prior to the next match, we saw that Rick Steiner and Perry Saturn didn't like each other. This was convenient since they'd now be competing for the TV title.

    World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
    WCW World TV Champion Rick Steiner vs. Perry Saturn.

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Rick Steiner defended the TV title against Perry Saturn
    You know, I started Retro Pro Wrestling as a fun little hobby, but watching WCW really makes it feel like work.

    This was not a good match. Saturn tried, but Rick Steiner blatantly didn't give a damn about things, and neither did the announcers.

    Instead, they took a verbal detour to tell us that Buff Bagwell had not arrived for his match against Berlyn and a substitute wrestler would take his place. They also told us that the referees and announcers were wearing black armbands as a mark of respect for the recent passing of Brian 'Mark Curtis' Hillibrand.

    Back to the match, Steiner made the whole thing look like garbage then eventually won. It was atrocious.
    Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Rick Steiner

    Out in the back, Mean Gene wanted to know if Sting could trust Hulk Hogan.

    Hulkster answered in the affirmative, insisting that he had made a promise to his kids that he was walking on the right side of the law and that he was going to beat Sting fair and square, with no shady goings-on.

    Berlyn (w/ The Wall) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Berlyn w/ The Wall faced Hacksaw Jim Duggan
    Sigh, let's get this one over with.

    Hacksaw Jim Duggan was in this match because, rather than being 'late', Buff Bagwell had, in real-life, actually refused to job to Berlyn.

    So whilst the novelty of having Evil German Berlyn (Alex Wright with a new gimmick) going up against Ultra-American Jim Duggan was kinda fun, that novelty value quickly wore off.

    Hacksaw spent the first few minutes no-selling all of Berlyn's offence. The two then spent the next couple of minutes sat on the mat doing nothing before toppling to the outside, where The Wall clotheslined Duggan out of his boots, causing more damage with that one move than Berlyn had done the entire match.

    Inside the ring, Berlyn hit a Rude Awakening and picked up a win which was met with absolute silence.
    Your Winner: Berlyn

    Out in the back, Buff Bagwell had finally 'arrived' and was trying to get Mike Graham to reformat the show so he could wrestle.

    After being told to be on time 'for once in your life,' Bagwell rushed to the ring to embrace Duggan but was pushed off by a beat-up Hacksaw.

    I'll remind you that Buff was the babyface here.

    He looked like an idiot.

    World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
    WCW World Tag Team Champions The West Texas Rednecks (Barry & Kendal Windham w/ Curt Hennig) vs. Harlem Heat (w/ Booker T & Stevie Ray)

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Stevie Ray
    You know, after being totally burned out by the last couple of matches, it was really, really hard to get excited about anything Harlem Heat and The West Texas Rednecks did here.

    That's probably because they didn't do very much at all, but even when they were trying -and I mean, really, really trying- it was a struggle to enjoy this one.

    After what felt like the longest time ever, Booker hit the missile dropkick and Harlem Heat won the tag team titles for the second PPV in a row.
    Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat

    Up next, we got a hype video for our upcoming US title match in which Sid Justice went on a dominant winning streak and promised to destroy Chris Benoit for the US title.

    World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
    WCW United States Champion Chris Benoit vs. Sid Vicious

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Sid Vicious faced Chris Benoit for the US title
    It says a lot about your show when a match involving a beat up Sid Vicious is one of the best things on it.

    To be fair, almost everything good about this match was thanks to Benoit, how hard he worked and just how universally loved by the live crowd he was.

    Not that his unwavering popularity did him any favours here.

    Despite finding a number of ways to ground Sid, it was ultimately The Millenium Man who went 80-0 and became your new US champion after a pretty decent outing.
    Your winner and NEW US Champion: Sid Vicious

    Next, we got a video package of DDP threatening to kick Goldberg's teeth in and Goldberg replying by threatening to rip Page's throat out.

    Diamond Dallas Page vs. Goldberg

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - DDP faced Goldberg
    Could Goldberg and DDP recapture the magic they created back at Halloween Havoc 1998 in a match that Dallas famously made pages upon pages of plans for?

    Not quite, but this was still a pretty fun bout between the two.

    Page had his whole cocky, cowardly heel thing down to perfection by this stage, at one point taking to the mic and threatening to leave if the crowd didn't stop chanting for Goldberg. Naturally, they blew the roof off the place.

    The actual in-ring action was as good as you were going to get from these two and made for an enjoyable showing.

    In the end, The Jersey Triad ran out and bashed Goldberg over the head with an International Object which looked to be made of glass and caused a nasty cut on his neck. Undeterred, Goldberg clotheslined Bam Bam Bigelow and Kanyon out of their boots, then smashed DDP with both a spear and Jackhammer to win the match.
    Your Winner: Goldberg

    There's 21 minutes left on this show and only one more match.

    Look, I enjoy Hulk Hogan as a character, but a 20-minute Hogan match in 1999? Please say it isn't so.

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

    WCW Fall Brawl 1999 - Hulk Hogan defended the WCW title against Sting
    Well, this was garbage.

    In a match that went way too long, Sting got his ass beat by Hogan at the slowest, most tedious pace possible.

    After several minutes of awfulness, Diamond Dallas Page ran in and hit Hogan with a Running Turd Breaker that looked like a crappy version of the Diamond Cutter. He draped Sting's arm over Hogan but Hogan kicked out, so Page hit the referee with another Diamond Cutter that was only slightly better than the first.

    Then Bret Hart came down to beat up Hogan and Lex Luger came down also. As Hogan dealt with the dastardly Luger, Sting grabbed a baseball bat which he eventually hit Hogan with.

    This was supposed to be Sting's big heel turn, but the crowd loved it.

    Sting then hit the Scorpion death lock and became your new nine-time WCW champion.
    Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

    Post-match, Sting and Luger embraced, revealing that they'd been in cahoots the whole time.





    I rarely get angry these days, but having sat through that atrocity of a show, I actually feel my blood boiling.

    The first couple of matches were pretty decent and things picked up a little towards the end before taking an absolute nosedive in the main event.

    Seriously, do yourself a favour and avoid this one like the plague.



    1999 events reviewed so far
    Other WCW Fall Brawl reviews
    1. WCW Fall Brawl 1996
    2. WCW Fall Brawl 1997
    3. WCW Fall Brawl 1998
      Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.


      Thursday, 1 August 2019

      PPV REVIEW: WCW Road Wild 1999

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Event poster
      August 14, 1999
      Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

      To be fair to World Championship Wrestling, the company had managed to get quite a lot of mileage (literally and figuratively) out of what had started as an excuse for Eric Bischoff to ride his motorbike for a bit.

      From the inaugural Hog Wild event in 1996 which saw a newly-heel Hollywood Hogan defeat The Giant and bring the World Championship into the nWo, to the highly criticised in-ring debut of TV host Jay Leno at the 1998 event (via a forced name change to Road Wild courtesy of Harley Davidson's lawyers), the company's annual visit to Sturgis may not have delivered many five-star classics, but certainly created many a memorable moment.

      Now, however, Bischoff's Road Wild creation was soon to be put to bed for good.

      With his time at the top reaching an end, the mastermind of World Championship Wrestling's most successful period in history once again saddled up and rode into South Dakota for what proved to be the final Road Wild PPV in history.






      Let's head to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to see what went down.

      Hulk Hogan is Back!

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
      We started our show tonight with a confusing video which basically told us that tonight we would see Kevin Nash challenging Hulk Hogan for the World Heavyweight Championship.

      In the few short weeks since Bash at the Beach 1999, Hogan had not only returned to the company after a lengthy absence, not only beat Nash for the title but also ditched the Hollywood gimmick and returned back to the traditional red and yellow.

      This video glossed over all of that and focused primarily on Nash and Hogan hitting each other with chairs.

      None of it made any sense. Then again, this was 1999 WCW, so you could probably say that about anything.

      Heading live to Sturgis, cameras panned the sea of fans before got to the annual embarrassment of seeing Tony Schiavone doing his best impression of a biker he once saw on an early-90s sitcom.

      Joined, as ever, by Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, Schiavone put over tonight's main event. Again, all three announcers totally overlooked the fact that Hogan was back to being a babyface, which was a pretty big deal at the time.

      They also sent us to a second video package, this one even more confusing than the first one.

      You sort of got the idea that The Filthy Animals didn't like Vampiro (and that the feeling was mutual), but the whole thing looked as though it had been edited by a 12-year-old with ADHD, so you really couldn't tell why, or what Eddie Guerrero, Raven and the Insane Clown Posse had to do with it.

      Hopefully, we'd get some answers in our next match, as it looked to be the culmination of whatever bewildering story WCW had just tried to tell us.

      Six Man Tag
      The Dead Pool (Vampiro, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J w/ Raven) vs. Eddie Guerrero, Kidman, and WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr.

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
      You know, this is the first WCW PPV featuring an Eddie Guerrero match since Bash at the Beach 1998 and man, what a comeback it was for the former leader of the Latino World Order.

      If you're anything like me, your first instinct may have been to let out an audible groan at the mere mention of the Insane Clown Posse. Thankfully, the contributions of Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J were kept to a minimum here and, when they did get involved, they -surprisingly- didn't suck.

      OK, so those contributions were really only suplexes, punches and kicks, but the rappers played their parts well and left Vampiro to do the bulk of the work.

      That work saw him mostly interact with Eddie and Rey Mysterio Jr., both of whom took turns at playing the face-in-peril and who, along with Kidman, shone brightly throughout the match.

      All of this combined to make a really enjoyable opening contest with nary a dull moment in sight.

      The end came when Vampiro accidentally kicked Violent J, then was pulled into a brawl on the outside. That gave Kidman the chance to hit the Shooting Star Press and pick up the win for his team.
      Your Winners: Eddie Guerrero, Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr.

      Up next, a recap from recent Nitros told us that Harlem Heat had reformed and were now feuding with The Jersey Triad for the tag team titles. The two teams would face off next.

      World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
      WCW Tag Team Champions The Jersey Triad (Bam Bam Bigelow & Kanyon) vs. Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray and Booker T)

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow of The Jersey Triad
      Funny lols to start with as Bam Bam Bigelow's tag team title fell off his waist and dropped to the floor. Kanyon then took to the mic and vowed that he wasn't going to do his usual 'Who's better than Kanyon?' routine because the Sturgis crowd couldn't possibly be as dumb as they looked. I wasn't sure as to the logic on that one, but there you go.

      Pre-match shenanigans aside, once Booker T and Stevie Ray got in the ring, they ended up having a good, solid match with the champions.

      Somewhat surprisingly, given that he was the biggest man in the match, Stevie Ray played the face-in-peril as Kanyon and Bigelow proved themselves to be a capable team which this fan would have liked to have seen enjoy a longer run.

      Naturally, Booker popped the crowd huge when he finally got the hot tag and cleaned house, a moment which proved to be the highlight of a pretty entertaining contest.

      Towards the finish, Diamond Dallas Page ran out to help his teammates but Harlem Heat sent Bam Bam crashing into him. Booker then hit Bigelow with a top rope dropkick, Stevie made the three count, and we had new, eight-time tag team champions.
      Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Harlem Heat

      Between the matches, we got a recap of the rivalry between Saturn and Curt Hennig which, on a larger scale, extended to a feud between The West Texas Rednecks and The Revolution.

      We weren't actually told why the two sides disliked each other, jus that they did and would face off next.

      Six Man Tag
      The West Texas Rednecks (Curt Hennig, Barry Windham, and Bobby Duncum Jr. w/ Kendal Windham) vs. The Revolution (Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Shane Douglas)

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - West Texas Rednecks
      This was an interesting one to watch because it actually started out pretty good, but then got sloppier, and increasingly more tedious the longer it went on.

      Although not the longest match on the card, you got the idea that if they'd shaved a few minutes off it, they could have tightened things up and kept it as fun to watch as it was in the opening moments.

      Instead, things gradually disintegrated into a clusterf**k finish in the midst of which Saturn was able to hit a Death Valley Driver and pick up the three count.
      Your Winners: The Revolution

      Post-match, The West Texas Rednecks tried to beat up their opponents some more, but Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko and Saturn saw them off.

      Ernest 'The Cat' Miller (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Buff Bagwell

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller and Sonny Onoo
      The only thing more ridiculous than the sight of Ernest Miller and Sonny Onoo dressed in biker gear is The Cat's WWE Network theme which, as I never fail to mention, sounds terrible.

      Once he got in the ring, Miller attempted to goad the crowd but was quickly and loudly drowned out by the sound of that same crowd revving the engines of their motorcycles.

      Buff Bagwell eventually made his way out and spent the first minute or so of this match going back and forth on the microphone with his opponent to really get the fans fired up.

      When Bagwell took the mic, the crowd cheered then hushed to let him speak. Whenever Miller took it, the crowd turned up the noise to drown him out, prompting the karate champion to take a walk around ringside and yell at them.

      That was the best thing about this match. The actual wrestling may not have been much to write home about, but both men proved themselves to be experts in getting a strong reaction from the live audience. That in itself, more than any of the actual moves that they did, made this one worth watching.

      After a passable contest, they pretty much repeated the ending from the earlier tag team title match. Sonny Onoo got up on the apron, Buff reversed an Irish whip and sent Miller crashing into him, then rolled up his opponent and got the pin.
      Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

      Afterwards, Onoo and The Cat beat up -and then mocked- Buff.

      We then got a recap of the rivalry between Chris Benoit and Diamond Dallas Page

      World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship No Disqualification Match
      WCW United States Champion Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Diamond Dallas Page faced Chris Benoit for the US title
      Prior to the bell, two-time, two-time, two-time world champion DDP promised to become a three-time, three-time, three-time US champion. He then apologised to Chris Benoit for talking trash about Benoit's mother before doing it again anyway, implying that Mrs Benoit was a phone sex worker.

      Page was compelling on the mic, but you got the distinct feeling that the crowd were paying no attention to him whatsoever.

      What they were paying attention to was the match itself, which was almost as good as you could expect from Page and Benoit. I say almost because the two had put on a superior match -which also involved Raven- back at Uncensored 1998. Yet while this failed to match the quality of that one, it was still the best match on the card so far.

      As the final minutes began ticking down, Kanyon and Bigelow ran in to help DDP, but since they were the good guys, Benoit's teammates in The Revolution hung back, watching the match on a monitor and letting Chris deal with things himself.

      Deal with them he did, somehow managing to take out all three men before retaining his title thanks to his top rope headbutt.
      Your Winner and Still United States Champion: Chris Benoit

      Post-match, The Revolution ran down to congratulate the champ. Benoit, Douglas, and Saturn all tried talking to the camera at the same time which was awkward and messy.

      Let's Give Away a Bike

      Speaking of awkward...

      The show's sponsor, American Iron Horse were giving away a custom WCW motorcycle in a prize draw. Some guy who apparently worked for WCW but who nobody had ever heard of tried to host the segment but did a terrible job of it, at one point asking for "the envelope, please" after it had already been given to him.

      Some guy called Darnell from Cleveland, Ohio won it, which Bobby Heenan thought was the funniest thing in the world. You could clearly hear The Brain laughing his arse off most of the way through the segment and afterwards.

      Though I'm not sure what was so funny about it, I'd love to find out what happened to that bike.

      Sid Vicious vs. Sting

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Sid Vicious faced Sting
      Before this match, we got another one of WCW's strange video packages that gave no context whatsoever. Sure, we learned that Sting and Sid Vicious had beef, but we never really understood why.

      The match itself wasn't the worst thing ever, but it was certainly the worst thing on the card up to this point. Some people were able to get a really good match out of Sid but, as talented as he might have been, Sting was sadly not one of those people.

      As such, we got a match that seemed clumsy and half-arsed.

      At one point, Sting went to throw Sid into the crowd, but because there was barely any room and the bikers were trying to keep Sid's big legs from kicking their bikes, it just looked terrible.

      Later, Sid was down and Sting went to run the ropes, only for Sid to trip him up. It was a simple move that didn't even look like it was entirely on purpose, but the announcers sold it like Vicious had just busted out a Canadian Destroyer.

      It was dumb.

      After a bunch of minutes of lacklustre action, 'Millenium Man' Sid Vicious struck a chokeslam to keep his recent undefeated streak alive.
      Your Winner: Sid Vicious

      As the sun set over Sturgis, we were taken back to Nitro to learn that Rick Steiner and Goldberg hated each other and would be competing next.

      Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Rick Steiner vs. Bill Goldberg
      There's no way of getting around it:

      This was horrible.

      If you ever wanted to see five minutes of Rick Steiner lazily hitting Goldberg with Goldberg's own knee brace, followed by Goldberg himself making a miracle comeback, hitting a spear and a jackhammer then getting the fall, then this is the match for you.

      Otherwise, just trust me that this was absolutely awful and let's move on with our lives, shall we?
      Your Winner: Goldberg.

      Ah, Goldberg. Remember when you were the hottest thing in wrestling?

      Dennis Rodman vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Macho Man Randy Savage faced Dennis Rodman
      It's been a good five minutes since I finished watching this match and I've still no idea how to adequately describe the absolute nonsensical mess that I've just seen.

      Prior to the match, we were shown a clip from Nitro in which Dennis Rodman basically kidnapped Savage's valet, Gorgeous George. In an in-ring promo, Savage then said he was bringing someone to Sturgis to protect her, insisting that not only was this protector the baddest man on the planet but that he was also the mystery man who drove the hummer in Savage's recent feud with Kevin Nash.

      If you were expecting a surprise appearance from someone here, forget about it. This mystery man was never mentioned again for the whole match.

      Instead, Rodman staggered to ringside looking stoned out of his mind and wanted to know where "his bitch" (Gorgeous George) was at.

      "You're MY bitch tonight," replied Savage, inviting the Sturgis crowd to take 'sloppy seconds' afterwards.

      Rodman then demanded that Savage meet him outside the ring because "I DO ALL MY SHIT OUTSIDE", but immediately contradicted himself by rolling into the ring.

      After about a minute of sloppy action, Rodman beat up the referee. In any other match, that would be a DQ, but this was WCW, so another referee came out and acted as nothing had happened. Savage beat that guy up, putting us on referee number three, before going outside and beating up a cameraman. He then took the camera and waffled Rodman with it.

      "This is horrible," said Schiavone. He was absolutely right.

      The match then went outside and into the backstage area despite not being a Falls Count Anywhere match. The referee decided to ignore the count-out rule that had been a part of pro wrestling since time immemorial and simply followed the two combatants.

      Out in the back, Savage dumped Rodman into a porta potty then tipped it over. All kinds of crap leaked out, which was probably a perfect metaphor for this match.

      Eventually, they made it back into the ring for another ref bump and a short nap for Savage and Rodman. At this point, Gorgeous George ran out, handed Savage a chain to wrap around his fist and then hit Dennis with a low blow. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Savage pummelled Rodman with a chain-wrapped fist and won this utter abomination.
      Your Winner: Randy Savage

      Macho Man is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time but, my God, that was embarrassing. I almost want to recommend you watch that match just to see how truly atrocious it really was.

      Finally, it was time for our main event.

      Retirement Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
      WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash

      Winner becomes champion, loser retires from pro wrestling.

      WCW Road Wild 1999 - Hulk Hogan defended the WCW title against Kevin Nash
      I get that there will be people who hate this match, but personally, I thought it was a lot of fun to see old-school '80s Hogan doing his stuff at the turn of the millennium.

      Though it was very slow in parts, you got the feeling that Hogan was trying at times to replicate his classic Wrestlemania 3 battle with Andre and, for the most part, it worked.

      Towards the finish, Nash was in control and hit Hogan with his jackknife. Hogan kicked out, hulked up, and one big leg later, ended Kevin Nash's career...kinda.
      Your Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan

      Nash would take the rest of summer off and return in October of that year, but for now, he simply lay around while the red and yellow rode high in Sturgis and Hogan celebrated his big victory.





      And so, the Road Wild chapter of WCW's turbulent history ended on a bit of a whimper. As I said at the beginning, this show never had a history of producing really good matches, so at least you can say that it lived up to its reputation here, but that's not necessarily a good thing.

      Save for the novelty factor of seeing old-school Hogan in the main event, this show really did get worse as it went on.

      Honestly, you won't be missing much if you give this one a miss, though I am still tempted to suggest that you check out Savage/Rodman because I don't believe that I've been able to do justice to just what a farcical mess that whole thing was.

      1999 events reviewed so far
      Other WCW Road Wild events


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      Thursday, 18 July 2019

      WCW Christmas Brawl (1996) Album - A Track by Track Review

      WCW Christmas Brawl 1996 CD album review - track by track

      In 1996, the superstars of WCW went to Germany for their Christmas Brawl 1996 tour. The four-date jaunt was almost entirely devoid of star power, featuring matches like Public Enemy vs. American Males (more of whom later) and Glacier vs. Mortis.

      From an in-ring standpoint, the sole highlight looks to have been an Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit match, though for fans of Germany's own Alex Wright, perhaps the real highlight was seeing their fellow countryman in the main event, tagging with Lex Luger to face Harlem Heat.

      Make no mistake about it, Das Wunderkind was sold as the star attraction of this tour, which explains why he not only headlined but also took pride of place on the cover of Christmas Brawl Theme Songs.

      For the unfamiliar, Christmas Brawl was a collection of ten WCW themes penned by Jimmy Hart and JJ McGuire, the same virtuosos responsible for Hulk Hogan's Wrestling Boot Band.






      The CD was only available on the tour itself or via mail order from Germany's World of Wrestling fan club, making it a pretty rare item back in the day.

      Today, however, we have YouTube, which means copyright laws be damned, we get to go on a track-by-track treck through this forgotten treasure.

      1: American Males 

      "American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, "



      If there's one theme on this album which really needs no introduction, it's this one.

      The theme music for Scotty Riggs & Marcus Bagwell is as famous in the pro wrestling community as the It's Still Real to Me guy or El Dandy being a jam up guy.

      And so it deserves to be.

      OK, so American Males isn't exactly Stairway to Heaven, but it's a damn catchy song by all accounts and one of the most fun things to come out of the Hart/McGuire hit factory.

      Sing it with me now!

      American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males, American Males....

      2: Disco Inferno - Disco Fever 

      "Disco Fever, Disco Fever, Disco Fever, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"



      Hart & McGuire really didn't hold back when it came to showing off their lyrical prowess, did they?

      Not unlike American Males, this one may not have been a masterpiece but was still a fun little number and did at least add a major component to the character of Disco Inferno.

      Sure, the dancing fool was never positioned as a major star in World Championship Wrestling, but he was vastly underrated in the ring and even more underrated as an entertaining character.

      His matches against Juventud Guerrera and Billy Kidman back at Halloween Havoc 1998 were some of his finest moments, and there were few people better at playing the deluded coward.

      As for this track, it's every bit as enjoyable as Disco himself.

      3: The Public Enemy - We Like to Party

      "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, rock it like hell make it sound like heaven. // Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, come on everybody, let's have some fun!"



      We Like to Party can't decide whether it wants to be Ini Kamoze's Here Comes the Hotstepper or Tag Team's Whoomp There it Is. It ends up being a hot mess of both, which might have worked if this were 1992 but otherwise just sounds dated and kind of cheesy.

      This is especially true when you consider that The Public Enemy famously came from ECW. We Like to Party basically strips them of anything that might have been cool about TPE and turns them into the white version of Men on a Mission.

      4: Jimmy Hart - We're Still Rocking

      "We love those oldies but goodies"



      To be honest, I'm not sure if The Mouth of the South ever actually used this as a theme song or if he just included it here as an exercise in self-indulgence.

      This is basically an old-school rock 'n' roll song in which Hart pays tribute to the stars of the 1960s, including his own group, The Gentrys.

      As songs go this one is fairly inoffensive, but it has that patented Jimmy Hart cheese about it that means you just know you're never going to hear it anywhere outside of the world of professional wrestling.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of The Colonel, but this rockin' little ode to the past does nothing for me.

      5: Alex Wright - A Heartbeat Away 

      Pull yourself together, girl // it's time to step up in the world, I'll help you get on your feet / and something something feel the heat!




      American Males may be the most famous WCW theme to appear on this album, but it's arguable that Heartbeat Away is the one thing the album itself is best known for.

      An effort to make Alex Wright a mainstream star, this bizarre track sees him rapping -badly- over the kind of Europop that had been popular in the region about five years earlier.

      Honestly, it sounds a lot like Ace of Base, which would be fine in itself if the terrible production values didn't make it sound less like an Ace of Base hit single and more like something they left on their demo tape.

      That's the weirdest thing about Heartbeat Away. Though some of the writing may be questionable, the production quality of Christmas Brawl has so far been incredibly high. Most of these songs sound very well produced, but this one sounds like Wright recorded his vocals on a Dictaphone and simply played them over the top of the music.

      6: Nasty Boys - We're The Boys 

      "Everybody talks but we know talk is cheap // If you mess with the boys we'll rearrange your teeth!"



      OK, so it's a corny, mid-90s pro wrestling theme that you'd never admit to having on your Spotify playlist in a million years, but despite that, We're the Boys is a very fun song and actually one of the best things on the album.

      Much like they did with almost every track on Hulk Rules, Hart & McGuire rework the basic structure they had for Owen Hart's WWF theme, adding a simple guitar riff while Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags rant and rave about how nasty they are.

       It's a joy to listen to... in private...without telling anybody ever.

      7: Chris Jericho / Brian Pillman - California sun

      "I like 'em hot, I like 'em cold // I like 'em young, I like 'em old // Blondes have more fun"



      Speaking of recycled ideas from Hulk Rules. This song appeared on that album as Bad to the Bone, albeit with different lyrics.

      Here, it crops up as a song called California Sun attributed to Chris Jericho, even though we all know it better as Blondes Have More Fun, Brian Pillman's song.

      Pillman had already left WCW by this stage, so either there were plans for Jericho to use it, or Hart just wanted to get this song on the album and had to give it to a then-current WCW wrestler.

      The song itself is, you know, OK, but it kind of sounds like the sort of thing that should be used for an early 90s sitcom about high school students, like if they did a Zach Morris spin-off, you could imagine this being the theme to it.

      8: Diamond Dallas Page - Self High-Five 

      "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend "  "DDP, Tooo cool, etc, etc" 



      Whether it was Rick Steiner's Welcome to the Jungle or Raven's Come As You Are, WCW were never shy about ever-so-slightly tweaking famous rock songs and passing them off as their own themes.

      The most popular example of this, of course, is Diamond Dallas Page's version of the Nirvana classic, Smells Like Teen Spirit. 

      In the age of the WWE Network, when Self High-Five has been dubbed over with something far more generic, there's a danger that this track will one day be forgotten about altogether.

      Yet for those of us who lived through The Monday Night Wars this remains one of the most memorable themes of that era.

      Hard, edgy and full of energy, there was nothing better for getting you absolutely fired up and ready to see DDP in action.

      9: Konan - Konan's Theme 

      "Aw yeah, and ya don't stop!"



      Poor Konan. Whereas everyone else got a cool title for their theme song, he just got plain old Konan's Theme.

      Still, there's nothing plain or old about this, it's actually a pretty good track and a surprise highlight of the album, featuring K-Dogg spitting his self-penned lyrics over a fairly solid hip hop number.

      Like Heartbeat Away, the production values leave a lot to be desired here, but if you can overlook that, Konan's theme is good stuff.

      10: Taskmaster - Taskmaster 

      "haha! haha! mwahahaha! mwahahahahahahah!"



      And so it finally comes down to this - two and a half minutes of maniacal laughter and creepy sounds that comes across like something you'd find playing in the background at a haunted house attraction.

      It's an odd choice of track to include on this album since most of the others are actual songs whereas this is more atmospheric noise.

      It's not bad, and it's perfectly suited for Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan and his Dungeon of Doom stable, but it's no American Males, that's for sure.




      For a promotional merchandise item tied into a four-day tour headlined by Alex Wright, Christmas Brawl 1996 is a surprisingly good little release. OK, so a lot of the songs are kind of cheesy by today's standards, but this is an album that is was definitely of its time, and though it may not have aged well, it's still a lot of fun to listen to. 

      I'm sorry, what I mean to say is...American Males, American Males, American...ah, you get it.


      Thanks for reading. If you're looking for more pro wrestling album reviews, you might enjoy: 
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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.