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, 17 September 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Greed 2001

WCW Greed - Event poster
March 18, 2001
Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida

In some respects, it's entirely fitting that the final ever World Championship Wrestling Pay Per View was titled Greed.

For years, stories of bloated egos and excessive contracts had followed WCW through the good times and bad and, with the benefit of hindsight, many were quick to point to such excess as one of the many reasons why the company eventually went under.

Still, after years of mismanagement, awful booking and something called a Doomsday Cage Match, at least WCW were going out on a high.

OK, so they were never going to recapture the magic of their mid-90s, nWo-fuelled glory days, but over the course of the last few months of their existence, their on-screen product was getting consistently better.

Don't just take my word for it, however. Let's go to Jacksonville, Florida for Greed, the last WCW PPV ever.







Last Man Standing

Since becoming World Heavyweight Champion, Scott Steiner had not only defeated everybody who stood in his way but had sent most of them packing from WCW altogether.

Sting, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, Sid Vicious, they were all gone thanks to Big Poppa Pump. Even Booker T had been on something of a hiatus after falling victim to the Steiner Recliner.

Now, only one man remained:

Diamond Dallas Page.

Cutting a promo in our opening video, Page hyped his upcoming title match, ending by saying "Tonight, Scott Steiner's gonna get banged."

Ahem.

We got the usual crowd shots and greeting from Scott Hudson and Tony Schiavone, the latter of whom welcomed us to "the first-ever Greed."

Oh Tony, nice try.

Kwee Wee vs. Jason Jett

WCW Greed 2001 - Kwee Wee battled Jason Jett
Formerly known as EZ Money in ECW, Jason Jett had only debuted in WCW that week (they were seriously still hiring?) and had made such a big impression they thrust him into a PPV opener with Kwee Wee.

As openers go, this was a lot of fun even if it was a little sloppy in places.

Jett had some cool offence and both men seemed to work hard which made the whole thing pretty enjoyable.

OK, so there was one potentially hazardous spot where Kwee Wee reversed a top-rope powerbomb into a 'rana and looked in danger of landing on his neck, but otherwise, there was a lot to like about this.

After a good back-and-forth battle, Jett hit his 'Crash Landing' finisher to score the three count.
Your Winner: Jason Jett

Up next, we got a look at a recent tournament to crown new WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions. Fair play to WCW for still trying to do something creative at this stage of the game.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship
Kid Romeo & Elix Skipper vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman

WCW Greed 2001 - Kid Romeo and Elix Skipper beat Kidman & Rey Mysterio to become Cruiserweight tag team champions
And fair play to everyone involved in this one for working hard to deliver a quality match even though this whole Cruiserweight tag team division never got a chance to launch.

Like the earlier singles match, this was far from flawless but had some entertaining spots and a good energy to it that made it an enjoyable watch.

Following a riveting contest, Kid Romeo caught Rey Mysterio Jr. coming off the ropes and slammed him headfirst into the mat like he wanted him dead.

One three count later and the first Cruiserweight tag team champions were crowned.
Your Winners and NEW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions: Kid Romeo & Elix Skipper

Mysterio and Kidman would actually win the titles on the final Nitro but then we’d never hear of those belts again.

Everybody is On Drugs

WCW Greed 2001 - Ric Flair acted like he was on all the cocaine in the world at this show
Backstage, Buff Bagwell revealed that he had hired his own camera crew then took them into a room to chat with Ric Flair, Jeff Jarrett and Road Warrior Animal.

Everyone spoke at a thousand miles an hour like they’d just taken all the cocaine in the world so it was hard to make out what they were talking about, but it pretty much came down to ‘our group is the best and we’ll win our matches tonight.’

A flashback to Nitro then showed us that Stacy Kiebler had now had her baby after she discovered that she was pregnant back at New Blood Rising. Not only was she back, but she had also aligned herself with Shawn Stasiak.

Shawn ‘The Star’ Stasiak (w/ Stacy Keibler) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

WCW Greed 2001 - Shawn Stasiak and Stacy Keibler were a thing
Before the match, Stacey introduced us all to what she called ‘The Shawn & Stacey Show,’ and, of course, to the star of that show, Mr Shawn ‘The Star’ Stasiak.

Stasiak then came down doing a narcissist gimmick, referring to himself as a ‘The Mecca of Manhood’ and insisting that all the fans were ‘Bam Bam Bigelow wannabes'.

Stasiak then threw a bunch of 8x10s of himself into the crowd before entering into a mediocre contest with The Beast From The East.

While this certainly wasn’t terrible, coming right after two thrilling Cruiserweight matches really made it feel more boring than it probably was.

After a few minutes of nothing much, Stacey distracted Billy Silverman and tossed her man a can of spray which he used to temporarily blind Bigelow before hitting him with the match-winning neckbreaker.
Your Winner: Shawn Stasiak

Afterward, Stasiak threw more pictures of himself around the place then snogged Kiebler’s face off. That right there was probably the best moment of his career.

Pointless Backstage Stuff

WCW Greed 2001 - Kid Romeo and Prime Time Elix Skipper celebrate backstage
Out in the back, Miss Jones begged Ernest Miller to let her get revenge on Kanyon for whatever it was he’d done to her. The Cat insisted that he be the one to handle it.

Elsewhere in the arena, Kid Romeo and Elix Skipper helped each other strap on their newly-won tag team titles and celebrated by hugging and jumping up and down until it got a little too gay for them and they just shook hands instead.

None of this meant anything or seemed to matter.

A clip then aired to show us the story behind our upcoming Team Canada vs. Hugh Morrus & Konnan match. That story seemed to be ‘a bunch of brawling happened in the ring for no reason.’

Team Canada (Lance Storm & ‘Canadian Killer’ Mike Awesome’ vs. Hugh Morrus & Konnan

WCW Greed 2001 - Lance Storm and Mike Awesome faced Hugh Morrus and Konnan
Before the match, Lance Storm was serious for a minute and declared that he and Mike Awesome were going to win this match and go on to become the tag team champions.

Good luck with that, Lance.

He then called for the Canadian National Anthem but just got Hugh Morrus instead.

Konnan came down a second later and the match was on.

For what it was, this was a decent tag team match, even if it was instantly forgettable.

The end came when Big Mike planted Morrus with a running Awesome Bomb for the win after almost fifteen minutes of solid action.
Your Winners: Team Canada

Out in the back, we saw footage from the security camera in Dusty & Dustin Rhodes’ locker room. This was a nice touch that added a certain sense of realism and got away from the question of ‘why is there a cameraman randomly in the room?’

Anyway, Dustin was getting aggravated that his pops wasn’t getting ready for the match, but The American Dream insisted he was getting ready.

His plan?

To eat 40 burritos that he had delivered to the room on a platter. This would then give him bad gas and he’d rub his ass in Ric Flair’s face.

Dusty Rhodes, ladies and gentlemen. One of the greatest of all time.

Buff’s Documentary

WCW Greed 2001 - Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire
Elsewhere, Buff and his cameraman continued to work on their documentary project.

This time, Buff wanted to talk to Rick Steiner.

First, The Dog-Faced Gremlin insisted he’d make short work of Booker T later on in the show. Then he claimed that his brother Scott would return to ‘normal’ (lol) after he figured out who was messing with him.

Finally, tag team champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire cut a weird promo in which they stood at an angle and addressed somebody off-camera.

‘They say that only the strong survive, and we’re the survivors,’ said Palumbo.

OK then.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero vs. Sugar Shane Helms

WCW Greed 2001 - Chavo Guerrero defended the Cruiserweight title against Shane Helms
These two first met for the title back at WCW Sin, with Guerrero getting the win.

Shane Helms then earned another title shot by beating five other men back at Superbrawl: Revenge.

Since then, he’d left 3 Count and struck out on his own, even adopting his own crew of Nitro Girl dancers called ‘The Sugar Babies.’

The match then got underway and turned into something quite tremendous.

After years of playing goofy comedy and sidekick roles, Chavo had really come into his own as a veteran heel and fighting champion, while Shane Helms impressed more and more with each high profile match.

Together, they delivered a quality match that combined the usual Cruiserweight action with some mat-based technical wrestling and a few genuine ‘holy s**t spots.’

After an excellent battle, Helms reversed Guerrero’s Gory Special attempt into a Vertebraker to capture his first title.
Your Winner and NEW Cruiserweight Champion: Shane Helms

Post-match, a jubilant Sugar Shane celebrated his big victory while the Sugar Babies danced behind him.

Kiss My Ass

Backstage, Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett told the documentary maker that they wouldn’t be kissing Dusty’s ass but the Rhodes men would end up kissing theirs.

We then got pre-recorded comments from Booker T, who warned Rick Steiner to save the drama for his momma.

‘Tonight, Steiner, I’m coming after the US title, a title that has eluded me for eight long years,’ said Booker.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire vs. Totally Buff (Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell)

WCW Greed 2001 - Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire won the tag team titles
Before the bell, Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell cut a long-winded promo in which they first bragged about their accomplishments (multiple championships between them and retiring Bill Goldberg) then admitted that they may have underestimated the tag team champions.

Totally Buff were adamant that they were back on form tonight but they really weren’t.

Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire came down and squashed the veterans in about 30 seconds thanks to a couple of Seanton Bombs.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the pre-match promo lasted longer than the actual match.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire

Out in the back, Scott Steiner finished 102 pull-ups while Midajah counted. In typical Steiner fashion, he then stumbled over a promo in which he declared that DDP was going down.

Back in the ring, Totally Buff continued selling the mugging they’d received from Palumbo & O’Haire, taking forever to get up and get to their feet.

Kanyon vs. The Cat (w/ Miss Jones)

WCW Greed 2001 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller w/ Miss Jones
Before the match, Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller promised to rip ‘that ugly-ass mask’ off Kanyon’s face. Of course, Kanyon wasn’t wearing a mask, it was just his ugly-ass face.

Oh, haha.

Bad jokes aside, this was a gripping contest that was probably one of the best of Miller’s career.

He and Kanyon were given ample time to tell their story and did so in a way that kept the crowd entertained right the way through.

Naturally, it helped that Miller was one of the most popular guys on the roster in WCW’s final days (make of that what you will), and Kanyon was such a convincing heel that the whole thing worked well.

Toward the finish, the referee got knocked out. Kanyon went after Miss Jones but that proved to be his detriment. Cat waffled him with the Feliner and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner: The Cat

Post-match, Kanyon recovered and went on the attack but was seen off by Miller’s underling M.I Smooth, a man once better known as Ice Train.

Out in the back, Buff Bagwell was upset at both Lex Luger for the outcome of their match, and at his camera guy for recording him arguing with The Total Package.

Elsewhere, Dustin Rhodes had to beg his dad not to fart after devouring the world's supply of burritos.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Rick Steiner vs. Booker T

WCW Greed 2001 - Rick Steiner defended the US title against Booker T
It's funny how Rick Steiner was once a part of one of the greatest tag teams in the world but in his last few years with WCW he was lazy and pretty dull.

Like many on the card before him, Booker T worked hard here, but Steiner's insistence on doing as little as possible really hurt what could have been a good match.

Towards the finish, Shane Douglas came out to get revenge on The Dog Faced Gremlin for taking his title off him. He clocked Steiner over the back of the head with a cast.

Booker T hit the Bookend and finally became US champ.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Booker T

Out in the back, Buff Bagwell has been knocked out. Lex Luger hinted that Road Warrior Animal had done it, but Animal decided now was the perfect time to prove what a horrible actor he was and denied everything.

Kiss My Ass Match
Jeff Jarrett & Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Dustin Rhodes & Dusty Rhodes

WCW Greed 2001 - Dusty & Dustin Rhodes
Ric Flair clearly didn’t care about any of this and came dressed for action in a Hawaiian shirt, slacks and dress shoes.

Meanwhile, I can’t figure out if WWE dubbed over Dusty’s actual WCW theme with a bad version of his old polka-dot era WWF theme or if WCW just ripped that theme off like they did with so many others.

When both teams had made their entrances, Ric Flair declared that he wasn’t going to wrestle but then got in his team’s corner to fight, making himself look like an insane idiot in the process.

After four days of stalling -including Road Warrior Animal being sent to the back- the match finally got underway and was entertaining as heck.

That was mostly because Dusty Rhodes was so damn charismatic and fun to watch that he could have strutted around the ring doing nothing for twenty minutes and still made it work.

As it was, he put some effort in and got the crowd pumped up while son Dustin did most of the grunt work.

Speaking of Dustin, he got a fumbled roll-up on the Nature Boy to win the match for his team.
Your Winners: Dustin & Dusty Rhodes

Afterwards, Dusty Rhodes dropped his drawers and rubbed his burrito-stink ass in Jeff Jarrett’s face.

Falls Count Anywhere Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Greed 2001 - Scott Steiner defended the World Heavyweight Championship against DDP
This was a solid main event in which both men showed up to work and delivered, not a classic exactly, but certainly one of WCW's better PPV main events.

The only frustrating part is that they didn't really make a big deal out of the Falls Count Anywhere match apart from one brief trip into the crowd which was a fairly standard part of main event matches around this time period anyway.

When they did get in the crowd, there was a kid on crutches and as soon as you saw him, you knew he'd been put there specifically so that the wrestlers could use those crutches.

Sure enough, each crutch got broken over a wrestler's back then, as Page and Steiner continued to wrestle, you could see the same kid just walking around fine. It was dumb but pretty funny.

Back in the ring, we got a brief run-in from Rick Steiner before a beaten and bloody DDP fell -like so many stars before him- to the Steiner Recliner.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: Scott Steiner

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was your last WCW PPV match in history.







Amazingly, WCW were so close to getting fully back on track creatively in their final days. Sure, a lot of the backstage stuff was lame, but apart from a few lacklustre encounters, most of the actual in-ring action was solid and entertaining.

The three cruiserweight matches (Jett/Kwee-Wee, the cruiserweight tag titles and Guerrero/Helms) all made the show, while the Dusty Rhodes stuff was a lot of fun.

All in all, a late-era WCW PPV show that was actually worth watching.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
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Thursday, 3 September 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Superbrawl: Revenge (2001)

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Event poster
February 18, 2001 
Nashville Municipal Auditorium,  Nashville, Tennessee.

By far the most frustrating thing about World Championship Wrestling wasn't all the dumb and terrible things they'd done over the years, it was how much better the company started getting towards the end of their run.

Sure, all of that dumb stuff had caused irrevocable harm and there was no way they could ever truly come back from all the damage that had been done, but from a creative stand point at least, WCW were starting to look good again.

Scott Steiner's reign of terror as WCW champion made for intriguing television -if not necessarily excellent matches- as he took credit for taking out all of the company's biggest stars one by one.

The cruiserweight division was getting a second wind with Chavo Guerrero at the top of the hierarchy, and though there was still plenty of WCWness about the whole company, a lot of their more idiotic decisions were behind them.

So, while all of that may have been too little, too late, it did make watching the company's final months far less painful than the torturous ordeal than the task of watching their 1999/2000 efforts.







Don't believe me? Here's what went down when the last ever Superbrawl show came live from Nashville, Tennessee.

Revenge

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Tony Schiavone & Scott Hudson called the event
Tonight’s opening video looked like something straight out of a horror trailer, with a pair of hands clinically cutting out words from a newspaper to form a ransom-style cut-and-paste note.

This being WCW, we never saw what the note said, but as it was being made, words like ‘psycho’ and ‘ego’ flashed on the screen.

Live in the arena, it was fireworks galore and a greeting from Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson as the cameras panned over what was obviously a very small crowd, at least compared to WCW’s heyday.

Animal Hates Kidman for Some Reason

Schiavone and Hudson took us back to the Superbrawl pre-show where Road Warrior Animal inexplicably beat up Billy Kidman for no known reason.

Six-Man, Four-Corners Elimination Match
Evan Karagias vs. Jamie Knoble vs. Yang vs. Kaz Hayashi vs. Shannon Moore vs. Shane Helms

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Shane Helms won the opening match
The backstage attack was just a way to write Kidman out of this match and replace him with Shane Helms.

With the other five competitors in the ring, the announcers speculated who the sixth participant was going to be as if it was ever going to be anybody other than Shane Helms.

Honestly, these six men had opened up a large number of WCW PPVs over the past six months. Sometimes it was in a ladder match such as at Starrcade 2000, other times it was a straight-up three-team tag, but it was always these same six men opening the show in some way other another.

Most of those matches had been exciting, lightning-fast spotfests that were a thrill to watch despite not having much to them beyond lots of interesting flips.

This was more of the same, but it fell short when compared to its predecessors because there was an insane amount of botching going on that made it look sloppy and uncoordinated.

At one point, Yang screwed up three moves in a row and made himself look ridiculous. Fortunately, Jamie Knoble tombstoned him a few seconds later and put him out of his misery.

The final moments came down to Yang’s partner Kaz Hayashi and Shane Helms who, to their credit, gave us the most solid and gripping part of the match.

Helms got the win with a Vertebraker after the better part of 20 minutes, ending a contest which was still pretty good, but spoiled somewhat by all the screw-ups.
Your Winner: Shane Helms

Post-match, the announcers showed us some security camera footage of Chavo Guerrero approaching, and apparently striking a deal with, Road Warrior Animal and Ric Flair.

It was suggested that maybe Animal has taken out Kidman to help Chavo, though quite why that would be nobody knew.

The Misfits Are Over and Its No Laughing Matter

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Hugh Morrus cut a backstage promo on The Wall
In some pre-recorded comments, Hugh Morrus talked about General Rection as if he was a different person.

Morrus had nothing but hatred in his heart after Rection had taken The Wall into the Misfits In Action only for the temporarily named Sgt. AWOL to turn his back on him and join fellow defector, Chavo.

The MIA was over and Morrus wanted revenge.

More Backstage Stuff

My lord, they were back to cramming a thousand ‘tween-match segments into 90 seconds again.

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Ric Flair consults Scott Steiner with Midajah standing by
After the security footage and the Morrus promo, we saw a tuxedo-clad Ric Flair interrupt the shoulder massage that Scot Steiner was getting from Midajah.

Steiner had cut some scathing, obscenity-laden promos against Flair in the past but they were now friends and Flair had an envelope that would help Steiner end Kevin Nash’s career.

Then, Commissioner Lance Storm stopped Kronik as they entered the arena and ordered Bryan Clark to go and get checked over by a doctor before he was cleared to wrestle.

The Wall vs. Hugh Morrus

This started as a fairly enjoyable big-man brawl, but it didn't have enough about it to keep it engaging for very long.

After almost ten minutes, Morrus hit the No Laughing Matter on The Wall to get the win after a mediocre contest.
Your Winner: Hugh Morrus

Morrus hit a second moonsualt after the bell and was surprisingly very over with the live crowd.

Konnan Wants Revenge

Get it? Because the show was called Superbrawl: Revenge so everyone was out for revenge, including Konnan.

He wanted revenge on Flair and Animal for the attack on Kidman, but could only get to Animal, who despite being an all-time legend was now just Flair’s muscle.

The Road Warrior and the K-Dog got into a brawl which was then broken up by security.

A video package followed showing us that the Natural Born Thrillers had broken up after Shawn Stasiak & Mark Jindrak got sick of being the lesser team compared to tag champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire.

There was no mention of where Mike Sanders was in all this.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire vs. Shawn Stasiak & Mark Jindrak

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire
Before the bell, Stasiak got himself some cheap heat by taking to the microphone and insulting the local sports team. He followed this by saying ‘note to self,’ then adding ‘the next time we walk into this town you should all get on your knees and worship the ground we walk on.

That was clearly a note to the audience, not himself, but fair play to the lad for trying.

As the tag champs made their way to the ring, Jindrak revealed a microphone of his own and cut a cringe-inducing promo telling the challengers that they would be the ones to get on their knees when they kissed their asses goodbye.

When the match got underway, it turned out to be a decent outing, albeit a little rushed.

I’ve often thought that if WCW had never gone under and was still active today, we would have seen all four of these men pushed towards the main event eventually.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing or that I necessarily agree with it, but from the way they were portrayed, it seemed kind of inevitable.

Palumbo spent the majority of the match getting his ass beat, which was a bit of a stretch given the size of him, but to be fair, both teams were still relatively new and didn’t have the experience to give us anything that the basic tag team formula.

After a long while, O’Haire got the hot tag, cleaned house and hit a Seanton Bomb on Stasiak for the win.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire

Backstage, Dustin Rhodes claimed that Ric Flair had tried to keep him out of WCW and somehow this meant that Rhodes would now challenge Rick Steiner for the US title.

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

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Rey Mysterio Jr. challenged Chavo Guerrero for the cruiserweight title
No Tygress. Presumedly she was a victim of WCW’s cost-cutting measures.

Also, it’s worth pointing out how badass Chavo’s theme music was. It was basically Eddie Guerrero’s old LWO theme albeit with an awesome lead guitar mixed in.

The music wasn’t the only awesome thing.

As close as you were going to get in 2001 to the great Cruiserweight classics of the mid-90s, this was the best match Rey Mysterio had been involved in for some years, at least since he lost his mask. It was also one of Chavo Guerrero’s finest performances.

At this stage of the game, the best you could usually hope for from a WCW PPV match was that it would be decent, but this was on another level and was probably the best WCW PPV bout since the turn of the millennium, it not before that.

After an enthralling see-saw battle, Guerrero waffled Mysterio with a chair behind the referee’s back then hit a brainbuster to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero

Out in the back, Commissioner Storm warned Brian Adams that Kronik’s match was up right after our US title match. Adams didn’t want to compete without his partner but Storm didn’t care and booked it anyway.

A video package then showed us that Dustin had got this title shot after Kevin Nash held David Flair hostage and demanded it. The video also showed us that Mike Sanders was part of Flair’s stable, so that answers my earlier question.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Rick Steiner vs. Dustin Rhodes

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Rick Steiner defended the US title against Dustin Rhodes
This was OK. Nothing more. It looked as though Dustin was trying hard, but he was in there with Rick Steiner, who hadn’t really tried hard in years.

The good news is that this rather average match didn’t last long. The bad news is that it had almost exactly the same finish as the last match.

In both bouts, the referee stopped the babyface from using a chair which gave the heel a chance to cheat. The only difference was that Chavo used a different chair while Steiner used an exposed turnbuckle, dropping Rhodes face-first into it to win the match.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Rick Steiner

Post-match, Dustin got his Superbrawl: Revenge by propping Steiner in the corner and kicking him swiftly in the bollocks.

Pointless Backstage Stuff

Out in the back, Lance Storm was busy preparing for his match when Ric Flair came and told him to make sure that anybody who wasn’t in their stable was booted out of the arena after their match.

Flair also wanted Storm to ensure that the winner of the upcoming Totally Buff/Kronik match got a tag team title shot.

Across the arena, Storm’s scheduled opponent, Ernest Miller was getting pumped up with Diamond Dallas Page giving him a pep talk and insisting that he had to get the Comissionershio back because Flair had gotten rid of everybody else and now it was down to just the two of them.

Totally Buff (The Total Package Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke)

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell - Totally Buff
Before the match, Totally Buff cut a really long and largely terrible promo in which they spoke for about fifty hours without actually saying anything of note.

The whole promo told us stuff we already knew:

  • They were part of Ric Flair’s stable
  • Bryan Clarke wasn’t cleared to compete.
  • The winners of the match got a tag title shot.

We’d already been told all of this, so why Luger and Bagwell had to spend so long going over it again is anyone’s guess.

Anyway, despite not being cleared to compete, Bryan Clarke seemingly came down to help his partner regardless but was immediately taken out by a Buff Bagwell chair shot.

The rest of the match was a decent though unspectacular handicap match in which Bagwell and Luger mugged Adams until his heroic comeback. It was at that point that Bryan Clarke turned on his partner and drilled him with a German Suplex...

...Except he didn’t really because it was revealed that it was actually Mike Awesome doing a Bryan Clarke cosplay.

One Buff Blockbuster later and this was over.
Your Winners: Totally Buff

Afterwards, the real Bryan Clarke consoled his partner.

The two then went backstage where a Lance Storm ordered that they be thrown out of the building. Security tried to act, but Adams & Clarke destroyed them all.

As we went back to the arena, Schiavone and Hudson told us that Kronik were being ejected and that Konnan and Dustin Rhodes had already been thrown out.

Battle for the WCW Commissionership
WCW Commissioner Lance Storm vs. Ernest Miller (w/ Miss Jones)

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Lance Storm 'If I can be serious for a minute"
It seriously feels as though Ernest Miller spent every single PPV since the turn of the millennium winning and losing the role of WCW Commissioner.

It was only back at WCW Sin that he regained the role for the nine millionth time after beating Mike Sanders but he’d since lost it again to Lance Storm and now had to try and get it back once more.

Before the bell, Lance Storm called himself the greatest technical wrestler in the sport which was surely a dig at Chris Benoit, who the WWF were calling the best technical wrestler.

Before he got to have his Canadian National Anthem played, however, The Cat interrupted him and called him a Power Ranger, which for some reason always makes this fan laugh out loud. The crowd were firmly behind Miller, who was amazingly really over in WCW’s final months.

He was also starting to get better as a wrestler and had perhaps the best PPV match of his career here against Storm. OK, so the bar wasn’t set terribly high to begin with, but this was still a fun little match.

Towards the end, Mike Sanders came out for no reason but got clocked by the ever-lovely Miss Jones.

That reminds me: No Major Gunns here, which is sad for obvious reasons.

While Jones beat up Sanders, Cat cracked Storm with the Feliner and regained the Commissioner role for the second time in as many PPVs.
Your Winner: Ernest Miller

Cat and Miss Jones celebrated after the match with their weird dancing.

After a video for our next match, Schiavone told us that Cat only resumed power at midnight so Ric Flair had him ejected from the building.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kanyon

Of note, DDP was no longer using his Smells Like Teen Spirit theme and had Generic Jobber Theme #5579 instead.

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Jeff Jarrett puts Diamond Dallas Page to sleepHe was supposed to face Jeff Jarrett, but since he’d challenger Kanyon to a match ‘anywhere, any time,’ Jarrett and Kanyon had decided that the place was here and the time was now.

What followed was a really enjoyable match with lots of unique spots from Innovator of Offence Kanyon and a nasty blade job from Page.

After a very fun contest, Jarrett’s interference helped Kanyon get the win via Flatliner.
Your Winner: Kanyon

Kanyon then took to the microphone to serve as ring announcer and reveal that Jarrett vs. Page would still go ahead.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jeff Jarrett

Though it was neither as fast nor as furious as the last match, this was still a very good effort.

The end saw more interference, this time from Kanyon. It backfired, however, and resulted in Jarrett inadvertently blasting Kanyon with a guitar.

A Diamond Cutter later and Page was your victor.
Your Winner:  Diamond Dallas Page

Before the main event, CEO Ric Flair came out to join the commentary team.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Kevin Nash

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Ric Flair presents WCW Champion Scott Steiner & Midajah
It’s amazing that WCW had lost so much money and were cutting costs left and right but still paid Michael Buffer to do the main event announcements. Either that, or he was paid directly by Time Warner.

As part of Steiner’s entrance, Buffer declared that Steiner was responsible for ending the careers of Sting, Booker T, and Sid Vicious,  none of whom had been seen since facing Big Poppa Pump.

Of course, Sid was gone because he horrifically broke his leg in a freak accident, but oh well.

Scotty didn’t appreciate being put over by Buffer and ordered him out of the ring so that he could talk about ending those men’s careers for himself.

Steiner then had the production crew play a clip of Sid breaking his leg over and over again. It was crass and tasteless and had this writer looking away from the screen until it was over.

I have no desire to ever look at that sickening sight.

WCW Superbrawl Revenge 2001 - Kevin Nash got no sympy from Scott Steiner
Ric Flair then entered the ring and told us that not only was the title on the line, but the loser would be forced to leave WCW.

Finally, after being attacked by the heels on Nitro, Kevin Nash was pushed to the ring in a wheelchair by two women dressed as sexy nurses.

“Kevin Nash, you come out here trying to get the sympy of the people,” said Steiner, noticing the leg cast Nash was wearing. “But you don’t get my sympy at all.”

From his wheelchair, Nash just looked at Steiner with a confused look on his face as if to ask ‘dude, WTF is sympy?’

Nash then revealed he wasn’t hurt at all (obviously), hit Steiner with the belt and won the title.

At least he appeared to until dastardly heel Flair made it two out of three falls.

On the outside, Steiner murdered Nash with a lead pipe but despite being a generic freak couldn’t lift Big Sexy snd get him back in the ring. To help him out, Flair then made it falls count anywhere and announced that Nash’s first fall didn’t count.

The actual wrestling part of the match was OK but there’d been so much overbooking and interference from Flair and Midajah the whole thing just came off as garbage.

Steiner eventually won by making Nash pass out to the Steiner Recliner, but the damage was done.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Scott Steiner

This was probably the worst WCW PPV main event since Hogan/Warrior or maybe that First Blood fiasco between Flair and Hogan.

It was beyond awful and really ruined what was otherwise a decent show.







I mean that sincerely, despite a few blips, Superbrawl: Revenge had a lot of bright spots.

OK, so it was nowhere near as good as Starrcade 2000 or January’s Sin Show, but the Chavo/Mysterio match was a thing of beauty, the opening few matches were good and Page/Kanyon was a blast.

But that main event, man was it ever bad.

I started this review saying the most frustrating thing about WCW was that they started getting much better toward the end but I take that back. The most frustrating thing was sitting through that abomination of a main event.

Watching that and knowing WCW would soon be out of business, I have no sympy for them at all.



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Thursday, 20 August 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Sin 2001

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Event poster
January 14, 2001,
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

Back in the day, there was a rumour floating around that World Championship Wrestling wanted to run a PPV series based on the seven deadly sins. 


Unfortunately, we'd never get to witness Tony 'Big T/Ahmed Johnson' Norris returning from his run in Harlem Heat 2000 to collide with Abdullah the Butcher in a Cheeseburger on a Pole street fight at WCW Gluttony. Nor would we ever see the inevitable moment in which Kevin Nash headlined WCW Sloth.

WCW would be closed for good just days after kicking things off with WCW Greed, but before that the seeds were planted with this:

The one and only WCW Sin pay per view.

Today, the event is infamous more for Sid Vicious' horrific broken leg than any of the actual matches, so why don't we head down to Indianapolis, Indiana and see what else went down besides that injury?







This is Sin

After all these years, WCW finally figured out how to make a good PPV opening video with just a few months left to go.

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson called the event
Tonight's opening package was set to a haunting choral soundtrack and featured shots of World Championship Wrestling's biggest stars interspersed with graphics displaying the names of the Seven Deadly Sins.

The shots of the wrestlers didn't seem to have anything to do with the actual words on the screen, however. For example, Gluttony was immediately followed by a shot of Sid Vicious laughing like a maniac.

Whether this was a thinly-veiled dig at Sid for putting on some weight in the last year is anyone's guess.

I will say one thing though, they missed a trick by not showing a shot of Bryan Clarke when 'Wrath' came up on the screen.

Given that this PPV was called Sin and we'd have 'Greed' in March, I do wonder if the plan was to rebrand a bunch of other PPVs with the seven deadly sins, but I guess we'll never know.

Let Me Do This Alone

Anyway, after a greeting from our announcers Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson, we went backstage where Shane Helms encouraged his 3 Count partner Shannon Moore not to get involved in the upcoming cruiserweight title match.

Moore agreed, and it was on with the show.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero vs. Sugar Shane Helms

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Chavo Guerrero defended the Cruiserweight title against Sugar Shane Helms
You know, I can't remember the last time I watched a WCW cruiserweight PPV title match that didn't include a bunch of overbooking, mad stunts and run-ins.

Though the company still had talented performers who could work in the cruiserweight style, the division itself had -like almost everything else in the company- gone dramatically downhill.

So it was absolutely refreshing to see Chavo Guerrero defend his title against Shane Helms in a straight-up one-on-one match with no BS or wackiness.

It was an awesome match too, maybe not an all-time classic, but certainly a thrilling bout with lots to enjoy, including a gripping reversal-of-a-reversal-of-a-reversal finish that saw Chavo retain the gold with a Brain Buster.

Even though he won, there were many moments when it looked like Helms really could be our new champion, making this one of those occasions when a wrestler really did get more over despite losing.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Chavo Guerrero

After Chavo's obligatory celebration, Schiavone and Hudson took some time to speculate on the identity of the mystery man who would be competing in tonight's main event.

If you're wondering where their usual partner, Mark Madden was, he had recently been fired for basically telling the truth about what a dismal state the company was in.

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Mike Tenay interviews Nature Boy Ric Flair as he arrives at the arenaTo be honest, I'm not complaining. The guy may have his fans, but this writer isn't one of them. Between him being a grown man making Jay & Silent Bob references to his repeated attempts to get himself over, there wasn't a lot to like about him.

Still, why they only had a two-man booth when the ever-awesome Mike Tenay was right there is anyone's guess.

Tonight, Tenay was relegated to waiting around backstage for CEO Ric Flair to arrive and then questioning him about the mystery man when he did so.

Unsurprisingly, Nature Boy wasn't letting anything slip, but insisted he'd reveal the mystery man when the time was right.

Vito is Ready for Reno

Yes, this feud was still going on.

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with Big Vito who had apparently reunited with his former partner Johnny The Bull.

Cutting a decent promo, Vito declared that it didn't matter what Reno and the Natural Born Thrillers did to him, he was going to get revenge tonight.

Big Vito vs. Reno

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Big Vito faced Reno
This was a surprisingly good match which surpassed all expectations.

Ok, so neither man had ever sucked, but they weren’t exactly known for stealing the show either, so it was a treat to see them go at it in such a fast and furious fashion.

Make no mistake about it, something had lit a fire under these two which meant they bust hump to give us the best match they were capable of.

In the end, Reno won with his Roll of the Dice finisher, but before that, there was a lot to enjoy here.
Your Winner: Reno

Finally, it seemed WCW had gotten out of the annoying habit of cramming 20 backstage segments into 90 seconds of pre-match time.

Here we just had one.

Mike Sanders offered Brian Adams some money to do a job for him (remember, the Acolytes were doing an APA gimmick), but after Sanders left, Bryan Clarke revealed that they’d been paid more money by somebody else to do a different job.

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Evan Karagias and Jamie Noble faced The Jung Dragons

The Jung Dragons (Yang & Kaz Hayashi w/ Lea Meow) vs. Knoble & Karagias (Jamie Knoble & Evan Karagias)

I just typo’d and accidentally wrote ‘The Hung Dragons.’ Something tells me that would have been an entirely different tag team.

Anyway, this was a lot of fun - a frantic Cruiserweight showdown with all the flips, flops, and flying you could ask for.

After all kinds of big-time moves and breakneck wrestling, a simple roll-up earned Kaz Hayashi & Yang the win.
Your Winners: The Jung Dragons

Post-match, the losers beat up The Jung Dragons because that’s what heels do.

Meanwhile, backstage, Totally Buff (Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell) arrived in a purple hot rod and started complimenting each other’s appearance.

Mike Sanders vs. Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller (w/ Miss Jones)

If Miller wins, he becomes commissioner. If Sanders wins, he gets Miss Jones

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller and Miss Jones
Since both men were arguably better on the microphone than in the ring, it made sense for them to each have some pre-match promo time before locking up.

Sanders began things, reminding us of the match stipulation and insisting that the WCW Commissionership was a role worth having because it paid well.

That’s probably about the only real reason anybody would want the job since it was basically meaningless now that Ric Flair was running things as CEO.

Ernest Miller, however, thought differently. Proving himself to be very over with the live crowd, The Cat insisted he could beat Sanders as long as he had the people behind him and was going to use the Commissionership to help WCW ‘get back on top.’

Ah, there’s nothing like a company openly admitting that they were failing live on air.

What didn’t fail was this match. Though it may be hard to believe, this was a very entertaining little match.

A rematch from their kickboxing encounter back at Halloween Havoc 2000,  Sanders and Miller put their best foot forward to deliver a bout that was made all the more enjoyable thanks to how beloved The Cat was by the audience.

Towards the finish, Sanders’ Natural Born Thrillers henchmen Shawn Stasiak and Mark Jindrak ran in to beat up Miller, but that’s when Kronik arrived.

The hired guns saw off Sanders’ goons then approached the commissioner himself, refunding the money he’d paid them by stuffing it in his mouth.

Miller hit the Feliner and became our new Commissioner.
Your Winner: Ernest Miller

Afterward, Miller and Miss Jones danced and celebrated their big win.

The Time for Talking is Over

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Bill Goldberg and Ric Flair watch a monitor
Backstage, Ric Flair and Goldberg watched the earlier arrival of Buff Bagwell and Lex Luger on a monitor. The CEO made the upcoming match between the three of them a No DQ match as if that actually meant something.

In the previous match we saw Sanders hit a blatant low-blow on Miller and Miss Jones kick Sanders in the back of the head all in front of the official, but sure Ric, make Goldberg vs. Totally Buff No DQ.

With that done, Ric had Goldberg go over to a couple of fans to sign an autograph and take a picture. It seemed like a weird thing to show on camera...

Elsewhere in the arena, Mean Gene interviewed Jeff Jarrett about tonight’s fatal four-way main event. Jarrett insisted that he had Scott Steiner’s back and was mad at Okerlund for suggesting otherwise.

‘The time for talking is over,’ claimed Gene as the segment came to an end, even though there’d be more interviews still to come.

Team Canada (Lance Storm, Elix Skipper and Mike Awesome w/ Major Gunns) vs. The Filthy Animals (Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Billy Kidman w/ Tygress)

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Team Canada (from L-R: Elix Skipper, Major Gunns, Lance Storm and Mike Awesome)
Special referee: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

I’ve been wondering recently why  Juventud Guerrera was no longer in the Filthy Animals, then it occurred to me that this must’ve been around the time he got canned for going crazy on an Australian tour.

Meanwhile, Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the special referee here after turning his back on America, joining Team Canada, then changing his mind about the whole thing and getting booted out.

In other words, Duggan’s heel turn bombed and nobody wanted to boo him, so they made him face again.

As a replacement, of sorts, Team Canada had Florida native Mike Awesome join them.

Before the bell, Lance Storm introduced the penalty box rule, telling us that anybody who broke the rules would get sin-binned.

The gimmick added an interesting aspect to what could have been a great match in its own right but, ultimately, it ended up making the whole thing confusing and hard to follow.

Sure, much of the in-ring action was pretty good, but with people constantly coming in and out of the penalty box it just got too much.

Storm won thanks to the Canadian Mapleleaf, ending a match which sounded great in theory but was shoddily executed.
Your Winners: Team Canada

Backstage, Mike Tenay interviewed The Natural Born Thrillers.

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Mike Tenay interviews Mike Sanders
“Well Mike Sanders, it looks like you won’t be needing that fancy commissioners’ office any more," said Tenay, who had clearly been taking lessons from Mean Gene on how to be a smug prick interviewer.

Ignoring The Professor, Sanders swore revenge on the ‘jacked-up muscle heads’ Kronik before Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire promised to defeat the Insiders for the tag team titles.

I guess Palumbo’s ‘Perfect Event’ tag team with the other Shawn was all over.


Across the way, Diamond Dallas Page and Kevin Nash were shown stretching in anticipation of the match. This must have been a really big deal because usually when they cut to Nash backstage before a match he’d be reading a magazine or goofing off but nope, tonight he was in serious wrestler mode.

World Championship Wrestling World Hardcore Championship
WCW Hardcore Champion Terry Funk vs. Meng vs. Crowbar (w/ Daffney)

Terry Funk was the champion but Meng carried the title down to the ring. If you’ve read any previous WCW PPV reviews on this blog you’ll already have encountered one of the many rants about how much WCW ran this angle, so we won’t go into it again today.

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Meng won the WCW Hardcore title then showed up at the WWF Royal Rumble the following week
Instead, let’s just say that at some points this was a really good hardcore match and at other times it was incredibly sloppy.

If there’s one thing we can learn from it, it’s that Crowbar really wasn’t very good at selling.

At one point, he had Terry Funk in a figure four. Meng -widely regarded as perhaps the legit toughest wrestler ever- punched him twice in the head and the former Devon Storm didn’t even flinch.

Meng then dove off the top rope -seriously- splashed the bejesus out of Crowbar and murdered him with a piledriver, and the guy got back to his feet a few seconds later.

Then, Funk made a pin attempt on Meng and Crowbar tried to break it by lightly tugging on Funk’s t-shirt. It was so ineffective that Funk could have won the match, but that wasn’t the finish so he had to stop covering Meng for no reason which looked stupid.

A few seconds later, Meng slapped the Funker in the Tongan Death Grip and became our new hardcore champion. He’d be gone from the company and in the WWF a week later.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Meng

Out in the back, Ric Flair congratulated Ernest Miller on becoming the new commissioner then proceeded to give him the night off, because that's how important the job was.

Mean Gene then interviewed Sid, who did the whole sinister, psychotic whispering promo thing that we hadn't really seen him do since his last WWF run.

To be honest, he said nothing that would come as much of a surprise:

He was in the maint and was planning to win it.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Insiders (Diamond Dallas Page & Kevin Nash) vs. The Natural Born Thrillers (Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo)

WCW Sin 2001 Review - The Insiders (DDP & Kevin Nash) defended the tag team titles against Sean O' Haire and Chuck Palumbo
Before the match got started, we were shown a video that told us how Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire became the new Thrillers tag team.

Of course, it had previously been Palumbo and Shawn Stasiak and O'Haire partnered with Mark Jindrak, but then a tag team battle royal was held to determine new number one contenders to the Insiders' titles, and those four men were the last ones standing.

NBT leader Mike Sanders then made a match between them, with the last two men remaining becoming the new tag team.

Palumbo and O'Haire were it, and here we were.

Speaking of Sanders, he came down with the rest of his team and announced that he was going to make substitutions throughout the match -ultimately creating a handicap scenario- but Ric Flair came out and squashed that idea dead.

The match itself was pretty decent, with the youngsters working hard and the veterans playing to their strengths. Everything was going pretty well, but then WCW had to spoil it with an overkill finish.

Despite Flair threatening fines and suspensions if the rest of the Natural Born Thrillers got involved, they did so anyway, but this proved just to be a distraction so that Lex Luger could come out with a chair for some reason.

Page took care of Luger while Kevin Nash stood around in the ring, trying to act as though he wasn't just waiting for Buff Bagwell to run in and hit him with a monkey wrench.

O'Haire then hit the Seanton Bomb and, one three count later, this was all over.
Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire

Backstage, the Natural Born Thrillers celebrated their big victory while Mike Tenay stood around to get an interview.

Mike Sanders claimed that Totally Buff's involvement had nothing to do with them, while Tenay hinted that The Insiders would be going after Buff.

First Blood Match for the World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion General Rection vs. Shane Douglas

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Shane Douglas challenged General Rection for the US title
Throughout the latter half of the year 2000, Shane Douglas had two things going for him:

1: He could cut an effective heel promo
2: He had Torrie Wilson by his side.

Torrie had been released from her contract in December, presumedly as a cost-cutting measure, so now Douglas' only redeeming feature was his mic skills.

Tonight, he used them to announce that he was going to defeat General Rection and use the US title as a stepping stone to get to Scott Steiner's World Heavyweight Championship.

Rection, however, had other plans.

He took the fight to the challenger in a mediocre match that could have been a lot better had they given a damn about the stipulation.

You see, this was a first blood match, with a steel chain hanging above the ring that they were supposed to grab and use as a weapon to bust their opponents open with. Logic would have it that both men would be eager to get the chain and win the match, but this was WCW, were logic was a dirty word.

Instead, both men completely ignored the chain and wrestled a normal match -albeit for one brief battle through the crowd- before coming to the finish, where Douglas pulled a chain out of his boot and waffled the champ with it for the fall.

Why couldn't he have just done that in the opening minute of the match?
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Shane Douglas

WCW Sin 2001 Review - Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah)
Backstage, Scott Steiner gave one of his usual insane interviews to Mean Gene, claiming that he didn’t trust anybody and would go down in history as the greatest world heavyweight champion of all time.

Elsewhere in the arena, a bloody General Rection had a mental breakdown over losing the US title.

No Disqualification Match
Totally Buff (Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell) vs. Goldberg & Sgt. Dwayne Bruce

If either Goldberg or Sarge wins, Goldberg is banned from WCW for life.
This all came about as an evolution of Luger’s feud with Goldberg.

At Starrcade 2000, Buff had attacked Bill’s trainer, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker Dwayne Bruce, forming a team with the Total Package and leading us into tonight.

Despite the No DQ stipulation, referee Mickey Jay still enforced tags and the first half of the match was played out like your basic tag team encounter.

It was OK, but not particularly great, though I will give them some credit for an interesting finish. Remember earlier when I said that showing Goldberg signing autographs for a fan was weird?

It paid off here.

Towards the end, Luger was arguing with the fan and grabbed him by the shirt. Goldberg came to the guy’s rescue but it was all a ruse. The ‘fan’ sprayed Big Bill with mace, giving Luger & Bagwell the upperhand.

Lex put Goldberg on his shoulders, Buff planted him with the Buff Blockbuster and just like that, Goldberg’s WCW career was done.
Your Winners: Totally Buff

With the match over, a defeated Goldberg struggled to get to his feet before struggling to the back, walking out of World Championship Wrestling for good.

The move was supposed to give Bill time off for shoulder surgery, but the company was bought out by the WWF two months later and we wouldn’t see Goldberg again until he turned up in All Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002.

Here on Retro Pro Wrestling, we won’t meet him again until we get to WWE Backlash 2003.

Four-Way Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Sid Vicious vs. Road Warrior Animal


WCW Sin 2001 Review - Sid Vicious broke his leg in a horrific accident
This had been built for weeks as Steiner vs. Sid vs. Jarrett vs. A Mystery Man chosen by Flair.

Speculation ran rampant on who it would be. A returning Sting? A defecting WWF star?

Nope, it would be a bloated Road Warrior Animal, a reveal that would have been a bit deal 10-15 years earlier, but in 2001 was really underwhelming.

Not that Animal came out at first. Flair said that he would reveal his mystery man when the time was right, making this a three-way dance and leaving your writer with a sick feeling in his stomach.

Why?

Because the moment I saw Sid wearing those denim shorts, I remembered that this was the night he horrifically broke his leg.

Ugh, I feel ill just thinking about that.

Fortunately, they cut away from that terrible moment, showing us Flair getting his mystery man and cutting back to the ring with Sid in the ring for a really really long time with a messed up leg.

For some reason, they couldn’t just take Sid out of the match and carry on, so it all had to be cut short.

The Mystery Man came out in a mask, stomped Sid once, and allowed Steiner to pin Sid for the three count.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Scott Steiner

I mean, imagine being Sid, being talked into doing a high spot by an official, breaking your leg doing it, and then having to sit in the ring in agony waiting to be pinned.







That main event was beyond awful, not because of anything that happened pre Sid’s leg, and not even because Road Warrior Animal was the biggest disappointing reveal since The Higher Power, but because of the horrible way WCW handled the injury and the finish.

Sid’s leg was a mess. They should have gotten him out of there immediately and improvised a new finish.

Instead, they kept him in the ring and even had Steiner kick him a bunch of times.

It was really hard to watch.

Other than that, this was actually a decent show with a really enjoyable undercard.

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Thursday, 6 August 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade '83: A Flare for the Gold

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold Review - Event poster
November 24, 1983 
Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina

"Folks, we've come a long way since Ric Flair vs. Harley Race at Starrcade '83."

That was Tony Schiavone, commenting at the end of a Bunhouse Street Fight between Jeff Jarrett and the Harris Brothers and The Filthy Animals at Starrcade 2000.

That one single line sticks out to me more than anything else that happened on that show. It stuck out partly because of how bewildered and bemused by the state of then-modern pro wrestling that was evident in Schiavone's voice.

After all, he was there at the very beginning. He'd seen it all -the good, the bad, and The Yhetti. So if anyone knew how much things had changed, it was Tony.







It also stuck out to me because it made me realise that I'd never actually seen Starrcade 1983. Not once had I sat down to witness the birth of an event that would often be referred to in later years as 'WCW's answer to Wrestlemania.'

Of course, that simply wasn't true. If anything, Wrestlemania was the WWF's answer to Starrcade, an event which proceeded Vince's annual spectacle by a good two years.

Without further ado then, let's head down to the Greensborough Coliseum for the debut of the NWA/WCW's flagship event.


Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold

Gordon Solie and Bob Caudle host the show, but there’s no opening gambit, no video package or special welcome, just straight to the ring for our opening match.

The Assassins (w/Paul Jones) vs.  NWA Mid-Atlantic Champion Rufus R. Jones & Bugsy McGraw.

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - The Assasins beat on Rufus R. Jones
If you ever find yourself in a pro wrestling trivia contest and are asked to name the participants of the first-ever Starrcade match, don’t feel too bad if you don’t remember it.

After all, there was nothing particularly memorable about tonight’s opening contest.

Sure,  NWA Mid-Atlantic Champion Rufus R. Jones and Bugsy McGraw were entertaining in their own unique way, throwing their arms around a lot and doing the whole ‘crazy babyface’ thing, but much of the actual action was nothing to write home about.

After minutes, the masked Assassins pulled a switch-a-roo to score a win that this writer did not see coming.
Your Winners: The Assasins

After the official welcome from Caudle and Solie, we went backstage to a fresh-faced Tony Schiavone. One thing I will say, I love how Solie pronounced Tony’s name as Sch-Phoney.

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Tony Schiavone hangs out backstage as Roddy Piper talks to Ric Flair and Mark Youngblood
Anyway, out in the back, the NWA/WCW mainstay told us that tonight he would be conducting exclusive backstage interviews from inside the locker room, something Schiavone claimed was a first in pro wrestling.

Whether it was or not, I couldn’t say, but I did enjoy this segment. As the company’s future lead announcer spoke, we saw Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper talking in the background.

At one point, Charlie Brown from Outa Town (Jimmy Valiant in a mask) walked by and then Ricky Steamboat came up to say hi to Flair and Piper, all showing us that the wrestlers -at least the babyfaces- all shared one dressing room.

If you ask me, that was far more realistic than pretending every wrestler had his own dressing room like the major companies would eventually do.

Johnny Weaver & Scott McGhee vs. Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin (w/Gary Hart)

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Johnny Weaver & Scott McGhee vs. Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin (w/Gary Hart)
Our second tag match of the evening was a decent contest but again, not something that anybody would remember or be in any hurry to rush out and see.

Scott McGhee played face-in-peril for a while before finally making the hot tag to Johnny Weaver, but neither man was any match for Kevin Sullivan and Mark Lewin on this night.

The nefarious heels used multiple quick tags to get the better of their opponents before picking up the win with - of all things- a flying knee to the arm courtesy of Mark Lewin.

Well, come on, it was 1983.
Your Winners: Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin

Post-match, Garry Hart gave his men some kind of spike that Sullivan and Lewin used to stab McGhee in the face multiple times until he bled like the proverbial stuck pig.

Angelo Mosca eventually made the save, but the damage had already been done.  After a brief struggle, Mosca sent the heels packing then lifted McGhee over his shoulder and carried him out of the arena like a baby.

Harley Has Done his Homework

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Tony Schiavone interviews Harley Race, with Greg Valentine and Gerry Brisco
Somewhere on the front row, Barbara Clary interviewed a family of fans who were all excited to see Ric Flair win his match with Harley Race later on in the show.

Meanwhile, out in the back, Tony Schiavone had words with the World Heavyweight Champion himself. Flanked by US champion Greg Valentine and tag team champions The Briscos, Race took his time and cut a deliberate, almost sinister promo in which he claimed to have spoken to people who knew his opponent well and had learned everything he needed to know about Flair's flaws and weaknesses.

Carlos Colon vs. Abdullah The Butcher

The announcers told us that this match had been banned in Puerto Rico, presumedly for being too violent.

To be honest, there wasn't much to this match. I've never really seen the appeal in Abdullah The Butcher and this did little to change my mind.

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Carlos Calon attacks Abdullah the Butcher
Early on, Abby got Carlos Colon in the corner and discretely stabbed him with an International Object out of view of the referee.

A little while later, Colon managed to seize control of the object and stab The Butcher repeatedly with it. It was done in such a way that we were supposed to believe he was hiding the weapon, but the referee had to be a blind idiot not to see it.

Eventually, the official got knocked down by Carlos and inadvertently squashed by Abby. Colon applied a figure four, but future WWF Spanish Commentator Hugo Savinovich ran in and hit him in the head with something.

One three-count from a groggy official later and this was all wrapped up.

As I say, there wasn't much to this match and I can't really rate it all that highly, but to give them their credit, something these two did really got the crowd fired up.
Your Winner: Abdullah The Butcher

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Angelo Mosca cuts an angry promo about Kevin Sullivan and Mark Lewin
Backstage, Angelo Mosca was nursing a wound he suffered while rescuing Scott McGhee from the hands of Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin.

With a battered, bloody McGhee slumped by his side and looking like he might die at any moment, Mosca cut an impassioned promo in which he scolded Lewin and declared that even if he had only one arm, he'd still be on hand to referee tonight's tag team championship match.

Out in the crowd, Barbara Clary interviewed two young women with awesome 80s haircuts. Both girls were looking forward to seeing Ric Flair take the title later on in the show.

Dick Slater & Bob Orton Jr. vs. Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood

If you like tag team matches, this is the show for you. We're currently on three tag matches out of four matches total, and there's at least one more to follow in the form of the tag team title match.

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood faced Dick Slater and Bob Orton Jr.
Fortunately, this one was far superior to the other two and proved to be highly enjoyable from beginning to end.

Not from the very beginning, you understand - at the very beginning, the ring announcer decided that this was the most appropriate time to tell us that Dusty Rhodes was in the house, but his mic cut out so it was all kinds of awkward and weird.

But after that, the two teams went at it in a really solid bout.

Mark Youngblood did almost all of the work for his team, throwing dropkicks around like candy and playing face-in-peril before making the crowd-popping hot tag to Wahoo McDaniel.

Alas, his efforts were for nought.

Dick Slater and Bob Orton Jr. -both of whom looked awesome throughout this match- got the win when Orton drilled Youngblood with a second-rope superplex.
Your Winners: Dick Slater & Bob Orton Jr.

Afterwards, Slater and Orton took turns attacking McDaniel's arm like the dastardly heels that they were.

Flair is Ready for Race

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Ric Flair chats to Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat backstage
Backstage, a sombre Ric Flair told Tony Sch-Phoney that he was ready for Harley Race before wishing his friends, Jay Youngblood and Ricky Steamboat, luck in their upcoming tag team title match.

In response, Jay Youngblood mumbled his way through an ill-advised promo in which he talked about training with Flair at Steamboat's gym.

This was not good at all.

Dusty Rhodes Says it All...


...well, at least he tried to.

Out in the crowd, Barbara Clarey attempted an interview with The American Dream only for the show to suffer audio difficulties once again.

Dusty didn’t care one bit that nobody could hear him. He went off on what looked like a very impassioned promo, but honestly, you couldn’t hear a word of it.

‘Dusty Rhodes said it all there,’ said Sollie said with a level of sincerity that made the whole thing hilarious before adding... 'well, if you can read his lips, you can tell what he’s saying’

Title vs. Mask Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion The Great Kabuki (w/ Garry Hart) vs. Charlie Brown

True story:

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - The Great Kabuki defended the TV title against Charlie Brown
Once upon a time in the early 90s, I found an old VHS tape on a market stall that featured a few NWA matches. Many years later, the only wrestler I remember being on that tape besides Ric Flair was Charlie Brown from Outa Town.

If you’re not familiar with Brown, he was better known as Jimmy Valiant doing a Masked Rider/Mr America ‘everybody-knows-who-I-really-am-but-I’m-denying-it’ gimmick.

The story was that The Great Kabuki’s manager, Gary Hart wanted to prove that Brown was Valiant, so he put Kabuki’s TV title on the line against Brown’s mask for the first fifteen minutes of the scheduled sixty-minute time limit.

The actual match was pretty captivating in a way that you don’t see all that much of these days.

The challenger spent the first half of the match applying sleeper holds to the champion. Every time he did, Gordon Solie would remind us how ironic this was because the sleeper was invented in Kabuki’s home country of Japan.

In the second half of the match, the man from the Orient clamped a claw on his masked nemesis and held it there for as long as possible.

Nothing much happened, but both the competitors and the announcers sold each hold like it meant something important, and that was enough to get this fan fully invested.

After a decent contest, Charlie Brown from Outta Town hit a basic elbow drop on the legendary Great Kabuki to capture the TV title.

Ah, the 80s. Such a simpler time.
Your Winner and NEW TV Champion: Charlie Brown

Cutting to the announcers, Bob Caudle interviewed some guy from the radio who I’m pretty sure they said was called Dude Walker.

Dude Walker. Seriously.

Anyway, like everyone else on the show, the dude abided by the script and told us he was sure Ric Flair would win, though Sollie was adamant that we couldn’t count out Harley Race just yet.

After all, said Sollie, he was the only man in history to be a seven-time world champion.

Meanwhile, Flair was only a two-time world champion. What a chump.

Race Reveals His Game Plan

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Tony Schiavone hangs out with Harley Race, Bob Orton, and Dick Slater
Out in the back, Tony Schiavone interviewed Dick Slater, Bob Orton, and Harley Race.

Slater and Orton bragged about previously taking Flair out on orders of the champion, but now that the Nature Boy was at Starrcade, Race revealed that he was gunning for the champion’s neck.

I don’t know about you, but I would’ve kept that information to myself so that my opponent didn’t have time to plan a defence, though I’m not a seven-time champion so what do I know?

Rhodes Wants the Winner

Elsewhere, they tried again with Barbara Clarey interviewing Dusty Rhodes and this time got a better result.

In a short promo, the ever-charismatic ‘Dream predicted a win for Race and declared that he was coming after the champ’s title once Starrcade was over.

Dog Collar Match
NWA US Champion Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Greg Valentine hurts Roddy Piper in their classic Dog Collar Match
There’s a reason why this match is so legendary:

It was really, really good.

You know how some matches look a bit too polished with spots which, though they look impressive, are clearly well-choreographed?

This wasn’t one of those matches.

This was two men who hated each other battering one another to a bloody pulp until neither one could stand.

It was violent, it was brutal, and the creative use of the chain linking the two dog collars made it all the more engrossing.

By far the best match on the card up to this point, this one came to an end when Piper smashed his opponent’s face in and got the three count.
Your Winner: Roddy Piper

Afterwards, Valentine avenged his loss by beating Piper senseless. At least he kept his belt as this was a non-title match.

Flair is Ready

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Another Ric Flair promo, this time with Wahoo McDaniel
Backstage, we got another interview with Ric Flair because why not?

I get that they were going all out to make the main event a big deal, but two promos a piece from champ and challenger seemed excessive, especially when neither man had much to add in their second segment.

To be fair to Flair (TM Bobby Heenan), he did address a beat-up Wahoo McDaniel who was sitting next to him and thanked Daniel for helping get him ready for tonight because, if you didn’t already know, he really was ready.

Out in the crowd, Barbara Clary interviewed former tag team champion, Don Kernodle, for his tights on the upcoming tag team title match.

Kernodle also predicted a win for Flair.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Jack & Gerry Brisco vs. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood

Special Referee: Angelo Mosca

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Jack Brisco takes down Ricky Steamboat
If you’re only familiar with Gerald Brisco as a figure of fun from the Attitude Era, this one might surprise you.

He and his brother Jack Brisco were great wrestlers who put on an absolutely excellent tag team title match with Steamboat and Youngblood.

I know I complained earlier about there being too many tag team matches on the show, but honestly, when they’re this good, it’s not a chore at all.

No frills, no fancy gimmicks, just a solid back-and-forth wrestling match that ended with a win for Youngblood and Steamboat.

Very good indeed.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood

Post-match, the booking committee once again ran the heel-attacks-the-face angle they’d run after like 80% of tonight’s matches.

This time, however, the good guys prevailed and proceeded to indulge in a lengthy celebration with their newly-won titles.

As the champs paraded through the crowd, the credits came up on the screen with Gordon Sollie trying in earnest to put over each member of the production crew.

It was kind of sweet, but also strangely very funny.

Of interest, one of the cameramen listed was none other than future WCW Head of Security, Doug Dellinger.

A Word With the Victors

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Tony Schiavone interviews new TV Champion, Charlie Brown From Outta Town
Out in the back, Nature Boy Ric Flair paced up and down while Schiavone interviewed some of tonight’s winners.

First up, Charlie Brown raved like a wild loon about how good it was to be the new TV champion.

In a complete contrast in tone, Piper then talked about Greg Valentine busting up his ear before challenging Valentine for the US title.

Finally, Youngblood and Steamboat addressed their unprecedented (for the time) fifth tag team championship reign.

Jay Youngblood had way more charisma than his brother Mark, cutting a convincing promo about his and Steamboat’s success.

He was even more charismatic than Steamboat himself, who tried his best to inject a little passion into his speech about competing with the best in the world and coming out on top.

Hey Look, It's Dusty Again

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Barbara Clary interviews Dusty Rhodes with some fans
I don't have too many legitimate complaints about Starrcade '83, but this insistence on constantly interviewing the same guys was getting pretty old.

Race had two promos, Flair had two promos, and now Rhodes had three promos and he wasn't even booked in a match.

This time, Barbara Clary interviewed him while he hung out with three girls who predicted that Flair (who else?) would take home the gold. After that, Dusty cut another promo in which he excitedly said his own name a lot and not much else.

Look, I love 'Dream as much as the next fan, but this was unnecessary.

After that, a performer called James 'Tiny' Weeks sang the National Anthem.

Steel Cage Match National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

Though it looked slow compared to the modern fast-paced-workrate-rules-all style of pro wrestling and featured none of the insane spots you'd probably find in a cage match today, this was a classic old-school battle which more than deserves its legendary status.

NWA Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold - Ric Flair battles Harley Race in their classic cage match
After some grand entrances that made this one stand out as a really huge deal, and after both men received a somewhat overly long address from the referee and former world champion Gene Kiniski, champ and challenger went at it in an intense, bloody war for the ages.

Flair started off wrestling methodically, taking the champion to the mat and attempting to wear him down. Reversing a front face lock into a suplex (or *suplé* if you're Gordon Sollie), Race then took control and stayed true to his word, beating down on his opponent's neck with brute force.

What followed was a brilliant seesaw battle in which both men got progressively more violent as time ticked on.

Of course, given that the whole show was built around Flair as the hero, the outcome was never really in question, but it sure was a joy to watch it unfold.

After an excellent match, Flair scaled the top rope and hit Race with a crossbody block. Referee Kiniski had taken a tumble and was on all fours, waiting for Flair to knock Race and Race to go tumbling over him, school-boy style. However, somebody was out of position so it didn't quite come off right, but it still led to the cover, the count, and the fall.

I'm not certain, but I wonder if that's the only time Flair has gone to the top and not been immediately thrown off. Still, given that it earned him a world title in one of his most legendary matches, it's no wonder Nature Boy would spend the rest of his career trying to hit that move again.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

Post-match, the babyface locker room spilt out into the ring to lift Flair on their shoulders and celebrate with the new champion as a defeated Harley Race looked on in shock and frustration.

After a kiss from his wife, Flair took to the microphone to address the crowd and thank them for their support.

Usually, this is where a show would end, but this was the NWA in 1983, so we got another ten minutes of promos.

First, we went to the back, where Ricky Steamboat congratulated the new champion. Flair was grateful for Steamboat helping him train and promised that if Ricky ever needed anything, he'd be there. It was interesting watching these two be such close friends after reviewing the epic battle they'd have at Wrestlewar '89 a few years later.

Dusty Rhodes then arrived on the scene and warned Flair that he was coming after his title. Unperturbed, Nature Boy insisted that he wasn't going to worry about that right now, and was only focussed on celebrating his big victory.

Then, after a lengthy summary from the announcers, we went to Harly Race's dressing room. With Barbara Clary holding the mic, the fallen champion insisted that despite losing the title, he wasn't going away.

Funnily enough, that's exactly what he did. Race would leave for the AWA the following year before showing up in the WWF in 1986 so that he could pretend to be a king and have that ridiculous brawl with Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the 37th Annual Slammy Awards.

Still, at the time, Harley insisted that he was gunning for his eighth world title and told the new champion to enjoy it while it lasted.

After more chatter from Caudle and Sollie, we went back to the babyface locker room once again were two funny things happened.

1: Flair said that tonight wasn't just about him, but was about people like "Roddy Piper Jimmy Valiant, and everyone who participated in this event" - thus blowing Valiant's 'Charlie Brown' cover.

2: The babyfaces had a champagne celebration. In the background, Jay Youngblood clearly got some champagne in his eye or had some other unfortunate incident and was seen stumbling around and having a bad time. I can't tell you why, but I found that hysterical.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first-ever Starrcade, a great show that was a far cry from the last event some 17 years later.







I mean that, too.

Although the first half of the show was nothing too special, the last three matches alone make Starrcade 83: A Flare for the Gold must-see viewing.

It's a testament to Piper and Valentine that in an age when we've seen just about every act of violence and creative spot under the sun, their barbaric and bloody dog collar match remains as compelling today as it ever did.

The tag team title match was a pure joy to watch, featuring some of the crispest, solid wrestling you're likely to come across.

Then, there's the main event. Often regarded as a passing of the proverbial torch from Race to Flair, this was an utterly gripping title match that more than earned its legacy.



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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.