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, 3 December 2020

EVENT REVIEW - NWA The Great American Bash 1986 - Greensboro (July 26th)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - VHS cover
July 26th, 1986
Greensboro Colliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

When WWE decided to take two of the events from the National Wrestling Alliance's Great American Bash 1986 tour and upload them to the WWE Network,  they did so as they were originally recorded, ie: without a commentary track.


While it certainly made for a novel experience, it didn't make the first of those two shows (the July 5th event in Charlotte) any less enjoyable.

On this July 26th stop in Greensboro, things would naturally be a little different.

Unlike the Charlotte show, this was an indoor arena, meaning we wouldn't kick things off with a parachute show, and we certainly wouldn't have Ric Flair arriving for his main event title match in a freakin' helicopter.

Still, that doesn't mean this couldn't be every bit as enjoyable.





Here's what went down when the NWA Great American Bash Tour stopped into Greensboro on a hot summer night in July 1986.

Mr Electricity Steve Regal vs. Sam Houston

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Mr Electricity Steve Regal faced Sam Houston
There will likely be people who slate this match for being one long chinlock followed by a pinfall, but Steve Regal and Sam Houston had the crowd right where they wanted them the whole time and this made what could have otherwise been a very boring match very entertaining.

Houston was immensely popular and had the audience desolately rooting for him from bell to bell, especially as he struggled to break free from Regal’s chinlock.

For his part, Mr Electricity made that wear-down hols matter, constantly urging referee Earl Hebner to ‘ask him, ref’ and acting like he was seriously trying to beat Houston with the hold rather than, you know, using it as an excuse not to do anything.

The chinlock didn’t win the match for Regal, but he did score the victory after he thwarted Sam’s big comeback and pinned him with his feet on the ropes.
Your Winner: Steve Regal

Afterwards, Houston petitioned to Earl Hebner about the nefarious means by which Regal had won. Hebner, ever the genius, marched over to Regal and asked him whether he had indeed cheated, as though the victorious grappler would willingly fess up and yell ‘Sure! Of course I did!’

Naturally, Mr Electricity denied the whole thing but did accept Houston’s challenge to a spot of impromptu fisticuffs. Much to the delight of the Charlotte faithful, he promptly lost said fisticuffs and stormed out, leaving our man Sam to bask in the adoration of his doting fans.

NWA Mid-Atlantic Champion Black Bart & The Barbarian vs. Denny Brown and The Italian Stallion

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - The Barbarian and Black Bart
This was a completely acceptable lower-card match. Not spectacular, nothing that would make you want to tell your friends about it or even watch it ever again, but a decent, watchable outing all the same.

Both teams traded the advantage before Black Bart slammed The Italian Stallion to the mat then tug in The Barbarian for the match-winning top-rope headbutt.
Your Winners: Black Bart and The Barbarian

In an amusing, post-match moment, Stallion and Denny Brown embraced them raised their arms as if in victory to acknowledge the crowd. Half the crowd started booing them as if to say ‘what are you doing that for? You lost!’

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

Glove on a Pole Match
Baron Von Rashke vs. Raging Bull Manny Fernandez

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Baron Von Rashke chokes Manny Fernandez
Since I first started diving back into old NWA shows from the 1980s, I’ve become a bit of a fan of Manny Fernandez, but even I can’t find much good to say about what was a pretty dumb match.

First of all, there was the glove. Notice this is just a ‘glove on a pole’ match. Not a coalminer’s glove, not a Deadly Handmitten of Doom or anything like that, just your average, everyday glove.

Honestly, when the cameras zoomed in on it, it looked just like a lady’s driving glove. Not exactly very intimidating.

Then there was Fernandez’s opponent. If you’re going to have any type of ‘on a pole’ match, it should at least involve competitors who can move around easily to sell the idea that either man would be capable of grabbing the offending weapon. Yet Barron Von Rashke was so slow and immobile that Fernandez could have crawled from the other side of the state and still had time to stop Rashke climbing to the top rope.

Eventually, the Barron got so fed up of spending six weeks trying to climb up and grab the glove that he just gave up and clamped the Claw on Raging Bull instead.

Inexplicably, having another man’s hand squeezing his head somehow caused Fernandez to be busted wide open. It was pretty ridiculous.

After applying the hold for several millennia, Rashke eventually got the glove but before he could use it, Manny hit him with the Flying Burrito (seriously, that’s what it was called) and won the match.

In other words, this was a glove on a pole match in which neither man actually used the glove.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

Post-match, Rashke beat up on his rival but still didn’t get to use the glove because the Raging Bull got the hell out of there.

Indian Strap Match
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin & Precious
The ring announcer declared that this would be ‘a wrestling match to a finish’ which I suppose makes it different to all those wrestling matches that never end.

If you’ve seen the Indian Strap Match these two had on the Charlotte stop of the Great American Bash 86 tour, there’s no need to watch this one because it was the exact same match.

Though it may not have been move-for-move identical, the structure and all of the big spots were.

From Wahoo McDaniel whipping Jimmy Garvin before the match started to Precious interfering and both men’s attempts to get round all four corners, everything went down the same, including the finish.

As he had done last time, a bloody McDaniel dragged an equally as bloody Garvin around the ring to win the match.

Yes, this was the second match in a row to feature blood and, if past shows are anything to go by, I’d be very surprised if we got through a single match before the end of the show rush doesn’t feature blood.
Your Winner: Wahoo McDaniel

Just as he had done last time, Garvin attacked his opponent after the bell. This time, however, they spiced things up by having McDaniel turn the tables and send his nemesis packing.

Taped Fist Match
NWA National Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ronnie Garvin (w/ Wahoo McDaniel)

This is another match that was very similar to the one they had in Charlotte, but I enjoyed that one so much that I didn’t mind watching the whole thing again.

As with the last match, this played out in mostly the same way as it had before. Tully Blanchard took a beating from Ronnie Garvin and sold the whole thing like he was on the verge of death.

However, there was something about this particular performance that didn’t quite match the intensity nor the enjoyment of their previous outing.

The finish was different too. This time, instead of narrowly avoiding a double count-out and winning the match, Garvin got clocked by Blanchard’s brass knuckles and lost.
Your Winner: Tully Blanchard

Afterwards, Blanchard helped a bloody J.J. Dillon backstage. Yep, the NWA loved their blood so much that even the managers had started to get cut open.

Tag Team Championship Number One Contender’s Match
The Andersons (NWA TV Champion Arn Anderson & Ole Anderson) vs. The Rock ‘night Roll Express

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Arn Anderson taunts Ricky Morton
With a shot at the tag team titles on the line, all four men earned their money by working hard to give us what was hands down the best match of the night so far.

With the ever-passionate NWA fans firmly behind Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, Ole and Arn Anderson pushed them to their limits only for the good guys to continually fight back.

The results made for captivating viewing even if you could see the ending coming from a mile away.

As both teams waged a compelling war, the ring announcer told us that five minutes were remaining, then four, then three and then, well, let’s just say the time limit draw was predictable.

Other than that, this was a lot of fun.
Time Limit Draw

Post-match, The Andersons attacked only for Robert Gibson to clean house with a steel chair.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Number One Paul Jones (w/ Barron Von  Rashke) vs. Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant (w/ Manny Fernandez)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Jimmy Valiant is traumatised by getting his head shaved
We joined this one with Jimmy Valiant leading the crowd in a chant of ‘Bald-headed geek!’ - an insult the crowd had earlier levied at Von Rashke in the glove on a pole match.

After beating Shaska Whatley in a similar Hair vs. Hair mask in Charlotte, Valiant promised that he would turn Paul Jones into a bald-headed geek too but, alas, tonight wasn’t to be his night.

After an underwhelming match in which both men just hit each other with an international object and made each other bleed (obviously), Whately ran in and clocked Valiant with a chair to give his manager the win.
Your Winner: Paul Jones

Valiant’s second, Manny Fernandez was joined in the ring by Denny Brown and The Italian Stallion, all three of whom protested this terrible injustice to referee Earl Hebner, but Valiant agreed to take the loss mike a trooper and had his head shaved by ‘former wrestling great, Sandy Scott.’

Valiant looked distraught at first and sold the shaving as though he was being tortured. Then, he went into a state of zen-like calm as his trademark locks were chopped off and Paul Jones gloated on the microphone about having beaten the Boogie Woogie man all by himself.

Ok then.

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Magnum TA and faced Nikita Koloff in their Best of Seven seriesNikita Koloff (w/ Ivan Koloff) vs. Magnum T.A.

This was match number four of the famous Best of Seven Series between Magnum T.A and Nikita Koloff. and it was disappointing at best.

Another match with lots of unnecessary bloodshed, it was a fairly average encounter with nothing beyond Magnum’s crimson mask worth mentioning.

Speaking of Mr T.A, he scored the victory following a sunset flip.
Your Winner: Magnum T.A

Up next, inter-gender fun...

Six-Person Inter-Gender Cage Match
Jim Cornette and NWA Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Loverboy Dennis Condrey & Beautiful Bobby Eaton) vs. Baby Doll & The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express fought in a similar match back in Charlotte, only that one had Magnum T.A. and Dusty Rhodes in Baby Doll’s corner rather than The Road Warriors.

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Jim Cornette
Personally, I enjoyed this one the most out of the two and that’s surprising because I rarely enjoy Road Warriors matches.

Maybe it was the sweet arm drag Baby Doll gave to Beautiful Bobby Eaton at the start of the match. Maybe it was Jim Cornette playing the cowardly heel to perfection. Whatever it was, something about this match worked.

As in Charlotte, Baby Doll got the win for her team by pinning James E.
Your Winners: Baby Doll & The Road Warriors

And finally, our main event of the evening:

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Dusty Rhodes celebrates winning the World Heavyweight Title from Ric Flair
A rematch from their Starrcade 85 encounter, this one started pretty slowly but got better and better as it went on.

Unsurprisingly, both men battered each other to a bloody mess, with their charisma and personality doing more to make this a captivating performance than any of their actual wrestling moves.

Personally, this fan enjoyed Flair’s Charlotte bout with Ricky Morton much more, but this was still pretty damn good.

After a good effort, the head booker of the company won the title with a cradle.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Dusty Rhodes

After the bell, the babyface locker room flooded the ring to celebrate with the new champion as the show came to a close.





On the whole, the two Great American Bash 86 shows featured on the WWE Network have been a lot of fun to watch.

Sure, not everything was amazing, but Flair’s two main events, The Andersons’ tag team efforts and Tully Blanchard’s awesome selling in his matches with Ronnie Garvin were all highlights.

In between, old-school fans will certainly find a lot to enjoy here.



Other WCW Great American Bash reviews: 
Other 1986 events:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

EVENT REVIEW: NWA The Great American Bash 1986 - Charlotte (July 5th)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - VHS cover
July 5th, 1986
American Legion Memorial Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Before it became the annual WCW PPV we all remember, The NWA Great American Bash began life as a summer tour designed to showcase the best of the best in some of the organization’s most profitable hotspots.

The first such tour kicked off in 1985, though we don’t currently have access to any footage of that since Retro Pro Wrestling started using the WWE Network exclusively for material for this blog.

What we do have access to is two shows -the July 5th and July 26th events- from 1986.

Both of these were uploaded to the WWE Network and, at almost three hours in length apiece, both seem to be the full versions of those shows, or at least as near as dammit.

With that said, let’s head to Charlotte, North Carolina for The Great American Bash.





Let’s Go Skydiving

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Epic crowd
Our show began not with a video, not with an introduction from the announcers (there weren’t any for this show),  but with a presentation from a gold-medal-winning North Carolina National Sky Diving Team.

I’m sure this was very exciting live at the time, but watching it back 24 years later there’s not much to say about it.

This was followed by the obligatory playing of the American National Anthem, then it was down to ringside for some hype from our ring announcer and, finally, our opening contest.

National Wrestling Alliance World Junior Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown vs.  Mr. Electricity Steve Regal

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Mr Electricity Steve Regal faced Denny Brown
For newer fans, it’s probably worth pointing out that this isn’t the same Steve Regal you’re probably familiar with, but a former star of the AWA who then jumped to the NWA before ending up as cannon fodder for WWF stars.

Though his career on the big stage may not have ended in spectacular fashion, it did look like he was about to have a solid match here with Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown. Things started well, with plenty of running around and athletic wrestling, but then it slowly devolved into one long chinlock as both men quite obviously began just trying to run down the clock.

Regal dominated the bulk of the contest but did so with none of the urgency or desperation that you might expect from a challenger in a championship match.

This was especially frustrating. Rather than doing his best to win, Mr. Electricity seemed quite content to keep reapplying wear-down holds and occasionally boasting to the crowd.

Inevitably, the time ran out and this disappointing opener came to a suitably lackluster finish with the ring announcer simply declaring them match is over’ as Regal and Brown punched each other.
Time-Limit Draw

Post-match, both men continues to wail on each other. Regal again got the upper hand, hurling Brown over the top rope and stealing his title, only for referee Earl Hebner to steal it back.

Non-Title Match
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Black Bart vs. Robert Gibson

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Robert Gibson locks Black Bart in a head scissors
If the non-title stipulation didn’t telegraph the ending for you, the overwhelming popularity of Robert Gibson certainly gave it away.

The crowd absolutely loved the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express member and went wild for everything he did, even when what he did wasn’t all that special.

Indeed, that just about sums up this match. It wasn’t anything special, and from a technical standpoint it was average at best, but the sheer adoration for Gibson made it an enjoyable watch all the same.

Predictably, Black Bart came down on the wrong side of a flying cross-body block and ate the pin, much to the delight of the Charlotte crowd.
Your Winner: Robert Gibson

Afterward, Bart stood in the middle of the ring, hands-on-hips, looking as though he couldn’t believe he’d lost.

Special Challenge Match
The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole Anderson  & NWA World TV Champion Arn Anderson) vs. Sam Houston and Nelson Royal

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Arn Anderson puts Sam Houston in an arm bar of doom
I’m not sure if the Andersons were technically the Minnesota Wrecking Crew here as they were never announced as such.

What I do know is that this was a fairly solid by-the-numbers tag team match that kept me entertained.

After some back and forth offense in the early going, The Andersons cut Nelson Royal off from his partner and worked over his arm for a good length of time.

This could have been boring, but Arn and Ole Anderson kept their offense interesting while Royal did such a great job at writhing in agony that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Eventually, Royal made the obligatory hot tag, yet in the ensuing chaos, Sam Houston got waffled by an Ole Ax-Handle from the ropes and lost the match for his team.
Your Winners: Minnesota Wrecking Crew

Moving on...

Bunkhouse Match
Baron Von Rashke (w/ Paul Jones) Manny “Raging Bull” Fernandez

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Baron Von Rashke faced Manny Fernandez in a Bunkhouse Match
This was billed as Anything Goes, but nothing really went besides Barron Von Raske taking his boot and belt off to use as weapons and at one point pulling a random International Object from his pocket.

The belt was especially a dumb move as he then spent the rest of the match with his jeans falling down.

Despite all that, this was a decent, old-school brawl with the crowd firmly behind Manny Fernandez.

The former Brass Knuckles champion took such a beating from his opponent that he was eventually busted wide open for our first blood let of the evening.

This made a nice change from the last NWA event we reviewed, Starrcade 1985, where almost every wrestler on the card bladed regardless as to whether it made any sense to or not.

After a fun fight, the Raging Bull got the three count on his opponent.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

Indian Strap Match
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Jimmy Garvin faced Wahoo McDaniel in a strap match
This was neither the longest nor the greatest strap match in the world, but both Wahoo McDaniel and Jimmy Garvin made the best of their allotted ten minutes.

Meanwhile, on the outside, Precious was a very vocal (and pretty attractive) presence, cheering on her man and getting involved physically whenever she felt it necessary.

Unfortunately for her and Garvin, that wasn’t enough to stop the man described by the oh-so-impartial ring announcer as ‘the greatest Indian wrestler of all time.’

Wahoo pummelled Garvin into a bloody mess then dragged him from corner to corner to win this enjoyable match.
Your Winner: Wahoo McDaniel

Afterward, Gorgeous Jimmy attacked Wahoo with what looked to be a bottle of baby oil.

Bet that hurt.

Taped Fist Match
NWA National Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ronnie Garvin (w/ Wahoo McDaniel)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Tully Blanchard battled Ronnie Garvin in a taped fist match
Historically, boxing-type matches in pro wrestling have never been very good. So it was a surprise to discover that this ten-round taped fist match between Ronnie Garvin and Tully Blanchard was by far the best thing on the show up to this point.

In each three minute round, both men took turns beating the living hell out of each other in truly glorious fashion.

Every time a man got knocked down, referee Tommy Young really amped up the authenticity by beginning a serious ten count as though his life depended on it.

Of course, wrestling moves were still allowed because, as Gordon Sollie would often remind us, that’s what it says on the marquee, but there was still far more boxing than wrestling and it was surprisingly awesome.

In the fifth round, both men simultaneously knocked each other down. Young told the ring announcer to announce that the first man to his feet would be declared the winner.

That brought in James J. Dillon, who began desperately- and hilariously- fanning Blanchard with a towel to revive him. That didn’t work, though Wahoo McDaniel has better look reviving Ronnie Garvin by chucking a bucket of water on him.

Garvin got to his feet and this one was done.

Man, if I ever write a ‘best Great American Bash matches’ article, remind me to put this on there.
Your Winner: Ronnie Garvin

Post-match, Dillon argued with the official about Wahoo throwing water on Garvin. Young claimed not to know anything about it even though the ring was now clearly soaking wet.

Brilliant.

Double Russian Chain Match
The Koloffs (Ivan & Nikita Koloff) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Ivan & Nikita Koloff faced The Road Warriors in a chain match
With Hawk chained to Nikita Koloff and Animal linked with Ivan Koloff, this one played out more like two singles matches going on at the same time rather than a coherent tag team match.

Apologies to Road Warriors fans out there, but the results just weren’t that impressive.

After watching Blanchard and Garvin put on a dramatic and entertaining brawl, seeing four huge dudes punch and kick each other with nobody really selling anything just seemed very underwhelming.

After a few minutes of big man brawling, Paul Ellering shoved Ivan off the top rope. Koloff crotched the ropes fell to the mat and was pinned by Animal.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Post-match, the Russians attacked by were seen off by the Warriors.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Jimmy Valliant vs.Shaska Whately (w/ Paul Jones)

This was a weird one as we cut right to the action with Shaska Whately attacking Jimmy Valiant from the opening bell then, a few minutes in, the ring announcer declared that the loser would get his head shaved.

Like many NWA bouts, this one wasn’t much to write about, but the crowd were hot so that’s all that matters.

Also, remember what I said earlier about the lack of blood? I take it back. From the Bunkhouse Match onwards, every single match had one or more competitors bleeding, including this one.

Valiant bled hard and really didn’t need to. It was completely unnecessary.

Towards the finish, Barron Von Rashke and Manny Fernandez both put in an appearance, leading to Valiant getting hold of Rashke’s loaded glove and knocking out his opponent for the win.
Your Winner: Jimmy Valiant

Afterward, most of the babyfaces who had already appeared on tonight’s card showed up to fill the ring while Valiant shaves Whately’s head.

It was the highlight of the entire match.

Six-Person Inter-Gender Steel Cage Match
The Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, and Jim Cornette w/ Big Bubba Rogers) vs. Magnum T.A, Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express faced Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA and Baby Doll
Bubba Rogers must have still been in his learning phase here. Despite being on the side of Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, he spent the entire match watching on from the babyface corner.

That oddness aside, this was a perfectly decent tag team match with the added attraction of people getting their faces ground into the cage for -you guessed it- more bloodshed.

Everyone had their part to play here and played it well, with Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A putting in the work against Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey, Jim Cornette providing the comic relief, and Baby Doll getting the big pops for hitting the men.

Speaking of which, she got the pin for her team when, in the middle of a six-person fracas, Jim Cornette kind of just tumbled to the mat and allowed her to pin him.
Your Winners: Baby Doll, Magnum T.A, and Dusty Rhodes

Afterward, Big Bubba and the Midnights trapped Magnum and Baby Doll in the cage and destroyed Dusty Rhodes.

Eventually, Rhodes’ partners were able to come and check on him as the ring announcer reminded the live audience to stick around for the post-show fireworks.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Ricky Morton

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Ric Flair arrived in a helicopter for his match with Ricky Morton
OK, forget what I said earlier about Blanchard/Garvin being the match of the night. This one was far, far superior.

Ric Flair arrived in a frickin helicopter. It brought him right into the stadium, a red carpet was rolled out for him, and he sauntered to ringside like it was just another day at the office.

Several decades later, Flair’s daughter Charlotte would pay homage to that at Wrestlemania 35.

Meanwhile, Ricky Morton wore a protective face mask after Nature Boy had attacked him and ground his face into the concrete.

The story of the match was Morton going out for revenge by attacking the champ’s face whenever he could, while Flair himself took every opportunity to do even more damage to Morton’s.

The results were glorious. With blood dripping down his face, Ricky sold Nature Boy’s offense as though he were literally dying, looking so destroyed that even referee Tommy Young begged Flair to give his opponent a chance.

For his part, the champion was excellent both on offense and defense. As an aggressor, he merely toyed with his battered opponent, dragging him around the ring and verbally humiliating him with unbridled confidence as he delivered shots to the face and occasionally grated Morton’s head in the steel cage.

When his opponent was in charge, however, Flair backed off, begged, and played scared.

It was excellent.

Of course, the champion retained his gold so that he could go on to defend it on the rest of the Great American Bash tour dates, but the journey to get that victory was wonderful.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

I should also point out that this was the first major event (chronologically speaking) to feature the famous Big Gold Belt.





If you forget about the fact that there were far too many gimmick matches and bloodshed on this show, the Charlotte stop of The Great American Bash 1986 was a decent effort with two stand-out matches.

Though not everyone agrees, this fan found the taped fist match between Tully Blanchard and Ronnie Garvin to be genuinely enjoyable, while the Flair/Morton main event is definitely worth a look even if you skip the rest of the show.

Finally, give me a moment to complain about the blood some more. Though it was a great visual in the main event, the sight of Ricky Morton covered in blood would have had a much bigger impact had we not seen almost every wrestler on the card do the exact same thing.

It was a problem at Starrcade ‘85 and it was a problem here too.

We’ve all heard stories of older wrestlers telling the younger performers that ‘less is more,’ and I can’t help but wish somebody within the NWA heeded that advice back in the mid-1980s.




Other WCW Great American Bash reviews: 
Other 1986 events:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 1984 - The Million Dollar Challenge

November 22, 1984
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina

Back at Starracde 1983, Dusty Rhodes had appeared multiple times and, in between cutting a series of bizarre promos, appeared to challenge the winner of the Harley Race vs. Ric Flair title match.

Between then and now, Flair had actually lost and regained the title at least twice, but give credit to the National Wrestling Alliance, they stuck with their long-term booking plans and presented Rhodes vs. Flair as tonight's feature attraction.

Not only was the title on the line, however, but the winner of the match would also win one million dollars, hence the Million Dollar Challenge subtitle of tonight's show.

As for the rest of the card?

Well, let's head down to the Greensboro Colliseum and check it out, shall we?







Welcome to Starrcade, The Premier Event of the Decade

We began tonight's show with a brief look back at the finish to Starrcade 1983's main event with Ric Flair pinning Harley Race to become our new World Heavyweight Champion.

Alas, as our announcers Bob Caudle and Gordon Sollie were quick to remind us, that was then and this is now.

Tonight, three-time World Heavyweight Champion Flair would defend the title against Dusty Rhodes in a match where a million dollars was also on the line.

The two then hyped up tonight's show before sending it down to the ring where the ring announcer clearly got lost and wasn't sure what to do.

The Premier Event of the Century, Starrcade '84

Seriously, he first welcomed all the ladies and gentlemen to Starrcade '84, calling it 'The Premier Wrestling Event of the Decade.'

He then changed his mind and introduced us again, this time to 'The Premier Event of the Wrestling Century.' After that, poor Mr. Ring Announcer flipped through his papers but still couldn't figure out what to say next so ended up asking referee Earl Hebner.

National Wrestling Alliance Junior Heavyweight Championship
NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Mike Davis vs. Denny Brown

Eventually, the ring announcer figured out what was happening and we got on with our opening contest, a decent junior heavyweight match between champion Mike Davis and challenger Denny Brown.

This was an interesting match as it was clearly just two guys competing to see who the better wrestler was with no animosity and none of the back-stories that are usually attached to almost all modern pro wrestling matches.

At one point, Brown even went crashing out of the ring. Rather than capitalizing on this by heading out to attack him, Davis left the ring, checked on his opponent and held the ropes open for him so that he could get back in the ring.

Unfortunately, being Mr. Nice Guy didn't work out quite so well for the champion.

At the finish, Davis hit a bridging German suplex on Brown but ended up pinning himself when Brown got his arm up at the last second.
Your Winner and NEW Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown

Afterward, Davis was irate for like two seconds but then congratulated the new champion.

The ever-confused ring announcer declared the wrong man as champion before correcting himself.

Backstage, Tony Schiavone hung out in the dressing room to let us know that he'd be hanging out in the dressing room for the rest of the show and conducting interviews.

Mr Ito vs. Brian Adias

There wasn't much to this match. It was only a few minutes long and very much felt like filler, but even then it was a decent enough match.

After a few minutes of basic, old-school professional wrestling, Adias lifted his larger opponent up for an airplane spin and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Adias

Seriously, only in the 80s would that move end a match.

National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Championship
National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Champion Jesse Barr vs. Mike Graham

This was another really good quality match. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the kind of raging classic you’d see from today’s performers, but neither man held anything back and gave us nothing less than solid wrestling from start to finish.

After an unrelenting performance, champion Jesse Barr used the ropes for leverage to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still Florida Heavyweight Champion: Jesse Barr

Up next, we flashed back to a recent TV taping on which Ricky Steamboat and Dick Slater had been beaten up after competing in a tag match.

Sollie and Caudle told us that Steamboat had put $10,000 of his own money on the line to get revenge.

Tag Team Elimination Match
The Zambuie Express (Kareem Muhammad & Elijah Akeem w/ Paul Jones) vs. Assassin Number 1 & Buzz Tyler

There wasn’t much to this match. It was mostly just punching, clobbering, and more punching, but there was something about the way that the crowd was super into every blow that made it just incredibly fun to watch.

At least it was fun until the finish.

We were told that this was an elimination-style tag team match, but after Assassin #1 pinned one of the Zambuie Express, the match should have continued, right?

Even the announcers seemed to think so, but then it was revealed that their respective partners had been counted out and thus had both been eliminated.

It was a little confusing and would have made more sense if they’d just kept this to a standard one-fall tag, but hey, it’s a small complaint.
Your Winners: Assassin Number One and Buzz Tyler

Backstage, Dusty Rhodes was sad chilling while Tony Schiavone bigged him up.

Rhodes then cut a fast-paced shouty promo in which he promised that Ric Flair would become yesterday’s newspaper.

He probably meant 'yesterday's news,' but with Dusty, who knows?

Anything Goes Match for the National Wrestling Alliance Brass Knuckles Championship
NWA Brass Knuckles Champion Black Bart (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Ragin’ Bull

The Brass Knuckles Championship was essentially a precursor to the modern-day hardcore championships. The announcers told us many times that anything goes, but sadly neither champion Black Bart nor challenger Manny ‘Ragin’ Bull’ Fernandez really took advantage of that stipulation.

For the most part, this was just a straight-up wrestling match with added blood.

It was OK for what it was, but certainly, nothing that anybody should rush out to see.

Eventually, J.J Dillon tossed the champion a length of rope but Bart got rolled up and pinned by the Ragin’ Bull.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Brass Knuckles Champion: Ragin’ Bull

As the show went to intermission in the arena, Ricky Steamboat talked to Tony Schiavone backstage.

When he wasn’t repeating the phrase ‘everybody has been gearing up for this night all year’ over and over again, Steamboat told Schiavone that he had been seriously injured when Tully Blanchard, Black Bart and Ron Bass attacked him and was in a lot of pain. Regardless, he was looking forward to getting his revenge on Blanchard.

God bless Steamboat, he was one of the greatest in-ring performers ever but his promos were never much to write home about.

Offering a retort, TV champion Tully Blanchard and his manager J.J. Dillon reminded us of the stipulations for their match:

The title could change hands on a DQ and if Blanchard tried to run away, he’d lose the title.

The champion didn’t seem too concerned by this. He insisted that Steamboat was going down and that after that he’d go after the world champion no matter who that might be.

Tuxedo Street Fight
Loser Must Leave Town
Paul Jones (w/  Kareen Muhammed) vs. Jimmy Valiant (w/ Assassin Number One)

So, Jimmy Valiant was no longer doing the Charlie Brown gimmick he had back at Starrcade 1983. That’s a bit of a shame. As ridiculous as it was, I kind of enjoyed it.

What I didn’t enjoy this chaotic mess of nonsense.

In the opening moments, Valliant tied Paul Jones to the ropes and very quickly stripped him down to his undies.

Honestly, I thought that’s how a tuxedo match should end, but not this one. Jones broke free and went on the attack but Valliant made a comeback and looked to be in control until JJ Dillon interfered, giving the win to Mr Jones
Your Winner: Paul Jones

The loss meant that Jimmy Valiant now had to ‘leave the area,’ though it was never expressly stated what that meant.

  • Did he have to leave the NWA?
  • Did he have to leave whatever territory he was most closely associated with?
  • Or did he simply have to leave the town they were in like every wrestler on the show would have to anyway?

If so, for how long?

Who knows?

Not me, that’s who.

Ric Flair is Ready

Backstage, Tony Schiavone reminded us that Ric Flair had been champion for a year after defeating Harley Race at the first Starrcade. This wasn't technically true. Flair had dropped and regained the belt a bunch of times over the course of the year, but apparently, none of those occasions counted.

Anyway, The Nature Boy warned The American Dream that he better be half the man he claimed to be when they stepped in the ring tonight.

National Wrestling Alliance Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Dick Slater

It’s starting to feel like Dillon is in practically every segment on this show. Meanwhile, Dick Slater used to be dirty but apparently, he’d had a wash since turning babyface.

This was all part of one of the hottest storylines in the company between Dillon’s stable and a gaggle of babyfaces but sadly the heat generated by that story didn’t translate into a quality match.

Though the fans were into it, there was nothing special about this one.

Bass won when Slater got disqualified for putting his hands on the official.
Your Winner and Still Mid-Atlantic Champion: Ron Bass

Post-match, Slater got revenge by taking out both Bass and Dillon.

We then got a brass rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner as a clearly unsteady cameraman tried to focus on the flag.

Keith Larson & Ole Anderson vs. Ivan & Nikita Koloff

Keith Larson was the brother of Don Kernodle.

Know how I know?

Because the announcers mentioned it about twenty times before he and Ole Anderson had even fully reached the ring.

Seriously, this was like the NWA’s version of Rellik.

Speaking of Kernodle. He showed up in a neck-brace to hang out on the apron and wave the American flag with Ole Anderson and Keith Larson who was his brother don’t you know?

The match finally got underway and turned into a good, solid traditional tag team match.

The faces spent the first part of the contest in control, Anderson and Larson taking turns to work over Ivan Koloff's arm until The Russian Bear turned the tides for his team with a Greco-Roman eye poke.

From there, we got bear hugs aplenty and some enjoyable action before Ivan picked up the win for his team by blasting Larson with a chain behind the referee’s back.
Your Winners: Ivan & Nikita Koloff

Afterwards, Don Kernodle took to the ring and used his crutches to beat the crap out of the Koloffs.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ricky Steamboat

Both men had put up $10,000. Winner takes all.

Well, this was excellent.

Proving that consistent selling really is a lost art these days, Ricky Steamboat came into the match with his injuries and sold them well from bell to bell in the kind of way that you just do t see today.

When he did get control of the match, he proved why he was one of the greatest of his generation With some outstanding work. Tully Blanchard was no slouch either and played his role perfectly.

That included being the devious heel champion who blasted his opponent in the head with a discreet International Object to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Tully Blanchard

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Wahoo McDaniel vs. Superstar Billy Graham

In direct contrast to the previous match, this wasn’t very good at all.

Superstar Billy Graham looked nothing like you remember Superstar Billy Graham looking like. He looked like how Bruno Sammartino looked in the last few years of his life and was apparently doing a weird karate gimmick.

Wahoo McDaniel was incredibly over, but even his popularity did nothing for the match.

Wahoo won with a tomahawk chop but the whole thing was not fun.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Wahoo McDaniel

Out in the dressing room, Tony Schiavone interviewed Smokin’ Joe Frazier and two men who would be the judges for our main event.

It was hard to tell if Frazier was drunk, bored, or had taken one too many punches to the head, but his interview comments made him sound dumb.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes

Special Guest Referee: Smokin’ Joe Frazier
In one of those bizarre, it-could-only-happen-in-the-80s moments, Dusty Rhodes came down wearing a silver and purple robe with purple smoke bellowing out and Prince’s Purple Rain (dubbed on the network) playing.

I mean, I love Prince, but it but just looked odd for Dusty.

Meanwhile, Flair came down in a hot pink robe that made him look like a drag queen.

The match started off well, got better, and was on the verge of turning into an all-time classic...

...Then Joe Fraizer got involved and the whole thing turned to hell.

Dusty got an admittedly nasty-looking cut in his eye that Fraizer kept stopping the match to check out the eye and eventually just stopped the match, awarding it to Flair.
Your Winner and Still NWA Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

If that had happened today there'd be very loud "BULLSH*T" chants and possible riots.

Post-Match Interviews

Backstage, Ric Flair told Tony Schiavone that he only cared about two things:

The title and his million-dollar cheque. He had both and was therefore happy.

After cutting to Sollie and Caudle, Schiavone then caught up with a very angry Dusty Rhodes who was unsurprisingly irritated at both Flair and Fraizer.

Finally, after the post-show credits, Fraizer himself cut another sloppy-arse promo in which he defended his terrible decision making.







Starrcade 1983 had been both historically important and critically acclaimed. Starrcade 1984 was neither.

Sure, only the Graham/McDaniel match was flat-out bad, but outside of the Blanchard/Steamboat match and the first two-thirds of the main event, nothing was particularly memorable. Then there was that ending, which was both infuriating and insulting.

Seriously, Starrcade 84 is not a show you necessarily need to spend any time with.



Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Top Ten WCW PPV Matches from 1996 - 2001

Top Ten WCW PPV Matches from 1996 - 2001: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.As regular Retro Pro Wrestleing readers may recall, last week's review featured WCW Greed, the final ever World Championship Wrestling Pay Per View.

That means we've now covered every single WCW PPV from January 1996 up until the company's demise, and what better way to celebrate that fact than by looking back on the top ten best matches from that time period?

Before we get into it, here's the criteria:

There isn't one.

The only criteria for choosing these matches is how much I enjoyed them.  It doesn't matter if other matches were better from a workrate perspective or anything like that. If I had a good time watching it, it goes in.

On a similar note, these top ten WCW PPV matches aren't necessarily in exact order. Other than the number-one ranked match which remains one of my all-time favourites, there's no reason why any of the other matches are ranked where they are.







If you want to argue that my ninth pick is actually better than the match at number four, you're probably right.

Anyway, without further ado, let's dive into it.

10. Triple Ladder Match - 3 count vs. Jung Dragons vs. Noble & Karagious - Starrcade 2000

Top Ten WCW PPV Matches from 1996 - 2001: The Jung Dragons & Lea Meow
The last 18 months of WCW's existence was hardly known for producing quality entertainment. Now ould you ever consider the likes of 3 Count and The Jung Dragons to be among the company's most illustrious stars.

Still, there's no doubting that this high-octane spotfest from Starrcade 2000 was a lot of fun.

That said, so were most of the matches between these six men.

For what felt like the majority of the year, WCW would book The Jung Dragons and 3 Count against each other. When that got boring, they broke Evan Karagias away from the latter and Jamie Noble away from the former and had them establish a new tag team so that we could have lots and lots (and lots) of different six-man and three-way matches.

Though they'll never go down as all-time classics, they were insanely good fun and always a highlight of any show they happened to be on.

9. Blitzkrieg vs. Juventud Guerrera - Spring Stampede 1999



There's no denying the fact that 1999 was clearly the worst year in World Championship Wrestling's history, at least from a creative standpoint. Watching all 12 of their 1999 PPVs as I did for this blog was a tedious, frustrating, and sometimes downright infuriating process.

Yet in the midst of all their horribleness, the company somehow managed to pull a rather excellent Pay Per View out of their ass in the form of Spring Stampede 1999. The show featured several excellent contests, including a Raven's Rules tag team match pitting Raven and Saturn against Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, a thoroughly entertaining hardcore match between Hak (Sandman) and Bam Bam Bigelow, and a gripping cruiserweight title match which pitted tag team champions Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio (also the cruiserweight champion) against one another. 

Heck, even the main event -in which DDP won his first World Heavyweight Championship- was good stuff.

To be fair, a case could be made for any one of those matches to feature somewhere on this list, but for some reason, this compelling match between Juventud Guerrera and oft-forgotten cruiserweight star Blitzkrieg has always stood out to me as an absolute gem.

Remember, this isn't meant to be the definitive list of great PPV matches according to some strict scientific criteria. It's one dude's opinion, and this dude says that Blitzkrieg/Juvi is a favorite.

8. Steven Regal vs. Dave 'Fit' Finlay - Uncensored 96


Making their way from Blackpool and Belfast respectively, Regal and Finlay set out to show the American audiences how things were done in the UK and Ireland with a stiff, hard-hitting contest that was violently entertaining from start to finish.

OK, so the crowd at WCW Uncensored 1996 didn't seem to care much for it at the time, but if you ask me, few things are as fun as watching two talented wrestlers just beat the living crap out of each other as these two did here.

7. Falls Count Anywhere match: Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan - Great American Bash 1996


For obvious reasons, I try not to draw too much attention to Chris Benoit on RPW, but to leave out this fantastic Falls Count Anywhere match from The 1996 Great American Bash would be to deny Kevin Sullivan his rightful place on this list.

Of course, the old joke is that Kevin Sullivan booked his own divorce during his feud with Benoit, but there was no joking around when the two beat the hell out of each other all the way to the men's bathroom and back again.

This wasn't the only match from that year's Great American Bash to make it onto this list, and the one we'll get to later was (arguably) better, but man, what a heck of a fight this was.

6. Ladder Match: Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero - Souled Out 97


Let's be honest - there wasn't a lot to like about WCW's ill-advised nWo Souled Out PPV in 1997. An attempt at running an nWo-only PPV, the show was mostly a creative and financial disaster.

So sure, with so much bad stuff surrounding it, the Eddie Guerrero/Syxx ladder match was always going to look good, but even taken out of context, this was still an excellent contest.

Of course, it could have done without the heel commentary referring to Eddie as a "Mexican jumping bean,' but that's another argument for another day.

5. Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T - Bash at the Beach 2000



Even when WCW was at its peak in terms of popularity and creative excellence, the company's PPV main events were normally huge disappointments in which Hulk Hogan and a bunch of other  dundering old-timers wandered around the ring doing as little as possible. 

Then, at Bash of the Beach 2000, Hulk Hogan 'dropped' the title to Jeff Jarrett in an infamous angle in which he merely laid down and handed JJ the win. The show as a whole is remembered more for this -and Vince Russo's subsequent worked-shoot/shoot- promo than it is for anything that actually happened in the ring, but that's not to take anything away from the tremendous effort Jarrett and Booker T would have in the actual main event.

Proving that WCW could deliver exciting action at the top of the card, this was as good as it got at the time and still holds up today as a quality match.

4. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko  - Great American Bash 1996


Told you Benoit/Sullivan wasn't the only match from Great American Bash '96 to feature on this list. Truthfully, this whole list could have been made up of matches featuring Dean Malenko and Rey Mysterio and you'd have a hard time arguing that it wasn't a reflection of the best matches ever - but I wanted to add some variety. 

Yet while I may have left out some of their matches to make room for some of WCW's other talented stars, it would be a crime against all that is good and decent to leave out this absolute five-star worthy cruiserweight classic.

3. DDP vs. Goldberg - Halloween Havoc 98


The story surrounding this match may be more famous than the match itself. In his 2018 Hall of Fame speech, Goldberg recalled how Diamond Dallas Page had the whole thing meticulously planned out, even presenting him with a 15-page script to follow.

WCW being WCW, however, the show ran long and the PPV cut off before most people could see the match. Fortunately, we got to see it for free on Nitro the following day (and on the Network years later) and it was tremendous.

Clearly, DDP's meticulous planning paid off as this Halloween Havoc 1998 match was one of his best, and I've yet to see Goldberg involved in anything better.

2. DDP vs. Randy Savage - Spring Stampede 1997



The Randy Savage/DDP feud was the hottest storyline in professional wrestling in 1997. Their promos and angles were magic, and every time the two locked up in the ring it was a thing of pure beauty. 

This match from Spring Stampede 1997 was the highlight of an incredible feud that still stands up today as being worthy of its place on this list.

1. Cruiserweight Title vs. Mask Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Eddie - Halloween Havoc 97



Ask me to name my favourite matches of all time, and off the top of my head, I'll tell you that my top two are the HHH/Rock ladder match from Summerslam 1998 and this all-time classic between two true legends from Halloween Havoc 1997

Incredible from start to finish, Eddie Guerrero was at the peak of his WCW heel run here, and was an excellent antagonist for the ever-popular Rey Mysterio Jr. Take that good old fashioned good versus evil story and combine it with the outstanding talent of two men like Mysterio and Guerrero, and what you had here was not just one of the best WCW PPV matches, but one of the best matches of all time, period.







Enjoyed this? You might also enjoy the following:

For more Retro Pro Wrestling reviews and old-school content, join us on our Facebook page.

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: 
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

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.