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, 21 November 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Souled Out 2000

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Event poster
January 16, 2000
Firstar Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Anyone who regularly follows Retro Pro Wrestling will know that reviewing World Championship Wrestling's 1999 PPVs just about killed me off.

The company had started the last year of the decade pretty well but, by December, they were in a creative mess. One by one, each successive pay per view somehow got worse and worse.

Throughout the year, most of the company's top stars mentally checked out. The majority of the matches ranged from mediocre to atrocious, and many of the booking decisions were either dumb, nonsensical, or completely frustrating.

Honestly, watching them was just a trying experience that I almost gave up on this blog altogether.

Still, it's the start of a new year, so maybe, just maybe, the company could turn it around for one last creative hoorah before they shut up shop a year or so later.

Of course, we all know that they didn't.






WCW's last full calendar year of shows has been universally panned as one of their worst ever.

Still, if I'm ever going to survive, I need simply to live in denial about this and hold on to the hope that somewhere, among all the garbage, there's a few gems.

Off to a good start

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Mike Tenay, Tony Schavione, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Even at their creative peak, WCW's opening video packages had always been pretty terrible, so it was a good sign that Souled Out 2000 didn't have one. Instead, we got a cold open that took us straight to the announce table.

Even more good news came in the form of Mike Tenay, who was back where he should have been, taking his rightful place next to Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan after being replaced by the mediocre Scott Hudson at last month's Starrcade 1999.

The trio told us that the card had changed slightly due to injuries to Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jeff Jarrett. Those two had been taken off the card and their respective opponents, Sid Vicious and Chris Benoit would now face each other for the vacant WCW title.

The injury to The Hitman, was, of course, the one that would bring his career to an end that year, though for now, even news that The Best There Is... was hurt couldn't ruin the optimism that this just might be a good show.

Sadly, there was one thing that could:

A look at the card.

With each match represented by a crappy graphic that looked like your technology-illiterate grandma had knocked it up on Microsoft Paint, we were told to look forward to such highlights as Tank Abbott vs. Jerry Flynn, Madusa vs. Oklahoma and Kevin Nash vs. Terry Funk.

Still, at least the opening match looked promising:

Triple Threat Theatre: Match 1 - Catch-as-Catch-Can
Billy Kidman vs. Dean Malenko

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Billy Kidman faced Dean Malenko in the opening match
Triple Threat Theatre basically meant that Billy Kidman had three separate matches tonight. However, these weren't one after the other, gauntlet style, because that would make too much sense.

Instead, they would be split up throughout the show, with a different stipulation for each one.

The stipulation here was 'catch-as-catch-can,' or in Plain English - actual wrestling.

As part of catch-as-catch-can rules, one stipulation was that you couldn't leave the ring. If both feet touched the floor, you lost the match. The announcers told us that this was to stop Kidman running away, even though he was the babyface.

At any other time in the company's history,  Dean Malenko vs. Kidman could have been a classic, but in January 2000, it was barely a match at all.

After about a minute and a half of action, Billy caught Dean with a flurry of offence. Reacting on instinct, The Man of 1,000 Holds obviously forgot the entire concept of the match and bailed to the outside.

When he returned, referee Charles Robison called for the bell.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Billy Kidman

Post-match, both Kidman and Malenko looked furious and stormed off backstage. I'm normally a believer that everything I see on a pro wrestling show is a work, but this was clearly two men who were irate that the finish of their match had been screwed up.

Vampiro hates David Flair

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Masahiro Chono randomly interrupted Vampiro's promo
Prior to the next bout, we were shown a video package which recapped Vampiro's feud with David Flair, Crowbar and Daffney. The video package was supposed to help us understand the story between them, but alas, it made about as much sense as, well, as anything else in WCW at the time.

Out in the back, Scott Hudson tried to interview Vampiro about the rivalry, but instead Masahiro Chono, of all people, randomly arrived on the scene and began ranting in Japanese to the camera.

Vamp confronted Chono, but before the two could come to blows, we cut to another part of the arena where Mean Gene Okerlund was standing by with David Flair, Crowbar, and Daffney.

Say what you want about Flair, he had his whole 'sick and demented' thing down to a tee here as he vowed to break Vampiro's bones. Crowbar added that he would then tear Vampiro's flesh and Daffney, that crazy little goth princess, vowed that she would simply pick apart what's left.

That match was next

Three-Way Dance
WCW Tag Team Champion David Flair (w/ Daffney) vs. Crowbar (also w/ Daffney) vs. Vampiro

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Vampiro faced David Flair and Crowbar
It would have made more sense to call this a handicap match, which is probably the exact reason why WCW didn't do it.

Regardless as to what you call it, this was at least a pretty entertaining contest that worked by keeping Flair's contributions to a minimum and having the talented Crowbar (Devon Storm) tear it up with Vampiro.

At one point, Flair did get involved to slap the figure four on Vampiro while his partner catapulted over the ropes and splashed him (Vampiro), but a jealous David prevented Crowbar from getting the fall.

The two almost came to blows, but instead, Flair proved himself to be his father's son by stopping for kisses with Daffney.

Not long after, he succumbed to Vampiro's Nail in the Coffin and this one was over.
Your Winner: Vampiro

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Disco Inferno and The Mamalukes
Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund was standing by for an interview with The Mamalukes, although apparently they didn't like that name and it wasn't officially what they were called.

Anyway, Tony Marinara said he had better things to do, and so simply left it up to Big Vito to generally talk up the team ahead of their next match. In a fairly average segment, Vito claimed that, with Disco Inferno in their corner, he and Johnny The Bull had nothing to worry about in their match with The Harris Boys.

Disco, however, wasn't so sure he could help.

The Harris Boys (Ron & Don Harris) vs. Big Vito & Johnny The Bull (w/ Disco Inferno)

WCW Souled Out 2000 - The Mamalukes battled Ron & Don Harris
The story here was that Disco was a reluctant member of WCW's resident Italian mobster family and didn't really want to help out at all.

So he simply stood by and watched as Big Vito and Johnny The Bull engaged in a respectably decent tag team contest. This one was never going to set the world on fire, but it did at least hold it's own as a serviceable mid-card bout.

In the end, Vito climbed to the top rope and Disco pushed him off, hoping to cost The Mamalukes the match. Instead, he pushed Vito right onto Ron or Don Harris. A three count later, and Vito genuinely believed Disco had helped him win the match.
Your Winners: Big Vito & Johnny The Bull

Afterwards, Vito embraced a dumbfounded Disco Inferno and claimed to have a new member of the family.

Out in the back, Madusa talked to her new valet/friend/random person Nitro Girl Spice about how badly she was going to beat Oklahoma for the Cruiserweight Championship.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Madusa (w/ Spice) vs. Oklahoma

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Oklahoma defended the cruiserweight title against Madusa
Over the years, the Cruiserweight Championship had given us many an epic battle. Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio Jr., Ultimo Dragon, Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and others had all given us so many incredible matches for the title but now, now the Cruiserweight Championship had been reduced to playing an unnecessary role in a joke that nobody found funny.

Madusa had beaten her ex-lover Evan Karagious for the title last month at Starrcade and was still technically the champion, but Oklahoma had the belt because if history has taught us anything, it's that WCW couldn't go more than 90 days without repeating the "heel steals the face's title belt" story.

Prior to the bell, Oki got on the microphone for some cheap heel heat by declaring that even though he wasn't an athlete, he was a man, and since males were the superior and dominant species, he would easily whoop Madusa.

If they'd just had Madusa come out and quickly destroy the challenger for a big pop, this could have been tremendous. Instead, they tried to work a competitive match which wasn't offensively bad or anything but was more than anybody wanted to see.

At one point, Aysa came down to exact some revenge on Oklahoma for an incident that had occurred on Nitro. Yet just when it looked like the challenger was outnumbered by three women, he managed to tug on the weird skirt thing Madusa was wearing and roll her up for the pin.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Oklahoma.

Yes, you really did just read that.

Afterwards, Spice and Aysa both held the new champion in place while Madusa poured barbeque sauce over his face and down his singlet, leaving Oklahoma and battered and messy disgrace.

The Student Has Become The Master

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Brian Knobs
Out in the back, new WCW Hardcore Champion Brian Knobs gave credit to Fit Finlay for his recent career resurgence but also promised to destroy Finlay in the upcoming Four the Hard Way match because the student, according to Knobs, had now become the master.

This promo was about a thousand times better than hearing Knobs talk about how nasty he is.

Four the Hard Way match for the World Championship Wrestling World Hardcore Championship
WCW Hardcore Champion Brian Knobs vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley vs. Fit Finlay vs. Meng

'Four The Hard Way' was basically a cute-but-dumb name for a fatal four-way hardcore match. Get it? Because there was four of them and 'four' sounds like 'for' and 'for the hard way,' is erm...something, I guess?

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Brian Knobs successfully defended the WCW Hardcore title against Meng and Norman Smiley
Hilariously, Screamin' Norman Smiley -always a highlight of the Hardcore Division- came out in full police riot gear. Unfortunately, his choice of attire would prove to be the former's champion's downfall.

After a fairly average match devoid of any real high spots, Meng was dragged out of the ring after knocking Knobs out. That left the champion as easy pickings for Screamin' Norman. He hit Brian with a low blow then scaled the top, only Knobbs to recover and meet Smiley coming off the top with a full riot shield square in the face.

One three count later and it was all over.

This match was proof that more isn't always better. Quite often, one-on-one hardcore matches in WCW were a lot of fun because the combatants could go walking around the arena looking for creative ways to beat each other up. Here, we essentially had five minutes of four men aimlessly wandering around ringside and hitting each other with a trash can.

the results left a lot to be desired.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Brian Knobs

Afterwards, Meng embraced Screamin' Norman then threw him out of the ring.

Triple Threat Theatre: Match 2 - Bunhouse Brawl
Billy Kidman vs. Perry Saturn

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Perry Saturn faced Billy Kidman in Kidman's second match of the night
Up to this point, this was the best match on the card by a mile.

Heading into his second match of the evening, Kidman tore it up with Perry Saturn in a thrilling contest that delivered from bell-to-bell.

It was well-paced, it was exciting, it was captivating...

But it wasn't a Bunkhouse Brawl.

Apart from one single spot in which Saturn sent Kidman sailing over the top rope through a table, nothing about this match would have you believe that it was anything more than a standard singles contest.

Not that I'm complaining. This was still a tremendous effort and probably better than it would have been had the two tried to have an actual Bunkhouse Brawl.
Your Winner: Billy Kidman

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Stevie Ray
Up next, we were shown a video of Stevie Ray wandering through the ghetto, pointing at a homeless person's makeshift shelter and hugging random people who all wanted to know where Booker T was.

This was all to help Stevie drive home his point that Booker T wanted to forget where he was coming from and wasn't proud of his roots, which was apparently enough for Harlem Heat to break up and the two brothers to have a match tonight.

Back in the arena, Stevie told Mean Gene that Booker would always be his little brother, but that tonight, he had to go beat him up.

Booker T (w/ Midnight) vs. Stevie Ray

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Booker T (w/ Midnight) faced Stevie Ray
Prior to the bell, Booker T took to the microphone to claim that it was actually Stevie Ray who had forgotten where he'd come from. Not that it mattered to Booker. According to him, he was done with his brother and ready to get it on.

When they did get it on, the resulting match was...well, it was about as good as you might expect a match between Booker T and Stevie Ray to be.

In other words, it wasn't awful or anything, but it wasn't exactly setting the world on fire either.

Just when it looked like Booker had put his brother away, an out-of-shape Ahmed Johnson arrived on the scene, making his WCW debut by jumping the rail and helping Stevie Ray attack Brother T.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Booker T

With Midnight seemingly too cautious to get back in the ring and help Booker out, Stevie and Fat Ahmed Johnson hit Booker with their finishing moves before Stevie took to the microphone to tell us that the man last seen on a PPV back at WWF No Way Out of Texas 1998 was actually called Big T and that the two were now the new and improved Harlem Heat.

Ever the eloquent articulator, Johnson Big T took to the microphone to garble some gibberish about fish and how Booker T was going to get fried.

It was kind of dumb.

Sid Vicious is Ready for War

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Sid Vicious is interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund
Out in the back, Sid Vicious told Mean Gene that despite Bret Hart and his version of the nWo doing all the could tarnish the World Heavyweight Championship, he and Chris Benoit were going to have "a hell of a war" for the vacant title.

To do that, Sid insisted that he and Benoit would have to temporarily throw their friendship out of the window because apparently, the two were friends now.

Tank Abbott vs. Jerry Flynn

Jerry Flynn had been in WCW for a couple of years now but this was only his second ever PPV match. Last time we saw him on a PPV, he was facing Ernest Miller back at Uncensored 1999.

Here, he went up against former UFC star Tank Abbott in what would be Abbot's first WCW PPV.

I mention that because it's more interesting than anything that happened in this short, shoot-style match.

After about a minute of grappling, Abbot punched Flynn a bunch of times then knocked him out with a punch and simply walked off, not even bothering to wait until the referee had declared him the winner via knockout.

Kudos for doing something different, but this wasn't very interesting.
Your Winner: Tank Abbott

Up next, we were shown a recap of the recent Diamond Dallas Page/Buff Bagwell feud.

This had started over rumours that Kimberly Page was having an affair with Buff, but had disintegrated to Bagwell and Page quite literally having a "my d*ck's bigger than yours" argument in the middle of the ring.

The two would square off here at Souled Out 2000, supposedly to determine who had the bigger penis.

Last Man Standing
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Buff Bagwell faced DDP
This was billed as "no rules, no referee," although a referee would obviously have to be present to declare a winner.

I kid you not, this was probably the best match Buff Bagwell would have in his career. Though it wasn't the greatest Last Man Standing Match of all time, it was definitely the greatest match of any kind to include Bagwell, who lay it all on the line to go one-on-one with DDP in a tremendous contest.

The two wasted no time in taking the match to the outside, brawling through the crowd and to the entrance way, where they both tried to simultaneously destroy each other with monitors from the WCW.com 'Internet Location.'

Getting back to the ring, the two continued to lay each other out, allowing referee Slick Johnson the fun of getting the crowd involved for a few ten counts.

At this juncture, Bagwell gained the upper hand and eventually won what turned out to be a brilliantly fun match.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Afterwards, Kimberly Page came down and just kind of looked at Buff Bagwell, allowing DDP to attack him from behind.

Triple Threat Theatre: Match 3 - Cage Match
Billy Kidman vs. The Wall

WCW Souled Out 2000 - The Wall faced Billy Kidman in a cage match
As Kidman stood in the shiny new roofed cage that made this look a bit Hell-in-Cellish, Shane Douglas came down to insult the crowd by calling them all welfare recipients before introducing Kidman's mystery opponent, The Wall.

Like the majority of this show, the resulting action wasn't exactly terrible, but it was far from gripping. The two worked as basic a big-man/little-man match as you could possibly find, with the cage structure playing so little a role that it might as well have not been there at all.

After a few minutes of pretty uneventful action, The Wall caught Kidman coming off the top, chokeslammed him and pinned him.

Yes, the big pay off to Kidman wrestling three times in one night was that he'd get beat in about five minutes.
Your Winner: The Wall

Prior to the upcoming Terry Funk vs. Kevin Nash match, we got a brief video package recapping the rivalry between the two.

No Disqualification Match
Kevin Nash vs. Terry Funk

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Kevin Nash faced Terry Funk
If Funk wins, the New World Order is disbanded. If Nash wins, he comes WCW Commissioner.

Although it doesn't look like much on paper, this one was actually an incredibly fun match because both men played their roles perfectly.

Nash met Funk on his way to the ring and proceeded to destroy him, beating him to a pulp then powerbombing him through the announce table. At that point, Nash took to the mic and told a battered, bloody and beaten Funker that if he could crawl back in the ring, he could keep his commissioner's job.

Funk did indeed climb back in the ring, only for Nash to reveal that he was -and I quote- "a lying son of a bitch."

Mr Middle Aged and Crazy made a brief comeback, but this was basically the dominant Nash obliterating his smaller, older opponent before powerbombing him through two chairs to become our new commissioner.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash

Out in the back, Chris Benoit and Sid Vicious were seen warming up for tonight's main event in separate locations.

Elsewhere in the arena, Scott Hudson interviewed special guest referee, Arn Anderson. Anderson beautifully sold Kevin Nash becoming Commissioner as though it were the worst rise to power since Hitler, speaking in a sombre tone as he told us that WCW would change forever with Nash in charge.

He then turned his attention to tonight's main event, telling us that there would be no losers even though that blatantly wasn't true.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit vs. Sid Vicious

Match to determine the vacant title
Special guest referee: Arn Anderson

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Sid Vicious faced Chris Benoit for the vacant WCW title
You know how WWE Network avoids mentioning Chris Benoit for obvious reasons? Well on this show they tell us that this is "Arn Anderson in a WCW World Title Match," which is pretty funny.

To give WCW their credit, they made this one seem like a huge deal with super special Michael Buffer introductions and the entire WCW locker room coming out to watch the match from the entrance way.

Benoit and Sid gave them one heck of a show too, the latter man having his best performance ever outside of his Survivor Series 1996 effort against Shawn Michaels.

It was a long, valiant effort that would have been the perfect main event if it weren't for the finish.

Sid got a cover on Benoit, but Anderson rightly pointed out that The Crippler's foot was underneath the rope, breaking the fall.

Benoit then turned around and slapped on The Crippler Crossface. A second later, Double-A called for the bell despite the fact that Sid's foot was underneath the bottom rope even further than Benoit's had been.

It was a screwy finish, but at least it would come in handy when the title would once again be declared vacant the following evening.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Chris Benoit

WCW Souled Out 2000 - Kevin Nash confronted Chris Benoit after Benoit's world title victory
Out in the back, Benoit gave a heartfelt promo to Mean Gene Okerlund, first putting over Sid as a tremendous competitor before talking about how a childhood trip to see Dynamite Kid compete in Edmonton had inspired his life-long passion for pro wrestling.

The Crippler was congratulated by Anderson before being interrupted by Kevin Nash.

Big Sexy told the new champion that he was going to make his life hell and referred to Benoit as "a little turd."

"Yeah?" quipped Benoit. "Well from a little turd to the big turd...Best of luck."

With that, Chris Benoit walked out of a WCW show, never to return.

In his final WCW appearance, The Crippler had finally smashed through the glass ceiling to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, but it was too little, too late if WCW had wanted to keep him among their ranks.

After tonight, he'd be gone from the company and would join Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero in the World Wrestling Federation just a few weeks later.





So, were WCW able to put their terrible 1999 behind them and start 2000 with a better show?

Kind of.

The truth is that Souled Out 2000 was better than at least the last six months of 1999, but not by a great deal.

Most of the roster looked unmotivated to deliver anything of substance, and out of 12 matches, only three Kidman/Saturn, Bagwell/Page and Benoit/Vicious were actually watching.

The rest of the card, while not exactly terrible, was mediocre at best.

Not a great start then for what would prove to be World Championship Wrestling's last full year of existence.



For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:



For more WCW Souled Out Reviews see: 
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Thursday, 7 November 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1999

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Event poster
December 19, 1999
MCI Center in Washington, D.C.

For years, World Championship Wrestling had touted Starrcade as their flagship event. It was the place where feuds that had been raging throughout the calendar year would come to an end, where old grudges were settled and new stars were born.

Then the 1997 Sting/Hogan event happened and, well, Starrcade was never quite the same again.

Still, at least on this cold, December night a few days before New Year's Eve, World Championship Wrestling could rightly lay claim to promoting the last ever pro wrestling pay per view of the entire millennium.

While that may not be enough to give Starrcade 1999 the same gravitas and prestige of earlier events, it does at least go some way to making it a marginally important note in the turbulent history of WCW.

On that note, let's head to Washington, D.C for the last Starrcade before the turn of the century.





Strap yourself in for this one

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan called the action
Before the show got underway, Scott Hudson talked us through all of the matches on tonight's card.

To be honest with you, the first time I saw this opening video, I turned the show-off and couldn't face coming back to write this review for several weeks.

Honestly, it looks dreadful, but we've come this far in our journey through the Monday Night Wars that I'm determined to see this through, no matter how painful it might be.

After that video, we got a second video looking at the two biggest feuds going into the show - Kevin Nash vs. Sid Vicious and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Goldberg for the title.

Tony Schiavone then welcomed us to the 17th annual Starrcade and introduced his colleagues, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Scott Hudson. Quite why we had to have Hudson instead of the awesome Mike Tenay is anyone's guess, but there you go.

Thankfully, the new WCW bosses had done away with having the announcers spend ages talking about the show before we got any action. Instead, we got straight down to our first match of the evening.

Disco Inferno & Lash LeRoux vs. Johnny The Bull & Big Vito (w/ Tony Marinara)

WCW Starrcade 1999 - The Mamalukes faced Disco Inferno and Lash Leroux
Though the show may have looked terrible on paper, this opening contest proved to actually be not half bad.

Johnny The Bull and Big Vito hadn't yet been christened The Mamalukes yet, but still looked pretty impressive in their debut PPV match.

If you don't remember them, they were a couple of goons from a stereotypical New York Italian crime family.

They also had a manager who was only called Tony Marinara because apparently just flat-out calling him Tony Spaghetti Sauce would have been too obvious.

That aside, they worked well with Disco Inferno and Lash LeRoux to put on a reasonably entertaining contest with a somewhat silly finish.

Beaten into a daze, Disco didn't bother to look behind him when he felt another wrestler approach him and instinctively hit the Last Dance (Stone Cold Stunner) on them, only to reveal that he'd actually hit his own partner.

Big Vito planted LeRoux into the mat, and this one was over.
Your Winners: Big Vito & Johnny The Bull

Post-match, The Mamalukes did their best Undertaker impression by knocking Disco out with ethanol then stuffing him into a body bag, only to carry him backstage and immediately let him out of it again so that they could stuff him into the trunk of a limo and drive away.

Good old' WCW.

The Crippler Issues an Open Challenge

Cutting back to the announce team, Tony Schiavone told us that tonight's scheduled ladder match for the United States title between champion Scott Hall and challenger Chris Benoit would not be taking place due to Hall suffering a knee injury.

Not only would it not be taking place, but Hall had been stripped of the title and Benoit had been awarded it due to forfeit.

The Crippler's music then hit and he marched down to ringside.

"Chris Benoit is not scheduled to come out right now," said Tony, as if we were supposed to believe that it was an absolute total coincidence that he'd arrived at the same time they were talking about him.

Taking to the mic, the new US champion declared that titles should be earned, not given and that as far as he was concerned, the title was vacant.

However, he knew we'd all come to Washington to see a ladder match, and thus he issued an open challenge to anyone in the back to face him in one for the title later.

Credit where it's due, this was actually one of Benoit's better promos where he actually showcased some personality.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Evan Karagious (w/ Spice) vs. Madusa

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Madusa beat Evan Karagious for the Cruiserweight title
Last month at Mayhem 1999, Madusa and Evan Karagious were a hot couple, but they had apparently split up after Karagious won the cruiserweight title and started shacking up with former Nitro Girl Spice.

Here, they went at it for the cruiserweight championship in what was a sloppy horror show of a match.

I mean, honestly, it was atrocious.

The worst pro wrestling matches are always those that look fake, and this one looked as fake as Madusa's breasts.

After a few minutes of terrible garbage, Spice turned on Evan by hitting him with the weakest low-blow in history, allowing Madusa to hit a bridging German and pick up the win.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Madusa

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Screamin' Norman Smiley
Out in the back, WCW Hardcore Champion Norman Smiley refuted Mean Gene Okerlund's accusation that he was afraid of upcoming challenger Meng.

Screamin' Norman then screamed like a startled little girl at something off camera which Mean Gene told us was the TV producer counting him down.

It sounds dumb, but it was at least kinda funny.

"I think I soiled myself. Did I?" asked Smiley as he turned around. Ever the sport, Gene checked out Norman's rump and confirmed that yes, he had.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship
WCW Hardcore Champion Screamin' Norman Smiley vs. Meng

Late 90s hardcore matches were always fun, but here you had the added comedy value of Screamin' Norman running around and screaming his head off, desperately trying to get away from Meng.

It wasn't 'good' in the traditional sense of a pro wrestling match, but it sure did make this writer laugh.

Towards the finish, the champion screamed as he dived over a table and hid while Fit Finlay and Brian Knobs beat up on Meng for seemingly no reason.

After Finlay laid out Meng with a lead pipe, Smiley returned and pinned him to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Norman Smiley

WCW Starrcade 1999 - David Flair received a new crowbarPost-match, Meng slapped the Tongan Death Grip on referee Nick Patrick.

Elsewhere in the arena, David Flair had a shiny new crowbar delivered to him in a gift-wrapped box.

Meanwhile, that dumb Oklahoma gimmick got his boy, Dr Death Steve Williams all fired up, only to be kidnapped by The Misfits.

Prior to the next match, we got a video package looking back at the time Hacksaw Jim Duggan returned from legitimately beating cancer, only to be saddled with a dumb gimmick where he was WCW's janitor. That somehow led to a feud with The Revolution and to tonight's contest:

The Revolution vs. Duggan and three mystery opponents. If Duggan won, the Revolution had to do Duggan's janitorial work, but if The Revolution won, Duggan had to denounce the USA...even though I'm pretty sure all of The Revolution were Americans too.

Prior to the bell, Duggan gave a brief interview to Mike "I should be on commentary" Tenay but said nothing of note.

The Revolution (Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Shane Douglas and Asya) vs. Jim Duggan and The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda, Kevin Sullivan and Rick Steiner) w/ Leia Meow

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Jim Duggan teamed w/ The Varsity Club to face The Revolution
If you like terrible wrestling, Starrcade 1999 is the show for you.

Duggan announced The Varsity Club as his partners to the delight and excitement of absolutely no one (not even The Varsity Club). He then proceeded to trade the slowest fists in the universe with Saturn and Dean Malenko while Shane Douglas -who was supposed to be a participant in the match- did commentary.

Duggan wouldn't tag in Mike Rotunda. He wouldn't tag in Rick Steiner and he wouldn't tag in Kevin Sullivan, who hadn't competed on a WCW PPV since his retirement match with Chris Benoit at Bash at the Beach 1997.

This apparently pissed off The Varsity Club, who eventually stormed the ring and beat up all of The Revolution and Duggan himself.

Eventually, they left, and Aysa pinned Duggan to pick up the win.

This was garbage.
Your Winners: The Revolution

Post-match, Douglas got on the microphone and berated a fallen Hacksaw, reminding him that he'd have to denounce the USA on the following evening's Nitro.

Oklahoma is Locked Up

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund stood by with The Misfits, who had Oklahoma locked in a cage. Jerry Only told Okerlund that this was to ensure Oklahoma didn't run away if Vampiro beat Steve Williams because if Williams lost, Vampiro would get five minutes alone with the Jim Ross impersonator.

Vampiro (w/ The Misfits) vs. Dr Death Steve Williams (w/ Oklahoma)

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Vampiro faced Dr Death Steve Williams
I have a feeling that by the end of this review, the letters on my keyboard that spell the word GARBAGE will have worn down because that's exactly what this was.

The Misfits wheeled out Oklahoma in his cage and Vampiro lept off the top of it onto Dr Death on the outside. That was just about the most exciting thing that happened in the whole match, and even calling it exciting is something of a stretch.

In the ring, Vampiro and Dr Death went back and forth in an uninspired contest before Williams put his hands on referee Charles Robison, leading to the DQ.
Your Winner via disqualification: Vampiro

This meant that Vamp got five minutes alone with Oklahoma, but half of those five minutes were spent with Williams beating up Vampiro some more and then being escorted out of the ring by a million security men, all of whom forgot to let Oki out of the cage.

Eventually, Doug Dillinger set him free and he attacked Vampiro, only for Vamp and The Misfits to eventually gain the upper hand.

Eventually, Vamp drilled Oki with Nail in the Coffin and ordered Lil Naitch to make the three count. Looking confused as if to say "but this isn't actually a match," Robinson acquiesced anyway and counted the fall.
Your Winner: Vampiro

Honestly, I'm bored just writing that.

The tension in the Air

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Curt Hennig, La Parka, Vincent and Creative Control
Remember back at Mayhem when Curt Hennig lost a retirement match? Well, this was pro wrestling, so obviously he was back competing again tonight, just a few weeks later.

Backstage, he was shown standing by with Creative Control, Vincent, and La Parka, wanting to know if The Powers That Be had any instructions for them.

Off-camera, Vince Russo's voice was heard telling Hennig that his mind wasn't in it tonight because he was pre-occupied with something big that was about to go down.

Elsewhere in the arena, Stevie Ray blamed the recent tensions between him and Booker T on the addition of Midnight to the Harlem Heat camp and swore that he wouldn't have his brother's back tonight.

Apparently, the Heat would face Creative Control to determine the number one contenders to the WCW tag team titles.

Creative Control (Ron & Don Harris) & Curt Hennig vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T, Stevie Ray, and Midnight)

Curt Hennig and Creative Control beat Harlem Heat
Stevie Ray no-showed, effectively making this a Booker T & Midnight vs. Creative Control & Curt Hennig handicap match.

The resulting action wasn't bad but, like almost everything else on this show, it wasn't very good either.

Midnight played face-in-peril for what felt like forever. When she finally got the hot tag to a super-over Booker T, Stevie Ray (who had arrived moments earlier) got up on the apron to distract Nick Patrick.

This didn't seem to have much impact, as Patrick still counted Booker's pin attempt, so it wasn't as if they were doing the whole "referee didn't see the tag" schtick.

At that point, Curt Hennig came in and hit Booker with a random International Object and got the win for his team.
Your Winners: Curt Hennig & Harlem Heat

I should point that yes, the number one contenders to the tag team titles were decided in what was -on paper at least- a six-man match.

I'm Gonna Be Your Fat Daddy

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Dustin Rhodes promised to be Jeff Jarrett's fat daddy
Up next, we were reminded of the time that Dustin Rhodes returned to WCW as 'Seven,' immediately denounced the gimmick and entered into a feud with Jeff Jarrett.

This led to Jarrett challenging Rhodes to a Bunkhouse Brawl match, asking "didn't his fat daddy invent the damn thing?"

Rhodes accepted the challenge, beating up on Double J and insisting "I'm gonna be your fat daddy."

It's been five minutes since I watched this video and I still can't stop laughing at that.

Having regained my composure, I continued with the show as Mike Tenay interviewed Dustin. The former (and future) Goldust claimed that WCW firing Dusty was a mistake but that tonight, he would do this for his father's honour.

Before the interview could properly conclude, Jeff Jarrett attacked and this one was on.

Bunkhouse Brawl
Dustin Rhodes vs. Jeff Jarrett

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Dustin Rhodes is Jeff Jarrett's big fat daddy
Finally, we got something we could enjoy here; an entertaining brawl between two pros who knew what they were doing.

After beating each other with wheelbarrows, planks of wood and bull ropes, the two took to the ring where referee Billy Silverman tried to stop Dustin from giving Jarrett a good whipping.

Not to be stopped, Rhodes simply duct taped Silverman to the ropes and slapped an extra piece of tape over his mouth for good measure.

Not long after, Curt Hennig came down and set Silverman free as Double J slapped a sleeper hold on his opponent.

From there, we basically got an unadvertised handicap match as Rhodes tried his best to fight off the attack of both Jarrett and Hennig.

He almost managed it too until the fight went back out to the entrance way. There, Jarrett lept off the ladder intended for our upcoming US title match and smashed Dustin with a guitar shot for the three count.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Diamond Dallas Pae
Up next, we got a look at the rivalry between Diamond Dallas Page and David Flair before going backstage where Mean Gene was standing by with DDP.

Page promised Mean Gene that he couldn't wait to get his hands on Flair and, more importantly, that the couldn't wait to get his hands on Flair's crowbar that he could then beat up Nature Boy Jr. with.

This was, as you might expect, pretty compelling stuff from Page.

Crowbar on a Pole Match
Diamond Dallas Page vs. David Flair

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Daffney debuted to help David Flair
You can insert your own obvious joke about Vince Russo loving 'Things on Poles' matches here.

Surprisingly, this wasn't actually that bad. I mean, it wasn't good either but it was relatively OK for a David Flair match.

That is if you ignore the fact that the crowbar never actually came into the actual match.

Sure, Flair hit Page with it before the bell, and sure that had Lil Naitch declare that Page couldn't compete, only for the former world champion to bravely climb into the ring and start the match, but once the bell rung, the crowbar was a non-factor.

Flair reached for it and grabbed it about three minutes in, but then he was immediately hit with a Diamond Cutter and this one was over.
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page

Afterwards, Page hit Flair with another Diamond Cutter, this one from the top rope. Just when he looked set to continue his attack, however, a young woman unknown to the announce team ran in to protect young David.

Annoyed, Dallas threatened to hit Charles Robinson with the Cutter as the woman we'd later come to call Daffney held onto Flair and laughed like a crazy person.

A short video package highlighting the Sting/Lex Luger feud followed. That match was next.

The Total Package Lex Luger vs. Sting
If Sting wins, Elizabeth's contract with Luger is null and void

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Sting was on to Elizabeth trying to swerve him
Sting and Lex Luger had been feuding for a while now, with their story taking an interesting turn at the previous month's Mayhem.

Then, Elizabeth had attempted to blind Sting with Mace, only to "miss" Sting and hit Luger instead (she did such a poor job that she actually pointed the can right at Lex). That had led to Liz and Lex breaking up and Sting apparently protecting the beauty from The Total Package's misogynistic abuse.

Prior to the bell, we saw Sting encourage Elizabeth not to carry her own can of Mace for her role as his valet, but to use a special 'super strength' one that he gave her.

The gullible girl went along with it, and down we went to the ring for what was probably the best match you were going to get out of Sting and Luger at this stage in their careers.

After a decent enough outing, the two clobbered each other with double clotheslines, after which Liz grabbed her Mace then ran in to check on Luger..revealing that she'd been on his side the whole time.

Realising the Stinger was behind her, she slowly stood up and attempted to spray him with Super Strength Mace, only to reveal that Sting had given her silly string all along.

The Icon looked to have the match all sewn up, even hitting The Total Package with a wicked looking Stinger Splash from the top rope.

Alas, Elizabeth returned to the ring with a baseball bat, Sting got taken out with it, and the referee called for the bell.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Sting

Post-match, we found out about WCW's weird cost-cutting measures. The company could afford to bring in punk band The Misfits for a throw-away mid-card feud, but they couldn't afford a stretcher for one of their top stars to sell an injury, so Sting had to be literally carried out as if he were Julian Assange being dragged into a police van.

Next, a look at why Sid Vicious and Kevin Nash were about to lock horns in a powerbomb match, their first one-on-one PPV encounter since In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks back in 1995.

Powerbomb Match
Sid Vicious vs. Kevin Nash

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Kevin Nash tells Sid Vicious to suck it
(Only way to win is to powerbomb your opponent)

When they wrestled in the WWF, Sid and Nash did at least try to do something. A few years later, however, the two did as little as possible, moving at snail's pace until the horrible, horrible finish.

The ref got bumped then Sid hit Nash with a powerbomb. Naturally, the referee didn't see it so things continued with a Jeff Jarrett run-in. The Chosen One blasted Sid with a guitar, after which Nash tried -twice- to powerbomb Big Sid, only for his back to give out on him.

Rather than try a third time, Big Sex simply revived the referee and told him that he'd powerbombed Sid.

The official, still groggy, took Nash at his word and called for the bell.

In the words of Randy Orton...STUPID.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash

Out in the back, Chris Benoit told Mike Tenay that nobody had answered his open challenge yet but when they did, they'd find out what silent-but-violent is all about.

I love that his slogan was 'silent-but-violent' yet The Crippler talked more on this show than he had in probably the past two years.

Ladder Match for the World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Chris Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Jeff Jarrett answered Chris Benoit's challenge
As you can probably imagine, this was the best match on the show by a long shot, at least up to this point.

In fact, it was so good that your reviewer watched it twice, just to make up for having sat through all the horrible wrestling on the rest of the show.

Though it wasn't the greatest ladder match of all time, both men gave a tremendous effort to deliver a well-paced, bloody and dramatic match that was totally compelling to watch.

After a captivating performance, Benoit delivered an awesome diving headbutt to Jarrett from the top of the ladder, then climbed up again and retrieved the title.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Chris Benoit

Out in the back, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart gave one his better on-mic performances when he told Mike Tenay that tonight was about proving his doubters wrong and being true to his word by beating Bill Goldberg.

Finally, it was time for our main event

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Goldberg

WCW Starrcade 1999 - Bret 'The Hitman' Hart defended the WCW title against Goldberg
Never has a match been so tremendously good and yet at the same time so frustratingly terrible all at the same time.

After an initial handshake to establish we had a face vs. face encounter on our hands, both champ and challenger waged war on each other in a thrilling battle that -along with the earlier ladder match- more than made up for all the terrible garbage that went before it.

Then the finish happened, and it was bad in the kind of way that still has you shouting at your TV, even 20 years after the event.

All of the referees got knocked out, so Rowdy Roddy Piper came out, walking very slowly and wearing a referee's shirt.

Bret began to put Goldberg in the Sharpshooter, yet he barely had it synched in before Hot Rod sauntered over to the ropes and lazily rang the bell because even though it was two years later, Hitman Equals Screwjob.
Your Winner via Screwjob and still WCW Champion: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart.

Piper then took the belt and left the ring, seemingly hurting his hip as he did so. He walked slowly and apathetically towards the back but was caught up by Hart. Piper handed Bret the belt back and the show..well, the show just kind of ended.





My recommendation for watching Starrcade 1999? Watch the Meng/Norman Smiley match as your undercard, then skip straight to the ladder match and watch all the way through to the point that the final referee gets knocked out in the main event.

That should trim the show down from three hours of garbage with about half an hour of good stuff to just half an hour of pretty good stuff.

Otherwise, avoid this one at all costs. For saying it was the last PPV of the millennium, World Championship Wrestling really didn't do anything to make this feel like mattered.

You know the worst part of all this?

There's still another 15 WCW PPVs left to review. God help us all.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Mayhem 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

The tournament finals are tonight!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disco is all about the mon-ay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was supposed to be funny.

It wasn't.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You say you want a revolution...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loser Retires Match
Curt Hennig vs. Buff Bagwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sting's formula for success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crippler is Ready for The Hitman

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

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

Lex is Hurt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You remember Oklahoma, right?

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

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

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

Naturally, Vampiro won the match.
Your Winner: Vampiro

Afterward, Dr. Death destroyed Vampiro.

Scott Hall issues an Open Challenge

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

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

One in, one out

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

Oh boy, can't wait for that one.

Lex Luger (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Meng

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

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

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

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

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

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

It looked stupid.

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

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

Putting friendship aside

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

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

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

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

Booker T.

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

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

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

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

The two would face off next.

Kimberly vs. David Flair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Quit Match
Goldberg vs. Sid Vicious

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

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

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

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

Finally, it was time for our main event.

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

Yes and no.

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

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



1999 events reviewed so far
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