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

Thursday, 15 March 2018

PPV REVIEW - WCW The Great American Bash 1997

WCW The Great American Bash 1997 - Event Poster
June 15, 1997
The MARK of the Quad Cities, Moline, Illinois

That The Great American Bash is the only WCW Pay Per View that WWE decided to revive once they bought out the company likely speaks volumes about a great idea this event was. 

Take the best that your company has to offer, present them in some blockbuster matches and present the whole thing with a good deal of American patriotism, and you've got all the makings of a successful event.

Yet as we all know, having a great idea doesn't always equal greatness once that idea is brought to life.

So, was The Great American Bash as good as it could have been? Was putting Diamond Dallas Page in the main event the best way for WCW to present the best that it had to offer?

Let's head down to the Quad Cities to find out.

America, Land of the Free 

WCW The Great American Bash 1997 - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our opening video tonight played up the patriotic theme of The Great American Bash, painting Diamond Dallas Page as the American Working Class Hero in his battles with his main event opponent, Macho Man Randy Savage.

This took us to our regular trio of Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, who got us looking forward to not only Savage/Page II (which they now told us was no DQ), but also our big tag team title match pitting Champions The Outsiders against The Nature Boy Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

From there, it was off to ringside and on to the first of our nine-match card.

Special Respect Challenge Match
Psicosis (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Ultimo Dragon 

WCW The Great American Bash 1997 - Psicosis & Sonny Onoo
The goofy name of this match didn't actually mean anything, it was just something WCW often did on PPVs to make every match seem more important than it was.

Basically, Sonny Onoo had turned on Ultimo Dragon at the previous month's Slamboree 1997 and had then hired Psicosis to apparently teach Dragon a lesson.

Silly name aside, this was a fairly fun opening contest. No, it wasn't the best Cruiserweight bout ever, but it had some entertaining spots and was a good way to kick off the show.

In the end, Psicosis went to whip Dragon into the ropes, where Onoo was waiting to kick his former charge, but Dragon reversed the whip and Psicosis got a boot to the mush.

Ultimo Dragon then applied the Dragon Sleeper and this one was over.
Your Winner: Ultimo Dragon 

Out in the back, Chris Benoit was being interviewed by some geek for

I'd love to tell you what Benoit was saying, but I could barely hear him over the sound of the geek typing on a laptop that was bigger than my house.

Match to Determine Number One Contenders to the WCW Tag Team Titles
Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Sister Sherri) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) 

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Sherri leads Booker T & Stevie Ray - Harlem Heat
Though certainly nothing out of the ordinary, this was as good as you'd probably expect from two teams with as much experience as Harlem Heat and The Steiners.

A solid, hard-hitting contest came to an end with The Steiners looking as though they had the whole thing won. Then, randomly, Vincent (of all people) came down and got involved, costing Rick and Scott the match by DQ:
Your Winners and Number One Contenders to the WCW Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat 

Afterwards, Rick and Scott beat the hell out of Vincent. Tellingly, none of Vince's nWo colleagues came out to help him.

As random as it seemed, the announcers told us that this was the perfect example of The Outsiders trying to control things and handpick their opponents, preferring to fight Harlem Heat over The Steiner Brothers.

Konnan vs. Hugh Morrus

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Hugh Morrus faced Konnan
Konnan had turned on Hugh Morrus after they lost to The Steiner Brothers at last month's WCW Slamboree.

The two had been at war ever since, culminating in a match that was as sloppy as it was tedious.

You know, I used to think I was a fan of Konnan, but the more I watch him the more it almost looks as if he genuinely didn't know how to wrestle and was making it up as he went along.

Not that such a crappy looking performance stopped him from winning. Morrus got knocked out on the turnbuckle and couldn't respond when Konnan locked on the Tequila Sunrise, so this was over.
Your Winner: Konnan 

Next, we went to Mean Gene Okerlund for our regular reminder to call the WCW Hotline.

Gene hinted that somebody -he couldn't say who- might be joining WCW on the following evening's Nitro broadcast after falling out with his current employer. It turned out to be Raven, but apparently not for a few more weeks.

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Mean Gene interviews The Public Enemy
From there, Gene welcomed The Public Enemy, who cut a ridiculous and dumb promo in which they bemoaned the fact that they had been overlooked for a WCW Tag Team title shot and vowed that they would get one sooner rather than later.

To end this utterly annoying segment, Johnny Grunge and Flyboy Rocco Rock went into the crowd to erm 'party.'

The whole thing was cringe-worthy and not entertaining in the slightest.

Mortis must be handcuffed at ringside
Wrath (w/ James Vanderberg & Mortis) vs. Glacier 

This was probably one of the best matches Bryan Clarke ever had.

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Glacier faced Wrath
I'm not saying it was amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but it was certainly compelling, with both Glacier and Wrath working hard to keep you invested from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish, James Vanderberg kept referee Nick Patrick distracted by fighting him for the keys to Mortis' handcuffs. Meanwhile, Mortis himself threw a chain into the ring, only for Glacier to get hold of it and waffle Wrath with it.

A three count later and this one was over.
Your Winner: Glacier 

Afterwards, the evil trio handcuffed Glacier to the ropes and attacked him until all he referees ran out to the rescue.

World Championship Wrestling Women's Championship
WCW Women's Champion Akira Hokuto (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa 

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Akira Hokuto w/ Sonny Onoo
The deal here is that if Madusa loses, her WCW career is over.

The All-American fan favourite up a valiant effort against her Japanese rival in a decent match, but it wasn't enough to save her career.

Akira Hokuto worked over the challenger's leg for the majority of the match before finally pinning her in what would be the last WCW women's championship match we would ever see.
Your Winner and Still WCW Women's Champion:  Akira Hokuto 

Afterwards, Mean Gene acted like the biggest dick in the world by bugging both Madusa and one of the guys helping her to the back for an interview.

Both blew him off, but Mean Gene kept following them, yelling down the mic about how Madusa's career was over and prompting the crowd to chant 'Leave her alone!' 

This was good advice because Okerlund looked like a hugely insensitive asshole here.

Death Match II
Chris Benoit vs. Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) 

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Meng with Jimmy Hart
With his real life partner and former manager Woman now presumedly retired, Chris Benoit went up against Meng in a return Death Match, a sequel to their previous outing at Slamboree.

Much as with that earlier match, anyone expecting barbed wire and blood galore here would be sorely disappointed.

In WCW, a Death Match apparently meant your standard no DQ, Last Man Standing outing.

Honestly, it's kind of impressive how many different ways WCW could come up with to present a no DQ style contest.

Unfortunately, this one lacked the intensity of their earlier battle and as such tended to drag on in places. Still, it was a reasonable effort, if not exactly the kind of thing anybody would want to rush out and watch.

In the end, the two paid homage to Wrestlemania 13's Bret Hart/Steve Austin ending, with Benoit applying the Crippler Crossface and Meng never actually giving up but instead passing out.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit 

Afterwards, they put Chris Benoit in a neckbrace and wheeled him off on a stretcher, but apparently, that was the only stretcher in the building because we then had to wait for five hours whilst they brought it back to take Meng out on it too.

Somehow, Meng fell off the stretcher and had to be hurled back onto it whilst Mean Gene Okerlund ranted and raved on the mic.

Okerlund shilled the Hotline some more before we went to our next match.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael) vs. Kevin Greene

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Debra & Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
A whole year after turning on him at WCW Great American Bash 1996, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael faced retribution from fellow football star Kevin Greene in this simple yet mostly enjoyable outing.

Neither man broke new ground in terms of innovation, but by working some basic spots and playing to their strengths, both were able to deliver some decent entertainment.

In the finish, Jeff Jarrett ran out to hit Kevin Greene with the Halliburton but waffled Mongo instead.

Jarrett then stormed off in frustration whilst Debra McMichael yelled at him.

Greene made the cover and this one was over.
Your Winner: Kevin Greene  

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - Madusa gets her knee checked out
Backstage, we saw Madusa, still sobbing with pain, having her knee checked over.

Tony Schiavone told us that if it was serious then Madusa wouldn't be able to compete for months. Schiavone then quickly remembered that we'd seen her retired by Akira Hokuto, and tried to save face.

He failed.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Syxx) vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper & Nature Boy Ric Flair 

This was slow, dull and lifeless, apart from one key spot where Ric Flair got into a brawl with Syxx on the outside.

WCW Great American Bash 1997 - nWo Wolfpac
The two fought all the way to the back, leaving Rowdy Roddy Piper alone to face Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

More tedium followed, then The Outsiders won and I just about woke up to watch the rest of the show.
Your Winner: The Outsiders 

Prior to the main event, Michael Buffer introduced the Quad Cities' own Mickie Jay as our referee and gave us some pretty fireworks, which was nice.

Falls Count Anywhere
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberley) 

Finally making all the previous mediocrity worth sitting through, this stellar main event delivered on just about every level.

Upping the ante from their earlier No DQ bout at WCW Spring Stampede 1997, Macho Man Randy Savage and Diamond Dallas Page waged an all out war against one another, brawling all over the arena in a fight that was just utterly thrilling from start to finish.

Savage was at his most insane best here, taking out several referees and a photographer, and almost taking out Kimberley too.

Not that being bat shit crazy was enough to keep Diamond Dallas Page down.

DDP held his own throughout the match, but the arrival of Scott Hall in the finish made this into a handicap and that was more than Page could handle.

An Outsiders Edge followed by a Savage elbow drop finished off the match and the show.
Your Winner: Macho Man Randy Savage 

I feel like I've said this about a WCW show before - the opening match was great fun, the main event was awesome, but everything in between ranged from the passable to the piss poor. Watch for the Savage/Page outing and the ongoing rise of Diamond Dallas Page into a bonafide superstar, but otherwise, Great American Bash 1997 is not essential viewing. 

1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
  11. WWF - King of the Ring 1997
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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Movie Review: No Holds Barred (Hulk Hogan, Zeus)

No Holds Barred Movie Review (WWE / WWF / Hulk Hogan)
Despite most reviews for No Holds Barred being terrible, I genuinely thought I'd enjoy this movie.

After all, I have a track record of liking things that nobody else does.

I'm the guy, remember, who enjoyed Diesel vs. British Bulldog from In Your House 4: Great White North; a match so bad that even Vince McMahon himself reportedly threw his headset down in disgust after it was over.

I'm the guy who genuinely believes that Metallica wrote some of their best songs on the Load and Reload albums, and who prefers shows like From Dusk Til Dawn to Game of Thrones or any of that crap.

So yeah, my tastes tend to be a little weird. I tend to find the good in even the worst of things, but when it comes to this 1989 wrestling-themed monstrosity, I'm sorry, not even I can find much good to say about it.

Released at the height of the Hulkamania boom in order to cash in on said boom and propel its lead actor, Hulk Hogan to Hollywood megastardom.

In that sense, you could say that No Holds Barred was a success. Hogan did enjoy an acting career.

It's just that nobody else besides Hogan enjoyed it.

In every other sense, especially a creative one and certainly a financial one, No Holds Barred was a resounding failure.

Which is a shame, because what the film initially promise sounds good:

All the this-would-only-ever-happen-in-a-movie action, sharp dialogue, and rocking soundtrack that made the 1980s such a golden age for over-the-top movies, with the added addition of pro wrestling, which was still red hot at the tail-end of the decade.

Yet if you were expecting wrestling's answer to Rocky, or, hell, even Kickboxer, then be prepared to be disappointed.

What we've got instead is, well...

Imagine pro wrestling were real (what!?! You mean it's not!?!), and imagine that Ted Turner had been unable to lure Hogan to his network with money back in the 1990s.

Imagine that Turner had instead decided to try and beat Vince McMahon in the wrasslin' business not by signing up bonafide superstars like Hogan and Randy Savage, but by launching what was essentially a glorified version of Bum Fights.

That's basically what this is.

Hogan stars as, well, Hogan basically stars as himself; a World Wrestling Federation Champion beloved by the fans and a giant box office draw.

No Holds Barred Movie Review:  Jake Bullet (Bill Eadie / Demolition Ax)
Except here, he's not red-and-yellow wearing Hulk Hogan but blue (and once white but mostly blue) wearing Rip,  a well-loved superstar who has his own hand signal that looks like a cross between a Hawaiian Shaka sign and Rip telling you to give him a call.

When we first meet the champ, he's heading to the ring to defend his title against Bill Eadie, better know as Demolition Ax but here known as Jake Bullet.

If that name sounds familiar to you, you're probably a fan of British sci-fi comedy, Red Dwarf.

Honestly, I spent days trying to figure out where I knew the name Jake Bullet from before it dawned on me that it was the name assumed by Kryten in the 'Dwarf episode Back to Reality.

Speaking of getting back to things, let's get back to our film.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Rip meets Jake Bullet (Bill Eadie)
Hogan puts Bullet away with ease, much to the delight of the audience but the utter dismay of World Television Network exec, Brell.

It's never explained if Brell is his first name or his last name.

It's just his name. In that way, he's a bit like Prince or Madonna, if Prince and Madonna were psychopathic, bug-eyed television executives with a penchant for shouting the words 'JOCK ASS' whenever they got angry.

And trust me, he gets angry a lot.

Mostly, he's angry because his network is bottom of the ratings, and it's all because of Rip and the World Wrestling Federation.

He's angrier still when his attempts to buy out the WWF Champion with a blank cheque fail, prompting him to shout 'JOCK ASS' several times more.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Rip meets Brell
In fact, Brell is angry pretty much all the time, until he and his two underlings go to an underground dive bar for reasons that are never explained (a common theme in the movie) and stumble across some bizarre form of no holds barred street fighting.

One of the participants is none other than Stan Hansen, who is listed in the credits -I kid you not- as Neanderthal.

Anyway, watching Stan 'Neanderthal' Hansen and his chums beat the crap out of each other gives Brell an idea:

He'll simply stick these street fighting miscreants on his network as an alternative to pro wrestling and win the ratings war.

When a solid mountain of a man known as Zeus enters -and quickly wins- Brell's ludicrously-named 'Battle of The Tough Guys,' the TV exec gets his wish.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Stan 'Neanderthal' Hansen
Zeus' presence makes the show a hit, but for the evil Brell, that's no longer enough.

Now, he won't stop until Rip faces Zeus, and when I say he won't stop, I mean it.

As you can probably guess, we eventually get the big main event match, but not before we sit through a simple yet utterly baffling plot that basically has to do with Brell coaxing Rip into the match, but where hardly anything is given the explanation it needs.

Early on, we see Hogan in a board meeting, headed up by the cold-yet-beautiful Samantha (played by Joan Severance).

Now, Samantha may be his agent, or his manager, or even just some really bossy woman who is strangely passionate about pro wrestling merchandise sales.

We're never actually told.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Samantha
All we know is that she's an attractive woman who somehow has a vested interest in Rip's career but definitely isn't interested in him sexually...

...At least she wasn't until the two were forced to share a hotel room and she finds herself all hot and bothered at the sight of some Hulkster booty.

So she starts swooning over our hero, or at least or hero's ass, and this angers Brell because...well, nobody's entirely sure.

We get a vague idea that Samantha was working for him, but that only poses more questions than it answers.

Was she working with Rip and then sold out to Brell?

Was she specifically hired to work with the Champion? If so, what happened to Rip's last manager/agent/random business person?

What, ultimately was Samantha supposed to do to mess with Hogan besides manage his merchandise sales?

Honestly, it makes even less sense than you think, as though a lot of key scenes have been left on the cutting room floor.

On the one hand, there is plenty of evidence that this is actually what happened.

You get the impression that at least some of the people who made this film wanted it to appeal to the Hulkamaniacs - basically kids. So including only the most essential scenes helps keep it simple and kid-friendly.

There's two big problems with this, however.

1: It's as though all the wrong scenes have been cut - so aiming for simplicity actually makes the movie far more confusing. All the stuff that tells you what's going on has been stripped from the movie.

2: A lot of the things that happen are far from kid-friendly.

Our poor Samantha is hit by a man, nearly raped and generally treated in a way that no woman (or human being, for that matter) should ever be treated, especially in a movie that is largely going to be watched by younger audiences.

The best part is that I haven't even mentioned the scene where Sam thinks Hogan is indulging in a little pre-sleep self-love but he's actually just doing push-ups in his skimpy speedos.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Hulk Hogan's ass
Honestly, if you're planning to watch this film, be prepared to see a of Hulkster ass.

The worst part of all this, however, is that despite all the attempted raping going on, you're still never sure how Samantha is connected to Rip and Brell, or what Brell's goons tormenting her is supposed to achieve other than upsetting the champ in some vague, unexplained way.

The whole thing simply lacks any sense of cohesion, or any sense at all for that matter, and is basically a string of loosely-connected scenes strung together in a way that just about gets us to our main event:

Hogan Rip vs. Zeus.

And that in itself is odd.

You see, in most films I've seen (and I've seen a few), the bad guys don't succeed, but here, Evil Brell's one goal from the start of the movie is to get Rip on his network, by the finale, he's succeeded in doing just that.

He also succeeded, in booking a pretty good main event.

I mean it.

No Holds Barred Movie Review: Hulk Hogan as Rip
Rip vs. Zeus, as stylised and over-the-top though it may have been (this is a movie, not a wrestling show after all), was actually far more enjoyable than a lot of Hogan's matches at the time.

Plus, it takes-place in a TNA-style, multi-sided ring, so when you consider that along with the fact that this movie reminds me a lot of Turner/Bischoff luring Hogan to WCW, I guess you could say that the movie was a head of its time.

Only in that regard however. In every other way it's a simply terrible piece of cinema that not even I -bizarre appreciator of things most people hate- could learn to like.

I suppose that makes me a JOCK ASS.

PS: Can't get enough of Hulk Hogan and Zeus?

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Thursday, 1 March 2018

PPV REVIEW: WWF - King of the Ring 1997

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Event poster June 8, 1997
Providence Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island

Since it was first established as its own Pay Per View event, King of the Ring had gone on to become the one event where new stars were born or, at the very least, elevated to a whole new level among the WWF Hierarchy.

Owen Hart's big win in 1994 helped solidify his status as one of the company's top stars, and even King Mabel, as atrocious as he may have been, enjoyed a brief main event run on the back of his 1995 King of the Ring victory.

Then there was Stone Cold Steve Austin,  who used his victory to usher in the dawning of a new era and propel himself to pro wrestling immortality.

Tonight, four new competitors would get the opportunity to take that big step towards the main event scene.

Which one of them would be crowned king? Let's head to Providence, Rhode Island to find out.

A Night of Firsts 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Jim Ross & Vince McMahon Our opening video told us that tonight was going to be a night of firsts; the first time reigning tag team champions had fought one another (not sure if that's technically true, but hey ho), the first time any of the men in tonight's King of the Ring final had the chance to win it, and potentially the first time that we could have an African American WWF Champion.

From there, we got all the usual fireworks and hoopla before Vince McMahon welcomed us to the show and his broadcast colleague Jim Ross declared that the excitement in the air was akin to the Super Bowl.

Vince introduced us to the international commentary teams, and with that, it was on to our opening match.

King of the Ring Semi Final 1
Ahmed Johnson vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/ Chyna) 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Ahmed Johnson - "These Assholes Can't Spell My Name" And so it begins.

This was a passable opening match, but a far cry from the kind of full-on epics that WCW were starting their pay per view with at the time.

After a few minutes of fairly forgettable action, Ahmed Johnson went for the Pearl River Plunge, only for Chyna to get up on the apron and distract him.

That was enough for Hunter Hearst Helmsley to attack and Pedigree his way into the final.
Your Winner: Hunter Hearst Helmsley 

Prior to taking on Jerry 'The King' Lawler in our next match, Mankind took to the microphone to call out Paul Bearer for abandoning him in favour of obsessing with bribing The Undertaker (this was around the start of Bearer teasing the arrival of Kane).

From there, Mankind, who was fast becoming a solid babyface thanks to his series of sit-down interviews with Jim Ross, turned his attentions to Jerry Lawler in a promo that was as entertaining as it was compelling.

The King Arrives

Backstage, Todd Pettengill reminded The King of how he cheated his way into the match by beating Goldust with his foot on the ropes, only to have The Golden One send Lawler rolling down the Raw is War ramp in comical fashion.

Irate, The King snatched the microphone and made his way to ringside with it, insulting Lawler, the fans, and Mankind en route.

King of the Ring Semi Final
Mankind vs. Jerry 'The King' Lawler 

The match itself was surprisingly good.

I say surprisingly because the majority of Lawler's WWF matches up to this point has largely been played for comic relief, but here he went after Mankind in what proved to be an entertaining contest.

Alas, it wasn't to be Lawler's day. Mankind shoved his fingers down The King's throat and advanced to the final.
Your Winner: Mankind 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Ahmed Johnson - Todd Pettengill interviews Brian Pillman
Out in the back, Todd Pettengill interviewed Brian Pillman, asking him whether or not he felt responsible for Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels winding up in a match against one another.

Pillman began taking credit for the whole thing until Austin snuck up behind him and attacked him, dragging him into the men's room and flushing his head down the toilet.

This was all good stuff, except for the fact that when they went into the toilet cubicle there just happened to be a camera pointing down directly at the bowl.

Talk about making suspension of disbelief difficult.

Crush (w/ The Nation of Domination) vs. Goldust (w/ Marlena) 

Goldust and Marlena were over huge here, again thanks to a series of sit down Interviews which attempted to add a sense of realism to Goldie's bizarre character.

Unfortunately, his huge popularity did little to help this match which, despite not being terrible, wasn't exactly good.

After several minutes of fairly nondescript action, Goldust picked up the inevitable win over Crush.
Your Winner: Goldust 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Doc Hendrix interviews Sid & The Legion of Doom
Out in the back, Doc Hendrix interviewed The Legion of Doom and Sid about their upcoming match with The Hart Foundation.

Hawk and Animal were ready to extract some revenge but were not sure they could trust Sid.

In response, Sid claimed that there was no reason to worry because he was the master and ruler of the world, which seems like as good a reason as any.

Offering a retort, The British Bulldog, Owen Hart, and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart told Tod Pettengill that they were not afraid of their opponents and were more than ready to whoop some booty.

The Hart Foundation (WWF European Champion The British Bulldog, WWF Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart, and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart vs. Sid & The Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal) 

If I'm not mistaken, this was Jim Neidhart's first WWF PPV appearance since the 1995 Survivor Series.

Here, he teamed with brothers-in-law Owen Hart and The British Bulldog to take on The Legion of Doom and by far the most over man in the match, Sid.

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Todd Pettengill interviews British Bulldog, Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart and Owen Hart
Throughout 1996 and 1997, Sid was easily the most popular man on any PPV he appeared at, and this one was no different.

So it actually made a lot of sense to keep him on the apron for the majority of this mediocre contest.

That way, after Hawk and Animal had finished working with all three members of The Hart Foundation, Sid was able to get the hot tag and make the live crowd absolutely blow the roof off in the process.

Alas, it was the former two-time champion that lost the match for his team, botching a sunset flip from Owen Hart before being pinned by the Intercontinental Champion.
Your Winners: The Hart Foundation 

Whilst that match was going on, Vince and JR told us about next month's In Your House: Canadian Stampede, which just happens to be one of my favourite PPVs of all time.

We were then shown an awesome video package reminding us about how Steve Austin's career had taken off since winning the 1996 King of the Ring.

Mankind Can't Wait to be King 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Todd Pettengill interviews Mankind
King of the Ring finalist Mankind told Todd Pettengill that he didn't feel that great following his match with Jerry Lawler earlier, but that he was more than ready to beat Hunter and -stealing a line directly from The Lion King- just couldn't wait to be king.

It was another solid effort on the microphone from Foley, and another perfect example of why he fit so easily into the company's main event scene at the height of the Attitude Era.

King of the Ring 1997 Final
Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley 

This was certainly not the best match these two would ever have but it was, despite a slow start, a good effort which served to give us one of the 1997's most memorable feuds.

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Hunter Hearst Helmsley
The action only really got really good towards the finish, when Hunter Pedigreed Mankind through the announce table, after which Chyna battered the former Cactus Jack with the sceptre meant for the King of the Ring Winner.

Back inside, a second Pedigree earned Helmsley the crown.
Your Winner and 1997  King of the Ring: Hunter Hearst Helmsley 

For the first time since King of the Ring became its own pay per view, there was no throne for the victor to sit on and no special coronation area.

Instead, Todd Pettengill gave Hunter his crown and cape in the ring.

Hunter then used the crown to beat on Mankind some more, a move designed to guarantee that we would see a lot more from these two over the coming months.

The Hart Foundation Issue A Challenge 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - The Hart Foundation issued a challenge
Prior to our next match, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart led The Hart Foundation down to the ring, where he cut a fantastic promo about his impending return to action following a recent knee surgery.

Infinitely better on the mic as a heel than he ever was as a babyface, The Hitman put over the unbreakable bond he had with his Hart Foundation family (which by now also included Brian Pillman) and challenged any five wrestlers from the World Wrestling Federation to challenge them at what Bret first called In Your Hase.

He quickly corrected himself, referring to next month's event as In Your House, and setting up a huge ten man tag that I can not wait to review.

After that, Bret insisted he was going to do colour commentary on the next match, but Dave Hebner and Jerry Briscoe ushered him and his crew backstage.

Steve Austin Won't Cripple Shawn Michaels

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Doc Hendrix interviews Stone Cold Steve Austin
Speaking to Doc Hendrix, Steve Austin claimed that he wasn't going out to injure Shawn Michaels, preferring to keep him around since he would make more money as a Tag Team Champion with Shawn on his side.

But, insisted Stone Cold, if HBK brought the violence tonight, Austin would have no problem in taking Shawn out once and for all.

Austin then walked through the backstage area as Vince McMahon, foreshadowing their big feud, claimed that he was genuinely puzzled as to why fans liked Austin because he was a cheater and said bad words.

Austin then nearly came to blows with The Hart Foundation before confronting McMahon at ringside.

Shawn Michaels is Confused

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Doc Hendrix interviews Shawn Michaels
In response to Austin's promo, his opponent and tag team partner Shawn Michaels told Doc Hendrix that he and Austin were not going to give The Hart Foundation what they wanted, which was to see the two of them tear each other apart.

Still, Shawn claimed -not altogether convincingly- that he was a little conflicted between focusing on Austin as an opponent and Austin as a partner.

WWF Tag Team Champion Shawn Michaels vs. WWF Tag Team Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin. 

Making his first PPV appearance since the 1997 Royal Rumble, Shawn Michaels sauntered to the ring looking for all the world like he couldn't give a damn about being there.

I don't mean that was part of his gimmick either, the Heartbreak Kid looked as though he'd just gotten out of bed and didn't want to be wrestling tonight.

Thankfully, Michaels changed his tune once the bell rung, and went on to deliver an absolute stormer with Austin.

The two battles back and forth multiple times in a match which was good not only when compared to the rest of the dross on this show, but legitimately awesome in its own right.

Towards the finish, referee Tim White took a bump. Austin hit Michaels with the stunner, then when White was unable to make the count, Austin got frustrated, picked him up and gave him a stunner too.

This gave HBK the chance to recover and hit Austin with the Sweet Chin Music. He made the cover and a second referee ran out, only to ignore the pin attempt and focus on Tim White.

Annoyed, Michaels superkicked that referee, prompting Earl Hebner to come out and disqualify both men.
Double DQ

The crowd hated that result, and so too did Michaels and Austin, who argued about it all the way to the back.

Farooq Issues a Warning 

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Todd Pettengill interviews Farooq
Interviewed by Todd Pettengill, Farooq said:

'Undertaker, don't worry about Paul Bearer's blackmail, worry about this black male.' 

Which I suppose was kind of clever.

Paul Bearer Yells at The Undertaker 

Backstage, Doc Hendrix told The Undertaker that whatever terrible secret Paul Bearer was using to manipulate the WWF Champion it didn't matter because everybody still loved him.

Angry, Paul Bearer -who was now completely free of the corpse paint, was fatter than ever, and had ginger hair- snatched the mic and told both Doc and The Undertaker that he could make The Dead Man do whatever he said.

Looking despondent, The Undertaker slopes off, ready to compete.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Undertaker vs. Farooq (w/ The Nation of Domination)

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 1997 - Doc Hendrix interviews The Undertaker & Paul Bearer
I've watched this match several times now, each time hoping that I'll see it in a new light and find something positive to say about it.

My hopes failed to materialize. Instead, every time I watch this match I hate it -and myself- a little more.

Honestly, this was an appalling, tedious mess that should be avoided at all costs.

The Undertaker won. Everybody who ever saw this match lost.
Your Winner and still WWF Champion: The Undertaker

I used to own this event on VHS tape, but every time I watched it, I would literally fall asleep. That was over a decade ago. 

When I sat down to watch and review this event just recently, I was convinced that it can't have been as bland and boring as I remembered it, but alas, it was. 

Sure, the Austin/Michaels match was great, and Hunter vs. Mankind had its moments, but outside of that, and a surprisingly entertaining Mankind/Lawler encounter, everything else fell flat. 

Watch for the Austin/Michaels match, and if you're interested in the evolution of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, but otherwise, avoid.

1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell
  10. WCW - Slamboree 1997
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Thursday, 22 February 2018

GAME REVIEW: WWE Smackdown - Shut Your Mouth - PS2

Released: October/November 2002
WWF Smackdown - Shut Your Mouth PlayStation 2 Review
I've been looking forward to spending some time with WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth for some time now, not because I had any preconceived ideas about what the game may be like, nor because I had such a good time playing WWF Smackdown!  Just Bring It, but for another reason entirely: 

This particular game comes from a time when I wasn't watching pro wrestling at all.

You see, whilst I do consider myself a life-long fan of this weird and wonderful world we call the professional wrestling industry, there was a time in the early 2000s when watching grown men roll around in their underpants was the last thing on my mind.

Funnily enough, that time period just so happened to coincide with the period of my life when I discovered girls and alcohol and rock 'n' roll concerts. So whilst the likes of Brock Lesnar, the Smackdown Six, and the ill-fated Invasion angle were all dominating TV screens, I was out getting drunk and mostly failing to get any action.

So I've got a lot of catching up to do, which is one of the reasons why I started Retro Pro Wrestling in the first place, and the reason why I'm so looking forward to playing a game that will give me some insight as to what WWE was like during our time apart.

Still, you're not here to read about me, you're here to read about WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth, so let's get on with that, shall we?

First Impressions 

As you'll tell from the image above, we're playing with the European version of the game here, so we've got a vastly different cover from the one you're probably used to if you're in North America. 

Still, as far as I'm aware, that's the only difference between the two versions, meaning we should be on the same page for the rest of this game review. 

As is the norm with wrestling games, we get a brief opening clip featuring clips of the WWE Superstars at their most athletic and menacing best, all soundtracked to Marilyn Manson's 1990s anthem, The Beautiful People. 

As intros go, this manically frantic opening lacks the dramatic feel that Just Bring It had, but it's still the perfect way to introduce us to what would be the first Smackdown game since the World Wrestling Federation lost its battle with the panda people and became WWE. 

So far, so good. 


As I've said before in these pro wrestling game reviews, I'm not the most serious gamer in the world, so things like graphics aren't high on my list of priorities when deciding what to play.

Still, even as a novice gamer, I can immediately notice a stark improvement in the way that this game looks compared to its predecessor. 

Equally as noticeable is the difference between graphics in each part of the game, too. 

Fire things up, and you're presented with menus that are as distracting as they are horrendous, with a huge Smackdown! logo flashing in the background as though determined to give you a seizure. 

Start a match, however, and things get instantly better. 

Photo-realistic detail on every wrestler, combined with the vibrant, polished sets and locations make the whole thing look tremendous. I may have missed a good few years of WWE game releases, but so far this is the best-looking one I've ever played, and that includes Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 for the X-box

Based on looks alone, I was already falling in love with this game, and that's before I got to the entrances. 


To familiarise myself with the gameplay, I picked a random exhibition match in which I was X-Pac taking on the Immortal one himself, Hulk Hogan.

The game was released during the brief tenure of WWE's version of the New World Order. That means that 'Pac and his good buddy Kevin Nash both get a super special nWo entrance that just looks awesome.

Much like the original nWo intro, we cut from shots of the nWo video to black and white shots of the Clique members walking to the ring in a presentation that is undeniably impressive. 

Curiously, Shawn Michaels comes to the ring wearing an nWo t-shirt but doesn't have the music, whilst nWo leader Hogan is an interesting mix of nWo and Red and Yellow. 

He struts to the ring wearing the tights and feather boa ensemble that was such a big part of his post-millennium character, all whilst Voodoo Chille plays him to the ring. 

Those are my favourite entrances and made me instantly fall in love with the game, though in fairness, every Superstar gets an impressive-looking entrance that perfectly replicates the way they'd enter the ring in real life. 


The nWo aren't the only new additions to the roster.

As the first WWE game to be developed in the wake of WCW's demise, we get a number of characters that old-school, Attitude-Era fans might best remember from Turner Land. 

Lance Storm, Hurricane Helms, Diamond Dallas Page and Booker T are all present and correct, as is the one and only Nature Boy Ric Flair, who plays a prominent role as Raw General Manager (opposite Vince McMahon as head of Smackdown) but also appears as a playable character. 

On top of all the names mentioned so far, we've also got a deep roster which includes all the heavy hitters like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker and Kane, plus a supporting cast of midcarders, making for what I believe to be one of the broadest selection of playable characters to date. 

Along with Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Jazz, and several other notable figures make their gaming debuts here too.

Over all, the roster selection is a strong part of the game, appealing to fans of all types of Superstar.

Match Types 

Much as with Just Bring It, WWE Smackdown! Just Bring It features an agreeable choice of playable match types. 

Single, tag, and six-man options all come as standard, though if you're looking for something a little more extreme, you can take your pick from all of the following:
  • Hardcore (general go-anywhere-use-anything)
  • Cage
  • Elimination
  • Hell in a Cell
  • I Quit
  • Iron Man
  • Ladder
  • Last Man Standing 
  • Lumber Jack
  • Slobber Knocker (how many opponents can you beat in a set period of time) 
  • Special Referee
  • Street Fight
  • Submission 
  • Table
  • TLC
  • Three Stages of Hell
As far as I can tell, the lumber jack option is a new addition to this game. 

A nice touch also comes in the form of the cage match, where you're able to choose between the classic 'Escape The Cage' rules, or normal pinfall and submission rules. 

I can't claim to have played all math types, but the ones I did (TLC, Hell in a Cell, Street Fight, tables) were all very enjoyable and added a new dimension to the same old, standard singles match. 

Hell in a Cell, in particular, is greatly improved. If you remember from Just Bring It, the cage was attached to the ring and not only made it difficult to see what you were doing, but also meant you couldn't recreate one of the most fun parts of any Hell in a Cell - brawling around ringside and tossing your opponent into the cage. 

This time, you can do just that, and it looks great, though there are a few hilarious glitches, such as if you try a move too close to the edge of the cage (when you're on the ceiling), you simply "slip" and fall off, bouncing off on the way down in a gloriously-funny, over-the-top fashion. 

On a completely different note, count outs have been completely removed from this game, so even in a normal match you can brawl around ringside and up the entrance way as much as you like. Just don't use any weapons in a normal match - Earl Hebner will show no mercy and quickly disqualify you. 

Game Play

Speaking of our friend Earl, he's at it again in this game - always getting himself in the way of the action and taking more ref bumps than your average Dusty Rhodes booked match. 

Hebner's awkward presence does create some interesting cluster-fucks, particularly in multi-man matches when one of the AI grapplers will get confused and start beating the ever-loving crud out of the referee. 

Still, Hebner is not as in-the-way as he was in WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It, so  I suppose that's only a good thing. 

On another positive note, the controls are the same as in the previous game, so there's no steep learning curve to endure. 

If you can remember that X is strike, O is grapple, and so on, you can pretty much pick this one up and start winning matches straight away.

Interestingly, the square 'reverse' button isn't half as sensitive as it was in the previous game, and often doesn't work at all. 

Whilst it's true that it was a little overly sensitive in the last game, it did result in some pretty sweet-looking spots, whereas now it's just an annoyance. 

That aside, actually playing Shut Your Mouth is a hugely enjoyable experience, especially when you master the timing of things and intuitively know when to strike, when to grapple and, yes, when to button-mash like mad to regain control after an opponent begins a beat down. 

Create a Character 

WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth - Maven
Create a Character is always one of my favourite parts of any pro wrestling game. I just like the idea of creating a brand new character and setting off on a journey towards the title (more of which later). 

So you can imagine how happy I was to see that this mode has been greatly improved upon since Just Bring It. 

Your bespoke superstar actually looks like an actual human being now and not some horribly disfigured creature, whilst the array of costumes and accessories are not only numerous but also of a very high quality. 

Speaking of costumes and accessories, there's a whole bunch of stuff here that would allow you to create a number of wrestlers not featured in the game, even those who had nothing to do with WWE at that point. 

For example, there's the mask of Japanese legend Hayabusa and the complete outfit for Jushin 'Thunder' Liger (it's cleverly disguised in a different colour, but you can edit that and have your very own Liger character). 

Elsewhere, I found Sting's Crow attire, and -my favourite thing of all- a 1996 New Rockers costume. 

I can only assume that this is alternative attire for Al Snow, because there's actually a lot of alternative attire here, particularly for Kane and X-Pac. 

In the end, however, I ignored all of that and went back to my own usual character - CJ Scholes. this time I gave him the Ragin' Angel nickname that I bestowed upon Axl Diabo back in Just Bring It. 

Season Mode 

With my character all ready to go, it was time to put him through his paces en route to the WWE Undisputed title. To do that, you enter season mode, which is a remarkable improvement on the lacklustre 'storyline' offering from Just Bring It.

Instead of a few short vignettes and a couple of matches, Shut Your Mouth offers a comprehensive two-year storyline, complete with a brand split.

When I played the Created Superstar, we began with Linda McMahon explaining to us that there's about to be a draft, with twenty superstars picked on the show and the rest being picked in a lottery afterwards. 

However, the Undisputed Champion (Undertaker at the time I began) and Stone Cold Steve Austin were both ineligible to be drafted and could wrestle on both brands - Undertaker presumedly to give everyone on the roster a fair crack at the title, and Austin for vague 'contractual' reasons. 

You then set about trying to make a name for yourself by competing on Sunday Night Heat where Maven -of all people- takes a liking to you and saves you from a beat down by a wrestler who takes umbrage with you for no given reason.

WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth - Maven
Maven even offers to teach you "a thing or two" despite admitting that you did better in your debut match than he did.

After teaming with Maven, you're allowed to either form a proper tag team with him on a regular basis, team with the guy you've been feuding with, pick a manager, or just carry on aimlessly for a while.

This variety of options does enhance the appeal of Season Mode greatly, and though I experimented with a few different routes, I eventually settled on picking a manager, at which point Stacy Keibler offers her services. 

Win a few matches with Stacy in your corner, and you're then attacked by another wrestler who says that asking her to manage you was "his idea" - after some back and forth, you end up in a match with the dude - Winner Takes Stacy.

WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth - Stacy Keibler
Beat him, and it turns out that Stacy says you don't need her anymore, and you go onto Smackdown without her. 

From there, it's a King of The Ring tournament win and on to face the Undisputed Champion a Vengence. 

The awesome thing is that the storyline doesn't simply end when you win the title, you keep going, and not just with random defences either. 

Immediately after defeating Kurt Angle for the title, I ended up being courted by Raw GM Ric Flair and asked to join his brand. After leaving Nature Boy hanging for a few weeks, I eventually gave him my answer by attacking him. I couldn't very well join Raw after all, it would upset new best friend, Al Snow

And that's another wonderful thing about this season mode - you can wonder around seriously detailed and vast backstage area, interacting with other characters you meet en route. 

WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth - Linda McMahon
In the course of my story, I not only got pally with Maven and Stacy Keibler, but I also pissed off  The Undertaker, had Reverand D-Von begging me for money for his D-Von Building Fund and upset an already bad-tempered Jazz by asking her about Trish Stratus. 

Fortunately, though, I did make friends with good ol' Al snow, who -I've got to admit- at first glance I thought was Bradshaw. 

All that being said, other storylines are equally as enjoyable, especially when they recreate actual events which took place during that time period. You could, for example, relive the introduction of the New World Order into WWE, or experience what it was like to be Hulk Hogan or The Rock during their legendary match at Wrestlemania 18. 


Playing through season mode wins you a number of unlockable items at certain key points, such as when you win a title or compete at a PPV. 

However, rather than winning a whole bunch of unlockable stuff every time - you're presented with options and have to pick, forcing you to choose between things like new tights for Lance Storm or access to the King of the Ring arena for exhibition matches. 

There's a huge amount of stuff to unlock, which really helps you enjoy more game time, as you go through multiple seasons with multiple characters to unlock everything there is to offer.

Needless to say, reality beckoned and I didn't get to unlock absolutely everything, but I'll certainly let you know when (if) I ever do. 

Music and Sound 

All the wrestlers ahve their usual entrance music with a few notable exceptions. My good buddy Maven, for example, comes out to the ring like a jobber with the Smackdown Beautiful People entrance and you have to unlock his actual theme later on down the line.

Meanwhile, custom wrestler music is also of a great quality. Sure, there's some weird and some terrible cuts in there as there was with Just Bring It, but on the whole, the 'generic' entrance music is as good as anything you could hope for from Jim Johnston himself.
In case you're wondering, I gave CJ Scholes 'Track 18' which sounds like a Slipknot demo in the best possible way.

The best part of although, is that there's no Micahel Cole & Tazz

WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth - Michael Cole & Tazz
Well, there is. The duo who did such a horrible job of the commentary on Just Bring It appear in the game conducting a weird, Abraham Washington Show type interview segment, but they don't speak, which is a blessing. 

Instead, the commentary is handled by Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler , and though it isn't perfect, it is minimal, meaning you hardly ever hear the two except for when they call out certain moves. The Side Russian Legsweep seems to be a favourite call of JR's, as does calling Lance Storm an idiot for some reason. 

Lasting Impression

It's difficult to express in words just how much better WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth is to the earleir WWF Smackdown! Just Bring it Game. 

From the smoother gameplay to the improved, photo-realistic graphics and that incredibly-immersive Season Mode, there's a hell of a lot to enjoy here. 

OK, so I may not be the world's biggest gaming fan, but even I can appreciate that Shut Your Mouth had to be -up to that point- the best WWE wrestling game ever released. 

Even now, I can see me playing this one for a long time after this review goes live. I just hope me and Al Snow are buddies by the time I'm done. 

Thanks for reading. For more reviews of retro pro wrestling games, shows, and more, follow RPW on Twitter or like the Facebook page here.

More WWE Wrestling games from Retro Pro Wrestling. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

PPV REVIEW: WCW Slamboree 1997

May 18, 1997
Independence Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina.

One of the negative aspects of reviewing pro wrestling shows that took place at the height of the 90s boom period is that you don't experience quite the same level of excitement as you did when you originally lived through it. 

Sure, we can talk over and over again about what a great time 1997 was to be a fan -and it was, trust me, I lived it- but you don't really feel it the way you used to.

Thankfully, WCW Slamboree 1997 looked set to change that by presenting a stacked card that combined all the best elements of the companies product at the time, from adrenalin charged cruiserweight matches and top international talent to legendary gimmicks like The Four Horsemen and the New World Order.

Was all that enough to create a show that really stood the test of time and delivered the same level of excitement 20 years later?

Some Footballers Are Here 

Tonight's opening video focussed on the rivalry between Steve 'Mongo' McMichael and Reggie White, and tonight's main event, which saw Kevin Greene team up with the man he faced a year earlier, Ric Flair, and Rowdy Roddy Piper to take on Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Syxx.

That took us to Tony Schiavone, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who also gave plenty of attention to the two matches featuring football players.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW Television Champion Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Steven Regal 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Steven Regal bt. Ultimo Dragon for the TV title
Apparently, Steven Regal no longer wanted to be called a lord, because his nobility should be taken as a given, or something to that effect.

Here, he challenged Ultimo (not Ultimate) Dragon for the Television Championship which Dragon won from Prince Iaukea on the Monday Nitro following last month's Spring Stampede 1997.

As opening matches go, they don't come much better than this one.

With a red hot crowd firmly into every single move, Regal played the babyface role against the defending champion in an absolute belter of a match.

The action went back and forth several times before spilling to the outside, where Dragon nailed the challenger with the Asaii Moonsault.

From there, Sonny Onoo got a couple of shots on Regal before 'accidentally' nailing Ultimo Dragon with a round-house kick.

As the announcers debated whether or not Onoo had intended to kick his own man or not, Regal slapped on the Regal Stretch and won his fourth television championship.
Your Winner and New Television Champion: Steven Regal 

Post match, Regal celebrated whilst Onoo addressed the camera, claiming that he could break Champions just as easy as he could make them.

Women's Grudge Match
Luna Vachon vs. Madusa 

Here, Luna Vachon was billed as hailing from 'The Other Side of Darkness,' which I'm assuming was somewhere near 'The Outer Reaches Of Your Mind,' just left of Parts Unknown.

By the way, isn't the other side of darkness just, you know, light?

Anyway, Luna went after Madusa in a reasonably fun, yet short and instantly forgettable match.

The two put on a good show for the time they were allotted before Madusa nailed her rival with a truly beautiful bridging German Suplex for the three count.

Weirdly, Madusa slapped Luna's ass as the ref counted three.
Your Winner: Madusa 

Out in the entrance way, Mean Gene Okerlund urged us to call the WCW Hotline to find out who might be leaving WCW before he was rudely interrupted by Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth.

Savage and DDP Want to Kill Each Other 

The nWo power couple stormed to ringside, where Savage, in his usual manic style, put over his fellow stablemates and claimed that Diamond Dallas Page wanted no part of him.

Page argued otherwise, coming through the crowd wielding the same damaged crutch that Savage had previously used to attack DDP with.

Savage bailed, but after consorting with his nWo colleagues, charged into the ring, quickly followed by VincentEric Bischoff, and Buff Bagwell.

Page took out all three, but was felled by a kidney shot courtesy of Scott Norton.

The New World Order then attacked, only for The Giant to come out for the big save.

Talk about intense, that was a terrific angle that really made you want to see Page and Savage tear into each other one more time.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Yuji Yasuraoka

I'm not the biggest fan of Japanese wrestling, so I hadn't heard of Yuji Yasuraoka before watching this show, but apparently, he tagged with Lance Storm in WAR and retired after a short career to become a motorcycle mechanic.

Here, he went up against Rey Mysterio Jr. in a match that went a little too long and dragged in some parts but was very good in others.

Naturally, Mysterio picked up the win, moving one step closer to another shot against Syxx for the Cruiserweight title.
Your Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Wasting no time, we went straight to our next match.

Mortis (w/ James Vanderberg) vs. Glacier 

This rematch from Uncensored 1997 didn't last long before Wrath came out and destroyed Glacier, leading to the disqualification.
Your Winner via DQ: Glacier 

Afterwards, Wrath and Mortis spent about three decades beating down on Glacier until a 'fan' (later revealed to be karate champion Ernest Miller) came out for the save.

This was boring as hell.

Mean Gene shilled the Hotline some more before it was on to our next match.

World Championship Wrestling United States Heavyweight Championship
WCW United States Champion Dean Malenko vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra McMichael) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) faced Dean Malenko
As with most matches on the card so far, this one was given plenty of time to deliver and deliver it did.

Trading hold after hold and counter after counter, both Jeff Jarrett and champion Dean Malenko put on a very good performance in a match which only got better the longer it went on.

After an epic battle, Steve 'Mongo' McMichael came to ringside to tend to Jarrett, who was writhing in agony at ringside.

Mongo took his wife by the hand and escorted her backstage, but not before throwing Double J back in the ring, where he quickly succumbed to Malenko's Texas Cloverleaf.
Your Winner and Still United States Champion: Dean Malenko 

Let's keep going...

Death Match
Meng vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) faced Chris Benoit in a death match
The rules here were non-existent. No pinfalls, no DQ, no count out, the match continues until one man can no longer continue.

If you were expecting such a stipulation to result in an ECW style, weapon-filled brawl to rival Chris Benoit's epic matches with Kevin Sullivan, you may be disappointed.

This wasn't that kind of match, but it was very good; a solid outing from two hard-hitters who basically just beat the crap out of each other until it was time to go home.

At that point, Meng grabbed Benoit in the Tongan Death Grip and won the match.
Your Winner: Meng 

Afterwards, Woman and a bunch of officials checked in on Benoit, who was totally out of it.

A promo for next month's Great American Bash followed before we went back to ringside for our next match.

The Dungeon of Doom (Konnan and Hugh Morrus w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - The Steiner Brothers faced Konnan & Hugh Morrus
By this point, I'm starting to think that there isn't a bad match on this card.

Sure, Dungeon of Doom vs. The Steiners wasn't the highlight of the night, but it was still a very fun tag bout which certainly deserved a place on this show.

After several minutes of enjoyable action, Scott Steiner planted Hugh Morrus with the Frankensteiner. Rick made the cover, and that was that.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, Konnan turned on his partner and beat him up, much to the confusion and frustration of Jimmy Hart.

Battle of the Super Bowl Champions
Steve 'Mongo' McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael) vs. Reggie White (w/ Some Guy) 

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Debra McMichael, Steve McMichael, Jeff JarrettThe best thing I can say about this is that it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Sure, Reggie White's offence looked like garbage, but when it was left to Mongo to control the match, it was actually reasonably entertaining for a while.

In fact, if they'd just made this about five minutes or so shorter, I would have told you I'd enjoyed the whole thing. Instead, it went on too long and I quickly lost interest.

Mongo won when one of Reggie's team mates stopped him from using the metal briefcase on Reggie, so Jeff Jarrett came out and give him another one, because apparently they just carried a whole bunch of them around with them.

A three count later, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Steve 'Mongo' McMichael 

The Four Horsemen members celebrated before we cut to Michael Buffer for our main event, or what Buffer called our 'Super Match of the Evening.' 

Anything Goes Six Man Match
The NWO Wolfpac (WCW Tag Team Champions Scott Hall & Kevin Nash, and WCW Cruiserweight Champion Syxx) vs. Kevin Greene, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and The Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Slamboree 1997 - Ric Flair teamed with Roddy Piper & Kevin Greene to face the nWo Wolfpac
With a white hot crowd solidly behind him, hometown hero Ric Flair wrestled his first match of 1997 in a genuinely enthralling main event.

Teaming with Rowdy Roddy Piper and pro footballer Kevin Greene, Flair led his men into battle against Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx, and the results were brilliant.

Things were kept relatively simple, but that worked perfectly for this one.

After a veg enjoyable contest, referee Randy Anderson took a tumble, causing former nWo referee Nick Patrick to come out.

Flair slapped Hall in figure four, Piper put Nash to sleep, and Greene hit Syxx with a running shoulder breaker.

Patrick counted to three, and this one was over.
Your Winners: Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Kevin Greene

So, did WCW Slamboree 1997 stand the test of time? Was it enough to rekindle that passion and excitement that we all felt back in the late-90s pro wrestling boom? 

Close enough. 

This was a very fun show from start to finish and one of the best PPVs of 1997 up to that point. There was barely a bad match on the card, whilst the variety of styles and the perfect blend of all the things that made WCW such a hot commodity in the 1990s took centre stage. 

I feel like I haven't said this in a long time, but this one was definitely worth watching. 

1997 events reviewed so far:

  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1997
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1997
  3. WWF - In Your House 13: Final Four 
  4. WCW - Superbrawl VII 
  5. WCW - Uncensored 1997 
  6. WWF - Wrestlemania 13
  7. WCW Spring Stampede 1997
  8. WWF - In Your House 14: Revenge of The Taker
  9. WWF - In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell

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Retro Pro Wrestling

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