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, 16 January 2020

EVENT REVIEW: WWF Slammy Awards 1987

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 -
December 16, 1987
Caesars Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Vincent Kennedy McMahon has never made a secret of the fact that when it comes to his patented brand of sports entertainment, it's the entertainment part that he's really interested in.

So it was unlikely to come as much of a surprise when, in 1986, he sent his roster of pro wrestling superstars into the music studio to record a music album, known simply as The Wrestling Album.

Nor was it overly shocking when he decided to promote that album by producing his own music awards, a parody of the Grammys known as The Slammy Awards.

That whole process worked so well that, one year later, Vince decided to it all again.

In 1987, the World Wrestling Federation released Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2 and once again used The Slammy Awards to promote it.

This year however, they took their unique brand over-the-top entertainment to a whole new level.

Don't believe me, here's what went down at the 37th 2nd annual Slammy Awards.

Welcome to the 37th Annual Slammy Awards

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - The Hart Foundation arrive
No, that's not a typo. The World Wrestling Federation promoted this as the 37th Annual Slammy Awards when in actual fact it was only the second.

Why did they do this?

Presumedly to make the whole event seem bigger than it was, even though this would have meant that the first Slammy Awards took place in 1950, two years before Vince McMahon's grandfather, Jess McMahon first founded the Capitol Wrestling Corporation that would eventually become the WWF.

So, despite the inaccuracy, Howard Finkle's voice welcomed us to the 37th Annual Slammys then proceeded to show us all of tonight's star nominees arriving for this 'prestigious' event.

For some unknown reason, half the wrestlers arrived in ambulances, though Bam Bam Bigelow did pull up in a pretty cool looking roadster and George 'The Animal' Steele hilariously turned on a pushbike.

Most of the guys were wearing tuxedos, but Bam Bam Bigelow and Ultimate Warrior simply wore their wrestling attire.

For Warrior, that meant turning up for what was essentially a black-tie event in his underpants.

The Traditional Home of The Slammy Awards

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Vince McMahon cut an impassioned intro
Keeping up the pretense, Vince McMahon walked out on stage to open up the show by welcoming us to the arena.

This wasn't just any arena. According to McMahon, this was 'The Traditional Home of The Slammys.'

Again, I'll remind you that there had only been one other Slammy Awards event before this one, and it took place in an entirely different venue in an entirely different state.

Clearly getting carried away with himself, McMahon called the event 'a joyous celebration of the human potential' and -I kid you not- 'A LOVE FEST OF MUTUAL ADMIRATION AND SUPPORT!'

Vince wasn't kidding, either. He looked deadly serious as he said all this, at times coming across like a religious preacher.

It was hilarious.

Giving you just enough time to stop laughing, McMahon next introduced our hosts for the evening, Mean Gene Okerlund and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura.

The WWF Academy of Sports and Sciences

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Jesse 'The Body' Ventura and Mean Gene Okerlund
Ventura and Okerlund's first job was to introduce the man who had apparently collected and tallied all the votes for tonight's event, Jack Tunney.

We all know that Tunney was the WWF President, but did you know that his official title was 'President of World Wrestling Federation Academy of Sports and Sciences?'

Yes, that does give you the acronym 'WWF ASS.'

Of course, this was all a set up so that Mean Gene could say "ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce Jack Ass. I mean, Jack Tunney."

It was a lame joke, but it could have been worse.

He could have called Tunney a JOCK ASS!

Tunney walked out on stage, waving and smiling to a crowd who were clearly booing him, then walked off again. It was funny, in a random and unintentional sort of way.

Moving on, Jesse left the stage to go and get ready for something else, leaving Mean Gene to announce the first award.

Best Performance by an Animal

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - George Steele won 'Best Peformance by an Animal'
'Now, historically, this category has been the springboard to even greater achievements' said Mean Gene, somehow managing to keep a straight face.

The nominees were:
  • Damien, with Jake 'The Snake' Roberts
  • Frankie, with Koko B. Ware
  • Matilda, with The British Bulldogs
  • George 'The Animal' Steele.
In a moment of unplanned madness, Matilda tried to attack Frankie. Apparently, nobody questioned the judgment of placing both animals so close to one another.

'And now, the moment that animals performing all over the world have been waiting for,' said Okerlund. 'The Winner, is George 'The Animal' Steele.'

Keeping the level of absolute ridiculousness at an all-time high, Steele got lost on his way to the stage and had to be shown the way by Hillbilly Jim.

In lieu of an actual acceptance speech, The Animal simply ripped the turnbuckle off the host's podium (which had been designed to look like the corner of a pro wrestling ring), then chased off the girl who had brought his Slammy award out for him.

Honky Tonk Man Sings

Forget Michaels/Taker, Flair/Steamboat, or R-Truth's 'My Bad' moment, this was the single greatest thing to ever happen in pro wrestling.

I mean, OK, it really wasn't, but it was so over-the-top that I couldn't help but enjoy it.

With Jimmy Hart sitting in a Cadillac, clapping along in the background and Jesse Ventura on the keys, Honky Tonk Man shook, rattled, and rolled his way through a fun rendition of his theme song, complete with dancers, backing singers, and a hysterical cameo from The Hart Foundation.

Seriously, you've not seen funny until you've seen Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart getting jiggy with it.

Woman of the Year

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Miss Elizabeth won Woman of the Year
Honky and Jimmy Hart were on double duty tonight, presenting our next award for Woman of the Year.

Jimmy came out solo and insisted that Honky Tonk Man wouldn't set foot on the stage until he'd received a proper introduction, even though we'd just seen him on stage a few moments earlier.

Okerlund obliged anyway, introducing The Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All Time back to the stage.

The nominees were:
  • Sensational Sherri
  • Dolly Parton
  • The Fabulous Moolah
  • Yoko Ono
  • Elizabeth
Dolly Parton and Yoko Onoo were represented by actresses who looked nothing like either woman. Not that it mattered anyway, Elizabeth was the obvious winner, but before she could make her acceptance speech, Macho Man Randy Savage had to run on stage and save her from the advances of The Honky Tonk Man.

"I'd like to thank you all very much," she said sweetly. "But I'd especially like to thank the man who made me the woman I am today, the Macho Man Randy Savage."

Best Ring Apparel

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Demolition looking awesome
Savage would make another appearance in the next category as he was nominated for 'best ring apparel.'

The award was presented by Hacksaw Jim Duggan who, proving he knew a thing or two about fashion, forwent the traditional tuxedo in favor of a t-shirt with a tuxedo print on it.

The 1988 Royal Rumble Winner did at least bring a touch of class to proceedings by sticking a bow-tie on his trusty 2x4.

The nominees in this category were:
  • Demolition
  • Macho Man Randy Savage
  • Honky Tonk Man
  • King Harley Race
  • The British Bulldogs
Brilliantly, Ax and Smash wore their wrestling attire with a collar and bow-tie. I won't lie, it looked kinda cool.

King Harley Race was declared the winner, but Duggan was so incensed by this that he refused to announce it. Instead, he had the pretty young model who was holding the Slammy Award do it for him.

"And the winner is...King Harley Race?" she said in a fashion which suggested she'd never heard of him and wasn't sure if she was pronouncing his name correctly.

Race's manager, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan accompanied him to the stage and declared that The King could only accept the award if it was properly presented to him.

The Brain tried to get Hacksaw to drop to one knee in order to offer up the award. When he refused, Race attacked him.

What is a Donkey Doing at the Slammy Awards?

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Donkey Doug Yo!
The two fought their way into the dressing room for a wild and thoroughly enjoyable brawl reminiscent of the kind of backstage hardcore matches we'd see 12 years later in the Attitude Era.

Gorilla Monsoon popped up to provide commentary for the whole fight, calling the action while at the same time expressing his absolute bewilderment that a random donkey and some chickens were hanging out backstage.

The whole thing ended when Race, now down to his wrestling trunks and shirt, tried to hit Duggan with a flying splash but instead crashed through a table in what was probably the first instance of this spot ever happening on a WWF show.

The whole thing was brilliantly good fun in a wacky, over-the-top kind of way.

Vince McMahon Performs Stand Back

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment you've all been waiting for.

Or, as Jesse Ventura put it in his introduction.

"And now, a man who has repeatedly proven that he can't talk, and will prove that he can't sing, either."

Vince McMahon took to the stage to strut his funky stuff and sing 'Stand Back,' in a performance which, ten years later, would famously be ridiculed by D-Generation-X.

One often overlooked part of this performance is that McMahon wasn't alone.

Along with his backing dancers, the WWF Chairman also had an ensemble of pro wrestlers behind him.

Fresh from his Metallica audition, The Immortal Hulk Hogan stood tall and proud, slapping the bass like a mother. He was surrounded by a horn section comprised of Junkyard Dog, The Killer Bees, Macho Man Randy Savage, Brutus Beefcake and Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.

George Steele was there too, playing a tambourine of course.

Like just about everything on this show, McMahon's performance was an absolutely ridiculous sort of way. The Chairman held nothing back, singing his heart out and throwing himself through the choreographed routine with commendable gusto.

I don't care if DX mocked him, if I were Vinny Mac, I'd be rightly proud of that performance.

Wait, a Llama?

Backstage, the Hacksaw/Race brawl continued with Monsoon standing by, calling the action.

Obviously, a random llama walked by, because why wouldn't it?

Then Race and Heenan managed to lock Duggan inside some kind of mesh cage. Duggan shook at the cage wall, trying to get out. The cage easily opened so that Duggan could have just pushed through it, but that would have ruined the whole storyline, so he just had to pretend like he was still trapped and instead managed to push a tower of empty cardboard boxes onto his rivals.

The Hulk Hogan Real American Award

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Superstar Billy Graham won the Hulk Hogan Real American award
Up next, Hulk Hogan made his way through the crowd to the stage, accompanied by a small group of rent-a-cops who were about half his size.

I mean, seriously, if somebody did try to attack Hogan, what were these short, flabby dudes going to do exactly?

Anyway, The Hulkster made his way to the stage to present The Hulk Hogan Real American Award to a man he said embodied the things that made a Real American like integrity and perseverance in the face of adversity:

Superstar Billy Graham.

Decked out in a salmon suit with enormous earrings in both ears, Graham used a walking cane to help him get up onto the stage. There, he used his acceptance speech to put over Hogan.

Repaying the kind words, Hulk took Graham's walking cane and snapped it over his knee before encouraging the legendary grappler to pose with him.

You have to hope that cane was a gimmick, otherwise, that was a bit of a dick move by the WWF Champion.

The Christmas Party is Ruined

Backstage, Hacksaw and Harley battled into a room that had been reserved for the cast of tonight's show to enjoy a celebratory Christmas party. No random animals popped up this time, though Hacksaw did blast Heenan over the head with a giant fish which was pretty funny.

The Jesse The Body Award

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Mean Gene covers up Rick Rude
Up next, Jesse Ventura presented an award named after him to the person he declared to have the best body.

The nominees were:

  • Ravishing Rick Rude
  • The Natural Butch Reed
  • The Ultimate Warrior
  • Sensational Sherri
  • Hercules.

Ravishing Rick Rude was declared the winner. Clearly having the time of his life, Rude strutted onto the stage and stripped off to his undies.

He then started to take his undies off too, but Mean Gene ran on stage and put a towel in front of him.

Interestingly, despite the fact that he'd run out to stop Rude from showing his junk, Okerlund couldn't stop looking at it. As Rude took his pants all the way off, Gene continually stared at what was going on behind the towel.

I suppose this shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

A few months later, at Wrestlemania 4, Gene would literally point at Brutus Beefcake's groin and yell "What a package!"

Rude eventually made his way to the podium, where he thanked Jesse and the millions of women around the world who worshipped him. In true Rick Rude fashion, he then draped his arm around the girl holding the Slammy and walked off with her.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

"When I say 'Greatest Tits' you probably think of Jesse The Body," said Ventura.

Of course, he meant "Greatest Hits," but I'm telling you, he definitely said "tits."

The point of all this was to introduce a video package in which clips of various wrestlers hitting a bunch of moves, all set to the song 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' by Pat Benatar.

The Greatest Hit Award

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Hacksaw Jim Duggan won the 'Greatest Hit' award - tough guy!
This video package was to set up our next award, for the 'Greatest Hit' or in other words - the best attack/wrestling move.

The nominees were:

  • Andre The Giant (for throwing Hulk Hogan out of a battle royal)
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan (for drilling Harley Race with a 2x4)
  • The Honky Tonk Man (for smashing Randy Savage with a guitar)
  • Strike Force (for beating up Hart Foundation)
  • Bam Bam Bigelow (for hitting a sweet slingshot splash)

Before the nominees could be read out, however, Duggan and Race burst onto the stage for some more fighting.

Gorilla Monsoon held Duggan back, giving Race and Heenan a chance to escape, but then Duggan was back a moment later as he was declared the winner of the award.

Duggan's acceptance speech was short and simple:


Manager of the Year Award

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Manager of the Year Award
After a commercial break, Monsoon presented the award for Manager of the Year, an award he said would go to a man who has improved his wrestler's career the most while displaying sportsmanship.

The nominees were:

  • Slick
  • Jimmy Hart
  • Mr. Fuji
  • Bobby Heenan.
Hilariously, all four men made their way to up to the stage as though it was a given that they'd win.

As it turned out, none of them won. Monsoon announced the winner to be "None of the Above."

Get it?

Because all the heels were so terrible that none of them deserved it!

Naturally, this caused much outrage among the wrestlers.

Koko B. Ware Performs Piledriver

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Ultimate Warrior performed as Koko B. Ware's backup dancer
Another nominee for 'Song of the Year' saw Koko B. Ware performing the lead track from Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2.

Koko was joined on stage by a saxophone-playing Bam Bam Bigelow and a bunch of wrestlers including Hillbilly Jim, Davey Boy Smith, and The Ultimate Warrior all dressed up as construction workers.

It's a shame that I couldn't find a video of this, because you've honestly never seen a man look so uncomfortable as Jim Hellwig strutting around on stage in a hard hat, pretending to have a good time.

Best Personal Hygiene Award

Returning from commercial, Mean Gene was up to present what he called 'the oldest and most prestigious' award for best personal hygiene.

The nominees were:

  • Sika (for his table manners)
  • Hillbilly Jim (for creating a new cologne out of pig swill)
  • George Steel (for "his tidiness in and around the ring")
  • Nikolai Volkoff, Boris Zuchoff and Slick (for sharing a toothbrush)
  • King Kong Bundy (for doing a smelly turd, seriously).

Volkoff, Zuchoff, and Slick won the award. Making their way to the stage, Volkoff and Zuchoff tripped over the steps and fell flat on their faces. Making a swift recovery, they flanked The Slickster, who raised the ire of the crowd by talking about how the Russians were clean and peaceful people.

Jimmy Hart Performs Girls in Cars

On the album, Robbie Dupree sang this song as Strike Force's theme song. Tonight, Jimmy Hart picked up the microphone to croon his way through it as girls on roller skates skated by with cardboard cut-outs of cars stuck to their sides.

One girl apparently couldn't roller skate, so she moved across the stage on a child's tricycle instead.

Things got weirder when Tito Santana and Rick Martel turned up on dirt bikes to steel the girls, after which a big fat woman dressed up like a school bus started to chase Jimmy Hart around the stage.

Seriously, just writing that sentence makes me question what kind of messed up drugs were floating around backstage at the Slammys.

Best Vocal Performance Award

Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth came out to present this award, though not before the pair took a moment to put over how dapper Savage looked.

The nominees for this award were:
  • Junkyard Dog (for his growl)
  • One Man Gang (for his bellow)
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan (for his 'howl')
  • Jimmy Hart (for his shrieking megaphone)
  • George 'The Animal' Steele (for his wail)
And the winner was:

Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Once again, Duggan gave us a big "Hoooo!" instead of an actual acceptance speech.

The WWF Superstars perform If You Only Knew

Finally, it was down to the last performance of the evening; the entire cast of World Wrestling Federation Superstars on stage, swaying back-and-forth and clapping their hands in a performance of 'If You Only Knew.'

Some, like Dynamite Kid, looked clearly uncomfortable in the song-and-dance number, but others, like Bret Hart and Butch Reed, for example, looked to be having tremendous fun.

Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase even had a smile about him as he danced on the front row, though his bodyguard, Virgil, stood stoic, arms folded, scowling the whole time, probably wishing he were at Olive Garden.

And the Winner Is...

All the song performances throughout the show were supposed to lead us to the big reveal of the Best Song Award winner.

Yet when Mean Gene tried to announce it, Jimmy Hart stole the envelope and passed it around all the heels. It eventually ended up in the hands of Sika, who, naturally, ate it.

Jesse told Mean Gene not to worry, he could always hang out with the Wild Samoan and pick up the results the following day.

The Missing Awards

WWF - Slammy Awards 1987 - Director - Kayfabe
Apparently, there were some awards handed out which were cut from the broadcast I watched.

Ted Dibiase won the Humanitarian of the Year. One Mang Gang was the obvious winner of the 'Best Group' Award, and the Bobby "The Brain" Heenan Scholarship Award was presented to all of Heenan's wrestlers.

The was also an award for 'Best Head' presented to Bam Bam Bigelow and Mean Gene Okerlund. If you're as disappointed as I am that what was clearly a fellatio joke was cut from the broadcast, I guess there's only one person we can blame:

The show's director, Kay Fabe.

If you've never seen the 37th Annual Slammy Awards, here's the best way to describe it:

Imagine the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen in pro wrestling and multiply it by a thousand.

The Slammys was bizarre, cheesy, over-the-top, ridiculous, stupid, and gloriously, gloriously wonderful.

If you take pro wrestling seriously, you'll probably hate this. It was intended to be a comedy show, and to that end, it worked. OK, so most of the humor was low-brow, but let's be honest, wrestling isn't exactly known for being high-concept performance art, is it?

Overall, this is one of the weirdest and most fun things you'll ever see as a wrestling fan, and I highly recommend it.

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

Thursday, 9 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: Heroes of Wrestling 1999

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Event logo
October 10, 1999
Casino Magic Hotel and Casino, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Heroes of Wrestling has often been regarded as one of -if not the- worst wrestling Pay Per Views of all time.

Back in the day, The Wrestling Observer called it the worst major wrestling event of 1999 and since that time this one-off show has largely been used as the benchmark against which all other bad wrestling shows are judged.

Yet surely no single show could be that terrible...

...could it?

For years, this writer had no idea.

Heroes of Wrestling was one of those mythical shows that I'd often heard about but never actually come across until, a few months ago, I discovered that somebody had uploaded a really poor quality version of it for us all to enjoy endure.

Without further ado then, let's head to the Casino Magic Hotel and Casino in Bay St. Louis, Missippi and find out if this really was the worst of the worst.

Yoko Hates Bundy

We began tonight's broadcast with King Kong Bundy being interviewed about tonight's event, only to be interrupted by former two-time WWF Champion, Yokozuna.

For some unexplained reason, Yoko was very angry with Bundy and tried to attack him, only to be pulled away by a gaggle of officials.

Welcome to Casino Magic

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Dutch Mantell and Randy Rosenbloom called the event
We were then welcomed to Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi by our lead play-by-play man for the evening, Randy Rosenbloom.

IF you've never heard of Rosenbloom, he's a sportscaster and actor from Southern California who stepped in at the last minute as a replacement for the legendary Gordon Solie.

Solie had been heavily advertised for the show but had unfortunately succumbed to the very same throat cancer which would tragically take his life just a few months later.

His stand-in, Dirty Dutch Mantell gave us a rundown of the card which included such high-profile bouts as Too Cold Scorpio vs. Julio Fantastico and 'Sweet' Stan Lane vs. Tully Blanchard.

With that out of the way, it was down to ringside for our introductions.

Tonight, somebody's gonna get their ass whooped in here tonight

No, that isn't a reference to Mark Henry, but rather to our ring announcer for the evening, Crisper Stanford.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Crisper Stanford was the terrible ring announcer
Little -in fact, nothing- is known about Stanford. The only reference to him online relates to this event.

What I can tell you though, is that the man was seven shades of cringe.

This is genuinely, word-for-word what he said to get the crowd excited and open the show:

"Welcome to the Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where tonight, legendary grudge matches will be settled once and for all."

So far, not too terrible, right?

Just wait, it gets worse.

"So, throw down your toys and get out of the sandbox, play time's over because tonight, somebody's gonna get their assss-whipped tonight in here."

Seriously, it was like a bad Michael Buffer impression from a guy who had clearly been watching too much Spinal Tap.

The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu w/ Sika and Paul Adams) vs. "Rocker" Marty Jannetty & Tommy Rogers

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - The Samoan Swat Team with their manager Paul Adams
Yes, Marty Janetty really was billed as "Rocker," and no, the Fatu here isn't Rikishi, who I believe was doing his thing with the WWF at the time.

Rather, it's Rikishi's brother, Sam Fatu, better known as Tonga Kid/Tama, who Retro Pro Wrestling readers will have last met teaming with Haku as the Islanders all the way back at the first-ever Royal Rumble in 1988.

Before Fatu and Samu could lock up with their opponents, their manager, Paul Adams, took to the microphone.

If you've never heard of Adams before, don't worry neither has anybody else. He was basically an indie wrestling version of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, albeit with all the charisma and personality surgically removed.

Give Bateman  Adams his due though, he did manage the rare feat of speaking for a full five minutes without actually saying a single thing.

The basic gist of Adams' promo was that nobody in the audience would dare face Samu and Fatu, but it was delivered in the most wooden, cringe-worthy fashion ever, so nobody seemed to care.

The match itself wasn't all that much better.

The sole highlights were Fantastic Tommy Rogers hitting the Samoans with a double DDT and Marty Jannetty diving over the top rope, but to even call those highlights is being polite.

Speaking of Jannetty, I spent most of the match trying to figure out if he was wearing cut-off jean shorts instead of actual ring attire because he was trying to be edgy and alternative (such was the culture during the Attitude Era period), or because he simply couldn't be bothered to get dressed properly.

Not that it mattered.

After a few minutes, Samu drilled Rogers with TKO and this dull, uneventful contest was over.
Your Winners: The Samoan Swat Team

Cutting to a pre-tape, we saw George 'The Animal' Steele and Sensational Sherri Martel checking into a hotel. With Martel fawning all over him, Steele literally tore off her dress as the two went into a hotel room.

Yes, we were supposed to believe that Sherri found The Animal sexy and wanted to do the nasty with him. Maybe it would have been more convincing if Mantell and Rosenbloom didn't talk over the whole thing.

As it was, this came off as a weird segment that totally telegraphed the ending of the next bout.

George Steele is Insane

Back to the show, Sherri gave an interview to our backstage reporter, Michael St. John.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Michael st. John interviews Sensuous Sherri Martel and her man, George 'The Animal' Steele"You know, in the pro wrestling business you get to the top by your body count," said Sherri. "And George Steele is CERTIFIABLY INSANE!"

I'm sure there was a link between those two points, but Martel never mentioned it.

Instead, she just showed off her cleavage a bit until Steele himself arrived, proving how insane he was by wrapping his arm around his manager and shouting FIGHT! FIGHT!

In the earlier hotel segment, Steele was shown to be a calm, collected dude capable of holding a conversation with Sherri, but now, the very act of arriving to a wrestling show had turned him into a MAD MAN!

My goodness. I've been a big fan of Sherri's ever since I first started watching wrestling over 25 years ago and I feel bad that she had to put up with this garbage.

Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine vs. George 'The Animal Steele (w/ "Sensuous" Sherri Martel)

'Sensuous' was the name Sherri had first used in WCW when the Turner-backed company realised 'Sensational' was copyrighted by Vince.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine faced George 'The Animal' Steele
Before the bell, Greg Valentine took to the microphone and told us that his father, Johnny Valentine had been feuding with Steele for years, but now that pops had retired, it was up to The Hammer to settle the score once and for all.

The veteran promised to put his rival in the figure four and walk out with Sherri.

Give the guy his credit, he was true to his word, kinda.

Sherri turned on her 'lover' within the first two minutes of the match, but Steele didn't realise it because he'd stupidly got his shirt stuck over his head. The heel turn was so predictable that the live crowd didn't even react to it.

After getting his vision back, Steele lumbered around and found an International Object and jabbed his opponent with it. Not realising his manager didn't actually like him, he then handed it to Sherri, who -not surprisingly- passed it to The Hammer.

Barely passing as actual pro wrestling, more atrocious inaction followed until Sherri leveled George with a chair, allowing Hammer to pick up the three count.

Seriously, that was Adrian Adonis/Uncle Elmer at Wrestlemania 2 level of terrible.
Your Winner: Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine

Keeping his promise, The Hammer left with Sherri in tow, then returned to the ring to attack Steele as the CERTIFIABLY INSANE legend ate the turnbuckle. This time, Steel no-sold a chair shot and chased Valentine back to the locker room.

Julio Fantastico is Wrestling's Greatest Superstar

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Michael St. John interviews Julio Fantastico
Out in the back, Michael St John interviewed Julio Fantastico, the man you probably recognise best as Julio Dinero from ECW or possibly TNA.

You know when people who aren't actually involved in wrestling do an impression of a pro wrestler by ranting and throwing in a bunch of cliches? That's what Fantastico sounded like here.

In a cookie-cutter promo, Fantastico claimed to be Wrestling's Greatest Superstar and vowed to win every match he ever wrestled in, starting with his upcoming bout against Too Cold Scorpio.

When St. John suggested that the rookie Fantastico was underestimating his veteran opponent, Fantastico dismissed him and once again asserted his belief that he was the greatest of all time.

Julio Fantastico vs. Too Cold Scorpio

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Scorpio vs. Julio Fantastico
This was the best match on the card up to this point, but that's really not saying very much.

Scorpio came to the ring brandishing a replica of The Big Gold Belt which was never explained by anyone. I like to think Scorpio just thought 'f- it,' and decided he was the champion.

Once the bell rang, the two went at it with what started out as decent wrestling but soon disintegrated into a half-arsed, by-the-numbers routine that looked scripted and was devoid of any actual emotion.

At one point, Fantastico went to dive onto Scorpio on the outside but somehow messed it up so badly he ended up skinning the cat instead. It looked ridiculous, especially when he backed up and clearly just did the spot over.

More back-and-forth happened until Scorpio hit Fantastico with two Tumbleweeds from the top rope and scored the three.
Your Winner: Too Cold Scorpio

Captain Lou Albano had joined the commentary for this match. After Scorpio's win, Rosenbloom produced a document which announced that Captain Lou was the new Commissioner of Heroes of Wrestling.

The legend was so overwhelmed by this announcement that he practically started weeping on Dutch Mantell's shoulder while calling Heroes of Wrestling 'The Greatest Organization Around' and 'The Greatest Production of All Time.'

Man, how much were they paying this guy?

King Kong Bundy is Irate

Since his last attempt at a promo was interrupted by Yokozuna, King Kong Bundy got a do-over,  promising that he was going to hit Yoko with the Avalanch and pin him for the five count.

It was a fairly generic 'Angry Big Man' promo, but at least it was effective in generating interest about their match.

The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Nikita Brezhnikov) vs. Luke & Butch

Man, this is getting painful to watch.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Nikolai Volkoff sings the Russian National AnthemAs the former Bushwackers made their way to the ring, Randy Rosenbloom called them "Luke and Dutch."

This was far from his only cock-up of the evening. In the earlier Scorpio/Fantastico bout, he called a dropkick and 'leg drop' and made countless errors throughout the show.

Speaking of errors, whoever decided that having The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff compete in an actual match made one of the biggest errors ever committed in pro wrestling.

The two were so old and past their prime that they couldn't really do much of anything.

At one point, Koloff picked up one of the Bushwhackers and then, instead of slamming him to the mat, kind of just gently lay him down as though lying a newborn baby down in their crib.

Before any of that, however, the two foreign heels had to work the crowd a bit.

Volkoff sang the Russian National Anthem before Iron Sheik did his Persian Clubs routine and then randomly cut a promo on Hulk Hogan and Bob Backlund, neither of whom were appearing here tonight.

Naturally, the crowd responded to this with loud "USA! USA!" chants that they would keep up for the rest of the match. Once the bell rang, these pro-USA chants were encouraged by New Zealanders Luke & Butch.


This was a terrible train wreck of a match, ending with a win for the Bushwhackers when the heels messed up and Volkoff accidentally blasted his own partner with an International Object.
Your Winners: Luke & Butch

Afterward, Sheik and Koloff almost came to blows, but were encouraged to hug it out by their manager, a random dude in a Russian military outfit who was apparently called Nikita Brezhnikov.

Tully Blanchard Has a Flashback

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Tully Blanchard - Man ChardIn true Horseman style, Tully Blanchard arrived earlier in the day in a limousine. Happy to be there, Blanchard was about to give an interview to Michael St John. Yet before he could say anything, he was attacked by Sweet Stan Lane.

Later, Blanchard cut a compelling promo that proved to be the best thing on the show up to this point.

The former Brainbuster was unhappy. Now long retired, he had hoped that Heroes of Wrestling would be a bit of fun, but, like everybody watching it, those hopes had been dashed.

Getting really intense, Blanchard claimed that the attack by Lane had given him a flashback to his most violent battles with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Wahoo McDaniel and that he was going to channel all the rage and anger built up inside him into taking out Sweet Stan.

This was very good stuff.

Tully Blanchard vs. Sweet Stan Lane

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 Review - Sweet Stan Lane faced Tully Blanchard
As bad as this show was, it, of course, makes perfect sense that the most solid match on the card was also one of the shortest.

Before the bell, Sweet Stan Lane took to the microphone to do his own ring introduction. Tully Blanchard arrived on the scene and the two went at it in a basic, no-frills kind of match which still managed to outshine just about everything else on the card.

The most hilarious thing about this match was that the company were trying to get over Stan Lane as some kind of Ladies Man Adonis type figure.

To that end, they kept cutting to the shots of various women in the crowd, but all the women looked totally bored, miserable, or just outright confused.

After seven minutes of decent action, Lane hit Blanchard with a belly-to-back suplex but kept his shoulders on the mat. Tully got his up at two and that meant he won the match.
Your Winner: Tully Blanchard

Lane attacked his rival afterward, but Blanchard fought back with a suplex and sent The Fabulous One packing.

Out in the back, Michael St John interviewed Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart, who had King Kong Bundy with him for some unexplained reason.

Neidhart was his usual crazy self as he insisted that he didn't really have a problem with Jake Roberts, but would fight him anyway later on in the show.

"Don't worry about that snake," said Bundy. "We'll take care of it."

One Man Gang vs. Abdullah The Butcher (w/ Honest John Cheatum)

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - One Man Gang faced Abdullah The Butcher
This was garbage in every possible sense of the word.

Despite not being billed as one, this was a basic No DQ match in which almost nothing happened.

Prior to the bell, we were shown an angry, pre-recorded promo from One Man Gang in which he just shouted a lot without saying much of anything. He then spent half the match wrapping Abdullah The Butcher up in a chain.

The other half of the match saw Abby jabbing OMG with his trademark fork.

Both men bled a lot and then got counted out.

It was awful.
Double Countout

The two continued to brawl for a long while afterward. Gang even blasted a security guard with a chair.

When Card Games Go Bad

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Cowboy Bob OrtonUp next, Randy Rosenbloom told us that, despite "feuding since 1984," Cowboy Bob Orton and Superfly Jimmy Snuka had agreed to put their differences aside and play a game of cards with Captain Lou.

However, things went awry when Snuka and Albano accused Orton of cheating. To make him pay for this terrible crime, Snuka attacked Orton while Albano hurled abuse at him.

That was a pre-taped bit. Cutting back to the show, Michael St John interviewed Captain Lou and Snuka about the latter's upcoming match with Orton.

Albano ranted and raved about how badly Orton was going to get his ass kicked. Meanwhile, Superfly just kind of stood there, arms by his sides, staring off into the distance. In fact, I'm not entirely sure that he didn't have his eyes closed and was taking a quick standing power nap.

Offering a retort, Randy's dad cut a promo of his own, claiming that he hadn't cheated, but was now angry anyway and would beat sup Superfly.

Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka (w/ Captain Lou Albano)

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Cowboy Bob Orton faced Jimmy Snuka
I've seen other reviewers call this the match of the night and 'the least sucky thing on the show,' but I'm not buying it.

The whole thing clocked in at just under 12 minutes, at least half of which saw Bob Orton lock Jimmy Snuka in an armbar while the crowd chanted homophobic slurs at him.

The other half was just dull and uneventful.

Snuka won with a crossbody, even though it would have taken just as much effort to hit his trademark top rope splash.
Your Winner: Superfly Jimmy Snuka

Out in the back, a clearly hammered Jake 'The Snake' Roberts slurred his way through what would have otherwise been an awesome promo.

“If you're in a casino, you should gamble," he began. "Let me tell you something, Anvil, you don’t want to play cards with me, because I’ll cheat. Okay? I cheat. You want to play twenty-one, I got twenty-two.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Jake Roberts cuts a drunken promo
"You want to play BlackJack? I got two of those too. You want to play Aces and Eights? Well, I got some of those too. The bottom line is this. You do not gamble with me. When you walk into a casino, when you want to gamble, the main thing you must do, is this, you must accept losing. I don’t accept losing, and neither does Damien. Damien, my friend! My friend Damien is right here.

"You don’t want to see this, do you? Let me show you something (*camera pans down to the snake in a bag on the floor*). I tell you what Anvil, go ahead and roll the dice. Mr. Cameraman, get your ass back up here. Hello? I’m talkin’ to you. Get that camera back up here. That’s what you should worry about Anvil. The bottom line is this, when the DDT comes, then the snake comes out. Worry about the DDT. DDT! DDT! DDT! DDT! DDT! DDT! THINK ABOUT IT!”

Even when he was plastered, Roberts could still deliver a promo better than most of today's current roster.

Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts

It's amazing that out of the four men involved in tonight's main event, only one of them is still alive and it's Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.

Heroes of Wrestling 1999 - Jake Roberts drunk
The man the announcers mistakenly referred to as a former Intercontinental Championship staggered to the ring clearly in no fit state to compete.

Seriously. Roberts's appearance here makes Jeff Hardy's Victory Road 2011 low point look like the model of good sobriety.

Reaching the ring, Roberts tried to open the bag to let Damien the Snake out, but was so blitzed he couldn't do it. Instead, he stumbled backstage then stumbled out again, sans shirt, and molested a female fan at ringside.

Eventually, the Master of the DDT made it into the ring for his first appearance in a Retro Pro Wrestling review since WWF Royal Rumble 1997.

As you can imagine, the match was a disaster, but, to his credit, Jim Neidhart did at least try to carry it.

For a few minutes, he basically wrestled himself in close proximity to Roberts, but things only got worse.

After failing to open the snake bag earlier, his snake actually started to slither out unexpectedly, so Roberts grabbed it, shoved it between his legs and started to feign masturbation with it.

This in a crowd full of children.

Next, Roberts went to the mat, not entirely on purpose, and started to lick the snake's face.

As the match reached its most disastrous point, King Kong Bundy made his way to the ring. He and a Mini Bundy (a random fat dude with a bald head who looked like Bundy) conferred with Neidhart to discuss the new finish, after which Jim went to the ring and slapped Jake in a chin lock.

Not long after, Yokozuna and his enormous ass waddled out to the ring, making this a tag team match.

Yokozuna & Jake 'The Snake' Roberts vs. Jim 'The Anvil' Neidhart & King Kong Bundy
Seriously, Yoko had ballooned since we last saw him at WWF Survivor Series 1996. Weighing an estimated  760 lb (345 kg), the poor guy looked so big it was amazing he could even move.

Not that he did very much.

Instead, despite apparently having a huge rivalry with King Kong Bundy, he interacted with his originally scheduled opponent for all of ten seconds then spent the rest of the time on the outside while Jake took a beating.

Seriously, they changed this to a tag team match because Jake Roberts was in no fit state to wrestle, but then he finished the bulk of the match anyway.

In the end, Jake did make the tag to Yoko, but then he fell over and King Kong Bundy pinned him anyway.
Your Winners: Jim Neidhart and King Kong Bundy

It wasn't over yet.

In the ring, Yoko got hold of Mini Bundy and held him in place while the crowd chanted for a DDT. Roberts either couldn't or wouldn't deliver, so a frustrated Yokozuna shot the guy off the ropes and hit him with a Samoan Drop.

Jake then draped his snake over the guy and the show just faded to black without a word from the announcers. When it came back on a few seconds later, it was to the tragic sight of a massively overweight Yokozuna leaning over to check on a fallen, drunken Jake 'The Snake' Roberts.

So, was Heroes of Wrestling really as bad as people say it was?

No, it was a hundred times worse.

There was very little to like about the show, and the main event was just a sad sight to behold.

If you really hate your own life, this is a good way to torture yourself, otherwise avoid it. Not even morbid curiosity makes it worth putting yourself through two and a half hours of torture.

I'm just glad Jake was finally able to get back on the road to recovery, though I think the biggest tragedy here is Yokozuna.

The guy was so overweight that something bad was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Indeed, he passed away a year later, making this atrocity of a show the last PPV he would appear on.

1999 events reviewed so far
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Thursday, 2 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Spring Stampede 2000

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Event poster
April 16, 2000
United Center, Chicago

On Monday, April 10th, 2000, six days before Spring Stampede 2000, the landscape of World Championship Wrestling changed entirely.

On that night, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff returned to WCW Monday Nitro and launched a company-wide reboot.

The two declared war against the "good ol' boys network" of established stars such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Lex Luger and Diamond Dallas Page, declaring a level playing field that would allow the "new blood" of WCW to finally get a fair shot at the top.

Levelling the playing field meant stripping all of the company's reigning champions of their titles and basically starting the whole company over.

Immediately contradicting themselves, the duo then booked Lex Luger, Sting, DDP an Sid Vicious in a mini-tournament to determine who would face Russo's 'Chosen One' Jeff Jarrett for the now-vacant title tonight at Spring Stampede because, naturally, the best way to stick to the old guard was to give them a WCW title shot.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Vince Russo rebooted WCWFinally, Nitro also featured Billy Kidman calling out Hulk Hogan, brawling with the Hulkster and pinning him. Eric Bischoff counted the three after drilling Hogan with a chair. When that didn't put Hogan away for good, they rammed his car with a hummer and put Hogan in the hospital.

After all of that, we headed into Chicago to crown new champions and see all new battles rage on as the war between The New Blood and The Millionaire's Club officially got underway.

Hulk is Alive!

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden
Our opening video package recapped the main points from that week's big Nitro reboot.

Curiously, while the Nitro broadcast had censored Vince Russo calling Ric Flair a "piece of s**t," this video did not. I don't know about you, but I'm always surprised at how much cursing they let slip on the WWE Network.

Anyway, this brought us to the arena where a worried Eric Bischoff was seen pacing up and down.

"How the hell did he check himself out of the hospital?" he asked, referring, of course, to Hogan.

Sitting on a nearby sofa with Torrie Wilson draped all over him, Kidman told Bischoff not to worry. A rather relaxed looking Vince Russo concurred.

This was followed by a second video package which spliced clips from the first one with generic shots of WCW's wrestlers beating each other up.

From there, it was pyro city and on to our announce team Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mark Madden. Seriously? Why couldn't they just keep Mike Tenay on the air?

The trio told us that tonight, we'd have tournaments to decide new World, Tag Team, and United States Champions, tournaments in which Russo and Bischoff had ordered the referees to be lenient with the rules. The trio hinted that, although tonight's matches wouldn't strictly be 'no disqualification,' that's what we should expect.

With all that out of the way, it was on to our first match...almost.

Russo! Street Fight! Woooo!

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Ric Flair, Lex Luger and Elizabeth talk to Mean Gene Okerlund
With The Mamalukes already in the ring, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Team Package backstage. I say interviewed, he asked Ric Flair why he was wearing street clothes and Flair  responded with a hyperactive and mostly incoherent promo in which he basically yelled "RUSSO! STREET FIGHT! WOOO!" over and over again.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Title Tournament - Match 1: 4 vs. 2 Handicap Match
The Mamalukes (Big Vito & Johnny The Bull w/ Disco Inferno) & The Harris Boys (Ron & Don Harris) vs. Team Package (Nature Boy Ric Flair & Lex Luger w/ Miss Elizabeth)

This was supposed to be a straight up tag match between the unfortunately named 'Team Package' and The Mamalukes, but this was WCW, where straight up matches were seemingly illegal or something. Before the bell, Russo came out and threw The Harris Boys into the mix, creating a big four-on-two rumble.

It was exciting at first, but it quickly descended into a farce. At various points, both Mamalukes took turns at climbing the ropes to attack Lex Luger from the top but were so slow that Luger just had to kind of stand there watching and waiting. When Vito climbed, he took so long that Luger literally shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes.

That's the kind of match this was.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Bam Bam Bigelow interrupted Mike Awesome's promo
Eventually, The Harris Boys and The Mamalukes turned on each other, which gave Flair and Luger the opportunity to regain control. Luger racked Johnny The Bull for the three.
Your Winners: Team Package

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund tried to interview Mike Awesome about Awesome's participation in tonight's US title tournament.

Before he could say much of anything, however, Awesome was interrupted by fellow ECW alum, Bam Bam Bigelow.

Not taking too kindly to Bammer calling him a 'jabroni,' Big Mike attacked Bigelow from behind and laid him out.

Jimmy Hart (w/ Hail) vs. Mancow (w/ Random Entourage people)


WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - radio personality Mancow faced Jimmy Hart
Let's do this.

So, Mancow was a radio personality who had insulted Jimmy Hart by claiming he (Mancow) would be a better manager for Hulk Hogan than Hart. The Mouth of the South had then attacked the male bovine in his studio, leading to what I'll very generously call a "match."

Meanwhile, if you don't recognise Hail, he was mostly a WCW Saturday Night wrestler who tragically died in 2006.

That sombre note aside, man, this was f***ing dreadful.

Neither man were capable of any wrestling moves, so they just kind of rolled around on each other in what Mark Madden called a 'cat fight.'

Eventually, the referee took a tumble so Hail picked up Mancow and hurled him onto the outside where he was caught by his entourage of freaks and geeks. Hart then sent Hail away, which gave Mancow the opportunity to win the match with a well-placed chair shot.

I'd say this had no place being on pay per view, but the crowd clearly loved Mancow. So, despite it being one of the worst things on PPV ever, you can't blame WCW for booking it.
Your Winner: Mancow

Post-match, Billy Kidman ran in and beat up on Hart, presumedly to send a message to Jimmy's good buddy, The Hulkster.

Meanwhile, out in the back, an angry Vince Russo yelled at The Mamalukes and The Harris Boys for screwing up their opportunity.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Match 1
The Wall vs. Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner
Remember how Scott Steiner had gone straight from being one of the Steiner Brothers to being in the nWo and had stayed there ever since? That basically meant Big Poppa Pump only two themes:

The nWo theme or the cheesy, early-mid 90s 'Steinerized' theme from the WCW Slam Jam album.

Of course, being that the nWo didn't exist, they gave him 'Steinerized,' and it was totally ill-suited for him in his current Big Bad Booty Daddy gimmick.

That aside, Steiner and The Wall did give us a pretty decent match. It was hard-hitting, it was intense, and it was the first time in what felt like forever that an entire match went by without any interference or shady goings-on.

After a solid effort, Wall went to chokeslam Steiner through a table but Scotty moved referee Slick Johnson in the way. The Wall could have easily known that he didn't have hold of his opponent but didn't seem to care. He chokeslammed Johnson through the table, causing Billy Silverman to come out and immediately ring the bell.
Your Winner via disqualification: Scott Steiner

Apparently, relaxing the rules didn't extend to slamming officials through tables.

The Cat Wants James Brown

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Ernest 'The Cat' Miller talks to Mean Gene Okerlund
Out in the back, Mean Gene interviewed Ernest 'The Cat' Miller about his upcoming US title tournament match with Mike Awesome. Miller, who had enjoyed a dance-off with James Brown back at Superbrawl 2000, insisted that he didn't want Awesome, he wanted the legendary singer.

"I was told James Brown was going to be here. I want James Brown!" The Cat demanded.
"What? James Brown can't be your opponent!" replied Mean Gene Okerlund.

I don't know why, but your reviewer laughed out loud for way too long at that.

One person who wasn't laughing, however, was Bam Bam Bigelow. He came out and attacked Miller, presumedly so that he could take his place in the match against Mike Awesome.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Match 2
Mike Awesome vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Mike Awesome faced Bam Bam Bigelow
Unsurprisingly, Bam Bam Bigelow ran out to fight Awesome, eliciting a loud "ECW! ECW!" chant from the Chicago faithful.

The two put on what looked to be the best match of the night so far. It was a terrific contest that made Awesome look like a star in what was his official WCW debut match.

Not content to leave it at that, however, WCW just had to screw it up.

They had Ernest Miller run out and attack Bam Bam, then put on his red shoes to dance. Awesome clotheslined Cat hit him with a wicked frog splash and win the match.
Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Look, I get why this happened, but seriously, if they'd just left it alone, that could have been golden.

Douglas and Buff are New Blood

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Shane Douglas and Buff Bagwell competed for the WCW tag team titles
Backstage, Vince Russo and Billy Kidman urged Eric Bischoff to stop worrying about Hulk Hogan.

Elsewhere in the arena, Mean Gene Okerlund stood by with New Blood representatives Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas. Before you ask, I don't know how veterans Bagwell and Douglas were considered 'new blood' either.

Bagwell put over the new regime in WCW while Douglas talked about his favourite subject in the world:

Ric Flair.

The Franchise called Flair a 'piece of s**t,' making it the third time we'd heard that word on tonight's show after the opening Nitro recap video and Mancow's earlier pre-match promo.

This was not good stuff from either man.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament - Match 2
Harlem Heat 2000 (Stevie Ray & Big T w/ J. Biggs and Kash) vs. The New Blood (Buff Bagwell & Shane Douglas)

For the second pay per view in a row, Stevie Ray and Big T wrestled a match that was better than you'd expect it to be.

That's not to say it was great by any means, but since it was kept to only about two and a half minutes, it wasn't given enough time to actually suck.

After a quick bit of fairly inspired brawling, Douglas hit Stevie Ray with a crappy looking suplex and got the three.
Your Winners: Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Booker T talks to Mean Gene Okerlund
Afterwards, Kash and J. Biggs had to stop Stevie Ray and Big T. from getting into a heated argument about their loss.

Backstage, Stevie's brother, Booker cut a decent promo in which he told Mean Gene that while he was on the same page as The New Blood, he wasn't really aligned with them.

This was a smart move that allowed Booker to continue being seen as a babyface without actually aligning with The Millionaire's club.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Match 3
Booker  vs. Sting

Booker still wasn't using the 'T' at the end of his name after losing that right to Harlem Heat 2000. Ray and Big T had also taken his music, so Booker had some rare theme that I don't think I've ever heard before.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Booker T faced Sting
Here, he locked up with Sting in what proved to be easily the match of the night, at least to this point anyway.

Though fairly short, the match saw both men worked solidly to give us the kind of straight up, no-nonsense singles match that was such a rarity in WCW at this time.

After a thoroughly compelling contest, Sting got the win over Booker with the Scorpion Death Drop.
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, Booker demanded that The Stinger returned to the ring. He looked angry, but it turned out all he really wanted was to fist-bump him in a sign of respect.

Kidman and Bischoff aren't Scared

Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed Billy Kidman and Eric Bischoff. With the ever-gorgeous Torrie Wilson on his arm, Kidman joined Bischoff in insisting that there was no way at all Hogan would show up tonight, all but telegraphing the fact that he would.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship - Match 4
Billy Kidman (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Vampiro

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Hulk Hogan destroyed Billy Kidman
These two had an enjoyable match back at Superbrawl 2000, so it's no surprise that they once again delivered the goods here.

The two worked hard to give us the best match they were capable of and the results were very enjoyable.

Halfway through, however, a car arrived backstage and out jumped Hulk Hogan. Sporting heavy bandaging on his shoulder after getting attacked by the hummer on Nitro, The Hulkster stormed to the ring and destroyed Kidman, beating him up and twice putting him through the announce table.

For some reason, this wasn't a disqualification even though Lil Naitch was stood right there watching the whole thing go down. His work done, Hogan tossed Kidman back in the ring and demanded that Robinson make the count.

Vampiro covered his fallen adversary and advanced to the next round for a match against Sting.
Your Winner: Vampiro

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - The cops pulled a gun on Hulk Hogan
Post-match, Hogan took to the mic and told "that son of a bitch" Eric Bischoff that he was coming for him. Backstage, Russo urged Bischoff to stay put while he (Russo) went to take care of it.

Sure enough, Hogan stormed through the backstage area and found Eazy E, pinning him up against the wall and threatening to kill him. Before he could do any damage however, Russo came in with a barrage of cops who forced Hogan to back off by pointing their guns at him.

Ah, pro wrestling.

As Hogan was being hurled away in cuffs, he promised to "eat [Bischoff's] ass alive." I don't think anybody had quite explained to Hulk what that phrase actually meant.

Out in the corridor, The Hulkster was being escorted off the premises as Terry Taylor looked on. Taylor was stopped by Terry Funk who wanted to know where Screamin' Norman Smiley was. After being told that his opponent was hiding in catering, that's where the Funker went.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship
Terry Funk vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Terry Funk faced Norman Smiley for the hardcore title
I must admit, I like the way they seamlessly transitioned between the two matches with the whole backstage stuff.

Funk went into catering and, when asked where Norman was, was directed to the bathrooms. Funk walked in and asked, "Norman Smiley, you in here?"

Instead of staying quiet and pretending he wasn't, Screamin' Norman screamed loudly. It was a genius move that was way more hilarious than I can do justice to here.

Like most things involving Norman Smiley, this one was a lot of fun.

As they battled for a Hardcore Championship that had been vacated by Brian Knobs on Nitro (by order of Russo & Bischoff), Funk and Smiley battled around the arena finding all kinds of ridiculous and creative ways to hurt each other. At one point, Smiley climbed a ladder that had been propped up against a wall. When Funk kicked the ladder down, Smiley hung on to a pipe on the ceiling for dear life, then went crashing down through a table after getting waffled by a chair.

Screamin' Norman mounted a comeback. He and Funk waged a fun little war all the way to the ring where, despite a brief run-in from Dustin Rhodes which threatened to suck the life out of the whole thing, the entertainment factor continued.

Funk lifted up a ladder and threw it over the top rope onto the outside, crashing down on Smiley. A three count later and we had our new Hardcore champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Hardcore Champion: Terry Funk

Out in the back, Vince Russo demanded that Booker T do him a favour. The mystery continued...

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Semi-Final 1
Mike Awesome vs. Scott Steiner

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Scott Steiner faced Mike Awesome
This started off really well. It was another hard-hitting contest that looked to have all the makings of a really good match. Yet before either man could take it up a notch, Kevin Nash arrived on the scene.

Looking for revenge after Mike Awesome attacked him on Nitro, Big Sexy waffled the former ECW star with a crutch.

Scotty then locked on the Steiner Recliner and this one was over.
Your Winner: Scott Steiner

Backstage, Vince Russo fired Dustin Rhodes for failing to prevent Terry Funk from winning the hardcore title. Using Booker as his back-up, Russo claimed that the only time Rhodes was any good was when he was Goldust.

"And I created Goldust!" he yelled.
"Yeah, well I went out there and did it!" replied Rhodes, offering the weakest comeback of the century.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament - Semi-Final 2:
Vampiro vs. Sting

Sting and Vampiro would have a long feud throughout 2000. If this match was anything to go by, fans could expect that feud to feature matches which, while nowhere near terrible, hardly set the world on fire either.

Though both men were capable of good stuff on their own, this one somehow fell flat.

After a mediocre outing, Sting locked Vamp in the Scorpion Death Lock to advance to the US tournament final against Scott Steiner.
Your Winner: Sting

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - DDP and Kimberly talk to Mean Gene
Out in the back, Mean Gene interviewed Diamond Dallas Page about his upcoming world title fight with Jeff Jarrett.

Page insisted that while he was looking forward to becoming the three-time, three-time, three-time champion, he was more looking forward to letting Kimberly get revenge on Double J for hitting her with a guitar.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship Six Man Match
Shannon Moore (w/ Shane Helms) vs. Chris Candido vs. Crowbar (w/ Daffney and David Flair) vs. Lash LeRoux vs. Juventud Guerra vs. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea (w/ Paisley)

Prior to the bell, Shannon Moore and Shane Helms told us that while they were the only two members of Three Count on hand tonight, they were still better than anybody else.

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Tammy Sytch made her WCW debut managing Chris Candido
From other reports, I believe that the two then performed whatever Three Count's big hit was, but the WWE Network edits that out and has all five of their opponents rush to the ring for this match.

The Artist had been a solid if unspectacular champion since February but had been forced to vacate the title during the big reboot and would have to fight for it again here.

For a while, it looked like he'd regain the title too. After a fun little spot fest, The Artist battled Chris Candido in the ring, yet just when it looked like he was about to put Candido away, Tammy Sytch made her WCW debut, pushing Iaukea off the top rope and giving her man the win.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Candido

Post-match, Paisley and Tammy got into a catfight that was eventually broken up by Candido.

Backstage, Jeff Jarrett spent the majority of his allotted promo time threatening to beat up Gene Okerlund rather than focussing on his match with DDP.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
Team Package (The Total Package Lex Luger & Nature Boy Ric Flair w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. The New Blood (Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell w/ Vince Russo)

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Lex Luger & Ric Flair (w/ Elizabeth) faced Shane Douglas and Buff Bagwell
Honestly, I think this match was better than a lot of people give it credit for.

Though it frequently descended into a bit of a mess, it followed your basic tag team structure with all four men playing their roles well.

Continuing the theme of excess swearing, Tony Schiavone -of all people- called a very loud 'BULLSH*T!' on commentary before Shane Douglas backed Naitch into the corner and yelled his own very loud "F**K YOU, FLAIR!"

Elsewhere, Luger got a big pop when Flair finally made the hot tag, and even looked to have the match won at one point. However, Vince Russo pulled referee Nick Patrick out of the ring and stole his referee's jersey.

At that point, Kronik made their WCW debut as a team and slammed Luger. Russo made the three count, and that, apparently, was official enough to give us new champions.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Shane Douglas & Buff Bagwell

Prior to the US title tournament final, both Scott Steiner and Sting gave promos to Mean Gene. Steiner vowed that he didn't represent The New Blood, he represented himself, while Sting talked about how Russo and Bischoff couldn't run from himself and The Millionaire's club because they had WCW in their blood.

Neither man seemed to mention the other much at all.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship Tournament Final
Scott Steiner vs. Sting

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Scott Steiner beat Sting to win the vacant US title
Here's something I find myself saying more and more as we go through these last dozen WCW shows:

This wasn't bad.

Honestly, that's the best compliment anyone can give Steiner vs. Sting at Spring Stampede 2000. I know it doesn't sound like much, but saying "this didn't suck" about a WCW match in the year 2000 was a high compliment indeed.

The match itself was basically Sting hitting Stinger splashes everywhere and Scott Steiner spending most of his time arguing with the fans until Vampiro popped up from under the ring and dragged Sting 'Straight to hell' much as The Undertaker had done to Diesel back at the 1996 Royal Rumble.

As Mark Madden tried to convince his that actual Hades was underneath the ring, Sting was apparently busy blading before Vamp shoved him back in the ring, bloody and beaten.

One Steiner Recliner later and we had our new champion.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Scott Steiner

Finally, after another look back at the big Nitro Reboot, it was on to our main event

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberley) vs. Jeff Jarret

WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - Jeff Jarrett celebrates his WCW title win with The New Blood
From bell to bell, Page and Jarrett worked hard to deliver a very solid performance that was 100% worthy of being tonight's main event.

No, it wasn't the greatest match in history. It wasn't even the best match on this card (that was Sting vs. Booker) but it was still good, especially for 2000-era WCW.

With referee Charles Robinson allowing a lot of leniciancy in the rules, both men battled through the crowd and around ringside before making it back between the ropes for an increasingly dramatic finale.

Page managed to survive a figure four before surprising Jarrett with a role up. The Chosen One kicked out, but Page once again gained control. Then, as Eric Bischoff (who had made his way ringside halfway through) grabbed hold of Robinson, Kimberley entered the ring with Jarrett's guitar.

Just when you thought she was going to get revenge on Double J, however, she blasted her husband with the guitar.

Three seconds later, The Chosen One had done it.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Jarrett

Post-match, Kimberly and Bischoff and embraced. Bagwell, Douglas, Steiner, Candido and Sytch all came to the ring to join in Jarrett's celebration.

The New Blood had arrived.

I'm never a fan of shows with tournaments. There are always too many matches and it seems like the show takes forever to review. Still, on the plus side, this was one of World Championship Wrestling's better pay per views of the past twelve months. That's not to say it was great or anything, but compared to some of the absolute crap WCW had been putting out, Spring Stampede 2000 was at least a solid effort.

Track down Sting vs. Booker, maybe watch the Hardcore title match for a laugh, but otherwise, take my word for it, you're not missing much by skipping WCW 2000 altogether.

For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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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.