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, 9 April 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Fully Loaded 2000

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Event poster
July 23, 2000,
Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas

Today's review is one of the few occasions when I actually own a copy of the event on officially-released VHS video.

Unlike In Your House: Beware of Dog, however, I won't actually be reviewing the VHS version because, well, it's 2020 and who even owns a VHS player any more.

The more I think about it, the weirder it is that, out of the hundreds and thousands of pro wrestling events released on video, Fully Loaded 2000 is the one I chose to spend money on.

After all, the last two Fully Loaded events had pretty much served as throw-away filler events, usually sandwiched in between more important PPVs.

Still, we're here now, so let's do this. Here's what went down to the final ever Fully Loaded PPV came to us live from Dallas, Texas.







Tonight, These Men Risk it All

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross called the event
In the promotional material, tonight's show had been subtitled 'The Crap Shoot,' which, when you think about it, is a pretty brave move. Run a bad show tonight, and the jokes would write themselves.

Taking the whole gambling thing to the logical next step, tonight's opening video likened the world of pro wrestling to the adrenaline rush of gambling. It was a fairly decent video, but it did have a whiff of WCW's cheesy openers about it.

With the video over, we panned live across a rabid crowd both here at the Reunion Arena in Dallas and back at WWF New York in Times Square as the ever-present voices of Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to the show.

Six-person Intergender Tag Team Match
Trish Stratus & T&A (Test & Albert) vs. Lita & The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

According to a pre-match recap, the real feud here was between Lita and Trish Stratus.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 - Trish Stratus teamed with T&A to face Lita and The Hardy Boyz
The two had been attacking each other on WWF programming ever since their first encounter at last month's King of the Ring 2000. Still, since Trish wasn't yet 'Trish Stratus - Awesome Women's Wrestler' - it was deemed more fitting for the girls to settle their rivalry in a bout which also involved T&A and The Hardy Boyz.

Of course, it was the men who did the bulk of the work in putting on a red hot opening match which had the crowd fully invested from first to last, but the girls didn't exactly take it easy.

At one point, Lita worked the crowd into a frenzy by repeatedly climbing to the top rope and flying all over the place, smashing Albert with a dive to the outside and destroying Test with a flying hurricanrana from the top.

Trish certainly didn't have the same in-ring prowess at this stage of her career, and it certainly showed as she looked a little lost on more than one occasion, but even she did the best she could with the limited experience she had.

The only downside was that the WWF had trained the audience that women = sex objects, so when Lita and Trish were trying to have their big moment together, the fans opted to chant "WE WANT PUPPIES" instead.

Undeterred, the women battled on. Lita nailed Trish with an excellent top rope superplex and moonsault to pick up the victory for her team.
Your Winners: Lita and The Hardy Boyz

The celebration was short-lived, however, as T&A beat up the Hardyz in the post-match and Trish gave Lita a good whipping with her belt.

Backstage Shennanigans

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Edge and Mick Foley talk backstage
Out in the back, new WWF Commissioner Mick Foley was seen humble-bragging to some dude in a suit about his hardcore glory days, only to be interrupted by Edge. The future Rated-R Superstar insisted that his partner, Christian, was violently ill and thus the duo wouldn't be able to defend their tag team titles tonight.

Unconvinced, Foley believed Christian to have a case of "Fraidy-Cat-Itis" but promised to send a doctor to check anyway.

Elsewhere in the arena, American Bad Ass Undertaker arrived at the arena and drove around the backstage area on his motorbike, giving chase to a clearly petrified Kurt Angle.

Tazz vs. Al Snow

Last seen on PPV at Backlash 2000 Tazz had been away for a while but has recently returned and started attacking random superstars like Too Cool and fellow ECW alum Al Snow.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Tazz faced Al Snow
Seeking revenge, Snow made his first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania 2000 and went one-on-one with the human suplex machine.

Though it may not have been either man’s finest hour, this was a perfectly serviceable filler match that managed to succeed without any kind of hardcore plunder.

After a decent effort, Tazz locked Snow in the Tazzmission and this one was over.
Your Winner: Tazz

Out in the back, Christian emerged from a bathroom stall looking worse for wear but still adamant that he could go tonight.

Mick Foley and an EMT arrived, the latter declaring that Christian was in no fit state to compete.

Looking concerned, Foley apologized for doubting Edge earlier.

The plot thickened...

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, it’s True, it’s True

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H and Stephanie McMahon talk in their dressing room
Across the way, Triple H & Stephanie McMahon were watching the show on a monitor and reacting to what we’d just seen.

As they did this, Harvey Wippleman brought Stephanie another bouquet of flowers to add to the many that were already in the room.

‘Alright, who are these from?’ Demanded Hunter.
‘What do you mean? They’re not from you?’

As Steph pleaded her innocence and ignorance as to the sender of the flowers, Hunter rummaged around to find a card attached to them.

It read ‘Stephanie, best of luck to you and your man tonight, it’s true, it’s true.’

Uh oh...

Hunter wasn’t the only one having relationship troubles, either. His ex, Chyna, had only been going out with Eddie Guerrero for a few short months but already she looked P-O’d with Latino Heat as they made their way out for our next matchup.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Terri helped Perry Saturn win his first European Championship World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Perry Saturn (w/ Terri Runnels)

After getting involved in a bust-up with Chyna and Eddie, Perry Saturn’s new manager, Terri Runnels, hid from the duo and ran backstage before the match officially got underway.

That just left the two former Radicalz members to duke it is out in a really good match.

Combining aerial moves with hard-hitting offence and more than a good bit of outside interference from Mamacita, this one went back and forth several times before the Horny Little She-Devil Terri got involved and helped her man win his first title in the WWF.
Your Winner and NEW European Champion: Perry Saturn 

Out in the back, Mick Foley caught Edge & Christian faking Christian’s illness.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Terri helped Perry Saturn win his first European Championship
Foley ordered the two men to compete tonight and gave his humble, medical opinion that the duo were doing to get their asses kicked.

Across the arena, Michael Cole wanted The Undertaker’s medical opinion about his match with Kurt Angle.

The American Bad Ass thought Cole’s little segue was cute, but before he could give an answer, he saw Angle on a monitor, trying to get his motorbike started.

Naturally, the former WWF Champion gave chase, calling Angle a ‘little bitch’ in the process.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

Not letting Foley get to them, the tag team champions strutted to ringside with all the confidence in the world and set about infuriating the Texas crowd by insulting their local sports teams and making distasteful remarks about the JFK assassination.

Bradshaw is a boob monster with a small willy hahahah
Before they could do their five-second pose, however, The Acolytes stormed to the ring.

Visibly irate, native Texan Bradshaw took to the microphone and lambasted the champions for getting ‘cheap heat’ at the expense of his home state.

Bradshaw, who looked chubby and out of shape, then got the crowd on his side by praising the same sports teams E&C had just derided, as well as giving a shout out to World Class Championship Wrestling legends The Von Erichs and The Fabulous Freebirds.

The match got underway and was, predictably, short, swift and brutal.

The Acolytes dominated for the most part, with Farooq using a Dominator to destroy Christian. Before he could seal the deal, however, Christian trashed the former Nation of Domination leader’s head with a title belt, earning the DQ.

Honestly, I think the two teams spent more time on the microphone than they did actually fighting one another, but this was a fun segment nonetheless.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Acolytes

Afterward, Farooq and Bradshaw took their consolation prize by murdering the remaining champions.

Kurt Angle is in Trouble

Out in the dressing room, Triple H confessed to being more worried about Kurt Angle sending his wife flowers than he was about his Last Man Standing Match with Chris Jericho.

Way to make that match seem unimportant.

Having had enough of her husband, Stephanie told him to go speak to the Olympic Gold Medalist himself.

He’d have a tough job catching him, however, as even The Undertaker hadn’t been able to do that and he’d been chasing him for the entire show.

As ‘Taker stalked him, Angle managed to run away and sneak up behind his opponent, hitting him in the back of the legs with a tire iron.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, The Big Boss Man checked some dude's ID.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Cage Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Val Venis (w/ Trish Stratus) vs. Rikishi

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Rikishi gets ready to jump off the top of the cage onto Val Venis
Remember at the start of this review when I said I owned this show on VHS? This match is the only one I remember from it.

I remember it partly because it was so good, but mostly because of how good it was came as a complete surprise.

I mean seriously if you’d never seen this show and I told you that  Val Venis and Rikishi tore it up in awesome steel cage match, would you believe me?

Probably not, but they did.

Holding absolutely nothing back, both men gave a career-defining performance in a violent and utterly compelling outing.

Toward the finish, Lita came down with a belt and whipped Val’s manager Trish Stratus all the way to the locker room. The outside referee chased after them and seconds later, the referee in the ring, Teddy Long, got knocked down (this was fought under pin/submission or escape rules).

Then it happened, the highlight of the match and the one moment that this bout will be best remembered for:

Rikishi climbed to the top of the cage, walked across it and then plummeted down to the mat, squashing Val but also hurting himself in the process.

It was so awesome that I lept out of my seat when it happened, and I already knew it was coming.

The match could have ended there, either with a win for Kishi or with the big guy being so hurt that he ended up being pinned by Val.

Instead, we got an unnecessary run-in from Tazz, who blasted the challenger with a television camera.

Venis made the cover, Long recovered enough to count the fall, and this one was all over.
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Val Venis

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H confronts Harvey Wippleman after Wippleman kept bringing Steph flowers from Chris Jericho
Afterward, both men had to be helped to the back after basically killing each other.

Out in the back, both Undertaker and HHH were on the hunt for Kurt Angle.

Hunter round Harvey Wippleman in the back carrying more flowers for Stephanie.

‘Where is he?’ asked The Game.
‘I’ll show you.’ replied Wippleman, and led Hunter to a dressing room. Once inside, HHH was attacked, however, it turned out not to be Angle but Chris Jericho.

Shane’s a P**sy

Unscheduled and unadvertised, Shane McMahon swaggered to the ring dressed for combat.

The crowd welcomed him with a rousing chant of ‘SHANE’S A P**SY,’ but he, of course, disagreed.

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  From backstage, Krispin Wah confronts The Rock
In fact, Shane O’ Mac was so eager to prove that he wasn’t a feline that he challenged The Great One to a non-title match right there and then.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Rock made his way out to the ring but was certainly no fool.

Convinced it was a setup, The Rock seemed certain that his upcoming opponent, Chris Benoit, would emerge at any moment and attack him.

Instead, The Crippler appeared on the Titantron and revealed himself to be back in The Rock’s dressing room where he tore up the champion’s $500 shirts and poured gasoline on his other belongings.

Annoyed, Rocky charged backstage.

A look back at the Taker/Angle rivalry followed. That match was next.

Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  The Undertaker defeated Kurt Angle
The first of three main events pitting established headliners against men looking to cement their own status in the top tier, this one saw Undertaker coming right after his rival during The Olympic Gold Medalist’s entrance.

The action was relentless from there on in. ‘Taker decimated his opponent every which way, but Angle managed to mount some offense and work over his opponent’s enormous legs for a while.

Eventually, ‘Taker fought back and killed his foe with a chokeslam and Last Ride powerbomb.

It wasn’t the longest match on the card, and it certainly wasn’t the best bout either man would have, but it was perfectly fine for what it was.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Up next, we were shown a recap of the HHH/Y2J feud.

This got started properly when Jericho kissed Stephanie back at King of the Ring. He had then continued to embarrass The Game by causing him to get a stinkface from Rikishi and to lose a match to The Brooklyn Brawler.

In between these events, Triple H went around to anyone who would listen to saying ‘I want Jericho’s ass.’

This didn’t sound at all like I imagine Hunter wanted it to.

Last Man Standing Match
Triple H (w/ WWF Women’s Champion Stephanie McMahon) vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Triple H puts Chris Jericho in abdominal stretch
Say what you will about Triple H’s reputation for burying people throughout his career, this was an awesome match and it absolutely made sense for a multi-time world champion to go over a man who had yet to prove himself in a main event.

Besides, it’s not as if Jericho looked like a chump or anything.

The former Intercontinental Champion more than held his own here, absorbing an insane amount of punishment from The Game yet always coming back to dish out plenty of violence of his own.

Late in the match, Y2J smashed HHH over the head with a chair so hard that -in kayfabe- it busted Hunter wide open.

After an epic and bloody brawl, the two battled to the outside where they went crashing through the announce table.

With the crowd going nuts, the referee’s count got up to nine. Hunter stood up at the last possible second to win the match, but then promptly collapsed face-first back into a pool of his own blood.
Your Winner: Triple H

The aftermath looked like a car wreck. Neither man moved. Stephanie McMahon wept over her fallen husband like he’d just been killed. Jericho lay comatose on the floor.

He may not have won the match, but he more than done enough to prove himself worthy of a spot in WWF’s exclusive main event club.

Before our main event, we got one last look at the Rock/Benoit rivalry. This included the stipulation to tonight's main event added by Commissioner Foley that the belt could change hands via disqualification.

There was a good, logical storyline reason for this:

Foley was concerned that the war between the two men had become so intense that The Rock would care more about beating the crap out of Benoit than retaining his title. So, to keep his buddy in check, the new rule was added.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Shane McMahon)

WWE / WWF - Fully Loaded 2000 -  Krispin Wah puts The Rock in a sharpshooter
Benoit came ready for battle wearing one of The Rock’s shirts that he’d torn up earlier in the show and then proceeded to attack The Great One after Shane McMahon provided a distraction.

It says a lot about the talent of both men that they were able to get the crowd so heavily invested in this match after the previous content had left them noticeably worn out.

In the early going, it was obvious that nothing Benoit and The Rock were registering with the crowd in the same way that every moment of the earlier HHH/Y2J encounter had.

Undeterred, champ and challenger persisted and eventually delivered what has to be one of The Rock's best ever PPV bouts.

Say what you want about pro wrestling being fake, every single move these two men delivered looked as though it hurt like hell, and that only made for a better match.

After an excellent see-saw battle, Shane McMahon ran in and blasted Earl Hebner from behind with a chair. When the referee recovered, however, he turned around and saw the WWF Champion holding the chair.

Predictably this led to a disqualification, and to a new champion...
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Chris Benoit

...or did it?

If you thought that was kind of a BS finish, you're not alone. So did the Dallas crowd who flooded the ring with garbage, and so too did Commissioner Foley, who stormed out to the ring.

Taking to the microphone, the Hardcore Legend declared that since there was no legitimate reason for a disqualification, the match had to continue.

Benoit returned to the ring and drilled the battered and bloody Rock with a succession of hard-hitting German suplexes. However, it was not to be The Crippler's night after all.

A few moments later, The People's Champion recovered, landed a Rock Bottom and retained his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Rock

Basking in the adulation of the Dallas audience, The Rock celebrated his hard-fought victory as his former partner, Foley, looked on, beaming with pride.





If Fully Loaded 2000 proved anything, it's that specific wins and losses don't matter as much in the world of professional wrestling as the stories being told.

On this show, three would-be headliners went up against three established main eventers and lost. There's an argument that having Angle, Jericho, and Benoit go over Undertaker, HHH, and The Rock respectively would have catapulted each man straight to the top of the card, but look:

They got there anyway.

Angle would have the WWF title by the end of the year. Jericho would have it the following year, and though it would take Benoit a few more years to get there, he never looked anything less than a credible threat for the duration of his career.

What's more, with the benefit of hindsight, it's to say that neither man's career was damaged by that loss. Angle is a WWE and TNA Hall of Famer. Jericho is a sure-fire Hall of Famer when he finally hangs up his boots, and there are still people who praise Benoit's legacy despite what happened at the end.

So yeah, as wrestling fans in 2020, I'd urge all of us to worry less about what a single loss might mean for a performer's individual career.



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWF Fully Loaded reviews:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

EVENT REVIEW: Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Bluegrass Brawl 1993

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 1993
April 2nd, 1993
Pikesville College Gym, Pikeville, Kentucky

Confession time: Your writer has been a fan of professional wrestling for over 25 years and yet never once sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. 

Sure, the promotion had always been on my radar.

Founded by Jim Cornette in 1991, the southern promotion served as the launchpad for a number of 1990s stars, with everyone from Chris Jericho and Lance Storm to Tammy 'Sunny' Sytch, Al Snow, Kane, Road Dogg and D'Lo Brown -among many others- all enjoying runs with the company early in their career.

Still, despite knowing all this, it wasn't until I discovered a bunch of their old shows on YouTube that I finally got to watch any of it.






Join me then, as I head to Pikeville, Kentucky in the year 1993 to watch my first Smoky Mountain Wrestling show.

Please Stand for 'My Old Kentucky Home'

You know how wrestling companies will occasionally have the national anthem performed at the start of the show to add some gravitas and sense of importance to the occasion?

Smoky Mountain Wrestling -Lance Russel and Les Thatcher hosted the eventYeah, well, Smoky Mountain Wrestling didn't do that, instead asking the crowd to stand for a recording of anti-slavery anthem and official Kentucky State Song, My Old Kentucky Home.

With that out of the way, Les Thatcher told us it was time to 'kick open the doors' on Bluegrass Brawl.

Standing center ring with his colleague, Lance Russel, Thatcher handed things over to Russel who gushed about being invited to participate in tonight's main event.

Running down tonight's card, Russel continually referred to the show as 'Bluegrass Ball.'

You have to forgive him, though, this guy was VERY EXCITED about being there.

Rob Morgan vs. The Mongolian Stomper

If you think Shane McMahon's punches look weak, I dare you to watch this match. Compared to Rob Morgan's offense, everything Shane O' Mac does looks stiff as hell.

Seriously. Morgan attacked The Mongolian Stomper as he climbed through the ropes, beating him with punches to the gut and clobbering forearms to the back.

Not a single thing he did looked like it would hurt in the slightest, so it was no surprise The Stomper turned around and beat the living daylights out of his terrible opponent.

Poor, feeble Morgan didn't stand a chance. The Stomper threw him to the outside, beat his ass there, then took him back to the ring and knocked him out with the cobra clutch.

After those first few seconds of horrible punches, Morgan didn't get in another lick of offense in this short and forgettable nothing match.
Your Winner: The Mongolian Stomper

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Prime Time Brian Lee is interviewed before his match
Out in the back, Prime Time Brian Lee stood around looking completely different than you may remember him if you only know him from his WWF run as Chainz and onwards.

Anyway, Lee told interviewer Brian Matthews that he was ready for his Russian Roulette match with the dastardly Kevin Sullivan and that, tonight, Sullivan was about to get a taste of his own medicine.

Roll the dice...Make the Erm...Deal

About six months earlier, World Championship Wrestling had famously done their big 'Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal' gimmick in which the stipulation for a match between Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and Sting would be decided by the spin of a roulette wheel.

Here, Smoky Mountain Wrestling were set to do the exact same thing for 'Russian Roulette' grudge match between arch-rivals 'Prime Time' Brian Lee and Kevin Sullivan.

The only difference, of course, was that SMW didn't have nearly the same budget as WCW.

So, instead of a fancy roulette wheel, they simply rolled dice in the middle of the ring to determine what kind of match Lee and Sullivan would have.

According to Lance Russell, each number of the dice was linked to a different type of match.

1: A 'Prince of Darkness' (blindfold) match
2: A Stretcher match
3: A Handicap match in which Lee would have to face Sullivan & The Nightstalker
4: A 'Ring of Fire' (inferno) match
5: A 'Singapore Spike' match in which four boxes would be attached to the corners of the ring. One box contained a Singapore spike which could be used by whoever found it.
6: Brian Lee's choice

Lee rolled the dice and, naturally, it landed on six. At least, it did if you take SMW's word for it. The cameras never actually showed you a close up of the dice.

After all that, Lee opted for a Singapore spike match despite the fact he could have had *literally* any match he wanted.

Tim Horner is Ready for The Nightstalker

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - White Lightning Tim Horner is interviewed before his match
Out in the back, 'White Lightning' Tim Horner had some harsh words for his opponent, The Nightstalker.

The two had been at war since getting involved in the Lee/Sullivan rivalry, with Horner helping out Brian Lee and Nightstalker serving as Sullivan's muscle.

Horner vowed to take care of his opponent in their upcoming match, then revealed that both of them would be handcuffed to different corners of the ring during the Lee/Sullivan.

"This means I might not be able to get at you, but I can definitely keep an eye on you," said Horner. It was the least menacing thing any wrestler had ever said in a promo.

Yep, you better watch out, Nightstalker. If you're not careful, Tim Horner is going to LOOK AT YOU.

'White Lightning' Tim Horner vs. The Nightstalker

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - White Lightning Tim Horner faces Night Stalker (Adam Bomb)
Yep, before he went to Three Mile Island to get tangled up in a nuclear disaster, Bryan Clarke was a man who stalked the night...or stalked by night, or something.

Here, the big man displayed plenty of charisma and a reasonable amount of athleticism as he locked up with Horner in what turned out to be a pretty fun match.

OK, so this was far from a five-star classic, but the crowd were solidly into this one and as a result, every single move, no matter how basic, seemed like a very, very big deal.

After taking a pounding at the hands of his larger opponent, babyface Horner had the crowds solidly behind him as he mounted a comeback, eventually leaping onto Nightstalker's back and slapping on a sleeper hold.

With nowhere to go, 'Stalker headed for the ropes and dumped his opponent over the top to the outside.

Since throwing your opponent over the top was illegal here in SMW, that gave the win to White Lighting.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Tim Horner

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Kevin Sullivan is interviewed before his match
Backstage, Brian Matthews stood by with a man he called 'Evil Kevin Sullivan.'

'I'm not evil,' claimed Sullivan, 'I'm just misunderstood.'

Despite his protest, Sullivan then cut a fun promo in which he insisted his upcoming Singapore spike match would be just as much fun as the time he went around clubbing baby seals.

Honestly.

Singapore Spike Match
Kevin Sullivan (w/ The Nightstalker) vs. 'Prime Time' Brian Lee (w/ Tim Horner)

Before the bell, the ring announcer reminded us of the rules:

Four boxes were placed on the corners of the ring, one containing a spike, the other three containing 'nothing but air.' The object was to find the spike and beat up your opponent with it.

Instead of running straight for the corners, both men instead laid into one another with a flurry of rights and lefts, building up what turned out to be a very enjoyable brawl.

We had steel chairs, we had Sullivan whacking Lee with a random sandbag, and we even had a hammer come into play.

Unfortunately, the one thing we didn't have was a solid ending.

Somehow, The Nightstalker ended up with the spike and gave it to Sullivan. The spike got dropped, 'Stalker picked it up again and this time refused to give it to his man.

The distraction allowed Horner to pull down Sullivan's tights and get the three count thanks to a roll-up.

Yes, this hotly-anticipated blood feud came to an end with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Tim Horner

Afterward, Sullivan got into it with The Nightstalker. It would have been more dramatic had there not been a problem with the handcuffs used on The Nightstalker.

For some reason, they couldn't get him free so they literally had to take down the second turnbuckle to free him. When he finally got free, 'Stalker saw off Sullivan, effectively turning babyface in the process.

Tracy Smothers is From the South

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Tracy Smothers is interviewed before his match
With the ring left in shambles, we next went backstage where Brian Matthews stood by for an interview with 'Wild-Eyed Southern Boy' Tracy Smothers.

A fired-up Smothers wasted no time laying into his opponent Dirty White Boy. The two would face later in a chain match for the world title in front of what Smothers over-optimistically called 'millions of people.'

Despite forgetting his lines a couple of times, the Wild-Eyed one did cut a mostly compelling promo as he promised to get revenge on White Boy for costing him the TV title and $5,000, and for doing something unsavory to his rebel flag.

This last heinous deed was a particularly sore point for Smothers because he took great pride in being a southerner from the south who liked southern things, and if you didn't know that already, the southern wrestler did at least take the time to tell you all about how southern he was in every other sentence.

Take my Chain...

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Ron Wright presents his famous chain to Dirty White Boy
Out at ringside, Dutch Mantell thrust a microphone in the face of a wheelchair-bound Ron Wright, a Tennessee legend who had enjoyed runs in promotions like the NWA and Mid-Atlantic.

With the world champion Dirty White Boy standing by, Wright lifted a big heavy chain from what was literally a plastic bag you'd get from the grocery store.

Telling us all about how he'd kept this chain in great condition ever since he'd been bound to a wheelchair, the retired star made out like this chain was his most prized possession, which makes you wonder why he kept it in a dirty plastic bag.

Anyway, the whole point of this was that Wright was now gifting this chain to Dirty White Boy in a weird and trashy passing-of-the-torch ceremony.

'I Won't Bring Shame to the Chain'

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Just Dirty White Boy with a deadly weapon
Up next, we cut to a pre-recorded promo in which Dirty White Boy pretended to be in New York City even though he was clearly in some random park in Tennessee.

The Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion gave smothers a verbal beat down, promising that he wouldn't 'bring shame to the chain' given to him by Ron Wright, but would instead use the chain to beat Smothers' brains out.

After taking some time to insult all the people of the Smoky Mountain region,  White Boy then proceeded to take the chain and whack it into a bag of flour, a pineapple, a melon and a bottle of beer, all of which were supposed to represent his opponent in some way.

Finally, after a brief catch-up with our announce team, it was on to the match itself.

Tennesee Chain Match for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
SMW Heavyweight Champion Dirty White Boy (w/ Ron Wright) vs. Tracy Smothers

I'll be honest with you, I wasn't expecting much from this, but man was I ever wrong.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Dirty White Boy faced Tracy Smothers in a Strap match
Basically, this was your standard strap match with a really long chain in place of a leather strap, Smothers and Dirty White Boy were absolutely compelling as they engaged in a bloody, old-school brawl.

The challenger took the advantage early on, beating the champion from pillar to post and back again, all to the delight of the Tennesee faithful. Eventually, however, Dirty White Boy regained the upper hand, beating his rival to a bloody pulp and ramming the chain violently into the gash on Smother's forehead.

From there, we got a good, solid championship match that kept the crowd fully invested from start to finish.

After a really entertaining brawl, the match ended the same way that just about every strap match ever ended:

The heel took charge and touched the first three corners, dragging the face behind him. The face, naturally touched all three corners too, then beat his opponent to the fourth 'buckle, winning the match -and the title- in the process.

If that sounds familiar to you, it's because it was the exact same ending that Stone Cold Steve Austin and Savio Vega would eventually use three years later in their match at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog.
Your Winner and NEW SMW Champion: Tracy Smothers

After celebrating with the crowd, the new champion made his way backstage where he was interviewed by Lance Russel, who called the preceding contest the best match he'd seen in his life.

Smothers was inclined to agree and spent the next two minutes rambling on about how it was the greatest match of his life. Before he could say anything else, however, Dirty White Boy showed up, knocked him down with a block of wood and kicked him square in the bollocks.

Personally, I don't know what White Boy was so mad about.

After all, he had a lucrative career in plumbing waiting for him.

Fighting Words

Prior to our three-team, nine-man street fight main event, we got backstage promos from each team.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 93 - The Stud Stable
First up, The Stud Stable of Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden, and Dutch Mantell cut a wild and intense southern heel promo in which they typically vowed to destroy their opponents.

Next, we heard from 'The Enforcer' An Anderson and his partners, Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton, and Ricky Morton's amazing mullet.

Anderson cut a ridiculous promo in which he likened the beatdown he was going to give his opponents to the feeling you get when you go without underwear or get a DUI and crash your car.

Apparently, those two things feel exactly the same as getting beaten up by The Enforcer.

I know Anderson is a legend and one of the greatest solid wrestlers of all time, but this promo was all kinds of stupid.

Finally, Jim Cornette and The Heavenly Bodies cut the most compelling promo of all, insisting that the Smoky Mountain tag team champions had never lost a street fight yet and weren't about to start today.

All the while, their partner, Beautiful Bobby Eaton stood in the background looking like he'd just randomly walked on set and didn't know why he was there.

Three-Team Street Fight
The Stud Stable (Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden & Dutch Mantell) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) & Arn Anderson vs. SMW Tag Team Champions The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Pritchard) & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 93 - Arn Anderson and The Rock 'n' Roll Express
A wild, out-of-control ECW-style garbage brawl which took place a full year before ECW officially became extreme, this looked like it was a lot of fun for the live crowd.

Unfortunately, any enjoyment didn't really translate when you watch this back on video.

With all nine-men competing at once, it was necessary to show the majority of the bout from the hard camera, which made it really hard to focus on anything at all. Instead, you just kind of sat back and looked at the screen as the combatants battered each other with trashcans, straps, and even a tyre.

At one point, Tom Pritchard got busted open. Admittedly, the resulting crimson mask looked pretty impressive, but the actual act of him getting his head caved in was lost amidst the rest of the carnage, severely limiting its impact.

At another point, Bobby Eaton's pants fell down. It was legitimately the most exciting thing in the match.

Eventually, The Stud Stable got taken out before Arn Anderson came in with a fire extinguisher. In the resulting mele, Tom Pritchard scaled the ropes and came down with a flying knee. True to their earlier word, The Heavenly Bodies ensured their run of success in street fights remained unbroken.
Your Winners: The Heavenly Bodies & Bobby Eaton

Afterward, the winning team were interviewed in the back by Brian Matthews, with Jim Cornette promising that The Heavenly Bodies would reign supreme over SMW for a long time to come.







You know, it's interesting. I've been a wrestling fan for over 25 years and yet this is the first time I've ever sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. On the whole, I have to say that I did genuinely enjoy it. 

OK, so it wasn't a classic, but it was far from the worst wrestling show ever produced and gave us some genuinely enjoyable wrestling in the form of Smothers vs. Dirty White Boy and even Nightstalker vs. Tim Horner.

Seriously, who knew Adam Bomb was so good at working a crowd?

Though the main event did disappoint in this fan's eyes, I will say that Bluegrass Brawl '93 did at least get me intrigued enough to check out more SMW shows.




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Thursday, 26 March 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Bash at the Beach 2000

WCW Bash at the Beach - Event poster
July 9, 2000
Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

Throughout his time in World Championship Wrestling, Hulk Hogan's biggest and most game-changing moments had occurred at Bash at the Beach.

No one who was around at the time could ever forget Hogan being revealed as 'The Third Man' and pledging his allegiance to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash at Bash of the Beach 1996.

Two years before that, Hogan had made his in-ring debut for the company at the first-ever Bash at the Beach PPV, dethroning Nature Boy Ric Flair for the world heavyweight championship.

So it was perhaps entirely appropriate that tonight, Hogan would make his last on-screen appearance for WCW at would prove to be the last ever Bash at the Beach.

Talk about things coming full circle.

In 1994, there was no Bash at the Beach and no WCW Hulk Hogan. After tonight, there would once again be no WCW Hogan nor Bash at the Beach.

Here then, is a look at the fitting conclusion to Hogan's WCW run.






The Cat Has NO Time for The Young Dragons

WCW Bash at the Beach - WCW Comissioner Ernest Miller arrives at the venue
Earlier in the evening, WCW Commissioner Ernest 'The Cat' Miller arrived in a limousine and told his lackey to go pass a message on to the Misfits in Action and The Filthy Animals. The lackey did as he was told, leaving The Cat to be confronted by The Jung Dragons.

Kaz Hayashi, (Jimmy) Yang, and Jamie-San (a masked Jamie Noble) stood around like something out of a goofy Kung Fu comedy, with The Cat insisting that he didn't have time to play with them. Undeterred, the Dragons attacked Miller anyway.

Quite why they did this was never explained.

Pyro, camera shots, and a welcome from Tony Schiavone followed, after which he and his colleagues Scott Hudson and Mark Madden got ready to call all the action.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Lieutenant Loco vs. Juventud Guerrera

WCW Bash at the Beach - Juventud Guerrera lifts the cruiserweight title
As per the message from Ernest Miller, the Misfits in Action and Filthy Animals were barred from ringside for this one, but that didn't stop both factions initially coming down to ringside so that Konnan could cut his usual pre-match promo (complete with nerdy white boy hype from Disco Inferno) and so that we could all get a look at Major Gunns perfect backside.

I should also point out that Lieutenant Loco was the champion but Juventud Guerrera came out with the title belt because this was WCW and the company LOVED that gimmick so much.

With all that nonsense out of the way, what we were left with was a perfectly acceptable cruiserweight title match. Both men would have better outings with other opponents, but this was decent enough in its own right.

At various points, both men's stables tried to come out wearing Halloween masks as a means of (poorly) hiding their identity but were seen off by the officials, leaving Chavo to get the win over Juvi.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Lieutenant Loco

Out in the back, Commissioner Miller was seen talking to a beaten-up Yung Dragons, insinuating that he had escaped their clutches and beaten them up.

WCW Bash at the Beach - Jeff Jarrett confronts Comissioner Ernest Miller while Screamin' Mimi sings in the background
The Comish told them that they had done a good job previously, but that his contract with them was over. Because they were foreign, they didn't really understand him, and could only smile at the words 'good job.'

They were interrupted by WCW Champion Jeff Jarrett, who marched into Miller's office accompanied by a woman dressed as the valkyrie Brünnhilde from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. I've no idea what that was about, but I'm assuming it had something to do with the line "it ain't over until the fat lady sings."

Anyway, Double J wanted to know why his scheduled opponent, Hulk Hogan wasn't here yet, but all Miller could say was that the Hulkster would definitely be taking part in tonight's show.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship Handicap Match
WCW Hardcore Champion Big Vito vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley & Ralphus

Before the bell, Big Vito claimed that his original opponent was supposed by his own partner, Johnny The Bull. The Bull, however, was out of commission, so Terry Funk was supposed to be his opponent, but Vito had destroyed him on Nitro, leaving Ernest Miller no choice but to book him against a 'Mystery Opponent.'

WCW Bash at the Beach - Hardcore Champion Big Vito faced Norman Smiley and Ralphus
That opponent turned out to be not much of a mystery at all - it was literally the only other guy left in the hardcore division: Norman Smiley.

Since Vito was in such a good mood, he announced that he'd take on both he and Ralphus in a handicap match. Not that it made much of a difference.

Much as he had done back at Slamboree 2000 in Smiley's match against Funk, the former head of Jericho Personal Security kind of just wandered around aimlessly, occasionally coming in to tap his opponent on the head with a trash can.

At one point, Ralphus was about 20 feet away from the action and still managed to fall on his ass and cut his head open. This isn't one of those times when I exaggerate to get across how fake a move looked. I mean, Ralphus was so far off in the background that he was almost off-camera, and yet he still managed to fall and bleed.

Poor Ralphus, he really was a disaster of a human being.

You have to feel bad for the guy too, because it was he who ended up costing his team the match. Vito sent Smiley away in an elevator then found Ralphus at ringside, beat him up and then propped up a table and rested the big guy against it. He splashed him from the top rope through the wood and this one was, mercifully, over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Big Vito

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Kevin Nash
Out in the back, Big Bad Bill Goldberg arrived with Scott Hall's contract in his pocket.

That contract was on the line in a match against Kevin Nash.

Across the way, Nash cursed his way through a sombre promo with Mean Gene Okerlund in which he reminded Goldberg that he was the only man to ever really beat him.

With a wry Smile, Nash promised to do it again tonight.

David Flair is a Two-Timing Lowlife

Next, we got a video package looking at the feud between Daffney and Miss Hancock. The two had been feuding because David Flair was a two-timing low-life and had been cheating on Daffney with Hancock.

The two would compete in a 'Wedding Gown Match' next.

Wedding Gown Match
Miss Hancock (w/ David Flair) vs. Daffney

WCW Bash at the Beach - Ms Hancock (Stacy Keibler) faced Daffney in a wedding gown match
I never thought I’d say this about anything that involved Stacy Keibler taking her clothes off, but my goodness this was next-level awful.

Dressed in a wedding suit, David Flair got involved very early on. As did referee Slick Johnson. The result was that we got four people chasing each other around the ring and occasionally grabbing each other.

Daffney and Stacy ripped off Flair and Johnson’s pants. Crowbar got involved to help Daffney and took his own pants off.

‘This is pretty funny.’ said Tony Schiavone.

It wasn’t.

It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t entertaining, and it certainly wasn’t sexy, not even when Miss Hancock cost herself the match by saying screw it and putting on a striptease.

The only funny moment was Slick Johnson, Crowbar and David Flair all sat down in the corner of the ring, enjoying the show.
Your Winner: Daffney

Afterward, everybody threw cake at each other and made a big mess. I mean, bigger than this pile of garbage already was.

Out in the back, The Cat wandered through the corridor, voicing his concerns about Hulk Hogan being AWOL.

Oriental music played and The Jung Dragons were seen hiding in the background.

That wasn’t funny either.

Where is Hogan?

As the ring crew tried unsuccessfully to clean up the cakey mess at ringside, the announcers expressed their own concerns about Hogan and gave us the same bit about Hogan’s links with Bash at the Beach that I’d given you at the start of this review.

Eventually, the ring crew said screw or and just flipped the messy ringside mats over.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Perfect Event (‘Perfectshawn’ Shawn Stasiak & ‘The Event’ Chuck Palumbo) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke)

WCW Bash at the Beach - Kronik faced Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo
This match might have a few critics, but this fan is definitely not one of them.

No sir, I enjoyed the heck out of this one.

The longest and best thing on the card so far, the action here was solid. Not spectacular, not groundbreaking, certainly not must-see, but solid, decent and perfectly acceptable as a tag team match.

Best of all, it was one of the very few WCW PPV matches to occur around this time with a clean, no-BS finish.

No outside interference, no weapons (Stasiak brought in the Lex Flexor but didn’t use it), just a solid team match with a good old fashioned finishing move and a three count.

After a lengthy battle, that finishing move came in the form of a powerbomb/Doomsday Device combo courtesy of Kronik, earning Bryan Clarke and Brian Adams the gold.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Kronik

Out in the back, Jeff Jarrett and his opera singing friend (known as Screamin’ Mimi) warned The Cat that he’d cause trouble and ruin the show if Hogan didn’t appear.

Miller was trying his best to sort things out, but once again got attacked by The Jung Dragons.

Admittedly, this was starting to get old, but it was also so ridiculous you couldn’t help but laugh.

‘Positively Kanyon’ vs. Booker T

WCW Bash at the Beach - Booker T faced Kanyon
After turning on Diamond Dallas Page at The Great American Bash, Kanyon was now doing a DDP rip off gimmick, even going so far as to wear a wig to look like Page and come down to the Self Hi-Five theme.

Meanwhile, Booker T had ditched the G.I. Brain thing and was now just good old’ Book.

The two gave us another solid match, albeit one without a clean finish.

After several minutes of compelling action, Jeff Jarrett stayed true to his word and screwed with the show by waffling Booker with a guitar.

Kanyon then hit the weakest looking Diamond Cutter ever and won.
Your Winner: Kanyon

Backstage, Mike Awesome was chatting up Screamin’ Mimi but was interrupted by Pamela Paulshock, who wanted to know about his upcoming US title match.

WCW Bash at the Beach - Pamela Paulshock tries to get an interview with Mike Awesome
Awesome didn’t care about that. He only cared about seducing the fat lady.

The joke here was that Awesome found Mimi way hotter than the smoking hot Paulshock. It would have been way more convincing had he not continually looked down at her boobs throughout the promo.

Speaking of Pamela Paulshock, can I just say how much I enjoyed her performances?

No, it wasn’t to do with the fact that she was an attractive woman (though it helps), but because she was one of the few backstage interviewers to have come along with a genuine personality, like a modern-day Missy Hyatt.

I enjoy her get-in-the-wrestlers-face approach immensely.

Also, there was this line from Madden:

"You know who the fat girl's favourite wrestler is? Shane Douglas...She thinks he's The French Fries."

Fair play, that was probably his only genuinely funny contribution to pro wrestling.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Mike Awesome

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mike Awesome gets set to pounce on Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner’s other ‘Freak’ Shakira had now left the company, leaving just his memorable pairing with Midajah.

She wasn’t the only part of Steiner’s gimmick to have gone. For vague, nefarious heel reasons, The Cat had declared that the Steiner Recliner was now a banned move.

At first, it didn’t seem to matter. Steiner ana Awesome still tore it up a wild and thoroughly entertaining brawl, giving us a match that was even better than their last outing at Spring Stampede 2000.

Towards the finish, however, The Cat came down and, after inadvertently kicking Awesome, insisted that he would strip Steiner of the title if he put Mike in the Recliner.

Stupidly, Scotty did it anyway and lost the title.
Your Winner by erm. Disqualification: Mike Awesome

That was such a dumb finish to an otherwise good match that I had to go on Wikipedia to find out what the actual result was.

Apparently Awesome won by DQ, but whether or not that made him our new champion was unclear as of that moment.

Taking out his frustrations, Steiner murdered Awesome with a wicked T-Bone suplex.

Then, after more time-killing meanderings from the announcers, we went down to the graveyard.

Graveyard Match
The Demon (w/ Aysa) vs. Vampiro

WCW Bash at the Beach - The Demon faced Vampiro in a Graveyard Match
Last seen on PPV way back at Superbrawl 2000, The Demon was no longer simply a Gene Simmons impersonator but was being billed as the personification of Dale Torborg’s dark side.

Whatever he was, he journeyed into a graveyard for a cheesy, cringe-inducing non-match with Vampiro in which the only way to win was to make it out of the graveyard and back to the arena.

Had they played this tongue-in-cheek like Matt Hardy would do years later with the Broken Universe stuff, it could have been glorious.

Had they gone all-in with the violence factor and gritty realism of say, Undertaker and Mankind’s Boiler Room Brawl at Summerslam 1996, it could have been very compelling.

As it was, they did neither.

Instead, the two just kind of staggered around the fake graveyard, hitting each other and occasionally shouting at each other.

At one point, Vampiro threw Demon into an open grave then ran off with Aysa.

Moments later, Demon caught up and found Asya rocking back and forth as though something traumatic had happened.

As he went to check on her, Vampiro pulled him into the lake for a bit of a splash about then ran off again.

Eventually, Demon caught up, but Vamp spat some Muta-like mist in his face then stuffed Mr Torborg in a casket and dumped the casket into the open grave.

With that, Vamp just kind of walked away.

Yuck. This could have been so good. Instead, it was so, so stupid.

Ok then...

A Franchise Guarantee

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mean Gene interviews Franchise Shane Douglas
Kids, if you want to be the guest manager for big bad heel Bill Goldberg at a random house show, then mail it your cable or satellite bill proving that you ordered Bash at the Beach.

Don’t want to do that? Just listen to Shane Douglas’ promo instead.

Speaking to Mean Gene, The Franchise guaranteed to defeat his former partner Buff Bagwell in their upcoming match.

I’m not certain, but this sounded like Douglas’ best attempt at cutting a babyface promo.

Buff Bagwell vs. The Franchise Shane Douglas

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t, because Douglas was definitely still a heel here.

WCW Bash at the Beach - Torrie Wilson seduces Buff Bagwell before turning on him
The story was that each man blamed the other for their failings as a tag team. The announcers sold this as though Buff and Shane were at Road Warrior or Steiner Brother levels of experience when in reality they’d probably tagged together for no more than a month tops.

Like so many of the matches World Championship Wrestling presented around this time, this was a good wrestling match ruined by a convoluted finish.

Bagwell and Douglas battler back and forth in an intense brawl until Torrie Wilson strutted to ringside with her boobs practically hanging out of her top.

At first, she slapped Douglas, but that was just a ploy to gain the trust of Buff, who she then kicked squarely in the bollocks.

Revealing her true colours, Torrie helped Shane keep his word by beating Buff Daddy.
Your Winner: Shane Douglas

Post-match, Wilson and Douglas made out.

Nobody wanted to see that.

The Chosen One is Ready for The Hulkster

Backstage, Hollywood Hulk Hogan was seen walking, ready to face Jeff Jarrett.

Elsewhere in the arena, Jeff insinuated to ‘Jurassic Slap Ass’ Mean Gene Okerlund that Hogan had made a lot of enemies during his WCW tenure and this would somehow come into play tonight.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan

WCW Bash at the Beach - Hollywood Hogan had his last on-screen WCW appearanceThough I don’t really remember them, apparently all kinds of rumours were floating about around this time that something dodgy would go down involving Hogan and Jarrett.

If you hadn’t already caught wind that something was up, the fact that a Hulk Hogan world title match was plonked at a place in the card with an hour left to go should have given you a clue.

We even got Michael Buffer calling this our ‘main event of the evening.'

Buffer called out Jarrett first. The champion took forever to come out and, when he did so, he was following behind Vince Russo.

Hogan came out next, by which time Jarrett had walked back up the ramp. Taking to the microphone, Hogan demanded that The Chosen One get in the ring so that he could powerbomb him in tribute to his buddy, Kevin Nash.

Jarrett did so, but instead of locking up with Hollywood, simply lay down for him.

Yep, this was like the Fingerpoke of Doom all over again, except, you know, without the actual finger poke.

Looking confused and bewildered, Hogan took to the microphone and uttered the last words he would ever utter on WCW TV:

‘Russo, is this your deal? You know, this is why this company is in the damn shape it’s in, because of bulls**t like this.’

Looking dejected, Hogan put his foot on Jarrett and Slick Johnson counted the three.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan

WCW Bash at the Beach - Jeff Jarrett lay down for Hulk Hogan in the infamous worked shoot
That was it. A six-year run was over. From Bash at the Beach 1994 to Bash at the  Beach 2000, Hulk Hogan’s WCW career had come full circle.

The last shot of him on WCW TV was of him waking backstage while some kids carried the title belt and Vampiro walked into the arena, ignoring Hogan entirely.

All the while, the announcers fumbled over themselves trying to explain that this wasn’t how the match was supposed to go down without actually coming out and saying ‘you know it’s all fake, right?’

The irony was that this whole thing actually was planned.

The idea was that he would return later in the year claiming to be the real champion and go up against whoever the heel champion happened to be at the time.

That, of course, would never happen, and we’d have Vince Russo‘ upcoming promo to thank for it.

But first, more Vampiro.

The Dark Circle Has Been Completed

WCW Bash at the Beach - Vampiro
Vampiro came to the ring, winning his graveyard match in the process, and cut a spooky promo about how ‘The Dark Circle’ had been completed.

No, I’m not sure what that meant either.

The fans chanted for Sting, but Vamp claimed that, just like Dale Torborg, Sting was now dead.

Sting himself wasn’t so sure of that.

Taking a play directly from The Undertaker’s book, Sting had several Druid-like creatures wearing Sting masks and hoods wheel a coffin down to ringside.

When the coffin opened, somebody who clearly wasn’t Sting but who the announcers lied and told us was Sting popped out of it.

The lights went dark, the opening riff of Metallica’s Seek & Destroy played and was quickly replaced by Generic Creepy Music 124.

When the lights came back on, Vamp was having a nap in the coffin.

Goldberg Wants to Destroy The Outsiders

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mean Gene interviews Bill Goldberg
Two years after Starrcade 1998, Bill Goldberg finally looked to get revenge on Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the outcome of his match with Nash on that show.

Tonight, he promised to beat Nash from pillar to post and then destroy Scott Hall’s contract right in front of him.

The funny thing was, Scott Hall hadn't appeared on WCW TV since that February’s Superbrawl 2000 show and had already left the company months ago following an incident on the company’s March European tour.

Fun fact - I was at one of the shows on that tour.

Vince Russo Kills Hulk Hogan’s Career

Here’s that promo in full:

"Three weeks ago, I left WCW and quite frankly I didn’t know if I was gonna come back. And the reason I didn’t know if I was gonna come back or not is because, from day one that I’ve been in WCW, I’ve done nothing, nothing, but deal with the bulls**t of the politics behind that curtain. 

"The fact of the matter is I’ve got a wife, I’ve got three kids at home and frankly, the fact of the matter is I don’t need this s**t. 

"But let me tell you the reason why I did come back. I came back for every one of the guys in this locker room that week in and week out busts their ass for WCW. I came back for the Booker Ts. I came back for every single guy in MIA. I came back for the Animals, I came back for Jarrett. I came back for the guys behind that curtain who give a s**t about this company. And let me tell you who doesn’t give a shit about this company that god damned politician Hulk Hogan. Because let me tell you people what happened out here in this ring tonight. 



"All day long I’m playing politics with Hulk Hogan because Hulk Hogan tonight wants to play his creative control card and to Hulk Hogan that meant that tonight in the middle of this ring, when he knew it was bulls**t, he beats Jeff Jarrett. Well, guess what- Hogan got his wish, Hogan got his belt and he went the hell home. And I promise everybody else or else I’ll go in the god damn grave you will never see that piece of s**t again.

"But I also... I sat out there in the people just like you and I know you paid good money to be here tonight and nobody is gonna be ripped off here tonight. 

"So Hulk Hogan now has the WCW belt. And Hulk let’s refer to it as the Hulk Hogan memorial belt cause from here on in that belt don’t mean s**t. Because there will be a new WCW belt and as far I’m concerned that belt still belongs to the one guy that busts his ass week in and week out in the middle of this ring and you people can love him and hate him and he don’t screw anybody back there and that’s Jeff Jarrett. 

"Now hold on a minute- Jeff Jarrett is still the official WCW champion but he will defend in this ring tonight. And he will defend that title against the son of a bitch back there who for fourteen years has been busting his ass for WCW and can’t get a god damn break because of the Hulk Hogans and I’m talking about Booker T. Booker T and Jeff Jarrett are the two reasons why I’m in this damn stinkin' business to begin with. So tonight in this ring for the WCW Title two deserving guys Jarrett and Booker will compete for the WCW belt and they’ll tear this god damned house down. And Hogan you big bald son of a bitch- KISS MY ASS!"

The most noticeable thing about this passionate, profanity-laden speech from Russo is that it was genuinely one of the best promos to feature on WCW programming in ages.

Personally, I could have done without all the swearing, but if wrestlers back then -or even now- could have delivered a promo with even a tenth of that intensity and believability, it would have made for awesome viewing.

If you couldn’t be bothered watching the video, the other noteworthy thing was that Russo booked Jarrett vs. Booker T for tonight.

Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg
Scott Hall’s Contract on the Line

WCW Bash at the Beach - Kevin Nash faced Goldberg
It occurs to me that after what went down with Hogan, Nash was now the only member of the original nWo still standing in WCW.

As he made his way from the locker room, Big Sexy stopped to ask one-time nWo member Scott Steiner is he’d watch his back.

Steiner refused, being too busy getting his freak on with Midajah, but then he and his woman came out to ringside a few minutes into the match.

Honestly, you could smell the heel turn a mile away.

The actual Nash/Goldberg action wasn’t half bad and was more or less exactly what you’d expect from the pair of them.

Predictably, however, Steiner turned on his long-time friend. Goldberg hit a spear and a Jackhammer, and Scott Hall’s WCW career was officially over months after he’d already left the company.
Your Winner: Goldberg

I say that, but when you think about it, this was a smart way to actually explain why we’d never see Hall again on WCW TV rather than having him do that mysterious thing that so many wrestlers before him had done and just randomly disappearing, never to be mentioned again.

Booker T Will Take His Opportunity

Backstage, Booker T claimed that he didn’t really know what was going on, but would take his opportunity when he could get it and walk out with the gold tonight.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T

WCW Bash at the Beach - Booker T beat Jeff Jarrett to win his first WCW title
Yes, Jeff was still technically the champion because Russo had declared the result of the earlier debacle to be null and void.

It was interesting to note the number of empty seats on the hard camera side of the ring by this point. Clearly, plenty of people had just about had enough of WCW's nonsense and gone home. A shame, really, because they missed a really good main event.

Sure, it began with something of an ominous cloud hanging over it, a certain sense of "this is only happening because something controversial went down earlier," but Jarrett and Booker worked hard to move past that and give us the best match of the night by a thousand miles.

It was dramatic, it was captivating, and even though it had an unnecessary ref bump, it was everything you'd want from a high profile title match.

In the end, Jarrett came off the top with the guitar, but Booker blocked it and hit a Book End. Slick Johnson ran in because Billy Silverman had been KO'd in the corner, and three seconds later we had the best 'new world champion' moment any company had produced since Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 14.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Booker T

I mean seriously, this was such a feel-good moment. The remaining crowd all raised the roof for Booker, the champ himself was overwhelmed with emotion and almost cried, and your writer, watching at home, got goosebumps.

Whatever else had happened at Bash at the Beach 2000, that's how you close a show - with a deserving champion standing tall after a tremendous, tremendous effort.






Speaking of tremendous effort, that's mostly what WCW had produced here. Not that it was a flawless show. It was more like A+ for effort, C+ for execution. For all the decent wrestling, for all the moments like Booker T winning the title and that incredible Vince Russo promo, there were dumb Graveyard matches, too many run-ins, and David Flair dropping his pants.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was the last ever Bash at the Beach show, and for better or worse, the world of professional wrestling would never forget it.





For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WCW Bash at the Beach reviews
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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.