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, 23 April 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW New Blood Rising 2000

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Event poster
August 13, 2000
Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia.

On April 10th, 2000, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff returned to World Championship Wrestling and immediately set about instigating a reboot of the entire company.

Storylines were scrapped, all the titles were declared vacant, and war was declared on the wrestlers who had been hogging WCW's main event scene for the last couple of years.

Stars like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sting, Lex Luger, Diamond Dallas Page and Ric Flair were all supposed to be the heels, the guys you'd want to see getting their asses kicked by a gang of young and hungry performers called The New Blood.

Like many things in WCW, it didn't work. Fans routinely cheered for The Millionaire's Club (Hogan et al.) and rooted for them to kick some New Blood ass.

Realizing they'd got it wrong, the WCW brain trust let the whole thing drizzle out in about a month or two.







So, totally ignoring the fact that The New Blood had already risen, peaked, and fallen again, the company looked to replace their now-defunct Road Wild brand with this, New Blood Rising 2000.

Let's head down to Canada and relive what happened, shall we?

Let’s Get Down to Business

We began New Blood Rising with the obligatory video package, this one focussing on the main event rivalry between WCW Champion Booker T and the man he beat for that title, Jeff Jarrett.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, and Mark Madden called the event
This feud could be summed up thus:

Booker T cut a promo in which he said ‘let’s get down to business,’ and talked seriously about being a legitimate champion who would never relinquish the belt to Double J.

In response, Jarrett just said the word ‘slapnuts’ a lot and hit a bunch of people with guitars.

We then went live to the arena for the first WCW PPV to emanate from Canada since the previous year’s WCW Mayhem.

Tony Schiavone then welcomed us to the show with his usual hyperbolic introduction before sending to the ring for our opening contest.

Fair’s fair, you’d never guess that this was a company less than a year away from folding.

Everything about the presentation suggested that this was a big deal.

At least it did until Tank Abbott came down and started dancing with Three Count.

Six-Man Ladder Match
3 Count (‘Sugar’ Shane Helms, Evan Karagious, and Shannon Moore w/ Tank Abbott) vs. The Jung Dragons

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Tank Abbott dances with Three Count
It got worse. Abbott wore a 3 Count t-shirt with the nipples cut out. There he stood, nipples out, dancing and cheering on 3 Count as they engaged in a match that could have been so much better without the stipulation.

Had they just kept this as a six-man cruiserweight match, we might have had a fast-paced, high-flying outing which, though it may not have been a classic, would have proved to be a suitable opener.

Alas, this was WCW, so they had to ruin things by making it a gimmick match.

That gimmick was that 3 Count’s gold record was hanging above the ring along with a contract. If 3 Count got the contract, it was business as usual for WCW’s resident boy band.

If The Jung Dragons got it, however, then Shane Helms, Shannon Moore, and Evan Karagious could never sing again.

The problem here wasn’t so much that the gimmick was silly (though it was), it was that the two inexperienced teams clearly weren’t ready to structure this kind of match.

Despite a few good spots, the whole thing came off as a sloppy, uncoordinated mess.

At various points, members of The Jung Dragons would scale the top of the ladder, remember that they weren’t supposed to win, and then just kind of stand there, obviously waiting for a member of 3 Count to get into position and knock them off the ladder.

Eventually, 3 Count retrieved the contract and, since they already had the gold record after Abbott stole it from the Dragons, that meant they won the match.

This was not good at all.
Your Winners: The Jung Dragons

Afterwards, Tank Abbott and his exposed nipples ran off with 3 Count’s contract and gold record, leaving the three men confused.

Word to Yo’ Mutha

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Tank Abbott dances with Three Count
Out in the back, The Filthy Animals pleaded with Commissioner Ernest Miller to let them referee tonight’s upcoming tag team title match.

In exchange, the animals promised that they could guarantee Miller won his match with The Great Muta tonight.

The Cat agreed and fist-bumped every member of the group besides Disco Inferno, who was ordered to leave after dropping a cringe-worthy ‘word to yo mutha’ on the Commissioner.

The Great Muta vs. Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller

The Great Muta, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

Ernest Miller, not so much.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - The Great Muta before his match with Ernest 'The Cat' MillerThough it was never really explained why the two were fighting, the announcers did vaguely insinuate that it had something to do with Muta being part of Vampiro’s Dark Carnival.

Whatever the reason, the actual match wasn’t terrible, and that’s about the best thing that could be said about it.

It was the sort of thing that might be used to kill a few minutes on Nitro. That’s not to say it was bad, but let’s put it this way, if you used it as a bathroom break then you weren’t going to miss anything.

Toward the end, Tygress came out to keep The Filthy Animal’s promise by jumping off the top rope and waving a steel chair in the vicinity of Muta’s head.

The Japanese legend kicked out of the subsequent pin attempt, but Miller won anyway a few moments later.

Blah.
Your Winner: Ernest Miller

Backstage, Buff Bagwell went looking for his mum, who Schiavone told us would be up for grabs tonight in a ‘Judy Bagwell on a Pole’ match.

Yep.

Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match
Positively Kanyon vs. Buff Bagwell

Ok, let’s do this.

If Kanyon wins, he gets Judy Bagwell as his valet.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Buff Bagwell's mum featured in a Judy Bagwell on a pole match
Still doing his best DDP impression after turning on Page back at The Great American Bash 2000, Kanyon drove a forklift to the ring with Momma Bagwell tied to it.

Taking to the microphone, Kanyon insisted that he’d searched the whole of Canada for a pole big enough to hold Buff’s mum but couldn’t find one.

As such, he declared that this was officially now a ‘Judy Bagwell on a Forklift’ match.

Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t anything special.

Much like the previous Muta/Miller bout, there was nothing particularly offensive about Bagwell/Kanyon. It’s just that nothing interesting happened.

The most exciting moment came near the finish when former World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette came out to try and help Kanyon win.

He failed, of course.

Bagwell got a double Buff Blockbuster on both men, winning the match and, um, his mom.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Post-match, Buff rescued his mother from the forklift truck and hugged her while his theme song sang about how sexy he was.

Only in a pro wrestling review will you read a sentence like that, ladies and gentlemen.

Speaking of hugs, Kanyon embraced Arquette after the match but then turned on him with a Kanyon (Diamond) Cutter.

Lance Storm: A Big F’N Deal

Out in the back, members of the Canadian police force and ‘secret service’ were shown flanking a huge limousine.

This was the kind of entrance you usually saw for Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan, but nope, it was just Lance Storm and his many titles.

After some time-killing banter from the announcers, it was on to the next match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Four-Corners Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke) vs. The Misfits in Action (General Rection & Corporal Cajun) vs. Mark Jindrack and Sean O’Haire vs. The Perfect Event (Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo)

Special referees: Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Disco Inferno & Tygress

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Buff Bagwell's mum featured in a Judy Bagwell on a pole match
Rey Mysterio Jr. And Juventud Guerrera came down wearing the tag team title belts. They weren’t the champions, they just came down wearing the titles because WCW did this sort of thing ALL THE TIME and yet nobody ever talks about.

Seriously, as I write this, I’ve covered every WCW PPV from January 1996 to August 2000 and I’ve lost count of the number of matches I’ve seen in which a guy who isn’t the champion will come out wearing the belt while the actual champion comes out acting like he doesn’t care that somebody else has his title.

The announcers never mention it. There’s no explanation for it in any pre-match video. It just kind of happens and we’re all just expected to go with it because WCW that’s why.

Rant aside, The Filthy Animals were out here to referee. Yes, all of them.

Well, most of them. Konnan was out to do commentary and set about burying everybody the minute he got a headset on.

Seriously, this wasn’t him playing the heel, this was him being a d**k.

The minute Sean O’ Haire and Mark Jindrack came out, he lay into them for being ‘terrible’ and lacking charisma. It didn’t come off as his character trying to put his own team over at the youngster’s expense, it came over as Charles Ashenoff not giving a damn and just burying the roster.

Before the bell, Disco Inferno told the combatants that he would be the in-ring official while his Filthy Animals colleagues would be the outside officials.

In fairness, Disco’s pre-match mic work was the first entertaining thing on the show.

The match itself was the second.

The best contest on the show so far, this was a well put together match that managed to avoid turning into the kind of overcrowded clusterfunk that bouts with this many people descend into it.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Chuck Palumbo and Brian Adams
Eventually, it became apparent that The Filthy Animals were conspiring to have Jindrack and O’Haire win, not because they were in cahoots, but because the Animals got a shot at the titles the following night and thought the newcomers would be the easiest to beat.

Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t to be.

The most popular team in the match, Kronik dominated the closing moments and got the win thanks to Chavo Guerrero.

After Disco made one too many slow-counts, Chavo ran in, decked the disco-dancing fool and stole his referees' shirt in order to make the count.

I don’t know about you, but I love that the wrestling logic which dictates that the only thing you need in order to be an officially recognised referee for a match is the right shirt.

Also, at one point, Vampiro and Muta ran in and attacked Kronik. This would be important later.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Kronik

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews Jeff Jarrett
Out in the back, Jeff Jarrett was upset that Pamela Paulshock was interviewing him rather than Mean Gene Okerlund.

Jarrett didn’t like Okerlund or anything, he just liked referring to him as a ‘Jurassic Slap Ass’ and seemed a bit cross that he wouldn’t get to do so.

Responding to Paulshock’s question about tonight’s main event, Jarrett gave the same promo he always gave in this era:

‘I’m going to win the match because I’m the chosen one and I have all the stroke, slappy slap ass slapnuts.’

Strap Match
The Franchise Shane Douglas (w/ Torrie Wilson) vs. Billy Kidman

Sadly, there was no yapapi involved in this strap match. There was Torrie Wilson, however, which is probably better.

The future WWE Hall of Famer had joined forces with Shane Douglas at last month’s Bash at the Beach, raising the ire of her former lover Billy Kidman.

As a result, Kidman had returned to he babyface locker room after his ill-advised heel run saw him get his ass handed to him by Hulk Hogan.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Shane Douglas and Torrie WilsonTonight, the two men would compete in a strap match in which you won by pinning your opponent, making the whole stipulation -like almost everything in WCW at this time- pointless and stupid.

Before the bell, The Franchise cut a compelling promo in which he mocked Kidman for not being man enough to keep Torrie satisfied.

As a character, Douglas was on form, and his promo proved to be 500 times more enjoyable than anything he and Kidman did in the ring.

Nothing either man did looked like it was effective and the crowd didn’t care about any of it.

After a few minutes of nothing, Kidman won and the crowd continued not to care.
Your Winner: Kidman

In fact, they only cared when Kidman took the strap and gave Torrie a spanking, but then they stopped caring again when The Franchise attacked and tried to hang his rival in the corner.

Eventually, Big Vito ran to the rescue and proved to be the most over person in the whole thing.

Vito was attacked by Reno (remember him? Me neither) but saw him off too.

Meanwhile, Booker T was shown arriving at the arena and unloading his bag out of his car. This wasn’t very exciting, but it’s a good job the camera crew were there to film it otherwise we would’ve missed Jeff Jarrett sneak attacking the champion.

Back in the arena, this happened...

Mud Rip the Clothes Off Match
Major Gunns vs. Miss Hancock

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 - Major Gunns faced Ms Hancock in a "rip off your clothes and jump in the mud" match
During this era, both major promotions would put the female members of their roster in ‘wrestling matches’ which were little more than thinly-disguised efforts to show as much female flesh as they could get away with and please the excitable men in the audience.

It rarely worked.

Though the women themselves may have been stunners, watching them frolic around in their knickers was usually more embarrassing than sexy.

This match was a rare exception.

Both Major Gunns and Miss Hancock were gorgeous women and made sure that they flaunted it as they worked together to put on a neat little wrestling match the likes of which you might expect to see at a pro wrestling school at the end of the first month’s training.

That’s not a criticism either. Neither woman was a full-time wrestler, and yet nothing they did in the ring looked terrible.

Hancock even bust out an impressive handspring-elbow which was even better than the one legendary veteran The Great Muta had performed earlier.

They did all this while making sure we all got a good glimpse of their bums as often as possible.

It was better to focus on this rather than the rules of the match because, unsurprisingly, they didn’t make sense.

Both girls wore camouflage and at various points would rip items of clothing off one another as in your standard ‘strip-u-nekki’ match.

The announcers even told us that the girls were supposed to strip off the camouflaged items.

But that wasn’t how you won the match. You won the match by pinfall, so who knows what the kayfabe logic behind the stripping actually was.

There was also a mud bath and, inevitably, both girls ended up in it.

There, Miss Hancock looked to have the match won, but then doubled over in pain, allowing Gunns to roll her up for the three count.
Your Winner: Major Gunns

Afterwards, everybody, including Gunns, acted really concerned about Miss Hancock, who fell over clutching her stomach.

The announcers also did that horrible thing of trying to convince us that this wasn’t ‘real’ without actually coming out and yelling ‘BUT EVERYTHING ELSE YOU’VE SEEN IS A WORK!!’

They even dropped the Miss Hancock gimmick and started calling her Stacy Kiebler as she was wheeled off on a stretcher.

Get it? It wasn’t Miss Hancock going to the hospital, it was Stacy Kiebler because this was REAL!

Later, this would turn out to be the start of a pregnancy angle that nobody wanted and hardly anybody remembers.

Sting’s Nine Lives Have Run Out

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Pamela Paulshock interviews Vampiro and The Dark Carnival
Back at Bash at the Beach 2000, Vampiro had beaten The Demon in a ridiculous graveyard match.

Taking the old adage that ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ literally, the Gene Simmons impersonator had enlisted in Vampiro’s Dark Carnival, a faction which also included an out-of-shape Great Muta.

Backstage, Pamela Paulshock reminded Vampiro that no matter what he did to Sting, the WCW Icon always bounces back.

Tonight, Vamp’ insisted that Sting’s ‘nine lives’ had run out and that Demon would beat him tonight.

The Demon vs. Sting

This wasn’t even a match. Sting descended from the rafters like he used to do in 1997 and beat his opponent in about 30 seconds.

Demon didn’t even get an offensive move in.
Your Winner: Sting

Afterwards, Vamp and Muta came out to attack Sting, but Kronik came out to the rescue.

Seeking revenge from earlier, Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke battered Vamp and Muta while Sting just casually walked off and Demon stood around looking lost.

The tag champs challenged The Dark Carnival to a match later on in the show and even offered to put their tag titles on the line.

Though we never heard from Vamp or Muta, the announcers told us the match was official.

World Championship Wrestling United States Canadian Heavyweight Championship
WCW Canadian Champion Lance Storm vs. Mike Awesome

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Lance Storm and all his titles
Mike Awesome was amazing and it’s a crime that WCW took a giant crap on his career towards the end.

Tonight, however, he was still pretty much the same Mike Awesome we knew ana loved as he went up against Canadian Hero Lance Storm.

Storm, who got the full Goldberg entrance with security and all, came to the ring with his three titles and awesome theme music.

He then proceeded to cut a typically dry promo in which he claimed that he was happy to finally be wrestling in front of the great Canadian fans rather than those stupid, terrible Americans.

Naturally, Lance was insanely over here. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this was probably the most over he would ever be in his career.

You know who else was over?

Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. The crowd chanted The Hitman’s name after the Canadian Champion announced that he had recruited a Canadian legend to serve as special referee and ensure that the ‘Canadian rule book’ was adhered to.

You could literally hear the crowd becoming deflated when that Canadian legend turned out not to be Bret Hart but Jacques Rougeau.

Last seen on PPV back at Wrestlemania 14, Rougeau stood by as both champ and challenger entered into a spirited performance.

The two ECW alumni delivered a crisp, solid wrestling match with some seriously high-impact moves.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Bret Hart appeared on the showIt’s a testament to how good Mike Awesome was that he blatantly slipped off the top rope at one point but landed on his feet, played it cool and delivered a hard clothesline as though that had been the plan all along.

Awesome eventually won the match thanks to a huge sit down powerbomb, but Rougeau declared that Canadian rules required a five-count.

Awesome then won again, this time by making the champion submit with a Dragon sleeper but again the former Mountie got involved, insisting that titles couldn’t change hands on a submission in Canada.

Undeterred, Awesome beat Storm a third time and pinned him for the five count, only for Jacques to make it a Texas death match in which the champion had til the count of ten to get up after being pinned.

Had this taken place on US soil it would have no doubt infuriated the live crowd, but the Canadians loved it and that only served to make it even more entertaining.

Eventually, both men crashed through a table and Jacques declared that the first man to his feet would be the winner.

Naturally, he decked the challenger to prevent him from getting up, allowing Lance Storm to retain his title.

If that sounds overbooked, it was to an extent, but it was so much fun I’ll let it slide.

By far the best thing on the card so far by a thousand miles.
Your Winner and Still WCW Canadian Champion: Lance Storm

Afterwards, Bret Hart’s music hit and the one Canadian hero everyone really wanted to see made his way to ring.

Known for having a bee in his bonnet about dodgy officiating, it looked as though The Hitman would call out his fellow countrymen for their shenanigans, but instead, he smiled and gave them both a big hug.

Nash is Going Over Steiner

Hey, you know who we haven’t seen enough of tonight? Vampiro.

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Pamela Paulshock interviews Kevin Nash
Not to worry. Kids, if you send in a copy of your cable bill showing that you purchased New Blood Rising, WCW would send you a free Vampiro t-shirt.

Cool, right?

Speaking of which, former Big Daddy Cool Kevin Nash was standing by backstage with Pamela Paulshock.

Pamela noted that Goldberg hadn’t yet arrived for his scheduled three-way dance with Nash and Scott Steiner, but Big Sexy didn’t care.

In a short but decent promo, Nash claimed that he was only in pro wrestling for the money and the title and that he would beat Steiner anyway tonight to get a title shot.

Actually, he didn’t say he’d beat him, he said he was ‘going over’ him because according to WCW logic there was nothing cooler than using insider terms on live TV.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke) vs. The Dark Carnival (Vampiro & The Great Muta)

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Kronik
Oh look, it’s Vampiro and Great Muta again. Haven’t seen them for a while.

Also, I just realised that The Dark Carnival’s theme music was the ICP song Take it from the WCW Mayhem album.

Like many WCW bouts from this time, the best you could probably say about this one is that it was OK.

Like, there was nothing particularly bad about it, but at the same time it was kinda meh and, after the riotous entertainment of Storm/Awesome, the crowd certainly didn’t care.

Towards the end, Muta accidentally sprayed referee Mickie Jay with the green mist, giving Harris Brothers the chance to run to the ring and beat up Kronik while the referee sold the powder to the eye like he’d just been shot.

Muta then hit a moonsault, Mickie counted to three, and we had new champions.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: The Dark Carnival

Backstage, Booker T told Pamela Paulshock that Jeff Jarrett would have to kill him if he wanted his title.

This was followed by a brief video package for our upcoming three-way.

Three-Way Match
Kevin Nash vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Goldberg

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Scott Steiner gets ready to drop an elbow on Goldberg
If they’d just left this alone as a straight forward singles match between the two former nWo members, it would have been a solid big man match.

However, this was WCW, so they couldn’t help but mess things up by throwing some
Goldberg nonsense in there.

The match was billed as a triple threat, but Goldberg didn’t come out when he was announced, leaving Steiner and Nash to go at it.

Eventually, Big Bill arrived, sporting bandaged ribs ala DDP after a kayfabe motorcycle accident.

We then got a few minutes of the advertised three-way before Goldberg decided that he didn’t want to be powerbombed by Big Sexy and ‘went off script’ by walking back.

He was confronted by Vince Russo, who demanded the former champion get back in the ring. Instead; Bill yelled ‘F**k you!’ Very loudly at Russo and it’s amazing that the WWE Network hasn’t censored that out.

Back in the ring, Steiner and Nash continued to brawl, giving us a decent effort that Big Sexy eventually won with the powerbomb.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash

After a video package for the Booker T/Jeff Jarrett match, it was onto our main event.

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

WCW New Blood Rising 2000 -  Booker T defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Jarrett
Though it was nowhere near to main event standards, this was otherwise a decent match.

It would have been even better if Booker T had remembered how to sell.

After slamming the champion’s leg in a car door earlier in the show, Jarrett spent the first two-thirds of the match working the same body part.

Booker was fine with this when he was on the defence? But as soon as he went on the attack, it was as though his leg made an instant, miraculous recovery.

It was no noticeable and so stupid that it really took you out of the match, so much so that it was hard to care when the final third broke down into multiple red bumps and overbooking.

Booker and his fully healed legs won with the Book End, but the crowd were apparently so fed up that they started hurling garbage into the ring.
Your Winner and Still WCW Champion: Booker T

Afterwards, the champ suddenly remembered his leg was supposed to hurt and started staggering off.







For some reason, I had high hopes for New Blood Rising.

Alas, all such hopes were buried under big, dirty sheets of mediocrity.

Check out the stupidly fun Lance Storm/Mike Awesome stuff, but otherwise, avoid this one.





For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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    Thursday, 16 April 2020

    EVENT REVIEW: Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985)

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - title graphic
    May 10, 1985 (aired May 11, 1985)
    Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

    Say what you will about Wrestlemania 36, there's one thing we can all probably agree on:

    The Firefly Fun House match was batsh*t crazy.

    Full of references to wrestling's past, the John Cena/Bray Wyatt was a montage of retro mayhem from start to finish.

    In between the Ruthless Aggression callbacks and that bizarre nod to the nWo, one scene, in particular, cast our stars in the full-on eighties glory of one Saturday Night's Main Event.

    And if that isn't a good enough reason to dive back to 1985 and review the first-ever edition of the WWF's occasional NBC special, I don't know what is.







    Let's get to it.

    Welcome to Saturday Night's Main Event

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Cyndi Lauper and Wendi RichterWe began tonight's show with words from the biggest stars of the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection.

    First, Wendi Richter received a pep talk from her manager, Cyndi Lauper. That wily ring veteran Lauper encouraged the women's champion to avoid getting her hair pulled and 'keep [her] trunk strong.' in her match tonight with The Fabulous Moolah.

    Then, Hulk Hogan let us know that Mr T would be in his corner for his upcoming match with Bob Orton Jr.

    This was followed by a delightful eighties intro, complete with shots of the company's biggest stars hitting their best moves while the fantastic theme song Obsession by Animotion played on.


    Our announcers tonight were the incomparable duo of Vince McMahon and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura.

    While McMahon was pumped for Hogan's title defence against Orton, Ventura seemed more excited about the six man tag team match that was about to take place.

    The U.S Express are Fired Up

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Mean Gene interviews Ricky Steamboat and The Midnight Express
    Before we got to the action, Mean Gene Okerlund stood by for an interview with Barry Windham, Mike Rotunda and Ricky Steamboat.

    Windham was upset that their match tonight wasn't for the tag team titles while Captain Lou warned the heel manager Classie Freddie Blassie to stay out of his way.

    As old-school eighties promos went, this was good stuff.

    Six-Man Tag Team Match
    George 'The Animal' Steel and WWF Tag Team Champions The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff (w/ Classie Freddie Blassie) vs. Ricky Steamboat and The U.S Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotunda)

    Thank goodness for the talent of the babyfaces or this match would have been a disaster.

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - The Iron Sheik and Nikoali Volkoff teamed with George Steele in the opening match
    People scolded the decision to put The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in a match at the ill-fated Heroes of Wrestling PPV because they were in such poor shape then, but here, 14 years earlier, they honestly weren't much better.

    At one point, Ricky Steamboat hit both men with a pair of arm drags and I'd be surprised if either man went more than a millimetre off the floor.

    Still, Steamboat, Windham, and Rotunda made up for it with their talent and popularity.

    After a short but serviceable match, Volkoff and Sheik abandoned their partner George Steel (who was entirely miscast as a heel), leaving him to get rolled up by Windham and pinned.
    Your Winners: The U.S Express and Ricky Steamboat

    Post-match, Sheik and Volkoff attacked Steele, but he fought back and saw them off before seeking solace in the embrace of his former manager, Lou Albano, effectively turning face again.

    As the dastardly heels made their way backstage, they were stopped by Gene Okerlund who demanded an explanation.

    Blassie declared that Steele hadn't made the tag when he was supposed to because -insult of all insults- he was a fruitcake.

    Harsh, Blassie, way harsh.

    Piper's Pit

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Paul Orndorff was a guest on Piper's Pit
    Up next, we returned to the ring were "two of the baddest dudes in the World Wrestling Federation" (Vince's words), Rowdy Roddy Piper and Cowboy Bob Orton were standing by an episode of Piper's Pit.

    Their guest this evening was Piper's Wrestlemania 1 tag team partner, Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff. The two got together to discuss their big 'Mania loss to Mr T. & Hulk Hogan. Of course, I say discuss, what I really mean is that Piper called Orndorff a loser and blamed him for the big loss.

    Naturally, Mr. Wonderful attacked, turning babyface in the process, but was outnumbered and eventually overwhelmed by Piper and Orton.

    Not all of Rowdy Roddy's Piper's Pit segments have aged well, but this was good stuff, especially when Orndorff responded to Piper's invitation to sit down by saying "ladies first," getting a huge pop from the live crowd.

    This is For My Mother Brother

    With that out of the way, Piper and Orton stayed in the ring, waiting for Orton's big title shot against The Hulkster. Before he got to the ring, Hogan gave an interview to Mean Gene. With Mother's Day coming up, Hogan dedicated his match to his Mother Brother though I assume he meant, you know, his mother, brother.

    World Wrestling Federation Championship
    WWF Champion Hulk Hogan (w/ Mr. T) vs. Ace Cowboy Bob Orton

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Mr T was in Hulk Hogan's corner for a match against Bob Orton
    The match itself was your typical Hulk Hogan 1980s title defence with most of the actual excitement turned down a few notches.

    Hogan attacked Orton's cast-covered arm for a while, the Cowboy cheated his way to an advantage and beat up on the champion, then Hogan blocked a superplex attempt, pushed Orton to the ma, legdropped him and pinned him. It wasn't much, but it was fairly inoffensive at least.
    Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

    Afterwards, the heels attacked the faces, but  Paul Orndorff came to the rescue, cementing his face turn.

    Cyndi Lauper is Banned From Ringside

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Mean Gene interviews the old Fabulous Moolah
    Before our big women's title match, challenger The Fabulous Moolah told Mean Gene that due to Cyndi Lauper constantly getting involved in Wendi Richter's matches, WWF officials had banned the singer from ringside. What's more, Moolah had the official paperwork to prove it.

    Offering a response, Cyndi wanted to remind us about Moolah interfering in Richter's match  at "Wrestling Mania." She was, of course, talking about her beating Leilani Kai for the title at Wrestlemania 1.

    World Wrestling Federation Women's Championship
    WWF Women's Champion Wendi Richter (w/ David Wolff) vs. The Fabulous Moolah

    Lauper made her way to the ring anyway but was ordered away from ringside and forced to watch the match on a tiny monitor while her manager, David Wolff, hung around at ringside doing nothing of note.

    The match was fairly poor, at least compared to the fun outing Richer had with Kai at 'Mania, but still, this was a different time and the standards were completely different.

    After a few minutes of very litle excitement, Richter rolled up Moolah to retain her title.
    Your Winner and Still Women's Champion: Wendi Richter

    Out in the entranceway, Junkyard Dog told Mean Gene Okerlund that he was bring his mom, Bertha, with him for his upcoming match.

    The Duke of Dorchester, Pete Doherty vs. Junkyard Dog (w/ His Mother)

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Junkyard Dog brought his mother Bertha to the ring
    On obvious squash match, this was made all the better by the fact that Pete Doherty was one of the more entertaining jobbers of his time, always boasting enough personality to mask the fact that very little of note actually happened from a wrestling perspective.

    To the shock of absolutely noone, JYD slammed Doherty to the mat after just a few minutes and pinned him clean.
    Your Winner: Junkyard Dog

    Aftewards, the JYD and his momma boogied out in the ring

    Cyndi Lauper's Mother's Day Party

    Out in the back, Cyndi Lauper hosted a Mother's Day party. Well, they called it a party, it was more a bunch of wrestlers and some of their moms (or fake mom stand-ins) all stood side-by-side in a line like they were in the weirdest police line-up ever.

    WWE / WWF Saturday Night's Main Event 1 (1985) - Jesse Venture & Vince McMahon called the show
    Freddie Blassie came with a young woman who he claimed to be his mother yet was clearly 30 years his junior, a gag that Jerry Lawler would later use at In Your House 1 ten years later.

    Meanwhile, Cyndi Lauper's mom told Mean Gene that she was glad the party was happening because now moms the world over could be recognised for the hard work they do, as though her daughter was the one who had invented the very concept of Mother's Day.

    Finally, The Fabulous Moolah stormed in, irate at not being invited to the party, and got into a shouting match with Lauper.

    In keeping with that ancient pro wrestling tradition which states that any time there is a cake, somebody's face must destroy it, the segment finished with a skirmish that led to both Moolah and Mean Gene going through the cake.






    So, that was that. This is normally the point in these reviews were I wrap things up with some kind of final statement about the quality of the show, but it seems almost unfair to do that here.

    Saturday Night's Main Event was very much a product of its time. It wasn't meant to stand the test of time as some landmark moment in history - it was meant to fill a bit of time when NBC weren't airing Saturday Night Live and entertain a few people, and to that end, it did it's job.

    Sure, the match quality may not have been very remarkable, but at least the whole thing made much more sense than whatever the Firefly Fun House was supposed to be.




    For other 1985 pro wrestling reviews see:
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    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.



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    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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