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, 4 June 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 2000

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Event poster
October 29, 2000 
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada

Since 1989, Halloween Havoc it had given us plenty of incredible moments.  Who could forget the all-time classic between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio Jr. back at Halloween Havoc 1997?

Yet it had also given some absolute garbage like the Hulk Hogan/Warrior clash from 1998, and the legendary crapfest that was the Chamber of Horrors from 1991.

It had also given us that iconic set design with the giant pumpkin and graveyard, the WCW debut of Rick Rude and the infamous Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal debacle between Sting and Jake Roberts.

For better or worse, Halloween Havoc had been a staple of World Championship Wrestling's annual PPV calendar and a favourite among fans of the Atlanta-based outfit.








Now, tonight, it was bowing out, not with a bang but with a whimper. Gone was that memorable set, gone were the likes of Hogan, Eddie, Roberts and countless other stars.

In its place were Kronik, terrible booking, and a set so bland it could have come from any random houseshow.

Join me, dear readers, as we head to Paradise, Nevada for the final ever Halloween Havoc show.

It's All Hallow's Eve

Tonight's show began with members of the crowd being interviewed and giving their predictions on tonight's winners.

Sadly, nobody declared that anybody would win "whether they wanted to or not."

This was followed by the standard sub-par WCW video package which built up the spookiness of Halloween and told us that tonight was the night for the unexplained, unexpected and unpredicted.

I hate to be picky, but aren't unexpected and unpredicted the same thing?


Anyway, last month, at Fall Brawl 2000, a Halloween Havoc 2000 promised us that Sting would undergo some huge change at this event.

There was no mention of this in the opening video and, to be honest with you, I doubt there will be at any other point on this show.

Live in the arena, we discovered that WCW had done away with that awesome giant pumpkin and graveyard set that had been one of the coolest things about the Halloween Havoc event.

After a welcome greeting from Tony Schiavone and his colleagues Mark Maden and Stevie Ray, it was onto our opening match.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Three-Way Dance
WCW Tag Team Champions Mark Jindrak & Sean O'Haire vs. Boogie Knights (Disco Inferno & Alex Wright) vs. The Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman w/ Konnan)

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Sean O'Haire and Mark Jindrak defended the WCW tag team titles
Alex Wright and Disco Inferno had previously tagged together in 1998 as The Dancing Fools, with their sole highlight being an absoutely atrocious bout against The Public Enemy at Road Wild 1998.

Now, for better or worse, they were back, and going up against Mark Jinkdrak & Sean O'Haire and Rey Mysterio Jr. and Juventud Guerrera in this solid opener.

WCW may have been a train wreck at this stage of the game, but this fast, fun, and furious contest was proof that they could still occasionally get something right.

After an enjoyable back-and-forth battle, O'Haire planted Disco with the Sean-ton Bomb to retain the gold for his team.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Mark Jindrak & Sean O'Haire

Post-match, Alex Wright joined the champions in laying waste to the Filthy Animals until Sgt. AWOL ran in to clean house.

This was the old ECW tactic of having guys run in and then immediately starting their matches. AWOl was in action next as a badly-hurt Konnan was carried backstage.

World Championship Wrestling hardcore Championship
WCW Hardcore Champion Reno vs. Sgt. AWOL

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Reno defended the WCW hardcore title against Sgt. AWOL
This one was pretty similar to every WCW hardcore match you've ever seen, and I don't mean that as a bad thing.

Lots of fun weapon stops and random brawls around the arena made this an enjoyable bout, even if there was one moment that was a little hard to believe.

Towards the end of the match, the two brawled backstage where AWOL picked up one of those huge, old-school box computer monitors and threw it Reno like it was nothing.

This would have been impressive if the computer monitor wasn't clearly fake and not attached to anything.

After a good effort, Reno hit whatever his finisher was called onto AWOL and kept his title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Reno

Afterwards, Chuck Palumbo and Shawn Stasiak ran out and helped AWOL continue beating down his opponent until AWOL's Misfits in Action Lieutenant Loco and Corporal Cajun ran down to the rescue.

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Shane Douglas talks to the Natural Born Thrillers backstage
We then went backstage where Reno, Chuck Palumbo and Shawn Stasiak were standing with their Natural Born Thrillers teammates wearing different clothes, different hairstyles and much less sweat than they had been less than half a second earlier.

As they stood around being spoken to by Shane Douglas, it seemed very much like a classic WCW continuity error until someone in the production truck was smart enough to hastily put an "earlier today" graphic on the scene two seconds before it ended.

After about two hours of idle patter from the announcers, we once again went backstage. This time, we saw Kronik telling the State Athletic Commission that Goldberg was injured and that they probably shouldn't clear him to wrestle later.

If you hadn't figured it out, Bryan Clarke and Brian Adams were set to face Big Bill later on in the show.

The Perfect Event ('Perfectshawn' Shawn Stasiak & Chuck Palumbo) vs. The Misfits in Action (Corporal Cajun & Lieutenant Loco)

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Chavo Guerrero puts a hurting on Chuck Palumbo
Stevie Ray: "Mark Madden, why did you say that Guerrero has chubby toes?"
Madden: "What? I didn't."
Stevie: "Yes you did, on national TV!"
Madden: "I said Chavito!"

OK, that was funny, and probably more interesting than anything that happened in this match.

When they weren't getting confused about the size of Chavo's piggies, the announcers told us that this was a special bonus match that had been booked a result of the fall out from the previous match.

Clearly, the company had a lot of time to fill because this seemed like it went on for a much longer than your average throw-away filler bout.

As matches go, it was a decent if rather lifeless affair which the Misfits won thanks to a Tornado DDT courtesy of old Chubby Toes.
Your Winners: The Misfits in Action

Out in the back, Konnan sold the injury he’d received at the hands of Jindrak and O’Haire earlier on the show.

After some random dude told K-Dog that he wouldn’t be able to compete, his buddies Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman said that they would volunteer to take his place but, you know, they’d already wrestled once tonight and that was enough.

Mixed Tag Team Match
The Franchise Shane Douglas & Torrie Wilson vs. Konnan & Tygress

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Torrie Wilson teamed with Shane Douglas to face Tygress & Konnan
In the spirit of Halloween, Torrie Wilson came out dressed in a Wonder Woman costume and looked incredible.

Standing by her man, Wilson grinned and smirked like a cocky heel as The Franchise cut his usual pre-match promo.

Douglas was a perfect asshole here, which is exactly what a heel should be. In his promo, he made clear that he’d paid off Jindrak and O’Haire to take out Konnan but that he and Torrie were still more than ready to take on Tygress on her own.

To her credit, the former Nitro Girl was in the mood for a fight.

Storming to the ring, she told the duo that even though Konnan hadn’t been cleared, she was going to take them both on by herself.

The match started, the heels took control and about a minute later Konnan ran in, immediately forgetting all about the earlier attack and wrestling as though nothing had happened. Presumably, this was supposed to generate a big pop from the crowd but it was instead met with total apathy.

Likewise, the match itself was nothing to get excited about, but my goodness did Torrie Wilson look good.

In the end, she and Shane got beat when the latter ate a Double Stuff Buster.
Your Winners: Konnan and Tygress

Out in the back, David Flair promised to beat Buff Bagwell so bad that he would be able to take his blood and give it to the two men in white coats standing behind him.

The idea was that the blood could then be used in a DNA test to prove that Buff Daddy was Stacy Kiebler’s baby daddy.

DNA Match
Buff Bagwell vs. David Flair

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - David Flair brought some scientists to test Buff Bagwell's DNA
DNA match = First Blood Match.

As you might expect, this wasn’t an exciting match, but it certainly wasn’t terrible either.

Buff was over with the live audience and that was enough to make his ass-whooping of David Flair a fairly enjoyable sight.

For his part, Flair Jr. did a pretty solid impression of his more famous father and proved that even though he’d never be a great wrestler, he was pretty good at selling a beating.

After a few minutes of Bagwell dominating the action, he bust David open with a chair then hit him with the Buff Blockbuster for good measure.
Your Winner: Buff Bagwell

Post-match, Lex Luger came out for a heel turn which you could see coming the moment he walked out.

The Total Package hit his former friend so hard that he bust his lip open, allowing Flair to steal a blood sample and rush it backstage to his doctor friends.

As he was doing this, cameras caught Bill Goldberg arriving around the arena.

Scott Steiner is a Genetic Freak

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews Scott Steiner
Backstage, Scott Steiner was so annoyed about people not realising that size matters that he kept tripping over his words in a typical Steineresque promo.

With Midajah by his side, Big Poppa Pump ranted to Pamela Paulshock about how much of a genetic freak he was and how badly he was going to beat Booker T.

This might not have been a classic Steiner promo, but the numbers did add up and they spelt some entertaining stuff from the Big Bad Booty Daddy.

Kickboxing Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Mike Sanders (w/ Chuck Palumbo & Shawn Stasiak) vs. Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller (w/Ms Jones)

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Mike Sanders faced Ernest 'The Cat' Miller
Fed up of sharing the WCW Commissioner role, this special three-round kickboxing match would determine which man got full custody of the title.

Before the bell, Mike Sanders promised to destroy Ernest Miller, but The Cat simply called him a bitch and proceeded to whoop his ass for three rounds straight.

Poor Sanders didn’t land a blow but still managed to win the match after Shane Douglas interfered.

The Franchise drilled Miller with a steel chain but Cat got up before the count of ten and beat up Shane on the outside.

The referee counted him out and this one was over.

As non-wrestling matches go, this wasn’t bad. In fact, I’d rather have than any number of the worked boxing matches pro wrestling has subjected us to over the years.
Your Winne: Mike Sanders

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Mean Gene interviews Kronik
Backstage, Goldberg told the representatives from the Nevada State Athletic Commission that even though he had been feeling ‘a little dizzy since Monday [Nitro],’ there was no way they could stop him from competing tonight.

In response, Kronik gave a cringe-worthy interview to Mean Gene Okerlund in which they claimed not to care whether Goldberg wrestled or not.

Either way, they’d get paid, and that was all they cared about.

‘That 70’s Guy’ Mike Awesome vs. Vampiro

The following evening on Nitro, Mike Awesome would have a world title shot against the winner of tonight’s Steiner/Booker match.

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - That 70s Guy Mike Awesome faced Vampiro
Before then, Vampiro challenged him to put said title shot on the line. Being the babyface, That 70’s Guy agreed then proceeded to have the worst match of his WCW career so far.

Since he joined the company back in April, Awesome had produced one great match after another.

Vampiro wasn’t exactly the worst wrestler in the world either, but when they worked together tonight it came off as though both men were either drunk, asleep or just couldn’t be bothered.

Early on, they went on a walk through the crowd where their recklessness caused a female steward to get knocked off her chair.

Then, an over-eager fan pounced on Awesome and got murdered by the security guards as the two trained wrestlers changed their minds about being in the audience and went back to the ring.

There, the two continued to engage in a disappointing, disheartening match which somehow became a falls count anywhere match without ever being announced as such.

A table came into play, then Big Mike hit an Awesome Bomb on the outside and the referee counted a near fall.

Back in the ring, a top rope Awesome Bomb finally ended things.

To be fair, that last move looked amazing, but everything else before it was really, really off.
Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Out in the back, General Rection told Mean Gene that not only was he going to beat Lance Storm, but he was going to do it for everybody, for his Misfits in Action cohorts who were standing next to him, for Hugh Morrus and for Bill Demott.

The MIA leader had a serious case of ‘Three Faces of Foley’ syndrome going on.

World Championship Wrestling United States  Canadian Championship Handicap Match
WCW Canadian Champion Lance Storm & Hacksaw Jim Duggan (w/ Major Gunns) vs. General Rection

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Lance Storm teamed with Jim Duggan to face General Rection
Despite the ridiculous name, Rection was getting a big push around this time and was positioned as the valiant babyface forced to overcome the odds.

The match was a step below the usual quality of a Lance Storm match,  but compared to the earlier Awesome/Vampiro debacle, it was actually a lot of fun.

As the finish approached, Major Gunns finally stood up to a Team Canada who she had been forced to join several months back.

The blonde beauty (who genuinely was one of this writer’s favourite things about WCW 2000) stopped Elix Skipper from interfering and kept Lance Storm out of the action so that Rection could hit Duggan with his patented moonsault.

One three count later and the future WWE trainer had his first -and I’m sure only- taste of gold on a major stage.
Your Winner and NEW WCW United States Champion: General Rection.

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviewed Jeff Jarrett
Before the next match, a commercial aired for the second and final Mayhem PPV. Fittingly, the ad portrayed Scott Steiner as an insane person.

Out in the back, Jeff Jarrett called Pamela Paulshock a "blonde slapnut" and promised her that tonight, he would turn Sting from a "has been" to a "never was."

I'm not quite sure on the logic of how you turn something that once was into something that never was.

Then again, this was a company who had seemingly abandoned logic altogether about two years earlier, so I don't know what I'm complaining about.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting

I'm pretty sure there will be some people who hate this match. There will be people who call it overbooked nonsense and people who want Vince Russo's head on a stick for it.

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Fake Stings showed up to batter the real Sting
Not me, I was very entertained by what was essentially a Sting career retrospective in match form.

After brawling with Jarrett for a minute or so, the WCW Icon was first confronted by a dude dressed as original blonde surfer Sting. You know, the one from the action figures.

Sting took care of him with a Scorpion Death Drop at the entrance, but before long a second imitator turned up, this one from his Sgt. Pepper phase. A little while later, Wolfpac Sting turned up. Both of them got beaten up and Death Dropped on the entrance, but we weren't done there.

Back in the ring, Crow Sting tore through the canvas and dragged Sting beneath the ring. Only WCW would do the whole ripping-a-hole-in-the-ring spot with two matches left to go on the card.

Anyway, real Sting emerged from beneath the ring with his tormentor now sporting a bloody nose. Finally, a fifth Sting, this one representing the Icon in his current form, descended from the rafters.

Sting took care of him, hitting him with a Scorpion Death Drop through the announce table to an amazing, stoic response from Stevie Ray:

"He's dead, Tony. Tony...He's dead."

Sting also took care of the bloody Crow Sting again after the faker waffled him with a guitar to no effect.

Finally, Jarrett had a much bigger impact with his guitar and won the match.

I don't care what you say, that was a lot of fun even if it did make Jeff Jarrett look like a total chump who could only beat Sting with the help of five guys and a guitar.
Your Winner: Jeff Jarrett

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Pamela Paulshock interviews Booker T
Backstage, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T was interviewed by Pamela Paulshock and said: "Scott Steiner, I'm coming for you."

Fortunately, he refrained from dropping any n-bombs this time.

The champion also tried to explain as to why the world title fight wasn't the last match on the card, claiming that he'd bumped it up earlier to give a hurt Goldberg more time to prepare.

Credit where it's due, that wasn't the worst idea from a kayfabe standpoint.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah)

Scott Steiner only discovered that he wasn't main eventing the show when his music started playing. Visibly angry about the situation, The Genetic Freak beat-up road agent Ricky Santana on his way to the ring.

When he got there, he and Booker put on a decent but unspectacular main event.

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Scott Steiner challenged Booker T for the World Heavyweight ChampionshipUnlike the World Wrestling Federation, where main event matches were always dramatic epics that went above and beyond the norm, World Championship Wrestling rarely treated the in-ring presentation of their top tier bouts as anything special.

Still, this was Steiner and Booker T, two men who had waged war with one another countless times over the years and who knew each other perhaps as well as any two men on the roster at the time.

Together, they gave us a decent effort, but then the whole thing was ruined by typical WCW booking.

Playing up to the fact that he was a bit of a lunatic, Steiner attacked referee Charles Robinson. When Scott Armstrong ran in to take over, he got attacked too. Finally, Slick Johnson came in and threw the whole thing out.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WCW Champion: Booker T

Post-match, Steiner single handily took out an entire security crew by clobbering them with a lead pipe as they entered the ring like he was playing a game of real-life whack-a-mole.

That was stupid. You could understand the champion intentionally getting himself disqualified, but by this logic, Steiner was either too stupid to understand the consequences of actions or he cared so little about becoming champion that it didn't matter, in which case what was he doing in a title fight in the first place?

Handicap Match
Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke) vs. Goldberg

WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 - Kronik try to put Goldberg through a table
Since their debut in April 2000, Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke had gone from being a marijuana joke to being straight-up ass-kickers and one of the most popular acts on the roster, to being a knock-off of the A.P.A's 'Muscle for Hire' gimmick to, finally, being cannon fodder for a last-ditch effort to reestablish Goldberg's star power.

After a video told us how the duo were all about 'breaking necks and casing cheques,' the two marched to the ring where Adams declared that there would be no match tonight.

Goldberg, however, had other ideas.

Backstage, the Nevada State Athletic Commission representative told Doug Dillinger that Bill was good to go. The head of security then banged on Goldberg's locker room. The main eventer emerged, marched to the locker room, and destroyed one of the company's last biggest acts in about three minutes flat.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either.
Your Winner: Goldberg

In fact, that probably sums up WCW Halloween Havoc 2000 as a whole:

It wasn't awful, but it was far, far, from being any good.







The opening tag team match was the best thing on the show by a mile, and for the first twenty minutes or so you got the feeling that the Halloween Havoc brand might be going out on a high note.

Alas, as the night went on, things got much, much worse.

Sure, there were a few bright spots and sure, the whole 'Many Faces of Sting' thing was entertaining, but make no mistake about, even if you knew nothing about the history of professional wrestling, you could tell just by watching this show that this was a company in deep, deep trouble.



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
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Thursday, 28 May 2020

GAME REVIEW: WCW Backstage Assault (2000)

Released in the last few years of World Championship Wrestling's existence, WCW Backstage Assault has often been called the worst pro wrestling games ever, if not one of the worst games period.

While the game certainly has an abundance of faults (and we'll get into all of them soon enough), this review could easily be titled In Defence of WCW Backstage Assault because yes, it sucks, but it's also quite fun.

Besides, one of the biggest criticisms levied against the title -that it's a pro wrestling game without an actual pro wrestling ring- seems kind of harsh.

Guys, come on, the game is called Backstage Assault. The whole premise is that WCW's biggest superstars would settle their scores backstage.

Complaining that there's no wrestling ring in a game that's all about what goes on Backstage is like complaining that there are no options to drive a car in Super Awesome Motorcycles 4. That's not what the game is about.

Ah, you say, but that's not the same at all. This is a game about wrestlers wrestling for a wrestling company, it should be a reflect of what an actual wrestling show is/was like at the time.






To that argument, I say that actually, it's a great reflection of what wrestling was like back at the turn of the millenium.

A Reflection of the State of Pro Wrestling 

Seriously, go back and watch WCW programming from the last 18 months of their existence. The company, indeed, wrestling as a whole, did feature a lot of backstage stuff, wild brawls and weapons-based hardcore matches. 

To that end, WCW Backstage Assault was an attempt to showcase that side of the wild and weird world of professional wrestling that we were all seeing on our TV screens a lot more back at the time, and though it didn't quite work, having a game that focused on lockerroom brawls and the like wasn't exactly the crime a lot of critics made it out to be.

Still, even having said all that, there's no escaping the fact that many aspects of this game left a lot to be desired.

Let's dive into it, shall we?

First Impressions



Though the opening video may not be the greatest of all time, it's certainly nothing to scoff at. In place of the usual fast-paced clips of huricanranas, powerbomb and other in-ring offence, this one featured more on hardcore matches and other backstage brawls because, and I feel this is worth repeating, this was a game about FIGHTING BACKSTAGE.

In between all that, we got clips of the terrible hardcore junkyard invitational from Bash at the Beach 1999, as well as clips featuring the likes of Ms. Hancock (Stacy Keibler) and Major Gunns, because, again, this was a fairly good reflection of the sexed-up product that WCW was putting out on television at the time.

From there, things quickly start to go awry as the menu screens look like they were designed by a five year-old on paint, but hey, more of that later.

Roster


This is usually the point where we'd just run through who is in the game, but there's no way we can go any further without talking about how horribly organised the whole roster menu is.

You know on most wrestling games the playable characters are either featured in a straight list that you scroll down (such as in the Smackdown games) or a grid-like formation such as with past WCW games. Here, the folks responsible for designing Backstage Assault decided to try and reinvent the wheel only to come up with a triangle.

I mean, this thing is terrible. Wrestlers are organised into several groups, so you have to scroll left-to-right to choose a group, then scroll up and down to chose wrestlers within that group. 

If that's not frustrating enough, it gets worse by the fact that the groups aren't even organised into any logical sense. Rather than having say, one group for main eventers, another for nWo-affiliated stars and another for cruiserweight, wrestlers seem to have been thrown together at random.

For example, when you first start the game without unlocking any characters, the group 'WCW 1' features Jeff Jarrett and Torrie Wilson, plus a bunch of players you need to unlock. Group 2 features Booker T and Corporal Cajun, so I suppose you could argue a Misfits in Action connection there, but there's also David Flair in this group. 

As for the cast of available characters, there's an interesting mix of starting players.

Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Hulk Hogan, DDP, Sting and Goldberg are all present and accounted for, as are WCW mainstays like Disco Inferno, Konnan, Madusa, Stevie Ray, Jimmy Hart, and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. 

Yet there's also some very curious choices as to who is, and isn't featured in the starting line-up. 

WCW regulars from around this time like Billy Kidman, Buff Bagwell, Chris Kanyon and Vamprio are all featured in the game, but only as unlockable characters. The same goes for stars like Bret Hat and Scott Hall.

Yet, oddly enough, if you'd always dreamed of playing a video game as Doug Dellinger, here was your opportunity. WCW's head of security is a starting character, but Rey Mysterio Jr. isn't.

The most curious addition of all in this starting line-up is Mona, who was already competing in the WWF as Molly Holly by the time this game was released.

Honestly, it's almost as if they picked the starting roster out of a hat.

Create-a-Wrestler 

Once again, this seems like a case of the game developers unnecessarily trying to reinvent the wheel and coming up short. 

Rather than starting from scratch, Backstage Assault gives you several template characters (Punker, Warlock, Biker grrrl and others) that you can tweak and fine-tune to your own liking. To be fair, these pre-set characters do look better than anything this hamfisted writer usually comes up with on his own, but customising them is such a laborious process that I ended up giving up on this section altogether.

Sure, there's a good array of costumes, including alternative attire for the likes of Sting (if you always wanted to be Wolfpac sting, here's your chance), Kevin Nash, and Bret Hart.

There's also some things that are clearly taken from the WWF, such as a mask called 'Hardcore' with is obviously to help you create Mankind character and -just as in WCW Mayhem- an outfit that is exactly the kind of thing Kane would wear.

So far, so cool, but there's no way to change up the position of your created character or the camera angle you view him at so that you can get a better look at how the customised features actually appear.

It's so cumbersome that unless you're really eager to give a punk rock character a Hollywood Hogan beard, you might as well not bother.

Match Types

With this game, you can have any match type you want as long as it's a hardcore brawl in the backstage area. In other words, forget ladder matches, cages, or even tag team matches, this is straight-up one-on-one weaponfests from start to finish.

Not that this in itself is necessarily a bad thing. As we'll get to in a little while, the fights themselves are entertaining enough to make up for the lack of diversity.

Hardcore Gauntlet and Hardcore Challenge 


While this game won't be praised for its variety (or for much of anything else for that point), it does at least throw you a bone by giving you two different challenges to take on.

Hardcore Gauntlet is exactly what it sounds like - it's a gauntlet style match pitting you against seven other competitors with no breathing room in between.

Meanwhile, the Hardcore Challenge is the game's main story/career mode and, for the most part, it's a lot of fun.

OK, so there isn't a lot of variety in terms of what you actually do, and it's basically just having one fight after another, unlocking a variety of hidden wrestlers, moves, venues, and attire to use in the Create-a-Wrestler mode, but things are kept interesting by giving you a whole lot of stuff to unlock and serving up unique challenges in order to unlock it all.

For example, you need to set your opponent on fire (yes, on fire), in order to lock Vampiro, while jumping off a truck in one match will unlock something else and using different weapons in different fights will also unlock specific things.

The only problem is that there's so much to unlock that you'll find yourself playing the game forever if you want to uncover all of the game's hidden treasures. Still, it's enjoyable enough to play that if you really had nothing better to do, you could easily waste a day getting through it all.

Game Play


Other reviewers have criticized Backstage Assault for its lack of intuitive controls (three different strike buttons and one grapple button that you can use for a limited number of other moves), the lag that often occurs between pressing a button and the resulting move actually being performed on the screen, and the wild camera angles that suddenly change without warning or logic. 

You know what? I agree with all of those complaints. From a purely technical point, the gameplay sucks.

But...here's the thing...

Once you get used to how everything works, working through the game, particularly in Hardcore Gauntlet mode, actually proves to be pretty entertaining.

Though this could easily just turn into "pick up a weapon and bludgeon your opponent with it until you win," the game encourages and rewards creativity. 

For example, you get more points the more different moves you try, and those points result in more unlockables, and positive things tend to happen when you rip phones and kitchen sinks off the walls and waffle your opponents with them. 

OK, so it's not particualrly difficult to beat your opponent even on hard mode, but again, there's enough stuff to play around with to ensure that the whole game is way moe enjoayble than it might first appear.

Speaking of appearances...

Graphics 


Make no mistake about it, this game looks like somebody's arse.

As much as this game is an absolute guilty pleasure for me, even I can't defend how utterly horrible it looks.

I know it's 20 years old, but even compared to other games that were out around this time, the whole thing is a mess. The backgrounds and menu screens are muddy and fuzzy and the wrestlers are a crime against design.

If it wasn't for the attire they were wearing, you'd often have no idea who was who. Sid, Chris Candido, and Ric Flair, for example, are just three carbon-copy blonde dudes who look almost identical. The only way to tell them apart is that Sid is slightly bigger than the other two and Flair wears green trunks.

Meanwhile, Scott Steiner looks like an old man, and the woman are, quite frankly, an abomination, and whoever is responsible for them should be forever ashamed.

Visually, the only time this game shines is with its entrance videos. Before each match, the competitors' entrance music (or a stock theme) plays over clips of them performing or generally larking about.

It's a pretty cool touch, but even that doesn't make up for how horrendous the graphics are on this thing.

Music and Commentary 

Last but not least, the one area where this game does come into its own is the audio. 

As in Mayhem, commentary is provided by Tony Schiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and is generally very well done.

OK, so if you play the game for a long time you start to hear certain soundbites repeated, but for the most part, the commentary remains relevant, clever, and timely.

Meanwhile, most of the stars have their actual entrance music, or at least a Jimmy Hart Version of it (which is ironic since most WCW themes were JHVs of other songs to begin with). 

Final Impressions 

I'll be honest with you: 

I bought a copy of this game off eBay for the sole purpose of reviewing it for this blog, expecting to hate it just as much as everybody said I would.

Yet while I admit that it looks like ass and can be frustrating in parts, I actually found the whole process of going round setting people on fire, and hitting them with trashcans to be a lot of fun.

WCW Backstage Assault may be just about the worst professional wrestling game of all time, but for this plan, it's a pure guilty pleasure.



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


More WWE Wrestling games from Retro Pro Wrestling. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Unforgiven 2000

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Event poster
September 24, 2000
First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In the world of professional wrestling, Philadelphia will perhaps always be synonymous with the defunct yet fondly remembered Extreme Championship Wrestling. 

Yet the City of Brotherly Love had also played an important part in the WWF's history, too.

It was here, in the exact same arena and almost exactly two years to the very day of tonight's show that the World Wrestling Federation had given us In Your House 10: Mind Games.

Taking place at the tail end of the New Generation Era, that show marked a noticeable shift in the tone of the company's on-screen product.

With an ECW invasion, several "off-colour" comments, and a brutal Mankind/Shawn Michaels, Retro Pro Wrestling has always considered Mind Games to be one of the pivotal events in the development of the Attitude Era.

So it was fitting that, with said era now in full bloom, the company returned to the First Union Center for their annual September PPV, bringing with them many of the things we fondly remember from that time period.







From key stars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock to the daredevil antics of Edge, Christian and The Hardyz, attractive women like Trish Stratus, and much more, the Attitude Era was in full glory as the WWF presented Unforgiven 2000.

May God Have Mercy on Their Souls

Sticking with the Unforgiven brand’s usual spooky, creepy theme, tonight’s opening video package had a haunting, dramatic score with a chilling voice-over which at one point told us that Judgement Day was upon us.


It wasn’t. That was the following month.

All of this was to show us tonight’s three big selling points:

Stone Cold Steve Austin making his triumphant return to try and find out who ran him over back at Survivor Series 1999, a big, multi-man match for the title, and  Triple H taking on his love rival, Kurt Angle.

Pyro, crowd shots and a welcome from Jim Ross followed. Then, after some words from Ross and his broadcast colleague Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler - it was onto our opening match.

Eight Man Tag

The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) & The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. Right to Censor (Steven Richards, Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather, and Val Venis

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Right to Censor faced The Dudley Boyz and The Acolytes
If you were going to get the Philly crowd riled up and ready for action, sticking Steven Richards against his fellow ECW alumni The Dudley Boyz was a good way to do it.

Richards was joined by his Right to Censor cohorts Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather and new recruit Val Venis, while The Dudleyz had Farooq and Bradshaw on their team.

The match wasn’t as good as many of the company’s other PPV openers from this time period, but it was short, hard-hitting and engaged the crowd, which is all anyone could have asked for.

After staying on the apron for the entire bout, three devious Richards have his team the assist and picked up the second PPV victory in a row for Right to Censor.
Your Winners: Right to Censor

Afterward, the good guys got their revenge by beating up RTC and putting Steven Richards through a table to the delight of the audience.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - HHH warned Stephanie McMahon that Kurt Angle is not her friendKurt Angle is Not Your Friend, Steph

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was concerned about her husband’s ribs after Kurt Angle attacked them with a sledgehammer, but Triple H was more concerned with how badly he was going to hurt Angle.

Steph was fine with that and apologised for thinking that the Olympic Gold Medalist had been her friend, prompting The Game to reel off a long list of reasons why he wasn’t, all of which basically came down to Angle being a bit of a d**k.

Strap Match
Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler vs. Tazz

The ECW vibe continued next as Tazz looked to settle his rivalry with Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler in a strap match which Howard Finkle told us could end either via pinball/submission or the good ol’ fashioned touch-all-four-corners rule.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Tazz chokes out Jerry Lawler in front of Jim Ross
These two had met at the previous month’s Summerslam 2000, resulting in a win for the King when JR smashed Tazz in the face with a glass candy jar.

This time, it was Tazz’s turn to pick up the win, though not without a little help of his own.

After a few minutes of fairly reasonable action, the two went through a fun spot in which Lawler twice his patented piledriver on his rival, only for The Human Suplex Machine to pop right back up again.

Lawler then hit a third piledriver and Tazz once again popped right back up, only to look around and Flair Flop right into the mat.

After that entertaining bit, Lawler started to drag his opponent to all four corners. As he did so, the referee got bumped, creating an opportunity for ECW legend Raven to make his WWF debut and plant King with his trademark Even Flow DDT.

Tazz got the cover and this one was done.
Your Winner: Tazz

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Kevin Kelly interviews a returning Stone Cold Steve Austin
In between each match, we saw Kevin Kelly hanging around backstage waiting for the arrival of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

When the Texas Rattlesnake finally arrived, Kevin asked him how he was feeling.

“Stone Cold isn’t here to answer questions,” Austin replied. “Tonight,  I’m asking the questions.”

With that, he beat up Kevin Kelly before we went back to the arena where Michael Cole had taken over Lawler’s spot on commentary.

“Well, I don’t think Austin wants to answer questions. I think he wants to ask them,” said Cole, repeating exactly what Stone Cold had just said.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Open Invitational
WWF Hardcore Champion Steve Blackman vs. WWF European Champion Al Snow vs. Crash Holly vs. Test (w/ Trish Stratus) vs. Funaki vs. Perry Saturn (w/ Terri)

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Perry Saturn and Terri
For those keeping score, this was the third match in a row featuring former ECW stars as Perry Saturn and the man who beat him for the European championship took part in this ten-minute hardcore free-for-all.

Following a similar format to the hardcore title match from Wrestlemania 2000, the idea was that you had to pin the champion and then whoever had the gold at the end of ten minutes would be crowned champion.

Crash Holly won it early on but then got pinned by Perry Saturn about ten seconds later.

Saturn held on to it for most of the match but was then pinned by Steve Blackman with sixty seconds to go, causing everybody in the match to pile on him in a last-ditch desperate effort to claim victory.

When said effort was unsuccessful, the timer ran out and Blackman was declared the winner after a fun but unspectacular match.
Your Winner and Still WWF Hardcore Champion: Steve Blackman

In a hilarious backstage skit, Kurt Angle finished showing off his medals to Tony Garea and some lanky dude with glasses, turned around and met Stone Cold Steve Austin for the first time.

Introducing himself, Angle offered Austin an honourary Olympic gold medal but Stone Cold wasn’t impressed. He promised to insert the medal up Kurt’s bottom and then beat him up.

It’s hard to explain in words how funny that was.

X-Pac vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - X-Pac battled Chris Jericho
These two had met at the exact same PPV, Unforgiven 1999, a year earlier, and had also done battle at WCW Halloween Havoc 1996. This particular match wasn’t quite to the standard of either of their past encounters, but it was still a damn good effort that got better the longer it went on.

After struggling to gel in the early going, both men eventually found their grove and gave us a solid seesaw battle which ended the right way with Chris Jericho making X-Pac tap to the Walls of Jericho.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Post-match, X-Pac avenged his loss by grabbing a pair of nunchucks and whacking Y2J with them.

Kurt Complains to Mick

Out in the back, Mick Foley was interrupted from preparing for his guest referee role in the upcoming Angle/HHH match when he was interrupted by Angle himself.

The Olympic Gold Medalist declared that despite getting beat up by Austin, he was still ready to go tonight because he had problems before the Olympics too.

‘The day of the Olympics, I had IBS’ said Kurt.
‘You do BS’ replied Mick.

The exchange went on and was funnier than I could describe here. The point of it was that Mick made the upcoming Angle/HHH bout no DQ so that he would have less work to do.

A Rock/Austin Reunion

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Just Joe stirs the pot with Steve Austin and The Rock
Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin met up with his former arch-rival The Rock.

The two shook hands and announced that they were cool with one another, but Austin still wanted to know how The Rock’s car had been involved in the hit-and-run which had taken him out of commission way back at Survivor Series 1999.

The Rock had no idea but Just Joe (remember him? http://wrestlecrap.com/inductions/justjoe/) - the man better known as Joe E. Legend popped up and told Austin he had some news for him, but Austin just beat him up instead.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship Cage Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

Well, obviously this was awesome.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Christian slams the cage door on Jeff Hardy
Though it may not have been their most memorable encounter, Edge, Christian and The Hardyz always delivered and tonight was no exception.

With pinfalls or cage escape rules applying, this was one of the more unique cage matches in the WWF’s history, at least in terms of storyline.

Jeff Hardy got knocked to the outside in the early going, leaving his brother Matt Hardy at the mercy of the tag team champions.

Every time Jeff tried to get back in the cage and make the save, Edge and Christian got the better of him and continued to beat Matt to a bloody pulp.

Eventually, we got the inevitable Hardy Boyz comeback, complete with a run-in from Lita who hit Christian with a sick-looking hurricanrana from Off the top of a ladder on the outside.

The drama and excitement came to a head when Matt and Jeff drilled Edge with a Conchairto on top of the cage.

Edge took a sick bump down, The Hardyz climbed to the outside and this one was done.
Your Winners and NEW WWF Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Triple H warns Mick Foley to be impartial in his match with Kirk Angel
Out in the back, Stephanie McMahon was so thrilled to see Steve Austin back that she revealed she’d spent the past year holding on to the hat he was wearing the night he got run over.

Returning the hat to its rightful owner, Steph also let Austin know that Shane McMahon had actual video evidence of the mystery assailant’s identity.

Across the way, Steph’s husband Triple H confronted Mick Foley to ensure he was going to call the match right down the middle later.

Trouble in Paradise

Before our upcoming Intercontinental Championship match, we got a look at the rift between Eddie Guerrero and his Mamacita Chyna.

Eddie had grown jealous of Chyna’s success and ended up not only stealing the Intercontinental Championship from her but also going so far as to stalk The Playboy Mansion to try and stop her from taking nude photos.

Naturally, Chyna was ready to leave so a desperate Eddie proposed.

Chyna said yes, and the two were all smiles as they made their way out for Guerrero’s match with Rikishi, but how long would their reconciliation last?

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Rikishi

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Rikishi confronts Chyna while Eddie Guerrero gets set to pounce
Before the match, a somber-looking Jerry Lawler returned to commentary. He soon cheered up when talk turned to Chyna’s upcoming Playboy spread.

The match itself was OK for what it was, but it was mostly an angle to further the Eddie/Chyna story.

At one point, the heelish champion tried to bail on the match, but Chyna demanded that he man up and threw him back in the ring.

After that, however, she kept interfering on her man’s behalf, making the challenger more and more aggravated.

Eventually, Rikishi grabbed Chyna, tossed her in the ring and kicked her in the mush.

By some bizarre logic, this led to him being disqualified.
Your Winner via DQ and Still Intercontinental Champion: Eddie Guerrero

Post-match, ‘Kishi hit he Bandai drop on Chyna.

Undertaker Will Become Champion Once Again

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Jonathan Coachman interviews The Undertaker
Out in the back, a tobacco-chewing Undertaker told Jonathan Coachman that the ring was his yard and he was the big dog that ran it.

Tonight, the American Bad Ass vowed to send his opponents on their Last Ride and become WWF Champion once again.

Elsewhere in the arena, Kurt Angle bemoaned his luck tonight. Trish Stratus offered to be there for him if he needed a friend. Somehow, Trish touching his shoulder gave the Olympic Gold Medalist a flash of inspiration and he ran off, declaring that he had an idea.

His match was next.

No Disqualification
Kurt Angle vs. Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon)
Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

Before the bell, Kurt tried to lead the crowd in singing ‘happy birthday’ to Steph. Naturally, the crowd were having none of it.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Triple H vs. Kurt Angle with Commissioner Foley as special referee
This was a great match with a somewhat underwhelming finish.

Kurt Angle dominated practically the whole thing, dominating HHH from bell-to-bell and looking like a superstar in the process.

Then he missed a moonsault. A few seconds later, Steph kicked him in the bollocks, Hunter hit the pedigree, and it was all over.

Look, I have no problem with HHH winning. This match definitely put Kurt over more than it did The Game. It just seems weird that he would spend twenty minutes getting his ass kicked and then win with one move.
Your Winner: HHH

Post-match, a remorseful Steph checked on Kurt. HHH kissed her so hard that he bust her lip open and the two went backstage.

After the carnage, we cut to WWF New York, where Too Cool we’re dancing away for the crowd.

Blackman Did it

Out in the ring, Shane McMahon revealed that he didn’t really have footage of Austin getting run over after all.

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Shane McMahon got Steve Blackman in trouble with Steve Austin
What he had was footage from a 1999 episode of Raw in which Steve Blackman ran over Ken Shamrock.

According to Shane, that was conclusive proof that The Lethal Weapon was to blame.

This brought out both Steves, Blackman to profess his innocence and Austin -complete with his new Disturbed theme (that wouldn't be officially released until 2002's Forcible Entry album) to kick some ass and raise hell.

You got the feeling that Austin didn’t believe Blackman was the real culprit, he obviously stunned him anyway.

Shane then encouraged The Texas Rattlesnake to join him in a beer bash. Austin did so, but then predictably battered Shane O’Mac with a couple of crowd-popping stunners.

The segment might have been kinda dumb, but it was awesome to see Stone Cold raising hell again after so long away.

Finally, The Rock has Come Back to Philadelphia

After a great video package promoting tonight’s main event, the WWF Champion cut a captivating promo in which he promised to shove his opponents’ heads so far up their backsides that they’d have to cut holes in their nipples just to see..if you could nasally detect the meal he was preparing.

This was, as always, awesome stuff from The Great One.

Fatal Fourway for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion The Rock vs. The Undertaker vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kane

WWE / WWF Unforgiven 2000 - Michael Cole interviews WWF Champion The Rock
This certainly wasn't the worst main event in history, but the World Wrestling Federation could -and often would- do a lot better.

The Rock and Chris Benoit were the two best things in the match by a large margin, but even they couldn't top their effort from several months earlier at Fully Loaded 2000.
 Speaking of that match, we got a similar false ending as Benoit levelled Undertaker with a chair and pinned him for the title, but Mick Foley restarted the match after it was revealed Undertaker's foot was on the rope.

Yes, that was the second time in three months that Chris Benoit had *almost* been the WWF Champion.

The match continued and was fine for the most part, but it was -like so many things on this show- somewhat underwhelming.

Eventually, The Rock planted Benoit with the match-winning Rock Bottom at 16 minutes.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: The Rock

Post-match, The WWF Champion celebrated with his title to bring Unforgiven 2000 to a close.







And so, that was that.

The World Wrestling Federation had given us a number of exceptional pay per views in the year 2000 but, unfortunately, this wasn't one of them.

The tag team cage match was the highlight of the night, and I have to admit that Kurt Angle looked impressive while solidifying his main event status against Triple H, but there was a lof of sub-par action on this show, not to mention odd booking choices.

Why was Rikishi disqualified for attacking Chyna?
Why was HHH able to beat Angle so easily after getting his ass kicked for ages?
Why, when Rock hit Benoit with the Rock Bottom, did Kane prevent The Undertaker from breaking up the count and thus cost himself the title?

Who knows?

This was an off night for the WWF. Hopefully they'd bounce back the following month.



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WWF Unforgiven reviews:
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Thursday, 14 May 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Fall Brawl 2000

September 17, 2000 
HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York

The interesting thing about reviewing World Championship Wrestling pay per views from the year 2000 is that you occasionally remember you're reviewing the last ever edition of a particular event.


Such is the case tonight, when it occurs to me that this particular show was the final outing for WCW Fall Brawl, an event which began life as a Clash of the Champions special back in 1988, and had been its own distinctive PPV since 1993.

This was a show that had given us The Shockmaster back in '93.

This was a show that had given us a War Games match every year until 1999.

This was a show that had given us countless matches, some good (Benoit vs. Jericho) and some terrible (Jim Duggan vs. Berlyn) and now, ladies and gentlemen, it was all over.

Join me, as we head to Buffalo, New York for Fall Brawl's final fling.






Let's Play With Wrestling Figures

In an attempt to put over just how serious and intense tonight's main rivalries were, our opening video package interspersed real-life footage of the Scott Steiner/Goldberg and Kevin Nash/Booker T feuds with clips of each man's respective action figures.

This took us down into the arena for our opening pyro and a welcome from the ever-present Tony Schiavone. Along with his usual colleagues Scott Hudson and Mark Madden, Schiavone was hyped for tonight's show and ready to call the action.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight 100 Kilograms & Under Championship
Kwee-Wee (w/ Paisley) vs. Elix Skipper (w/ Major Gunns)

Major Gunns was apparently a reluctant member of Team Canada.

She spent most of her time on the outside looking gorgeous and actively rooting against Elix Skipper, encouraging the crowd to chant "USA! USA!" as the 100 Kilograms & Under Champion gave us a spirited performance.

Though this old-school fan still pines for the days when Rey Mysterio Jr, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera and Dean Malenko were the heart and soul of the cruiserweight division, I have to admit that this was a very good effort from Skipper and Kwee Wee, both of whom were making their WCW PPV.

Towards the end of this enjoyable back-and-forth battle, Kwee Wee was attacked by Mike Sanders (remember him?) but that wasn't quite enough to put him away.

A short time later, however, Skipper hit his sweet-looking "Overdrive" finishing move to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Elix Skipper

After a little banter from our announce team, it was straight onto the second match of the evening.

3 Count (Shannon Moore, Shane Helms, and Evan Karagious) vs. The Misfits in Action (Lieutenant Loco, Corporal Cajun, and Sgt. Awol)

Sgt. Awol was the new MIA recruit formerly known as The Wall. If you need a refresher, Leuitanant Loco was Chavo Guerrero and Corporal Cajun was Lash Larox.

This match was awesome. Sure, it wasn't an all-time classic, but then not every match has to be. This was supposed to be a fun, undercard filler match, and to that it absolutely delivered.

Entertaining from first to last, this came to a head when Corporal Cajun caught Shane Helms coming off the top rope, hit him with a tiger bomb and won what was probably the best match each participant had been involved in up to that point in their career.
Your Winners: The Misfits in Action

Backstage, Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner refused to give a little kid an autograph. Kevin Nash considered it, but when the kid revealed he could only pay $1.50, Big Sexy also declined and suggested the kid buy a soda.

Get it, because they were DIRTY, NO GOOD BAD GUYS!

First Blood Chain Match Match
The Harris Brothers (Ron & Don Harris) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke)

The Harris Brothers had returned to WCW at the previous month's New Blood Rising and attacked Kronik, leading to tonight's match.

The encounter was initially billed as a chain match, but when Kronik hit the ring, Brian Adams challenged Ron and Don to a first blood match and it was apparently accepted.

Don was then chained to Adams while Bryan Clarke was linked to Ron Harris for what turned out to be a slightly-better-than-expected hoss brawl.

Though nothing special happened, it was a wild and out of control that didn't suck half as much as anything involving The Harris Brothers usually did.

At one point, Ron Harris got busted open but the referee had taken a tumble.

When he came to, the first thing he saw was Brian Adams bleeding and thus the bell was called for.
Your Winners: The Harris Brothers

Post-match, Adams and Clarke saw off the twins and got their revenge on Billy Silverman by hitting him with High Times

Bringing the US Title Back Home

Backstage, Pamela Paulshock and her boobs interviewed General Rection about his US title match with Lance Storm.

Flanked by the rest of the Misfits in Action (sans Major Gunns), Rection vowed to beat Lance and bring both Gunns and the US title back home to the stages. He also dedicated the match to his "friend and mentor," Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

On cue, Duggan himself arrived on the scene and announced that The Cat had made him the special enforcer for the match. If you didn't watch this segment and immediately smell a Hacksaw heel turn brewing, you've clearly never watched pro wrestling.

World Championship Wrestling United States Canadian Champion Lance Storm (w/ Major Gunns) vs. General Rection

Special enforcer: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

If he could be serious for a moment, Lance Storm expressed his disbelief that everybody in the audience hadn't already packed up and moved to Canada, but was sure that they would do after he beat Rection on tonight's show.

Following the obligatory playing of the Canadian National Anthem, a trim-looking General Rection made his way out for what was surely the best match of his career.

Yes, I know I said the exact same thing about the other members of MIA earlier, but this really was a good match that proved the former Hugh Morrus was capable of being taken seriously, if not as a main eventer, then at least as a solid, mid-upper-mid star.

Or at least he could have been if he hadn't been named after a boner.

After a good match, Hacksaw predictably turned heel and levelled Rection with the 2x4. Lance applied the Canadian Mapleleaf and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Lance Storm

Afterwards, Duggan tore off his referee t-shirt to reveal a Canadian flag t-shirt underneath and proceeded to beat up the rest of Misfits in Action.

Rather than responding to Duggan's treachery with the loud chorus of boos he and the WCW Braintrust had been hoping for, the crowd merely looked on in silence.

This wasn't shocked, stunned "Brock just beat the streak" silence. This was more like "well, yeah, we saw that coming and it was kind of dumb and we don't want to react silence."

Seriously. This was Hacksaw Jim Duggan. At this stage of the game, nobody wanted to boo him.

Mean Gene is a Bad Ass

Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Mike Sanders and The Natural Born Thrillers, and he wasn't taking any crap from them.

Okerlund called Sanders a 'prick' then told Palumbo and O'Haire to blow it out of their ass when they threatened to beat him up.

For his part, Sanders cut a compelling promo about how it was the young guy's time to shine, but really, it was Okerlund who was the star of the show here.

Outside the arena, The Natural Born Thrillers' opponents, The Filthy Animals, emerged from a limousine with a mystery partner, a big-looking dude with a towel over his head to hide his identity.

The crew, along with their other partner, Big Vio, made their way out to the entranceway, where they revealed that the big guy was none other than Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorff.

This wasn't as random as it might seem at first. Orndorff was the lead trainer at the WCW Power Plant and therefore had played a part in training The Natural Born Thrillers.

Plus, this was New York, were Orndorff had been a major star thanks to his rivalry with Hulk Hogan.

Seven vs. Seven Elimination Match
The Natural Born Thrillers (Mark Jindrak, Sean O'Haire, Chuck Palumbo, Reno, and Johnny The Bull, Mike Sanders, and Shawn Stasiak) vs. The Filthy Animals (Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Disco Inferno, Big Vito, Paul Orndorff and Tygress)

For the most part, this was a really good match. Fast-paced and hard-hitting, the right decision was made to have The Natural Born Thrillers eliminate the majority of The Filthy Animals and look pretty dominant in the process.

Things then took a nasty turn when, with only he and Rey Mysterio Jr. left, Mr Wonderful made the hot tag.

Looking really old but also in tremendous shape, the legendary grappler took his proteges to school, avoiding almost all of their offence and kicking their asses all over the ring. He even got a three count on Johnny The Bull after landing his trademark piledriver to a huge ovation.

When he tried a second piledriver on Sean O'Haire, however, something went awry and Orndorff hurt himself, re-aggravating an old neck injury and lying motionless in the middle of the ring.

Improvising, Rey and Tygress took the fight to the Natural Born Thrillers as referees and EMTs rushed the ring to check on Orndorff. That led to Charles Robinson throwing the whole thing out.
No Contest

As he was stretchered out, the crowd gave Orndorff a respectful standing ovation. Up until his nasty injury, that had been a tremendous match.

Torrie Wilson is a Bitch

Backstage, Pamela Paulshock told Billy Kidman that he would be competing against one of the most dangerous match types ever, a Pittsburg Plunge Scaffold Match. She meant 'competing in,' of course, but there you go.

Offering a response, Kidman and his new ally, Madusa cut a largely terrible and cringe-inducing promo which mainly consisted of them both calling Torrie Wilson a bitch several times and Madusa promising to "demoralise" her.

Demoralise: To make someone lose hope or confidence.

Yeah Torrie, you better watch out. Madusa isn't going to physically hurt you, but she will damage your self-esteem.

Pittsburg Plunge Scaffold Match
Shane Douglas & Torrie Wilson vs. Billy Kidman & Madusa

Before the match, Shane Douglas took to the microphone to insist that it was actually Madusa who was the bitch. He then proceeded to outline the rules for us:

You win if you can reach your opponent's side of the raised platform and climb down a ladder.

Douglas was all bold and confident when he and Torrie were on the ground, but as soon as they got on the platform and it started to rise, he remembered he was a heel and started to act all scared and cowardly.

The match itself was about as good as every scaffold match you've ever seen, not very.

Madusa and Torrie almost immediately made it to their opposing sides, but instead of racing down the ladder to win the match, they both just kind of loitered around while Kidman and Douglas tried to have some kind of a wrestling match 20 ft in the air.

Eventually, Douglas knocked Madusa off the ladder and threw Kidman off the platform for the obligatory high spots, then allowed Torrie to climb down the ladder and win the match for their team.

This was not good.
Your Winners: Shane Douglas and Torrie Wilson

Out in the back, a fired-up Sting was looking forward to settling old scores with both The Great Muta and Vampiro in their upcoming triple threat match, but he was more looking forward to his guaranteed title shot on the following night's Nitro, and to once again having the world title around his waist.

Before he could finish speaking, The Icon was attacked by Jeff Jarrett, who wanted the title shot for himself and whom that potty-mouthed Gene Okerlund called a "bastard."

Mike Tenay Visits David Flair at Home

In a pre-recorded skit, Mike Tenay visited David Flair to ask him how his mental state was after it was revealed he wasn't the father of Stacy Kiebler's baby.

Tenay knocked on Flair's front door, gave him practically no time to answer, then knocked again, and again.

Finally, Flair appeared.

"Are you by yourself?" asked David.
"I'm all alone," lied Tenay, who clearly had a camera crew with him.

Once inside the house, it was revealed that Flair wasn't having a good time. His house was trashed, with newspapers strewn everywhere, discarded pizzas, beer bottles and lots of cigarette butts.

David himself was also a mess, sitting on the sofa in a state of numbness which was only broken by the occasional paranoid burst as he lept up to the window to look out for the real father of his baby.

Ignoring all of this, Mike Tenay decided it was more important to batter Flair with questions about who Kiebler's baby daddy might be rather than getting the young, deeply troubled man some help.

"Your father questioned my journalist integrity," Tenay told David.

Yeah? After this, I'm starting to question it too, Mike.

While all of this was largely awful, it did get funny at the end. David spotted the mailman and, like a dog on the attack, ran out and clotheslined the unsuspected man on the lawn before putting him in a figure-four.

I can't tell you why, but that last bit was hilarious.

Triple Threat Match
Vampiro (w/ The Insane Clown Possee) vs. The Great Muta vs. Sting

If you were ever going to watch a match on mute, this one would be it. Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J sent Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson packing so that they could do commentary with Mark Madden. The duo spent the entire match rambling on about nothing.

It was as bad as it sounds.

The match itself wasn't that bad, but it was incredibly predictable.

Vampiro and The Great Muta were technically still teammates in The Dark Carnival but had apparently been having some dissension as of late. They started the match working together, but the fact that they'd eventually turn on one another was obvious from the start.

When the predictable happened, Sting took the advantage, battering everyone in sight with his trusty baseball bat before hitting a Scorpion Death Drop to win the match.
Your Winner: Sting

Afterwards, Vampiro and the ICP tried to attack Muta, but his long-time nemesis Sting pulled him out of harm's way.

What you talkin' 'bout, Mike?


Out in the back, Mike Awesome stepped off a retro bus in a complete 1970s outfit. Apparently, adopting a retro 70s gimmick meant that the former ECW star was no longer only attracted to fat women.

Back at Bash at the Beach 2000, Awesome had dismissed Pamela Paulshock as being nowhere near as attractive as a large BBW he was talking to. Tonight, however, he appeared to have come to his senses and asked the beauty if she wanted to go and 'make whoopee' with him.

He wasn't the only one who had the hots for Paulshock. That 70s Guy hinted that he had a "huge surprise" - the joke being that the surprise was diminutive actor, Garry Coleman.

Comically, Awesome said that Diff'rent Strokes was his favourite TV show from the 70s, only for Coleman to remind him that the show had mostly aired in the 1980s. He too then confessed to having a thing for Paulshock before walking off, leading to this great line from Mark Madden:

"Pamela Paulshock's breasts are bigger than Garry Coleman's whole body."

Ladies and gentlemen, that's the first thing Madden ever said that was actually funny.

Bunkhouse Brawl
Jeff Jarrett vs. Mike Awesome

Remember that old-school gimmick when wrestlers competing in no DQ brawls would sell the seriousness of the occasion by wearing street clothes?

Jeff Jarrett did and came ready for combat in jeans and. Tennessee Titans shirt, the latter of which was mostly used to raise the ire of several Buffalo Bills football players sitting at ringside.

Further annoying them, Jarrett took to the microphone for the classic ‘insult the local sports team’ promo. This would have been fine and pretty effective if the veteran performer hadn’t rambled on for several minutes.

A quick dig at the sports team, sure, but a long, drawn-out promo? There was no need for it and by the end, the crowd looked more bored than angry.

Fortunately, the match itself was much better.

Nobody had given Mike Awesome the memo shout wearing street clothes, so he wrestles this captivating brawl in his regular wrestling attire.

After a very good match, this one turned into Jeff Jarrett vs. Everybody in the World.

The Buffalo Bills players surrounded the ring and pushed Jarrett about a bit. When their help proved not enough to keep Jarrett down, Garry Coleman ran out but got smashed over the head with a guitar bigger than he was.

Finally, Sting came out to get revenge for Jarrett’s earlier attack. He planted his rival with the Scorpion Death Drop which was enough for Awesome to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Our pre-match video package for the next contest told us that Goldberg had beaten up Midajah and put her through a table, so Scott Steiner retaliated by kidnapping Goldberg’s girlfriend because apparently real men settle their differences by abusing women.

This led to a backstage promo in which Steiner ranted to Mean Gene about he was a ‘loaded sex pistol ready to explode’ and that yes, he would kick Bill’s head in tonight.

Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah & Vince Russo) vs. Goldberg

Steiner wore a protective mask after getting his face caved in with a lead pipe by Goldberg on Nitro.

To retaliate, Midajah and her new boob job came out halfway through the match brandishing a lead pipe for Steiner to use on Goldberg.

Later, Vince Russo also came out to attack Goldberg, but his chest didn’t look half as good as Midajah’s.

With the odds stacked so heavily against him, Goldberg naturally lost, getting knocked unconscious and being declared out of it when Scotty slapped on the Steiner Recliner.

Before that, this was a pretty decent, hard-hitting big man match.
Your Winner: Scott Steiner

Afterwards, Russo ripped his slap nuts T-shirt off and stood over Goldberg in a pose. Say what you want about him, that was pretty funny.

Once the heels left, the Buffalo Bills once again crossed the guard rail to help Goldberg up.

A commercial for the following month’s Halloween Havoc followed, promising us that Sting was going to change into something amazing and groundbreaking at the show.

I can’t remember anything about Halloween Havoc 2000, but I’m willing to bet this idea was dropped and Sting didn’t change into anything.

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate The Game

That video was followed by a second which showed us how Kevin Nash had turned heel on Booker T and stole the WCW Championship thanks to shenanigans from the evil special guest referee, Jeff Jarrett.

In a backstage interview with Mean Gene, an amped-up Booker T swore revenge and promised to reclaim the title.

He finishes the promo with his new catchphrase, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Presumedly, this was Booker’s way of sewing the seeds for a feud with Triple H years later.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash vs. Booker T

Though it wasn’t exactly bad, nothing about this match felt like it was anything special.

Even the added attraction of a steel cage added nothing, and instead felt unnecessary.

Coming across like the sort of thing you might see killing ten minutes on Nitro, this mediocre match ended when Booker hit the Book End to reclaim the gold.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Booker T

And that, dear readers, was that.







Featuring several matches which ranged from decent to good, Fall Brawl 2000 was one of the best WCW shows of that year.

That’s not to say it was anything outstanding, but at this stage, not completely sucking was a huge achievement for World Championship Wrestling.

Though there was nothing that was must-see viewing, if you’re looking for a WCW 2000 show that isn’t completely awful, this is it.



For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WCW Fall Brawl 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.