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, 1 April 2021

EVENT REVIEW: NWA The Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review
July 16, 1988 
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

What we're about to review today isn't the 1988 Great American Bash PPV event that featured Luger vs. Flair for the title.

Rather, it's an event recorded from The Great American Bash tour that was filmed and uploaded in its original form onto the WWE Network, meaning no announcers, no exciting opening video packages, just raw footage of the matches as they took place.

If you want to read about the PPV, you'll find that Great American Bash 1988 review here.

Otherwise, let's head down to Greensboro for a night of NWA action.






Rip Morgan & NWA Western States Heritage Champion Larry Zybysko vs. Bugsy McGraw & White Lightning Tim Horner

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Larry Zybysko
No fancy intros or special introductions for what is essentially a recording of a house show.

Instead, we got a cold open with Bugsy McGraw and future Smoky Mountain Wrestling star ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner making their way to the ring.

There, they were met by Western States Heritage Champion Larry Zybysko and Rip Morgan, the latter of whom broke out the traditional New Zealand Haka while McGraw bounced around the ring like a loon.

To be honest, yours truly didn’t have high hopes for this match but it turned out to be a great deal of fun.

Teddy Long was our referee and he apparently enjoyed himself so much that he’d become a life long fan of tag team matches.

Not that you could blame him.

All four men worked hard to deliver a short, explosive opening contest which ended after Tim Horner finally got the hot tag from McGraw and cleaned house.

Lightning by name, Lightning by nature, Horner scored a flash pinfall over Morgan in seven minutes ten seconds, the official time given to us by a young, moustachioed ring announcer by the name of Tony Schiavone.
Your Winners: Bugsy McGraw & Tim Horner

With two rings set up for our main event War Games match, Ronnie Garvin demanded that his next match take place in the ring other than the one officially designated to him.

There was no reason for it, but Garvin had just turned heel a week earlier at the actual Great American Bash ‘88 PPV so this was a good way to show fans that he was now a Grade A d**k.

Ron Garvin (w/ Garry Hart) vs. The Italian Stallion

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Rugged Ronnie Garvin
For further d**kishness, Garvin demanded that he be announced as a former world champion and then feigned an ankle injury in the first ten seconds of the match.

Of course, this was just to lure in The Italian Stallion so that he could punch him out with his famous ‘Hands of Stone’ before sitting on The Stallion’s chest and beating him in what Schiavone told us was 35 seconds.
Your Winner: Ronnie Garvin

Post-match, Garry Hart lambasted the crowd for daring to boo his man and called them hypocrites.

Dick Murdoch vs. Gary Royal

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Dick Murdoch
There will be modern-day fans who dislike this match for being little more than forearm shots and a headlock, but personally this long-time wrestling fan enjoyed it immensely.

After letting Gary Royal put him in a headlock for the first minute of the match, Dirty Dick Murdoch soon gained the advantage and simply bullied his opponent for the next five minutes.

He threw him in the corner and hit him with forearms, argued with Teddy Long (the only official for all three matches so far), took Royal to the outside and did the same again.

The action was slow and methodical but it really presented Murdoch as a brute and a bully and was far more entertaining than some folks would give it credit for.

At the end of six minutes and 59 seconds (thanks, Tony), Murdoch dropped Royal on his noggin and pinned him with a wicked sh*t-eating grin on his face.
Your Winner: Dick Murdoch

Moving on

Non-Title Match
NWA Florida State Champion Rick Steiner vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Jimmy Garvin & Precious
I’m not saying pro wrestling isn’t legit or anything, but it certainly seemed like Tony Schiavone was making up the match times as he went along.

He called this one in five minutes, twenty-five seconds even though it lasted less than three.

Rick Steiner attacked from the opening bell, Ronnie Garvin made a comeback. Kevin Sullivan came down to help his Varsity Club teammate, Garvin saw him off and got a pin from out of nowhere.

It was barely even a match.
Your Winner: Jimmy Garvin

Can you believe that was our fourth match on this card and we’re barely past 25 minutes?

The New Zealand Sheepherders (Luke Williams & Butch Miller w/ Rip Morgan) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - New Zealand Sheepherders vs. Rock 'n' Roll Express
Unfortunately, we didn’t get another Haka from the New Zealanders which would have been cool. Instead, we got them pointing at the New Zealand flag a lot and calling the Americans scum bags before Ricky Morton invited them to kiss some Rock & Roll ass.

With the pre-match banter out of the way, both teams engaged in what was easily the best -and the longest- match on the card so far.

Ok, so it wasn’t nearly as long as Tony Schiavone made it out to be (I’m starting to wonder if Schiavone’s watch was dodgy), but it was still a good 14 minutes of old-school tag team action that had the crowds roaring at every possible turn.

Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson were -as usual- insanely over with the NWA audience while Luke & Butch were reviled in equal measure.

That meant that everything they did got a huge ovation, all of which made for seriously engaging viewing.

After battling against the odds (with Rip Morgan running plenty of blatant interference), the Rock & Roll Express picked up the predictable, but nonetheless satisfying, victory.
Your Winners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Up next, Garry Hart led another man into battle.

Al Perez (w/ Garry Hart) vs. Brad Armstrong

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Al Perez vs. Brad Armstrong
You know, I’ve never noticed before how much Al Perez looks like he could have been Seth Rollins’ older brother.

Here, he took on Road Dogg’s actual brother Brad Armstrong In a weird match that was clearly designed to give the fans a breather after the excitement of the Sheepherders/R&R Express match.

Things went incredibly quiet as Armstrong took control in the early going, even though his simple approach of working over Perez’s arm was effective.

Outside shenanigans courtesy of Mr. Hart later turned the tables and put Perez in control, at which point the fans really came alive for the first time in the match.

After more decent yet unspectacular action, Hart grabbed Armstrong’s leg on a suplex attempt allowing Perez to fall ontop of just opponent for the Uno, dos,tres.

Bunkhouse Handicap Match
NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Sweet Stan Lane and Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 -Jim Cornette
Anything goes according to our man Schiavone, but referee Tommy Young makes both teams go to their corner and enforces tags because logic.

The Fantastics wanted Jim Cornette to start the match but, naturally, the cowardly manager was having none of it.

What followed was a fun match with a hot crowd and a simple story that added a touch of humour to an otherwise basic tag match.

When they were getting their butts kicked, The Midnight Express continually reached to their partner Jim Cornette hoping that he’d tag in, but he flat out refused. This irritated Sweet Stan Lane and Beautiful Bobby Eaton so much that they threatened to punch him.

Naturally, James E. then wanted to tag in when his men were in control and even wanted to score the match-winning pin despite Beautiful Bobby having it all taken care of.

This ended up costing the Midnights the match as the Fantastics kicked out, fought back, and, when Cornette accidentally threw powder in Bobby’s face, they beat him up and won the match.
Your Winners: The Fantastics

This fan honestly expected Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby to turn on Cornette after the match, but no such luck.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World Television Champion Mike Rotunda (w/ Rick Steiner and ‘Games Master’ Kevin Sullivan) vs. Sting

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Mike Rotunda vs. Sting
Sting
was easily the most popular dude on the roster so far on this show and was also the only guy to get actual entrance music.

Unfortunately, that popularity alone wasn’t to secure him a title victory despite putting on a valiant effort against Mike Rotunda.

Early in the match, Rotunda’s team mates Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan got involved but Sting whooped their butts so referee Tommy Young let it slide.

Then, after a decent match, they got involved again only this time Young had decided that enough was quite clearly enough and threw the match out.
Your Winner via DQ: Sting (Mike Rotunda retains)

Post-match, Rotunda and Steiner began pushing and shoving one another until Kevin Sullivan broke them up.

Skywalker Match
The Russian Assassin & Ivan Koloff (w/ Paul Jones) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Scaffold match
Skywalker match = scaffold match.

We were getting into main event territory now which meant that everyone got music, but if you were expecting a bit of Iron Man for The Road Warriors you’d be disappointed. Generic Rock Theme #1234 was the order of the day here, at least on the Network.

As far as match quality goes, this was certainly one of the better scaffold matches the NWA had presented.

It was certainly better than the Road Warriors outing against The Midnight Express back at Starrcade 1986 and better than the second scaffold match we saw back at Starrcade 1987 between the Midnights and The Rock & Roll Express.

This was mostly thanks to the efforts of Ivan Koloff, who had no problem tripping himself up on the platform and pretending to almost lose his balance umpteen times. It was a masterful  job that saved this from being just another ‘dudes stay on the edges of the platform where it’s safe and punch each other until eventually dropping to the ring.’

To be fair, that’s precisely what Road Warrior Hawk and The Russian Assassin did, but at least Koloff made things interesting in his pairing with Animal.

Alas, making things interesting wasn’t enough to win the match.

He and the Assassin both took unremarkable bumps back to the canvas to lose the match.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Afterwards, Hawk, Animal, and Paul Ellering all beat up on Paul Jones

War Games
The Four Horsemen (NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair, Barry Windham, NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, and James J. Dillon) vs. Lex Luger, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Ellering, Dr. Death Steve Williams, and Nikita Koloff

This was a solid match well worthy of main event status and, despite getting pretty chaotic once the ring filled up, remained compelling from start to finish.

Dusty Rhodes and Arn Anderson kicked things off and both bladed within about two minutes because of course, why wouldn’t they?

From there, more bodies entered at regular intervals to create a wildly entertaining brawl that raged on all the way through to The Match Beyond where Rhodes finally put James J. Dillon in  a figure four to win the match.
Your Winners: Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, Steve Williams, and Paul Ellering

Post-match, the triumphant heels walked off into the sunset while the Four Horsemen checked on their fallen comrade.







For the most part, the Greensboro stop on the Great American Bash 1988 tour was better than it perhaps looks on paper. While only a few bouts really stood out as anything special (Sheepherders vs. Rock & Roll Express, Fantastics vs. Midnights and the main event War Games match), everything else was at least decent enough to make watching this show an enjoyable experience.

Personally, I would have liked WWE to have brought in some guys to record a commentary track in order to enhance the overall presentation of this event, but that’s a small niggle that takes nothing away from what was generally an OK show all-round.



Other 1988 events:
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Thursday, 25 March 2021

Top 8 Best Things About The WWF Invasion Storyline

Top 8 best Things About the WWF Invasion Storyline
The WCW/ECW vs. WWF Invasion storyline that dominated Raw and Smackdown throughout the majority of 2001 has gone down in history as a disaster, ranking up there only with Katie Vick and The Gobbledygooker as some of the worst things McMahon & Co. ever forced upon their audience.

Still, despite its lasting legacy of terribleness, The Invasion angle did occasionally produce some good stuff too.

Sure, the WCW contingent that invaded the WWF boasted practically zero star power, and the two bonafide stars it did have (DDP and Booker T) were buried beyond belief. 

Sure, it gave us head-scratching defections like Christian joining The Alliance for no other reason than lumping him in with the other heels. That's not to mention Kurt Angle likewise jumping ship in literally in the last few weeks before the whole thing ended, despite the fact that he’d spent all summer feuding with Alliance leader Steve Austin.

And sure, the whole thing became more about The McMahons than any attempt at presenting a seemingly legitimate Invasion attempt, but honestly, it really wasn’t all bad.

Over the last few months, I’ve been documenting the Invasion-era PPVs here on Retro Pro Wrestling and watched the whole storyline play out, including all of the Raw and Smackdown shows in between.

Having done so, I genuinely believe that some of it was very entertaining.






Don’t believe me?

Here’s the eight best things to have come out of the WCW/ECW vs. WWF Invasion Storyline.

8. Kurt Angle Douses The Alliance in milk


It was a scene that would play out countless times over the years and was even referenced in Kurt Angle’s Hall of Fame induction; the Olympic Gold Medalist driving a milk truck to the ring and spraying everyone in sight with the white stuff.

The spot was, of course, a spoof of Alliance leader Stone Cold Steve Austin’s beer bath angle from March 1999, and served as the perfect spot for Angle to stick it to his arch-rival.

It went over huge too, partly because of the absurdity of it all, but mostly because Angle was enjoying a huge run as one of the company’s top two babyfaces. In fact, during the few months after Wrestlemania 17 while The Rock was away filming The Scorpion King, Angle had been the top face and would remain hugely over until his utterly nonsensical heel turn in the last few weeks of the Invasion.

Of course, it also gave us one JR's classic calls:

"The Billion Dollar Princess has become the dairy queen!"

7. Shane Helms Becomes The Hurricane 


Shane Helms had begun to get over in WCW’s Cruiserweight division during the dying days of the company’s existence.

He even had a terrific outing with Chavo Guerrero at WCW Greed, emerging victorious to become the new Cruiserweight champion and bringing that title with him over into the World Wrestling Federation.

There, he quickly lost the title to Billy Kidman and spent the first half of the invasion as a non-descript background character.

Things changed when he started appearing on TV wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt and professing his admiration for Hal Jordan’s alter-ego.

Not content to leave it there, Shane ‘Hurricane’ Helms decided to ditch his civilian name altogether and began referring to himself simply as The Hurricane, complete with superhero attire.

Despite being part of the heel Alliance faction, Hurricane soon became one of the more popular fan-favorite characters of that group, with only RVD (more of whom later) getting larger pops while part of the Alliance.

Hurricane was soon rewarded for his growing popularity with a European title run of not insignificant length (at least not in the modern age) and soon adopted himself a sidekick in the form of ‘Mighty’ Molly Holly.

In fact, Helms was so over with this gimmick that when he basically stole Molly from her then-boyfriend (and sympathetic babyface) Spike Dudley, the crowd continued to cheer him despite it being a pretty dick move.

The Hurricane would remain a popular act within the WWF for most of his run, even getting a high-profile match with The Rock. Alas, the WWF being the WWF, the ever-popular super hero would later ditch his alter-ego and go back to being regular old Gregory Helms.

5. Rob Van Dam’s Feud With Jeff Hardy


Not long after he arrived on the scene as part of the WCW/ECW Alliance, Rob Van Dam entered into a wildly entertaining feud with Jeff Hardy which resulted in some quality matches over the hardcore title.
The two would face off at the Invasion PPV, again at Summerslam 2001, and at least once on an episode of Smackdown.

While there wasn’t much to the storyline beyond both men wanting to outdo one another and prove themselves to be the superior wrestler, the actual matches between them were mostly excellent and a real highlight of the first few months of the Invasion.

When it was over, Jeff went back to teaming -and later feuding- with his brother Matt, enjoying a brief run with the WCW tag team titles while RVD emerged from the feud with the hardcore title still around his waist and would hold onto it until well after the whole Invasion storyline was over.

4. Rock vs. Jericho 


OK, so you could argue that a battle between two WWF stars such as The Rock and Chris Jericho could have still happened without the invasion, but this is one instance where the WWF vs. WCW/ECW storyline bombing so bad actually resulted in something awesome.

Owing to the lack of star power and generally poor ratings the Invasion was getting, Vince had The Rock come back after filming The Mummy Returns, immediately bury Booker T with his “who in the blue hell are you?” line and then beat him for the WCW Championship.

The Great One would then team with Chris Jericho for reasons that I can’t remember and probably don’t matter, but when Jericho accidentally whacked his partner with a chair, this caused a rift between the two.

The Rock began to remind Jericho that he’d never captured ‘The Big One’ and insulted him for his lack of success in high-profile matches while Jericho claimed this simply wasn’t true and promised to dethrone the WCW Champion at WWF No Mercy 2001.

True to his word, Y2J captured The Big Gold Belt from his partner/nemesis thanks to some botched shenanigans from Stephanie McMahon. The match was awesome and must have surely been in the conversation when most people were naming their Match of the Year picks.

Simply a great singles match and one of the best from the entire Invasion.

3. Paul Heyman Gives Vince McMahon a Piece of His Mind 


In the build-up to the final battle at Survivor Series 2001, ECW leader and then color commentator Paul Heyman was given a microphone and free reign to say whatever was on his mind.

It turned out what was on his mind was how much he hated Vince McMahon. After talking in general about his disdain for the Chairman, Vince Himself made his way to ringside and that's when Heyman really let him have it.

Though this cynical fan really doubts that it wasn't entirely a "shoot" promo as it was presented to be, it was certainly incredibly compelling and one of the most enthralling spots in the storyline.

2. Sing-Along With The Rock and Stone Cold 


Heyman wasn't the only one to deliver an excellent promo in the build-up to Survivor Series. On the go-home Raw, WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and WCW Champion The Rock met face-to-face in the ring to deliver a promo for the ages.

It started with the two snatching the microphone from one another and building up epic amounts of tension and ended with them singing Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville as a duet before Rock planted Austin with a Rock Bottom. 

Though it wasn't as soaked in realism as Heyman berating of Mr. McMahon, Rock and Austin's verbal jousting looked like the most fun two wrestlers could ever have and was simply a joy to watch.

1. The Rise and Rise of Rob Van Dam

Having impressed in that aforementioned feud with Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam quickly caught fire as one of the most popular stars in the company throughout the duration of the Invasion storyline. 

In fact, I'd even dare to say that the reactions he received were on a par with the likes of headline acts like Austin and Angle. 

His popularity didn't go unnoticed and despite being aligned with The Alliance for the duration of the storyline, he was presented as a babyface and was even teased as rivaling Stone Cold Steve Austin for the title of Alliance leader.

This led to him being placed in a WWF title match, taking on champion Austin as well as Kurt Angle in a triple threat match. Though you could easily be skeptical and say that RVD's role in the match was simply to give Austin a win without Angle suffering a loss, if you followed the entire storyline, Van Dam's rise to the main event seemed entirely fitting and a natural result of his growing stardom.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to last.

Just a few months after the Invasion storyline ended, Van Dam found himself in a nothing mid-card feud with Goldust. Sure, that feud gave us a decent match at No Way Out 2002, but it seemed like such a comedown after The Whole F'N Show had proven himself to be one of the company's most over stars in 2001. 






2001 Reviews:

Thursday, 18 March 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Survivor Series 2001

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Event Poster
November 18, 2001, 
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina

Survivor Series 2001 was the night that The WWF Invasion finally came to an end.

That meant that one of the greatest missed opportunities in pro wrestling history came to an end.

It meant that the enjoyable push of Rob Van Dam as one of the most popular stars of 2001 -and one of the few bright spots of the Invasion- was coming to an end as despite being hugely over, RVD would find himself lumbered in a mid-card feud with Goldust a few months later.

It meant an end to Stone Cold Steve Austin's run as the leader of a company that discarded him and told him he'd never be a star, and the end of  us all pretending like Vince McMahon couldn't have just barred The Alliance from entering the arena if he'd wanted to. 

Here's what went down on that fateful night in what had long been NWA / WCW Country, Greensboro, North Carolina. 





This is the End, My Only Friend, The End

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Paul Heyam and Jim ross
Remember that awesome Doors sound-alike that the World Wrestling Federation used back at Armageddon 2000?

They wheeled it out again here to serve as the soundtrack for tonight’s opening video package, splicing footage of WWF legends like Gorilla Monsoon and Freddie Blassie standing around looking reflective with clips of historical moments such as The Ultimate Warrior charging to the ring, and shots from the recent WWF vs. Alliance feud that was finally going to end tonight.

Curiously, the intro had been redubbed so that after the video, a dude said “and now, WWE Survivor Series” even though the company was definitely still the WWF at this time.

From there, we went to the obligatory crowd shots both in the arena and at WWF New York while Jim Ross put over tonight’s event as the most significant event in pro wrestling history.

He and fellow announcer Paul Heyman bantered back and forth about hating working together before it was down to our opening contest.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Christian vs. Al Snow

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Christian defended the European title against Al Snow
One of the dumbest moments of the Invasion storyline was Christian defecting to The Alliance for no other reason than the fact that he was a heel.

Tonight, he kicked off Survivor Series 2001 by referring to Greensboro as ‘the place the WWF [came] to die’ before meeting the challenge to his European championship laid down by Al Snow of all people earlier on Heat.

Snow may not have been a prominent character on TV during the Invasion (he was mostly off doing Tough Enough) but he gave us a fun opening match here against Christian.

Both men traded the advantage multiple times, going back and forth in an entertaining effort that had the crowds hooked from start to finish.

Towards the end, Al hit the Snow Plow only for Christian to get his foot on the ropes to break the count.

Proving that he wasn’t the smartest dude on the roster, Snow stared at Christian’s foot on the rope for a few seconds and somehow deduced from this that he’d won the match.

A few moments later, he was punished for his stupidity by eating an Unprettier and taking the fall.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Christian

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - The Alliance confront Stone Cold Steve Austin
Another dumb moment in the Invasion storyline came when Vince McMahon told everyone that Steve Austin would be defecting and rejoining the WWF, sewing seeds of distrust in The Alliance.

Tonight, Austin arrived at the arena with his wife Debra and WWF title belt in tow only to be confronted by his Alliance teammates who wanted to know what was going on.

Why hadn’t he returned their phone calls? He didn’t want to.

Was he joining the WWF?

Hell no!

In a fun segment, Austin demanded that his cohorts stop being paranoid and vowed to take out the World Wrestling Federation one way or another.

Sh*t Happens

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Michael Cole interviews Vince n Linda McMahon
Elsewhere in the arena, Linda McMahon expressed concern that somebody might get hurt tonight, only for her husband Vince to dismiss her with the old saying ‘sh*t happens.’

McMahon then gave a confident interview to Michael Cole in which he boasted about building an empire by taking calculated risks.

Tonight, according to Vince, that empire would absolutely come out on top.

When it was all over, McMahon was interrupted by William Regal. The Alliance Commissioner was as entertaining as ever as he told Vince that Austin was as loyal to the group as Regal was to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Tonight, said Regal, The Alliance would do to the WWF what he was about to do to Tajiri.

William Regal vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - William Regal vs. Tajiri
Tajiri
’s girlfriend Torrie Wilson wasn’t with him tonight after Regal had pretty much murdered her on the go-home Smackdown show.

Seeking revenge, the Japanese Buzzsaw quickly got revenge by kicking Regal’s face off and making him bleed. Not that this was enough to earn him the victory.

After a very short but enjoyable match that lasted less time than the previous two backstage segments, Regal destroyed his former assistant with a powerbomb.
Your Winner: William Regal

Not content with that, Regal beat up Tajiri after the bell. Torrie then ran out to check on her man so Regal murdered her again.

The brute.

Edge and Test

Prior to the next match, we were reminded of the rivalry between Edge and Test. The latter had cheated to beat the former for the Intercontinental Championship but Edge had then beaten Kurt Angle for the US title.

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Test flirts with Stacy Keibler
WWF Commissioner Mick Foley had then booked the two in a title unification match on tonight’s show. This video package had also been overdubbed because in Foley’s original announcement he had confused which man owned which title.

Back in the arena, Test had begun to play up the conceited ‘obsessed with his own looks’ gimmick that he’d suddenly adopted on the last Smackdown when Stacy Kiebler had told him he was hotter than Edge.

Backstage, the Intercontinental Champion was busy admonishing make-up lady Janet Ventriglia for not rubbing oil into his body properly when Kiebler came to wish him luck in his match.

Though she wouldn’t give a straight answer when he asked her out, the former Miss Hancock did rub his bum as she left.

“Yeah,” smiled Test afterwards. “She wants me.”

Across the arena, US Champion Edge gave a hilarious interview to Jonathan Coachman in which he mocked Test for ‘being dumped by virtually every chick on the planet’ and promised to dethrone him in tonight’s match.

US vs. Intercontinental Championship Title Unification Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Test vs. WCW US Champion Edge

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Test vs. Edge - US title vs. intercontinental title unification matchBoth men had enjoyed the best year of their WWF run so far in 2001.

Edge had triumphed (along with Christian) in the memorable and historic TLC match at Wrestlemania X-7 before going on to win the 2001 King of the Ring and enjoy a couple of reigns with the IC title before his latest role as United States Champion.

Though not as successful, Test had enjoyed two tag team title reigns with Booker T in a fun make-shift team and was now heading into this title unification match with the Intercontinental gold.

At first, the match didn’t seem like it was going to be up to much. It was somewhat slow and rather uninspired, but then something (who knows what) happened to light a fire up the arse of both men and then suddenly upped their game, the match getting better and better the longer it went on.

Eventually, after what ended up being a solid match, Edge planted Test with a spear and walked away with both the United States and Intercontinental Championships.
Your Winner and NEW Unified US & Intercontinental Champion: Edge

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - The Hardy Boyz & Lita
Backstage, Stephanie McMahon vented to Kurt Angle about how worried she was that if The Alliance lost she would have to become a regular person and clean her own toilet.

Ever the gent, Angle assured her he wasn’t going to let that happen.

Across the way, Lita and Jeff Hardy were busy talking about how weird Matt Hardy had been acting lately when the future broken one himself interrupted their conversation.

According to Matt, everybody should have been acting weird as tonight was an important night - after all, if they lost their match tonight, they were out of a job.

Steel Cage Match Tag Team Title Unification Match
WCW Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Stacy Kiebler) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - The Dudleyz faced The Hardy Boyz in a tag title unification match
There was no real reason for this to be a cage match. In kayfabe, the stipulation had been decided on a whim by Commissioner Mick Foley. In reality, this writer suspects it was simply to keep things fresh after the two teams had battled countless times in the past.

This match wasn’t quite up there with their epic tables match from Royal Rumble 2000, but it was still a solid effort fought under cage escape or pinfall rules.

Both teams went back and forth for an enjoyable 15 minutes until Stacy Kiebler seduced outside official Nick Patrick so that she could slide a table into the ring.

After a little more action, Matt Hardy escaped the cage after which Jeff Hardy planted D’Von atop the table and scaled to the top of the cage.

At that point, Jeff could have simply climbed down and won the match for his team but instead decided to dive off the cage onto D’Von.

It was a cool spot, sure, but a dumb one. D’Von moved, Jeff crashed through the table and one three count later relinquished the tag team titles.

Oh Jeff, why?
Your Winners and NEW Unified Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Afterward, Jeff was wheeled off on a stretcher.

The Commissionership is a Joke

Over at WWF New York, Commissioner Mick Foley revealed that he wanted to be in Greensboro but his boss Vince McMahon had ordered him to hang out at the restaurant/club instead.

Picking up where he’d left off in a pissed-off promo back on that week’s edition of Raw, the angry Commissioner promised that if he still had a job come Monday he’d be flying to Charlotte to have a few choice words for Mr. McMahon.

Meanwhile, back in the arena, Test beat up Scotty 2 Hotty so that he could take his place in the upcoming Immunity Battle Royal.

Immunity Battle Riyal
Featuring Lance Storm, Justin Credible, Diamond Dallas Page, Test, The Hurricane, Raven, Billy Kidman, Raven, Tommy Dreamer, Shawn Stasiak, The APA, Crash Holly, Funaki, Billy & Chuck, Spike Dudley, Perry Saturn, Albert, Tazz

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Immunity Battle Royal
Winner Gets Immunity From Being Fired For 1 Year Regardless of Which Side Loses

It’s always difficult to say much about a battle royal. Nothing much of note happened here apart from Chavo Guerrero and Hugh Morrus putting in an unscheduled appearance.

The former Misfits in Action cohorts had been fired by The Alliance after sucking up to Vince McMahon and asking him for a job, requests that McMahon flat out refused.

The two snuck into the battle royal hoping to get their jobs back but failed, as did almost everybody else.

After about ten minutes of guys hanging out on the ropes, Test eliminated Billy Gunn to ensure he’d still have a job on Monday.
Your Winner: Test

Out in the back, Booker T told Shane McMahon that he didn’t trust Stone Cold, only for Shane ‘O to try and convince Mr. Five-Time that Austin was indeed the one to lead them to the promised land.

Six-Pack Challenge for the Vacant World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline vs. Lita vs. Ivory vs. Mighty Molly vs. Jazz

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Molly Holly locks up with Jacqueline
The women’s championship hadn't been since Chyna defeated Ivory for it at Wrestlemania.

She’d since left the company, vacating the title which had been completely forgotten about over the course of the Invasion.

Tonight, these six women looked to remind people about it in what was a pretty damn good effort.

The story that often seems to be told is that from the Attitude Era onwards, the women’s division was a joke, a bathroom break, a whole bunch of nothing until the likes of Beth Phoenix and Charlotte Flair began to change all that.

While it would certainly become that for a while, there was no sense of the division being a joke in this match. It was a competent, well put together and reasonably enjoyable outing for the most part.

The only downside was the introduction of former ECW star Jazz as the mystery sixth woman.

While Paul Heyman marked out for her big time, the rest of Greensboro welcomed Jazz with total apathetic silence.

Despite that, she looked pretty impressive until the finishing spot where she went cack-arse through the ropes in an ugly botched spot.

With Jazz out of the way, Trish Stratus was left to plant Ivory with her Stratusfaction bulldog and win the match.
Your Winner and new Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

In the post-match, Jim Ross put over Trish as being the underdog due to her limited experience compared to the other women.

“But there’s Trish, coming in the back door,” said Jim Ross before turning to Paul Heyman and quipping. “I’m sure you wouldn’t mind that.”

JR, you filthy perv.

Vince Rallies the Troops

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Vince McMahon gives Team WWF a pep talk
Prior the main event, Vince McMahon lined up Team WWF in the locker room to give them a pep talk.

Ever the asshole, Mr. McMahon role his troops that although he was confident that they’d win, the fans would never forgive them if they lost.

What’s more, said Vince, losing would mean that they’d be personally and professionally disgraced, not to mention ridiculed by their peers and family.

Finally, McMahon also told them to forget all about Stone Cold Steve Austin rejoining the company and act as if it were ‘complete BS.’

Speaking of Austin, he was seen leading his team through the backstage corridors in solemn silence.

Say what you will about the whole Invasion storyline but this segment did an excellent job at building up the gravitas of the whole situation.

By the time it was over and we went into our obligatory pre-match video there was still an hour left on this show.

That makes for a really long main event for sure.

Winner Take All Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Alliance (Shane McMahon, Booker T, WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin) vs. Team WWF (The Big Show, Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, and WCW Champion The Rock

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Steve Austin, RVD, and Kurt Angle reach for a tag
The Rock and Austin wasted no time getting into this one, immediately going after each other with rights and lefts and battering each other around the ring.

Things eventually settled down with members from each team pairing off and taking turns to spend a little time in the ring, usually with Team WWF getting the upperhand.

Hilariously, every time a member of the World Wrestling Federation made a cover, Shane McMahon would dive in and break it up then scurry off like a rat.

Speaking of Shane, he led by example by scoring the first fall for his side.

The Big Show took to the ring and destroyed Booker T, only for Kurt Angle to hit him with an impressive Angle Slam. Big Show then ate a scissor kick from Booker and a five-star frogsplash from Rob Van Dam before Shane sealed the deal with an elbow drop to put The Alliance ahead 5-4.

Unfortunately for McMahon, his victory didn’t last long. He got his ass whooped by The Rock, chokeslammed by Kane, tombstoned by The Undertaker and finally hit with a lionsault by Chris Jericho to level the playing field.

Things would soon breakdown into a brawl during which time both Kane and The Undertaker were eliminated, leaving The Rock and Chris Jericho to take on Austin, Angle, Booker, and RVD.

Given that Rock and Jericho had become increasingly hostile towards each other in recent weeks this did not bode well for Team WWF.

After more entertaining brawling, it all came down to Rock & Jericho vs. Austin & Angle.

In other words, a match between four original WWF guys.

Jericho played face in peril for a while before Rock finally made the hot tag and destroyed Kurt Angle, making the Olympic gold medalist possibly the only person in history to tap out to The Rock’s awkward sharpshooter.

Jericho too was later eliminated and took out his frustration on arch-rival The Rock before being sent packing by The Undertaker.

That left us with another classic Rock/Austin showdown which was undoubtedly the highlight of the whole match and a joy to watch.


After an epic battle between the two men, Kurt Angle returned and turned his back on The Alliance, smashing Austin in the face with the title belt to give The Rock, and Team WWF, the victory.
Your Winners: Team WWF (Sole Survivor: The Rock)

WWE / WWF Survivor Series 2001 - Vince McMahon celebrates the WWF's Victory
As a distraught Paul Heyman looked on, The Rock celebrated his victory while Vince McMahon came out onto the stage.

The closing moments of Survivor Series 2001, and of the entire Invasion storyline was the WWF owner standing tall and proud, arms raised in victory having finally destroyed his competition once and for all.

In every sense, the landscape of professional wrestling would never be the same again.







Survivor Series 2001 may never go down as an all-time classic event, but its job was to write the final chapter of a story and to that end, it worked very well.

Although there were definitely some highlights (the main event and the tag title cage match) nothing on the show actually sucked, making for an enjoyable event from start to finish.

The Invasion may have had many flaws, but at least it ended on a high note.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993

June 19, 1993
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular was the first major event promoted by ECW and was a long, long way from the kind of PPV events the company would be putting out just five-six years later.

Back in 1993, there was no way of telling that this little-promotion-that-could would eventually establish itself as one of the "Big Three," offering a viable option for those who preferred a more extreme alternative to WCW and the WWF.

OK, so may be some people - like Paul Heyman, for example - wanted it to happen, but to watch Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular you'd be forgiven for dismissing ECW as nothing more than another low-rent indie promotion with nothing much going on.

Still, that's not what we're going to today. Rather than dismiss ECW, we're going to head down to Philadelphia and see what went down at the company's first big super show.





Welcome to the Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular 


We began tonight’s show outside the ECW arena where Todd Gordon and Jay Sulli stood around hyping up a small group of middle-aged men who were apparently die-hard ECW fans.

Gordon hyped one of tonight’s big matches before calling the ECW Super Summer Sizzler 93 ‘the hottest show in independent history.’

With that, we got our opening video package, a typically early ‘90s amateur-hour affair featuring early ECW stars like Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco as well as people this writer had no idea had ever appeared for the company like British Bulldog and Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart.

We then went straight to the action with Sulli being joined on commentary by the one and only Paul E. Dangerously.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Television Championship
ECW Television Champion ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka vs. J.T Smith

Superfly was a heel here and aligned with Paul E.

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 - Jimmy Snuka
Apparently, his gimmick was that he didn’t give a sh*t. Either that or he just didn’t actually care and was only there to pick up a paycheque.

The match wasn’t awful or anything but you really just got the impression that Snuka was simply going through the motions until he could hit the Superfly Splash and get out of there.

That happened in about six minutes, ending a pretty ‘blah’ match.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Jimmy Snuka.

Moving quickly on...

First Blood Rules
Larry Winters vs. Tony “Hitman” Stetson

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Larry Winters vs. Tony Stetson
Things got a little better with this next match. Not great, but better.

The action wasn’t particularly special, but both Larry Winters and Tony Stetson concentrated on attacking each other’s foreheads and actually trying to make their opponent bleed right from the word go. Honestly, that’s a far better approach than many first blood matches where the two wrestlers compete in a relatively normal match and drawing blood seems like a an afterthought.

With that working in its favor then, it’s disappointing that the finish to this match was kind of dumb.

Rockin’ Rebel got involved, distracting the referee so that Stetson could pull a chain out of his pants and blast his rival with it to win the match.

Sure, that would have been a standard finish in a regular match, but it had already been announced that there were no rules besides making your opponent bleed, so why bother with the distraction?
Your Winner: Tony Stetson

Post match, Stetson and Rebel beat up on poor old Larry Winters until Winters battled back and sent them packing.

Cat Fight Humiliation Match
Miss Peaches vs. Terrible Tigra

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Terrible Tigra
‘Cat fight humiliation match’ - well, at least ECW were honest and didn’t try to pass this off as any kind of genuine athletic competition because it certainly wasn’t.

Miss Peaches was Sandman’s wife and Terrible Tigra had been getting involved in Sandman’s matches which was a good enough reason for the two to roll around on the mat tugging at each other’s clothes in a bout that had no clearly defined way to win.

The way to win wasn’t by removing an item of your opponents' clothes because Tigra did that to Peaches in about sixty seconds and the match continued.

It could have been by regular pinfall or submission but since neither lady even attempted a cover, that’s probably not it either.

After another minute or so of nondescript rolling around, Tigra tried to leave only to be blocked at the isle by the debuting Angel, who was being presented here as a mystery woman.

Angel ordered Tigra back to the ring to roll around again for another minute before simply letting her leave. At that point, the referee called for the bell and awarded the match to Peaches.
Your Winner Via Goodness Knows What: Miss Peaches

Post-match, Peaches went to cut a promo but Rockin’ Rebel and Tony Stetson chased her off then ganged up on Angel and ripped her top off, exposing her boobage to the audience. Seriously, can you imagine any show today where two men could overpower a woman and rip her clothes off and it being allowed to air?

I’m sure there are people for whom this kind of stuff constitutes entertainment, but this fan is certainly not one of them.

Anyway, Larry Winters eventually came to the rescue and Angel’s dignity was preserved with a beach towel.

Eastern Championship Wrestling TV Championship
WCW TV Champion Superfly Jimmy Snuka (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Iron Man Tommy Cairo

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Iron Man TommY Cairo
With Paul E. now accompanying his man to ringside, Terry Funk joined Sulli on commentary.

This was the better of Jimmy Snuka’s two title defences on the show, but only because challenger Tommy Cairo turned up ready to go and worked his butt off.

Snuka still seemed like he didn’t want to do much of anything, so his opponent bounced around for a while before losing in the most feeble way possible.

Paul E. tripped up Cairo and Snuka pinned him with one foot barely grazing the middle rope.

Apparently, Cairo was so weak that he couldn’t kick out and the match was over.
Your Winner and Still ECW TV Champion: Jimmy Snuka

After the bell, Cairo hi-fived the fans while Terry Funk put over his main event match with ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert and the ring announcer put over the ECW Hotline.

Remember that?

Philly Street Fight
The Sandman vs. Rockin’ Rebel

After his awful double-murder suicide killing his wife and then himself in 2018, Rockin’ Rebel now recives the Krispin Wah treatment on WWE Network which captions this match only as ‘Sandman Competes in a Philly Street Fight.

Much as I do with Benoit matches on this blog, the best way I can think to approach this is to focus purely on the quality of the match out of respect for their opponent and leave my own personal feelings about the crimes committed out of the equation.

The match was easily the most entertaining thing on the show so far but to be honest, given the lacklustre quality of this event that’s not the huge compliment it might first seem.

The Sandman wasn’t yet fully ‘The Sandman’ as fans would later get to know him as. Instead, he was somewhere between the beer-swilling hardcore icon and the surfer dude he had started his career as.

Whatever his gimmick was, Sandman wasn’t a great wrestler here but could swing a chair around with the best of them and did so with gusto until another mystery woman (Tammy Sytch) entered the ring and sprayed him in the eyes with something.

That allowed Rebel to get the win via roll-up.
Your Winner: Rockin’ Rebel

Afterwards, Tony Stetson (who had put in a cameo in the match) helped Tammy to the back but thankfully saw no reason to rip her clothes off.

Dark Patriot II (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Dick Murdoch

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -  Paul "Flappy Tits" Heyman
Prior to the bell, Paul E. announced that the original Dark Patriot was in Japan and thus he had recruited the originally named Dark Patriot II to take his place.

Dick Murdoch didn’t care. He was here to make his ECW debut and was only interested in kicking some butt.

He did that pretty effectively in an inoffensive but largely bland match that was typical of your average low-rung indie show.

Like I say, it wasn’t awful or anything, just not that entertaining.

Murdoch won with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Dick Murdoch

Ready for some more?

Six-Man Tag Challenge
Wildman Sal Bellomo, Super Destroyer #1, and Stevie Wonderful vs. Hunter Q Robins III & ECW Tag Team Champions The Suicide Blondes (Sir Jonathan Hotbody & Sir Richard Michaels)

ECW Summer Sizzler Spectacular 1993 -Sal Bellomo
Joey Styles
made his ECW debut here, joining Sulli on commentary and playing a heel which was interesting and fun.

Speaking of fun, that’s exactly what this match was, at least compared to the bland bag of meh that the rest of this show had been.

Played partly for laughs and partly as a straight match, this still came across as the kind of thing you’d only find on an indie show, but since that’s exactly what this was, I can hardly complain.

After some decent action, Wildman Sal Bellomo splashed the crap out of Richard Michaels to earn the win.
Your Winners: Sal Bellomo, Super Destroyer, and Stevie Wonderful.

Finally, with just shy of 25 minutes left on the clock, it was time for our main event.

Joey Styles left the announce booth to be replaced by Todd Gordon, delighting nobody but Gordon himself.

King of Philadelphia Texas Chain Match Massacre
Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert vs. Terry Funk

This was your standard ‘touch four corners’ strap match using a chain instead of a strap with the winner claiming the title of ‘King of Philadelphia.’

Though it certainly wasn’t a technical classic, it was a compelling and bloody brawl that captured the attention and held it from start to finish.

Both men busted each other open as they brawled in the ring, around the ring, and later up in the crowd.

At one point, referee John Finnegan got squashed in the corner and was replaced by Kevin Christian.

At first, this seemed like a random and pointless move but later it proved to be important to the finish.

Terry Funk touched all four corners only to discover that Christian had been distracted by Paul E. and didn’t see it.

As Funk argued with the official, Gilbert waffled him with a chair, hit him with a piledriver and then touched all four corners to win the match, and the crown.
Your Winner and King of Philadelphia: Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert

Afterwards, Paul E. Dangerously revealed that he and Kevin Christian had been in cahoots the whole time. He also cut an excitable promo but the quality of this video is so poor that it’s impossible to make out what he said.

Finally, things ended with Todd Gordon firing Christian, who pushed the boss man down and wandered off arm in arm with Dangerously while Gilbert got sent packing by Funk.

The Funkster then placed the King of Philadelphia crown atop Gordon’s head as the ECW Super Summer Sizzler 1993 event came to a close.






If all you had to go off was this one event, you’d never in a million years be able to guess that ECW would become one of the hottest wrestling promotions in the world.

The Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular came off as a low-rent indie show filled with mediocre performances, a gang rape spot and only the occasional flash of genuine entertainment.

Things would get better -much better- over the course of ECW’s existence, but their first major event wasn’t much to get excited about.

—————-

Other ECW Reviews:

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.