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, 17 March 2022

A Tribute to Scott Hall

Hey yo...

A few days ago I sat down to start reviewing Superbrawl I. Half way through the show, Diamond Dallas Page introduced his newest charge, The Diamond Studd

Scott Hall as The Diamond Studd with Diamond Dallas Page

Without saying a word, 'Studd positively oozed charisma, giving a simple flick of a toothpick that would become one of his many trademarks over the rest of his career.

Less than 24 hours later, the wrestling world heard the devastating news that the man behind The Diamond Stud, Scott Hall, was on life support following multiple heart attacks. A later statement from Hall's best-friend Kevin Nash sadly confirmed that the man who had successfully fought so many battles both inside and outside of the ring was unlikely to kick out this time.

Truthfully, I've been incredibly sad ever since. 

A year after his Superbrawl debut, Hall made his way to the World Wrestling Federation, combining many of the Diamond Studd's mannerisms with more than a little influence from the movie Scarface in order to take on his most iconic role as The Bad Guy, Razor Ramon.

Scott Hall as Razor Ramon

At a time when the WWF was becoming increasingly over-run by cartoon characters, Ramon stood out as being the real deal, thanks in no small part to Hall's talent and the absolute conviction with which he portrayed the character.

As the ill-fated New Generation era arrived, The Bad Guy remained a bright spot in an otherwise dark time for the WWF, competing in great matches against the likes of Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, giving us two classic ladder matches against Shawn Michaels that are still revered to this day and, of course, who could ever forget the time a young Sean Waltman upset Razor on that fateful episode of Monday Night Raw?

In 1996, Hall, along with Nash, moved back to World Championship Wrestling, changing the game both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Together with Hulk Hogan, Hall and Nash formed The New World Order and things were never the same again.

Scott Hall with Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash as The New World Order

WCW began to truly establish itself as the number one pro wrestling company in America, if not the world, a sea of black and white nWo t-shirts could be seen in the crowd at every show, and wrestling fans the world over gave each other the "Two Sweet" while reminding one another that when you're nWo, you're nWo for life. 

Hall's last WCW run was also the last great run of his career.

After that, a short stop in WWE, followed by brief runs in TNA and elsewhere gave us a glimpse of The Bad Guy of old, but Hall's personal demons and off-screen life meant that we'd never again see the multi-time Intercontinental Champion at his best.

In his last few years, we'd see Hall finally give those demons a Razor's Edge for the ages, and as we say goodbye to this all-time legend, it's that, more than anything he did in the ring, that must surely serve as The Bad Guy's biggest victory. 

Alas, no matter how much we all prayed for Scott to kick out on two, death got the cover, the count, and the fall on one of the greatest of all time, and now the wrestling world mourns the loss of a true legend.

Scott Hall - Hard Work Pays Off, Dreams Come True, Bad Times Don't Last, but Bad Guys Do

Rest in peace, Bad Guy.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE No Way Out 2003

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review - Event poster
February 23, 2003, 
Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

No Way Out 2003 was the first event of this name to come under the WWE name, so it was interesting that the show featured three returning superstars from the glory days of the World Wrestling Federation.

First of all, Hulk Hogan was once again donning the red and yellow after last being seen on PPV back at Vengeance 2002 and taking a break shortly after.

Tonight, he was going up against rising Hollywood star The Rock. The Great One had also enjoyed a lengthy break after Summerslam 2002 and was now heel, a role he was almost forced to play after the crowds began to turn on him due to his growing movie career.

Still, while this was both men's first PPV appearance in months, the real story tonight was that No Way Out 2003 would mark the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin, a man who had famously walked out of the company the previous summer.

Here's what went down when three of WWE's all-time biggest stars returned to action:

A Boring Opening

Long-time Retro Pro Wrestling readers will probably know that I have a certain fondness for the WWE’s opening video packages.

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review - Jerry 'The King' Lawler and Jonathan Coachman call the action

99.9% of the time, they do a great job of setting the scene and getting me pumped up about what I’m about to watch.

This was different though. This was about six seconds of a random computer animation that took us up a flight of stairs to a locked window and then showed some distressed bald dude hanging to some railings.

It was pretty rubbish, but I guess WWE could only get so much mileage out of rolling stock footage of Freddie Blassie chilling out in an abandoned warehouse.

Anyway, with that brief and boring intro out of the way, Jonathan Coachman welcomed us to No Way Out 2003, informing us that since JR had suffered a concussion on Raw, he -Coach- would be sitting alongside Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler tonight.

Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy

As Chris Jericho made his way out for tonight’s opening contest, Coach informed us that Raw GM Eric Bischoff had granted The King of the World’s request to have Shawn Michaels banned from ringside before noting that this was the first WWE PPV in Montreal since Survivor Series 1997.

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review - Chris Jericho puts Jeff Hardy in the Walls of Jericho

The match soon got underway and quickly turned into an exciting opener that remained utterly compelling from start to finish.

With the crowds torn between rooting for fellow countryman Jericho and perennial babyface Hardy, both gave it their all before a hot crowd who hung on every move.

After a solid effort, the self-proclaimed King of the World countered a top-rope hurricanrana attempt with a superbomb before locking his adversary in the Walls of Jericho.

The Charasmatic Enigma tried to hold on, but when he found himself dragged into the middle of the ring with no chance of escape, he had no choice but tap out and give the match to his opponent.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Post match, Jericho refused to relinquish his hold on Hardy, prompting HBK to rush to the rescue.

Unsurprisingly, the man whose name will be forever linked to the Montreal Screwjob received a frosty reception.

At least he did until Christian ran into help out his running mate, at which point Michaels managed to win the audience over by taking both men out with a double DDT, delivering a clothesline to the outside on Y2J and a well-placed Sweet Chin Music to Christian.

A Team Angle Pep Talk

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review - Team Angle talk tactics before their big match

Out in the back, Kurt Angle blasted the Canadian audience and promised that tonight, he, Shelton Benjamin, and Charlie Haas would prevail over Brock Lesnar, Edge, and Chris Benoit because there was simply no way that Team Angle could lose to “a walking gorilla and two Canucks.”

The Olympic Gold Medalist looked set to talk strategy with his two henchmen, but before we could hear what he had to say, we cut to the parking lot where Evolution arrived in a limousine.

Tonight, Evolution leader Triple H would defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Scott Steiner, but first, this:

WWE World Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions William Regal & Lance Storm vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  Lance Storm and William Regal

Though the general consensus seems to be that this match wasn’t all that good, this fan in particular enjoyed it very much.

Relatively short, this one made Lance Storm and William Regal look like credible, fighting champions, even if they did only pick up the win when Kane accidentally chokeslammed RVD due to having his vision impaired by an Ill-placed match.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Lance Storm & William Regal

Out in the back, Matt Hardy was about to talk about how he miraculously cut weight in order to challenge for the cruise weight title when he was distracted by the appearance of his brother, Jeff Hardy.

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  Matt Hardy confronts his brother, Jeff

Confronting his clearly wounded sibling, the Master of Mattitude insisted that Jeff would actually begin winning some matches if he started following his brother’s teachings.

Rather than get into it, Jeff simply slapped the taste out of V1’s mouth and walked off, leaving an irate Matt to be restrained by his lackey, Shannon Moore.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Matt Hardy V1 (w/ Shannon Moore)

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  Matt Hardy is annoyed by snow and Ice.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’d stopped actively watching wrestling by 2003, so when I eventually came back to it, I was always confused how Matt Hardy -a man who was clearly no Cruiserweight- had managed to compete in the division.

The explanation here that he’d had to work hard to cut weight made a lot of sense, but unfortunately, it didn’t make for a great match.

Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing particularly wrong with this one, but the crowd clearly weren’t into it and that had a negative impact on the way this one played out.

After a decent but kinda blah match, Hardy hit Billy Kidman with an admittedly excellent Twist of Fate to capture a title which he really had no rights competing for in the first place.
Your Winner and New WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Matt Hardy

Backstage, Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit tended to Edge, who had been mysteriously laid out backstage at the hands of an unknown assailant.

Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon and a gaggle of officials also came to the former Intercontinental champions aid, but it looked like Edge was officially out of action for tonight.

Not just tonight, either. By all accounts, this was just a way to write Adam Copeland off TV so that he could have surgery for a recent injury.

We wouldn’t see him again until the following year.

The Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  The Big Show vs. The Undertaker

Prior to the match, we got a look back at how The Undertaker had returned to action to get revenge on Big Show for taking him out of commission in the fall.

Show had been awol, but had sent Big Evil a number of gifts, including Brian Kendrick dressed as a bell boy, ‘Taker’s first manager, Brother Love, and, for some reason, a singing Chris Kanyon.

The Dead Man had destroyed all of them and now, tonight looked to destroy Big Show in a better-than-average big man brawl.

Though it was far from a classic, the two did the best with what they had to make sure that this, the longest match on the card, never felt boring or sluggish.

After a decent effort, a busted open ‘Taker got his revenge by drilling Show to the mat for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Backstage, Edge was wheeled into an ambulance, confirming that we wouldn’t see him compete tonight.

Elsewhere, Chief Morley and Eric Bischoff talked about what a good team they had behind them, only for Vince McMahon to inform them that if anybody got involved in Bischoff’s match with Stone Cold Steve Austin, they’d be fired on the spot.

Handicap Match
WWE Champion Kurt Angle & WWE Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review - Team Angle ready for action

As the combatants made their way out for tonight’s match, Michael Cole informed us that Stephanie had given Brock & Benoit the option to choose another partner but they had refused, instead opting to take on Team Angle in a 2 vs. 3 handicap match.

This turned out to be a good match that could have -perhaps should have- been much better.

Though you had a whole bunch of talented performers here, the match took a while to really kick it up a gear, and even then, it wasn’t until the final minute or so that we got the kind of balls-to-the-wall wrestling spectacular it had the potential to be all along.

Perhaps expectations were just too high given the caliber of performers involved, but while this was certainly the best match of the night so far, this ram expected a little more.

In the end, Benoit made Charlie Haas tap to the crossface while Lesnar took out his rival, Angle, with an F5.
Your Winners: Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit

Prior to the next match, we got a look back at the rivalry between Triple H and Scott Steiner, and how they feud had led to the World Heavyweight Champion forming the Evolution stable to back him up.

Those two would be in action next.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Scott Steiner

This was far, far from the best match on the card, but it was certainly the most interesting in terms of fan reaction.

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  HHH and Scott Steiner go nose-to-nose

Despite being the babyface here, Steiner’s shit-show of performance back at the 2002 Royal Rumble meant that he was routinely booed by the Montreal faithful while dastardly heel HHH was cheered every time he struck an offensive move.

The biggest heel of the match, however, was referee Earl Hebner, who received a hostile reception for his role in the Montreal Screwjob five years earlier.

In fact, Hebner’s mere presence here overshadowed everything the two combatants did, and when Hunter got into a shoving match with the official, it received the biggest pop of the night so far.

After a somewhat lackluster effort that was, at least, marginally better than their Rumble outing, we got an inevitable run-in from Batista and Randy Orton.

That distracted the challenger long enough to be whacked in the face with the world title belt by his opponent.

That didn’t quite put him away, but a quick pedigree a few moments later did.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

Post-match, the champion made his way triumphantly to the back, being congratulated by Orton.

Eric Bischoff vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  Steve Austin returned

Prior to this one, we got a look back at the storyline which basically amounted to Bischoff failing to resign Austin, Austin deciding to come back anyway, and Vince McMahon booking the two against one another.

Jim Ross then came out, ostensibly to help call the action, but really just to cheer on his buddy Steve Austin as he whooped Bischoff from pillar to post.

It would be a stretch to call this a match, but it was fun to see Austin do his thing to the absolute delight of the Montreal faithful.
Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterwards, Austin celebrated his return while Jim Ross absolutely lost his shit.

I’m not exaggerating either.

I get that Ross was out there to put over Austin’s return, but his level of over-the-top enthusiasm was ridiculous.

It was hilarious at first, but then it was just sadly kind of embarrassing and I actually felt bad for JR.

The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan

WWE No Way Out 2003 Review -  The Rock puts Hulk Hogan in a sharpshooter for the ages

By this time, The Rock was one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood but had no problems coming back to WWE to assist Vince McMahon in his rivalry with Hulk Hogan.

That had brought us to tonight, a rematch from Wrestlemania X8 that was never going to live up to the original but was still entertaining enough in its own right.

At least it was until the finish.

After hitting The Rock with a big hoot and leg drop of doom, Hogan made the count but the lights in the arena went off before the referee -Sylvian Greenier- could count to three.

When they came back up, Hogan and Greenier were both out and a chair had been placed in the middle of the ring.

Vince McMahon then made his way out, distracting Hogan long enough for The Great One to destroy his opponent with a chair.

At that point, referee Greenier sprang to his feet, revealing himself as in cahoots with Rock and McMahon, and made the three count.
Your Winner: The Rock

“It’s a Screwjob! It’s a Screwjob!” Yelled Michael Cole in the most obviously rehearsed fashion ever.

Seriously, it was very apparent that Cole had been waiting for the whole match just for his moment to say that line.

As he did so, McMahon mocked and ridiculed a battered Hogan to bring No Way Out 2003 to a close.


All in all, WWE No Way Out 2003 is a difficult show to sum up. None of the matches were outright terrible (not even HHH/Steiner II), but you almost got the sense that many of the company's major players were either holding back or simply having an off night, resulting in matches which were never quite as a good as they had the potential to be.

Still, there was a lot of fun to be had here. Austin's return was entertaining, the handicap match was still good even though it could have been better, and the whole Rock/Hogan thing was as good as it was going to get right up until the rather necessary finish. 

Ultimately then, despite featuring the PPV returns of  three all-time greats, No Way Out 2003 wasn't a very significant show, nor is it something anyone need go out of the way to watch. 

Other 2003 pro wrestling reviews: 
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Friday, 4 March 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Royal Rumble 2003

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Event Poster
January 19, 2003, 
Fleet Center, Boston, Massachusetts

For the past decade, the winner of the annual 30-man Royal Rumble match had earned an automatic world title shot at The Granddaddy of Them All, Wrestlemania. 

At least in theory, anyway. 

As we saw on occasions such as Wrestlemania 2000, Vince McMahon and his team weren't against reneging on their storyline promise if it meant delivering a card that was more to their liking. 

It got complicated and complex at times, which made you wonder why they didn't just do away with the rule altogether.

After all, the Rumble is such a unique attraction that I'm sure it would still sell on its own without a stipulation that was ignored half the time anyway.

Still, the company persisted with teasing a straight-forward narrative of Wrestler A earning and receiving a title shot against Wrestler B, only to change things up and go with something completely different.

This year, things had the chance to get even more consulted as this was the first Royal Rumble since the WWE Draft and subsequent brand extension, meaning a whole new world of possible scenarios on the road to Wrestlemania. 

We could worry about that some other time though. For now, let's get ready to rumble down in Boston.

Wrestlemania is Very Important

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Michael Cole and Tazz

Tonight’s opening video featured a montage of WWE performers doing their thing while speaking about how the Road to Wrestlemania began tonight.

This was super important because Wrestlemania itself was super important. Not just super important, but like the most important thing in the whole world.

And if you didn’t believe that, stars like Chris Jericho, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, and others were all to happy to tell you that nothing mattered more than main eventing on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

This wasn’t the most compelling opening video WWE had ever done, but it served its purpose and was effective.

With that out of the way, we got the obligatory crowd shots, pyro, and rousing greeting from Michael Cole who, along with Tazz, would be calling our first match of the evening.

The Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Brock Lesnar

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar

It was back at Survivor Series 2002 that the dastardly Paul Heyman had turned his back on Brock Lesnar by helping Big Show beat The Next Big Thing for the WWE Championship.

Lesnar had extracted a modicum of revenge by ensuring Show then lost that same title to Kurt Angle at Armageddon 2002, making this the first time the two had met for a one-on-one encounter since November.

The match wasn’t quite up to the same standards as their Survivor Series outing, but it was still an enjoyable opener in its own right.

Alright, you weren’t going to get a catch-as-catch-can classic out of these two, but if you like watching two big, burly bruisers beating the crap out of each other, you’ll probably like Show/Lesnar II.

Even though the feud itself was enough of a reason to put these two together, this match had the added stipulation that the winner would earn a place in the Rumble match while the loser wouldn’t be allowed to compete in that match.

With that on the line, the two men went at it hard and heavy, with Lesnar showing that despite being an Ass-Kicking Machine, he could bump with the best of them.

Indeed, the then-youngster got thrown around the ring with abandon by his larger opponent before making a comeback and overcoming a Heyman run-in to put Show away with an F5.

Big Show and Lesnar had excellent chemistry together and it helped create a match that was far superior to what you might imagine it would be.
Your Winner (Earns a place in the Rumble): Brock Lesnar

Backstage, Terri reminded Chris Jericho that he had been given an opportunity to decide which number he entered the Royal Rumble 2003 match at.

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Terri Runnels interviews Chris Jericho

In a good promo, Jericho refuted the former Marlena’s claim and insisted that he’d only ever had one option:

Not the coveted Number 30 spot but rather the Number 2 spot.


Because Shawn Michaels had already been confirmed as the number one entrant and the two hated one another.

Wrapping things up, The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla proved that he couldn’t go a single day without telling somebody that he once beat Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock on the same night before vowing to eliminate 29 other athletes and go onto headline Wrestlemania 19.

Up next, we switched to Raw, which meant commentary from King & JR.

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Lance Storm and William Regal vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley)

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - World Tag Team Champions Lance Storm & William Regal

After Jim Ross told us that Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley had won 15 tag team championships across three different organizations, Jerry Lawler commented something to the effect that fans would be clamoring for tables.

It was a comment which reminded this fan why I never got too into The Dudleyz.

They weren’t bad wrestlers by any stretch, and I have enjoyed some matches that they were a part of, but it always struck me that nothing they did in the early part of any match actually mattered.

The two could be tearing it up and all the fans would respond with would be a “We want tables” chant, meaning that anything the decorated team did always felt like it was just killing time until the obligatory “D’Von, get the tables!” moment.

Anyway, this wasn’t a bad match by any stretch, but not apart from the aforementioned Dudley problem, the whole thing felt kind of rushed.

Towards the finish, Chief Morley stormed to the ring as he apparently had some beef with The Brothers Dudley.

In the resulting fracas, a pair of brass knuckles came into play which were supposed to give the heels the advantage but instead ended up in the hands of D’Von Dudley.

After a 3D, D’Von blasted Lance Storm with the International Object. One three count later, he and Bubba Ray were now 16 time tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

After a commercial for the company’s upcoming house shows, we got a look at impending arrival, Nathan Jones.

Last seen on Retro Pro Wrestling competing at WWA The Inception (where he was given the odd and confusing nickname of ‘The Front Row’), Jones’ real-world prison time was played up to full effect here, with his promo package showing us (what I assume to be) genuine Australian news footage about his time in a maximum-security prison, showing us just how scary and badass this dude was legitimately supposed to be.

The second coming of Nailz this was not.

Al Wilson is Dead

Prior to the next match, we got a lot back at the awful storyline between Torrie Wilson, her dad, Al Wilson, and Al’s lover, Dawn Marie.

This was bad and awkward enough when it was just Dawn Marie trying to get Torrie to have a little lesbian action with her.

It was even worse now that Dawn had since married Wilson and proceeded to, I don’t know, shag him quite literally to death on their honeymoon.

Did anyone actually find this entertaining? Did none of the three people involved stop and say “actually, this is crass and pretty tasteless?”

How did this crap ever get on TV, let alone PPV?

Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

This match was not good.

Neither woman was exactly known for her technical prowess, yet they tried in vein to wrestle a standard match when the awful storyline hanging over it -as horrible at it was- did at least present an opportunity for a quick cat fight or some overbooked chaos where Torrie just beat the hell out of her evil step-mother.

Predictably, the now Hall of Famer did pick up the win over Marie, and if anybody in the audience cheered, it was likely only because they were glad it was over.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

Backstage, Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon interrupted Randy Orton from talking to Raw boss, Eric Bischoff.

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Stephanie McMahon interupts Eric Bischoff talking to Randy Orton

McMahon reminded Bischoff that her daddy had promised to fire him in 30 days and wondered what bombshell the author of Controversy Creates Cash would do to try and save his job.

Easy E promised that what he did have planned wasn’t just a bombshell but an “atomic bombshell.”

Unimpressed, Steph related that she had an atomic bombshell of her own to drop on the next episode of Smackdown.

This was followed by a vignette in which Sean O’Haire questioned the existence of God.

I wasn’t watching wrestling at all back in 2003, so I haven’t seen any of O’Haire’s WWE run, though I definitely saw the appeal of him back in WCW, so I’m personally interested to see him as I go through these reviews.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Scott Steiner

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Earl Hebner lays down the law for HHH and Scott Steiner

Prior to the match, we saw a video recap of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner challenging Triple H to a title match before beating him in an arm wrestling match to demonstrate his superiority.

The match itself began fine. It wasn’t a balls-to-the-wall epic or anything, sure, but it certainly wasn’t offensive.

Then, Big Poppa Pump knackered himself and wound up botching his way through a succession of repetitive suplexes and sloppy action.

Things were so bad (almost every bit as bad as you’ve heard they were) that the crowd loudly turned on babyface Scott Steiner and crapped all over the match itself.

They crapped the loudest and hardest towards the finish.

The Game tried to get himself disqualified but Earl Hebner was having none of it, instead insisting on a clean finish.

A few moments later, the champion brought out his old pal Sledgie and got DQ’d anyway.

Sure, it was a finish that made it easy to setup a rematch, but that was one rematch nobody wanted to see.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Triple H retains

Post match, Scott Steiner went crazy and destroyed Triple H. A gaggle of officials couldn’t stop The Big Bad Booty Daddy for holding The Game in the Steiner Recliner, but fortunately, Eric Bischoff could.

After a video package highlighting the rivalry between Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle, the two would meet in our second title match of the evening.

WWE Championship
WWE Champion Kurt Angle (w/ Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas)

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - Kurt Angle vs. Krispin Wah

This was an awesome match that outshone Angle and Chris Benoit’s earlier effort back at Unforgiven 2002.

Though it took a little while to build up, it gradually developed into an all-out wrestling masterpiece between two of the best the sport had to offer at that time.

Keeping primarily between the ropes, the two traded holds, suplexes, and a flurry of near falls to deliver an awesome match that made the earlier HHH/Steiner fiasco look like two rookies in their first week of training.

After a thrilling match, the champion retained by making his opponent tap.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Kurt Angle

Post match, the crowd gave Benoit a standing ovation for his tremendous performance.

Benoit, who was clearly over in a big way, acknowledged the love and respect before hobbling to the back with his star on the rise.

Prior to the Rumble match, tag team partners Kane & Rob Van Dam agreed that it really was every man for himself tonight and that they would each do whatever it took to win.

2003 Royal Rumble Match
Featuring: Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Chris Nowinski, Bill Demott,  B-2, Rob Van Dam, Edge, Christian, Tajiri, Tommy Dreamer, Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, Eddie Guerrero, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Rosie, Jamal, Test, Rikishi, A-Train, Matt Hardy, Maven, Goldust, Booker T, Jeff Hardy,  John Cena, Batista, Kane, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar.

WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review - The Undertaker confronts and congratulates Brock Lesnar

This was an excellent Royal Rumble match pretty much from start to finish.

Making his first appearance in a rumble match since 1996, number one entrant Shawn Michaels probably set a new record for the least amount of time he’d ever spent in such a match, at least since he split from Marty Jannetty.

He and his number-two placed rival Chris Jericho wasted no time going at it, but Y2J quickly got the upper hand, destroying the Heartbreak Kid with a steel chair and taking him out of the match in no time.

Jericho went on to prove himself to be the MVP of the match. Busted open, he lasted all the way into the part of the match where the final six or seven competitors were entering, only for an irate Michaels to storm back to the ring and extract revenge by eliminating his adversary.

The two were broken up by officials on the outside, but this feud was clearly far, far from over.

After Michaels’ elimination, stars like Edge, Rey Mysterio, Chavo Guerrero, and Tajiri all entered the fray and wowed the crowds, giving us some of the fastest-paced and most exciting action we’d ever seen in a rumble match.

As all this was going on, Christian took his spot in the contest wearing the most garish and god-awful ring attire you’ve ever seen.

Honestly, this fan thinks that was a stroke of genius.

As a heel, it did Christian no favors to try and look cool. Wearing a hideous ensemble that everybody hated only served to make him even more despised.

It was a smart move, but it was Jericho who made the smarter move by eliminating both Christian and his brother Edge at the same time, ultimately clearing the ring and being the only remaining competitor until Rob Van Dam entered the fray and lasted all the way to the final five.

At that point, RVD’s partner Kane set him up, insisting that he would gorilla press slam his partner on top of a prone Batista, but instead hurling him out of the ring.

Eventually, that left us with a final four of Kane, Batista, Lesnar, and a returning Undertaker, who hadn’t been seen on WWE PPV since No Mercy 2002.

Batista went out first, then, just as Kane had betrayed his partner, he was betrayed by his brother as ‘Taker hurled The Big Red Machine out of the ring.

A few moments later, Brock eliminated The Undertaker to stamp his ticket for the main event of Wrestlemania.
Your Winner: Brock Lesnar

Post match, The Dead Man returned to the ring to show some level of respect to his former rival, encouraging Lesnar to give him a title shot if and when he won at ‘Mania.

All in all, Royal Rumble 2003 was a good show.

There was nary a dull moment in the 30 man battle royal, and despite the lack of any surprise participants, it was hugely enjoyable.

The Angle/Benoit match was also off the charts, and the opening Lesnar/Show contest was good stuff.

Sure, the Steiner/HHH match and the women’s debacle both absolutely sucked, but if you take those out of the equation and don’t set your hopes too high for the tag title match, this is a worthwhile watch.

Friday, 25 February 2022

EVENT REVIEW: Clash of the Champions XIV - Dixie Dynamite

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Dixie Dynamite
January 30, 1991,
Georgia Mountains Center, Gainesville, 

Only six weeks had passed between Clash of the Champions 14: Dixie Dynamite and WCW’s last big show, Starrcade 1990, and yet a lot had happened in that time.

Behind the scenes, Ole Anderson had been stripped of his powers as head of the booking committee following the disastrous Black Scorpion storyline, a fiasco which had ended with Ric Flair being revealed as the mysterious peddler of hackneyed stage magic.

Since Starrcade, Flair had dethroned Sting to reclaim the world title.

It was the right move. As over as Sting was, every attempt by the WCW brain trust to relegate Nature Boy to the midcard had failed.

The fans knew that Flair was special, and as such, any attempt to have him compete lower down on the card simply backfired as his matches outshone more high-profile bouts on that card.

So here he was, back in his rightful place at the top of the mountain, and was now recognized as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion due to the increasingly strained relationship between WCW and the NWA.

Of course, later that year, Naitch would take the Big Gold Belt over to the WWF, the company from which Dusty Rhodes had just returned in order to take over from Ole on the booking committee and serve as one of our commentators for the evening.

How would things go down as WCW quite literally attempted a fresh start in 1991? Let’s head down to Gainsville, Georgia and find out, shall we?

It’s Time for Dixie Dynamite

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes called the action

Tonight’s show opened with a basic opening that highlighted our two marquee matches before we got some animated credits featuring all of WCW’s major stars.

As the show began, Dusty Rhodes and Jim Ross welcomed us to Clash of the Champions before sending it over to Garry Michael Capetta for the introduction of the US National Anthem.

With all that done, it was on to ringside for our opening contest.

Non-Title Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons) vs. United States Champion Lex Luger and Sting

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Sting waits for a tag from Lex Luger

As Dusty Rhodes told us that their manager, Teddy Long, was absent due to being out on a spending spree, Ron Simmons and Butch Reed came to the ring to their usual theme tune, one which was far too sprightly and energetic for a team called DOOM.

Tonight, they locked up with Sting and Lex Luger in a decent match that was really only memorable for a spot in which Luger and Simmons continually ran into each other with shoulder tackles for a solid minute or so.

Towards the end, the Total Package was attacked by his upcoming Wrestlewar ‘91 opponent, Dan Spivey, leaving Sting to duke it out with the tag team champions solo.

He did his best, but ultimately got back body dropped to the outside by Reed and won the match via DQ due to the ‘no going over the top rope’ rule.
Your Winners via DQ: Sting & Lex Luger

Post match, Doom continued to attack but were eventually sent packing by Sting & Luger.

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Missy Hyatt says the sexiest wrestler is Tom Zenk

Following a commercial break, Missy Hyatt told us that Tom Zenk had won WCW’s Sexiest Wrestler contest due to him having a tan and being single.

We’d see the Z-Man in action next.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Tom Zenk vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Tom Zenk defends the Tv title against Bobby Eaton

This was a quality match that was about as good as you were going to get from an undercard bout on a Clash of the Champions show.

Beautiful Bobby Eaton had Z-Man’s number for such a large portion of the contest that a victory seemed inevitable, yet at the last possible second, the champion edged his way to victory thanks to a backslide that barely -and I mean barely- earned him the three count.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Tom Zenk

A post-match replay showed that Beautiful Bobby kicked out of the pin attempt before referee Nick Patrick’s hand hit the mat for the third time.

That should have been enough to earn Eaton a rematch, but Zenk had technically already lost the title back to Arn Anderson in a match that hadn’t aired yet, so that wasn’t about to happen.

The York Foundation Expands

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Ms. Alexandra York

Backstage, Alexandra York told us that she had found the perfect wrestler to bring onboard into the York Foundation.

York, of course, would need to add to the ranks of her organization with her main man taking up a new role as a tax man in Connecticut.

‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich & Alan Iron Eagle vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin)

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  The Fabulous Freebirds

This one had all the makings of a decent TV match and would have been a fun watch were rookie Alan Iron Eagle not so inexperienced.

He frequently looked so lost and adrift next to his experimented partner and opponents that I honestly started to feel bad for him.

It was a good effort from Tommy Rich and The Fabulous Freebirds, sure, but nothing anyone was ever going to be raving about afterwards.

After a few minutes of everyone doing their best, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin blasted Iron Eagle with a double DDT to score the win for the Freebirds.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

Following a quick commercial for the upcoming War Games ‘91 event, Ross and Rhodes spoke to Tony Schiavone and Paul E. Dangerously, who were located elsewhere in the arena.

This was all done to hype Paul E.‘s upcoming arm wrestling match with Missy Hyatt, though all it really achieved was giving Dusty Rhodes a chance to insinuate that Dangerously might be gay,...

...because, you know, this was the 90s and the idea that a man might be homosexual was still a hilarious concept back then. 

Jumpin’ Joey Maggs vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sid Vicious pins Joey Maggs

Poor Joey Maggs didn’t stand a chance here.

Sid Vicious got a super special entrance, appearing on a rotating podium with a spotlight on him to highlight his enormous, dominating crowd physical presence.

The man from Wherever He Damn Well Pleases then toyed with Maggs for about a minute before putting him out of his misery with a powerbomb.

It wasn’t much of a match, but Sid was awesome and so over that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.
Your Winner: Sid Vicious

Post-match, Sid has his own emergency medical technicians come down to help poor Maggs, but the Four Horsemen member continued to attack Maggs even while On a stretcher.

A commercial for WCW’s new wrestling hotline followed. That number, as I’m sure no WCW fan will ever forget, was 1-900-909-9900

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sid Vicious is interviewed by Tony Schiavone

Heading back to the show, Sid gave an interview to Tony Schiavone in which he boasted that his goal for 1991 was to prove that he did indeed rule the world.

Ricky Morton vs. Terry Taylor

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Terry Taylor headlocks Ricky Morton

I won’t lie, I enjoyed this far more than I ever thought I’d enjoy a Terry Taylor match.

As Jim Ross put over what great friends Taylor and Ricky Morton were, the two spent the first half of the match duking it out in a good face vs. face style match were both proved to be incredibly evenly matched.

That part of the match was good. It was just a pure, honest-to-goodness pro wrestling match with plenty of speed, plenty of holes and counter holds, and generally plenty to enjoy.

Then Alexandra York appeared, and after questioning whether his opponent was in cahoots with her, Taylor smashed Morton from behind and basically turned heel mid-match.

As if Taylor heeling it up and continually pointing at York didn’t get the job done, WCW decided to eliminate all semblance of subtlety by playing a pre-recorded inset promo in which Alexandra confirmed that yes, Terry Taylor was the newest member of The York Foundation.

The ending of the match was a little messy. Morton leapt at Taylor with what looked like a dropkick attempt. Taylor moved, and Morton came crashing down, inadvertently landing on Terry with an awkward and accidental senton before being rolled up and pinned.

The ending was a disaster, but everything else was wonderful.
Your Winner: Terry Taylor

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Bill Apter presents Sting with his PWI awards

After a quick commercial break, we got a pre-recorded segment in which Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Bill Apter presented Sting with two awards:

PWI Wrestler of the Year and PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year.

Sting must have just gotten out of bed or something, because although he did try to express his surprise and delight, he really sounded like he couldn’t give a sh*t about either award.

Returning to the arena, Dusty Rhodes abused his position as booker to give himself some promo time so that he could air his own political views about the Gulf War.

If you questioned the president or you didn’t think going to war over the price of oil was a good thing, you were certainly no friend of The American Dream’s.

You have to wonder if Dusty’s promo was unplanned or if he at least went a little too far for TBS’ liking as he issued something of an apology at the start of our next contest.

Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Ranger Ross gets set for action

This is the first time we've seen Ranger Ross on Retro Pro Wrestling since Wrestle War 1989.

Here, he was thrust back into the spotlight so that his army ranger gimmick could help WCW capitalise on the support for the US troops in Dusty’s beloved Gulf War.

The match itself was nothing, a by-the-numbers filler that served no real purpose and that played out to near silence from the live crowd.

Still, in going up against masked jobber El Cubano, Ranger Ross did at least look impressive and you have to wonder if he could have been a bigger star given a different gimmick and a decent push.

Naturally, the Ranger won. Nobody was surprised, nor did they care.
Your Winner: Ranger Ross

A quick commercial for War Games followed, after which it was back to the action.

The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) vs. The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood)

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Barry Windham & Arn Anderson

Although the ending was never in doubt here, The Renegade Warriors played their roles as babyface fodder to the nefarious Four Horsemen perfectly well.

The result was a fun TV tag match with nary a dull moment in sight.

Was this the best tag match you’ve ever seen in your life?

Absolutely not, but there was certainly nothing to complain about, not even the predictable finish which saw Anderson and Windham pick up the fall.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen

If you hadn’t already noticed that this show was one giant commercial for Wrestle War ‘91, we got another ad for the War Games match before the next commercial break.

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Tony Schiavone and Stan Hansen freestyle rapping!

When we returned, Tony Schiavone showed us footage of Stan Hansen and Big Van Vader beating the living sh*t out of each other in Japan.

That led us to Schiavone’s interview with Hansen, who claimed that the Japanese audiences liked seeing real men fight while American audiences only liked ‘pretty boys’ who painted their faces.

It was tough luck for the Americans as Hansen announced that he and Vader would meet at Wrestle War.


Buddy Lee Parker vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker thinks he's The Big Boss Man

Introduced while already in the ring, Buddy Lee Parker was dressed in a hat and blue cop shirt that made him look for all the world like a low-rent Big Boss Man.

After taking that attire off, the future Power Plant trainer played his part in putting over the white-hot Brian Pillman in an entertaining but very short match.

Much like the previous contest, the ending was never in doubt here, and after showing off his impressive skill set, Flyin’ Brian easily disposed of his opponent.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

As we went to commercial, Jim Ross told us to call a special number to join the official WCW Fan Club.

Coming back, he and Dusty talked to the camera while El Gigante sat in the crowd.

The weirdest point was that neither announcer acknowledged him. He just sat on the front row like a regular fan, which was just a little strange.

Paul E. Gets Beat By a Girl

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Paul E. Heyman is distracted by Missy Hyatt's boobs

Up next, we had the special arm-wrestling match between Paul E. Dangerously and Missy Hyatt, with country DJ Rhubarb Jones as the guest arena.

Both competitors locked arms, but then Missy backed away, first to roll her sleeves up and then to remove her jacket, revealing that she was wearing skintight exercise attire that drew all the focus to her boobs.

When I say all the focus, I mean all of it, even Paul E.’s.

The man who would, years later, be involved in a storyline that saw him sniffing Lita’s panties, got so distracted by Missy’s boobage that she easily beat him.

From there, we were all supposed to laugh at Paul E. because being beaten by a woman was an embarrassing thing in the ‘90s, though honestly, given the choice between winning an arm-wrestling match with Missy Hyatt and enjoying a close-up view of her boobs, I certainly know where my priorities would lie.

Finally, before we got to our main event, we got a clip of future Wrestlemania XI star Lawrence Taylor hanging out with Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan, Michael Wallstreet, and Alexandra York.

If you ask me, this was another weird move.

Why would hanging out with a famous and popular football player make us want to hate that contingent of heels?

WCW World Heavyweight Championship 
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Rick Steiner) 

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Scott Steiner challenges Ric Flair for the world heavyweight title

Prior to the bell, GMC introduced Hiro Matsuda, who was there on behalf of New Japan Pro Wrestling to see the outcome of this match as the winner would head to the Tokyo Dome to defend the title against Tatsumi Fujinami later that year. 

Then, El Gigante was introduced. He made his way into the ring, shook hands with The Steiners and then offered Ric Flair a handshake too. 

Flair refused, so the giant simply went and sat back down and watched the match.

Capetta also informed us that the time limit for this match was "TV time remaining," and when the announcer later started to tell us when there were 10, and then 5 minutes left, the time-limit draw ending became very predictable. 

Still, everything before that was good stuff. 

The story here was the young, gifted athlete out-wrestling his opponent, only for the crafty veteran to rely on dirty tricks in order to regain the upper-hand. 

Though it wasn't a five-star classic, it was entertaining stuff which ended when Steiner hit the champion with a belly-to-belly.

The challenger made the cover, the referee counted to two, and then, just as everybody knew it would all along, the time limit expired.
Time Limit Draw (Ric Flair retains the title)

Post match, The Steiner Brothers thought Scotty had won the match and were understandably frustrated when Nick Patrick broke the news. 

With TV time done, Ross and Dusty signed off, and that was another Clash of the Champions show in the bag. 

On the whole, Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite had been a good show for what it was. This is especially true when you consider that what it was, was simply a 90-minute commercial for Wrestle War '91 and the War Games main event. 

Sure, if Clash 14 had been a PPV, I'd be writing it off as a dismal failure, but for a TV special, it did give us a bunch of matches that ranged from decent to good. Skip the Ranger Ross and the Freebirds match, and you've got a good bit of wrestling television here. 

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.