Thursday, August 10, 2017
It was around this time that the WWF finally overtook WCW in the Monday Night Wars, breaking a streak of 84 straight losses. Actually, they had the lead for two straight weeks coming into this event. WCW was feeling the pressure. Obviously Steve Austin and the WWF itself was a big reason for this, but WCW ended 1997 in a terrible way, crapping on what should have been the ultimate good guy moment as Sting defeated Hulk Hogan.
The opening video package focuses on the power struggle within the nWo between Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Kevin Nash. Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay are on commentary and they bring us breaking news that Savage’s cast is coming off tonight and the main event will be No DQ.
We are seven months into the run of Goldberg, who is 73-0. He also has a US Title shot the next night apparently. The crowd loves him. Saturn tries to wrestle but Goldberg is basically against that and just tosses him around. Kidman tries to intervene but gets press slammed outside. I see why Saturn shaved his head. His hair is pretty bad looking here. They continue the trend of Saturn doing some stuff only for Goldberg to just kick his ass. Saturn tries a springboard back elbow or something, but slips and just falls on his ass. Goldberg gets his shoulder worked on a bit though he completely ignores it as he makes the comeback. When he hits the Spear, the places explodes. Kidman distracts the referee, allowing Saturn to use a low blow that counters the Jackhammer. Goldberg then hits the rarely seen second rope press slam before kicking the ass of the entire Flock, who jumped the guardrail. Saturn does get the Rings of Saturn applied, but Goldberg powers out right into a Jackhammer to remain unbeaten.
One of the better early Goldberg matches I can remember. It wasn’t great by any means, but there were some cool moments. The second rope press slam and finish were really good. The early portions were a bit sloppy though.
The commentary team puts over how Eddie Guerrero is kind of riding Chavo to be better. They work a quick back and forth to start. The fans chant “Eddie sucks”, showing they care more about him than either guy in the ring. Dragon goes all Doink all works a stump puller. Chavo creatively gets out before going into a bit of a flurry. They continue to go back and forth, with neither guy gaining a real advantage. Dragon has been more impressive. Also, his gear is pretty sick tonight. He does what Saturn couldn’t earlier and hits a sweet Asai moonsault. Eddie uses this opening to shout at Chavo. This motivates Chavo, who gets up first and hits a corkscrew dive of his own outside. Back inside, Dragon seems to get hurt, so Chavo looks worried. Eddie shouts that this is Chavo’s chance. Chavo is reluctant but goes on the offensive, only to have a suplex reversed into a small package for two. He nails Eddie’s trademark Brainbuster, but chooses to tell Eddie instead of winning. He tries a tornado DDT, but Dragon blocks and locks in the Dragon Sleeper. Chavo taps.
That was much better than I expected. They did a really great job of playing up the fact that both men even. Another highlight of the match was the story between Eddie and Chavo. It’s simple stuff but Chavo trying to remain good while failing to impress his uncle and having it cost him was the right move. Really well done.
It’s interesting to see one of these matches that isn’t part of their classic Best of Seven Series. There is no time limit here. The commentators discuss the fact that Benoit has never held a title in WCW. Early on, Booker nearly gets a countout but doesn’t want it. They want to prove who the best is after having two time limit draws on WCW television. Benoit seems very pumped, which costs him at times as Booker takes advantage. Booker hits a nice backbreaker and goes to work on the arm. Benoit gets back in the driver’s seat and ends up hitting the diving headbutt. He’s too hurt to cover instantly though. Booker, like a veteran, rolls to the corner and gets his foot on the ropes. Time for Benoit to go with the Germans, hitting three on Booker. Benoit brings him up top and hits a super back suplex. He lands hard on the back of his head, which always looks extra worse to me considering what would happen to Benoit. Booker comes back with a spinebuster that, as always, Schiavone calls a sidewalk slam. How can one man be so wrong so often? Booker’s axe kick catches the official when Benoit pulls him in the way, so when Benoit puts him in the Crossface, nobody is there to call it. Booker reaches for the ropes and hits the mat, seeming like a tap out but there’s no way to tell. Benoit helps the official up, but Booker hits a big kick over the ref to retain.
This match was here, with no time limit, to settle the score that couldn’t be done on TV. I would normally be upset that it was given the classic WCW ref bump and such, but it did lead to the eventual Best of Seven Series so maybe they had bigger plans on the horizon. I’d call this a solid match that would lead to bigger things.
It looks like Rude and Neidhart are going to be handcuffed at ringside. For some reason, Neidhart has to be topless for this. Bulldog attacks quickly once they are handcuffed and stomps away on Hennig. In their primes, both of these guys were pretty damn good, but here they just keep hitting each other with no real purpose. Rude attempts to get involved but Neidhart pulls him back. Why would he even try? Bulldog works a lazy looking submission on Hennig’s bad knee. The crowd is silent. They finally make noise to count as Bulldog smashes Hennig’s head into the buckles. Bulldog applies a Sharpshooter and Neidhart starts choking Vincent, who is dressed as a cop at ringside. Rude uses the keys to get free, which Neidhart somehow doesn’t notice. Bulldog lets go of the Sharpshooter for some reason, is thrown into the post and loses.
What the hell was this? It was two guys doing next to nothing and then giving us a lazy, poorly executed finish.
After the match, the assault continues on both Neidhart and Bulldog.
I had a WCW figure of Chris Jericho in this attire. He cuts a short pre-match promo that includes his classis “I want you to want me” line, while he also badmouths Dean Malenko. Iaukea does some early stuff though the crowd isn’t really behind him. Jericho is a dick at every turn though, helping to get the heat that this needs. He tries to skin the cat but Iaukea dropkicks him before somersaulting off the apron. Back inside, Jericho and his tiny headband take over, complete with smack talk in between moves. Iaukea comes off the ropes and is caught in the Lion Tamer, but he reaches the bottom rope. They go up top and just simply fall off the top and to the floor. They get in together, where Jericho counters a rollup into the Lion Tamer, only for Iaukea to counter that into a rollup of his own. Iaukea hits a Northern lights suplex that looks awkward but Jericho grabs the rope to break the pin. They do another rollup spot where Jericho reverses into the Lion Tamer and retains.
Better than I thought it would be. I’ve never been into Prince Iaukea though this was one of his better showings. They certainly had some awkward moments, but they managed to get a dead crowd somewhat into it. Jericho was his usual great self.
Buff Bagwell shows up with a fake cast and says that his hand is injured so the match can’t happen. This was during the drawn out Rick/Scott feud. JJ Dillon comes out and wants to bring a doctor to prove it. They trick Buff into showing that his hand is fine and the match is on. This starts as a brawl because Rick wants to get his hands on Scott badly. It backfires and he ends up on the receiving end of a beating. Scott slips on an Irish whip and looks uncomfortable throughout for some reason. Rick takes the heat for a dull while and Luger gets the hot tag. SCREAMING CLOTHESLINES FOR EVERYONE! When it ends up nearly being Rick vs. Scott, Scott just runs away like a coward. Rick chases but returns. With Buff being alone, Luger racks him and he gives.
This screamed Thunder match. Nothing about this felt like it belonged on a Pay-Per-View. The match was completely filler only here to further an angle between the Steiners. The efforts from everyone involved tells you how much they cared.
According to Tony Schiavone, this is a special, unadvertised bonus match between partners. Psychosis still has his mask here. As La Parka starts with offense, he chooses to dance. I love that guy. Psychosis quickens the pace, hitting some high flying stuff and La Parka looks to slow things down. They trade stuff but the crowd isn’t really into it outside of La Parka’s dancing. Psychosis hits a Frankensteiner off the top, leading commentary to wanting to change the name so Scott gets no credit. Heenan says they call it “El Frankensteiner”. Gotta love the Brain. Psychosis also hits a nice twisting corkscrew move on the outside. Inside, La Parka gets some pinfalls but he keeps picking up Psychosis. It costs him as he eats a guillotine leg drop and loses.
A fine little match here. The biggest issues were the lack of heat from the crowd and reasoning behind it. It was just two guys wrestling. There was nothing on the line, so the fans really couldn’t get into it.
Roddy Piper instantly climbs and tries to retrieve the bat, so Hogan slams his face into the pole a few times. There is tension between Hogan and Nash, but they work well as a team to start. This goes on for a while until Giant gets the tag and stars whipping Hogan. Literally, he does it with Hogan’s weight belt. The poor fans had to see Hogan’s ass even. The crowd is pretty wild for this. Later on, Nash wants the Giant, telling Piper to tag back out. About four months earlier, Nash dropped Giant on his neck when trying a powerbomb. Giant gets in most of the offense, kicking Nash’s ass. They run and hit each other with big boots. It’s like the double clothesline spot but with boots. Tags go to both old timers and Piper takes down Hogan. Things break down and Giant gets the crowd to their feet with a dropkick. Piper get the sleeper on Hogan, who reaches the ropes. Piper gets the bat but Hogan tosses it away. The Disciple is out with a second bat. Hogan accidentally ends up hitting Nash with one of the bats before striking Piper with the other and winning.
I kind of expected this to be dreadful. It wasn’t though that doesn’t mean it was really any good either. They did about as well as one could have hoped for. The Disciple involvement and two bat stuff wasn’t needed either.
Kevin Nash isn’t happy with Hulk Hogan but quickly decides to forgive and powerbomb the Giant. As he preps for it, Hogan whacks Nash in the back with the bat. THE NWO EXPLODES! The Giant runs Hogan off.
They hype Slamboree 1998, saying it is an event so big it will change wrestling history forever. It didn’t.
DDP is champion but Raven has the belt here. Raven rakes a while in his entrance, only choosing to attack when a Flock member jumps the rail and holds DDP. It fails as DDP starts beating on him. DDP’s ribs are taped, which they were for pretty much his whole career. Sickboy of the Flock gets beat up after DDP hits a plancha. The fight moves up to the ramp where DDP dives off of a weird wagon set up by the stage into bales of hay. DDP uses a trash can and even throws Raven through some stuff by the stage. Raven turns things around and hits his own dive off a railing onto a table. It doesn’t break, making it look like it hurts more. As Raven grabs a cowbell, Tony delivers a great line of “THERE’S A BULL HERE”. His delivery on it is so unintentionally hilarious. They fight back to the ring where Sickboy gives Raven the kitchen sink. Yup, he’s going to use everything including that. DDP drop toe holds Raven onto the sink and both men are down. Kidman interferes but splashes Raven by mistake. DDP dumps him out and covers for two. Van Hammer runs in and gets hit with the sink. Raven continues to kick out of everything. A STOP sign comes into play, reminding me of the Revenge video game. DDP nails every Flock member with it and ends Kidman with a Diamond Cutter. Some random dude is in and he whacks DDP with the STOP sign. Raven nails the Evenflow and wins.
There you have your match of the night. This was pretty much what I wanted it to be. They made very good use of the Raven’s Rules stipulation, creating something different than everything else on the card. DDP was usually someone that could be counted on for a good match and that’s what we got here.
Savage attacks as Sting gets in the ring and the fight is on. Like the last match, they brawl up by the entrance and Sting tosses Savage onto a wheel. Schiavone acts like this is some extreme moment. Tossing Savage into the stage stuff is not bad for this match, but we literally just saw it in the previous match. Back by the ring, Sting misses a Stinger Splash outside and eats rail. They just continue battling outside. Sting hits a suplex out there while Heenan talks about how resilient Savage is. They finally enter the ring, where Savage crotches Sting on the top rope. Even though it’s no DQ, it’s WCW so we get a ref bump. Lizabeth hits Sting in the back with a chair but he doesn’t feel it. He tries the Stinger Splash but Savage pulls Elizabeth in the way. Sting, ever the good guy, is sad about it, opening the door for Savage to hit him with the chair. Savage goes up for the elbow but Hogan comes out and shoves him off the top. Sting hits the Scorpion Death Drop and now Nash is here. Why didn’t he just go after Hogan? They had to have crossed paths. Nash Jackknifes Sting and puts Savage over Sting. The referee counts and there is a new champion.
I honestly think that having the Raven’s Rules match on right before this hurt it. Most of what they did lacked drama because we had just seen a lot of it. Then, in typical WCW fashion, we got a bunch of overbooking in the end, which hurt what was already not a great match.
Overall: There was certainly some potential on this show. The Television Title, United States Title and Chavo/Ultimo Dragon matches were good stuff. Most of the event was filled with the classic WCW overbooking and referee bumps. There were a few matches that were absolutely dreadful, but there are some things worth a look. Check out the matches I mentioned and skip the rest. Next on is !