Showing posts with label Monday Night Wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monday Night Wars. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2019

We Are At War: WWF Over The Edge 1998

A brief note. I put the Meltzer Ratings on my PPV throwbacks for a specific reason. I don't worship Meltzer's word as fact, no one should. His opinions are his own and should be taken merely as that, though very respected and widespread, as an opinion. I post the ratings along with my review to give an insight to what people thought of the product at the time, so that you the reader can understand how the standards of today differ to then. Now usually, I don't post the thumbs up/down parts or the best/worst match segments, but...well...

Fucking telling, isn't it?

Shamrock was nowhere on this show.
Over The Edge, May 30th 1998

Legion of Doom 2000 vs Skull and Eight Ball
I honestly didn't pay much attention to this match, but Sunny was hot as always. Hawk no sold a piledriver early, the only man who I'm okay with completely no selling it. But then the bikers got the heat on the LOD, and immediately no one cared. The tag team scene in '98 was historically terrible and it showed here. The Road Warriors should not be having anything other than a Road Warriors Squash. Twin Magic, but Animal says fuck your twin magic with a powerslam for the win.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*
Did I mention Sunny was hot?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We Are At War: WCW Great American Bash 1998

I wish I had been as Gonzo as Savage was here watching this show.
[This is from the historic Nitro when EVERYONE was plastered, 6/8/98]

WCW Great American Bash, June 14th,1998

Booker T vs. Chris Benoit, the winner faces Fit Finlay for the TV Championship later tonight

This was apparently the final match in a Best of Seven series, and they showed a video package before the match detailing how we got to this point which included a fuck finish, on Thunder, that was scratched from the record books on Booker's request [Thunder Recap Count= 1]. We're getting deep into WCW stupid, now. It was a good opener, both men were very good and deserved better even at that point. Benoit in particular was really hot with the crowd. They were into every chop and german suplex, so of course he lost to a missile dropkick from the top rope.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/2
It was fun, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it like Benoit/Finlay last month.

Kanyon vs Saturn

Another really fun match, almost like all the quality on these WCW shows are skewed to the undercard. Month after month, I keep wondering why Saturn never got beyond the mid-card in either WCW or WWE. Kanyon himself wasn't bad, much larger than I remember him being as well. They took it to each other the whole match, busting out a lot of moves that are commonplace in today's Indy scene and NXT. Kanyon especially was the prototype to the standard Indy wrestler stereotype of today, sans dives.
Then the Bullshit happened. Oh God, the Bullshit.
So the match is coming along fine, until Mortis showed up. Mortis, being Kanyon's old gimmick, proceeded to throw Saturn from the floor back into the ring. Then, a second (or third?) Mortis appeared, and the two...Morti?...began to brawl. In the process, we almost missed Kanyon winning with I think was a second rope Samoan drop? After the match, one of the MK ripoffs unmasked to show himself as Raven, who laid Kanyon out and berate Saturn. Saturn, in turn, rushed Raven and proceeded to murder the Flock that came in around him. Hopefully we get Saturn and Raven next month. I really like Saturn on these PPVs

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
Again, like the last match this was an above average affair. I wouldn't have gone out of my way for it, but I'm not upset that I watched it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We Are At War: WCW Slamboree (1998)

Fucking got that right.

WCW/nWo Slamboree, May 17th, 1998
Tenay, Schiavone, and Heenan are trying really hard to explain everything we're going to see. props to them, cause even secondhand, I know how wacky this show has been in the past few months.

Fit Finlay vs. Chris Benoit for the World Television Title
This match was as good as you would think a match between these two would be, which has a high ceiling of potential. The crowd was amazingly awake for this match, and the opening minutes were a spectacle of technical wrestling and striking from both men. But, as Finlay is inclined to do, turned to the roughneck breaking down of Chris both outside of the ring and in.  Benoit got momentum back, and tried a suicide dive to the ring. Finlay decided to crank him in the head with a steel chair to counter it, and I screamed. This was Not a Disqualification. Booker T came out to distract Benoit, which let Finlay take advantage, but not the fall. This came shortly after the distraction with a Tombstone.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/4
A really good match, not that I doubted it would be. But as it went longer, it slowed down and the crowd started to die. Still would recommend it to people who want to watch a good match.

Brian Adams (w/Vincent) vs Lex Luger
Lex Luger looks like hes made of tanned bacon. If the match had ended with zero offense from Adams it would have been better, Luger's opening offense had the crowd crazy. But I guess there had to be heat. Torture Rack is over.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*
This was okay. Always wish Crush had gotten over.

Perry Saturn cuts a very good, intense promo.

Cruiserweight Number 1 Contendership Battle Royal
Chris Jericho was always a charismatic bastard. He managed to introduce everyone to the ring with some slandering bullshit. It was awesome. Literally every man under 220 in WCW was in this match...besides the important ones (Eddie, Rey Mysterio, Dragon, etc. Though I don't know where Rey is honestly...). Dean Malenko, under a mask and full body suit, won the match and unmasked, getting the biggest and most sustained reaction of the night.

Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight Title
Malenko took 75% of the match, ignoring most of his technical arsenal in favor of just beating Jericho down. Because Malenko understood that sometimes, you have to change what you do in the ring to portray the story you're trying to tell properly. The top rope gutbuster from Malenko is still great and scary. Dean eventually got the submission with the Cloverleaf, and the crowd went wild.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/4
It was a very good match that may have had the most build of anything on the card. It's amazing what a little forethought can do for your match.

Diamond Dallas Page vs Raven, Bowery Death Cage Match
It's the battle of the Nirvana covers. If you're asking what a Bowery Death Cage Match is, it's the child of a Last Man Standing and a Hell in a Cell match that was raised by ECW. The two had a very good, well paced fight. It wasn't an ECW weapons match, but a good brawl that had weapons involved. Both DDP and Raven tried their best, but the fans in the arena couldn't see shit, so there was no reaction. Flock got involved, Flock got Diamond Cutter'd, eventually Raven ate one as well.
DDP answered the 10 count when Raven couldn't.

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
Pretty fun to watch. Kanyon came into the ring and delivered the chair shot of all death on Raven. The crowd did not react

They showed a security officer looking for McMahon, DX and Steve Austin with black and white pictures of them all for reference. Because, for some reason, they wanted to convince us that someone didn't know what Steve Austin or Vince McMahon looked like

Eddie Guerrero (w/Chavo Guerrero) vs Ultimo Dragon
There is certainly a part of me that wished this match took place somewhere, anywhere, else. The crowd was not nearly as into the match as I would've been for these two, who had a great match. Dragon was arguably in his prime here, and Eddie was always on throughout his career. Much like the opening match, this one was certainly as good as you would expect it to be. Technical prowess, flying, and good storytelling all went into this one, that ended with a brainbuster and a Frog Splash from Guerrero.

Meltzer Rating: ***1/4
This and the Television Title match are the two big matches worth watching on this show.

Goldberg vs. Saturn for the WCW United States Title
The commentators bragged about how "WCW has a finger on the pulse of what WCW fans want". Ill let that one sink in for you. I learned in this match that Saturday Night WCW was still a thing at this time. So WCW fans were expected to follow at least 6 hours of wrestling per week, which is even a lot to expect from a single company today. Saturn was a very unique stirker and personality, and how he never got bigger than he was is a mystery to me. I'm not talking a lot about the match, because you've seen one Goldberg match than you've seen most of them. Actually I lie, because this match was very back and forth, Saturn got a lot of offense on Goldberg before he activated Green powers. This was actually a fun match to watch.

Meltzer Rating: 3/4*
I came out of this match liking both men more for it. Goldberg was getting better at having longer matches, and Saturn got in what he could. I think *3/4 is pretty unfair.

Eric Bischoff stroked his ego for 5 minutes on PPV, coming out to "fight" Vince McMahon and "winning" by countout. They took time throughout the show to build up if Vince was coming (we knew he wasn't via lawsuit). Fuck this all.

Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage, Special Referee Roddy Piper
What do I say about this match? Bret has often said that he lost the passion for wrestling when he jumped to WCW, and you can tell that here. He seems very hollow when he's going through the motions here. What should've been a great match, a classic almost, felt plodding and long. Savage himself seemed to be going through the motions, and the crowd really couldn't care less about the fight. They went hither and yon at one point for a brief spot, that went practically nowhere. The two tried to work a main event level match, but with the fans so not into it, and indeed the wrestlers not really caring like they seem to not here, there was no hope for a match. This match, that Roddy promised wouldn't end in a DQ, ended when he disqualified Randy.

Meltzer Rating: **1/2
I should have liked this match, I should have LOVED this match but I didn't. It actually makes me mad.

The Outsiders (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs Sting and The Giant for the WCW Tag Titles
Scott Hall had to be drunk here. This survey gimmick is ridiculous. But I don't need to go into that. Instead, lets take a minute to appreciate Dusty's holy hell, ugly jacket.

Scott moved like he was drunk, The Giant and Kevin Nash plodded, and Sting looked like he wished he were anywhere else. This was a boring match that set up to Hall and Dusty turning on Nash, keeping the inside war between the nWo fueled. The people reacted appropriately. Nash was alright, I think, and Giant was better than he is now at mid 40s and hurting.

Meltzer Rating: DUD

 This show was great until the last two matches. The card was stacked, and awesome, and full of talent. But a pair of matches with a lack of passion sunk my attitude over all. And that's a shame, because there was a crop of men working really hard to give the people something to enjoy. I want to hope it gets better from here, but I know better.

(All Ratings taken from the May25th issue of the Wrestling Observer)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

We Are At War: WWF Unforgiven 1998

So Spring Stampede last week was, for the most part, pretty good. The undercard matches were competitive, and the nWo matches were overall tolerable. So many of the things we're led to believe about WCW remain true today. But how will the WWF product hold up?

Unforgiven, April 26th, 1998

We're coming off one of the most significant Wrestlemanias of all time, with Steve Austin firmly at the helm, Rock and HHH building up slowly with their factions on the undercard. We're in for what looks like a loaded card, including the infamous first ever Inferno match between Undertaker and Kane.

The commentary team is the now iconic pair of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. This may come as a shock, but they're just as good as people remember them being. They had their flow down, and very seldom did they talk over each other, a problem that plagued the WCW commentary team last week.

Farooq, Ken Shamrock, and Steve Blackman vs The Nation (The Rock, D'Lo Brown, and Mark Henry) w/Kama Mustafa
Shamrock was unusually hot this night. It's amazing how of all six of these men, only two would go on to hold world titles in this company. The story that the Nation had betrayed Farooq translates well nineteen years later, and even if Ross wasn't driving the point home the psychology in the ring would tell you. The match started off really hot, but once we got to the heat that lasted 20 minutes in this 10 minute match, the crowd died a death. It seriously got worse until I was begging for the match to be over. Which came about 30 seconds after the hot tag, where Farooq pinned Rock.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*
The match started very good, but then died a death as I said. Shame.

Triple H vs Owen Hart for the European Championship, Chyna in a Shark Cage
A week ago I said that AJ Styles was my favorite all-time wrestler. But for a long time, Owen Hart easily held that spot. He's still easily in my top 10, and is probably never leaving. But Race almighty, was he acting like a dork in this match, He seemed to be channeling every hokey 80s southern babyface. Maybe he was just trying to make himself laugh. The match was building up to being a good performance, before the bullshit happened.

So try and follow me, and remember I'm making none of this up.
Chyna, suspended in a cage 20 feet in the air, bends the cage bars and escapes. She proceeds to dangle from the cage, which gets lowered by Road Dogg. She then distracts about 6 people, so that X-Pac could clonk Owen in the head with a fire extinguisher, so Hunter could get the pin.

Got that? Don't care, moving on

Meltzer Rating: **3/4
It would have been good, bu then the shenanigans made it pointless.

The New Midnight Express w/Jim Cornette vs The Rock and Roll Express for the NWA Tag Team Championships
It was a traditional 80s tag team match, in the middle of the Monday Night Wars. t some point you could feel the crowd trying to care, but they really couldn't. I wanted to get myself excited for this match, but couldn't because of the dead crowd. Mechanically the match was fine, and there was some fun double team spots from the Midnight. But God bless all five men involved, but they were out here to die a death. Midnight won.

Meltzer Rating: *
Jim Cornette was out there and making it somewhat entertaining.

Sable vs. Luna Vachon, Evening Gown Match
What a fucking relic this match was. The fact that this got the second biggest reaction on the show is ridiculous. Sable's dress did a good job of not showing how big Sable's chest was. Seriously, you could kill a mini with those things. I don't know what else to say, there was tits abound.

Meltzer Rating: 1/2*

New Age Outlaws vs LOD 2000 w/Sunny for the WWF Tag Team Championships
Sunny is ridiculously hot. Hawk and Animal are getting on in age,but at this point they still look alright. Road Dogg did his singalongcoming out, and part of the crowd was going along with it. This was the Road Warriors trying to do a WWF tag match with heat and comebacks, and it's never worked in the past and didn't work here. Hawk got beat up forever, and only Jerry Lawler's commentary could save me. The match ended in a German Dusty finsih, completely wasting everyone's time.

Meltzer Rating: 3/4*
Tag team wrestling in the late 90s was dead as a door nail. It'll be another year and change before we get the E&C/Hardys revival.

I'm not sitting through a Jeff Jarrett Concert. Y'all can go fuck yourselves.

 Kane vs The Undertaker, Inferno Match
A match that turned out to be very good on camera, this was the first really entertaining match on the show. The second official match in the Goddamn Feud That'll Never End, it was a well paced Kaiju fight surrounded in fire for aesthetic.Eventually, the match spilled outside, and The Undertaker managed a spectacular dive over the top rope and the fire. The ending fell flat, seemingly almost an accident in story, which is a shame for a very good monster fight. It took forever for Tim White to call for the bell, as Kane ran with his arm on fire to the back.

Meltzer Rating: **3/4
This match has been on at least two DVD sets before, so it's real easy to find this match on accident. Would I go out of my way to see this match on the Network? Maybe not, but if you're here for the main event, maybe consider watching this one.

Steve Austin vs. Dude Love for the WWF Championship
Dude Love was always my sleeper favorite persona of Mick Foley. This is Austin's first big show title defense, and already he's fully into the McMahon feud that arguably helped win the War. Despite the silence for about half the roster, the crowd went wild for Austin. While not a technical spectacle, the fight was a very good story between these two men. They brawled in the ring, outside the ring, up the ramp, back down the ramp, and eventually back in the ring. Then, in 1998, we had our first instance of a Montreal Screwjob tease, as McMahon came out after promising catastrophe earlier. We didn't get a Screwjob, however, as Austin murdered Vince dead with a chair, Stunned Love, and counted his own three count.


Meltzer Rating: ****
A good main event. The Austin character is fun to watch, despite the style of match not being my preference. But I can see the appeal, and in the end this was just the continuation of the story for next month.

They say you can forgive a bad undercard if there's a good main event. Well, despite a very good main event, and a fun Inferno match, the rest of this card just absolutely dragged the whole show down. This is the side that won the Monday Night War? This is the boom period that had millions of fans and thousands of PPV buys? It has to get better.


(All Meltzer Ratings taken form The May 4th, 1998 issue of the Wrestling Observer.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We Are At War: WCW Spring Stampede 1998

19 Years ago, the Monday Night Wars raged on. I was 4 years old when the WWF broke the ratings dominance WCW, 7 when WCW folded forever. The Attitude Era is remembered as such a mythical time, of tremendous TV and great PPVs. Revisionist history tells us that WCW was a sinking ship from around the split of the nWo and before, and that the WWF started their almighty comeback with Austin's title reign that started at Wrestlemania 14.

Conveniently, both of these happened in the spring of 1998, where I'm gonna pick up in the timeline. I'm not going to be reviewing the weekly Raw and Nitro shows, because I seriously don't have the time or patience for that shit. Instead, I'm going to pick up their slack, and cover the PPVs as they come down the pike. There's gonna be good, there's gonna be bad. May Macho Man have mercy on my soul.

Spring Stampede, April 19th 1998
 6 Days ago, WWF beat WCW in the ratings war for the first time in 84 weeks. 20 minute Hogan promos dominate the program's pime time, and an undercard struggle for attention by putting on great matches that go ignored by the people in power. That is the stage set for April in 1998.
The opening package focused entirely on the nWo, only a passing mention of Sting, the World Champion. The Wolfpac split is coming soon, and Nash and Hogan's interactions in the video say as much. There's a smattering of nWo shirts in the crowd, like Bullet Club shirts are in crowds today.

Schiavone, Tenay and Heenan are our commentary booth. They're generally unoffensive, and I generally like all three of them. Heenan does a good job on color, with Mike and Tony doing good play by play.

Goldberg vs. Saturn
Goldberg was ridiculously popular. The crowd went wild when his music came on. He was labeled as 73-0, and the Number One contender for the United States Title. Almost immediately, he almost kills Saturn with a Pumphandle Fallaway. He certainly had an explosive style that was entertaining as hell. Not to take away from Perry Saturn, who had a very unique and fun to watch style. Goldberg threw Saturn around like a cruiserweight, the rest of the Flock interfered. Goldberg murdered Kidman with a spear. Golberg stood through the Rings of Saturn, and hit a Jackhammer from a Fireman's Carry. Goldberg was stupid strong, and stupid awesome. A really fun opener.

Meltzer's Rating:*1/2
It was short, and smokey, but it was fun regardless.