John Carbery and Jamie Lithgow
All wrestling fans have a guilty pleasure – for many of us it’s wrestling itself! In this week’s Top Five we take a look at some of the wrestling events for us that defy all odds and are some of favourite shows, despite their relative lack of quality.
5. WWF Judgment Day 98
There was nothing of any real quality on this show but I sat through it a bunch when I was a teenager. The main event between Undertaker and Kane w/ Special Referee Steve Austin was the absolute pits but D’lo Brown and X-Pac had a fun match on the undercard.
4. WWF Rebellion 2000
Nearly every UK only PPV put on by the WWF with the exception of One Night Only was garbage. But Rebellion 2000 is the best of a bad bunch. The undercard is mostly a wash out with lazy house show matches but the fatal four-way main event is good fun and I’m usually happy to wait for it.
3. WCW Souled Out 2000
This was one of the few WCW ppvs I was able to find on VHS bank in the day. It’s mostly unremarkable and was during the dark days of the promotion but I watched it a lot in my teens and still hold a candle for it. DDP and Buff Bagwell had a great brawl on the undercard if memory serves though WCW was so flat and lifeless at this point it was all for nought.
2. WWF Wrestlemania IV
This is one of the worst PPV’s ever but I have fond memories of renting it in two parts on VHS back in the day. Even with enough content to fill two tapes there still isn’t much worth watching but the overall event does have a special atmosphere and even though I know better I look back with a smile on WM IV.
1. WCW Uncensored 99
This was the first full WCW PPV I ever got to see and, as a result, it still brings up feelings of nostalgia with me even though it’s pretty dire. I couldn’t wait to see the Razor Wire cage match between Hogan and Flair at the time, for reasons that are now unclear. The VHS tape is still safe and sound back in my Mam’s house should I need to relive it, though that’s not an occasion that’s likely to happen anytime soon.
5. WCW Starrcade 1989
A couple of round robin tournaments; one for singles guys (Sting, Great Muta, Ric Flair and Lex Luger) and one for tag teams (Doom, Steiner Brothers, Road Warriors and Samoan SWAT Team). Round robin tournaments in wrestling are a bad idea; they tend to be anti-climactic. That said, I’ve always liked this show because it was the best of the best in WCW competing to see who was top dog. Some of the action was really good, although was pretty crap too.
4. WWE Invasion 2001
Okay, I think we can all agree that the actual WCW/ECW Invasion and subsequent Alliance angle was, to say the least, a missed opportunity. As for the show itself, I liked it. As a stand-alone wrestling show, it does its job. It’s not 2001 anymore so we can allow ourselves to enjoy this, right?
3. WWE Wrestlemania 9
Debatably the worst Wrestlemania of all time. The action on this show was so bad that match of the night honours goes to Tatanka vs. Shawn Michaels by default. Having said that, this show is packed with nostalgia for me, hence why I, kind of, like it. This wasn’t just any Wrestlemania though, this was the Wrestlemania held in a car park with everyone dressed in togas! It’s so bad I can’t not look at it.
2. WWE Wrestlemania 15
In terms of match quality, this show was piss poor. The first instalment of The Rock and Steve Austin’s Wrestlemania trilogy was okay as a main event, but that match aside ‘Mania 15 might generally be considered grim viewing. However, this is the exact moment I got back into wrestling, having ‘grown out of it’ for a few years. Thus, nostalgia plays a big part in my affection for this show. Not only that, the ‘Raging Climax’ tagline and absolutely fantastic intro promo and music made everything feel much more important than it really was. Oh, another reason to like this show is that unlike modern day WrestleManias – where a title change is regarded a storyline development – this show actually had some twists and turns; namely the heel turn of Triple H and disintegration of Degeneration X.
1. WCW Halloween Havoc 1995
I can’t recall how many times I’ve revisited this event for purposes of mentioning it on this blog. For some people, watching this show once is too many times, but I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. The show opened with DDP vs. Johnny B. Badd, which seemed to start every WCW PPV around this time. Ric Flair – shock, horror – turned on Sting, there was a Sumo Monster Truck Match, a man falling from the roof of the building and surviving, a Lex Luger heel turn and a YEAH-TAY! This was wrestling at its most cartoonish, and bizarrely this show took place less than a year before the debut of the New World Order. Halloween Havoc 1995 is bat-shit crazy, and I love it!
You can read all previous Top Five pieces here.