It was a busy week back in 1997, not least due to Superbowl XXXI. The Green Bay Packers triumphed over the New England Patriots while James Brown and ZZ Top provided the half time entertainment. It was an even busier weekend for WCW though, as they – via the New World Order – held their first pay per view of the year. Let’s get down to business with this week’s ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’…
- Hacksaw Jim Duggan called out Hollywood Hogan. His promo made so little sense and he took so long to mentioned Hogan by name that I assumed he was calling out Sting
- New Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko has promised to be a fighting champion. He was also sporting a beautifully trimmed beard. Very nice
- Scott Steiner, who has been side-lined for the last few months, said that he is now healthy and motivated
- Lex Luger is now in the Green Bay Packers hall of fame. He was shown visiting their physical hall of fame, but from what I could understand he has been awarded his own spot in it. I assume he occupies the ‘professional wrestlers you didn’t know once played for The Packers’ section
- Someone needs to tell Jeff Jarrett that The Four Horsemen do not want to be his friends. Chris Benoit was inexplicably absent during a six man tag against The Faces of Fear and Hugh Morrus. Thus, Double J saw this as an opportunity to give Arn Anderson and Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael a hand. Rather than join The Horseman team, Jeff was adjudged to have interfered and thus caused his ‘team’ to be disqualified. To make matters worse, Mongo and Arn ditched him, leaving Jeff at the mercy of the Dungeon of Doom trio. I know what you’re thinking, but this isn’t actually a comedy angle
- Sister Sherri (with a little help from The Public Enemy) took a bump through a table
- The pretence that Saturday Night is not pre-recorded was upheld, despite the fact that the show was being held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a large proportion of the wrestlers featured were also booked at Souled Out, a live pay per view immediately following Saturday Night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Thus, Chris Jericho – who wrestled mid-way through Saturday Night – would have had to travel over 300 miles in under an hour to be in Cedar Rapids for the opening bout of Souled Out against Masahiro Chono
- Hacksaw Jim Duggan def. Disco Inferno
- Ultimo Dragon (with Sonny Onoo) def. Mr JL
- High Voltage def. The Extremists
- Chris Jericho def. Super Calo
- Dave Taylor def. Bobby Eaton
- The Faces of Fear & Hugh Morrus (with Jimmy Hart) def. Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael & Arn Anderson (with Debra) by DQ
- Diamond Dallas Page def. Mark Starr
- Scotty Riggs def. The Gambler
- Lord Steven Regal (c) def. Chavo Guerrero in a WCW TV Title match
- The Public Enemy def. Harlem Heat (with Sister Sherri) by DQ
How would I describe the nWo’s first ever pay per view? There are many words I could use, but I’ll remain conservative and go for ‘awkward’. By that I mean; ‘causing or feeling uneasy embarrassment or inconvenience’. I shall get to the significant storyline developments from Souled Out in a second, but first I should outline how an nWo PPV differs from a WCW PPV…
Firstly, the action was called by an all heel commentary team (Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase). Without a neutral voice as a foil, the sarcastic bombardment of nWo propaganda got on my tits after just one match.
Secondly, only one referee was used; official nWo referee Nick Patrick. Thus, the theme of every match was exactly the same. The exceptions (and thus WCW victories) were Eddie Guerrero defeating Syxx in a ladder match; not much Nick could have done there. Jeff Jarrett pinned Michael Wallstreet when Mongo threatened to hit Patrick with his briefcase if he didn’t count. The Steiners also secured a win against The Outsiders, but Nasty Nick took a bump and didn’t actually count that pin. More on that later…
Another annoyance was the lack of entrance music for the WCW guys and the over use of the nWo B-Team theme. Only The Outsiders and Hogan used the main nWo theme, thus we heard that annoying B-Team track six matches in a row.
There was a voiceover during matches, usually saying “loser” whenever a WCW guy lost or was in jeopardy, i.e. a bit like in Mortal Kombat when the guy says “finish him” and “fatality”.
There was a house band, who I think were called ‘Captain Virgil’. They were terrible and again, it was awkward because I’m not sure they were in on the joke… assuming there was a joke.
Fans were somewhat confused about who to cheer for. Obviously the crowd featured plenty of nWo-ites, complete with newly purchased merchandise. However, the group played heel all night with popular babyfaces like Diamond Dallas Page and The Steiners coming across as just that.
And finally, what was assumed to be sarcasm was not. A ‘Miss nWo’ contest was run throughout the duration of the show. I naturally assumed it would be a bikini contest with glamour models. Nope, the contestants appeared to be normal women with normal jobs. Upon realising this I assumed these women would somehow be made fun off and that all of Jeff Katz lude comments were designed to make them look stupid. Nope, Miss Becky – a housewife, so technically not a ‘Miss’ – was crowned ‘Miss nWo’ and received a snog from Eric Bischoff. Again, the punchline never came and Bischoff said it was good to be King. Realy?
On a positive note, I liked the set. The steps in place of a ramp and giant light board instead of a big screen looked like a throwback to a Bon Jovi concert circa 1988.
In Other News From Souled Out –
- Hollywood Hogan – who for some reason was accompanied by Dallas Cowboys players – retained his title against The Giant. The match was somewhat surreal, with The Giant leaping off the top rope and Hogan attempting a small package on the big man. The match, and the show, ended as you might expect; with an nWo beat down and The Giant getting spray painted
- For reasons unexplained the nWo arrived at the arena not in limousines, but in bin lorries
- The Steiner Brothers won the WCW Tag Titles. Randy Anderson appeared from nowhere, wearing street clothes, to count three after Nick Patrick took a pathetic looking bump
- We got the exact same ‘DDP joins the nWo’ angle as a couple weeks ago, only with the B-Team – led by Buff Bagwell – in place of The Outsiders. When will they learn?
- The contestants in the ‘Miss nWo’ contest were clearly not informed of the questions Jeff Katz would ask them beforehand. The best answer the incredibly annoying Katz received was “I can’t hear you!”
- Buff Bagwell debuted his Blockbuster finisher in a surprisingly clean victory over ex-partner Scotty Riggs
- Syxx and Eddie Guerrero contested a good, but not exceptional ladder match. Despite being the second longest match on the card, it felt surprisingly short with an anticlimactic finish; both men grabbed the US Title at the same time, but Eddie wrestled it away from Syxx
- Big Bubba ran Hugh Morrus over using a motorbike. Oh, for some reason there were several motorbikes at ringside
- Several WCW wrestlers were pictured in the audience. WCW employees buying tickets to see their apparent rivals? Hmmm…
- Probably the best match on the show was the opening bout between Chris Jericho and Masahiro Chono. Jericho took a bump from the ring apron through a table on the outside, thus he didn’t look too weak by losing to Chono for a second time
- Masahiro Chono defeated Chris Jericho
- Big Bubba Rogers defeated Hugh Morrus (with Jimmy Hart) in a Mexican Death match
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Mr. Wallstreet
- Buff Bagwell defeated Scotty Riggs
- Scott Norton defeated Diamond Dallas Page by count-out
- The Steiner Brothers defeated The Outsiders to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Syxx in a Ladder match to retain the WCW United States Championship
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan fought The Giant to a no-contest
Having lost the WCW Tag Titles, The Outsiders – along with Eric Bischoff – where in the mood to right what they regarded as wrongs. Firstly, Bischoff fired Randy Anderson, who counted Hall’s shoulders to the mat at Souled Out after Nick Patrick took a bump. Although chastised, Anderson was not fired for this. He was instead fired for the circumstances that saw him attend the show as a fan in the first place; he was given tickets as a gift. Apparently WCW employees are not allowed to accept gifts of this nature. Throwing his weight around, Bischoff then stripped the Steiners of the WCW Tag Titles under threat of suspension. They relinquished the belts by throwing them to the concrete floor. The sound they made suggested to me that Bischoff may need to order a couple more belts to be made.
In Other News From Nitro –
- The actual biggest news from Nitro – just not detailed enough to fill an opening paragraph – is that the WCW Championship Committee, which may or may not be the same as the WCW Executive Committee, have ruled that Hollywood Hogan must defend his Title against Rowdy Roddy Piper at SuperBrawl
- The Giant called out Hogan for another match, Hogan accepted and the pair closed the show with the same match they always have i.e. two minutes of action followed by nWo interference. However, as Nitro went off the air Lex Luger appeared and sided with The Giant against The Outsiders
- Earlier in the show Luger put The Giant over and offered an olive branch, for the greater good
- The Four Horsemen put on a united front; they even had Debra towing the line about respecting Benoit. Speaking of The Crippler, he told Kevin Sullivan to “let go” because he was beating him “physically, mentally and spiritually”. In his one mistake, Benoit ended by saying that he didn’t need back-up and would flying solo in his match later…
- Said match was against Dungeon of Doom member Hugh Morrus. Following a distraction from a mystery lady who got in Woman’s face, Sullivan snuck in to hit Benoit with a chair and hand victory to his Dungeon team mate. Post-match this new woman – it was Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Moore – alluded to a past with The Taskmaster and volunteered her services to help “comfort” Sullivan. Kev was more than intrigued by this offer, although his manager – Jimmy Hart – seemed a bit miffed
- Eric Bischoff kept referring to Souled Out as “last night”, when it was actually held on Saturday night
- Tony Schiavone showed footage of Roddy Piper defeating Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade, which Eric Bischoff had previously blocked. An irate Bischoff pulled the tape out and destroyed it
- During Hogan’s promo, Sting appeared in the crowd alongside Macho Man. Neither man spoke. Hogan made reference to Sting joining the nWo – as per usual – but also made an off-the-cuff remark alluding to Macho Man joining the group, because he couldn’t get a deal with WCW. Interesting…
- The Steiner Brothers defeated The Faces Of Fear
- The Giant defeated Road Block
- Jeff Jarrett defeated Eddie Guerrero (c) via disqualification in a WCW United States Championship Match
- The Ultimo Dragon defeated Billy Pearl
- Lex Luger defeated Ron Powers
- Arn Anderson & Steve McMichael defeated The Amazing French Canadians
- The Outsiders (c) defeated The Extreme to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship
- Kevin Sullivan defeated Joe Gomez
- Dean Malenko (c) defeated Jerry Flynn to retain the WCW World Cruiserweight Championship
- Hugh Morrus defeated Chris Benoit
- The Giant defeated Hulk Hogan (c) via disqualification in a WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
“That’s why you should keep them in the kitchen”
Babyface announcer Larry Zbyszko discusses his opinions on women
- Former UFC star Don Frye’s name is being mentioned as a potential replacement for Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael in the Four Horsemen. Granted Mongo is terrible, but WCW can’t just stop using someone who earns in excess of $300,000 per year. This was his salary as an announcer, goodness knows how much he gets now, as an in-ring performer
- Rey Mysterio Jr. does not require surgery on his injured knee and should return within weeks, not months
- Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit had a brawl in a bar in New Orleans after The Crippler made out with Nancy ‘Woman’ Sullivan. This is apparently just part of the act. As with the Brian Pillman affair from last year, Sullivan is trying to ‘work the boys’. Problem is, most of ‘the boys’ aren’t buying it. It was mainly WCW personnel in the bar at the time too, so this ‘angle’ was all for nought
- Juventud Guerrera is having visa troubles, hence why we have not seen him for a while
- Once Jerry Sags has recovered from injury the current plan is to have The Nasty Boys feud with The Outsiders, to capitalise on the real heat between the two teams. Hall and Nash’s mention of the Nasty Boys in recent weeks provides evidence towards this
If you want to compare and contrast how WCW matches up against WWF from 1997 then you can read Craig’s assessment of the Monday Night Raw from January 27th 1997 here.
Raw 2.2 – 3.6 Nitro
You can read all previous ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’ posts here