Souled Out 1997

Last thing I’ll post today I promise.  This is exceptionally old so please bare with me.

Souled
Out 1997
Date: January 25,
1997
Location: Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Attendance:
5,120
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

This was
requested a long time ago and I never got around to doing it. This is
a very different kind of show as it’s the first and more or less
only official NWO PPV. And when I say NWO PPV, I mean full on. The
ring is different, there’s a house band, an NWO beauty pageant, all
WCW vs. NWO matches and a guy making jokes about WCW guys on their
way to the ring. It’s way out there but definitely intriguing.
Let’s get to it.

We open with a black and white video of a
full police escort bringing people to the arena. It’s really hard
to see anything and we get the old school style NWO promos. You can’t
see anyone’s faces until they get into the arena. Hogan has the
Dallas Cowboys with him for some reason.

The main event here
is Hogan vs. Giant for the title, which makes limited sense to me as
he fought Piper at the last PPV. They always had this weird concept
of have Starrcade then have Souled Out as a completely different
theme of show and then have Superbrawl to complete the trilogy of
S-named shows.

The set is completely different looking than
most shows with big lights saying New World Order and a bunch of
steps. Nick Patrick is the referee for every match tonight which must
be tiring.

Chris Jericho vs.
Masahiro Chono

Chris is billed as
“from somewhere north of the border, Chris “I should have played
hockey” Jericho”. It’s the same voice that would say the-the
biggest icon in wrestling in the NWO theme song. Chono was part of
NWO Japan which became Team 2000 when the angle ended. The WCW guys
get no theme music.

Patrick accuses Jericho of pulling hair
right off the bat. Jericho is more or less nothing at this point so
this should be a glorified squash for Chono. A bunch of WCW guys come
out to sit in the audience, including Anderson and Harlem Heat and a
bunch of others. Eric says they didn’t have to give away tickets to
fill the place. Considering how bad things got in about two or three
years, that’s hysterical.

Nice side Russian legsweep by
Chono as the glorified squash theory is right so far. Nice plancha by
Jericho to the floor as Chris is giving it a go at least. After some
stuff on the floor where Jericho hurts his knee we get some knee work
from Chono in the ring. Kind of boring but not bad so far. The idiot
fans chant USA as Jericho hits an enziguri.

Bischoff decided
jump back leg round kick is a better name than enizguri. And hey,
anyone that follows tournament karate knows that right Tony? Dragon
screw leg whip (damn some moves have long names) sets up the STF
which doesn’t work. VERY slow count by Patrick off a German by the
Canadian to the Japanese as the fans chant USA. Is that joke getting
old? I can never tell.

They botch a belly to belly off the top
which kills the crowd pretty badly. Chono busts out a table which is
a very different thing here in 1997, especially for mainstream
wrestling. Jericho reverses a suplex through it and hits a missile
dropkick for two which actually was fair.

Lionsault gets two
in another fair count as his knee is hurt badly here. He goes up
again but gets caught by the Mafia Kick. Oddly enough that doesn’t
knock him off so Chono has to shove him through the table. Another
Mafia Kick in the ring kills Jericho dead for the pin.

Rating:
C+. This wasn’t as bad as I expected. Wait why would I think this
was bad? You have two of the best ever in there and we got a pretty
good match. It was more competitive than I expected is probably a
better explanation. Solid stuff here for the most part but nothing
incredible.

We get a bit of the Miss NWO stuff. Some radio
shot host named Jeffrey Katz is the host. Basic questions are asked,
the girls are stupid, the word fellatio is used. Yeah that sums
things up pretty well I’d think.

Big Bubba
vs. Hugh Morrus

This is
Dungeon vs. NWO as Bubba jumped so the Dungeon is after him. This is
a Mexican death match despite the lack of Mexicanocity. No intro for
Morrus at all. Morrus looks like Big Dick Dudley. Ok then. The whole
death match aspect here is never really explained but whatever.
Morrus hits a clothesline to put Bubba on the floor.

Bubba
finds a chain from somewhere and whips Morrus with it. We’re told
that a Mexican Death Match means anything goes. No Laughing Matter
hits and of course no cover. Oh ok it’s more or less last man
standing. Patrick counts as slowly as possible so Morrus gets after
him.

Boss Man gets back up and does nothing but really basic
punches and strikes. Morrus just blasts him with a low blow and Bubba
heads out for a walk. We go to the stage where Morrus misses a
moonsault, which was completely messed up anyway so they would have
been on top of each other. Bubba grabs a motorcycle and runs down
Morrus Rikishi style to of course end it.

Rating: D.
Kind of just a brawl here with Bubba not doing much at all. Naturally
this had no point and would only be on this PPV and this one alone.
This went nowhere and the ending was really stupid. At least it was
short. Whenever we get to that point it’s never a good sign.

The
NWO chicks are still stupid. This is five minutes that nothing is
coming from.

There’s an NWO website. Nice job updating it to
remove the guy not in the team anymore.

Jeff Jarrett
vs. Mr. Wallstreet

Oh
wow this is going to be bad isn’t it? Wallstreet gets a bad rollup
to start for two as Jarrett argues with Patrick. Basically it’s a
handicap match with the announcers praising the FAR over the hill
Wallstreet. Debra, in the audience, likes Jarrett. Jarrett goes into
the audience and no one cares.

Sleeper goes on as Debra is
trying to get Mongo to do something. Far too many rest holds in this
as we’re on our third in like a minute and a half. Eric says the
crowd is getting anxious. Ok so in the NWO language anxious means
bored out of your mind and wanting to crack your f------ skull open
to end the pain of this match.

This is during the Jarrett
wants to be a Horseman period which went a grand total of nowhere.
Anderson is kind of scouting Jarrett at this point but it’s not
like he’s going to get much here. Wallstreet is just boring beyond
belief. Figure four goes on and Patrick literally drags them to the
ropes so Wallstreet can get the break. Wallstreet gets an abdominal
stretch as Mongo jumps the guardrail and DRILLS him with his
briefcase and threatens to revoke Patrick’s parking pass if he
doesn’t count the pin.

Rating: F. Yeah this was
awful. Rotunda (Wallstreet) was just worthless by this point and
Jarrett as a face is just boring beyond all comprehension. Horrible
match.

The pageant is still going! It’s just them answering
questions like you would see in a beauty pageant but they’re biker
chicks and not attractive and stupid.

And now we have a song.
Yeah the house band does some weird metal/bad rock song where the
only recognizable worlds are NEW WORLD ORDER. It’s as stupid as it
sounds.

Buff Bagwell vs.
Scott Riggs

Bagwell had very recently
turned black and white so this is the blowoff I guess. I don’t know
about you but I was begging for that American Males showdown.
Bischoff talks about how Bagwell has the IT factor and is going to be
a movie star according to Hogan. That’s rich. Buff channels his
inner Hogan and poses so Riggs jumps him to start us off. And now we
stall.

The constant camera cuts are reaching TNA levels here.
They’re doing a weird handheld look here and it’s really not
working at all. Apparently Buff has a new move for us tonight. He
slaps Riggs and it’s on. Buff is sent to the floor which isn’t a
DQ here for no apparent reason. I hate that rule but love how they
constantly change it.

Eric: “Everybody has to go somewhere.
Horses have glue factories and people here have Connecticut.” And
then there’s Orlando I guess. Amazingly enough, this is a fairly
boring match. Bagwell leads the fans in a Bagwell Sucks chant for
some reason. He gets a powerbomb for two. This match is just rather
boring. We get an ass shot of Buff off a sunset flip attempt.

And
now let’s look at the biker chicks again. Sure why not. Bischoff
points out that the fans are restless and I’m rather surprised.
This match would be perfect for me to get some rest to. It’s
putting me to sleep. Riggs reverses a slam into a small package for a
long two. The crooked referee schtick is getting very old.

Tornado
DDT puts Buff down and Riggs of course doesn’t cover. Eric picks
New England for the Super Bowl which was the wrong selection of
course. After some more camera cuts and more slow counting, the fans
are miserable. Patrick is tired here and I can’t really blame him
for that. They go to the corner and Buff debuts the Blockbuster to
end this. Yes, this got 14 minutes.

Rating: F+. And
that’s just because I love the Blockbuster. This was incredibly
boring and not even a fast paced match. At the end of the day, this
was Marcus Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs for almost 15 minutes on PPV.
There is no way that works no matter what you say.

Yeah we
get it: the girls are stupid.

There’s an NWO hotline. What’s
on it? FIND OUT ON NITRO!

Diamond Dallas
Page vs. Scott Norton

So
Page turned down the NWO and became a MASSIVE face in the process so
the ending here is about as obvious as you could ask for. Norton is
strong of course. Page isn’t quite his usual self at this point but
it’s coming very soon. Page vs. Savage would ignite his career and
make him the superstar that he would become. He’s moving here which
is odd to see.

And we still get it: Norton is strong. They
keep talking about taking over Japan which was a thing hyped for
awhile and then it never happened of course. Page pancakes him
(Piledriver but he slams them forward instead) but Norton’s power
takes over again. I never got why he was supposed to be all awesome
or something. Sting is in the corner of the building so the whole
match is thrown off course now.

Shoulder breaker sends Page to
the floor and he’s in trouble. He gets beaten up a good bit on the
floor as the PA guy calls Page a loser which has happened in every
match so far tonight. All Norton for awhile but Page punches his way
out of it and hits a nice top rope clothesline for two.

Page
calls for the Diamond Cutter but here come a bunch of the weaker NWO
guys led by Bagwell to offer the spot on the team to him again. He
says yes and puts the shirt on before dropping Norton and then, in an
actual SMART move from a face, gets the hell out of there before they
kill him. Norton wins by countout I’d assume. Yeah he
does.

Rating: D. Boring as hell match but Page was
trying at least. Like I said his big old push was coming soon and to
say it worked is an understatement. This was obviously just to set up
the angle at the end and the match was pretty bad because of it. That
clothesline was good though.

We narrow it down a bit in the
pageant. There’s just nothing to say about this.

Tag
Titles: Outsiders vs.
Steiner Brothers

This was built up
forever and included attempted vehicular manslaughter by the heels. I
mean there was a video of the two teams in their cars and the
Outsiders ran them off the road. The Scotts start us off with various
levels of arm work. These camera angles are really getting annoying
as it’s hard to tell what we’re looking at sometimes. And let’s
talk about Hogan.

Rick vs. Hall now. And now back to the arm.
Rick gets out of it by punching Hall in the face. Again, when all
else fails: HIT THEM IN THE FACE! Chokeslam gets Hall out of trouble
and here’s Nash. They don’t exactly look energetic out there if
that makes sense. Scott hits that spinning belly to belly and now
more arm work. Everyone has had the arm worked on at various times
here.

This has been half punches, half arm work and half
suplexes. There were occasions where both were going on at the same
time. BIG boot puts Rick on the floor. The ring color is very
offputting here. This is your usual slow and plodding Outsiders match
with not a lot going on but a lot of time wasting, which technically
is something I guess. And now let’s yell at DiBiase because we
don’t care about the match.

Nash misses an elbow which takes
us nowhere. Scott reaches out to Rick but Rick is facing the wrong
way. Maybe Scott wants to take up proctology. Snake Eyes on the apron
as we’re on the floor now. It’s Nash and Rick still if you’re
wondering. Scott Steiner drills the other Scott and drops a bunch of
F Bombs. Good night this needs to get going already.

Scott
FINALLY comes in and beats up anyone that enjoys being outside with
ease. Everything goes nuts and Scott gets the Razor’s Edge to Scott
but there’s no referee. Top rope bulldog ends Hall and Randy
Anderson comes in out of the crowd and counts the pin. If you’re
stupid enough to think this lasted through Nitro the next night,
you’re a very stupid person.

Rating: D+. Just rather
boring again as the Outsiders couldn’t move at all and it just
isn’t interesting to see them fight. Nothing special at all here as
this DRAGGED. It’s the longest match of the night at fifteen
minutes almost and it felt like a lot more than that. The screwjob
ending doesn’t help much either but not a lot is going to help this
show at this point.

US Title: Eddie
Guerrero vs. Syxx

Remember
what I said about nothing being able to help this show? I still think
that’s correct but this isn’t going to hurt it any. Eddie is
champion here but Syxx has the title itself. Oh and it’s a ladder
match. The lack of music for the faces is really weird. Syxx is of
course introduced as US Champion of the World. Bischoff calls him a
one man rock concert. Oh dear he’s almost Heath Slater.

Eddie
jumps him as the belt is being lifted up into the air. That would be
cheating right? Wow even I find the jokes and writing in this review
boring at this point. I think that might be due to this show just
being weak as hell so far. It’s different for sure but there’s
just nothing of note in the ring so far. Granted that could be said
about almost all WCW PPVs from this era.

BIG dive from Eddie
sends Syxx’s head into the ground and HARD. Easily the biggest spot
of the night so far but that looked very bad. Waltman (that other
name is irritating for some reason) hits a spin kick off the second
rope as the crowd is at least awake to an extent here. Bronco Buster
hits Eddie but it’s just one shot at this point so it’s not as
annoying yet.

Eddie hits a dropkick and Waltman goes FLYING.
You would think he was catching a cannonball or something off that.
Some LOUD fan shouts a gay slur at Eddie and even Eric has to respond
to it. Big suicide dive by Waltman and the crowd is clearly restless
even though this has been a pretty decent match so far. Well granted
that’s based on like six minutes or so but it’s a breath of
freaking air after watching Scott Norton and Scotty Riggs on
PPV.

Scott Hall made ladder matches awesome. Did you know
that? Teeter Totter shot to Waltman’s head and Eddie controls
pretty easily here. It becomes your standard what vile things can we
do with a basic piece of hardware match which is always pretty
entertaining, especially with talented guys like Eddie and pretty
good guys like Waltman. He’s off here because of the head shot
earlier though I think.

Big old top rope suplex from Eddie as
Waltman looks a little dead at the moment. Both guys go up and
Waltman does something I’ve never seen before, jumping into the air
and hitting a dropkick (kind of and closer to that than whatever
Bischoff called it) to Eddie which looked great. Waltman of course
crashed like a car driven by a penguin with bad eyesight.

Waltman
can barely move as Eddie cranks it up again. Both guys go up as Eric
says do it for Alice in Chains. Both guys go up and grab the belt at
the same time. Eddie drills him with it and they both fall, but
Guerrero holds onto it to get the title back for good this
time.

Rating: B-. Match of the night BY FAR. This was
actually good with these two being able to have some time and show
off a bit. This was pretty good but nothing great. See what happens
when you have two young guys out there and give them something where
they can show off? YOU GET A GOOD MATCH!

The pageant begins
(what?) and ends with a fat chick getting to make out with Eric.
Again as stupid as it sounds.

WCW World
Title: Hollywood Hogan vs.
The Giant

The pyro for Hogan is set
to his music which is pretty cool looking. The Cowboys are with him
again here. No t-shirt for Hogan which is weird to see. Nate Newton
is here as is George Teague. Oh and Ray Donaldson. Other than to big
Cowboys fans only one of those names will mean a thing. Hogan is tiny
looking here which is very weird to say the least.

I don’t
mean because he’s against Giant. I mean his muscle mass is WAY
down. Punches just tick Giant off. This is happening because Giant
won World War III and Hogan said no title shot, thereby ticking Giant
off. He was the first to leave the team after being in it like three
or four months. And Hogan stalls. He begins his offense with punches
before shifting slightly to harder punches and then going full boar
with very hard punches.

Why does every move have to be heard
around the world? Double clothesline and both guys are down already.
Giant takes over and Hogan overacts. That’s always weird as he
never acted at all as an actor but as a wrestler he acts far too
much. Shoulder block gets nothing for Hogan and Hogan actually tries
a small package. You see something new every day I guess.

It
looked cool too as Giant just kind of held him there when he was
trying to roll through with it. I love basic counters like that which
get to show off someone’s power and size. After some very basic and
weak looking heel stuff from Hogan, Giant goes up for a top rope
elbow which misses of course as it would have hit Hogan so far that
the hair inside Hogan’s skull would have popped out and his image
would have been ruined. It also would put a lot of bandana companies
out of business.

Giant no sells a big boot. Ok that’s pretty
freaking cool. A weak slam (but still a slam nonetheless) sets up the
legdrop which is completely no sold. Hogan parades around and doesn’t
seem to notice the lack of Giant laying there. Chokeslam kills Hogan
dead but Patrick keeps saying the shoulder was up even though he
doesn’t move.

The run-ins begin of course and Giant piles
them up like a chronic hoarder. The announcers hit the ring too until
Hogan gets a (real) guitar as Hall and Nash get there. Good to see
Hogan get rid of Giant with the instrument or the Outsiders might
have had to do two things in one night! The fans want Sting which
does nothing. Spray paint job ends this. The match was just thrown
out I guess.

Rating: D-. This was their usual boring
match that had nothing of note for it. It felt like the main event of
a house show with the shoulder not being up thing but it’s better
than the fake shoulder injury concept I guess. Another boring match
to cap off a very boring show though.

The copyright says NWO
which is a nice little touch.

Overall Rating:
F+. I’ve seen some people say that this show is recommended because
it’s so different. Well yeah that’s true it is different. It’s
somehow more annoying and stupid than the rest of WCW’s stuff
around this time. There’s one good match out of like eight and even
it’s nothing worth going out of your way to see. The atmosphere is
most certainly different and it’s true that there never really has
been another show like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth
seeing. Bad show and different, but not worth watching.

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