Spring Stampede 1997

Spring Stampede
1997
Date: April 6, 1997
Location: Tupelo
Coliseum, Tupelo, Mississippi
Attendance: 8,356
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I had planned on
continuing with the 1998 shows but it occurred to me that I was going
to run out of PPVs in my series of Nitro reviews. This is only a few
months after where I am in that series though so I won’t be too far
removed at least. This is a B show with no Hogan, Piper, or anyone
else for the most part and a main event of Savage vs. Page in a
grudge match. Savage joined the NWO at SuperBrawl and was put with
Page to bring DDP up to the main event. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is
about Page vs. Savage of course. On and the Steiners vs. Outsiders
for the millionth time. The third match talked about is the Women’s
Title match. See what we’re up against here?
This is where
Uncensored 96 happened. It HAS TO be better than that right?
Nash has said that
he’ll fight all of WCW if he has to. Scott Hall is missing and has
been for THREE WEEKS, but they’ve announced him up to this point just
because. Therefore it’ll be a handicap match for the titles with
Nash vs. Steiners.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs.
Ultimo Dragon
No Sonny with Dragon
here. Dragon takes him to the mat to start and then Rey takes Dragon
down to the mat as well. There’s a camel clutch but Dragon quickly
escapes. We get to a standoff so Dragon hits the rapidfire kicks to
take Rey down. Flair has a big announcement later tonight. Dragon
hooks an armbar and they’re still on the mat. Back up and he hits a
kind of spinning crucifix into a modified version of what we call
Shock Treatment.
Powerbomb is followed
by a hot shot and then a sleeper by Dragon. Not a Dragon Sleeper but
a sleeper by Dragon that is. A BIG Liger Bomb puts Rey down but
Dragon won’t cover. There haven’t been any pin attempts between
falls and it’s kind of hurting the match. Tombstone gets two and
it’s back to the sleeper. Rey comes back with a spinwheel kick but
Dragon kicks him down because Rey can’t follow up.
Gordbuster sets up an
Indian Deathlock. Rey gets out and manages to kick Dragon off to the
floor to get a breather. Sleeper #3 goes on by Dragon but Rey
counters into one of his own to a BIG pop. Dragon gets thrown to the
floor again and Rey hits a dive up and over the top. And let’s cut
to Lee Marshall to get a statement from Kevin Nash. Instead it’s
Syxx and we can’t hear him so there was NO POINT to this.
Back to see Rey
dropping the dime for a delayed two. Rey loads up a moonsault press
but Dragon dropkicks him off the top and Mysterio crashes down onto
the floor. Dragon dives over the top but hurts himself at the same
time. Back in Rey tries a Lionsault press but Dragon dropkicks him
out of the air in a cool counter. Giant swing by Dragon puts both
guys down. They trade fast pinfall attempts for two each and an
enziguri puts Rey down. Super rana gets two for Dragon. Tiger and
dragon suplexes by Dragon are both countered by Rey and a standing
rana gets the pin for Mysterio.
Rating: C+.
It was an entertaining match but for the most part it was a mess.
They kept seeing to be missing the chemistry out there and that’s a
bad thing most of the time. Also the mat work is the wrong idea
here. Not a bad match at all but this was one of those matches you
expected more from. Dragon would win the TV Title the next night.
Marshall tries to get
to talk to Nash again but gets Syxx again. The Steiners try to jump
through the door but security stops them. Scott gets maced and
handcuffed. Ok then.
Women’s Title: Akira
Hokuto vs. Madusa
This was a weird title
as it only existed for a few years. It was won in December of 96 and
defended a handful of times ever. It was vacated in the summer, won
in Japan in September and never mentioned on WCW TV more than twice
again. Later on they actually introduced a Women’s Cruiserweight
Championship. Hokuto is champion coming in. For some reason that
I’ll never fathom, Lee Marshall, the guy WCW fired for being horrible
at commentary, is talking about this match.
They start off fast
with Madusa hammering her down in the corner but walking into a
clothesline. Akira chokes her in the corner and covers for two as
Madusa bridges out. She hits some hair slams for two and Hokuto goes
to the corner. Madusa hits a Stratusphere to take her down but
Hokuto is right back on the leg. Madusa fights off Onoo and hits a
pair of dropkicks. The American hits a German on the Japanese woman
but Sonny distracts again. Luna Vachon comes in and takes out
Madusa’s knee so that Akira can retain.
Rating: F+.
Madusa looked like Kaitlyn a little bit so I can’t call it a full on
failure, but dang this was boring. At the end of the day you can’t
bring out a title once every four months and expect us to care about
it. Nothing to see in the match either with both chicks doing basic
stuff for five minutes.
TV Title: Prince
Iaukea vs. Steven Regal
So on February 13,
1997, the WWF’s young Samoan Rocky Maivia beat the blue blood Hunter
Hearst Helmsley for the Intercontinental Title. On February 17,
1997, WCW’s young Samoan Prince Iaukea beat the blue blood Lord
Steven Regal for the TV Title. Now I’m sure this was a TOTAL
coincidence right? Iaukea had nothing to offer in the ring and lost
the title the next night.
Regal stalls for awhile
so we’re told that Scott Steiner has been arrested. The Prince takes
him to the mat with a headlock as Tony tries to explain that Iaukea
is one of the lines of defense against the NWO. Dennis Rodman is
part of the NWO and since we hate him, let’s plug his movie and air
clips of it tomorrow night on Nitro! Regal comes back with a knee
lift but it’s right back to the headlock by the Prince.
Cross body gets two for
the champ. Regal complains about a punch so Heenan says that Iaukea
doesn’t know that he’s the champion right now. Prince takes him down
with a test of strength so Regal hooks a headscissors and nips up
into an eye poke. It’s now a singles match for the tag titles with
Rick vs. Nash. Regal hooks a full nelson and then pounds him down in
the corner.
The Prince Hawaiians Up
and then does nothing at all with it. Regal easily takes him into
the corner and hits a pair of knees to the face. A cross body by
Prince misses and Regal takes control again. He whips the Prince
into the corner and tries a rollup but Iaukea sits on him and gets
the pin to retain.
Rating: D.
Iaukea was just so boring it’s unreal. He never had anything special
about him and it never caught on with the fans at all. Regal is
great but he can’t work miracles here, and despite Iaukea holding the
belt for almost two months, he never got any better for the most
part. Nothing to see here.
Regal beats up the
Prince post match and puts him in the Regal Stretch.
Here’s Flair for some
big announcement. Gene thinks that it’s Flair returning to the ring.
Flair says that the Horsemen will win tonight and that he’s back on
May 1. He says Anderson will be back but it never happened. As for
Flair and Piper…..Kevin Greene is coming to WCW. Seriously, that’s
practically a direct quote. Flair wants the NWO in Charlotte and he
doesn’t care who it is because the Horsemen are going to run them out
of here. WHY DID IT TAKE THEM 10 MONTHS TO FREAKING DO THAT???
Jeff Jarrett/Steve
McMichael vs. Public Enemy
Can Jarrett carry three
people? I certainly hope so or this is going to be awful. Mongo vs.
Rocco to start us off and it’s time to stall. Rocco finds Mongo’s
lack of talent disturbing so he chats with known ring general Johnny
Grunge. Mongo tackles both enemies and it’s a double Horsemen strut.
Off to Jarrett (thank goodness) vs. Grunge and Double J hooks an
abdominal stretch.
Johnny gets out of it
and tries a leapfrog but gets caught by an uppercut from Grunge.
Jeff gets knocked to the floor and teases walking out but comes back
and counts with the referee. Back to the starters and it’s a Mongo
chinlock on Rock. McMichael works on the back with a backbreaker and
a tilt-a-whirl for two. Everything breaks down and they go split
screen.
Rock is thrown into the
side of a covered wagon. I’ll give WCW this: their PPV sets tended
to be really cool and definitely not generic like most WWE ones
today. Grunge tries to put Debra on the table but Jeff saves with a
chair. As Rock is thrown into a steer, Grunge dives through a table.
Back to the ring and it’s completely broken down. Debra trips Rocco
and it’s briefcase time. Jeff cleans house with dropkicks but Rock
gets the briefcase. Figure Four to Grunge but Rock blasts Jeff with
the case and Jarrett is pinned while holding Grunge in the hold.
Rating: D.
This wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting. I thought it was going
to be horrible but it wasn’t all that bad. It furthers the really
annoying Horsemen split which would finally happen after many more
months. Boring match for the most part but the wagon spot was kind
of cool.
Gene talks to Harlem
Heat who are in a four corners match tonight, as singles competitors
with Luger and Giant. The winner gets a shot at Hogan, so who do you
think is going to win eventually? Sherri says her guys are ready.
This would be the match where Booker rants about Hogan and calls him
the N word before immediately panicking. It’s censored in this
version (home video) and he says sucka but you can read his lips
saying the other word.
US Title: Dean
Malenko vs. Chris Benoit
Dean is champion coming
in. They go into the corner almost immediately and it’s a clean
break. They go to the mat and neither guy can get control for more
than a few seconds. Malenko is sent to the floor but he runs back in
almost immediately. Malenko takes him to the mat and works on the
knee as Woman screams. Benoit kicks him off and it’s back to a
stalemate.
Benoit hooks a top
wristlock and things slow back down again. Back up into a test of
strength which neither can really win. Benoit does the always
amazing bridge which he holds while Malenko lands on him. Chris
takes him to the mat and works on the arm before into a chinlock and
surfboard hold. It’s a Benoit match so of course they’re flying
through holds. Malenko escapes with a belly to back suplex and takes
over. Small package gets two for Dean.
Here come the chops
from Benoit but they seem to wake Malenko up. Camel clutch goes on
for a bit and then it’s off to a short arm scissors. Benoit does the
Shawn/Bulldog counter and both guys are down. Clothesline gets two
for Chris. Now it’s an abdominal stretch as the submission parade
continues. Dean comes up with an interesting counter by dropping to
one knee. I don’t remember ever seeing that before.
Benoit works on the
ribs some more and channels his inner Dynamite with a snap suplex for
two. Dean tries a vertical suplex but Benoit reverses into a reverse
suplex….and here comes Jackie to ruin everything that they’ve got
going on here. We’ve got a catfight on the floor and Jimmy Hart
comes out….to do nothing.
Swan Dive hits and
Jimmy is stealing the title. Here comes Eddie Guerrero and Dean gets
draped over the top rope. Dean suplexes Benoit over the top and out
to the floor, probably breaking the Canadian’s hip. Arn Anderson
comes out and beats up Dean but Kevin Sullivan comes out and Anderson
lets him hit Benoit with a Singapore cane which gets the DQ.
Rating: B-.
This was getting good until we had five run-ins inside of three
minutes. This Benoit vs. Sullivan feud went on for over a year and I
don’t think anything was ever really settled. The ending here sucked
but the match wasn’t great in the first place. They were having a
slow submission based match but it wasn’t really that great. The
last five minutes before the interference were good though.
Everyone other than Arn
leave together and put the belt on Eddie’s shoulder for some reason,
in the third (that I know of) stolen belt storyline of the year.
Dean says he wasn’t supposed to be here, which was supposed to lead
to some faction but it never came together.
Tag Titles: Kevin
Nash vs. Rick Steiner
Only in WCW. Nick
Patrick is referee because we need more gimmicks in this. Rick jumps
him but gets knocked down almost immediately. DiBiase and Syxx are
at ringside so this is 4-1. Nash pounds on him in the corner and
hits his knees but runs into a boot. Belly to belly suplex looks
like Rick is picking up a boulder. That suplex/powerslam move he
uses gets two.
Syxx pulls the top rope
down and Steiner crashes to the floor. Back in the side slam gets
two. Why isn’t Patrick fast counting him? The Outsiders are the
champions coming in here. DiBiase gets in a right hand and Nash hits
the running crotch attack while Rick is in 619 position. Big boot
puts Rick down as we’re totally in squash territory. There’s the
Jackknife but Steiner kicks out. I don’t remember many people ever
doing that other than Undertaker.
Steiner hits him low on
another Jackknife attempt which Patrick actually doesn’t DQ him for.
He’s kind of doing a bad job of being an evil referee here. Rick
hits the bulldog but it only gets two, even though Nash’s shoulder
never came up. Down goes Syxx but Nash comes back with a clothesline
to take over again.
Syxx takes off the
buckle pad and Snake Eyes onto the buckle sets up Snake Eyes on the
buckle which sets up Snake Eyes on the buckle which sets up Snake
Eyes on the buckle which sets up the Jackknife for the pin and a
forced count (Patrick was hesitant) for the pin. The interesting
thing here is that DiBiase says that’s enough in the middle of this
and Nash yells at him. DiBiase walks out.
Rating: D-.
So Nash wins a squash on PPV in a one on one match for the titles. I
guess the more important part here is that DiBiase looks to be
defecting which would mean more if he was an actual wrestler. This
would lead to him managing the Steiners which would last for awhile
until I think February. The match sucked.
Luger and Giant are
ready.
Stevie Ray vs.
Booker T vs. Giant vs. Lex Luger
One fall to a finish
here and the winner gets Hogan eventually. Luger vs. Booker to start
which should be interesting. Feeling out process to start until
Luger starts slamming Booker a few times. Off to Stevie who punches
Luger down a bit but gets caught between Giant and Luger which goes
badly as you can imagine. Off to Giant and Stevie looks scared.
Stevie knocks Giant back and gets loudly booed but Giant comes back
with a clothesline.
Booker gets thrown
around as well and it’s time for a meeting on the floor. I keep
forgetting this is a four corners match. That gets remedied by Giant
vs. Luger who have a power lockup. Luger tries a slam but Giant
falls on him for two. The tag in Harlem Heat and the brothers having
to fight gets a big reaction from the crowd.
They lock up and Booker
works on the arm. There’s a lot of non contact here which makes
sense for the most part. Booker tags in Lex and all is right with
the world again. Stevie comes back with strikes and it’s Booker with
a side suplex to put Lex down. A knee drop misses and it’s Giant
time. A big elbow drop misses and Stevie comes in sans tag. An ax
kick by Stevie doesn’t work and neither does a side kick so they go
to the knees to get Giant down.
Giant gets up with ease
and a big boot puts Ray down. Off to Luger again for some elbow
drops which get two. Belly to back puts Booker down but Stevie
breaks up the Rack. Booker hooks a chinlock and the Harlem side kick
gets two. Harlem Heat double team Luger and it’s back to the
chinlock. Lex suplexes his way out of it but Booker breaks it up.
Giant breaks up a cover off an ax kick but there’s no cover. Harlem
Hangover misses and it’s Stevie vs. Giant. Giant kicks Booker to the
floor and calls for the chokeslam but tags in Luger so he can win
with the Rack instead.
Rating: C+.
This wasn’t bad for the most part as it was really a tag match in
disguise. That being said, it didn’t mean a thing as Luger wouldn’t
get his title shot until August so this was kind of a waste of time.
The match itself was pretty fun though as both teams played it like a
tag match instead of the fourway which was the right idea.
Randy Savage vs.
Diamond Dallas Page
We get the long walk to
the ring with Savage and Liz. Savage wants to make it a party.
“SLIM JIMS FOR EVERYBODY!!!” This is the first main event for
Page. He cuts a quick promo before the match about having to stand
up for what he believes in. Savage did something to Kimberly so this
is a revenge match. It’s not important enough to mention, but it’s
worth revenge. Ok then. This is No DQ.
Savage stalls like he’s
in Memphis (it’s close to it) but jumps Page to get us going. Page
fights back and they go into the ring. He tries something like a
suplex but I have no idea what it wound up being. A quick Cutter
attempt is countered and Page is sent to the floor. They go into the
crowd and the camera chasing after them is kind of cool. Page grabs
a trashcan to blast Savage in the head. Savage is NWO in case that
means anything to you.
They brawl back to the
ring with some choking on the way. Savage hides behind Kimberly and
Liz rakes Page’s back. There’s the ax handle to the floor and Page
is sent into the floor. With Page down, Savage chases Kimberly but
is stopped by an attractive chair. After a shot to the back he beats
up Dave Penzer and brings in another chair. Coming back in Page
manages something like a Van Daminator but with a shove instead of a
spin kick.
Unfortunately for Page
he can’t follow up so Savage chokes away in the corner. Page makes a
quick comeback but is knocked right back don. Discus lariat out of
nowhere puts Savage down but Page is spent. Savage slams him three
times and goes to the floor to get the bell. Kimberly steals it
from him but Savage jumps anyway, right into the feet instead of the
elbow. I HATE that spot. Cutter is countered with a low blow for
two.
Savage beats up the
referee after the count and hits a good piledriver on him. He takes
the belt off of Mark Curtis and whips him a little bit. The elbow
hits but there’s no referee. Cue Nick Patrick in the sleeveless
shirt of EVIL. Diamond Cutter out of NOWHERE hits and Patrick counts
the pin because of the Nash stuff earlier.
Rating: B-.
Good match here with Page pulling off a great upset win to pop the
crowd and send them home happy. The brawling wasn’t great but they
did it well enough for what the purpose here was. These two would
feud over most of the summer and it brought Page up to the main event
level that he would stay at for years.
Post match the whole
NWO (including DiBiase) comes out as Nash has Patrick by the shirt.
The fans want Sting but you know he’s not coming out on this show.
Patrick gets beaten down and Page is sent to the floor. Savage goes
after Kimberly but Bischoff stops a smack. There’s a shoving match
and Savage drills Bischoff and the NWO FREAKS to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+.
This was very much a filler show as nothing of note happened here at
all. It’s certainly not the worst show I’ve ever seen and I wouldn’t
call it bad, but I certainly wouldn’t call it good either. Either
way, things would only continue to be this way for the next few
months with nothing significant happening until the fall when Sting
vs. Hogan really got going.
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