Slamboree 1998

Slamboree
1998

Date: May 17, 1998
Location: The Centrum,
Worcester, Massachusetts
Attendance: 11,592
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Tonight
is pretty much a filler show as Hogan is nowhere to be seen and we
have a double main event. We have Hart vs. Savage in a grudge match
and Sting/Giant vs. the Outsiders for the tag titles, with Sting in
WCW and Giant in the NWO Black and White. There is however one
moment on this show that ranks right up there with the biggest
surprises and best received moments in WCW history. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video has some words like controversy and power over shots of
the people in the two main events.
The
announcers talk about the main events tonight to convince us that
buying this show was a good idea.
We
get Bischoff’s challenge to Vince from Thunder, complete with him
reading the letter from Vince’s attorney.
We
go outside to see Doug Dillinger (head of WCW security) waiting for
Vince to arrive with WCW fans (certainly not plants of any sort)
shouting about how much they hate Vince. Tony tells us not to worry
because the matches will indeed go on despite Vince not being here.
TV
Title: Chris Benoit vs. Fit Finlay
Finlay
is defending. The set here is simpler than most from 1998 with a big
SLAMBOREE logo and a door in the middle. You don’t often see doors
in sets so it’s a change of pace if nothing else. They shove each
other around a lot and the crowd is really into this already. Benoit
counters a headlock into a top wristlock as Tony confirms that the
name Fit is due to Finlay being fit for any sport.
They
fight into a test of strength and wrestle into a string of near falls
either way until Finlay takes over with an armbar on the mat. Back
up and they run the ropes with Benoit getting two off a hiptoss and
we have a standoff. Benoit hits a chop so hard that it knocks
Finlay’s strap down. A backbreaker has Finlay in trouble so Benoit
pulls him from the ropes to the mat, slamming Finlay’s back onto the
canvas again.
Finlay
comes right back with a hard clothesline and Chris rolls to the
floor. This has been very physical so far with both guys beating the
tar out of each other. A hard slam on the floor has Benoit in even
more trouble but Finlay actually goes inside to give Benoit a change
to get up. Back in and Finlay stomps away before putting on a
reverse chinlock. Benoit stands up with Finlay on his shoulders into
an electric chair drop, hurting his own head in the process.
Some
hard chops stagger the champion but he goes right to the eyes to stop
Benoit’s comeback. We hit a chinlock for a good while before Finlay
elbows and kicks at Benoit’s back. Back to the chinlock for a bit
before he drives Benoit chest first into the apron. They head to the
floor with Benoit cracking Finlay with a chair for a pop but not a
DQ. Benoit goes in for a suicide dive but goes head first into the
chair to give Finlay control again.
Back
in again and Finlay slams him down for two before staying on the back
with more elbow drops. A clothesline drops Benoit again and we’re
into chinlock #3. Benoit fights up again and avoids a charge into
the corner, followed by the rolling Germans. Finlay elbows him in
the face to block a fourth but has to quickly get to a rope to break
a Crossface attempt. The snap suplex sets up the Swan Dive but
here’s Booker T before Benoit can jump. Finlay uses the distraction
to kick Benoit in the back of the head to knock Chris out cold. Back
in and the tombstone retains Finlay’s title.
Rating:
C+. Nice opener here but again,
is there any point to not giving Benoit a title yet? He’s over, he’s
having solid matches, there’s a feud with Booker already written, but
he can get two days total as champion without ever being on TV with
the belt? Nothing against Finlay, but I don’t see the point in
having him as champion here.
Brian
Adams vs. Lex Luger
This
is fallout from Scott Steiner and Adams injuring Rick Steiner’s
shoulder. One punch sends Adams out to the floor and Luger follows
him out so he can ram Adams’ and Vincent’s heads together. Luger
rams Brian’s shoulder into the post twice in a row for some payback.
The arm gets snapped across the top rope and there’s a powerslam to
set up the Rack less than two and a half minutes in.
Vincent
finally does something by distraction Luger so Adams can hit a quick
piledriver to take over. They head outside again with Adams kicking
away to protect his bad shoulder. Back in and Adams gets two off a
backbreaker and a pair of legdrops gets the same. A double
clothesline puts both guys down but Adams is quickly up. In a
surprise ending, Luger ducks a clothesline and grabs the Rack for the
submission.
Rating:
D. As shocking as it was for
Luger to win a match with anything other than his usual sequence,
there wasn’t much to see here. This could have been on any given
episode of Nitro and probably should have been. Luger was just so
lost at this point, having nothing of note to do and just floating
from one NWO match to another.
Saturn
cancels the gauntlet match against Goldberg and says he’ll be going
one on one with him. Why this was changed is beyond me but it’s
probably better this way. If anyone in the Flock doesn’t like it,
they know where to find him.
Cruiserweight
Battle Royal
You
can be eliminated by going to the floor or pinfall here and the
winner gets a title shot at Jericho later in the night. The more
entertaining part though is Jericho doing the introductions in Dave
Penzer’s place.
Super
Calo: This guy’s hat never comes off!
Chavo
Guerrero Jr.: He used to be a great bartender but he’s the scourge of
the Guerrero family.
Ciclope:
From selling chimichangas to WCW!
Damien:
He can’t afford a mask so he’s using paint!
El
Dandy: The winner of the Lou Ferrigno look-a-like contest.
El
Grio: The world light featherweight champion!
Juventud
Guerrera: Pulled up in a rusted out 67 El Camino Chevy, the ugliest
man in our business, Quasimodo Guerrera!
Marty
Jannetty: He’ll rock rock until he drops drops.
Kidman:
A lost and lonely soul and Jericho has calamine lotion with him.
Evan
Karagias: 0/10.
Lenny
Lane: I want my Loverboy tape back!
Psychosis:
He has a lot of hubcaps in his collection and can get you one if you
need it.
Silver
King: If he wins 12 more matches he gets to be Gold King.
Johnny
Swinger: Johnny Cinger!
Villano
IV: Representing Villano I-LXII!
Everyone
goes at it to start and if you go through the ropes to the floor it’s
an elimination as well. Evan is out first but there are still too
many people to be able to do much. Chavo backdrops Swinger out and
hits a tornado DDT on someone I couldn’t see. Psychosis hits a
springboard hurricanrana on Damien but doesn’t throw him out. Super
Calo is dropkicked out by Juvy and King is out at someone’s hands.
Lane and Dandy have a mini match in the middle of the ring as Juvy
hits a gorgeous top rope hurricanrana to take Psychosis down.
Grio
gets dumped and Lane misses a dive off the top. Jannetty and Villano
both go out as we’re down to eight. Lane goes up but Kidman throws
Juvy into him to knock Lane out. Juvy dropkicks Damien out and we’re
down to six. Dandy is dropkicked off the apron and it’s five:
Ciclope, Chavo, Kidman, Psychosis and Juvy. Kidman low bridges Chavo
out as Heenan does his schtick of picking everyone in the match.
Psychosis misses a charge and goes out as Juvy pulls Kidman out.
Juvy sees he’s alone with Ciclope….and eliminates himself to give
Ciclope the title shot?
Rating:
C. It’s a battle royal so how
good can it really be? The high spots were nice but at the same time
they made a lot of the guys in the match look stupid for trying
something like that. The ending was confusing but all will be
explained in just a few seconds. Nothing outside of the ordinary
here other than some high spots.
Jericho
hits the ring immediately but Ciclope unmasks to reveal…..DEAN
MALENKO! The place goes NUTS in one of the loudest pops WCW ever
had.
Cruiserweight
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
Dean
shows more emotion in a fifteen second burst than he did in his
entire career, stomping Jericho down in the corner and a suplex puts
him down again. A dropkick sends Jericho out to the floor and Dean
follows him out with right hands to the head. Back in and Dean opts
to fire off more punches instead of rolling Jericho up when he has
the chance. A quick hot shot gives Jericho a breather and a
backsplash gets two.
Jericho
suplexes his down and gets another two off the arrogant cover. The
Lionsault gets the same and we hit the chinlock. Dean fights up and
tries the Liontamer on Jericho but Chris quickly makes the rope. A
top rope back elbow to the jaw gets two on Malenko but the top rope
hurricanrana is countered into the top rope gutbuster. The
Cloverleaf gives Dean the title back.
Rating:
A. The match was decent though
nothing great, but the story here is the emotion. This whole story
was built up on the emotion the fans felt for Malenko and wanting to
see him make Jericho eat his words. It’s a classic story: hero
falls, villain reigns and runs his mouth, hero returns to vanquish
the villain. No unexplained turns, no politics, no swerves (ok maybe
one with the disguise) and possibly the loudest reaction ever in WCW.
Clearly there’s nothing to this storytelling idea though right?
We
have a Vinnie Mac cam and a white limousine arrives. Tony: “If Jim
Ross comes out and carries his bags you know it’s Vince.” They cut
away before anyone gets out.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Raven
This
is a Bowery Death Match, meaning last man standing inside a cage.
There’s a roof on the cage too. Page pounds away to start but Raven
sends him face first into a trashcan in the corner. An elbow to the
face drops Raven but he sends Page into another can. Page is whipped
face first into the cage several times and Raven empties the weapons
from the cans. The breather lets Page get the bullrope around
Raven’s neck to whip him into the cage a few times.
Page
wraps the rope around the top of the cage to hang Raven but Bird Boy
gets his legs on DDT to block the pressure. Raven falls to the mat
for an eight count but a VCR shot to the head draws an ECW chant and
a seven. Page gets kicked into another can in the corner and a shot
to the back with said can gets another seven. Some cookie sheet
shots have Page in trouble and Raven puts on a sleeper, only to have
Page ram him into the corner, crushing the referee in the process.
Page
hits a quick jawbreaker and sends Raven face first into the chair.
Reese and the Flock easily overpower Raven’s riot squad and cut open
the lock on the cage. Van Hammer comes out from under the ring with
a stop sign to lay out the rest of the Flock and handcuff Reese to
the guardrail. Page stomps Raven down in the corner but two members
of the Riot Squad comes in to stomp DDP down.
They
unmask as Kidman and Horace but Page fights them off with Diamond
Cutters. Raven comes back with a fire extinguisher to the ribs and
the Even Flow but Page is up at eight. They slug it out in fast
motion before Raven Diamond Cuts Page. Page is up again, ducks a
chair shot and Diamond Cuts Raven for the ten count.
Rating:
C-. This was WAY overbooked but
it’s not a horrible match. Hopefully it ends the feud though as
there’s just nothing left for these guys to do to each other. Ending
it inside of a cage is as good as they’re going to get, especially
after Page had to fight off the Flock almost on his own. Decent
match here but it needed more violence.
Post
match the last riot squad guy starts handcuffing all the Flock
members to the cage. He cuffs Raven as well, reveals himself to be
Mortis, unmasks as Kanyon (yet to be named) and does the Tommy
Dreamer chair shot heard round the world.
More
from the Vinnie Mac Cam.
The
announcers talk about the tag title match, which sounds like the main
event.
Ultimo
Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero
If
Dragon wins, Chavo is free from Eddie. Eddie takes him down by the
arm to start but Dragon armdrags him down. There are A LOT of empty
seats across from the cameras here which I believe were full earlier.
Dragon takes him down with a snapmare but Eddie complains about a
hair pull, going so far as to demonstrate on the referee. Off to a
test of strength with Dragon bridging off the mat. Eddie drops down
onto him but can’t break said bridge which is always impressive.
Dragon
fires off his kicks but a simple dropkick from Eddie puts him down.
A headscissors out of the corner takes Guerrero down again and here
are more kicks from the masked man. Back in and Dragon kicks away
even more before putting on a half crab into a bridging Indian
Deathlock. Eddie gets back up and pokes Dragon in the eye to take
over before getting two off a suplex.
Off
to a quick front facelock from Guerrero before they head outside for
some fun. Guerrero sends him into the barricade and chokes with a
camera cord. Instead of following up though, he slaps Chavo around
for a bit. Back inside and Eddie loads up a hurricanrana off the
top, only to get crotched and enziguried to the floor.
The
Asai Moonsault takes Eddie down again but Dragon hits his head on the
way down. Back in and Dragon gets two off a backbreaker and a
moonsault gets the same. The super hurricanrana is countered into a
tornado DDT from Eddie but the Frog Splash misses. They trade Dragon
Sleepers but Chavo takes Eddie’s feet off the ropes. Dragon
accidentally kicks Chavo, allowing Eddie to hit the brainbuster and
Frog Splash for the pin.
Rating:
C+. Usual high quality match
from these two as the Guerrero Saga continues. Dragon looked good
out there as it’s nice to see him finally have a story of some sort.
The Guerreros’ story is solid stuff as well with actual character
development, which compliments the matches very nicely.
Post
match Chavo yells at Eddie before stomping Dragon out of frustration.
Eddie offers him a free shot but Chavo can’t do it. He kisses Eddie
on the cheek instead as the insanity is about to begin.
Vince
“The Reason For The Ratings” McMahon has a dressing room. Just
go with it.
US
Title: Saturn vs. Goldberg
Just
one on one instead of the advertised gauntlet match. Goldberg easily
shoves him into the corner to start before clotheslining the
challenger down with ease. A gorilla press into a powerslam puts
Saturn down and a shoulder knocks him to the floor. Back in and
Saturn fires off kicks in the corner but charges into a spin kick
from the champion. Goldberg LAUNCHES him into the corner before they
head outside.
Saturn
ducks a clothesline and Goldie’s arm goes into the post. Back in and
a top rope spinwheel kick gets one and we hit the chinlock. Goldberg
fights up but walks into a swinging neckbreaker to set up the
chinlock again. Back up and Saturn grabs a chair before superkicking
Goldberg into the corner. Using the chair as a springboard, Saturn
kicks Goldberg in the back but a second attempt is countered with the
spear. The Jackhammer retains the title.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t do much for me.
The arm went nowhere and it never felt like Saturn had a chance.
Goldberg is in an awkward place as he’s too big to squash people and
midcarders are no real challenge anymore but he’s not quite ready to
face main event guys. That’s a very tricky jump to make but it would
come soon enough.
We
actually get full entrances for Bischoff vs. Vince with Eric winning
by countout. Well done on wasting PPV time and looking silly while
the WWF was starting to crush you, but at least Bischoff gets to
laugh. In all sincerity though, at least they didn’t use the WWF
method of using an impersonator or a midget.
Bret
Hart vs. Randy Savage
Roddy
Piper is guest referee for no apparent reason. We get the long stall
session to open things up until Bret gets in the first shots,
pounding Savage into the corner. Savage goes to the eyes and maybe a
low blow for two. He pounds Bret down in the corner and chokes away,
only to have Bret go after Randy’s bad knee. A suplex puts Randy
down and a headbutt to the hamstring puts Savage on the floor.
Bret
throws the steps at Savage but Randy moves to avoid breaking bones.
Savage sends him into the barricade and they head into the crowd for
the big walk around the arena which is called brawling. Back to
ringside with Savage slamming him on the floor. This has been a
brawl the entire way so far. They get back in with Bret wisely going
after the knee and starts his usual wear down sequence.
He
cannonballs down onto the knee, wraps it around the ropes and
stretches the hamstring a bit. A Russian legsweep and a piledriver
get two for the Canadian before he just stomps Savage down in the
corner. Randy gets in some shots of his own and actually gets two
off a one legged suplex. The top rope elbow connects but Randy bangs
up his knee on the landing, allowing Bret to kick out at two.
Bret
sweeps the legs and puts on the Sharpshooter as Liz comes running
out. Savage counters into a Sharpshooter of his own (camera was on
Liz so we didn’t see it) but Bret gets a rope. Bret kicks Savage low
and hits Piper with a foreign object, only to have Savage take it
away. Here’s Hogan to wrap Savage’s leg around the post, allowing
Bret to put on the Sharpshooter for the win.
Rating:
C. This took awhile to get
going but the overbooking drags it down again. Hogan showing up
makes you wonder why he couldn’t defend the title here or why he
needed to be champion in the first place. Have Savage defend against
Bret here and keep the title by DQ etc, but Hogan just NEEDED to be
champion again I guess. Also it’s looking like we’re never getting
an explanation from Bret on why he helped Hogan.
Piper
takes the object off Bret’s hand but doesn’t do anything.
Tag
Titles: Outsiders vs. Sting/The Giant
Hall
is back and does the survey for the first time in months. Sting
starts with Scott and there are the driving shoulders to get us
going. A quick chokeslam puts Sting down and there’s the Giant
imitation. Sting comes back with a pair of atomic drops and a
Stinger Splash but he has to fight off Nash as well. Giant comes in
and headbutts Nash to the floor and Hall joins him for a meeting.
Back
in and it’s time for the battle of the monsters with Nash now all
aggressive to go after Giant. Nash can’t Jackknife him so he chokes
in the corner instead. Giant comes back with a big boot and an elbow
drop before driving his hips into Nash’s ribs in the corner. The
fans cheer for the Wolfpack as Sting comes in. Sting takes Hall down
but gets kicked in the face by Nash, allowing for the tag off to
Scott. A quick fallaway slam gets two on Sting as the fans are WAY
into Hall.
Back
to Nash for Snake Eyes before it’s back to Hall for some stomping.
Nash drops the crotch on Sting’s back before firing off knees in the
corner. Hall comes back in again for the abdominal stretch with a
hand from Nash. Sting hiptosses out but misses an elbow drop,
allowing another tag to Kevin. We hit the bearhug but Sting claps
the ears a few times, allowing for the hot tag off to Giant, even
though Giant is a heel.
Giant
kicks Nash down and drops a Hogan leg for two before going….to the
top? He misses a splash from up there so Nash can stay alive and
Dusty gets on the apron for some reason. Nash loads up the Jackknife
but, of course, Hall turns on Nash with a belt shot to the back,
giving Sting and Giant the titles.
Rating:
C-. Match was just ok but the
illogical heel turns are getting annoying really fast. There’s no
reason for all these turns and the lack of ANY explanation so far is
making them even worse. So now we have a WCW guy and an NWO Black
and White guy holding the tag belts, meaning it’s now all on Sting to
make a decision and presumably setting up Hall vs. Nash. Anyone want
to bet on that match not happening?
Giant
and Hall welcome Sting to the NWO but Sting doesn’t move to end the
show.
Overall
Rating:
C. I watched this show
about a year and a half ago and other than the Malenko stuff, I don’t
remember a thing from it. The show isn’t that bad but NOTHING on it
stands out at all. It’s a totally watchable show with some good
matches sprinkled in and nothing horrible, but it comes off like one
of the least important shows I can remember, doing little more than
setting up Nitro. Find the Malenko/Jericho stuff though as it’s well
worth seeing.

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