Road Wild 1998

Road
Wild 1998
Date:
August 8, 1998
Location:
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota
Attendance:
8,500
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenany, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
summer of celebrities continues with one of the worst ideas I can
imagine: Jay Leno as a professional wrestler. I still don’t get who
this is supposed to attract. Fans of the Tonight Show don’t seem
like the kind of people that are going to drop $30 to see something
they know is going to be a goofy comedy bit and wrestling fans aren’t
going to buy it because it’s Jay Leno as a wrestler. On top of that
there’s one match that has been pushed at all here and it’s a battle
royal. Why they can’t just do NWO vs. NWO and Goldberg vs. Giant is
beyond me but I’d bet politics were involved. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video is a collection of Tonight Show clips which still do
nothing to change the fact that it’s Eric Bischoff and Jay Leno in
the main event.
I’ll
give Road Wild this much: no show comes close to having such a unique
atmosphere.
The
announcers don’t look as ridiculous this year. Tenay in a jean
jacket is still ridiculous looking though.
Gene
is sitting on a motorcycle to start and brags about 200,000 bikers
being here in Sturgis. Not at the show mind you but I’m sure that’s
what will be claimed.
The
ring and mats are up on a platform instead of level ground.
Meng
vs. Barbarian
This
is going to be a long show. The fight starts at the bell with both
guys pounding on each other and screaming a lot. They fight over a
sumo lockup before trading some chops in the corner. Meng takes over
with a hard clothesline even though it didn’t knock Barbarian down.
Barbarian comes right back with a belly to belly superplex but Meng
pops up and piledrives him.
Meng
misses a middle rope splash, no sells it, and goes up top again.
Barbarian catches him in a belly to belly superplex as Tenay talks
about 350,000 people being at the biker rally this week. A powerslam
puts Barbarian down but he gets right back up for some chopping.
Meng staggers him with some headbutts but gets pulled to the floor.
Barbarian sends him into the steps and heads back inside, only to
have Meng put on the Tongan Death Grip for the pin.
Rating:
D. It sucked as a match but
this wasn’t the worst idea for an opening match. A crowd of bikers
is going to respond to two monsters beating each other up for five
minutes and they seemed interested here. It doesn’t do much for the
wrestling fans, but this show was never for them in the first place.
Meng
won’t let go of the hold so Jimmy Hart comes in for the save. That
goes as well as you would expect so here’s Hugh Morrus for the second
save. Meng gets triple teamed, including a top rope splash from
Hart, so Jim Duggan makes the final save, drawing a big pop from the
bikers that might have watched a few wrestling matches ten years ago.
Tenay’s
estimates are now up to 360,000.
Disco
Inferno/Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy
Tokyo
Magnum is here with the dancers. Wright rolls away from Rocco to
start before hiptossing him down and dancing. They fight over a
wristlock until Alex dropkicks him down and tags in Disco. He’s not
quite ready to fight yet though and drops to the floor for a three
way high five with the other dancers. Back in and Disco takes Grunge
down with a clothesline before bringing Wright back in for a missile
dropkick. Alex stops for some dancing and turns around into a Rocco
clothesline.
A
double flapjack puts Inferno down and Tokyo throws in a trashcan out
of nowhere. Grunge gets cracked over the back as the referee is cool
with all of this. Rocco brings in a ladder and that’s too much for
the dancers who go for a walk. Tokyo doesn’t want to leave but his
partners come back with a table. Disco grabs a mic and says let’s
make this a street fight. Tony states the obvious: “Haven’t we
already made it one already?”
The
referee is fine with that so Public Enemy goes to the back to find a
toilet seat and a kitchen sink. Grunge pounds on Disco on the floor
as Tony hypes up a cookie sheet. Wright suplexes Rocco through a
trashcan but Grunge blasts Alex with the sheet for the save. Rocco
loads up the flip dive through the table but Disco makes a save to
prevent Wright’s demise. The kitchen sink is brought in and nearly
broken over Grunge’s back. The fans want to see the table but they
get Tokyo Magnum thrown inside instead.
Public
Enemy throws the dancers into each other and give them stereo atomic
drops, only to have Wright come back with a leg lariat to Grunge.
Tokyo hits Magnum by mistake as Grunge blasts Disco in the face with
the ladder. Alex walks away as Rocco see-saws a ladder into Disco’s
hair. Now Tokyo walks away, leaving Public Enemy to set up three
tables on top of each other next to the platform. Grunge climbs a
ladder to put Disco on the top table, allowing Rocco to climb the
scaffolding for a huge elbow drop. Grunge has to throw Disco back
inside, avoid a top rope splash from a returning Magnum, and get the
pin.
Rating:
D+. The match was fun and the
spot at the end was good (though also odd looking with a delay before
each table broke) but it took over fifteen minutes to get there. The
wrestling stuff at the beginning was a waste of time and they should
have just gone to the street fight stuff from the beginning. Not
horrid though.
Dean
Malenko says he’ll be a fair referee.
Raven
vs. Kanyon vs. Saturn
Under
Raven’s Rules, meaning hardcore. Raven’s music is so awesome that it
doesn’t belong on a show like this. The question coming into this is
whether Kanyon is under Raven’s control or not. Raven stands on the
apron and tells Kanyon to get Saturn, only to have Perry take over
with some kicks. Raven comes in with a chair to Saturn’s back and
sends Kanyon into the post before Saturn falls to the floor as well.
Saturn
and Kanyon get in a fight on the floor as Heenan tries to figure out
the story of the match as only he can. Raven sits in the corner
while the other two fight in the ring but they finally realize what’s
going on. Kanyon dropkicks Raven low and Saturn belly to back
suplexes Raven into a Kanyon neckbreaker. Kanyon throws Raven into
Saturn and hits rolling Russian legsweeps on Raven for two in a nice
move. Saturn breaks up the cover with a guillotine legdrop on Raven
for two and the Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza gets the
same on Raven.
Kanyon
gets in another fight with Saturn so Raven blasts them both in the
head with a chair, only to be sent to the floor. Saturn follows him
out so Kanyon dives on both guys, giving us our first breather in
awhile. They get off the platform where Kanyon whips Raven HARD into
the barricade. Raven comes back with a suplex to put Kanyon down on
the ramp (designed like a road) but Saturn clotheslines Raven down
for two. Kanyon piledrives Saturn on the stage for two more before
Raven dropkicks Kanyon down the stage.
They
fight back to the ring where both guys drop down to avoid a charging
Raven before Saturn catches him with a t-bone suplex. Saturn puts
Raven in a sleeper but Kanyon puts one on Saturn as well before a
jawbreaker puts everyone down. We get a Tower of Doom with Kanyon
superplexing Saturn and Raven putting Kanyon in an electric chair.
Raven
tries a double DDT on both guys but only puts Saturn down. Kanyon
and Raven head outside with Raven getting suplexed onto the floor.
Kanyon misses a splash off the scaffolding but Saturn catches Raven
in the Death Valley Driver. Lodi makes the save but Horace comes in
to lay out Saturn. Horace picks up the stop sign but gets blinded by
Lodi’s powder. He caves Raven’s head in and a Death Valley Driver to
Raven gives Saturn the pin.
Rating:
C. This was a mess but it was
supposed to be. I’m still not sure where they go with this story now
but it would seem to still be Raven vs. Saturn. Kanyon was just
there to keep spots going and he did a good job, but that doesn’t
mean he helped the story or really changed anything.
Psychosis
vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Bonus
match and the winner gets a Cruiserweight Title shot at a date to be
determined. Since that’s not important, the announcers talk about
Leno being nervous. Psychosis takes him to the mat with a headlock
followed by an armbar. Rey tries to get up but gets taken back down
by the wrist. The crowd is dead for this which shouldn’t shock
anyone. Back up again and Rey can’t hook a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
so Psychosis clotheslines him down for two.
A
sitout front suplex gets two for Psychosis and he whips Rey from
corner to corner. Rey’s arms are wrapped around the ropes in the
corner as this somehow gets even slower. It’s not terrible mind you
but it’s the completely wrong style for these two to be working.
Psychosis suplexes Rey down and goes up top, only to do the most
obvious “I’m going up here to jump into his raised boots because
I’m jumping straight down instead of doing ANY kind of move at all”
spot I can remember in a long time.
Rey
FINALLY realizes that he’s the king of cruiserweights and cartwheels
at Psychosis before jumping onto his shoulders for a spinning
hurricanrana. Believe it or not, the crowd actually responds to the
high spot. After nothing of note on the floor, Rey hits a big cross
body for two but has his hurricanrana countered into a sitout
powerbomb. That’s enough of the big spots though and it’s nerve hold
time. Rey fights up onto Psychosis’ shoulders but gets dropped back
into a suplex for two.
They
head outside again where Psychosis….does nothing. Back inside with
Psychosis putting on a half crab before going up top for a super
Frankensteiner for two. Psychosis goes up again but turns his back
to Rey, only to get dropkicked out to the floor. Rey follows him out
with a nice dive before throwing him back inside for a springboard
sunset flip for a close two.
Mysterio
hits something like a Fameasser with both legs across Psychosis’ back
followed by a slingshot moonsault for two. Psychosis comes back with
something resembling a Fameasser of his own for two but Rey avoids a
charge and West Coast Pops his way to the #1 contendership.
Rating:
D+. This felt like a car that
was low on gas. You could get it going for a few moments, but
eventually it would sputter and die. These two are capable of having
some awesome matches but instead they were happy with just laying
around and doing nothing most of the time. Rey was trying but
Psychosis looked horrible.
TV
Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Stevie Ray
Before
the match Chavo shows off another hand made and stamped document
saying that he’s the TV Champion, so Stevie needs to come out here
and give him his belt. Chavo tries to do the handshake bit again but
Stevie runs away because he doesn’t want to win a match by submission
for some reason. Instead Stevie just punches him in the head and
blocks a sunset flip with a choke. Chavo bails to the floor as the
announcers call this a version of the rope-a-dope. Guerrero tries to
sneak in but gets caught in the Slap Jack (lifting Pedigree) for the
quick pin. This was a nothing squash.
Eddie
saves Chavo from a further beating post match.
Jericho
promises to keep the title and warns Malenko to be good tonight.
Rick
Steiner vs. Scott Steiner
Rick
is in jeans and a t-shirt…and here’s JJ to say hang on a second.
Apparently Scott is too injured to wrestle and here he is on a
stretcher with his arm and leg in casts, a neck brace, and on an
oxygen tube. Rick’s chair shot to Scott was so bad that even Buff’s
neck is reinjured. The match is rescheduled for Fall Brawl, and the
fans are LIVID. If Scott doesn’t fight at Fall Brawl, he’s suspended
for life. Scott jumps up but runs away from a charging Rick to end
this stupid bait and switch.
Brian
Adams vs. Steve McMichael
Another
bonus match which is about as welcome as 847 angry yellowjackets
pouring buckets of boiling tar on your back and injecting you with
needles filled with herpes while a blind monk with a bad case of the
shakes checks you for a hernia. They shove each other around to
start before not having a test of strength. We get the ugliest
mistimed sequence this side of Tough Enough as Adams misses a
clothesline and they just kind of run into each other and McMichael
putting on a front facelock.
Adams
slams him down and drops a pair of legs for two. We hit the nerve
hold for a LONG time before Adams hits a backbreaker and bends Mongo
over his knee. Mongo avoids a middle rope knee drop and comes back
with a belly to back suplex. A few three point shoulders take Adams
down but he shrugs them off and loads up a piledriver, only to have
the referee kicked in the face. Vincent tries to bring in a chair
but cracks Adams by mistake, setting up the tombstone for the pin.
Rating:
E. As in ebola, which sounds a
lot better than sitting through this match ever again. On to
ANYTHING else please.
The
Nitro Girls are around Gene on the motorcycle.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
Dean
Malenko is refereeing and Jericho is defending. Jericho comes to the
ring in a purple kimona because that’s the kind of guy he is. As
always, he wants us to want him but opts to tease the bikers instead.
I wonder if there are any Aces and 8’s in the crowd. Jericho takes
him into the corner to start and Malenko tears him away as he’s
supposed to do. Juvy takes out Jericho’s legs and chops away but
Jericho elbows him in the face to take over again.
Juvy
is sent to the floor and Jericho loads something up but Dean pulls
him to the mat by the hair. Well at least according to Tenay, as the
camera was on Juvy the entire time. Back in and Juvy slams Jericho
onto the mat and a missile dropkick sends the champion outside.
Guerrera chops him off the platform and into the barricade before
going inside for a HUGE placha over the platform and into Jericho
into the barricade.
Back
in and Juvy gets two off a springboard cross body but Jericho catches
another cross body attempt into something resembling a Juvy Driver
for two. Dean’s count was noticeably slow and the count off a
delayed vertical suplex is even slower. Juvy rolls out to the floor
while Jericho yells at some fans before getting hit with a backsplash
for two. We hit the chinlock on Guerrera before Chris stomps away
and talks trash.
The
Lionsault hits knees and Juvy comes back with chops and a
hurricanrana. A top rope spinwheel kicks gets the
same……slow……two……count from Dean but Jericho counters a
running hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Jericho kicks him out to the
apron instead of covering and kicks Juvy onto the floor. Back in and
a clothesline gets two on Guerrera as the crowd is trying to care
about this.
A
Jericho powerbomb is countered into a DDT to wake the fans up a bit
and the Juvy Driver gets a two count. Jericho is dazed but still
manages to crotch Guerrera on the top and superplex him back down.
Juvy rolls over for two but has another hurricanrana countered into
the Liontamer. He’s right in front of the ropes though and Jericho
is getting frustrated.
Juvy
pounds away in the corner and Dean seems to have been poked in the
eye. A belt shot lays out the challenger but Dean’s slow count means
it’s only for two. Jericho is all ticked off and goes to the middle
rope. He kicks Dean in the chest and that makes Malenko snap. Well
snap as much as he’s capable of. Dean launches a charging Juvy into
a middle rope Frankensteiner for the pin and the title.
Rating:
B-. The match was good but it’s
running with the anchor of this entire show. Maybe the heat of the
day has something to do with it but these matches have all been
incredibly sluggish. Juvy was trying here and Jericho was his usual
great self but they could only get so far. Again though, why didn’t
they just have Dean take the title himself?
Battle
Royal
Goldberg,
Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, The Giant, Scott Norton, Sting, Lex Luger,
Kevin Nash, Konnan
You
can be eliminated either over the top or by pin/submission. Hall
interrupts the ridiculously long entrances with the survey to keep
this show going even longer. The NWO factions brawl while Goldberg
hides in the corner. That lasts about fifteen seconds before
Goldberg goes after Giant, which should have been a regular match
tonight in the first place. Again that doesn’t last long and the
match breaks down into a regular battle royal.
Hall
loads up the Outsiders’ Edge on Goldberg but gets backdropped out.
Nash eliminates himself (you can’t make up jokes like this) and goes
after Hall as Goldberg spears Hennig down. Things get slow again
with no one trying for an elimination. Goldberg finally pounds on
Giant but gets headbutted back against the ropes. The fans chant for
Goldberg as Giant takes him down with a Russian legsweep. Norton
breaks up a Scorpion attempt on Hennig to keep the crowd bored.
Goldberg
spears Konnan and throws him out before getting kicked in the corner
by Giant. The NWO keeps fighting and Goldberg goes right back to the
corner to wait for the next victim. It’s a short wait this time as
he spears and eliminates Hennig before clotheslining Sting and Norton
to the floor as well. We’re down to Luger, Giant and Goldberg but
there’s a spear to Luger so Giant can dump him. A chokeslam puts
Goldberg down but he does the Undertaker sit up and it’s a spear and
Jackhammer for the win.
Rating:
F. Holy sweet goodness how did
WCW survive this long? There were eight eliminations in this match
and Goldberg had six of them. The other two were a self elimination
and someone Goldberg knocked out cold. There were, conservatively,
five PPV title matches in there and Goldberg beat them all in less
than eight minutes. You could have easily had someone throw Goldberg
out and set them up as the challenger but instead let’s just have him
destroy EVERYONE (except Nash of course because Nash losing would
just be silly) and leave you with no challengers. But hey, a bunch
of bikers cheered right?
Jay
Leno/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eric Bischoff/Hollywood Hogan
Thank
goodness they don’t have another video package to set this up. The
one good thing about this: Liz ROCKING some jeans and chaps. Leno is
apparently here to defend his title as King of Late Night. Kevin
Eubanks is at ringside. Leno throws water at Hogan and Bischoff on
the floor to show how serious he is. Hogan and Page start (thank
goodness) and we get the usual non-action headlined by a wristlock.
Page
drives in the shoulders and hits a big right hand, knocking Hogan
into a left hand from Leno. Hogan is sent to the floor and the
ripped Kevin Eubanks sends him into the post. Leno leads a chant
against Hogan and is at least into the match. Bischoff comes in and
Jay tries to go after him but gets held back. Page shrugs off some
kicks to the chest and it’s off to Leno. Bischoff runs away to Hogan
and Jay stays in. He points at his chin and makes fun of Hogan’s
baldness which is about what you would expect. Leno avoids a pair of
right hands and tags in Page.
Hogan
clotheslines Page down and it’s back to the driving shoulders. Leno
comes back in to grab the wrist and in one of the most painful things
I can remember seeing as a wrestling fan, Hogan sells it. He
wouldn’t sell for Sting at Starrcade but he’s selling for Jay Leno.
Hogan shoves him into the corner and drives in a knee but Leno grabs
the wrist again. A double clothesline puts Hogan down and Leno gets
two before nearly collapsing into a tag to Page. Ok to be fair to
Leno, he did his job and was actually trying. Points for that.
The
wrestlers head to the floor and Eubanks steals a chair from Hogan to
keep Page in control. Back in and Bischoff gets in a kick to the
back of Page’s head to change momentum. Bischoff gets in his shots
to make himself feel important before Hogan gets in a shot with a
foreign object to give Eric a two count. There’s the big boot but
Page gets up before the legdrop and takes Hogan down with the discus
lariat.
Leno
gets the hot tag and we get the showdown with Bischoff…..who drops
Leno with a poke to the eye. Jay comes back with a low blow and some
right hands before sending Bischoff into some buckles. Leno is
totally gassed and everything breaks down. Hogan hits Bischoff by
mistake and Eubanks hits a very good looking Diamond Cutter on
Bischoff to give Leno the pin.
Rating:
D. Of course that’s on an
adjusted scale. This match wasn’t horrible but it was incredibly
stupid. Again I’d like to reiterate that Leno did his job to the
best of his ability. He did his comedy stuff, took a few shots from
Hogan and got the pin on Bischoff. He was bad, but you knew that was
going to happen as soon as this was announced. As for the booking,
there were a bunch of other ideas they could have gone with here and
this was probably the worst possible outcome.
You
could have gone with the Battle of the Billionaires idea with Leno
backing Page against Hogan in a singles match and done the showdown
with Bischoff that way. You could have swapped in Goldberg for Page
and done Goldberg vs. Hogan II with the same Leno vs. Bischoff
outside stuff. Do that and put Page in the battle royal to get
Goldberg’s next challenger. You could have done any of those things
and gotten a better result, but it wouldn’t be WCW if they had gone
that way.
Hogan
and Bischoff get in more cheap shots until Goldberg comes in for the
save. The good guys pose to end the wrestling part of the show.
The
announcers talk and we get a video on Fall Brawl.
Gene
interviews some fans as Travis Tritt gets ready.
The
announcers wrap things up as the concert starts to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
F. There’s no other way
to put it: this show sucked. The ONLY good match is the
Cruiserweight Title match and maybe you could argue the triple
threat, which was done on Nitro just a few weeks earlier. WCW is in
a creative tailspin here and it’s not looking any better. Depending
on your tastes, things are about to get either a lot more fun or a
lot worse as the product is going to go from dull to awful in a
hurry.
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