More Main Events this week, as we look at one of WCW’s B shows in the form of Slamboree. Slamboree was never really an event treated with much gravitas by WCW and the show didn’t have a particular personality to it outside of its first three years. During those first three events WCW would use the show as an opportunity to induct people into its Hall of Fame and also have the odd legends bout here and there. The shows always felt a tad more laid back than other events in the WCW calendar, but the HOF and legends matches at least gave them something unique to hang their hat on. Once those legends matches were gone, Slamboree quickly became “just a show”, and it was often an event you could choose to miss during the hot period of 96 to 98.
Still, from my memory at least a couple of these matches are good, so that’s something to look forward to at least!
That’s enough chatter from me though. Let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!
Champ: Vader w/ Harely Race Vs Davey Boy Smith
Davey had been let go by the WWF in 1992, in what they would later say was for a positive steroid test, but Davey himself disputed that. Regardless, with him being a free agent and WCW looking to branch out into the European market, they offered him a generous financial package and snapped him up. His debut match was at Super Brawl III, which led to a pretty hilarious post-match interview that I think featured on one of the earliest episodes of Botchamania.
Vader had lost the Title in 1992 to Ron Simmons but had won it back at the turn of the year and was coming off a brutal strap match with Sting at Super Brawl III. Davey was popular at this stage but he wasn’t really “beat the monster heel to become the World Champ” popular, mainly because his ceiling in America had always tended to be just a step lower than Main Event level. It did mean that he could be used as a challenger of the month, but it also meant he never had a sustained run as a World Champ in America. In fact, it took Drew Galloway winning at WrestleMania this year for a British guy to win the top belt in a big American company.
This wasn’t soon after Vader putting Cactus Jack out with a power bomb on the floor, which should have led to a fired up Cactus coming back for revenge in a great angle, but ended up leading to him getting amnesia and thinking he was a sea captain or something, because WCW. They establish early on that Bulldog is a powerful challenger by having him straight up no sell a Vader clothesline, which gets a good reaction from the crowd. Vader sells that well by having a troubled facial expression that his usual MO isn’t working. It’s a good bit of storytelling and the crowd are into it.
Vader responds by hammering away with punches before sending Davey outside for some Race cheap shots. Davey manages to dodge a Vader running attack on the outside though, which leads to Vader tumbling into the front row. Davey heaves Vader back in over the railing before body slamming him on the floor. Davey actually gets a hanging vertical suplex back inside, which is a great show of strength from him and a great display of posting from the monstrous Vader. Without cooperation that spot that doesn’t happen. Kudos to both men.
Bulldog is now over with the crowd due to him flinging Vader around like that, as Vader bails to catch his bearings. The cut off comes not too soon after though, as Davey goes for a crucifix pin only for Vader to drop back into a modified Samoan Drop. Vader works some heat on Davey now, and it looks suitably brutal. Vader was a very believable monster, mainly because he supposedly just clobbered people for real most of the time. I’d certainly never wanted to get in there with him, but I can’t deny that his act was impressive to watch.
Davey bumps around and sells well for Vader during the heat, most likely because he has no choice, but it doesn’t really have the desired effect of getting the crowd behind him to make a comeback. Davey goes manage to block a superplex by shoving Vader down and then follows with a sloppy looking diving head butt for a double down. Davey would try and work that move in to his move set now and then and I never really thought it suited him. It was always Dynamite Kids move to me and Davey just never got the execution right on it.
Davey manages an atomic drop for a two count, but Vader fires back with a clothesline, but misses a splash and that allows Davey to get another two. Vader replies by heading up top for a big splash, actually getting it this time, but he sells his mid-section as if he hurt himself. It could have been Davey was meant to get his knees up there but didn’t, especially as he is up first following the splash. Vader flings Davey out for some more cheap shots from Race. Race was always an interesting manager for me, because I never really thought his manager promos were up to much but he was great as a bump taking manager who could get involved in matches.
Vader goes to a camel clutch back inside, which gets the crowd to clap along for Davey and he follows up with an Electric Chair Drop to a good reaction. Davey makes the comeback with punches and gets a big clothesline for two. This crowd has been a bit inconsistent when it comes to reactions to be honest. When Davey is doing the impressive power stuff they’ve been into it, but when he’s been getting near falls or selling they’ve mostly sat on their hands. Case in point, Davey catches a Vader running splash in the corner and power slams him down for a pop, but the resulting pin fall attempt doesn’t really get much, even when Race breaks it up unforeseen by the ref.
Davey finally pops Race, which gets less of a pop than you’d think after he’d been interfering so much, and that leads to Vader hitting Davey with a chair for a lame DQ. Obviously they didn’t want to change the belt and also didn’t want Davey to lose, so that finish was kind of necessary, but I can’t deny that it was a super lame way to end what had been a decent bout.
WINNER BY DQ: DAVEY BOY SMITH
The work was fine here for the most part, but the rubbish ending and the strangely flat crowd knocked it down a bit for me, hence the rating. Vader destroys Buff Bagwell and Scorpio and heads to finish off Davey, but Sting runs down for the rescue to set up a Davey and Sting Vs Vader and Sid match for Beach Blast 93 (Along with a notoriously awful mini-movie).
WCW International Title
Vader w/ Harely Race Vs Sting
Right, this is going to take some explaining. Basically, when Ric Flair jumped to the WWF in 1991 he took the Big Gold Belt with him so that he could be promoted as “The Real Worlds Champion”. This led to WCW busting out a new belt to crown a new WCW Champion, which eventually ended up being Lex Luger. The belt Flair had was actually the NWA Title, and the NWA eventually got in back in 1992 for a tournament in Japan, where Masahiro Chono ended up winning it. With WCW still in a working relationship with the NWA, they were able to book the NWA Champ on their shows.
Hence Chono and later Great Muta defended the NWA belt on WCW shows whilst WCW had its own Champion as well. Eventually Barry Windham won the belt from Muta at Super Brawl III in an absolute stinker, essentially returning control of the Title to WCW. Windham would lose the belt to a returning Ric Flair at Beach Blast 93, which the NWA was cool with. However, WCW then started treating the NWA belt like it was actually their property and started changing the Champion without the NWA’s permission. The NWA didn’t like that and revoked WCW’s right to use the name NWA on their shows.
WCW refused to give the belt back however, so came up with the fictional “WCW International board of directors” to oversee the Title so that they could continue to use the Big Gold Belt on their shows without actually referring to it as the NWA Title. Why they didn’t just unify the belts as quickly as possible is a question many have asked over the years, as it would likely have saved a lot of bother and confusion. But hey, WCW is going to WCW at the end of the day. Rick Rude had actually been the Champion, but a legit back injury meant he had to pull out. They had tried to award the belt to Sting, but he did the babyface act of refusing to accept it that way and wanted to win it in the ring, hence this match.
This match is in Philadelphia, which means some of the vocal “too cool for school” ECW element is in the crowd and they are openly rooting for Vader. This causes Sting to go in a bit of a sulk, and takes the match down a bit. As a result this is probably the worst Vader Vs Sting pay per view outing. However, even then it’s still decent at the very least because these two had that sort of wild chemistry few wrestlers do. Some fans even vocally chant “Sting Must Die” at one stage, which the mics pick up causing the commentators to go quiet for a bit.
Vader proceeds to try and give them what they want by clobbering Sting down to the mat with a barrage of punches. Sting fights back with punches and kicks of his own, as ECW Hat Guy yells at Vader for having the temerity to sell for the pretty boy. Sting follows up with an impressive vertical suplex, which seems to serve only to annoy Vader and he mows Sting down with a body tackle to start the heat segment. The heat is exactly what you’d expect, as Vader brutally destroys Sting with the usual, with Sting selling it well.
Vader gets some scattered boo’s in the heat, but most of the crowd sits on their hands and doesn’t really get behind Sting to make a comeback. Sting finally manages to floor Vader and drops a big jumping elbow for a double down. Vader recovers first and drops an elbow of his own, as this one has been a bit disjointed. There is finally some clapping for Sting as he fights up and goes for a running shoulder tackle, but Vader ducks and the referee gets bumped. Vader choke slams Sting, but there’s no ref.
Race tries to help Vader by hitting Sting with a chair, but Sting ducks and Vader eats it instead (although it was a pretty weak shot that didn’t look good) and Sting follows with a DDT for a two count from the revived ref. Sting clotheslines Vader out and then suplexes him back inside before clotheslining him out once again. Sting bumping Vader around will always be cool. Sting tries the Stinger Splash back inside, but Vader catches him and slams him down before heading up for a moonsault. Sting manages to dodge that and makes a cover. Race tries coming off the top rope with a diving head butt, but Sting moves and he gets Vader instead, in full view of the referee. The ref decides to let that go, even though it should be a DQ, and Sting heads up for a splash for the three count.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: STING
Sting decides he isn’t going to stick around following his win and raises the belt briefly before trudging off. One of the lesser matches the two had, but the work was good for the most part. The finish was pretty weak as they had to give Vader an out for losing, which is why they did the whole Race backfired interference, but it was in full view of the ref and should have been a DQ even if he hit his man by mistake. Someone not involved in the match came in and did a diving head butt, that’s a DQ in my book regardless of who he hits.
Ric Flair and Vader w/ Arn Anderson Vs Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage w/ Jimmy Hart and The Renegade
Hogan supposedly retired Flair by defeating him at Halloween Havoc 94, but Flair ended up dressing up as a woman to attack Hogan and Savage, thus leading to him getting reinstated and teaming up with Vader to take out The Mega Force team of Hogan and Savage. Eric Bischoff pushes on commentary that The Mega Force wanted Flair back, which is a big reason why he ended up getting reinstated, which at least makes sense as a way to overturn a stipulation I suppose. Renegade was still new to WCW at the time, and had the unfortunate gimmick of basically just being an Ultimate Warrior cosplayer.
I do wonder what would happen if the real Ultimate Warrior had decided to come in and they just called him The Renegade instead? Hogan, Savage and Warrior would have been such a dominant babyface trio that you’d probably have to end up turning one of them because the heel side would be at a pronounced disadvantage, especially with Sting also working on the babyface side. Vader’s penchant for being super stiff and working hard was always likely to cause him some bother with Hogan, who was used to a certain style of monster at this stage in his career.
Hogan gets to shine on Vader early, but he replies by destroying both of the faces by himself before tagging in Flair, who ends up getting pinballed around by Savage. Better times would be ahead for Flair in 1995, but during this period he was basically an ineffective stooging heel getting pummelled at every turn, hence the alliance with Vader to try and help him look like some semblance of a threat to the babyfaces. Flair does commit to the bit at least, meaning the section where Savage and Hogan ping him around from pillar to post is entertaining to watch.
Even Arn Anderson gets in on the act by coming in to bump for Hogan, but that at least allows Flair to kick Hogan in the leg so that the heels can get some heat on him. Whilst that goes on, Paul Wight stands in the aisle way looking mean, which is his WCW debut I believe. Meanwhile, Hogan no sells a suplex from Vader, but gets quickly knocked down again anyway without trying to make the tag. This is a strangely structured match in a lot of ways. It’s meandering for the most part, which is strange when you consider the talent in the ring.
Hogan eventually manages to dodge a pump splash and drags his way to the corner for the tag to Savage, who does a nice hot tag segment with Flair before heading up for the elbow drop. The ref is too busy dealing with Hogan and Renegade though, which allows Anderson to break up the pin and then lure Savage outside for an attack from Vader. Vader crushes Savage with an awesome looking moonsault back inside, but Hogan comes in to break up the pin, as we see that Savage’s dad is at ringside watching on.
So now we get our second heat segment, and I really don’t think this match needed one of those if I’m being honest. Savage fights back though and a double clothesline sees him and Flair down, which leads to the hot tag to Hogan. That’s a pretty flat reaction to a hot tag to be honest. Body slams come for Flair and Vader, followed by the big boot on the former. Anderson trips Hogan up however, which allows Vader to come in with a splash. This would now be a good opportunity to give the heels a scummy win to build for Title rematches, but this is WCW in 1995, so Hogan of course kicks out and starts Hulking Up. Anderson tries coming in to help Flair, but hits him by mistake and that allows Hogan to leg drop Flair for the win. That one probably should have been a DQ too.
WINNERS: THE MEGA FORCE
This dragged for me if I’m honest, which was disappointing because I do genuinely like Vader, Savage and Flair, and I also like Hogan in the right setting too. The heels do the big heel beat down, which leads to Savage’s dad coming in to try and protect his son, leading to Flair beating him up to set up a feud with Savage. That feud with Savage actually did well on the house show circuit and contributed to WCW actually making a profit at the end of the 95/96 business year.
Champ: The Giant w/ Jimmy Hart Vs Sting w/ Lex Luger
After debuting at the 1995 event, Giant ended up getting pushed right to the top of the card and a year later was the WCW Champion. Along the way, he picked up Hart as a manager after Hart betrayed Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1995. The stipulation here is that Jimmy Hart will be handcuffed to Lex Luger. I remember this match actually being pretty good, especially when you take into account how inexperienced Giant still was at this stage.
Giant could MOVE during this period, as he’s very spry on his feet. Injuries and bad dietary choices did a real number on him. The story here is that Giant is much bigger and stronger than Sting, so Sting sticks and moves to try and get something going. However, he makes the mistake of going for a body slam and Giant falls on top of him ala WrestleMania III to start the heat segment. The old ones are still the best eh?
Giant keeps it simple during the heat segment, doing mostly stomps, clubs and rest holds, and it’s fine for what it is due to Sting being over with the crowd. This was probably a tad too early in Giant’s career for him to be working Main Events, but with a guy that size you kind of have to push him. As Jim Cornette famously said about Batista, it’s not like you can have him taking arm drags in the second match. This is about as good a job as you could do with a green monster heel, and it works for the crowd.
Giant takes things to the outside, where he tries to choke slam Sting on a table, but Luger lays Hart across the table in clever spot, so Giant lets Sting go. That’s a good use of the handcuff gimmick there. Sting accidentally elbows the referee because he thinks it’s Giant, before dodging a Giant charge in the corner. Sting gets a Stinger splash in the corner before unloading with punches. Giant goes after Luger, but Sting gives him multiple Stinger Splashes until he lets go and finally collapses to the mat.
The crowd was loving that! This is a masterclass of booking a gutsy underdog face against a monster heel. Sting gets a splash from the top for two, and Giant presses him off onto the ref to bump him again. Luger and Hart scuffle over Hart’s megaphone on the apron, which leads to Luger accidentally clocking Sting with it. But was it accidental? Giant follows up with the choke slam anyway and that’s enough for the three count.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: THE GIANT
That match was better than it had absolutely any right to be when you consider Giant’s level of experience at that stage in his career, but he did a great job and Sting is always a good babyface, so everything worked out just how they would have wanted it to. Bit of a hidden gem this one.
Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Syxx Vs Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Kevin Greene
This is an nWo Vs WCW match with the added spice of it being in North Carolina and also including football star Greene. Usually they’d book Flair to get battered and humiliated in North Carolina, but this time they actually allow him to look like a star, with the crowd being totally jazzed for his big entrance. I think Greene’s music has been dubbed over on WWE Network, but I’m not sure about that as I haven’t watched my copy of this show for a while.
Flair and Syxx start us out, which leads to a great spot of Syxx taunting the crowd like a jerk, only to get hit with a devastating chop from Flair. Indeed, all of the heels stooge around and make the babyfaces look good in the early going, with even Nash getting into the spirit and actually trying to be a heel for once instead of trying to be above it all. Flair is over like nuts of course, and the fans cheer mightily as he slaps Syxx around and does his usual strut and taunts.
Greene didn’t have a bad aptitude for wrestling and got booked quite a few times by WCW for that reason. He’s super amped up to be part of this and doesn’t do a bad job at all when you consider I think this was only the second match of his career on pay per view. Nash gets assigned Greene as his dance partner in the shine, and he works it smartly by just standing there and letting Greene run in to him. He actually bumps around for him and even takes a body slam from him too.
Fair play to Nash, he made Greene look good there and the fans were into it. Piper and Hall are the last marriage to go at it, with Hall doing an excellent job as a clown heel getting pummelled by the babyface and the crowd loves that too. This match has been structured perfectly thus far, with Piper in particular seemingly rejuvenated by the hot crowd. However, his right thigh area is heavily taped a cheap shot from Syxx allows the heels to cut him off.
That doesn’t last long though, as Piper manages to tag Flair back in and he runs wild on the heels momentarily until Hall catches a cross body attempt and delivers the Blockbuster Slam to cut him off. Flair sells the heel heat segment well, and the crowd is behind him making the tag. Eventually Syxx and Flair bang heads and that allows Flair to make the tag to Piper, although the referee doesn’t see it and tries to break it up, taking a stray punch in the process.
I think that was meant to look more accidental than it did to be honest, as it looked like Piper just plain clocked him. Everything breaks down, with Flair clocking Hall right in the Ramon’s before applying the Figure Four. Piper comes in to put a sleeper on Nash and Greene power slams Syxx down. Hall goes out in the Figure Four and replacement ref counts the shoulders to give the babyfaces a win for a monster pop.
WINNERS: FLAIR, PIPER AND GREENE
Wow, having babyfaces win in their hometown is pretty awesome, who’d’ve thunk it? The match had a few sloppy moments but it was overall structured very well and I really enjoyed going back to watch it. I remember reading in the Torch that the nWo guys weren’t happy about how Piper and Greene celebrated the win at the end, which ultimately led to further incident between Nash and Piper backstage.
WCW Tag Team Titles
Champ: Kevin Nash and Scott Hall w/ Dusty Rhodes Vs Sting and The Giant
This was during the initial stages of Kevin Nash breaking away from the Black and White nWo and creating the Wolfpac. As a result Giant got recruited by the Black and White to strengthen their ranks, thus leaving Sting as the only WCW representative left in this match. The story here is that Sting can’t trust anyone in this match, but Giant is trying to get him to come over to the dark side and believes that he will do so if they win the belts here. Hall actually hadn’t been on TV for quite a while leading up to this, so one of the storylines for the match was whether he’d actually turn up or not. WCW in 1998 everybody!
To say this match has kind of a strange atmosphere would be a bit of an understatement, as the crowd doesn’t really know how to react to things, as no one wants to cheer for Giant but no one really wants to boo Sting either. Sting gets a shine on the Champs for instance, but the crowd doesn’t really know how to take it and kind of just watches on. Giant and Nash go at it following that, with the crowd clearly choosing Nash over Giant as far as the guy they want to cheer, and it’s the usual match between them, which falls comfortably into “Not bad for two massive blokes”.
Giant gets the better of Nash, which causes the crowd to chant for the Wolfpac, but when Nash cuts Sting off with a big boot there are some slight boos. Basically, the crowd wants the Champs to batter Giant, and aren’t particularly interested in anything else. The work itself isn’t bad or anything. It’s a bit paint by the numbers in my opinion, but it’s hardly awful or anything, and Sting does a good enough job selling that the crowd eventually starts clapping for him to make a comeback.
I have to say, one thing I don’t miss about late 90’s wrestling is the shades of grey stuff they used to do. I like there to be a clear face and a clear heel most of the time outside of special situations, and it was overdone to the point it was no longer special during this time period. The fans start getting behind Sting again when Nash puts him in a bear hug and even pops when he tags out to Giant, but they then start booing when Giant runs wild on Nash and body slams him. This is such a weird match to watch. It’s like they were happy Sting was no longer getting battered but unhappy that Nash now was.
Giant drops a leg on Nash for two and then takes down the strap on his singlet before heading up to the top rope. He misses a top rope splash however, which allows Nash to get up and prep for a power bomb. However, Dusty passes Hall one of the tag belts and Hall hits Nash with it to give Giant the three count and the Titles. Cleverly, Hall and Giant never really interacted in the match, so it wasn’t one of those cases where two heels batter one another in the match only to then reveal themselves as allies.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: GIANT AND STING
Sting looks on befuddled as the happy nWo Black and White guys hand him his half of the belts. Sting would eventually join Nash’s faction and would defeat Giant for both of the tag belts the following month, choosing Nash as his Championship partner. They would then go on to lose the belts to…Scott Hall and The Giant. Makes you wonder what the point of this whole match was doesn’t it.
Champ: Diamond Dallas Page Vs Kevin Nash
DDP won the belt at Spring Stampede but he was only scheduled to be a transitional Champ, so Nash was chosen as the man to take it off him. I’m not sure how Nash was in the Title hunt considering he lost to Goldberg the previous month, but the belt had changed twice since Spring Stampede anyway, so all bets were off. The match where Sting beat DDP for the belt on Nitro is a fantastic match though and I strongly recommend seeking it out on the WWE Network if you’ve never seen it. Even Sting’s wacky boots don’t ruin it.
The commentators are nice enough to mention that Nash has been going after DDP because DDP injured Hogan the previous month. Fair enough, as reasons go; that’ll do. DDP and Nash are friends in real life, so hopefully that bodes well here and Nash in the mood to have a good match. Nash shines on DDP to start, with DDP trying to bail a couple of times, only for Nash to catch up with him and continue to bring the pain. DDP kicks Nash right in the Big Daddy Cool’s to get himself back into the match however, with Nick Patrick making sure to miss it in a display of smart reffing.
DDP undoes one of the turnbuckle pads to distract the referee and then hits Nash with a mic whilst the ref is dealing with it for two. I liked that, good heel shenanigans on DDP’s part. However, DDP is soon hoist by his own petard as Nash pulls him into the unprotected buckle for a double down. That’s some clever story telling there actually and Nash can easily explain that he didn’t know the turnbuckle pad had been removed, hence why it wouldn’t need to be a DQ. That’s one good thing about DDP’s penchant of laying matches out in advance, they usually made sense.
Nash recovers first a makes a cover, but DDP kicks out at two and the match continues. DDP sends Nash out to the floor and then follows with a baseball slide and a Diamond Cutter. However, DDP has shot himself in the foot here as Nash is now out cold on the floor and he can’t make the cover there, so he has to heave him back into the ring instead for the cover, by which point Nash has had time to recover and kick out. Smart way of protecting the finisher there.
DDP works over Nash back inside the ring before setting him up for the ring post Figure Four that he used to take out Hogan, which plays into the storyline of Nash coming for vengeance for his stablemate. Nash manages to fight him off before the move can be applied though, which leads to DDP slugging away at him back inside the ring. Nash manages to make it to his feet and makes the comeback, getting the Snake Eyes and big boot before prepping for the power bomb. Nash gets the power bomb, but just as he makes the cover Randy Savage runs in for the apparent DQ.
Main Events ending in bogus DQ’s happened so much in WCW at the time that this gets groans and murmurs from the crowd rather than drawing any actual heat. However, Eric Bischoff, who had just returned that night in an authority figure role after being gone for months, comes out and tells the referee to restart it. He even says that he doesn’t care what Ted Turner says about it, which feels like a desperate attempt to make it feel like a “shoot”. Err, you’re restarting a match Eric, I doubt Harvey Schiller is going to be annoyed that a pay per view Main Event had a clean finish for once.
The crowd pops for the restart at least, happy that they are now going to get an actual finish on the wrestling show they paid to see. Things are apparently No DQ now as well, but Buffer doesn’t announce that bit. DDP goes to a sleeper, but the crowd gets behind Nash and he fights up before getting a sleeper of his own. There’s actually a great match from Japan between Wild Pegasus and Black Tiger in 1996 where the big story of the match is that Pegasus keeps putting Tiger in a sleeper until even the normally polite Japanese crowd is getting super annoyed by it, only for Tiger to finally apply one at the end to a massive pop.
Anyway, DDP survives the sleeper hold and heads outside for a chair, but Nash ducks it and the chair bounces back into DDP’s face for two. Fans are getting into the near falls a bit now too. It’s not been a bad match actually. Nash tries to destroy DDP with the chair, but DDP hits him right in the Diesel Power to put a stop to that. DDP grabs the chair next, but Nash kicks it into his face and delivers a power bomb for the three count.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: KEVIN NASH
That was fine. It was a bit sloppy in places, but it told a good story and the fans were into it by the end. I enjoyed it for the most part. You’re usually in good hands with DDP so long as his opponent is up for it, as chances are he’ll be able to put together a decent match and that proved to be the case here, as Nash seemed motivated and willing to give has pal some effort.
Three Layer Cage
Champ: Constable Dewey Vs Jeff Jarrett Vs Diamond Dallas Page
Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff had “rebooted” WCW in the April of 2000, and since then the World Title had already changed four times and we were only in May. First off Sid vacated it on the 10th of April, Jarrett won it six days later, only to then lose it a week later to DDP who then lost it to David Arquette when Arquette pinned Eric Bischoff in a tag team match. Vince Russo has defended the decision ever since because it got people talking about WCW and all publicity is good publicity, but ratings dropped considerably during the Title reign and this pay per view did horrific numbers, so I think it’s safe for us to call it a failure.
Arquette for the most part seemed like a decent dude, as he gave a big chunk of the money he earned from this WCW run to the recently paralyzed Droz, along with other worthy causes. The fact still remains that this was pretty much a disaster that essentially made WCW into a laughing stock and killed the belt as any sort of credible trophy until Booker T and Scott Steiner rehabbed it a bit with their subsequent reigns. The stipulation for the match here is that you have to fight through the three layers of cage to the top, where the belt is hanging.
This was actually a match type I used as the Main Event for WrestleMania whenever I played Promotion Wars back in the day, just because I thought it was a suitably nutty way to finish off the biggest show of the year. Jarrett was always going to struggle as a Main Eventer due to years of him being seen as just an upper mid carder, but the way he was booked certainly didn’t help as they took the belt off him multiple times and never gave him any chance to build any momentum. Of course when he gave himself a long uninterrupted reign in TNA fans got sick of that in a hurry.
This one is all about DDP and Jarrett working the actual match whilst Arquette hangs around out of the way so that he can’t get beaten up. DDP and Jarrett generally had okay matches, so this is a decent brawl for the most part. The first stage has ladders in it so that you can climb out, whilst the second cage has weapons in it and the third cage has guitars in it. Both DDP and Jarrett are wearing gloves here so that they can grip and climb the cage easier, which is clever on their parts. Arquette takes the odd bump here or there, but doesn’t get any offence in himself.
Jarrett actually blades after getting thrown into the cage, which gives me pangs of sympathy for him that he’s cutting himself open for such a terrible storyline. DDP manages to get into the weapons cage first, and goes straight for the bolt cutters so he can unlock the door, which seems like a bit of an anti-climax. Surely they could have fought over cutting the lock for a while and actually built some drama and tension rather than just cutting it right away? This second section is all about both men hitting one another with plunder, and it’s entertaining for what it is.
Both men eventually knock one of the walls in the weapons cage down, which was either a very well done spot if it was planned or a terrifying example of poor metal workmanship if it wasn’t. Seeing as the rest of the cage seems relatively secure I’m going to guess/hope it was the former. Arquette decides to head up to the top of the third cage, which is Mike Awesome’s cue to climb the cage to help Jarrett. DDP, who is also bleeding now, gives Awesome a Diamond Cutter and then starts climbing up to the third cage along with Jarrett.
Both men miss hitting one another with guitars, which leads to DDP passing one to Arquette to defend himself. However, when DDP climbs up to grab the belt, Arquette turns on him because it’s a SWERVE bro! With DDP taken out, Jarrett climbs up to claim the belt and win his second WCW Title. I think he’d win at least two more before WCW died, if not three.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: JEFF JARRETT
Awesome tries to fling DDP off the cage, but DDP’s buddy Chris Kanyon comes up to rescue him. That ends badly for him though and Awesome flings him off the cage through the ramp. This was in particular poor taste on WCW’s part as this was the same arena that Owen Hart had tragically fallen to his death in the previous year, and the people in Kansas didn’t like being reminded about it in such a manner.
The match itself was a decent brawl, as DDP and Jarrett are both good wrestlers. Sadly the storyline and general booking surrounding the match served to ensure that hardly anyone would bother buying it on pay per view, but the actual match itself delivered for the most part.
Oh well, there weren’t any absolute stinkers and a handful of the matches were quite good, so I’m relatively happy with that, especially as WCW could sometimes really stink the joint out when it came to Main Event matches.
I’ll be starting WWF/E Judgment Day next week, so please stay tuned for that and stay safe out there.
All the best