Mike Reviews – WCW Souled Out 1998 (24/01/1998)

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I decided that, seeing as I’ve got a Stinker Review looming on the 30th of January, I’d review two shows I actually like this week and next week just to redress the balance in the universe. Thus this week I’m doing this show and next week I’ll be doing WWF Royal Rumble 2002, so look out for that one next Saturday!

This was a show from the tail end of WCW’s Era of dominance in the western wrestling market, as we were less than a month removed from Hollywood Hogan making poor Sting look like an absolute chump in the Main Event of the biggest show the company would ever present.

That show had ended with Sting “winning” the WCW Title, but a good old fashioned Dusty Finish™ saw the belt held up, with that situation supposedly meant to be settled on this show. Ah yes, I’m sure we can all rely on WCW to deliver on a promise can’t we?

Souled Out had originally been designed as an nWo event, where the WCW guys would show up and get battered. However, that show had been a disaster, so this year it’s just a regularly co-branded pay per view event.

The big draw for the show was the first big pay per view bout between Bret Hart and Ric Flair. The two had of course met for the WWF Title numerous times during Flair’s brief WWF stint, but those had mostly been on non-televised events and they’d never met in a pay per view setting. There was also a match scheduled between Randy Savage and Lex Luger, but COME ON, everyone was here for Hart Vs Flair, with Kevin Nash and Giant having the most hyped match on the under card.

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Mike Reviews – All Japan Pro Wrestling TV (12/01/1985)

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Back with some more All Japan TV from 1985, once again courtesy of Roy Lucier over on YouTube.

Last week, we had some heated conflict between Riki Choshu and Genichiro Tenryu, and wouldn’t you know it they’re butting heads again this week in 6 man tag team action!

I certainly know I’m pumped for that, so let’s quit this jibber-jabbering and watch some chuffing wrestling!!

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Mike Reviews – ROH First Anniversary Show (08/02/2003)

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I’ve actually had this one hand written for yonks, but the classic ROH reviews seemingly got little to no interest and I never bothered typing it up. However, with want of anything better to review this week and the fact that this show features the sadly departed Xavier during his brief ROH Title run, I felt it would be appropriate to finally upload it.

I should point out that this version of the show was taped off the short lived Wrestling Channel over here in the UK. They used to have a special super card event every Sunday on the channel, which was usually a show from one of the main company’s they had on their books. They showed quite a bit of early ROH on the channel when it first started, with this show being amongst the events they aired.

One downside is that they’ve had to trim the show a bit in order to make it fit the three hour window (This includes advert breaks) which means some matches have been cut and others have been edited. It’s a shame, but ROH events were all kind of treated like big super cards with loads of matches, so needs had to must when it came to cramming in as much as possible for a set slot of TV time.

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Mike Reviews – ECW Guilty As Charged 2001 (07/01/2020)

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Here we are with the last pay per view of the original ECW, with it tying a bow on my 23 month odyssey of reviewing the ECW product from 99-2000. ECW had promised a big surprise going into the show online, with the internet being their main way of promoting the show due to them losing TV in most of their markets, including New York of all places. Paul Heyman was seemingly prepared to struggle on but, as Ok Go once put so eloquently, the writing was on the wall.

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Mike Reviews – All Japan Pro Wrestling TV (05/01/1985)

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Let’s try these for a while and see if people enjoy them

Big thanks to Roy Lucier over on the YouTube machine for uploading these. Head over and give him some likes if you haven’t already!

I’ve seen some decent chunks of AJPW from the 90’s due to my love of Misawa, Kobashi, Akiyama and Taue (Kawada is a great worker, but I never had the same emotional connection to him as I do the other four) but 80’s All Japan is something I haven’t spent much time watching. To me, All Japan really started with Misawa beating Jumbo in 1990, with everything before that being a mysterious avenue that I haven’t ventured down.

With Hardcore TV now in the bag, I decided to travel back to the mid-80’s to see what was going on in All Japan Pro Wrestling. Lets’ watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews – WWF Wrestling Tough Guys (1990)

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I decided that I fancied watching one of the Home Video releases that they’ve uploaded onto the WWE Network, and with this one being under an hour I thought it’d be a nice snappy watch.

I’m going into this completely blind without a clue of what’s actually on the tape, but noted Tough Guy Akeem is on the screen-cap on The Network, so we should at least get some Jive Soul Bro if the music dubbing God’s are feeling generous.

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Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #401 (30/12/2000) – Last Ever Episode

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Before we go any further, I’d like to send my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Jon Huber. 41 is no age and by all accounts he was a smashing bloke and loving family man. An absolute tragic passing in an already miserable year.

Back in February 2019 I decided to try something new by reviewing all of the ECW Hardcore TV shows up to Living Dangerously 99, being as that had been the first ECW pay per view I had ever watched way back in the day. Once I’d finished Living Dangerously I decided to keep going, reviewing each episode Twenty Years to the day of the original airing. Along the way I saw the TNN TV deal form and crumble, as well as enjoying some cracking matches and some fun angles.

On more than one occasion I wanted to jack it all in and do something else, but I felt compelled to keep trudging on with it, and ultimately I’m glad I did as this represents nearly two years of work and reaching the end feels almost like some kind of bizarre achievement.

I’d like to thank the small, yet loyal, readership of these Hardcore TV reviews that has stuck with them throughout, especially when the show took a notable dive in quality once it was clear it was playing Velocity to the TNN show’s Smackdown. The fact there was still some people willing to read these certainly helped with motivating me to stick with them. I hope the quality of the reviews themselves didn’t dip too much when it became clear that the show was starting to become a drag for me.

The relatively small regular readership these had did kind of ram home a point to me though, which is that ECW really doesn’t have the pulling power it once had amongst the IWC anymore. It’s funny to think that as the company’s legacy survived for a long time after it died, with the Rise and Fall DVD that WWE released in 2004 selling really well. I’m not sure why exactly, but that enthusiasm for ECW just doesn’t appear to be there anymore.

The simple fact that ECW’s hot peak happened nearly 25 years ago is probably the biggest factor, but it wouldn’t shock me if the WWE’s miserable attempt at rebooting the brand in 2006 didn’t contribute also. Another possibility is that a lot of fans who weren’t around to watch ECW back in the day have discovered it on the WWE Network, where all the music is dubbed out and the product itself can be censored from the original airing, which means they have never watched it the way it was intended. The wrestling business as a whole has moved on as well, and a product that features lots of dangerous unprotected chair shots, shedloads of extreme violence and mountains of unapologetic misogyny probably isn’t going to connect as strongly with the modern wrestling fan as it did back in 1996.

About a year ago now in a pre-COVID world I attended a Christmas wrestling show and it had a holiday themed hardcore match where guys were hitting each other with Christmas presents and whatnot. I decided to jokingly start an “EC-Dub” chant at one stage, because it was a relatively smarky crowd and I thought it would get over in an ironic way. Absolutely no one joined in and quite a few people shot me and my friend a quizzical look as if they had no idea what we were doing. That not only rammed home how old I personally was but it also kind of startled me, because even ten years ago that sort of crowd would have gotten the reference and joined in, even if they’d never actually watched ECW themselves at any point.

Anyway, thank you for reading these if you are one of few who dug them and I’ll try and make this review a fitting end to the series. I’ll do a more general recap on what I’ve enjoyed and disliked during the past couple of years in the final conclusion, and I’ll also update you and what I’ll be doing next now the Hardcore TV reviews are done with.

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Mike Reviews Every WCW Starrcade Main Event – Part Three (1995 to 2000)

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We have finally reached the end of Mike Reviews Main Events, with NWA/WCW Starrcade being how I’m set to bow out. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read these ever since I started doing them earlier in the year. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve reached the end, and I have to say I’m a little bit relieved as it looked like a daunting prospect at first.

Starrcade was traditionally WCW’s biggest event of the year (Although you wouldn’t think that considering how they booked it sometimes) and in the earlier days especially it produced some of the best matches in the company’s history.

Originally held in the Carolina’s and Georgia (Two strongholds for Jim Crockett Promotions) WCW eventually took Starrcade on the road starting in 1987, with the 87 event being the catalyst for Vince McMahon to create the Survivor Series out of pure spite. The latter events in places like Nashville and Washington never really lived up to the great ones in Greensboro and Atlanta, but Starrcade still remained a focal point of the WCW promotion, even into the nWo era of the company.

This week we’ll be covering 1995 to 2000

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Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – ECW December To Dismember (03/12/2006)

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Obviously 2020 has been a trying year for most of us, and it’s probably led a lot of us to experiencing a very different type of holiday season than we are normally used to. I hope you’re all keeping well wherever you are and that this review can give you some kind of distraction from what’s going on in the world for a little bit at least.

This show was requested by JLAJRC, and at the bottom of the review I’ll give everyone a chance to suggest shows for the next Stinker review, which will happen on the 30th of January if all goes well, so stay tuned for that at the end.

For those who haven’t read one of my Stinker reviews, they’re basically what you’d think they are, as I review a show that has a reputation for being really bad for whatever reason and ask the immortal question of whether it’s actually a Stinker or not. It’s not too dissimilar from what the fine folk over at Wrestle Crap do, except I’m going to give the show a chance to prove it’s not awful before deciding one way or another.

ECW was WWE’s first attempt at dabbling with a third brand, which it continues today with NXT, with it lifting the ECW name from the dearly departed former company. The likes of Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer were involved in the rebirth of the brand, but ultimately Vince McMahon was the one calling the shots and the early days of the brand were a real hodgepodge that resulted in a product that wasn’t true to the original company whilst also not really presenting anything exciting or interesting that would really differentiate it from the other two WWE brands at the time, outside of adjusting the entrance way to give the arena a cosier feel.

December to Dismember was in a lot of ways the last stand for not just the brand in its current form but also for the existing creative crew, as they were given 3 hours of pay per view time to fill despite not having a roster that was really equipped for it and also having to deal with the fact pretty much every guy even approaching a genuine star on the brand had been shoehorned into one match, leaving the already threadbare roster even thinner.

Could ECW defy the odds and still put on a fun event? Let’s watch on and find out!

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Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #400 (23/12/2000)

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This week we have the penultimate episode of Hardcore TV, with ECW very much on the ropes financially. The WWF have been nice enough to lend them The Dudley Boyz for a one shot deal, but that’s going to plug just one hole in sieve.

ECW actually has a pay per view scheduled for the 7th of January 2001 called Guilty As Charged, so we’ll see if they use this taping to officially set any matches up. They’ve been teasing another CW Anderson and Tommy Dreamer match under I Quit rules, so we’ll see if they make that official tonight or not.

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Mike Reviews Every WCW Starrcade Main Event – Part Two (1989 to 1994)

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We have finally reached the end of Mike Reviews Main Events, with NWA/WCW Starrcade being how I’m set to bow out. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read these ever since I started doing them earlier in the year. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve reached the end, and I have to say I’m a little bit relieved as it looked like a daunting prospect at first.

Starrcade was traditionally WCW’s biggest event of the year (Although you wouldn’t think that considering how they booked it sometimes) and in the earlier days especially it produced some of the best matches in the company’s history.

Originally held in the Carolina’s and Georgia (Two strongholds for Jim Crockett Promotions) WCW eventually took Starrcade on the road starting in 1987, with the 87 event being the catalyst for Vince McMahon to create the Survivor Series out of pure spite. The latter events in places like Nashville and Washington never really lived up to the great ones in Greensboro and Atlanta, but Starrcade still remained a focal point of the WCW promotion, even into the nWo era of the company.

This week we’ll be covering 1989 to 1994

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Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #399 (16/12/2000)

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We’re getting into the last few episodes of Hardcore TV now, as the death knell for ECW approaches. I’m not going to get too mushy about it yet, but we’re about to enter a year where my wrestling fandom was probably tested more than it had even been before, so I may end up getting a bit wistful as we near the end of ECW’s existence.

Last week was just a recap show of the December pay per view. There’s actually a pay per view scheduled for the 7th of January 2001, so let’s see if ECW is actually going to bother hyping it or not. It’s almost become redundant at this stage to hype these shows when all ECW has left is a syndicated show that not everyone can watch.

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Mike Reviews Every WCW Starrcade Main Event – Part One (1983 to 1988)

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We have finally reached the end of Mike Reviews Main Events, with NWA/WCW Starrcade being how I’m set to bow out. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read these ever since I started doing them earlier in the year. It’s kind of amazing that we’ve reached the end, and I have to say I’m a little bit relieved as it looked like a daunting prospect at first.

Starrcade was traditionally WCW’s biggest event of the year (Although you wouldn’t think that considering how they booked it sometimes) and in the earlier days especially it produced some of the best matches in the company’s history.

Originally held in the Carolina’s and Georgia (Two strongholds for Jim Crockett Promotions) WCW eventually took Starrcade on the road starting in 1987, with the 87 event being the catalyst for Vince McMahon to create the Survivor Series out of pure spite. The latter events in places like Nashville and Washington never really lived up to the great ones in Greensboro and Atlanta, but Starrcade still remained a focal point of the WCW promotion, even into the nWo era of the company.

This week we’ll be covering 1983 to 1988

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Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #398 (09/12/2000)

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Massacre on 34th Street is in the books and was a kind of disappointing show. Steve Corino is still the ECW Champ, but the show ended with Sandman (the last remaining top of the card babyface) giving him a caning before leaving with the belt.

In addition to that, Jerry Lynn finally went heel after months of teasing it by aligning himself with Cyrus. Sadly the aforementioned lack of top babyfaces might mean he doesn’t really have anyone to work with, but it’s an interesting direction to take the character in if nothing else.

If you fancy reading my review of the pay per view you can do so by clicking HERE

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Mike Reviews – NOAH The Best Final Chronicle (06/12/2020)

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I enjoyed the last NOAH show on FITE TV and the Main Event from this one was getting a lot of hype, so let’s give the show a looksee!

I haven’t been a regular watcher of the product for going on 10+ years, but I’m sure the NOAH fans we have on here will be able to pick up on anything I miss. Thankfully there will be some English commentary, so they should be able to update me on the relevant story points.

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Mike Reviews Every WWE Survivor Series Main Event – Part Six (2016 to 2020)

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Well here we are its back to Reviewing Main Events, starting with one of WWE’s traditional “Big Four” pay per view events of the year in the form of Survivor Series.

The original Survivor Series was created in 1987 as a way for WWE to mess with Jim Crockett Promotions, as they were holding Starrcade on the same day. JCP’s plan was to switch their show to a different timeslot so that fans could buy both events, but Vince McMahon then threatened to withhold WrestleMania IV from the pay per view companies if they showed JCP’s show, which led to a lot them refusing to carry Starrcade as a result.

Despite only existing as a way to mess with another company, WWE decided to keep the event going and it’s still around to this day. The early events started out with just Elimination Tag Team bouts, but as the years wore on they started adding normal match types as well, with the show eventually becoming more of a regular pay per view that had a token Survival match here or there.

This week we’ll be closing things off when we cover 2016 to 2020, after which I’ll move on to all of the NWA/WCW Starrcade shows before finally closing the book on the Main Event reviews.

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Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #397 (02/12/2000)

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It’s the go-home show for Massacre on 34th Street today. Thankfully I’ve already reviewed that one before and the review is still somewhat readable, so I’ll post a link for it at the bottom of this review.

Thus far the only match announced is The FBI defending the tag belts against Danny Doring and Roadkill, so let’s see if we get the last minute hard sell on this show.

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Mike Reviews Every WWE Survivor Series Main Event – Part Five (2011 to 2015)

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Well here we are its back to Reviewing Main Events, starting with one of WWE’s traditional “Big Four” pay per view events of the year in the form of Survivor Series.

The original Survivor Series was created in 1987 as a way for WWE to mess with Jim Crockett Promotions, as they were holding Starrcade on the same day. JCP’s plan was to switch their show to a different timeslot so that fans could buy both events, but Vince McMahon then threatened to withhold WrestleMania IV from the pay per view companies if they showed JCP’s show, which led to a lot them refusing to carry Starrcade as a result.

Despite only existing as a way to mess with another company, WWE decided to keep the event going and it’s still around to this day. The early events started out with just Elimination Tag Team bouts, but as the years wore on they started adding normal match types as well, with the show eventually becoming more of a regular pay per view that had a token Survival match here or there.

This week we’ll be looking at the Main Events from 2011 to 2015

I haven’t done one of these for a while, so I’ll make it clear than I class the “Main Event” as the match that went on last. People get annoyed at that definition sometimes, but my opinion is that the match that closes the show is the most important one due to it being the lasting memory of the event, which makes it a Main Event in my book. If you disagree then fair enough, but I’m afraid that that’s how I’m going to do it.

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Mike Reviews – Pro-Wrestling NOAH 20th Anniversary Show (22/11/2020)

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Because why not eh?

I was a big NOAH fan in the 00’s and hoovered up any stuff from the company that I could, even going to see the company live on three occasions when they toured over in the UK at different points.

The death of Mitsuharu Misawa and the retirement of Kenta Kobashi played their part in my interest for the product waning and I haven’t watched a NOAH show for a very long time. However, there was a thread up on the Blog noting that this show was going up on FITE with English commentary, so I decided to throw some coins NOAH’s way for old time’s sake seeing as the card looked like it would be fun.

It’s been so long since I watched the product that I’m going into this one totally blind, but Lawrence Talbot has kindly allowed me to post his previews from the live thread on the Blog. Head over and give him a like for putting the work in for us.

If I enjoy this I might even try and stay up to date with the product going forward. Anyway, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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