Sunday 22 January 2017

WCW Spring Stampede 1997 Review

Welcome one and all to an always enthralling edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews! I am back in WCW for Spring Stampede 1997 which marks the first pay per view match between DDP and The Macho Man Randy Savage. These two are in fact going to be wrestling in the main event, there is no Hogan on this pay per view. We also have a four-corner match, Kevin Nash vs Rick Steiner and much, much more. WCW was ahead in the ratings, business was booming but were the pay per views living up to the hype? There is only one way to find out so let’s rock!

Opening Promo

We have a voice-over which describes all the matches on tonight’s card with Western music playing in the background. I have to say, I do like the theme and vibe of this pay per view, it is as cheesy as its get but I do love this pay per view. Schiavone, Heenan and Dusty Rhodes run down the card while also informing us that Scott Hall has been MIA for the past three weeks.

Ultimo Dragon vs Rey Mysterio

No Sonny Onoo in the corner of Dragon, Mysterio is making his way back to the cruiserweight division after his series of matches with Prince Iaukea for the television championship. Mike Tenay joins the action to call all the moves for us viewers at home, I always consider this a nice touch. Third match between these two on pay per view, this is the rubber match.

They start out slow with some mat wrestling before Dragon scoop slams Mysterio. Mysterio trips up Dragon, crossface by Mysterio. Camel clutch and Dragon slips out of the hold, pin and a two for Dragon. Dragon kicks the bejesus out of Mysterio, dropkick by Dragon. Cross armbreaker by Dragon, Argentine backbreaker by Dragon. Powerbomb and hotshot by Dragon, Dragon slaps on a sleeper. Mysterio rallies but Dragon shuts off the lights with a back elbow. Running Liger Bomb by Dragon, tombstone piledriver by Dragon and Dragon picks up Mysterio instead of gaining the victory. Another sleeper by Dragon, spinning wheel kick by Mysterio.

Dragon maintains control with a clothesline, stiff kick to the spine. Front suplex and a Muta Lock by Dragon, romero special by Dragon. On the floor, Mysterio hurls Dragon into a guard rail, Mysterio runs into another sleeper though. Mysterio turns the tide and applies a sleeper, dropkick to the floor by Mysterio. Somersault plancha and a West Coast Pop by Mysterio. At this momemt, this match is interrupted by an interview with Syxx where you can hear nothing, kills the flow of the match for me.

Dragon dropkicks Mysterio to the floor after Mysterio took too long on the top rope, slingshot plancha by Dragon. Dragon lays in some forearms, Mysterio survives a suplex by slipping out the back. Mysterio tries for a springboard moonsault, Dragon dropkicks Mysterio in mid-air. Giant swing by Dragon, both men are down. Mysterio nails a beautiful frankensteiner for two, Dragon nails a massive enzuigiri. Two count for Dragon, top rope frankensteiner by Dragon. Mysterio puts his foot on the ropes to survive, Mysterio blocks the tiger suplex. Mysterio dodges a spinning heel kick, springboard frankensteiner by Mysterio and Mysterio gets the win!

Good match, the interview really messed up the flow of the match for me, it was so unnecessary and added nothing, Mysterio nails every high-risk manoeuvre to perfection. Dragon is no slouch and both men put on a very entertaining match. Would be higher in my book if not for the mid-match interview.

Winner: Mysterio over Dragon via springboard hurricanrana!

Scott Steiner and Mace

Mace is not kind to Scott Steiner, Scott wants a piece of Nash and Nash just wants to make an announcement. Scott fights security and pays for it with mace in the face.

(WCW Women’s Championship Match) Akira Hokuto © W/ Sonny Onoo vs Madusa

It has been awhile since we have seen a women’s match on WCW pay per view but fear not as the excellent Akira Hokuto is here. Hokuto hair whips Madusa hard twice, Madusa fights back on her knees as Hokuto misses a corner clothesline. Snapmare by Madusa, Hokuto chops back and nails a clothesline. Choke by Hokuto, Hokuto chokes Madusa from behind in the corner. Two handed throat toss by Hokuto, Madusa is being manhandled. Scoop slam by Hokuto, Madusa bridges out and nails three neckbreakers. Cover and a two for the challenger. Madusa nails her handstand frankensteiner. Hokuto bites the leg of Madusa to weaken the challenger.

Onoo slaps the head of Madusa, Hokuto continues biting the leg of Madusa. Onoo attacks Madusa behind the referee’s back, Madusa kicks off Onoo. Madusa reverses a Samoan drop for a crucifix pin, two count for Madusa. Two dropkicks and a German suplex. Close two for Madusa, kick to the head of Onoo. Madusa has Hokuto for a powerbomb but Luna Vachon runs down to the ring and kicks the leg of Madusa which leads to Hokuto stealing the win.

Quick match, Madusa’s punches are dogshite. Onoo has better punches than her, finish was a kick to the back of the knee. A little lame and low on the devastating side of things, I would have preferred some sort of weapon shot. It was ok, nothing more and nothing less.

Winner: Hokuto over Madusa via Shenanigans!

(WCW Television Championship Match) Prince Iaukea © vs William Regal

Iaukea was a hot rookie who won the championship from Regal, Regal was building towards this rematch and here we are at Spring Stampede. Regal talks to the crowd for the first minute or two, lock-up and Regal pokes a thumb in the eye, Iaukea strikes back with a fist. Regal powders and continues his war of words with the fans. Lock-up, shoulder block by Iaukea. Side headlock by Iaukea, Regal escapes to wrench the arm. Iaukea reverses the hold, side headlock, elbow across Regal’s back. Another side headlock, Regal breaks the hold and begins stomping Iaukea.

MORE HEADLOCKS, Iaukea is sent to the floor, Iaukea comes back with a springboard crossbody. Regal tells the referee that Iaukea is using closed fists, test of strength and Regal loses the battle as Iaukea drops Regal until Regal kips-up and pokes the eyes. Regal claims it was a palm slap, strong left and knees by Regal. Iaukea botches a sunset flip on the first attempt, Regal uppercuts the shit out of the champion. Iaukea comes back with two-handed chaps, Regal begs off in the corner.

Another lock-up, knees to the face by Regal. Regal dodges a crossbody and starts smashing Iaukea with lefts. Iaukea reverses an Irish whip for a back body drop, chops and a headbutt. Iaukea backs Regal into the corner, Regal puts the brakes on and shoots for the schoolboy. However, Iaukea sees it coming and reverses for the win. Regal attacks after the bell and applies The Regal Stretch twice and a championship to the back of the head for good measure.

It was different from any match I had seen in WCW but Regal was always different. Regal works a style that earns him many plaudits, this was not one of the performances. It was slow, came off as a dull and never really found any sort of pace. There were lock-ups galore in this match and it led to a very anti-climatic ending. Not a big fan sorry!

Winner: Iaukea over Regal via inside cradle!

Mean Gene Interview

Mean Gene plugs the hotline and interviews Ric Flair (This should be entertaining). Flair struts and Woos while striking The Four Horseman pose. Flair is back May 1st and speaks of The Four Horseman as being a collective unit once again. Mean Gene asks about Flair and Piper, Flair talks about Kevin Greene coming to WCW to wrestle (Greene was a linebacker at the time). Flair talks about Hulk Hogan and how Flair wants to kick Hogan’s ass. No such thing as a bad Flair promo, they are always entertaining.

The Public Enemy vs Jeff Jarrett & Mongo W/ Debra McMichael

Last time, we saw Jarrett defeat Mongo thanks to Debra’s help, I do not know how we got here with everyone being friends and such but I am sure there is a logical explanation for all of it. Rocco Rock piefaces Mongo, Mongo shoves Rocco Rock. Side headlock by Rocco Rock, Mongo shoves off Rocco Rock and taunts. Rocco Rock frustrates Mongo, shots to the face and a choke by Rocco Rock. Mongo misses a corner clothesline, Mongo starts chop blocking everything in sight, strut by Jarrett and Mongo.

Grunge and Jarrett are in, right hand by Jarrett. Jarrett slams Grunge into the mat, abdominal stretch by Jarrett and Mongo gives a helping hand. Grunge scores with a hiptoss, shoulder block and a right hand to the face of Jarrett. Grunge atomic drops Jarrett into Mongo, Jarrett powders. Lock-up and a tag to Mongo, double back elbow by The Horseman. Reverse chinlock by Mongo, right hands by Mongo. Sidewalk slam and shot to Grunge, cover by Mongo with the referee distracted. Shots to the lower back by Mongo on Rocco Rock, tilt-a-whirl slam by Mongo. Jarrett and Grunge are killing one another on the floor.

Jarrett is sent into the guard rail, Mongo and Rocco Rock are brawling towards the entrance way. Debra is in Grunge’s face while Mongo and Rocco Rock brawl at the top of the stage. Jarrett is laid out on the table, Grunge is climbing to the top rope, Grunge misses a top rope elbow as Jarrett dodges. Jarrett nails a crossbody on Grunge, Rocco Rock makes the save. Match has broken down, Mongo nails Grunge with a scoop slam. Mongo battles both members of Public Enemy, double clothesline to Mongo who falls to the floor. Jarrett dropkicks Grunge and Rocco Rock, Mongo clotheslines Grunge.

Jarrett has The Figure Four on Grunge, Mongo is with the referee while Rocco Rock whacks Jarrett with the briefcase. Awful stuff, I do love Mongo but the man is a carwreck in the ring, everything is a botch or miss-timed. The transition to wrestler was not a smooth one for Mongo, Public Enemy were not much better. Their ECW style did not match the WCW product. Hence, most matches had to have a pointless table spot that would not even play into the finish. Last two matches have dragged down this pay per view, I need something to lift me up.

Winners: Public Enemy over The Four Horseman via Briefcase Shot!

Harlem Heat Promo

Sherri says that Harlem Heat have a plan that one of her men will go on to face Hulk Hogan for the world championship. About five seconds in, I realize that this is the infamous “We Comin for You Nigga” promo and it is glorious. The look on Booker’s face as he realizes what he said, Sherri smiles as Booker tries to keep a straight face.

(WCW United States Championship Match) Chris Benoit W/ Woman vs Dean Malenko ©

A contest between two best friends who are great rivals, intense lock-up with Malenko pressing back Benoit. Lock-up and Malenko clean breaks. Side headlocks by both men, countered with headscissors. Benoit sidesteps Malenko, face-off with Malenko shooting for the leg. Benoit crawls around to grab the leg of Malenko, Benoit shoulder blocks Malenko out of the ring. Benoit and Malenko wrench one another’s arms, Malenko emerges on top.

Benoit wriggles free for a wristlock, Malenko counters with a scoop slam. Test of strength with Malenko dominating Benoit. Malenko cannot get Benoit to buckle, Benoit has the arm of Malenko, transition to a Fujiwara armbar. Snapmare and submission by Benoit, Malenko wriggles free and scores with a back suplex. Small package by Malenko gets a two count, chop by Benoit. Malenko clubs Benoit and rebounds with a nasty forearm and stomps Benoit in the corner. Malenko takes the leg and applies an STF before transitioning into a camel clutch. Hiptoss by Malenko into a short arm scissors.

Benoit rolls through and slams Malenko to the canvas. Back suplex by Benoit, cover and it is two for Benoit. Right hands by Benoit, abdominal stretch by The Canadian Crippler. Camera misses Malenko reverse Benoit. Benoit is up first, stomps to the back of the head by Benoit. Neckbreaker by Benoit and Malenko gets his feet on the ropes. Snap suplex by Benoit, hard chops in the corner. Malenko begins fighting back, corner clothesline. Benoit slides out of a suplex for his own reverse suplex. Jacqueline has appeared on the rampway, Jacqueline and Woman are fighting on the floor. Jimmy Hart is out here too.

Benoit nails a Diving Headbutt, two count for Benoit. Eddie Guerrero corners Jimmy Hart who tried to steal the championship. Malenko suplexes Benoit to the floor, Jacqueline is destroying Woman. Benoit and Malenko are killing one another, here comes Arn Anderson and here comes Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan cracks Benoit with a kendo stick and Sullivan has brought this match to an end. Guerrero is taken by The Dungeon of Doom.

What a bunch of crap that was, the match between Malenko and Benoit was technically good but not the most interesting battle. Anyways, 5 people come out and interrupt the match with so many storylines going on at the one time. The Dungeon of Doom are still somehow a thing, Anderson is in The Horseman but not trusting Benoit even though Flair said trust Benoit and the others. Guerrero was trying to do the right thing and Sullivan forces the belt on Eddie Guerrero. Too much, you are overloading me! Overall, an average match ruined by too much shenanigans.

No Contest!

(WCW Tag Team Championship Match) Kevin Nash © W/ Syxx & Ted Dibiase vs Rick Steiner

There is no Scott Hall or Scott Steiner, it is a one on one match for the tag team championships between Nash and Rick. Nash nails a corner clothesline and knees in the corner, nasty forearm shot from Nash. Elbows in the corner by Nash, Rick blocks a corner clothesline and nails his own clothesline. Belly to belly suplex, Nash is in the ropes. Powerslam by Rick, Nash powers out at two. Slugfest between the two, Rick runs towards the ropes and Syxx lowbridges Rick. NWO referee Nick Patrick ignores the blatant interference, Nash steps outside to throw Rick in the ring. Sidewalk slam by Nash, cover and a two for Nash.

Dibiase cheap shots Rick on the rope, leg across the back by Nash. Big boot by Nash and a Jacknife Powerbomb. Rick Steiner kicks out of the Nash’s finish. Elbow across the neck, Rick low blows Nash right in front of the referee and The NWO referee is not disqualifying Rick Steiner? Why? Top rope bulldog by Rick, Nash is laid out and Patrick counts two when Nash did not kick out of the pin. Clotheslines by Rick, Syxx nails a kick from the apron and Nash capitalizes with a clothesline. Syxx exposes the top turnbuckle and Nash tees off on Rick. Nash drops Rick on the exposed turnbuckle with snake eyes and Nash does it again. Ted Dibiase has seen enough, Nash says I am not done yet and Rick is smashed on the exposed turnbuckle. Dibiase is not happy with Syxx and Nash, Dibiase is walking out on The NWO. Rick is dropped on the exposed turnbuckle at least five times and Nash finishes Rick with a Jacknife Powerbomb.

That was a brutal beatdown, not much of a match but more of a dissension angle for The NWO. Steiners seems to be getting the short end of the stick when it comes to The NWO feud. However, everyone looks second-rate compared to The NWO. It is not a good business model and there will be consequences!

Winner: Nash over Rick Steiner via Annihilation!

(Four Corners Match) Booker T vs Stevie Ray vs The Giant vs Lex Luger

Winners has an opportunity to challenge Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship. Luger and Booker start, lock-up and Luger nails a clothesline. Military press slam by Luger, lock-up and Booker clubs Luger. Irish whip into the corner but Luger explodes out of the corner, Booker pokes the eyes and tags in Stevie Ray. Stevie gets smashed by Luger and Giant, Luger tags The Giant. Giant and Stevie Ray face-off. Stevie Ray goes after Giant, clubbing blows and chokes, Giant is too strong though and nails a corner clothesline. Clothesline and Stevie Ray powders, military press slam on Booker T.

Booker and Stevie Ray have words, Stevie Ray tags in Luger and it looks like the best friends Luger and Giant are going to have to duke it out. Lock-up with Giant pushing back Luger, Luger tries slamming Giant and Giant collapses on Luger. Luger and Giant tag in Stevie Ray and Booker T, the fans seem to really want Booker T vs Stevie Ray. Stevie Ray and Booker T are shoving one another, it looks like they are going to get it on in this match. Booker takes the arm, Stevie reverses before Booker grabs a side headlock. Just before they clash, they pose and Booker tags Luger.

Stevie Ray and Luger, kick by Luger. Forearm shots by Luger, Ray meets the turnbuckles, Ray blocks and kicks away Luger. Tag to Booker, knees to the ribs by Booker. Sidewalk slam by Booker, Luger dodges the fist drop and in comes Giant. Headbutt by Giant on Booker, clothesline and a chest slap. Scoop slam by Giant, Booker dodges the elbow. Tag to Ray, Harlem Heat club The Giant. Axe Kick by Ray, Harlem Sidekick by Booker T and Giant is still not down. Harlem Heat chop block The Giant until Ray misses a leg drop. Giant is up, big boot by Giant and a tag to Luger. Slam and an elbow to Stevie Ray, Booker saves Ray from being pinned. Ray drags Luger into a middle turnbuckle.

Booker misses a corner clothesline, Luger motions for The Rack. Ray saves Booker with an assault on Luger. Snapmare and a knee drop by Booker, cover and a two count. Reverse chinlock by Booker, Luger fights out but eats a Harlem Sidekick. Tag to Stevie Ray, mugging by Harlem Heat. Clothesline by Ray and a sleeper hold. Back suplex by Luger, Stevie Ray tags Booker T. Booker clubs The Giant and grounds Luger. Scissors Kick by Booker T, Giant saves Luger. Booker is on the top rope, Luger dodges Booker’s splash. Luger tags in Giant, powerslam on Stevie Ray, Giant sidekicks Booker out of the ring. Giant is calling for The Chokeslam but Giant tags Luger. Luger applies The Torture Rack and Giant’s friend gets the championship match against Hogan.

Alright match, Luger gets great reactions but once that bell rings, Luger’s pop goes to shit. Interesting move with Giant and Luger continuing to be best friends and Giant forfeiting his shot at winning essentially to allow Luger to have his championship match with Hogan. The action in the ring was average at best but the story was fun.

Winner: Luger over Everyone Else via Torture Rack!

(No Disqualification Match) DDP W/ Kimberley Page vs Macho Man Randy Savage W/ Miss Elizabeth

Michael Buffer had said it best: The biggest night in DDP’s life. DDP has scratched and clawed his way into relevance in WCW. One of the few stars that WCW would make during this time, DDP had went from opening matches to a main event, DDP had turned down The NWO and forced everyone into seeing DDP as a threat. However, one man did not take DDP too seriously.

Enter The Macho Man who had joined The NWO and wasted no time in telling DDP that he was trash, DDP pushed and pushed for a match but Savage would not budge until Savage crossed a line with DDP. Savage brought up DDP’s wife Kimberley and her Playboy past which led to Kimberley being spray painted by The NWO and DDP vowing to destroy Savage. So, here we are as these two prepare to battle, Savage to prove he is superior while DDP is fighting for his wife’s honour.

Savage steps in the ring and DDP chases Savage out, DDP and Savage begin brawling in the aisle way. DDP pounds Savage into the guard rail and ring apron. Savage tries running but DDP is all over Savage, knee to the ribs and an inverted atomic drop by DDP. DDP looks for The Diamond Cutter but Savage holds onto the ropes, hotshot by Savage. Savage smashes DDP and we are in the crowd, Savage hurls DDP into a trash can. Savage has the trash can, DDP avoids being hit Savage with the can. DDP and Savage brawl into a sea of people, DDP chokes Savage with a cable. Savage hides behind Kimberley (Great Stuff Savage). Elizabeth attacks DDP and Savage takes control, Savage drops an elbow across DDP’s back. DDP is hurled into the steel steps. The focus for Savage is DDP’s ribs.

Again, DDP is flung into the steel steps, Savage slaps DDP before rolling DDP into the ring. Savage uses the ropes during the pin but DDP kicks out. Savage grabs a chair from ringside, wham across the back. The referee takes the chair despite the no disqualification rule. Savage asks for another chair and slaps David Penzer. DDP has the chair though, Savage catches the chair and DDP pushes the chair into Savage’s face. Savage begins working the ribs and the face of DDP, DDP turns the tide and smacks around Savage. Irish whip but Savage ducks and wipes out DDP with a clothesline. Savage grinds DDP’s face across the top rope, Savage taunts DDP by catching his leg but DDP recovers to nail a discuss clothesline. Both men are down, Kimberley is rallying the crowd.

Savage is up, scoop slam and right hands by Macho Man. Another scoop slam, Savage attacks Penzer so more before grabbing a ringbell. Savage is on the top rope with the ringbell, Kimberley steals the ringbell. DDP blocks the elbow from Savage, Savage blocks The Diamond Cutter for a backslide, DDP will not fall so Savage nails a low blow. Cover and a two count for Savage, Savage slaps the referee and piledrivers the referee. Savage steals the belt of the referee Mark Curtis. Savage signals for The Elbow Drop, Savage scores with The Elbow Drop. Here comes Nick Patrick, The NWO referee. Savage looks for a scoop slam and DDP slips out and nails The Diamond Cutter.

DDP covers and Nick Patrick makes the count. Kevin Nash grabs Patrick by the throat, here comes the ranks of The NWO. Nash destroys Nick Patrick with a Jacknife Powerbomb. Savage has his hands on Kimberley, Bischoff steps in to stop Savage from hitting Kimberley. Savage shoves Bischoff, Bischoff shoves Savage and Savage decks Bischoff, The NWO are in disarray and we cut to the announcers talking over the main event and Luger facing Hulk Hogan.

Damn you WCW! Damn you for getting me invested in this angle/match and having it mean nothing as the focus shifted to the god damn NWO. Ok, I loved the beginning of this match, it was perfect because DDP wanted to kill Savage and that’s what happened, it started on the floor and they began murdering one another in the crowd.

Savage was such an asshole heel in this match, Savage hid behind Kimberley, used her as a shield to gain control. Savage used weapons, put feet on the ropes during pins, used low blows. The only thing he did not do was feign an injury, it was great.

DDP’s victory was huge, I suspect the feud to continue which is a little weird considering this was a no DQ match which could be a blow-off match stipulation and the babyface went over clean in the first match. However, the saddest part is that DDP’s big moment is overshadowed by NWO in-fighting which is frustrating as DDP’s victory becomes second-rate in comparison with the big story which is oh look, The NWO are having problems.

Overall, I am really impressed with DDP’s rise in WCW. DDP was great in this match. His intensity, his expressions were great, you felt like DDP wanted to kill Savage and was fighting for pride. The angle was executed really well and it is a shame about the finish because this was big news, DDP had beaten a star the calibre of Randy Savage. It does not get much better than that but sadly, DDP’s moment was cut short due to focus on The NWO.

Winner: DDP over Randy Savage via Diamond Cutter!

WCW’s 1997 Spring Stampede is not worth your time, it is disappointing from the second that first match ends, you have some fun wrestling with Benoit and Malenko but the finish is garbage. The other matches on the show were just there, nothing of importance. The main event bugs me, I liked the story and I liked the early goings of the match but it collapses at the end. The whole NWO dissension thing overshadows a good moment for DDP and makes you forget about WCW as it is all about The NWO. It is like when The Mcmahons are in a storyline: they are never secondary characters, they are always at the front of everyone storyline that they are in. 

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