Friday 3 March 2017

WCW Souled Out 1998 Review

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Good evening wrestling fans of the internet, I am the Seanomaniac and your host as always, WCW is atop the wrestling world as we head into 1998, their dominance in the ratings was continuing but there were dark clouds ahead, the WWF were building momentum with Stone Cold Steve Austin and were on The Road to Wrestlemania. WCW had The NWO, Sting had won the world championship and Bret Hart was in their possession as the hottest free agent in wrestling. So, here we are at the first pay per view of 1998, Souled Out and there is no Sting or Hogan but we have Lex Luger vs Randy Savage, Bret Hart vs Ric Flair and The Giant vs Kevin Nash. The card is stacked, the roster is deep so was WCW in trouble as we entered 1998? Let’s find out!

Opening Promo

Bischoff is in what appears to be a haunted mansion, Bischoff is talking trash claiming to build an empire. The focus is The Giant vs Kevin Nash, Nash agreed to take part in the match if Giant could not lay a hand on him until the match. Obviously, Nash exploited the stipulation and teased The Giant on more than one occasion but tonight, Nash is at the mercy of The Giant. Odd that there is no focus on the main event, Luger vs Savage or Bret Hart vs Ric Flair.

Juventud Guerrera/Super Calo/Lizmark Jr./Chavo Guerrero vs La Parka/Psychosis/Silver King/El Dandy

Lucha-Libre rules which means this is going to be non-stop action ladies and gentlemen. Calo & Psychosis start, lock-up and Psychosis tries for a powerbomb, Calo nails an arm drag. Lock-up, Psychosis pushes back Calo. Chops by Psychosis, Irish whip but Calo reverses and nails a powerslam. Calo nails a tilt-a-whirl slam but Silver King and Liszmark Jr. are in the ring. Silver King nails a superkick but misses a splash in the corner, Lizmark escapes a bulldog and nails a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Spinning DDT by Silver King, in comes El Dandy & Chavo Guerrero. Monkey flip by Chavo, headscissors but Dandy avoids the dropkick. Dandy drops Chavo with a right hand, Chavo counters with a back drop. Both men fall to the floor, La Parka and Juventud are in the ring.

Parka & Juventud nail Dandy & Chavo with baseball slides, in the ring La Parka catches Juventud but Juventud counters for a spinning heel kick. Ten punches by Juventud, hurricanrana by Juventud. Psychosis cuts off Juventud’s head with a clothesline, in comes Lizmark. Springboard moonsault by Lizmark for two, here comes Dandy. La magistral by Dandy, two count for Dandy. Calo and Dandy brawl, splash by Calo and a nice headscissors for two. In come Silver King, spinning powerbomb and senton by Silver King. Juventud makes the save for Calo, chops by Juventud. Silver King has Juventud on the turnbuckle, Juventud floors Silver King. 450 Splash by Juventud, La Parka makes the save. Sit-out powerbomb by Parka for two, Psychosis and Chavo are in the ring.

Front suplex by Psychosis, guillotine leg drop. Calo saves Chavo, Parka throws Chavo to the floor. Silver King powerslams Calo, Calo is on the floor. Silver King misses a plancha, somersault dive by Calo. Tope suicida by Dandy, Air Juvi by Juventud. Corkscrew moonsault by La Parka, Asai moonsault by Lizmark. Chavo nails Psychosis with an elbow, Psychosis misses a splash. Tornado DDT by Chavo and team techino beats team rudo. La Parka knocks out everyone including his partners and celebrates on his chair.

That was fun, a lot of action. Minimal selling, little psychology in that sense but Mexican Lucha-Libre is a different style and a style that I can appreciate it. The multiple dives was a nice little spot, Juventud looked like the clear favourite so I was a little surprised with Chavo getting the win but this was good entertaining stuff.

Winners: Team Technico over Team Rudos via Tornado DDT!

Raven vs Chris Benoit (Raven’s Rules Match)

Raven is accompanied by his Flock for his match against Chris Benoit. Benoit fought against Saturn at Starrcade as Raven refused to wrestle but Raven would interfere at the end of the match and DDT Benoit which would lead to Saturn’s victory. Raven must wrestle tonight and The Flock is barred from ringside, it looks like Raven is going to get what is coming to him! Raven dropkicks Benoit before Benoit can reach the ring, Benoit hits the guard rail and steel steps hard.

Snapmares by Raven, Benoit counters for a backslide, two for Benoit. Raven slams Benoit’s head into the mat, knee to the ribs by Raven. Benoit counters the second knee for a roll-up, two count for Benoit. Raven is back on Benoit, Benoit is thrown to the floor. Chair to the back by Raven, elbow across the throat by Raven. Snapmare on the chair, Raven sets up the chair. Raven bulldogs Benoit on the chair, cover and a two for Raven. Raven is sent head first into the steel chair as Benoit scores with a drop toehold. Chop by Benoit, make it four. Clothesline by Benoit, Benoit snap suplexes Raven on the chair. Two count for Benoit, Benoit rips the shirt off Raven, huge chop by Benoit. More chops and Raven drops to the floor, baseball slide by Benoit. Raven is flung into the steel steps.

 Benoit snap suplexes Raven with a thud, Benoit kicks Raven down the ramp. Snap suplex on the chair, Benoit stands over Raven for a chair shot but Benoit puts the chair on Raven’s face, stomps on the chair. Benoit nails a Diving Headbutt onto the chair which was on Raven’s face. Benoit covers Raven and we have a two and a half. Raven blocks a northern lights suplex for an Even Flow DDT. Benoit recovers first for a two count, Raven is up on his feet. Raven looks for The Even Flow DDT but Benoit locks in The Crippler Crossface. Raven refuses to rap and grins maniacally while in pain. Benoit wins the match as Raven passes out, Kidman tries saving Raven but here comes Malenko. Malenko and Benoit battle against The Flock.

I liked this match a lot, week after week Raven had attacked Benoit from behind and in numbers while escaping unscathed. This match was all about Benoit finally getting his hands on Raven, that is exactly what happened. Benoit beat the piss out of Raven, got his revenge while looking great in the process. Essentially, that was wrestling 101, building up the heel and the heat and paying it off with the babyface winning in the end.

Winner: Chris Benoit over Raven via Crippler Crossface!

(WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match) Rey Mysterio © vs Chris Jericho

No sign of Eddie Guerrero who was champion at the last pay per view, Mysterio must have defeated Eddie which makes me wonder why they changed the championship after their match at Halloween Havoc if it was going to go back to Mysterio. Anyways, Jericho is a heel now with a bit of a personality while Mysterio’s knee has a brace on it showing that Mysterio is not at 100%.

Lock-up, Jericho is cocky and pays for his mocking as Mysterio chops down Jericho. Forearms by Mysterio, Jericho answers with a shoulder block. Jericho chops Mysterio, Mysterio slides under Jericho to the apron. Slingshot headscissors and Jericho is on the floor, fake 619 by Mysterio. Mysterio poses but not for long as Mysterio clutches his knee in pain. Mysterio grounds Jericho with a drop toehold and a reverse chinlock, Jericho rises up but Mysterio has a victory-roll for two. Hair-pull takedown by Mysterio, Mysterio was looking for a hurricanrana to the floor but Jericho catches Mysterio and hotshots the champion. Double arm underhook backbreaker by Jericho, leaping knee to the face by Jericho.

Jericho kicks the head of Mysterio like trash, DDT by Mysterio. Baseball slide by Mysterio, springboard somersault flip by Mysterio, forearm shots by Mysterio. Mysterio flapjacks Jericho onto the steel steps, Mysterio tries for The West Coast Pop but Jericho crotches Mysterio. Jericho has Mysterio on the apron, Mysterio crotches Jericho on the top rope. Mysterio was looking for a hurricanrana from the top rope but Jericho counters with The Liontamer for the win. Post-match, Jericho attacks Mysterio’s knee and injures Mysterio.

Good match, good psychology with Jericho working the leg of Mysterio and Mysterio clutching the leg at various points throughout the match, I would have liked to seen a little more leg work from Jericho but I guess the finish makes up for it as Jericho’s Liontamer works the legs and Mysterio had to tap-out immediately as the pain was that excruciating. I do not think it was their best encounter, they would have better matches in WWE but still good nonetheless.

Winner: Chris Jericho over Rey Mysterio via Liontamer!

JJ. Dillion & The World Championship

They vacated the title the night after Sting’s big win…. I hate this company on so many levels. It is hard to defend but I can see it from a logic standpoint in terms of Bret Hart not being the official referee for the match so he could not make the decision but this was your Wrestlemania! You are not supposed to strip Sting the night after you bloody morons! Ok rant over, Piper comes down to the ring as he was/is WCW’s interim commissioner. Piper talks and talks before bringing out Sting, Scott Hall & Hulk Hogan. Piper tells us that Sting will face Hogan at Superbrawl for the championship. Poor Scott Hall, Hall does not get his championship opportunity anymore at Superbrawl. Hall walks away in disgust and Hogan leaves with Bischoff. What a lame decision, Sting should be whipping ass as champion.

(WCW Television Championship Match) Booker T © vs Rick Martel

Martel is in phenomenal shape, another ex-WWF star who was snapped up by WCW. Booker T is television champion and this must be the beginning of Booker T’s singles run. Stare-down between the two, some trash-talk and we are underway. Lock-up, Booker pushes back Martel, clean break from Booker. Lock-up, arm wrench from Booker. Martel briefly reverses the hold, Booker is back in control, side headlock and a shoulder block by Booker. Martel takes the arm, hammerlock into a side headlock. O’Connor roll by Martel for two, lock-up and hammerlock by Martel. Booker applies a hammerlock, Martel slides out but Booker nails a clothesline, two count for Booker.

Martel knees his way out of Booker’s hold, suplex by Booker. Martel avoids an elbow but Booker nails a Harlem sidekick for two. Armlock by Booker, Martel pushes back Booker and nails knees in the corner. Middle rope clothesline by Martel but Booker blocks a clothesline for a side shuffle kick for two. Arm drag and more arm work from Booker, Booker nails Martel in the ribs low by accident. Martel lures in Booker and stomps all over Booker. Hard Irish whip by Martel, elbow across the back. Gutwrench suplex, two count for Martel. Reverse chinlock, Booker battles back and unloads on Martel. Martel counters an Irish whip for a spinebuster, two count for Martel. Clubbing blows to the back by Martel.

 Booker nails a sunset flip for two, variation of the camel clutch by Martel. Abdominal stretch by Martel, Booker counters for a hiptoss. Martel is the quicker of the two but Booker fires back with a flying forearm. Booker tees off but Martel dodges a dropkick, Martel is looking for The Quebec Crab. Booker reaches the ropes, Booker nails The Scissors Kick. Sidewalk slam and a Harlem Hangover. 1..2…3!

A good technically sound match, Martel and Booker put on a fundamentally sound wrestling match, nothing too flashy. Simple stuff but it works so well, Martel works the back over and over leading to the crab, Booker is too strong and fights out, delivers The Scissors Kick and nails his Harlem Hangover after a long, hard-fought battle. Martel could still go and seemed like a good hand to have even this late into this career.

Winner: Booker T over Rick Martel via Harlem Hangover!

Scott Hall W/ Louie Spicolli vs Larry Zbyszko W/ Dusty Rhodes

The Living Legend battles Scott Hall in a match that was official since Zbyszko beat Bischoff at Starrcade. Hall and Zbyszko had been at one another’s throats for months, Hall had provoked and assaulted Zbyszko. Hall throws his toothpick, Zbyszko takes down Hall with a double leg. Firemen’s carry by Zbyszko, lock-up and shoulder thrusts by Hall. Zbyszko grabs the arm and works Hall’s arm. Hall has to go to the ropes, Zbyszko slaps Hall in the face. Hall shoves Zbyszko, abdominal stretch by Zbyszko but Hall shakes off Zbyszko with a hiptoss. Zbyszko catches Hall for another abdominal stretch, Hall hiptosses Zbyszko. Waistlock takedown by Zbyszko, Hall drops Zbyszko with a right hand. Spicolli decks Zbyszko behind the referee’s back.

Dusty scares Spicolli, Hall continues punching and kicking Zbyszko. Corner clothesline, slaps to the head by Hall. Zbyszko rams Hall into the top turnbuckle but Hall beats down Zbyszko. Hall continues to beat down Zbyszko, stomps to the head by Hall. Fallaway slam by Hall, Hall looks for The Outsider’s Edge, Zbyszko back drops Hall. Hall is shoved into the corner, rights and lefts by Zbyszko. Clothesline by Hall decks Zbyszko, Zbyszko fights back in the corner. Zbyszko nails the referee in the back by accident, Hall has Zbyszko pinned but the referee is down.

Zbyszko plays possum and catches Hall for a guillotine hold in the ring, Spicolli is in the ring and Dusty takes down Spicolli. Dusty nails Zbyszko with a Bionic Elbow but Dusty reveals a NWO shirt, more elbows to Zbyszko and the match is thrown out.

Dusty Rhodes in The NWO? Scott Hall needing Dusty Rhodes as a mouthpiece? What is this crap? Why would they need Dusty? What benefits are there to this? I honestly have no idea what to think of any of this, I mean why? Just why? I do not even think there will be a pay-off to any of this. God damn you WCW.

No Contest!

Vicious & Delicious/Konnan W/ Vincent vs The Steiner Brothers/ Ray Traylor W/ Ted Dibiase

In a way, this was the match we should have gotten at Starrcade but all is good as we get it tonight. Rick and Scott are having problems, Scott usually starts the matches but Rick wants to start tonight as Scott has been acting strange lately. Rick and Buff start, Buff mocks Rick and nails an arm drag, lock-up and Buff knocks down Rick for a second time. Powerslam by Rick, Konnan and Norton are knocked on their asses. Tag to Traylor, right hands and a splash by Traylor. Scoop slam and tag to Rick, snapmare and reverse chinlock. Cover and a two for Rick, tag to Traylor.

 Buff rakes the eyes and tags Norton, Norton clubs Traylor. Traylor dodges a splash, right hands by Traylor. Clothesline to Buff, Konnan decks Traylor and Norton is in control. Konnan puts the boots to Traylor, tag to Buff. Dropkick by Buff, tag to Norton. Double knockdown in the ring, tag to Rick. Rick back drops Buff, Konnan and Norton. Vincent nails Rick from behind, DDT by Konnan. Tag to Buff, kicks and punches to Rick. Tag to Norton, backbreaker by Norton. Tag to Buff, reverse chinlock by Buff. Scott and Traylor are having an argument. Double back elbow by Konnan and Buff, rolling clothesline by Konnan. Heel hook by Konnan, Buff reaches out to help with the pressure. Indian deathlock by Konnan.

Scott enters and roughs up Konnan, Norton is legal. Corner splash and reverse chinlock by Norton, tag to Buff. Tag to Konnan, dropkick and clothesline by Konnan & Buff. Konnan misses a splash and Rick clotheslines Buff. We have a double tag, Scott suplexes Norton over and over, Dibiase levels Vincent. Scott gets the tag off Traylor, Steiner Screwdriver on Konnan and Team WCW win this match.

Match was average, nothing was going on of interest inside of that ring. All story for me in this match, Scott Steiner could be joining The NWO as Scott’s arrogance grows with each match and each day. Yeah, the match was utterly forgettable, I am only here for the teasing of a heel turn for Scott Steiner.

Winners: Team WCW over Team NWO via Steiner Screwdriver!

Kevin Nash W/Hogan/Bischoff vs The Giant

Lock-up, Nash grabs the hair of Giant, Nash has a side headlock but Giant nails a back suplex. Giant scores with a massive elbow, Giant uses his backside to back into Nash. Foot choke by Giant, Nash powders and regroups with Hogan and Bischoff. Lock-up and knees by Nash, right hands by Nash. Irish whip and corner clothesline, Giant nails his own corner clothesline and a big boot. Foot choke by Giant, Nash leapfrogs Giant and nails a bog boot. Nash clotheslines Giant to the floor, Nash tries a plancha and Giant catches Giant and rams him into the ringpost. Hogan whacks Giant with a steel chair while Bischoff distracts the referee.

Nash drops his leg across Giant’s back three times, elbow to the head by Nash. Giant decks Nash with a clothesline, they big boot one another. Nash crawls for the cover, two count for Nash. Nash knees and elbows Giant, Giant fires up with clotheslines. Big boot, scoop slam and Giant calls for The Chokeslam. Giant has Bischoff, Chokeslam to Bischoff. Nash is handed a flask by Hogan, hot coffee to the face and a low blow. Nash drops Giant with a Jacknife Powerbomb on Giant’s neck

That finish was a tough watch, all that weight coming down on your neck, I am surprised that Giant was not paralysed by that move. I have a soft spot for big man matches, they may be slow for some and hard to watch but to me, there is always something interesting about two titans clashing like Godzilla and King Kong. Anyways, this was slow and dull in parts, but to see Giant being manhandled and the powerbomb was awesome. It was not great but that powerbomb will always be memorable.

Winner: Kevin Nash over The Giant via Jacknife Powerbomb!

Bret Hart vs Ric Flair

The best in the world vs the best there is, the best there was and the best there will ever be, Bret Hart was the hottest he had ever been after The Montreal Screwjob. Bret comes into WCW and has a less than memorable debut at Starrcade as WCW blows their load poking fun out The Montreal Screwjob. However, all was not lost! WCW moved Bret into a feud with Flair in a battle between two of the very best in WCW and in wrestling.

Lock-up, side headlock by Hart. Flair shoots off Hart, shoulder block and a scoop slam by Hart. Side headlock, Flair backs Hart into the corner. Clean break from Flair, lock-up and side headlock from Flair. Shoulder block by Flair, drop toehold from Hart and Hart applies a figure four to Flair. Flair reaches the ropes, Flair is out on the apron. Hart headbutts Flair and delivers a suplex for two. Reverse chinlock by Hart, side headlock and Flair counters for a top wristlock. Hart controls the hold and Flair reaches the ropes. Flair shoves Hart and Hart slaps down Flair, Flair backs away and powders from The Hitman. Lock-up and a knee from Flair, Hart reverses an Irish whip and nails a back drop, scoop slam and a side headlock.

Flair pokes the eye of Hart, right hands by Flair. Sleeper by Hart, Flair counters for back suplex. Flair asks the referee to check the time, Flair low blows Hart in a nice spot. Knee drop by Flair, cover and a two count. Reverse chinlock by Flair, chops and a hard Irish whip by Flair. Hart battles back against Flair, Flair goes low with a gut shot, Hart counters an Irish whip for a neckbreaker. Bulldog by Hart for two, Hart goes for the leg of Flair. Hart was looking for a ringpost figure four but Flair shoves off Hart into the guard rail. Two count for Flair in the ring, shin breaker by Flair. Two shin breakers by Flair but Hart blocks the third with an enzuigiri. Hart counters a Figure Four for a small package, two count for Hart and Flair nails a chop block.

Figure Four, Hart reverses the hold and tosses Flair off the top rope. Flair sends Hart chest first into the turnbuckle, Hart answers with a side Russian legsweep. Flair chops Hart in the corner, Hart pulls down the straps and dares Flair to bring it. Flair begs for mercy, right hands by Hart. Flair tries for an inverted atomic drop, Hart blocks and nails a headbutt. Backbreaker for two, middle rope elbow by Hart for two. Superplex by Hart, Sharpshooter by Hart. Flair is in the middle of the ring and Flair gives up in the middle of the ring.

Great match, love the story of two men who thought they were the best. Flair tries to go toe to toe with Bret in the beginning, as Bret continues to dominate, Flair goes to his bag of tricks, low blows, cheap shots and anything he can do to keep down The Hitman. Flair thinks Hart is on the verge of defeat, chops Hart and Flair is in utter shock as Hart asks for more, Flair could not believe it. Hart rallies, fights through the pain and overcomes Flair with his Sharpshooter forcing Flair to give up and admit that Hart is the better man of the two. Great psychology, great match.

Winner: Bret Hart over Ric Flair via Sharpshooter!

Lex Luger vs Macho Man Randy Savage W/ Miss Elizabeth

Scott Norton cost Lex Luger his match against Buff Bagwell at Starrcade but Scott Norton vs Lex Luger is not a believable main event so we have Savage vs Luger which makes sense only for the fact that Savage tried to run in and help Buff Bagwell. Savage ducks and stays away from Luger until Elizabeth attacks Luger from behind, double axe handle and clothesline by Savage for two. Back suplex by Savage for two, Luger is rammed into the turnbuckle, back elbow for a two count. Elizabeth chokes Luger as Savage distracts the referee. Left jabs by Savage, Luger counters a clothesline in the corner. Right hands by Luger, Elizabeth grabs Luger’s leg and Savage takes control.

Double axe handle by Savage, Elizabeth slaps Luger. Luger and Savage brawl in the crowd, Luger presses Savage into the ringside area. Clotheslines by Luger, flying forearm by Luger. Here comes Scott Hall and Hulk Hogan, powerslam by Luger. Hogan and Hall are having words at ringside, Luger racks Savage in the chaos. In comes Hogan to attack Luger, here are all of The NWO. Here come Sting, Sting murders everyone. Luger racks Nash and Sting Scorpion Deathlocks Hogan.

Well, that was short. The best I could have hoped for really, Luger and main events do not fit well with one another. More NWO dissension which is interesting to watch the group split, the vibe you get from this pay per view is Hall & Savage will go one way and Hogan & Nash will go the other. Anyways, that was a lousy main event and lousy way to end the show but it was much better than watching a fifteen minute Luger match.

Winner: Lex Luger over Randy Savage via Torture Rack!

WCW’s Souled Out of 1998 is definitely one of the better WCW pay per views. There were a lot of matches I was happy with on this card, I think to be fair, anything that was not The NWO was very good. Hart vs Flair was great, Benoit vs Raven was great, Booker vs Martel, The Lucha-Libre eight -man and the cruiserweight championship match were all good to great. The six-man tag was uneventful, all I cared for was Scott Steiner’s character development, Dusty Rhodes in The NWO is bizarre and that main event, if you could call it a main event was rushed, lazy and nothing different from a Nitro. Aside from The NWO stuff, a card that I like a lot. Thanks for reading and remember: There’s always another night!

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