Flashback: WCW UnCensored 1998
The tide is beginning to turn on the Monday Night Wars, but WCW still is producing good pay per view numbers and there is still interest in the bouts presented. The following month we finally had the conclusion to the Sting vs. Hogan feud with Sting finally prevailing as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and his feud with the New World Order continues on. This is the fourth installment of UnCensored which had the premise of there being no rules and anything goes throughout the night.
UnCensored took place on March 15th from Mobile, Alabama. An in-depth review of the show can be found HERE.
1.) WCW Television Champion Booker T defeated Eddie Guerrero to retain the title
2.) Juventud Guerrera defeated Konnan
3.) WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho defeated Dean Malenko to retain the title
4.) Lex Luger defeated Scott Steiner
5.) WCW United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page defeated Raven and Chris Benoit to retain the title
6.) The Giant defeated Kevin Nash by disqualification
7.) Bret Hart defeated Curt Hennig
8.) WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting defeated Scott Hall to retain the title
9.) Hulk Hogan fought Randy Savage to a no contest in a steel cage match
There wasn’t much substance to the feud between Guerrero and Booker to warrant a match and it was clear on commentary that the main focus here was the Eddie vs. Chavo feud, which would carry on for several months afterward. It’s a decent match that came to an end when Booker was able to hit a missile dropkick.
Konnan playing a bully to the other Mexican Cruiserweights was an enjoyable time period for his career and character. Konnan has always worked better with smaller workers and Guerrera did well with his bumping to really make Konnan look like a fierce competitor. Konnan planted Juventud with a cradle DDT but went for a lazy cover and Guerrera stole a victory. I’d imagine that Guerrera was getting a push since he lost his mask last month at Superbrawl.
While the Jericho/Malenko match had some slow moments in it, there was no question that it was a good match and it’s the beginning of the feud between the two that would carry on for roughly four more months. The feud would end up being one of the most memorable in WCW during this era and a highlight of Malenko’s career. The crowd emotion was noticeable when Malenko lost and the promo with Gene added suspense to where Malenko would be going next in his career while Jericho remained a top heel act in the company.
So, Scott Steiner turns heel last month at Superbrawl and you’d think he’d be in line for a big push after years of fans believing he should be a singles star. Yeah, Rick Steiner provides a distraction and helps Luger win the match with a forearm shot, but still. At this point, Luger should be a big name who can elevate someone else. I didn’t like the booking here.
The three way match between Raven, DDP and Chris Benoit was the match I was most looking forward to when I first watched the show. The feud had gotten some decent time on TV and all three had issues with one another making for the three way to make sense. Not so shockingly, the match featured several and high spots that popped the crowd. I remember wishing that Raven won the strap here, but luckily the feud would break off into a DDP/Raven singles feud. DDP retaining makes sense as he had just won the strap in December and hadn’t gone through many challengers at all. The match was probably far more memorable when it happened compared to watching it over a decade later, but that’s just natural.
Okay, the Giant/Kevin Nash feud had been dragged out since late ’97 and didn’t happen at Starrcade because Nash thought he was having a heart attack, seemingly to avoid doing the job. Souled Out Nash drops Giant dangerously on his neck with a botched powerbomb. You’d think that at some point Giant would get his revenge and destroy Nash. Of course, that’s just too logical and doesn’t happen. Giant won here but by disqualification so nothing is really resolved. It’s a horribly boring match, by the way.
It’s certainly not 1991 nor is it 1993, so the Bret Hart vs. Curt Hennig match wasn’t a welcomed blast from the past. Hart wins like he did in the two previous matches while they were in the WWF. What is interesting here is that Hennig and Rick Rude lay out Bret after the match, but I don’t recall there being a followup between the two. Yeah, lack of followup in WCW? No way!
If the match between Sting and Scott Hall had happened a year prior, perhaps we’d been set for a much better match, but I think this was around the time Hall was free falling pretty badly. The buildup started when Hall won the battle royal at World War 3 in November. Hall was supposed to get a title shot at Superbrawl before all that controversy took place. The match didn’t have much hype for it and the action was subpar. Sting reign in general was a real negative considering the buildup he had to win the damn thing.
Aside from the double axe handle from the top of the cage, the main event between Savage and Hogan was just a match dependent solely on the name value and their past that generated a lot of money in wrestling. Basically it was a snooze fest and ended up meaning nothing as Savage turned on Sting, who arrived to seemingly help Savage against the New World Order. This match settled nothing, which is not the point of a steel cage match. Just a bad main event for pay per view.
UnCensored ’98 is a prime example of looking at a card on paper and thinking it is going to be great and then after three hours you are left wondering, “How the hell did that go so wrong?”
The triple threat match, Jericho/Malenko, Konnan/Guerrera and Booker/Eddie were the matches that had entertaining aspects to them. The triple threat is probably the match of the night. According to reports, the event drew a 1.10, which is a fantastic number. This would be the last time a match between Hogan and Savage in a singles role would take place on pay per view as WCW had milked as much as they could have out of that matchup within four years.
What are your memories of UnCensored 1998?
Thanks for reading.