WCW Slamboree 1998 5/17/1998
Written by: Arnold Furious
May 17th 1998. We’re in Worcester, Massachusetts. Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan.
Slamboree was based around the continuing nWo split. The normally rock solid Outsiders faced off against The Giant and Sting in the main event to defend their tag team titles. Hogan is still WCW champion at this point but this is another one of his “I can’t be bothered to wrestle on the PPV, brother” nights. So the other big match on this card sees Eric Bischoff challenge Vince McMahon to a match on the PPV. Obviously Vince’s lawyers sent out a statement saying he wouldn’t be there and lawsuits resulted. Of course it did nothing to the buyrate that remained the same as it had done for the previous two years. Basically everyone hates Slamboree so it never did any money. Oh, the other main event is Bret Hart v Randy Savage as nWo factions run wild. Although Bret isn’t nWo he helped Hogan win the title because he wanted to beat Hogan for the belt. But this just pissed the crowd off more and got him a feud with Savage who lost the title because of him.
CLIPS – Thunder. Bischoff talks about the Vince McMahon challenge (in response to the DX antics). Bischoff reads out Vince’s response. Bischoff leaves the invitation open. Bischoff is an idiot though. The stuff that DX were doing was getting their company over WCW and pointing out all of the ridiculous crap they were doing and somehow getting away with blatant lies. But this was just pointless. It didn’t pop a buyrate and the fans didn’t buy into Bischoff just ripping off the DX thing on a bigger scale. Controversy in this case didn’t create cash. But then this is coming from a man who legitimately believed he could run the WWF out of business or at the very least make them the #3 brand behind WCW and the nWo. That’s AFTER the nWo concept had been totally run into the ground.
TV title – Fit Finlay (c) v Chris Benoit
Two really talented guys here but then I don’t have to tell you that because they’ve both main evented for the WWE since. Finlay shoves Benoit off and gets chopped for it. These guys are like “fuck you”, “no, fuck you”. Crowd eats it up. Finlay grinds at a side headlock before settling on the arm. Benoit reverses out of a double armlock into a near falls sequence with one counts and he goes right into the Crossface but Finlay counters into a hammerlock. Oh, that was ALL good. See, Finlay worked the arm so he was able to counter the Crossface by going to the arm. It’s SO simple. Benoit decides to go to the strikes with some tasty chops. Whirl backbreaker and Finlay is struggling now. He tries to grab the ropes but Benoit drags him off into something resembling a powerbomb. Finlay tries to hook him up but Benoit kicks him off. Finlay’s response is a stiff clothesline. Finlay with a slam on the floor. These guys are just kicking the fuck out of each other. Benoit doesn’t look to be beating the count so Finlay bails to hit a short arm clothesline. Finlay grinds at a chinlock and that goes on a little too long before Benoit powers up into a fall away. Finlay senses Benoit is hurt and he backslides him for 2. Benoit comes back with chops but Finlay pokes him in the eye. Back to the chinlock. That hold is hurting the match a bit. This one runs a LOT longer than the first one. Like 2 minutes. Finlay kicks Benoit in the back a few times and goes back to the chinlock. Benoit gets dragged onto the apron and his face is bounced off it. Finlay goes for a chair but Benoit takes it off him and nails him across the back. Impartial referee Nick Patrick doesn’t call for a DQ. Benoit goes the tope to follow up but Finlay bashes him with the chair. I remember Benoit doing that with Jericho later and it’s a spot that originated against Sabu in the Indies. Finlay’s timing was impeccable. Finlay gets a pin for 2. Finlay drops a few elbows trying to weaken Benoit’s back. It doesn’t stop him doing the ROLLING GERMANS. Finlay runs him face first into the top rope to stop the trifecta. Benoit drags him back down – CRIPPLER CROSSFACE! Finlay grabs the ropes to save himself. Snap suplex and Benoit calls for the Flying Wolverine. Only Benoit doesn’t do it because out comes Booker T to watch. Bullshit. Why didn’t he just hit the move? Feel free to jaw with Booker afterwards when you’re the champ. Finlay dropkicks him in the neck but Benoit still gets a roll up for 2. Finlay just finishes with a Tombstone at 14.51. Urgh, bad ending. ***1/2. Really good match, really bad ending. If Benoit had just hit the headbutt and finished it then we’d be looking at better. Same with dropping some of those chinlocks. Otherwise enjoyable. Crowd doesn’t think much of the ending.
Brian Adams w/Vincent v Lex Luger
Adams and Vincent are nWo Hollywood in the split. They’d later become part of the nWo B Team when the Black & White became totally unimportant. Adams, the former Crush, has recently debuted. This match is just here for Luger to take apart a few guys. Luger spends most of the match working over Adams’ arm and no selling. Seriously, Vincent nails him in the back and Luger just ignores it. Powerslam and Luger wants the Rack but he stops to kick Vincent’s ass. Adams jumps from behind and hits the piledriver. Adams does his usual array of nothing to follow up that. He continues to club away until a backbreaker gets 2. This is all pointless because not one single fan buys him having a chance against Luger. Vincent tries to come in again but Luger punks him out. Adams gets racked and it’s mercifully over at 5.05. DUD. Horrible match. Had no business being on a PPV. The thing is; Luger was wrestling Adams because Adams attacked Rick Steiner. Why not just have Rick wrestle him? See, now when Rick wants his own revenge it’s pointless because Luger already tapped Adams and made him look like a total jobber.
BACKSTAGE Perry Saturn tells us they’ll be no Gauntlet match tonight. He warns the Flock not to mess with him. He says he’s looking out for himself from now on because Raven only looks out for himself. Saturn says he’s taking the US title from Goldberg tonight.
Cruiserweight battle royal
Winner gets a shot at Chris Jericho’s cruiserweight title. The champ comes out to call David Penzer a “dweeb” so announces the participants himself. In the battle royal are Super Calo (“he has a one in ten chance of winning”), “This guy used to be a great bartender” Chavo Guerrero Jr, Ciclope, Damien 666 (“he can’t afford a mask”), El Dandy, El Grio (which is some fat guy, I don’t even know who it is), Juvi Guerrera (“the ugliest man in our sport today”), Marty Jannetty (“he’s gonna rock, rock, never stop, rock, rock till he drops”), Kidman (“I’ve got some calomine lotion”), Evan Karagias (“zero chance of winning”), Lenny Lane, Psicosis (“he has a lot of hubcaps in his collection”), Silver King (“if he wins another 12 matches he’ll be upgraded to golden king”), Johnny “Singer” Swinger (“ever heard of this guy?”) and Villano IV. Great comedy from Jericho thus pissing off the entire division and unifying them against him. You can get pinned and if you go out of the ring and touch the floor you’re out. Heenan doesn’t care about the match but he’s impressed with Jericho’s introductions. Kidman forearms Evan off the apron at 1.20. Bye, thanks for coming job boy. Psicosis cracks me up by selling a whirl backbreaker off El Dandy that doesn’t happen. Swinger gets thrown out at 1.51. That’s right, get rid of the crap. Chavo tornado DDT’s Silver King. Up top and Juvi dropkicks Calo off to the floor at 3.03. That was a cool little spot. Silver King gets dropkicked off the top as well at 3.19. Was that Lenny Lane? The commentators pick Juvi and Chavo to win. Fat boy El Grio gets backdropped out at 4.23. Jannetty looks terrible here. He’s either coked up, or injured or both. As I type that El Dandy throws him out at 4.58. Villano gets rana’d out at 5.06 by Damien. Lane stands on the top rope like an idiot so Kidman just runs Juvi into him knocking him to the floor at 5.30. Douche. Damien kicks Psicosis into the ropes. Nice. He fucks up some handheld stuff and tries to walk to rope but that gets him dropkicked out at 6.01. Six guys left then. Make that five as El Dandy goes at 6.16. Who gives a shit about El Dandy though? Chavo with a big backdrop on Kidman. Chavo foolishly charges to follow up and flies out at 6.48. He’s gone. FINAL FOUR – Kidman, Juvi, Psicosis and Ciclope. Heenan changes his pick to Kidman. Psicosis charges Ciclope who ducks and Psicosis flies over the top at 7.20. Malenko is doing a great job of wrestling like a luchadore. Oops, that’s supposed to be a secret. Juvi headscissors Kidman over the top at 7.28. Heenan changes his pick to Ciclope. Crowd is firmly behind Juvi. They have a stand off and the crowd senses something. Juvi shakes hands and eliminates himself at 8.26 thus giving Ciclope the title shot. Well, that ending was dumb. Might as well have had Ciclope dump out Juvi when he was over the top putting Kidman out and had a hot finish instead of a booking finish. **. Pretty fun battle royal.
POST MATCH Ciclope unmasks and it’s DEAN MALENKO. Crowd goes NUTZ and in comes Jericho.
Cruiserweight title – Chris Jericho (c) v Dean Malenko
Malenko just UNLOADS on Jericho and stomps a mud hole in him. Crowd is going completely BANANA because Malenko is just SO worked up. Backdrop scores. Dropkick connects. Jericho has got nothing. Heenan puts Malenko over for showing emotion and kicking ass. Malenko just wails away and calf kicks Jericho through the ropes. Juvi is still out here cheering as Malenko dives out onto Jericho. The champ is whipped into the rail. Going back in Jericho puts the boots in and chops away. Tony points out that Jericho brought this on himself. Crowd is so HOT here. Jericho catches Malenko and Hot Shots him. Running senton and Malenko is in trouble. Jericho calls this a conspiracy. Crowd is all over Jericho. Stalling suplex from Jericho and the cocky one foot cover gets 2. Lionsault gets 2. Juvi being out here does reinforce the idea that all the cruiserweights hated Jericho as a unit. They switch into Jericho’s Tiger Backbreaker. Malenko gets out of the Liontamer attempt into a heel hook but Jericho gets the ropes. Jericho with a back elbow off the top for 2. Jericho tries to fire up but Malenko has more left despite his battle royal outing. To the ropes and Jericho looks for the super rana but Malenko catches him into the gutbuster off the top. Malenko is FIRED UP like crazy. He’s screaming in there and showing emotion like never before. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Jericho drags himself towards the ropes but Malenko drags him back out and gets the tap out at 7.02. ***1/4. Emotionally the best match of Malenko’s career. The crowd response was just insane. This was one of the best booked PPV segments that WCW came up with in the entire of 1998. The booking was solid and so was the wrestling. Crowd loves it. Announcers love it. Everyone loves it. HUGE pay off for the Malenko-Jericho angle. Of course WCW don’t learn from this but this is the kind of thing they should have been doing all the time. The only thing I’d have done differently was unmask Malenko after he beat Jericho down in the corner for what I believe would have been a stronger reaction. Malenko’s 4th and last cruiserweight title btw.
SIDENOTE – WCW did something dumb after this. With Jericho losing the title it was a perfect chance to move him on to bigger and better things. He was ready for it. Malenko on the other hand was perfect to elevate the other cruiser guys like he did with Rey Mysterio. So what does WCW do? Books Malenko-Jericho to continue. I guess that’s based on the crowd reaction but the reaction was for the angle paying off. It was time to go somewhere else. Jericho’s trophies can come from elsewhere and Malenko was good for raising the game of other spottier wrestlers. WCW dropped the ball on this one but at least on the night they delivered. Of course WCW never knew what they had with Jericho hence his eventual de-push and defection to the WWF where his first night in the company made into a huge star overnight and eventually the world champion.
OUTSIDE a white limo shows up on the “Vinnie Mac” cam. Doug Dillenger goes to investigate. Tony takes a cheap shot at Jim Ross but all of this is merely getting the WWF over as more important because they’re talking about them.
Bowery Death match – Diamond Dallas Page v Raven
This is a cage match with weapons in it and as it’s a Death match the loser is the guy who can’t answer the 10 count. In a tip of the hat to the Hell in a Cell they’ve even put a roof on it. Raven has his own Riot Squad, which is unusual for a guy who has his own stable. DDP has clearly gotten pissed off with Raven and just batters him in the corner. Raven takes all the abuse and just pops back up running DDP into a trashcan. DDP goes for the other trashcan so Raven runs him into that one too. Then it’s into the standard cage match spots like DDP getting run into the cage a bunch of times. Raven goes for a trashcan and it’s full of weapons. So here comes the plunder. There’s a VCR and a fire extinguisher in there. The ring is covered in crap now so that should eliminate any wrestling in this one. DDP uses the cowbell to choke Raven like Raven did at Spring Stampede. Tenay brings that up as I type it. DDP decides to hang Raven from the roof of the cage and that’s a pretty cool spot. Raven gets counted down for 8. He gets back up and DDP nails him with the VCR to chants of “ECW”. There’s still crap all over the ring. Raven kicks DDP into the trashcan and they both lie around for a while. Raven gets a cookie sheet and nails DDP with it before going low. More plunder and Raven sets up the chair. This match could REALLY use some blood. Even more so than the last one they had. Raven with a sleeper but as Page backs him into a corner to escape the ref is bumped. That’s Billy Silverman taking a break. DDP with the drop toehold onto the chair and both guys lie around for a while. Out comes the Flock. Reese, Riggs, Sick Boy and Riggs cuts the cage open. Van Hammer is out here though and he cleans house on the Flock (he got kicked out for fucking up at Spring Stampede). Reese gets cuffed to the rail. The Riot Squad get rid of Van Hammer. The Riot Squad jump into the ring and attack DDP. It’s at this point when Tony realises that Kidman and Horace are the Riot Squad. They miscue in a “comedy” spot. Horace gets a Diamond Cutter. Kidman hangs off the cage trying to kick at DDP but DDP hits him with a Diamond Cutter off there too. Raven is back up with the EVEN FLOW DDT. It should be over because there’s nowhere else to go with this thing. Naturally this being WCW DDP gets back up. Raven kicks him in the balls and hits the Diamond Cutter on Page. Now this should be over. It’s beyond overbooked now. So naturally DDP is back up. Raven has a chair but DDP ducks it and hits the Diamond Cutter. Raven can’t answer the 10 count just to totally oversell the Cutter and this is over at 14.29. *1/2. It was way overbooked and messy but that should spell the end of the feud as DDP has gone over everyone. The problem with DDP was he was now ready for the main event BUT Hogan didn’t want him taking title shots because he had every intention of losing to Goldberg and picking his job. Ideally he should have lost to both guys but this is Hogan we’re talking about. Raven also should have been elevated in some way after this feud finished. Logically he should have moved on to another high card babyface. So naturally WCW had him wrestle Saturn in an internal feud for the Flock then they moved him on to Jericho. Yeah, you heard me. Yeah, that doesn’t make any sense. He was rumoured to be working Roddy Piper in 1999 but that got shot down because, yanno, God forbid someone get elevated in this company.
POST MATCH DDP heads into the crowd to celebrate pushing his “People’s Champion” tag. The third Riot Squad guy, the only one unmasked, then goes around cuffing the Flock to the cage. All of the Flock are doing ridiculous sell jobs on nothing moves. Into the ring where he cuffs Horace, Kidman and Raven. Tony speculates its Saturn but he’s too tall. When he cuffs up Raven it’s in an attempt to recreate the “chair shot heard round the world” from Tommy Dreamer. The idea is that people think its Dreamer, which gets a brief reaction. It’s not, its MORTIS. He then unmasks to show his face. That would be Chris Kanyon. He chair shots Raven and that’s the start of a feud between Kanyon and the Flock.
We get a few ridiculous shots of security looking for Vince McMahon and Steve Austin in the crowd. Tony yaks for a while because they have a bunch of crap to clean out of the ring. He speculates as to who is nWo and who isn’t and who will stand with who tonight. It’s pointed out that Scott Hall isn’t even here yet.
Ultimo Dragon v Eddie Guerrero w/Chavo Jr
If Ultimo wins then Chavo wins his freedom from Eddie. It does seem that WCW doesn’t know what they have with either guy. They go to the mat and run some nice chaining. Eddie complains of a hair pull. To the mat again with the chaining and Ultimo tries to work at the arm. They go to the handheld stuff, which comes up about even. Ultimo goes to some kicks but Eddie ducks out and hits a dropkick. This has a really nice slow burn feel about it. Ultimo goes to the headstand and baits Eddie in for a headscissors. Crowd doesn’t care even when Ultimo baits Eddie in again to unleash a bunch of kicks. Eddie decides that wrestling is going nowhere with this fucking crowd so he bails out to get cheap heat. That doesn’t work either. Crowd seems to be doing something. Chanting for Flair? Fuckers. Pay attention to the match. Ultimo breaks out the Mutalock but Eddie rolls out into the ropes. I think this match has slowed up because of the lack of crowd reaction and I don’t see any good reason to not react. Eddie hits a clothesline and the crowd remains silent. They’re hitting stuff puro style, which means I love it but this crowd doesn’t care. Eddie hits a vertical for 2. Outside where Eddie uses a length of cable to choke away. Chavo is shouting at Ultimo to get all motivated so Eddie gets in his face. To the top where Eddie falls off and crotches himself. Ultimo kicks him off the ropes. Asai moonsault and Eddie’s timing is great on catching him. He was still on his knees as Ultimo started the move. Dragon with an airplane spin into an Argentine backbreaker for 2. Moonsault gets 2. Ultimo attempts a super rana but Eddie throws him off and lifts the Chavo tornado DDT. Frogsplash misses. Ultimo rolls away at the last second and gets La Mahistral for 2. Ultimo tries for the quebrada into a dragon sleeper, AJ Styles fashion, and fucks it up just as badly. He eventually hooks it but Eddie reverses it. He uses the ropes but Chavo pushes him off. While Eddie is arguing with Chavo, Ultimo accidentally plants Chavo with a spinning heel kick. Brainbuster and the Frogsplash finishes at 11.08. Eddie wins, Chavo is still his bitch. **3/4. The lack of crowd reaction hurt the match and they slowed it up because the crowd weren’t responding. Of course continually stalling over Eddie’s push doesn’t help with his motivation. He’s another guy that should have been moving up the card (for those scoring at home that’d be Benoit, Jericho, Eddie, Raven and even DDP who were below where they should be on the card).
SIDENOTE – There’s a great bit in here by Tony Schiavone about how chastising people in front of a crowd is wrong and not the way to run a business. Clearly a shot at Bischoff who did the exact same thing to Ric Flair backstage a few weeks beforehand.
POST MATCH Chavo jumps in there and nearly punches Eddie but resorts to giving Ultimo a kicking for failing him. Eddie pulls him back and looks like he appreciated Chavo’s mean streak. Eddie turns the other cheek and Chavo can’t strike him. Eddie smirks. I loved that guy.
US title – Bill Goldberg (c) v Perry Saturn
Originally this was slated as Goldberg v the Flock in a Gauntlet match but Saturn called it off stating he was the only guy who deserved a title shot. Goldberg is now 87-0. The first match between these guys was controlled by Saturn, this one is more Goldberg. Hence, worse. Saturn tries to control the pace but Goldberg drops him with a right hand and a press powerslam. Then he stands around. Another press of the drop variety followed by a clothesline. Saturn bails out and this one really feels inferior to the first match in every way. Saturn’s shaved head is his first attempt at moving away from the Flock look. Saturn with a slap, which is totally no sold and Goldberg throws him around like a little bitch. Outside and Goldberg accidentally clotheslines the post. Saturn dropkicks him in the back off the apron. Back inside a spinning heel kick leads to a chinlock. Goldberg powers up out of that. Now it’s a sleeper but Goldberg just powers out and hits a belly to belly. Saturn is getting treated like a bitch this time. He hits a neckbreaker, which is no sold, and Saturn slaps on a chinlock again. Saturn sets for a suplex but Goldberg counters into a swinging neckbreaker. Saturn hits him with an Exploder and finally Goldberg sells something. Saturn bails for a chair. He sets it up for a springboard dropkick off the chair. Chair set again but this time Saturn gets caught with a spear. Jackhammer finishes at 7.01. 88-0. *.
Eric Bischoff v Vince McMahon
Yeah, right. Buffer’s introduction even puts Vince over, which is just ridiculous. In fact this whole thing is ridiculous. Everyone knows Vince won’t show up. No one bought the show for this. Let’s just get it over with. Obviously Vince isn’t here so Bischoff asks for the count out and gets it thus “winning” the match at 0.10. This whole thing made WCW look really stupid and Bischoff look like he was losing his mind. After all he’d just started losing the ratings war and taken it out on Ric Flair and the Outsiders. Pissing off Scott Hall (by firing his buddy Sean Waltman via fed ex a matter of weeks after Hall’s other buddy Louie Spicolli had died) wasn’t the best of things to do when the man was clearly on the brink of some serious alcoholism. So next up for Bischoff after this mad attempt at buyrate grabbing was signing up anything he could. Ultimate Warrior was the only big free agent so he signed him up for ridiculous money and picked up Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman and Jay Leno for PPV events. He thought big names would work because the WWF had gotten their big break with Mike Tyson. Of course the WWF’s booking was actually entertaining…
SIDENOTE – Sean Waltman who had been in the nWo as Syxx returned to the WWF after being fired by Bischoff in a power play to keep the Outsiders in their place. The WWF leapt at the chance to do something with Waltman renaming him X-Pac, sticking him in the new DX and pushing him hard right out the gate. He also got a RISE showing anyone who was somewhat discontented with their role in WCW that jumping to the WWF could now be considered a legitimate pay day again and a push was likely too. I know Chris Jericho was paying attention.
Bret Hart v Randy Savage
Bret is now a heel thanks to screwing Savage over although he’s getting mixed reactions. The referee here is Roddy Piper because WCW can’t do anything original and want to re-hash Bret-Piper down the line. Instead of doing Raven-Piper and Bret-Hogan. Yanno, matches people actually want to see! Savage is nWo (Wolfpac), Bret isn’t but he is siding with Hogan so he can beat him for the title. He’s almost protecting Hogan’s belt so he’s the one to win it despite not having a title shot lined up. Basically it makes no sense. Savage meanwhile still has a torn ACL and is in no fit state to compete. What idiot decided to turn Bret this soon after his debut? No one wanted to boo Bret. Not that soon. Piper bails to throw Bret in the ring to start. Bret goes to work on the back to help to set for the Sharpshooter. I’m just glad Bret got paid a lot of money by WCW. He earned his money over the years. After the first few months he didn’t really care too much in WCW but that was their own fault. Bret came in as a main eventer and they didn’t put him in the main event. What a waste of time. It’s almost sad watching these guys wrestle past the point where they really cared. In their prime they were arguably the two hardest working wrestlers in the world. Bret runs this one by the numbers. Everything looks professional enough but there’s no fire. Savage looks like he doesn’t care. Piper is playing no part in the match. Basically this whole thing feels like a total waste of PPV time. Even though it’s technically a dream match and I’m a huge mark for both guys. They go out for an aimless brawl in the crowd. Back inside Bret goes to the bad knee, which is the right one. Savage can barely even stand. Tony points out that Scott Hall just arrived. Hart continues to work the knee over. Tenay tries to explain Bret’s heel turn but none of this washes with me. This one is dragging. This would have worked better as a babyface match. This whole thing would have worked better without a Bret heel turn. All that did was hurt the product and deny WCW fans the Bret-Hogan match that could have saved the company. It didn’t even have to be a title match. Of the three guys Hogan should have put over in 1998, Bret was the one no brainer because he was capable of getting DDP & Goldberg over himself. Savage battles back and hits the Savage Elbow but hurts his knee in the process. The eventual cover gets 2. Bret gets back in charge and goes for the Sharpshooter. Savage won’t quit and out comes Miss Elizabeth to try and persuade him to. Savage reverses it while the camera is focused on Liz. She jumps into the ring and berates Piper for not ending this. Savage demands that Piper pay attention after Bret gets the ropes. Bret goes low and blindsides Piper with brass knucks. Savage grabs them and Bret begs off. Out comes Hulk Hogan to clip Savage’s knee. Erm, he’s the world champion so where’s the title match then? Stupid. Sharpshooter and this time Savage’s knee is too bad so he has to quit at 16.35. *3/4. Overbooked, stupid stuff that should have been so straightforward and fun. It’s like WCW just took the concept of a match and sucked all the fun out of it. Bret must have hated this shit. And what’s with Hogan being here but not wrestling? It’s a PPV and the world champion doesn’t bother wrestling? What the fuck is that? I’d have been looking for my money back.
POST MATCH Piper sees Savage has the knucks and blames him for the punk out. He’s happy to raise Bret’s hand. Amazingly Piper reversed his decision the following night and awarded this match to Savage.
Main event/WCW tag titles – The Outsiders (c) v The Giant/Sting
Giant rejoined the nWo (Hollywood) to oppose Kevin Nash. Sting is pissed at Nash for the attack during the title match the previous month. So two guys who aren’t friends team up to go after the tag titles. Of course there are no other tag teams in the entire company at this point so the Outsiders are champions on default. Hall looks wasted. The Outsiders have Dusty Rhodes out here and that’s the Wolfpac (+Savage and Konnan. I think Hennig and Rude might have even have been Wolfpac at this point). Hall is wearing red & black for the first time as before his allegiance was unknown. He runs his “Hey, yo”, “survey says” stuff to big reactions. Seeing as Hall is one of the most over babyfaces they have you can almost smell the stupid finish even though Hall is still technically a heel and has been since 1996. The only main event player who’s not nWo is Sting seeing as Luger got busted down the card. Toothpick for Sting. He crotch chops back at Hall, which isn’t acknowledged by the announcers. Hall with a chokeslam and he mocks the Giant with the big zombie goofing around. Giant just stares at him. Sting hits a couple of inverted atomic drops. Stinger Splash. Scorpion Deathlock but Nash runs in to break it up. The Outsiders try for a double team but Giant comes in to prevent it. Giant wants in so Sting tags him. Hall mocks some more and tags Nash. Giant’s selling when Nash starts wailing on him is quite energised. Nash goes for the powerbomb but Giant backs him up. Giant with a big boot and he cups his ear towards the fans to boos. Tenay says something about the fans “not knowing how to react”. Yeah, well that would be the BOOKING then. You’re booking 3 out of 4 guys in the same match as faces AND heels at the same time. Sting is the only babyface and guess what? He’s the least over guy in the match thanks to them booking him so badly since his return to the ring. Crowd chants for the Wolfpac. Tony says something stupid about the fans willing Hall to help his partner almost as if he’s trying to telegraph the end of the PPV. Hall-Sting and Sting tries a crossbody only to get caught in the Last Call for 2. Hall with a slow discus punch. Almost as if he didn’t have the coordination to turn around without falling over. Not that I’m saying he’s drunk, just that little spots like that are a dead giveaway that he might well be. Hall puts the boots in. Giant cheerleads for Sting but isn’t he a heel? Is he changing heel/face every time he gets in the ring? They really didn’t think this thing through. I have no problem with them booking four babyfaces in the main event and just letting the crowd cheer whoever they want but this is all so ill defined. Heel turns in WCW don’t seem to count for shit anyway. Unless they’re really convincing like Chris Jericho’s or Hulk Hogan’s. Outsiders continue this with cheating on the Shades of Wilbur Snyder, when they’re getting cheered as faces. Nash in with a sidewalk slam for 2. BORE-HUG from Nash. Sting gets the tag out of it and Giant blindsides Nash. Huge pop for the tag then heat for the assault on Nash. You’ve confused your own fans. Nice one. The idea, I guess, is to cheer whoever you like. Well, I hate all you motherfuckers. Where does that leave me? Giant beats Nash down and drops Old Glory. Then he goes up top for a splash but Nash rolls out of the way. Giant does one of those ridiculous oversells on that staying down motionless for ages. Nash wants the powerbomb but Hall just strolls in and turns on Nash with a belt shot. Giant pins for the win and the belts at 14.44 and the Outsiders are finished now. Now the company has NO tag teams. ½*. Boring match made worse by terrible booking.
POST MATCH Hall hands the belt to Giant and hugs him even though he just lost the tag title. Oh, and Dusty Rhodes celebrates too confirming his place in the black & white as well. Sting refuses to celebrate with them despite winning the tag titles. Oh, what a mess.
Final Thoughts: There’s a great angle with Jericho-Malenko that the crowd went ballistic for. Obviously neither man was ever elevated above the midcard. Anything else that was fun (Benoit-Finlay/Eddie-Ultimo) was largely unimportant. The rest of the card was horrible especially the ridiculous overbooking on the main events. 1998 may have been a big money spinning year for WCW but creatively they were in the toilet. Too many egos, too much politics and too much protection. The stupid booking reflected that. Talking of stupid, Bischoff’s childish Vince McMahon “match” hurt the credibility of the company and made the guy running it look borderline insane. At least at this point they were still getting a few things right. Goldberg’s push, the Malenko return and Jericho’s character. Everything else was going bad. The booking had Bret Hart heel, an injured Randy Savage babyface, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall feuding despite no one wanting to see that especially with Hall as the heel, Hogan as world champion and Sting as…whatever he is. He certainly wasn’t the star he once was thanks to Starrcade ’97. WCW were their own worst enemy and this is one of the shows that reflects that.