WCW World War III 1997 11/23/1997
Written by: Arnold Furious
November 23rd 1997. We’re in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Hosts are Fat Tony, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay. Even though you don’t need three guys on commentary at least one of them isn’t Dusty Rhodes now. Tony names the winner of WWIII as getting their title shot at Superbrawl. Normally it’s just “at a later date”. Not that it matters as the winner of World War III didn’t get their title shot at Superbrawl anyway because WCW is incapable of sticking to stipulations even when they create those stipulations themselves.
Glacier/Ernest Miller v Faces of Fear w/Jimmy Hart
Miller was signed by Eric Bischoff because he was one of his karate buddies. He’s starting out as a babyface teaming with a video game character. Hart is back with the Faces (Meng & Barbarian). Miller goes all karate on Barbarian. Glacier meanwhile tries the same on Meng but just gets beaten down. Meng is not only a martial artist but also a badass. Glacier tries to remove his arm instead and in comes Miller to work the limb. Miller stands around doing nothing allowing a tag. I say nothing but he was gesturing towards Glacier who didn’t know what he was doing. Glacier comes in to try and look like a worse worker but can’t quite suck as much as Miller. Speaking of the Cat he uses Meng as a springboard to crossbody Barbarian on the floor. Glacier goes after Hart, which gets him laid out. Back inside Meng backdrops Glacier to Barbarian who powerbombs him for 2. Crowd buys that move big time now. Meng dropkicks Glacier for 2. Backbreaker gets 2. Glacier gets clubbered and damn it if Da Dweem hasn’t got that over. Tony & Tenay chat about college football, which really is going WAY up there into stuff I don’t give a fuck about. Tenay is riffling off facts about the participants though. Telling us about Meng’s bodyguard work and how Barbarian used to play rugby. All very interesting but it’s only covering for a lack of action in this one. Glacier basically eats about five minutes of heat before tagging the inexperienced Miller in. He kicks away and hits a nice lariat on Meng. Barbarian gets one too. More kicks and they’re getting more and more convoluted. Jimmy Hart jumps on the apron and Miller kicks his ass but Meng lays Miller out with the Tongan Death Grip at 9.11. *. Boring that’s for damn sure but at least it was ok. Miller looked inexperienced but compensated for it with a lot of pizzazz. But he was only in the match for about 90 seconds.
TV title – Perry Saturn (c) w/Raven v Disco Inferno
Saturn was quite a big name for ECW particularly in the Eliminators tag team where he was the talented one (teaming with talentless fat fuck John Kronus, who got horribly exposed as the untalented one when he attempted a solo career. That got him shuffled off to XPW where he looked even worse and can be found in a niche porn market being Nicole Bass’ personal bitch. Oh the humanity). Saturn suffered a bad knee injury in 1997 though, which threatened to sideline him for a year. He got into WCW thanks to Terry Taylor who was a fan of ECW. He joined Raven’s Flock and became the group’s Arn Anderson figure (second in command/enforcer) and won the TV title off Disco 20 days ago. Raven gets the mic. “Let the stretchings begin”. Saturn takes Disco over and smacks him in the back of the head. PWNED! Then he does it again. DOUBLE PWNED! Tenay makes reference to Saturn’s ECW career saying he’s shown high flying ability in “other organisations” but has yet to do so in WCW. Disco manages a hip toss and rattles Saturn enough for him to bail out. Saturn regroups and lays in a chop but he gets hip tossed again. So he bails out again clearly frustrated he fell for the same move twice. Disco won’t follow out because Raven is out there. Back inside Disco hits an inverted atomic drop and starts wailing on Saturn. He’s certainly upping the pace to try and discombulate Saturn. He’s not taking any shit though and Saturn just picks up Disco off the mat into a suplex. Just grabbed a leg, grabbed his head and boom, suplex. Saturn tries a second rope moonsault but he misses and Disco pins for 2. They run a near falls only in somewhat disconnected fashion. Saturn dumps Disco groin first on the ropes and heads up top to flying forearm him to the floor. Disco now on the floor he goes to take a look at Raven’s Flock. Chartbuster for Kidman! He tries it on Van Hammer too but Saturn has now recovered. Back inside Disco blocks a tiger suplex and hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. High crossbody but Saturn rolls through it into the Rings of Saturn and Disco taps out at 8.18. Or rather gives up. *1/2. Felt really disjointed. There was no flow or storyline to this.
Yuji Nagata w/Sonny Onoo v Ultimo Dragon
If Ultimo wins he gets five minutes with his former manager. Nagata has been brought in specifically to feud with Ultimo. Hard to believe he’d return to New Japan and just become a star. He’d eventually hold the IWGP title in 2002 hanging onto the strap for 13 months. WCW is finally spelling “Ultimo Dragon” right. Ultimo has a bad shoulder, which Nagata goes right after. He goes to kick it and Ultimo dodges and sweeps the leg. Ultimo with a dropkick and Nagata rolls out. The bump was so late on that. Ultimo bails to chase Onoo around and Nagata jumps him. Back inside Ultimo grabs a headlock and won’t let go. Nagata suplexes out of it and dumps Ultimo on his neck. Nagata throws some kicks and goes after the mask. He seems out to embarrass rather than defeat his opponent here. Piledriver gets 2. Tony mentions how Nagata has left the arm alone as it didn’t seem to be making much difference. Now he’s looking for a knock out and Nagata applies a sleeper as he says that. Ultimo suplexes out in a receipt for the earlier one. Nagata lands more softly though and lays the boots in again. Another piledriver gets 2. More kicks from Nagata into a jumping Enzuigiri. He goes to the camel clutch. Ultimo powers out so Nagata straps him in the Fujiwara armbar. Ultimo grabs the ropes and Nagata used the arm because he knew it was weakened. Nagata with a belly to belly for 2. Ultimo escapes another and throws a load of kicks. His legs are just fine. Nagata is down but that doesn’t mean the kicks stop. Oh no! Nagata gets a complete shoeing and then it’s the FACE WASH. Ultimo is doing everything that’s huge over these days. Nagata tries to kill him on the floor but Ultimo grabs his leg and hits a dragon screw. Ultimo back up top for a plancha. Back inside Ultimo goes up top but Nagata catches him. Ultimo sunset flips, blocked but Ultimo has the leverage for a powerbomb. That gets 2. Ultimo up top again for a moonsault. That gets 2. Nagata goes for another suplex but Ultimo counters into the Dragon Sleeper. Should be over and Nagata gives up but Sonny Onoo jumps on the apron to distract the referee. Ultimo is busy celebrating but this match isn’t over. Ultimo takes it up top again with a super rana for 2. Would have been three but Onoo puts Nagata’s foot on the rope. Nagata runs into a back kick but Onoo gets knocked off the apron and they fuck up the finish with Nagata on top at 12.43. **3/4. Felt like a puroresu match, which it should do with two Japanese guys in it, but the finish had no place in the match they had. They were working a stiff and aggressive match, which then had a sloppy, convoluted and fucked up finish on it. Kind of ruined the whole thing. Plus the selling was patchy at best and considering the injury angle that lead into the match that was somewhat disappointing.
Tag titles – The Steiner Brothers (c) w/Ted DiBiase v The Blue Bloods (Steven Regal/Dave Taylor)
DiBiase left the nWo to team up with the Steiners. Not sure what the logic was for that face turn. They promptly won the tag titles cutting the Outsiders tag title run just short of a year. Scott is in transition from classic Scott to Big Poppa Pump. He looks like a porn star. The Blue Bloods managed to get shoehorned in here with Eaton winding his career down Taylor subs in, which sucks the fun out of the team and probably demoralises the underused Regal. It’s not the Outsiders in this match because they’re focusing on World War III, which takes all the fun out of this match. The result might as well be scrolling across the screen during the match it’s that much of a foregone conclusion. Taylor gets thrown around a bit so in comes Regal to take offence at the “USA” chants. While Regal is great even when he’s not trying, this is Regal not trying. He’s probably not impressed with Rick Steiner constantly going to submission attempts on him and letting him out. Scotty comes in for the rolling thunder belly to belly for 2. Scott also slaps on a submission move and just gives up on it. It’s like they’re trying to piss Regal off. Luckily for them Regal doesn’t really care. Taylor comes in. Crowd doesn’t give a shit. Rick powerslams him for 2. Regal cheap shots Scott’s back, which he’d injured previously, and that leads to a heat segment on Scott. Considering the Blue Bloods got nothing else in the opening 6 minutes or so I guess they were due something. Not that the crowd buys the chances of them winning. Taylor as a character is badly underdeveloped and Regal hasn’t been given the chance to move his character forwards since joining WCW. Scotty lariats him but Regal cuts the ring off to prevent a tag. Scotty can’t be bothered with the psychology of his back being injured and he just hits a belly to belly and tags out. Crowd doesn’t really care still because the heat was about 2 minutes long. Rick comes in and cleans house easily. Scott backdrops Taylor onto Regal. Steiner Doomsday Bulldog finishes at 9.45. *. Well, it was a squash and a long one at that.
Scotty Riggs v Raven
Raven is headhunting Riggs for the Flock. Quite why, I don’t know. The Flock is at ringside. Kidman gets the mic and tells Riggs this match is no DQ or it’s no fight. Riggs hits them with a pescado and wails away on Raven. Riggs continues the beating, hits a swinging neckbreaker and a running splash gets 2. I see a Johnny Polo sign in the crowd. Raven pulls off his grunge flannel shirt and chokes Riggs with it. Outside and Raven gets reversed into the ring steps. POW! Tony stops off to plug Nitro. Raven hits a jawbreaker. The crowd really isn’t that into Raven yet, mainly because he’s working against a nobody. Saturn throws in a chair. Now the crowd wakes up, big time. Raven with a tame chair shot to the back. He sets the chair up for some patented Raven action but Riggs reverses and hits his own drop toehold on the chair. The ref nearly counts them both out until Riggs jumps on the pin for 2. He has the chair and throws it at Raven for the dropkick version of the Van Daminator for 2. Riggs gets the chair again and calls for the bulldog onto the chair and then hits it. Well, there’s something to admire about calling your shots and then hitting them. That gets 2. This has been far more 50-50 than I expected. Raven escapes a follow up and nails the DDT. Raven stays down selling and ends up getting a mic instead of the pin. He tells Riggs he didn’t want to hurt him; he only wants him to join the Flock. “I feel your pain”. DDT! “This is hurting me worse than it’s hurting you”. Another DDT. Raven still won’t cover so referee Mickey Jay counts Riggs out at 8.43. *1/2. Raven’s character gets over huge but Riggs gets bonus points for hanging with him. While I enjoyed the angle and the chair stuff the match wasn’t too good. Raven was a great character but half the time he totally dogged it in the ring.
POST MATCH Raven gets Van Hammer to carry Riggs off with them. Looks like Raven is planning on force feeding him some of Paul E’s leftover Kool Aid.
Steve “Mongo” McMichael v Bill Goldberg
This is really early in Goldberg’s run. Mongo comes out here with a pipe because he just laid Goldberg out in the back. Wow, way to make Goldberg look like a total chump. Luckily someone decided to push him properly and not totally fuck up their big star in the making. Mongo calls out anyone else for a replacement. I’m good without the match to be honest.
Steve McMichael v Alex Wright w/Debra
Debra drags Wright out here. Debra turned on Mongo to team with Jeff Jarrett. If you can’t tell who is the face and heel in all of this then that’s normal. Wright is a babyface technically even if she’s being forcibly managed by Debra this evening. Thankfully this angle totally died on its ass and Debra left, with Jarrett incidentally, to join the WWF. Mongo uses an assortment of power moves to take Wright apart. Wright’s timing has never been great because he’s not very experienced but putting him in there with Mongo is just asking for trouble because he’s even less experienced. The result is this match, which looks like something a trainee would put on. Mongo at least uses his football stuff with a few chop blocks. The blatant talking on camera doesn’t help matters. Know where the cameras are, Steve. He hits another sideslam. Mongo Spike (Tombstone) finishes Wright off at 3.36. Just terrible booking there. 1/4*. Match was really bad and counterproductive. The promised Goldberg-Mongo match would have been better, which is saying something. The idea is that Debra is trying to get various guys to take out Mongo but they all fail, which is retarded because Mongo isn’t good enough to get a push like that or popular enough for that matter.
Cruiserweight title – Eddie Guerrero (c) v Rey Mysterio Jr
Rey is announced from San Diego for the first time. Tenay talks about the Halloween Havoc match being the best of the year. Well, in WCW anyway. It’s my favourite North American cruiserweight match, ever. I’m glad I got the chance to tell Rey that even if my sole conversation with Eddie was patting him on the back and saying something about how he ruled. They start tentatively, probably worried about the expectations of the fans for this re-match. Rey is certainly methodical and Eddie is FINALLY over huge in WCW. The crowd get all over his case. Rey does a superb headscissors and they go to the mat where Eddie is the better wrestler. Rey tries to slide under him but Eddie grabs him, powers him up and hits a German suplex. A head drop version. Ouch. Back suplex from Eddie. No pins here because he’s so cocky and confident that he can win at any time anyway. Eddie hooks up the Shades of Wilbur Snyder. Rey gets out and fucks up a headscissors. He uses the ropes to do the spot again. Eddie bails out and they do the 619 and slingshot hilo for near misses. Rey goes for a powerbomb to the floor but that doesn’t work or look good. Eddie switches and hits a whirl backbreaker. The magic they had going on at Halloween Havoc just isn’t present here. To the top where Rey looks for a superplex. Eddie blocks it and reverses into his own superplex. Now that, I’ve not seen before. Eddie misses the frog splash but sees Rey move and rolls. Rey hits him with a rana for 2. He goes for another but Eddie plants him on his face. Heenan brings up the German suplex spot and claims Rey is hurt but he’s trying to conceal it. Rey with a headscissors for 2. Eddie chops and uppercuts away while Tony speculates whether he wants the pin or whether he wants to humiliate Rey. “Eddie sucks”. Eddie dumps Rey on the top rope and beckons for the crowd to say something now. Heh. Eddie goes for a powerbomb to the floor but Rey counters into a rana. Rey takes a run up and hits the slingshot senton. Back in Eddie charges and flies into the buckles. Rey tries to use his disorientation to hit a rana but Eddie just blocks into a powerbomb. Then he sells the turnbuckle shot and that segment felt very NOAH. Or AJPW as it would have been at the time. Gory Special is on and Eddie uses it into a pin only for Rey to flip over into his own pin for 2. Rey calls for the ropes but Eddie is up and he goes for a running powerbomb and Rey tries to counter out but they completely fuck that up. They spend a few seconds talking about it in the corner before Rey hits a moonsault press for 2. Rey drops the dime but hurts himself in the process. Rey just about gets a slingshot headscissors into a roll up for 2. Eddie just gets the ropes on that. Crowd thought it was the finish. Eddie promptly dumps Rey face first into the buckles. Up he goes – FROGSPLASH! That’s it at 12.41. ***1/4. Boy was that ever a heavy fall from grace after Halloween Havoc. They didn’t have the same vibe, the same chemistry here. When Rey was working with Dean Malenko a sudden rush of fuck ups would just be worked into the match by Malenko’s insane ability to just change things on the fly. Eddie, while one of my absolute favourites ever, just didn’t have quite the same talent. Rey was completely on at Halloween Havoc. Here he wasn’t. That’s the difference between a MOTY and a decent cruiserweight match. Frustrating stuff.
SHILL – Starrcade and the match they’ve spent a year building up to: Hogan v Sting.
US title/No DQ – Curt Hennig (c) v Ric Flair
Ok, here’s how we got to this. Hennig came into WCW in 1997, presumably for the pay as he was in the middle of an intriguing feud involving Marc Mero and Triple H in the WWF at the time. As soon as he arrived the Horsemen and the nWo battled over his services. Hennig put that on the back seat to tag with DDP and promptly turn on him. So he joined the Horsemen and then turned on them too at Fall Brawl and the War Games. Flair is PISSED OFF as a result. Hennig beat Mongo for the US title to piss him off further. Tony speculates that Goldberg and Riggs will both miss the World War III match. Hennig refuses to come into the ring so Flair bails and chops at him. Hennig tries for the escape into the crowd. Flair follows and we get a crowd brawl. Hennig eventually turns the tables out there and pounds on Flair at ringside. Hennig chokes at Flair with a length of wire. This is no DQ so that’s fine. The match is strangely flat at the start though. Flair gets beat down and Hennig taunts a bit. Flair goes up top and hits an axe handle to the floor. Whoa. Flair ends up struggling with a leg problem because of that. He can still chop on one leg though. Hennig brings some fine psychology by poking the ref in the eye to prevent himself getting pinned. Hey, it’s no DQ! Seeing as Flair has a bad knee Hennig picks it off. Interesting that Tony Schiavone has Flair as a “13 time world champion”. Um. 10 NWA titles + 5 WCW titles = ? 13 according to Tony. I guess they deducted a few NWA title reigns for the crappy nature of the NWA in the early 90’s. He still held the belt though. And held two WWF titles while we’re on the subject. This match has been really slowly paced. Hennig also works the back to make doubly sure that Flair is screwed. They chop away at each other and Hennig is really trying hard with those to make them look as hard as Flair’s. Flair does his face bump for 2. Flair biels Hennig who bizarrely crotches himself. No natural slide there Curt. He bails out, or at least tries to but Flair keeps striking at him. Now Hennig is hobbling around for some reason too. Flair with a back suplex for 2. Hennig breaks out the rolling neck snap. Gotta love that. Flair hasn’t had his neck worked at all though so he’s still fine. Flair does his bump to the floor and Hennig takes a breather. He follows out and chokes away hitting a few strikes. Flair counters and drags him into the rail. Flair suplexes Hennig back inside but can’t hit it right because his knee hurts. Flair decides to even this out and grabs a chair. He dumps Hennig with an atomic drop on the chair leaving Hennig’s leg between the chair. Flair kicks it away leaving Hennig rolling around in agony. Flair isn’t done though and he grabs another chair and the belt. Chair shot to the knee. He’s hardcore, he’s hardcore! Figure Four! Should be over as soon as it’s on but this is WCW so Hennig grabs the belt and smacks Flair with it for the pin at 17.55. While I’m relieved they didn’t go the ‘nWo run in’ route the end of the match is still booking heavy. Killing the knee then strapping on the Figure Four is a fine way to finish the match and get the pay off of the face going over right before the WWIII where you’re about to book the nWo over yet again. Just give the crowd something to be happy about. After all you’ve already put over every heel on the show bar the Steiners. *** because it’s Flair & Hennig but the booking badly lets it down.
World War III
WWIII participants – Chris Adams, Brad Armstrong, Buff Bagwell, The Barbarian, Chris Benoit, Bobby Blaze, Ciclope, Damien, El Dandy, Barry Darsow, Disco Inferno, Jim Duggan, David Finlay, Hector Garza, The Giant, Glacier, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Eddie Guerrero, Scott Hall, Harlem Heat, Curt Hennig, Prince Iaukea, Chris Jericho, Lizmark Jr., Lex Luger, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Meng, Ernest Miller, Rey Mysterio Jr., Hugh Morrus, Mortis, Yuji Nagata, John Nord, Diamond Dallas Page, La Parka, The Public Enemy, Steve Regal, The Renegade, Randy Savage, Silver King, Norman Smiley, Louie Spicolli, Rick & Scott Steiner, Super Calo, David Taylor, Ray Traylor, Ultimo Dragon, Greg Valentine, Villanos IV & V, Vincent, Kendall Windham, Wrath, and Alex Wright. 59 instead of 60 although three guys miss the match with injuries (Riggs, Flair and Goldberg) and the one missing is Kevin Nash who just doesn’t turn up. WORKRATE!
Right, some names you may know and some you may not. I’m going to take a look at those that have either not been mentioned in the WCW Flashback run or aren’t famous in any other way. Chris Adams is an interesting name if you don’t know him. He was using the superkick before Shawn Michaels and the Sharpshooter before Bret Hart. Although past his prime at this point he had managed to train Steve Austin to become a professional wrestler. Adams was British so obviously WCW stuck him in with Regal. Rather tragically Adams shot himself in 2001. Brad Armstrong, the former Badstreet, is back after a stint being successful in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Bobby Blaze is another SMW guy. As far as I can remember he was never elevated beyond jobber in WCW and was probably hired to make up the numbers in this match. El Dandy is a luchadore hired for the 6-man trios matches and whatnot. That goes for Hector Garza also who was a talent raid believe it or not. Also brought in to make up the lucha numbers were Villano’s IV & V, Silver King and Lizmark Jr. Almost none of them got a push outside of six men matches. John Nord is the former Berzerker who had been working in Japan for the previous 3 years. Louie Spicolli was just about to break out big as Scott Hall’s buddy but hadn’t yet made his in ring debut. He’d rather tragically pass away before becoming a big star. Greg Valentine is here for one night only. The same way WWF have hired people just to be in the Royal Rumble but while the individual entrances makes that work in the Rumble it doesn’t here. Despite being a 10 year veteran at this point Kendall Windham is still only a name because of his surname. You’ll notice a lot less jobber guys in this year’s World War III showing how deep the roster was at the time.
First man through the curtain is DDP. Tony figures The Giant is the favourite. The nWo get their own entrance and their own music. Toothpick for the camera! Quite a low turnout for the nWo: Randy Savage, Buff Bagwell, Vincent, Curt Hennig (who is injured anyway) and Scott Hall. I’ll try and put times on eliminations where I can. As per usual a huge brawl starts. We go with triple screen. Lizmark Jr is gone at 0.15. Thanks for coming! Louie Spicolli follows at 0.17 and we lost someone else as well. All eliminated by the Giant. One of the Villano’s is out at 0.22. The other one at 0.24. Giant is destroying everyone in ring three despite an injured hand. Regal goes after him too but gets beaten down. Ultimo goes on a kicking spree taking down Taylor. Public Enemy backdrop Norman Smiley out at 1.20. La Parka is also gone. Public Enemy try to go after Meng. Not smart. He superkicks Grunge out at 1.44. Ultimo goes after Meng and that ring is being dominated by Giant & Meng. We cut to the nWo ring to see El Dandy get thrown out at 2.26. Apparently they’ve eliminated some others but they’re probably all jobbers. Bobby Blaze is thrown out by the nWo at 2.46. The nWo ring and the Giant ring have emptied right out but the other one is still loaded. Harlem Heat are both independently struggling. Booker saves Stevie from Scott Steiner. Then they spot Brad Armstrong and throw him out at 5.32. Go back to the mountains or Atlanta, GA. Either is fine. Valentine is still out there choking and chopping at Meng. Booker spin kicks Silver King out at 6.08. Damien goes out at 6.44. Cameras miss it. Miller grabs Iaukea’s hair and tries to drag him out. Heenan puts over how aware Luger is. Booker saves himself on the apron a few times. DDP is sick of Iaukea and throws him out at 8.21. He also tosses Yuji Nagata out at 8.33. Wrath and Renegade both spill out over the top at 9.23 and continue to brawl on the floor. The nWo ring is looking very empty. Jericho disappears at around 10 minutes. Not that every elimination is being caught on camera. Sometimes we’re only watching one ring. Hall nearly gets dumped out but Buff drags him back into the ring. Valentine is gone at 11.34. Giant is struggling with his hand so Duggan goes after him looking to get rid of him. The nWo throw someone else out but it’s not called or shown up close so I can’t tell who it is. WWIII is such a stupid idea for a match. It doesn’t come over well on TV or live. Chris Adams is gone at 13.47 even though he didn’t go over the top. That’s a rule change this year. Finlay goes out at 14.14. DDP and Benoit brawl through the ropes AND back in without falling out. Impressive. Taylor is out at 14.48. Benoit goes off camera. Malenko is kicked out at 15.19. We’re running low on vanilla midgets. Duggan gets backdropped out at 15.58 and tries to get back into another ring. Sneaky. Miller gets thrown out at 16.01. Giant is down selling his hand. Barbarian is gone. Rey puts Eddie out. Would it be so hard to get some replays? The nWo get sick of Rey saving himself constantly and triple team him until he’s gone at 17.02. Traylor is gone too so the nWo ring is almost empty. Rey is holding onto the apron still about 3 inches above the ground. Wright and Mortis go after the Giant but he backdrops them both out at 17.49. James Vandenberg isn’t thrilled. Only Giant and Meng in their ring. Giant clubs away while Scott Steiner is dumped in another ring. The nWo have now cleared their ring out. Stevie Ray is gone. Booker T, DDP, Rick Steiner and Lex Luger remain. Giant dropkicks Meng out at 18.56. His ring is now emptied. The nWo stand and look at him. Giant goes into the other ring. The nWo refuse to join the other ring and throw their referee out. So there are five WCW guys and five nWo guys and the WCW guys pile into the nWo ring for a brawl. DIAMOND CUTTER on Vincent. Savage prevents the elimination. Giant realises that the top rope thing doesn’t apply and rolls Vincent’s corpse out at 20.54. DDP focuses on Buff next. Giant has stopped doing anything. He’s hanging back. Booker T gets nWo’d out of the ring at 21.32. Rick Steiner is gone too at 21.36. The cameras manage to somehow miss both eliminations. Brilliant. Only three WCW guys in there. Giant clocks Savage off Bagwell. He helps DDP up. Bagwell attacks Luger and poses, which gets him beaten down. Jackass. The nWo team up to try and get shot of Luger but Giant ploughs into them sending Bagwell out at 22.51. Everyone else clings on but Hennig and Luger end up falling out at 23.01.
FINAL FOUR – Randy Savage, Scott Hall, the Giant and DDP. Savage pairs off with DDP and works his back over. Giant chops away at Hall in the corner. DDP calls for the Diamond Cutter but Savage counters into the jawbreaker. Savage calls for the big elbow and goes up top. Giant is walking around though. Uh oh. Savage just stands up top. He goes for a crossbody but gets caught. Savage goes to the eyes and escapes but DIAMOND CUTTER! DDP goes to roll Savage out but the Giant stops him. Chokeslam! For Savage and now he’s gone at 25.03. DDP, Giant and Hall left. Doesn’t look good for the nWo. Hall suddenly realises he’s alone and bails out to the other ring. He signals to the entrance and the nWo music kicks in as the announcers speculate that Kevin Nash is coming out here now. I’d question the legality of entering this late in the match but it doesn’t matter because there’s no sign of him. Instead Hogan’s music kicks in and he’s out here. He jumps into the ring suggesting he’s part of the match even though he’s the champion anyway. Hall will take it and the crowd wants Sting. Big time. Hogan goes after the Giant and slams him. Heenan points out he’s fresh. He then dumps DDP on the ropes groin first. Giant bearhugs Hall. Crowd goes nuts because here comes Sting from the rafters. Except it’s blatantly Kevin Nash. As he gets there Hogan throws DDP out at 29.24. Hogan runs out of the ring at 29.34 thus eliminating himself from the match he’s not in for a shot at his own title. Got that? Nash hits Giant with the baseball bat and he falls over the top at 29.40. Tony is kayfabing it still claiming it’s Sting even though he’s a different height, different weight and moves differently. He then steps over the top rope AGAIN just to rub in that it’s not Sting but Kevin Nash and the announcers still don’t get it. So Hall wins even though he basically didn’t eliminate anyone and he gets the title shot at Superbrawl. Or rather he doesn’t because this is WCW. *1/2. The coverage was just as bad if not worse as it was the previous year but I guess it can’t be helped because World War III is just a bad idea.
POST MATCH Nash goes back in with Hall and does the reveal by taking his mask off. Anyone retarded enough to not realise what was happening now goes “oooh”. The nWo pile in here to celebrate. Hogan gives DDP the Diamond Cutter. Which I guess is giving him the rub or something.
Final Thoughts: There are some solid matches on the undercard although Eddie-Rey was miles better at Halloween Havoc and it’s still the best thing on this show. The World War match sucked worse than the previous one I’ve seen. Quite how the concept survived beyond a year I don’t know. There are a few fun things on the show though so it’s not a total bust. Raven was allowed to be entertaining in his own way, Flair destroying Hennig’s knee then selling a belt shot for about an hour and that’s about it actually. The PPV formula isn’t quite on the money here because, with the exception of Ultimo-Nagata and Eddie-Rey, the talented guys don’t have anyone to work with. The result is somewhat flat. But then WCW booking was all over the place towards the end of 1997. They wouldn’t get the undercard workrate/main event sloth thing worked out until early 1998. When despite a series of brutal main events they actually managed a run of really good undercard shows.