WCW Souled Out 1998 Review
WCW Souled Out 1997
Date: January 24, 1998
Location: Hara Arena
So it’s Souled Out 1998 and after the farce of Starrace 1997, the fate of the World Heavy Championship still remains uncertain. There will be a major announcement regarding the belt on this broadcast.
Your commentators are Dusty, Tony and Weasel. We start with a somewhat cool scene with Eric Bischoff claiming he wants to purchase more souls. Interestingly, The Giant and Scott Steiner are shown in this sequence so buyer beware folks!
8 Man Tag Team Match: Juvi, Chavo, Lizmark Jr. and Super Calo vs La Parka, Silver King, Psicosis and El Dande.
La Parka is absolutely rocking out to the rock n roll music in the entrance. Always good for a laugh the ol La Parka. Once mighty fine piece of wrestling attire it is to. I love these sort of matches as you know exactly what you’re going to get – risks and high flying!
The very underrated duo of Psicosis and Super Calo start things off and in the words of Dusty Rhodes “Oh he ran right up his chest”. No shit ya dummy! Silver King dishes out some monster chops on Lizmark in the corner, dammnnn thats going to flame up in the morning.
LA PARKA IS IN AND HE SURE DOES HAVE SOME PAZZAZ BOBBY! Shows off his quick step manoeuvres before he catches Juvi off the ropes and shows a strut. Get cleaned up with a top rope hurricanrana to take La Parka outside. Juvi prepares for a high risk move to the floor but Psicosis dispenses him with a huge clothesline. Guerrera nails his potent 450 splash on Silver King but the pin is broken up. La Parka makes his way in and a sit-up powerbomb grabs only two! Silver King goes for a massive cross body to the outside but misses. Calo flies, El Dande flies before we get some AIR JUVIIII! God damn I love it! The rest fly to the floor and it leaves only Psicosis and Chavo in the ring. Tornado DDT from Chavo gets the 1-2-3. (9:30) La Parka enters with his chair and wipes out the winning side. Starts to dance and little and decides to smack his own partners. Ahhhh what a gem he is.
Rating: **** – Entertaining it certainly was and WCW seem to have a winning formula opening up the PPV’s with this sort of action. Crowd loves it, commentators love it and no doubt Mr Bischoff loves it. Could have gone a little longer as it was rather quick and we could have seen a bit more high flying but nonetheless a good start. Crowd was going nuts over La Parka’s wildish antics and just quietly, so was I.
Raven w/ The Flock vs Chris Benoit.
The Flock are barred from ringside as a stipulation added by WCW before the match begins. Raven begins reminiscing on his past and how he had no friends in school. He might talk some shit but you can’t help but listen with interest when this man speaks.
Raven pounces before Benoit hits the ring and whips him into the rail. A chair shot straight to the back gives him the early ascendancy before he utilizes the chair with a snap mare straight on it. Follows it up with a bulldog on the chair and Raven must be loving it. No he isn’t as he wears a drop toe hold onto the chair. BANG!
A pair of snap suplexes on both the ramp and in the ring as Benoit places the chair on Ravens head. Nails the flying headbutt and both men are down for the count. Gets to eight before Benoit finally covers but only gets the two! Benoit goes for another suplex but Raven fires back with the evenflow DDT.
Both men up just before the 10 count as Raven goes for a simple irish whip but Benoit whacks on the cripple crossface and Raven begins to laugh at the pain. Sick, freaky and shocking stuff before he passes out to the pain. (10:36) The Flock comes out and before they can touch him, Malenko makes his way in and clears house. A mutual sign of respect between the two.
Rating: ****¼ - I absolutely loved this. The way a single chair, the same chair, was utilized through the whole match was outstanding. The ending was booked well as Benoit was always going to come out on top but they found a way to make Raven look so so good in defeat. Add Malenko to the mix and some tasty potential match-ups could be interesting.
Cruiserweight Championship: Jericho vs Rey Mysterio Jr (c)
Well its now the angry, tantrum chucking Chris Jericho who has a chance to be the Cruiserweight Champion. The title has changed hands three or four times in the last two months so a long reign is due. Not long before things go outside and Rey teases a high risk manoeuvre. Jericho gets away but not before Rey can apply a chin lock back in the ring. Things hit the floor again as some nice back and forth action is on show. Rey hits a springboard flip that looked so easy in theory but is so ridiculously hard to pull off. A drop toe hold onto the steps gets Jericho on top. Jericho gets onto the top rope and Rey goes for a frankensteiner but Jericho catches him in mid air and jumps with him to the floor to apply the Liontamer for the submission. (8:28) Jericho gets on the mic and states that if the crowd is going to boo him, he’ll give them a proper reason to. Smashes the leg of Rey without the brace before ramming a steel box into it to officially allow him some time to heal.
Rating: **½ - Rey’s leg was in terrible shape at this point in time and it really didn’t allow this one to grow to any substantial heights. Jericho played the heal figure really well and this is where his career began to launch. Fully fit, this one would have been awesome.
The state of the World Heavyweight Championship is going to be revealed as JJ Dillon is in the ring with Mene Gene. Roddy Piper somehow had a say in all this and his music hits. So an announcement which should take max two minutes, is being stretched out into a marathon. Why WCW, why?
Now Sting is making his way down, followed by Hogan and Scott Hall. Hurrrryyyyy uppppp! So 15 minutes later, its finally revealed Hogan will face Sting at Superbrawl for the title. So basically the year and a half build to Starrcade was a total waste. Scott Hall leaves Hogan in the ring and tension appears to be high in the nWo.
TV Title Match: Rick Martel vs Booker T (c)
A sign reads “Tyson fears Booker”. I like it! Martel got this title shot out of nowhere by helping Booker on a few occasions after matches. His reward? A chance to do the beating. Lots of testing out between both competitors as Booker starts to get on top with a big clothesline followed by the Harlem Sidekick which gets only two. Standard kicks and mat work on the Quebec before he fakes a dick shot to lure Booker in. Lots of submissions before a quick lariat from Booker gets him nowhere. The Quebec Crab is locked on but Booker manages to reach the ropes. This one’s over when the scissor kick, back breaker and the Harlem Hangover connects for the 1-2-3. (10:50) They shake hands after the match for some nice touch. Cute! Saturn makes his way out of the crowd from nowhere and attacks Martel with a suplex. Booker rushes back in to make the save.
Rating: **½ - Some nice stuff in here but the crowd really didn’t give a crap. The match itself was tolerable and Booker is quite a good single’s wrestler at this early point. Unfortunately this feud is Martel’s last as he injures himself in the three way gauntlet later this year.
Larry Zbyszko vs Scott Hall
Dusty Rhodes is the man that will be walking down the ramp with Larry. I love this because it GETS HIM OFF COMMENTARY! HELLLS YEAH! His outfit though is shocking. What do you call that, a onesie?
Stalling is the flavour of the month before an abdominal stretch is applied by Larry. Scott Hall is out with some lad named Spacolli. So they have downgraded from Vincent to this tub of lard. ‘Hall sucks’ goes up and some hair slapping is followed by a fall back slam. Goes for the outsider’s edge but flips Hall over. Zbyszko ‘accidently’ nails the ref with a kick in the corner. Rhodes starts nailing Bertocchi before Larry holds Hall for him. Dusty inadvertently nails Larry before revealing an nWo t-shirt. And we have our first purchase by the nWo for the year 1998. A couple of elbow drops and it puts the nails in the coffin. (8:09)
Rating: N/A – Dusty Rhodes joining the nWo makes no freaking sense but I have to say it was still entertaining. Any turn which isn’t expected is always good but it has to be able to fit in. Unfortunately this one didn’t. Shock value – check. Logic – No! One quote stands out for me and it was when Hogan turned. “Thats a career down the drain kid.” And Dusty my man, you have probably just done the same yeah? Well it gets him off commentary for good so I am definitely not complaining.
Konnan, Scot Norton and Buff vs The Steiner Brothers and Ray Traylor.
Tony Schiavone begins to break down on the air. Adds some realness to the telecast which I thought was a great touch but took away totally from the commentary. Tony: Our kids play together with Dusty’s. Bobby: Will they be playing together tomorrow? Ahhh too soon weasel?
Scott Steiner looks down the camera and says “someone is going to cop it and they aren’t going to like it”. Rick fights with Scott over who starts off the match. Rick wins out and we are finally underway with the added commentary of Mike Tenay. Norton and ten tonne tissy begin to go at it and we officially have two stiffs in the middle of the ring.
Tony: I’m not going to let what happened get me down. You go Tony, you go ya little champion.
Anyways Rick and Ray are refusing to tag in Scott as he begins to take it out on the official. Heelish antics you could say. Hmmmm I wonder what is going to happen here? Konnan is stiffing this shit up a beauty tonight. Seriously, this bloke isn’t even overrated. He has no rating standing at all for me.
Traylor and Scott are fighting over the next tag while Rick is getting beat on. Scott is even standing right next to him on the apron. Scott and Traylor are tagged in at the same time as they both go to town. Scott nails the Steiner screwdriver for the 1-2-3. (12:20) Buff and Scott have some words over who has the smaller penis.... oops I mean bigger muscles.
Rating: * - Well I was thinking Steiner was going to turn in this on but perhaps I was just hoping as this one sucked pretty bad. Any match with Norton, Traylor and Konnan is going to be a flop and without any major talent in the other three, we were always up shit creek. The confrontation at the end between Bagwell and Steiner still opens up a potential swerve.
Kevin Nash vs The Giant
Well its understood that Nash no showed Starrcade due to booking and not wanting to put Giant over. Well grow some fucking balls and do something. If I was a wrestler, I’d do whatever I was told to do and work with the company, not against it. At the end of the day, you still get your pay check and aren’t payed extra if you win or lose like most sports so what’s his fucking problem? Argh.
Anyways, these two big men face off in the middle of the ring before a test of strength. Nash jumps over the rope and Giant incredibly catches him. Giant throws Nash back in the ring before Giant is flattened in the back by Hogan with a steel chair. Makes it just into the ring before the 10 counts but Nash continues the assault with some leg thrusts on the middle rope. Giant comes back and they big boot each other at the same time. Reaches a nine count before Nash gets the pin but for two only!
Giant nails the big boot and signals for the chokeslam. Bischoff jumps up on the apron and cops a choke slam. Hogan distracts the ref and Nash throws some hot coffee straight into the face, followed by a low blow. Tries to pick him up for a massive powerbomb but botches it and drops him straight on his neck. Nash realises it instantly that it could have injured him and gives him a quick ‘you alright. 1-2-3. (10:47) Replays show all his weight on top of his head and its safe to see that could have put him in a wheelchair for a long long time.
Rating: *** - This was a pleasant surprise and was far from a flop. The two big men actually put on an ok match but I have to words for Kevin Nash. Fuck you! Why WCW refused to punish him for being a sook and a pain in the arse is beyond. Instead they reward him with the win at the very next PPV? Absolute joke. Good match – shit result!
Ric Flair vs Bret Hart
Why this isn’t the main event is completely beyond me. Who wants to see Luger and Savage go at it in the main event when you can have two absolute superstars inside and outside the ring finish the night off on a high?
The technical stuff early on is just amazing. Continued testing out before hart is on top with a succession of power slams and other submission manoeuvres. Hart starts working on the leg of flair and numerous elbows are ruled to be illegal by the official. Hart takes him outside for his special figure four on the ring post. A kick forces Hart into the steel and Flair fights back with his typical dirty tactics. Hart thinks he gets the win but Flair is up and quickly attacks him in the knee from behind and the figure four is on in the middle of the ring. Hart turns it and Flair is forced to break the hold in a fierce contest. A side Russian leg sweep, elbow from the second rope and a superplex lead to the Sharpshooter for the submission win. (18:03)
Rating: ****¼ - This one was hard to review as I was so intrigued by it. Throw these two in a match together and you’re always going to get your money’s worth. The mat stuff was excellent, the chemistry was just amazing and the way things would change at the drop of a hat was awesome.
Lex Luger vs Randy Savage
How Lex Luger is still main eventing at this stage of his career is hard to believe. I have never heard a crowd less excited about a main event than this one right here. Its completely dead. “Luger is in the best shape of his career”. Settle down Bobby, he may be in the best shape, but his ring work is still total shit! Thanks Christ for Miss Elizabeth getting involved as she is smoking! She would probably wrestle a better match than Luger.
Anyways same old crap before Scott Hall begins to make his way down to the ring with a steel chair. Reaches the ring and Hogan says for him to stay out of it. Hogan staying out of something? NOOO WAYYYY! Luger pushes Savage into Hall and the Torture Rack is on for the win. And that officially ends the worst main event in a long long time. Perhaps worse than the whole Rodman/Hogan tag team match up as it at the least that had some atmosphere about it.
Rating - SHIT! No stars. Boring as hell and the crowd was already high from the all the other bouts. The post match stuff was pretty good with Sting and Luger but its more of the stuff we have seen on Nitro time and time again.
PPV Rating A-: One of the best WCW had produced in that modern era to date and the matches all finished clean bar a couple, one which had a major turn come about. It was again the lower card which got things off to a flyer and this one can be enjoyable throughout if you turn off after the Flair and Hart match. This one gets a HUGE thumbs up from myself and definitely go back and relive this one. Its an absolute shitload better than the 1997 version of Souled Out.
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