Pay-Per-View Club

Discussion in 'General Wrestling Discussion' started by Uncle Sam, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    [​IMG]

    What is it?
    Like a book club, but with pay-per-views. We watch wrestling pay-per-views and discuss them.

    How often?
    Once a month.

    How much do we have to write?
    I'm strict about this: a minimum of five words; a maximum of one hundred thousand.

    What's first?
    WCW Halloween Havoc 1997.

    When do we have to have watched it by?
    October the 28th.

    Who else is doing it?
    Several people. Top men.
     
    #1
  2. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    WCW, for me, wasn't a rival wrestling promotion to WWF; it was an alternate reality. Here's professional wrestling - but in a universe where hype videos didn't evolve properly, where Hulk Hogan never stopped being relevant, and where sometimes they put two steel cages together for some reason. Growing up in the UK, I didn't know people who exclusively or predominantly watched WCW, but there was a channel that showed Nitro (one hour before Raw, on Fridays) so I can assume they existed. I changed over to that channel once and Ric Flair was forming a tag team with his twelve-year-old son. Never again. My brother once got WCW/nWo Revenge for the N64 and I experienced the same existential horror that characters in The Mist do when something with a hundred legs and fifty eyes lays eggs in their thigh. Still, Rey Mysterio looked cool. Looking back at WCW therefore means it doesn't have the same protective, nostalgic shield that WWF from the same period does, but it does have the novelty of being familiar but just a little bit off. That basically summarises Halloween Havoc, or most WCW pay-per-views, for me: there's some (very) good, some (very) bad, but the main feeling I get is one of... oddness. It's like I'm tapping into the mind of my alternate self who grew up watching WCW, who drinks Pepsi, and who can grow a full beard. If I watched too much, the two realities might clash and I might have an aneurysm.

    I'll point out the ways I think WCW was, or is, superior to WWF as we go. In 2017, we get WWE presents WWE Cars on the Road: Pedal to the Metal, featuring a set that an intern's left a spare tire on - if you're lucky. Put this show on for five seconds and you'll see gravestones, a giant fucking pumpkin, and graphics being flown onto the screen by witches and-- well, you're not going to confuse it for Christmas Chaos, are you? Bring back Backlash! Bring back the giant swinging blades!

    Another difference I'd have found weird at the time but wouldn't seem out of place now: commentary teams that are more than two people. At this time, commentary to me would have been Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. It just was. You should have seen my face when Paul Heyman showed up on Raw one night. Tonight, you have a grand total of four commentators, most of whom are decent in their own right, but who only talk over matches three at a time, which is a blessing. Bobby Heenan has, for obvious reasons, had his praises sung to high heavens recently, and rightfully so. A personal favourite touch: how he didn't suddenly change his opinion on Hulk Hogan after Hogan turned heel but instead pointed out that Hogan had, as Heenan had always pointed out, being a snake all along. Mike Tenay is one of the more underrated announcers in the business. That guy was a trooper to stick with TNA for as long as he did (a sentence that admittedly applies to a lot of people).

    Something I often note about WCW is how costume designers whose sole source of inspiration was apparently Mortal Kombat. The most notable thing about what is by all means not a bad first match between Yuji Nagata and Ultimo Dragon is that Nagata comes out dressed in what I can only describe as Sub Zero's alternate outfit. Perhaps the most surprising aspect is that it goes about ten minutes, which is at least five more than I was expecting. I like how Nagata got a little bonus for badly injuring his opponent. That’s cute.

    Something especially weird about WCW was how they used Chris Jericho’s WWF music before Jericho was ever in the WWF. Either that or it’s been dubbed into the Network version of the show, and surprising well. That’s all beside the point, which is this: Jericho fights a man dressed as a banana, who has a really good show of it. We do get treated a few pre-WWF Jericho trademarks, like the deadlift powerbomb, which is apparently easier to do on a banana than it is Kane. There’s also his patented botched top rope frankensteiner, notable because it makes you worry that both participants might have landed on their god damn heads.

    There are certain areas where I just have to be a bigger man and admit WCW had the right idea. Light heavyweights had some underrated matches. You're not going to find me saying X-Pac, Jeff Hardy, Christian or even Scotty 2 Hotty are bad wrestlers. That said, you're also not going to find me saying they were producing anything close to Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero's level. That said, you're also not going to find me saying that many wrestlers produce anything close to the classic that Mysterio and Guerrero produce on this show.

    I don’t like matches where masks are at stake because I think they make the winners obvious nine times out of ten. Rey Mysterio’s WCW music is obviously supposed to evoke mystery - because of his name, innit - but it’s so slow and ponderous and unfitting. Those are the two criticisms I can summon for his match. No hot take here: this match is revered as one of the best ever, and that's because it's one of the best ever. It starts at 100mph and it does not let up. It’s hard-hitting, it’s high-flying, it’s near-flawless. A personal favourite moment is Mysterio’s corkscrew moonsault headbutt, as Mike Tenay refers to it, because I’m pretty sure it’s a botch but it might well not be because it looks absolutely incredible. The main reason I wanted to watch this pay-per-view is because it’s the twentieth anniversary of this match. Come for the wacky Rey Mysterio costume, stay for the wrestling clinic.

    Speaking of which, Mongo is not a good wrestler but people popped for his tombstone. They might have popped more for Goldberg kicking the shit out of him but a) it looked terrible and b) it was embarrassing the lengths to which the referee went to ignore said shit-kicking, looking directly at Goldberg several times and then pretending not to have seen him.

    WrestleZone alum (seriously) Disco Inferno early in the evening says he’ll fight a woman and, later in the night, fights Jacqueline. A man of his word was ol’ Glenn. The match itself is… lengthy. Probably unnecessarily so. Points for Disco actually selling, and I will say that it was actually rather enjoyable.

    Curt Hennig is so good. I remember immediately thinking he was a badass when I saw him hanging in the Royal Rumble with Triple H and Steve Austin, which is odd to look back on now. His match with Ric Flair was, predictably, a lot of fun. At one point, Flair uses his robe as a sort of power-up and Hennig sells a chop by doing a standing somersault. That tells you most of what you’d need to know about this one. It’s unclear why Flair intentionally gets himself disqualified or why WCW referees stop him from beating up a member of the nWo. It’s probably not a good sign when your commentators start several sentences with, “I don’t understand why…”

    It’s difficult to take Larry Zybsko seriously ever since Jericho mugged him off so thoroughly in his first book. It’s always nice to see alternate universe Razor Ramon, accompanied by alternate universe 1-2-3 Kid. It’s rarely nice to see Lex Luger, who’s accompanied by a preposterous fireworks display. Listen, the sight of Luger triggered some sort of instinctive glazing over and I’d lost interest by the finish. Scott Hall’s music was playing so I’ll just assume he won by raw sexual magnetism.

    It’s weird for someone to become your favourite wrestler in retrospect. You wouldn’t say that about an actor or a musician, but my favourite wrestlers are typically people who I watched wrestle at the peak of their career. Diamond Dallas Page was someone who I went back to after seeing them at very much not the peak of the career, after disbelievingly discovering that he was WCW champion from a documentary, and became a fan of after watching matches like this. Like with music, there’s little joy like discovering a great new artist and being able to wander through an extensive back catalogue at your leisure. If I remember correctly, a recurring motif between these DDP and Randy Savage was them putting each other through tons and tons of scenery. It was definitely a motif tonight. Getting put through styrofoam gravestones must be one of the roughest bumps going. A great match ending with a fake Sting hitting DDP in the ribs with a baseball bat is about as WCW as it gets.

    WWF's 1996 commissioner, as I would have had Roddy Piper described if I'd asked my brothers who he was at the time, is apparently challenging Hulk Hogan, the WCW champion, but not for the WCW title. Hogan is the champion but Roddy has the title. WCW’s quite light on my favourite thing about wrestling - recap packages - so I’m not quite sure why. Something about legal challenges, I dunno. I had absolutely no idea who Roddy Piper was when he turned at WrestleMania 19 and started beating people with a pipe. I've since seen It's Always Sunny and They Live, and love the man, but can you imagine how confusing that was to me at the time? It was unclear why these guys were fighting, unclear what they were fighting for, unclear what the rules of the match were - not helped by Michael Buffer saying “the survivor will be the winner” - and it was unclear why there were so many people dressed up as Sting. At one point, Randy Savage jumps from the top of the cage and hits no-one. Roddy won with a sleeper, which I wasn’t sure was possible, to little fanfare, and much confusion. Hogan puts on a Sting mask. A “fan” wearing Sting facepaint jumps in the ring and Hogan and Savage beat him up. That’s how the show goes off air. It’s all distinctly terrible, and confusing, and frustrating.

    MVP would probably have to go to Randy Savage, who cut several good promos throughout the night, had the only match that came close to Mysterio/Guerrero, and dove off the full height of the cage for no apparent reason. Not bad for a forty-five year old.

    Although my childhood, or the early parts of it, might have been cruelly devoid of Diamond Dallas Page and Rey Mysterio, it was also blessedly devoid of Mongo, Lex Luger and five hundred damn Stings who may or may not have been on Hulk Hogan’s side. On the strength - or lack thereof - of that ending alone, I feel like I was on the right side of the dimensional rift.
     
    #2
    tdmoon and Rainbow Yaz like this.
  3. Dagger Dias

    Dagger Dias Natural 20
    Staff Member Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    8,866
    Likes Received:
    4,178
    This PPV Club was a really cool idea, Sam.

    Watching this show takes me back into the good old days. I watched both Raw and Nitro through the Monday Night Wars through the help of taping one to watch later while watching the other in another room. The things one had to do before the DVR became a thing. Anyway, so back then my PPV selection was very limited. They were so much more expensive back then, let alone for my 11 year old counterpart. I had not seen this PPV event yet, even with the addition of old WCW content on the WWE Network. It was a good nostalgic experience to get caught up on this event, which I had heard a lot about over the years. I want to go back and watch a bunch of other old PPV events at some point. Anyway, let's have a look at this event in particular. I'll follow a similar format to my reviews of current shows and throw out a retro review!


    WCW Halloween Havoc 1997

    Ultimo Dragon VS Yuji Nagata
    An ok start to the show. I liked Ultimo so him winning was good. I had forgotten how annoying Onoo was.

    Chris Jericho VS Gedo
    Jericho having his WWE music here is odd. I don't like it that WWE is retconning things like that, but hey it's the match itself that matters. I don't remember Gedo whatsoever. Either because it's been 20 years or because he didn't make much of an impact. Can't go wrong with Jericho so I was happy to see him win. I legit LOL'ed at you calling Gedo a banana, Sam.

    Eddie Guerrero VS Rey Mysterio [Cruiserweight Championship]
    I've heard a LOT about this match yet oddly enough, had not seen it until yesterday evening. It was good stuff. While it's not quite AS good as people have made it out to be, I know I will be in the minority there. It may be due to me not being a particularly big fan of Rey. Never have been. I still really enjoyed it. Definitely the match of the night. The pace of the action was great and I had fun with the match from start to finish.

    Alex Wright VS Steve McMichael
    I'm likely to be in the minority yet again in that I actually liked McMichael back in the day. Now as an adult fan I can see that he wasn't great in the ring. This match was bad though in its defense anything else on the card would still have had difficulty in following the Cruiserweight Championship match.

    Disco Inferno VS Jacqueline
    Extremely stupid. I never liked Disco and regarding Jacqueline, whether you ask 1997 me of 2017 me, the answer would still be the same. I couldn't care less about her. Weakest match of the night for sure.

    Curt Hennig VS Ric Flair [United States Championship]
    This one oddly enough did not live up to expectations. Maybe it is from knowing them both as legends today, as opposed to trying to see it through my 1997 self's eyes? It was a major step up from Wright VS McMichael and Disco VS Jaqueline at least.

    Lex Luger VS Scott Hall
    This was really boring. I was a fan of both guys back then, I am not sure what it is, but I just couldn't get into this one at all. Larry being the guest ref didn't help the match much.

    Diamond Dallas Page VS Randy Savage
    Oh, man. This was good. SO much better than the last four matches. They went all over the place and broke parts of the set, where you could amusingly tell how unrealistic the "graves" were. Liz and Kimberly even got involved. The spot with the shattering tray was well done. Not even the odd ending could hold this match back. The second best of the night after Eddie VS Rey.

    Hulk Hogan VS Roddy Piper
    Started out great and highly exciting.... Then it just kind of ended, and it ends up being more confusing and frustrating than anything. The interferences, the fake Stings, the lack of clarity on the rules, and this not being for the WCW Championship made this go down in quality. It did have that cool spot with Savage jumping from the top, which was cooler than anything Hogan or Piper did in the match. Not horrible, although not good either. What an odd ending to the show. It's WCW though.

    Overall Thoughts
    When looking at the event from top to bottom, it was a fun overall experience to relive 1997 WCW for the night. The good stuff (Cruiserweight title match and DDP VS Savage) more than made up for the bad stuff such as Disco VS Jaqueline or them going on and on about Hogan throughout the night. A fitting start to the PPV Club. Looking forward to reading others' thoughts and watching the next event.
     
    #3
    Uncle Sam likes this.
  4. Rainbow Yaz

    Rainbow Yaz Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst
    E-Fed Mod

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    So full disclosure, I never watched WCW with regularity growing up. When I was a kid, it was WWF all the way. The majority of my pre Network exposure to WCW was either the video games, or Ready to Rumble. Jimmy King baby!

    Much like Sam, I think when you go back and watch WCW you get a lot of good and a lot of bad. It feels like there wasn't much middle ground there. You had a lot of lesser known wrestlers putting on great matches, and a lot of well known guys past their prime putting on garbage.

    One of my issues with this show is that if you take away the Rey/Eddie match, this show has nothing of note going for it. Because of that I have no idea what the majority of the storylines are and the intro was almost completely about Hogan and Piper. They made it seem like Piper was the guy to end the nWo. Piper is great, but I never once bought him as the guy to end the nWo.

    The first match got a solid ten minutes, but Nagata wasn't someone I was familair with. I knew who Dragon was, thanks to the famous meme with him and his fifteen titles, and the video games. He also totally botched one of his Wrestlemania entrances, so he had that going for him. I came in expecting Dragon to get the W, and I kinda thought he was going to pull it out, especially after getting kicked and suplexed around for a solid eight minutes, but that armbar finish was super fast. A good opener though. One thing I noticed that I don't really recall from the same era WWF, the two cruiserweights used the entire ring, and went outside and did a fair amount of moves on the outside.

    I always kinda enjoyed Disco as a bit of a comedy character. He kinds of reminds me of a Heath Slater, before Slater was Slating it up.

    Gedo is another guy I don't have much clue about. That yellow outfit was a hot mess though. He did a wicked flip mid match after a Jericho clothesline, that was nice. I get that Jericho wasn't a big guy, but I wish WWE would have let him keep some of his power based moves. He had a sweet powerbomb. Speaking of stuff Jericho didn't do often in WWE, that top rope botch was great from an entertainment standpoint. Jericho wasn't a big botcher, but his botches are almost always worth a watch.

    Mongo was a NFL guy right? He reminds me of one of those guys who were a fringe NFL player who went in pro wrestling in the 90s. They all sorted sucked and did few things of note, minus Goldberg. Debra got divorced a lot. Poor gal.

    So I can't say anything new about the Rey/Eddie match, but I will comment on Rey's WCW attire. Man, what was the thinking there? Also, I always forget thanks to how big he got in WWE, but Eddie used to be fairly small. Shame that bulk up was probably steroid related and lead to his early passing.

    I always liked Bischoff. I remember him as a straight laced interviewer in some AWA clips from watching with my papaw, and still am amazed he grew to be the mouthpiece of the nWo. Hogan and the nWo really hated Sting.

    The Wright/McMichael was more of an angle for a story I'm not sure of. This match came in under ten minutes (I think at eight) and about 95% of it was about Hogan and the nWo and how much power they had and how they had the fans in a pickle. The match was fairly blah, mostly due to the Goldberg interference (which was shit). Credit to Debra, she distracted the hell out of the referee to cause him to miss fucking Goldberg hitting the Jackhammer. I guess Debra just proposed to Goldberg?

    Savage and Liz were always a treat. Even in his mid 40s, Savage was great. Liz in the nWo shirt was a nice touch.

    Did they literally just say that the TV Title wasn't on the line in the Disco match because one competitor didn't have a penis? That wouldn't fly in 2017. Tony spent more time calling Hogan a coward and trying to sell the main event. Like why? If you already bought the PPV, why try to sell it more? I appreciate the early heel stall stactics by Disco, but it got to be too much here. I think he hit the floor ten times in the match, causing the fans to boo because it was annoying. Jackie was over with the commentary team, but the crowd didn't really seem into her. Didn't her top come off during a WWE PPV once? I bet the crowd cared there. When I was a kid and saw her in WWE, she seemed like a big deal because she could kick ass with the men, but she was literally hitting basic wrestling school moves here and it was much less impressive than I remembered. Weird that they have a champion lose clean. That bugs me when WWE does it today, it bugged me that WCW did it in 1997.

    Flair/Hennig sounded like a dream match, and aside from some really weird moments, this was decent. Like for one, I'm pretty sure Hennig brought the Cruiserweight Title to the ring instead of the US Title. Flair beating the piss out of Hennig was fun stuff for the first couple minutes. Seeing Flair's robe without the sleeves made me sad. I kinda get why you would talk about Hogan in the Wright/McMichael match, but why drone on about him and WCW's pride in the US Title match between arguably the GOAT in Flair, and an all time great in ring worker like Hennig? My favorite part, while the announcer's were ignoring the match to talk about Hogan and Bischoff, there was a long sleeper by Hennig. Just a fun synch up. Henning's chair shot to the post would have made Lance Storm and Horace Hogan proud. The ending actually makes some sense to me. Flair didn't care so much about the title as he did about 1) Getting back at Hennig for stealing his robe and 2) Hennig tried to go for the head with the chair, so payback was a bitch. Oh hey, its the nWo to beat up Flair.

    Savage's promo about how cool he is on the internet was amazing. The argument between JJ Dillon and Bischoff over contracts and Sting made me remember how bad the nWo could be at times.

    Larry Zbyszko will go down as one of the worst guest referees in history, and he managed to do it in one of the most boring matches of all time. I know Hall was a mess in WCW, but man this was bad. He was in the ladder matches with Shawn, and he gives us this? Yeah I get it, it was Lex Luger, nothing special, but man this was awful. The stupid interference and weird restart really fucked with me here, and who won this match? There was interference, Bischoff beating up Larry, Larry choking out X-Pac, it was a mess.

    The Last Man Standing match between Savage and DDP would have been match of the night on most shows. I wish i could have seen DDP in his prime, he just seems like an amazing wrestler and character, and man at 45ish, could Savage still go. Did Page wrestle the entire 90s with hurt ribs? I seem to remember him with the tape a lot. The announcing for this match made me scratch my head a few times. Like why question if DDP should use the Cutter? Dusty was at his best though, a hot mess who barely made sense. I loved when he freaked out over the set exploding. Raven's Flock had to buy tickets to the show? Why else would they be in the crowd? Someone who knows more inform me, was Nick Patrick just corrupt or inept or what? My memories of him, and this match sort of confirms it, are always of him missing in ring action. The fake Sting thing killed this though, much like fake Sting killed many things.

    The main event really messed with me. There was no ref(at first), and no rules, and Piper had the belt but wasn't champ, and this match was non title and I guess Piper was trying to end the nWo, but he won and didn't end the nWo, and at one point he bit Hogan's ass. He also hit a lot of low blows. Oh, and was that the real Sting or a fake Sting? Nevermind, there were too many Stings to keep track, so don't hurt yourself. All those Stings did a good job of scaring Hogan. Scared him so bad he fell down when Savage did his death defying leap from the cage. That leap was the best. Second only to the fan getting his ass handed to him as the show went off the air.

    To me, this show embodied what WCW came to be remembered for. Fun wrestling from future stars, and way too much time on guys past their prime. That cage match was fifteen minutes of punches and stalling, while Rey/Eddie was fifteen minutes of flips and fast paced action. Way too much time on Hogan, and classic performances from second tier stars like DDP.
     
    #4
    Dagger Dias likes this.
  5. Барбоса

    Барбоса doesn't know REAL wrestling...

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    1,341
    My experience with WCW is very similar, except being a little older I got to watch WCW Worldwide on a Saturday afternoon, which rarely showed mid-card guys never mind the main event.

    Despite being a retirement home for many of my WWF favourites, WCW was strange. The ring made a strange sound; the entrance music was weird; the ring announcers were weird (ainly because they rarely focused on the action in the ring); Michael Buffer talked the biggest load of rubbish beyond "Let's get ready to rumble!"

    It was just weird. Alien almost. Now, that did not mean that I could not enjoy it or recognise good matches and entertaining story-lines but it did mean that I failed to connect to it on a fundamental level. That made me far less willing to overlooking the nonsense than I was with contemporary Attitude era WWF.

    And Halloween Havoc 1997 is full of nonsense.

    And it really should not have been. I mean look at the card...

    Hogan/Piper
    Flair/Hennig
    Savage/DDP
    Luger/Hall
    Mysterio/Eddie

    In terms of spectacle alone, these five matches should have carried this to be one of WCW's better PPVs. Instead, beyond Mysterio/Eddie and savage/DDP, it is a steaming pile. Ill-focus and chronic booking ruined Hogan/Piper, Flair/Hennig and Luger/Hall, and slightly undermined Savage/DDP.

    That then forces the viewer to look at the rest of the card in order to give it a grade and the rest of the card is hot garbage, filled with nothing matches, poor combos and/or poor talent. And Chris Jericho in his usual WCW role of criminally underused.

    As to some of the matches, while it is enjoyable, I have never been able to fathom why Mysterio/Eddie is rated amongst WCW's best ever (might say more about the dearth of competition than how good this actually was). It was not even Mysterio's best match that year. he had far more realistic outings with Malenko.

    A large part of that reaction is personal as I just cannot suspend my disbelief at so much of that cruiserweight offense because a) it doesn't look like it hurt and b) it doesn't look like it should cause a man to do a forward flip. Head-scissors take downs, tornado DDTs, hurricanranas etc. etc. all look largely like shit. And that is not just on Mysterio, but it is magnified in this case by how small he is.

    The real bright point of Halloween Havoc 1997 is Savage/DDP; not just because it is a good contest in the midst of a great feud but also because it is a rare beast in WCW at this point - an established star building up a new name and making him seem like he belonged on or near his level. I remember seeing a video where it was recalled how big a moment it was that Savage suggested he take (and then lose) to the Diamond Cutter. Again, that might say more about the glass ceiling of WCW than Savage really doing something that would not be expected of a true pro, but he could easily have refused and left DDP to take the elbow, lose and then go nowhere.
     
    #5
    Dagger Dias likes this.
  6. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    Just to pick up on that commentary point (about them rarely focusing on the action in the ring) because I didn't write much about commentary: I noticed that a lot. My total lack of interest in whether Hogan was going to turn up for the main event (one would assume he would but hey, it's WCW) was only brought into sharper focus by the commentators' instistence on talking about it constantly, regardless of whether there were a) big stars, b) amazing action, or c) both in the ring.

    It'd probably be unfair to suggest WWF didn't do something similar ("I'm really enjoying this D'Lo Brown match, JR - I sure hope Steve Austin doesn't come out in a crazy vehicle of some sort and stun everyone!") but the pay-off there would've been Stone Cold Steve Austin stunning twenty people and then drinking twenty beers, rather than someone in a fake Triple H outfit helping him lose to a sleeper.

    I'm glad there's a consensus forming on just how good Savage and DDP were.
     
    #6
  7. Tastycles

    Tastycles Turn Bayley heel

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,880
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    There was a time when I watched more WCW than WWF, but it was in early 1999, and the fact that I still remember more WWF storylines and wrestlers from that period should speak volumes about the lasting impact that WCW had on me. That being said, I have gone back and watched a bit of this and that over the years, and I'd seen some of this show before. I'll go through match by match, but I'll probably skirt around the match itself to make some wider points.

    A point that is often made is that the WCW Cruiserweight division had better talents than its WWF Light Heavyweight counterpart. This is unquestionably true, but it's only part of the problem. Guys like Aguila, Scott Taylor and Taka Michinoku weren't terrible, but the division was and a huge part of that is the presentation. Here on WCW we have Mike Tenay, who clearly knows what he's talking about commentating on the matches with the others. But perhaps even more importantly, whilst Bobby Heenan is there, he's taking the matches seriously and not just trying to endlessly pull funnies at the expense of the talent, a lesson that Jerry Lawler never learned. I get that Brian Christopher was an early focal point and the angle with him and Lawler was part of that, but Lawler should at least have taken the talents seriously whilst putting them down. This PPV, in a nutshell shows the nuances that account for the difference in quality between Heenan and many inferior heel commentators, Lawler included.

    The fact that Jericho was in a last minute addition to the card has been touched upon, and an obvious flaw in the WCW camp. Why waste a talent like that? But more to the point, and perhaps even more damningly this PPV also didn't give an airing to the tag champions Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner, nor The Giant, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, Steven Regal and countless others. I get you can't have everyone on every show, but for all that talent to be ignored is ludicrous.

    Guerrero and Mysterio is a classic, but the stipulation makes the outcome obvious, and I think that lack of jeopardy is what prevents it being one of the best matches ever, but it's certainly very good.

    The first three matches could easily exist in a separate bubble to the rest of the show. With the different lead commentator and pacing, it was genuinely like watching TakeOver followed by the WWE show today. It had the same familiar anti-climactic feeling to the bigger show too.

    Match number four saw Mongo McMichael, the 40 year old NFL has been take on Alex Wright. McMichael may have been a fairly big star in NFL, but he was not the sort of person that people were going to be particularly interested in seeing wrestle. Meanwhile Booker T was on WCW Saturday night that weekend. This match made the crowd flatter than an ironing board and it was exacerbated by Debra introducing Alex Wright as her mystery representative. The fact that Jarrett was set up for this match despite the fact his contract expired a week before it is par for the course when it comes to contract renewal in 90s pro wrestling. Absolute amateur hour. Even with that in mind, the fact that Jarrett was on Raw the previous week meant they could have made this switch on Nitro. Making out it was going to be a big mystery opponent and then Alex Wright comes out killed the crowd, after all the work team afterthought had done in the first three matches.

    I had always been on the fence as to whether or not Goldberg's meteoric rise was by design or by accident on the part of WCW. Seeing the next big monster face be a hired gun being paid with a stolen ring and then level out an associate of someone he was working for answers that question pretty definitively in my mind. They're lucky he's so charismatic. The referee in this match took turning the back on the action to a whole new level of awfulness.

    Next up, Jacqueline takes ten minutes to beat Disco Inferno. As a comedy bit, fine. The outcome was reasonable, but did it really require ten minutes of atmosphere hoovering non-contact inaction? Probably not.

    Hennig and Flair had a pretty dull match, with Hennig being the first of 4 consecutive nWo members with a big match. The music is good, but it's not that good. Give them separate music, actually separate not just someone saying "OHH YEAAHH" out of time with the music over the top of it. It was pretty dull, but I guess they set up the WCW vs nWo picture up well. Oh wait, all the WCW officials are assisting in Ric Flair not be able to dish out a pasting and getting beaten up.

    The less said about Scott Hall vs Lex Luger the better, and Larry Zbyszko calling for a replay ruins the suspension of disbelief that was required for at least 4 of the other matches on the card.

    The Last Man Standing match or whatever ridiculous name it was given was half decent, but I don't think it was as good as I'd expect from stars of this calibre. Furthermore the ending made absolutely no sense whatsoever. What was the purpose of that guy being dressed as Sting if absolutely nobody sold it as him being Sting on the commentary team or in the ring. There was so much interference anyway, why not make it Hall or Syxx or whoever get involved? At least that would have made sense.

    The main event is straight up one of the worst matches I've ever seen. No credible offence, no appreciable rules at all. "This is a cage match to contain the action", but both wrestlers outside within a minute. Terrible. Good work from Savage, but all Hogan had to do to sell the miss was to stand still, and he didn't. Then obviously there's a huge shit show of Stings. If they're there to intimidate Hogan, why wouldn't the real Sting show up to prevent the beat down? Or at all? Absolute dross.

    The take home message of this show is clear for me. Of the last 6 matches, 6 of the 11 male talents were over forty years old. Of the other five, Hall, Hennig and Luger were all 39 with a history of drug, injury and talent problems respectively, Disco Inferno lost clean to a woman and Alex Wright was a replacement. Meanwhile, they had a whole host of talents in their 20s and 30s who didn't even feature. By contrast, the WWF PPV that month was Badd Blood where only 3 talents were over 40 - Bret Hart, Hawk and Vader all of whom were being used to get younger talents over at the time.

    People often say the Monday Night War was won at this point or that, but this shows that WCW were never going to win it. At this point they had had the ratings win for over a year, yet it is so badly booked and despite having recruited some good talents they did absolutely nothing to develop them or even include them on their major shows. WCW won the initial skirmish because it had bought all of WWF's main talents, making WWF worse and them better. But literally as soon as Austin won the title and WWF had big names of their own, the tide turned. The reasons that was completely inevitable were on display here.

    The only way that WCW could have remained on top with this booking would have been to sign Austin and Rock etc in 1998 and then repeated that cycle every couple of years there on out, which would have sent them into financial ruin.
     
    #7
    Uncle Sam likes this.
  8. Барбоса

    Барбоса doesn't know REAL wrestling...

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    1,341
    This is a good point, which I would take even further to say that WCW backstage politics were so rotten by this point that even cash-cows like Austin and Rock, overlooking the notion that WCW would have had no idea how to capitalise on them, would not have saved WCW in the long run.

    I mean WCW had Bill Goldberg mowing down all and sundry and still were financially ruined within three years.

    The benefit for WCW in signing Austin and Rock at this time or a year later would be that, along with Bret looking to leave and HBK's back being broken, it would have deprived WWF of their saviours and may well have seen Vince go out of business or at least be in no position to hoover up the great misused talent like Jericho, Benoit, Eddie etc.

    The real benefactor in the situation might well have been somewhere like New Japan or a newly formed NOAH.
     
    #8
  9. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    Speaking of adopting another company's stars, I do often think of that period between 2001 and 2005 when WWE were scrambling to find new top stars to replace The Rock and Steve Austin and landed upon Jericho and Benoit and Guerrero, and it not really working out for a variety of reasons. Benoit and Jericho's initial push was scuppered by injury and The Rock's return respectively, leading to Benoit taking a year out and Jericho turning heel. Benoit and Guerrero eventually had almost literal coronations but were both firmly entrenched back in the midcard by the time of their respective deaths (I've never been entirely convinced that Eddie was actually going to win the world title a couple of weeks after he died; Benoit winning the ECW title is obviously more believable). It was really those three and Mysterio who got a fairer shake than they ever did in WCW. It's a shame the same can't be said of DDP, who wanted a people's champion versus people's champion feud with The Rock but instead got to stalk The Undertaker's girlfriend and then feud with Christian. Suffice to say: great talents all but not megastars in waiting.

    I've been pondering how that main event turned out that way. Who politicked and counter-politicked to turn it into such a hodgepodge of nonsense? Normally the answer would be whoever came out of it looking good. Seeing as the answer to that is nobody, it may forever remain a mystery.
     
    #9
  10. Rainbow Yaz

    Rainbow Yaz Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst
    E-Fed Mod

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    It probably had at least something to do with just how much power Hogan had behind the scenes in WCW, coupled with someone, no clue who, doing their best to remind everyone that the big payoff to all of this nonsense was Sting beating Hogan and the nWo.

    I have a feeling that somewhere along the lines, something similar to this came out of Hogan's mouth. "Okay brothers, I'm the big daddy in WCW and I don't do the job for anyone, but the fans want me to lose so we have Piper beat me with his signature hold, but I won't tap or pass out and immediately after he locks it in, I put on a mask to mock that out of shape Stinger jack. If I lose, the fans will totally love it dudes, but Hogan lays down for no man."
     
    #10
  11. Барбоса

    Барбоса doesn't know REAL wrestling...

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    1,341
    And boy, did WCW beat us over the head with "Sting is going to destroy the nWo."

    The Sting Army appeared far too often and frequently did little and were even belittled by Hogan and co. None of the nWo were taken out. Sting had little to do with the internal troubles of the nWo.

    And then Sting didn't destroy the nWo... Jesus.
     
    #11
  12. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    17,885
    Likes Received:
    3,399
    Oh I think I’m going to have to get in on this.

    So it’s 1997 WCW and that means the NWO is running wild. Like, crazy wild. Like the wild when you’re in your mid 30s and still think you’re cool enough to hang out with college students. Basically EVERYTHING is building towards Starrcade in two months, making this show, which seemingly would usually be one of the biggest shows of the year, into something far less interesting. The main event is Hollywood Hogan vs. Roddy Piper in a cage, non-title of course, with a great secondary main event of Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage in a Las Vegas Death Match (Last Man Standing). Let’s get to it.

    I’ll be doing this in a similar style to a review but it won’t be quite as formal.

    Halloween Havoc 1997
    Date: October 26, 1997
    Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
    Attendance: 12,457
    Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, Bobby Heenan

    Ok so maybe a little bit formal.

    Yuji Nagata vs. Ultimo Dragon

    Holy sweet merciful goodness I could not stand Nagata. I know he’s the angry grandpa in New Japan today but I was bored to death and back by him in 1997. Basically Dragon was betrayed by manager Sonny Onoo (thankfully a name lost to time as he was pretty worthless, along with borderline racist), who brought in Nagata as his new protege. Nagata wrestled a submission style which didn’t quite mesh with Dragon’s not quite high flying, making for quite an uninteresting opener. Dragon tapped to an armbar, killing whatever interest the crowd had. It was good enough though and that’s what matters most.

    Rating: C+. He’s still boring.

    Chris Jericho vs. Gedo

    This was a bonus match and Gedo is now the booker for New Japan. It’s another styles clash here as Tenay explains that Gedo is a fan of southern style brawling from the 1970s and emulates Dusty Rhodes. Now picture that against CHRIS JERICHO and wonder why the match is such a mess. The best (in a way) remembered part of this match is Jericho heading up top for….something and nearly killing Gedo in the process, more or less turning it into a Styles Clash. Jericho eventually won with the Liontamer.

    Rating: C. At least Gedo didn’t, you know, die.

    Cruiserweight Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio

    Eddie is defending and this is mask vs. title. I’m not sure what there is to say about this match other than it might be the best WCW match ever. Seriously, it’s that good and well worth going out of your way to see. These guys just go nuts out there and since they’re two of the best of all time and work insanely well together, the result was pure magic. The fans HATED Eddie coming into this and wanted nothing more than for Rey to beat him once and for all.

    The problem with this match is what else was going on in the same year. Somehow, as great as this match was, it might not have even been the match of the month as Undertaker and Shawn Michaels blew off their feud in the Cell a few weeks earlier. Throw in the Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin submission match and it might be the third best match of the year. You could make a case for it being at the top though, and I can’t say I’d argue against it that strong.

    Rating: A+. Go watch this.

    In a four minute segment, Eric Bischoff and Hogan demand that Sting be banned from the building before Hogan will get in the cage. I still have no idea why we had to have these segments during the pay per view. We’re not paying for a TV segment here so get on with the higher quality stuff. Then again, it’s kind of hard to complain after that match.

    Alex Wright vs. Steve McMichael

    This however is much easier to complain about. Debra McMichael is managing Wright, basically in an attempt to get back at her husband Steve. The match is standard Nitro fare, meaning it’s not very good and has no business on this show. It’s not entertaining, it’s not good, and it’s completely ignored by the announcers. The important thing here though is the ending, which saw Goldberg, who had debuted about a month earlier, lay McMichael out to give Wright the pin. That would be Goldberg’s first feud before he was completely changed into the Goldberg you know/possibly tolerate/possibly can’t stand.

    Rating: D. Just a TV match with an ending to set up a feud.

    Disco Inferno vs. Jacqueline

    If you’ve never heard my opinion on Jacqueline, we’ll simplify it to saying I wouldn’t mind if she was used as a speed bump on 34th Street in the Bronx. This was supposed to be for Disco’s TV Title because people would be interested in Jacqueline fighting for men’s titles for reasons I don’t quite comprehend. They did this a few times and it was never any good, much like this match. It’s mainly Disco running away in fear until Jacqueline rolls him up for a clean pin. On a champion. On pay per view. And no, people still didn’t care.

    Rating: F. For so many, many reasons.

    US Title: Curt Hennig vs. Ric Flair

    Flair is challenging but this is about revenge as Hennig turned on the Four Horsemen at Fall Brawl, slamming the cage door on Flair’s head. Oh and he stole Flair’s robe through because he’s a dirty thief. For some reason Hennig brings out the Cruiserweight Title instead of the US Title, which is one of those things that only WCW could manage to botch.

    It’s a completely watchable match as you know these two are capable of having. Flair has Hennig in trouble but hits him with the belt for the DQ because he cares about hurting Hennig more than getting the win. This was a great emotional performance from Flair but the ending hurt it a lot.

    Rating: B-. These two were always going to have a solid outing and this was no exception.

    We continue the Hogan/Bischoff/Sting stuff as Commissioner JJ Dillon brings out a notarized contract, guaranteeing that Sting won’t be here. Bischoff wants Nitro if Sting shows up. This couldn’t be more filler if there was a big screen saying FILLER and it’s getting annoying.

    Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall

    Again, because it’s WCW, this is all about the guest referee: Larry Zbyszko (which I can spell without looking it up). Larry and Hall had an issue back in the AWA which was never actually specified, but every WCW fan watched the AWA right? Anyway Larry wants to fight Hall and is tormenting him until we actually get there.

    It’s about what you would expect as Larry keeps calling it fair but gets tricked into allowing cheating, but there’s a moment in this match that might be among the all time dumbest ever. Hall grabs a surfboard and cranks on both of Luger’s arms. Luger spins out and gets behind Hall….WHO DOESN’T LET GO OF LUGER’S ARMS AND HAS TO GO TO THE ROPES FOR THE BREAK. This guy was good enough for the ladder match but he can’t figure out that he’s keeping himself in pain.

    Anyway Syxx comes in and cheats to give Hall the pin but Larry restarts the match until Syxx comes in for the DQ anyway, making the pin pretty worthless. Of course Bischoff comes in and lays out Larry because the world was waiting for that match, which Bischoff would dominate as well.

    Rating: D. That surfboard spot is all you need to know.

    Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage

    This is one of the feuds that you often hear cited as one of WCW’s best and it’s no surprise. It actually got Page WAY over as a main event star and the matches were all really good too. This is last man standing and is another match worth watching if you have the chance. Page debuts the taped ribs here, which would become a trademark for years to come. A fake Sting (Hogan) attacks Page to give Savage the win. I’ll let you watch it yourself for the details. Oh and Liz and Kimberly looked GREAT here. That’s always a major plus. Or two plusses here.

    Rating: A-. That’s about average for these two.

    Hollywood Hogan vs. Roddy Piper

    And of course this has to be here to waste our time at the end. They’re both old, they’re both terrible, a bunch of Fake Stings come in, Savage comes in and misses an ax handle off the top of the cage, and the match is a disaster. Hogan might have been a top star but he just didn’t have it anymore at this point and hadn’t for years. The match is terrible as Piper was more insane than anything else at this point and I really didn’t need to see him in a ring, let alone beating Hogan in a main event (via sleeper).

    Rating: H-. About as bad as it got this year, which is covering A LOT.

    Post match a fan (which was probably a plant but you never know around here) runs in and gets beaten down by Hogan and Savage.

    Overall Rating: B-. The good is outstanding and the bad is Hogan vs. Piper. Check out the two great matches but skip the rest.
     
    #12
    Uncle Sam likes this.
  13. Rainbow Yaz

    Rainbow Yaz Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst
    E-Fed Mod

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    I knew Hennig came out with the wrong title. Was it ever explained why he came out with the wrong title? Like I know Hennig had substance abuse issues, but why would he have the wrong title?
     
    #13
  14. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    I didn't even notice the belt botch. Mind you, I've no idea what the belts in WCW were supposed to look like (with one obvious exception). My theory would be that it was one of those times a backstage rib escapes the backstage to the amusement of absolutely nobody. Or Hennig was out of his mind on coke, whichever.

    The Jacqueline (actually I think there's a 'Y' in there somewhere) versus Disco match would have been improved if either a) it was considerably shorter, b) Jacqueline got in some better offense than some awkward looking armdrags or c) both. I stand by my enjoying it - largely because Disco is an absolute goof - but there are obviously much, much better adverts of intergender wrestling out there.

    Now's as good a time to announce the next pay-per-view as any, at KB's request:

    WWF Survivor Series 1987

    Deadline: 28th November
     
    #14
  15. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    17,885
    Likes Received:
    3,399
    Not that I've ever heard of. There's always the chance his luggage was lost or something. That's a big, big reason why WWE does their titles so differently. The belts you see on TV are collected at the end of the night. They'll have a far less expensive/less flashy version to take with them, just in case. The ones for TV are called Hero Titles.
     
    #15
  16. Dave

    Dave Here we go, 10 in a row!
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    Halloween Havoc 1997

    You know, I had planned on doing a review in the typical style of KB but time has not been my friend as of late and I just haven't gotten around to it. In fact, it was a minor miracle that I was able to find the several hours to get the PPV watched... Nevertheless, I got there in the end and, well, I am not quite sure what to make of it all quite frankly.

    You see, I was never a WCW fan in the first place. In 1997, I was 7 years old and not really in the clutches of wrestling at that point. In fact, it was about 3 or 4 years later that I became a wrestling addict. That attraction really came along with the Attitude Era of WWF and a TV deal with a free-to-view TV channel in the UK. The truth of the matter is that the WWF was more accessible to someone like me when I was 7 years old and WCW just, kind of, existed outside of the periphery of my TV consumption.

    Still, in preparation for watching this event – an event that I had never seen before – I looked up the match card before watching. And that is where my first point comes from; WCW had such an embarrassment of wrestling riches back in these days that it is almost ridiculous to think that they could squander such a huge array of talent. At this PPV, you had the likes of Sting, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Mr Perfect, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Scott Hall, DDP and Lex Luger. That's a who's who of wrestling greatness, quite frankly. The fact that WCW went from strength to strength with these names in their roster is no surprise The great surprise is how they let it get so bad that they had to fold. We all know the reasons but back in 1997, they had all the tools to really go the distance and they buckled. And that brings me on the next point...

    This PPV exists in peaks and valleys, in terms of quality. The Cruiserweight match is incredible and probably the match of the PPV. The match between DDP and Randy Savage is also brilliant and takes the Cruiserweight match all the way in terms of competition. The good on this card is simply fantastic, it truly is. For someone who never really caught a lot of WCW and who didn't really know what it was all about, this was a truly eye-opening experience. I said it before but WCW was stacked with talent. So much so that all of the matches could have been very good on this card. But when it is bad, it is truly bad. So much has been said about the main event but words don't even do it justice. It is truly ridiculous. Terrible, even. I actually watched it twice and neither time it made sense. Really, really bad.

    So that's it really. Coming from someone who doesn't have a lot of history with WCW, this review should be taken with a pinch of salt. I don't know what the average PPV looked like for WCW but this seemed very average in places. Like I said, there are two matches that really liven the PPV up and a couple of matches that kill its momentum. It's a shame really. After looking at the card, I was more than prepared to give this a fair shot. But that main event... Boy, oh boy.
     
    #16
    Uncle Sam likes this.
  17. Барбоса

    Барбоса doesn't know REAL wrestling...

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    1,341
    It's not the only time that Hennig had the wrong title either.

    When he beat Tito to win the IC title tournament, he was presented with a tag title belt.

    Was that the Warrior refusing to hand back the IC belt after beating Hogan for the world title?
     
    #17
  18. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    Survivor Series 1997:

    It came as no surprise when KB wanted to talk about this pay-per-view on its twentieth anniversary. Finally, as a community, we could come to a conclusion. We could go through events in forensic detail and decide: was Vince justified? How much did Shawn know? Did Bret really screw-- sorry, what? Eighty-seven?

    Right.

    Give me a few minutes.

    Survivor Series 1987:

    It came as no surprise when KB wanted to talk about this pay-per-view on its thirtieth anniversary. The first Survivor Series. Four survivor series matches, each somehow longer than the last. If watching WCW was like peaking into an alternative universe, watching eighties WWF is like watching a CGI recreation of the origins of life. Marvel as Rick Rude bursts forth from the primordial ooze. Stare in awe as Randy Savage and his rudimentary lungs wash up on shore. Hark! Hulk Hogan has grown legs! To be fair, while there was lots that felt very old, what stood out were the odd bits and pieces that were way ahead of their time.

    Jesse Ventura's snakeskin jacket is obviously ahead of its time, to the point that it'll probably come into fashion sometime around 2038.

    The first match - and I've no idea if this will be an unpopular opinion - was probably the worst. Slow, plodding, no real structure to speak of. The fulcrum of the match is Randy Savage trying to get his hands on Honky Tonk Man, which he kind of does but kind of doesn't, so it's hard to feel either satisfied at him getting his comeuppance or - what I suspect they were going for - frustrated because he managed to escape it. He does get a beating but runs off before he can take a pinfall, so...?

    I feel like a genie had heard my wish for a faster-paced match and granted me it in the most ironic way possible. The women's survivor series match just does not stop, at any point. Irish whip, Irish whip, dropkick, Irish whip, Irish whip, cross body. There's a lot of offense and at first it's suffocating. As the match goes on, however, a more deliberate, technical side emerges. This is thanks in no small part to the two ladies collectively known as the Jumping Bomb Angels, who Jesse Ventura later compares to the Dynamite Kid. I'm not sure if I'd go that far but they're certainly years ahead of their time and, in terms of sheer athleticism at least, the equal of any woman currently in WWE.

    Something this match did show is how far women's wrestling was allowed to regress before it reached its absolute nadir, what, some time around 2006? With maybe a couple of exceptions, I'd trust most of these wrestlers to work a decent match. Pleasantly, there's even a few who have been allowed to pass thirty years old without becoming part of a real life Logan's Run.

    The "tag" match, featuring so many men that counting them would be futile, was probably the best part of the show. There's not much story to dig into, just lots of faces versus lots of heels, and nearly everyone is a workhouse. There's a few neat spots and there's something oddly comforting about how it seemed to stretch on forever, like I could imagine myself slouched in front of the TV, digesting a particularly big dinner and not really having to pay attention to who's being eliminated.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure the lengthy Million Dollar Man promo, which I loved, featured a young Rob Van Dam kissing feet.

    Your opinion of the main event might depend on your opinion of Hulk Hogan. For instance, I thought the main event was a boring twat. I was kind of appreciative of them making Bam Bam look strong, before I realised it was just a byproduct of Hogan getting eliminated by count out so Andre could win without beating him. Yes, it makes both business and narrative sense. No, that doesn't mean I have to find it interesting. The obnoxiousness raises to 11 when Hogan invades the ring post-match and poses to close the show, but at least it's not as egregious as WrestleMania IX.

    In conclusion, Survivor Series is a land of contrast.
     
    #18
    Dagger Dias likes this.
  19. Dagger Dias

    Dagger Dias Natural 20
    Staff Member Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    8,866
    Likes Received:
    4,178
    Survivor Series 1987

    Going back the oldschool days here this month in the PPV Club. I've seen this show before but did not mind watching it again this month for a fun look back on the first edition of one of the prestigious Big 4 events in the WWE. It was very different from today's major events and even different from modern editions of the same event. Every single match was under the tag team elimination rules. Also, there's only four matches on the show. Let's have a look in a retro review.

    Team Honky Tonk Man VS Team Randy Savage
    A fun start to the show. A number of legends are in this match. Every single member of Randy Savage's team is someone I like and then you have Harley Race as well as Honky Tonk Man on the heel team. I loved Honky Tonk Man's tactics here. In true heel fashion, he believed he was the true survivor of the match and bragged about it in a promo later on in the show! Brilliant heel work by Honky Tonk Man. It's one of the main things I've remembered from watching this show before and it still stands out to me now.

    Team Fabulous Moolah VS Team Sensational Sherri
    This was very difficult to find interest in. I'm honestly not all that familiar with most of the women who competed in this match. Moolah and Sherri (and to a lesser extent the Jumping Bomb Angels) are really the only ones who kept my attention. Decent enough to not have to fast forward, although it is my least favorite match on the event.

    Team Hart Foundation VS Team Strike Force
    Goodness this dragged on for an eternity. Luckily they had a rule to where if one member of a team got eliminated then his tag team partner had to leave too. Otherwise we would be waiting even longer in order to get through all ten eliminations on a team. It was fun seeing legendary teams like The Hart Foundation, Demolition, and The British Bulldogs in action in the match. Glad that they do not do matches like this one on modern Survivor Series cards. They were still trying to figure the event out here so they tried this and I don't think it worked well to have 10 guys in a match. This was a bit much and it shows. The match is a chore to get through. Still like it more than the womens' tag elimination match.

    Team Andre VS Team Hogan
    Following the success of their Wrestlemania 3 encounter, having Hulk and Andre be the captains of the main event here was a good move. Were they trying to make a new star out of Bam Bam here? I've always thought it was odd that he gets the final elimination in this match. He did a good job in the match, better than I remember. It's a shame he seems to be remembered more for that stupid Wrestlemania 11 match against Lawrence Taylor than for stuff like this. Andre gets the win, as he should have, and then Hogan still gets a moment to pose at the end after attacking Andre following the match. It's between either this one or the opener for match of the night for me. The order of eliminations is a little odd, I have no issues with it otherwise.

    Other Thoughts
    We also had that long Ted DiBiase promo before the main event. I liked that. It showed why he's one of the best heels ever. Today's heels should be taking notes. The guy had a cool character, and still made you hate him enough to want to pay money to see him lose. All in all, this is a good show that any WWE fan should watch for the sake of the history behind it. The opener and main event have stood the test of time. The womens' tag and the 10 man tag matches both get harder to get through each time I've watched this event. A fitting start to the Survivor Series brand and it was fun to watch various legends in action again.
     
    #19
  20. Rainbow Yaz

    Rainbow Yaz Sing about me, I'm dying of thirst
    E-Fed Mod

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    I'm 50% of the way through the PPV, but I wanted to make a one off point that I found interesting. I'd seen some of the Jumping Bomb Angels thanks to their appearance on an early Royal Rumble PPV, but I wanted to learn more about them, and boy did I find a good story. This is all 100% wrestling speculation so take it with a 200% dose of skepticism. Apparently the manager/handler/translator/guardian for the Jumping Bomb Angels had spent some time on the US wrestling scene and was very very reluctant to bring them to the US because of the contrast in culture. There was supposedly a strict rule set for female Japanese wrestlers in the 80s that he was afraid they would break. One of the rules was no men, ever. Thinking that the rules didn't apply in America, the girls routinely went out of their way to break them, including sneaking into the men's locker room. It was there that an incident took place that would be the main cause of their short time in WWE, as well as the premature end of their team. One of the gals went into the locker room before this show and scoped out Lord Alfred Hayes changing, and caught a glimpse of his rather impressive little lord. This infuriated their manager and ruined their career in both the US and Japan. Like I said, this is all based purely on speculation and rumor, but I choose to believe it because its a way better story than anything else you could tell me about their short run in the States.

    Probably my best non spam post ever.
     
    #20
    Dagger Dias and Uncle Sam like this.
  21. Tastycles

    Tastycles Turn Bayley heel

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    3,880
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    It's important when viewing these old events to watch them through the eyes of the time and not to think about how utterly shit someone like Dino Bravo would look if he was wrestling today. Even with that in mind, there's a few issues with this show. There are a few problems with Survivor Series matches generally, and this show served as a very good example of all of them.

    The first match is a good example of the first problem; namely 'why are these people fighting each other?'. Ok, so Savage hates Honky Tonk, and I quite like the end as a result, even though you do have Honky Tonk getting a 3 on 1 beating whilst being the heel. And it would appear Duggan has beef with Race. So they do the only thing you can do with those two to keep it even - have them double counted out. As an aside, Race was obviously a hugely influential wrestler, but based on this evidence his biggest influence was in the realm of terrible tattoos. For every other interaction in this match there is no peril, there are no stories that could be developed from this, it just becomes a collection of Raw matches with shit eliminations because they can't overuse big spots. That being said, Jake Roberts didn't succumb to the sleeper hold, something Hogan would do ten years later, which shows how ludicrous our old offering was. The ending was the best thing about this, though Savage showed again that he could bring emotion to a feud - often making stupid mistakes because he wanted to lay his hands on Honky Tonk. Much like in the 1992 Royal Rumble where he jumped out the ring, Savage had a knack for showing that he cared too much, which I don't think anyone since has really explored.

    The women's tag match was pretty good, and I think Velvet McIntyre might be the only person to not wear shoes in the wrestling ring that isn't a savage. Though she is from Ireland, so you know, maybe she is. Anyway, this was pretty good and the Bomb Angels were way ahead of their time. This match illustrates better than anything else how much older people in the 80s looked - 6 of the people in this match were under 25 years old.

    Anyway, the Survivor Series issue this match illustrates is that its very difficult to get rid of the big names realistically. Here, the WWF Women's Champion gets beaten by a roll up. The reason is obviously because they wanted the Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls to be there at the end to set up the title change at the next Royal Rumble, but it makes Sherri look awful. The alternative, the count out elimination, was used on Hulk Hogan, so sorry Sherri.

    I think this was my favourite match actually, it had a decent pace, and it showcased women in a manner that wasn't done very often. As much as Madusa was obviously a positive in the history of women's wrestling, I do wonder if she is the reason promoters went for big tits and blonde hair rather than the sorts of women involved here, who had a very good set of ring skills. Despite the fact that it included some very obscure names, such as the second most notable person called Dawn Marie in WWF history, which is really saying something, this match was given time for the ladies to showcase themselves - this remains the longest women's match ever on WWF Pay Per View, and is the third longest WWF women's match at all after the NXT Iron Woman and the MITB rematch.

    Which brings me onto my next issue with Survivor Series - time. Because there's a team situation, we have all the promos in teams. Which has two effects - 1) they are terrible because everyone shouts over each other. 2) There's a lot less promo time because they don't have to introduce everyone and the captain takes the lead. This in turn is added to the time gained by there being fewer matches, hence fewer entrances, less pacing around the ring, introductions, being checked by the ref etc. This is all added to the fact that every match has ten or twenty (!) people in them. So you get a lot fewer matches.

    In the main event, we have the world's worst cardio, so that match can't go far beyond 20 minutes. That means that in a three hour show we were given a very long opener, which is fine, a long women's match, which was good, and lots and lots of Monsoon and Ventura trying to buy time. This is evident between the tag match and the main event, and I have a suspicion that the Honky Tonk Man promo was an audible to try and fill some more time.

    But nothing, nothing, was a bigger time filler than the tag team survivor series match. To put it into context, this was nearly ten minutes longer than Michaels vs Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. I grew a beard watching it, and it wasn't particularly good. Not that it was terrible, but it felt like a very strange order of proceedings. Again, the champs went out in a lacklustre fashion early on in the contest, but it seems bizarre that in a match that contained some of the most famous tag teams ever in the Hart Foundation, Demolition and the British Bulldogs, the final three teams were The Islanders, The Killer Bees and The Young Stallions, the latter of whom easily got the most ring time, though I suspect this may be for stamina based reasons. I don't think I've ever seen the Killer Bees win before, yet here they were, winning the match and pinning Bret Hart. A very strangely booked match, with way too many managers completely inactive at ringside.

    The Ted DiBiase retrospective was good, but I can't help but think they could have helped to solve the time crisis by having him do an extra act of humiliation live after it had shown.

    The main event showed the final issue with Survivor Series - you can't have main eventers in these kinds of matches because it is completely unbelievable. Guys like Butch Reed are so obviously not anywhere near Hogan that it means you're just waiting for the breakdown after the filler has been eliminated. Hogan's team basically consisted of a load of early 80s wrestlers as cannon fodder and Bigelow. Andre's team was a who's who of giants, including King Kong Bundy who has one of the most identifiable physical features in all of wrestling, in his weird sausage neck. Only Scott Steiner's bicep on top of his bicep can compare.

    Anyway, Hogan is eliminated and I think they did well with Bam Bam to make it as good as possible after, but Hogan's appearance at the end is anachronistic to modern eyes. The fans clearly loved it, but I can't see how this would be tolerated now, even by people who cheer for Roman Reigns etc.

    Overall, this show just isn't for me, and it wasn't at the time either - this is the last WWF PPV before I was born. The Survivor Series concept worked better in later years when the teams had names, fewer people and gimmicks like the ultimate survival to manage the time a little better. Unfortunately though, I just don't think the gimmick is that good, and I think the execution here was quite poor. On the positives, Jesse Ventura remains the best color commentator of all time, the women were given a genuine showcase for the last time for about 15 years and Rick Rude has excellent ring attire.
     
    #21
    Dagger Dias likes this.
  22. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    17,885
    Likes Received:
    3,399
    Survivor Series 1987
    Date: November 26, 1987
    Location: Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio
    Attendance: 21,300
    Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura

    Out of everything WWE offers, I think Survivor Series might be my favorite show. Therefore, when I had the chance to pick which show we watched this month, there wasn’t much of a doubt which one I would pick. I went with the first show because it’s a great sampling of my favorite era in wrestling history. The first edition of the show might be the best and that makes for some interesting viewing.

    First of all, a little backstory. So the NWA and the WWF were in the middle of a quickly escalating battle and pay per view became the biggest weapon available. The WWF had a running start with its first show airing on pay per view back in 1985 with the often forgotten Wrestling Classic. The NWA needed to get in on this and started with Starrcade 1987. All seemed well...until Vince McMahon got involved.

    Seeing a chance and taking a gamble, McMahon put together a new pay per view concept called the Survivor Series (based on a VERY popular series of elimination tags held over the year at house shows) and told the cable companies they could either air his show or not be allowed to air the guaranteed cash cow Wrestlemania IV. The vast majority of the companies agreed and the Jim Crockett (basically the owner of the NWA) was dealt a fatal blow.

    So with Starrcade out of the way, it was time for Survivor Series, which was built around one idea: Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant facing off for the first time since the biggest match of all time back at Wrestlemania. I know eight months sounds like a long time, but keep in mind that Survivor Series brought the pay per view total up to two in the entire year. That’s the big main event, but there’s a lot to go otherwise.

    Team Savage vs. Team Honky Tonk Man

    Now this match might not seem like the best on paper or even in execution but it served a bigger purpose than that: it illustrated what can happen in one of these matches. While there was one major feud (between the captains), you might think the rest of the wrestlers were thrown together for the sake of filling out the ranks. That’s not entirely the case though.

    As mentioned above, Jim Duggan and Harley Race had been feuding, but Steamboat and Beefcake were also chasing the Intercontinental Title and had been ripped off by Honky Tonk Man as well (he took the title from Steamboat just a few months earlier remember). Throw in Jake Roberts, who had gotten cheated by Honky Tonk Man at Wrestlemania and you have a face lineup that belongs there.

    On the other hand, yeah it’s a bit more thrown together, but that’s kind of by necessity. Jimmy Hart managed both Danny Davis and Honky Tonk Man so two of them are taken care of. Race is of course feuding with Duggan so that’s three. Hercules and Ron Bass are thrown in, but it’s hardly the worst thing in the world as it’s not like there are many others to put in their places.

    Sure the Savage team is completely dominant on paper here, but that’s kind of the idea. The fans wanted to see Honky Tonk Man take a beating and that’s what he could do here without having to put the title in jeopardy. The fans also got to see the idea behind the eliminations in action and that makes for a much more entertaining match. It explained the concept and gave the fans what they wanted, so it’s really more important as a first step than good, which makes it a bigger deal.

    Rating: B. Nothing great, but a good, solid opener.

    Team Moolah vs. Team Martel

    Now this is a little bit different as you have a major story here, but it’s not the Women’s Title match. Sure the captains are the two fighting over the title, but this match is designed to showcase the Jumping Bomb Angels. Who are the Jumping Bomb Angels you ask? In short, the most awesome female high fliers you’ve ever seen, a good eight years before that style was popularized in the United States.

    If you’ve never seen their work, go out of your way to find these two. They absolutely steal the show here and look like they belong in WCW’s cruiserweight division. Later in the show, Jesse Ventura sounds amazed by them and with just reason. It took a lot to impress him (especially from a face) and these two pulled it off in spades. It’s an amazing performance and worth checking out.

    As for the rest of the match….yeah it’s not great. There’s a lot of people being eliminated by simple moves and there isn’t much of a story. Sherri Martel had taken the Women’s Title from the Fabulous Moolah just a few months earlier and it’s only kind of touched on. This match was almost all about the Angels vs. the Glamour Girls (the Women’s Tag Team Titles, which thankfully were never resurrected) and that’s all it needed to be. Still though, consider this was 1987 and it would be another eight years before the idea was tried again. If nothing else it’s impressive from a history perspective and that’s not bad.

    Rating: C-. The ending is great but the rest is a bit of a chore.

    In something I don’t quite understand, at this point the arena got darker. It’s not a dome with the sunlight coming in so why did the lights go down like that? I’ve never understood the change.

    Team Strike Force vs. Team Hart Foundation

    This is another match with some odd bookings but for the love of Aunt Gertie’s old fashioned chickenwings WHAT A LINEUP. Half of the teams would hold the Tag Team Titles and the division would almost never be as strong (though next year’s lineup was even better). Again this was more of a spectacle with twenty people in the match at once and it certainly worked as a visual.

    That being said, there is a story here with Strike Force recently taking the titles from the Hart Foundation. While that feud was advanced with the Harts eliminating the champs, there was another big idea here: Demolition looking like monsters. Not only did they get rid of the Rougeau Brothers but they were eliminated via DQ and never in much trouble. Demolition looked great here and it’s no surprise that they won the titles in about four months.

    What is odd here though is the ending. The Hart Foundation is the second to last heel team eliminated, but getting rid of them left us with the Islanders vs. the combined forces of the Killer Bees/the Young Stallions. I’m sorry what now? Of all the teams you have in there, those are the three you pick? It’s the reason the match dies once the Hart Foundation is eliminated and there’s no way around it. There’s quite a lot to see in this match, but you’re better off watching the sequel from the following year.

    Rating: B+. Amazing spectacle with a lot of time, but it’s not the greatest thing in the world.

    We then had a long video on Ted DiBiase, which makes sense as he was about ten weeks away from helping Andre the Giant get the World Title off of Hogan. This was just to keep a spotlight on him and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Honky Tonk Man came out and filled in some time with a challenge to anyone. Nothing wrong with that as it was pretty clearly intermission.

    Team Hogan vs. Team Andre

    And here’s the entire reason this show exists. I won’t bother going over most of the teams but you could hear the crowd go crazy as soon as Hogan and Andre were in the ring together. It was still the biggest match in the world and that’s all it was supposed to be. The rest of the lineups didn’t really matter (it was basically Paul Orndorff’s last major match in the company), though there were some feuds going on at this time (One Man Gang had injured Don Muraco’s manager Billy Graham, Rude vs. Orndorff, Hogan vs. Andre).

    Other than Hogan vs. Andre though, this was a great showcase for Bam Bam Bigelow, who was one of the hottest names in the company. Bigelow was the last man standing for his team and managed to defeat both Gang and Bundy before falling to Andre in the end. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with that, as pretty much anyone not named Hogan was losing to the Giant.

    That’s the other key to the match: while he didn’t pin Hogan, Andre winning the match gave him a victory over Hogan, which was almost unheard of in a major match. It helped continue their feud, which lead into the huge rematch in February. Hogan did come back to take Andre out after the match (which was a complete jerk move but this wasn’t a promotion where the fans went home unhappy very often) but the fact of the matter was Andre’s team won, which is all that matters.

    Rating: B-. Not a great technical match but it accomplished its goal and the crowd was WAY into it.

    Overall Rating: B. This show isn’t perfect, but it was a big help to the company. At this point it was really just Wrestlemania and some big house shows. This show gave the company a big bridge (and a lot of money) between the biggest show of the year and helped advance some major stories. Two months later we saw the first Royal Rumble and pretty soon, the company was off to the races. This isn’t a masterpiece or anything, but it’s a very fun show that started a trend, which is far more important in the long term.
     
    #22
    tdmoon and Dagger Dias like this.
  23. Dave

    Dave Here we go, 10 in a row!
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    I suppose I should start by pointing out that I was born in 1990. So this show aired three years before I was even born. Perhaps that's part of the reason why I really didn't care for this PPV at all. Everything about it smacks of a time and an atmosphere that I have never fully appreciate and privacy never will. But with that out of the way, I do have some thoughts on the event.

    Firstly, watching PPV events from the late 80's is not something that I enjoy and this was no different really. Wrestling has evolved massively since this PPV and it is quite jarring to watch this PPV after spending the previous night watching the most recent Survivor Series. With 4 survivor series matches on this card, I cannot help but feel that this was overboard. I know the story behind the PPV and the power play by Vince but that doesn't make this show any better to watch. In actual fact, I found myself being quite bored through a lot of it. That comes down to what Tasty pointed out previously - waiting around for what actually matters in a survivor series match is very boring. The first match in particular was like pulling teeth.

    The women's match and the following match were a little better but not what I would call classics encounters by any stretch of the imagination. The Tag Team Match was something to be hold, for sure. A survivor series match with 20 people? Yes, please. And KB is right, it was probably the most stacked match of the night. The talent involved was really awe-inspiring actually. But the booking was a little bit mental, in all honesty. I'm with KB, why the Hell would you eliminate the Hart's as the second to last team? Having never seen this PPV before, I was fully expecting them to go the distance and at least, be the last eliminated team. But hey ho, booking is booking. Who am I to call it crazy?

    I guess the best part of this whole thing was that it accomplished what it set out to do - it got Hogan and Andre in the ring again after WrestleMania. You could tell that the crowd were well and truly into this event and that reached a crescendo when it was time for the main event. If I took nothing else from this PPV, it was just how over Hogan and Andre were and just how much the crowd bought their feud. It was expertly orchestrated to be that way and it continued to pat off all the time. That said, the booking in this is crazy too. Like many, I wasn't fond of Hogan reappearing but whatever, the crowd liked it.

    All in all, I was not very impressed with this PPV. I get the significance of it and the importance of some of the matches. But frankly, apart from the commentary, there wasn't much about the production that I actually enjoyed. There were flashes of brilliance in there and it's not horrible. But honestly, I just don't think I can fully appreciate PPV's like this because of the time that has passed. I've been conditioned from an early age to like wrestling in a certain way and this just doesn't match up with that.
     
    #23
    Dagger Dias and Tastycles like this.
  24. Барбоса

    Барбоса doesn't know REAL wrestling...

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    1,341
    I have had the time to watch the entire event but the women's match and the main event intrigued me enough to go back to it.

    In the process, I found that these two matches represented both the positive and the negative of not only the Survivor Series match but also rigid fixing of themed pay per views.

    The elimination match worked perfectly for the main event and the continuing Hogan/Andre feud. The Giant got a win over Hogan without beating him to remind everyone that he was still Andre the "one loss in fifteen years (supposedly)" Giant.

    At the same time, it also provided what should have been a perfect vehicle for Bam Bam Bigelow to ascend to the higher levels. From a 3 on 1, he defeated two other super-heavyweights by himself before falling to Andre when tired. Just because the Bigelow experiment did not pan out in the long run does not mean that this Survivor Series match was a waste. Things can be booked correctly but fall apart for other reasons.

    On the flip side of the Survivor Series coin, the women's match was so heavily focused on the Jumping Bomb Angels vs the Glamour Girls that it might as well have just been a match between them. It certainly did not do the Women's Champion any favours.

    Would there really have been any uproar at there being two women's title matches on the card? Would it really have put a dent in the 'new' concept of the elimination match?
     
    #24
    Dagger Dias likes this.
  25. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Rear Naked Bloke

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 1973
    Messages:
    7,643
    Likes Received:
    3,019
    Having just one elimination match - or two or three or... just less than the entire card really - was a much-needed innovation, I agree, but something inside me does miss WWE going all in on a gimmick for a pay-per-view. Do we need a King of the Ring pay-per-view with nothing but tournament matches? Absolutely not. Would I find such a pay-per-view somehow soothing? You bet.

    Speaking of which, the next pay-per-view we'll be watching, as per Dave's request is...

    WWF Royal Rumble 2001

    See you back here on the 28th of December.
     
    #25

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "afb8e5d7348ab9e99f73cba908f10802"