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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Spring Stampede 1997

May 10, 2022 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WCW Spring Stampede 1997 Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Spring Stampede 1997  

-Continuing along with 1997 as we finish up the April PPVs. I still have to go back to Uncensored but for now we will continue like we did the show and next up is the return of Spring Stampede after a two year hiatus. Let’s get to it!

-Commentary Team: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby Heenan
-April 6, 1997
-Tupelo Coliseum, Tupelo, MS
-Attendance: 8356
-PPV Buys: 145,000

-Tony, Bobby, and Dusty run down some of the major stories heading into this show while a loud “weasel” chant starts up. It seems Scott Hall is not here tonight, so there is mystery surrounding Nash vs. The Steiners for the Tag Titles.

Ultimate Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

-Sonny Ohno isn’t out with Dragon which is picked up on by Schiavone. The crowd loves Rey as he gets a great pop. As is custom, Mike Tenay joins the announce team to provide his expertise. Lockup to start and Dragon gets a take down.  Tenay reminds us this is the rubber match as far as PPV matches between the two as Rey won at Hog Wild and Dragon at Starrcade.  Early feeling out process as they work on the mat.  Rey gets a crossface into a camel clutch, but Dragon breaks which sends Rey throat first into the bottom rope.  Dragon works the arm which lets Rey flip his way and it’s a stalemate.  The crowd is appreciative of what they are seeing.  Dragon fires off a series of kicks and then hits a swank dropkick.  Body slam gets a one count as Dragon opts to lift Rey’s shoulder off the mat.  Armbar from Dragon as we learn Ric Flair has an announcement for this show.  Rey nearly gets counted as he is stuck on his back with an arm scissors.  Rey tries to quicken the pace, but Dragon drops him with a backbreaker version.  Rey gets dropped back first on the top rope and then Dragon hooks a sleeper that he takes to the mat.  Rey rallies as he fights back, but gets caught with a back elbow.  Ligerbomb as Dragon took him from one corner to another.  Tombstone, but again Dragon lifts Rey’s shoulders off the mat after one.  Back to the sleeper as this is a lot like their Starrcade match as Dragon is dominating here.  Rey finally gets on track as he ducks a clotheslines and hits a spinwheel kick, but apparently I spoke to soon as Dragon mows him down with a clothesline.  Heavy kicks to the back and then a front suplex.  Dragon with a deathlock into a chinlock combo and then an inverted surfboard which turns into a pin for two.  They head to the floor and Rey is able to create space and this crowd is dying for Rey to do anything here, but Dragon gets the sleeper again back in the ring.  Rey gets a sleeper of his own and the crowd pops huge.  Dropkick from Rey sends Dragon to the floor.  Fake out from Rey on one side, but he springs off the middle ropes and hits a Senton on another side.  We throw to Lee Marshall in the back trying to get a word with Kevin Nash, but Syxx slams the door in his face.  Okay then.  Back to the match as they choose when Rey was on offense to go to Lee instead of one of the 3 or 4 times Dragon had a sleeper.  Rey hits a missile dropkick, but takes a nasty bump off the corner to the floor as Dragon gets his own dropkick.  They fight on the apron and Rey avoids a suplex and tries to spring off the middle rope, but Dragon catches him with a dropkick.  Dragon goes to The Giant Swing and gets six rotations which the crowd loves.  See, that spot always works.  Dragon is no Cesaro apparently as he falls down the same as Mysterio.  Cartwheel into a ran from Rey for two, but Dragon reverses into a pin for two.  Enziguiri from Dragon gets a two count.  Running corner clothesline and up top where Dragon gets a Frankensteiner from there for two.  Powerbomb, Dragon Suplex, and Tiger Suplex escaped by Rey which leads to a pinfall sequence where Rey finally gets a roll-up for the pin at 14:55. 
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pin at 14:55
-This was a lot like their Starrcade match with Dragon dominating, but Rey gets the win this time. Very good, but too much offense from one side to make it a high end classic. ****

-Back to Lee Marshall who is still trying to hear from Kevin Nash.  The Steiners try to fight their way to security.  Nash yells that he wants Nick Patrick as the ref.  Scott hits a cop and gets maced by Doug Dillinger and handcuffed which effectively takes him out of the match. 

WCW Women’s Championship: Akira Hokuto © (w. Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa

-The crowd immediately starts a USA chant.  Hokuto responds by throwing Madusa across the ring by her hair and then again.  They trade punches and then Hokuto misses a charge in the corner.  Madusa throws more strikes and Hokuto responds with a clothesline.  She goes to choke as the ref forces a break at five.  Hokuto chokes some more as she uses the middle rope for leverage.  A standing choke as this is kind of genius as the ref just keep starting a new count which lets Hokuto choke as much as she wants.  A slam gets one as Madusa slides her way out.  Slingblade from Madusa and then a few more times which gets a one count.  Madusa brings Hokuto off the middle ropes with a head scissors in a move that Trish Stratus would go on to use years later.  Hokuto works the knee and bites for good measure.  Sonny chokes Madusa on the bottom ropes as the ref yells at Hokuto.  Madusa gets a crucifix for two and hits a dropkick off the middle rope.  Another one and a bridging German Suplex gets two.  Onoo gets hit with a kick to send him off the apron.  Luna Vachon is out and kicks Madusa in the knee as she was trying to hit a powerbomb.  Hokuto gets a pin at 5:13 to retain. 

Winner and Still WCW Women’s Champion: Akira Hokuto via pin at 5:13
-This was a fun sprint as the crowd was into it.  The ending was weak, and I completely forgot that Luna was in WCW for whatever reason.  They got as much as they could in with the time they were given.  **1/4

WCW Television Championship: Prince Iaukea © vs. Steven Regal

-Stalling to start from Regal as the crowd is all over him. This crowd has been great so far! Finally a lock up at 1:03 and Iaukea lands the first blow. More stalling! Another go at 2:03 as Schiavone informs us that Scott Steiner has been arrested. Prince gets a side headlock and works that on the mat. We also learn that it will be Nash vs. Rick in a one on one match for the Tag Titles. Yep! Regal punches his way out, but Iaukea goes right back to it. The announcers continue to talk about the nWo and announce on Nitro there will some footage from Dennis Rodman’s new movie with Jean Claude Van Damm shown. Regal grabs an arm, but Iaukea goes back to the side headlock. Regal sends him to the floor to break, but Iaukea is back with a springboard crossbody for one. Regal complains to the ref to stall things a bit more. Test of strength and Iaukea wins that as Regal bridges to stay off his back. Regal kips up and hits a thumb to the eye to gain the advantage. Regal talks trash to the fans as he lands some punches. Full Nelson from Regal, but Iaukea breaks. He messes up a sunset flip attempt and tries again, but Regal just punches him in his face. European uppercuts in the corner as Regal seems annoyed now. Iaukea back with some chops and Regal begs off. Another lockup and to the corner where Regal lands a knee. More uppercuts in the corner. Iaukea misses a no look crossbody as Regal just walks away from him. Cool! So that’s where Samoa Joe got it from. Iaukea fires back as things finally pick up. Regal tries a roll-up off a rebound in the corner, but Iaukea sits down and gets the pin at 10:00.

Winner and Still WCW World Television Champion: Prince Iaukea via pin at 10:00
-This took a long time to get going and then ended just as it picked up even a little bit. Not a fan of this one. *1/2

-Regal attacks after the match and stretches Iaukea for a bit and then hits him in the head with the title belt. Iaukea would lose the title the next night on Nitro as the experiment was over.

-Mean Gene is in the aisle to plug his hotline as apparently there is a new Kliq in town. Ric Flair is brought out to talk about his return from injury. “Mean Gene,” always great to hear! Flair says The Horsemen that are functioning (Mongo, Jarrett, and Benoit) will walk the aisle and do it Horsemen style. Flair says he is cleared and will be back May 1st. He also mentions Arn is having his surgery on Tuesday to fix his hand. Next Flair talks about Roddy Piper and how Kevin Greene has been given the okay by the Carolina Panthers to wrestle. That starts the set-up for our Main Event next month. Flair continues to hold court as he talks Hogan and the rest of the nWo. He challenges any members of the nWo to face him and his guys May 18 in Charlotte. Flair promises to take on Bischoff one time before his career ends. “No pencil.”

The Public Enemy vs. Steve McMichael and Jeff Jarrett

-This match was supposed to be at Uncensored and that is just another reminder I have to go back and do that show at some point. Mongo and Rock start us out and Rock pie faces him. They get into a shoving contest and again this crowd is hot for this show. Mongo gets into a three point stance, but changes his mind and it’s a lockup. Rock puts the brakes on off an Irish Whip and points to his head. He does it again as he continues to fluster Mongo. Rock buries a boot to the gut and goes to work in the corner. Mongo misses a charge in the corner, but Jarrett helps him out and Mongo comes back with a shoulder block to the knees of both members of PE to send them to the floor. Jarrett and Mongo strut in a sign of team solidarity. Jarrett and Grunge now as Jarrett plants Grunge face first into the mat and hooks an abdominal stretch. The Horsemen cheat to win as the ref is out of position. The ref catches it the second go which lets Grunge get a hiptoss to break. Jarrett tries a leap frog, but Grunge just punches him in the face. Jarrett bails to the floor and walks up the aisle to regroup. Mongo gets the tag and Rocco is back in as well. Double back elbows from the Horsemen and Mongo gets a chinlock while burying the knee in the back. Side suplex from Mongo and he lands a cheap shot on grunge as well. That brings him in which distracts the ref from counting the pin. Debra talks trash from ringside and you can hear Rocco call her a bitch. Jarrett and Grunge brawl on the floor as Debra tries to slap Grunge. We go to the double screen as this is what this match should have been from the start. Just let them go as it will at least be more entertaining. Mongo and Rocco fight by the stage coach near the entrance. Debra gets set on a table, but Jarrett uses a chair to stop that noise. Some bulls get knocked over by Rocco and Mongo. Grunge goes through the table as Jarrett moved out of the way. Back in the ring Jarrett gets a crossbody from the top for two. Mongo ducks a double clothesline and Debra trips Rocco. This has fallen apart since they’ve gotten back in the ring. Jarrett with a blind tag and he goes crazy with slams and dropkicks on both men. Rocco grabs the briefcase and blasts Jarrett as he had Grunge in the Figure Four. That knocks Jarrett out and even though he still has the hold he gets counted down for the pin at 10:42.

Winners: The Public Enemy via pin at 10:42
-This was kind of a wreck and should have been the crazy, weapon filled brawl they teased us with for a few minutes. *

-History now as we go backstage as Gene brings in Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri. Yes, this is that promo. Booker famously makes blooper lists for all eternity as he calls Hulk Hogan the n word. Sherri just loses it as you can see it on her face. Stevie and Gene no sell as they are pros. I will note though that it’s actually not heard here as they dub “sucka” over what Booker really said. I mean I understand why they changed it. I guess those who want to hear the uncut version can find it on YouTube.

WCW United States Championship: Dean Malenko (c) vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Woman)

-Again, it’s still tough watching Woman come out with Benoit though we are getting closer to the end of their on screen pairing. Dusty is all about tradition, history and respect with this match. Mat wrestling sequence to start as they hit everything crisply. Malenko gets sent to the floor but quickly gets back inside as he wants no part of taking this match outside. Malenko gets a leg trip into a knee-bar while bending the ankle. Benoit tries to roll, but Malenko ties up the legs and then gets a heel hook. Benoit is able to get a headlock and get to a vertical base. He knocks Malenko with a shoulder and Dean bails to the floor to regroup. Back in and Malenko gets an arm ringer, but Benoit tumbles out and gets a top wristlock. Dean breaks and it’s a stalemate as they start circling each other again. Test of Strength time and Malenko gains the early advantage. Bridge from Benoit and he carries Dean’s weight on a few occasions. Benoit is able to counter and gets an armbar. Benoit gets a quick pin for two. Reverse chinlock from Benoit as this is the quietest this crowd has been all night. Bow and Arrow from Benoit as everything they are doing looks good, but no clue why the crowd isn’t with them. Belly to back suplex from Malenko forces a break. Small package from Malenko gets two. Benoit lands a loud chop which wakes up the crowd. Another one and the shrieks from the crowd are something else. Malenko fires back and stomps Benoit down in the corner. Tony puts over that sometimes a chop like that will fire up the person chomped and Dream agrees, but also notes it really hurts. He would know! Malenko takes it back to the mat and gets a camel clutch. Elbow missed, but Malenko catches Benoit with a hip-toss into a short arm scissors. Benoit fights off his shoulders to avoid being counted down. Benoit picks Malenko off the mat in a Bob Backlund spot and drops him to break the hold. Belly to back suplex from Benoit for two. Nice short arm clothesline from Benoit gets another two count. More chops and some forearms! Benoit hooks the abdominal stretch as Tony mentions that The US Champion is the true #1 Contender and the winner of this one will get a shot down the line. HAHAHAHA! No chance either of these men were getting a World Title Shot at Hogan at this point. Credit to Tony though for holding up the idea of what the Title means though. Benoit hits a reverse neckbreaker for two. Release snap suplex gets two. Benoit is annoyed with the ref’s count and walks around thinking of what to do next. He opts to just light Malenko’s chest up with chops in the corner. Dean fires up and hits a running clothesline in the corner. I always liked when Hogan used that move. Benoit drops Malenko on his face with a suplex. Jackie is out and she just starts pounding on Woman. Jimmy Hart is down as well while Benoit hits a flying headbutt from the top. Hart grabs the US Title and that gets stopped by Eddie Guerrero, who has his arm in a sling. Malenko suplexes Benoit from inside to the floor in a sweet spot! They punch each other in the face and now Arn is down and he decks Dean. Well, here comes Kevin Sullivan next as Arn lets him pass and he blasts Benoit with a kendo stick. The ref calls for the bell to end this one at 17:56.

Winner: No Contest via DQ at 17:56
-It’s like they knew the run ins and finish were going to overshadow the match so they opted to mat wrestle and tone it down a bit. It was technically fine, but not the best from this combination. Five run-ins in a Benoit/Malenko match is kind of absurd. ***

-Jimmy Hart, Sullivan, and Jackie walk out while trying to make Eddie take The US Title in a way to set him up. Back inside the ring Benoit gets helped up Malenko as they both agree that “he was not supposed to be here.” Yeah, this was intriguing at the time, but didn’t go anywhere sadly.

WCW World Tag Team Championship: Kevin Nash (c) (w/ Ted Dibiase, Syxx, and Nick Patrick) vs. Rick Steiner

-Yep, Nick Patrick will be the ref for this one and he came out with the nWo which only Bobby makes sure to mention. Steiner jumps the bell, but eats an elbow and then another one. Running corner clothesline from Nash. He had some steam on that one! He buries knees in the corner and follows with some elbows. To to the other corner, but Steiner gets his boots up followed by a clothesline. Belly to belly suplex, but not pin as Nash was in the ropes. Another suplex gets two for Steiner. Syxx pulls the rope down to low bridge Steiner as Tony points out that with the nWo winning last month at Uncensored they can do basically do whatever they want. Sidewalk slam from Nash gets two. Dibiase gets in a cheap shot as well. Nash chokes Steiner on the middle ropes and jumps on his back. Big boot hits flush and Nash poses. Powerbomb connects, but Steiner is out at two. Ball shot from Steiner to counter another powerbomb. I mean Patrick could call for the DQ if he wanted. Steiner heads up top and connects with the bulldog, but a slow count saves Nash. The announcers are outraged, but it wasn’t that bad. Syxx on the apron and he gets punched in the face. Nash hits a knee as Syxx starts to take the padding off the turnbuckle. Heenan: “just hand him a pipe wrench then.” I love The Brain! Snake Eyes on the exposed buckle and then another. Steiner took that one right on the ear and Nick wants Nash to end this one. Dibiase on the apron and he tells Nash to end it as well. Nash is rather annoyed by that as he tells Dibiase “I don’t care. I’ll say when it’s enough.” Third one from Nash and now Dibiase is in the ring asking Nash to end this and when he doesn’t Dibiase walks off. A fourth one followed by a powerbomb. Patrick hesitates to make the count until Nash threatens him and this one is over at 10:21.

Winner and Still Tag Team Champions: Kevin Nash via pin at 10:21
-This was all about the story surrounded by what was nearly a SQUASH outside the flurry from Steiner following the ball shot. The crowd was into it, but all the nWo in fighting seemed to confuse them. **

-Gene is backstage with The Giant and Lex Luger as the hype their upcoming 4 Corners Match with Harlem Heat.

#1 Contender’s 4 Corner’s Match: Booker T (w/ Sister Sherri) vs. Stevie Ray (w/ Sister Sherri) vs. The Giant vs. Lex Luger

-Credit to Harlem Heat for wearing different colored tights to give the illusion this is everyone for themselves. Weird each team came out together instead of separate entrances, but whatever. Luger and Booker start us off and it’s a tentative start. Booker talks some trash to the fans and tells us at home that his brother will handle The Giant. Booker controls early,but eats a clothesline and then a press slam. Booker begs off and we start fresh. Booker gets in some shots in the corner, but Luger hits another clothesline. Tag made to Stevie Ray and we get some Harlem Heat double teaming. Luger hits another clothesline and Giant lands a right hand which gets a two count. Giant gets the tag from Luger as it would seem weird to want to tag out of a match where you had to get the victory to become #1 contender. Running clothesline from The Giant followed by another clothesline. Stevie bails to the floor, so Booker is on and he gets press slammed to send him packing to the floor. Sherri regroups her team as they start arguing with each other. Lots of stalling before we get to Luger and Giant being legal men in the ring. They lockup and Giant gains the advantage but misses a clothesline. Luger goes for a slam, but Giant falls back on him as Heenan says “deja vu.” Nice! Giant and Luger have had enough and tag in each member of Harlem Heat. The crowd is ready to see this as they erupt! They talk trash a bit and we get a shoving match before a lock-up. Booker works the arm and hits an elbow before getting a side headlock. Rope sequence as they show off a bit and celebrate with each other. Heenan: “beat the daylights out of your brother. Kick him!” Instead Booker tags out to Luger. They trade some shots before Booker gets the tag back from his brother. Side suplex from Booker but Luger makes the tag to The Giant. He runs wild on Booker with clubbing blows and a headbutt. Slam, but an elbow misses and Stevie Ray is back in the ring. They perform some clubbering in the corner. Booker shows is hops as he connects flush with Giant’s face with a Harlem sidekick. He chops away at the knee and gets Giant to the mat. Stevie back in and he lands some kicks. Giant rallies with a knee left and then a bit boot. Tag to Luger where he hits a slam and then drops several elbows which gets two. Booker back in and he misses a charge in the corner. Stevie Ray stops the Rack with a shot to the head. Giant breaks up a pin as Booker is back and hooks a chinlock. Luger gets to his feet, but gets dropped with a Harlem sidekick. Giant makes the save at two. Luger gets beat down in the corner for a second time tonight. Clothesline from Stevie Ray gets two. Lots of clotheslines in this one! Now Stevie goes to a chinlock. The crowd is hanging in there with them but this is putting me to sleep. Luger finally breaks with a belly to back suplex. Booker gets the tag and decks Giant to keep Luger from making the tag. Ax kick from Booker and he poses on the ropes instead of going for a cover. Stevie Ray back in and he hits a side suplex. Booker misses a headbutt from the top and the hot tag is made to The Giant. He runs wild for a bit with a powerslam on Stevie and then a boot to send Booker to the floor. Giant calls for the chokeslam, but opts to tag Luger back into the match and tells Luger to finish this with the rack. Stevie Ray gives it up at 18:22.

Winner: Lex Luger via submission at 18:22
-This was basically a tag match and not a very good one. Luger winning was the right call though it took 4 months to pay off winning the shot. Lots of clotheslines and chinlocks to this one. *1/2

-Slamboree commercial. That is next up for me and hopefully I will have it done before May ends.

-We head to the back as Savage and Liz are making their way to Gorilla. Savage just spouting off one liners as Liz tries to keep from breaking is awesome. “Slim Jims for everyone.”

No DQ Match: ”Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly)

-Michael Buffer gives this on the super special ring introductions. This is the start of DDP’s climb to the Main Event and he has gone on record many times crediting what Savage did for his career. Savage grabs the mic and tells Page this is his last day on planet Earth. Savage stalls as Page just waits in the corner listening to the crowd chant his name. Page then charges and Savage bails to the floor. They fight in the aisle to start as Savage gets sent into the railing and then into the ring apron. Inside the ring we go and Savage tries to head out the other side. Page lands a right hand and then a weird throw that seemed to be an atomic drop that went wrong as it almost looked like Savage nearly turned it into a Tornado DDT. Diamond Cutter is blocked and Page gets tossed to the floor. Savage out after him as they start brawling through the crowd. They end up near a concourse as Page gets tossed into a door. Page grabs a garbage can and hits Savage in the head with it. A second can get used in the same manner. They brawl back through the crowd and Page uses a cord to choke Savage. They head back to ringside and Savage uses Kimberly as a shield. Liz rakes the back of Page and then Kimberly gets pushed into DDP. Savage drops DDP throat first on the railing. Savage off top to the floor with a double axe that drives Page into the railing, Man, we just need a ring bell to the throat now! Page takes a trip into the stairs and again on the opposite side of the ring. Back inside the ring Savage gets two with his foot on the ropes as Dusty realizes with No DQ Savage was okay trying to cheat to win. Savage grabs a chair and hammers Page in the back. Then we get some BS from Mark Curtis as he takes the chair away from Savage. It’s no DQ! Savage heads out for another chair and slaps Penzer in the face for good measure and then kicks him. That delay let Page regroup as he tosses a chair that Savage catches, but then punches into his face. Page is still kind of out of it though as Savage works him over in the corner. Page fires up and lands some strikes, but gets dropped with a clothesline for two. Page tries to land a kick, but Savage catches the foot which turns into a discus lariat from Page as he loved doing that spot. The ref starts a 10 count as both men are down. Savage is up first and gets a slam. Another slam and then one more. Savage to the floor and he throws Penzer around some more. Savage grabs the ring bell, but Kimberly steals it and runs off. Savage leaps off for the elbow, but Page puts both feet up to block. Diamond Cutter is blocked and Savage lands a mule kick to the balls which is legal in this case. That gets a two count and Savage is frustrated with the ref. He slaps Curtis in the face and sticks him with a piledriver. He removes Curtis’ belt and whips him with it before throwing him to the floor. Heenan: “Nothing wrong with it, if it works for you, but I don’t know anymore.” Savage lands the Flying Elbow this time, but no ref which is Savage’s fault. Nick Patrick and Kevin Nash are out. Page floats over on a slam and hits The Diamond Cutter and Patrick has to make the count to end this one at 15:38

Winner: Diamond Dallas Page via pin at
-Fun brawl that helped turn DDP into a Main Event player. Both guys are detailed freaks that lay out their matches so they meshed well. Savage was more than game in trying to bring Page up another level which helped as he could have treated him like a joke. This feud had great intensity and this was just round one of something that would run nearly eight months. ***1/2

-Nash hits the ring and Patrick is screwed. The rest of the nWo head down including Dibiase being with the group again. The crowd wants Sting as Nash wakes Savage up. Nash hits the jack-knife on Patrick and now Page is screwed. Savage grabs Kimberly and that is too much for Bischoff as he tries to talk Savage down. Savage pie faces Bischoff and puts him on his ass. Bischoff shoves him back, so Savage decks him and now Nash is back going after Savage as we cut to the announce table where they wrap up the show.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
The opener and Main Event are fun and everything else was just kind of there. The Women had a fun sprint, but weren't given any time and Benoit/Malenko, of all matches, was overbooked with runs ins which hurt what should have been a slam dunk **** match. Had that one delivered this likely hits good status. The lows bring this down as the Tag Match and 4 Way are all kinds of bad and or/boring. The crowd saved some of this show as they were hot throughout. As is, it's an okay PPV with a hot crowd and nothing more.