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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Souled Out ‘99

March 2, 2007 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Souled Out ‘99  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Souled Out ‘99

This show doesn’t suck. That’s all the positive you’re getting out of me.

I’ve already done WCW’s Starrcade ’98. Review for said show is available here. I wrote it ages ago so it’s a bit ropey and doesn’t even have HTML in it. Also given my lack of viewing of shows around it my understanding of some of the feuds is weak. Anyway, I don’t particularly want to do it again. If you’re wondering about Starrcade ’99 however, that one I WILL be redoing. The snowflake ratings on that show are terrible and it was the second or third show I ever did.

Problems in WCW going into 1999. They’d just finished the Goldberg streak title run. For the first Nitro of 1999 Kevin Nash, in his infinite wisdom, ran the “Fingerpoke of Doom” angle where he laid down for a returning Hulk Hogan and gave up the title. Thus reforming the elite nWo. All of this is shit that no one wanted to see. You’d think this show would have Goldberg getting a measure of revenge for all this. Well, he does – wrestling Scott Hall for costing him the title at Starrcade. Hmm. That should have been a few Nitro main events. Not the main event of a PPV. Meanwhile no Nash. No Hogan. No title match. Bret Hart is injured now and misses the show. Giant is pretty much done with the company and on his way to the WWF to debut the following month. Jericho has every intention of doing the same hence the start of his depush. DDP is also injured. Eddy Guerrero just had his famous car crash so he was out indefinitely. This results in this card, which is one of the weakest WCW had presented in some considerable time. 1999 was not going to be a good year for WCW (they’d end up losing $15M over the course of the year). They were heading downhill fast. While the WWF had Rock-Mankind firing on all cylinders in preparation for Steve Austin against the Rock at Wrestlemania WCW had no idea what their main event would be in two months. What’s worse is some of the stupid shit they were doing. Like Tony Schiavone announcing that Mankind would win the WWF title in a recorded episode of Raw. The ratings suddenly swung in the WWF’s favour (half a million fans switched channels) because that’s what the fans wanted to see. The WWF were giving the fans what they wanted. WCW didn’t know what their fans wanted. They only knew what Hulk Hogan and now, Kevin Nash wanted. It’s at this point where I stopped watching. The shows were getting worse. The writing wasn’t on the wall but some serious emergency surgery was needed. It wouldn’t come.

January 17th 1999. We’re in Charleston, West Virginia. Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan. Goldberg gets laid out backstage and has a knee problem.

Chris Benoit v Mike Enos

Enos is such a nobody. The gulf in talent here is IMMENSE. Enos clubs away and jaws with the fans. Benoit takes him down with a dragon screw and brings the CHOPS! Benoit looks for the Crossface but Enos switches it into a backbreaker. Nice counter there except he screwed up the whirl part. But like I said, the gulf in talent is enormous. Enos with a powerslam for 2 and then a lengthy bearhug. Benoit gets a sunset flip for 2 but Enos retorts with a neck crank and then it’s back to the bearhug. Vertical suplex gets 2. Benoit counters a back suplex into a crossbody. ROLLING GERMANS! FLYING WOLVERINE! Both men down on that though so Enos recovers with a weak ass clothesline. Benoit slaps him in the Crossface for being such a worthless piece of crap and gets the submission win at 10.33. **. Dull with Benoit basically wrestling himself. Why on Earth did they stick Enos in there with him? What were they thinking? I’d understand it if he’d just been destroyed but he got most of the offence too.

CLIPS – Goldberg/Hall. So now they’ve moved Goldberg on to feud with Hall after not finishing his feuds with Scott Steiner, Bam Bam Bigelow, Kevin Nash AND Lex Luger. Way to go. Way to book your hottest property into the ground. Austin main evented practically every show during his run at the top because he was the companies hottest property and their biggest star. WCW have not replicated that. And while it’s an improvement booking Goldberg in tonight’s main event the fact it’s not for the title just devalues the title.

Norman Smiley v Chavo Guerrero Jr

This is some Vince Russo booking if ever I saw it. Or at least copycat style booking. Chavo’s pet horsy Pepe was burnt up by Smiley, which is pretty random, and now Chavo is out for revenge. Tony gets sad about Pepe’s “last birthday party”. Oh dear. Chavo dominates early until Smiley bails and then Chavo wipes him out with a pescado. Springboard bulldog as they go back in. High crossbody as well from Chavo who seems to be throwing a lot of stuff in here without any rhyme or reason. Smiley recovers and teases a Big Wiggle. WIND UP SLAM! That’s his best move, IMO. Smiley goes to work on the mid section and then changes to work at the arms. Chavo gets pissed off with taking that abuse and hits a clothesline but gets hit with a neckbreaker for 2 as Smiley gets right back in charge. Now he goes to work on the leg of Chavo. This may be an impressive array of submissions from Smiley but it seems a bit directionless. Back elbow gets 2 and Smiley teases the Wiggle again. Back to the arms from Smiley before they go to the ropes. Smiley hits a Superplex from up there and THE BIG WIGGLE! Back to the mat and Smiley works a stretch again. They switch on sleepers and Smiley hits a back suplex to end that. Smiley breaks out the Gory Special to piss on Chavo’s bonfire. Chavo gets out because it’s his family’s move and rolls Smiley up for 2. Victory roll gets 2. Chavo looks for the springboard bulldog but it’s blocked, chickenwing is blocked, tornado DDT is blocked. Smiley throws the remains of Pepe in Chavo’s face (that, SURELY is a DQ) and locks on the Chickenwing for the submission at 15.45. ***. A little longer than I’d have liked ideally. Most of the Smiley stuff was actually focused on the area he finished on though so I guess that counts as psychology even if it was somewhat lost on the crowd. Or they noticed it but just didn’t care. The weird thing is we’re two matches into this PPV and nothing has sucked yet. Oh and once again – how was that “ashes/sawdust” shot not a DQ?

BACKSTAGE Konnan is asked about how he got booted out of the Wolfpac. He wants to know who decided he was out. He’s going to hunt down whoever did it. Tonight he has Luger.

Fit Finlay v Van Hammer

Another fairly random match up here. At least they were trying different stuff, I guess. Although this is probably more to see just how much dead weight Finlay can carry. Hammer’s current gimmick is that of a peace loving hippy. I would complain about him being stuck in gimmick hell but if he had the best gimmick ever he’d still suck. Finlay tries the old broomstick approach and works around Hammer. Finlay with a jawbreaker that Tony calls a fucking CLOTHESLINE of all things. What the fuck is wrong with this guy? Talk about becoming a parody of an announcer. Crowd is completely nonplussed by this anyway. Out come the “boring” chants. Finlay plods through the motions until Hammer takes his leg for a while. The leglock goes on for about a minute until Hammer gives up to hit a few weak stomps instead. Hammer’s selling in this one has been pretty bad. Finlay goes for a sleeper but Hammer snapmares out. Hammer with a powerslam for 2. Finlay comes back with a front roll slam and the Tombstone finishes Hammer off at 7.54. ½*. Wow, was that ever boring. At least Finlay went over but it was clear from this that he wasn’t going to make WCW’s disinterested main eventers more entertaining. Hence his lack of push beyond the hardcore division after this.

CLIPS of Ric Flair’s own son David volunteering to wrestle against the evil Horsemen of Barry Windham & Curt Hennig.

Wrath v Bam Bam Bigelow

This is a weird choice by WCW. They blatantly wanted to push Wrath but then stuck him out here with Bigelow, who was on a main event push as a renegade competitor. Therefore totally fucking Wrath’s push up in mid flow. WCW, eh? Creatively Bigelow was better off in ECW but financially he did what was best and came here. This would be stage two of the ECW talent raids where Bischoff was intent on plucking the company to its bare bones. They club at each other until Wrath comes up with a big bicycle kick. Bigelow bails to compose himself. Wrath starts bumping but not really selling, which is a change from his no selling machine of the previous few months. Wrath with a diving clothesline for 2. Bigelow with a Hot Shot. Tony puts over how talented Bigelow is. Bigelow chinlocks the life out of this one. The problem here is they’ve got two guys beating each other up and not giving anything but neither one of them is over with this crowd yet. Yes, they’re over when they’re having their style of match or working with a bigger star but they’re not ready character-wise to go out there and go evens on a match. Bigelow probably knows this so decides to stop doing anything in order to save himself some energy for something more constructive later. Another long chinlock kills the crowd completely dead. Bigelow with a powerslam for 2. Nothing is getting reactions at all now. Time to go home methinks. Bigelow hits a DDT for 2. Ropes save. Crowd still doesn’t care. Wrath gets sent weakly into the ringpost and the Greetings from Asbury Park finishes at 9.22. ½*. Again there was nothing doing. The crowd wasn’t interested. The crowd also knows Bigelow’s feud with Goldberg didn’t go anywhere so they’re less than thrilled with his lack of direction now. Of course they don’t know he’ll do a run in later.

Konnan v Lex Luger

Konnan’s entrance wakes the crowd up. Konnan was kicked out of nWo ’99 and is about to take out his frustrations on Luger. Konnan spews catchphrases and the crowd buy into it. Luger offers Konnan the chance to walk out on this match or he’ll beat his ass. Konnan didn’t make the A team, he got cut down to the B team. Konnan’s reply is to punch Lex in the jaw. Crowd just erupts as Konnan controls the early going. They bail and Luger just stands there looking like a complete Muppet. Konnan beats him down some more. He breaks some rules by choking away with his boot and they ran the babyface control stuff for too long because the crowd is now dead again. Luger holds the ropes to avoid a DDT and lays the boots in to win the crowd back as they boo the shit out of him. Konnan staggers backwards into a forearm shiver. Luger works away at the back trying to set for the Rack. BORE-HUG. Oh geez, we’re only about halfway through this match too. Now they’ve run the heat for too long. Crowd is dead again. Luger fucks up an elbow drop. That was ugly. Konnan rolls outside to have a lie down. Luger poses and keeps interrupting the count because Konnan would have been counted out five times otherwise. Rolling clothesline from Konnan as he attempts a comeback. Luger falls over during a snapmare attempt. This is gone way ugly. Out comes Miss Elizabeth. Luger gets caught in the Tequila Sunrise but Liz sprays paint in Konnan’s eyes. How did the referee miss that? Konnan gets racked and this is over at 9.31. ¼*. I docked the score down for doing something like that on a show that KIDS watch. Yanno, encouraging them to spray paint in each others eyes. And if you think kids didn’t mimic what they watched on WCW’s shows then you clearly didn’t see all the nWo graffiti around where I lived. Where was the referee on that interference anyway?

Back to WCW PPV form with three shitty matches in a row after the healthy start.

Perry Saturn v Chris Jericho w/Ralphus

Loser has to wear a dress. Jericho tears up some girl’s “I’m a Jerichoholic” sign. Tony brings up that the referee is Scott Dickinson who doesn’t like Saturn. And vice versa. Tony blames the executive committee. The referee isn’t quite as impartial as he could be. Tenay brings up the history between them with Dickinson refereeing Saturn’s first match. When the commentators spend this long talking about the referee then we have a screwy finish lined up. It’s that simple. Jericho acts like a jerk and stalls. Jericho with a headlock but Saturn throws him off. Jericho makes this about striking so Saturn kicks him in the head. Jericho gets the back kick but Saturn chops at him. Tenay brings up the referee again. Way to run that into the ground. Hurricane kick from Saturn, which gets no reaction but looks cool as hell. Springboard legdrop from Saturn gets 2. Ralphus has taken the dress out and its leopard print. Nice. Looks like a moo-moo. Saturn’s distracted and gets held up on the ropes. Springboard dropkick sends Saturn into the rail. Pescado of the running variety from Jericho. Front suplex on the floor. Jericho goes back in to celebrate to a mixed reaction. Jericho with a stalling suplex back inside and the cocky cover gets him 2 but Saturn grabs the foot and takes Jericho over with punches. Jericho boots him right in the face and hits the running senton for 2. Jericho slows it up a bit before hitting a legdrop for 2. Heenan questions what Ralphus used to do. Seeing as I’m here to relay such information – he used to drive the ring from town to town. It’s suspected that Jericho’s choice of “bodyguard” was an enormous rib on Kevin Nash. Having a truck driver (like Diesel) come out to the ring with him as his character was based on Shawn Michaels’ heel character from the mid-90’s. Obviously Ralphus was a mess, hinting at Nash being likewise. Lionsault gets knees and Jericho jumps right into an Exploder. Jericho gets caught on a tip up into a reverse powerbomb for 2. He’s walked into a few things here. He hits a twisting slam to get Saturn back down. He strikes at him but misses a dropkick. Saturn catapults him over the top. Saturn dropkicks him through the ropes. Frog Splash gets 2. They switch standing into a near falls. Jericho hits a German suplex for 2. To the top but Jericho escapes a back superplex. DVD is countered into the Liontamer but Saturn powers out. Saturn with a roll up but Scott Dickinson suddenly heels on Saturn by turning him over and quick counting him down at 11.42. Now THAT was a fucking fast count. **. They kind of dogged it. This was WCW’s last attempt at getting Jericho to sign a new deal by keeping him happy. It didn’t work so they decided to job him to hell instead.

POST MATCH Saturn gets put in the dress. He’d end up incorporating it into his gimmick. Dickinson laughs at him. Jericho shakes his hand and all the heels chuckle on their way out of here. Dickinson now works for the US Postal Service btw, which is just about perfect for a heel referee.

BACKSTAGE David Flair says he’s here out of respect for his old man. He’s not a wrestler. His promo skills were not up to par at this point.

Cruiserweight title – Kidman (c) v Rey Mysterio Jr v Juvi Guerrera v Psicosis

Kidman-Rey to start and Rey hits a whirl headscissors. Kidman retorts with a slingshot headscissors. CROSSBODY COLLISSION! That brings in the other 2 to stomp them. They get the tags. They run a near falls, which Juvi applauds but the crowd ignore. Psicosis escapes the Juvi Driver and they switch standing. Kidman and Rey come in as Rey backdrops Juvi into a Rydien bomb. Kidman crossbodies Psicosis for 2. Juvi trips Kidman though (“Thanks Juvi” – Psicosis) to allow an implant DDT from Psicosis. No cover though. Juvi comes in with a diving rana on Kidman, which he sells outside. Juvi then backdrops Rey out after him into a pescado. Juvi and Psicosis argue over who gets to hit a move off the ropes. That allows the babyfaces to bring the TANDEM SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMBS TO THE FLOOR! Kidman sets Juvi up for the slingshot Doomsday Device for 2 from Rey. Psicosis and Rey fight on the apron where Rey monkey flips Psicosis OVER THE RING POST TO THE FLOOR. That was different. Kidman follows him out with a senton to the floor. Rey comes off the ropes inside but Juvi hits a dropkick on the way down before using Rey as a platform for AIR JUVI! Rey uses the ref for assistance on a slingshot senton. Babyfaces and heels miscue setting up some animosity. Slingshot Alley Oop on Juvi from Rey gets 2. JUVI DRIVER! Psicosis stomps off the ropes to break that. To the ropes and Psicosis hits a super headscissors for 2. Psicosis tries for a powerbomb on Kidman but, altogether now, YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN. Rey with a whirl bulldog for 2 on Kidman. Rey just has incredible balance. Juvi racks up babyfaces on the floor and calls for Psicosis to get them. SUICIDE SENTON from Psicosis onto the 2 fallen faces. Juvi drags Kidman back in and missile dropkicks him for 2. Psicosis tries for something insane with a slingshot hilo to the floor but misses. Juvi Driver is countered by Kidman into a neckbreaker but Rey chops the legs out in the process. Rey dives to the floor to rana Psicosis but while he’s doing that Kidman hits the SSP on Juvi and ends this at 14.21. Man, did the crowd ever not care about that match. ***1/4. Nowhere near as good as the 3 way at Starrcade. Some excellent spotwork, no doubt but they just didn’t seem to click as well as they did in the Starrcade ’98 match. Probably Psicosis dragging the match down as per usual.

BACKSTAGE Booker T gets a word about the Jericho-Saturn match. Jericho comes in to say he’s here to talk about his excellent victory. Booker accuses him of having the referee in his pocket. Crowd is actually chanting “Jericho”. He challenges Booker to a match tomorrow night on Nitro. Booker won, in case you were wondering.

Ric/David Flair v Barry Windham/Curt Hennig

Ric calls the other guys “Horsemen rejects”. Hennig wants Arn Anderson removed but then changes his mind because Arn can’t do anything. Ric name drops the WWF probably just to piss off Bischoff. Remember he’s President of WCW at this point so the threat he makes about sending Hennig to the WWF was justified. Windham challenges David to start with him. David tries for double leg. Oh Jesus, he can’t do anything can he? Windham walks him through a wrestling sequence. Headlock to David headscissors. In comes Ric and the crowd goes nuts. Hennig is so disturbed by this he jumps out of the ring. Stalling. David continues and manages a hip toss without looking like a total doofus. Fair play to Barry for making the kid look almost capable. David gets walked through another few spots and Ric is in. He lights up Windham with chops. Hennig comes in to badmouth Ric but Naitch cuts him off and he gets chops too. Hennig comes back with the rolling neck snap and he punks David off the apron with a chop. Hennig looks terrible out there. Not his wrestling, just his appearance. Ric does his corner bump to the floor. Ric gets a back elbow in and goes up top but Hennig throws him off. Windham in and they work some heat on Ric. Superplex gets 2. Arn keeps protecting David’s corner by stopping Hennig from coming around there. More heat on Ric. Hennig specifically goes after his knee wanting to eliminate the Figure Four. Speaking of that, Hennig slaps Ric in the Figure Four. Windham holds on to give Hennig more leverage. Ric isn’t going to quit so Hennig gives up on it. In comes Windham and Ric rolls him up for 2. Ric is on one leg but doesn’t want to tag David in. Ric with a few chops. Hennig makes sure it’s not one on one whenever Windham is in there. Arn drags Hennig out and kicks his ass. David has the referee. Figure Four for Windham. Hennig nails Arn in the neck to stop him making a difference. Hennig goes back in to break up the Figure Four. The heels go for a double suplex but David boots Henning in the balls. He takes offence at that and drags David in so he can slap him in the face. Perfectplex is lined up but Arn hits him with a tire iron and David falls on top for the pin at 13.55. Finally they book a babyface over by outsmarting the heels and its David fucking Flair. No offence to David, he didn’t even want to be a wrestler, but WCW really should have taken the hint from this match that David was not in any way ready to become a wrestler. Sure, he’d be trained at the Power Plant but WCW just kept sticking him in there so he never improved. **. Match is formula all the way and thankfully it’s mostly Ric Flair out there. Much like WCW booking Jay Leno and Dennis Rodman this is just another non-wrestler clogging up the main event scene. David should have gone and been a state trooper like he wanted to.

POST MATCH the nWo scrubs run in here (Vincent, Bryan Adams, Scott Norton etc). Norton works over Arn. Benoit runs in to make the save but he gets beaten down too. Then the Black and Red elite nWo come out here. That includes Nash and Hogan, neither of whom are booked in a match. Crowd wants Goldberg then Sting. David going after Hogan gets a brief pop but the nWo beatdown ensues and no one makes the save. Oh dear. Take what I said about “outsmarting the heels” and just throw it away. What the fuck is the point of having these guys beat up David Flair when that’s all they’re doing here. How about booking some of these guys in MATCHES. Or would that be too much like hard work for Hogan? If he’s too busted up to wrestle every PPV then why in the world is he the champion? This goes on for so long you’d have to question what the hell they were thinking. When the nWo music kicks back in again the crowd boos the shit out of the segment. That’s NOT good heat. That’s BAD, I’m not happy I wasted my money on this shit, heat. Oh and don’t even get me started on where this was going. David turning on Ric? Is that the dumbest fucking booking decision ever or what? Logically Ric gets his revenge by having a match with Hogan and beating him. Stay tuned for Superbrawl where WCW once again fucks the fans over!

CLIPS – Goldberg getting beaten down and spraypainted by the nWo. What is with these video packages? They all suck. Like really, REALLY, suck. The WWF’s advantage in this area was boundless. Their production, their video packages, their pyro, their music. Everything production wise is a million times better than this shit.

Bill Goldberg v Scott Hall

Ladder match with the Tazer above the ring. The winner is the first guy to use it on their opponent. “…Hey Yo”. Hall has good news and bad news. The good news is that everyone got to see Scott Hall who’s “more handsome than ten movie stars”. He says he ended Goldberg’s streak and took away his title. He says that Goldberg wet himself, which explains why he fell over earlier and injured his knee. Now he’s going to end Goldberg’s career. There doesn’t even need to be a match because Goldberg is crippled. Out comes Da Man. He has a heavy kneebrace. The tazer is now being referred to as a Stun Gun officially. Crowd chants “Goldberg”. Tenay is convinced Goldberg isn’t at 100%. Goldberg wins a shoving contest. Hall with a few poor strikes but Goldberg just clotheslines him. Lots of stalling. Hall can’t even get a slam. Goldberg slams him with ease. Goldberg sells the knee a little. Heenan says he should not have let Hall know which leg is bad. Powerslam and Goldberg sells the knee some more. Weird seeing actual selling from Goldberg. Hall goes to work on that knee and they already have a nice little story going on. Hall uses the ring post and Goldberg is selling like crazy now. Hall eyes up the Stun Gun and bails for the ladder. He looks drunk. Less drunk than usual though. Goldberg stops him getting the ladder. They brawl around the aisle a bit. They run a really slow ladder baseball slide spot. Goldberg just stands there waiting for it. Goldberg blades on the ring steps and I like the fans reaction in the front row who can blatantly see it. Of course WCW didn’t like blood so instead of concentrating on that wound they go to long shots. Hall manages to get the ladder set up and hits an elbow drop off it. The ladder falls over in the process. Hall climbs but Goldberg suplexes him off the ladder. Hall sizes Goldberg’s knee up and bashes him a few times with the ladder. Hall climbs but gets shoved off onto the ropes. Goldberg sidesteps another ladder charge and hits a clothesline. Hall takes a header into the ladder. Goldberg uses the ladder a few times. He hobbles around on one leg. Up he goes but Hall dropkicks him off. Hall up but he’s not high enough. Goldberg shoves the ladder over and Hall lands one leg on the ropes. Ouch. Disco Inferno of all people runs in here to stop Goldberg getting the Stun Gun. This allows Hall to get the Stun Gun down. Goldberg superkicks Hall though to stop him using it. Stun Gun on Disco. Goldberg threatens to use it on Hall but opts instead for the spear and the Jackhammer. Then he uses the Stun Gun because that’s the only way he can win at 17.44. **1/4. Hall tried hard to do something with this match but Goldberg was too busy remembering to sell his knee to do anything interesting himself.

POST MATCH Logically this match would end this brief Hall-Goldberg feud and we segue into the next one as Bam Bam Bigelow runs in to attack Goldberg. But Hall gets up and Stun Guns both of them to set up the next night’s Nitro. The main event being a triple threat match between these guys. So Hall-Goldberg didn’t get finished anyway thus rendering the point of ordering the PPV useless. Not that WCW could ever finish a feud properly.

The 411: This PPV doesn’t actually suck, which is a refreshing change. The very positive reviews at the time were probably down to the improvement over the previous six months worth of drek. Time isn’t kind to it. The cruiser 4-way doesn’t hold up too well (actually suggested as a MOTYC at the time, no really). Neither does anything else really. At least most of the show isn’t actively bad and nothing slips into negative snowflakes. Call this one thumbs in the middle.
 
Final Score:  5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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