Hosted by Tony Schiavone, the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Will Piper overtake Hogan in a steel cage? Will DDP make Savage snap into a Slim Jim? How will Mysterio fare against EVIL Eddie? Let’s find out!
Match 1: Ultimo Dragon versus Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo)
When Heenan referred to Nagata as “Yogi,” “Iron” Mike Tenay joined the broadcast table.
Nagata gave Dragon a release German suplex to a chorus of boos from the Vegas faithful.
As Nagata gave him a cross corner whip, Dragon performed a headstand on the top turnbuckle followed by a mule kick.
He then unleashed a series of kicks and countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex.
After Nagata piledrove Dragon, he got 2.
He then suplexed Dragon for a 1-count.
When Dragon rebounded with a dragon screw leg whip, he punted Nagata to the floor.
He then attempted a plancha, but Nagata booted him in the midsection. OUCH!
While Raven and his crew meandered through the Vegas faithful to their seats, Dragon reversed an Irish whip and rammed Nagata back-first into the steel railing.
Dragon then delivered an Asai moonsault before tossing him back in the ring.
As he gave Nagata a cross corner whip, Dragon attempted a handspring elbow but ate knee instead.
Nagata then placed Dragon atop the top turnbuckle, joined, but Dragon responded with a sunset flip powerbomb for 2.
Upon slamming Nagata, Dragon mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a moonsault for another 2.
Dragon then placed him atop the top turnbuckle, but Nagata rammed his arm into the steel portion of the top turnbuckle. I smell radial nerve damage.
When Nagata delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, he got 2.
He then applied the Nagata lock, but Dragon made the ropes.
As Dragon escaped a powerbomb attempt, he applied a Dragon sleeper.
Nagata escaped, but Dragon hit an enziguri.
After he placed Nagata atop the top turnbuckle, Dragon joined and delivered a top rope huracanrana. Woohoo!
He then reapplied the Dragon sleeper but with his injured arm.
When Nagata countered with a Fujiwara arm bar, Dragon submitted.
Summary: Solid opener, but the Vegas faithful were barely behind Dragon here. I believe some chicanery by Onoo would have helped them support Dragon.
After the match, Nagata holds Dragon’s arm so that Onoo could break it like a piece of wood. Onoo promptly pays Nagata for his services.
At the internet location, Mark Madden interviews Disco until Jacqueline interrupts him. She then chases him away.
Match 2: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho versus Gedo
Instead of Goldberg-Meng, we get this match instead. Meng got screwed!
Wait your turn, Bret. It’s coming soon.
Before I begin reflecting upon this match, I have a beef with the WWE Network. While I understand that Jericho’s theme at this point in time in WCW was a knock-off of a Pearl Jam song, I don’t appreciate WWE Network’s infusion of his WWE theme from 1999. It cheapens his surprise arrival moment.
As Jericho landed a jumping side kick, he smacked Gedo sending him reeling to the floor.
Jericho then gave Gedo a back elbow upon his return.
When Jericho delivered a delayed vertical suplex, he got 2.
Gedo then used momentum to toss Jericho over the top rope.
On the other hand, Jericho held onto the top rope and skinned the cat back into the ring. Sweet!
Not to be outdone, Gedo clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor.
He then returned Jericho to the ring and powerslammed him for 2.
After he gave Jericho a cross corner whip, Gedo ate boot on his follow-through.
Jericho then charged but ate a second powerslam for another 2.
As Gedo applied a sleeper, Jericho countered with an electric chair.
He then clotheslined Gedo who provided a 360° sell. Woohoo!
When Gedo attempted a huracanrana, Jericho hit a double powerbomb for 2. Impressive!
He then placed Gedo atop the top turnbuckle, joined, and attempted a top rope huracanrana.
Instead, both wrestlers CRASHED down to the mat in a heap. Yikes!
Nevertheless, Jericho got 2.
With Gedo on the floor, Jericho attempted a plancha but ate a thrust kick on the way down.
Jericho then attempted a victory roll, but Gedo countered by dropping Jericho on his left knee. OUCH!
After he mounted the top turnbuckle, Gedo attempted a missile dropkick.
However, Jericho evaded him and hooked a LionTamer.
Gedo submitted; thus, Jericho won.
Summary: Although unseen in WCW prior to this match, the familiarity between the wrestlers was obvious with all the move-countermove strategy. Unfortunately, it took away from the match where high-flying and submission-style wrestling would have popped the crowd.
Back in the locker room, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Debra who won’t reveal Mongo’s surprise opponent later in the show. Abruptly, Mongo interrupts his estranged wife, and they air their dirty laundry LIVE on PPV.
Match 3 for the WCW Cruiserweight title (mask versus title): Eddie Guerrero (champion) versus Rey Mysterio, Jr.
It should be noted that Mysterio’s onesie included his mask so that Eddie couldn’t pull another fast one.
When the match began, the Vegas faithful chanted “Eddie sucks.” Let’s hope he doesn’t go from “suck to blow.”
Mysterio attempted an Asai moonsault inside the ring, but Eddie caught him.
As Mysterio monkey-flipped him, he delivered a cross body block sending Eddie to the floor.
He then flipped over the top rope to the apron, yet Eddie SPLATTERED him down to the floor.
After Eddie rammed him head-first into the steps, he tossed Mysterio back into the ring.
He then hit a springboard senton much to the dismay of the Vegas faithful.
When Mysterio reversed an Irish whip, he dropkicked Eddie.
He then attempted a handspring maneuver, but Eddie countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
As Eddie gave him a brainbuster, he got 2.
He then delivered a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for another 2.
Upon trying to rip off Mysterio’s mask, Eddie applied an abdominal stretch.
In the meantime, he made a second attempt at ripping off the mask.
He then gave Mysterio a pumphandle backbreaker but couldn’t get 3.
While the “Eddie sucks” chants continued, Mysterio leaped to the top rope and descended with a THUNDEROUS DDT. Wow!
He then dropkicked Eddie out of the ring before springboarding to the apron.
Since Eddie was two steps ahead, he scampered back into the ring and dropkicked Mysterio to the floor.
He then joined and rammed Mysterio sternum-first into the steel railing.
Back in the ring, Eddie made a third attempt at the mask.
He then hooked a Gory Special, but Mysterio escaped.
When Mysterio missed a dropkick, Eddie hit a seated dropkick to the back of Mysterio’s head.
He then gave Mysterio a back cracker and tied him up like a pretzel.
As he delivered a flying back elbow, Eddie earned yet another 2-count.
He then tossed Mysterio into the corner tying him to the Tree of Woe.
After he dropkicked a helpless Mysterio, Eddie made a second attempt.
This time, Mysterio pulled himself up, and Eddie crotched himself on the ring post. YEE-OUCH!
Mysterio then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a tope.
When they returned to the ring, Mysterio delivered a huracanrana for 2.
Eddie rebounded with a clothesline, but Mysterio used a flying headscissors to spill Eddie over the top rope to the floor.
As Mysterio hit a somersault plancha, he followed through with a flying headscissors. Incredible!
With Eddie in the ring, Mysterio followed with a corkscrew moonsault for another 2.
He then slammed Eddie, attempted a springboard splash, but ate knees.
After Eddie powerbombed the BEJEEZUS out of him, he only got 2.
The “Eddie sucks” chant from the Vegas faithful grew to a fever pitch while their nemesis charged at Mysterio.
To counter a clothesline, Mysterio vaulted Eddie face-first into the top turnbuckle.
He then delivered a spinning heel kick and attempted the West Coast Pop.
On the contrary, Eddie countered with a backbreaker.
With Mysterio laid out in the middle of the ring, Eddie mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a frog splash.
He then vaulted Mysterio to the top turnbuckle and crotched him.
When he joined Mysterio, Eddie attempted a top rope belly-to-back superplex.
Mysterio then blocked it, yet Eddie tried a crucifix powerbomb.
As Mysterio countered with an unbelievable super huracanrana, he pinned Eddie.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: I realize that I’m not alone by scoring this match with *****. The energy, intensity, workrate, wrestling, and showmanship displayed in this match makes it one of, if not THE, match of the year. Check this out STAT.
After the match, Eddie attacks Mysterio and tosses him down to the floor.
At the entrance, Okerlund shills the hotline.
Backstage, in the nWo locker room, Bischoff complains about the lack of a safe working environment in WCW. He then claims that Hogan won’t wrestle tonight unless Sting is prohibited from the arena. Afterward, Hogan cuts a promo on Piper. Televising the promo in black’n’white is a nice touch.
Match 4: Steve “Mongo” McMichael versus ???? (w/ Debra)
After Mongo made his entrance, Debra accompanied “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright to the ring. Wow! Debra switched from Texas beef to German knockwurst if you catch my drift.
Raven, Kidman, and Stevie Richards were shown among the Vegas faithful.
As Mongo slammed Wright, he got 2.
The Vegas faithful then questioned Wright’s bedroom habits while Mongo hip-tossed their nemesis.
When he slammed Wright again, Mongo gave him a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Wright then rebounded with a spinning heel kick, and he and Mongo flubbed a tombstone attempt.
After Mongo hit his own tombstone, Debra distracted referee Charles Robinson.
Suddenly, Bill Goldberg entered the ring and speared Mongo.
He then delivered the Jackhammer to Mongo while Robinson was so distracted that he must have gotten Debra’s phone number.
As Goldberg placed Wright atop Mongo, Robinson counted the pin.
Your winner: NOBODY!!!!
Summary: One can only stretch suspension of disbelief so far, and then there’s this match. YUCK!
After the match, Debra compensates Goldberg with Mongo’s Super Bowl ring for his mercenary work. Goldberg then responds with “it’s mine, baby, it’s mine.” As Wright approaches Goldberg to shake hands, he gets decked. Upon tossing Wright back into the ring, Goldberg spears him. He then delivers the Jackhammer to Wright while Mongo remains OUT COLD.
Back in the nWo locker room, Savage with Elizabeth calls DDP a “marked man.” Elizabeth completely dismisses DDP altogether.
Match 5 (non-title): WCW World TV champion Disco Inferno versus Jacqueline
While the Vegas faithful chanted “Disco sucks,” their nemesis proceeded to stall mercilessly.
Ultimately, Jacqueline got fed up with Disco’s shenanigans and chased after him.
She then hooked a sunset flip from the apron into the ring like she wrestled every night for the least five years. Wow!
Regardless, she got 2.
Disco then responded with a drop toe hold but refused to lock up with her.
When she outsmarted Disco, Jacqueline gave him the business.
Disco then tried to head backstage, but Jacqueline ambushed him in the aisle.
As Disco hip-tossed her, Jacqueline landed on her feet.
She then crotched him on the ring post and suplexed Disco on the floor.
After Jacqueline clotheslined him twice, she delivered a tornado DDT.
She then mounted the top turnbuckle, attempted a cross body block, but Disco used momentum to land on top for 2.
When she rolled up Disco, Jacqueline got the win.
Summary: If the Vegas faithful hadn’t returned from their bathroom break during the last match, this fiasco would have sunk into negative stars too.
Match 6 for the WCW US title: Curt Hennig (champion) versus “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
As Hennig made his entrance, he wore Flair’s robe minus the sleeves.
Flair hightailed it to the ring and dragged Hennig to the floor with him.
When Hennig sought refuge to the apron, Flair shoulder-blocked him. In the process, Hennig tasted the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Rooster Cogburn at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.
He then nailed Hennig in the aisle before making him taste the steel railing again. Waiter, could you give the no-good backstabbing no-longer-perfect one a fried bologna sandwich please?
After Flair rammed Hennig’s leg against the ring post, he grabbed a chair yet missed Hennig’s leg.
Meanwhile, Hennig still wore Flair’s robe.
Flair then removed it and put it on to a thunderous response from the Vegas faithful.
As he gave Hennig a cross corner whip, Flair ate a clothesline.
Hennig then delivered a neck snap followed by a knee crusher.
When Hennig rammed Flair’s leg into the ring post, he won a brief brawl before hitting a second knee crusher.
He then nailed Flair for 2.
After he gave Flair a cross corner whip, a Flair flip ensued.
Hennig then joined Flair on the floor and made him taste the steel railing. Um, waiter, one more thing, could you give the “Nature Boy” a Tumbleweed please?
With Flair on the apron, Hennig guillotined him with the top rope.
He then hooked a sleeper, but Flair backed him into the corner to escape.
As Hennig reapplied it, Flair countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
Hennig then retrieved a chair and would have SQUISHED Flair’s head like a grape had he connected with it against the ring post.
On the floor, Flair rammed Hennig back-first into the steel railing and used a catapult to make Hennig HIT THE POLE.
Hennig then tried to take a powder, but Flair ambushed him in the aisle.
When he gave Hennig a knee drop on the floor, Flair tossed him back into the ring.
Hennig then rebounded with a knee lift and attempted a Hennigplex on the belt.
On the other hand, Flair blocked it and suplexed Hennig.
He then tied Hennig to the Tree of Woe, wrapped the belt around Hennig’s face, and STOMPED Hennig’s schnozola halfway to Reno.
Seeing he had no choice, referee Billy Silverman called for the bell disqualifying Flair.
Hennig won by DQ.
Summary: The finish alone earns a ½* from me as comeuppance from Flair. Way to go, Champ!
After the match, Flair knocks Silverman OUT COLD before rearranging Hennig’s face. Officials along with Konnan and Vincent storm the ring to save Hennig’s bacon.
At the WCW.com table, Mark Madden interviews Savage.
Okerlund then interviews JJ Dillon who returns as Chairman of the Executive Committee. While Dillon declares that the steel cage match WILL HAPPEN, Bischoff interrupts and questions Dillon’s “stroke.” Dillon retrieves a document from his jacket and hands Bischoff a notarized contract. Before the interview ends, Bischoff complains and demands Nitro for the nWo. The power struggle for WCW’s hottest TV show begins.
Match 7: Scott Hall (w/ Syxx) versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger
Larry Zbyszko was the special guest referee for this match.
When Luger gave Hall a ten-punch count-along, Hall countered with an inverted atomic drop.
He then clotheslined Luger, gave him a cross corner whip, and followed with a corner clothesline for 2.
As he delivered a fallaway slam, Hall got another 2.
Hall then applied a sleeper, but Luger ultimately countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
After Hall kicked Luger out of the ring, he and Zbyszko shoved one another.
Zbyszko then backdropped Hall over the top rope to the floor. Way to go, Larry! That’s how you deal with a bully. I wish I could have backdropped a bully over the top rope back in the day.
When Bischoff arrived, he got up on the apron, but Zbyszko kicked him down to the floor.
Perhaps Zbyszko needed a fly swatter.
As Luger rebounded with a clothesline, he delivered an inverted atomic drop.
In the meantime, Bischoff returned to the apron to distract Zbyszko.
Luger then hit a pair of inverted atomic drops and gave Hall a flying forearm.
While Bischoff distracted Zbyszko again, Syxx entered the ring and kicked Luger. Devious!
Hall then delivered an Outsider Edge and pinned Luger.
Wait a minute! A frustrated Zbyszko requested to see the replay.
For those unaware, the replay rule in the NFL had recently been implemented; thus, WCW used football logic in their storyline.
Upon seeing the replay, Zbyszko restarted the match. He set a precedent! Please, whatever you do, do NOT refer to Zbyszko as “your honor.”
Hall then hurried back to the ring and exchanged more shoves with Zbyszko.
With Hall distracted, Luger hooked him in a Torture Rack.
Hall submitted, so Luger won.
Summary: The Zbyszko factor played a major role in the story of the match, yet it still sucked.
After the match, Syxx ambushes Zbyszko from behind; however, Zbyszko recovers with a legit front face lock that knocked Syxx out of action. In fact, this is Syxx’s last WCW PPV. Perhaps he’ll show up on Nitro in traction.
To save Syxx, Bischoff enters the ring and kicks at Zbyszko. As Zbyszko turns his attention toward him, Hall lays him out from behind. Hall and Bischoff double-team Zbyszko as Bischoff delivers a side kick. To mock him, Bischoff places a foot upon Zbyszko’s chest, and Hall counts the felonious pin.
Promo airs for World War III ‘97 LIVE on PPV come November 23. Order NOW!
Match 8 (Las Vegas Sudden Death): “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) versus Diamond Dallas Page
For those unaware, the stipulation is similar to last man standing.
While DDP made his entrance, his ribs were taped. Foreshadowing, perhaps?
The match began on the floor, and Savage smartly attacked DDP’s ribs.
As DDP recovered, he made Savage taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Ricky Ricardo sandwich at Therapy.
They entered the ring, and Savage guillotined DDP with the top rope.
When DDP gave Savage a cross corner whip, he ate boot on his follow-through.
Savage then missed a clothesline, and a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
After DDP delivered a swinging neckbreaker, he attempted a Diamond Cutter.
On the other hand, Savage escaped immediately.
He then sought refuge outside the ring only to succumb to a plancha by DDP. Woohoo!
As DDP rammed him ribs-first into the steel railing, Savage rebounded with a second guillotine on the top rope.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle to DDP on the floor. To add insult to injury, DDP tasted the steel railing afterward. Waiter, could you give the dude from South Jersey an In the Gnudi, please?
When Savage BLASTED him, DDP spilled over the steel railing into the front row.
Savage then mounted the steel railing and hammered DDP with another double axe handle right in front of Raven, Kidman, and Richards.
After they brawled their way through the Vegas faithful, Savage delivered a third double axe handle from a different portion of the steel railing.
Savage then gave him another taste of the steel railing. Um, waiter, one more thing, could you supply the South Jersey fellow with a Big Sexy Burger please?
As DDP reversed an Irish whip, he sent Savage into the graveyard set.
He then slammed Savage in front of a “beloved” tombstone. The only thing beloved Savage will feel will be the Excedrin.
When he CREAMED Savage with a plastic prop, Dusty absolutely lost his mind.
Savage returned to his feet at 7, so DDP punted him down the aisle.
After they revisited ringside, Savage reversed an Irish whip sending DDP ribs-first into the steel railing.
He then rammed DDP shoulder-first into the steps.
As he rammed DDP head-first into the steps, Savage tossed him into the ring.
He then accosted cameraman Jackie Crockett and commandeered the camera. Evil!
When Savage tried to destroy him, DDP kicked the camera back into Savage’s face.
Elizabeth then got up on the apron and CROWNED referee Mickey Jay with a plastic tray.
To say Jay was OUT COLD would be an understatement.
After she gouged DDP’s eyes, Elizabeth choked him with a camera cable.
Suddenly, Kimberly hit the ring and dragged Elizabeth by the hair backstage.
Jay then got carried out of the ring by the WCW trainer while Nick Patrick took over as referee.
As DDP rebounded with an inverted atomic drop, he pancaked Savage.
He then attempted another Diamond Cutter, but Savage grabbed the top rope to block it.
When Savage mounted the top turnbuckle, he hit the big elbow.
DDP then got up at six, so Savage slammed him.
After Savage mounted an adjacent top turnbuckle, he delivered a second big elbow. This one was more solid than the previous elbow.
Somehow, DDP rose to his feet at nine, yet Savage put a knee into his back.
He then tried to slam DDP, but DDP’s legs knocked down Patrick.
As DDP gave Savage a Diamond Cutter, Patrick wasn’t available to make a count.
He then regrouped and counted until both wrestlers arose at eight.
When DDP attempted another Diamond Cutter, Savage countered with a kick down I-11 SOUTH to Henderson.
DDP then spilled out of the ring, and a rather tall “Sting” approached the ring.
After “Sting” CLOBBERED DDP, he vanished backstage.
Patrick then counted DDP out.
As a result, Savage won.
Summary: Excellent match where each wrestler used psychology by damaging each other’s ribs. Ultimately, it cost DDP the most due to nWo shenanigans.
After the match, Savage nails Patrick and DDP before returning backstage. Paramedics then strap DDP on a gurney and haul him backstage for medical attention. Abruptly, Savage gives DDP another beating before being escorted away.
Match 9 (steel cage/non-title): WCW World champion “Hollywood” Hogan versus “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Much like Thunderdome from years past in WCW, the cage surrounded the ringside area rather than just the ring. Referee Randy Anderson stood outside the cage to declare a winner.
While Piper made his entrance, he carried the World title belt with him.
Hogan tried to run by climbing the cage, but Piper stopped and bit him.
When he rammed Hogan face-first into the apron, Piper gave him an atomic drop.
Hogan then tried to run again, so Piper delivered a Golota special to him.
As Hogan rammed him into the cage, Piper followed him out the door.
He then made Hogan taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Unicorn burger at Pub 365.
After Hogan rammed the door to the cage in his face, he crotched Piper on the steel railing. OUCH!
He then tried to head backstage until “Sting” stopped him in his tracks.
When they returned to the cage, Piper rammed Hogan face-first into it.
Hogan rebounded by ramming Piper twice into the cage.
As both wrestlers climbed the cage, another “Sting” stood alongside his clone in the aisle.
Meanwhile, Hogan was BUSTED OPEN.
Hogan then whipped Piper with his weightlifting belt and tried to exit the cage by climbing over the top.
With Sting preventing him from hitting the floor, Hogan got dragged back over the top.
While Piper and Hogan fought at the top of the cage, more versions of “Sting” appeared within the MGM Grand.
Piper then tried to escape, but Hogan pulled him back inside.
After they returned to the ring, Hogan OBLITERATED Piper with the World title belt.
He then hit a pair of leg drops, requested Anderson enter the cage to count the pin, but only got 2.
When Savage came to the ring, he climbed to the top of the cage.
While Hogan held Piper, Savage leaped but nailed Hogan inadvertently.
Piper then dispatched Savage and hooked a sleeper on Hogan.
As Hogan laid unconscious, Anderson called for the bell.
Summary: If you’re a longtime fan, and you always wanted to see Hogan versus Piper in a cage, then this match is for you. Without the response from the Vegas faithful, this match would have earned nothing and liked it.
After the match, Savage nails Piper, and a crazed Bischoff enters the cage unbeknownst to Piper. While Savage keeps Piper at bay, Hogan CROWNS Piper with the World title belt. He then drags a “Sting” clone into the ring, rips off the mask and wig to reveal “Hardwork” Bobby Walker, and tosses him over the top rope to the floor.
Savage then rams Piper face-first into the cage while the Vegas faithful chant “We Want Sting.” As Hogan and Savage hand cuff him to the cage, Hogan puts on a Sting mask. Suddenly, a fan climbs the cage, but Walker subdues him. Hogan and Savage then give the fan the business until WCW Security removes him to end the show.
Conclusion: If one were to judge the PPV based upon the main event alone, one should request an immediate refund due to inappropriate value based upon performance. Conversely, if one groups Mysterio-Guerrero, Savage-DDP, and Flair-Hennig together, one certainly earned value for the PPV dollar. My recommendation is to watch the show, make some popcorn and cocktails during the Mongo and Disco matches, and enjoy the show without the main event.