Spring Stampede 1997
April 6, 1997
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Dean Malenko (3/16/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Prince Iaukea (2/17/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Syxx (2/23/1997)
WCW Women’s Champion: Akira Hokuto (12/29/1996)
I did a recap for this show back in 2005, but MAN oh man was it bad. Very smarky. Very elitist. Very unlikeable. Hopefully in six years my writing has improved.
Your hosts are Tony, Dusty & Bobby! (For those hard-to-call matches, Mike Tenay will be joining us!)
- Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
This is the RUBBER MATCH~! When he was the Cruiserweight champ, Mysterio defeated Dragon at Hog Wild back in August. When he was the J-Crown champ, Dragon picked up the win at World War 3 in November. But now, there are no titles on the line but their PPV rivalry is certainly at stake. This is of course one of those hard-to-call matches as we are joined by Mike Tenay. Sonny Oono is conspicuous by his absence. Heenan tries to cover for him saying that he’s busy getting Akira Hokuto ready for her title defense. Lot of cool mat work to start. It leads to a stalemate where they get an ovation from the crowd. That’s when Dragon busts out the Kick Combo. Back to the mat, Dragon tries to uncle him with a short-arm scissors. I’ve been listening to WAY too much Dusty commentary over the years. Dragon changes the game plan with the awesome spinning crucifix backbreaker. He hits a powerbomb and then lifts him back up only to drop him backwards onto the top rope. RUNNING LIGERBOMB connects. Jumping tombstone gets 1-2-NO! Dragon pulls him up! Rey fights out of a sleeper and delivers a spinning heel kick. Gourdbuster (!!) sets up the Muta Lock, then he changes over to the surfboard. Rey baits Dragon to the floor and reverses a whip into the guardrail. Back inside, they trade sleepers. Rey dropkicks Dragon to the floor and fakes a dive 6-1-NINER style. He catches Dragon when he’s not looking with a springboard somersault plancha. To the back we go! Lee Marshall (who is actually doing something constructive besides having Nitro parties in towns a week before WCW even shows up) was promised an interview with Kevin Nash. Syxx sticks his head out the door, whispers something to Lee, and then shuts the door in his face. Apparently, Big Kev isn’t wearing any pants right now. Lee Marshall says he’ll keep trying to get that interview. The man is very adamant about making sure untrustworthy people keep their promises. Back to live action, Rey simply hits a springboard guillotine legdrop long before he could drop dimes. That gets two. Mysterio ducks a crossbody out of the corner, but then Dragon dropkicks him off the top turnbuckle down to the floor. Dragon comes through the ropes with a dropkick and then SKINS THE CAT back in only to come back out with a pescado. Back inside, Rey punches back and tries a springboard, but Dragon dropkicks him in mid-air. Fantastic. Dragon delivers the Big Swing – SEVEN repetitions. Both men down. Back up, Rey handsprings and hits a hurracanrana for 1-2-NO! Now Dragon delivers an enziguri and follows up with the SPINNING HURRACANRANA! Cover, 1-2-NO! Rey avoids another Ligerbomb and when he feels the TIGER SUPLEX coming (which is the move that beat him at World War 3!), he lunges for the ropes. Dragon tries a spinning heel kick and misses, but then Rey comes out of nowhere and springboards into a hurracanrana for the 1-2-3! (14:53) Another amazing outing from these two. It didn’t quite go to the level of the World War 3 opener though. ****
Alright, Lee. Let’s see if your second-to-none journalism skills can shine here. This time Kevin Nash comes to the door and I’m still not sure if he’s wearing any kind of clothing because Doug Dellinger and his redneck security team are standing in between the nWo locker room and the Steiner brothers. The only thing that Nash asks for in tonight’s match is that Nick Patrick be the referee. Since Scott Steiner won’t shut up, Nash spits a loogie on him and the guy SNAPS. Scott forearms a security fellow to try to get at Nash and then gets MACED by Dellinger! HOLY CRAP! A couple of policemen hold Rick Steiner back against the wall while Dellinger and some other policemen slap some handcuffs on Scott. Come on, security guards get abused all the time in wrestling. It’s not like he nailed a policeman.
- WCW Women’s Champion Akira Hokuto (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Madusa
Being the Stephen Hawking of women’s wrestling, Lee Marshall has made it to the announce table to replace Mike Tenay. Hokuto seems disappointed with these USA chants. Not sure why she would think Tupelo Mississippi would be a pro-Joshi town. Apparently Madusa and Apollo Creed have the same ring attire designers. All she really needs is a top hat. This is most certainly not either lady’s best work. Lots of choking and hair pulling by Hokuto. Madusa has a mild wardrobe malfunction which allows her puppies to breathe a little better. She makes a mild comeback. Speaking of mild, Sonny Oono gets mildly involved by mildly slapping her around. She kicks him away and delivers a pair of missile dropkicks. BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX gets 1-2-NO! As Sonny Oono gets kicked off the apron, Madusa tries a powerbomb when Luna Vachon heads out and kicks Madusa in the knee to screw up the move. Hokuto lands on top and hooks the leg for the lame 1-2-3. (5:13) Surprisingly enough, the crowd seemed into this one. Like I said, definitely not their best. ¾*
- WCW World Television Champion Prince Iaukea vs. Lord Steven Regal
While Regal was upset over the TV belt right before Superbrawl, it has taken TWO PPVs for him to get another title shot. If anyone was made to get heat in Tupelo, it’s Regal. He takes time out of the match to verbally spar with some of the townspeople. Iaukea sticks to that headlock. Regal tosses him out to change things up a bit. Iaukea flies back in with a springboard flying bodypress for 1-2-NO! Regal works the test of strength just great. He does the bridge to avoid being pinned. He kips up to his feet. Then out of nowhere, he kicks loose and thumbs Iaukea in the eye. It’s a little thing, but it’s awesome. After a beating, Iaukea makes a short comeback which ends just fine as Regal walks away from a crossbody out of the corner. Here he comes again. As Regal tries a quick rollup, Iaukea blocks for the 1-2-3. (9:15) Another upset win, but Regal wins the war as he disciplines Iaukea with the REGAL STRETCH. Not really his fault, Prince just was NOT ready for even a TV title push. It felt forced since no fan had any connection to the guy. *½
Gene Okerlund brings out Ric Flair. Long story short, he’s coming back May 18 and he wants to team up with Roddy Piper and free agent linebacker Kevin Greene to take on the nWo in Charlotte at Slamboree. WOO!
- Public Enemy vs. Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael (w/Debra)
This was supposed to happen in some fashion at UnCeNSoReD until WCW realized how retarded Team Piper originally was and stuck the Four Horsemen in there with him instead in the big elimination match main event. Mongo and Rocco start. Eventually, McMichael cleans house so that he and JJ can share a double Fargo strut. Even though Debra seems to want a piece of Jeff Jarrett in the most carnal sense, Mongo and Jarrett show some teamwork as they cheat on an ab stretch. That actually leads to some heel miscommunication as Grunge atomic drops Jarrett into Mongo. Back inside, Mongo takes over on Rocco’s back. Tilt-a-whirl side slam gets 1-2-NO! Now to the floor we go. No doubt, this turns into a Spring Stampede street fight. Jarrett helps Debra out at ringside who gets put on the table by whacking Grunge in the back with a chairshot. Meanwhile, Mongo and Rocco are battling over by the western-themed set. They go steer tipping. Dur-hur. Grunge misses a splash on Jarrett and goes through the table. Back inside, Rocco gets the Haliburton briefcase and wallops Jarrett while he’s locking in the FIGURE-FOUR on Grunge. Rocco LEAVES THE BRIEFCASE RIGHT BY JARRETT’S SHOULDERS and slides out of the ring. While Jarrett still has the hold locked in although he’s knocked out, ref Mickey Jay counts his shoulders down for the 1-2-3. (10:41) That finish brings a whole new meaning to blind referees. If nothing else, they certainly played to the strengths of Public Enemy = mindless brawling. *
To the back, Gene Okerlund wants a word with the Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri. This is where Booker T spits that infamous line – “Hulk Hogan, I’m coming for you nigga.”
- WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Chris Benoit (w/Woman)
This is a battle of two guys who above all else RESPECT each other. Loads of cautious mat wrestling with no one really gaining an advantage in the first seven minutes or so. Malenko tries to sneak an inside cradle on Benoit and pays for it with chops. Back to the mat as Malenko grabs a camel clutch. He changes over to the short arm scissors and you know where this is going. Benoit lifts him up and slams him to the mat. Back suplex by Benoit gets two. Benoit works an ab stretch and hits a reverse neckbreaker for two. Snap suplex scores another couple nearfalls. Benoit lays in the chops in the corner, but Malenko fights back with a corner clothesline. Benoit counters a suplex into a REVERSE suplex! That draws out Jacqueline to beat the heck out of Woman. While she is being handled, Jimmy Hart runs down and steals the US title as Benoit delivers the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT on Malenko. Eddie Guerrero wearing an arm sling walks out to stop Jimmy. Meanwhile as Benoit and Malenko tumble to the floor, Arn Anderson runs down and forearms Malenko from behind and throws him into the ring. Now Kevin Sullivan is out with a kendo stick. He tells Arn to let him by so he can WHACK Benoit in the back right in front of the ref for the DQ, I think. (17:56) Anyways, this was a no-decision. Jimmy puts the US title on Eddie’s shoulder while Sullivan and Jacqueline take him with them backstage. He DEFINITELY seems reluctant to go with them Dungeon of Doom people. Not much of a story in the match as it felt like they were merely going through the motions before the finish. Even still, its a better match than say PN News would ever have. After the smoke clears, Malenko helps Benoit up and they share looks. ***
- WCW World Tag Team Champion Kevin Nash (w/Syxx & Ted DiBiase) vs. Rick Steiner
Evil Nick Patrick (complete with earrings!) is indeed the referee for this one. This was supposed to be a handicap match since Scott Hall went AWOL, but obviously Scott Steiner has been carried off to jail for the night. Nash delivers his corner knees and elbows to set up a comeback from Rick. Belly to Belly Suplex and the powerslam gets two. Syxx pulls the top rope down to dump out the DFG and puts the boots to him. Back in, Nash hits the Side Slam for two. The Bossman straddle connects as does the Big Boot. He calls for the JACKKNIFE and delivers for 1-2-NO! DFG low blows Nash and hits the STEINER BULLDOG for 1-2-NO! He connects on a series of Steinerlines and knocks Syxx off the apron. Just like that, Syxx is right back up and taking off the top turnbuckle pad to expose the STEEEEL. Nash then proceeds to deliver a pair of Snake Eyes on the exposed corner. Steiner is completely knocked out. He calls for a third one and DiBiase is telling him to stop. Nash wants one to do it again and calls him a pussy. Nash hits the Snake Eyes again and that’s enough for DiBiase as he walks out on Nash and Syxx. For that, Nash delivers a FOURTH Snake Eyes and hits the JACKKNIFE. Even Nick Patrick is reluctant to count after witnessing such violence, but Nash barks at him and Patrick completes the three-count. (10:19) Nick Patrick leaves in disgust. The earrings were one thing, but this is just plain CRAZY! In a way, it works off Nash and Syxx’s angry “State of the nWo” address from last Monday night quite well claiming to be the ones doing all the dirty work destroying WCW’s talent while Hollywood Hogan is out chilling with Dennis Rodman. This pretty much ended the major threat of the Steiners to their tag belts until around October. ¾*
Gene Okerlund meets with Lex Luger and the Giant. They are a team working towards one goal and that’s taking the world title strap off Hollywood Hogan.
- Booker T vs. Stevie Ray vs. Lex Luger vs. The Giant – Four Corners Match
Winner gets a world title shot against Hogan. I’ll go ahead and say it: if you think either member of Harlem Heat is winning this one then you are a NEW kid on the block, my friend. Booker and Lex start out. Luger is all press slams and clotheslines. Giant tags in to meet Stevie Ray. Giant is all press slams and clotheslines too! Back in, Stevie Ray tags Luger to make things interesting. Luger tries a slam and Giant falls on top for two. While Harlem Heat aren’t looking, they get tagged in. They do a basic feeling out sequence before quickly cooling off. Giant becomes *your* face in peril as Harlem Heat try to knock him down using Harlem Side Kicks! Eventually, Giant comes back on Stevie Ray and tags Luger. He calls for the TORTURE RACK on Booker, but Stevie Ray saves with a suplex. Luger elbows out of a chinlock, but then takes the Harlem Side Kick. Over on the wrong side of town, Harlem Heat beat down on Lex. THEY BE CLUBBERIN, TONY! Booker hits the Axe Kick Way delayed cover for no reason gets two. Harlem Heat go for the Rocket Launcher, but Luger moves and hot tags Giant. He lays waste on the Heat and calls for the CHOKESLAM, but decides to let Luger have a chance at Hogan as he tags in Luger. TORTURE RACK to Stevie Ray is enough to give Luger the win. (18:15) While this was every man for himself, this worked like a decent tag match. Even though he’s the supposed number one contender, it would take Luger four months to get that title shot against Hogan. **½
On their way to the ring backstage, Randy Savage asks Elizabeth if she has a problem inviting 22 women to the after party. She’s cool with it. SLIM JIMS FOR EVERYBODY! Awesome.
- Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/Kimberly) – No-DQ Match
Quite the grudge match here, folks. Back when DDP was just the underdog as this is his first of very few PPV main events. Total brawl to start as they wind up in and out of the ring. Back inside, Page goes for the Diamond Cutter and Savage hooks the top rope. They fight into the stands and head for the doors where they find trash cans. What is with Tupelo and brawls? Back to ringside, Kimberly gets caught in between Page and Savage. Flying double-sledge connects while DDP is hanging on the railing. Savage sends DDP in both steel steps before heading back inside. Savage steals Michael Buffer’s chair and nails Page across the back. When the ref gets rid of the chair (why?), that gives Savage an excuse to bully Dave Penzer and take *his* chair. Savage makes the mistake of tossing the chair into the ring which allows DDP to pick it up and slam it back in Savage’s face. It’s like a much lamer version of a Van Daminator. Savage catches a kick and spins DDP around only to take the clothesline. Savage grabs the ring bell and heads up top as Kimberly CHANNELS THE SPIRIT OF GEORGE THE ANIMAL STEELE and takes it away from him. So what. Savage goes for the MACHO ELBOW anyway, but flies down into a boot. Savage counters the DIAMOND CUTTER into a backslide. When he can’t get the backslide, his trick knee acts up all into DDP’s balls. Cover gets two. Since he wouldn’t count to three, Savage slaps the ref and gives him an old Memphis piledriver. Savage then steals his belt and whips him real good before throwing him to the floor. This time, the MACHO ELBOW on DDP connects. Nick Patrick strolls down and as Savage lifts DDP up for another slam, DDP counters into a DIAMOND CUTTER for the 1-2-3. (15:36) We saw Kevin Nash in the aisleway just before the finish. He storms to the ring to grab hold of Nick Patrick. Once Savage rolls out of the way, Nash kicks Patrick out of the new World order with a JACKKNIFE. Here comes Eric Bischoff with the entire nWo b-team behind him. Savage grabs Kimberly by the hair and threatens to harm her when Bischoff tries to stop him. Randy has CRAZY in his eyes. More so than usual. Savage finally lets Kimberly go so he can nail Bischoff. They get separated as the PPV goes off the air. Very good match as its one of those matches that would be much more fun to watch live never knowing if DDP would pull it off, but always hoping he would. No doubt, this was a star-making match. ***½
Final Thoughts: So the nWo appears to be in complete turmoil. While one would suppose that this would be the beginning of some sort of stable implosion, history shows us that it didn’t turn out that way and the nWo continued to prosper without an evil ref like Nick Patrick or the amount of money backing “Zillionaire” Ted DiBiase. It makes the PPV completely just April filler storyline-wise, but dang it if WCW didn’t deliver in at least three different matches. The main event is easily the best one-on-one PPV main event we’ve seen in nearly three years. I’m a fan of the Savage-DDP feud, but I can’t base that one match on giving a strong recommendation for the whole show. I’ll go with a thumbs in the middle for Spring Stampede. Not a must-see, but it’s worth a look.