WCW: Slamboree 1997

WCW Slamboree
May 18, 1997
Charlotte, NC
Independence Arena

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: Ultimo Dragon (4/7/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Syxx (2/23/1997)
WCW Women’s Champion: Akira Hokuto (12/29/1996)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes.

  • WCW World Television Champion Ultimo Dragon (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Steven Regal

Regal said on Nitro last week that he no longer wants to be considered noble and has officially dropped “lord” from his name. Mike Tenay joins us for commentary here. Fancy feeling out process to start. Once they get moving, Dragon does the handstand kick out of the corner and follows up with the Kick Combo. Dragon goes to the mat for a headscissors, but Regal flips him over and escapes hoping to lock in the REGAL STRETCH. When Dragon grabs for the ropes, Regal jumps up and puts the boots to him to send Dragon out on the floor. Tenay says Regal thinks that the TV belt is the only championship worth owning. He doesn’t care for the U.S. strap since he’s not a U.S. citizen (no reason to feel proud to win it or a desire to stick it to the American people) and questions the nWo’s vandalism of the WCW world title. I like little comments like that. It gives importance to big TV title matches to a belt that normally always feels like a C-level singles championship. They trade full nelsons, but then Regal goes for another REGAL STRETCH and can’t lock it in before Dragon is in the ropes. Dragon attempts a cross armbreaker, but again Regal escapes and tries the REGAL STRETCH. When he can’t apply the hold, he settles for a bow and arrow submission. He’s softened up the Dragon for another try at the stretch, but this time Dragon BITES his way out. Another series of kicks and Dragon applies the Muta Lock. Crowd starts chanting for Regal. He lasts through the pain and escapes a camel clutch, but then takes a dropkick out to Sonny Oono, who gets his kicks in. Dragon comes down to stop him though. Back in, Dragon hits a headscissors out of the corner for 1-2-NO! Moonsault misses, Regal tries the stretch again and Dragon lunges for the ropes. Butterfly suplex gets countered into a hurracanrana for 1-2-NO! La Magistral cradle lands them in the ropes. Quebrada hits and Dragon goes for the TIGER SUPLEX, but Regal switches out and they both end up on the floor. Pescado attempt, but Regal just walks away. So THAT’S where Samoa Joe got that from! Some guardrail action sets up an Asai Moonsault from the Dragon. Once Dragon gets back inside, Sonny Oono starts kicking Regal again. Dragon doesn’t seem to appreciate that and tosses Regal back inside. Oono doesn’t seem to like what Dragon’s lack of respect for him and spin kicks Dragon in the back of the head! Back inside, Regal takes advantage and delivers a reverse suplex to set up the REGAL STRETCH for the submission for his fourth and final WCW TV title. (17:04) Easily Regal’s best match in WCW and the last standout encounter he would have in the company as well. He would lose the TV belt back to Ultimo Dragon in July and would remain in lower mid-card hell until he jumped over to the WWE for good in 2000. ***¾

  • Madusa vs. Luna Vachon

Lee Marshall – WCW’s resident women’s wrestling expert – comes out of hiding for this one. He talks about Madusa winning the WCW women’s belt in Japan, but Sonny Oono says she didn’t and apparently his word is GOLDEN. Whatever. That belt will be gone from WCW TV altogether in a month anyway. Vachon attacks at the bell and doesn’t let up for a while. Madusa fires back with chops and connects with a clothesline and lands Vachon on her neck. SICK! Vachon goes to the eyes and tries a flying splash, but Madusa gets out of the way. BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX gets the 1-2-3. (5:10) Well, I’ve seen worse from the Divas. ½*

Macho Man and Elizabeth interrupt the show to call out Diamond Dallas Page. Out comes DDP through the crowd with the “same bent up crutch that Hogan used on his ribs” last week on Nitro. Savage spies DDP before DDP can attack. Eric Bischoff and the nWo B-team try and keep them separated. Page eventually gets enough under Savage’s skin that he tells the boys to step aside. He hits the ring only to be hit with the crutch to the point that pieces of the crutch start to fly everywhere. Well, that’s not safe. He’s basically goes ‘Sting with a ball bat’ on the nWo crew until Scott Norton rabbit punches him and the nWo regroup to stomp the life out of him. Oh man, the ribs are taped! The Giant wearing a Lex Luger t-shirt (he misses his buddy!) makes the save and scares everybody away.

  • Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Yuji Yasuraoka

Way to find a junior heavyweight nobody from Japan. Rey saved a jobber after Yasuraoka took liberties with him on Saturday Night during Yuji’s WCW debut match. If anybody knows who Yuji Yasuraoka is, it’s anyone who watched Tenryu’s WAR promotion around this same time period. Lots of lucha wearing down holds to start. Rey wakes up the crowd by taking Yasuraoka to the floor and wiping him out with a somersault plancha over the referee. Back inside, Rey tries another springboard move and winds up taking a kick. Yasuraoka works over the arm, but the crowd just does not care for this guy. He tries to wow the crowd with a dive to the floor. Mysterio mounts a comeback with a split-legged moonsault. Rollup sequence leads to a powerbomb from Rey. Flying splash misses though. Double-Arm DDT from Yasuraoka gets 1-2-NO! Apparently that’s his finisher. He tries for another, but Rey backdrops him over into a bridge for two. Looks like they mess up a spot there. Yasuraoka comes off the top and takes a dropkick in mid-air. That sets up the SPRINGBOARD HURRACANRANA for the 1-2-3! (14:59) No one in the Western hemisphere ever heard from Yuji Yasuraoka again. **½

  • Glacier vs. Mortis (w/James Vandenberg)

Mortis works over the leg and calls for Wrath to interfere from behind with the harlequin staff to draw the DQ. (1:53) The two-on-one beatdown continues until a crazy black man jumps the rail and kicks the ring clear of the heels. After this is over with and security comes out, our esteemed commentators realize this guy is karate champion Ernest Miller who has been seen on WCW Worldwide. Nobody watches that show though. The crowd went nuts for this save and it’s because they believed it was a fan and not because they know who Ernest Miller is. If they had, I guarantee you they wouldn’t be this excited. ¼*

  • WCW U.S. Champion Dean Malenko vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra)

The last time the WCW U.S. title had changed hands in the Independence Arena was at Starrcade 1993 when Steve Austin was merely stunning who defeated Dustin Rhodes when he was all natural and not at all golden. Major “Jarrett sucks” chants filling the arena during the feeling out process. Malenko works the leg and even takes Jarrett to the floor to kick his leg while it’s propped up on the guardrail for added effect. Back in, Jarrett is the first man in and lowers the boom on Malenko to take over. Jarrett cheats on an ab stretch. Malenko breaks loose and stomps Jarrett to send him retreating up the aisle. Back inside again, Malenko delivers a back suplex. He runs into a boot in the corner though and takes a swinging neckbreaker. Figure-Four fails as Malenko kicks Jarrett in the knee he worked over earlier. Texas Cloverleaf gets countered as well into an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! They go to the floor for some guardrail action. Jarrett tries a flying bodypress back in, but Malenko rolls through for 1-2-NO! They trade sleeper holds, but Jarrett counters the hold with a shin breaker to set up the FIGURE-FOUR! Malenko finds the ropes though. According to Charlotte, Jarrett still sucks. Double-KO ensues and out comes Mongo. He doesn’t like Debra being all concerned for another male, so he tosses Jarrett back into the ring and leaves with his wife. All he did was throw Jarrett into the lion’s den as Malenko delivers the butterfly powerbomb and follows with the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF for the win. (15:03) Much better than I figured it would be since it’s a clash of styles. Jarrett had his working boots on in this one though. I didn’t even mind the Mongo interference because if they are going to have this weird love triangle thing happening, then at least be consistent about it. ***

  • Chris Benoit (w/Woman) vs. Meng – Death Match

As soon as they come out the tunnel, Meng makes Jimmy Hart stay in the back. Real tentative start here. Benoit has to use the stick-and-move approach as he delivers a German suplex whenever he can. They go to the floor where Meng gets yanked into the steps. Back inside, Meng corners Benoit and chops the life out of him. Benoit returns the favor, but Meng comes out CLUBBERIN. Out comes Jacqueline down the aisle, but Woman starts walking towards her and Jacqueline begins to head backstage. Weird! In the ring, Meng applies a half crab. Benoit makes the ropes even though there’s no DQ and Meng breaks. What. Meng wins a chop battle and delivers a Piledriver. Benoit is up at eight. CRIPPLER CROSSFACE comes out of nowhere, but they end up in the ropes and Benoit breaks the hold! What. Meng ends up punching Benoit down while Woman is screaming at ringside. He gets up late in the count and dares Meng to come at him again. That ends badly. Another dare, another series of blows. Meng misses a boot in the corner and that fires up Benoit. He pounds away on Meng and delivers a pair of Germans before Meng elbows away the third. CRIPPLER CROSSFACE again, but Meng makes the ropes and escapes to the floor only to take a suicide dive! Back inside, they fight up top until Benoit slip away and gives Meng another German suplex! SWANDIVE HEADBUTT, but Meng moves and catches Benoit in mid-air for the TONGAN DEATH GRIP! There’s no escaping as Benoit passes out. (14:52) This should have just been called a submission match because that’s all this really was. Benoit sure made Meng look awesome here again. I think I’m in the minority though because unlike a lot of people, I liked the ‘rough and tumble’ style to this match . ***¼

  • Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Konnan & Hugh Morrus (w/Jimmy Hart)

The Steiners throw Konnan and Morrus around a bunch to start. Scott plays *your* face in peril for a few moments while Rick comes in and creates more problems for his brother. Heel miscommunication as it sometimes does causes a HOT TAG TO RICK! Steiner Bulldog on Morrus connects, but Konnan makes the save. As they pound the Dungeon guys in separate corners, Scott whips Konnan into Rick by accident. Morrus tries the NO LAUGHING MATTER on Rick, but there’s no water in the pool. FRANKENSTEINER to Morrus! Scott covers for the 1-2-3. (9:35) There was actually a series of brawls on Nitro that led up to this match, which makes me wonder as to why this is such a glorified squash just to put over the Steiners. After the match, Konnan turns on Hugh Morrus and the Dungeon of Doom. *½

  • Steve McMichael (w/Debra) vs. Reggie White (w/Kent Johnson)

OH here we go. Do you really want a PBP for this one? Let’s consider the reality of this encounter, shall we? Steve McMichael – an ex-football player – decided to become a wrestler about a year before this match. He never actually got good and certainly never got to the point where he could make someone else look good. Reggie White – an NFL star who also happened to be a wrestling fan – has never wrestled a match in his life. I’m not even sure why WCW would expect Charlotte to be on Reggie White’s side! The man plays for the Green Bay Packers who are responsible for the Carolina Panthers not making that year’s Super Bowl. Plus, nobody cares about the Bears-Packers rivalry in Charlotte. This is just really dumb and slaps every wrestler who could be getting this airtime to shine and every diehard wrestling fan across the face. It’s just embarrassing, folks. At least when Lawrence Taylor faced Bam Bam Bigelow, the feud made much more sense, Bigelow had ten years of experience, and he’s considered to be one of the best of the big guys. This just felt like these two were hanging out in the locker room and thought it would be cool to wrestle each other sometime. Anyways, I’ll skip to the finish and tell you that the Halliburton comes into play and Packers nose tackle Gilbert Brown comes out and takes it away only for Jeff Jarrett to appear and toss Mongo another briefcase to bash Reggie White with for the win. (15:18) WCW has made a huge mistake with this one. CRAP

  • Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, and Kevin Greene vs. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx – No DQ Match

This is Ric Flair’s first match back since his rotator cuff injury in September 1996. Greene and Piper get huge ovations, but nothing like for Ric Flair. No surprise there. Flair wants Syxx and that’s exactly what he gets. Syxx is all shoulderblocks and headlocks to start, but then he mocks Flair’s strut and pays dearly with a hard chop to the chest. Syxx fires back with a NASTY spin kick. Flair gets cornered, but turns the tables on Syxx and chops away. He backdrops Syxx out of the corner and starts to feel GOOD again. Hall BUM RUSHES THE SHOW and takes a chop. Syxx gets chopped down. Even Nash takes a chop, which just serves to piss him off. Flair wants him bad, but Nash remains on the apron. Once that’s over, Syxx tags in Hall and Flair sidesteps the tooth pick. Tag to Greene, he goes nuts. Hall wants nothing to do with that and tags Nash. They get into a shoving match, so Nash hits him low with the knee. He follows up with knees and elbows in the corner. Standard Kevin Nash offense. Greene unloads with a shoulder tackle and a clothesline. Big slam from Greene sends Nash to the floor. Hall and Syxx attack, but a double clothesline puts them on the floor too as the Wolfpac are forced to regroup. Back inside, Hall wants Piper. Hall slaps the wrap on his hip, Piper slaps him across the face. Piper delivers rapid fire punches in the corner. Hall tries to get him stuck on the wrong side of town, but Piper fights out and hits a swinging neckbreaker. As Piper gets to his feet, Syxx kicks him in the bad hip. The work on the hip doesn’t last long as Flair receives the hot tag. He’s chopping everything that moves. Flair Flip and the run up to the top turnbuckle ends with Flair flying down into a Fallaway Slam from Hall. Flair rolls out into enemy territory as Syxx interferes, but Greene pushes him back. Nash tags in and hits the Snakes Eyes, chokes him with the boot in the corner, and delivers the Bossman straddle. He hits the Side Slam and tags out. Syxx delivers the Bronco Buster, but then there’s a double-KO. False tag spot ensues, but Piper doesn’t care and decks the referee. Pier-six brawl as ref Nick Patrick heads out. In the ring, Flair trips Hall to avoid the OUTSIDER’S EDGE and hooks on the FIGURE-FOUR! Nash tries to break it up, but Greene chopblocks him and Piper grabs the SLEEPER. Syxx charges at Greene and takes a powerslam. Once everybody in the Wolfpac’s shoulders are down, Nick Patrick counts the 1-2-3. (17:21) This is one of those matches where they could do as little as possible and still send the crowd into a complete frenzy. It’s a good thing that Hall and Syxx were willing to feed the babyfaces like they did here because Nash didn’t seem like he wanted to budge for specifically Flair. If you muted this match, you probably wouldn’t be all that impressed. Flair fans will no doubt enjoy this one. Although looking at the big picture, this match was entirely an exhibition as nothing whatsoever was on the line and it seemed completely forgotten the night after it was over. However, the heat in this match was off the charts. **** feel, but a *½ match. With that in mind, I’ll just split the difference and go **¾.

Final Thoughts: Slamboree 1997 is largely forgotten and for good reason with plenty of awful matches and little to no storyline development done here. No Sting, no Hogan. It just really felt like a B-show. On the plus side, there’s about three good matches with a highly entertaining main event especially if you’re big fans of Flair and Piper. However the bad is just overwhelming, there’s really no reason to give this show anything higher than a ‘thumbs in the middle’ rating. Feel free to skip this one.

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