WCW/nWo: Souled Out 1998

souledout98

WCW/nWo: Souled Out
January 24, 1998
Dayton, OH
Hara Arena

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Vacant (1/8/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (12/28/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (1/12/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Booker T (12/29/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio (1/15/1998)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes. This is Dusty’s last WCW PPV as an announcer. He’s wearing the ugliest hat with the WCW colors here.

  • Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Lizmark Jr. & Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. La Parka, Silver King, El Dandy & Psychosis

La Parka really plays up the steel chair action on his way to the ring. Mike Tenay joins us to add in the points that Dusty or Bobby are incapable of making during a lucha libre match. He’s certainly not here for his comedy or personality. Psychosis and Super Calo start this match. Psychosis looks mean and tough, but Calo shows off his abilities and does a moonsault off Psychosis’ chest in the corner only to catch him charging at him with a powerslam. Now Silver King and Lizmark trade some chops. Lizmark flips away and catches Silver King with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Silver King stuns Lizmark with a tornado DDT. El Dandy and Chavo get some time. Tenay makes Dandy look good by calling out his championships won in Mexico while Chavo kicks his butt. They crash out on the floor as La Parka and Juventud take over. They fight to the apron where La Parka trips and does that faceplant he’s known to do from time to time. Back inside, La Parka catches Guerrera trying a springboard, struts about, and lands him on his feet. Tony is confused. Juventud makes La Parka dizzy by spinning around him and sends him into the tecnicos corner for some punches. Flying headscissors by Juventud sends La Parka to the floor. Juventud looks for a dive, but Psychosis cuts him off with a clothesline. Lizmark saves the day by running Psychosis down with a clothesline of his own. We see some cradles and such from a few guys. Super Calo gives El Dandy the Satellite Headscissors, but only gets two. Silver King hits his finisher on Calo – the Helicopter Spin – and Juventud stops the pinfall. Juvi flubs a headscissors on Silver King, but pushes off a superplex and hits the 450 SPLASH on him for 1-2-NO! La Parka hits a Sitout Powerbomb for two. Psychosis lands the GUILLOTINE LEGDROP on Chavo, but Calo makes the save. Skip ahead to everybody taking dives out on the floor. Silver King hits nothing but the ringside mat. Tenay always marks for AIR JUVI. Anyways, this series of outside dives is pretty fun. The only two left in the ring are Chavo and Psychosis as Guerrero hits the TORNADO DDT for the win. (9:30) Afterwards, La Parka knocks out everybody – and I mean even his own teammates – with the chair. Whatever anticlimactic feeling that finish had is now gone away. Take away what you want from this match but La Parka is the most over guy at the end of this match. Very entertaining opener here. ***¾

  • Raven’s Rules: Raven vs. Chris Benoit

Even though it is no disqualification, the Flock are banned from ringside. Raven says he is used to being left alone. He doesn’t fear Benoit’s pain, he’ll feast on it. Quoth the Raven, nevermore. This one starts on the floor with Raven in total control throwing Benoit into guardrails and ring steps. His focus tends to be on the neck of Benoit. He whacks Benoit with a chair on the back and drops an elbow on Benoit’s neck as he’s draped on the apron. With the chair set up, Raven gives Benoit a running bulldog doing further damage on the neck. Time for the drop toehold, but Benoit reverses the whip and makes Raven eat the chair for his first real offense of this match. Dusty – “YOU TAKE A SEAT! YOU TAKE A SEAT!” Benoit starts chopping Raven back and then gives him a snap suplex on the chair for two. He rips off Raven’s t-shirt so he can lay in more chops without any cotton protection. Benoit leans the chair in the corner and takes Raven back to the floor for his receipt from earlier. He chops Raven up the stage and gives him another snap suplex. Back in, Benoit delivers another snap suplex on the chair. As if that’s not bad enough, he then really STOMPS THE CHAIR ON RAVEN’S FACE. Hah, maybe the most violent moment in WCW history? With the chair still laying on Raven’s head, Benoit comes off the top with the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT thus knocking his own self out as a result. He rolls over on top of Raven at the eight-count for a nearfall. Benoit has a hard time (understandably so) getting up to his feet and tries a Northern Lights suplex, but Raven reverses into a desperation EVENFLOW DDT. Even though Raven delivered the move, Benoit is the first to roll over and cover him for 1-2-NO! Raven pops up and looks for another DDT, but Benoit counters into the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE. As Raven starts to pass out from the hold, he’s got this twisted smile on his face. (10:36) Who else would think to do that but Raven? Now that’s a guy who understands his character. After the bell, the Flock come to the ring to get Raven. Dean Malenko heads to the ring to help Benoit. Hammer doesn’t touch either man – he just picks up Raven’s lifeless body and carries him back to the locker room. Once the ring is cleared except for Benoit and Malenko, they give each other “looks of respect”. These guys just won’t hug. This was a fantastic, intense, satisfying brawl with some fun storytelling – especially from Raven. Just madness from bell to bell here. ****¼

  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho

They have seriously been playing hot potato with the cruiserweight belt since the night after Starrcade. Since December 29, there have been two other champions and neither reign has lasted more than ten days. Now they have given the strap to a man – while over as a babyface – has a bum knee. Dayton definitely believes that Jericho sucks. Jericho bullies Rey around to start, but one headscissors from Mysterio and Jericho takes a powder. Looks like Rey is selling the knee hurting. Not smart. He catches Jericho charging him and slows things down with a chinlock. He gets up on Jericho’s back and victory rolls him for 1-2-NO! Even though the knee is bothering Rey, he tries a headscissors that would take Jericho off the apron to the floor only for Jericho to block the move and hotshot Mysterio. Jericho then brings Mysterio over to the floor and hits a butterfly backbreaker. As he stands up, Jericho uses the steps to spring into Mysterio with a double sledge. Now Jericho runs the hurt knee into the turnbuckle. He tries using the good leg, but Mysterio comes back and does a springboard somersault plancha onto Jericho out on the floor. I mean, what are you doing, dude? Back around ringside, Jericho eats the steps. Inside the ring, Jericho crashes into the ropes to stop the Springboard Hurracanrana finish. As Rey is falling, his bad leg gets wrapped up in between the ropes. Over in the corner, there’s a struggle between these two. Mysterio has the upper hand and tries to springboard from the apron over to Jericho for the headscissors, but Jericho blocks and drops to the mat to apply the LIONTAMER. Rey has no choice but to tap out. (8:22) After the bell, the crowd continue to give Jericho crap, so he puts more hurting on Rey by smashing one of those heavy TV equipment boxes on the injured knee. He tells the crowd he’s sorry though. Hmpfh. Being the new top heel (what happened to Eddie?) in the division, Jericho begins his longest reign here. This could have been so much more, but Rey’s knee banged up isn’t a work and what we got was still pretty good considering the circumstances – especially that finish. Just looks painful. Rey is out until July getting his knee back in shape. ***¼

Time to figure out what WCW is going to do with the world title. JJ Dillon meets Gene Okerlund in the ring and brings the title with him. Since JJ Dillon has no guts, Roddy Piper returns to make the decision. Huge pop for Roddy, of course. He points out that he’s had a lot to consider, but his decision will stick. Hollywood Hogan knows more ways of keeping a title than Bill Clinton has alleged girlfriends. Sting has a claim to the belt that he has to consider. Scott Hall is supposed to have a title match next month. Eric Bischoff is always talking. Anyways, let’s get to it. Sting comes out first and then Hollywood Hogan with Eric Bischoff and Scott Hall. Piper calls Hall the number one contender to the world title, but he’ll just have to step aside for a bit until we have a champion. Piper understands Hogan has a beef and all things considered, he is going to put the belt back around Hollywood’s waist – NOT! Piper then announces that Hollywood Hogan and Sting will meet at Superbrawl VIII for the world title. MUST BE A WINNER! So no word on when Scott Hall will get a title shot. Hogan gets upset and shoves Sting back to almost cause a fight. Looks like we could see two on two, but then Hall leaves Hogan behind and heads to the dressing room. Since Hogan is outnumbered (even with Bischoff there), he and Bischoff retreat all pissed off. Sting gives those two a crotch chop. IS STING IN DX? FIND OUT ON RAW IS WAR!

  • WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Rick Martel

Boy, this Martel appearance came out of nowhere, right? Martel can still go, but he’s pretty much been nonexistent for years. Since these two have never really wrestled, there is plenty of feeling out stuff to start with hammerlocks and headlocks. When Martel escapes an armbar, Booker does the SPINAROONIE and catches Martel with the Harlem Side Kick for two. Hook Kick connects as well on Martel. All about the armbar here. Martel gets caught in the nuggets trying a leapfrog. When Booker goes to check on him, Martel turns Booker around into the corner to lay into him. After some chinlock time, Martel manages the AA Spinebuster for two. He starts pounding on the back, but corner charges into a Jack Brisco rollup for two. Martel returns to the back and grinds on an abdominal stretch. Booker escapes and hits the jumping forearm smash. Martel avoids a dropkick though and applies the QUEBEC CRAB only for Booker to find the ropes. Booker quickly comes back with the Ax Kick, the Side Slam, and the HARLEM HANGOVER for the win. (10:51) After the bell (which has been an ongoing theme all night), Perry Saturn appears and beats up Martel some more. Booker runs him off and Saturn tells the camera that he claims Martel is making him look like a stooge. Kind of a dull match. Booker T is too good for this. **

  • Scott Hall (w/Louie Spicolli) vs. Larry Zbyszko (w/Dusty Rhodes)

Yep, Larry Z’s second is Dusty Rhodes. Hall doesn’t seem to like this one bit. Zbyszko has a counter for everything Hall tries to start. He takes his licks and gives them back to Hall as well. Hall has to deck Zbyszko through the ropes to gain any lasting advantage. He chokes Larry Z with his boot and as the ref walks him back, Spicolli gets a shot in on Zbyszko. Dusty comes over and scares Spicolli away. All he had to do was walk to get a reaction. While Hall is beating up Zbyszko, the crowd chants that both wrestlers suck. Fallaway Slam hits, but Zbyszko backdrops out of the OUTSIDER’S EDGE. Zbyszko mounts his comeback punching away on Hall. He tries that mule kick and Hall pulls the ref in the way. Hall runs down Larry Z with a clothesline and of course no ref. As Hall goes to help Spicolli wake the ref, Zbyszko plays possum and baits Hall into the GUILLOTINE CHOKE. Spicolli heads into the ring to break up the hold, but HERE COMES DUSTY. After the hold is broken, Dusty starts dropping BIONIC ELBOWS on Spicolli and the place erupts. The man gets more love from this crowd than the rest of the locker room with just four elbows. Zbyszko holds up Hall for one more elbow, but Hall moves and Zbyszko gets wiped out. What? Hall points to Dusty and off comes the jean shirt to reveal an nWo t-shirt. Again I say, WHAT? Dusty and the boys drop a couple big elbows on Larry Z to confirm the heel turn. Finally, the ref calls for the DQ. (9:15) Seems like an nWo town, but this turn made no sense. Dusty and Hall tell the camera that’s how we do it in Florida, jack. *½

  • Ray Traylor, Rick & Scott Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Konnan, Buff Bagwell & Scott Norton (w/Vincent)

Tony acts like his life is now over that Dusty is nWo. He leaves the broadcast position to collect himself for a moment. Mike Tenay takes over for Dusty Rhodes for the rest of the night. Rick makes sure to start this match since he hasn’t been getting his fair share of tags lately. Buff bumps around for both Rick and Traylor for a bit. Norton tries to bump for Traylor, but that goes about as well as expected. Traylor gets caught in the nWo corner for a while. Double knockdown between Traylor and Norton leads to a hot tag to Rick Steiner. Vincent trips up Rick into a DDT from Konnan causing Scott to put his hands on the ref. Possibly even drop an F bomb? Not quite sure. Back in the ring, Rick is *your* Steiner in peril. Our esteemed commentators discuss how the air has just been let out of this arena thanks to Dusty Rhodes. Scott stands besides Traylor on his side of the apron to somehow ensure he gets the next tag. Both men get tagged by Rick. Scott clears out Norton and saves Traylor from Konnan with a dragon suplex. To go after Norton, Traylor lets Scott have the tag. One STEINER SCREWDRIVER SUPLEX later and Konnan is done. (12:20) Buff and Scott share a weird interaction after the match. All of Scott’s old buddies are wondering what that was all about. Stay tuned to find out! Aside from what happened after the match, this was one of their more boring six man tags they have had. **

  • The Giant vs. Kevin Nash (w/Hollywood Hogan & Eric Bischoff)

They go nose to nose to start. Out of the lockup, Nash goes to a headlock and gets taken over with a back suplex. Giant starts squashing and choking Nash until he heads to the floor to safety. Back in, Giant keeps things going his way until Nash catches him with a big boot. Immediately, the crowd turns in Nash’s favor. He clotheslines Giant out and takes a dive over the top rope! I wouldn’t exactly call it a plancha as that might insult every wrestler who has ever done a nice looking plancha. Still, an A for effort from a big man like Nash. Giant catches him (sort of) and drives Nash ribs first into the ringpost. After putting Nash back in the ring, Hogan runs over and wallops Giant in the back with a chair. He makes it back into the ring at the 9.5 count. With Giant draped on the middle rope, Nash delivers THREE Bossman straddles. Giant shakes the cobwebs loose and knocks Nash down with a clothesline. Both men joust each other with BIG BOOTS and they both go down. Nash rolls over onto Giant for 1-2-NO! Over to the corner, Nash delivers knees and elbows. He heads up for the ten-count punch and Giant brings him down with an inverted atomic drop. Series of clotheslines from Giant leads to a Big Boot. He slams Nash and calls for the CHOKESLAM. Bischoff jumps on the apron while Giant is in CHOKESLAM MODE. Bad idea jeans. He takes a CHOKESLAM from the apron to the middle of the ring. No bell called. Pretty big pop though. While the ref takes care of Bischoff, Nash throws a pot of coffee in Giant’s face and then low blows him. With Giant doubled over, Nash delivers the most dangerous JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB ever. Cover, 1-2-3. (10:48) Even with the way Nash won the match, the crowd pops huge for him. I suppose since Nash was supposed to job at Starrcade and didn’t show, they had to let Giant job so that he would show. Ugh. Giant gets some medical attention, but he turns out to not be injured thankfully. Despite the politics, a surprisingly decent effort from both guys when you weren’t expecting a whole lot. **

  • Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair

This is actually Bret’s first TV match in WCW. It’s also sadly Flair’s last PPV match until Starrcade. Bret really had some horrible music in WCW. This was originally slated to be the main event of the show, but I’ll explain why it is not after the next match. Bret and Flair take turns controlling the other with a headlock to start. Then out of nowhere to show Flair that he could, Bret locks in a figure-four and Flair is in the ropes. Bret brings Flair back into the ring with a vertical suplex and goes back to the headlock. Flair tries escaping with an overhead wristlock and tries to do the old hair pull trick, but Bret forces him down to the mat. Flair comes up with a shove and Bret sends him down with a slap causing Flair to regroup on the floor. Back in, Bret takes a knee to the gut, but he’s ready to counter what Flair is throwing at him. Back to the headlock on Flair. Over to the corner, Flair surprises Bret with a thumb to the eye. WOO! Bret tries cutting off Flair with a sleeperhold, but Flair counters with a back suplex. Flair tells the ref to check on the time so he low blow Bret. More WOO! Rolling knee drop connects on Bret. Flair applies a reverse chinlock and uses the top rope for leverage. Bret makes a brief comeback with a swinging neckbreaker and the running bulldog gets two. He starts taking Flair to school and drags him over to the ringpost, but Flair kicks Bret back into the guardrail. Nice bump too. Back inside, Flair starts jerking on the leg doing more damage to the knee to set up for the end. WOO! Shinbreaker connects, but then Flair gets caught with an enziguri. You don’t see Bret do that move very often. FIGURE-FOUR, but Bret counters to an inside cradle for a nearfall. Backslide gets two as well. Bret backs the ref up into the corner asking about the count, but here comes Flair to deliver a nasty chopblock. WOO! Now it’s time for the FIGURE-FOUR. Bret sells the hold real well and manages to counter the hold. He plays possum though and slams Flair off the top. Bret takes the chest first corner bump though, but blocks a back suplex and hits the Russian Legsweep. Over to the corner, Flair starts chopping. Bret gets all ALPHA MALE on Flair and pulls the straps down welcoming more chops to his bare chest. Flair begs off and gets pounded in the corner. He misses the atomic drop counter and takes a headbutt from Bret. Backbreaker sets up the flying elbow for two. Bret sets up Flair for the top rope superplex and delivers! That leads to the SHARPSHOOTER for the win. (18:06) To show where his allegiance lies, Bret celebrates by writing WCW in the air like he did the night of the Montreal Screwjob. It’s not as psychology-heavy as a classic Bret match, but it had elements of the twists and turns and bits that you would see in a classic Flair match. This needed 5-10 more minutes though to crossover into epic territory, but it’s a really, really good match. If you ask me, it’s Flair’s last four star match in WCW. ****

  • Lex Luger vs. Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth)

Super pissed that Bret and Flair went long, you can see Randy Savage and Elizabeth hurrying out to the ring as if Michael Buffer isn’t going to do his long winded ring introductions. Savage wants the fight out on the floor to start. It’s all just to distract him as Liz comes up behind him with a shove. Savage decks Luger and here we go. Back to the ring, Savage drops a double sledge on Luger for two. He stays on top of Luger in total control. With the ref’s back turned, Liz uses Savage’s bandana to choke on Luger even. Luger tries to make a comeback, but Elizabeth grabs his foot allowing Savage to nail Lex from behind out to the floor. From the top, Savage lowers the boom with another double sledge. When Luger stands up, Liz gives him a good slap across the chops. As Lex stalks her around ringside, of course Savage nails him from behind. They go into the crowd to brawl as Luger takes control and psyches himself up. Back to the ring, Luger hits the clotheslines and the Bionic Forearm. As he hits the powerslam, we see that Scott Hall is coming down to the ring with a chair in hand. Hollywood Hogan asks to see what he’s doing with the weapon. Hall climbs up on the apron and looks like he’s about to whack Savage. Hogan pulls on Hall’s pants causing him to look at him. Meanwhile, Luger shoves Savage into Hall knocking him off the apron and then hoists Savage up in the TORTURE RACK for the quick submission. (7:09) This isn’t a case where if you had more time like Savage had wanted since he micromanages his matches so much, that it would have been a much better match because I believe the end result would have still been the same. Plus, I think these two are just too set in their ways at this point to have a really *great* match. They do their match and unless it’s a particular opponent they want to get over like Savage did with DDP last year, they will just do their shtick and go home. OH! So the reason given that this match went last instead of Hart versus Flair? Hogan was involved in the ending and he wouldn’t be caught dead in a semi-main event spot, right? Yep. *½

Afterwards, the rest of the nWo come down to beat up Lex Luger. Kevin Nash joins in, but Scott Hall does not. Sting runs down for the save helping out Luger. With the rest of the nWo down on the floor or retreating up the aisle, Luger puts Nash in the TORTURE RACK while Sting applies the SCORPION DEATHLOCK on Hogan to close out the show – making WCW look strong to end Souled Out.

Final Thoughts: After the last two stinker PPVs we’ve had, this was as close as to fresh air as we’re can get. As far as snowflakes go on average, this is the best WCW PPV since the Great American Bash 1996! This show has a fast pace to it and there was only a few areas where I felt it went a little slow, but overall a very entertaining PPV to start 1998. Thumbs up for Souled Out 1998.

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