WCW/nWo: Slamboree 1998

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WCW/nWo: Slamboree
May 17, 1998
Worcester, MA
The Centrum

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (4/20/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Bill Goldberg (4/20/1998)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (2/22/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Fit Finley (5/4/1998)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (1/24/1998)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan.

Since back in the day if I remember correctly that you would get the first five minutes free on a PPV, WCW once again shows clips of Eric Bischoff challenging Vince McMahon to a fight for tonight.

And as of PPV time, Vince has stuck to his word and has not shown up.

  • WCW World Television Championship: Fit Finley (c) vs. Chris Benoit

Shoving match to start for these two. This crowd is equal amounts *hot* for Benoit and Finley. They go through some chain wrestling for a bit. Finley does a fine job reacting to the crowd’s disdain for him. I love it. Benoit’s chops are vicious here. He delivers a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Finley cuts him off with a clothesline and we go to the floor. Finley loves doing those full body slams and I’m glad he’s doing them. Obviously, Finley tries to get the countout win leaving Benoit for dead out on the floor. Back in, Finley holds Benoit down in chinlocks. This crowd is really fun. Finley brings Benoit over to the apron to work him over like he does. He finds a chair, but Benoit ain’t having it and hits Finley across the back instead. He heads back inside for the tope suicida, but Finley swings the chair at Benoit to block. It’s one of those spots that make you cringe in 2017. In the ring, Benoit looks like he’s done for, but Finley goes back to grinding Benoit down with a chinlock. Benoit manages to avoid a corner charge though and goes for the Rolling Germans, but Finley runs Benoit into the top rope to avoid the third suplex. Nice. Nevertheless, Benoit finds the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE only for Finley to find the ropes. Benoit delivers a Snap Suplex and heads up top for the Swandive Headbutt when Booker T walks down the aisle. Benoit gets distracted and stands on the floor by the apron daring Booker to come get some. That’s when Finley dropkicks him in the back of the head. Benoit looks to be completely out this time as he’s all dead weight. Back in, Benoit sneaks an inside cradle on Finley for 1-2-NO! Not wanting to deal with Benoit anymore, Finley picks him up for the TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER and delivers for the three-count. (14:54) Pretty sure everyone in the Centrum thought Benoit would win here, but when was the last time he won a PPV? Sheesh. Anyways, you’d be hard pressed to find a Benoit/Finley match that isn’t at least good. It’s not to the level of their WWE stuff though. Now that’s some great wrestling. ***

  • Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams (w/Vincent)

Scott Steiner is ‘conspicuous by his absence’. Luger is all over Adams to start. He’s serious about injuring Adams’ shoulder as payback for Adams “injuring” Luger’s buddy Rick Steiner’s shoulder, which is a nice touch. When Lex calls for the Torture Rack, that’s when Vincent makes his move to the apron to get grabbed. Adams catches Luger with his ugly piledriver. Since his shoulder is bothering him, Adams kicks Luger around. He does score a backbreaker for two. Other than that, he’s mostly stomping and kicking Lex’s ribs. Luger hardly even makes what you would consider a comeback before he’s got Adams up in the TORTURE RACK for the win. (5:05) I liked the idea about working the shoulder, but then Adams failed to do anything interesting. With that said, it could have been worse. ¾*

In the back, Perry Saturn says there will be no gauntlet match tonight for the Flock against Goldberg. If they have a problem with that, they can come see him. He’s tired of doing what Raven wants and tonight he will take his opportunity to become the U.S. champ. Cool.

  • #1 Contender’s Cruiserweight Battle Royal

You can be eliminated by being thrown out to the floor or by pinfall. Dave Penzer gets interrupted by the cruiserweight champ Chris Jericho who can do the introductions for these guys much, much better than he can. If you’ve never heard these introductions by Jericho, you must. The entrants are Super Calo, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Ciclope, Damien, El Dandy, El Grio, Juventud Guerrera, Marty Jannetty, Kidman, Evan Karagias, Lenny Lane, Psychosis, Silver King, Johnny Swinger, and Villano IV. The final four come down to Ciclope, Juventud Guerrera, Kidman, and Psychosis. Ciclope avoids a big corner charge from Psychosis to cause him to fall over the top rope to the floor. Meanwhile in the other corner, Juventud flips Kidman over the top rope to the floor. Juventud and Ciclope build up the moment like they are about to fight when they shake hands and Guerrera leaps down to the floor allowing Ciclope to win. (8:29) Seems like the crowd knows what’s about to happen as Ciclope is awarded the match, but then he unmasks to reveal himself as DEAN MALENKO. HE HAS RETURNED.

  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Dean Malenko

Chris Jericho is already in the ring ready to go, but he’s scared out of his mind. Finally, we get the showdown we’ve been waiting to see for two months now. Malenko goes nuts on Jericho stomping him down in the corner. Juventud Guerrera hangs around ringside to enjoy this match. Jericho finally stuns Malenko by catching him with a hotshot. He cries about this being a conspiracy. Stalling suplex and C’MON BABY gets two. Lionsault gets 1-2-NO! Double underhook backbreaker connects, but Malenko is wise to the Liontamer. Jericho hits a flying back elbow for another nearfall. They fight up in the corner where Malenko hits the Super Gutbuster. TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! JERICHO TAPS! (7:01) Malenko wins his fourth WCW cruiserweight title. This wasn’t about a match, it was about Malenko getting his revenge on Jericho not just for himself and his family but also for the entire cruiserweight division that Jericho had been bullying for months and months. I would put this up there as one of those top moments in WCW PPV history. Chris Jericho has even gone as far as to call the reaction to Malenko’s win the biggest pop he’s ever heard. Let’s say ***½ for the whole thing.

VINNIE MAC CAM: WCW head of security Doug Dellinger is found out in the parking lot not doing anything, but we’ll show you footage of him doing nothing anyways.

  • Bowery Death Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven (w/his riot squad)

Similar to the “Clockwork Orange House of Fun” style match that Raven introduced to TNA in back in 2003, this style match has an cage with a roof and weapons hanging up in the corners. The only way to win is to beat your opponent down until they can’t answer the ten count. If I remember right, the rules in the TNA matches seemed to change. This is intended to end the DDP versus Raven feud once and for all – and it actually does. Essentially they just take turns beating each other with weapons. Some weapons are of the usual hardcore wrestling variety: chairs, trash cans, and cookie sheets. However, there’s non-conventional weapons like a VCR that gets used. When the ref gets squashed in the corner by these two, that’s the cue for a few members of Raven’s Flock to try and break into the cage. Crowd is calling out for Goldberg. VAN HAMMER comes out from under the ring and wipes out Reese, Riggs, and Sick Boy with a stop sign. After Reese gets handcuffed to the guardrail, the riot squad guys use their authority to get him out of here. Two members of the riot squad implement plan B as they enter the cage to stomp DDP. They take off their helmets to show that it’s Kidman and Horace. Flock miscommunication ensues as DDP drops them both with awesome DIAMOND CUTTERS – especially Kidman as he swings off the ceiling into a Diamond Cutter. Once that’s over, DDP staggers around into taking a fire extinguisher to the ribs and then gets hit with the EVENFLOW DDT. Now ref Billy Silverman is awake and starts the count. DDP is moving at the count of eight and Raven starts stomping him. DDP punches back and tries a Diamond Cutter, but Raven escapes and low blows him. He then turns DDP around and drops him with a DIAMOND CUTTER of his own. Crowd pops on that one. DDP is up at nine and then ducks a chair shot to then bang Raven with the DIAMOND CUTTER. (14:37) As DDP escapes into the crowd to celebrate with his fans, another member of the riot squad handcuffs EVERYBODY to the cage – including Raven. The riot squad member takes off his helmet to reveal himself as MORTIS, but then he pulls off the mask. Nobody says who they think this person is, but Tony recognizes him as that guy who keeps interfering in Raven’s matches for the past several weeks. Anyways, they try and recreate the “Chairshot Heard ‘Round the World” moment from ECW. Of course it doesn’t quite have the same effect. This feels like something Raven booked from end to end. I would have liked to have seen some blood here though. **

  • Ultimo Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/Chavo Guerrero Jr.)

If Ultimo Dragon wins, Chavo doesn’t have to hang around Uncle Eddie anymore. Once this match gets started and Eddie pays no real attention to the crowd, they basically go to sleep. Dragon does the Tiger Mask roll to escape an armbar to start. A flying mare from Dragon sends Eddie to the floor and then he complains about hair pulling. They flip over each other out of a knucklelock position ending with Dragon unloading with his Kick Combo. Eddie ducks the third kick and levels Dragon into the corner with a dropkick. Dragon hits a headscissors out of the corner and a monkey flip leads to Dragon completing his three kick combo to put Eddie on the floor to stall for time. Back in, Dragon grabs a half crab while the crowd entertains itself with some sort of ruckus. Dragon changes over to a deathlock and bridges back to pull on Eddie’s neck. Almost like a Muta Deathlock. Tony is actually surprised that this is a *wrestling* match. Eddie goes to the eyes and drills Dragon with a clothesline. Suplex gets two. They go to the floor where Eddie whips Dragon into the safety rail and then chokes him down with a cable. Chavo gets in Eddie’s face and reprimands him with a slap because Eddie is always doing that to him. Dragon pushes Guerrero crotch-first off onto the top rope and kicks him down to the floor for the Asai Moonsault. NICE! That’s the highlight of the match. Back in again, Dragon delivers the Argentine backbreaker drop. That gets two. Dragon mounts Eddie and pounds away to set up the Moonsault for 1-2-NO! Eddie shoves off a Dragonsteiner and hits a Tornado DDT. Tenay makes it seem like Eddie stole that move from Chavo even though he’s been doing it for years. Frog Splash misses allowing Dragon to deliver the La Magistral cradle for 1-2-NO! Dragon springboards backwards over Eddie and applies the DRAGON SLEEPER! Eddie grabs the ropes and reverses it around to give him the advantage of the hold. He puts his feet on the ropes for leverage, but Chavo pushes them off. Eddie slaps Chavo around on the apron. Dragon kicks Chavo off to the guardrail by mistake. He turns around and takes a Brainbuster to set up the FROG SPLASH for the win. (11:11) Chavo gets angry and stomps Dragon for losing. That pretty much signaled the end for Dragon in WCW as he didn’t even try to fight back. Chavo yells at Eddie, so Eddie dares him to punch him in the face. Chavo can’t do it and kisses Eddie on the cheek. Hmm, and now all is well. Decent match, but once again it didn’t feel like they cared too much since the crowd didn’t either. ***

  • WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Bill Goldberg (c) (87-0) vs. Saturn

Saturn tries to feel out Goldberg to start. All he finds out is that Goldberg can throw him around and he does. Goldberg gives him a guerilla press powerslam followed by a press slam where Goldberg walks away and lets Saturn crash on the mat. Saturn wisely rolls to the floor and gets Goldberg to come out after him so he can stomp Goldberg when he rolls back inside the ring. Saturn abuses Goldberg in the corner, but then charges into a mule kick. Saturn sweeps the leg and slaps Goldberg across the face. Bad idea jeans. Goldberg throws Saturn in the corner and beats him down. Saturn retreats again and ducks a clothesline up against the ringpost to injure the shoulder. Seems like this is the same story that we saw at Spring Stampede. Saturn leaps off the ring apron and dropkicks Goldberg into the guardrail. Back in, he connects with a flying spinning heel kick for only a one-count. Saturn does what he can with a sleeperhold, but Goldberg will not stay down. He avoids a corner charge though and T-bone suplexes Goldberg over. Time to bring a chair into the mix. Saturn superkicks Goldberg that goes unnoticed by our esteemed commentators who are supposed to be pushing this feud with Glacier over that move. Tenay doesn’t even make a peep so they may already be scratching that “feud”. He springs off the chair and dropkicks Goldberg in the back. He wants one more dropkick, but this time Goldberg catches him in mid-air with a SPEAR. Goodbye, Saturn. The JACKHAMMER gets Goldberg win number 88. (7:02) So many changes to Goldberg’s match this week. Apparently it was supposed to be against Hennig first, then a gauntlet match with the Flock, and now Saturn. If I had to pick, I’d go with their Spring Stampede match. *

Now let’s see what happens with Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon. Michael Buffer does the introductions because this is a main event anywhere in the world. Bischoff comes out ready to fight. Buffer refers to Vince as “a man who considers himself to be the most important star of WWF”. Anyways, McMahon of course doesn’t show and Bischoff awards the match to himself via forfeit. I almost wish there had been a Vinnie Mac midget for Bischoff to fight.

  • Special Guest Referee: Roddy Piper – Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart

As Bret bails out at the sound of the bell, Piper channels Dutch Savage and starts counting. When he has enough of this stalling mess, Piper gets out of the ring and throws Bret into the ring. Finally, Bret and Savage touch. Bret is already thinking Sharpshooter as he goes for the back. Savage claws at the face and pounds Bret in the corner. Bret fights back and suplexes Savage from the apron before headbutting the groin. Time for some ringside violence. Bret picks up the steps and tries to drop them on Savage. Instead, Bret takes a ride into the steps. They fight into the crowd and brawl at the hockey boards. Back in the ring, Bret kicks at the bad knee and taunts the crowd. After he works the knee for a while, Bret goes back to his usual moves like the Russian legsweep and a piledriver for two. DDT gets two as well. The backbreaker sets up the elbow drop, but Savage moves out of the way. He gives Bret a suplex and comes off the top with the MACHO ELBOW and hits his knee delaying the pinfall attempt. Cover, 1-2-NO! Bret trips up Savage, headbutts the groin again, and then applies the SHARPSHOOTER. Here comes Elizabeth to protest. Savage reverses the Sharpshooter, but Bret makes the ropes. While Piper is yelling at Liz to get out of here, Bret low blows Savage and then decks Piper. As he goes to nail Savage with taped knucks, Savage blocks the punch and steals the taped knucks. Bret begs off into a corner, but then Hollywood Hogan comes from out of nowhere to clip Savage from behind and wrap his injured knee around the post. Piper never saw Hogan and calls for the bell when Randy Savage passes out from the pain of the SHARPSHOOTER. (16:38) Piper leaves the ring with the taped knucks wondering what happened while he was hit in the back of the head. Kind of a mess since Savage could hardly walk. **

  • WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Outsiders (c) (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. The Giant & Sting

Big pop for the return of Scott Hall. He’s wearing nWo Wolfpac colors tonight and does a little nWo survey just like old times. Hall and Sting start the match. Hall throws the toothpick to the face and gets crotch chops in return. After the hiptoss blocks, Hall delivers a Chokeslam and mocks the Giant. He’s baaaack. Sting comes back with the face slam and gives Hall a couple inverted atomic drops that leads to a pair of Stinger Splashes. He tries the Scorpion Deathlock, but has to fight off Nash instead. Giant comes in and helps Sting clean house on the Outsiders. Back inside, Hall acts like he wants the Giant. When Sting tags him in, Hall tags in Nash. He hammers on the Giant and goes for the Jackknife, but Giant pushes him back into a corner. Nevertheless, Nash turns things around on the Giant and buries those knees before choking him with that boot. They trade corner clotheslines, but it’s Giant now taking over. He squashes Nash in the corner and decides to tag in Sting when the crowd is chanting for the Wolfpac. Hall was supposed to nail Sting from the apron, but missed the cue and gets knocked down to the floor anyways. As Sting turns around, he gets nailed with a big boot from Nash. Tag to Hall, there’s the Fallaway Slam for two. The Outsiders keep Sting in their corner for a while and really try to “heel it up” with their cheating ways. Seemed like they were trying to get the crowd to cheer for Sting again, but it ain’t happening tonight. The Side Slam on Sting gets two. Nash grabs a bearhug and that gets the crowd back on Sting’s side. Sting earclaps his way out of the hold and leaps at Nash to reach Giant for the hot tag. Giant hammers on Nash in the corner and headbutts the balls. The crowd is back on the Wolfpac’s side since the Giant is supposed to be heel now that he’s back in the nWo Hollywood camp. Giant decides to head up to the top turnbuckle for a flying splash, but crashes and burns. Nash gets up and calls for the Jackknife Powerbomb again. DOWN COME THE STRAPS! Dusty Rhodes has the attention of ref Mark Curtis. As Nash sets up the Giant, Hall comes up behind Nash and wallops him with one of the tag belts. Giant collapses on top of Nash for the three-count. WHAT. (14:47) We have *new* WCW world tag team champs. The nWo have now forced Sting to make his decision to join their crew. Not just that, but Hall has turned on his longtime ally Kevin Nash and rejoined with the enemy camp. *½

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? Tune into Nitro tomorrow night to find out!

People complain that at the beginning of 1998, the WCW landscape didn’t look all that different as it had at the beginning of 1997. Since people said there was not enough that had changed within WCW, now there’s been three heel turns in four weeks. And with the way WCW television has had inconsistent timeslots over the last four weeks due to the NBA playoffs, I can’t imagine how confused the casual WCW fan must have felt had they stopped watching for say a minimum of six weeks.

Although in defense of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, they were actually against the idea of Hall turning on Nash because there had been so many turns recently and it would feel like just another heel turn to the fans. Word on the street was that Hall was going to be leaving again anyways for 4-6 weeks to go back for more rehab. But hey, nothing screams success quite like myopic booking.

Final Thoughts: Nothing blow away happened wrestling-wise as this was a serious filler PPV. The Malenko return was awesome and the show never reached that level of heat again. People seem to hate the main event, but I didn’t find it as irritating or worst match of the night territory as others did. That honor still belongs to Lex Luger and Brian Adams. I’m going to go with a “thumbs in the middle” because the hot crowd (at certain points) does make the show more fun than it might otherwise be, but you have to turn your brains off for those last two matches. Scott Hall was pretty entertaining though. But yeah, “thumbs in the middle” for Slamboree 1998 is as high as I’m willing to go.

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