A Collective Review of WCW/NWO Souled Out 1997 by Lance Augustine

A Collective Review of WCW/NWO Souled Out 1997 by Lance Augustine

Welcome back to the TJRwrestling retro reviews where we are breaking down every WCW Pay-Per-View during the “Monday Night War” Era. We just covered WCW Starrcade 1996, which was a solid show with some great undercard matches. It was headlined by “Hollywood” Hogan vs. Roddy Piper, which wasn’t a fantastic match, but served a purpose.  The lasting image of that show was The Giant wondering when he would get his title shot after winning The World War 3 Battle Royal. You can read about that show and all the other ones we have covered here. Souled Out also marks the first, and only show, fully under the “NWO” banner, and will feature an NWO aesthetic along with NWO announcers and Nick Patrick being the sole referee for the night. Will this event follow the lead of Starrcade and be an above-average outing? Let’s find out!

NWO Souled Out
January 25th, 1997
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The show opens with a black and white visual with garbage trucks coming down the street that has all the NWO guys aboard. The trucks have NWO flags on them and they are accompanied by a police escort. I will just say I can’t believe they selected Iowa of all places for a show like this. No disrespect to anyone in Iowa, of course. I will also point out that there are about 15-20 in the faction at this point, and it was starting to get overcrowded. There were interviews with Eric Bischoff saying that he wanted The NWO to be an entire brand on its own, so from that standpoint, I guess I see why so many guys were involved.

There is a video package with Bischoff saying The NWO is in control and having other members of the group saying that WCW sucks. They say they don’t care about the rules and that everyone that stands in their way will be destroyed.

Bischoff is in the entranceway and is standing on a podium as we are welcomed to the show. The pyro goes off, and we are joined by the announcers for the night, Eric Bischoff and Ted Dibiase. Hogan, Hall, and Nash are on the video screen and talk about the show tonight. They say it’s Souled Out and that it’s time to get the show on the road before formally introducing the announcers. Bischoff and Dibiase are dawning the leather jackets and they are just too cool on this show. It’s time for the first match.

Masahiro Chono (NWO) vs. Chris Jericho (WCW)

The ring announcer says that Jericho is “Somewhere North of the Border” and that Chono is “The Man From Japan”. Solid.

Both men lock up, but Chono quickly fights out. He tells Nick Patrick to watch Jericho and the hair-pulling. Jericho tries a shoulder block, but Chono blocks it and sends Jericho outside of the ring. Harlem Heat, The Faces of Fear, and a few other WCW talents come out and sit at ringside. In the ring, Jericho and Chono are locked in a test of strength. Chono kicks him in the midsection and hits a Russian Leg Sweep. He climbs up to the top rope and comes off with a shoulder block. He tries a suplex, but Jericho reverses into one of his own. Jericho hits a dropkick that sends Chono to the outside and he comes out after him with a splash. He kicks Chono in the face and tries it again, but Chono moves, and Jericho kicks the post. Chono rolls him in the ring and punches Jericho on the top of the head. Chono mounts a comeback and takes out Jericho’s leg with a chop block. He picks Jericho up by the leg, but he gets hit with an Enziguri. He chops away on Chono and comes off the ropes, but is met with a clothesline and Dragon Screw on the leg. Chono tries to get him in an STF, but Jericho finds a way to fight out. Jericho reverses an Irish Whip and hits an elbow followed by a Bridging German Suplex in which Nick Patrick makes a slow count. Chono gets Jericho in a sleeper hold, but he drops down for a jawbreaker. Chono climbs to the top rope again and is met by Jericho who throws him off. Chono gets back to his feet and hits an Atomic Drop, but Chono rolls out of the ring and pulls up the apron to grab a table. Chono signals that he is going to suplex Jericho through the table. Jericho fights back and hits a suplex of his own and covers Chono, but Patrick slow counts him again. Jericho hits a Fisherman Suplex and The Lionsault, but hurts his knee on the way down. Jericho climbs up top, but Chono meets him there and throws him through the table on the outside. He rolls Jericho back inside of the ring and hits The Yakuza Kick to pick up the win after 11:08.

Winner: Masahiro Chono
Match Rating: 2/5 Stars

Masahiro Chono vs. Chris Jericho: Souled Out 1997

Collective Thoughts: There wasn’t much to the match with both men hitting some offense, but nothing of note. Obviously, Nick Patrick is the referee for all of the matches and will favor The NWO guys. Jericho got a few “near falls” here, but Patrick was working against him which made it impossible for him to pick up the win. This was an average way to start off the show. 

We are back with Bischoff, who is talking about the Miss NWO Pageant going on tonight and introduces us to some of the lovely ladies that will be competing. They show pictures of some of the women who just missed the cut, and this segment does not go over well with the crowd. He goes over to the announcer for the Pageant who is with the first lady. He asks her what she thinks of the NWO and she says something incoherently because the mic didn’t pick it up. This is excruciating. He goes to the next lady and he asks her what she should do to tame Kevin Nash. She says “anything it takes” and that’s it. Wow.

Mexican Death Match 
Hugh Morrus (w/Jimmy Hart)(WCW) vs. Big Bubba (NWO)

The WCW guys are looking on from ringside as Bubba makes his way to the ring. This is essentially a Last Man Standing Match where you have to incapacitate your opponent until they can’t answer the ten count.

Both men tie up with Bubba working him into the corner. Morrus comes back and shoves Bubba to the mat. Morrus hits a clothesline that sends Bubba to the outside of the ring. He follows him out and throws him into the stairs. He rolls him back in the ring, but as he comes back in, Bubba hits two low blows as Nick Patrick is looking the other way. Morrus rebounds and knocks Bubba to the floor again which gives Jimmy Hart the chance to get some kicks in. Back in the ring, Bubba grabs a chain from his jacket and hits Morris with it. Bischoff compliments his right hand, and how strong it is. Funny line. Bubba continues to wail on Morris with the chain and hits him in the arm and head with it. Morrus rebounds and grabs the chain from Bubba and uses it himself. He hits The No Laughing Matter Moonsault, but doesn’t go for the cover. Morrus celebrates as Nick Patrick is counting Bubba down on the mat. Morrus corners him and that gives Bubba an opportunity to regroup and hit Morrus from behind. Morrus comes back with a clothesline and waits in the corner as Patrick starts the slow count to 10 again. He gives Bubba ample time to recover, but Morrus continues the assault. Bubba fights back and hits a clothesline and hits some shots to the head of Morrus. Morrus comes back with a low blow of his own and sends Bubba to the outside again. They work up the ramp and Morrus slams him down on the aisleway. He climbs up the stairs and comes off with another moonsault, but Bubba rolls out of the way. Bubba grabs a motorcycle off of one of the women and drives it up the ramp only to hit Morrus with it. Kudos to Morrus for bumping off the bike. Patrick starts counting him out and Morrus can’t answer which means the match comes to an end. It went 9:08.

Winner: Big Bubba
Match Rating: 1.25/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: This was a slop fest between two guys that typically held themselves well for their sizes. There wasn’t much that went on and the best part of the match was probably the finish just because it was creative. Big Bubba winning just pushed the NWO narrative that they have the advantage because it’s their show and Nick Patrick is in their pocket. 

It’s time for another round of questions for the Miss NWO Pageant. The host asks the girl what she would do to be in a Hogan movie, and she says “whatever it takes”. Why is everyone saying that? Didn’t they prep any of these people? The host tells the next girl that he has a $1.50 to his name and she said that wouldn’t be enough.

Jeff Jarrett (WCW) vs. M. Wallstreet (NWO)

For some reason, Nick Patrick has an entrance for this match.

They lock up with Wallstreet taking the early advantage. Jarrett comes back and works him into the ropes, but Patrick forces the break. He starts hitting Wallstreet in the corner, but Patrick is there and stops it from happening. Jarrett gets on a headlock and takes him down with a shoulder block. Jarrett continues hitting some shots to the head and hits an elbow to the jaw. He climbs up top and hits a crossbody, but Patrick makes a slow count. Wallstreet is back to his feet and kicks Jarrett in the midsection. He throws Jarrett into the ropes, but is faceplanted when Jarrett comes back around. Jarrett works on him in the ropes and chokes him on the second one. Jarrett charges in and tries to land on Wallstreet on the ropes, but he moves and Jarrett hits nothing but the second rope. Jarrett rolls to the outside and both men start going at it. Wallstreet throws him into the guardrail and he flies over it. He rolls Jarrett back in the ring and puts him in a sleeper hold. Debra tries to convince McMichael on the outside of the ring to get in and help Jarrett. Jarrett gets kicked in the midsection and hit with an elbow drop. Wallstreet locks Jarrett in a chin lock as Debra and McMichael are shown walking to the back. Wallstreet uses the ropes for leverage, which Nick Patrick ignores. Jarrett fights back to his feet and hits some elbows, but is cut off quickly. Jarrett hits an atomic drop followed by a snap suplex. He climbs up top and tries a fist drop, but Wallstreet rolls out of the way. He hits some shots to the head of Jarrett, but Jarrett comes back and takes him down to the mat. He signals for The Figure Four and locks Wallstreet in the move. Patrick pulls Wallstreet to the ropes, which causes the break. Debra and McMichael are back out and she continues to beg him to help. Wallstreet has Jarrett in an abdominal stretch by the ropes and McMichael hits him with the briefcase The Horsemen gave him for betraying Kevin Greene. He threatens Nick Patrick and forces him to count which gives Jarrett the win after 9:22.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: The “referee is on the side of the heels” thing is getting old and we are three matches into the show. This match was alright for what it was but wasn’t anything spectacular. I would even go slightly below average if I am being completely honest. The work was fine, but Nick Patrick got involved a little too much in this one. Obviously, this is going to go on all night but it felt a little excessive here. Wallstreet was fine, and Jarrett did everything he could to carry the match. 

It is time to go back to Jeff Katz. He asks the people what they think of the women and gets almost no response. He says it’s time to move on to the senior segment of ladies and asks the first one what she thought her best feature was. She replies that it is in fact her feet which she thinks is her best feature. Her feet. He moves on to the next lady and he asks her how she is doing and she can’t hear him. What a disaster. He asks her what she would do to oil Buff’s biceps. She can’t hear him and he just disqualifies her. It’s time for the next match

Scotty Riggs (WCW) vs. Buff Bagwell (NWO)

These two used to be a team named The American Males until Buff turned his back on Scotty to join The NWO.

Riggs hits Bagwell from behind as he was posing for the crowd. He knocks Bagwell to the outside and he walks around to recover. Bagwell gets back in the ring and hits a kick to the midsection. He puts Riggs in a side headlock, but Riggs fights out and hits a dropkick that takes Bagwell down to the mat. He starts hitting Bagwell with some shots to the head, but Patrick pulls him off which opens the door for Bagwell. He throws Riggs into the corner and hits a right hand to the face. Riggs recovers and hits a Belly to Belly Suplex and that has Bagwell shaken. He gets back to his feet and slaps Riggs in the face, but Riggs comes out on top of the exchange and hits a hip toss over the top rope. He comes out after him with a cross body and tries to throw him into the guardrail, but Bagwell reverses it and Riggs is the one flying in. He slams Riggs head on the apron of the ring and it has some ridiculous camera angle with a shaky camera. Riggs chokes him on the top rope and climbs up top to hit a double ax handle and gets a near fall. Bagwell recovers and drops Riggs’s stomach first on the top rope and knocks him into the guardrail again. The announcer comes on the PA to call Riggs a loser. Bagwell continues the assault after rolling Riggs back in the ring. He slams him into the corner and hits some punches to the head. Riggs fights out, but Bagwell is quick to take him down with a gutbuster. Bagwell covers him for a two count. Bagwell poses with Riggs and parodies their old tag tea taunt before hitting a big powerbomb, but only gets a two count. Riggs gets thrown into the ropes and hits a Sunset Flip, but Patrick doesn’t even bother to count the pin. Bagwell gets back to his feet and takes Riggs down to the mat once again. He starts to choke him and stomps on his back. Bagwell has Riggs in a chokehold and just as Riggs starts to fire up, Bagwell cuts him off. Riggs gets him on the shoulders and drops down with The Electric Chair Drop. Bagwell gets back up quickly and tries a suplex, but Riggs rolls him up for a two count. Riggs hits an Enziguri and gets a boot to the face. He climbs up and hits a Tornado DDT, but doesn’t go for the cover and instead hits a pair of dropkicks. Both men come off the ropes and they both hit cross bodies with Bagwell getting the cover for a two count. Riggs with a backslide and hits a powerbomb for another near fall. He uts Bagwell on the top rope and comes up with him, but Bagwell pushes him off and hits The Buff Blockbuster to pick up the win after 13:51.

Winner: Buff Bagwell
Match Rating: 1.75/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: That was a competitive match that was a lot better than it should have been. Both men were known as tag team specialists up till this point, but you could tell they saw Bagwell as a singles star. Riggs held his own here and showed some athleticism, but Bagwell was winning this match the whole way. 

It’s time for another round of this pageant. Some average band is playing, and Jeff asks some older lady if she would dress up in sexy lingerie to impress Vincent. She can’t hear him, he asks her again, and she says sure why not. He goes to the next lady and asks if she would help Scott Norton with his “Flash” problem. She says something incoherent. It’s time for the next match, thankfully.

Diamond Dallas Page (WCW) vs. Scott “Flash” Norton (NWO)

Norton pushed Page into the corner to start the match. He pushes him down again before both men finally lock up. Norton hits a shoulder block that sends Page to the outside of the ring. Norton wrenches on the arm when Page gets back in and pulls him down by the hair. Page slaps on a side headlock and hits Norton with a swing neck breaker. Norton recovers and gets Page in the corner and hits some chops to the chest. Page comes back with some kicks to the midsection and hits a flapjack before signaling for the Diamond Cutter. He tries to pull Norton up, but he is quickly taken down with a clothesline. Sting is looking on from the crowd for his usual stop on a WCW PPV. Norton continues pounding on Page on the outside of the ring and throws him into the ring post. Page fights back, but Norton just tosses him into the ring steps. He rolls Page back in the ring and chokes him on the bottom rope. Norton goes for a clothesline, but Page ducks and hits one of his own. Page tries a Sunset Flip, but Norton is too much. He tries to fall on Page, but he rolls out of the way. He takes Norton to the mat with some shots to the head and hits a flying clothesline off the top rope before getting a slow two count. Page hits a big DDT and he signals for the Cutter again. Buff Bagwell starts talking on the mic and he is joined by other members of the NWO. He says that they enjoy the way Page carries himself and they are ready to have him join The NWO. He is surrounded by all of them in the ring and Page grabs the mic. He says that he doesn’t mind where he is, and as far as he goes everything is cool. He puts on the shirt and he shakes Norton’s hand only to hit him with a Diamond Cutter. He clears the ring and hops out into the crowd. Bagwell is back on the mic and tells Page he doesn’t know what he has done. Nick Patrick counts out Page and the match is over after 9:39.

Winner: Scott Norton
Match Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: The match was alright, but it also drug on for a while. Norton and Page did have some good chemistry, but this was all about trying to recruit Page for the NWO. He hit Norton with the same tactic he hit on Scott Hall on Nitro with the handshake into the Diamond Cutter. The match just kind of ended when Nick Patrick counted Page out, so it was a lame finish for sure. 

It’s time for another round of this cluster of a pageant. Jeff asks the woman what her favorite maneuver is and what it’s called. She said she would tell him but there are kids present. He moves on to the next one and asks a question about Chono and how she would handle him. She said she would do anything he wanted as long as she had some chopsticks. Please. Make it stop.

WCW Tag Team Title Match
The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) (NWO) (c) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) (WCW)  

Scott Steiner and Scott Hall are the first two to start the match. Steiner works Hall into the corner, but backs off and steps away. Hall grabs the arm and starts to hit some shoulder blocks and starts slapping him in the back of the head. He hits Steiner with some knees to the midsection and slaps on an abdominal stretch. Steiner reverses and hits a Pump Handle Slam followed by a Belly to Belly Suplex. Nash and Rick are in and the Steiners clean house and pose in the ring as The Outsiders regroup on the outside. Back in the ring, Scott makes the tag and now the legal men are Hall and Rick. Hall gets him in the corner and hits some shots to the head, but Rick reverses it and hits some of his own. Rick climbs up to the second rope and comes off, but Hall catches him and hits a Fallaway Slam. That was impressive strength from Hall. Rick makes the tag and Scott is in, but is quickly taken out by Hall with a chokeslam. He tags in Nash, who comes in slowly and hits Scott in the head. Nash has Scott in the corner and hits some elbows and a clothesline. He goes for it again, but Scott gets his boot up and hits a suplex that takes Nash down to the mat. Nash gets back to his feet as Scott tags Rick into the match. Nash and Rick exchange blows in the ring and Rick sends him into the ropes and hits a power slam for a two count.

Rick gets up and tries to hit a clothesline, but Nash ducks out of the way and Hall hits him from behind. Nash hits a big boot that sends Rick to the outside and Hall is out to work on him there. He hits some moves and rolls Rick back in the ring and Nash covers him for a two count. The Outsiders keep Rick isolated to their corner and continue pounding away on him. Nash knocks Scott off the apron and hits Rick with some Snake Eyes. Hall finishes him off with a clothesline from the apron. Nash hits a forearm and a scoop slam, but misses an elbow drop. Nash picks Rick up and makes the tag to Hall. Hall comes in and continues to punish Rick in their corner. He sends Rick to the floor which allows Nash to pick him up and drop him on the apron. Nash tags in the match and hits Rick with a Sidewalk Slam, but he kicks out. Nash drives Rick against the second rope and comes down with a squash after some help from Hall. Scott comes around the ring and takes Hall out and tells Patrick to do his job. Rick hits a low blow on Nash while Scott was distracting Nick Patrick and that allows him to make the tag to Scott. Nash tags in Hall as well, and Scott is a house of fire. He takes out both guys and is in complete control. Rick is back up and both Steiners send Nash to the outside. They signal for the Steiner Line and pick Hall up, but Nash is there to take them out. Hall hits an Outsiders Edge on Rick, but Nick Patrick is out on the floor. Rick comes off the top rope with a bulldog and he pulls Scott over Nash which brings out Randy Anderson to count the pin and award The Steiners the titles. The match went 14:43.

Winner(s) and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Collective Thoughts: This was by far the best match of the night to this point, although that isn’t saying much. The Outsiders isolated Rick for a lot of the match, and this just had some tag team wrestling that I am very fond of. Scott Steiner wasn’t in the match for a lengthy period of time, but he cleaned house nicely when he was. I do believe the titles would be vacated the next night on Nitro due to the referee not being an official for the event, but this was a decent enough match. 

Bischoff and Dibiase are upset about the result of the match and really pound that into the ground. Syxx walked into the match with the title belt after he stole it from Guerrero a couple of weeks ago.

WCW United States Title Ladder Match
Eddie Guerrero (WCW) (c) vs. Syxx (NWO)

The ring announcer calls Guerrero “A Mexican Jumping Bean”, which ages horrifically.

Syxx starts the match off with a spinning kick that knocks Guerrero to the mat. He works him into the ropes and starts chopping away on him. Syxx hits an elbow, and continues stomping away. Guerrero gets back to his feet and hits a headscissors and a spinning backbreaker. Syxx rolls to the outside, but Guerrero is right behind him and hits a splash to the outside. He rolls Syxx back in and puts him on the top rope, but Syxx pushes him off and hits a spinning kick off the top. He chops Guerrero in the corner, kicks Guerrero in the face, and hits an early variation of the Bronco Buster. Guerrero reverses an Irish whip and hits a dropkick that sends Syxx to the outside. Guerrero tries to suplex him back in the ring, but Syxx reverses it and both men tumble to the outside. They have a terrible camera angle and nearly miss a senton over the top from Syxx. He starts working his way up the ramp and grabs the first ladder of the night. He charges in and hits Guerrero with the ladder and he slams up against the apron of the ring. They fight over the ladder before Guerrero knocks Syxx in the face with it. He jumps back in the ring and starts wailing on Syxx with the ladder before setting it up in the corner. He throws Syxx to that corner, but he reverses and Guerrero crashes into it himself. Syxx stomps on the ladder that is on Guerrero and sets it up in an opposite corner and both men climb to the top. Syxx hits a low blow that sends Guerrero crashing to the mat and Syxx climbs up top, but Guerrero recovers and kicks the ladder into the face of Syxx. Guerrero hits a Superplex and both men are out on the mat. Guerrero sets the ladder up and starts to climb up towards the title. Syxx is right behind him and both men exchange blows on the top and both are thrown off. They both slowly start to make the ascent back up and exchange blows on top of the ladder. Syxx shoves him off, but Guerrero falls back into the ladder and knocks Syxx off. Guerrero is back to his feet first and starts to climb the ladder again. Syxx grabs the foot, but Guerrero kicks him off. He hits Syxx with an uppercut and both men are back on the ladder. Both men balance at the top and both men grab the title. They wrestle over it until Guerrero hits him with the title and Syxx and the title hits the deck. Guerrero leaps down and grabs the title to win the match. The match went 13:48.

Winner and STILL WCW United States Champion: Eddie Guerrero
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Eddie Guerrero vs. Syxx - Cruiserweight Championship Ladder Match: nWo Souled Out:, January 25, 1997

Collective Thoughts: This overtook the last match as the match of the night, which should surprise no one. These two can seriously go, and the chemistry was there for most of the match. This was more of a fair battle because Nick Patrick played less of a role in how it actually ended. The finish of the match was creative and you don’t see very many of these matches end with the belt falling to the mat. Was it the best ladder match I have ever seen? Of course not, but it was very competitive and I was a fan. 

Jeff Katz is back, thankfully, and it is time for the finals of the Miss NWO Pageant. He goes through all the women again by name and says when the woman they want to win comes up to “cheer your backsides off”. All of these women have terrible dance moves and they all just wave to the crowd. This Jeff guy is a very average host. They also have stats for these women on the screen and one woman’s occupation is a “school bus driver”. There is nothing wrong with that at all, I just found it a bit odd. The women don’t know their cues and will stand in front of the camera for awkwardly long periods of time. I wish I could describe my disdain for how poorly these segments have been put together. Bischoff comes down off the announcer’s podium to pick the winner. Some of the women grab Bischoff why he is hyping up the winner. He said that these women stick out to him because they all own their own motorcycles. He says the decision is a tie, but he is there to break that tie. He says he has a simple question that he is going to ask for the tiebreaker and tells everyone he is going to whisper the question to the contestants AKA tell them what to do next. He picks one younger lady and an older one and brings out the flowers and a crown for the winner. He announces that the older lady, who is Miss Becky, wins and takes home all of the glory. They give her flowers, a crown, and an NWO sash. She walks down to the ring and is still completely lost on what she is supposed to do. She shakes the hands of some fans and makes a lap around the entire ring.

Collective Thoughts: I have been waiting to give my thoughts on all of these segments. I can’t remember a more unprepared, unrehearsed, piece of business in all the time I have been watching wrestling. I remember a shoot interview with Kevin Nash and he mentioned the same things I did. These women weren’t supermodels, but just normal looking women. Which I am a fan of, but the way they hyped it up and made it feel, it didn’t translate well. These segments made the whole show kind of tip over because it was littered throughout the whole show. I can’t say enough bad things about it.

Bischoff starts talking about the main event on the night between The Giant and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. It’s time for that very match.

WCW World Heavyweight Title Match
“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (NWO) (c) vs. The Giant (NWO?)

This is The Giant’s title match after winning The World War 3 Battle Royal. He is on the outs with the NWO, but isn’t completely out just yet.

Hogan throws a right hand, but The Giant isn’t fazed. He goes for another, but The Giant catches it and hits some shots to the chest of Hogan which sends him to the outside. Hogan gets back in the ring and takes The Giant out with a shot to the head and starts hitting him on the mat. Hogan with a kick to the midsection and keeps punching him in the head. He chops The Giant and works him against the ropes. Hogan throws him into the ropes and, after some reversals, they both hit double clotheslines on each other. The Giant slams Hogan’s head into each of the four corners and tosses him to the outside. The Giant follows him out and rakes the eyes and slams his head again the guard rail. He rolls Hogan back in the ring, but Hogan is quick on the attack and hits The Giant in the back of the head. Hogan tries an inside cradle, but The Giant fights out. Hogan with an inside cradle attempt. Hulk Hogan. The Giant hits an elbow drop and continues beating on him and it has Hogan down on the mat. Hogan rolls to the outside to regroup, which is a staple in his matches of this era. He throws some powder into the face of The Giant and he is now blinded. Hogan tees off with some rights and starts choking The Giant with some rope that he found at ringside. They get back in the ring and The Giant hits a big backbreaker and bends him over his knee.  The Giant climbs to the top rope and comes off with an elbow drop, but Hogan rolls out of the way. Still, that was pretty impressive. Hogan makes the cover, but The Giant gets up at two. He works on The Giant with a chin lock as the fans are clearly behind The Giant. Hogan hits a kick, but The Giant isn’t moved. He slams The Giant and hits The Legdrop, but The Giant pops right back up. He chokeslams Hogan and Nick Patrick stops the count at three, even though Hogan is clearly pinned. The Giant goes after Patrick and hits him with a Chokeslam. Here comes Buff Bagwell and he is dispatched. Bischoff grabs a guitar and comes down to ringside as The Giant destroys the rest of the NWO that is coming down to the ring. Hogan gets in and wipes The Giant out with the guitar. The match ends in a no-contest after 10:52.

Winner and STILL WCW Heavyweight Champion: “Hollywood” Hogan
Match Rating: DUD

Collective Thoughts: They were pushing so hard in this time period to make everything Hogan did with The Giant resemble Wrestlemania 3, all the way down to him slamming The Giant and hitting The Legdrop. That logic, at this point, was so paper-thin. This was a classic Hogan match with some spots, then some time on the outside. Rinse and repeat. I actually like Hogan a lot more than some other people might, but at this time, you could tell the guy was phoning it in. The Giant would be kicked out of the NWO shortly after this, and overall, this main event was below average.

After the match, The NWO regroups and Hogan hits The Giant with a wooden chair. They spraypaint his back and stand tall as Hogan asks who is next. The fans chant for Sting, but he doesn’t come out and the show ends with the last image of Hogan holding The World Title.

Hollywood Hogan vs. The Giant: Souled Out 1997

Overall Show Rating: 3 out of 10

This is, collectively, one of the worst PPV’s I have seen produced by a major wrestling company. I normally not that harsh, but here, I feel it is justified. I like the idea that Bischoff has for The NWO and on paper, it sounds like an awesome idea. The NWO was going to be a separate brand and would have their own TV show and all of that jazz, a lot like what we have now with Raw and Smackdown. Nothing on this show was engaging, and that damn pageant was just horrible. The women didn’t know their cues or what to say, the host didn’t help matters much, and the women they did have competing were just normal housewives with no television experience or even preparation by the looks of it. The matches were all about average to below-average, except for the ladder match which was a nice treat after slogging our way through this show. If you ever wanted an example of why The NWO fell apart eventually, look no further than this show.  On the plus side, the aesthetic was cool and I was a fan of the presentation. Poor outing overall, though.

What did you think of NWO Souled Out? Loved it (quit lying)? Hated it? Haven’t seen it in years? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. While you are at it, take a minute to check out my Podcast Network, The Heel Turn Collective. We have original content 3 times a week, including an AEW recap show every Friday. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. I will be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.