Welcome back to the TJRwrestling retro reviews where we have been running through every WCW Pay-Per-View during the Monday Night War Era. We are fresh off of Starrcade 1997, which should have lead to Sting having a big moment winning the title, but the ending was botched and it took a lot away from it. Nick Patrick was supposed to give a fast count, but didn’t, and it all went down from there. Sting ended up winning the title anyway, but it made him and Bret Hart look foolish in the process. Either way, it’s on to 1998 and covering the shows that had WCW taking a stranglehold on the ratings for an extended period of time. You can read about that show, and every show we have covered thus far here. Also, sorry about the delay, but WWE’s transition to Peacock has left a lot of shows in the wind for now. They finally are getting the WCW shows on, which makes things a million times easier. Let’s do this!
WCW Souled Out
January 24th, 1998
Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio
They start with a promo talking about Kevin Nash and The Giant actually having their match, which was supposed to happen at Starrcade last month. They are clips of Eric Bischoff coming in and out talk about the show before going to the arena.
We are joined by the usual suspects at the announce desk which include Tony Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Schiavone talks about Nash vs. The Giant, as well as the “dream match” between Bret “The Hitman” Hart and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. They also mention that the WCW Heavyweight Title is vacated after the shenanigans that happened at Starrcade. They have all the major players there for a major announcement before going down to the ring for the first match.
Lucha Libra 8-Man Tag Team Match
Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Lizmark Jr, and Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. La Parka, Silver King, Psychosis, and El Dandy
This is under Lucha Libra rules which means that if a teammate gets sent to the floor, someone else can come in without a tag. Mike Tenay joins the announce desk as well.
Psychosis and Super Calo start the match off and Calo quickly sends Psychosis to the outside. Psychosis gets back in the ring and hits Calo with a shot to the head and works him against the ropes. Calo comes back after an Irish whip and takes Psychosis down with a Powerslam. Calo hits him with a Tilt-A-Whirl backbreaker before tagging Lizmark Jr. into the match. Psychosis makes a tag to Silver King and the two start going at each other in the corner. Lizmark hits King with a big backbreaker for a two-count. King gets back to his feet and comes back with a Tornado DDT before reaching out for a tag to El Dandy. Lizmark tags in Guerrero and he and Dandy start going at it immediately. Dandy takes him down to the mat with a chop, but it’s short-lived, and Guerrero both of them out with a clothesline over the top. That brings La Parka and Guerrera into the match. La Parka catches Guerrera after a splash attempt, but he fights out. Guerrera hits a dropkick and starts punching La Parka in the corner. He comes off the top and hits a Hurricanrana that sends La Parka to the outside. He goes for a splash attempt, but Psychosis takes him out before he can go out. That brings Lizmark back into the match as Psychosis tags in Dandy. Super Calo comes in after a bit and takes Dandy down with Headscissors. Silver King tags back in and he hits Calo in the corner with a kick to the head. King continues to stay on the offensive and goes for a cover, but it’s broken up. Guerrera comes into the match and starts going at it with King right away. King picks him up and puts him in the corner. Both men start exchanging blows before he throws King at the top and hits a 450 Splash, but La Parka breaks up the pin. La Parka then comes in the match and hits Guerrera with a Powerbomb for a two count. Psychosis and Chavo tag back in the match, but La Parka comes back in as well. Calo and King are back in and both fly to the outside. Calo comes off the top and wipes both men out. This starts a chain reaction of each man coming over the top with splashes. The last ones in the ring are Chavo and Psychosis and they start brawling in the ring. Psychosis misses a kick in the corner and Chavo hits him with the Tornado DDT to pick up the win after 9:30.
Winner(s): Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Lizmark Jr, and Chavo Guerrero
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: It was fun for what it was, but it was almost impossible to follow along the entire time. They were guys flying everywhere and tags not being made which made it a little jumbled up. Guys like Guerrera, Psychosis and Chavo were just being introduced to the company and they were guys that stood out in this match, along with La Parka. I liked it, but there was so much going on, it kind of hurt it. It didn’t get boring though, so I will give it that.
After the match, La Parka comes in the ring and takes everyone out, including his partners, with a chair. He is “The Chairman” of WCW after all.
Schiavone talks about an upcoming internet “Pay-Per-Listen” event. That was pretty cutting edge for the time, and this would be more like a traditional radio broadcast rather than a televised event.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund makes his first appearance on the show and plugs the hotline before sending it back to the ring.
Raven Rules Match
Raven (w/The Flock) vs. Chris Benoit
They announce after Raven gets in the ring that The Flock is banned from ringside. Raven grabs a mic and says that once again society is forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to. He has been a loner all his life and tonight he will feast on Benoit.
Raven dropkicks Benoits through the ropes as he tries to get in. He throws Benoit into the railing at ringside before sending him shoulder-first into the steps. They work in the aisleway before Raven throws him back in the ring. He snaps Benoit over multiple times, but Benoit counters with a backslide for a two-count. Raven gets back to his feet and stomps on the head of Benoit before slamming his head into the mat. Raven throws him into the ropes and takes him down with a knee to the gut. Benoit comes off the ropes with a rollup, but Raven kicks out at one before getting back up and hitting him again. He sends Benoit back to the outside and grabs a chair. He hits Benoit with it before sending him back in the ring. Raven hits an elbow across the throat before climbing back in the ring with him. He throws Benoit on the chair in the ring and he sets it up near the corner. He grabs Benoit and hits a bulldog on the prone chair, but Benoit gets the shoulder up at two. Raven sets the chair up again and sends Benoit into the ropes, but he reverses it and hits Raven with a drop toe hold on the chair. The referee starts counting both men down and gets to seven before they get back to their feet. Benoit hits a few chops before taking Raven down with a clothesline. He sets up the chair and suplexes Raven on it. He tears his shirt off and chops him on his bare chest. Benoit sets the chair up in the corner and starts chopping Raven before sending him to the outside. He comes out and hits Raven and sends him into the stairs. He chops him some more while Raven is trying to escape. They work up the aisleway again with Benoit hitting a suplex on the ramp. Benoit kicks him and that sends Raven rolling towards the ring. Benoit sends him back in and grabs the chair again. He throws it down and hits another suplex on the chair. He picks the chair up and puts it on Ravens face to stomp down on it. He climbs up top and hits The Diving Headbutt onto Raven and the chair, knocking himself out in the process. The referee starts counting them both down again and gets to eight before Benoit gets an arm over Raven for a near fall. Benoit pulls himself up using the ropes and tries to suplex Raven again, but Raven counters with The Even Flow DDT. Benoit somehow gets up first and gets a cover, but only scores a two. Both men get back up, but Benoit takes him down quickly with The Crippled Crossface. Raven starts smiling while in the hold, but soon passes out and the match is over after 10:36.
Winner: Chris Benoit
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This was a fun, competitive, hard-hitting match. Using chairs in WCW was still something they didn’t do all the time so it felt like every shot had a little something on it. I loved The Raven character like I have mentioned in the past and thought he could have been a big star if used correctly. Benoit was tough as nails and laid all of his stuff in this one. I liked the ending with Raven smiling before passing out because it really put over the toughness of the character. Solid match.
Following the match, Kidman heads down to the ring, but he is taken out by Dean Malenko. The rest of The Flock head down to the ring and start taking Malenko and Benoit out. Van Hammer pulls Raven out of the ring as Malenko and Benoit regain control and send the rest of The Flock to the back. Malenko looks at them walking up, but is soon caught in a staredown with Benoit. They nod their heads before leaving the ring.
WCW Cruiserweight Title Match
Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs. “Lionheart” Chris Jericho
This was the start of Jericho’s legendary heel run in WCW. If you haven’t seen his stuff in 1998/1999 you should go out of your way to do it. Great stuff.
The fans start the match by booing Jericho out of the building. He makes fun of Mysterio by touching the top of his head before they lock up in the ring. Jericho works him into the corner, but Mysterio fights his way out and takes Jericho down to the mat. Mysterio starts hitting him in the head, but Jericho takes him down again with a clothesline. He puts Mysterio in the ropes and hits some chops to the chest, but Mysterio starts to fight back. He takes Jericho out with Headscissors and it sends him out of the ring. Mysterio teases coming out after Jericho, but tweaks his knee in the process. Jericho charges in the ring and hits Mysterio, but he is taken down to the mat with a dropkick. Mysterio slows it down with a chin lock before rolling Jericho up for a two-count. Mysterio comes off the ropes and takes Jericho down by the hair. Mysterio tosses Jericho to the apron and climbs on his shoulders, but Jericho drops him throat-first on the top rope. He hits Mysterio with a shoulder-breaker on the floor and sets up the stairs so he can launch himself off with a clothesline. He rolls Mysterio back in the ring and gets him in the corner. He hits Mysterio with some knees before sending him to the other side. Jericho stomps on the bad wheel of Mysterio before kicking him in the head for good measure. Jericho starts hitting him in the head, but Mysterio comes back with a bulldog that takes Jericho down. He sends him into the corner and comes in to kick him in the gut. He sends Jericho out of the ring and he comes out after him with a springboard flip. They battle on the outside of the ring before Jericho is driven face-first into the steps. Mysterio sends him in the ring and tries a springboard move, but he lands awkwardly and falls off. Jericho drops him on the top rope and stands on the top rope. Mysterio knocks crotches him on the top and jumps up for The Hurricanrana, but Jericho reverses it on the way down into The Liontamer. Mysterio taps out almost immediately and Jericho is the new champion. The match went for 8:28.
Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This match was short, sweet, and to the point. Mysterio got a lot of offense in but did a great job selling the bad knee. Jericho took advantage of it throughout, and this was just wrestling at its peak. I am not saying it’s one of the best matches ever, but these two busted their asses and it showed. The ending was really great with Jericho reversing Mysterio and both of them landing in The Liontamer. Seeing Jericho starting in his prime here was awesome. Very good match.
After the match, Jericho says this is the biggest win in his career. He says the fans love him and they shouldn’t be booing him. He says he will give him reasons to boo and continues to beat up Mysterio in the ring. He takes his knee brace off and beats him with it before sending him to the outside of the ring. He sets Mysterio up on the stairs and hits his bad knee with a toolbox against it. Jericho says he is sorry before walking away. Great heel stuff here.
“Mean” Gene is in the ring with JJ Dillon who is holding the vacant WCW Heavyweight Championship. Gene puts over the beatdown from Jericho before turning his attention to Dillion. Gene says that Dillon worked hard to get Sting and Hogan in the ring at Starrcade. Dillon says that he didn’t feel good about stripping the title from Sting, but it was something he felt like he had to do. Dillon says he knows it wasn’t a popular decision, so he wanted to make a ruling that is fair to everyone. Dillon says that he brought in “Rowdy” Roddy Piper to help him with the decision and Gene brings him out to the ring. Gene says that Piper should have a lot to say about everything going on. Piper says he made the match at Starrcade and now we have a mess surrounding it. Piper says that he has made a decision and that these decisions will stick. Piper says Hogan knows more ways to slip and slide out of situations and that he won’t be able to this time. Piper says Sting has been hanging out and showing up whenever he wants. Piper mentions Scott Hall and Eric Bischoff and says that none of this will matter. Piper calls Sting out and wants him to come out to the ring right now, and he makes his way out. Piper then called out Scott Hall and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan to the ring. Hall is in line for a shot at the title from winning World War 3 in November.
Eric Bischoff joins them as they come out to the ring to hear Piper’s decision. Sting looks on in the ring as Okerlund and Piper are talking to each other over the house speakers in the ring. Weird. Gene says that there is the business to conduct in this ring. Piper says that Hall won The Battle Royal so he deserves his shot at the title that he has coming to him. Piper says he respects Hall’s accomplishments, but he can’t get a title shot, because there is no champion currently. Piper asks Dillon to give him the belt and Piper turns his attention to Hogan. He says that he is a three-time WCW Heavyweight Champion and that he feels he got robbed at Starrcade. Piper says the fair thing to do would be to award him the title back. Piper says he isn’t going to do that, but he is making a match for next month at Superbrawl between Sting and Hogan for the title. Hogan is upset and Hogan says that he beat Sting twice and shouldn’t have to again. Sting gets in his face and Piper starts taking his shirt off. Hall starts walking away from the ring in disgust, and Bischoff and Hogan follow right behind him. Piper grabs the mic again and says Hogan always thinks that tradition bites and it’s really going to bite him now. Dillon says they will meet at Superbrawl and all of this will be decided. It’s time for the next match.
Collective Thoughts: I know why they did this, but it started to drag after a while. This was a long-winded way to just make the rematch between Sting and Hogan at Superbrawl. Hall is the one who has to wait for the longest because his title match was supposed to take place at that event. It was a way to get everyone to face off on PPV and sign the match for next month.
WCW Television Title Match
Booker T. (c) vs. Rick Martel
Booker has been booked more like a single as of late and less as part of Harlem Heat. Martel is winding down his career at this point and joined the company recently.
They lock up to start the match with Booker taking him down with a shoulder block. Both men exchange blows in the ring before Martel rolls Booker up for a two-count. Martel gets a kick to the gut and works on the arm of Booker and goes for a hip toss, but Booker takes him down with a clothesline. He starts working on the arm of Martel and the pace of the match slows down. Martel fights his way back to his feet, but he gets taken down with a suplex. Booker does the Spinarooni to get up and hits a Harlem Side Kick. Martel gets back to his feet and gets a thumb to the eye and he hits a flying clothesline off the second rope. Booker isn’t down long, though, and he hits another sidekick on Martel. He covers for a two count. Booker takes him over with an arm drag and continues to keep the pace in his favor. Martel throws him off the ropes to break the hold, but Booker puts his head down and runs right into the crotch of Martel. Booker checks on him in the corner, but Martel was playing possum and he throws Booker into the corner. He hits him with some rights and lefts before throwing him hard into the other corner. He follows that up with an elbow drop. He hits Booker with a Gutwrench Slam and covers him for a two count. He puts Booker in a chin lock and hits a Spinebsuter as both men get to their feet. He clubs the back of Booker again and works him into the corner to work on him some more. Martel throws him into the opposite corner, but Booker rolls him up as he charges in for two. Martel knocks Booker down quickly after and continues to wear Booker down. Martel powers Booker up and puts him in The Abdominal Stretch. Booker powers out and flips Martel over. He comes off the ropes with a flying forearm and as both men get to their feet, continues to be on the offensive. Booker throws him into the ropes and tries a dropkick, but Martel grabs on and he hits the canvas. Martel capitalizes and puts Booker in The Quebec Crab. Booker fights over and grabs the ropes to break the hold. Martel thinks he won and that allows Booker to hit him from behind and hit a scissors kick. He hits Martel with a Sidewalk Slam, followed by a Harlem Hangover to pick up the win after 10:50.
Winner and STILL WCW Television Champion: Booker T.
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: This match actually wasn’t terrible. I always liked Martel all the way back when he was “The Model” in the WWF. Booker was starting to get over with the crowd at this point and you could tell he was going to be a star moving forward. The only thing that hurt the match was the lack of heat throughout the whole thing. The crowd didn’t care about this match at all.
After the match, Martel grabs the belt from the referee and hands it to Booker himself. They embrace in the ring and Booker leaves. Saturn jumps in the ring and attacks Martel from behind, but is quickly chased off by Booker.
Scott Hall (w/ Louie Spicolli) vs. Larry Zbyszko (w/Dusty Rhodes)
This match stems from last month when Zbyszko beat Eric Bischoff at Starrcade. Louie Spicolli joins Scott Hall in the ring and as Zbyszko makes his way down to the ring, Dusty Rhodes leaves the broadcast booth and escorts him to ringside.
The bell sounds and both men start off feeling each other out. Zbyszko takes him down to the mat and Hall looks on in disbelief. He does it a second time and Zbyszko stands tall as Hall has to regroup and get back to his feet. Hall grabs his arm and starts twisting it around. It doesn’t last long as Zbyszko grabs the arm of Hall and starts working on it himself. Hall tries to start a test of strength, but he gets slapped in the face. Both men shove each other before Zbyszko gets him in an Abdominal Stretch. Hall fights out and sends Zbyszko into the ropes, but he finds himself locked back in it again. Hall throws him over his back and both men start brawling on the mat. They get back to their feet and Hall knocks him out of the ring with a shot to the head. Spicolli punches Zbyszko while he was outside and that sends Rhodes to his side. Hall works Zbyszko into the corner and hits him with some shots before sending him into the other corner. Hall takes him down to the mat with a shot to the back and starts stretching him as they both go down to the mat. Zbyszko fights his way back to his feet, but he is quickly taken down again. Hall stomps on the head and hits some punches to the head. He picks Zbyszko up and hits a Fallaway Slam. The crowd is into this whole thing. Hall goes for an Outsiders Edge, but Zbsyzko picks him up over his head. He works on Hall in the corner, but Hall charges out and hits a clothesline. They continue working in the corner. Zbyszko goes to kick Hall, but he pulls the referee in, and he kicks him by accident. Hall and Spicolli wake the referee up as Zbyszko plays possum from behind. He locks Hall in a choke, as Spicolli gets in the ring to break it up. That sends Rhodes in who hits him with some Bionic Elbows. Zbyszko holds Hall for Rhodes to hit him, but he hits Zbyszko instead. Hall points to him and he takes his shirt off and reveals an NWO shirt. He drops an elbow on Zbyszko which causes the match to be thrown out. The whole thing went 8:09.
Winner: Larry Zbyszko
Match Rating: 1.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The Rhodes heel turn is the big story of the match. Before that, it was fine, but not great. Zbsyzko had a lot of time for offense and Hall lead him well. Spicolli being out there was a little weird, but it wasn’t distracting or anything. This is when The NWO started to become a little overblown and while Rhodes didn’t need to join, I guess it does add more power to the ranks.
After the match, Hall, Rhodes, and Spicolli all take turns triple-teaming on Zbyszko.
6-Man Tag Team Match
Scott “Flash” Norton, Buff Bagwell, and Konnan (w/Vincent) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) and Ray Traylor (w/Ted Dibiase)
Schiavone leaves the desk and is standing in disgust at what he just saw as the men make their way out to the ring.
Rick and Bagwell are the first two to start the match for their teams. Rick knocks him down to the ring with a shot to the head. He gets up and the two men lock up with Bagwell taking him down to the mat. He continues using quickness to keep out of reach of Rick, and hits some shots to the head. He throws Rick into the ropes, but he gets hit with a Powerslam. Rick knocks everyone off the apron and he tags Traylor into the match. He throws Bagwell into the corner and comes in after him with a big splash. He picks Bagwell up and slams him down as he comes out of the corner. He tags Rick back in the match and he takes Bagwell down to the mat. He starts pulling on the face of Bagwell and slams him gut-first into the corner. Traylor tags back in the match and hits Bagwell, but Bagwell fights back and hits some shots on Traylor. He tags in Norton, who comes in and starts pounding on Traylor in the corner. He throws him in, but Traylor moves out of the way of a splash. He slides to the outside and hits Norton in the head, but as he comes back in, Norton takes him down with a Powerslam. He works Traylor into their corner and tags Konnan in the match. He teases The Steiners and continues beating up Traylor in the ropes. He tags Bagwell into the match and Traylor tries to fight both of them off, but the numbers are too much. Bagwell hits him with some more shots as he tags in Norton and he hits Traylor with a clothesline. That knocked both of them down to the mat. Both men slowly crawl to their sides of the ring as Norton tags Bagwell in and Traylor gets a tag to Rick. Rick takes out all three men on the other team. He hits Konnan with a DDT as Scott yells at the referee on the outside. Norton hits Rick from behind and throws him to the outside. That sends the rest of his team out to work on him some more. They get back in the ring and continue beating on Rick in their corner. Norton comes in with a rib breaker and slams his head into the corner. Bagwell is backing and continues to keep Rick grounded. Scott and Traylor are fighting on the apron about what side to stand out as Konnan and Bagwell double-team Rick in the ring. Konnan hits the rolling clothesline and starts working on the leg of Rick. Scott gets in the ring to break it up and he is livid with the referee. Norton tags in and throws Rick into the corner and comes after him with a splash. he continues to keep Rick grounded. Konnan and Bagwell come in the ring and pound on Rick in the corner. They throw him to the opposite side, but Rick explodes out with clotheslines for both of them. Both teammates reach their hands out and both make a tag to Rick at the same time. They both come in and start fighting all the men off in the ring. Scott sends Norton to the outside, as Konnan and Traylor are on the other side. Scott hits Konnan with a suplex as they go out on the apron and Scott Steiner is now the legal man. He hits Konnan with The Steiner Screwdriver and picks up the win after 12:20.
Winner(s): The Steiner Brothers and Ray Traylor
Match Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: The fans were less into this match than they were the previous one. It did drag at times with The NWO getting a majority of the offense in. Scott was only the legal man for the last part of the match, and it led to tension between the team, even though they won. Norton, Bagwell, and Konnan were definitely the lower guys in The NWO at this point. It was an average match, overall, and it should have been a little better.
After the match, Bagwell and Scott Steiner have a pose off in the ring. They start barking at each other as Bagwell and the rest of The NWO go to the back.
Kevin Nash (w/”Hollywood” Hogan and Eric Bischoff) vs. The Giant
This match was supposed to take place last month at Starrcade, but for whatever reason, Nash couldn’t make the show. This is being billed as a “Giant vs. Giant” match.
The Giant shoves Nash away as the bell rings and the match is underway. They lock up as Nash and Nash grabs a headlock. The Giant suplexes him to break the hold and looks down on Hogan and Bischoff. He comes off the ropes and hits a big elbow drop on Nash. He gets Nash in the corner and pounds him in the midsection. He starts choking Nash with his boot and he pushes him out of the ring and Nash regroups with his guys at ringside. Hogan gets on the apron as Nash climbs up to get back in the ring. Nash hits a high knee and gets The Giant in the corner for some shots to the head. He sends him to the opposite side and Nash comes in with a clothesline. He tries it again, but The Giant reverses and knocks him down to the mat. He puts Nash in the corner and starts choking him with his boot. The Giant sends him down again as he starts to stalk slowly behind him. He throws Nash into the ropes, but Nash reverses, and he leapfrogs The Giant. That was impressive. He hits a big boot that sends The Giant to the outside and comes out with a splash over the top, but The Giant catches him. He slams Nash into the ring post and he sends him back in the ring, but Hogan hits The Giant in the back with a chair. The Giant rolls in the ring at nine and Nash starts arguing with the referee. He chokes The Giant on the second rope and comes off with some knees to the back of the head. Nash hits some elbows to the back of the head and continues to work The Giant around the ring. Nash showboats for a minute and gets taken off his feet with a clothesline. Both men go for the big boot and they take each other out with that very move. Nash crawls over and gets an arm draped on The Giant for a two count. He hits The Giant with some more knees to the midsection and climbs up to start punching him in the corner. The Giant brings him out and hits an Atomic Drop, followed by a headbutt. He takes Nash down with some clotheslines, but Nash keeps getting up. He sends Nash into the ropes and hits a big boot to the face. He brings Nash to his feet and slams him down again. The Giant signals for The Chokeslam and he grabs Bischoff who got on the apron and he hits him with The Chokeslam. Hogan hands Nash some coffee and he throws it in the face of The Giant. He hits him with a low blow. He picks The Giant up for a Jackknife Powerbomb and drops this guy straight on his head. He covers him and picks up the win after 9:06.
Winner: Kevin Nash
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That botch at the end is a pretty famous one and still gets talked about to this day. I believe he could get The Giant up for the move, but someone didn’t do what they should have. As far as the match goes, it was a typical big man match with slow pacing and some big moves. The Giant was a staple of WCW at this point and the crowd was in and out for him in this one. Nash was a “cool heel” and the crowd was actually cheering him at points in this match.
After the match, they try and kill time as they get The Giant out of the ring. They go to a commercial for the next show, which will be Superbrawl VIII. That show will be headlined by Sting vs. Hogan II.
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
This match has two of the best to ever do it squaring off. They did battle when Flair was in WWF in the early-90’s, but this is still cool.
Hart does his usual before the match and gave his glasses to a kid at ringside. Hart comes over to Flair’s corner and they lock up. Hart grabs a headlock and grinds it in on Flair. Flair sends him off the ropes to break the hold, but Hart takes him down with a shoulder block. He gets Flair in a chin lock and keeps the pace slow to start things off. Flair takes Hart down as he comes off the ropes, but it doesn’t last long, and he finds himself on the mat again. Hart puts Flair in the Figure Four, but Flair gets to the ropes. Hart hits a suplex and covers Flair for a two-count before going back to the ground game. Flair gets back to his feet and tries to hit Hart with a shin breaker, but Hart maintains control. He works Flair down to the mat again and continues to keep him grounded. Flair gets to the ropes and both men exchange chops to the chest and Flair slides out of the ring to regroup. Flair comes back in and gets a knee to the gut of Hart. He throws Hart into the corner, but Hart reverses and hits a back body drop. He hits a scoop slam and covers Flair for a two-count. He continues to wear Flair down with a headlock. Flair gets him into the corner and the referee breaks the hold. Flair gets a finger to the eye and that opens Hart up to some shots to the head. Flair continues to pound on him in the corner and hits a big chop. He sends Hart into the ropes and hits a suplex after Hart tried to lock on a Sleeper Hold. Flair hits a low blow as the referee has his back turned and the momentum is going in his favor. He snaps Hart over and comes off the ropes with a knee drop to the head. He covers Hart for a near fall.
He puts Hart in a chin lock this time and turns the pace of the match in his favor. He uses the ropes for leverage before putting Hart in the corner for some chops to the chest. He sends Hart to the opposite side and it sends him down to the mat. Flair hits another knee drop and starts to choke Hart. He hits another chop, but this time Hart starts to fight back. Hart continues to get some punches to the head and hits a Swinging Neckbreaker. Hart kicks Flair and takes him down with a bulldog for a two-count. Hart hits a quick leg drop and he is back in control. He puts Flair’s leg on the bottom rope and comes off the ropes to drop down on the leg. Hart pulls Flair over to the corner to try and put him in the post Figure Four, but Flair kicks him into the guardrail. He comes out and starts working on Hart on the outside before rolling him back in. He hits an elbow drop for a two-count. Flair hits a shin breaker and continues to work on the leg of Hart. Hart hits Flair with an Enziguri as he tries to work on the leg some more, but Flair quickly stomps on him again. Hart rolls on him after a Figure Four attempt and as Flair gets back to his feet, he takes Hart’s leg out from under him. He puts Hart in the Figure Four and they are in the middle of the ring. Flair starts slapping him in the face as Hart tries to do everything he can to get out. Hart gets it turned over and that makes Flair break the hold. He climbs up top, but obviously, Hart gets up and throws him off. He hits a Russian Legsweep and he slowly brings Flair to his feet. Flair chops Hart in the corner, but it just pisses him off. He pulls the straps down and punches Flair in the corner. He hits a headbutt and he hits Flair with a backbreaker for a near fall. Hart comes off the ropes with an elbow drop, but Flair gets the shoulder up. He puts Flair on the top rope and they come off with a Superplex. Hart pulls him in the middle of the ring and puts Flair in the Sharpshooter. Flair taps out and the match is over after 18:06.
Winner: Bret Hart
Match Rating: 3.25/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: You know going into a match with these two can only be so bad. Their floor is higher than pretty much anyone else in wrestling. They were at the top of their games at this point, and age aside, these two could both still go in the ring. There were a lot of peaks and valleys with both men getting their stuff in. Flair had some hope spots that he could have won with, but having Hart win in his debut match was the way to go. There was some bad blood between the two behind the curtain, but it was cool for them to go at it here. It wasn’t the best match they have been in, but it was pretty damn solid.
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Lex Luger
This is the final match on the card and the third of the “Triple Main Event” of the night. It is baffling they didn’t have the Sting vs. Hogan blowoff here, but it’s whatever.
The bell sounds and Savage gets out of the ring right away. Luger chases him out and they have a standoff in the aisleway. Elizabeth hits Luger from behind which allows Savage to come and hit Luger to take him down. They fight their way back to the ring and Savage comes off the top with a double ax. He comes in and hits Luger with a clothesline and grabs a near fall. Savage takes Luger down with a suplex before hooking the leg again. He slams Luger head-first into the corner and takes him down with an elbow. He stomps away on Luger and starts to choke him against the ropes. Elizabeth comes in and starts choking Luger as well as the referee is telling Savage to lay off. Savage kicks Luger and hits some shots to the head that sends Luger back down to the mat. He throws Luger into the corner, but he gets a boot to the face as he comes in. Luger takes him down with a shot to the head and tries to come off the ropes, but Elizabeth pulls on the foot. Savage comes off the ropes with a double ax and Elizabeth slaps Luger in the face. Savage comes out and slams Luger against the guard rail and then goes out amongst the fans. They exchange blows as they go out and Luger gains the upper hand. He stomps on Savage and brings him back towards the ring. Luger throws him over the rail and throws him headfirst into the post. Luger rolls him in the ring and takes him down with some forearms to the head. Luger signals for the rack as Scott Hall makes his way down to the ring with a chair in hand. Hogan is out behind him and tries to stop him from interfering. Luger knocks Savage into Hall and it knocks him off the apron. Luger racks Savage and wins the match after 7:07.
Winner: Lex Luger
Match Rating: 1/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: I thought this match and the one before it should have swapped places. Hart and Flair was really solid, and this one felt rushed. If I had to guess, I would say they were running short on time for the show because these two came right out and Luger won rather quickly for the main event match. From bell to bell it went just over seven minutes. We have seen these two go at it before, but the crowd wasn’t into it, and I wasn’t much either. The brawl at the end made up for it, but this was a weak way to end the show.
After the match, The NWO comes down to the ring and all start working on Luger. Sting runs down to the ring and cleans the house of everyone. Sting starts beating on Hogan as Luger racks Nash on the other side. Sting gets Hogan in the Scorpion Death Lock as Luger and Sting stand tall as the show goes off the air.
Overall Show Rating: 6 out of 10
This show was fine for the most part, but there was definitely some questionable booking. First off, not having the WCW World Title match on this show rather than Superbrawl is questionable. I felt like that story needed some closure, which would have been a good spot to put it. Although they could have just done the Starrcade finish correctly and not booked themselves into a corner here as well. As far as the matches that were on the show, there was some good, bad and ugly to everything. I thought the Cruiserweight match to start the show, as well as Raven vs. Benoit and Jericho vs. Mysterio were the standouts on the show. Obviously, how can you go wrong with any of those matches? It kind of took a turn around the middle of the show where many forgettable things were going on. Booker vs. Martel was alright and Nash vs. The Giant was a match that should have happened already and is a match that is scarred by the botch at the end. Rhodes joining the NWO was the biggest story coming from it, and I think it was a bad decision to put Luger vs. Savage on after Hart vs. Flair. Those were as contrasting of matches as it gets. All in all, this is starting the boom period for WCW, and I am sure we will see better overall cards than this moving forward. The biggest detractor from this show was the lack of crowd heat. I would say from about the hour mark on, nobody cared about a lot of what was going on in the ring. It definitely hurt the show more than helped it.
What did you think of the second annual Souled Out PPV? Loved it? Hated it? Didn’t see it? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter to let me know your thoughts. We will be back to take a look at February’s outing, Superbrawl, soon enough. Take care of yourself and each other. I will be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.