Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Road Wild 1997
-SummerSlam is next for this month and then we wrap up August with ECW Hardcore Heaven. Thankfully, September only has two shows. This show is coming off Nitro where Lex Luger beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Title. Let’s get to it!
-Announce Team: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
-Date: Saturday, Aug 9, 1997
-Location: Sturgis Rally and Races, Sturgis, SD
-PPV Buys: 240,000 (I saw listed most commonly, but another site had 180,000 listed)
Vicious and Delicious (Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton) (w/ Vincent) vs. Harlem Heat
-Tony is all full of hyperbole in regards to the Hogan/Luger Title Match from Nitro.he flat out lies though as he mentions more people watched the Hogan/Luger match than any other Title Match in television history.I mean, Hogan/Andre at The Main Event wasn’t that long ago and while Nitro was getting huge ratings it wasn’t even close to sniffing what The Main Event did.Bagwell and Booker T start and Booker buries a knee to the guy.He gets a hammerlock, but Bagwell reverses.Booker misses a side kick and Bagwell runs wild with dropkicks and clotheslines.Norton gets the tag and throws some chops.He squashes Booker in the corner, but misses a splash.Tag to Stevie and he pounds Norton down in the corner.Norton reverses a whip and gets a sidewalk slam.Booker lands a kick to the back of the head from the apron.Stevie follows with a double chop to the throat and hits a slam.Booker back in and he tries a suplex, but Norton counters.Booker lands on his feet and eventually gets the suplex.Flying forearms gets two as Bagwell makes the save.Quick tags from Harlem Heat, but Booker gets caught trying a side kick and gets slammed to the mat.Bagwell gets tag, but ends up getting dumped to the floor.The elevated ring seemed cool to me as a kid but had to suck for the wrestlers as it had to make things difficult when they went to the floor.One ring step and kind of screwed!Stevie hooks a chin lock before tagging to Booker.He pounds away and hits an axe kick.Delayed cover gets two!Booker goes to a side headlock as I am trying to figure out who the crowd is cheering in this one.Seems rather mixed and both teams are technically heel, so it’s kind of a weird dynamic for an opener.Bagwell gets a foot up on a charge and hits a running clothesline that flips Booker.Stevie Ray gets the tag and cuts off Buff trying to get to his corner.Suplex gets two!Jackie walks down the dirt aisle as she is seemingly aligned with Harlem Heat now.The bikers rev their engines as a chinlock drags this match out longer than it needs to be.Booker tries a powerbomb, but Bagwell lands on his feet and hits a powerbomb of his own.Tag made to Norton and he runs wild on both members of Harlem Heat as I guess he is the hot tag guy in this one.Shoulder tackle on Booker, but Stevie makes the save.Bagwell sends Stevie to the floor where they fight with Vincent.On the inside Norton hits his shoulder breaker, but Jackie pounds on him from behind.That lets Booker hit a side kick and Jackie holds the foot down as Booker gets the pin at 10:19.
Winners: Harlem Heat via pin at 10:19
-Seemed to go a bit long and again, a weird heel vs heel dynamic.There were some decent moments, but it was just kind of there.**1/4
-Ted Dibiase and The Steiners are chatting with fans viawcwwrestling.com
Mexican Death Match: Konnan vs. Rey Misterio Jr
-Heenan drools over a woman dressed in leather in the crowd in a funny moment.Mikey Tenay joins the announce team for this one.Fast start as Res flips all over the place and gets a springboard dropkick.I’m digging the gear from Rey tonight!Konnan rallies back with a clothesline and ties Rey’s legs up as Rey comes into this match with a damaged knee.Rey gets to the ropes but I mean, it’s a Death Match.Rey walks it off outside and slingshots back in with a head scissors, but Kennan goes right back to the knee with a chop-block.Konnan wraps the knee around the bottom rope and thankfully the ref doesn’t call for a break.Rey fights back, but can only get around on one leg.Konnan stalks him and goes back to the knee.Rey fights back and hits a seated dropkick.That gives him a chance to regroup as he sells the knee.Konnan goes right back to it and gets a knee-bar.It’s hard to make a Rey match boring, but having him sell a knee injury for 6 minutes is one way to get there.Konnan unties the mask and Heenan is giddy as he wants to see what Rey looks like.Who would be dumb enough to unmask Rey Mysterio?The crowd wants to see it but we know they aren’t the brightest bunch.The mask actually comes off, but they do a good job of hiding his face.Tenay points out that would be a DQ in Mexico.Rey gets the mask back on and tries a double springboard into a moonsault, but catches his knee on the way down.Konnan goes to a Stump Puller for a bit.Rey gets an arm drag, but Konnan just casually tosses him across the ring with a belly to belly suplex.Flash roll-up from Rey gets two.He dropkicks the knee of Konnan and that leaves both of them down.Rey hits another one and then heads up top.He gingerly climbs up, but gets caught on the way down and drilled with a cradle DDT.That was sick!The Tequila Sunrise finishes as Rey taps at 10:56.
Winner: Konnan via tap-out at 10:56
-Very slow match as this was more of a Konnan match than a Rey match.The psychology made sense as Rey came in with a bad knee and Konnan attacked the knee the entire match.Again, makes total sense, but made for a boring, yet technically solid match.**1/2
-Trainers are out to check on Rey and his damaged knee.
-A helicopter shows us video of Sturgis and the bike rally.
-Mean Gene shows off a tattoo he picked up while in town and pimps his hotline.
Elimination Tag Match: Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) and Dean Malenko
-The bikers don’t like Jarrett at all as he continues to stick out like a sore thumb in this nWo dominated era of WCW.Benoit and Jarrett start with a lockup.Benoit gets sent to the mat with an arm drag and Jarrett celebrates with a strut before tagging Malenko.Benoit greets him with a clothesline and Dean regroups in the corner.Side headlock from Benoit and they go through their normal sequence with neither man gaining an advantage.Malenko avoids a suplex and they battle over a Full Nelson.Malenko gets a small package for two and then they try to clothesline each other with neither man falling.Tag to Mongo and he hits a tilt a whirl slam after Benoit landed a kick from the apron.The crowd loves Mongo!Tag back to Benoit and he fires off chops in the corner.Running knee and tag back to Mongo.The crowd starts a “Jarrett Sucks” chant as Mongo drops a fist to the face.Clothesline and then tag back to Benoit.Back elbow from Benoit gets two.Malenko gets beat down in the corner and tag back to Mongo for more of the same.Side suplex from Mongo and tag back to Benoit.Rough night for Dean here!Snap suplex gets two.Back in comes Mongo and he hits a powerslam.Mongo talks shit to Jarrett which lets Dean get a tag and Jarrett wants no part of that.Jarrett hits the mat and holds Mongo on top so he gets eliminated at 7:10.Jarrett bails with his US Title and Debra while Dean is left to fight alone.He does a heck of a job at it, but Benoit too close to the ropes as he tried The Texas Cloverleaf.Benoit reverses a Tombstone Piledriver as he plants Dean.Flying headbutt follows and Mongo is back.He hits a Tombstone and this one is over at 9:36.
Winners: Steve McMichael and Chris Benoit via pin at 9:36
-The Benoit/Malenko parts were fun and the rest wasn’t. Wasn’t a fan of the story either which is par for the course with anything involving Jarrett during this run. Benoit/Malenko had a great match the previous year the crowd dumped on, so perhaps they felt they needed more gaga and story this time. *1/2
-Video package on the WCW wrestlers that road their motorcycle to Sturgis for this show.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Alex Wright (c) vs. Chris Jericho
-Tenay back in the booth and he gives us an update on Rey and it seems he may never wrestle again and could have his career ended at the age of 22.I’m sure he will be okay!Lockup to start and Jericho gets a hammerlock.Reversed by Wright, but then back to Jericho which makes Wright get to the ropes to break.The crowd gets on Wright as it sounds like they were chanting something, well, they shouldn’t be chanting.Wright stalls to frustrate Jericho and after a flurry of chops, Wright bails to the floor again.Tenay covers that the limit is 225 lbs which I forgot that WWE had their limit 20 pounds lighter.Back in the ring, Wright gets a side headlock.He pulls the hair to maintain the hold behind the ref’s back.Jericho shoves off to break and catches Wright with a spinwheel kick.Wright to the apron and he avoids a suplex back in.He tries a belly to back, but Jericho lands on his feet and drops Wright balls first on the top rope.A springboard dropkick sends Wright to the floor and actually down to the first.Jericho follows and fires off some chops.He hits a slam on elevated floor, but gets a whip reversed and ends up going shoulder first into the stairs.Chops from Wright as the announce team discusses Hogan/Luger and nWo because this match is kind of boring.Wright heads up, but gets caught and Jericho slams him across the ring.Dropkicks and then an armdrag from Jericho as he hooks an armor and tells the ref “ask him.”Keylock from Jericho, but he releases and both men get to their feet.Jericho pounds away and misses a leapfrog as Wright held onto the ropes.Wright hits a spinwheel kick followed by a slam.He heads up top and hits a stomp to Jericho’s chest.European uppercuts from Wright and then he plays to the crowd.Belly to back suplex and more stalling before Wright heads up and misses a moonsault.Jericho hits a jawbreaker and fires off more chops.Running clothesline from corner to corner followed by a lion-sault which gets two.Jericho hits a powerbomb for two and lifts Wright up for another one that gets two.Jericho up top, but Wright collapses on the ropes which sends Jericho off balance.Wright brings him down with a superplex for two.Jericho counters a suplex into a victory roll for two.Side suplex from Jericho gets two.Whip to the corner and Jericho floats over into a roll-up, but Wright rolls with him and hooks the tights for the win at 13:18.
Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Alex Wright via pin at 13:18
-Boring at times and the chemistry between the two just didn’t seem to be there.It was solid overall, but something just seemed off.Jericho ended up with the title no long after this one.**3/4
Syxx vs. Ric Flair
-Syxx tries to play mind games early and Heenan nearly chokes with laughter at the idea of someone trying to show-up Ric Flair.Main has a point! Syxx hits a shoulder block, flexes and hits the Crotch Chop before it became a DX staple.Flair pulls the hair and Syxx keeps popping up, so Flair humps in Syxx’s direction to sucker him into charging into the corner.Flair fires off some chops and then sends Syxx to the floor.Heenan brings up that Syxx is out by himself which is unusual for the nWo.Back in the ring and more chops from Flair.Side headlock from Syxxand he runs and flips all around the ring, but a simple chop sends him back to the mat.Flair gives us a Whoo and Syxx is a bit more tentative.Syxx ducks a clothesline and connects with a spinning hook kick to the head.Now Syxx lays in some chops and lands another spinning kick to the head.Bronco Buster in the corner as Schiavone points out that the move works on the shoulders and Heenan just notes that it’s a way to embarrass Flair.Syxx gets a side headlock again and takes Flair to the mat.Back to the corner and more kicks from Syxx as one seemed to catch Flair right in the mouth.Slam from Syxx and he heads up top.He hits a guillotine leg drop for two.They trade blows in the corner and Syxx wins that exchange.Enziguiri gets a two count.Back to the side headlock as this one had seemed to struggle a bit with starts and stops.The camera even pans the crowd for about 5 seconds to pass the time.Flair up with a chop, but Syxx drops him again.Flair takes the Flair bump in the corner but catches Syxx on the apron.Chop from Flair and he goes after the knee.Another enziguiri and Syxx heads up.450 Splash misses and Flair chops the knee.He locks in the Figure Four, but Syxx gets to the ropes to break.Flair works Syxx over in the corner.Syxx escapes a belly to back and tries for the Buzzkiller, but Flair breaks in the corner.Bronco Buster by Syxx is blocked by a well-placed boot to the balls.Flair gets the win with his foot on the ropes for good measure at 11:07.
Winner: Ric Flair via pin at 11:07
-Weird match as Syxx dominated outside of a flurry here or there.Then Flair gets an opening on the knee, but nothing of note comes from it and a ball shot ends it.This was the Syxx show as something seemed off with Flair and Waltman was doing all he could. This should have been much better. I wonder if the kick to the face injured Flair, but something was off here. *1/2
Curt Hennig vs. Diamond Dallas Page
-DDP had Curt as his surprise partner at Bash at The Beach and through miscommunication, Curt walked out and left DDP alone to face the nWo.Page chases to the floor, but Curt heads back in the ring and lands knees to keep DDP out of the ring.Page grabs the legs to pull Cut out and then both men head back into the ring.Curt lands knees and throws chops in the corner.Page responds with chops of his own and some right hands.Curt tumbles out of the ring to the apron off a chop and then gets tossed across the ring by his hair.Curt gets hip tossed across the ring and slides balls first into the post.That looked a little off.Curt hits a back elbow, but does a face plant as Page is trying to rip Curt’s singlet off.Curt bumps all over the place off some punches.Page heads up, but Curt hits the ropes to knock DDP off balance.Curt uses his towel to choke DDP and then hangs him over the top rope.Right hand from Curt as Tony is cool with the ref giving them some leeway.Snapmare followed by the neck rank and “nobody beats Curt Hennig.”Doesn’t have the same ring to it! Page fires up in the corner, but gets caught with a back elbow.That gets two even with Curt having his foot on the ropes.He goes to work on the shin and knee.Spinning toehold follows with Page having to get off his back to keep from getting counted down.A thumb to the eye breaks as the fans rev their engines.Jawbreaker from Curt ends a sleeper.Roll-up gets two from Page, but he walked into a lariat that gets a two count.Roll-up from Curt gets two.Discus clothesline gets two for Page and the ref got bumped on the kick-out.Curt removes the turnbuckle pad and runs DDP head first into the exposed steel.Brain loves the cheating! Not a Perfect-plex follows, but Page kicks out at two.Page rallies to pop the crowd as Curt goes back to bumping all over the ring.Theref gets bumped on a flapjack which brings Ric Flair out.He gets dropped with a Diamond Cutter.Curt gets another Not a Perfect-plex for the win at 9:42.
Winner: Curt Hennig via pin at 9:42
-Kind of a sloppy match as Curt was obviously not as perfect as he once was. It only makes it all the sweeter he got that brief final run in WWE where he showed glimpses of what made him Perfect. DDP would be back in his feud with Savage before blowing it off for good in the Fall.*1/2
-Gene plugs the hotline.
-Fall Brawl: WarGames commercial!
-nWo black and white promo as Bischoff rides a Harley and promises Luger will pay a heavy price tonight.
Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. The Giant
-For those who may have lost track, Savage is nWo and Giant is WCW at this point in time.Just eleven months ago at Fall Brawl the roles were reversed.Liz looks wonderful as my crush on her since 3rd grade remains.Savage stalls and then rushes in for a slam, but Giant just falls on him.A for effort I guess!Giant works him over in the corner and tosses him across the ring.He works the back and Savage bails to the floor.He uses Liz as a shield and Giant picks her up and moves her out of the way.He presses Savage over his head and tosses him over the top and back into the ring.Fun spot!Big boot and clothesline miss which lets Savage clip the knee.He works the knee as the crowd starts a chant for The Giant.Savage goes to the eyes as he does anything he can to keep Giant off his feet.Savage is relentless and starts firing off clotheslines.Giant stays up after 4 of them, so Savage heads up and gets a crossbody for two as The Giant nearly tosses Savage out of the ring on the kick-out.Savage up again, but gets goozled on the way down and The Chokeslam finishes at 6:05.
Winner: The Giant via pin at 6:05
-Basically a SQUASH with Savage working the leg for a few minutes.Probably about right though as Giant was still viewed as a big deal and they were trying to reheat him. *1/2
-Tony is losing it as WCW is up 3-1 now and is sure the nWo ends tonight.
WCW World Tag Team Titles: The Outsiders (c) vs. The Steiner Brothers (w/ Ted Dibiase)
-The Steiners have been chasing The Outsiders for over 8 months and it was assumed this would finally pay that off, but I mean after Schiavone basically buried the nWo and their chances tonight you had to figure WCW was screwed these last two matches. The camera has to quickly cut away from some biker women flashing their bras before they expose a little bit more. The Steiners ride their motorcycles to the ring and get a shit ton of pyro that would make Cody Rhodes jealous. Hall and Scott start with a lockup. Steiner backs him into the corner, but offers a clean break. Hall shoes him, so Scott slaps him in the face. Kick to the gut and some punches from Hall. He works the arm and shoulder and gets a backdrop. He goes back to the arm and slaps Steiner around a bit which seems kind of dumb. Sure enough, Scott tosses him around the ring with suplex variations. Nash comes in to deck Scott, which then brings in Rick to save. The Outsiders get sent to the floor and that lets The Steiners hit their pose as the bikers rev their engines. Rick gets the tag and Hall spits on him before tagging out which is a spot he seemingly does every match. Nash buries a knee and throws some elbows. Running clothesline in the corner and then some posing from Nash. Snake Eyes is escapes and Rick gets a belly to back suplex. Tag to Scott and he comes off the middle rope with a double ax to the shoulder. Nash reverses a whip and Hall is there to land a blow from the apron. Scott decks Hall, but turns around and gets his head taken off with a big boot. Nasty! Hall in and he gets a chokeslam before tagging back to Nash. He chokes Scott on the middle ropes and then drops his leg across him. Hall back in as he cuts off Scott from making a tag. Scott gets a flurry, but no follow up as Hall catches him with the SOS Slam. Tag to Nash and he hits a sidewalk slam for two. To the corner for some elbows and knees. He chokes with his boot as he breaks on four. Hall gets a clothesline on the apron and comes in the ring without a tag. Abdominal stretch and I suspect some cheating and sure enough Nash reaches out to provide leverage. If this was a show in the south the fans would be losing it but the bikers don’t appreciate the fine art of tag team cheating. Steiner breaks with a hiptoss, but misses an elbow. Nash in and he doesn’t miss an elbow as he drops it on Scott’s back. Snake Eyes in the corner as the crowd is dead for this one. Nash decks Rick off the apron while Hall comes in and works over Scott. Tag to Hall as the crowd finally starts a “Steiner” chant. He fights out of the corner, but Hall cuts off the tag. Nash drops another elbow and gives Rick a crotch chop. Hall back in with a camel clutch as this is about 8 minutes of Scott Steiner getting his ass kicked by Hall and Nash. Steiner breaks with an Electric Chair, but Nash stops the tag and gets a clothesline for two. Back to the corner for more choking with the boot. Running boot misses, but Hall gets the tag and cuts off the hot tag to Rick. Steiner reverses a whip, but gets caught with a boot and then Hall gets a bulldog. Another crotch chop and Rick has had enough as he decks Hall with a clothesline. Scott gets a belly to belly suplex and finally after 10 minutes of Scott getting destroyed he gets the hot tag to Rick. The crowd pops and the bikes roar as Rick runs wild. Nash gets sent to the floor with a clothesline. Hall gets set up for the top rope bulldog, but Nash pulls the ref out for the DQ at 15:30.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers via DQ at 15:30
-All that for a DQ finish. I mean, I guess WCW goes up 4-1, but this crowd is not happy as they chant bullshit. You can’t say they didn’t use the tag formula, but man was that a long heat sequence on Scott Steiner. This match probably would have worked better in a different setting and again, the ending was pretty awful as even this crowd was waiting for the payoff of The Steiners winning the titles. *1/2
-Hall and Nash continue to celebrate in the ring.
WCW World Heavyweight Title: Lex Luger (c) vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan
-As mentioned, Luger won the Title earlier in the week on Nitro and even as a 16 year old kid that wasn’t following things online I knew he was toast here. Tony continues with “more people watching a World Title Match than any in the history of our sport this past Monday.” I mean, I don’t even know what to do with that. Hogan/Andre had over 30 million people watching! Luger also gets a ton of pyro as I again, I assume a young Cody was there with his dad and looked up at the sky and said “one day.” Side headlock from Luger, but Hogan shoots him off and gets run over with a shoulder. Hogan works Luger over in the corner and gets his own side headlock. Luger breaks and gets another shoulder tackle before flexing. Hogan slows things down as we get another go. He works the arm and gets a drop toehold into a hammerlock. Luger reverses into an arm ringer and gets a standing armbar. Hogan sends Luger to the corner, but misses a charge and Luger gets a few armdrags. Hogan bails to the floor as the crowd lets him know that he sucks. Huh, this same crowd loved him last year. Lockup and Hogan buries a knee. He sends Luger into the buckle and then rakes the back. Rapid fire punches to the head as Heenan notes a Hogan loss means he may never get a shot at Luger again. Reverse chinlock as the crowd goes back to a “Hogan Sucks,” chant. Hogan chokes on the mat and then chokes away with the middle rope. Luger blocks a shot in the corner and delivers some elbows. He rams Hogan head first into the top buckle ten times. They head to the floor and Hogans gets a thumb to the eye and sends Luger into the steps. He uses a camera cable to choke as Heenan notes Hogan could get disqualified. Hogan is in full Thunderlips mode here as he talks trash to Luger. Backbreaker gets two and Hogan goes to a bearhug. He runs Luger back first into the corner and pounds away some more. Test of Strength as they are doing whatever they can to stretch this one. Luger fights back to his feet, but Hogan lands a low blow. The announcers are getting annoyed by all the talking from Hogan. He gets a belly to back suplex for two and talks crap to Randy Anderson. Chop to the throat and then the big boot connects. No leg drop though as he goes for the cover and gets two. Suplex from Hogan, but Luger pops up while Hogan poses. Luger flexes in his face and pounds away in the corner. Clothesline from Luger as Hogan starts to beg off. He cowers in the corner to fluster Luger and lands another thumb to the eye. Roll-up for Hogan gets two. Slam followed by the legdrop, but Luger rolls out of the way. Lariat from Luger and then a forearm to the head. The nWo hit the ring in a repeat of their match from Nitro. Nobody has touched Luger, so the ref lets things go. Luger gets a slam and then decks Nash. “Sting” is out which fools the announcers as he decks Luger with a bat. Hogan drops the leg and regains the World Title at 16:16.
Winner and New WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan via pin at 16:16
-This was like the tag match we just saw with Hogan dominating throughout before a flurry at the end leads to a screwy finish. In a way it played off Monday’s match as no DQ was called there either. Again, Hogan getting the title back was never in doubt, but man did they dump on this crowd with these last two matches. *
-The fans pelt the ring with rocks and garbage which sends the nWo high tailing it to the back. I assume the celebration was supposed to be in the ring, but that finish ticked off the crowd. The announcers are still trying to figure out why Sting would turn. They can’t be that dumb!
-The Steiners and Hennig head down to check on Lex Luger as somebody drops the f bomb on camera. The announcers continue to wallow in their misery.
-We head to the back where the nWo celebrate with Dennis Rodman. He gets the honors of tagging the World Title with the nWo letters.
-Thanks for reading!