Torch Flashbacks WCW PPV: Elizabeth ringside for Savage - 5 Yrs Ago
May 1, 2003 - 3:40:00 PM
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The following is a reprint of the Torch Newsletter review of the WCW Spring Stampede PPV from five years ago this week.
-Jason Powell, Torch assistant editor
* * *
Torch Newsletter Archive
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
April 19, 1998 - WCW Spring Stampede PPV
Originally published: Pro Wrestling Torch Weekly newsletter #491
Cover dated: Apr. 25, 1998
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay introduced and previewed the event.
(1) Goldberg beat Saturn (w/Kidman) at 8:06. Goldberg tossed Saturn around early in the match, then went for a leglock. Kidman interfered, so Goldberg threw Kidman onto Saturn who had rolled to the floor. At 2:00 Goldberg reversed a Saturn suplex attempt into a power neckbreaker. At 2:35 Saturn hit a slingshot splash on Goldberg, then hit a sidekick. Goldberg didn't go down. Outside the ring Saturn dropkicked Goldberg who bumped into the stairs.
Tenay pointed out that the altitude in Denver might affect the endurance of the wrestlers. Saturn hit a head scissors takeover at ringside, but when he went for an elbow off the apron, he slipped during his takeoff. Saturn then came off the top rope onto Goldberg with a wheel kick. Saturn applied an armbar at 4:00. At 5:30 Goldberg came back with a strong sideslam. All of Goldberg's offense looked really good. The worst moment of the match was a whip into the ropes by Saturn that didn't have any power behind it and Goldberg looked sloppy trying to gain momentum while bouncing into the ropes. Saturn dropkicked Goldberg coming off the ropes. On another Irish whip attempt by Saturn, Goldberg reversed him and then sidekicked him coming off the ropes. The crowd popped.
Goldberg hit a short-arm clothesline followed by his tackle at 6:20. Kidman distracted the ref and Saturn gave Goldberg a low-blow to block the Jackhammer. Saturn set Goldberg on the top rope and went for a suplex, but Goldberg fought out of it and turned it into a powerslam off the top rope. Other Flock members ran at Goldberg and Goldberg flattened all of them with tackles. Saturn then surprised Goldberg with a Rings of Saturn attempt, but never got it fully applied. The power-out by Goldberg looked sloppy, as did his subsequent lifting of Saturn for the Jackhammer, but Goldberg recovered enough to deliver the finisher for the win. Not a bad match. Goldberg got a pin, but Saturn didn't loose a lot since the match was clearly booked to make him appear to be near Goldberg's level, not just a jobber. (*3/4)
(2) Ultimo Dragon beat Chavo Guerrero Jr. (w/Eddie Guerrero) at 11:50 via submission. Eddie hid his head under a big white towel at ringside to show how ashamed he is of his nephew. Ultimo got in his great series of roundkicks and reverse sidekicks early in the match. Eddie told the camera, "I'm trying, I'm trying." Good back and forth action during the body of the match.
Chavo missed a flip dive over the top rope onto the floor. Later when Ultimo missed a move and appeared to be injured, Chavo didn't go after Ultimo. Eddie slapped Chavo for his lack of aggression. While Tenay praised Chavo for being "a sportsman," Eddie said, "Oh my god, what'r'you waiting for?!" Ultimo applied the Dragon Sleeper out of a Tornado DDT attempt by Chavo and got the win. Eddie was exasperated and yelled at Chavo after the match. Had Chavo won, Eddie agreed to stop riding him so hard. But by losing, Chavo agreed to let Eddie ride him twice as hard. (***)
Schiavone introduced the internet plug with Lee Marshall and Dallas Page by saying, "If you're like our colleague, Mike Tenay, you probably spend 17-18 hours a day on the internet." (Non-wrestling grammar question: Why is "internet" capitalized so often in the press? It's a thing, not a proper name or brand name. It's like capitalizing the word "computer" or "car" or "government." Same goes for "lucha libre," which means "free fight" in Spanish and also isn't a proper name or brand name. Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programming...)
(3) Booker T pinned Chris Benoit at 14:09 to retain the WCW TV Title. I'm really tired of Tony Schiavone saying that "pound for pound" Benoit is among the best wrestlers in the world. That "pound for pound" qualification is patronizing and is similar to saying, "For a guy from the South, Schiavone might be one of the best announcers in the business," or even worse, saying, "For a black man, Booker T is (fill in the blank)." Benoit isn't a midget - he's in the heavyweight division. And besides that, name someone who is bigger than Benoit who is better? Bryan Adams?
Schiavone's qualifications should be reserved for the main events: "For overpushed big lugs, these guys are actually putting on a decent match." Benoit bailed out of the ring in the first minute after Booker got early offense in. Benoit took a great bump onto the back of his head after a shoulder tackle. Benoit's first sustained offense came at 6:00. The match wasn't electrifying and didn't scream out that it belonged as the main event of the night, but it was solid. At 8:30 Benoit hit a top rope headbutt.
At 10:30 Benoit hit his unreleased German suplex series and then a back suplex off the ropes. Booker came back with a strong sidewalk slam at 12:30 followed by an awesome looking forearm shot off the ropes. Benoit yanked the referee into the path of a charging Booker. It looked pretty clumsy. As Booker checked on the ref, Benoit then applied the Crippler Crossface from behind. Booker reached for the ropes, but when his hand didn't grab the bottom rope, it appeared he might have been tapping out. Benoit got up to get the ref, who was still down, and Booker gave him a hard spin wheel kick and scored the pin. (***1/4)
(4) Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) beat British Bulldog (w/Jim Neidhart). Neidhart and Rude were handcuffed to each other at ringside. Bulldog worked over Hennig's knee, which had a brace on it, early in the match. In the end, the camera showed Neidhart choking a "police officer" at ringside as Rude uncuffed himself and attached Neidhart to the ringpost. The officer turned out to be Vincent. Rude helped Hennig score the pin and they beat on Bulldog afterward. (1/2*)
(5) Chris Jericho beat Prince Iaukea at 9:48. On his way to the ring, Jericho quoted Cheap Trick again, saying, "I want you to want me." He added a Spinal Tap line, saying Dean Malenko is "currently residing in the where are they now file." The first five minutes were methodical, but solid. At 6:30 Jericho applied the Lion Tamer for the first of three times, but Iaukea reached the ropes to break it.
At 7:30 both were on the top rope and both took nasty spills to the floor. Prince reversed a Lion Tamer attempt into a roll-up for a three count, but the ref stopped at a two count. In the end Prince went for a top rope sunset flip, but Jericho rolled through and applied the Lion Tamer in center ring for the tapout win. Slightly above average match, but Iaukea's lack of color takes away from the drama of the action. (**1/2)
(6) Lex Luger & Rick Steiner beat Buff Bagwell & Scott Steiner when Luger racked Bagwell. Buff may want to reconsider his "George Michael" look given recent events, unless that's what he's going for. Hmm, Marcus Alexander, American Male, and now a Muscle Narcissist. Maybe he is going for that image. Buff had his forearm wrapped as if it were a cast and said he couldn't wrestle.
J.J. Dillon and Gene Okerlund came to the ring. Dillon called for a doctor to come out and clear Buff for the match. When the doc began unwrapping Buff's hand, Buff feigned pain, but then grabbed Dillon by his tie with his supposedly sore forearm, thus revealing his injury to be fake (wasn't that a Brady Bunch plot?). The match was on. Buff and Scott took turns facing Rick as Luger watched from the apron. In the end Rick shoved Buff off the top rope and Luger racked Buff for the win. (*1/4)
Okerlund plugged that a "certain member of the NWO" showed up backstage and might be making his return. He added it was "something we can't discuss here on the air, nor would we take your time, but you can give us a call tonight on the hotline." So he won't "take up our time" on the PPV, but we can pay a buck-sixty-nine a minute to hear it (after probably listening to a preview of each of the PPV matches ad nausseum first?)
(7) Psicosis pinned La Parka at 7:01. Okay, Psicosis and La Parka have been treated as jobbers by WCW. And they are two of the better lucha wrestlers of the past five years. And they put in some nice highspots in this match. But overall, this was a below average match. In the first two minutes La Parka hit some nice stiff chops and Psicosis hit a nice tackle through the ropes onto La Parka on the floor. As Psicosis re-entered the ring, La Parka kicked the second rope into his crotch to take over offense - for all of two seconds since there wasn't much of any sustained selling at all during the match. Psicosis yanked La Parka's leg while he was standing on the top rope and crotched him on the top rope. Psicosis tried to jump to the top rope, but slipped and switched sides before hitting an awful frankensteiner for a two count at 5:00.
Psicosis then hit a twisting corkscrew moonsault onto La Parka on the floor which had good impact, but when Psicosis went for a top rope splash, La Parka was magically recovered completely and covered Psicosis, who would have been pinned except La Parka lifted him up at the two count. A minute later La Parka lifted Psicosis's shoulders again and went for a powerbomb, but Psicosis reversed it into a roll-up for a near fall. When La Parka stood on the second rope and postured to the crowd, Psicosis knocked him off. La Parka fell to the mat, but wasn't supposed to, and thus re-tangled his legs in the rope so he would be susceptible for Psicosis's guillotine legdrop. Psicosis hit the legdrop and scored the pin. That sloppy finish would be lambasted if it weren't the can-do-no-wrong lucha wrestlers who missed the move. (*)
(8) Hulk Hogan & Kevin Nash beat Roddy Piper & Giant when Hogan pinned Piper at 13:21. Hogan and Nash had separate ring entrances. It was strange to see a Hogan PPV match without Michael Buffer doing ring intros. Piper immediately went after the bat on the pole in the corner of the ring. Hogan "rammed" Piper's head into the pole, but the shots looked terrible. At 1:00 Hogan tagged in Nash. They tagged a few times in the early minutes showing good teamwork. Piper made a Superman comeback and yanked out some of Hogan's remaining hair. Hogan came back and choked Piper with his weight lifting belt.
When Giant tagged in for the first time, he spanked Hogan over his knee. Wonder what Piper has to say about his tag partner doing that? Piper and Giant cleared the ring at 4:20 and showed good fire afterward. When Hogan tagged in Nash at 5:15, Nash asked Piper to tag in Giant. That was a babyface move, but since Nash would be essentially turning babyface the next night on Nitro, it was appropriate for the storyline of the match. Giant attacked Nash with Nash's typical opening offense with elbows in the corner. Nash caught a charging Giant with a boot to the face a minute later. A minute later they both dropped each other with simultaneous big boots. Hogan and Piper each got tagged in. Nash interfered, but Piper mule kicked him. A four-way brawl broke out. Giant threw an impressive dropkick, sending Nash to the floor. Piper applied the sleeper to Hogan.
At 11:30 Piper climbed to get the bat. Hogan, though, grabbed the bat and inexplicably threw it to the floor. A minute later Hogan hit Giant with the bat. Nash held Piper, but Piper moved and Hogan hit Nash. Piper cleared the ring of Hogan, then went after Nash. The Disciple went after Piper's bat. As they had a tug-o-war, Disciple tossed Hogan a different bat and Hogan hit Piper from behind and scored the pin. Afterward, Nash refused to let the ref raise his hand, upset over Hogan hitting him with the bat. Nash pulled down his strap and confronted Hogan. Schiavone said he didn't think Hogan meant to hit him. But as Giant began to get up, Nash went to Jackknife him. As Nash set up the Jackknife, Hogan bashed him with the belt from behind. Hogan then fled the ring as Giant broke a baseball bat over his knee. Nash lay flat on his back in the ring while Giant helped a groggy Piper to his feet. It looked worse on paper. (*1/2)
(9) Raven pinned Dallas Page to capture the U.S. Hvt. Title at 11:55. As the bell rang, Sick Boy held Page and Raven swung at Page with the U.S. Title. Page ducked and Raven KO'd Sick Boy. Page quickly took control of the match. Raven went for his Evenflow at 2:00, but Page drove Raven into the corner, then gave him a neckbreaker. They fought down the aisle to the Spring Stampede set, using garbage cans, fence posts, and other props as weapons. Page jumped off a stage coach onto Raven and the referee, knocking them into a stack of hay. They fought back into the ring where Page gave Raven a drop toe hold onto the kitchen sink.
After a few minutes of in-ring fighting, Raven gave Page a low-blow and then called for his Flock to begin running in. Reese gave Page a double arm chokeslam. Raven then went to hit Page with a stop sign, but Page knocked the sign into Raven's face. Page fended off the attacking Flock with the sign. When Kidman jumped on his back, he gave him a great looking Diamond Cutter. But from behind, Horace Boulder (Hogan's nephew) interfered for the first time, bashing Page with the sign. Raven then gave Page the Evenflow onto the kitchen sink for the three count. The announcers said Boulder was a WCW crew member pulling camera cables. Good brawl. (***1/2)
(10) Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) pinned Sting at 10:10 to capture the WCW Hvt. Title. Savage attacked Sting before the bell rang. The match was no-DQ, so it resembled the Page-Raven match in that they brawled around the Spring Stampede set early in the match. At 3:45 they returned to the ring. Sting suplexed Savage onto the floor at 5:30. Savage came off the top rope with an attempted double axe handle at 7:30, but Sting punched him in the gut. It's amazing Savage, on his bad knee, would be taking such chances. Sting went for a Stinger splash, but Savage shoved the ref in his place. Sting stopped short on the splash, but Savage punched Sting and Sting bumped backward into the ref. Awkward looking sequence.
Savage then piledrove Sting and climbed to the top rope. Sting got up, but Elizabeth hit him with a chair from behind. Sting went for the Stinger splash, but Savage shoved Liz in the path, so Liz took the bump. Savage then hit Sting with a chair, then went to the top rope. Hogan shoved Savage off the top rope. Sting gave Savage the Scorpion Death Drop. Nash entered the ring and hit Sting. He gave Sting the Jackknife and then put Savage on top of Sting. The ref came to just in time to count to three. Hogan and Disciple looked at the ring from a distance and yelled at Nash for what he did. Better than expected considering Savage's condition. (**3/4)
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