The Only Review of nWo’s Souled Out 1997 That You’ll Ever Need
The show definitely opens up in an interesting way, with the nWo being led by police escort while they ride on the back of garage-trucks. Apparently it was literally around 2 degrees outside. The arena of choice for this PPV always weirded me out, because it looked more like a place where high-schoolers would play basketball or something. It’s so damn small. However, it adds to the original & interesting atmosphere that is Souled Out. Ted DiBiase & Bischoff are your announcers, and I always thought they were a fantastic duo.
Chris Jericho vs Masa Hiro Chono
Masa controls the beginning of the match with a few “let’s have a fair fight” moments that keeps suckering Chris in. Jericho will work a few come-back moves, only for Masa to cut him down. They’re working a pretty stuff, competitive match here, something a lot better than I expected. Chono is like a brick wall, with Chris constantly trying to cut him down. Masa sets up a table outside, and tries to suplex Chris from the inside through it, to no avail though. Soon after, Chris is trying to put him down with a second top-rope drop kick, but Masa catches him, and knocks him from the top through the table, dragging him back in to deliver a kick to the head and pin. This was a really hard-hitting, solid match. Something I would actually advise you cats to fire up the network and check out.
Masa wins with a boot to Chris’ head and the pin at 11:08 | ***1/4
Hugh Morrus vs Ray Traylor – Last Man Standing Match
They don’t tell us what kinda match this is until we’re already in the middle of it. Ray is getting his ass handed to him for a minute until he slugs Hugh in the junk twice in a row, which for some reason I found really funny. He isn’t able to hold on to that momentum for long, as Hugh goes back to putting him down with clotheslines and such. Ray is about to get a Stinger-esq-splash, but Ray gets a fist full of chain and puts him down. Once again it isn’t for long, as Hugh returns the favor, and adds a No Laughing Matter to boot. He only gets an 8 count however. They battle to the outside where Hugh attempts a moonsault off the stairs but misses, but it gives Ray a chance to fire up a motorcycle and literally run Hugh the fuck over. He can’t answer the 10 count, and Ray gets the win. Now, once again, I gotta say that was another solid match. I mean, nothing amazing, but a hell of a lot better than I thought it was gonna be, plus that finish was pretty damn funny.
Ray keeps Hugh down for a count of 10 after hitting him with a motorcycle at 9:03 | **3/4
Jeff Jarrett vs VK Wallstreet
The thing I remember most about Wallstreet’s nWo membership is he more than often didn’t wear an nWo shirt, but a cheap shirt that had ‘WCW” on it, with a circle and a line through it. It was really fucking weird. Like he showed up to the arena and they didn’t have a shirt for him, so he went outside to some bootleg vendor or what have you. Now, everyone can agree that Jeff’s attire during these years was the stupidest of all time, right? As for the match, not much to talk about. Jeff is controlling most of it, but keeps having his momentum cut off when Nick Patrick helps out Wallstreet. One actually makes me laugh out loud when Jeff has Wallstreet in the Figure 4, and Patrick literally drags VK to the ropes. Soon after, after a lot of begging from Deborah, Mongo clocks Wallstreet with the briefcase, then threatens to hit Patrick if he doesn’t make the 3 count. Not a terrible match, but it’s not on the quality level of the first two.
Wallstreet eats the briefcase and the pin at 9:22 | *1/2
Scotty Riggs vs Buff Bagwell
I don’t think you’re gonna find a guy my age that isn’t a mark for Buff. When he was in his prime, I was 13-15, and at that age, man, there were few things cooler. Plus, for as much of an ass as he is in real life, he was so damn good with his character. He was entertaining as hell, and still very original with a lot of the things he did. This match isn’t much to talk about, really, a lot of down time with submission spots. Plus, neither Scotty nor Buff were known for their work ability. Although to be fair, I think Scotty improved when he joined The Flock. At one point we see Riggs do a Tornado DDT from the top rope, and he doesn’t even make a pin attempt. That bugs the hell out of me. A fucking DDT is devastating, and shouldn’t be used as a transitional move, let alone a TORNADO DDT. It’s like kicking out at two after taking a shot-gun blast to the chest. OK, this match has actually really started picking up. Riggs keeps pulling out the big moves to keep Buff down, but it isn’t working, and then out of no where, Buff hits the debut of the Blockbuster, which is a fantastic finisher. It was a some what slow match, but really picked up near the end.
Buff won with the Blockbuster at 13:51| **
DDP vs Scott Norton
Norton has always been one of my favorites from the nWo. He wasn’t a marvelous worker or anything, I just dig the fact he’s a classic ass-kicker. Big as a house, power-moves only, no bullshit. DDP seems to have the match in the bag from the start, but when he calls for the Cutter, things go down hill. Norton is keeping him down with an array of power moves, as DDP gets a decent shot in once and a while in an attempt to take him down again. It was actually working it’s way towards being another really solid match, one that with 5-10 more minutes could have been a nice little classic. Unfortunately, just as it seems like DDP has it won, Buff and crew come down to once again offer DDP membership. He says OK, they all make up, he hits Norton with the Cutter and takes off into the crowd again. The nWo angle really did help launch DDP as far as a main-event talent.
Match ends as a count-out at 9:39 | **½
The Outsiders [C] vs The Steiners – WCW Tag Team Championships
The Scotts are in first and tear it up for a while. Nash soon gets the tag, as does Rick, and quickly he becomes the baby-face in peril. He gets the business end of the stand-double team moves and such until he makes the hot-tag to Scott who cleans house for a while. They go for a double-team move on Hall, but when Nash prevents it from happening, he also causes Nick Patrick to take a bump to the outside, leaving the match with no ref. When Rick hits Scott with a top-rope Bulldog, Randy Anderson, a WCW ref, comes from the crowd to make the 3 count and give the Steiners the titles. It was pretty standard as far as tag wrestling goes, but I never consider that a slight, and thought this fit right along with the good chunk of good-to-great stuff we’ve had tonight. The title switch was original, as well as unexpected.
The Steiners win the straps after Scott pins Hall after he was hit with a top rope Bulldog at 14:43| ***
Syxx vs Eddie Guerrero [C] – Ladder Match US Championship
This is before Syxx had those weird tights that said things like “Pac”, “Notorious”, and “Thug”. Then he’d do this taunt where he’d do a mocking crane-kick, which made zero sense, because he was the martial artist. Funny to think about how many freaking ladders you see laid out during ladder matches today, but back in the day you had one. These guys do a ton of great stuff in this match, in my opinion, do what Edge/Christian/Hardyz did but 2 years prior. One of those moves is when both guys are damn near standing on the top rung, and Syxx does a fucking jump kick into Eddie’s face before crashing to the mat. It’s a fantastic match that really bridged the classic ladder matches, where it was a match with a ladder, and the eventual spot-fests that they became. While I’ve always been a mark for this PPV, and this match guarantees it can’t be spoken of in a bad-light, granted people don’t see the other matches like I do, because this bad boy just kicks too much ass.
Eddie wins it when both guys grab the belt and tussle at the top of the ladder and he gets the better of the exchange at 13:48| ****1/4
Hulk Hogan [C] vs The Giant – nWo World Heavyweight Championship
These guys absolutely have to have the worst track-record in terms of quality when it came to main events. Off the top of my head, I’m pretty damn sure this is the 4th PPV they’ve headlined in 15 months, not counting Nitros, and each time it’s horrendous. They just didn’t have any chemistry. This one begins with Hogan trying to avoid the Giant, and once they finally meet, it’s mostly punches, although Giant does bodyslam Hogan at one point. There is a great moment soon after when Giant attempts an elbow drop from the top rope, which Hogan avoids, then as he sits up, looking beat up, with crazy hair, laughs to himself as he says “What a dummy, what a dummy”. I always thought Hollywood was real funny with moments like that. There’s another funny line from Bischoff when Hogan attempts to put the Giant down with the Leg Drop, which he hits, but as he poses before the pin, Giant gets up and walks behind him, at which point Bischoff says “Don’t worry, Hogan sees him, he has tremendous peripheral vision!”. Sure enough, Giant hits the chokeslam, but twice Patrick says Hogan got a shoulder up when he didn’t, which prompts a chokeslam to Nick. The nWo start to run in, and they all get chokeslams too. Hogan finally climbs in and beats The Giant down with a guitar, followed by a wooden chair. He then gets the paint job, as the nWo poses. We couldn’t even get a pin here? The match just abruptly ends? No wonder everyone wanted to join, and those that didn’t, hated working against them. I mean, The Giant is laying in a pile of ruble while Hogan plays the belt guitar, and Buff plays a broken piece of a chair. What on Earth.
This match was probably the best they’ve ever had. There was literally 3 or 4 wrestling moves here, with the rest just punches and the slamming of one’s head into something, but at least it was kept rather short. The main event here was one of the glowing problems with the nWo, that no one saw as a problem until it was too late. Never a clean finish, unless the nWo was winning.
The match just ends with the nWo beating down The Giant at 10:52 | *3/4
I dig the hell out of this show. From the original look & feel, to the surprising amount of pretty damn good matches found here, plus a classic, nWo’s first and truly only PPV may not have been a buyrate success, but I think it’s a damn fine show, and one worthy of being held in high regard.