WCW Uncensored 1997 Review
Uncensored 1997 – Charlestown, SC
They go over the card at the beginning, with one of the matches being a Martial Arts Match between Glacier & Mortis. What the hell? These two haven’t been on Nitro at all during 1997 thus far. A lot more must be happening on Saturday Night or World Wide than I thought.
Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero [C] – US Heavyweight Championship – No DQ
OK, there’s no way this match can suck. Malenko is the favorite here, and Eddie is using these awesome subtitles as to say “You want to treat me like a heel? Maybe I’ll give you a reason”. At one point, Eddie does a sweet drop kick to the knee, then sets it on the ring-apron, and leaps over the top rope in order to crash onto the prone knee, which is some damn well done attacks, I always like when someone doesn’t just aim to hurt a bodypart, but get’s vicious. Eddie works that for the match, while Malenko works flashes of power-offense, including powerslams, brain-busters, and even using the belt as a weapon. It’s a pretty good match, just not near the classics they had at ECW, and I was hoping they’d really use the No-DQ aspect, but what we got was decent smattering amongst a fine technical match. Syxx shows up to steal the US title, but Eddie stops him, only to get clocked with Syxx’s video camera when it ends up in Dean’s hands as well as pinned. A damn fine opener, but I was expecting a classic.
Dean wins at after hitting Eddie with a video camera at 19:14 | ***½
Psychosis vs Ultimo Dragon w/Sonny Onoo
Tony notes that Sonny has come out with one of those super-fancy, extremely high-tech, new “digital cameras”, and it’s as big as a brick, literally. I’ve always loved Ultimo Dragon’s right-kick/left-kick/spin-kick combo. It was always real stiff and very believable. Great moment where Tenay says Dragon wrestles in Mexico Tuesday through Friday, and Bobby says Ultimo is afraid to fly, so he takes a rickshaw to Mexico, which then prompts Dusty Rhodes to lose his shit. I love that. Psy does a leg drop from the top-rope, but ends up landing heel first right into Ultimo’s face, holy shit that would hurt. They both end up outside the ring, and with the ref’s back turned, Sonny hits him with a few kicks, and he looks like a fucking stud! Dude has clearly had some training, as he was able to kick Psy right in the head, despite being quite shorter. Back in they trade a ton of near falls until Dragon hits Psy with a Tornado DDT and the Double Chicken-Wing Suplex. This was another solid match that blended both Lucha & Japanese styles, and really picked up in the last 5 minutes. Good times.
Dragon pins Psychosis with the Chicken Wing Suplex at 13:17 | ***½
DDP comes out and talks about Mach’ for a second before he shows up himself with Liz. He talks about finding a magazine at the airport called Playboy’s Nude Celebrities that features some of his ex-girlfriends, Pamela Anderson, you know, he did an episode of Baywatch together. Then he talks about how Kimberly is the centerfold, and that’s how he found out who Page is, he’s Kim’s husband, so he respects him for that. He shows off the centerfold, with the good parts spray-painted over with nWo. Then Kimberly comes out, crying, covered in spray-paint that reads nWo, and as Page turns, Macho slams him in the head with the spray-paint can and covers him too. As Kimberly tries to cover Page, Macho and Liz spray-paint them both as they laugh. This was effective as hell for building up Macho vs Page, a great and simple start that really has you clamoring for the match, because this was brutal.
Mortis vs Glacier – Martial Arts Match
If they’re forced to stay with simply martial arts, then there’s no way this match isn’t beautiful in how terrible it is. Tony refers to a sweep as a “back-leg spin kick”. What the hell is your “back leg”? I’d like to know, just in case there are times I should be using my “front leg”, but, like a loser, I was using my “back leg”. Tony also informs us that Mortis has trained in the “bloodsports, the pits”, as in Pit Fighter? Man, what a terrible game. Mortis does a hell of a move where he stands on the apron, grabs the top rope, flips in and uses the momentum to leap forward once he lands on his feet and clothesline Glacier. There’s a few close calls, but Glacier retains his undefeated streak after hitting Mortis with the Chronic Kick. Wow, this definitely goes on my list of Matches That In No Way Should Be Good But Are. This wasn’t a match that was completely based on martial arts, as it was peppered in with wrestling. What martial arts we did get was solid, and well executed. Everything flowed damn well, and made for a hell of a surprise.
Glacier wins with the Chronic Kick at 9:04 | ***1/4
Buff Bagwell vs Scotty Rigs – Strap Match
This match was flat out fun, honestly. They beat the hell out of each other with the strap, while Buff was awesome as ever, getting in the camera to let everyone know how beautiful a move he’d just executed was, or to force Riggs to tell his mom how much fun he was having with Buff. Riggs comes close to winning, but when Buff throws him over the top rope and hangs him until he passes out, Riggs never regains conscious and Buff hits all 4 corners. Better than I anticipated.
Riggs eats the loss when Buff touches all 4 corners at 12:25 | **½
Harlem Heat vs Public Enemy – Tornado Match
A Tornado Match is just a standard ECW tag-team match. Dusty thinks it’s hilarious that Grunge brought a toilet seat for a weapon. Speaking of which, Grunge gets busted open early, which means we’ll now have to watch him from about 300ft away, because from the way they usually handle it, I assume that if blood is clearly seen during a WCW wrestling match than one of the high-level executives is killed. Seriously, Dusty is busting an absolute gut over everything that happens. Because it’s WCW, the only weapons they seem to be able to use are the fake trash-cans & cookie sheets. Stevie Ray gets put through the table, and then Mongo runs down to slug Rocco with the briefcase, allowing Booker to hit the Harlem Hangover for the pin. Honestly, this match was pretty boring. It was a lot of just hitting each other with the cookie sheets, and Sherri accidentally hitting Stevie Ray with a trash can. Seriously, they did that spot like 3 different times.
Booker pins Rocco after the Harlem Hangover at 13:17 | **
Rey Mysterio vs Prince Iaukea [C] – WCW TV Championship
Boy howdy, it’s pretty glaring here in the opening minutes of the bout that the Prince should absolutely not be given any sort of title, because he’s completely unable to hang with Rey. He keeps botching moves, and is having trouble matching the pace. It’s like he’s wrestling while waist deep in mud. Normally I talk about certain highlights and what have you, but there are literally none. Rey is just trying his damndest, and Iaukea is making sure none of it means anything. Of course, as soon as I type that sentence, they do something worth mentioning, which is a running dropkick that both men try to hit on each other, but just end up crashing their balls together. Interesting? They go to the 15 minute time-limit, at 12 minutes, and Rey says he deserves more time. The crowd is bummed. Rey eventually goes for the West Coast Pop, as the crowd chants “boring”, hits it, but Prince rolls him up and gets the pin to finally put a bullet in the head of this debacle. Seriously, Prince just had NO place in main event-esq matches like this, because he was terrible.
Prince wins with a roll-up at 13:41 | *
Team Piper [Piper, Mongo, Benoit, Jeff Jarrett] vs Team WCW [The Giant, Luger, Steiners] vs Team nWo [Hogan, Macho, The Outsiders]
Benoit, Hall, and The Giant are the first members in. The logic of this match is kind of obnoxious, because if Team WCW wins then the nWo is gone for 3 years and have to give back the titles, so why on Earth wouldn’t Piper’s Team work with Team WCW to send the nWo packing? Funny enough, Tony starts talking about that very thing as I type this. Giant attempts to Stinger Splash Hall, but he ducks and the Giant goes flying over the top rope, eliminating himself. The next batch is Jarrett, Macho, and Sexy Flexy Lexy. 2 minutes later we get Mongo, Nash, and Scott Steiner. Rick was attacked at the beginning of the show and is apparently at the hospital, so Team WCW only has 2 cats now. Double J is eliminated by a clothesline via Nash. Mongo is eliminated by Hall after being thrown over the top rope. Steiner has been eliminated by Nash with a big boot over the top rope. Piper shows up, as does Hogan with Rodman by his side. Piper starts running all over the place, hitting Macho with a chained fist, throwing him into guard rails, chasing Hogan when he tries to run, and mean while Benoit & Luger are battling it out with the Outsiders. Piper gets eliminated when Hogan throws him against the ropes and Rodman pulls it down. Benoit is eliminated after Hall hits him with the Outsiders Edge and him & Nash throw him over the top rope. Now it’s Luger vs the remaining 4 members of the nWo. He’s about to be Jackknifed but reverses it, then goes nuts on a comeback. He eliminates Macho, Nash, and Hall within a minute via a couple Racks and a clothesline to the outside, making him look like a world beater. He racks Hogan, but Macho hits him in the face with the spray paint can, allowing the Hulkster to get the pin. This was a pretty fun match. There was a ton going on, so you had zero chance for any down time.
Hogan gets the pin after Macho hits Luger in the face with a spray paint can at 19:22 | ***
Of course, following the match we get one of the hugest moments in the history of wrestling. After the last 5 months or so have been about whether or not he’s with’em or against’em, Sting comes down from the rafters and takes out literally everyone with the baseball bat. It’s an awesome scene, as the crowd goes fucking insane. For good measure he also gives everyone a Scorpion Death Drop, which at the time I thought was the coolest and most deadly move ever.
Summary: This was a damn fine PPV, and one of those rare instances where the main event was a lot of fun and delivered. With exception of the Iaukea match, everything here was very watchable. WCW was just about to hit it’s apex in terms of quality, and it was gonna take a while before that train derailed.