WCW Spring Stampede 1998 Review

WCW Spring Stampede 1998 Review
Date: April 19, 1998
Attendance: 7,428
Location: Denver Coliseum

Spring Stampede it is and how ironic that it fits in perfectly with the dilemma WCW were in at that point, as they were literally facing a stampede from the WWF. The nWo is imploding which no one gave a shit about and Stone Cold Steve Austin had just come out of Wrestlemania 14 with the WWF Title, officially launching the WWF into the Attitude era. You’d think greater competition would bring out the best in WCW, just like it did WWF but instead, WCW went backwards.

Your matches this evening will involve a ‘bat on a pole’ match which is possibly one of the more ridiculous things I have heard of. In one organisation you have Mike Tyson who was the shit, and in another you have a bat dangling from a pole. HEH!

We open proceedings with Kevin Nash explaining he might just smack all three competitors in the ring if he gets his hands on the bat. Interesting! Your commentators are the usual folk in Tony, Mike and Bobby. And we have breaking news, the cast is coming off the wrist of the Macho Man and both he and Sting have agreed to fight for the World Title under No Disqualification! Intriguing!

Saturn w/ Billy Kidman vs Goldberg

Well Goldberg is around 70-0 at this point in time and was literally ‘the shit’. Everyone wanted a MAJOR push and as we all know, he got it. I’d say 68 of the matches had gone under 3 minutes though so we’ll see what he can offer up.

Saturn begins things right away and irish whips Goldberg into the ropes and it seems as if the big boy has put on some sort of Abdominal Stretch but then just picks Saturn up over his head and BANG! WOW! He then applies a leg lock which then gets Kidman’s attention and pulls Saturn towards the rope for the break. Goldberg then disdainfully picks Kidman up with no trouble at all and tosses him to the outside! HA!

Saturn clothesline, spring board leg drop and then the Macho Man flying elbow but only gathers a one count! Saturn puts on some stiff shots in the corner but it is literally like a feather is tickling him. Reverses a suplex into some sort of spinning next breaker and then follows up immediately with a Gorilla Press Slam! The end is soon I reckon. Saturn says fuck that and outsmarts Bill and applies a combination of impressive moves, inside and outside the ring to be on top. Goldberg fights back but cops a very sloppy dropkick from Saturn. Enough of this, SPEAR and heads for the jackhammer but Kidman distracts the ref and Saturn is able to low blow big Bill. Puts him on the top rope before a HUGE military press off the top has Saturn grounded. The Flock hit the ring as they do and are all cleaned up one by one. Kidman gets absolutely smashed with the spear before Saturn capitalizes with the Rings of Saturn. Out of nowhere, Goldberg reverses it into the Jackhammer for the 1-2-3. Nice!

Rating: **½ - I think WCW saw an opportunity to open with this so that the crowd was hot for later matches. Truth is, I think they should have left this somewhere in the midcard as Goldberg was going to get a HUGE pop no matter what. Still this was a pretty well worked opener and it definitely seemed as if there was a chance for Saturn to break the streak. They had to install that sort of possibility to the crowd and I think they did it OK.

Chavo Guerrero w/ Eddie Guerrero vs Ultimo Dragon

This has an added stipulation that if Chavo loses, Eddie is going to be really really angry. Thanks for that Professor Tenay!  This one begins with lots of mat work and a great variety of holds before Ultimo gets his trademark kicks out. Seriously, every Dragon match contains that headstand on the turnbuckle which is NEVER countered. I dunno about you but id just run at him windmill style and prey one of my flying arms connects with his mush.

Chavo begins the comeback with a flying head scissor and a couple of kicks in the corner before applying a snap mare and sleeper hold. Ultimo soon fights back to the dismay of Eddie on the outside. Seriously, the Eddie and Chavo family problems are something you see on Maury Povich but its a shit load more entertaining in a wrestling ring. Dragon takes Chavo up top but is mowed down to the mat before kicking the legs out from under Chavo. Things are now suddenly on the apron and the Asai moonsault is quite the picture before Chavo follows up with his own kamikaze flip over the top.

Things head back in the ring and Ultimo goes flying off the top only for Chavo to dropkick him straight in the dick. Ouchie mumma! Eddie begins to go bezerk on the outside as Chavo refuses to follow up on the hurt Dragon and lets the ref check on him. Goes for a suplex but Ultimo rolls him up for a close two count. Chavo finally gets the brain buster on and goes for his signature Tornado DDT but its countered into the Dragon Sleeper for the submission win.

Rating: *** - Great mat work in this but Chavo was always going to lose to further the heat between himself and Eddie. Dragon seems to be the guy who is in with WCW creative as he basically never jobs to put younger talent over. Seriously, look it up! His matches seem to always have the same moves and routines which just gets stale after a while. Nonetheless, a decent bout and Chavo definitely had some talent behind him in 1998.

TV Title: Booker T (c) vs Chris Benoit

Deadset, for a man who gets rated as the greatest pound for pound wrestler in our sport (complimentary words of Tony Schiavone), Benoit has never held any sort of title to this point. How the hell WCW have managed to do that is quite remarkable in itself. TV Title doesn’t mean squat but SOMEONE GIVE THAT MAN SOME GOLD!

Alot of fast action to begin with from these two as lots of counters with the legs by Booker and lots of submission counters by Benoit are followed by some typical Crippler stomps in the corner. Sign: Lodi is my father! HAHA! Booker takes things to the mat in order to stem the flow Benoit is gathering. Doesn’t last all that long as Booker is forced into going to the floor and hits the steel railing. Back in the ring and Benoit hits some of the LOUDEST chops you are ever likely to hear. God dammit, you tell me wrestling is fake!

Benoit snap suplex and goes up top to nail the flying headbutt but Booker is too close to the ropes which breaks the pin. Lots of back and forth action as Benoit nails the triple German Suplex before positioning Booker T on the top rope and nailing him with a huge back body drop which has both men down! Benoit finally rolls over for the pin but it gets a very close two. A burst of adrenalin from Booker as he bounces back with a spinebuster and then a forearm smash before going down the axe kick route but Benoit pulls in Micky J and WE HAVE OUR FIRST REF BUMP OF THE NIGHT PEOPLE! Booker checks on the ref before turning into the Crippler Crossface but no ref. I think you can all pick what happens here, Benoit goes to pick up the ref and turns right into a Harlem Sidekick for the 1-2-3!

Rating: ***½ - Well, who did Chris Benoit have to screw back then to gain some sort of gold, silver or anything that is known to look bright and shiny? The guy is arguably the best at what he does and still has to suffer with what WCW are dishing out. I prey this feud isn’t over as the U.S. Title is soon to be Goldberg’s and the World Title has an age specification of 40+ which means they are both out of the question. The match itself was solid but the result is all wrong. The TV Title was thrown around like a cheap, smoking hot hooker before Booker’s reign. He was then supposed to lose the title to Rick Martel and they still thought Benoit wasn’t good enough to take the title from him. Dont like it one bit!

The ‘who gives a rats clacker’ Title: Curt Henning w/ Rick Rude vs British Bulldog w/ Jim Neidhart.

Seriously, I cant remember a less exciting debut in professional wrestling than the Davey Boy Smith’s in WCW. He has absolutely ZERO fan following and no one could give a shit about anything he does. It must have been a clause in Bret Hart’s contract or something.

Ok well the Anvil and Rick Rude are being handcuffed together outside the ring for reasons I’m unsure of. They could both absolutely pummel the living shit out of the cop as he is a puny little thing but they are obviously law abiding citizens and we can finally head to the ring for the bout we have all been waiting for!

Bulldog works on the knee early with lots of holds and submission manoeuvres as the crowd has fallen completely flat. Anyways, where to go with this? Bulldog applies the sharpshooter on Henning as the camera heads to the outside where the Anvil is choking Denver’s finest while Rick Rude has stolen the key and began breaking the shackles. This has taken an awful long time and Jim has been choking the officer the whole time, which leads me to believe he is now deceased. Finally Rude has unlocked his cuff and tightened it to the turnbuckle post. Henning throws Bulldog into the turnbuckle and gets the three count? WHATTTT!?!?! Rick Rude begins the assault on Bulldog as the night stick comes into play. This is all shit and I couldn’t care less about the rest.

Rating: Worst of the worst – njvfzkdszkpofgdskpofadsjogsdihoa[ogiajijodfsgsjdfo. That is my head just mashing up against the keyboard. ARE THEY CHARGING PEOPLE FOR THIS? WCW should be fined for bring the sport into disrepute with this match and forbidden from signing hacks with similar attributes to Lex Luger.

Cruiserweight Title: Prince Iaukea vs Chris Jericho (c)

Jericho comes out and is still on Malenko’s case from last month, claiming he is the man of 1004 holds! He really is a gem Jericho!

The Prince starts off with some mat work applying some sort of head lock. Why does every Cruiserweight title match consist of talk about the main event? More importantly, what is WCW’s fascination with the Prince? He was no good 6 PPV’s ago and he still isn’t now!

Jericho is very laconic in this one and heads up top before jumping straight into a mouthful of The Prince’s foot. A couple of quick combination slams gets only a two but a roll attempt is reversed into the Liontamer. The prince makes it to the ropes but Jericho thinks he has retained the title. Jericho attempts a sunset flip but Iaukea sits down to fetch a VERY close near fall. Both men head to the top and they look very shaky standing together on the top turnbuckle but they both fall to the floor near the rail. Back in the ring and Jericho goes for the Liontamer again but its reversed for a another near fall. Sheesh! No mucking around from the prince as he nails his Northern Lights Suplex but once again Jericho has the awareness to reach the rope. This one is over when the Prince heads up to the top and attempts a cross body which allows Jericho to roll out the way and puts the Liontamer on in the middle of the ring for the win!

Rating: **½ – Surprisingly okay but since when does Jericho put on a bad match? He doesn’t. The Prince gave it all but that there lies the problem, it’s the Prince. Bring back Malenko now!

Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell vs Lex Luger and Rick Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase

We get Buff Bagwell coming down with his wrist strapped and stating this match cant go forward as he doesn’t have a doctor’s release which clears him to wrestle. JJ Dillon comes down and rebuts with WCW having doctors on the spot and they will make the final decision. Jeez, talk about a crowd killer! Anyways Bagwell chucks the shits and grabs Dillon with his crook hand and he is cleared.

Finally we’re under way as Rick makes a b-line for his brother but this allows Buff to pounce from behind. I'm just going to go ahead and pick it now, Luger will make the hot tag and we will see those bionic forearms, followed by an anti-climatic finish where Rick and Luger get screwed but hey, what do I know?

Rick fires back and is about to tag in Luger but he walks into the ring to find the ref pushing him out and allowing Scott to attack from behind. Good one ya dumbass. Anyways, the fuck up does little as Rick still manages to get the tag and HERE WE GOOOOO! Forearms! Oh my god, what a wrestler this man is. End sarcasm. Anyways a few more glancing blows as he then prepares for the rack. Is attacked from behind before Scott Steiner makes a runner for the back once his brother goes after him. Leaves Luger to finish off Buff with the rack for the win!

Rating: I dunno *? – This match meant little, felt like it meant little and the viewers pleasure was little. I seriously don’t understand why Luger is still in a wrestling ring. I just cant sit back and watch it knowing a man of little to no skill, is earning the big bucks. I personally don’t mind them using Scott as the cowardly heel who doesn’t want anything to do with his brother unless its a cheap shot, but just leave Luger out of it. Heck, I’ll take Mongo I'm that desperate.

Special Unadvertised Match: La Parka vs Psicosis

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! A very pleasant surprise with the masked warriors going one on one. Now we’re talking WCW! La Parka with the awesome dancing entrance again, I’d pay to see that man in cabaret.

Both men start off dishing out some open hand slaps as a couple of flying head scissors has Psicosis on top. La Parka heads to the floor to grab some air but grabs a suicide dive for his trouble. Psicosis is one of the most underrated Luchadores of all time I believe. He takes some incredible risks that must put his body to the sword but thats why I love my Lucha. La Parka nails his split legged moonsault to the floor but back in the ring it gets only two! Psicosis continues to show some amazing balance before nailing the frankensteiner but only for two again. La Parka again heads outside and the Cosis goes for an amazing corkscrew moonsault which nearly results in his death. They’re the risks I'm talking about people, his shoulder hit the apron... OUCH! La Parka has the match won but continues to pull Psicosis up to keep this one going. I'm all for it, the more I see of this, the less of Hulk Hogan’s scalp we see. Anyways guillotine leg drop from the top and La Parka’s lights are out.

Rating: **– This one is just a filler to take up some time but the crowd just couldn’t warm up to it as there was no story behind it. Where was El Dande, Lizmark, Mysterio, Silver King, Super Calo, Valliano etc etc. Make it a 6-man tag and let the bodies fly as a one on one bout was just not going to work at this point in the night.

The future of the nWo on a pole match: Hogan and Nash vs Roddy Piper and The Giant

Here is a mighty guarantee for all you folks playing at home. Kevin Nash WILL NOT be getting walloped with the bat by the Giant. It is a bloody guarantee!

Piper immediately heads for the bat before the bell even rings but Hogan is aware of it and hunts him down very quickly with some pole shots! A couple of quick tags as Piper then starts unleashing on Hogan with some of the worst stiff shots you are likely to see. You just have to shake your head. Hogan begins heading for the bat but Giant makes his way in and starts spanking him with the welterweight belt before giving him some proper backhanders on the backside. Not bad!

So Nash and Giant are in and eye each other off in the centre of the ring as the Giant starts with some cheap kicks to the stomach. Charges with reckless abandon at Nash in the corner but wears a big foot straight to the gob. Piper wants in but as the ref tells him to settle down, Hogan chokes him in the corner which is then followed by a big boot to each other’s face. Believable.

All four men are in the ring now, Giant dropkicks Nash to the outside as Piper chokes out Hogan. Giant lifts Piper up and he now has control of the bat. Giant is nailed from behind and Hogan snatches the bat out of his hand and tosses it away. The Disciple is down and throws a bat of his own into the ring as Hogan smashes the Giant before lining up Pipers hip but instead connects with Nash. Piper begins chasing Hogan with the bat as Hogan begins his cowardly ‘dont hit me please’ antics in the centre of the ring. Of course the Disciple gets involved again and he grabs Pipers bat as he is about to let lose which allows Hogan to smack Piper for the 1-2-3. Nash is pissed after the match refusing to celebrate but Hogan tells him to powerbomb the Giant. As he prepares for it, Hogan smacks him in the back of the head, which would then result in the nWo Wolfpac being born.

Rating: ** - It actually wasn’t close to how bad I was expecting it to be but I still didn’t care for it. Why is there even pinfall in this sort of match? It was a bit of a mess with all the bats and outside interference surrounding it but it had its own way of being entertaining, despite having a predictable ending.

US Title: DDP (c) vs Raven

This is Ravens rules and how lucky is it for the winner as they wont just win the belt, they’ll get to face Goldberg on Nitro the next night! WOW what a reward that is!

Sick boy comes in from the crowd and holds DDP while Raven enters the ring, going for the quick title hit, but instead connects with his own troop before copping a back to back suplex. Sick Boy picks up Raven on the outside but a cross body by Page connects with the both. Was I the only one who found the Flock highly entertaining? Both men have their finishers countered early as things head to the entrance ramp. Raven begins making his way up the stage coach before getting pulled off onto a mountain of hay! HAHA. I love these sort of matches. DDP launches himself off the stage coach with a flying elbow and then irish whips Raven into the wooden fence. Carnage! DDP then suplexes Raven through a table and this is officially the funniest sequence I have ever seen. Raven somehow finds a cake pan lying around (haha) and splits it right across Pages head before positioning him on a table and dishing out a mini frogsplash. Try and keep up folks, we then have a cow bell (used to choke and throttle), a trash can (for the heavy artillery) and finally the kitchen sink back in the ring (for the deadly blows, HA!). Raven then begins the choke with the cow bell only for page to recover and irish whip him into the ropes. What do you know? Drop toe hold onto the kitchen sink! HAHAHA! What a match.

Kidman sees Page heading for the pin and goes high risk from the top rope but connects with his own man. Page then completes the pin but only gets a near fall. Lodi’s crutches come into play now as Sick Boy smacks Page in the back but again its only two! Van Hammer is in now and once again, he connects with his own man. Rhys is in and he is finally able to get a move in on page with a double handed chokeslam but the gets only two. Now Lodi is there throwing in the stop sign but Page gets hold and wallops Rhys in the head, Van Hammer in the head and then diamond cutters Kidman. Another unknown member enters the ring and whacks Page from behind before Raven lays on the Evenflow DDT on the sink for the 1-2-3. AND WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ****¼ – What a fun match. This was seriously made to be like a crazy house, bar room brawl and it capitalized big time. The commentators need to take some credit as they realized what it was and went along with it, throwing any serious stuff in the garbage for this one. This PPV has been super dull but this one raised me from my sleepy hollows and gave me a real chuckle. Match of the night by far!

No Disqualification match for the World Championship: Sting (c) vs Randy Savage

Things are instantly wild with Macho Man not wasting any time at all and laying into Sting inside and outside the ring before applying a rear choke hold. Well Savage is still in his cast and feeling it every time he connects with a punch on Sting. This allows Sting to gain the ascendancy by throwing Savage straight into guard rail before things head to the entrance ramp for some more wildness. Sting hits Savage with some hay (HAHA) which is then justified by Schiavone with “it could get into his eyes and slow breathing patterns”. Well fuck me dead!

Stinger goes for a splash with Savage sitting on the guard rail but wears it himself as Savage is now on top. Macho goes for the piledriver but it’s reversed by Sting which allows him a way back into the contest. Throws Savage back to the floor and the brawl continues with a snap suplex. Back in the ring and the Macho Man works his way back on top with low blows before going up top for the flying elbow but is caught with an abdomen shot. Randy is in the corner as Sting is about to launch into the splash but nearly connects with the ref and stops himself. Turns around and both the ref and Sting are laid out! Spikes him with the jumping piledriver but it has no effect? Sting is up and wears a chair shot in the back from Elizabeth but that too has zero influence. Sting goes for the splash again in the corner but Savage pulls her in and she gets smashed before Savage uses the chair to wallop Sting. Places his head on the chair and heads up top for the elbow but Hogan is out and pushes him off the top. This is just getting wild. Sting applies the Scorpion Death Drop but now Nash is out and breaks up the pin (although the ref is down) and smacks the Jackknife powerbomb, which allows Savage to get the pin and we have a NEW WORDL CHAMPION!

Rating: *** – This was a major clusterfuck with ref bumps (Why the fuck is there refs taking hits when it’s no disqualification?), outside interference all over the shop and mysteries within a mystery within a mystery but I found this slightly entertaining. No doubt other reviews would tell a different story, and don’t get me wrong I am pissed Sting lost the title again, but people have to understand WCW had the potential to fuck it up something major. The problem I see here is Hogan heading straight back into the main event picture but it’s ultimately for the right reasons so he can face Goldberg for the World Title somewhere down the line. WCW thinking ahead? Craziness! 

PPV Rating: *¼
This PPV stunk. No doubt about it. And the real shocker here for me is that the last two matches saved this from being an entire flop. For once, WCW failed in the lower card with substandard matches where the results were a given. Half the fun is not knowing who is going to win but you look at this card before it starts and you instantly know the Prince wont’ be the Cruiserweight champion, you know Goldberg will do it easy, you know La Parka is going to lose. That doesn’t intrigue and interest the viewer and ultimately results in a substandard mood and sense of carelessness in the fan. I'm no expert but if only WCW eradicated the tiniest of things and details, like commentators stating “Eddie will be harder than ever on Chavo if he loses”, it would have made all the difference. Thumbs down!

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