WCW Slamboree 1997
Steven Regal vs Ultimo Dragon WCW TV Championship
Regal no longer wants to be a lord. He wants to be an ass kicker. A lot of mat wrassles to start this. This is a really weird mesh of styles. I'm not sure it works. Dragon just full on soccer punting Regal repeatedly is pretty cool, though. Regal repeatedly attempts to lock on the Regal Stretch. Everything is a counter into it. Ultimo's ground game is quite MMA inspired. LOUD chants for Regal. They should be cheering for him. The last few weeks he's just beaten the fuck out of everyone. Ultimo seems pretty annoyed with Sonny getting involved. Regal with the Dynamite/Joe "nah brah I an't taking this dive" counter. It takes a long time before Ultimo even starts attempting any of his usual high flying offense. Ultimo gets pissy again about Sonny kicking Regal. Sonny kicks Dragon. Regal wins with a back suplex and Regal Stretch. New champion! The title has come home! This was just a solid match. Nothing blow away, certainly not what you'd expect on paper with those names. But it was very solid. And almost 20 minutes long.
Luna Vachon vs Madusa
This was supposed to be a title match, maybe. Madusa beat Akira Hokuto in Japan for the title, but Sonny Onno's shenanigans created a legal battle, so Akira still has the title. Lee Marshall joins for commentary for this, I assume due to the shared AWA history between him and the competitors. I wonder what Luna would look/sound like out of character. Kind of interesting that the commentary for this is basically the same commentary for the Divas Revolution stuff, talking about the rise of female superstar athletes and how these women want to be on that level. 18 years earlier. This match is really bad except for the crazy bump Luna took from a lariato. Right on her fucking neck. Madusa wins with a German suplex. I never liked how she did that move. She grabs the hips instead of doing a waist lock. It always looks weird. And keeping in line with "we're athletes, not fuck dolls", Madusa strips after the match.
TO THE MEAN GENE. He hypes the hotline, which has Mark Madden and...Jeff Katz, a guy who got into Hollywood and joined New Line Cinema specifically so he could make sure Freddy vs Jason got made. And then brought Freddy vs Jason vs Ash to the comic world. This dude got to work in WCW and on Freddy vs Jason? What a life. Macho and Liz come out. They send Gene away and head to the ring. Macho talks and DDP comes out of the crowd, with the bent crutch that Hogan and Savage used on him. Macho gets the fuck out of dodge. Bischoff comes out to make sure Macho doesn't do anything crazy, while also bringing in the B team. DDP says that Macho can't fight because he has to go to Hogan's house to wash his car and kiss his ass. "Virgil, to the side, brotha." Lol. Macho gets the nWo to back down and heads to the ring. He's immediately beaten down with the crutch. DDP then takes out Virgil, Buff, and Bischoff. Norton attacks DDP's kidneys, and then the gang beat down happens. Giant runs out for the save. Macho has to be held back from going BACK to the ring.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Yuji Yasuraoka
Yuji is probably best known for his work in Tenryu's promotions. He was the tag partner of Tomohiro Ishii in the late 90s. That's about all I know about him. He has a lovely mullet and Power Rangers type gear. Fans also have no clue who he is, of course. He made his WCW debut the night before on Saturday Night. It's not a shocker that fans give no fucks about this. Everyone loves Rey, but not enough to be into a slow paced match with some guy they've never heard of. If they were doing a fast paced, high flying match, I think the fans would buy into it. Instead, they're doing a slow, grounded match after this same crowd saw a similar match with Regal/Ultimo just a bit ago. Lance Storm is name dropped here, having been partners with Yuji and Jericho. Brain thinks that name sounds like a weatherman from Omaha. No one acknowledges it. Yuji focuses much of his offense on the arm of Rey, which is kind of weird. Why would anyone ever work on a body part that isn't the legs with Rey? This is technically proficient and has solid psychology, but it hasn't been engaging. Yuji hits a gnarly double arm DDT, at least. Rey wins with the West Coast Pop and a weirdly long match for a complete unknown.
Mortis vs Glacier
CHARACTERS WELCOME! Mortis attacks as Glacier slides into the ring, just beating him down in the corner, destroying that chilly knee. You can't hit a Cryonic Kick if you can't stand. Mortis calls for Wrath, who stalks out. Glacier makes a brief comeback before Wrath makes it to the ring, causing a DQ in about 90 seconds. I have to say, this angle gets a lot of flack, but I'm kind of into it. There is almost no promo time, so the whole story is told with in ring stuff and commentary. Everyone is colorful and weird, and there is crazy shit like Mortis trying to gouge eyeballs out with spiky helmets. Glacier gets destroyed after the bell rings. Eventually, a fan (The Cat) hits the ring and saves Glacier. Why, that's ERNEST MILLER! WE KNOW HIM! Fucking lol, first Tony says a fan has hit the ring, then recognizes him as Ernest Miller, karate world champion who has BEEN WRESTLING ON WORLDWIDE FOR WEEKS. Lol. How low on the totem pole are you when you've been on TV for weeks and the announcers think you are a random fan?
TO THE MEAN GENE. Just there to hype the hotline.
Jeff Jarrett vs Dean Malenko WCW US Championship
Despite fans cheering for JJ during his entrance when the threw up the four fingers (this is Charlotte, after all), they hate him once the match starts. There is a clear difference in the characters and how each wrestle very early on. Both hit a drop toe hold. When Dean does it, he tries to transition it into submissions. When Jeff does it, he tries to showboat. Dean is doing some cool shit here. Really living up to the "man of 1000 holds" moniker here. Countering EVERYTHING to start with. Jeff has to try basically everything twice to get anything done to TMF. Both are working over the legs, and Jeff's alleged experience over Dean shows. Even though Dean debuted almost 10 years before Jeff. Wiki says Dean debuted in 1979. I don't know if that means as a ref or as a wrestler, but he's been in the business longer than Jeff regardless. Both are second generation wrestlers, but Dean is 7 years older than Jeff. Since Jeff has been known longer on the big stage, he has more experience. Because wrestling. This is VERY counter heavy, and the fans are very into it. Towards the end of the match, both men clank heads, sending Jeff to the floor. Mongo comes out, throws Jeff back in the ring, and then leaves with Debra. Dean wins clean with the cloverleaf. Title retained. Fans were very hot for this.
Meng vs Chris Benoit Death Match
I have to wonder why Sullivan didn't throw Barb/Meng at Benoit months ago. In the opening moments of this, Meng is actually quite measured and methodical, as compared to the past few weeks of uncontrollable rage. This is really about showing that Benoit is as tough as Meng more than anything. But the thing with Meng is that despite how often everyone says he's the toughest and meanest guy in the business, he almost always loses to bigger stars. Sure, he and Barb can murder High Voltage, but put them in the ring with the Steiners or Outsiders and they're going to lose every time. This is a death match, but there are rope breaks and count outs. Benoit never backs down in this, even with multiple spots of Meng just hammering him with 10-15 shots in a row. And Meng really eats those German suplexes. After an extremely physical match, Meng counters the diving headbutt with the Tongan Deathgrip for the win. This time, Nancy can't make him let go.
Konnan/Hugh Morrus vs Steiner Brothers
For the first time maybe ever, the Steiners are wearing fully matching gear. Will the Steiners actually have a real, full match tonight? They haven't had one all year. Scott and Hugh begin. Hugh gets thrown and bumped all over the place. BTW, fuck Konnan. Did he ever even get actual training? Based on his bumping, I'm inclined to believe he didn't. Scott gets murdered on a snake eyes on the ropes. Wtf, Hugh. That was reckless as shit. Scott wins with the Frankensteiner, but it is pretty clear he's still not at 100%. After the match, Konnan turns on Hugh and walks away from Jimmy Hart. Fuck Konnan.
Steve McMichael vs Reggie White
Mongo, at one year in the business, is tasked with the role of being the veteran here. It takes three shoulder blocks of no one budging before Mongo is the first to go down. Scrimmage line in the sand! Did the Packers organization tell Reggie that he couldn't wear his actual jersey? He's wearing a shitty see-through practice jersey. Reggie is what he is. A guy in his first match in a featured match of PPV of the biggest wrestling company in the world. Mongo is 100% better than Reggie, which really says it all. DROPKICK from Reggie White. Lmao, "Jesus may have your soul, but I got ya ass, now!" was not the best thing to say to the ultra-religious Reggie. Mongo ends up focusing on the knee of Reggie. Seems like a good call. After a low blow : "I'm going to church. I think I heard the church bells ringing now." Lol. Look, Mongo wasn't a good wrestler, but I cant hate on his enthusiasm and what he was doing. He clearly put a lot of work and thought into his wrestling, even if he wasn't very good. This actually isn't that bad. Especially considering Mongo is Mongo and Reggie White had never had a wrestling match. There is a story, selling, and clear effort from both guys to do the best they can. Reggie had the match won with a splash, but Debra has the ref distracted. Mongo tries to use the briefcase, only for Gilbert to take it from him. But Double J shows up with a SECOND briefcase, which Mongo uses to get the win. Kind of a weird finish since Mongo pretty much cost Jeff his match earlier in the show.
Ric Flair/Roddy Piper/Kevin Greene vs Kevin Nash/Scott Hall/Syxx No Disqualification
Did you know that Syxx was from "Mindianapolis"? You'd think Buffer would get his shit right considering how much he was getting paid. Nash's grays are showing strong tonight. His grays were coming in even in 1994. He would have been the Silver Fox by 1997 had he not been coloring his hair. Ric Flair is, of course, a god in Charlotte. He's also making his return to in ring action for the first time in 7 or 8 months. Syxx and Flair begin the match. It's a little odd that Ric Flair is feuding with the Cruiserweight Champion, right? Lol at Syxx doing the strut only to get hit with the most violent of chops. And then Syxx fucking blasts Ric with a spin kick. These two are already hot with each other. Flair is a feeling himself. He's a runnin' right. "JUMP YO ASS ON SOME TRADITION!...excuse me." Lol, Dusty. Hall tags in. Ric tags Kevin Greene, who is very animated. Hall spits in his face and tags in Nash. Crowd is hot as shit for this. Huge shoulder block sends Nash down. Jumping lariato! Body slam! Nash bails on this shit. Double lariatos to Hall and Kid. I though Greene was about to do a dive. Hall makes the wise choice to ask for old ass hobbled Roddy Piper. And it doesn't even work. Old ass Piper REKS the Wolfpac until Syxx hits a cheap shot from behind in the bad leg. This ends up being the first offense the Wolfpac even gets, nearly 10 minutes in. Even that doesn't last long, as a hot tag to Flair has chops and punches for everyone. Holy shit, Hall's power game is on point. Flair came off the top and Hall caught him at the weirdest angle and just muscled him back up with ease into the fall away slam. AND made him take a flat back bump. The Wolfpac has regrouped and now has Flair on the ropes. Just knocking the shit out of him. You don't see Flair getting stiffed like this too often. Pee Wee didn't see the tag to Piper, so Piper just decks him. Nick Patrick comes out as the replacement. Flair puts Hall in the figure four. Piper gets Nash in the sleeper. Greene takes out Syxx. WCW WINS! WCW HAS DEFEATED THE NWO! That match was a lot of fun.
This show was fun and definitely solid in the ring, but I think it might have been a little heavy on the sports side of sports entertainment. The most entertaining match was the main event, which was full on entertainment and very little sports. Maybe it was planned to have the show be so sport heavy so when the fans finally got to the entertainment part of the night (main event/Mongo vs Reggie), they'd be extra into it. I know I was getting a little tired after the fourth fifteen minute match on the show.
Certainly a big night for WCW, and they didn't even need Sting.