One of the things I always appreciated about WCW was the willingness to have big events in unique locations. The backdrop of beaches, malls and night clubs give the event a look that stands out from other pay-per-view events and help make them more memorable. That’s certainly necessary during the last few years before WCW got shut down by AOL/Time Warner.
The most frequent location the promotion used was the annual motorcycle rally in Stugis, South Dakota for the Road Wild show. A bunch of bikers surrounding the ring, revving the engines during high spots, always makes for an interesting experience.
Vampiro, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope vs. Rey Mysterio Jr., Eddie Guerrero and Billy Kidman – The previous month, at BASH AT THE BEACH, Master P and the No Limit Soldiers were involved in a match, so why not have the Insane Clown Posse open the show. Much like Master P, I am not at all familiar with the ICP’s music. One thing I’ve always wondered… is Violent J related in any way to Guy Fieri? They could be separated at birth. Mysterio, Guerrero and Kidman carry the match, with a little help from Vampiro, and appropriately they get the win. Opening up a show at a biker rally with ICP seems like an odd choice, but WCW is gonna WCW.
Tag Team Championship Match: Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow (c) vs. Harlem Heat – This is a reunion for the “team of the 1990s,” as Mike Tenay called them repeatedly. Booker T had been a singles competitor for a little while and Stevie Ray was being hidden on the nWo B-Team. Kanyon and Bigelow, along with fellow Triad member Dallas Page, were a great combination. I have a soft spot for Bigelow, who should have been bigger than he ended up being. Page comes down to help his teammates, but he ends up costing the Triad the tag team championship, as Harlem Heat wins the straps for the eighth time.
Barry Windham, Curt Hennig and Bobby Duncum Jr. vs. Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Shane Douglas – Any time I get to hear “I Hate Rap” is a win. The West Texas Rednecks, led by Minnesotan Curt Hennig, is probably my favorite late-era WCW gimmick. Even this late into their careers, Hennig and Windham looked good, and they certainly knew how to draw heat. Put them in with Malenko and Saturn (OK, and even Douglas), and everyone was going to look good. This match was designed to make the Revolution look good, and they Saturn hits Duncum with a Death Valley Driver for the win. Good, quick match.
Ernest Miller vs. Buff Bagwell – We start this battle of titans with an extended promo stall, as Miller keeps trying to talk and stealing the mic from Bagwell but getting drowned out by the revving of the motorcycles. Even at seven and a half minutes, this match felt like it took forever with all the stalling. And then Buff gets the win with a roll-up, and his music plays over Miller beating him up after the match. That’s WCW.
No-Disqualification U.S. Championship Match: Chris Benoit (c) vs. Diamond Dallas Page – Both guys have factions backing them up but come to the ring alone. You would think the match would break down into a pier-6 brawl with the Revolution and the Jersey Triad battling all over the place. It’s only the Triad that comes down to the ring, though, as the Revolution stay watching the monitors and rooting Benoit on. Turns out, they didn’t need to be at ringside, because Benoit basically beats Page, Kanyon and Bigelow all by himself to retain the title. That’s as good a push for Benoit as anyone is going to get, I would think.
Sid Vicious vs. Sting – Vicious was billed as the Millennium Man or the Millennia Man. Maybe it was the Millennial Man. The announcers constantly mumbled that last syllable. I’m gonna go with Millennial, proving that Sid was always ahead of his time. Black and White non-Crow Sting (because he dropped the leather duster after the April 1999 Columbine shootings) was such a boring and generic look from a guy who always stood out from the crowd. These guys could have spent 10 minutes posturing and I think the crowd would have eaten it all up. The announce team were hyping Sid’s recent winning streak, obviously still missing being able to hype Goldberg’s streak more than half a year later. Somewhat surprisingly, the win streak stays, as Sid hits a chokeslam on WCW’s franchise to get a win.
Speaking of Goldberg…
Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg – Scott Steiner becomes Big Poppa Pump, catapulting him into an eventual World Championship run. Meanwhile, brother Rick dresses like the biker in the Village People. No one was expecting a major championship run out of the Dog-Faced Gremlin. The shine hadn’t fully come off Goldberg yet, but given that he’s forced to sell for Rick Steiner for a few minutes, he’s certainly no longer a priority. Steiner works Goldberg over with Goldberg’s own brace, and Schiavone has to come up with excuses as to why the referee hasn’t called for a disqualification, despite it clearly being one of WCW’s famed “international objects.” Match was less than 6 minutes long, but it felt like it was much longer.
Dennis Rodman vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage – “The Worm” got a lot of praise for the effort he put in to his time in the ring. And even though he did not seem like a complete novice, this match was nothing but gaga from the get-go. Three referees were taken out. The editor of the WCW Magazine was taken out. Savage stuffed Rodman into a Port-a-Potty and tipped it over. Finally, Savage’s valet, Gorgeous George, gives Macho Man a chain and Rodman gets knocked out. At the very least, it was entertaining gaga.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Retirement Match: Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Kevin Nash – Nash lost the title to Savage last month, and Savage promptly lost it to Hogan the next night, because that’s what Savage does. And then Hogan went back to the red and yellow during the build to this match and the announce team act like his WCW theme, “American Made,” is a classic entrance theme. This was a classic Hogan formula – gets beat up by the monster opponent, gets hit with the finishing move and then mounts a comeback. But it was such a slow and plodding pace. WCW sends the fans home happy, I guess, with a Hogan win to * ahem* retire Nash, but they cut the pay-per-view feed before we get to see Hogan pose. What a faux pas.
Final Thoughts: Meh. Some good stuff here, but it dragged to the finish line with the main event matches.