Each and every Thursday I will look back at a different pay-per-view event from the past via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last week, I covered WWE Armageddon 2006.
I know I said last week that the next event I would be covering was going to be WCW Slamboree 2000, but after receiving a bunch of submissions from my faithful Twitter followers, I realized that I was going to be doing three WCW pay-per-views in a row.
It just so happens that those pay-per-views took place in 1998, 1999 and the year 2000. Instead of working in reverse order, I decided to review these in chronological order, starting with this week's event, WCW Slamboree 1998.
Next week, I'll cover WCW Spring Stampede 1999 and then I'll get to Slamboree 2000 the week after. Sounds OK with all of you? Great!
WCW Slamboree 1998
Date: May 16, 1998
Venue: The Centrum (DCU Center), Worcester, Mass.
Some random thoughts and notes
This was the sixth annual Slamboree, which originally served as a reunion of sorts for the legendary figures from Jim Crockett Promotions and World Championship Wrestling.
By 1998, however, the event had nothing to do with members of WCW's past. It was solely focused on the current members of the company's roster.
An unofficial "match" on this card was Eric Bischoff challenging then WWE owner Vince McMahon to a fight.
McMahon did not show up and Bischoff had an official count him out and declare him the winner. Michael Buffer did the ring announcing for a match that never took place.
The problem with that is that Buffer's services do not come at a low rate. He's quite expensive and for him to announce a match that technically never happened seems like a waste of money. He did announce the final two matches though.
I spotted a mascot on the side of the ramp during the entrances for one of the matches. Apparently, that was WCW's official mascot, Wildcat Willy. For some reason, I have no recollection of this character.
Apparently, Wildcat Willy became the official mascot for WCW in 1995 until WCW did away with the whole mascot thing in 1999. I hardly even noticed. Chalk it up as yet another expense that went nowhere for WCW.
Lee Marshall led the Internet broadcast of this event. Besides being a wrestling announcer, Marshall was also known as the voice of Tony the Tiger. Marshall unfortunately passed away on April 26, 2014.
Now, let's get to the matches.
WCW World Television championship – Fit Finlay def. Chris Benoit
I know this is the second event in a row that features Chris Benoit. I went into detail about how it makes me feel watching him now when I reviewed his match during Armageddon 2006. Go back and read that. I'm not going much further on that subject here.
As far as this match, there weren't any bells and whistles involved. Benoit and Finlay were two no-nonsense, straightforward wrestlers that didn't waste any motion in the ring and this match was a perfect representation of that.
Even a chair got involved, but for some reason there wasn't a disqualification despite the fact that this was a World Television title match.
Speaking of the World Television title, I miss it and I'm glad Ring of Honor uses it as a secondary title today, but I've always kind of wondered what purpose does a television championship serve?
I get that it is the championship that is defended on every episode of television, but that's not how Ring of Honor uses it today and I highly doubt WCW stuck to that during its entire run.
In Ring of Honor, the television title is rarely defended on actual television. It just exists as the next-best title to the world title. Back in 1998, it still lived up to its moniker as the most defended title in wrestling.
Finlay used a tombstone of all things to win the match, but that was after Booker T sort of distracted Benoit. This eventually led to a best-of-7 series between Booker T and Benoit over the television title.
Lex Luger def. Brian Adams
Brian Adams and Vincent (formerly Virgil in WWE) were plain evidence that the New World Order had grown entirely too big.
Here were to guys that did pretty much nothing on their own, so they were thrown in the hottest group in wrestling at the time just to give them the proverbial rub. Next thing you know, there were a lot of guys like Adams and Vincent wearing nWo shirts. It simply watered the group down.
Proof that the group had gotten watered down was this match, as Lex Luger beat Adams without a ton of resistance. Adams got some offense in, but that match was short and was mostly about Luger.
Not much else to speak of here.
Ciclope won the Cruiserweight Battle Royal
The winner of this battle royal would earn an immediate shot at Chris Jericho and his WCW World Cruiserweight championship.
Before the match, however, Jericho took it upon himself to introduce the competitors. He did so by ripping into them in hilarious fashion.
The weird thing was that none of wrestlers even batted an eye as Jericho tore into them over a live microphone.
Oh well, here is a transcript of each of Jericho's introductions:
Super Calo: "If you noticed, this guy's hat never comes off. He's the master of trick track, the master of funk. He is Super Calo! Look at those moves, ladies and gentlemen. He's got about a 1-in-10 chance of winning maybe."
Chavo Guerrero Jr.: "From El Paso, Mexico (!!!), this guy used to be a great bartender, but it hasn't translated to his wrestling skills. He's the scourge of the illustrious Guerrero family. He is Chavo Guerrero Jr.! Maybe a 2-out-10 chance of winning."
Ciclope: "From Mexico, this is a rags-to-riches story. From selling chimichangas on the streets to WCW, Ciclope!
Damian 666: "Now we've got Damian. He can't afford a mask. He's using paint, but sooner or later he's going to buy a mask, I'm guaranteeing you that!"
El Dandy: "The winner of the Lou Ferrigno look alike contest, this guy is also from Mexico, El Dandy!"
El Grio: "He's the world 'light-featherweightpesa' champion, El Grio!"
Juventud Guerrera: "Now this guy pulled up in a nice rusted out 1968 El Camino Chevy. He's the ugliest man in our sport today. He's the illustrious 'Quasi-juice' Guerrera!"
Marty Jannetty: "A former champion in many countries. He's going to rock, rock 'til he drops, rock, rock never stop! Marty Janetty, ladies and gentlemen!"
Billy Kidman: "From Allentown, Pa., he's a lost and lonely soul. His name is Kidman and Kidman, I've got some Calamine lotion for you after the show."
Evan Karagias: This guy's the true shooter of WCW. Does he have a chance? Zero-out-of 10. No way. He's Evan Karagias, ladies and gentlemen."
Lenny Lane: "Oh yeah, straight from Minneapolis, Minnesota, yeah! I want my Loverboy tap back, Lenny Lane!"
Psychosis: "Then of course we've got Psychosis. He's got a lot of hubcaps in his collection. If you need one, he'll procure you one after the show."
Silver King: "This guy is Silver King. If he wins 12 more matches he'll be upgraded to Golden King."
Johnny Swinger: "This guy is Johnny Singer? Johnny Swinger? You ever heard of this guy? I haven't — zero-out-of-10 chance of winning. No chance."
Villano IV: "And last but not least, representing Villanos one through 62, from the illustrious Villano family he is Villano IV!"
"Ladies and gentlemen those are your contestants for tonight's battle royal. I'm going to the back for a coffee because none of these guys will never, ever beat me for my belt."
The match itself came down to Guerrera and Ciclope.
After sizing each other up for about a minute, Guerrera patted Ciclope on the chest and jumped over the top to be eliminated, giving Ciclope the victory and the chance to face Jericho for the Cruiserweight title.
WCW World Cruiserweight championship – Dean Malenko def. Chris Jericho
As soon as Jericho got to the ring, Ciclope took his mask off, revealing himself to be Dean Malenko, who had been embroiled in a long rivalry with the champion.
When Malenko unmasked, the fans Worcester went absolutely crazy. Malenko defeated Jericho and dedicated the win to his late father Boris Malenko, but was stripped of the title two weeks later due to posing as another wrestler during the battle royal.
That buzzkill moment aside, this was awesome at the time and one of the loudest pops in WCW history.
Bowery Death Match – Diamond Dallas Page def. Raven
Oh yeah, the good old Bowery Death Match. We've all seen so many of those. Can't get enough.
Wait. No one has ever said that? I understand now.
First off, The Bowery is a neighborhood in New York City, specifically in the borough of Manhattan. It was also where Scott Levy was billed from as Raven.
A Bowery Death Match was pretty much a cage match with weapons inside of it except the cage had a roof on top. I know you may think a cage with a roof on top is a Hell in a Cell, but not so fast, my friend.
A Hell in a Cell does not sit on the ring apron. It sits on the floor. This particular cage sat on the apron like a traditional steel cage. Think more like Lethal Lockdown from TNA.
Speaking of Hell in a Cell, the second one ever took place a month later at King of the Ring. You probably remember that very, as that is the one where Mick Foley had a death wish and decided to go flying off the top of the Cell.
He didn't plan to go through the Cell, but he did anyway, making for one of the most unforgettable spectacles in wrestling history.
All of that made this match look like child's play. It really wasn't anything special, which is saying a lot considering both Diamond Dallas Page and Raven were both very talented.
This had a lot of weapons, but lacked any real story or flow. There was a cool diamond cutter spot where Page caught Kidman falling from the roof of the cage and hit him with the diamond cutter.
There was also a ton of interference from Raven's group, The Flock, which would explain Kidman was the victim of a diamond cutter.
At one point of the match, a bunch of riot cops surrounded the ring, but The Flock easily fought through them to help their leader. Then came Van Hammer (remember him?) to get rid of riot cops and The Flock.
Eventually, Page won and all was right with the world.
After the match, one of the riot cops handcuffed every member of The Flock, including Raven. Before destroying Raven with a chair shot to the face, the riot squad member took his helmet off and revealed himself as Mortis.
That's right, the riot squad member took off a helmet just to reveal that he was wearing yet another mask as if this was a bad episode of Scooby-Doo. Obviously, Mortis is better known as Kanyon, but before Kanyon became a normal human being on television, he was saddled with the Mortis character.
Mortis was created strictly as a villain for Glacier — another failed gimmick — to go up against. Apparently, the decision makers at WCW fell in love with Mortal Kombat and decided that it would work great on its reality-based wrestling program.
I guess in their minds, Glacier, Mortis and Wrath (another Glacier opponent) would present great marketing opportunities for merchandising and licensing. Hey, it worked out well for Mortal Kombat, but that was a video game based off fantasy, not reality.
The reason why Mortis wanted to re-arrange Raven's face was because he wanted to join The Flock, but Raven declined his offer with an even flow. This apprently upset Mortis.
Eddie Guerrero def. Ultimo Dragon
Ultimo Dragon went against Eddie Guerrero so that Chavo Guerrero could be freed from the control of his uncle. Chavo Guerrero was essentially serving as Eddie Guerrero's slave.
As expected, Ultimo Dragon and Eddie Gurrero worked hard during the match, but the crowd was much more interested in making a rather portly man wearing a cowboy hat and a Troy Aikman Dallas Cowboys jersey take off his shirt to reveal his rather round body.
Once he did, he received a standing ovation from the fans.
That was essentially the highlight of the match. After Eddie Guerrero won, Chavo Guerrero was so angry that he was still under the control of his uncle that he beat up Ultimo Dragon, the guy that was fighting for his freedom to begin with.
WCW United States Heavyweight championship – Goldberg def. Saturn
Goldberg was supposed to face The Flock in a gauntlet match, but Saturn up and left the group and took the match for the United States title by himself. By the way, his music was clearly ripped off by WWE for Cesaro.
By this point, Goldberg was only 87-0 and he didn't have the long walk to the ring as part of his entrance.
Although Goldberg had mowed through 87 opponents, Saturn actually had a competitive match by Goldberg standards.
However, Saturn eventually succumbed to a sick spear from Goldberg as he improved to 88-0. Less than two months later, Goldberg defeated Hulk Hogan to become the WCW World Heavyweight champion.
Randy Savage def. Bret Hart via disqualification
Remember when I mentioned Buffer earlier and how that he was quite expensive?
Well, apparently WCW didn't pay him enough to say Bret Hart's full name because didn't. Instead, Buffer just called him Bret. I guess Buffer worked by the word.
Hart's introduction was weird and so was the sight of him in WCW. It's something I can never get used to no matter how many times I see it.
This was apparently the first time Hart and Savage had ever met one-on-one, at least on pay-per-view anyway. It's a shame it never happened in WWE. It would have been done properly that way.
I can say that because this match didn't live up to the expectations of two legends like Hart and Savage.
That's because way too much stuff happening in this match. Miss Elizabeth jumped in. Hart punched Roddy Piper, who was the special guest referee, with a foreign object when his back was turned. Even Hogan came down to hit Savage in the knee. Hogan literally crawled to the back so Piper wouldn't see him. He looked ridiculous.
Hart eventually made Savage submit, but Piper changed his decision the next night and declared Savage the winner via disqualification.
Did you get all of that?
WCW World Tag Team championship – Sting & The Giant def. The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash)
Just as weird as seeing Hart in WCW was seeing Dusty Rhodes as a member of the nWo. I honestly don't know what WCW was thinking putting the American Dream in a heel faction. It just didn't look right.
Want some more evidence the nWo had grown too large? It splintered into two groups. One wore black and white (Hollywood) and the other wore black and red (Wolfpac), and that's what this match was pretty much all about.
Sting was just the side dish to all of the drama going on with the New World Order. Even the fans knew it, as they liked the Wolfpac more than they liked Sting, who was supposed to be the babyface.
The match was pretty much standard besides The Giant going to the top rope, which is a rare sighting.
The only eventful thing was Scott Hall turning on his longtime friend Kevin Nash to join the back and white New World Order.
Sting looked appalled, as his partner had joined the New World Order the week before. Now, he's holding a championship title with the very group he despised the most.