Happy Saturday Everyone!
Uncensored 1998 has a couple of good matches on it, and also some sucky ones, but I’m hoping the positives will outweigh the negatives and this will end up being a decent show overall. Fingers crossed eh?
The big storyline coming in was dissension within the nWo, as Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage have fallen out and now the group is splintering as guys pick sides. Sting is also defending the WCW Title against Scott Hall, whilst Kevin Nash will wrestle The Giant in a rematch from Souled Out 1998.
I’ll be watching the opener on WWE Network/Peacock and then I’ll be switching over to the official Pal VHS release from then on, so if there are any inconsistencies then that’s why. Sadly the tracking is all messed up for the opener on the VHS but it clears up when the second match kicks in. I need some Self High Five in my life though, as well as Jericho’s Evenflow knock-off theme, so VHS it is.
You can view the full card by clicking below;
The event is emanating from Mobile, Alabama on the 15th of March 1998
Calling the action are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay
The opening video package hypes the main matches, although the commentary is deliberately muted on it as a stylistic choice, and it doesn’t really work.
The commentary team yaks like they always do at the start of one of these.
WCW World Television Title
Champ: Booker T Vs Eddy Guerrero w/ Chavo Guerrero Jr
Eddy and Chavo were kind of feuding at the time, as Eddy felt that Chavo was doing dishonour to the family name and had forcefully taken Chavo under his wing in order to get him back to winning ways. Chavo is sat at ringside watching on as a result, although it seems that he isn’t going to be that unhappy if Eddy were to lose here.
Booker gets the big babyface shine to start, running wild on Eddy with his trademark moves whilst Eddye keeps bailing and stooging for him. It’s entertaining stuff due to Booker’s offence looking good and Eddy doing an excellent job of selling it all. The crowd enjoys it as well, meaning that the match has some good reactions to go along with the good wrestling. It’s a good example of a solid opening match, as both wrestlers have a fun outing but they also leave something on the table for the matches later on in the card.
Eddy eventually manages to counter the Scissors Kick by dropkicking Booker in the knee mid-move in a slick counter, leading to our Heel heat segment. Eddy works over the leg with some nice looking offence and does a good job of playing to the crowd whilst doing so, even mocking Booker by mimicking the Champ’s “raise the roof” taunt at one stage in a funny moment. Eddy make sure to cheat by using the ropes illegally when the opportunity presents itself and Booker does a good job selling everything.
Booker doesn’t really do a full-on comeback either, as he gets a bit of a flurry but then Eddy seemingly cuts him off again. However, it’s just a fake-out as Booker soon comes off the top rope with a big Missile Dropkick and that’s enough for the win. I like that actually as you don’t always need to do a long intricate finishing stretch. Booker got his shine, Eddy worked some heat and then the injured Booker snapped off a big move at the right time to retain. Lovely.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: BOOKER T
Thoughts: Good opener there, as both wrestlers looked solid in the ring and they kept the crowd engaged without burning them out. Everything it needed to be with a little bit extra on top as a bonus for those who enjoy some work rate
Chavo is smirking a bit that Eddy lost, which leads to Eddy putting a beat down on his nephew in order to keep their issue going. Bobby is funny on commentary by saying he’ll handle the post-match replay analysis, before then immediately saying “take it Tenay” in classic Weasel fashion.
nWo Vs WCW
Konnan Vs Juventud Guerrera
Konnan is looking to punish Juventud for losing his mask at the previous pay per view, even though Konnan himself has hardly brought honour to the world of Lucha Libre by joining groups such as The Dungeon of DOOM and the nWo. Still, a bad guy in wrestling with a clear double standard is always a good storytelling device in the wacky world of Pro Wrestling.
Juvi uses his speed to start to keep Konnan on the back foot, with Konnan bumping and selling for that well. Konnan sets up the metal ring steps at ringside for some but Juvi ends up doing a Sabu styled running high spot off them in a cool moment. Konnan does eventually use his size advantage to take control and starts putting Juvi in some Lucha styled submission moves, with Juvi selling the holds well.
Konnan just starts flinging Juvi around by his hair at one stage, with Juvi taking some nice bumps and Konnan doing a good job of playing an insufferable bully. Juvi gamely keeps fighting on though, which was the main way WCW tried to get him over during this brief spell where he fought Heavyweights, with the idea being that he was a brave underdog who wouldn’t stay down. The crowd responds to Juvi’s kick outs and pops when Juvi manages to catch Konnan with a cradle for the upset win.
WINNER: JUVENTUD GUERRERA
Thoughts: This was a good bigger bully Vs smaller babyface match, as Konnan playing his role well and Juvi did a good job as the underdog babyface who managed to find the last gasp win
Sadly some of the booking ends up being for naught as Konnan gives Juventud a battering post-match and flings him from the ring, which kind of undoes all the good work in the match itself by making Juvi look like a goof who got lucky instead of a gutsy babyface who held on and managed to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat.
James J. Dillon has an interview in the entrance way with Mean Gene Okerlund. Dillon says that The Giant asked for the Powerbomb to be legal in his match with Kevin Nash later on and Dillon has agreed to it.
WCW World Cruiserweight Title
Champ: Chris Jericho Vs The Iceman Dean Malenko
Jericho had won the belt back in January, injuring Rey Mysterio Jr in the process. Since then he had also taken Juventud’s mask for good measure. The serious and solemn Malenko was the antithesis of Jericho’s whiny and cocky character, thus making them natural foes. Malenko and Booker defeated Jericho and Eddy Guerrero on a Nitro in Philly to set this one up. Malenko referred to himself as The Man of 1000 Holds, so Jericho started proclaiming himself to be The Man of 1004 Holds (although a lot of those seemed to be an arm bar).
Malenko controls things to start with his slick technical skills and it’s good wrestling, with Jericho trying to walk out at one stage in a huff when he can’t get a foothold in the bout. Malenko stops the ref from making the count though and then continues to control things in the ring, this time with punches and stomps. Jericho eventually manages to catch Malenko with a Spine Buster though and starts working some heat.
I don’t know what it is about this one, but it feels a bit flat to me for whatever reason. The wrestling has been good and both wrestlers have played their respective roles well, with Jericho being a weaselling cocky Heel and Malenko being a focused Wrestling Machine, but it just feels like there’s something missing and it never kicks into the higher gear you think they should be able to reach, It’s still a good match but it’s not the great one you’d think you’d get when you think of Chris Jericho wrestling Dean Malenko on pay per view with some decent time to work with.
Malenko does eventually kick it up a notch with some fired up offence, including some heat butts and a back suplex, which wakes the crowd up, but then Jericho immediately cuts him off again for some more heat even though it felt like it was time to take it into the comeback. Malenko does get some near falls, although most of them come from pinning holds or quick counters, which shows that, despite his whininess, Jericho is indeed a good wrestler. Jericho eventually manages to get the Lion Tamer applied and that’s enough for the clean submission win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: CHRIS JERICHO
Thoughts: This was “missing something” for me so I didn’t go any higher on the rating, although I know others really like this match. The wrestling and character work were both there, but it didn’t feel like it came together the way it would need to in order for this to be a classic, and instead it was just a good match. Still nothing to be sniffed at of course, but a little bit disappointing considering the talent involved in the match. The clean finish was appreciated and they ended up using that to build an excellent storyline and feud.
Mean Gene ambushes Malenko in the entrance way following the match and chides him for his recent defeats before asking Malenko where he goes from here. Malenko simply replies that he’s going home, which led to weeks of Jericho insulting and tormenting Malenko on the mic until it was time for Malenko to return for vengeance in a great angle and moment.
nWo Vs WCW
White Thunder Scott Steiner Vs The Total Package Lex Luger
Steiner had turned on his brother Rick in order to join the nWo back at SuperBrawl VIII. Luger is a friend of the family and is horrified by Scott’s evil actions, thus he’s stepping into the ring here in an effort to avenge the betrayal of Rick at the previous pay per view event. Despite this being Scott’s first big pay per view bout as a Heel and the fact it involves Luger, this doesn’t really feel like as big a deal as you’d think it would be.
Scott jumps Luger right from the off and works some heat, with Luger selling it in his usual exaggerated manner in a way that OSW Review has immortalised forever. Luger makes the comeback after selling for a bit and that does fire up the crowd. It’s interesting to see Scott pinballing all over the place as he’d do significantly less of that from 1999 onwards and that was a far more effective way of getting him over.
Scott catches Luger with a sly mule kick out of sight of the referee and grabs a chair. Rick Steiner comes down to distract his brother before getting into a brawl with Scott Norton, which leads to Luger catching Scott with a Northern Lariat and picking up the flash three count. Wow, having Scott lose his first pay per view singles match after going Heel was a certainly a choice.
WINNER: LEX LUGER
Thoughts: This was too short to be much, although the crowd was into Luger and popped for his victory. It’s rare I complain about an nWo guy losing, but this is a rare occasion where I think the nWo wrestler needed to win as Steiner had just gone Heel and this defeat really made no sense and didn’t do a good job of getting him over
Rick Steiner sends his brother packing following that, leading to a big pop from the crowd as the fans were clearly into the idea of The Steiner’s fighting but WCW ripped the audience off so many times on promised matches that the eventual big bout between them didn’t end up feeling as big a deal as it should have been.
Triangle Match for the WCW United States Title
Champ: Diamond Dallas Page Vs Raven Vs Crippler Chris Benoit
DDP had been in a respect feud with Benoit, which had brought Benoit’s other rival Raven into the Title picture as well. Benoit managed to defeat Raven back in January but DDP then defeated Benoit back in February, thus setting up this triangle match. All three of the wrestlers are legal and the first to get a pin or submission picks up the win. DDP is over like rover here, and it’s nice to actually hear the real crowd reactions for him as well as you always lose that when the music is dubbed out.
Triple Threat/Triangle/Three Way Dance matches usually suffer from the fact they are often structured similarly, that being two wrestlers fight in the ring whilst another sells on the floor. Eventually they all start to feel a bit samey, so the three wrestlers here try and fight the usual tropes a bit by doing a triple lockup, which succeeds in getting a pop from the crowd. They do slip into the usual formula at points, but they try to avoid it whenever possible and all three enter a strong performance from a wrestling perspective as well, so the bout is entertaining throughout.
They are No DQ’s or Count Outs in this one, which means all three wrestlers are free to fight all over the building and use weapons should they want to, which eventually comes into play when they fight up to the entrance way. Raven and Benoit cease hostilities briefly out there in order to fling DDP into the stage and seemingly take him out of the running, but that doesn’t end up being the case. It’s a good tease though and it actually draws some boos for Benoit even though he’s ostensibly a babyface because the crowd doesn’t like that he did a fellow babyface dirty like that.
DDP eventually manages to drag himself back into the ring whilst Raven and Benoit go at it, giving us a triple Sleeper spot and a triple German Suplex spot for good measure, with both spots getting a great reaction from the crowd. Raven debuts the “stop sign hidden underneath a paper sign” spot at one stage to clobber DDP, but Benoit ends up turning Raven’s own creation on him before trying to Superplex Raven through a table that has DDP on it. DDP breaks that up though and knocks Benoit to the floor before giving Raven a Diamond Cutter off the top rope through the table for three.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
Thoughts: This was a really great ECW match with up-scaled production values, and I love me some ECW so I enjoyed this immensely as a result. Your own personal mileage may vary, but I thought this was a cracking outing and I’m eternally impressed by Benoit’s versatility as a wrestler when it came to adapting his wrestling to different styles. He held up his end here just as well as Raven and DDP, even though they were both more natural brawlers than Benoit was. Benoit certainly sullied his legacy with his actions at the end of his life, but it would be churlish to deny that he was an absolutely sensational in-ring performer. DDP did a great job as the rugged everyman babyface fighting against the odds here whilst Raven entered his usual strong performance as a misanthropic Heel looking to find an opening in order to sneak a victory
Benoit shows respect to DDP following the match and essentially bows out of the US Title hunt as it was Booker T and the TV Title next for him. Raven gets dragged to the back by his Flock and he’d face DDP again at two more pay per views.
The commentary team talks about what is still to come whilst the ring crew clears out the wreckage from the previous bout.
nWo Vs WCW
Big Sexy Kevin Nash Vs The Giant
Nash defeated Giant back in January but dropped him on his head in the process with a botched Powerbomb, which led to the move being banned for a bit. Giant has returned from the injury and is looking for revenge, although he’s still sporting a neck brace from the botched Powerbomb. As mentioned earlier, Giant has asked for the Powerbomb to be made legal for this match, presumably so he can stick Nash with one and potentially injured Big Sexy here at Uncensored.
Nash was originally supposed to lose to Giant back at Starrcade 97, but he passed off acid reflux as a heart attack in order to get out of it and then got to win at Souled Out, so you’d think it would finally be time for him to do a jobski for Giant after months of ducking it right? If you do happen to think that, then I’d like to sell this rock that I have to you as it keeps tigers away. Giant really needed some entrance music during this time period as it always hurt his pop that he didn’t have any in my view.
This is the usual Nash Vs Giant match, in that it’s better than you’d think it’d be as they actually had some chemistry together as opponents even though they probably didn’t like one another in real life at the time. Giant runs wild to start by bumping Nash around and then clotheslining him out to the floor. Nash is able to throw Giant face first into the ring post outside the ring though, which allows Giant to sell the injured neck.
Ginat does a good job selling Nash’s offence whilst everything Nash does makes sense from a ring psychology perspective, as he mostly clubs away at the neck and does things like his trademark foot choke in the corner and a sleeper hold in order to try and wear Giant down by attacking the bad neck. Giant eventually starts Gianting Up though and runs wild, with Nash taking some big bumps for his massive opponent, in one of the rare instances where it wouldn’t look ridiculous for Nash to get thrown around. Brian Adams attacks Giant with a baseball bat though and that’s the DQ.
WINNER BY DQ: THE GIANT
Thoughts: Super lame finish, as it was way past the point that Nash should be doing a proper job for Giant, but at least Giant didn’t lose and the match itself was decent up to the cack finish
Giant runs wild on a bunch of nWo B-Team guys following that, leading to Nash breaking the bat over Giant’s head as a Baseball on a Pole match was the next chapter of the feud at Spring Stampede. Giant mostly shrugs that off though and the nWo flees rather than dealing with an angry Giant.
nWo Vs WCW
Mr. Spiffy Curt Hennig w/ Rick Rude Vs Bret The Hitman Hart
Hennig had been feuding with Ric Flair, who had also been feuding with Hart. Flair and Hart had developed respect for one another though, leading to Hart helping Flair out against Hennig and thus setting this match up in the process. This was only Bret’s second WCW pay per view bout and it made sense to match him up with Hennig due to the two having a pair of great matches in the WWF. WCW Curt Hennig isn’t close to as good as WWF Mr. Perfect though, so lightning likely won’t hit thrice.
For those not aware of the reason for the Spiffy gag, Scott Keith used to joke that WCW should have called Hennig “Mr. Spiffy” because the WWF owned the rights to the name Mr. Perfect, so Hennig would always be saying that things were Spiffy because he couldn’t say that they were Perfect. Seeing as this is Scott’s Blog of DOOM, I thought I’d resurrect the joke because I’ve always thought it was funny and I think it’s a nice nod to Scott and his twisted sense of humour.
They do some solid technical wrestling to start, but the match is fought at an overly patient pace and the crowd doesn’t really get that into it. Bret applies The Sharpshooter and looks to have it won, but Rude clobbers Bret whilst the ref is asking Hennig if he submits or not, leading to Hennig working over the leg of Bret. Hennig’s work looks fine here and Bret does a good job selling it, but the match just never really gets out of lower gear which, considering this is a featured match scheduled to go on later in the show, quite disappointing.
There’s nothing wrong with the match from a technical perspective and the story they are telling makes sense, with Bret getting the better of things in a fair fight until Rude’s involvement allows for Hennig to work some heat, but it’s just done in a rather uninteresting by-the-numbers way. If they’d never worked together before and they were just doing a match on Thunder or something then it’d be fine, but this is a pay per view and Hennig/Bret had produced some great matches in the WWF, so expectations are naturally elevated for this.
Bret eventually makes the comeback, although the crowd doesn’t really respond much to it. Man, Bret Hart had only been in WCW for four months at this stage and he was already just another guy on the roster. That’s ridiculous considering the buzz and interest surrounding Bret following Montreal and a testament to how badly WCW botched him. Hennig eventually gets the Spiffy-Plex, but Bret kicks out and Heel miscommunication not soon after leads to Bret applying The Sharpshooter for the submission win.
Thoughts: The wrestling here was fine but the crowd didn’t really care and it was a flat match overall. SummerSlam 1991 this was not
We get another instance of the Heels getting their heat back following the bout. You know, if you overdo Heels attacking a babyface post-match to get the heat back then it no longer succeeds in getting them their heat back and just actively makes the fans angry at the company instead of being mad at the Heel.
nWo Vs WCW
WCW World Title
Champ: Sting Vs Scott Hall w/ Dusty Rhodes
Hall won the World War 3 battle royal back in November and is finally getting the Title shot he earned from winning that match. He was supposed to get it back at SuperBrawl VIII but the controversy surrounding the Main Event of Starrcade meant that he had to wait another month. I don’t think anyone really bought that Hall might win, but he was a credible upper-mid-card guy that Sting could beat to show he was a deserving Champion.
They don’t get a lot of time to work with here, but they have a fun fast-paced match for the time they’ve been given, although Hall’s bumping and selling for Sting borders a bit on being cartoonlike at points. Dusty ends up distracting Sting, allowing Hall to nearly take Sting’s head off with a clothesline, leading to Hall working some heat for a bit. Sting sells that well and Hall’s offence looks decent.
Dusty even sneaks in with a Bionic Elbow at one stage whilst the ref is checking on Hall following a double down, but Sting kicks at two in a good near fall that gets a decent pop from the crowd. Sting starts Stingering Up following that, which the crowd is into, leading to some Stinger Splashes. Dusty gets involved again and that leads to the referee getting bumped, which allows Hall to hit Sting with an international object in another good near fall. The fans really bit on that, so they at least got the crowd to think Hall might win the belt. Hall tries The Edge following that, but Sting slips out and Scorpion Death Drop gives him the last gasp win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: STING
Thoughts: 8 Minutes isn’t a lot of time for a World Title match on pay per view, but for what the match was it was entertaining. A decent Nitro Main Event with a clean finish. Had it been the last match on the show then I think it would have been more egregious, but as there’s still the “real” Main Event to come and the babyface got to go over here, I think it’s fair to be somewhat lenient towards it
Sting gives Rhodes a crotch chop following that and leaves with his belt, which the crowd enjoys immensely. At least Sting got to beat an nWo guy and clean and didn’t end up getting battered afterwards.
A Spring Stampede video plays, comparing Goldberg to a bull. Well, Goldberg sure talked a lot of bull when it came to why he had to squash The Fiend on that Saudi show, but I digress.
nWo Vs nWo
Steel Cage – Pin and Submission Rules
Hollywood Hogan Vs Macho Man Randy Savage w/ Miss Elizabeth
Hogan and Savage had been chummy in the nWo with one another, but they had a falling out as 97 moved into 98, which Savage then escalated by costing Hogan a big match with Sting back at SuperBrawl VIII. Some in the group are taking Hogan’s side whilst others seem a tad more sympathetic to Savage, which is setting the stage for an eventual schism within the faction. Savage and Sting had been kind of aligned in the weeks prior to this show, even though Savage was still very much nWo 4 Life.
Oh hey, Voodoo Chile. Been a while since I’ve heard that for a Hogan match as it’s usually the (admittedly quite good) WWE Network knock-off version I have to listen to. This is a pretty rubbish brawl to be honest, with Hogan taking most of it. Savage gets decent reactions whenever Hogan is generous enough to let him have some offence, but it’s not like the match especially picks up that much when Savage is in control of things.
Hogan starts bleeding at one stage, but the commentary team completely ignores it for some reason, possibly because WCW was a bloodless company at the time for the most part so the commentary team didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that someone was bleeding? Savage is soon bleeding as well, which I honestly wasn’t expecting as you didn’t often get that on WCW shows from this timeframe. I’m guessing Hogan had enough pull that he was able to get this authorised by Bischoff?
They end up fighting outside the cage at one point, which doesn’t lead to the match ending due to the pin and submission rules. I really don’t see the point of that as it’s not like they were out there for that long and it felt like a completely random and unneeded diversion in the bout. Savage does get one very impressive spot at one stage by coming off the top of the cage with an Axe Handle Smash at one stage, which gets a big pop from the crowd and wakes them up after they’d been kind of bored of the match prior to that.
The Disciple (Brutus Beefcake) joins us following that and takes out the ref in order to make this a no contest. No, I don’t get how you end a cage match that way either. Sting comes down to back up Savage, but Savage turns on Sting and then storms out, thus give this rubbish match a thoroughly flat and disappointing finish just for good measure.
NO CONTEST (YES, IN A CAGE MATCH)
Thoughts: This didn’t work for me, Brother. The wrestling wasn’t especially good, the crowd reactions were disappointing and the finish was all kinds of awful. I’ll give it a star for the blood and the Axe Handle Smash off the top from Savage, but aside from that this was a lame way to close the show
Savage walks off following that, whilst Hogan is angry and states that Savage works for him. Savage walking the fence between babyface and Heel was an interesting direction for his character and he was wild and had a dangerous enough aura to kind of make it work, but it would have been nice if they could have found a way to do that whilst still giving us a pin fall finish in the cage match first. That would have involved Hogan doing a job to Randy Savage though, which was something that would have had to happen in an alternate universe somewhere.
The undercard here was more “good” than “great”, which meant it didn’t do as good a job of making up for the bunkum in the Main Event in order to improve on the overall rating for the show. That being said, the cage match was the only match on the show that I’d say was actively bad, with everything else being decent to good.
Steiner Vs Luger wasn’t amazing, but it only went 4 minutes and it was fine for a match with that run-time. The Triangle match was where the show peaked it was downhill from there, but there was still enough good stuff on here that I could just about recommend this one. I suggest shutting it off after the Hall Vs Sting match though unless you want your onions to be agitated.
Mildly recommended show