WCW Spring Stampede 1999 (4/11/1999)- Tacoma, WA
Hello everyone, and welcome back to BRM’s Monthly “This Day in Wrestling History” Review Series. Last month I promised a show that had a good reputation, but in something of a sad way, so today we’ll be watching the show that many have referred to as “the last good WCW PPV.” Get ready for a blitzkrieg of action from WCW Spring Stampede 1999.
WINNER GETS A WCW CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH TOMORROW NIGHT ON NITRO: Juventud Guerrera vs. Blitzkrieg- 8/10
We start off with Tenay reminding us that these high-risk moves are dangerous, as Super Calo suffered a concussion due to a Sky-Twister Press on Thunder. Tony Schiavone responded to this by saying “who cares?” What a dick! I get that the idea was that he and Heenan were selling that they had been partying all week in Vegas, but Tony’s absolute callousness here was disgusting.
Remember when I said “a blitzkrieg of action” before? Do you get it now? In my defense, that pun was also a pretty accurate description of things, because as we’ll see the show will start off hot and slow down pretty quickly.
This was an all-action high-flying match that built very well. So well that even though we’ve now seen matches in the same length of time with three times as many MOVEZ, this match still holds up over twenty years later.
HARDCORE MATCH: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Hak (w/Chastity)- 7/10
There was one odd spot where Hak blocked a vertical suplex attempt then looked like he was trying for a DDT but Bam Bam didn’t go down the whole way and Hak was selling his knee at the end of it, but then Hak was walking around on the outside with no problem so I don’t know what the hell that was supposed to be. Other than that, this was a very good weapons match, though if you’re sensitive to people hitting each other in the head, you might want to stay away from this one.
Th most impressive spot in the match came early on. They had this goofy western set-up on the stage, including a stagecoach. Hak put Bam Bam on a table and climbed up on the stagecoach to jump off of it, at which point the thing started to rock horribly. It was not even close to being stable. Somehow, Hak still managed to jump off and hit the Rolling Rock perfectly.
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. SCOTTY RIGGS- 2.25/10
I’m not even sure why this was on the PPV. They didn’t botch anything, but it was never really exciting, either, and never had the chance to be because Riggs controlled most of it and Mikey never even got a real comeback. This was basically a TV match whose goal was to give Riggs a win and get over his new “look I great I look” character. It accomplished those goals, but it would have been a much better use of everyone’s time to do this tomorrow night on Nitro and give this time to Rey vs. Kidman, Booker vs. Steiner, or the tag match.
KONNAN vs. DISCO INFERNO- 5.25/10
Who is supposed to be the babyface here? We didn’t get too many clues from the video, but my inference is that it’s Konnan, because Disco appeared to be the instigator, mocking Konnan’s music video. Also, it was Disco who attacked Konnan when his back was turned to start this match off, but the announcers all seemed to be acting like Disco was the babyface.
Someone want to go confiscate that horribly racist “Konnan is a beaner” sign in the second row?
This was an okay back and forth match that never really got out of second gear. Konnan won clean, hitting Disco with his own move, so I’m still not sure who is supposed to be the babyface. Was that Konnan trying to humiliate Disco, or merely Disco getting his just desserts?
WCW CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Rey Mysterio Jr.(c) vs. Billy Kidman- 7.5/10
Rey was doing a tilt-a-whirl headscissors on the outside and smacked the back of his head into the overturned steps. That had to hurt like a mother*cker. They started out hot, slowed down a bit in the middle, and picked it up again for the end. They were definitely doing something of a “these guys are tag partners so they know each other very well” story, and my interpretation of things is that the slow parts played into that. Rey probably wasn’t expecting Kidman to go for a sleeper because no one would expect that from Billy Kidman. Having Kidman kick out of the move that Rey won the title with a few weeks ago was a nice touch. The fact that it was portrayed as happening because Rey was too cocky seems like it could have set up a third match, but Rey winning cleanly here makes that kind of hard to swing.
One thing I want to point out was the fans’ reaction when Kidman went up for the Shooting Star Press. They all rose out of their seat like they knew they were about to see something amazing. I can’t recall the last time I saw that happen for a move someone hits probably at least once a week on TV.
PERRY SATURN & RAVEN vs. THE FOUR HORSEMEN (Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko) (w/Arn Anderson)- 6/10
We got some loud “HORSEMEN SUCK!” chants early on here. Was not quite expecting that. This was fine for most of the match with a decent double-heat, but then they just started using weapons all willy-nilly for the last two minutes or so, no matter if the referee was looking or not.
Speaking of the referee, the other thing that drove me nuts here was the role of Charles Robinson. The announcers kept implying that that he was biased in favor of the Horsemen, but he didn’t do anything that would have come off as biased at all if the announcers hadn’t been pushing that narrative. That might all sound fine (a good crooked referee would be one we don’t even know for sure is crooked), except for the fact that Raven & Saturn were the first ones to use weapons, and if Robinson was biased, you’d think that he would take the first opportunity to give the Horsemen the DQ win- and especially if it was for something clearly should have been a DQ and thus shouldn’t arouse any suspicion at all. But that didn’t happen. He just stood there and watched Raven use a weapon in the middle of the ring.
WCW US TITLE TOURNAMENT VIDEO PACKAGE- Okay… now I’m even more confused about who is supposed to be a babyface and who is supposed to be a heel. Flair is the commissioner here and is coming across like a total babyface… but if Charles Robinson being biased towards the Horsemen is supposed to be part of the story, and Flair, as the authority figure, is the one who is assigning the referees, then Flair assigning him to the previous match should make him a heel (and Benoit, Malenko, and Arn were definitely acting like heels in that match). Who knows? Maybe the announcers were just making up the “Robinson is biased” thing on the fly and it wasn’t supposed to be a thing in this match (which should be a sign that they need to be removed from commentary immediately, but this is WCW, and discipline was not their strong suit).
WCW UNITED STATES TITLE TOURNAMENT FINALS: Booker T vs. Scott Steiner- 0.25/10
After Booker’s entrance but before the bell rang, Steiner found a woman at ringside who seemed completely physically incapable of doing anything other than stroking his pec and loudly shouting “WHOOOOOOOWHOOO!” Seriously. She did this about ten times in a row. She’s been the biggest heel on this show so far in my book.
We started off with a lot of stalling by Steiner, getting into it with fans in the front row. Even fans in Wolfpac shirts seemed to want to get in his face, which is weird because he’s currently a member of the Wolfpac. He even jumped the guardrail at one point.
After the stalling they got into the ring and did some wrestling. While Steiner was on top, he kept calling Booker T “boy.” Umm…yeah. Maybe that wasn’t the best of ideas.
They wound up on the outside for good chunk of the early part of the match. At one point Steiner hit Booker T with a chair right in front of the referee but was not DQed. And we know that there were DQs in this match because the announcers told us that Steiner needs to be careful to not get DQed. He would later pie-face the referee and also not get DQed. Soo afterwards, Steiner would choke the referee after a count he thought was too slow, then follow that up by kicking Booker in the Ts. Still no DQ. The announcer said that this was because the referee was scared that if he disqualified Steiner, Steiner would assault him and put him in the hospital. Shouldn’t there be some sort of security in place to stop this? Or at least some noble babyfaces willing tom come out and protect an innocent referee who is simply doing his job in an honest manner from this big bully who wants to subvert justice?
Booker’s back got worked over a bit by Steiner, and it seemed to have been already injured from Jericho’s Walls of Jericho and Steiner’s charishot on Thunder. Booker finally began to make a comeback but Steiner pulled the ref in the way of a clothesline to give us a ref bump. This didn’t stop Booker’s offense, but it did stop the fans from paying attention to the back, as they all immediately turned their heads to the ramp in anticipation of a run-in. Slowly, as more and more stuff happened in the ring and more time passed with no run-in, they began to turn their heads back in small groups, but it really is a bad sign if the moment there is a ref bump, the fans immediately turn to see who is going to run in.
Booker hit is stuff and got a visual pinfall but there was no ref to count it. Booker went to revive the ref but the moment the ref got up, Steiner sandwiched him between himself and Booker again for a second ref bump. Booker stilled controlled things until Steiner cut him off by crotching him on the top rope. He hit a Frankensteiner, then pulled the referee over. The referee was unconscious enough that he needed Steiner to raise and drop his arm for the counts, but was somehow conscious enough to see that Booker kicked out at two and to show the people that… and then he immediately became unconscious again.
Finally, a second referee came out, but instead of jumping in to officiate the match, he began tending to the first one, and thus missed Steiner countering a vertical suplex by punching Booker with a foreign object in his hand. Steiner then pulled the first referee back into the ring, and the first referee slowly counted the pin. Well why even have two referees, then, if the second one isn’t even going to do anything? This was just an absolutely mess of a match, with tons upon tons of stupid sh*t outweighing the little good that there was. I enjoyed parts of it a little too much to give it a dud, but only just.
REY MYSTERIO JR. AT THE WCW.COM BOOTH- We could barely hear a word that Rey or the non-Schiavone interviewer said.
GOLDBERG vs. KEVIN NASH (w/Miss Elizabeth & Lex Luger)- 6/10
So bell rings… and NOW Nash decides that he needs to grab a microphone and do a G-d damn catchphrase. Why didn’t you do that BEFORE Goldberg’s entrance? Or, even better, DON’T DO IT AT ALL BECAUSE YOU’RE THE HEEL AND WE DON’T WANT PEOPLE SHOUTING ALONG TO YOUR F*CKING CATCHPHRASE!”
Anyway, this was NASH vs. GOLDBERG, the big rematch from Starrcade, with Goldberg trying to avenge his only loss, dirty though it may have been. And the fans care so much that they were quickly distracted by something going on up in the corner of the arena.
Liz hopped up on the apron to distract the referee, allowing Has to hit a low blow. The fans started chanting for Sting. Is he involved in this feud, or are the fans just not giving a sh*t? The video package didn’t show me anything other than these two hitting their finishers over and over again. Nash got in about a bit of offense, then Goldberg made his comeback, hit two moves and two punches then went for the spear. Nash leapfrogging it was a cool spot, and led to a ref bump that I wouldn’t have hated if we hadn’t gotten so many in the previous match.
Luger hit Goldberg in the back with a chair. Nash set up for the Jackknife but Goldberg blocked it by grabbing Nash by the scrotum. Luger came in to save Nash but got beaten up, then Goldberg hit Nash with a spear and a Jackhammer for the win. I like my big matches to go a lot longer than the 7:44 that this went, but as a quick little thing where Goldberg gets revenge on some of those who wronged him during the time spanning from Starrcade 1998 to the Fingerpoke of Doom, this was pretty good.
FATAL FOUR-WAY MATCH FOR THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE WITH RANDY SAVAGE AS THE SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE: Ric Flair(c) vs. Diamond Dallas Page vs. Sting vs. “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan- 6.25/10
Savage, the special guest referee, decided that being a special guest referee was the right time to debut his new valet, the as of yet unnamed Gorgeous George. Actually, I’m not even sure Savage realizes he’s supposed to be the referee here. He’s not wearing a striped shirt. He turned out to be a pretty bad referee, as his TKO count was MUCH faster than his pinfall count. Also, there was a point ehre he was giving everyone the TKO count and only Page made it back to his feet, which you’d think would mean that Page won, but Savage took no action of any kind, which makes you wonder why he was even applying the count in the first place.
Hogan’s knees got worked over as if he were the babyface. The crowd also reacted to Hogan as if he were the babyface. Really? Just over three months after the Fingerpoke of Doom and Hogan turned babyface? I know this is post-1998 WCW but COME ON! That can’t possibly have actually happened, can it?
Hogan had to be carried to the back at one point. Bischoff came out to check on him, which I assume was done to make us assume it’s a shoot, because if Flair is kayfabe in charge of WCW then why would Bischoff even have a job?
Anyway, the other three wrestled for a while. Flair got the Figure Four on Sting but Savage hit Flair with an elbow drop for no reason that I can discern. Then came the aforementioned spot where Page was the only guy to beat the ten-count but nothing happened. Page then worked over Sting’s knee a bit, then ducked a chop and hit Flair with a Diamond Cutter to win his first world title, to a veryunderwhelming pop, considering that he was a top babyface winning his first world title in a match with three of the company’s biggest names. The match itself was equally underwhelming. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t what you’d hope for in a PPV main event with four top names going almost eighteen minutes.
When looking at the total of the scores on this show I guess it does fit the reputation as being a “good” show (albeit only mildly good), but the way the card starts off hot and then slows down by match three makes it feel a lot worse than it actually was, especially with the disappointing main event and the sh*t-show that Booker vs. Steiner turned into. As for the second part of its reputation, my total confusion as to who I am supposed to be rooting for is a good example of one of the many reasons that WCW would be dead within two years of this show, and their constant attempt at quick fixes via hot-shotting and screwy finishes like we saw in the main event was another reason why the company would never put on a good PPV- because they always kept screwing up the finishes in a desperate bid to draw eyeballs. Next month we’ll be getting away from the whole hot-shotting and silliness, but going to a promotion that still had some problems with people keeping up with who was in which faction… but at least with Gabe Sapolsky booking we can be assured that sh*t will make sense, even if it is hard to keep track of.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Schiavone pointed out that even if Booker loses tonight, he’ll still be a champion because he’s already the WCW TV Champion. Mike Tenay then described this as a “win-win” situation for Booker T.
No! No, it’s not “win-win,” Mike. A win-win situation requires both outcomes to be new! It’s not a win-win for Booker if a loss means he fails to win a championship and just maintains his status quo. Losing this match is not a win for Booker! Hell, even if you reject my argument about the nature of a “win-win scenario,” Tenay (and Schiavone, too) are ignoring the following obvious logical result of Booker losing to Steiner here: Steiner will have beaten the WCW TV Champion clean and thus be in line for a title shot against him, so a loss does, in fact, have negative consequences for Booker (other than the obvious fact that he will have failed in his quest to become US Champion, of course).
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