Before we get to the review, just wanted to remind you guys about my weekly column over at PlaceToBeNation.com. This week we take a look at Predator, and the last few weeks I was talking about how I first got into wrestling.
The documentary is great, but I’m a huge fan of wrestling docs & the nWo, so there isn’t more I could ask for. There’s recycled footage from The Monday Night Wars DVD, as well as Back in Black. But there’s also a good amount of fresh stuff from Dusty Rhodes, Matt Striker, Lex Luger [who looks like he hasn’t touched a weight in 10 years] Vince Russo, and quite a few others. I was very entertained, and only wished that it was longer, and included more talk about the Wolfpac era. But honestly, I guess they covered just about as much as they needed too. Now instead of reviewing it, I thought I’d talk about my favorite moments. Before I do, I’ll mention some of the other features from the first disc. They have Hall appearing on Nitro, as well as Nash. There’s Bischoff’s reveal as a member, when Giant get’s kicked out, and finally when the nWo showed up at No Way Out. Honestly, seeing this stuff really makes me kick myself for not getting the bluray, because it’s packed with more moments, and that’s what the nWo was all about.
Those who read my work, you know this story, so I apologize for going into re-runs. I became a wrestling fan in May 1995, and was die hard from the get go. I started with the WWE, and that was it. I HATED, absolutely HATED WCW. I thought they were low-rent crap. I thought their stars were a bunch of old has-beens, and couldn’t compete with the superstars of WWE. Now, over in the land of Titan, my two biggest heroes were Razor Ramon & Big Daddy Cool Diesel. So, you can imagine how absolutely torn up I was when I heard on the Ross Line that both were leaving for WCW. That night I was so upset, I cried. No joke. I cried as I ripped one of my many pictures of Razor off my wall.
But then it happened….he wasn’t going to WCW to wrestle, he was going to take over! OH MY GOD! See, I still thought wrestling was real. I thought, honest to God, that Razor & Diesel were going over to kick WCW’s pathetic ass. Then as they grew, I truly thought Ted Dibiase was funding the nWo, and the reason WCW wouldn’t have them arrested was because they were bringing in the ratings. Those were two points my mom would bring up “how are they making money? Why won’t WCW just arrest them?”. She never gave me shit for believing it was real.
So, you can imagine my love for the nWo. I was 12 years old, I was exactly the type of crowd they were reaching for. Young folk who could spend their parents’ money. Although I never did give a dime to WCW, except for one thing; Starrcade 1997. There was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to miss that match. To this day, Sting vs The nWo is still my favorite feud. Sure, the match was God-awful, but oh well. I even had this tale of the tape poster from a PWI Special that was all about the feud. I lost the poster years ago, but I actually found it online while working on this review. It’s the first time in years that I’ve found it online, so it’s a good day to be Caliber.
As the nWo was losing it’s steam, they went with The Wolfpac, which rekindled my interest all over again. I still remember taking like 3 hours one Saturday as my mom drove me from store to store to find a Wolfpac shirt. I ended up getting the all red with black nWo letters. I wore it every day at PE and felt like the World’s biggest bad-ass, who caused mass destruction, guess who’s here? The bad-boy of PE.
In 2002, I lost my shit when Vince turned around to reveal he was bringing in the nWo. I went out and bought 2 VHS tapes. On one I wrote ‘nWo Raw’ and the other ‘nWo Smackdown’. I’d watch the shows, and only record moments with the nWo. Youtube wasn’t around back then, and I thought I’d never see the classic nWo footage, so I swore I wouldn’t miss a second this time around. Of course, Hogan went good, and Hall left, so that was that.
In the end, I realize the nWo was a bunch of bullshit. Every match ended in a run-in, they did nothing but bury people, on and off screen, while rarely delivering in match quality. But honestly, I don’t care. I watch the old stuff and feel like I did 15 years ago, it never fails to entertain me the same way it did when I was younger. Because when you’re nWo, well, you’re nWo for life. And that is just too sweeeeet.
If you need any proof of how completely awesome this angle was, the announcers are PISSED that The Outsiders come out alone. Even though it gives WCW the advantage, they still want to see who the 3rd man is. Luger was originally involved, but he was taken out about 10 seconds in. This actually lead a lot to speculate that the 3rd man was in fact The Total Package. Dream says “Get’em Macho, who be bad now?”, to which Tony responds “You tell’em, Dream!”. Taking this literally, The Dream says “Who be bad now?” about 8 times in a row. It’s even more annoying than it sounds. Sting does a pretty smart move and drop-kicks Nash right on the knee, prompting Tony to scream “Sting just nailed him in the gut!”. We all know how the rest of the match goes. It’s too bad it was simply for the angle, because the match actually had a pretty good base to it.
Match ends at 16:55 when Hogan comes in and joins the New World Organization | ***
I will say, it’s weird seeing Hollywood Hogan without the big gold belt. Up until I saw Hogan & Rodman vs DDP & Malone, I had this pegged as the worst match I’ve ever seen. That was quite a while ago, so let’s see if things have changed. Although now I must admit that Zeus vs Abby from the WWC show is the worst I’ve ever seen. Anyway, Tony actually sums up this entire match with “Hogan has slowed the pace of this match down to a crawl”. Serious, the WHOLE match is nothing but stalling. I’ve never seen anything like it.
I mean, I suppose it’d work if the pace of the match picked up like Jarrett vs Shawn for the IC Title, but the pace of this match is just gonna go from crap to ass. The big spot in this match is a test of strength! I seriously don’t understand the pace of this match. The only reason you’d have a match like this is if one of the wrestlers were dead, and you needed to hide the fact. Honestly, I would have been a lot happier seeing the Giant wrestle in a pair of sunglasses.
Hulk Hogan hits the Giant with the title and snags the pin at 6 days, 2 hours, and 43 minutes. At least, that’s what it felt like. Records say it’s 14:55.
I would go dud, but this includes Brutus getting smashed with the cake. So, it’s gotta get a star for that. Also, you have to love the fact that the Giant literally lays there on the mat for 2 days while Hogan does this deal with Brutus. | *
This was a damn fine tag match, and perhaps the best I’ve ever seen from The Outsiders. There was a great amount of back & forth action, with each member getting in and out, as both teams traded momentum. Of course the ending was a bit deflating.
Nash clobbers Stevie with Col. Parker’s cane, allowing Hall to score the pin at 13:07 | ***
This is from nWo’s Saturday Night, means they filmed it before Nitro started. Actually, that would mean these guys would have been to work early, so this has gotta be afterward. Actually, that means these guys would have had to stick around after work. So, this is filmed in some alternate universe. Bounty Hunter is just your typical jobber-with-a-gimmick that you’d normally see on WCW’s Saturday Night.
Syxx takes him out with a jumping spin kick for the pin at around 3 minutes | *
I know a lot of people didn’t like Souled Out, and while it didn’t have a plethora of great matches, the style was awesome. The ring entrances for the WCW wrestlers were damn funny, and I thought Bischoff & DiBiase were honestly one of the best announcing teams I’ve ever heard. Decent match, nothing too exciting. The ending is pretty well done, with Nick Patrick being out, and the little southern ref Randy Anderson running in to make the count for The Steiners. It really gave a moment of WCW being triumphant for once. Of course it would be reversed the next night on Nitro, and Steiners never got their moment. Of course, when the straps were suppose to be switched at Road Wild 1997, they complained the switching of the titles was hurting their value. Yet they had no problems with Hulk Hogan getting the title back from Luger a week after he won it on Nitro.
Rick Steiner hits Hall with the Bulldog for the pin at 16:39 | **1/2Hollywood Hulk Hogan [C] vs Roddy Piper – WCW Championship – WCW Superbrawl VII, February 23rd, 1997
A lot of people don’t like their match at Starrcade, but I thought it was pretty entertaining, actually. Sure, not the greatest action, but the way Hogan & Piper were acting I felt made up for it. Now, apparently, Piper’s been hanging out on Alcatraz for a week for some reason. Why? I have absolutely no idea. This match is just about the same as the last one, but not nearly as entertaining. Piper puts Hogan down with the sleeper, but Macho pulls Hogan’s legs under the ropes and slips the tape brass knuckle thing on Hogan’s hand. Match restarts when ref sees Hogan’s legs under the ropes, Hogan clocks Piper, gets the pin. The crowd did not like that. Perhaps Piper should have stayed in Alcatraz for TWO weeks.
Hogan clocks Piper with brass knux that Macho gave him for the pin at 11:32 | **
Hogan taps to Lex Luger’s Torture Rack at 22:30 | DUD
Savage comes out dressed like a Slim Jim package, and that isn’t a joke. He really is. DDP comes out in Costume 2 from nWo/WCW Revenge, which is the jeans & rib-wrap. They fight out into the crowd, and there’s a dude in a pair of Zubaz who gets so excited he takes his shirt off while watching. If the match get’s any better, then the other patrons are gonna have a front row ticket for some hangdang. They brawl amongst the tombstone decorations, which is pretty cool, despite the stuff is obviously made of harmless material. They get back to the ring, where Macho takes a video camera, but that backfires. Elizabeth tries to interfere on Macho’s behalf, but Kimberly runs down to drag Liz to the back. After a Diamond Cutter, DDP appears to have it, but a Bogus Sting comes down to crack DDP in the ribs, putting him down for good. It’s one hell of a match, as Macho & DDP give their usual intensity. Seriously, WCW was just on fire during 1997. And this was all PG stuff, proving that it’s fantastic story-lines & wrestlers who give a damn that make for a great product.
DDP fails to answer the count of ten, giving Macho the win 18:07 | ****1/4
It’s better than their Starrcade match, I’ll say that. Although it isn’t saying much. Much faster paced, more action, and not completely one-sided. They give you the footage of what happened after Nitro went off the air, which is what also helps to make the whole thing for me. Hogan pulls the ref Randy Anderson in when Stinger’s going for the Splash, thus taking Randy out. Nick Patrick runs in, only for Sting to object. While he’s distracted, Hogan clocks him in the back of the head and goes for the roll-up, which Patrick counts for 3. Sting continues to beat up on Hogan however, slapping him in the Deathlock, in which he submits and Anderson calls for the bell. At that point, Bischoff comes out and says no way, laying the swift kicks to JJ “Who do you want, Sting? I have a contract here for you to fight Big Bubba!” Dillion. Sting gives Bish’ the Death Drop as the whole nWo runs down, and he does his best to fight them off before the rest of WCW make the save. The whole thing was damn entertaining, honestly. Of course, this whole debacle forced the belt to be declared vacant. With the rematch taking place at Superbrawl VII, finally giving Sting the belt once and for all. He’d go on to defend against Hall at the next PPV, then lose to Macho Man at Spring Stampede. Leading us to the next match.
Hogan submits to the SDL at 7:17 | ***1/4Hogan vs Macho Man [C] – No DQ for the WCW Championship – Monday Nitro, April 20th, 1998
There’s really no reason for this match to be good, but it really is. The night before Macho had defeated Sting for the title, after a 2 month reign. Honestly there’s never a bad time for Macho to be champ. He was always over, and always kicking ass. This match works because of Macho’s leg, with him constantly fighting against the odds of Hogan & The Disicple as well as his busted leg. There’s a great moment when Hogan puts him in the Figure 4, and the fans are so use to nWo run-in bullshit that everyone stands up and looks toward the entrance. Surprisingly however, no one comes down. Brutus gives the ref a neckbreaker, as he and Hogan double team Macho. Cool spot with Brutus giving Macho a stunner with the title on his shoulder. Nash finally shows up, Jackknifing Hogan. He throws Mach on top, only for Bret Hart to show up, wallop Nash, and roll Hogan on top of Macho.
Bret comes in and puts Hogan on top of Macho at 14:26 | ***
Sting vs The Giant – WCW Tag Team Championship – The Great American Bash, June 14th, 1998
This is where The Giant & Sting were tag champs, but since they are both in different nWo factions, they don’t want to hang together. So whoever wins this match gets both straps and chooses their partner. Giant is of course smoking, something I never really understood. It’s always shocking to see what shape the Big Show use to be in. I was dreading this match, to be honest, but it’s more than adequate. It’s not as long as it should have been, but they did a fine job with it. The Giant had the power over Sting at the beginning, but through using up every available chance he had, Sting was able to chop the Giant down. The top rope Death Drop was a nice touch. Oh, and Sting went on to choose Nash for his partner.
Sting nails Giant with a top rope SDD for the pin at 6:40 | ***
This was the last match I watched on the DVD because I was absolutely dreading it. It’s better than anytime Rodman got into the ring, I’ll admit that. You gotta love when Leno gets Hogan in the wrist-lock, and holds it forever as cameras soak up the moment. This match should have been about 5 minutes or so. Tops. Bright side? Leno & DDP do not dress alike.
Eubanks hits a Diamond Cutter on Hogan, giving Leno the pin at 14:34 | *
Team WCW vs Team nWo Hollywood vs Team nWo Wolfpac – War Games to determine the #1 contender for the WCW Championship – Fall Brawl, September 13th, 1998
It’s Bret & DDP first, followed by Sting, then Stevie Ray, Piper, Luger, and Nash. I stop at Nash, because he’s really the last entrant of when the match is actually a match and not pure ridiculousness. Hogan comes out about 2 minutes early, has the flapjack and literally knocks everyone out. Yet, he doesn’t pin anyone. It makes absolutely no sense. I think he fucked up and came out too early on accident, because now he’s just buying time as he waits for The Warrior. So, the ring fills with smoke, as The Renegade appears in a neato duster. More smoke. No Warrior. Oh snaps! Now the Warrior is here! God, this is so insulting. The Warrior literally wants us to believe he can vanish at will. So long as people’s vision happens to be obscured for an indeterminate amount of time. He’s used up his vanishing power, as he’s stuck in the cage now. He then breaks out, and chases Hogan. Managing to twist both ankles and tear both biceps. Well, perhaps on the flight home he’ll force the plane to take a nosedive into a hospital.
Page hits Stevie Ray with the Diamond Cutter for the win at 20:06 | *
I never understood why Goldberg needed an escort to the ring. Makes him look like a wuss. I love Bobby in the beginning of this “It’s all on the line! Goldberg’s streak, Goldberg’s title, Nash’s…………reputation!”. People can say what they want about Nash booking himself to win, but who the hell else could he count on? Plus, he was extremely over. Wolfpac was really hot at the time. What’s with all the goddamn run ins?! Can’t they just leave well enough alone for the World Title matches? I guess I shouldn’t ask so much from a company that did a complete 180 in every way possible in about 8 months. As for the match though, honestly, it’s not nearly as bad as it should have been. They both did as good as they could at this point, given who they’re both in the ring with.
Nash hits Goldberg with the Jacknife for the pin at 11:20 | **3/4
Mike Tenay says that last night at Starrcade, Goldberg got the short end of the stick. Yeah, losing a title is far worse than having your career ended. This match isn’t much, at all. The only highlight is Piper covering Goldberg for the 3 count and Bret winning the belt as a result. The thing lasted less than 6 minutes. Bret must have loved working these style of matches.
Piper pins Goldberg at 5:44 to give Bret the strap | *
Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock vs The nWo – RAW, March 11th, 2002
Geez, this is like a dream match you’d come up with in No Mercy or something. Absolute ridiculous the names all crammed in this bout, and it’s on free TV no less. This is the go home Raw for WrestleMania, so it makes sense now. If they would have given this match about 5-6 minutes more, we could have had a TV classic on our hands. Everyone busts their asses in this match, and I enjoyed it. The nWo did a great job of keeping The Rock on their side of the ring, using classic heel cheating bullshit and what have you. There was a ton of energy, and never any down time. A damn fine TV main event.
Dig it: It’s a great DVD. If you’re not a fan of the nWo, this isn’t going to change your mind. But if you are, then you’re going to really dig the hell out of this. As I said in the beginning, you should get the bluray. It has the Roundtable Discussion, and quite a few more moments, which is of course what the nWo was all about. The group is and always will be my all time favorite angle. I was the exact demo they were looking for, and I lapped it up. Before I go, there’s an Easter egg hidden on the DVD. It’s a clip of The Big Show saying something to the effect of “Was the nWo cool? No, it wasn’t fucking cool. It was the absolute worst thing for the business, and it ended up destroying the fucking company.”. I thought that was a pretty funny inclusion. Also, did X-Pac get a nose job? He looks odd.