Souled Out 1997
Date: January 25, 1997
Location: Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase
This was requested a long time ago and I never got around to doing it. This is a very different kind of show as it’s the first and more or less only official NWO PPV. And when I say NWO PPV, I mean full on. The ring is different, there’s a house band, an NWO beauty pageant, all WCW vs. NWO matches and a guy making jokes about WCW guys on their way to the ring. It’s way out there but definitely intriguing. Let’s get to it.
We open with a black and white video of a full police escort bringing people to the arena. It’s really hard to see anything and we get the old school style NWO promos. You can’t see anyone’s faces until they get into the arena. Hogan has the Dallas Cowboys with him for some reason.
The main event here is Hogan vs. Giant for the title, which makes limited sense to me as he fought Piper at the last PPV. They always had this weird concept of have Starrcade then have Souled Out as a completely different theme of show and then have Superbrawl to complete the trilogy of S-named shows.
The set is completely different looking than most shows with big lights saying New World Order and a bunch of steps. Nick Patrick is the referee for every match tonight which must be tiring.
Chris Jericho vs. Masahiro Chono
Chris is billed as “from somewhere north of the border, Chris “I should have played hockey” Jericho”. It’s the same voice that would say the-the biggest icon in wrestling in the NWO theme song. Chono was part of NWO Japan which became Team 2000 when the angle ended. The WCW guys get no theme music.
Patrick accuses Jericho of pulling hair right off the bat. Jericho is more or less nothing at this point so this should be a glorified squash for Chono. A bunch of WCW guys come out to sit in the audience, including Anderson and Harlem Heat and a bunch of others. Eric says they didn’t have to give away tickets to fill the place. Considering how bad things got in about two or three years, that’s hysterical.
Nice side Russian legsweep by Chono as the glorified squash theory is right so far. Nice plancha by Jericho to the floor as Chris is giving it a go at least. After some stuff on the floor where Jericho hurts his knee we get some knee work from Chono in the ring. Kind of boring but not bad so far. The idiot fans chant USA as Jericho hits an enziguri.
Bischoff decided jump back leg round kick is a better name than enizguri. And hey, anyone that follows tournament karate knows that right Tony? Dragon screw leg whip (dang some moves have long names) sets up the STF which doesn’t work. VERY slow count by Patrick off a German by the Canadian to the Japanese as the fans chant USA. Is that joke getting old? I can never tell.
They botch a belly to belly off the top which kills the crowd pretty badly. Chono busts out a table which is a very different thing here in 1997, especially for mainstream wrestling. Jericho reverses a suplex through it and hits a missile dropkick for two which actually was fair.
Lionsault gets two in another fair count as his knee is hurt badly here. He goes up again but gets caught by the Mafia Kick. Oddly enough that doesn’t knock him off so Chono has to shove him through the table. Another Mafia Kick in the ring kills Jericho dead for the pin.
Rating: C+. This wasn’t as bad as I expected. Wait why would I think this was bad? You have two of the best ever in there and we got a pretty good match. It was more competitive than I expected is probably a better explanation. Solid stuff here for the most part but nothing incredible.
We get a bit of the Miss NWO stuff. Some radio shot host named Jeffrey Katz is the host. Basic questions are asked, the girls are stupid, the word fellatio is used. Yeah that sums things up pretty well I’d think.
Big Bubba vs. Hugh Morrus
This is Dungeon vs. NWO as Bubba jumped so the Dungeon is after him. This is a Mexican death match despite the lack of Mexicanocity. No intro for Morrus at all. Morrus looks like Big Dick Dudley. Ok then. The whole death match aspect here is never really explained but whatever. Morrus hits a clothesline to put Bubba on the floor.
Bubba finds a chain from somewhere and whips Morrus with it. We’re told that a Mexican Death Match means anything goes. No Laughing Matter hits and of course no cover. Oh ok it’s more or less last man standing. Patrick counts as slowly as possible so Morrus gets after him.
Boss Man gets back up and does nothing but really basic punches and strikes. Morrus just blasts him with a low blow and Bubba heads out for a walk. We go to the stage where Morrus misses a moonsault, which was completely messed up anyway so they would have been on top of each other. Bubba grabs a motorcycle and runs down Morrus Rikishi style to of course end it.
Rating: D. Kind of just a brawl here with Bubba not doing much at all. Naturally this had no point and would only be on this PPV and this one alone. This went nowhere and the ending was really stupid. At least it was short. Whenever we get to that point it’s never a good sign.
The NWO chicks are still stupid. This is five minutes that nothing is coming from.
There’s an NWO website. Nice job updating it to remove the guy not in the team anymore.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Mr. Wallstreet
Oh wow this is going to be bad isn’t it? Wallstreet gets a bad rollup to start for two as Jarrett argues with Patrick. Basically it’s a handicap match with the announcers praising the FAR over the hill Wallstreet. Debra, in the audience, likes Jarrett. Jarrett goes into the audience and no one cares.
Sleeper goes on as Debra is trying to get Mongo to do something. Far too many rest holds in this as we’re on our third in like a minute and a half. Eric says the crowd is getting anxious. Ok so in the NWO language anxious means bored out of your mind and wanting to crack your freaking skull open to end the pain of this match.
This is during the Jarrett wants to be a Horseman period which went a grand total of nowhere. Anderson is kind of scouting Jarrett at this point but it’s not like he’s going to get much here. Wallstreet is just boring beyond belief. Figure four goes on and Patrick literally drags them to the ropes so Wallstreet can get the break. Wallstreet gets an abdominal stretch as Mongo jumps the guardrail and DRILLS him with his briefcase and threatens to revoke Patrick’s parking pass if he doesn’t count the pin.
Rating: F. Yeah this was awful. Rotunda (Wallstreet) was just worthless by this point and Jarrett as a face is just boring beyond all comprehension. Horrible match.
The pageant is still going! It’s just them answering questions like you would see in a beauty pageant but they’re biker chicks and not attractive and stupid.
And now we have a song. Yeah the house band does some weird metal/bad rock song where the only recognizable worlds are NEW WORLD ORDER. It’s as stupid as it sounds.
Buff Bagwell vs. Scott Riggs
Bagwell had very recently turned black and white so this is the blowoff I guess. I don’t know about you but I was begging for that American Males showdown. Bischoff talks about how Bagwell has the IT factor and is going to be a movie star according to Hogan. That’s rich. Buff channels his inner Hogan and poses so Riggs jumps him to start us off. And now we stall.
The constant camera cuts are reaching TNA levels here. They’re doing a weird handheld look here and it’s really not working at all. Apparently Buff has a new move for us tonight. He slaps Riggs and it’s on. Buff is sent to the floor which isn’t a DQ here for no apparent reason. I hate that rule but love how they constantly change it.
Eric: “Everybody has to go somewhere. Horses have glue factories and people here have Connecticut.” And then there’s Orlando I guess. Amazingly enough, this is a fairly boring match. Bagwell leads the fans in a Bagwell Sucks chant for some reason. He gets a powerbomb for two. This match is just rather boring. We get an back shot of Buff off a sunset flip attempt.
And now let’s look at the biker chicks again. Sure why not. Bischoff points out that the fans are restless and I’m rather surprised. This match would be perfect for me to get some rest to. It’s putting me to sleep. Riggs reverses a slam into a small package for a long two. The crooked referee schtick is getting very old.
Tornado DDT puts Buff down and Riggs of course doesn’t cover. Eric picks New England for the Super Bowl which was the wrong selection of course. After some more camera cuts and more slow counting, the fans are miserable. Patrick is tired here and I can’t really blame him for that. They go to the corner and Buff debuts the Blockbuster to end this. Yes, this got 14 minutes.
Rating: F+. And that’s just because I love the Blockbuster. This was incredibly boring and not even a fast paced match. At the end of the day, this was Marcus Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs for almost 15 minutes on PPV. There is no way that works no matter what you say.
Yeah we get it: the girls are stupid.
There’s an NWO hotline. What’s on it? FIND OUT ON NITRO!
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Scott Norton
So Page turned down the NWO and became a MASSIVE face in the process so the ending here is about as obvious as you could ask for. Norton is strong of course. Page isn’t quite his usual self at this point but it’s coming very soon. Page vs. Savage would ignite his career and make him the superstar that he would become. He’s moving here which is odd to see.
And we still get it: Norton is strong. They keep talking about taking over Japan which was a thing hyped for awhile and then it never happened of course. Page pancakes him (Piledriver but he slams them forward instead) but Norton’s power takes over again. I never got why he was supposed to be all awesome or something. Sting is in the corner of the building so the whole match is thrown off course now.
Shoulder breaker sends Page to the floor and he’s in trouble. He gets beaten up a good bit on the floor as the PA guy calls Page a loser which has happened in every match so far tonight. All Norton for awhile but Page punches his way out of it and hits a nice top rope clothesline for two.
Page calls for the Diamond Cutter but here come a bunch of the weaker NWO guys led by Bagwell to offer the spot on the team to him again. He says yes and puts the shirt on before dropping Norton and then, in an actual SMART move from a face, gets the heck out of there before they kill him. Norton wins by countout I’d assume. Yeah he does.
Rating: D. Boring match but Page was trying at least. Like I said his big old push was coming soon and to say it worked is an understatement. This was obviously just to set up the angle at the end and the match was pretty bad because of it. That clothesline was good though.
We narrow it down a bit in the pageant. There’s just nothing to say about this.
Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. Steiner Brothers
This was built up forever and included attempted vehicular manslaughter by the heels. I mean there was a video of the two teams in their cars and the Outsiders ran them off the road. The Scotts start us off with various levels of arm work. These camera angles are really getting annoying as it’s hard to tell what we’re looking at sometimes. And let’s talk about Hogan.
Rick vs. Hall now. And now back to the arm. Rick gets out of it by punching Hall in the face. Again, when all else fails: HIT THEM IN THE FACE! Chokeslam gets Hall out of trouble and here’s Nash. They don’t exactly look energetic out there if that makes sense. Scott hits that spinning belly to belly and now more arm work. Everyone has had the arm worked on at various times here.
This has been half punches, half arm work and half suplexes. There were occasions where both were going on at the same time. BIG boot puts Rick on the floor. The ring color is very offputting here. This is your usual slow and plodding Outsiders match with not a lot going on but a lot of time wasting, which technically is something I guess. And now let’s yell at DiBiase because we don’t care about the match.
Nash misses an elbow which takes us nowhere. Scott reaches out to Rick but Rick is facing the wrong way. Maybe Scott wants to take up proctology. Snake Eyes on the apron as we’re on the floor now. It’s Nash and Rick still if you’re wondering. Scott Steiner drills the other Scott and drops a bunch of F Bombs. Good night this needs to get going already.
Scott FINALLY comes in and beats up anyone that enjoys being outside with ease. Everything goes nuts and Scott gets the Razor’s Edge to Scott but there’s no referee. Top rope bulldog ends Hall and Randy Anderson comes in out of the crowd and counts the pin. If you’re stupid enough to think this lasted through Nitro the next night, you’re a very stupid person.
Rating: D+. Just rather boring again as the Outsiders couldn’t move at all and it just isn’t interesting to see them fight. Nothing special at all here as this DRAGGED. It’s the longest match of the night at fifteen minutes almost and it felt like a lot more than that. The screwjob ending doesn’t help much either but not a lot is going to help this show at this point.
US Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Syxx
Remember what I said about nothing being able to help this show? I still think that’s correct but this isn’t going to hurt it any. Eddie is champion here but Syxx has the title itself. Oh and it’s a ladder match. The lack of music for the faces is really weird. Syxx is of course introduced as US Champion of the World. Bischoff calls him a one man rock concert. Oh dear he’s almost Heath Slater.
Eddie jumps him as the belt is being lifted up into the air. That would be cheating right? Wow even I find the jokes and writing in this review boring at this point. I think that might be due to this show just being weak so far. It’s different for sure but there’s just nothing of note in the ring so far. Granted that could be said about almost all WCW PPVs from this era.
BIG dive from Eddie sends Syxx’s head into the ground and HARD. Easily the biggest spot of the night so far but that looked very bad. Waltman (that other name is irritating for some reason) hits a spin kick off the second rope as the crowd is at least awake to an extent here. Bronco Buster hits Eddie but it’s just one shot at this point so it’s not as annoying yet.
Eddie hits a dropkick and Waltman goes FLYING. You would think he was catching a cannonball or something off that. Some LOUD fan shouts a gay slur at Eddie and even Eric has to respond to it. Big suicide dive by Waltman and the crowd is clearly restless even though this has been a pretty decent match so far. Well granted that’s based on like six minutes or so but it’s a breath of freaking air after watching Scott Norton and Scotty Riggs on PPV.
Scott Hall made ladder matches awesome. Did you know that? Teeter Totter shot to Waltman’s head and Eddie controls pretty easily here. It becomes your standard what vile things can we do with a basic piece of hardware match which is always pretty entertaining, especially with talented guys like Eddie and pretty good guys like Waltman. He’s off here because of the head shot earlier though I think.
Big old top rope suplex from Eddie as Waltman looks a little dead at the moment. Both guys go up and Waltman does something I’ve never seen before, jumping into the air and hitting a dropkick (kind of and closer to that than whatever Bischoff called it) to Eddie which looked great. Waltman of course crashed like a car driven by a penguin with bad eyesight.
Waltman can barely move as Eddie cranks it up again. Both guys go up as Eric says do it for Alice in Chains. Both guys go up and grab the belt at the same time. Eddie drills him with it and they both fall, but Guerrero holds onto it to get the title back for good this time.
Rating: B-. Match of the night BY FAR. This was actually good with these two being able to have some time and show off a bit. This was pretty good but nothing great. See what happens when you have two young guys out there and give them something where they can show off? YOU GET A GOOD MATCH!
The pageant begins (what?) and ends with a fat chick getting to make out with Eric. Again as stupid as it sounds.
WCW World Title: Hollywood Hogan vs. The Giant
The pyro for Hogan is set to his music which is pretty cool looking. The Cowboys are with him again here. No t-shirt for Hogan which is weird to see. Nate Newton is here as is George Teague. Oh and Ray Donaldson. Other than to big Cowboys fans only one of those names will mean a thing. Hogan is tiny looking here which is very weird to say the least.
I don’t mean because he’s against Giant. I mean his muscle mass is WAY down. Punches just tick Giant off. This is happening because Giant won World War III and Hogan said no title shot, thereby ticking Giant off. He was the first to leave the team after being in it like three or four months. And Hogan stalls. He begins his offense with punches before shifting slightly to harder punches and then going full boar with very hard punches.
Why does every move have to be heard around the world? Double clothesline and both guys are down already. Giant takes over and Hogan overacts. That’s always weird as he never acted at all as an actor but as a wrestler he acts far too much. Shoulder block gets nothing for Hogan and Hogan actually tries a small package. You see something new every day I guess.
It looked cool too as Giant just kind of held him there when he was trying to roll through with it. I love basic counters like that which get to show off someone’s power and size. After some very basic and weak looking heel stuff from Hogan, Giant goes up for a top rope elbow which misses of course as it would have hit Hogan so far that the hair inside Hogan’s skull would have popped out and his image would have been ruined. It also would put a lot of bandana companies out of business.
Giant no sells a big boot. Ok that’s pretty freaking cool. A weak slam (but still a slam nonetheless) sets up the legdrop which is completely no sold. Hogan parades around and doesn’t seem to notice the lack of Giant laying there. Chokeslam kills Hogan dead but Patrick keeps saying the shoulder was up even though he doesn’t move.
The run-ins begin of course and Giant piles them up like a chronic hoarder. The announcers hit the ring too until Hogan gets a (real) guitar as Hall and Nash get there. Good to see Hogan get rid of Giant with the instrument or the Outsiders might have had to do two things in one night! The fans want Sting which does nothing. Spray paint job ends this. The match was just thrown out I guess.
Rating: D-. This was their usual boring match that had nothing of note for it. It felt like the main event of a house show with the shoulder not being up thing but it’s better than the fake shoulder injury concept I guess. Another boring match to cap off a very boring show though.
The copyright says NWO which is a nice little touch.
Overall Rating: F+. I’ve seen some people say that this show is recommended because it’s so different. Well yeah that’s true it is different. It’s somehow more annoying and stupid than the rest of WCW’s stuff around this time. There’s one good match out of like eight and even it’s nothing worth going out of your way to see. The atmosphere is most certainly different and it’s true that there never really has been another show like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth seeing. Bad show and different, but not worth watching.