On This Day: May 17, 1998 – Slamboree 1998: They’re In BIG Trouble

Slamboree 1998
Date: May 17, 1998
Location: The Centrum, Worcester, Massachusetts
Attendance: 11,592
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

It’s a month after Spring Stampede and as you know already, Hogan is champion again. Therefore, he’s not on the card tonight. The main event is a tag title match with Sting/Giant vs. the Outsiders. Also we have an open challenge from Eric Bischoff to Vince McMahon, which is a very interesting story which I’ll get to later on. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is a bunch of shots of main event guys with words popping up on the screen.

The announcers talk to open the show. Hart vs. Savage tonight too with Piper as guest referee. Hart cost Savage the title to Hogan apparently. Also Giant has joined the NWO (again) and wants to win the titles with Sting and have Sting join the black and white.

We now get to the real focus of the show: Eric and Vince. So Eric issued a challenge to Vince on Nitro. On Thunder, Eric read a letter from Vince, saying that it was illegal to imply Vince would be at the PPV. Now here’s where it gets good. Vince SUED Bischoff for false advertising, because it was still being implied that Vince would be there, which is how things work in wrestling. WCW settled out of court, allegedly for A LOT of money.

TV Title: Fit Finlay vs. Chris Benoit

Finlay is defending and has the referee take the belt off of him. He shoves Benoit so Benoit chops him HARD. Finlay goes to a top wristlock and pushes Benoit down with it but a great looking bridge keeps Benoit off the mat. Benoit tries the Crossface but Finlay reverses into an armbar. The fans are all over Finlay here. Benoit fights out of that and hooks a hiptoss for two.

They chop it out, resulting in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Chris. Fit’s Boston Crab attempt is countered but he clotheslines Benoit down and out to the floor. The champ works on the shoulder and then a rear chinlock back in the ring. Benoit escapes via an electric chair drop but Finlay is up first. Off to a reverse chinlock for a bit and they head to the floor. Benoit hits him in the back with a chair which is ok I guess. He sets for a suicide dive but Finlay holds up the chair and Benoit’s head crashes into it. I cringe a bit every time I see stuff like that now.

Back in, Finlay clotheslines him down again and it’s time for the chinlock. This one is shorter as Benoit kicks him off, shoulder first into the corner. Rolling Germans take Finlay down but he counters the third by ramming Benoit’s throat into the rope. A quick Crossface attempt is escaped but Benoit hits the snap suplex.

He loads up the Swan Dive but here’s Booker T. He doesn’t do anything but Benoit’s distraction allows Finlay to shove Benoit off the top. Back in a small package gets two for Benoit. He’s been using a lot of those quick rollups here. And never mind as Finlay hits the Tombstone out of nowhere for the pin to retain the title.

Rating: C+. Pretty good match here and a solid opener, although cutting two or three minutes off would have made it better. Finlay is a guy that the more I see the more I like as he was a very stiff kind of wrestler which is the kind of stuff I tend to like. Benoit of course could go move for move with Finlay so that worked out fine. Good opener but it ran a bit long.

Jericho doesn’t care who he’s facing in the title match tonight. It’s decided by a battle royal later tonight.

Brian Adams vs. Lex Luger

Adams is the latest NWO lackey. I think this is somehow connected to the Steiners but I’m not sure what Heenan is talking about. Luger punches him immediately and knocks Adams to the floor. He goes after Adams’ shoulder, which is payback for Rick Steiner it seems. Lex calls for the Rack but stops to beat up Vincent, which lets Adams hit a piledriver to change the momentum. They go to the floor for a bit and back inside, Brian hits a backbreaker for two. Legdrop gets the same and then they clothesline each other. Vincent gets knocked off the apron and the Rack gets the tap out.

Rating: D. This had no business being on PPV. It should have been on Nitro or something, but I guess it filled in the six minutes that they needed. I’m still not 100% sure what happened with Steiner but I guess that’s because I haven’t watched the Nitros leading up to this. Luger’s push would eventually land him in the Wolfpack because…..well because Luger was a popular face.

Saturn says there’s no gauntlet match tonight. He’s fighting Goldberg on his own. What about Saturn? What about him?

Battle Royal

Super Calo, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Ciclope, Damien, El Dandy, El Grio, Juventud Guerrera, Marty Jannetty, Kidman, Evan Karagis, Lenny Lane, Psychosis, Silver King, Johnny Swinger, Villano IV

There are fifteen cruiserweights in it and the winner gets Jericho for the title immediately thereafter. Jericho did some funny intros for all of them. You can be eliminated by pin or being thrown out of the ring, be it through or over the ropes. Karagis is put out first by Kidman. Everyone is doing little stuff to open things up as you would expect. Swinger is out and El Grio, a fat guy, goes up and takes a few guys down but not out.

Silver King went out somewhere in there. Lane and El Dandy have a short mini-match and Dandy backdrops Grio out. I think there are ten or eleven left in there. Someone puts Jannetty out and Damien eliminates Villano. There are eight left now. Lane poses on the ropes and gets knocked out as well. Damien tries to walk the ropes like an idiot and deserves the elimination he gets.

Chavo dropkicks Dandy out so we have Chavo, Psychosis, Kidman, Ciclope and Juvy. Kidman low bridges Chavo to get us down to four. Psychosis misses a charge in the corner and eliminates himself. Juvy dumps Kidman and it’s down to Guerrera and Ciclope. They stare each other down for a LONG time, shake hands, and Juvy eliminates himself. More on this in a second.

Rating: C. This was fine all things considered. The match only ran about eight minutes and the whole point was the surprise ending, and then the bigger surprise a few seconds later. There weren’t very many big spots here, but everyone got out fast enough. There’s not much to complain about or praise here so we’ll say it’s right in the middle.

Jericho gets in the ring and Ciclope immediately takes off his mask to reveal…..DEAN MALENKO. This gets an eruption from the crowd. See, the idea is that Jericho beat Malenko and Malenko left out of frustration. Jericho spent two months running his mouth about Malenko, so no one had seen Dean since March. People wanted to see him come back and beat the stuffing out of Jericho, and now Jericho had nowhere to run. It got people to care and the response is awesome.

Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho freaks out and Dean hammers on him, going off like he never has before in his WCW career. Jericho tries to wrestle but Dean just pounds him down time after time. Juvy is cheering at ringside. Dean throws Jericho into the barricade but Chris gets in some shots as Dean gets back in. Dean is like screw that and pounds Jericho down in the corner again. The champ finally gets a breather off a hot shot.

A senton backsplash puts Dean down but he doesn’t get covered. The crowd is all over Jericho here. Suplex gets two. Lionsault gets the same. A backbreaker looks to set up the Liontamer (the move that put Dean out) but Malenko counters into a quick ankle lock. Jericho gets to the rope and hits a jumping back elbow for two. Dean comes back AGAIN and beats Jericho’s head in. I’m liking this violent version of him. Jericho puts him on top but gets caught in the super gutbuster. The Texas Cloverleaf goes on and Jericho finally taps out, drawing one of the best pops from this era of WCW.

Rating: B. The match was just ok but the reaction is GREAT. This is what you call a well crafted story with a perfect ending in Jericho tapping out. Since this is WCW they screwed it up by giving Jericho the title back in two weeks but this worked very well. I think ti’s one of those storylines that would have been better had you went through the buildup though.

A white limo arrives as shown by, I kid you not, the Vinnie Mac cam. Tony takes shots at JR while we find out it’s not Vince.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven

This is a Bowery Death Match, which means last man standing in a cage which has weapons inside. There’s a top on the cage too which makes it even better. Raven comes out with a bunch of guys in riot squad gear. Page goes fast to start and rams Raven’s head into the buckle over and over. Raven manages to send him into the cage to escape and things slow down.

Raven pours out his first bucket of weapons and picks a bullrope. Page clotheslines him down and takes the rope himself which goes around Raven’s neck. The other end of the rope goes around the top of the cage and Raven hangs him up from the cage, pulling on the rope with all of his weight. That gets an 8 so Page breaks a VCR over his head (holy stolen ECW spot Batman! It was bounced off Raven’s head in both companies).

Page goes after him again and is kicked into the trashcan, putting both guys down now. Bird Boy hits Page twice with the can for about a seven count each time. Cookie sheet shots do about the same. Raven puts on a sleeper but Page kicks away, knocking the referee down in the process. Another sleeper attempt results in a jawbreaker and the drop toehold onto the chair to Raven.

The Flock breaks through the riot squad and bring boltcutters with them. Van Hammer, recently thrown out of the Flock, pops up from under the ring and beats them up with a stop sign before any real damage can be done. A riot squad member hits Hammer and the rest of them get him out of here. Page is up and beating on Raven but the riot squad comes in anyway. It’s Kidman and Horace but there are two more somewhere else.

Page knocks Horace down and Diamond Cuts Kidman off the cage that Kidman was hanging from (looked awesome). They slug it out a bit more (that would be Raven and Page in case you’ve lost track) and Raven hits a Diamond Cutter on Page for about 8. A chair shot misses Page and the real Diamond Cutter gets the win for Page.

Rating: C. Decent brawl and I think it was the blowoff to the feud. If not it should be because there’s nothing else that Page can overcome in this feud. It wasn’t great though as it was more about the other guys than the two in the match which hurt it a good bit. Still though, entertaining enough and Page won in the end which is the right idea.

Post match another riot squad member comes in and cuffs I think Sick Boy to the cage before cuffing Raven and attacking him. He unmasks to reveal…..Mortis. Then he unmasks as Chris Kanyon who isn’t named yet. With Raven cuffed to the cage, Kanyon hits him with the chair (Chairshot heard round the world? What’s that?). Apparently Kanyon had been seen as a vendor lately at TV shows.

Back to the Vinnie cam which includes people being checked as they come in to make sure they’re not WWF guys.

Ultimo Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero

If Dragon wins, Chavo is freed from his uncle’s control. They go to the mat to start with Eddie in control. He gets a test of strength grip and drops onto Dragon’s bridge but can’t break it. That’s always cool to see. Dragon pops up and tries the kicks but Eddie ducks and hits a dropkick to take over again. Dragon hits a headscissors and monkey flip and then the kicks. The crowd is noticeably quieter than they were earlier in the night.

Eddie bails for a bit but comes back in only to get kicked even more. Off to a half crab by the masked man but Eddie escapes and hooks a chinlock. They go to the floor and Eddie wants Chavo to help with the beatdown but Chavo wants nothing to do with it. Dragon hits an enziguri to knock Eddie to the floor and hits the Asai Moonsault, but it puts him down too.

Back inside Dragon hits something like Shock Treatment for two. Top rope moonsault gets two. Dragon tries his super rana but Eddie reverses into a tornado DDT but the Frog Splash misses. Dragon Sleeper goes on but Eddie gets a rope. Eddie hooks one of his own but Chavo breaks it up when Eddie cheats. Chavo argues on the apron and gets kicked down with a spin kick. Brainbuster and Frog Splash get the pin.

Rating: C-. Not bad here but I would expect more out of these two. This was more about the Eddie vs. Chavo feud and extending that out a bit more. I think this is the one that resulted in Chavo going insane but the timing seems off on that. Also I don’t remember the blowoff for it but I’d assume it was in a few weeks/months. The match was ok but would have probably been fine on Nitro.

Chavo looks at Eddie and then beats up Dragon because Dragon didn’t free him. Eddie is about to get punched but gets a kiss on the cheek instead. Ok then.

Vince has his own dressing room.

US Title: Goldberg vs. Saturn

This was supposed to be a Goldberg vs. Flock gauntlet match but they changed it the day of the show for no apparent reason. Saturn gets in some quick offense to start but Goldberg clotheslines him down and hits the gorilla press powerslam. A gorilla press drop sets up another clothesline and a superkick stops Saturn’s comeback. Saturn comes back with a legsweep and then he slaps Goldberg in the face for some reason.

A neckbreaker puts Saturn down and he pounds Perry in the corner. They go to the floor but Goldberg accidentally clotheslines the post. Back inside and Saturn hooks a sleeper which is broken with ease. A belly to belly puts but he pops up with a swinging neckbreaker and hooks a sleeper. Goldie hits a neckbreaker of his own to escape so Saturn pulls in a chair. He uses it as a springboard to dropkick Goldberg’s back but a second attempt results in a spear out of the air. Jackhammer and we’re done.

Rating: C. Way better than last month and I think it was partially because it was a minute or so shorter. That and the thicker air probably helped. Goldberg would be moved on to the world title in about two months as he should have been. Saturn would turn against the Flock soon and break them up for good.

Great American Bash ad, featuring Raven.

Here’s Eric for the Vince challenge. Eric actually has Buffer do an intro for Vince, who apparently is off saving a bus full of nuns because he’s not here. The referee counts and Bischoff officially wins. And they wonder why people eventually stopped caring about this company.

Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage

Piper is guest referee and this is payback for Bret costing Savage the title. See how easy that was? Savage is Wolfpack, Hart is black and white. Hart bails to the floor for some stalling but Piper throws him in instead. Bret keeps stalling and they lock up about a minute in. Hart goes to the eyes and pounds on Randy in the corner. Savage hits him low (I think) and chokes away while Piper shouts FIGHT over and over again.

Randy keeps choking and drops an elbow on the throat while Bret is on the mat. Bret comes back with a headbutt and legdrop followed by a suplex from the apron into the ring. Backbreaker still doesn’t get a cover. Out to the floor and Hart misses a big chair shot, getting sent into the steps as a punishment. They go into the crowd and fight around the hockey boards. At least I think they are as you can barely see their heads let alone the rest of them.

Back to ringside now as Piper gets praised for some reason. Bret goes for the knee which was injured coming in. Scott Hall has arrived at the arena now. Russian Legsweep and a piledriver get two. DDT puts Savage down but Bret talks to the fans instead of covering. A backbreaker sets up the middle rope elbow but he uses a traditional one instead and Savage moves. Savage snaps into a suplex for two.

Savage goes up and hits the big elbow but lands on his knee so the cover is delayed, meaning it only gets two. Bret gets up and hooks the Sharpshooter but here’s Liz for the save. She didn’t come out with Savage here either. And never mind as Savage broke the hold before she got here and put the hold on Bret. Liz comes in and shoves Piper, which distracts Savage long enough for Bret to hit him low. Bret has a foreign object and clocks Piper with it but Savage steals it away. Cue Hogan who wraps Savage’s leg around the post. Sharpshooter and we’re done.

Rating: D. The opening ten to twelve minutes were REALLY boring, then it picked up a bit, then we had two run-ins and a foreign object for the ending. The match was just boring and it really hurt things here. It was clear that neither guy cared that much at this point and can you blame them? Neither guy was going to get anywhere near the main event longer than a quick stretch at a time because Hogan and Nash were dominating things. This had moments but not enough of them.

Tag Titles: Sting/The Giant vs. Outsiders

Guess who has the titles coming in. Dusty is with the Outsiders which is supposed to mean something. So Hall and Nash are Wolfpack, Giant is Black and White and Sting is whatever. Giant wants him in the NWO but he hasn’t given an answer yet. Hall and Sting start us off with Sting walking into a chokeslam but coming back with his kind of bulldog move. A pair of Stinger Splashes sets up the Scorpion but Nash makes the save.

Giant comes in and the mixed faction team clears the ring. The biggest man comes in legally so Hall does his Frankenstein (‘s monster) deal and tags Nash. Nash gets run over so Giant does the Hogan hand to his ear. An elbow drop keeps Nash down and Giant sends him to the corner for some hip attacks. The fans chant for the Wolfpack as Sting comes in and walks into a big boot for the Outsiders to take over.

Hall’s fallaway slam gets two. Back to Nash for some Snake Eyes and then Hall gets another tag. The Outsiders work Sting over and Hall does his abdominal stretch. Nash hits the side slam and it’s bearhug time. Sting escapes for a bit and dives at Nash to make the tag. Giant comes in and takes Nash down and drops a leg for two. He goes up top (oh boy) but his splash misses. Nash sets for the powerbomb but Hall turns on him, hits him with the belt and Giant gets the pin.

Rating: D. This was another slow and boring match with a bad ending. Usually I would go into some intentionally complicated statement of what just happened and say something like “got all that?” after it but I can’t figure it out well enough to type it all up. That’s the problem with something like this: it got way too complicated way too fast and when you need a flow chart to tell what’s going on, it’s not going to last long.

Post match Hall, Giant and Rhodes all hug. Sting would join the Wolfpack soon. Giant tells Sting to come join them to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. Of the three I’ve done, this was certainly the best but that’s not really saying much. There are parts here that are certainly good, but the WNO stuff was so overdone and so overly complicated that everyone stopped caring. They had to elevate Goldberg because they had no one to put out there as the top face of the company. The show was ok at times but man once WCW started to go downhill, it went off a cliff, through the ground, around the world and over the cliff again. This would be the start of that.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my book on the History of the WWE Championship from Amazon for just $5 at:

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