Spring Stampede 1998 (2013 Redo): Here Lies 1997. We Hardly Knew Ye.

Spring Stampede 1998
Date: April 19, 1998
Location: Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 7,428
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay

Allegedly we have a double main event tonight but in reality only one of the matches has received any focus at all. The two matches are Sting vs. Savage for the world title and Giant/Piper vs. Hogan/Nash in a bat match. Take a guess as to which is getting all the attention. Hogan and Nash’s problems have gotten nearly all the focus for the last few months and I’m sure they’ll dominate the show tonight. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is about the power struggle in the NWO. Sting is there too but why waste time on the guy you spent all of 1997 building up as the great hope for WCW?

Something I miss about PPVs from this era: the sets were always unique. Here there’s a western theme with covered wagons and bails of hay. Today you just have the set except for the occasional show outside of Wrestlemania. It’s a nice change of scenery.

Savage has had the cast removed from his arm and the main event is now No DQ just because.

Perry Saturn vs. Goldberg

Goldberg is 73-0 and has a US Title shot tomorrow night on Nitro. He and Saturn have been staring each other down for weeks now and this is Goldberg’s toughest match to date. Goldberg is billed from Dawsonville, Georgia which I never remember hearing before or after this show. Saturn goes right after him with chops but Goldberg counters a leg lock into a pumphandle suplex. Something resembling a belly to belly puts Saturn down but Goldberg has to toss Kidman off the apron and onto Perry before following up.

Back in and Saturn trips Goldberg down and hits a springboard legdrop to keep him down. A middle rope splash gets one and Saturn takes him into the corner for some kicks to the chest. Goldberg easily blocks a vertical suplex into a swinging neckbreaker, followed by a gorilla press into a World’s Strongest Slam for no cover. Kidman distracts Goldberg again though and Saturn hits a release fisherman’s suplex to take over.

Out to the floor and Goldie is sent into the steps as Tenay talks about how Goldberg has never gone this long before. A hurricanrana puts Goldberg down on the floor again but Saturn slips off on what looked to be an Asai Moonsault. Thankfully he landed on Goldberg or that could have been much worse. Back in and a top rope spinwheel kick takes Goldberg down and Saturn hooks a Fujiwara Armbar. Now it’s a cross armbreaker but Goldberg lifts him up into a kind of powerbomb to escape.

A side slam puts Saturn down and there’s the Bret killer superkick for no cover. There’s the spear but a Kidman distraction lets Saturn hit him low to escape the Jackhammer. Saturn takes him to the middle rope but Goldberg press slams him from said ropes. Cool looking move. Cue the Flock but Goldberg fights them off (including a middle rope dropkick to knock Reese off the apron) and spears Kidman. Saturn takes him down into the Rings of Saturn but can’t get them on full. Goldberg powers his way out into a fireman’s carry before powering Saturn up into the Jackhammer to make it 74-0.

Rating: C+. This was better than I was expecting though Goldberg didn’t look great throughout the match. To be fair though this was by far his longest match to date despite it only running about eight minutes. They did a good job of testing Goldberg here and the crowd was into him as always. His career was about to take off and this was a good step for him, though they made the winner of Page vs. Raven pretty clear here.

Ultimo Dragon vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

If Guerrero wins, he’s free of Eddie’s control but if he loses Eddie is going to be twice as hard on him. Dragon has the awesome looking red, white and green attire with a Mexican flag cape to match. The fans are all over Eddie to start as Chavo takes Dragon to the mat and ties up his legs. Dragon reaches around to grab a headlock before things speed up with Dragon taking over via a legsweep. There’s the headstand in the corner followed by Dragon’s kicks to put Chavo down again.

Eddie is hiding his head under a towel like he did on Thunder as Dragon puts on a chinlock. That goes nowhere so Dragon changes it up to a standing reverse figure four, only to have Chavo reverse into a bridging Indian Death Lock with a chinlock. As usual that hold can’t stay on long though so Chavo takes him down with a headscissors and stomps away in the corner. We hit the chinlock on Dragon as the starting and stopping continues.

Dragon fights out of a headscissors on the mat and hooks a camel clutch chinlock of all things. That goes nowhere either so it’s a seated surfboard (as in Dragon is sitting down and pulling on Chavo’s face) to make Eddie apologize to Mama Guerrero. La Majistral gets two for Dragon but he gets clotheslined down for two by Guerrero. They trade rollups for two each but Chavo gets crotched on top to slow him down again.

Guerrero fights out of the super hurricanrana but Dragon suplexes him from the apron to the floor. The Asai Moonsault puts both guys down so Eddie can yell in Chavo’s face. Chavo gets back in first and tries a dive but jumps over Dragon, barely grazing him on the way down.

Back in and they clothesline each other but it’s Dragon up first with an enziguri. Dragon goes up but gets dropkicked low on the way down. Eddie shouts to get him but Chavo doesn’t want it that way. Chavo eventually tries a suplex but gets small packaged for two. A brainbuster puts Dragon down but the tornado DDT is countered into the Dragon Sleeper for the submission.

Rating: C+. More good storytelling with the Guerreros as Chavo has gone from a pretty basic cruiserweight to a guy having morality issues and wanting to get Eddie off his back. Eddie hasn’t been in the ring much lately but he’s in his element yelling at Chavo and bringing up the Guerrero Family in some hilarious moments. Good stuff here.

Diamond Dallas Page is on WCW.com, talking about going from pinning Savage a year ago to the US Title match here tonight.

TV Title: Chris Benoit vs. Booker T

Booker is defending and there’s no time limit after two straight draws between these guys. They lock up into the corner to start and it’s a clean break by the two good guys. A shoulder sends Benoit to the mat and then out to the floor, holding his head. Benoit seems to be ok though and goes after Booker’s legs back in the ring. Booker superkicks him back to the floor as the stalling continues. That might have something to do with the show being in Denver, meaning the air is very thin and it can be difficult to breathe.

Back in and Booker takes his head off with a clothesline for two before we hit the armbar. Benoit gets bored of the rest hold though and takes Booker into the corner for a mudhole stomping. Booker comes right back with a backbreaker for two and it’s back to the armbar. Chris fights up again and drapes him over the ropes before knocking him out to the floor. Back in and a hard chop takes Booker down and a snap suplex gets two. Off to the chinlock by the challenger as the wind clearly isn’t there for either guy.

Back up again and Booker misses a dropkick and Benoit suplexes him down again. The Swan Dive gets two but Booker comes back with a suplex of his own to put both guys down again. A snap suplex from Chris gets two and a belly to back gets the same. We’re past the regular TV Title time limit and Benoit starts rolling Germans. Benoit takes him up top instead of covering and drops Booker with a belly to back superplex to put both guys down again.

A very delayed cover gets two for Chris but he walks into a spinebuster to put both guys down again. Booker hits a flapjack and spins up, drawing a mixed reaction. The ax kick accidentally takes out the referee and Benoit grabs the Crossface, drawing an unseen tap. Benoit goes to hep the referee but gets caught by the side kick for the pin to retain Booker’s title.

Rating: C+. Good match here but the altitude was clearly taking its toll on both guys. At the end of the day though, Benoit not getting a title is getting annoying. He had the feud of the year with Raven, took the TV Champion to two straight draws and still can’t get a title reign. The match was good, but did you expect anything else from these two?

The referee is helped from the ring.

Curt Hennig vs. British Bulldog

This is one of those feuds that no one cares about but just won’t go away. Rude and Neidhart will be handcuffed together to make sure we get to see this enthralling match. Bulldog pounds away to start and stomps Curt down in the corner before going after the hamstring. They head outside with Neidhart pulling Rude away from interfering. Apparently Hennig has a bad knee coming in so the leg work makes sense. Bulldog kicks at the leg very slowly as Rude is pulled back again.

The slow motion continues as Bulldog is hitting the leg about twice a minute before going for the Sharpshooter. A cop, who is clearly Vincent, goes after Neidhart and gets choked down, allowing Rude to get a key and unlock himself. Neidhart is cuffed to the post as Hennig escapes the hold and sends Bulldog into the post for the pin, meaning the stuff outside accomplished absolutely nothing.

Rating: F. The fact that this is on PPV makes it a failure alone. The match was horrible too with the knee work taking forever and boring the fans to death. At the end of the day though, no one cares about these guys or this stupid feud because it’s somehow about Bret Hart despite him barely being involved with it anymore. Without Bret, there’s no reason for anyone to care about the matches at all, making this feud very boring.

Bulldog and Neidhart get beaten down as the bell rings a lot, making this segment even more annoying.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Prince Iaukea

Jericho has beaten almost everyone of note so Iaukea is one of the few guys they have left to challenge him. Jericho is wearing a headband which I don’t think has any reason for existing but is awesome anyway. He dedicates this match to the fallen hero of WCW: Dean Malenko. Jericho takes Iaukea to the ropes but gets caught in a wristlock.

Off to a headlock on Jericho but he flips out, only to be caught in the headlock again. Back up and Jericho shoulder blocks him down but walks into a dropkick. Really basic stuff so far and Iaukea hooks another headlock. Jericho tries to skin the cat but gets dropkicked to the floor, followed by a flip dive off the apron from the Prince. Back in and we hit the headlock again because Iaukea is running out of offense.

Jericho drop toeholds him into the ropes and suplexes Iaukea down for two. Time for a chinlock because this match was starting to get slightly entertaining. Jericho slams him down and does his big strut. He takes WAY too long on the top rope and jumps into the feet, giving Prince control again. A Samoan drop and a springboard flip attack gets two but Jericho counters a victory roll into the Liontamer, only to have Iaukea next to the ropes.

Iaukea counters a middle rope sunset flip for two before both guys go to the top and fall down to the floor in a somewhat scary scene. Back in and the Liontamer is countered again but Jericho grabs the rope to escape the northern lights suplex. Back up and Iaukea’s middle rope sunset flip is countered into the Liontamer to finally end this.

Rating: D+. The buildup to this match was boring, Iaukea was incredibly boring and the match itself was very boring. As I’ve said before, at the end of the day there’s nothing interesting about Iaukea at all and any number of guys could have done the same thing he did. Nothing to see here other than a lot of headlocks and sunset flips.

Jericho steals Iaukea’s skirt thing for his trophy case.

Raven quotes Shakespeare to WCW.com.

Scott Steiner/Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger/Rick Steiner

Buff has his wrist in a cast but it doesn’t look too professional. JJ comes out and says he thinks it’s fake so here’s a doctor to check the injury. The wrist is fine so let’s fight. Seriously, this was created, executed and ended in less than five minutes. Rick goes right for his brother but gets jumped by Buff. Bagwell gets caught by a powerslam and a Steiner Line but Scott gets in a cheap shot to put Rick down.

Scott comes in while Rick is down and chokes a bit before bringing Buff back in. Buff slams him down and grabs the “injured” hand before getting two. Back to Scott who gets two but runs back to Buff at the kickout. Buff hooks the chinlock but lets it go to argue with the referee.

Back to Scott for a chinlock of his own, though he at least adds in a knee to the back to spice things up a little. Rick charges into Buff’s boots in the corner but catches him in a backdrop to put both guys down. The hot tag brings in Luger but Scott breaks up a quick Rack attempt. Rick nails Buff and it’s time for the showdown but Scott runs. The Rack ends Buff a few seconds later.

Rating: D-. There was no reason whatsoever for this to be on the PPV. It was a glorified Nitro match as the Steiners had about a minute of contact but the real showdown still didn’t happen. That’s wrestling booking in general: keep coming back for the next show to see the stuff you’re interested in. The trick though is you have to give us those moments eventually which rarely happened in WCW.

Call the hotline to find out who is in the back!

La Parka vs. Psychosis

This is a bonus match. La Parka dances a lot before chopping Psychosis down. Psychosis comes back with chops of his own before sending La Parka into the buckle. La Parka stands him on the top turnbuckle but Psychosis jumps backwards into a headscissors takeover to send skeleton man to the floor. A suicide dive takes La Parka down but he gets back inside first anyway. Back in and a clothesline gets two on Psychosis before he’s sent to the floor for a springboard split legged moonsault. Heenan: “Another move I never thought of trying.”

Psychosis might have a bad shoulder but he launches La Parka face first into the buckle. Not that it matters as La Parka kicks him in the head to put Psychosis on the floor again. Back in and Psychosis tries a springboard hurricanrana but can’t get up to the top for a few moments. I guess the fans booing is better than their dead silence. Psychosis misses a top rope splash and gets caught in an Alabama Slam for two. La Parka poses on the ropes but gets dropkicked down, tying his legs up in the ropes. The guillotine legdrop from Psychosis finally ends this torture.

Rating: D. It’s not easy to complain about free wrestling but man alive this was dull stuff. There was no story to the match other than a forgotten chair shot from a few weeks back. The match being very sloppy didn’t help things either and the fans clearly weren’t pleased. Was Juvy not available for this? He was always good at firing up a crowd which would have helped things out a lot here.

The announcers talk for awhile to fill in even more time. Heenan goes into some analogy comparing Savage to a wounded dog with a long series of examples. Now they talk about the tension in the NWO and how it might be a big swerve.

The Giant/Roddy Piper vs. Hollywood Hogan/Kevin Nash

This is a bat on a pole match. The idea here is Hogan and Nash can’t get along at all and they’ll likely turn on each other. Piper immediately goes for the bat but Hogan makes a save by ramming him into the pole. Roddy gets caught in the Tree of Woe for some stomping before it’s off to Nash to pull him out of the corner. Back to Hogan (literally all Nash did was drag him to the other corner) for more old man offense but Piper won’t sell any of it.

Roddy comes back with right hands and pulls off Hogan’s bandana. Piper pulls out what’s left of Hogan’s hair, earning himself a poke in the eye. Hogan takes him down again and goes up but Piper makes the easy tag to Giant. The biggest man pulls Hogan down and spanks him, sending Hogan to the floor in pain. Back in and Piper chokes Hollywood with the weightlifting belt but a low blow allows for the tag off to Nash. It’s time for the battle of the giants and Giant easily sends him into the corner. Nash gets a boot up to stop the charging Giant and fires off his usual stuff in the corner.

Kev walks away to pose but Giant snaps to his feet, setting up a double big boot to put both giants down. The double tag brings in Piper to face Hogan with Roddy pounding away to take over. Nash comes in and gets a low blow as everything breaks down. Giant dropkicks Nash to the floor as Piper puts Hogan in the sleeper. Piper goes up and gets the bat but Hogan knocks it out of his hands and throws it away.

Cue Disciple with another bat so Hogan can blast Giant in the back of the head. Piper avoids a shot to his bad hip and Hogan hits Nash by mistakes. Now Piper gets the bat and knocks Hogan to the floor before knocking Nash down. Disciple grabs Piper’s bat and throws Hogan the original bat so he can blast Piper for the pin.

Rating: D. To the shock of no one paying attention, this match sucked. It was basically the same thing they’ve been doing for weeks now with Nash and Hogan accidentally hitting each other but the NWO standing tall again. The biggest problem though is the quality of the match. Usually good drama can hide the fact that a match sucks, but if it’s bad drama, people notice how bad the match is. That’s what happened here and that’s really bad when this was the main event for all intents and purposes.

Hogan tells Nash to powerbomb Giant but whacks Nash in the back with the bat, basically throwing him out of the NWO. Giant breaks the bat over his knee and swears vengeance on Hogan.

Slamboree ad, which they try to make sound more epic than Starrcade. Side note: why did WCW have so many PPVs that began with the letter S? Souled Out, SuperBrawl, Spring Stampede, Slamboree, Starrcade.

US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven

Page is defending, Raven has the belt itself, this is under Raven’s Rules and the winner gets Goldberg tomorrow. Sick Boy tries to interfere at the beginning but gets a belt to the face for his efforts. Page shoves Raven into the corner and pounds away to start before hitting a belly to back suplex. A big dive to the floor takes out Raven and Sick Boy but Raven knocks Page off the apron, reinjuring the ribs. Back in and Page counters the Even Flow into a swinging neckbreaker for two.

Raven bails to the floor to avoid a Diamond Cutter and the fight heads up to the set. Page throws Raven off a stagecoach into some bails of hay before diving off said coach to take Raven down. Raven is thrown into a corral and beaten down by a trashcan. Now Raven goes through another wooden fence and suplexed onto the website table. Page is kicked into a wall and Raven blasts him in the head with a piece of metal.

They head to some VIP area with Raven diving onto Page to send him through a table. Raven pulls a bullrope off a horse and chokes Page down before grabbing a trashcan. The can freaks Tony out, despite it being used about two minutes ago. Raven wraps the rope around Page’s neck and drags him back to the ring where Sick Boy has a kitchen sink. The sink is only good for two for Raven and it’s back to the rope choking. Page fights up and drop toeholds Raven onto the sink as Tony and Heenan make plumbing jokes.

Kidman tries to interfere but splashes Raven by mistake, giving Page two. Sick Boy blasts Page with a crutch to give Raven two so Raven calls in the rest of the Flock. Hammer accidentally clotheslines Raven down so Page knocks him out with a sink. A low blow puts Page down and here’s Reese for a chokebomb, giving Raven another two count. Lodi throws in the stop sign but Page knocks it into Raven’s face and takes out a few Flock members. Kidman gets a Diamond Cutter but Horace Hogan debuts by hitting Page with the stop sign, allowing Raven to DDT Page on the sink for the pin and the title.

Rating: C. I’m not a fan of this garbage brawling style but this could have been worse. It’s good that Raven finally won the title that he’s been chasing for months and it makes sense as the numbers and style finally caught up to Page. I wasn’t liking the way most of the brawling was treated as comedy spots when the feud has been serious though. It was a reversal of what had made the feud good up to this point and hurt the match a good deal. Still though, not bad and a decent way to wrap the feud up.

The announcers basically guarantee that Goldberg is winning the title tomorrow night.

WCW World Title: Sting vs. Randy Savage

Alleged main event time. This is also No DQ because having three straight hardcore/weapon based matches isn’t copying WWF and ECW at all. Sting, the lamest of all lame duck champions, is defending here. Savage jumps Sting during the entrances and sends him into the barricade as the bell rings. Back in and Savage chokes a lot but hurts his bad hand throwing a punch. Sting comes back with a shot to the ribs and we head back outside again.

Savage walks up the aisle until Sting throws him through another wooden fence. Sting sends him into the hay and through another fence before hitting him with another bale of hay. Tony: “That can be very abrasive to the skin.” Mr. Schiavone, don’t ever change. Back to ringside for the missed Stinger Splash into the barricade and a posting by Savage. They get in the ring for a change and Sting backdrops out of a piledriver, only to have Savage punch him back down.

They head back to the floor because neither guy is interested in having a match at the moment. Savage is suplexed on the floor and sent into the barricade. Sting heads back inside but Randy hits him low and drapes him over the top rope for two. Savage clotheslines Sting into the referee before piledriving the champion down.

Sting no sells it by popping back up but has to no sell a Liz chair shot instead of going after Savage. Liz gets hit by the Stinger Splash so Savage lays him out with a chair. Cue Hogan of course to break up the elbow and Sting hits a quick Death Drop but there’s no referee. Nash comes in and powerbombs Sting down, giving Savage the pin and the title. There’s a problem though: Savage is holding his knee, which would wind up being a torn ACL.

Rating: D. This was an angle with a few wrestling moves thrown in to pad things out. At least it ends the joke that was Sting’s title reign so we can get the focus back on that earth shattering Hogan vs. Nash feud. That’s the focus of this match: the power struggle in the NWO. Sting looks like nothing as 1997 is pretty much left in the dust lie it never happened. Nice work on that WCW.

The last shot of the show is Hogan yelling that Savage has his belt and that Nash will pay.

Overall Rating: D+. This was almost exactly what was expected: a dull show that kept us in the same loop we’ve been in for months with the focus entirely on the NWO once again. None of the matches here were worth seeing other than maybe Goldberg vs. Saturn to see Goldberg’s first match with some length to it. Other than that we had a bunch of feuds that no one cared about and more worthless angle advancement. Where was Bret, who said that anytime Sting needed him he’d be there? Apparently dealing with Savage, Hogan and Nash doesn’t warrant Bret’s help? Bad show here as WCW is getting into big trouble in a hurry.

Here’s the original review if you’re interested:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2012/05/24/spring-stampede-1998-with-bales-of-hay-and-covered-wagons/

 

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews, and pick up my new book of Complete 2001 Monday Night Raw Reviews at Amazon for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HXYM2

And check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Comments are closed.