Slamboree 1998 (2013 Redo): One Of The Loudest Pops Ever

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

Tonight is pretty much a filler show as Hogan is nowhere to be seen and we have a double main event. We have Hart vs. Savage in a grudge match and Sting/Giant vs. the Outsiders for the tag titles, with Sting in WCW and Giant in the NWO Black and White. There is however one moment on this show that ranks right up there with the biggest surprises and best received moments in WCW history. Let’s get to it.

The opening video has some words like controversy and power over shots of the people in the two main events.

The announcers talk about the main events tonight to convince us that buying this show was a good idea.

We get Bischoff’s challenge to Vince from Thunder, complete with him reading the letter from Vince’s attorney.

We go outside to see Doug Dillinger (head of WCW security) waiting for Vince to arrive with WCW fans (certainly not plants of any sort) shouting about how much they hate Vince. Tony tells us not to worry because the matches will indeed go on despite Vince not being here.

TV Title: Chris Benoit vs. Fit Finlay

Finlay is defending. The set here is simpler than most from 1998 with a big SLAMBOREE logo and a door in the middle. You don’t often see doors in sets so it’s a change of pace if nothing else. They shove each other around a lot and the crowd is really into this already. Benoit counters a headlock into a top wristlock as Tony confirms that the name Fit is due to Finlay being fit for any sport.

They fight into a test of strength and wrestle into a string of near falls either way until Finlay takes over with an armbar on the mat. Back up and they run the ropes with Benoit getting two off a hiptoss and we have a standoff. Benoit hits a chop so hard that it knocks Finlay’s strap down. A backbreaker has Finlay in trouble so Benoit pulls him from the ropes to the mat, slamming Finlay’s back onto the canvas again.

Finlay comes right back with a hard clothesline and Chris rolls to the floor. This has been very physical so far with both guys beating the tar out of each other. A hard slam on the floor has Benoit in even more trouble but Finlay actually goes inside to give Benoit a change to get up. Back in and Finlay stomps away before putting on a reverse chinlock. Benoit stands up with Finlay on his shoulders into an electric chair drop, hurting his own head in the process.

Some hard chops stagger the champion but he goes right to the eyes to stop Benoit’s comeback. We hit a chinlock for a good while before Finlay elbows and kicks at Benoit’s back. Back to the chinlock for a bit before he drives Benoit chest first into the apron. They head to the floor with Benoit cracking Finlay with a chair for a pop but not a DQ. Benoit goes in for a suicide dive but goes head first into the chair to give Finlay control again.

Back in again and Finlay slams him down for two before staying on the back with more elbow drops. A clothesline drops Benoit again and we’re into chinlock #3. Benoit fights up again and avoids a charge into the corner, followed by the rolling Germans. Finlay elbows him in the face to block a fourth but has to quickly get to a rope to break a Crossface attempt. The snap suplex sets up the Swan Dive but here’s Booker T before Benoit can jump. Finlay uses the distraction to kick Benoit in the back of the head to knock Chris out cold. Back in and the tombstone retains Finlay’s title.

Rating: C+. Nice opener here but again, is there any point to not giving Benoit a title yet? He’s over, he’s having solid matches, there’s a feud with Booker already written, but he can get two days total as champion without ever being on TV with the belt? Nothing against Finlay, but I don’t see the point in having him as champion here.

Brian Adams vs. Lex Luger

This is fallout from Scott Steiner and Adams injuring Rick Steiner’s shoulder. One punch sends Adams out to the floor and Luger follows him out so he can ram Adams’ and Vincent’s heads together. Luger rams Brian’s shoulder into the post twice in a row for some payback. The arm gets snapped across the top rope and there’s a powerslam to set up the Rack less than two and a half minutes in.

Vincent finally does something by distraction Luger so Adams can hit a quick piledriver to take over. They head outside again with Adams kicking away to protect his bad shoulder. Back in and Adams gets two off a backbreaker and a pair of legdrops gets the same. A double clothesline puts both guys down but Adams is quickly up. In a surprise ending, Luger ducks a clothesline and grabs the Rack for the submission.

Rating: D. As shocking as it was for Luger to win a match with anything other than his usual sequence, there wasn’t much to see here. This could have been on any given episode of Nitro and probably should have been. Luger was just so lost at this point, having nothing of note to do and just floating from one NWO match to another.

Saturn cancels the gauntlet match against Goldberg and says he’ll be going one on one with him. Why this was changed is beyond me but it’s probably better this way. If anyone in the Flock doesn’t like it, they know where to find him.

Cruiserweight Battle Royal

You can be eliminated by going to the floor or pinfall here and the winner gets a title shot at Jericho later in the night. The more entertaining part though is Jericho doing the introductions in Dave Penzer’s place.

Super Calo: This guy’s hat never comes off!

Chavo Guerrero Jr.: He used to be a great bartender but he’s the scourge of the Guerrero family.

Ciclope: From selling chimichangas to WCW!

Damien: He can’t afford a mask so he’s using paint!

El Dandy: The winner of the Lou Ferrigno look-a-like contest.

El Grio: The world light featherweight champion!

Juventud Guerrera: Pulled up in a rusted out 67 El Camino Chevy, the ugliest man in our business, Quasimodo Guerrera!

Marty Jannetty: He’ll rock rock until he drops drops.

Kidman: A lost and lonely soul and Jericho has calamine lotion with him.

Evan Karagias: 0/10.

Lenny Lane: I want my Loverboy tape back!

Psychosis: He has a lot of hubcaps in his collection and can get you one if you need it.

Silver King: If he wins 12 more matches he gets to be Gold King.

Johnny Swinger: Johnny Cinger!

Villano IV: Representing Villano I-LXII!

Everyone goes at it to start and if you go through the ropes to the floor it’s an elimination as well. Evan is out first but there are still too many people to be able to do much. Chavo backdrops Swinger out and hits a tornado DDT on someone I couldn’t see. Psychosis hits a springboard hurricanrana on Damien but doesn’t throw him out. Super Calo is dropkicked out by Juvy and King is out at someone’s hands. Lane and Dandy have a mini match in the middle of the ring as Juvy hits a gorgeous top rope hurricanrana to take Psychosis down.

Grio gets dumped and Lane misses a dive off the top. Jannetty and Villano both go out as we’re down to eight. Lane goes up but Kidman throws Juvy into him to knock Lane out. Juvy dropkicks Damien out and we’re down to six. Dandy is dropkicked off the apron and it’s five: Ciclope, Chavo, Kidman, Psychosis and Juvy. Kidman low bridges Chavo out as Heenan does his schtick of picking everyone in the match. Psychosis misses a charge and goes out as Juvy pulls Kidman out. Juvy sees he’s alone with Ciclope….and eliminates himself to give Ciclope the title shot?

Rating: C. It’s a battle royal so how good can it really be? The high spots were nice but at the same time they made a lot of the guys in the match look stupid for trying something like that. The ending was confusing but all will be explained in just a few seconds. Nothing outside of the ordinary here other than some high spots.

Jericho hits the ring immediately but Ciclope unmasks to reveal…..DEAN MALENKO! The place goes NUTS in one of the loudest pops WCW ever had.

Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho

Dean shows more emotion in a fifteen second burst than he did in his entire career, stomping Jericho down in the corner and a suplex puts him down again. A dropkick sends Jericho out to the floor and Dean follows him out with right hands to the head. Back in and Dean opts to fire off more punches instead of rolling Jericho up when he has the chance. A quick hot shot gives Jericho a breather and a backsplash gets two.

Jericho suplexes his down and gets another two off the arrogant cover. The Lionsault gets the same and we hit the chinlock. Dean fights up and tries the Liontamer on Jericho but Chris quickly makes the rope. A top rope back elbow to the jaw gets two on Malenko but the top rope hurricanrana is countered into the top rope gutbuster. The Cloverleaf gives Dean the title back.

Rating: A. The match was decent though nothing great, but the story here is the emotion. This whole story was built up on the emotion the fans felt for Malenko and wanting to see him make Jericho eat his words. It’s a classic story: hero falls, villain reigns and runs his mouth, hero returns to vanquish the villain. No unexplained turns, no politics, no swerves (ok maybe one with the disguise) and possibly the loudest reaction ever in WCW. Clearly there’s nothing to this storytelling idea though right?

We have a Vinnie Mac cam and a white limousine arrives. Tony: “If Jim Ross comes out and carries his bags you know it’s Vince.” They cut away before anyone gets out.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven

This is a Bowery Death Match, meaning last man standing inside a cage. There’s a roof on the cage too. Page pounds away to start but Raven sends him face first into a trashcan in the corner. An elbow to the face drops Raven but he sends Page into another can. Page is whipped face first into the cage several times and Raven empties the weapons from the cans. The breather lets Page get the bullrope around Raven’s neck to whip him into the cage a few times.

Page wraps the rope around the top of the cage to hang Raven but Bird Boy gets his legs on DDT to block the pressure. Raven falls to the mat for an eight count but a VCR shot to the head draws an ECW chant and a seven. Page gets kicked into another can in the corner and a shot to the back with said can gets another seven. Some cookie sheet shots have Page in trouble and Raven puts on a sleeper, only to have Page ram him into the corner, crushing the referee in the process.

Page hits a quick jawbreaker and sends Raven face first into the chair. Reese and the Flock easily overpower Raven’s riot squad and cut open the lock on the cage. Van Hammer comes out from under the ring with a stop sign to lay out the rest of the Flock and handcuff Reese to the guardrail. Page stomps Raven down in the corner but two members of the Riot Squad comes in to stomp DDP down.

They unmask as Kidman and Horace but Page fights them off with Diamond Cutters. Raven comes back with a fire extinguisher to the ribs and the Even Flow but Page is up at eight. They slug it out in fast motion before Raven Diamond Cuts Page. Page is up again, ducks a chair shot and Diamond Cuts Raven for the ten count.

Rating: C-. This was WAY overbooked but it’s not a horrible match. Hopefully it ends the feud though as there’s just nothing left for these guys to do to each other. Ending it inside of a cage is as good as they’re going to get, especially after Page had to fight off the Flock almost on his own. Decent match here but it needed more violence.

Post match the last riot squad guy starts handcuffing all the Flock members to the cage. He cuffs Raven as well, reveals himself to be Mortis, unmasks as Kanyon (yet to be named) and does the Tommy Dreamer chair shot heard round the world.

More from the Vinnie Mac Cam.

The announcers talk about the tag title match, which sounds like the main event.

Ultimo Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero

If Dragon wins, Chavo is free from Eddie. Eddie takes him down by the arm to start but Dragon armdrags him down. There are A LOT of empty seats across from the cameras here which I believe were full earlier. Dragon takes him down with a snapmare but Eddie complains about a hair pull, going so far as to demonstrate on the referee. Off to a test of strength with Dragon bridging off the mat. Eddie drops down onto him but can’t break said bridge which is always impressive.

Dragon fires off his kicks but a simple dropkick from Eddie puts him down. A headscissors out of the corner takes Guerrero down again and here are more kicks from the masked man. Back in and Dragon kicks away even more before putting on a half crab into a bridging Indian Deathlock. Eddie gets back up and pokes Dragon in the eye to take over before getting two off a suplex.

Off to a quick front facelock from Guerrero before they head outside for some fun. Guerrero sends him into the barricade and chokes with a camera cord. Instead of following up though, he slaps Chavo around for a bit. Back inside and Eddie loads up a hurricanrana off the top, only to get crotched and enziguried to the floor.

The Asai Moonsault takes Eddie down again but Dragon hits his head on the way down. Back in and Dragon gets two off a backbreaker and a moonsault gets the same. The super hurricanrana is countered into a tornado DDT from Eddie but the Frog Splash misses. They trade Dragon Sleepers but Chavo takes Eddie’s feet off the ropes. Dragon accidentally kicks Chavo, allowing Eddie to hit the brainbuster and Frog Splash for the pin.

Rating: C+. Usual high quality match from these two as the Guerrero Saga continues. Dragon looked good out there as it’s nice to see him finally have a story of some sort. The Guerreros’ story is solid stuff as well with actual character development, which compliments the matches very nicely.

Post match Chavo yells at Eddie before stomping Dragon out of frustration. Eddie offers him a free shot but Chavo can’t do it. He kisses Eddie on the cheek instead as the insanity is about to begin.

Vince “The Reason For The Ratings” McMahon has a dressing room. Just go with it.

US Title: Saturn vs. Goldberg

Just one on one instead of the advertised gauntlet match. Goldberg easily shoves him into the corner to start before clotheslining the challenger down with ease. A gorilla press into a powerslam puts Saturn down and a shoulder knocks him to the floor. Back in and Saturn fires off kicks in the corner but charges into a spin kick from the champion. Goldberg LAUNCHES him into the corner before they head outside.

Saturn ducks a clothesline and Goldie’s arm goes into the post. Back in and a top rope spinwheel kick gets one and we hit the chinlock. Goldberg fights up but walks into a swinging neckbreaker to set up the chinlock again. Back up and Saturn grabs a chair before superkicking Goldberg into the corner. Using the chair as a springboard, Saturn kicks Goldberg in the back but a second attempt is countered with the spear. The Jackhammer retains the title.

Rating: D+. This didn’t do much for me. The arm went nowhere and it never felt like Saturn had a chance. Goldberg is in an awkward place as he’s too big to squash people and midcarders are no real challenge anymore but he’s not quite ready to face main event guys. That’s a very tricky jump to make but it would come soon enough.

We actually get full entrances for Bischoff vs. Vince with Eric winning by countout. Well done on wasting PPV time and looking silly while the WWF was starting to crush you, but at least Bischoff gets to laugh. In all sincerity though, at least they didn’t use the WWF method of using an impersonator or a midget.

Bret Hart vs. Randy Savage

Roddy Piper is guest referee for no apparent reason. We get the long stall session to open things up until Bret gets in the first shots, pounding Savage into the corner. Savage goes to the eyes and maybe a low blow for two. He pounds Bret down in the corner and chokes away, only to have Bret go after Randy’s bad knee. A suplex puts Randy down and a headbutt to the hamstring puts Savage on the floor.

Bret throws the steps at Savage but Randy moves to avoid breaking bones. Savage sends him into the barricade and they head into the crowd for the big walk around the arena which is called brawling. Back to ringside with Savage slamming him on the floor. This has been a brawl the entire way so far. They get back in with Bret wisely going after the knee and starts his usual wear down sequence.

He cannonballs down onto the knee, wraps it around the ropes and stretches the hamstring a bit. A Russian legsweep and a piledriver get two for the Canadian before he just stomps Savage down in the corner. Randy gets in some shots of his own and actually gets two off a one legged suplex. The top rope elbow connects but Randy bangs up his knee on the landing, allowing Bret to kick out at two.

Bret sweeps the legs and puts on the Sharpshooter as Liz comes running out. Savage counters into a Sharpshooter of his own (camera was on Liz so we didn’t see it) but Bret gets a rope. Bret kicks Savage low and hits Piper with a foreign object, only to have Savage take it away. Here’s Hogan to wrap Savage’s leg around the post, allowing Bret to put on the Sharpshooter for the win.

Rating: C. This took awhile to get going but the overbooking drags it down again. Hogan showing up makes you wonder why he couldn’t defend the title here or why he needed to be champion in the first place. Have Savage defend against Bret here and keep the title by DQ etc, but Hogan just NEEDED to be champion again I guess. Also it’s looking like we’re never getting an explanation from Bret on why he helped Hogan.

Piper takes the object off Bret’s hand but doesn’t do anything.

Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. Sting/The Giant

Hall is back and does the survey for the first time in months. Sting starts with Scott and there are the driving shoulders to get us going. A quick chokeslam puts Sting down and there’s the Giant imitation. Sting comes back with a pair of atomic drops and a Stinger Splash but he has to fight off Nash as well. Giant comes in and headbutts Nash to the floor and Hall joins him for a meeting.

Back in and it’s time for the battle of the monsters with Nash now all aggressive to go after Giant. Nash can’t Jackknife him so he chokes in the corner instead. Giant comes back with a big boot and an elbow drop before driving his hips into Nash’s ribs in the corner. The fans cheer for the Wolfpack as Sting comes in. Sting takes Hall down but gets kicked in the face by Nash, allowing for the tag off to Scott. A quick fallaway slam gets two on Sting as the fans are WAY into Hall.

Back to Nash for Snake Eyes before it’s back to Hall for some stomping. Nash drops the crotch on Sting’s back before firing off knees in the corner. Hall comes back in again for the abdominal stretch with a hand from Nash. Sting hiptosses out but misses an elbow drop, allowing another tag to Kevin. We hit the bearhug but Sting claps the ears a few times, allowing for the hot tag off to Giant, even though Giant is a heel.

Giant kicks Nash down and drops a Hogan leg for two before going….to the top? He misses a splash from up there so Nash can stay alive and Dusty gets on the apron for some reason. Nash loads up the Jackknife but, of course, Hall turns on Nash with a belt shot to the back, giving Sting and Giant the titles.

Rating: C-. Match was just ok but the illogical heel turns are getting annoying really fast. There’s no reason for all these turns and the lack of ANY explanation so far is making them even worse. So now we have a WCW guy and an NWO Black and White guy holding the tag belts, meaning it’s now all on Sting to make a decision and presumably setting up Hall vs. Nash. Anyone want to bet on that match not happening?

Giant and Hall welcome Sting to the NWO but Sting doesn’t move to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. I watched this show about a year and a half ago and other than the Malenko stuff, I don’t remember a thing from it. The show isn’t that bad but NOTHING on it stands out at all. It’s a totally watchable show with some good matches sprinkled in and nothing horrible, but it comes off like one of the least important shows I can remember, doing little more than setting up Nitro. Find the Malenko/Jericho stuff though as it’s well worth seeing.

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