Road Wild 1998 (2013 Redo): There’s No Way Around It

Road Wild 1998
Date: August 8, 1998
Location: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenany, Bobby Heenan

The summer of celebrities continues with one of the worst ideas I can imagine: Jay Leno as a professional wrestler. I still don’t get who this is supposed to attract. Fans of the Tonight Show don’t seem like the kind of people that are going to drop $30 to see something they know is going to be a goofy comedy bit and wrestling fans aren’t going to buy it because it’s Jay Leno as a wrestler. On top of that there’s one match that has been pushed at all here and it’s a battle royal. Why they can’t just do NWO vs. NWO and Goldberg vs. Giant is beyond me but I’d bet politics were involved. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is a collection of Tonight Show clips which still do nothing to change the fact that it’s Eric Bischoff and Jay Leno in the main event.

I’ll give Road Wild this much: no show comes close to having such a unique atmosphere.

The announcers don’t look as ridiculous this year. Tenay in a jean jacket is still ridiculous looking though.

Gene is sitting on a motorcycle to start and brags about 200,000 bikers being here in Sturgis. Not at the show mind you but I’m sure that’s what will be claimed.

The ring and mats are up on a platform instead of level ground.

Meng vs. Barbarian

This is going to be a long show. The fight starts at the bell with both guys pounding on each other and screaming a lot. They fight over a sumo lockup before trading some chops in the corner. Meng takes over with a hard clothesline even though it didn’t knock Barbarian down. Barbarian comes right back with a belly to belly superplex but Meng pops up and piledrives him.

Meng misses a middle rope splash, no sells it, and goes up top again. Barbarian catches him in a belly to belly superplex as Tenay talks about 350,000 people being at the biker rally this week. A powerslam puts Barbarian down but he gets right back up for some chopping. Meng staggers him with some headbutts but gets pulled to the floor. Barbarian sends him into the steps and heads back inside, only to have Meng put on the Tongan Death Grip for the pin.

Rating: D. It sucked as a match but this wasn’t the worst idea for an opening match. A crowd of bikers is going to respond to two monsters beating each other up for five minutes and they seemed interested here. It doesn’t do much for the wrestling fans, but this show was never for them in the first place.

Meng won’t let go of the hold so Jimmy Hart comes in for the save. That goes as well as you would expect so here’s Hugh Morrus for the second save. Meng gets triple teamed, including a top rope splash from Hart, so Jim Duggan makes the final save, drawing a big pop from the bikers that might have watched a few wrestling matches ten years ago.

Tenay’s estimates are now up to 360,000.

Disco Inferno/Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy

Tokyo Magnum is here with the dancers. Wright rolls away from Rocco to start before hiptossing him down and dancing. They fight over a wristlock until Alex dropkicks him down and tags in Disco. He’s not quite ready to fight yet though and drops to the floor for a three way high five with the other dancers. Back in and Disco takes Grunge down with a clothesline before bringing Wright back in for a missile dropkick. Alex stops for some dancing and turns around into a Rocco clothesline.

A double flapjack puts Inferno down and Tokyo throws in a trashcan out of nowhere. Grunge gets cracked over the back as the referee is cool with all of this. Rocco brings in a ladder and that’s too much for the dancers who go for a walk. Tokyo doesn’t want to leave but his partners come back with a table. Disco grabs a mic and says let’s make this a street fight. Tony states the obvious: “Haven’t we already made it one already?”

The referee is fine with that so Public Enemy goes to the back to find a toilet seat and a kitchen sink. Grunge pounds on Disco on the floor as Tony hypes up a cookie sheet. Wright suplexes Rocco through a trashcan but Grunge blasts Alex with the sheet for the save. Rocco loads up the flip dive through the table but Disco makes a save to prevent Wright’s demise. The kitchen sink is brought in and nearly broken over Grunge’s back. The fans want to see the table but they get Tokyo Magnum thrown inside instead.

Public Enemy throws the dancers into each other and give them stereo atomic drops, only to have Wright come back with a leg lariat to Grunge. Tokyo hits Magnum by mistake as Grunge blasts Disco in the face with the ladder. Alex walks away as Rocco see-saws a ladder into Disco’s hair. Now Tokyo walks away, leaving Public Enemy to set up three tables on top of each other next to the platform. Grunge climbs a ladder to put Disco on the top table, allowing Rocco to climb the scaffolding for a huge elbow drop. Grunge has to throw Disco back inside, avoid a top rope splash from a returning Magnum, and get the pin.

Rating: D+. The match was fun and the spot at the end was good (though also odd looking with a delay before each table broke) but it took over fifteen minutes to get there. The wrestling stuff at the beginning was a waste of time and they should have just gone to the street fight stuff from the beginning. Not horrid though.

Dean Malenko says he’ll be a fair referee.

Raven vs. Kanyon vs. Saturn

Under Raven’s Rules, meaning hardcore. Raven’s music is so awesome that it doesn’t belong on a show like this. The question coming into this is whether Kanyon is under Raven’s control or not. Raven stands on the apron and tells Kanyon to get Saturn, only to have Perry take over with some kicks. Raven comes in with a chair to Saturn’s back and sends Kanyon into the post before Saturn falls to the floor as well.

Saturn and Kanyon get in a fight on the floor as Heenan tries to figure out the story of the match as only he can. Raven sits in the corner while the other two fight in the ring but they finally realize what’s going on. Kanyon dropkicks Raven low and Saturn belly to back suplexes Raven into a Kanyon neckbreaker. Kanyon throws Raven into Saturn and hits rolling Russian legsweeps on Raven for two in a nice move. Saturn breaks up the cover with a guillotine legdrop on Raven for two and the Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza gets the same on Raven.

Kanyon gets in another fight with Saturn so Raven blasts them both in the head with a chair, only to be sent to the floor. Saturn follows him out so Kanyon dives on both guys, giving us our first breather in awhile. They get off the platform where Kanyon whips Raven HARD into the barricade. Raven comes back with a suplex to put Kanyon down on the ramp (designed like a road) but Saturn clotheslines Raven down for two. Kanyon piledrives Saturn on the stage for two more before Raven dropkicks Kanyon down the stage.

They fight back to the ring where both guys drop down to avoid a charging Raven before Saturn catches him with a t-bone suplex. Saturn puts Raven in a sleeper but Kanyon puts one on Saturn as well before a jawbreaker puts everyone down. We get a Tower of Doom with Kanyon superplexing Saturn and Raven putting Kanyon in an electric chair.

Raven tries a double DDT on both guys but only puts Saturn down. Kanyon and Raven head outside with Raven getting suplexed onto the floor. Kanyon misses a splash off the scaffolding but Saturn catches Raven in the Death Valley Driver. Lodi makes the save but Horace comes in to lay out Saturn. Horace picks up the stop sign but gets blinded by Lodi’s powder. He caves Raven’s head in and a Death Valley Driver to Raven gives Saturn the pin.

Rating: C. This was a mess but it was supposed to be. I’m still not sure where they go with this story now but it would seem to still be Raven vs. Saturn. Kanyon was just there to keep spots going and he did a good job, but that doesn’t mean he helped the story or really changed anything.

Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Bonus match and the winner gets a Cruiserweight Title shot at a date to be determined. Since that’s not important, the announcers talk about Leno being nervous. Psychosis takes him to the mat with a headlock followed by an armbar. Rey tries to get up but gets taken back down by the wrist. The crowd is dead for this which shouldn’t shock anyone. Back up again and Rey can’t hook a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker so Psychosis clotheslines him down for two.

A sitout front suplex gets two for Psychosis and he whips Rey from corner to corner. Rey’s arms are wrapped around the ropes in the corner as this somehow gets even slower. It’s not terrible mind you but it’s the completely wrong style for these two to be working. Psychosis suplexes Rey down and goes up top, only to do the most obvious “I’m going up here to jump into his raised boots because I’m jumping straight down instead of doing ANY kind of move at all” spot I can remember in a long time.

Rey FINALLY realizes that he’s the king of cruiserweights and cartwheels at Psychosis before jumping onto his shoulders for a spinning hurricanrana. Believe it or not, the crowd actually responds to the high spot. After nothing of note on the floor, Rey hits a big cross body for two but has his hurricanrana countered into a sitout powerbomb. That’s enough of the big spots though and it’s nerve hold time. Rey fights up onto Psychosis’ shoulders but gets dropped back into a suplex for two.

They head outside again where Psychosis….does nothing. Back inside with Psychosis putting on a half crab before going up top for a super Frankensteiner for two. Psychosis goes up again but turns his back to Rey, only to get dropkicked out to the floor. Rey follows him out with a nice dive before throwing him back inside for a springboard sunset flip for a close two.

Mysterio hits something like a Fameasser with both legs across Psychosis’ back followed by a slingshot moonsault for two. Psychosis comes back with something resembling a Fameasser of his own for two but Rey avoids a charge and West Coast Pops his way to the #1 contendership.

Rating: D+. This felt like a car that was low on gas. You could get it going for a few moments, but eventually it would sputter and die. These two are capable of having some awesome matches but instead they were happy with just laying around and doing nothing most of the time. Rey was trying but Psychosis looked horrible.

TV Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Stevie Ray

Before the match Chavo shows off another hand made and stamped document saying that he’s the TV Champion, so Stevie needs to come out here and give him his belt. Chavo tries to do the handshake bit again but Stevie runs away because he doesn’t want to win a match by submission for some reason. Instead Stevie just punches him in the head and blocks a sunset flip with a choke. Chavo bails to the floor as the announcers call this a version of the rope-a-dope. Guerrero tries to sneak in but gets caught in the Slap Jack (lifting Pedigree) for the quick pin. This was a nothing squash.

Eddie saves Chavo from a further beating post match.

Jericho promises to keep the title and warns Malenko to be good tonight.

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Steiner

Rick is in jeans and a t-shirt…and here’s JJ to say hang on a second. Apparently Scott is too injured to wrestle and here he is on a stretcher with his arm and leg in casts, a neck brace, and on an oxygen tube. Rick’s chair shot to Scott was so bad that even Buff’s neck is reinjured. The match is rescheduled for Fall Brawl, and the fans are LIVID. If Scott doesn’t fight at Fall Brawl, he’s suspended for life. Scott jumps up but runs away from a charging Rick to end this stupid bait and switch.

Brian Adams vs. Steve McMichael

Another bonus match which is about as welcome as 847 angry yellowjackets pouring buckets of boiling tar on your back and injecting you with needles filled with herpes while a blind monk with a bad case of the shakes checks you for a hernia. They shove each other around to start before not having a test of strength. We get the ugliest mistimed sequence this side of Tough Enough as Adams misses a clothesline and they just kind of run into each other and McMichael putting on a front facelock.

Adams slams him down and drops a pair of legs for two. We hit the nerve hold for a LONG time before Adams hits a backbreaker and bends Mongo over his knee. Mongo avoids a middle rope knee drop and comes back with a belly to back suplex. A few three point shoulders take Adams down but he shrugs them off and loads up a piledriver, only to have the referee kicked in the face. Vincent tries to bring in a chair but cracks Adams by mistake, setting up the tombstone for the pin.

Rating: E. As in ebola, which sounds a lot better than sitting through this match ever again. On to ANYTHING else please.

The Nitro Girls are around Gene on the motorcycle.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera

Dean Malenko is refereeing and Jericho is defending. Jericho comes to the ring in a purple kimona because that’s the kind of guy he is. As always, he wants us to want him but opts to tease the bikers instead. I wonder if there are any Aces and 8’s in the crowd. Jericho takes him into the corner to start and Malenko tears him away as he’s supposed to do. Juvy takes out Jericho’s legs and chops away but Jericho elbows him in the face to take over again.

Juvy is sent to the floor and Jericho loads something up but Dean pulls him to the mat by the hair. Well at least according to Tenay, as the camera was on Juvy the entire time. Back in and Juvy slams Jericho onto the mat and a missile dropkick sends the champion outside. Guerrera chops him off the platform and into the barricade before going inside for a HUGE placha over the platform and into Jericho into the barricade.

Back in and Juvy gets two off a springboard cross body but Jericho catches another cross body attempt into something resembling a Juvy Driver for two. Dean’s count was noticeably slow and the count off a delayed vertical suplex is even slower. Juvy rolls out to the floor while Jericho yells at some fans before getting hit with a backsplash for two. We hit the chinlock on Guerrera before Chris stomps away and talks trash.

The Lionsault hits knees and Juvy comes back with chops and a hurricanrana. A top rope spinwheel kicks gets the same……slow……two……count from Dean but Jericho counters a running hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Jericho kicks him out to the apron instead of covering and kicks Juvy onto the floor. Back in and a clothesline gets two on Guerrera as the crowd is trying to care about this.

A Jericho powerbomb is countered into a DDT to wake the fans up a bit and the Juvy Driver gets a two count. Jericho is dazed but still manages to crotch Guerrera on the top and superplex him back down. Juvy rolls over for two but has another hurricanrana countered into the Liontamer. He’s right in front of the ropes though and Jericho is getting frustrated.

Juvy pounds away in the corner and Dean seems to have been poked in the eye. A belt shot lays out the challenger but Dean’s slow count means it’s only for two. Jericho is all ticked off and goes to the middle rope. He kicks Dean in the chest and that makes Malenko snap. Well snap as much as he’s capable of. Dean launches a charging Juvy into a middle rope Frankensteiner for the pin and the title.

Rating: B-. The match was good but it’s running with the anchor of this entire show. Maybe the heat of the day has something to do with it but these matches have all been incredibly sluggish. Juvy was trying here and Jericho was his usual great self but they could only get so far. Again though, why didn’t they just have Dean take the title himself?

Battle Royal

Goldberg, Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, The Giant, Scott Norton, Sting, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, Konnan

You can be eliminated either over the top or by pin/submission. Hall interrupts the ridiculously long entrances with the survey to keep this show going even longer. The NWO factions brawl while Goldberg hides in the corner. That lasts about fifteen seconds before Goldberg goes after Giant, which should have been a regular match tonight in the first place. Again that doesn’t last long and the match breaks down into a regular battle royal.

Hall loads up the Outsiders’ Edge on Goldberg but gets backdropped out. Nash eliminates himself (you can’t make up jokes like this) and goes after Hall as Goldberg spears Hennig down. Things get slow again with no one trying for an elimination. Goldberg finally pounds on Giant but gets headbutted back against the ropes. The fans chant for Goldberg as Giant takes him down with a Russian legsweep. Norton breaks up a Scorpion attempt on Hennig to keep the crowd bored.

Goldberg spears Konnan and throws him out before getting kicked in the corner by Giant. The NWO keeps fighting and Goldberg goes right back to the corner to wait for the next victim. It’s a short wait this time as he spears and eliminates Hennig before clotheslining Sting and Norton to the floor as well. We’re down to Luger, Giant and Goldberg but there’s a spear to Luger so Giant can dump him. A chokeslam puts Goldberg down but he does the Undertaker sit up and it’s a spear and Jackhammer for the win.

Rating: F. Holy sweet goodness how did WCW survive this long? There were eight eliminations in this match and Goldberg had six of them. The other two were a self elimination and someone Goldberg knocked out cold. There were, conservatively, five PPV title matches in there and Goldberg beat them all in less than eight minutes. You could have easily had someone throw Goldberg out and set them up as the challenger but instead let’s just have him destroy EVERYONE (except Nash of course because Nash losing would just be silly) and leave you with no challengers. But hey, a bunch of bikers cheered right?

Jay Leno/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eric Bischoff/Hollywood Hogan

Thank goodness they don’t have another video package to set this up. The one good thing about this: Liz ROCKING some jeans and chaps. Leno is apparently here to defend his title as King of Late Night. Kevin Eubanks is at ringside. Leno throws water at Hogan and Bischoff on the floor to show how serious he is. Hogan and Page start (thank goodness) and we get the usual non-action headlined by a wristlock.

Page drives in the shoulders and hits a big right hand, knocking Hogan into a left hand from Leno. Hogan is sent to the floor and the ripped Kevin Eubanks sends him into the post. Leno leads a chant against Hogan and is at least into the match. Bischoff comes in and Jay tries to go after him but gets held back. Page shrugs off some kicks to the chest and it’s off to Leno. Bischoff runs away to Hogan and Jay stays in. He points at his chin and makes fun of Hogan’s baldness which is about what you would expect. Leno avoids a pair of right hands and tags in Page.

Hogan clotheslines Page down and it’s back to the driving shoulders. Leno comes back in to grab the wrist and in one of the most painful things I can remember seeing as a wrestling fan, Hogan sells it. He wouldn’t sell for Sting at Starrcade but he’s selling for Jay Leno. Hogan shoves him into the corner and drives in a knee but Leno grabs the wrist again. A double clothesline puts Hogan down and Leno gets two before nearly collapsing into a tag to Page. Ok to be fair to Leno, he did his job and was actually trying. Points for that.

The wrestlers head to the floor and Eubanks steals a chair from Hogan to keep Page in control. Back in and Bischoff gets in a kick to the back of Page’s head to change momentum. Bischoff gets in his shots to make himself feel important before Hogan gets in a shot with a foreign object to give Eric a two count. There’s the big boot but Page gets up before the legdrop and takes Hogan down with the discus lariat.

Leno gets the hot tag and we get the showdown with Bischoff…..who drops Leno with a poke to the eye. Jay comes back with a low blow and some right hands before sending Bischoff into some buckles. Leno is totally gassed and everything breaks down. Hogan hits Bischoff by mistake and Eubanks hits a very good looking Diamond Cutter on Bischoff to give Leno the pin.

Rating: D. Of course that’s on an adjusted scale. This match wasn’t horrible but it was incredibly stupid. Again I’d like to reiterate that Leno did his job to the best of his ability. He did his comedy stuff, took a few shots from Hogan and got the pin on Bischoff. He was bad, but you knew that was going to happen as soon as this was announced. As for the booking, there were a bunch of other ideas they could have gone with here and this was probably the worst possible outcome.

You could have gone with the Battle of the Billionaires idea with Leno backing Page against Hogan in a singles match and done the showdown with Bischoff that way. You could have swapped in Goldberg for Page and done Goldberg vs. Hogan II with the same Leno vs. Bischoff outside stuff. Do that and put Page in the battle royal to get Goldberg’s next challenger. You could have done any of those things and gotten a better result, but it wouldn’t be WCW if they had gone that way.

Hogan and Bischoff get in more cheap shots until Goldberg comes in for the save. The good guys pose to end the wrestling part of the show.

The announcers talk and we get a video on Fall Brawl.

Gene interviews some fans as Travis Tritt gets ready.

The announcers wrap things up as the concert starts to end the show.

Overall Rating: F. There’s no other way to put it: this show sucked. The ONLY good match is the Cruiserweight Title match and maybe you could argue the triple threat, which was done on Nitro just a few weeks earlier. WCW is in a creative tailspin here and it’s not looking any better. Depending on your tastes, things are about to get either a lot more fun or a lot worse as the product is going to go from dull to awful in a hurry.

 

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