WCW Mayhem: A State of Transition [1999]

The Good, The Bad and The Swerves of Vince Russo

15

It is October 1999. At this point, the World Wrestling Federation has had a firm grip on the #1 position in wrestling television ratings since the early Spring. After countless missteps and miscues, World Championship Wrestling had begun its full spiral down the drain. A month prior, Eric Bischoff was relieved of his duties as Executive Vice President of WCW after serving six years in the role. He was replaced by a man named Bill Busch, who had previously worked as an accountant in Time Warner and had seemingly no real knowledge of professional wrestling. Knowing this, Busch made a play to hire on Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, the WWF’s head writers at this time. Together, Russo and Ferrara’s storylines and “Attitude” helped the WWF ascend the wrestling ladder and pass WCW Monday Nitro in the war for ratings.

After feeling burned out in the WWF as well as having a very lucrative offer made to him by Busch, both Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara jumped ship to World Championship Wrestling. Their first show in charge of creative was Halloween Havoc, a pay-per-view which saw Hulk Hogan laying down and allowing Sting to pin him in the middle of the ring. On night one, Russo had introduced WCW fans to a “worked shoot angle.” Hogan laying down caused WCW, in storyline, to create a makeshift main event, which saw Goldberg “win” the WCW championship from Sting in four minutes. The title was then declared vacant the following night on Nitro due to the controversy surrounding whether or not the match had indeed been for the championship in the first place.

This caused a thirty-two man tournament to take place which would culminate at the first ever WCW Mayhem pay-per-view, named after the video game of the same name released in the fall of 1999. Mayhem was to take place from the Air Canada center in Toronto, Canada. Due to the Canadian location, WCW was heavily promoting the two babyface favorites of the tournament to be Chris Benoit (Edmonton, Alberta) and Bret Hart (Calgary, Alberta). Mayhem would also mark Hart’s second pay-per-view appearance since the tragic death of his brother Owen that previous May. Russo and Ferrara were showing all of the fans at home that this was now their WCW, to the point where both men had on-screen television characters, but I’ll get to that later.

Now that you’re introduced to the characters, let’s watch this bad boy! It’s a Vince Russo pay-per-view, which means it will either be really fun, or really freaking terrible. God, have mercy on my soul.

“All of this fake. Except what I’m saying now. This is real, but we’re going to settle it with what I just told you is fake.” See the problem?

The show opens with a video package essentially recapping everything I’ve gone over above The most noteworthy thing in this package is that the thirty-two man world title tournament included a match between MADUSA AND MENG.

Yep, we’re in Russo territory.

Also, for God’s sake, every match previously held in this tournament ended in some kind of DQ or interference.

Oh boy…

We’re told our tournament matches for the night are the following; Chris Benoit vs Jeff Jarrett and Sting vs Bret Hart. At least, I’m hopefully guaranteed three good matches on this show. No amount of bad booking could lead to any of those four men having a bad match with each other. Commentators for the evening are Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan. What’s weird is that after Russo came aboard, Tony and Bobby started to care about their presentation and improved greatly. Neither men were coasting. I expect high quality commentary this evening.

WCW Mayhem PPV Advert [November 21st, 1999]
Match 1: Jeff Jarrett vs Chris Benoit

Jarrett comes out with one of his six-thousand guitars. Also, let me just say now, if you have the means to watch this show without the WWE Network, try to do that. So much of the iconic music we all know and love from WCW has been changed, and it really detracts from the show.

Chris Benoit comes out to a huge ovation, which makes sense. Also, let me get this out of the way right now — yes I’m going to say nice things about Benoit. It’s not easy, but for the sake of this review, it’s necessary. I’m not trying to undermine the horrific events in the final weekend of Benoit’s life, I’m just pretending that it’s 1999.

Match starts super hot, as the crowd is into everything Benoit does. Jeff is so good at being an old school heel, he makes Benoit look like Superman with some of the bumps he’s taking for him. WCW really had cool look for the ring too. Black ropes, black turnbuckles and the ’99 logo in the middle of the canvas. Very clean.

The two men brawl outside, where Jarrett rams Benoit into the post balls-first. Jeff throws Benoit back into the ring when Tony and Bobby begin talking about Jarrett’s relationship with “The Powers that Be”, The “Powers” was WCW’s authority figure at this point, which was Vince Russo sitting at a desk with the camera to his back. Think George Steinbrenner in Seinfeld and you’d have the right idea. Jeff gets the heat on Benoit with a headlock that Chris fights out of and counters with one of his own. Benoit hits his signature three German suplexes, God I miss that. The Harris Twins, known at this point as Creative Control, come down to aid Jarrett. In one of the laziest attempts to rib the WWF, the twins’ names were Gerald and Patrick, an obvious reference to top ‘Fed officials, Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson.

Ha. Ha.

Benoit hits the headbutt, goes for the cover only to have one of the world’s biggest Nazis (seriously, look it up) break up the pin. Gerald distracts the referee allowing Patrick to attack Benoit. Jeff goes for the cover only for it to be broken up by BLACK REIGN–err, I mean, Dustin Rhodes. Dustin fights off Creative Control. Benoit hits Jeff with his guitar. Charles Robinson, completely oblivious to the pieces of broken guitar in the ring counts the three. Chris Benoit is heading to the tournament finals!

After the match, Jarrett and Creative Control beat down Benoit, only to have WCW security break up the brawl. Match was pretty great actually. These two had an awesome match at Starrcade the next month as well. Finish was a little overbooked, but I have a feeling that’s going to be a trend.

TO THE BACK

In our first abrupt trip to the backstage, Mike Tenay is interviewing the Disco Inferno. I am not even going to explain this next storyline. Something about Disco owing some dude named “Tony Marinara” $25,000. Oh, Disco’s Cruiserweight champion, by the way.

Tony Marinara: definition of “Blink and ya’ miss it.”
Match #2: WCW Cruiserweight Championship – Disco Inferno (C) vs Evan Karagias

Karagias comes out with Madusa, who looks like his hot Mom. Ya ever heard the song “Stacy’s Mom”? Nevermind. Disco comes out with Tony Marinara, played by Tony Mamaluke of ECW “fame.” So apparently, Disco is defending here not only his title, but also $25,000 of Marinara’s money. Marinara joins Tony and Bobby on commentary. I won’t even mince words, Marinara is horrid. As is Evan Karagias, who delivers perhaps the worst arm-drag in pro wrestling history near the start. It really says something when Disco Inferno is by far the biggest star and best worker involved in this segment.

Karagias’ gear is a pair of cargo pants with tennis shoes, but at least he taped his wrists! Now, there is one funny line from Marinara. While talking about Madusa, he says, “Look at that baby-doll! God bless America. Ya know, I got a buck and a quarter!” Hate to admit, I laughed uproariously.

To their credit, Tony and Bobby were doing the best they could to work with this goof. Disco throws Evan out of the ring where Madusa helps him up. Disco jumps off the apron into a dropkick from Karagias. I’m not writing much about the action, because there’s not much to write. A “BORING” chant breaks out. This crowd doesn’t care about any of this, nor should they. Madusa slaps Disco, Marinara then hits on her, Karagias strangles him for his troubles. What a babyface. Disco aims a chairshot at Karagias but hits Tony Marinara. Karagias throws Disco back into the ring, hits a springboard crossbody and gets the three. Evan Karagias has won the Cruiserweight championship, $25,000 and a kiss from Madusa. Just a shame all of these nice things went to him and not someone who, ya know, doesn’t suck. This match and segment was dreadful.

TO THE BACK

We see Bret Hart arriving to the building, drinking a coffee from a red holiday Starbucks cup. We then cut to Russo (as “The Powers that Be”) scolding Jeff Jarrett and Creative Control. Russo tells Jeff he has until the end of the night to prove himself, and if he doesn’t he can consider himself out of favors. Jarrett says, “Yankee, you want it!? You got it!”

We then go to Mean Gene Okerlund interviewing Screamin’ Norman Smiley, wearing goalie gear and Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. Smiley will be facing Brian Knobbs to determine the first WCW Hardcore Champion. During his interview, Norman gets spooked by the sounds of a metal pipe falling backstage. Norman Smiley is honest to God one of the most endearing characters from the last few years of WCW. He’s so underrated and entertaining here.

The “Prestigious” WCW Hardcore Championship
Match #3: WCW Hardcore Championship Match – Screamin’ Norman Smiley vs Brian Knobbs (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Brian Knobbs and Jimmy Hart come out to a rip off of “My Sharona”, which somehow remains on the WWE Network. They are wheeling down a garbage can full of “plunder,” if you will. Knobbs was hanging on to that mullet in 1999, good for him. Jimmy Hart has his right hand taped up, just in case. Norman Smiley gets a good pop from the crowd. Toronto knows whats up. Nick Patrick shows the camera the new WCW Hardcore title belt, looking like a superior version of the ECW Championship, but not quite as memorable as the WWF Hardcore Championship.

The Mayor of Pity City takes it to the BIG WIGGLE

Knobbs jumps Norman at the bell with a broom. “Trash-can city!” Norman begins screaming, cause that’s his thing. Smiley avoids a shot from Knobbs off of the second rope. Jimmy Hart accidentally throws Norman a trash can. Smiley stuffs Knobbs in the trash can and hits it with a hockey stick. Norman then lands THE BIG WIGGLE! YES! Heenan advises, “Don’t do this at home!” Well, Brain, I don’t own a metal trash can nor do I have a three-hundred pound man to dry hump at home.

Knobbs throws Norman out of the ring, and they begin walking/brawling up the aisle. We officially end up backstage, and the crowd, who were really into this match, begin to boo. Norman throws Knobbs into a strategically placed “Shoot for Loot” sign. Smiley swings a broomstick at Jimmy Hart, who is using a trash can lid as a shield. I love wrestling. Knobbs cuts off Norman with the hundredth trash can shot to the head of this match. Knobbs leans a table into a wall and just casual-ass heaves Norman into it. It was the most non-nonchalant table spot I’ve ever seen. Smiley puts Knobbs on a crate with wheels and rolls Knobbs into a PlayStation sign that I want in my bedroom. Knobbs breaks a crutch over Norman’s back, then proceeds to pour milk on him. We’re now in a part of the arena where food for the arena concessions are stored. Norman throws Knobbs into a giant pile of boxes, while Jimmy Hart is throwing canned goods at him. Hella ouch. Schiavone exclaims, “We’ve got a food fight!”

The two men then brawl into an elevator which, thank God, Jimmy Hart is able to open before it moves. When the door opens, Hart throws a shot with a trash can, aiming for Smiley, but gets Knobbs instead. Norman rolls on top of the Nasty Boy, gets the three count and is the first ever WCW Hardcore Champion!

After the bell, Knobbs attacks Norman, and then turns on Jimmy Hart! Knobbs is pissed. The final shot of this segment is Norman Smiley and Jimmy Hart laying unconscious in a pile of buns. Holy hot damn. This match, while technically bad, was so entertaining. I loved every second of this.

WCW Hardcore Champion: Norman Smiley (picture here smiling alongside hot dog buns)
TO THE BACK

We cut to a video package recapping the feud between The Revolution and The Filthy Animals. At one point, The Revolution had kidnapped Torrie Wilson, but somehow weren’t arrested. We then have an interview with The Revolution, comprised of Shane Douglas, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Asya. Asya was Russo’s attempt to recreate the success he had with Chyna in the WWF i.e. a muscular woman who can compete with men.

Douglas says a whole lot of nothing, further proving that he was only a good promo in ECW because he could curse. I should mention this is an six-person elimination match, so they’re alluding to the idea that one of the two women will be left alone with the two men from the other team. The Filthy Animals then cut a better, but still mostly pointless promo.

We then transition over to Disco Inferno consoling Tony Marinara who was still feeling the effects of the chairshot from earlier. Disco tries to apologize, but Marinara stands up and tells Disco, “I’m coming tomorrow… and I’m bringing the boys.”

Upon hearing this news, Disco puts his head in his hands and sullenly murmurs, “Oh God….” Who are “the boys?”

Well, I dunno. Watch Nitro the next night and tweet me the answer.

We then jump once again, but this time to Jarrett and Creative Control walking backstage angrily. I should mention everything I just wrote took place in FIVE MINUTES. Good lord, let me breathe a little.

Match #4: Six-Man Tag-Team Elimination Match – The Filthy Animals (Eddie Guerrero, Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson) vs The Revolution (Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and Asya)

The Revolution is out first accompanied by the Frenchfries, er, I mean, The Franchise Shane Douglas. Douglas was STILL nursing the injured right arm that kept him out of in-ring action sporadically during 1998 and 1999. Saturn was also beyond jacked at this point, the man was absolute swollen. The Animals are out next to their awesome theme. Konnan accompanies them and is one-half of the tag team champions along with Kidman but isn’t in this match for some reason. Animals jump-start the fight as Douglas joins Tony & Bobby on commentary. Eddie Guerrero and Kidman take out Saturn, and then Eddie focuses his attention on taking out Dean Malenko. Douglas talks about how he hopes Torrie has to go three-on-one with The Revolution. I hope that doesn’t happen. Not for her sake, but mine.

Perry, no…. (Via SLAM! Wrestling)

Malenko is the on the outside where he gets ATTACKED BY A FAN in the crowd. Seriously, dude straight up jabs him with the Canadian flag. Torrie gets pushed down by Asya, injuring her ankle the process. As Torrie is down in the corner, Eddie checks on her and accidentally shoves Billy Kidman away right into a roll up from Dean. Kidman is the only champion in the match and is the first one pinned. Nice.

Kidman argues with Eddie, and the two get into a shoving bout. However, nothing comes of it though as Kidman just leaves. The announcers tell the story of how Eddie is all alone when suddenly, Konnan leaves as well… for some reason.

Asya then gives Eddie Guerrero a vertical suplex, and then exits the ring. Smart move. She’s already being used better than Chyna by not having to actually wrestle full matches. Eddie then pins Dean Malenko with a roll up. We’re now down to Asya & Saturn vs Eddie & Torrie. Asya is back in and is throwing some hideous strikes on Eddie but does a fairly competent underhook suplex. Saturn accidentally hits Asya, allowing Guerrero to finish her off with a frog splash. Asya is eliminated.

Fun side note: Asya is currently married to Dale Torborg a.k.a THE KISS DEMON. [2011]
We now have Eddie vs Saturn for a few minutes and it’s pretty alright, as you’d imagine. Saturn goes for a springboard crossbody that Eddie counters with a dropkick. Saturn hits a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Saturn heads up top and misses his elbow drop, which by the way, is the best elbow drop in the history of pro wrestling. Fight me.

Eddie heads up for a frog splash, but Saturn catches Eddie and reverses into the Rings of Saturn. We’re down to Perry Saturn vs TORRIE WILSON. My God. Saturn essentially dry humps Torrie, allowing her to hit Saturn with a low blow, which gets her a two count. Now, here comes the garbage. Douglas leaves commentary and distracts the referee, which allows Saturn to hit a low blow on Torrie. Now, look, I’m well aware hitting a woman in the genitals would hurt. But, how would it hurt any worse than being punched in the arm or something? Anyway, the low blow allows Saturn to get a three count and beat Torrie Wilson. Overall, a solid match, but all of these men have done so much better.

TO THE BACK

Literally seven seconds after the winning pinfall, we cut backstage and see Jeff Jarrett attacking Buff Bagwell. Why? I guess to prove something to Russo. Tony then explains that Bagwell is wrestling Curt Hennig in a retirement match up next. Bobby Heenan then says the following: “This is the greatest pay-per-view I’ve ever been on.” Jesus!

Match #5: Retirement Match – Curt Hennig vs Buff Bagwell

We see a video package of all of the matches Hennig has won over the last month, which all had his career on the line. Well, the stipulation was if Hennig was pinned, his career would be over. Slightly convoluted. Buff’s music hits, but he doesn’t come out. They restart his music only to have Jarrett and Creative Control walk out instead. The bell rings regardless, as the three men beat down Hennig before “Hacksaw” Buff Bagwell comes out wielding a 2×4. Buff runs off Jarrett, but Hennig still jumps him for his help. Hennig is the heel here, I think. Bobby Heenan is so bias toward Curt, and I love it. He even exclaims, “Who cares about Bagwell!?” I blocked a guy on Twitter for asking that same question once. The two men walk and brawl around the ring as Hennig casually strikes Buff with a blatant low blow. They end up back in the ring, where Bagwell regains control. Hennig cuts off Bagwell before attempting to apply some kind of submission.

Hennig AGAIN low blows Buff. Bagwell gets put in a headlock, and I start to doze off, ever so slightly. Bagwell fights out of it, hits the ropes only to run into Hennig knee, who then reapplies his headlock. Curt then hits one of the loudest chops I’ve ever heard. It’s so awesome.

We go back and fourth for a while until Buff rakes Curt’s eyes in the corner, allowing him to hit the Blockbuster to get the pin. Curt Hennig’s career is over. Allegedly. Heenan is distraught over this, to the point of nearly being in tears. Buff Bagwell then mugs for the camera. Literally, that is the only thing I hate about Buff. Back the hell up, dude. Curt Hennig stands up and gets a standing ovation from the crowd as he begins to tear up. This match was kinda lame, but the image of Curt Hennig in the middle of the ring as the audience stands and applauds is awesome. In fact, it was… perfect.

The final match (LOL) of Curt Hennig’s career (Via SLAM! Wrestling)
TO THE BACK

But enough of that emotion, Mike Tenay is interviewing Sting. Sting’s hair at this point was immaculate. Sting says he knows the crowd is behind Bret, but it’s still showtime.

Match #6: Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs Sting

Bret comes out first to his AWESOME WCW theme, and an incredible crowd reaction. This was Bret’s first time in Canada since Owen had passed. In fact, this was the first wrestling show of any significance in Canada since Owen’s death. That’s important to remember.

Sting comes out next, which The WWE Network has his 1997 “Crow” theme dubbed over the Metallica “Seek and Destroy” he was using at this point. Sting… state of your gear, mate.

What are you wearing, Steve!?

Padded, leather pants with a sleeveless t-shirt? It was weird to see him like this, but it is so much better than the time he would wear a t-shirt on top of his singlet in TNA. In fact, I wish he would have worn this instead!

Sting, coming off of his lackluster heel run and being in Canada against Bret Hart, attempts to work the match as heel. The Stinger, unsurprisingly, is not very good at it. With the possible exception of Ricky Steamboat, Sting is the best babyface of all time. He looks like, sells like and works like a babyface. He’s just not a heel. That being said, the crowd doesn’t care at all and are into everything Bret does. That doesn’t mean that the Canadian fans entirely hate Sting the way you think they would. They actually like him, its just that they prefer Bret. Very good back and forth action until Sting hits a BLATANT LOW BLOW. Okay, what the hell is going on!? Didn’t those used to be illegal?

The Scorpion has been stung!

Sting slows the pace with a headlock until Bret makes a comeback, only for Sting to immediately cut him off again, throwing him out of the ring. They brawl by the announce table, and here is where we see that Tony Schiavone is wearing a blue shirt, blue tie and blue jeans. He looks like Danny Tanner.

Bret finally makes a true comeback on Sting once they’re back in the ring, punches aplenty. Bret goes up top and hits an elbow on Sting and accidentally nails the ref. Lex Luger then comes down with a baseball bat and, for some reason, attacks Sting. Lex is interrupted though when he is unceremoniously¬†kicked in the balls by Bret and put in a sharpshooter. Mickey Jay calls for the bell and awards the match to Bret.

Hart tells the ref he doesn’t want to win the match like this, and the match is restarted. Bret goes for the second rope elbow, Sting gets his boot up and locks-in Bret in the Scorpion Deathlock. Instead of getting to the rope, Bret reverses the Deathlock into a Sharpshooter! Okay, that’s awesome!

Sting taps out, and Bret is going to the finals. This is, for sure, the best match we’ve seen on this show so far, but I was hoping for more. Honestly I think on paper, Sting and Bret have the potential to have a five-star classic, but for some reason, they never had a definitive great match. This is by far the best they had. Both men shake hands afterwards, solidifying Sting as a babyface.

TO THE BACK

Gene is standing by with Chris Benoit. Chris says the last time he faced Bret, it was for Owen. But tonight is for the world title. Afterward, we see Mike Tenay standing by with Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth. Luger, for some reason, is in a neck collar. I wasn’t aware the sharpshooter injured necks, but alas…

Tenay questions the neck collar, but Luger assures us it’s necessary. He says he won’t be able to wrestle tonight.

Match #7: Dog Collar Match – Vampiro (with Jerry Only) vs Berlyn (with The Wall)

Vamp is out first with Jerry Only of The Misfits fame. Berlyn is out next with THE WALL, BROTHER. Berlyn, of course, is a repackaged Alex Wright. Also, I can assure you, Berlyn paired up with someone named The Wall is hilarious. Tony and Bobby comment on how the dog collars will be around the wrestlers’ necks. Heenan says he’s been in collar matches where the chain was around the wrist but not the neck. “This will be worse,” says Bobby.

Yes. It. Will.

Before the match starts, out comes… sigh… Oklahoma and Dr. Death Steve Williams. I feel like Oklahoma could have his own article at some point, so I’ll be brief. Let’s just leave it at this, it’s bad. Real bad. It’s offensive. Real offensive. But the worst part is, Oklahoma was played by Ed Ferrara. Yes, one of the men brought in to save this company portrayed the most offensive character in the company’s history. You see, Oklahoma was a spoof of Jim Ross. In theory, a character dressed like JR with a southern accent and a bottle of BBQ sauce could be funny, but Ferrara took it too far. Oklahoma’s main point of parody was to mock the very real Bell’s condition Jim Ross has, a condition which paralyzed and disfigured Ross’ face. Dr. Death was a friend of Ross’ who blamed JR for his career failure in the WWF. Long and the short is this; Oklahoma was wretched.

God, help us. (Via WWE Network)

Oklahoma joins Tony and Bobby on commentary. Tony looks disgusted but plays along anyways. I hate to admit it, but I did get a kick out of Oklahoma mispronouncing Vampiro’s name constantly as “VAMPYRO”.

Berlyn refuses to put on the collar and hits Charles Robinson. The Wall decks Vamp as Jerry Only comes in to help and takes Berlyn out of the ring. Nick Patrick comes in to officiate as The Wall continues to wrestle in Berlyn’s place. Vamp is the only one who is wearing a dog collar. So… what the hell is the point of the collar again? Berlyn comes back in as they double team Vamp. The Wall puts on the dog collar now. Whyyyy? The Wall gives Vampiro an awesome chokeslam, goes for the pin only for Berlyn to break it up. Okay, why in the blue hell can The Wall even go for a pinfall? And what difference does it make if he gets the win instead of Berlyn? There is literally NOTHING at stake in this match.

Berlyn argues with The Wall as they go nose to nose. The Wall takes off the collar and throws it at Berlyn. As he leaves the ring, Jerry Only jumps on the apron, only to be knocked down by Berlyn. “WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON? AND WHO IS ON WHOSE SIDE!?”

At this point, we have Vamp wearing a collar, Berlyn not wearing a collar, Jerry Only being useless at ringside, and The Wall has left the building. All of this is happening while I have to listen to Oklahoma make bad jokes. Vampiro puts Berlyn on the top rope and hits a terrible vertical suplex. Jerry Only comes in as they give Berlyn the absolute worst double-team suplex ever. Vamp hits his finisher, the Nail in the Coffin. By the way, no one is even wearing the goddamn chain at this point. Berlyn gets put into a camel clutch by Vampiro with the chain wrapped around Berlyn’s neck as he submits. Vampiro wins.

Terrible. (Via WWE Network)

After the bell, Dr. Death, beats the holy hell out of both Vampiro and Jerry Only. This is almost a literal murder. Oklahoma’s music plays as the two men celebrate. Ladies and gentlemen, I can, without hyperbole say, this is the worst segment in WCW history. I swear to God, EVERYTHING about this was bad. I liked this show up to this point, but now? Oh hell no. Holy crap.

TO THE BACK

I’ve never been happier to see Mike Tenay. He is standing by with Scott Hall who is both the WCW Television and WCW United States Heavyweight Champion. He talks about how his original opponent, Rick Steiner, was injured by Sid Vicious on Monday. Therefore, Hall calls out anyone in the back to face him tonight. We then go over to Curt Hennig making his final walk out of the building. He runs into Norman Smiley and Konnan, who both offer their condolences.

Kimberly Page is then seen arriving to the building, adjusting her boobs for good measure.

Match #8: Lex Luger (with Miss Elizabeth) vs Meng

Lex Luger comes out still wearing the neck collar from earlier tonight. Meng is out next, looking bad ass. We see a sign that says, “Meng = Ratings.” I concur. Meng starts beating the crap out of Luger, and it’s as awesome as I hoped. Meng goes for the Tongan Death Grip, but the neck collar blocks it. AH HA! Genius on Luger’s part! Liz distracts Meng, allowing Luger to clothesline, and then powerslam Meng. Meng mounts a comeback consisting of kicks and headbutts. Meng has Lex down across the ropes. While Meng is continuing his attack, Liz attempts to spray MACE in Meng’s eyes but accidentally blasts Luger instead. Meng rips the collar off of Luger and locks in the Tongan Death Grip, allowing him to get the three count. Short, pointless but harmless. I like Meng.

Meng is money (Via SLAM! Wrestling)
TO THE BACK

Mean Gene interviews Bret Hart. Bret says he and Benoit are putting their friendship aside as Luger wanders around in the background. A shot of David Flair follows with Flair stroking his crowbar, preparing for his match with Kimberly.

Match #9: WCW United States and WCW Television Championship Match – Scott Hall (C) vs Booker T.

Scott Hall is first out to the ungodly over nWo Wolfpac theme. Booker T. walks out to accept Hall’s open challenge from earlier. It’s hard to believe that this time the following year, Booker would be a three-time former WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

The match starts with some taunting. I’ll be honest folks, this match is boring. Just know this; the crowd is into literally everything Scott Hall does. Other than maybe Bret, Scott Hall may very well be the most over person on this show. Hall at this point was not embarrassingly out of shape, but he wasn’t that lean either. A fight breaks out in the crowd.

Outsider’s Edge on Booker!

And for the fifteenth freaking time tonight, Jeff Jarrett and Creative Control come out. Creative Control start their attack on Booker, but he fights them off. Scott Hall takes advantage of the distraction and gets the win with the Outsider’s Edge. ¬†Jarrett and the Harris Twins attack Booker. The lights go out, but when they come back on, a woman named Midnight in the ring. Midnight is a tall, slender, muscular black woman, who I’m sure was named organically and not because of the color of her skin. She fights off all three men and consoles the beaten down Booker.

TO THE BACK

Lex Luger is looking for Elizabeth. Cameras go over to Tony Schivaone and Bobby Heenan setting up the Kimberly Page vs David Flair match. A promo video is shown, explaining that Kimberly invited David Flair to her hotel room, but the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair showed up. This led to a match between Diamond Dallas Page and Ric Flair at Halloween Havoc, which I wish I was watching instead of this.

David Flair attacked and injured DDP with a crowbar. Kimberly returns the favor by hitting David Flair WITH A CAR. After this, David then began to stalk Kimberly. Apparently, Kimberly also left the Nitro Girls and started wrestling. I have no idea what is going on.

Match #10: David Flair vs Kimberly Page

David Flair walks out first to Ric Flair’s music. David, state of your gear, mate! He’s wrestling in jeans and a t-shirt! David, to his credit though, does look like a psychopath. Kimberly Page makes her entrance next to her husband’s theme. Also, let me say this now, Kimberly is the most-beautiful woman in the history of professional wrestling. I realize that has zero relevance to this, but I’m just looking for stuff to write that’s not about the actual match. David slowly puts his crowbar down. That sounds lewd. Kimberly then LOW BLOWS David. But, swerve! Flair is wearing a cup! He picks up his crowbar and walks towards Kimberly who drops to her knees. There’s no good way to write this, so I’ll just say it. She grabs David’s crotch and reaches her hand down his pants. She pulls out his cup and hits him over the head with it. She follows up with another low blow. Jesus. Kim stomps David, and then puts the cup over his mouth. Grody. She starts choking him until David recovers, shoves her off and goes for his crowbar. Chris Kanyon, friend of Diamond Dallas Page, hits the ring to save Kimberly. DDP slowly saunters down the aisle behind him. We get ANOTHER low blow as Flair drops Kanyon, but David gets a Diamond Cutter for his troubles.

I NEED AN ADULT

Page stomps David, and MY GOD, ARN ANDERSON IS HERE. HELL YEAH. Arn saves David Flair from DDP destroying him with his own crowbar. The Pages both leave as David Flair hits Arn with the crowbar right in the back of his surgically repaired neck. Medical staff check on Arn, and The Enforcer is stretchered out of the ring. Arn sells being paralyzed by bugging his eyes out of his head. Even in doing nothing, Arn Anderson is still the best.

TO THE BACK

We see a video hyping Sid vs Goldberg in an I Quit match. These two had an awesome match at Halloween Havoc. Tenay interviews Sid who says he will never say “I Quit.” I believe him.

Match #11: I Quit Match – Sid Vicious vs Goldberg

Sid Vicious out first and he is hella over in Canada. Goldberg makes his entrance next to a chorus of boos. Fun fact, this show is in the same building where Goldberg would beat Brock Lesnar in a one minute, twenty-five second match seventeen years later in the WWE. He was more popular that night than he was here at Mayhem.

Sid and Goldberg brawl at the bell. Goldberg powerslams Sid, then clotheslines him out of the ring. Sid damn near gets thrown into the crowd by Goldberg. Vicious gets back on the offensive when both men re-enter the ring. Sid nails the chokeslam on Goldberg twice, but Goldberg does not quit! Sid then begins to strangle Goldberg, who reverses it into a cross armbreaker. The crowd starts to chance “Goldberg Sucks!”. Goldberg follows up by just repeatedly punching Sid somewhere about two dozen times. Goldberg then hooks a variant of the cobra clutch and… Sid Vicious passes out!? The hell happened!? He didn’t say, “I Quit.”

So wait–Goldberg, who never does a cobra clutch, easily chokes out Sid in, like, eight minutes? Oookay? That was lame.

Bill Goldberg: Submission Master?
TO THE BACK

Lex Luger is being interviewed again, who appears to totally fine after having his neck broken and mace sprayed in his face. He essentially says he’s going to beat up… um… beat up Miss Elizabeth.

Uhh, anyone else suddenly uncomfortable?

Match #12: WCW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals – Chris Benoit vs Bret “The Hitman” Hart

We see Chris Benoit walking backstage out into the arena. I like that. It makes this feel like the big deal that it should be. I’ll give WCW credit, they made this world championship tournament feel important on this show. Bret Hart strolls out next and feels like such a big star. On a show with Sting, Goldberg, Scott Hall, Sid Vicious and Diamond Dallas Page, Bret feels like ten-times the star any of them are. Benoit and Hart share a handshake at the bell, and a collar-and-elbow tie up start us off. The story of these two men knowing each other so well is being told to tremendous effect. I give a lot of credit to Tony Schiavone here for telling us the history of Bret in WCW and how rough the year of 1999 has been for “The Hitman”. He reiterates that the Hart vs Benoit tribute match for Owen Hart that occurred the month before was two friends remembering their fallen brother. Tonight though, this is about the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

“You’re not the boss of me now.”

The two men exchange holds for the first few minutes, but it’s never boring. Sunset flip by Benoit, but Bret counters it into a Sharpshooter attempt, BUT Benoit then reverses that into a Crippler Crossface! So good! To give himself some breathing room, Bret tosses Benoit out of the ring. The crazy Canadian fan from earlier is back and begins beating Benoit with a flag pole. The fan reveals himself to be Dean Malenko, because that makes sense. Bret pushes Malenko off of Benoit and returns his opponent back into the ring. Bret nails Benoit with a piledriver for a two count. Benoit then chops the hell out of Bret and follows with a backbreaker. Benoit counters a tilt-a-whirl attempt with a tombstone piledriver. Chris Benoit climbs up the top turnbuckle and successfully pulls out his swan-dive headbutt for a two count. The match is going great, but dammit, here comes the garbage. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash rush-in to attack both Hart and Benoi–wait, Goldberg is here too and he’s gunning for The Outsiders!

Eventually, we get back to match with just Chris Benoit and Bret Hart, thank God. Benoit begins working on Bret’s previously injured leg with figure-four leglock, but Bret gets to the rope. Bret begins fighting back and hits Benoit with a backbreaker and gets a two count. Bret gets Benoit with a massive superplex, goes for the cover but Benoit is in the ropes. Benoit is really selling his back as Hart hits a leg sweep for another two count. Benoit rolls to the outside to catch his breath. Bret tries suplexing Benoit back into the ring, but Benoit floats behind and nails three German Suplexes! Hell yeah! Benoit tries to hook Bret into a crossface but (my God!) Bret Hart counters it into a Sharpshooter. Chris Benoit taps out! Bret Hart has finally won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship! After the bell, pyro erupts as the Hart family enters the ring. Bret and Benoit hug and everybody is so happy. This is such a cool, underrated moment. This to me, without a doubt is the greatest moment “The Hitman” ever had in WCW.

As the camera cuts to a sign that reads, “This 1’s For Owen,” Schiavone signs off, as WCW Mayhem fades to black. This was the last truly great match of Bret Hart’s career.

WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Bret Hart
Final Thoughts

Overall, I liked this pay-per-view. Yes, there is a lot on the show I hated. The Berlyn vs Vampiro match is in fact the worst segment in WCW history, and I saw Jeff Jarrett about ninety-seven times tonight, but the positive outweighs the negative for me.

All of the matches in the world title tournament were great, especially the main event. Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan were so good on commentary, plus the hot Canadian crowd gave this show a wonderful atmosphere. Honestly, to me, the entire event is all worth it for the last five minutes. The sight of the Hart family with smiles on their faces, celebrating Bret’s world title win was awesome. When you consider the fact that this show took place a mere six months after Owen Hart’s death, the story of Bret Hart’s redemption is incredible. Maybe I’m bias considering that Owen is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, but it’s an feel-good, amazing moment I implore you all to seek out.

Respect

15 COMMENTS

  1. I love this. This was well written. I love how he makes a great effort to crap on the things that deserved to be crapped on but pulls out the gems too. 99-2001 wcw was terrible but it had its good times too. Great read.

    • Wow, thank you so much! And that’s what my goal is honestly. Find the good in stuff that is considered bad and find the bad in what is considered good.

  2. The last time I sat down and seriously watched some wrestling was when I watched the 3 Sting/Bret Hart matches. They were alright…Sting seemed to be motivated after Hogan left (he dogged it a long time after Starrcade 97), but that’s about it. They could have had some great matches even then had it been under the right circumstances.

    • Meltzer wrote in the Observer that Sting was attempting to hide his physique with the shirt. There were also clips on Mayhem of a match Sting had with Knobbs where he was wearing this gear with no shirt. He left his trechcoat on, but he still had abs for God’s sake!

  3. Great article. Was a great night for Bret too, just a pity they couldn’t book his two matches like they did at KOTR 93. Had to taint it all with run-ins. Still, people forget Brets run still had good bits!

    • It really did! People look back at Bret in WCW negatively because they didn’t take advantage of him immediately after Montreal.

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