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For the past two years WCW have held their Uncensored pay per view – both shows that have been as memorable as they were ridiculous. In 1995, Dustin Rhodes and the Blacktop Bully fought in a match that took place on the back of a moving truck (before being fired as a result), Ric Flair showed up in drag, Johnny B Badd fought as a boxer and Jim Duggan took part in a martial arts match.
1996, before the main event, was a bit more becalmed. It featured a brutal brawl between Lord Steven Regal and The Belfast Bruiser (Fit Finlay), easily a contender for the worst match of 1996 between Diamond Dallas Page and The Booty Man and the only WCW pay per view match for British Legend Giant Haystacks. All of this was largely forgotten when the three tier Doomsday Cage main event happened. Summarising that would be impossible, so read all about the show here.
1997, if ever there was a strange complaint, seemed much more like a normal show. Much of the craziness actually happened in the lead up to Superbrawl the month before – with the Steiners being taken out in a car crash by the Outsiders – only for the angle to be abruptly dropped, Roddy Piper in Alcatraz and a barmy promo from Kevin Sullivan.
As for the build to this show, the premise of the three team main event was never properly explained before the show – given how complex it ended up being it’s not massively difficult to see why. Roddy Piper, who had creative control over his own storylines, massively overreached himself in a segment on March 3rd, holding in ring tryouts for a group of unknown wrestlers. The segment, a marathon nearing 20 minutes, saw the fans do the one thing they’d never done since Piper had arrived – turn on his act. The segment came across so badly that next week on the Spring Break Nitro Piper forewent his friends in favour of teaming with the Four Horsemen for the main event.
The other two teams were team NWO (the WWF exodus complete with Randy Savage joining Hogan, Nash and Hall) and team WCW – The Giant, Lex Luger and the miraculously recovered Steiners. The premise of the 12 man match would be in Team Piper won – Piper would get a cage match with Hogan, if Team WCW won, the NWO would forgo the title belts and be banned for “36 months” (not three years, THIRTY SIX MONTHS).
Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW United States Title
Malenko’s been given a new harder character in the past few weeks, finding his voice a little as he lost his patience with what was going on around him. This perhaps wasn’t the classic you might have expected; the match providing a backdrop at times for an angle backstage where Rick Steiner was laid out by the Outsiders and some really bad commentary. We do get a frog splash from Malenko and a cloverleaf from Eddie, but somewhat predictably the fucked finish comes with Syxx inadvertently lobbing his video camera to Malenko who decks Guerrero to win the title.
Psicosis vs The Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Ono)
Dare I say it… what you’d come to expect from these two. Two really good wrestlers having a pretty good if short match. There’s a great spot early doors where Dragon does a headstand on the top turnbuckle before coming off straight into a dropkick. Lots of brawligna round ringside – Psicosis does a slingshot leg drop to the floor but lands badly on what should be his trailing leg. Dragon picks up the win with a double underhook suplex – says a lot about the standard of WCW’s undercard in 1997 that this wasn’t all that memorable.
We get an angle with DDP, Savage and Liz. Savage unveils a copy of Playboy that happens to feature a centrefold of Kimberley Page – Page’s actual wife but who, in storyline, split from Page over a year prior to be with the Booty Man. It’s a small point but it’s attention to detail they’re really lacking. Anyway, the segment ends with Savage attacking Page, Kimberley coming out wearing a dress that’s spray-painted with the NWO logo. She ends up protecting Page from the attack before Liz stops Savage and paints the NWO onto Kimberley’s back by herself.
Mortis (w/ James Vandenbergh) vs Glacier in a Martial Arts Match
Not holding out hope this one will top Meng vs Duggan two years ago in the martial arts stakes! This is weird – they sent Glacier away I think with the idea of retooling the gimmick a bit and also getting ready some other acts to face him. This was just too long – if you’re going to go down the Mortal Kombat route then great, but there can’t be this much selling if that’s the idea. The match itself was fine, the wrestling solid – Mortis hit some good power moves. Glacier hits a big axe kick for the win but Mortis had some back up in the form of Wrath (Adam Bomb) who helped him complete a 2 on 1 beat-down after the match.
Marcus “Buff” Bagwell vs Scotty Riggs in a Strap Match
This veered dangerously close to the mid-match lull these two had at Souled Out in January. Fortunately the strap stipulation game them just enough gimmicks to hide any major downtime in the match. The story of the match was Bagwell continuing to get his new gimmick over – on more than one occasion talking to the camera mid match. Riggs is largely a shot horse, but it does mean Bagwell can get a clean win, bodydropping Riggs onto the apron before touching all four corners as Riggs laid lifeless in the ring.
Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray w/ Sister Sherri) vs The Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) in a Tornado Weapons Match
Well, dare I say it this show needed this match. Not that it had been a bad one up until this point, but this was so tame compared to the previous two Uncensored events. This was just a violent ECW-style brawl with lots of weapon shots, and it should be said at this point the fans really are starting to rally behind the Public Enemy in places. Rocco Rock grabs something from the front row and hits Booker with it (looked like a VCR of sorts). We get the Public Enemy double team table sandwich onto Stevie Ray, but out come Jarrett and Mongo who cost the Public Enemy the match.
Prince Iaukea vs Rey Mysterio for the WCW TV Title
I must read like a broken record when it comes to Prince Iaukea, but when WCW decided (seemingly) they were going to copy the Rocky Maivia story from the WWF – I’m not sure they also meant the part where fans would start rejecting him too, but at least Rocky had the excuse that his bad matches were in part thanks to a bad opponent (Helmsley). Whether Mysterio is working hurt or not, if you’re wrestling a match against probably the best wrestler in the promotion and even some of the fans are chanting “boring” at you, then you have a problem.
To top it off, the match ends in a draw, before Iaukea gets on the mic and says “this is Uncensored, there’s got to be a winner”. We get a restart, Mysterio hits a frankinsteiner, Iaukea rolls it through and picks up the win. Yikes.
Team Piper (Roddy Piper, Steve “Mongo” Michael, Jeff Jarrett and Chris Benoit) vs Team WCW (Scott Steiner, The Giant and Lex Luger) vs The NWO (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage w/Dennis Rodman)
So… along with the stipulations I mentioned in the preview of this, this is also a ridiculously convoluted match. Inspired, it seems, by the Final Four match from the WWF a month earlier, this will start with a member of each team for the first five minutes, then at two minute intervals a trio of wrestlers (one from each) come out. Elimination can occur by pinfall, submission or (as with In Your House Final Four) over the top rope elimination.
We start with Benoit, Hall and Giant and, in all honesty, I’d have just left it there really. Giant takes on both guys but this has the feel of an early War Games match before anything can happen. Giant (as only he and Benoit seem to be able to do) hits a MASSIVE chokeslam on Benoit. Hall breaks up the pin because… The ring fills up with guys and for the next few minutes not a major lot of note happens – save Piper being eliminated by Dennis Rodman pulling down the top rope (barely). That preoccupies Piper and Hogan while the Horsemen get eliminated.
We end up right where we were at World War 3 – with Luger taking on the NWO. Luger rallies, again; the crowd go with him, again; and Luger falls short; again. Savage hits Luger with something and Hogan pins Luger to win the match.
That might have been flat, but the aftermath was great. Sting drops in from the ceiling and goes after the NWO with his bat – the crowd explodes as Sting finally shows who’s side he’s on. That was great – Sting gets some shots in on Hogan too as the show goes off the air.
Score Rating: 7/10
Go Back And Watch: A decent WCW pay per view, like most in the past six months or so. Good undercard action, frustrating booking but ultimately a good worthwhile watch.