Well WCW RetroView fans, we’ve made it to 1997. After a banner year in 1996, WCW was looking to start the new year off with a bang. Capitalizing on the popularity of the n.W.o, the company decided to put on the first-ever n.W.o themed pay-per-view. Bringing us to nWo Souled Out 1997.
While great in concept, the overall execution leaves a lot to be desired. The show begins with black and white footage of the n.W.o riding through a snow-covered downtown Cedar Rapids. Leading the convoy of garbage trucks is a black limo, I can only assume has Hollywood Hulk Hogan in it. Riding in “style” on the outside of the garbage trucks is Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Syxx.
Each equipped with their own handheld camera, so they can let the audience know firsthand how sweet it is to be in the n.W.o. Finally arriving at the Five Seasons Center, it’s apparent the n.W.o had been busy recruiting since Starrcade.
Former WWE guys likes Big Bubba (Big Boss Man), Mike Wallstreet (I.R.S) and Vincent (Virgil) are now in the group. So are WCW turncoats Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell. Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase take their seats at the announcer’s set up and quickly establish they are going to be super biased towards the comrades in black and white.
Their commentary throughout the night is hard to listen to. Bischoff oversells everything n.W.o and DiBiase lacks charisma. However, the look of the arena with the n.W.o ring plus staircase entrance gives the first-ever n.W.o show a unique environment.
Before the opening match, a contingent of WCW wrestlers including Arn Anderson, Mongo McMichael, Harlem Heat, the Nasty Boys, and the Faces of Fear make their way into the audience.
nWo Souled Out 1997
Masahiro Chono vs Chris Jericho
Jericho comes out and to no music, which is a weird decision and something that happens to all the WCW wrestlers on this night. Then Chono, the first international n.W.o member, comes out ready to make an impression for his new group. These two have solid chemistry together, Jericho’s experience in Japan makes it easy for him to work stiff with Chono.
Referee Nick Patrick, donned in his own n.W.o shirt, makes no effort in hiding his allegiance. He continuously admonishes Jericho while turning a blind eye to Chono’s shortcuts. This bias is a recurring theme throughout the night. The finish comes after Chono knocks Jericho off the top turnbuckle through a table set up at ringside. Chono nails Jericho with a front kick giving the n.W.o their first victory of the night.
Winner – Masahiro Chono
Up next we get our first Miss nWo pageant segment.
There are five of these segments leading up to the naming of Miss n.W.o and they get more awkward as the night goes on. None of the contestants seem to understand Jeff Katz’s questions and they are loaded with sexual innuendo. This is fast forward material at its finest.
nWo Souled Out 1997
Mexican Death Match
Big Bubba vs Hugh Morrus
This is your basic anything goes, last man standing match featuring two big bruisers. Once again, Nick Patrick plays a significant role in this match, admonishing Morrus any time he tries to take advantage of the no holds barred stipulation. The two trade chain shots and Morrus lands his always impressive No Laughing Matter Moonsault, but Patrick makes a slow ten count. Bubba is able to recover and the fight spills to the outside where he eventually runs down Morrus with a motorcycle parked at ringside.
After being struck by the bike, Morrus is unable to answer the ten count giving the n.W.o a 2-0 start.
Winner – Big Bubba
Mike Wallstreet vs Jeff Jarrett
Following the same formula of the two previous matches, this one is a lot of Nick Patrick looking the other way as Wallstreet takes shortcuts. These two wily veterans put on a solid nine-minute match that engages the crowd. Bischoff and DiBiase on commentary are too focused on Debra McMichael and her treatment of husband Mongo. Jarrett eventually locks Wallstreet in the figure four, but Patrick blatantly pulls Wallstreet to the ropes to break the hold.
Mongo and Debra make their way to ringside where McMichael eventually hits Wallstreet with this metal briefcase. Using intimidation, McMichael forces Patrick to make the three count giving WCW their first win of the night.
Winner – Jeff Jarrett
nWo Souled Out 1997
Buff Bagwell vs Scotty Riggs
In a battle of former American Male partners, Bagwell with his new cocky attitude gets the victory after debuting his new move the Buff Blockbuster.
These two have great chemistry together from teaming for so long and they put on a solid match. Buff plays the arrogant meathead perfectly and Riggs is a solid babyface battling the odds. It’s thirteen minutes of solid action and I would say it’s probably one of Bagwell’s finer matches.
Winner – Buff Bagwell
Scott Norton vs Diamond Dallas Page
In one of Monday Nitro’s most iconic moments, DDP emphatically turned down the n.W.o’s offer of membership. After donning the black and white shirt, Page nailed Scott Hall with an emphatic Diamond Cutter before exiting through a fired-up audience.
His defiance made him n.W.o’s public enemy number one and it was Scott Norton’s job to make him suffer. As with any Scott Norton match, he plays the bully perfectly as Page is great as the never say die hero. Of course, there is no proper finish here, midway through the match Buff Bagwell leads out a group of n.W.o members. They offer DDP one last chance to join them, he once again dons the shirt, before nailing Norton with a Diamond Cutter. He escapes through the audience, eliciting the loudest reaction of the night. Nick Patrick declares Norton the winner via count-out.
nWo Souled Out 1997
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match
The Outsiders vs The Steiner Brothers
Scott Hall and Scott Steiner begin this match. Both utilize a bevy of holds in attempts to gain the upper hand. On commentary, Bischoff routinely mentions that Scott Steiner is dealing with a back injury. Hall lands a chokeslam on Steiner.
Sidenote: Scott Hall’s chokeslam is one of the most underrated variations of the maneuver.
Eventually, the Outsiders are able to single out Rick Steiner until he finally makes the hot tag to Scott after hitting Hall with a low blow. Scott tears through the founding fathers of the n.W.o even hitting Nash with a beautiful side suplex. The Steiner’s set Hall up for the tandem bulldog for the win, but Nash intervenes allowing Hall to hit Rick with the Outsiders Edge
Through the chaos, Nick Patrick is taken out and cannot make the three count for the Outsiders. After shoving Nash out of the ring, Rick hits the top rope bulldog on Hall as WCW referee Randy Anderson, who was a ticket-holding audience member, makes the three count. New WCW Tag Team Champions are crowned, while Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase lose their minds on commentary.
Winners – The Steiner Brothers
nWo Souled Out 1997
WCW United States Championship Ladder Match
Syxx vs Eddie Guerrero
Easily the best match of the card, these two show just how good they were in 1997. Early highlights include a big dive off the top turnbuckle by Eddie and running front flip over the top rope to the floor by Syxx. Once Syxx utilizes the ladder as a weapon the crowd responds with boisterous “Eddie” chants. At one point both men climb to the top of the ladder and Syxx, in an amazing feat, side kicks Eddie to the mat.
The second time they both reach the top of the ladder, Eddie is sent to the mat but his momentum crashes him back into the ladder forcing Syxx to land awkwardly on the ring rope. The finish comes when the two climb the ladder for the third time and simultaneously grab the United States Championship.
Eddie, being the clever wrestler he is, hits Syxx with the title belt sending his enemy and title crashing to the mat. Before Syxx can recover Eddie jumps down and grabs the belt, crowning him United States Champion.
Winner – Eddie Guerrero
Before the main event we crown Miss nWo and this is by far the most awkward segment of the night. After Jeff Katz announces each of the contestants the final decision is made by Eric Bischoff. Declaring it a tie, Bischoff whispers a question into the front runners ears before picking a winner. He then proceeds to make out with the winner, who is probably somebody’s grandma, twice before acting like he’s the king of the world.
nWo Souled Out 1997
WCW Heavyweight Championship Match
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs The Giant
The Giant, who left the n.W.o after Starrcade, is cashing in the title shot he earned by winning the World War 3 battle royal. Readers can check out my RetroView on World War 3 1996 here Hogan makes his entrance with members of the Dallas Cowboys for some reason, I guess WCW thought this would give them some mainstream attention.
This is your typical Hollywood Hogan match, he stalls at the beginning, gets beat up for a good portion of the match, and ends up leaving with his championship after n.W.o interference. The Giant attempts an elbow drop at one point, it’s quite the sight of seeing the future Big Show leap off the top turnbuckle.
In the end the Giant hits Hollywood Hogan with a choke slam after kicking out of Hogan’s patented leg drop. However, Nick Patrick refuses to make the three count three times, earning him a choke slam from the Giant. From here we get run-ins from Buff Bagwell, Mike Wallstreet, Big Bubba, and Vincent who all are met with chokeslams.
Hogan eventually hits the Giant with a guitar that Eric Biscoff provided him, followed by the big man being spray-painted by the nefarious group. The show ends as you would expect with the n.W.o bragging about how sweet it is being them.
This show has not aged well, while a great concept it just doesn’t click. So now that we’ve got this one out of the way, join me on my next RetroView when we discuss SuperBrawl VII.
Featuring Piper vs Hogan two.