We made it WCW fans; today’s WCW RetroView brings us a full year of covering WCW pay-per-views. The first WCW RetroView focused on Hog Wild 1996; we take a look at WCW Road Wild 1997. Emanating from the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, this outdoor event always has a unique feel to it.
The show opens with a video package detailing Lex Luger’s monumental WCW World Championship victory over Hollywood Hogan. Taking place on the Nitro before Road Wild, the victory was a huge blow to the nWo’s reign of terror. Something Tony Schiavone emphasizes by saying, “WCW is poised to end the reign of the nWo.” Speaking of Schiavone, he’s decked out in his hip biker gear again and, as always, is joined by Dusty Rhodes and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
All three commentators are full of confidence that WCW is on the verge of ending the nWo. Definite foreshadowing that the night is not going to end well for World Championship Wrestling.
WCW Road Wild 1997
Vicious & Delicious (Scott Norton, Buff Bagwell) vs. Harlem Heat
Norton and Bagwell make their way out first to the Dollar General version of the nWo theme song. Harlem Heat comes out to a strong ovation from the biker crowd.No longer with Sister Sherri; they promise a surprise for tonight. Booker T and Bagwell begin the match, and from the get-go, Harlem Heat controls the majority of the match.
It’s almost like Harlem Heat is playing the heels of this match, isolating Bagwell from Norton. Midway through the match, Miss Jackie makes her way to ringside and stands in Harlem Heat’s corner. Norton gets the hot tag in this contest, and he cleans house.
He eventually hits Booker T with a shoulder breaker, but Miss Jackie jumps on his back before making the pin. Landing a handful of punches, the distraction allows Booker T to hit a sidekick. Harlem Heat gets the win when Booker T hits a Harlem High kick for the three count. With Miss Jackie now by their side, Harlem Heat makes a winner’s exit.
Winners – Harlem Heat
After the opening match, we cut to the Steiner Brothers and Ted DiBiase fielding questions from the internet. Anytime the Steiner Brothers are near computers is hilariously awkward.
WCW Road Wild 1997
Mexican Death Match
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs Konnan
Mike Tenay joins the commentary and provides great insight into Mysterio and Konnan’s past, particularly their time in Mexico. He also emphasizes how much Konnan’s joining the nWo was a slap in the face to the other WCW luchadors. Mysterio comes in with an obviously injured leg, which Konnan quickly sets his sights on.
After a quick flurry to start the match, Mysterio’s injured leg comes to the forefront. Konnan utilizes a variety of submission holds in attempts at weakening Mysterio’s leg even more. The announcers do a fantastic job showing their concern while also being impressed with Mysterio’s determination.
At one point, Konnan attempts to remove Mysterio’s mask but is unable to succeed. His continued attempts at removing the mask allows Mysterio to get in a short offensive spurt. In the end, Konnan hits Mysterio with a vicious cradle DDT, before forcing tapping Mysterio out with the Tequila Sunrise.
Winner – Konnan
We get our first Mean Gene Okerlund WCW Hotline plug of the night, and this is all about two new managers joining the ranks of WCW. Following it is an elimination tag team match between Chris Benoit and Mongo McMichael versus Dean Malenko and Jeff Jarrett.
WCW Road Wild 1997
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Alex Riley © vs Chris Jericho
I totally forgot Alex Riley was a Cruiserweight Champion, so seeing him enter with the gold was a surprise. Jericho, still in white meat babyface mode, wants the championship back. Riley begins the match with a lot of stalling, attempting to avoid Jericho’s offense. Continued pulling of Jericho’s hair angers the challenger who hits Riley with an early spin wheel kick. Jericho follows that up with a springboard dropkick followed by a springboard crossbody to the outside.
This offensive assault sends Riley reeling, and he almost decides to leave the match. The two trade suplexes outside the ring on the raised stage. Jericho almost has the match won when he hits an impressive powerbomb, but instead of covering Wright, he hits him with a second powerbomb. Something the commentary team attribute to his youthful inexperience.
The finish comes when Riley rolls Jericho up and pulls the tights to get the underhanded win.
Winner – Alex Wright
Syxx vs Ric Flair
This prime WCW vs nWo match-up had been building for months. Syxx constant interference in Flair’s matches has the Nature Boy out to make him an example. Tony Schiavone sums it up by calling this match “Youth vs. Experience and Counter Culture vs. Tradition.” Syxx enters first, as always, ultra cocky. Flair makes his entrance, and the motorcycle enthusiasts let the Nature Boy how much they respect and appreciate him.
Greeting the 13-time World Champion with a thunderous ovation of revving motorcycles. Heenan, always the loyal Flair backer, proclaims…
“That man is a 13-time World Champion, something I predict no man will ever do again.”
Syxx begins the match with a shoulder block followed by a disrespectful crotch chop. Flair responds in kind by throwing Syxx down by his hair three times before taunting him with some Nature Boy hip thrusts. Hard chops and punches give Flair a brief advantage before Syxx nails him with a roundhouse kick. Syxx’s disrespect continues, this time with the Bronco Buster in the corner.
A beautiful guillotine leg drop from the top turnbuckle highlights Syxx’s offense. Utilizing his educated feet keeps Flair on the defensive a good portion of this match. Flair being the fighter he is, is able to survive the onslaught and even locks in the figure four leg lock. Syxx escapes the hold by getting to the ropes.
A second attempt at a Bronco Buster goes awry when Flair kicks Syxx in the balls. This allows Flair to use the ropes and get the three count and the win.
Winner – Ric Flair
Diamond Dallas Page vs Curt Hennig
After Hennig abandoned Page at The Great American Bash, these two engaged in a series of surprise attacks. This rivalry heated up quickly after the betrayal. Like Flair before him, Page receives a loud seal of approval of revving motorcycles during his entrance.
After a quick chase around the ring, Curt Hennig keeps Page from entering twice. The third attempt Page pulls him out of the ring for a series of punches. Back in the ring the two tie up and exchange blows. Page gets the early advantage and even tosses Hennig across the ring by his hair.
An eye poke allows Hennig to stop Page’s early momentum. Hennig uses his patented towel to choke Page, much to the chagrin of the referee. Turning his offensive assault to Page’s knee, Hennig uses a plethora of holds and strikes on DDP’s left knee.
Side note: Diamond Dallas Page was one of the best baby face sellers ever.
When referee Mark Curtis is taken out accidentally, Hennig removes a turnbuckle pad. With no referee to see it unfold, Hennig slams Page’s head into the exposed turnbuckle. Amazingly, a bloodied DDP kicks out of the perfect plex, shocking the commentary team. A fired-up DDP steals back the momentum hitting Hennig with a pile driver but, in the process, inadvertently takes out the referee.
This allows Ric Flair to come out, as a possible relationship between Hennig and the Horsemen was briefly mentioned earlier in the match. Flair eats a Diamond Cutter, but the distraction allows Hennig to pin Page with the Perfect Plex.
Winner – Curt Hennig
Our next WCW Hotline plugs is up, and this one is all about Raven and who is the first opponent will be. We also get a commercial for the next WCW pay-per-view, Fall Brawl.
The Giant vs Macho Man Randy Savage
Savage, with Elizabeth by his side, enters first.
Side Note: Savage’s nWo outfit is one of my favorite looks of all time.
As always, the Giant enters to no music. Savage avoids getting in the ring until he can attack the Giant from behind. This is quickly squashed when the Giant body slams Savage. Savage quickly escapes to the outside, where he tries to use Elizabeth as a shield. The Giant calmly lifts Elizabeth out of the way before full body pressing Savage back into the ring.
Ever the wily veteran, Savage halts the Giant’s momentum with a pair of chop blocks to the big man’s knees. Savage keeps his focus on the Giant’s leg before hitting a cross-body block from the top turnbuckle.
The move only receives a two count. Savage’s attempt at a double ax handle doesn’t end so well. The Giant catches him by the throat before finishing him off with a chokeslam. The commentary trio loses their mind in excitement thinking WCW is well on its way to ending the nWo.
Winner – The Giant
WCW Road Wild 1997
WCW Tag Team Championship Match
The Outsiders © vs The Steiner Brothers
After months of jumping through hoops, the Steiner’s are getting their final shot at the gold. Schiavone stresses how important these next two matches are as the Outsiders make their way to the ring.
Ted DiBiase leads the Steiner Brothers out to another rousing ovation of revving motorcycles. The brothers from Michigan ride out on their motorcycles to a round of pyro. The two Scott’s begin the match with a collar and elbow tie-up.
After a clean break in the corner, Hall throws his toothpick in Steiner’s face and receives a slap for his disrespect. Scott Steiner’s power is on full display early, something Nash is quick to try and stop.
Kevin Nash entering the ring is met by Rick Steiner and the nWo is sent to the outside. When the match returns to the ring Rick Steiner and Kevin Nash pair off. Like clockwork, we get the Nash classics, but he’s countered with a side suplex by Rick.
The Steiners momentum is short-lived after Nash hits a big boot. From here the Outsiders isolate Scott Steiner utilizing quick tags and a plethora of double team moves to keep the advantage. The match is all about Scott trying to get the tag to Rick. Some quality teases take place before the moment finally comes the crowd erupts. Rick comes in on fire and takes down both Hall and Nash.
The Steiners look to have the match won after they hit the Steiner Bulldog, but Nash pulls him out of the ring before the three count is made. DiBiase enters with the belts, but Patrick takes them away, proclaiming the Steiners are the winners by disqualification. And all wrestling fans know championships can’t change hands via disqualification.
Winners via DQ – The Steiner Brothers
WCW Road Wild 1997
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Lex Luger © vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan
Before the main event begins, Dusty sums it up by saying
“And if you want to go ahead and give that last blow and drive that stake into the heart of that evil monster they call the nWo, it’s gotta happen right here in a few minutes.”
I say it every RetroView, Dusty was gold on commentary. Bruce Buffer rings in the main event with his vintage “Let’s get ready to rumble,” and the crowd responds by revving up their engines. Hogan enters first and looks odd without the big gold belt on his shoulder.
Luger enters to a heroes welcome, complete with fireworks, odd that they’re doing this before the match. Pre-match staredown involves Hogan talking a lot of trash before giving Luger a shove. Unphased, Luger gives Hogan a shoulder block sending him crashing to the mat.
As with most Hollywood Hogan matches, he takes control early with rest holds and heel tactics. On this night Luger is unphased as he quickly takes control right back. Luger’s early attack sends Hogan outside, where he calls for a timeout and begins his normal stalling tactics.
WCW Road Wild 1997
Back in the ring, Hogan regains control all the while taunting Luger. A “Hogan sucks” chant rings through the audience, something that receives admonishment from the former champ. Luger halts Hogan’s momentum briefly with ten turnbuckle shots to Hogan’s head. This is quickly countered by Hogan with an eye poke and choke with a cord near ringside.
The match really slows down here, but the excitement picks up during a test of strength when Luger gets the advantage. A low blow by Hogan ends that momentum before it really gets going. Hogan’s first big boot isn’t followed up with the leg drop and elicits only a two count.
More “Hogan sucks” chants ring out through the crowd angering the leader of the nWo even more. Hogan hits a suplex, but Luger hops right up.
After taunting the crowd Hogan turns face to face with a fired-up Lex Luger. However, once again, a thumb to the eye ends Luger’s momentum. The first attempt at Hogan’s patented leg drop misses, allowing Luger to hit a pair of running forearms. This brings out various members of the nWo.
Luger fights off the likes of Nash, Norton, Syxx, and Buff Bagwell before “Sting” comes out and hits Luger in the back with his baseball bat. It’s almost comical how much the commentators sell that they believe it’s actually Sting who did this.
Hogan hits the leg drop and covers Luger for the three count. As trash, beer bottles, and other debris rain down on the ring, Hogan and the nWo make a quick exit.
Winner – Hollywood Hulk Hogan
The Steiner Brothers and Curt Hennig come out to check on Luger as the downtrodden commentary trio ponder what’s next for WCW and why “Sting” did what he did. The show closes with the nWo celebrating before spray painting nWo on the World Championship once again.
Our journey through WCW pay-per-views picks up next time with Fall Brawl 1997. The night of an ultimate betrayal.