WCW Spring Stampede 1997 | WCW Sunday Night RetroView

The WCW RetroView keeps on rolling this week with WCW Spring Stampede 1997. At our last show WCW Uncensored 1997, the nWo was victorious in the three-team main event matchThe victory gave them the power to challenge for any championship, at any time going forward. But, the big moment coming out of Uncensored was Sting finally choosing a side in the war for  WCW’s soul. We open the show with our favorite WCW announcing trio – Tony Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes. 

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They immediately bring up the growing tension between the nWo and how Scott Hall has been absent for three weeks. This news has a major impact on the WCW Tag Team Championship match scheduled for the night. Originally supposed to be the Outsiders vs. the Steiner Brothers, Hall’s absence has left the match up in the air. There is a quick mention of Dennis Rodman being a part of the nWo now and Hollywood Hogan’s absence as well. 

WCW Spring Stampede 1997
Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. 

This is the rubber match for these two, having fought at two pay-per-views in 1996. Dusty Rhodes sums up the match up perfectly, stating, “Some young colts have the chance to run with the big studs tonight.” Conspicuous by his absence in the corner of the Dragon is Sonny Onoo. Dragon controls the early portion of this match with his aggressive strikes.

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He even hits an impressive spinning crucifix backbreaker. Keeping on the attack, Dragon hits a running powerbomb before a tombstone pile driver, but in the ultimate act of cockiness, he pulls Mysterio up at two. This onslaught and Mysterio’s will to keep fighting is a recurring theme in all of their matches.  Mysterio gets in a flurry of offense midway through, but his momentum is stopped when Dragon pulls off a big swing that would make Cesaro smile. Despite being abused throughout the match, Mysterio gets the win when he hits a Frankensteiner roll-up. 

Winner – Rey Mysterio Jr. 

We cut to the back where Lee Marshall is approaching the nWo’s locker room.  He is trying to get a word from Kevin Nash about the stipulations for tonight’s match. Nash states that since Hall isn’t there and he has to take on both Steiner’s, he wants Nick Patrick to be the referee.  Right on cue, the Steiners show up trying to get to Nash; in the scuffle, Scott Steiner strikes a WCW official. He is quickly taken down and maced by a security guard. 

WCW Spring Stampede 1997
WCW Women’s Championship Match
Akira Hokuto © vs Madusa

It’s the first Women’s Championship match on pay-per-view since Hog Wild 1996.  Just shows how little effort WCW put into their women’s division during this period of time. Sonny Onoo accompanies the champ down the aisle, and the two stop to take a couple of selfies. Who knew Sonny Onoo was such a trendsetter. 

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Hakuto attacks Madusa early, flinging around the ring by her hair a couple of times. From here, we have a mediocre match; you just feel that these two were capable of so much more. In the end, a distraction from Onoo and a strike to the knee by Luna Vachon leads to the champion retaining her championship. 

Winner – Hokuto

WCW Spring Stampede 1997
WCW Television Championship Match
Prince Iaukea © vs. Lord Steven Regal 

Iaukea had himself a pretty impressive reign as Television Champion in 1997, and this match helped make it stronger. Regal, always a stellar heel, riles up the crowd with the best of them at the start of this match. Early in the match, the announcers let us know that Scott Steiner has been arrested. Now the Tag Team Championship match will be a one on one contest between Rick Steiner and Kevin Nash. Physicality and a meticulous attack lets Regal control a good portion of the match. 

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Ever the cocky heel, at one point, Regal simply walks away when Iaukea attempts a moonsault. But, Iaukea makes the heroes come back, utilizing his speed and athleticism to get back into the match. Iaukea outsmarts Regal in the end with a surprise roll-up to once again retain his championship. After the match, Regal brutalizes Iaukea before locking him in the Regal Stretch twice, continuing this rivalry. 

Winner – Prince Iaukea 

Up next, we get a Mean Gene interview. But, of course, he has to plug the WCW Hotline first. The big rumor to gain callers is that there is a new clique emerging in the locker room. Ric Flair comes out and says he’s been medically cleared to compete again. He gives a Horsemen update and says that Carolina Panther linebacker Kevin Greene is going to join him at Slamboree. Before long, he throws out a challenge to the nWo. 

WCW Spring Stampede 1997
Public Enemy vs. Steve Mongo McMichael & Jeff Jarrett

Throughout this match, the announcers do their best effort at talking up Mongo’s skills despite his obvious shortcomings. Jarrett and Mongo utilize some great teamwork throughout. Giving the Horsemen a much-needed sense of cohesion. 

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Eventually, like most Public Enemy matches, the brawl spills to the outside. Johnny Grunge attempts to put Jarrett through a table with an elbow drop, but the newest Horsemen moves in time to avoid the damage. The finish comes after Jarrett locks in the figure four, but a distraction by Mongo allows Public Enemy to strike Jarrett with the loaded suitcase. Giving another pay-per-view victory for the former ECW competitors. 

Winners – The Public Enemy

Now, we cut to the back for another Mean Gene interview, and this time, it’s with Harlem Heat. The former WCW Tag Team Champions are getting ready to face Lex Luger and the Giant in a four corners match. The winner receives a World Title match down the line. This interview is one that wrestling fans the world over know of because of Booker T’s infamous verbal flub. 

Hear Booker T discuss the promo below

After the Harlem Heat interview, we get a solid United States Championship match between Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit. The match ends in a contest. 

WCW Spring Stampede 1997
WCW Tag Team Championship Match
Kevin Nash © vs. Rick Steiner

Nash comes out with Syxx, Ted DiBiase, and Nick Patrick by his side. Early on, Steiner hits an impressive power slam on Nash. But, it doesn’t take long for nWo numbers advantage to take hold. Syxx pulls the top rope down, sending Steiner crashing to the floor. Nash hits an early jackknife powerbomb, but Steiner surprisingly kicks out at two. A low blow from Steiner counters the second attempt at a powerbomb. 

The dog-faced gremlin follows up with a top rope bulldog, but Nick Patrick stops his count at two, claiming Nash kicked out. Another Syxx distraction allows Nash to take control again. After Syxx removes the turnbuckle pad, Nash proceeds to drop Steiner head first on the exposed steel two times in a row. Before he goes for the third time, Ted DiBiase steps in and tells him that’s enough. Nash ignores his pleas, leading to DiBiasie walking away from his nWo cohorts. 

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After dropping Steiner on his head two more times, Nash hits another jackknife powerbomb leading to the nWo victory. Adding even more intrigue to the group’s growing dissension is Nick Patrick hesitantly making the three count, obviously bothered by Nash’s actions. 

Winner – Kevin Nash 

We cut to the back again for a Mean Gene interview with Lex Luger and the Giant. These two talk about how they are aligned to bring prestige back to WCW. That it doesn’t matter which one of them wins the four corner match. Because the winner is going to take the title away from Hollywood Hulk Hogan. 

Four Corners Match
Booker T vs. Stevie Ray vs. Lex Luger vs. The Giant

Luger and Booker T start off the match, and Luger impresses with a full-body press. Eventually, the Giant is tagged in and cleans house, sending both members of Harlem Heat reeling to the outside. It’s here where Booker T and Stevie Ray begin to bicker before Sister Sherri calms them down. Luger and the Giant both get tagged in later in the match, and Luger’s attempt at a body slam fails when the Giant lands on top of him. After this, Luger and the Giant simultaneously tag in both members of Harlem Heat. The crowd erupts in anticipation of the brothers coming to blows. 

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After teasing a physical confrontation, Booker T tags Luger back in. As the match goes on, Harlem Heat display their amazing teamwork on both Luger and the Giant. The momentum is stopped when the Giant makes a comeback. Signaling for the chokeslam, the Giant stops before walking over to Luger. He tells Luger to tag in, and he allows Luger to torture rack Booker T for the win. Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan have differing views on the Giant’s actions. Rhodes calls this a step into becoming a man, while Heenan says how stupid of a move this was. 

Winner – Lex Luger

No Disqualification Match
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

This is the first match in what was arguably one of WCW’s greatest rivalries. A rivalry I took an in-depth look at here. Savage avoids getting in the ring early on, leading DDP to meet him in the aisle. Full of rage, DDP holds nothing back before attempting an early Diamond Cutter. Quick to avoid the most devastating move in wrestling, Savage holds the rope sending DDP crashing to the canvas. 

The fight quickly spills out into the crowd, where the two battle to the back of the arena. Here is where DDP hits Savage in the head with a trash can twice before they make their way back through the crowd. Back at ringside, Savage pulls Kimberly Page in front of him to avoid DDP’s attack. This distraction allows Liz to back scratch DDP. 

WCW Spring Stampede 1997

In complete control, Savage intimidates Michael Buffer before stealing his chair. The former heavyweight champion hits DDP with it once before referee Mark Curtis throws the chair out of the ring. This causes Savage to beat up the other ring announce David Penzer before stealing his chair. Savage throws the chair in the ring before kicking Penzer while he’s down. This allows DDP to recover. When Savage gets back in the ring, Page throws him the chair before pushing it violently into his face. 

Eventually, Savage gets the advantage back before climbing to the top turnbuckle for his patented elbow drop. Page, playing possum, lifts his feet for Savage to crash into. After this, Savage counters a second diamond cutter attempt before hitting a low blow. Savage, showing just how unhinged he really is, pile drives referee Mark Curtis before climbing to the top again.

This time he nails the elbow drop, but with no referee there to make the three count, his frustration grows. Nick Patrick eventually makes his way down to the ring, but Savage’s body slam attempt is countered into the diamond cutter. With Savage completely out, Patrick reluctantly makes the three count giving DDP the career-making victory. 

Winner – Diamond Dallas Page

From here, Kevin Nash, Eric Bischoff, and the nWo come out. Angry that Patrick made the three count, Nash gives him a jackknife powerbomb. Once Savage comes to, he kicks DDP out of the ring before grabbing Kimberly by the hair. Eric Bischoff steps in and physically stops Savage from slapping Kimberly. Savage doesn’t take kindly to this, as he shoves Bischoff, who returns the favor. This causes Savage to snap, and the pair have to be separated by the rest of the nWo. 

As the nWo continues to bicker, our WCW announcing trio sums up the night, stating that the dissension within the nWo continues to grow. 

For our next WCW RetroView, I’ll take a look back at Slamboree 1997, the night the NFL comes to WCW.