Have no fear, WCW fans; the latest RetroView is here as we explore WCW Uncensored 1997. This was a monumental pay-per-view for the company during the height of the nWo. The three-team main event match has huge stakes. If Team WCW (Lex Luger, Steiner Brothers, The Giant) wins, then the nWo has to return all the championships they have.
Plus, the rebel group won’t be allowed to wrestle at WCW events for 36 months. If Team nWo (Hollywood Hogan, Outsiders, Macho Man Randy Savage) wins, the group can challenge for any championship at any time. If Team Piper (Roddy Piper, Jeff Jarrett, Mongo McMichael, Chris Benoit) win, Piper gets a shot at Hogan inside a steel cage.
Plus on this has two iconic WCW moments. Moments that set the stage for what’s to come in the battle between WCW and the nWo. I’ll highlight these when we get there. The show opens with our favorite announcing trio – Tony Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes welcoming us to the third ever Uncensored. They quickly go over the main event, and it’s ramifications. Also, Dennis Rodman is in the building with the nWo.
WCW Uncensored 1997
WCW United States Championship Match
Eddie Guerrero © vs. Dean Malenko
Before I get into this match, I must proclaim. WCW was fantastic at starting their pay-per-views off with bangers, and this is no different. After a quick feeling out process, Malenko gets the upper hand by mudhole stomping Guerrero in the corner. Not to be outdone, Guerrero responds with a stomping of his own, causing Heenan to proclaim “Guerrero the Director of Mud Holes.”
While this match is going, the camera cuts to the back where a face down Rick Steiner is being “checked” on by the nWo. The announcers’ concerns about the main event and WCW being at a disadvantage begin to grow. Back in the ring, Malenko uses the US Title twice on Guerrero before the fight spills to the outside.
The match’s highlight is when Malenko mockingly hits a frog splash on Guerrero and pulls him up at a two count. Malenko’s sly smile showing some personality on the Ice Man. Eventually, Syxx comes out to steal the championship, Guerrero stops him, but this leads to his downfall. In the chaos of Syxx and Guerrero fighting over the title, Malenko ends using Syxx’s camera to clock Guerrero. A three count later, and we have a new United States Champion.
Winner – Dean Malenko
We cut to Mean Gene Okerlund in the back for a WCW Hotline plug and interview with Team Piper. Hot Rod is his usual lunatic self before Jarrett, Benoit, and Mongo all have their say.
Psychosis vs. Ultimo Dragon w/ Sonny Onoo
For this first-ever singles meeting between these two, Mike Tenay joins the announcer’s desk. Dragon opens the match showing off his feet of fury, ending with a spinning back kick. From here, this match moves at a slower pace than what you would expect. Both men pull off a couple of impressive top rope dives. Dragon’s Asai Moonsault is always phenomenal.
After interference from Onoo, Dragon is able to pick up the win hitting a trio devastating moves. First is the running Liger Bomb, followed by a tornado DDT from the top turnbuckle before finishing Psychosis with a Tiger Bridge Suplex for the win.
Winner – Ultimo Dragon
We get our second Mean Gene interview, but first, he plugs the WCW Hotline once again. Joining Okerlund at the stage entrance is Diamond Dallas Page, and folks, we’ve reached iconic moment numero uno. Page talks about how he’s ready for a fight with Macho Man Randy Savage despite Savage’s avoidance.
Before the interview finishes up, Savage interrupts. In the crowd behind the announcers, Savage tells Page he knows he is the man. He then shows the world the Playboy featuring Page’s wife, Kimberly.
Before Page can chase him into the audience, Kimberly makes her way out from the back covered in nWo spray paint. Page goes to console her, and Savage attacks him from behind. The segment ends with Page and Elizabeth spray painting both Page and Kimberly before making their exit.
This moment kicked off one of the most iconic rivalries in pro wrestling history. Something you can read more about in my Rivalries piece right here.
WCW Uncensored 1997
Martial Arts Match
Glacier vs. Mortis w/ James Vanderburg
It’s the debuting Mortis taking on the undefeated Glacier in a match that really just feels like a normal match. Both men, straight out of Mortal Kombat, are capable in the ring, and they deliver a solid nine-minute match. Mortis taunting to the crowd seems a bit off, given his type of character, and you can tell someone in the WCW creative team had high hopes for Glacier.
In the end, Glacier gets the win after Vanderburg’s interference goes awry, and he hits his cryonic kick. After the match, Wrath makes his debut, and he and Mortis beat down Glacier, further fueling this rivalry.
Winner – Glacier
Next, we see the footage of the nWo, causing the Steiner Brothers to get into a car accident. Being the fighters they are, the Steiner’s choose to settle it in the ring instead of pressing charges.
Buff Bagwell vs. Scotty Riggs
The former American Males are finishing up their rivalry with this match. Buff, with the most punchable face in 1997 pro wrestling, plays up to this fact. This is a fairly physical match with both men getting in some solid offense. Bagwell gets the win after he backdrops Scotty Riggs over the top rope enabling him to choke out his former partner. With Riggs unconscious, it’s easy pickings for Bagwell to touch all four corners of the ring.
Winner – Buff Bagwell
Team nWo graces our screens next, and each makes multiple innuendo’s about Kimberly Page. They hype up Rodman becoming a member, and Hogan guarantees victory. Oh, quick side note, Kevin Nash looks super high throughout the entire promo.
Tornado Tag Match
Harlem Heat w/ Sister Sherri vs. Public Enemy
After Harlem Heat make their entrance, Public Enemy comes out, causing Dusty to proclaim excitedly:
“Here they come with the plunder.”
Trash cans, trash can lids, frying pans, cookie sheets, pizza pans, and even a toilet are used in this wild brawl. The action spills out all over the ringside area, and Sister Sherri is never afraid to get in on the action. The best part of the match is when Johnny Grunge hits Booker T over the head with a trash can, and Dusty absolutely loses it on commentary. I say it every RetroView, but man, Dusty Rhodes was gold on commentary in WCW.
The finish comes after Mongo McMichael and Jeff Jarrett emerge from the back and hit Rocko Rock with the loaded briefcase. The two Horsemen were supposed to face Public Enemy before being placed into the main event with Piper. This interference allows Booker T to hit the Harlem Hangover for the win.
Winners – Harlem Heat
Our final Mean Gene interview is with Team WCW. Steiner talks about getting his hands on Hall and Nash for what they did to his brother. The Giant is ready to do some spring cleaning, and Luger says the nWo has no honor. Basically, baby faces being babyfaces.
WCW Uncensored 1997
WCW Television Championship Match
Prince Iaukea © vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
This is a rematch from SuperBrawl VII and is given 15 minutes instead of the usual ten. Mysterio comes out in his classic Spider-Man ensemble, and both men hit top rope maneuvers early on. These two have great chemistry together, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone Mysterio couldn’t have a good match within 1997.
Mysterio eventually hits a twisting moonsault and looks to have the title won, but the time limit expires right as the ref begins the three count. Mysterio asks for more time with no clear-cut winner, and Iaukea being the noble champion he is, obliges. Iaukea gets the upset victory when he counters Mysterio’s Frankensteiner into a roll-up of his own.
Winner – Prince Iaukea
WCW Uncensored 1997
Triangle Elimination Match
Team WCW vs. Team nWo vs. Team Piper
Before Michael Buffer rings in the main event, the announcers go over the match’s rules and ramifications.
The rules are:
1st Round – One member from each team enters the ring.
2nd Round – A second member from each team enters the ring.
3rd Round – Third members join the match
4th Round – Final members enter the match.
Eliminations can occur by pinfall, submission, knockout, or throwing your opponent over the top rope.
The last man standing earns the victory for their team.
In the first round, we get Chris Benoit, Scott Hall, and the Giant. The Giant dominates the majority of the first five minutes before accidentally eliminating himself. The company’s biggest man tries to dive onto Hall in the corner, and his momentum sends him over the top rope. Round two brings out Jeff Jarrett, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Lex Luger. Luger receives a loud pop when he full-body presses Savage to start this round.
WCW Uncensored 1997
In round three, Mongo, Kevin Nash, and Scott Steiner enter the match. Steiner impressively hits a double under hook suplex on Hall before belly to belly suplexing Nash. Jarrett is eliminated over the top rope by Nash before Mongo is backdropped over the top rope by Hall. Roddy Piper comes out next, seemingly before his time; during his entrance, Nash sends Steiner over the top rope with a big boot. Eventually, Hogan and Rodman stroll out, cocky as ever, they take their precious time. It doesn’t take long before Piper gets his hands on Hogan.
Fighting on the outside area, Hogan is aided by Savage before the three head to the ring. Rodman gets involved for the first time, pulling the top rope down, causing Piper’s elimination. Piper tries his best to get a piece of Rodman, but security keeps the enraged icon at bay. Back in the ring, Hall hits the Outsiders Edge on Benoit, leaving him easy prey for Nash to eliminate over the top rope.
WCW Uncensored 1997
It’s now Team nWo versus Lex Luger. Luger gives a valiant effort, reversing Nash’s powerbomb before eliminating Savage with the Torture Rack. He then sends Nash over the top rope and Torture Racks Hall. With just Luger and Hogan left in the match, the crowd hits a fever pitch. Unfortunately for Luger, the nWo numbers advantage is once again too much to overcome.
He gets Hogan up in the Torture Rack, but while Nash has the referee distracted, Rodman passes the spray paint can to Savage. One-shot to the face later, and the nWo is victorious. Rodman joins the group in the ring and even goes as far as slapping Luger multiple times before spray painting their infamous letters on his back. The nWo makes their exit bringing us to iconic moment number two.
WCW Uncensored 1997
As the camera pans back, giving us a beautiful shot of the audience and ring, you see fans starting to look up. From rafters, Sting descends to the ring.
All this commotion brings the nWo back to the ring. Hall enters first, and he’s met with a baseball bat, so is Savage, followed by Nash. If you want to hear here how loud a wrestling audience can be, then check this out, the crowd goes absolutely berserk when Sting finally shows where his allegiance lies. Sting then gives each member of the nWo a Scorpion Death Drop before turning his attention to Hogan and Rodman.
The seeker of justice points his bat at Hogan, prompting the terrified champion to tell Sting to drop the bat. Sting obliges, and Hogan slowly makes his way into the ring. Sting lands three punches on the leader of the nWo before hitting one final Scorpion Death Drop. With the crowd absolutely losing their minds, Tony Schiavone energetically proclaims
“We’re out of time; we got to go.”
And for the first time in months, a WCW pay-per-view ends with WCW standing tall.
Next up for our WCW RetroViews will be Spring Stampede 1997.
The escalation of Page versus Savage.