July 17, 2010
Matt Peddycord

The Powerdriver Review

nWo Souled Out
January 25, 1997
Cedar Rapids, IA
Five Seasons Center

The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Eddie Guerrero (12/29/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (8/20/1996)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (1/21/1997)
WCW Women’s Champion: Akira Hokuto (12/29/1996)

Already this is a crazy show. The new World order come into the arena hanging on the back of dump trucks along with this huge obnoxious police and fire truck escort. It’s just WAY over the top, but that’s the point.

Such a great intro video. I love it. We-we-we are in control. The stage is pretty much completely dark and evil-looking. The whole set reminds me of either Fight Club or the abandoned warehouse where Zoolander and Hansel had their walk-off. All we need now is David Bowie.

Your hosts are Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase.

The nWo voiceover/announcer guy makes screwy comments to introduce the WCW talent.

Of course, Nick Patrick is the referee for the entire evening.

“The Baddest Man from Japan” Masahiro Chono vs. “From Somewhere North of the Border” Chris Jericho
They have two homely-looking broads sitting on bikes so that Eazy-E and Trillionaire Ted can be evil and make fun of them. Someone will be crowned Miss nWo tonight. Various WCW muscles show up in the audience to possibly as Eric Bischoff put it “crash the party”. One difference you’ll notice in the presentation of this PPV is the nanny cam shot from ringside that the director goes to every now and then. It’s definitely different. Onto the match, Chono stops a shoulderblock battle with a boot and dumps Jericho out. Back inside, they get into a test of strength where Chono turns it around into a cobra clutch legsweep. Jericho takes a flying shoulder tackle, but counters a suplex and takes Chono to the floor with a spinning heel kick. Springboard dive takes out Chono, but he sidesteps a dropkick up against the ringpost. Smart man. Back in, we see another shoulderblock battle and Chono gets smart with a chopblock. Jericho hits Chono with one enziguri, but Chono catches a kick and snaps off a Dragon screw leg whip. Jericho manages to fight off the STF and hits a German suplex for 1-2-NO! Eric complains about a fast count when it was REALLY slow. Clothesline by Jericho scores another two thanks to more slow-counting. While Jericho threatens Patrick, Chono grabs a sleeper from behind and drops Jericho with a falling inverted DDT. Another flying shoulder tackle fails, but Chono delivers an inverted atomic drop to slow Jericho down. Bischoff is surprised by this partisan WCW crowd. Not sure what he was expecting here though. For the past seven months, it’s been WCW = good; nWo = bad. On the floor, Chono sets up a table on the floor and calls for a suplex off the apron. Of course, Jericho counters the suplex. Missile dropkick gets another slow two count. Lionsault hits, but Jericho hit the mat on his injured knee and has to settle for a weak two count. Jericho heads up top, but Chono is there to MAFIA KICK him down through the table. Doesn’t work, but a stiff shove will. Back inside, a regular MAFIA KICK will get the job done. (11:10) Odd choice for the opener in my opinion. Looking over the matches though, there isn’t really a good choice.

Radio talk show host Jeff Katz asks the two broads some odd questions. One of them uses the word “fellatio” with a ten year old kid standing behind her (daddy, what’s that mean?), the other can’t be bothered to have an original thought. Was Bischoff really too busy writing the silly introductions to leave these two nothings without a script to follow? THERE WILL BE MORE TO FOLLOW!

When did the Village People start doing horrible punk music? Yes, they have a house band.

Big Bubba vs. “This Man’s Face is Funnier Than His Laugh” Hugh Morrus (w/Jimmy Hart) – Mexican Death Match
In case you’re wondering how this is a Mexican Death Match without an actual Mexican, Hugh Morrus is subbing for Konnan here who was originally scheduled and looking like a lost member of the Dudley family as he’s sporting a tie-dye t-shirt tonight. Also, this is last man standing rules. Naturally, this is a brawl all the way. Bubba tries to handcuff Morrus to the top rope (huh?) and that fails. Now he finds a chain and WHIPS Morrus with it. Morrus fights back and uses it himself. NO LAUGHING MATTER connects, but Nick Patrick keeps starting the count over. Bubba hits a big clothesline to take Morrus down for a count. Back up, more eye-gouging and low blows. They go to the floor and up the aisle where Morrus misses a NO LAUGHING MATTER off the stage. That allows Bubba to push one of these Miss nWo contestants off a bike so he can RUN MORRUS DOWN with the bike! That puts Morrus down for the ten-count. (9:05) Well I don’t know about you, but I laughed at the finish. Otherwise, a pretty weak brawl. *

More Miss nWo questions for a pair of blondes.

Bischoff and DiBiase show off the nWo website which still has the Giant listed as part of the group. So busy partying, they can’t be bothered with such details.

“So Boring They Didn’t Even Bother with an Introduction” Mr. Wallstreet vs. “From Reject City USA” Jeff Jarrett
They show Mongo and Debra are in the crowd. Eric and Ted make a bunch of controlling wife jokes. Jarrett controls to start and tries to do his best to avoid being pinned with a fast count. He misses a Bossman straddle and they go to the floor as Wallstreet takes part in some guardrail action. Back in, they trade off on a sleeper as Debra pulls Mongo around to find a way to get over the guardrail. Wallstreet cheats on a chinlock, but Jarrett fights out and sets him up for the FIGURE-FOUR. Nick Patrick LITERALLY pulls Wallstreet to the ropes. Jarrett applies an ab stretch near the ropes just so he can cheat since he’s getting screwed over anyway. Wallstreet reverses the hold and of course grabs a handful of ropes. With Nick Patrick not watching, Mongo jumps up on the apron and BLASTS Wallstreet over the shoulders with the Haliburton briefcase. Cover by Jarrett and a stern warning from Mongo forces Patrick to count the 1-2-3. (9:22) And WCW picks up their first win on the show. Decent match, but nothing special. *½

Buff Bagwell vs. “He’s Always Been #2 – American Male Loser” Scotty Riggs
This is reminds me of the Strike Force breakup with Riggs still looking like an American Male, except there’s little heat at all behind this feud. I have to say though that Bagwell shows a lot of potential in being a heel here. He has a hard time figuring out Riggs to start until we go to the floor where Bagwell reverses a whip into the guardrail. They get into a suplex battle on the apron, but Bagwell hangs Riggs out to dry and clotheslines him down for the Pillman bump. Whenever Riggs gets in trouble like he is now, the nWo voiceover says “loser” periodically throughout the arena. That becomes an ongoing theme throughout the night whenever WCW is being beaten down. During the heat segment, the crowd starts yelling “Bagwell sucks” and he’s loving it. Powerbomb by Bagwell gets two. Never seen him do that before. Riggs gets a desperate sunset flip and pulls down Bagwell’s tights to show some skin. Bagwell sits down on a heelish rear chinlock, but Riggs battles out with an electric chair drop. Riggs mounts a comeback and delivers a tornado DDT. Both men try a crossbody and Bagwell lands on top for 1-2-NO! Now Riggs gives Bagwell his receipt with a powerbomb of his own for 1-2-NO! That was actually a fair count. Riggs wants a superplex, but Bagwell fights it off and debuts the BUFF BLOCKBUSTER for the win. (13:50) Riggs even LOSES like Tito! This was actually one of the better matches on the show. Lots of great back and forth action and Bagwell acting like a douche the whole time. **¼

Do I even need to mention the Miss nWo questions? They happen at the end of every match.

Scott Norton vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Norton manages to wrestle with Page, which causes DDP to regroup. Back in, he hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. He follows up with the Pancake Slam, but Norton goes back to work. STING IS STANDING BY THE TOP SECTION OF THE ARENA! Not the rafters, he’s by the stairs. Meanwhile, Norton gives Page the SHOULDERBREAKER and starts running him shoulder-first into the ringpost. Back inside, DDP mounts a comeback with a flying clothesline for two. DDT out of the hiptoss signals the DIAMOND CUTTER. Wait a minute, here comes Buff Bagwell and the rest of the nWo B-Team offering DDP a second chance to join up with the crew. Like DDP always says, you always got to go nWo. Page puts on the shirt and pulls Norton in for a BANG off a handshake. The crowd goes nuts as Page starts swinging at everybody and then makes a run for it up into the upper deck as he celebrates with all the fans and rips off the nWo shirt. Nick Patrick awards Norton the match via countout. (9:27) Just another angle-driven match to REALLY get Page over. Bagwell vows revenge and says that DDP will never be a part of the nWo as far as he’s concerned. Good stuff, but then he goes and loses five cool points with a raspberry. ¾*

WCW World Tag Team Champions Scott Hall & Kevin Nash vs. “The Two Dog-Faced Michigan Mutts” Rick & Scott Steiner
You KNOW you’re seeing stars for the first time tonight because we hear the nWo theme every wrestling fan knows. The Scotts square off to start. Hall starts up with the shoulderblocks on the arm, but Scott fireman carries him over. Abdominal stretch is applied, but Scott escapes and hits a pumphandle slam. Overhead Suplex by Scott brings in Nash who immediately takes a DDT from Rick. That sends the Outsiders running as the Steiners do their dog thing. Back inside, Rick slams Hall around, but gets caught coming off the second rope for a Fallaway Slam. Tag to Scott, he gets a Chokeslam from Hall as Nash tags into the match. Nash delivers the knees and elbows in the corner, but Scott fights out with a Spinning Belly to Belly Suplex for two. Rick gives Nash a powerslam, but Hall nails him from the apron and that allows Nash to take Rick to the floor with a big boot. Rick plays face-in-peril while the Outsiders antagonize Scott on the apron. Scott finally has enough of this and decks Hall before sharing a nasty four letter word with him and an nWo fan. Bischoff says he will be dealing with Scott Steiner when he gets back to ATL. Uh-oh! Nash spits over at Scott, so Rick gives him a good low blow. HOT TAG TO SCOTT STEINER! It’s Katie-bar-the-door madness right now. They go for the STEINER DDT on Hall, but Nash breaks that up and knocks down Nick Patrick in the process. Whoops. OUTSIDER’S EDGE on Scott! Oh, but there’s no ref. Rick comes off the top with the STEINER BULLDOG and puts Scott on top of Hall. He goes out to revive Nick Patrick, but here’s Randy Anderson jumping the rail and telling Rick that he will make the three-count since he’s a referee and all. He hops in the ring, pushes his sleeves up, and counts the 1-2-3. (14:40) We’ve got NEW tag champs, but only for tonight because Randy Anderson is not an nWo official. Just because you’re a referee doesn’t mean you can just count pins whenever you want to. Bischoff and DiBiase are already saying that this decision will be reversed. Decent, but not great formula tag match. **

WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion “The Mexican Jumping Bean” Eddie Guerrero vs. Syxx – Ladder Match
Syxx stole Eddie’s US title belt to set this match up. The belt just hangs from a meat hook, which is kind of cool. Syxx nails Eddie with a series of KA-RA-TE punches and a spin kick. Eddie comes back with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and sends Syxx to the floor after a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Guerrero wipes out Syxx with his signature dive from the top. PEEP HOLE CAM? That’s different. Back in, Syxx shoves Eddie off a hurracanrana attempt in the corner, who does a back flip onto his feet, and comes off the second rope with a spinning heel kick. Syxx hits the Bronco Buster, but Eddie flips out of a backdrop and dropkicks Syxx to the floor. Syxx counters a suplex off the apron and brings Eddie down hard to the floor. Syxx finds the ladder and slams it into Eddie up against the apron. They get into a tug-of-war over the ladder, which Eddie manages to hotshot the ladder up into Syxx’s face! In the ring, Guerrero smashes the ladder down on Syxx and leans it up in the corner, but Syxx counters the corner whip and Eddie eats the ladder. Syxx stomps the ladder on Eddie and gives him a lift into the air to come crashing down onto the ladder. Syxx tries a possible legdrop off the ladder, but Eddie meets him at the top. Syxx jabs Eddie in the balls through one of the rungs and shoves Eddie down to ride the ladder down on top of him like Shawn Michaels did many years ago (which Eric & Ted translate as Scott Hall teaching Syxx the move). It doesn’t work though as Syxx takes too much time and dropkicks the ladder to crotch Syxx on the top rope. Eddie brings Syxx down with a superplex and sets up the ladder. Syxx does a nasty dropkick off the ladder on Eddie to send them both crashing to the mat. Back up the ladder, Syxx punches Eddie down into the ropes as he bounces back and knocks the ladder over. One more climb up and they both get a hold of the belt. Eddie manages to smash the belt back in Syxx’s face. Whoops, Eddie drops the belt as Syxx falls to the mat, so he climbs down and picks it up for the win. (13:49) Even if you look at prior examples such as the two storytelling HBK/Razor ladder masterpieces and all the stuff WWE has done since this match over the last ten years, this could hardly hold up to the test of time. Also, it’s another reason as to why WCW didn’t do more ladder matches – without blatantly ripping off Shawn Michaels or Razor Ramon, they couldn’t put too many ladder matches together that anyone would care about. ***

Alright, well it’s time to crown Miss nWo. She’s the ugliest and the fattest chick of the crew. Was this supposed to be ironic or just plain mean? Being ironic isn’t the ‘in’ thing to do until the 2000s, Eric. I don’t understand. They had a chance to show off some hot models to wake up the crowd. Instead, we get this.

WCW World Heavyweight Champion “The Biggest Icon in Wrestling” Hollywood Hogan (w/Vincent) vs. “The Biggest Failure the nWo Ever Had” The Giant
Hogan comes out with a few of the Dallas Cowboys. Not sure what that is supposed to mean in Iowa. Hogan outsmarts the Giant on a number of occasions whenever he gets in trouble. The biggest game changer comes when Hogan tosses some powder in Giant’s eyes. Giant fights back with a backbreaker, but misses a flying elbow drop. Giant NO-SELLS a Big Boot, but takes the slam and the LEGDROP. Oh wait, he NO-SELLS that too! Hogan poses around while the Giant stalks him waiting for a CHOKESLAM. He gets it! Giant covers for 1-2-NO! Patrick says Hogan rolled the shoulders, but Hogan is out. Giant pushes down on both Hulk’s shoulders and still Patrick says Hogan kicked out at two. He hooks a leg AND holds down the shoulders. Patrick complains of his shoulder hurting now. To be fair, he has been refereeing all night. Giant makes Patrick pay with a CHOKESLAM. The nWo boys go after the Giant and one by one, they all take CHOKESLAMS. Finally, Hogan finds a filthy black guitar somewhere and KABONGS the Giant. Hall, Nash, and Syxx all join Hogan to give the Giant a paint job. (10:30) The crowd chants “We Want Sting”, but he’s out getting a Mr. Pibb or something and doesn’t show. This was the worst of the four Hogan-Giant PPV matches – and that’s saying something. On the plus side, this is the last of the Hogan-Giant PPV matches! ¼*

The nWo continue to celebrate their big “win” as we go off the air.

Final Thoughts: It’s easy to go all out with an idea when you don’t have to use your own resources to make it work. That was the case here for Eric Bischoff. If he wasn’t using Turner’s money, this show probably never would have happened. Maybe the location was wrong (because everybody had an nWo shirt on, but booed the heck out of the actual group) or the general feel of the show, but the crowd turned on this pretty quickly. Part of the problem I saw was that the only people in the nWo that anyone ever cared about was in the final two (arguably three) matches. That left the undercard looking terrible and a chore to sit through. When you consider only the wrestling, this was an awful PPV that just didn’t have any punch to it at all. The only reason I would recommend it is because the presentation was so eccentric, that you have to see it to believe it. It’s unlike any wrestling PPV from the Big Two before or since that I’ve ever seen. However, it was an experiment that failed miserably. This show received the lowest buyrate since the incarnation of the nWo, which makes it quite puzzling considering the popularity of the group. Maybe if they had used the Clash to test how an nWo show would go and pushed the nWo PPV back to April, it would have gone better. Who knows. Anyways, Eric’s plan to make double the revenue off selling WCW and nWo PPVs was quickly scratched and never spoken of again as best to my knowledge.

With that said, thumbs down for the wrestling and thumbs up for WCW attempting new things (which itself involves many different pros and cons…and maybe some hard drugs) and leaves me no choice but to give a thumbs in the middle for Souled Out 1997.

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