After returning from a month off with a Big Bang, World Championship Wrestling prepares to slide back into its regular grind, albeit this time as a company unto themselves.
Though their success in maintaining some semblance of a relationship with AOL Time Warner has kept them on TV (albeit now just on Saturdays at 6:05 on TBS) and a significant financial headstart in the form of access to existing Time Warner contracts, Slamboree represents their first attempt at a regular PPV with no ‘new era bounce’.
Booker T grants Scott Steiner his rematch from the Monday Nitro finale for the WCW World title in the main event, while Goldberg attempts to tear the Magnificent Seven further apart and a conflicted Ric Flair must officiate the showdown between his stablemate Jeff Jarrett and Sting, who shared a heartfelt moment with The Nature Boy when it looked like WCW was no more.
Opening match, United States title tournament semi-final: Rob Van Dam vs Lance Storm
RVD reached the US title final round with a big win over Storm. The two went back and forth before RVD turned a Maple Leaf attempt into a cradle for the three-count at 16:24. Storm assaulted Van Dam after the bell, leaving doubts over the hot new star’s condition for the title match later in the show.
United States tournament semi-final: Dustin Rhodes vs Kanyon
Van Dam will face Kanyon if he can compete – Chris stole a win over Rhodes after Mike Awesome snuck out and jabbed The Natural in the throat with a chair, seemingly in retribution for his QF loss to Dustin, as Kanyon had the ref covered. The Flatliner followed and sent Kanyon to the finals in 12:49.
WCW Tag Team Championship: Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo (c) vs KroniK
O’Haire and Palumbo retained the tag titles in the first title bout of the night, beating Kronik in a short but sweet big man tussle to continue their tremendous roll since shocking DDP and Nash in January. The Jungle Kick/Seanton combo finished off Adams after 6:19.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship, ladder match: Shane Helms (c) vs Chavo Guerrero Jr
‘Sugar’ Shane retained the title against Guerrero to conclude their feud in a dramatic stunt-filled ladder match, sending Chavo plummeting onto the ring ropes as he had fingertips on the belt and then scaling himself to claim his belt after 19:19.
Grudge match: Diamond Dallas Page vs Rick Steiner
DDP beat Rick Steiner in a brief brawl with the Diamond Cutter at 5:08. They spent more time in the crowd and around ringside than between the ropes, but the cutter out of nowhere earned Page the revenge for Greed he was seeking.
Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship, 2/3 falls: Rey Misterio Jr & Billy Kidman (c) vs Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo
Rey and Kidman saw off the challenge of Skipper and Romeo in the challengers’ WCW cruiser tag title rematch, winning the bout two falls to one and their mini-series 2-1 in effect.
The heels were disqualified early on when they were caught trying to cheat, but nonetheless successfully bent the rules later to get Billy counted out to tie it up at one apiece. Kidman finally dropped Skipper with the Kid Krusher for the pin to retain at 14:59.
The Cat was seen backstage asking RVD if he needed to push the US title finals, due up next, back a bit to Nitro. Van Dam said he is banged up but still ready to give all his fans their money’s worth…
Tournament final for the United States Championship: Rob Van Dam vs Kanyon
…unfortunately for Rob, he lost to Kanyon in 7:40 despite coming within inches of the title as Chris produced an old ‘Positively Kanyon’ book, seemingly loaded as it used to be, to cheat his way to a maiden major singles title.
Sting vs Jeff Jarrett (special guest referee: Ric Flair)
The hometown crowd was hot for Flair as he officiated this bout exactly as he said he would: right down the middle.
Perhaps the fans’ adoration in ‘Flair country’ got to him, or maybe it was his conscience entirely, but Ric stopped Jarrett from using the guitar only to be shoved down. That gave Sting enough time to smash through the six-stringer with his bat and win clean via submission with the deathlock after 17:49 of action.
A seething Jarrett slapped Flair after the bout… and got decked for his trouble, to a huge pop. Sting and Flair cleared JJ from the ring and embraced for another great moment.
Tornado Handicap match: Goldberg vs Totally Buffed
Goldberg, though down 2-to-1, absolutely blitzed Buff Bagwell and Lex Luger, pinning the Total Package with a Spear and Jackhammer after just 2:54 and conclusively drawing a line under a testing chapter of his career. Between this destruction and the actions of the Nature Boy, where does the company’s top heel stable go from here?
WCW World Championship: Booker T (c) vs Scott Steiner
Booker T was not at 100% for his title defence against Steiner but rode through the punishment and Midajah’s involvement to the final hurdle. As the ref went down suspiciously ‘accidentally’ from a Scott clothesline, a run-in by Rick was cut off by DDP until Bagwell also attacked.
A hurt Stevie Ray offered little resistance, but as Scott loaded up the lead pipe to deliver a KO blow to Booker, the Wolfpac theme hit and Kevin Nash strolled out!
Nash tore through Rick and Buff before staring down Scott long enough for Booker to disarm him with a Harlem sidekick and score the win with the Book End at 16:21. The faces celebrated together to close the PPV.
Kevin Nash and Evan Karagias are finished up on-screen after the Slamboree TV/PPV block. Nash was pretty much used as a name to help the transition into the new era while the company has no long-term plans for Karagias and utilised his contract to further storylines. Fit Finlay may occasionally lace up the boots, but will mostly operate in his new role as a road agent and trainer.
Next up, WCW looks to continue their positive start to the rebirth on the road to the Great American Bash!