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Thursday, June 14, 2012

938 - nWo Souled Out



I recently came across a blog post somewhere in which the author had done a recap/review of the 1997 PPV event, nWo Souled Out. nWo Souled Out was the first and only PPV event promoted by the nWo and was a different kind of beast compared to what the WWF or WCW were offering at the time. Reading this review had prompted me to do my own little reflection on the show.

I never saw the show "live" during its original 1997 airing. At the time, I was not yet into wrestling as much as I would eventually become a year later when the WWF Attitude era was in full force. However, I did dabble a bit in the weekly WCW Saturday Night that would air on one of the local channels (forget which one) and it's usually through that I usually get into the storylines. So I knew about the nWo and the Hogan heel turn and the Outsiders and whatnot... while mostly oblivious to what was going on in McWrestling Land. When I heard of an nWo-promoted PPV, my wheels were turning a bit. The most I got was the pre-show; no PPV purchasing powers at the time or even a descrambler box.

So I would not bare witness to Souled Out until a year or so ago when someone got me a copy of the show. Now I have read that this show wasn't any good; it was different but not quite good and not worth the effort in tracking down. Despite this, however, I always had a vested interest in watching this show. So with copy on hand, I plopped the show onto my DVD player and began watching the show. What follows are some points and thoughts that occur throughout the show - don't expect any indepth analyses or anything of that nature. Just good old fashioned rambling.
The show opens with a bunch of trucks and police cruisers approaching the arena. The nWo arrives at the arena with the Dallas Cowboys for some reason. The show then has its propaganda-esque nWo promos touting the groups superiority and some hype for a couple main event matches. Nothing special.

The arena's an interesting set-up. In addition to the big screen in the back, there's a podium, stairs with flashing lights, and dozens on monitors with the nWo logo paraded on each of them. The whole set-up is predominantly dark-colored. Admittedly, it makes for an interesting look to a wrestling show. My buddy told me that, minus a few monitors and the podium, this could have been a ECW stage if ECW had a slightly bigger budget. Personally, I don't share his viewpoint. If anything, this looks a lot better than the generic set-up WCW had for their shows towards the tail end of their existence.

There's no ring announcer; the generic nWo announcer guy does all the announcing and it's kinda hilarious. All the WCW guys are given disparaging names and no music while the nWo guys are given full-blown hyperbole exuding their greatness, music, and lightning effects. It's probably the best part about this show. The worst part? The Miss nWo contests dispersed throughout the PPV. I end up skipping over those. Thank fuck I didn't watch this live; I had enough emotional problems back in the day. I don't need to add to that with this shit.

Eric Bischoff and Ted DiBiase (Senior) provided commentary. DiBiase does good commentary. Uncle Ericc does his usual brand of commentary. Your tastes may vary, of course.

Outside of a couple matches, the end result for the majority of these matches is that the nWo guy wins. There's a couple exceptions, but the majority of the matches have a rather predictable outcome all things considered and the whole show ends up being boring as a result because you already know who's going to win beforehand. Especially since nWo official Nick Patrick officiates ALL the matches.

Masahiro Chono (nWo) beats Chris Jericho (WCW) in a decent match.

Big Bubba (nWo) beats Hugh Morris (WCW) in a meh brawl.

Jeff Jarrett (WCW) beats Michael Wallstreet (nWo) when MONGO threatens Nick Patrick to do the count... nice change of pace, but the match was rather forgettable.

There's a house band that plays in the interim... I skip.

Buff Bagwell (nWo) beats Scotty Riggs (WCW) in a meh match.

DDP and Scott Norton goes to a no contest when DDP runs away to avoid the wrath of the nWo. DDP would be a huge opponent to the nWo, going to team with the likes of Karl Malowe and Jay Leno to fight against Hollywood Hulk Hogan... hey, I just realized something...

Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Hollywood Hulk Hogan

HHH...
HHH...

Coincidence?

Fuck it. Let's move on.

Steiner Bros. defeat the Outsiders to win the WCW Tag Titles when WCW ref Randy Anderson ran in to do the count. This decision would be reversed and Anderson would be fired, meaning this match served no purpose other than to waste other people's time.

Eddie Guerrero defeats Syxx in a Ladder Match to retain the US title. Best match of the night, by far, with no interference. I believe it's also available on one of the Eddie Guerrero DVD sets. Don't recall which one, however.

And then there's the Hogan/Giant match that ends in a Giant beatdown and a Hogan promo. The end.

The actual show in general... there's a different vibe to it, different camera tricks and perspectives, different effects employed at times. It's clear that WCW... er, I mean, the nWo was trying something to differentiate this show from the rest of the WCW litter. And in that regard, I can certainly applaud the effort. It sort of stands out in that sense. However, the actual show itself - whether it'd be the wrestling or the skits in between - was really weak and not all that good. The ladder match is the best match of the show, but not necessarily one that's going to be remembered down the road. As a curiosity piece, it certainly has its moments and I was intrigued by the show. As a wrestling show... it fell flat on its ass.

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