It’s your boy Shawn Puff here again and you know what that means. It’s that time again, time to hop in the Way Back Machine, time for another Flashback Friday!
Sturgis was a couple of weeks ago and Laconia Bike Week is happening right now so I figured we might as well take in Eric Bischoff’s personal vacation at Sturgis Bike Week. So, we’re going back to August 10, 1996, to Sturgis, South Dakota for Hog Wild. I’m pretty sure this was the first and last time we had a Hog Wild too.
Dusty Rhodes, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby Heenan were in the booth. Who tf thought it was a good idea to have a four-man booth?? Seriously. Schiavone said it best: get ready to see things you’ll be surprised to see and I wouldn’t expect anything less with a bunch of drunken bikers on their bikes around the ring.
This show actually began its broadcast as a special live version of WCW Saturday Night, which is different, (maybe I’ll go back and watch that) so the PPV doesn’t have a concise start. There isn’t even an intro segment for it. It just starts with the commentators in mid-conversation. This is going to be fun.
Cruiserweight Championship Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) v Ultimo Dragon w/ Sonny Ono – We start out the show with Rey Mysterio Jr., who was 21 at the time, defending the Cruiserweight Title against Ultimo Dragon. Holy shit. What a way to start out the show. Wait… the crowd is chanting USA. Rey is Mexican and Ultimo is Japanese. Someone needs to tell them… never mind. Rey is wearing red, white and blue so he must be ‘Merican. (It’s really a Spider-Man tribute.) These two guys have never met before so this is kind of historic.
Of course, that fact is lost on the Sturgis crowd since these people keep going back to the “USA” chants. Sonny Ono gets a close-up and points out that American fans are so stupid and that Rey is Mexican, not from the USA. Yeah, we know Sonny. It’s not American’s. It’s the Sturgis biker crowd. The ring is elevated on a pedestal for some strange reason. Must suck to be front row. This has been an amazing match. The pace has been grueling and it definitely got the crowd going. Rey pulled off the win in the end with a Frankensteiner from the top rope. Why they weren’t calling it a hurricanrana, I don’t know, but it was a great match. – 4/5
– What a great opener. My only issue is I don’t think they can top that.
Next, we get Mean Gene promoting the WCW Hotline. 1-800-909-9900! They’ve got Gene in sunglasses, a hat with biker pins, a t-shirt, and a jean vest. Holy ridiculousness.
Scott Norton v Ice Train – These two used to be a tag team called Fire & Ice and this was a special challenge match after they broke up. THIS SHOULD BE A HOSS FIGHT!! Ice Train was the face but the fans didn’t seem to treat him like one. I couldn’t in the slightest bit think of why that might be.
Norton’s outfit reminds me of Crush. Just a point of observation. Ice Train came out taped up and Norton took advantage of it from the start. Ice Train couldn’t really get anything going and even when he did, the fans didn’t get behind him so it didn’t even feel like it. Eventually, the ref stopped the match with Ice Train in an armbar. The bikers cheered the heel. I can’t wait until the nWo shows up. Sturgis is definitely going to be nWo country. Anyway, this was a horrible match, made worse by the fans. – DUD
– Who booked this shit??
Oh, joy, for $30 you can get an official Hog-Wild t-shirt, and for $90 you can get an official Hog-Wild jean jacket!! Jimmy Hart got his.
Bull Nakano v Madusa – Sonny Ono is back out on a Honda Kamikaze bike with Bull Nakano. Great way to get heat in Sturgis. And then comes Madusa in a red, white & blue outfit and riding a Harley. That’s how you get cheap pops at a biker rally. Sonny Ono tried tossing a sledgehammer into the ring and the ref caught it. Meanwhile, Nakano introduced num-chuks and immediately took control of this match. Tony points out that the winner of the match will take a sledgehammer to the loser’s bike. I mean… does ANYONE really think we’re going to smash a Harley in Sturgis during Bike Week?
The ref accidentally hit the mat for a three count but he waved it off. Ono took the sledgehammer and tried to break Madusa’s bike. The ref stopped it and Madusa took the sledgehammer and bashed in the Honda. After the fact, the clarify that Madusa got her shoulder up and Nakano did not so Madusa won? Huh?? Wow. What a shitshow. … oh yeah, *the attached video is in German just to add to it. – 1.5/5 Bibles
– What a botch fest. Even the ref botched the ending. This was ridiculously stupid. I mean, it wasn’t Ice Train v Scott Norton, but it was bad.
Chris Benoit v Dean Malenko – The announce team doesn’t know if they’re going to the back or if they’re staying in the ring. Nobody has a clue what is going on. Guess it’s about par for bike week. Dean Malenko is coming to the ring accompanied by Jimmy Hart. He’s taking on Chris Benoit, who is accompanied by Woman and Miss Elizabeth. This is that new version of the Horsemen with Benoit and Mongo. Elizabeth looked sexy dressed in leather. Heenan suggested this was the best Horsemen ever. No way in hell. Mongo McMichael. Hahahahaha.
Anyway, you can’t go wrong with Benoit versus Malenko. Especially when we already had Mysterio versus Ultimo Dragon. Hope you got a beer during the last one because this one is gonna be a clinic. The release German-suplex from Malenko was crazy and that wasn’t even the height of this match. If you go back and watch one match off of this show, pick this one if you’re looking for great wrestling. They wrestled to a frickin time limit draw and the fans are booing. Don’t they get it? That was NASTY!! … Wait… What… There is going to be a five-minute overtime? Dope!! Benoit locks on his own version of the cloverleaf. Malenko wouldn’t give up so Benoit let it go.
Three minutes remaining. Both men ended up on the ground. Two minutes remaining. Benoit locks on an ankle lock and this drains over a minute from the clock. This thing is ending in a tie again. Malenko grabs a quick roll-up but Benoit kicks out at the bell. Holy shit. The ref calls for another overtime. There MUST be a winner. Woman gets involved and Malenko grabs her to get her out of the ring. Benoit rolls him up from behind and gets the three count, holding the ropes to top it off. What a fuck finish to an otherwise classic!! A horrible way to ruin the end of a great match. – 4.25/5 Bibles
– Remember when I said I didn’t think they could top the opener. Yup. I was TOTALLY wrong. Holy shit. Watch. This. Match.
WCW Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Brothers v Harlem Heat (c) – Harlem Heat is accompanied by Colonel Robert Parker & Sensational Sherri Martel. Wow. The boos from this crowd. The bikers are calling Harlem Heat into the crowd to fight them. They’re revving their engines and spewing racial epitaphs. Holy shit. I have NEVER seen this much heat for a team that is clearly based SOLELY on their race. If the Steiners do ANYTHING they get pops like they just saved the world from an alien invasion. And before you ask me why I assume they’re racist, watch it for yourself. Waving Confederate flags. Even Sherri lost it at one point. They’re tossing shit at Harlem Heat like they just joined the nWo. This is pretty uncomfortable to watch, to be honest, but it’s also like a train wreck and I just can’t turn away. I’m also pretty sure that Bobby Heenan is drunk at this point in the show. I wonder how many n-bombs were actually tossed at Booker and Stevie in this one but I’d put my money on the over if there was a betting line.
This also had the greatest pop for a hot tag I’ve ever seen. Colonel Parker used powder and a cane and Harlem Heat stole the win to keep their titles. Why does the ref never notice powder on someone’s face? Do all refs see in black and white or something? The fans were throwing so much shit at Harlem Heat on their way back, they didn’t even show their victory celebration. Cringe. – 3/5
– Racism is real people. That’s some shit.
We get a beer break and a Sturgis Rally montage. They only did this show because Bischoff liked bikes and basically wanted to book himself a paid vacation with his boys. They came. They partied. They wrestled. They made a cringe video of it. Looks like fun. If Vince were into bikes, I’m sure WWF would have done this already, but I’m sure he thinks those people are dirty and he doesn’t like to be around them. The shots from the WCW Helicopter were great too. Which brings me to my next question… why did WCW have their own frickin helicopter? Anyone?
WCW US Championship Ric Flair (c) v Eddie Guerrero – The Nature Boy comes out with Elizabeth and Woman by his side. I thought the Ric Flair steals Liz was a WWF angle but I guess WCW did it too. This was about that time when WCW was rehashing everything WWF did now that they were signing away their big stars, I guess.
This match was great. It was back and forth and Flair made Eddie looked awesome. Of course, Woman got involved. Why wouldn’t she? I don’t get why Elizabeth is a heel manager when she NEVER does heel things. Guerrero hit a frog splash and hurt his knee. Flair took advantage and locked in the figure-four. Woman gave him some added leverage by holding his arms and the ref counted Eddie’s shoulders on the mat. Flair retained. – 3.75/5
– Pretty good match. Eddie can have a great match with a broom so there’s that but this was enjoyable. It wasn’t quite Mysterio v Dragon but it was worth the watch. Fuck finishes are ok with Flair too. Woooooo!!!
The Outsiders v STING & Lex Luger – Now it’s time for the nWo. The Outsiders come out first to take on STING & Lex Luger. STING is rocking short black hair instead of his blonde spiky look. It looks weird. Hall & Nash did a great job of cutting the ring off and not letting STING tag out. Bobby Heenan rooting for Hall and then apologizing was great. I have a feeling that there will be a hot tag at some point and Lex will run the house for a minute. STING flips Hall over his back to reverse the Razor’s Edge and he tags in Luger.
See? Everyone gets in the ring and STING hits a Stinger Splash on Nash. STING puts the Scorpion Death Lock on Nash outside of the ring. Nick Patrick hits Luger in the leg as he goes for a torture rack and does a fast count to give the pin to the Outsiders. What?? Did Nick Patrick just go heel? I have to say, Nick Patrick as the nWo ref was a great angle I think this was the beginning of that. Pretty cool. – 2.5/5
– ANOTHER fuck finish? Come on. Who did they hire from WWF creative at this time? And they didn’t even explain it either. Lazy.
WCW Championship The Giant (c) v Hulk Hogan – Michael Buffer is in the ring to announce the Main Event. The bikers are revving up their engines. I think they’re trying to drown him out. Then the iconic, “Let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeeeee!!” Hulk Hogan comes out to a storybook introduction from Buffer. Ooooh. A firework show. And here comes the Big Sh… I mean the Giant. Why didn’t Michael Buffer just call him “Giant”? Someone forget to add “the” to the intro card?
Giant won’t let Hogan get in the ring. Hogan plays a head game and starts walking to the back. I never thought I’d see Hulk Hogan tell the fans to shut up. It’s crazy. I grew up a Hulkamaniac so this was a dark time for me. Hey, Pee Wee Anderson is the referee here. Nice. I loved that guy. Ok. So, I don’t get how Hogan is winning a test of strength with the Giant. They went back and forth and it wasn’t really that exciting except for it being Hogan. Is the Giant hulking up on Hogan right now??? This is awesome. He hits all of Hogan’s moves all the way to the big boot!! Too sweet!!
Here comes Hall & Nash and the Giant chokeslams them both. Hogan decks Giant with the belt and gets the pin. Holy shit. Hogan is the WCW World Champion. And Brutus Beefcake… or the Bootyman, if you will, comes out with a birthday cake for Hogan. It’s Hulk’s birthday apparently. Aaaand the nWo turns on the Bootyman. Hogan is a dick. … They spray painted the title with black spray paint, nWo. – 3/5
Huh? There are closing credits? Was that a thing with wrestling shows in the 90s? I don’t think RAW or Nitro rolled any credits. This is the weirdest shit ever. Well other than the racist bikers and the raised ring, that horrible Scott Norton match, too many fuck finishes and the botched bike match, this wasn’t a horrible PPV. I mean, it wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible either. It was an “experience”. I’d go back and watch a couple of the matches on this show but I wouldn’t go TO Hog Wild in person. I know why they got discontinued this show. –
Overall = 3/5 Bibles