Each and every Thursday I will look back at a different pay-per-view event from the past via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last week, I covered WCW Slamboree 1998. Next week, we'll look back at WCW Slamboree 2000.
WCW Spring Stampede 1999
Date: April 11, 1999
Venue: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Wash.
Some random notes
This was the fourth annual Spring Stampede, which despite having a Wild West theme, began in Chicago in 1994. When I think of Chicago, I don't think of cowboys.
Although the event began in 1994, it didn't return until 1997. From the looks of it, WCW decided not to hold a pay-per-view in the month of April in 1995-96. I assume it was due to WrestleMania, but I could be wrong.
When the event returned in 1997, it was held in Tupelo, Miss. World Championship Wrestling finally held the event in the western half of the United States in 1998, when it emanated from Denver.
I noticed that Juventud Guerrera, Rey Mysterio and Konnan all wore chains with big crosses hanging from them. There's nothing wrong with expressing your religion, but I have to believe that was kind of tough to work in the ring with, especially for Guerrera and Mysterio, who's offense was more about acrobatics than anything else.
Now, let's get to the matches.
Juventud Guerrera def. Blitzkrieg
This match was a ton of fun. It didn't have any real backstory other than the winner becoming the No. 1 contender for the WCW World Cruiserweight championship, but the fans of Tacoma were still into it nonetheless because of all of the crazy things each man did during the match.
The craziest moment came when Guerrera hit Blitzkrieg with the Juvi driver from the top rope to clinch the victory and the No. 1 contender spot.
I jumped out of my chair in astonishment when I saw this spot. Firstly, it's a crazy move to witness, but also because I was wondering how Blitzkrieg was able to walk after the match.
One false move and Blitzkrieg could have easily suffered a severe neck injury. It just goes to show just how good Guerrera truly was. If he wasn't the professional that he was, Blitzkrieg may have lost his ability to walk that night.
Hardcore match – Bam Bam Bigelow def. Hak
Hak was much more famous as The Sandman in Extreme Championship Wrestling, but he was apparently unable to use the name once he got to WCW.
Because of this, he was forced to use the name Hak, which was apparently his nickname behind the scenes. That was probably a funny name in the locker room, but it made no sense on television.
Everyone knew Bam Bam Bigelow, but he had much better days in other promotions such as WWE and ECW. It never quite felt right to see Bigelow in WCW.
The contest itself was what you would expect from a hardcore match. However, it showed just how much ECW and WWE had influenced WCW at the time. ECW popularized the hardcore style in the United States in the 1990s.
WWE saw ECW's edgy style, put a better coat of paint on it and called it the "Attitude Era." Switching to that style helped WWE surge ahead of WCW in 1998 and by 1999, WWE had an insurmountable lead.
In an effort to keep up, WCW began to incorporate more hardcore matches. That meant matches like this that was light on the story and heavy on the weapons and spots.
During this match in particular, nothing seemingly hurt these guys. Hak went through a table and was on his feet 30 seconds later. It didn't even faze him apparently.
There was one pin attempt the entire match and it was the winning fall.
Scotty Riggs def. Mikey Whipwreck
This was an unadvertised match and rightfully so. I don't think promoting a Scotty Riggs-Mikey Whipwreck match would have enthralled the masses.
That's no disrespect to either man. They were both talented in their own right, but they just had jabroni written all over them in WCW.
Whipwreck was a cult favorite in ECW, mostly because he barely ever got any offensive moves in, but kept coming back despite getting thrashed match after match.
WCW never quite got what made Whipwreck so charming as a character. I can tell this because he actually got offensive moves in on Riggs.
This match got boring chants and deserved them.
Konnan def. Disco Inferno
I honestly had no idea Disco Inferno was a member of the Wolfpac. That just went right by me. The New World Order had been diluted for quite some time until this point, but the addition of Disco Inferno was probably the final nail in the group's black and red coffin.
Just to think what the original incarnation of the group was supposed to be and then it added Disco Inferno? That's just a jarring visual that didn't make any sense.
Despite the addition of Disco Inferno, the Wolfpac was still quite over in 1999 (except for Disco Inferno), but so was Konnan. Konnan was a former member of the Wolfpac, but it was almost like the Wolfpac traded him back to WCW for Disco Inferno. I think WCW won that trade.
Rap music had just started becoming mainstream in the late 1990s and Konnan — or K-Dogg — was taking full advantage of it. He represented what was trending at that moment and the people got behind it.
As for the match, it wasn't anything special. Both men were talented performers, but this wasn't exactly showcase for either guy. Konnan defeated Disco Inferno with his own move.
WCW World Cruiserweight championship – Rey Mysterio def. Billy Kidman
My goodness gracious this match made me upset and it had nothing to do with anything Rey Mysterio or Billy Kidman did during the match.
I'll get to that in a second, but it had everything to do with Mysterio being unmasked! Why did WCW take off his damn mask?
Gosh, I hated that. I know it happened. He even appeared in that Ready to Rumble movie without his famous mask, but I had blocked that entire segment of his career out of my head. I didn't even want to remember it because it was so awful.
Thanks goodness WWE convinced him to put the mask back on in 2002 because it never made sense for him to take it off in the first place.
It was bad enough when Psychosis and Guerrera lost their masks, but Mysterio was the last straw for me. He was very popular and his mask was awesome. WCW had no idea how much money it could have made selling replicas of his masks.
WWE did and has sold a ton of them over the years. It is just another reason why WCW is no longer in business and why WWE is the promotional juggernaut that it is today. WWE may not get everything right, but it definitely knows how to market and promote.
OK, enough with my rant. I just can't believe I had to witness Mysterio without his mask again. He looked so lost without it.
Fortunately, he didn't lose his talent along with the mask because he and Kidman put on a great match here.
The story was that Mysterio and Kidman were vying for the Cruiserweight title despite being current WCW World Tag Team champions as well, meaning that Mysterio walked in with two titles.
Other than Mysterio banging his head off the steal steps on accident, the match went quite well. The only thing I didn't like was the referee's cadence on his count. It was too fast and wasn't dramatic enough for my taste.
Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko def. Raven & Perry Saturn
A lot happened in this match and it was surprisingly given a lot of time.
First off, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko were a part of the Four Horsemen, which meant Arn Anderson accompanied them to the ring.
However, they were the heels going up against Raven and Perry Saturn. This was strange to see, but it was WCW in 1999 so who knows what was going on. I've got to give Raven and Saturn credit though. The fans in Tacoma were into them.
More bizarre than Raven and Saturn being babyfaces was Saturn's attire. What in the world was he wearing? It looked like something out of a Hellraiser movie.
During the match, play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone kept playing up the fact that referee Charles Robinson (Little Naitch) was good friends with Ric Flair and was in the pocket of the Horsemen. Despite playing it up, it never factored into the actual match.
What did come into play was a steel chair, which both teams used without getting disqualified.
It even played into the finish, as Benoit did a diving head butt to a steel chair that was on the back of Raven's head, busting himself open in the process.
Knowing what we all know now, I couldn't help but cringe at the sight of Benoit's head bounce off that chair.
WCW United States Heavyweight championship – Scott Steiner def. Booker T
This match was the finals of a tournament to determine a new WCW United States Heavyweight champion, which was previously held by Scott Hall.
Despite being in this tournament, Booker T walked in as the reigning WCW World Television champion. Knowing that coming in, the outcome shouldn't have been a surprise.
What wasn't surprising was the entertainment value of Scott Steiner. I'm not talking about entertaining from a wrestling standpoint. Oh no. Booker T handled that just fine.
I'm talking about the way Steiner interacted with the fans before and during the match. He even allowed a female fan to touch his chest before the match right in front of her boyfriend.
The woman's boyfriend was not nearly in the shape Steiner was in, putting him to shame.
Steiner asked the woman, "You want to touch a real man?" She proceeded to do so. Steiner then taunted her boyfriend. The boyfriend said, "She's going home with me tonight!"
Steiner replied with, "But she's going to be thinking about me!" He was probably right.
The match was good, but it was much better when Booker T was on offense. You see, he could actually move around in the ring unlike Steiner, who was so muscled up he moved like a baby in a snowsuit. Steiner was still a decent athlete though and managed to pull off a Frankensteiner, but he was nothing like the athlete he was as part of the Varsity Club.
Goldberg def. Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash came out with Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth, who always looked weird without Randy Savage and the gowns.
This was the first time the two men had faced each other since their infamous world title match at Starrcade 1998. That was a disaster. This was short and to the point.
Nash dominated most of the match, but Goldberg made a comeback, hit his signature moves and won. The end.
WCW World Heavyweight championship – Diamond Dallas Page def. Ric Flair, Sting & Hollywood Hogan
Savage served as the special guest referee for this match and made an elaborate entrance complete with Gorgeous George and all.
Ric Flair walked into this match as the champion, which was world title reign No. 14. Hollywood Hogan walked in as a member of the Wolfpac. By this point I gave up keeping track of why people joined and left certain groups.
The match started off pretty good, but its complexion changed fairly early after Diamond Dallas Page put Hogan in a figure four around the ring post. This injured Hogan to the point that he could not continue, making the match a triple threat.
From there, the match was relatively routine except for when Savage delivered the big elbow drop to Flair while he had Sting in the figure four.