Spring Stampede 2000
Date: April 16, 2000
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden, Scott Hudson
It’s the night of a million tournaments because TOURNAMENTS ARE AWESOME. The company was rebooted six days ago so all titles are vacant and Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff are here with their latest spray painting stable with the word New in the name. The main event is Jeff Jarrett vs. Diamond Dallas Page for the World Title because the one thing from the last few boring months that needs to stick around is Jarrett in the title scene. Let’s get to it.
A quick note: this show runs two hours and forty minutes with fourteen matches. Wrestlemania V had the same number of matches in about an hour more. You really shouldn’t be able to do that.
The opening video focuses on Bischoff/Russo vs. Flair/Hogan respectfully.
Bischoff has been told that Hogan is out of the hospital and coming here. Kidman isn’t worried because the Hummer can finish what they started. You mean Hogan can’t even sell BEING CRUSHED BY A CAR for a week?
Opening video showing clips of Russo and Bischoff. Good to know what matters here.
Tony says we’re starting a new era tonight. Didn’t we just do that Monday? And we don’t even get a night off from Madden after Tank Abbott beat him up? He looks fine too without even a neck brace. Bobby Heenan would be ashamed if he actually watched this show.
The announcers run down the card, which is a mystery to you if you didn’t watch Thunder. Also, the referees have been told to relax the disqualification rules. FROM WHAT??? The referees are already allowing low blows and interference. What are they allowing now? Wait don’t answer that. I don’t think I can sit through this show if I remember what Russo has coming.
Tag Team Title Tournament Semi-Finals; Mamalukes vs. Team Package
Disco Inferno is out with the Mamalukes because their split has been erased. Just having the match isn’t enough though so let’s go backstage to Team Package (Ric Flair/Lex Luger). Flair is in street clothes because this is going to be a street fight. Makes sense I guess. The announcers talk about Hogan being in the hospital. Madden: “Well a hummer can wear you out.” Wait we’re still not ready to go because ten minutes of talking before the first match isn’t enough. Russo comes out to say two veterans vs. two rookies isn’t fair, so the Harris Twins are added to make it 4-2.
It’s a big brawl to start and Flair is knocked down just a few seconds in. The regular teams pair off to beat up a veteran each but the old guys fight back and Flair gets Johnny in the Figure Four. That goes nowhere though as Flair lets go, only so Vito can kick him in the face to take over again. The Twins boot Flair in the face for two before Don pummels him in the corner. Tony doesn’t know what happens if the four men win, though to be fair I doubt Russo does either. Flair gets slammed off the top but avoids an elbow.
The goons keep the referee from seeing a tag as this is getting dangerously close to being a wrestling match. The beating continues and here are two guys to take Disco away. That would be your angle that has nothing to do with the match and has a 50/50 chance of never being brought up again. Luger gets the tag and everything breaks down but Johnny comes off the top with a spinning clothesline for two. Not that it matters as Luger Racks him for the win a few seconds later.
Rating: D. This was a Nitro match with too much added to it. As usual, Russo is convinced that no one is capable of having a match without something going on as a bonus. It’s also not a good sign that we’re seventeen minutes into this show and they’ve already changed the card from what they announced on Thursday.
Mike Awesome has been added to the US Title tournament and can’t wait to beat the nine lives out of The Cat. Bam Bam Bigelow comes in to call Awesome a jabroni, earning himself a beatdown.
We recap Mancow (Chicago radio DJ) vs. Jimmy Hart. I’m not going to dignify this with a recap. Picture any low level celebrity vs. a manager story you’ve ever seen. That would be a small pool to pick from because this is a stupid idea.
Mancow vs. Jimmy Hart
Hart comes out in a Howard Stern shirt with Emory Hale (a monster) as an enforcer. Mancow gets a good reaction and comes out with some nice looking women and a bunch of his radio show personalities. We hear a bit from Mancow about how he’s doing this for revenge and for Chicago. It’s a catfight to start but a Hale distraction lets Hart get in a low blow. Madden: “This is utter nonsense.” Jimmy goes up but Mancow pulls the referee in the way, allowing Hale to come in and gorilla press Mancow onto his entourage. There’s no referee though so Mancow hits Hart with a chair for the pin.
Counting the recap, this got seven minutes. The whole show can’t even get to two hours and forty five minutes and one match breaks ten minutes, but they had seven minutes to dedicate to a Howard Stern knockoff who was there for the live crowd. Welcome to the new WCW indeed.
Post match Kidman comes out and punches Hart again.
Russo yells at the Harris Twins and the Mamalukes before swinging a ball bat either because he’s manly or because he has deep rooted issues with his masculinity and has a fixation on phallic objects.
US Title Tournament Quarter-Finals: The Wall vs. Scott Steiner
Scott comes out to Steinerized as the announcers speculate about Russo and Bischoff’s master plan. Of course there’s a master plan. There’s always a master plan. Steiner pounds Wall down into the corner but Wall does the same thing back to him. A low blow drops Steiner, but remember these matches have relaxed rules.
It’s time to start choking with Wall throwing Steiner around. They head outside and Wall sends him into the barricade (Hudson: “He almost threw him into Lake Michigan!” No Scott, he didn’t.) before getting a table. Steiner pokes him in the eye so Wall chokeslams the referee through the table instead, drawing a DQ from a second referee.
Rating: D. I have a feeling I’m going to be making a lot of the same complaints with this show. I’ll give them a point on this one: they kept Wall looking strong. He’s a big power lunkhead but he’s someone new and a potential monster. Steiner is still getting back from injury so this kind of a brawl probably suited him best.
The Cat babbles about James Brown and rednecks until Bam Bam Bigelow beats him down.
US Title Tournament Quarter-Finals: The Cat vs. Mike Awesome
If there is any justice, the Cat will be squashed like a bug. Not like a cat of course because who would want to squash a cat? Well apparently Bigelow would as he attacked Cat in the back (off camera) and has taken Cat’s place. Fans: “ECW!” Awesome clotheslines Bigelow out to the floor and takes him down with a huge dive. People his size should not be able to do that.
Bigelow is knocked into the crowd so Mike dives over the barricade to take him down again. A good looking top rope clothesline gets two for Awesome as this is a clinic so far. Bigelow reverses a belly to back into a cross body for two. My goodness there are a lot empty seats across from the hard camera. The top rope headbutt looks to set up Greetings From Asbury Park (over the shoulder piledriver) but the Cat is back. Wait can you be back if you were never here in the first place? Bigelow gets superkicked to the floor and it’s dance time! Awesome takes Cat’s head off with a clothesline and the Awesome Splash is enough for the pin.
Rating: C-. I should have known better than to get my hopes up here. This was starting to get good so they had to send the Cat out there to turn it into a comedy thing. There’s a place for those kind of antics, but it’s not in the middle of what was turning into a good power match and our introduction to Mike Awesome, who looks like a star.
In a sign of the WCW way of thinking, instead of putting over Awesome as a monster, they talk about Cat dancing. The important stuff you know.
Russo tells Bischoff to chill out. Bischoff wants Kidman to do something instead of kissing Torrie.
Buff Bagwell/Shane Douglas are ready for Harlem Heat and Shane whines about Flair of course.
Tag Team Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Harlem Heat vs. Shane Douglas/Buff Bagwell
Tony says Awesome was living up to his namesake in the last match. Name, namesake, whatever. I’m surprised he got that close. Say it with me: It’s a brawl to start. Stevie gets double teamed to start with the New Blood working on his arm. The swinging neckbreaker is enough for Buff’s wrestling quota so a quick double team puts him down. T. eats a back elbow in the corner though and a quick Vader Bomb gets two for Buff. The tag brings in Shane but it’s still 2-1. Everything breaks down and a quick Pittsburgh Plunge (which Shane let go, basically making it a suplex) gives Shane the pin on Stevie.
Harlem Heat yells at each other post match.
Booker T. says he’s New Blood but he doesn’t see eye to eye with Bischoff and Russo.
US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Booker T. vs. Sting
They seem more respectful here and Sting politely shoves him into the corner, followed by a hiptoss to put Booker down. Sting starts speeding things up and runs Booker down with some clotheslines. They head outside with Booker being sent hard into the barricade. Booker comes right back by dropping Sting face first onto the announcers’ table, which the announcers make sure to chalk up to the relaxed rules.
A chinlock keeps Sting in trouble and a fan will not stop with screaming for as long as he can. Booker’s knee to the ribs sets up the ax kick for two. Sting comes back with a DDT for two of his own as the announcers are dubbing this a classic about six minutes in. The Stinger Splash is broken with a boot to the ribs but his suplex is countered into the Scorpion Death Drop to send Sting to the semi-finals.
Rating: C+. If this is WCW’s definition of a masterpiece and a classic, they’re in big trouble. It’s a good match but there’s only so much you can do in less than seven minutes. Maybe they could have done more of this if not for Mancow and having everything else tonight, since having any of the preliminaries on Nitro or Thunder would have been heresy.
Booker calls Sting back inside for a fist bump.
Kidman is ready for Hogan if he comes back tonight.
US Title Tournament Quarter-Finals: Vampiro vs. Kidman
The winner gets Sting, who Tony says “gave every ounce of his soul in that last match.” IT WAS A SIX AND A HALF MINUTE MATCH! And about a minute of that was a chinlock! Hopefully this one gets some more time. Vampiro starts fast with a clothesline and release suplex, followed by a top rope clothesline for two. Kidman’s comeback is countered by a sweet running release powerbomb. Add Vampiro to the list of those who can powerbomb Kidman.
The second powerbomb is countered into the faceplant. Madden: “We could have been seeing matches like this one years ago.” This is their fourth televised match this year alone, not counting a three way they had with the Wall a few weeks back. Add that to the list of stupid things said on this show. Kidman gets two off a side slam but Vampiro grabs a Rock Bottom (called a chokeslam, which to be fair is pretty much the same thing) to come back. We go to an overhead camera for no apparent reason and Vampiro grabs an armbar.
That’s enough back and forth action so let’s show Hogan arriving in a 1968 Dodge Charger. Kidman is terrified. I would be too if I could see images of Hogan before he’s actually in the arena. Hogan takes him to the floor and beats Kidman up, sends him into the post and throws the steps at him. A choke throw sends Kidman bouncing off the table and then a regular slam puts him through it. Back in and Vampiro gets the pin. Hogan beat him up for two minutes straight and that’s still covered under relaxed rules???
Rating: D+. This was a moment that brought me back to the days after Starrcade 1999 when Russo turned Nitro into a drama with wrestling involved. It started off as a match but once you have a two minute beatdown in plain sight of the referee, it stops being a match and becomes an angle.
Wrestling is supposed to be about angles setting up matches. With Russo, it was angles to set up more angles. This whole thing, which still hasn’t been explained in detail on TV, has only been going on six days and has seen two beatdowns and attempted murder. Where do you go from here? A bad match? In theory yeah but how big of a letdown is that going to feel like after all of this stuff?
There’s nothing wrong with mixing things up a bit, but this is backwards and leading up to a big letdown because they’re already done all their big stuff. In other words, Russo is a horrible booker who has screwed up what could have been a big story because he can’t wait to build up a story and has to do everything at once.
Oh and just to show how stupid WCW commentators were, direct quote from Tony: “You can’t disqualify him. He didn’t come in to help Vampiro.” HE BEAT KIDMAN UP FOR TWO MINUTES STRAIGHT AND SLAMMED HIM THROUGH A TABLE!!! That’s one of those lines that is so dumb there’s nothing to make fun of. The line itself is the joke.
Hogan says he’s coming for Bischoff.
Russo leaves Bischoff alone, promising to deal with Hogan.
Hogan storms through the back and……walks past the door with VINCE RUSSO AND ERIC BISCHOFF’S NAMES ON IT to open the door next to it. Add that to the list of things that the genius writers SHOULD HAVE THROWN IN THE TRASH SO A MANIAC CAN’T COME IN AND KILL THEM. As a bonus, add it to the list of dumb things Hogan has done over the years. Hogan gets his hands around Bischoff’s neck so here are the cops with guns drawn for the save. You know, I’m kind of surprised Russo never had anyone get shot on one of his shows. If nothing else he could have made a “now THAT was a shoot” joke later on.
We cut to the arena and come back with Hogan being arrested by promising to be at Nitro. So yeah, this was all a way to set up a TV story. As this is going on, Terry Taylor tells Terry Funk that Norman Smiley is waiting for him in catering to start the Hardcore Title match.
Hardcore Title: Norman Smiley vs. Terry Funk
Terry finds him in the bathroom because where else would you find him. They fight out of the bathroom and it’s already fire extinguisher time. Norman is thrown into a bunch of Diet Coke cans as they head into the kitchen. A trashcan to the head puts Terry in trouble and it’s time for an INDUSTRIAL SIZE cookie sheets to the head. Again, I’d assume Tony meant industrial STRENGTH but Tony has become the wrestling version of Ted Baxter (for you old TV fans out there).
Norman climbs a ladder to get into the plumbing but Funk chairs him down and through a table full of cookies. Some chairs to the head have no effect on Terry so Norman chairs him even more on the way into the arena. They get inside and Norman channels his inner Cat by dancing, but at least it makes more sense here.
Norman actually tries the spanking dance and as you might expect, Funk isn’t pleased and caves Norman’s head in with a few chair shots. It’s ladder time but Dustin Rhodes makes the save and piledrives Terry on a chair. Funk kicks the chair into Dustin’s head though, knocking him into the ladder. A ladder shot to Norman’s face gives Terry the title.
Rating: C-. Yeah it was fine but this this might have been the longest hardcore match of all time at eight minutes. It’s entertaining enough though and that’s all you can really ask for on a show like this. In a different vein though, the Dustin Rhodes vs. Terry Funk feud needs to stop. As far as I can remember, they’re fighting over whether Dustin is a bigger chicken than his dad, who isn’t even with this company. Why is this going on for three months?
If you ordered this show, you can get a MOUSEPAD! Tony: “That’s right. A mousepad.”
Russo tells Booker he’ll forgive him for what he did with Sting if he does a favor now. Madden rants about the handshake with Sting. It was a fist bump but I’d assume Madden was too busy finding stupid jokes to watch the show anyway.
US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Mike Awesome vs. Scott Steiner
Steiner takes him down with a nice amateur move, followed by the bicep curl elbow. We pause for push-ups and Mike bails to the apron for a slingshot clothesline to take over. A top rope clothesline gets two so Steiner kicks him low. Hudson brings up the valid question of how far do relaxed rules go. Not that it matters as we’ve got Kevin Nash with a crutch to knock Awesome off the top, setting up the Steiner Recliner to send Steiner to the finals.
Rating: D. Three minutes, a low blow and interference means it’s already time for Awesome to give up to a veteran in just two minutes. I get the idea of pushing Steiner but at the same time I’m not wild on having a newcomer lose this quickly. Then again, that might mean actually pushing someone new instead of giving some newcomer lip service that they’re getting a push.
Russo fires Dustin Rhodes for letting Funk win the Hardcore Title. Russo takes credit for Goldust, which is the only time Rhodes was ever worth anything.
US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Sting vs. Vampiro
Vampiro jumps him during the entrance but Sting no sells his offense and punches Vampiro right back. We get the brawling on the floor out of the way as the announcers talk about Sting’s new intensity since the new regime took over. You know, in the six days and about fifteen minutes of wrestling he’s done. A top rope splash gets two for Sting and they fight outside where the Splash hits barricade.
Vampiro kicks him in the face and drops a leg for two as a wrestling match has broken out. Sting pops up after a slam and they kind of botch what I think was supposed to be Vampiro jumping off the top but getting caught in a powerbomb. Instead it came off like he tried a diving hurricanrana but got spinebustered. Either way it wasn’t good looking but it sets up the Death Drop and Deathlock to send Sting on to the finals.
Rating: D+. This is another match that happened tonight and there’s really no reason to see these two fight anymore, though I’m sure they will because Vampiro is creepy or whatever. Sting being involved in the two clean finishes of the night makes sense but I wouldn’t mind these matches having more time for a change. Six minutes shouldn’t be on the longer side of the matches in a night.
Page says he’ll win.
Cruiserweight Title: Shannon Moore vs. Juventud Guerrera vs. Crowbar vs. Chris Candido vs. The Artist vs. Lash Leroux
The title is vacant coming in and this is one fall to a finish. Oh and we can’t get a second match to break ten minutes but we can have a 3 Count performance. Make that TWO performances as they actually have to fill in time on a show with matches these short. Thankfully everyone else charges to the ring so we don’t spend another five minutes on entrances.
It’s insanity to start and I’m sure Daffney and Helms are going to get involved. There are tags required here and Crowbar gets an early two on Candido via a northern lights suplex. The Whiplash gets two on Crowbar (just called a signature move by Tony. Not Whiplash or anything but at least he knew it was a signature more) but Juvy flips out of the same move and scores with the Juvy Driver. Everything breaks down and Daffney hurricanranas Crowbar by mistake.
Lash dives on Crowbar but takes out Daffney as well. A big series of dives leaves Candido with Helms, but David Flair comes in to dance. Artist crotches Candido (by shaking one of the ropes he wasn’t standing on) but gets thrown off, only to have Candido miss the swan dive. You can see Crowbar powerbombing Juvy but that’s not important enough to feature. Artist hits an Angle Slam (not a Samoan drop) but here’s the debuting Tammy Lynn Sytch to pull Artist off the top, giving Candido the pin.
Rating: C-. So 3 Count can dance for about two and a half minutes but the match can’t even get 5:15? I’m not sure if this was good or not because the match was another mess with no flow or idea behind it other than “get everyone’s stuff in because we don’t have time to do anything else.” Candido winning is a good choice though as he’s not your standard high flier but can actually have an entertaining match, unlike Artist.
Paisley and Tammy have a catfight post match. Shannon breaks it up and gets his crotch grabbed.
We’ve got three weeks until the next pay per view. Sweet goodness calm down people.
Jarrett says he’ll win because he has everyone in his corner.
Tag Team Titles: Team Package vs. Shane Douglas/Buff Bagwell
Flair is still in street clothes and Russo is out with Bagwell/Douglas to do commentary. Bagwell offers Luger a handshake to start but for once Luger is smart enough to not go for it. It’s time for a pose off, followed by Luger’s standard offensive sequence to take over. Shane comes in and beats Luger down, only to have Flair come in for some revenge. Hudson drops the Dynamic Dude moniker but it’s off to Buff for some right hands and a backdrop.
We hit the chinlock on Flair with Luger trying to make the save, allowing Shane to come in sans tag. Like it matters that the referee didn’t see it anyway. Shane punches Flair a lot and we get half a Flair Flip in the corner. Some F Bombs mess with the censor’s minds but Luger gets in a clothesline from the apron to give Flair a breather. Lex gets to come in for his clotheslines, including the fabled double clothesline. It’s like two at once!
Shane gets caught in the Figure Four but Buff hits Luger low and makes the save. The Blockbuster takes Shane down by mistake but Russo pulls the referee out. Now freaking Kronik debut for High Times on Luger, giving Bagwell the pin and the titles with Russo counting the pin.
Rating: D. How are you enjoying the Russo Show this evening? That’s all this show has been about: pushing Vince Russo as a featured player in a major wrestling promotion because he’s in charge and gets to do whatever he wants and feel important. Lame match again, mainly because Shane isn’t interesting in the ring.
Steiner says he’ll win.
Sting says he’ll win.
US Title: Scott Steiner vs. Sting
So…..I think Sting is the heel here? It’s really not clear. Steiner hammers him down but gets dropkicked out to the floor, allowing Sting to get in a dive. Sting’s top rope splash hits knees though and Steiner drops him with a gorilla press. Back up and Sting breaks up a superplex, only to have the Stinger Splash hit the referee. We’re still not done yet though as Vampiro pops up through the ring and pulls Sting underneath. Sting comes out with a bloody mouth, which is described as covered in blood, setting up the Recliner to give Steiner the title.
Rating: D-. Notice that all of the New Blood guys winning here are veterans? Like I said, it’s because this whole “let’s push the young guys” is lip service and you could tell by watching for five minutes. This was another bad match to add to the pile with Russo making sure to put in everything he could to every match and making the action a backdrop to whatever is supposed to lead up to the next angle. It’s a never ending cycle and Russo never saw why that was a problem because Russo doesn’t get how wrestling works.
We recap Monday, which is another way to feature Russo. They throw in the World Title tournament stuff to try to make it sound interesting.
WCW World Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Kimberly is here with Page, more or less guaranteeing a swerve. They start fast by trading some big shots until Page’s jumping tornado DDT gets two. Kimberly gets in a slap on the floor and the fight goes into the crowd, which only shows off all the empty seats. Page gets the better of it and they finally get off the wide shot and show them coming back to ringside.
Jeff uses Kimberly as a shield but still gets sunset flipped for two. He’s still able to crotch Page on top though, setting up a superplex. Instead of covering like a wrestler should, Jarrett brings in a chair as Tony starts talking about the WWF for some reason. The match slows down until Page avoids a charge in the corner and hits a good looking sitout powerbomb for two.
We’ve got Bischoff in the aisle because this match hasn’t been entertaining enough. They head outside with Jeff using various things fans hand him, including Page’s book, as they’re now ripping off ECW. Kimberly saves Page from getting crotched on the post (Madden: “Get away you scurvy wench.”) and Jeff gets crotched instead. The Diamond Cutter misses and the referee goes down. Again. A belt shot gets two on Page so it’s Figure Four time. Kimberly has the guitar and just get to the screwjob already.
Page gets to the rope after about a minute and a half and gets a pair of near falls off some rollups. Back up and Jeff dives into a swinging Rock Bottom and it’s sleeper, sleeper, belly to back suplex. Bischoff tries to interfere and there’s the Diamond Cutter but Kimberly comes in with the guitar and hits Page (I’m too tired to even make fun of it at this point) to give Jeff the title. At least the fans popped for the swerve.
Rating: C+. Match of the night here which could have been better had they swapped the participants in the last two matches. Page vs. Jarrett sounds like a US Title match and Steiner vs. Sting could be a World Title match under the right circumstances. This match worked better because it had time and because the people in the match know how to work well enough to get around the lame booking ideas.
The New World Order (yeah it’s the same thing, down to most of the members) celebrates to end the show.
Overall Rating: D-. I know I’m supposed to yell about how bad this was but there’s a problem: I barely remember anything on this show five minutes after it wrapped up. This show was about two months of TV crammed into two hours and forty minutes. Save for the main event, nothing had time to go anywhere and nothing had time to develop because we had to get in all of Russo’s segments (how many were there? Eight or so?) and all of the other shenanigans, yet the show was only two hours and forty minutes.
The show stayed so short by following a simple idea: don’t let them wrestle. Of the fourteen matches, one of them broke nine minutes. I’ve covered the lame booking and Russo not knowing how to run a wrestling show to death and I’m sure I’ll get to it more in the future, but this show was such a total overload. There’s WAY too much on here to know if anything was really good or not and the little bit that does stick out is quickly forgotten for the sake of whatever else Russo has to throw out there.
The main thing that stood out here was how they’re not even hiding what they’re doing here. It’s another big NWO style superstable with the evil bosses in charge, but you pick JEFF JARRETT as the focal point? I know Russo has always been a fan but good grief you have Scott Steiner right there and you go with Jarrett? The idea of the youth movement is fine, but like I said earlier: the only champion who is actually young (or at least didn’t feel like a veteran) here is Candido, who had years of experience of his own. It’s a youth movement with people who aren’t actually young and WCW hopes we can’t figure it out.
I can’t say it’s the worst show I’ve ever seen, but most of this show’s problems are due to how much stuff it has going on. You can’t tell which way is up on this show (hint: look at the buyrate and go the other way), let alone have anything leave an impact on you. Russo never understood the idea of letting something breathe and it shows badly on something like this. The really bad times are coming, but this is much more about being too hectic for its own good and booking WAY too much into a show that should have been ten minutes longer with fewer matches packed in there.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 2000 Monday Nitro and Thunder Reviews Part 1.
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