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Monday, April 13, 2015

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WIRTB Review: The Souled Out Series Volume Two (1998)

Greetings, my ringaz, it's the man who took on Greed and won, the guy who watched Mayhem 1999 and 2000 and didn't have his eyes bleed, SOTB!!!, back with another WIRTB Review. Now, you're probably wondering where in the high fuck have I been these past couple weeks. Well, I've been dealing with some personal issues. My mother passed. But, instead of boo-hoo over that, I'm going to honor her in a way she'd be proud of: making people laugh (hopefully) through reviews of PPVs. Now, 1997's edition was atrocious. Let's see if 1998's has lost its way of shit or continues down the path of craptastic crappiness.

The first match is a eight-man tag team Lucha Libre rules match between the teams of La Parka, Silver King, Psychosis and El Dandy (?) versus Lizmark Jr., Juventud Guerrerra, Super Calo , and...Chavo Guerrero. Ok, first things first? Chavo sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of an all-night titty fuckfest in this match. Even David Penzer's enthusiasm trails off when annoucing him. Now, don't get me wrong--I love Chavo's WCW work and I think he's overly underrated. But, he's always been light when it comes to Lucha Libre to me.

The match starts off pretty telegraphed, even though the spots are balls-out amazing. We get ample time between each pairing, with La Parka even busting out some dance moves in the middle of his segment. That is, until Juvie knocks him out. And of course, now we get the schmozz. But, after the schmozz and your typical "hey guys stand outside the ring to catch me" spot, Chavo scores the win. The match was pretty balls-out, even if telegraphed. However, one thing that got to me was the fact that the commentators usually referred to the talent as "they" or "them."

Next up, we get a promo for the first iPPV in Boston Brawl. WCW had some good ideas in their dying days--wait a minute. Let me check out the Brawl card. Ok, after further review, good idea, shit execution. It's like This Tuesday in Texas times ten, because at least TTiT (ha..."TiT") had some semblance of a title change and something actually happen.

Our next match is Raven versus Benoit in a Stone Cold vest.

I completely forgot that Chris Benoit also had sparkly pants and shit at one point. Also, for the newbies reading along, can we stop the Raven/Wyatt comparisons? Yes, they're atypical. Yes, they lead "cults." Yes, their promos are their strongest suit. But, there are still so many reasons why Bray Wyatt and Raven are nothing alike. For instance, Bray Wyatt, PG Era or otherwise, hasn't utilized any weaponry really other than his voice. Raven is a crazy motherfucker who'll use anything and everything in his way to make a point. Bray wants you to follow him, potentially to mask his own insecurities. Raven wants to break you down completely and rebuild you in his image...or the image he sees fit.

Anywho, this match is insanity in a hand bag. Chair shots, technical wrestling, psychology, BULLDOGS ONTO CHAIRS! This match probably has everything you could ask for in a match. Benoit gets the win on a crossface (obviously), which leads to everyone coming out, but Benoit and Dean Malenko cleaning house. Two matches in and the way of crap in Souled Out seems to be lost.

Rey versus Jericho is next. This match looks like something out of 2013, 2014. Jericho eats up the crowd booing him. Rey tries to be all flippy-do and hurts his knee. Jericho wins and beats Rey post-match to a somewhat still mixed reaction from a couple people in the crowd. But, it still wasn't a completely horrible match. Just eh.

Bookah T and Rick Martel square off for the TV Title. It's hard to believe, but, at this point, Martel is still in his early-40s. I mean, this is a guy I've seen on WWF since around the time I was born and he's still not even, in 2015, over 60. He's close. Oh, he's damn close. But, he's not 60 just yet. Canadian genes or something. Anyhow, Martel and Bookah are up next for the TV title. The match kind of plays out like something out the indies. Lots of focus on one body part, a slow build, a fast-paced (kind of) middle, and several "I'm on the edge of my seat" near-falls. Bookah ends up getting the win in a fun match which was, sadly, one of Martel's last. Oddly, Martel's career-ending injuries came while in the ring with Bookah for the title.

Next? Scott Hall versus Larry Zybysko. And just like that, the way of crap has been found. Let the bloodletting begin.

What can I say? I'm an anime nerd and a wrestling fan. Don't like it? Kick rocks and suck dick.

The point of this clusterfuck was so Dusty Rwhodes, tha Amurrrican Dream (baby), could end up joining the nWo. At this point, the nWo was reaching critical mass. Everyone and their mom was part of the group and no one really agreed with what should be done within it. So, we ended up getting everyone, their mom, and their gay uncle's partner's cousin's second niece joining and forming splinter groups. Seriously. Look up the member list of the nWo. You're bound to find that someone you liked growing up is/was an nWo member.

We then get, for our troubles, Vicious and Delicious and Konnan versus The Steiners and Ray Traylor. Fuck this. Best part of the match is Scott yelling at the ref. Konnan takes the loss after a screwdriver from Scott and then Scott and Buff verbally jack off each other over their physiques. Fuck that noise.

Next? Kevin Nash versus Giant. Now, the promo for this PPV made mention of, y'know, something along the lines of "if Nash jackknifes someone, he'll be banned from WCW." Not only did he do it, he damn near killed Giant in the process. Yeah, it looks a lot worse than it was...but it was still pretty gotdamn bad (go to about 1:20 into the video).

The next match, our second-to-last of the evening, is almost a classic. Bret Hart versus Ric Flair. Hell, anytime you have Flair going vertical, you've got a classic. Hart gets the win from the Sharpshooter, and the way of shit has been lost once again. I think this may be the first pay-per-view in the WIRTB timeline to get a "no."

And then...we get to the main event. Because, for whatever reason, this classic match couldn't be the closer. Nooooo. We get Michael Buffer coming out to introduce Lex Luger and Randy Savage. Now, Randy is a legend and will always be. But, I can't bring myself to give any sort of fuck about this match. Fuck this match. I think Randy wins, but we all lose.

So, at the end of the day, even with that main event, was it really that bad?

Surprisingly, no. We got matches without a load of outside interference, feud finales, and a slew of things that make wrestling fun and great to watch. I question placing Luger versus Savage as the main event, but other than that? No, it wasn't really that bad. In fact, you take that match, the Dusty heel turn, and the Jackknife Special out, and you've got a legit PPV. So, check it out.

Our next WIRTB will either be Souled Out 1999 or another bonus review. So, until next time, Ringers. Keep your eyes on the ring.


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