Induction: nWo Souled Out 1997 – Eric Bischoff’s squared circle-jerk

35 Submitted by on Thu, 01 May 2014, 19:58

WCW, 1997

Let’s face it: it has almost always been good to be Eric Bischoff. Before he was getting paid big bucks to spend bottomless pits of someone else’s money in TNA, he was… well, doing exactly that in WCW. The difference was that starting in 1996, the spending spree was really paying off, with the New World Order angle being perhaps the hottest in wrestling history. In fact, the faction had grown so dominant that they were regularly (and intentionally) making the rest of the company look weak. Bischoff’s ultimate plan was to run the nWo as its own entity, split from WCW, but a one-off “nWo Nitro” episode operated entirely by the heel faction at the end of 1997 flopped and the idea was scrapped.

nwo01

That wasn’t the first time that a product stamped with the nWo logo had bombed, though. No, that dubious distinction belonged to 1997’s very first wrestling pay-per-view, which was also supposedly operated entirely by the heel faction. Noticing a pattern yet?

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I would say that Eric should have known better than to put on this experimental inmates-run-the-asylum show, but given the symbolic garbage trucks that the nWo rode into the pay-per-view on, maybe Eric did have a feeling this event would be a piece of junk. All in all, this pay-per-view would end up being about as satisfying as making out with an ugly chick.

ahead of myself

But I’m getting a head of myself.

See, the nWo had gained a following for being rebels who played by their own rules and sought to take over the company. Put them in charge of the whole show, though, and all that anti-establishment appeal would fly right out the window.

Sure, the company made the right call by not presenting it as just another WCW show. To that end, the arena had a distinctive set-up, with black and white decorations, a giant set of steps in the entranceway, a live band, cameras on sticks… nwo04
nwo05 …dancers whom the commentators compared to Bond girls (though I don’t recall Pussy Galore having mall hair)…
…and three fat guys who sat on stage the entire night, but the novelty of an nWo-run show wore off quick. nwo06
nwo07 Throughout the show, Ted DiBiase and especially Eric Bischoff showered praise on Hollywood Hogan, even going so far as to claim that all the promoters he made money for in the past owed him “a grebt of datitude.”
The rest of Eric’s commentary was about how cool it was to be around motorcycles, and he and Ted never let anything going on in the ring interfere with their ego-stroking. They couldn’t even bring themselves to abandon their “indoor voices” when, say, The Giant attempted an elbow drop off the top rope. nwo08
nwo09 Every match saw nWo wrestlers face WCW wrestlers, and while the nWo got entrance music, every WCW wrestler walked down the aisle to silence and the smart-ass comments of the disembodied nWo announcer. You know the one I’m talking about. Not even Scotty Riggs got the luxury of theme music in his match against Buff Bagwell, which unfortunately lacked the tagline, “The American Males Explode!”
Ew. Never mind. nwo10
nwo11 And just for good measure, the nWo would every once in a while pipe in a sound bite of that same voice shouting “loser” at the WCW wrestlers. It was funny for the first few matches, but as it continued on through the night, you realized it was just childish — unless you were seriously amused by Eddie Guerrero being dubbed a “Mexican jumping bean.”
If you thought the all-heel commentary team and ring announcer mocking the babyfaces all night was juvenile, wait until you saw the matches themselves. The #1 problem with this pay-per-view, and probably the reason it had the lowest buy-rate of the nWo era, was that it featured crooked referee Nick Patrick in each match. To the surprise of Eric Bischoff, few people wanted to plunk down money to see a faction, no matter how cool or popular, be handed victories in three hours’ worth of farcical matches. nwo12
nwo13 In fact, besides 1995’s World War 3, where he co-headlined with 59 other guys, this event had the lowest buyrate of any PPV Hulk Hogan had ever wrestled on to that point.
Every match proved to be an exercise in futility for the WCW crew as guaranteed victory after guaranteed victory piled up for the heel super-group. The nWo, the badasses who had taken WCW by storm, were apparently no better than kids who played video games alone on two-player Vs. mode just so they could win every time. nwo14
nwo15 Considering that there was, barring some miracle, no chance for the WCW wrestlers to win, it’s hard to figure out why any WCW wrestlers even agreed to be on the show. Wouldn’t the best way to combat the nWo have been to simply no-show the event, force every match to be nWo vs. nWo, and let everybody see how lame and self-defeating it would be if the nWo ever did take over the wrestling world? Which this PPV kind of accomplished anyway…
Now, the prospect of a glorified nWo circle-jerk still didn’t stop 5000 fans from buying tickets, but once the live audience figured out that the nWo was going to win every match, they pretty much gave up cheering… or booing for that matter. If you think wins and losses don’t matter in wrestling, watch what happens when you take away any semblance of competition. When you realize that the action in the ring won’t affect the outcome, you’re left to simply watch two guys trade moves with no rhyme or reason. nwo16
nwo17 Somehow, though, the WCW won three of the matches on the card; one, a ladder match Eddie Guerrero won because the referee wasn’t involved in the decision…
…another, a match where Jeff Jarrett pinned Michael Wallstreet after Mongo McMichael hit him with a briefcase and threatened Nick Patrick (who for some reason didn’t just disqualify Double J)… nwo18
nwo19 …and the tag team title match where, with Nick Patrick knocked out, WCW ref Randy Anderson ran in and counted the pin for the Steiners, awarding the brothers the tag team titles. How was this able to stand? Trick question: it wasn’t, as Eric Bischoff guaranteed that the decision would be reversed for the rest of the night, then made good on his promise by nullifying the results on Nitro. Thanks for buying the pay-per-view, by the way!
Basically, any WCW victory on this night was a matter of fighting shenanigans with more shenanigans, but any time it was just the ref and the wrestlers in the ring, there was no sense paying close or attention or getting invested in the match, since the heels were always safe. Every time the babyfaces were about to win, Nick Patrick would just hesitate before dropping his hand for the three, allowing the heels extra time to kick out. The announcers, of course, pretended it was a fast count. Sort of like Starrcade ’97. nwo20
nwo21 And if that failed, well, Nick could always just pretend there was a kickout when there wasn’t, a stunt he pulled in the main event to the surprise of no one. I guess this was Hogan’s revenge for that time the crooked ref counted his shoulders down and gave his title to the Giant’s dad.
Said main event resulted in the same kind of big, inconclusive schmozz that seemed to end every WCW broadcast. No, I take that back. The schmozz was not inconclusive; in fact, I can draw three conclusions from the post-match beatdown:

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nwo23
  • 3) Paul Wight’s ass has gotten *HUGE* over the years.

 

To make the self-indulgent spectacle that was Souled Out 1997 even worse, it was becoming evident that the nWo had become more than a tad diluted. Sure, big names like Hogan, Hall, and Nash were on the card, but so were M. Wallstreet, Scott Norton, and Bubba Rogers, all of whom got their own singles matches on this show.

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And the three fat bikers were still just sitting there!

So all in all, this show was just, well, I’ll let Reverend D-Von explain.

And on that note, it’s time to talk about the Miss nWo Pageant! And if you think that D-Von joke is disgusting now, keep a barf bucket on hand as you read the rest of this induction.

You would think that the ultimate cool heels in the nWo would have had no problem bringing in hot women and objectifying the living hell out of them. Instead, Eric Bischoff and the gang cut corners by opening up the competition to anyone in the Cedar Rapids area with a motorcycle and a set of ovaries… nwo25
nwo26 …and, judging by contestant #6, only one of those things had to still be in working order.
That didn’t stop everyone from hyping up the “bevy of beauties” on hand for the pageant, as Jeffrey “The Babe Hunter” Katz interviewed the cycle-skanks between every match. nwo27
nwo28 The contestants included the classy Miss Natalie, who, and I could be mistaken here, offered “fellatio” to the nWo…
…Miss Lorrie, who didn’t exactly offer to unsheathe Kevin Nash’s jackknife, but that would have been a much sexier answer… nwo29
nwo30 …Miss Rachel, who was willing to perform sexual favors to be cast as Mrs. Claus in Santa With Muscles 2
…and Miss Dee, the looker of the bunch, who insisted she wasn’t some cheap hooker, but a very expensive one. An impressionable Buff Bagwell was said to be listening intently backstage. nwo31
nwo32 Miss Connie apparently thought Tony Atlas would be one of the judges…
…while Miss Ila was allegedly disqualified after testing positive for Centrum Silver. nwo33
nwo34 Then there was Miss Becky, a homemaker. That is, a housewife. So wouldn’t that make her Mrs. Becky?
Two women were presented as “Miss Mary” due to a graphical error… nwo35
nwo36 …unless there really were two biker women in Iowa named Mary who inspected grain and got hot and bothered over Al Borland…
…which is entirely possible.
"I don't think so, Tim."

“I don’t think so, Tim.”

nwo37 Finally, there was Miss Jody, who made a living by shipping, and yes, that does say, “shipping” and not “stripping.” I can’t be the only one who had to double-check that.
The audience’s reactions determined the finalists, but the competition (and only the competition) was just too stiff, leading to a bonus round where Lorrie and Becky each whispered something too hot for TV into Eric’s ear. If you thought this was all some sort of behind-the-scenes rib on Eric Bischoff, remember that Eazy E himself was calling the shots in WCW at the time. nwo38
nwo39 Eric named Becky the winner, declaring her Miss nWo in his typical smarmy, sarcastic fashion…
…until he stuck his tongue down her throat… nwo40
nwo41 …twice, and the viewers realized that this pageant was no joke and, yes, Eric was dead serious when he bragged about how much he loved this gig.

The nWo never did end up as a separate brand under the Turner umbrella, but Souled Out 1997 gave us a good look at what such a promotion would have looked like.

All power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and absolute power in the hands of Eric Bischoff meant non-stop squash matches and rogering homely chicks.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He currently runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws and Hasbro WWF figures. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
35 Responses to "Induction: nWo Souled Out 1997 – Eric Bischoff’s squared circle-jerk"
  1. Sean Bateman says:

    That PPV was a joke

  2. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    Did we ever find out who the nWo announcer was?

  3. ChrisV says:

    Wasn’t there one more of these NWO Souled Out PPVs the next year? Yeesh.
    I think it had Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair, so maybe not the exact same format. It seems like WCW would have wanted to get well away from that name though.

    • Peter says:

      I think they started calling them “WCW/nWo Souled Out” and operating as just a regular PPV.

      Nice induction though. I remember trying to watch this as a kid and being so bored that I turned it off a half hour in. Luckily I didn’t have my parents pay for it, my friend lent me a tape of it. I really liked the nWo at first but I think this was around the time when I started to sour on the group a bit. By mid-1997 I was starting to get more into the WWF with the Hart Foundation and Stone Cold.

    • Brandon says:

      There were actually 3 more Souled Outs. 1 was in my home state of WV but I didn’t find out about it until the next day at school.

  4. Raven7309 says:

    I remember the ppv, but not the “Miss nWo” pagaent. Weird.
    Anyways, I always got a kick out of the nWo announcer. Whenever Hogan makes an appearance on tv nowadays, the announcer’s quote: “The biggest icon in pro wrestling” always plays in my mind in the announcer’s voice.

  5. Big wiggle says:

    The pagent section of this induction was amazing. Eazy e shoving his tounge down that fat ugly broads mouth was awesome what a champ haha

  6. Emerson Witner says:

    Miss Becky won and now she gets to go home and cook some bratwurst and french fries

  7. Raging_Demons says:

    I’m surprised by that induction there wasn’t a “Who’s Becky?!?” joke there

  8. Scrooge McSuck says:

    I agree that this was a crappy show and well worth induction, but confession: guilty pleasure of mine. I loved it because it was so different. I mean, yeah, doing an entire show the way they did was doomed, and the stuff with the “beauty” pageant whatever stuff was awful.

  9. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Outstanding as always, Art. This was the point where I thought to myself “Maybe there’s too much NWO”.

  10. BigPoppaNasty says:

    Souled Out was in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA at what was then the Five Seasons Center (now the U.S. Cellular Center). It was the first WCW event that I had ever attended. It was also the last WCW that I ever attended. I just remember being so excited to see a pay-per-view for the first time live, and then I got that show. Seeing WWE pay-per-views in Chicago and Minneapolis and Milwaukee in later years were so much better. I used to think that it was because they were just better cities, but then I realized that it was because that show was just horrendously bad and our crowd had no reason to be excited.

  11. Downtown OPC says:

    You can read my review about the Hogan/Giant match on the WC forums here:

    http://newwrestlecrap.proboards.com/post/293253

  12. Rose Harmon says:

    That would only happen if Blade wrote the induction.

  13. Sir Thomas says:

    This was clearly before my time as a WCW viewer. All I know is this strikes me as one of those kind of shows that sounds funny when it’s just you and the guys goofing around, but then you find out someone actually went through with it, and all you can think is “For real? They actually did that? The hell is wrong with those guys!?”

  14. Cactus Mac says:

    You know, I always had a hard time understanding the whole motivation of the NWO getting rid of WCW when they never actually had regular, competitive matches between members, unless someone was leaving.

    You almost gotta give Bischoff credit for originality, or at least for doing something different, if it weren’t for the fact that he was stroking his and Hogan’s egos throughout this show.

  15. Matt Soileau says:

    I recently listened to a review of this that the Bryan and Vinnie Show did. Good times.

  16. The Scanian Maniac says:

    Regarding the “New World Order angle being perhaps the hottest in wrestling history”:

    Wasn’t the interest in wrestling at that time not even close to what it had been in the 80′s?

    • Scrooge McSuck says:

      I do believe Meltzer had a decent little article on that subject. Viewership as a whole was way down because, while Nitro (and Raw) were getting a decent rating, it’s nowhere near the exposure they or WWF had in years past thanks to syndication, and house show numbers were pretty bad. In WCW’s case, always bad.

  17. patricko says:

    Cactus Mac – I was always confused about that as well. an overly large wrestling faction who’s goal was to.. stand around in the ring for extended periods of time, not wrestling. If they succeeded in “getting rid” of the WCW, would we watch them stand around in the ring for 2 hours straight?

    When that became the norm, and how NITRO started it’s 2nd hour every week, I stopped watching.
    A faction only remains interesting when there are opponents for them. And Smarmy Bischoff had “turn the channel” heat with me.

    You get the initial buzz, hall, nash and hogan?? holy crap this is huge….. and then a few months later you’ve got 20 guys standing around in matching T-shirts, NOT wrestling, and with no credible opposition….

  18. Hulk6785 says:

    I liked the name, and the ladder match was pretty good. That’s about the nicest things you can say about this PPV.

  19. Cobbler says:

    Amazingly, this still wasn’t as painful as Dolph Ziggler’s promo on Pat Patterson. But yes, this was a long-overdue induction and actually I always assumed it had already been done. Good job.

  20. John C says:

    The venue itself to me was the joke. Here the NWO were the powerful big money stars and their own PPV was in Cedar Rapids. Was Dubuque booked that night? Eric couldn’t even find a bingo hall in Vegas to use. Hollywood Hogan couldn’t get anyplace in LA. The show looked like it was NWO4CHEAP.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      Yeah, Ted DiBiase was supposed to be funding them, wasn’t he? Hmm.

      • CBCB says:

        Hey, he was the Million Dollar Man for a reason. The best way to make money is to save money. :D

        Great induction!

  21. Alexandru says:

    Yeah I’ll give WCW credit for at least trying something new/original the execution was just awful and having a Nick Patrick for every match was a horrendous Idea. Didn’t help that all the matches, that I’ve seen from this PPV, outside of the ladder match was garbage. Crap like this is why i’ve never spent any of my own money on any kind of PPV period

  22. simongr81 says:

    Though they did dominate overall, the nWo’s record was 4-3-1 on the Pay-Per-View, so their win loss number wasn’t that great at all.

  23. Tokyo Gaijin says:

    I honestly forgot Bischoff was ever in TNA. Like others who got shoved down the audiences’ throats, paid more than the homegrown talent, made their presence irritating week after week, left and badmouthed the company after the fact, I’m sure he wishes he could too. If possible, I’m going to go back to forgetting.

  24. Guest says:

    “…while Miss Ila was allegedly disqualified after testing positive for Centrum Silver.”

    This made me lose it. And yea this was one of the most awful PPV’s that I ever remember watching well since probably the first Hog Wild PPV the highlight of which was The Giant selling a belt shot for 6 minutes and Brutus Beefcake getting jumped by Hogan, Nash, & Hall for some reason.

  25. Zachary W says:

    I tried to watch this on the WWE Network a few weeks ago. I ended up shutting it off after the Guerrero vs. Syxx match, and I’m lucky I made it that far. It was horrible.

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