Blake Leitch looks back 15 years to the day when WCW put on their fourth, and ultimately final, edition of the Road Wild pay-per-view in NZPWI’s inaugural edition of Throwback Thursday.
Before watching the event, I looked at the match card which looked to feature some promising matches: Rey Mysterio Jr, Billy Kidman and Eddie Guerrero teaming up for a match, the reunion of Harlem Heat in a Tag Team Championship match, the future stars of The Revolution taking on the ruthless veterans of The West Texas Rednecks, and a WCW World Heavyweight Championship retirement match pitting the defending Hulk Hogan against his former NWO partner Kevin Nash.
By all rights, this should have been a good pay-per-view. Not only was there huge potential in the matches, but the event taking place surrounded by revving motorcycles and rowdy fans made for what should have been a great time. Instead, it was average from the get go, and that is far too polite of an explanation.
The first big match of the night saw the newly reunited Harlem Heat challenging two members of the Jersey Triad—Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow—for the Tag Team Championship. Purely based on my knowledge of Booker T’s WWE career, I expected the match to be quite good. Instead, I just found out why Stevie Ray and Chris Kanyon never made it big in the WWE, and that Bigelow was past his prime. However, to make up for a fairly rubbish match, Booker T hit a beautiful missile dropkick to give Stevie Ray the pinfall and the feel-good victory.
The second big match of the night had The Revolution taking on The West Texas Rednecks. Sadly, if I wasn’t disappointed before, I was after this match. It wasn’t that this match was particularly bad, it was just plain boring. I barely even registered when Perry Saturn hit the Death Valley Driver for the win.
By this point, about an hour into the event, I realised how depressing of a feature this would make if I continued to view the event in this way. I thought maybe I was just looking at it sourly for no particular reason. So I Googled reviews of the show during a fairly uneventful match featuring Buff Bagwell and Ernest Miller, and found a number of results. The best review I found called the event “the dredges of mediocrity”.
Discovering that I was not alone in my thoughts, I watched the rest of the event but decided to sum up everything as fast as possible.
Sid Vicious beat Sting in a match I can barely remember. Goldberg defeated Rick Steiner in a match where the most interesting thing was hearing chants for Goldberg not being directed ironically. Randy Savage defeated Dennis Rodman, although he almost lost due to Rodman’s vicious arsenal featuring a Russian leg sweep, a snapmare, and a punch. And Kevin Nash was forced to retire in a 12 minute match that saw four minutes dedicated to starting the match.
The only real saving grace was a no disqualification United States Heavyweight Championship match that saw Chris “Controversial To Mention” Benoit successfully defend against Diamond Dallas “Stretch Those Muscles” Page. The two had fantastic chemistry and Benoit overcame Page’s Jersey Triad compatriots in a simple yet effective David vs. Goliath scenario.
That was about it really. Unfortunately, the event showed exactly why WCW was beginning to go out of business. Rules meant nothing, the matches were terrible, and the bikers didn’t even pay for tickets. Seriously, a pay-per-view featuring a World Heavyweight Championship match which would result in one of the participants retiring (for two months anyway) was an open event. At least Bobby Heenan was able to make me smile from time to time.