Slamboree was an annual fixture in WCW’s pay-per-view calendar each May. The first event under the Slamboree chronology took place in 1993 and was headlined by a World title bout between World Champion, Vader and The British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith.
The first three events played host to WCW’s Hall of Fame ceremony. A tradition that was discontinued at the 1996 show. The final Slamboree took place in 2000, prior to the closure of WCW in March 2001.
This feature ranks every single Slamboree event.
#8 Slamboree 1999
Slamboree 1999 was a depressing watch. The once vibrant promotion was now in terminal decline. That was highlighted by the fact WCW had to give away over 7,000 tickets to fans at the TWA Dome in St Louis, Missouri.
Konnan versus Stevie Ray, Bam Bam Bigelow versus Brian Knobbs and Rick Steiner versus Booker T were complete duds. Macho Man Randy Savage’s girlfriend, Gorgeous George fought WCW referee, Charles Robinson in a perversely entertaining comedy bout.
Robinson had been portraying himself as Ric Flair’s apprentice, ‘Little ‘Naitch.’ As per the pre-match stipulation, Savage was re-instated as a WCW wrestler. The first ever collision between Sting and Goldberg should have been an explosive affair, however the bout ended in a disqualification when Bret Hart waffled Goldberg with a chair.
Ric Flair defeated Roddy Piper in a complete embarrassment of a match. The aftermath was even worse. As Flair gloated, Eric Bischoff who had been banished from WCW and supplanted as President by Flair months earlier, somehow had the authority to strip Flair of the presidency. Bischoff then nonsensically awarded the match and presidency to Piper instead, rendering the entire match, fans had been forced to endure, pointless. Confused? Annoyed? So, were the St. Louis crowd.
The WCW World Title match was shambolic. A clearly unmotivated Kevin Nash lurched through an 18 minute bout with World Champion, DDP, which was re-started after outside interference from Savage.
Nash won with the powerbomb and the WCW World title changed hands for the fourth time in a month. A terrible show which epitomised the creative rut the company had entered.
#7 Slamboree 1995
Slamboree 1995 was a one match show.
The headline attraction pitting Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage versus Vader and Ric Flair was the only source of entertainment on a dismal card. Underneath the main event were a succession of worthless bouts that ranged from boring (Wahoo McDaniel versus Dick Murdoch) to downright offensive (Kevin Sullivan versus The Man With No Name).
The Great Muta versus the decade past his prime, Paul Orndorff dragged on for 15 interminable minutes. Arn Anderson versus Alex Wright also underwhelmed. Sting took on Big Bubba Rogers in a ‘Lights Out’ match, the rules of which were never explained, although it appeared to be a Streetfight. Albeit, a lacklustre one, without any weapons other than a table. This contest was as exciting as it sounds.
A truly abysmal show, which unfortunately was typical of WCW in 1995.
#6 Slamboree 1993
The first ever Slamboree began with a bang. An exciting tag team bout between the team of Chris Benoit and Bobby Eaton and Too Cold Scorpio and Marcus (the future Buff) Bagwell lit up The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. The two teams worked at a frenetic pace with some truly astonishing aerials by the standards of the time.
Unfortunately, the rest of the card couldn’t maintain the momentum established by the opener. A series of legend bouts between former ring greats put the live crowd to sleep. The 54 year old Dory Funk Jr fought 69 year old Verne Gagne to a 15 minute draw. Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco and Jimmy Snuka took on Blackjack Mulligan, Jim Brunzell and Wahoo McDaniel in a snoozefest which went to an insulting double disqualification. Ivan Koloff and Baron Von Raschke fell to Thunderbolt Patterson and Brad Armstrong in a dreadful contest.
Sting defeated The Prisoner, who had previously competed for the WWF as Nailz, in a lame bout that lasted less than five minutes. That was an unforgivable waste of Sting.
Of note, outside the ring, The Four Horsemen reformed. This was supposed to mark the return of the original line-up of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard. However, Blanchard rejected the financial offer made to him and was replaced in the group by Paul Roma of all people. Underwhelming doesn’t cover it.
The main event delivered some worthwhile action as Davey Boy Smith challenged Vader for the WCW World Championship. However, disappointingly the bout was marred by a cheap disqualification finish, when the champion smashed Smith with a chair.
#5 Slamboree 1996
Slamboree 1996 was a bloated show with 16 matches on the three hour card. The event resurrected the BattleBowl concept that had featured at Starrcade 1991 and 1992.
There were 11 BattleBowl tag team match qualifiers, none of which lasted longer than eight minutes. Seven lasted less than five minutes. Unsurprisingly, none of the tag team bouts left a lasting impression. Konnan had possibly the greatest match of his career with 2020 WWE Hall of Famer, Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger. Konnan retained with a Splash Mountain on Liger.
Dean Malenko defeated Brad Armstrong in a decent battle that regrettably the crowd did not react to at all. The action was excellent however, but the disinterested crowd, prevented it from hitting the heights it could have done. The BattleBowl Battle Royal featured Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, Barbarian, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge and Diamond Dallas Page. That tedious line-up of no-names telegraphed the outcome before the contest even began. DDP predictably won.
The headliner pitted Sting against WCW World Champion, The Giant. In a very good match, a motivated ‘Stinger’ sold The Giant’s offence like he had been hit by a train. That made his comeback even more impressive. Sting had the title won when he locked in the ‘Scorpion Deathlock’ until Sting’s buddy, Lex Luger “accidentally” nailed him with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone.
That was supposed to set up a Sting and Luger feud which was shelved when the nWo storyline began the following week.
#4 Slamboree 1998
Slamboree 1998 was a stacked card on paper. However, in practice most matches flattered to deceive.
The show is best remembered for the non-match between WCW boss, Eric Bischoff and WWF Chairman, Vince McMahon. After D-Generation X had ‘invaded’ WCW on the April 27, Raw, Bischoff felt he had to retaliate. His response was to challenge his opposite number to a match. McMahon unsurprisingly no-showed and Bischoff was awarded the bout via forfeit. The angle was lame and had no place on pay-per-view.
Chris Benoit toppled Fit Finlay in a great technical battle. However, there were also lots of rest holds and stalling and this bout was not as stiff and entertaining as some of the battles they would later contest in WWE. Dean Malenko who had walked out on WCW two months earlier after failing to wrest the Cruiserweight Title from Chris Jericho, re-appeared under a mask as Ciclope in a Battle Royal to determine the number one contender to Jericho’s title.
The match came down to Ciclope and Juventud Guerrera. When Ciclope unmasked to reveal Malenko, the veteran received the biggest crowd pop of his career. Guerrera eliminated himself rather than attempt to battle Malenko, which was odd. Regardless, that result led to a Malenko-Jericho clash which was excellent. Malenko finally defeated the champion to draw a line under their feud.
Eddie Guerrero versus Ultimo Dragon and Bret Hart versus Randy Savage both disappointed. Lex Luger versus Brian Adams was even more of a dud than you might expect. Diamond Dallas Page and Raven battled inside a cage in a good match with plenty of outside interference as DDP eventually overcame Raven’s Flock to win. Goldberg defeated Perry Saturn in an overlong squash which didn’t flatter either man.
The main event was a convoluted mess of nonsensical booking. It pitted The Outsiders, who at this point were affiliated with the nWo Wolfpac versus The Giant, who was part of nWo Hollywood and Sting who wasn’t aligned with anyone. Confused?
The bout was miserable, not helped by the fact Scott Hall looked like he had been on a pre-match bender. Kevin Nash, The Giant and Sting wrestled like three men who would rather be anywhere else other than the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Hall swerve turned on Nash to align himself with The Giant and nWo Hollywood.
This event should have been better but the bad booking and the lack of effort from the talent dragged it down.
#3 Slamboree 2000
By the time the year 2000 rolled around, WCW was falling apart, evidenced by the fact that this was the final ever Slamboree event. However, atypically the 2000 edition of Slamboree was an entertaining show.
This was the second pay-per-view of the Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo era of WCW and all of Russo’s usual excesses were at play here with overbooking in virtually every single match. However, considering the event was played against the backdrop of the deeply personal Millionaire’s Club versus New Blood rivalry, in most cases the extra curricular activity worked.
The show got off to a rough start with a boring bout for the long since devalued Cruiserweight Championship between champion, Chris Candido and his challenger, The Artist. Shawn Stasiak vs Curt Hennig and Scott Steiner vs Hugh Morrus were also worthless. The less said about the Hardcore Title match-up between Terry Funk, Norman Smiley and Ralphus, the better. Even by the WCW Hardcore division’s low standards, this brawl was a complete mess.
Former ECW World Champion, Mike Awesome fought Chris Kanyon in an entertaining bout, which was one of the only occasions the company played to Awesome’s strengths. Awesome utilised his power and athleticism to destroy Kanyon, in what amounted to an extended squash match. Hulk Hogan versus Billy Kidman was a dramatic contest. Despite no-one buying that career mid-carder, Kidman was a threat to the Hulkster, the insertion of the newly anti-Hogan, Eric Bischoff as special referee, left the outcome in doubt.
Hogan pounded Kidman senseless but Easy E refused to make the count. The crowd went crazy as the ‘Hulkster’ powerbombed Bischoff through a table. An interfering, Horace Hogan used an unconscious Bischoff’s hand to count the three, for a Hogan victory. Sting versus Vampiro was a much anticipated programme, given the pair’s similar gimmicks. Their feud is not fondly remembered, but their contest at Slamboree was by far the best of their interminable series.
Shane Douglas versus Ric Flair was another long awaited feud. However, both men were long past their peak in 2000 and their matches never had a chance of being as good as they would have been five years earlier. Despite that fact, the crowd heat for Douglas and Flair was off the charts. The pair’s shortcomings were masked by the deluge of ringside activity from the likes of Russo and Flair’s son, David who turned on him, costing him the bout.
The headliner pitted WCW World Champion, David Arquette (yes, you read that right!) against his ‘buddy’ Diamond Dallas Page and Jeff Jarrett. The three clashed in a Triple Cage Match. The winner being the wrestler who ascended all three cages and retrieved the title belt. Owing to the bulk of the match pitting Jarrett against DDP, the main event was actually a very good contest. Arquette would swerve turn on Page to cost his supposed friend the match and the title, as Jarrett became WCW World Champion for the first time.
Slamboree 2000 was a breathless blur of action with some very good action. It was never less than passable and even it’s poor bouts were perversely entertaining
#2 Slamboree 1994
The 1994 edition of Slamboree played host to seven matches; two of which were superb. The remaining five were all passable to good, making this a fine WCW supercard.
The two main event matches saw Sting topple Vader in a worthy edition to their classic series of bouts, which were a highlight of WCW, in the first half of the 1990s. In the show’s semi-main event, Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan dethroned The Nasty Boys for the Tag Team Championship in a wild, heavy hitting brawl.
Underneath, Terry Funk had another quality Hardcore style encounter with fellow veteran, Tully Blanchard. Although the contest ended in a cheap double disqualification finish, the action that preceded it was far better than it had any right to be, given the advancing age of both participants.
Elsewhere, solid bouts pitting Ric Flair versus Barry Windham, Steven Regal versus Larry Zbyszko, Dustin Rhodes versus Bunkhouse Buck and Steve Austin versus Johnny B. Badd rounded off an excellent event.
#1 Slamboree 1997
Slamboree 1997 was a card bereft of most of WCW’s star names. The show featured no Hulk Hogan, no Sting, no Lex Luger, no Randy Savage and no DDP, although the latter two appeared in a non-wrestling segment.
However, despite that fact, this show is one of WCW’s best pay per views of all time. Luna versus Madusa, Chris Benoit versus Meng, Mortis versus Glacier and Mongo McMichael versus NFL star, Reggie White weren’t much to write home about. Elsewhere, however, the card ranged from decent to white hot.
Newcomer Yuji Yasuraoka took on Rey Mysterio in a blistering aerial display of moves that were over a decade ahead of their time. Jeff Jarrett had one of his finest bouts of his career with Dean Malenko. The pair went move for move in a highly technical encounter, for Malenko’s United States Title. Unable to gain the upper hand, Double J resorted to cheating. However, he still fell victim to the champion’s Texas Cloverleaf submission.
The headliner was a No DQ six man tag match. The nWo team of the Outsiders and Syxx fought Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and NFL star, Kevin Greene. Hailing from Flair’s home town of Charlotte, North Carolina, the live crowd were molten hot. The action was solid. Flair and Piper, perhaps energised by the electric crowd, rolled back the years. Flair, Piper and Greene slayed the nWo forces, for one night at least. That result sent the Carolina crowd home happy.
A fabulous event and the greatest ever Slamboree pay-per-view.
You can watch every single Slamboree event on the WWE Network.