home | wrestling | flashback_reviews | other

World Wrestling All-Stars: The Inception

by Scrooge McSuck


Taped from the Sydney Super Dome in Sydney, Australia on October 26th, 2001 and featured on Pay-Per-View on...(checks notes) JANUARY 6th, 2002?! Wow, I had no memory of this event having that much of a tape delay. The World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA for short) was one of the first attempts to fill the void left behind with WCW and ECW being purchased by WWE earlier in 2001, brought to life by Australian concert promoter, Andrew McManus. The original plan was to bring in Vince Russo in a creative role, but soon rejected the offer, and in his place to handle responsibilities is Jeremy Borash. At the time, he had some experience under his belt working in WCW on the writing team and making some appearances on commentary, but fans of NWA: Total Nonstop Action would become far more familiar with him as their ring announcer (as well as behind-the-scenes responsibilities with writing and editing programming).

Understanding the landscape of professional wrestling at the time, the World Wrestling Federation had the deepest roster they've ever assembled (so far), bolstering their talent pool with talent from World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, as well as talent assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling and Heartland Wrestling Association. Some of the top WCW names that weren't brought in were under contract to Time Warner, and couldn't be used unless their deals were bought out or expired, leaving the WWA with the following choices: Former WCW talent not under Time Warner contracts and undesirable to the WWF, ECW talent that weren't scooped up for the Invasion storyline, independent talent with insider buzz, and the occasional talent that was let go by the WWF and between gigs. "The Inception" wasn't the first show produced by the WWA, but rather one of several of a week-long tour that included crowning a Heavyweight Champion, only to void the result for the sake of selling a PPV product. Over the years, I've only watched one complete WWA Pay-Per-View (their final show, the Reckoning, taped in May of 2003), so most of these shows are fresh content to me. I'll try to control myself and look at things with as much positivity as possible.

Jeremy Borash and Jerry "The King" Lawler (about 3-weeks away from rejoining the World Wrestling Federation) are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Lawler was between gigs with the WWF (see what I mean?), having left the company in protest with how the WWF handled the termination of his then-wife, Stacy Carter. The WWF would court Lawler from time to time, but he wouldn't commit to returning until their relationship fell apart. Ajaqa is here to perform the Australian National Anthem.

Bret "The Hitman" Hart is here, acting as the Commissioner of the WWA. Bret's appearance was up in the air as his mother, Helen, was hospitalized at the time after suffering from a series of seizures, and unfortunately passed away on November 4th with her kidneys and liver failing. Sorry to paint such a depressing picture. Bret says it only took 23 years for him to come to Australia. He apologizes that he didn't know what he missed all these years not coming here, and says he'd like to think he saved the best for last. It was almost a year ago he was turfed by "the WCW" and he stuck to his word that he would take a year off and not even watch wrestling. He says he came down a few weeks ago and was stuck in the country after the 9-11 attacks (crowd awkwardly pops him being stuck there) and found a lot of kindness from everyone during that time. He won't be a token commissioner and says whoever wins the Championship belt will have to work damn hard for it. The way he recalls, when he was in the WWF (crowd boos), he was the World Champion and never beaten for it. Then in the WCW, he was the World Champion and no one beat him for that either. He name drops Goldberg, The Rock, Steve Austin, Chris Benoit, and "that piece of sh!t" Vince McMahon, and not one of them has anything over him. The man who has his name engraved on that belt will be taking "his belt", and he will pass the torch in a company that has a little bit of integrity.

Jeremy Borash hypes "The Seven Deadly Sins Tournament", and confirms that every match in the Tournament will have a stipulation attached, with the Championship decided in a Steel Cage. We'll also see Devon Storm vs. Norman Smiley in a Hardcore Match, Luna Vachon vs. Vampire Warrior in a Black Wedding Match, and "Skin to Win" Match where 4 Women Battle until three of the women are stripped of their clothes. First Round Tournament Matches include Konan vs. Road Dog and Jeff Jarrett vs. Nathan Jones, also advertised as "Hardcore Matches."

Ladder Match: Juventud Guerrera vs. Psicosis:

Lawler notes the "International Cruiserweight Title" is hanging above the ring and is on the line, meaning there's a TITLE MATCH BEING PART OF A TOURNAMENT TO DETERMINE THE WINNER OF A DIFFERENT TITLE! Hold on… is the commentary from Lawler and Borash being piped in for the live crowd?! OH MY GOD, IT IS. That should be a fun distraction. Lockup to the corner and the referee counts for a break IN A LADDER MATCH. Juventud with chops and Psicosis takes out the leg with a basement dropkick. Whip to the corner and Psicosis with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Psicosis spins out of a back breaker but is nailed coming off the ropes with a spinning heel kick. Juventud with a spinning DDT, sending Psicosis to the arena floor. Juventud follows and dumps the ladder across Psicosis' back. Back inside, Psicosis gets the ladder knocked into his face, see-saw style. Juvy tries to whip him into the ladder, but Psicosis puts on the brakes. Psicosis shows some color as Juventud continues to punish him in the corner. They do a complicated sunset flip spot for no reason and Psicosis finally gives Juventud a taste of the ladder. Juventud is left hanging out to dry and Psicosis dives off the ladder with a leg drop. Psicosis climbs but Juventud knocks him into the ropes with a springboard dropkick. Juventud teases a climb before exiting the ring to fetch a second ladder. Psicosis takes advantage and dropkicks the ladder into Juvy's face. The crowd laughs out loud to a Lawler pun. Yeah, this is a weird environment. Juventud climbs to the top of a ladder and hits a flying something as he loses his footing. The ladder topples, hitting not just the wrestler, but the referee as well. Both men climb and trade blows until Juventud hits a sunset Powerbomb (notice the referee steadying the ladder for those who think this is something new). Juventud hits the 450 splash and retrieves the belt at 10:14. Hard to rate a ladder match for the sake of doing a ladder match, but there were a couple of decent spots mixed in with the usual sloppiness that comes with Juventud. **½

The Starettes are here to entertain the crowd. Remember the Nitro Girls? This is one of the countless knock-offs these wanna-be promotions would throw together.

Lenny and Lodi witness the arrival of Nathan Jones, while Disco Inferno pays someone to get him "two suits."

Dog Collar Match: Konan vs. Road Dog:

Yes, the spelling I'm using is the official spelling for the advertised participants. Road Dog was released earlier in the year by the WWF due to substance abuse problems and would go on to have a decent run in Total Nonstop Action working under the name BG James (his birth name is Brian Girard James), so make that two guys that were employed by the Federation and were between full-time gigs. Both men do their entrance shtick, which is probably enough to satisfy people looking forward to seeing either man. Konan attacks before Road Dog can finish his routine and introduces himself as the Mexican Heavyweight Champion and makes fun of his termination from the WWF. Road Dog unloads with jabs but gets laid out with the belt. WHY IS THE REFEREE TRYING TO STOP KONAN FROM CHOKING ROAD DOG WITH A CHAIN IN A NO DQ MATCH?! Whip and Konan with a rolling thunder clothesline. Oh great, it's "touch the turnbuckles" rules. CORRECTION: Lawler says pin-fall is allowed as well. How confusing. Konan traps Road Dog in a tree of woe and connects with a basement dropkick. Konan makes a rude gesture and gets nailed below the belt for it. Konan goes low to interrupt Road Dog's progress and makes fun of Road Dog's jabbing routine. Konan KO's Road Dog with a concealed weapon. IT'S NO DQ! WHY DOES THE REFEREE NEED TO BE DISTRACTED?! Road Dog brings up a boot to counter the flying nothing and sexually assaults Konan before touching the four turnbuckles for the victory at the 5:00 mark. This was all sizzle and little steak. The collar kept falling off and it's not like they did much to begin with. ½*

Penthouse Pet "Queen Bea" is here, as well as... some random woman that Jeremy Borash can't identify. Oh, and then they drool over a participant who turns around to reveal they have a bulge in front of their tights. Are we sure Vince Russo wasn't booking from the States and went uncredited?

Hardcore Match: Devon Storm vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley:

This is a non-tournament match, but it'll be held under hardcore rules. Smiley comes out in sports attire that I can't make out clearly, but I'll assume it's something local to remind everyone he's the babyface of the match. Storm with the early advantage. Whip to the ropes and Storm with a springboard crossbody for two. Smiley with a drop toe hold, sending Storm to the floor. Smiley follows, whacking Storm with a trash can lid. We've already had a few slips of the tongue calling Storm "Crowbar". Storm takes control and hits a pair of splashes with a chair laid across Smiley's chest. Smiley avoids a kendo stick, but a premature celebration allows Storm to whack him on the second try. Storm teases a tope suicida but Smiley smacks him over the head with a chair. Smiley whips out a table and gives Storm the Big Wiggle. Storm blocks a suplex and brings Smiley into the ring with a suplex of his own. Smiley gets dumped and Storm follows with a missile dropkick. Storm rests Smiley across the table and splashes through him, but is unable to make a cover. Smiley reverses a whip into the guardrail and throws a trash can at Storm. Storm gets stuffed inside the can and Smiley tees off on him with a chair. Smiley with the Big Wiggle at the top of the ramp. Storm hits him low and connects with a Super Kick. Smiley comes right back with an inverted atomic drop and whips out another kendo stick. They wander backstage, with Smiley dumped into a trash bin. Disco Inferno makes another cameo, still on the phone looking for some backup. Storm wheelbarrow drops Smiley across a piece of the guardrail. Storm slowly sets up two more tables while Smiley lays around screaming between the occasional weapon shot. Storm calls for a Powerbomb on the trash can, but Smiley pulls a Kidman and slams Storm on the can instead. Storm immediately regains control and places Smiley onto the stack of tables. Storm climbs the entrance structure and splashes Smiley through the stack… and then Smiley covers Storm for three at 12:20. Wow. I love "slip on a banana peel" finishes. This was a 4-minute junk match stretched to go way too long with what was brought to the table. *

Disco Inferno is wandering backstage and the two "fruits" he asked for have been delivered, two people dressed as bananas in pajamas. He wanted two SUITS, not two FRUITS and assaulted the poor bastards.

BREAKING NEWS: Juventud has broken ribs and will not continue to the Semi-Finals, so a replacement will be found to face Road Dog.

Bret Hart announces the Battle Royal is an open invitation to LITERALLY ANYONE who works for the WWA. Program and t-shirt sellers, people who put the ring together, it's open for anyone. Stevie Ray asks if that includes him, and Bret asks what is he waiting for.

Open Invitation Battle Royal:

This is the third match of the opening round in the Seven Deadly Sins Tournament. None of the matches are booked around the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, but it sounds cool, and that's all that matters, right? Buff Bagwell is the first man to come to the ring, followed by Disco Inferno. There's no clarification on how this works. Disco immediately attacks Buff, followed by the arrival of Stevie Ray. Stevie pounds away on both men and hits a double clothesline. Norman Smiley and "Crowbar" enter the match ("are they still alive?!"). Jerry Lawler decides to enter the Battle Royal, and forces Borash to join him in the ring. Lawler is still throwing the best punches in wrestling while Borash does some goofy comedy punches until Stevie Ray tosses him at 2:07. One of the ringside cameramen enters the match as Disco tosses Devon Storm at 2:22. Slick Johnson decides to get in on the action as Devon Storm does commentary, doing a Gordon Solie impression the entire time. A woman enters the match and is quickly taken advantage of by Lawler as the rest of the action grinds to a halt. I guess she's a backstage interviewer, but I didn't catch her name. Disco tosses both referees at the 3:30 mark. Everyone talks about ganging up on Stevie, but only Disco falls for it. Stevie Ray no-sells a double clothesline as the Bananas come out to a big pop. Meanwhile, Stevie is dumped at 5:05. Lawler gives Smiley his own Big Wiggle and gets a low blow for his troubles. Buff takes out Smiley and Lawler at 5:45. Buff with a double-arm DDT on Disco. Disco comes back with a swinging neck breaker and sets up for the Village People's Elbow. The Bananas hop in the ring and toss Disco at 6:45, then Buff dumps the fruits at 6:56 to win this debacle. I won't rate this, but it seemed like harmless fluff with a bunch of comedy spots (some were fine, some missed the mark badly). N/R

Guitar on a Pole Match: Nathan "The Front Row" Jones (w/ Rove McManus) vs. Jeff Jarrett:

So the promoter's last name is "McManus", and this Australian TV personality has the same last name. Maybe they're related and don't want to admit it. Jarrett cuts a promo before the match, bragging about being a 4-time World Champion (in the WCW). Jones is new to the world of pro wrestling, so I expect either a lot of smoke and mirrors or something really short. Rove McManus gets some mic time, talking about Jones slapping Jarrett's nuts all over the ring. Jarrett throws some right hands to kick off the action. Whip across the ring, Jarrett blocks a boot and throws more punches. Jones meets a boot in the corner but recovers to hit an awkward tilt-o-whirl slam. Whip and Jones with a big boot. Jarrett surprises Jones with a jaw breaker and chokes him across the middle rope. Jones catches Jarrett coming off the turnbuckle and hits a spinning side slam. Jones with a running clothesline, taking both men over the top rope. He continues to dish out punishment and sends Jarrett back in the ring with a press slam over the top rope from the floor. Jones with a flying clothesline. He makes a move for the guitar, but Jarrett hits him low and grabs the guitar for the victory at 3:30. Jarrett sets up to kabong Jones, but McManus takes it instead. I guess we should've expected it, since Jarrett can hear Borash's warnings. Wait… Jarrett hits the Stroke on Jones and pins him at 4:10?! Well, that was a mess. Jones, surprisingly, didn't look awful. *½

Jerry Lawler is in the ring for an interview segment to waste more Pay-Per-View time. He calls the Bananas in Pajamas to the ring to explain themselves, but doesn't verbally respond to his questions. Lawler says Disco Inferno will peel them and eat them for lunch. This brings out Lenny and Lodi, a.k.a. The West Hollywood Blondes. Borash calls them "flamboyant." Was Lawler about to pronounce Lodi as "Low-DIE"? Lodi says no one wants to see two fruits in the ring, they want to see Lenny and Lodi. The crowd chants "wanker" at them, or at least that's what Lawler says, I can't make it out. Bret Hart comes out and orders the two fruits out of the ring (Lawler: Which two?!) and makes Lenny and Lodi the replacements for Juventud in the Semi-Finals. Wow, that makes sense. Bret calls Lodi "Lah-dee".

Three-Way Dance: Road Dog vs. Lenny vs. Lodi:

Bret clearly rigged the competition to give Road Dog an easy path to the Finals. Lenny and Lodi with the early jump, but Road Dog quickly fights them off and whips them into the corner. They do a comedy spot where Lenny is bent over in front of Lodi. Lenny and Lodi regain control. Lenny hits a goofy leg drop and covers, but Lodi talks him out of it. Road Dog sends Lenny out and unloads on Lodi with his signature jabs. Whip is reversed and they hit a modified 3-D, but now Lenny stops the count. Lenny plants Road Dog with a slam and sensually covers for three… whoops, my bad, the referee stopped the count despite Road Dog not getting the shoulder up or Lodi doing something to interrupt the count. Lenny and Lodi start arguing who is going to win the match. Road Dog avoids a missile dropkick, letting Lodi take the hit ("take that, pickle kisser!"). Lenny and Lodi with a sloppy double slam and again they argue over who gets to win. Lenny and Lodi trade blows, allowing Road Dog to (slowly) recover. He nails the two goofs with his Shake Rattle ‘N' Roll knee drop and covers both (in a 69 position, of course) for three at 5:35. This was awful. I don't know if Road Dog took a bad shot to the head, but he seemed out of it for pretty much everything around the time of the non-three count early in the match. ZERO STARS

Strap Match: Buff Bagwell vs. Jeff Jarrett:

The official gimmick name for the match so stupid, I'm not going to bother putting it here, but it sounds like something Vince Russo would come up with. Winner faces Road Dog in the Tournament Finals. This isn't your traditional strap match, it's more like a lumberjack match where the lumberjacks have whips. In this case, the lumberjacks are the female dance troupe (or at least, I think that's them) and the straps are cat-o-nine-tails. Lockup and Jarrett grabs a side headlock. Crisscross and Bagwell with a hip toss. Jarrett teases a powder but thinks better of it. They run through the sequence again and Jarrett gets dumped out, where he's weakly whipped. Jarrett takes control and tosses Bagwell, but instead of being whipped, the women give him special treatment. Jarrett straddles Bagwell with the middle rope and snatches one of the whips to give Buff what he deserves. Bagwell fights out of a seated chin-lock and plants Double J with an electric chair drop. How is there a count-out spot in a match that clearly has no DQ's? Bagwell's comeback gets so little reaction, it's embarrassing. Boot to the midsection and Buff with a swinging neck breaker. Jarrett gets knocked out for some more sorry-a$$ "whipping" spots. Buff uses the whip himself, which referee Slick Johnson disapproves of. ARE YOU SERIOUS? Buff hits the Block Buster, but the referee is chased away by the women. Slick Johnson waves off a false three-count made by one of the ladies. Jarrett takes advantage of the distraction and hits the Stroke to advance at 6:41. We have a new front runner for the worst match of the night. -½*

Black Wedding Match: The Vampire Warrior vs. Luna Vachon:

We get some backstory here, with them having issues on the tour where they were intending to renew their vows. Vampire Warrior, formerly known as Gangrel in the WWF, is against the match, but Luna forces his hand. You know a referee sucks at his job because he never signals for the bell. Luna lays into Warrior with slaps. Vampire Warrior stops her with a defensive move. Luna pushes, so he takes her down with a hip toss. Luna pops up and takes Vampire Warrior over with a sunset flip for two. Warrior with an atomic drop, knocking Luna to the outside. Luna grabs the topper of the black wedding cake and smashes it in her husband's face. Vampire Warrior responds by dropping her on the rest of the cake. More reluctance from the Warrior, allowing Luna to unwrap a gift, producing a set of kitchen utensils. She grabs Warrior's genitals with a pair of tongs and whacks him in the midsection with a pumpkin. Luna with a flurry of head shots with a baking sheet. She takes off her wedding ring and throws it at him. Enough is enough and Vampire Warrior hits the implant DDT for three at 3:00. We've hit a nice groove of awful matches tonight. ZERO STARS

Skin-To-Win 4-Way: Queen Bea vs. Violet Terossi vs. Adara James vs. Sharon A. Wad:

We're told that Queen Bea is the former Penthouse Pet of August 1999. Thanks for the information. The fourth competitor is clearly a man in women's clothes, and yes, their name is SHARON A. WAD. GET IT? Sharon grabs Violet from the floor like he's Giant Gonzales picking Louie Spicolli up. We're 15-seconds in and I'm already regretting my life choice of giving up alcohol. Sharon catches Bea off the ropes and hits a pair of back breakers. Adara James hits a Tornado DDT and all three women work together, hitting Ms. Wad with a trio of Shattered Dreams. Borash says the man in drag is "Danny Dominion", whoever the hell that is. He stops selling the shots to the jewels and hits James with a Liger-Bomb, followed by a double Stunner to Bea and Violet. He removes their tops for the elimination at:3:05. They're wearing body paint, if you're curious. James takes a god-awful whip into the corner. James avoids an avalanche and puts the boots to Sharon. Borash has given up using the joke name at this point. James counters a Powerbomb with a sunset flip. She hits a Russian leg sweep but can't get the dress off him. Whip to the ropes and James with spinning head-scissors. Even with the poor audio, you can still hear them calling spots. Stevie Ray runs out to question this nonsense, allowing James to hit a flying head-scissors and strip the man of his dress at 6:25. The match went too long the second they did the bulge reveal an hour ago. We have a new worst match of the night, and it wasn't close. -***

We waste more time with the Disco Inferno and Fruits in Suits, with one of the Bananas getting dumped off the cage and through a table. IS THIS SHOW OVER YET?!

WWA Heavyweight Championship; Steel Cage Match:
Road Dog vs. Jeff Jarrett:

Even in the Fall of 2001 (or Winter of 2002, depending on when you watched this show), it should be clearly obvious who is leaving with the belt here. These men have history from the WWF, but that means nothing as we are prepared to crown the first WWA Champion (Spoilers: LIES! The title had a holder, but it was voided for the sake of this show). Road Dog attacks Jarrett as he enters the cage. GREAT BABYFACE TACTICS. Whip to the corner and Road Dog meets a boot. Jarrett works Road Dog over in the corner and wastes time jawing at the audience. Road Dog pushes off a side headlock and nails Jarrett with a forearm. You know what I never needed to see? Three matches with the Road Dog on the same show. He hits the jabs and big knee drop for two. Well, that's all his signature moves. Jarrett sidesteps a charge, tossing Road Dog into the cage. Road Dog turns the tables, giving Jarrett a taste of the steel. Jarrett tries to escape, but Road Dog cuts him off and they trade blows, seated across the top of the structure. Jarrett drops down… but we're NOW told you can't win that way, only by pin-fall. Bret Hart is doing commentary and sounds like he is ready for a nap. Road Dog brains Jarrett with the bell and poses on the table. Yes, they're brawling at ringside IN A STEEL CAGE MATCH.

Back inside, with Jarrett showing color. Whip is reversed and Jarrett slaps on a sleeper. They do the arm spot, with Road Dog wagging a finger to show he's still conscious. He grabs a sleeper of his own, but Jarrett counters with a back suplex. WHY ARE THEY DOING A DOUBLE-DOWN COUNT IN A NO DQ CAGE MATCH?!?! We get a referee bump, so mark your Bingo card if you're playing along. Jarrett exits the cage again, this time grabbing his guitar. He brains Road Dog and signals to Bret as he sets up the Sharpshooter. Bret stops the timekeeper from ringing the bell. Considering there's no referee to make the call, that doesn't make sense in the first place. Oh, and it's ANOTHER MONTREAL SCREWJOB REFERENCE! AND THEN WE GET A SECOND REFEREE BUMP! Now Road Dog puts Jarrett in the Sharpshooter, AND AGAIN BRET WON'T LET THEM RING THE BELL. Borash whines about Bret "letting go", STILL IGNORING THERE ISN'T A REFEREE TO CALL FOR THE BELL. Bret tries to walk away with the title belt, because reasons. Road Dog snatches it from him to whack Jarrett, but Jarrett avoids the swing and drops Road Dog on the belt with the Stroke to win the worthless piece of tin at 10:25. These two were capable of having a decent match, and it was alright until the overbooking kicked in. *½

Final Thoughts: If I ordered this on PPV back in 2002, I knew I wouldn't have given them a second chance. Honestly, nothing on the card was enough to convince me to order the PPV, even valued lower than the typical WWF offerings at the time. Looking back at it now, I can look past the lack of star power as long as the product is entertaining, but what we got was the worst of 2000 WCW, with a bunch of hardcore matches, a lot of dumb comedy, and overbooking that would make your head spin. The fact the WWA survived this and would run regularly for the next 18-months is a miracle. Nothing on this show is worth watching, unless you truly appreciate the worst ideas that Vince Russo left behind on a cocktail napkin for Jeremy Borash to put into effect on this card.

Sound Off!
Comment about this article on Da' Wrestling Boards!

back to RAW Reviews Index