In March 2001, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was bought by Vince McMahon and the Monday Night Wars between WWF and the aforementioned pro wrestling company were officially over.
The World Wrestling Federation reigned supreme and there was no alternative, largely, up until the announcement of All Elite Wrestling last year (TNA as well, sort of).
However, wrestling companies still existed, and some didn’t wait long before trying to carve out a niche away from the large corporation that ruled over everything.
Enter World Wrestling All-Stars – An Australian based promotion that was active for just under two years.
But what was it like? Who appeared for it? Well, have a read and you’ll find out as I watch their debut PPV, The Inception…I’m telling you now, many of the names will surprise you.
Unlike previous promotions I’ve covered in this series, this company’s presentation was actually very impressive. I don’t know if it’s because wrestling was a rare attraction in Australia (WWF/E only came a couple of times a year, at most) so fans just wanted to see any product, but, at this show, it’s basically a full arena of really passionate fans.
Constantly chanting, continuously engaged in all the matches, the fans really help to make the show feel bigger and better than it actually is.
In terms of on-screen content, it, again, feels very professional. The cuts are smooth, the audio quality is very high (for the time period) and the production values seem to be relatively high, too.
I wouldn’t say it was at the level of the mainstream wrestling at the time – either the WWF or the soon to be formed TNA – but it’s definitely far better than anything I expected so far.
However…the positives basically end here.
The roster is interesting to watch as I sit here almost halfway through 2020. There are some that were established names at the time such as Road Dogg, Jeff Jarrett, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, Scott Steiner and pissing STING…but what’s most interesting is the talent that was on the undercard and coming through.
It included household names such as Eddie Guerrero, Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Chris Sabin, and AJ STYLES. YES.
You may look at that list of names and realise something; may of the roster would be the bedrock of the future Total Nonstop Action brand that would be the second promotion in the United States for years to come. So, you’d think, with talent like this- the wrestling would be great right?! No.
The youth of the roster is almost exclusively used to make the established stars look good. The main event for the WORLD TITLE is Jeff Jarrett vs Road Dogg so I think that explains it all.
Brett Hart is the commissioner, though, and he looks like he cannot be bothered, in the slightest…so that’s good.
This is the main issue.
Right, I know this is an unpopular opinion but I’ve never rated Jerry Lawler as a commentator. I was a Ruthless Aggression kid so the commentators I think of are Joey Styles, Tazz, Michael Cole and, to an extent, JR. Lawler was definitely there, obviously, but he never stuck out to me as a child. Then when I came back to wrestling in 2011, I just found him…sleazy.
I know that for a long time, King was a heel so you were supposed to hate him. But I’ve NEVER found him enjoyable to listen to as I just feel uncomfortable after every second sentence. And this show is the epitome of it.
The amount of homophobia, transphobia and misogyny is nauseating, even for him.
There’s a tag team featured on the show that finds itself being ridiculed by Lawler all the time. Why? Because they are portraying a gay team.
He rolls around on top of a woman during a match as she screams and tries to get him off. He just keeps screaming his trademark ‘PUPPIES’ during a bra and panties match. During said match, a male wrestler is dressed as a woman and repeatedly gropes the women, much to the excitement and enjoyment of Jerry. That is in-between the repeated comments about ‘boy-girls’ and constant, what we now realise and probably should have been picked up at the time, transphobic comments.
God bless Jeremy Borash for being his play-by-play and doing his best to salvage something out of this.
The biggest problem I have with WWA is that it’s just dull. It’s just a home for guys who are starting to get beyond their prime and don’t showcase the youth that they have correctly.
It also doesn’t help when you have Jerry Lawler just being horny, all the time. But there are positives, mainly in the form of Jeremy Borash. He is easily the highlight of the show and you can tell why he’s been such a success in this industry.
I am, however, delighted this died after two years.
You can find me on Twitter @McIverTheMark