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Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WCW Slamboree 94

(2012 Scott sez:  A 2-for-1 rant, as the original was the first ever retro rant from 1998, which of course was badly in need of a redo.) 

Netcop Retrospective - Slamboree 1994.

Okay, given that I was incredibly critical of this year's effort by WCW, I felt it would only be fair for me to go back and review one of my all time favorite cards, the 1994 version of Slamboree, which was entertaining and action-packed from top to bottom and seemed to mark a high point for WCW, one that they hadn't achieved since the switch from the NWA to WCW.

Of course, this would all change with the very next card, as Hulk Hogan entered WCW and sent the federation (Promotion, you mean?) spiralling into the toilet until the cruiserweights came onto the scene, but that's neither here nor there. (Pfff.  It was dull, but hardly into the toilet.) 

This show came from Philly, and the crowd was decidedly ECW-ish, with Hawaiian Guy in the front row.

Michael Buffer does his usual shitty job of announcing the title matches.

US title match: Johnny B. Badd (challenger) v. Steve Austin (champion)

(I think this was the only time I actually stated champion and challenger in a rant.  From then on I just went with the format of “Title match:  [Champion] v. [Challenger] and let the reader figure it out.)  This was during an ugly period in both guys' careers. Mero (I just can't think of him as Badd anymore) was going nowhere as Johnny B Badd and was jobbing to major champions (Rude, Austin, Steve Regal) to make him look like a contender when in fact he was a glorified JTTS. (As opposed to his WWF run, where he wasn’t glorified at all.)  On the other hand, it was during this time that he began to truly show the (arguable) greatness in the ring that was to come.

The Hollywood Blonds had split months ago, and Austin had won the US title at Starrcade 93, but was perhaps the biggest non-contending US champion ever, eclipsed only by the recent reigns of Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko, in that his shots at the World title were non-existent, as were meaningful feuds. (I’d say pretty much every WWE US champion in the past 5 years would handily win that designation away from Austin.)  Quick: Who did Austin fight at Superbrawl? Spring Stampede? (The Great Muta!) Can't remember, can you? (I went 1 for 2 at least.)  I rest my case. (MAAAAAAAAAAAAATLOCK!)

This match was a very good one, with some mat wrestling in the middle that, predictably, the clueless Philly fans booed. Paul E. had not yet introduced that aspect into ECW at this point. (Hey now, Tony Stetson and Johnny Hot Body could probably rock the mat with the best of them.)  Oddly, Steve has completely changed his arsenal since entering the WWF, for whatever reason. (Injuries and evolving as a worker, duh.)  I think that's one reason his stint seems much fresher than someone like Vader, who has essentially been wrestling the same match since 1993. (Because he stopped giving a shit in 1996.)  The most striking thing here: Austin's hair. He should have shaved it off years ago. It just never worked, no matter he tried, and the Guy Gardner look is no exception. (This is some tremendously in-depth analysis.) 

Sidenote: Is anyone else waiting for Austin to declare himself the "one, true, WWF World champion?" Didn't he actually use that quote on one RAW? If he starts wearing goofy boots and hanging out with a dog named G'Nort, I'll kill myself.  (Well, in 2001 he started getting pretty goofy…) 

Those who have no idea what I'm talking about, be glad. (Comic book reference to Justice League International.) 

Okay, match going on, get a grip, Scott. (Jesus, I was already talking to myself back then.)  Super-hot ending sequence leads to several near-falls for the Badd Man, before Austin turns a belly-to-back suplex into an odd-looking pinning combo for the win to retain the title. ***1/2

Legends Match: Terry Funk v. Tully Blanchard.

This would be the ersatz ECW invasion of WCW, three years before it happened for real in the WWF. (And then again four years after that.)  The crowd is totally behind the Funker here, and with good reason. Killer match, even Hawaiian Guy's hat gets it here. Terry uses everything he can get his hands on -- chairs, boards, the rampway -- to funk up Blanchard. Crowd chants "We want blood!" several times. Gosh, what a surprise. Funk tries piledriving Tully, off the top rope, onto a chair, but it doesn't quite work. Finally, Nick Patrick just DQs both guys, because it's not ECW. **** for the match, but -1/2* for the ending, for a total of ***1/2 (I’m really not fond of doing that “subtracting stars for the ending” thing, or at least I’m not fond of quantifying it like that.  I’ve been reading really old-school Observers lately, like around Wrestlemania IV, and Meltzer was pretty fond of doing that sort of thing in his younger and snarkier days.  As I’ve gone on, I’ve come to think of the finish as just another part of the match good or bad, except for extraordinary circumstances.) 

Non-title match: Steve Regal (TV champion) v. Larry Zbyszko

God, hard to believe Regal has basically been TV champion off and on for almost four years now. Bill Dundee was playing Regal's butler at this point, for you historical buffs out there. (Maybe Dundee got into a car accident with Regal and didn’t have insurance.)  Regal was a major-league heat machine back then, using stalling and psych-outs to the limit.

For those who don't know the backstory here, Regal made many anti-American comments while being interviewed by Larry Z, in retirement at that point, until finally Larry popped him one in retaliation, and came out of retirement.

Did I mention the stalling? You want to see a human chess game, here it is. Regal and Zbyszko (hard to maintain 100 wpm while typing that...) (Thank god for autocorrect now.  Although my typing speed has fallen to about 80 since I’ve switched permanently from the full ergonomic style keyboard of my desktop to a standard keyboard on the laptop.  Just in case I decide to have a quiz later and you need to know that.)  pull out every trick in the book to psych the other guy out. Great stuff. (Yeah, Larry’s stalling, AWESOME, love it.)  The match itself is slow paced (can you guess how the crowd reacted?) but solid. Zbyszko reverses a butterfly suplex into a bridge for the pin, and gets a mega-pop. *** Zbyszko would go on to win the TV title from Regal before permanently re-retiring. (We can only hope.) 

- I'll skip the legends induction, because I edited it out of my tape for time considerations.

Bullrope Match: Dustin Rhodes v. Bunkhouse Buck.

Pretty weird watching Dustin as Dustin, because he and Goldust wrestle totally different match styles. (That’s because Dustin is a fucking nutjob method actor.)  Although lately Goldust has been incorporating Dustin stuff. (He’s got “getting fired” down pretty well.)  That being said, this was a pretty dull match, saved only by a post-match Terry Funk beating. Dustin won after hitting Buck with the cowbell, if it matters. ** for the match, extra 1/2* for the ass-kicking. **1/2 total. (Ugh, see, I don’t like that method of coming up with ratings.  Either it’s a **1/2 match or not.)  Dustin went on to do nothing of note in WCW, before getting fired for blading at the first Uncensored. Who can blame him for becoming Goldust?

WCW World title match: Ric Flair (champion) v. Barry Windham (challenger)

The big gimmick for this match was that Col. Robert Parker was promising a 6'2", blond ex-World champion mystery man to challenge Flair, which was widely assumed to be Windham by everyone with half a brain at the time. WCW didn't disappoint in disappointing, of course. Indeed it was Big Barry...and I do mean big. The guy had a beer gut the size of Texas here. Hey, it's called a might try it sometime. (Cutting commentary there.)  It's Flair v. Windham, which is always good, but Barry looked lacklustre, (If by “lacklustre” you mean “drunk off his ass and wanting to get the fuck out of there and collect his money”, then yeah.)  and Flair knew the end was near, so both of them kind of dogged it here. But that's not bad given the had a lot of wasted potential, that's all. The Flair Flip actually works here, as Flair nails the often-missed cross-body off the top rope for the pin to retain the title. **1/2

Aside: This was the last appearance of the true Ric Flair. Almost immediately after this match, WCW began a hasty heel turn in order to set up the ascension of the Hulkster to the WCW throne, basically flushing 6 months of character development down the toilet. Flair became a parody of himself, taking on Sherri as his manager and jobbing to Hogan twice that year, the second time sending him into (temporary) retirement. It was a truly sad thing to watch someone as great as Flair turn into a ranting old man, believe me, and a testament to the widely-held belief that the inmates should not run the asylum, of which WCW is a prime example. (Also, they shouldn’t marry the boss’ daughter, either.) 

WCW World tag title match: The Nasty Boys (champions) v. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan (challengers)

The first of many, many ECW-style matches booked by Kevin Sullivan in WCW, and one of my top 10 favorite matches ever. (Maybe in 1998, but this is pretty far down the list now.  I’m just so tired of the style in general.)  Others prefer the Jack/Payne version of this match from Spring Stampede 94, but I like this one for it's sheer historical weight. It settled, decisively, two separate feuds, gave Cactus his first major title, and set the template for every match the Public Enemy have since wrestled in WCW.

It's pointless to try to run down the match, because of the sheer chaos involved. Chairs, tables, fire extinguishers, garbage cans, a hockey stick, a camera from ringside, you name it, it was used here. Just utter, unmitigated brutality and hatred for ten minutes. Glorious, and never quite matched by any of these types of garbage matches in WCW since. Maxx Payne settles his score by giving Jerry Sags the coolest guitar shot you'll ever see, and Dave Sullivan breaks a crutch on Knobs for good measure. Cactus and Sullivan winning the titles was almost incidental to everything else going on, which was a lot. Great booking, great match, the only complaint I have is Dave Schultz's fast three-count, but he's a hockey player, so counting that high is a challenge, no? I have since hated almost every other chaotic ECW brawl since, but this one still stands out in mind and is still enjoyable to watch today. One of the few times the Nasty Boys didn't suck, which is worth ***** by itself. The match gets ****3/4 for the action, and the remaining 1/4* for the booking, for a total of ***** (God, stop with the piecemeal match ratings, pick one and stick with it.) 

The only question left in my mind is why didn't that match close the show? Instead we get...

WCW/NWA/International/World/Gold Belt title match: Sting v. Vader.

I won't even get into the headaches that the fabled Gold Belt brought to WCW here, but suffice it to say at this point in time WCW was getting ready to unify it with the real WCW World title and get it out of their hair for good. Sting is subbing for Rick Rude here, due to injuries, politics, and a complex storyline involving a (sort of) title change in Japan.

The match itself is #1856 (of 1872) in the eternal Sting v. Vader series, and just about all of them are an automatic ****. This is no exception, but by this time nobody really gives a shit about them fighting anymore, including myself. Total letdown after the last match. Sting wins after Vader misses the big splash, to claim his 5th World title, although I'd very much dispute that this should be counted as a recognized World title reign. I'd dispute his 4th reign, which was also this version of the Gold Belt.

Okay, just for those who don't know the story, here's a quick rundown.

The Gold Belt, by 1994, was like the biggest inside joke in professional wrestling.

Back in 1991, Ric Flair jumped ship from WCW to the WWF, while still NWA World champion. At this point, WCW left the NWA and created their own World title, which, despite the fact they now use the same physical belt, is *not* the same title as the NWA version, by any means.

While Lex Luger won the WCW version of the World title, Ric Flair was continued to be recognized as the NWA World champion while in the WWF. Confused yet? You will be. (Clearly I already am at that point.) 

Ted Turner bought the actual belt back from Flair, since Flair was the one who actually paid for the belt himself back in '86 and thus owned it. (WRONG.)  By 1992, what was left of the NWA had stripped Flair of the title and was forced, by financial necessity, to cooperate with WCW again.

So WCW arranged for an NWA World title tournament (and World tag title tournament) in 1992. The singles tournament was won by Masahiro Chono, making him NWA World champion, which basically meant nothing because the NWA was just a WCW puppet at this point. (Not so much.  They weren’t doing as well as the glory days, but they were fine without WCW.) 

The title itself passed from Chono to the Great Muta to Barry Windham to Ric Flair, losing meaning and prestige by the day. Finally, when it got to Flair, the NWA itself folded and was restarted by Dennis Corraluzo, with no connection to WCW. (Little more complicated than that, but fair enough.)  So WCW no longer had the legal right to the NWA name, and now had a worthless belt. (As opposed to WCW’s other super-valuable belts, like the TV title that Jim Duggan eventually won by fishing out of a trash can.) 

Rick Rude won the worthless title from Flair, and it was simply called "The Gold Belt." It should be noted that the title became absolutely and totally worthless at this point, and any title reigns after this are bogus claims.

WCW came up with a (bogus) "International Committee" which then decided to "recognize" Rick Rude as (get this) WCW International World champion. Many observers, myself included, felt this was a load of horse shit and completely insulting to the viewer's intelligence. (As noted in a thread recently, this situation actually becomes a lot more normal-looking in hindsight given that we’ve had two “World” champions in WWE since 2002.  Maybe WCW was just ahead of the curve the whole time?) 

The 2nd World title was cheapening the real one, however, so before Hulk Hogan entered WCW, they did the wrestling equivalent of shooting the title to put it out of its misery by unifying it with the WCW World title. And it was about time, too.

But I digress. Slamboree was, from top to bottom, a very entertaining card, with no match below the "fair - average" area. It was an easy thumbs up at the time, and remains so today. Of course, Hulk Hogan would soon bring Beefcake, Duggan, and the rest of his buddies and totally wreck everything they had worked so hard to build up, but that's another rant.

As always, I remain the net.cop... (Until someone tries to sue Sean Shannon over a frivolous trademark claim.) 

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Slamboree 94

- This is a long-overdo do-over, of the first ever Retro Rant. The original, needless to say, wasn't exactly verbose in terms of the match descriptions or details, so let's try it again...

- Live from Philly, home of some indy promotion called "ECW". Never heard of it.

- Your hosts are Tony & Bobby.

- Mean Gene introduces the legends - Ole Anderson, The Assassin, Peggy Banner, Red Bastien, Tully Blanchard (with a big pop), The Crusher, Don Curtis, Terry Funk, Verne Gagne, Hard Boiled Haggerty (That is the most awesome wrestling name I’ve ever heard.  You just KNOW that fucker was tough.) , Larry Hennig, Killer Kowalski, Ernie Ladd, Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Mosca, Harley Race, Ray Stevens, Lou Thesz, Johnny Weaver, Mr. Wrestling II and Tommy Young.

- Nick Bockwinkel tries to award the WCW International World Saskatchewan Hardcore European TV Big Gold Belt title to Sting on a bizarre technicality, but Sting REFUSES to win in such a cheap manner and wants it to happen in the ring. Well, 8 years later THAT scenario sure played out different when HHH got involved with it. (Ha!  I write me some funnies sometimes.)  Kudos to Sting, though, for preserving the prestigious lineage of the title.

- Opening match, US title: Stunning Steve Austin v. Johnny B. Badd.

Johnny has "Philly Rules" on his robe, perhaps to suck up to the crowd and thus negate his incredibly gay personality. The best that the camera crew can do is find some kid with a pathetic little 5x7 Johnny B. Badd sign - man, when even the guys planting the signs turn against you, that's a bad sign. Bobby brings his lame Philly jokes out of mothballs, so you know it's a special occasion. Johnny takes him down with an armdrag to start and works a headlock. Steve uses some mindgames, so Badd takes him to the mat and works a 3/4 nelson. Austin escapes and drops an elbow to take over, grabbing a MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, (Bing!  So we’re in 2003 or so for the re-rant.)  which Badd easily escapes. Austin takes a powder and regroups, and Badd goes back to the armbar. Austin reverses to a headlock and they work off that, as Austin keeps overpowering him back to the mat. Tony spreads hurtful rumors of hair-pulling, but I won't even dignify them. Criss-cross and now Badd goes back to the armbar again, and holds on through a slam attempt by Austin. Austin finally reverses to his own armbar, but Badd uses a headscissor takedown to move back into a headlock. Bodypress gets two. Back to the armbar. Col. Parker's yelling match with Hawaiian Guy provides the most exciting moments of the match so far. Austin gives him the old knee to the gut to regain control, but gets cradled for two. Badd floats over, back to the armbar. Another criss-cross and Austin KILLS Badd with a double- axehandle to take over for good. Austin starts with the stomping and cheapshots, and tosses Badd to cut off a comeback. Suplex back in and kneedrop get two. We hit the chinlock, and Austin gets two while the fans chant "We're not hostile". Well, that's good to know. Austin goes up and hits knee, and Badd hits a gutwrench suplex. Austin works him over in the corner, but gets backdropped. Badd hiptosses him and gets a rather nasty lariat, and Austin is reeling. Kneelift and Oklahoma Roll, but Parker is distracting the ref. Austin charges and hits Parker, and Badd rolls him up for two. Backdrop and Badd goes up for the flying sunset flip, which gets two. Austin goes to the eyes to come back, but Badd suplexes him, and Austin uses the tights to roll over for the awkward pinfall finish at 16:11. Weird ending, but the match was a solid mat-based affair. ***

- Okerlund interviews Wahoo and Ernie.

- Legends match: Tully Blanchard v. Terry Funk.

There was actually all sort of politics going on here, as Blanchard was promised a larger payoff than he got, and thus refused to do the job as a result. (Blanchard’s story about the whole thing is really interesting, actually.)  Gordon Solie does the honors for this match. ECW was in its infancy at this point, and Funk was one of the reasons for the early success of the promotion. (Plus Paul saved money by stiffing all the talent.)  They get into a huge brawl to start and stiff the hell out of each other, until Funk gets an atomic drop to put him down. Into the ring, Funk gets a neckbreaker for two, and then tosses Tully and pounds away on the rampway. Funk uses a piece of the wooden stairs to nail Tully, and they head in for a piledriver onto it. Looked less dramatic with Terry's ass taking the bump. They head to the ramp again, and Terry DDTs him there, as Nick Patrick chastises them like a couple of grade-school kids. The crowd wants blood, but it's WCW, so it's not likely. Back in, Funk gets another piledriver and goes up with the moonsault, which misses. That gets two for Tully. Blanchard starts pounding in the corner, and they just UNLOAD with stiff shots again. The ref is bumped and Funk gets a chair as Tully bleeds (thus guaranteeing that he wouldn't return), and Funk sets him up for the piledriver off the top, which kind of fizzles out. Would have been cool, though. Patrick gets rid of the chair while Funk bails, so Tully gives Patrick a shot in the mush, too. They fight over the branding iron, until a DQ is called at 7:14. Good, wild brawl. **3/4 Funk elbowdrops Hawaiian Guy's hat afterwards to vent his frustrations.  (Brock stole that spot from Funk!  I knew it!) 

- Steven Regal v. Larry Zbyszko.

Regal's besmirching of America led Larry to finally retaliate on behalf of his country, thus coming out of retirement. If stalling was an Olympic sport, these two would be fighting for the gold and silver medals. (And if clubbing baby seals was an Olympic sport, Jake Roberts would get the gold.  The things you learn from wrestling promos!)  That talent is put into full effect to start, as they jaw with the crowd and each other. Larry ducks a shot from Regal after a solid 2:00 of stalling, and they stall some more. Larry then shows off his time-tested finisher, the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM, so as not to get shown up by the youngster. A spinkick puts Regal on the floor, where he continues his ongoing conversation with the fanbase. Back in, more stalling. Finally, Larry starts working the arm, and reverses an abdominal stretch into a rollup for two, before getting his own abdominal stretch. He even uses the ropes for old time's sake. Regal reverses for two. They do an armdrag-reversal sequence that ends with Larry getting the move again, and back to the stalling. Larry takes him down with a short-arm scissors and jaw with each other again. Regal responds by hammering on him with forearms in the corner, and that gets two. Reverse elbow gets two. Regal goes to a unique facelock/half-nelson submission as the crowd starts to lose patience with the match. Larry reverses a forearm into a backslide, but Regal counters with a bow-and-arrow to block the pin. He keeps laying in the forearms, but Larry fires back. MAIN EVENT SLEEPER and Regal is in trouble, but breaks with a jawbreaker. Sir William gives Larry a shot with the umbrella for good measure, but he reverses a butterfly suplex into a bridge for the pin at 11:35. HUGE pop for the surprise win. Larry would win the TV title from Regal a couple of weeks later. This was pretty slow, but nothing to be ashamed of. Regal carried most of the match, not surprisingly. **1/4

- Terry Funk reminds us that we're live and he can say whatever he wants for as long as he wants. Veiled threats to Dustin Rhodes are made.

- Gordon Solie hosts the Legends ceremony.

- Bullrope match: Dustin Rhodes v. Bunkhouse Buck.

Buck attacks to start, but gets hanged by Dustin and dragged into the ring. So much for that plan. Dustin chokes him out and attaches it to Buck's wrist, and hits him with a bionic elbow and a low blow. Elbowdrop gets two. Buck tries to leapfrog him, but Dustin yanks up on the bullrope and ends THAT rally. He starts pounding the knee with the cowbell and the Philly crowd wants Blood again. C'mon, guys, Rick Steamboat isn't even booked on this show! Check your programs before you chant. Dustin posts the knee and hammers away on the knee. Not quite the fast-paced action you expect in this sort of match. Buck, ever the pragmatist, simply clobbers Dustin with the cowbell to come back. Now that's more like it. In true hockey fashion, Buck pulls the shirt over Dustin's head and then whips him, before bringing him out and introducing him to the post. Then, in a unique strategy, he ties Dustin to the post (and Bobby goes for the obvious joke about being "tied up at the moment") and chokes him out at his leisure. Dustin fights back one-handed, and then frees himself and cowbells Buck. Back in, Buck goes up, but Dustin hammers him down with a Flip Flop and Fly and slams him off. That gets two. The ref is bumped, because you can never get enough of that, and Dustin suplexes him and chases Parker. Buck and Parker try a little double-teaming, but that of course ends badly for them and Dustin clobbers Buck with the cowbell for the pin at 12:32. Not as good as their bunkhouse match from the month before, with too much dead space and resting. **1/2 Terry Funk (with a towel over his head as a disguise) runs in and destroys Dustin, setting up a fairly lengthy feud.  (My daughter often attempts to disguise herself by putting a towel over heard, operating on the logical fallacy of “I can’t see you so you can’t see me.”  And yet no matter how many times I’ve explained the underlying reasoning problems behind that strategy, she still thinks it’s hilarious when I pretend like I don’t know where she is.  Perhaps Terry Funk’s dad just never had that talk with him.)   

- WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Barry Windham.

The angle here was that Col. Parker was promising a 6'7" blond mystery challenger who was a former World champion himself. This was of course supposed to make you think it was Hulk Hogan. It didn't work. Barry, deteriorated and pudgy, was the plan all along, but the fans weren't particularly thrilled about it. Windham pounds away in the corner, so Flair responds with the chops. Windham slams him, but misses an elbow and bails. This isn't exactly the 45-minute draw from 1986. Flair goes for the knee and keeps chopping, but Windham gets the laziest lariat I've seen from him in ages, and dumps Flair. Suplex back in and legdrop, but Flair keeps fighting back. We hit the chinlock to REALLY crank up the excitement. Flair starts chopping again, but gets Flair Flipped to the floor. They do some exceedingly weak brawling and head back in, where Windham pounds away in the corner before getting atomic dropped. Flair goes up, but gets superplexed for two. He keeps chopping until Barry falls and then suplexes him into the figure- four. This of course is silly since he hasn't so much as punched Barry's knee since the first couple of minutes. Windham makes the ropes, but Flair takes him down again. Windham kicks out of a second attempt, but a third one works. Talk about stubborn. Windham makes the ropes again, so Flair goes up...and hits a move! Call the press! It's an elbow, for two. Kneedrop and more chops, but Windham slugs back and they tumble out on a botched cross-body. Very few things look stupider than that spot when one guy can't go over the top properly on the first try. Back in, Flair wants a slugfest, and gets a rollup for two. Windham goes low to turn the tide again, and tosses Flair. That backfires, as Flair beats on Parker and sunset flips in. Windham blocks it for two, reversed by Flair for two. Windham rolls him up for two. They exchange chops and Flair does the Flip again, and finishes the move with a bodypress for the pin at 13:13. So there you go - proof that he HAS made it across the apron after flipping over the turnbuckles. And hey, you know it had to get the pin, since it only works once every 15 years. An unmotivated Windham is an ugly sight, but they pulled it together well enough by the end. **

- WCW World tag title: The Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan.

Former Flyer goon Dave Schulz is the special referee, and this is falls count anywhere. It was original supposed to be the Nasties losing the belts to Kevin & Evad, but a knee injury gave Cactus a shot at his first major title. It's an insane brawl from the opening bell, as Sullivan drags Knobs out and Sags beats on Cactus. Kevin uses a crutch while Sags and Jack fight into the crowd and security frantically tries to keep the crowd back. Sags moves down the aisle, while Sullivan dropkicks Knobs in the ring. We move to the entrance, as Kevin piledrives Knobs on the ramp and Cactus hits Sags with a (full) trashcan. Now THAT'S how you do it. Another shot with the can puts Sags down, and Sullivan joins in the fun. Tony & Jesse are almost speechless. Knobs gets put on the can at ringside, and Jack comes off the top, but misses and elbowdrops the trashcan instead, flattening it. Knobs BOUNCES the remains off his head, just delivering brutal shots with it. Sags whips him with a camera, and Knobs uses a good old chair, delivering sick, unprotected shots to the head with it. The flattened trashcan is just brutal as they swing away with it without regard for their own safety. Cactus clotheslines Knobs back into the ring, and Sullivan hits him with another chairshot. Sags decides to get the tables (this of course was before the days when they were standard issue ring equipment) and biels Jack off the ramp, through the table. That was pretty heavy stuff for 1994. Jack, of course, is too stupid to stay down, and takes some abuse from a light stand, too. At ringside, Sullivan and Knobs beat on each other, and Jack drops the remains of the table onto Sags. Sags shatters a piece of the table on Jack, and Sullivan and Knobs head down to join in the party. A fire extinguisher gets used off-screen, as the bad lighting and overwhelmed cameramen miss it. But you know what? It's actually improved by having that look and feel, because you get the "bootleg classic" kind of vibe, like an underground video that you shouldn't be watching. (Like NXT but with even less viewers.)  They finally head back to the ring, with Cactus busted open, and Sags goes up for the Shitty Elbow, but gives Dave Schulz attitude instead of covering. He grabs the hockey stick, but that's DAVE'S stick, and it results in a pummelling from the ref and a shot from Jack with the stick for a fast count and the World tag team titles at 9:33. An absolutely brutal classic, which set the template for ECW's entire tag team division for years following. Maxx Payne comes out and gives Sags the MOTHER of all guitar shots to get his final revenge on the Nasties, and when Knobs backs away peacefully, Evad Sullivan hobbles out and nails him with the crutch, too. And THAT is how you blow off a feud. *****

- WCW International World Saskatchewan Hardcore European TV Western States Heritage title: Sting v. Vader.

This was originally booked as Vader v. Rude for the title, which was going to set up Rude's push to the top of the promotion for a presumed run against Hulk Hogan. He was injured against Sting in Japan, however, and never wrestled again. (Although he was trying to just before he died.)  Sting and Vader have a stalemate to start, as Sting ducks and dodges. The always classy Philly fans inform us that "Sting must die". (Philly was fine with Sting when he was there for Bound For Glory, so obviously they’ve forgiven him since then.)  Vader obliges, beating Sting in the corner until he sees Jebus. Sting fires back and Vader leaves to regroup. Back in, Sting gets a rather dramatic delayed vertical suplex and stomps away, and then they do the old "battle of the bulls" collision, which Vader wins 2 falls to 1, and then he goes up for the pump splash. That gets two. Another one gets two. Vader grabs a leglock for some reason and pounds on the back. Back to the leglock as we slow things down a lot. Sting fights out and drops an elbow, and both guys are down. Vader recovers first and drops his own elbow for two. Sting comes back and dives at Vader, but misses and bumps the ref. Vader chokeslams him for the visual pinfall, but Race gives Vader an accidental chairshot (a weak one, too) and Sting DDTS Vader for two. Sting dumps Vader and suplexes him back in, and then clotheslines him right out again. Geez, man, make up your mind. Vader comes in, walks into a Stinger Splash, but out-thinks Sting by catching the move and powerslamming him to counter. This sets up the moonsault, which misses, as Sting was playing possum, and Sting gets two. Race headbutts his own man by mistake, and a flying splash finishes for Sting at 13:51 to give him the title back. Another quality Vader-Sting outing. ***3/4

The Bottom Line:

One of my favorite WCW shows ever, featuring quality matches up and down the card and no bad matches. The Philly atmosphere (despite a very small crowd) made for a super-hot show, and the tag team title switch is a classic that still holds up today due to the tremendously stiff shots delivered and Jack's insane bumping.

Highly, HIGHLY, recommended.


  1.  "The Hollywood Blonds had split months ago, and Austin had won the US
    title at Starrcade 93, but was perhaps the biggest non-contending US
    champion ever, eclipsed only by the recent reigns of Eddy Guerrero and
    Dean Malenko, in that his shots at the World title were non-existent, as
    were meaningful feuds. (I’d say pretty much every WWE US champion in the past 5 years would handily win that designation away from Austin.)"

    Has there ever been a shittier US Champion than Orlando Jordan?

    I mean, shit, at least Mongo McMichael and One Man Gang were over.

  2. "
    I think that's one reason his stint seems much fresher than someone like Vader, who has essentially been wrestling the same match since 1993. (Because he stopped giving a shit in 1996.)"

    So what happened during the time from 1994-1995 when he apparently still gave a shit?

  3. Tully/Funk is probably the most the random match that I love. And Hard Boiled Haggerty sounds like a Frank Miller character.

  4. "This was of course supposed to make you think it was Hulk Hogan. It didn't work."

    that whole booking surrounding that match was so amazingly stupid. the problem: guys like me - being twelve when this show happened - actually BELIEVED it was going to be Hogan.... and was really disappointed when WCW didn't deliver.

    really, what's the point of trying to make your fans waiting for some particular worker to show up - only to throw a curve ball and bring out a much smaller name?

  5. My only issue with people talking about the de-legitimacy of the NWA belt and how stupid that whole thing was is that they act as though having an NWA title in WCW is meaningless. On a national platform like that it should have at least some meaning. Compare that to the years immediately afterward when Dan Severn and Al Snow were the NWA champions, or when NWA was just a weird stable with Jim Cornette in WWF. They had a few more years of glory when they were still a part of TNA but now there are barely even any of those bogus NWA affiliate indies out there. Colt Cabana's the NWA champion now, for the second time. I love Colt but if he had been around in the 80s he'd never even get a title match.

  6. "As noted in a thread recently, this situation actually becomes a lot more normal-looking in hindsight given that we’ve had two “World” champions in WWE since 2002."

    That was me! So what do we get next, Slamboree 95 or IYH 2? I wanna see what 2012 Scott thinks of HBK/Jarrett, I just watched it the other day and came to the conclusion that I had a lot more patience for stalling and other such non-action back then than I do today. Still one of my favorite matches though.

    BTW Scott, that bit about your daughter had me laughing my ass off. Reminds me of that hilarious scene from Family Guy where Peter is playing peek-a-boo with Stewie. "Yeah, just walk away while I'm in mid-sentence..." 

  7. No wonder he stopped giving a shit...

  8. IYH 2, with the HBK-Jarrett match, was in July '95. You'll have to wait a couple of months (assuming Scott does the July shows that month). May '95 had IYH 1.

  9. "If stalling was an Olympic sport, these two would be fighting for the gold and silver medals. That talent is put into full effect to start, as they jaw with the crowd and each other. Larry ducks a shot from Regal after a solid 2:00 of stalling, and they stall some more. Larry then shows off his time-tested finisher, the SEVEN MINUTE STALL OF DOOM, so as not to get shown up by the youngster." 

    This has to be some of my favourite Scott writing ever, at least in a comedic vein. I still think of it every time I see a Zybysko or Regal match, particularly Zybysko. I think Dustin Rhodes must have been taking notes from that master class, to be referenced later during his Goldust days.

  10. Yeah, you're right. IYH 1 sucked, if I remember right. Pretty good Bret/Hakushi match, the rest was crap.

  11. I actually agree with this logic because...sure you get more buys because some people expected it to be Hogan, but then when it wasn't they were disappointed and didn't want to watch WCW.

  12.  Yeah, what's dumb is that they'd even SIGNED Hogan by that point, so it just comes off as a major middle finger to the fans. 

  13. Those IYH shows have the goofiest entrance way design for any major company PPV I can think of... seriously, a detached single family home?  Vince was getting really desperate trying to find new ways for him to prove the WWF was "family friendly".   

  14. At least some of the Goldust stalling made sense, though, at least when he was doing the "mind games" part of the character.  I was always entertained by Goldust's stalling techniques and the bit when he'd get on the microphone and threaten to go into the crowd and kiss everyone got him lots of heat.

  15. Didn't they give away an actual house for that show?

  16. "Quick: Who did Austin fight at Superbrawl? Spring Stampede? (The Great Muta!) Can't remember, can you? (I went 1 for 2 at least.)  I rest my case. (MAAAAAAAAAAAAATLOCK!)"This had me rolling. That whole first rant was just so deliciously awful. All I could think was "And based on stuff that couldn't have been much better/worse than this I started following this dummy for 14 years (and four books!)"lolI must have dropped out during the lawsuit stuff, I never did know why you changed handles. Was it because of the antivirus company? Anyone know? I love valueless IWC gossip.

  17. Didn't they actually name-drop him as a possibility during the build-up? Or am I mis-remembering things to a horrible degree?

  18. Oh fuck, I mis-read it as (MUUUUUUTAAALOCK)

  19. Oh god please let that be true.

  20. It wasn't that exciting.  The guy who was the owner of was trying to sell the domain and thought I was somehow affecting his profitability or something, so he sent Sean Shannon a cease-and-desist letter.  Sean promptly had a meltdown and freaked out that he'd lose his life savings in court or something (when really, what's the "Netcop" name really worth?  Like $100 for the domain name?)  and I stopped using the name even though as a Canadian I could stand at the border and make faces at him all I wanted without any legal recourse.  Wrestleline wouldn't even acknowledge that I worked for them or back me in any way on the matter, but of course the site was getting shut down shortly afterwards anyway so it's understandable.  

  21.  "My daughter often attempts to disguise herself by putting a
    towel over heard, operating on the logical fallacy of “I can’t see you
    so you can’t see me.”  And yet no matter how many times I’ve explained
    the underlying reasoning problems behind that strategy, she still thinks
    it’s hilarious when I pretend like I don’t know where she is. "OTOH, I've heard that this works well on Traal...

  22. he sure committed to the character but man did it lead to some boring ass matches month after month.  Goldust was absolute torture to watch with anybody the first couple years.

  23. Sean Shannon overreacted? Get outta town! Hope there weren't any sharp objects nearby.

  24. They had been teasing Hogan, and periodically dropping his name, since Starrcade '93.

  25. Yup, I believe it was after the first show. 

    I can forgive it for the first one, but they still had the same goofy design for the next 10 or so.

  26. A lot of it was injuries too, he was pretty banged up during his whole first run. I never really latched onto Dustin as a worker until about 2002

  27. Believe it or not, they kept that house for 16 IYHs, all the way to Ground Zero in Sep. '97 (they didn't use it for the Feb. '97 show for some reason).

    The last match at that show was the first HBK-UT match-up, where Shawn got tossed all around that house set, symbolically trashing it for good.

  28. Not only is Colt Cabana a two time NWA champion, he's probably the most credible champion they can get.

  29. Christopher HirschMay 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Damn, I didn't even remember Orlando Jordan was ever US Champion. I mostly just remember him being part of JBL's Cabinet and losing to Chris Benoit in 27 seconds or less a lot.

  30. Is this not the show that would dub Philly, "The Hostile City"?

  31. I was inspired enough by this rant to make a fresh DVD copy of the show from my commercial tape, only to realize I already had one. D'oh! If anyone would want a copy, I'd give it to you for like a buck for shipping, or a trade for another show.
    I didn't see this one live, but bought the tape about a year later, and loved it. The street fight is incredible (though in recent years I think I prefer the Spring Stampede one), and the two title matches are solid. I do wish we would have gotten Vader vs. Rude, but nothing we can do about that now.


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