(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
May 23, 1993
WCW decided to drop The Great American Bash from their lineup for ‘93 and ‘94. Ted Turner wanted to move away from using the word American in the title because he viewed WCW as a global company. The WWF also announced that they were adding a June PPV, so WCW decided to create a new event. Slamboree was intended to be a yearly gathering of legends that would include a Hall of Fame ceremony, as well as matches involving wrestlers from the past. The Hall of Fame tradition would continue, but the legends matches only occur one more time. Bischoff hoped that the inclusion of the stars of yesteryear would draw back the older fans that WCW had lost.
Meanwhile, Davey Boy Smith will face Vader for the WCW Title on this event. The match didn’t have much build other than Davey’s hilariously bad promo at SuperBrawl and a few segments. Vader was busy feuding with Cactus Jack. Vader and Cactus had some truly brutal matches, including one where Jack asked Vader bust him open the hard way. It didn’t go as smoothly as planned and Cactus ended up with a broken nose and other facial injuries. However, the big moment of the feud came when Vader powerbombed Jack on the concrete floor. The idea was to write Cactus off TV and have him triumphantly return to get revenge, but WCW had other ideas. They would sadly turn the storyline into a hokey amnesia angle where Cactus became a homeless man in Cleveland. It included such great moments as Jack thinking he’s a sailor and recruiting other homeless men to be his crew. It also featured a rather unfortunate looking actress to play Jack’s wife, despite the fact that Foley is married to a model in real-life. (Collette Foley was not amused.) WCW would loosely tie this into the Bulldog feud by having Davey vow to end Vader’s reign of destruction and avenge Cactus.
In other news, Jesse Ventura missed this show due to blood clots. Larry Zbyszko would take his place on commentary. I thoroughly enjoyed Larry’s work on this PPV. Tony and Jesse were terrible together at SuperBrawl. I wouldn’t mind if Jesse didn’t return to the announce booth. However, I’ll have to wait until later to get Larry commentary regularly.
The show opens with black and white photos of the stars of the past. A narrator tells us that few have scaled the peaks of excellence to become legends of sport. (That’s almost poetic. I kind of like it.) He then says that the greatest of these have converged on Atlanta’s Omni for a legends reunion. He also says that history will be made, as the heroes of the present battle for championship gold and personal glory. Then, Tony Schiavone slightly cuts off the narrator to welcome everyone to Slamboree. We see that the ring is filled with legends, including those being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m kind of surprised to see Stu Hart among them. I guess it makes sense because Bulldog is on this card, but I wonder if Vince gave Bret and Owen crap about their dad being on WCW TV. Tony and Larry Zbyszko then talk about Ventura recovering in the hospital and wish him the best. Larry looks at the ring full of legends and says it makes him feel like a kid again. He also says that time fears only the pyramids and the legends of professional wrestling. (I only wish that were true given the mortality rate of wrestlers.) Then, they talk about the main event and Larry says he hopes Davey Boy brought some kryptonite.
Next, Tony introduces Maxx Payne, with Norma Jean. He plays a tune on his guitar, which I’m sure the legends absolutely loved. (They didn’t show them, but I imagine half of them were plugging their ears.) Some flames explode and then a bunch of jobbers in underwear carry out a golden palanquin. (I spotted Ice Train and the Gambler, but I didn’t recognize anyone else.) They set it down and the Fabulous Moolah emerges to no reaction. Tony calls her the Queen of Slamboree, while she waves to the crowd.
Then, Tony introduces Eric Bischoff and the First Lady of WCW, Missy Hyatt. (Missy has a new shorter haircut. It’s very 90s, but I prefer her old look.) Eric says that Missy has big plans tonight, but first, Missy addresses her fans around the world and especially in Canada. Eric says the two of them will interview the legends, but he also needs to address a situation involving Sting. They found out yesterday that Scott Norton will not be competing. Eric says Norton came to WCW to get respect, but he also got the attention of The Prisoner! (The Prisoner is Nailz. Bischoff must have hired him because he heard Nailz choked Vince McMahon. I’m sure Eric saw it as a slap to Vince’s face.) Bischoff implies that the Prisoner attacked Norton, so now he’s Sting’s opponent for the night. Someone in the back must have given up hope after that announcement because the lights go out over Eric and Missy. They stand in awkward silence before Bischoff says there are technical difficulties. The camera cuts to a wide shot of the legends looking bored, while Eric and Missy discuss the rest of the card. The power finally comes back in time for Missy to fawn over the thought of the Hollywood Blonds. Eric tells her to settle down and they talk about the legends matches before sending it to the ring.
2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell vs. Bobby Eaton & Chris Benoit
WCW has tried to find a good partner for Bagwell and they’ve finally found one. This team will last for a bit and have some success. They have a decent on-screen dynamic, but they reportedly couldn’t stand each other backstage. Their opponents, on the other hand, are an anomaly. I can’t explain why Eaton & Benoit are teaming. Larry tries to explain that Eaton is mentoring Benoit, so I guess that’s as much explanation as we will get. Scorpio & Bagwell dance to the ring and they show some fans laughing at Marcus. They try to make up for it by showing a sign that says, “Bagwell is great,” but the damage is done.
Scorpio and Benoit start the match and trade some exciting reversals, leapfrogs, and dropkicks until Benoit regroups. Chris tries to use a ref distraction for some cheating, but Scorpio & Bagwell clean house. Eaton & Benoit manage to get some control with double teaming, but Bagwell back drops Eaton to the floor and slingshots Benoit inside. However, Eaton & Benoit finally get the advantage and throw Bagwell to the floor. They use cheap shots and a flying knee to ground Bagwell and then Benoit hits a second-rope leg drop. The double teaming and cheating continues until Marcus raises his knees when Benoit tries a flying splash. Then, Scorpio makes a hot tag and the match turns into a four-way brawl. Scorpio hits a twisting splash, but Eaton breaks up the pin attempt. Benoit & Eaton answer by double-teaming Bagwell, but Eaton accidentally hits Benoit. Scorpio takes advantage by going to the top and hitting a Tumbleweed—RIGHT ONTO BENOIT’S HEAD!!!
It’s unsurprisingly enough for the three-count to give Scorpio & Bagwell the win.
I was kind of disappointed by this match. It was very basic and short. Bagwell wrestled most of the match and spent the majority of it being beaten. There were a couple of cool moves from Scorpio, but neither he nor Benoit got to shine. The brutal finish was the only interesting part. Scorpio reportedly apologized backstage, but Benoit wasn’t that upset about it. (On a funny side note, Larry said that Scorpio landed right on his Schiavone with the Tumbleweed, which caused Tony to say, “On his what!?”)
Winners: Scorpio & Bagwell (9:22)
Tony then talks about a newcomer to WCW, Colonel Robert Parker. (He is a retired wrestler, Robert Fuller. The name is a play on Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker and his personality and mannerisms are taken from Boss Hogg. The character is that of a rich southern gentleman.) Tony says that Parker was looking for a new star and found Van Hammer, but he didn’t like what he saw. Larry says that Hammer should have taken Parker’s advice and calls Hammer rude for attacking Parker. Then, Tony says that Parker has found someone to face Van Hammer in a special match that they apparently weren’t expecting. (This is a PPV. Why would there be any unexpected matches? That makes WCW look disorganized.)
Van Hammer enters the arena without his guitar. (I guess he knew he couldn’t compete with Maxx Payne.) Cappetta then introduces Col. Parker to announce Van Hammer’s opponent. Parker tells Hammer that he bruised his feelings when he attacked him. He also tells Hammer that he doesn’t need a taxi to get home because Parker found his ride. Parker then calls for someone to bring him a gurney before introducing Hammer’s opponent—Sid Vicious! (They played the music a few seconds too early and spoiled the surprise before Parker said his name. Oh, WCW!)
Sid Vicious (w/ Col. Parker) vs. Van Hammer
Sid is back in WCW. I don’t know where he’s been since leaving the WWF, but I’m sure it involved softball. Sid enters with some pyro and screams at the fans, while Tony claims that Van Hammer is destroying the gurney. (I doubt that.) Col. Parker yells for someone to move it, which kind of distracts from Sid’s entrance.
Sid attacks immediately and Hammer throws some punches. However, Sid quickly hits a clothesline and a powerbomb to get the win.
This was nothing more than a squash to establish that Sid is back. The crowd reacted well to it and Sid didn’t botch anything, so I guess it’s not terrible. It served its purpose and was quick. Plus, this return leads to some pretty amusing off-beat shenanigans (and another mini-movie) with Sid, Vader, Sting, & Bulldog.
Winner: Sid Vicious (00:35)
Eric Bischoff is with Red Bastien and Bugsy McGraw, who can’t stop mugging for the camera. Eric asks Red how he likes Slamboree so far and Red says it’s wonderful, but Sid Vicious makes him glad he’s not wrestling anymore. Then, Eric turns to Bugsy and says he’s pacing back and forth. He calls him a fixture in WCW and asks him about Sid Vicious. Bugsy says Sid Vicious is the biggest, most awesome-looking wrestler he’s seen. Eric motions with his eyes for Bugsy to look at the camera, so Bugsy says, “Yes, Eric, I’m gonna turn this way and face this camera so I can get it on the air and look so pretty for ya!” Bischoff is visibly annoyed. Bugsy then says he’s so excited and says hello to his mom and dad. He also tells Bischoff he’s wearing too much makeup, so Red tries to sooth Eric’s feelings before saying goodbye. (I was way more entertained by Bugsy in this interview than I was at Starrcade ‘83. I get the feeling he didn’t care much for Bischoff.)
Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco, & Jimmy Snuka vs. Wahoo McDaniel, Blackjack Mulligan, & Jim Brunzell
This is the first of three legends matches on this card. They booked a six-man tag, a regular tag, and a one-on-one match. Everyone enters to the Slamboree music and gets polite applause from the crowd. Tony and Larry do their best to build some story around the match by bringing up past bad blood between the men, but this match doesn’t need any story. Everyone knows why it’s happening. Tony also points out that none of these men work for WCW, so they can do what they want. (I guess they’re preparing in case anyone goes into business for themselves.)
Brunzell and Snuka start the match and trade holds until Mulligan enters the match and works Jimmy’s arm. However, he strays too close to the other corner and Murdoch attacks. Mulligan answers with some hip tosses and an arm drag, which surprised me. (I wasn’t expecting Murdoch to take those bumps.) Dick stumbles into the wrong corner and then regroups outside, but Wahoo chases him back into the ring. Muraco and Wahoo then face-off and Wahoo hits chops and slams, but he gets caught in the heel corner. They use ref distractions and triple-teaming until Wahoo finally tags Brunzell. He shows off with some dropkicks, so Murdoch tells him to hold his beer and hits a head scissors takeover! (These guys are going all-out and it’s great!) Jim finds himself the victim of more triple-teaming, but he hits some surprising cross bodies and roll-ups before Snuka accidentally hits Muraco on a miscommunication. They argue so the match turns into a six-way brawl. The ref has no choice but to call for the bell and declare it a no contest, which the fans boo. However, the wrestlers keep brawling around the ref.
This was way better than I expected. They found a good mix of personalities and guys willing to take bumps at their age and they kept it entertaining. You could tell these guys wanted to jump at the opportunity to show they still had it. Their enthusiasm was refreshing. I enjoyed this for what it was and I’m okay with the finish. I understand that most of these guys probably didn’t want to job. The image of chaos erupting around poor Randy Anderson was kind of amusing.
Winners: No Contest (9:06)
Next, Missy is with the Assassin (Jody Hamilton) and Mad Dog Vachon. She says she’s never had the opportunity to interview men like this, but she has heard stories. Mad Dog says he became a wrestling legend for all his fans in Canada and around the world. Missy then turns to talk to the Assassin, but Mad Dog becomes angry and yanks her arm back because he wasn’t done talking. (Missy looks legitimately scared.) He says he regrets not being able to wrestle after watching the six-man because he would teach them how to really wrestle. (I take it he didn’t like the match.) He also says it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Then, Missy nervously turns to the Assassin, who says he wants to clarify his recent remarks about Dusty Rhodes. He talks about their bad blood and says nothing has ever been settled, so he challenges Dusty to a match. The fans cheer the challenge, but Missy says nothing about it before sending it back to the ring.
Thunderbolt Patterson & ???? vs. Ivan Koloff & Baron Von Raschke
Bullet Bob Armstrong was supposed to be Patterson’s partner, but he had to have knee surgery and was pulled from the card. Patterson comes to the ring by himself, to a great reaction, and grabs a mic. He says that Bob had a bad operation on his knee, so he can’t wrestle. Ivan responds that the Armstrong family are all cowards, so Brad Armstrong arrives to defend his family honor. He’s wearing street clothes, but he says he will be Patterson’s partner. Thunderbolt tells him to take off his shirt and they’ll kick some butt. (He drops the mic before he says butt, so Larry asks, “What did he say!?”)
The match immediately becomes a four-way brawl and Brad back drops and dropkicks Ivan. They end up sending Koloff & Raschke to the outside, so Baron throws around some chairs. Then, Patterson and Raschke face-off, but Thunderbolt messes with his mind by doing some strange mannerisms. Baron has enough and tags Ivan and he faces Brad, but Armstrong finds himself in trouble. Ivan & Baron double team him and Raschke locks him in an Iron Claw, but Patterson breaks the hold. Thunderbolt then tags in and the match becomes a brawl again. Patterson nails both opponents with punches and headbutts before giving Raschke a double throat chop for the win.
This was sloppy and not very good. These guys weren’t able to bump a lot like the men in the last match, so they were limited on what they could do. Patterson was entertaining, but it wasn’t enough to save this. They at least kept it short. It’s probably for the best that Brad was in it because it probably would have been worse without at least one person who could take more than one bump in the match.
Winners: Patterson & Armstrong (4:39)
Next, is a rather infamous moment in WCW history. Ric Flair hosts an edition of A Flair for the Gold. He has promised to reunite the original Four Horsemen and he says it’s a night everyone will never forget. However, he has some good news and some bad news. First, he introduces Fifi the maid, who comes out and does a turn for the fans. (Zbyszko doesn’t realize he has a live mic because he says hi to someone named John at this point.) Then, Ric introduces the man he says will be the next NWA Champion, Arn Anderson. Arn says that Barry Windham has snubbed the Horsemen, but he won’t snub him and tonight he’s going to make it good. Next, Flair says the bad news is that Tully Blanchard isn’t there. He implies that Windham had something to do with it. (Tully was advertised for the show, but he couldn’t agree on a contract with WCW.) Flair then introduces Ole Anderson, who says you can’t trust Windham. Flair points out the women to Ole, who looks excited, but he chooses to talk to Arn instead. Then, Flair introduces a special guest. He says it’s a new member of the Four Horsemen and calls him the most kiss-stealing, wheeling dealing man. It’s the styling and profiling—Paul Roma!? (The fans are in shock at first, but then there are some boos. A few women scream, but it might be in horror.) Roma says that the people don’t realize the thousands of wrestlers Flair had to choose from and he chose him. (They do realize it. That’s why they’re booing!) Flair then addresses the Hollywood Blonds, who recently mocked Flair and Anderson for being old. Ric says the tights are coming back on and they’re going to rock and roll because they’re reunited again!
Then, Johnny Valentine joins Tony and Larry for commentary on the next match. He jokingly calls them old-timers. (It’s good to see him in a jovial mood. If you don’t know, Valentine was paralyzed in the plane crash that broke Flair’s back. You can see that he’s in a wheelchair on this show.) Tony then plugs the next PPV, Beach Blast, which will air on July 18th.
Dory Funk Jr. (w/ Gene Kiniski) vs. Nick Bockwinkel (w/ Verne Gagne)
This is the final of the three legends matches and it’s billed as the NWA vs. the AWA. Tony and Larry talk about how these two men wanted to face each other in their prime, but wrestling politics prevented it. Gene Kiniski accompanies Dory and Nick is with Verne Gagne. (I’m just glad Kiniski isn’t the ref. I still remember Starrcade ‘83.)
The two men lock-up to a stalemate a few times before Dory starts hitting some stiff forearms. The two of them trade mat holds and more hard forearms in the corner before Bockwinkel hits a couple of slams. Funk regroups outside and then returns with more stiff strikes and wears Nick down with a chinlock. He fights out and regroups before returning to attempt a Boston Crab. Funk reverses it and also reverses a headlock with a back suplex before working Nick’s arm. They end up fighting in the corner and Funk sends Nick to the ramp with an uppercut. Then, he suplexes him back inside and hits a nasty looking piledriver. Funk tries to follow it up with a butterfly suplex, but Bockwinkel turns it into a backslide. Cappetta then announces that there’s a minute left, so Funk does the spinning toe hold. Bockwinkel manages to reverse it into a sloppy Figure Four, so the managers get involved. The ref allows the match to continue, but there are mere seconds left. They quickly trade pin attempts, but the time limit expires.
It was a solid match, but it was a bit slow for the crowd. They lost the fans, which made it hard to get into the bout. However, the fans did show respect for two legends going to the time-limit. I personally thought the match had some good stuff in it, but I’m a little more patient with technical wrestling. I especially liked the forearm shots. There’s something impressive about two older wrestlers still willing to take the hard strikes. It wasn’t a thrilling match but it was something I can respect.
Winner: Time Limit Draw (15:00)
Next, Bischoff is with Lou Thesz and NWA President, Bob Geigel. (WCW misspells his name in the graphic.) Eric sings Lou’s praises and says it’s an honor to have him there. Lou thanks him and says Slamboree has been a great show. Then, Eric talks about the last match and the AWA/NWA rivalry before asking Bob for his thoughts. Geigel says it was a fabulous match between great athletes. He says you can see it coming back. He doesn’t clarify what “it” is, but Bischoff uses the statement as a transition back to the action.
Ravishing Rick Rude & Paul Orndorff vs. Dustin Rhodes & Kensuke Sasaki
This match combines the U.S. and TV Title feuds into one. Rude and Sasaki were both dealing with injuries, so WCW decided a tag match would be the best option. Rude & Orndorff come to the ring wearing similar robes. I know they both have ties to Harley Race, but they look like a regular tag team. They even disrobe together after Rude tells all the fat, out of shape, inner-city sweat hogs to keep down the noise. Tony then talks about how Rude won back his U.S. Title in controversial fashion. Both his and Dustin Rhodes’ shoulders were off the mat, but the ref counted three anyway.
Rude and Sasaki start the match and Rick mocks Kensuke for his look. They shove each other and Sasaki gets the advantage. Rude tries some forearms, but Sasaki goes after his arm. Orndorff then enters the match, but he gets the same treatment from both Kensuke and Dustin. They take turns attacking Orndorff, but he makes a tag. Dustin and Rick brawl and Rhodes back drops Rude, but Rick surprises him with a knee. However, Rhodes returns the favor until he flies over the ropes on a missed lariat. Then, Rude & Orndorff attack Dustin on the floor and double team him in their corner. They wear Rhodes down with holds, while the fans chant, “Paula,” at Orndorff. Dustin finally fights back and reverses two types of piledrivers from Rude before hitting Rick with a Tombstone. He finally makes a tag and Sasaki hits Rude with an elbow, cross body, and an atomic drop. He also hits multiple clotheslines and a press slam before heading to the top, but Orndorff pushes him into the ring. Rude capitalizes by hitting the Rude Awakening and getting the pin, but Sasaki’s shoulders clearly come off the mat. (I don’t know if that was a botch. It looked like Kensuke got too animated in his kick-out attempts.)
This was a solid enough match and there was some good action, but I think I expected more given the participants. I have to consider the injuries, so it was probably about as good as can be expected. I would imagine that singles bouts would have been better if all the men were healthy. I can’t complain about what we got. It was decent enough for the circumstances.
Winners: Rude & Orndorff (9:25)
Next, Gordon Solie hosts the WCW Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The fans give Gordon a good reaction, so he thanks them. First, he lists legends who have passed, including Andre the Giant, who died early in 1993. He asks for a moment of silence, but it takes a while for the fans to oblige. Gordon says the Hall of Fame will be at WCW’s HQ. (They had a physical Hall of Fame? I’m surprised WWE still doesn’t.) Gordon first introduces Lou Thesz and lists his accomplishments. Second, he inducts Verne Gagne and lists the multiple halls of fame that Verne has already joined. Gagne has to fight back tears. Third, he inducts Mr. Wrestling II. He talks about how he was invited to Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, but the secret service told him he couldn’t wear the mask, so he declined the offer. Finally, Gordon inducts the late Eddie Graham. His son Mike accepts the plaque on his behalf. (I can’t tell which is louder, Mike’s tie or that big diamond earring.)
Missy is with Lord James Blears and John Tolos. She immediately starts flirting with John and says he looked like he had a good time at Slamfest. He says he had a great time seeing his old buddies, but he’s having a better time today. He also says that professional wrestling is the greatest sport in the world and WCW is the only way to spell wrestling. (He didn’t have a problem spelling it WWF when he was the Coach. I guess he’d rather forget about that.) Missy then turns to James, who has a lot less energy than Tolos. He says he has a present for Missy and gives her an English monocle. She raises it to her eye and does a terrible English accent before sending it back to the ring.
Sting vs. The Prisoner
This match was originally supposed to be Sting vs. Scott Norton, but Norton backed out of the show. (I guess he heard he would lose to Sting and decided it wasn’t worth appearing. I can see why Bischoff apparently didn’t like Norton.) Cappetta announces this is a Bounty Match, but he never explains what that means. The commentators say that someone put a bounty on Sting’s head. (That isn’t explained either.) The Prisoner enters in his same outfit from the WWF. He even still has Boss Man’s nightstick, which causes a “Boss Man” chant. Sting orders the ref to make the Prisoner drop the stick.
The Prisoner immediately starts choking Sting. (There’s a surprise!) He flails around like an idiot and only breaks the choke before the five-count before doing it again. He then mixes it up a little with a backbreaker, but he misses a corner charge. However, he throws Sting to the floor and—chokes him. This time, he at least uses a cable. Nick Patrick sees him and gives him a five-count to stop instead of disqualifying him, even when he uses the cord to hang Sting. They head back inside and continue fighting until Sting hits a sort of cross body and a back drop. He also hits a Stinger Splash, but he has to push the Prisoner to the mat for a pin attempt. Then, Sting misses an elbow, but the Prisoner makes the mistake of arguing with the ref. Sting uses the opening to hit a flying clothesline for the win.
This was awful. Nailz still can’t wrestle. He’s learned a couple of more moves since his time in the WWF, but he can’t even do those well. Sting deserves better than this and he will soon be involved in something bigger. This is Nailz only PPV appearance for WCW. Bischoff probably realized he wasn’t worth the trouble just to stick it to Vince.
Winner: Sting (5:16)
They plug Beach Blast again, while the ring crew carries part of the cage behind Larry & Tony. They joke that they’re in the way.
Next, Bischoff is with The Crusher and Ox Baker. Baker psychs himself up, while Crusher talks about his hundred megaton bicep. He also talks about tossing bums out of saloons and jokes that Baker is one he missed. Crusher starts name dropping all his grandchildren and says they’d like to see him step into a cage with Ox. (Baker is more interested in waving at fans.) Crusher keeps taunting Baker, who says he’d like to get into the cage if the Bruiser is willing. Baker then jokes that he noticed the Crusher is better looking than him. Then, he starts hugging and humping poor Bischoff, so Eric nervously sends it back to the ring. (That was nonsense, but it was entertaining nonsense.)
Cage Match for the Tag Team Titles: The Hollywood Blonds (c) vs. Dos Hombres
The Blonds beat Steamboat & Douglas to become tag champions and then declared that Steamboat & Douglas wouldn’t receive any rematches. However, a mysterious masked team called Dos Hombres appeared on WCW Saturday Night and got a surprise non-title victory over the Blonds. It was obvious that it was Steamboat & Douglas under masks, so a Cage Match was booked to settle the score. However, there’s one problem. Shane Douglas left WCW over a contract dispute. Tom Zenk would take his place in this match, which works because the mask hides his identity. The commentators would imply that it’s Douglas, but Shane is nowhere near this show. Cappetta still introduces them as Steamboat & Douglas, but he sounds unsure. Steamboat grabs a mic and says that the outfits are good luck charms, so they will wear them again. Before the match begins, they show two mysterious men in the audience watching and talking. Tony and Larry speculate that they might be Hollywood agents.
Austin starts the match and it quickly becomes clear he’s in there with Steamboat. Ricky catches both men with chops and arm drags before tagging “Douglas”. (I’ll refer to him this way to avoid confusion.) The two men trade off attempts to ram each other into the cage until “Douglas” succeeds. Steamboat then returns and gives Austin a dangerous looking back drop that nearly lands Steve on his head! (He seems to tweak his back on the move.) Ricky also tosses Austin into the cage, but Steve responds with an eye-poke. Pillman enters the match and continues the eye-based offense, but he falls victim to double-teaming by Dos Hombres. Steamboat also press slams Brian into the cage, but Pillman pulls him into Austin’s boot. Austin returns, but he sells his back and Steamboat ends up hooking Steve into a tree of woe from the top of the cage! He then splashes Steve and tags “Douglas”, but he misses a second splash. Pillman returns and the Blonds double team “Douglas” and choke him with the tag rope. However, he raises a boot when Pillman does a jumping nothing. Brian manages to tag, but Dos Hombres pinball Steve around with punches until Austin hits a spinebuster. The Blonds then attempt a Rocket Launcher, but “Douglas” raises his knees and tags Steamboat. He cleans house, gives Austin an electric chair drop, and crotches Pillman on the ropes. Then, all four men brawl and Dos Hombres get the advantage. Steamboat then climbs to the top of the cage, removes his mask, and hits a flying cross body onto both Blonds! He gets a two, but the timekeeper mistakenly rings the bell. All four men brawl again and the Hombres look to have control, but Austin surprises “Douglas” with a Stun Gun. He makes the cover while Pillman stops Steamboat with a DDT and the Blonds get the win.
This was a fun cage match with a hot finish, despite the errant bell. The Blonds were a great team, so it’s good to see them get the win. Plus, it makes no sense for Dos Hombres to go over since Douglas is gone. However, they did a good job of making both teams look strong. Steamboat’s dive off the top of the cage was great. WCW does look a bit dishonest by trying to convince everyone that Douglas was under the mask, but I guess this is the best they could do with the situation.
Winners: The Hollywood Blonds (16:08)
Next, Eric is with Dusty Rhodes, Stu Hart, and Mr. Wrestling II. Bischoff asks Dusty about the last match, but Rhodes would rather congratulate Mr. Wrestling on his induction. Then, he yells about that dirty old Assassin challenging him. Dusty says his big ass as standing out there, so come and get it. Eric then asks Mr. Wrestling what’s going through his mind. Mr. Wrestling doesn’t know who Dusty was talking about, but he says Dusty is ready either way. He then congratulates and thanks WCW for the honor he received. He calls his induction the big payoff and thanks Eric. Then, Eric talks to Stu, who rambles about all of his children and name drops both Davey Boy and Jim Neidhart. (You know Eric was holding his breath hoping Stu wouldn’t mention Bret or Owen.) Eric talks about how Davey will face Vader and Stu wishes Bulldog all the luck. He sings Davey’s praises and says he hope Davey can overpower Vader.
NWA World Title Match: Barry Windham (c) vs. Arn Anderson
WCW is clearly building to a Flair/Windham match, but Ric is still waiting out his 90-Day no-compete clause. It makes sense to give Arn a title shot. He has deserved one for a while and it helps build the storyline for Flair. During the entrances, Tony says that Tully snubbed the Horsemen and he talks about Roma being the newest member. (Wasn’t the story that Windham snubbed the Horsemen and attacked Tully? I guess someone corrects Tony in his headset because he quickly changes gears.)
Arn quickly surprises Barry with a shoulder block, belly-to-belly, and a back drop for a few two-counts. He taunts Windham by saying he almost had him, but Barry slaps him. Then, Arn fakes out Windham on a punch and hits a DDT, but he still only gets a two. Barry then regroups and pulls Arn to the ramp, but Arn reverses Barry into the turnbuckles. Anderson attempts to capitalize with a flying axehandle, but Barry punches him and hits his own DDT. He follows that up by throwing Arn outside again. However, Arn slingshots him to the floor and rams him into the guardrail. Barry comes up bleeding, so Arn attacks the cut for a while. Anderson even goes to the top, but Barry dropkicks him off the turnbuckles and suplexes him on the outside. They return to the ring and Barry hits another suplex, but Arn surprises him with a spinebuster. Barry avoids the pin by rolling outside and then collects his belt. He tries to leave the match, but Arn grabs him and sends him into the ring. The ref keeps warning Arn for attacking the cut, so Arn shoves him to the mat and instantly regrets it. Windham, on the other hand, uses the opening to nail Arn with the belt and the ref recovers to make a three-count.
It wasn’t a long match, but they packed some great storytelling into it. Arn is so good at the small details in matches. The blood also added some intensity. This is a prime example of how to do a shorter title match while still making it feel big. It was obvious that Arn wasn’t winning the title, but they did a good job of making him look strong in defeat. Plus, it builds heel heat for Windham.
Winner: Barry Windham (10:55)
Larry and Tony then recap the night and talk about the main event. Tony mentions that Vader attacked Bulldog during a public workout, but they don’t show any footage. (I kept waiting for a clip, but it never happened.) Tony says they’ve had a little of everything tonight and now they have a WCW Title Match.
WCW Title Match: Davey Boy Smith vs. Big Van Vader (c) (w/ Harley Race)
Tony says that Bulldog is dedicating this match to all the people Vader has hurt. He even mentions a jobber named Joe Thurman that was legitimately injured during a match. (Vader apparently broke his back with a powerbomb. Foley says in his book that Vader was in tears over the incident, which is hard to picture with him.) WCW finally gave Davey some proper music. He enters to a remixed version of “Rule Britannia”. Vader then makes his entrance and tells the camera it’s Vader Time. Tony says there’s never been a world champion this big.
Davey shows off his power by absorbing both a clothesline and an avalanche attack from Vader, so Vader responds by clubbing the hell out of him. He also distracts the ref so Race can attack Bulldog. Then, they end up fighting on the floor and Vader goes for another avalanche attack, but Davey moves and Vader crashes over the guardrail. Davey then impressively slams Vader over it and takes him inside for an equally impressive delayed suplex. Vader surprises Davey with a boot, but Bulldog catches him in a powerslam and clotheslines Vader out of the ring. He returns and Davey attempts a crucifix, but Vader turns it into a Samoan Drop. He follows up with some elbow drops that are quite close to Davey’s crotch before hitting a Vader Bomb, but he only gets a two! Vader then continues the attack with a slam and a flying avalanche attack, but Davey blocks a superplex attempt. Then, Bulldog hits a flying headbutt, but he knocks himself loopy. Vader pounces on the wounded Bulldog and Davey tries to fight back with a modified atomic drop and a sunset flip, but it’s not enough. Vader hits a flying splash, but he hurts himself and screams, “Shit!” He regroups outside, so Race attacks Davey to buy him time. Bulldog fights back until Vader sits on him, but Davey answers by powering Vader into an electric chair drop. He also catches Vader and hits a variation of the running powerslam, but Race pulls Davey out of the ring. Vader then nails him with a chair, so the ref calls for the bell.
This was an enjoyable power match until that finish. They were telling a good story and structured everything perfectly for two guys this size. However, that finish deflated an otherwise good bout. I get that this feud will continue, but I wanted to see something more definitive. With that said, what we got did a good job of making both men look strong.
Winner: Davey Boy Smith (by DQ) (16:16)
After the match, Vader continues the attack until Marcus Bagwell tries to make the save. Vader attacks him, so 2 Cold Scorpio also attempts to help. Vader thwarts him as well, but then Sting arrives. He hits Vader with a flying axehandle and some punches, so Vader retreats. The fans cheer, as Davey celebrates with Sting.
Next, they go to Eric and Magnum T.A., who says it was an exciting evening. Magnum says that the title elevates everyone to a new level. He also says that Vader did everything he could to retain his title, but there’s still a lot to be settled. He claims that Vader and Bulldog will contend for the title for a long time. (It’s not that long.) Then, Magnum calls Vader the bull of the woods and says he walks the walk and talks the talk. Bischoff then thanks Magnum and sends it back to Tony and Larry. They’re with Verne Gagne, who says the show was a real eye-opener. He thinks WCW captured the real wrestling talent of the world and says he’s shocked by how good the athletes are in WCW. Larry then repeats his pyramid line and Tony Schiavone says goodnight.
– The Cage Match was fun.
– The NWA Title match was good.
– Some of the legends interviews were quite amusing.
– The Legends six-man was surprisingly fun.
– Paul Roma as a Horseman.
– Some of the legends matches deflated the crowd.
– The finish of the main event was disappointing.
Performer of the Night:
I’m going to give it to Arn Anderson. It was nice to see him get a high-profile match and he did great. I love his storytelling in the ring and the little details in his matches.
I know some people don’t like this show, but I thought it was decent. I think they should have limited it to one legends match and focused a bit more on their current stars, but it was still a fairly solid show. The Sting/Prisoner match was the only truly awful part. Everything else wasn’t offensive and some of it was quite good. Paul Roma being announced as a Horseman is laughable, but Flair was still his entertaining self in the segment.
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My next review will be King of the Ring ‘93. Look for it next Saturday.