Classic Wrestling Review: Slamboree ’94

WWE, WCW, Slamboree

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Slamboree

May 22, 1994

Philadelphia Civic Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

News & Notes: Rick Rude suffered his career-ending injury in Japan, but he still won the match and regained the International World Title. The plan was for Rude to face Vader on this PPV. WCW would continue promoting the match despite knowing Rude wouldn’t be able to compete. The promotion continued until the day of this event because WCW wanted to turn it into a storyline. Meanwhile, the WCW Champion, Ric Flair, needed a feud to hold him over until Hogan arrived. Col. Parker promised to bring in a mysterious former champion to face Flair and introduced a large masked man. The man would attack Flair on WCW Saturday Night, but his identity isn’t revealed until this show. WCW would tease possible opponents, including Mr. Perfect. They wanted to sign him, but couldn’t reach a deal. However, that didn’t stop them from dropping hints. Sherri Martel, who now went by Sensuous Sherri because Sensational was trademarked by the WWF, appeared on WCW TV looking for someone to manage. She said she was looking for the perfect man. WCW wouldn’t sign Perfect for another couple of years.

Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan officially signed a contract with WCW in April. His debut was set for June and would include a parade at Disney-MGM Studios. This is the final pre-Hogan era WCW PPV and things were about to change. Also, in other news, 2 Cold Scorpio was released by WCW for failing multiple drug tests for marijuana. He would soon turn up in ECW. Then, there is one last interesting note before I start the review. Road Dogg wrestled a dark match before this event. He teamed with his brother, Brad Armstrong, to face Pretty Wonderful. However, he wouldn’t sign a deal with WCW. He will show up in the WWF soon enough.

The show opens with photos of various WCW legends while the narrator tells us to hold on for the ride of our lives. The past collides with the present, and today’s WCW superstars will put everything on the line. That seems a bit over-dramatic. I somehow doubt they’re putting everything on the line.

Mean Gene then welcomes everyone to Philadelphia while fireworks explode. He lists off every cliché about the city and then welcomes the legends. He introduces Ole Anderson, The Assassin, Penny Banner, Red Bastien, Tully Blanchard, The Crusher, and Don Curtis. He then tries to introduce Terry Funk, but Verne Gagne emerges instead. Both Verne and Gene are confused, so Gene says he guesses there’s no Terry Funk. Next, Gene announces Hard Boiled Haggerty, Larry the Ax Hennig, Killer Kowalski, Ernie Ladd, Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Mosca, Harley Race, Ray Stevens, Lou Thesz, Johnny Weaver, Mr. Wrestling II, and Tommy Young. Gene calls Mr. Wrestling the Paragon of Probity. I had to look up that word. It means integrity and honesty. I’m glad I sought out the definition because I thought it had something to do with probing and started to wonder about Mr. Wrestling. Then, Gene says he’s sending it to Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura, but we cut to Tony and Bobby Heenan, who looks annoyed at being called Jesse.

Tony says it’s time for the headbutting to begin and welcomes everyone to the show. He also says we don’t know who Ric Flair will face tonight. Heenan replies you have to be nuts to live in Philly and Flair has to be nuts to put his title on the line when he doesn’t know his opponent. Tony then talks about the other matches and WCW board meetings.

Tony introduces Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel, who is holding the International World Title in his hands. Nick invites Sting to join them. Sting arrives in a bright red suit and walks past Michael Buffer, who is patiently waiting in the ring. I’m unsure why someone didn’t tell him to wait outside instead of blocking the camera shot, but what do I know? Bockwinkel then reads a statement from the WCW Championship Committee. They ruled the recent title match between Sting and Rude is a no contest and stripped Rude of the title. They also ruled the title will be returned to Sting. ECW superfan, Straw Hat Guy, goes crazy over the announcement, but Sting doesn’t. He says the title should be won in the ring, not in the boardroom. He refuses the title, but he says he wants to wrestle Vader for it later in the night. Bockwinkel agrees a bit too quickly to be believable. I guess Nick had things to do and places to be.

U.S. Title Match: Stunning Steve Austin (c) (w/ Col. Parker) vs. Johnny B. Badd

Notes: Badd challenged the winner of Austin/Muta at Spring Stampede and he got his wish. Michael Buffer introduces Johnny B. Badd, who is wearing a cape that says, “Philly Rules.” Then, they show one of the smallest fan signs I’ve ever seen. It’s the size of a baseball card and has a little picture of Badd from around 1992. I’m unsure how the producers even noticed it. When Austin makes his entrance, Buffer accidentally calls him a two-time World Champion, but he corrects himself to say U.S. Champion. He inadvertently predicted the future, and he doesn’t realize it. Also, I should point out that they show Sherri in the crowd during this match. Heenan claims she’s stalking her prey and looking for someone to manage.

The Match: Badd gets the early advantage with takedowns, but Austin tries hair-pulling to gain control. It doesn’t work, and Johnny works the arm for a while. He also hits some arm drags and a flying head scissors. Austin finally takes over with an axehandle and some interference by Parker. He sends Badd in and out of the ring and wears him down with a chinlock. However, Johnny raises his knees when Austin tries a diving knee drop. Then, Badd tosses Austin around the ring and Parker tries to distract him. Austin accidentally runs into the Colonel, and Badd rolls him up for two, but the timekeeper rings the bell early. Badd follows up with a flying sunset flip, but he still can’t get the win. Next, he attempts a back suplex, but Austin pushes off the ropes and awkwardly reverses it. He fumbles with the pin, but manages to get a three-count.

Thoughts: The match was slow and the finish was botched. It started picking up some steam toward the end, but the closing sequence killed any momentum the match built. This was not a great way to begin the show. I know these two are capable of better matches with each other because I’ve seen them, but this wasn’t good. I don’t know what they were going for with the ending. It was messed up so badly that it didn’t make much sense.

Winner: Steve Austin (16:12)

Next, Mean Gene says he will talk to many of the legends throughout the night. He also plugs the hotline where fans can vote whether Cactus Jack should be banned from wrestling. The crowd boos the idea and so do I. Why would they want to do that? Then, Gene welcomes Wahoo McDaniel and Ernie Ladd. Ernie says its great to be honored by the sport, and he’s excited to be there. He doesn’t sound very excited. He sounds kind of bored. Gene then turns to Wahoo and snitches on Heenan for mocking McDaniel for selling blankets. Wahoo tells Bobby to be careful, or he might be buried in one of those blankets. He also says it’s great to be there. Gene then says he wanted to interview Dusty Rhodes, but he’s in Hollywood. They instead go to some pre-taped comments from Dusty.

Dusty is definitely in Hollywood and not at all in front of a green screen. He says he’s busy working on a big project, and says hello to his friend Ray Stevens. Ray asked Dusty how it feels to be a legend, but Dusty says he’s not retired. He’s in his prime. Then, Dusty sends a message to Dustin. He tells him life is like a winding railroad, so keep your hands on the throttle and your eyes on the rail. He also tells Dustin to watch his back because Daddy isn’t going to be there. Then, he says, “Give ‘em that million dollar smile,” and does just that. Dusty, you’re not supposed to read the stage cues out loud. Those are instructions, not part of the script.

Terry Funk vs. Tully Blanchard

Notes: WCW finally got Tully Blanchard to appear after that disastrous Four Horsemen revival ended. They could have used him a year earlier. He’s here for a legends match with Terry Funk. I’m pretty sure Funk doesn’t consider himself retired any more than Dusty. Also, I think it’s funny Funk returned to WCW. He said they weren’t worth a damn earlier in the year. I wonder how WCW felt about that.

Blanchard enters the arena to what would eventually become Chris Jericho’s babyface theme. It sounds like inspirational music from some teen drama. When Funk makes his entrance, he goes into the crowd to celebrate with some fans chanting, “E-C-Dub.” Meanwhile, Gordon Solie joins Bobby Heenan for commentary on this match, which makes me happy. I’ve missed Gordon.

The Match: Funk throws his chaps at Tully, and they begin brawling. Funk grabs things that aren’t nailed down, like crutches and a plank of wood. He piledrives Blanchard onto it and also hits a DDT on the ramp. Then, he gives Tully another piledriver and attempts a moonsault, but he misses. Referee Nick Patrick gets taken out when Funk reverses a whip, so Terry grabs a chair. He tries piledriving Tully off the turnbuckles onto it, but Blanchard is having none of that. Terry awkwardly sits on the chair while Tully holds onto the ropes. Nick Patrick recovers and tries to stop the wild brawling, but Tully punches him. Funk then grabs his branding iron and tries to bend it around Tully’s head. Patrick finally has enough and decides to disqualify both men. Funk doesn’t care. He goes into the crowd and grabs Straw Hat Guy’s hat and drops an elbow on it before headbutting it and carrying it around in his mouth. I have no idea why, but it was highly amusing.

Thoughts: This was kind of a mess, but it was an entertaining one. Funk decided he was going out there to act as crazy as possible and I loved it. The match will never win any awards, but it was fun to watch. The fans agreed because they were chanting bullshit when it was abruptly ended. I know they needed more time for the important matches, but I wouldn’t have minded this going longer.

Winner: Double DQ (7:15)

Funk continues stalking around ringside and Heenan seems legitimately shook. He tells Terry he always liked him, but he says Gordon doesn’t. Solie ignores this and plugs some Slamboree merchandise before sending it to Jesse Ventura.

Jesse talks about the events from the previous night’s WCW Saturday Night. Ric Flair interfered in a tag match involving the Stud Stable, but a large masked man attacked him. Ric talks about how Parker has promised a 6’7” 300-pound former World Champion. It’s pretty obvious who it is even with the mask, but they don’t say. Ric talks about how Philly likes seeing two men get in the trenches and fight. He also talks about Terry Funk looking meaner than ever. Ric says he will walk the aisle tonight more glorious than he’s ever been. He says he doesn’t care who is under the mask. Jesse asks how he can prepare for someone he doesn’t know. Flair answers when you’re the World Champion, you stay ready for any type of action. Finally, he says Philly likes it dirty, and the dirtiest player in the game is going to survive one more time. He then woos and leaves the scene, so Jesse tries his own woo. It isn’t very good.

Larry Zbyszko vs. Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William)

Notes: Larry has come out of retirement to feud with Steven Regal because Regal has been mocking him lately. Zbyszko was working as a commentator, and Regal took exception to his comments. This is a non-title match, but Regal is still the TV Champion. Tony & Bobby return to commentary for the match and they show a fan sign that says, “Cane the Brain.” Tony points it out, but Heenan claims it means they want him to play Citizen Kane. Heenan also claims Regal told him he absolutely hates Philadelphia.

The Match: Regal stalls for a while, but Larry starts taking him down to the mat. He also gives Steven a spinning back kick, so Regal regroups. Larry keeps using underhanded tactics to lock Regal in holds, so Regal makes an amazing looking annoyed expression. He fires back with forearms and uppercuts on Larry and also uses William as a distraction. Regal then blocks a backslide and puts Larry in a modified surfboard stretch. Then, Larry answers with punches and forearms as well as a sleeper, but Regal gives him a jawbreaker. William also nails Larry with the umbrella. However, Zbyszko reverses a butterfly suplex into a pin for the surprise victory.

Thoughts: I enjoyed this match. It was hard hitting and told a good story. Plus, Regal’s facial expressions and mannerisms were amusing as always. The fans were a bit distracted by chanting at Sir William, but they popped for the finish. Also, Larry doesn’t look like he lost a step at all. I am perfectly happy seeing a feud between these two.

Winner: Larry Zbyszko (11:30)

Mean Gene is backstage, and he again plugs the Cactus Jack poll on the hotline. He also says he will interview Hulk Hogan on Friday. Then, Gene welcomes Terry Funk, but he calls him out for no-showing the legend introductions at the start of the program. Funk says all of those men are legends, but he is THE legend. Terry calls Philly the most hostile city in the nation and mocks them for their pollution and violence. Then, Funk says it’s live, and he can say whatever he wants. He mocks Dusty Rhodes. He says he can’t beat on Dusty, so he will beat his son. He promises he will be there the rest of the night. Gene has enough and ends the interview because he’s worried about what Funk will do. I love crazy Terry Funk promos and this was no exception.

Next, Gordon Solie hosts the Hall of Fame ceremony. He says the inductees cross all areas and federations of wrestling. First, he introduces Lou Thesz, who will present everyone with their plaques. Then, he inducts Harley Race. Gordon talks about the car wreck that nearly ended Race’s career and everything he accomplished afterward. Gordon inducts The Crusher next and talks about his record number of cage matches. Ernie Ladd is next, and Solie talks about both his football and wrestling careers. Ernie looks moved and honored by Gordon’s introduction. The Assassin is then inducted and Gordon mentions that he helps train new stars, which I’m surprised they admitted. Then, Ole Anderson is inducted. Gordon says it would take all night to list his accomplishments, but he’s left a unique mark on the sport. Finally, Gordon posthumously inducts Dick the Bruiser. His son and daughter accept the plaque on his behalf.

Meanwhile, Jesse is backstage with Col. Parker. He calls him a thinking man with a plan. Parker replies that it’s warm in there, but he’s going to turn up the heat on Dustin Rhodes in the Bull-Rope Match. Jesse then brings up the mystery opponent for Flair. He wants to know who it is, but Parker doesn’t tell him. He says the man is over 6’7”, over 300 lbs, and has animosity for Ric Flair. He also says he’s going to let all the cats out of the bag. How many 300-pound cats can you keep in one bag? That’s one large bag! Also, are they trying to fat shame the mystery opponent? They keep driving home the weight. I get the feeling WCW wasn’t happy with his physical condition.

Bull-Rope Match: Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck (w/ Col. Parker)

Notes: Dustin Rhodes’ problems with Buck and the Stud Stable continue. Now, they’ve escalated to a Bull-Rope Match. Cappetta explains the rules. He says both men will be tied to the end of the rope, and the attached cowbell can be used as a weapon. If either of these men have a fever, then at least they have the cure. Dustin makes his entrance and starts swinging the rope to intimidate Buck. He isn’t fazed. Buck immediately attacks Dustin when he reaches the ring.

The Match: They brawl to the floor, and Dustin hangs Buck over the ropes. Then, he drags him inside and ties the rope around Buck’s wrist before both men trade punches. The fans chant, “We want blood,” while Dustin pulls the rope into Buck’s crotch and whips him. Buck gets a foot on the rope, so Rhodes attacks the leg and wraps it around the post. He also digs the cowbell into Buck’s knee, but Buck gets the bell and attacks Dustin’s back. He then wraps Dustin’s shirt over his head and returns to whipping him. Next, Buck ties Dustin to the ring post and rams the bell into various parts of Rhodes’ body. Dustin manages to reverse ten-punches into an atomic drop, but Nick Patrick is taken out in the cross-fire. Parker uses the opening to interfere, but it backfires and Dustin nails Buck with the cowbell for the win.

Thoughts: This wasn’t as good as their Spring Stampede match, but it was still a decent brawl. These two are good at building a hard-hitting fight. There were some entertaining spots and Buck did his usual over-the-top selling. However, I agree with the fans. This could have used a little blood. I’m guessing WCW told them to tone it down after their previous bout. It was just long enough to not overstay its welcome and I enjoyed it.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes (12:47)

After the match, Terry Funk skulks down to the ring and nails Dustin with his branding iron. He and Buck attack Dustin. He is bleeding from the branding iron, so I guess the fans got their blood after all. Funk and Buck try to give Dustin a spike piledriver, but the officials arrive to stop them. They finally convince the Stud Stable to leave, and do their best to hide the blood, but it’s all over the mat. Heenan says this goes all the way back to the Funk and Rhodes family feuding in the past. Then, Tony talks about the rest of the card, but Heenan says he’s heading to the back to find out what Terry Funk is doing.

Then, Gene plugs the hotline again before introducing Red Bastien and Ray Stevens. Gene brings up the Hall of Fame inductions. I guess he’s trying to rub in the fact that Ray wasn’t one of them. Ray says he’s having a great time. Gene asks him if he has the itch to get back in the ring, but Ray says not really. Gene then talks to Red, who says it’s a good idea he got out of the business. Gene asks him for his thoughts on WCW and Red says the wrestlers are bigger, faster, stronger, and have better training and nutritional programs. I can’t tell if he’s serious or making a subtle comment on steroids. They don’t show Ray in the shot, so I have no idea how he felt about those comments. Gene then offers to have a cold one with them after the show.

Next, Flair makes his entrance while Tony points out that the champion is coming out first. He says Parker refused to come out before the champion. Also, we hear Jesse Ventura has joined the commentary team while Heenan is backstage. Jesse does commentary for the next two matches. Parker enters next and Jesse jokes that he’s the surprise opponent. He’s not. Parker takes the mic from Buffer and lets the proverbial cat out of the bag when he introduces—Barry Windham. He rushed through the introduction, which kind of took the wind out of the moment, but it was always obvious.

WCW Title Match: Ric Flair (c) vs. Barry Windham (w/ Col. Parker)

Notes: Michael Buffer only introduces Ric Flair because Parker already announced Windham. Tony makes sure to point out a Hulk Hogan sign in the crowd. They’re making this match seem like even more of an afterthought than it already is. You can tell this is a placeholder feud for Flair until Hogan arrives. Windham was supposed to make a full-time comeback, but he was unreliable. He already no-showed some events, and they worried he wouldn’t be at this PPV. Terry Funk was reportedly the backup opponent for Flair if Windham didn’t perform.

The Match: Flair controls the match early with chops and punches until Barry surprises him with a lariat. He then whips Flair into the corner for a flip and Parker attacks him while the ref is distracted. Flair tries to fight back, but Windham catches him on the top rope and hits a superplex. Ric finally gets the advantage and puts Windham in a Figure Four, but Barry makes it to the ropes. Windham also blocks another couple of attempts, but Flair hits a flying axehandle and both men tumble to the floor on a cross body. Then, Ric fends off another Windham come back and more interference by Parker before doing a slingshot sunset flip. Parker tries to help Windham reverse it, but the ref catches them. Next, Barry whips Flair into the corner for another flip, but this time Flair races to the other turnbuckle and hits a flying cross body for the win. There goes babyface Flair hitting top rope moves again! I guess only heel Flair gets caught on the top.

Thoughts: The finish might have been good, but the rest of the match was disappointing. Windham was out of shape and barely motivated. It’s sad to see the last two matches between these men after what they’ve done in the past. It wasn’t a terrible bout, but it felt like Windham was going through the motions. I’ll give Flair credit for trying to make something of it, but he couldn’t save this.

Winner: Ric Flair (13:21)

Tony then plugs the July PPV, which he tells us has been renamed Bash at the Beach. They show a cheesy commercial starring Mean Gene and Bobby Heenan. A bunch of bikini-clad women and surfers keep asking about the big one. They mean waves, but the way everyone says big one with a wink makes it sound dirty. The narrator then gives the date for the PPV, so one of the women says cool in the most disinterested voice.

Gene says he hopes the women will join them in July and then he plugs the hotline once more. Then, he introduces Don Curtis and The Crusher. Gene talks about Don’s glory days with Mark Lewin. Curtis said he got whipped around a few times, but he loved what he was doing. Gene accuses Don of being a ladies man, but he says that was Lewin. Gene then turns to the Crusher, who talks about his late friend, Dick the Bruiser. Gene also invites the Crusher out for some beers and some polka. The Crusher likes the idea and hopes there will be large women involved. I never would have taken the Crusher for a chubby-chaser. Is this where Vince Russo got the idea for Mike Awesome’s later WCW gimmick? I’m glad to see the Crusher is just as entertaining as he was at the last Slamboree. This guy is great!

Next, they show pre-taped comments from the special ref for the next match, Dave Schultz. No, it’s not the wrestler who beat up John Stossel. It’s the former NHL player for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was nicknamed the Broad Street Bully, hence the name for the match. They show clips of Schultz fighting during his NHL days. He claims the match will be by the rules and the participants won’t pull anything past him. He guarantees he will be watching them closely.

Broad Street Bully Match for the Tag Team Titles: Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan vs. The Nasty Boys (c)

Notes: You may be wondering why Cactus & Maxx Payne aren’t teaming. First, Maxx was in the doghouse because he injured Jerry Sags’ shoulder. Secondly, this was originally going to be the Nasty Boys vs. Kevin & Dave Sullivan. Dave is the former Equalizer, who was revealed to be Kevin’s kayfabe brother. The Nasties began bullying Dave, who adopted a gimmick of being dyslexic. The problem is, WCW apparently thinks dyslexic means mentally handicapped because they had Dave act much like the Eugene character. He would eventually refer to himself as Evad because he reads his own name backward. It feels like WCW heard a vague definition of dyslexia and ran with it. This is one of their more embarrassing gimmicks. We are spared seeing Dave in the ring because he injured his knee and WCW replaced him with Cactus Jack. Cactus put off getting his ear fixed for this match and sadly would never get that surgery.

Schultz enters the arena in a Flyers jersey, and he carries a hockey stick. Buffer says there are no rules and falls count anywhere. I’m not sure why Schultz said the match will be by the rules if there aren’t any. Then, Cactus & Sullivan come to the ring. Kevin is wearing a Phillies jersey, and he throws a hat into the crowd. The match immediately becomes a brawl when the Nasties arrive.

The Match: Everyone fights on the floor, and they start hitting each other with chairs, fire extinguishers, and trash cans. The can has real trash in it, and you hear something break when it spills. Sullivan gives Knobbs a double stomp, but Jack misses a Cactus Elbow and crashes onto the trash can. The Nasties bash Cactus in the head with both the can and a chair. There are many head shots in this match, which is uncomfortable in retrospect. Then, Sags grabs a table and beal tosses Cactus off the ramp onto it. He also hits Jack with a light stand, but Cactus answers by dropping the broken table onto Jerry. Sags then takes Cactus to the ring and hits a flying elbow, but he doesn’t cover. He pushes Dave Schultz and tries to use his hockey stick, so Schultz fights back. He pulls Sags’ shirt over his head and punches him before Jack hits Sags with the hockey stick. Jack then covers and Schultz makes a fast three-count.

Thoughts: This was another fun brawl. I might even say it was slightly more entertaining than the Spring Stampede match. Sure, there wasn’t much selling, but there were some great spots. It was hard-hitting too, but it might have been a bit too much at times. It’s hard looking back at the hard shots to the head. These guys were swinging for the fences. Also, Schultz’s involvement was enjoyable. He didn’t get in the way and the fans popped for his presence. Plus, the ending leaves the door open for the Nasties to continue the feud later. However, that sadly doesn’t happen. Sags needed surgery for his shoulder, hence the reason for the title switch.

Winners: Cactus & Sullivan (New Champions) (9:56)

Sags attacks Cactus after the match. He hits him with the hockey stick, so Maxx Payne arrives with a guitar. He breaks it over the back of Sags’ head, and the fans go crazy. Cactus, Maxx, & Sullivan then chase Knobbs away from the ring, but Dave Sullivan arrives on crutches and nails Knobbs.

Tony and Jesse then recap the match. Ventura says it’s one of the wildest matches he’s seen. The trainers check on Sags in the ring while Knobbs recovers on the floor. Jesse complains the Nasties were facing five-on-two odds, but Tony doesn’t care. He plugs Slamboree merchandise, so Jesse calls him callous and sadistic. Tony then talks about the main event between Sting and Vader. He recaps Sting refusing the title earlier. Meanwhile, Knobbs and the officials help Sags out of the ring.

Then, Mean Gene plugs the hotline poll again before introducing Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne. They apparently weren’t too impressed by the previous match. Verne hopes Bockwinkel will do something about it. Verne also chuckles about Sags having to go to the hospital. That’s a bit harsh. Gene then talks to Thesz, who jokes they’re using sharp objects instead of the points system in the matches tonight. Gene calls both men two of the greatest and thanks the men before sending it back to ringside.

International World Title Match: Sting vs. Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race)

Notes: Heenan returns to commentary for this match while Vader enters the arena. Heenan claims that Funk jumped Red Bastien backstage. He also claims he couldn’t make it to the ring for the last match because of the chaos. Sting arrives and Tony talks about how Sting didn’t want the title handed to him, but Heenan thinks that’s foolish. Buffer then does his introductions and mistakenly calls Randy Anderson as Randy Peterson. Poor Randy, he had a sad look on his face after the botch. Also, Tony once again mentions Hogan before the match. Heenan threatens to show up when Gene interviews him. It annoys me that they’re putting the focus on Hogan before both world title matches. I get that they want to hype that Hogan will face one of the top guys, but it looks past these matches before they happen.

The Match: The two of them are slow to lock up, but the match quickly becomes a slug-fest. Vader clubs Sting and hits a short-arm clothesline, but Sting fires back with punches and kicks until Vader regroups. Then, they collide multiple times until Vader knocks Sting to the mat and stands on him. Vader also hits a couple of Vader Bombs and an avalanche attack before locking Sting in a leg grapevine. He attacks Sting’s leg for awhile before the match becomes a brawl again. Unfortunately, Randy Anderson is wiped out when Sting misses a clothesline on Vader. Vader follows up with a chokeslam, but there’s no ref. Harley tries to use the opening to nail Sting with a chair and hits Vader by mistake. Sting capitalizes with a DDT, but he only gets two. Vader answers by catching Sting on a Stinger Splash and powerslams him, but he also gets two. Then, Vader attempts a moonsault and misses. Sting covers and Harley tries a flying headbutt, but Sting moves and Race lands on Vader. Sting uses the opening to hit a flying splash and gets the win.

Thoughts: This was another great hard-hitting match between these two. I don’t they’re capable of having a bad match with each other. They told a good story. My only complaint is they reused some spots from their previous matches, but it’s been long enough that it’s not too big of an issue. The finish also helps keep Vader strong even in a loss. Unfortunately, it will be a while before Vader is back in the main event scene. After this match, Sting faces Flair to finally unify the WCW and International Titles into one. Flair wins after turning heel and aligning with Sherri. WCW ditches the WCW Title belt they’ve used since 1991 and uses the Big Gold Belt going forward. It’s a good move. It’s the much better looking belt.

Winner: Sting (New Champion) (13:54)

In typical WCW fashion, Sting’s celebration is short. Fireworks explode and then Tony and Bobby recap the night. Vader walks over to them with a chair and hits the ring post. Vader says he didn’t lose that match. Heenan agrees with him, so Vader walks way while Harley raises his hand. Then, Tony plugs Bash at the Beach and the interview with Hulk Hogan, but Heenan is still rattled by Vader. He can barely speak, so Tony congratulates the new champions and says goodnight.

The Good:

– The main event was excellent.

– The Tag Title Match was good fun.

– Terry Funk was highly entertaining.

– It’s nice to see Cactus Jack finally win gold.

– Regal/Zbyszko was good.

The Bad:

– Flair/Windham was disappointing.

– The opener wasn’t good.

Performer of the Night:

I’m going to give it to Vader. He had a great match with Sting and was apparently working through a minor injury. It’s a shame that Hogan’s arrival will push him back down the card for a bit, but he will get a run with Hogan later.

Final Thoughts:

This was another solid show for WCW. They were on fire in early 1994. There was only a couple of bad or disappointing matches and the rest was good to great. However, this is the last PPV before Hogan arrives. The tone of the company is about to change and many of Hogan’s buddies will fill the roster. It was nice while it lasted.

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My next review will be the WWF’s King of the Ring ‘94. Look for it next Saturday!

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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