Classic Wrestling Review: SuperBrawl IV

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

SuperBrawl IV

February 20, 1994

Albany Civic Center

Albany, Georgia

After Starrcade, the Flair/Vader feud escalated. Flair & Sting faced Vader & Rick Rude in a tag match at Clash of the Champions and Vader injured Flair’s back with a superplex. The match for SuperBrawl was already signed, but the new WCW commissioner, Nick Bockwinkel, tried to postpone it. However, Vader attacked Ricky Steamboat, who was announced to face the winner of Flair/Vader. Ric saw the attack and demanded that Bockwinkel reinstate the match. Nick eventually agreed as long as Flair get a medical release. He then announced that The Boss would be the special ref for the match. This rematch for the WCW Title would take place in the Thundercage, which is the old Thunderdome Cage that WCW previously used. (I guess they had to change the name because of the Mad Max films.) However, it’s not the only Thundercage Match for this show. Sting, Dustin Rhodes, & Brian Pillman will face Rick Rude, Paul Orndorff, & Steve Austin. Sting and Rude began feuding over the World Title. Austin and Pillman were still feuding after the breakup of the Blonds. Also, Rhodes had feuded with all three men, so the feuds were combined into one grudge match.

Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan arrived in WCW to do commentary. (His exit from the WWF happened on RAW when Gorilla Monsoon finally had enough and tossed Heenan out of the building. Bobby would stay with WCW until it closes and you could see his motivation sadly and slowly drain away over the years, but we will get a few good years out of him.) Also, in other news, WCW began talks with Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair opened the line of communication because Hogan was filming Thunder in Paradise nearby where WCW filmed Worldwide. They drop his name multiple times in this broadcast. Get ready. He’s coming.

The show opens with what sounds like the movie phone guy talking about the matches. He says that three titles are on the line and then talks about the two Thundercage Matches. He then says that the purpose of Thundercage is to contain a match of historic proportions when Ric Flair defends his WCW title against Vader. Then, they show Ric Flair working out because the narrator says he’s gone from hunter to prey. Flair runs on a treadmill and claims he’s not even breathing, despite clearly doing that. (I’m guessing he meant he’s not breathing heavily, but even that’s not true.) They also show him awkwardly running up and down the steps of the arena and lifting weights. Flair then does his best Rocky imitation by yelling Vader’s name when he reaches the top.

Tony Schiavone then welcomes everyone. He’s with Bobby Heenan, who predicts there will be a new World’s Champion and says we’ve heard the last, “Woo.” (Heenan is betting against Flair!? Is this bizarro world??) Tony talks about how the Boss is the special referee, so Heenan says that B-O-S-S stands for, “Big ol’ Southern Sow.” (Tony rolls his eyes at that joke.) Tony then talks about an added match because Michael Hayes turned on Johnny B. Badd on Worldwide over the weekend. Heenan jokes about a child knocking out Badd in an airport.

Johnny B. Badd then makes his entrance for that match. He sets off a couple of Badd Blasters and covers the ringside area in confetti that stays there the rest of the show. However, Michael Hayes appears in a wheelchair. Jimmy Garvin pushes him down the ramp and Mean Gene and Nick Bockwinkel meet them. Gene questions what’s happening, but Hayes takes a moment to congratulate Bockwinkel on becoming commissioner. Then, Hayes claims he slipped on the stairs while Garvin says he slipped on a banana peel. Hayes claims he’s injured, so Gene asks for a doctor’s note. Hayes accuses Gene of calling him a liar while Garvin produces a doctor’s note. Bockwinkel reads it while Garvin says he could beat Badd with one arm. Nick smirks and tucks the note into Hayes’ bandages. He then quotes the Freebird rule and says that Garvin has to take Hayes’ place later in the show. Garvin says he’s retired, but Gene says they can find him some gear. Bockwinkel threatens fines and suspensions if Garvin doesn’t comply. (WCW filmed months of TV at a time, so the Hayes turn was filmed long before this show. Unfortunately, Hayes suffered an injury since that taping, so they had to do this change to cover for it. The problem is, the turn only aired the weekend of this PPV. The change doesn’t help a match that already has little build.)

Harlem Heat vs. Thunder & Lightning

It’s been a couple of shows since we saw Harlem Heat. They’re still wrestling as Kane & Kole, but the name change would happen soon. They’re facing the team of Thunder & Lightning, which is a glorified jobber team. I don’t know much about Thunder, but Lightning is Jeff Farmer. (No, it’s not that yep guy. It’s the future Cobra/nWo Sting.) During the entrances, Thunder & Lightning are billed as being from the lightning capital of the world, Orlando, Florida. Heenan jokingly calls them Batman & Robin because of their capes.

Kole and Lightning start the match and Lightning gains the advantage on both him and Kane with shoulder tackles and arm work. Kole receives the same before T & L double team him. However, Kane distracts Thunder and Kole clotheslines him to the floor. Kane rams Thunder into the rail and Harlem Heat double team him for a while. (Meanwhile, they show an inset shot of Flair in his locker room with Arn and Steamboat.) Thunder fights back with a sunset flip, but Kole tags Kane on the way to the mat. Harlem Heat continues the double teaming until Kole misses a flying elbow drop. Then, Lightning tags in and cleans house, but the match becomes a brawl. Lightning attempts an O’Connor Roll on Kole, but Kane kicks him in the ear while the ref is distracted and Kole covers for the win.

This was a very basic match, but it’s nice to see Harlem Heat win on PPV for once. It’s difficult to take Thunder & Lightning seriously. They’re a glorified jobber team and their outfits are ridiculous. (It doesn’t help that Heenan was mocking them.) There was nothing inherently wrong with the match. They didn’t botch anything, but it was dull and uninteresting. This belonged on Saturday Night or Worldwide. However, this match could be a main event compared to the next match.

Winners: Harlem Heat (9:47)

Mean Gene is outside Flair’s locker room. He calls it a human fortress and then turns towards Vader’s locker room, which is blocked by security and guardrails. He says that the guards are there to prevent Vader from getting to Flair before the match. Gene then says he will keep everyone posted on any developments. Heenan jokes that they’re filming an episode of COPS.

Jungle Jim Steele vs. The Equalizer

Jungle Jim Steele is WCW’s newest creation. He looks like a cross between The Ultimate Warrior and Jimmy Snuka. (They should have used this guy for the Renegade because he looks more like the Warrior than Renegade did.) He won’t last long, but you could tell they had high hopes. Steele is billed from the Everglades, but he comes to the ring to the sound of drums and animal noises. (They’re trying to portray him as a Tarzan-like wild man, but they say he’s from the Everglades? Oh, WCW!) Heenan doesn’t pay attention to the entrance. He is too distracted by a woman in the crowd that he calls, “Toots.” Tony has to reel in Bobby to focus on the match. (I don’t blame Heenan for not caring.)

Steele immediately hits some arm drags, but the Equalizer answers with forearms and rams him into the corner. Steele then returns the favor and surprises Equalizer with a roll-up before they trade arm holds. Then, Steele hits a monkey flip and a dropkick, but Equalizer blocks another flip. He then hits a slam and a leg drop before tossing Steele to the floor. He rams Jim into the apron and starts working the ribs before locking Steele in a bear hug. (Heenan jokes that he should jam a finger into the eye socket. He calls it a Greco-Roman Jab. Tony turns to the camera and makes an expression that says, “See what I’m dealing with?”) Steele surprises him with a crucifix pin, but Equalizer continues the attack. Jim tries to fight back again, but Equalizer surprises him with a boot and throws him to the floor. However, Steele catches him at the ropes. Then, there’s a miscommunication on a whip before Jim hits a Thesz Press called The Steele Trap and gets the win.

This was awkward and dull. It’s another match that doesn’t belong on PPV. I get that WCW wants to push Steele, but they could have picked a better opponent for him. (I’m guessing they had trouble finding anyone willing to job to Jim.) You can tell that WCW is still trying to find some new stars, but they will soon have an influx of wrestlers. The reason for that influx was hinted at during this match because Heenan name-dropped Hogan.

Winner: Jim Steele (6:31)

Then, Gene plugs the hotline with Gordon Solie and Larry Zbyszko. There’s a poll on the hotline asking if it was fair for Bockwinkel to make Garvin wrestle. Gene then welcomes both Bockwinkel and Ricky Steamboat. Gene says that Steamboat wanted to face the winner of Vader/Flair and Flair promised him him a shot. Steamboat then awkwardly says that he was told that he will face the winner no matter who it is. He stumbles, so Bockwinkel has to restate what Ricky said. Nick says that Steamboat is deserving of the title match. Gene then talks about the heightened security backstage and says you could cut the electricity with a knife. (Somewhere, Gorilla Monsoon smiles.) Steamboat tries to recover from his earlier stumble as he talks about the tensions. He says they can hear that bull of a man, Vader, throwing around chairs in his locker room. (Steamboat is a great wrestler, but he has always been awkward on the mic. It’s better to have him speak less and do his talking in the ring.)

Terry Taylor vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/ a Diamond Doll)

DDP tore his rotator cuff in late ‘92 and was later released from WCW. He would spend ‘93 away from the company being mentored by Jake Roberts. Then, he returned to WCW in early ‘94 and started a storyline where he would draw random names from a fishbowl. He kept drawing the names of people who were retired, so the matches wouldn’t happen. Eventually, Terry Taylor had enough and answered DDP’s challenge, which led to this match. DDP comes to the ring with one of his Diamond Dolls, but it’s not Kimberly. They never say the name of this woman. Next, Terry Taylor makes his entrance to a theme that sounds like it came from Saturday Night Slam Masters.

DDP tries to use the Diamond Doll as a distraction, but Taylor catches a kick and takes him down to the mat. He also flips him and works the arm until Dallas regroups. Taylor pulls him back into the ring and they reverse back and forth on a sunset flip before DDP takes control with a slam and a hard forearm. Page then hits shoulder blocks, punches, and a slam as well as a gutbuster. He follows that up with a back suplex and a Cobra Clutch, but Taylor eventually throws Page off of him. DDP keeps blocking Taylor’s comebacks with a facebuster and a forearm, but he misses a corner charge and Taylor rolls him up for the win.

This match was a little slow, but there was some good storytelling. DDP has improved a lot since we saw him last. He still has a ways to go before he becomes a great performer, but I thought he was decent in this. I’m a bit surprised that Taylor won, but I don’t think it hurt Page. It could be used to further his character. I don’t think WCW is fully behind DDP at this point, but it is nice to see him back in WCW.

Winner: Terry Taylor (11:45)

Next, Mean Gene is with WCW’s German announcer, Olivier “Ollie” Muffler. (Somewhere, Dusty Rhodes is giggling about the name Muffler.) Gene asks Ollie if he’s seen anything like this. Ollie asks to say something in German first, so Gene allows it. He says it and then translates that he’s very proud to stand side-by-side with Gene and the fans. He also says that Germany will see the show and the fantastic audience. Gene then plugs the upcoming European tour. (Something very memorable happens during that Germany tour, but I’ll cover that in my next WCW review. Let’s just say—it’s an earful.) Then, Ollie questions whether Flair can beat Vader twice, but Gene says he won’t put himself in the hot seat. (Way to cop-out on the question, Gene.) Meanwhile, Heenan translates Ollie’s German. He claims Ollie said, “This is SuperBrawl AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!!” (He screams the last part in Tony’s face and I nearly died laughing.) Tony then plugs a new PPV, Spring Stampede, but Heenan is too focused on the Diamond Doll.

Johnny B. Badd vs. Jimmy Garvin (w/ Michael Hayes)

Johnny thankfully doesn’t set off any more Badd Blasters, but he also didn’t bother donning his cape again. Garvin pushes Hayes in his wheelchair to the ring. Tony complains that Hayes is insulting people in wheelchairs by pretending to be injured. Tony then talks about how Hayes took exception to Badd claiming to have the best left hand and the best song on the Slam Jam album. (That’s kind of a weak reason for a feud.) Also, I can’t help but notice that Garvin got a tattoo of Precious on his arm. (It’s a good thing they remained together or that tattoo would have been ill-advised.)

They lock-up to a stalemate before trading mat reversals, leapfrogs, and holds. Garvin keeps regrouping to talk to Hayes, who taunts Badd throughout the match. Badd continually gets control and works Garvin’s arm. Jimmy tries to counter by going to the hair, but he gets caught and regroups again. Garvin finally surprises Badd with a boot and rams him into the corner before grabbing a sleeper hold. Badd breaks free, but Garvin hits a knee-strike and attempts a DDT. However, Johnny back drops him a couple of times and hits a flying head scissors. Then, Badd goes for the Kiss That Doesn’t Miss (left hook), but Garvin ducks. Badd hits him with the right hand instead and then does a flying sunset flip for the win.

This match never got out of first gear. They spent most of it doing rest holds and then went to the finish. The closing couple of minutes weren’t bad, but the match was poorly paced. Garvin was rusty and Badd is still developing as a performer, so it wasn’t great.

Winner: Johnny B. Badd (10:48)

After the match, Badd goes after Hayes. He threatens to hit Michael with the Kiss That Doesn’t Miss, but Garvin jumps him and throws him into the ring. Hayes then throws Garvin his boot, so Jimmy hits Badd with it and then hits a Stunner that he calls the 9-1-1. (I wonder if he named it that because of the ECW wrestler.) Garvin pushes Hayes to the back while Michael says that attack is on Bockwinkel’s hands.

Meanwhile, Gene is backstage with the security. He asks them to accompany him while he tries to get a word with Vader. You can hear a commotion in the locker room, so Gene looks through the window and sees Vader smashing a chair against the wall. Gene opens the door and asks for a word, but Vader tells him to get lost and throws the chair at the door. He yells, “No interviews!” Gene closes the door and sends it back to Tony and Bobby.

TV Title Match: Lord Steven Regal (c) (w/ Sir William) vs. Arn Anderson

Anderson is back after recovering from the stabbing and recovering from that awful Horsemen revival. (They show a fan with a sign that says, “Arn rules the world.” I guess that fan heard about the Sid incident.) Michael Buffer does the introductions and pronounces Arn’s name as, “Arn AaaaAAAanderson!” Tony talks about how they extended the time-limit for this match to thirty-minutes instead of the usual fifteen. He also points out that Regal’s left thigh is taped. (He calls it the hip because Tony doesn’t know anatomy.) Anderson offers a handshake, but Regal reacts with disgust at the thought of touching his hand.

Anderson keeps getting the advantage early with headlocks, so Regal complains he’s hurting his ear. Then, they trade arm holds and do a test of strength. Regal kips up out of it, but Arn takes him to the mat for more arm work until Regal fights back with European uppercuts. Regal tries to return the favor, but Anderson takes him to the post and rams Regal’s arm into it. He regroups with Sir William and checks on the time before catching Arn with forearms. Regal then grabs a cravat and holds onto it through a slam. He also tries some pin attempts, but Arn attacks the thigh to stop it. The arm work continues until Regal returns to the uppercuts and forearms, but Arn regains control again. This time, Regal uses a ref distraction so William can use his umbrella on Anderson. Regal begins locking Arn in various mat holds, such as a Half Crab and a variation of the Regal Stretch. However, Arn goes after Regal’s leg and attempts a Figure Four. Regal blocks it and sends Arn to the floor. William attacks again, which causes a fan to call him a son of a bitch. Arn answers by attacking the leg once more before both men trade punches, forearms, and pin attempts. Then, Arn hits the spinebuster and goes for the cover, but William puts Regal’s arm on the ropes and Anderson chases him. Arn catches Regal at the ropes and goes for a slingshot sunset flip, but Regal grabs hold of William’s umbrella to stop the momentum. He then sits down on Arn and gets the three-count with mere seconds left in the match.

This was a solid but kind of dull match. The action was good and hard-hitting, but the pace wasn’t great. I expected more from these two. I didn’t dislike it, but I don’t think it ever found any momentum. The closing minutes were better, but it wasn’t enough to fully make me like this bout. However, I do like that they teased a time-limit draw only to give us a finish at the last second.

Winner: Lord Steven Regal (29:54)

Tony then compliments Arn on his match while Heenan adjusts his tie for the camera. Tony tells him he looks fine, but then he’s distracted by a random lady sweeping up the confetti at ringside. Heenan jokes that it’s Tony’s wife. Then, they show clips of the Nasty Boys/Cactus & Maxx match from Clash of the Champions. Jack hits the Double-Arm DDT, but Sags breaks up the pin. However, while the ref was distracted by Sags, Payne hits an elbow drop and Cactus & Maxx get the win. It was a non-title victory, but it set up this Tag Title Match. Tony asks Heenan for a prediction, but Bobby rambles and Tony becomes frustrated.

Tag Team Title Match: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne vs. The Nasty Boys (c)

The Nasty Boys come to the ring without Missy Hyatt. Also, Knobbs is carrying an acoustic guitar to taunt Maxx Payne. (I already explained why Missy disappeared in my Starrcade review, so I won’t go into that.) Heenan points out the absence of Missy and tries to tell a joke, but Buffer interrupts him. He calls Cactus & Maxx the most bizarre team in WCW history. Buffer also says Jack doesn’t know the meaning of the word pain. (He must be confused by his partner’s name.) Then, Heenan finishes his joke (after getting distracted by a woman) and says that Missy is out getting gum replacement because Cactus kissed her at the Clash.

Maxx and Knobbs start the match and Maxx catches both Nasties in suplexes. He also hits a Uranage and a powerslam on them before tagging Cactus. He cleans house and then Cactus & Maxx hit a double elbow drop on Knobbs. (Knobbs yelled the spot to them so loudly that the people in the nosebleed section probably heard him.) The Nasties then regroup and return to double team Jack, but Cactus catches Knobbs with a leg drop over the bottom rope. Then, Maxx returns and hits a facebuster, but the Nasties clip his knee and attack his leg. This continues until Knobbs misses a diving leg drop and Cactus returns to the match. He cleans house, takes Knobbs to the floor with a Cactus Clothesline, and goes for the Cactus Elbow. However, Sags stops it. The Nasties then pull up the mat and send Jack crashing to the concrete. They also ram his head into the rail, so the fan from earlier yells son of a bitch again. Jack is coughing up blood from the attack, but the Nasties continue beating him. They take turns locking him in a Boston Crab, but Maxx uses a ref distraction to pull Cactus closer to the corner. The ref misses the first tag, but Jack eventually gets another one and Maxx cleans house. He drops Knobbs right on his head and shoulder with a belly-to-belly before locking him in the Payne Killer. Sags senses defeat, so he grabs the guitar and hits Maxx, which causes a DQ.

This was a fun and brutal match. These two teams have surprising chemistry. Jack took his usual nasty bumps. Plus, the image of him coughing up blood added to the story. I’m even okay with the finish because I know they have a better match at the next PPV. This was a good way to make both teams look strong while setting up the continuing feud. This rivalry is one of the few times I actually enjoyed the Nasty Boys.

Winners: Cactus & Maxx (by DQ) (12:37)

Then, Gene is in Flair’s locker room with Flair and Steamboat. Gene can’t believe what happened in the last match. He says he will have Cactus & Maxx on the hotline if they’re physically able to do it. He also tells the fans to give him a HOLLER! Gene then talks to Flair and Steamboat and says Hulk Hogan will be watching the match. Flair says that if he and Hogan ever hook up, it will be the biggest thing ever. (I get that they want to hype the possibility of signing Hogan, but they’re in danger of making Flair/Vader and Flair/Steamboat afterthoughts.) Ric then says that he has to be fortunate enough to get past both Vader and Ricky. Next, Gene asks Steamboat for his thoughts. Ricky says he went through red tape and stepped on some toes, but he will take on the winner of tonight’s match. Arn Anderson then arrives and says the violence tonight is unparalleled. He also tells Flair he knows what he has to do, so Flair says he’s ready.

The lights go out while they lower the Thundercage. Tony tells everyone to watch their wallets in the dark because Heenan is in the building. Bobby only hears the last part, so he says, “Yes, I am in the building!” Fireworks then explode as the cage lowers.

Six-Man Thundercage Match: Sting, Flyin’ Brian, & Dustin Rhodes vs. Rick Rude, Steve Austin, & Paul Orndorff (w/ Col. Parker)

Rude leads his team to the ring, but he doesn’t have his World Title with him. (I don’t like that. He should bring the belt with him to make it look important.) Rob Parker accompanies them and applauds his team. Sting’s team then enter to his theme and they get a great reaction. They show a female fan in Sting face paint who nearly drowns out Cappetta with her yelling. Then, Doug Dillinger locks the cage door while Tony talks about Sting’s team making Col. Parker wear a chicken suit. (Is that where TNA got the idea for the turkey suit?) It looks like Orndorff will start, but Sting taunts Rude into joining him.

Rude starts the match with some forearms, but Sting answers with a back drop and some clotheslines. Rude, Orndorff, & Austin all respond by working Sting’s arm, but Austin hurts his knee on a leapfrog. Sting tries to capitalize with a Scorpion Deathlock, but Rude’s team stop him. Pillman then enters the match and brawls on the floor with Austin until Steve launches him into the cage wall. Orndorff also attacks Brian and rams him into the cage until he’s bleeding. Then, Rude’s team attack Pillman’s cut and his neck, but Brian surprises Austin with a dropkick on a flying axehandle attempt. Sting and Orndorff then enter the match and Sting cleans house with clotheslines before ramming Paul into the cage a few times. Next, Sting tags Rhodes, who hits everyone with elbows until Orndorff pulls him into the corner and tags Rude. They exchange punches and Dustin goes for a bulldog, but Rude crotches him on the turnbuckles and hits a super back suplex. He also locks Dustin in a bear hug and turns it into a belly-to-belly before Austin returns to the match. However, Dustin sends Austin crashing into the cage where Steve catches his knee. This opens the door for Pillman to return and the match becomes a brawl. Sting clears Orndorff and Rude before press slamming Pillman onto Austin for the win.

This was a fun and chaotic match. It was short, but they packed some good spots into it. Plus, the blood added to it. The fans were hot for the action, so it definitely did its job. It was also nice to see Pillman get the win as he hasn’t been on PPV much lately. They also utilized the cage well. (At one point, Austin was sent into the wall so hard it bent the bars. It was a great visual, but that had to hurt like Hell.)

Winners: Sting, Pillman, & Rhodes (14:36)

After the match, the brawl continues. Sting fends off Rude and Orndorff, but Rude slams the cage door in Sting’s face and hits a Rude Awakening. He then flings his sweat in Sting’s face and leaves the cage while everyone checks on Sting.

Then, Tony and Heenan talk about the main event. Heenan says Flair probably feels worse than a giraffe with a sore throat. Tony talks about Flair getting injured at the Clash. He says the match was temporarily postponed. They show clips of Vader injuring Flair with a superplex and the officials helping Flair. Bockwinkel says the match is postponed, but Vader interrupts the press conference. Then, they show Vader attacking Ricky Steamboat. Later, Flair calls Bockwinkel and tells him he wants the match at SuperBrawl to happen. Nick says he talked with the board and with doctors and says he will reinstate the match if Flair can get a medical release. Flair promises to be at SuperBrawl. Next, Bockwinkel says that he got everything required, so the match is reinstated, but he appoints The Boss as a special referee for the match.

Thundercage Match for the WCW Title: Ric Flair (c) vs. Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race)

Buffer introduces the match and the Boss makes his entrance. Heenan says that Boss and Vader have issues, so Boss can’t be impartial. Tony points out that the Boss is only there to count a three-count because there are no rules. Then, Vader arrives. He’s wearing new gear. (It isn’t great looking, so it’s no wonder he doesn’t use this outfit again.) Then, Flair enters and Heenan says it could be for the last time. (It’s still odd to hear Heenan predicting a Flair loss. In ‘92, Bobby would have had a heart attack at the very thought.) Vader grabs a chair, but Boss makes him get rid of it. Then, the Boss locks the cage door while Harley Race (RIP) tells him not to worry about it.

Vader charges, but Flair moves and beats him down in the corner with chops, punches, and thumbs to the eyes. He then knocks Vader out of the ring and attacks him with a chair until it breaks across the cage. They return to the ring and Ric removes Vader’s mask before hitting more punches and whipping Vader into the opposite corner. Vader surprisingly takes a Flair Flip, but he surprises Ric with an avalanche attack. He then hits a powerslam and a Vader Bomb before attempting a moonsault. Flair moves, but Vader lands on his feet!! He follows that by throwing Flair to the floor and distracting the Boss while Harley chokes and attacks Ric. Then, both men trade punches again until Flair starts choking and biting him. Unfortunately, Vader hits another avalanche that sends Flair to the floor and Harley attacks again. Vader then hits a superplex, which is the move that injured Flair. However, he misses some elbow drops. Race tries to interfere again, but the Boss catches him and attempts to cuff Harley to the cage. Vader stops it and cuffs Boss instead, so Harley takes the key and enters through the door before locking it again. Vader & Race attack Flair and Ric valiantly tries to fight. Arn and Steamboat arrive and try to open the cage, but the attack continues. Flair even uses a chair, but it’s not enough. Vader looks to have the advantage, but the Boss finally breaks the cuffs and attacks Vader with the nightstick. Flair then locks Vader in the Figure Four and the Boss calls for the bell like Vader quit. (Heenan claims he never heard him say it and says the Boss awarded the match to Flair illegally.)

The match at Starrcade was about great wrestling, but this match was all about the storytelling. I thought it was excellent and so did the fans. They were rabid for the action. Everyone did a good job of telling the story that Vader wanted to end Flair’s career. It built great tension and both men had good intensity. The only gripe is that the cameraman missed the moment of the Boss breaking the cuffs. (Heenan was surprised by it because he didn’t see it happen on screen.) Also, this match did a great job of building Vader’s next feud with the Boss.

Winner: Ric Flair (11:32)

After the match, Vader throws a fit and demands justice. He beats on the cage and the guardrail with the nightstick and says he wants to hear Bockwinkel’s explanation. Heenan fears for his life, but Tony convinces him to stay. Heenan says Vader terrifies him, but he still maintains that he never heard Vader quit. Bobby then says he will get to the bottom of it and leaves while Tony says goodnight.

The Good:

– The main event was great.

– The six-man cage match was fun.

– The Tag Title Match was really good.

– There was great storytelling with Vader and Flair.

– Some good feuds were built on this show.

– Heenan’s commentary was great as usual.

The Bad:

– The first few matches were bad.

– Jim Steele and Thunder & Lightning didn’t really belong on PPV.

Performer of the Night:

I’m going to give it to two different people. First, I’m giving it to Flair for his great performance in the main event. Secondly, I’m giving it to Bobby Heenan for his commentary. (Plus, I feel bad for not giving it to him at Survivor Series ‘93.)

Final Thoughts:

The first half of this show was a bit shaky, but the second half saved it. The last few matches all delivered and they built to some great stuff that is coming in the next couple of events. I would overall say this was a solid show and the next WCW PPV (Spring Stampede) is considered one of their best. (It’s also the first PPV I ever watched live, so we’re heading into the start of my true nostalgia.)

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My next review will be WrestleMania X. Look for my review 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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