Context Around Slamboree 93
* Cactus Jack was so beaten up from the nasty bumps he took at SuperBrawl that he had a terrible rematch with Orndorff that was taped but not shown since Jack wasn’t up to performing at the needed level.
* Arn Anderson returned to TV after being off for two months and teased the return of the Four Horsemen.
* Sting and Vader traded the World title back and forth while on a UK tour.
* Vader had been working for $750 dollars a show, but signed a new contract paying him almost 500K a year.
* Brian Pillman and Steve Austin beat Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat for the NWA/WCW tag team titles on March 27th. Rumors are swirling that Steamboat has been asked to do a heel turn. Other sources are saying Steamboat wants to leave WCW again.
* Vader and Cactus Jack had a brutal trio of matches on TV. When Jack refused to die in the first two matches, Vader powerbombed him on the cement and sent him to the hospital as a means of doing away with him. The match prior to that saw Jack suffer a broken nose, a jaw injury, a concussion and a cut that required 41 stitches to close.
* Dustin Rhodes and Rick Rude had a double-pin finish on TV, leaving the US title held up.
* On April 3rd Paul Orndorff beat Erik Watts in the finals of the TV title tournament.
* Wahoo McDaniel & Dusty Rhodes vs. Blackjack Mulligan & Ole Anderson was rumored to be part of the Slamboree PPV, with it leading to a Dusty and Dustin vs. Mulligan and Barry Windham match down the line.
* WCW ran a TV taping at the Paramount Theater. This was played up on TV and in Pro Wrestling Illustrated since the Theater is part of the Madison Square Garden complex, which of course was the WWF’s “home base” of sorts.
* WCW had to cancel a TV taping in late April when they realized the production trucks were at Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks games instead of at the arena. Fans who had already showed up were treated to autographs from Erik Watts and The Cole Twins. I’m sure they were thrilled.
* Missy Hyatt managed The Barbarian very briefly, before turning on him.
* Johnny Gunn and The Wrecking Crew are done. Dick Slater and JYD are back. Billy Jack Haynes is rumored to return again too. Ron and Don Harris are in for a brief run. Scott Norton debuted… and left in between PPVs. Scotty Flamingo is gone and headed to the WWF as Johnny Polo.
* Shane Douglas and Tom Zenk were both given their notices by WCW that the company didn’t intend on renewing their contracts.
*Nailz debuted the night before Slamboree. The WWF fired off a legal letter quickly and got the name changed in time for the PPV.
* The Ultimate Warrior told WCW he wanted $250,000 just to work PPV events for a year.
* Tully Blanchard was set to return to WCW but they wanted him to agree to a $500 a night deal and he balked.
* Glenn Jacobs (Kane) worked as a jobber on TV. Chris Walker who had a brief WWF push in 1992 has come in for some jobber work as well.
A plethora of all time greats are in the ring to wave to the fans. Tony Schiavone and Larry Zybyzko call the action. Maxx Payne then rocks out on his electric guitar while jobbers haul a throne to the ring with the Fabulous Moolah in it. Why she got a special entrance I don’t know.
Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt try to run down the action but the lights go out on them. Because WCW.
2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Bagwell vs. Chris Benoit and Bobby Eaton
“MARUS is Great” says a ringside sign. Benoit and Scorpio go back and forth in a fast paced tit for tat trading of moves. The heels try and double team Scorpio but 2 Cold makes his own save, despite tripping over Eaton accidentally. The heels continue to struggle and end up tossed together. A Benoit cheap shot finally puts Bagwell into peril.
Eaton connects with a knee from the top rope and then tags Benoit in to drop a flying legdrop. A nice back suplex allows Benoit to wrench on a head scissors. A swan dive attempts lands on Bagwell’s knees and Scorpio tags in, creating a four-way skirmish. Scorpio flips down from the top rope with a leg drop but lands full force on Benoit’s face with his ass! OUCH. That’s enough to get the three count. This was rudimentary stuff but entertaining none the less.
Van Hammer vs. Sid Vicious
Hammer has lost his jeans look and is now just in a black singlet. Col. Rob Parker comes out to announce Hammer’s mystery opponent and brings out a Sid and a gurney. Sid visibly calls some spots as he quickly powerbombs Hammer. The crowd erupts for the heel winning in seconds.
Bugsy McGraw and Red Bastien chat with Bischoff, Bugsy acts as wacky as ever. McGraw actually cuts a fun promo.
Jim Brunzell, Blackjack Mulligan and Wahoo McDaniel vs. Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco and Jimmy Snuka
Brunzell and Snuka start. Brunzell actually worked a RAW taping as a jobber the same month he worked this PPV as a “legend”. Mulligan and Murdoch don’t waste much time getting into it and Murdoch bumps around for Blackjack. Murdoch tries to run away but Wahoo chases him back in. Wahoo and Muraco give it a go and McDaniel proves he can still toss the chops, before all three heels gang up on him. Brunzell busts out a dropkick, so Murdoch delivers a flying headscissors to WOW the crowd. Brunzell spends some time taking a beating before Muraco and Snuka start having issues. Murdoch tries a top rope move but slips on his way up. Snuka and Muraco have problems again and that leads to all six-men going at it for a double DQ. This had some fun moments but was not much past the nostalgia element.
Missy Hyatt tries to talk to The Assassin and Mad Dog Vachon. Mad Dog growls through his spiel, which Hyatt cuts off, leading to Vachon taking the mic back. Assassin challenges Dusty Rhodes to settle their issues. The crowd approves. Assassin has gained so much weight that his mask doesn’t fit.
Thunderbolt Patterson and Bob Armstrong vs. Baron Von Raschke and Ivan Koloff
Bob Armstrong was injured in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, so Patterson promises to go it alone. Koloff can’t leave well enough alone and insults Armstrong, so Brad Armstrong comes down to take his Dad’s place. That doesn’t seem fair considering the senior citizens he’s facing. Patterson shucks and jives to scare the Baron. The Baron tries to use headlocks but Patterson keeps slipping out. Brad works over Koloff, so Baron comes back in. The CLAW is locked on but Patterson saves the day. This leads to a four-way brawl and a slow motion double chop by Patterson that proves enough to keep the Baron down for the win. Bolt was fun. This match was inoffensive.
A Flair for the Gold: The Original Four Horsemen Reunion
Flair brings out Arn Anderson, who threatens Barry Windham. Flair then blames Windham for Tully Blanchard not showing up. Ole Anderson is out next. Then the newest Horsemen is revealed to be….Paul Roma. Ugh. A WWF jabroni is now in the elite group. Roma pours salt in the wound by talking about the thousands of people who were up for the spot before Roma was selected. He couldn’t be the best choice…just no. I just want to know how drunk Flair got the legends after the show.
Nick Bockwinkel (with Verne Gagne) vs. Dory Funk Jr. (w/Gene Kiniski)
Feeling out process to begin. Bockwinkel tries to focus on mat wrestling, but Funk wants to smack Bockwinkel with European uppercuts. This pattern continues for several minutes. Bock gets too close to a win so Kiniski yanks him off. They trade headlocks and arm bars. They battle over a surfboard. A brief “boring” chant breaks out, but the fans are mostly being respectful to this methodical match.
Kiniski starts to grab at Bockwinkel as Funk hits a suplex and a piledriver. Dory tries a double underhook suplex but Bockwinkel reverses it into a cradle. Funk locks on a spinning toe hold but Bock reverses out of it. Nick tries a figure-four but forgets how to apply it. They trade pins as the match goes to the fifteen-minute draw. The crowd gives them a nice applause. I’ll be nice and just say this wasn’t for everyone. It wasn’t as good as I remembered as a kid. Hearing Zybyzko mark out during the whole match was fun though.
Kensuki Sasaki and Dustin Rhodes vs. Paul Orndorff and Rick Rude
Sasaki is bullied by Rude, so he tosses Rude back several feet and tries to remove his shoulder from it’s socket with some great arm wrenches. Orndorff tags in and finds himself in the same trap. Rhodes tags in and attacks Orndorff’s limb. Rhodes and Rude square off and Rhodes gleefully unloads on his mortal enemy before he misses a charge and flies over the top rope. Orndorff comes in to punish Rhodes and is noticeably limping on a leg that is wrapped up.
Rude tries a tombstone, but Rhodes reverses it. Sasaki makes the hot tag and low blows Rude, then gyrates his waist in a cute spot. Sasaki tries a top rope move only to be pushed off by Orndorff and a Rude Awakening ends it. The match had its moments but was fairly paint by numbers. They were hurried and it kind of hurt what they could do.
Legends Hall of Fame Ceremony: Gordon Solie plays the master of ceremonies. He mentions Buddy Rogers, Pat O’ Conner, Andre the Giant and other dead legends. Lou Thesz is the first inductee. Verne Gagne comes next, Solie mentions he and Gagne disagree with how many World titles were won by Gagne. Mr. Wrestling II is inducted and gets a big pop. Eddie Graham is put in posthumously. II being put in with the other three seems odd given their stature in the business, although he was a big star in Atlanta, where the show is emanating from.
John Tolos and Lord James Blears chat with Hyatt. Tolos flirts with Missy and puts WCW over with his old catchphrase. Blears gives her a monocle.
Sting vs. THE PRISONER
They announce Nailz…err…THE PRISONER from Green Bay, Wisconsin as a rib on Vince McMahon since that was the location that Nailz choked McMahon out in backstage. I laughed.
Crowd chats “Bossman”. Nailz chokes, chokes, chokes. Then chokes for variety. Nailz tosses him to the floor and chokes him with the cables. Sting connects on a clothesline and a Stinger Splash but that only gets two. Nailz chokes again and as the ref argues with him, Sting climbs to the top and connects with a clothesline for the win. HORRIBLE. Has anyone ever followed a 5 Star PPV match with a DUD on the next event? Well, Sting may have just done that.
The Crusher and Ox Baker join Bischoff for a talk. Crusher fires off his catch phrases and then rattles off his grandkids names. Ox Baker acts wacky while Crusher is talking. Baker cuts an awesome promo about kicking people in their face while their down because I LIKE TO HURT PEOPLE! He then humps Bischoff as The Crusher shoves a cigar in his face. This may have been the best part of the PPV so far!!
Steel Cage: Tag Champions Brian Pillman and Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat and Tom Zenk
Douglas quit WCW before the PPV due to having been given his notice, so Tom Zenk replaces him here. Thankfully the faces recently won a match over the Blonds while under masks as “Dos Hombres”, so they wear the gimmicks here again.
The faces try and take Austin’s arm off to keep as a prize. Austin is smashed into the cage and Steamboat dances a stereotypical salsa dance. Austin is then backdropped into the cage violently and flung into the cage several more times for good measure.
Pillman tags in and works over Zenk before Steamboat can tag in and fling him into the cage. Steamboat suplexes Austin into the cage and he is hung by his legs from the top. Steamboat then leaps into him. While trying another leap, Austin falls and Steamboat crumbles into the cage.
Pillman and Austin take over for several minutes until the faces turn things around as Austin moons the crowd as his tights are yanked down while trying to escape. An electric chair drop downs Austin. Meanwhile Pillman is dumped on his groin. A hot finishing sequence sees all four men going at it, trading cage shots and brawling. Steamboat unmasks and climbs to the to the top of the cage for a flying crossbody from the top!! The heels are tossed together but Zenk charges at Austin and eats a stun gun for wild finish. This was fantastic as the heels bumped all over like pros and the babyfaces hit a lot of hot moves before the great ending.
Dusty Rhodes, Stu Hart and Mr. Wrestling II are with Bischoff. Dusty cuts a fiery promo directed at the Assassin. II puts over Dusty and WCW. Stu Hart talks about how all 12 of his kids are either wrestlers or married to wrestlers.
NWA World Champion Barry Windham vs. Arn Anderson
Anderson rubs the title before the match in a nice touch. The Enforcer controls the early stages and tries for several quick pins, really selling his disappointment each time Windham kicks out. They trade blows on the ramp before Windham wallops him with a big clothesline and an implant DDT.
Arn rebounds by tossing Windham to the floor and bloodies him with a blow to the safety rail. Anderson works over the wound and the flood of crimson comes fast. Anderson tries an uncharacteristic top rope move and is dropkicked to the floor. Windham then suplexes him on the cement for good measure. Windham connects with a flying clothesline from the top rope. Another suplex earns him a near fall. Anderson connects with a desperation spinebuster to end the champs momentum.
Windham grabs his title and walks down the ramp. Anderson pursues him and tosses him back in the ring. Anderson pushes down the ref in frustration, which sets up Windham with the chance to crack Anderson with the title and snag the tainted pin. Windham rubs his blood on the title on his way out. This was a hard-hitting encounter between two fabulous workers.
WCW World Champion Vader vs. The British Bulldog
Davey Boy proves he is of equal strength with Vader. He no sells Vader’s clothesline and forearm smash attempts. Vader corners him and pummels him with fists. Harley Race gets a shot in for good measure. Vader charges at Smith on the floor and crashes into the railing, flipping over it. Smith bodyslams him onto the concrete then drags Vader in the ring for a delayed SUPLEX on a 400-POUND man!! Vader gets a shot in but Smith catches him with a powerslam and then clotheslines Vader to the floor! Smith tries a crucifix but Vader drops back on him. A Vader bomb earns a near fall.
Zybysko does some great commentary work here as he points out how to watch for your opponent’s belly filling with air before delivering a gut shot. Smith is bloodied from Vader’s fists. A superplex attempt is blocked and Vader is knocked to the mat. Vader keeps control and nails a top rope splash but hurts his chest in the process. Vader continues pounding on Smith with his fists, then butt splashes him. Smith powers out of a chinlock by lifting Vader up for an electric chair drop! Vader tries a charge but is again caught and powerslammed. Race breaks up the pin. Vader grabs a chair and cracks Smith with it for the lame DQ.
Bagwell and Scorpio try and save the day but Vader kicks their butts. Sting runs in and connects on a flying clothesline to send Vader fleeing. Vader did a fine job of carrying Smith, and Davey Boy brought some awesome power spots, however a DQ to end a PPV is just unsatisfying.
Final thoughts: The legends matches were a nice thought, but weren’t particularly good. Having perhaps two six or eight man tag matches might have served the purpose better by keeping the guys less exposed. The last three matches totally saved the PPV though as they brought the goods. Next up is Flair’s return match at the Clash!