- The early returns on Hulk Hogan drawing TV ratings are not good. The Clash 27, which featured the first live appearance from the Hulkster drew the fourth worst rating in the history of the specials. The weekend prior saw WCW Saturday Night largely built around Hogan signing his contract and other ballyhoo, and that garnered a mere 1.8 rating.
- WCW is more than doubling their previous largest promotional budget in order to get as many eyes as possible on the Bash PPV.
- Sherri Martel revealed herself as a heel at the Clash, but WCW still aired numerous tapes of her scouting Brian Pillman. The announcers tried to play it off as a romantic interest now that she had Flair as a charge.
- WCW filled the WCW Saturday Night audience half full of plants for Hogan’s first appearance. The event, which was shown live, had to go off smooth so the “fans” were there to make sure Hogan got cheered.
- The NWA is trying to once again become relevant and are in talks with Jim Crockett to hold a tournament for a new NWA World champion at his upcoming TV tapings. They have offered Shane Douglas the title with the offer of a whopping guarantee of 150 dollars per match.
- Matches with extreme violence and any blood use have been banned in order to keep the Federal government from cracking down on WCW for televising violence.
- Not much other news from Dave Meltzer around this event because Big Dave was drowning in information from his in depth coverage of Vince McMahon’s federal trial and didn’t have time for much else.
Bash at the Beach 94
Bobby Heenan, Mean Gene and Tony Schiavone plug the main event.
Doron Norwood, with a hilarious mullet and flag colored shirt delivers a melodramatic rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”.
TV Champion Lord Steven Regal vs. Johnny B. Badd
Sting is “injured” via a Sherri Martel eyerake, which gives us Badd as his replacement. Badd looks to be in top level juiced condition. Regal is appalled by Badd’s glitter and confetti being spread all over the ring. His Lordship outwrestles Badd early but Johnny manages to fight out from the bottom. Badd still has little to offer offensively other than armbars and hiptosses. He’s heavily relying on his charisma to carry his act. Regal guides Badd through several reversal sequences. His Lordship uses forearms and knees to rock Badd. Badd fires up and connects with his KO punch but the champ bails to avoid the pin. Back in the ring the two men trade roll ups and that ends with Regal securing a cradle for the win. Solid match, but a total Regal carry job.
Antonio Inoki is brought to the ring to receive an award. Regal interrupts the ceremonies and smack talks Inoki before scurrying off when Inoki preps to fight.
Jesse Ventura replaces Heenan. Ventura looks pissed off, and I’ll explain why in my next review.
Guardian Angel vs. Vader
Bossman tosses Harley Race out of the ring, which allows Vader to pounce our hero from behind. Bossman shakes Vader’s attack off and starts to show off his impressive power by tossing Vader around the ring. Race distracts the Angel and Vader once again pounds on him. Bubba doesn’t take that too lightly and he fires back with big bombs of his own before the two bulls collide, which sends the smaller Ray Traylor dropping to the mat. Vader locks on a leg lock and maneuvers that into an armlock but the Angel once again fights to his feet. Vader downs him with a big clothesline and delivers a Vader bomb and a moonsault, but hurts himself on the landing.
Bossman is up way too quick from those finishers and he proceeds to slam Race off the top rope, then pursues Vader on the cement floor. Bossman lays in the fists before suplexing Vader back in. Race tries to give Vader a baton, but the Angel snags it away and when the ref sees it in his hand, a DQ is called. This was a really fun superheavyweight brawl before the lame finish. Well worth watching if you like hosses throwing down.
Mike Tenay (maybe his first mega card appearance?) is shown manning the WCW hotline.
They show clips of a woman wrestling two local DJs before the show began. It looks so bad that I hope it comes out on some sort of Wrestlecrap collection.
Dustin Rhodes and Arn Anderson vs. Terry Funk and Bunkhouse Buck
Arn Anderson starts things off but only does a few lock ups before tagging Rhodes in. Dustin is all fired up and he punches Funk to the floor. Both heels are tossed over the top rope with the ref looking elsewhere. Funk takes the grunt of Rhodes fisticuffs before Buck comes in. Rhodes leaps at Buck but flies through the ropes and takes a bad bump down the uniquely placed stairs that are sitting mid-ring floor level. With Rhodes hurt both heels take their turn battering their sworn enemy. Rhodes tries to overcome the odds, but the wily vets cut him off time and time again. Rhodes finally fires up and he wallops both heels with fists and elbows. After having his fun, he finally tags Anderson back in. Arn immediately grabs Rhodes and DDT’s him. The heels get an easy pin after that. Buck, Funk, Anderson, Col. Parker and Meng all beatdown Rhodes after the match. Match was only okay, but the overreaching angle continues to build nicely. I am looking forward to seeing Papa Rhodes coming in to help deliver some restitution to the Studd Stable.
US Champion Steve Austin vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Austin jumps the Dragon at the bell but the experienced Steamboat answers the call and chops right back at Austin. Austin is caught up in the ropes and the Dragon gets a number of free shots in on the champion. Austin feigns a knee injury to try and buy some time but Steamboat is having none of that. Austin reveals his fakery by running in fear before being trapped in a sleeper. The champ goes low to turn the tide back to his favor. Austin delivers a few suplex variations before Steamboat revs back with a straight chokehold out of the blue. They blow a Thesz press spot and turn it into a cradle. The champ draws “oooohhhhhhhs” from the crowd by delivering a hard spinebuster. Austin gets overconfident and starts mocking Steamboat by doing karate poses.
Austin abuses the challenger, but the Dragon’s heart won’t let him stay down. Steamboat gets in some hope spots but Austin is relentless. Austin eats a stun gun, but propels the Dragon into the steel barricade to save his title for the moment. Steamboat comes hard with chops and various cradles as Austin desperately tries to earn a DQ by tossing Steamboat over the ropes then shoving the ref. Steamboat convinces the ref to let the match go on. Austin ends up reversing a crossbody and putting his feet on the ropes to aid himself in stealing the win. Tremendous match as you’d expect from these two and their long rivalry that has spanned TV, US and World Tag title matches.
The Studd Stable celebrates with women and booze.
WCW World Tag Team Champions Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan vs. Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma
Orndorff stalls and stalls to start. Roma comes in and stalls as well. He compares his body with that of Jack’s. Jack chews on Roma’s face to try and make him not so pretty. The faces show the male spokes models up by using brute force to down them and send them into retreat. Jack gets pissed when Mr. Wonderful tries to use some violence of his own and stalks him around ringside before Sullivan gets the jump on Orndorff. Jack looks to deliver a flying elbow to the cement floor, but the oddly placed mid-ring steps prevent him from carrying out his plan.
Sullivan blasts Orndorff with a relentless series of chops then tries to break his hand by stomping on it time and time again. Sullivan fights both heels effectively, driving them both into the turnbuckle and leaving them laying. The fans are apparently bored and start doing the wave. Then the director shows Hank Aaron and WCW exec Bill Shaw casually chatting.
Roma delivers a number of awesome looking punches to Sullivan before allowing Mr. Wonderful deliver a piledriver. Dave Sullivan saves the day by placing his brother’s foot on the ropes. A flying elbow by Roma fails to earn the 3 count thanks to an arrogant cover. Sullivan continues his role as face in peril for several more minutes as the heels wear at him with punches and forearms before a missed splash by Roma allows Jack to tag in. All four men brawl before Roma trips Jack and Orndorff holds him down for 3 as Roma hangs on to his feet. This was all rather dull as Jack seemed to phone this one in and the heels didn’t do anything terribly interesting considering this match went seemingly twenty minutes. A total styles clash. The finish was really bad too since Jack wasn’t even hurt and the ref was annoyingly blind to the fact that Jack’s feet were hanging outside of the ring. Bleh.
“The Match of the Century”
World Champion Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan
Using Mr. T as Hogan’s muscle seems very odd considering T’s complete lack of cultural relevance in 1994. Flair bumps around for Hogan as the Hulkster struts and offers a mocking “WOOO!” Hogan uses his MMA skills to flip Flair down and lock on a cross arm breaker. Flair bails out and hides behind Sherri. Hogan tries more wrestling as he goes for a go behind takedown before unloading with a number of punches. Flair again runs and hides behind Sherri.
Flair gets a brief moment of offense before Hogan pops up and feeds Flair more fists. Sherri grabs Hogan’s leg and ref Randy Anderson quickly pretends to admonish Flair so Martel can do her thing. Flair then knocks Hogan to the floor. Jimmy Hart prevents Sherri from doing any more damage. Hogan eats some knee drops back in the ring but once again manages to power back. Nick, Brooke and Linda Hogan are dead center watching the action. Flair locks in a long headlock before Hogan uses the fans encouragement to Hulk up and break out. Flair is knocked to the floor and back suplexed onto the concrete. Hogan suplexes him back into the ring but wastes time playing to the fans and misses the legdrop.
Smelling blood, Flair starts to focus his attack on Hogan’s leg, but Hogan no sells a suplex and Flair is downed with the big boot. Sherri pulls the ref out. That isn’t a DQ for some reason. Flair chop blocks Hogan and locks on the figure-four. Hogan makes it to the ropes. Sherri greets him by choking him with her pantyhose. Flair lays in a series of chops but that wakes Hogan up and he goes on the attack. Flair downs Hogan and Sherri jumps in the ring. She misses a splash and Hogan knocks both her and Flair down, then he struts and locks Flair in the Figure-four. That was an awesome sequence!
Mr. T kidnaps Martel but Flair has a few tricks left. A brass knux shot KO’s Hogan but Flair only gets two. HULK UP. Big boot. Leg drop. 1-2-3!! The crowd goes BANANAS! Bravo to the Hulk for playing ball for the most part and letting Flair get heat on him. The match was laid out very well and was a lot of fun to watch. I was expecting a far more paint by numbers match like the many many more that were to come between these two over the next 6 years in WCW. Also big props go to whoever laid out that finishing sequence as it was greatly entertaining.
Hogan is greeted by Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Brian Blair and Brutus Beefcake in the back. Hogan cuts a vintage wacked out Hogan promo to close out the show.
Final thoughts: The main event and the US title matches are well worth checking out. Overall nothing was too terrible either. I should mention that this show and the following Clash both fail to feature Sting in action, and the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that WCW may have wanted to avoid having their most popular star usurp the ovation Hogan was going to get.