Context around Beach Blast 93:
- Ric Flair’s return to the ring did not spark business, and gates continue to disappoint night after night.
- Flair’s return match at the Clash netted the lowest Clash rating in history as well, which is pretty shocking. To be fair, wrestling is just a dead sport at this point, as Hogan’s brief WWF return netted poor results as well. The payoffs for each regular worker on RAW is only $150.
- The Hollywood Blonds took the heat for the Clash rating bombing and booker Dusty Rhodes decided Steve Austin was going to be a singles star and began the process of splitting them up.
- Dustin Rhodes and Rick Rude had several matches to determine the owner of the held up US title, all of which ended inconclusively.
- Harlem Heat debuted with “The Posse” as a gimmick name and taped matches where they came to ringside in prison uniforms and chains, with Col. Robert Parker managing them. Oh course the racial overtones were obvious to some Turner watchdogs and the gimmick was scrapped.
- WCW taped months and months of TV ahead of time and exposed the plans to give Flair the NWA World title, then having him lose it to Rude. Ricky Steamboat will win the TV title, then lose it to Regal. The tag belts will go to the Horsemen and then the returning Nasty Boyz.
- The tapings also revealed that they planned to make Flair a tag team worker after his NWA title run was done. He was going to transition down the card due to his age. Of course in a few months, everything falls apart and Flair is boosted back to headlining and booking.
- One theory behind the advanced tapings, is that since the ratings and live gates are nose diving to record lows, the company may be out of business soon or forced to hire new executives. By taping months in advance, the clowns running the show now (Ole Anderson, Dusty and Bischoff) are “safe” until November since it’s pointless to fire people when the booking can’t be altered anyway.
- Terry Funk may be coming in as a booker.
- The Cactus Jack amnesia skits were stopped abruptly as somebody finally realized how foolish they were.
- Dusty Rhodes tried to book himself to return to the ring, and was pulled back by other WCW execs.
- The NWA title is creating issues as indy groups who are NWA members are raising a fuss about getting dates with the gold. This includes SMW, which could have been interesting had Flair or Rude been “forced” to appear at some SMW shows.
- WCW tried to convince Stan Lane to return and team with Bobby Eaton once again. Other rumors have Lane being offered the spot as the 4th Horseman.
- WCW canceled the July Omni house show due to poor advance ticket sales. The belief is Turner execs might have gone to the show and see the product is dead and start ordering wide scale changes.
- Ice Train and Charlie Norris have debuted. Road Warrior Hawk is coming in as well.
Beach Blast 93
Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt run down some of the matches in their beach apparel. Tony Schiavone (with suntan lotion on his nose) calls Jesse Ventura over from the bar set where he was joined by a bevy of ladies. The camera follows Jesse to ringside and reveals that half the arena is decorated with empty chairs. And because this is WCW, the lights go out when Ventura tries to talk. Ventura spends the first few matches implying he was having sexual relations with the ladies all day.
TV Champ Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff vs. Ron Simmons
If Orndorff is DQ’d, he loses the title. Schiavone says Simmons winning would be an “upset”. He was just the WORLD CHAMP six months earlier! The fans are all over Orndorff with “Paula” chants and this distracts him long enough to get jumped. Simmons batters Orndorff and sends him bouncing around the ring and eventually out of it. Orndorff gains control briefly but misses a top rope move and hurts his own leg, giving Simmons an obvious target. Simmons locks on a figure-four after working over his leg but Orndorff got to the ropes quickly. He cheap shots Simmons to take control and locks on several rest holds. Simmons eventually powers up after that slow period and starts to unload on Orndorff with fists and a suplex. Orndorff thumbs Simmons in the eye and goes for a desperation piledriver. Simmons reverses that into a backdrop that sends Orndorff over the top rope for the DQ. Simmons is angered by that and continues to assault Orndorff after the match. Prefunctionary stuff here.
Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce
Pierce and Slazenger are the future Godwins. Bagwell tries to match power with Pierce but has to resort to using his speed to try and take control. A four-way brawl breaks out and the men scuffle in the ring and on the ramp. Tex and Scorpio finally make things one on one again after that sequence. 2 Cold takes a backdrop and lands in the ropes. A few more inches over and he may have seriously injured his neck there.
Bagwell makes a go of it with both heels and controls with headlocks and armbars. The heels take over and work their own armbars and headlocks. This is as thrilling as it sounds. Scorpio finally makes the hot tag to end the humdrum and he hits a spectacular splash. Another four-way donnybrook breaks out and 2 Cold nails Pierce with a 450 splash for the win. Highly underwelming stuff here.
Paul Orndorff comes out for a promo. He is joined by The Equalizer (Dave Sullivan) who seems to be doing a Bruiser Brody gimmick with a crazed edge. Orndorff sets up his next program by calling out Ricky Steamboat for using hair dye and balding. Not a good promo by Mr.Wonderful here. Equalizer said nothing and did nothing but make faces.
Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal
Watts comes out with mini-American flags to try and garner some heat, but gets none. The production staff puts Regal’s name on the screen during Watts’ entrance. Watts controls early with a wristlock. The armwork goes on for the first few minutes of the match. Regal counters with an armlock of his own, then guides Watts through a pinfall/reversal/pinfall sequence. Schiavone laments that today’s fans don’t appreciate grappling like this anymore. Regal works over Watts ankle and hits some nice European uppercuts before missing a kneedrop. This allows Watts a chance to set up the STF, but Sir William whacks him. Watts goes after William and ends up rolled up from behind for the win. Methodical match but entirely watchable in its execution. Regal calls out Paul Orndorff after the match in a somewhat odd moment considering they are both heels.
Johnny B. Badd vs. Maxx Payne
Badd is wearing an almost scary looking mask to hide the burns or whatever happened when Payne set his Badd Blaster off in his face. Scary is a somewhat subjective term as the mask is made out of pink feathers but it looks unsettling. Badd thankfully works this like the grudge match it is and tackles Payne and batters him with punches. Badd is over aggressive and flies over the top rope and crashes to the floor. Payne works over Badd’s arm before locking on the Payne killer armlock. Badd makes it to the ropes. Badd manages to dropkick Payne to the floor and launches himself down onto him. Both men taste the steel ringpost before getting back in the ring. Badd tries to do his top rope sunset flip but loses his balance and jumps off, then quickly hops on the second rope and leaps into Payne with just enough force to hold him down for the required three seconds. Another solid but unspectacular match here.
World tag champions Steve Austin and Brian Pillman vs. Paul Roma and Arn Anderson
Roma’s not selling being a babyface very well during their intro. The heels stall, because the alternative is wrestling Paul Roma. Austin mocks the fans for chanting for the Horsemen. Pillman and Austin continue to do some quality stooging instead of wrestling, Austin holds Roma in the corner while screaming “Get off me, Roma!” Soon after that Pillman accuses Roma of having a foreign object in his elbow pad, and while the ref checks for it, Pillman digs his own out.
Anderson comes in and roughhouses Austin. Anderson is trying to play to the crowd since he’s a face, but he’s better as simply being an asskicker more than a sycophant. Roma comes in and slips in some quick cradles in between armlocks. Anderson comes in and drops Pillman throat first on the top rope. Pillman acts like he blew out his knee and suckers The Enforcer close enough to chopblock his knee. Pillman sends Anderson to the floor and tries a leap at him, but ends up crashing into the steel railing instead. Roma tags in, and the Blonds send him to the floor so Austin can dump Roma onto the railing. They then spend several minutes working Roma over while doing more mocking in between, such as riding imaginary horses and doing push ups while Roma is selling,
Anderson tags in and immediately starts kicking ass. The Blonds cheat quickly to reestablish control and now Anderson faces several minutes of abuse. Double A reverses a piledriver on the floor into a backdrop, but that doesn’t buy him enough time to tag out. A desperation DDT attempt leads to Anderson being tossed back into the heels corner. After cutting Anderson off time and time again, Roma finally tags in for one final hot segment where all four men go at it before Roma scores a roll up that Pillman reveses to put Austin on top for the win. This wasn’t a bad match, but the stench of Paul Roma ruined things for me whenever he was in, so I didn’t buy into this as much as I should have. It also ran almost 30 minutes, which is too long when Paul Roma is involved. Have I bashed Roma enough yet? The crowd was also dead for most of the match.
A cute moment for the smarks occurs here as Schiavone says, “You don’t know how many people out there are stunned that the Blonds just won.” That was a reference to the fact that word got out that WCW had taped Roma and Anderson defending the titles for future TV broadcasts, so apparently Eric Bischoff called an audible here and had the Blonds retain for a few more weeks
Missy Hyatt fantasizes about being with two men for 30 minutes in bed, which segues into…
30 man Iron Man for the vacant US Championship: Rick Rude vs. Dustin Rhodes
Rhodes takes Rude down with fists early and locks on a chinlock to eat up clock. Rhodes does some mocking gyrations of Rude’s shtick before locking back on a chinlock. Rude goes low to take over. Rude connects on a flying fist and begins to work over Rhodes’ back. A bear hug uses up more time, followed up with a chinlock. A dull first ten minutes I must say.
They have some decent back and forth brawling before Rude nails the Rude Awakening for the first fall. Rude goes to the top rope to inflict more damage instead of delivering another finisher. Rhodes flails about in a daze and absorbs a flying fist for a near fall I totally bought. Rude gets too cocky and Rhodes is able to get some shots in but Rude locks in a headlock to try and drain the rest of Rhodes will to fight. Rude tries a Tombstone, but Rhodes reverses it for a near fall of his own.
Rude is able to recover fast and spends the next several minutes in control. Yet another chinlock and sleeper hold help to eat up more time. Rude and Rhodes spit on each other to start the closing minutes. Rhodes gets picked apart with fists before delivering a bulldog out of nowhere to tie things up 1-1.
Rhodes hits a piledriver and a series of clotheslines that fail to earn a fall. He locks on a sleeper with thirty seconds remaining. Rude escapes and climbs the ropes but misses whatever he went for. Rhodes hits a DDT as time runs out. All that for a draw that keeps the title untenanted. A dull affair that seemed to drag on and on and on. They really needed more falls or something because resthold after resthold isn’t what this dead crowd wanted to see.
NWA World champion Barry Windham vs. Ric “Nature Boy” Flair
Flair’s music cuts off as he comes down the aisle. Because WCW. Windham has shaved off his heel beard. Can Flair save this show? Windham goes right at Flair because despite Windham being the champ, Flair is still considered the “man” in WCW. Flair is sent over the top rope and chased down on the floor. Flair tries some chops but when that doesn’t work, he pokes Windham’s eyes. Windham continues his aggressiveness though and nails a lariat among other roughhouse moves. Flair chops away but Windham fights through them. They blow some spot where Flair ends up sending Windham to the floor as Flair and the ref fall down as well. Windham pulls Flair to the floor and retains control. A superplex hurts Flair badly, but Windham tries a flying elbow instead of a pin and misses. Flair gets a few chops in but Windham maintains control.
Flair gets a suplex but hurts his own back. Flair tries a figure-four but Windham rolls out. He goes for another and Windham absent-mindedly reaches for the ropes with his back on the mat and the ref counts to three for the strangest clean World title finish I may have ever seen. Both Flair and Windham acted shocked at that finish, and I actually thought the ref botched it for a second. A decent match but Flair seemed to give Windham most of the match since he was going to win and it kind of threw off the Flair formula match.
Author’s note: I read around the dirtsheets after I finished this review and saw that Windham had a serious knee injury here, which helps explain some of the match not delivering to expectations. This is basically the end of Windham in WCW until 1998.
Ventura interviews Flair right after and points out that Flair is old as I slap my head, Flair puts over how great the opponent he just beat was to build up the title and his win. Then he calls out most of the WCW upper card as challengers to his new crown. This match could have used some of the time the last two matches got, although with Windham’s injury, that probably wasn’t feasible.
Sting and Davey Boy Smith vs. Big Van Vader and Sid Vicious
Sting explodes all over Sid to start but Vicious takes it all and chokeslams Sting in response. Sting is sent to the floor and that allows he and Smith to climb the same corner and launch onto the heels who are in the ring posing. The crowd that has been dead all night is eating all of this action up.
Vader and Smith give it a go next and Vader destroys the Bulldog with clubbing fists. Smith recovers and delivers a delayed suplex on Vader. It’s still a cool spot, but since they did that at the last PPV, the WOW factor is diminished. Vader just bashes Bulldog into the mat and the crowd chants “Vader!” Sid pulls on Smith’s long hair just to be a dick. Maybe he’s jealous that Smith doesn’t have a permed bleach blond mullet like himself?
Vader tags in and batters Smith before talking smack with Sting that leads to a poorly executed takedown by the Bulldog. Sid comes in to lovingly massage Smith’s neck with a nerve pinch. Vader enters and has Race hold Smith so he can charge him, which ends with Race and Vader colliding and that gives the Bulldog the chance to finally tag out.
Sting explodes on both heels with punches. Vader misses a corner splash but Sid cheap shots Sting and allows the heels to regain control. Vader plows fists into Sting’s skull. Vader and Sid enjoy several more minutes of torturing Sting before Bulldog is able to tag in.
His hot tag lasts a few seconds before Sid just lays him out. Vader comes in and crushes Smith, then hits a Vader bomb. Sting breaks that up quickly. Sting and Sid go off to brawl on the ramp as Vader hits a moonsault on the Bulldog! Sting runs back to break up that pin as well, Smith is up way too quick after those two killer moves and he gets a fluke crucifix for the pin on Vader. A very fun match and at least the fans finally got into something. The win by Bulldog sets up Vader defending against him at Clash 24 a few weeks after this event.
Final thoughts: There was nothing actively bad on this PPV, but nothing other than the main event even really felt like something worth watching or proved impactful in the long run of storytelling.