- Over four million people watched Hogan vs. Flair at the Clash, setting a record for highest rated wrestling match ever shown on cable TV. The show itself was the seventh most watched cable wrestling show ever.
- The Masked Man who attacked Hogan is suppose to be Mr. Perfect and they are still planning on a Sting and Hogan vs. Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair main event for the November Clash special. Hennig is still under WWF contract until October.
- Hogan was pissed after the Clash went off the air because Ric Flair had taken the physical World title to the back with him when fleeing. Hogan wanted to pose with it to end the show.
- Hogan vs. Sting was the planned Starrcade main event, with Hogan putting him over and leaving back to Hollywood, but now plans have altered to Hogan staying on and a Hogan vs. Vader main event is now the plan. Hogan had refused to work with Vader so far due to his stiff style.
- Ricky Steamboat, despite being legitimately hurt, was still all over TV in pretaped matches. He has a scheduled rematch with Steve Austin at Fall Brawl that WCW continues to plug even though they know the injury will cause the match not to happen.
- Johnny B. Badd injured his ankle doing a non-wrestling sports competition show in England. It is feared he’d be injured enough to miss this PPV.
- Chavo and Mando Gurrerro made a few spot show appearances in Hispanic heavy towns. They did not pop any business as the new generation of Lucha fans wants to see the flashier moves of the modern Mexican stars.
- Hulk Hogan wants to either retool “Thunder in Paradise” or find a new action show where he can co-star with Sting and Mr. T as the lead heroes.
- Too many of the big name wrestlers were testing positive for pot use, so rather than suspend the talent, they canceled the marijuana drug ban.
- Erik Watts is still cashing in on the contract his Dad gave him two years earlier. WCW planned on cutting him, then papers got mixed up and he got another 90 day extension.
- Alex Wright is in as a teenage wonderboy.
- WCW’s planned date in MSG was canceled by the WWF producing an exclusivity contract.
- There will be no Hogan house show matches in Flair country (the Mid-Atlantic) to prevent Hogan from being booed. Why this would matter at a house show is beyond me.
- The NFL being signed to air on the FOX network created a ripple effect of many WCW and WWF syndicated shows being either canceled by the struggling network, or moved to a late night slot where no one can watch anyway. No local shows = no house shows drawing. Ratings for the shows had been dropping anyway and advertisers didn’t want to run ads during the shows.
- Road Warrior Animal plans on returning to WCW in early 1995 with Hawk to reform the Road Warriors.
- The UWFI (a worked MMA style of wrestling) in Japan made an offer to trade talent but New Japan stepped in an offered even more cash in order to keep the smaller promotion from gaining any ground on them.
- Ron Simmons, Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce were all told they would be released at the end of their current deals.
- One cable company ran an add for Halloween Havoc before Fall Brawl even was on the air. The ad revealed several results from Fall Brawl.
- The NWA promoters are still arguing over who should be the next NWA champ. Many wanted Chris Benoit to be given the slot, but Jim Crockett turned that idea down by claiming he had never heard of him. It caused great concern among other NWA board members that Crockett was so out of touch given Benoit’s past on WCW TV and PPVs, along with being among the top names on the indy circuit.
- The famous NWA title tournament took place a few weeks later where Shane Douglas won the tournament, then thrashed the title and declared his ECW title as the real World belt. Paul Heyman and Shane Douglas then went on two separate radio shows, with Douglas saying he decided on the fly to throw down the title, meanwhile Heyman admitted it was a weeks long conspiracy.
- In an amusing sidenote: Wade Keller and Dave Meltzer are still trying to figure out if the UFC, which has now run 3 PPVs is real or worked. Keller has determined that watching in slow motion shows punches being pulled.
Fall Brawl 94
Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene run down the card. Now that the PPV is bought, they alert the fans that Ricky Steamboat is injured and won’t compete.
TV Champion Lord Steven Regal vs. Johnny B. Badd
Regal stalls to start. Badd uses his usual armbar heavy offense which Regal goes to the ropes to escape multiple times. An airplane spin dizzies Regal and he falls to the floor. Badd planchas on him while he’s vulnerable. Badd misses a crossbody back in the ring and Regal pounces – first grinding Badd into the mat and then Sir William uses his umbrella to choke Badd. Regal grinds his forearm into Badd’s nose as he bears down his weight onto Badd. A series of European uppercuts drop the challenger. Regal gets drawn into a slugfest and that doesn’t go well for him. Sir William interferes right in front of Nick Patrick and he lets it go without a DQ. The heels collide and Badd scores a near fall off a roll up. Badd then reverses a European uppercut into a backslide for the title change. The crowd pops HUGE as Regal had spent the past year or so saving his title through devious and cowardly means and the fans seemed to figure to see the same here again. Solid enough match but nothing special. This sets up a series of Badd/Honky Tonk Man matches that I can’t imagine will be any fun to sit through.
The crowd chants “We want Flair!” We see a long clip from Hogan/Flair at the Clash as the show was timed out to go short after they lost the Steamboat/Austin match that was to take upwards of 30 minutes of air time. Several segments had to be extended to make up for it. Mean Gene says he was on G. Gordon Liddy’s radio show this week to discuss Hogan’s injury and that made my head explode. Liddy was one of Nixon’s Watergate henchmen in case you didn’t know. I hope Liddy tied Hogan’s attack into a Clinton conspiracy.
Loser Leaves WCW: Kevin Sullivan vs. Cactus Jack
Jack, the “heel”, comes out to a nice response. Sullivan, the babyface, receives an indifferent reaction. They start to brawl on the floor before the match can even start and Foley takes a wicked bump on a chair. Jack unpeels the protective mats and prepares to launch down on Sullivan. Dave Sullivan grabs his foot and that allows Kevin to slam Jack from the second rope down onto the pavement in a cringe worthy splat of a bump. Sullivan slams Jack on the pavement in case he had any kidney function remaining.
Kevin starts to attack Jack’s mangled ear and then grips and yanks at it in true babyface fashion. Jack retaliates with punches and biting. They brawl to the floor and Jack is back dropped onto the bare cement and then takes a big back bump onto it via a charging fist delivered by Sullivan. Jack tosses a chair in the ring out of anger. Dave Sullivan takes the chair away from Jack and Kevin is able to take control back. Kevin tries to hit Jack with a chair and Dave stops him as well. Jack and Dave collide and Sullivan rolls Jack up to end his WCW career. The sick bumps made this interesting to a point but the match and overall heel/face alignment was all out of wack.
The Studd Stable scream like the crazy hillbillies they are. Arn Anderson brings intellect to counter his teammates zany heelishness.
US Champion Ricky Steamboat vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Austin mocks Steamboat as Nick Bockwinkel announces that Steamboat is injured and may have to retire. Austin feigns sadness as Steamboat promises to recover and come back to kick Austin’s butt. Bockwinkel informs Austin he has a new challenger and brings out “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
US Champion Steve Austin vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Duggan gets a good pop. He hugs Steamboat, which is a nice touch to show that he has empathy for the Dragon. Austin is argues with Bockwinkel and threatens to leave. Duggan hits a backdrop and a splash and pins Austin. AUGH. Crowd appreciated this but Duggan was a comedy upper mid-card guy in the WWF who had done quite a few TV jobs in 93, so this feels like a step down for the title. Duggan would slide into his natural role as a mid-card goof a few months after this. Duggan does a nice promo after the match talking about how important the title is to him. Poor Austin went from being the probable successor to Flair’s spot as top heel to mid-card geek in the span of one segment.
World tag champions Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell and The Patriot
Bagwell tries a “USA” chant… facing two Americans. Bagwell starts a fiery offensive including a swank crossbody. Heenan explains how these four men are all pumped full of steroids but are great athletes anyway. The faces try to remove Mr. Wonderful’s arm from his shoulder. The heels cheat to end that flurry and Bagwell falls into the face in peril role. Roma hits a nice flying elbow and celebrates his own awesomeness. Roma ties up The Patriot so Orndorff can put a hurting on Bagwell on the floor. Roma runs around the ring with a shit eating grin as Mr. Wonderful pours a cooler full of the announcers drinks and ice over Bagwell. Marcus declines to enjoy a fresh Hi-C. Orndorff tries a piledriver but is back dropped instead.
The Patriot makes a tag behind the ref’s back and cleans house on both heels. Mr. Wonderful piledrives Bagwell on the concrete, which should have been a serious injury angle, but instead he is just rolled in the ring and pinned by Roma. Paint by numbers stuff both in the in ring action and the overall structure of the match. This earned a solid “meh” from me.
Dusty Rhodes and company scream about “WAHR GIMES” If you will. Dusty promises to rape Col. Parker in an uncomfortable moment.
“Triangle Match” Sting vs. The Guardian Angel vs. Vader
They flip a coin to determine what pairing will start as this is two one on one matches instead of the now traditional “three way dance” rules.
The Guardian Angel vs. Vader
These two have met a bunch over the past nine months. Heenan tries to get WCW sued by saying “boss man” about 6 times in one minute. Vader growls but neither man budges when they collide. Angel mocks Vader’s visceral roars. The bulls clash together some more with no one making any headway. Vader clubs down the Angel before being thrown around by a flustered Bossman. Vader tries to slow the pace but things tumble to the floor where Harley Race is downed. The ref takes a bump back in the ring and misses a side slam and pin attempt. Race sneaks in the ring as Bossman switches positions so Race can head butt him. Vader hits the Vaderbomb and gets the pin. Good enough of a big man match that was shorter than normal for these two due to the match structure.
Sting vs. Vader
Sting’s going to look pretty silly if he doesn’t win this now that Vader has been softened up to a degree. Vader clubs away at Sting but he steals Hogan’s gimmick and no sells every blow. Sting finally gets steamrolled and Vader wastes no time hitting the Vaderbomb. He goes for a second one but Sting hops up and kicks Vader in the ass. Vader knocks him down again but misses the Vaderbomb. Sting clotheslines the big man to the floor. Race gets too close to the action and Sting suplexes him on the pavement. Back in the ring Sting suplexes Vader for good measure.
Vader downs Sting again but misses the Vadersault. Sting delivers a superplex and a Samoan drop but Vader won’t stay down. Vader eats punch after punch but won’t go down. Finally a pair of Stinger splashes is enough to take the big man off his feet. Sting then delivers a belly to back suplex but the beast just refuses to quit. Sting begins to wilt under a series of strikes but powers back and downs the man monster with a clothesline. A pair of flying clotheslines keep Vader down long enough for Sting to launch a flying splash for a nearfall. Vader goes back to throwing his mauling fists right after absorbing that flurry. Vader delivers a back suplex but Sting counter strikes with a powerslam. Both men are tired but Sting manages to lock on a Scorpion Death Lock as time expires after 15 minutes.
5 minute “Overtime”: Vader takes control with strikes before the men fight on the top turnbuckle for a dominant position. That ends with Vader crashing into the mat. They crawl back up and this time Vader is superplexed. Both men lay on the mat gassed and in pain. Vader smashes Sting and hits a splash for a nearfall. Vader hits the powerbomb but runs out of time before he can earn a 3 count.
Sudden Death – First man knocked off his feet will lose the match:
Vader yanks down his straps and starts to throw bombs into Sting. Sting hangs on the ropes as Vader smashes fists into his rib cage. Sting starts to rally back with punches of his own. Race climbs up to the ring which draws the Angel back to ringside and distracts the ref. Vader falls down as Nick Patrick chases Race down the aisle. The Mysterious Masked Man sneaks in and clips Sting’s knee. Sting goes down as the ref turns his attention back to the action and rules Vader the winner.
The psychology for the match was a bit kooky as it was the company’s top heel who found himself facing the long odds of having to beat two fresh, top-level talents in back to back matches while also bearing the disadvantage of being the super-heavyweight in a match where endurance is so important. Having a near 30 minute match end with a run-in is somewhat of a let down. Sting and Vader provided their usual awesome performance here, now in their third year of battles.
Mean Gene interviews Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair live via satellite. Hogan gets booed when he pops up on the big screen. Hogan is pumping iron. Ric Flair is in the process of fucking four women in Las Vegas. Hogan raps about immortality and how he no sells everything thanks to the fans. Flair declares he’s retired and not interested in giving Hogan any more matches. Hogan promises to retire if Flair will wrestle him one more time and manages to somehow beat him. This prompts Flair to accept. They deliver each other’s catchphrases as they close things out. This went too long for a PPV segment (I paraphrased a LONG segment down to a few sentences) and would have been better served on WCW Saturday Night. WCW is going to burn 30 minutes of PPV time without holding a match.
Nick Bockwinkel reads the contract for Hogan vs. Flair at Halloween Havoc to eat up more time. He announces it will be a cage match and Mean Gene loses his mind over how dangerous that stipulation will be considering the participants.
We get a bunch of clips of the Rhodes/Studd Stable feud to catch everyone up on what brought us to this…and gobble up more time.
WAR GAMES: Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, and The Nasty Boyz vs. Bunkhouse Buck, Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, and Col. Parker
Michael Buffer compares WAR GAMES to the real battles that the US armed forces endure, only instead of battling for democracy we are battling for manhood. Dustin kicks things off with Anderson, and since it’s a fair fight, the heel gets his butt whooped to start. Anderson starts to stall as he tries to lure Rhodes into a trap. Rhodes is too pissed to fall for any more tricks and just cracks him with fists and runs his face into the cage. Anderson has his arm stomped on until he delivers a desperation DDT.
The heels win the coin toss (of course) and Buck runs in and starts to lay a stompin’ on Rhodes. They double up on Dustin and drive him into the cage, then trap him in a double Boston Crab. Saggs charges in to even the odds and starts to toss both Anderson and Buck around the ring, and then piledrives Buck and cracks him in his man bits. Funk removes his boot and uses it liberally as a weapon once he is allowed to enter the melee. Funk grinds Dustin’s head into the cage right in front of Dusty, who is helpless on the outside. Saggs piledrives Funk on the crack between the rings and Funk falls into the abyss below.
Knobbs blitzes in and takes a shot at each of the heels. Anderson is ground into the cage and Funk is smacked with his own boot. Col. Parker panics at ringside, knowing his chickens have come home to roost. He waits for Dustin to be in a compromising situation before coming in for his cheap shots. Parker hurts his hand trying to punch (because he’s a wimpy blowhard) and Rhodes acquires a belt and starts to achieve some revenge for the Studd Stable’s sins. Dusty comes in last and all the heels try to gang up on him, so he greets them with elbows aplenty!! Parker is tossed into a separate ring and all the baby faces take shots on him before Dusty locks on the figure-four and force feed Parker elbows until he surrenders. Meng went nuts on the floor during that final sequence and it was awesome. Meng gets in the cage and headbutts a camera! The heels are left laid out all over the canvas. That was a really fun brawl, however I sort of wish Dusty would have been involved a bit longer.
With the PPV still having too much time left, the announcers ramble on for the final 7 or 8 minutes of the show.
Final thoughts: The last two matches saved what was a fairly underwelming show to that point. Why didn’t they book more matches instead of wasting 30-45 minutes of PPV time with filler? Next time I’ll be covering Halloween Havoc!