WCW Spring Stampede 1994

  • More reports are coming out that Hulk Hogan will be signing with WCW for a series of PPV and house show matches with Ric Flair over the summer. Both WCW and Hogan deny a deal is near done, yet apparently Hogan has already pre-taped some promos to air soon. Airing promos for a guy not under contract seems like a very WCW thing to do.
  • Despite still drawing nothing at house shows, WCW is convinced Hogan vs. Flair can be run at the Georgia’s 65,000 seat dome, possibly for Starrcade. Hogan wants to try and book Wembly Stadium in England for the first Hogan vs. Flair WCW match.
  • Ric Flair has officially taken over as the head booker. He plans to turn heel soon to set up the Hogan feud.
  • The sloppy suplex Maxx Payne delivered to Knobbs at SuperBrawl ended up separating his shoulder.
  • Ric Flair was interviewed on Larry King Live, Larry asked him if he had ever wrestled on PPV before…
  • On the day before SuperBrawl, the syndicated Worldwide show plugged a Davey Boy Smith vs. Lord Steven Regal match for the TV title that was to take place at the PPV. WCW had three months to edit that out and just chose to ignore it. SMH.
  • A vote was taken by the booking committee to see if Sid Vicious should be offered a new contract, it was almost unanimously no.
  • Jim Ross and the WWF are parting ways, which led to JR having a meeting with Eric Bischoff to try and get an announcing gig. Jesse Ventura and Tony Schiavone have both mocked Ross on WCW TV over the past year and figure to do what they can to keep him out of WCW.
  • Jesse Ventura took a family vacation to Hawaii right after Bobby Heenan came to WCW, and now the Brain is doing so well as the color man that most figure Ventura will be removed from the “A” announcing team.
  • Despite beating down Johnny B Badd at SuperBrawl, the Freebirds are done in WCW and are now working for Global Wrestling.
  • Tully Blanchard is signed to work at Slamboree and he is very open to making it a full time return.
  • A lot of grumbling is being done in the locker room due to WCW spending 400K on new décor for the TV tapings, paying Heenan, Mean Gene and Ventura so much money and the rumored amounts Hogan is being offered. Meanwhile many of the current WCW roster is being asked to take 20% pay cuts.
  • Rick Rude has been asked to drop the WCW International title to Sting at Spring Stampede and is refusing to do so. Rude did lose the strap to Hiroshi Hase but regained it within a week.
  • In mid-March Cactus Jack suffered a severely damaged ear during a now infamous match with Vader while WCW toured Germany. Jack lost a large portion of his ear when he tangled his neck around the ring ropes and became trapped, forcing his way out and causing the damage.
  • On the same tour Ron Simmons tore his bicep and Vader suffered a burst ear drum. Both men are expected to be out for weeks if not months.
  • Refs Nick Patrick and Randy Anderson both had to leave Europe early due to family emergencies and injuries which forced WCW to find a “hardcore fan” to take over some referee duties causing a bunch of issues.
  • Eric Bischoff is trying to sign Davey Boy Smith back – just to use on European tours. He is also in talks with Mexican promoters about using Konnan on West Coast shows to try and help bump attendance.
  • 18 year old Alex Wright was used on the European tour. WCW is expected to make a play to sign him to a contract soon.
  • WCW released promotional fliers for May’s Slamboree PPV… of course being WCW they listed the date as being in April.
  • To build to his match with Muta, Steve Austin has beaten Brady Boone and Paul Diamond under masks as Japanese workers, as well as Pat Tanaka.
  • Missy Hyatt filed suit against WCW for sexual harassment, gender pay bias and other related subjects. Hyatt discovered that a picture of her breast popping out of her dress at Starrrcade had been blown up and hung in a photo room in WCW headquarters. She is suing for several million dollars. The lawsuit gained mainstream attention and Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh spoke about it on their highly popular radio shows.
  • Brian Pillman has spent several weeks working without a contract and it is believed to be leaving WCW after Spring Stampede.
  • The Spring Stampede PPV was originally planned to be headlined by Ric Flair versus The Great Muta for the World title.

Spring Stampede
This western themed PPV is coming to you from… Chicago. WCW actually drew a huge house for this and had one of their best financial nights in a LONG time.

Aaron Neville wears a skin tight leopard colored muscle shirt while singing the “Star Spangled Banner”.

Crowd is HOT which already makes this a lot more fun to watch compared to most of their recent shows. Heenan and Schiavone talk up the card.

Johnny B Badd vs. “Diamond” Dallas Page
Kimberly is with DDP, which marks her first mega show I believe. DDP jumps Badd to start but Badd quickly takes over and grounds Page. Heenan tries to claim DDP is a major star in Europe and Japan and now plans on being one in America. Page and Badd go through a nice reversal sequence on the mat before DDP’s roughhouse tactics allow him to gain control. Page hits some nice power moves as he tosses Badd around. Badd fights his way back into control and uses the KO punch to knock Page to the floor. Badd planchas on top of DDP then rolls him up once they get back in the ring. This was a perfect opener, with some hot moves and a babyface winning after hitting some high spots.

Jesse Ventura chats with Mean Gene. Ventura alludes to his recent 800K lawsuit win over the WWF for unpaid royalties.

TV Champion Lord Steven Regal vs. “Flyin” Brian Pillman
Pillman jumps Regal and works a fast aggressive style to throw off Regal’s usual stalling strategy. Things spill to the floor where Regal’s arm is smashed into the barricade. Back in the ring, Pillman wraps Regal’s arm around the ringpost. Regal manages to deliver some European uppercuts to break the challenger’s momentum. His Lordship grounds Pillman with a wristlock and a nice suplex variant. Regal delivers a nice leg vine takedown and locks on version of the STF. A crossbow ties Pillman up for further torture.

Pillman and Regal botch…something and Regal turns it into a rolling fallaway slam before tying Pillman’s limbs back up. The champ locks on a half-crab to continue the pain game. Regal grinds Pillman’s face into the mat. Pillman finally fights his way to his feet and tries to out punch Regal, but just doesn’t have enough energy to take over. Regal tries Boston crab to stall out the final two minutes but Pillman powers out of it. Regal finally errors and walks into a dropkick. They blow a few moves as Pillman is moving fast and Regal doesn’t seem to be on the same page. Time expires and Regal once again escapes as champion. This was an entertaining match that was well worked within the confines of the story, up until that finishing sequence when things went to hell.

Mean Gene cracks me up by calling Bunkhouse Buck a “fertilizer salesman” while trying to get some words from Col. Parker and Buck.

Chicago Street Fight: World tag team champions The Nasty Boyz vs. Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne
The four way brawl starts right away on the ramp. Foley and Knobbs trade plunder shots, meanwhile Saggs KILLS Payne with a chair shot, then stiffs the shit out of Jack with a stick across the back. Foley gives him some of his own medicine back with a hard chair shot. Payne and Knobbs brawl down the ramp as Foley and Saggs brawl in the ring. Payne and Knobbs find a souvenir stand and batter one another with trash cans. Saggs gets kabonged with another chair to the head while Payne chucks Knobbs through a table.

Knobbs uses chunks of the table to crack Payne with. Foley takes a bump over the railing, allowing the champs to fling Payne through the souvenir stand wall. Saggs uses another table to smash Foley’s face. Jack downs Saggs and suplexes the table on top of him. Knobbs produces a shovel and cracks Jack, so Payne steals it and drubs him with it. Saggs and Jack try to stand on a table but it snaps in half as they brawl on it. Jack eats a SICK shovel shot to the skull and is pinned. Payne gets creamed with another piece of table before the heels run to safer grounds. This is a legendary brawl and is definitely worth watching. Crazy, sick stuff here.

US Champion Steve Austin vs. The Great Muta
They feel one another out at the onset. Things get headlocky early on as Muta is in America, and thus he isn’t trying. Five minutes pass without much happening. Austin works a head scissors to eat some time before Muta makes faces and scares him to the floor. Muta slows things down again by grounding Austin with a hammerlock. They trade more rest holds as this thing goes on and on. The crowd is doing its best to stay into things as they are still popping every time Muta escapes a hold.

Muta turns things up a bit around the 10 minute mark. He delivers a snap suplex, stun gun, handstand elbow, then hits a top rope hurricanrana. Col. Parker tries to distract Muta, and eats a kick for his efforts. Austin runs at Muta and is back dropped to the floor to earn Muta a DQ. That final sequence almost managed to make up for the dullness that took up the meat of the match. Muta adds a flying crossbody on Parker and Austin on the floor for good measure before the heels scatter.

WCW International World Big Gold Belt of Extreme Importance: Rick Rude vs. Sting
Harley Race interrupts Rude’s introduction in order to challenge the winner of this bout to meet Vader. Race tries to get in a cheap shot on Sting and is sent flying to the floor. Rude then tries to jump Sting but is out punched and clotheslined to the floor. Sting suplexes Rude on the floor for good measure. Sting continues to batter Rude from pillar to post back in the ring. Rude eats a number of diving elbows as he lays prone in the middle of the ring. Rude finally goes low and dumps Sting to the cement to break up the onslaught.

Rude goes for his favorite move…the chinlock. Sting eventually fights his way out but Rude locks on a sleeper. Rude lets the hold go and that serves to fire Sting up, allowing him to go BONZO GONZO all over Rude. A backdrop almost ends in disaster as Rude flips overhead and lands very awkwardly. Sting tosses Rude into the ref and Stinger splashes both of them. Rude is locked into a Scorpion Death Lock as Vader and Race charge in. The ref seems to be watching all this but doesn’t call a DQ. Rude jumps Sting allowing Rude to go for the Rude Awakening. He and Race look at each other. And look again…then Race crawls in with a chair as Rude spins Sting into position. Sting moves and Rude is hit with a gentle chair shot. Sting covers Rude and the ref makes the three count. What a convolted finishing sequence. The match was fun minus Rude’s five minute resthold fest.

Heenan looks for Hulk Hogan, who Ric Flair has invited to watch the main event.

Bunkhouse Match: Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck
Rhodes leaps into the ring and starts “clubberin’” Buck with fists. Buck bumps around for Rhodes’ assault in and out of the ring. Rhodes misses a flying crossbody, which allows Buck to snap a stick over Rhodes back. Pieces of wood fly into the audience. Buck removes his suspenders and chokes The Natural with them. Dustin has tapped a gusher, and I wholly approve!

Buck wallops Rhodes with such force that he falls over himself. Rhodes throws powder into Buck’s eyes but that barely stops Buck from taking off his belt and whipping Rhodes like a yella’ dog. A firm nut shot downs Rhodes. Rhodes starts to rally with boots and elbows before taking the belt buckle and blasting Buck’s face. Rhodes removes his boot and drives the hard heel into Buck’s face, which is now covered in blood. Buck’s shirt is torn half off and Rhodes uses the belt to torture Buck. Rhodes delivers ten elbows to open up the head wound. A bulldog KO’s Buck but Col. Parker gets involved and is suplexed and whipped. Parker is chucked over the top rope and the principals of the match go punch for punch right in the middle of the ring. Parker loads Buck’s hand with brass knuckles which he uses to KO Rhodes and earn the pin! Great Brawl!!!!!! This was WRASSLIN’!!!!

Rude and Vader nearly come to blows in the locker room. Jerry Saggs breaks things up in his tighty whities.

The Boss vs. Vader
The Boss’s theme is a rip off of “Bad Boys” (the COPS theme). That made me laugh for some reason. These two continue the theme of the night and start brawling on the ramp. Vader and Race collide accidentally and Vader is bounced in the ring by Bubba. Vader clubs The Boss off his feet and slams him with ease. Vader leaps over the top rope to try a splash but the Boss was waiting for him. Vader is knocked to the floor and whipped over the railing, where he lands on top of a sea of empty chairs. A splash in the corner is followed up with a body slam.

The bulls trade blows in the middle of the ring before the Boss takes a dangerous bump over the top rope. Bossman is suplexed and splashed. Vader corners The Boss and both men go back and forth with punches in the mush. Vader is bleeding from something (stiff punch?) Vader is flung violently off the ropes and lands in a heap on his shoulder. Bossman hits a DDT from the second rope, which the Boss follows with a flying crossbody. He tries another one and Vader catches him with a powerslam. The dead weight of the Boss is dragged to the corner and a Vader bomb ends…NO! A kick out from Bossman. Vader connects with a moonsault and NOW it’s over! Tremendous super-heavyweight brawl. The Bossman pounds Vader and Race with the nightstick after the match. I believe this is the storyline reason that Commissioner Bockwinkel uses to ban the nightstick and force the Boss to change his name.

Just as I type that, we go to the back where Bockwinkel takes away The Boss’s name and his tools of trade. Ventura calls him the Bossman. LOL.

World Champion Ric Flair vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
After a night full of brawls, we end with two technical masters. Steamboat gets a mixed reaction. With all the Hogan talk, and Steamboat’s general slide down the card, I have to believe very few people expected Steamboat to walk out of here as the champ. They go through several reversal sequences to show that they know one another and are on equal ground. Things quickly get chippy as a chop and a slap are exchanged. Both men regain their composure and go back to wrestling. Steamboat uses his speed advantage to flip Flair around with a pair of head scissors, a drop kick and a flying chop. Flair has to take a break after that exchange.

Steamboat controls the pace as Flair plays a defensive game and awaits a mistake from his veteran foe. The crowd begins to get restless as The Dragon works a lengthy series of headlocks. Heenan does some fun comedy to entertain the home audience while the men rest up for the second half of their battle. Flair finally catches Steamboat off guard and gets in a bit of a cheap shot before laying in a number of chops. Steamer is badly rocked from a knee drop. Steamboat takes several minutes of abuse before makes a desperation move that sends both men spilling out to the floor. Flair tries to piledrive The Dragon but he is back dropped on the padding instead. Steamboat misses a charge and connects his ribs to the railing, but that doesn’t stop him from taking back control quickly and superplexing Flair from the top rope.

Steamboat connects with a plethora of chops and locks Flair in a figure-four. Flair struggles mightily before resorting to poking The Dragon’s eye to escape. Flair tries a suplex but his knee gives out. Steamboat stalks Flair but ends up cheap shotted again and that opens up both men to trade chops. Flair does a Flair flop from in the ring through the ropes onto the ramp. Flair manages to play possum and suckers Steamboat in for a counter blow that takes him off his feet.

Steamboat battles his way back into the fight but misses a flying splash and dings his knee. Flair locks on the figure-four almost right after. The Dragon fights his way to the ropes but Flair goes right back to attempting the move. Steamboat rolls him up for a near fall instead. Steamboat delivers a number of chops and sets Flair up for another superplex. I wonder if that was a nod to Vader injuring Flair with a pair of superplexes a few months earlier? The ref ends up bumped briefly as The Dragon gets a visual 3 count. Steamboat locks in the double chickenwing (which Steamboat used to beat Flair in 89) and The Dragon drops back and the ref counts the 3 count. A second ref and Commissioner Bockwinkel come down and ultimately they decide Ric Flair is the winner. Steamboat is understandably livid. So given this was a fuck finish, how did we not get a rematch at Slamboree? The match of course was tremendous, as a Flair and Steamboat match almost has to be.

Final thoughts: This is easily on the short list of greatest WCW PPVs ever from top to bottom, and you owe it to yourself to watch this now! How this company suddenly figured out how to do PPV right is a mystery for the Wrestling Gods to determine. Next time we get Flair vs. Windham, Terry Funk vs. Tully Blanchard and more Cactus Jack brawls with the Nasties!

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.

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