- In early February WCW restructured their power scheme, with Bill Watts and Jim Ross both having powers removed from them. Watts would lose much of his day to day decision making duties and Ross was busted down all the way to syndication TV salesman for the company. A large booking committee was put in place and the “good ol’ boys” like Dusty Rhodes and Bill Watts were told they were not allowed to yell, swear or act out in the offices any further. They were also informed that Zubaz, jeans and sweat pants will also no longer be acceptable apparel while working in the office.
- These changes meant little as only a few days later both JR and Watts quit the company and Eric Bischoff became the new Executive Vice President of WCW. Ole Anderson, who booked the company into the ground in 1990, will be taking over Watts’ role.
* Watts quitting also helped to avoid a brewing scandal about an interview Watts gave 18-months earlier where he stated that business owners should have the right to refuse service to anyone, even if its due to racism. Here are the shocking statements verbatim (courtesy of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter): “If you own a business and you put the money in, why shouldn’t you be able to discriminate? It’s your business. If free enterprise is going to make or break it, you should be able to discriminate. It’s your business. It should be that, by God, if you’re going to open your doors in America, you can discriminate. Why the f— not? That’s why I went into business, so that I could discriminate. I mean, really. I mean I want to be able to serve who I want to. It’s my business. It’s my investment. So they come in and say no. I can’t tell a fag to get the f— out. I should have the right to not associate with a fag if I don’t want to. I should have the right to not fire a fag if I don’t want to. I mean, why should I have to hire a f—in fag if I don’t like fags? Fags discriminate against us, don’t they?
“Sure they do. Do Blacks discriminate against Whites? Whose killed more Blacks than anyone? The f—in Blacks. But they want to blame that bull—- “Roots” that came on the air. That “Roots” was so bull—-. All you have to do if you want slaves is hand beads to the chiefs and they gave you the slaves. What is the best thing that has ever, ever happened to the Black race? That they were brought to this country. No matter how they got here, they were brought here. You know why? Because they intermarried and got educated. They’re the ones running the Black race. You go down to the Black countries and they’re all broke. Idi Amin killed more Blacks than we ever killed. You see what I mean. That’s how stupid we are. But we get all caught up in all this bull—- rhetoric. And so, it’s ridiculous what’s happening to our country. Lester Maddox (former Alabama Governor who was most famous in the 60s for blocking a school door and not allowing Black children into a formerly all-white school) was right. If I don’t want to sell fried chicken to Blacks, I shouldn’t have to. It’s my restaurant. Hell, at least I respect him for his stand.”
* WCW TV was dominated with Cactus Jack facing off with Paul Orndorff.
* Part of the build up to the Sting vs. Vader Superbrawl match was yet another “mini-movie”, this time visiting the Vader’s “White Castle of Fear”:
* Vader signed a deal with the fake shoot organization UWFI to compete at 8 events for them, with his haul being $250,000!
* The US title number one contender tournament was changed to being for the title after Rick Rude was determined to be out for several more months. Dustin Rhodes captured the title after Barry Windham interfered and injured Ricky Steamboat behind Rhodes’ back at the end of the finals.
* Rude is pissed at WCW since he injured his neck while working for them, and WCW is refusing to pay him. Bill Watts told Rude to file for worker’s compensation. Rude refused to return the physical WCW US title to them as part of his dispute.
* Jim Cornette and Stan Lane made their WCW returns as part of the SMW/WCW working agreement. Watts made a veiled comment suggesting Cornette had AIDS as part of their verbal duel on TV. With Watts gone, the cross promotion is expected to die on the vine.
* Hulk Hogan visited the CNN center and the Wrestling Observer reported that he had preliminary talks with WCW. Since he was only weeks away from returning to the WWF, we can assume this was done by Hogan to entice McMahon to offer him a better deal.
* In an embarrassing note, The Main Event program was replaced for Super Bowl Sunday by Andy Griffith reruns. Griffith scored more than double WCW’s usual rating for that time slot.
* Rob Van Dam has entered WCW as Robbie V and is part of the TV title tournament. Max Payne has debuted, as has Lord Steven Regal. Future Gangsta Mustafa is working as a jobber and The Cole Twins are also working as undercard guys. Future X-men movie star Tyler Mane has debuted as “Big Sky”. Future ECW star Taz received a tryout match.
New WCW boss Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt open the PPV and inform us that Ron Simmons is injured and will miss out on his scheduled WCW US title match tonight.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura will call the action.
Marcus Bagwell and Erik Watts vs. Steve Austin and Brian Pillman
Bagwell out muscles Austin early, so Austin just roughhouses him with fists – but that backfires when Bagwell slugs him. Watts tags in and is booed by the fans. Pillman and Austin double team him but Watts fights out and the fans cheer. Then Watts locks on a wristlock and gets booed again. Fickle crowd. The fans are chanting something at Watts but I can’t quite make out what it is. The crowd keeps shitting on him as he tries an abdominal stretch. Ventura even starts to ask why the crowd is booing Watts, buy Schiavone suggests they are actually saying “Woo!”
Watts locks on a Boston crab to more boos, which causes Pillman to become a babyface by attacking Watts from behind to break it. Watts trying an STF does get a pop though. Pillman escapes and cheap shots Watts, then sends him to the floor, where Austin gets some licks in – and an “Austin!” chant. The heels cheat gloriously as Watts falls into the “over pushed son of the promoter in peril” role. The Blonds try a rocket launcher, but Watts gets his knees up. Austin cuts him off from tagging out. Austin misses a follow up attack, which allows Watts to tag off. Things quickly break down and all four men go at it in the ring. Bagwell tries a fisherman suplex, but Austin comes down onto his ribs from the top rope allowing Pillman to snag the win. Not a bad match. Formulaic. Why aren’t World tag champs Steamboat and Douglas on this card?
Ric Flair will return later tonight, and Missy Hyatt heads to the back to try and interview him. Flair climbs out of his limo surrounded by security and Hyatt is shut out.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Chris Benoit
Ventura picks Benoit to win because of his “killer instinct.” No comment. Scorpio hits three straight flying attacks to send Benoit to the floor to regroup. They go through a nice wristlock reversal sequence to establish parity in their skill sets. Benoit has his arm wrapped around 2 Cold’s leg as Scorpio tries to wrench Benoit’s arm from his socket. They go back and forth through another excellent reversal sequence that was very cutting edge for an early 90’s American pro wrestling match. Scorpio takes control with another hammerlock and teases a crossface.
They avoid one another’s offensive attacks with some timely duck and dodging before Benoit downs him with a nasty clothesline. Benoit takes over with a back breaker, then delivers a stiff spinebuster and locks in a lion tamer. 2 Cold is subjected to a top rope back suplex and both men are injured from the long fall. Benoit tries another one from mat level and Scorpio reverses it in mid-air and lands on Benoit for a near fall. Benoit is not amused and power bombs Scorpio. He tries another but Scorpio flips out of it and connects with an enziguiri. Scorpio hits on a flying splash from the top and surprisingly fails to earn the win. With seconds left Benoit delivers a wheel barrel face buster, and a flying legdrop – neither finish Scorpio. With four seconds left, 2 Cold reverses a full nelson suplex into a rolling cradle for the three count at 19:59!!
This was a tremendous match that flew by. I undersold the play by play because I was so wrapped up in the fast paced action. This is worth your $9.99 for the month.
Maxx Payne is with Bischoff. Payne plays “Taps” on his guitar in honor of Dustin Rhodes having to face him.
British Bulldog vs. “Wild” Bill Irwin
Irwin is making a random appearance here. This is Smith’s WCW debut. He looks as roided up as his frame can handle. Bulldog runs through his armdrag, clothesline, press slam offensive move set as the veteran Irwin bumps all over the place like a pro. Irwin gets in some token offense before Smith hits a vertical delayed suplex and delivering the powerslam for the win. Harmless squash. We do learn from Schiavone that the “Irish whip” was invented in the 1860’s – I’m surprised that Ventura didn’t jump on that obvious B.S.
Davey Boy tries to cut a promo about “The Sting” and the “World Championship World Heavyweight Title”. Just do what your good at and keep jabbing in the roids and not jabbering with your jaw Bulldog.
“Falls Count Anywhere” Cactus Jack vs. Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff
Paul Orndorff tries to cut a promo on Cactus Jack, but Jack sneaks into the interview area with a shovel and chases Orndorff to the ring with it. The ref fights with Jack over it and that allows Orndorff to attack Jack. Cactus meets with the barricade and has his oxygen cut off with an electric cord. Jack fights back and peels away the padding from ringside, then slams Orndorf onto it and drops a elbow. Jack then climbs to the second rope and tries a sunset flip like an idiot and splats onto the concrete.
Orndorff tortures him a bit in the ring, then whips Jack to the floor. Jack is then sent over a railing and splats on the concrete again. Orndorff then SUPLEXES Jack onto the railing SPINE first. That was one of the nastiest spots I’ve ever seen in a match like this! Jack then has his knee brace torn off as they get back in the ring. Orndorff suplexes Jack over the top turnbuckle. A figure-four is locked on the maimed Jack. Jack escapes and hobbles near the ropes, where he is clotheslined to the floor. Orndorff takes Jack’s kneecap and slams it into the cement floor several times.
Jack tries to climb into the ring and Mr. Wonderful cracks him with the knee brace and Foley falls off the apron and once again splats onto the concrete. Orndorff smacks his knee with a chair several times, but stops to pose and that allows Jack to grab his shovel and KO Orndorf for the pin! Damn good brawl, mostly because Mick Foley is a CRAZY bastard.
Something is edited out here, but I have no idea what. Maybe a commercial for Slamboree?
The Rock and Roll Express vs. The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane and Tom Pritchard)
Bobby Eaton comes out with his old running buddies. Six months ago Ricky Morton was released and now he’s part “of one of the all-time great WCW teams”. Why wasn’t Robert Gibson resigned then, instead of releasing a good worker? Gibson takes Pritchard down with a flying head scissors, then Morton greets him with a hurricanrana. The Bodies are tossed together and need to regroup. They work an excellent four-man sequence that ends with the Bodies tossed together. Then Lane backdrops Pritchard while in a daze.
Morton is cornered but fights his way out. Lane and Morton do a criss-cross that ends in a cute bit as Morton sneaks out of the ring and chases Cornette into the ring where he and Lane collide. The heels get sick of playing the fool and toss Morton to the floor, where Cornette greets him with a tennis racquet shot. This allows Morton to glide into his natural role as face in peril and he spends the next several minutes taking all the abuse that the heels can muster.
Gibson finally tags in and another four way skirmish breaks out. Cornette ends up in the ring as things break down. Morton tries to cover Pritchard, but Bobby Eaton runs down and comes off at Morton – Ricky moves and Eaton crashes onto the Doctor of Desire. Gibson pins Pritchard. The crowd goes wild. Cornette tries to keep the peace as Pritchard wants a piece of Eaton after that. These guys were wrestling each other night after night in SMW and had their spots down so well they probably could have worked this match blindfolded. This was great fun.
US Champion Dustin Rhodes vs. Maxx Payne
Payne had a great look with his wild hair, rough beard, badass jacket and guitar…then he takes it all off and his ring gear is a black singlet with a blue stripe. He looks like a chubby jobber. Rhodes takes it right to the larger man and rocks him with punches until Payne bails to the floor. Rhodes then hip tosses him and forces Payne to bail out again. Rhodes downs him again with an armdrag and works at keeping him grounded. Payne escapes several times but Rhodes keeps taking him back down.
Payne manages to knock Rhodes down, but misses a follow up knee drop and is trapped back in an armbar. Payne finally tires of being held down and whips Rhodes across the ring. He then starts to focus his attack on Rhodes’ arm. Rhodes tries to get out with a head scissors, but that only lasts for a second before Payne can reestablish control over Rhodes’ arm.
Rhodes finally fights back with fists and a lariat. Rhodes manages a suplex. Rhodes applies an abdominal stretch, which seemed odd considering it cut off his comeback flow. Payne grabs the ref and knocks him down for the DQ. Rhodes is then sent to the floor and tossed into the ringpost. Rhodes fights him off as a slew of refs break things up. Well, that successfully ended the run of good matches. Bleh.
Ric Flair comes down to ringside to join Ventura and Schiavone on commentary.
NWA World Champion The Great Muta vs. Barry Windham
The crowd chants “We Want Flair!” during the ring introductions. They feel each other out with the basics early on. Muta hits a spin kick to score the first significant blow of the match. Muta works a lengthy headlock, and Flair tries to sell it as a draining move since the men are under the big lights and it’s probably over 90 degrees in the ring. Ok then. More headlocks as Muta has left his workrate in Japan I guess.
Muta gets a suplex at the 10 minute mark and goes back to the headlock. More headlocks follow that headlock. Ugh. Windham fights out again and DDT’s Muta after the Japanese star misses a dropkick. Muta escapes to the floor, so Windham back suplexes him on the cement. Windham downs Muta with a vertical suplex and a number of knee drops before locking on a sleeper.
Windham grinds away at Muta as we pass the twenty-minute mark. They start to trade chops and Windham’s natural size advantage allows him to win that exchange. Muta connects with a spin kick to try and buy himself some recovery time, but Windham is relentless. Muta is set up for a superplex, but Muta fights him off and launches down upon him with a flying chop. Muta attempts the moonsault but misses. Muta powers back to his feet and sets Windham up for another moonsault – this time he lands on Windham’s knees. Windham hits a DDT and claims his first World title. The first fifteen minutes was a major drag and the match was a serious disappointment considering the participants.
Ric Flair straps the title on Windham after the match and they share a look that makes you know they have business to settle down the road.
Non title strap match: WCW World Champ Big Van Vader vs. Sting
Vader uses the strap to yank Sting around the ring to establish his role as the bull of the woods. Sting is then yanked into a big clothesline and endures a number of nasty looking elbow drops. Sting is whipped and Vader connects with a splash off the second rope. Sting hulks right up from that and uses the strap to whack Vader’s nuts. Sting delivers a head kick and a pair of splashes off the top rope.
Vader is down, and Sting takes pleasure in whipping some skin off his back with the strap. Race tries to interfere and is whipped as well. Sting then sends Vader into the ringpost and slams him on the cement. Vader’s back has bloody gashes on it, making for an awesome visual. Vader drives Sting into the railing to end Sting’s rally. Sting tries to charge Vader and eats several big forearms and tries a powerbomb, but Sting backdrops him out of it. Sting tries another big splash but misses this attempt.
Vader splashes Sting and smashes fist after fist into Sting’s face. Vader’s blood is all over the mat. Vader delivers a Vader bomb and whips Sting, as Ventura accuses Schiavone of abusing his children in the same manner. Vader delivers a second rope Samoan drop but misses a second Vader bomb attempt. Vader tries to climb to the top rope but Sting yanks on the strap to cause Vader to land on his nutsack – then Sting yanks him to the mat.
The two men trade shots while on their knees. Vader bullies Sting to the top rope and superplexes him off. Vader corners Sting and delivers a series of fists into Sting’s skull. Nick Patrick implores Vader to just end the match and stop torturing Sting. Sting busts out a kick to Vader’s skull, a release belly to back suplex and a DDT on the massive champion. Sting then takes Vader into the corner and delivers his own succession of fists.
Sting scoops Vader up on his back (knocking the ref down in the process) and CARRIES Vader to one turnbuckle…another…another…but as he reaches for the fourth corner, Sting trips over the ref’s body and Vader crashes down on him. Vader has blood pouring from his ear now. Vader ties Sting’s leg up and drags him to three corners – Sting fights hard to keep him from the fourth, but he accidentally kicks Vader into the fourth turnbuckle. The bloodied Vader is whipped by a frustrated Sting before can get away. This was another awesome match between these two men, even anchoring them down with a strap wasn’t enough to ruin their chemistry!
Final thoughts: This proved to be one of the greatest unheralded PPVs in wrestling history. A bounty of great workers having mostly good-great matches! The Eric Bischoff era has started with a HELL of a bang!
Next up is Slamboree 93: A Legend’s Reunion, a PPV I watched a ton back in my childhood days – will my pleasant memories be shattered??