– Live from Albany, GA
– Your hosts are Tony & Bobby.
This is Ric Flair’s first PPV with The Almighty Book for 1994, and the difference between his style and Dusty’s hodge-podge 93 style is night and day.
– First order of business on the night: Michael Hayes comes out in a wheelchair to duck out of his match with Johnny B. Badd tonight, because of an injury. So Nick Bockwinkle un-retires his flunky Jimmy Garvin and inserts him into the match instead. Funny stuff.
– Opening match: Harlem Heat v. Thunder & Lightning. Oh, god, Thunder & Lightning. Like I needed to be reminded of that atrocity. Basically, one of them grew up to be nWo Sting, and the other is god knows where right now. They both absolutely SUCK at this point. Very basic match, like one of the Power Plant tryouts on WCWSN these days. Boring back and forth action sees a pier-six (with Tony actually saying “Katie, bar the door”) as Kole (Booker T) kicks Lightning in the head and pins him at 9:46. Next. Ã‚Â¾*
– The Equalizer v. Jungle Jim Steele. I’VE CHANGED MY MIND! Take me back to the last match! Please! Anyway, since we’re here now, I might as well point out that Mr. Steele was WCW’s second pathetic attempt at cloning the Ultimate Warrior (with the first being Van Hammer in 1991), in this case as a Tarzan-themed version of Jim Hellwig. Jim Steele, to be my neverending shock, now works for All Japan as Wolf Hawkfield and is actually not too terrible, or so I hear. Equalizer uses his Sid-like offense to control for the first little bit. To give you an idea of what I’m up against here, 5 minutes in Tony is giving Steele props for “being in there so long”. Good lord. Steele mounts the comeback and hits an alleged Thesz Press so bad that if Lou Thesz saw it, he’d probably drop dead and then roll over in his grave. It gets the pin at 6:29. Considering that Flair was handing out 10 minute matches on this show like George Zahorian handing out steroids, that tells you something about the confidence they had in these guys. This match was like living the Hindenberg crash, but without the sweet saving grace of death that the passengers got at the end. Me, I just get a replay of that Thesz Press -***
– Diamond Dallas Page v. Terry Taylor. DDP bears a striking resemblance to Mark Madden here, looking like a TWO-TIME TWO-TIME TWO-TIME pie-eating contest winner who went on a manaical rampage and ate all the other contestants’ pies too. Big stall from Page to start. Taylor walks DDP through a pinning reversal sequence. DDP gets the upper hand with his lame offense as the match drags on and on and on. Have I mentioned how worthless DDP was until about mid-1995? So, ya like headlocks? Get this match. Taylor gets a surprise rollup for the pin after a hellishly long 11:46. *
– Johnny B. Badd v. Jimmy Garvin. Garvin has the short haired look going tonight, which is REALLY weird to see. Headlock sequence to start, then some armbars. Then Garvin stalls. Okay, sure, the guy’s been in retirement for two years, but COME ON. He controls with a chinlock, but Badd comes back with the TOOTI-FRUITI PUNCH OF DOOM and top rope sunset flip for the pin 10:45. Ã‚Â½* Sidenote: I’ve had younger readers write me and compliment me on inventing such a funny name for Badd’s finisher. Sadly, his finisher really was a punch, and it really was called the Tooti Fruiti. Remember: Mere mortals cannot possibly be funnier than WCW trying to get something over.
– World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Arn Anderson. No real backstory here, except that cousin Ric is booking, so lookee who’s suddenly back in the thick of things again. Much stalling from both to start, so much so that even Tony is forced to point it out after about 5 minutes of it. Arn works on the arm. And THAT lasts another 5 minutes. Regal does some matwork, but AA goes back to the arm. Regal works the neck. Oh, geez, if I wanted to watch Shane Douglas v. Tully Blanchard all over again, I have the friggin’ tape. Regal moves onto the leg. A crossface uses up another few minutes. Arn escapes and goes after the leg himself. He gets a few near falls as time winds down. He sunset flips in, but Regal holds onto Sir William’s umbrella for the pin at 29:52. Oh, good god, you’re telling me they couldn’t have POSSIBLY shaved 15 minutes off that snoozefest? *1/2
– WCW World tag team title: The Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. This is Jack & Maxx’s first shot at the titles. Tony notes that only in WCW can you see a man wearing black tights trimmed with skulls. I think Austin would dispute that one. Maxx actually outwrestles Saggs at the beginning. Knobbs tries and gets double-teamed by the challengers. A cheapshot from behind puts Payne in the freak-in-peril role. Jack quickly gets the hot tag and nails Knobbs with the Cactus clothesline. Knobbs pulls the mat up and Jack takes the Nestea Plunge off the apron onto the concrete, flat on his back. Oh my GOD what a sick bump. How does this guy sleep at night? The crowd just goes SILENT. Nasties work on his back in the ring. Jack DDTs both Nasties, however, and hot tags Payne. Painkiller (fujiwara armbar) on Knobbs for the probable submission, but Sags breaks a guitar over Payne’s head for the cheap DQ at 12:27. A very watchable match that lead to the awesome street fight at Spring Stampede. **1/2
– Thundercage #1: Rick Rude, Paul Orndorff & Steve Austin v. Dustin Rhodes, Sting & Brian Pillman. Sting dominates Rude to start. Austin comes in and fakes a knee injury, getting a rollup on Sting for two. They brawl outside, and that goes badly for Austin. Pillman & Austin brawl next, with Pillman taking a wicked bump into the cage. Pillman blades, then takes an ass-whooping from the heels. Flying knee from Rude gets two. Flying elbow by Austin gets two. Pillman hot tags Sting, who destroys Orndorff. Paul blades too. Dustin gives him the Flip Flop and Fly and a big elbow, then opens up the cut further with a flurry of punches. Rude comes in and blocks Dustin’s bulldog attempt by carrying through the momentum and dropping him on the top rope. Slick move. He then finishes the sequence by superplexing him back to the mat. Wicked. That puts the heels back in charge. Dustin manages to dropkick Austin into the cage, which only serves to piss him off. Hot tag to Pillman at any rate, and a pier-six results. Sting presses Pillman onto Austin, which is enough for the pin at 14:34. Good little match. ***1/4
– Thundercage #2, WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Vader. The Boss(man, is he Big) is your special referee tonight, thus triggering the months-long feud between he and Vader. Flair mauls Vader to start, pasting him with a chair. Vader actually pulls out a Flair Flip, but catches Flair on the rebound and drops an elbow to take over. Pump splash and clothesline take Flair down, but the moonsault misses. Race freely beats up Flair from outside the ring at various points when he goes to the floor. Flair comes back with chops but Vader shrugs him off. Vicious superplex from Vader silences the crowd. Flair rolls away to dodge an elbow drop, then the match gets silly. The Boss tries to handcuff Race to stop his interfering, but Vader nails him from behind and handcuffs Boss to the cage instead. Race gets the key and a 2-on-1 results. AA and Steamboat hit the ring but can’t get into the cage. Flair fights back with a chair, as the Boss finally breaks the cuffs, clips Vader with the nightstick, and Flair slaps on the figure-four for the bogus submission at 11:29. What a mess that turned into. **1/4
The Bottom Line: Well, my recommendation is kind of moot anyway because this show was never released by Turner on video, and is only available from people who taped the PPV. Thus your chances of finding a decent copy are slim and none, but don’t worry because the show isn’t particularly worth tracking down anyway.
Mild recommendation to avoid.