The SmarK Retro Repost – Bash At The Beach 94


Whereas before WCW was run by a bunch of no-nothing bozos who couldn’t tell their asshole from their elbows, at least they were the no-nothing bozos deemed to be the authority by Turner. And if someone did something that was deemed TOO exceptionally stupid by someone higher up, you could always fire him and replace him with another Turner beancounter who would be guaranteed to screw up just as bad, but probably for less money.

And then came Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan.

See, once Hogan came into the picture with this show, the problem was no longer the guys supposedly in charge, it was now with the locker room itself thanks to Hogan’s incessant political favors for his longtime friends. While WCW could in the past (and did) fire guys like Bill Shaw, Bob Dhue, Bill Watts and even almost Bischoff a couple of times, now they had Hogan under an iron-clad longterm contract and couldn’t just jettison him despite completely disrupting the locker room without providing anything in terms of tangible money returned until 1997.

So that makes this an interesting show, because while it was the beginning of an era for WCW where they actually had some mainstream exposure, it was also a larger tradeoff for the cancer that Hogan brought to the previous work ethic displayed there by the people he displaced. Was it worth it in the long run? Well, you don’t see WCW around these days, do you? In fact, for anyone else in the future who gets into any kind of argument with one of the remaining WCW lemmings, I’d recommend pulling that particular trump card out and watching them squirm. Good fun for everyone.

– Live from Orlando, Florida. Tony declares it a “capacity crowd”, but suspiciously the gate was only a little over $100,000 and their last PPV only drew 5,000, so smart money says that there was enough paper to keep Barrimundi’s fire going through the biggest flood season.

– Your hosts are Tony & Bobby, plus Jesse here and there.

– Opening match, TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Johnny B. Badd. It was supposed to be Sting, but he’s injured, which WCW explains in typical WCW fashion by having Sherri give him an EYERAKE OF DOOM and thus put him out of action. Good thing she didn’t do something REALLY devastating like hit him with her shoe, or else he might still be on the shelf today. A sign at ringside has “Johnny” spelled as “Gonny”, thus leading me to believe WCW planted it themselves, since southern fans would tend to forget that second “n”. Wristlock sequence to start, won by Badd. Badd works the arm and Regal begs off. Regal works the mat for a bit, but gets rolled up for two and begs off again. Badd armdrags him and Regal stalls. He works a headlock on Badd, but Badd goes back to the arm. Regal bails. Back in, Regal hits a chinlock, but gets reversed to a hammerlock. Regal suplex is blocked with a wristlock, but Regal takes over with a headbutt and dropkick. Badd keeps working that arm, however. Big celebrity sighting of the night: Chris Lemmon! If you don’t know who he is, don’t worry, because that’s part of the joke, see. Badd dropkick gets two. Flying headscissors and hiptoss follow, and he hits the PUNCH OF DEATH to send Regal scurrying outside. Badd follows with a pescado and sunset flips back in for two. Regal reverses the pin in an awkward spot and gets the win at 10:45. Odd finish, to say the least. **1/2

– Mean Gene presents Antonio Inoki with a plaque, thus drawing the ire of Lord Regal for reasons never adequately explored, which leads to a match on the next Clash that sucks.

– Vader v. The Guardian Angel. It feels like we had some variation on Vader v. Ray Traylor on every WCW show in 1994. Vader attacks to start and hits a spinkick (!). Angel ducks a lariat and suplexes Vader, then slams him with ease. Lariat and Vader bails. They brawl outside, where Vader gets control, thanks to Race. Vader pounds away, but Angel fights back and gets clobbered. See ya. Vader goes up for a sunset flip, but Angel sits on him to block. Feel the overwhelming power of Bossman’s ass! Vader gets a short-arm clothesline, and goes to an STF?!? Angel fires back but gets slammed and Vaderbombed. Vader wants the moonsault, and actually hits it, but can’t cover. Race comes in and gets killed. Weak ref bump allows Vader to get a supposed nightstick from Race that looks like one of those canes that blind people use. Angel of course steals it, the ref sees him with it, and calls for the DQ at 8:00. Ye gods, what was the point of that? ** Didn’t really gel as well as their usual match here.

– Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson v. Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck. Dustin needed a partner to take on the Parker stable, so he asked Arn Anderson? What’s wrong with this picture? This match, by the way, is the reason why I often refer to him as “Duh-Stin”. Arn & Buck start, but Buck wants Dustin. Funk comes in to take his shots, but gets sent to the floor. Back in, Funk chops at him and lays in the badmouth. Dustin dumps him over the top, however, while the ref’s back is turned. The heels regroup, but Rhodes gives both an atomic drop. Funk suplexes out of a headlock, and Buck ducks a Rhodes bodypress and Dustin goes flying out of the ring. Funk lays in the boots out there for fun. KICK HIM, KICK HIM LIKE A DOG! Back in, Buck gets a Funk-assisted abdominal stretch. Funk gets a standing neckbreaker for two. Piledriver gets two. Rhodes gets pounded in the corner and Buck hits the chinlock. CLUBBERIN, CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN, TONY! Dustin fights out of the corner with bionic elbows. Backdrops for the heels! Double noggin knocker! Lariat for Funk! HOT TAG ARN and he turns on Dustin. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Funk gets the easy pin on Rhodes at 11:37. It should be noted that in the original telecast, WCW’s crack camera crew actually missed the fateful DDT that Arn delivered to Rhodes, but they fixed it for the commercial release. Match sucked aside from the finish, of course. *1/4

– US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat. Austin blindsides him to start, and attacks the knee, but Steamboat chops him. Austin meets the post, and Steamboat does the UT ropewalk to work the arm. Sadly, he doesn’t yell “old school” first, thus lessening the impact of the move. He then goes the Anderson playbook and hammerlock-slams Austin. Slugfest and Austin goes up, but Steamboat dropkicks him off and lays in the shots as he’s hanging upside down. Back in, Steamboat goes arm-draggin’. Austin fakes a knee injury off a leapfrog, but Steamboat isn’t buying. Hiptoss and dropkick, and Austin bails. He asks for time to heal his crippled knee, but MIRACULOUSLY recovers as Steamboat nears the ropes, and he yanks him out to beat on him. Back in, Steamer goes to the sleeper off a footrace and gets a rollup for two. Back to the arm. Austin goes low with that darned trick knee, however. A suplex and three clotheslines follow, but Steamboat won’t stay down. He finally does a crazy, delirious selling job that results in him drunkenly falling out of the ring. Austin suplexes him back in for two. Steamboat reverses a suplex and cradles for two. Armdrag and back to the arm for Steamboat. He drives some knees into Austin’s arm, boring the crowd. Collision on a leapfrog puts Steamboat on top for two, but Austin catches a HUGE spinebuster and drops a knee. He goes to the 2nd rope and drops another knee, but Steamboat gets up, wanting more. Slugfest and Steamboat catapults him into the ringpost for two. Austin nails him, but Steamboat wants more. More chops, but Austin backdrops him and hits a neckbreaker for two. Steamboat escapes a rear chinlock, but Austin clobbers him for two. He works that pinfall attempt, getting about 12 two-counts. Steamboat bridges out and mule-kicks Austin. Austin chokes him out on the ropes, then takes Steamboat limp arm and waves “Hello, everybody!” to the camera in the funniest moment of the night. Man, remember when Austin actually had a sense of humor? Austin comes off the ropes, but walks into his own stungun. He bails and they fight off the apron, but Steamboat takes a header into the railing. Ouch. Austin charges and hits the ringpost facefirst to one-up him. Back in, Dragon hits the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DOOM and a backdrop. Double-chop gets two. Austin dumps him, but Dragon skins the cat back in and chops away. Austin dumps him again, same result. Steamboat cradles for two. Small package gets two. Rollup gets two. Austin freaks out and tries a tombstone, which is reversed, reversed by Austin, and reversed again by Steamboat to complete the move. Steamboat goes up, but Austin pulls the ref in the way and Steamboat doesn’t want the DQ. He should have taken it, because he hits a bodypress, which is rolled through for the pin at 20:16 by Austin to retain. Great match, though. ***3/4

– World tag team title: Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan v. Pretty Wonderful. I guess the theory here is that they didn’t want Hogan to have to follow that last one. It must be a terrific feeling for Orndorff, who drew tens of millions of dollars with Hogan in the 80s, to be setting the table for him in a heatless tag title match while Hogan is making more millions by working 10 matches a year. Megastall to start. Orndorff does some posting between armdrags, annoying Sullivan. Jack & Roma go next, and Roma stalls and dominates. Jack bites to take over. Oh, c’mon, at least follow your own internal logic, guys: The camera showed several clear shots of Jack before the match with his teeth OUT. Fans pop for it anyway, but that’s WCW for ya. The champs double-team Roma, leading to more stalling. Orndorff pounds on Jack, and they brawl out, which proves to be a mistake. Back in, Orndorff bails again. Back in, Sullivan gets his shots in the corner, and Jack works on the arm. Pretty Wonderful nails him in the corner, however, and beat on him for a bit. Sullivan comes in and rams both guys headfirst to the turnbuckle a few times at the same time. Cool spot. Double-stomp on Orndorff gets two, and he works the arm. Fans get bored and do the wave, so Jack hits the facelock. Roma & Sullivan slug it out, but Orndorff piledrives Sullivan for two. Roma f*cks up a top rope elbow but still manages to pull it off for two. Sullivan is apparently YOUR dwarf-in-peril as Orndorff unleases the dreaded BOOGIE-WOOGIE ELBOW OF DOOM. Sleeper, but Sullivan breaks. Roma drops an elbow for two. Sullivan misses a hot tag chance and Roma hits the chinlock. Orndorff misses a blind charge, but Roma gets a running forearm to maintain control. Roma misses a Money Shot, and now it’s the hot tag to Jack. Double-arm DDT for Orndorff, no ref. Roma trips him coming off the ropes and holds his leg down for the Orndorff pin and the title at 20:14. Ludicrously long match that played completely against the strength of Jack & Sullivan in order to showcase the un-over and un-interesting Pretty Wonderful. See, but they had a REALLY good name, so WCW felt that it was in their best interest to push them to the moon. God knows that Cactus Jack guy probably wouldn’t ever draw a dime in his life anyway. *

– WCW World title match: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan. Hogan gets a good pop, but not a 100 million-billion-zillion dollars a year pop, if you know what I mean. Besides, the fans were mostly freebies, and they always cheer for Hogan historically. For those not familiar with the backstory here, well, there is none really. Flair was this huge mega-face for WCW before they decided to hotshot a non-sensical heel turn in order to give Hogan a big heel to squash in his debut match. If I’m booking, I do Hogan/Flair v. The Nasty Boys for name value as a tag team main event and then have Flair turn on Hogan to set up Fall Brawl, but WCW wanted the buyrate NOW and didn’t think of things like logic or the future. You know how a kid will get $10 as a gift and come home with an extra-large Slurpee and $8.50 worth of Pokemon cards, then wonder where his $10 went to? That’s what WCW was like here, shooting their wad on the very first PPV in a desperate attempt to justify all the money they had spent. And while this show did a decent 1.0 buyrate, the very next show did a laughable 0.5 buyrate without Hogan, showing that he had very little effect on the promotion as a whole. Shoving to start, won by Hogan. Flair stalls, and dodges Hogan’s punches, drawing a noticeable face pop from the Flair faithful. Flair goes to the hammerlock and and holds a wristlock. Hogan uses an armbar takedown (!) and Flair bails and hides out behind Sherri. Back in, Hogan slugs away and hits the cross-corner clothesline. Big boot misses and Flair bails again. He gets a cheapshot back in and chops at Hogan. Kneedrop misses as Hogan no-sells and punches away. Sherri trips him up and Flair sends him out. They brawl and head back in as Flair comes off the top with an axehandle. He hits the kneedrop, Hogan no-sells again. Flair uses the ropes for two. Hogan gets a clothesline for two, so Flair hits the chinlock. That lasts a while. Hogan comes back, Flair Flip follows, and they head out. Suplex on the floor, and Hogan suplexes him back in. Legdrop misses, Flair goes for the figure-four, blocked, blocked again, blocked a third time. Hogan’s generosity in even allowing the champion to TRY the move is breathtaking, what a guy. Suplex by Flair, Hogan no-sells. Big boot gets two, ref is bumped. Sherri splashes Hogan off the top as Nick Patrick takes over. Figure-four finally gets applied, and the crowd goes NUTS, as the actual paying customers do their damnedest to drown out the Hogan fans. Hogan makes the ropes without expending too much effort, but Flair keeps at the leg. Hogan no-sells AGAIN but runs into an elbow. Flair goes up, but Hogan no-sells that elbow and slams him off. Hogan gets his own bad figure-four as Mr. T removes Sherri from ringside. Overbooked, much? Flair then pulls out brass knuckles and KO’s Hogan for two. Hulk up, and you know the rest. Hogan gets the title at 21:51. Hogan treated Flair like a jobber, but Flair’s usual broomstick formula match managed to make it a worthwhile excursion, better than I remember it from the initial viewing in 1994. ***1/4 Hogan’s no Vince Russo in the ring, though.

– I officially stopped watching WCW at this point, boycotting the promotion until November 1995 in protest of the Hogan Love-In. And in fact, the WWF was getting so bad by this point that if it hadn’t been for ECW and SMW, I would have quit watching wrestling entirely until something decent came up again.

The Bottom Line: WCW needed an all-around blowaway show to really justify the Hogan investment, and this wasn’t it. They also needed to maximize Hogan by letting him give the rub to a bunch of the undercard would-be stars, and this show didn’t do that, either. As a result, they all left for the WWF, who are still in existance today, while WCW is not. And it’s really as simple as that, folks, when you break it down.

The show itself is watchable with a couple of good matches in the main event and US title match, but everything else is the usual marginal WCW pap for this era and isn’t worth the rental.

Mild recommendation to avoid.