– Live from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
– Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan.
– Opening match: WCW World tag team title, Pretty Wonderful v. The
Nasty Boys. Zenon’s tape is missing this first match, but having seen
the Clash live (on TV that is), I can tell you it was about as bad as
you’d expect from the participants. Nasties win a non-title affair.
– Hulk Hogan comes out for an interview and gets attacked by THE BLACK
SCORPION! No, actually it’s a guy wearing the Scorpion suit. Anyway,
Hogan gets whacked in the back of the knee with a lead pipe and carried
off to the hospital. The announcers fear his career may be over. This
is an important point so remember it.
– US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. Ricky Steamboat. Austin
beat Steamboat at Bash at the Beach 94 to retain the title and this is
the rematch. The rubber match was supposed to be Fall Brawl 94 but
Steamboat’s career-ending injury inconveniently cancelled that match and
allowed Austin to job to Jim Duggan in 30 seconds. This is a good
mat-based match to start with Steamboat working on Austin’s arm
incessantly. Barry Darsow (as Blacktop Bully) is sitting at ringside
dishing out abuse to both guys. Austin is kind of in transition from
Hollywood Blond to Stone Cold. The announcers on the masked man: “Ric
Flair said he had the Ultimate Surprise, and he pulled off the Perfect
crime.” More on that later. Meanwhile, Austin and Steamboat are having
the match of Austin’s career here. Big ending as Austin reverses a
superplex but gets caught by Steamboat on the way down. Steamboat
splats on the flying bodypress attempt. Steamboat’s back was messed up,
badly, earlier in the match. Steamboat is still game here, coming back
with the CHOPS OF DOOM and a spinebuster for two. Austin tries to climb
the top rope to escape but Steamboat with the electric chair for two.
Small package for two, rollover for two. Backslide for two. Sunset
flip for two. Tony is forced to call the match instead of hyping Hogan.
Steamboat does the “skin the cat” over the top rope and hits his
tailbone on the apron, and that’s what ends his career. What a f*cking
bummer that must have been. The guy takes some spectacular bumps in his
life and it’s one lousy, routine move that ends it. Steamboat gingerly
gets back into the ring (with three compressed vertebrae no less) and
small packages Steve for the US title, Steamboat’s last match and title,
and a great way to go. We miss you, Ricky. ***1/2
– Honky Tonk Man promo. It includes a really, really
too-close-for-comfort version of “Honky Tonk Man” called “Honky Tonk
Baby” that was obviously written by Jimmy Hart to rip off the original.
I don’t know why they didn’t just use “Honky Tonk Man”, since Hart wrote
– Nick Bockwinkle announces that Hogan will probably have to forfeit the
title to Ric Flair later tonight.
– A review of Dusty Rhodes waxing melancholy with Dustin, if you will.
He really wants to be Dustin’s partner against the Stud Stable.
– Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck (w/ Col. Parker & Meng) v. Dustin & Dusty
Rhodes. This is part #9495 in the never-ending Parker v. Rhodes feud
from 1994 that culminated in a horrible Wargames. Dustin and Buck do
most of the work here, thank god. Terry does his usual goofy spots in
lieu of actual ringwork. Sadly, Dusty makes the tag in. And he does
roughly a trillion elbows and beats the hell out of both heels. Dustin
back in and a cowbell to the head turns the tide for the Stud Stable.
But that crazy Buck hits Funk with his boot by mistake and Dustin gets
the hot tag. Arn Anderson wanders down for some introspection and trips
Dusty. But he makes the tag in short order and Dustin cleans house.
Elbows a go go. Dustin hits the bulldog and Arn runs in and it’s a DQ.
Meng confronts Dusty, so Dusty replays the Bubba Rogers angle of 1986
and grabs a Kevin Sullivan breakaway balsa chair and slams it over his
head, and of course Meng no-sells. Then it’s the TONGAN DEATH GRIP!
Naw, it’s just a nerve pinch. The Stud Stable destroys the Rhodes family
until Greg Gagne (one of the suits at WCW then) comes in to regain
order. Yeah, Gagne running in really scares ’em off. 1/2*
– Lengthy segment at the hospital as Eric Bischoff interviews Hogan’s
lawyer Henry Holmes, Jimmy Hart and Brutus Beefcake. Apparently Hogan
is on his deathbed but he really wants to wrestle Flair.
– Ric Flair demands that Hogan crawl off his hospital bed and personally
hand him with the title.
– Lord Steven Regal v. Antonio Inoki. There was some ridiculously
contrived angle to set this farce up. No one in this crowd gives a shit
about Inoki, no matter how huge a legend he is in Japan. Watch the
crowd empty before your eyes. Lots of forearms and kicks and other
non-wrestling. Who booked this shit? A double-feature cuts to a shot
of Hogan hobbling in. You know, it’s bad enough that Pancrase remains
in existance, but having this boring shit inject itself on a supposed
wrestling show is pretty annoying. But then a) I don’t get Inoki to
begin with and b) I hate most of New Japan’s heavyweight stuff. Inoki
wins with a blatant choke that gets passed off as a choke sleeper. Uh,
hello, arm around the throat is an illegal move here in North America.
I don’t feel comfortable rating this match, so I won’t.
– WCW World title match: Hulk Hogan v. Ric Flair. So Hogan, who got
whacked in the knee with a lead pipe mind you, and who was taken to the
hospital with possible career ending injuries less than TWO HOURS AGO,
now hobbles out with the belt, supposedly to hand the belt to Flair.
Lots of professionally-made signs heralding Hogan are seen in the crowd,
which (if you believe the WCW cameramen) consists almost entirely of age
18-34 males wearing trademark “Hulkster” merchandise, complete with
do-rags (even for the white guys). Instead of handing over the belt,
Hulk attacks Flair and beats the crap out of him. With one bad leg, I
remind you. He no-sells all and forgets he has a crippled leg half the
time. Note to Flair: KICK HIM IN THE DAMN LEG! Flair is being made to
look like an idiot here for the sake of rebuilding Hulk’s superman
image. This isn’t Ric Flair, it’s some pod-person Flair. The Ric Flair
who existed for 20 years before this would zoom in on that knee like a
shark in a hemophilacs’ convention and figure-four him until he screamed
for mercy. Hogan completely squashes Flair for 10 minutes before Flair
FINALLY clips Hogan and goes to work on the knee. HALLELUJAH! Hogan
can’t (or won’t) sell it properly, however. The Flair fans come out of
the woodwork now for Flair. Figure-four, but Hulk hulks up and powers
out, then decides that that’s enough Flair offense for the night and
does the big boot and legdrop, but that legdrop just took too much out
of him. Another figure-four but Hogan makes it to the ropes. Sherri
takes off her shoe and rams it into Hogan’s knee until he falls out of
the ring and gets counted out. Buffer announces Flair is once again the
champion, but of course Buffer is an idiot. Hogan miraculously walks
again, but the masked man runs in and decks Hogan. It was AA, btw. They
all beat on Hogan until Sting makes the save (oh, the irony). Better
than the original match at Bash at the Beach, but that’s not saying
The Bottom Line:
There’s two versions of the story surrounding the original booking of
the title match:
Version #1 says that WCW really, really would have liked to put the
title back on Flair now that they had their new audience, but Hogan
balked. So they worked out a compromise whereby Hogan would get decked
by Curt Hennig (“The Perfect Plan”) with a lead pipe and would be so
crippled that he’d have to give the title back to Flair, and would thus
not have to lose it in the ring, because god forbid Ric Flair should
have any credibility as a heel. Hogan then balked the night of the show
and changed the booking to the countout win for Flair we saw here.
Version #2 says that the attack was booked as a way to point out the
Hogan knee injury with the WCW SLEDGEHAMMER OF PLOT~! Flair and Hogan
would then wrestle the match and Flair would figure-four him until he
passed out from the pain. Again, everyone retains credibility. Hogan
balked the night of the show and changed the booking. Hogan feared
(maybe rightly so) that WCW would just use his title win as a temporary
ratings boost and then go back to Flair, which is what almost happened
before THE ALMIGHTY HULK saved us from what was sure to be months of
dull ****1/2 PPV main events with Flair against Steve Austin.
Anyway, WCW was like a pathetic, retarded, attention-seeking younger
child who would say *anything* and tell any lie in order to make people
like him. Trash Flair? Why not. Bury Sting? No problem. Recycle
every two-bit hick-town indy fed angle and showcase it on national TV?
Hey, it’s Turner’s money.
Anyway, 1994 was a really bad situation for WCW, and the remaining shows
in the year only highlighted that.
Don’t bother watching this show, btw.