(Note: I meant to get this up on Friday as per my usual Tuesday/Friday rotation. However, taking the LSAT scuttled those plans. So we resume 1995 WCW with this barn burner of a show…)
–The opening video package reminds us that tonight there are no rules and the action we are about to see is not authorized by World Championship Wrestling.
–Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are live from Tupelo, Mississippi. Mike Tenay also reminds fans that the first minute on the WCW Hotline is free for tonight only.
–Opening King of the Road Match: The Blacktop Bully (14-0) defeats Dustin Rhodes (11-1) at 13:08:
The match begins in progress and it is quite the spectacle, with a camera crew riding in a pickup truck beside the tractor trailer and often failing to get a decent glimpse at the action. A helicopter also follows along, which makes one wonder how much WCW spent on this C-level specialty match. The goal of the contest is to blow an air horn on the other side of the trailer, thereby turning the contest into a glorified “(insert object of choice) on a pole” match and making this a chore to sit through. Both men struggle to find footing as the trailer turns and stops and the Bully eventually blasts Rhodes with a tire iron, or an object that resembles it, for the win. The most notable thing about this match is that Bully and Rhodes bladed in violation of WCW policy, although it was hard to see blood with the way the match was shot. After all, it is uncensored so who cares, right? Rating: DUD
–Tenay interviews Television Champion Arn Anderson, Colonel Robert Parker, and Meng. Anderson promises a clean sweep for the Stud Stable. Parker tells Hacksaw Jim Duggan that nothing will save him from Meng.
–A video package recaps the Duggan-Meng feud.
–Martial Arts Match: Meng (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (3-0) beats Hacksaw Jim Duggan (13-0) after a thrust kick at 8:58:
Duggan digs into his 1980s attire for this match, sporting jeans and a white bandana. For his part, Meng is wearing face paint around his eyes, which is a very strange look that does not fit him. Kazuo Sonny Onoo, a personal friend of Eric Bischoff and a champion bantamweight kickboxer, is the special guest referee. The rules for this special “martial arts match” are never made clear, but Duggan makes a mockery of Onoo’s instructions that he should bow or stand in a specific place before the match starts. Meng is put over as an unstoppable monster, not selling Duggan’s finisher and winning after Parker restrains Duggan for the thrust kick. This went on way too long for what it was supposed to be and with two matches down it is tough to see how this show is “uncensored.” Rating: DUD
–Tenay interviews Johnny B. Badd and his trainer Rock Finnegan. Finnegan says that Badd is going to knock Anderson out later tonight.
–A weird video package shows Arn Anderson getting out of a SUV at a construction site and delivering a promo that hypes his in-ring abilities.
–Boxer vs. Wrestler Match: Johnny B. Badd (w/Rock Finnegan) (9-3-1) defeats Arn Anderson (Television Champion w/Colonel Robert Parker) (8-6-1) via knockout 10 seconds into round four:
Although these two men have been feuding constantly over the Television Championship since the end of the previous year, that belt is not on the line in this encounter. The rules call for a round-based system with a one-minute rest period between rounds so there is no chance of any sustained action to get the crowd going. In fact, the crowd is so bored they barely react when Anderson plants Badd with a DDT during the second rest period. As a result, both men change the tempo of the match as Anderson starts ignoring the rest periods and cheats like crazy until Finnegan cuts off one of Badd’s gloves and puts a bucket over Anderson’s head at the beginning of round four, allowing Badd to knock out the Television Champion with Dreamland. This looked like it was going to be a disaster after the first round but these guys found a way to make it work. Rating: **½
–A video package hypes Randy Savage. Tenay follows that by interviewing the Macho Man, who says nothing of note for his upcoming match against Avalanche.
–No Disqualification Match: Randy Savage (3-0) beats Avalanche (1-2) via disqualification at 11:35:
Savage does what he does best in selling a beating, although the crowd could not care less about Avalanche getting a singles push. Avalanche misses a second rope splash and Savage heads to the arena floor to continue his comeback but he is attacked by a “female fan,” who is later revealed as Ric Flair in drag. Avalanche hits the Avalanche Splash but the referee does not count and Hulk Hogan runs out to save his Monster Maniac buddy. Gary Michael Cappetta then announces Savage as the winner via disqualification in a no disqualification match, which makes sense to no one except the WCW booking committee. Rating: *
–Tenay interviews WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri. Sherri says that the Nasty Boys have been a thorn in Harlem Heat’s side for too long. She also gets irritated that Tenay pulls away the mic when she is finishing the promo.
–A video package recaps the Sting-Big Bubba Rogers feud.
–Tenay interviews Sting, who promises to get wild in Tupelo. None of these backstage promos are making a lick of sense, sort of like the booking for most of this show.
–No Disqualification Match: Big Bubba Rogers (6-0) pins Sting (6-0) after Sting fails to body slam him at 13:43:
Rogers is so committed to his character that he sells Sting giving his hat a leg drop. Like most heels on this show, Rogers has zero heat since he has never done anything dastardly in this feud to warrant a visceral reaction. If anything, he comes off like a “heel of the month” that Sting would vanquish and then move onto something better. However, WCW gives everyone a swerve as Rogers – who wrestles this match scientifically by working the knee instead of doing more brawling – goes over when Sting’s weakened knee gives out during a body slam. It was good that the psychology had a payoff, but the lack of crowd heat and tempo weighed this bout down. Rating: **
–A video package recaps the Harlem Heat-Nasty Boys feud.
–Tenay interviews the Nasty Boys, who warn that Harlem Heat is about to experience nasty sensation firsthand.
–A music video hypes Harlem Heat.
–Non-Title Texas Tornado, Falls Count Anywhere Match: The Nasty Boys (13-1) defeat Harlem Heat (WCW Tag Team Champions w/Sister Sherri) (16-0-1) when Brian Knobbs pins Booker T after a powerslam on a broken funnel cake stand at 8:37:
The Nasties fulfill a pre-match promise to give Sherri a Pit Stop and things quickly fall apart when both teams do a horrible recreation of the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl. The crowd dies as Harlem Heat end up covered in mustard and both teams slip on cotton candy. After more mindless brawling we get a finish that the WCW camera crew misses. The less said about this one the better. Rating: DUD
–United States Champion Vader pushes Tenay aside to warn WCW Champion Hulk Hogan that it is time to play the “pain game.” Ric Flair, decked out in eye shadow, adds that he is a man possessed.
–A video package recaps the recent events in the Hogan-Vader feud.
–In a pretaped promo, Hogan warns that the “Ultimate” Surprise is going to back him up in tonight’s main event.
–Non-Title, No Disqualification Strap Match: Hulk Hogan (WCW Champion w/the Renegade) (1-0) beats Vader (U.S. Champion w/Ric Flair) (9-1) when Hogan drags Ric Flair to all four corners at 18:21:
It is a nice touch that Flair has not removed his eye shadow since that really puts over how unstable he has become. The match terminates when a wrestler drags their opponent to all four corners and it has no referee. The heels look to corner Hogan in a two-on-one beatdown until the Renegade shows up in Ultimate Warrior knock off music and the poor fans in the arena think it is the Warrior until the imposter shows his face. And Flair has to sell the Renegade’s imposing presence as Hogan and Vader brawl in the ring. Actually, WCW should have just booked that match because the interaction between those two completely detracts from what is happening in the ring, and both interject themselves into the contest when Hogan and Vader start building a bout in their own right. Then Jimmy Hart returns with a torn shirt, whereabouts unknown, and it is absolutely baffling that WCW thinks it needs all these cartoonish elements to sell a Hulk Hogan-Vader match. Oh, and there is also a masked man who runs out and attacks Renegade, just because. After getting manhandled by Hogan for much of the match, Vader appears headed for victory after touching three corners but Flair convinces him to try a high risk move rather than going to a fourth corner and it does not pay off. This culminates in Vader getting out of the strap and Hogan beating up Flair and dragging him to all four corners to win. Seriously?!?! This bout was a feud killer as it made a mockery of Vader and Flair after they busted their asses trying to sell this pay-per-view on WCW Saturday Night. Rating: DUD
–And when you think you have seen it all, a masked man runs into the ring to seemingly align with Flair and Vader. However, Arn Anderson comes out tied up and the masked man turns on Flair and Vader, revealing himself to be Randy Savage.
The Last Word: This pay-per-view was an abject failure (as if the four DUD matches on one card was not indicative of that). WCW sold fans on the idea of a wild, out of control pay-per-view and instead gave them a very toned down, safe product. The most “uncensored” thing on the show was seeing Ric Flair in drag, hardly worth the higher price point that WCW set for its shows. But the worst element of the show is how WCW’s top heels were made to be completely ineffectual. Why would any fan pay top dollar for another match in this series when Hogan has already shown he can outmaneuver and conquer all?
Buyrate: 0.96 (est. 200,000 buys)
Up Next: WCW Pro for March 25!