This will be an interesting one because there’s historical significance to it… the boss is on the show – but which one do I mean?
Hosted by Tony and Bobby with Gene on interviews.
Nick Bockwinkel comes out to confirm that Ric Flair is cleared and ready to wrestle Vader at Superbrawl with the Boss announced as the special guest referee.
Nasty Boys vs. Matt Sheppard and Scott D’Amore
The Boys run over the furball first and pound him in the corner, with even Missy Hyatt getting her shots in. Sags delivers D’Amore to Sheppard and springs him in, with Brian following up with a massive clothesline. He almost goes through him on the assisted avalanche and powerslams Sheppard to set up the Sags elbow off the top, which always looks ugly but at least looks like it hurts. That gets the win for the tag champs.
Gene talks to the Nature Boy, looking good in his suit and v-neck. Rare admission of fear about wrestling Vader again, “but fatigue makes cowards of us all”, so he’s going to run the clock on Vader to beat him.
Jungle Jim Steel vs. Fred Avery
Well, this is one debut that’s not as auspicious. Steel looked great, almost Ultimate Warrior-like with a Tarzan theme, but was incredibly green. Even Ted Turner and Jane Fonda are wincing watching him from the audience! At least it’s a quick finish, with the Jungle Trap (Thesz press) for the win.
And Gene, social climber extraordinaire, goes over to talk to Ted and Jane, plus the assembled execs and suits around him. Ted spills out a few disinterested words to get a pat on the back.
Superbrawl Control Center with Gene. The Nasty Boys do dueling promos with Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne, with Missy conspicuously missing as I believe it was around this time that she’d quit the company and launched a sexual harassment lawsuit. And Jim Steel faces the Equalizer, Terry Taylor faces Diamond Dallas Page, and Thunder and Lightning meet Harlem Heat.
The Patriot vs. Lord Steven Regal
First appearance here for the Patriot, who would be around for about a year and a half. So, debuting challenger, defending champion who has a match booked at Superbrawl, Tony mentioning it’s a ten minute time limit… I think we know where this is heading. Test of strength to begin, back when Regal could do a bridge and kip up out of it. Over to Ted and Jane, who they must’ve gotten as many unflattering shots as they could of and just spliced them in here. Bobby talks about Regal’s taped left thigh, which he suggests could be actually an injury to the right one with the wrong one taped to throw you off the scent, which always sounded daft to me because then you hit that one and the person has two bad thighs. It’s wrist and headlock city to burn the time off, as Tony reminds us of the time limit again to rub it in. Regal gets the cravat at the halfway point. They’re in the position of never having stopped doing stuff but never really having done much. Regal snapmare and then a buttdrop onto the gut. Senton flip for two. Two minutes remaining as Regal drops a knee on the chest. European uppercut in the corner. Patriot chance sunset flip with sixty seconds remaining as Gary speeds up the clock artificially. Series of pinfall attempts as Patriot gets a back suplex for the final attempt as the clock runs out. It was a foregone conclusion. Not a bad match, but not the best way to debut a new babyface.
Colonel Rob Parker and Steve Austin interview with Gene. Parker does the talking while Austin steals the scene just with his facial expressions in the background. And it’s the debut of the Mongolian Mauler, he of the black eyes and single strand of hair, brought into take out Flyin’ Brian next week. Austin serves his purposes by breaking a breeze block over his stomach with a sledgehammer. Hey, doesn’t the sledgehammer connect to someone else?
Terror Risin’ vs. Keith Cole
Ah, yes, this guy! Our lord and saviour today, Paul Levesque, makes his debut with his historical recreation tabbard, bleached blonde hair and muscles, looking more like a European heavy in a Die Hard movie. Keith gets an early advantage and Terror’s hair is all out of place. He hangs on the ropes to avoid a dropkick and drops the elbows. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, then he goes up for a flying elbow and misses. Disappointing lack of knee-based moves, honestly. Bit of a botch on a collision, but they keep going. Cole hits his knee on a missed charge in the corner, allowing the Game to get his original finisher, the Indian deathlock, for the submission. He tried getting that one over during his reign of terror along with the sleeper and it didn’t take then either. Middling debut for someone who’d obviously go on to a lot more.
Pretty Wonderful vs. Arn Anderson and Erik Watts
No Assassin, so I assume he’s done. This is the blow off to the Roma turn, with Erik as the substitute for Arn when he went down. Tony makes reference to the absence of the Assassin too and basically buries him as a conman who’s running his own angle – he hadn’t left the company, though! To add to the new taping feel, the Pauls have fresh haircuts too. Watts gets an early advantage as I realise that one of his problems was that he was just too tall. He didn’t have the presence of his dad but was a little too big not to be clumsy. Arn comes in and tries wrecking Orndorff’s good arm. Watts back in, getting his eyes poked, and Roma comes in and takes over. Orndorff back in with a belly-to-back suplex to set up a Roma shot off the top, then a big elbow. Roma might’ve overvalued his own worth in the business and his general toughness in life, but he was a more than decent wrestler. He gets a cheap shot on Arn to coax him in and allow some double teaming. Erik manages to kick off Paul for a tag, bringing Arn in, who does some nifty stuff before daftly throwing Orndorff over the top for the DQ. Disappointing finish, but I guess it saves Erik from having to eat a pinfall for a change.
Gene talks to Vader and Harley Race regarding Ricky Steamboat first and Ric Flair second. Race talks up Vader while Gene looks nervous, then Vader promises his own revenge.
Vader vs. Sonny Rogers
Rogers can’t even get his top off before Vader pounces on him. Press slam and powerbomb finishes in under a minute. The beating continues and Nick Patrick gets tossed too, so Ricky Steamboat tries to run in. Harley Race cuts him off, so it’s the Boss instead who makes the save to set up some tension ahead of Superbrawl. Hot little angle.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Fidel Sierra
Sierra has his old Top Gun tights on. Armdrag to start, but Sierra gets some shots in before running into a chop. Slam sets up the flying cross body block off the top for a quick win.
The Boss vs. Rip Rogers
Rogers looks weird without his trademark beard. He runs off at first, then tries cheap shots until Boss just stops selling, including just walking into a clothesline and hurting Rip’s arm more than his chest. Big boot takes Rogers off his feet and the Boss Man Slam finishes him off.
Gene brings in the Boss to chat after the match, with the obvious Vader feud teased. Even though they had a lot of good matches in 1994, it didn’t really elevate the Boss to the next level in defeat and it felt like Vader had dropped down a bit even in victory.
Back from a break, Gene talks to Brian Pillman and Dustin Rhodes. Pillman, in his inventory of upcoming injuries for the opponents, sounds more like Hawk than anyone else. Dustin sees it as a chance to finish off feuds from ’93 with all three men, which I’d honestly forgotten. I’m also assuming he’s drunk or hungover from how he’s leaning on Gene.
Johnny B Badd vs. Ravishing Rick Rude
Jane Fonda gets the Kiss That Don’t Miss sticker on the cheek from Johnny, and Ted too so he doesn’t feel left out. Rude’s in the blue robe, rare blue boots and orange tights with emblems on it. Also a massive bandage on his right elbow. A wiggle off to start. Rude pounds Johnny down into a side headlock, but gets dazzled with his speed and almost pinned a few times. DDT very much out of nowhere early in the match for two. That sets up one of Rude’s trademark moves to take, the rear chinlock where his opponent stands up and then drop his butt on the back to flatten him out, with a hip wiggle to mock. That burns a few minutes up. Johnny misses a final butt drop and Rude chops and elbows away. Rude tries a slam but the back is hurt, so Johnny slams him and then gets kneed on a splash attempt. Rude goes up top with a flying fist. Attempt at a gyration as always stalls due to the bad back. Choke in the corner, but Johnny gets a sleeper out of nowhere, which is basically the problem with this match – the flow is off. Jawbreaker to stop that, then Rude goes for a sleeper himself and also has that happen to him. Not much of a sell, so Rude goes up again but jumps onto the legs. Atomic drop with awesome sell. Clothesline and a bit of strangeness where Rude positions himself for a DDT but doesn’t really go down for it properly. Tutti Frutti knockout punch, but Rude gets his leg on the ropes. Rude just collapses backwards to avoid the sunset flip off the top and he finishes Badd off with the Rude Awakening to win.
Final Gene interview of the show, with Harley Race directing threats in the direction of the Boss, with Vader joining them to add to that, calling him “Boss Man” twice to probably get some letters sent in from the WWF.
The meltdown: The squashes and angles were pretty energetic, but the feature matches were a bit more of a slog. Two more episodes to go in this run, one before Superbrawl and the last one after.