The SmarK Rant for WCW Beach Blast 1992
By Scott Keith on 14th November 2023
Live from Mobile, Alabama, famous home of many famous beaches.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura.
Light heavyweight title: Brian Pillman v. Scotty Flamingo.
For those who haven’t had the privelage of watching Scott Levy go from bizarre joke to his current incarnation as Raven, just picture him clean-shaven, with an afro, acting like a cross between Edge and Shane McMahon. Pillman was coming off an awesome match with Jushin Liger at Superbrawl II here, where he regained the title. Liger immediately got over, so of course he was never seen again. Lockup battle to start, and Scotty showboats. Wrestling sequence gives Pillman a hammerlock and he works the arm. Crucifix pin gets two, and Flamingo hides in the ropes. Pillman comes after him and gets hammered, but recovers with a short-arm scissors. Scotty rolls him over for two. Back to a wrestling sequence, Scotty bails again and Pillman goes back to the arm, frustrating Flamingo. Scotty finally makes the ropes and tries to tilt-a-whirl Brian, but gets taken out of the ring with a headscissors. Pillman fakes a tope and then nails Flamingo with a double axehandle off the apron. Back in, Pillman goes upstairs but gets dropped, which gets two. Scotty dumps Pillman and hits a pescado. Back in, Pillman yanks on the arm in desperation, but gets stomped back down. Fistdrop off the second rope gets two for Flamingo. Pillman blocks a charge with Air Pillman, but can’t capitalize and eats a clothesline for two. Flamingo hits the chinlock, but uses the ropes like a good heel. They slug it out, but Pillman walks into a knee. Scotty misses a blind charge, both guys down. Back to the chinlock, then Pillman hooks a desperation sleeper. He gets dropped for a double-KO. The timekeeper has one of those new-fangled super-accelerated stopwatches, because the five-minute intervals being announced are about three minutes ahead of my VCR timer. Scotty goes upstairs but gets dropkicked on the way down, and Pillman comes back. Leg lariat, but get he gets caught with a powerslam for two. Pillman’s knee buckles twice, but he was just faking, foreshadowing the Hollywood Blonds. He hits an Outback Jack clothesline and dumps Scotty, but misses a tope suicida, and in this case the name is apt because he SPLATS on the rampway connecting to the ring and is DONE. Scotty tosses him and pins him to win the title at 17:27. Note the clean finish, which is one advantage of Bill Watts.
Rating: ***3/4 Good start.
Missy Hyatt and Madusa have a bikini contest, hosted by Johnny B. Badd, and the first portion is the evening gown event. Whatever, I think I’ve all the jokes about Marc Mero and Missy Hyatt I can in one lifetime.
Ron Simmons v. Terry Taylor.
This was pretty much the end of Taylor’s career in progress, as he was given the pathetic “Taylor Made Man” gimmick before settling into retirement as 1992 closed. Stalling to start, as Taylor gets some cheap offense in before getting clipped by Simmons. They fight onto the ramp, where Ron presses him back in. He dumps him again out the other side, and pounds on him back in the ring. Bearhug slows things down. He misses another clip and lands on the ramp, and Taylor takes over. Jawbreaker and Hennig necksnap get two. Backbreaker gets two. Simmons hits a fluke spinebuster to come back and finishes with the powerslam at 7:10. This was there.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell v. Greg Valentine.
You know, everytime I hear Bagwell make some stupid comment overestimating his worth to the sport these days, I suddenly get the desire to go back and watch what a tool he used to be when he wasn’t Buff. For instance, I can’t emphasize enough how over it should have gotten him everytime Jim Ross talked about his past at Atlanta’s Sprayberry High School. Man, that’s GOLD, JR. Bagwell with some basic stuff to start, and the male portion of the crowd gets on him like THAT. Nothing like a bunch of Alabama rednecks to put the pretty boy in his place. He blocks a piledriver and hits an atomic drop and dropkick, and Greg bails. Bagwell goes for a hiptoss and Valentine absolutely cleans his clock with a forearm to the face. He adds some SEATTLE VIOLENCE and the crowd is DEEPLY into Valentine putting Bagwell in his place. I’m liking this match for some reason. He starts to work the leg in preparation for the figure-four, and the crowd approves. Bagwell cradles for two off the first attempt, but Valentine keeps plugging away. Another cradle gets two for Bagwell, as does a backslide. Bagwell mounts the superman comeback full force, but lands badly on his knee off a leapfrog. The crowd EXPLODES, immediately catching onto the pyschology, as Valentine DESTROYS the kid’s knee with a kneebreaker and the figure-four means STOP! HAMMERTIME as Bagwell uncles at 7:14. See, now there’s some good solid old-school booking to tone down the insane Bagwell push a few notches. Too bad Watts didn’t learn that lesson with his own kid.
Falls Count Anywhere on the Gulf Coast: Sting v. Cactus Jack.
Sting is the WCW champ, but this is non-title because Cactus didn’t care about the title at this point in the character’s development. Slugfest on the ramp to start, and Sting backslides for two. Backdrop on the ramp and facebuster get two. Sting charges and gets tied up in the ropes. He rolls out of the ring, but Jack follows with the big elbow for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Jack does his usual sick bump, hitting a sunset flip off the apron and nearly breaking his ankle on the railing on the way down. It gets two. The bash each other on the railing, but Jack goes low. Sting dumps over the railing, and suplexes him on the concrete for two. Cactus takes another sick bump back to ringside and into the ring we go. Cactus hits a lariat to catch a breather, and pounds on him. Cactus…goes to the mat?! Yup, he hooks a bodyscissors, but Sting fights out. Cactus clothesline puts both on the floor, and Sting fights back. Jack calmly grabs a chair and bashes his head in. Jesse ponders why Sting would possibly be stupid enough to even sign this match, and I have to concur. Sting suplexes Cactus on his head, on the concrete, for two. Oh my god, Foley is insane, there’s no other explanation. They do a pinfall reversal sequence (!) on the floor, giving both a couple of two counts. Jack hotshots Sting on the railing in ANOTHER sick bump (this one for Sting), but Sting blocks a piledriver attempt. Cactus goes to the top but misses an elbowdrop to the floor. They head to the rampway and Sting fights back, DESTROYING Cactus with a chair of his own. Jack escapes the deathlock, however, and gets the double-arm DDT for two. Sting lariats him and uses his last bit of energy to hit a flying clothesline off the top rope, to the ramp, for the pin at 11:22. Mick Foley called it his best match in the book, but I can’t agree given the higher quality stuff he did in the WWF.
Still, a SICK, SICK must-see brawl.
Iron Man match: Rick Rude v. Ricky Steamboat.
Steamboat blitzes Rude to start, catching him off-guard with a gutbuster and injuring his ribs in the process. Steamboat goes HARD to the ribs in the corner, then literally kicks Rude around the ring like a dog, thus marking the one and only time where David Crockett would actually be appropriate as a color commentator. Steamboat goes to a side-bearhug, squeezing the ribs further. Rude knees out of it, but Steamboat buries a knee in the ribs in a sort of half-crab/armbar submission move. Rude tries a monkey flip, but Steamboat hooks the legs on the way down and rolls into a Boston Crab. Awesome. Rude uses the ABS OF STEEL to make the ropes. Steamboat goes back to the ribs with kneedrops. That’s almost heelish for Ricky. Steamboat uses a front suplex to drop Rude on his ribs, for two. Blind charges misses and Rude suddenly knees him in the face and gets the first pin at 7:32. Steamboat is stunned, so Rude applies the Rude Awakening and gets another pin at 8:50. Rude goes to the top and hits the kneedrop, but that’s a DQ at 9:45. However, Steamboat is now out, so Rude pins him at 10:15 to go 3-1. Steamboat fights to the ribs again, but gets nailed when he puts his head down. Rude burns up some daylight with a rear chinlock, and we get a funny bit as he’s too injured to swivel his hips, allowing Jesse to shower him with praise for the effort required to even try. Steamboat escapes another chinlock with an electric chair drop, but a splash hits nothing but knee. Rude neckbreaker gets two. He hits the chinlock and patiently works Steamboat over. Piledriver gets two. He tries a tombstone, but Steamer reverses for the pin at 17:41 to make it 3-2. Rude goes upstairs again but gets superplexed for two. Rude gets two and Steamboat bridges into a backslide to tie it up at 20:32. Steamboat then goes NUTS with near-falls until Rude knees him in the face to shut him up. Rude patiently works him over with basic stuff, going for the draw. Rude Awakening is blocked and reversed to one of his own by Steamboat, and it gets two. Suplex gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rude gets a desperation sleeper, and holds on like a needle in Billy Gunn’s ass. Crowd starts freaking out as Steamboat does an A-1 job of selling it for nearly five minutes. Steamboat reaches the ropes, but Rude uses his legs to kick the Dragon’s hands back. Nice. Down to 1:00, Steamboat is in BIG trouble. He fights back one last time, pushing off the top rope and landing right on Rude’s injured ribs, getting the pin at 29:30 to go 4-3. Rude goes INSANE, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Steamboat in a desperate attempt to tie it up, but despite SEVEN near falls in 30 seconds, Steamboat holds on for the win at 30:00. That’s one hell of a match, right there. It’s no Rock-HHH (and who would have EVER though that comparison would come about with regards to Iron Man matches?) but it was pretty close.
Round two of the bikini challenge: Swimsuits.
Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson & Steve Austin v. Barry Windham, Duh-stin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff.
Boy, Watts sure gave it a go with Koloff in his second go-around, but Nikita just couldn’t bring the goods. Windham gets a quick armdrag off the top on Austin to start, but Eaton comes in with a quick rollup for two. Arn taunts Koloff into the ring and gets dumped. JR eloquent defense of the off the top rule comes up here: “Some sportswriters have criticized the ruling. Well, they just don’t know, they just don’t understand”. Now don’t YOU feel stupid for ever doubting him? Koloff cleans house on the Alliance and they regroup, with Paul E. actually telling them to go to Plan B. Windham & Arn butt heads, and Arn takes over. Arn does a blind charge, but Barry forgets to move, so they REPEAT THE SPOT. Oh come on, was that knee to the head so integral to the match that they couldn’t have done a suplex or something instead? Windham hot tags Dustin, it’s a pier-six. Arn sacrifices Bobby to put Rhodes down and into the deviant-in-peril role, however. Austin opens a can of whoop-ass on him. Skip ahead a few boring minutes as Austin hits a stungun, but the overblown somersault selling by Rhodes puts him back in his own corner for the hot tag to Windham, and a brawl sees Arn coming off the top seconds later for the lame DQ finish at 15:33. Pointless.
Rating: **1/4, as the match never really got off the launchpad.
Paul E Dangerously tells Steamboat: No more title shots. To punctuate that one, Cactus Jack attacks him and a brawl to the back is on. Sadly, this never went anywhere meaningful, like say a **** PPV match. I think they had one on Worldwide, though.
Bikini contest finals see Missy lose her bikini before it can be put on, so she steals a couple of Jesse’s bandanas and makes a fake-looking “improvised” bikini to get the win. Whatever.
WCW World tag title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Miracle Violence Connection.
The dream match that never quite lived up to expections. Gordy & Scott start and Gordy works the mat. Scott responds in kind, into a ¾ nelson, but Gordy makes the ropes. Slugfest and Scott spears him down, triggering a quick brawl. Williams comes in and they jockey for position, with Doc working a headlock. Blind charge hits boot, but Scott can’t get a suplex off. He manages a sunset flip for two. Rick comes in, so Williams backs off. The fight over an armbar, but Rick gets an overhead belly-to-belly and the MVC regroups. Doc clips him twice, but gets Steinerlined. Gordy comes in and backdrops Rick for two. Rick & Doc hammer each other, and Rick ends up on the ramp. He sunset flips in for two. Gordy comes in for a half-crab. Jesse notes that Gordy is quite a load. I love shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments. Gordy switches to a spinning toehold, but gets suplexed. Scott gets a T-Bone suplex for two, and they fight over a submission move. Gordy tags to escape and Williams gets right to the point, kicking Scott in the face to break the hold. Scott gets a cross-body for two. The MVC work him over in the corner, and target the knee. Terry Gordy uses a sort-of STF, as Ross relates the Dr. Death origin story again. Scott fights back but gets hit in the knee again. Gordy tries an unsuccessful bow-and-arrow, so Doc covers by coming in for a Boston Crab. Gordy goes back to the STF, then Doc pulls out the Walls of Jericho! Hot tag to Rick, however, who powerslams Williams for two. Bulldog for Doc, Gordy gets dumped. Williams gets a lariat, however, and Gordy powerslams Rick off the 2nd rope for two. Double shoulderblock gets two. Double backbreaker gets two. Doctorbomb gets two for Williams. Oklahoma Stampede is blocked and reversed by Rick, and it’s hot tag Scott with a minute left in the time limit. Tiger Driver and Frankensteiner to Gordy, but time expires at “30:00” (really 28:30) for the draw. Pretty disappointing given the expectations for the match, but with Gordy’s deteriorated condition that was to be expected.
I have no idea why they ended with this match and not Sting-Cactus, though. Oh yeah, Bill Watts. The MVC would win the tag titles a couple of months later.
The Bottom Line:
Despite the ultimate failure of Bill Watts to get with the times during his tenure (thanks largely to the brainfart that was the NWA World tag title tournament) this show is chicken soup for the wrestling fan’s soul, with good LONG matches and tons of psychology and mat wrestling and heat and guys actually sweating from the effort of WORKING and all sorts of good stuff like that. It was all downhill from here for Bill Watts’s booking, though.