Hosted by Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura
The tenth anniversary show opens with a series of photos of Ric Flair as he grew up. Included are a clipping of a newspaper article of the plane crash as well as Flair’s victories over Harley Race at Starrcade ’83 and Ronnie Garvin at Starrcade ’87. Suddenly Vader roars and a sequence of his squashes permeate the introduction. As an added bonus the aftermath of Vader’s powerbomb of Cactus Jack is briefly shown.
<>Tony mentions Vader and Race’s arrival at 2pm and subsequent workout in the ring. Unlike the punctual WCW World Champion his challenger has yet to arrive. “Mean” Gene Okerlund is with Flair (and family) at the Flair household while a chauffeur takes the bags to the limousine. Interestingly, a very young Ashley (current NXT wrestler Charlotte) and Reid (RIP) hug their father as disgruntled teenager David broods in the background along with a worried Beth. After leaving the house, a subdued Flair and Gene discuss the ramifications of tonight’s main event -- if Flair loses he must retire, but if he wins he becomes WCW World Champion.
Match 1: Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Too Cold Scorpio (w/ Teddy Long) versus Pretty Wonderful (w/ the Assassin)
For those unaware Pretty Wonderful is “Pretty” Paul Roma and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
Wait a minute! Wasn’t Paul Roma a face at Battlebowl? Oh yeah, back on the 12/11/93 episode of WCW Saturday Night (taped 11/30/93) Roma tagged with his Battlebowl partner Erik Watts. Check this out!
Prior to the match WCW Executive Committee member Gary Juster presented “The Godfather” Teddy Long with the 1993 Manager of the Year award. Thanks go out to all of you for calling the hotline!
A brawl between all four men started the match. Tony mentioned on WCW Saturday Night (taped 12/6/93) that Orndorff and Roma attacked Bagwell and Scorpio after their match with Pierce and Slazenger.
Double dropkick sent Roma to the floor.
Excellent tag team synchronicity by Bagwell and Scorpio.
While Bagwell hooked a sleeper on Orndorff and referee Nick Patrick was distracted by an intruding Scorpio Roma came off the top rope with a forearm to the back.
Three consecutive backbreakers from Roma to Bagwell.
Sweet butterfly suplex followed by an even sweeter powerslam from Roma.
From the top rope Roma missed a splash leading to the hot tag to Scorpio.
Scorpio delivered a snap suplex then came off the top rope to nail Orndorff.
As Scorpio gave Orndorff a standing spinning heel kick Bagwell and Roma fought on the floor.
The Assassin got on the apron but got decked by Scorpio.
As Orndorff held Scorpio overhead the Assassin head-butted him with the loaded mask.
Pretty Wonderful stole the opener.
Summary: Very formulaic tag match giving the new tag team of Pretty Wonderful a big boost by beating the former WCW World tag champs. I see bigger things on the horizon for this team.
Gene and Flair are still in the limo on their way to the arena. Was there a traffic jam in Charlotte on this night?
Match 2: The Shockmaster versus Awesome King Kong (w/ King Awesome Kong)
Shockmaster got double-teamed as he entered the ring.
He then became a Kong sandwich.
Awesome King Kong gave him a splash.
Oh my God! Shockmaster with a flying body press! Although he barely left his feet it still counts, right?
After nailing Awesome Kong on the apron Shockmaster gave King Kong a powerslam and pinned King Kong.
Summary: A short Shockmaster match is infinitely better than a long one. Unfortunately for the 900 pound duo the attempted switcheroo trick failed.
Tony mentions that prior to the telecast Terry Taylor defeated The Equalizer. He and Jesse then discuss The Boss as a replacement for “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith in the International World title match later. In other news, Charlotte’s finest escort the limousine to the arena.
Match 3 for the WCW World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion) versus Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
At the outset of the match Tony and Jesse pondered the possibility of a time-limit draw due to Regal’s reluctance to lock up with Steamboat. Foreshadowing, perhaps?
If one cannot enjoy a Regal match solely based upon his facial expressions, how can one?
Enziguri by Steamboat caused a 360° sell.
After both men head to the floor Sir William tried to nail Steamboat with the umbrella. Nonetheless it became a chase into the ring by Steamboat after Sir William.
As Steamboat exited the ring to chase him again Regal caught him with a standing dropkick.
Butterfly suplex by Steamboat with 45 seconds remaining in the time limit.
Outside the ring Steamboat rammed Regal and Sir William’s heads together.
With 15 seconds remaining Steamboat climbed to the top turnbuckle but misses the flying body press.
As ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta counted down the final seconds Steamboat delivered a German suplex but could not successfully secure the pin in time.
Time-limit draw. Regal retained his title.
Summary: If you enjoy scientific/technical wrestling then this is your match. Plenty of psychology mixed in with a tiny bit of high-flying and workrate make this an extremely good match. A finish would have raised the rating even higher, but Steamboat did his job making Regal look sharp here.
Tony and Jesse continue to discuss Flair and the retirement stipulation of the main event.
Match 4: Shanghai Pierce and Tex Slazenger versus Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne
Can Mick Foley carry the load of four men here? Let’s find out!
Tony compared Cactus Jack and Tex Slazenger. It’s no wonder the future Mideon would emulate the future Mankind in the WWF during the Attitude Era.
Bulldog from Slazenger.
Cactus clothesline to Shanghai Pierce.
Assisted “plancha” by Cactus atop Slazenger. I believe Sandman swiped that move in ECW.
Payne applied the Payne Killer to Pierce, but Slazenger saved.
Heel miscommunication led to a Cactus double-arm DDT on Pierce for the pin.
Summary: Not as bad as I expected, but yes, Foley can carry quite a load.
Okerlund interviews NASCAR driver Kyle Petty who discusses his father’s (Richard Petty) retirement.
Match 5 for the US title (2 out of 3 falls): “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes (champion) versus “Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Colonel Parker)
Austin rolled his camera while making his entrance.
By the way, where is Brian Pillman? Shouldn’t he be facing Austin? Then again, Austin bloodied Rhodes at Battlebowl, so never mind.
Ventura made a Rush Limbaugh joke.
Upon the reversal of an Irish whip Rhodes sent Austin over the steel railing into the crowd.
From the second rope Austin missed a knee drop.
Flip, flop, and fly followed by a lariat from Rhodes.
Powerslam by Rhodes got a 2 count.
Parker got up on the apron, but Rhodes tossed Austin directly into him.
In the process Austin went over the top rope earning him the first fall due to disqualification.
In lieu of the thirty second rest period Rhodes followed Austin to the floor to hammer on him.
In fact he rammed Austin into the ring post busting him wide open.
An injured Colonel Parker was escorted from ringside.
To begin the second fall Rhodes went outside the ring to bring Austin in the hard way.
Double axe handle from the top rope by Rhodes as the lights flickered.
The ring lights went out forcing them to wrestle under a spotlight.
Vertical suplex, cross-corner whip, and a clothesline by Rhodes.
As the lights return Rhodes mounted the second rope to nail Austin in the head.
All of a sudden Austin took him down, grabbed the tights, and got the pin.
“Stunning” Steve Austin is the NEW US champion!
Summary: This match either could have been a bloody brawl or a decent wrestling match; however, Rhodes’ ire toward Austin wasn’t a factor until the beginning of the second fall. On top of that both men were capable of using more workrate and fluidity. Oh, and one more thing, this match only lasted 15:54. For a best two out of three falls match?
That’s criminally short. How will they make up the PPV time? I’m afraid to find out.
Match 6 for the WCW International World title: “Ravishing” Rick Rude versus The Boss
Back on 11/30/93 a non-title match between “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and Rude was filmed, but Smith was fired before it could air on 12/18. Instead on 12/13 Rude beat Smith by forfeit causing Ray Traylor the Boss to make his return to WCW after six years, face Rude in a non-title match, and defeat him.
A police siren signaled the Boss to the ring.
Hooters’ girls have been ring attendants this evening and gave Rude the thumbs down much to Jesse’s chagrin.
Tremendous elevation via back drop followed by a backbreaker by the Boss.
While on the floor the Boss suplexed Rude and hung his legs over the top rope.
Rude mounted the top turnbuckle but ate a right hand on the way down.
After a Boss miscue Rude sunset flipped over the top rope and pinned him.
Summary: Got a stamp? Rude mailed in another one here. In addition to the legitimacy of the International World title being questioned the poor quality of Rude’s matches in 1993 also devalued its championship value. Thus far the WCW International World title is a joke.
WCW SuperBrawl IV takes place on February 20!
Match 7 for the WCW World Tag Team titles: The Nasty Boys (champions w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Sting and Road Warrior Hawk
Oh my God! Missy Hyatt wore a see-through pink dress. Methinks she wanted to wear less clothing than the Hooters’ girls.
Stalling to start by the Nasty Boys. I don’t like the feeling I’m getting watching this.
Hawk military pressed Sting then launched him onto both Nasty Boys.
Enziguri by Hawk.
Sags gave Hawk a chair shot with a plastic non-folding chair. Ouch!
To add insult to injury Missy slapped Hawk.
Cross arm breaker to Hawk by Sags.
Fujiwara arm bar by Knobbs. It appears that the Nasty Boys learned something during their short stint in NJPW in November.
Tony: “What’s more painful here? This arm bar or Missy’s mouth here?”
False tag to Sting not permitted by referee Nick Patrick.
After Sting got the real tag and cleaned house the Nasty Boys tried to take a walk.
We’re fifteen minutes in; can we please get a countout and move on to the main event? No? Dammit!
Alternatively Sting and Hawk continued my misery by chasing after the nefarious champs.
Sting attempted a top rope splash but hit knees.
Knobbs mounted the second turnbuckle and grazed Sting on the way down. I believe he was supposed to miss him completely.
In an entirely obvious moment to us but oblivious to the referee, Knobbs tossed Sting over the top rope. Sting landed on the apron first, but Patrick ignored it.
Outside the ring Sags made Sting taste the steel railing. Needs Gulden’s spicy brown mustard.
Not to nitpick but the tag belts sat in the corner of the champs instead of the timekeeper’s table. C’mon, WCW! You’re better than that!
Missy whipped Sting with her cat o’ nine tails before Sags clotheslined him.
Just to antagonize me Sags hooked the abdominal stretch on Sting then switched with Knobbs.
We’re twenty minutes in, and Sags hurt himself by giving Sting a pump-handle slam.
Reverse chinlock by Knobbs.
After a vertical suplex Knobbs reapplied the rear chinlock.
Sags tagged in briefly, but it was obvious he was in a lot of pain.
Oh Criminy! Knobbs applied the abdominal stretch AGAIN.
Five minutes remain. Please let this match end.
After a slam Knobbs climbed to the second rope and delivered a splash.
He tried it a second time, and as if on cue Sting raised his foot. Oops! Sting forgot the first time.
Nasty Boys with the double-team avalanche on Sting.
With three minutes remaining Hawk nailed Knobbs then hammered Sags who caught his leg on the top rope.
FINALLY Hawk tagged in and cleaned house.
Stinger splash, but when Sting tried to apply the Scorpion Deathlock, Missy jumped up on the apron.
Sting kissed Missy with two minutes left.
He avoided a charging Knobbs (sending Missy to the floor) and school-boyed him for 2.
In an extremely convoluted manner Sting and Hawk deliver the Doomsday Device to Knobbs.
Since Sags was too injured to even stand on the apron Missy was forced to interfere causing the DQ. During that time she jiggled out of her dress. More on this later.
Out of nowhere the bell rung despite Patrick doing anything to signal for it.
Sting and Hawk won the match, but the Nasty Boys retained the titles.
Summary: How many drugs did the Nasty Boys (allegedly) promise Hawk to be in control for this match? Seriously I realize that the heels normally call a match, but the Nasty Boys are better brawlers than wrestlers and certainly not ring generals. This match was too long and had time-limit draw written all over it before that hasty finish. On the other hand Booking 101 states that a show should not contain more than one time-limit draw so someone didn’t communicate properly somewhere.
Speaking of the finish I mentioned that Missy popped out of her dress. Well, a WCW photographer got a good shot and it ended up on a bulletin board at CNN Center. When Missy discovered it she pleaded with Executive Producer Eric Bischoff to remove it and punish those responsible. After Bischoff’s attempted deflection of the situation Hyatt went over his head to file her complaint. Without hesitation Bischoff fired her prompting a sexual discrimination lawsuit against WCW by Hyatt. In December 1996 the suit was settled out of court.
Call the hotline to talk to Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne after the show!
Match 8 for the WCW World Heavyweight title: Vader (champion w/ Harley Race) versus “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
To no one’s surprise the hometown hero received an enormous pop upon his entrance and introduction.
Humongous “Flair” chants from the Queen City faithful.
Gorilla press slam from Vader sent Flair rolling to the floor.
Vader followed and made Flair taste the steel railing. More mustard please.
Having turned the tables Flair avoided a Vader splash on the steel railing then rammed him head-first into the ring post.
Vader tossed Flair around like a rag doll.
Cross-corner whip by Vader became a Flair flip to the floor.
Stiff rights followed by a stiff clothesline by Vader busted Flair’s mouth open.
Flair’s retaliatory chops didn’t faze Vader.
Powerslam by Vader.
Second-rope clothesline by Vader but second-rope splash missed.
Top rope forearm by Flair yet second one only grazed Vader.
Third one put Vader down on the mat.
Superplex followed by a running body block by Vader.
Race kicked and choked Flair on the floor.
Much to the crowd’s delight Flair put Vader down on the mat after a series of right hands and chops.
After ramming Vader’s left leg into the ring post, Flair rammed it with Jesse’s plastic chair. OUCH!
After some stiff shots to Vader Flair delivered a chair shot to the top of the head.
Flair failed to hook a figure-four leg lock.
Vader bomb missed.
Second attempt at the figure four leg lock was successful, but Vader made it to the ropes.
Moonsault by Vader missed.
Race tried to break up the cover but head-butted Vader from the top rope instead.
Referee Randy Anderson heaved Race completely out of the ring. Way to go, Randy!
After a flying forearm and some chops Flair sent Vader into the ropes only to eat another running body block. Vader grabbed his left leg though.
Like a shark smelling blood in the water Flair grabbed the weakened left leg in a single leg takedown and pinned Vader.
We have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion!
For the eleventh time Flair is the man! Woo!
Summary: Excellent David versus Goliath story told here by both men. Flair knew he could not outwrestle the larger Vader; hence, he went toe-to-toe and outlasted him in this tremendously fought battle. Even with a puzzling finish I thought it was absolutely excellent. If you haven’t seen this match, check it out.
On another note this match helped to save WCW as Flair was the placeholder WCW needed after a long and bumpy 1993. To me that adds an extra ½*.
After the match the crowd gave Flair an elongated standing ovation as confetti fell from the rafters.
Eric Bischoff is with an irate Vader with Harley Race. Vader destroys a locker claiming “I want (the belt) back!”
Flair returns to ringside for a well-deserved curtain call.
Okerlund is in the other locker room with the Flair family. He tries to interview Flair, but Flair’s mouth is too busted up. Instead he interviews Sting who congratulates Flair. Ricky Steamboat appears and gives kudos to Flair.
Conclusion: Consider this show a major WCW reboot. Since Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson were not involved two major matches had to be changed. Most of you already know that Sid was penciled in as WCW World Champion at this show prior to the Blackburn scissors incident. Incidentally Arn Anderson and Paul Roma were scheduled to have a break-up angle and feud here as well. Of all the talent within WCW Erik Watts was chosen to replace Anderson. Additionally Davey Boy Smith’s firing led to Ray Traylor’s receipt of a title shot here. Since WCW was hung out to dry due to all of these situations they could only rely on one man to rescue them—Ric Flair. See you at Clash XXVI!