Hosted by Tony Schiavone & Jesse “The Body” Ventura
Who will win the White Castle of Fear match? Can Windham defeat Muta for the NWA World title? Who debuts/returns to WCW on this show? Let’s find out!
*** BREAKING NEWS *** On February 2, both "Cowboy" Bill Watts and Jim Ross were demoted by WCW. Watts will no longer make personnel decisions but concentrate solely on the wrestling product. On the other hand, Ross, Vice-President for TV, was reassigned to syndicated television sales.
But wait! There's more! On 2/10, Watts resigned. The reasoning behind his resignation remains unclear; however, racist and defamatory comments made to the Pro Wrestling Torch in 1991 by Watts were relayed by Torch columnist and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Mark Madden to Hank Aaron. Why is that important? Aaron, in 1993, was a senior Vice-President to the Atlanta Braves—another subsidiary under the Turner umbrella. If you'd like to read the comments, they're included in this article.
In order to try to settle the dust bowl created by the management shakeup, WCW put Ole Anderson in charge of Wrestling Operations and promoted Eric Bischoff to Executive Producer. In order to continue his broadcasting career, Ross resigned from WCW on 2/25.
As the show begins, we revisit WCW Saturday Night when Vader, Windham, and Race triple-teamed Sting. During the beatdown, Vader lashed Sting with a strap (aired 1/30, taped 1/25).
After Bischoff and Missy Hyatt welcome us to the show, Johnny B. Badd joins them to hype the upcoming matches.
Payne stands on the podium with “Norma Jean” to perform the national anthem. That’s some pretty impressive guitar-playing!
Match 1: Hollywood Blonds versus Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Erik Watts
Surprisingly, the Asheville faithful chanted “Au-stin” much like WWF crowds in 1997.
Bagwell nailed Austin sending him between the ropes to the floor.
When Watts tagged in, the Asheville faithful booed him out of the building. HA!
Nonetheless, he and Bagwell double-backdropped Austin and double-clotheslined an incoming Pillman.
Speaking of Pillman, he tagged in but ate a TERRIBLE dropkick from Watts. Unlike Starrcade ‘92, this one was timed well but executed poorly.
While a smattering of the Asheville faithful chanted “Erik sucks,” Bagwell tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Pillman.
Austin tagged in, but Bagwell hit a cross body block for 2.
As Bagwell dropkicked Austin, Watts tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Austin.
He then applied an abdominal stretch to Austin and tagged in Bagwell.
After Bagwell hooked his own abdominal stretch, Austin escaped.
Pillman tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Bagwell.
When Bagwell reversed an Irish whip, he gave Pillman a gorilla press slam.
He then clotheslined Pillman for 2 much to the delight of the female portion of the Asheville faithful.
As tags were exchanged on both sides, Austin slammed Watts but ate knees on a splash attempt.
Watts then secured an Oklahoma roll for 2. Well, he IS from Oklahoma.
After Watts applied a Boston crab, Pillman made the save.
Pillman tagged in, but Watts hooked the STF.
Immediately, PIllman grabbed the bottom rope to escape.
He then feigned a knee injury yet tossed Watts to the floor.
Aha! With Bill Watts no longer in charge, the blue mats have returned to WCW.
From the apron, PIllman attempted a double axe handle, but Erik Watts evaded him. That caused Pillman to taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Mount Pisgah BLT at Pack’s Tavern.
Austin tagged in, and the Blonds delivered a double back elbow to Watts. That sent him over the top rope to the floor.
When Bagwell distracted referee Mike Adkins, Austin slammed Watts on the floor. SNEAKY!
From the apron, Austin attempted a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich instead.
Pillman tagged in and distracted Adkins so that Austin could give Watts the business.
As Watts hooked a sunset flip to Pillman, Austin distracted Adkins. The end result was a false pin for Watts.
Austin tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Watts. That’s four for four!
After Austin baited Bagwell to distract Adkins again, the Blonds double-teamed Watts. How dastardly!
Pillman tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and the Blonds attempted a Rocket Launcher.
On the other hand, Watts raised his knees to counter.
Before Watts could tag out, Austin tagged in and delivered a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
He then gave Watts a cross corner whip, but a head-on collision occurred.
With Watts draped across the second rope, Austin attempted a running guillotine but missed.
Hot tag Bagwell.
When he gave Pillman the ten-punch count-along, Bagwell provided one to Austin as well.
He then powerslammed Pillman, but Austin made the save.
As all four wrestlers were in the ring, Bagwell hit a fisherman’s suplex to Pillman.
Adkins then put Watts in the corner and couldn’t see Austin mount the top turnbuckle.
After Austin BLASTED Bagwell, Pillman got the pin.
The Blonds won.
Summary: On one hand, I understand the complaints about Watts; however, in this case, he technically jerked the curtain while being a member of the losing team. If job duty remains in his future, the negative reaction should dissipate. Good match with the heel team using chicanery to gain victory.
Next, a portion of the White Castle of Fear mini-movie airs. Why am I suddenly craving mini-cheeseburgers?
Bischoff and Badd reveal that “Nature Boy” Ric Flair has rejoined WCW and will be here tonight. Afterward, Hyatt stands beside a limousine, but WCW Security detains her before she can interview Flair. HA! When a pair of women shuffles Hyatt away, Flair emerges from the limousine with a customary “Woo!”
Upon returning to the arena, the Asheville faithful chants “We Want Flair.”
Match 2: 2 Cold Scorpio versus Chris Benoit
Since this match is included on the WWE Benoit DVD, I’ve seen this match before. Unlike the Benoit DVD, Ventura’s commentary is included for the WWE Network.
Benoit delivered a snap suplex while Ventura details the story behind Stu Hart’s dungeon.
As Benoit gave him a cross corner whip, Scorpio leaped to the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body block for 2.
Scorpio then dropkicked Benoit and followed with a spinning heel kick.
While Schiavone and Ventura reinserted comedy into the WCW announcing fold, Scorpio leap-frogged Benoit and sent him to the floor via an arm drag.
Mutual catapults then led to a dropkick by Scorpio.
When he superkicked Benoit, Scorpio hooked a crucifix for 2.
He then performed a cartwheel but missed another spinning heel kick.
Conversely, Benoit didn’t miss a clothesline.
He then clotheslined Scorpio again and delivered a backbreaker.
After Benoit hung him out to dry on the top rope, Scorpio mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a missile dropkick. Benoit then got 2.
Benoit then delivered a spinebuster and applied the LionTamer.
As the fifteen-minute mark approached, Scorpio refused to submit.
Benoit then placed him atop the top turnbuckle, joined, and hit a top rope belly-to-back superplex for 2. Woohoo!
When he gave Scorpio a side-Russian leg sweep, Benoit attempted another belly-to-back suplex.
However, Scorpio used momentum to land on top for 2.
Benoit then powerbombed Scorpio for 2.
While Scorpio attempted a sunset flip, he and Benoit were caught in the ropes.
Benoit then gave Scorpio another cross corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
After Scorpio delivered an enziguri, he missed a pair of spinning heel kicks but caught Benoit with a clothesline.
He then gave Benoit a cross corner whip and followed with a corkscrew avalanche. Innovative!
As he mounted the top turnbuckle, Scorpio hit a twisting splash for 2.
With forty-five seconds remaining, Benoit countered a victory roll attempt by face-planting Scorpio.
He then slammed Scorpio, mounted the second turnbuckle, and delivered a leg drop for 2.
When Scorpio secured a roll-up, he got 2.
Benoit then attempted a dragon suplex, but Scorpio countered with a cradle.
Will he get the pin or will the time-limit expire?
Summary: Incredible match showcasing both wrestlers extremely well. Methinks these guys have a future in pro wrestling.
Bischoff then shills the WCW hotline, and Gordon Solie along with Rhodes are shown backstage mid-interview. Payne then joins Bischoff on the podium while carrying “Norma Jean” and cuts a promo on Rhodes. Following that, he plays “Taps.”
Match 3: “Wild” Bill Irwin versus the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
For those of you who read my WCCW reflections, I can hardly wait to see the former Texas champion trample this WWF reject. It’s going to happen, right?
This match marked Smith’s WCW debut.
After a criss-cross, Smith clotheslined Irwin over the top rope to the floor.
He then leap-frogged and gorilla-press-slammed Irwin.
When Irwin retreated, he fell out of the ring. D’oh!
Smith then hip-tossed Irwin while Ventura teased Schiavone about Rastafarians.
As he gave Smith a cross corner whip, Irwin followed with a corner clothesline.
He then delivered a back elbow for a 1-count.
After he guillotined Smith with the top rope, Irwin got 2.
They then brawled until Smith hit a delayed vertical suplex.
When Smith gave him a cross corner whip, he followed with an avalanche.
He then clotheslined Irwin for 2.
As he gave Irwin another cross corner whip, Smith ate boot on his follow-through.
Irwin then mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but Smith caught him.
While Ventura mocked either Ross and/or Watts for lack of preparation, Smith hit the running powerslam.
Summary: Irwin got robbed! Seriously, though, this was a showcase match for Smith. Irwin would wrestle one more time for WCW before returning to the independent circuit. In case you believed WCW fans didn’t follow the WWF, Smith received a big ovation from the Asheville faithful.
Another snippet from the White Castle of Fear mini-movie airs. Suddenly, I have a craving for chicken rings and fish nibblers.
At ringside, Schiavone interviews Smith who vows to become World champion. He then challenges Vader and “is hungry.” Perhaps he could use a slider or two.
Backstage, Bischoff interviews Orndorff, but Cactus interrupts with a snow shovel.
Match 4 (falls count anywhere): “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff versus Cactus Jack
Cactus chased Orndorff to the ring and missed Orndorff while nailing the steps with the shovel.
Afterward, Orndorff made Cactus taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the My Big Fat Greek burger at Juicy Lucy’s.
He then provided Cactus with a second helping. Waiter, could you give the New York Times best-selling author a black’n’blue burger please?
As Cactus blocked a third attempt, he took Orndorff to an adjacent section of ringside and made him taste the steel railing. Waiter, one more thing, could you give the Florida native a Bahama Mama burger please but don’t call him “Paula”?
Cactus then removed the blue mat to expose the concrete floor. I guess he enjoyed the Bill Watts era.
Regardless, he slammed Orndorff on the concrete floor and followed with an elbow drop for 2.
Cactus then mounted the second turnbuckle and hooked a sunset flip on the concrete floor for another 2.
When the match moved to the ring, Orndorff clotheslined Cactus.
He then tossed Cactus to the floor and hit an elbow smash from the apron.
Upon dragging Cactus with him down the aisle, Orndorff whipped him into and over the steel railing.
They continued to brawl in the aisle until Orndorff suplexed Cactus onto and over the steel railing. OUCH!
As he made Cactus taste his black’n’blue burger again, Orndorff returned him to ringside for another helping. Pass the Pepcid Complete please!• Orndorff then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a forearm smash.
When he ripped off Cactus’ knee brace, Orndorff suplexed him over the top rope to the apron.
He then hooked a rope-assisted figure-four leg lock, but referee Randy Anderson admonished Orndorff for it.
After he clotheslined Cactus over the top rope to the floor, Orndorff joined and rammed him face-first into the matted floor.
He then rammed Cactus’ knee and face into the concrete before ramming him into the apron.
As he nailed Cactus with the knee brace, Orndorff clobbered him on the floor with it.
He then grabbed a steel chair and DEMOLISHED Cactus’ knee with it. Call an orthopedist!
When Orndorff signaled for the piledriver, Cactus grabbed the snow shovel.
He then CROWNED Orndorff with it.
Summary: Crazy brawl that told a good story. Cactus’ bumping was...
Match 5 (non-title): SMW tag team champions The Heavenly Bodies (w/ Jim Cornette & “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton) versus the Rock’n’Roll Express
Before the match began, officials ejected Eaton from ringside.
Gibson hip-tossed Prichard and followed with a flying headscissors.
When Morton tagged in, he gave Prichard a huracanrana.
Lane tagged in but received a hip toss from Morton.
As the Asheville faithful LOUDLY chanted “rock’n’roll,” Morton caused some heel miscommunication. They must be KISS fans.
Lane then gave Morton a cross corner whip, but Gibson protected Morton from the bump.
Although Prichard tried to protect Lane during a Morton cross corner whip, Morton changed Lane’s direction sending him back to the original corner. Clever!
Gibson then punted Prichard down to the mat, and Morton whipped Lane into him.
After Prichard tagged in, he reversed a cross corner whip but received an atomic drop directly into Lane.
Gibson tagged in and delivered an enziguri to Prichard for 2.
When Morton tagged in, he and Lane began a criss-cross.
Morton then exited the ring to chase after Cornette.
With Cornette on the apron, Gibson gave the Bodies a double noggin knocker.
He then nailed Cornette sending him flying back down to the floor.
As Lane sent Morton to the floor, Prichard held him so that Cornette could LAMBASTE Morton with his tennis racquet.
Lane then guillotined Morton with the top rope and clotheslined him.
After Lane baited Gibson to distract referee Nick Patrick, Prichard mounted the second turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Morton.
Prichard tagged in, slammed Morton, and delivered a knee drop for 2.
When Lane tagged in, he gave Morton a swinging neckbreaker for another 2.
Prichard tagged in, and the Bodies delivered a double back elbow to Morton.
According to Schiavone, not only was the Civic Center sold out but a closed-circuit hook-up next door was well-attended.
Again, Gibson distracted Patrick, and the Bodies double-teamed Morton. Nefarious!
Lane tagged in, and the Bodies hit a suplex/clothesline combo to Morton.
As Lane gave Morton an elbow drop, Cornette got up on the apron to distract Patrick.
In the meantime, Morton hooked a sunset flip, but Prichard made the save.
Prichard then illegally switched with Lane and delivered a powerbomb to Morton for 2.
After Lane reversed a cross corner whip, he powerslammed Morton for another 2.
Prichard tagged in, but Morton countered a double back drop with a double DDT.
Hot tag Gibson.
While the Express double-clotheslined Lane, they hit a double dropkick to Prichard.
Gibson then brought Cornette into the ring the hard way.
When Prichard saved Cornette’s bacon by bulldogging Gibson, he only got 2.
Cornette then got up on the apron again to distract Patrick so that Prichard could toss Gibson over the top rope to the floor. Devious!
As Morton gave Prichard an inverted atomic drop, Eaton returned, mounted the top turnbuckle, but knee-dropped Prichard instead of Morton.
Gibson then pinned Prichard, and the Express won.
Summary: Wow! What an excellent tag team match! Great heat generated by the Bodies coupled with the underdog sympathy from the Asheville faithful created a fantastic adventure enjoyed by all. Great job, gentlemen!
Yet another clip from the White Castle of Fear mini-movie airs. Skip the popcorn and get some jalapeno cheese sliders!
Match 6 for the WCW US title: The “Natural” Dustin Rhodes versus Maxx Payne
Payne replaced Ron Simmons due to injury.
Wait a minute! How did Rhodes win the US title? He defeated Ricky Steamboat in the finals of a tournament (aired 1/16, taped 1/11).
Rhodes gave Payne a lariat causing him to seek refuge outside the ring.
As Rhodes rolled him up, he got 2.
Shortly after, Payne gave Rhodes a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
Rhodes then gave Payne a cross corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
When Payne gave Rhodes a cross corner whip, he ate boot on his follow-through.
C’mon, guys, get it together!
Shortly after, Payne attempted the Payne Killer, but Rhodes countered with a headscsssors.
Payne then clotheslined Rhodes and delivered a double axe handle.
After Payne backdropped him, Rhodes attempted a cross body block.
Payne then caught and slammed him; yet, he missed an elbow drop.
As Rhodes hit another lariat, he woke up the slumbering crowd.
He then suplexed Payne for 2.
When Rhodes hooked an abdominal stretch, Payne pulled referee Mike Adkins into him.
Adkins then called for the bell to disqualify Payne.
Summary: Neither wrestler did a good job of being a ring general, so the match was either boring or terrible.
After the match, Payne tosses Rhodes over the top rope to the floor. He then delivers a shoulder breaker and rams Rhodes shoulder-first into the ring post. When he grabs Rhodes’ arm, Rhodes retaliates by making Payne HIT THE POLE. He then rams Payne face-first into the apron and dropkicks Payne out of the ring. There’s more excitement after the bell than before it.
Another morsel from the White Castle of Fear min-movie airs. Perhaps an order of bacon, egg, and cheese sliders would suffice for breakfast.
Ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta then introduces “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Although Flair can appear at WCW shows, his non-compete clause states that he can’t wrestle until June. Schiavone then interviews Flair at ringside. While Flair will witness the next match from ringside, he’s pumped for it and rightfully claims the NWA title as “the belt I never lost.” Attaboy, Naitch!
Match 7 for the NWA World title: The Great Muta (champion) versus Barry Windham
While the Asheville faithful chanted “Bar-ry,” their favorite leap-frogged Muta but ate a spinning thrust kick.
Muta then leap-frogged and dropkicked Windham.
When Windham countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex, he earned a 1-count.
He then attempted a vertical suplex, but Muta blocked it.
As Muta delivered his own vertical suplex, he hit a flashing elbow.
Flair then mentioned that Muta had a lot of respect from American wrestling fans. Considering the elongated head locks, Muta’s testing mine.
After Muta missed a dropkick, Windham gave him a jumping DDT.
He then nailed Muta sending him down to the floor.
When Windham joined him, he delivered a belly-to-back suplex on the floor.
With Muta on the apron, Windham suplexed him back into the ring for 2.
Living up to its Smoky Mountain surroundings, visibility in the arena lessened.
Windham then hit a pair of knee drops for another 2.
As Windham hooked a sleeper, he took Muta down to the mat.
While there, he put his feet on the second rope for leverage. Villainous!
Referee Randy Anderson then noticed Windham’s shenanigans and forced him to break the hold.
After Windham gave Muta a gutwrench suplex, he couldn’t get 3.
He then tossed Muta to the floor, joined, and slapped him.
When he leaped from the apron, Windham delivered a double axe handle.
Back in the ring, he slammed Muta and followed with an elbow drop for yet another 2.
Muta then attempted a sunset flip, but Windham responded with a knuckle sandwich.
As Muta hit a cross body block, he got 2.
Windham then attempted a piledriver, but Muta countered with a back drop.
Upon giving Muta a leg drop, Windham got 2.
Muta then blocked a right and retaliated with another spinning thrust kick.
When he placed Muta atop the top turnbuckle, Windham joined him and attempted a superplex.
Muta then nailed Windham sending him down to the mat, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a flying chop.
As he hit a handspring elbow, Muta followed with a backbreaker.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a moonsault.
After Muta escaped a suplex attempt, he gave Windham a belly-to-back suplex.
He then delivered another backbreaker, mounted the top turnbuckle and attempted another moonsault.
This time, Windham raised his knees to counter and clotheslined Muta.
He then hit an implant DDT.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: According to Meltzer, Muta claimed he suffered from the flu during this match. Muta wouldn’t return to WCW for over a year. This was Windham’s sole World title in his career.
After the match, Flair brings the NWA World title belt into the ring and secures it around Windham’s waist. Windham takes exception, and they stand face-to-face. After Flair exits without incident, Windham celebrates his achievement.
The final portion of the White Castle of Fear mini-movie airs. Feasibly, I believe one more slider will prepare me for the main event.
Match 8 (White Castle of Fear/strap/non-title): WCW World champion Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race) versus Sting
Vader clotheslined Sting and followed with an elbow drop.
As he mounted the second turnbuckle, Vader delivered a splash.
Sting rebounded with a series of rights and took Vader off his feet.
When he gave Vader an enziguri, Sting mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a clothesline.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and splashed Vader.
Upon mounting the same top turnbuckle, Sting delivered another splash.
Sting then whipped Vader with the strap much to the delight of the Asheville faithful.
As Race got up on the apron, Sting whipped him too.
Vader then sought refuge outside the ring, so Sting followed and made him HIT THE POLE twice.
When Sting touched the ring post, he slammed Vader on the floor.
He then touched two more posts until Vader made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Funky Chicken at the Wicked Weed Funkatorium.
After they returned to the ring, Sting gave Vader a Samoan drop.
He then charged Vader but ate a running body block.
As Sting ate a second running body block, Vader attempted a powerbomb.
Sting then countered with a back drop, mounted the top turnbuckle, but missed splash #3.
Although Vader didn’t miss his splash, he pummeled Sting afterward.
He then delivered his own Samoan drop, mounted the second turnbuckle, and hit a Vader bomb.
After Vader whipped Sting, he mounted the second turnbuckle, and executed a super Samoan drop. Nifty!
He then touched two corners before Sting stopped his momentum.
As Vader mounted the second turnbuckle, he missed a second Vader bomb.
Vader then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Sting crotched him. OUCH!
When Vader regained his composure, he mounted the top turnbuckle only for Sting to pull him down to the mat.
Vader then placed Sting atop the top turnbuckle and gave him a superplex. Wow!
After Vader touched three corners, a BUSTED OPEN Sting mule-kicked him.
Vader then delivered a pair of running body blocks, but while he pulled Sting towards him, Sting hit an abisegeri. Amazing!
As he gave Vader a release German suplex, Sting followed with a DDT.
He then hoisted Vader into a fireman’s carry, but Vader’s legs knocked referee Nick Patrick down.
Meanwhile, Vader’s ear was severely BUSTED OPEN.
When Sting touched three corners, Race caused him to trip over Patrick.
Vader then SQUISHED Sting and touched three corners.
After Sting kicked Vader, momentum took him in the direction of the fourth corner.
Summary: Incredible match where both wrestlers gave it 110% to change a normally unappealing match into an extremely entertaining one. Great job, guys!
After the match, Sting whips Vader with the strap until Vader exits the ring.
Bischoff interviews the NEW NWA World champion—Barry Windham—who is ready to capture even more titles. If they paired him against Vader, it’d be a battle of who could be the bigger bully.
Conclusion: What a great show! With the exception of the NWA and US title matches along with Smith’s debut, this show is stacked with quality matches. Check this show out STAT! Who else is hungry?