Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 2 April 2020

EVENT REVIEW: Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Bluegrass Brawl 1993

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 1993
April 2nd, 1993
Pikesville College Gym, Pikeville, Kentucky

Confession time: Your writer has been a fan of professional wrestling for over 25 years and yet never once sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. 

Sure, the promotion had always been on my radar.

Founded by Jim Cornette in 1991, the southern promotion served as the launchpad for a number of 1990s stars, with everyone from Chris Jericho and Lance Storm to Tammy 'Sunny' Sytch, Al Snow, Kane, Road Dogg and D'Lo Brown -among many others- all enjoying runs with the company early in their career.

Still, despite knowing all this, it wasn't until I discovered a bunch of their old shows on YouTube that I finally got to watch any of it.






Join me then, as I head to Pikeville, Kentucky in the year 1993 to watch my first Smoky Mountain Wrestling show.

Please Stand for 'My Old Kentucky Home'

You know how wrestling companies will occasionally have the national anthem performed at the start of the show to add some gravitas and sense of importance to the occasion?

Smoky Mountain Wrestling -Lance Russel and Les Thatcher hosted the eventYeah, well, Smoky Mountain Wrestling didn't do that, instead asking the crowd to stand for a recording of anti-slavery anthem and official Kentucky State Song, My Old Kentucky Home.

With that out of the way, Les Thatcher told us it was time to 'kick open the doors' on Bluegrass Brawl.

Standing center ring with his colleague, Lance Russel, Thatcher handed things over to Russel who gushed about being invited to participate in tonight's main event.

Running down tonight's card, Russel continually referred to the show as 'Bluegrass Ball.'

You have to forgive him, though, this guy was VERY EXCITED about being there.

Rob Morgan vs. The Mongolian Stomper

If you think Shane McMahon's punches look weak, I dare you to watch this match. Compared to Rob Morgan's offense, everything Shane O' Mac does looks stiff as hell.

Seriously. Morgan attacked The Mongolian Stomper as he climbed through the ropes, beating him with punches to the gut and clobbering forearms to the back.

Not a single thing he did looked like it would hurt in the slightest, so it was no surprise The Stomper turned around and beat the living daylights out of his terrible opponent.

Poor, feeble Morgan didn't stand a chance. The Stomper threw him to the outside, beat his ass there, then took him back to the ring and knocked him out with the cobra clutch.

After those first few seconds of horrible punches, Morgan didn't get in another lick of offense in this short and forgettable nothing match.
Your Winner: The Mongolian Stomper

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Prime Time Brian Lee is interviewed before his match
Out in the back, Prime Time Brian Lee stood around looking completely different than you may remember him if you only know him from his WWF run as Chainz and onwards.

Anyway, Lee told interviewer Brian Matthews that he was ready for his Russian Roulette match with the dastardly Kevin Sullivan and that, tonight, Sullivan was about to get a taste of his own medicine.

Roll the dice...Make the Erm...Deal

About six months earlier, World Championship Wrestling had famously done their big 'Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal' gimmick in which the stipulation for a match between Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and Sting would be decided by the spin of a roulette wheel.

Here, Smoky Mountain Wrestling were set to do the exact same thing for 'Russian Roulette' grudge match between arch-rivals 'Prime Time' Brian Lee and Kevin Sullivan.

The only difference, of course, was that SMW didn't have nearly the same budget as WCW.

So, instead of a fancy roulette wheel, they simply rolled dice in the middle of the ring to determine what kind of match Lee and Sullivan would have.

According to Lance Russell, each number of the dice was linked to a different type of match.

1: A 'Prince of Darkness' (blindfold) match
2: A Stretcher match
3: A Handicap match in which Lee would have to face Sullivan & The Nightstalker
4: A 'Ring of Fire' (inferno) match
5: A 'Singapore Spike' match in which four boxes would be attached to the corners of the ring. One box contained a Singapore spike which could be used by whoever found it.
6: Brian Lee's choice

Lee rolled the dice and, naturally, it landed on six. At least, it did if you take SMW's word for it. The cameras never actually showed you a close up of the dice.

After all that, Lee opted for a Singapore spike match despite the fact he could have had *literally* any match he wanted.

Tim Horner is Ready for The Nightstalker

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - White Lightning Tim Horner is interviewed before his match
Out in the back, 'White Lightning' Tim Horner had some harsh words for his opponent, The Nightstalker.

The two had been at war since getting involved in the Lee/Sullivan rivalry, with Horner helping out Brian Lee and Nightstalker serving as Sullivan's muscle.

Horner vowed to take care of his opponent in their upcoming match, then revealed that both of them would be handcuffed to different corners of the ring during the Lee/Sullivan.

"This means I might not be able to get at you, but I can definitely keep an eye on you," said Horner. It was the least menacing thing any wrestler had ever said in a promo.

Yep, you better watch out, Nightstalker. If you're not careful, Tim Horner is going to LOOK AT YOU.

'White Lightning' Tim Horner vs. The Nightstalker

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - White Lightning Tim Horner faces Night Stalker (Adam Bomb)
Yep, before he went to Three Mile Island to get tangled up in a nuclear disaster, Bryan Clarke was a man who stalked the night...or stalked by night, or something.

Here, the big man displayed plenty of charisma and a reasonable amount of athleticism as he locked up with Horner in what turned out to be a pretty fun match.

OK, so this was far from a five-star classic, but the crowd were solidly into this one and as a result, every single move, no matter how basic, seemed like a very, very big deal.

After taking a pounding at the hands of his larger opponent, babyface Horner had the crowds solidly behind him as he mounted a comeback, eventually leaping onto Nightstalker's back and slapping on a sleeper hold.

With nowhere to go, 'Stalker headed for the ropes and dumped his opponent over the top to the outside.

Since throwing your opponent over the top was illegal here in SMW, that gave the win to White Lighting.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Tim Horner

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Kevin Sullivan is interviewed before his match
Backstage, Brian Matthews stood by with a man he called 'Evil Kevin Sullivan.'

'I'm not evil,' claimed Sullivan, 'I'm just misunderstood.'

Despite his protest, Sullivan then cut a fun promo in which he insisted his upcoming Singapore spike match would be just as much fun as the time he went around clubbing baby seals.

Honestly.

Singapore Spike Match
Kevin Sullivan (w/ The Nightstalker) vs. 'Prime Time' Brian Lee (w/ Tim Horner)

Before the bell, the ring announcer reminded us of the rules:

Four boxes were placed on the corners of the ring, one containing a spike, the other three containing 'nothing but air.' The object was to find the spike and beat up your opponent with it.

Instead of running straight for the corners, both men instead laid into one another with a flurry of rights and lefts, building up what turned out to be a very enjoyable brawl.

We had steel chairs, we had Sullivan whacking Lee with a random sandbag, and we even had a hammer come into play.

Unfortunately, the one thing we didn't have was a solid ending.

Somehow, The Nightstalker ended up with the spike and gave it to Sullivan. The spike got dropped, 'Stalker picked it up again and this time refused to give it to his man.

The distraction allowed Horner to pull down Sullivan's tights and get the three count thanks to a roll-up.

Yes, this hotly-anticipated blood feud came to an end with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Tim Horner

Afterward, Sullivan got into it with The Nightstalker. It would have been more dramatic had there not been a problem with the handcuffs used on The Nightstalker.

For some reason, they couldn't get him free so they literally had to take down the second turnbuckle to free him. When he finally got free, 'Stalker saw off Sullivan, effectively turning babyface in the process.

Tracy Smothers is From the South

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Tracy Smothers is interviewed before his match
With the ring left in shambles, we next went backstage where Brian Matthews stood by for an interview with 'Wild-Eyed Southern Boy' Tracy Smothers.

A fired-up Smothers wasted no time laying into his opponent Dirty White Boy. The two would face later in a chain match for the world title in front of what Smothers over-optimistically called 'millions of people.'

Despite forgetting his lines a couple of times, the Wild-Eyed one did cut a mostly compelling promo as he promised to get revenge on White Boy for costing him the TV title and $5,000, and for doing something unsavory to his rebel flag.

This last heinous deed was a particularly sore point for Smothers because he took great pride in being a southerner from the south who liked southern things, and if you didn't know that already, the southern wrestler did at least take the time to tell you all about how southern he was in every other sentence.

Take my Chain...

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Ron Wright presents his famous chain to Dirty White Boy
Out at ringside, Dutch Mantell thrust a microphone in the face of a wheelchair-bound Ron Wright, a Tennessee legend who had enjoyed runs in promotions like the NWA and Mid-Atlantic.

With the world champion Dirty White Boy standing by, Wright lifted a big heavy chain from what was literally a plastic bag you'd get from the grocery store.

Telling us all about how he'd kept this chain in great condition ever since he'd been bound to a wheelchair, the retired star made out like this chain was his most prized possession, which makes you wonder why he kept it in a dirty plastic bag.

Anyway, the whole point of this was that Wright was now gifting this chain to Dirty White Boy in a weird and trashy passing-of-the-torch ceremony.

'I Won't Bring Shame to the Chain'

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Just Dirty White Boy with a deadly weapon
Up next, we cut to a pre-recorded promo in which Dirty White Boy pretended to be in New York City even though he was clearly in some random park in Tennessee.

The Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion gave smothers a verbal beat down, promising that he wouldn't 'bring shame to the chain' given to him by Ron Wright, but would instead use the chain to beat Smothers' brains out.

After taking some time to insult all the people of the Smoky Mountain region,  White Boy then proceeded to take the chain and whack it into a bag of flour, a pineapple, a melon and a bottle of beer, all of which were supposed to represent his opponent in some way.

Finally, after a brief catch-up with our announce team, it was on to the match itself.

Tennesee Chain Match for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
SMW Heavyweight Champion Dirty White Boy (w/ Ron Wright) vs. Tracy Smothers

I'll be honest with you, I wasn't expecting much from this, but man was I ever wrong.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Dirty White Boy faced Tracy Smothers in a Strap match
Basically, this was your standard strap match with a really long chain in place of a leather strap, Smothers and Dirty White Boy were absolutely compelling as they engaged in a bloody, old-school brawl.

The challenger took the advantage early on, beating the champion from pillar to post and back again, all to the delight of the Tennesee faithful. Eventually, however, Dirty White Boy regained the upper hand, beating his rival to a bloody pulp and ramming the chain violently into the gash on Smother's forehead.

From there, we got a good, solid championship match that kept the crowd fully invested from start to finish.

After a really entertaining brawl, the match ended the same way that just about every strap match ever ended:

The heel took charge and touched the first three corners, dragging the face behind him. The face, naturally touched all three corners too, then beat his opponent to the fourth 'buckle, winning the match -and the title- in the process.

If that sounds familiar to you, it's because it was the exact same ending that Stone Cold Steve Austin and Savio Vega would eventually use three years later in their match at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog.
Your Winner and NEW SMW Champion: Tracy Smothers

After celebrating with the crowd, the new champion made his way backstage where he was interviewed by Lance Russel, who called the preceding contest the best match he'd seen in his life.

Smothers was inclined to agree and spent the next two minutes rambling on about how it was the greatest match of his life. Before he could say anything else, however, Dirty White Boy showed up, knocked him down with a block of wood and kicked him square in the bollocks.

Personally, I don't know what White Boy was so mad about.

After all, he had a lucrative career in plumbing waiting for him.

Fighting Words

Prior to our three-team, nine-man street fight main event, we got backstage promos from each team.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 93 - The Stud Stable
First up, The Stud Stable of Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden, and Dutch Mantell cut a wild and intense southern heel promo in which they typically vowed to destroy their opponents.

Next, we heard from 'The Enforcer' An Anderson and his partners, Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton, and Ricky Morton's amazing mullet.

Anderson cut a ridiculous promo in which he likened the beatdown he was going to give his opponents to the feeling you get when you go without underwear or get a DUI and crash your car.

Apparently, those two things feel exactly the same as getting beaten up by The Enforcer.

I know Anderson is a legend and one of the greatest solid wrestlers of all time, but this promo was all kinds of stupid.

Finally, Jim Cornette and The Heavenly Bodies cut the most compelling promo of all, insisting that the Smoky Mountain tag team champions had never lost a street fight yet and weren't about to start today.

All the while, their partner, Beautiful Bobby Eaton stood in the background looking like he'd just randomly walked on set and didn't know why he was there.

Three-Team Street Fight
The Stud Stable (Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden & Dutch Mantell) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) & Arn Anderson vs. SMW Tag Team Champions The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Pritchard) & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 93 - Arn Anderson and The Rock 'n' Roll Express
A wild, out-of-control ECW-style garbage brawl which took place a full year before ECW officially became extreme, this looked like it was a lot of fun for the live crowd.

Unfortunately, any enjoyment didn't really translate when you watch this back on video.

With all nine-men competing at once, it was necessary to show the majority of the bout from the hard camera, which made it really hard to focus on anything at all. Instead, you just kind of sat back and looked at the screen as the combatants battered each other with trashcans, straps, and even a tyre.

At one point, Tom Pritchard got busted open. Admittedly, the resulting crimson mask looked pretty impressive, but the actual act of him getting his head caved in was lost amidst the rest of the carnage, severely limiting its impact.

At another point, Bobby Eaton's pants fell down. It was legitimately the most exciting thing in the match.

Eventually, The Stud Stable got taken out before Arn Anderson came in with a fire extinguisher. In the resulting mele, Tom Pritchard scaled the ropes and came down with a flying knee. True to their earlier word, The Heavenly Bodies ensured their run of success in street fights remained unbroken.
Your Winners: The Heavenly Bodies & Bobby Eaton

Afterward, the winning team were interviewed in the back by Brian Matthews, with Jim Cornette promising that The Heavenly Bodies would reign supreme over SMW for a long time to come.







You know, it's interesting. I've been a wrestling fan for over 25 years and yet this is the first time I've ever sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. On the whole, I have to say that I did genuinely enjoy it. 

OK, so it wasn't a classic, but it was far from the worst wrestling show ever produced and gave us some genuinely enjoyable wrestling in the form of Smothers vs. Dirty White Boy and even Nightstalker vs. Tim Horner.

Seriously, who knew Adam Bomb was so good at working a crowd?

Though the main event did disappoint in this fan's eyes, I will say that Bluegrass Brawl '93 did at least get me intrigued enough to check out more SMW shows.




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Thursday, 26 March 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Bash at the Beach 2000

WCW Bash at the Beach - Event poster
July 9, 2000
Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

Throughout his time in World Championship Wrestling, Hulk Hogan's biggest and most game-changing moments had occurred at Bash at the Beach.

No one who was around at the time could ever forget Hogan being revealed as 'The Third Man' and pledging his allegiance to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash at Bash of the Beach 1996.

Two years before that, Hogan had made his in-ring debut for the company at the first-ever Bash at the Beach PPV, dethroning Nature Boy Ric Flair for the world heavyweight championship.

So it was perhaps entirely appropriate that tonight, Hogan would make his last on-screen appearance for WCW at would prove to be the last ever Bash at the Beach.

Talk about things coming full circle.

In 1994, there was no Bash at the Beach and no WCW Hulk Hogan. After tonight, there would once again be no WCW Hogan nor Bash at the Beach.

Here then, is a look at the fitting conclusion to Hogan's WCW run.






The Cat Has NO Time for The Young Dragons

WCW Bash at the Beach - WCW Comissioner Ernest Miller arrives at the venue
Earlier in the evening, WCW Commissioner Ernest 'The Cat' Miller arrived in a limousine and told his lackey to go pass a message on to the Misfits in Action and The Filthy Animals. The lackey did as he was told, leaving The Cat to be confronted by The Jung Dragons.

Kaz Hayashi, (Jimmy) Yang, and Jamie-San (a masked Jamie Noble) stood around like something out of a goofy Kung Fu comedy, with The Cat insisting that he didn't have time to play with them. Undeterred, the Dragons attacked Miller anyway.

Quite why they did this was never explained.

Pyro, camera shots, and a welcome from Tony Schiavone followed, after which he and his colleagues Scott Hudson and Mark Madden got ready to call all the action.

World Championship Wrestling World Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Lieutenant Loco vs. Juventud Guerrera

WCW Bash at the Beach - Juventud Guerrera lifts the cruiserweight title
As per the message from Ernest Miller, the Misfits in Action and Filthy Animals were barred from ringside for this one, but that didn't stop both factions initially coming down to ringside so that Konnan could cut his usual pre-match promo (complete with nerdy white boy hype from Disco Inferno) and so that we could all get a look at Major Gunns perfect backside.

I should also point out that Lieutenant Loco was the champion but Juventud Guerrera came out with the title belt because this was WCW and the company LOVED that gimmick so much.

With all that nonsense out of the way, what we were left with was a perfectly acceptable cruiserweight title match. Both men would have better outings with other opponents, but this was decent enough in its own right.

At various points, both men's stables tried to come out wearing Halloween masks as a means of (poorly) hiding their identity but were seen off by the officials, leaving Chavo to get the win over Juvi.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Lieutenant Loco

Out in the back, Commissioner Miller was seen talking to a beaten-up Yung Dragons, insinuating that he had escaped their clutches and beaten them up.

WCW Bash at the Beach - Jeff Jarrett confronts Comissioner Ernest Miller while Screamin' Mimi sings in the background
The Comish told them that they had done a good job previously, but that his contract with them was over. Because they were foreign, they didn't really understand him, and could only smile at the words 'good job.'

They were interrupted by WCW Champion Jeff Jarrett, who marched into Miller's office accompanied by a woman dressed as the valkyrie Brünnhilde from Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. I've no idea what that was about, but I'm assuming it had something to do with the line "it ain't over until the fat lady sings."

Anyway, Double J wanted to know why his scheduled opponent, Hulk Hogan wasn't here yet, but all Miller could say was that the Hulkster would definitely be taking part in tonight's show.

World Championship Wrestling Hardcore Championship Handicap Match
WCW Hardcore Champion Big Vito vs. Screamin' Norman Smiley & Ralphus

Before the bell, Big Vito claimed that his original opponent was supposed by his own partner, Johnny The Bull. The Bull, however, was out of commission, so Terry Funk was supposed to be his opponent, but Vito had destroyed him on Nitro, leaving Ernest Miller no choice but to book him against a 'Mystery Opponent.'

WCW Bash at the Beach - Hardcore Champion Big Vito faced Norman Smiley and Ralphus
That opponent turned out to be not much of a mystery at all - it was literally the only other guy left in the hardcore division: Norman Smiley.

Since Vito was in such a good mood, he announced that he'd take on both he and Ralphus in a handicap match. Not that it made much of a difference.

Much as he had done back at Slamboree 2000 in Smiley's match against Funk, the former head of Jericho Personal Security kind of just wandered around aimlessly, occasionally coming in to tap his opponent on the head with a trash can.

At one point, Ralphus was about 20 feet away from the action and still managed to fall on his ass and cut his head open. This isn't one of those times when I exaggerate to get across how fake a move looked. I mean, Ralphus was so far off in the background that he was almost off-camera, and yet he still managed to fall and bleed.

Poor Ralphus, he really was a disaster of a human being.

You have to feel bad for the guy too, because it was he who ended up costing his team the match. Vito sent Smiley away in an elevator then found Ralphus at ringside, beat him up and then propped up a table and rested the big guy against it. He splashed him from the top rope through the wood and this one was, mercifully, over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Hardcore Champion: Big Vito

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Kevin Nash
Out in the back, Big Bad Bill Goldberg arrived with Scott Hall's contract in his pocket.

That contract was on the line in a match against Kevin Nash.

Across the way, Nash cursed his way through a sombre promo with Mean Gene Okerlund in which he reminded Goldberg that he was the only man to ever really beat him.

With a wry Smile, Nash promised to do it again tonight.

David Flair is a Two-Timing Lowlife

Next, we got a video package looking at the feud between Daffney and Miss Hancock. The two had been feuding because David Flair was a two-timing low-life and had been cheating on Daffney with Hancock.

The two would compete in a 'Wedding Gown Match' next.

Wedding Gown Match
Miss Hancock (w/ David Flair) vs. Daffney

WCW Bash at the Beach - Ms Hancock (Stacy Keibler) faced Daffney in a wedding gown match
I never thought I’d say this about anything that involved Stacy Keibler taking her clothes off, but my goodness this was next-level awful.

Dressed in a wedding suit, David Flair got involved very early on. As did referee Slick Johnson. The result was that we got four people chasing each other around the ring and occasionally grabbing each other.

Daffney and Stacy ripped off Flair and Johnson’s pants. Crowbar got involved to help Daffney and took his own pants off.

‘This is pretty funny.’ said Tony Schiavone.

It wasn’t.

It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t entertaining, and it certainly wasn’t sexy, not even when Miss Hancock cost herself the match by saying screw it and putting on a striptease.

The only funny moment was Slick Johnson, Crowbar and David Flair all sat down in the corner of the ring, enjoying the show.
Your Winner: Daffney

Afterward, everybody threw cake at each other and made a big mess. I mean, bigger than this pile of garbage already was.

Out in the back, The Cat wandered through the corridor, voicing his concerns about Hulk Hogan being AWOL.

Oriental music played and The Jung Dragons were seen hiding in the background.

That wasn’t funny either.

Where is Hogan?

As the ring crew tried unsuccessfully to clean up the cakey mess at ringside, the announcers expressed their own concerns about Hogan and gave us the same bit about Hogan’s links with Bash at the Beach that I’d given you at the start of this review.

Eventually, the ring crew said screw or and just flipped the messy ringside mats over.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Perfect Event (‘Perfectshawn’ Shawn Stasiak & ‘The Event’ Chuck Palumbo) vs. Kronik (Brian Adams & Bryan Clarke)

WCW Bash at the Beach - Kronik faced Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo
This match might have a few critics, but this fan is definitely not one of them.

No sir, I enjoyed the heck out of this one.

The longest and best thing on the card so far, the action here was solid. Not spectacular, not groundbreaking, certainly not must-see, but solid, decent and perfectly acceptable as a tag team match.

Best of all, it was one of the very few WCW PPV matches to occur around this time with a clean, no-BS finish.

No outside interference, no weapons (Stasiak brought in the Lex Flexor but didn’t use it), just a solid team match with a good old fashioned finishing move and a three count.

After a lengthy battle, that finishing move came in the form of a powerbomb/Doomsday Device combo courtesy of Kronik, earning Bryan Clarke and Brian Adams the gold.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Kronik

Out in the back, Jeff Jarrett and his opera singing friend (known as Screamin’ Mimi) warned The Cat that he’d cause trouble and ruin the show if Hogan didn’t appear.

Miller was trying his best to sort things out, but once again got attacked by The Jung Dragons.

Admittedly, this was starting to get old, but it was also so ridiculous you couldn’t help but laugh.

‘Positively Kanyon’ vs. Booker T

WCW Bash at the Beach - Booker T faced Kanyon
After turning on Diamond Dallas Page at The Great American Bash, Kanyon was now doing a DDP rip off gimmick, even going so far as to wear a wig to look like Page and come down to the Self Hi-Five theme.

Meanwhile, Booker T had ditched the G.I. Brain thing and was now just good old’ Book.

The two gave us another solid match, albeit one without a clean finish.

After several minutes of compelling action, Jeff Jarrett stayed true to his word and screwed with the show by waffling Booker with a guitar.

Kanyon then hit the weakest looking Diamond Cutter ever and won.
Your Winner: Kanyon

Backstage, Mike Awesome was chatting up Screamin’ Mimi but was interrupted by Pamela Paulshock, who wanted to know about his upcoming US title match.

WCW Bash at the Beach - Pamela Paulshock tries to get an interview with Mike Awesome
Awesome didn’t care about that. He only cared about seducing the fat lady.

The joke here was that Awesome found Mimi way hotter than the smoking hot Paulshock. It would have been way more convincing had he not continually looked down at her boobs throughout the promo.

Speaking of Pamela Paulshock, can I just say how much I enjoyed her performances?

No, it wasn’t to do with the fact that she was an attractive woman (though it helps), but because she was one of the few backstage interviewers to have come along with a genuine personality, like a modern-day Missy Hyatt.

I enjoy her get-in-the-wrestlers-face approach immensely.

Also, there was this line from Madden:

"You know who the fat girl's favourite wrestler is? Shane Douglas...She thinks he's The French Fries."

Fair play, that was probably his only genuinely funny contribution to pro wrestling.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Midajah) vs. Mike Awesome

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mike Awesome gets set to pounce on Scott Steiner
Scott Steiner’s other ‘Freak’ Shakira had now left the company, leaving just his memorable pairing with Midajah.

She wasn’t the only part of Steiner’s gimmick to have gone. For vague, nefarious heel reasons, The Cat had declared that the Steiner Recliner was now a banned move.

At first, it didn’t seem to matter. Steiner ana Awesome still tore it up a wild and thoroughly entertaining brawl, giving us a match that was even better than their last outing at Spring Stampede 2000.

Towards the finish, however, The Cat came down and, after inadvertently kicking Awesome, insisted that he would strip Steiner of the title if he put Mike in the Recliner.

Stupidly, Scotty did it anyway and lost the title.
Your Winner by erm. Disqualification: Mike Awesome

That was such a dumb finish to an otherwise good match that I had to go on Wikipedia to find out what the actual result was.

Apparently Awesome won by DQ, but whether or not that made him our new champion was unclear as of that moment.

Taking out his frustrations, Steiner murdered Awesome with a wicked T-Bone suplex.

Then, after more time-killing meanderings from the announcers, we went down to the graveyard.

Graveyard Match
The Demon (w/ Aysa) vs. Vampiro

WCW Bash at the Beach - The Demon faced Vampiro in a Graveyard Match
Last seen on PPV way back at Superbrawl 2000, The Demon was no longer simply a Gene Simmons impersonator but was being billed as the personification of Dale Torborg’s dark side.

Whatever he was, he journeyed into a graveyard for a cheesy, cringe-inducing non-match with Vampiro in which the only way to win was to make it out of the graveyard and back to the arena.

Had they played this tongue-in-cheek like Matt Hardy would do years later with the Broken Universe stuff, it could have been glorious.

Had they gone all-in with the violence factor and gritty realism of say, Undertaker and Mankind’s Boiler Room Brawl at Summerslam 1996, it could have been very compelling.

As it was, they did neither.

Instead, the two just kind of staggered around the fake graveyard, hitting each other and occasionally shouting at each other.

At one point, Vampiro threw Demon into an open grave then ran off with Aysa.

Moments later, Demon caught up and found Asya rocking back and forth as though something traumatic had happened.

As he went to check on her, Vampiro pulled him into the lake for a bit of a splash about then ran off again.

Eventually, Demon caught up, but Vamp spat some Muta-like mist in his face then stuffed Mr Torborg in a casket and dumped the casket into the open grave.

With that, Vamp just kind of walked away.

Yuck. This could have been so good. Instead, it was so, so stupid.

Ok then...

A Franchise Guarantee

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mean Gene interviews Franchise Shane Douglas
Kids, if you want to be the guest manager for big bad heel Bill Goldberg at a random house show, then mail it your cable or satellite bill proving that you ordered Bash at the Beach.

Don’t want to do that? Just listen to Shane Douglas’ promo instead.

Speaking to Mean Gene, The Franchise guaranteed to defeat his former partner Buff Bagwell in their upcoming match.

I’m not certain, but this sounded like Douglas’ best attempt at cutting a babyface promo.

Buff Bagwell vs. The Franchise Shane Douglas

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t, because Douglas was definitely still a heel here.

WCW Bash at the Beach - Torrie Wilson seduces Buff Bagwell before turning on him
The story was that each man blamed the other for their failings as a tag team. The announcers sold this as though Buff and Shane were at Road Warrior or Steiner Brother levels of experience when in reality they’d probably tagged together for no more than a month tops.

Like so many of the matches World Championship Wrestling presented around this time, this was a good wrestling match ruined by a convoluted finish.

Bagwell and Douglas battler back and forth in an intense brawl until Torrie Wilson strutted to ringside with her boobs practically hanging out of her top.

At first, she slapped Douglas, but that was just a ploy to gain the trust of Buff, who she then kicked squarely in the bollocks.

Revealing her true colours, Torrie helped Shane keep his word by beating Buff Daddy.
Your Winner: Shane Douglas

Post-match, Wilson and Douglas made out.

Nobody wanted to see that.

The Chosen One is Ready for The Hulkster

Backstage, Hollywood Hulk Hogan was seen walking, ready to face Jeff Jarrett.

Elsewhere in the arena, Jeff insinuated to ‘Jurassic Slap Ass’ Mean Gene Okerlund that Hogan had made a lot of enemies during his WCW tenure and this would somehow come into play tonight.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan

WCW Bash at the Beach - Hollywood Hogan had his last on-screen WCW appearanceThough I don’t really remember them, apparently all kinds of rumours were floating about around this time that something dodgy would go down involving Hogan and Jarrett.

If you hadn’t already caught wind that something was up, the fact that a Hulk Hogan world title match was plonked at a place in the card with an hour left to go should have given you a clue.

We even got Michael Buffer calling this our ‘main event of the evening.'

Buffer called out Jarrett first. The champion took forever to come out and, when he did so, he was following behind Vince Russo.

Hogan came out next, by which time Jarrett had walked back up the ramp. Taking to the microphone, Hogan demanded that The Chosen One get in the ring so that he could powerbomb him in tribute to his buddy, Kevin Nash.

Jarrett did so, but instead of locking up with Hollywood, simply lay down for him.

Yep, this was like the Fingerpoke of Doom all over again, except, you know, without the actual finger poke.

Looking confused and bewildered, Hogan took to the microphone and uttered the last words he would ever utter on WCW TV:

‘Russo, is this your deal? You know, this is why this company is in the damn shape it’s in, because of bulls**t like this.’

Looking dejected, Hogan put his foot on Jarrett and Slick Johnson counted the three.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan

WCW Bash at the Beach - Jeff Jarrett lay down for Hulk Hogan in the infamous worked shoot
That was it. A six-year run was over. From Bash at the Beach 1994 to Bash at the  Beach 2000, Hulk Hogan’s WCW career had come full circle.

The last shot of him on WCW TV was of him waking backstage while some kids carried the title belt and Vampiro walked into the arena, ignoring Hogan entirely.

All the while, the announcers fumbled over themselves trying to explain that this wasn’t how the match was supposed to go down without actually coming out and saying ‘you know it’s all fake, right?’

The irony was that this whole thing actually was planned.

The idea was that he would return later in the year claiming to be the real champion and go up against whoever the heel champion happened to be at the time.

That, of course, would never happen, and we’d have Vince Russo‘ upcoming promo to thank for it.

But first, more Vampiro.

The Dark Circle Has Been Completed

WCW Bash at the Beach - Vampiro
Vampiro came to the ring, winning his graveyard match in the process, and cut a spooky promo about how ‘The Dark Circle’ had been completed.

No, I’m not sure what that meant either.

The fans chanted for Sting, but Vamp claimed that, just like Dale Torborg, Sting was now dead.

Sting himself wasn’t so sure of that.

Taking a play directly from The Undertaker’s book, Sting had several Druid-like creatures wearing Sting masks and hoods wheel a coffin down to ringside.

When the coffin opened, somebody who clearly wasn’t Sting but who the announcers lied and told us was Sting popped out of it.

The lights went dark, the opening riff of Metallica’s Seek & Destroy played and was quickly replaced by Generic Creepy Music 124.

When the lights came back on, Vamp was having a nap in the coffin.

Goldberg Wants to Destroy The Outsiders

WCW Bash at the Beach - Mean Gene interviews Bill Goldberg
Two years after Starrcade 1998, Bill Goldberg finally looked to get revenge on Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the outcome of his match with Nash on that show.

Tonight, he promised to beat Nash from pillar to post and then destroy Scott Hall’s contract right in front of him.

The funny thing was, Scott Hall hadn't appeared on WCW TV since that February’s Superbrawl 2000 show and had already left the company months ago following an incident on the company’s March European tour.

Fun fact - I was at one of the shows on that tour.

Vince Russo Kills Hulk Hogan’s Career

Here’s that promo in full:

"Three weeks ago, I left WCW and quite frankly I didn’t know if I was gonna come back. And the reason I didn’t know if I was gonna come back or not is because, from day one that I’ve been in WCW, I’ve done nothing, nothing, but deal with the bulls**t of the politics behind that curtain. 

"The fact of the matter is I’ve got a wife, I’ve got three kids at home and frankly, the fact of the matter is I don’t need this s**t. 

"But let me tell you the reason why I did come back. I came back for every one of the guys in this locker room that week in and week out busts their ass for WCW. I came back for the Booker Ts. I came back for every single guy in MIA. I came back for the Animals, I came back for Jarrett. I came back for the guys behind that curtain who give a s**t about this company. And let me tell you who doesn’t give a shit about this company that god damned politician Hulk Hogan. Because let me tell you people what happened out here in this ring tonight. 



"All day long I’m playing politics with Hulk Hogan because Hulk Hogan tonight wants to play his creative control card and to Hulk Hogan that meant that tonight in the middle of this ring, when he knew it was bulls**t, he beats Jeff Jarrett. Well, guess what- Hogan got his wish, Hogan got his belt and he went the hell home. And I promise everybody else or else I’ll go in the god damn grave you will never see that piece of s**t again.

"But I also... I sat out there in the people just like you and I know you paid good money to be here tonight and nobody is gonna be ripped off here tonight. 

"So Hulk Hogan now has the WCW belt. And Hulk let’s refer to it as the Hulk Hogan memorial belt cause from here on in that belt don’t mean s**t. Because there will be a new WCW belt and as far I’m concerned that belt still belongs to the one guy that busts his ass week in and week out in the middle of this ring and you people can love him and hate him and he don’t screw anybody back there and that’s Jeff Jarrett. 

"Now hold on a minute- Jeff Jarrett is still the official WCW champion but he will defend in this ring tonight. And he will defend that title against the son of a bitch back there who for fourteen years has been busting his ass for WCW and can’t get a god damn break because of the Hulk Hogans and I’m talking about Booker T. Booker T and Jeff Jarrett are the two reasons why I’m in this damn stinkin' business to begin with. So tonight in this ring for the WCW Title two deserving guys Jarrett and Booker will compete for the WCW belt and they’ll tear this god damned house down. And Hogan you big bald son of a bitch- KISS MY ASS!"

The most noticeable thing about this passionate, profanity-laden speech from Russo is that it was genuinely one of the best promos to feature on WCW programming in ages.

Personally, I could have done without all the swearing, but if wrestlers back then -or even now- could have delivered a promo with even a tenth of that intensity and believability, it would have made for awesome viewing.

If you couldn’t be bothered watching the video, the other noteworthy thing was that Russo booked Jarrett vs. Booker T for tonight.

Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg
Scott Hall’s Contract on the Line

WCW Bash at the Beach - Kevin Nash faced Goldberg
It occurs to me that after what went down with Hogan, Nash was now the only member of the original nWo still standing in WCW.

As he made his way from the locker room, Big Sexy stopped to ask one-time nWo member Scott Steiner is he’d watch his back.

Steiner refused, being too busy getting his freak on with Midajah, but then he and his woman came out to ringside a few minutes into the match.

Honestly, you could smell the heel turn a mile away.

The actual Nash/Goldberg action wasn’t half bad and was more or less exactly what you’d expect from the pair of them.

Predictably, however, Steiner turned on his long-time friend. Goldberg hit a spear and a Jackhammer, and Scott Hall’s WCW career was officially over months after he’d already left the company.
Your Winner: Goldberg

I say that, but when you think about it, this was a smart way to actually explain why we’d never see Hall again on WCW TV rather than having him do that mysterious thing that so many wrestlers before him had done and just randomly disappearing, never to be mentioned again.

Booker T Will Take His Opportunity

Backstage, Booker T claimed that he didn’t really know what was going on, but would take his opportunity when he could get it and walk out with the gold tonight.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett vs. Booker T

WCW Bash at the Beach - Booker T beat Jeff Jarrett to win his first WCW title
Yes, Jeff was still technically the champion because Russo had declared the result of the earlier debacle to be null and void.

It was interesting to note the number of empty seats on the hard camera side of the ring by this point. Clearly, plenty of people had just about had enough of WCW's nonsense and gone home. A shame, really, because they missed a really good main event.

Sure, it began with something of an ominous cloud hanging over it, a certain sense of "this is only happening because something controversial went down earlier," but Jarrett and Booker worked hard to move past that and give us the best match of the night by a thousand miles.

It was dramatic, it was captivating, and even though it had an unnecessary ref bump, it was everything you'd want from a high profile title match.

In the end, Jarrett came off the top with the guitar, but Booker blocked it and hit a Book End. Slick Johnson ran in because Billy Silverman had been KO'd in the corner, and three seconds later we had the best 'new world champion' moment any company had produced since Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 14.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Booker T

I mean seriously, this was such a feel-good moment. The remaining crowd all raised the roof for Booker, the champ himself was overwhelmed with emotion and almost cried, and your writer, watching at home, got goosebumps.

Whatever else had happened at Bash at the Beach 2000, that's how you close a show - with a deserving champion standing tall after a tremendous, tremendous effort.






Speaking of tremendous effort, that's mostly what WCW had produced here. Not that it was a flawless show. It was more like A+ for effort, C+ for execution. For all the decent wrestling, for all the moments like Booker T winning the title and that incredible Vince Russo promo, there were dumb Graveyard matches, too many run-ins, and David Flair dropping his pants.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was the last ever Bash at the Beach show, and for better or worse, the world of professional wrestling would never forget it.





For other year 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Other WCW Bash at the Beach reviews
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

PPV REVIEW: WCW Bash at the Beach 1994

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Event poster
July 17, 1994
Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida

As most regular Retro Pro Wrestling readers will know, our attempt to cover every PPV from Wrestlemania 1 - 30 has been done mostly in chronological order since we hit the mid-1990s.

At time of writing, we're half-way through covering the year 2000,  with next week's review scheduled to be Bash at the Beach 2000.

That show is important for two reasons:

  1. It's the last ever Bash at the Beach PPV
  2. It features the last live appearance of Hulk Hogan on a WCW wrestling show.
When you think about it, that's somewhat fitting; a true case of everything coming full circle.

After all, it was six years earlier, at the first-ever Bash at the Beach pay per view in 1994 that Hogan made his in-ring debut for the company, challenging Nature Boy Ric Flair for the WCW  title in a much-publicised match.







So, this week, it felt appropriate to take time out from reviewing pro wrestling as it was at the turn of the millennium and jump back to the start of Hogan's WCW career.

With that in mind, join me as we go back to the year 1994 as the first Bash at the Beach show came to us live from Orlando, Florida.

Live From Orlando, The Match of the Century

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund
Unsurprisingly, tonight’s opening video package focussed on the main event pitting ‘12 time WCW champion’ Ric Flair against ‘five-time champion’ Hulk Hogan in the match of the century.

WCW’s PPV openings get a lot of stick around these parts, but to give credit where it’s due, this was a pretty good little video by 1994 standards.

The video was followed by the ever-present voice of Tony Schiavone, who welcomed us to this historic occasion and introduced us to his broadcast colleagues Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan (or Bobby ‘The Brain’ Hernandez as my autocorrect would have it) and Mean Gene Okerlund.

Schiavone and Okerlund were hyped to see Hulk Hogan tonight but Herman, naturally, wasn’t so impressed.

Displaying the kind of passion that would be completely gone from his character by the end of his WCW run, The Brain cut a scathing promo on The Hulkster in which he promised that by the end of the evening, everyone in Orlando would be pointing at him and calling him a loser.

God bless you, Weasel, you were one of a kind.

Sensuous Sherri Injured Sting

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Daron Norwood sang the national anthem
Out in the ring, country singer Daron Norwood gave us a respectable rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner before we went back to the men with the microphones for more chatter.

This time, Schiavone, Heenan, and Okerlund discussed the fact that Sting wouldn’t be here tonight after he was injured by ‘Sensuous’ Sherri on WCW Saturday Night.

Flashing back to that show, we saw the Stinger lock Flair in the Scorpion Deathlock as Hogan sat on a chair at ringside watching on. At that point, Sherri came out dressed a bit like Charlie Chaplin and raked his eyes.

Hogan intervened, lifting Sherri for an automatic drop and copping a good feel of her bum in the process.

All hell broke loose, with Flair and Sherri escaping as Jimmy Hart, Mr T, and Mr T’s giant earrings all stormed the ring.

All this was shown to tell us that Johnny B. Badd had replaced Sting in tonight’s TV title match.

Finally, eight whole minutes into the broadcast, we got on with that match.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William) vs. Johnny B. Badd

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Johnny B. Badd challenged Steven Regal for the TV title
Clocking in around 14 minutes, this was as good an opening match as you were going to get in 1994.

Certainly, there was no way the WWF would ever showcase a bout like this one back at that time.

A proper wrestling match, this one had a lot to like about it and only lost this writer’s interest for a few brief moments in the middle.

After a solid, back-and-forth effort from both men, Steven Regal retained his gold with a sloppy-looking roll-up and a handful of tights.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Steven Regal

Afterwards, Johnny B. Badd extracted a modicum of revenge for the loss by giving Sir William (Bill Dundee) by giving him a back body drop.

Yeah, that’ll show him.

Lord Regal is Sick of These Bloody Legends

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Antonio Inoki was honoured by the company but then disrespected by Steven Regal
After a word from our commentators, Mean Gene Okerlund stood in the ring to present some kind of plaque to Antonio Inoki.

Okerlund gushed over Inoki and only just stopped short of telling us that the Japanese legend was the greatest human being who ever lived. He then gave him the plaque in recognition of what an awesome dude he was.

Okerlund never actually told us what the plaque actually was. An award perhaps? An induction into a Hall of Fame? A lifetime achievement thing? We didn’t know. It was just ‘Antonio Inoki is cool. Here’s this thing.’

And here was another thing - an interruption by Lord Steven Regal. With confetti from Johnny B. Badd’s confetti gun plastered to his sweaty back, Regal returned to the thing to bemoan these bloody legends like Inoki getting all the recognition while he got none.

The TV Champion claimed to have been in Japan recently and beaten all of the top stars but didn’t see Inoki anywhere in sight.

Feeling disrespected, Inoki took his jacket off and stalked Regal around the ring, only for the Englishman to take a powder at the urging of Sir William.

This was kind of pointless, but at least Regal was his usual entertaining self.

Killing even more time, we returned once again to the announce table where Bobby Heenan has been replaced by Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura.

Vader (w/ Harley Race) vs. The Guardian Angel

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race) faced The Guardian Angel (Big Boss Man)
The Guardian Angel stood for law and order. We know this because Schiavone told us about 15 times.

Apparently, he also stood for respecting copyright, which is why Ray Taylor had ditched all other aspects of his Big Bossman gimmick.

This was a weird one because it was not a bad match, but Angel made Vader look like a total chump.

You know Vader, right? Big, huge brute of a monster heel? Yeah, well Guardian Angel picked him up and threw him about the place as if he were Duane Gill.

Vader mounted a comeback, of course, but after he squashed Angel with both the Vader Bomb and his famous moonsault, Angel got up again a second later and continued fighting like it was nothing.

The finish was silly too. The referee took a tumble, so Harley Race gave Vader a nightstick. Guardian Angel stole it and teased hitting his opponent with it but never actually touched him.

The referee came to, saw Traylor merely holding the stick, assumed the worst and called for the bell.

Man, that was so disappointing.
Your Winner by Disqualification: Vader

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Jesse Ventura joined Schiavone to call a few matches
On the plus side, it was awesome to hear Jesse Ventura on commentary again. The last time I reviewed a show with Jesse on it was Wrestlemania VI, and I wrote that seven years ago, so it’s nice to hear him again.

After a brief shot backstage of Chris Cruise and a chubby Mike Tenay manning the WCW hotline, Ventura and Schiavone introduced us to a video which recapped the feud between Dustin Rhodes and the team of Bunkhouse Buck and Terry Funk.

To be honest, I didn’t really follow it, but it had something to do with Funk going after Dustin because he couldn’t get to Dusty Rhodes, and the future Goldust asking Arn Anderson to be his partner so he could face them.

Then, because this show was all about wasting as much time as possible, we were shown a clip from the pre-show shenanigans.  A female wrestler called Molly McShane beat two radio guys in what looked like an awful match with Jimmy Hart as referee.

Finally, we were ready for some more action, and about time too. We were 45 minutes into the show by now and we’d seen, at most, 20 minutes of actual wrestling over two matches.

Bunkhouse Buck & Terry Funk (w/ Col. Robert Parker & Meng) vs. Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Bunkhouse buck puts a hurt on Dustin Rhodes
All that time-wasting was worth it because this was great fun.

Dustin Rhodes wrestled the entity of the match for his team, putting up a valiant effort against the two wily veterans and, of course, paying tribute to the American Dream by dropping bionic elbows with gusto.

Yet the real star of the show was Terry Funk. Middle-aged and crazy as ever, the Funker got knocked goofy in the early going and sold it for the entire match, flopping around the place and generally acting like he had no idea where he was at any moment.

It was the kind of commitment to selling that you just don’t see these days, and it was a thing of beauty.

As for Arn Anderson? Well, if you didn’t see his inevitable heel turn coming from a mile away, you must have been blind.

After watching his partner wrestle the whole of the match, Anderson finally tug in and planted Dustin with a DDT. He dragged a fallen Funker on top of the young Rhodes and this brilliant bout was over.
Your Winners: Bunkhouse Buck and Terry Funk

Post-match, Funk and Buck joined Double-A in a Dustin Rhodes beat down until Doug Dillinger came down with Randy Anderson and Greg Gagne to break it up.

Mean Gene called Anderson’s then one of the most disposable things he’d ever seen, but Double-A said he’d only talk to him if he joined them at the party they were heading to.

To Be the Man...

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Ric Flair and Sensuous Sherri
After a quick interview with baseball legend Hank Arron in which he claimed to be rooting for both Hogan and Flair, Schiavone and Heenan wasted more time with their tween-match banter before throwing it back to Mean Gene.

Standing backstage with Sensuous Sherri and World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, Okerlund asked Flair for his comments on tonight’s main event.

Sadly, we didn’t get a ‘Mean WOO Gene’ from Flair, but we did get one of his usual stellar promos.

The Nature Boy was elated to see his buddy Arn Anderson back on the right side of the heel/face divide, but he was even happier to be facing Hogan tonight.

He couldn’t wait to walk that aisle, style, and profile and remain our world champion.

For her part, Sherri reminded us that to be the man (woo) you had to beat the man and that tonight, Hogan was the one with everything to prove.

This was good stuff from both.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Stunning Steve Austin vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat


WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Ricky Steamboat challenged Stunning Steve Austin for the US title
Sadly, Ricky Steamboat didn’t have that cheesy theme song from Slam Jam Vol. 1 that was all about what a great guy he was for not cheating on his wife.

He did, however, have the whole breathing-fire-and-wearing dragon wings to the ring with him.

Meanwhile, Stunning Steve Austin came down using a theme that would later be used for Marty Jannetty, Greg Valentine, and a bunch of others.

The two men locked up and gave us a match that was so, so good.

Stunning Steve was a brilliant smarmy, devious heel, trying every dirty, underhand trick in the book to get the better of his opponent.

It also helped that both he and Steamboat were excellent wrestlers. Together, they gave us a long, compelling match that was a joy to watch.

After trading the advantage several times, the dastardly Austin reversed a Steamboat pin attempt and got the three by putting his feet on the ropes.
Your Winner and Still WCW United States Champion: Stunning Steve Austin

Out in the back, we were shown Pretty Wonderful speaking to Chris Cruise about their upcoming title match for the WCW Hotline.

Elsewhere in the arena, Hotline lover Mean Gene accepted his invite to Bunkhouse Buck and Terry Funk’s party. Along with Anderson and Col. Robert Parker, the group glugged champagne that looked awfully like cheap beer and gloated about getting one over on The Natural Dustin Rhodes.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan (w/ Dave Sullivan)  vs. Pretty Wonderful (Pretty Paul Roma & Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorff)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Pretty Paul Roma teamed with Paul Orndorff to challenge Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan for the WCW tag team titles
Neither of these duos may have been the greatest tag teams of all time, but they did achieve something pretty special here:

Helping to redefine the very meaning of the word ‘tedium.’

Whereas the previous encounter had been a tour-de-force of exceptional pro wrestling, this tag team title match was a snore-de-force of lifeless mediocrity.

At one point, things became so dull that the crowd started entertaining themselves with repeated, area-wide Mexican waves.

This wasn’t just something you happened to spot in the background, either. The cameras opted to focus on it and the announcers opted to talk about it because it was a thousand times more interesting than the ‘Cactus Jack Fifty-Hour Armbar Extravaganza’ going on in the ring.

Around the same time, cameras also cut to WCW President Bill Shaw ignoring the match and having a chat with Hank Aaron.

Seriously, the match was so boring that not even the president of the company had any interest in it.

Pretty Wonderful won and not a single person in the crowd looked as if they cared.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Pretty Wonderful

At this point in the show, there are still 43 minutes on the clock with Schiavone and Heenan telling us it was time for the main event.

Seriously?

A few minutes were killed with Michael Buffer introducing WCW Commissioner Nick Bodkwinkle and Shaquille O’Neal to the ring to lend an air of gravitas to the occasion, but otherwise, this thing was on.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/ Sensuous Sherri) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/ Jimmy Hart & Mr T)

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Hulk Hogan made his WCW in-ring debut, capturing the world title from Ric Flair
On a somewhat related note, I think this might also be the WCW debut of Michael Buffer, though I wouldn’t want to put money on that.

He spent so long introducing everyone and going off on some random tangent about the moon landings that we only had half an hour left to watch Hogan and Flair wrestle.

The two only used twenty of those minutes for actual wrestling, but oh how they used them well.

Hogan will always have his detractors (from an in-ring standpoint and otherwise), but this was an incredibly fun main event.

Sure, it was mostly just Hogan and Flair playing their greatest hits coupled with an abundance of Sherri Martel interference and a single instance of Hogan busting out the kind of technical wrestling he usually reserved for Japan, but all of that combined made for a great performance in front of a red hot crowd.

The best Hulk Hogan match in years by a good mile, this 21-minute encounter ended predictably with a win for The Hulkster, but man, did we get a lot of good stuff before then.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan

WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 - Brian Pillman crashed Hulk Hogan's celebratory promo
After the usual Hogan post-match celebration, we found him walking down the corridor where he bumped into his buddy Ed 'Brutus' Leslie and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Hogan and his boys then went into a room for a big celebration. Speaking to Mean Gene Okerlund, Hogan cut a big, long promo in which he said that "everything that was once old is now new" and basically gloated about being our new champion.

The best part of all this was the random appearance of Brian Pillman, who edged ever closer to the Hulkster as the promo went on, permanently smiling like somebody who had no clue what was going on.

Or, who knows, maybe he was just a big fan of WCW's newest and biggest superstar.






And so, Hulkamania had well and truly arrived in World Championship Wrestling and the organisation would never be the same again. As for Hogan's debut, it had been a great start, that's for sure. Wrestling his best match in years, Hogan had gotten his WCW run off in a much better way than it would eventually end at this very same event six years later.

The rest of the show wasn't bad, either. Sure, the tag team title match was atrocious and the Vader/Guardian Angel lacked a little something, but combine a hot main event, a decent opener, and the Austin/Steamboat classic, and what you're left with is a pretty good show.

The greatest WCW event of all time? Absolutely not, but if you're bored and looking for something to watch, you could do far worse than the first WCW Bash at the Beach PPV.




Other 1994 pro wrestling reviews:

Other WCW Bash at the Beach reviews
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.