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wrestling / Columns

The Best Of Times 3.27.08: August 1994

March 27, 2008 | Posted by Matt Adamson

When is WrestleMania again? Is it coming? Did it already happen? What happened? Those questions are unimportant. The real question is, “Does it taste good as a sandwich?” In my recent column titled “WrestleMania Sandwich” I try and build the best sandwich possible using only the last 23 WrestleMania’s. You really should check it out.

Let me explain things before we get going. The Best of Times is a column in which I will be evaluating several wrestling promotions during a selected month from the past. I’ll take anywhere from 3-5 promotions that were thriving during the period I’m covering and go over what went down in each promotion during that month including results of big shows and major angles going on at the time. I’ll give my opinion of each and then choose the best wrestler, tag team, match, feud, show and promotion of the month. I hope to give this is slight old school kayfabe feel with a lot of modern analysis. Well, on with the show!

August 1994

It had been 25 years since Woodstock changed concert going history, so in August 1994, Woodstock ’94 took place in upstate New York. Bands such as Green Day, Aerosmith, Metallica, Peter Gabriel and Red Hot Chili Peppers were among those performing at the event. In sports, on the same day that Woodstock began, Major League Baseball announced a player strike that would cancel the World Series that year and this happened in professional wrestling…

WWF

1993 had been a rough year for wrestling in general, with both major promotions putting on lackluster shows. Though WWF did fit this mold, they did make one great move. They debuted Monday Night Raw earlier in the year. By the time 1994 hit, Raw was in its second year and had become a phenomenon. As the year progressed the Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart feud heated up and in August 1994, it hit its climax. The two wanted to tear each other apart. The Undertaker also had a clone around and was finished dealing with his crap. One other feud began during August 1994. It was between tag team champion partners Shawn Michaels and Diesel. The first two feuds I mentioned would come to a head at Summerslam. So, the event happened on August 29th 1994 from Chicago. Here are the results of that show…

1. Bam Bam Bigelow and I.R.S. def. The Headshrinkers
2. WWF Women’s Championship: Alundra Blayze © def. Bull Nakano
3. Intercontinental Championship: Razor Ramon def. Diesel © to win the title
4. Tatanka def. Lex Luger
5. Jeff Jarrett def. Mabel
6. WWF Championship/Steel Cage Match: Bret Hart © def. Owen Hart
7. The Undertaker def. The Undertaker (fake)

The show didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but it did produce one of the best cage matches ever. The Hart vs. Hart cage match was, in my opinion the greatest escape rules cage match ever, as everything the two did was geared toward believability. It was fast paced and technically sound. Summerslam ’94 has always been remembered for this incredible match.

WCW

1994 was a major transition year for WCW. In late spring WCW brought in Hulk Hogan and he debuted against Ric Flair in July. The two were feuding and brining some serious attention to WCW, which was something they had struggled to find in 1993. While the first WCW match between the two was on Pay Per View, the second would be live on free TV at Clash of the Champions XXVIII. Hogan was injured prior to the event (in kayfabe I believe) and the odds were stacked against him. WCW was also running a great feud between Steve Austin and Ricky Steamboat. While Austin would wrestle for WCW for another month, his match at the Clash against Steamboat would be his last good match for the company. The key fact from that match is that it would be Steamboats last match ever. He would get injured in the match and then soon fired by that dumb ass Bischoff. The Clash of the Champions show would take place on August 28th. Here are the results from that show…

1. The Nasty Boys def. Pretty Wonderful (Paul Roma and Paul Orndorf)
2. United States Heavyweight Championship: Ricky Steamboat def. Steve Austin © to win the title
3. Dusty and Dustin Rhodes def. Terry Funk and Bunkhouse Buck by DQ
4. Antonio Inoki def. Steven Regal
5. World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair def. Hulk Hogan © by count out. Hogan retains the title

The show went over very well, especially considering the U.S. title match. It was stacked with stars and angles at the show progressed nicely. It’s sad watching Steamboat in his last match, but if you’re going to go out, look no further than Steamboat to see how to do it. If Ric Flair can pull off something half as good as Steamboat did in his last match, I’ll be thoroughly impressed.

ECW

Well, EASTERN Championship Wrestling was a part of the NWA in August 1994, and since they were the biggest territory for the NWA, they were chosen to host the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament. The event was set for August 27th (notice that the three events in August 1994 are back to back to back). Here are the results from the tournament…

1. Quarterfinal Match: Too Cold Scorpio def. Chris Benoit
2. Quarterfinal Match: 911 def. Doink (Matt Borne)
3. Quarterfinal Match: Dean Malenko def. Osamu Nishimura
4. Quarterfinal Match: Shane Douglas def. Tazmaniac
5. Semifinal Match: Too Cold Scorpio def. 911 by count out
6. Semifinal Match: Shane Douglas def. Dean Malenko
7. ECW Tag Team Championship: Cactus Jack and Mikey Whipwreck def. Public Enemy © to win the titles
8. NWA World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final: Shane Douglas def. Too Cold Scorpio to win the title

This was of course the event that changed ECW forever as Shane Douglas threw the NWA title in the trash and declared himself the champion of Extreme Championship Wrestling. This of course would lead to ECW making headlines in the wrestling world and help them establish themselves as a competitor.

The Best of Times: August 1994

Best Wrestler: Owen Hart (WWF)

It’s fairly obvious to me that the only choices here would be the Hart brothers. After having recently watched this match, I firmly believe that the reason it is considered so great is due to the emotion effort Owen Hart put into that match. It’s also considerably more difficult being a heel as most of the time you have to control what goes on in a match. Owen was top notch at this time.

Best Tag Team: Cactus Jack and Mikey Whipwreck (ECW)

Not a lot of tag team wrestling during August 1994, but ECW did shake things up by giving the title to Cactus Jack and career jobber Mikey Whipwreck in a huge swerve and upset. The two of them really made waves in ECW and elsewhere in the wrestling world with their title win. It was a great moment for ECW and ECW’s fans and will always be remembered.

Best Match: Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart (WWF)

This match in my opinion is match of the year in North America in 1994 and that’s saying something. It was a year full of great matches. The Austin vs. Steamboat match would have won it most other months, but you can’t compete with the greatness that came in the Summerslam cage match between these two brothers from Calgary.

Best Feud: Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart (WWF)

It doesn’t take a genius to see the brilliance of this feud. Brother vs. brother, especially THESE brothers is a no miss type of booking. The two put their all into this feud and it didn’t get much better than it was in August. Owen got himself some back up in the form of Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart. It was guns blazing throughout.

Best Show: Clash of the Champions XXVIII (WCW)

Sure, Summerslam had the best match, and the ECW tournament had the most shocking turns of events. However, Clash of the Champions XXVIII was a great show as a whole. Antonio Inoki, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat and Steven Regal helped this show be one of the best Clash shows in quite some time. When things are looked at as a whole, this show was the best of the month.

Best Wrestling Promotion: ECW

The WWF had the best match and feud, WCW had the best show, but it was ECW that really made the biggest impact. This was history changing. It did so much to ruin the NWA title, and elevate the company. ECW had two years of awesome ahead of itself before it got too popular to keep its mystique. August 1994 was legendary for ECW. For the other two it was just another month.

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Matt Adamson
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