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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Spring Stampede ‘94

August 30, 2006 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Spring Stampede ‘94  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Spring Stampede ‘94

We’re in Rosemount, Illinois. We kick off with Aaron Neville singing the national anthem. Of the USA. So I skip that being English and all. Hosts are Fat Tony and not so slim Bobby.

Luckily the Danny Bonaduce v Christopher Knight match isn’t on the show and quite why they’d book it in the first place is beyond me. Even for WCW booking a Partridge v Brady feud seems pretty retarded. Also clipped is the Sullivan brothers in action, which would mean that Evad has arrived. No more Equalizer.

Johnny B. Badd v Diamond Dallas Page w/Diamond Doll

DDP has a present for Heenan as delivered by Kim pre-match, which is his initials in diamonds. Tony accuses him of instantly becoming biased towards DDP (“come on Dallas, finish him off”). Biased? Never. Heenan goes on to claim that Page is already a star in Europe and the Orient. Leyton Orient? Actual match is loaded with enthusiasm but not a lot of skill. DDP takes over and hits a back suplex. He stalks Badd and stomps away. DDP looks green as hell. Amazing to think he became a main eventer. Gutbuster from DDP and a snap suplex gets 2. Chinlock time and we’re out of ideas. Badd gets out with a back suplex. Badd throws some illegal punches in the midsection to get back in charge. Ref does nothing. Wimp. Flying headscissors from Badd and the Kiss That Don’t Miss knocks DDP out to the floor. Badd gets up a head of speed and nails DDP with a pescado. Crowd is going nuts for this stuff. Should have been a sign to WCW that his character was getting over. Instead of a sign that they should release him just when he’s getting really good a few years from now. Anyway, Badd finishes this with a sunset flip off the top at 5.51. He was clearly the big name at the time. DDP would go on to the greater legacy. *1/2. Hot opener that got the crowd going but a little on the short side.

PROMO TIME – Jesse Ventura talks to Gene Okerlund and tells him about how prestigious the Flair-Steamboat match is. Next he talks about Chicago being an ideal place for a street fight. Just seemed like an excuse to put him on TV.

TV title – Steven Regal (c) w/Sir William v Brian Pillman

Regal gave Pillman a piledriver on concrete on a previous show. Pillman starts hard and fast and wails on Regal causing the blue blood to back off into the corner. Leapfrog and a Japanese armdrag from Pillman who seems to be doing everything in his moveset that will disorientate the champ. Pillman works over the arm and it’s the left one because Regal is a southpaw. He wraps that arm around the ring post and drapes it over the guardrail causing Tony to call him “Mr Offence”. Meanwhile technicians noisily repair Bobby Heenan’s mic. Regal uses William as a distraction and takes over on the arm. Pillman goes for another leapfrog but Regal catches him into a capture suplex. Ahead of his time that man. Regal hauls Pillman up into a backbreaker but he gets out into a small package for 2. Regal goes to the mat skills and reverses Pillman around into the STF but then switches to version of the crossface. Then switches up again so he has his full weight on top of Pillman. I could watch Regal mat wrestle all day. Pillman gets out and goes for a backslide but Regal steps out of it and hooks up a chinlock over his knees. How did this guy not get to the main event? Oh yeah, Hogan came in during ’94. Of course. Regal goes for a powerbomb but Pillman reverses into a rana for 2. Regal powers him up into the Regal Roll for 2. That looked like three. He goes back to the mat and grounds Pillman for a while again. Regal screws up the Oriental Crossbow but holds on enough to keep Pillman in it. Regal ties Pillman up to run the time limit down a bit. It’s kind of obvious at this point too with GMC announcing the time remaining. This kills a couple of minutes of the match that the crowd gets a bit restless with. Regal decides to step it up and lets Pillman up for a fight but Pillman dropkicks him. He goes for another but Regal catches him. Pillman powers out of the Boston crab attempt but because Pillman landed hard on his back he’s down selling it. Pillman tries a monkey flip but Regal throws him back landing him hard. Minute left as Regal comes off the top and Pillman meets him with a dropkick. Pillman needs a big move but he’s too busy showboating with the corner punches and they both spill over the top. Pillman can’t get Regal back inside quick enough and the time limit has expired at 15.00. **1/2. Solid enough match but really lacking in drama especially at the end with only the dropkick spot causing the fans to believe in anything other than a draw.

Tag titles – Nasty Boys (c) v Cactus Jack/Maxx Payne

Falls count anywhere in this one. When I mention my favourite tag teams the short lived team of Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne always seems to come up and people look at me and say “huh?” Well here’s some proof for ya! Knobbs works Cactus over with a bat. Cactus takes the beating and ends up taking the remains of a pool cue and using it on Knobbs. Cactus clothesline! Saggs with an EVIL unfolded chair shot on Payne. Not satisfied with that he WAFFLES THE CRAP out of Cactus. This is just brutal. The plunder shots in this one are savage. Payne and Knobbs head out into the merchandise stands. Meanwhile Cactus is bumping around for Saggs. Payne slams Knobbs into the merchandise destroying most of it. Knobbs uses the remains of the table on Payne. Cactus takes a huge bump over the rail. Payne takes a header through the wall of the merchandise stand. Saggs lifts a table and bashes it over Cactus Jack’s head repeatedly. Cactus suplexes a table on Saggs. OUCH. Even after the years of hardcore that have followed this I’m still stunned by the stiff level of violence here. Knobbs unearths a shovel to break the fall. The table breaks when Saggs tries to piledrive Cactus through it. Cactus takes a MASSIVE back bump off the fucking ramp. Holy shit that looked bad. Saggs takes the shovel to the head of Cactus and it’s over at 8.58. ****. Insane OH MY GOD stuff that outstripped most of what anyone else was doing in the same period.

US title – Steve Austin (c) v Great Muta

Muta originally had a successful run in 1989 in the old NWA. WCW kept bringing him back in after that for one off shots thus keeping him exposed to American fans. He won Battlebowl in 1992 and held the NWA title in 1993. Back in August 1992 Muta held the IWGP title after beating Riki Choshu. He’d win it again in May 1995 taking the belt from Shinya Hashimoto. Austin has been successful in singles since the end of the Hollywood Blondes with Colonel Parker as his manager. He’s held the US title since besting Dustin Rhodes at Starrcade. At the time I didn’t care much for Austin being such a big Pillman mark and I’ve never liked Muta in any guise/era. Around 2001 this would have been an amazing dream match with them contending with each other for best wrestler on the planet at the time. My vote would have been for Austin btw. No shock there. Pacing in this one is painfully slow with Muta just hanging around waiting for Austin to do something. Eventually after a few punches from Austin, Muta ends up hooking the Shades of Wilbur Snyder and won’t let Austin reverse out. Heenan puts the pacing down to “respect”. His commentary has been mostly insulting this evening and it gets worse as he asks Tony if he knows what Muta means in Japanese and then doesn’t tell him. Muta goes to the headlocks and Austin back suplexes out. He goes for another suplex but Muta blocks into his own. They trade headlocks until that becomes SO quick paced (sic) that Austin bails out to take a breather. Muta goes for the power elbow but Parker trips him up. Muta is distracted so Austin boots him out of the ring and Parker chokes him. Now Austin puts on the Shades of Wilbur Snyder and he uses the ropes. Impartial referee Nick Patrick sees the ropes moving and eventually catches him cheating. Crowd is largely indifferent. Muta misses a dropkick and Austin adds in a second rope elbow for 2. Austin chokes on the ropes and we seem to be done in terms of ideas here. At least Muta’s punches look good. Everything else just looks…fake. Like the suplex and dropkick he hits as if to demonstrate. Missile dropkick misses though. Austin tries to hook up his new Hollywood & Vine leg submission. Yeah, that’ll catch on. Muta gets out and hits the STUN GUN! Crowd pops HUGE for that but Muta doesn’t bother with a pin on what probably should have been the finish. Handspring back elbow. Super Rana! Well, he took his time but here’s the effort and excitement. Parker gets punked out and Muta backdrops Austin over on top of him for the lame DQ at 16.29. *1/4. All that for a DQ? The last minute or so was great but everything before it was dull and formulaic.

WCW International title – Rick Rude (c) v Sting

Rude’s career is winding up here. Kinda sad. If anyone knows where I can score Rude’s entrance music let me know. Harley Race shows up on Vader’s behalf to challenge the winner. He tries to cheap shot Sting who kicks his ass. Rude tries a cheap shot too and Sting takes him apart to HUGE reactions. Sting was getting such freak reactions in the early 90’s. It’s a shame he got shunted back into midcard after Hogan arrived. He didn’t get the same sort of reactions again until Crow Sting in 1997. Sting just dominates the early going and takes Rude apart. Rude takes a suplex on the floor and a few other big bumps, which I’m not sure is wise considering how close he is to flat out retirement. Although if you believe certain people Rude was fine going into these matches with Sting and suffered his career ending injury during them. Rude comes back and wails on Sting’s back repeatedly and back suplexes him for 2. Rude is so confident now that he grinds and shows off his body. He goes over and chinlocks the fallen Sting for a few minutes. Sting powers out but Rude rolls him up only to get countered back for a near fall. Rude goes back to the back and hooks the sleeper. Sting is nearly out but Rude breaks the hold so he can pound Sting some more. That backfires as Sting suddenly hulks up and hits atomic drops all over the place. Rude takes a few nasty bumps from Sting’s over enthusiastic offence. Ref gets in the way of a Stinger Splash. SCORPION DEATHLOCK! Ref is still down and out comes Harley again. Sting sees him and punks him out but Vader comes in too. Sting fights everyone off until Rude clips the knee. Rude looks confused and goes after the Rude Awakening. Still looking around. Waiting for something. And Harley Race has a chair. Now Rude goes back to the Rude Awakening. Slowly. Rude gets nailed with the miscue and Sting just pins Rude for the title at 13.08. Why did the finish have to be so damn convoluted? **. Ruined my enjoyment of the match. That and all the chinlocking.

Bunkhouse Buck w/Colonel Parker v Dustin Rhodes

I always wondered who Buck was. I just remember him suddenly appearing with no references being made to who he was. It’s Jimmy Golden for those who still don’t know. Rhodes wastes no time and starts fast. This is Bunkhouse Rules, which seems to mean taped fists, cowboy boots and blue jeans. This is naturally a brawl and nothing more. Dustin tries to be fancy with a flying crossbody but he misses and flies outside where he nearly wipes out Colonel Parker. Buck finds a piece of wood from somewhere that he smashes over Rhodes head. That draws blood and Buck has no problem bashing him in the open wound. Buck uses his suspenders to choke Dustin who’s having trouble seeing with the blood running into his eyes. Buck decides to take one of Dustin’s wheels out too by ramming it into the ringpost. Rhodes is bleeding profusely. Dustin pulls out a packet of white powder. Oh, those Runnels boys. Buck takes an eyeful of Grade A Columbian evening out the lack of vision. Buck has his belt off though and whips Dustin in the face with it. OWWW! Buck adds a hearty boot to the groin for good measure. DAYUM! I’ve never felt so sorry for Dustin Rhodes. Buck misses in the corner and boots the buckles. Dustin lays the boots in himself to little/no reaction so he throws some elbows instead. Now Dustin gets his belt off for the receipt and Buck gets punched in the face with the belt buckle. Now Buck is busted up too. Dustin takes his boot off and goes up top. Diving boot shot! Dustin tears Buck’s shirt off and whips his back with that damn spiky metal belt. This is BRUTAL. Buck gets clotheslined outside and he looks DONE. Buck loads his glove up but misses allowing Dustin to get FUNKY LIKE THA MONKEY in the corner. He throws elbows like his father and hits the Bulldog. Should be over but Parker is on the apron. Dustin, who has the match won, comes off the cover to beat up Parker. Not the brightest move. Buck sees an opening and rolls Dustin up for 2. Both guys are swinging wildly now. Dustin has lost far more blood but he’s feeding off the crowd and his comeback. Parker slips brass knucks to Buck who blasts Dustin right between the eyes for the pin at 14.15. As Heenan points out – everything is legal anyway, so the finish is largely irrelevant. ***1/4. Really fine old fashioned fight with blood and clubbering.

BACKSTAGE Jess Ventura tries to get a word with Rick Rude. He says he didn’t ask for help and his face is all busted up. He shouts at Race and Vader claiming they cost him the most valued possession of his career. Vader doesn’t take too kindly to being shouted at. It would have been on had Rude not been forced into retirement with a back injury. I guess Rude would have been turned babyface after Sting then. Could have been interesting.

Vader v Big Boss

This is a “gigantic grudge match”. As if that makes it somehow mean more. Vader has Harley Race in his corner who seems nonplussed by being threatened by Rick Rude just moments ago. He’s somewhat more concerned by Vader miscuing and crushing him on the ramp before the bell sounds. Boss boots Vader in the face then punches him out of the ring. Lot of size in this match but given one half of it is Vader I can be hopeful for the workrate. Vader shows his power by slamming Boss into the ring then his agility with a fucking SUICIDE DIVE INTO THE RING. Boss gets his knees up, like that makes a difference, and takes over on offence. His legs would be shattered! To the floor where Vader gets whipped into the rail and takes a header into the front row. This is just wild, especially after the wild brawl in the last match. Boss dumps Vader on the rail. Boss slams Vader with ease and Tony is marking out. Vader throws meat to come back but that turns into a brawl. Vader just doesn’t have the dominance. Boss nearly gets backdropped head first over the ropes. Boss BARELY grabs the rope on the way down to save his life. Vader is busted over the eye from a punch. Yikes. Vader suplexes Boss back inside. Running splash gets 2. Vader continues to wail away in the corner and Boss fights back despite some savage shots to the head. Boss pulls a back suplex out of his ass. Boss explodes off the ropes with a clothesline. Vader retorts with a boot to the face and clubbering clothesline. Vader goes up looking for the Vaderbomb but Boss is back up and he lifts Vader off into a slam. He hauls Vader back up top and hits what looked like a tornado DDT! Whoa. That gets 2. He tries for a diving DDT but can’t hook the head so it ends up just being a shoulderblock type deal. He tries it again but Vader catches him into a powerslam. Vader goes back up and this time Boss is staying down for the Vaderbomb…for 2. Boss doesn’t have much left though so Vader goes ALL THE WAY UP…VADERSAULT!!! You’d better believe Boss is finished at 9.18. ***1/2. Amazing stuff from two super heavyweights. You just don’t see two big guys work that style against each other. Incredible. Make Big Show and Kane watch this. This, is how it’s done.

POST MATCH Race goes to work over Boss who goes disco mental with the nightstick taking out Race, Vader and the referee. Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel is so unimpressed with Boss beating the shit out of a relatively unprotected Harley Race that he forces him to leave. That would be the end of the “Boss”.

BACKSTAGE Bockwinkel takes Boss’ gimmick away telling him he’s “no longer the boss” because you can’t just behave that way. If Bockwinkel hadn’t done it the WWF’s legal department would have. He’d return as Guardian Angel soon after before reverting to his Big Bubba character he used in the old NWA.

WCW title – Ric Flair (c) v Ricky Steamboat

We’re in Chicago where 5 years ago Steamboat won this very title from his opponent tonight in the 1st of the 1989 classic series. To the mat and Steamboat shows he can outdo Flair down there. They work the mat again and that’s really good. SLAPS! Near misses and Steamboat brings the power with a press slam and then shows his speed with a pair of headscissors and a dropkick. Steamboat brings the JUDO CHOP for 2. CHOPS! YEAAAAAH! Steamboat works a headlock and it’s almost like going back 5 years except he stays on for far too long IMO especially compared to 1989. Steamboat gets thrown out but skins the cat and rolls Flair up for 2. Back to the headlock. Steamboat misses with a dropkick so Flair brings the CHOPS! Knee drop and Flair appears to be working the nose. Chop gets 2 repeatedly. It’s a chop, Ric, it’s not going to get a pin. Elbow gets 2 repeatedly. CHOPS! Flair crossbodies Steamboat over the ropes. Flair looks for a piledriver on the floor but Steamboat backdrops him out. Steamboat charges outside but SMACKS into the rail. Back inside and Steamboat hits a superplex for 2. Flair corner bumps but Steamboat knows that drill and cuts his apron run off with a CHOP! Steamboat lays in some more chops in the corner and Flair takes a header for 2. Flair throws Steamboat outside but he sunset flips back in. Flair punches out. Flair drops a knee but Steamboat catches his leg and locks on the FIGURE 4! He caught him in his own move! Flair tries for the ropes but Steamboat pulls him out into the middle of the ring. Flair resorts to going to the eyes instead. Steamboat bails because he can’t see. Flair suplexes him back in but his leg gives out as a tribute to Wrestlewar ’89 but that only gets 2. Now Flair goes to the headlock and they mat wrestle. Steamboat gets a backslide for 2. Inside cradle gets 2 and Flair begs off. Flair kicks him and CHOPS away. CHOPS and Steamboat takes over with those. Flair bails but Steamboat catches him and chops him back in. Flair takes his corner bump to the floor. Steamboat dives out looking for one of those Judo chops but Flair boots him down. (If this was Russo booking Steamboat would turn heel at this point incidentally because no one would expect it). Steamboat wins with the chops again and hits the FLYING CROSSBODY!!! For…2. Flair recovers and climbs but Steamboat catches him and throws him off. Steamboat with a splash attempt and Flair moves. WHAM. He hit his knee. Flair straps on the Figure 4…blocked…briefly but not for good. Flair has the Figure 4 applied. Steamboat drags himself into the ropes and survives. Flair mercilessly goes back to the knee. He goes for another Figure 4 but Steamboat rolls him up for 2. Backslide again for 2. CHOPS! To the ropes again – SUPERPLEX! Steamboat eventually covers for 2. The ref gets knocked outside on the next move where Steamboat gets a roll up for an eventual 2 although it was a lot longer. Double chickenwing from Steamboat and that’s how he won the title in 1989. He takes Flair over but pins himself in the process as well and Flair retains at 32.18. It’s a double pin. ****1/2. They still had it even 5 years on down the line. Nowhere near as good as the ’89 series but hey, it’s still Flair-Steamboat.

The 411: The booking in early 1994 was really good for WCW. Flair bringing Steamboat back to the main event scene gave them an instant classic PPV main event without any effort at all. They even left it open for a second match. The undercard was also doing something for a change. The crazy tag title match, the wild brawl from Rhodes-Buck and the super heavies busting their asses made the undercard REALLY solid. Everything else at least had a little energy to it with even Muta showing up eventually. It’s an easy thumbs up and a recommendation to check out.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  8.5   [ Very Good ]  legend

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