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Today in Wrestling History: Slamboree 93
Posted by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins on May 23, 2003, 09:02
Today in Wrestling History (Slamboree 93)
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins
It seems like I get into an argument about the merits of wrestling vs. sports entertainment every week. Basically it comes down to people who watch wrestling for the "entertainment" and not necessarily for the wrestling telling me to lighten up. The problem comes from the fact that I'm rather old school. So even though I grew up on the mid-80s WWF, I enjoyed late-80s NWA a whole lot more because there was more action.
And while "smart marks" often get blasted for caring more about seeing great matches than being entertained (and I'm sorry for those of you who are actually entertained by things like Eric Bischoff throwing up on a waitress...wasn't Fear Factor on this week?), most of the people in the business who aren't currently employed by WWE will agree that "sports entertainment" has hurt pro wrestling in the long term. How many people gave up developmental deals because they don't want to work "WWE style" or take acting classes?
Luckily, fans of wrestling matches can watch Ring of Honor or puroresu tapes. But would it really be so bad for WWE to play to its roots every so often by paying homage to wrestling? Ten years ago today, World Championship Wrestling did just that, and the result was one of my favorite pay-per-views ever.
WCW Slamboree: A Legends' Reunion
May 23, 1993
Live from the Omni (Atlanta, GA)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko (substituting for a hospitalized Jesse Ventura), and the legends of professional wrestling have all gathered in the ring! Mostly people who made their names in the AWA, the NWA, and the Georgia area. Zbyszko: "Time fears only the pyramids, and the legends of professional wrestling."
Maxx Payne introduces his guitar, Norma Jean, by playing a song for us. The way they hyped this, everybody pretty much assumed Norma Jean was going to be a manager, but we got this instead. And while he plays, some enhancement talent, including Chick Donovan and Ice Train, carry out the "Queen of Slamboree 93", The Fabulous Moolah.
Cut to Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt who discuss a change in the card. Scott Norton was attacked backstage by "The Prisoner", so the Prisoner (aka Nailz) will take on Sting. Down go the lights on the platform, but Eric keeps right on talking. Then they discuss the top matches of the rest of the card.
Tag Team Action scheduled for one fall with a 20 minute time limit: Beautiful Bobby Eaton and Chris Benoit vs. Marcus Alexander "Not Yet Buff" Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio
No real background to this, as both of these teams were fairly new at this point, although Scorpio beat Benoit with one second remaining in a great match at SuperBrawl III prior to this. Sign in crowd: "Marus is great." And you wonder why people think wrestling fans are stupid. Benoit and Scorpio start, and Scorp locks in a side headlock. Throw-off, shoulderblock, into a sequence of misses and counters, then it's Scorpio with a dropkick and armdrag to finish it off. Benoit draws in Bagwell, which distracts Nick Patrick to allow a double team, but Scorpio catches a flying bodypress, avoids a charging Eaton, and Benoit and Eaton roll to the floor for a Tastykake break. Eaton in, Scorpio with a hammerlock, and a tag to Bagwell, who locks in a standing wristlock. Shoulderblock, Benoit with a cheap shot and holding onto him. Eaton charges, Bagwell ducks and backdrops Eaton over the top rope, and Zbyszko questions why there's no DQ (throwing an opponent over the top rope was illegal in WCW until about 1998 or so). Eaton back in, and Bagwell locks in an arm wringer. Eaton whips Bagwell into the ropes, and Benoit catches Bagwell with a clothesline. Cheat to win, baby! Eaton dumps Bagwell over the top rope behind his back. Bagwell back in. Bodyslam by Eaton, followed by a flying kneedrop. Tag to Benoit. Forearm. Whip, clothesline. Stomp, forearms, and Bagwell tries to fight back. Flying legdrop by Benoit for 2. Eaton tagged in. A series of kneedrops gets 2. Choke against the ropes. Tag to Benoit, quick double team, and Benoit with a backdrop suplex for 2. Snap mare into a headscissors, and Benoit uses the ropes (and his partner) for leverage every chance he gets. Reverse neckbreaker for 2. Bodyslam. Benoit up top, but Bagwell gets the knees up before Benoit can get the splash. Hot tag to Scorpio, and he's working over both men. And all four men begin brawling. Benoit gets a flying twisting splash, but Eaton makes the save. A heel double team misses, Bagwell sends Eaton to the floor, and Scorpio hits Benoit with a twisting legdrop off the top (Zbyszko: "What was THAT?") for the pin at 9:23. Some good stuff here to open. **1/2
One fall with a 20 minute time limit: Van Hammer vs. Sid Vicious (w/Col. Robert Parker)
The story so far: Parker was new to WCW and offered to be Hammer's manager, but Hammer turned him down. So Parker brings out a stretcher to be Hammer's ride home, then brings Vicious in as a mystery opponent for this match.
Vicious gets a scary pop for his return to WCW. Hammer gets some hard punches in right away, but a kick, a clothesline, and a power bomb gives Sid the quick pin at :35. DUD And to think that Hammer was rumored to be the next opponent for the NWA Title at the time.
Bischoff interviews Red Bastien (former AWA World Tag Team Champion and current president of the Cauliflower Alley Club) and Bugsy McGraw (who is best known in Florida). Seeing guys like Sid makes Bastien happy he doesn't wrestle anymore. Bugsy is excited, and we should be too, because he's here. He says hi to his family, "and Eric, you're wearing too much makeup." Bastien: "You wear it well, though."
Legends Six Man Tag Team Match with a 15 minute time limit: "Dirty" Dick Murdoch, "Magnificent" Don Muraco and "The Superfly" Jimmy Snuka vs. "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel, Blackjack Mulligan, and "Jumping" Jim Brunzell
The story so far: Murdoch has feuded with Wahoo and Mulligan in the past (and teamed with Mulligan as well), but what stuck out in my mind even back then was the WWF feud between Muraco and Snuka, who are teammates tonight. More recently, Muraco and Brunzell had an altercation at the meet and greet session the day before.
Everybody gets some old school clips (in black and white) while they're being introduced. Snuka and Brunzell start. Hammerlock by Brunzell. Brunzell starts to work over the left arm. Mulligan tags in and picks up right where Brunzell left off. Murdoch reaches in and pulls Mulligan by the hair, then tags in, and that starts a decent little brawl, which is pretty much won by Mulligan. Murdoch with a snap mare and an elbowdrop for 2. Murdoch ends up on the ramp and gets chased by McDaniel. Wahoo tags in, and so does Muraco. Schiavone is ruling it tonight, going into the history of every wrestler in the match. Yes, I used "Schiavone" and "ruling it" in the same sentence. Wahoo gets caught in the corner. Snuka holds him to allow double teaming. Murdoch tags in, but Wahoo chops himself free, but again gets trapped in the wrong corner. Wahoo gets some punces and tags Brunzell in. Brunzell hits his patented dropkick. Murdoch back with a hiptoss and a flying headscissors (Zbyszko: "How can Murdoch get that stomach up that high?") Brunzell locks in a sleeper, but Murdoch pushes back into his own corner. Muraco tags in. Running powerslam and a couple of legdrops. Front facelock, tag to Wahoo, but Murdoch had the referee distracted, so no legal tag. Snuka holds Brunzell, but can't hold him, and Muraco accidentally hits Snuka. Muraco tags in Murdoch, who gets a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Murdoch to the top, and he drives Brunsell's face into the mat, then gets an elbowdrop. Cover, save by Wahoo. Muraco tags in, but Brunzell gets a high cross body for 2. Snuka tags in, but he misses a diving headbutt. Inside cradle by Brunzell for 2. Muraco holds Brunzell, but Brunzell avoids a chop that hits Muraco, and here's the argument. That allows Brunzell to roll up Snuka for 2, and now all six men enter the ring and brawl until Randy Anderson calls for the no contest at 9:25. Then we see the weird bump of the night, and Wahoo chops Snuka in the middle of the ring, but Snuka jumps over the top rope to the floor while still moving forward and tries to sell it as being from the chop. Decent enough, and the decision to make Brunzell face-in-peril saved this one. *
Missy is with Assassin #1 and Mad Dog Vachon. Vachon became a legend for all his fans and friends in Canada. Mad Dog regrets that he can't wrestle (he has a prosthetic leg following a car accident in the mid-80s). Assassin uses the interview time to issue a challenge to Dusty Rhodes, which actually gets a pop.
Legends Tag Team Match scheduled for one fall with a 15 minute time limit: "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff and Baron Von Raschke vs. Thunderbolt Patterson and Brad Armstrong
"Bullet" Bob Armstrong is supposed to team with Patterson, but he has just had knee surgery and is therefore unable to compete. A prematch bit has Patterson offering to wrestle both men, Koloff running down Bob Armstrong as a coward, and Brad Armstrong saying he's an Armstrong and healthy, so he'll take his father's place. This might have been good if anybody besides Brad Armstrong could talk coherently (although those were part of their gimmicks). The bell rings with all four men in the ring, and the faces getting the upperhand until Patterson and Armstrong are the only two men in the ring. Finally Patterson and Von Raschke are in the ring. The Baron backpeddles rather than locking up. He tries a side headlock, but Patterson slips free. And again. Koloff tags in. And so does Armstrong, who locks in an armbar. Koloff begins using backrakes and chokeholds to gain advantage as they discuss Koloff's WWWF Title win over Bruno Sammartino (Zbyszko: "You could hear a pin drop."). Von Raschke in, and he locks in his finisher, the Clawhold. Patterson in to break the hold, and he and Koloff both tag in. Patterson uses his trademark, the "rapid fists of fire", and all four men brawl until Patterson hits Von Raschke with a double chop to the throat and covers for the pin at 4:37. Thank God for charisma, because Von Raschke and Patterson weren't really good workers even in their primes. So even though the crowd was hot for this, this was a pure suckfest. DUD
A Flair for the Gold!
Ric Flair, fresh off of his first WWF run, gets his own Piper's Pit-type segment. This was supposed to feature the reunion of the original Four Horsemen, but while Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson are here tonight, Tully Blanchard isn't here. Storyline-wise, Barry Windham, who was refusing to acknowledge Flair's existence following Flair's return to WCW, talked Blanchard into not showing up. But there's good news, because Tully's replacement is here...Paul Roma. This one move pretty much killed every ounce of credibility the Horsemen had, as A) the fans wanted Blanchard and B) Roma had been boxing for two years for nobody remembered him, much less cared about him. Then comes the only worthwhile part of this segment...Flair telling the Hollywood Blondes, who had been badgering Flair in recent weeks, that he is going to start wrestling again.
Legends Singles Match with a 15 minute time limit: Dory Funk Jr. (w/Gene Kiniski) vs. Nick Bockwinkel (w/Verne Gagne)
The story so far: This is truly a dream match 15 years too late, as Funk, who held the NWA World Heavyweight Title for four years (defeating Kiniski, also a former AWA champion, for it), meets Bockwinkel, longtime AWA World Heavyweight Champion (defeating Gagne for it several times), for the first-time ever. Their paths never crossed due to the lack of promotion between the AWA and the NWA at the time.
A handshake at the bell. A couple of lockups with no advantage. Feeling process early on. Dory with a knee to the midsection and a European uppercut. Another knee and another European uppercut. Side headlock, into a hammerlock, and Bockwinkel reverses the hammerlock and takes him down to the mat with it. Into the corner, and Dory with more European uppercuts. Snap mare takedown into a crevatte, and Dory continues to crimp Bockwinkel's neck. Bockwinkel punches out of it. Dory with a headlock takedown, and Bockwinkel counters into a headscissors. Bockwinkel adds an armbar to try to prevent the kickout, but Dory gets out of it. Bockwinkel locks in an armbar. Dory with a bodyslam, Bockwinkel kicks off, then a bodyslam by Bockwinkel, and Dory rolls to the floor. Ten minutes remain. Back in, and Bockwinkel locks in an armbar. Dory breaks it with an elbow and another European uppercut. Cover for 1. Reverse chinlock. Into a side headlock, and Dory back with more forearm uppercuts. Bockwinkel begins to trade forearms with Funk. One forearm leads to a cover, but they're in the ropes before the count...and Kiniski pulls Bockwinkel off of Funk. Tempers are beginning to flare. Lockup, Funk into a front facelock, and there's a takedown as he continues to hang on the hold. Bockwinkel rolls Funk over to his shoulders for a one count. Back to their feet. Bockwinkel with a double leg takedown, and he tries to work into a Boston crab, but Dory rolls out of it before Nick can lock it in. Headlock by Bockwinkel, but Dory counters with a back suplex for 2. Funk into an armbar. Dory into a double wristlock, which Bockwinkel tries to reverse. Five minutes remain. Bockwinkel finally reverses and crosses his arms for added leverage. Dory kicks out of it. Four minutes remain. Bockwinkel with a side headlock. Funk tries to forearm out of it in the corner, but Nick gets some forearms of his own in. Snap mare for 2. Reverse chinlock. Three minutes remain. Funk breaks with a knee. A forearm knocks Bockwinkel through the ropes and to the ramp. Kiniski holds onto Bockwinkel's ankle until Funk finally suplexes him back in for 2. Two minutes remain. Funk with a piledriver, and Bockwinkel reaches the ropes to prevent the pin. Bockwinkel works hard for a backslide and finally gets it for 2. Elbow by Dory, who locks in a Spinning Toe Hold. One minute remaining. Bockwinkel gets an inside cradle for 2. 45 seconds. Bockwinkel locks in a Figure-Four, and Kiniski runs in and stomps Bockwinkel to try to force a break. 30 seconds. Dory into the ropes to force a break. 15 seconds. Exchange of forearms. Bockwinkel gets 2 off a bodyslam with 10 seconds remaining. Funk with an inside cradle, they're both in the ropes, and that's the time limit. Everybody shakes hands as the crowd gives a standing ovation. Fans of "sports entertainment" would shit all over this one, but there was some solid wrestling there. **, but only because Kiniski's interference ruined a technical masterpiece. My personal favorite match of the night though.
Bischoff interviews Lou Thesz (quite possibly the greatest wrestler ever, as he won six NWA World Titles over the course of 29 years in an era where the best wrestler held the World Title) and former NWA President and Central States Champion Bob Geigel. Thesz was so good that in 1962, Thesz, already in his mid-40s, was told to wrestle Bruno Sammartino to a one hour draw. When Thesz said he'd make Bruno look worn down, the promoter told him "Take him when you want." Both men put over the event and the previous match.
Tag Team Action scheduled for one fall with a 20 minute time limit: "Ravishing" Rick Rude (announced as US Heavyweight Champion) and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff (WCW World TV Champion) vs. "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes and Kensuke Sasaki
The story so far: Rude was US champion for 14 months until an injury prevented him from defending within a 30-day period. At the time, a tournament was ongoing to determine a number one contender, but when it became apparent Rude couldn't compete, Rhodes was awarded the title after defeating Ricky Steamboat in the tournament final. Then, in a match airing on May 15, 1993 on World Wide Wrestling, Rhodes was scheduled to compete against Sasaki for the US Title, but an injury at the hands of Rude prevented Sasaki from competing and gave Rude the shot. That was the somewhat famous "shoulders up" match, as a referee counted out Dustin and awarded the title to Rude despite both men having their shoulders up at the time. The title was eventually held up, but not until after this match took place. As a minor side story, an Orndorff-Rhodes feud was beginning to brew at the time, as Rhodes had gotten WCW crowds to start chanting "Paula" at Orndorff. Not the first time that's happened in Orndorff's career, sadly enough. Also, Sasaki was one of the special referees for Rude's NWA title match with Masahiro Chono as Halloween Havoc.
Sasaki and Rude start it off. Rude sizes up Sasaki and shoves him aside. So Sasaki sizes up Rude and tosses him into the corner. A pissed Rude begins to pound away at Sasaki. Sasaki ducks a clothesline and begins working over Rude's left arm. Orndorff gets a tag, so Sasaki starts working over his left arm. Tag to Rhodes, who continues working on Orndorff's left arm. Rhodes works a hammerlock. Tag to Sasaki, who puts on his own hammerlock and occasionally uses his legs to snap the arm back. Tag to Rhodes, who works an arm wringer. Orndorff breaks free and tags Rude. They trade punches in midring. Rhodes with a backdrop. Rude begins fighting back but gets caught with a knee. He charges, but Rude ducks and Rhodes falls out of the ring. Rude follows him to the floor and slams him to the mat. Rude in, and Orndorff gets some shots in on the floor. Rhodes rolled back in, and Rude gets in a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Rude stomps on Dustin's hand and tags in Orndorff. Orndorff with a chinlock and pulling on the mouth. Whip, elbowsmash. Turnbuckle smash. Tag to Rude. Series of shoulderblocks. Piledriver attempt, block, Tombstone attempt by Rude, reversal by Rhodes for 2. Tag to Orndorff. Turnbuckle smash. Corner whip, and they hit head-to-head. Tag to Rude, hot tag to Sasaki. Sasaki with an inverted atomic drop. Series of clotheslines. Rude begs off. Sasaki with a press slam over the top of a charging Orndorff, and all four men in the ring. Orndorff to the floor, Rhodes follows. Sasaki to the top, Orndorff shoves Sasaki off the top rope, and Rude immediately gets the Rude Awakening for the pin at 9:43. These guys weren't really feeling it, but it wasn't bad. *3/4
Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony!
Your emcee for the ceremony is the greatest wrestling broadcaster ever, Gordon Solie, who gets such a big hand from the Atlanta crowd that they don't quiet down until Solie asks if he can proceed. Gordon runs through a partial list of deceased legends and asks for a moment of silence. I'll give just a brief bio of your first-ever inductees to save time.
Lou Thesz: Won his first NWA (National Wrestling Association) World Title in 1937. Won his first NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) title via forfeit in 1949 when champion Orville Brown was injured in a car accident, and unified a lot of minor World Titles into it to become the closest thing to an undisputed champion as there was in the early-50s. Six time NWA World Champion, losing his last one to Gene Kiniski on January 7, 1966. Wrestled Masahiro Chono in 1991 at the age of 74.
Verne Gagne: Two-time NCAA Champion. Former NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion. 9-time AWA World Champion. Of course, he owned the AWA at the time, but he's still a good choice of inductees.
Mr. Wrestling II: Held many regional titles, most notably the Mid-South North American Title and the National Heavyweight Title. Most famous on a mainstream basis for refusing to take the mask off at Jimmy Carter's presdential inauguration.
Eddie Graham: Elected posthumously. Most notable for his long standing tag team with brother Dr. Jerry Graham and ran Championship Wrestling from Florida until his unfortunate suicide 1985. Mike Graham accepts on his behalf.
Missy Hyatt interviews Lord James Blears and John Tolos. I'm not familiar with Blears' career outside his commentary run with the AWA in the mid-80s, but I understand he did a lot of wrestling in Hawaii. Tolos is best known in the Los Angeles area for his 12 Americas Title reigns and his classic feuds with The Sheik and Freddie Blassie. Tolos has had a great time the entire weekend, and he puts over WCW. Blears agrees and says hello to everyone in Hawaii, then gives Missy a monocle.
Special bounty match scheduled for one fall with a 20 minute time limit: Sting vs. The Prisoner
I have no idea who put this "bounty" on Sting (it was never mentioned before or after this match), but really, who didn't have a bounty on Sting at some point. The crowd chants "Bossman" as the Prisoner enters the ring...well, that bombed before the bell even rang, guys. Good job. The Prisoner starts off with a chokehold, which proves to be the Prisoner's best move...and the one he uses the most. Wow, an elbowsmash! Ah, there we go, more chokeholds. Corner whip, series of punches, corner whip, backbreaker for 2. Corner whip, but Sting avoids a charge and kicks and pucnhes away. The Prisoner coming back with a facerake. Out of the ring they go, and now it's a chokehold with camera cables. Can we have some serious time shaving? Please? The Prisoner continues the beating on the floor. Back in the ring (finally), and a knee to the midsection. Sting gets a clothesline for 1. Backdrop. Corner whip, Stinger splash, double-leg takedown for 2. Bodyslam, but The Prisoner avoids the elbowdrop. Forearms and punches. Prisoner yells at Nick Patrick, which gives Sting enough time to go up top and hit a flying bodypress for the pin at 5:16. Matches like this are why some people use negatives in the star ratings. These two better be damn happy I don't do that. DUD
Bischoff is with The Crusher and Ox Baker. Crusher is best known as "The man who made Milwaukee famous" and his long-standing tag team with Dick the Bruiser that won several AWA World Tag Team Titles. Baker was an OK worker who was best known for the Heart Punch. Crusher talks about all the people that he and Bruiser fought in bars, then says hi to his grandchildren and jokingly challenges Baker to a cage match. He claims Baker would never find a partner to face Bruiser and Crusher. Baker says that if Bruiser can find his way back, he'll be more than happy to take that cage match, because he likes to hurt people. "And you know Crusher...you know, you're better looking than me, I just noticed that." Baker regrets that he can't wrestle again.
Steel Cage Match scheduled for one fall with a 30 minute time limit for the unified NWA/WCW World Tag Team Championship: Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and "Shane Douglas" vs. The Hollywood Blondes (champions)
The story so far: On January 13, 1993, Steamboat and Douglas, as champions, defeated Brian Pillman and Steve Austin by disqualification in the show-stealer of Clash of the Champions XXII when Austin hit Douglas with one of the title belts and busted him wide open. The rematch, taped March 2, 1993, saw the Blondes cheat to win the titles. In between that match and this one, a match aired where "Los Dos Hombres" defeated the Blondes in a non-title match, then unmasked to reveal Steamboat and Douglas. So this match was signed, but before it could start, Douglas threw one of his classic hissy fits and left WCW. I don't know the details of this one (it might have simply been a contract dispute). Rather than WCW simply acknowledge Douglas left the company and that a substitute is warranted, Steamboat and Tom Zenk enter the ring for this match wearing the "Dos Hombres" costumes, with Steamboat claiming that the costumes helped them get one win and should help them get another.
At the bell, we get a shot of two agent types. They give the impression that this is important, but it was never followed up on (a normal occurence in Eric Bischoff's WCW). Austin starts, and he immediately goes for the mask. Steamboat chops away (which is how to tell them apart). Pillman tags in. Elbows and chops, but Steamboat chops back. Steamboat blocks himself from hitting the cage. Pillman also blocks a cage shot and we have a stalemate. Pillman locks in a headlock. Shoulderblock, but Steamboat with the armdrag. Austin tagged in, another armdrag by Steamboat, and Zenk tags in and works over Austin's left arm. There's a hammerlock. Austin tries to snap mare out of it, but Zenk hangs on to the hammerlock. Austin breaks the hold and heads to the apron for some reason, and Zenk simply pushes Austin's back repeatedly into the cage. Steamboat tags in and uses an armbar. Headlock, Austin throws Steamboat off, and a backdrop sends Austin high into the air and partially into the cage. Into the cage goes Austin again. Tag made, and I think that's Zenk but even I'm losing track at this point. Pillman tags in and chops away. Zenk gets in a shot to the midsection, but Pillman quickly regains the advantage and starts choking away at Zenk. There's a tag to Steamboat (I think). Armbar. Gorilla press into the cage. Pillman is able to pull his opponent into the corner and tag Austin in, but Steamboat gets a chop at the first opportunity. Steamboat hangs Austin upside down on the cage, and the challengers take turns with cross bodys until Austin avoids one and Zenk hits the cage. Pillman tagged in. Choke against the ropes. Austin tagged in, and he chops away. Irish whip, elbowsmash. Snap mare. Elbowdrop off the second turnbuckle for 2. Punches in the corner, tag to Pillman, punches, tag to Austin. Chops. Elbows. Distraction, and Pillman uses a towel to choke Zenk. Austin covers for 1. Austin begins to work over the knee. Tag to Pillman. Snap mare. Pillman up top, but Zenk lifts a boot (what in the hell are you going for that a guy lying down can hit you in the face with his foot?). Almost the hot tag, but Austin cuts him off with an elbow. Austin comes in but gets met with a dropkick. Steamboat hits Austin with a Tomahawk chop from the apron, and that gives Zenk a chance to punch away at him. A shot for Pillman, and Zenk reaches for the tag, but Austin stops it with a spinebuster. Pillman tags in, and they go for the Atomic Blonde (Rocket Launcher), but Zenk gets the knees up. Tag to Austin, hot tag to Steamboat! Chops aplenty from Steamboat, and now into the cage. And Pillman into the cage as well. Austin tries to leave the cage, but Steamboat takes him down with an electric chair. Pillman tries to leave, but he gets dropped crotch first on the top rope. (Zbyszko: "NO COMMENT!") Both challengers in with 10 punch count-alongs in the corner. Stereo whips, with Austin and Zenk hitting the cage. Steamboat to the top, removing his mask, and a Flying Bodypress to both champions for such a close near fall that the bell rings. Double dropkick, double cover, another very near fall. The crowd is eating this up! But Pillman reverses a whip, Austin takes Zenk down with a Stun Gun (Hotshot), and that's the pin at 16:08 to retain. You can complain that Zenk wasn't legal, but I'm not sure anybody cared at that point. Good stuff here, particularly the last two or three minutes or so. ***1/2
Bisch is with Dusty Rhodes (whom you should know), Stu Hart (whom most of you should know), and Hall of Famer Mr. Wrestling II. Dusty is happy to be out here with such good company, and he makes it a point to accept Assassin #1's challenge. That match never did happen, thank God. Wrestling II spends more time putting over Dusty vs. Assassin before thanking WCW for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Stu Hart talks about his family and his son-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, getting his shot at the WCW World Title.
One fall with a 45 minute time limit for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson vs. "The Lone Wolf" Barry Windham (champion)
The story so far: We've discussed this somewhat already. Windham won the title at SuperBrawl III but backed off when Ric Flair put the belt on him. Windham has since been snubbing Flair, so he has to deal with Flair's best friend, Anderson. And remember, Windham has already caused Tully Blanchard's no-show earlier tonight.
Anderson with a headlock, Windham with a throw-off, and Anderson with a shoulderblock for a fast 2 count. Another headlock, throw-off, leapfrog by Windham, Arn with a belly-to-belly suplex for 2. Windham with a knee and some chops. Corner whip, reversal, Anderson with a backdrop for 2. Right hand by Barry to slow Arn down. Anderson fakes a left hand and gets a DDT for 2. Windham rolls outside. Anderson follows, but Windham gets the advantage. Windham back in, over to Arn, Arn with a shoulderblock, but Windham with a right hand to slow him down. Arn blocks a turnbuckle smash, hits one of his own, climbs to the top rope (!), but Windham catches him coming down. Elbowdrop by Windham for 2. Windham throws him outside and follows. Hard elbowsmash. Windham back in, and he tries to slingshot Arn in, but Arn reverses it and Barry tumbles to the floor. Anderson sends Windham into the guardrail, and Windham is busted wide open. The guardrail shot is legal under NWA rules, says Tony, but if it was the WCW Title match, it would have been a DQ. Back in, and Arn attacks the open wound. Small package for 2. Anderson back to work on the cut, and an elbow to the head gets 2. Arn with a reverse chinlock to wear Windham down. Snap mare. Kneedrop. Arn up top again, but Windham dropkicks him to the floor! Wow! Anderson holds his knee on the floor. Windham follows him to the floor and hits a vertical suplex. Anderson back in, Windham up top, and he hits a flying lariat. Kneedrop for 2. Anderson starts fighting back with some elbows. Suplex, block, Windham with a suplex and a floatover for 2. Whip, reversal, Arn with a spinebuster, but he can't cover. Windham rolls outside, grabs the belt, and starts walking toward the back. Arn follows, and he makes sure Barry gets back in the ring. Arn whips Windham into the corner and punches away. Randy Anderson tries to pull Arn back, but Arn tosses him down. Arn realizes that he might get disqualified, so he checks on the referee, which leaves Windham just enough time to use the belt as a weapon and pin Arn at 10:55. Old school bloody brawl, and I like it! **3/4
A quick recap of that match from our hosts nd the history of our main event, and it's main event time!
One fall with a one hour time limit for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith vs. Big Van Vader (champion--w/Harley Race)
The story so far: Vader has been on his injury kick, injuring Joe Thurman, Sting, Ron Simmons, and most recently, Cactus Jack. The night before this on WCW Saturday Night, Vader was having a public workout where he tried to injure some preliminary wrestlers, when Davey Boy ran out to make the save and slammed the huge Vader.
Lockup, stalemate. Another lockup, another stalemate. Vader with a short clothesline, but no effect on Davey Boy. Vader charges, avalanche in midring, and again no effect on Davey. Zbyszko notes that Vader's trying power moves too early. Into the corner, and Vader knows how to punch away at him in the corner, so he does. Davey's only down to one knee. Vader chokes Davey with the middle rope. Out of the ring, and Race with a left hand. Vader out after him, and he charges, but Davey moves, causing Vader to flip over the guardrail. Davey picks up Vader, carries him, and slams him on the floor. Wow! Both men back in. Series of punches by Davey Boy, and a delayed vertical suplex! Even with Vader helping you, you have to be strong as hell to do that. Davey charges, but Vader gets the boot up. Vader charges, but Davey powerslams him, then clotheslines him over the top to send the Omni crowd into a frenzy! Vader takes his time coming back in. Davey goes for a cruicifix, but Vader drops him with a Samoan drop. Elbowdrop to the inner thigh. And again. Vader bomb for 2. Vader with a series of punches. Bodyslam. Vader to the second rope, and another avalanche. More punches, and Vader places Davey on the top turnbuckle. Vader wants a superplex, but Davey punches out of it...front-layout superplex by Davey. Diving headbutt, but Davey knocks himself silly with that one. Davey bleeding from the nose. Davey with another slam, and a cover for 2. Vader comes back with a clothesline. Davey goes for a sunset flip, Vader tries to sit down on him, but Davey moves and covers for 2. Vader with a right hand to stop the momentum. Snap mare. Up to the top rope, and a flying splash, but Vader yells "Shit!" and clutches his wrist as he rolls off of him. Vader dumps Smith to the floor, and Race gets his shots in on the floor. Davey back in, and Vader punches away at him in the corner. Bodyslam. Sitdown splash, and the crowd tries to rally behind Davey Boy. Vader with a camel clutch, and Davey breaks it with an electric chair. Amazing! Davey making a huge comeback with some punches and a clothesline for 2. Whip, reversal, Vader goes for an avalanche, but Davey catches him and nails the Running Powerslam. Race pulls Smith to the floor to break the count. Davey does a number on Race, but Vader grabs a chair and hits Davey with it to cause a DQ at 16:16. But the fight isn't over. Vader's trying to injure Smith. Bagwell in for a save, but it fails. 2 Cold in for a save, but that doesn't work either. Vader's going for a piledriver, but in comes Sting with a flying clothesline, thena few punches to send Vader scurrying to the floor. Trying to injure Davey was a nice touch based on the storyline. **1/2
Bischoff is with Magnum T.A., a former US Champion whose career was cut short by a car accident in 1986, and Magnum analyzes the main event.
Back to ringside, and Tony and Larry are with Verne Gagne, who puts over the entire show. They sign off, and we're out.
Aftermath: This became an annual event, and they stuck with the legends reunion format for another two years before turning this into just another pay-per-view event. And OK, so there weren't any five star classics on this show and it will never go down as one of the all-time great wrestling events. But this is the kind of nostalgia kick I can live with. Once a year with an actual purpose. I'd love for WWE to dust the mothballs off of this format and use this as the King of the Ring replacement.
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