Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Bash at the Beach 1994
July 17, 1994
The current WCW Champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Ric Flair (12/27/1993)
WCW U.S. Champion: Steve Austin (12/27/1993)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan (5/22/1994)
WCW World Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (6/23/1994)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan. At the time, this was the biggest PPV gate that WCW had ever generated with a crowd of 14,000. The previous record was the Great American Bash in 1988 with 13,000. Just a little bit of trivia there for you.
Country music’s “flavor of the month” Daron Norwood sings the national anthem.
WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William) vs. Johnny B. Badd
Sting was supposed to get the TV title shot here up until Sensuous Sherri dressed up like a man and clawed Sting’s eyes out during a match with Ric Flair. As wacky and ridiculous as that sounds, she was in fact barred from the building. She doesn’t usually do those sorts of things like cross-dressing. She really can’t pull it off. In fact, Hulk Hogan made the save much like at the Clash and bing bam boom – Sting is off the card where the Hulkster makes his big WCW wrestling debut. Coincidence? I choose to think not. Badd gets the title shot and that’s a-okay with me. The man continues to improve by leaps and bounds since his debut in 1991. Badd is FIRED UP tonight. Regal can’t keep him down and begs off in the corner. They do a cool nearfall sequence from a knucklelock. Badd goes for the arm and Regal tries to wear him down with a headlock. Badd escapes the headlock and slams Regal’s arm down on the mat to send him rolling out to the floor for a talk with Sir William. Back in, Badd does the same thing and grounds Regal with a hammerlock. Badd continues to crank on the arm while the director looks over at Hogan’s “Thunder in Paradise” co-star who happens to be sitting beside Linda Hogan. She’s all smiles tonight. Regal knees out, but Badd quickly delivers a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. He levels Regal with the KISS THAT DON’T MISS! Ahh, Regal rolls out. Here comes Badd with the plancha on both Regal AND Sir William. Badd sunset flips in and Sir William helps out his man with the umbrella, but the ref Nick Patrick kicks Regal’s hands free and he falls back for 1-2-NO! Regal rolls through and cradles Badd up for 1-2-3. (10:45) Hey, I thought this was a really good opener even if the finish was kind of botchy. You get the feeling after this match that its only a matter of time before he dethrones Regal and that’s exactly what happens. ***
Gene Okerlund awards Antonio Inoki for a lifetime of contributions to wrestling. Regal interrupts and asks why he hasn’t received an award. He’s in the House of Lords, you know! Regal calls himself far superior to Inoki, which leads to their match at the next Clash. The crowd responds when Inoki takes of his jacket, leaving me surprised that they remember who Inoki is. It’s pretty cool because Regal has already disposed of one legend in Larry Zbyszko and now there’s another one he seems to feel intimidated by. Regal ~ “I’m sick of these so-called bloody legends!”
Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. The Guardian Angel
Jesse Ventura replaces Bobby Heenan for the next two matches while Bobby Heenan goes and checks on something in the back. Ventura just does not care at this stage in his WCW announcing career. Tony pretty much works alone here due to Ventura’s apathy probably caused by Hogan’s mere existence in the building. But I digress. This is a rematch from Spring Stampede where The Boss was stripped of his gimmick as a policeman. Now he’s part of the Guardian Angel group. He does good things without a nightstick. Harley Race gets dumped immediately, allowing Vader to blast Angel from behind. Whoa, Vader connects with a spin kick. Didn’t get much air, but still. Angel ducks a clothesline and drills Vader with a back suplex. He follows up with a slam and they go to the floor where Race gets decked again. Once again the distraction caused by Race allows Vader to attack from behind. Back in, they trade blows. Angel gets the best of Vader off that exchange, but Vader reverses a corner whip and splashes him down. Angel sits down on Vader when he tries a Flying Sunset Flip! Vader goes to the eyes and works over the leg by bending back the wrong way. VADER BOMB connects! Could it be time for the VADERSAULT? Yes it is. Vader hurts his ribs though. Race gets involved again and tries to come off the top rope, but Angel is there to slam him down. Vader takes a clothesline out to the floor, so Angel slides out to meet him with a right hand. Angel gives Vader a suplex back in, but Angel shoulderblocks Vader into the ref. More like brushed him up against the referee. Meanwhile, Race hands Vader a police baton. Vader doesn’t get to use it though as Angel punches him down until he drops the baton. Now Angel picks up the baton and the ref can’t help but see that. He calls for the bell and awards the match to Vader by DQ. (7:58) Another decent brawl from these two. They both seemed rather motivated and when that happens, I can’t see these two having a bad match. Bad finish though. ***¼
Tony asks Jesse who he favors in the Hogan/Flair match. He quickly responds with an annoyed, “I’ve already made my pick – ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair.”
Dustin Rhodes & Arn Anderson vs. Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck (w/Col. Robert Parker & Meng)
We’ve got four of my faves in there right now. By the way, this was Meng’s WCW PPV debut as Col. Parker’s bodyguard. AA and Buck shrugs off a couple collar-and-elbow tie-ups to start. Now Rhodes comes in and starts CLUBBERIN on Buck. Funk tags, but Rhodes won’t let him into the ring and punches him out to the floor. Funk goes crazy on the floor and swings at Meng and Parker. Back in, he backs Rhodes into the ropes and fires away. The whole time Funk is mouthing off and belittling Rhodes for being a Rhodes. Funk runs into a slam and gets dumped over the top rope to the floor. The ref didn’t see it though. Now Buck gets the same treatment on the other side with the ref looking at Funk. Back in again, Rhodes delivers a pair of atomic drops to the Stud Stable. Funk manages to back suplex out of a headlock and tags Buck. Rhodes whiffs on a crossbody and flies out to the floor. I love it when he does that. That allows Funk to do a little damage. He throws Rhodes back in for a chinlock. From there, Buck applies an ab stretch and gets leverage help from Funk. Tag to Funk, he delivers a reverse neckbreaker to set up the PILEDRIVER. They collide for a double-KO spot, but Funk lands in his corner and tags Buck. Rhodes gets double-teamed in the heel corner until AA has enough and comes over to help out. After the ref puts Arn back in his corner, Rhodes fights out with Bionic Elbows! He hits the Lariat on Funk and crotches Buck up on the top rope. Dustin throws Buck on top of Funk and finally makes a tag to AA! With Dustin dazed, Arn turns on Rhodes and drops him with a DDT! Meanwhile, the ref is with Meng. Anderson puts Funk on top as the ref counts three. (11:36) It’s one of those turns that you’re not surprised that it happened, but you’re so glad that it did. The Arn Anderson that we all know and love is back and as bad as ever. After the match, Arn Anderson tries to *break* Dustin’s arm. That’s some ’80s goodness right there. Awesome performance from everybody here. I really enjoyed this match. ***½
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat
Austin has his awesome “Dragon Slayer” tights on. He Pearl Harbors Steamboat and goes after the knee, but Steamboat chops back and hits Old School. Yes-the Undertaker ropewalk. He dropkicks Austin into a tree of woe position, leaving him wide open for Steamboat. Steamboat stays on the arm until Austin plays ‘possum when his knee “gives out”. Steamboat refuses to fall for that trick and stomps Austin in the corner. Austin rolls out and yanks Steamboat out, but gets chased around ringside and back in the ring. Steamboat grabs a sleeper and shoves Austin off into the corner for a rollup that gets two. Back to the arm. Austin’s trick knee acts up right into Steamboat’s balls. Austin takes over on Steamboat with clotheslines and such. Steamboat tries to rope-a-dope and winds up stumbling out to the floor. Austin brings him in with a nice suplex for two. Steamboat gets angry and grabs a choke lift before going back to the arm. Austin comes back with an Alabama Slam. Austin drops a flying knee and pounds on him into the corner until Steamboat trips him up and catapults Austin into the top of the ringpost. That gets two. Austin quickly reverses a whip for a backdrop and regains control. During a chinlock, he manages to block an electric chair drop. He tries to get a pinfall during a knucklelock, but Steamboat won’t stay down. Austin tries to splash him, but hits knees. He’s still able to keep control of the match and hits a Bossman straddle. Austin lowers his left knee pad and charges at Steamboat, but gets caught with a STUNGUN. Austin rolls out to the apron and shoves Steamboat down onto the guardrail. Steamboat returns the favor by shoving Austin off into the ringpost. Back in, Steamboat connects with the Flying Judo Chop. Austin tries to get intentionally DQ’ed a couple times by throwing Steamboat over the top rope, but Steamboat skins-the-cat both times. D’oh! They go through a tombstone piledriver reversal sequence that takes both men from corner to corner until Steamboat delivers one to Austin! Steamboat goes for it all with the FLYING BODYPRESS, but Austin yanks the ref in harm’s way. Lucky for him, Steamboat lands on his feet. Ref Randy Anderson threatens to call for the bell, but Steamboat begs him to not do that. Austin rolls through a Steamboat crossbody block and gets two. Now he puts his feet on the ropes and gets 1-2-3. (20:16) Ha! I don’t even mind the finish here because it shows Austin’s desperation after trying to get intentionally disqualified earlier. This was probably the best match they had had up to this point. ***¾
In the back, Gene Okerlund crashes the Stud Stable party. Apparently, AA double-crossed Rhodes for the chicks. He’s sitting on the couch with a handful of ladies. Funk is on his knees babbling on about hating Dusty Rhodes. Col. Parker leads his boys in a toast for the most honorable man he knows, Arn Anderson. That sets up a great promo from Arn. He told Dustin he would get the old Arn Anderson, and that’s exactly what he got. Awesome.
WCW World Tag Team Champions Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan (w/Dave Sullivan) vs. Pretty Wonderful
Well this looks to be the absolute low point of the evening. Lots of posing and stalling from the challengers to start. The tag champs actually incorporate some team work much to Heenan’s surprise. Cactus does that body block in the corner when Sullivan gets whipped in to cushion the blow. The heels try the same thing, but that always backfires. Cactus and Orndorff brawl to the floor, which is what those two are good at. See Superbrawl 3 if you’re confused. The champs work on Orndorff’s arm for a while. That is until Orndorff backs Cactus into the corner and buries some knees. Roma tags in and does more of the same. Cactus counters a suplex on Orndorff and tags Sullivan. He grabs both Roma and Orndorff for turnbuckle smashes. Now the champs revert back to the arm while the crowd amuses themselves up by doing the wave! Heenan says they’re only fourteen years behind by starting that up. Roma finally gets a tag and fires away on Sullivan in the corner. During a pier-six brawl that follows, Orndorff delivers a PILEDRIVER to Sullivan for 1-2-NO! Dave slips his brother Kevin’s foot on the bottom rope. Roma hits a Flying Elbow Drop for 1-2-NO! Orndorff hits the Shaky Elbow Drop and applies a chinlock. More basic face-in-peril stuff follows until Roma misses a FLYING SPLASH. Hot tag to Cactus, he hits the Bossman straddle on Orndorff. Sullivan gets rid of Roma while Cactus delivers the DOUBLE-ARM DDT to Orndorff. He covers, but the ref is busy with the Sullivan brothers. What the…? Roma trips up Cactus as he comes off the ropes and holds his feet down as Orndorff jumps on top of Cactus for 1-2-3. (20:13) We’ve got NEW WCW world tag team champions. What a retarded finish with WAY too much time given to this match. *
In case you haven’t been keeping count, it’s Heels – 5, Babyfaces – 0.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/Sensuous Sherri) vs. Hulk Hogan (w/Jimmy Hart)
SHAQ IS HERE! It’s cool because we’re in Orlando back when he was magic. He’ll award the winner with the strap. The crowd is split right down the middle I’d say. Maybe 60 Hogan/40 Flair at best. They get in each others faces until Flair shoves Hogan back. Hogan shoulderblocks Flair down a bunch. Flair dodges a tie-up and struts, so Hogan does the same. Of course in Hogan’s case, he looks a lot dumber doing it. Flair grabs an arm wringer until Hogan reverses into a cross armbreaker. Flair stomps on Hogan’s face and retreats to the floor to stand behind Sherri. She doesn’t care though. Sherri DARES Hogan to take a swing at her. Back in, Hogan gets Flair up against the ropes and paintbrushes the back of his head. Hogan hits the corner clothesline and goes for the Big Boot, but Flair sneaks out to the floor and hides behind Sherri again. Back in again, Flair’s catches Hogan with a knee and takes over with chops. Flair hits the Rolling Knee Drop, but Hogan NO-SELLS. A ten-count corner punch is followed by a clothesline. Sherri grabs Hulk’s leg, which allows an opening for Flair to chop block him. Flair chops him out to the floor for Sherri to bash Hogan with a chair, but Jimmy Hart makes the save. Back in, Flair drops a single sledge and another Rolling Knee Drop. This time Hogan sells the knee drop, but comes right back with chops out of the corner. Flair goes low with a rabbit punch and snapmares Hulk over for a chinlock. Eventually, Hogan elbows out and delivers a pair of shoulderblocks. Hogan unloads and whips Flair into the corner for the Flair Flip out to the apron where Hogan floors him with a clothesline. On the floor, Hogan delivers a back suplex and then gives Flair a suplex back in, but misses the LEG DROP. He shouldn’t have been cupping his ears for the humanoids. Flair tries twice for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Hogan kicks him off. Hogan NO-SELLS a perfect vertical suplex. Oh geez. Hogan hits the Big Boot and covers for 1-2-NO! Sherri pulls ref Randy Anderson out and slings him into the guardrail. Jimmy Hart takes a shoe to the face! Hogan looks over at Sherri and takes another chop block to the back of his knee. Sherri splashes Hogan before Flair locks in the FIGURE-FOUR. Now we have ref Nick Patrick officiating. Hogan makes the ropes, but gets choked with Sherri’s hose. Flair stays on Hulk’s knee and starts chopping until he begins to no longer sell. Hogan runs into a back elbow from Flair. Sherri and Flair both head up top. Hogan rolls away from another Sherri splash while Flair is slammed down to the mat. Sherri’s back up on the apron and right before Mr. T runs down and carries her out, she slips some knux to Flair. WHAM! Hogan gets nailed as Flair covers for 1-2-NO! It’s HULK UP time. One punch, two punch, three punch. Big Boot. LEG DROP. (21:56) We’ve got a NEW WCW world champion. Afterwards, Hogan celebrates with his two black friends Shaq and Mr. T before posing for several more minutes with Jimmy Hart jumping around like an idiot. It’s Hogan/Flair. What more do I need to say? Who hasn’t seen this match? ***¼
As Hogan goes to the back for a post-match interview, he runs into his cronies Brutus Beefcake and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. What’s Brian Pillman doing there? And we fade to black, which actually is not a Shaq joke.
And now for a special bonus match!
Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair (w/Sensuous Sherri) – (Main Event 7/24/94)
This aired on the Sunday after Bash at the Beach where Flair lost the WCW world title to Hogan and Steamboat failed to capture the WCW U.S. title from Steve Austin. No titles on the line – only pride. Pretty cool seeing these two at the absolute top of the company wrestling on the C-level show. They exchange hammerlocks to start. Flair gets in some cheap shots to take over and dumps Steamboat over the top rope to Sherri. She works her magic down on the floor. Steamboat wants to beat her up SO bad, but you can’t do that on television! Flair nails Steamboat from behind and wildly chokes him on the apron. Some chops wake up Steamboat as he mounts his comeback. Steamboat delivers the ten-count corner comeback and then chops Flair out to the floor. Steamboat gives chase and throws Flair back in the ring. Steamboat hits a backdrop and a dropkick. Flair begs off and goes to the eyes. He suckers Steamboat into the corner for his infamous corner pin using the ropes, but Steamboat will not stay down for three. Flair gets shoved down by the ref and takes a press slam from Steamboat. Flair Flips out onto the apron and takes a double-chop to the floor. He pulls Sherri in front of him and pops Steamboat, but gets chopped anyway. Back in, Flair blocks the Flying Judo Chop with a right hand to the gut. Ref gets bumped and Steamboat rolls up Flair for a few irritating pin attempts. Steamboat slams Flair off the top and hooks on the Figure-Four. Sherri gets involved and brings Steamboat over to her for an atomic drop that puts her back on the floor. With the ref still down, Steamboat heads up top for the FLYING BODYPRESS and connects! Wait a second, Steve Austin runs in to beat down Steamboat as the ref regroups and DQ’s Flair. (12:04) This was more like sports entertainment BS than a proper finale for the greatest rivalry of all time. **¾
Final Thoughts: Isn’t it amazing how WCW booked their entire PPV solely around Hulk Hogan? All heel victories before his match. Not just heel victories, but cheap wins, a swerve, and a referee who made a completely wrong decision based in favor of a heel. Is he really that insecure that another babyface could compete with him for the night-ending pop? Sting was the only face in WCW at the time who would have come close, but where was he at tonight? He was selling a fake injury and sitting the PPV out. Coincidence? I highly doubt it. It’s really unbelievable how WCW does all this considering they had been doing very well in 1994 up to this point booking-wise. While there is some bad booking here, the talent did manage to put together a very solid card. There’s every reason for me to give this show a thumbs up. First of all, how to NOT book a PPV. Secondly, for historical reasons because of the changing times in WCW. And third, there is a lot of good wrestling here. The best way to enjoy this six-match card though is probably to just turn it off after Steamboat/Austin and think about what might could have been. Like I said before, thumbs up for Bash at the Beach 1994.