Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Slamboree 1994: A Legends Reunion
May 22, 1994
Philadelphia Civic Center
The current WCW Champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Ric Flair (12/27/1993)
WCW International World Champion: vacant (5/22/1994)
WCW U.S. Champion: Steve Austin (12/27/1993)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Nasty Boys (10/24/1993)
WCW World Television Champion: Larry Zbyszko (5/2/1994) (yet to air)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan.
Gene Okerlund introduces the legends honored at the show: Ole Anderson, The Assassin (Jody Hamilton), Penny Banner, Red Bastien, Tully Blanchard, The Crusher, Don Curtis, Verne Gagne, Terry Funk (no showed), Hard Boiled Haggerty, Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Killer Kowalski, “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Mosca, Harley Race, Ray “The Crippler” Stevens, Lou Thesz, Johnny Weaver, Mr. Wrestling II, and Tommy Young.
WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel calls out Sting to award him the WCW International World Title since Rude used the belt as a weapon and gave Sting a knee drop off the top rope to win the title, which was illegal back in those days. Well, ECW Hat Guy is pleased with that news. Sadly though, Sting will not accept the title this way. However, he will face the other top contender, Vader, for the belt. Commissioner Bockwinkel OK’s the match! That is our impromptu main event!
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Steve Austin (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Johnny B. Badd
Badd is very over by this point (even in Philly!), but has yet to really beat anybody to be a lasting mid-card player. Badd takes Austin to the mat while the crowd chants “KFC” at Col. Parker. Badd escapes a sleeper with a jawbreaker and Austin heads to the floor to regroup .Sherri Martel is shown in the audience. Not much in the way of fast action, but they do manage to trade armbars and keep it interesting. Badd counters a headlock nicely over into a headscissors takedown. They go back to the mat. Badd comes back up and runs into an awesome Polish hammer. Because of Badd’s work on his arm, Austin sells the pain that he just inflicted on himself. Austin stomps a mudhole in Badd and lets Parker choke him in the ropes. Austin dumps Badd out onto his own litter from the Badd Blaster and gives him a running suplex back in, followed by a knee drop for two. “We’re not hostile” chants fire up. Badd blocks the Flying Elbow by bringing up his knees. Johnny starts his comeback and hits the Mr. Wrestling II Knee Lift. He rolls Austin up with Parker on the apron. This leads to heel miscommunication and another rollup by Badd gets 1-2-NO! Whoops, the bell gets rang prematurely. Badd delivers a Flying Sunset Flip for 1-2-NO! Austin goes to the eyes to avoid the KISS THAT DON’T MISS. He grabs a headlock and kicks off the ropes to counter a back suplex and falls awkwardly on top of Badd for 1-2-3. (16:16) Finish was botched, but the match wasn’t too bad. Lots of mat wrestling from two guys you wouldn’t expect it from necessarily. Badd gives Austin the KISS THAT DON’T MISS after the bell, setting up the rematch at the following Clash. **½
Terry Funk vs. Tully Blanchard
Gordon Solie joins us on commentary for this match. I love Gordon getting the chance to commentate on PPV. Tully Blanchard gets a solid reaction from the Philly crowd. Blanchard would go on to feud with Shane Douglas for the ECW title the following year. Funk on the other hand was already the face of ECW even in 1994. What can you say, Philly loves that man. The match starts out on the floor with both guys beating the crap out of each other. They go into the ring where Blanchard delivers a suplex and then they go back on the floor. A fan throws a crutch into the ring and ref Nick Patrick gets rid of that pretty quickly. This ain’t ECW, pal. Funk delivers a walking atomic drop on Blanchard. In the ring, Funk gives Blanchard a reverse neckbreaker while Solie talks about Funk beating Brisco for the NWA world title in ’75. They fight on the rampway where Blanchard stumbles off and falls on the concrete. Funk rips off part of the wooden steps and beats Tully in the face with it. Crowd chants “we want blood”. No, not Philly? Surely not THIS crowd. Must be some out-of-towners. He tilts the piece of wood on the bottom rope and gives Blanchard a PILEDRIVER inside the ring! Funk delivers a DDT on the rampway and hurts his own back. Back in the ring, Funk hits another PILEDRIVER. He misses a Moonsault and Blanchard gets two. Funk whips Blanchard around into the ref so he can bring a chair into the ring. Funk sets up the chair and wants to give Blanchard a PILEDRIVER off the middle rope onto it, but that fails. I believe it’s called an in-ring abortion. Ref Nick Patrick is back up and gets rid of the chair. Blanchard kicks Funk out to the rampway and knees the ref in the balls. Funk has his branding iron and BEATS Blanchard with it! He bends it across Blanchard’s face and the ref finally calls for the bell. It’s a double-disqualification. (7:12) Funk doesn’t care. He celebrates with the crowd anyway. This was a definite ECW-style match under WCW rules. ***
WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William) vs. Larry Zbyszko – non-title match
Zbyszko plays the role of the future Sean Hannity and comes out of retirement to avenge America after all the bad (although most of the time Regal was right) comments Regal has made about it. Larry Z will continue to feel its his place to get involved even when it doesn’t directly involve him like later on when he would feud with Scott Hall in ’97. In between some stalling, Zbyszko tries to get Regal mad and accomplishes his goal. Zbyszko counters an abdominal stretch into a small package for two. He grabs an ab stretch of his own and grabs the ropes for leverage. Zbyszko tells Regal he isn’t good enough. Ohhhhh. That fires Regal up and he unloads in the corner with a great series of forearms. Regal counters a backslide into a cool bow-and-arrow stretch. Zbyszko escapes and grabs a sleeper, but Regal executes a jawbreaker. Larry Z falls back into the ropes and gets blasted by Sir William with the umbrella. That sets up Zbyszko for the Butterfly Suplex, but Zbyszko backdrops him over with the arms still hooked for the 1-2-3. (11:47) I always hated that finish. It never seemed very realistic, but maybe that’s just me. Great atmosphere even if a good chunk of this match was stalling and pandering to the crowd. This leads to Zbyszko receiving a TV title match on WCW Saturday Night the following weekend and winning the TV belt. **¾
WCW Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony hosted by Gordon Solie: Harley Race, The Crusher, “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, The Assassin, Ole Anderson, Dick the Bruiser (his children accept the plague). Nothing like Gordon Solie telling a heart-warming story. You’ve just got to hear it for yourself.
Gene Okerlund interviews Terry Funk: Why didn’t he show up for the legends introductions at the start of the show? Because those guys are legends, but Terry Funk is THE legend. Funk takes advantage of being on live TV and says he can stay and talk as long as he wants to. He makes some threats to Dusty & Dustin Rhodes and Gene takes the mic away from him.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck (w/Col. Robert Parker) – Bullrope Match
This isn’t like a strap match. They just have to be tied together with the bullrope. Plus, there’s a cowbell attached as a weapon. The crowd wants blood in this match too, but they aren’t going to get it. Bobby Heenan’s explanations of the origins of the bullrope match is hilarious. Rhodes chokes and wraps the rope around Buck a lot to start. From there, he grinds the bell in Buck’s knee, which is an odd way to do things considering the bloodbath from last month’s PPV. Rhodes posts the leg a bunch. Buck finally gets a break when he pulls Dustin’s shirt over his head and beats him with the cowbell. Buck then proceeds to tie Rhodes around the ringpost so he can punch and cowbell him with no problems. Rhodes breaks loose and they head back into the ring. Rhodes gives Buck the Flip Flop Fly with him sitting on the top turnbuckle and then slams him off to the mat for two. Buck gets pulled into the ref to put him down. Parker tries to bash Dustin’s brains in with the bell, but Rhodes kicks him away and nails Buck with the cowbell for 1-2-3. (12:48) What this needed was a little more cowbell. I wasn’t trying to be cute, I was serious. No blood? C’mon. Rhodes celebrates and turns around into a fresh branding iron to the face! Okay, well there’s some blood. Funk, Buck and Parker triple-team Rhodes until security shoo them away. Completely tame compared to their great bunkhouse match. Funk made it all better though. **½
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham (w/Col. Robert Parker)
Bobby Heenan heads to the back to see what Terry Funk is up to, so Jesse Ventura joins us for commentary. For weeks, Col. Robert Parker had hyped a blonde 6 foot 7 inch, 300 pounder who was also a former world champion to join his Stud Stable – obviously a ploy to make you think he meant Hogan. Good thing it wasn’t because that would have been ridiculous. When the crowd saw that it was Windham all along, they were pretty confused to say the least. Not a bad idea storyline-wise though. Windham definitely had a score to settle with Flair after losing his one and only world title to him last July. This is also Windham’s first match since he lost the NWA world title at Beach Blast. Good to see Windham doesn’t have his hand taped anymore. Lots of duking it out from both guys to start. Tony Schiavone mentions some Hogan interviews that will air on the following week’s Saturday Night. Flair chops Windham around the ring, but Windham comes back with a lariat. They go to the floor where Windham controls the guardrail action. Windham delivers a suplex back in and a legdrop connects. He cheats using the ropes for leverage during a chinlock. Flair Flips out to the floor and right at Parker’s feet for a good stomping. Windham brings Flair back in again with a suplex and follows up with a ten-count corner punch. Flair brings him out with an inverted atomic drop, but gets caught on the top for a SUPERPLEX. Cover, 1-2-NO! Flair chops back and hits a suplex – hurting his own back as well. From there, Flair trips him up and applies the FIGURE-FOUR. Huh? Col. Parker pushes the bottom rope so Windham can reach and get the break. Flair tries the hold again, but Windham goes to the eyes. Flair tries the FIGURE-FOUR for a third time, but they’re in the ropes. Flair comes off the top for a single sledge (only because he’s working face) and follows up with the Rolling Knee Drop for two. Flair delivers another and then they do the spot where Flair charges with a crossbody and they both go flying over the top rope to the floor below. Back in, Flair cold-cocks Windham down and a jackknife cover gets two. To get a breather, Windham throws Flair out to Parker. Flair’s not falling for that and nails Parker. He sunset flips back in and Parker grabs hold of Windham’s hands to keep him from falling over. He sits down on Flair, but ref Randy Anderson sees the obvious and kicks Parker away. Flair nails Parker, but gets rolled up for 1-2-NO! Flair Flips out to the apron and runs down to the other corner. He comes off the top and hits a crossbody on Windham for 1-2-3. (13:23) Although its a smidgen better than their Beach Blast encounter if only for the more enthusiastic crowd, this still had it’s some serious psychology problems. Flair didn’t even touch Windham’s knee and just went right to the Figure-Four. Nothing built to that at all. Plus Windham’s superplex came way too soon in the match. The finish wasn’t stupid like at Beach Blast, but it was out of nowhere. **¼
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Nasty Boys vs. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan – Broadstreet Bully Match – Special Referee: Former Philadelphia Flyers’ Dave Schultz
Cactus Jack is subbing for Dave Sullivan here, which works out great for Cactus and pretty much everyone watching this show. Kevin Sullivan had already spent time in ECW before returning to WCW, so the crowd is really into him. As for the Nasties, Sags is working through the match with a bad shoulder injury. Sags pairs off with Cactus while Knobbs and Sullivan go at it. All four men battle in the crowd on different sides of the ring. Sags and Cactus make their way up the entrance ramp as Cactus gets beat with a fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, Sullivan gives Knobbs a piledriver on the platform. Cactus and Sullivan take turns beating the Nasties with a trash can, leading to Cactus missing an elbow drop off the middle rope down on the floor on Knobbs and crashing on the trashcan. Chairs start flying and people get nailed. Cactus Clothesline to Brian Knobbs puts him inside the ring. Sullivan takes over with Knobbs while Cactus goes over to play with Sags. He sets up a table and hiptosses Cactus off the platform through the table that’s down on the floor! Sags jabs Cactus with a tripod, but Cactus trips Sags up and suplexes a table onto him! Sullivan and Knobbs make their way over to the side of the stage to meet the other two while Sags is beating Cactus with a trashcan lid. It appears that a fire extinguisher went off, but we’re not sure because the director was focused on Sullivan and Knobbs. They head back to the ring where Sags delivers his Flying Elbow Drop to Cactus. He looks to finish Cactus off with Dave Schultz’s hockey stick, but Dave says no and beats the crap out of Sags. Oh but it’s apparently okay if Cactus uses the stick. Nice one, Dave. He WHACKS Sags in the shoulder and covers for 1-2-3! We’ve got NEW WCW world tag team champs! (9:36) Another insane brawl on WCW PPV. I have no clue how these guys can do it so often. Post match, Sags continues to beat up Cactus Jack with the hockey stick and Maxx Payne makes the save with his guitar. Knobbs gets backed into Dave Sullivan who is on crutches by Jack, Payne, Kevin Sullivan, and Schultz. Knobbs doesn’t know what to do and gets KO’ed by one of Dave’s crutches. Cactus Jack wins his first major title and Sullivan wins his last of his career. Some people give this five stars, but Sullivan really didn’t do a whole lot. He basically held Knobbs at bay while Sags and Cactus did their thing. That’s what makes the Spring Stampede street fight a little better simply because Payne and Knobbs did execute some cool spots that added to the match like the fight over by the fake merchandise table for instance. ****¼
Sting vs. Vader (w/Harley Race) – Match for the vacant WCW International World Title
Bobby Heenan rejoins Tony at the commentary table. This was supposed to be Rude vs. Vader after Vader and Race cost Rude the belt back at Spring Stampede, but an injury he suffered in Japan against Sting ended his career for good. Both guys are real tentative to start. That is until Vader finally corners Sting and beats the ever living crap out of him. Sting retaliates and kicks Vader to the floor where he takes his mask off. Back in, Sting gives Vader a stalling suplex! Sting NO-SELLS a pair of avalanches, but gets nailed on the third one. Vader elbow drops Sting between the legs and talks some smack to him. Vader delivers not one, but TWO pump splashes and only gets two. He applies a leglock and turns Sting’s leg in ways it shouldn’t go, which just looks terribly painful. Sting fights out and hits a jumping elbow drop, but that took all of his energy. Vader is quickly back on top. Sting fights up again and clotheslines the ref by accident. Sting turns around into a chokeslam. Vader covers, but the ref is down. Meanwhile, Harley Race grabs a chair and hits Vader by accident. Sting hits Vader with a DDT and covers for 1-2-NO! Sting clotheslines Vader in and out of the ring. Sting tries the Stinger Splash, but Vader catches him in mid-air and slams him down. Race wants to see the Moonsault, so Vader heads up top and misses! Sting covers and Race comes off the top with his diving headbutt, but hits Vader by accident. Ref Randy Anderson shoves Race out of the ring as Sting hits Vader with a flying splash for 1-2-3! (13:54) Sting reclaims the WCW International world title. Not nearly as intense as their matches in years past, but still a good one. ***½
Final Thoughts: Another great PPV from WCW that still holds up well today. It’s the last one before Hogan came in and changed everything. Even though WCW had been talking about Hogan for months, this was the real end of an era for WCW historically speaking. Aside from that, its an easy thumbs up thanks to solid wrestling and a great crowd that really knows how to create an entertaining atmosphere.