Slamboree 1994 – Where In The World Did This Come From?

Slamboree 1994
Date: May 22, 1994
Location: Philadelphia Civic Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 4,000
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

This show is designed around being a Legends Reunion, meaning we have a lot of old guys having matches that few people want to see. We’re also having the WCW International Title match between Sting and Vader which wasn’t supposed to happen but I’ll get to that later.

This is the last show in 1994 for me so I’ll have a solid wall set up to go from as I try to get going on the WCW years. This is also the last show before Hogan’s arrival and complete turning around of the company from bad with young guys to bad with old guys, so take that into consideration. That being said let’s get to it.

Keep in mind that this is a month or two after Mania X and the ladder match, so that’s what they’re trying to match.

We start with the Legends to drive home the theme here. We have Ole Anderson, Masked Assassin, Penny Banner, Red Bastien, Tully Blanchard (big pop), The Crusher, Don Curtis, Terry Funk (not here), Verne Gagne, Hard Boiled Haggerty, Larry Hennig, Killer Kowalski, Ernie Ladd, Wahoo McDaniel, Angelo Mosca, Harley Race (great heat), Ray Stevens, Lou Thesz, Johnny Weaver, Mr. Wrestling II and Tommy Young. They’re just introduced and nothing more. This was in Philly, a WWF town, so few cared. Gene throws it to the wrong guy as Jesse isn’t there.

Bockwinkle wants Sting out here. Sting is ROCKING a red suit. Not bad at all. So Sting lost the title to Rude in Japan (remember this is the International Title, the replacement for the NWA Title which was withdrawn from WCW in September) but in that match Rude broke his back and had to retire.

Because of this they said that a belt shot from Rude and coming off the top meant he should have been disqualified so Sting is still champion. Sting says he lost and wants to earn it against Vader tonight and the match is made.

TV Title: Johnny B. Badd vs. Steve Austin

Hat Guy is here, apparently cheating on Paulie. Well they’re improving here: only 13 minutes before the first match starts. Austin was more or less the hottest thing in the world at this point so of course he would be jobbing to Duggan two months into the Hogan regime. And three minutes in we have a sleeper. Badd counters with a jawbreaker which is amusing for some reason. Sherri is at ringside which would start the dumbest story in history as she loved Parker after taking a shot to the head.

At least Heenan is sober here. They’re doing a technical style here and it’s working pretty well. We hit a more basic style and it’s working fine. Badd could go at times, especially when he had a good opponent and Austin would certainly qualify as one of those. We hit a rest hold twelve minutes in. That’s far more like it.

You can tell ECW has been around as the chants are going insane with chants. They have the lights dimmed to hide the fact that the upper areas and a good deal of the lower areas are empty. After some heel interference by the manager we crank it up and the fans get into it really fast. The bell rings early on a two count so everyone is confused. Badd hits his top rope sunset flip for two. He goes for a belly to back but Austin kicks his foot off the ropes for no apparent reason.

They botch the heck out of the pin as I think Austin was supposed to reverse into something and use the tights but it looked like Badd just laid there and let himself get pinned. Good match but a bad ending.

Rating: B-. They went hard and fast out there and it worked rather well. The ending hurt it a lot but other than that this was fine for an opener. Austin would hold the belt a bit longer until Steamboat took it from him. Badd was getting laid by the opening spot as he was in it for like a year.

Wahoo McDaniel and Ernie Ladd are here. Wahoo admits to selling Indian blankets. Remember, this is in ECW’s town. Wahoo looks more confused than Stu Hart usually did.

Dusty is in Hollywood, as you can tell by the really big sign behind him. Apparently he’s doing a promo in the middle of a field/hill or something. He says nothing at all.

Tully Blanchard vs. Terry Funk

Blanchard comes out to what would become Jericho’s face music. There’s something wrong with the sound as you literally cannot hear the announcer. And Funk, who has been missing all night, comes out to something sounding like a slapped together Magnificent Seven theme. Now keep in mind this is in the….GORDON SOLIE IS ANNOUNCING!!! Anyway, they decide to have Funk in ECW’s town. Guess who the INSANELY over face is in this match.

Funk stands in front of Hat Guy. And of course we start on the floor. See, now unlike Heroes of Wrestling, Blanchard is in solid shape here. Also he’s not completely obsolete anymore. They haven’t been in the ring yet. Solie just throws out that he was in Miami back in 75 when Funk won the belt. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to crack open a beer with him and listen to him tell stories?

I think this is no rules which would make more sense here. Funk piledrives Blanchard through a piece of wood, which isn’t as great as it sounds, and Blanchard’s head comes nowhere near it. The fans chant WE WANT BLOOD. This is an intense match which is impressive as the old guys are having a more interesting match than the others were. There goes the referee of course and it’s chair time.

Blanchard is bleeding. Funk tries to piledrive Tully from the middle rope onto the chair but he winds up just landing on the chair so it looked like a really messed up powerbomb which is likely best in the end. Tully hits the referee for the DQ but I think it’s just a double DQ. The fans certainly isn’t pleased. Funk takes Hat Guy’s hat to end it.

Rating: B+. Fun. That’s the only way to describe this match. These two went out there and had fun and that’s all you can ask for. Yes that rating is likely high but this match was a blast. I can’t ask for more than that from a match with no point other than having two legends. The wrestling was quite good here too.

Flair, in a Hawaiian shirt, is feuding with Robert Parker’s stable and he’s got a mystery opponent tonight who is 6’7 and a former world champion. Considering the only person on the roster at that point fitting that description was Barry Windham, the opponent was obvious to everyone with a brain. Flair is the actual world champion here and not the International Champion. Yeah it was stupid back then too.

Larry Zbyszko vs. Steven Regal

Regal is TV Champion here but this is non title. Regal had been insulting America on Saturday Night and Larry got tired of it and punched him. There’s an anti-WWF sign in the crowd, saying WCW dominates WWF. At this time, not really but whatever. Both were rather uninteresting. Apparently Regal reads books on how butterflies fly. Why does Heenan know that? We’ve walked around for about a minute and a half and now we get contact.

It was a leg trip and it leads to more stalling. And then we repeat that. Ok seriously we’ve had three minutes go by and there have been two leg trips. Freaking DO SOMETHING! And now Regal is killing time on the floor. We hit some decent chain wrestling that lasts all of 10 seconds as I guess that’s just too much for them. Regal’s face is better than just about anyone else’s ever. There’s some great technical stuff in there but the constant stalling and standing around is hurting it a lot for me.

Regal uses a move that we would refer to as a Tazmission, which naturally gets a BORING chant from the ECW crowd. Regal goes for a butterfly suplex but Larry backdrops him over and gets a pin out of it. They would switch the title the following Saturday, so this being non-title makes something close to sense. You have to remember Saturday Night was like their Nitro at the time.

Rating: B-. This was solid from an in ring standpoint, but the stalling was freaking STUPID. It sucked the life out of this for me as it was like having commercials almost. It’s a standard thing for both guys, but that doesn’t make it right.

Funk is in the back and says he didn’t come out earlier because he’s THE legend, not a legend. He talks about Philly and clearly wants to say ECW but can’t do it. Funk isn’t leaving apparently.

Gordon Solie is here to induct people into the Hall of Fame. Lou Thesz is here to give out the plaques. He gets booed. That’s rather pitiful. WCW refused to think this one out apparently. In a town like Philly, WHY WOULD YOU TALK ABOUT LEGENDS???

They do an actual presentation thing for everyone complete with presentations and clips and music. Solie is a guy you could just listen to all day. He gets a nice reaction but people aren’t sure whether to boo or cheer.

The Crusher is next. He gets a small but positive reaction.

Third is Ernie Ladd, who isn’t even in a suit. Always thought he was overrated.

Apparently there’s an actual Hall of Fame in Atlanta. WWE needs that.

Next is Masked Assassin #2. Something you might not know: two things actually. He owned Deep South Wrestling and also is the father of one Nick Patrick. More or less they say he never did anything but he was around for a long time.

Fifth is Ole Anderson. Now keep an eye on him: he might try to kill the company on the way to the ring. Don’t underestimate him. He could pull it off.

Finally is Dick the Bruiser who they more or less say is their dead wrestler of the year. This guy was legit scary looking.

The fans were cordial at least. Fifteen minutes was a bit too long though.

Colonel Parker says nothing at all.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck

It’s a bullrope match where there’s a cowbell on it and you win by pinfall. I tend to hate these matches, and the participants aren’t helping. This feud went on forever and it never was entertaining. More or less this is an excuse for Dustin to be able to wear jeans in a match. The fans want Funk and they let everyone know about it. Dustin works on the knee as I wonder why in the world Buck kept a job for so long.

And Buck ties Dustin to the post for no apparent reason. Apparently Dustin has a small circle in his pocket. Make your own jokes. This more or less consists of let’s beat on each other with a bell and have no one care at all for almost 15 minutes because my daddy was booker forever and I kept a job for a long time because of him. The fans want blood and Funk. A heel mistake and a bell to the head ends this. And Funk finally comes down to beat on Dustin.

Rating: D+. Do they think anyone cares about Rhodes vs. Funk at this point? It was a big feud in the SEVENTIES. This of course went on for months after this and no one cared. It lasted almost another year and never once was interesting but then again it’s WCW so there we are.

Red Bastien and Ray Stevens are here. I don’t care either. Bastien trained Warrior and Sting.

WCW World Title: Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham

Windham is a mystery guy but it wasn’t shocking to anyone at all with a brain. Parker comes out to what would become Arn’s music. Yep, no one is surprised and there’s no way he’s winning. Buffer does the big match intro and gets the referee’s name wrong. They mention that Flair won the title from Windham which is true but it’s not this title, nor is it the way they imply. He won with a figure four pin. Yeah that’s rather odd indeed.

Jesse is on commentary now instead of Bobby for no apparent reason. Figure four is put on. This is their usual boring match for this time period. They used to have 90 minute matches that went to a draw. They talk about what a fighting champion he’s been, which was thrown out the window so he could turn heel and job to Hogan twice. Hogan more or less threw out everything that had been going on and made it a lot worse without delivering anything for about two years.

That couldn’t happen today though? Nah of course not. Parker goes down thank goodness. Flair GETS THE MOVE OFF THE TOP AND GETS THE WIN! HOLY CRAP! It’s a cross body in case you were wondering.

Rating: D+. This was just boring. No one thought Windham would win or even had a prayer, period. That almost always cripples a match and it certainly did right here. He was just out of shape at this point and no one cared, which is why this fit so freaking perfectly I think.

Don Curtis and the Crusher talk to Gene. I’d bet less than 100 people in there know who Curtis is.

Dave Schultz, a big time hockey fighter, is refereeing the tag title match.

WCW Tag Titles: Cactus Jack/Kevin Sullivan vs. Nasty Boys

It’s a Broadstreet Bully match, meaning hardcore. Nasty Boys are the heel champions here. Naturally this is just a big brawl which is what the Nastys were good at. Now THEY would have been good for ECW. It’s good that Foley is here as he’s the only one with a good deal of wrestling talent. In a very funny and smart spot, Cactus comes at Knobbs with a trash can and Knobbs gets his hands up. Jack’s solution: throw it at his feet.

That’s thinking as you go which is what made Foley great. They’re trying to top Spring Stampede I think but Sullivan’s suckiness is preventing that. Sags gets a table to a HUGE pop. To keep things NASTY, he gets tired carrying it. This is nowhere near as intense though and there’s a lot more walking around doing very little.

In a nice finish, Schultz does his standard thing of pulling the shirt over the other guy’s head and punches him as Cactus hits him with a hockey stick for the pin and new champions. Maxx Payne hits Sags with a guitar for general purposes.

Rating: B-. This was a good fight, but it’s the sequel to a great fight. This felt like it was trying to be a great fight. That being said, it was still very fun. Jack vs. the Nasty Boys was fun as Jack was just as insane as they were but he could think. This was fun and again, since this is the only match like this all night, it stands out far more and looks better than it would if there had been this almost in every match, ala ECW.

Gene is with Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne. Holy crap indeed. I’d pay to see them go at it. Gagne more or less says he hated the tag match and that it wasn’t wrestling. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Thesz talk. He says it’s not his style but it was fine. Nothing wrong with that at all.

WCW International Title: Vader vs. Sting

This falls under the category of matches that it’s really hard to mess up. The title is vacant actually here so Sting could leave with an extra title reign. At least the explanation made sense. Do you really need an explanation on this one? It’s Sting vs. Vader for typing out loud. They do their usual greatness with Sting starting fast but then Vader just beats the tar out of him.

This is a rare occasion where it was pure formula stuff but they made it work every time and to me that boiled down to one thing, and it’s what I’ve always said makes a match great: you didn’t know who was going to win. Think about Hogan vs. Flair or Hogan vs. DiBiase or any other big face or heel rivalry that isn’t considered great. The thing is, most of the time you know who is going to win. Now take a look at Rock vs. HHH or Rock vs. Austin.

The winner was much harder to predict, which made it much more fun and interesting. As for this, it’s your traditional good match with Sting doing a lot of stuff to hang with Vader, namely making Vader punch himself out, ala Rocky vs. Clubber Lang. Finally Sting gets out of the way when Vader goes for more offense than he should. A missed Race headbutt and a big splash, and keep in mind that Sting is the only guy of his size that could rival Van Dam for leaping ability, from the top ends it and that ends the show.

Rating: B. Dude, it’s Sting and Vader. This is by definition a good match. See what happens when you give talented guys time on the card and a chance to just go out there and have fun? YOU GET A GOOD MATCH!!! Learn this WCW.

Overall Rating: B+. This was a VERY fun show and I had a great time with it. There isn’t an actual bad match on the card which is always a plus. They thought this one out and it came out well. The right match ended it as they knew Sting’s match would be better than Flair’s. Of course the good wrestling would go out the window in a month when Hogan showed up and changed everything but that’s Hogan for you. Good show and worth seeing.

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