Bash at the Beach 1994 – Hulkamania Is Here! Anybody Care?

Bash at the Beach 1994
Date: July 17, 1994
Location: Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida
Attendance: 14,000
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Jesse VenturaHulk Hogan. That’s all that even remotely matters here. Tonight is his debut and he’s already in the world title match. I figured since at this moment it’s 9:38 PM on Friday January 1st, 2010, we might take a look at Hogan’s debut with the company. Note, hopefully I’ll have Fall Brawl 94 up tonight or tomorrow as well. Read the two of these and Halloween Havoc 94 for the Hogan trilogy, as the midcard and lower card mysteriously change from guys that you see featured here into guys that tend to get jobs when Hogan is around and in control. Think of this as a preview for Monday and what might happen when Hogan takes over. Let’s get to it.The intro is all about Hogan vs. Flair. Literally nothing else is even mentioned. They do say the letters WWF though which very much surprises me. The announcers and Gene talk about the only thing on the card that matters. To be fair, there are 6 matches on the card and only one looks good to a smark like myself. This was a very bad time for the company as nothing of note was going on. Oh and Shaq is here for no apparent reason.Some guy with a bad mullet named Daron Norwood sings the national anthem. WHERE DO THEY FIND THESE FREAKING PEOPLE???We see Hogan’s debut on Saturday Night (remember no Nitro for over a year yet) where Sherri debuted as well. Flair went after the knee to set up the very old school angle that actually was pretty good. And here’s Mr. T. to fill in our old WWF reference quota. Sting was hurt here also and can’t wrestle here tonight so Johnny B. Badd gets his TV Title shot. Eight minutes into the show we’re going to the ring.

TV Title: Johnny B. Badd vs. Steven Regal

Yes it’s William Regal. Badd is of course Marc Mero as a gay man without ever saying he’s gay. He has two confetti guns as Heenan messes up the name of the belt thinking this is a US Title match. Regal is somehow even more obnoxious at this point. Badd is fast if nothing else. The speed here is good and I notice something: Tony knows a lot of the names of moves. Like, a lot of moves.

This is the same poor schmuck that couldn’t tell that it was Kevin Nash, who was about 9 inches taller than Sting, pretending to be Sting. That makes me like Tony a lot more. Maybe he wasn’t as idiotic as he was made out to be in the NWO era. I kept thinking during that time that he couldn’t possibly be this inept and I think I’m right. Regal is holding his shoulder and tries a walk out like a truly weak heel.

Thankfully that doesn’t happen and Heenan once again has heard a lot of people talking about the various big storylines in the company. Have you ever met anyone that does that, especially at an airport? I get the idea as they’re trying to make wrestling seem like something a lot of people are into, but it still makes me chuckle at times. Some celebrity from Hogan’s TV show is here and I’ve never heard of him at all.

Badd hits his punch on Regal but it knocks him to the floor. They do something resembling a pinfall reversal sequence after a sunset flip by Badd to give Regal the pin. Johnny punches his manager afterwards.

Rating: B-. Not bad. It was fast paced and had some decent technical stuff in there, but the glitter and confetti in the ring just got annoying fast. Badd got the title a month later so I would have gone with it here to give the fans a nice little pop. I like the match but not the booking.

Gene is in the ring and introduces Antonio Inoki who is the equivalent of a Senator in Japan. They give him a plaque for recognition of his contributions to wrestling. Regal, covered in confetti and glitter, is upset that he’s not getting one. Antonio takes the jacket off and chases him off. Well what in the heck was the point of that? I get that Antonio is a legend, but this went nowhere after this. I don’t get this one at all.

Actually scratch that, as they had a match at the Clash of the Champions a month later. Ok, hang on a second. Inoki is retired and a Senator, so they bring him out to fight Regal and beat him while Regal holds a title. And people wonder why this company isn’t around anymore.

Jesse Ventura has replaced Heenan on the commentary for no reason at all.

Vader vs. Guardian Angel

I’ve explained the Guardian Angel in the Halloween Havoc review. It’s Big Boss Man and that’s really all you need to know. This was a LONG feud that never actually seemed to have a point to it. They feuded for probably four months or so and I don’t think Vader ever lost a match to him. Race is Vader’s manager here. Vader busts out a SPINWHEEL KICK. What in the world was that???

Boss Man powerbombs him and let the no selling begin. Vader’s mask is ripped off and with one arm Boss Man slams him. That was impressive looking. Hank Aaron, Inoki and Bill Shawn, the president of WCW, are all in the audience. Aaron works for Turner so he’s there as a business guy and not a fan. WCW couldn’t get a celebrity that big there based on their own merits of course. Shaw…just no.

To the shock of no one, this is just a big fight. Vader actually goes to a leg lock and Tony thinks he’s sending a message to Inoki. What message? You need to work to pass leg lock legislation? This turns into a very fun brawl. Boss Man somehow takes a Vader Bomb and the Vadersault and gets up. Yeah nothing weird at all about that is there? Race comes in and we get a ref bump.

He hands Vader a nightstick and Boss Man gets it, but doesn’t use it. The referee sees him holding it though and that’s the DQ. The idea is that Boss Man had turned in his nightstick and handcuffs to become a Guardian Angel. The idea of that real life group is they don’t use weapons at all. The story is that Boss Man won’t use them but is being tempted to.

He eventually gave up and used it at Halloween Havoc but that’s another story. The problem was unless you watched Spring Stampede or lived in a city like New York where the Guardian Angels existed, you didn’t get the story because it was only mentioned one time. It’s a good idea but it needed to be better executed.

Rating: B. This wasn’t a good match, but it was fun. The charisma was all there and that’s all you need a lot of the time. A lot of people that have seen this will likely disagree on the grading but still, I liked it and had fun with it. It’s not supposed to be a five star classic and it wasn’t. You can’t grade all matches the same.

Jesse picks Flair for later on.

Mike Tenay is doing interviews on the hotline. I didn’t know he was working for the company back then.

We recap the feud between the Rhodes and Funk families. Terry was feuding with Dustin and called out Dusty. Dusty was retired and so Terry decided to beat up Dustin instead. Funk teamed up with Robert Parker’s Stud Stable to beat on Rhodes. Since Dusty was nowhere to be found, Dustin needed a partner. So what does the young man decide to do?

He asks ARN FREAKING ANDERSON. Yes, the same Arn Anderson that HATED Dusty for the majority of the 80s. Yes, the same Arn Anderson that was one of the dirtiest wrestlers of all time. Yes, the same Arn Anderson that is ARN ANDERSON. If you can’t see the ending of this from a mile away, you’re an idiot.

We get a ridiculous recap of a match from before the show with radio show hosts as managers or something. It’s crap and pointless, making it pointless crap.

Terry Funk/Bunkhouse Buck vs. Dustin Rhodes/Arn Anderson

Rhodes needs someone to pop up, preferably a midget in a white top hat because they rule, to slap him in the head and shout  ARE YOU CRAZY??? I honestly can’t get over how stupid this is. Ventura throws out that he had a one hour draw with Funk in 76. I would love to see that actually and I’m not kidding on that. Dustin starts and he needs to be given an idiot of the millennium award.

Funk just beats the living heck out of Dustin for awhile and I love it. You have to teach these idiots things like that. Funk goes over the top which is usually a DQ but no one sees it. Seriously, what was the point of that rule? Who decided that was a good idea? It’s just freaking stupid and accomplished nothing at all, and it was a rule in a ton of companies. I think only the WWF didn’t do it of all the major companies.

There’s still a ton of confetti on the floor and it looks stupid. Note, Anderson hasn’t been in the match yet and hasn’t actually hit anyone yet. Anderson comes in but only to break something up and again: no contact with any heel. Both Dustin and Funk go down and Funk looks like he’s trying to nip up but that’s just him convulsing like he tends to do.

Dustin makes his comeback and beats the heck out of both guys, proving that Arn wasn’t needed at all but we need to make Dustin look stupid so he can look good later. Tony says that it’s a one man war which is what Dustin wanted which is why he got Anderson to team with him. Tony, you make granite look smart.

There’s the tag and the universe makes sense again as Arn drills him which the BRILLIANT production team completely misses because we need a quick shot of Meng standing there and doing nothing. Anderson puts Funk on top of him for the pin.

They all work on Dustin’s arm and mess it up. They say Anderson shows his true colors with a classic Anderson move. We finally get to see it on a replay, but now we don’t get to see Meng! How will we live??? They actually wonder if he was bought off. HE’S ARN ANDERSON YOU LUNKHEAD!

Rating: C. This wasn’t so much a match as it was all angle. The announcers trying to sound all shocked is just funny. Did anyone watch wrestling in the late 80s? This wasn’t a match, but the angle wasn’t any good either as it was so painfully predictable but whatever. There would be WarGames next month and more matches after that because WarGames wasn’t a good enough blowoff I guess.

Tony talks to Hank Aaron as Bobby is back to the broadcast booth. He’s a nice guy but doesn’t pick Heenan or Tony. If there’s ever been a nice guy in sports, that’s it right there.

Flair cuts a completely insane promo as he can see his career falling apart because of Hoagn. We’ll ignore that they’re using this for Hogan’s first match with the company and we got Hogan vs. Beefcake at Starrcade but whatever.

US Title: Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin

In a month, Austin will be jobbing the title to Duggan in 27 seconds and Steamboat will be gone. Yeah taking Austin, who is cursing a lot around this time, and Steamboat who is still good in the ring and replacing them with a WWF jobber to the stars that was one of Hogan’s friends had NOTHING to do with Hogan. Neither does Orndorff or Beecake getting pushes. Not a thing at all.

Steamboat is more or less Shawn Michaels at this point, as he’s much older and a title means nothing to him as his name is far more than enough to get him by and over with the fans and he can wrestle with anybody and get a good match out of them. It’s so weird hearing these two talk about Austin. That name just sounds wrong coming from them. Heenan says he went back to Hogan’s dressing room and said there had to be 500 people there.

Now this is stupid for one reason or another. First of all, I don’t think WCW had 500 employees in a year, and two, the fire marshal could shut the show down if that’s the case. Third, HOW BIG IS HIS DRESSING ROOM? It’s not like he’s Dusty Rhodes and his gut needs a building to hold it. Austin has Dragon Slayer on the back of his tights. Steamboat just kind of falls out of the ring. It looked very odd.

You know, I find it amusing that Bischoff said that Austin was unmarketable as he was. He’s cursing, lying, cheating and wearing black. This is just amusing. The fans boo the arm work. SCREW THEM. This is why wrestling died. The fans weren’t booing when Hogan was nowhere in sight, but we put Hogan in there and all of a sudden psychology and actual wrestling go out the window, because we can’t have anyone under 6’5 and under 275 have a good match right?

We can’t have a guy wrestle a 45 minute match or anything like that. Tony and Heenan talk about seeing Flair and Steamboat going for an hour or an hour and a half and I drool over the thought. It’s very sad to realize that probably 75% of the fans in the world today would call Flair vs. Steamboat and their trilogy of epics in 89 a boring series.

Today there’s a complete hatred of psychology and a disdain for anything that goes on longer than ten minutes or so because the fans can’t keep their interest in a show that long. Take this match for example. It’s been psychology based and mainly about them not being able to stay in control. It’s been a great match but of course the fans are booing it because it’s slow paced and it’s building to a climax and is (allegedly) making Austin into a big deal.

That of course doesn’t happen because Jim Duggan needed to get a push and a three month run with the US Title. Why? DO NOT QUESTION HULK HOGAN! Austin hits the STUN Gun, his finisher, for two and then tries to throw Steamboat over the top, which would be a DQ, but it’s Ricky Steamboat so he skins the cat and is back inside.

That and the nip up are just amazing moves to pull off. Austin sets for a tombstone and it’s reversed which is reversed which is reversed and Steamboat gets it. The fans are INTO THIS now. See what happens when you HAVE SOME PATIENCE??? They somehow crank the speed up and Steamboat hits a cross body and Austin rolls through and the ropes get him the pin and keep the title on him. The last four minutes or so were freaking amazing.

Rating: A-. AWESOME stuff here, as they went back and forth for twenty minutes and somehow cranked it up about ten notches for the finish. This right here is an example of what WCW was about before Hogan showed up: two guys out there with a good amount of time having a great wrestling match.

Hmm, now where have I heard about matches like these before? Matches where they start at the bell and go hard all the way to the end. You might say it’s action that goes for the total match with no stops at all. Yeah that can’t happen though. WE WANT LEGDROPS AND YELLOW TIGHTS DANG IT!!!

We go to the back and see the Stud Stable celebrating. Arn says Dustin had it coming. Yep, that’s true.

Tag Titles: Pretty Wonderful vs. Kevin Sullivan/Cactus Jack

So, we’re pushing Orndorff, a Hogan friend, over Cactus Jack, because Orndorff at 45 is worth more and has a brighter future than Cactus Jack who is 32 here and still healthy. We can’t have people cutting edgy and cool promos because we need to use the same ones we used in the 80s so we don’t have to actually come up with something on our own, so let’s just get rid of Jack because he’s young and popular and over and talented and people want to watch him.

We don’t have time for that. WE HAVE BEEFCAKE!!! My freaking goodness Paul Roma sucks. We see a shot of Cactus with no teeth because I guess they were knocked out or something. Next of course he bites Orrdorff. I hate WCW at times. So let’s see. We have a young guy that is popular but doesn’t wrestle a standard style. What’s the solution to discredit him?

Let’s put him in the ring with Paul Roma and a guy in his mid 40s with one good arm and then blame him for how much it sucked! I wish I was making that up, but they gave these guys more time than Steamboat and Austin. They actually asked Paul Roma and Paul Orndorff to wrestle for twenty minutes and expected it to be good. I mean seriously, who thought this was going to work?

Why is Orndorff on the roster anymore here? This is what killed WCW in my eyes: the old guys that were friends of Hogan getting pushes while the future, as in Austin and Jack getting depushed and let go because Hogan can’t go at their level and the show would have been stolen from him if they had stayed. ANYWAY after twenty minutes of this Jack hits the double arm but Roma holds his foot down and Orndorff pops up and covers him, allowing another old finish to end it.

Rating: D. And that’s only because Foley is my favorite wrestler of all time and I won’t fail him. This was just moronic as you know they could tell this would be bad but they did it anyway. Not only did the Pauls hold the titles but they beat ANOTHER young team to get them back and then Roma and Orndorff just faded away like they were supposed to, but not before making Cactus look terrible and having him head to ECW along with Austin.

And now let’s bring out all the people that have nothing to do with the match but we’re bringing them out anyway because we had six matches on the card and we really need to fill in time since we had to have the tag titles go 20 minutes so that Roma and Orndorff can look good since they’re the future of the company boy howdy.. We have Nick Bockwinkle and Shaq and that’s it.

WCW World Title: Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan

Again, they’re actually doing this in his first match with the company. Mr. T. is with Hogan for absolutely no apparent reason. Hogan’s arms have shrunk insanely now to the point that he looks like he MIGHT weigh 260. Hogan drops Flair then Flair shoves him back to the corner but that doesn’t last because Hogan has to dominate all. I really can’t believe this is his first match in the company.

The stupidity of that astounds me to this day. The fans are way into this of course, which is impressive as they didn’t really build to it at all. Naturally for about five minutes or so, the world champion who I believe held it for over a year three times or so is destroyed. Ah thank goodness: we’re doing the Flair formula and not the Hogan one, although I have a bad feeling it’s going to be a hybrid of the two instead.

Flair works on the bad knee and takes control while trying in vain for the submission that will never come. The announcers are of course biased here which can get a bit annoying but it’s something you get used to over the years. Sherri and Hart interfere a bunch and nothing comes of it. Throughout the match Hogan’s length of time between matches grows from about 14 months to three years.

Don’t you just love the over the top aspects of WCW’s commentary? Sherri pulls the referee out because we need more time and to go over the top here to make sure that this has the “big match feel” to it or something like that. Referee number two comes out to check on the figure four which Flair of course puts on the wrong leg. Naturally that’s not the ending either. Hogan Hulks Up and I wonder why Flair doesn’t run here. I’ve never gotten that.

When Hogan is up and going insane, why not just hit the floor and wait about three minutes? Heenan says this is the greatest match either of them have ever had. It’s not even the best match they’ve both been in at the same time that Heenan has called. Sherri misses a splash and Hogan puts him in the figure four. Flair is all like boy please and just moves Hogan’s leg off of his which I don’t think was supposed to be on camera.

Mr. T. grabs Sherri to validate his paycheck. An illegal object nails Hogan and he of course no sells it. Hulk Up time and the usual finishes. Naturally Hogan, the new world champion wouldn’t wrestle at the next PPV. Why should he do that? We have the NASTY BOYS to main event the show. Heenan’s recapping of it is great as he breaks into tears. He came to WCW to get away from Hogan and he’s world champion all over again. Bobby, that’s two ham sandwiches I owe you now.

Rating: B-. This was fine. Flair and Hogan usually put on good matches, but did they need to do this in the first match? Imagine the money they would make from having Flair cheat to win here and hold the title until maybe STARRCADE, you know, the BIGGEST SHOW OF THE YEAR. Naturally we can’t do that though because we need to have Beefcake get a title shot there while Flair doesn’t even wrestle.

Hogan beats Flair in his traditional fashion here, showing that even though he hasn’t wrestled in over a year (or three depending on who you ask apparently) he can beat Ric Flair, the world heavyweight champion, despite interference and foreign objects. Sure, why not.

Overall Rating: C. I’ll go with right in the middle here as other than the US Title there’s nothing worth making sure you see. The main event is pretty good but it’s nothing masterful at all. I really don’t like the booking here but that’s Hogan for you so what are you going to do?

The next month’s show would be far worse but that doesn’t surprise me at all as the Nastys, the Rhodeses, Bunkhouse Buck and Robert Parker were in the main event. Yeah that’s right. Like I said, see the US Title match but that’s about all that’s worth seeing here. Hogan’s debut isn’t much at all.

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