Sunday, October 28, 2012
Scott Watches WCW Slamboree 1994
The legendary greats of this show weren't my legendary greats. My legendary greats are the guys who are "today's WCW superstars."
Pro rasslin is a hell of a thing. For a lot of my adolescent years, it was the thing that most made sense to me, while most things did not. And now I'm 30 years old and still, in times when most things don't make sense, or I feel sort of like I'm losing track of who I am, or whatever the fuck, there's always pro wrestling. More specifically, there's always the comfortable pro wrestling of my youth. And nothing is more comfortable to me than WCW.
WCW's entire run, from the time it very clearly started being WCW and not the NWA (which happened before that became a clean split, too), was there for my childhood and into when I started figuring out at least a little bit. When the company went under in 2001 and Vince McMahon bought them for a song, he killed something that I had come to love. That's not rasslin fan Vince hatred, either. It had to happen by that point. WCW needed to die, and I probably needed it to die. I was just turning 19 years old. There was a whole great, big world out there that needed more of my attention. And Vince monopolizing big-time pro wrestling in the United States -- which eventually destroyed the very shape and foundation and most of my love of This Great Sport, because it became Fashion by Vince instead of the pro wrestling I knew and loved -- was something I probably needed.
But there are times when I can't fall asleep, or my job is wearing on me, or it's just slow, and I don't feel like absorbing more music or TV or movies, and I'm tired of spending all my money at bars, especially since I'm married so it's not like I'm getting any cooze out of being there, that I need something to do. And this shit is always there, waiting to be picked up wherever I left off. And it's sort of, in this case, a chance to go back 18 years and experience the same things all over again. Old movies I've seen 100 times don't do that, and neither do TV shows, even The Sopranos. Old albums don't bring back memories and feelings this way. It's all the magical, monumentally stupid world of pro wrestling, a bunch of old guys, sad guys, dead guys, and childhood heroes, flickering on my laptop screen in a shitty quality bunch of MP4 files I downloaded from YouTube, because I can't find this show anywhere else, and before watching this, I found out that all my favorite YouTube uploaders have been copyright banned, for the simple crime of uploading a bunch of shit that, let's face it, nobody really fucking cares about at this point anyway. I understand copyright laws; I just don't understand punishing a bunch of nerds who can't sleep at 4am central, and need something to watch. They're not harming anyone.
Slamboree 1994 was held on May 22 at the Civic Center in Philadelphia. Gene is here, legends are here, Tony and the Brain are here, and Nick Bockwinkel is here with the WCW International title belt, and he wants Sting to come out. Something about Rick Rude in Japan. So Sting holds the title, despite that Rude won it there, because Rude cheated. But Sting doesn't want the title. Not this way. He'll face Vader later for the belt.
United States Heavyweight Title: Johnny B. Badd vs Steve Austin (c) (w/Col. Parker)
The familiar Philly mutants are booing Steve Austin. Tony says, "They're a tough crowd, they love their professional wrestling..." Austin's jumpy for this one for whatever reason. Not like, legit nervous, just goofier than usual, up for this one it seems. Lotsa matworkery. Sensuous Sherri is looking on from a ringside seat. I guess she had to buy a ticket. I feel like Johnny B. Badd took his name too seriously. On a more serious note, look, I know he's Steve Austin and I love him, too, but I feel like Stunning Steve has gotten a bit complacent at this point. I know what this promotion needs to pick it up from the great matches and the good ones I have time to complain about. THE HONKY TONK FUCK MAN. GOD IT'S ALL GONNA HAPPEN
This match is OK but I can't get into it. Terry Funk mention for the intro angle crap so they nicely foreshadow that mattering to ruin any surprise later. Austin wins with a shitty finish that I don't care enough to figure out.
Ernie Ladd and Wahoo McDaniel are with Mean Gene. Wahoo does not deny Heenan's accusation that he sells blankets on the corner. Now we shoot it to Dusty Rhodes in Hollywood. See he's busy in Hollywood. See, look:
Yeah, see, told you. Hollywood.
ECW chant from the crowd and Funk goes into the front row to hang out with Hat Guy. Gordon Solie has joined commentary, replacing Schiavone for this match. Funk throws a jacket at Blanchard, who jumps to the floor and they are FIGHTIN'. Fuck yeah! Just smackin the piss out of each other! YEAH, DADDY! Crutches get thrown into the ring by Funk and Nick Patrick removes them. Atomic drop on the floor. ON THE FLOOR! Back in and Funk gets a reverse neckbreaker. Funk is a raving lunatic laying into Blanchard on the rope. "You son of a bitch!"
This match kicks ass. This is no old timer's match. Funk tears off a chunk of wood, hits Blanchard with it, and then piledrives him through it. Heenan's having a time. DDT on the ramp. Nick Patrick threatens to count them out. Headbutt. "We want blood" chant. Funk with another piledriver in the ring, and Blanchard is just getting his ass kicked now. Funk heads up top and misses his moonsault, giving Blanchard a chance to get back in it. Blanchard really laying in kicks to the gut, and then we wind up all turned around and Nick Patrick gets laid out. Funk with a chair now and sets it up in a seated position near the corner. Funk setting him up for a piledriver from the second rope, but it doesn't happen as Tully either pulls an audible and tells Funk to fuck himself, or they just don't get it done. Blanchard lays out the referee on purpose this time, and Funk's got his branding iron. Well, the match ends on a DQ or something, who gives a fuck what it was. This match was awesome. Funk back to ringside and he takes Hat Guy's hat, then drops an elbow on it and headbutts it a few times, and then chews on it. Funk scares Heenan.
Jesse Ventura is saying stuff, and mostly it's TAGTEAMMATCH! TAGTEAMMATCH! Ric Flair and Col. Parker have beef, and Ric Flair talks about. They're still trying to sell you on Hulk Hogan being in cahoots with Parker. Flair puts over Terry Funk getting "back in the door" as a side note. "Philadelphia, you like it hot, you like it heavy, you like it dirty." Ventura offers the world's worst "Woo!"
Regal holds the WCW TV title, but this is a non-title event. A grudge match. Larry Zbyszko, sticking up for the good old US of A. The working man. The common man. That's fitting, I guess, as there are few legendary wrestlers as common as Larry Zbyszko. Heenan talks about how intelligent Zbyszko is, how he read War and Peace in half an hour, reads books about why butterflies fly, and how he's like a professor at Berkeley, and how he's an eccentric, like Howard Hughes. It's really fuckin weird. Heenan is just all over. "He hasn't wrestled in a while. Or maybe he does. With a sparring mate. But that doesn't prepare you for the ring with Regal." Take a play off, Bob.
We start with the usual Larry slowness, but this time it's used as embarrassment for Regal, and Zbyszko is great in this role. What would be boring pace-wise if Larry were a heel as usual, is great with Regal playing surprised/outmatched goof against the veteran. Randy Anderson sort of makes Larry cheating by grabbing the ropes on an abdominal stretch look like shit, because he very clearly can see, as we all can, and it sort of kills the effect of Larry out-cheating Regal.
In the crowd, "Sensuous" Sherri takes notes. Regal takes over and gets mean, tiring of the old man's bullshit. This gets terrific for a moment as they lay into one another, and then Larry grabs a sleeper. Zbyszko wins with a butterfly suplex kinda out of nowhere. Regal is livid.
Gene talks to Funk about Terry Funk no-showing the legends showcase earlier in the night. He talks about hardcore wrestling. Funk cuts one of his great rambling promos. Basically he threatens Dustin Rhodes without saying "Dustin Rhodes."
Gordon Solie and the Hall of Fame inductions. It's good. Then we go to Jesse and Col. Parker, and we keep teasing Hogan. It's not Hogan.
WELL THEY CALL HIM THE NATURAL
Bullrope Match: Dustin Rhodes vs Bunkhouse Buck
Doesn't take too long before the fans chant "we want blood." Given their great Spring Stampede bloodbath, I do too. Instead we get atomic drops. It's a bunch of standard brawling around and there's no blood. More chants. No blood. This match is OK but the Spring Stampede match was so kickass that it kinda feels like crap. Then Dustin whomps him in the face with the cowbell, adn wins, and then Funk runs in to beat up Dustin, much to Philly's delight.
WCW World Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair (c) vs Barry Windham
Oh. It's Barry Windham. Also Ventura has replaced Heenan. It's an upgrade. Windham's got kind of a floppy belly and a pair of tits on him. Schiavone and Ventura sell it, but also lie about Windham having ever held the WCW world heavyweight title. Buffer: "Referee Randy Peterson." Good stuff, you lazy asshole. Get Jimmy Lennon Jr in here already. Despite Windham not being in great shape, these two can have a passable match in their sleep, and they're both trying, so it's pretty good. After a couple of figure fours tease the Flair win, it breaks down a bit and gets somewhat sloppy, and Randy "Peterson" has trouble keeping pace, but Flair wins with what you might call a flying cross body if you're in a nice mood. The match was fine.
Just in case you didn't know who the good guys are Kevin Sullivan wears a Phillies jersey. It's a trash cans and various weapons brawl, and it rules, and Ventura is having a hoot, and Schiavone just says, "It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen," to which Ventura replies, "This is the wildest match I think I've ever broadcast." They're both laughing. The crowd is going nuts. Trash can trash can trash can. It's awesome. Cactus and Sullivan win after Dave Schultz beats the shit out of Sags and then Cactus hits Sags with the stick. So they're the new champions. It's an awesome match; not as good as the Chicago match, but pretty great.
After the match Maxx Paynes breaks a guitar on Sags' head and that moron Dave Sullivan hits Knobbs in the face with a crutch.
Gene talks to Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne. Yeah that's a good time to talk to them. Gagne shits all over the match. "It's really nothing to do with wrestling." GO TO BED, GRANDPA. Thesz isn't so down on it: "That's the name of the game. I suppose that's what it is today." He's willing to accept change, Verne. What's your problem?
Sting and Vader never have bad matches. This one isn't bad either, but it's not one of their best; the feud wasn't strong at the moment and it was all match and no rivalry or high stakes, for a title nobody cares about, and it's fine, because Sting and Vader are great together, but match for match's sake doesn't always get me going. Just didn't get me going this time, but it was good anyway. You know what I mean. You know what I'm saying.
It ain't Spring Stampede but it's a decent show.