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The Nasty Boys are not a team likely to enter many wrestling Hall of Fames when all is said and done. A pairing that had as many great technical wrestling matches as they probably did salads in their time, they will likely be more know for having friends in the right places that kept them relevant for so long. But hidden away, away from any WWE produced documentaries, is the story of the Nasty Boys in 1994, and how they had one of the best feuds of the year.
Ok, to call it a "feud" is perhaps stretching it a bit, but a series of tag matches between February and May of 1994 would see them become an unlikely nomination for WCW's most must see act, that was before the company pulled the plug on anything that remotely pertained to blood or violence. The best way to tell the story of the feud between The Nasties and the team of Cactus Jack and either Maxx Payne or Kevin Sullivan is actually to start with how it ended.
The Nasty Boys faced the team of Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan at the Clash of the Champions. The match opened the show, lasted ten minutes and achieved very little. We're in a year where if Cactus Jack doesn't try to kill himself at least once during a match then it's probably not worth much of note, even if he did drop from the apron onto the guardrail. It was a match that exposed the lack of true wrestling ability of all four involved.
It was a sad end to the feud that had probably been the highlight of WCW in the first half of 1994. At at time where the company was transitioning from Vader to Flair - getting ready for the arrival of Hulk Hogan, there was a lack of quality storylines that often belied the quality of the shows themselves (Spring Stampede is surely the best PPV of 1994, even better than Wrestlemania X for me).
We go back to the start, in February. Cactus Jack has formed a tag team with Maxx Payne, an out of shape rocker. Jack, even without the benefit of hindsight, was horribly miscast this way down the card. Only a few months earlier he was headlining Halloween Havoc against Vader in an absolute war of a main event, and one of the matches of 1993. Jack and Payne would face off against the Nasties, who at the time were WCW World Tag Team Champions.
This match was a car crash, but one that was immensely possible. For a kick off we had Cactus Jack trying to kill himself by being dropped onto the exposed concrete from the apron (it wouldn't be the last time in 1994 he'd do that). We had Brian Knobbs dislocating his shoulder after he and Maxx Payne horribly misjudged a Northern Lights suplex, Knobbs barely rotated half way around the move and landed on his outstretched arm. The finish, rushed as Knobbs would need some attention pretty quickly, saw Sags nail Payne with the guitar he bought to ringside. And when I say nail, he swung hard over the back of Payne's head as he applied an armbar to Knobbs arm. A car crash. An unmissable car crash.
Fast forward to to Spring Stampede, and probably the zenith of the entire feud. The quartet faced off in a Chicago Street Fight. The foursome brawled around the area, using chairs, a pool cue and the usual catalogue of Cactus Jack career ending bumps. We even the first faked concession stand brawl, as the foresome found their way to a merch stand setup by the stage, that was cordened off for any fans to get to. The table would do very nicely. Knobbs nailed Jack with a snow shovel, Payne then went to piledrive Sags through a table on the entrance ramp, but the table buckled under their way. We had just enough time for Jack to take another exposed concrete bump before Knobbs nailed him with the shovel for the win.
That, mercifully, should've been it – as Jack was planning to be written off to get his ear re-attached, which he lost not long before in a match with Vader in Germany. But we ploughed onto May, to Slamboree in a Broad Street Bully fight with Dave Schultz of the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey team as the referee. Jack was teaming with Kevin Sullivan (the match initially meant to be Dave and Kevin vs The Nasties). Another wild brawl, with crutches and even a fire extinguisher being used and more of the same brutal shots and event. This one ended with Sags getting into an argument with Schultz after Schultz refused to count a pin on Jack, Jack used the distraction to nail Sags with Schultz's hockey stick and a fast count saw Jack and Sullivan win the tag titles. After the match, for good measure, Payne walks out and returns the favour with the guitar shot, and the injured Dave (Evad) Sullivan coming out on crutches and using the crutch with a weapon.
Two absolute wars, no question about it. Two of the best matches in the company in 1994. It's a shame that the company couldn't find a bigger role for Jack in 94 though (he would leave the company in September after losing a loser leaves town match with Kevin Sullivan). You don't need retrospective to know how good Jack, he was already tearing it up in ECW, and his role as a main event act in the company the year prior showed his range. Jack would count as one of the many collateral in the acqusition of Hulk Hogan (and friends) in June.
The Nasties would stay fairly relevant in the rest of 1994, quickly turning babyface readying themselves for a role in the Fall Brawl main event, in the War Games match alongside Dustin and Dusty Rhodes. For this author, also, they would also play their role in a highly entertaining tag team match at Halloween Havoc against Terry Funk and Bunkhouse Buck, that would end with a piledriver onto a pumpkin.
It was a shame for all involved that WCW withdrew along way with their stance on violence on TV. The Nasty Boys were never going to win any awards for wrestling ability, but their ability to be able to compete in this type of matches is an underrated part of their act. Their match at Spring Stampede probably wasn't the best match of 1994, nor were they probably the best tag team of 1994 (that award surely goes the the Public Enemy in ECW), but the Nasty Boys and Cactus Jack (along with Maxx Payne and Kevin Sullivan) played their part in a highly entertaining trio of matches in the first half of 1994, highpoints in a quiet, transitional period for the company.