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Elsewhere we saw the early days of the Dungeon Of Doom, Kevin Sullivan turning into "The Taskmaster" in the intervening weeks. The Flair/Savage brawl signified a double countout in their US Title tournament semi final match, so the other semi final was promoted to this show as the final itself between Sting and Meng. Oh, and DDP faced off against Dave Sullivan in an arm wrestling match. If Sullivan won, he would get a date with the Diamond Doll, if DDP won he would take ownership of Dave's pet rabbit - Ralph.
WCW's continued their run of providing a good pre-show in the hour prior. Vader came out and got physical with Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel, he was only stopped by Hulk Hogan (who despite clearly being there wasn't set for the PPV - as that would've cost the company a fortune). Despite knowing this, WCW did little to discourage people that Hogan vs Vader could happen on the show. Elsewhere, Sister Sherri and Col Robert Parker got into it - Parker kissed Sherri and she slapped him back.
"Das Wunderkind" Alex Wright vs Flyin Brian (Pillman)
Well... what a pleasant surprise this was. We're in Ohio (the state where Pillman played football) so he was getting a very good reaction. Pillman's plans to play a heel went awry quite quickly, but dare I say this added to the match as both men worked very hard towards with what was probably WCW's best PPV match of 1995 (up until about two hours later). The first genuinely good finishing sequence I’ve seen in a long, long time in WCW. Pillman kicks out of Wright’s top rope crossbody before succumbing to a quick pin. More of this, please.
Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Max Muscle and The Diamond Doll) vs Dave Sullivan (w/ Ralph) in an arm wrestling match
The implication from the commentators is that if Page wins the contest he’ll eat Ralph the rabbit. As good (or as bad) as any wrestling arm wrestling match you’ll see, in the end the Doll bumps into Max, who bumps into DDP, which costs him the match. Not awful, brief if nothing else. Sullivan wins a date with The Diamond Doll.
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs Sergeant Craig “Pitbull” Pittmann
Pittman was originally due to face Marcus Alexander Bagwell in this match, but Bagwell missed out because of an infection after getting calf implants (yes, that would be a stupid thing to make up otherwise!). This was a pretty drab match, but (if it’s any compliment) I’ve seen far worse on WCW PPV in recent months. While the action wasn’t really there, I’ll give both credit for doing enough facially to keep me somewhat interested. Pittman eventually gets DQ’d after keeping his armbar locked in after Duggan grabs the ropes.
“Dirty” Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck (w/ Col. Robert Parker) vs Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray and Booker T w/ Sister Sherri).
This made for a genuinely decent angle before the show, but I get the sense the showdown people wanted to see was Sherri and Parker. The Heat are still effectively heels (although certainly not overtly in this case). After some lukewarm action, Booker T rolls up Buck, Parker comes in and flips the pin over, then Sherri comes in and flips the pin back over (all while the ref was distracted) and Booker T wins the match for the Heat.
The follow up to the Hogan/Vader pre-show angle is Bockwinkel saying that at Bash of the Beach next month (well, once he’s reminded what it’s called) Vader will face Hogan inside of a steel cage. That show will also be held on an actual beach.
The Renegade (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs Arn Anderson for the WCW Television Title
Yeah, I’d be very surprised if Arn Anderson had another match as bad as this in his career. Renegade is just awful, he’s legitimately a version of The Ultimate Warrior without any of the good stuff – i.e. he’s got no charisma and he’s not over. Arn Anderson’s spinebuster is the only highlight as Renegade wins clean with a splash from the top. Dave Meltzer described Anderson’s performance as “probably the best individual performance in a minus star match”. We also get another sighting of Paul Wight at ringside.
The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal and Earl Robert Eaton) vs The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags) for the WCW World Tag Team Titles
For all of their negatives, The Nasty Boys know exactly what they’re good and they do it a lot. There’s a great spot early on where they do the “pit stop” (literally shoving their opponents face in Knobbs’ arm pit). Regal’s facial expression here makes the match on its own. A pretty good match all told, eventually Booker T interfers but it backfires when he crotches Eaton on the top rope. The Nasties retain their tag titles.
Meng (w/ Col. Robert Parker) vs Sting for the WCW United States Title
Sting is so used to this kind of match, working with the bigger, slower opponent. Like with his matches against Avalanche and Big Bubba while not great he worked hard to get a lot out of his opponent. Meng Is decent but quite limited, but this match worked well enough. Meng dominates the opening half with Parker running shotgun. Eventually Sting rallies and gets the win after the DDT. Perhaps significant was Meng fighting out of the Scorpion Deathlock.
Ric Flair vs Randy Savage (w/ Angelo Puffo)
Now we’re talking. This match was all action from the word go, Flair and Savage wrestled a first two or three minutes that might as well have been on fast forward, such was the pace and the intensity. This wasn’t a scientific match but the brawling was first class with the action equally at home outside the ring as in, and Flair regularly using Angelo sitting at ringside to maintain the upper hand. Eventually Flair gets a hold of Angelo’s cane and lamps Savage with it with the ref distracted. Good end to an excellent match.
Overall, perhaps WCW’s best PPV offering of 1995 so far. Although that’s two very good matches bringing up the batting average rather than a sign of any major consistency. Wright vs Pillman is a genuine surprise, and Savage vs Flair was excellent.
Score Rating: 6/10
Go Back And Watch: Wright vs Pillman, Savage vs Flair and maybe the Tag Title match for Regal’s facial expression.