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One of the big stories on WCW television was the switch to "the dark side" of Hulk Hogan. After an attack by The Giant and The Taskmaster that not only left Hogan with a sort of broken neck but more importantly – no mustache, Hogan started coming out dressed entirely in black. It was a jerking change in presentation and one that seemingly never stuck beyond the few weeks build to the pay per view.
The Giant and The Taskmaster had been all over television, Giant's chokeslam laying waste to all in sight, including Lex Luger and Sting. The build had been incredibly effective, building Giant up as a credible opponent for Hogan both in ring, but also in a monster truck! Luger was building a rivalry with Savage, Sting's attempt to play peacemaker between the pair seemingly consisted of putting them on a collision course with each other at the show, but only if they both won their matches prior.
Elsewhere, Ric Flair finally tied down Sting as a partner to face Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Sting, who bowed to pressure from Flair that ended with Flair presenting a lot of "young Stingers" dressed in Sting face-paint. Sting said that he accepted, but if he swerved him, he'd kill him. Sting and Flair had to subsequent TV tag team outings ahead of the show, nothing to see so far as the two got along just fine. Flair, it is said, was attacked by Pillman and Anderson before the show.
We're in Detriot, Michigan. Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan have the call.
Johnny B Badd vs Diamond Dallas Page © (w/ The Diamond Doll and Max Muscle) for the WCW Television Championship
It was oddly refreshing to see this match start about nine minutes into the show, it was an element of WCW seemingly trying to waste some time, but also allowed them to give proper build to this feud. The match itself ended up being a real surprise, both guys can go but they worked an excellent story that ticked a lot of boxes.
DDP dominated the long middle part of the match, Max Muscle – who deserves a lot of credit for this – managed to get the crowd into Badd by starting a D.D.P. chant. Badd eventually rallies out with a headscissors and an axe handle, he looks to The Doll who shows her appreciation. They end up going for the babyface distraction finish twice, the second time Muscle clotheslines DDP as Badd ducks, he pins DDP and gets the win. The crowd, and The Diamond Doll, are quite happy at this development.
Zodiac vs Randy Savage
This was meant to Kamala vs Savage, but Kamala quit the company before having to do the job. This was the first of a series of very short matches, that belied some parts of the show that really seemed to be stretching to fill time. Savage takes the action to the outside early as a fan gets into the ring. Zodiac misses a splash, Savage hits a top rope elbow and wins the match. Savage is carrying an arm injury, and the it showed in the quality of both of his matches during this show.
Road Warrior Hawk vs Kurasawa (w/ Col. Robert Parker)
Maybe it's a generational thing, but as someone who didn't see the Road Warriors, it's really difficult to get behind Road Warrior Hawk, although he clearly has his fans. That being said this match wasn't long enough or good enough to be anything worthwhile. Kurasawa, so it is said, is very talented, but he's not being given the chance to show it. Hawk is just... Hawk. In the end Kurasawa hits a Samoan drop, pins Hawk with his feet on the ropes (and Parker holding onto his feet), for the win.
Sabu (w/ The Original Sheik) vs Mr J.L. (Jerry Lynn)
The original Sheik was bought in to help sell tickets in the Detriot area. He is quite immobile at this stage, but did take the end of a nasty looking bump when Sabu did a springboard moonsault to the outside landing on both Sheik and JL. The action was fine, some good spots but it all felt a little lacking in concequence. In ECW Sabu's craziness was contextualised, here it was just there. Sabu hits a split legged moonsault for the victory, then Sheik blows a ball of fire in JL's eyes.
Meng (w/ The Taskmaster) vs Lex Luger
Yep, WCW really did give Sabu and Jerry Lynn about three minutes, then followed that with allowing Luger and Meng 13. The rationale, presumably, was that both Luger and Meng were more known/over with the audience. That being true this match really didn't work – Meng is great as a brute/enforcer but when he works long matches the pace is often brutally slow, and Luger isn't good enough to compensate. In the end, Taskmaster interferences and kicks Luger, forcing the DQ. The story here is that Taskmaster wanted Luger to face Savage later in the show. Heenan probably said it best when he said "I'm not sure who he kicked, you know what, I don't even care".
Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman vs Sting and Ric Flair
Flair doesn't come out for the start, but Sting still gets the better of the early going, even in a two on one setting. It's actually when Flair arrives (dressed in clothes – he was carrying an actual injury that prevented him from really taking part) that Sting loses the advantage. We get a long an excellent section of Sting desparately clawing to tag in Flair, when he finally does the inevitable happens – Flair nails Sting with a right and alings himself with Anderson and Pillman – we now have three quarters of the new Four Horseman. This was excellent, Flair was a riot on the apron. One of the best WCW matches of 1995.
Sumo Monster Truck Match: Hulk Hogan vs The Giant
The view, a top Cobo Hall, is striking at night. The two sumo monster trucks (Hogan's included "roided" arms on the side), looked excellent. This was a struggle, as both trucks aimlessly struggles from grip on the wet roof surface. Eventually Hogan's truck wins, Giant and Hogan step out of their cockpits towards the ledge, Hogan inadvertantly knocks Giant off the edge, who plummets to his death – presumably. Hogan runs for help.
Randy Savage vs Lex Luger
Difficult to say why this match didn't click, although it's possible the crowd were legitimately on edge after what they'd just seen – bear in mind the show in the live crowd's eyes just pivoted to the next match. Savage/Luger was short, it eventually ended with Hart distracting the ref on the ropes – Luger gets whipped into him and Savage hits a top rope elbow for the pin. This was filler, and between two names of this magnitude, that was a mistake. It was also incredibly forgettable.
In the middle of this we get a great segment with Bobby Heenan showing some serious fire at the announce desk, desperately wanting more information about The Giant. Heenan got into this way more than it deserved.
Hulk Hogan walks out, presumably to announce the death of Paul Wight… and then The Giant just walks out. Unharmed, uninjured. He wasn’t even wet from falling in the Detroit River – and just like that we have a main event.
Hulk Hogan (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs The Giant (w/ The Taskmaster)
This was The Giant’s second ever wrestling match. It showed, largely, but the match I don’t think was horrendous by any stretch. That being said, for the time they gave it, it was very limited. This was basically Hogan vs Andre with a less over and more mobile Hogan vs a less over but more mobile Andre. In the end, Hart hits Hogan with the belt – Giant wins by DQ (somehow).
After the match, Savage and Luger ran out to stop the beatdown. Luger turned on Savage. The Yeti (“Yettay”) came out and basically dry humped Hogan while he was already in a bear hug. It was a fitting ending to a bizarre, bizarre show.
Score Rating: 3/10
Go Back And Watch: The tag match is an absolute riot, Badd vs Page is really good too. The rest, well, it may not necessarily be good but swathes of this show are incredibly watchable. Savage vs Luger is incredibly unremarkable.