(2012 Scott sez: Back to 1994 as we bounce around the countdown by request, with WCW Spring Stampede for a few days. And it’s a 2-in-1 rant with the original OLD SCHOOL 1998 version and then the re-rant from 2002 or so. My typing skillz may be a little off tonight because I was forced to switch back to my netbook again after my full-size Toshiba laptop blue-screened on me one time too many for my liking. I had just gotten accustomed to the nice big keyboard again, and then BAM, fate (and a faulty hard drive) rip it out of my hands like a disappointing wrestling finish.) The Netcop Retrospective Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1994. Live from the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago. Hosted by Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan, with Jesse Ventura doing interviews in the locker room. Opening match: Johnny B. Badd v. Diamond Dallas Page. Oy, what a difference four years can make. (And then another 14 years after that. Can you imagine that I was trying to do a historical perspective on a show that was only four years old? That’s like doing an old school rant on a 2008 WWE PPV.) For the two or three of you who are not aware, Johnny B Badd is currently “Marvellous” Marc Mero in the WWF, and a different character he couldn’t be. Johnny comes to the ring with a sequined cowboy outfit that screams “I’m a raging homo” (moreso than usual for Badd). Ick. DDP has Kimberly with him (as “The Diamond Doll”) and about 20 extra pounds. Man, he used to be chubby. (Truly some biting and incisive commentary here.) The match itself is nothing at all, as DDP is mainly in kick and punch mode. These two didn’t really start clicking until a little ways into 1996, just before Mero’s contract ran out and he bolted to the WWF. (That’s actually not how it went down but 1998 Scott didn’t subscribe to the WON.) It’s also BDC (Before Diamond Cutter) which means no one gives a shit about DDP, despite some good heel stuff on his part. Badd was treading on the edge of stardom at this point. DDP takes a bump outside the ring, and rolls back in to meet a sunset flip off the top for the Badd pin to start us off with a relatively easy Badd win. ** TV title match: Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William) v. Brian Pillman. Welcome to hell, Brian. This was after WCW split up the Blonds to get Austin a singles push, and they had NO clue what to do with Pillman, so they stuck him with Regal. Man, was that a mistake. Regal’s whole shtick is ring psychology, stalling, mat wrestling and heel tactics, all of which completely negates Brian’s high-impact offense. It’s like a train wreck. To make matters worse, it’s booked as a 15-minute draw (oops, gave it away) so Pillman has to find something to do with Regal for 15 minutes. Both guys try, but it’s not clicking and it’s boring as all hell. Damn, Regal was good in 94. I’d love to see him back in that form today and wrestling Dean Malenko. This match is a cookie-cutter Regal 15-minute TV title draw, of which he did about a million between 1993 and 1996. Major yawn. *1/2 (I think future me probably enjoyed this match a lot more. We shall see.) Chicago Street Fight: Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. BOO-YAH! Now *Payne* should be the one teaming with Foley these days, not Terry Funk. Remember Man Mountain Rock? That’s Payne. (Wait, let me write this down. Actually, that does remind me of a “Whoops, aren’t I stupid in retrospect” moment from my very early days online, as I stumbled onto the newsgroups in late 1992 having only been exposed to PWI as my source of info. Thus I thought of the characters as “fan favorites” and “rulebreakers” according to Apter-speak. When I found RSPW, people were discussing something with Maxx Payne and a possible “heel turn”, and I thought they were talking about some kind of dance move. True story.) This match stems from a bunch of shit that was going down between the two teams (and off and on with Dave & Kevin Sullivan to boot) and this match ended up building to the incredible tag title match at Slamboree two months later. This match is *nothing* like what you’d expect from WCW today…their entire direction went off the deep end when Hogan signed in June of 94, and it’s a shame, because this brawl absolutely blows almost anything ECW has done since 1995 out of the water. (I wouldn’t say ANYTHING, but it was a great match.) It’s not just goofy spots and oddball weapons, it’s smartly set up spots and stiff shots with intelligent weapons. The hatred is just palatable, and that’s the way I like it. These guys just beat the piss out of each other non-stop, including destroying a conveniently placed souvenir stand. The finish comes as Sags wallops a prone Cactus with a shovel (while he was laying on the concrete – and he hit him HARD on the head, square) and pins him (to retain the titles? Not sure if they were even on the line). The match gets ****3/4 from me, and would get ***** if the rematch at Slamboree with the Nasties against Jack & Sullivan wasn’t that *little* bit better. (Still working out of the kinks on the play by play, I see.) US title match: Stunning Steve Austin v. The Great Muta. The less said about this mess, the better. I don’t know whose dumb idea it was to marry these two in the first place, but they deserve a smack. Rule #459b: Any match in WCW involving the Great Muta after 1992 is guaranteed to suck. (I should note this was written before Muta had a bizarre career resurgence in Japan.) It’s a headlock contest for about 10 minutes, and god knows why Steve can’t carry Muta to a better match, because he had the talent back then to do so, and Muta certainly had the talent, even if he chose not to use it 50% of the time. Then, about 15 minutes in, Muta starts pulling highspots out of nowhere and the crowd gets totally into it. He does a rana off the top rope, and then kills the crowd again by backdropping Austin over the top rope for the DQ. Ugh. The crowd was just sitting there waiting for Muta to do something spectacular, and this disappointed majorly. Bad match all around. * (Wish I was more eloquent to get across what I was going for there.) Fake World title match: Rick Rude v. Sting. Okay, let’s go over this again for those of you just joining us after 1993: Rude is carrying around the belt currently being used by the WCW World champion, but he’s not actually a World champion, he’s the “WCW International World champion,” which is the punchline to a very long story that is very embarrassing to WCW in general and is not worth getting into now but the FAQ goes into great detail on the subject. Suffice it to say, the title means nothing, but WCW acts like it does because they don’t like to admit when they fuck up. (Who does, really?) Okay, with that out of the way, Rude’s pre-match spiel is interrupted by Harley Race, who challenges the winner to a match with Vader. Back when this was a scary thing, you have to remember. Sting attacks Race to shut him up, and we’re underway. Sting ruled the world back then, back when he, you know, WRESTLED. (Oh, TAG.) Sting and Rude have a very old-school familiarity about them, in that this is the kind of match that used to headline WWF shows. Nothing spectacular, but both guys know their trade and know how to work the crowd. Rude is majorly lazy, and the match gets very slow once he gets on the offensive. He draws terrific heel heat throughout the match, however. As per Rude’s contract, he exposes his buttocks one (1) time, takes three (3) clotheslines, one (1) backdrop, and oversells one (1) atomic drop. It’s not a Rude match unless he does all of the above in a two minute span. So Sting makes El Big Comeback, but Peewee Anderson takes El Bumpo del Reffo and Vader does El Runno-Inno. This gives Rude time to set up (very slowly as Race regains his breath and grabs a chair) the Rude Awakening, but Race takes a swing at Sting with the chair and misses, nailing Rude. Sting covers, Anderson recovers, and we have a new…whatever. **1/2 Entertaining match in a guilty pleasure kind of way. DustinDust v. Bunkhouse Buck. In his weirdest, sickest disguise yet, Goldust dresses up as Dusty Rhodes’ offspring! AAAAAAAAAH! Oh, the humanity! Okay, never mind. Rhodes and Buck both juice here (when was the last time you saw THAT in WCW?) but I’m busy arguing with Zenon over what happened with the Fake World title following the last match, so I’m not really paying attention. It seemed pretty good, however. Buck smokes Rhodes with knuckledusters and pins him. Zen informs me it was ***-ish, and I’ll take his word for it. (Ah, now there’s old school Scott, ignoring the match and giving a rating based on a third party recollection of it. Although Zen loved ECW so his ratings can’t be trusted anyway.) The Boss (Man, he’s Big) v. Vader. They’re using a ripoff of “Bad Boys” for the Boss. HEY! That’s my song. Bastards. (That would be a reference to my days on RSPW as “Netcop” if you’re wondering. Plus I love Cops now too.) Another guilty pleasure match, and a pretty good brawl. Vader tries an Air Juvi in reverse, going from the rampway into the ring, but misses. Points for effort, I guess. Vader goes hardway from the eye and the mouth. Ouch. There were lots of spots that were almost, but not quite entirely, resembling pretty good ones, which sums up this match: It was almost, but not quite entirely, resembling a pretty good match. But ’94 Vader can carry Kurrgan and Goldberg to a ***1/2 match if he wants to, so I’m not worrying overly. Boss is game, but Vader nails the pump splash/moonsault 1-2 combo for the pin. Yee-haw for now, but we’ll get totally sick of seeing it by Starrcade. The Boss attacks Race and Vader with the nightstick following the match, and Commish Nick Bockwinkel decides to strip him of his identity. In reality, the WWF was suing WCW’s ass off for using such a blatant Big Bossman ripoff for Ray Traylor and they needed a new gimmick. Main event: WCW World championship match: Ric Flair v. Rick Steamboat. Five years later, and they decide to give it another go. Man, that crappy WCW belt just doesn’t cut it. (I don’t mind it so much now compared to say, the WWE title. In fact I’m quite fond of using it in Smackdown v. RAW 2011.) For those who don’t know, this is NOT the Flair-Steamboat match that everyone refers to as the greatest match of all-time, but it’s still excellent. Steamboat is defacto babyface, of course. It takes Flair about 20 minutes to start cheating, which disappoints me somewhat. Still, this is a truly spectacular match compared to just about every other “main event” that followed in WCW from Slamboree 1994 until the present. Where else do you see 32 minute matches these days? Controversial finish as Steamer goes for the double chicken wing bridge, but both mens’ shoulders are down for the pin, and tie goes to the champion, so Flair retains. ****1/4 (Jesus, a 30 minute match and THAT’S the review for it? Definitely the kinks needed working out.) The Bottom Line: It’s shows like this that make me sick to my stomach over what Hulk Hogan did to WCW over the next two years. WCW had managed to somehow salvage a HORRIBLE 1993 by putting on a great Starrcade and rolling in the best direction they’d gone in the history of the company (including Bill Watts) and then pissing it all down the crapper by signing Hulk Hogan. Was the second half of 1994 and the entirety of 1995 worth putting up with before they finally figured out that Hogan didn’t work as a face? Who knows. But Spring Stampede was a GREAT show, the kind of top-to-bottom intriguing card that Starrcade 1997 tried to be but failed miserably. A couple of the matches here were real clunkers (although Austin-Muta should have been WAY better – and why not do Austin-Pillman on PPV?) but having TWO ****+ on the same card is just unheard of these days, and to have two **** matches in such different styles (one garbage, one classic wrestling) is amazing. Paul E wishes he could pull off something like that. This tape, and the even better Slamboree 1994, are absolute must-see for any wrestling fan. A review of Slamboree is available at http://www.planet.eon.net/~skeith/shows/slam94.txt if you want to check it out, too. (Ha! My dialup website! Thankfully Shaw Cable brought broadband into Edmonton a few months after – remember the @Home Network? – and I never had to suffer through modem envy again.) Later. (Not a bad rant, actually. Considering this was my first ever Retro Rant, it’s not bad at all.) (And now, the more recent version…) The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Spring Stampede 1994 – Okay, for those not aware, the original rant for this show was done REALLY early in my retro-ranting career, and in fact may have been the first. Either that or Slamboree 94, I can never keep them straight. Anyway, fans of mine probably know exactly how much I hate my old stuff and how more than happy I am to redo the pre-99 works in most cases. And since I get lots of requests to repost this one, I figured, what the hell, let’s redo it. Besides which, if I can get the proposed third book about WCW sold, I’ll need better material to recycle. – Live from Chicago, IL – Your hosts are Tony & Bobby. – Opening match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Johnny B. Badd. Ah, back in the days when DDP wasn’t having himself pushed to the main event and we didn’t have to listen to Kimberly talk. Page attacks, but gets rolled up for two. He bails and gets dragged back in by Badd. Page takes him down for two, but Badd works the arm and they mess up a drop toehold spot. Badd stays on the arm, but Page tries some stuff which I guess could be laughably called mat wrestling until Badd dropkicks him for two. DDP introduces him to the top turnbuckle and takes over with a backdrop suplex and a gutbuster. Tony and Bobby have a really weird verbal exchange here (after Tony declares that the winner of this match will be “in line for a title shot of some sort” in that wonderfully vague wording of the wrestling world) in relation to the gutbuster. Tony starts by calling it a gutbuster, and Bobby breaks in (I’m paraphrasing here). “You know, Page has a name for that move.” “Really?” “Yes. You want to know what it’s called?” “It’s called a gutbuster.” “No, he has a special name for it. You want me to tell you?” “Sure.” “It’s called a.uh.stomach buster.” “That’s what I called it!” They actually proceed like this for like another minute while my head spins. Anyway, Page gets something that looks like a cross between a suplex and a slam for two. We hit the chinlock. Badd escapes and makes the comeback with an atomic drop and backdrop, and the Kiss That Don’t Miss puts DDP on the floor. Badd follows with a pescado. Back in, sunset flip finishes at 5:54. It astonishes me that WCW kept Page long enough to get any good. Well, actually, it doesn’t. * – World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Brian Pillman. Ah, the dead zone of Pillman’s career post Hollywood Blonds, pre-Horsemen. It’s weird this is 8 years ago as of this writing, and Regal still looks pretty much the same. (Still does another 10 years later.) Pillman, on the other hand, only three years later looked 20 years older. Pillman attacks to start and goes for the taped leg of Regal, but gets reversed into the quick pinfall sequence. That’s the tragedy of this match Regal may as well have had a big sign on his leg saying “KICK ME HERE” and they ignored it the whole match. Pillman keep son the leg and Regal bails, and that’s it for the leg. Pillman goes after him and switches to the arm instead, and wraps it around the post. Regal finally cheapshots him and works a wristlock, but Pillman fights back. Regal suplexes out of that for two. He pounds away and goes to a body vice, which is reversed to a cradle for two by Pillman. Regal reverses a leglock into the Regal Stretch, which doesn’t yet have a name at this point. Neat counter, though. Brian backslides to block a forearm, but Regal counters into a modified Rita Romero Special, back into a chinlock. Brian fires back, and snaps off a rana for two. Regal blocks a crucifix with a Regal Roll in an awkward sequence, and that gets two. They take it back to the mat, as Regal goes into a bow-and-arrow, but Pillman punches free. Regal quickly grabs a leg and takes him down into a half-crab, however. Regal ties him up, but Pillman keeps coming back. Regal rollup gets two. Back to the mat with a half-nelson stretch, but Pillman keeps fighting. Regal slugs him down, but Pillman gets a dropkick. Regal blocks another try, but Pillman finally gets an enzuigiri to cue the comeback. Regal blocks a monkey-flip, but Pillman gets one more dropkick and gets all fired up.with about 30 seconds to go. The offense is all weak, however, and they tumble out for the draw at 15:00. This is a really weird match, with Regal completely gobbling up Pillman and not really allowing him any hope spots or strong offense, especially considering the bad leg. It had some neat stuff, but as a fan I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief and pretend that Pillman had even a shot to win. ** – Chicago Street Fight: The Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. This match is interesting for about a billion different reasons, chiefly among them that it made Mick Foley into a player in the business once and for all. Up until this point, he was just the wacky midcarder who got one run with Vader, but after this people really took notice of him. But this match also established a template for tag matches that ECW completely lifted for themselves and built the career of Public Enemy on. Third, the basic template was then refined by the WWF into the style of match that came to be the TLC match chaotic brawling with highspots built around weapons and bumps rather than athletics. In fact, you could even extrapolate even further and say that the long-standing “WWF Main Event Style” characterized by brawling in place of resting also stems from this match, but that’s a bit of a stretch it’d be more accurate to trace that to the Benoit-Sullivan series of matches from 1996. I have, however, often wondered why this match wasn’t used to spruce up the tag division in the WWF more; it’s a very easy style of match to work and not only fires up the crowd, but disguises the weaknesses of the people involved. Look at the New Age Outlaws, for instance there’s a reason why their matches with Cactus Jack & Terry Funk in 1998 did so much to get them over. Huge brawl to start, as Payne spikes Sags in the ring and Knobs beats on Jack outside. Jack & Knobs head in and Jack beats on him with a pool cue and takes him out with a Cactus Clothesline. Knobs hits the railing, but Sags saves and we trade dance partners for a bit. The faces pound the Nasties on the floor, and Jack & Sags fight on the ramp and back into the ring. Knobs & Payne end up heading down the aisle, delivering brutally stiff shots to each other, to one of those suspiciously-placed souvenir stands. At ringside, Sags & Jack dish out super-stiff chairshots, while Payne puts Knobs through a table. This was likely unintentional, as table-scoring didn’t start until ECW made it a tradition. He then chokes him out with a t-shirt, as Tony gets right into the spirit of things (“I’m not sure that shirt even fits him!”). All four guys end up at the stand, and Jack takes a sick bump over the railing, while Payne goes through the souvenir stand. Sags batters Jack with a table (which is no small feat of strength, actually) and brings it up onto the ramp, which draws Cactus up there too. Jack steals the table and suplexes it onto Sags, with Sags not even able to get his hands up to block, which even makes Tony cringe. Poor Bobby is just rendered speechless by the whole thing. Knobs stops the count with a shovel, but Payne steals it and pounds him. Meanwhile, Sags piledrives Cactus through the table. Jack gets tossed to the concrete floor, and Sags delivers a SICK unprotected shot to the head with the shovel, and even Tony is glad that it’s finished at 8:58 as a result. You have to understand how revolutionary this was for WCW at the time, in that stuff like going through tables and brawling into the crowd was at best the sole highspot, even in wild brawls. This match turned them into TRANSITION moves and built the drama around other facets of the storyline of the match, and that was what ECW needed to do to make Public Enemy into stars. Some say matches under 10 minutes shouldn’t be ****+, but I’ve been one to conform to convention. ****3/4 (There’s a definite movement of people who feel these matches aren’t that great, mainly because ECW and WWE ended up doing all this stuff themselves later on. I am merely presented that alternate view and not choosing sides on it.) – US title match: Steve Austin v. The Great Muta. Muta was the ultimate recipient of good luck with regards to WCW, as he would come in for one or two matches, still super-over due to fans’ memory of him from 1989, be booked strong, and then leave again before WCW could cut the legs out from underneath him. (Sounds like The Rock.) In retrospect, he was one of the few people ever to be booked properly by WCW all the time. Feeling-out process to start, and Muta works a headlock. Austin stomps him down and grabs his own, but walks into an abdominal stretch. Everyone backs off to regroup. Muta rollup gets two, and back to the headlock. Austin can’t escape until a pair of backdrop suplexes get two. Muta suplexes him right back and drops the power elbow, but that burst of offense just leads to another headlock. Yeesh. Criss-cross and Muta goes right back to the headlock. Austin reverses and everyone backs off to regroup again. Austin rollup gets two, but Muta gets a hammerlock. They work off that for a while. I pity the crowd here. Parker trips up Muta and Austin tosses him as it looks good for SOMETHING to happen. Austin drops a knee for two, but then goes to an abdominal stretch to burn some time. Muta finally escapes and makes the comeback, but misses the dropkick and Austin drops an elbow for two. Muta makes another comeback with a spinkick, but doesn’t follow up. Suplex and dropkick allow Muta to go up, but he puts the “miss” in “missile dropkick”. Austin’s toehold attempt sucks, so they regroup and Muta hotshots him and gets the handspring elbow. Now the crowd is finally alive. Top rope rana and everyone is prepping for the big finish, but it never comes as Muta dumps Austin over the top by accident for the DQ at 16:30. This would be what happens when Muta DOESN’T try, in case you’re wondering. * – WCW Saskatchewan Hardcore International World Gold Belt Western States Heritage Mid-South Missouri title: Rick Rude v. Sting. You wouldn’t think they could fit all that on one belt, but it’s a pretty big belt. Harley Race challenges the winner on behalf of Vader, and gets beat up as a result. Rude attacks to start and gets dumped and suplexed on the floor. Back in, Sting pounds him down and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Sting grabs a facelock and drops the elbow, three times. That gets two. Back to the facelock, and Rude is frustrated and can’t escape. Finally he crotches Sting and dumps him. Rude beats on him, and back in he works on the back. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rude grabs the rear chinlock and that goes on for a while. Sting escapes and they do a rollup reversal spot, but Rude gets a sleeper. Sting is all “BRING IT ON, BITCH!” and makes the comeback with a pair of atomic drops and a clothesline. Ref is bumped with cheese and Sting gets the Scorpion Deathlock, and even tries to revive the ref at the same time. Race returns with Vader, however, and both get clobbered. Then it’s a horribly blown sequence as Rude is supposed to go for the Rude Awakening and get accidentally nailed by Race, but Race completely misses his cue and poor Rude has to stand there “fighting” for the move for like a minute before giving up and pounding Sting down again. Race finally remembers his spot and grabs a chair, and this time they get it right, with Rude going down like a ton of bricks and Sting getting the title at 13:09. You could really see Rude’s deterioration, and in fact the rematch with Sting was his last match. **1/2 – Bunkhouse match: Dustin Rhodes v. Bunkhouse Buck. Hey, it’s Jimmy Golden v. Goldust. This was pretty much Dustin’s prime as a worker, although given his currently motivated status and the possibility of Stardust booking RAW pretty soon, you never know. Dustin lays him out to start and pounds away. Suplex gets two. Buck takes a powder and they brawl, won by Dustin. Back in, Rhodes misses a crossbody and hits the floor, allowing Buck to break a piece of wood on his head. Even Tony is lost as to the source of that wood. Dustin bleeds. I know, shocking. Buck clotheslines him on the ramp and chokes him out. Back in, Buck stomps stomps away and works on the leg. Dustin pulls out a package of white powder (so THAT’S where the Goldust character came from.) and evens the score, however. Buck re-evens the score by whipping him, whipping him like a dog, Tony, with the belt. Buck goes low to put an exclamation point on that beating, and he slowly pounds away in the corner. Dustin finally comes back and beats on him in the corner, then uses that belt himself. Now Buck is bleeding. Dustin drops a cowboy boot on his head and proceeds to whipping, and Buck ends up on the floor. Back in, Buck loads up the glove (always a classic), but Dustin elbows away in the corner. Bulldog, but Dustin is of course an idiot and chases Col. Parker. Buck rolls him up for two. Slugfest is won by Dustin, but Parker slips Buck the knuckledusters, and that finishes at 14:18. Solid but overly long brawl. *** – Vader v. The Boss (Man, Is He Big). (Yeah, I used that joke in both rants, wanna fight about it?) Boss clotheslines Vader into the ring to start, and gets a big boot, and Vader is out again. They fight on the ramp and Vader sends Boss back in. He follows with a running dive over the top, which misses. Boss dumps him again, and Vader meets the railing. Twice. Back in, Boss with the corner splash and a slam. Vader dumps him to turn the tide, however. Suplex back in and a splash gets two. Vader slugs the shit out of him, but gets suplexed. Boss comes back with a clothesline, but Vader responds in kind. He goes up, but Boss slams him off. A sort-of tornado DDT then gets two. This is BIG FRIGGIN BOSSMAN we’re talking about here. He goes up with a flying bodypress for two. Back up, but Vader powerslams him and adds the pump splash for two. Back up, Vadersault finishes at 9:18. This was a war of attrition. ***1/2 Boss goes nuts with the nightstick, which leads to Nick Bockwinkel stripping him of his gimmick. – WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Ricky Steamboat. This didn’t really have any long-term storyline reasoning, it was just Flair wanting to put on a great match to highlight a PPV. Wacky concept, I know. It was also the subtle beginnings of Flair’s heel turn, as he attacked Steamboat leading up to this. Flair takes him down and we do a bit of mat wrestling. Stalemate results. Steamboat overpowers him and they do more mat wrestling and start with the fisticuffsmanship. Criss-cross and Flair gets pressed and headscissored, twice. Dropkick puts Flair on the floor, and back in Steamboat gets the FLYING KARATE CHOP OF DEATH for two. Flair bails and regroups. Back in, he starts chopping, and they do that thing they do as Flair slowly goes heel. Steamboat holds onto a headlock, confounding Flair. That goes on a while, until Flair escapes, but gets headscissored back into a headlock again. Steamboat overpowers him, and a rollup gets two. Back to the headlock, and Steamboat grinds it in. It’s little touches like that which keep the match interesting, as opposed to Austin and Muta laying around for five minutes. Flair chops out, but Steamboat goes back to it. Dropkick misses, however, and Flair is chopping again. Kneedrop and Flair pounds and chops, and drops another knee for two. Elbow gets two. They chops away and a crossbody puts both on the floor. Steamboat reverses a piledriver attempt, but charges and splats on the railing. Back in, Steamboat superplex gets two. Flair Flip and he walks into a chop and Steamboat follows with a flying chop to the floor. Back in, Steamboat pounds away in the corner with chops, and it’s a Flair Flop for two. Sunset flip is blocked by Flair, but Steamboat blocks a kneedrop and hooks a figure-four. He keeps pulling Flair into the middle of the ring. The old shot to the jaw breaks it up. Flair gets a suplex, but his knee buckles and Steamboat gets two. Into the pinfall reversal sequence. Small package gets two. Flair chops him again and Steamer returns fire. Flair bails to the ramp, but gets chopped back in. Flair Flip and out, and Steamboat follows him out again, but this time Flair is one step ahead and gets a foot up to block. Flair heads back in, but Steamboat stalls until they slug it out on the apron. Flying bodypress gets two for Steamboat. Flair lays him out again, and goes up, but you know what happens next. Steamboat goes back up, but misses the flying splash and hits his knee. CUE OMINOUS MUSIC HERE. Figure-four, but Steamboat eventually makes the ropes. Flair stays on the knee and goes back to the move, but Steamboat reverses for two. Backslide gets two. Superplex and both guys are dead. Rollup gets two. Double chickenwing looks to finish, but Flair falls back (ala Clash VI) and this time BOTH guys are pinned at 32:20. Tie goes to the champion, so Flair retains. This one was lacking a certain spark to it, and it hurt a lot. ****1/4 (The rematch on WCW Saturday Night was even better.) The Bottom Line: This show is notable only for two matches, really, but they’re two AMAZING matches and both are well worth searching out from an era where ONE ****+ per show was something to talk about. Unfortunately for those in 1994, this was year of the Shawn-Razor ladder match and nothing else from 94 was gonna touch that match at voting time for Match of the Year, but Spring Stampede 94 is still one of the best PPVs that WCW ever did. Highest recommendation.