Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WCW Slamboree 1993

The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Slamboree 1993 (2012 Scott sez:  This was actually the first PPV I had ordered after getting “smartened up to the business” by RSPW once and for all.  By that time, the PWI Weekly newsletter was all but breaking kayfabe anyway because it was getting ridiculously difficult to spin stuff like the Freebirds’ negative title reign any way but basically coming out and saying “wrestling is fake”.  And this show sure cemented that.)   Live from the Omni in Atlanta, GA, wherever the hell that is. Your hosts are Tony and Larry, both of whom are remarkably on-topic and coherent (cf. today) Maxx Payne mangles the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. This was odd at the time because Maxx was a heel. Opening match: Bobby Eaton & Chris Benoit v. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell. Now, before you go getting all excited here, there’s some caveats: Caveat #1: Benoit was a glorified jobber back in 1993 Caveat #2: Bagwell & Scorpio were the ones getting the push Caveat #3: Eaton did most of the wrestling Caveat #4: The match was built around making Bagwell look good, and this was waaaaaaaaay pre-Buff. With all that in mind, it was a standard, Mickey Mouse opening tag match. This was before the era of Johnny B Badd having to be in every opening match on WCW’s PPV shows, as well. Benoit & Eaton play the typical cowardly heel team, with Benoit getting a chance to show absolutely nothing but his penchant for selling anything for anyone. (Benoit and Eaton actually would have been a HELL of a modern Midnight Express as far as in-ring goes.  Chris could pull off the flashy tights and everything.)  It should be noted that at this time, Raven was a light heavyweight contender named Scotty Flamingo. I shit you not. (What?  Shut up!  You’re LYING!  Stop lying!)  Most of the match is Eaton v. Bagwell. Ugh. Bagwell sucked shit more than just about anyone else outside of Van Hammer at this time, and we get to see him later, too. (Eh, he was green and overpushed, but not bad as such.)  Semi-hot ending as a big brouhaha erupts and a bunch of near-falls before Scorpio hits the Tumbleweed (one guess who jobs) for the pin. (Well, Benoit wasn’t even a regular guy at that point, why wouldn’t he job?  The goal was to get Bagwell and Scorpio over anyway.)  Bagwell and Scorpio would go on to win the World tag team titles in October. Yes, it’s 1993 WCW, where our motto is “We’ll push anybody!” (Especially if you’re black and suing us.)  ** Van Hammer v. Col. Parker’s Mystery Man. Col. Rob Parker had made his debut a couple of weeks beforehand and was pissing on Van Hammer’s leg (figuratively speaking, of course) because he wouldn’t join his stable. Hammer slapped him around a bit, and Parker promised a big payback for Hammer because of it. And who should Parker bring out but Sid Vicious! This was a huge shock at the time and the crowd pops big for it. (So big that Vicious nearly rode this push all the way to the World title.)  And the rout is on, as Sid dismantles and powerbombs ol’ Van in 30 seconds, legitimately injuring him and humiliating him so badly that he has no choice but to become a transvestite and join a creepy band of quasi-homosexuals after sitting out of wrestling for 4 years. *Sniff*, I still get weepy when I think about what a service Sid did for wrestling here… but the match is a DUD (Kind of a funny storyline progression if you think about it, as Hammer was the one who got wronged by the heels and was standing up for himself, and got DESTROYED as a result.  BE A STAR, Sid Vicious!)  Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka & Dick Murdoch v. Wahoo MacDaniel & Blackjack Mulligan & Jim Brunzell. Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. Tony spouts history like Mike Tenay and Jim Ross on speedballs. The sole high spots come from Capt. Redneck of all people. Respect for the legends is one thing, but you’re out of your fucking mind if you give these geezers 10 or 12 minutes to shuffle around the ring and only 7 or 8 to the opening tag match. A big brawl erupts and it’s declared a no-contest because of oxygen deprivation. 1/2* for the flying headscissors Dick does. (Given it was only 93 I’m not sure this was as bad as 98 Scott is making it out to be.  Murdoch was still pretty OK at that point, and Snuka was only 2 years removed from the WWF run, and Wahoo didn’t age until the day he died, so it might have been decent.  Probably was way too long, though.)  Baron Von Rashke & Ivan Koloff v. Thunderbolt Patterson & Brad Armstrong. Brad is taking the place of father Bob, who is supposedly injured here. Since when do commies and Nazis team up? (The lost Depression-era season of 24?)  Another shit match in a series of them tonight, as Koloff and the Baron are older than dirt. Hey, the legends’ reunion might look like a good idea on paper, but it’s no fun actually sitting through the matches. Thunderbolt uses a LAME double-chop for the pin. -** A Flair For The Gold: Flair introduces one of the single STUPIDEST FUCKING IDEAS in the history of stupid ideas, namely promising the original Horsemen reuniting and then delivering PAUL FUCKING ROMA. This was SUCH a brainfart on somebody’s part and almost totally ruined the Horsemen name. I mean, NOBODY bought this former jobber as a member of the “most elite team in wrestling” for 2 seconds. It’s stuff like this that frankly leaves me shocked that WCW even survived 1993, let alone went on to become as big as they did. (Yeah, blatant false advertising on their part, as they were literally promising the original Horsemen lineup for weeks and then couldn’t get Tully Blanchard, so instead we got Paul Roma.)  Johnny Valentine joins us for commentary. Dory Funk Jr. (w/ Nick Kiniski) v. Nick Bockwinkle (w/ Verne Gagne). Speaking of brainfarts, here’s Verne Gagne, who didn’t think putting the World title on Hulk Hogan was such a great idea. Hey, Verne, where’s the AWA now? Man, talk about the stupidest move ever…I mean, how hard is it to note that the guy was OVER? Did it never occur to him that maybe when you fake putting the title on the guy and the crowd nearly RIOTS that maybe you should actually give him a run as World champion? Do you think he can draw, Verne? I mean, hindsight is 20/20 and all, but you’d have to be seriously retarded not to notice that there’s a seriously huge fanbase worshipping this guy. Ask Vince McMahon…Verne let him go and like 4 seconds later Vince puts the belt on him and lets him do his thing for *4 years*. How do you NOT see that kind of star potential? How do you miss that kind of glaring, golden, supermodel-lying-on-your-futon-naked kind of opportunity and NOT go out of business 5 years later? Okay, I’m ranting again now. (I’m thinking maybe Verne should have put the World title on Hogan, then?)  Back to the match. Larry manages to work in the “I retired Bockwinkle” comment a record 4 seconds into the match. Way to go, Larry. Decent, solid, mat wrestling match which bored the shit out of me, but I can recognize good wrestling when I see it. 15 minute draw. **1/2 I just don’t want to watch it, that’s all. And I hate Dory Funk Jr. for other reasons. (No I don’t, that was just a very long running joke.)  US champ Rick Rude & TV champ Paul Orndorff v. Dustin Rhodes & Kensuke Sasaki. Worthless time-filling arm-dragging crowd-playing fucking boring horseshit featuring my least favorite Japanese wrestler at the time, if only because I didn’t yet know who Gedo was. At least he jobbed to Rude in this one. DUD  (Wow, calm down, cranky-pants.)  Sting v. “The Prisoner”. The parade o’ crap continues. This was supposed to be Sting v. Scott Norton in a bounty match, but Norton bailed out of WCW so we get Sting v. The Man They Can’t Call Nailz for Legal Reasons. Here’s the match: Choke, choke, choke, choke, choke, choke with a cable, kick, punch, Sting comes back, clothesline, pin. One of the worst pre-Crow Sting matches you will EVER see, I guarantee. -***, which is saying something because I don’t usually bother with negative stars. (Since when?)  And you know what…it was STILL BETTER than Sting v. Hogan from Starrcade. Go fig. (Oh come on now.)  The Hollywood Blonds v. Los Dos Hombres (WCW/NWA World tag title match). THE MOTHERSHIP IS CALLING ME HOME! My gods, my lords, my saviors, Steve Austin & Brian Pillman in the waning weeks of their greatness before WCW fucked them over. I relish each opportunity I can get to watch them tower over every other pathetic team WCW put together to try and deny that these guys were legitimately over. (I don’t think WCW was actually denying that they were over.  They just didn’t have the right political connections.)  This one included. The storyline here is that after Rick Steamboat and Shane Douglas lost the tag team titles to Steve & Brian, they pulled a fast one by wearing masks and masquerading as an up-and-coming pair of luchadors. They of course got the upset win in a non-title match and earned this cage match for the titles. The joke of course is that Shane Douglas was fired/quit/got injured/whatever before the whole angle even started, and it was Brad Armstrong under the other mask. (When you need a guy to work a **** match under a mask, call Brad Armstrong!)  And for this match, it’s Tom Zenk. (When you need a guy to say stupid shit and get himself sued, call Tom Zenk!)  Yet the announcers act like it’s Shane the whole time. No wonder he’s so pissed at WCW. (Not so pissed that he didn’t take the big fat payday when they came calling.)  Not a great Blonds match, but Austin/Pillman was such a better team than everyone else in existence at the time that there just wasn’t anyone who could work up to the level they were at. I mean, these guys were in SUCH a serious groove at this time. Cage doesn’t really factor into this one, as the Blonds use their tag team stuff to work over Zenk most of the match. Super hot ending as Steamboat tags in and nails a cross-body…off the top of the cage…onto both guys! Yow! Ref counts two but the bell rings and the crowd goes nuts. Just a flub on the timekeeper’s part, however. They exchange a ton of near falls, then Austin catches Zenk with the Stun-gun out of nowhere and gets the pin to retain the titles. *** (I think I did a more legitimate review on one of the millions of DVDs where this match is featured.)  NWA “World” title match: Barry Windham v. Arn Anderson. Last hurrah at the OK Corral for Barry, as this is basically his last good match before he becomes…that thing that’s in the WWF today. The storyline is simple: Barry turned down the Horsemen, so it’s ass-kicking time. (That’s two different people with the same storyline on this show, I should note.)  And Windham bleeds like a stuck pig as Anderson just pounds the shit out of him. However, Anderson gets frustrated and shoves the ref around, and that gives Barry a chance to just wallop Arn with the title belt and pin him to retain. ***1/4 and the best match on the card. Barry would lose the title to Ric Flair at the next PPV, but by then it was meaningless anyway. (This was a HELL of a match, actually, and 98 Scott is really doing it a disservice with the short review.)  Main Event: WCW World champion Big Van Vader v. Davey Boy Smith. This was the peak of the “brainless spending” era in WCW, in this case millions of dollars on Davey Boy, who hadn’t main evented a card in his life, and then shoving him in a World title match on PPV. I won’t even bring up the midget. Smith took extra steroids for this one, it seems. Still, can’t blame both guys for effort here, as they give it the old college try, even though there’s MAYBE 6000 people there (I’d bet 2000 paid at most) who don’t give a shit anymore. But Davey Boy does some nice power stuff that Vader is nice enough to sell like a champion and the crowd is totally into it. Not as good a match as their Clash of Champions rematch a few weeks later, but still a good power v. power primer. Bill Goldberg, watch this match and take notes. Match spills outside and Vader bops Smith with a chair for the disappointing DQ that sets up…the MINI-MOVIE! NYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! **1/2 (I don’t remember this match at all.)  The various announcers wrap things up. The Bottom Line: 1993 was without a doubt rock bottom for WCW. They signed all the wrong people, pushed all the wrong talent, did everything possible that one company could do to self-destruct, and fucked that up too by actually surviving. If it wasn’t for Ric Flair at Starrcade 93, Turner’s accountants may have actually pulled the plug on the bottomless pit that was WCW because they lost something like 23 million dollars in that year before rebounding with the Hogan signing. I don’t know WHAT they were thinking with this show, which didn’t have a marketable main event or a particularly strong undercard to back it up. Good ideas on paper rarely translate well to real life. Still, the last three matches on the tape are certainly worth a look, even if everything before is utter tripe. Later. (This actually sounds like a decent show and may be worthy of a re-rant one day to view it through non-drunken eyes.)