What the World Was Watching: WCW Saturday Night – January 21, 1995

The Nasty Boys and Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck cut dueling promos against each other to kick off the broadcast.

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are wrapping up the January 8 tapings in Atlanta, Georgia.  Gene Okerlund lets both of them know that Big Van Vader and Harley Race have purchased ringside seats for Clash of the Champions.  Heenan adds that Ric Flair will also make an appearance at the Clash.

Opening Contest:  Alex Wright (6-0) pins Lieutenant James Earl after a reverse flying body press at 4:01:

Possibly recognizing the insensitive name given to one of the members of the State Patrol, Lieutenant James Earl Wright’s name is shortened to James Earl so as not to sound like James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.  Some female plants near the ringside area work up a big cheer for Wright and scream his name.  Their enthusiasm contrasts with the rest of the crowd, especially one fan facing the hard camera that laments the butt kicking Earl gets after working some long chinlocks.  The female fans mob Wright after his win.  Rating:  ½*

Okerlund gives one last sell for the Clash of the Champions card.

Bobby Eaton (1-3) defeats Scott Studd with the Alabama Jam at 4:27:

Since Eaton is facing Wright at Clash of the Champions he has to be presented as a threat, so he is given this squash to help pad his record before the big event.  Like the previous bout, Eaton works a really long chinlock before dispatching of Studd with the Alabama Jam.  You know things are bad for your career when Tony Schiavone calls your defeat of Dave Sullivan on the previous show an upset.

Footage of Harlem Heat winning the WCW Tag Team Championship on last week’s show is aired.

Stars & Stripes (3-1) beat Rick Stockhauser & John Faulkner when the Patriot pins Stockhauser after Uncle Slam at 4:29:

Stockhauser and Faulkner appeared as a team in the WWF during 1995 as well, losing to the Smoking Gunns in July on an episode of Monday Night RAW.  Stars & Stripes show off some nice double team moves, one of which features Marcus Bagwell getting slingshotted into the ring by the Patriot and splashing onto both jobbers.  Stars & Stripes have a hard time finishing their opponents but manage to do so when the Patriot catches Stockhauser with Uncle Slam as Bagwell also gives Faulkner a fisherman’s suplex.

Okerlund interviews Stars & Stripes, who promise to regain the tag team titles at Clash of the Champions.  The Patriot warns Sister Sherri that he will punch her between the eyes if she tries to get involved.

The Blacktop Bully (w/Colonel Robert Parker & Meng) (2-0) beats Davey Rich via submission to the Breaker 1-9 at 2:55:

Rich is long-time Memphis talent David Haskins, who was working for the USWA in a midcard role.  Rich fails to knock the Bully off his feet during a token comeback and then does a 360 sell from a clothesline before losing via submission.

Okerlund interviews Parker, the Bully, and Meng.  Parker says that he wants to get his hands on Dustin Rhodes, while the Bully says that Rhodes framed him and sent him to jail.

Dave Sullivan (0-1) defeats Kevin Sullivan via disqualification when the Butcher interferes at 3:06:

This match stems from Starrcade, where Dave cost Kevin his match against Mr. T, and last week’s telecast, where Kevin returned the favor when Dave wrestled Bobby Eaton.  This sibling rivalry really happened because of Hulk Hogan, though, as Kevin was angry that Dave was a Hulkamaniac rather than following his evil ways.  The match is a decent brawl that disguises some of Dave’s limitations, but it is ruined by a predictable disqualification finish when the Butcher runs in after Dave gives Kevin a leg drop.  Rating:  ½*

After the bell, Kevin and the Butcher do a beatdown and then cut up Dave’s Hogan themed robe, his hair, and his ring boots – the same ring boots the Hogan wore when he beat Andre the Giant!  Heenan says that this is symbolic of the Faces of Fear’s hatred of Hulkamania.  The crowd hopes Hogan will save his biggest fan, but Schiavone lets us know that Hogan is not in the building because Hogan does not work on Saturdays or something.  After finishing their cutting display, Kevin and the Butcher talk with Okerlund, with Kevin ranting about his recently deceased mother and how evil he is.  The Butcher promises that the Faces of Fear will haunt Hogan for the rest of his days.

Non-Title Match:  Big Van Vader (United States Champion w/Harley Race) (3-0) pins Alex Davis after a flapjack at 2:00:

Vader’s appearance gives justification for why Hogan is not in the building since WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel has ordered them to stay away from each other before SuperBrawl.  WCW would have been better to program this match before the last one so viewers would not think Hogan was a bad friend.  There is not much to say about Davis other than he sells Vader’s beating like a champ, going up for the flapjack as if he is already dead.  With this win, Vader completes the “WCW Saturday Sweep” by winning three matches in one day on WCW Pro, Worldwide, and Saturday Night.

Okerlund interviews Vader and Race, with Race saying Vader does whatever he wants, which includes buying tickets to Clash of the Champions.  Vader says that Hulk Hogan will be lucky to make it to SuperBrawl, implying that Ric Flair is looking for him and that he might violate Bockwinkel’s instructions and beat Hogan up in front of his wife and children.  This was a great promo to put over the Hogan-Vader feud.

Paul Roma (0-1) defeats Mike Davis after a flying elbow drop at 3:47:

Davis was a seasoned professional, wrestling for Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) promotion in the 1980s before teaming up with Tommy Lane as the Rock n’ Roll RPMs.  That team wrestled in Memphis and World Class, appearing at SuperClash III.  Sadly, he passed away from a heart attack in December 2001.  Roma runs through a lot of his moveset, picking up Davis after a flying fist drop just so he could finish him with a flying elbow drop.

A pre-taped interview showcases Brian Pillman talking about his football career at the University of Miami-Ohio and making the Cincinnati Bengals squad.  He puts over how he has had to overcome adversity in his life.  He also puts over his upcoming appearance on Baywatch, which might give him a bigger role in Hollywood in the future, and says he wants to be the cruiserweight champion.  The last part is getting ahead of things because WCW has not publicly said that they were creating a cruiserweight division yet.  WCW was also bringing Pillman back as a California-centric character so this video package did a lot to emphasize that.

The Guardian Angel (3-0) pins Bob Starr after the Bossman Slam at 2:18:

Starr does not hesitate to unload on the Angel, but he makes the mistake of going to the top rope.  The Angel proceeds to shake the ropes, crotch Starr, and catch him with the Bossman Slam to stay undefeated.

Okerlund interviews the Angel, who recaps why he is the special referee for the Sting-Avalanche match at the Clash.  He promises to lead by example.

Call 1-900-909-9900 at midnight tonight to hear Bobby Heenan report on Ric Flair’s appearance at Clash of the Champions.

The Nasty Boys (3-0) defeat Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck (w/Colonel Robert Parker & Meng) (1-1) via disqualification when Slater hits Jerry Sags with a boot at 9:30:

Schiavone and Heenan do not know what to make of the Nasties in the beginning as they spend a couple of minutes doing some technical wrestling with Buck before resorting to their brawling ways.  Other unusual spots happen later as Buck pulls out a dropkick and then does a weird move where he puts the shirt he is wearing over Brian Knobbs head.  All told, this bout exceeds expectations as both teams keep it moving and play to their brawling strengths.  The Nasties need a win to position them as the next challengers for the tag team titles and they get it in typical WCW feature match fashion via disqualification.  Rating:  **¼

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Jimmy Hart cut a taped promo for the Clash.  They lament what happened to Dave Sullivan on today’s show before warning Big Van Vader and Ric Flair not to step too close to the danger zone in Las Vegas.

The Last Word:  I am not a big fan of squash matches that go beyond three minutes and sadly this show was littered with them.  On the bright side, the Faces of Fear beating on Dave Sullivan injected more of a purpose into the Clash of the Champions main event and the big feature match to conclude the show was serviceable.  The Dave Sullivan beatdown also signaled a small gimmick change as his Hulkamaniac gimmick was ditched because it was not getting over.  There is no Main Event for this week or next – due to TBS showing an all-day movie marathon and not wanting to run major programming during the Super Bowl – so our next review will delve into Clash of the Champions XXX from Las Vegas.

WCW ran a few house shows in the Ohio area before Clash of the Champions and here was the result of one those shows (courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com):

Dayton, Ohio – Hara Arena – January 19, 1995 (4,500; 3,800 paid):  Alex Wright beat Bobby Eaton…Johnny B. Badd defeated Jean Paul Levesque…Stars & Stripes beat Pretty Wonderful…Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeated Lord Steven Regal (substituting for Big Van Vader, who missed the show because of bronchitis)…The Nasty Boys beat WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat via disqualification…Sting beat Avalanche via disqualification.

Backstage News*:  The television tapings at the beginning of the month were attended by Larry Sharpe trainee Paul Wight, who is 7’1 and more than 400 pounds.  He is very inexperienced, having only wrestled one bout, but his size means that WCW will be interested.  Ric Flair was not supposed to be brought back this early after his retirement match at Halloween Havoc but WCW believes he is needed to give some energy to television shows.  Mark Madden, who works the WCW Hotline, was nearly fired by Eric Bischoff for saying that Lex Luger was coming into WCW and that Big Van Vader might “shoot” on Hulk Hogan at SuperBrawl.  Okerlund discussed how Roddy Piper might be coming to WCW on the hotline, but there is no evidence to suggest Piper is thinking of severing his existing ties with the WWF.  With Jean Paul Levesque leaving the company, the plan is to use Bobby Eaton as his replacement for the planned Blue Bloods tag team with Lord Steven Regal.  In other talent relations news, the Steiner Brothers and the Warlord might be returning to WCW, with the Steiners possibly coming in for the March pay-per-view in Tupelo, Mississippi.

*News items courtesy of the January 23 and 30 editions of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer.

Up Next:  Clash of the Champions XXX!