What the World Was Watching: WCW Saturday Night – January 28, 1995

Television Champion Arn Anderson and Randy Savage do dueling promos to hype tonight’s main event.

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are doing commentary and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia.  The announcers recap the end of Clash of the Champions, with the footage not showing Hulk Hogan not selling Big Van Vader’s powerbomb.

Opening Contest:  Stars & Stripes (4-2) defeat the Cuban Connection when Marcus Bagwell pins Ricky Santana after a suplex-flying body press combination at 8:19:

The Cuban Connection is made up of Fidel Sierra and Ricky Santana, both of whom were titleholders in Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council (WWC) promotion.  Both teams get the crowd fired up early, with Marcus Bagwell doing a pescado to Sierra and Santana doing one of his own on Bagwell, with leads to the Patriot giving both heels a clothesline on the floor.  The Connection comes close to winning after a modified Doomsday Device on Bagwell, but Santana misses a top rope dive and Stars & Stripes end up prevailing to get revenge for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  This was a great opener that should have led to better things for the Connection, especially because of the depleted nature of WCW’s tag team division.  Rating:  ***

Alex Wright (9-0) beats Rick Stockhauser with a reverse flying body press at 2:40:

Wright is mobbed by female fans once again during his entrance, something that Schiavone tells us Paul Roma does not appreciate when Roma comes out to get a better look at this match.  Wright runs through his usual range of moves as Roma yells at women about how they could support someone like Wright.  After the match, he takes off his shirt to show off his physique to one of them while Wright stands in the ring like an idiot.  The woman eventually gets in the ring, siding with Wright’s look, and the two dance.  This is pretty silly but at least it gives the Wright-Roma match some build for SuperBrawl.  With his win today, Wright becomes the first WCW talent to reach double digit wins in 1995.

The Wright music video is replayed.

Gene Okerlund provides the SuperBrawl Report.

Dave Sullivan (1-1) defeats John Faulkner via submission to a full nelson at 1:10:

Sullivan no longer has the power of Hulkamania so he just gives kids hugs in the front row instead of Hogan merchandise.  Sullivan makes quick work of Faulkner, tearing into him after the opening bell.  This is a great way to mask Sullivan’s deficiencies.

Okerlund interviews Sullivan, who says that Kevin did bad things to their grandmother.

A music video hypes Big Van Vader.  He reminds Hulk Hogan that he is the man.

Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck (w/Colonel Robert Parker, the Blacktop Bully & Meng) (1-2) beat Kenny Kendall & Mike Davis after Buck pins Davis after a double fist off the ropes at 5:21:

Slater and Buck deliver a zillion strikes to Kendall until Davis gets a jobber hot tag and is mowed down after Slater pulls down the top rope.  Since the jobbers managed just a sliver of offense, too much time was given to this encounter.

Handicap Match:  Avalanche (w/Kevin Sullivan & the Butcher) defeats Mike Corey & Alex Davis after pinning both of them following an Avalanche Splash at 2:06:

Avalanche is in desperate need of a rebuild after Sting squashed him at Clash of the Champions so this handicap match allows him to be put over as a one man wrecking crew.  The crowd chants for Sting as Avalanche squashes both jobbers.

Fans get some footage of Brian Pillman in Southern California and on the Baywatch set.  This puts over the “California Brian” character that Pillman will play on the episode.

Dustin Rhodes (4-0) pins Jean Paul Levesque (0-1) after a bulldog at 8:25:

Although Levesque is playing a French aristocrat, his theme music is generic rock and it does not fit the character.  Two years later this would be a WrestleMania caliber contest, but in 1995 both men are trying to find their way, and in Levesque’s case this would be his last televised bout in WCW before jumping to the WWF.  Due to that one would expect Rhodes to get a quick win in a squash, but this is wrestled as a competitive singles match.  Levesque intelligently pokes Rhodes in the eyes when Rhodes does a big setup for an elbow but cannot stop Rhodes from getting out of a chinlock and hitting his finisher off the ropes.  After a slow start, this one got into a nice rhythm.  Rating:  **

Okerlund interviews Sting & Randy Savage, with Savage promising “party time” at SuperBrawl.  Sting growls a lot because he is excited to get revenge on Big Bubba Rogers.

Non-Title Match:  Harlem Heat (WCW Tag Team Champions w/Sister Sherri) (5-0) defeat Barry Houston & Scott D’Amore when Booker T pins Houston after the Heatseeker at 3:05:

The Nasty Boys deliver a promo in the split screen, promising to get nasty at SuperBrawl.  At the time of this squash, D’Amore was part owner and booker of Border City Wrestling in Ontario.  He also did some jobs for the WWF by the end of 1995.  The Heat rush the ring, kicking the jobbers into another dimension and winning with what Schiavone calls the Heatseeker, which sees Stevie Ray lift an opponent over his head and Booker T come off the top rope with an elbow.

Television Championship Match:  Randy Savage pins Arn Anderson (Champion w/Colonel Robert Parker & Meng) (3-0) with a flying elbow smash at 15:10 but Anderson retained the title because title’s time limit expired at 15:00:

Both competitors have excellent pedigrees, although Savage seems well above the Television Championship, almost as if Hulk Hogan was wrestling for the Intercontinental title in the WWF in the early 1990s.  Despite that, this was a “dream match” of sorts, a perfect example of fresh matches Savage could have after coming into WCW in late 1994.  The problem with this bout is that each man and the announcers telegraph a time limit draw as Schiavone and Heenan cannot stop talking about it and both men work lots of rest holds to stretch things out.  Savage escapes Anderson’s DDT in the final minute and the time limit expires, but he still hits the flying elbow smash and then gets the pin?!?!?  Schiavone says that Savage pinned Anderson but will not get the title which is such a “because WCW” piece of booking.  Overall, things just did not click with these two as much as one would expect.  Rating:  *½

After the pin, the Stud Stable runs in and attacks Savage until Sting and Dustin Rhodes make the save.

Okerlund interviews WCW Champion Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart.  Hogan gives his typical over the top promo, comparing his recovery from the Big Van Vader’s powerbomb to the resurrection of Jesus.  Hogan tells Hart, who he keeps referring to as a “squeaky mouse” in promos and actually tells him to shut up at the end of this one, that he wants a contract stipulation that everyone in the world will be watching SuperBrawl, which is not something any promotion on the planet could guarantee.

The Last Word:  There was some good angle advancement for SuperBrawl on this telecast and the tag team opener was fantastic.  The main event’s booking was really absurd as a time limit draw would have been a satisfactory conclusion that still could have segwayed into the big brawl between the Stud Stable and the top babyfaces.  Randy Savage is just in a tag match for SuperBrawl so it is not like going the distance with Arn Anderson makes him any less of a talent going into the pay-per-view.  WCW Main Event was not aired this week due to the Super Bowl so our next show will be WCW Pro from February 4.

WCW did some house shows in North Carolina after Clash of the Champions.  Here was the result of one of those cards (courtesy of thehistoryofwwe.com):

Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum – January 28, 1995 (2,200):  Alex Wright pinned Bobby Eaton with a rollup…Stars & Stripes defeated Pretty Wonderful when the Patriot pinned Paul Roma…Johnny B. Badd pinned Television Champion Arn Anderson in a non-title match with the Tutti Frutti after several seconds.  Badd then got on the house microphone and told Anderson that the next time he beat him would be for the title…The Nasty Boys defeated WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat via disqualification when Sister Sherri interfered.  After the match, Brian Knobbs got on the house microphone and called the Heat “chicken shit”…United States Champion Vader pinned Hacksaw Jim Duggan after a splash…Sting beat Avalanche via disqualification after Avalanche tossed Sting over the top rope.

Backstage News*:  Harley Race was in a serious automobile accident on January 24, crashing into a concrete divider in Kansas City, Missouri.  The accident broke Race’s hip and will sideline him for the immediate future.  Ric Flair might be substituted as Vader’s manager in the interim, thereby helping to build on Flair’s return, which took place at Clash of the Champions.  Flair might be back in the ring by Slamboree in May.  The recent Clash did good business for the company, grossing a $60,000 gate due to high ticket prices.  Its 3.5 rating did not eclipse the August 1994 Clash number, though, so that can be viewed as a slight disappointment.  WCW Saturday Night, headlined by the Arn Anderson-Randy Savage television title match, did its highest rating in months, scoring a 2.8 share.  As a way to enhance revenue WCW will be raising the price of its pay-per-views from $24.95 to $27.50, and if fans buy on the day of a show they would pay $32.50.  In the ongoing promotional wars, WCW outclassed the WWF at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Convention in Las Vegas from January 24 to 26.  WCW brought Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, drawing greater interest and crowds than the WWF, who brought Vince McMahon, Diesel, the Undertaker, and Jim Ross.  Even though Swedish WCW talent Frank Anderson recently plead guilty to possessing Genetropin, a Human Growth Hormone, WCW did not fine or suspend him because he is still promoting shows for WCW in Europe.  In other talent news, WCW has told Jean Paul Levesque that it will not allow him to compete for the WWF immediately, saying that his non-compete clause prevents him from wrestling for another promotion until May.  Levesque is expected to challenge this.

*Backstage news items sourced from the February 6, 1995 edition of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer.

And since it is the end of the month here are some win/loss standings for WCW talent at the end of January 1995.  These standings will expand as we progress through the year:

Top Fifteen Overall Records

1—Alex Wright (10-0)

T2—Booker T (6-0)

T2—Brian Knobbs (6-0)

T2—Jerry Sags (6-0)

T2—Stevie Ray (6-0)

T6—Dustin Rhodes (5-0)

T6—Hacksaw Jim Duggan (5-0)

T8—Big Bubba Rogers (4-0 – Earned as the Guardian Angel)

T8—Big Van Vader (4-0)

T8—Sting (4-0)

11—The Blacktop Bully (3-0)

T12—Lord Steven Regal (2-0)

T12—Randy Savage (2-0)

T14—Diamond Dallas Page (1-0)

T14—Hulk Hogan (1-0)

Top Ten Singles Records

1—Alex Wright (10-0)

T2—Dustin Rhodes (5-0)

T2—Hacksaw Jim Duggan (5-0)

T4—Big Bubba Rogers (4-0 – Earned as the Guardian Angel)

T4—Big Van Vader (4-0)

T4—Sting (4-0)

7—The Blacktop Bully (3-0)

T8—Diamond Dallas Page (1-0)

T8—Lord Steven Regal (1-0)

T8—Randy Savage (1-0)

Top Ten Tag Team Records

T1—Harlem Heat (6-0)

T1—The Nasty Boys (6-0)

3—Kevin Sullivan & Avalanche (3-0)

T4—Lord Steven Regal & Jean Paul Levesque (1-0)

T4—The Monster Maniacs (1-0)

6—Stars & Stripes (5-2)

7—Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck (2-2)

T8—Arn Anderson & Bunkhouse Buck (1-1)

T8—Kevin Sullivan & the Butcher (1-1)

10—Brad & Scott Armstrong (1-2)

Top Ten in Televised Match Appearances (Iron Worker Award):

1—Alex Wright (10)

2—Marcus Bagwell (8)

T3—Bunkhouse Buck (7)

T3—The Patriot (7)

T5—Arn Anderson (6)

T5—Avalanche (6)

T5—Bobby Eaton (6)

T5—Booker T (6)

T5—Brian Knobbs (6)

T5—Jerry Sags (6)

T5—Johnny B. Badd (6)

T5—Kevin Sullivan (6)

T5—Stevie Ray (6)

Top Five Matches in January 1995

1—Stars & Stripes vs. the Cuban Connection (WCW Saturday Night, January 28) – ***

2—Harlem Heat vs. Brad & Scott Armstrong (WCW Saturday Night, January 7) – ***

3— Johnny B. Badd vs. Paul Roma (WCW Saturday Night, January 7, Television Championship Match) – **½

4—Alex Wright vs. Paul Levesque (Main Event, January 15) – **½

5—Arn Anderson vs. Johnny B. Badd (Clash of the Champions XXX, January 25, Television Championship Match) – **½

Up Next:  WCW Pro for February 4!