What the World Was Watching: WCW Saturday Night – April 15, 1995

Stars & Stripes promise that Arn Anderson & Vader will face their Waterloo tonight.  Vader says he is very excited to team with Anderson for the first time.

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are doing commentary and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia.  According to thehistoryofwwe.com, this episode was taped on April 4.  Heenan paces behind Schiavone and Gene Okerlund, who discuss whether Ric Flair will be reinstated tonight.

Opening Contest:  Alex Wright (25-0-1) pins Bobby Starr after a reverse flying body press at 3:42:

Starr is given the nickname “Hollywood” during introductions, causing Schiavone incredulously remark “That is what he is calling himself now?”  Schiavone also notes during the match that the United States Championship Tournament will start next week.  Wright’s twenty-five match winning streak was broken on Worldwide when he wrestled Television Champion Arn Anderson to a time limit draw but he is still unbeaten.  Wright works a weird standing neck crank where he positions Starr for a snapmare but does not complete the move.  After a relatively uninspired effort Wright wins to keep him rolling toward Slamboree.

Okerlund interviews Wright, who says that his recent squash shows that he is prepared for Anderson at Slamboree.  Okerlund asks for some dance tips to end the segment.

Sergeant Craig Pittman (8-0) defeats John Taylor via submission to the Code Red at 3:00:

Taylor gets in on the jobber nickname train, being billed as “Mr. Excitement.”  The poor jobber does not live up to that billing as he awkwardly lays on the canvas after a takedown, leading a befuddled Pittman to stare down at him.  Taylor’s habit of laying on the canvas for long periods of time prompt referee Nick Patrick to verbally urge him to get up so that the match can finish.  This was a very awkward contest as the two did not communicate well in the ring.

Okerlund interviews Pittman, who calls out WCW Champion Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.  He insists that he is ready for them.

Okerlund does the Slamboree Control Center.

Meng (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (8-0) pins Barry Hardy after a thrust kick in 38 seconds:

Hardy is not willing to be a passive victim, trying to dropkick Parker’s bodyguard.  Meng sidesteps that, though, and hits his thrust kick to win in less than a minute.  After the bell, referees flood into the ring because Hardy has been knocked out.  Meng’s victory gives him the WCW “Saturday Sweep.”

Okerlund interviews Parker and Meng, with Parker delighted that Meng is going to be in the United States title tournament.  He puts over how Meng is his top managerial priority.

Heenan says he has received a mailing from Diamond Dallas Page that says he has won thirteen million dollars in Las Vegas.  Heenan shows a photo of Page and Kimberly with a huge check.  Schiavone insists that the picture has been doctored.  This is followed by the Dave Sullivan video that aired on WCW Pro where Kimberly brought Dave a present while he recovers at home.

The Blue Bloods (3-0) beat Eddie Jackie & Scott Armstrong when Lord Steven Regal makes Jackie submit to the Regal Stretch at 5:33:

Armstrong holds onto an armbar too long, allowing for Regal to hoist him into the air and Eaton to spike his face into the canvas in a cool looking move.  Jackie also makes Regal’s German suplex look like a million bucks by getting into the air and landing hard on his shoulders.   As the match drags, Schiavone says the Blue Bloods have already become top contenders for the tag team titles.  Smart money would suggest that the Nasty Boys are soon getting the titles and will feud with the Blue Bloods.  After the bell, Earl Robert Eaton keeps referee Nick Patrick’s attention as Regal takes cheap shots on the jobbers in a piece of great heeling.

The WCW Executive Board meets again to decide the fate of Ric Flair.  WCW Champion Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Jimmy Hart appear and repeat their plea to reinstate Flair so they can finish him off in the ring.  The U.S. and Spain still vote no, while Germany and Japan still vote yes so things hinge on France, where representative Christine LeBlanc votes for reinstatement, thereby bringing Flair back by a 3-2 vote.

Paul Orndorff (3-1) beats Barry Houston after a piledriver at 4:33:

Orndorff is facing the Great Muta for the IWGP title at Slamboree so the next few weeks will likely feature some squash matches to build him up.  A few more wins will also help fans forget that Orndorff lost a bunch of tag matches with Paul Roma at the beginning of the year.  Like the previous match, this squash takes way too much time, although it does feature an interesting spot where Orndorff suplexes Houston into the corner.

Okerlund interviews Orndorff, who he says will be in the U.S. title tournament.  Orndorff says he is the best man in the field and claims to be the “best there was and best there ever will be.”

Jimmy Hart goes through some fan mail for the Renegade, which he says is coming from around the world.  A small video package shows off the Renegade’s physique.

Brian Pillman (10-0) defeats Rick Thames via submission to an octopus hold on the canvas at 4:52:

Schiavone’s commentary about the U.S. title tournament is getting tiresome by this point in the broadcast as every feature talent has gotten a “(Insert name) is going to be a top contender in the tournament!”  This is all contradicted when Schiavone reveals that the tournament has been seeded, so clearly the WCW Executive Board did not think everyone was a top contender.  Pillman and/or Thames cannot make a springboard hurricanrana spot work, the second time that move has been botched for Pillman in a squash match, and he triumphs with a submission hold to show his dexterity as a competitor since he is building up multiple finishing moves.

Schiavone reveals that the U.S. title tournament will last nine weeks and the finals will be held at The Great American Bash on June 18.  Here is the bracket, with matches happening on Saturday Night and Main Event:

Sting (#1 seed) vs. Arn Anderson

Johnny B. Badd vs. Paul Orndorff

Meng (#4 seed) vs. Marcus Bagwell

Brian Pillman vs. Bunkhouse Buck

Randy Savage (#2 seed) vs. The Butcher

Steve Austin vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Ric Flair (#3 seed) vs. The Patriot

Alex Wright vs. Big Bubba Rogers

Big Bubba Rogers (14-0) pins Larry Santo after the Big Bubba Slam at 2:05:

After sitting through some long squashes, Rogers thankfully keeps this one short, relying largely on strikes to capture his fifteenth win of the year and complete the WCW “Saturday Sweep.”

Okerlund interviews Rogers, who says he wants Sting to worry about him all the time.  He also pledges to run through the U.S. title tournament because he wants the world title.  Rogers promos have been really good in recent weeks, conveying an intensity that has largely been missing from the product since Uncensored.

Schiavone reveals that tomorrow night’s Main Event features a bout between Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman.

Vader & Arn Anderson beat Stars & Stripes (15-4) when Anderson pins Marcus Bagwell after a Vader elbow drop at 12:31:

The “feeling out” segment of the match is loads of fun as Marcus Bagwell outwrestles Anderson, who tags in Vader, who destroys Bagwell, who in turn tags in the Patriot, who then frustrates Vader by being able to counter power with power.  Ric Flair makes his way out halfway through the contest and he attacks the Patriot so he can make his appearance relevant.  Of course, the announcers completely overlook the fact that Flair is facing the Patriot in the first round of the upcoming U.S. title tournament.  The timekeeper also screws things up by ringing the bell after Vader gets a two count from a Vader Bomb on the Patriot.  Although Stars & Stripes rode a seven-match winning streak into this feature bout, they had no chance here, especially when top babyfaces like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage did not bother to come out and help them even the odds.  Still, this was not a glorified squash and was a very fun match that gave some credibility to Stars & Stripes, as they appeared to push the former U.S. titleholder and existing Television titleholder to the limit since Vader had to prevent Anderson from being pinned by a Bagwell fisherman’s suplex at the end.  This is Anderson’s first overall win since March 25.  Rating:  ***

Schiavone interviews Vader and Arn Anderson.  Vader warns Hogan that he, Flair, and Anderson are united again and they fear no one.  All three then proceed to mock the “Hogan” chants coming out of the crowd.  This seemed to be creating a new heel stable, but a name was not given to it.  Even Anderson said that we could just call these three guys whatever we wanted to.

The Last Word:  The feature bout and the segment that followed really gave this show a boost but everything before it was off putting for viewers, with constant shills for the WCW Hotline and lots of boring squash matches.  The good news about the upcoming United States Championship Tournament is that it will give more of a purpose to Saturday Night and Main Event over the next two months.  In kayfabe, the brackets mostly make sense.  Giving Anderson a #16 seed and having him face Sting is ridiculous, though, since he is the reigning Television Champion and his win/loss record is better than Bunkhouse Buck, the Butcher, and the Patriot, all of whom earned higher seeds.  At the very least, this show seems to be transitioning Anderson out of Colonel Robert Parker’s stable, where he was always a misfit toy.

Up Next:  WCW Main Event for April 16!

And if you want to read what was happening in the WWF as a companion to this series of WCW reviews, check out my e-book on Amazon.  $4.99 for an electronic copy of the e-book or $26 for the paperback copy, which provides more than 800 pages of reviews, statistics, and angle breakdowns of the WWF in 1995!