What the World Was Watching: WCW Saturday Night – April 29, 1995

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are taped from Atlanta, Georgia.

Opening Contest:  The Nasty Boys (18-1-1) defeat Ricky Santana & Romeo Valentino when Jerry Sags pins Valentino after the Trip to Nastyville at 3:37:

Santana and Valentino make for a makeshift jobber team as they are competing without their usual partners.  The Nasties use a lot of hard-hitting offense, keeping the crowd engaged before Sags does his sloppy elbow off the top for the win.  This marks the third time that Santana has lost to the Nasty Boys this year, all with different partners.

Schiavone interviews the Nasties, who repeat their big talking points for Slamboree.  WCW is not giving these guys a lot to work with because there have been such limited interactions between both teams for the past month.

Vader (10-2) pins Al Phillips after a powerbomb at 2:10:

These two wrestled on WCW Pro on February 11 and this one goes just as well for Phillips, as Vader brutalizes him in the corner and finishes with the powerbomb.  After the match, Vader powerbombs Phillips on the arena floor to send a message to Hulk Hogan.

Gene Okerlund does the Slamboree Control Center.  Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Jimmy Hart do a taped promo where the Renegade fails to appear in the green screen behind them.  Fittingly, Hogan sends Savage and Hart to go find Renegade because they are his lackeys.

Heenan warns Hogan that Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Vader are out to get him and there will be nowhere to hide at Slamboree.  Schiavone proceeds to put over the Great Muta and a video package hypes his upcoming appearance on pay-per-view.

Johnny B. Badd (15-3-1) beats George South after Dreamland at 1:50:

Badd punishes South with a sit out powerbomb, which should have ended the match as it got a big pop, but Badd simply lets South kick out of that so he can use Dreamland, a less flashier finisher.

Call 1-900-909-9900 to find out what three men might be coming into WCW!  Call to find out who those men are and what six men might be departing the company soon!

The Butcher (1-1) beats Mark Starr via submission to a sleeper hold:

Although Kevin Sullivan turned on him, Butcher is not playing babyface.  That could be a consequence of the taping schedule, but it forces Schiavone to cover for Butcher by saying that it will take the fans time to warm to Butcher and he is now a man with no allies in the locker room.  The Butcher slowly works over Starr before locking in the sleeper.  If one did not know any better, one would think Butcher was headed out of the company after the match against Sullivan at Slamboree because his character is going nowhere fast.

United States Championship Tournament First Round:  Meng (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (11-0) pins Marcus Bagwell (1-2) after a thrust kick at 1:59:

Bagwell got a rough draw against the number four overall seed in the tournament.  He gets a little bit of shine with a pescado but that does more damage to him than his opponent and Meng finishes with “the foot” to advance.  This was smart booking because Bagwell was a tag team competitor and was not cut out for intense singles competition.  Meng will face Brian Pillman in the quarter-finals.

A video package recaps the Sting-Big Bubba Rogers feud.

Schiavone interviews Rogers, who calls Sting’s fans morons for thinking that any man in WCW can go toe-to-toe with him.

Brian Pillman (13-0) beats Dino Cassanova after the Atomic Blonde at 5:24:

For whatever reason, this is booked as a competitive squash, with Cassanova suckering Pillman in with a handshake spot and then knocking Pillman off the top rope.  Sadly, Cassanova’s offense looks terrible and he nearly kills Pillman when he fails to hold Pillman up during a hurricanrana effort and dumps him on his head.  In fairness to Cassanova, Pillman has been playing fast and loose with that spot for weeks so something like this was inevitable.  According to the Wrestling Observer, Pillman got a concussion and since this bout occurred earlier in the taping than his match against Bunkhouse Buck, which aired on last week’s telecast, that is why WCW had Pillman go over Buck in five seconds.  Aside from that, this match did little to instill confidence in the fan base that Pillman would be advancing in the U.S. title tournament in a few weeks against Meng.

Schiavone interviews Pillman, who talks about how he is a survivor.  Sadly, he does not assign that attribute to his latest match.  He promises to do whatever is needed to do to defeat Meng in the quarter-finals.

Dave Sullivan works out with some kids in the local park, using their playground equipment to get in shape.  I am sure that this would be illegal in all fifty states today.  Eventually, this translates into Dave going back to a random training center and slamming jobbers around as a knockoff Rocky theme plays.

Kevin Sullivan (4-1) pins John Taylor after a double stomp at 2:49:

Taylor is still billed as “Mr. Excitement,” although this squash is anything but exciting.  Sullivan chops him a lot on the arena floor and when he walks away, Taylor casually pulls up his top as if nothing is wrong.  As noted before, Sullivan should win at Slamboree because his character has a lot more versatility than the Butcher.

Schiavone interviews Sullivan, who sends a warning to Butcher for Slamboree because there is an ominous cloud on the horizon.  He warns that they both may perish at the pay-per-view.  If that outcome occurs, the biggest winner will be the fans.

Alex Wright (30-0-1) defeats Chris Nelson after a reverse flying body press at 5:34:

Wright has defeated so many people that he is now circling around to the same jobbers, having defeated Nelson for his first win of the year back on the January 7 edition of WCW Pro.  Wright does bust out a fun move, leapfropping over Nelson so he can dropkick him in the face.  Just like Pillman’s squash, the jobber takes Wright to the limit but falls just shy of being the 1 in 31-1-1.

Schiavone interviews Wright.  The content is not bad, as Wright says he is young and hungry for the Television Championship.  However, the delivery is awful as Wright seems like he is reading cue cards.  The promo also lacks the energy and intensity one would want from a young babyface in Wright’s position.

Ric Flair & Arn Anderson (w/Vader) beat Brad Armstrong & Tim Horner (3-3) when Anderson pins Armstrong after a spinebuster at 8:20:

The big draw for this match is that it is Flair’s first official in-ring appearance since Halloween Havoc.  The day this match aired in the United States, Flair was in North Korea wrestling Antonio Inoki as part of the Collison in Korea show.  He does look excited to get back into the ring, smiling from ear-to-ear before he locks up with Armstrong.  Armstrong carries the offense as Horner is ineffectual when given the opportunity, and his hot comeback at the end is ended with a VICIOUS Anderson spinebuster that fittingly puts a close to the match.  The finish was worth an extra ½*.  Rating:  **½

After the bell, the heels continue beating down Armstrong and Horner but Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage make the save.  Vader becomes a one-man wrecking crew for the heels and does not sell for Hogan.  The heels prepare to hit Hogan with a chair, but the Renegade runs out and puts a stop to that.  Poor Anderson is booked to give the Renegade a fearful glance before being knocked off the top rope.

Schiavone interviews Hogan, Savage, Jimmy Hart, and the Renegade.  The Renegade stalks around with a chair while Savage promises that the heels will be destroyed at Slamboree.  Hogan says that the Renegade could beat the heels by himself, adding that Savage will have some family members in attendance to see the main event.

The Last Word:  Some of the squash lengths were puzzling, but the appearances of Hogan and Savage in the main event gave the show a big boost because they rarely appear.  It was getting tiring seeing the heels call them out and both men respond with taped promos.  WCW could also afford to get more guys involved in storylines as Brian Pillman and Johnny B. Badd remain directionless outside of the U.S. title tournament.  There is no edition of Main Event because Major League Baseball was returning from its strike so we will continue next time with WCW Pro for May 6.

Backstage News*:  As part of the Collision in Korea show, which will be aired on pay-per-view in August, Ric Flair lost to Antonio Inoki at 14:52 after an enziguri in a match that attracted more than 150,000 fans, many of whom were ordered to come by the North Korean government.  Flair was praised for carrying Inoki to one of his best matches in years.  WCW officials were happy that ABC did not do an investigation in it for drugs and steroids in wrestling as the broadcaster aired a recent piece about deaths in pro wrestling.  Eric Bischoff refused to be interviewed.  Vader is no longer UWFI titleholder, having lost the title to Nobuhiko Takada on April 20 in Nagoya, Japan.  This means that he could do a clean job for Hulk Hogan if WCW saw fit to book it.  In terms of future pay-per-views, Bash at the Beach in July will be held at Huntington Beach in California, with fans not being charged admission.  The main event is planned as a cage match between Hogan and Vader.  With Dory Funk, Jr. backing out of Slamboree it appears that Dick Murdoch will replace him.  Murdoch had an impressive showing at the WWF’s Royal Rumble in January.  WCW’s idea for a cruiserweight division has been scrapped for the time being.  In talent relations news, WCW is sending jobber Barry Houston to the USWA.  It also thought of sending Paul Wight there but that got scuttled.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer from May 8, 1995.

And since it is the end of the month here are some win/loss standings for WCW talent at the end of April 1995:

Top Twenty-Five Overall Records

1—Brian Pillman (15-0)

T2—Meng (12-0)

T2—Sergeant Craig Pittman (12-0)

4—Hulk Hogan (6-0)

5—Frank Andersson (2-0)

6—Ric Flair (1-0)

7—Alex Wright (35-0-1)

8—Randy Savage (11-0-1)

T9—Brian Knobbs (19-1-1)

T9—Jerry Sags (19-1-1)

11—Sting (16-1-1)

12—Big Bubba Rogers (18-2)

13—Lord Steven Regal (12-1-1)

14—Johnny B. Badd (22-3-1)

15—Hacksaw Jim Duggan (19-3)

T16—Booker T. (18-2-2)

T16—Stevie Ray (18-2-2)

18—Vader (13-3)

19—Kevin Sullivan (14-4)

20—Steve Austin (10-3)

21—The Patriot (19-6)

22—Marcus Bagwell (19-8)

23—The Butcher (8-5)

24—Dick Slater (6-4)

25—Earl Robert Eaton (9-6-1)

Inactive Wrestlers That Would Have Qualified:  Dustin Rhodes (18-2); the Blacktop Bully (15-5)

Top Ten Singles Records

1—Big Bubba Rogers (16-0)

2—Brian Pillman (14-0)

T3—Meng (12-0)

T3—Sergeant Craig Pittman (12-0)

5—Randy Savage (5-0)

T6—Frank Andersson (2-0)

T6—Hulk Hogan (2-0)

8—Diamond Dallas Page (1-0)

9—Alex Wright (31-0-1)

10—Sting (11-1)

Inactive Wrestlers That Would Have Qualified:  The Blacktop Bully (15-0)

Top Ten Tag Team Records

1—The Blue Bloods (6-0)

T2—Kevin Sullivan & Avalanche (3-0)

T2—The Monster Maniacs (3-0)

4—Ric Flair & Arn Anderson (1-0)

5—The Nasty Boys (19-1-1)

6—Harlem Heat (18-2-2)

7—Sting & Randy Savage (2-0-1)

8—Stars & Stripes (17-5)

9—Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck (6-3)

10—Big Bubba Rogers & Avalanche (2-2)

Inactive Teams That Would Have Qualified:  Dustin Rhodes & Johnny B. Badd (3-0), Lord Steven Regal & Jean Paul Levesque (1-0); Kevin Sullivan & the Butcher (6-2)

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

1—Alex Wright (36)

2—Arn Anderson (30)

3—Marcus Bagwell (27)

4—Johnny B. Badd (26)

5—The Patriot (25)

T6—Booker T (22)

T6—Bunkhouse Buck (22)

T6—Hacksaw Jim Duggan (22)

T6—Stevie Ray (22)

T10—Brian Knobbs (21)

T10—Jerry Sags (21)

Most Appearances By Show:  Pro­-Alex Wright (9); Worldwide-Alex Wright and Hacksaw Jim Duggan (8); Saturday Night-Arn Anderson (12), Main Event-Arn Anderson (5)

Top Five Matches in April 1995

1—Johnny B. Badd & Alex Wright vs. Arn Anderson & Steve Austin (WCW Saturday Night, April 1) – ***¼

2—Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck vs. Brad Armstrong & Tim Horner (WCW Pro, April 15) – ***

3—Vader & Arn Anderson vs. Stars & Stripes (WCW Saturday Night, April 15) – ***

4—Alex Wright vs. Bunkhouse Buck (WCW Pro, April 29) – ***

5—Sting vs. Arn Anderson (U.S. Championship Tournament First Round, WCW Saturday Night, April 22) – ***

Top Five Overall Matches in 1995 (to this point)

1—Harlem Heat vs. Sting & Randy Savage (WCW Tag Team Championship Match, WCW Saturday Night, February 25) – ***½

2—Arn Anderson vs. Alex Wright (WCW Television Championship Match, WCW Saturday Night, March 11) – ***½

3—Hulk Hogan vs. Vader (WCW Championship Match, SuperBrawl V, February 19) – ***¼

4—Harlem Heat vs. The Fantastics (WCW Pro, February 25) – ***¼

5— Johnny B. Badd & Alex Wright vs. Arn Anderson & Steve Austin (WCW Saturday Night, April 1) – ***¼

Up Next:  WCW Pro for May 6!

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!