(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
September 17, 1995
Asheville Civic Center
Asheville, North Carolina
News & Notes: Vader was originally part of the main event of this PPV. He was a member of Hogan’s War Games team, but WCW fired him before the event. Vader had a fistfight backstage with Paul Orndorff. Vader arrived late to the building and Orndorff confronted him. He was yelling in Vader’s face, so Vader shoved Paul. It turned into a fight. WCW fired Vader because he started the scuffle. They explained his absence on TV by saying Vader didn’t file the proper paperwork. He went A.W.O.L.. It fit the war theme of this PPV. Meanwhile, Hogan’s team needed a replacement. Sting suggested his old friend Lex Luger. The issue is, Luger was gunning for Hogan’s title. Lex got his title match on the second episode of Nitro. It ended in DQ when the Dungeon of Doom interfered. Hogan and Savage were suspicious because the Dungeon didn’t touch Luger. Sting assured both men they could trust him. Luger agreed to be on Hulk’s team, but he asked for another title shot in return. That only fueled Savage’s suspicions of Luger.
I have a couple of other notes before I begin. The episode of Main Event before this PPV included a couple of debuts and a new tag team. First, Eddie Guerrero arrived in WCW. He faced Alex Wright. The match ended in no-contest because Eddie appeared injured. Wright waved off the bout out of respect. The second debut is Disco Inferno. His gimmick is a disco-obsessed dancing fool. The urge to dance and fixing his hair distracts him. He also danced during other wrestlers’ entrances. The best example was when he interrupted Road Warrior Hawk’s introduction. Disco grabbed a fan’s baseball cap and placed it on one of Hawk’s spikes. Finally, there is a new team in WCW. Marcus Bagwell returned from his ruptured calf implant. He teamed with Scotty Riggs to form The American Males. They are a pair of male models. This would normally be a heel gimmick, but they are babyfaces. How can you not cheer them? They have the best worst theme song ever! It’s the words American Males repeated ad nauseam.
The narrator promises a continuous bombardment of excitement! There are two title matches and two main events. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson have carried each other through many battles. They will meet in hand-to-hand combat. It’s a match you always wanted to see but never thought you would. Next, the voice tells us Lex Luger returned from behind enemy lines. He joined Hulk Hogan in his war with the Dungeon of Doom. They will head to the front to face Meng, Kamala, The Zodiac, and The Shark.
Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to the show. He says Hogan declared war on the Dungeon of Doom in July. However, war broke out during Main Event. The Giant ran over Hulk Hogan’s Harley Davidson with a monster truck. Heenan claims the Giant said he was sorry. Tony asks why. Bobby replies the Giant was sorry Hogan wasn’t on the bike when he ran over it. Tony rolls his eyes and introduces the first match. I wish they showed a clip of the segment. It was hilarious. They never explain where the Dungeon of Doom got a monster truck. They must have a large budget. You would think they would live in something better than a cave. The monster truck segment is setting up shenanigans for the next PPV. I’ll explain more in my Halloween Havoc review.
U.S. Title #1 Contender Match: Johnny B. Badd vs. Flyin’ Brian
Notes: The winner of this match receives a U.S. Title Match against Sting. Tony says Pillman and Badd are friends. That statement is a little heavy on foreshadowing. Badd arrives with a Badd Blaster in hand and throws Frisbees into the crowd. I don’t want to know where he was hiding those. Also, Michael Buffer introduces this bout. That’s odd. This isn’t a title match. He seems annoyed by how long Badd poses on the turnbuckles. Buffer calls it a United States Heavyweight Championship Challenger Elimination Match. That’s a mouthful. It’s also ridiculous. A one-on-one match doesn’t have elimination rules. He also points out the twenty-minute time-limit. I wonder if that will be a factor.
The Match: The match begins with handshakes and mutual respect. They trade leapfrogs and holds. Badd has a cut above his eye. Pillman grows frustrated by Johnny’s persistence. The match turns to shoving and biting. Pillman dumps Badd to the floor multiple times. They also collide on what looks like a chest bump gone wrong. Buffer says there are five minutes left in the match as both men fight on the apron. Badd uses a slingshot leg drop and a slingshot cross body. Neither is enough. Badd uses a powerbomb. Pillman counters with a Tombstone. They trade submissions and near-falls. Then, Badd nails the Tutti-Frutti (formerly known as The Kiss that Doesn’t Miss). Pillman responds with a springboard clothesline. But, time expires before he can pin Johnny.
Nick Patrick informs Buffer the match will continue under sudden-death rules. How is that different from a normal match? Both men brawl on the floor. Then, they trade dropkicks and sleeper holds. Badd blocks a superplex and uses a flying sunset flip. He also attempts another powerbomb. Brian turns it into a hurricanrana. Next, Badd pulls out his full arsenal. He uses the Badd Day (Super Hurricanrana). He nails the Badd Mood (Somersault Plancha). Johnny also tries a slingshot splash, but Brian raises his knees. Johnny regroups on the floor. Brian won’t allow that. He nails a suicide dive but has to clear the inconvenient steps. They return to the ring and build momentum. It ends with them colliding on a double-cross body. Badd gets the better of the exchange and pins Pillman for the win.
Thoughts: This was a great opening match. They set a good pace and built to a crescendo. It started slow, but they never lost the crowd. I also like the story they told. Pillman’s growing frustrations set him up for what happens later. On a side note, the rumor is someone backstage didn’t like them. They told them to go thirty-minutes thinking it would expose both men. They did the opposite. Kudos to Brian and Johnny for taking that ball and running with it.
Winner: Johnny B. Badd (29:14)
Tony speaks about the remaining card. Heenan blames the problems between Flair and Anderson on Hogan. Then, a fan angers Bobby. Heenan yells, “Hey! Same to you, kid! Don’t talk to me like that!” I want to know what that child said.
Next, Mean Gene is backstage. He doesn’t know how Tony works with Heenan. He then introduces Ric Flair. Gene says it’s ironic Flair and Anderson should return to where it all began to fight. Ric says he and Arn bonded. They lived, bled, sweat, and cried together. Flair was adopted. Arn was from a broken home. They became best friends. Flair agrees it is ironic they’re in Horsemen country. They’re coming from opposite ends of the building tonight. Then, Flair says most people don’t get a chance to be around greatness. Tonight, Arn faces greatness. Gene asks if Flair hates Arn. Ric says he loves him, but there can be only one king of the hill. One of them will have to explain to their kids why they lost. Flair promises to style and profile. He finishes by giving a reserved woo.
Sgt. Craig Pittman vs. Cobra
Notes: Jeff Farmer portrays the character of Cobra. No, it’s not the yip guy. This is the future nWo Sting. His gimmick is he’s a former CIA Special Forces agent. I halfway expected they would say he was in the WCW Special Forces with the Patriots. He worked with Sgt. Pittman, but Craig left him for dead in the desert. That makes him the babyface. Why did WCW call him Cobra? Did they watch G.I. Joe? Also, he wears camouflage and dog tags. CIA agents do neither of those things. WCW doesn’t understand how the military works. Cobra enters to the sound of Morse code. I want someone to translate it. Is there a hidden message?
The Match: Pittman’s music plays, but he doesn’t arrive. A private approaches the ring instead. Cobra tells him to find Pittman. While they argue, Sarge repels from the ceiling. He commando crawls under the ropes and chokes Cobra with his bullet bandolier. Then, Pittman dumps Cobra to the floor. Cobra reverses Craig into the post. He sends Sarge into the ring and climbs to the top rope. Cobra attempts a flying cross body, but Pittman sidesteps him. Craig then locks Cobra in the Code Red for the victory.
Thoughts: That was a cool visual, but this wasn’t much of a match. It was pointless. Why did the heel get a decisive victory? Wasn’t this about Cobra getting revenge? This feud heads nowhere. We won’t see it again. It made Pittman look badass, but they aren’t pushing him. Nothing about this leads to anything.
Winner: Craig Pittman (1:22)
Tony talks about Paul Orndorff’s recent bad luck. He lost numerous matches, including one to Randy Savage. Schiavone says things might change for Orndorff. They have a video of what happened after his match with Savage.
Orndorff paces in his locker room. He doesn’t know what is happening to him. He doesn’t know if he’s Mr. Wonderful anymore. Paul throws things around the room and headbutts a mirror. He talks to himself like a crazy person. Speaking of crazy, a man with a Brillo pad on his head enters the room. Orndorff says, “Gary Spivey, of the Psychic Companions Network? What are you doing here?” Spivey says he had a vision. Psychics know. Orndorff says he used to be the highest rated wrestler in the world. Gary replies he knows. Spivey reassures Paul he’s Mr. Wonderful. He asks him to look in the mirror and tell him what he sees. Orndorff replies he is Mr. Wonderful and doggone it, people like him! Okay, I added that last part. Spivey tells him he knows he’s wonderful. He promises Paul bigger cars, houses, and money. Orndorff regains his confidence and starts kissing his muscles. Spivey says that’s great and leaves the room while Paul kisses his reflection. This was absurd! I loved it for its nonsense. Do the WCW and Psychic Companions fandoms crossover? I doubt it. Only WCW would conceive such cross-promotion. Also, this segment leads to Orndorff getting one of the greatest awful theme songs. It’s named “They Call Him Mr. Wonderful.” You have to hear it to believe it.
TV Title Match: Diamond Dallas Page (w/ The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle) vs. The Renegade (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Notes: Diamond Dallas Page is here to end our misery. Maybe he can take the TV Title away from the Renegade. The Diamond Doll and Max Muscle accompany him to the ring. Kimberly started a gimmick where she grades Page’s moves with scorecards. She gives him 10s and his opponents lower numbers. Page is rude to her during the entrances. Tony compares it to the good-looking girls dating dirtbags in High School. Heenan has no clue what he means. The Renegade then enters the arena. DDP attacks him when he enters the ring.
The Match: DDP takes control early until he hurts himself on a headbutt. Page stumbles out of the ring. He collides with the post and falls over the railing. Renegade retrieves Dallas. He fights off Page’s comebacks and puts him in a long headlock. DDP tries escaping over the ropes. Renegade drops him on his face. But, Renegade crashes on the ropes when Page sidesteps him. Dallas follows that by snapping Renegade’s head on the ropes. Kimberly gives it a 10 but says she hates doing that. Page focuses his attacks on Renegade’s neck. He nails a neckbreaker and chokes him. He also sends Renegade to the floor. Renegade answers with a slingshot sunset flip. Then, they trade near-falls until Page nails a clothesline. Page then charges him in the corner and misses. The Renegade capitalizes with clotheslines and a handspring elbow. They fight back and forth before Renegade blocks a Diamond Cutter. Max Muscle tries interfering. Jimmy Hart stops him. DDP collides with Max and Renegade takes advantage. However, Renegade dives onto Max Muscle when he sees him chasing Jimmy. When Renegade reenters the ring, Max grabs his foot. This opens the door for Page to land a Diamond Cutter for the win.
Thoughts: I can’t believe it. DDP dragged a decent match out of the Renegade. That’s twice DDP has done magic with a lesser worker. Page’s selling was entertaining. He did everything to make Renegade look good. It helps DDP meticulously plans his matches. The Renegade needs that structure. Also, I’m glad to see Page win a title.
Winner: Diamond Dallas Page (New Champion) (8:07)
Next, Tony talks about the Col. Parker/Sherri situation. He says they finally came together. Parker pursued her. Sherri hit her head and began pursuing him. Heenan thinks they will have lovely children. This makes Tony laugh.
Tag Team Title Match: Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) vs. Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater (c) (w/ Col. Parker)
Notes: Buck & Slater won the tag titles on Saturday Night. Because of the taping schedule, this match was also filmed before the Nasty Boys won the titles. The Nasties now have a double-negative title reign. I swear WCW title lineages break time and space! Meanwhile, Sherri bumped her head at Clash of the Champions. The concussion changed her feelings toward Col. Parker. She returned Parker’s admiration. This caused headaches for both teams. Both WCW and ECW love their concussion angles. It’s uncomfortable in retrospect. On a side note, I love how pleased Buck is with being a champion. You couldn’t remove his smile with dynamite. Also, Tony talks about Buck & Slater costing the Nasty Boys a match against the American Males. I have a feeling that will be significant.
The Match: Harlem Heat spends the first few minutes locking both Buck & Slater in holds. Booker uses a Harlem Sidekick and Stevie chokes Dick. Wait, that sounded wrong! Buck & Slater take control when Buck kicks Booker in the back. They use frequent tags and double-teaming. Slater also nails a slow piledriver. Then, Buck throws Booker over the ropes while the ref is distracted. They attack him on the floor and ram him into the railing. Booker misses a split-legged corner splash, so the double-teaming continues. Stevie breaks up a Boston Crab, but Buck takes over with a Half Crab. Booker finally rallies with an ax kick and tags Stevie. He hands out slams until the match becomes a brawl. Meanwhile, Parker and Sherri meet in the other ring and start kissing. It distracts the ref. This allows the Nasty Boys to interfere. They nail Slater with his boot. Harlem Heat cover for the win.
Thoughts: This was a slow match. It never gained any momentum. I wanted to like it. I’m a fan of both teams. They didn’t gel together. I didn’t mind the storyline stuff. That was fine. The action wasn’t good. They were filling time to get to the finish.
Winners: Harlem Heat (New Champions) (16:49)
After the match, both teams confront their managers. Sherri claims it was psychology. She doesn’t understand why Harlem Heat is mad. They won the belts. Then, Gene stops Parker and Buck in the aisle. Gene wants answers. Buck wants to know what’s wrong with Parker. He calls him lovesick. Sounds like Buck answered his own question. Buck quotes Parker as saying the grass is always greener on the other side. Buck says he doesn’t see any grass. Parker tells him he doesn’t understand. He’s in love with Sherri. Parker promises to get them another match. He sends them to the showers. Then, Parker tells Gene he’s torn, but his heart his soring. He feels like he’s twenty-years-old again. He has to have that girl. He calls himself the greatest promoter in the world. Gene says he can’t believe Parker is twenty-years-old again. He thought he was older than the Colonel. That’s clever, Gene. I see what you did there.
Tony plugs Halloween Havoc. Heenan speculates what the Dungeon of Doom would do for Halloween. I bet it involves a Yeti. Call it a hunch. Then, Tony explains the rules of War Games before sending it back to Gene.
Gene complains about running to the back for this interview. He then introduces a video recap of the Flair/Anderson feud. The narrator said fans could sense trouble between them. They show Vader winning the Handicap Match at Clash of the Champions. Flair loses his cool. Then, Flair left Arn in the ring with Stars & Stripes. Arn confronts him. He wants the old Flair again. Arn’s wife invited cameras into their home, but Arn told them to leave. Later, Arn and Flair had an argument in their locker room. Arn said Flair went out the back door and left him again. The narrator talks about families hurting the ones they love the most. He calls it a family feud you never thought you would see.
Arn says he always called a spade a spade. He either loved or hated with a passion. He compares this match to having to shake sense into a family member. Arn is nervous because he has to trade fists with someone he loves more than god itself. Ric is the brother he never had. Now, he has to fight him. He says he has to stand by his word, right or wrong. Then, he promises to give Ric all he has as a man. Flair is going to respect him and Arn will respect himself. Arn then leaves and Gene asks Tony and Bobby for their thoughts. This was great. Arn is so good at telling a story with his promos. It was no-nonsense and to the point.
Tony talks about the history of Flair and Anderson packing buildings in the 80s. Heenan says you either wrestle or get off the mat.
Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair
Notes: They show wrestlers in the crowd watching this match. We see Eddie Guerrero, Alex Wright, Brian Pillman, Big Bubba Rogers, and the American Males. (I’ve mentioned them three times. You know their catchy theme is in your head now. You’re welcome.) Tony and Bobby point out how serious both men look during their entrances. Heenan also calls Hogan a piece of sewage for causing this. Tony disagrees.
The Match: Arn frustrates Flair with takedowns and mocking. Flair shoves him and they trade slaps. Ric regroups, so a fan calls him chicken. He returns. Arn works on Ric’s arm. It leads to more shoving and slapping. Ric can’t rally, so Arn continues his attack. Then, Flair lures in Arn with a Flair Flip and low-bridges him. Ric follows that with an axehandle. He also pins Anderson with his feet on the ropes. The fight spills to the floor where Arn backdrops Flair. Ric answers with a suplex. They trade chops and punches. Ric blocks a sunset flip, but Arn avoids a punch. Ric then blocks a DDT attempt. Momentum shifts back and forth until Ric uses the Figure Four. Arn can’t block it, but he does reverse it. However, the damage is done. Arn collapses on an Irish whip. The ref checks on Anderson. Brian Pillman uses the opening to climb on the apron. He argues with Flair and they trade punches. When Flair turns back to Arn, Pillman kicks him in the head. It knocks Flair into an Arn DDT for the finish.
Thoughts: This was a great match. The storytelling and psychology were perfect. It also had a great back and forth pace. I’m even okay with the finish. I know where it’s heading. I love it. I like how they treated this as a big match. Having wrestlers in the audience was a nice touch. WCW is capable of good storytelling, despite some of the sillier nonsense happening.
Winner: Arn Anderson (22:37)
Next, WCW presents the best video ever. Kevin Sullivan repeatedly says Hogan’s name in a nasal voice. He warns Hulk he’s entering the most dangerous match of all-times. They show Taskmaster hanging upside down. He says, “I told you life would not be easy!” His voice is hysterical. Sullivan then claims Hogan created him. They can’t coexist. He then laughs about Hogan locked with the Dungeon of Doom. Kevin rambles about Hogan losing his hearing. He even claims Hulk’s bandanna will burn and boil. He has a bouquet of dead flowers. Sullivan pulls them apart while proclaiming his hate for Hogan. Next, Kevin smashes a Hogan action figure with a shovel and mumbles, “YOU’RE GONNA GET BURIED!” Finally, Taskmaster says his heart goes out to Hogan. He laughs. This was amazing. Sullivan had way too much fun with this. You have to watch this absurd nonsense.
Tony recaps the feud, and they show a clip of The Giant destroying Hogan’s motorcycle with a monster truck. Then, they show another recap. The narrator calls Taskmaster the chosen. He has the power to end Hulkamania. He talks about the formation of the Dungeon of Doom. We see clips of The Giant choking Hogan in the cave. Hogan claims he felt the presence of Andre. Hogan declares war and forms his team. But, Vader is A.W.O.L. Luger took his place on the promise of a title shot down the line. The narrator questions whether Luger can be trusted.
Hogan’s team is backstage with Gene. They’re all wearing camouflage and face paint. Gene likens it to Normandy. Hogan claims his team drank a gallon of agent orange. Both those statements are ridiculous. He asks what they’re going to do when they declare war. Gene asks Savage if there is dissension. Savage claims there isn’t. He said what he had to say. Then, Sting is sick of talking. He wants to go to war. Next, Gene asks Luger if he’s comfortable. Luger says he has the camouflage on and is ready. He stumbles over saying the bell tolls. Hogan then claims he looked in Luger’s eyes. He knows he’s American made. I see what Hulk did there. Hogan wants to take down what he calls the Dungeon of Goom. Gene asks Jimmy Hart for some words. Jimmy quotes Hogan’s theme song. Hogan finishes with his catchphrases. He also claims they will use Jimmy Hart as bait. Geez, it’s no wonder Jimmy does what he does next month.
War Games Match: (The Hulkamaniacs) Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting, & Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. (The Dungeon of Doom) The Shark, The Zodiac, Kamala, & Meng (w/ The Taskmaster)
Notes: You would think all those video packages and interviews bought time to lower the cage. It didn’t. They lower it when they return to the arena. Fireworks explode as it slowly descends over the rings. One of the fireworks is loud enough to startle the crowd. Gene then explains the rules. Buffer announces Taskmaster must face Hogan in the cage for five minutes if Hogan’s team wins. He also has to introduce each member of the Dungeon. It’s impressive he didn’t laugh. Each member of Hogan’s team enters separately. Hogan is last. Buffer finally says Hulkamania correctly. I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard it.
The Match: Shark and Sting begin the bout. Shark bites and clubs Sting, but he misses a corner splash. Sting dives from one ring to another. Then, he hurts himself on some slam attempts. Shark decides to match Sting’s feat. He dives across the rings—and beaches himself on the ropes! Sting capitalizes by attacking Shark’s legs. He puts him in a Scorpion Deathlock as the round ends. The Dungeon wins the coin toss, and Zodiac enters. Sting fights, but the Dungeon double-team him. Members on the outside also pull Sting’s arm under the cage. Savage enters next. The Dungeon grabs him by the leg. Then, Kamala joins the fray. He and Shark double-team Sting. Shark also gives Savage an atomic drop. But, Sting rallies as Luger arrives. Lex takes down Shark and Kamala with a double-clothesline. He then attacks Zodiac. Lex attempts a clothesline. Zodiac ducks and Luger accidentally hits Savage. The two men fight, but Sting stops them. Meng enters the match and takes advantage of the chaos. He nails everyone with kicks. The Dungeon takes control with clubs and chops. Finally, Hogan enters to complete the teams.
Hulk throws powder in the faces of Dungeon members. Then, he circles the ring and punches each opponent. Hogan also traps Zodiac between the rings. He pinballs him against the ropes with strikes. Sting and Savage send Meng into the cage wall. Hogan deals out back rakes. He and Luger then ram Kamala into the wall. They do the same to Meng and Shark. Next, Hogan attacks Zodiac. He places him in a Camel Clutch. Zodiac confuses the ref because he says both yes and no. He realizes Zodiac is submitting and calls for the bell.
Thoughts: This was not good, but I’m unashamed to say I found it amusing. This was never going to be a classic. It was entertaining nonsense. I chuckled at Shark beaching himself on the ropes. I laughed at Zodiac’s confused submission. It was ridiculous, but I didn’t hate it. It was what it was.
Winners: The Hulkamaniacs (18:47)
Kevin Sullivan attempts retreating. Doug Dillinger stops him and escorts the Taskmaster back to the ring. The officials and Sting force him to enter the cage. Everyone then leaves while Hogan whips Kevin into the cage repeatedly. He prevents Sullivan from escaping and rams him into the metal. Sullivan is gassed. He can barely bump off a clothesline. Hogan then chokes him with his wrist tape. He follows that with a big boot, but the Giant arrives.
He throws Randy Anderson and pulls himself into the cage. Hogan doesn’t notice until Giant grabs him from behind. Hogan throws ineffective punches. The Giant responds by choking him. Then, Giant gives Hogan the old Zeus neck snap. Heenan jokes he unscrewed Hulk’s head. Hogan’s team finally returns and chase Giant and Taskmaster away from the ring. They check on Hogan while the Giant yells Hogan is through. Buffer calls for paramedics. Heenan thinks it’s hilarious. He laughs while Tony says goodnight.
Pillman/Badd was good.
Arn/Flair was great.
DDP won gold.
There was some amusing nonsense.
The Tag Title Match was dull.
Pittman/Cobra was pointless.
The main event wasn’t good, despite being amusing.
Performer of the Night:
There are a few good options, but I’m going with the unconventional choice. I’m giving it to DDP again. He dragged another decent match out of a bad worker. It’s a wonder WCW took so long to realize how good Page was.
This wasn’t a great show, but it falls in the amusingly bad category. Don’t get me wrong. There were good things on it. There were also ridiculous things. It’s a mix of great action and entertaining absurdity. That’s 1995 WCW in a nutshell. I enjoyed it for that reason.
Thank you for reading. My next review is the WWF’s In Your House 3. Look for it next Sunday!