Jerry Lawler did a fascinating interview on USWA television, responding to a fan who claimed that the so-called Unified World Title was only defended in Tennessee and Texas. Lawler sidestepped the point masterfully by presenting Apter mag photos of him wrestling in Japan and mentioning that he challenged Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair to come to Memphis and take him on for years.
Ric Flair left his role as WCW’s head booker with a bang, producing an exciting episode of World Championship Wrestling in his final weekend as booker. The show was headlined by the newly heel-turned Ric Flair taking on Brian Pillman in a ***3/4 match with an electric crowd. Flair was always a fan of Pillman and wanted to put him over by disqualification here, but assistant booker Kevin Sullivan pleaded with him not to do so, as he needed to remain strong going into the upcoming pay-per-view. Also on the show, they took measures to make Ric Flair vs Lex Luger something other than heel versus heel. Luger did not actually turn, but he was presented as a de facto babyface. He was presented with the same ultimatum as Sting at the Clash, where he was pressured to back out of his match with Flair at Wrestle War. He ultimately refused, and the show ended with him punching each member of the Horsemen before walking away. Also on the show, the fallen Sting did his first interview post-injury, endorsing Luger and claiming that he hoped Luger would beat Flair to win the title. He hinted at a possible ringside presence at Wrestle War. Meanwhile, the Horsemen-Steiners feud was also advanced, with Arn and Ole attacking Rick and Scott. The show drew a strong 4.0 rating, setting an all-time record for a weekly wrestling television show. The previous record holder was the previous weekend’s episode of WCW Main Event, indicating that WCW had some momentum at this point in time.
On WWF Superstars, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior continued their whacky promos to set up Wrestlemania VI while Brother Love hosted Ted DiBiase, Slick and Akeem. We learned that Ted DiBiase paid off Slick and Akeem to get rid of the Big Boss Man, setting up a buffer feud for the Boss Man while DiBiase concluded his long-running feud with Jake Roberts.
Wisely realizing that he was not quite capable of carrying a high-profile feud on his own, Virgil sought the help of Roddy Piper, who it was announced on WWF Wrestling Challenge would train Virgil and be in his corner when he faced Ted DiBiase at Wrestlemania VII.
The New Japan vs WAR feud reached its denouement when Shinya Hashimoto defeated Genichiro Tenryu for the first time in an outstanding ****1/4 match which hit every note in terms of heat, drama, action and booking. The two faced each other twice in 1993 — once in WAR and once in New Japan — and Tenryu emerged victorious on both occasions.
Chaos reigned supreme in New Japan, as Masa Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan faced Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki in a short, but wild spectacle of a match that was really more of an angle. The teamed brawled throughout the arena and half of the promotion got involved in the fracas. Cameras shaking, stretcher jobs, open mic challenges and crazy heat.
USWA television featured what may have been their best studio match of the decade, when PG-13 teamed to face Tracy Smothers and Jesse James Armstrong in an excellent ***1/2 match.
ECW held Cyberslam ’96 at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia. The show started with a bang, as Brian Pillman appeared fresh off of the worked shoot with Kevin Sullivan six days earlier, threatening to urinate in the ring before being escorted out by security. The in-ring highlight of the show was Sabu facing 2 Cold Scorpio in a 30-minute draw that stands as one of the better ECW matches.
In The “To Watch” Queue:
La Parka vs Jerry Estrada (AAA 02/17/95)