Hello everyone and welcome to the first installment of “Would You Go To This Show”! The idea of the column is myself and a few guests will take a look at a random card, whether it be a house show, pay per view or maybe even a television taping, to see if we would attend the show. I hope people who read this will share their thoughts on a show, and if you happened to attend the show, please leave some feedback on our Facebook page.
For the first go around we will look at a house show World Championship Wrestling presented on March 12th, 1995 in Denver, CO in front of a reported 3,400 fans (credit to friend of PTBN – www.thehistoryofwwe.com). This show took place a week prior to the first ever Uncensored pay-per-view. Along with guests Matt Peddycord and Brandon “Spec Sun” Lyles, we will share our opinions on the show and whether or not we’d attend.
The show features three championship matches, which would be all the championships aside from the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Those three matches were the following;
- WCW Television Champion Arn Anderson defeating Johnny B. Badd by disqualification
- WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat defeating Stars & Stripes
- WCW United States Champion Vader defeating Jim Duggan in the main event
There is no question that Anderson/Badd would be a great match to see on a house show. Recently, I’ve been watching WCW television from 1994/1995 and these two had some really solid television matches which has its own restrictions. So, picturing these two on a house show with little to zero restrictions would make me excited to see them wrestle. Besides, Badd always played “the babyface chasing the title” role very well. Anderson being incredible also makes it an easy sell for me to attend the show.
While the World Tag Team Championship match had been done to death on television and there matches were really by the book and similar every time, there was always entertainment between the two teams. By 1995 Harlem Heat had developed into the top tag team act and were just now getting their big push in the tag ranks. Bagwell and Patriot were decent in the ring and I don’t see the match hurting the show whatsoever.
I’m kind of surprised that Vader/Duggan was the main event. If I was promoting the show, I’d imagine I’d center it around Savage (who made his debut in December) and Sting. These two had a surprisingly good match against each other at Starrcade. Considering that was on pay-per-view and this is just a house show, I’d be shocked if they went anywhere near the level of that contest. Anyway, being a Vader fan and never liking Duggan all that much, I would want to see Duggan get destroyed by the big man.
The non-title matches/under card were the following;
- Alex Wright defeating Diamond Dallas Page (Roma was scheduled but was fired in February)
- Dustin Rhodes defeating Blacktop Bully by count-out
- Randy Savage & Sting defeating Avalanche and Big Bubba
If Roma was still with WCW at the time, I’d be able to say that I would’ve liked to see the match between Wright/Roma. Instead, Roma was replaced by DDP due to his actions at Superbrawl V. DDP wasn’t the wrestler he would become in late ’96 at this time and didn’t have good matches. Wright was a young, up and coming wrestler who would provide matches with high flying offense. It’s a match that has no story or reason to be happening, and thus I don’t have a desire to see it.
A match that had a lot of hype and story attached to it was Rhodes/Bully. Dustin was dealing with Col. Robert Parker’s Stud Stable for nearly a year at this time, but the angle was on it’s last legs here. If this was Dustin/Bunkhouse Buck from the spring of ’94 I’d have no problems seeing that fight. Instead, it’s between these two guys. Blacktop Bully, previously known as Demolition Smash or Repo Man, wasn’t all that great at this time in wrestling. I can’t imagine these two guys providing all that great of a match. I’m actually bored just thinking about it.
With Savage still having a lot to offer in the ring and Sting being a really good wrestler at the time, I would go and see them team up to take on Avalanche and Bubba. I’ve always appreciated Avalanche playing the big heel role and felt at this time he was on his last real important run and he made it count. Bubba was a good hand to have in the ring too. There isn’t anything wrong with this match. There was plenty of heat between the two teams and it may be the most exciting match on the card for me, actually.
Verdict From Bob:
It looks to be a rather solid house show for World Championship Wrestling at the time. Wright/DDP and Rhodes/Blacktop are the only negatives on paper for the show. We would be treated with Anderson/Badd, Vader/Duggan and a tag team match involving three former WWF stars and one of WCW’s biggest faces in their history. I’d have no problem forking over some cash to spend a night watching this show!
Now, here is Matt Peddycord with his thoughts on the show. You can check out Matt’s work each week at Place to Be Nation with his weekly Smackdown recap.
This show took place when I was eight years old. When I was eight, my biggest passions in life were Atlanta Braves baseball and WCW wrestling, and I had never been to a live wrestling show at this point. If this show was in my hometown, I would have begged my dad to take me to this show for no other reason than because it was WCW.
But I’m not eight years old anymore. We’re here to look at this match through the eyes of a 27 year old wrestling fan in 2013. I’m going to look at this match-by-match starting with the main event, because that’s normally what draws people the most to a show.
1) Vader vs. Duggan = When he wants to, I’m convinced Vader can get a good match out of anybody. Even Jim Duggan. And if there wasn’t a good match here, I’d still love to see Vader give Duggan a good beating. This match will get a YES from me.
2) Randy Savage & Sting vs. Avalanche & Big Bubba = Savage and Sting as a tag team is intriguing to me and I enjoyed their brief time together. I’m a huge fan of both guys and whatever match they get out of Avalanche and Big Bubba I’m sure would be fun. Even though they are the bigger team, Avalanche and Bubba I’m sure would more than willing to bump as much as possible for the babyface team’s comebacks, as I’m sure Sting and Savage would sell really well to make the heels look tough. Sting’s best matches in my opinion came from working with the bigger guys. Vader is certainly the most glaring example, but I think he had some fun matches with larger ex-WWF guys like Avalanche and Bubba in 1994 and 1995. Another YES for me.
3) Dustin Rhodes vs. Blacktop Bully = I like Dustin Rhodes a lot. I didn’t like Blacktop Bully all that much. I guess I’d have to look at the TV at the time to know for sure if I would be more invested in this angle. Since I didn’t really dig the match they had at Superbrawl and I don’t have 1995 Saturday Nights on hand, I’m going to give this one our first NO.
4) Harlem Heat vs. Stars N Stripes = I was a huge mark for Stars N Stripes back in the day and I love tag team wrestling. It would have to be two horrible teams for me to not want to watch. I’m talking like Ding Dongs against the Awesome Kongs bad. But seriously, Harlem Heat and Stars N Stripes were having pretty decent matches back then, so I would give this match a YES.
5) Alex Wright vs. DDP (subbing for Roma) = Alex Wright was always just an okay wrestler, although I can’t imagine anybody ever bought a ticket to see him especially in 1995. DDP was doing the Diamond Cutter finish, but it didn’t have the same drama or intensity that it started to have in late 1996 when he started to get over. DDP was also very gimmicky at this point. He had the sunglasses and the cigar and the self high five and the Diamond Doll and the “10” signs she held up when he did something she liked. At this point in either man’s career, I can’t imagine being interested in this match. Also, if this was a bait-and-switch scenario where I had thought going into the show that Paul Roma would be there and DDP was a last minute swap, I still don’t think I would have really cared to see Roma and Wright either. Roma was pretty much done after Superbrawl anyways. His firing having anything to do with his treatment of Alex Wright at the PPV has been disputed though. Oh, yeah. This gets a big NO from me.
6) Arn Anderson vs. Johnny B. Badd = Arn Anderson is one of my favorite wrestlers of all-time. At the time, I didn’t appreciate his work as most kids generally don’t like the heels. I mean, I didn’t like Ric Flair when I was a kid. But now, I’m proud to say I was able to see Arn Anderson wrestle on a Monday Nitro in March of 1996. On the other hand, Badd was an above-average worker by this point. I don’t think he ever had a great match, but he definitely had a lot of really good ones with Lord Steven Regal and Stunning Steve Austin. I don’t recall him ever having a real good match with Arn, but I would watch this match. Let’s just leave it at that. YES.
So final score comes to YES = 4, NO = 2. It’s a recommended card that I would catch, but I definitely wouldn’t expect anything amazing from it. It would just be another night of wrestling. 1995 is a pretty rough year for the business in general, so you can’t exactly expect a whole lot here. Thumbs slightly up, I would assume.
That makes for 2 YES and 0 NO thus far. Let’s go to Brandon “Spec Sun” Lyles for his thoughts on it. Can WCW get a clean sweep?
Hello peeps and peepets! It is I… Spec_Sun. Now, I’m going to begin by stating that I’m a huge fan of WCW, and I was watching the product on television and attending several house shows around in South Carolina during the era in which this card took place. Before I dive deep into why you should or should not attend this event, here is some background about this period in WCW. I remember the product at this time very fondly. The company was entrenched in the nostalgia known as Hulkamania with Hulk Hogan as the company’s World Heavyweight Champion. Big Van Vader, recently defeating Hacksaw Jim Duggan for the U.S. Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade ‘94, was obsessed with destroying Hogan and wanted The Hulkster’s World Title…. leading to them having a match at SuperBrawl V one month earlier. Ric Flair was still “retired,” but obviously in plans with Vader and Harley Race (Vader’s manager). Alex Wright was getting a major push in the low-to-mid card. Harlem Heat added Sister Sherri as their manager, won the WCW World Tag Team Championship and are cornered with so many good tag teams wanting to dethrone them. Arn Anderson once again regained the WCW World Television Championship, and is cementing his claim as the best to ever hold that respective championship. Colonel Robert Parker and his “Stud Stable” are the thorn in the sides of a plethora amount of babyfaces within the company. Finally, Sting and Macho Man Randy Savage are uniting with Hulk Hogan to fend off the constant challenges from Kevin Sullivan’s newly constructed Dungeon of Doom. Peeps and peepets…. Welcome to WCW circa 1995….. Let’s go to the show, the house show….
Given that this card in Denver drew approximately 3,400 fans to the arena, one might first think that this is an absurd low number for an organization as big as WCW, and I tend to agree, but there were many lower tier cities that were drawing in the hundreds at WCW events during the early 90s. I know because I was present during many of them. However, as a longtime fan of independent wrestling, that doesn’t gauge my interest one bit in the product. If the wrestlers, wrestling and storylines are superb, then it doesn’t matter one bit about the fan capacity or lack thereof. WCW had talent and the storylines were interesting in early 1995, which seemed to be indicative with this card. Here is the card (matches and results) in detail:
WCW TV Champion Arn Anderson defeated Johnny B. Badd via disqualification
Alex Wright defeated Diamond Dallas Page (sub. for Paul Roma)
WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat defeated Stars & Stripes
Dustin Rhodes defeated the Blacktop Bully via count-out
Randy Savage & Sting defeated Avalanche & Big Bubba
WCW US Champion Vader defeated Jim Duggan
Now, just by glancing over this card, I can tell immediately that I would not hesitate one second about attending this show. Double A and Johnny B. Badd were having awesome matches on WCW TV (Worldwide and Saturday Night) during this period in WCW. Their chemistry was spot on and they each gave validity to the belt by how hard they wrestled to see who would win it. Badd really does not get enough credit for the versatility he displayed in the ring every night. He could work high-flying, technical mat wrestling and snug. If this was indeed the opening match to this card, then damn, you most likely got to see a classic display of psychology and a mixture of styles in one match… the opening match. Given that this ended in a disqualification, it would most likely leave you wanting more. I say that Anderson’s manager Col. Parker had something to do with this by provoking Badd. I would not be shocked if the Colonel’s cane was involved here. Nevertheless, a chance to see two solid wrestlers and that Reggie Parks’ WCW World Television Championship Belt design would have more than enhanced my interest for that encounter.
Alex Wright defeating Diamond Dallas Page would have been expected in 1995, but try stating the same thing two years later in 1997 and I doubt that you would have had anyone share that same sentiment. Wright, billed as Germany’s youngest professional wrestler in 1994 and the majority of 1995, just came off an impressive victory over Paul Roma of the “Pretty Wonderful” tag team at SuperBrawl V in Baltimore a month earlier. Apparently, Roma was supposed to wrestle Wright again here, but was not present, which led to DDP replacing him. This seems like a throw away match, but this was a time when DDP was in a serious transitioning phase of his wrestling career and striving everyday to improve in the ring. Page always has had the gift of gab. Therefore as a heel here, his mouth might have done more to antagonize the crowd than his wrestling. Of course, there is no way that any fan back then would have thought that DDP would be a major star in the company two years from this card, but having an opportunity to see what this buzz was like about “Das Wunderkind” would have been the appeal here, Besides that, there’s really not much to this match. Your interest would solely rely on your liking or disliking of Alex Wright.
Harlem Heat blasted onto the WCW stage in 1993, quite frankly, to little fanfare. However, much had changed since then. In a little over a year, they captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship and aligned themselves with Sherri Martel aka “Sista Sherri.” Needless to say, they are at the top of their game as the best heel team in WCW. Stars and Stripes consisted of The Patriot and Marcus Alexander Bagwell. I’ve always wondered why this short-lived tag team does not get much recognition from wrestling historians. They were solid, had good chemistry, developed a sufficient contrast in styles and had an awesome theme song to boot. Perhaps, their one downfall was that they were so short-lived as a team. Nevertheless, this clash of both teams at this house show was inevitable, and I would have been very intrigued to see how this match would play out if I was fan pondering about going to this show. Keep in mind, WCW is currently going through a great and underrated era of tag teams within the company. The Nasty Boys are hot on each of these teams’ trail. Pretty Wonderful (“Pretty” Paul Roma and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff) want their belts back. Col. Parker’s Stud Stable is wreaking havoc on any babyface team in their path. Lord Steven Regal is in the beginning stages of recruiting Beautiful Bobby Eaton in hopes of forming The Blue Bloods. There were more teams, but I digress. Harlem Heat winning this match isn’t much of a surprise since titles rarely changed hands at WCW house shows, but the way in which they retained the titles may have been a teaser to what was going to occur on a WCW Saturday Night, WorldWide or Main Event telecast. You get first dibs regarding storylines at house shows!!! Remember that folks!
Dustin Rhodes and The Blacktop Bully (Barry Darsow) didn’t have a good storyline going in my view. It was a continuation of the long feud that Dustin Rhodes had with Col. Parker and his Stable since the spring of 1994. It began with Parker insulting the Rhodes family, which became personal and escalated into a series of brawls involving Terry Funk, Bunkhouse Buck, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, The Nasty Boys and an several more WCW wrestlers. By February 1995, the storyline had ran its course. It should have came to a conclusion at WCW Fall Brawl ’94 when Dustin’s team and Parker’s Stable battled in War Games. If War Games can’t end a feud, then nothing could, especially in WCW. Therefore, I would have just been bored with this match between Rhodes and The Bully. As a fan that watched a lot of WCW to this point, this particular match would seem like total overkill at this point.
Sticking to the continuation of storylines from SuperBrawl V, WCW gives us the treat of booking a match between Macho Man and Sting vs. Avalanche and Big Bubba Rodgers. As a huge Macho Man fan, his presence at this event would have been enough to persuade me to buy a front row ticket. For those who are unaware, Macho had only been in the company for a couple of months. He made his debut shortly prior to Starrcade ’94 and he probably only participated in less than a handful of matches in early 1995. Therefore, getting an opportunity to see him work live during this time would have been a no brainer. You had to be there, especially if you were a WCW fan and lived within 90 miles from the building. Guys like Macho, Hogan and Flair were always rarities at WCW house shows during the mid 1990s. The match itself…. eh, you know what to expect. Sting, one of WCW biggest attractions, wasn’t going to lose and Macho was in a similar league in terms of star power and recognition. They won at SuperBrawl, and it does not surprise me that they lost here in Denver. The fans don’t want to see them lose. Good move by WCW, and as a fan, I would have been cheering too.
Now, let’s go to the grand finale…the Main Event of the evening: Big Van Vader, the U.S. Heavyweight Champion, vs. the former champion and the man that Vader defeated for it, Hacksaw Jim Duggan. The name recognition and power styles of both men are intriguing enough to buy a ticket for this card. However, there is another interesting dynamic taking place here. Vader was billed from “The Rocky Mountains” and Boulder, Colorado. The event is in Denver. If you lived in Colorado and thought about attending the event, would you have been cheering for Vader as he walked down to the ring? Also, even if you cheered him, would Vader had stayed in character and heel on his hometown fans? I think the ladder would be more logical. Vader didn’t like anyone, even his manager Harley Race at times. I doubt that he would have cared about his hometown fans. Nevertheless, this match once again shows the lack in presence of Hulk Hogan, the reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion and the man who wrestled Vader a month earlier at SuperBrawl V. Well, their feud was still the major storyline going on within the company at this time, and Ric Flair emerged as Vader’s ally. Duggan was a friend of Hogan and it was just natural to place Duggan in that spot to main event a house show with Vader. I like snug wrestling, and so does many fans worldwide. If you were contemplating sitting in the front row, you would be as close to the action as anyone in the arena. For me, this match would be an epic win. You have snug wrestling, awesome characters and a rematch of a darn good feud to end 1994 as your main event! If that doesn’t entice to you go to this show, then I don’t know what you are waiting for as a non-deterrent.
Overall, this is a very solid card for a WCW house show or any house show nationwide in 1995 for that matter. It has a good balance of wrestlers with different styles in combination with current storylines that were taking place at the time. Therefore, it was as if what was happening on television was coming to your town actually. Also, I would not be surprised one bit if WCW did a meet and greet with the fans prior to, during intermission and after the show. They did that frequently as several house shows throughout the 1990s. I recall meeting Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Morton and Michael Hayes at a WCW house show in 1993 here in South Carolina. That was an awesome experience. Speaking of intermission, WCW had one heck of a merchandise stand back then. It was packed with several collectable, vintage and recently released items that you could only get through attending a live event or getting your hands on a WCW Merchandise Catalog. Yeah, the times have changed.
My verdict: I WOULD go to this show! Would you? Take your time to ponder that question and share your thoughts. Thanks for reading!
There you have it. A clean sweep for WCW circa March of 1995. Who would have thought that? A period of time in wrestling where wrestling was really at a downfall and yet there is a show that three people would spend their hard-earned cash to see.
What are your thoughts on the show? Is it a show you would attend or skip? Let us know at the Place to Be Nation Facebook page!