One of my all time favorite PPVs, SS 1994 was one of the last shows before the Hogan Era started. Slamboree would follow this, which would be followed by Clash of the Champions where Flair unified the WCW World Heavyweight Title and the WCW International Championship, so that Hogan could have THEE title, and not just one of the big ones.
You know, I used to be amazed when I saw DDP in 1997 and realized he landed Kimberly. However, I’m even MORE amazed when I see 1994 DDP. He was at least 40 lbs. heavier, with even worse hair. Despite being more lithe, and quicker, Johnny really has to earn his momentum, as DDP keeps him in his control with suplexs, gut-buster, and a few submissions. Once he turns the tide, he makes the best of it with a dive to the outside, where DDP stands, then throws him back in for an off the top rope sunset flip that earns him the pin. Not a bad opener, but nothing too spectacular, as they really didn’t get much time, and it was all DDP. They’d go on to have better matches as their chemistry kept developing. Of course, as DDP was to lose the Diamond Doll to Badd, he jumped ship and instead she became the Booty Babe to Ed Leslie’s Booty Man.
Johnny B. Badd nails DDP with a sunset flip for the pin at 5:55 | *1/2 An acceptable opener, nothing great.
Brian Pillman vs. Steven Regal [C] – WCW TV Championship
I always dug the TV Championship, as it made so much more sense to me than US or Intercontinental. Brian rushes Regal to ensure his control of the beginning of the match, which Pillman holds onto until Regal’s experience and innovation gets the best of him. Steve hits Pillman with some stiff European uppercuts, along with some brutal submissions and a few suplexes and flips that come right out of nowhere. Pillman really looks over-matched here, being stretched and beaten while the 15-minute time-limit is counted down in 5 minute intervals over the PA. The match goes the full 15 minutes. I was really looking forward to this match, as Regal was God-like at this point. However, Pillman was completely off his game tonight. There were numerous botches, and the only real offense he got off were the occasional chops here and there. Regal though, he was awesome.
The match goes to a 15 minute limit draw | ** A decent match, something you’d find on TV
Nasty Boys [C] vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne – WCW Tag-Team Championship – Chicago Street Fight
You know what I miss? The air-brush t-shirts. Those were a staple of the 90s, and now they’re gone, last seen with The New Age Outlaws. This match is on Foley’s first WWE DVD set, and it’s one of the greatest brawls in history. The amazing thing about it is you literally have to have two great matches going on at the same time, since the cameras will cut back and forth. Maxx and Knobbs eventually work over to a fake merch stand, which is awesome and I wish they still did. Maxx goes to grab a Nasty Boys t-shirt, causing Tony to exclaim “I don’t even think that shirt fits him!”. Everything from lead pipes to pool cues, and even tables are used as hand-held weapons. Two great back to back moments come when Mick is probably the first wrestler to ever suplex a table onto another guy, and then takes a RUNNING snow-shovel shot to the head. He’s later thrown off of the entrance ramp, and bashed with a snow shovel again, giving The Nasty Boys the win. A hell of a match, without a second of down time or boredom. One of the most innovative matches in history, that’s almost ludicrous in how entertaining it is. Fantastic. An absolute must see.
Saggs smashes Mick with a snow shovel for the pin at 8:54 | ****3/4 One of the greatest tag-team matches of all time. Absolutely take the time to see it.
The Great Muta vs. Steve Austin [C] – WCW US Championship
Muta uses his quickness and experience to hold the momentum at the beginning. Steve gets a few flashes of offense before Muta reminds him once again of who he’s in the ring with. Steve finally gets a lead when he knees Muta in the back of the head, sending him outside. Back in, there’s an extended Abdominal Stretch spot, but outside of that, Steve’s offense is limited to knees and some suplexes. Muta eventually regains control with his kicks, and after a top rope huricarana, he’s on the verge of a win but tosses Steve over the top rope, drawing the DQ. Seriously, does Muta EVER have a match that doesn’t end in an odd fashion? Honestly, the match just didn’t work. It was a lot less exciting than I was expecting, with very little innovation or anything interesting. They just didn’t click. Crowd was loving them some Muta however.
Muta throws Steve over the top rope, drawing the DQ at 16:20 | * Not worth it. Very disappointing.
Sting vs. Rick Rude [C] – WCW International Championship
Man, I love Rick’s theme from WCW. Sting controls the beginning of the match, with my favorite moment coming in the form of Sting holding Rude in a front face-lock, and giving him a wedgie. Of course, referee Pee Wee Anderson gives Sting the finger-wag and admonishes him for such antics. Holy shit, this may be one of the most boring matches I’ve ever seen. Literally, 95 percent of Sting’s offense was a face-lock, then once Rick is in control he spends 95 percent of his offense on a chin-lock. Once they go for offense beyond rest-holds, it’s slip up after slip up, numerous botches, and the only highlight being Rick doing a full flip on a back-drop. Rude is obviously supposed to go for a Rude Awakening, and then get hit by a chair swung by Harley Race who’s just shown up. However, Harley is late for his cue, so Rick starts working Sting and waiting. Finally, Rick sets up the LONGEST Rude Awakening in history, as Harley enters to deliver one of his patented Absolute Fakest Most Bullshit Chair Shots Ever, which Rude sells like he just took a Ryu Dragon Uppercut up the urethra. At this point, Sting grabs the win and the BS title. Easily one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen, but worth tracking down for the sheer spectacle of it all. It’s a match you’d see if Ed Wood were an agent. It’s very bad, but so bad it’s good.
Sting pins Rude after he’s lightly brushed with a chair at 12:50 | DUD Atrocious in quality standards, but worth watching for a laugh.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck w/ Col. Parker – Bunkhouse Match
Well, Dustin is pretty stupid to enter in a Bunkhouse Match with a guy named Bunkhouse Buck. You wouldn’t catch me in a steel cage match against Steel Cage Steve, as clearly it’s his specialty. The match starts off with a bang as Dustin literally runs down the ramp and leaps over the top rope, clotheslining Buck down before stomping the hell out of him. Bunkhouse turns it to his favor, eventually breaking a stick over Dustin’s back, then splitting him open with it. In a great moment by Heenan, Dustin throws powder in Bunk’s eyes, and even Heenan sells it! Man, it gets no better than The Brain. Dustin has Bunkhouse at one point, but stops to assault The Colonel, who I feel is vastly underrated in the manager game. Soon, Parker slips Buck some knux, and he knocks out Dustin for the pin. It went a little longer than it needed to, but it was a hell of a brawl. I expected a lot less, and was entertained the whole time. It’s a bloody mess, great stuff.
Bunkhouse Buck knocks out Dustin for the pin at 14:11 | ***3/4 Good stuff that’s worth searching out
The Boss vs. Vader
Anyone care to tell me how on Earth WCW was allowed to use the Bossman like this? I mean, it’s the exact gimmick, and I’ve seen WWE get after people for less. Bossman owns Vader at first, beating the hell out of him with clotheslines, splashes and drops on the guardrail. Vader’s left eye has been busted open, and he takes this out on Bossman with a flurry of punches and other favored Vader offense. He tries to put Bossman away with a Vader Bomb, but that’s a no go, however, a Moonsault sure as shit does. I’m surprised Boss wasn’t turned into a major babyface after this, because they made him look like a million bucks out there against Vader, looking like the only person other than Sting and Cactus that could stand toe-to-toe with Frankie’s father.
Vader hits a moonsault & pins the Bossman at 9:02 | ***1/4 Probably not a match you’d want to seek out, but within the context of the show it’s another great under-card bout.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair [C] – WCW World Heavyweight Championship
The match starts off with some great mat wrestling, with some typical fantastic stuff that you’re used to from Flair and Steamboat. Rick soon gets the momentum on his side and controls Flair with a series of headlocks, and here, here is the brilliance of these two. Because Randy Orton does this and it’s death, but these two make it as exciting as a War Games. They battle to the outside where Ricky misses a splash on the guard rail, and just ends up hanging there, reminding me of when Homer falls backwards on the fire hydrant and said “This is even more painful than it looks.” Back in, Steamboat beats the hell out of Flair with punches and chops, earning us our first Flair Flop of the evening. Soon Steamboat puts Flair in the Figure-4, and we get my all-time favorite segment for that submission, as Flair looks like he’s never been in more pain, and Steamboat is trying his damnedest to make him submit, incredible stuff. They do the same finish from The Clash, where Steamboat does the Double Chicken-Wing, and it’s turned into bridge-pin, however both their shoulders stayed down. Since it’s a draw, Flair is the winner. An incredible match, really. It is perfect Flair and Steamboat, with no wasted movement, and never once does your attention waver. Great stuff.
Double-Pin happens, with the win going to Flair at 32:19 | ****1/2 A classic. Definitely hunt it down if you haven’t seen it. I know it’s available on Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection
Spring Stampede 1994 is one of the best PPVs I’ve ever seen. You get two classics, two great mid-card matches, one hilariously bad-match, and only one disappointment. It’s definitely a show you can watch top to bottom no problem. It’s definitely as high a note as WCW could go out on before they entered the Hogan era, which is something they never got out from underneath.