The legends honored in the opening segment were Lou Thesz, Ray Stevens, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, The Crusher, Penny Banner, Red Bastien, Don Curtis, Johnny Weaver, Mr. Wrestling II, Angelo Musca, Hard-boiled Haggardy, Larry Hennig, Wahoo McDaniel, Ernie Ladd, Killer Kowalski, Verne Gagne, Harley Race, referee Tommy Young, and The Masked Assassin, (who Mean Gene introduced as “one of the most hated men in the sport” and still got booed on the night he was being honored as a legend. Awesome!) Oh. And kind-of sort-of Terry Funk. Mena Gene introduced him, but Verne Gagne came out instead and Gene said there had been a screw-up and that Terry wasn’t here. Tully, Killer, Ernie Ladd, and Crusher all got HUGE pops. Harley also managed to get booed, too, but that is because he was currently a heel.
Mean Gene then passed us off to Tony Schiavone and Jesse “The Body” Ventura at ringside. Instead of the Jesse, though, we got Bobby Heenan (a vast improvement). Schiavone then apparently broke the law by introducing WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel. I’m sure what Tony meant to say was that Bockwinkel was “a man who needs no introduction,” but instead he referred to him as “a man who cannot be introduced” as if there were some statute against doing so.
NICK BOCKWINKEL MAKES AN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE INTERNATIONAL HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE- He calls out Sting (who comes out wearing a garish red suit, a horrible blue tie with odd spots on it, sunglasses, and no facepaint. He announces that last week’s WCW International Heavyweight Title match in Japan has been ruled a no-contest both because Rick Rude used the title belt as a weapon and because Rude did a knee drop from the top rope. A top rope knee drop is a problem? Oh come on! It’s 1994! Isn’t Bill Watts gone already?
Anyway, they are apparently doing a Dusty Finish on the heel! That’s the kind of innovation that is perfectly in line with the ass-backwards booking we got at the end of the last PPV, Spring Stampede. So Bockwinkel is going to award the belt back to Sting, but Sting cuts a good babyface promo saying that he hates the idea of a title being won or lost in a boardroom. He doesn’t consider himself the WCW International World Heavyweight Champion… but he would be honored to wrestle Vader tonight in a match where the title is up for grabs. Bockwinkel agrees to vacate the title and let tonight’s Sting vs. Vader match crown a new champion.
I really liked this a lot. It lets Sting be a babyface by standing by the referee’s decision (and being the one who guarantees that the fans at this show will see a new champion crowned), but still lets the match in Japan matter in the title lineage.
WCW UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: “Stunning” Steve Austin(c)(w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Johnny B. Badd- 4/10
Michael Buffer accidentally introduced Austin as a former WCW World Champion. The firs three quarters of the match was almost entirely dull rest-holds.
Between matches we got short interviews with some of the legends which were mostly the same generic things you would expect. They showed a pre-taped promo from Dusty who couldn’t be here because he is in Hollywood working on a major project. He cuts a short promo about being a legend, then offers some advice to Dustin. Oddly enough, he starts this advise with the phrase, “tonight is a big night for you, brother[/i].”
TERRY FUNK vs. TULLY BLANCHARD- 4.75/10
Apparently Terry is here. When he comes out, we get a decently loud “ECW!” chant, and he goes over and says hello to Hat Guy.
The referee at first tried to stop Funk from using a weapon, then had no problem with it. There was actually a point where Punk had put this piece of wood which the ref had tried to stop him from using leaning over the bottom rope and the ref went to pick it up, but then seem to just decide that it was okay to have this dangerous weapon in the ring and decided to leave it there. WTF?!
And of course, a few seconds later, Funk gave Tully a Pliedriver through it. The referee scolded Funk for this. Terry took this warning so seriously that he dragged Tully out to the ramp (they had one of those old ones that goes right up to the ring) and gave him a DDT. Tully was down selling his head and Funk sold his back, and with these two men down, the referee came out and very angrily declared “I’m getting in the ring and starting a double count. You both better get back in the ring right now!” as if they were just rolling around having fun rather than writhing in agony.
After yet another Piledriver, the crowd stars chanting “Moonsault!” so Terry starts to climb the turnbuckle. With the crowd calling Terry’s move, Bobby Heenan picked this exact moment to say that “you can’t prepare to wrestle Terry Funk because you don’t know what he’s going to do because he doesn’t know what he’s going to do.”
Well… apparently a lot people in Philadelphia, do know what Terry is going to do.
An utterly ridiculous-looking ref bump let Terry go get a chair and he tried to go for a Super-pilerdriver onto the set up chair, but it wasn’t executed well at all and we wound up with Terry comically falling backwards and landing in a conveniently-placed chair and Tully just kind of flipping over and landing in Terry’s lap. Tully eventually punched the referee, causing a DQ (actually as we would later learn, it caused a double DQ, because that is always what should happen when just one of the competitors purposely strikes a referee), and I’m sure you can guess how well that went over with the crowd. They wrestled over Funk’s branding iron after the match, but nothing came of it.
RIC FLAIR PROMO- decent. He talks about how hard it is to prepare for a mystery opponent.
LARRY ZBYSZKO vs. LORD STEVEN REGAL (w/Sir William)- 4/10
The announcers all seemed to be under the impression that this was a title match, despite the ring announcer saying that it wasn’t. The match was boring, and the crowd even voiced this opinion at times, but they went ape-sh*t for the finish.
MEAN GENE INTERVIEWS TERRY FUNK- Terry says that the reason he didn’t come out when he was introduced earlier because he isn’t just a legend, he is the legend.
He then rambled on about how they couldn’t stop him from doing anything because he was live and he says that he wants to beat up Dusty, but he can’t, so he will beat up Dustin instead.
HALL OF FAME CEREMONY- Dick the Bruiser gets the special posthumous award. Ernie Ladd, The Crusher, Ole Anderson, The Masked Assassin, and Harley Race are also inducted.
BULLROPE MATCH: Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck (w/Col. Robert Parker)- 5.5/10
Terry Funk attacks Dustin after the match (because I guess it wrong to attack him during his No DQ’s match or something), and he and Buck beat Dustin down. They went for a Spike Piledriver twice, but I’m not sure if Dustin didn’t want to go up for it or if Buck couldn’t get him up, so instead the heels beat Dustin with a branding iron until WCW officials come out and warn them off. Unfortunately this was in Philadelphia, so throughout this dastardly attack, the crowd was loudly chanting “TERRY! TERRY!”
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Ric Flair(c) vs. Barry Windham (w/Col. Robert Parker)- 6.5/10
HOLY F*CKING SH*T! That has got to be the most shocking, unexpected finish I have ever seen in a wrestling match! Anyone who claims that they saw this finish coming is f*cking liar. Talk about a real swerve. Go find this match and watch the finish!
BROAD STREET BULLY MATCH FOR WCW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH WITH DAVE SCHULTZ AS THE SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE: The Nasty Boys(c) vs. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan- 7.25/10
Sorry. Had to get that out of my system. The actual rules here were “Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere”
They had a wild crazy brawl with lots of weapons that was killed by a dumb finish. Apparently Schultz hockey stick that he brought to the ring with him and left in the ring was off limits in this “anything goes” match. One of the Nasty Boys went to use it, but Schultz stopped him and started punching him. Oh. Wait. Apparently it was only off limits for the heels to use, as Cactus then hit that Nasty Boy with Schulz hockey stick and pinned him… and just to make the finish even dumber, Schultz fast-counted him.
Then the Nasty Boy who got fast-counted started beating Cactus down right in front of Schultz… who just walked away. Maxx Payne eventually came out from the back and hit the offending Nasty Boy with a guitar to the back of the head that looked absolutely awesome, to make the save. Then all three babyfaces started bearing down on the remaining Nasty Boy. They backed him up the ramp, until Dave Sullivan, another babyface, attacked him from behind with the crutch.
MATCH FOR THE VACANT WCW INTERNATIONAL WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: Sting vs. Vader (w/Harley Race)- 6.25/10
Not good enough for a main event. Vader hits a Vader Bomb… then only covers the right half of Sting’s body, allowing him to easily get his left shoulder up. That was weird.
We got a ref bump, and immediately following that, Vader got a visual pin on Sting. Harley and Vader had some miscues which wound up costing Vader the match, so I guess he will be turning babyface… or not. He and Harley leave together. Either way, it made Sting look like a chump.
A bad show from WCW, but dear God the finish of that Flair-Windham match was surprising.