–Tonight’s show is a hybrid broadcast as some matches were taped at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia on May 10 and 11 and others were shown live from Speed Street in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of the Charlotte Speed Street Festival. Eric Bischoff and Dusty Rhodes are doing commentary in Charlotte, while Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are doing it in Atlanta.
–Opening Non-Title Contest: The Nasty Boys (WCW Tag Team Champions) (25-1-1) defeat George South & Mike McKeefer when Jerry Sags pins McKeefer after the Trip to Nastyville at 2:18:
The Charlotte weather is not cooperating with WCW’s broadcast, raining and covering the camera lenses with water droplets. The Nasties destroy each of the jobbers in turn, culminating in Sags doing the sloppy flying elbow to McKeefer.
–Bischoff interviews the Nasty Boys, who say that they are glad that the weather is nasty. Brian Knobbs says that the Nasties want the Blue Bloods, while television time runs out before Sags can say anything.
–Non-Title Match: Arn Anderson (Television Champion) (13-9-2) beats Tim Horner (0-5) after a DDT at 2:55:
Tonight’s broadcast features a Slim Jim Challenge where Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Brian Pillman, Paul Orndorff, and Big Bubba Rogers will compete to see who will get a shot at Anderson’s title at Bash at the Beach. For added effect, Slim Jim coverings are placed around the ring post. Horner gives Anderson all he can handle, rolling up the champion a few times for near-falls before Anderson fakes him out with a punch and puts him down for the count with a DDT.
–Gene Okerlund interviews Anderson, who says that the Renegade is a good athlete, but he is facing the greatest television champion in history. He goes to his usual talking point that Hulk Hogan rarely defends his title while he defends his title on a regular basis.
–As part of the Great American Bash Control Center, Ric Flair says that WCW is his domain and Randy Savage is no match for him. Okerlund teases that there will be a tag team title match of some sort at the pay-per-view and Dave Sullivan may be colliding with Diamond Dallas Page soon.
–Slim Jim Challenge Opening Round: Paul Orndorff (7-3) pins Hacksaw Jim Duggan (18-2) with a schoolboy at 3:29:
Whoever is in charge of theme music on Speed Street forgets to switch to Duggan’s theme so he waves an American flag to Orndorff’s music. With the ring mat wet, both men move gingerly, working around basic strikes, and they make good use of a well-placed race car near the entrance area as Duggan puts Orndorff’s face into it and Orndorff does a wacky sell. Orndorff is not well placed to capitalize when Duggan goes into the ring post on a blind charge, but he still manages to roll him up to advance to the Slim Jim finals. Rating: *
–Meng (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (16-0-1) pins Mark Starr after a thrust kick in 52 seconds:
Bischoff puts over WCW as better than the UFC, saying that if a UFC fighter comes to WCW, they will get their butt kicked by Meng. He makes sure to call Meng’s finisher a “standing side kick.”
–Bischoff interviews Meng and Parker, with Parker saying that Hawk feared Meng at Slamboree. He adds that Sting will be eliminated from the United States Championship Tournament when he faces Meng.
–United States Championship Tournament Quarter-Finals: Randy Savage (6-0) beats Steve Austin (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (11-1) after a flying elbow drop at 2:19:
Somehow Parker has mastered teleportation technology, getting from Charlotte to Atlanta in record time for this tournament bout. On paper, this seems like a hidden gem, but it is nothing to write home about as Savage squashes Austin after giving the former United States titleholder some generic offense. This is really a shame as these two could have had a great match rivaling Austin’s battles with Ricky Steamboat a year prior. However, in the Age of Hogan WCW had no plans for Austin and this was the beginning of some high-profile jobs that contributed to his exit from the company. Savage moves on to the semi-finals to face the winner of the Alex Wright-Ric Flair quarter-final later in the evening.
–Schiavone interviews Savage, who puts over Austin as a great competitor. He promises to take Ric Flair out at The Great American Bash.
–Slim Jim Challenge Opening Round: Brian Pillman (16-2) defeats Big Bubba Rogers (17-2) after a roll up at 2:02:
Pillman has lost two feature matches in a row and based on where both men are on the card one would think Rogers was a lock to win, but Rogers knocks the referee down, allowing Pillman to dropkick him over the fallen official and roll him up for the upset. I think one can safely say that the Big Bubba Rogers push is over.
–Diamond Dallas Page (w/the Diamond Doll) (1-0) pins Kip Abee after a Diamond Cutter at 1:46:
On his way to the ring, Page notices that the Diamond Doll has been given a card from a secret admirer and he is none too happy about it. One fan is more than happy to take ownership for giving the card to the Doll, but Page ignores him. Page’s ring attires in the mid-1990s were hideous, full of neon colored diamond outlines, but he had a beautiful manager, could talk, and had an awesome finisher. Those ingredients set him on the road to stardom, even if WCW fans had not yet taken a liking to him.
–Bischoff interviews Page and the Diamond Doll. Page is mad that Bischoff wants to talk to the Doll about her card and he warns other WCW talent that he is rolling so they had better avoid him.
–In a piece of cross promotion, Bischoff interviews some members of Jeff Gordon’s pit crew.
–Slim Jim Challenge Finals: Paul Orndorff (8-3) beats Brian Pillman (17-2) after a roll up with a handful of tights at 5:56:
Orndorff works his usual slow pace but the crowd remains rabid for Pillman’s comeback efforts. Pillman does some corner punches after a double KO spot, but Orndorff knocks him down and rolls him up, earning a cheap win and the television title shot at Bash at the Beach. Orndorff’s win does not bode well for Arn Anderson’s chances of retaining the television title at The Great American Bash as heel versus heel matches were rare in the 1990s. Rating: *½
–United States Championship Tournament Quarter-Finals: Ric Flair (w/Arn Anderson) (1-0) defeats Alex Wright (35-1-1) via disqualification when Randy Savage interferes at 9:56:
The action heads back to Center Stage where Alex Wright faces his biggest test since arriving in WCW. This is a classic Flair carry job as he runs through his typical match formula, allowing Wright to hit some big moves like a missile dropkick that give the crowd some hope that Das Wunderkind might pull the upset. In many ways you can tell that Flair is wrestling himself, practically pulling Wright up in a bridge spot so they can do a backslide sequence for a near-fall. Wright eventually hits his finisher, but Randy Savage breaks that up to get at Flair and somehow this results in Wright getting disqualified. By all the rules of wrestling that does not make sense because Wright was touched first when Savage interfered. The Macho Man threw him out of the ring before attacking Flair! Rating: **½
–Savage tells Wright that he will have his day in the sun in the future and he had to interfere because of what Flair did to his father. Savage asks Wright if he has a problem, to which Wright says he does not because he would do the same if his father was attacked at Slamboree. This tied up a loose end of how the two babyfaces could put their two differences aside, but it made Wright look like a geek in accepting Savage’s rationale and not appearing the least bit angry about losing a shot at the United States title. Schiavone gets some more comments from Savage, who says he cannot wait to face Flair next week.
–Tune in next week to see Randy Savage face Ric Flair in the U.S. title tournament semi-finals!
The Last Word: There were lots of feature bouts on this show, something that was not common in the pre-Monday Nitro days of WCW. The weather conditions in Charlotte hurt the quality of some of the matches, but the end of the show adequately built to a Ric Flair-Randy Savage confrontation next week, thereby fulfilling the basic goal of a wrestling television program of giving people an incentive to tune in next time. However, WCW really showed there hand in booking both men to face each other in the semi-finals because if one man happened to win then they would face the Sting-Meng winner at The Great American Bash and that would nullify their scheduled showdown in the main event on that pay-per-view. That outcome could not occur so there has to be some kind of schmozz finish in next week’s main event. And speaking of main events, WCW Main Event did not air on May 28 so we will resume next with WCW Pro for June 3!
Backstage News*: Steve Austin wrestled the Great Muta for the IWGP title in Tokyo, Japan on May 26, losing to a moonsault.
*Slamboree drew a $94,000 gate and a 0.57 buyrate. Some WCW executives deem that to be disappointing because of Ric Flair’s return and the star power in the main event tag team match. With Hulk Hogan not appearing at The Great American Bash there are fears that show will draw a low buyrate and imperil WCW’s ability to make a profit for the first time. This is because WCW is banking on trying to get 0.58 buyrates for pay-per-views that do not feature Hulk Hogan and 0.86 for shows that he appears on. The company is also hoping to reduce nearly a third of its losses via budget cuts, some of which have already transpired over the last five months.
*When Hawk and Meng had their pull apart brawl at Slamboree the company was scrambling to get guys to break it up at the last second, paying guys like Jeff Gaylord $150 to participate in the segment. Sister Sherri also suffered from a swollen lip after getting slapped by Jerry Sags.
*WCW is all-in on the new Dungeon of Doom faction that will be headed by King Curtis Iaukea and Kevin Sullivan. Fourteen vignettes have been filmed to hype the new faction in its feud with Hulk Hogan. Paul Wight, who will be billed as the Giant, will be part of the group along with Avalanche, who will be christened as “the Great White Shark.”
*Hulk Hogan’s “Pastamania” restaurant opens in the Mall of America in Minneapolis on June 17.
*Bobby Heenan was upset WCW did not induct him into the Hall of Fame because he lives in Tampa. WCW executives told him that he would go in next year.
*In talent relations news, former Chicago Bears star William “Refrigerator” Perry was in Atlanta on May 22 to inquire about working in WCW but there are no plans for WCW to use him at present. WCW recently sent Chip Minton, a former U.S. bobsledder, and Maxx Muscle to the USWA. Minton is billed as “Mr. World Class.” There were some crazy rumors going around that Brad Armstrong, who was recently fired, would return as Captain Planet as part of a cross-promotional deal with other Turner properties. However, Eric Bischoff recently said those rumors were junk.
*WCW recently lost all of its television in Toronto, hurting its exposure in Canada.
*Backstage news provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for May 29 and June 5.
Up Next: WCW Pro for June 3!