By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 34: Bane
In 1994, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair was riding high as WCW World Champion. He was turning back everyone's challenge. But, even in April (when he faced Rick Steamboat at WCW Spring Stampede), he was hearing the rumors of the impending arrival of Hulk Hogan to WCW. In June, those rumors were made into fact as Hogan appeared on a Clash Of The Champions special from somewhere in the Carolinas (if someone knows where this came from, please inform me). Flair, of course, didn't take too kindly to this. Later, on that card, Flair defeated Sting to retain the WCW World Title and unify it with the WCW International belt. Flair and new valet, Sherri Martel, both ganged up on Sting afterwards. This prompted Hogan to come down and get involved. Flair and Sherri left before any real contact could be made.
Later that week, it was announced that Flair and Hogan would meet for the WCW World Title at WCW Bash At The Beach in Orlando, FL on July 14, 1994. Before that, however, Sting and Flair had one more tussle before the event on WCW Saturday Night at the urging of Hogan. As usual at that time, Tony hawked how Hogan wanted to see this match for the fans. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan countered that Hogan only wanted to see this match because the title wasn't on the line and this would soften Flair up for him. I have to concure with Heenan on that one. In any event, Flair and Sting wrestled their usual great match with Sting getting the win by DQ when Sherri interfered. Hogan came down to get involved but this time Flair caught him with a clip to the back of the knee!! As Flair was taking advantage, Mr. T came down to break things up. Now, no one is going to tell me that WCW wasn't copying the WWF to a tee!!!
Anyway, then came BATB and the World title match. This bout saw Hogan dominate most of it with Flair battling back each time. The part that gets me is when Hogan (admittedly) had Flair down for the pin, Sherri pulls the ref out and rams him into the steel guardrail. Now, shouldn't that be a disqualification? While I do hate screwjob endings, I have to say that someone was determined to have Hogan win that night. I mean, had Hogan had been the champ in that match when Sherri did that, I guarantee you that there would've been a DQ immediately. Instead, the match was allowed to go on and Flair would eventually lose to Hogan that night. Subsequent rematches saw a similar result. Even that infamous match at a Clash Of The Champions in Milwalkee, WI, where Flair won by countout, saw Hogan retain the title. Finally, Hogan challenged Flair to a match at Halloween Havoc where if Hogan lost, he would leave pro wrestling forever (yeah, right!). Flair agreed to those terms. Then-WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkle granted the match and added that it would be fought inside of a cage. Later, about a week before the PPV, Hogan dared Flair to put up his career as well in the same match. Flair agreed despite the protests of Sherri Martel. The match was now set in a cage for the WCW World Title, career VS. career.
NEXT: Rest In Peace....NOT!!!
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Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
The program opens with scenes from last weeks ladder match then are treated to an appearance by Mr. McMahon. He is casually dressed (for him) in sport's coat and T-shirt. He does his little strut in the ring as the "A$$hole!" chant swells. He warns that tonight's program is not for the squeamish and talks about the Inferno Match pitting the Undertaker vs. Kane. He then introduces Paul Wight who joins him in the ring. For now, at least, Wight's entrance music seems to be the "No Chance in Hell" theme. Wight toots his own horn about his impact thus far on the WWF as McMahon makes silly grinning faces. As he concludes his remarks, the Rock makes his entrance - McMahon looks a bit surprised but then recovers and intros the WWF Champ. The "Rockt Sucks!" chant rises as he starts his rant. He disputes Wight's assertion that he caused the Rock to win the Title and tells the big guy to "know your role and shut up." Wight tells him to watch his step in a most threatening manner. McMahon tries to smooth things over but Maivia is having none of it and they get into a shouting match. Mankind decides to show up at this point. He proposes himself as a moderator...or referee, that is, for a Wight/Maivia WWF Title match! Wight jumps on this suggestion and challenges the Rock who is insensed enough (and maybe stupid enough) to accept. Cut to commercial.
A verbal altercation is raging back in the Corporate locker room as we return.
The Brood vs. Public Enemy - this is PE's debut in the WWF. Edge and Gangrel represent the Scarey Brothers Lite in this one. They double team on Rocco to start the match but PE switch to some double teaming of their own and turn the tables. Christian interferes as the advantage swings to PE thus causing the DQ for his partners. The lights go out and PE gets a blood bath. Cut to commercial.
Val Venis comes down on his own to provide commentary for the next match.
Billy Gunn vs. Ken Shamrock - IC Title contender's match - the fight starts on the floor before Shamrock can get to the ring. Once inside, Billy maintains his advantage until he tries a splash in the corner but misses. Shamrock takes over in his usual crisp style as Venis makes cutting, sexually tinged comments at the broadcast table. Billy turns the tables briefly but Shamrock is really in control of things and quickly recovers the initiative. A Frankensteiner rolls Billy out to the floor where Venis decides to "give him a hand". This gets Shamrock's dander up and he attacks Venis. Billy recovers and the three of them brawl until referee's get between them. Ryan shows up and gets her two cents in before her brother escorts her away.
In the back, McMahon is still trying to calm Maivia down, but the Rock is adament that he will face Wight for the Title. Cut to commercial.
Sable makes her entrance as we return. Kevin Kelly interviews her in the ring. She is still exhibiting her new "heel" personality. The lady fan is shown at ringside and invited into the ring by Sable. Sable starts out concilliatory, asking her her name (Torrie - fancy that) then tells her she is pathetic, and that she needs to get a life. She ends by calling her "skank." Luna shows up and wants to make a statement. She says "all women can't be Sable...but we don't use people, and the only reason you're the WWF Womens Champion is because of your looks." Sable is johnny on the spot with a cutting rejoineder then makes like she is leaving - only to turn back and attack Luna and the fan. Cut to commercial.
Now McMahon is trying to reason with Wight - who is just as adament that he wants to be the Champ. Poor Vinnie Mac...
D-Lo Brown is in the ring ranting against the Tag Champs and Debra. He wants to take them all on by himself... They oblige him and the handicapp match gets under way. He comes pretty close to pinning Jarrett almost immediately but Owen makes the save. From there, D-Lo is in trouble. The Champions take turns beating on him as Debra looks on. D-Lo is finally getting some payback when PMS minces to the ring. Jacqueline climbs the corner and delivers a drop-kick which gives Jarrett an easy pin then they punk D-Lo until a phalanx of officials break it up. In the back, Mankind is using black spray paint to fashion himself a referee's shirt. Cut to commercial.
40 minutes into the program and we've had three short-cutted matches.
Mankind makes his entrance to referee the World Title match. McMahon follows him to the ring and announces that there will be no World Title match tonight. Before he can finish his staement and leave, the Rock shows up. Again, McMahon is taken by surprise. Maivia tells McMahon to go sit at the broadcast table and not get in the way - then he calls Wight out in his usual insulting way. They are referring to Wight as "The Big Nasty" - didn't Hollywood Hogan coin that nickname??
Paul Wight vs. The Rock - WWF World Title match - there is a little shoving match (which the Rock loses handily) then Wight attacks Mankind and together they punk him. McMahon enjoys this, of course and joins (and embraces) his minions in the ring. Mankind has been had... That's 4. Cut to commercial.
We get a glimpse of the Corporate celebration that took place backstage during the break.
Droz vs. Steve Blackman - Droz grabs the immediiate advantage with a sneak attack before the bell. Blackman comes back with a sunset flip but is flattened again right after that. Droz tosses his opponent to the floor then follows him out. He jaws at the fans ringside then rams Blackman's face onto the apron before rolling him back in. In the ring, Blackman recovers the advantage, gets a sidewalk slam and drops an elbow. Droz misses a clothesline off the whip but recovers with a powerslam. Blackman comes back with a kick to the throat and gets the pin. The first (and only) match to go to a conclusion during the first hour. Droz attacks his opponent after the match and again the officials intervene. In the back, McMahon is giving Kane his instructions. Cut to commercial.
The Undertaker rambles semi-coherently for a while as we return. He renews his pledge to take over the WWF.
Goldust vs. Val Venis - non-title match - of course we all know the history between these two. Dustin takes the early advantage and pounds the IC Champ in the corner. But Val explodes out of the corner and turns the table with a clothesline. His advantage is brief though, Goldust comes back and works on his opponent's left knee. Val comes back with a series of knee lifts and a Russian leg sweep. He stops to bump and grind but not long enough to lose his initiative. He gets a sidewalk slam but moments later Dustin slides underneath and gets a shot at the "Big Valbowski" The Blue Meanie choses this moment to appear but surprises everyone by attacking Venis. Goldust gets an easy pin. Blue Meanie blows him a kiss as he leaves.
In the back we see X-Pac and Chyna warming up on split screen. Cut to commercial.
Shane poses for Chyna who eggs him on to WrestleMania.
"Hardcore" (Bob) Holly vs. Bart Gunn - Hardcore Title match - Holly has "hat hair" despite it's short length. Gunn just punches - no wrestling holds for the "Brawl-for-All" champion. The fight goes to the floor where Holly proves to be more adept at using objects around ringside until Gunn gets the picture and uses the ring bell. Holly is clotheslined into the crowd then dropped on the railing. Back at ringside then brwawl toward the ramp where Holly gets hold of a bucket of ice and uses it. Bart gets a suplex on the ramp to counter then gets a DDT on the steel surface. He drags him back to the ring and runs his shoulder into the stairs. Holly squirts a fire extinguisher in Gunn's face. He drags Guunn by the hair up the ramp and into the TitanTron superstructure. Bart gets a watermelon and smashes it over Holly's head then hits him with a metal pole and breaks the pole. Holly answers with a low-blow then finds a crate of bananas to break over Gunn's head. He throws bananas at the fallen challenger then grabs a trashcan and uses it. Gunn has his own weapon - his fist - then uses a trashcan lid for a follow-up. He grabs a sack of flower (no explaination of where all the food is coming from) - then "Dr. Death" Steve Williams appears in a Halloween mask and destroys Bart by throwing off the platform and through a table. Holly takes advantage of his opponent's bad fortune and ends the match. The announcers fails to identify Williams but I'm pretty sure that's who it was. Cut to comercial.
Chyna (Shane McMahon) vs. X-Pac (w/HHH) - X-Pac is vying for a chance to meet Shane at WrestleMania - Waltman makes the mistake of attacking Shane as soon as he enters the ring, thus giving Chyna an opening to take the advantage. She then tries to catch him in a Bronco Buster but he slips away and chases Shane around the ringside area. While the chase ensues, HHH is putting the Pedegree on Chyna. X-Pac comes back into the ring and takes the pin. So X-Pac gets his shot at WrestleMania. HHH's comments from the platform, "One B*tch down - one to go..." Cut to commercial.
Vince McMahon comes to the ring again as we return. He carries the envelope delivered to him by Shane from the Undertaker. He again warns the squeamish to leave now and rants all over UT. He performs the introduction for Kane then leaves the ring once the big guy is safely inside. Undertaker makes his entrance (I could have stood him keeping his new music if he would have not started this silly Ministry of Darkness angle). UT takes the early advantage, displaying no ring rust despite his extended absense from competition. Kane battles back and turns the tables. McMahon's commentary at ringside is positively manic. Each big shot causes the flames to shoot into the air. Paul Bearer shows up and accosts McMahon. He delivers what looks like a black hat box tied with ribbon. In the ring, Kane is still dominating and trying to push his brother into the flames. As UT starts to turn things around, McMahon opens the box and finds...a teddy bear. He seems extremely upset and questions Paul Bearer about what he is up too. In the ring Kane is on the ascendency again. Meanwhile Mr. McMahon is paying no attention to the match, but just stands there and gazes at the stuffed toy. Kane is tossed over the top rope and destroys the Spanish announce table (what else?). Now the fight is out on the floor. Kane tries to put a boot in his opponent's face but UT sidesteps him and forces his foot into the fire thus winning the match. McMahon holds out th bear and asks UT, "Why..?" In response, UT takes the bear and lights it on fire then tosses it onto the ramp. McMahon crawls over to retreive the bear but it is too late to save it as we fade to black.
That was weird with a beard...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions