WCW Presents: Spring Stampede 1994
April 17, 1994
Johnny B. Badd vs. Diamond Dallas Page – 3.
A decent opener to get the fans built up for a night of action in Spring Stampede 1994. I've never been a fan of DDP, and while I've not seen much of Johnny B. Badd, I was quite happy with his work. He brought to the table a style that crossed between lucha and American style in this match. Really cool arm-drag-like maneuver near the beginning that was pretty unique, complimented by a over-the-rope dive by Badd. Page sold everything well, but I still think he's a terrible worker. Decent match. Good pacing here, too. Nothing to write home about, but was what it was meant to be: something to get the fans ready for a night of action-packed, mid-90s WCW.
Brian Pillman vs. William Regal – 6.
A good match that was worked well. It followed the normal Regal formula of brawling and mat wrestling. Pillman looked good here. When I saw this match on the card I immediately got excited because both Pillman and Regal are fantastic workers. The intensity shown on Regal's face was the typical, and Pillman was over as the kid who was going to be the stiff Brit for his TV title. Throughout the match, we were witness to the usual roller coaster ups and downs. Just as Pillman would start to make a comeback, Regal would slap on another eloquently executed submission … barring from one terrible crossbow. Pillman worked Regal's arm early in the match, which sadly went nowhere. Two things that I noticed that didn't click: the first was a sloppy crossbow from Regal, which was very, very unlike the brawling Englishman. Second, Regal stopped selling the arm half-way through the match, which was something that I noticed right away. Still, that should detract from the match, as it was good – just not everything I had hoped it would be. Still fucking love William Regal. Side note: Thought it was funy that Capetta billed Pillman from Hollywood, only to have Schiavone say he was from Cincinnati.
Maxx Payne/Cactus Jack vs. The Nasty Boys – 2.
I'm not too high on the Nastys. It was stiff, but not really all that fun. Near the end of the match, the final blow to end the match, Foley bumped off the ramp onto the concrete floor of the arena with a sickening thud. I think it was Sags who took a plastic snow shovel and smacked Cactus right on the face with it as he was laying on the floor. Fun, but nothing of substance.
Muta vs. Stunning Steve Austin – 5.
Let me preface this by saying that I adore Muta. He is definetly one of my top ten favorite wrestlers of all time. That being said, take my opinion on this match relatively. Great mat work to start this match with a good mix of offense and defense for both men. I love the way that Muta creeps along the ring, trying to pull out a win and take the Heavyweight title back to the Land of the Rising Sun. In his own right, Austin's facials were great here and looked concerned that Muta would pull out a “W” for Japan. Muta, smooth and steady, worked like a champ here, solidifying in my mind why I love him so much. Great strained facials by Muta as Austin locks in the abdominal stress – complete with vocal selling! Austin's selling was great too, especially after the hurricanranna to a huge pop for Muta. Good little match, but over-the-top rope DQ's fucking suck.
Sting vs. Rick Rude - 5.
Was really interested in seeing this match-up. Rude and Sting are great storytellers. As far as technical wrestling is concerned, the match was only so-so, in my opinion, mainly due to a weird finish that didn't click with me. The fans, however, loved it, and I guess that's what counts. The storytelling, however, was great. The cocky, pompous International Champion Rick Rude was about to meet his match with Sting. Halfway through the match, Vader, Harley Race, and Rude are taking on Sting three on one after a ref bump. Sting fights them off, until Race gets a chair. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the ref was watching the whole time as Race brings the chair in to hit Sting, only to ultimately hit Rude for an extremely fast three count with Sting going over and getting the strap. Good match for the storytelling, but the ref bump and finish was not my cup of tea – it was unnecessary.
Bunkhouse Buck vs. Dustin Rhodes – 6.
Love me some Goldust. Match started off hot with Dustin catapulting himself over the ropes into Buck, which Schiavone marked for along with the crowd... and myself. Buck bumped around like a crash test dummy and was selling very well. Dustin bladed early on. Shorty after, Buck did as well. This was necessary to really build up the animosity between the two and to show how hard they were laying it into each other. Here's a downside I noticed: This is a bunkhouse match. No DQ. Near the end, Gene Kinitski (Buck's manager) hands him brass knucks that he knocks out Dustin, which he immediately hides so the ref doesn't see. Hello?! This is a no DQ match. Kind of left a sour taste in my mouth, but was a really nice battle that I mostly enjoyed. Great work rate shown by Dustin as usual, too. Gave it a six because of how fun it was to watch.
The Boss(man) vs. Vader - 4.
The stiff man takes on the boss in a monster battle that starts early on the ramp, which the fans love. Vader did this sick dive over the ropes in which I thought he was going to spike himself on the head, only to have Bossman get his knees up. Vader's eye was juicing pretty good. Was the sick eye injury from his match with Hansen four years prior making a return?! I love the clubbing blows that Vader dishes out and how the contrast to the equally nice-looking worked punches of Bossman. Fun brawling. Bossman took a bump to the floor in which I thought he too would spike himself, too. Bossman looked pretty good here, but was throwing some phantom punches which were more than obvious. It was kind of a fun brawl, but not that good. I loved how Jessie Ventura referred to Bossman's nightstick as a “wand” accidentally. Ha!
Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair – 8.
People around the world were asking themselves: Can Flair and Steamboat go at it again five years after their epic match in 1989? The answer, in my eyes, is yes. Steamboat and Flair looked very good in this match, both selling and bumping all around the ring. Particularly, Flair dropped a knee on Steamboat who sold it like he was just hit in the head with a hundred cinder blocks, writhing in pain, grabbing at his forehead. There was a particularly great spot, psychologically, where Steamboat missed the splash from the top rope, sold his ankle, leading into Flair using the Figure Four Leg Lock. So simple, yet so brilliant. Back and forth the action went, with a finish that was controversial as Flair was declared the winner, which the fans were happy about. Both men showed the indeed could still go five years later in a great match. The working ability of both men serve as a testament to why I think they are two of the greatest of all time. A great match indeed.