Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: May 23, 1993
Location: The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
It’s another request and I’ve ignored my list of shows for long enough now. This is billed as A Legends Reunion, meaning we could be in for some older wrestlers stealing the show. That being said, it’s 1993 WCW so I wouldn’t get my hopes up. The main event is Davey Boy Smith challenging Vader for the World Title so the confidence isn’t the strongest. Let’s get to it.
The opening video talks about how the legends are here along with the superstars of today. Cool concept but the execution needs to work.
The legends (and there are a lot of them) are in the ring, including Nick Bockwinkel, Dory Funk Jr., Don Owen, Magnum TA, Lou Thesz Dusty Rhodes and many more.
Commentary welcomes us to the show, with Larry saying that time fears only the pyramids and old wrestlers.
Maxx Payne, with his guitar Norma Jean, plays a bunch of men carrying a covered….I guess the word is throne, to the ring. It’s the Fabulous Moolah, who belongs on a list of legends but it’s WEIRD seeing her in WCW.
Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt welcome us to the show and run down part of the card…but the lights go out. Because WCW. Since it’s not good to look at people in the dark (It hurts your eyes, much like watching 1993 WCW), we go to an awkward shot of the legends shuffling out of the ring instead while Eric and Missy keep talking. They do mix it up with some shots of the crowd before going back to Eric and Missy to talk about Vader vs. Bulldog. We move over to the Hollywood Blonds, who Missy finds sexy.
2 Cold Scorpio/Marcus Bagwell vs. Bobby Eaton/Chris Benoit
Benoit was still brand new here, having had a match with Scorpio at SuperBrawl and a few TV matches. Other than that, he was basically a complete unknown on the national stage. Scorpio was one of roughly 34 partners Bagwell had during his three year run as Rookie Of The Year. We get some dancing from the faces to start, with Scorpio being a bit better than Bagwell. Benoit and Scorpio start things off with Scorpio sending him down with some early armdrags.
A spinning middle rope crossbody gets two on Benoit, with Eaton hitting his partner by mistake on the save. The villains are cleared from the ring and we settle down to Bagwell working on Eaton’s arm. Eaton is sent over the top, prompting commentary to try and figure out the over the top rule for the 183rd time. Benoit is whipped into Eaton before a dropkick puts him on the floor as well.
Back in and Bagwell trades arm control with Eaton, who has Benoit distract the referee so he can throw Bagwell over the top. See that one was illegal because a villain did it and it’s too early for a Dusty Finish (if you have a better way to figure out that stupid rule, have at it). Eaton drops the top rope knee (always looks good) on Bagwell and it’s off to Benoit for that hook clothesline of his. Benoit jumps up to the middle rope for a legdrop before it’s back to Eaton.
That means a distraction so Benoit can choke (You can see Eaton walking them through all of these old southern tag spots and that’s great to watch. There’s an art to this and if you have someone who knows what he’s doing, you can get a heck of a match out of people who don’t have much in the way of characters or a feud.).
Benoit comes in for a belly to back suplex into a figure four necklock, with Eaton being right there to grab the hands for the cheating. The top rope splash hits Bagwell’s raised knees though and the hot tag brings in Scorpio to clean house. Everything breaks down with Eaton having to make a save. Eaton hits Benoit by mistake and it’s the Tumbleweed (moonsault twisting into a legdrop, because Scorpio was doing THAT in 1993) for the pin at 9:25.
Rating: C+. See, now this worked out very well and I had a good time with it because it was a nice mixture. You had Benoit and Scorpio there for all of the cool spots and wrestling, with Eaton there to throw in an old spot which would still work every time to tie it together. If you have the talented people in there and the right mixture of styles, you can have a nice match. Or just have Eaton, because he’s one of the best tag team wrestlers ever.
We recap Colonel Robert Parker being beaten up by Van Hammer for not joining up with the Stud Stable. Parker wants revenge, and this won’t end well.
Sid Vicious vs. Van Hammer
This is Sid’s big return as a surprise and it’s a powerbomb for the pin at 35 seconds. Oh yeah that worked, as tends to be the case when Sid keeps things short.
Bischoff is with Red Bastien (he trained the Undertaker) and Bugsy McGraw (hey did you know that Red Bastien trained the Undertaker). Bastien thinks the wrestlers today are younger and faster while McGraw gives his usual promo about everything. By that I mean he isn’t sure which way to turn, walks around a lot, and rambles because he’s kind of nuts. Eric looks a little confused, as most people do. They say hi to their families, and Bugsy thinks Bischoff has on too much makeup.
Dick Murdoch/Don Muraco/Jimmy Snuka vs. Wahoo McDaniel/Blackjack Mulligan/Jim Brunzell
I would ask if these teams were pulled out of a hat but they very well might be, and that’s kind of cool. Mulligan comes in to a big pop and starts cranking on Snuka’s arm. Murdoch grabs Mulligan’s hair from the apron though and the fight is on, with Mulligan grabbing some armdrags. Tony goes into a history of everyone in here, which is quite the fascinating set of details as Tony is trying here. Murdoch needs a breather on the ramp so it’s Muraco coming in, only to get chopped down by McDaniel.
The villains take McDaniel into the corner but he slugs away on Murdoch, allowing the tag off to Brunzell. Just to show off, Murdoch busts out a flying headscissors (Larry: “How could Murdoch get that stomach up that high???”) but Brunzell slaps on a quick sleeper. That’s broken up with ease though and Muraco comes back in with a powerslam. Muraco clotheslines Snuka by mistake but Murdoch is right back in with a neckbreaker.
The big running elbow gets two with Mulligan and McDaniel making the save. It’s off to Snuka for the first time as Tony talks about Snuka’s heel days with Ray Stevens. Snuka accidentally hits Muraco though and a fight breaks out, allowing McDaniel to come in and roll Snuka up…for two. That almost looked like it was supposed to be the finish. Everything breaks down and the referee throws it out at 9:37.
Rating: C-. All in all, not too bad here as no one looked horrible or anything close to it. That being said, a no contest in a legends match??? They couldn’t have someone take a rollup pin here? That’s about as nuts as you can get on this show, but at least it wasn’t anything bad for the most part.
Mad Dog Vachon wishes he was in the ring and Mr. Assassin wants to fight Dusty Rhodes to settle things once and for all.
Ivan Koloff/Baron Von Raschke vs. Brad Armstrong/Thunderbolt Patterson
Brad, in street clothes, is substituting for Bob Armstrong, and we see clips of him anyway. Patterson says that Bob had a knee surgery and couldn’t be here. That’s all well and good, though I can’t get my head around a Nazi and a Russian teaming together. Patterson and Armstrong clear the ring in a hurry and the fans are rather pleased.
We settle down to Patterson dancing his way out of Raschke’s headlocks so it’s off to Armstrong working on Koloff’s arm. Tony is just firing off history and facts here and sweet goodness it’s amazing to hear this kind of commentary from his mouth. Armstrong gets out of the Claw and brings in Patterson for the gyrating comeback. Everything breaks down and Patterson hits a double chop to pin Raschke at 4:41.
Rating: D. Now this felt more like the bad match that you would have expected under the circumstances. It doesn’t help that Patterson was never good in the ring, Koloff looked old and Raschke has been old for the entire run of his career. That left Armstrong, who was a substitute in jeans. It was a weird fit, but at less than five minutes, it’s hard to get that annoyed.
And now, A Flair For The Gold (Ric Flair’s interview segment on a special set). Ric introduces Fifi the Maid (later his wife/life partner or whatever it is) and we hear Larry say “Hi John” in a line that wasn’t supposed to make air. Anyway Flair is ready to reunite the Horsemen and brings out Arn Anderson, who is ready to take the NWA World Title from Barry Windham. Now we have some bad news: Tully Blanchard isn’t here (in other words, they lied about having the original Horsemen here, which was a major selling point of the show), but Ole Anderson is! Uh, yay.
Ric has someone new on the team though….and it’s Paul Roma, marking probably the lowest point in the history of the Horsemen. Roma was nothing more than a low level/job guy in the WWF for years and now he’s supposed to be a Horseman. This is one of the all time biggest disappointments and it would never work, no matter how much Flair and Anderson tried to get him over. Complete misfire here, but would you expect anything less from 1993 WCW?
Johnny Valentine is on commentary. Ah that John.
Dory Funk Jr. vs. Nick Bockwinkel
Gene Kiniski and Verne Gagne are the seconds. It’s almost weird to see Bockwinkel, who is seven years older, looking ten years younger than Funk. Feeling out process to start with Bockwinkel going after the arm and Funk firing off the uppercuts for a less than scientific method. Bockwinkel’s hammerlock is taken into the corner for more uppercuts and a wristlock from Funk.
A headscissors with an armbar has Funk in trouble before Bockwinkel slams him down, sending Funk outside for a breather. Back in and Funk uppercuts him down, setting up another chinlock. Bockwinkel actually slugs his way out of the corner for two, with Kiniski possibly breaking up the pin. That means some glaring from Bockwinkel, allowing Funk to take him down with a front facelock.
Funk flips out of a Boston crab attempt and grabs a belly to back suplex for two. They fight over a double arm crank as we have five minutes left. You can hear some BORING chants as Funk uppercuts in the corner but Bockwinkel takes him down with a chinlock. Funk fights up and knocks him onto the ramp, setting up a suplex back in with two minutes left.
A piledriver plants Bockwinkel but he gets his foot on the rope. The backslide gives Bockwinkel two but Funk gets the spinning toehold. Bockwinkel grabs the Figure Four so Kiniski comes in for a stomp, which isn’t a DQ. Funk makes the rope and tries a small package but Bockwinkel is in the ropes as time expires at 15:00.
Rating: C. This was a little different as both guys can still do everything, but it wasn’t exactly thrilling. You could tell they were playing to the draw, which made a lot more sense in this match than in the six man. These two are top level legends and I can understand not wanting to say one is better than the other, though it only got exciting in the last few minutes.
Post match all four shake hands for the nice moment.
Lou Thesz is happy to be here and Bob Geigel liked the match. Thankfully Thesz is treated like the legend that he should be, though there is something weird about Mad Dog Vachon getting more time.
Rick Rude/Paul Orndorff vs. Kensuke Sasaki/Dustin Rhodes
Rude is US Champion and Orndorff is TV Champion. Rude mocks the much smaller (by comparison) Sasaki so Sasaki walks around him and shoves Rude HARD into the corner (Sasaki was fairly small but a powerhouse). It’s time to crank on Rude’s arm, with Sasaki picking him up without much effort. Rhodes comes in to work on Orndorff’s arm for a change and it’s Sasaki cranking on a hammerlock.
That doesn’t last long either so it’s back to Dustin vs. Rude in a rematch of how Rude won the US Title. Rhodes hammers away but gets sent outside for the crash on the floor. Back in and Rude snaps off a swinging neckbreaker before handing it back to Orndorff for an elbow to the face. Rude can’t hit a piledriver but Dustin can get in a Tombstone for two. That’s not enough for the hot tag though as Orndorff comes in to take Dustin into the corner, because Orndorff knows how to do the heel thing.
A double should gives us a double knockdown, allowing Dustin to roll over for the hot tag. Sasaki comes in with an atomic drop to Rude, meaning it’s time for a counter hip swivel. Some clotheslines set up a (half) gorilla press and Sasaki throws Rude at Orndorff, who ducks the contact in a landing that was funnier than it should have been. Everything breaks down and Orndorff shoves Sasaki off the top, setting up the Rude Awakening (not a great one) for the pin at 9:45, even with Sasaki flailing on the count.
Rating: C-. This felt like a featured match on Main Event or Saturday Night, meaning that while it was decent, there were some moments in there that looked rather sloppy. Rhodes was just kind of there as well, which is odd given that he was the main challenger for Rude at the moment. Not awful, but it was a weird kind of match.
It’s time for the inaugural Hall of Fame inductions, with Gordon Solie as Master Of Ceremonies. First, we run down a list of legends who have passed away, with one who will be announced later. After a moment, of silence, it’s time to announce the inductees, with each appearing in the ring and receiving a plaque.
Lou Thesz – Like anyone else could have been first.
Verne Gagne – They said this was going across all promotions and this is as good as anyone else.
Mr. Wrestling II – Not the biggest national name, but he was a huge star in his day.
Eddie Graham – If you’ve seen any modern finish, odds are he made it famous (represented by his son Mike).
Lord James Blears and John Tolos love wrestling, with Blears giving Missy Hyatt his monocle.
Sting vs. The Prisoner
That would be Nailz, this would be a Bounty Match (because someone wants Sting taken out) and Prisoner was supposed to be Scott Norton. Prisoner chokes him down to start and chokes even more in the corner, followed by even more choking in the middle. Sting avoids a charge in the corner and the strike off is on, with Prisoner sending him outside. That means a posting for Sting but he avoids a charge in the corner back inside. The Stinger Splash gets two but a regular splash hits knees. Prisoner goes after the referee so Sting goes up top for a clothesline and the pin at 5:17.
Rating: D. Nothing to see here as Prisoner wasn’t exactly good on his best day and he was even worse here. Sting was the top face in the company at this point and he was in a match against someone thrown out there to give him a victory. It was smart to get them out of there in a hurry though, as there wasn’t much that could be done in this case.
The cage is set up for the next match.
The Crusher, with big cigar, is ready to send Ox Baker’s head through a cage because he wrestled more cage matches than anyone else. Ox Baker loves to hurt people and did it better than Crusher. He loves everyone and nearly gets in a fight with Crusher, but hugs Eric Bischoff instead.
Tag Team Titles: Hollywood Blonds vs. Dos Hombres
The Blonds (Steve Austin/Brian Pillman, which I hope you knew already) are defending in a cage and….egads Dos Hombres. So the Blonds beat Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat to win the titles, so they dressed up like luchadors and stole a quick win to set up the title match. The catch though is Douglas had left the company before the angle happened, so it was Brad Armstrong under the mask in the first match and it’s Tom Zenk here, but commentary goes along with the idea of it being Douglas. Steamboat says they’re here for a title shot so you can hear his voice, but the other is silent for reasons of THAT’S NOT DOUGLAS.
We see two guys in the crowd who are….not exactly identified but they might be agents or the mob. Anyway Austin goes for Steamboat’s mask to start but gets chopped into the corner, meaning it’s Pillman coming in instead. Pillman is sent face first into the cage as Larry talks about how much he hates cages, so Tony talks about Larry vs. Sammartino for a bit. Zenk comes in to work on the arm and we look at the guys in the audience again. It’s off to Austin, who is sent back first into the cage over and over.
Steamboat’s backdrop sends Austin’s feet into the cage and then the rest of him goes in as well. Austin pokes Zenk in the eye though and it’s back to Pillman for a bit of an awkward sequence to set up some choking. Steamboat is back in to gorilla press Pillman into the cage and there’s a suplex into the cage to leave Austin hanging by his legs (cool visual). Steamboat mocks the Blonds’ camera deal and hands it back to Zenk, who is whipped into the cage instead of into Austin to put the champs in control for the first time.
Pillman starts choking away as Tony recaps the night and Larry tries to figure out who those guys at ringside are. Austin drops the middle rope elbow and Pillman slugs away, followed by the choking in the corner. A raised boot knocks Pillman out of the air but it’s right back to Austin, who is kicked into the cage. Pillman’s top rope splash hits raised knees as Larry talks about what a legend Austin will be in a few years. The hot tag brings in Steamboat for those chops of his as everything breaks down.
An electric chair out of the corner drops Austin and Pillman gets crotched on the top (Larry: “AND NO COMMENT!”) as everything breaks down. The Hombres hammer away in the corner and Steamboat takes off his mask (thank goodness) to hit a high crossbody onto both Blonds for….well two but the bell rings anyway but we keep going. Eh timekeepers screw up everywhere. Stereo dropkicks get stereo near falls for the Hombres but it’s a quick Stun Gun to give Austin the pin on Zenk at 16:08.
Rating: B-. It’s a match that was put on all kinds of DVDs for some reason, even though it wasn’t all that great. The Hombres deal was only so good but at least it was something to make the match a little more interesting. The talent was there (Zenk was good enough) but it was just kind of going along until the ending without much being built up.
On the replays, Larry says the high crossbody was a perfect impression of….Captain Planet.
The cage is taken down so we talk to Dusty Rhodes, Mr. Wrestling II and Stu Hart. Dusty accepts the Assassin’s challenge, Mr. Wrestling knows Dusty is ready to accept the Assassin’s challenge (and thanks WCW for all of the honors) and Hart talks about wrestling being in his family. He hopes British Bulldog wins tonight, which is about as emotional as Hart was going to get.
NWA World Title: Barry Windham vs. Arn Anderson
Barry is defending as I continue to be astounded by the NWA still being around in such a role in 1993. Anderson shoulders him down for a fast two as commentary puts over what a big night it is for him. Barry knocks him back into the corner as we talk about how big a night it is for the Horsemen. Dude Paul Roma joined the team. There’s nothing big about that other than a big mistake.
A quick DDT gives Arn two and Windham bails out to the ramp. They switch places and Windham gets in a knee lift to stagger Arn, followed by knocking him out of the air. Anderson manages to leverage him from the apron to the floor, meaning it’s time to figure out the over the top rule too. Barry goes head first into the barricade, which is legal in the NWA but illegal in WCW, so the match keeps going. It keeps going with Barry cut open on the forehead, but it does keep going.
Back in and we hit the chinlock, only to have Windham pop up and dropkick him off the top. Back in again and a top rope clothesline drops Anderson, setting up a knee drop to the back for two. Half of Windham’s face is covered in blood but he’s fine enough to hit a floatover suplex for another near fall. Anderson gets in the spinebuster for a big reaction but Windham rolls to the floor and grabs the belt. The referee gets bumped as Barry is leaving so Anderson throws him back in. Anderson knocks the referee down again by mistake though and it’s a belt shot to give Barry the pin at 10:56.
Rating: B. I’ve always liked both guys and this was one of Arn’s biggest singles matches ever so it’s no surprise that the results worked. The NWA didn’t mean anything by this point and Barry would lose the title to the returning Ric Flair at the next pay per view, but at least they had one good, old school match here before Windham faded into complete obscurity.
WCW World Title: Big Van Vader vs. British Bulldog
The Bulldog is challenging and Vader has Harley Race with him. They fight over the power game to start with neither being able to get very far. Vader’s shoulder doesn’t send Bulldog anywhere and Vader needs to think about that. Another shot has Bulldog bouncing off the ropes but he’s right back in Vader’s face. With that not working, Vader just unloads on him in the corner (Vader could do that like no one else) and Bulldog is knocked outside for a shot from Race.
Vader goes outside too but gets knocked over the barricade for his efforts. Back in and Bulldog manages the delayed vertical suplex (my eyes popped open) but Vader kicks him away. The middle rope dive into the powerslam (take a shot) sets up a running clothesline to put Vader on the floor again. Back in and Vader just blasts him to take over and drops an elbow on the leg.
The Vader Bomb gets two and Vader hits him in the face a few times. Vader’s middle rope standing body splash has Bulldog in more trouble and it’s time to hammer away in the corner again. They fight over a superplex until Bulldog throws him face first down onto the mat. A headbutt stuns Bulldog more than Vader and there’s a hard clothesline to put Bulldog down again.
Vader misses a sitdown splash though and Bulldog gets two, only to have Vader hit him in the face for another knockdown. There’s a top rope splash but Vader bangs up his ribs in the process. To mix it up a bit, Vader pounds him down in the corner and now the sitdown splash connects. We hit the reverse chinlock but Bulldog lifts him up into an electric chair, as you do to VADER. Bulldog manages the powerslam but Race makes the save. They head outside and it’s a chair to Bulldog for the DQ at 16:14.
Rating: C+. This was good to start but then went a bit long in the middle and had a lame ending. The problem was they kind of ran out of ways to do things to each other and that made for a pretty long ten or so minute stretch, which is quite a bit too much in a match like this. Bulldog was rolling at the beginning, but this needed to be about four minutes shorter.
Post match Vader loads up a powerbomb but Sting comes in for the save.
Magnum TA thinks that was great and they’re not done.
Verne Gagne thinks that was neat and we’re out.
Overall Rating: B-. It was quite an up and down show which isn’t all that surprising. The legends stuff was probably a lot more interesting than what we would have gotten from a regular show from the era, but stuff like not delivering the Horsemen and having Roma as a sub was a big hit. Nothing is a blow away match but you have more than enough stuff to make the time go by. I liked it well enough and it’s nice to have something to get away from the modern stuff for a change.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!