That’s right Wrestling Fans, I’m back from the Not-Too-Distant Past with another installment of The Wrestling Time Machine, and you know what that means? That’s RIGHT! We’ve got Wrestle Sign!
As usual, we’ll discuss World Championship Wrestling first. When we last left the roster of the Turner-Owned “Wrasslin'” Company, Hulk Hogan and The Monster Maniacs (composed here of “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, Randy
“Macho Man” Savage, and “The Ultimate Surprise” Renegade) were contending against the sinister machinations of Ric Flair, Big Van Vader and (as of WCW Uncensored ’95) Arn Anderson. Given Flair’s involvement in Vader’s ongoing battle against Hogan, The Monster Maniacs would ask that Flair’s retirement be revoked (can retirement be revoked?) by the WCW International Board of Directors.
Nick Bockwinkel would present the question to the board, the board would vote, and there would be 2 votes for Ric Flair being forced out of retirement, coming from The German Representative and the Japanese Representative (Billed as Kensuke Ishikawa, but really Sonny Onoo).Two votes cast by the American Representative, and the Spanish Representative would be against Flair being forced out of retirement, and instead required to uphold the stipulation of the Career vs. Career Steel Cage Match from WCW Halloween Havoc ’94. The deciding vote would come down to the French Representative, who would (for the time being) abstain. Meanwhile, Flair would purchase a segment on WCW, a campaign ad of sorts, pleading to the WCW International Board of Directors to “Be Fair to Flair” and allow Flair to remain retired, though if Flair really wanted to remain retired, why is he involving himself in matches? “The Nature Boy” would even tease the possibility of buying WCW if he didn’t get his way. The fate of “The Nature Boy” would be delayed until the third week of April, when The Monster Maniacs would present their case to The WCW International Board of Directors to have Flair reinstated
as an active competitor of the WCW Roster. The French Representative would not abstain during this second round of voting, and Flair would be reinstated as an active competitor. The following weeks of WCW Saturday Night would feature WCW continuing to test the waters of the aforementioned potential new Four Horsemen lineup, with Arn Anderson teaming with Vader, with Ric Flair in their corner. This match during the third week of April would be against Stars & Stripes, and even following the match, Anderson & Vader would cut a promo in which they discuss the Four Horsemen. The final week of April of 1995, would feature Ric Flair’s return to the ring as a listed and active wrestler on the roster, teaming with his longtime Four Horsemen compatriot, Arn Anderson and the two of them would have Vader in their corner, though wrestling Tim Horner & Brad Armstrong, having Vader in their corner felt like overkill. This match would highlight a common problem with WCW, and this was a finish that needlessly overbooked, complicated, and delegitimized WCW as an organization, with Arn Anderson getting the pinfall victory over Brad Armstrong despite not being the Legal Man.
Though not directly involved, Kevin Sullivan and The Faces of Fear would continue their crusade against Hulk-A-Mania. The Faces of Fear in this incarnation would be composed of The Butcher and Avalanche. Tension between the soldiers of Sullivan’s growing war against the forces of Red & Yellow would boil over, as Sullivan and Avalanche would violently excommunicate The Butcher from the group, decrying the Hulk-A-Mania brainwashing still present in his mind, leftover from being a former friend and ally to The Immortal.
The Midcard portion of WCW’s roster would feature some astounding highlights, following the forfeiture of the WCW United States Championship, previously held (and not defended) by Vader. WCW would announce a tournament to determine the new WCW United States Champion, who would be crowned at the following June’s Great American Bash Pay-Per-View event. It may have been discussed previously on WCW Programming, but during this time, the WCW Announcers (Tony Schiavonne and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) would note that the WCW United States Champion was the default #1 Contender to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, so this would be an excellent shot for any talent in the Midcard to try elevate themselves and transition to the Main Event scene. The brackets would be announced in the third week of April, and would feature talents such as “Flyin'” Brian, “Stunning” Steve Austin, and “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright. Brian Pillman’s placement in the tournament was strange, because he wasn’t listed on the official bracket graphic provided during the 3rd week of April, but was listed as advancing in the tournament following a quick win over Bunkhouse Buck during the 4th week of April.
While not involved in any matches during the month of April, it was purported that Diamond Dallas Page to have won a jackpot in Las Vegas. Page, The Diamond Doll, and Max Muscle would spend the next several weeks in Las Vegas enjoying the finest the gambling oasis had to offer, including dining, fine art and an all new wardrobe.
During the month of April, Lord Steven Regal had previously deigned to take Bobby Eaton under his wing, and refine him. Regal sought to carve out the diamond in the rough that was Bobby Eaton, and turn him into a well-to-do gentleman like himself. We would see Eaton taken on an excursion to improve his table manners, purchase a new wardrobe, receive a pedicure, and eventually be really knighted by the Queen of England! Bobby “The Brain” Heenan would dub this new advantageous partnership, The Blue Bloods. The Blue Bloods would finally debut together as a team during the 3rd Week of April, and we would see just how far Bobby Eaton had come, as he no longer had any empathy for the poor (the cad!). Meanwhile, the WCW Tag Team Division would see the continuation of the battle between reigning WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat versus The Nasty Boys. Harlem Heat would grant one more opportunity to The Nasty Boy at the upcoming month’s WCW Slamboree.
The Then-WWF had spent the last 3 months building towards their flagship event, WrestleMania. WrestleMania XI would take place on April 2nd of 1995. The event would feature highlights in the WWF Tag Team Division with Lex Luger & The British Bulldog teaming together as The Allied Powers against The Blu Brothers, and the return of Yokozuna, who would team with Owen Hart and feature Jim Cornette & Mr. Fuji in their corner. Yokozuna & Hart would capture the WWF World Tag Team Championship from then-Champions The Smoking Gunns at WrestleMania XI. Additional prominent matches included Razor Ramon securing a victory over the WWF Intercontinental Champion and now WWE Hall of Famer, J-E-Double-F J-A-Double-R-E-Double-T. This match would see interference on behalf of both competitors as Ramon would have The 1-2-3 Kid in his corner to combat the shenanigans of Jarrett’s ne’er-do-well minion, The Roadie.
The Undertaker would defeat “The Walking Condominium” and member of The Million Dollar Corporation, King Kong Bundy. Though “The Phenom” would secure the win against The Million Dollar Corporation’s heavy, Kama of The Million Dollar Corporation would pursue The Undertaker’s source of power, The Urn, and would abscond with the almighty artifact during the event. Kama would lay out his plans, stating that he intended to melt down the vessel and make for himself a gold chain necklace from the remnants.
Bob Backlund would first be defeated by special guest, Jonathan Taylor Thomas in a game of chess backstage, and again be defeated by his longtime foe, Bret “The Hitman” Hart in an I-Quit Match which would feature a surprise appearance by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as the Special Guest Referee.
Diesel would defeat the challenger to his reign as WWF World Heavyweight Champion, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Diesel would be accompanied by Pamela Anderson, while Michaels would be accompanied by future Anti-Vaccine Crazy Person, Jenny McCarthy and Bodyguard And All Around Just General Crazy Person, Sid. The match between the two featured excellent back and forth between the two competitors, but ultimately thanks to Sid’s poorly timed interference, Diesel would walk out of the event with not only both blonde bombshells on each arm, but The WWF World Heavyweight Championship secured around his waist.
The Main Event of WrestleMania XI would feature The Million Dollar Corporation’s Bam Bam Bigelow battling The NFL’s Lawrence Taylor. Each combatant would have an army on the outside, with Bigelow being backed by The Million Dollar Corporation and Taylor being backed by The All Pro Team. Taylor had gained the advantage early, going so far as to knock “The Beast from The East” to the outside of the ring, but Bigelow would regain the upper hand. Following some poorly timed offense, Bigelow would ultimately fail to secure the win over the NFL Great, and The Million Dollar Corporation would be handed it’s second (and arguably most embarrassing) defeat of the night.
The fallout from WrestleMania XI would see Michaels, despite his defeat at the hands of Diesel, be granted an additional shot at the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at May’s upcoming In Your House Pay-Per-View Event. Diesel would warn Michaels about Sid, advising “The Heartbreak Kid” to perhaps forgo the presence of a bodyguard during this upcoming opportunity. Michaels would heed Diesel’s words and attempt to give Sid that night off, but Sid would instead grow enraged, and attack his now former employer, doling out several powerbombs to Michaels. The assault at the hands of (P)Sycho Sid would put Shawn Michaels’ career in jeopardy, and Sid would instead take Michaels’ place as the Number 1 Contender to the WWF World Heavyweight Championship against Diesel. Looking to turn things around, and secure for his group a redeeming victory, Ted DiBiase would convince Sid to join The Million Dollar Corporation. Sid’s first act was to lead the assault on Bam Bam Bigelow, following Bigelow’s loss to Diesel in a singles match-up for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.
Carl Ouellet would debut as Jean Pierre LaFitte in the WWF as the descendant of the very real pirate, Jean LaFitte. Jean Pierre would talk about, how around his neck he wore a special purse containing “solid gold pieces of eight, that had been cursed by a Cajun Witch”, building on the real pirate’s activity in the Louisiana and New Orleans area. This is a gimmick that…it doesn’t age particularly well, Ouellet wanted to do the pirate gimmick, (albeit under his real or own name), but the WWF twisted the gimmick into the cartoonish, and gaudy descendant of a real pirate. Ouellet was hoping the gimmick would provide a chance for the WWF to highlight a disabled wrestler, and open the door to doing more charity work for the disabled. The idea of the cursed gold was interesting, but nothing would really come of it, or the gimmick as we’ll see. As previously mentioned, Kama had The Undertaker’s Urn melted down into a necklace, that he would wear to the ring, taunting and antagonizing “The Deadman”. The WWF Midcard scene would also see the tease of a new addition to the roster,
Terra Ryzing Jean Paul Levesque Hunter Hearst Helmsley.
The WWF Women’s Division would see it’s first match on Monday Night Raw of the year, on April 3rd of 1995, a match between famed Japanese Women’s Wrestler, WWF Women’s Champion, and Sailor Moon Villain Bull Nakano being defeated by Alundra Blayze for the WWF Women’s Championship. One thing that I found particularly interesting is the evolution of the design of the WWF Women’s Championship, which here in 1995 looks like some kind of toy, with it’s pink strap and size. Blayze’s victory celebration was cut short however, by the debuting and mysterious Bertha Faye (Rhonda Singh). Faye’s debut looked promising, she was clad in black, wore face paint, commanded a frightful attack on the new WWF Women’s Champion. However Faye’s intimidation factor and power were all immediately undercut the following week in her first actual match, as her wardrobe was changed to something much more clown like, the
face paint was removed, and Faye was treated as somewhat of a joke, due to her size and stature. Whilst Faye was on RAW beating up international talent in comedy squash matches, Blayze was shown to be recovering from the ferocious beat down from Faye.
From the lands of Renegades, and Horsemen, to the fields of Pirates and Dead Men, we at last arrive on the shores of Extremica, Extreme Championship Wrestling. The epic, and traumatic childhood hatred between “The Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer and Raven would reach a fever pitch thanks to the efforts of Raven’s lackey, Stevie Richards. Following Tommy Dreamer’s resounding victory over The Broadstreet Bullies, and in an effort make Raven
proud, Richards would bring in The Pitbulls. Richards would put The Broadstreet Bullies on notice, and presenting an nigh-impossible ultimatum: Defeat The Pitbulls, or be fired as Raven’s hired muscle. The Pitbulls came out victorious, and put the entire ECW locker room on notice in a post-victory promo. Richards wasn’t done though, Richards had tracked down Beaulah McGillicutty to stand by Raven’s side, as another victim of Dreamer’s alleged childhood bullying. Richards would reveal that Beaulah was not always the beautiful woman that she was, and that she too suffered at the hands of Dreamer during that fateful
summer the three of them shared. The storm brewing between Dreamer and Raven would boil over into a hardcore match that featured everything, but the kitchen sink.
The ECW Tag Team Division would feature an interesting development in the Three-Way Feud between The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & “Flyboy” Rocco Rock), The Dangerous Alliance (Sabu & The Tazmaniac) and the reigning ECW World Tag Team Champions, The Triple Threat (Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko). At the supercard event, ECW Three Way Dance, Malenko would be pinned by Rocco Rock, with The Public Enemy capturing their third reign as ECW World Tag Team Champions. That’s not all, though. Sabu would fail to show at the event, and honor his obligations to Extreme Championship Wrestling, choosing to wrestle instead at a booked appearance for New Japan Pro Wrestling. As a result of Sabu’s absence, Taz instead teamed with noted
leather jacket accessory enthusiast, and Dog-Faced Gremlin, Rick Steiner. Though Steiner’s run in ECW was short, it’s my belief that Steiner could have had a notable (although perhaps not financially sound) career in ECW. Rick Steiner has always wrestled a technically proficient style, and wasn’t adverse to wrestling a hardcore style, either.
ECW’s Midcard would feature a new addition in the form of Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero would challenge ECW Television Champion 2 Cold Scorpio in an epic battle between the two astonishing aerial athletes. Highlights of the match would be broadcast on the 04/18/1995 edition of ECW Hardcore TV, and the match introduced a whole new audience to the prowess and talent of Eddie Guerrero. Though the victory of the match was within a hair’s breadth of the grasp of either of the two opponents, Guerrero would manage clutch the brass ring, and cinch his victory with a Frog Splash.
The ECW World Heavyweight Championship picture would be shaken to it’s core, as tension would rise between The Sandman’s valet, Woman and Shane Douglas. During the 3/18/95 encounter between The Sandman & Terry Funk vs. the then-current ECW World Heavyweight Champion, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas & Cactus Jack, Woman would accompany The Sandman to the ring, as normal, but would become visually upset at the damage done to “The Franchise”. With Douglas defending the prize of The ECW World Heavyweight Championship against The Sandman during the 4/8/95 (highlights of which were broadcast during the 04/11/95 edition of ECW Hardcore TV), After an intense match between the two, with one of the highlights being The Sandman actually wrestling, and not brawling, actual technical mat wrestling from the Singapore Cane enthusiast. The Sandman appeared to have Douglas right where he wanted him, primed for the pinfall, when The Sandman decided to take a
smoke break. While The
Sandman would get his nicotine fix, Woman would toss Douglas The Sandman’s weapon of choice, the Singapore Cane. Douglas would use the cane to nail a low blow, and steal the victory out from underneath his beer-swilling, cane-swinging rival. The lesson was clear: Don’t smoke kids, or it could cost you your championship belt. The Sandman would challenge Shane Douglas again, and at Hostile City Showdown (highlights of which were broadcast during the 04/18/95 edition of ECW Hardcore TV), Woman and The Sandman would pull off one of ECW’s greatest double-crosses, as Woman; playing the long con, would turn on Douglas, whilst Douglas had The Sandman locked in a Crossface Chicken Wing hold from behind, allowing The Sandman to pin “The Franchise”, and bring the 385 Day
title reign of “The Franchise” Shane Douglas to an end. The title reign of Shane Douglas would be the longest reign in the ECW World Heavyweight Championship’s history. The fallout of the match would entail Shane Douglas teasing a departure from the extreme organization he called home, and travelling to Stamford, Connecticut.
Cactus Jack would emerge as the #1 Contender for The ECW World Heavyweight Championship during the month of April, but how would the friendship of Shane Douglas and Cactus Jack fare against Douglas’ eventual rematch against The
Sandman, and The Sandman’s first official title defense against Cactus Jack during the month of May? Of course during the month of April of 1995, would see the infamous “Cane Dewey” sign would rear it’s ugly head, arguably the result of an intense promo delivered by the “Windmillin’, Piledriving’, Neckbreakin’, Backbreakin’ Bearhuggin’, Wrist-lockin’, Knee-droppin’, toe-holdin’ Son-of-a-Gun,” Terry Funk, in an effort to prove how soft Cactus Jack really was. What would happen as the hatred between these men would continue to intensify?
These questions and more will have to wait until the NEXT installment of The Wrestling Time Machine!!!