The Wrestling Time Machine: May of 1995

The phone’s ringing, better pick it up.Because it’s the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine!!!

Spring is in the air, but there’s no love to be had in the ranks of the WCW roster. With Flair finally reinstated, as an active competitor of the active WCW roster, this would give Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Jimmy Hart and

By The Power of Greyskull!!!

The Renegade {Collectively known as “The Monster Maniacs”} the opportunity to put Ric Flair, Vader & Arn Anderson {Collectively, known as…nothing} in their rear view mirror. A tag-team match would be booked for WCW Slamboree, with Hogan & Savage, with Jimmy Hart & The Renegade in their corner versus Flair & Vader with “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson in their corner. All was not well, however in the camp of the “Monster Maniacs”. Hogan & Savage were understandably nervous, facing the likes of Flair & Vader, and even with the added protection of The Renegade watching their backs, The Monster Maniacs weren’t taking any chances. Scheduled to appear at Slamboree, as an inductee into the WCW Hall of Fame, The Monster Maniacs would enlist the help of Angelo Poffo, the father of Randy “Macho Man” Savage as their “Secret Weapon”. Hulk Hogan was notably not great at secret-keeping, though, which is why Angelo’s involvement in the story was announced right from week 1. Hogan would also announce that The Monster Maniacs were training…IN SECRET. Throughout the lead up to Slamboree, we would be treated to several videos in

Randy Savage is Coming to Atlantis!

which Randy Savage and his father were walking along the beach, and the boardwalk, talking about how important this match was. Angelo would impart several pieces of fatherly wisdom to his “Macho” son, before Randy Savage would dive into the water, and swim for the Bayfront Center. Flair and Vader, even with the assistance from “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson would be no match for the combined might of the Monster Maniacs. During the battle between the two teams at Slamboree, a new warrior would enter the ring. No, not THAT Warrior. The Giant would be teased, in what was possibly the

least climatic way possible. The Giant was teased with all the tension of a wet sock. That gif to the right? Yeah. That’s it. During the entire month of May, there’s no buildup, no discussion as to who the big man is. He’s never mentioned on TV at all prior to Slamboree, he appears, wrings his hands and then just…Leaves. He doesn’t get involved in the match, he just stands there, looking like a menacing spokesman for a local Thornton Melon’s Tall & Fat store. “The Nature Boy” and his compatriots wouldn’t take the loss to The Monster Maniacs lying down, their loss set off a chain reaction, in which after assaulting Randy Savage, his father, Angelo would try to make the save, only for Flair and Anderson to turn their

Those legs are gonna snap, just like Slim Jims!

attention on the 70 year old WCW Hall of Fame Inductee. The beat down on Papa Savage would ignite a fuse in the time bomb that was Randy Savage’s sanity, and spark a feud between “The Nature Boy” and “The Macho Man”. This aggression against Savage would mark his descent into full-on madness in World Championship Wrestling. Following Slamboree, Savage would attempt to exact his revenge on “The Nature Boy” by attacking Flair in his match against “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright. The match in question was part of the tournament to determine who would be crowned the WCW United States Champion. As a result of Savage’s interference, Flair would be announced the winner of the match, and and advance in the tournament. 

Speaking of The WCW United States Championship Tournament, May of 1995 would see Randy “Macho Man” Savage advance in the tournament from the first round after defeating The Butcher. Before losing to Ric Flair in a quarterfinal match, Alex Wright would advance against Big Bubba Rogers from the first round, after Rogers would be disqualified for intentionally tossing Wright over the top rope. Meng would advance as well, having exacted revenge against the latest young star to earn Colonel Robert Parker’s ire, “Flyin'” Brian in a quarterfinal match. Sting would also advance in the tournament, having beat “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in a quarterfinal match. Meng was not The Colonel’s only dog in the fight for the WCW United States Championship, having advanced by defeating “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, “Stunning” Steve Austin would advance to the quarterfinals, only to lose to Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Leaving the two semifinal matches as Sting vs. Meng, and Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

What Should Be Referred to in the business as “Vizzini Booking”.

The feud between Big Bubba Rogers & Sting was far from over, as Big Bubba Rogers and Sting’s war of words would culminate in, what was billed leading up to Slamboree as a “Lights Out” Match. Reading that, do you think this is just a Last Man Standing Match that’s been re-branded? Haha, YOU FOOL! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” But only slightly less well known is this: “When counted on, WCW will always overbook what should be a simple match, as overly complicated”. In an installment of the WCW Control Center leading up to WCW Slamboree, Gene Okerlund would reveal that during the course of the match, normal rules would apply, but at select timed intervals throughout the match, signifying “Anything Goes”…Understandably, WCW bailed on this idea, and the match wound up mostly being a No Disqualification match that saw Sting try to put Rogers through the World’s Most Unbreakable Table, Rogers countering Sting’s offense with some sort of white powder, and ultimately Sting getting the win via Submission through the use of the Scorpion Deathlock.

The WCW Midcard scene also featured Arn Anderson parting ways with Colonel Robert Parker, and successfully defending the WCW Television Championship against “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright at Slamboree. While Anderson was successful, Slim Jim would announce a tournament during the fourth week of May of 1995 to determine the #1 Contender for the title, to face off against Arn Anderson at the upcoming WCW Bash at the Beach. Anderson, upon being made aware of the tournament, would call out the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Hulk Hogan for only maybe defending his title once a month. Paul Orndorff would beat “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in the first round, and “Flyin'” Brian beating Big Bubba Rogers in the second match. The final match of the small tournament would have “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff defeating “Flyin'” Brian, to be named the #1 Contender for the WCW Television Championship.

No one’s ever misunderstood “Fantasy Booking” quite like WCW Creative.

After having been expelled from The Faces of Fear, Kevin Sullivan would focus his energies against trying to cure The Man With No Name (The former “Butcher”), with the two former allies facing off against one another at Slamboree. Following Sullivan’s victory, a mysterious man would appear on the Titantron, stating that forces of evil that had laid buried in stone for a long time, from the bowels of New York City, the Champs-Élysées in Paris, to the slums of Singapore, Hogan had his army of Hulkamaniacs all around the globe, and that only one could stand against the forces of Hulkamania, Kevin Sullivan, could stand against the evil that was Hulk Hogan.

The war between The Nasty Boys & WCW World Tag Team Champions, Harlem Heat would continue, but despite the best efforts of Booker T and Stevie Ray, The Nasty Boys showed no fear throughout the month of May, with Brian Knobbs guaranteeing victory against the nefarious current champions. Harlem Heat would do everything they could to stack the deck in their favor, going so far as to injure Knobbs prior to the Slamboree match, giving Harlem Heat an early offensive advantage. Jerry Sags wouldn’t be on his own for too long, as Knobbs would at long lost make the save, giving The Nasty Boys enough of an edge to eek out a win.  The Nasty Boys had finally captured The WCW World Tag Team Championships away from Harlem Heat, at Slamboree. Their celebration was short-lived, as it was made clear that lying in wait was WCW’s newest addition to the WCW Tag Team Division, The Blue Bloods (“Lord” Steven Regal & “Earl” Robert Eaton).

Comedic Gold? No, more like Comedic Aluminum.

Life had been good to Diamond Dallas Page, as throughout the month of May, DDP, The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle could be seen travelling around the United States, shopping to the content of Page’s heart. Whilst Page was busy eyeballing “Ferrari Testosterones” and golfing with Max (all while making the poor Diamond Doll caddy for them!), it would be discussed that Dave Sullivan was receiving presents from someone that he secretly admired, and that it was possible that Diamond Dallas didn’t actually win millions of dollars, but was in fact taking advantage of The

10/10, Would Diamond Cutter again.

Diamond Doll’s inheritance. May would also mark the first time that The Diamond Doll was named on-screen as Kimberly. Page would have one match during the 4th week of May of 1995, an interesting note about that match would be that DDP seemingly invented Tye Dillinger’s “10” Gimmick.

A notable event that took place during May of 1995, at WCW Slamboree would be the inductions into the WCW Hall of Fame. Slamboree, was after all billed as “A Legends Reunion”. The inductees would include Antonio Inoki, Dusty Rhodes (with a surprise

The American Dream, and The [Future] American Nightmare

appearance by his son, Cody), Big John Studd, Angelo Poffo, Terry Funk and a surprise, emotional inductee in Gordon Solie. The interesting thing about Terry Funk being inducted, Funk was still an active competitor for ECW, and while ECW wasn’t acknowledged by name on TV, Solie would mention that Funk was still active in the United States and Japan, having wrestled for roughly 30 years by this point in 1995.

WCW Slamboree would feature a “Legends Match” with Chief Wahoo McDaniel facing off against, and beating Dick Murdoch. Surprising no one, WCW would turn a blind eye to the bloodshed during this match. WCW did it’s best to mask the bloodshed through the use of cutaways, camera angles, and it helped that the match was broadcast in black & white. With admittedly little exposure to Gordon Solie’s commentary, this was a great way to be introduced to his talented and unique voice.

In a display of it’s working relationship with international promotions, WCW Slamboree would feature The Great Muta defeating Paul Orndorff in a fantastic match.

Onto the WWF/WWE side of things.

Following Michaels’ debilitating injury at the hands of Sid, and Sid essentially stealing Michaels’ WWF Championship title shot at the inaugural In Your House, it would be revealed that Sid’s place in The Million Dollar Corporation, and even in the WWF was not just pure happenstance. All of this was the result of months of mischievous machinations of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. You see, it was DiBiase who suggested to Shawn Michaels that he needed a bodyguard, it was DiBiase who introduced Shawn to Sid, and now with Sid’s spot secure against Diesel, DiBiase was confident that Sid was the crowning jewel of The Million Dollar Corporation. To display to Diesel what kind of fight he could expect, Sid would throw caution out the window, and before his scheduled match with Razor Ramon, would leap through the in- ring entrance pyro and attack Ramon from behind. The match between the two behemoths would take place at the inaugural WWF In Your House pay-per-view event. During the match, the super predator, Sid would it Diesel with a devastating chokeslam, followed later by a spine-shattering powerbomb. Diesel would respond in kind with a Jacknife Powerbomb of his own, and while attempting what would arguably be the victorious pinfall, Diesel would be attacked by Sid’s Million Dollar Corporation colleague, Tatanka, resulting in a Disqualification Victory for Diesel type close out the event. Diesel’s victory would come at a hefty price, following In Your House, “Big Daddy Cool” would have to go under the knife to have surgery on the ruptured bursa sacs of his right elbow, which took the bulk of the brunt impact of

Pictured: Shawn Michaels & Diesel.

Sid’s offense. While Sid would be backed by the strong arms of The Million Dollar Corporation, Diesel would have his own posse, to combat the underhanded, incorporated bad guys, in newfound friend Bam Bam Bigelow, and at the end of the month, the returning “Heartbreak Kid”, Shawn Michaels.

The WWF had their very own tournament, somewhat parallel in timing (albeit with a more established history) mirroring WCW’s United States Championship Tournament, in The King of the Ring. The qualifying matches would begin at WWF In Your House with Mabel defeating Adam Bomb in the first qualifying match. Bob Holly would defeat the mondo Mantaur, and advance in a qualifying match the following night on Monday Night RAW. In a solid TV match between Shawn Michaels and “The Walking Condominium” King Kong Bundy, this would see Michaels advance (and subsequently reunite with Diesel, following a hard

There were no utensils in medieval times, hence there are no utensils AT Medieval Times.

fought victory) in the fourth week of May, in an additional qualifying match. The last qualifying match televised on RAW in May of 1995 would see The Undertaker defeat “Double J” Jeff Jarrett. Additional qualifying matches not televised on RAW would include Razor Ramon defeating Jacob Blu, and Kama defeating Duke “The Dumpster” Droese on WWF Superstars.

The WWF Intercontinental Championship scene would see a shakeup, as Jeff Jarrett would be stripped of the Intercontinental Championship by WWF President Jack Tunney due to the champion’s…unscrupulous tactics in defending the title. Tunney would announce that the WWF Intercontinental Championship would be decided on WWF Action Zone, but Jarrett would be successful in recapturing the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Jarrett had his hands full in the month of May, having to not only recapture the WWF Intercontinental Championship, but also having to face off against his WrestleMania XI opponent, Razor Ramon in the first Handicapped Match on a WWF Pay-Per-View. Razor Ramon and his ally, The 1-2-3 Kid were originally scheduled to face off against Jeff Jarrett and his Toa-Roadie. Ramon & The 1-2-3 Kid were hungry for some payback, following the match at WrestleMania XI, but as the result of a legitimate neck injury (kayfabe plugged as having been at the hands of Jarrett & The Roadie), the match was changed to a Handicapped Match. Though Razor would gain the victory, “Double J” and The Roadie would attack “Da Bad Guy” following the match. Razor Ramon wasn’t left alone for too long, as Savio Vega would make his debut as a friend of Ramon, evening the odds against the wannabe Country Music star and his goon. Razor would capture the WWF Intercontinental Championship following In Your House, in a Ladder Match at a House Show, however Jarrett would capture the title right back only days later at a separate House Show.

Bret “The Hitman” Hart would have his hands full with Hakushi and his Kabuki manager, Shinja over the alleged racism that Hart exhibited against the Japanese people, allegations that came from the (not) reliable mouth of Jerry “The King” Lawler. Hakushi and Hart were still not done with each other. Hakushi would respond to the loss against Hart with his best Kevin Spacey

WHAT’S IN THE BAG???

impression, pulling a model Bret Hart head from a bag for the RAW audience. This moment was supposed to be shocking, but there was a distinct lack of reaction from the audience, and just felt strange, and didn’t garner the heat against Hakushi that the WWF wanted. Hart, while not taking Lawler seriously had enough. Hart, while already having a scheduled match at In Your House, against Hakushi, would challenge Lawler, in an effort to finally shut off the flowing faucet of foul flouts from Lawler. Hart would beat Hakushi, and start to illustrate a narrative that his leg was injured, especially post-match. Lawler was sure victory was within his grasp, having to only deal with an injured Hart, but…Hart was merely faking, throwing Lawler off his game. Hart was a master at not just dissecting his opponents physically, but mentally well. While Hart didn’t take the threat of Lawler too seriously, Lawler would snatch a victory from Hart at In Your House, but not without the interference from Hart’s previously defeated opponent from earlier in the evening, Hakushi. Hart’s appearance on Raw, following the humiliating loss at Lawler’s hands would lead Hart to challenge Lawler in an intense promo that felt more like an early experiment, venturing into shoot territory, with Hart letting the word “shit” fly on a nearly hot microphone. This was out of the ordinary for the normally fairly family-friendly federation. Hart would give “The King” the freedom to name his price for the rematch, though throughout remainder of May, Lawler would play coy, not quiteaccepting or refusing the rematch.

One of the newest additions to the WWF Roster, as mentioned in our last column was Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Helmsley is referred to here as the “Connecticut Blueblood”, getting heat by turning up his nose at the uncultured, uncouth fans of the WWF. Helmsley would make his RAW debut in the fourth week of May of 1995, winning a match against John Crystal with a cutter. The WWF’s Roster at this time would see more additions in Man Mountain Rock’s

like. no. other.

WWF RAW Debut, and a tease of The BodyDonnas, on a “Zony” TV, no less.

The highlight of the WWF Tag Team Division would see the The Smoking Gunns use their rematch clause to challenge Yokozuna & Owen Hart at the inaugural In Your House, but the brothers would ultimately fail to recapture the WWF Tag Team Championships. The Allied Powers (The British Bulldog & Lex Luger) would win two matches in May of 1995 against teams of Jobbers.

Vote Or Die.

With the upcoming 1996 Presidential Election heating up, The WWF had a promising candidate in their own Bob Backlund. Backlund ran on a strict platform of being the grumpiest, oldest man that anyone ever knew, threatening to take calculators away from kids, ending summer vacations throughout these great states, and banning all music but classical music.

The last highlight in the WWF sphere, would be the WWF announcing that their Hall of Fame would see new inductions the night prior to WWF King of the Ring. The WWF announced that the Class of 1995 would include Antonino Rocca, Ernie Ladd and Ivan Putski.

The newly crowned Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion, The Sandman would have his hands full, having to defend the title against two desperate and starving competitors; the first Cactus Jack, who’d clawed his way through the ranks of ECW, and the second was the leader of the Triple Threat, and the former champion looking to regain what had been stolen from him, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas. While Cactus Jack was granted his title opportunity against The Sandman at an ECW event in Florida, the match was a tainted victory for The Sandman, with the assistance of Woman, and Douglas’s Triple Threat comrades, the icy, deadly shooter Dean Malenko, and the cripplingly good technician Chris Benoit.

Cactus Jack wouldn’t take this interference lying down, and would confront Douglas following the match, and for a rematch to be scheduled against the challenger Cactus Jack and the champion, The Sandman with Shane Douglas as the Special Guest Referee. Prior to the match, Cactus Jack would cut an astonishing promo, accusing Douglas of being obsessed with the ECW gold, craving it to validate that Douglas was more than just a mid-card wrestler. Douglas would start the match with fair, and objective counts. In a slow burn, and a masterful way to build tension, as a viewer, you knew that Douglas’s impartiality couldn’t last, but you didn’t know what would cause him to snap, and change his methods. Joey Styles throughout the match would give Douglas kudos for his bipartisan refereeing. At one point, Douglas would check for blood, with Styles referencing WCW’s semi-strict “No Blood” policy, calling out WCW by saying “This isn’t like Atlanta, if somebody bleeds we don’t throw them outta here and tell all the fans to go home.” Despite Douglas’s best efforts, the conniving Woman would still manage to get successful offense against Cactus Jack when Douglas’s back was turned, but eventually he caught on and ejected Woman from the match. As the tide of the match began to turn in favor of Cactus Jack, Douglas’s pinfall counts began to slow to all but a crawl, for Cactus Jack’s attempted pins. With The Sandman in the corner, and delivering a barrage of blows to the ECW World Heavyweight Champion, “The Franchise” took his opportunity to disqualify Cactus Jack.

The true power of a referee was now known to Douglas. Douglas was disgusted that people would value weapons over wrestling boots. With Douglas’s newfound knowledge, Douglas would speak to his lawyer, and his lawyer would seek out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania the Commissioner of Sport Events in Pennsylvania, and had the Commissioner appoint a “troubleshooting referee”, in Bill Alfonso. Alfonso’s debut match would see him officiating a tag team contest featuring Tommy Dreamer & Mikey Whipwreck vs. Raven & Stevie Richards. Referee Bill Alfonso would disqualify Dreamer & Whipwreck for the use of a closed fist against their opponents, earning the ire of ECW fans and the bulk of the ECW Roster. Dreamer, notably upset, would wind up to strike Alfonso, though prior to the strike, Alfonso made it clear that were Dreamer, or anyone to strike Alfonso, he would shut down the fledgling hardcore promotion down with the snap of his fingers.

The following week from Alfonso’s debut would see The Sandman with Woman in his corner, again defending the ECW World Heavyweight Championship against Cactus Jack, and the winner of the bout would be scheduled to face Douglas. This was a fantastic hardcore match, but despite Jack’s best efforts, he was still no match for the deck stacked against him not only included Woman, but additional interfering efforts from “The Franchise,” Shane Douglas and as a result, The Sandman would again retain his title.

ECW Television Champion Eddie Guerrero faced off against a new challenger, Triple Threat member Dean Malenko during the first week of May. Joey Styles would say of the match, “I defy any other wrestling promotion on this planet to find two athletes of this caliber and let them go at it one on one like this for a major title, it’s not gonna happen!” This match was the only match to be broadcast by ECW during the first week of May of 1995, and it was really the only match that needed to be broadcast. The roughly 30 minute match between these two mat scientists features incredibly innovative offense from both wrestlers, and throughout the month of May of 1995, these two would set off on a feud, to prove who the better man was, lighting the wrestling world on fire. Their final bout against one another during the fifth week of May would feature a special guest commentator joining Joey Styles, Peter Senercia…AKA Taz. Throughout the match, Senercia vocalized his expertise, being a master of both collegiate wrestling and judo. This final match between ECW Television Champion, Eddie Guerrero versus Dean Malenko would end in a 30 Minute Time Limit Draw. These matches were clinical clashes between two greats, and there would be more to come.

Two Scoops of RAGE

Taz would start to see a considerable push during the month of May of 1995, and in a Tag Team Contest, Taz would team with fellow Heyman associate, 911 against two Japanese superstars, Tsubo Genjin & Hiroyoshi Iekuda. Surprisingly enough, Taz would do the bulk of the heavy lifting in this match, and even land a Belly-to-Belly-to-Belly Suplex against the two opponents.

The squared circle, and the confines of 2300 South Swanson Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania could no longer contain the unbridled rage between Tommy Dreamer and Raven. During ECW’s stint in Ybor City, Florida, Raven would assault Tommy Dreamer at an ECW party at Killian’s Rock Cafe. ECW Wrestlers tore the two apart, but not before it became evident that the two would would go to extraordinary lengths to bring about an end to one another.

The Girl Your Mother Warned You About.

Richards had brought Dreamer’s former childhood sweetheart into the mix, in Beaulah McGillicutty, another psychological obstacle for Dreamer to overcome. Dreamer got an assist in the unlikely debut of Luna Vachon. Vachon would come to Dreamer’s aid, assisting him in his battle against Raven’s growing army. Dreamer & Vachon were  a match made in heavy metal heaven, and make for a lusty counter to the team of Luna’s former beau, Raven and Beaulah.

 

Although they wouldn’t face off against one another, tensions would start to build between ECW World Tag Team Champions, The Public Enemy, and The Pitbulls. The highlight of this would be The Pitbulls doing a solid impression of Johnny Grunge & “Flyboy” Rocco Rock.

This brings the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine column to a close, and we’ll see you next time, wrestling fans!

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