The action is heating up…
In the latest edition of The Wrestling Time Machine!
(Content Warning: Blood, Violence, Weapons)
Welcome back wrestling fans to the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine. The Main Event scene in World Championship Wrestling was reaching a boiling point, as the feud between Hulk Hogan and Vader that had started with Vader and Hogan trading words at Starrcade of 1994 and ran through from December of 1994 to July of 1995.
Their battles included Singles Matches, Leather Strap Matches, and Tag Team Matches, but were inconclusive. The two were scheduled to finally meet in a Steel Cage Match at Huntington Beach, California. Their bitter rivalry had drawn in the machinations of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan (crowned as “The Taskmaster”), Brother Bruti/The Butcher/The Man With No Name/Zodiac, Avalanche/The Shark, “The Ugandan Giant” Kamala, The Giant, and “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson. A veritable who’s who of villains for “The Hulkster” to work his way through. Hogan wasn’t alone, and standing on his side in the name of the forces of Training, Prayers, and Vitamins were The Monster Maniacs-“The Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sting, The Renegade and “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel, sensing that a traditional match could not contain the chaotic forces at work, unleashed by Big Van Vader & Hulk Hogan facing off against one another decided that the best course of action would be to pit these two giants against one another in a Steel Cage Match. Bockwinkel announced the Steel Cage Match at June’s The Great American Bash. Hogan spent the month vigorously training…by playing Tug of War with kids on the beach, and showing off his super-cool Hulk Hogan Surfboard. Vader meanwhile had been announced as an acquisition of “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan’s newly forming Dungeon of Doom during the 1st Week of July of 1995, and before he could be deemed worthy of facing Hulk Hogan; Kevin Sullivan and his father, The Master would send Vader on a “Roadkill Tour” throughout the United States. The two giants would finally meet face-to-face on July 16th, 1995 in a Steel Cage Match. Steel Cages were going through an awkward period, and the Steel Cage at Bash at the Beach 1995 was no different.
The cage felt…too small, and at times even flimsy. The match featured spots that
would have been entertaining to the less discerning children in the audience, but otherwise fell flat of the expectations one would have going in to a feud that’s been building for seven months. WCW Bash at the Beach 1995 had all the makings of a So-Bad-It’s-Good movie, especially with the Dungeon of Doom vignettes that had started two months prior, but the Steel Cage Match ultimately just felt like a missed opportunity, especially given the clumsy spot from Vader that allowed Hogan to snatch a victory. This spot did Vader no favors, and certainly didn’t make him look like any sort of credible threat in WCW moving forward. The pace of the match felt rushed. WCW would have better served it’s audience if the culmination of Vader/Hogan at Bash at the Beach had resulted in a surfing contest. Following the match, Ric Flair sealed his and Arn Anderson’s fate, and exploded at Vader for his loss to Hulk Hogan. This primed a feud between the three now-former Anti-Hogan compatriots. Hogan was sent out of the fire and into the frying pan, as the gargantuan menace that had started stalking Hogan since May of 1995 would make his presence and purpose known. Throughout June, The Giant appeared once in the audience of WCW Saturday Night, with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan teasing that this super-sized man looked familiar.
Then throughout July, in week 3 of the month, Heenan would again hint that the unnamed colossus looked familiar, like somebody Heenan would have known as a child, roughly about 5-6 years old. Finally, during the pre-show at WCW Bash at the Beach, The Giant appeared, tossing a shirt at Hogan and shouting,
“Remember this?” Hogan explicitly stated that the shirt belonged to André, and the following week on WCW Saturday Night, Hogan would cut what was supposed to be an emotional promo, something Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan spent the bulk of the program putting over. While we rarely see a side of Hogan that could be described as emotionally vulnerable, there’s a reason for that, Hogan just does not have the acting chops to pull it off as genuine emotion. The promo consisted of a sit-down interview hosted by Gene Okerlund, with Hogan espousing his love and respect for André the Giant, a legend who had passed just roughly two and a half years ago when this aired. Hogan talked about the fear and anxiety he had when facing André at WrestleMania III. The angle felt out-of-place, and awkward, because none of this had anything at all to do with World Championship Wrestling, yet they felt that they could not make this angle work here, without acknowledging the history of Hogan/André. It reeked of a lack of confidence from Hogan, and WCW officials that The Giant would only be able to get over if there was a connection between himself and someone who’d already been established. Hogan challenged himself to face off against each of the members of The Dungeon of Doom, and to then test himself against André’s offspring, The Giant.
The war between Randy “Macho Man” Savage and “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair reached a conclusion at WCW Bash at the Beach, in a Lifeguard Match (read: a Lumberjack Match). World Championship Wrestling used the match as a chance to promote appearances by several of it’s stars in an upcoming episode of Baywatch. The match was purported to have several stars of the show as Lifeguards, but were not explicitly named. The night prior to Bash at the Beach on WCW Saturday Night, Ric Flair would parade around 12 “Space
Mountainettes” as his “Lifeguards”. Flair was up to his old tricks throughout the match, and thanks to a distraction at ringside, during the match, “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson was able to spike the head of Randy Savage to the mat with his patented, debilitating DDT. Despite Flair’s best efforts, Randy Savage would gain a victory over the future 16-Time World Heavyweight Champion, and avenge the indignities suffered by The Monster Maniacs, and his father, Angelo Poffo.
Sting dominated the midcard scene, continuing his feud with Meng over the WCW United States Championship from June of 1995. Meng and Colonel Robert Parker spent the month of July squashing jobbers, much in the same way that you could ascend the ranks of Mortal Kombat, by selecting a two-player option without having a second player. Meng steamrolling opponents throughout the month of July, and all of Colonel Robert Parker’s watch from Chuck Berry, and rings from Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, Sting was still able to roll up the big man for 3 count at Bash at the Beach 1995. Parker’s July wasn’t a complete wash, as Parker
would sign a new client to The Stud Stable, the deadly, Kurosawa (in actuality, professional wrestler, Manabu Nakanishi). Kurosawa was highlighted with a video package, detailed as someone who had “ridden the tsunami across the mighty sea”, and “driven by the fierce heritage of the samurai to win at any cost”. Colonel Parker also spent the month flirting with Sister Sherri through interviews with Gene Okerlund in only the way a true southern gentleman could, saying that he would have his way the manager of Harlem Heat.
The WCW Television Championship was on the line as The Renegade had his first title defense scheduled against “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. Orndorff had been named the #1 Contender through a tournament from the previous month by Slim Jim. The Renegade successfully defended the title from the threat
of “Mr. Wonderful” with “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart by his side, in what was one of the worst matches WCW had put on throughout the entirety of 1995. Throughout the singles bout, The Renegade was throwing some of the worst and clumsiest dropkicks imaginable, and could be heard audibly calling his spots with Orndorff throughout the match. The match ended with an awkward Back Suplex, from The Renegade to Orndorff, and Referee Nick Patrick counting 3, despite Orndorff’s shoulder clearly coming up at the count of 2. Despite The Renegade’s limitations, this does not help build a strong, monster face, even if it helped to add length to a feud between the veteran Orndorff, and the rookie Renegade.
The Nasty Boys (Jerry Sags & Brian Knobbs) reign as WCW World Tag Team Champions was short lived, as Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) recaptured the titles on a 6/21 edition of WCW Worldwide. With so many teams vying for the championship gold, a Triangle Match was announced for WCW Bash at the Beach. Harlem Heat successfully defended the title against The Nasty Boys, and The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal & Sir Robert of Eaton). The Triangle Match was…a confusing effort by WCW, in which any legal man in the match could tag any other man from any team, but only two men could be legal at a given time. With the assistance of Colonel Robert Parker, “Dirty” Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck captured their only championships from Harlem Heat on the 7/22 edition of WCW Saturday Night.
Dave Sullivan finally got to take The Diamond Doll, Kimberly out on a date, per the stipulations of the Arm Wrestling Match from WCW The Great American Bash the month prior. Their date would include Dave taking the beauteous and voluptuous valet to see “The Lion King” (referred to as “The King Lion” by Dave) and a nice dinner. The dinner was interrupted by a “Bunnygram”. The Bunnygram messenger delivered a delightful poem from Diamond Dallas Page, implying that Dave and Kimberly were being served Dave’s rabbit, Ralph. The bunnygram was a ruse, used to lure Dave and Kimberly out of the restaurant, where DDP and Max Muscle were waiting to assault Dave Sullivan. This whole sequence was unintentionally funny, because
during the beat down, WCW clearly added sound effects to the video. It only could have been better if words describing the impact had spontaneously materialized out of thin air. Another wrinkle in the relationship between The Diamond Doll and Page was hinted at, during this month. While it had been speculated that Page had not really won his Las Vegas winnings, but was in fact swindling Kimberly out of her inheritance. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan provided more details regarding the rumor during the 7/1 WCW Saturday Night broadcast. “The Brain” stated that Kimberly’s parents had owned untold amounts of land & oil, left her the money earned from this, and that Page was pilfering these profits to line his own pockets. Page promptly dismissed the rumor. Sullivan and Page would square off against one another in a Singles Match at Bash at the Beach, with Diamond Dallas Page stealing the victory.
From World Championship Wrestling, we move on to the distinguished competition, The World Wrestling Federation. The fate of the WWF Championship was to be decided between Diesel and #1 Contender, Sid in a Lumberjack Match at the 2nd WWF In Your House on 7/23/1995. The goal of the match was to prevent Sid, who at their match-up in May of 1995 was saved from the sting of defeat by the hands of Tatanka, and in June of 1995, walked out on Tatanka in their Tag Team Match against the team of Diesel & Bam Bam Bigelow. With lumberjacks surrounding the ring, Sid had nowhere to run. Diesel secured the win with a Big Boot. Diesel found a new challenger to the World Wrestling Federation Championship in the colossal King Mabel. The winner of the 1995 King of The Ring made his presence known to “Big Daddy Cool” during his battle with Sid, King Mabel made his
challenge official for WWF SummerSlam on the 7/24 edition of WWF Monday Night RAW. The WWF utilized the presence of The Lumberjacks to a better degree than World Championship Wrestling, really taking advantage of the chaos that could be sewn in a match with so many different variables. This helped to not only further Diesel’s journey as The World Wrestling Federation Champion, but also progress the narrative of Diesel’s next challenge.
World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Champion, Jeff Jarrett’s big singing debut was made during the month of July of 1995. The music video of “With My Baby Tonight” made it’s first WWF Monday Night RAW appearance on the 7/3 broadcast. Jarrett was out to prove everyone in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee that he could cut it as “The World’s Greatest Singer, The world’s greatest entertainer, and the world’s greatest wrestler”. On the 7/10 edition of WWF Monday Night RAW, we’re treated to footage of Jeff Jarrett trying to enter Buddy Lee Attractions, and offer himself up as what could be their newest and most popular act, to which the employees of Buddy Lee Attractions promptly throw Jarrett and Buddy Lee’s
cousin, “RV Lee” out of the building. We’re then treated to something that Professional Wrestling needs more of, Rip Taylor. Taylor and “Double J” find themselves outside of a Las Vegas hotel, with Taylor and Jarrett discussing Jarrett’s name in lights, once he hits the big time. The World Wrestling Federation promoted “With My Baby Tonight” heavily throughout the month of July, with WWF In Your House 2 taking place in Jarrett’s hometown of Nashville, and the show being given a country music bent. Jarrett made his singing debut at the show, “singing” in front of the 6,482 fans in attendance at the show, and the thousands whom had purchased the event. Though Jarrett’s musical coming out party was successful, Jarrett had more than just a concert to worry about. Jarrett was scheduled to defend The WWF Intercontinental Championship against “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels at In Your House 2. Thanks to a mistimed cue from Jarrett’s loyal Roadie, Michaels was able to nail Jarrett with Sweet Chin Music and take home the coveted chaIn an effort to take a measure of revenge against the mpionship.
Doc Hendrix reported following the match that The Roadie and Jeff Jarrett had been involved in a fight between themselves, with plenty of shouting and blame regarding the loss to go around. This was to be a continuation of what was supposed to have happened in the ring, following Jarrett’s loss. Jarrett and The Roadie were supposed to brawl until they made their way backstage, but instead immediately left the arena. Jarrett and The Roadie (Real name: Brian James) had had a disagreement with management and creative over the booking of the story between the two. The original plan that had been discussed, was the fallout between the two in the ring over Jarrett’s loss to Michaels would lead to a reveal that The Roadie in fact sang Jarrett’s hit, “With My Baby Tonight”, and that Jarrett had been lip-syncing the whole time. This would lead to a match between the two at SummerSlam.
In an effort to take a measure of revenge against The Roadie for the injuries he’d suffered at the hands of The Roadie and Jeff Jarrett, The 1-2-3 Kid challenged The Roadie to the opening match at In Your House 2. The match ended with a nasty looking Stump-Puller Piledriver to the 1-2-3 Kid from the second rope.
Michaels wouldn’t get much of a chance to celebrate, the following night, 7/24, on Monday Night RAW, Jerry “The King” Lawler made his intentions known that he was interested in challenging Michaels. The following week, on 7/31, in an interview segment, King tried backpedaling, but Michaels made it clear that he was willing to take on “The Kingfish”. Michaels had another challenger waiting in the wings too, as Sid, fresh off his loss from Diesel would be announced to face his former client at WWF SummerSlam on the 7/31 edition of WWF Monday Night RAW.
Jerry “The King” Lawler took us on several visits to the office of his new dentist, Isaac Yankem throughout the month of July. Jerry Lawler spent these office visits taunting Bret “The Hitman” Hart, threatening that it would be his good pal, Yankem that would extract punishment on the “The Hitman” over the indignities that “The King” had to suffer. On the 7/17 edition of Monday Night RAW, Jerry Lawler alleged that Owen Hart had invented The Sharpshooter, and his brother, Bret had merely stolen it. Bret Hart vs. Isaac Yankem was made official for WWF SummerSlam on the 7/24 edition of Monday Night RAW. On that same edition of Monday Night RAW, Bret Hart faced Hakushi again. A second time during Hakushi’s introduction, Hakushi introduced the crowd to the head of Bret Hart, and again the crowd was dead. During the match, Jean-Pierre LaFitte stole the head of Hart, and ran to the back with his booty.
The Allied Powers (The British Bulldog & Lex Luger) had been named the #1 Contenders for The WWF Tag Team Championships against Owen Hart & Yokozuna. Despite some tension between the current champions, Owen and Yokozuna were able to pick up a victory against The Allied Powers. Yokozuna & Hart had the managerial prowess of Jim Cornette to thank for easing the tension between the near 600 lb giant, and Owen. Razor Ramon and Savio Vega challenged Owen Hart & Yokozuna for The WWF Tag Team Championships on the 7/31 edition of Monday Night Raw. The match saw a false finish, and the declaration that the match must continue due to an illegal man being pinned. The match went to the end of the broadcast, without a definitive finish.
Interestingly enough, during the 7/10 edition of Monday Night RAW, during a match between The Allied Powers vs. Tatanka & Henry O. Godwinn, Vince McMahon seemingly took a shot at other organizations. On commentary, while discussing President Bill Clinton who had been on-hand in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss the harmful effects of violence on television, saying, “not withstanding, the caliber of contact and competition here in the WWF, The World Wrestling Federation has been the standard bearer of enforcing its own safe guidelines of family entertainment not by the way to be confused with the undisciplined genre of professional wrestling in general”. Interesting to see how even in 1995, Vince McMahon was trying to separate the company and the brand from the violence and unsafe practices associated with Professional Wrestling, and to brand what The WWF/WWE does as Sports Entertainment.
Shane Douglas made his WWF Monday Night RAW debut on 7/24 broadcast. Douglas debuted in a segment titled “The Report Card” as Dean Douglas. The Dean Douglas character was intended as an intellectual, college-level administration figure. Dean Douglas provides the definition for knowledge, stating that he is the personification of knowledge. The following week on 7/31, Douglas clarified that he had Bam Bam Bigelow in his sights.
Former WWF Tag Team Champion, Fatu, set out on his own to make it on the Singles scene in The World Wrestling Federation. Fatu took The WWF audience back to his neighborhood where he grew up, talking about making a difference. Fatu put forth a positive message, talking about how there was “no hope with dope”, and that he was there to be a positive influence and role model. On the 7/9 broadcast of The
WWF Action Zone, Barry Horowitz scored his very first victory, against Skip from The BodyDonnas, sparking a feud between the physical fitness gurus and Horowitz. Hunter Hearst Helmsley was featured on the 7/10 edition of Monday Night RAW beating Matt Hardy. Goldust is first teased on the 7/24 edition of Monday Night RAW. Waylon Mercy made his in-ring debut beating Jeff Hardy on the 7/3 WWF Monday Night RAW.
From The World Wrestling Federation to Extreme Championship Wrestling. Reigning Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion, The Sandman continued to have to defend the coveted championship against the challenger, Cactus Jack. At ECW Hardcore Heaven 1995, The Sandman successfully retained the championship against Cactus Jack with the help “The Franchise” Shane Douglas. Douglas delivered a piledriver to The Sandman and
spiked the eye of Cactus Jack with the jagged end of a Singapore Cane in a desperate last act of spite directed towards the man who stole the championship from him, his former best friend challenging for the title and the ECW audience.
At a 6/30 ECW event Raven and Stevie Richards captured the ECW World Tag Team Championships from The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & “Flyboy” Rocco Rock”) with the help of Referee Bill Alfonso.
Richards celebrated his first championship win in ECW with a celebratory rendition of Queen’s “We Are the Champions”. The following night, following Raven’s abandonment of The Pitbulls (Pitbull #1 & Pitbull #2), in a match against The Dudley Boys (Snot Dudley & Dudley Dudley with Big Dick Dudley), The Pitbulls announce that they are through with Raven & Richards antics. The Pitbulls accuse Raven of watching Stevie Richards’ back a little too much. At Hardcore Heaven on 7/1, Raven & Richards faced their first challengers, the team of Tommy Dreamer and Luna Vachon. The two teams battled all over the ECW Arena on 2300 Swanson Street, with Raven and Richards ultimately retaining the championships against the inter-gender contenders. Don E. Allen and The Broadstreet Bully faced The ECW World Tag Team Champions at ECW Heat
Wave 1995, (While this program is not available on The WWE Network, highlights of the match were shown on ECW Hardcore TV). The Broadstreet Bully Don E. Allen actually managed to beat Raven & Stevie Richards…via Countout. Stevie Richards, meanwhile upped the ante on his feud with Luna Vachon, alleging that Luna’s involvement with Kevin Sullivan in Florida Championship Wrestling ruined his childhood. The two squared off in a Steel Cage, with Luna forcing Stevie Richards to tap out, but the month of July wasn’t all downhill for Richards. Richards and his admirer had quite the heavy petting session at Heat Wave.
The battle between Axl Rotten and brother, Ian Rotten escalated with the siblings facing off against one another in a Taipei Death Match at Hardcore Heaven. Axl Rotten scored a bloody, and hard fought victory against his brother, and went to face off against The Sandman for The ECW World Heavyweight Championship at Heat Wave, in a losing effort.
The team of Dean Malenko and 2 Cold Scorpio squared off against ECW World Television Champion, Eddie Guerrero and Taz. Paul E. Dangerously joined Taz at ringside, and created a distraction using the music of 911. The distraction is enough to allow Guerrero to get the victory, after Taz was injured on the receiving end of a piledriver from 2 Cold Scorpio. Referee Bill Alfonso does his best to reverse the decision, but Dangerously isn’t having it, and tries to assault Alfonso. 911 managed to chokeslam Alfonso’s latest comrade and own personal videographer, Rob Feinstein. Bill Alfonso managed to narrowly escape the clutches of ECW’s resident giant vigilante, but Feinstein was not so lucky.
Referee Bill Alfonso is doing his best to wage war against the officials, as he threatened fans and officials alike. Not content to officiate matches in which he was booked, Alfonso began interfering and reversing decisions of matches that had already been decided. Tod Gordon grew tired of Alfonso’s shenanigans, but at every opportunity, Alfonso was one step ahead. Alfonso was a little dog with a
mighty bark, threatening to revoke Gordon’s license to promote, challenging fans and wrestlers alike. Alfonso introduced his “Cousin” The Terrorist (Doug Gilbert) to the members of The ECW Audience as a new challenger for perennial underdog, Mikey Whipwreck. Through the course of the match, Alfonso actually called out Paul E. and his brute enforcer, 911. The two were elated to answer Alfonso’s call with the promise of a long-awaited, and deserved chokeslam to the power-hungry official, only for Alfonso to abandon his cousin to the clutches of 911’s debilitating chokeslam, and escape once again.
In the war for the title Kings of the Hood, The Gangstas and The Public Enemy continued their bitter and bloody rivalry. The two teams spilled blood, guts and broken bones in an effort to definitively lay claim to the rights of being the most hardcore Tag Team in professional wrestling. The Public Enemy managed to obtain the first victory and an early advantage against the challengers with a win over The Gangstas at Hardcore Heaven. The Gangstas not to be outdone, picked up the win in a rematch at Heatwave in a Tag Team Steel Cage Match.