As most of the country continues to struggle with the current heatwave, I decided to review Beach Blast 1993 for this week’s edition of the VHS Memoirs. I discussed the 1992 version of the event last week, which featured changed implemented during the takeover of Bill Watts, the former Mid-south promoter that had just an eight-month stint as the WCW booker. The result, as was the case for much of 1993 and even into 1994, was that the promoter continued to lack a clear direction. While Eric Bischoff rightfully has his share of critics, the almost unanimous notion is that at least he had a specific path that he wanted to take the promotion, even if it took several months for him to take steps in that direction. While Bischoff was still just an second-tier announcer in 1993, this pay-per-view reflects the lack of direction for the product, both in its booking and presentation. I know I’ve said this a lot about this era of WCW pay-per-views, but it still amazes me that this event, much like Beach Blast the previous year and many of the shows of this period have very subpar lighting with minimal production value. The reason I’m still surprised by this is that when the company is owned by Turner, you’d think production value would be one of its strong suites, considering that’s the entire presentation of a broadcast company. Ironically, Beach Blast 1993 itself doesn’t get talked about much, but the mini-movie where a dwarf dressed as a pirate blows up a boat that was used to advertise it remains one of the more infamous segments in wrestling history.
The pay-per-view started with Paul Orndorff defending his Television title against Ron Simmons. As iconic as Simmons’ world title win the prior year was, his status as an opening match wrestler for this event less than a year later shows the continuous change in direction that the company was known for in the early-90s. Orndorff, who was a guy that probably didn’t get the credit he deserved because literally anyone would’ve been secondary to Hulk Hogan in the 80s in the WWF, had a solid run in WCW at this time, where he would later form a team with Paul Roma. As many know, “Mr. Wonderful” suffered a neck injury during his feud with Hogan in the WWF and opted not to get surgery to fix it since he would have to take time off from some of the best money events of his career so his arm atrophied to a smaller size than his other arm. That said, Orndorff could still go in the ring, and the match itself wasn’t anything spectacular, but definitely solid since it used the classic baby face come back dynamic throughout the contest. Ron Simmons had great baby face fire in this segment, and just as Orndorff attempted to end the bout with the pile driver, Simmons coincidentally back dropped him over the top rope to counter the attempted finisher. This caused the unintentional DQ, which protected Simmons and gave the heel a way to escape with the title.
Next up was 2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce. This was before Marcus was Buff or Tex and Shanghai were hog farmers so it’s a neat retrospective. Bagwell trying to dance next to 2 Cold was very comical. This wasn’t a segment that had a lot of star power involved, but this was a good tag match that helped pick up the pace of the card. As much as The Godwinns had a myriad of gimmicks throughout their careers, mostly because that was the way of the era in the sport, make no mistake about it, these big guys were very agile in the ring. That’s some of the highlights of this contest, there are a lot of fast-paced sequences and crisp wrestling from both teams. At one point, the camera almost missed it, but 2 Cold ends up landing short on an assisted dive from Bagwell and lands awkwardly on the ramp Thankfully, Scorpio was okay and hit the 450 splash for the victory.
Steven Regal beat Erik Watts in about six minutes, and I’m sure Erik Watts tried his best in this bout, but this was literally Regal wrestling circles around him to make the match work. To be fair to Watts, his dad was the Cowboy and he was put in a very difficult situation with being booked for television without much experience. If this was anybody else other than Regal, I might call this match skippable, but it’s worth watching just to see how the British grappler keeps the segment on the rails.
If you didn’t get a snack and a Coca-Cola during the Watts exhibition, there’s still time because you won’t miss anything with the next contest. Maxx Payne previously blasted Johnny B. Badd in the face with one of his confetti cannons so Badd is wearing a pink mask to the ring, although it’s not explained what exactly that was supposed to accomplish. The highlight of this entire clunky segment is that Maxx Payne appears to be actually playing his guitar on his way to the ring, which is more than can be said for Van Hammer. This went about four minutes before Badd got the win and it’s best if we all move on with this review.
Thankfully, the card picked up for here when The Hollywood Blonds defended their Tag Team championships against the Four Horsemen combination of Arn Anderson and Paul Roma. Granted, Roma sounds in interviews like he thinks he was a much bigger star than he actually was, but the guy definitely had in-ring ability. This was the substance match to go with the sizzle of the main event. This was thirty minutes of back and fourth action that built to the conclusion. The crowd followed the drama as the momentum tilted toward each team throughout the match. It looks like Pillman’s trunks might’ve been ripped at some point during the contest, but he was there for the conclusion when he nailed Roma with a clothesline behind the ref’s back to allow Austin to get the roll up for the win to retain the belts. This is definitely a match to go out of your way to watch and it should be noted that despite being heels, the Blonds got a big reaction from the audience with some signs for them in the crowd.
I’m not sure if this was a coincidence or by design, but similar to the prior year, Rick Rude was booked in a thirty-minute iron man match, this time against Dustin Rhodes. The action was crisp and solid, with Rude being a total pro to make the younger baby face look good throughout the bout. Rude hits the Rude Awakening to take the lead with a pin fall at about the 15-minute mark so in that way the contest was almost divided into two parts, as Dustin tied it up with only a few minutes left before the eventual conclusion was a draw. The was quality wrestling, but I’m not sure two matches in a row that each went thirty minutes was the best way to pace the card.
While Vader was the WCW champion at the time, this was the almost bizarre time period where the NWA title was still used in the company, even though the initials were more or less phased out of the promotion. Barry Windham was the titleholder and was challenged by Flair, who returned to the Turner umbrella after a two-year stint in the WWF. The match was fine, but almost subpar by what you would expect from a Flair/Windham contest based on their previous bouts. It looked like the finish was botched when Flair applied the figure four and when Windham had his shoulders down, the ref counted three. Windham attempted to get his shoulders up and looked confused when the ref called for the bell. Even Flair looked a little surprised when the referee handed him the championship. The match ended after just 10 minutes and the finish was flat so there might’ve been some miscommunication at the conclusion.
The main event of Sting and Davey Boy Smith vs. Vader and Sting was decent. That being said, it was a basic tag match and was based more on the star power than the in-ring quality. There’s not necessarily a lot to say about it either other than the novelty of watching British Bulldog in a WCW ring during an era that he was so closely associated with the WWF, including when he won the IC title in the main event of Summer Slam the previous year.
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Until next week
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