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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: What Happened When with Tony Schiavone on Bash At The Beach ’94, Hulk Hogan’s arrival, why Jesse Ventura was fired (Episode 13)

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MONDAY WITH TONY SCHIAVONE & CONRAD THOMPSON

Episode 13: Bash At The Beach 1994

Release Date: April 23rd, 2017

Recap by: Dominic DeAngelo

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

Top Newsworthy Items:
-Hulk Hogan’s WCW wrestling debut vs. Ric Flair.
-Hogan’s lucrative contract and mainstream impact on the company.
-Tony live commentates Regal vs. Johnny B. Badd, Antonio Inoki, Flair/Hogan build-up.
-Tony meeting Triple H for the first time.
-Jesse Ventura’s heat with Eric Bischoff.

Subjects covered (with timestamps)
(7:20) Pre-event details
(11:45) Hogan’s WCW deal
(15:15) Did Tony think two weeks was not a lot of time to build this match-up?
(20:25) Hogan’s impact
(23:35) Ted Turner / Celebrity Promotion
(34:00) WCW spoiler snafu before BATB 1994
(37:05) Too Cold Scorpio trashing WCW
(39:35) Tony & Triple H
(46:55) BATB 1994 mainstream TV promotion
(51:45) Timestamp for Tony calling Hogan/Flair build-up & Meltzer’s event review
(57:22) Tony’s commentary starts
(59:35) Lord Steven Regal vs. Johnny B. Badd
(1:10:45) Flair chop or Regal uppercut?
(1:17:20) Tony commentates on Antonio Inoki’s appearance
(1:20:45) Vader vs. Guardian Angel
(1:21:55) Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck vs. Arn Arnderson & Dustin Rhodes.
(1:23:45) Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat.
(1:25:15) Arn cryptically mentions his European incident with Sid Vicious
(1:25:40) Pretty Wonderful vs. Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan
(1:29:00) Why did Jesse Ventura not there for the main event?
(1:31:30) Flair vs. Hogan for the WCW Title
(1:42:00) Poll options for next week

Show Highlights

(7:20) Before BATB, WCW is coming off of Slamboree, which had low numbers. 2,700 paid fans. A lot of folks assume that the booking team decided to move Flair vs. Hogan from the Starrcade to July. When did Tony first hear about Hogan coming in? He remembers Eric Bischoff negotiating with Hogan and the one thing Eric knew he had one thing that could lure Hogan away from WWF. Tony doesn’t remember a potential build to Starrcade. He thinks the plan was to book Flair/Hogan pretty quickly. In June, WCW had Ric Flair tape a series of videos that was closed off. Tony says they were about the potential Hogan match to have things in the can.

(11:45) They have Hogan signed for three Clash of The Champions and three PPVs for $300K per show totaling to $1.8 Million guaranteed. He’d also get a 25% of any increased PPV buys. He’d work half a dozen U.S. house shows & one Euro tour = 25% of house gross. He’d also get up to 65% of merchandise income. Tony says Hogan has final say on his character, and that was really the only thing that was talked about in the locker room. Everybody thought that Eric went a little too far with that move and that’s what Eric thought would get Hogan.

(15:15) Did Tony think two weeks was not a lot of time to build this match-up? He thinks because of the mainstream publicity and fan interest Tony wasn’t concerned at all. Conrad thinks they should have built it more over time. Tony says when Flair went over to the WWF, WWF didn’t make any noise about it, so WCW had to do it. If we’re going to bring Hogan in, who would you use to build Hogan to fighting Flair? Maybe some tag matches and some old Blackjack Mulligan stuff. Tony thinks you just had to go for it. They had to make Hogan the face of the franchise. Although it did seem that WCW was pushing Flair to the side after this. Conrad supports that statement. Flair is making $600K a year, and thought he should have been paid more as he was a huge catalyst to getting Hogan in. Obviously, not as much as Hogan but more than what he was making.

(20:25) The fact of bringing Hogan into WCW was a big deal. The steroid talk, Hogan’s leaner body type be damned. This was going to help make WCW more mainstream. Having Hogan opened more doors for WCW and also helped them build cred with Turner Broadcasting. It probably led to getting prime time television.

(23:35) Debut happens on June 11, 1994. WCW called it the biggest day in the history of wrestling. WCW made it look like a really big deal. Tony thought getting a 1.0 buyrate would be an uphill battle. They still had to do the work to get things going. They’d have to pick up casual fans. They had the two biggest stars in Hogan and Flair. Meltzer criticizes the big money signings of Okerland and Heenan. He doesn’t think Hogan will do much to change this. Ted Turner showed up to help promote the match between Flair and Hogan in his first pro wrestling appearance. Tony says you can’t put a number on how all that mainstream exposure was worth. Having Turner a part of it made it a bigger deal. Can’t put a price on the mainstream push. This was the beginning of the WCW blow up. Hogan’s debut on WCW Saturday Night a 2.4 rating. Hogan was beginning to go all out with promoting, like bringing in George Foreman & Mr. T. Talks of Wesley Snipes and Mike Tyson also happened, but they couldn’t get Tyson because he was in prison (Tony found that hilarious). Conrad jokes and says that Antonio Inoki showing up was the biggest deal and Tony has a funny viewpoint on this.

(34:00) WCW snafu: they spoiled the result of the Sting & Flair title merger. Tony wasn’t sure if this was the one, but Bischoff threatened to fire him over a situation like this. Since Tony was supervising producer, he put a lot of trust in his team to take care of these matters, but he accepts blame. Promotion was huge and Meltzer said Flair stole the show. Flair apparently gave a rah rah speech before.

(37:05) Too Cold Scorpio was released and began taking WCW to task, including tagging with Buff Bagwell and being busted on a drug test, saying that WCW’s testing policy was a sham. Tony didn’t give Scorpio’s interview any credence.

(39:35) Tony thought Triple H was going to be a big star and in a similar way he followed the same path as Stone Cold Steve Austin. A tremendous move to marry into the McMahon family. Conrad said Triple H was a good dude. Tony met Triple H with David Penzer and he enjoyed talking to him. He didn’t return his phone call last year, but he enjoyed talking to him. He said he was begging for a job, but doesn’t need it anymore because of WHW.

(46:55) Hogan gets on a lot of mainstream TV for promotion of BATB 1995, including Jay Leno and Regis & Kathy Lee.

(51:45) Pull your timestamp to 4:43 to BATB 1994. It got a 46.7% thumbs up, 28.9% thumbs down. Thumbs up from Tony. He thought Ricky Steamboat and Steve Austin was wonderful. Flair and Hogan barely beat out that match as the match of the night. Meltzer says BATB was a huge success. They got a 1.02 buy rate. Hogan deserves great credit for getting the promoting over. He said this show probably did a $550K profit. Show drew about 14,000 fans. Tony doesn’t know if Meltzer was being critical or honest depending on where it ended up going.

(56:30) Tony is going to call the build-up for Hogan & Flair. Recapping what happened on WCW Saturday Night.

(57:22) Tony’s commentary starts.

(59:35) Lord Steven Regal vs. Johnny B. Badd. Conrad brings up Sherri Martel no-selling Hogan’s Atomic Leg Drop. Tony can’t believe how much glitter is in this match. Tony commentates over this. 10:40 two and a half stars.

(1:10:45) Tony would take a Flair chop over a Regal uppercut. Regal could call a match.

(1:17:20) Tony commentates on Antonio Inoki’s appearance. He says Gene Okerland was the real star. Tony talks about how dull this segment was.

(1:20:45) Vader vs. Guardian Angel ends in DQ after about 8:30 minutes. A ref bump occurred and Meltzer gave it two-and-a-half stars. The Guardian Angel was the Big Bossman.

(1:21:55) Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck vs. Arn Anderson & Dustin Rhodes. Funk’s team wins after 11 minutes. Anderson turns on Dustin. They tease breaking Dustin’s arm. Meltzer gave it three stars. Conrad likes the match and Tony agrees that Dustin Rhodes was far underrated. When Terry Funk would wrestle you never knew what was going to happen.

(1:23:45) Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat. Meltzer gave it 3 3/4 stars. Tony absolutely loved that match. He always wondered how Steamboat would wrestle after blowing fire out of his mouth.

(1:25:15) In an interview segment Arn cryptically mentions his European incident with Sid Vicious. Arn was freestyling during that.

(1:25:40) Pretty Wonderful wins the tag titles from Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan. Meltzer didn’t think the match was very good and Tony agrees. He thinks it was strategically put there as a good separator. Half of a star. Tony thinks Meltzer might have been too critical. He thought Heenan’s comments about Sullivan were pretty funny, but yeah the match wasn’t very good.

(1:29:00) Why was Jesse Ventura not there for the main event? Ventura had heat with Bischoff. Eric has gone on to say that he fired Jesse because he caught Jesse sleeping in the back and missed some shots. Tony remembers Jesse was always ready to work. He’s not calling Eric a liar, but Jesse was always a pro.

(1:31:30) Flair vs. Hogan for the WCW Title. 22 minutes and it was the first clean pin between the two. Hogan got a bigger pop than Shaq, who was in his hometown arena in Orlando. Flair was psyched up the match. People were there to see the Hogan show and Flair gave him that. Sherri keeps interfering and is working hard. Eventual super human comeback by Hogan with a leg drop win. 3 1/4 stars. Tony liked Sherri’s involvement and thought it was a great match. God bless Ric Flair. As far as WCW insulting the fans by playing off like the two never wrestled before, what else could they do at the time? Overall, he thinks fans left happy after the show.

(1:42:00) Poll options for next week: 1995 Themed! Uncensored 1995, Great American Bash 1995, Bash At The Beach 1995, Fall Brawl 1995

Score and review (7.8)

This episode’s real meat was with the two discussing Hogan’s impact on signing with WCW and how big of a moment it was for the company. The Austin/Steamboat match sounds like a real winner to go back and see, but other than those two highlights this event coverage didn’t pack as much of a punch as some of the duo’s previous recaps. Still entertaining as heck, but the backstage ongoings and insider takes didn’t seem as prevalent as usual. Still good and certainly worth the listen, especially if you want to hear about the Hogan signing and Flair’s side of things.

About the Author

Dominic DeAngelo has a weekly column on PWTorch.com, “Rising Star, Fading Star” and runs a sports, entertainment and lifestyle blog in the Pittsburgh area called The Keystone Statement. In addition, he writes book reviews for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His wrestling top three are Scott Hall, Bret Hart & Bruno Sammartino. Follow him on Twitter @DominicDeAngelo and visit his site www.keystonestatement.com for good articles and the two podcasts he hosts, “The Keystone Cast” & “Here Comes Everybody”

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