Classic Wrestling Review: WrestleWar ’91

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

WrestleWar

February 24, 1991

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Phoenix, Arizona

Sting’s run with the World Title has sadly come to an end. Ric Flair won back the title shortly after Starrcade and ended a lackluster reign for Sting. It wasn’t completely his fault, and I felt terrible for him. However, I also felt bad for Flair. Jim Herd reportedly wanted to move away from Ric because he considered him too old and blamed him for business slowing. The only reason he put the title back on Flair was that they didn’t have any better options and he would do his best to find someone else in the meantime. Tensions between Herd and Flair would only become worse over the next few months, but I will talk more about that in the Superbrawl review.

Even though Sting’s reign ended, his problems with the Horsemen did not. They escalated to the point that a War Games match was booked for this event. Sting enlisted the help of The Steiner Brothers and Flyin’ Brian Pillman, and they were set to take on the Horsemen, but Arn Anderson got injured. He would be replaced in the match by Larry Zbyszko, who is not an official Horsemen member.

In other news, WCW has officially left the NWA to branch out on their own. At this point, the NWA was a shell of what it used to be, and the NWA Title was basically an exclusive property of WCW. They decided to re-brand all of their titles as WCW titles, but Flair would still be recognized as the NWA Champion—for the time being. They would maintain a working relationship with the NWA over the next couple of years, but WCW was essentially their own entity now.

WCW wanted to establish themselves as a global company, so they renewed ties with New Japan Pro Wrestling and booked a WCW/Japan Supershow for March. Sadly, that show is not on the network. I would love to review it because some significant things happen at that event. That’s not possible, so I will recap the Supershow in my Superbrawl article. There are a couple of matches on this PPV that are meant to hype the Supershow and I will point them out along the way.

The show opens on a shot of the Arizona desert. Tony Schiavone says that for three years, February has been the home of WrestleWar. I’m pretty sure the first one took place in May, but that’s neither here nor there. He then says that this year, Phoenix is the location and the capacity crowd is set for WCW at its best. They immediately cut to a shot of the crowd—which barely even fills half the arena. I think Tony’s definition of capacity is different from mine. The size of this crowd is sad. WCW was not doing well and it didn’t help that they ventured into unfamiliar territory by running a show in Phoenix.

Tony then talks about the matches and introduces the commentators, Jim Ross, and Dusty Rhodes! Dusty is already back in WCW after leaving the WWF in January. He brought his son Dustin with him and we will see him later in this show. Ross says that everybody wants to see War Games and Dusty says that a lot will be put on the line. I’m pretty sure that there were no stipulations attached to the match, so I don’t know what he means. Dusty also yells about WCW being hot, on fire, and live in Phoenix. I’m glad to see Dusty because his commentary is a guilty pleasure of mine. I know not everyone likes it, but his nonsensical ramblings can be quite amusing.

6-Man Tag Team Title Match: Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich, & Junkyard Dog (c) vs. Big Cat & The State Patrol

WCW decided to experiment with 6-Man Tag Team Titles. They didn’t last long, but they make an appearance here. I guess I should say the get a mention here because I never saw any physical belts on this show. With Trios Titles being all the rage on the indies, I’m halfway surprised that WWE hasn’t brought back this idea. I’m kind of glad that they haven’t. I’m not a big fan of them.

The first team is a big ham and a couple of jobbers. Big Cat (Mr. Hughes) leads the State Patrol to the ring. I only remember State Patrol as perennial jobbers on WCW Saturday Night. The team is comprised of Lt. James Earl Wright and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, who would later become a trainer for WCW. He was credited with training Goldberg. State Patrol come out in uniform and even carry ticket books, but they sadly don’t hand out citations to the fans. That would have been good character work. Come on, WCW! You dropped the ball. On a side note, State Patrol’s music sounds like a rip-off of the Chips theme. Next, Morton, Rich, & JYD enter the arena. They’re announced as the champs, but they don’t have any belts. Ross says they won them a couple of weeks ago, so I’m guessing they haven’t had time to finish them.

The match begins by raining cats and dogs because Big Cat and JYD face each other. It’s strange seeing Mr. Hughes without his sunglasses. How is he going to take his mid-match nap? They trade punches and JYD stuns Cat with a headbutt and clothesline, so Cat tags Wright. Morton enters the match and Wright soon finds himself in trouble to arm work by Morton & Rich. Parker comes in and receives the same fate before Morton atomic drops both members of the Patrol. Eventually, it’s back to cats and dogs and Cat calls for a test of strength. He gains control until JYD headbutts him a few times. That seems rather heelish of JYD. The Patrol finally takes control when Wright knees Morton in the back and they hit a backbreaker/flying headbutt combo. They also hit a double shoulder block before tagging Cat. Morton tries to fight back, but he can’t capitalize. The Patrol hit a powerslam, battering ram, and a facebuster followed by a double backbreaker on poor Morton. Even the Cat gets in on the backbreaker party after catching Morton on a cross body. Big Cat poses and Dusty says Cat is beside himself. I’m not sure what he means. Eventually, Morton tags out after Parker misses a corner charge and JYD cleans house with headbutts. He even hits The Thump, but Cat breaks up the pin. However, Morton sneaks in and covers for the win.

That was odd. Is there no legal man in a 6-Man Tag Match? The finish didn’t make sense, but the match was surprisingly good. I was even kind of impressed by The State Patrol. Now, I’m sad they were relegated to jobber duty.

Winners: Morton, Rich, & JYD (9:54)

Tony is with Alexandra York and the new leader of the York Foundation, Terry Taylor. He decided if you can’t beat them, then join them. Taylor took over as the leader because Mike Rotunda left WCW to become a tax collector or something. Tony calls Taylor the computerized wrestler of the 90s. Now, I want to see Taylor in a remake of The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. They could call it The Computer Wore Wrestling Boots. Tony talks about the recent successes of the York Foundation and Alexandra replies that Terry’s skill and the accuracy of the computer are the reasons for their success. She also says they’re looking for new wrestlers. Tony then brings up the No DQ Match between Taylor and Z-Man and Taylor says they’ve factored Zenk’s weaknesses. I wonder if the computer simply said Z-Man is a goof. Terry then says that Z-Man doesn’t have a killer instinct, but Taylor does. Alexandra predicts that Taylor will win in less than 15:28, so Tony asks Taylor for a prediction. He replies, “Pain.” Hey, he’s ripping off Mr. T!

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. Brad Armstrong

We haven’t seen Brad Armstrong on this blog in a while. He’s been around, but he hasn’t been on PPV. He enters first and Ross says that Brad has a brother in Operation Desert Shield. That brother is the future Road Dogg. Eaton enters next. I assume he’s still using the old Midnight Express theme because his dubbed theme is the same. However, there is a new addition. WCW started playing a recording of fans chanting, “Bobby.” They don’t even attempt to hide the fact that it’s piped-in because it cuts off in mid-word. I’m pretty sure he’s still supposed to be a heel, so I’m guessing that’s supposed to annoy fans.

Eaton jumps Armstrong while he’s taking off his jacket, but Brad fights back to hit a head scissor takeover and some arm drags. Bobby then fights him into the corner and punches the spit out of his mouth, which draws a great line from Dusty. He says, “He crook-ed his teeth!!” Armstrong answers with a monkey flip and another arm drag, but they end up fighting to the floor. Brad reverses Bobby into the guardrail and the post before sending him back inside. Brad goes back to the arm, but Eaton reverses the hold. However, Armstrong climbs Bobby like a ladder and hits a springboard cross body out of the corner. Eaton fights back again and goes for a slingshot suplex, but Brad reverses it and goes back to the arm. Eaton finally takes control after hitting a hard clothesline that knocks more spit out of Brad’s mouth and Dusty says, “He just about rearranged his teeth-uhs!” Bobby then hits Brad with a couple of variations of the backbreaker and wears down Brad for a while. Then, he sends Armstrong to the floor and drops him on the guardrail with a snake eyes. Brad crawls back into the ring, but Bobby locks him in an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes for leverage. Randy Anderson ends up crawling under Eaton to catch him cheating and makes him break the hold, so Eaton attempts a corner clothesline. Armstrong moves and Eaton crotches himself, so Brad dropkicks him and hits a Russian leg sweep. Unfortunately, Brad ducks for a back drop and Eaton gives him a swinging neckbreaker before hitting the Alabama Jam for the win.

It was a bit slow at times, but it developed into a pretty good match. Dusty’s absurd commentary made it even better. Brad Armstrong was a great wrestler, but he sadly never had much personality. Eaton, on the other hand, simply needs some direction and he will get it soon.

Winner: Bobby Eaton (12:51)

Then, they show a small ad for Superbrawl on May 19th before Ross and Dusty talk about the Japan Supershow. They also talk about the upcoming Japanese women’s match. Ross says he hopes they can pronounce their names, but something tells me Dusty will have trouble.

Itsuki Yamazaki & Mami Kitamura vs. Miki Handa & Miss A

You may remember Itsuki as one-half of the Jumping Bomb Angels. It’s been a while since I covered their matches, but I’m glad to see her. I was pretty impressed with the Angels. This match is one of the few that are meant to hype the Supershow. Sadly, the crowd doesn’t know what to think of them, but they change their tune by the end of this match.

Miss A & Miki Handa enter first. Miss A has a buzz-cut hairstyle and stern face that would make Lance Storm proud. Next, Cappetta introduces his mommy. Wait, my bad, he introduces Mami Kitamura & Itsuki Yamazaki. Dusty proves my earlier prediction correct by calling them, “Suki and Yimmy.” He also says, “In Texas we don’t have anybody named Cookie Yamasaka!”

Miss A & Handa feign a handshake and attack their opponents. They attempt to double-whip them together, but Itsuki and Mami do-see-do and dropkick both women. Mami then takes over and tags Itsuki, who hits a flying arm drag off the top and a tight-rope walk into a sunset flip. Mami returns, but she bounces off Miss A with a shoulder block and Miss A kicks her in the head. Dusty thinks it’s Miki Handa and says, “Miki Handa just got kicked—in her Honda!” Miki enters the match, but Mami arm drags her and hits a shoulder block. Miki manages to answer with a back drop and tags Miss A again. Miss A attacks the leg, but Mami fights back and tags Itsuki, who hits an elbow, dropkick, and a butterfly suplex after a couple of tries. Mami continues the attack with a back suplex, but Miki tags in and eventually hits her own suplex. Mami answers with a bulldog, which surprises Ross and Dusty. She then tags Itsuki, who commando rolls into a headbutt to Miki’s chest. Dusty says, “That headbutt went right to the cross your heart bra situation there.” Miss A ends up tagging in and nails Itsuki with rapid kicks in the corner before calling for a test of strength. Itsuki obliges, but she hops onto Miss A’s shoulders and dives into a sunset flip! Miss A responds with a bridging northern lights suplex and a hard back suplex for a pair of 2 counts. Miki wants in on the suplex party, so she tags and hits a fisherman’s suplex for another 2. Miss A & Miki try some double teaming, but they knock Mami into her corner for a tag. Itsuki hits a missile dropkick to both women and a sunset flip out of the corner. Miss A tries to block it, but Mami dives off the top with a flying clothesline for the assist. Miss A then fires back with a clothesline, but Itsuki catches her with a surprise victory roll for the win.

This was a great match. The crowd didn’t care at first, but they were so good that they won over the fans. They reacted well to the finish. My only complaint is it was a little bit of a spot-fest, but it was an entertaining one.

Winners: Itsuki & Mami (6:47)

Next, Tony is with Missy Hyatt. He talks about the Japanese women’s match being a first on WCW PPV and then says there will be another first. Missy claims she will be the first woman to go into the men’s locker room and get an interview. She claims it’s about equal rights for women, but she kind of ruins it by saying she’s looking for a babe.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Buddy Landel

When Dusty left the WWF to come back to WCW, he brought his son Dustin with him. It’s probably for the best because the WWF wouldn’t have done much with him, at that time. He will eventually go back there but under a much different gimmick.

Landel enters first to what sounds like a slight knock-off of the Superman theme. He looks to be wearing a mixture of Ric Flair’s robe and Hollywood Hogan’s boa. Dustin enters next and Ross says he’s never worked with someone at ringside while their son was in a match. He speculates that Dusty can’t be impartial. Dusty says he’s proud of Dustin, but this is a test for him. Buddy then poses for the camera before slapping Dustin in the face.

Dustin fires back with punches and back drops Buddy before dropkicking him for a 1 count. Landel answers with knees and chops, but Dustin reverses him into the corner and hits 10 elbows. He then hip tosses Landel and clotheslines him for a 2. Rhodes follows it up with an arm drag and an armbar, but Buddy punches out of the hold. He slams Dustin and goes to the top, but Dustin slams him into the ring. They fight into the corner and Dustin reverses a whip, but he misses a corner charge and hits the post. Landel capitalizes with knees, chokes, and a hard chop that makes Dusty say, “Ooh, baby! He got—wow!” Buddy then rips at Dustin’s face and attacks his ribs before slamming him for another 2. Then, Dustin tries to reverse a whip, but he loses his grip and awkwardly stumbles into the ropes. The two men trade sleeper holds until Buddy rams Dustin into the top turnbuckle. However, Dustin gets a boot up on a corner charge and sends Landel to the floor. He immediately rolls him back inside, for some reason, and hits the bulldog for the win.

This match was decent, but it was basic. You can tell that Dustin is still very green. He looked awkward and lost a couple of times. It was a good way to build Dustin, but sadly he doesn’t get much personality until he starts painting himself gold.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes (6:33)

Tony says they’re ready to go back to Missy Hyatt. She’s standing outside a door and talks about how she’s going to be the first woman to get an interview in the men’s locker room. She then says, “Let’s see what babe we’re going to interview,” before entering the room. She’s greeted by an angry Stan Hansen who yells at her to leave. He’s spraying tobacco all over her and she responds by squeaking like a mouse. She finally exits the room and cries that she’s going to call somebody about this. I’m not sure what the point of this is, other than laughing at Missy’s expense. WCW tended to love doing that.

The Young Pistols vs. The Royal Family

The Southern Boys (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong) have decided to change their names to The Young Pistols. I’m guessing someone in WCW decided to have a team that wears Confederate uniforms might not be the best image to present.

The Royal Family enter first in their musketeer outfits. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t exactly scream New Zealand. The crowd barely reacts to them, which seems to annoy Jack Victory. The Pistols enter next and they are wearing some loud golden jackets. Both teams enter the ring, but the Family insists on doing some sort of ceremony that involves holding hands. Hey, I won’t judge. They wait until the Pistols turn around and then jump them.

The Family throws Armstrong to the floor and go to double whip Smothers, but Victory seems to forget the spot. You can see Tracy tell him what to do. Victory & Morgan miss a double elbow and Armstrong hits them with a flying cross body before the Pistols clear the ring with dropkicks. Morgan and Smothers then lock-up—and out go the house lights. I guess Jim Herd forgot to pay the bills. The fans boo until someone shines a spotlight on the ring. The two men trade arm wringers and Morgan grabs a headlock. Dusty says he’s trying to nimble him and make him wobbly-legged. Smothers powers out of the hold and the Pistols try some double teaming, as the lights return. Victory enters the match, but Armstrong takes control. Victory almost fights back with some shoulder blocks, but Smothers makes a blind tag and the Pistols hit a double shoulder block. They try some more double teaming until Armstrong misses a cross body. The Royal Family then utilize quick tags to control Armstrong. Eventually, Steve gets a boot up on a corner charge and tags Smothers, who hits superkicks and back elbows to both men until Victory clotheslines him to the floor. They ram Smothers into the post and then wear him down with bear hugs. Tracy tries to fight back, but Morgan hits a spinebuster that Dusty claims will make your back crack, liver quiver, and knees freeze. Armstrong tries to save his partner, but they send him to the ramp. The Family then attempt their double front suplex, but Steve returns and dropkicks Victory. Smothers then falls on top of Morgan and pins him for the 3 count.

This match never found a good rhythm. There was some decent stuff, but it was slow and uninteresting until the finish. It also doesn’t help that the Royal Family are bland.

Winners: The Young Pistols (12:05)

Tony is with the Freebirds’ new manager, Diamond Dallas Page. This is before DDP decided to become a wrestler. He’s still a manager. Tony talks about how the Freebirds have a tag title match and says that DDP tricked Teddy Long into it. DDP calls it genius and says, “There’s no way that peanut head could match wits with me!” He says he’s not mad at Teddy Long. He’s mad at WCW for overlooking the Freebirds. He then calls the fans Copenhagen dipping, coupon clipping, draft beer drinking rednecks. He starts to say more, but Teddy Long arrives and yells at him. He says he thought DDP was his friend, but he duped him with the Freebirds and spread rumors that Doom was splitting. Long then tells him he will see him down the line because Homie don’t play that! DDP yawns in his face the entire time and says, “See ya, Homie!” Page then finishes the promo by saying, “D-d-d-doom is gonna drop like a bad habit, here tonight!”

No DQ Match: Terry Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Z-Man

Alexandra leads Taylor to the ring and he’s changed his look. He now wears his hair slicked back into a ponytail. It’s certainly a better look than his rooster hair. Z-Man enters next and invites the cameraman to follow him. They cut to the crowd in hopes of finding some fans cheering, but they find a large man giving him the thumbs-down gesture. I can’t believe that someone wouldn’t like Tom Zenk. How shocking!

Z-Man keeps getting the better of Taylor early, so he regroups with Alexandra. She has to tell the cameraman to go away because he tries to eavesdrop. Z-Man then hip tosses and dropkicks Taylor, so the two men get into a shoving match. A random fan yells, “Kick his ass!” I’m not sure which man he directed it at, but I doubt it’s Zenk. Then, they trade slaps, so Taylor regroups again. Taylor finally gets the advantage, but he celebrates and Z-Man punches him. Zenk hits a headlock takeover and a shoulder block before locking Taylor in another headlock. Terry tries to lift Zenk, but Z-Man runs up the turnbuckles and takes him to the mat. Taylor becomes frustrated and starts headbutting him before they fight to the floor. Taylor then chokes him with some cable and the ref warns him, but Taylor yells, “What are you going to do? Disqualify me?” They fight back into the ring and trade punches until Taylor pokes the eyes and hits a backbreaker. However, he makes the mistake of ducking and Zenk does a sunset flip. It’s not enough and Taylor soon grabs a reverse chinlock, while Dusty proves he doesn’t know what the word fatigue means. They fight to the floor again and Taylor rams him into the guardrail. When they go back inside, Z-Man tries to make a comeback, but Terry clotheslines him. Zenk finally hits a rough-looking swinging neckbreaker when Taylor ducks and follows it up with a superkick, but Taylor gets a foot on the ropes. Zenk then tries another kick, but Taylor catches it and yells, “I’m tired of your shit!” Unfortunately, that leaves him open for an enziguri. Zenk continues with a flying cross body, but York distracts the ref. Zenk goes to complain, but Taylor rolls him up and pulls the tights for the win.

This match was decent at times, but I couldn’t completely get into it. Zenk at least looked more motivated than at the last PPV, but that’s not saying much. I’m surprised they didn’t put a clock on the screen like last time. Taylor beat the predicted time, so it would have been good character work.

Winner: Terry Taylor (10:59)

Ross and Dusty then recap the match and talk about El Gigante. Ross claims that the fans have grown to love him, but I doubt that. They talk about how Gigante will appear on Paul E.’s Danger Zone tonight. Dusty says he’s seen Gigante training, running, hiding, and slamming people. If Dusty saw him hiding, then he’s not very good at it. Dusty also claims that Gigante is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest stars in WCW. That might be the most ridiculous thing Dusty has said, so far.

Some Mexican music begins playing and out walks Paul E. Dangerously in a sombrero and a flashy matador costume. Ross says he looks like the Maitre D’ at Taco Bueno. I’m pretty sure Taco Bueno isn’t that fancy. Paul E. grabs the mic and says he has good and bad news. The good news is he’s Paul E. Dangerously and this is the Danger Zone, but the bad news is he’s been working undercover for immigration and all the illegal aliens in the crowd are under arrest. He then introduces his guest, whom he calls the largest hero the Latino community has ever had. It’s El Gigante, who joins him to a mild-to-mixed reaction from the crowd. Paul E. taunts him with his cape like a bull and asks him, “Do you own a pit bull, amigo?” Paul then calls him a jerk for signing up to be the ref in a Flair/Sting Cage Match that will be happening soon. Paul claims he knows a lot of Latin men and says they all lie and steal. Did Heyman come up with Guerrero’s Latino Heat gimmick?? Paul then accuses Gigante of trying to steal the title from Flair and gives him a chance to give up being the ref. Gigante simply replies, “No habla Ingles.” This angers Paul E. and he slaps Gigante with the sombrero, so Gigante slams him and puts on the sombrero before leaving. I like Heyman, but this segment wasn’t great.

Next, Tony is with Hiro Matsuda and The Great Muta to plug the Japan show on March 21st. The event is taking place at the Egg Dome in Japan. The Egg Dome? Is that where the Japanese version of the Gobbledy Gooker lives? Hiro says there will be more than 50,000 fans waiting for the show. Tony then talks about Sting facing Muta and Hiro says Muta has the advantage because he has 50,000 fans behind him. Matsuda predicts that Muta will win. Tony starts talking about the show some more, but Muta begins convulsing. He then spits his green mist into the air and some fan yells, “No way!” I guess he had never seen it before.

Big Van Vader vs. Stan Hansen

This is another match to hype the Japan Supershow. It’s a rematch from Japan and that original match was famously brutal. If you haven’t seen it, find it. Vader’s eye pops out of its socket.

Hansen enters first and threatens fans with his rope while tobacco spills from his mouth. He enters the ring and immediately starts making a mess of tobacco on the mat that stays there the rest of the show. Vader enters next and he’s already switched to his traditional WCW theme, but he’s still wearing the full mask. He’s also wearing his mastodon helmet. He takes off the helmet and does his ceremony before trying to enter the ring, but Hansen meets him at the ropes.

Vader pulls Hansen to the ramp and they trade headbutts, punches, and chops before Hansen hits a lariat. Vader spills into the ring and they fight into the corner, but Vader gives Stan a lariat receipt. Vader follows it up with an avalanche splash and knocks Stan to the floor before hitting another off the apron. They brawl in and out of the ring until Vader misses another avalanche splash and Hansen hits a back suplex. They spill to the floor again and start hitting each other with boxes and chairs, but the ref doesn’t stop them. Dusty says that the action has got him flowing. Um—ewww!! They keep brawling to the floor and Vader drops Hansen across the guardrail. Hansen responds by stumbling around and throwing chairs, so Ross calls him crazy. Hansen pulls Vader back outside and rams him into the steps before dropping knees on him. Stan then re-enters the ring and Vader follows. They trade some forearms and punches and the ref finally tries to do something, but both men shove him to the mat. The ref has enough and disqualifies both men, but they continue fighting.

This was a fun brawl, but I was hoping for more of a match. I realize they were there to hype the Supershow, but I don’t have access to that. So, I felt a bit disappointed.

Winner: Double DQ (6:21)

The bell rings, but both men continue fighting. Vader hits a flying clothesline off the top, which pops the crowd, but he misses a splash. Hansen fires back with a running shoulder tackle and chokes Vader with his rope. They fight onto the ramp, where Vader wraps the rope around Stan’s neck and drags him towards the curtain. The brawl continues, but they cut to a Superbrawl commercial.

Ross and Dusty then talk about the upcoming U.S. Title Match between Luger and Spivey, but Dusty is still distracted by Vader and Hansen. He finally focuses and says that Dan Spivey has to win the title to step up the ladder in WCW.

U.S. Title Match: Lex Luger (c) vs. Dan Spivey

Dan Spivey enters first and gives the camera crazy eyes. Wait, that might simply be Dan’s normal look. Ross then talks about how former U.S. Champ, Nikita Koloff, will present the winner of this match with a brand new belt. Luger enters next and high-fives some fans before nonchalantly handing Nick Patrick the title. Lex is looking a bit disinterested. I hope that’s not a bad sign.

They fight into a corner and Spivey punches Lex, who screams. Luger fires back with some shoulder blocks and a clothesline and he’s already breathing heavy. Way to work on your conditioning, Lex! Spivey answers with an atomic drop, but Luger no-sells it and hits a back suplex. Dan then backs him into a corner and loudly calls his spot. John Cena would be proud. Luger gets a boot up on a corner charge and hip tosses Spivey. He then attempts a cross body, but Spivey ducks and Luger flies into the second ring. Spivey then suplexes him back into the first ring and hits a nasty looking tombstone piledriver. He then works over Luger’s neck before hitting a DDT. Luger tries to fight back, but Spivey hits some headbutts and a running clothesline. Luger almost makes a comeback off a missed charge and again off a reversed suplex, but he can’t capitalize. Dan responds by slamming Lex and hitting a falling elbow off the top, which he follows up with a weak triangle choke. He realizes it’s bad and decides to hit a big boot and piledriver instead. Lex kicks out and starts hulking-up, but Spivey cuts off the comeback with a belly-to-belly suplex. He wears down Lex some more, but Luger fights back and dumps him over the ropes. Spivey slowly lands on the apron and Luger continues with a flying clothesline and a powerslam before signaling for the rack. The camera cuts to the crowd, so he almost misses Spivey knocking Lex out of the ring. Lex hits a sunset flip back inside, but Spivey blocks it. The two men then go down to both a double clothesline and a double shoulder block. Luger recovers and heads to the top rope, where Spivey tries to slam him, but Luger rolls through into a pin for the 3 count.

This was a better match than I expected, but I felt like it never found a good flow. There was some impressive stuff in this, but there were also some sloppy moments from Spivey. I did like the ending. It wasn’t something you’d expect from Luger.

Winner: Lex Luger (12:52)

Luger makes his way to the interview podium, where Tony, Nikita Koloff, and Grizzly Smith (Jake Robert’s dad) are waiting. Grizzly has a briefcase with the new belt inside of it. Koloff congratulates Luger and says he enjoyed the match. He even calls Lex, “The Lexster.” Nikita then says that he takes great pride and pleasure in giving him the belt, which he does—by clocking him in the head with it. Luger falls off the ramp, but no one comes to help him. Tony asks Nikita why he did that. Koloff answers that he sat at home for two years and said to himself there’s only one title he’s never had. He says he talked to the championship committee, but they told him he had to prove himself to get a world title shot. Nikita says there’s no better way to prove himself than to take out the man who stole the U.S. Title from him years ago. He then says he’s going to take the U.S. Title back where it belongs, to Nikita Koloff! I haven’t seen Nikita in a while, so I had forgotten how cheesy his fake Russian accent can be. I’m kind of glad to see him back again.

World Tag Team Title Match: The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Diamond Dallas Page & Big Daddy Dink) vs. Doom (c) (w/ Teddy Long)

DDP enters first and he’s flanked by the Diamond Dolls. The Freebirds soon join him and I noticed that Garvin finally gave up on the t-shirt thing. They strut down the aisle and dance a little while Dusty calls one of the Diamond Dolls, “Good looking brown sugar.” DDP grabs a mic and calls the Freebirds the next tag team champs. He also says he can’t be in all places at once, so he hired a road boss for the Freebirds. He introduces the man by saying he eats stone cold cake. I wonder if Austin knows about this. He then says the man is standing tall, looking good, and good god, he outta be in Hollywood. It’s Big Daddy Dink, which is Oliver Humperdink in yet another gimmick. Dink is the man of a thousand faces and they’re all horrifying. Doom enters next and they’re still using the NWA tag belts. I guess WCW hasn’t had new ones made yet. Ross says that Doom has made peace and are allegedly on the same page. Way to telegraph the ending, Ross! Teddy Long looks into the camera and says, “Homie don’t play that,” but Dusty doesn’t get the reference. DDP then leaves with the Diamond Dolls and lets Dink handle the managing.

Hayes and Simmons begin the match and the fans loudly chant, “Freebirds suck!” Simmons keeps shoving Hayes down and Michael complains of hair-pulling. Simmons doesn’t care. He simply hits a spinebuster. However, Hayes punches Ron on a corner charge and hits a bulldog. Simmons returns fire with a powerslam and catches Garvin for one, as well. Hayes finally tags Garvin, who demands Reed and gets him. Garvin gets an early flurry of offense, but Reed blocks a hip toss and clotheslines him. Garvin manages to hit a sunset flip and then tags Hayes. The Freebirds use quick tags and double teaming, but Reed hits a backbreaker and a butterfly suplex on Garvin before ramming him into Ron’s boot. Simmons tags in and drops some headbutts onto Jimmy. He then tries to throw him over the ropes while the ref is distracted, but Garvin awkwardly bounces off them. Reed returns, but he ducks and Garvin hits a DDT. Jimmy can’t capitalize, so Reed tags Ron, who hits another spinebuster and a powerslam. All four men then end up brawling and Teddy Long tosses Reed some brass knuckles while the ref is distracted. Reed tries to punch Hayes, but Michael ducks and Reed hits Simmons. Big Daddy Dink then takes a dazed Garvin and pushes him on top of Ron for the 3 count.

This was a decent enough match, but it felt like it wasn’t given enough time. I’m guessing something went long earlier. It was shaping up to be pretty good, but the ending was abrupt, much like the ending of Doom is about to be.

Winners: The Freebirds (New Champions) (6:56)

DDP joins his team for the celebration and they head backstage. Meanwhile, in the ring, Long and Reed argue with Simmons. Ron shoves Long, so Reed nails him with the brass knuckles. He repeatedly drops fist drops onto Ron’s head, while Long directs traffic. Teddy then tells the camera that this is what happens. He says that Simmons was the reason they lost and he will pay. I have to admit that I’m sad to see Doom split. I was beginning to like them as a team. This leads to Ron Simmons’ solo run, but it has mixed success.

They show another Superbrawl ad before going to Ross and Dusty. They’re with the 12-year-old winner of some sweepstakes, Julian. Dusty gets uncomfortably handsy and gives him a belly rub, while Ross asks the kid who is his favorite team. Julian answers that it’s Doom and he looks sad about what just happened. Ross rubs it in by saying Doom won’t be a team anymore.

Then, Ross and Dusty talk about how Arn Anderson is injured and won’t be in War Games. They also show a clip of the Horsemen attacking Pillman on WCW. Ross says that Larry Zbyszko will take Arn’s place and then speculates on whether or not Pillman will be 100%. Next, Tony introduces War Games and explains the rules while the cage lowers. They play the WrestleWar theme, but it’s not as epic as the WWF’s cage lowering music.

War Games Match: Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Sid Vicious, & Larry Zbyszko (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Sting, Flyin’ Brian, & The Steiner Brothers

Tony introduces the Horsemen & Zbyszko first. Arn Anderson accompanies them and he looks fine. What kind of injury did he have? Sting’s team enter next, but they come out to Pillman’s theme, for some reason. Poor Sting. He can’t even get his own theme. My, how the mighty have fallen. Pillman’s shoulder is taped from the Horsemen attack and Dusty calls it a tremendous injury. I don’t think Brian would see it that way. Windham enters the cage first and Sting’s team stop to talk strategy, but Pillman seizes the moment and rushes into the cage before Sting can protest.

Pillman takes the fight to Windham and hangs off the ceiling for a dropkick and a head scissor takeover. Barry reverses a whip, but Pillman jumps onto the turnbuckles and feigns a dive. Barry flinches, so Pillman hits a dropkick and tries a cross body. Windham ducks, but he dropped too early and Pillman had to jump at nothing. However, Brian answers with a low blow and starts grating Barry’s head against the cage until he’s bleeding. Pillman keeps hitting a modified jawbreaker that drives his head into the cut and tosses Windham from ring to ring. Then, they trade punches and Pillman back drops him, as the period ends. The Horsemen win the coin toss, so Flair enters for the 2-on-1 advantage. Flair and Pillman trade chops, but Windham jumps him. The Horsemen ram him shoulder-first into the cage before dumping him into the second ring. They continue the attack on the shoulder until Sting enters the match next. Sting attacks both men and hits a double clothesline on Flair and Windham before the four men break into pairs. Sting hits a facebuster on Flair, but Windham crotches Pillman on the ropes. Meanwhile, Flair hits some ineffective chops on Sting, who fires back and hits a Stinger Splash. The next period ends and Zbyszko enters the match, but Sting jumps from one ring to the other onto him. Pillman locks Windham in a Figure Four, while Sting brushes off most of Larry’s offense. Flair then breaks up the Figure Four and goes to help Larry. Another period ends, so Rick Steiner enters the match and starts throwing Steinerlines. Rick then attempts 10 punches on Flair, but Ric tries to turn it into an atomic drop. Steiner blocks it and hits a belly-to-belly suplex before ramming Ric into the cage. He grates Flair’s face until it’s bleeding, but Windham makes the save. Sid then enters the match, while Zbyszko has Pillman locked in a tree of woe and stomps him. Sid then holds Rick Steiner while Flair kicks him in the groin. Pillman comes over to save him and goes after Flair. He starts ramming Ric into the cage again, while Sid and Sting fight between rings. Then, Sid gives Rick Steiner and Pillman a double noggin’ knocker. Flair also gives Sting a low blow, while the final period ends and Scott Steiner enters the match.

Scott hits a double clothesline on Windham and Flair before hitting Zbyszko with a Tiger Driver. Then, they cut to Sid and Rick Steiner, who loudly talk about their next spot. Scott Steiner hits Sid with a flying clothesline and Sting locks Ric Flair in a Scorpion Deathlock, but Ric won’t quit. Larry breaks up the hold, while Sid and Pillman fight each other. Sid rams Pillman’s shoulder into the corner and he rips off the tape. However, Sid misses a running knee attack on the ropes. Pillman answers with a knee to Sid’s groin and Sting and Scott lock Flair and Windham in stereo Figure Fours. Flair and Windham break the holds with eye rakes, but Sting gets a hold of Flair and presses him over his head. He starts ramming Ric into the ceiling and then slams him. On the other side of the ring, Sid clotheslines Rick Steiner, who takes an awkward 360 bump due to the low ceiling. Sid and Windham then hit Rick with a double clothesline, while Pillman chokes a very noisy Zbyszko. Larry won’t quit, so Pillman goes after Flair again. They trade chops, while Scott Steiner botches a DDT so badly that Ross has to claim Windham blocked it. Unfortunately, Sid gets a hold of Pillman and presses him against the ceiling. Then, he hits a powerbomb, but Pillman’s legs hit the ceiling and Sid drops him—RIGHT ON HIS HEAD!!!

Sid visibly asks if he’s okay, before lifting him and hitting a much safer powerbomb. Pillman is out cold, so El Gigante runs to the ring to check on his buddy. He rips open the door and climbs inside the cage to help Pillman. Gigante tells Nick Patrick that Pillman can’t continue, so Patrick declares the Horsemen the winners.

This was a great War Games Match. It was brutal and that ending made Sid look like a killer. It was a good way to have the Horsemen win but leave enough doubt that it didn’t seem like Sting outright lost. Plus, that ending is memorable. I doubt that the botched powerbomb was in the plans, but it helped make the ending even more violent. Unfortunately, Pillman suffered a legit concussion from the move.

Winners: The Horsemen (21:50)

Everyone is in shock, so Gigante lifts Pillman and carries him to the back. Pillman does a good job of looking absolutely dead in Gigante’s arms. The Horsemen then leave to a chorus of boos from the fans, while Nick Patrick joins the commentators for a word. Ross asks why Nick stopped the match. Patrick replies that Pillman was unconscious and unable to speak for himself. He says he knows War Games is dangerous and he’s not going to be responsible for the end of someone’s career. He then says he made the decision and regrets nothing. Dusty agrees that there was no choice but to end the match.

Ross then recaps the night and tries to show a clip of Koloff attacking Luger, but he doesn’t get it. Ross and Dusty continue talking about Luger and Nikita and Dusty says he will try to talk with Nikita later. They also talk about the new tag team champions and plug Superbrawl before Ross tells everyone goodnight.

The good:

– War Games was great.

– They did a good job of building the Japan show.

– The women’s match was fun.

– It was nice seeing Vader again.

The bad:

– Some of the matches were boring or disappointing.

– That Danger Zone segment.

– The size of the crowd was depressing.

Performer of the night:

I have to give it to Brian Pillman for taking that powerbomb. Plus, he was great in the War Games Match.

Final thoughts:

This was overall a pretty good show. The main event definitely delivered and so did a couple of other matches. While some stuff was disappointing, there was nothing actively bad. WCW also did a good job of hyping the Japan event. I just wish I could watch it. I give this show a thumbs-up.

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My next review will be WrestleMania VII.

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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