WCW was in a great spot after SuperBrawl, with the debuts of Jesse Ventura, Sting as champion, and their intriguing ongoing programming. In addition to that, WCW ran an angle on the night of SuperBrawl, where they had the Dangerous Alliance crash Sting’s post-match press conference until Nikita Koloff showed up to save Sting. So much stuff going on with WCW, all the time. I have some great matches to watch, it’s time to check them out!
– Taped to air March 14th, 1992, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Scott Steiner vs. Steve Austin (w/Madusa) for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I suppose it was smart to keep the tag titles off the Steiner Brothers for a little bit. After all, if they were going to do this match, it would give the illusion Scott would win and split from his brother. Maybe that’s just in my head, though.
Match Review: Paul E. is on commentary with Jim Ross for this one. I dig that. Austin and Steiner lock up, then do a staredown as Austin tended to have in his matches. Austin goes for a leg trip, and so does Steiner, but they wind up in the ropes. Steiner then gets the trip in and goes to a half crab on Austin’s apparently injured and wrapped up knee, but Austin makes the ropes. Steiner trips Austin again, but again Austin makes the ropes. Steiner goes to chase Madusa, but she runs away quickly, causing Steiner to give that up. Steiner takes Austin down with a headlock, but it doesn’t mean anything and Austin gets out of it. Steiner takes him down with another, and the same thing happens. Strange start to the match. Austin slaps a headlock on, but Steiner shoots him into the ropes and takes him down with an inverted atomic drop. There’s a belly to belly suplex after that, and Steiner taunts Madusa. After Austin’s break on the outside, he comes back in with kicks and punches, leading to him being given a STEINERLINE for 2. Steiner then locks Austin up for another cover that gets 2, but Austin comes back with elbows and tosses Steiner to the apron. Steiner gets back in quickly, and drops Austin with a double underhook suplex. Steiner follows with a tilt-a-whirl slam, and throws Austin to the floor. Steiner follows, rams Austin into the rail, and gives him a backbreaker. Steiner goes for another STEINERLINE, but Austin ducks and Steiner flies over the top. Austin follows to the outside with a double axehandle, and whips him into the rail. Austin gives out another double axehandle, and Steiner returns the favor of the rail shot. Steiner and Austin get back in the ring, and Austin gives him a suplex for 2. Austin puts a chinlock on Steiner, but Steiner fights out of it and gets clotheslined for 2. Austin goes to a chinlock again, but Steiner gets out for a pumphandle slam. Steiner follows with a TIGER BOMB, and dishes out another belly to belly suplex. Steiner goes for the FRANKENSTEINER, but out comes the Dangerous Alliance for the disqualification at 11:41. Rick Steiner gets in there to deal with the problem too, giving Arn a bulldog from the top rope to get those guys out of the ring.
My Thoughts: This match was extremely disjointed, and I was somewhat regretting watching it too. I was surprised by that given the people involved. They had a hard time getting anything going in terms of chaining together sequences, and it really seemed like they hadn’t worked together a lot. **, bit of a surprising rating. Maybe I’m offbase.
– Taped to air March 21st, 1992, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Bobby Eaton (WCW Tag Team Champion) and Larry Zbyszko (w/Madusa) vs. The Steiner Brothers
Pre-Match Thoughts: I don’t know why Arn isn’t in this match. Perhaps it’s a Dangerous Alliance ploy. In any case, odds are this is going to be very good. If it’s not, I won’t be happy.
Match Review: Eaton and Scott start this off, and Scott takes Eaton down with a wristlock. Eaton looks unhappy about that, of course. Scott trips him for a cradle that gets 2, and Eaton makes the ropes. Scott pops him with an elbow, then he suplexes Eaton. Zbyszko tags in, and Scott picks him up to crunch him in the corner. Scott then puts Zbyszko in a Boston crab, but Zbyszko makes the ropes. Eaton tags in there, and he leaves the ring instead of getting hit. However, Rick Steiner flies off the apron with a STEINERLINE, so he got hit anyway. Eaton gets back in there and Scott puts a headlock on him, then Scott gives him a tilt-a-whirl slam. Rick finally tags in, and so does Zbyszko, which may lead to something fun. Rick hits Zbyszko with a STEINERLINE, and takes him down with a headlock. He picks Zbyszko up and carries him around the ring with the headlock, which gets a funny pop from the crowd, then his brother tags in. Zbyszko tumbles over from being dizzy, but tries a wristlock on Scott, who powers out of it only for Eaton to get in there for a double wristlock. Scott gets out with a double arm drag, and Rick flies in from the top with a double STEINERLINE! Eaton resumes the action with Scott, and he throws him hard to the outside. Eaton goes off the apron, but Scott catches and belly to belly suplexes him on the floor! Eaton gets thrown back in, and Scott gives him an inverted atomic drop. Zbyszko comes in with a blind tag and uses a neckbreaker, then slams Scott to change the momentum. Zbyszko goes for a PILEDRIVER, but Scott reverses to a backdrop. Eaton tags in and gets in some punches, and clotheslines Scott for 2. Zbyszko tags in and puts Scott in a front face-lock, then Eaton flies off the top with an elbow. Eaton slams Scott, and heads up top for a FLYING ELBOW that gets 2. Eaton puts his head down for a backdrop, but Scott drops him with a TIGER BOMB and makes the tag! Zbyszko tags in too, and Rick deals with the heels by giving them STEINERLINES. Rick powerslams Zbyszko for 2, and all four guys are in there now. Madusa gets in and Rick teases hitting her, then Zbyszko runs into Rick, who falls into Madusa. HUGE pop for that. Rick gives Zbyszko a belly to belly suplex, follows with the TOP ROPE BULLDOG, and picks up the win at 12:11!
My Thoughts: This was much better than the previous main event, even though to some extent the Steiners basically squashed them. The crowd also really enjoyed seeing Madusa finally get some sort of comeuppance. All in all, good stuff, but not spectacular. **3/4, and they should have done a title switch in this spot instead.
– Taped to air March 28th, 1992, on WCW Pro, from Columbus, Georgia
Arn Anderson (WCW Tag Team Champion, w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Ricky Steamboat
Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds spectacular in nearly every way. I don’t know why they’d do this on TV, but I also know that it’s nearly impossible for this match to suck. Hopefully they work at a good pace. Lots of talk about Paul E. wearing the ninja costume, even though that was nearly a month before this.
Match Review: Back from a commercial, the match starts with Arn attacking Steamboat from behind. Steamboat comes back with chops to stop that, and they trade wristlocks for a bit until Steamboat hits Arn with an enzuigiri for 2. Steamboat goes to an armbar, but takes a knee to the gut. Steamboat goes for a cradle that gets blocked, but he hits Arn with a superkick for 2. Steamboat hits Arn with some chops for 2 again, but Arn comes back with big lefts and a back suplex. Arn follows with a backbreaker for 2, then puts a chinlock on the Dragon. Arn hits him with a forearm to the gut too, but Steamboat rakes the eyes, only to get thrown to the floor. Arn pulls Steamboat up to the apron, but Steamboat flies in with a sunset flip only to have it blocked. Steamboat dodges a charge and Arn flies into the buckle, then Steamboat hits him with a swinging neckbreaker. Arn blocks a splash with his knees, then takes a charge at Steamboat again and runs into a boot. Arn comes back with the SPINEBUSTER, and wipes his sweat on Steamboat for some odd reason. Arn goes for a slam, but Steamboat cradles him up for 2. Steamboat follows with an atomic drop, then their heads collide and both guys go down. Arn heads up top and rakes Steamboat’s eyes to stop a slam down, then Arn applies a sleeper and Steamboat rams him into the buckle. Arn heads up to the second rope this time, and Steamboat hits him in the gut on the way down. Steamboat hits Arn with chops again, and follows with a backdrop. Steamboat heads up top, and down he comes with a flying chop. Paul E. gets on the apron for a distraction, and Arn rakes the eyes again. Steamboat then throws Arn into Paul E. and Paul winds up in the ring. Steamboat is happy to see this, and he gives Paul an inverted atomic drop. A chop knocks Paul down, and here comes Rick Rude! He gets Arn disqualified by pushing the referee into the corner, then goes to work on Steamboat. Rude has a black belt, and he starts choking Steamboat with it, but Steamboat flips away from him and karate chops him in the throat. Steamboat chokes Rude with the belt, and starts dragging him from one corner of the ring to the other. Steamboat hangs Rude over the ropes with it, and when Arn sneaks in for an attack, Steamboat chops him too and lets go of Rude.
My Thoughts: About time the babyfaces go over this strongly in one of these segments. Loved seeing Steamboat get something in on Rude and taking him out. It was definitely time for the booking to hit that point. Really good match too, you know. Arn and Steamboat worked extremely well together, and imagining a 20 minute match between the two sounds nothing less than amazing. ***1/2. Put good workers in there and you get good results.
– Taped to air March 28th, 1992, on Worldwide, from the Civic Center in Anderson, South Carolina
Rick Steiner vs. Steve Austin (w/Madusa) for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Hope this will be better than the match with Scott Steiner, but I can’t be sure about that now. Still, it’s another good TV main event. WCW was getting in the habit of showing those every week, and part of the reason Monday Night Raw came about was to combat it as best as they could.
Match Review: They lock up with nothing coming of it, then fight over waistlocks until Steiner puts Austin on his stomach. Austin makes the ropes, then Steiner nails him with a STEINERLINE. Austin takes a long break, then comes back in and they have a struggle over a wristlock. Austin winds up with a chinlock on Steiner, but Steiner drops him with a powerslam for 2. Steiner winds up focused on Madusa, which leads to Austin clotheslining him for 2. Austin goes to a front face-lock, which Steiner reverses to a hammerlock. Austin breaks it with an elbow, and tries a suplex only for Steiner to give him one instead for 2. Steiner goes to a chinlock now, but Austin drops him with a jawbreaker. Austin throws Steiner to the outside, right where Madusa is. Her distraction allows for an Austin double axehandle, then Austin drops Steiner on the rail. Austin clotheslines Steiner in the ring for 2, but Steiner stops selling the punches given to him. He hits Austin with another STEINERLINE, and follows with another powerslam. Now Steiner heads up top for the BULLDOG, WHICH LANDS. He covers, but Madusa gets in the ring and climbs on Steiner’s back for the DQ. Now Steiner throws her off his back, and Paul E. clocks Steiner with his cell phone. Scott Steiner runs out and has the phone, but Austin pulls Madusa away before anything else can happen.
My Thoughts: This was marginally better than the Austin match against Scott Steiner, but I wouldn’t go any further than that. Rick was better in terms of pacing at this time, while Scott brought the moves. Maybe if the two were molded into one worker, that worker would have been better than both of them. In addition, Austin wasn’t great at carrying singles matches at this point either. **1/4.
– Taped to air April 4th, 1992, on WCW Saturday Night, from Topeka, Kansas
Brad Armstrong vs. Brian Pillman for the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: The format of WCW’s big Saturday night show was supposed to change drastically. What they did was have a guest host on there with Jim Ross every week, introduce a long interview segment, and bring in 2 out of 3 falls matches in the main event. The segments were also of the hosted variety. Whether or not that’s every main event remains to be seen. This right here is a great matchup.
Match Review: The two shake hands, and go right to work with wristlock exchanges. Pillman takes Armstrong down with a flying hammerlock, and Armstrong counters with a drop toe-hold. Pillman takes Armstrong down with a flying head-scissors, then a dropkick and arm drag follow that. Pillman botches something else, so Armstrong rams him into the buckle and applies an armbar. Pillman dishes out another flying head-scissors, then goes for a victory roll that gets 2. Pillman applies the armbar now, and applies a seated abdominal stretch type hold on Armstrong. Pillman dodges a charge when he gets up, and Armstrong counters with an arm drag of his own. Pillman misses a dropkick, so Armstrong applies that seated abdominal stretch on him. When they get up, Armstrong takes him over with a throw, and heads up top only for Pillman to dropkick him and knock him to the floor. Armstrong evades a dive, but Pillman gets on the apron and leaps off with a cross body. Pillman gets up top when Armstrong gets in the ring, and they do the spot where both guys try dropkicks. Pillman goes for a crucifix and gets 2, then he resorts to chops. Armstrong comes back with a powerslam for 2, then sets him on the top rope for something. Pillman headbutts his way out of it, then flies off the top with a cross body that Armstrong reverses for 2. Pillman hits Armstrong with a spinning wheel kick for 2, then slams him.Pillman goes up top again, and comes down with a big splash that hits the knees. Armstrong gives Pillman a Russian leg sweep, but Pillman’s leg is under the ropes on the cover. Pillman bails to the apron, flies in with AIR PILLMAN, and covers for 3 at 8:35.
My Thoughts: This was a textbook *** match. The work was solid, the athleticism shown was very exciting, and there was a clean finish. Nothing to dislike about this, and a lot to like. Armstrong was a solid opponent for Pillman, and well placed in this new division they were running.
– Taped to air April 4th, 1992, on Worldwide
Ricky Steamboat vs. Bobby Eaton conclusion
Couldn’t find the whole match, and believe me, I tried. The most simple way of putting it is that all the guys facing the Dangerous Alliance were tired of Madusa interfering in their matches. So, it was time for Steamboat to do something way out of character. When the referee goes down at the end of this match, Madusa decides to get involved once again. She grabs Steamboat and starts slapping him, and Steamboat finally returns the favor with a SLAP OF HIS OWN. The crowd pops like moron for this, including the women. Now the Dangerous Alliance runs out there, and it’s time for Steamboat to pay. Rude WALLOPS Steamboat with a chair to the back, and the other guys start stomping on his head on the floor. Rude rams Steamboat’s face into the concrete, and completely smashes his face. Steamboat does a blade job, and continues to get his face smashed into the ground, until Sting, Nikita Koloff, and the Steiners run out there to put a stop to it. Great angle. Unfortunately, not long after this, Sting hurt his rib and wasn’t able to perform on television. Bad timing.
– Taped to air April 5th, 1992, on WCW Main Event, from the Civic Center in Anderson, South Carolina
Rick Rude (WCW US Champion), Steve Austin (WCW TV Champion), and Arn Anderson (WCW Tag Champion, w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, and Dustin Rhodes
Pre-Match Thoughts: I love these big tag matches and don’t find them repetitive at all. I love the Dangerous Alliance. Despite what the match description on some websites may say, Dusty Rhodes was not at ringside for this. I was intrigued as to why he would be, but he’s not. Oh well.
Match Review: Windham and Arn start this one, and Windham gives Arn an atomic drop after stopping a boot. Windham puts Arn on the top rope, but Austin runs in there, only to get elbowed in the face. Arn winds up getting beaten up by everyone, then he leaves the ring. Austin tags in, as does Dustin Rhodes, and Dustin eats a boot to the gut. Austin follows that with a snapmare and chinlock, which is immediately reversed to a hammerlock. Austin comes back with a clothesline, then goes for an elbow drop and misses. Dustin goes for a monkey flip, but Austin blocks it, then Austin goes for a double axehandle and gets clotheslined on the way down. Steamboat tags in, and they hit Austin with a double elbow. A dropkick follows that, and it’s time for Rick Rude to tag in. The fans are happy to see this. Rude goes to work with forearms, but Steamboat fights back with some chops to send Rude over the top! Rude gets back in and has a wristlock put on him, then Steamboat goes to the armbar. Windham makes a tag in and hits Rude from the top, then he goes to an arm drag. Rude is able to tag Austin and get out of there, but Windham fights out of the heel corner only for Arn to knee him from behind. Austin drops an elbow on Windham and suplexes him, then brings in Arn Anderson. Windham backslides Arn for 2, then Austin tags in and hits Windham with a back elbow for 2. Rude tags in to work on Windham, giving him a backdrop and swiveling his hips. Rude clocks Windham with a right hand, at which point Windham starts to fight back. Windham and Rude collide with each other, and Windham gets 2 on a slight cover. Arn makes a tag in, and Windham goes to an abdominal stretch, only for Austin to come in with a shot off the top. Arn decides to head up to the second rope, and comes down with a flying nothing, eating a boot as a result. Rude and Steamboat make tags in, and Steamboat levels Rude with a clothesline. He takes out the other heels, then slams Rude and heads up top. Steamboat lands his flying chop, and Austin’s pissed enough to go grab a chair. Steamboat hits Rude with the cross body from the top, but Austin cracks Steamboat with the chair for the DQ at 11:50.
All six guys start brawling, but Steamboat has the chair! He hits Rude with it, then Arn dutifully takes a couple chair shots to end the segment.
My Thoughts: This was a hell of a lot of fun, and these matches never fail to deliver. It’s odd that they didn’t talk about WarGames during these matches even though it was the obvious conclusion to the feud. Windham was great as face in peril and worked really hard, and his bits with Rude were a lot of fun too. ***1/4, it’s hard to get a bad match when the workers in it were so good. WCW at this time was a great promotion.
– Taped to air May 2nd, 1991, on Worldwide, from Augusta, Georgia
WCW NINTENDO CHALLENGE QUARTERFINALS: Terry Taylor (WCW US Tag Champion) vs. Rick Rude (WCW US Champion, w/Madusa)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Wasn’t often that we’d be lucky enough to see heel matches, but this right here is exactly that. I don’t exactly know what the challenge is. Does the winner win a Nintendo? I do believe everyone in this was ranked in the WCW Top Ten. Taylor should have brought Greg Valentine out there with him. His Ted DiBiase ripoff suit makes me laugh.
Match Review: Rude starts by swiveling his hips, establishing himself as the heel here. When Taylor does his strut, the crowd cheers. Rude takes over with knees, then goes to the throat in dirty fashion. Taylor comes back with a clothesline for 2, then arm drags Rude. After the armbar is on for a bit, Rude makes the ropes. Rude then grabs Taylor and wraps his leg around the post, then goes to work with kicks to the leg. Taylor grabs Rude’s arm to try to work on that, but Rude goes straight back to the leg and gives him a swinging neckbreaker for 2. The guys trade punches for a bit, and Taylor goes to the eyes. Taylor dishes out an atomic drop, but that hurt his knee. Rude hits him with the RUDE AWAKENING, and that’s good for the pin after about 4 minutes.
My Thoughts: Rude was so good at this point, he could work with nearly anyone on the roster and put on a great match. He had improved so much, it’s quite absurd. The match was very short, and a totally acceptable **1/4.
The day after this, they did a title change on a live show, with the Steiner Brothers beating Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton in a cage match to become WCW Tag Team Champions.
– Taped to air May 9th, 1991, on Worldwide, from Augusta, Georgia
WCW NINTENDO CHALLENGE QUARTERFINALS: Cactus Jack vs. Ricky Steamboat
Pre-Match Thoughts: The names here. I simply can’t resist, even though they had quite a few matches on Worldwide. I also hadn’t watched Cactus over these few months, as he was just floating around the card doing Cactus-like things. I want to watch this challenge in full, obviously. I’m going to try to do that with all tournaments going forward, even if I don’t review the matches. Haven’t decided if the Brawl for All will merit reviews. Steamboat had a mask for his broken nose after the Rude attack.
Match Review: Cactus sends Steamboat into the ropes and knees him in the gut, but eats a turnbuckle right after that. Schiavone thinks that Cactus is there to take Steamboat out. Steamboat drops Cactus with a DDT for 2, then sunset flips him for 2. Steamboat tries another roll-up for 2, and goes to an armbar after that. Cactus elbows Steamboat in the face on a missed charge, but Steamboat arm drags him to the canvas. Steamboat hits Cactus with a dropkick next, and when Cactus tries to throw him over the top, Steamboat skins the cat back in. Of course, Cactus nails him with the CACTUS CLOTHESLINE. Steamboat shakes it off and comes back in by getting suplexed for 2, then Cactus drops a leg on him. Steamboat cradles Cactus up for 2, then Cactus clotheslines him again. Steamboat comes back with a back suplex, and Cactus misses a charge to the corner shortly afterward. Steamboat heads up top, comes down with the cross body, and that gets 3 for the victory.
My Thoughts: This was better than the last challenge match, even though it was just about the same length. There were so many good workers in the company, I can’t say that enough. **1/2, another good one.
– Taped to air May 9th, 1992, on the Power Hour, from the Coliseum in Macon, Georgia
Bobby Eaton (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Dustin Rhodes
Pre-Match Thoughts: This isn’t a challenge match, so I guess this counts as variety. Haven’t seen these two work all that much together either. Seems like it would be a very good fit. Dustin looked like he was getting out of shape. Paul E. still had Eaton’s tag belt even though he was no longer a champion by the time this aired.
Match Review: They lock up and wind up in the ropes, of course. Eaton clocks Dustin, but he comes back with his own right hand and is not pleased. Dustin goes to a hammerlock, and holds that for a while before going to the next thing. Dustin shoulderblocks Eaton straight out of the ring, but Eaton comes in and rakes his face on the ropes. Dustin takes Eaton to the outside and posts him, then hip tosses him and nails him with a flying clothesline. That was an amazing sequence. Dustin has a busted up face, because he got potatoed with a right hand before being ran along the ropes. That…sucks. It was like Eaton said “I’ll take all your best shit, I’m sorry.” Dustin slaps him for a 2 count, then misses a charge to the corner and has his knee clipped. Eaton goes to work on that left leg, jumping on it and all that. When he whips Dustin to the other side, the Natural falls down. Eaton applies a SPINNING TOE-HOLD, but Dustin rakes the eyes to break it. Eaton clips the leg again, and applies the spinning toe-hold again. Dustin kicks out of it, and the guys trade punches until Dustin merely falls down. When Dustin gets up, he kicks Eaton into the referee and gives out the sloppiest bulldog I’ve seen in my life. Now Steve Austin runs to the ring and destroys Dustin with a clothesline, getting a DQ win for Rhodes at 7:14. Eaton and Austin go to work, but here comes Barry Windham! Windham and Rhodes fight the Dangerous Alliance off after that.
My Thoughts: Calling it a potato shot to Dustin’s face is kind of underselling it. Eaton punched him in the face. Slugged him, broke his nose, all that stuff. It made the match better because all of a sudden it seemed like both guys cared a lot more. They did tell a good story given the time allotted, but the point was to further along the feud. The feud was of the utmost importance in all this. **3/4.
– Taped to air May 9th, 1992, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Barry Windham vs. Steve Austin (w/Paul E. Dangerously) for the WCW Television Championship in a 2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the first example where the 2 out of 3 falls gimmick seems to be extremely appropriate. If only the matches were this important every week, but they weren’t. That was certainly a mistake in terms of maintaining an audience from week to week. I’m very hyped for this, though. They had a two out of three falls match two weeks before this, and the time limit ran out before the match could be completed. That’s such a joke. Austin had a hair cut, the long hair was completely gone. He was the longest reigning champion in WCW at this point.
Fall #1: These men lock up, and Austin utilizes the arm drag. He kisses his belt, and I also must point out his physique has changed from pudgy to not pudgy. I’m obligated to. Austin takes Windham down with a headlock, but Windham gets up and gives out a back suplex. Austin maintains the headlock, then Windham tries to reverse to a wristlock. Windham uses the back suplex again, and this time the headlock is broken. Windham takes Austin down for a chinlock, then gets up and dropkicks him. Austin comes back with a knee lift, but misses a series of elbow drops. Windham takes Austin down with a backdrop, then knocks him over the top with a right hand. Windham sends Austin back in there, but Austin catches him on the way, only for Windham to get him in a headlock. Austin drives his shoulder into Windham to break it, then Windham blocks a charge to the corner. A Windham clothesline gets 2, then Windham dishes out a suplex for 2. Windham goes to the chinlock briefly, but Austin uses a jawbreaker. Austin follows with a clothesline for 2, and puts Windham in a head-scissors. He holds the ropes to cheat, but the referee makes him break it. Windham drops Austin with a DDT, then Austin pops him with a right hand that may have caused Windham to bleed. Windham boots Austin and puts him on the top rope, and there’s the SUPERPLEX! Windham covers, and that gets the fall at 10:57.
Fall #2: After a commercial, the second fall starts with Windham on the attack. Austin comes back with a back elbow to knock Windham over the top, and follows to the outside with a double axehandle. Windham crawls back in, and Austin gives him a gutwrench suplex for 2. Austin suplexes Windham again for 2, and follows with a drop toe-hold into a camel clutch. Never see that! Windham headbutts Austin in the nuts to break it, but Austin catches him with another stiff clothesline for 2. Austin follows with turnbuckle shots, and there’s great camera work with Windham showing glazed eyes after them. Austin dishes out the STUN GUN, and levels the match at 1-1 after 15:54.
Fall #3: To start this fall, Windham is on the retreat, so he has to rake Austin’s eyes. Austin drills him with rights, then tosses him out of the ring. Austin knees Windham to keep him out there, then suplexes him back in for 2. Windham gets in a jawbreaker, but misses a dropkick and Austin covers for 2. Austin slams Windham next, and decides to head up to the second rope for an elbow drop that lands for 2. Austin applies a chinlock, and Paul E. berates Windham quite relentlessly during it. Windham gets out with a fake wristlock and elbow, then Austin falls on top during a bodyslam, getting a 2 count. Austin applies a front face-lock, obviously to get wind for the big finish. Austin drills Windham with a back elbow for 2, then backdrops him for 2 again. Austin goes for a slam, but this time Windham kicks the referee in the face. Austin has his TV title, but he swings and misses with it. Windham cradles Austin up, and WE HAVE A NEW TELEVISION CHAMPION after 21:34! Fantastic finish.
Austin clocks Windham with the belt that he still had in his hands, and I guess he’s going to feed the belt to him. Austin gives Windham the STUN GUN, and takes the belt to the back with him even though he shouldn’t have it.
My Thoughts: This was an excellent match, probably the best of Austin’s early career. There was so much right about this even though there were a lot of chinlocks. The first fall was great. They busted out a lot of their stuff early on, hooking the viewer in quickly. With a long match like this, that’s what has to be done. The match did wind down the longer it went on because they had already done everything there was to do. Regardless, they had a hot finish and the crowd popped very loudly. ***3/4. I really can’t figure out why they came up with the two out of three falls gimmick, because as a whole it sucks. There are many matches I didn’t mention and won’t review that are an example of this.
– Taped to air May 16th, 1992, on Worldwide, from Augusta, Georgia
WCW NINTENDO CHALLENGE FIRST ROUND: Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. Nikita Koloff (w/Dusty Rhodes)
Pre-Match Thoughts: These two guys were not allowed straight into the quarterfinals. I do not understand why, and if I did, I’d certainly say so. I know these two had a match at Halloween Havoc, but I’ve never seen it. To me, this is a fresh matchup. Vader’s theme had lyrics. I am glad he did not keep this one. BAH GAWD, IT’S THE SUPER POWERS. This is actually very cool. Before this starts, Dusty decides to hit Race with bionic elbows to take them to the back!
Match Review: Vader meets Nikita in the aisle and knocks him all the way back to the ring, ramming him into the rail on the way. Vader levels Nikita with a clothesline when they get in the ring, then he puts Nikita in a SCORPION DEATHLOCK. They’re already pushing Vader/Sting matches, or the potential of them. Hell yeah. Nikita makes the ropes, but gets hit with another clothesline. Vader throws Nikita to the outside, and follows him out there for more punishment. However, this time, Nikita rams Vader into the rail! Back in they go, and Nikita climbs the ropes for some punches in the corner. Nikita SLAMS Vader, then misses a dropkick. Vader splashes him, and Nikita kicks out at 2! Vader splashes Nikita in the corner, and signals for his finish, whatever that is at this point. Vader picks Nikita up and powerslams him for 2, then works him over with more punches. Nikita dodges a charge to the corner, and hits him with more punches in the corner. Nikita goes for his own splash in the corner, or a back elbow rather, and hits him with the SICKLE to knock him over the top. Nikita follows, so it’s time for them to brawl with each other. The referee counts and counts, and nobody gets back in the ring in time. Match ends at 6:15. Vader accidentally headbutts the post on a missed avalanche, and Harley Race is back at ringside. Race tries to beat Nikita up, but it’s time for the old man to take a beating. Or not. Vader clotheslines Nikita from behind, and crushes him with a running splash. Big splash in the middle of the ring, and Vader is getting a PUSH.
My Thoughts: Vader’s push and run on top is quite possibly the thing in wrestling that I’ve wanted to see the most, for quite a long time. I’ve never been able to, and I need to see it. I’m GOING to see it. This match was fun, both guys giving as good as they got. I love this heavyweight style where guys hit each other with their biggest shots until someone takes the fall. While nobody took the fall here, the style was perfect for my tastes. **1/2.
The biggest news heading into WrestleWar was that of the hiring of BILL WATTS. It was very unexpected, but welcomed by people who thought that WCW couldn’t get over their young talent. WCW also had a lot of ambitious ideas. One was the idea of allowing the NWA to take part in their promotion again, which would start with a tag title tournament. The idea was that the NWA would be an organization where they hosted matches around the world and that WCW would merely host the American matches. This was not an arrangement that lasted very long. WCW did bring in new talent as well, but I didn’t talk much about them. Hercules Hernandez was in as the Super Invader, Scotty Flamingo was in as well as JT Southern, and those guys were paired together. Southern was a guitar player, much like Van Hammer. Next up, I’ll be reviewing WrestleWar and seeing some of those guys.
Best: Steve Austin vs. Barry Windham. It lost its pace the longer the match went, but I really enjoyed this.
Worst: The month of April had absolutely nothing worth watching.