WCW after WrestleWar had some interesting, very big plans. I mean, what they did stateside was no great shakes, but they had a huge show planned in Japan with some crazy matches scheduled. That took part in March of 1991, which I’m talking about here. I have lots of videos to cover the upcoming months. Apparently it was expected that Tugboat would be joining WCW around this time, but he did not. First up, I have a very interesting appearance that I don’t have the exact date for.
– March 1991, on the Power Hour
Rip Rogers vs. OWEN HART
Pre-Match Thoughts: First and only time I get a chance to look at Owen in WCW, and he had a reputation for being a super worker at the time. I expect he’ll be looking to impress, and he’s facing the best jobber in the company. That yellow singlet isn’t a good look for Owen. He looks like a jobber.
Match Review: Owen catapults to the top and backflips into the ring, somewhat of a giveaway that he was the Blue Blazer. Now he gets a “faggot” chant going, directed at Rogers. Oh dear. Owen then rolls Rogers up for 2, and does so for a second time. These chants are annoying me. Rogers takes Owen down with a shoulder, but Owen busts out a hip toss and bodyslam. A dropkick sends Rogers to the outside, and Owen follows him by jumping over the top. Back in they go, and Owen flips through a backdrop, to give Rogers an atomic drop. Owen takes Rogers down with a monkey flip, and follows with an enzuigiri. Rogers tries to get in some offense, but Owen springboards up to the top, backflips over his head, and gives him a belly to belly suplex. Rogers gets dropkicked to the outside, so Owen dives through the ropes and takes him out. He hip tosses Rogers on the floor, and dropkicks him as well. Back in again, and Owen comes off the top with a cross body for the win at 4:25.
My Thoughts: Strange to see this match, with the annoying chants and all. The match was very good for a squash, and given that squash matches are generally terrible, that’s a compliment. I thought Owen’s performance was good although I expected more agility. No rating, because it was a squash.
– Taped to air March 2nd, 1991, on WCW Worldwide, from the Civic Center in Dothan, Alabama
Sid Vicious vs. Lex Luger for the WCW United States Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I really question the wisdom of giving away a match like this on syndicated TV. Them using it at the Clash really doesn’t mean anything as everyone would have forgotten about that by now. I’ve also heard that, for what it’s worth, this is one of the worst matches I could possibly pick to watch. Sid’s promo before the match reminded me of his stretcher gimmick. Hell yes. Luger’s was really generic, but it got me hyped for the match. You can tell this match was taped because Luger has the old US title belt.
Match Review: Luger and Vicious talk trash to each other, as the fans get behind Luger. Staredown time, and they tumble into the corner. Sid hits Luger on the break, and misses a charge into the corner, with Luger rolling him up for 2. Luger rolls Sid up for 2 again when Sid is more focused on arguing with the referee, and Sid looks a bit upset. Sid wants a TEST OF STRENGTH, and it’s time for a commercial. NO.
Back from the break, Luger takes Sid down with a cross body that gets 2. He has Sid in a wristlock, which Sid gets out of with a knee. He knocks Luger down with a double axehandle, and they struggle over ramming each other into the buckle, with Luger getting the better of it. Sid rakes the eyes, takes Luger down with a headlock, and Luger goes to a head-scissors. Sid kips up and clotheslines Luger, then drops him throat-first on the top rope. Sid powerslams Luger, and that gets 2. His powerslam looked so unnatural. Sid throws Luger to the outside, and follows with a double axehandle from the apron. Sid shoves Luger into the rail, and it’s time for them to go back into the ring. Sid gives Luger a neckbreaker, but it only gets 2. Sid throws Luger back to the outside, but he gets in quickly and Sid looks a bit scared. HAHA. Luger powerslams Sid now, and follows that with a nice suplex that gets 2. Luger follows that with a back elbow that knocks Sid to the outside, and Luger hits him with a shot from the apron. They trade punches for a bit, but Luger posts Sid and gets back in there for a count-out victory at 9:32!
Sid then attacks Luger from behind, and smashes his face into the mat. Sid follows with an elbow drop to the back, and he WANTS THE STRETCHER OUT THERE. YES. HE PICKS LUGER UP, GOES FOR THE POWERBOMB, AND LUGER BACKDROPS HIM. LUGER THEN CLOTHESLINES SID ONTO THE STRETCHER, AND SID IS UPSET.
My Thoughts: You know what? This isn’t one of the worst matches I could have picked. I was actually excited. After the commercial, that match was GOOD. I’m having a hard time accepting this. It did start off very poorly and it was uninteresting, but they really picked things up leading to the finish. Don’t hate, just appreciate. **1/4. The mannerisms here made the match fun even if you don’t like it.
– Taped to air March 9th, 1991, on WCW Pro, from the Civic Center in Montgomery, Alabama
The Steiner Brothers (WCW US Tag Team Champions) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds for the WCW Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match took place before the Freebirds even won the tag titles. That’s so dumb I don’t even have words for how dumb it is. How do wrestlers adapt to a situation like that? I have no idea. It’s strange that DDP and Big Daddy Dink weren’t with the Birds at ringside, they just had DDP do an insert promo.
Match Review: Hayes and Scott will start the match, and Scott takes Hayes to the corner for some punches. Hayes returns the favor, but Scott gives him an inverted atomic drop to get out of it. He hits both Freebirds with STEINERLINES, and to the outside they go. Garvin tags in, and Scott leapfrogs him to attempt a STEINERLINE, but Hayes punches Scott in the face. They use a distraction so Garvin can throw Scott over the top, and Hayes throws Scott into the rail while he has the chance. Garvin prevents Scott from getting in the rail for as long as possible, as Hayes just kicks his ass. Garvin drops Scott throat-first on the top rope, and brings in Hayes once again. Hayes goes for a DDT, but Scott picks him up and drops him. Hayes then hits Scott with a punch from the top for 2, and puts a SLEEPER on Scott. Rick Steiner has done nothing in this match. Garvin tags in, and Scott gives him an inverted atomic drop. Now Scott makes the tag out, but the referee was distracted by Hayes. The Freebirds go for a DDT of sorts, but Rick clotheslines Garvin into Hayes to knock him off the top. Scott then gives Garvin the FRANKENSTEINER, and covers for the win at 4:06! WE HAVE NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS EVEN THOUGH WE JUST HAD NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!
My Thoughts: This was a cool moment, the crowd went apeshit for the Steiners winning this match. I’ve always thought that at these tapings, they had the new champions win the title early in the taping so that it makes sense for them to be champions. I don’t know. The match wasn’t befitting of a title change, but they really just wanted to put the titles on the Steiners and didn’t care how it had to be done. **.
– Taped to air March 9th, 1991, on WCW Worldwide, from the Civic Center in Montgomery, Alabama
Terrence Taylor (w/Mr. Hughes & Alexandra York) vs. Bobby Eaton
Pre-Match Thoughts: So, Taylor has officially changed his name. I think it’s an excellent change, honestly. Good way to get heat on someone. It’s also just a good match. You know what else I see here? MR. HUGHES HAS ARRIVED AND IS WITH THE YORK FOUNDATION. THE GREATNESS OF DUSTY BOOKING. Alexandra York’s comments were that Mr. Hughes will take the computer printouts to Taylor when she’s not able to be there. Eaton hadn’t turned face, but he was one by default.
Match Review: These two lock up, and Taylor really doesn’t want to fight. Eaton gives him a hip toss, and Taylor ducks to the outside. He gets back in the ring, and Eaton hip tosses him again. This time he follows with a clothesline, and Taylor leaves the ring. THE BOBBY CHANTS HAVE STARTED. Taylor rams his shoulder into him, and follows with his own clothesline. Taylor uses a jawbreaker, slaps Eaton around, and Eaton returns the favor! Taylor slams Eaton, drops a knee on him, and covers for a 2 count. Taylor goes for a backdrop, gets kicked in the face, and winds up throwing Eaton to the outside. Eaton SLAPS THE COMPUTER, AND IT IS BROKEN. Eaton gives Taylor an atomic drop, and Buddy Landell is out to try to fix the computer. This rules. Eaton goes for a neckbreaker, but Landell grabs him. Landell gets hit by Taylor on accident, and Eaton rolls Taylor up for the victory! HE BEAT THE COMPUTERIZED MAN!
My Thoughts: This was fun in a cheesy way and really every way. The computer being beaten is something that needed to happen, but I’m surprised they did that so soon and not on PPV. Seems like it would have been better to do it later. Still, very fun to see and I liked the concept. **1/4. The York Foundation had wanted Eaton to join at one point, but he was apparently too rude for them. Even though they had plans for Buddy, they fired him after he blew snot at a hotel manager.
– March 21st, 1991, at NJPW/WCW Starrcade 1991, from the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
The Steiner Brothers (WCW Tag Team Champions) vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki for the IWGP Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is how I’m going to start it, with a match that won the WON’s Match of the Year vote. I’ve never given it nor anything else from this show a look before. I picked three matches to check out! My video for this one only has Japanese commentary, which is a bit of a downer.
Match Review: Hase tries to get the crowd going, and he starts this off with Scott Steiner. Scott trips him and locks up the legs, but Hase rolls into the ropes. Scott tries another trip, but Hase knocks him down. Scott gives him a back suplex in response, but Hase flips out of another try. Hase then kicks Scott in the head, and clotheslines Scott over the top. Nice bump! Hase teases a dive over the top, but that seems unlikely. Rick makes a tag in, as does Sasaki. I expect stiffness. Sasaki trips Rick and covers for 2 while holding him in a headlock, and follows with a powerslam that gets 2. Sasaki bulldogs Rick, and signals for something awesome. Looks like a CLOTHESLINE that turns Rick inside out. Hase tags in there, and Scott does too. Scott gives Hase a pumphandle slam, and follows by placing him on the top rope. Scott then uses a SECOND ROPE SAMOAN DROP, impressing the crowd. Rick tags in again, and slams Hase’s stomach into the corner. That looked like it hurt. Rick gives him a STEINERLINE, and out he goes. Scott uses a nice belly to belly throw for 2, and plants Hase with a DDT. Rick tags back in, and puts Hase on the top rope for something. I fear for his life. Rick gives him an overhead belly to belly from the second rope, drops an elbow, and Sasaki breaks the cover. Scott is coming back in, and there’s a big STEINERLINE for 2. Scott then ties Hase up on the mat, and when they get up, Hase hits him with a clothesline. Scott cuts him off from the tag, and makes his own way out. Rick gives Hase a massive RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX, and brings Scott back in to put Hase in a chinlock. Hase gets up and belly to belly suplexes his way out of it, but still can’t make the tag. Rick gets back in there with a CROSSFACE like hold, but Hase gets up and trips him. He picks Rick up for the GIANT SWING, and Scott runs in to break it. Scott then makes a legal tag, and gives Hase a TIGER BOMB for 2. Rick tags back in for a double backdrop, but Hase kicks Scott and gives both of them CHOKESLAMS.
Sasaki makes the tag in and dropkicks both guys, sending Scott out of the ring in the process. A powerslam on Rick gets 2, and Sasaki follows that one with a running version. Sasaki then SUPERPLEXES his partner onto Rick Steiner, and Hase gives Rick a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX that he kicks out of at 2. Way too early, at that. They hit each other with a double clothesline, and Scott makes the tag in and lands a dropkick. He gives Hase a great looking tilt-a-whirl slam, but Hase makes a tag. Sasaki DDT’s Scott, and puts him on his shoulders. Rick kicks him, and Hase was on the top, so Rick throws him down. Now Scott puts Sasaki in place, and there’s the CRAZY BULLDOG FROM THE TOP. Scott doesn’t cover, instead he drops Sasaki with the FRANKENSTEINER for the victory at 9:50! With this win, the Steiners became the first to hold the Japanese and American tag titles simultaneously.
My Thoughts: I think calling this match of the year is a bit of an overstatement, it was definitely not. It was a very good match though. The main flaw is that Hase and Sasaki probably should have had more offense. If you like seeing the Steiners toss people around, this match is for you. I had a lot of fun watching this, look at all the moves I capitalized after all. I do like seeing the Steiners toss people around, so I’ll give this ***3/4. When talking about matches that get this kind of love, people tend to focus on flaws rather than what was good about it. The most obvious flaw is that the tag team that was in top in one promotion wasn’t able to do a whole lot against a team on top in another. That makes WCW seem far superior, and that’s counterproductive given this show is in Japan.
Bam Bam Bigelow & Big Van Vader vs. Doom
Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds like a power spectacular. I’m not one to turn down seeing a match like that. To explain Doom continuing to team up after what happened on WCW television, at the press conference in Japan, both members of Doom said they were in Japan to win and left what happened in the US, in the US. Before the match, Ron Simmons grabbed the microphone and restated those feelings.
Match Review: Reed and Vader start the match, with Vader still wearing the mask that covers nearly his whole face. The two big men wind up in the corner, with a clean break. Vader then hits Reed pretty hard, Reed returns the favor, and that’s followed up with a massive Vader splash in the corner that runs Reed right over. Vader follows with a hard clothesline, and goes to work on Reed’s left shoulder. Vader tries another splash in the corner, but this time Reed hits him with a clothesline. Reed follows that with a bodyslam, and brings in Simmons. Simmons drops Vader with a SPINEBUSTER, and Bigelow makes a tag in. He seems popular. Bigelow hits Simmons with an enzuigiri, Reed with a dropkick, and he gives Simmons a great looking suplex. Bigelow crushes Simmons in the corner, Vader follows, and Simmons is DOWN. Vader hits Simmons with a big clothesline, and covers for a 2 count. Close call. Vader makes a tag, slams Simmons, and Bigelow comes off the top with a FLYING HEADBUTT that misses. Reed and Simmons try a double clothesline, but Bigelow hits them both with one instead. Reed pulls the top rope down on Bigelow and he tumbles over the top, which gets the crowd booing. That’s cheating! Simmons slams Bigelow on the floor, and back in he goes. This has started very well. Doom hits Bigelow with a double elbow, but Reed is given a snap suplex. Reed utilizes a swinging neckbreaker to get a 2 count, and tags in Simmons for a nice clothesline that also gets 2. Simmons slams Bigelow, and misses a headbutt, but Reed cuts Bigelow off from the tag. He chokes Bigelow with the ropes to the sound of boos, and makes his way out. Simmons drops an elbow on Bigelow’s back for 2, and a Bigelow small package gets 2 for him. Reed comes back with a big slam, and heads up to the second rope for an elbow drop that gets 2 again. Reed applies a chinlock, and the match has slowed down. That was bound to happen. Simmons tags in, dropkicks Bigelow, and covers for another 2 count. There’s a botched spot, and Bigelow suplexes Simmons to make up for it. I can’t even explain the botch. Vader tags in for a big clothesline, and in comes Reed. Vader clotheslines him too, and Reed comes back with punches. Reed hits Vader with a shoulderblock for 2, and Simmons tags in once again. Simmons powerslams Vader for 2, and Doom follows that with a double suplex. Bigelow then backdrops Simmons over the top, and Simmons pulls him to the outside. Reed leaps off the top with a shoulderblock that misses, Vader splashes him, and gets the pin at 13:17.
Now Doom starts fighting with each other, which gets over their program to the people watching at home who couldn’t understand why they were teaming up. Makes sense.
My Thoughts: This started off as well as the Steiners match, but got worse the longer it went on. Averaging them out, it’s **3/4. I loved the power spots, they just couldn’t keep it up for the whole 13 minutes. They also lost the crowd somewhere in there. I really did love the start of the match, and the crowd was hanging onto everything they were doing. I love Ron Simmons, and think he did better as a singles than he did with Doom, so I’m no longer sad to see them break up.
The Great Muta vs. Sting
Pre-Match Thoughts: This wasn’t the main event, but it seems to me to be the most exciting match on the show. I’m just waiting for there to be commentary for this match on the avenue I’m watching it…I really hope so. Sting got the reaction of a real star, the crowd was going nuts for him and his pro-American outfit. Did I mention I’m excited? I’m excited.
Match Review: Oh good, Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are on commentary, as I find out as Muta attacks. Muta hits Sting with the HANDSPRING ELBOW, and I should point out wrestlers from both companies are at ringside. Muta gives Sting a backbreaker and goes for the MOONSAULT, but Sting gets up, so Muta lands on his feet. Muta then hits Sting with kicks that he doesn’t sell, but Sting does sell the enzuigiri and ducks out of the ring. Muta takes Sting out with a plancha, and spits out the RED MIST. Back inside, Sting kicks Muta as he leaps off the top rope, and picks Muta up for a press slam all the way out to the floor. The crowd liked that. Sting follows with his own big PLANCHA, and they head back in. Sting looks like such a star here, the exact opposite of what WCW did during his title run. Sting gets back in the ring and puts a front face-lock on Muta, and once that’s over, Sting gives Muta a monkey flip. Sting goes back to the hold, but Muta makes the ropes. Muta kicks Sting a few times, and sets him up for another, but Sting kicks him and smashes his face into the mat. Sting follows Muta to the outside, and drops him on the rail in very rude fashion. Muta makes the apron and gets rammed into the corner pad, but back in he goes anyway. Sting uses the front face-lock again, then trips Muta and goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Muta makes the ropes, and takes Sting down with a snap mare that leads to his elbow drop for 2. Muta then crushes Sting’s face with another elbow, and misses the handspring elbow. Sting misses the STINGER SPLASH, and Muta gives him another backbreaker. Time to go for the MOONSAULT again, but Sting gets his knees up. Sting goes for another press slam, but Muta falls on top for 2. Muta uses a third backbreaker, and this time he better pull the moonsault off. Instead, Sting dropkicks him and causes him to be crotched on the top rope. Sting heads up the ropes, and takes Muta down with a sick back suplex from the second rope for 2. Sting heads up top himself, and down he comes with an elbow drop that misses. They then clothesline each other, and try to dropkick each other, both guys falling down on the mat as a result. Sting then blocks a hip toss and takes Muta down with a backslide that gets 2, and Sting goes for a bodyslam. Muta blocks it and cradles him up for 2, then Sting goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. He turns Muta over, but Muta goes right into the ropes. Muta goes to the outside, as does Sting, and Sting rams him into the rail again. Back in they go, and Sting gets MIST spit in his eyes during the STINGER SPLASH. Muta then springs off the top with a cross body, and gets the victory over Sting at 11:41!
Sting then grabs Muta after the cover, gives him the STINGER SPLASH, and puts the SCORPION DEATHLOCK on him to minimal reaction. Don’t think the fans liked that.
My Thoughts: This match was flawed, and the crowd didn’t care for some reason. I don’t know why, they were doing some nice stuff. The main problem with it was that these guys were obviously running on fumes due to a lack of energy. I thought they worked really hard, it just all didn’t get over the way they wanted it to. *** for the work. The reason I say the match was flawed is that for some reason I really dislike matches that rely on the two opponents consistently missing moves. It makes them look bad.
Tatsumi Fujinami (IWGP Champion) vs. Ric Flair (WCW Champion) in a TITLE VS. TITLE MATCH
It’s always intriguing to see the greatest wrestlers work with people they haven’t worked with before. This applies to both Fujinami and Flair. Of course, this match is supposed to be a big deal and will probably be treated like such by the crowd. They were both a little bit past their prime, but that doesn’t really matter. I am frustrated because I can’t find the match in full. Anyway, for some reason, there was an NJPW referee on the inside, and a WCW referee on the outside. They switched places at different times, pulled out a ref bump where Fujinami would have Flair pinned two or three times, and all of that. Fujinami backdropped Flair over the top during that bump, and in WCW, that’s a disqualification. In NJPW, it’s not, and a few seconds later Fujinami wins the match and the titles. Supposedly. The announcers pushed the Dusty finish angle super hard, which led to a rematch between these two at SuperBrawl. The NWA was also super pissed. They didn’t like the NWA Championship and WCW Championship being separated in this fashion.
– Taped to air March 23rd, 1991, on WCW Worldwide, from Municipal Auditorium in Columbus, Georgia
Barry Windham vs. Ricky Morton
Pre-Match Thoughts: Brian Pillman was supposed to be in Morton’s place. Of course, with Pillman’s neck injury, he couldn’t participate in the match. Morton is a tough dude, so he stepped in.
Match Review: The match started as Pillman was in the middle of an insert promo, and Morton hits Windham with a dropkick. Windham and Morton then trade shots, and Windham powerslams Morton. Windham drops a knee, rams Morton into his boot, and rakes the eyes. Windham gives Morton a back suplex, and follows that with a bodyslam. Windham drops an elbow on Morton for a 2 count, and takes him to the corner for some punches. After a backdrop on Morton, Windham starts slapping him. Windham smashes Morton’s face into the canvas and the buckle, but Morton returns the favor by smashing Windham’s face into the canvas. Morton takes Windham down with a cross body, but SID is here, so the match gets thrown out at 3:37.
Sid drops Morton with the POWERBOMB, and I guess Windham wants the STRETCHER out there. Sid and Windham throw the stretcher in the ring, and put Morton on it. Now BRIAN PILLMAN runs out there, dropkicks Sid over the top, and clears Windham from the ring to save the day!
My Thoughts: This is here to show how strong Pillman’s push was intended to be. I don’t know why it didn’t quite turn out this way, but obviously there was the intention to push him super strong. Hopefully there will be some explanation as to why it stopped. ** for a decent, short match, with a hot angle at the end.
Sadly, I have news regarding Sid and WCW. As everyone knows, he was going to leave. The important part is why. Apparently it was over his contract, and WCW had a big problem with him negotiating with the WWF. In the WON, it said that WCW sent them a letter about it. Ooooh, that’s scary. I’ve always believed that it wasn’t only Flair’s departure that hurt WCW, it was also Sid’s. He was one of their best heels and was a very entertaining act that helped keep people watching their show. Losing him made the card as a whole worse. Also of note, the WWF was continuing to run house shows in the same cities as WCW PPV’s, one night before those PPV’s. Ice cold. Next up for me is WrestleMania VII. See you guys then!
Best: Steiner Brothers vs. Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki. Good time capsule tag match.
Worst: The Freebirds losing the titles before they actually got them.