Wrestle War 90: Wild Thing

Sting and Ric Flair’s friendship remained intact despite Sting defeating him at Starrcade. Then on January 6th, Ole and Arn Anderson officially joined Ric Flair in welcoming Sting into the Horsemen fraternity. Things did not go smoothly for long as Sting was awarded an NWA World title match based off of beating Flair. At first Flair looked forward to the competition and Ole said “either way the title stays in the family”.

To further complicate matters, heel manager Woman began actively courting Ric Flair.

The Horsemen enjoyed success early in the year when Arn defeated The Great Muta for the TV title. The Horsemen also enjoyed the news that the J-Tex was losing their manager as Gary Hart left WCW.

Ric Flair showed hints of his dark side again by cheating to beat Tom Zenk during a televised bout a few weeks after the Horsemen reformed.

Lex Luger wasn’t happy that Sting was named number 1 contender and he openly called for Sting to drop out of the match with his fellow Horsemen and let Lex face Flair at Wrestle War instead. Meanwhile, “Dr.Death” Steve Williams was granted a title shot for Luger’s US title at Wrestle War.

DOOM, in spite of not winning the Iron Team tournament at Starrcade remained the top challengers to the Steiners’ World tag titles merely on the strength of the personal grudge between the two teams. A match was signed for the Clash where the titles would be on the line and DOOM would put their masks up for collateral.

Sid Vicious’ injury in the days leading up to Starrcade forced Teddy Long to find a replacement for him in the Sky Scrapers. That man would turn out to be Mark Callous, the future Undertaker. The “New” Skyscrapers aided DOOM in a joint beatdown of Road Warrior Animal and the Steiners during a handicap match. This lent more fuel to the fire for the Road Warriors/Sky Scrapers match scheduled for the Clash.

Michael Hayes promised Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts would be returning soon. Meanwhile Jim Garvin and Hayes would focus on the newly formed duo of Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk. Conveniently, those two teams just happened to make it to the finals of the US Tag title tournament that was about to start, with the faces winning the titles over the ‘Birds a few weeks after the Freebirds promo.

Cactus Jack spent his time teaming with jobbers in losing efforts on TV. He also lost to Brian Pillman and Tommy Rich in one on one TV matches. Quite the push.

Norman officially split from Teddy Long prior to Starrcade and now Norman had attracted the attention of Kevin Sullivan

New comers to WCW were the returning legendary tag team of The Rock and Roll Express, Brad Armstrong and strongman Doug Furnas. Kerry Von Erich was strongly pursued but a deal was not made.

That all led to the Clash of the Champions 10: Texas Shoot Out! Which I reviewed this past January, so you can check that review out to see how everything went down.

With Sting now maimed with a serious knee injury, the NWA named Lex Luger as his replacement on the PPV. The Horsemen threatened to take out his leg too if Lex didn’t back down, and Luger ended up laying out the Horsemen. That cemented his impromptu babyface turn.

An unfortunate off shoot of this was that Luger’s scheduled PPV opponent Dr.Death elected to leave the NWA at this point. He wouldn’t be back until 1992; I have been really enjoying Williams work in these reviews so far.

The Andersons ended up being named the number one contenders to the Steiners titles and signed to face them at Wrestle War. The Andersons beat down the Steiners in the weeks leading up to the match in order to soften them up and raise fan interest in the match.

The Great Muta chose to quit the NWA following the Clash. That’s a big blow to the workrate and roster depth. With the J-Tex destroyed, Buzz Sawyer joined Kevin Sullivan and Cactus Jack in “Sullivan’s Slaughterhouse”.

The Road Warriors still weren’t satisfied with any sort of feud being settled with the Skyscrapers and the Warriors wanted a “Chicago Street Fight” to try and settle the score.

The Rock and Roll Express were challenged by their long time rivals The Midnight Express in an attempt to eliminate Ricky and Robert once and for all.

February 25, 1990

Is this the only wrestling PPV that has a subtitle that is a euphemism for sex?

The WCW banner is hanging for the first time that I can recall during these reviews, so the name change must have occurred around the change of the decade.

Terry Funk (wearing a ridiculous feather earring) and Jim Ross host.

The Dynamic Dudes vs. Buzz Sawyer and Kevin Sullivan

Dudes have been in WCW for almost a year now despite the fan backlash. Buzz and Ace start. Ace monkey flips him over and dropkicks him to the floor – a bump Sawyer takes with gusto. A brief four way breaks out on the floor. Shane and Kevin give it a go and Sullivan rotates between hard chops and technical work. The Dudes get the best of the heels again and Sullivan and Sawyer slap each other in frustration and insanity. Sawyer charges Ace and runs into the ringpost, that’s enough to make him tag out. Sullivan chucks Douglas to the floor and Sawyer suplexes Shane onto the cement. Sawyer hits a beauty of a belly to belly suplex and a gutwrench suplex on Douglas back in the ring. The more I see of him, the more I love Buzz!

Buzz traps Shane in a bearhug and bites his chest. Sullivan chucks Douglas over the top rope. JR putting over Sullivan’s high school athletics and his father’s profession doesn’t really do anything to help put Sullivan’s gimmick over. Ace finally makes the hot tag and unloads on both heels. Shane misses a dropkick that Sullivan sells anyway. Buzz catches Ace with a suplex after a botched head scissors. Sawyer nails a flying splash from the top for the pin. Perfectly acceptable wrestling.

Norman the Lunatic requests sexual favors from Missy Hyatt and she complies. He asks for more and she sends him on his way.

Norman vs. Cactus Jack

Jack unloads and chokes away on Norman. JR talks about Foley’s college degree to help kill his gimmick too. Norman no sells some turnbuckle shots and clubs back at Jack. He locks on a bear hug to make sure things don’t accidentally get too interesting. Norman squashes him in the corner and Foley flings himself over the ropes to the floor. Then he takes a nasty back drop onto the cement. Jack chucks Norman into the ringpost. Jack hits a dropkick off the apron so he can splat into the cement again. Norman has his face tore into and bitten. Norman starts to no sell more head shots but is locked in some rest holds as this thing starts to drag on. Norman escapes with an electric chair drop but Norman misses the follow up splash. Jack tries a piledriver but Norman flips him over and sits on him for the pin. Ugh.

There is a very obvious “We have Herd enough!” sign being held up that baffles me a bit. I know Cornette and Flair were both frustrated by Jim Herd’s leadership but the in ring product sure seems to be delivering by and large.

The Rock and Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express

JR makes fun of Corny for being homosexual. Gibson and Lane start. Robert takes a coy swipe at Eaton and a four-way brawl almost breaks out. Gibson gets one upped by Lane during the early going but ultimately out smarts Lane and sends him packing to the floor. Corny picks a fight with ref Nick Patrick that leads to Jim and Nick teasing fisticuffs before Cornette thinks better of it and tries to escape, only to become caught in ropes and flung head over heels. The Midnights don’t fare much better as Ricky Morton knocks them together and sends them retreating.

Lane uses brute force to take control by waylaying Ricky with punches but Eaton is hip tossed over as soon as he tries a follow up. Morton uses Eaton as a springboard and Lane is knocked off the apron. Robert flies into Eaton at the same time to force another regroup. Cornette tries to interfere so Morton chases him and Robert punches him. The Rock and Roll duo double team both heels and both end up outside the ring again. Morton and Lane take the fight to the floor and Lane ends up rammed into the post.

Morton and Eaton trade blows and both men topple over the top rope. Lane and Eaton start taking turns abusing Morton. Eaton and Cornette cheap shot Morton on the floor and Bobby ends up eating the post. The Midnights continue to grind away at Morton but Ricky’s heart won’t let him quit. Morton and Eaton knock heads but Morton still can’t make the tag, A rocket launcher sees Eaton land on Morton’s knees. Gibson finally makes the tag but he is quickly felled by a shot from Corny’s racquet. That only gets a 2 count. The Midnights attempt a double team move but Morton sneaks in and both Lane and Eaton end up rolled up for the pin! Tremendous fun.

Chicago Street Fight: The Road Warriors vs. The “Sky Scrapers”

So first Sid gets hurt before Starrcade and now Dan Spivey is injured so a masked Mike Enos is replacing him. So its Mark Callous and Enos here to end this “feud”. Teddy Long tries to challenge Paul Ellering and eats a punch for his troubles. A four-way brawl breaks out right away. DOOM wander down wearing suits. Every body is clubbing away with little distinction. All four end up on the floor and Mean Mark eats a flying clothesline from Hawk. Animal clotheslines both heels and the masked dude is pinned. Not much of a match. Animal tosses Teddy Long down on DOOM and that spawns another four-way scrum. DOOM gets the worse end of that and they take a walk.

US Tag Team Titles: Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk vs. Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin

They start with a cute bit as two ladies come in to help the ‘Birds disrobe and the faces sneak the ladies away and help the Freebirds themselves in order to get the jump on them. The faces then put the clothes on and “Badstreet” plays so Zenk and Pillman can strut around.

Hayes dances and stalls. Garvin then comes in and he’s not too keen to wrestle either. Both faces take turns out wrestling Jimmy Jam. Hayes has a little luck with Pillman but he ends up getting hit with a crossbody. Zenk cranks on Hayes arm and Garvin ends up suffering the same fate. Pillman gets back in for more armlocks and I start to get antsy. Hayes gets in and locks on a sleeper. Both Birds start wearing down Pillman. Brian is fiery though and keeps getting his own shots in. Zenk tags in and fails to make much headway either as the Freebirds continue to control the pace. By “pace” I mean resthold, resthold, resthold. This styles clash didn’t need over 20 minutes.

Pillman FINALLY makes the hot tag and he wipes both Freebirds out with a double clothesline. Garvin tries DDTing Zenk and Pillman catches him with the flying crossbody for the pin. The heels DDT the faces after the match to set up more re-matches. Seriously WCW you have roughly 20 teams on the roster at this point – did this really need all this time?

World Tag Team Titles: The Steiner Brothers vs. Ole and Arn Anderson

Arn avoids Scott by bailing out, so Rick greets him with a punch on the floor. All four men go at it and the Andersons are repelled. The Andersons try and lure Scott into their corner but Scott is too smart for that. Rick tags in and he uses grit and power to neutralize the Andersons. Arn tries a top rope move and Rick just looks at him and Arn climbs down and tags out. Scott tags in and another melee briefly breaks out. Scott scoops up the geriatric Ole and suplexes him because if you’re too old to take our stiff offense, fuck you!

Rick tags back in and neither Anderson want to mess with him. Arn is suplexed and Ole learns that Rick’s head is hard. Rick out punches Ole and both men tag out. Scott follows Arn to the floor and accidentally smacks his own arm into the ringpost.
Smelling blood, Arn smashes Scott’s arm into the steel railing and Ole cranks on the arm bar. Arn tries a splash and eats Scott’s knees and both men tag out after Arn is hit with a Frankensteiner. Rick slugs away on both Andersons and gets a small package on Ole for the win. The Andersons attack Scott’s arm afterward. Almost a one sided extended squash to put over the young studs.

World Heavyweight Title: Ric “Nature Boy” Flair vs. “The Total Package” Lex Luger

Sting comes down to ring side on crutches to observe the match. Nothing like offering the Horsemen an easy sitting duck…

There’s 40 minutes of PPV time left so I have to guess this is going to be a long match. Woman is with Flair. This is taking place on Flair’s 41st birthday. This is Luger’s fourth PPV match against Flair, with zero wins, in case you wonder why he was labeled a choker.

Luger chucks Flair down to start Flair figures out Lex is indeed stronger and takes a walk to regain his wits. Flair stalls and primps. Lex hits a clothesline and rocks Flair bad enough that Ric takes a walk again. Flair drops Luger throat first over the top rope but The Total Package no sells that and press slams Flair. Then does it again. And again. Lex clamps on a bear hug to weaken Flair’s back for the Torture Rack.

A thumb to the eye frees the Nature Boy. Flair chops away and flings Luger into the railing. Lex absorbs several knee drops. Ric works over The Total Package’s arm and maintains control with dirty tactics whenever Lex tries to rally. Flair traps Luger in various arm locks and drives knees into the arm.

Lex finally flings Flair to the floor and smashes Flair’s head into the railing. Luger works a sleeper and cracks Flair’s leg into the ringpost. He tries a figure four but does it poorly and Flair escapes. Lex gets a near fall off a powerslam and Flair pokes the eye again. Flair goes low to keep his opponent neutralized and successfully delivers not one but two forearms from the top rope. Flair locks in a sleeper and Luger walks around in circles instead of just grabbing the ropes to break the hold. Flair hits a knee breaker and starts to work over the leg. A figure four is locked on. Sting inspires Lex to break the hold. Sting slaps Luger to fire him up.

Lex no sells a toss into the railing and he chases Flair into the ring and press slams him. Then slams Flair off the top rope. Nature Boy is dropped with a suplex and a power slam. Woman distracts Lex and Flair runs into him and the ref. Nick Patrick goes down. Luger hits a superplex. Arn and Ole charge in and Luger knocks them both out of the ring. Flair is locked in the Torture Rack as the ref wakes up. The Andersons start to attack Sting and Luger breaks the hold to save his “friend”. Lex wails on both Andersons and the ref is ok with two men trying to maul one of the match participants. Luger is counted out for the bullshit finish. All 3 heels beat down Luger until the Steiners run in for the save. The crowd is unimpressed with all this malarkey.

Jim Ross tells us that the next PPV is “Armed and Dangerous” in May. That would be changed to Capital Combat once they came to their senses,

Final thoughts:

Overall a fairly blah PPV other than the Rock and Roll Express vs. Midnight Express match. The main event was an extended version of a match I’ve seen way too often while doing these WCW PPV/Nitro reviews. The Steiners have better matches from this era than the Andersons encounter. The Freebirds made me shut the PPV off for a while because they were so God awfully boring in their LONG match. Cactus and Norman was meh. The Road Warriors match was a glorified squash and the opener was fine but unremarkable. With the deepest tag roster in wrestling history, there is really no excuse to force matches to drag on for longer than necessary and the PPV suffered because of that. I know the WCW/NWA was going for “pure sports action” so they felt the matches needed time but too much of this PPV felt like filler.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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