There were a whole lot of interesting events in WCW at this particular point, but most importantly, there was an interesting firing. Paul E. Dangerously was given the big boot by WCW. He was a TBS employee due to how his contract was structured, and he was fired for falsifying expense receipts that he was allowed to claim when he traveled. This was an extremely big deal to Watts, and apparently Paul was being investigated for a long time. Paul said that the allegations weren’t true, but he was fired. Rick Rude was also having problems because of his injury, and Bill Watts wanted him to get shitty workman’s compensation pay instead of his contract. Madusa was gone too. There was also an amusing rumor that Johnny B. Badd would go to the WWF. What does all that mean? Let’s see.
– Taped to air January 16th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night
ARN ANDERSON ATTACKS ERIK WATTS
The video headline for this is so funny, but it has been deleted from YouTube since the last time I watched it. This was called ‘Arn Anderson confronts a pedophile.’ ARN BEATS THAT BOY UP, TAKES HIM OUT. Arn turned himself babyface in the process too. Of course he did, nobody likes Erik Watts. This guy put an STF on Arn in a parking lot, haha. Sorry, I do not have the video.
WCW United States Championship Tournament Final: Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Tag Team Champion) vs. Dustin Rhodes
Pre-Match Thoughts: It was announced that this match was going to be for the US Championship because Rude could not wrestle until March. The contender idea goes straight out the window with that. This sounds like it could be a fun match, with the babyface match thing going I’m interested to see who gets cheered.
Match Review: They lock up, and Steamboat slams Dustin. Dustin comes back with a powerslam, which causes Steamboat to leave the ring. Steamboat gets in and arm drags Dustin, then works a hammerlock. Dustin comes back with his own arm drag, and his own wristlock. Steamboat takes him down for the hammerlock to continue, but Dustin breaks it and takes Steamboat down with a headlock. Steamboat tries to get out with a back suplex, but it’s back to the headlock. When Steamboat gets out this time, he uses a drop toe-hold and applies an armbar. Dustin gets out for a backdrop, then slams Steamboat a few times. Dustin applies an abdominal stretch, but Steamboat counters with a hip toss. Dustin comes back with a back suplex, which gets 2. Dustin goes back to that, then slams Steamboat again for 2. Steamboat comes back with chops, then takes Dustin down for another armbar. Steamboat then gives Dustin a hammerlock slam for 2. Dustin comes back with a cross body for 2, then goes to his own armbar. Steamboat gets up and chops him, then takes him down with a hip toss for 2. Steamboat goes back to the arm again, and they quickly get up, leading to a big clothesline from Dustin for 2. Dustin and Steamboat then collide with each other, and when they get up, Dustin BULLDOGS him. Steamboat kicks out at 2, which was quite unexpected. Steamboat then takes Dustin down for a count of 2, and they do a spot where Dustin tries to bridge to a backslide, but he just can’t. Steamboat suplexes Dustin, then heads up top for a cross body that gets 2. Steamboat then runs into the referee, and takes Dustin over the top with a cross body, so they’re both on the floor. Barry Windham walks out there and DDT’S STEAMBOAT ON THE FLOOR, so when the referee wakes up, he counts Steamboat out after 15:00. So, Dustin Rhodes is the NEW CHAMPION! Dustin celebrates, but after the commercial, he sees what happened and doesn’t like it. What’s next?
My Thoughts: This match should not have ended in a way where Dustin would benefit from a heelish action like the one Windham committed. Now he’s the champion, and I don’t quite know where this was going. The match was decent, they spent a lot of time working holds rather than providing a lot of action. Obviously, the point was to be able to tape another match between the two. Next week, they had one! **1/2.
– Taped to air January 17th, 1993, on the Main Event, from Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia
Big Van Vader (WCW Champion) and Paul Orndorff (w/Harley Race) vs. Cactus Jack and the Barbarian
Pre-Match Thoughts: Can’t wait to see this one. The people in Gainesville probably hadn’t seen Cactus turn babyface, unless they showed something special in the arena. Odds are they did to get the reactions that they wanted. Simply, Barbarian turned with Cactus after getting attacked at the Clash.
Match Review: Orndorff and Barbarian start things off, and they shove each other around a bit. Barbarian hits Orndorff with some rights, then the referee basically helps Orndorff tag Barbarian. Orndorff takes Barbarian down for an elbow smash, but Barbarian gets up and slams Orndorff. He misses a diving headbutt, so Cactus tags in. Orndorff hits him with some knees, then hits Cactus with a back elbow. Vader tags in and beats Cactus up, then Cactus blocks a splash with a big boot. Cactus forearms Vader down for 2, but Vader kicks out and throws Cactus to the floor. Vader accidentally clotheslines Race, then Cactus gets back in the ring and takes Orndorff out. Vader gets back in and crushes Cactus, then Barbarian makes a tag in. Vader hits Barbarian with the big stuff, then clotheslines him. Orndorff tags in and chokes Barbarian, then hits him with a high knee for 2. Barbarian hits Orndorff with a big boot, then Cactus runs in and hits Vader with forearms. Orndorff knees Cactus from behind, Vader throws Barbarian over the top, and Cactus gets double teamed for a while. Vader accidentally splashes his manager, then Cactus clotheslines Vader over the top. Barbarian and Orndorff go out too, and it’s a double disqualification at 5:58. Vader hits Cactus with a chair out there, and Orndorff does that too. Vader then crushes everyone up against the rail, as the segment ends.
My Thoughts: This built to a no disqualification match between the four, but I couldn’t find it. I settled for this instead. This was fun, but I felt myself wanting more and I can’t have more. I guess it was a bad idea to watch this, then. A bit sad about it. *3/4, it wasn’t exactly long, and they didn’t exactly get down to their big spots.
– Taped to air January 23rd, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Barry Windham vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
Pre-Match Thoughts: Now this is the kind of thing I want to see. It’s entirely the sort of match that’s a good example why I started doing this. Scorpio gets his chance to work with a top guy here, and it’s not very likely to disappoint. That being said, damn. This is short. Now I’m bummed.
Match Review: Windham and Scorpio lock up, and Windham smacks him. Windham misses a charge to the corner, so Scorpio sunset flip him for 2. Scorpio follows with a kick to the head, then a baseball slide. After that, Scorpio teases a dive, but suplexes Windham in instead. Windham comes back with a big flapjack, then slugs him. Windham suplexes Scorpio for 2, who comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Windham comes back with a clothesline and leg drop, then gutwrench suplexes Scorpio for 2. Scorpio does an inside cradle for 2, then Windham gives him a back suplex for another 2 count. Windham goes for another, but Scorpio flips through for his own back suplex. Scorpio follows that with a backdrop, then dropkicks Windham. A flying clothesline follows that, which gets 2. Scorpio hits Windham with a SUPERKICK for 2, then slams him. Scorpio dishes out the twisting leg drop for 2, then takes Windham down with another back suplex. Scorpio goes to the apron for a slingshot 450 splash, but he misses. Windham comes off the top with a double axehandle, DDT’s Scorpio, and pins him for the win.
My Thoughts: This match was really good for the length, which was about five minutes or so. They were trying very hard to build Windham up, he was going to be the next NWA Champion after all. In doing so, some sacrifices had to be made, and Scorpio was on that list. It’s too bad, but they put on a hell of a match. Almost forgot to give it a rating, but it was **3/4.
Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Tag Team Champion) vs. Dustin Rhodes for the WCW United States Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Rob Van Dam made his first big appearance, but he didn’t do much at all in WCW so I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I’m more interested in this match, which seems to be very important. It’s a rematch from the previous week’s episode, where Dustin won the title and wasn’t happy about how he did so. For whatever reason, I didn’t see Dustin have his belt. Oh, that’s right. Rude didn’t give it back to WCW yet. That was a shoot.
Match Review: Steamboat and Dustin break cleanly to start the match, and Dustin takes Steamboat down with a headlock. Dustin shoulders Steamboat down, then hip tosses him. Back to the headlock, and Steamboat counters to get out of it each time. Eventually the head-scissors stays on, until Dustin counters and wraps up the legs. Steamboat counters with a hammerlock, and shoots the half for a 2 count. Dustin gets up and goes back to the headlock takeover, so Steamboat counters with a wristlock this time. They go to a knucklelock, but Steamboat has a great wristlock counter. They break at the ropes, then they do a bit where they hip toss each other to the outside. Dustin and Steamboat are getting heated at each other. This is awesome. They start shoving, and get into the ring a bit cautiously. Steamboat slaps Dustin, who returns the favor. They start punching each other, and Dustin dropkicks Steamboat! Steamboat comes back with a hard chop, and he’s MAD. He slams Dustin twice, but Dustin blocks his splash attempt. Dustin slams Steamboat, then drops an elbow for 2. Dustin sunset flips Steamboat for 2, then Steamboat covers him for 2. A Dustin backslide gets 2, then a cradle does as well. Dustin takes Steamboat down with a cross body for 2, and Steamboat puts a sleeper on him. Dustin gets out with a jawbreaker, which gets another 2 count. Steamboat takes Dustin down for another 2 count, and tries to follow with a backdrop, getting clotheslined instead. Dustin gets 2 on the cover, and goes for the BULLDOG only for Steamboat to shove him away. The bell rings for the time limit that was remaining, and the show closes with both guys trading punches. That was about 9 minutes.
My Thoughts: This was better than the first match, with Steamboat and Dustin going hard for the duration. This is another match, much like Dustin vs. Windham, that should have been a match on pay-per-view. Instead it wasn’t, and this mini-feud was never really settled. Little bummed about that, but glad we got the match that we did. They did a great job getting more and more heated as the match went on, and I was pretty entertained by the hold thing. Two good wrestlers put on a good match, who’d have thought? ***.
– Taped to air January 30th, 1993, on Worldwide, from the Civic Center in Anderson, South Carolina
Steve Austin and Brian Pillman vs. Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Tag Team Champions)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This was non-title. Austin was starting to wind the camera, otherwise this gimmick was still being worked out. Can’t wait for them to get there. They wanted a challenge against the champions, but didn’t need a title shot. Let’s see how it goes.
Match Review: Austin refuses to break clean, and drives his knee into Steamboat right at the start of the match. Steamboat and Austin do some great rope running, until Steamboat chops Austin down and to the outside. Douglas throws Austin back in, and Steamboat tags Douglas in for a double axehandle from the top rope. Pillman tags in for some chops, then chokes Douglas with his boot. Pillman rakes the eyes and slams Douglas, then misses an elbow drop. Douglas gives Pillman an inverted atomic drop, then tags out of there. Steamboat comes in and puts a neck vice on Pillman, but Pillman gets out of that. Austin knees Steamboat in the back as he runs the ropes, then Pillman drops Steamboat with a back suplex for 2. Austin and Pillman beat Steamboat up for a bit, then Austin drops him with a sidewalk slam for 2. Austin tries to force Steamboat down, getting repeated near falls as a result of that. Steamboat flips out of a sidewalk slam attempt, then beats both Pillman and Austin up until Austin dishes out a SPINEBUSTER. Austin cuts Steamboat off from the tag, then it’s double team choking time. Pillman tags in, and Steamboat sunset flips him for 2. Pillman comes back with a clothesline for 2, then they trade chops for a bit. Pillman cuts Steamboat off, then brings in Austin again. Austin applies a front face-lock, and cuts Douglas off from tagging in as a result. Great cheating after that, too. Pillman wipes his face with a towel that he choked Steamboat with, then tags in and boots Steamboat in the face. He goes to the second rope, but Steamboat gets the knees up on his splash attempt. Douglas tags in there, and it’s time to clean house. He slams both guys, dropkicks them, and gives them a noggin-knocker. Douglas beats Pillman up in the corner, but Austin pulls Douglas to the canvas. Douglas gives Pillman a belly to belly, then knocks Austin off the top. Everyone’s in there now, until Austin rakes Douglas’ eyes. Douglas goes for a cradle, but Pillman comes in with AIR PILLMAN and covers Douglas for the victory at 8:43!
My Thoughts: We’ve basically ramped up the quality from match to match, but I don’t think it’s going to get a lot better than this. Austin and Pillman had hardly teamed together, but regardless of that, they were hitting a great groove. They had a shtick going, were getting even better at it, and were able to put on quality matches while developing it. Great 9 minute match, hard to find a lot better. Even though this was a TV match on one of the less important shows, they did fantastic. ***1/4.
– Taped to air January 30th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
WHITE CASTLE OF FEAR
This video is too good. Sting flew to the Rocky Mountains in a helicopter, for a party at the WHITE CASTLE OF FEAR. STINGERRRR. This is such an immense waste of money. Basically, all these girls want to have sex with Sting while Big Van Vader throws shadow punches in the background. I don’t even know what to think of this. Vader clears a bunch of food off a table, then says that he wants to have a strap match with Sting. They played tug-o-war over a pit of fire afterward. I don’t really know what to say about this.
Barry Windham and Big Van Vader (WCW Champion, w/Harley Race) vs. Sting and Dustin Rhodes (WCW US Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Doesn’t get much better for a televised main event. Can only hope they had good chemistry with each other. The trend in 1993 was for WCW to run really important matches on television, somewhat of a precursor to the future television presentation of wrestling. NO PAIN, NO PAIN, NO PAIN.
Match Review: Windham and Sting start the match, and Windham doesn’t really like Sting’s posturing. They lock up, and Windham pops Sting in the mouth. Sting comes back with a hip toss, and a dropkick, then a clothesline. This crowd is hot for a studio crowd, that’s for sure. Windham gets in some offense, taking Sting over with a suplex for 2. Sting responds with punches in the corner, then clotheslines Windham himself. Dustin tags in and backdrops Windham, then clotheslines him in the corner. Dustin hits Windham with another clothesline, so Vader tags in. Dustin tries to beat him up, but Vader throws him into the corner. Dustin blocks a charge into it, but Vader turns him inside out with a clothesline. Vader follows with a SAMOAN DROP, then goes up to the second rope and knocks Dustin down with his body. Vader clotheslines Dustin again and tags in Windham, who comes off the top with a forearm. Windham DDT’s Dustin, and when Dustin tries a sunset flip, Vader makes a blind tag in. Vader clotheslines Dustin from behind, and follows that with a bodyslam. He goes up top, and misses his flying body attack. Vader cuts Dustin off with a splash that crushes him, then suplexes him. Windham tags in, beats Dustin down to the canvas, and gutwrench suplexes him for 2. Dustin comes back with a forearm, but can’t get out of there. Vader goes for a suplex, but Dustin flips out and dropkicks Vader into the ropes. Vader cuts him off with an elbow drop, then follows up with a big splash that forces Sting to break the cover. Dustin gets up and Windham tags in, but Dustin gives him an inverted atomic drop. Windham cuts Dustin off again, but Dustin takes him down with a facebuster. THIS TIME, Dustin makes the tag out. Sting comes in like a house of fire, taking Windham and Vader out. Sting backdrops Windham, then Race takes Dustin to the floor and starts whipping him. Sting hits Windham with the STINGER SPLASH as Rhodes beats up Race, then Sting goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Vader attacks Sting with a clothesline, then Vader goes out to help his manager, basically crushing Dustin. Windham drops Sting with the DDT, and IT’S TIME FOR WHIPPING, BROTHER. Vader gets the strap, and TAKES SOME HIDE OUT OF STING, getting his team disqualified at 10:26. VADER WHIPS STING WITH THAT STRAP, and some guys come out from the locker room, but they get hit with it too as Sting leaves the scene.
My Thoughts: This match was unbelievable. Some great timing, great hope spots, and a super hot crowd. They had the crowd eating out of their hands with the things they were doing here. It’s like they’d worked together a ton of times. They certainly had, just not in a foursome like this. Couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This is an easy ***1/2 with a fantastic angle at the end. Dustin played a great face-in-peril, and the offense Vader was giving him to cut him off from those tags was super fun. Vader whipping Sting was a good visual.
– Taped to air February 6th, 1993, on Worldwide, from the Civic Center in Anderson, South Carolina
Brian Pillman (w/Steve Austin) vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell (w/Shane Douglas)
This was from the same taping as earlier, so the Blondes gimmick is still undeveloped. Douglas was at ringside to even things up. The referees made Austin and Douglas leave the ring, to go to the back I guess. Douglas takes a long time to get off the apron and Pillman attacks him, so Bagwell rolls Pillman up for the victory after just 9 seconds! Austin runs back to the ring and the Blondes decide to beat Bagwell up, which makes Douglas look like an asshole. They then take Douglas out with the STUN GUN, so it looks like Douglas and Bagwell were dumbasses. I love it.
Big Van Vader (WCW Champion) and Paul Orndorff (w/Harley Race) vs. Ron Simmons and Sting
Pre-Match Thoughts: Same format as before, and with it being a week later, the obvious assumption would be that there will be a new development. Things could possibly not turn out that way, but who knows, right? Paul Orndorff was a great addition to WCW at this point and hadn’t even wrestled on PPV. He didn’t need to, everyone knew him and he filled a role they needed. Simmons doesn’t exactly look happy about being reduced to second fiddle. He grabbed the stairs and threatened Orndorff with them, too. Vader returns the favor by throwing those stairs at Simmons, but ultimately nothing happens.
Match Review: Orndorff and Simmons will start the match, and Simmons nails Mr. Wonderful when he tries to get dirty. Simmons puts a headlock on Orndorff, but when Orndorff powers out to a wristlock, he gets the better of it for a bit. Simmons puts Orndorff back in the headlock, but Orndorff socks him around. Simmons blocks a suplex and gives Orndorff one of the snap variety, then he takes Orndorff up and slams him. Sting tags in, and after an atomic drop by Simmons, Orndorff tags out. Vader runs in and Simmons SPINEBUSTERS him, then Sting clotheslines Vader over the top! This crowd is HOT. Sting suplexes Vader back into the ring, then brings in Simmons, who headbutts Vader to the canvas. Orndorff runs in, and he gets headbutted too. Simmons then misses a charge to the corner, so Vader starts clotheslining that previously injured shoulder. Orndorff tags in and goes up top, coming down with an elbow smash to the shoulder. Orndorff rams that shoulder into the buckle, then tags in Vader for a short clothesline. Vader picks Simmons up for a shoulder-breaker, but Simmons gets out and clotheslines Vader. Sting makes the tag in, and he hits Vader with the STINGER SPLASH. Sting lands another one, then picks Vader up for a SAMOAN DROP that gets 2. Orndorff and Simmons runs in there, and Sting has a sleeper on Vader. Race pulls the top rope down on Simmons, so he flies over the top. Race starts beating Simmons up, and so does Orndorff. Sting DDT’s Vader, and as that’s going on, Simmons is given a SPIKE PILEDRIVER. Sting has the SCORPION DEATHLOCK on Vader, so Race whips him with the strap for the DQ.
Sting grabs Race and suplexes him, then drops some elbows on the old dude. Now Sting has the STRAP, AND IT’S WHIPPING TIME FOR HARLEY RACE. THIS RULES. Vader gets in there and hits Sting from behind, knocking him down. NOW IT’S WHIPPING TIME FOR STING. OH NO. HE’S GONNA HANG HIM. HE WRAPS THE STRAP AROUND STING’S THROAT, THEN HANGS HIM ON THE TOP ROPE. Eventually, some referees run out there to save Sting, as does Dustin Rhodes, who finally breaks the noose. Now Barry Windham goes out there, and he starts beating up Dustin Rhodes. EVERYONE’S OUT OF THE LOCKER ROOM AND WE HAVE A MELEE AS THE SHOW ENDS.
My Thoughts: Alright, now that right there. That was the shit. It’s not like this was entirely dissimilar from the angle on Saturday Night, but the anarchy of the whole thing really got it over with me. The style of show Bill Watts wanted to do was really coming together at this point, I love almost all of this stuff that I’ve seen. The match was nothing special until Sting made that hot tag in. Business really picked up after that. If you don’t like this stuff, I don’t know. It was basically perfect. Just took a while to get the kinks out and realize people didn’t want to see 30 minute tag team matches or slow stuff centering on armbars. **3/4, but the angle, you have to see it.
– Taped to air February 6th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
SMOKY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING INVASION
YES. I SEE JIM CORNETTE. I SEE THE HEAVENLY BODIES. I SEE BOBBY EATON. THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLLS. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED. As it says, Smoky Mountain is invading. Cornette’s promo was the absolute best thing I’ve seen all day, and I’ve seen a LOT. Bill Watts said the fans don’t know about the issue between those teams, but the ring is neutral ground. IT’S TIME TO GET IT ON, BROTHER. So, the Bodies and the Rock ‘n’ Rolls get in the ring and have an impromptu match.
This is perfect, you know. I have every intention of watching Smoky Mountain Wrestling at some point. I love the style, the overall feel, and I love the guys they chose to work in that promotion for the most part. A chance for some of these guys to show they were still over, is what it also was. These Heavenly Bodies are Tom Prichard and Stan Lane, if that needed mentioning. I couldn’t find a complete version of the match, which is really bothering me. Eaton runs in for a DQ, and it’s time for Ricky Morton to get taken out. Basically everything you’d hope for. Anyway, this brought us a great SuperBrawl match that I can’t wait to see. Who knows where the hell this was going, it was awesome. Watts got fired before it could go anywhere, though.
Barry Windham vs. Sting
Pre-Match Thoughts: Once again they book another great TV main event. I mean, things were really coming together here. Didn’t like the Watts period at first, but this stuff is too much. I don’t know if WCW would have hit glory days with Watts booking, but you’d have to think he’d have given them a better chance than most. Windham and Sting had their own issue going because they kept getting in each other’s shit via time and happenstance.
Match Review: Sting jumps Windham when he gets in the ring, so here we go. He hip tosses him, then gives chase around the ring. Back in they go, and Windham goes to the eyes. Windham goes for a suplex, but Sting reverses to his own. Sting does the Hogan-style back scratching, but Windham comes back with a back suplex. Sting pops up no-selling it, and takes Windham over with a backdrop. Sting drops an elbow for 2, but misses the STINGER SPLASH. Windham heads up top, and comes down with a flying clothesline. Windham drops his own elbow for 2, then levels Sting with right hands for a while. Windham beats Sting up in the corner, then hip tosses him out of that corner. Windham suplexes Sting for 2, then throws him to the outside. He follows, brings him back in after a right hand, and Sting happens to suplex him. Windham comes back with a DDT, which gets 2 for him. Windham puts a sleeper on Sting, and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage. Eventually the referee catches Windham, who back suplexes Sting again. This time, he’s down. Windham drops a knee on Sting, and it gets 2. A gutwrench suplex follows that, and that gets 2 as well. Windham goes for the SUPERPLEX, but Sting fights back to stop that. Sting leaps off the top with a flying clothesline of his own, then we have a ref bump where Windham takes the referee out. Windham and Sting then collide and Windham goes out to the floor, where it so happens that Harley Race has a strap waiting for Windham. Windham gets it, and Sting stops that. He hits Windham with it, clotheslines him with it, and covers him for 3 at 9:37! THAT’S CHEATING. Sting tries to hang Windham over the top, and the referee decides he’s going to reverse the decision. Vader helps Windham, so he didn’t get hurt too bad by that.
My Thoughts: I haven’t seen many ref bumps where the referee got so absolutely ran over like that. This wasn’t quite to the level of the best matches here, but it was pretty good. Windham and Sting meshed well together, yet they didn’t quite suit each other’s strengths. To put on regularly good matches like these is quite a good trait. Windham was clearly the best guy WCW had going, which is why he’d get put in these matches to carry the load. They haven’t really built to Muta/Windham at all, which I should point out. *** again.
– Taped to air February 13th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Barry Windham and Paul Orndorff vs. Dustin Rhodes and a MYSTERY PARTNER
Pre-Match Thoughts: Also on this show, Vader beat a jobber and Harley Race rubbed facepaint on him, similar to Sting. Then they whipped him. As for this match, Dustin Rhodes appeared with somebody whose body was entirely covered by a blanket, and cut a promo saying that his partner was ready and all that good stuff. Will his partner walk out to the ring with the blanket on? This is all reminding me of Michael Jackson’s kid. When the blanket comes off, it is…CACTUS JACK!
Match Review: Cactus attacks Orndorff, and Rhodes the same to Windham as we get off to a furious start. We have railing at ringside now for some reason. Cactus clotheslines Orndorff, then tags in Dustin. It’s funny that Dustin and Cactus are wearing matching cowboy boots. That’s awesome. Little details like that make the difference. Orndorff and Windham stall for a while, but they eventually get ready to wrestle again. Cactus tags back in to face Orndorff, who hits him with some knees to the gut. Cactus comes back by ramming Orndorff into the buckle, then puts a headlock on him. Cactus drops a leg on Orndorff’s head, and sadly we have a commercial.
We come back with Dustin having an armbar on Orndorff, but Orndorff hits him with a knee. Dustin counters a suplex with his own, and Orndorff makes the tag out after a clothesline. Dustin clotheslines Windham a few times, and there’s another in the corner for good measure. Cactus tags in, and Windham blocks his charge to the corner. These guys didn’t wrestle each other much. Windham back suplexes Cactus, then a big right knocks Cactus out of the ring. Orndorff takes Cactus head-first into the floor, that was SICK. Hard to believe Mick took that bump. Orndorff tags in there, and comes off the top with an elbow. He clotheslines Cactus in the corner, then takes him down with a drop toe-hold. Windham tags in, wallops Cactus, and follows that up with a dropkick. Windham has a backdrop blocked, so Dustin can make a tag in. He dropkicks both heels, then gives them a noggin-knocker. Dustin hits Windham with another clothesline for 2, as Cactus and Orndorff brawl, leading to them both going on the floor. Orndorff beats Cactus up, eventually hip tossing him on the concrete floor. Dustin BULLDOGS Windham, but Orndorff breaks the cover. Now Cactus comes out from the back with a SHOVEL, and he hits Orndorff with it, getting he and Dustin disqualified at 10:42.
My Thoughts: That was another case of perfect booking, which is awfully hard to believe. Cactus running out with a shovel to save his partner is so Cactus. I’m all smiles over this stuff. The match was perfectly fine, although they weren’t hitting high marks or anything like that. The variety in these matches between the same guys is actually quite something to behold. They’re all totally different. This one didn’t follow a big FIP template, so the babyfaces got in their fair share of offense. **1/2.
– Taped to air February 20th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Brian Pillman vs. Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Tag Team Champion) in a LUMBERJACK MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: Our lumberjacks are Steve Austin, Maxx Payne, Vinnie Vegas, Tex Slazenger, Shanghai Pierce, Steve Regal, 2 Cold Scorpio, Marcus Alexander Bagwell, Shane Douglas, Rob Van Dam, Cactus Jack, Scotty Flamingo, and Keith Cole. Lot of talent right there. Great way to hype up the PPV by having these two in a singles match.
Match Review: They tie up and break clean, which is a bit surprising. Eventually Austin grabs Steamboat, and Steamboat kicks him away, which leads to Austin and Douglas getting in the ring. The referee makes them get out, and Pillman elbows Steamboat in the face. Steamboat hits Pillman with his own chops, and Pillman bails out to the floor. So, some lumberjacks walk over and put him in the ring. Pillman rams Steamboat into the buckle, then takes him down with a headlock. That hold gets broken and re-applied a few times, just as you’d expect. Eventually, a Pillman cross body gets 2. Back to the headlock, and Steamboat gets out for some dropkicks. When Pillman goes out to the floor, he’s forced back in so Steamboat can roll him up for 2. Steamboat dropkicks Pillman a few more times, and the lumberjacks keep Pillman in the ring again. Pillman wants to shake hands with Steamboat and let bygones be bygones, at which point they conveniently go to a commercial.
Back from that commercial, Pillman just gave Steamboat a back suplex, getting a 2 count. They also showed a replay of Steamboat wiping out and hitting his throat on the top rope. Pillman throws Steamboat to the outside, and the lumberjacks make sure Steamboat gets back in there. Steamboat tries to suplex Pillman to the outside, but Austin hits Steamboat in the back to prevent that. Now Steamboat goes up top, but Pillman dropkicks him on the way down for 2. Pillman follows that with a side slam for 2, then he slams Steamboat. Pillman does that again, then puts a Boston crab on Steamboat. The lumberjacks get close to fighting over Austin trying to help Pillman with the hold, but Steamboat eventually gets out of it and goes for a slam only for Pillman to fall on top for 2. Pillman backdrops Steamboat, then puts an abdominal stretch on the Dragon. Steamboat gets out of that and kicks Pillman in the head, but Pillman dishes out a jawbreaker for 2. Austin sneaks in a punch on Steamboat, who flies out of the ring and tackles Austin into the barricade. Now some of the lumberjacks are fighting with each other. Haha. Pillman has a chinlock on Steamboat, who eventually positions Pillman on his shoulders, then drops back to the canvas with him. Sadly, we have another commercial.
Pillman goes for a back suplex, then they run into each other while trying cross body blocks. For some reason this match ended during the commercial and they’re replaying the finish. Steamboat has the upper hand when they get up, eventually starting to choke Pillman. HE’S ANGRY. Pillman comes back with a bodyslam, then misses a knee drop. Steamboat targets the knee for a while, but Pillman dumps him out to the floor. Now the lumberjacks beat up Steamboat again, but the babyface lumberjacks come over to save him. Steamboat gets back in and gives Pillman a shin-breaker, then locks on a FIGURE-FOUR. Austin runs in to break it, but Pillman accidentally clotheslines his partner. So, Steamboat rolls Pillman up for the victory after about 20 minutes or so!
My Thoughts: This match was awesome, they worked the crowd extremely well. The bits with the lumberjacks were excellent too, and they never cease to be. That’s the point of the lumberjack match, I think. This had a good added bonus of seeing Austin repeatedly get in the ring to attack Steamboat. Of course, it backfired, and that’s why this was a good match. Everything in it made sense, and they didn’t have to bust out any major spots to put the match together. This was good wrestling and nothing more or less. ***3/4, best match on here I’d say.
Well, I can’t say that was anything less than a good time. Maybe a great time. These matches don’t always speak for a product as a whole, but at the very top of these shows, they had a good thing going. The wrestlers absolutely hated Bill Watts, so they were certainly pleased when Watts was removed from his position of power. Initially, he was only removed, but it came out that he’d had an extremely racist interview, so he was forced to resign. I don’t really want to go into detail about what was in that interview. Jim Ross was also removed, and disallowed from doing commentary on any of the shows. WCW decided that a booking committee was the way to go forward. As a result of all those things, some of the issues the wrestlers had were resolved. Johnny B. Badd decided not to go the WWF, and Rick Rude’s issue with workman’s comp was settled. WCW also had some new guys coming in, like Davey Boy Smith and Ric Flair, so things were looking up. That being said, the booking direction was pretty good, and I doubt that would be sustained. Lastly, WCW was running a TV Championship tournament, but given that it was their fourth-tier singles title at that particular time, I’m not reviewing the whole thing. Just the final. Next up, it’s WWF stuff from Royal Rumble 1993 through February.
Best: Jim Cornette’s promo about WCW. He unleashed a lot of truth bombs. I didn’t mention that WCW actually edited some of them out on the first airing of it.
Worst: Some of the new talent coming in like Maxx Payne, the Coles…are genuinely terrible. Not looking forward to reviewing any of that.