SuperBrawl 2 has always looked like an intriguing show to me, especially because WCW was pushing a Sting vs. Dangerous Alliance angle so hard, only to have to get the perfunctory title change out of the way. Make no mistake, it really did feel like Lex Luger was out of the way, for the entirety of the build to this show. He was on his way out, after all. WCW would have gained nothing from making him look good. There was a hell of a show scheduled besides that. I really can’t wait to watch it as I’ve seen nothing from this before.
– February 29th, 1992, from the Mecca in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The opening video does a great job of going through the matches on this card. It looks like things are spaced in a way that allows the matches to have time, too. I’m basing that on the chapter markers on WWE Network. Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff are in a hosting capacity, and they send it over to Missy Hyatt at the interview station. She wanted to get interviews with Lex Luger and Ricky Steamboat, I wonder if they’ll end similar to her other attempts. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we have Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura calling the action! Jesse got cheered very loudly as he rode a Harley Davidson down to the ring. This show just has the right feel. It’s funny how Jesse Ventura brought the JR thing to life. He commented about a cowboy hat and all that shit.
Brian Pillman vs. Jushin Liger for the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match is famous, and probably for very good reason, but I’ve never checked it out. This is one of the best PPV cards that WCW ever put on, on paper that is. I don’t know when they drop the Flyin’ Brian moniker. Hopefully soon. Let’s see how much Jesse followed the WCW product.
Match Review: Pillman grabs onto a wristlock, but Liger reverses it in typically acrobatic fashion. After that, Pillman and Liger do a great sequence where they try to dropkick each other and realize it won’t work. Pillman goes to a drop toe-hold, then grabs onto a hammerlock. Liger breaks that, but Pillman takes him down with a flying head-scissors and dropkicks him to the outside. A great looking baseball slide knocks Liger into the rail, but Liger gets back in the ring and trips Pillman. After Liger spends time holding onto the leg, Pillman gets out with a kick to the face. Pillman then misses a charge, and Liger heads up top for a moonsault press that gets 2. Liger dropkicks Pillman to the outside and teases a dive, but when Pillman moves, so does he. Pillman takes Liger down with a snap mare when he gets back in the ring, and slaps a hold on him that I’ve never seen before. He transitions to a head-scissors, but Liger gets out and Pillman goes to the ropes before he can do anything. In any case, Liger takes him back down, and goes for the surfboard again, only for Pillman to make the ropes again. Liger hits Pillman with a running dropkick in the corner, and Pillman comes back with a crucifix for 2. Liger takes him down with a sunset flip like cover for 2, but Pillman folds him up with a back suplex for his own 2 count. Pillman then misses a charge to the corner and hurts his knee, which Liger goes right to work on. He hits Pillman with a shin-breaker, and locks him in a FIGURE-FOUR! They start slapping each other, and the terrible USA chants start. Pillman reverses the hold, but Liger goes to the knee again. He applies a half crab, but Pillman stands up and hits him with an enzuigiri. Pillman gives him a flying head-scissors, then Liger backdrops him over the top. Now Liger heads up top, and down he comes with a rolling senton! Liger tries to suplex Pillman into the ring, but eventually Pillman rams him into the buckle instead. There’s AIR PILLMAN! Pillman then tries to suplex Liger to the floor, and there it is! Pillman heads up top, and down he comes with a cross body to the outside! Pillman then goes for a dive to send Liger into the rail, but Pillman misses and hits his throat on the rail. Liger sends him back in, and comes down with nothing, getting dropkicked on the way down. Pillman tries a missile dropkick from the top, but Liger counters with his own dropkick, so their feet hit together. Liger gets up and they both try spinning wheel kicks, which is another great spot. Pillman comes back with a powerslam that gets 2, but Liger gives him a GERMAN SUPLEX for another 2 count. Liger then puts Pillman on the top, and goes for a SUPERPLEX only for Pillman to throw him down. Pillman flies off the top with a cross body, but it only gets 2. This is crazy. Pillman tries a backdrop, but Liger counters with a POWERBOMB for 2. Liger goes for another, but there’s a sick FRANKENSTEINER counter by Pillman for 2. Pillman drops Liger with a DDT for 2, as Liger grabs the rope on the cover. Pillman goes for a clothesline, and they do some great rope running that ends with Pillman hitting Liger with a diving headbutt. Pillman crawls to the apron and heads up top, but Liger’s there to crotch him. Liger goes up there, and down he comes with a TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX for 2. Liger goes up top again, and comes down with a diving headbutt, but Pillman moves. Pillman bridges into a pin while locking Liger’s arms, and THERE’S THE VICTORY AT 16:59! We have a new Light Heavyweight Champion! After the match, the two guys hug and Liger really puts Pillman over.
My Thoughts: I can think of many reasons why this match was great, but this is the way I put them down in order while watching it. The moves they used were hardly used by anyone in WCW at the time. Stuff like the top rope superplex is a good example of what I mean. The speed at which they worked was similarly impressive. I also really enjoyed the spots where the two wrestlers would try to hit each other with the same moves, that was different. I also thought that Pillman and Liger did an impressive job getting the crowd to buy in. The match was also balanced in terms of both guys giving and taking, and nobody taking too much of the action for themselves. ****1/2 and highly recommended. Remember these ratings are attempted to be done in context of the time period. I loved this. The commentary was also excellent. Great way to finally put Pillman over in a big spot.
The Taylor Made Man vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Pre-Match Thoughts: This doesn’t sound as bad as some people would have you believe. Taylor was a great worker, and he may have been able to get something out of a green guy with great athletic ability. He did that with Tom Zenk, and he wasn’t even green, he was just generic and not very good. Missy Hyatt is with Taylor, who wears a Ted DiBiase like suit now. Taylor wanted to mentor Bagwell, and Bagwell declined. So, Greg Valentine helped Taylor attack him. They have a dork out there to play ring announcer for this match, and the kid got booed. Why isn’t he wearing pants? Bagwell was so lame looking, just everything about him screams lame. Taylor’s new gimmick wasn’t far off from that.
Match Review: Jesse was quick to point out exactly what I thought about Bagwell. Taylor takes him down with a trip, which Bagwell then gets out of before anything can happen. Taylor shoulders him down, but Bagwell comes back with a hip toss. After some shoving, the guys talk trash! They trade punches, and Taylor throws Bagwell out to the ramp. Bagwell hits him with an inverted atomic drop, an atomic drop, and clotheslines him back into the ring. Bagwell flies off the top with a cross body that gets 2, and follows with a headlock takeover. Taylor gets out and throws Bagwell to the outside again, but Bagwell gets back in there and shoulderblocks him for 2. Taylor takes a break, and the fans start chanting “rooster.” That’s mean. Taylor gets back in the ring and goes for a suplex, but Bagwell counters with a sleeper. Taylor makes the ropes, and dumps Bagwell to the outside for a third time. This time, he sends Bagwell into the rail, and pops him with a big right hand. That looked great. Taylor gives Bagwell a jawbreaker back inside the ring, and starts paintbrushing him. Bagwell comes back with slaps of his own, but Taylor gives him a gutwrench powerbomb for 2. Taylor then clotheslines Bagwell in the corner, and drops a knee on him for 2. Bagwell takes Taylor over with a terrible sunset flip for 2, but Taylor goes back to work and suplexes him. Taylor goes up top, and down he comes with a BIG SPLASH that gets 2. Taylor goes for a piledriver, but Bagwell reverses to a backdrop. Now Taylor goes to the eyes, and follows that with a neck snap for 2. Bagwell gets up and they blow a spot, but he winds up cradling Taylor up for 3 anyway at 7:38. Immediately after that, Taylor kicks out and hits him with the TAYLOR MADE FOREARM. He finishes the kid off with a DDT too.
My Thoughts: I thought Taylor did very well, but there’s only so much he can do. Bagwell was a very willing bumper and I have no hate for him, but he wasn’t able to carry his end and found himself in bad spots when having to do anything complicated or requiring experience and timing. *3/4. The crowd absolutely hated Bagwell getting the win. Why not just put Taylor over?
Missy Hyatt is acting like a fangirl over Lex Luger, and encounters Harley Race for a vintage promo. Hell yeah.
Cactus Jack vs. Ron Simmons
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a nice undercard matchup, although given the programs ahead for them both, it didn’t make any sense for either man to lose. Well, maybe Cactus could, given that his gimmick and persona wouldn’t change even slightly. They were also pushing him towards bigger things. I don’t know who wins this, I’ve forgotten. Cactus was already getting babyface reactions.
Match Review: These two lock up, and into the corner they go, where Cactus pops Simmons in the mouth. Simmons comes back with his own rights, but runs into a big boot. Cactus follows that with an attempt at the Cactus clothesline, and hangs himself in the ropes! Absolutely ridiculous spot. Cactus tries to leave ringside, but Simmons pulls him back of the rail and knocks his head into it. Back inside, Simmons drops Cactus with a facebuster and slams him. After a leg drop, Simmons covers for 2. Simmons goes for another charge to the corner, but this time Cactus elbows him and follows with a clothesline. Unfortunately, the Junkyard Dog is here and sitting in the crowd. Cactus gives Simmons the DOUBLE-ARM DDT, and dishes out his own leg drop for 2. He throws Simmons to the outside, sends him into the rail, and bodyslams him. Cactus then heads up to the second turnbuckle, and down he comes with the FLYING ELBOW! Simmons crawls back to the apron, but Cactus clotheslines him with the rope. Simmons misses a dropkick, and Cactus covers for 2. Cactus goes to a chinlock, but Simmons gets out with a quick throw. Simmons then lands a dropkick, and misses a charge at Cactus, flying out to the ramp. Cactus walks out to the ramp too, and Simmons drops him with a sick SPINEBUSTER. Simmons throws Cactus back into the ring, and Cactus comes back with a bulldog. He goes up to the second rope, and Simmons powerslams him on the way down for the victory at 6:34.
Cactus goes on the attack after the match, and here comes Abdullah the Butcher! Abdullah teases teaming with Simmons, but he cracks Simmons over the head with the kendo stick, leading to a double team. HERE COMES JYD FROM THE CROWD. NO. JYD starts headbutting security, because they need to get out of his way. He gets in the ring, and the crowd goes nuts for him attacking Cactus and Abdullah, clearing the ring.
My Thoughts: This was bordering on great with all the crazy bumps that Cactus was taking. I mean, he really did some crazy shit here. The hangman spot is one, but a spinebuster on the ramp…I couldn’t believe that one. This match was fun, and they were doing everything they could to keep it entertaining. **3/4, nice work. The fans seemed a little surprised by Simmons going over, but Cactus always lost. This was probably JYD’s last great moment of his career. The crowd was chanting for him and everything, that post-match was perfect.
Vinnie Vegas and Richard Morton vs. Van Hammer and Tom Zenk
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is one of the worst thrown together tag team matches WCW could possibly have done. Is this Battlebowl? My excitement levels for this one are approaching the level of nil. I also don’t know why they picked this part of the show to do three straight tag team matches. I liked hearing Jesse crap all over the Vinnie Vegas gimmick. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance. I can’t really think of an acceptable way to describe the other team. They look like male strippers. Zenk and Morton were replacing Johnny B. Badd and Mr. Hughes respectively.
Match Review: Hammer was getting the crowd into the match, and surprisingly they responded to him. Wasn’t expecting that at all. Hammer and Morton then lock up, and Hammer picks Morton up for a press slam. Vinnie Vegas tags in there, and Hammer takes him down with an arm drag. Nash’s suspenders are terrible looking. He and Hammer lock up, and they’re so powerful that they can’t stop locking up until Vegas pokes Hammer in the eye. They then botch a spot with Vegas trying a leapfrog and Hammer headbutting him in the nuts. These two guys should not be in there together. On camera you can see Hammer telling Vegas to hit him, and that’s what happens, so Hammer then takes Vegas to the corner for some punches. Vegas drives him over to the other side, but Hammer comes back with a clothesline. Zenk tags in and heads up top, coming down with a dropkick for 2. Morton takes a tag in, and Zenk blocks his cradle attempt. Zenk clotheslines Morton over the top, with Morton taking a big bump. Zenk decides to follow that with a running dive over the top, and hip tosses Morton on the floor. Can the whole match be between these two? Vegas tags in after Morton thumbs Zenk in the eye, and Vegas wants to fight Hammer again. Oh no. Vegas gives him a back suplex, and follows with a hard clothesline for 2. Morton gets back in there, gives Hammer an inverted atomic drop, and drops a fist on him. Vegas tags in, takes Hammer down with a facebuster, and covers for 2. Vegas follows that with a gutwrench suplex for 2, and hits Hammer with a nice looking big boot. Morton tags in, gives Hammer another back suplex, and gets 2 on the count. Vegas re-enters, drops a big elbow, and that gets 2. Morton comes in and Hammer powerslams him, which gets 2. Morton then knocks Zenk off the apron, and Vegas runs in for some double teaming. Vegas hits Hammer with a flying shoulderblock, and takes him down with a suplex for 2. Morton tags in for a chinlock, tags back out, and Hammer collides with Vegas. Both guys make tags, and Zenk comes in with a backdrop of Morton, and a dropkick to knock Vegas off the apron. A powerslam on Morton gets 2, and when Morton misses a charge to the corner, a sunset flip from Zenk follows that for 3 at 12:01.
My Thoughts: The worst parts of this match were with Vegas and Hammer in there, but they weren’t that bad at all. Dave Meltzer really hated this, but I thought Nash had improved a whole lot. I’m not saying it was good, but the match was just fine. **, with this Vinnie Vegas guy carrying way more of the action than I thought possible. This was meaningless having a match for the sake of doing so.
Larry Zbyszko & Steve Austin (WCW TV Champion, w/Madusa) vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a grudge match in every sense of the word, as the announcers keep saying. Zbyszko put Windham out of action at Halloween Havoc. Rhodes couldn’t beat Austin at Halloween Havoc, and with Ricky Steamboat, he took away the tag titles from Zbyszko at the Clash. This also continues the Dangerous Alliance storyline, and given these guys had been feuding for months, it’s very good booking for things to turn out this way. WCW was sure to show the video of Zbyszko closing the car door on Windham’s wrist and hand. Madusa looked quite good.
Match Review: Windham and Rhodes go on the attack, and Windham decides to backdrop Zbyszko and throw him out to the ramp. Austin and Rhodes continue the action in the ring, right as Windham throws Zbyszko into the rail from the ramp. Austin goes for a hip toss, but Dustin takes him down with a backslide for 2. He hits Austin with a big elbow and goes for a monkey flip, but Austin pushes him away. He comes down and Dustin clotheslines him on the way for 2, causing him to take a break. Dustin decides to throw Austin back into the ring, and brings in Windham for a big right from the top. Windham hits Austin with a dropkick, and wants Austin to tag out of there. That’s excellent. Zbyszko tags in and is very angry, but he kicks Windham to the outside. Zbyszko goes for a piledriver on the ramp, but Windham backdrops him and follows with a clothesline. Back in they go, and Windham hits him with his lariat, but decides not to end the match yet. Don’t see babyfaces do that often. He DDT’s Zbyszko, and tags in Dustin for a double backdrop that gets 2. Dustin and Windham start trying to break Zbyszko’s hand, which is great storytelling. Now Zbyszko goes to the eyes on Dustin, but Dustin rams him hard into the buckle and subsequently a big right hand from Windham. Windham tags in for a gutwrench suplex that gets 2, and follows that with a piledriver attempt, only for Austin to run in and hit him with a clothesline. Zbyszko throws Windham over the top, and Austin follows with a double axehandle from the apron. Into the rail Windham goes after that, and Zbyszko crotches him on the rail. The action here is RIDICULOUS. Austin clotheslines Windham as they’re now in the ring, and follows that with a suplex for 2. Windham misses a clothesline and flies over the top again, and Zbyszko takes him back into the rail again. He puts Windham back in the ring, then tags in there for a swinging neckbreaker that gets 2. Zbyszko slams Windham for 2, and Austin comes in for a back suplex that gets 2. Austin puts Windham in a chinlock, but Windham dishes out his own back suplex. Zbyszko tags in there, and puts Windham in a SLEEPER. Windham gets out with a jawbreaker of sorts, then the guys collide with each other.
Both men make tags, and Dustin comes in with fury and fire. He gives Austin an inverted atomic drop and dropkicks him, then drops a big elbow for 2. Dustin hits Austin with a clothesline for 2, and now all four guys are in there. Windham knocks Zbyszko to the outside, and Dustin gets railroaded by a clothesline from Austin. Austin sends Dustin into the buckle, and we’re back to normalized tag action. Zbyszko tags in, and gives Dustin another swinging neckbreaker for 2. Dustin tries to fight back, but Zbyszko drops him with a DDT for 2. Zbyszko goes for a backdrop, but Dustin kicks him to stop it. Madusa slaps Dustin, so Dustin rolls outside to chase her down the ramp and to the back. Eventually Austin meets him in the aisle and clotheslines him, as Windham and Zbyszko fight in the ring. Austin throws Dustin back in the ring, and he chokes him with the ropes. He hits Dustin with a leapfrog body guillotine for 2, and applies a chinlock as Zbyszko gets the crowd heated with taunting. When Dustin gets out, he takes Austin down with a cross body for 2. Again Austin clotheslines him, and tags in Zbyszko for some stomps. Zbyszko gives Dustin a backbreaker for 2, but Dustin fires off a suplex. Zbyszko goes to a drop toe-hold to prevent a tag, and Austin goes over to pop Windham. Because of that, Dustin’s cradle of Austin gets no count at all. Austin puts a chinlock on Dustin again, and puts his legs on the ropes to cheat. Dustin breaks it, and he drops Austin with a HOTSHOT. Zbyszko and Windham both get in there, and Windham goes to work beating Austin and Zbyszko up. Windham hits Zbyszko with the lariat, but Austin breaks the cover. Now Windham carries Zbyszko to the corner as Austin and Rhodes fight on the outside, and Windham’s going for the SUPERPLEX. Zbyszko pushes him down, but Dustin knocks him off the top too. Windham flies off the top with a big clothesline, and covers Zbyszko for the victory at 18:21!
My Thoughts: This match is absolutely spectacular. I don’t know why it didn’t have the heat of some other matches, but I thought it was fantastic. Austin consistently hitting Dustin with clotheslines was great storytelling, as was the finish with Windham ensuring he got his big win over Zbyszko. The brawling was great too, with the action being split between the outside of the ring and inside at times. The match never slowed down. This could have been even better if Austin had more variety in his offense at this point. ****1/4. Won’t find many better matches with a double heat segment.
Missy Hyatt is outside Ricky Steamboat’s dressing room, and encounters the mysterious ninja who happens to only speak Japanese. Steamboat is doing some sort of ritual before the match, so Missy can’t interview him. Instead, she comes across Madusa, who tries to feel up the ninja. He refuses to let her in Steamboat’s room, so she slaps him and he chases her away.
The Steiner Brothers vs. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton (w/Paul E. Dangerously) for the WCW Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: The outstanding matchups just don’t stop coming. I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this match more than any of the others, because most of the matchups on this show have been worthy of similar praise and hype. At the start of the match, it was announced that Paul E. was banned from ringside. So, Madusa takes his place.
Match Review: Eaton will start this with Scott, who takes him down with a fireman’s carry. Scott follows that with a spinebuster of sorts, and puts a chinlock on Eaton. Scott then goes to the legs, but Eaton makes the ropes, so Scott elbows him in the face. Eaton comes back with a neckbreaker, and flies off the top with a flying nothing, so Scott gives him a belly to belly suplex. Arn makes a tag in, and so does Rick Steiner. When Arn tries to avoid Rick, Rick follows him to the canvas and laughs in his face, then Arn nearly crotches himself on the post as he backs up. Rick takes Arn down with a powerslam, and fights his way out of the heel corner with some right hands. Arn takes a break on the outside, and when he gets back in there, Scott makes a tag in. Arn tries to put a wristlock on him, but Scott’s way too strong for that. Eaton runs in to try a double wristlock, but Scott takes them both over. Rick runs in there, and down they go to the outside after a DOUBLE STEINERLINE! Arn gets back in and throws Scott to the outside, but Scott gives him an inverted atomic drop and a STEINERLINE. Scott puts a chinlock on Arn back inside the ring, and turns that into a dragon sleeper of sorts. Eaton makes the tag in, throws Scott to the ramp, and Scott gives him a TILT-A-WHIRL SLAM on it. Scott then picks Eaton up and drops him back in the ring, going to a chinlock again. Rick tags in, and Eaton is able to give him a bodyslam. He goes up to the second rope, but Rick grabs him and sets him up for a DOOMSDAY DEVICE style clothesline. Arn runs in like an idiot, so there’s a noggin-knocker. Following that, Rick heads up top for his bulldog, but Arn moves out of the way and Rick basically lands his nuts right on Eaton’s knee. Arn and Eaton are now able to go to work, with Eaton using a hammerlock for a while. Rick gets out with an elbow, but Arn made a blind tag and drilled him with a clothesline for 2. Arn follows that with a suplex attempt, but the Steiners give their opponents a bit of stereo suplex action. Arn gets up first and goes up to the second rope, but Rick STEINERLINES him on the way down. Scott tags in for a big backdrop, and follows with a suplex that gets 2. Arn takes control by throwing Scott head-first into Eaton’s head, quite the interesting spot there. Arn takes Scott down and knee drops him, which gets 2. Eaton tags in, slams Scott, and heads up top for a great looking knee drop that only gets 2. Arn tags back in, drops Scott with a DDT, and that also gets 2. Arn then applies a Boston crab, and makes a tag to Eaton for an elbow drop onto Scott’s head. Eaton goes to the chinlock, and when Scott brings him toward the corner, he lets go and pops Rick. Eaton then throws Scott out to the ramp, where Arn gives Scott a backbreaker. Eaton heads up top, and down he comes with a ROCKET LAUNCHER that didn’t look so good, sadly. Eaton throws Scott into the rail, but Scott does the same to Eaton. Arn makes a tag in and Scott rams his head into an unsuspecting knee from Eaton, so Scott makes the tag!
Rick hits both heels with STEINERLINES, and decides to pick up Eaton for a suplex from the top. Instead, Arn puts Rick on his shoulders, and Eaton jumps off the top for a totally botched powerslam from Rick that gets 2. That was nearly the highest of high spots. Arn misses a charge to the corner, and Rick comes down with the top rope bulldog for 2. All four guys are in there, and Arn gets some powder to throw in Rick’s eye. Rick picks up the referee and gives him a belly to belly suplex, then backdrops Arn over the top. Scott gives Eaton a TIGER BOMB, and signals for the big finish. FRANKENSTEINER on Eaton, and the Steiners are your new champions after 20:05! Or, as Jesse Ventura kept saying, they weren’t. We now have three referees in the ring, and the Steiners have been disqualified because of Rick’s suplex on the referee.
My Thoughts: There was a big pop for the title change, but I think the fans caught on quickly. This was a good match, with the heels taking some great bumps, but it didn’t quite hit that next level. The crowd seemed completely burned out on the show, and this didn’t have great heat or anything close to that. ***1/2. Despite what I’ve said, the match was very good. Lots of variation in moves, some great spots to start things off with the Steiners in control, and the control segment on Scott Steiner was excellent. I just didn’t like the finish.
After a WrestleWar ’92 commercial, we’re onto the next match. At least the commercial made clear that WARGAMES would be taking place.
Ricky Steamboat (w/A NINJA) vs. Rick Rude for the WCW United States Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Paul E. is barred from ringside for this too. Steamboat and Rude had matches before in the WWF that weren’t great, and their match at Beach Blast is a classic, but I’m interested to see how this one goes given that it doesn’t have a whole lot of notoriety. Maybe I’m just wrong. The ninja is back in front of Ricky Steamboat’s door after the earlier chase of Madusa, and they’re on their way to the ring. Unlike the other Dangerous Alliance members, Rick Rude doesn’t need any damn help. He got MAJOR heat for his routine, wasn’t even allowed to talk for a long time. Never heard him get heat like this before.
Match Review: These two lock up, and tumble into the corner where Steamboat winds up hitting Rude. Steamboat then arm drags him a few times, and picks Rude up for a choke lift before putting him down and giving him a facebuster for 2. Steamboat puts an armbar on Rude, and takes him to the post to wrap his arm around it. After more of the armbar, Rude pops Steamboat in the face and breaks it. Steamboat kicks Rude a few times and puts it back on, then uses a hammerlock slam. Steamboat goes back to the arm, and this time Rude chops his way out. Steamboat takes Rude down with a cross body for 1, and back to the arm he goes. When Rude gets up this time, he and Steamboat fail to go over the top on a cross body attempt. That was not good. They go out to the floor anyway, and Rude drops Steamboat throat-first on the rail. Rude goes to suplex Steamboat back in, and that was nicely done. Rude clotheslines Steamboat with his injured arm, and sells it well afterward. Rude goes to work with a chinlock, then hits Steamboat with another clothesline. He drops Steamboat throat-first on the top rope, then gives him a swinging neckbreaker. He’s setting up Steamboat for the RUDE AWAKENING. Rude dishes out a PILEDRIVER, which gets a 2 count. Rude follows with a back suplex for another 2 count, and goes to the chinlock yet again. Steamboat gets up and uses a shin-breaker, then puts Rude in a FIGURE-FOUR! Rude makes the ropes, but Steamboat pulls him away to try it again. Rude kicks him into the buckles and clotheslines him, then heads up top for a big right hand. Rude tries to pose and winds up with his arm hurting again, then goes up top once more. Rude comes down with an elbow to the head, clotheslines Steamboat, and gets 2 again. After more chinlocking, Steamboat picks Rude up on his shoulders, and falls back to drop him on the canvas. The two guys then collide with each other, and Rude winds up going to a sleeper. Steamboat reverses to his own, but Rude uses a jawbreaker to get out of it. Rude heads up top for a third time, but Steamboat crotches him and dishes out a SUPERPLEX for 2. Steamboat fires off some clotheslines, then kicks Rude in the back of the head and does some hip swiveling. Steamboat backdrops Rude next, and clotheslines him for 2. Steamboat follows with a flapjack, and heads up top for the flying chop. Now he signals for his finish, and the ninja gets on the apron as the referee looks at Rude. THE NINJA CLOCKS STEAMBOAT WITH A CELL PHONE, and Rude covers for the win at 20:00.
My Thoughts: The match was slow, but I liked it quite a bit regardless of that. It’s a great match. First, we had Rude’s selling, which was as excellent as always. I think, all things taken into consideration, that Rude has to be one of the best sellers in the history of wrestling. There wasn’t a big build to the finish in this one, just a lot of good, consistent work. The superplex was a great spot to use there, as was the Rude’s usage of moves targeting Steamboat’s neck. If I didn’t know beforehand, I would not have seen that finish coming. The announcers did make the ninja sound like an idiot, but who would have figured that? ***3/4, and rematching them at another PPV was incredibly smart. Rude had improved a lot since their Royal Rumble opener. Now I wonder what happened to the ninja. It wasn’t Paul E. all along, as they were in the same place too many times.
Missy Hyatt tried to interview Rude after the match, but the whole Dangerous Alliance was there and made her leave. On top of that, it was revealed that Paul E. was the ninja.
Sting vs. Lex Luger (w/Harley Race) for the WCW Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the big one, and despite it seeming like everyone would know this was Luger’s last match in WCW, the feel in the arena was not so. Luger had been inactive for months, and he was going to be a bodybuilder, so I bet he was even more roided than in the past. I’m not really looking forward to this, in part because Luger just didn’t give a shit anymore. Some genius thought it would be cool for Sting to walk out of a giant box. Luger looked so over bloated, it’s pretty ridiculous.
Match Review: Luger starts things by stalling a lot, and the two guys start talking trash to each other. I wonder what wrestlers say in those spots. How’s the weather? How’s your wife? Luger winds up shoving Sting, and Sting returns the favor. Guess it’s time to wrestle. They lock up and break quickly, and on the second lock up, Luger knees Sting in the gut. He rams Sting into the buckle, but Sting dodges a charge to the corner. Sting goes for the STINGER SPLASH and hits Luger with it, but Luger comes out of the corner with a clothesline. Luger powerslams Sting, and signals for the TORTURE RACK already. Sting flips out of it, and gives Luger a GERMAN SUPLEX. Sting puts Luger in the TORTURE RACK, but Luger drops down to the canvas. Sting plants Luger with a DDT, so Luger rolls to the outside. Race gets on the apron for a distraction, which allows Luger to pull Sting to the outside. Problem is, Sting rams him into the rail instead, and back in the ring, he chokes Luger with his boot. Sting gives Luger a backdrop for 2, then goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK, only for Luger to make the ropes. Luger thumbs Sting in the eye, then rakes his face with the ropes. Luger is more interested in posing than doing wrestling moves, is how this feels. Luger puts Sting near the buckle for some reason, and Sting puts a choke on him. Luger comes back with a trip of the legs, but he’s blown up and can’t do shit. Eventually he gives Sting an inverted atomic drop, and talks to the crowd a bit more. Luger picks up Sting and press slams him, and signals for the PILEDRIVER. He picks Sting up and nearly breaks Sting’s neck with it, but Sting kicks out at 2. Luger follows with some elbows that also get 2, then Sting starts his push back. He kicks Luger in the ribs a few times, smashes his face into the mat, and starts rubbing his face in it. Sting rakes Luger’s eyes on the ropes, and follows by dropping Luger on them. Luger begs off, and Sting then goes for a cross body and flies all the way over the top. Don’t know how he landed on his feet. Luger rams Sting into the rail, then Race goes for a piledriver, only for Sting to reverse to a backdrop. Sting flies off the top with a cross body, and he is the new WCW CHAMPION after 13:01!
My Thoughts: This match wasn’t good, in large part because of Luger’s condition and lack of match fitness after being gone for such a long time. It was very slow, in addition to not having the best finish. The crowd reacted nicely to Sting winning the title, and it was a big pop, but the celebrations were nothing like when Sting won the title for the first time. Sting tried his best, but there’s only so much that can be done with an opponent that isn’t up to the task. *1/4. Despite the moves used, I disliked the lack of consistency. Luger didn’t give a subpar effort so much as what he was able to do not being good enough. This is sadly the mark where Luger’s time as a good wrestler ends. He does take a year off as well, which probably had quite a bit to do with that.
This show was excellent, and was clearly impacted by Kip Allen Frey’s plan to pay workers a bonus for having the best match. Everyone was trying hard, regardless of whether or not their match turned out to be any good. This show had many good matches, and three that I’d consider exceptional for one reason or another. The main event was merely a formality in that the title had to go to Sting. It didn’t really deliver, but I don’t think that was a problem. The commentary with Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura was also fresh and different, I liked it. I am eagerly awaiting what’s ahead, but first, it’s time to watch WrestleMania 8.
Wrestling Time: 1:50:29. That’s a lot of wrestling and almost all of it was good. Can’t complain about that.
Best: Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman. This match was innovative and a harbinger of the style to come.
Worst: Lex Luger vs. Sting. Wasn’t of the quality needed out of a title match.
Card Rating: 9/10. This is a fantastic show, one of WCW’s best. Only thing holding it back from a higher rating was the title match, which didn’t deliver.