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Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WCW Wrestlewar 92

The Netcop Retro Rant for WrestleWar 1992: WarGames.

- Live from Jacksonville, FL

- Your hosts are Jesse Ventura and Jim Ross.

- Opening match:  US tag titles, Greg Valentine & Terry Taylor v. The Freebirds. 

The titles were all but dead at this point.  So was Terry Taylor's career.  Freebirds were faces, if it matters.  Valentine and Taylor do some goofy heel miscommunication stuff to establish their heeldom.  Michael "7 minute stall" Hayes is somewhere between #10 and #5 on my "Wrestlers I hate with a passion" list.  (I’m sure if I was black the feeling would be mutual.)  Jimmy Garvin is in the top 5.  (No, I don’t have an actual list, I’m trying to make a point here.)  Freebirds with the devastating double-team armbar on Valentine. Then on Taylor.  I guess they saw it on TV and thought they would look like wrestlers if they did it, too.  Taylor dumps Garvin out of the ring, signalling the Face in Peril stage.  Hammer and Taylor hold it together a bit better while in control, but it doesn't last long as Hayes gets the hot tag.  Pier six brawl and Hayes gets the DDT, but Taylor nails the Fivearm with the ref distracted.  Only gets two.  Hayes becomes the Ricky Morton.  Valentine hooks the figure four but Hayes escapes.  Hot tag to Garvin, who cleans house.  DDT on Taylor for the pin and the US tag titles.  Huge pop.  **

- (Not Yet) Fat Tony and Uncle Eric analyze the staggeringly obvious.

- Tracy Smothers v. Johnny B. Badd. 

Steve Armstrong had jumped to the WWF with the incredibly successful Lance Cassidy gimmick at this point, so Tracy gets to try a singles career.  (Oddly enough, it was Tracy who ended up with the more successful singles career after getting left behind.  Armstrong curse, I guess.)  Decent match to start, as Tracy carries things nicely.  Tracy with a nice back elbow off the top for two.  They botch a rollover on a crossbody, but cover up good enough.  A few restholds from Tracy, and then a high knee from Badd begins the comeback.  Powerslam and Badd goes to the top.  Sunset flip off the top for two.  Tracy misses the karate kick and Badd with the Bart Gunn left hook for the pin.  **1/2

- Missy Hyatt interviews the Freebirds (and Precious).  (That was a weird period.  She kind of disappeared again when the Birds turned heel again.) 

- Marcus Alexander Bagwell v. Scotty Flamingo. 

Were I to do this recap today, that would have read "Buff Bagwell v. Raven".  No wonder he became so bitter and jaded, being stuck with that gimmick. (It was a big part of it, in fact.)  Long lockup sequence.  Then a bitch-slapping sequence.  Bagwell gets some token two-counts and then gets dumped out by Scotty.  Both guys look very green.  Decent but very basic match which goes back and forth with no advantage until Flamingo reverses a rollup for the pin.  Lord knows why Scotty was ever pushed in the first place.  **1/4

- Junkfood Dog & Ron Simmons v. Curtis "When you suck this much, they call you Mister" Hughes & Cactus Jack. 

Whose ass is bigger:  Simmons, JYD, or Mick?  Cactus ambushes JYD and puts him out.  Go, Cactus! Simmons decides to go it alone.  A lot of clotheslines are involved. For those looking for historical precedent in the Bobby Walker case, look no further than Ron Simmons, who was pushed to the World title amidst allegations of racism in 1992.  (Walker was a WCW jobber who got fired in the late 90s and basically sued because he felt that his career prospects would have been better had he been white.  My feeling is that training at the Power Plant was his first mistake as far as career prospects go.)  Of course, Bill Watts likely is a racist, (…allegedly) but that's neither here nor there.  This is basically a singles match between Hughes and Simmons, with Cactus on the outside acting like his usual charming self.  Simmons with a spinebuster, then a clip for the pin (!?).  Not terrible.  *1/2  (This period is so boring that I barely have anything to mock in this rant.) 

- Todd Champion v. Super Invader. 

Invader is the wrestler better known as Hercules.  Champion (not to be confused with non-relative Chris Champion) would go on to be another in the proud line of lame duck USWA Unified World champions.  This would be a total squash.  Kick and punch restfest all the way.  Invader blows a few simple spots during Champion's comeback and then finishes Champion off with a powerbomb. 1/4*  (Not sure why Champion never got over given that he looks exactly like Vince would want someone to look.  Oh yeah, he was terrible.) 

- Ricky Morton v. Big Josh. 

For the 18th time, Josh is Matt Bourne, aka Doink the Clown.  Both guys are decent on a bad day and great on a good one, and this is somewhere in between.  (Zzzzzz.)  No real advantage from either guy.  Morton makes a mistake and Josh hits the sitdown splash for the pin.  I have nothing to really say about this.  **1/2

- Light heavyweight title:  Brian Pillman v. Tom Zenk. 

This was during the original WCW light heavy division, which produced less than enthralling results outside of getting Jushin Liger over.  They do the "Tag partners know each others' minds" bits to establish their former friendship.  Jesse gleefully awaits the first cheap shot.  Lots of mat wrestling which bores the crowd.  Pillman starts talking trash, subtly building his eventual heel turn later in the year.  Zenk lands a splash on Pillman's knees and Pillman works on Zenk's leg.  Enzuigiri turns the tide.  Zenk goes kneefirst to the turnbuckle and Pillman slaps on the figure-four and starts slapping his face.  Zenk reverses.  Pillman retakes controls, but Zenk reverses Air Pillman into a powerslam for two.  Crucifix by Pillman reversed to a fallaway slam, but Pillman holds on to the crucifix for two.  Pillman tries a superplex but it's blocked. Flying cross-body (way oversold by Pillman) for two.  Duelling leapfrogs but they butt heads and it's a double knockout.  Pillman whip, reverse to a bodydrop.  Pillman picks up Zenk but his knee is gimped.  Pillman to the top, but Zenk was goldbricking -- he superkicks him on the way down, but Pillman gets his feet on the ropes.  Zenk to the top, but he misses the dropkick and Pillman with a double-leg-hook-rollover for the pin to retain.  Great match!  ****

- The Steiners v. Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuji Iizuka. 

I know Fujinami but I don't know the other guy.  Scott does a proper Blockbuster on both guys -- something I haven't seen him do in a dog's age.  Iizuka looks really crisp when he gets in and immediately gets over.  Did he ever become anything back in Japan?  (Yup.  Lots of tag titles.)  Scott with the butterfly powerbomb and the bodyvice/elbowdrop double-team that the Steiners used to do when they didn't suck.  Nasty suplex by Rick on Fujinami.  Iizuka is apparently cut open hardway from the double-team.  He looks to be bleeding from the eye and is having trouble seeing.  Fujinami comes in with a series of stiff kicks to the leg, followed by an anklelock. Steiner rolls him over for two.  Scott with a double-chickenwing on Iizuka for two.  Uranage by Scott.  Rick rubs his knee into Iizuka's injured face, just to be a dick I guess.  Running bodyvice by Rick. Pumphandle slam by Scott for two.  Iizuka is taking a shitkicking here. Abdominal stretch to a cradle by Scott for two, and Iizuka finally makes the tag.  Big brawl erupts as the Japanese doubleteam Scott.  Fujinami with an abdominal stretch when it calms down.  Iizuka gets back in and gets right back to getting beat on.  Belly to belly for two.  Fujinami back in and Rick clotheslines both guys off the top rope.  Scott puts Iizuka on the top but Fujinami suplexes him off.  Iizuka with a german suplex for two.  Spike piledriver, then Iizuka dropkicks Scott off the top.  Sleeper by Fujinami, into a Dragon Sleeper.  Scott to the ropes. Again, but Scott kicks him in the face.  Double knockout.  Double tag and Rick destroys poor Iizuka.  Pier six, and Rick puts Iizuka on the top and belly to bellies him for the pin.  Fabulous match.  ****1/4

- WarGames:  The Dangerous Alliance v. Sting's Squadron. 

Steve Austin and Barry Windham start out.  Windham had just won the TV title from Steve Austin so there was an issue here.  Thunderous "Paul E Sucks" chants at various points.  Cute spot as Austin grabs the roof and swings at Windham, but he moves and simply allows Austin to fall on his face. Austin does the honors first after having his face rubbed in the mesh. Windham's taped fist is covered in Austin's blood.  Aaah, it's like coming home after the past few years of crappy Wargames.  (Or like now, where there’s no Wargames at all.)  Heels win the coin toss, duh.  Rude is in and works Windham like a motherfucker while Austin sits in the corner and bleeds.  Windham facefirst to the cage and you can guess the result.  You know, the Wargames may have been the only good idea Dusty Rhodes ever had.  Steamboat is in to even it up.  DDTs for everyone and the crowd pops like mad.  Austin is a bloody mess. Windham is valiantly trying to catch up.  I love this match.  Anderson evens it up for the DA.  DDT for Windham, spinebuster for Steamboat. Double crab by AA and Rude on Steamboat.  More chaos and then Dustin in for the faces, and he destroys Anderson.  Rhodes atomic drops Austin and rams his head on the roof in the process.  Windham wedges AA's head between the rings and pistons him.  Wild.  Rude and Steamboat are fighting nonstop on their own.  Zbyszko in and Rhodes wipes him out right off the bat.  Madusa on the roof and she slips the cell phone into the ring, but Sting chases her down.  Anderson brutalizes some people with it.  Dustin hits a gusher of his own.  Sting in next for the faces and he goes after Anderson.  He presses Rude into the cage multiple times.  Arn to the cage and he's busted open.  Bobby Eaton is last man in for the Alliance.  Dustin is pumping blood like an oil well.  Rude loosens the top rope for some reason.  Nikita Koloff is the last man for the faces and he and Sting quickly settle their past issues by beating the hell out of Rude and Anderson, then share a hug.  (A great moment in a match full of them.  That’s how REAL MEN settle their differences in wrestling.)  Sting with the Stinger splash and Scorpion on AA, but Bobby breaks it up.  The top rope finally falls off and Eaton uses the metal fork that connects it to the post as a weapon.  Zbyszko takes a swing with the metal rod, but Sting ducks and Eaton gets nailed in the shoulder, and Sting applies an armbar for the submission.  GREAT FUCKING MATCH!!!  *****  Final bleeder count: Austin, Anderson, Rhodes, Windham.  The DA bitches out Larry for the gaff.

The Bottom Line:

The usual mediocre WCW show, but there's two excellent scientific matches at the end, and then a BRUTAL Wargames that pretty much blew off the whole Dangerous Alliance angle.  A must see Wargames, the rest is hit or miss, depending on your tastes.

Recommended.  (The rant, on the other hand, bored the shit out of me.) 



    It's not his fault!

    He's one of my guilty pleasures, I guess.

    Precious definitely got more attractive as time went on.  She always way, but in some of those early '90's bits, she looked really good.

  2. This entire period for WCW was awesome.  I went back and watched all the PPVs and CoCs from 1992 on YouTube a few months back and it's crazy to see how the quality peaks around here or Superbrawl and then slowly starts tapering off until you reach the end of the year.  It's a shame they couldn't maintain the momentum all the way through because it rivals WWF in 1997 and ECW in 1995 as one of my favorite years for a promotion.

  3. War games is the ( . Y . )

  4. Cool! I recently did the same, and it is a blast: great matches, great feud, great characters, consistently molten crowds. Can't ask for much more.

    I do feel that some of the long term problems came as a result of them never really having the DA win any PPV matches. I feel like we should have had to wait twice as long for Zbysko to get his comeuppance or for the seems to start to split. Oh well, it was great TV.

  5. To me the one thing the Dangerous Alliance was missing was a true world title contender, in the way that the Horseman had Flair, the NWO had Hogan, and the Corporation had Rock. Sure you can argue that Rude was that guy but at that point no one really of him being any higher then US title material at that point.  

  6. I absolutely love 1992 wcw, I'm watching all the clashs on you tube now

  7. Funny, Scott calls it a mediocre show, when three ****+ matches are there, plus the full monty in the finale. This is basically "Canadian Stampede" levels of good by his ratings, and if he'd given those scores today, he'd be going two thumbs up and orgasming over it. How times have changed in the business.

  8. I know what you mean, it does seem that our expectations for a show have changed several times over the years.

    I think one thing that hurts a lot of people's appreciation for the tail end of the Kip Fry and Bill Watts era is the production values.  Post-Flair WCW was a wasteland of bad matches for several months until November 1991, but their production values were massively improved throughout 1991 and probably as close to the WWF in terms of quality until Nitro started broadcasting.  The lighting, sound and camerawork were all better, they improved their graphics and the video packages (the great Steiners vs Luger/Sting one jumps to mind).

    By the time Watts came in though, that all seemed to change -- they stopped lighting everything but the first 10 rows (WCW and the WWFs attendance, especially at house shows, took a huge tumble in the summer of 1992 aside from international tours), took most of the logos and banners out of the arena and stopped lighting them.  The shows still had a lot of good in-ring work, but they lost a lot of the energy and atmosphere which hurts how they come across on TV I think.

  9. If HHH ever really grabs WWE by the balls the only thing he needs to do to get in my good graces is to throw Elimination Chamber out the fucking window and bring back WarGames like he wanted, fuck what Vince thinks. It's stupid anyway, Dusty came up with it & he's on the payroll.

  10. Yeah, I don't see why they don't throw one out there on one of the three-hour RAWs just to see how it does.

  11. Takashi Iizuka still working a full schedule 20 years later!  He actually just won the IWGP Tag Titles with Toru Yano

  12. Two rings = less room for a big crowd = lower attendance = less live gate revenue.

    It's a stupid excuse, since they tend to find themselves papering more than a few live events for lack of a capacity crowd, but then I'm not Vince McMahon.

  13. Yeah true, although they could always compensate by shrinking down the size of their set a bit -- the large entrance sets (especially the WrestleMania sets) can cost them anywhere from several hundred to several thousand seats.

    If the event draws some interest, they can make up the difference in lost seats with higher ticket prices.  That's how WCW worked it for those three-ring, World War III shows at the Palace -- the gates for the PPVs were always better than the one-ringed Nitro shows in that building, due to them charging more for the tickets.

  14. Hmm, that does make sense. Honestly, if they used the regular Cell and did 4-man teams, they could just do one ring. ROH had a great quasi-War Games between Generation Next and the Embassy with one ring and a regular cage. It's pretty much the booking of the match that sells it, although I'd still prefer 2 rings like the old days.

  15. I just saw the Zenk/Pillman and Steiners/Japanese matches on Youtube- both were fucking great, and I agree with Scott's ratings (though Zenk/Pillman'd be around ***3/4 for me- not much difference). I can't imagine fans bashing any PPVs with those matches on them, though of course the Japanese & the Light guys weren't being majorly pushed at the time either.

  16. Yeah I agree, I think it could work with the cell too!  It just boggles the mind why they don't even attempt it.

  17. Japanese guys seem to last a lot longer than their American counterparts. I don't know if it's because Japan has a better medical system than we do, or it's harder to get drugs over there, or less travel, or just that Japanese people have a healthier lifestyle to begin with. Probably a combination of all 4.

  18. The Yakuza (which as we all know has a huge connection to wrestling) has a gigantic drinking culture (you can't rise to certain ranks without having at least one liver transplant)  so the wrestlers probably do drink like fish.  But on the other hand, they don't juice like Americans, and I don't know if they abuse prescription meds like they do in the states (which isn't a wrestler thing either).  I dunno what the travel schedules are, I've heard that it's tough for foreigners, like...3 shows in two days and such, but maybe the Japanese have some sort of an off season?  Dunno, any poru guys here that can help us?

  19. Most Japanese companies operate on a touring system.  They run shows for a few weeks at a time and then take time off between tours.  So they have something similar to an off season between tours since they can have anywhere from two weeks to a month or two between tours, depending on the company.

    I wouldn't say their system is necessarily healthier, though.  Puro tends to be much more aggressive than American wrestling, with stiff striking and head drops happening much more frequently, so the down time is definitely needed.

    I would probably attribute some it to the fact that physique isn't as much of a consideration as it is here, although, that has also changed over the years.  But it's easier for a guy like Matt Bloom/Tensai/Bernard to get famous as a monster heel over there than it is here where he was basically a one-note back hair joke for the first half of his career.

  20. btw: what is this bs about Hayes hating blacks? afaik he might have been an insensitive and inconsiderate douchbag on several occasions (the infamous "I'm more of a nigger than you"). but that doesn't mean he actively resents black guys and girls.

  21. Yeah, I'd go with physique, the effects of carrying around twenty or thirty extra pounds of muscle/whatever around really wear down your body, most Japanese guys are in shape, but not super big.  Look at KENTA, he's in phenomenal condition, and while he and most of his peers have probably taken more head bumps than is good for them (and Japan has had an unhealthy amount of in-ring deaths) I don't think he's going to die of a heart attack at the age of 42.

    I'm honestly surprised more Japanese wrestlers haven't committed suicide, though maybe it's a cultural thing?

  22. This Wargames is one of my five favourite matches ever.  Just perfect from start to finish.  Bloody, violent and don't forget underrated comedy spots like Heyman's "WAR, WAR, WARRRRRR!" yell on the outside and Dustin Rhodes coming into the ring swinging his arms like Bart Simpson and if anyone got in the way, it was their fault!

  23. Japanese guys seem to do a lot more in tags & three-mans on many shows, and they certainly don't work as often as Americans do- they tended to work a bit HARDER up to a point (many Americans noted that they HAD to up their workrate a bit over there, just to draw a reaction), but the West may have overtaken since.

    I think it's a combo of all those things, as has been said- they work less, take fewer insane bumps (very few matches operate under an ROH or spotfest mentality), don't do as many roids, diuretics (to get that "cut" look instead of roid bloating), drugs, etc.

  24. Hmm...I think overall Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world... The touring system is a huge part of it, I think. The mini "off-seasons" between tours not only provides time to recover physically, but is more conducive to a healthy family life - no spending 300 days on the road. Not to mention Japan is much smaller and Tokyo is, by far, the main city for the big companies, so there is less travel in general. I think a solid family life is something a lot of wrestlers in north america seem to be lacking.

    In terms of bumps, I just always assumed the Japanese guys were trained a lot better. The New Japan dojo - at least based on Benoit's experience - sounds like it was a crazy intense place. The wrestlers do so many bridges, etc., that by the time they get in the ring, they rarely take a bad bump - even on the painful looking stuff. Then again, physique is also key. It always amazes me how Benoit went from having the nicest bridging suplexes around to not even being able to do them anymore once he got jacked up. 

  25. I know overall Japan has really high suicide rates, but isn't that mainly for students and such?  Wrestlers in Japan are kinda in with criminals and seem pretty MANLY MEN in attitude and such.

    And I think you made a good point about training.  Flexibility is really important to not getting hurt, which is why guys like Punk and Bryan don't get the muscle tears that Cena and Batista get.  I really can't imagine Orton stretching before his match.  And that's why you see the Japanese do suicide kip-ups on a regular basis.  Of course, that's modern Japan, Kobashi's knees are 90% metal now and Misawa had a neck more fucked up than a Japanese slum.  And don't forget that 3 Japanese wrestlers have died from bumps taken inside the ring.  I can't think of any American wrestler who's direct cause of death can be attributed to one specific bump (Owen doesn't count).

    And Benoit probably lost a lot of flexibility when his back started getting jacked up, it's a self-perpetuating cycle, injuries make you less flexible making it easier to get injured.

  26. Maybe that's why Teddy Long was always making tag team matches PLAYA!!  He was just trying to extend his Smackdown guys' careers!!

  27. The rumors online back in 2004 were that Hunter was pushing really hard to have a War Games match with Evolution taking on four of Raw's faces, but that the idea got nixed. Most people blame the fact that Vince hates ideas he didn't come up with himself. I think JR even says something about how he wanted to have a War Games match in one of the Legends Roundtables. It's a shame it never happened, it would have been awesome when Evolution was at their peak. 

  28. I'm just goofing on the Mark Henry thing, I don't actually think he's a racist.

  29. Who were your other heels? Lex Luger wasn't on TV, Vader the fucking smelly bastard (he does. Stinks.) wasn't as over or pushed as Rude yet, every other heel was pretty much worlds below Rude other than maybe Cactus Jack. He was the closest thing to a main event heel in the company at that point so he was a de facto contender to me. Although it doesn't really matter anyway, as during most of the Alliance Lex was sitting at home with the title counting his money and shrinking his testicles as he'd worked all the dates on his contract. So his US Title became the title, for me anyway.


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