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  • Connor Ewens

Every WCW PPV Reviewed & Ranked: Part 4

Guten Tag & welcome to part 4 of the R'N'R for WCW. By the end of this article we will have surpassed the half way point of the whole series. What a journey it's been already eh? We've crawled through the worst that WCW has to offer and we still have plenty of bad matches and booking decisions to talk about. However, we are also talking about more and more of the good stuff that this now defunct company released. Today, we will even be talking about a 5 star match. How exciting. Let's crack on with another 20 entries of the WCW rank and review.

#99: Clash of the Champions 14, January 30th 1991. 33.3%

All the 3's, 33.3. Half a devil. We're back in 1991 for another Clash, this one being called Dixie Dynamite. After a run with Ole Anderson as head booker which some may describe as "not good", Dusty Rhodes made his triumphant return from WWF back home to be head booker once more and occasionally do commentary. The location of this event was actually changed due to the rising threats during the Persian Gulf War. This was the first Clash not to be produced by the NWA since WCW became more of an independent entity. Will all of these moving parts negatively impact the show? Yes.

9 matches and one intergender arm wrestling contest on this card. Sting & Lex Luger team up against Doom. Both men just needed something to do while their stories progressed. After a few minutes of rushed action, Dan Spivey comes out to cause a DQ, advancing his feud with Luger. The action was alright but a rushed match and a DQ finish isn't the optimal start (2.25). Tom Zenk defended the TV title against Bobby Eaton next. This was decent but it could have been better. It never really got out of second gear. Still, hard to hate a match Bobby Eaton is a part of during this time period (2.5). Fabulous Freebirds vs Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle. This is a stinky bad match, Freebirds are old and their talent is rapidly fading. Rich is a 20 year veteran also past his best days, Allen is a jobber. Not exactly the best ingredients when baking a cake (0.5). Sid Vicious faces Joey Maggs, in a one minute squash match. It got Sid over strong (0.25). Ricky Morton vs Terry Taylor. Its face vs face but Taylor gets gradually more frustrated. Then, Alexandra York walks down and announces Taylor has joined the York Foundation. Taylor continues to be more of a heel then wins, York claims her computer predicted all of this. By far one the most unnecessarily complex heel turns ever. So she predicted he would join? Or did he join previously, because that wouldn't make sense either. The match was pretty decent at least (2.5).

Sting received the PWI Wrestler of the year award, which is interesting to see on the show. Imagine Roman Reigns accepting a PWI award on Smackdown. Moving on, Ranger Ross vs El Cubano. A 2 minute squash for Ross, getting the Sgt. Slaughter treatment. It wouldn't last long (0.5). Arn Anderson & Barry Windham take on the Renegade Warriors. Not to be confused with the Renegade & the Warrior, this is Mark & Chris Youngblood. A dominant display by Arn & Barry who quell an early blitz to win convincingly (2.5). Brian Pillman vs Buddy Lee Parker next. Another short match, an extended squash win for Pillman but he looked good doing it (1.25). Paul Heyman and Missy Hyatt in an arm wrestle next. Hyatt uses her sex appeal to her advantage, causing a distraction to win. Not rating this segment, but it was quite entertaining considering how dogshit these segments usually are. The main event sees Ric Flair defend his world against Scott Steiner. With how good Flair is and how hot Scott was, you'd expect a classic but unfortunately not. It goes to a time limit draw, which sees Steiner blatantly stalling a lot when he's on offence which makes him look incompetent. There seemed to be a lack of chemistry between these two, I'm not sure if maybe Flair didn't feel Scott was ready for this spot. Either way, both men are amazing talents so this wasn't bad, it just wasn't that good either (2.75). WCW must be confusing January with October and thinking that it's pumpkin season. That's the only reasonable explanation I have for the amount of squashes on this show.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Scott Steiner

#98: Starrcade, December 17th 2000. 33.5%

Returning to the cavalcade of crap that is the year 2000. A year often regarded as WWE's glorious best, and WCW's embarrassing worst. If you've been keeping count, you'll know this comes in as the second best PPV from the year 2000. Being second best doesn't make this a good show, but it also isn't their worst show, which at this point is an achievement for Ted Turner's Testosterone Tussle. The most hilarious thing is that Sid Vicious is in the main event. In the year 2000. A man who was a failed main eventer for WCW, then for WWF, then again for WCW, then again for WWF, then a third time for the WWF, now he's back for his third run at the top of WCW. For a man with limited in ring ability and inferior promo skills, Sid did very well for himself.

Our opener is a 3-way tag ladder match between 3 Count, Yung Dragons & Evan Karagias with Jamie Knoble. The winner receives a shot at the cruiserweight singles title. I know what you're thinking, "tag match for a shot at a singles title, that makes no sense". You would be correct. This is essentially a 6 man ladder match with alliances, but the alliances fall when they go for the win. Stupid booking aside, this was a fantastic match from 3 teams who still tried in WCW's final days. Some early botches by Karagias & Moore but once they started pulling out the spots it got very entertaining. This is probably WCW's best match of the entire year. Well done lads (3.75). From that we go to Lance Storm vs 'The Cat' Ernest Miller. This wasn't good, Storm looked good at times but he was wrestling an inferior talent. Too much outside interference and an unnecessary cat fight tried to paint over the cracks but it failed. Plenty of moments when it should have been a DQ, but the rules were "relaxed" because WCW didn't understand how logic works (1.5). After 4 backstage segments (for real) we get to Crowbar defending the hardcore title against Terry Funk. 56 year old Terry Funk put in a more energetic and exciting effort than most who have competed in WCW's hardcore division. He's fun to watch. This was decent, Funk going over is hilarious and I'm all for it (2).

Big Vito & Reno vs Kronik. Not a very good tag match, mainly built around Reno turning heel on Vito. Reno pinned him and the referee counted the 3, which makes zero sense. The match is ruled a no contest apparently but that's according to Wikipedia, not WCW. Not good, but not Kronik's worst outing (0.75). Bam Bam Bigelow faces Mike Awesome in an ambulance match. This could have been great. Two big hosses tearing it up. Unfortunately Bigelow was getting on a bit and Awesome was saddled with a terrible gimmick. This is a boring brawl which ends with Bigelow falling through the roof, so Awesome wins by accident. Lame (1). General Rection defends the US title against Shane Douglas. I can't believe they put the US title on a wrestler named after a hard cock. The title has such a historic lineage that is still continuing to this day, and fucking General Hugh G. Rection is a part of it. A boring, sloppy match with a stupid finish as Chavo Guerrero gets Shane disqualified literally for holding a chain. He didn't even succeed using it!! Stupid (0.75). Jeff Jarrett & the Harris Brothers face Filthy Animals in a Bunkhouse Brawl. Just a WCW way of saying Street Fight, which is what it was previously advertised as. This had some nice moments, Kidman especially shined here and the Harris Bomb through a table looked cool. Messy too though, also why are you's making tags and why is the referee enforcing it? There's NO RULES you dicks (1.5).

The Perfect Event (Chuck Palumbo & Shawn Stasiak, no Curt Hennig) defend the tag titles against the Insiders, who are DDP & Kevin Nash. Pretty much a copy/paste of their match the previous month, except this one is better. A standard tag formula, they didn't do anything too fucky but the crowd enjoyed it and I did too. It wasn't quite fully there to be a good match, but hey this was better than anyone expected (2.75). Back to low expectations as we have Goldberg vs Lex Luger. The wrestling was bad, it was a boring no DQ match and the heel turn from Buff Bagwell was obvious even though they kept calling it "accidental". How do you accidentally Blockbuster a man? Worst match on the show here (0.5). Main event time, Scott Steiner defends the WCW Title against Sid Vicious. Surprisingly, this wasn't awful. Steiner remained on offence mostly and Sid pop up for a big move now and then. Points lost for again clear lack of rules for it but yeah, a 2000 Sid match wasn't awful. Fancy that? (2.25). Still mostly a weak show but not all bad, also it features WCW's best match of the year.

MOTN- 3-way Tag Ladder match

#97: Great American Bash, June 18th 1995. 33.6%

After a 3 year hiatus, WCW revived their beloved American themed summer event for the jolly awful year of 1995. WWF were floundering severely, WCW weren't being quite as stupid as they known for which is saying something. '95 WCW was mainly bad for all things Hogan, but luckily at this time the Hulkster is shooting a movie and Ric Flair is back out of retirement so WCW could pull out a good show. Judging from it's placement on the list, it's not all great but it has it's moments.

We start well with Brian Pillman vs Alex Wright. Wright is still WCW's newest pet project but the fans already seem to be souring on him. It started off bad, Wright making mistakes and botches which got it off slowly, but as the match went on it became brilliant. Pillman was the clear favourite, and props to him for putting on a fantastic display, helping Wright overcome his nerves. If the full 15 minutes were like the last 5-8 minutes, this could be 4+ easy. Good opener (3.25). DDP and Evad Sullivan have an arm wrestle for a date with the Diamond Doll. Rare that we would talk about two arm wrestles in one list. Maybe this proves how mediocre they are. There's plenty of cheating by DDP but eventually Evad wins with help from the Doll, who "accidentally" caused a collision between DDP and his bodyguard. Not a match so not rating. What I will rate though is another awful Jim Duggan match because he's the worst and ruins everything. Duggan faces Sgt Pittman, a genuine former US marine who was poorly trained and of course WCW portrayed as a heel. Pittman's offence looks bad and his selling is goofy. Duggan's wrestling is about as attractive as inbreeding. Awful way to spend 8 minutes of your time (0).

Harlem Heat vs Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater. Heel vs heel match, which 90% of the time never works unless it's a dream match. Two heel teams that the crowd don't really care for except for one man who has potential? Not impactful. A bad, boring match topped off by a dumb finish with the managers rolling their respective client back and forth over each other. Boo this (0.5). The trash continues as the Renegade competes for the TV title against champion Arn Anderson. Fake Ultimate Warrior was so green if Snoop Dogg watched him, he would roll him up and smoke his ass. A real bad match, Arn is a legend who tried to carry him through but a man can only lift so much dead weight at once. Props to Arn doing the job. The Renegade flopped instantly, why did WCW not only keep the gimmick around, but put a fucking belt on him? Send the poor lad back to the plant, create a fresh gimmick and save his career (0). The Nasty Boys defend the tag straps against Blue Bloods. Bobby Eaton is now billed from Stoke-on-Trent, as a Brit this is hilarious. If only Bobby knew what a shit hole Stoke is like. Sorry for any of you Stokeheads out there. Best thing about this match is Regal's amazing facial expressions, because the Nasty's disgust him more than anything else before. He takes a Pit Stop (face rubbed into a nasty armpit) and he sells it perfectly. Outside of that, not too great. A long 15 minutes. Nasty Boys matches are hard to predict. Either they're good, mediocre or awful and it's completely random what you get (1.75).

Let's pick things up again. The US Title tournament finals sees Sting face Meng. Does anyone else think Meng is a dumb name? OH NO!! HERE COMES....Meng. It's an anticlimactic name. This is mostly good. There were some stalling moments which brings the rating down but it was quite a stiff competitive match and I wasn't 100% Sting was walking out as the champion. I was about 85% sure (2.75). Main event time, Ric Flair vs Randy Savage. A feud originating from a world title tournament, spanning months full of attacks and verbal wars. This is an exciting main event, it's a war of a match which fits the intensity of the feud. Both men weren't as fit as they once were so they covered up their weaknesses with brawling and we ate it up. Savage's feud with Flair is probably his best work in WCW. Best thing on the show (3.5). A disgusting sandwich this show. Two delicious pieces of bread with Pillman/Wright & Flair/Savage, but a putrid filling with of cat piss quality matchups.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Randy Savage

#96: Starrcade, December 27th 1998. 33.9%

Having a wrestling PPV days after Christmas is a solid idea, it's an easy Christmas gift to buy for anyone in the area. I'd be overjoyed with a wrestling show for Christmas. The 16th annual Starrcade follows the WW3 PPV when Kevin Nash won a battle royal to earn a title match against Goldberg. This is around the time Nash was part of the booking team, though he claims he didn't join until early '99. Bullshit Kev. You're telling me you joined AFTER you got a world title shot against the undefeated Goldberg? Okay then, if you say so Oz.

Billy Kidman defends the Cruiserweight title against Juventud Guerrera & Rey Mysterio. A great way to start, 3 of the best in the cruiserweight division going at it. It goes about 15 minutes and barely a second goes to waste, this was awesome. Kidman & Mysterio initally work in tandem against Guerrera, but eventually that alliance breaks and it becomes a free for all, they all team up and turn and one another. Plenty of nearfalls, plenty of ridiculous high-flying offence, plenty of fun (3.75). Eddie Guerrero comes out and cuts a promo, baiting Kidman into a title match. Another good match for Kidman, who plays a babyface in peril as Guerrero is the fresher man. A great showcase for Kidman who comes out of this looking amazing with two back-to-back title defences. These are the best two matches on the show too, so kudos to Billy (3). Norman Smiley vs Prince Iaukea next. This is before Norman got over for being WCW's funniest man. Here he's just the most boring technical wrestler. This is a torturous 11 minute match which never gets out of first gear, painfully bland (0.5).

The Cat faces Saturn next. Awful, Saturn is so above this crap. The Cat was annoying and terrible at wrestling, the crowd hated this as much as the previous match, I hated it more (0.25). Bryan Adams & Scott Norton face Fit Finlay & Jerry Flynn. Who cares? Nobody. Boring, no chemistry, no fan interest. A waste of time (0.75). Konnan defends the TV title against Chris Jericho. Jericho is being a great heel with his buddy Ralphus with him. This is fine, Jericho works well and helps to hide how mediocre Konnan is at this stage of his career. Not long enough to be any better (2.25). Ric Flair vs Eric Bischoff is next. The Four Horsemen are banned from the arena to make this fair. I smell shenanigans. Flair kicks Bischoff's ass for 99% of this, then Hennig comes to help Bischoff win at the end. Bad call there. This should have been comeuppance for Bischoff. Sure he was beaten up all match but wins and losses do matter. Flair should have got a decisive victory (1).

DDP faces the Giant next. Paul Wight is mere months away from leaving for greener pastures in WWF. This match was mostly fine but it had some weak points, Giant is clearly demotivated working for WCW. Clear moments when the referee should have called for a DQ also damages the match, standard WCW bs (1.75). Main event time, Goldberg defending his WCW Title against Kevin Nash. He's being advertised as 174-0, which is fabricated. The real number is hard to pin down, but from what we know for certain his undefeated streak would be 156-0. His overall match record is 161-1, because he lost his 6th ever match against Chad Fortune. His first 6 matches were dark matches so I guess they don't count. Well, Goldberg loses here anyways in infamous fashion. Scott Hall runs out, tases big Bill who suffers a powerbomb and is pinned. The match is okay, a slow hossfest but it's alright. The finish is terrible, an awful cheap way to end a historic streak and no one benefits. Goldberg's streak is over, Nash doesn't look strong & Hall doesn't look strong either. A clean victory would have been HUGE for anyone, especially someone like, I dunno, DDP maybe? Bad booking, and I'm convinced Nash is a liar claiming he wasn't a part of this booking. It's too convenient (2).

MOTN- Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera vs Rey Mysterio

#95: Slamboree, May 23rd 1993. 34%

A legends reunion. A show intended to pay homage and respect the wrestlers of the past whilst promoting the wrestlers of the present and the future. It's a great idea, if done correctly. You can have some fun and wholesome segments to honour the legends of the business, whilst also putting over the future. Next year's Slamboree would prove to be much better in execution, but this show still has some good moments sprinkled within.

After an introduction to some legends, a musical performance by Maxx Payne & Fabulous Moolah being carried down to the ring like a queen by muscular oily men, we have our opening match. 2 Cold Scorpio & Buff Bagwell vs Bobby Eaton & Chris Benoit. This is a nice way to open the show, Benoit & Scorpio look incredibly fluid in the ring together. Eaton is a veteran of tag wrestling and Bagwell wasn't terrible, so hooray for us (2.5). Sid Vicious defeats Van Hammer next in approximately 30 seconds, a waste of a PPV spot that benefits no one, unless Sid got another juicy payday for being big (0). A legend's 6-man tag next as Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka team up against Blackjack Mulligan, Jim Brunzell & Wahoo McDaniel. Pretty random pairings, but it doesn't really matter. This is a 10 minute showcase for these guys to provide nostalgia pops, honestly this was better than it had any right to be. Brunzell & Murdoch I found most entertaining. It ended in a double DQ, because veterans ain't losing clean, brother (1.75). More legend tag action, as Ivan Koloff & Baron Von Raschke take on Thunderbolt Patterson & Brad Armstrong. Brad is an active wrestler, he's taking his dad's place because Bob Armstrong had surgery and isn't able to compete. Armstrong does all the heavy lifting but this is incredibly dull all the way through. At least the previous match you could tell they cared, no one gave a shit here (0.5).

Before the next match, we're introduced to the newest member of the Four Horsemen, Paul Roma. He'd go on to be the worst member in history, for his bad matches and even worse attitude. Next we have AWA vs NWA, Dory Funk Jr vs Nick Bockwinkel. Funk has Gene Kiniski in his corner, Nick has Verne Gagne. The 4 have a combined age of 243. This goes to a 15 minute time limit draw. It wasn't very good, but I really commend the effort. They received a standing ovation, probably because they managed the full 15 without medical attention. Impressive, but mostly dull and stagnant (1). Dustin Rhodes teams with Kensuke Sasaki against Rick Rude & Paul Orndorff. Apparently Sasaki & Orndorff were carrying injuries, which may explain why this wasn't as good as I'd hoped. It was fine but very much just running through the motions (2). Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, Eddie Graham & Mr Wrestling II are inducted are a part of WCW's first hall of fame ceremony. They only held two more ceremonies across the following two Slamboree's, with only 17 inductees. Back to wrestling, Sting takes on The Prisoner. Oh dear, i changed my mind more legends talking please! Remember Nailz in WWE? Bad wrestler and bad gimmick? Well here is the same man under a somehow worse name, just as bad of a wrestler and the same shitty gimmick. 5 minutes of choking by the Prisoner until Sting fires off a lariat to win. Terrible (0).

Well it hasn't been all good so far, but from here onwards it's all good. First, the Hollywood Blondes defend their tag titles against "Dos Hombres" in a Steel Cage. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas weren't allowed another opportunity at the gold, so they planned to appear under Dos Hombres to by-pass the ruling. HOWEVER, Douglas quit the WCW and they had to run this angle anyways, I believe it's Tom Zenk under the mask? Anyway, this is a good match but the crowd seemed pretty exhausted. I think this would have been better without the late need to inject Zenk in there but these four still put on an entertaining show (3.25). Barry Windham defends the NWA Heavyweight Championship against Arn Anderson. Not to be confused with the WCW Heavyweight Championship, that's later. This was good, I wish it was longer. This was a classic fight between two men who are very familiar with each other. Windham was bleeding profusely which added to the match, but it felt like a rushed finish and I would have liked 10+ minutes. Can't have everything I guess (3). Our main event of the night is Vader defending the WCW Title against Davey Boy Smith. DBS was a great wrestler but he wasn't quite at main event level for me. Vader is probably in my top 5 favourite WCW wrestlers. His run of dominance was insanely entertaining, shame WWE didn't follow suit. Another good match between two powerhouses, lots of big power moves but unfortunately a few rest holds & stalling too. It's good but a weak DQ finish leaves a bad taste in my mouth. A clean win would have boosted Vader and could have made Smith a valiant babyface (3/5). There's a solid block of unwatchable trash in here, but it ends with a trifecta of good action.

MOTN- Hollywood Blondes vs 'Dos Hombres'

#94: Clash of the Champions 4, December 7th 1988. 34%

Let's take it back to the 80's for some Season's Beatings. A lot of things going on here. The fourth COTC event would be the first Clash following the sale of Jim Crockett Promotions to Ted Turner where it would be renamed to WCW. Also on this festive event, we would be introduced to an experimental camera angle of having a top-down cam over the ring. It didn't catch on and was quickly forgotten about. This event would also be Dusty Rhodes' final match in WCW for 3 years as he would soon be popping up in Vinnie Mac's wrestling shack. This has the same percentage as the previous entry. I rank this higher because it's shorter, less bad matches and a superior match of the night.

We begin with tag action with the US tag titles on the line. Ron Simmons & Eddie Gilbert vs the Fantastics. I will continue to big up the Fantastics, because they're an underrated gem of WCW's early days. Fulton & Rogers were ahead of their time for their in-ring ability. This is a good match, harmed by it's near 30 minute length. If they cut 10 minutes off this could have been a classic, but there was moments of time wasting here. However, this is a good match with Gilbert really putting in effort to cover for the still green Simmons. Very good match, too long though (3). Steve Williams faces the Italian Stallion next. Another match that goes way too long. Williams dominates for 15 minutes, like a predator playing with their prey. The action was well executed but so goddamn BORING (1). Ivan Koloff vs Paul Jones, Ivan has an arm tied behind his back. This is bad, but hey it's less than 90 seconds long so hooray? Changes of plan due to Nikita Koloff leaving the company may have impacted things but come on, this was always destined to be shit. I got a cheap laugh out of it (0.25).

Dusty Rhodes faces Road Warrior Animal for the 6-man tag titles. Singles match for tag titles? That's stupid isn't it? To be fair, it's another case of plans going wrong. Dusty & the Road Warriors were champions & allies together against the Powers of Pain, but the POP left mid-feud so the LOD turned heel on Dusty. So Animal & Dusty are competing for the gold, which still doesn't really make sense because whoever wins, still don't have a full 3 man lineup soooo? A terrible match that ends in about 2 minutes with a DQ when Dusty uses a chair. Waste of time, a terrible way to set-up for Starrcade (0.25). Main event time as Ric Flair & Barry Windham take on the Midnight Express. This is just excellence of tag team wrestling between 4 of WCW's best wrestlers. Arguably the best tag team in their history, facing one of the best singles stars in WCW history as well as THE BEST. A delightful 15+ minutes. The Midnight's are recent faces now so it's refreshing to see them as the good guys in peril as Flair & Windham use every dirty trick to remain in control. I would have LOVED to seen the Express go over as the better team, but Flair uses a foreign object to win and I'm not too mad about it. A great match and the best match we've talked about so far across the series (4/5). Another one of those disgusting sandwiches. Lovely yummy bread, icky icky filling. Good tag matches at either end, everything in-between can fuck off.

MOTN- Midnight Express vs Ric Flair & Barry Windham

#93: Fall Brawl, September 17th 1995. 34.2%

Every time I read these two beautiful words, my inner William Regal cannot be contained. WARRR GAMMESS!!! This is the first PPV event following the debut of Monday Nitro, meaning this is the first WCW PPV of the Monday Night Wars. The marquee WarGames match saw a strong alliance between Hogan, Savage & Sting tested as the Stingers best friend Lex Luger joins them. Can he co-exist with Hogan & Savage? We will find out.

But first, we begin with Johnny B. Badd vs Brian Pillman. I knew this was going to be good, but JESUS I didn't realise how good! These two get almost 30 minutes to weave an absolute clinic together. With a shot at the US title on the line, these two leave it all out in the ring. Badd tries to slow down Pillman with strikes and submissions, whereas Pillman is looking to use his speed and high-flying ability to maintain momentum. These two have GORGEOUS chemistry, with plenty of reversals and nail-biting nearfalls. An excellent match that should have accelerated both men up the card (4). Cobra vs Sgt Pittman next. A battle between two army themed wrestlers who both suck. Lucky for us, Pittman sneak attacks Cobra and defeats him in about 90 seconds. Nice and quick, however it was all poorly worked and didn't belong on a PPV. I certainly wouldn't pay for this shit (0). The Renegade defends the TV title against DDP. Page earns his victory here, helping to carry Renegade to a somewhat tolerable match but it's rough. Renegade had improved a little by this point, but he's limited to his shitty Ultimate Warrior tribute act. DDP winning the title is the best thing to come from this (1.5).

Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater defend the tag titles against Harlem Heat. I love seeing Sensational Sherri. This match BOMBED. Booker T tried but it was boring with a significant lack of effort from the defending champs. The biggest moment in this match was Sherri playing tonsil hockey with Colonel Robert Parker which caused a distraction. Harlem needed Sherri to kiss an old man, as well as a Nasty Boys run-in to win. Wow (0). Arn Anderson vs Ric Flair. I'm looking forward to it. A 20+ plus classic wrasslin' match between best friends turned enemies (although it would be revealed to be a ruse to target Sting, which didn't make much sense). This match would have been even better 5 years early, however this was still an excellent display of wrestling greatness. They know each other so well so there's plenty of back and forth. Pillman interferes on behalf on Arn, which I think cheapen the match a little but it made sense-ish for what WCW were planning in the near future. No Spinebuster from Arn though? Disgraceful (3.75). WARGAMESS!!! Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Lex Luger & Sting vs The Dungeon of Doom; Kamala, The Shark, Meng & The Zodiac. The DoD are sooooo bad. Kamala is shit. Zodiac, FKA Brutus Beefcake, is shit. The Shark, FKA Earthquake is past his prime and shit. Meng is okay but saddled in a terribly goofy group. This was about as basic and bland of a match as you'd expect. Sting and Shark start and it's okay but then the heels win the coin toss so they have the numbers advantage until the final entry. Even when Savage & Luger come in they go on a brief team but it's quickly shot down. Yes it's a predictable story. Heels dominate until Hogan enters, wrestles for a couple of minutes before winning the match for his team. Not as awful as I expected, but still pretty sucky. At least the Giant come out after to incapacitate Hogan who ends medical attention. Thinest of silver linings (1). A 2 match card, those two matches are very very good. It's a shame the other 4 matches are very very bad.

MOTN- Johnny B. Badd vs Brian Pillman

#92: Clash of the Champions 24, August 18th 1993. 34.3%

We've got a string of Clash's to talk about now. I haven't got much context to give about this show, except to be prepared for a rather SHOCKING debut. He he, we've got an infamous segment on our hands.

Both the NWA & WCW tag titles are up for grabs first. Lord Steven Regal & Steve Austin defending both sets of titles against Arn Anderson & Paul Roma. Pillman was injured, and they needed a title change to support the TV tapings of the Horsemen as champs so here's Regal. Although the plans were changed last minute, we're still treated to a solid tag match. Even Roma was decent, its harder to fuck up surrounded by this amount of quality. Not a bad start (2.5). Next, 2 Cold Scorpio vs Bobby Eaton. Sadly, this only gets about 5 minutes so it doesn't get time to develop, but what we got was enjoyable. I'd like to see more from these two together please (2). Maxx Payne vs Johnny B. Badd next in a mask vs guitar match. This is dumb, Maxx is defending his actual passion whereas Badd's mask is a protective mask that he doesn't WANT to wear but he needs to. There's no emotional weight behind losing it. Doesn't matter, Badd wins in about 2 minutes as Maxx misses a splash which must have been so devastating he couldn't kick out before 3 (0.75).

Here we go. Flair for the Gold segment. Sting & Davey Boy are guests who are prepared to reveal a secret mystery partner to help face Sid Vicious & Vader. We cut to a wall of plywood, some shitty sparkler quality pyro goes off and here comes THE SHOCKMASTER. He absolutely stacks it and trips over a beam, his vajazzled stormtrooper helmet comes off in the process. Fred Ottoman quickly re-masks himself and pretends to cut a promo that I could barely understand but I wasn't listening. I was laughing my ARSE OFF. Probably wrestling's most iconic debut and most iconic botch, all in one. I say pretend because the promo was pre-recorded by Ole Anderson. This is a hilariously terrible segment. Even the wrestlers struggle not to laugh. The botch is a good thing I think. At least it created a moment that will last a lifetime. Without it, the Shockmaster would have been just another shitty WCW gimmick that we would have hated and forgotten within weeks. At least this memory will live on.

Back to wrestling now, Paul Orndorff defends the TV against Ricky Steamboat. Two veterans doing what they do best. A perfectly solid match that didn't exceed expectations or underachieve. Steamboat will always be enjoyable to watch (2.5). Next, Sting & Ric Flair team up against the Colossal Kongs. With a combined weight of 850lb, you'd expect they might be booked strong wherever they went. Unfortunately they were bad at wrestling, winning a WON award for worst tag team of 1993. Flair & Sting squash them in a couple of minutes (0.5). Rick Rude & The Equaliser team against Dustin Rhodes and a mystery partner. It's revealed to be Animal, but its a swerve as Hawk appears from behind and he is actually the mystery partner, Animal is just moral support. This match lacked any tag psychology, especially the faces just running in and doing what they want to no consequence. Not very good this (0.75). Our main event is Vader vs Davey Boy Smith for the WCW title. Another Vader vs Bulldog match, and it's another good one. Following the cheap DQ finish last time, the DQ rule is not in play. You can tell they really wanted big things for Davey but he was never quite there charismatically. A good effort but Big Van continues his dominant run (3). Strong recommendation purely for the Shockmaster's debut.

MOTN- Vader vs Davey Boy Smith

#91: Clash of the Champions 25, November 10th 1993. 34.3%

Very rare to talk about consecutive shows, it makes giving some context a little easier. We're leading up towards Starrcade now, and Vader is still as dominant as ever. Flair unsuccessfully challenged Rick Rude for the International title so now his sights are set on the mastodon. The original plan was for Sid vs Vader, however Sid was forced out of the company after stabbing Arn Anderson a sickening amount of times with scissors whilst on a UK tour. Sid was just vibing with the British culture! Jokes aside, a horrible act of violence. Way to live up to your future gimmick, Psycho Sid. Both have since reconciled, the lesson learned is to never fuck with these two men or they'll fuck you up. On with the wrestling!

We have back to back DUD ratings to start, which isn't a good omen. Hawk challenges for Rick Rudes title in a poorly wrestled match that ends in a double count out, setting up a rematch at Starrcade. No one wants to see that, or this. The other dud is the Equaliser vs the Shockmaster, a 2 minute match with Equaliser hitting moves and Shockmaster ending it with one move. An utter waste of time the first 20 minutes of this event. It does pick up though, not by much initially. Steven Regal defends his TV title against Johnny B. Badd. No doubt Regal is a phenomenal wrestler, but a few of his matches during his TV title reign were soul-sucking. This was another. It's not as long as some of his boring ones, but this was a lot of rest holds with the occasional move by Badd (1.5). Steve Austin vs Brian Pillman, the Hollywood Blondes implode! Classic WCW to put two people together who don't want to be in a tag team, they create magic together and actually enjoy doing it then WCW break them up whilst Pillman is injured and barely build angle. Good match here, they have good chemistry but it felt like just a match between wrestlers rather than former friends turned enemies (3.25).

Dustin Rhodes defends his US title against Paul Orndorff. Dusty Rhodes and The Assassin are on the outside, their interactions seem to take centre stage over the match. This is a fine match, well worked but not exciting. Dusty's antics got the most crowd reactions (2). Sting & Davey Boy Smith challenge Nasty Boys for their tag titles, because why not, they got nothing else to do. Another decent match, Sting was at his best here taking a beating. A flat finish dragged this down a little (2.25). Ric Flair challenges Vader for the world title in our main event. This is pretty much a teaser for what we're going to get at Starrcade. Vader dominates but Flair manages to survive with his defence tactics. He even seemingly scores a pinfall to a deafening boom from the crowd, but the referee wasn't counting the pin he was disqualifying Vader for his previous actions. A very good match with a weak finish but it made sense for where the story was going (3.25). I rated Clash 25 higher than Clash 24 because the card was structured better, had better good matches and the worst was kept short.

MOTN- Vader vs Ric Flair

#90: Superbrawl 4, February 20th 1994. 35%

"There is no escape from the revenge and rage in the thundercage!" That's the tagline. WCW taglines sucked sometimes. It's as if they were stuck between two slogans then decided to blend them into one to create a lumpy smoothie of a sentence. This is only 1 of 2 Superbrawl events that was never released commercially. I'm unsure why, the show has nothing controversial and it's not embarrassingly shitty, although it certainly has it's moments.

We start with Harlem Heat vs Thunder & Lightning. Thunder is Dave Nelson who I don't know. Lightning is Jeff Farmer, who's biggest claim to fame is being nWo Sting. Yeah. This, like a lot of Harlem Heat matches, a match between 3 bad wrestlers and Booker T, who was called Kole at the time. You can tell it's boring when WCW cut away to a backstage segment mid-match (1). The Equaliser vs Jim Steele. Poorly executed moves, boring-ass rest holds, awful match. Steele even did arm drags badly. A fucking arm drag! I feel like I could even do a semi-okay arm drag. This was the pits (0). DDP vs Terry Taylor next. DDP would grow to be one of WCW's best, but right here he is extremely green. His offence is kept limited, relying on the artist formerly known as Red Rooster to pick up the slack. This went too long and clearly showed how unready Page is. Perhaps don't put your unprepared talent on fucking PPV? (1). Johnny B. Badd takes on Jimmy Garvin. It's supposed to be Michael Hayes, but he had a sick note to get out of the match so commissioner Nick Bockwinkel slotted his friend Garvin in this match. Garvin, another old Freebird who is now retired as an airline pilot. Another long, boring match. Both men applied too many rest holds, probably because Garvin is old and rusty. Not awful, but for from good (1).

This has been a terrible start to the show so far. Next, we have Arn Anderson challenging for Steven Regal's TV title. Guess what children, another long, boring, drawn-out match! For fuck sake! Two excellent performers who use good psychology but it's just 25+ minutes of exchanging holds. I can get behind a technical masterclass, but this was agonising. Take off 10 minutes, this could be a 3+ rating. It reeked of padding for time (1). Nasty Boys defend their tag titles against Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. This was better than expected. Nastys had to change their usual formula because Jack & Payne were seemingly immune to their offence so they were significantly more underhanded. Payne looked like a beast here, his talents were far more highlighted in tag action. An enjoyable match, weighed down a little by a dull DQ finish. These 4 would have a much better match a couple months later (2.75).

The ball is finally rolling now, next up Sting, Dustin Rhodes and Brian Pillman face Rick Rude, Steve Austin & Paul Orndorff inside the THUNDACAGE!!!. I want to hear William Regal say that. The crowd are loud for this one, especially Sting who is the most over person in the company right now. This is such a fun match, full of exciting action with a FUEGO crowd alongside. It starts as a tag match, devolves into a brawl before coming back into tagging for the final stage. Everyone plays their roles well, Austin was the best for the heel side and Pillman was the MVP of the whole match. He took a shit tonne of offence. Great fun, it could be an all-time classic with an extra 5-10 minutes but that wouldn't happen or it risked over-shining the main event (3.5).

Our main event is a second Thundercage match, Ric Flair defending the WCW Title against Vader. The Boss (Big Bossman) is the special referee because the officials can't control him. Now, usually I hate when WCW do the whole back-to-back stipulation bollocks, it cheapens the match type. However, this is a rare occasion where both matches absolutely slapped, in totally different ways. The 6-man was a chaotic brawl, this one felt like a life or death fight for survival. Flair came at Vader but the mastodon seemed impervious to all that was thrown at him. This was building to a classic but its downgraded a bit by overbooking. I didn't mind The Boss being attacked and handcuffed, giving Vader opportunity to just MURDER Flair. But then Arn & Steamboat were out trying to break in to save Ric, then Vader knocked Harley down by mistake, Boss just breaks off the handcuffs because of course and then he screws Vader who's in the figure four but doesn't tap. An excellent fight that fell over in the closing stages (3.75). The next entry is the same percentage. I ranked this lower because you shouldn't have to watch for 90 MINUTES until you get to a good match. On PPV no less.

MOTN- Vader vs Ric Flair

#89: Clash of the Champions 34, January 21st 1997. 35%

Arguably the hottest year in wrestling, 1997 played host to many fantastic shows and matches. Unfortunately, this show is lacking amazement. The most notable thing about this show is that Juventud Guerrera no-showed the show. Considering the amount of drug-fuelled adventures Juvie went on, we can assume he's probably either in jail or a strangers bed. Chris Jericho will sub in for him, a more than acceptable replacement.

Ultimo Dragon defends the Cruiserweight title against Dean Malenko to kick things off. Best match of the night, straight out the gate. Ultimo (or Ultimate if you're wrong) was one of the greatest exports WCW brought in, competing in an already talent filled division. Dragon has great high-flying offence but he's a great wrestler too. Malenko is arguably the greatest technician of all time. Good psychology and a hard hitting match, not either man's best but certainly very enjoyable. My favourite part about these matches is having Mike Tenay because he's the most competent one they have (3.75). Now we have Scott Riggs vs Mike Enos. A jobber match between two jobbers that precisely no one cared about. Not good (0.25). Konnan, Mr JL & La Parka vs Chris Jericho, Chavo Guerrero & Super Calo. Quite a lot of good talent in here, outside of the largely botchy Super Calo. Although Konnan was mostly bad during his time in WCW too. An energetic match with enough fun spots for this to be considered good. Jericho, Parka & JL (Jerry Lynn) are the stars of this match, trying to cover for Konnan's awful timing and making spots look blatantly orchestrated. Calo actually isn't too awful here either (3).

Harlem Heat takes on the Renegade & Joe Gomez. Excellent, another squash match. Gomez is a jobber for life and Renegade has been demoted to the jobber life because he sucks. Quick win for the HH (0.5). Masahiro Chono faces Alex Wright. Weird pairing. One of Japan's greats taking on WCW's overrated youngster. Fuck your Forbidden Door, we've got this! Another short match, Chono is on offence mostly because he's the only good wrestler here. I don't think the amount of unfair refereeing was needed to protect someone like Wright, it made Chono look weaker, but Nick Patrick's antics were funny (1). Eddie Guerrero takes on Scott Norton. Yet another short match but an enjoyable one. Eddie was one of WCW's best workers and it showed, playing a great face in peril to the dominant Norton. A DDP run in complimented the story being told well rather than detracting, which is an oddity for WCW booking. Decent stuff (2).

Kevin Sullivan fights Chris Benoit under Falls Count Anywhere rules. A storyline about Benoit stealing Sullivan's Woman, which ended up happening in real like as Nancy would leave Kev for Chris. A wild brawl between the two, which would have been far less entertaining without Benoit. They fought in the toilets for quite a long time, that must have been gross. Benoit was thrown down the steps in an unappreciated bump. I fell down 3 steps when I was 4 years old and I cried like a bitch. Stairs hurt (2.25). The Steiner bros take on the Amazing French-Canadians. An extended squash to put over the Steiners, Scott is returning from injury so they want to bring him back as a dominant force. Nothing much to this, just enjoyable Steiner offence (1). Scott Hall flanked by his Kliq buddies takes on Lex Luger. This is a weird time when Lex got super over for his use of the rack. It's mental, some of the crowd reactions in '97 are louder than the reactions he got in his prime. Not a bad ME, pretty basic but elevated by Luger's popularity, but also brought down by a DQ ending (2). Like most clashes, too many matches meaning too many short meaningless matches when we could have had like 5 really solid matches instead.

MOTN- Dean Malenko vs Ultimo Dragon

#88: The Great American Bash, July 26th 1986. 35.5%

We've talked about 1 of the shows from the '86 GAB tour, here is the second one. Quick reminder, the last show was placed at #120 so this is a significant improvement. No commentary for these tapes, which honestly is a nice change because WCW commentary can become insufferable sometimes. I like to pretend I'm the commentator on the match.

We open with Sam Houston vs Steve Regal. Not to be confused with Steven/William Regal, this guy is mainly known for wrestling across the NWA & AWA. A pretty bad 80s style wrestling match, but made watchable by an incredibly loud North Carolina crowd (1.25). Black Bart & Konga the Barbarian vs Denny Brown & the Italian Stallion follows. Essentially a squash here but it had some decent moments, especially from the Barbarian. He would soon drop his Konga first name. Not bad (1.5). Manny Fernandez takes on Baron Von Raschke in a 'Glove on a Pole' match. It's a loaded glove obviously, not just a pair of fluffy mittens to keep the hands warm. These two fought in a pretty bad Bunkhouse match earlier in the tour, this is equally as sucky. Badly worked and not even this electric crowd cared about this one. Once the glove was pulled down ir wasn't even used! Manny dodges it and wins without it. Truly icky stuff (0.5). Wahoo McDaniel vs Jimmy Garvin in an Indian Strap Match. They ran this exact match earlier on the tour and it's pretty much identical so it earns the same rating (2.5).

Ron Garvin and Tully Blanchard meet in a taped fists match. Another repeat from earlier in the tour, however this match was slightly worse. I'm not sure exactly, the match is again near enough identical except for a different finish, this time Tully goes over by cheating. I wasn't feeling this one quite as much (2). The Rock 'N' Roll Express take on Ole & Arn Anderson. The winner will be number 1 contenders for the tag titles. From these 4 masters of tag wrestling, this was never going to be bad. It's a 20 minute match full of tag psychology and I enjoyed, but I was hoping for better. It went to a time limit draw, which is fine but often with these bookings it's quite clear when they're padding out time and even with these 4 legends you could notice that was the case (3). Hair vs hair match between Paul Jones & Jimmy Valiant. I've talked about these two having matches before, and I've NEVER had good things to say. Why would that change now? Awful wrestling, plenty of overbooking, time wasted (0).

Nikita Koloff vs Magnum TA. This is match 4 in a best of 7 series, with the vacant US title up for grabs. Koloff has 3 straight wins so now Magnum needs to win 4 straight wins to win the gold. A pretty standard foreign heel vs face match, Nikita worked the crowd well who were HOT for Magnum. Magnum bleeds which adds a lot to the match. It's a basic match but can't deny how over Magnum was, he scores a roll up and the crowd lost their shit (2). The Road Warriors and Baby Doll face Jim Cornette & the Midnight Express inside a Steel Cage. A version of this was done previously, Animal & Hawk taking the spot Dusty & Magnum had. This match was better than the previous one, sure Cornette & Baby Doll ain't technically proficient, but the Road Warriors were still good in the 80s and the Midnight Express struggled to have bad matches. This was alright, lacklustre at times but fun was had (1.75). Our main event is another Steel Cage match (goddamn you WCW) as Ric Flair defends the World title against Dusty Rhodes. Flair has been defending the gold throughout the tour against most of the companies face roster. On the penultimate show of the tour, Dusty finally brings Flair's 2+ year reign to an end. It's a good match, again quite basic but its elevated to heights because of the insane crowd reaction and the sheer surprise of Dusty's victory. Solid main event with a heartwarming ending. Of course, Dusty would lose the title back to Flair 2 weeks later and he'd hold it for over a year again (3.25). Not a bad card but it was lacking a classic match to elevated the show. That's why the next entry is rated above this one.

MOTN- Dusty Rhodes vs Ric Flair

#87: The Great American Bash, June 14th 1998. 35.5%

Sticking with Dusty Rhodes' red, white & blue creation, the GAB of '98 may have more weaker matches than the previous entry, more importantly it has more good matches too. Better good matches. In the thick of 1998, not only is it NWO vs WCW, but there is infighting between the black and white faithful. This is the first major show after the formation of the NWO Wolfpac, the newer and cooler black and red faction. In reality, WCW should have prepared to book the end entirely for the nWo, rather than having this convoluted civil war story. However, WCW seemed to enjoy beating dead horses. The Kazakh's would be ashamed.

Chris Benoit vs Booker T opens the show. This is the final match in a best of 7 series with the winner facing TV champion Fit Finlay later on. These two actually already had this match, but interference threw it out so we're getting secret match 8. This was fantastic, Benoit had already made a name for himself as one of the best but Booker before this was an upcoming star. This programme with Benoit really helped elevate him to the next level. An outstanding back and forth that never let up, sided with narrow nearfalls and a huge win for Booker. Great start (4). Saturn vs Kanyon next. I wonder if Vince McMahon is inspired by late WCW for his weird obsession with one name wrestlers. This was a solid match, but they ran out of ideas towards the final moments of the match and it felt a bit flat. It got slow and plodding at the end. Not bad by any means (2.5). Dean Malenko faces Chris Jericho for the vacant cruiserweight championship. A match between these two is always going to be good, however this wasn't their best. Still very good, they have insane chemistry together and they're the best WCW have on the roster. It felt a gear behind what we were expecting, also it ended in a DQ. I didn't mind too much because it added to the fire of the rivalry, but maybe save these moments for TV time (3.5).

Juventud Guerrera faces Reese. Weird match. Reese is formerly the Yeti, that's the talent we're working with. He dominates the entire match and it all looks bad. Props to Guerrera selling like a boss, but after all of that Reese loses via one chair shot by Van Hammer. After a remarkably good start, we've driven right over a large speed bump (0). We get back on track though with a battle between Guerrero's, Eddie vs Chavo, Uncle vs Nephew and there's only 3 years in between them. A good match here, Chavo has been slowly becoming unhinged under the thumb of his tío. He wanted to prove he can beat Eddie. Excellence by Eddie as usual but Chavo more than holds his own (3.25). Booker T challenges Fit Finlay for the TV Championship. This was a slower match and had Finlay on offence mainly, which made sense because this his Bookers second match. This was pretty standard but it put Booker over strong being victorious in two tough matches in one night (2). Solid show mostly so far, but unfortunately we hit a trifecta of speed bumps now. Goldberg defends the US title against Konnan. Goldberg squashed him in about 2 minutes. At least we saw as little of Konnan as possible (0.25).

Hulk Hogan & Bret Hart team up against Randy Savage & Roddy Piper. This must have KILLED Bret to work. I'm honestly surprised with the amount of star power here that it wasn't put on as the main event. I'm glad though, because this wasn't good. 3 men who couldn't go anymore, plus Bret Hart being booked laughably bad. You're usual 90s Hogan match (0.5). Savage & Piper aren't friends and they have a match one on one immediately lined up after. Savage has an injured leg, so he taps out in about 2 minutes. Wow. Savage tapping out twice in a row is brutal for the guy, even if he was weakened. This didn't achieve anything, except make babyface Piper look like an ass and Randy Savage look weak. Bad (0). Sting vs The Giant with the tag titles on the line. Another case of "tag partners turned enemies so now they must fight in singles for the belts". Just get another partner! Stop with this bullshit! Anyways, it's alright I guess. Sting was really over and love the for NWO Wolfpac was strong since it was new. The Giant feels less of a monster to overcome when he's constantly overcome and rarely the top guy, but whatever (1.75). A weak ending to the show but the first half is really enjoyable, outside of Reese lumbering around with Juvie.

MOTN- Chris Benoit vs Booker T

#86: Halloween Havoc, October 23rd 1994. 35.6%

It's the most, spookiest tiiiiime, of the yeaaaar. It's pumpkin season in Ted Turner land, I wonder what horrors are afoot. Is it a spooky alliance of creatures who wants to kill Hulkamania for good? Is it a mystical bearded wizard who has come to scare us with his ghoulish presence? Or is it the scariest thing of all, having to watch a match featuring Jim Duggan?!! Noooooooooo!!!

Johnny B. Badd defends the TV title against Honky Tonk Man. Honky has no place competing for championships at this stage in his career, he was never a great worker but he's even worse now. This goes to a time limit draw, because Honky ain't jobbing for no one brother. A lot rest holds and stalling, which made zero sense for HTM who should be trying to win, right? Mostly bad but Johnny did try (1). Stars & Stripes defend the tag titles against Pretty Wonderful. This had some okay moments but a lot of lull moments too. I expected this to be worse. The heels Roma & Orndorff get louder cheers than S&S which isn't exactly great, but the match isn't great so why not cheer the baddies (1.75). Kevin Sullivan vs Dave Sullivan, brothers collide. Kevin hates Hogan, but Dave is an absolute mark for Hulkamania. He's dressed like Hulk, he acts like Hulk, his entrance music even stresses how much he likes Hulkamania. This was awful, lucky for us it was over in 5 minutes via count out. Avoid this (0). Arn Anderson faces Dustin Rhodes. This is decent, classic heel vs face match with Arn being the most impressive here. Dustin is okay but his ability and physicality has dipped here, but he was still a competent performer (2.5).

Steve Austin challenges for the US title against Jim Duggan. A bog standard Duggan affair with terrible offence, terrible selling and his usual "USA, HOOOO" shit. This isn't actually too bad thanks to Austin being great, but then Austin drops Duggan over the top resulting in a DQ. Firstly, the "over-the-top-rope" DQ is the worst rule ever and it absolutely hampers your creativity when booking matches. Secondly, why would Austin do that? He loses instantly, he doesn't look like an arsehole here he looks like an idiot. Dumb that (1). Vader takes on the Guardian Angel next. Guardian Angel is the Big Bossman if he was struck by Cupid's arrow. This is a decent outing, a hoss fight for sure which may not be everyone's cup of tea but I enjoyed this for the most part. I would have liked a more convincing win for Vader (2.5). Bunkhouse Buck & Terry Funk vs the Nasty Boys. A big brawl for the most part, quite entertaining. Especially watching Funk brain himself with a chair. Why? Who knows! He's mental! A lot of fighting, culminating with Funk taking a piledriver on a pumpkin, because it's spooky season (2). Our main event is Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan inside a Steel Cage. Not only for Hogan's WCW Title, but both men's careers are on the line too. I know who I want to see retire here. Mr T is the special referee, because why not. This is a lot of fun, it's a rare case of WCW overbooking a match and it went well. It's a pretty standard cage match with all of the usual cage offence. Mr T gets decked, Jimmy Hart & Sherri go at it, Sting comes to help bringing out the Masked Man to attack him. Spot of the night though, which cemented her as the Queen of my heart, Sherri leaps from the top of the cage with a double axehandle to Hogan. In barefoot no less! She's incredible. For a split second I was bought on a Hogan loss then of course he Hulked up and did his shtick. A really entertaining main event (3.5). Of course, like most wrestlers, Ric Flair didn't stay retired. He would retire I think another 4 times? Probably more. Hogan's bestie Brutus Beefcake would be revealed as the Masked Man, a reveal that I imagine not even the most mindless of fans cared about.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan

#85: Starrcade, December 16th 1990. 36.1%

I was torn whether to place this here or at #84, but overall I think this show has a weaker card than the next entry, although this show has 1 excellent match to talk about. Starrcade: Collision Course was built around two main things. The Pat O'connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament, 8 teams competing for trophy in honour of one of the legends of the NWA. Elsewhere, Sting faces the Black Scorpion and finally we will get an answer to the question; WHO IS THE BLACK SCORPION? Is it Chief Running Water? Is it Chef? Is it Mephesto? Is it the 1991 Denver Broncos? We actually will find out tonight. The issue here is that we have a 14 match card, only 3 matches go longer than 10 minutes and only our main event exceeds 11 minutes. That's quite limiting, an unnecessary struggle to put on good matches, though some succeed.

We start with "beautiful" Bobby Eaton taking in Tom Zenk. A nice opener here, two underutilised performers mixing it up (2.75/5). We begin the memorial tournament in the quarter finals. First up, The Steiners take on Sgt Krueger & Col. DeKierk. Team USA vs South Africa, even though I know DeKierk is more commonly known to us as Rocco Rock. This is a squash, as the Steiners run through their signature offence in about 2 minutes to win. Probably for the best (1.25). Norman Smiley & Chris Adams represent the UK against Konnan & Rey Misterio representing Mexico. Rey is the uncle to the Rey Mysterio were familiar with. This was a fun sprint for 5 minutes but some sloppy action and an awkward finish prevents this from being too good. Smiley was impressive, shame UK lost here (2). New Zealand's The Royal Family take on Japan's Mr Saito & the Great Muta. Another 5 minute match, not quite as exciting as the previous one but it was okay. This would have sucked without Muta and his brilliance (1.5). Our final match in this round sees Canada's Bull Johnson & Troy Montaur take on Russia's Victor Zangiev & Salman Hasimikov. I thought it said Salmon, which is a much better name. This was a stinker, only a few minutes long but it was boring rest holds mainly. The Russians are called amateur wrestlers, but they didn't live up to that well. They're ability looked amateur. Worst thing is that the Russians won so we're seeing more of that soon enough (0).

A brief break from tag wrestling, we have Michael Wallstreet vs Terry Taylor. A nice little match from two competent but not overly exciting performers. York used her computer to predict Wallstreet would win within 8 minutes and change, and he did. Well done computer, don't rise up and enslave humanity pls (2.25). Big Cat & Motor City Madman take on the Skyscrapers. 1 minute goes by and it's done. The double powerbomb didn't look quite as cool as they hoped, but it achieved it's goal (0.25). The Freebirds take on Tommy Rich & Ricky Morton. I'm running out of ways to say "It was fine". That's all this was. A fine match that wasn't given much time to be anything more than okay. Considering the Freebirds ability at this stage though, I'm kinda glad (2). Semi-finals time! Misterio & Konnan face the Steiners. Another short match, weirdly booked. Konnan is injured, yet starts the match. The Steiner's hit their finisher, but don't go for a pin and let Rey tag in. Then moments later Rey is put away by Rick. Could have been better (1). Zangiev & Hasimikov vs Saito & Muta. 3 minutes of action mainly by the Japanese. I'm struggling to give a shit WCW when all the matches are around 5 minutes or less. This just feels tedious to watch, the Steiner's vs Muta & Saito felt like a certainty to moment I read the card (1).

Stan Hansen defends the US title against Lex Luger in a Texas Lariat match, aka a bullrope match. This was an enjoyable brawl, I always like watching Hansen because he hits the boys with serious force. They even did something unique with the stipulation, as a ref bump prevented Luger from winning and Hansen then touched all the turnbuckles, but the referee got up and did see Luger make it to the fourth and awarded him the victory instead. Probably the most I've enjoyed a bullrope match (2.5). Doom defend the NWA tag titles against Horsemen representatives Arn Anderson & Barry Windham, in a Street Fight. This doesn't go 10 minutes and ends in a stupid draw, yet this is the greatest and most exciting match of the night. Just a violent brawl from bell to bell. Anderson & Reed are bleeding, chairs and titles are used as weapons, the action is so intense. Its a shame it ended so soon and cheaply but what we got was amazing. Street fight done well (4/5). The Steiners face Saito & Muta in the tournament finals. 4 incredible wrestlers together in 1 ring should have been magical it was good, but below expectations. I think having just over 10 minutes really effected this, as these could go have a 20 minute classic but instead they have to run through the hits. Still a good match though (3.25). Sting vs The Black Scorpion in a Steel Cage for the NWA World title. WHO IS THE BLACK SCORPION?!?!?? Well there is a significant name not on this card so you can imagine who. A boring main event because the Scorpion, who is revealed to be Ric Flair, has to wrestle a different style to prevent exposing his identity. The style he chose was...generic male wrestler no.1. A very weak main event. What isn't weak though, is the hilarious Scorpion entrance with multiple Scorpions coming out, then the real Scorpion emerges from a fucking spaceship. Nothing about the Scorpion made any sense, they should have binned it when they had the chance (1.5). This show probably deserves to be lower, but the short matches do help this show glide over in short time. A 14 match card with only 2 good to great matches though? Hard to recommend at all.

MOTN- Doom vs Horsemen

#84: The Great American Bash, June 15th 1997. 36.1%

I've mentioned some of the bad taglines that these WCW shows have used, but I think this show takes the cake. "Give him a nice warm hug on Father's day". That's fucking shit isn't it? Think of some of the iconic taglines of the past. "Hogan's a colorful guy, but his nightmare's in black and white." "It all begins...again." "Once in a lifetime". All perfect examples of taglines that draw intrigue for the upcoming show. Advertising the fact that it's Father's day, who cares? Sell your wrestling, not what day it is.

We open with Psychosis vs Ultimo Dragon, or "Ultimate" if you're WCW and stupid. A very good way to start the show, two cruiserweight who have good power game as well as aerial offence. It's always impressive to see the Asai moonsault from it's innovator. The crowd is nice and warmed up (3.25). Harlem Heat take on the Steiners. This was a decent match until the DQ finish thanks to the nWo, as Vincent comes in and drops a hideous elbow. Until that though, it was pretty good. Steiners are MEGA over, Booker T was good and hey even Stevie Ray was in relatively good form here (2.25). Konnan vs Hugh Morrus in a dull match next, not much happened and what moves did land didn't land too smoothly. A bad pairing here (1). Wrath takes on Glacier next. Glacier is always funny to watch. He reminds me of Mac from Always Sunny when he shows off his "martial-art" expertise. This weird period of ripping off Mortal Kombat didn't pay off well, not many good matches and none of the talent we're elevated. This wasn't too bad, but it was lacking in good, non-ironic entertainment (1.75).

Women's title vs career match next, Akira Hokuto defends the gold against Madusa. Hokuto made success for herself in All-Japan's women's division. This was a decent match made even more encapsulating due to how over Madusa was. It told a solid story of Hokuto being a ruthless champion and Madusa trying to overcome the odds. She lost though, so her career is over...for 4 days when she wrestled house shows in Germany. Then her career was really over...for 2 years when she began wrestling again when WCW remembered they had women on the roster (2.5). Chris Benoit faces Meng in a death match, a re-run from their match at the previous PPV. Great variety. This was fine, it was a hard-hitting brawl but it never went into death match territory once. These are basically submission matches, because I don't recall any weapons or cheating used except for the occasional biting. This was here, and it was fine (2). Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs Kevin Greene. Ah yes, the battle of former football stars. McMichael wasn't too good but paired with the right people his weaknesses were cloaked. Can't hide how shit you are against another non-wrestler though. Greene held his own well in matches but again neither man was experienced enough to lead a good match. This wasn't as bad as it could have been, they tried but it just felt like two men hitting moves because they have to (1).

The Outsiders defend their tag titles against Ric Flair & Roddy Piper. A solid match, perfectly average. Of course the Outsiders retained to keep momentum with the black and white gang. Don't worry old lads, you just have to wait 9 years and you'll win tag gold together (2.5). Our main event is Randy Savage vs Diamond Dallas Page, falls count anywhere. This is unsanctioned, made obvious by the lights going off then on. I quite like when promotions do that. This is their second meeting in an intense feud that's lasted since Spring. This is wild violence from before the bell as DDP jumps Savage from behind. DDP looks like a real main eventer, even in defeat he looked like a million bucks. In fairness, he took an Outsiders Edge AND a Macho elbow, which I think puts him over greatly (3). The card was lacking a banger.

MOTN- Psychosis vs Ultimo Dragon

#83: Starrcade, December 27th 1993. 36.3%

Call WCW what you want, you can criticise all of the stupid ideas and mistakes that a global wrestling company really shouldn't make. You can claim how inferior they were and are to the WWE, however they have at least once thing going for them over WWE. They understand how fucking anniversaries work. The 11th annual Starrcade is heavily advertised as the 10th anniversary of the event, which is correct unlike the false advertisement for Wrestlemania 25 some 16 years later. The main event of this was originally planned to be Vader vs Sid, but those plans changed after the Sid-Arn stabbing incident. Definitely a good thing, Flair over Sid any day. I watched WWF Buried Alive when Sid fought Vader, and it was fine, but not on the level of this main event.

We begin with tag action, Pretty Wonderful vs 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell. Just fine (2). Awesome Kong takes on The Shockmaster next. To describe this in one word, it would be ugly. Mercifully 90 seconds long but crap is still crap no matter how long it takes to be deposited (0). Steven Regal defends the TV title against Ricky Steamboat. Another 15 time limit draw Regal match. I liked the booking of Regal willing to drag a match out for a draw to retain, however it doesn't always make an exciting watch. The draw seemed inevitable within 5 minutes which killed some excitement. Still, watching Steamboat is always worth something (2). Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce vs Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. Pre-inbred farmers (The Godwinns) Tex & Pierce aren't very good. Some nice tandem offence from Jack & Maxx but this was largely mediocre (1.25)

Dustin Rhodes defends the US title against Steve Austin in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. If you never have, I recommend watching some of Dustin's work in WCW. He has a few hidden gems and he's in good shape, shape he would never be close to until his fourth return to WWE in 2008. This a decent match, these have solid chemistry. Weird booking to have the heel win 2-0, don't think I've seen that before. Decent match (2.5). Rick Rude defends the WCW International title against The Boss, aka Big Bossman. A TV match not worthy of being on the show. It was alright but a lot of slow rest spots like a lot of Rude's WCW matches (1.75). The Nasty Boys defend their tag titles against Sting & Hawk. YAWN. Are you struggling with insomnia? This match is your cure. A dull near 30 minute match full of rest holds and possibly the world's longest abdominal stretch, with a brief babyface comeback before a DQ finish how dare you make me watch 30 minutes for no pay off (1). You've probably realised the show has been pretty lame so far, luckily we're saved from a complete stinker by our marquee main event, Vader vs Ric Flair. Title vs Career. As if Flair's retirement would ever be a certainty. This is Flair's first Starrcade since 1990 thanks to Jim Herd's leadership. This was a fantastic display of psychology and emotional investment. Vader looked like an unbeatable monster, taking everything Flair had and returning it tenfold. Flair looked despondent. However, he dug down deep, remembered who the fuck he is and pulled out a giant killing performance. Greatness from both men, props to Harley Race too who was in Vader's corner. A rival of Flair's who added more emotional drama to this match. A great, must watch match (4). Its a 1 match show, which were going to see a lot at this stage of the reviews, but that 1 match is a great match.

MOTN- Vader vs Ric Flair

#82: World War 3, November 23rd 1997. 36.7%

We return to WCW's most 'compensating for something' PPV. "Ooh look at our big, girthy 60-man battle royal. Yeah, we're totally comfortable with ourselves." We're nearing climax in regards to the nWo vs WCW, with Hogan vs Sting already booked in for Starrcade. We already know how that went down. Let's see how the penultimate PPV event of the calendar year fares.

Glacier & The Cat team up against the Faces of Fear. Not very good, Meng & Barbarian's offence looked okay whereas Glaciers was so-so and The Cat was terrible (1.5). Perry Saturn defends the TV title against Disco Inferno in a boring match between a mediocre bee-gee impersonator and a future moppy-phile (1). Yuji Nagata vs Ultimo Dragon, if the Dragon wins he gets 5 minutes in the ring with Sonny Onoo. What a treat this could have been! Two Japanese legends, however the story of Ultimo and Onoo was the focus. Curse you WCW. The match was still an enjoyable watch since they're both immensely talented. The involvement of Onoo brings this down for me but still good. These two wrestled only 1 other time, the month prior to this and it was far better (2.75). The Steiner's defend tag gold against the Blue Bloods. This was a pretty standard match, but we have peak Steiners so whenever they're in action it's always good to watch. Regal & Taylor were fine but they were no match for Scott & Rick (2.5).

Raven vs Scotty Riggs next, under Raven's Rules (no DQ). A decent hardcore brawl, wasn't expecting much better from Riggs. Raven is still near enough the same as his ECW persona and he's cool as fuck (2). Steve McMichael brags about his attack on Goldberg before an open challenge is issued. His ex-valet Debra drags out Alex Wright, which is the exact same thing which happened at the previous PPV. Spoiler alert, that match sucked so don't be hopeful. This was worse though, mainly because it was a second helping of the same shit. Rinse and repeat, a short dominant win for Mongo except this time no Goldberg appearance (0). Eddie Guerrero defends the Cruiserweight title against Rey Mysterio. This is another rematch from the previous PPV, however the previous match was arguably the greatest WCW match EVER. Often the sequel is never as good as the original, which rang true here but this was still an incredible match. They didn't go out and try to outperform their previous encounter, they just went out and put on another great match (3.75). Curt Hennig defends his US title against Ric Flair under no DQ rules. It's a shame we never got a PPV classic between these two. Their match on Raw in 1993 was excellent, but they never met 1-on-1 in the WWF. They did here but both men were past their primes. This wasn't a bad effort (2.25).

World War 3 time, they change rules to this a few times because you can't nail down a shit. 60 men in 3 rings, when we're down to the final 15 we move into 1 ring. As you should know by now, it's an unfollowable schmoz of bodies punching other bodies for about 75% of the match. Trying to watch on a triple feature layout is not enjoyable. There is little to talk about. The Giant went on a tear, only he & Meng were lift in ring 3. Ring 1 was eventually entirely made up of NWO wrestlers. Even eliminations to the big names kinda just happen there's so little substance. The story is the the nWo band together to dominate, eventually having the numbers advantage in the stages however The Giant & DDP survive long enough to clear most of the field. When it's them two & Scott Hall left, Hulk Hogan joins the fight for the Black and White which of course screws over WCW and Scott Hall wins this one. Also interfering was "Sting", rappelling down to the ring and attacking the Giant, but it was actually Kevin Nash dressed as Sting. A pretty bad match, one of the worse WW3 matches they did. They pretty much re-ran the previous years WW3 having an nWo member win, which may or may not cause issues between the winner and Hogan (0.75). Another pretty mediocre show that a very good Mysterio vs Guerrero match couldn't save.

MOTN- Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio

#81: Wrestlewar, May 7th 1989. 36.7%

Very similar to the previous entry, this is a weak show with one good match. However this one good match just happens to be Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat, the final entry of possibly the greatest trilogy of matches ever. Which match is the best of the three is up for debate and we'll discuss as we go along. They actually wrestled a 4th singles match during this feud on a house show, which is highly praised as their greatest match ever by fans and critics. We're just going to look at the ones on PPV.

The Great Muta makes his PPV debut for WCW against Doug Gilbert. A 3 minute squash, but quite an entertaining one with Muta's unique offence and using the green mist (1.5). Ranger Ross vs Butch Reed next. Christ. Do I need to say anymore?. Slow and terrible (0.25). Next a Bullrope match between Dick Murdoch & Bob Orton Jr. Dick is 43 & Orton is 39, which doesn't sound too old for a wrestler but damn these two couldn't go anymore. Awful match that was at least under 5 minutes (0.5). The Dynamic Dudes vs the Samoan Swat Team. Hello John Laurinitis and Shane Douglas, got any "radical" words of wisdom for us? Longitudinal my dude. While the Dynamic Dudes is one of the lamest gimmicks ever, the pair are quite talented in the ring. This short but it's a well structured tag match (2.5). Lex Luger defends the US title against Michael Hayes. This is a good match, Hayes does a solid job working the crowd like the dirty heel he is. Luger is in good form here, looking good even in defeat as Terry Gordy runs interference to help Hayes win. This would lead to a reformation of a new version of the Freebirds. It didn't reach the heights of the previous Freebirds success (3). Sting squashes the Iron Sheik in 2 minutes to retain the TV title, because he had nothing else to do (0.25).

Main event time, even though for some reason we have another pair of matches to talk about after this. Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat III. We'll cover the previous two later in the series, but I'll cover some brief points. Steamboat took the title from Flair in a technical masterclass but a referee bump midly taints the victory. In a rematch, Steamboat beat Flair again in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, a war of endurance & physicality but a referee error again cast a small shadow on the victory. Here we have one final rematch, under normal rules with 3 judges at ringside in case we get to a draw. The judges are Lou Thesz, Terry Funk & Pat O'Connor. Considering the issue was surrounding referee issues, realistically we should have a special enforcer involved, but hey we're getting more Flair vs Steamboat so who am I to critique. This is awesome, another one of the greatest matches of all time, not just in WCW but in all history. This is a nice blend of excellence in technical wrestling as well as masterminding psychology. Flair gunning for the leg, Steamboat attempting to keep the pace as fast as possible. This goes just over 30 minutes without dragging for a beat. Eventually Ric Flair finally gets a victory over Steamboat, countering a bodyslam attempt into a pinfall. My appreciation for this match is significantly higher after I watched the previous two encounters. Both men show appreciation and respect for each other, just in time for Terry Funk to assault Flair and piledrive him through a table! Awesome shock of an ending, seamlessly setting up the next main event feud right as one ends. This is the art of professional wrestling (5).

We carry on with the dregs of the show. The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & Steve Williams) defend their world tag titles against the Road Warriors. Action was fine, kept short and ended in a stupid DQ finish thanks to interference from the rest of the Varsity Club (2). Those members are Kevin Sullivan & Dan Spivey, who now defend the US Tag titles against Eddie Gilbert & Rick Steiner. Not very good, mainly because Steiner was injured which is confusing why they then had them win the titles. The titles were vacated and dissolved for a year after this (1.5). Why didn't Steamboat vs Flair main event? Well presumably so that it wasn't obvious that the match wasn't going to run less than an hour. It makes sense, I'd personally just have the match open the show instead then put Luger vs Hayes in the main.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat

#80: Starrcade, November 28th 1985. 37%

This is another one of those multi-location shows, this time only two locations. The feed would flick back and forth between Greensboro, NC & Atlanta, GA. Starrcade: The Gathering was heavily built around the long-burning feud between Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. Flair beat Rhodes in an underwhelming match at Starrcade '84 and their feud continued for the following year. It reached its peak when Flair alongside allies Ole & Arn Anderson assaulted Rhodes and broke his ankle. The feud also gave birth to possibly the greatest, iconic promo of a time, the 'Hard Times' promo. I'll post the link below, go watch it even if you've seen it before. I forget just how amazing this promo is every time.

Before our hype main event we have the mid-80s undercard, which is primarily bland. We start with Krusher Krushchev vs Sam Houston for the Mid-Atlantic Championship, a title made vacant due to a financial dispute between Buzz Tyler and bookerman Dusty Rhodes. A basic match but the crowd were really into this so it had some exciting moments. The sickle is a great move (1.5). Then, we have a Mexican Deathmatch between Manny Fernandez & Abdullah the Butcher. We can tell it's a Mexican Deathmatch because there's a sombrero on a pole. "Why is that a thing" you ask? Well because you win by retrieving the sombrero first. This was dumb and quite bad but oddly enjoyable, thanks to a still hot crowd. Manny's finisher is called the Flying Burrito and I both love AND hate that (1). Black Bart faces Ron Bass in a Texas Bullrope match. These two just clubbed the shit out of each other and it was alright. A shit load of blood spilt. This looks like a casual night out in Wallsend (2). This means Bass got to face JJ Dillon in a bullrope match, but it ends quickly after Bart interference helps Dillon win. Won't rate this, more of a story arc. Then, Billy Graham defeated The Barbarian in an arm wrestling by DQ, winning $10K. This led to a singles match between the two, which was dreadful. Ugly, slow, boring, rubbish wrestling (0).

Terry Taylor defends the NWA National title against Buddy Landell. A bland match and a bland finish (1.5/5). Ole & Arn Anderson defend the National Tag Team titles against Billy Jack Haynes & Wahoo McDaniel. A basic tag match that rushed through the motions. Well executed (2). Tully Blanchard defends the US title against Magnum TA in an I Quit match, inside a Steel Cage. I heard a lot of praise about this match and it deserves it. This is the most violent match for this era I think I've ever seen. They tear each other apart from bell to bell. Cutting each other open on the cage wall, Tully hits Magnum with the microphone, Tully breaks a wooden chair and grabs a piece and tries to stab Magnum with it. This is nuts! Magnum wins it by gouging the wooden spike into Tully's head and Tully quits insistently. Crazy match, one of the best of the decade (4.5). From one of the best WCW matches to the worst, Jimmy Valiant & Atlanta Lively vs Midnight Express. Lively is actually Ron Garvin in drag, ha ha ha, he's dressed as a lady *sarcasm intensifies*. A chaotic mess that I'm so sad the ME were forced to be a part of (0).

Ivan & Nikita Koloff defend the World Tag Team Championships against the Rock N Roll Express inside a Steel Cage. This is a real good match, brought down by the fact we've already seen one and it was AWESOME. At least both crowds get to watch one live, both crowds were real hot tonight. (3.25/5). Main event time, Ric Flair defends the World Championship against the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. This has a big match feel, and it mostly delivers. It's a basic main event match but it's a proven formula. Flair targets the leg, Rhodes is resilient, Flair bleeds, Rhodes fights off outside interference, reverses a move into a sma package to win. Good match with a great feel good moment. Shame that the decision was reversed days later due to Arn Anderson interference making this now a DQ win for Dusty. STUPID booking, just take the title Dusty. (3). Terrible undercard, but once you get to Tully vs Magnum things heat up significantly, except for the usual shit from Jimmy Valiant.

MOTN- Tully Blanchard vs Magnum TA

That's another 20 shows ranked, come back next week for another entry! I'm glad to finally be talking about some grade A Cali quality matchups. We're scaling up the cream and diluting the stank. Thank you very much for reading, if you like it please check out my socials to stay up to at date with all the blog content. Until next time, see ya!


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