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  • Connor Ewens

Every WCW PPV Reviewed & Ranked: Part 6

This is an introduction. Welcome to the introduction. I am introducing today's article. Good morrow gang-gang and welcome back to the WCW R'N'R. Today we'll be cracking into the top 50 of WCW's shows but we still will not be checking out any shows past the 50% threshold just yet. However, plenty of stuff worth talking about.

#59: Slamboree, May 7th 2000. 42%

We begin today with an award to give out! Congratulations to Slamboree 2000 for being the best show of the year 2000. Admittedly, that's like chlamydia winning the award for best STD.

Chris Candido defends the Cruiserweight title against The Artist. The action is okay but there's no chemistry here so it's not fluid. Not a great way to start (1.75). Terry Funk defends the Hardcore title against Norman Smiley and a mystery partner. The mystery partner is revealed to be Ralphus, former valet/manager for Chris Jericho. Your basic WCW hardcore brawl here with very little substance. Ralphus' offence is the worst I've seen but Funk & Smiley are entertaining enough to almost counterbalance it (1.5). Shawn Stasiak vs Curt Hennig. A bland match to put over Stasiak. Hennig is the perfect guy for this but Stasiak had a basic moveset that wasn't fun to watch (1). Scott Steiner defends the US title against Hugh G. Rection. I was hoping to never talk about Captain/General Rection again. This match is solid to be fair, Rection isn't bad and Steiner's offence was fun to watch. Too much interference from Steiner's ladies (2).

Mike Awesome vs Chris Kanyon. A ridiculous amount of interference plagues the ending of this match which is a shame because the action was real good. Awesome looked - well - awesome just kicking Kanyon's ass (3). Lex Luger vs Buff Bagwell. Incredible... incredibly dull. Got em. This is 90% rest holds and 10% awkward wrestling, with more excessive interference. That's the way things were in WCW 2000 (1). Shane Douglas takes on Ric Flair. 6 years ago, this would have been a dream match as Douglas made a career in ECW calling out Ric Flair. Now, Douglas is insanely out of shape and Flair isn't at his best. This is still okay though, a hot crowd and a solid formula. Marked down due to another interference by "Sting" who we assume is Vince Russo but its revealed to be David Flair! (2.25/5).

Vampiro vs Sting. I've covered a few of these two facing against each other and they almost all terrible. This one surprisingly is not. It's a short match but it has plenty of action and no interference! Hot dog (2.5). Billy Kidman vs Hulk Hogan next with Eric Bischoff as referee. Kidman puts his working boots on here, putting in a great effort to make Hogan look competent in the ring. It's a good match that stumbled towards to end due to slow table spots and Horace Hogan being involved, but it's mostly good (2.75). Our main event is the Ready to Rumble match, a triple cage match as actor David Arquette defends the WCW Title against DDP & Jeff Jarrett. Was putting the WCW title on Arquette the worst booking decision in WCW? No, that would be Russo winning the belt. However, it's definitely up there. Everything about this match screams like it's going to suck but somehow its the match of the night. Arquette's involvement is limited, as DDP & Jarrett fight each other through the 3 cages to the top. Arquette betrays DDP hitting him with a guitar in the finish helping Jeff win, Jarrett going through the side of the cage looked cool as did the show closing spot of Mike Awesome tossing Kanyon off the cage through the entrance ramp! It's silly bollocks but it's fun and well executed (3.25). Nothing outstanding here but nothing too awful either, too much overbooking as usual.

MOTN- DDP vs Jeff Jarrett vs David Arquette

#58: Clash of the Champions 19, June 16th 1992. 42.5%

Last week we covered the Great American Bash 1992 which saw the finale of the NWA Tag tournament. That tournament begins here tonight, with every match being a tag match in the tournament. Bill Watts' WCW receives a lot of criticism and a lot of its justified, but it wasn't all bad as we will see tonight.

We begin with the Malenko's (Dean & Joe) vs Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff. An entertaining match with 3 excellent technical wrestlers and Koloff, who played the hot tag role. The Malenkos are a more gelled team but it's the Dragon and the Lithuanian nightmare who come out victorious (2.5). Next, Marcus Bagwell & Tom Zenk take on Rick Rude and Steve Austin. Well worked but not that exciting, Zenk & Bagwell get beaten on for the entirety of this match and never looked like pulling out a comeback (2). Terry Gordy & Steve Williams face the father-son combo of Larry & Jeff O'Day. The O'Day's get murdered in about 2 minutes. Highly predictable, Gordy & Williams will face the Steiners tonight (0.25). Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham vs Bobby Eaton & Arn Anderson. As you would expect from these 4, a solid tag match with great psychology. I would have liked Arn & Bobby to win because we would have seen an all Dangerous Alliance quarter final match, but I understand the decision here (3.25).

The Silver Kings take on the Fabulous Freebirds. These did not gel whatsoever. Awkward wrestling and the Kings' botched some of their moves. Freebirds should not be wrestling against luchadors. This very much felt like Watts' saying "look how much better my wrasslin' is to flippy BS" (0.5). Brian Pillman & Jushin Thunder Liger team up against Chris Benoit & Biff Wellington. Benoit & Biff coincidentally and tragically were both found dead on the same day in 2007. Biff didn't have much success, his highest was probably winning the Stampede tag titles with Benoit. This match is the TITS. These 4 guys worked their asses off for 10 minutes and put on a clinic. Pillman was the fan favourite going in, but going out the fans loved them all. Liger's lightning fast offence, Wellingtons strength & Benoit's sublime wrestling ability. Phenomenonal match (4). Hiroshi Hase & Akira Nogami take on the Headhunters. Hase & Nogami? good wrestlers. The headhunters? Lame ass jobber wrestlers. A boring watch but at least it was short (1). We close with Williams & Gordy vs The Steiner Brothers. This should really be on PPV, it's a marquee match. The Steiner's earned a bye because the MVC presumably got the Steiner's Puerto Rican opponents in a car accident? They really wanted this Steiner match. I do too, because 4 big lads beefing each other is often good fun. This was 15 minutes of pure testosterone. A contest in wrestling which devolved into a hossfest. It was great (3.5). Plenty to enjoy here, which was rare for a Bill Watts WCW show.

MOTN- Pillman & Liger vs Benoit & Wellington

#57: Superbrawl, May 19th 1991. 44.5%

The inaugural Superbrawl was introduced to be one of WCWs flagship shows alongside Starrcade, Halloween Havoc & the Greatest American Bash. The name is inspired by the Super Bowl. It's one of two WCW PPV's to have a video game named after it, alongside Mayhem.

We open with the Fabulous Freebirds vs the Young Pistols for the vacant US Tag Titles. The titles were vacated so the Steiner's could focus on defending the world tag belts. These two teams have fought each other a bunch of times, so their chemistry together is pretty solid. A competitive match ending with the Freebirds winning. I would have put over the younger team in this one, but the match was decent (2.5). Ricky Morton takes on Dan Spivey. An extended squash but Morton showed some fight against his significantly larger opponent. This alright for the time it was given (1.75). Nikita Koloff vs Tommy Rich. Another short extended squash, this time Rich was able to get in a lot more offence but eventually falls the the Russian Sickle. It did what it set out to achieve (1.5). Dustin Rhodes takes on Terrence Taylor. This is during the poorly executed York Foundation story with the computer that uses stats to predict the future. These two were reliable workers and they put in a good effort, but it doesn't rise much above being average. Rhodes had potential and Taylor did his best to carry a weak gimmick (2.5).

Black Bart vs Big Josh. Bad match this, a real doo-doo. Lucky for us it's under 5 minutes but it's still sloppy and uninteresting. Not a PPV quality match, not even a TV quality match (0.5). We have the debut of Oz who squashes Tim Parker in about 30 seconds. Whether a shit is 3 inches long or 3 feet long, shit is still shit and that's what this was. Shit (0). Brian Pillman vs Barry Windham in a taped fists match. Our first good match of the night, hooray! It's another short match not reaching 10 minutes but it's a fight. Windham beats Pillman's ass but Flying Brian holds his own and pulls out some wicked offence. Thoroughly enjoyable (3). Next is El Gigante vs Sid Vicious in a stretcher match. Usually a stretcher match means you must put your opponent on it and wheel them up the ramp. Not here though. Here, there's a stretcher at ringside...and that's it. After 2 minutes Gigante wins via pinfall using the dreaded claw. Awful match (0.25). Ron Simmons takes on former partner Butch Reed in a THUNDER DOOM cage match, with Teddy Long suspended in his own cage above the ring. Thunder Doom is a play on the Thunderdome cage and the Doom team these two used to be on together. These two put in the work to put on a solid match but it was bland and unremarkable. A very paint by numbers cage match. This put Simmons over and a year from now he would be world champion (2.25).

The Steiner Brothers defend the World Tag Championships against Sting & US champion Lex Luger. This match is SO GOOD. I expected this to be good, but these 4 went absolutely HAM for just over 10 minutes and it was great. The Steiners and Sting were arguably at their peak at this time and Luger was still really good. They went all out and battered each other, it ended with a dusty finish thanks to Nikita Koloff's interference but it was to keep Luger & Sting strong in defeat and I didn't mind at all. This was awesome *five claps* (4.5). Arn Anderson defends the TV Championship against Bobby Eaton. If you wanted two guys who could reliably have good matches all of the time then these two are great picks. Eaton is full babyface now the Midnight Express is no more and he fits the role really well. He could have been a great singles star, its a shame WCW never fully committed. He gets the win here though, good from start to finish even if a run-in by Windham & Pillman was confusing and added nothing (3.25). Our main event is a double title match, WCW World Champion Ric Flair vs NWA World Champion Tatsumi Fujinami. You wouldn't know that though, because this was just advertised as a WCW title match and didn't acknowledge Fujinami defeating Flair at the WCW/New Japan Supershow. WCW claimed Flair retained HIS title via DQ, and refused to acknowledge the difference between the two world titles. That's not confusing at all. This was a real good match, just as good as their first encounter. The crowd was piss poor but the in-ring was as good as you would expect. The Japanese ref takes a bump, and Flair rolls up Fujinami and WCW official Bill Alfonso counts the 3. It's not a cheap finish at all but it feels like one if that makes any sense? Weird, but good (3.5). A mostly forgettable undercard but the last 3 matches are worth it, especially that tag match.

MOTN- The Steiners vs Sting & Lex Luger

#56: Halloween Havoc, October 25th 1997. 42.8%

We're finally going to talk about arguably the best match in WCW history. It's definitely their best match of the 90s and 00s. Only one match I think is better than this one and we're not talking about it until we reach the top 10. Is this a one match show? Not to me, but without it this show would be ranked around 86th instead so I understand why people say it is.

Our opener is our second best match tonight, Yuji Nagata vs Ultimo Dragon. A very good match, the story is between Dragon & former manager Sonny Onoo and it adds to the match rather than takes away. A nice blend of striking, technical and high-flying wrestling styles (3.5). Next Chris Jericho takes on the debuting Gedo. Gedo is current booker for New Japan. An average match, well worked but quite short. Jericho almost brained himself whilst performing a frankensteiner. It looked gnarly (2.5). Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero for the Cruiserweight title, with Rey's mask on the line too. What do I say except how amazing this was. Although we had seen more influence of Japanese and Mexican styles at this point, we had never seen a match like this at this quality in either of the big companies. It's a near 15 minute art piece of wrestling excellence. Just go watch this match if you never have before. I always remember how smooth Rey's springboard reverse DDT was. Both men had made a name for themselves with great matches, but this match established both guys as future megastars (5).

Steve McMichael vs Alex Wright. What a contrast, going from possibly the greatest WCW match ever to...this. All that came from this was the first PPV appearance for Goldberg who appeared and aided Wright to win (0.5). Disco Inferno defends the TV title against Jacqueline. I have no words except this sucked but I'll give pity points for Jacqueline beating Disco (0.25). Curt Hennig vs Ric Flair. The Horsemen wanted Hennig but he turned his back on them instead of joining. These two had a great match together on Raw but that was 4 years prior. This was fine, ending in a DQ because of course. It made sense for the feud I guess (2.25). Scott Hall takes on Lex Luger, Larry Zbyzsko is referee who has been outspoken against the NWO. The action was meh, the story was all about Hall vs Zbyzsko which detracted from the match at times. Luger was super over which helped things. It was okay (1.5).

Randy Savage takes on Diamond Dallas Page in a Las Vegas Sudden Death Match AKA Last Man Standing match. Savage proved throughout this feud how wrestling smart he was. He could have been like all of his other buddies and politicked himself world title matches and putting himself over. Instead, he chose to work with DDP and get him over. He's a real one. This isn't their best match but it's entertaining, both men really selling the beating they give each other (3). Our main event is Hulk Hogan vs Roddy Piper in a Steel Cage. It's the thundercage set up rather than the traditional steel cage, so they can walk around the ring. This is bad, like most Hogan matches. These two geriatrics struggle to wrestle a competent match. There's a moment when both men climb the cage, purely to punch each other a couple times and then climb back down. A stupid spot. It gets weird as a Sting appears, then a few more Stings appear, then even more to a total of 7. Eventually Piper chokes out Hogan for a win, but the title is not on the line (0.75). The show ends with the NWO beating down Roddy Piper which encourages a fan to climb the cage into the ring. Big mistake. He gets absolutely pummelled by Hogan and Savage for reals, the officials running in to save him from GBH. Don't interfere with wrestling kids, or you'll be punched up and you'll deserve it.

MOTN- Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero...duh

#55: World War 3, November 26th 1995. 42.9%

We have a double-award to present for this entry. This is not only the greatest edition of the WW3 event, but this is the Greatest PPV to come from 1995. That's like chlamydia winning best STD and least painful STD at the annual awards. Who's giving awards to diseases? Apparently I am. The Giant was stripped of the world title so the big 60-man battle royal will crown a new champion.

First, we have Johnny B. Badd defending the TV Championship against DDP, with. DDP's valet the Diamond Doll up for grabs too. DDP's feud with Badd was the first early glimpses of his potential ability. A good match between two guys with good chemistry. Badd was so over here, it's a shame it never quite replicated for him in the WWE (3.25). Big Bubba Rogers vs Jim Duggan in a taped fists match. 10 minutes of walking and punching and it sucked the life out of me. There was 1 wrestling move, 1! A bloody scoop slam and guess what? It didn't look good! Classic Duggan match, meaning shit (0). Cutie Suzuki & Mayumi Ozaki face Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto. Wow what a hidden gem this was! WCW brought in Japanese women sporadically and whenver they did it was usually good. It was action packed from bell to bell. It recieved criticism for being messy which I understand, but what it lacked in tag formula it made up with intensity and a high work rate, I really loved this. More of this please (3.75).

Kensuke Sasaki defends the US title against Chris Benoit. Solid match, I imagine it could have been better with more time but it was a well executed 10 minute match (2.5). Randy Savage vs Lex Luger. This was short and sweet, Savage fought for most of it until the heel came back and won? That's a weird formula. Not much in this except Savage passing out in the torture rack (1). Sting takes on Ric Flair. They had some amazing matches in the early 90s. This is another very good match between these two. Flair being a conniving heel and Sting overcoming the dirty tricks. Fun stuff (3.5). The WW3 battle royal, you know the drill. 60 men, 3 rings, hard to watch until there's only 20 men left, almost zero significant Elimination spots. It closes as Hogan eliminates Giant, Sting & Luger all at once. The Giant drags Hogan out, eliminating him, leaving us with two. Randy Savage and...One Man Gang. The OMG hits a hurricanrana and becomes the World champion. HA. Imagine. Of course Savage wins. This was fine but not worth watching (1). Actually quite a good show, just a shame an hour was taken up by WCW's worst annual tradition.

MOTN- Suzuki & Osaki vs Nakano & Hokuto

#54: Starrcade, December 28th 1992. 43.3%

It's Battlebowl time! The second ever Lethal Lottery and this time they made a reasonable adjustment. Instead of 10 tag matches, we get 4 meaning we'll get an 8-man battle royal later. An 8-man battle royal is a bit silly, but at least we have less of the same "will they co-exist?" BS.

Our first Battlebowl tag is Van Hammer paired with Dan Spivey against Johnny B. Badd & Cactus Jack. An awkward tag match that was wrapped up quickly. A predictable case of random pairings that don't gel well together. Also they put Hammer & Spivey over? Weird decision, Badd and Cactus are far more over and talented (1.25). Dustin Rhodes & Vader must team against the Barbarian & Kensuke Sasaki. Better, but still not quite there. A lot of stiff action from the big lads. Vader & Barbarian both no sell each other's clotheslines until Vader stiffs him do hard he can't not sell it. Vader & Rhodes advance (1.5). Barry Windham & the Great Muta team against 2 Cold Scorpio & Brian Pillman. This is much better, the only drawback is that it's less than 7 minutes long. Muta is white hot as he's only recently been turning up and wowing the crowd. This could have reached great heights with an extra 5/10 minutes (2.75). Sting teams with Steve Williams against Erik Watts & Jushin Liger. Rude is injured so Williams is subbed in. This was okay, Liger got like no offence and took a beating which - again - feels like Watts putting over his own wrestling values. I'm surprised he even had his son lose here. Sting & Williams advance of course (2).

Masahiro Chono defends the NWA World title against the Great Muta. This should have been a classic, MOTN contender but this was a big long snoozefest. Rumour says that they we're booked here because their match in Japan was so great, but Bill Watts told them to have a shit match so they would not outside WCW. That checks out. What a dumb thing to do. A dull 15 minutes full of rest holds and eventually Chono submits Muta in the STF (1). Ron Simmons defends the WCW Title against Steve Williams. Well, it was better than the Chono/Muta match but not by much. A lot of time is spent by Williams targeting the leg which was dull to watch and didn't even come in to play in the finish, as it ended in a double count out. Williams attacks Simmons after so the ref changes to decision to a DQ win for Simmons, as if that even mattered (1.5). Windham & Pillman challenge Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas for the tag titles. Finally we have a great match. It started slow and the crowd were dead due to the previous weak title matches, but they got invested because these 4 put in a great effort. Pillman & Douglas bump like crazy, Steamboat is a fired up babyface who goes HAM on his opponents. Windham plays a great powerhouse role, around this time he was earning a reputation for being lazy but he showed real passion in this match. Douglas gets the win after a 20 minute clinic in tag wrestling (3.75).

Sting vs Vader in the King of Cable tournament finals. Vader beat Tony Atlas & Dustin Rhodes to get here, Sting defeated Brian Pillman & Rick Rude. Sting & Vader's feud is one of WCW's best and here they have arguably their best match together. This is akin to the Brock Lesnar vs *insert wrestler here* matches we've seen in the last decade. Vader MURDERS Sting but eventually Sting finds an opening and fights back against the Mastodon. Sting looks defeated after a splash, but he intercepts a second one with a bodyslam to get the win. The tournament was redundant but this match is awesome, Sting finally cleanly defeats Vader and looks like a boss doing it (4.25). That should have been the main event but we have a Battlebowl to finish. Hammer, Spivey, Rhodes Vader, Windham, Muta, Sting & Williams. Hammer is quickly eliminated. Spivey is backdropped on the ramp and eliminated even though that's not the floor and in the previous Battlebowl that wasn't an elimination. Consistency is key WCW. Sting splashes Vader eliminating him and himself. Muta, Windham, Rhodes & Williams is the final four which is hilarious. They're all good, but none of them are main event stars. Muta is the fan favourite. Williams eliminates both Rhodes & Windham, Muta eventually eliminates Williams to win. Hang on, so you want Muta & Chono to throw the match to not outshine WCW, but then have Muta win the Battlebowl anyways? Watsupwitdat!? It was okay for a 90s battle royal (1.5). Go check out the 3 highest rated matches because they're worth it, ignore everything else.

MOTN- Sting vs Vader

#53: WCW/NJPW Supershow 2, January 4th 1992. 43.6%

The show aired in the US in March which must have been confusing at the time. WCW & New Japan had established a working relationship for a little while and they did their first Supershow together in 1991. This is the 2nd of 4 cross-promotional events they did together. Don't worry, we'll be talking about the most controversial one very soon. This is actually the first New Japan show to be held on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome, which became an annual tradition and eventually morphed into their yearly flagship event Wrestle Kingdom. I wasn't able to find the full card ANYWHERE unless I like viruses, so I could only watch the US release which has 7 matches instead of 12. Going off what we were given though, I'm glad we had less to watch at this event.

Traditional New Japan 6-man to start things off. Jushin Thunder Liger, Masashi Aoyagi & Akira Nogami vs Hiro Saito, Norio Honaga & Super Strong Machine. Liger & Nogami are former rivals in the Jr. Heavyweight division, teaming with former MMA fighter Aoyagi. Saito & Honaga are a team but never won tag gold together. Saito did win tag gold once, later with SSM who is the beefy powerhouse of the match. This was an average match, plenty of offence but nothing jawdropping (2.5). The Enforcers Arn & Larry take on Michiyoshi Ohara & Shiro Koshinaka. Ohara & Koshinaka found most success in the tag division, but not with each other. They won 6-man tag titles in WAR together and that's it. This was a match between two teams and two styles that did not click. The action was fine, but the Enforcers tried to work an American style match for the crowd and they didn't bite at the stalling or heel tactics. It all felt off (2). Masa Saito & Kim Duk take on Dusty & Dustin Rhodes. Baffling that this match was even booked. Saito is a legend credited for inventing the Sharpshooter, the Kangokugatame and - of course - the Saito suplex. Duk wrestled in the WWF as Tiger Chung Lee, which is the most 80s stereotypical name for a Japanese athlete I can think of. They might as well called him Chop Stik. This isn't great and it goes for 15 minutes. 3 workers past their prime and Dustin isn't experienced enough to carry the weight. At least the fans cared more about this one (1.5).

Vader vs El Gigante. This was better than I expected, by that I mean it narrowly avoids a DUD rating. Vader beefs him with offence but he won't go down so they go outside and both get counted out. Lame. However, Vader uses his cool ass shoulder/helmet thing to spray smoke in Gigante's face. That's hilarious! Vader trying to kill Gigante gets small points from me (0.25). Lex Luger defends the world title against Masahiro Chono. Luger came to work today which is a good change of form. It starts out good, but as the match goes on Luger seems either tired or not invested and the work rate drops. Chono tries to stay on the ball but he can't hide all of Luger's complacency. Not bad, but should have been better (2.5). Title vs title next, IWGP Heavyweight champion Tatsumi Fujinami vs Greatest 18 champion Riki Choshu. Two Japanese legends so it's bound to be good. The greatest 18 club was a Hall of Fame introduced by New Japan honouring 18 legends of the wrestling industry. At the same time, president Inoko introduced the Greatest 18 title to honour them. Riki Choshu was given the title by Lou Thesz. This was a good match, a standard Japanese-style contest of submissions and strikes. No sports entertainment here. Eventually Choshu wins the become a dual champion. He would later drop both belts to Great Muta and the G18 title would be retired after 2 champions and only a year and a half of existence (3.25). Our main event sees The Great Muta team with Sting against the Steiner's. A good match, but disappointing considered the star power. Muta doesn't seem to get too involved here, leaving it all the the 'muricans. The Steiner's offence is fantastic and Sting is heading towards his peak at this time. Awful finish though, as Sting pins Scott for the win whilst Rick thinks he's won pinning Muta. Why would you think you've won Rick you're not the legal man? Like I said, good but disappointing (3). The other 2 Supershows were far better than this one. We'll talk about them towards the end. We have a certain Korean show to talk about soon.

MOTN- Tatsumi Fujinami vs Riki Choshu

#52: Clash of the Champions XXXV, August 21st 1997. 43.6%

The last ever Clash of the Champions event, the name would be sorta resurrected by WWE years later for their PPV 'Clash of Champions' in 2016. The show concept would be revived by AEW in 2022 when they introduced Battle of the Belts, a quarterly special TV event which has never really felt quite as special as it should.

Jeff Jarrett defends the US title against Steve McMichael. Debra recently turned on Mongo and allied with Jarrett. Jarrett carries him through but the match isn't exciting, running through the motions and capped off by a random interference from Eddie Guerrero. Mongo wins the title too, because why the fuck not (1). Stevie Richards vs Raven. Both guys recently jumped from ECW, Richards tried to ally with Raven but the flock leader rejected him. You could have got a full year out of a story like this, but it was cleaned up in weeks. It's under Raven's rules = no DQ. Not bad, quite enjoyable actually but they only get 5 minutes which isn't enough time to have a no DQ grudge match that's good (1.5). Ultimo Dragon defends the TV Championship against Alex Wright. This is the first time WCW (Mike Tenay really) acknowledges Dragon as Ultimo, not ultimate. This was a good match, Wright holds his own and after 3 long years of being rejected by the fans WCW finally turn him heel as he takes the title from Ultimo. Ultimo is great as always (3).

Chris Jericho defends the Cruiserweight title against Eddie Guerrero. Are you surprised this is the best match of the night? Me neither. These two put on a better match than Wright/Ultimo in half the amount of the. Less than 7 minutes is ridiculous for these two, imagine how good this would have been with 15+ minutes? It felt rushed but it doesn't take away much from a great fast-paced effort (3.25). Psychosis, Villano IV, Villano V & Silver King vs Super Calo, Juventud Guerrera, Lizmark Jr & Hector Garza. Lucha boys doing lucha things. Exciting action, 5 minutes full of spots although it was all very rushed because it had to be. A lot of fun though (2.75). Ric Flair & Curt Hennig vs NWO's Syxx & Konnan. Hennig had just recently joined the company but hadn't made any allegiances yet. Flair is trying to recruit him into the Horsemen. Too short for this to be anything, it furthered to story of Hennig maybe or maybe not joining the Horsemen and that's about it. It was quite an intriguing side story amongst the NWO chaos (1.25). Our main event, DDP & Lex Luger challenge Randy Savage & Scott Hall for the tag titles. A standard tag formula, it doesn't reach enough time for it to properly develop but the action was solid for what we got. DDP is beat down, hot tag to Luger, faces miscommunication, heels retain. Classic formula (2.5). Like most Clashes, too many short matches when they should just have less matches with more meat on them.

MOTN- Chris Jericho vs Eddie Guerrero

#51: WCW/NJPW Collision in Korea, April 28th & 29th 1995. 43.8%

First of all, I recommend you go watch the Dark Side of the Ring episode about this entire event. It's insane. This is the first American hosted wrestling event to be held in North Korea and the second day broke records for highest attendance for a wrestling show. 190,000, although that figure is highly disputed. Antonio Inoki was wanting to better his political stance and created this show to attempt to improve relations between Japan and North Korea. He contacted Bischoff for a collaboration and he agreed, even convincing retired boxer Muhammed Ali to attend the event. The main event was initally going to be Inoki vs Hogan, but the Hulkster refused, a decision I actually support him making. Why? Well because the idea was fucking insane. They confiscated all their passports on arrival, they were split into groups and had to tour North Korea and lay flowers in front of a statue of Kim Il-Sung. They were not allowed to leave their rooms and do anything without granted permission. Bischoff went for a run without informing officials and they were mad at him. Norton's call to his wife back home was intercepted and they demanded he not say anything negative at all about North Korea. The whole thing is just mental. Go watch the documentary. Anyways, let's talk about wrestling!

The opener is Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio. Not bad, they ran through the motions in just over 5 minutes and it was fine (2.25). Next, Yuji Nagata faces Tokimitsu Ishizawa. Ishizawa would become more famous under his Kendo Kashin persona, being successful in New Japan's Jr. Heavyweight division. Another fine match here, short and running through the motions. It's almost as if they don't want to be here... It's worth mentioning this is one of Bischoff's early stints on commentary and BOY is he the fucking worst. He calls an enziguiri a back leg kick. That doesn't even make sense Eric (2). Ookami Gundan (Masahiro Chono & Hiro Saito) take on El Samurai & Tadao Yasuda. Another okay match, mostly thanks to Chono being a cool asskicker. The rest were rather mediocre (2). Manami Toyota & Mariko Yushida vs Bull Nakano & Akira Hokuto. Once again, the women of Japan come in and steal the show. They worked their asses off throughout, putting to shame any western women's wrestling at the time. Throughout the entire PPV, he crowd has been dead silent, not a single peep (probably out of fear) but they actually made small amounts of noise in this one which speaks to how well they performed. We wouldn't hear from the fans again until the main event (3.75).

Shinya Hashimoto defends the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Scott Norton. This goes to a 20 minute time limit draw. Well executed but a lot of stalling. The action was good the first 10 minutes but Norton got visibly exhausted from there and the match dragged on from there (1.75). The rest of the matches happen on day 2. Tadao Yasuda vs Road Warrior Hawk. Awful. 2 minutes long, but awful. The work was terrible, the pacing was terrible, the selling was nonexistent. Worst match by far (0). The Steiners take on Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki. A good match, Hase does a good job selling and Scott is on top of his game here. Sasaki & Rick could have been better, a lack of selling and also Rick looked like he didn't want to be there. I don't blame him (3.25).

Main event time, Ric Flair vs Antonio Inoki. It's a superstar match. Inoki was trained by legendary Rikidozan so he is the most popular, the only one being cheered during their entrance. This is a basic match, some technical wrestling and Flair heeling up as Inoki overcomes him. Considering Inoki is over 50 and Flair is in his late 40s, this was better than expected. A good effort (2.5). Infamously, after the event North Korean officials tried to have Flair state that North Korea was capable of dominating the US. He did not oblige but he did compliment the country and it's fallen leader. Safe to say we won't see another Western wrestling event in North Korea for some time.

MOTN- Toyota & Yushida vs Nakano & Hokuto

#50: Bash at the Beach, July 7th 1996. 43.9%

This is quite a low profile WCW show. It's often forgotten about because nothing much of note really happens on it. It's so forgettable in fact, that I bet you couldn't tell me one thing that happens on this show... What's that?... oh, THAT happens on this show? Huh, maybe this is quite a memorable, historically significant show after all.

We kick off the show with Rey Mysterio vs Psicosis. These two had an excellent match in ECW, one of the companies best matched ever. Not longer after, WCW swiped them both up so it was inevitable we'd see a rematch in a different company. This was excellent, both men are so young and put in a huge effort, they created a barn burner and the fans showed their appreciation. Possibly the best opening match to a PPV ever (4.5). Bubba Rogers faces John Tenta in a "Carson City Silver Dollar" match. The first, AND the last of this match type. A big bag of silver dollars are on a pole, you can use it as a weapon. Up there with one of the stupidest "...on a pole" matches. A slow match between these big guys, Jimmy Hart climbed up the pole to retrieve the bag because I don't think the pole would sustain either man's weight. The fans were oddly invested in this one (1.5). Jim Duggan vs DDP in a taped fists match. They both have taped fists and they can punch each other with them. How fun. This was about as much as I can enjoy a Duggan match, it wasn't too bad (1.75).

Public Enemy take on the Nasty Boys in a four-person dog collar match. 3 back to back gimmick matches, and they've all been mediocre at best. A garbage brawl that wasn't that enjoyable. Why are you using an inflatable rubber shark as a weapon? I've been full forced slapped across the face by one before, and at worst it stings but it ain't putting me down. This was weak (1.5). Dean Malenko defends the Cruiserweight title against Disco Inferno. A competitive technical affair, Malenko dominated most of it which is the right call since he's the far superior athlete. A good match (3). Steve McMichael vs Joe Gomez. A questionable addition to the card. Gomez is a jobber, Mongo is - well - Mongo, this has no chance of being good. I didn't expect it to be complete dogshit though. Deserving of negative stars if I gave them out. A 6 minute squash for Mongo and it was all depressing (0). Konnan defends the US title against Ric Flair. About as good as it could be. Flair is a veteran and his heel antics helped carry the match through to the finish. The fans cheered Flair anyways because he's great (2.5).

Dungeon of Doom (The Giant & Kevin Sullivan) vs the Horsemen (Chris Benoit & Arn Anderson). An all heel match which is hard to pull off, and it didn't quite work here. The action was okay but boring, the crowd didn't know who to root for and I didn't know either. The less talented heel team, or the superior heel team consisting of a future murderer? (2/5) Main event time, a 3 v 3 between the Outsiders and their mystery partner against Sting, Lex Luger & Randy Savage. The match is good and the angle was fresh and exciting so the intensity was high. Luger is taken out which made it a standard tag match which made sense. Then the finish. The biggest heel turn in wrestling history. The Hulkster returns and drops the leg drop on Savage. "He's the third man!!" It's an awesome moment that still holds up to this day (3). We end the show with the iconic promo by Hogan who buries WCW & the fans and the New World Order is born. Whilst far from WCW's best show, it's definitely their most significant.

MOTN- Rey Mysterio vs Psicosis

#49: Clash of the Champions 27, June 23rd 1994. 44%

One of the final Clash's that felt like a big deal, as from 1995 onwards they just felt like another TV episode thanks to the debut of Monday Nitro. Hulk Hogan just recently inked a contract with WCW, so the show is headlined by a big title unification match between the World & International champions. I wonder who could possibly be inserted as the next challenger for the big gold...

We open with the Nasty Boys challenging Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan for their Tag Championships. A big brawl by these 4, did you expect anything else? It was mostly enjoyable, the champs took ugly bumps throughout and they made me shudder (2.5). The Guardian Angel squashes Tex Slazenger in about a minute, effectively established a new character and that's about it (0.25). Larry Zbyzsko defends the television title against Steven Regal. Another rather enjoyable match as they wear each other down with stiff chops and submissions. It had a few lull moments to me but overall it was solid (2.5). Steve Austin defends the US title against Johnny B. Badd. A good match, best of the night so far...until the finish. Austin beat Badd by cheating, using a foreign object to lay him out. A second referee came out and then Badd made the pin and got the 3, but the match was ruled a DQ win for Badd. None of that was explained by the commentary team, who sounded just as confused as I was watching. An unfortunate BS ending to a good matchup (2.5).

The Hulkster debuts! He cuts a Hogan promo with Mean Gene before challenging tonight's winner for a title match at Bash at the Beach. Who could have seen that coming! Ric Flair then fires words back at him, immediately making it clear who the winner is going to be. Our main event, the unification. Sting is the International Champion and Ric Flair is the World Heavyweight Champion. Not on par with their prior bangers together but still a good match. Sherri's involvement was fun and not overwhelming, they mixed in fun callbacks to their previous encounters. Sure we all knew Flair was winning but I still had a good time watching (3.25). Quite a stacked Clash card, only 1 lame match and it was kept at a minute long. Solid show.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Sting

#48: Fall Brawl, September 18th 1994. 44.3%

1994 pulls out the third best Fall Brawl show in WCW history. On paper it's a stacked card of title matches and the marquee WARGAMES match, however I think the card fell short of what it could have been.

We begin with Steven Regal defending the TV title against Johnny B. Badd. A good match, Regal had been holding the title for an extensive amount of time so Badd was hot for taking it from him. Good wrestling and good psychology mirroring the finish of a previous TV title defence (3). Cactus Jack takes in Kevin Sullivan in a loser leaves town match. Well considering the future Foley would have in ECW & WWE, you know the winner of this one. It was a brawl and it was mostly okay. Baffling to me how they let Foley go, he would have stayed if they treat him like WWE did (2.25). We're scheduled to have Ricky Steamboat defend the US title against Steve Austin, unfortunately Ricky is injured so he puts Austin over via promo and forfeits the match. Austin will now defend the title against...Jim FUCKING Duggan. Austin tries to leave, then he charges Duggan but is pinned after a backdrop and a splash in about 30 seconds. Fuck off with this shit (0).

Pretty Wonderful defend the tag titles against Stars & Stripes. An average tag match between 4 largely average wrestlers. Orndorff was solid but the other 3 were quite dull (2). We have a triangle match to be the No.1 contender for the World title. Preceeding triple threat matches, I haven't seen a match like this before. After a coin toss we'll get Vader vs Guardian Angel first, then the winner will face Sting afterwards. I'll rate them separately. Vader defeats Guardian Angel in about 7 minutes, it was okay mostly but boring at times too (1.75). Vader vs Sting, a much better match. These two have uncanny chemistry so all of their encounters were fun to watch. This goes to a 15 minute time limit (even though if you time it goes over by a minute) so 5 minutes overtime is added. This whole stipulation is a bit unnecessary but okay 5 more minutes. Then THAT expires, and a sudden death stipulation is...last man off his feet wins. What is this, a playground game? The booking of this match, and the organisation & timing by the referee and the timekeeper is abysmal. Thankfully Vader & Sting are amazing it doesn't hurt it too badly. Vader is down but the referee is knocked down, a masked man attacks Sting & Vader gets up as the referee does. Stupid booking that ruins a possible 4+ star match but this is still real good (3.5).

Wargames time. Dusty & Dustin Rhodes team up with the Nasty Boys to face the Stud Stable (Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck & Col. Parker). This is good, but underwhelming. Wargames has been a big match for big feuds since the late 80s and was originally a Horsemen speciality. It usually hosted the biggest names of the year in a violent match to settle a score. Here, it feels like a midcard feud. It starts okay with Arn & Dustin but it gets quiet and boring real quick. It picks up again later when Terry Funk enters and wreaks Havoc with chairs and silly bumps. He takes a piledriver in the gap between the two rings which looked awful to take. It slows down as the rest of the guys come out. Finally, formerly retired Dusty comes out and leads the babyfaces to a victory by making the Colonel quit. Some good action and I usually enjoy Wargames but there was a significant lack of star power and above average workers. Without Funk this would have tanked I feel (3). The main event should be better, the triangle match should be booked better, the US title was unfortunate but they could have chosen ANYONE except Duggan. I would have preferred Michael Buffer.

MOTN- Vader vs Sting

#47: Slamboree, May 17th 1998. 44.4%

"This show features a double main event!" I hate that wrestling trope. I understand why, it's marketing to make your show feel bigger. But the main event is the last match on the show. After the show, I will accept that the BEST match on the show can be considered a main event, but the best match is usually subjective and up for debate. Like the most recent Summerslam said there was 4 main events? That's ridiculous. We're in the midst of the nWo civil war between the Wolfpac & Hollywood which was still a lucrative period for WCW.

Fit Finlay defends the US title against Chris Benoit to start. Good match, plenty of technical wrestling and stiff strikes. They complimented each other's styles well. Booker T's involvement made sense storyline wise and was a cause for Benoit losing. Good start (3.25). Brian Adams vs Lex Luger. Yikes. 5 minutes that felt like 10. Not a lot in this match, back and forth power moves. It lacked excitement and quality. They shouldn't be pushing Luger anymore by this point in his career (0.25). Next is a Cruiserweight battle royal with the winner facing Jericho later on in the show. Here are the competitors which you can read along to the tune of We Didn't Start the Fire; Super Calo, Guerrero, Damien, El Grio, Ciclope & Lenny Lane, Marty, Swinger, Silver King, El Dandy, Psicosis, Juvie & Karagias, who will challenge Jericho? Is it Villano IV!? We couldn't stop the cruisers! They were always daring but we stopped caring!..I'm here all week. A decent Battle Royal with a few fun spots. This will be remembered for it's great finish as Ciclope & Guerrera are the final two. They shake hands and Juvie eliminates himself. "What bullshit is this?" We thought, until he unmasked and it was a returning Dean Malenko! A huge pop for the iceman who immediately gets into it with Jericho after this (2). Straight into Jericho vs Malenko, it's a short match but the heat and crowd investment is so hot that it's so enjoyable. This culminates with Malenko defeating Jericho, a satisfying payoff for months of solid booking. It delivered better than WCW were renowned for (3).

DDP faces Raven in a Bowery Death match. Last man standing rules inside a Hell in the Cell but the size of a Steel Cage. This was a war between two fierce rivals and it was a solid payoff. I would have down without the Flock interference, I understand why but I think it took away from the match rather than added to it. Solid hardcore action but rough around the edges (2.75). Ultimo Dragon takes on Eddie Guerrero. Very entertaining match by two of the companies best workers at the time. Ultimo has a fun moveset and Guerrero was getting better and better everytime we saw him. The side feud between Eddie & Chavo was intriguing, adding extra flavour without ever taking away from the match (3.5). Goldberg defends the US title against Perry Saturn. Goldberg was at 86-0 (91-1 in reality) and had beat Saturn at the prior PPV and It was better than I expected. This was not as good, but not awful. It was competitive for a Goldie match as Perry got a lot in but it felt a bit clunkier this time around. Goldberg of course turns it around and dominates to finish but the fans love it (1.75). We've been having these segments where we're waiting to see if Vince McMahon arrives to accept Eric Bischoff's challenge for a fight. Vince doesn't arrive, obviously, and Eric gloats a victory via count out. It's silly but it's harmless and it generated buzz for the show. Would I have done it? No. I would have liked to see Vince appear and kicks Eric's ass though.

Bret Hart vs Randy Savage with Roddy Piper as special referee. Man, imagine if we got mid-90s Bret vs late 80s Savage? It would tear all the houses down. I still can't get behind Bret coming into WCW as a heel. A poor move in my eyes. This is a solid match between two veterans, Piper is a good referee as he usually is. We get the usual interferences from Elizabeth & Hogan which I could have done without but this was decent and well worker (2.5). The Outsiders defend the WCW titles against the Giant & Sting. A weird match between two Wolfpac members against a Hollywood member and Sting. Why would Sting want to go ahead with this? It's a dull main event, slow and uneventful. It gets a star for the Scott Hall heel turn which was genuinely great and an actual surprise since these two have been homeboys since debuting together. Other than that, it was boring, ending with the Giant begging Sting to join them and Sting looks like he's considering it? WHY? Can you not remember the last 2 years of your character arc? (1).

MOTN- Ultimo Dragon vs Eddie Guerrero

#46: Clash of the Champions 28, August 24th 1994. 45%

In case you haven't been keeping count, because I wasn't, we have breached the top 10 of our Clashes. This comes in at number 9. Mini spoiler, only one Clash makes it into the top 20 major shows. This show would unfortunately be the final televised match for Ricky Steamboat for 15 years. More on that soon.

First, we have the Nasty Boys vs Pretty Wonderful. Booooring. The Nastys had to wrestle an actual match rather than just brawl, so this was largely poor. A star for Orndorff for being the only interesting and competent worker throughout the match (1). After a truly tragic attack on Hulk Hogan by a masked man (soon to be revealed as Brutus Beefcake), Ricky Steamboat challenges Steve Austin for the US title. This was a great match, Austin is so renowned for his work as a badass face that many forget how awesome he was as a dickhead heel. Steamboat is one of the best babyfaces of all time. Great ring work and psychology, unfortunately the match is brought down by constant cutaways to the "injured" Hogan as well as poor commentary (*cough* Schiavone). It was during this match that Ricky took a bad bump, he would wrestle 4 more house show events before retiring from the ring. We would next see him at Wrestlemania 25 (3.75).

More injured Hogan drama, then a crappy Honky Tonk Man music video that was 5 years outdated. Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck take on the father/son combo of Dusty & Dustin Rhodes. This doesn't go too long, nor should it. It's crazy, overbooked Carnage but it's mostly fun. They protect Dusty's weaknesses well who is well past his sell by. The Stud Stable continued their attack after the match which put over Dustin as a valiant face sacrificing his body to protect his dad, whilst making Meng look like a killer as a flock of officials struggled to pull him off. Good for what it was (2.25). MORE Hogan segments, who has now left the hospital and (according to Shiavone) walking all the way back to the arena to defend the title against Flair. Just get an Uber, brother. Steven Regal vs Antonio Inoki. Two technical wrestlers, should be decent right? Ehh, this was pretty weak. A lot of technical wrestling, but Inoki did nothing. Seriously. Regal dominated with holds and strikes until the end and locks in a sleeper and wins. Weird booking. Also this was playing second fiddle to, you guessed it, MORE HULK HOGAN PLOT (1.25).

Main event time, Hulk Hogan defends the world title against Ric Flair. Haven't seen or heard much from Hogan this evening so I'm excited to see him. Hogan dominates, Sherri distracts him, Flair works the knee, Hogan hulks up. The usual gig. Just completely underselling going to the FUCKING HOSPITAL. To be fair, this match is good. Mainly thanks to Flair, of course, but Hogan did sell the figure four submission well. After breaking free, it ended in one of the quickest double count out spots I've ever seen. Michael Buffer announced Flair is the New World champion (wrong), then that he won by DQ (still wrong). Hogan is attacked again by the masked man bringing out Sting for the save. The match was good, the booking was BONKERS. Massively favouring Hogan in such a way that it made Flair look so weak and useless that he could defeated a supposed cripple. Oh well, at least their first encounter achieved expectations (3). Not an awful show, but a real dark glimpse at the upcoming 2 years in WCW.

MOTN- Ricky Steamboat vs Steve Austin

#45: Clash of the Champions 9, November 15th 1989. 45%

Clash 9 plays the roll of connecting dot between Halloween Havoc and Starrcade, setting up those Iron Man & Iron Team Tournaments we already talked about. I haven't got much else in terms of info so here's a WCW fact. In the year 2000, the WCW world title changed hands 26 times. That's an average of over twice a month. Isn't that fantastic? How could they possibly have failed with such sound booking strategy?

The show kicks off with a bang with the Fabulous Freebirds vs the Road Warriors. Sorry, did I say bang? I meant bleurgh. The LOD dominate for 5 minutes before assaulting the referee like morons and losing via DQ. Bad match. The Freebirds are advertised as the NWA Tag Champions, even though the lost them to the Steiners, because it hadn't aired yet. The 80s were confusing for championship continuity (0.5). Next, Doom run through Tommy Rich & Eddie Gilbert in a 5 minute squash. It puts over Doom strong, it did what it set out to do (1). The Midnight Express vs Dynamic Dudes. Jim Cornette is the manager for both teams so he's on a neutral corner. A good match with great storytelling and psychology. Cornette is torn between the two teams, aiding both throughout. The Dudes have answers for the Midnight's offence showing that they've learned from Cornette. Eventually the ME force Cornette to make a decision, he biffs Shane Douglas with the tennis racket and sticks by his boys. All good stuff (3). Steve Williams squashes the Super Destroyer in 2 minutes. It was quite a fun squash because Williams just beefs him around (1.25).

The Steiners take on the Skyscrapers. A powerhouse match full of big power moves and ending in a DQ finish thanks to Doom running out. The action was okay, this was all a set up to debut Nitron who would flop in the wrestling world BUT he would have cinematic success in an X-Men movie and in Halloween. Also Scotty Steiner punctured Sid's lung during this brawl, putting him on the shelf and being replaced by a certain callous Mark who had a bright future as a mortician (2). Lex Luger defends the US title against Brian Pillman. Luger had a reputation for sometimes putting in a half-assed effort in matches. Somehow, Pillman was one of the guys who brought out the very best in him. He's up there with Flair, Steamboat & the Steiners as some of his greatest opponents. That's a good crowd to be in. This is a competitive back and forth fight as Luger keeps up with Pillman's pace and Brian matches Lex's power. Very good match, we'll talk about their best another time (3.5).

The main event is an I Quit match between Ric Flair & Terry Funk. The loser must retire. HA, a match between two workers notorious for never properly retiring. It felt real though, Funk had been around for a while and they had been teasing Flair's retirement so both seemed like possible scenarios, which only added to the heat. This was an incredible match, Funk goes to extreme lengths to try incapacitate Flair whilst Flair fights the odds as Gary Hart is in the Funkster's corner. Eventually Flair makes him submit to the figure four. It's a must watch match. Many rate this 5 stars, and I wouldn't argue against them. Personally, there was something missing for this to reach the best of the best but this was still absolutely class (4.5). The Great Muta attacks Flair which brings out Sting. This would set up a well told narrative including the re-formation of the Horsemen, Flair turning heel, the awesome Flair vs Sting feud. This was a good time to be a WCW fan. Mostly weak undercard but phenomenonal pair of closing matches.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Terry Funk

#44: Superbrawl III, February 21st 1993. 45.6%

Tagline reads "Witness history in the making at the biggest event of the year!" Umm, guys are you forgetting Starrcade? Surely that's your big marquee show no? This would be the first WCW PPV with Eric Bischoff as executive producer, though he wouldn't slide into an on-screen authority role for sometime. He'd stick to doing commentary...badly.

The Hollywood Blonds face Marcus Bagwell & Erik Watts to start. Just good tag wrestling. Bagwell & Watts were pretty basic but Austin & Pillman made them look beyond competent. The Blonds come away with the win which was the right result. Good showcase for them, probably could have been shorter (3). Chris Benoit vs 2 Cold Scorpio. These two hadn't made a name for themselves in the States yet, they've been perfecting their craft over in Japan a lot. This was a great near-20 minute battle, these guys came to try steal the show and they almost did. This was way ahead of its time, the ring work was unlike anything else on this card. Scorpio prevails in a duel of nearfalls (3.5). Davey Boy Smith makes his WCW PPV debut by squashing Wild Bill Irwin in a few minutes. This was here and served it's purpose (0.5/5). Cactus Jack takes on Paul and in a Falls Count Anywhere. Put Cactus in a FCA match and it's usually going to be good. This was proven here as they had a competitive match together. Orndorff stuck to his wrestling fundamentals whereas Cactus tried to take it to the extreme, a nice clash of styles and good psychology. Cactus bonks Paul with a shovel to win. Sentences like that is why I love wrestling (3).

Heavenly Bodies vs Rock 'N' Roll Express. Very good match between two very good teams who have very good chemistry. What's not to like? 10+ minutes of classic tag team wrasslin' that the Express win (3.5). Dustin Rhodes defends the US title against Maxx Payne. If you feel like this is a random pairing, that's because it is. Simmons is out injured and Payne subs in. A terrible decision, because this match suuuuucks. 10 minutes of bland, heatless "action", which I'm reluctant to call action because there was barely any. Rest hold city bitch. Then it ends in a DQ, just to cement how much of a waste of time this all was (0). The Great Muta defends the NWA World title against Barry Windham. In a word, boring. In a longer word, boooooooooring. Another trip to rest hold city for 90% of this, before we got some flashy Muta offence. Windham reverses a moonnsault and plants a DDT to end my suffering after 25 minutes of dull (1).

We close with Sting vs Vader in a 'White Castle of Fear' strap match. Who ordered the ridiculous product placement burger? While the infantile name casts a small shadow over the seriousness of this blood feud, it doesn't effect the match so much. I usually dislike strap matches, but this might be the very best. Either this or Austin vs Vega. Another demonstration of Sting being a silly bugger and going into a match with Vader at a disadvantage. He gets his ass kicked by the Mastodon for good time, however he makes a real fiery comeback towards the end. He even looks close to winning at some points but ultimately Vader prevails once again. A great way to end the show (3.75). The bad stuff was real bad but the good stuff was really good. I'd still recommend this show, just go to the main event straight after the Rock N Roll win.

MOTN- Sting vs Vader

#43: Beach Blast, July 18th 1993. 46.3%

A short lived addition to the WCW calendar as the year after it would be replaced by Bash at the Beach. This show was hyped by a mini movie produced by WCW for the main event. The Superpowers (Sting & Davey Boy Smith) are on a tropical island playing with some kids when they are approached by Harley Race & Col. Robert Parker, the managers of the Masters of the Powerbomb (Vader & Sid Vicious). They offer the Superpowers a bribe to not wrestle at Beach Blast. The Superpowers refuse, so Vader & Sid hire a little person/dwarf to swim out to their boat wearing a shark fin and plant a bomb. Sting & Smith escape destruction at the last moment, promising revenge at Beach Blast. Yeah, this shit was wild. I'll link a video below.

Paul Orndorff defends the TV Championship against Ron Simmons. It was largely fine but disappointing to have your opening match end via DQ. Weak start to the show (1.75). 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell take on Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce. A solid match, Scorpio's offence was always fun to watch and early 90s Bagwell showed real potential. The soon-to-be Godwinns played their role as heels competently (2.5). Steven Regal vs Erik Watts. Another fine match, Watts was still very green so it was all on Regal to lead us to a good match. I think Regal did the best he could (2). Johnny B. Badd fights Maxx Payne in a grudge match when he was shot in the face. Not by like a gun or anything, by Badd's own "blaster". It doesn't go too long, but it's a weak match. Payne is exposed as a poor worker and Badd can't pick up the pieces. At least Badd wins, but it's a fluke pin. What a blowoff (1).

The Hollywood Blondes defend the WCW Tag Titles against Arn Anderson & Paul Roma. This was around the time when WCW taped months worth of footage at Disney Studios in Orlando to save money. A smart money-saving scheme maybe, but a dumb, logistical nightmare for a few reasons. They shot footage of Arn & Roma as tag champions but didn't shoot the title change before Pillman got injured so they had to shoehorn in Steven Regal to help drop the titles. They also had footage of Sid as the World Champion, but he got fired for his stabbing of Arn Anderson so all of that footage was scrapped. The errors and disregard of kayfabe pissed off the NWA and heavily influenced WCW leaving the organisation. Back to the match, this match is great. The Blondes heel it up excellently whilst Arn helps Roma through a good performance (3.75).

Iron Man match for the vacant US title between Dustin Rhodes & Rick Rude. A loooong match, not because it's a 30 minute time limit but because there's little action. It was fine, the first half was quite enjoyable actually. But it slowed down towards the end and they didn't even try harder to win in the closing stages and it ended in a 1-1 draw. So, did they even want to win the title? It didn't feel like it. Decent match but poorly booked (2.25). Barry Windham defends the WCW Title against Ric Flair. The action was decent, going along well and then we got a sudden pinfall mid-figure four. That was abrupt, everyone seems shocked even Flair. This was either a botched finish or the referee took them home early due to time restraints. It was fine for what we got (2.5). It's the main event, Superpowers vs the Masters of the Powerbomb. A decent match up, Sting & Vader look great but Sid & Davey looked awkward. The good just about outweighs the bad. We see the debut of the devastating Vadersault which looks AWESOME...until Davey gets up moments later after taking it. *sigh* (2.75). A standout tag match mid-card, the rest of the card is all fine but it lacked in good quality. Consistently fine.

MOTN- Hollywood Blondes vs Anderson & Roma

#42: Spring Stampede, April 6th 1997. 46.3%

"Let me tell you something, Gene Okerlund, you out here talkin' about a clique! The only clique you need to know about is the Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri! See, because what you dealin' with here is the brotherhood! It's non-stop from this point on in WCW! We take what we want! And after we take Lex Luger and The Giant, we want the gold, sucka! Hulk Hogan, we comin' for you, n---a!" A classic botched promo from this show. Imagine if this happened nowadays? Props to Booker for not getting fired for this.

We open with Ultimo Dragon vs Rey Mysterio. Your typical outstanding Cruiserweight match that steals the show from the beginning. These matches are a great way to start the show, but it also means that the rest of the show rarely holds up to the bar they set. Both men perform brilliantly, Mysterio quickly demonstrating his future stardom in American wrestling (4.25). Akira Hokuto defends the women's title against Madusa. Did Madusa wrestle any woman who wasn't Japanese? I don't have a problem with that, but could WCW really not find any other woman talented enough that wasn't imported from another company? Well it's 90s women's wrestling so they're given 5 minutes and they did okay with what they had (1.5). Prince Iaukea defends the TV Championship against Steve Regal. A weird decision to push the Prince, he was mid in every way and the fans were never hot for him. This was largely uninteresting, barely anything happened in 10 minutes (1.75). Public Enemy vs Jeff Jarrett & Mongo McMichael. Damn I wish we could just rewatch the opener again. 3 matches in row that have been mediocre at best. This one is the worst so far. A sloppy tag match that didn't benefit anyone (1.25).

We get the infamous Harlem Heat promo next, Sherri just looking at him like "bruh". Next, Dean Malenko defends the US title against Chris Benoit. It's good, but I can't lie I was disappointed. It was slow getting going but once it did get going it was infected by overbooking and excessive interference. It's a shame, these two are so good that they didn't need the booking, it only hindered (3.25). Kevin Nash defends the tag titles against Rick Steiner. Another case of a singles match for the tag titles that WCW enjoyed doing and I dislike. This was more an angle than a match, Nash is dominant and beats Steiner to a point that even his allies don't like it and eventually walk out on him. A dominant showing for Nash but not much of a match (1.5). Four corners match to be number one contender for the World title, Booker T vs Stevie Ray vs Lex Luger vs The Giant. This was okay but a weird match. No one believed Harlem Heat were winning this at all, because Luger & Giant were also close allies this was more like a tag match than a four-way. Luger & Giant ever fight, same for the Harlems, and at thr end the Giant actually tags in Lex and let's him win. Way to have ambition Mr Wight (2). Randy Savage vs DDP in a No DQ match for the main event. They're already fighting while Michael Buffer continues the introductions. It's hilarious. This was a wild fight as Savage beats on DDP mostly, but he manages a comeback and gets a HUGE win with a diamond cutter. A big point was nWo referee Nick Patrick counting the pinfall, which would lead to his eventual departure from the stable. The nWo beat up Patrick & Page to close the show (3). A high bar set from the off that WCW continuously failed to meet.

MOTN- Ultimo Dragon vs Rey Mysterio

#41: Hog Wild, August 10th 1996. 46.3%

The inaugural show to be held at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is also ranked as the best. A show that drew $0 in ticket sales and only a crowd of 5000, who were clearly not all wrestling fans, I still question this decision in almost every aspect. The fact they kept this up for 4 years is insane.

Rey Mysterio defends the Cruiserweight title against Ultimo Dragon. This was Ultimo's WCW debut match and he set out to impress. A very good competition between two standout Cruiserweights. Not as good as the match I spoke about previously, but still a fun opener (3.5). Scott Norton vs Ice Train. This was kept to 5 minutes which I'm happy with. Just back and forth power moves with little structure (1/5). Bull Nakano takes on Madusa in a 'Battle of the Bikes'. Both women come out on bikes, the winner takes the bikes I think? How you gonna drive two bikes? I wish we got more Nakano on western programming, she is one of the greatest wrestlers no cap. This only 5 minutes too, Nakano is good but Madusa is exposed as not being in her league at all. Lack of selling and weak offence. The match has a really confusing finish. Nakano it's a German suplex for a nearfall, then Onoo argues with the referee and teases smashing up Madusa's bike. Then the bell rings. Erm....what? Madusa wins apparently and I don't know why. Madusa destroys Nakano's bike because why not (1.5).

Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit. The last entry had a good but disappointing encounter between these two. Not this match, this one was awesome. The awful biker crowd try their best to ruin this one by being as quiet as possible. It didn't ruin it for me though, I was captivated by their in-ring ability and I enjoyed this very much. It would have been even better with actual fans (4). Harlem Heat defends the Tag Titles against The Steiners. Hey the crowd are actually making noise! Don't go too crazy now. This is a good tag match, both teams worked well and although it was a screwy finish it made sense for the Heat to retain (3). Ric Flair defends the US title against Eddie Guerrero. I like this period when Flair worked with younger, upcoming talent. The fans are invested because of Flair's status. This was real good, they both worked hard and it was compelling. Guerrero is far from his peak but he was still amazing in the ring. Flair winning felt almost certain but there was plenty of nearfalls that I bought into (3.5).

The Outsiders vs Sting & Lex Luger. This is the first major event following the formation of the nWo, so its still early days for the black and white, their peak popularity is still a few months away. It's a pretty standard tag match, I think more heat in front of a better crowd would have helped this. The big twist was the heel turn of referee Nick Patrick which would simultaneously boost the nWo as a heel faction and be a detriment to a lot of their match quality (2). Our main event is Hulk Hogan challenging the Giant for the World title. Positives first. At least this was a bit different to the Hogan matches we've seen for the last 5 years or so. Hogan playing a chicken shit heel was refreshing. The negatives? EVERYTHING ELSE. This match was awful. Too much time of Hogan stalling and avoiding contact. Then like 10 minutes of lock ups and rest holds, then NWO interference for a Hogan win. A nothing 15 minute match that was painful to sit through. The only good thing to come from this was the defacing of the world title, NWO spray painted across it. That's cool, this match is not (0). We close the show with Hogan's BFF Booty Man comes out and is declared an NWO member, only for Hogan to betray him and beat him up. HAHA! Fuck you Booty Man, you ain't cool enough for this train, brother. A largely good show but an awful main event.

MOTN- Dean Malenko vs Chris Benoit

#40: Wrestlewar, February 25th 1990. 46.4%

A show hindered by injuries, but not halted. Flair vs Sting was booked but Sting got injured at the previous Clash event. Luger replaces him, meaning his scheduled match against Steve Williams was canceled completely. Then, Dan Spivey got injured so he is replaced by 'The Masked Skyscraper' for their tag match later. Who could he be? Will it be an exciting new debut? Well, no, unfortunately not. Unfortunately, the original opening for Wrestlewar is cut from the network. I'll post a YouTube link below, it's so bad that it's good. Why is there a Sting head with a modulated voice saying Wild Thing in the corner? Why is the rapper so bad at rhyming? Why tf does this exist? Because WCW, that's why.

We open with the Dynamic Dudes vs Buzz Sawyer. This was a bang average tag match. This would be the last time the Dudes team up, Douglas would leave because a promised push never happened for him. Ace would only be around for 3 more months before leaving to be a permanent fixture for AJPW (2). Cactus Jack Manson vs Norman the Lunatic. This was a painful 9 minutes, it just wouldn't end. Cactus on offence was good to watch but Norman cannot sell or work for shit. Norman wins by sitting on him, he would only last another year on WCW before moving on to carve a legendary career as Bastion Booger. Gross (0.75). Midnight Express vs Rock N Roll Express. Thank god for these 4 lads, I was beginning to lose interest. This is exactly what you'd expect from these two teams, but sometimes that's you want. Tag wrestling pros doing brilliant tag wrestling things. Cornette is a great heel manager as usual (3.75).

The Road Warriors face the Skyscrapers in a Chicago Street Fight. The aforementioned masked Skyscraper is played by Mike Enos, who interestingly was a reigning tag champion for rival company AWA. The AWA were lenient on company relations because they were plummeting towards bankruptcy. This only goes 5 minutes, and that's a good thing. It was pretty decent for what we got (1.5). Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk defend the US tag titles against the Freebirds. A rematch from the tournament finals which P&Z won. This is a long match, 20+ minutes and the Freebirds are old so you bet this is rest hold city. Not enough action to justify the match length. It was okay, but formulaic and often boring (1.5). The Steiners defend the world tag titles against the Andersons. I had real high hopes for this match, but I remembered Ole is towards the end of his career and can't go like he used to. This isn't bad, it's a solid competitive match but it's not on the level as you'd expect from these legendary names. Scott's frankensteiner looks awesome though, Rick was a good powerhouse and Arn is a great seller. It was missing something for it to be better (2.5).

Our main event, only the second singles match on the entire card. A tale as old as time, Flair vs Luger. They've had plenty matches together, mostly good and a couple bad. This match though, is probably their greatest match, which is impressive considering it was a last minute change of plan. Luger was in the midst of a heel run, but with Sting injured he decided "actually, I want to be loved please" and it actually happened. He got hugely over and whilst he wasn't as talented as Sting, he MORE than held his own. This match is fantastic, Flair heels it up to his best ability whilst Luger comebacks with such babyface intensity. Luger has it won with the rack, Sting has came out for moral support but the Anderson's come out and beat up the injured Stinger. Luger drops Flair to help his friend, costing himself the match as Flair wins via count out. Great action, great storytelling and it would set up Luger turning on Sting further down the line (4.25). Injuries suck and I don't wish them on people, but I think Sting's injury actually benefited everyone more than derailed things. Except for poor Dr Death who lost his PPV slot. Sorry Steve.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Lex Luger

That's going to do it for today. Thank you ever so much for reading and keeping up with the series so far. Only two more weeks left until I will crown the BEST show in WCW history. It's been a long, often painful journey but we're close! Until next time, see ya!


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